Monday, August 12, 2013

Interview: Chelsea Falin-Hammond

Author of the Week

Meet Chelsea Falin-Hammond, author of The Benson Family Chronicles and The Growing Roots series.

All Rights Reserved to Chelsea Falin-Hammond

What made you want to be an author?

Well, I've always really wanted to be an author. I was making up stories as a toddler, and I began putting those stories down on paper as soon as I knew how. It was just one of those things that I always knew I was destined to do. I have to say I feel very lucky to have always known what I wanted to do with my life- be an author, get married, and be a momma. My dreams are simple.

Who has inspired you the most?

It would definitely be my momma who really made me want to be an author. She was always writing, despite never publishing. She wrote short stories for my sister and I, poems, and always kept a journal. She was a huge inspiration for me. She always believed in anything I wanted to do, and I just think it's a shame that she never got to see me publish. My momma passed away in 2008, less than a year before I published my first book.

Can you tell us about some of your earlier days of writing?

My earlier days of writing? Hmm...well, I was 16 when I first began writing my debut novel, A Severing of Ties. I slaved away for hours at a time in my momma's office slash library. I used to sneak up past my bedtime and hide out, getting in some extra writing time. When that wasn't possible, I wrote the story down on paper while hiding under my covers in my bedroom with a flashlight. I would later type what I wrote down on the computer. I also got frustrated a lot easier on that first book. It felt as though I would never finish it, and when I finally did, I didn't even publish it! The book was finished a whole two years before I ever published it, but that first book will always be rather special to me because it was the one which proved to me I was able to make my dreams come true.

How has your life considerably changed since you've been published?

Not in any big way, actually. I'm still a rather humble person with a huge personality (maybe a bit too  big). I do make a small bit more money then I once did, and I have more confidence in my writing abilities, but otherwise, life is the same as it always has been.

You've self-published 12 works so far. Amazing! How do you juggle everything?

Well, I added ten more hours to each day and grew four extra arms! Okay, maybe not, but that would definitely be helpful. Haha. I just make sure to balance everything. I'm not just an author, I'm also a freelance writer, a mother, a wife, and a million other things. I just try to make sure I balance everything out and use every second of the day to be as productive as I could possibly be. Some days I'm amazed at how much I can get done, but there are other days when I wish I had written more, or spent some more time with my family, or gotten in an extra ten minute workout! In the end, however, everything tends to work out.

How does your poetry writing differ from your novel writing?

Well, my poetry is something that comes straight out of my soul. I know that might sound a bit corny, but my poetry is literally a piece of me. My novels are creations my mind dreams up at some point, and although I put a bit of my own self or my own life into each story, it's just a story. I love my characters, and I feel as though they truly come to life, but my poetry, well, it's just so much more personal.

What has been the best experience so far on your journey as an author?

Hmmm... well, honestly, I'm excited with all of my small successes. I love hearing from readers, and I get excited for every new like on Facebook, and every new follower on Tweeter or my blog. Truthfully though, I think that all of the fantastic people I've met on this journey is the best thing about this whole experience. I've made a lot of lovely friends out of fellow authors and the  bloggers who support us. A few author friends stick out from the rest as truly fantastic people who have helped me so much. A.D. Trosper, Victoria Sawyer, Dennis Manor, Margaret Taylor, and Hope Welsh are probably the ones I have to thank the most. They are all truly fantastic authors who have helped me with every little thing I've asked, and I definitely think I can contribute at least a minimal amount of my success to their supportive efforts.

On a side note, I should mention that I always get this giddy excitement when I tell a friend or family member, “Oh, I've just published twelve titles.” I try to play it cool, you know, but inside I'm doing back flips. haha.

Can you give us some insight on any upcoming projects?

I would love to! I actually have several things in progress right now. My next novel is a new age romance title entitled 'I Found My Heart In West Virginia.' My daddy is from West Virginia, and I fell in love with the state long ago, but a recent trip to visit cousins I had yet to meet before reinstated that deep love for the state and the people who live there. The story revolves around a young, unlikely couple, and there are a few steamy scenes, but mostly, it's a very sweet, realistic book. It will be coming out sometime during the fall of this year. I'm about ten thousand words from writing 'the end,' and I'm so excited about it! I'm actually writing it with a co-author, who happens to be my dear sister-in-law, Cory Hammond.

I've been compiling a second edition of my own poetry as well, but that's not one of those things you can rush. I'm about 100 poems from publishing, but I've been doing a lot of poetry here of late, so I imagine it will be ready to publish by spring of 2014.

The third installment of the 'Growing Roots' series is also in progress. I had written about a quarter of the book prior to beginning my romantic title, and I will be going back to it once I finish. I'm imagining that one, in which things finally start coming together for Willie (my main character) will be out right around spring of 2014 as well.

What advice can you give to any upcoming authors?

My best advice is to write. Just write.  If you don't write, you will never be able to publish. Don't doubt yourself either. Doubt is an author's worst enemy, and trust me when I say I have experienced it first hand. Oh, and the most important thing of all is to take everything with a grain of salt. Every person has a different taste as to what they like or don't like. Bad reviews can actually be good for you! I still get a little hurt when I receive a nasty review- you know, the ones where they don't have a single nice thing to say?- but I've learned to live with and grow with it. Stay true to your writing style, and you will eventually find your fan base!

Thanks so much, Chelsea for interviewing with us! Don't forget to follow her on one of her many outlets and check out the teasers below!


Release Date: Fall 2013
Please note that this work is still in rough draft form. Any typos or spelling errors will be fixed in the final draft. Work is subject to change. Scene takes place in family court, and is told through Cheyenne/Shy's point of view.

Shaking her head, the judge looked up from her papers. “Mr. Carter, is this all of the paperwork you have for me?”

“Yes ma'am.” He answered. I wonder where he dug out those manners from because I certainly had never seen them.

“Mrs. Akers, you also?”

“Yes ma'am.” I answered.

She nodded her head. “Okay, this case is simple. I'm throwing out both of your claims and starting from scratch. “ Both of us cringed. Neither of us knew whether this would be a good thing or a bad thing and for who. “Here's the deal: I am extremely surprised that you are paying only $600 a month for the care of four children, Mr. Carter. This is absolutely unacceptable.”

“But, your honor...” He began to protest.

“No, hush. This is  ridiculous. Do you really think $400 a month would cover the expenses? No. Now, Mrs. Akers. Here is what I am going to tell you. I can grant you the $800 a month today, or you can go back and refile your claim without a set amount. Simply refile with all of this information and say that you want the claim disputed. You can get much, much more than what you are currently receiving.” My heart was thumping at what she was saying, but I couldn't help but wonder how much longer that would leave me in the hole, without any form of support besides the money I currently made. I voiced my question. The judge took a deep breath. “Well, that depends. I see you live in West Virginia now.  Since you're here in New York now, I suggest you go to the department of children and families and refile. It takes four to six weeks to process, and then they will set you a court date within four weeks of the time they decide to allow your case to go through. You may be without child support for two months, but I think it would be well worth it to you.”

“Your honor, if you don't mind me askin', how much money do you believe I could receive?”

She snorted. “I wouldn't be surprised if you got at least $500-$600 every two weeks, plus,of course, you'll get a lump back payment.”

“That's ridiculous!” David cried out. “Her and her kids aren't worth $600 every paycheck!”

David was going to curse his outburst, and while I felt so bad for my poor children, I enjoyed hearing what the judge's next words were. “Mr. Carter, it is people like you that make me sick to my stomach. These are not her children. She did not immaculately conceive them all by herself. You provided the sperm and I'm assuming not much else. If you hadn't dragged her to this court today, demanding you pay even lessthan the ridiculously low amount you already pay, she probably wouldn't have ever filed for more. I know her type, and she is going to do just fine for her kids all by herself. I hope she wrings you're sorry ass dry in court, and I pray I get the case so I can have the pleasure of helping her do it.”

“You can't talk to me like that!” David sputtered, his face turning red and the veins in his neck bulging.

“I just did. Case dismissed.” The judge, who was now my hero, banged her mallet and whisked herself out of the court. I couldn't help but smile as I made my way out of the court room. It had been a private hearing, so Jace was waiting just outside of the doors for me. Although there were chairs available for him to sit in, he had chosen to lean up against the wall.

“How'd it go?” He asked me anxiously as soon as I came out of the court room holding my little folder tight against my chest.

“Good, with a tiny bit of bad news.” I looked up and saw David storming towards us. “But I'll tell you all about it later.”

“You had better not take this thing back to the courts, do you hear me?” David sputtered. His face was still bright red. He wasn't taking this very well.

“No, sorry, I didn't hear you. I was thinking about going down to the department of children and families.” I said, careful not to raise my voice. I was going to rise above him and his petty yelling. I no longer disliked him...I loathed the very thought of him.

“You do and you'll regret it! Trust me one this one!” He threatened.

I was about to reply with a smart remark when Jace stepped up. “Why don't you just back off before I put you in the ground?” His voice was soft, but it was lined with steel. He meant what he said.

“You can't threaten me! I'll have you thrown in jail you backwards hillbilly!” David never did know when to keep his mouth shut.

Jace only laughed. “That's hypocritical,  ain't it fella? I seem to remember you doin' some threatenin' yourself just a second ago.”

“!” David stuttered. He had always let his anger get the best of him, and his tongue couldn't keep up with his foul mind. He stormed off without a backwards glance, leaving his threats behind him. Truth be told, he was probably scared of my cousin. I know I would have been if I were in his shoes.

Jace and I looked at one other and we burst out laughing. David looked so funny fuming and fussing like a toddler, and I was ecstatic about the way things had gone today. “C'mon, let's go Jace.” I said.

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