Blakely’s Friday Interview with PJ Fiala

Please give a warm welcome to PJ Fiala, author of Second ChancesDog Days of Summer. Thank you for taking the time to visit with us. It’s been my pleasure to get to know you better.

Patti FialaWhat project are you currently working on?
I am currently engrossed in the Rolling Thunder Series. Dog Days of Summer, the first book just came out August 1st. Rydin the Storm Out, is the second book in the series and is just now coming back from beta readers. The third and fourth books are both in varying levels of completion.

Do you use test readers? If so, how many?
Absolutely. I run my books through 2-3 rounds of beta readers. I have about 10 people that are so kind as to help me with my stories. I will send out to the first round of about 3-4. After I get their comments back, I make corrections/revisions and then send the book out again to 3-4 more beta readers. After I make those revisions I send it out for the final read. Beta readers are invaluable and it’s difficult to find those that will be honest and pick your story apart.

What advice do you have for writer’s just starting out?
Oh dear. Well, this writing game isn’t what you think it is. From the outside looking in, it looks like you write your stories and clap your hands when you are finished. It isn’t that way at all, especially if you are self-publishing. You start by writing your story, but you need to have beta readers to critique your work. You need to listen and look at what they are saying and why. You need to not get defensive about it, which is hard. Then you either need to design a cover or find a designer. You need to have your final story edited, this is a MUST and where so many self-published authors go wrong. Then, you need to market, market, market. Let’s face it, the best book in the world won’t get into the hands of your readers if they don’t know you’re out there. So, my advice, research, make connections, stick with it, it’s worth it in the end.

Do you outline your stories or just go with the flow?
I go with the flow. If I get an inspiration and won’t have time to write, I will make notes, but that’s the extent of my outline.

What does your writing space look like?
I have a nice big desk and a dedicated office to write in. But, depending on my moods, sometimes I will go and lay on the living room floor or sit in the kitchen. A change of scenery sometimes changes the flow of words onto paper (computer actually, but you know what I mean).

What has been your best moment as a writer?
My best moment as a writer is when a reader contacts me and tells me how much they loved my stories. That seems to make all the negative go away.

What challenges have you faced in your writing career?
Well I mentioned the marketing. I just get boggled with all of the different sites there are out there and which ones work the best. I spend hours a day on marketing and I’m still not sure what works the best.

Is there a message in your book(s) that you want readers to grasp?
Family and love. Even though this Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Series is about bikers, these bikers are 99%ers. They are heavily invested in family and love each other. Not all bikers are bad. Also, the characters in my stories are veterans. They promote other veterans in words and deeds.

Was one of your characters more challenging to write than another?
Yes, one of my characters in Dog Days is named LuAnn. LuAnn is a bitch. She’s snide, and nasty and she causes trouble where she can. I dislike drama, so writing a character that creates it constantly was a challenge. Luckily, I know someone like her so I had a model. (Never thought I would say that!)

Is there a character that you enjoyed writing more than any of the others?
I loved writing Ryder. He’s shy, and hates it. He’s a good person and a nice man. I loved helping him find his one true love.

Do you base your characters on people you know?
Absolutely. Almost all of my characters are based on someone I know. That’s the best method, truth is usually stranger than fiction.

How much time a day do you spend on social media?
I would say about 4-5 hours, seriously. It’s a ton of time, but there is just so much out there to be doing. I’m still not sure I’m doing it right.

What do you do to stay sane as a writer?
I get on my bike and ride. Getting away from the computer helps and riding to new places and meeting new people helps as well. I also have three grandchildren. Spending time with them helps keep me grounded and happy.

I have found the writer’s community to be very supportive and welcoming. Please share writers that you recommend for us to check out.

  1. Ryleigh Rhodes
  2. Lacey Silks
  3. JC Valentine

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You can find PJ:

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