Tag Archives: authors

Author Interview: Taya DeVere

Author Taya is a Finnish-American author, equestrian, and a psychology enthusiastic, writing dystopian sci-fi. Please welcome her to No Wasted Ink.

Moi! Hello! My name is Teija DeVere (my author name is Taya DeVere). I was born in Sweden, grew up in Finland, moved away to England in my early 20’s, and continued to travel the world by moving to the states. I meant to stay in Vermont for a year, then hop on a plane again and go find another equestrian job in Spain. But when I happened to meet my partner-in-everything, Chris, on a wintery road trip to Portland, Maine… well, change of plans. Six weeks later, we got married. Over the next seven years, I lived and worked in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and California, until I dragged Chris and our zoo across the Atlantic to live in my home town Kaarina, Finland.

But all that aside, you are what you do, right? Therefore, I’m a ferocious writer. A curious digital marketer. A kind and soft-hearted equestrian. A dog owner who prefers bunnies over puppies (and therefore our house is filled with both). A person who believes that every single one of us is worth a third chance in life.

I devour stories about unlikely friendships. Get my craziest story ideas while lying in a hundred-degree sauna. Add green olives and ketchup in everything, and never miss a chance to tell a bad joke.

When and why did you begin writing?

Where? Durham, Maine. Just like Stephen King, though I didn’t know that at the time. When? I think it was around the summer of 2015. Why? After years of writing an expat blog to friends and family back home, (mostly about little things I found intriguing about living in the states, like coin laundries, French toast bagels, and how people often have popcorn for lunch), I decided to write something in English instead of Finnish. I wrote about the beautifully terrifying equestrian world and submitted my story to a magazine, got accepted, got addicted. I wrote articles and short stories for a long time, until one of the stories grew legs and ended up spreading into a novel. I’ve been hooked on writing books ever since.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Back when I was fifteen, my boyfriend waited in my room while I was having dinner with my parents. When I walked in – my belly full of green olives and ketchup – he was reading a five-page essay I had written about The Lord of the Rings. I was embarrassed he had read the paper; it was just something I whipped out because the due date was tomorrow. I’ll never forget the genuine surprise on his face when he said, “Teija, this is great writing. Like, really great.” It still took me years to accept that I was better than average in something, but that essay was the first time I considered it to be true.

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

The world as we know it is crumbling down. Things like the government, housing, jobs, food, inter-personal touch and conversation now cease to exist. You have to run and hide. But where?

That’s the random thought that started my dystopian sci-fi series “UNCHIPPED.” Though the main character of the story, Kaarina, is not based on me, her torn sneakers took her exactly where mine would; hiding under a slightly moldy horse blanket at a remote horse barn in the Finnish woods.

At the moment, I’m writing book 15/20, and I’m starting to experience separation anxiety from the Unchipped universe as the story is slowly closing to its end.

What inspired you to write this book?

Cultural differences. I thought of my life in Finland and how different it is from my life in the USA. I played around with the two nations switching places; in my head, I relocated all Americans to live in Finland and vice versa. This initial idea didn’t make it to the book but molded into an unlikely friendship between a quiet Finnish outcast girl, a witty and fun Californian guy, and their newly found connection through a brain chip implantation gone wrong.

Do you have a specific writing style?

That’s what I’m told, yes. Though my books are thoroughly edited and stripped of any “Finnglish” before publishing, my editors sometimes have a hard time deleting some of the “Teija-ism’s” in the books. Apparently, some Finnish thoughts and sayings are quite amusing in English. The last Teija-ism I recall was me calling sweatpants “college pants.”

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

Good question! I don’t remember the thought process exactly, but I do remember it being a sunny summer day. I was drinking ice tea on the back porch. Our bunnies jumped around with cheer and the dog was basking in the sun. While genuinely enjoying the moment, my mind somehow jumped into things like Armageddon, social issues, and telepathic connections. Then, a moldy barn. Then, a questionable government with a desperate need to control and save humanity. I guess the name, Unchipped, was an afterthought of the story idea.

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

Yes. Many. But I think more than anything, I wanted to challenge the reader’s conception of what it means for someone to be good or bad. How our need for ultimatums and simplicity can make us victims of confirmation bias.

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

Most of the characters are a mix of people I know. A lot of the events and “themes” in the books are based on challenging moments and eras in my life. None of these times are good or bad; all of them are important pieces of the (slightly damaged) puzzle that I am today.

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

Margaret Atwood’s The Heart Goes Last started my love for dystopian sci-fi. Her sense of humor is beyond intelligent. Her stories have an uncanny way of processing complex social dilemmas, psyche, and humanity in a thrilling but easy-to-gasp way.

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

Funny, but now that I think about it… I consider my editors to be my mentors. Especially the development editing process teaches me so much. And not just about story structure or language, but about life itself. I really lucked out finding my team. Knowing that someone will give you honest feedback and gently guide you to make the story flow better helps me become a less cautious writer. Brave, with a hint of insanity. That’s the on-going goal.

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

Deranged Doctor Design (DDD) designed all my Unchipped covers. I believe it was Chris who initially found their website and then showed me a few sci-fi covers that I found to be superb.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Know your genre tropes and what the market demands, but only write stories that truly inspire you. Book research is the key; I find that my best stories are about things that I want to read and then write about, almost obsessively.

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

I’ve had so many moments of despair while reading through the same draft for the eleventh time, and wondering if the story’s message will come through or not. When publishing a new book, I feel vulnerable beyond belief. But the feedback I’ve gotten for my stories has been overwhelmingly positive and helpful. At this point (still under a year since Book 1 came out), I remember most reviews I’ve gotten by heart. Thank you for helping me be better, but most of all, thank you for being a reader!


Taya DeVere
Kaarina, Finland

FACEBOOK
GOODREADS
INSTAGRAM

UNCHIPPED: KAARINA

Cover Artist: Deranged Doctor Design
Publisher: DVM Press

AMAZON

No Wasted Ink Writers Links

No Wasted Ink Writers Links

Happy Monday! No Wasted Ink has a new top-ten of interesting writing related links for you to enjoy. During my own surfing of the internet, I earmark craft articles that I find useful and engaging and share these with all of you.


Writing Rogues, A Study o Batman: The Animated Series
Whose POV Should It Be?
The Joys of Scrivener – My Favorite Software for Organizing Your Book-In-Progress
Achieving Immortality Through Fiction
Writing Rules vs. Writing Fashion: Should Writers Follow Fashion Trends?
Everything You’ve Always Wanted to Know: Hybrid Publishing
A Display Hack for Your Story’s Outline
Using TikTok to Sell Books
Affiliate Income For Authors
Why You Should Know Who Your Narrator Is Talking To

Author Interview: Nicole Weaver

When I asked Author Nicole Weaver to describe her writing style, she replied: “There will always be consequences in my novels.” Please welcome her to No Wasted Ink.

My name is Nicole Weaver. My day job is in a research and development lab where I use scanning electron microscopes. It is incredibly cool. That said, my passion is creating stories. From tabletop roleplaying, to video games, to reading and writing stories, I adore sharing imaginations with other people. My favorite stories are generally Sci-fi and Fantasy, but I love a good horror book too. I am a trans woman, and my pronouns are she/her.

When and why did you begin writing?

I have always been told that I write well. Friends and family alike used to regularly suggest that I take up writing. I took it more seriously when my college professors started suggesting it as well, but I still wasn’t sure writing was for me. Then, in 2017, I was dealing with a common problem among Dungeons and Dragons players. My campaign of over a year had fizzled due to conflicting schedules. This pushed me to finally sit down and think about which parts of running a campaign I enjoyed the most.
Some people love the technical side of fitting the rules together into a seamless encounter. Others love to play practical jokes on their players. The answer for me is that I love to tell stories and I adore the look on someone’s face when they are recounting events from our shared adventures…so here I am.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I wrote an 8,000 word short story, poured my heart and soul into it, and was told it sucked. Rather than giving up, I wrote it again from scratch, attended some writing classes, and rewrote it again.

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

Encrypted takes place in a world that was nearly identical to our own until around 2009 when a completely unexpected total Solar Eclipse occurred. Later that day, some people discovered they possess special powers that seem to break the rules of physics. Levitation, fire generation, telepathy, all this became possible to the people who would eventually be known as Primes.

As if that wasn’t a big enough shock, enormously powerful creatures known as Daemons appeared across the Earth that same day, bent on devouring any living thing they come across. So far, all attempts at nonviolent solutions have failed in a rush of gnashing teeth.

Samantha Gray, is a girl far from the worst of the Daemons, still trying to unlock who she truly is. Before now, she has had few opportunities to make choices about her own future. The only thing she really knows about herself is that she hates the Primes who abuse their powers and force everyone else to live by their arbitrary and self-serving rules. Samantha hates Heroes.

What inspired you to write this book?

I wanted to write a story about an LGBTQ protagonist where that is the least interesting thing about her. Our lives and stories are so much richer than which letter of the alphabet shows up in our descriptions of ourselves.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I would say I have a distinctive style, but not a specific style. Though only the first novel has been published, I have three worlds I am writing in, the superhero World of Primes, an Isekai story of Purple Lightning Games, and my fantasy Clock Universe. Each of them is written purposely in a different style distinctive to that world.

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

I was in my third or fourth draft when I made a pun to one of my Beta Readers about the title. However, the more I thought about it, the more I realized the title fit the novel extremely well. In a very real way, Samantha is an enigma to herself at the start of the book. Her fight to find out who she is forms the backbone of the story.

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

It was easy growing up to see how the people with power were only willing to allow me to pursue happiness of a very specific kind. They made it clear that I would only be allowed to pursue happiness on their terms.

I hope everyone who reads Encrypted is encouraged to fight tooth and nail for their happiness, and not for some cut down version that someone else decided they are allowed to have. Be stubborn. Be strong. Most of all, understand that sometimes those things mean hiding who you are until you have the power to control your own life.

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

In some ways, yes. Samantha definitely picked up my snark, and one of the major characters is based on my partner. The events are entirely fictional, but I brought them to life with my own emotional experiences growing up around people who I couldn’t trust.

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

Some of the modern authors are Brandon Sanders, Patricia Briggs, and Laurel K. Hamilton.

The most inspiring thing about them is the size and intricacy of the worlds they create. I still read their incredible stories and think about why their characters are so engaging and fun, even while writing my own novels.

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

Brandon Sanderson. I have listened to every year of his Creative Writing courses on YouTube, multiple times. I strongly believe I would not be a writer if I had not come across his videos. I was already impressed with his skills, but he absolutely shines in those videos as he shares the craft we both love. If I ever get the chance to meet him in person, I will have a huge thank you ready for him.

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

Matt Akin. He was recommended by a mutual friend. After seeing his art, I was instantly excited to be working with him. He was extremely nice and helped reduce my stress as a self-published author by keeping the process relaxed and friendly.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Stick your ego in a jar with an airtight lid and let it suffocate. Writing is an iterative process that requires we viciously tear into our own work and cut out the pieces that do not fit. For every book, I keep a word document for the sole purpose of saving the paragraphs I loved too much to delete, but that had to be removed to improve the story.

Another important idea is that when someone gives you feedback, don’t instantly change something. Instead, pay very close attention to why they are suggesting the change.

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

It is okay to be scared. It is okay to be unsure about who you are, all of us are at various points in our lives. It doesn’t matter if it’s because you are LGBTQ, or simply because you have no idea what you will do with yourself in a life of uncertainties.

Take a deep breath and focus on what you can do to make the situation better. Even if the only thing you can do is keep your head above water for a few months until another opportunity comes along.


Nicole Weaver
Boise Idaho

FACEBOOK
GOODREADS

Encrypted


Cover artist: Matt Akin

AMAZON

No Wasted Ink Writers Links

No Wasted Ink Writers Links

Welcome to the No Wasted Ink top-ten writer link list. These are links to articles that I find organically as I surf the internet and found to be informative and interesting. I hope you find them to be that too.


Short Stories as an End Goal
Heroes and Villains
How To Enjoy Writing
Enter Late, Leave Early: A Great Piece of Writing Advice for Chapters
Writing on Message: How to Separate Moral and Theme
Using Pop Culture References in Fiction
How to Teach World Terms Without Confusing Readers

Naming Fictional Characters: 10 Tips to Avoid Pitfalls
Which Comes First: Character or Plot?
Writing an Exclusive Audio Novel

Author Interview: Rae Knightly

Author Rae Knightly is a science-fiction adventure author for teenagers and the young-at-heart. Please welcome her to No Wasted Ink.

My name is Rae Knightly and I live near Vancouver, on the West Coast of Canada, with my husband, two children and two grumpy cats. Before that, I lived in Mexico City, and before that, I lived in Belgium, and before that, I lived in Arizona, and before that… I think you get the idea. I love travelling and immersing myself in different cultures. In fact, I got a BA in translation (those who have read my books will get a chuckle out of this).

When and why did you begin writing?

I’ve always been a writer at heart, but never had time to really do anything about it until 2018, when I lost my job. I already had a rough draft of Ben Archer and the Cosmic Fall (The Alien Skill Series, Book 1), so this turned out to be the perfect time to polish it up and publish it. That’s when I decided to go full-time into writing, and I haven’t looked back since.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

2018 was a pivotal year for me. For the first time in my life, I managed to concentrate on a single project and write it from beginning to end. I felt very proud of that achievement because I had never managed to write a full story before. I had to wait until my forties to have enough time, a certain insight into my strengths and weaknesses, and a lot of patience, before I could attempt to become a writer.

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

I published the first book in The Alien Skill Series in 2018 (second edition in 2020). This is a science-fiction adventure story for middle-graders and teens, which talks about a twelve-year-old boy, Ben Archer, who witnesses the crash of alien spacecraft in his grandfather’s field and is entrusted with an alien superpower. He goes on the run from government agents with the sole survivor of the crash: an alien man called Mesmo.

I believe that the friendship between Ben and Mesmo, as well as uncovering the reason why aliens came to Earth, have captivated readers of all ages and are the reasons for the series’ success. I have now won multiple awards and have achieved bestseller status on Amazon in the US, UK, Canada and Australia.

Ben Archer and the Cosmic Fall is the first book in the series. The sixth and last book, Ben Archer and the Toreq Son, published in March 2021.

I am now working on my next series, The Lost Space Treasure, which I plan on publishing in 2022.

What inspired you to write this book?

As mentioned above, I had plenty of story ideas but always struggled to focus on one of them. Ben Archer and the Cosmic Fall was supposed to be my ‘practice novella’ – a short and simple story. I wasn’t even focusing too much on the story itself; all I wanted was to prove to myself that I could finish something short. But once I got into it, I became attached to the characters and the story kept growing. I guess you could say I grew with the story and was inspired to see how far I could go.

Do you have a specific writing style?

My mother tongue is French (I was born in Belgium), so I have a certain limit as to what/how I can write. Fortunately, I have enough English knowledge and vocabulary to tell a good story in an easily-accessible way.

Ben Archer and the Cosmic Fall is told from multiple points-of-view, which is quite unusual for middle-grade/teen books, but I believe it also the reason why readers of all ages have found a character to relate to.

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

I did a lot of research for the title, as well as the name of the main character. The original title was David Archer and the Chilliwack Fall, but then I discovered there already was a David Archer series and some smart readers pointed out that no-one would remember the name Chilliwack. I then changed the title to the Cosmic Fall to give it a science-fiction vibe.

The title of a book is important and is worth some thorough thought and research.

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

Under layers of adventure and excitement, there is indeed an important message in the series. Fortunately, readers have grasped that message and it reflects in their reviews: “A great environmental lesson for young adults.” “Contains environmental yet important themes about our need to protect our planet.” “An extremely timely message for today’s readers.”

In short, I hope to inspire young readers to take action to protect our environment.

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

The book is not based on experiences or people in my life. However, they are inspired by real events, short newspaper articles or videos I came across; such as water plumes jutting out of one of Saturn’s moons, imprisoned whales freed off the coast of Russia, images of the Northern Lights in a magazine, major fires in the rainforests of Brazil…

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

I was an avid reader when I was a teenager, and most of my own writing reflects that. Some of my favourite science-fiction and fantasy authors were Susan Cooper (The Dark is Rising trilogy), Lois Duncan (A Stranger with my Face), Monica Hughes (Earthdark), Terry Brooks (The Shannara Trilogy), Paulo Coehlo (The Alchemist).

I loved their stories because they transported me into fantastical realms, away from reality. It was a thrilling feeling full of emotion and discovery. That is what I aim to do in my own writing.

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

Cristy Watson, my editor and author friend (Cutter Boy), has been a guiding light since the very beginning of my writing career. As a traditionally published author and teacher, she knew exactly how to gear the story towards my target readers. She has also brought a positive touch to my stories.

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

I ran a book cover contest on 99designs.com and received over eighty submissions! I picked five covers, then asked reader and writer Facebook groups to vote for their favourite one. The book cover designer Pintado came out a clear winner. This was an excellent marketing strategy for me because I knew I had a cover that was on target.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Writing, publishing and marketing your book can feel overwhelming at times. I suggest you don’t look at the mountain. Rather, focus on what you can get done today. It doesn’t have to be much, but you have to be constant. Also, forget about pleasing the crowds. What you have to do is find a group of target readers: those who will most enjoy your stories and rave about them.

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

Although my books are geared towards middle-graders and young adults, I welcome anyone to try them out. You can download a free novella by subscribing on my website: www.raeknightly.com .

This free novella is called The Great War of the Kins and is the point of origin of my two series: The Alien Skill and The Lost Space Treasure. I will also send you a monthly newsletter with news on upcoming releases, book cover reveals, ARC-reader opportunities, free books and more. Welcome to this fun and inclusive reading community!


Rae Knightly
Vancouver, British Columbia (Canada)

FACEBOOK
INSTAGRAM
TWITTER
GOODREADS

Ben Archer and the Cosmic Fall

Cover Artist: Pintado

AMAZON
BARNES & NOBLE