C.J. Peterson

What inspired you to write and publish your first book?
THE NIGHTMARE KING (SAHDOW OF DRAGONS 1) started as a short story I wrote for my niece and nephew.  As I wrote, it somehow turned into a book!  I was in graduate school at the time.  That was a season in my life when I had the freedom to explore my craft.
Years later, my younger sister, C.J. Peterson, practically kicked me in the rear to get the manuscript back out and do a lot of re-writing.  That effort led to my first published novel.


If you had to choose, who is your favorite author? Why? What strikes you about their work?
Tough question… :) 
Since I write for middle-grade / YA readers, I’ll say that Matt Myklusch is someone who’s writing I really enjoy for that grade-level reader.  His first book, JACK BLANK – AN ACCIDENTAL HERO, is so clever and exciting.  If you have a reluctant reader (especially a boy), get this book for them!
For grownups, I’m currently addicted to Taylor Anderson’s DESTROYERMEN books.  They are really well written and super, super, fun!


What is your current work-in-progress? Can you share a little with us?
Currently, I’m finishing up a short story to enter in a contest with the Texas Association of Authors (txauthors.com).  It deals with the consequences of war and dictatorial government.  It’s a bit more serious than my work I do for younger readers.
I’m also working on the sequels to THE NIGHTMARE KING (SHADOW OF DRAGONS 1).  If I don’t hurry up, I have some readers that are going to start breaking my limbs.  Ha!


What is the hardest part of writing your books? Have you ever learned anything in your writing? What was it?
The hardest part of writing, for me, is making time to write.  I think that’s a universal challenge for most writers.  Most of us juggle different responsibilities, but we must carve out that time and guard it jealously.
I was listening to a great podcast a few weeks ago that stressed - If you call yourself a writer, then you must write every day.  That was a bit convicting for me.  So, I’m rearranging my schedule a bit and being more disciplined.


Tell us something about yourself? Perhaps something most people don’t know about you?
I’ve been a video producer for almost 30 years.  The company I am with (camptv.net) makes videos for summer camps.  It’s been a very fun way to make a living!  The technology has changed dramatically over the years, but telling a good story doesn’t change. 
I’m the “pet parent” to a mob of cats and dogs.  LOL!  I’m not a pet hoarder, they just somehow ended up at my house.  Believe me the two dogs and four cats, live better than I do!  I know who works for whom… 


Is there a message in your work that you want your readers to grasp?
I hope that readers (especially kids) see that hope, love, inner strength are things that anyone can have.  Life can throw big challenges at all of us.  It’s the way we respond that is the true test of our character.

Do you have a certain verse or quote that inspires you? Why?
“I run in the paths of your commands, for you have set my heart free.”  Psalm 119: 32
As a Christian I recognize that my only real freedom is in Christ.  The “rules” the Bible has aren’t to keep humanity down, they are to keep us from hurting ourselves. 


Do you use an outline, or do you just write? (aka: Are you a planner or a pantser?)
I’m a bit of both a pantster and a planner.  I tend to do character studies of each of my main characters and a very broad outline of where I want the plot to go.  However, characters will take you places where you didn’t know you would go.  I’m always open to “wandering” especially in the first draft.  You can always tighten things up when you start editing.

Is there anything you would change regarding your publishing experience? Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
THE NIGHTMARE KING (SHADOW OF DRAGONS 1) is my first published book.  All of this is still quite new to me!  However, I’ve learned a few things over the years with my video work that has come in handy with book publishing.
- WRITE!  Let yourself be creative and make tons of mistakes in your first draft.  THEN, start editing once you’ve pounded out that first draft.  You will shut down your creative side if you start editing too soon.
- YOU are your own brand.  You must present yourself to your readers/potential readers in a consistent manor that reflects who you are, and what type of work you are doing. 
- In keeping your brand consistent, don’t mix your personal social media with your author page, twitter account, etc.  You can always share your “author stuff” on your personal page, but not the other way around.
- Get a website!!!  Even if you’re not a techie person, there are some fairly easy template based websites you can get.  If that’s still too much for your technical skills, get a techie friend, grandkid, or someone to help you.
- Look for smaller venues in your town to promote your work.  Local libraries, book fairs, farmers markets, flea markets, are often free, or low cost, to have a booth or table.
- CONNECT WITH OTHER AUTHORS!  Find a supportive Facebook group, or local writers group to join.  We are all in this together!  Be willing to learn from other writers.  We all had to start somewhere.  Chances are, the questions you have, someone has had them, too!
- Hire a professional editor.  It’s worth the investment.  You can get recommendations from other authors.  That’s how I found the editor I worked with.
- Take that fear that sometimes rises up in your gut and let it motivate you.  We creative types are the dreamers.  We see the world in a different way.  It can be scary, but spit in the face of fear and turn it into an adventure!


Is there anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?
Thank you!  Your positive response to my first book has been extremely encouraging!  I will try to write faster… ha!


About: LM MANN

SUMMARY:

​THE NIGHTMARE KING

​(Shadow of Dragons 1)

Andy and his sister, Leigh, must journey to The Land of Dreams to rescue Maggie from the dungeon of the Nightmare King.

Along their quest they are helped by creatures of myth and legend - Shadow, a huge black dragon; Sir Isaac, a fiercely beautiful eagle; Prince Reginald, a mongoose of royal birth. With the help of their new friends, the children face their fears, conquer new challenges, and mount a daring rescue.


Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Nightmare-King-Shadow-Dragons-ebook/dp/B00WT9G80Q/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1499615398&sr=8-1&keywords=LM+Mann


BookLocker: http://booklocker.com/books/7961.html


Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-nightmare-king-shadow-of-dragons-1


​iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/nightmare-king-shadow-dragons/id990329408


Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-nightmare-king-lm-mann/1121685442


​Texas Authors: http://books.txauthors.com/product-p/lmnk.htm

​Author

Featured Author Interview for July/August:

L.M. Mann

LM Mann (Lydia) is a native Texan, a graduate of the University of North Texas, and a passionate college football fan. (Go Navy!)  She has spent many years doing creative video work, photography, and writing.  She supports the military, loves critters, and loves working with kids.