This was an interview conducted by Undiscovered Publishing blogger Thomas Neil with author of Blood Drops, WB Welch.
Thomas: Tell me about yourself? And what made you want to be a writer?
Welch: I’ve always been one to live for the experience: I tried an array of activities as a child, changed my major like ten times in college, and I’ve dipped my toe into several different professions. I love travel, and I love trying new foods.
I’m not sure what made me want to be a writer. I’ve idealized the thought of being a novelist since I was around seven, and writing has always been a past time I enjoy. English classes were some of my favorite, and I took electives like British Literature and Shakespeare in college.
I’ve just always enjoyed well put together words.
Thomas: What attracted you to the particular genre you are involved in? And do you stick with it consistently or do you change it up?
Welch: I write whatever comes to me at the time. While I do have an affinity for horror, I don’t attempt to stick to one genre. I have one completed and one in-progress novel, and they are both literary thrillers, and my very first novella was a young adult story.
Thomas: What is your writing process like? And how important is research to you when writing a book?
Welch: For novels, I always find individuals to represent my main character, then print them and tack them to my bulletin board for the duration of the project. That gives me something to stare at other than the wall whenever I am stuck or contemplating. I also hand write my initial ideas and notes from my research. This is an important aspect to me. I feel like I will always do that. It helps me focus on what’s important.
I always have something to research. For this latest novel, it’s set in a place where I have never been, and authenticity is important, so I researched the crap out of the setting. My main character is also in a profession I’ve never come near, so that took a bit of looking into. I had to learn a lot about some plants and illnesses, but I don’t want to spoil any surprises, so I won’t say too much. If I had to put a number on it, I would say I spend a good solid month or two on finding and looking through research topics whenever I am starting something big.
Thomas: Have you ever experienced “Writer’s Block”? And do you have any tips you would like to share to overcome it?
Welch: I don’t know how bad it has to be to qualify as writer’s block. I’ve been stuck on an MS for a week or two, but that’s usually when I am trying to force my storyline in a direction it doesn’t want to go. I take a step back, reread all my original notes and comb over the research again, then spend some time in thought. Usually, the aha moment will come to me when I am cleaning or cooking or something.
Thomas: So tell me about what you’ve written, and has it been published?
Welch: Blood Drops is my horror anthology that came out at the end of last year. There are eighteen tales included, and they range from ‘extremely plausible’ to ‘kind of out there.’ Amongst the tales, there is one that introduces us to Dahmer’s apprentice, one that shows us the power of a Louisiana voodoo queen, one that shows us the danger of even leaving the kids alone for five minutes, and one that gives us a whole new reason to stay off the grass.
Thomas: If you’ve had your writing published, how has it been received?
Welch: Like everything else, some people love it and some people don’t care for it much but, overall, it’s been extremely well received. Blood Drops has been reviewed over fifty times on Amazon now, and a similar number of people have left feedback on Goodreads. I have a couple of public events coming up soon, so I hope to continue spreading the word.
Thomas: Is there anything you’d change or do differently now that it is published?
Welch: I would slow down and plan it out a little better. I decided to publish last minute and found myself frantic trying to pull some of the final details together.
Thomas: Speaking of publishing, how did you go about getting your book(s) published, and what was your publishing journey like?
Welch: I self-published on Amazon. While the formatting can be a headache, for the most part, publishing on Amazon is pretty user-friendly by today’s standards, so it wasn’t bad. The hardest part, to me, is trying to figure out how to promote yourself. I still feel like I’m stumbling along with that aspect.
Thomas: Where can potential fans find your book(s)?
Welch: The Kindle and Paperback editions are available on Amazon. Paperback editions can also be ordered through most local bookstores and libraries, since Blood Drops has been included in expanded distribution. If you’re ever having a hard time finding me, I have a website, wbwelch.com.
Thomas: Did you do your own artwork for the book cover etc, and if not how did you go about getting it done?
Welch: I did do my own artwork.
Thomas: Have you taken on board anything from a review (good or bad) that you’ve later incorporated into your writing?
Welch: Not any one thing in particular, but I pay attention to all of the feedback I receive. Every time someone speaks, there is a potential opportunity to learn, and I try not to pass up new learning opportunities. That being said, art is subjective. Not all feedback will take your story where you’re trying to go. It’s important to be humble enough to take advice while being strong-minded enough to be able to say no when necessary.
Thomas: Are you working on something new at the moment? And can you tell us anything about your current projects?
Welch: I am working on a zombie novella with Tory hunter that will hopefully be out sooner rather than later. I am also querying one novel, writing another, and am in the planning stage of Blood Drops II.
Thomas: How active are you on social media? And if you have social media as an author/for your books then please share links?
Welch: Active enough to use fifty percent of my city’s wifi allowances. I joke, but I am on Twitter a lot. I am also on Instagram and Facebook.
Thomas: Tell me about some writers you really like and/or admire?
Welch: I really enjoy reading many authors. However, the first few to come to mind were Stephen King, Margaret Atwood, and Patricia Highsmith.
Thomas: What advice would you like to give writers who are struggling with their first novels?
Welch: Don’t. Stop.
The road to publishing is long and daunting. I think the biggest thing that would have helped me early on is knowing how long it can take to see a book published, even after it has been written. You get the first draft done, you are proud and excited and waving your creation around to all your friends…and that’s wonderful, you should be proud. That being said, once you have the initial draft in place, there are many more things that have to happen for your book to get around.
If you’re self-publishing, edits upon edits upon edits await you. So does book formatting, cover design, blurb creation, promotions, etc., etc. If you are going to be querying agents or indie publishers, you have edits upon edits upon edits to face as well, but you also have to write and edit your query and synopsis, and once you have queried an agent/publisher, then comes the excruciating wait. Neither path is easy. Both require patience and determination and grit. But I am here to tell you, the years of dedication will have all been worth it when things finally start to happen.
Thomas: And let’s end with something a little different…Which of your character(s) would you take with you to spend the night in a haunted house? Why?
Welch: Hahahahaha! Really? None of them…I don’t trust any of them. I’m kidding; let me see. If I could choose any one of them and guarantee they would cause me no harm on our haunted adventure, I would want to take the monologue from Laveau. I can’t say too much without spoiling some of the surprise, but let’s just say I trust him to have a handle on things.