Meet Micheline Rychman

Author Interview, Bookish Interview

Meet Micheline Rychman.

A person in a yellow shirt

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The Interview.

Hi Micheline!

Thanks for joining us today. Tell us a little about yourself.

Micheline Ryckman lives with her family on a farm in beautiful British Columbia, Canada. She is co-owner of Whimsical Publishing, and an accomplished artist/illustrator in multiple mediums. The Maiden Ship is her debut novel, the first in an upcoming series. The sequel book, The Lion of the Sea, is already in the works.

What was your very first commissioned piece of art?

Oh gosh, I’m old, so this is really hard to even recall, but I can tell you that it would have been a traditional acrylic landscape painting on canvas. I did those for years before I ever took up illustration.

Can you pick a favorite quote from your debut, THE MAIDEN SHIP?

I have many favourite quotes from TMS but probably this one:

“Do you know why wildflowers are the most beautiful blossoms of all, my son?”

   Dain shook his little head.

Soft waxen curls blew forward in the breeze as she lifted her storm-gray eyes to gaze out over the sea of petals. “Wildflowers are the loveliest of all because they grow in uncultivated soil, in those hard, rugged places where no one expects them to flourish. They are resilient in ways a garden bloom could never be. People are the same, son—the most exquisite souls are those who survive where others cannot. They root themselves, along with their companions, wherever they are, and they thrive.”

What kicked started your illustration career? Your writing career?

My illustration career was actually kickstarted when my daughter was a teen, she always wanting me to join her while drawing and read her books. And I found that I loved the stories and the art so much more than what I was already doing. It quickly became a passion to produce and create work that young adults could enjoy.

The Maiden Ship is my first novel and my firstborn was only three months old when I developed the story. That was twenty-one years ago. The book didn’t get far back then because the demands of a new marriage, a new child, and so many other life callings forced me to set the story aside. It wasn’t until 2018 that I revisited The Maiden Ship. And that decision was brought on by several major life events: a mix of chronic health struggles, my firstborn leaving home for college (don’t let anyone ever tell you it’s easy when your children leave home—it is not), and a severely injured drawing arm. Art has always been my lifeline, and when my arm went, and that privilege was taken from me, a bout of depression inevitably followed. It was a tough season, and I was desperate for a creative outlet. I needed something to keep me sane amidst the chaos and pain.

So, I wrote. Typing with my non-dominant hand took some getting used to. The process was arduous, and sometimes I used dictation when the pain was too severe. Yet, word by word, this book saved my life. This tale gave me a reason to wake up each day; it gave me a purpose. I am so thankful for this story. I poured so much of my own personal life journey and lessons into this novel, and I’m hopeful that the premise and messages in this story will speak to the hearts of those who read it.

Was there any scene in THE MAIDEN SHIP that really surprised you with how it turned out?

Not a scene as much as a couple characters that surprised me, Casper and Lydia. They were meant to be simple background characters and ended up demanding much larger roles in the story. Lydia is fierce that way, and well, Casper could charm the fangs off a snake, I never stood a chance.

What character spoke to you the most in THE MAIDEN SHIP?

Definitely Morgan Crouse, or Mo as we affectionately call him. He speaks to my heart and I loved writing his dialogue.

Do you have any current writing project(s)? If so, can you share anything? 

I am currently working on two projects actually. One is the sequel to The Maiden Ship, it’s called The Lion of the Sea, the second is a full-length novel of my graphic novel, Charting Stars. I was unable to continue this graphic novel series because eof health problems that prevented me from drawing that much, so I’m super excited to continue this story in novel form!

Is there anything else you’d like to share with the readers today?

Just that I’m so incredibly grateful to my followers and those who’ve already read The Maiden Ship, I have been so touched by your kindness and sweet reviews. Thank you all so much!

Guest Post: “Small Business Thoughts for the Strange” with Haley Jenkins from Selcouth Station

Bookish Interview, Misc.

Meet Haley Jenkins.

Author Pic Full.jpg

Haley Jenkins holds a Creative Writing Master’s Degree from The University of Surrey and a Creative Writing Bachelor’s Degree from The University of Roehampton.

In 2016, Haley was awarded First Prize in the Elmbridge Literary Competition for her short story ‘Talisman’ and in 2014 won 3rd Prize in the Hopkins Poetry Prize. She has been published in two anthologies by Fincham Press – The Trouble with Parallel Universes (2014) and Screams & Silences (2015), as well as publications such as, Guttural MagazineTears in the Fencepainted spoken and The Journal of British & Irish Innovative Poetry. Her work has also appeared in online zines such as datableedzine, Rag Queen Periodical, epizootics and ez.Pzine (Pyre Publishing)Haley’s first poetry chapbook was published by Veer Books (August 2017). She runs Selcouth Station Press (https://www.selcouthstation.com/), which she founded in April 2017. You can follow Selcouth Station on Facebook, Twitter (@SelcouthStation) and Instagram!

 

 

The Guest Post.

Small Business Thoughts for the Strange   

I’ve given myself more labels than I have been labelled. This is the price paid by all of us who think inwardly a little too much. I’ve called myself fat, useless, mad, bad, fucked-up and a few words in made-up colours and languages Google can’t translate. But somewhere along the line between sitting in college corridors alone and shying away from any social engagement where I might have to talk to someone, I became proud of my strangeness. I didn’t fit the mould, I never would, so why not celebrate that?

 

Selcouth Station Press arrived out of a desire to meet people like me, who wanted to write but for whom the Big Five, agents and contracts route was too scary, too demanding and let’s face it: too pressuring. I wanted to hear new voices, strange voices, engage with people who wanted to be seen and not just looked at or sold. There is a difference. It wasn’t easy – what did I know about running a press? I had volunteered with Veer Books, so I knew a lot about creating the physical books and editing. But how much did a small business cost? How do you find printers? How do you find writers? How do you use Twitter? The answers are: not as much as you might think if you’re smart about it, search engines, social media and Tweeting for a business is about consistency and sharing.

 

An important element of running a small business online is sharing and not just on Twitter. It is about not just asking for help but being the one to give it and giving it as freely as you can. I’ve built up a wonderful network of people by celebrating and promoting each other’s work, sending long emails about life and just being there. Ask for advice, email the writer whose work you loved in that zine, message a podcast you’d like to be on. The worst they can do is say no. I once emailed a famous photographer for a college project and got a very snooty response, asking why I even bothered emailing him when the Internet held everything I needed to know. I still printed off that email and stuck it in my portfolio: it was proof I had been brave enough to try. Being brave isn’t about not feeling scared, socially awkward or a fake, it is about doing it anyway. And you know what is brilliant about it? You don’t have to talk to anyone if you don’t want to.

 

Currently, Selcouth Station Press has three chapbooks to its name and we’re open for submissions on the theme of ‘Love’. After the next round of chapbooks, we’ll be looking into publishing solo collections. We regularly publish work online, including art work, interviews, guest blogs, fiction, poetry, flash fiction and reviews! We have two volunteer editors who joined me in the Spring, Sandra Partanen and Lorna Dicken, and we are open to collaborating with others. I am always happy to give insights and advice, you can message me at contact@selcouthstation.com.

Interview with iWriterly’s Meg LaTorre

Bookish Interview, Misc.

Meet Meg LaTorre.

Meg LaTorre

 

Website: https://iwriterly.com/
Newsletter: https://eepurl.com/c7skY6
YouTube: http://youtube.com/iwriterly
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MegLaTorre
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/meg_latorre/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MegLaTorre/

 

Welcome Meg! Thanks for joining us today. Tell us a little about yourself.

Thanks for having me! My name is Meg LaTorre. I’m a writer, AuthorTuber/BookTuber, developmental book editor, and former literary agent with a background in magazine publishing, medical/technical writing, and journalism. On my YouTube channel, iWriterly, I geek out on all things books—from the concept to the bookshelves (and everything in between). I also launched Query Hack, a query critique platform where writers can submit their manuscript queries or Twitter pitches for free feedback. Query Hack is hosted on my website, where I’ve also started a blog on writing-related topics. I’ve written for publications such as Writer’s Digest and SavvyAuthors on topics related to writing and publishing and can be found teaching online classes throughout the year. In my free time, I enjoy reading, running after my toddler, and sleeping. To learn more about me, visit my website, follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Facebook, sign up for my monthly newsletter, and subscribe to my YouTube channel, iWriterly.

 

The Interview.

What is the origin story of iWriterly and how did you first get involved with the book community?

I initially joined the book community on Twitter, which is where I’ve met so many amazing writers and industry professionals. iWriterly started as a YouTube channel in March of 2017. At the time, I was on maternity leave from my job as a magazine editor, but I was also working at the Corvisiero Literary Agency on the side. I learned so much during my time at the agency and, because I’m also a writer, I wanted to share what I learned with other writers. When I first started my journey toward traditional publication, I remember being so frustrated about the lack of (decisive) information on how to write a book well, how to get an agent, or even how to be traditionally published. AuthorTube didn’t exist back then (in the format it does now) and there were plenty of blogs, but many had conflicting information. My husband suggested starting a YouTube channel, and I quickly became convinced it was the information-sharing medium I had been looking for to help other writers so they didn’t have to experience the same hardships I went through. Gradually, the iWriterly videos have gotten out there (starting a channel today is tough with YouTube algorithms). After receiving similar questions in the video comments (and on my other social media platforms), I decided I wanted to create a secondary resource to my YouTube channel and launched the iWriterly website, posting supplementary blogs to the videos and answering popular questions.

 

From journalism to medical and technical writing to being a literary agent and now a jack of all trades in the book community, how do you balance the roles you play and played and how have they influenced or clashed with each other?

At heart, I’m a writer—regardless of genre or style (novel writing, technical writing, etc.). When I first graduated college, I started out as a program manager for a medical communications company and worked my way up the ranks to medical writer and eventually the lead editor of a (technical) magazine. Those experiences give my blog and platform a business twist. I’m a huge proponent for treating your passion with the serious attention and dedication you’d give to your job. It’s also impacted the way I approach potential opportunities, such as teaching online classes or webinars. I’d say the biggest clash they’ve had is simply for my time. While working as a full-time editor, I also worked at a literary agency on the side while also writing my own book and freelance editing. Now that I’m a mom, that level of multitasking is much harder to maintain, and I’m very selective of where I invest my time. Because time is precious!

 

Is an “AuthorTuber” very different from a “BookTuber” and how do you use them to connect with your followers?

I go into this on my website, but AuthorTube and BookTube are two communities on YouTube. On AuthorTube, published and yet-to-be-published writers post videos on writing-related content. This could be anything from vlogs of their personal writing journey or how-to videos on the craft of writing. BookTube is another community where creators post videos related to books, and they aren’t necessarily writers (though they can be).

For me, AuthorTube has been fantastic for connecting with my followers because my platform revolves around the craft of writing and navigating the publishing industry. I’ll do occasional BookTube videos, such as book reviews or book hauls, because I acquire quite a lot of books throughout the year at industry events or at local bookstores. All writers are readers, so (for me) having a hybrid AuthorTube-BookTube channel has been a very natural one.

 

Query Hack sounds like a great service you offer. How did you decide and then define the services you offer from Query Hack to development editing?

To clarify, Query Hack is not part of my freelance editorial services. It’s a free query critique platform where writers can submit their queries with the chance to receive free feedback. I specify “chance to receive” simply because I’ve received hundreds of queries and it’s physically impossible to get to every one (though I wish I could!). I launched Query Hack as a way for writers to see how a publishing industry professional would look at their query—identifying what’s missing, what parts of the story are unclear, how important the metadata is (word count, genre, age group), etc.—without the need for a financial investment. (Let’s be real, so many of us writers are broke!) My developmental editing services, on the other hand, are opportunities where writers can pay a fee for me to review their work. I offer query, synopsis, first five pages, first chapter, and full manuscript critiques as well as video coaching. The latter I added on as an option later because I noticed a lot of writers asked pretty personal and in-depth questions either on social media or sent through the website. These questions were often ones related to the direction of their book or writing career. Thus far, it’s been a great way for me to help coach and encourage writers who are at a crossroads in their journey and want advice on where to go next.

 

You do book reviews too! Phew. I can only imagine the crazy schedule you have split between books and family and personal care. Any tips on how to step away from the workload without feeling guilty?

That’s a great question! And one I’m still working on. Personally, I love my work (and I love to work). As time is going on, I’ve become far more selective with the projects I take on so that I still have time to spend with family or doing things I love (like sleeping). For example, I often will turn down time-consuming opportunities or opportunities that lack financial compensation (because we all have to eat!). Once you get to a certain place in your career, people will ask you to do things all the time (such as family members asking you to edit their book for free), and I constantly remind myself that it’s okay to say no. I think the next phase in my career will be shifting to a scalable career/income. I’m also huge into scheduling. Once I’ve worked my allotted number of hours each day, I’ll stop and do personal stuff.

 

Is there anything else you’d like to share with the readers today?

Although many of us want to turn our writing into our career, make sure you’re still writing for yourself. Don’t be afraid to hustle and work hard (something we all have to do as we’re launching our platforms and careers), but make sure you’re filling your creative well and writing for the enjoyment of it. On the flip side, be prepared to put in a lot of hours to get your platform and author website off the ground. Work hard to learn things like SEO and algorithms so that eventually your platforms will do the work for you.

 

Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions Meg!

Thanks for having me!