Interview with Vanessa Blackwood

How did you develop your writing talents?
I got a Young Author's award in first grade, and it made me realize I was good at telling stories. This happened again in sixth grade. Around the same time, I got a poem published, though I don't remember where. In high school I wrote for the school paper, and girls were always saying how they liked my poems. I was encouraged to pick a more logical, as opposed to creative, career path, and that made me fight harder to do what I love. I took every creative writing class I could from then on.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I think I chose being an indi author because big publishing houses have profit as their core value. So they have little pockets all writers have to fit in in order to get published. I wanted to define myself my own way.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smash Words, unlike many online platforms, allowed me to publish under my pen name. They also made paypal an option for payment, which I prefer.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I've never been good at expressing how I feel out loud. I can put my understanding of the world, my thoughts about life, and my imagination to paper in ways that I cold never do aloud. And it is unrestricted. I can say anything, become anything, create anything.
What do your fans mean to you?
I hope my fans find personal meaning in my writing. I also hope they are emotionally stirred by what I say, to laughter or tears, to inspiration or comfort, to fear or anger. I want to wake people up.
What are you working on next?
I hope to release a short story next. But why would I give too many details now? Mystery is good. I will say that there are five sisters with the last name of Redgrave.
Who are your favorite authors?
Stephen King, Nora Roberts, Anne Rice, James Patterson, Cody McFadyen, Lisa Gardener
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
That's hard. I deal with depression and anxiety, and these can be debilitating. I would have to say the people I call my "heart family," who bring me a sense of hope and comfort.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Working on bead jewelry, or playing with my cats, Sable and Lucia.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Mostly I am on Audible. I cruise the recommendations.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes, vaguely. It was about horses who could time travel and liked to steel cookies for the little girl on the farm while on their travels.
What is your writing process?
For fiction, I come up with a character, plan the first scene, then plot the book from there.
For nonfiction: I choose a topic and outline my argument.
For Poetry: the images just flow.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I don't particularly. What I do remember is that rather than putting me in front of the TV as a child, my mother would put a book on tape into the tape player and I would stretch out on the floor and listen for hours, eventually sleeping. I fall asleep to an audio book most nights to this day, and that started when I was maybe three.
How do you approach cover design?
I hate it. I go for minimal and attractive. It's a pain when your vision is not so good. But I'm stubborn enough to try.
Published 2015-11-02.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.