Interview with CL Wells   7 comments

Today’s interview is with debut novelist, CL Wells. Welcome to the blog.

Thanks so much for having me, Lela!

Tell us something about yourself.

Well, I was born in raised in Kansas, but I don’t plan on spending the rest of my life here. As soon as I can, I will try to move far, far, far away from winter.

For the last ten years I’ve worked in Finance at a major corporation. While I’m grateful for my job… because it does pay the bills… and for food, which is important, and publishing, which is really important, I always say real life starts once I’m walking out the door at the end of the workday.

We only have four legged children and they’re both older than us in their respective fur-years. We have a senior doggie that is around 13 or 14 and our cat is 17. I’ll stop there otherwise I will talk about them forever.

We have two dogs (one who is quite geriatric) and we’ve had lots of cats (just not now). At what point did you know you wanted to be a writer?

My first real memory of enjoying the writing process was in grade school. We’d been learning about the science of the weather and our assignment was to write a weather report. Our teacher said we could pick any location. So, I chose Mars and my meteorologist was abducted by aliens midway through his report. Figured it was okay since she didn’t specify the location had to be on this planet. I got an A and note in red from the teacher telling me how creative I was! It felt good.

I rocked out some fun papers in college and I blogged for a year or so, but until I started this project … I guess I didn’t take myself seriously.

Tell us about your writing process.

So far, I’m a pantser. For Memoirs of a Girl Who Loves God, I just started writing. I was inspired by someone close to me and the story just came to me. But when you’re writing, you think about your characters all the time. So in my head, I knew where I was taking the story.  I just didn’t know how I was going to get there until I was at my computer – actively writing.

I tried to do an outline for my current WIP, but so far it’s not working for me. I have to just think it out and write it.

I totally understand. What is your favorite genre … to read … to write?

My favorite genre  to write is Faith & Spirituality. But, I love to read all kinds of books. I love YA Fiction, Faith Fiction, Historical, Romance every now and again, Suspense, Thrillers …

What are you passionate about?

Animals-I will be any animal’s advocate. One day I hope to open an animal shelter

If you lived here in Alaska, you could become a dog musher. What is something you cannot live without?

God first. My family. Then air, water, food… those are important too. J

I like the order. When you are not writing, what do you do?

Publishing. Seriously, getting this book out has consumed my life. It’s a lot of work. There are so many steps, but God has made sure I could handle it all. I’ve met some amazing people. My editors, formatter, cover people, bloggers, and the WEBSITE. Oh my goodness, God sent me help for my website. I almost threw my laptop out the window trying to deal with that. I’m okay now though, lol.

Where do you get the inspiration for your novels?

Memoirs is my first, but I always go back to God on this. As writers, we all draw from our life experiences. Once you need to write something else in, it’s time for research.

What sort of research do you do for your novels?

All kinds. Sometimes you just need Google. But for Memoirs, I visited our local homeless shelter and took a tour. I spoke with and interviewed soldiers and asked a million questions. It’s important to ensure what is being written is reflective of real life. This isn’t a fantasy book so if someone who has self-harmed picked it up or a soldier who was in Desert Storm, I want them to relate.  Now each person’s individual experience will vary… For instance, one of the soldiers I spoke with who was in Desert Storm was in a troop who was right in all the action. Their access to water was limited. Another soldier whose troop wasn’t in the thick of the action said they had plenty of water. So much of it, in fact, that they were building houses with the bottles when they were bored.

Do you have a special place where you write?

Not yet. I desperately want a special place to write. Right now, our home is very small and though it’s just the two of us with our pets, we need more room.

Do you write from an outline or are you a discovery writer?  Why?

More discovery in the details. With Memoirs, I knew where I was going, but needed the ‘discovery’ aspect to get there.

Do you head-hop?

I do. It was out of control for a minute, but my super-duper content editor whipped me into shape. So now I do it, but appropriately. No Dramamine needed.

I’m going to drop you in a remote Alaska cabin for a month. It’s summer so you don’t have to worry about freezing to death. I’ll supply the food and the mosquito spray. What do you do while you’re there and what do you bring with you? If you’re bringing books, what are they?

Oh, this is easy. I will explore, of course. It’s a must to be aware of your surroundings. But I would take that time to write. I would love to have a whole month to myself with no other obligations… such a dream. I would probably stick to reading before bed. That’s how I get my reading time in now. I would take some of my favourite movies for down time. But I bet I could write an entire book in a month under those circumstances.

Talk about your book.

Memoirs of a Girl Who Loves God took me two years to write because of… well, life. My inspiration for the story was based on someone very close to me. She was very open and honest about her experiences and I drew all I could from her.

Was it your intention to write a story with a message or a moral?

I didn’t think of it that way in the beginning. Not in a literal sense. I never said, ‘I’m going to write this to give hope to those who have self-harmed or…’  But my moral in life… real-life, is all about showing God’s love. So if I decide to write a book, I certainly want God’s love built-in.

What do you want readers to think or feel after reading one of your books?

I want people to read it and have a new or renewed sense of how much God loves them. My characters are not far fetched. They’re out there. They exist in someone and when we are looking for them, we’ll find them.

What influenced your decision to self-publish?

Research. I did a ton of research and reading. I’m still so new that there are some things I can’t make heads or tails of. But it appears that traditional publishers don’t operate the way they used to. The market has changed drastically with ebooks and self-publishing so publishers have been forced to change with it. I wasn’t sure I wanted to invest another couple of years in finding an agent and then publisher. I’m a pretty good people person and as for marketing, I will try a hundred things that don’t work to find the one thing that does. So in the end I decided to self-publish and I think I’m glad I did.

There are people who believe that traditional publishing is on the ropes, that self-publishing is the future. Do you agree? Why?

I can see why people say that. While self-publishing has put a huge dent in the market, I still think traditional publishers have their place. Who doesn’t want to be signed by a ‘big dog’ and get an advance… have someone else take care of all your editing needs and pour money into promoting you?

What do you find to be the greatest advantage of self-publishing?

Having 100% control over your own success or failure. That can be good and bad. You have to be a go-getter. You can’t just write it and put any humdrum cover on it and hope people are going to buy it. You have to take it seriously, make it the best it can be, and then market forever. If you don’t plan market your own book, you may want to consider trying the traditional way.

What do you think self-published authors might be missing out on?

Less stress. Don’t get me wrong; I know that authors who are signed with traditional publishers have their own stress. Deadlines for one thing. But! A traditional publisher handles a lot of expenses and if you received a decent advance, you’re not working a 9-to-5. That alone is a dreamy thought.

As a self-published author who also works a day job, you won’t get an argument from me. With the number of self-published books increasing by such a huge rate, it is really difficult for authors to make their books stand out. How do you go about this?

Yes. I’ll do it anyway. I will try those hundred things. As long as I’m trying I know God will open the right doors at the right time.

Who designed your book cover/s?

A lot of people, lol. I took the photo for it and commissioned Zei Llamas to create the cover. Much of the idea for design came from my spouse. He’s quite creative in ways I’m not and I’m so glad. Zei really brought the ideas to life. Victorine Lieske gave the title/font a facelift and Carey Bradshaw polished it until it shined.

 

 

Do you believe that self-published authors can produce books as high-quality as the traditional published? If so, how do you think we should go about that?

 

Absolutely. It’s harder for us, but it’s important to do it right. If you’re writing anything you ever plan or hope to have published then you need to network. It’s time consuming but it’s a must. You have to make connections and meet people who know all the things you don’t. Find groups on Facebook to be a part of and get on twitter and meet people. Talk to them. Make real friends. You never know what can come from it. I’m in a group on Facebook called Clean Indie Reads (CIR) and they are the best! I can’t rave about them enough. I wouldn’t be this far without the folks I’ve met in that one group.

 

 

Do you write specifically for a Christian audience? Why or why not?

 

No, definitely not. I write what I love and I happen to love God so that will come through.

 

What are some of the special challenges of being a Christian writer?

There’s no special challenge for me. I’ve never looked at it like that. I don’t write to appease any group of people. I love God, but I’m not into religious titles. I don’t mean that sound rude, but I want to be real. I don’t hide the fact I love God but at the same time, mainstream Christianity isn’t something I cater to.

 

 

We’re in total agreement on that subject. Christians are told to be “in the world, but not of it.” As a Christian writer, how do you write to conform to that scripture?

 

Anyone who really loves God and is working on his or her relationship with God is already on the right path. You will be set apart by being real and loving and kind.

 

 

Do you feel that Christian writers are expected to conform to some standards that are perhaps not realistic to the world?

 

Yes, probably so. But we have to push against that. I’m not writing to be in a Christian writing club of some sort. If you can’t be real about what you write and what you believe, then you shouldn’t bother.

 

 

Do you feel that Christian writers should focus on writing really great stories or on presenting the gospel clearly in everything they write? Or is it possible to do both?

I think if a writer is a Christian, they should write like any other writer. They should listen to their heart and focus on their craft and write amazing stories. If you write a story and you’re focused on external expectations, then you’re writing will not be true to you.

 

If you write speculative fiction, do you find that the Christian reader community is accepting of that genre?

I haven’t written it, but I’m not saying I never will.

Some will be accepting and some won’t. But who cares? The only one you’ll ever have to really answer to is God. Mainstream Christianity has got to stop finding ways to point fingers. If all believers would just focus on God, we’d be so much better off. If someone writes something I don’t like, I don’t read it. It’s that simple.

 

Where can readers find you and your books?

http://www.amazon.com/Memoirs-Girl-Who-Loves-God-ebook/dp/B0100W0G7O/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1434749113&sr=1-1&keywords=Memoirs+of+a+Girl+Who+Loves+God

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/552520

Fourteen-year-old Krystal finds herself flailing when her parents separate. Unable to cope, she begins cutting. No one knows.

At her new school, she makes one single friend, Em, who invites her to volunteer at the local homeless shelter. There, Krystal discovers fellow misfits, including Brandon, a boy from her school. How can Krystal start a new life when the scars of her old one will never fully heal?

What readers are saying about “Memoirs of a Girl Who Loves God”

“This is a heartwarming story that was written from the heart. It brought real meaning to me––of some things in life––that never made sense before. It made me smile, and also brought tears to my eyes. This is a must read. I wasn’t able to put it down once I started.”

“A compelling story that will have readers touched and unable to put it down. I’ve read it more than once and each and every time it brings tears to my eyes.”

“WOW!  It is not an easy book to read, but it is a powerful book. Heartbreaking, heartwarming, challenging and uplifting.”

Connect with C.L. Wells

Facebook – facebook.com/Author.CLWELLS

Twitter – twitter.com/clwellsauthor

Website – theclwells.com

Blog – http://theclwells.com/ramblings

Newsletter – http://theclwells.com/newsletter

e-Mail – clwells.author@gmail.com

Additional contact information for C.L. Wells

7 responses to “Interview with CL Wells

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  1. Thanks again for having me, Lela!

    Like

  2. Reblogged this on Daermad Cycle.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wonderful interview! Your book sounds amazing and well worth the work you put into it, Carisa.

    Like

  4. Nice interview and sounds like nice book, I recently been reading Christian fiction and books in order to help with increasing the faith

    Like

    • That a good plan, Bunnet. 🙂 I do the same thing. With movies, books, and music. Not exclusively, but it’s always good to feed the soul. Third Day is one of my favorite groups, by the way. Love them.

      Like

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