Interview: Judith Graves

I was surfing around the itnerwebs recently and came across Judith Graves and her Crossroads Blog Tour. What a clever idea. Writers are always asking me about how to promote their work, and here’s an original idea on how to do it.

I know you’ll enjoy learning more about Judith Graves.

 

I love the idea of the Crossroads Blog Tour! So often, authors are struggling to get press or attention for their books. This is a unique way to amp up the typical blog tour. How did the idea for this begin? How does the tour work?

The origin of Crossroads is a direct result of my life as a musician. In addition to writing, I’ve been a singer/songwriter performing in bands since high school. When it came to establish some web presence before the publication of my first book, I quickly discovered I hated blogging and promoting by myself. As with being the member of a band, I needed other brains to feed off of and share the highs and lows of writing life. I wanted to support other authors, to build a community, to connect with readers.

I started co-writing blogs and featuring authors – celebrating the success of others was almost more fun than celebrating my own. Almost. 😉

With my release date set, I joined the Class of 2K10, a group of debut YA and MG fiction authors, further expanding my efforts to cross-promote with other authors, as well as fostering long-term working relationships.

The Crossroads Blog Tour was a natural culmination of all these factors. Crossroads takes place in the weeks before Halloween and is a fusion of best-selling young adult paranormal authors and wicked new talents with a core group of bloggers. Each author must have a new title coming out that year – so while there are repeat appearances, these writers always have something new to offer readers. The tour is interactive with hunt and find challenges for giveaways, and ends with a live chat involving as many of the authors as possible.

I see you’ve done this event for two years now. Will it continue?

Yes! I’m already scouting for participants.

The research questions are a fun way to get participation. Have you received any feedback from readers about this aspect of the blog tour?

The research aspect is optional, but the time investment isn’t overwhelming – and the swag is a bonus! I’m always amazed that followers do indeed seek out ALL the answers and several have emailed to say the “hunt” is the best part of the tour.

As a purely personal note, I love that you consider yourself a “writer, musician, and geek.” I can relate! Tell us how your poetry helped you make the leap from music to novels.

Ah, a fellow geek! We do have a bond, don’t we? I don’t write poetry per say, but I do write song lyrics, short stories, flash fiction, novels – it’s all storytelling. Some stories just take longer to tell. No matter what I write lyrics or prose – the words have a rhythm – a pacing – a mood I’m trying to convey. There’s one major difference between commercial fiction and poetry/lyrics…you can be quirky, biting, heartbreaking, hip and cool – but you can’t be vague.

Care to link to a favorite blog post you’ve written?

Speaking of co-writing blogs, I write about monsters with the great Dawn Dalton at the Most-Wanted Monsters Blog. Here’s a fun post from April which combines our attempts to blend an A to Z Challenge with Poetry Month: http://mostwantedmonsters.blogspot.ca/2012/04/w-is-for-werewolf.html

What is your process for writing music?  (Laptop, notebook, morning hours, last thing at night..)  Is this process different than for other types of writing you may do?

Writing music is far more spontaneous than my fiction process. Sure, my songs have structure – chorus, pre-chorus, verse, bridge, etc, however, I’d say I let myself go more with lyrics. I’m free to fall in love with the way a phrase or word sounds or feels rather than having to focus on what it means.

I’m a plotter with my fiction. I’ll spend hours storyboarding to break the plot in the most dramatic / engaging way, world building, developing characters and character cards – and I do all this before I write a single word.

Besides blog tours, what are some of the other ways you get the word out about your books?

Booktrailers, blog hops, featuring authors on my blog, Twitter, Facebook, author visits, writing workshops….the list is endless and ever changing.

Switching gears to books in general… What’s the most interesting book you’ve ever read? And what are you reading now?

Any of the folklore or mythology texts I’ve read for research – I luvs to research. ;0 I just went on a book buying binge. Here are the titles I’m about to dig into:

Steampunk!: An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories – edited by Kelly Link and Gavin J. Grant

Worldshaker by Richard Harland

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

Siren by Tricia Rayburn

 

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Read. Watch movies. Karaoke. Walk my three crazy labs. Hang out with my husband. Travel. Get lost. Discover something new. Which is all fodder for…writing.

Where can we catch up with you online?

Judithgraves.com / strangewaysnovels.com

Twitter: @judithgraves / @AStrangeways

Facebook: facebook.com/judithgraveswrites

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