Hi Lillian, thanks for taking some time to chat with us. Please tell us a little about yourself and your great success.
I am an Author, Book Reviewer, Poet, Marketing Consultant, and Mentor to teen writers. I believe in giving back to the Writer's community. I live in Ann Arbor, MI. I have written articles for The Plain Dealer (Cleveland, OH), TempDigest (global Temporary Agency's Magazine) and Cleveland Employment Weekly in addition to writing a black comedy (Play on Abortion Rights). I was chosen as a finalist from the Artistic Literary Resources in Redondo Beach, CA.
In 1996, I wrote one non-fiction book, Teenagers! A Bewildered Parent's Guide, under my legal name, Elizabeth Caldwell. The book is recommended reading of Parson's School of Design for the professors before their students return to school. I have conducted several seminars at Cuyahoga Joint Vocational School and Lakeland Community College, Lakeland and Cleveland, OH.
In 2003, I wrote my first alternate history book, Sacred Honor. It’s set against the early years of The American Revolution, 1774 to 1776, and against the bitter turmoil of a dying British Empire.
In 2004, I created, writes and distributes two newsletters: This-n-that which provides writing information, articles, insights, tips and contests for the beginner writer. AuthorB-Known provides promotion, branding, and marketing information to guest authors and subscribers.
I became an Internet Radio Show Host in June, 2004 when I joined the Artist First World Radio Network. My program was called, Thru-the-Cracks-of-Time. I had garnered many devoted, loyal listeners (in the first 12 weeks of the show. Thru-the-Cracks-of-Time was renamed, The Lillian Cauldwell Hour Show in March, 2005.
In July 2005, I left Artist First World Radio Network, and joined Global Talk Radio on the Internet. The Lillian Cauldwell Show broadcasts live every Tuesday evening from 7 to 8 p.m. Eastern Standard Time where I interview authors with tears and laughter of truth.
2. How long have you been a writer? What made you put that first story/poem down on paper?
I seriously started writing in 1990. I wrote two three-act plays dealing with abortion, God, and the Devil. From there, I progressed to writing short stories, poetry, and entering contests. I’ve been writing for fifteen years, if my math is correct.
I was diagnosed with a chronic illness, Systemic Lupus. I knew I could never go back to conventional work. I had been told when I was a child, that I told marvelous stories. I started writing those stories down instead of telling them.
3. What types of stories/poems do you write?
I write science fiction, alternate history, speculative fiction, historical, paranormal, psychic, mysteries, fantasy, urban poetry, and Over 50 poetry. What I call “Realistic Poetry.”
4. What do your friends/family think about your writing? Are they supportive?
My husband is very supportive and urges me onwards and upwards. My friends encourage me to keep on trucking, no matter what.
My son had a change of heart recently. In the beginning, he wanted me to ‘write’ for myself, then put it away in a drawer or closet and begin again. Now, he wants me to write the best possible story I can, and send it out to the major publishers. Don’t ask me why he changed his mind. I can’t explain it, and I don’t ask him, either.
5. For you, what is most frustrating about writing? Most rewarding?
Frustrating? Rejection Letters and waiting for rejection letters.
Numerous edits. Numerous drafts.
Finding time to write and keep on writing.
Keep believing in yourself
Rewarding? Your Editor telling you, you’ve done well.
Your husband agreeing with your point-of-view.
Finding research material
Receiving an acceptance letter from an agent/publishing company.
Having people tell you their appreciation of your writing.
Having people buy your book, and send you a thank you letter.
6. Do you read much? What kinds of books inspire you to write-if any? Favorite authors?
I do read a lot. An author must keep reading. I read historical, science fiction, children’s, basically whatever I feel I need to study to write my next book.
Nonfiction books inspire me to write, as well as newspaper articles, television news stories, and from listening to conversations around me at restaurants, airports, airplanes, buses, and malls.
Favorite authors: T.H. White, Asimov, Bradbury, Robert Graves, Nora Roberts, Ellis Peters, Anne Perry, Tolkien, Mary Renault, Alexander Dumas, Charles Dickens, Daphne Du Maurier, to name a few.
7.Do you take most of your ideas from life? Or from your imagination? A mix? (Do you hate when people ask this?)
It’s a mix – some from life and some from my imagination. I find articles in newspapers or what if’s in nonfiction books, when the author is giving facts and present an opinion about a particular event or person.
8. Do I have days when words don’t flow? What do I do?
There are days when I can’t write to save my life – or anyone else’s for that matter. I do other things. I shop at discount stores. Always puts my mind in a better mood. I take a walk around our pond and property (all three acres of it). I exercise and let my mind wander. My subconscious always comes up with plots and what if’s. I bake. My husband enjoys those days very much. Or, I go to the library and take out a ton of books and read. That helps because it relieves my mind of frustration and anxiety and allows me to forget that I must get something down on the computer.
9. Do you have a ‘golden rule’ of writing that almost always works for you?
Write when you feel good about yourself, otherwise, hurts, frustrations, and petty annoyances prevent you from writing a great tale!
10. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given as a writer? What’s the worst?
Best advice: Read! Read! Read!
Worst advice: Don’t bother sending in a manuscript. It’s a crap shoot, and you’ll never get published.
11. You’ll be teaching two classes for the first semester of the LSS writing school: “Before and After Promotion and Marketing of Book’s Release” and “Blending Historical Information with Fiction.” Can you tell us a little about them?
Before and After Book Promotion and Marketing is a course for authors whose books are accepted by publishers and they’re waiting for their book’s release. Within that time period, usually between nine to twelve months, there are a lot of marketing and promotion activities that an author can do to brand themselves and their books to reviewers, the media, and the general public. I provide a year’s worth of techniques and information for the author to do while waiting for their book to come out and remain available to their commercial audience.
Blending History with Fiction is a course for authors or writers who want to use historical events or characters in their fiction without the audience guessing which is fiction and which is truth. In my alternate history novel, Sacred Honor, one of the rare compliments I received was that the book reviewer couldn’t tell where my history and fiction started or ended. In the course, I recommend that the authors/writers read an historical book, then mark out the areas in which history and fiction are blended together. I ask the authors/writers to choose which part of history they plan to use, and then do their research into that period. History is more than dates, famous people, and battles. It’s a combination of society, culture, politics, and science. I suggest to the authors/writers to make sure they place their fictionalized events or characters in their proper place when they use history; otherwise their tale won’t be believable.
12. What do you find rewarding about teaching? Have you ever taught in a forum situation before?
I like giving information to other people so they can learn from what I’ve already learned. I hope to save them time and energy when they do their first marketing campaign or writing that first historical fiction novel so they can concentrate and focus on their writing or on their promotion without worrying whether they’re doing it right.
This is my first time teaching in an online forum. I have taught seminars, workshops, and at science fiction/fantasy conventions.
13. How long have you been teaching? What’s most rewarding for you about being a teacher?
I’ve been teaching for about eight years. Most rewarding for me is when one of my pupils succeeds, and writes to thank me for helping them achieve their goals.
14. Did we forget anything? What would you like to add? Any upcoming publications or links for our readers? Current projects we should watch for?
A. I’m the host for a live internet talk radio program, The Lillian Cauldwell Show, which airs every Tuesday evening from 7 to 8 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. I interview authors, writers, musicians, playwrights, screenwriters, freelance writers, nonfiction, and any genre, or mixed genre, who want to promote, market, and brand themselves to the media, fans, and the commercial public. If interested on appearing on The Lillian Cauldwell Show, please call 734-332-4940 or e-mail email@example.com. The audience is encouraged to call-in and ask questions of the guest. B. I’m the host of a new show, Cooking with Lillian Cauldwell starting November 4, Friday nights, from 8 to 9 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. It’s a show on cooking, health, fitness, diets, fads, recipes, food quotes, food tips, food jokes, audience participation and call-ins, and anything else that hits my fancy. Anyone associated with cooking can appear as a guest on the show. If interested on appearing, Cooking with Lillian Cauldwell, please call 734-332-4940 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
C. Upcoming Project: The Alpha Mysteries – The Lost Gold of Chennault Plantation, a paranormal, psychic mystery for ‘tweens’ and older. Three children experience paranormal activity and are told to look for, and find the lost Confederate gold of Jefferson Davis.
D. The AuthorB-Known E-zine, which provides information and material for authors/writers/ who want to stay current in the marketing and promotional market. For a subscription, please call 734-332-4940 or e-mail email@example.com.
E. I’m a Mentor with a Mentee program sponsored by Hope Clark. My mentee is a young adult who is working on a novel. She’s home-schooled and right now is living in Germany and attending school there.
F. On November 29th, I'll be interviewed on The Book Authority with Brian Judd. The interview will be on Channel 5 in the Hartford, CT area which includes many cities too numerous to list. He'll ask the standard routine questions about my becoming an author, my advice to beginning authors, and why I like to write. It's a thirty minute interview. Check your local listings as to what time The Book Authority starts.