Tag Archives: author

Author Interview – Kristina Schram

No Wasted Ink welcomes Author Kristina Schram, a doctor of Counseling Psychology who writes novels ranging from fantasy to gothic paranormal romance. She is a mother of three and an instructor at workshops for aspiring authors in New Hampshire.

Author Kristina SchramHello, fellow book lovers! My name is Kristina Schram and I write YA, Fantasy, and Paranormal Gothic Romances. I read something every day, usually from two or three books at one time. I enjoy photography, playing basketball, and throwing tomahawk and knife. That last hobby sounds a little strange, I imagine, but it will come in handy if there’s ever a zombie apocalypse.

When and why did you begin writing?

I started writing at a young age, beginning with self-illustrated books about wanting to own a castle. I think every author starts writing because they love reading books and feel the drive to create one themselves. When I was a teenager I kept a journal filled with awful poems and tidbits about who I was in love with, along with my struggles to figure out how to get them to notice me. Nowadays, there are times when I think that if I don’t get all the stuff in my head down on paper, I’ll spiral into madness.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Probably in high school when a short story I wrote was published in a statewide literary magazine for student writers, and which received the Scotty Award for excellence in writing. I didn’t consider myself a writer of books until I finished writing a novel while in graduate school. When you first start writing, it takes a LONG time to complete a book, so to accomplish such a feat really made me feel like I could do this as a career.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

The Prophecies is the first book of four in The Chronicles of Anaedor series. Here’s what it’s about:

When Lavida Mors is sent away to Portal Manor, a mysterious family estate, she unwittingly stumbles across a secret passage to the fantastical and dangerous world of Anaedor. Her misadventure sparks off a series of frightening events, beginning when the enigmatic Frio kidnaps her and her two friends and delivers them into the hands of a malevolent being determined to destroy Lavida. Found guilty for crimes against Anaedor, Lavida and her friends are unfairly imprisoned. To stay alive, Lavida must reveal a secret about herself she has kept hidden her whole life, but in doing so, she could lose everything and everyone dear to her.

What inspired you to write this book?

When I was in graduate school, I was always searching out nature. I grew up in the country, but the university sat smack dab in the middle of a city. Strangely enough, however, in that same city, there was a huge park filled with streams and ravines and rocks and trees. One day, while walking off the beaten path, a strange and rather disturbing thought occurred to me… What if a whole world lived under us and we had no clue they were there, watching and waiting? So basically, being paranoid is how I came up with the idea of a hidden underground world populated by mythical creatures, which I called Anaedor.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I definitely like writing plot-driven books with a lot of mystery, adventure, and drama. At the same time, I love developing unique and realistic characters. In creating these characters, my psychology background, especially the classes I took in abnormal and personality psychology, comes in handy more often than I would have guessed.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

The Prophecies isn’t exactly a unique title, but it’s a major focus in the book. How I came up with my world’s name (Anaedor) is perhaps a little more interesting. The name Anador (which was my original spelling) actually just popped in my head, and I immediately thought I must have heard it before. So I looked up the name and found that Anador was a planet in a Star Wars book. I’ve never read one so I’m not sure how that word wormed its way into my subconscious. I didn’t want to give it up, though, so I added an ‘e’ and kept the name. But there’s more. Just now, I looked up Anador to be sure I had my facts straight and found it spelled Amador, with an M! So I could’ve kept the original spelling. Though now I kind of like the added ‘e’ so maybe it was meant to be.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

All my books have messages in them because I remember how much I liked learning from the books I read as a kid and how much these messages influenced my development. For the Anaedor series, I was hoping to help people become more aware of how easy it is to judge and fear others because they’re different. I was always one of those, shall we say, unusual, kids myself. In writing about Anaedor, I wanted to convey to young people that being different should be celebrated and can lead to wonderful things!

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

In writing fantasy, you do make up a lot of your world. However, I don’t think any writer can escape the influences of their own life. I often borrow bits and pieces of interesting people that I see in real life and use these morsels to create unique characters. I also love everything British, an obsession that shapes how many of my Anaedorian characters speak and act.

What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?

Discovering C.S. Lewis was a huge factor in my becoming an avid reader. Reading The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe was an experience I had never yet encountered—so mythical and magical and full of wonder—that I couldn’t help but be bowled over! Reading The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett was also a game changer for me. I was having a bad day when I came across the book and sympathized with Mary Lennox because she was lonely, like myself. Her persistence still inspires me to keep going even when everything looks dark and bleak.

If you had to choose, is there a writer you would consider a mentor? Why?

I’m not sure I can consider any of the authors that I love as mentors since I’ll never be able to meet them, but here’s my wish list if I could: Jane Austen, because she has an amazing insight into human nature; Daphne du Maurier, because she’s great at building gothic suspense; and William Shakespeare, for his awe-inspiring ability to turn a phrase.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

Hive Collective designed my book cover. I felt they best captured both the mystery and intrigue of The Prophecies.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Don’t let rejections or roadblocks stop you. Be persistent. Every writer has faced these obstacles, so you’re not alone. In terms of publishing, there will be times when you’ll feel lost and overwhelmed. Again, don’t give up. Most importantly, never look at any project as a whole. Break it up into pieces, take baby steps. Otherwise, you will go screaming into the night.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Dear readers, you’ve been so awesome and supportive over the years, and I’d just like to say a heartfelt thank you! I promise to do my best to keep writing good works that not only entertain, but also educate (in a fun way). And if I ever get my castle, you’re invited to visit!

The Prophecies Book CoverKristina Schram
New Hampshire

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Publisher: Hive Collective

AMAZON
BARNES & NOBLE

No Wasted Ink Writer’s Links

writers-linksSometimes I get lucky in my surfing and find plenty of good links to articles about the writing process. This is one of those times. There is everything here from dealing with writing and reading when you are visually impaired to how to be a better writer in general. Enjoy.

How I Use Scrivener To Organize My Book Writing

Getting Started With Jutoh: A List of Resources and a Cheat Sheet

Want to Become a Better Writer? Copy the Work of Others!

Ode to Scrivener

Reading Challenges of a Visually Impaired Writer in the Digital World

D is for Dashes – The Definitive Guide: You Need Never Query Them Again

How E-Books Saved My Ability to Read

A Tale of Two Sisters and Hamlet

Prewriting Checklist

Book Vloggin’ with Jan: Women of Science Fiction

Writing Space: Library and Reading Room

Library and Reading Room

Today’s writing space inspirational photo is a bit of a departure from my usual offerings. This is a small, home library complete with ladders to reach the upper shelves, a large file cabinet for periodicals and a central place to read and view your books. Finding such a grand space in the home is not an easy task in this day and age, but we can all dream, no? You can view more about this library space here.

No Wasted Ink Writer’s Links

writers-linksIt is time for another Monday of writer’s links here on No Wasted Ink. This time I found articles about the art of self publishing, the future of the book industry, and posts about writing in general. Enjoy!

Beyond Dickens: Trends and Tech in Serial Fiction

A Self-Publishing Checklist for First-Time Authors

What Is Speculative Fiction?

Go Midwest, Young Writer: Why the Middle of the Country (Not Brooklyn) Is the Future of American Literature

Not even one note

We’re The Pinnacle of Civilization — Just Like Everyone Else

The 4 Things You Must Do to Succeed as an Indie Author

Secrets of a Bestselling Author: How to Become a Writing Machine

What is the Future of Bookstores? 25 Influential Authors Weigh In

Worldbuilding: Integrating the Top Down and the Bottom Up

ISBN: Every Novel Needs One

BowkerWhen you are in the process of independently publishing your novel, you need to make a decision if you are going to own the ISBN of your book, becoming the novel’s official publisher, or if you are going to use a “free” ISBN from the Print-on-Demand company. There are reasons for going free or for starting your own imprint.

What is an ISBN?

The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is an identification system that was developed in the 1970s for paper bound books. It can be used for inventory control, sales tracking and order processing by booksellers, wholesalers, libraries and universities. Originally it was a 10 digit code that helped to distinguish between books with the same title or different editions of the same book, be it fiction or non-fiction. Each edition of every book was given its own ISBN number to aid in this process. In 2007, the ISBN number expanded to 13 digits that are divided by hyphens creating five different identifying parts.

Prefix – A three digit number that identifies the book industry.
Country – These next set of numbers indicates which country the book was published in.
Publisher – Every publishing company bears its own unique code.
Title – Every book and edition of a particular title has its own code.
Check Digit – This solitary digit at the end of the ISBN validates the number. Usually it is the letter X, the roman numeral for 10.

When you look at any book that is for sale commercially, on the back cover you see not only the ISBN, but a barcode and the book’s suggested price. Today, not only paper bound books have ISBNs, but ebooks do as well. Each distributor that sells your ebook will require a new ISBN number for your novel. You will need different one for Amazon, Smashwords, iTunes, Kobo and any other commercial venue you wish to sell your ebook. Think of each of these sales points as a “new edition” for your ebook.

There are 160 companies that handle the assigning of ISBNs worldwide. Their jurisdiction is based on the country the book is being published in. In the United States, that company is Bowker. The process to apply is done online with delivery in around 15 days. There is a $20 processing fee in addition to purchasing the ISBN. ISBN starts at $125 for the first one, or you can purchase a block of ten for $250. Bowker will also create a barcode of your ISBN for an additional fee, although there are programs that can do that for you if you end up buying a large number of ISBNs that will be used in print books.

Once you have created your imprint within Bowker and have assigned ISBNs to your upcoming books, each edition should be listed with Bowker’s Books In Print, a database and directory of all current and upcoming books. This is the main directory used by libraries, schools, booksellers and other institutions to search for and pre-order books.

Why Purchase Your Novel’s ISBN?

Many independent authors are on a tight budget and decide that because the various ebook distributors offer “free” ISBN numbers for their books and short stories, that is the best way for them to publish their book. After all, who cares what name is in the “publishers” section of the book when purchasing an ISBN is a hundred dollars or more? In the short term, this statement is correct. If you are looking to publish one book and then move on to something else, creating your own publishing imprint is probably not for you. This would also apply if you are creating in-house manuals for your business, a cookbook collection for your small club, or perhaps a genealogy book for your family. ISBN is an additional expense that will give you little short term benefit.

If you are an author who plans to have a stable of books under your name and to gain income from them for the next few decades, then there are additional aspects to consider.

Let us say you have a finished writing a novel and you don’t want to take on the expense of purchasing your ISBNs for the various online distribution points.

To save upfront money, you publish your book as an ebook instead of also creating a printed version. You proceed to distribute your ebook on Amazon which assigns it an ASIN (Amazon Product Code). Next, you distribute your ebook on Barnes & Noble, which gives it a B&N product code. Kobo will give your ebook a “free” ISBN, but Kobo will be listed as the book’s publisher. Finally, you distribute on Smashwords and once more the ebook is assigned a new ISBN, but the ebook will now list Smashwords as the publisher instead of yourself. With the exception of Smashwords, which does put the ISBN into the actual ebook, none of these distribution companies identifiers will be in your book.

Twenty years pass by. Let us suppose that Barnes and Noble and Smashwords have gone out of business. Amazon decides to change their in-house product codes and no longer uses ASIN numbers. Perhaps Amazon decides to not provide a searchable database for their discontinued ASIN products. Kobo, which owns the ISBN on your ebook, updates the information about your book in a way that is not to your liking. However, because they own the ISBN number, it is the only record of your book “in print”.

As you can see, owning your novel’s ISBNs can be critical in the long haul. By purchasing your ISBNs and creating your own small imprint, you can retain control over the information of your books in the long term.

Final Word

There are ways to gain the advantages of using “free” ISBNs and also purchasing ISBNs. When you are first starting out as a new imprint, you might want to consider juggling your novels and short stories imprint status to keep your initial ISBN block purchase only for your larger works. It is possible to use the free ISBNs that the companies offer you at first to save on startup costs and then “republish” your novel later with your own ISBN. Perhaps you are planning on doing a cover change after your book has been out a time, that would be a good time to pull out a new ISBN and assign it to your book. Another example is with short stories. Perhaps you decide to publish a few of your short stories as singles on Amazon, but later want to put a group of them into a book collection. You can use the free ISBNs from Amazon for the singles and then use your own ISBN for the collection at a later time. You’ll be covered both in the short term and in the long that way.

Using the ISBN system takes time and patience. Give yourself time to learn about the database and what it has to offer. It is my view that the ISBN system is here to stay. Having your books listed in the Bowker Books In Print database under your own imprint is well worth the time and money in the long view.