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Greetings! My name is Chloe Flanagan a blogger, bookworm, and indie author of the new novel, Forward to What Lies Ahead. Ask me anything!

Chloe Flanagan
Nov 18, 2017

I've always loved books and writing, but I didn't start writing seriously until the last two years. First, I became a technical writer. While doing that, I started a blog with faith-based reflections, poetry, and interviews. Finally, about four months ago, I started writing my first novel. I'm excited to say that it came out on Amazon this week. 

I'm thrilled to chat about blogging, creative process, books, or anything else.

You can connect with me on Facebook or Twitter

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Conversation (53)

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Do you hope your book will eventuate into a movie?

Nov 19, 9:59PM EST0

Truthfully, I hadn’t really thought about that. I feel like much of the emotional impact of this book is conveyed through the characters thoughts and reactions. That’s tough to translate to something visual. That being said, it does have elements of suspense and drama that could potentially make for an interesting movie, so I wouldn’t rule it out completely. 

Nov 20, 1:13AM EST0

What tools do you apply to be more effective in what you do?

Nov 19, 1:42AM EST0

I try to employ a lot of writing best practices. There are many great resources online to help improve writing such as Writer’s Digest, writerswrite.com, and the NaNoWriMo blog. That being said, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the helpful tips, so I try to digest just a couple of articles or lists per day. 

Nov 19, 2:17AM EST0
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 What do you find most challenging about blogging about your topic?

Nov 18, 11:41AM EST0

My blog mostly involves reflections that I try to make personal, but relatable. That can be therapeutic, but it also makes me feel a bit vulnerable. But I’ve found that people respond the most to genuine expressions of my struggles and journey. I think we’re all interesting when we are truthful about ourselves; that’s when we connect with one another. 

Nov 18, 11:57AM EST0

What satisfaction does writing give you?

Nov 18, 10:04AM EST0

I get satisfaction from capturing complex thoughts and feelings in my writing and by finding that they resonate with the reader.

Nov 18, 10:25AM EST0

What gives you inspiration for your book(s)?

Nov 18, 7:15AM EST0

I found inspiration in stories and ideas from stories. The first idea that inspired my novel was the idea of desire for revenge, its implications, and its consequences. These themes come up in many classic books and, while they aren’t the chief focus in my book, they do figure prominently.

Nov 18, 8:57AM EST0

What book that you have read has most influenced your life?

Nov 18, 5:30AM EST0

The Bible has been influential to me on a personal level. As a writer, I was influenced by Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, which I read when I was nine. I wanted to be like the main character, who is a writer. 

Nov 18, 8:51AM EST0

What has been the best compliment?

Nov 17, 10:20PM EST0

I had several readers tell me the story is emotionally intense. That was important to me, because I wanted the novel to feel real. 

Nov 17, 10:55PM EST0

How do you manage negative criticism, challenges, and downfalls?

Nov 17, 10:01PM EST0

At each stage of the journey, I’ve tried to focus on one clear piece of encouragement. For example, when I was finishing the manuscript, I was feeling discouraged about how disorganized and incomplete ot still felt. It made me wonder if I really knew what I was doing. But then I had a friend who is a writer and former reporter offer to edit my work when I finished it.  The fact that a writer I respect was willing to help validated my efforts. That encouragement helped me press ahead and make my work better even before the editing stage.

Nov 17, 10:49PM EST0

What is the toughest criticism about your work did receive?

Nov 17, 3:58PM EST0

So far, the toughest criticism has been from some of my beta readers who reviewed my manuscript prior to my releasing it. The feedback was in-depth and insightful, but not harsh. They found a couple of weaknesses in my plot that I was able to address before I published. 

Nov 17, 9:58PM EST0

Do you have plans to go on book tours?

Nov 17, 1:27PM EST0

I hadn’t really planned on that for this first effort, but am considering it after I publish more books. I’m currently working on the sequel to this novel and hope to do a third one also. 

Nov 17, 9:53PM EST0

How do you think your writing can impact your life as a whole?

Nov 17, 12:30PM EST0

I’ve had a greater sense of purpose in my life since I began writing in earnest these last couple of years. I think it’s something I’ve always been meant to do. Finding a purpose (or one of them) gives clarity to other aspects of life as well.

Nov 17, 9:50PM EST0

Who is the most famous person you have ever met?

Nov 17, 12:21PM EST0

I met actor Gianni Russo (The Godfather) when I was going to college in New York City. He was at the San Gennaro Feast street festival in Little Italy. 

Nov 17, 9:38PM EST0

Does the environment you are in affect your writing piece? 

Nov 17, 12:08PM EST0

As far as living space goes, I find quiet always helps me build any kind of scene I want. As far as location, I  found with this book, that I was heavily influenced by places I used to live. For example, a large part of the story takes place in New York City, which is where I lived for a couple of years. As I wrote, I found myself revisiting all the places I loved I’m my mind.

Nov 17, 6:31PM EST1

What would the main character in your book have to say about you?

Nov 17, 10:37AM EST0

What an interesting question! I think she’d say that she respects my passion for what I do, but that I should stay focused and be more analytical when pursuing goals. She is a practical, nononsense kind of person, so focus is import to her.

Nov 17, 12:30PM EST0

What is your measure of success?

Nov 17, 9:02AM EST0

For writing, my measure of success is about thoughts and feelings. If I can write something—be it fiction or nonfiction—that expresses what’s going on in my mind and heart, and that makes a reader think and feel also, I consider it to be successful.

Nov 17, 12:21PM EST1

Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story?

Nov 17, 8:50AM EST0

That’s definitely a difficult balance to achieve and, I think my book does that. During a few drafts, though, I actually felt like the story was overtaking the characters. In my sequel novel, I’m making the characters a bit more distinct.

Nov 17, 11:55AM EST0

What has your experience been like as a new Indie Author? Bruises, Highlights, and lessons?

Nov 17, 8:45AM EST0

It’s been a really great experience overall. At first, it felt like a lonely process (which writing can be anyway, I suppose) because there was no agent or house directing me. But, as I did research, I found groups and friends online and in person to help. It’s nice to have people to support you and to whom you can offer support. 

Being an indie author requires a lot of time, quite a bit of which is spent doing non-writing things, but I think it’s worth it to have the freedom to drive your own goals.

Nov 17, 11:45AM EST0

What is your favorite part of the book?

Nov 17, 8:08AM EST0

There is a part where Regina, the main character, is really struggling emotionally and trying to fight her problems all by herself and a friend reaches out, listens, then shows her that she doesn’t have to do it all herself. I think we all need that sometimes.

Nov 17, 10:58AM EST0

Do you plan on writing more books in the future?

Nov 17, 3:30AM EST0

Yes, I plan on it. Currently, I am working on a sequel to Forward to What Lies Ahead, the novel I just released. A little later down the road, I plan on doing some historical fiction novels set in the early 1900s. I’m still on the research phase of that effort, though. 

Nov 17, 6:45AM EST0

What best advice can you share to budding writings who trying to venture into selling their books also?

Nov 17, 1:54AM EST0

Selling your own books (or anything, really) requires an investment. It might mean investing money by paying a company to market your work for you. On the other hand, it might mean investing time. There are many free or inexpensive ways to market your work, you just have to put in the time to find them. One way is to find readers and bloggers that read the types of books you write and offer them a copy of your book in exchange for a review. With any luck, they’ll post a review on Amazon or Goodreads and even tell their friends or followers. 

Nov 17, 6:42AM EST0

Do you have a day job in addition to being a writer? If so, what do you do during the day?

Nov 17, 12:04AM EST0

During the day, I am a technical writer for an engineering firm. This involves writing and editing technical documents. I feel very blessed to be able to do some type of writing at my day job. Plus, my coworkers are awesome. 

Nov 17, 12:42AM EST0

Pen or typewriter or computer?

Nov 16, 9:32PM EST0

For fiction, I tend to use a computer (or occasionally my smart phone) almost exclusively.  For my blog, which usually consists of reflections, I start putting my thoughts down with pen and paper. Pen and paper works better for me when I’m meditating. 

Nov 16, 10:29PM EST0

Which was the one story you read that had a lasting impression on you?

Nov 15, 9:55AM EST0

I first read Little Women by Louisa May Alcott when I was nine years old. I related to the main character, Jo. That’s partly what made me want to write one day.

Nov 16, 10:40PM EST0

What is your favorite book?

Nov 15, 12:37AM EST0

There are so many that I almost have to break it down by genre! HaHa. My favorites include: Emma by Jane Austen (classic), Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie (mystery), With Every Letter by Sarah Sundin (Christian Fiction), and Captain Blood by Rafael Sabatini (adventure), and the Competition by Marcia Clark (crime fiction).

Nov 16, 10:13PM EST0
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