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 We're Jeni Chappelle and Melissa Koberlein. We're on a mission to explore the world of publishing with some amazing women.

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Indie Chicks Season 3 podcast for websit

EPISODE 10, Season 4 - The Writer-Artist Connection

In episode 10, Jeni and Melissa talk to author Sarah Neville about the writer-artist connection.

To watch the video, click the image below:

Or listen to the audio podcast here: EPISODE 10 - The Writer-Artist Connection

Welcome to the Indie Chicks show! I’m Melissa Koberlein, an author and professor of publishing and she’s Jeni Chappelle, a freelance novel editor.

Indie Chicks celebrates and supports independent women in publishing. We’re a place for writers at all stages of the publishing process. So, whether you’re on the traditional route to publication or self-publishing, you’ve come to the right place for advice.

On this episode:

We’re talking about the writer-artist connection

End with an author tip of the week

This week we’re joined by Sarah Neville. Sarah has a B.S. is Art education and she’s a Certified K-12 teacher. She’s a fantasy writer from Pennsylvania. She is also an artist and has been painting and creating jewelry her whole life. That creative spirit led her to writing. She is also a graduate of my publishing program at NCC.

Here's the Q&A

How have you incorporated your artistic skills with your writing?

When I first began drafting my novel I started drawing up the world maps, cities and the characters to help conceptualize my story. I’m a very visual person and when I see something I feel like I understand it better. It makes it real. I think this helps me with my fantasy writing because most of what I come up with is from my imagination. It doesn’t actually exist yet so I have to bring it into existence. Once I do, I feel like my story has more life to it because I can see it so clearly in my mind and it translates seamlessly into writing.

What is it about the fantasy genre that draws you in?

It’s the complete freedom and control to construct whatever world or character that I want. I am a plotter by nature and I like to puzzle out how the “world laws” work and affect the story.

Fantasy is the medium where I can blend my overactive imagination within the realm of reason and plausibility. Don’t get me wrong, I love my history and nonfiction for research and development, but I don’t want to write about it. Put me in another world, time or space and I’m happy.

The other captivating thing I find about fantasy is that so many of us want to escape the reality of our own world into another. That’s why people are drawn into games like Skyrim or these epic fantasies like Star Wars and Game of Thrones. We want to be in that world, not our own. We want to have special abilities and to be flying around in space on an adventure, not working the 9-5. I know that’s what I would want from life so I created a world where all that is possible.

Why are maps a thing in fantasy? What’s that all about?

Maps are the intellectual foundation to any fiction or fantasy work. If I’m reading in that genre and there is a map in the book I’m instantly more engaged in the story. It shows me that the author created all these places and spaces for a reason. My own mind starts wondering about these lands and how the story fits into it.

I also feel like as a reader I can follow the character's journey clearly across the map and that's a big thing for me.

It can get very confusing in a fantasy world very quickly. With a map, I have a visual reference that can help me at any point in the story. I want to know where the characters are and what's around them. Is it possible for them to travel this quickly or is this a fantasy “quick fix” that’s going to annoy me. It goes back to the idea of a non-reality becoming a reality.

Which is a bit ironic, that for all the creative freedom fantasy allows, I still want what the characters are doing to be believable and maps do that most effectively.

What advice do you have for other artist/writers?

Don’t stop trying. This is something I tell myself everyday. It’s difficult balancing a creative spirit with the natural demands of life. No one is going to make you sit in that chair and write. You have to push yourself. Sometimes you don’t feel like creating something, or writing that chapter. Sometimes every stroke feels like garbage and you want to stop right there and throw it away.

Don’t do it. That is fear holding you back and the world needs your vision. It’s hard to follow your dreams, to create something that hasn’t been done. It takes dedication and hours of extra work and effort. You will feel drained and as if there is nothing more you can give, but you got to keep trying. Push yourself and your boundaries because once you’re on the other side of things, you will see all that work paid off.

Tip of the week: Look at the other areas of your life where you have some mastery, whether that's visual art or music or project management or whatever, and see what you can bring with you into your writing process.

On our next podcast,Melissa and Jeni are talking with Whitney Davis about screenwriting versus novel writing. We will also have another Tip of the Week.

And don’t forget where to find us! Find our podcast at or follow us on Spotify or subscribe to Indie Chicks on Apple Podcasts. We also have the Indie Chicks channel on YouTube where you can subscribe. You can follow us on Twitter @Indie_Chicks or

So, remember, we’re all part of a publishing community, be kind and review your fellow authors’ books! Thanks for joining us!

Indie Chicks out.

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