Author Spotlight - Jan Sikes
Happy Valentine's Day! I can't think of a better way of spreading love on this day than by sharing my love of reading and writing with you. So, for this Valentine's Day, I am sharing with you a fellow author who has written several different books. She is a member of Rave Writers - International Society of Authors (RWISA). Join me in welcoming this amazing author of several novels and learn more about her in my interview with her.
How long have you been writing? The first thing I remember writing was a gospel song around the age of eight or nine.
How many books have you authored? 5
Do you have a writing schedule? I wish! I have such a busy life that too often my writing goes to the back burner. But…once I am moved and settled in my new place, I intend to change that and work on my story in some form or fashion every day. Wish me luck!
You’re a member of RAVE WRITERS –INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY OF AUTHORS (RWISA). Why do you think you were accepted into this exclusive group? I’m an award-winning author and while I’m proud of this recognition, I see tons of room for improvement in my writing. And, I think that is why I was accepted into RWISA – not because I have won awards for my writing, but because I hunger to continue to grow and learn the craft.
Modesty aside, what separates your writing from the millions of other writers in the world? We are all unique. And because of that, we each have a unique voice – way of expressing our thoughts with words. That is the one factor that separates any of us. I can’t tell a story like you and you wouldn’t be able to tell the story the way I do. I love this because it is what makes everything about the crazy world of writing so exciting, fresh and new!
If you could spend a day picking the brain of one author, who would that be? Taylor Caldwell Why? She wrote a historical novel in 1972 that totally changed the way I view world leaders, wars and the way decisions are made that affect countries. I would love to hear why she wrote this book, how she did her research and what it led her to discover.
Are you a die-hard INDIE writer who loves having complete control of your work, or, if you were offered a publishing contract today, would you sign on the dotted line? Although I love the freedom of being an Indie author, I would jump at a chance to sign a legitimate publishing contract. My sister is a traditionally published author (signed to a major publisher) and when I see all they do for her as far as marketing, I am envious. It would be nice to get paid, instead of having to pay for everything myself.
As an author, where do you see yourself in 5 years? I know beyond any doubt, I’ll still be writing, but I also see myself getting more established as a teacher. I love presenting workshops to all levels of writers from children to adult. I learn so much that way.
What is the ONE tool that has been the most beneficial tool in the marketing of your books? Hands down, for me, public appearances. I sell more books by doing speaking engagements or through book signings. I love the one-on-one interaction with potential readers.
Name one writer that you know of, member or non-member of RRBC, who you feel should be added to the RWISA Roster of elite members? Mae Clair (in fact I am shocked to find that she isn’t already a member) Why? Her writing is superb, but as a person, she is one of the most supportive, encouraging and engaging RRBC members I’ve gotten to know.
What is the one piece of advice that you could share that would be most valuable for those aspiring to not only be writers, but those aspiring to be great writers? Never EVER think you’ve learned all there is to know about writing. It is an ongoing process and we should never stop learning!
Do you believe that writers who churn out several books a year are really putting out quality work? It depends. I would say that answer could only be given on a book-by-book basis. I know some writers who put out three or four books per year and they are all amazing stories. On the other hand, I know some who are more interested in adding another title to their name than telling a great story or making sure it’s the best it can be.
If you had promised your fans a book by a certain date only to find that your book wasn’t the best it could be, would you go ahead and publish your book just to meet that self-imposed deadline and deliver as promised, or, would you disappoint your fans and shelve the book until it was absolutely ready? I would have to shelve the book. No matter your reason, please explain why? To publish a book that wasn’t ready would only hurt me, not help. I would lose those reader fans quickly. Let me add, though, that I’d stay in contact with the readers and let them know the status of the book.
In your opinion, what makes a book “a great book?” A character driven story that you can’t put down and that lingers with you long after you’ve read “The End.”
If you received a review of your book which stated that there were editing & proofing “issues,” what’s the first thing you would do? First, I would contact the person who claimed there were editing and proofing issues to thank them for taking time to tell me and then I’d ask for specifics. And the second? If there were truly typos, errors or any other mistakes, I’d immediately pull the book down off the market, and go to work on the manuscript.
Here is a little advice from Jan herself:
Don’t Fall in a Rut
We all have our own unique style of communicating, but as authors, do we let ourselves fall into a rut of using the same words over and over throughout our stories? I’d like to challenge all authors, new and old, to examine your wordage. Do you use “very, just, such, things or was/is/are/am” too often?
There are many reference books at our fingertips, and of course, a standard is the trusty Thesaurus. Isn’t it a wonderful handy tool to have right on your computer desktop? If you find a certain word or phrase that you get stuck using, do a search through the document and let your imagination and creativity explode by creating different and more descriptive ways of saying the same thing only better.
It is a constant goal to improve the quality, not quantity, of my writing. A well-written story that flows and draws the reader in is like stumbling upon a gold mine of emotion.
Check out Jan Sike's latest book, which is currently FREE!
Want to know more about her? Visit her here:
TWITTER HANDLE: @rijanjks
FACEBOOK URL: http://www.facebook.com/authorjansikesbooks
Thank you for supporting our RWISA (RAVE WRITERS-INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY OF AUTHORS) Members! Please follow and support the entire tour by visiting 4WillsPub.