Indie Author Spotlight #13: William Roundy

Indie Author SpotlightWelcome to week thirteen (!) of the Indie Author Spotlight. I originally changed this feature to run every other week so I could pop in and write about other things, but instead all my extra brainpower and time has pretty much gone to figuring out how to homeschool my kids (which should give me lots to write about! We’re going to read A LOT. and learn to read.) So, I’m especially thankful that so many authors have been interested in participating in this spotlight because it keeps me from totally neglecting the blog . . . AND I love that I’m meeting so many new-to-me authors. Today’s guest is new-to-everyone, because he has yet to publish. I’m really excited to introduce you all to William Roundy, and you can be sure I’ll let you all know when his first book releases! 


Welcome, William! Tell us about what genres you write in.

I work in a variety of genres. I don’t really love the idea of getting locked into one and would rather tell each story as it needs to be told. My primary work in progress is a horror, but I am also working on a literary fiction as well as a science fiction. I haven’t dabbled too much in fantasy, and don’t have any immediate plans to do so, but only time will tell on that front. I enjoy the freedom of simply being able to sit down and write, without having to shoe-horn myself into only one genre.

That’s one of the beautiful things about self-publishing! You don’t have to choose a genre if you don’t want to. I know you haven’t published yet, but you sound like you write prolifically. Have you been writing long?

I’ve been writing creatively ever since I was about six years old and I was telling stories orally even before that. I’ve always loved creative new worlds and people to inhabit them. All that said, I started writing seriously two years ago, when I was twenty-one.

So clearly writing has been a part of your entire life. Why do you continue to write?

As many authors have said in the past, and as many will continue to say in the future, I feel a compulsion to write. For me, it doesn’t feel like I have much of a choice. When I take breaks, or life gets in the way, and I’m not writing frequently, I feel like I’m sort of missing a part of myself. It’s the reason I tell people I’ll continue to write even if I never make a dime off it – I love it just that much.

Tell us a little about your writing process!

As much as I sometimes wish I was a better plotter, I am most definitely a pantser. I really love the act of sitting down with an idea, and letting it lead me where it wants to go. I think it was Neil Gaiman who said it was a lot like driving in the fog with a headlight out; you can only see a few feet ahead and only sort of see where you’re going. I really like that analogy and I probably say it more than I should. There is something, in my opinion, that is really beautiful about letting your story and your characters come to
life and walk you through their world. In some ways, it feels almost like I am only an observer, and I just happen to record things as they happen. That isn’t to say that I never outline, I do, but they are always loose maps which are subject to change.

So you mentioned your current WIP is horror. What can you tell us about it?

Right now I am working on drafting my debut horror novel, “Those Who Remain.” When the residents of a small town in Massachusetts begin to go missing without explanation, a curfew is set in place – no one can travel alone, and never after dark. After a twelve-year old’s mother joins the growing list of missing persons, he decides it is his responsibility to look for her – after all, it is his fault that she is gone.

I’ve seen you post some teasers on Twitter about that! It sounds intriguing! Do you read as widely as you write, and do you have any favorite books? 

I don’t really have a favorite genre to read. I love suspense, but I think suspense can be translated into a wide range of genres. My favorite book, however, is “I am Legend” by Richard Matheson. It was the first book that gripped me so much I couldn’t put it down. I finished it in one day when I was about twelve, and I’ve read it twice since then. Another, more recent read that quickly found its way to my favorites list is “The Ocean at the End of the Lane” by Neil Gaiman. I just think it’s a tremendously fun read. A few others are “Crime and Punishment,” “The Old Man and the Sea,” and “In Cold Blood.”

Eek. “In Cold Blood” remains to this day the primary reason hitchhikers terrify me. I read it as a teenager and had to sleep with the lights on for a good long time after reading it. It still creeps me out to think about it. When you’re not reading or writing, what do you do for fun?

I enjoy rock climbing and hiking, drawing (though I’m not very good at it these days), and I am a real sucker for true crime shows.

I’d love to hear more about your climbing sometime! I used to climb, though I haven’t been since before my third child was born (FOUR YEARS AGO). I have dreams of climbing with my husband again . . . But I digress. Please tell us what your goals, your dreams, are as a writer.

Ultimately my author dream is just to write stories that, hopefully, people enjoy. As I said, I’d do it for free if I couldn’t do it for money. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a dream of doing this full-time though. I think a lot of writers have a craving for that, and I guess that’s what I’m trying to make happen. At the same time, though, I try to keep a realistic outlook on things and more than anything I try to enjoy the process.

Is there anything else you’d like readers to know about you?

I think this is probably the hardest question here. I’m still in that in-between phase in my writing career where I don’t feel terribly interesting. I suppose the biggest thing I’d want my readers to know is just that I value them. I realize that sounds cliché and generic, but it really is true. I write because I love to write, but I also really love to share that writing with others. Right now, obviously no one has a completed manuscript of mine, but a lot of people have snippets that I’ve sent them for beta-reading. I’m immensely grateful for those people and all they’ve done to help me on this journey. Putting out work for the first time can be (is) frightening, nerve-wracking, and sometimes downright depressing. But it’s always insanely exciting. I mean, it’s always a nice feeling when someone enjoys what you have made. The end goal of writing is to get your work into the hands of readers; to share your creation with them. As a writer, without the reader, I am nothing.

Follow William Roundy on Twitter (@william_roundy_) for first-hand knowledge of his writing exploits. If you’re not on Twitter, rest assured that I’ll alert you when his current WIP is published.


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Indie Author Spotlight #12: Meet Katrina Hokule’a Ariel

Indie Author SpotlightThank you for coming back to read more of the Indie Author Spotlight. Today I’m featuring my twelfth author, Katrina Ariel, mom, yogi, musician, writer, designer, etc. I read and loved Katrina’s romance novel (which I might even call women’s fiction), we chat about kids, life, and writing on Twitter, and I’ve even watched her yoga videos! Plus, I get to call her a client! It’s been a privilege to get to know Katrina and support her writing, and I hope your lives will be enriched by hearing her story and reading her books! 


Katrina, thank you for participating in the Indie Author Spotlight! Can you talk to us a little about what genres you write in? I’ve sort of hinted at your ability to mix them . . .

I do tend to hop genres and blend them together. My published books are non-fiction and contemporary romance, but most of my unpublished manuscripts are fantasy, sci-fi, and speculative fiction. Whatever I’m writing, there’s always soul searching and magic, even if it’s subtle, and a romantic sub-plot or two.

What motivates you to write? 

Writing gives me a way to express myself that’s my own. It reminds me who I am. And it gives me freedom to adventure anywhere and everywhere in my imagination, which I think is one of life’s greatest joys.

Your adventuring and soul searching have definitely brought great joy to my life, as I thought Wild Horse Heart was a wonderful read. Though my marriage is (thankfully) nothing like Ria’s, I identified with her search for self, with her slow accumulation of confidence and strength, with her role as a mother. Please tell us about Wild Horse Heart and your other published work, Yoga for Dragon Riders.

Wild Horse Heart is a romantic suspense novel set in the film industry that straddles the line between romance and women’s fiction. The action takes place in Hollywood and on location at a horse ranch in Canada, where the plot twines between that of the film they’re making and behind-the-scenes struggles. Available as paperback and eBook:

Yoga for Dragon Riders is a comprehensive, unorthodox yoga manual written for fantasy lovers. It covers a wide range of practices, with meditation, breathwork, mantra, sacred texts, and philosophic offerings from nature and beyond. It’s beautifully illustrated, with hundreds of photos and detailed descriptions of yoga poses and alignment, as well as sequences that can be modified to suit a home practice. The paperback version is recommended, but an eBook can work if you need to travel light.

Yoga for Dragon Riders sound so interesting! I’m going to add it to my wish-list (hint hint, family and friends!). Earlier you mentioned that writing is a way to express yourself; has this always been the case? 

I’ve always been a daydreamer. Poetry got me through my teen years, and songwriting got me through my twenties. I started writing full-length manuscripts with a laughable first attempt at a screenplay in 2010, and learned a lot from that. In 2012 I published my yoga manual, at the height of my teaching career. And then I had kids. I’ve written all nine of my novels since being pregnant with twins six years ago.

Wait, you’ve written NINE novels since becoming a parent? How do you manage to pull that off?!

Balancing writing and parenting is a constant challenge. I’m lucky to have a spouse who has worked a job to support us all, so I could be with my kids. Due to the pandemic, neither of us are working, so that’s a thing, but I count my blessings every day that we live in Canada, where we have good support systems. It’s nice to have this time together as a family, but sometimes I feel guilty not spending time with my kids when I want to write.

I’ve always been a night owl, and tend to stay up obscenely late to get my words in, which is often when I do my best writing. Of course, the danger of repeated late nights is turning into Zombie Mommy and slipping into a degrading mental space, so I make myself go to bed earlier than my creative drive wants some nights. My saving grace is the fact that my twins are five now, and able to look after themselves when they wake up, so I can sleep in. Hallelujah!

Mom-guilt is a real struggle, I totally understand; same goes for me with my editing and blogging. When you do get that late-night writing time, what new things are you working on?

So many projects. I have a series I’m hoping to self-publish in the next year or so—a fantasy romance saga set in the Highlands of Scotland, the rugged Teton mountains, the edge of the Nordic sea, and the Realm of the Gods. I was planning to get it ready for release in 2020, but I’ve pushed myself to meet unreasonable publishing deadlines before, and the stress isn’t worth it. I’ve been writing this series for six years. I’m going to take my time to make it every bit as special a story as it deserves.

I’m also in the process of revising a handful of manuscripts with the intention of querying and pursuing traditional publishing. I have an epic fantasy with a slow-burn romance that would appeal to fans of Kristin Britain’s Green Rider and Leigh Bardugo’s King of Scars. Next in line is a sci-fi with elements of Rogue One, Doctor Strange, and Moana. And on the back burner, scratching at my mind with dragon claws, is a future fantasy with mage-warriors and mythical creatures that has the grit of The Arrow and the atmosphere of Pirates of the Caribbean.

I’ve decided to publish my fantasy and sci-fi books under the pen name Leia Talon. I chose the name Leia because it’s the last part of my middle name, Hokule’a, and as a tribute to the rebel princess who’s been my idol since I was two. Talon invokes an element of nature, which is super important to me, and adds a bit of swagger I’m hoping gives me confidence when I’m doing author appearances. 😉

You really do cross genres! I’m particularly intrigued by how you’ve worked Moana into your sci-fi, but I will undoubtedly aim to read anything you or Leia Talon (awesome name!) publish! Do you read as widely as you write? 

I read lots of children’s books, as I spend more time reading to my kids than I get reading by myself. Some children’s books that I love: I Am Enough by Grace Byers, I’m in Charge of Celebrations by Byrd Baylor, and Of Thee I Sing by Barak Obama.

For myself, I tend to read fantasy more than anything, preferably with a romantic sub-plot. Some semi-recent personal favorites are Caraval by Stephanie Garber, Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Claire, and Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine. Classics that will always be on my shelf include Guy Gavriel Kay’s The Fionavar Tapestry, Christopher Moore’s Lamb, the Song of the Lioness series by Tamora Pierce, and the stories that shaped me as a child: The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis.

As far as indie authors go, I highly recommend A Thousand Years to Wait by L. Ryan Storms. My current read is Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse.

I’m amazed that I have not read any of the books you listed, except for the Chronicles of Narnia. I now have a lot to add to my TBR – and I’ll definitely check out the kids books you recommended! I’m always looking for different things to read the kids! Now, I’m going to ask — when you’re not writing, reading to your kids, or doing yoga, what do you do (besides sleep, ha!)?

I love hiking. Being in the quiet of a forest is my medicine. Paddle boarding on a peaceful lake is another treat when I find the time. I try to garden, which I mostly enjoy, but I don’t really know what I’m doing.

I’m a musician, and love to sing, especially while hiking—Disney-princess style. My guitars and piano are largely ignored as I focus on writing, but I play when I can. Music feeds the soul.

Another of my passions is rescue animals. I advocate for local rescues and donate locally and internationally as I can. A portion of proceeds from the sales of Wild Horse Heart goes to a wild Mustang sanctuary that also offers horse therapy programs to help those recovering from trauma. I’ll just drop their website here in case anyone’s feeling generous. Even small donations help:

Wow – so much! What the forest does for you, the ocean does for me, though I’ve probably spent more time in the forest than by the ocean in the past many years. Also, I could definitely get behind some Disney-princess style singing in the outdoors! You seem to bring a lot of creativity and passion to whatever you do, and that is evident in what I’ve seen of your writing. What would it look like for you if you were to achieve your dream as a writer? 

The ultimate dream would be to have a slew of books that inspire readers, and for them to be successful enough to allow me to write for a living. I’d love to have one or more of my stories be turned into a film or series, even better if I can work behind the scenes on set! But really, just making enough that I could support my family and drop generous donations to charities I care about would rock my world. These goals seem like a reach right now, so I remind myself that the most important thing is for people to connect with my books, and find something in the words that makes their souls soar.

If that’s the case, you’ve accomplished what’s most important. Is there anything else you’d like for readers to know about you? 

I turned 42 this year, and I’ve been contemplating the questions of Life, the Universe, and Everything. My answers are: humility, kindness, and nature.

Please help Katrina reach the rest of her author dream by picking up copies of her books. At the very least, connect with her online for some positiveness and light in your life!

Wild Horse Heart:

Yoga for Dragon Riders:



YouTube (music and yoga videos):



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Indie Author Spotlight #11: Character Development – A Guest Post by Victoria Jayne

Indie Author SpotlightToday’s Indie Author Spotlight takes a different format than the interviews I’ve been featuring here. I’m excited to share today a guest post from indie author Victoria Jayne, in which she shares with us some of her thoughts on character development. It’s fascinating to me to learn how different authors approach getting to know their characters, and to see the effort put into developing convincing characters. As a reader and an editor, I appreciate Victoria’s comments about really knowing your characters, even though every detail of their backstories won’t make it into the book. I learned about some interesting character development resources, and I hope you will, too!


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Victoria Jayne writes paranormal romance – the third book in her Prophecy Trilogy releases in September! – and is currently working on a contemporary romance series. Growing up on the Jersey Shore (like me!), Victoria was an insatiable reader. She adored getting lost in the worlds others created for her. Writers from R.L. Stein and S.E. Hinton to Anne Rice and Elisabeth Naughton spawned her love affair with both the romance genre and the world of the supernatural.

Victoria started writing as a hobby while still in high school. Now her days are spent writing and enjoying time with her husband and her two children. She still lives in New Jersey. She is a New Jersey Devils Hockey fan, an avid SecondLife Roleplayer, and a Netflix binge-watcher.

On Character Development, by Victoria Jayne:

Where do your characters come from? Are your characters based off people you know? How do you create characters? If you’re a writer and have informed people of this, I haven’t a doubt in my mind you’ve gotten these questions, or some variant of them. Character creation is the true magic of being a storyteller. Conjuring someone in my mind and then conveying that person so well they become living and breathing in the minds of another person is the reason I write. It’s an indescribable high that I chase with each story I write.

I’m going to lift the veil slightly by describing how I come up with my characters. By sharing how I come up with characters I hope it helps all you writers out there struggling to either develop or add depth to your own. For me, character comes before the story. Someone takes hold of my mind, commands my attention, and starts sharing things about themselves with me. As I learn more about this fictional person, a plot develops and thus a story is born. See, magic!

I’m a very visual person. When I have the urge to write but nothing is coming to me, I scroll through some visual outlets and wait until someone grabs me. I follow a few photographers on Facebook and Instagram; Michael Stokes posts some stunning photos that have tickled my brain. I’ve also used Shutterstock once I have a basic idea of what sort of genre I’m looking to write in. While planning The Witch of the Prophecy I utilized Pinterest a lot. My character boards were filled with images of the particular people who inspired my characters, and also of cultures. Divina Bihari, the main character of this book, is a witch. In my mind, she was of Romani descent. I dug into this a bit and my Pinterest board had images of Romani women, their cultural clothing, and the wooden vardos they were known to reside in.

Another way I got into the mindset of Divina, to learn how she thinks, and what motivates her was by searching story starters. Some of the story starters available are quotes, things people say. I was drawn to snarky comments that held a bit of sass. had a lot of writing prompts that shaped Divina.

Another strategy I utilized when shaping characters is filling out character development sheets. You can find dozens of these sheets by simply googling “character development sheets.” I believe these are commonly used for roleplay games such as Dungeons and Dragons. One that I utilize is available on . It’s from their blog post dated March 19, 2017 titled: Character Interview – A Worksheet for Beginners.

The final thing I do when developing my characters is participate in a Twitter hashtag conversation. #WriterlyWIPChat is a beautiful resource that allows you to think about your character in ways that will shape them. They ask you questions about your character like their favorite color, favorite band, song, etc. Some of the questions get a bit more personal like “who will your character kiss?” Not only is this fun and gets you involved in the writing community out there, it also helps you to get closer to your characters. Collecting details about my characters makes them more real to me. When I learn about their quirks, discovering who doesn’t take the time to match their socks versus who meticulous pairs and rolls their socks in their dresser, can shape how I convey this character in the story. Every detail you list or learn about your character doesn’t make it into the story. There are some things that just don’t fit into the story. Though, sometimes, things that you never thought of will find their way in there. By adding depth to your characters, it allows your readers to connect with not only the character, but their plight, and the story you are telling. Dynamic characters will never let you down. They will engage your reader for sure!

Find Victoria Jayne:                                                                                       


Twitter and Instagram: @AuthorVictoriaJ




Find Victoria’s books at Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Amazon, Google Play, and iBooks.


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