Theresa Crater interview with David Alan Binder

posted Oct 21, 2016, 9:01 AM by David Alan Binder

Theresa Crater interview with David Alan Binder

 Her bio from her website:

Best-selling author Theresa Crater brings ancient temples, lost civilizations, and secret societies back to life in her visionary fiction. Her novels include The Power Places series, Under the Stone Paw and Beneath the Hallowed Hill, The Star Family and God in a Box  Her short stories explore ancient myth brought into the present day. The Star Family won best fiction in the Indie Spirit Book Awards in 2015. She blogs with the Visionary Fiction Alliance and Women Write the Rockies, and is a member of Sisters in Crime and the Independent Authors Network. Currently, she teaches writing and British literature.

 Clickable links below for connecting with Theresa:

Website

Amazon:     https://www.amazon.com/Theresa-Crater/e/B001K8MG44/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1476898687&am p;sr=8-1

Twitter

Facebook

Good Reads

Pinterest

Linked In

 

1.     Where are you currently?

Colorado, US

 

2.     What is the most important thing that you have learned in your writing experience, so far?

It takes way longer to become a good writer than I thought. There’s so much to learn, from narrative arc to character development to POV to dramatizing vs. telling, etc. Just keep writing. And you never arrive. Each book is better.

 

3.     What would you say is your most interesting writing, publishing, editing or illustrating quirk?

I drive my fans nuts because it takes me a while to find my next book. They want the next one soon, but I just can’t fake it. I have to wait for the next stirrings to arrive. This drives me crazy, too.

 

4.     Tell us your insights on self-publish or use a publisher?

I’ve been traditionally published, both by a mid-sized press and by two small presses. My first experience with Hampton Roads was fantastic and I would have stayed with them if they’d continued to publish fiction. The smaller presses weren’t such good experiences, but the indie publishing movement had just started. Now I own all my rights and have published through my own small press. I’m planning to query agents and the Big Five on one of the two books I’m working on. It’s women’s fiction, a little outside the norm for my work. It’s sort of The Help meets Beloved. It has the potential for a big audience. The other book I’m working on is part of my Power Places series, so I’ll publish it myself.

 

Publishing has changed dramatically. Indie publishing has a better rep than it used to. Lots of great fiction is coming out that way. As a result of eBooks and the growth of indie publishing, the Big Five are getting more and more selective about what they’ll publish. Often if you make a big splash as an indie author, you’ll get an offer from an agent or editor. Think carefully about what rights you want to give away.

 

a.     Who is the name of your publisher and in what city are they?

Crystal Star Publishing in Boulder

 

5.     Any insights eBooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing?

I sort of answered the question about indie vs. conventional (or legacy) publishing above. eBooks have changed the world. I read way more than I used to on my iPad with the Kindle app.

 

6.     Do you have any secret tips for writers on getting a book published?      

Simple answer, no. Become the best writer you can become. Read a lot, especially in the genre you write. Write a lot. Get critiqued and get a tougher skin. Keep writing and revising. Send things out and see what happens. If your group thinks you’re good enough, indie publish. If you sell a lot, you might get agents asking to represent you. You might not need them by that point.

 

7.     How did you or would you suggest acquire an agent?  Any tips for new writers on getting one?

I do not have an agent at present. Go to websites like Query Tracker and read who represents what. Also check the acknowledgments page of books by authors who you write like. Who represents them? Hone your query letter. Get it critiqued. Some genres have social media groups that critique query letters. Lately, there’s Twitter events, like Pitch Mad. You post a little blurb, and I mean little, and if you get favorited, the agent will leave instructions on their page about how to send them a query.

 

8.     Do you have any suggestions or helps for new writers (please be specific and informational as possible)?

Read. Read some more. Read the best in the genre you’re writing in. Write. Write some more. Get critiqued. Get critiqued some more. Revise. Keep repeating this process. Learn what a narrative arc is. Learn about sticking with your verb tense. Learn about POV. Just keep learning. I didn’t know beans about story structure and it was because the schools were deep into the process movement and didn’t want to stifle our creativity, so they didn’t teach it. Learn structure.

9.     What was one of the most surprising things you learned your creative process with your books, editing, publishing or illustrating?

If I get in the zone, I can hear the book coming through. I can hear the right word. I can hear my characters talking.

10.                        How many books have you written?

I have four novels out. Working on two more.

 

11.                        Do you have any tricks or tips to help others become a better writer (please be as specific and information as you possibly can)?

I’m stealing from Donald Maas. Take your manuscript pages and put them out of order. Make sure there’s conflict on every page.

Write less. Tell less. Show more. Leave some things out. The reader wants to guess.

 

12.                        Do you have any suggestions for providing twists in a good story?

I was weak on structure, so I read Robert McKee’s Story. The classical narrative arc works for me. Also Campbell’s hero’s journey is helpful, although I’ve heard editors complaining that writers take too long setting up their inciting incident these days. So, get the story started, then have several big surprises. Be sure there’s conflict or tension on every page. Remember Aristotle’s advice. The ending should be the only logical ending that comes from the series of events, but it should be a complete surprise. That’s not hard at all.

13.                        What makes your or any book stand out from the crowd?

I do a great deal of research for my novels. I like to visit the places I’m writing about, and have been to most of the famous sites I write about in my novels. My domestic partner is an alternative Egyptologist and I filled my first book, Under the Stone Paw, with theories I’d heard from him and others at conferences and on tours in Egypt. The second one, Beneath the Hallowed Hill, was about Avalon and Atlantis. I traveled there and visited the sites, plus did a lot of reading. I didn’t go to Atlantis, however.

In my fourth novel, I learned my ancestors had taught metaphysics and sacred sexuality in the 1740s. Imagine my surprise. I thought we were rigid German Protestants. My grandfather would pinch my father if he squirmed in church. But we rocked in the 1740s. We even taught that the Holy Spirit was female. It was Father, Mother, Child. I had to write about that. I traveled to Prague and Hernhutt, Germany, and did a great deal of research. The result is The Star Family.

 

14.                        What are some ways in which you promote your work?

Social media, blogs, blog tours, interviewing other writers on my blog, writing a newsletter, doing readings, that sort of thing. Giveaways work on Amazon work the best.

 

15.                         What is the one thing you would do differently now (concerning writing or editing or publishing or illustrating) and why?

Start earlier and be more consistent about getting critiqued. Take it less personally.

 

16.                        What saying or mantra do you live by?

Ha, ha. I started Transcendental Meditation in my early 20s and was told not to say my mantra out loud. But I love Rumi and Hafiz for daily readings, and I have to say Rumi’s poem “This Being Human is a Guest House” helps me every single day.

 

17.                        Anything else you would like to say?

Humans crave story almost as much as they crave food and water. You’re in the right business. Learn how to tell a good story well and you’ll go far. 

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