Interview with Tye Shirelle

When did you realize that you wanted to become a writer?
I have been writing for as long as I can remember. In high school I wrote a lot of poetry. I was an English major in college, so I wrote a lot of short stories and research papers for four years. I thought about writing a novel about eleven years ago, but I could never settle on a plot or find the time with two babies. I would create bedtime stories for my children that became longer and longer. Then about six months ago, I made the decision to really make an effort. Four months later, The War Within was completed.
What made you create (your book)? How did it come to you?
The idea for my book came to me one night after reading a lesbian romance novel. I said to my wife that all the lesbian books I seem to find have to do with two people finding love or fighting societal or family forces to get the love, but I really didn't find any that had to do with maintaining love and the ups and downs that go with it. The best I could find was stories ending in marriage. Without opening her eyes my wife said, "Well write one." That's really what I get for waking her up to share that enlightening thought. I know a lot of married couples with families but I haven't seen it portrayed in any books I've read. I stuck the mental illness aspect in to help spread awareness about the disorder.
What's your favorite thing to do when you're not writing?
My favorite thing to do when I am not writing is photography. I used to do it professionally, part-time, but now I do it just for fun. I shot and designed the cover of The War Within.
What is your writing process?
I plan, plan, plan. I list the characters and their personalities. I write down the main points of the story. I draw the entire plot out. I even assign a minimum word count to each plot element. Then I take a deep breath and start writing.
What are your thoughts on book series?
I love book series. When you get so enthralled in a story that you just don't want it to end, it is always a joy to find out that it doesn't. A lot of the books I read are trilogies but I have read series that contain four and five books and would mark in my calendar along with an alarm the release date for the next book in the series.
If you don’t already have one, do you have plans to have a book trailer and what are your thoughts on them overall?
I think that book trailers are must these days. I used to show them to my students when it was time to switch novels or go to the book fair. They motivated my students to read a lot of books. I do have a book trailer for The War Within. It's the slide show kind with words and music, not the mini movie kind because I created it myself.
Do you work with an editor? If so, how much input do they have?
I do not work with an editor. Well, let me say that I have not worked with a professional editor. Given that I was an English major and English teacher, I felt that I was more than equipped to do most of the editing myself. However, since I ended up editing more times than I care to count because my eyes only saw what my brain was saying the story was, I will probably end up using one with the next book.
How do you structure your day when you write?
Actually, I have a very simplistic structure. I write during the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. while my children are at school because once they get home there is no use in trying to concentrate. I also occasionally write in the middle of the night when I can't sleep. Hence all the typos in my late night/ early morning social media postings.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
The only strategy I have for finding anything related to promoting a book is social media. Networking on social media and in groups similar to my genre has been very helpful.
What advice would you give to your younger self today?
The advice I would give to my younger self would be to not wait to follow her dreams. I would tell her that when she would write her short stories in college and she had to force herself to end them before they became too long, she should just let it flow. Keep writing until there was nothing left to write because you do not have to graduate from college before you can become a published author.
How much dialogue do you have with your readers and do they influence your writing?
I have as much dialogue as my readers prefer. I answer questions daily on good reads and periodically I devote entire days to my readers by being available online for about twelve hours. No, my readers don't influence my writing. If I let that happen then it won't be my writing and I trust that my writing is what my readers want to read.
When did you first start writing?
I have been writing for as long as I can remember. In high school I wrote a lot of poetry. I was an English major in college, so I wrote a lot of short stories and research papers for four years.
Published 2014-10-02.
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