Here is my interview with K.E. Saxon

 

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Name   K.E. Saxon

Age

K.E.: I’m 51 years old. I remember the wrist bands we wore for the MIA soldiers in Vietnam, lime green dune buggies on the streets of Austin, my dad calling everyone a hippie (lol!), and he was not amused by the hippie (his word) production of Jesus Christ Superstar, but I loved the music from it. I also remember being completely freaked out by the movie Willard when it came out. I didn’t see it until I was older, but the previews on TV were enough to give me the creeps for ages! I had a huge crush on Robert Redford after seeing Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. That scene where you first meet Kathleen Ross’s character, and he comes up behind her with that gun telling her to undress…o_O. My, my, my, my, my. I absolutely loved the time I was born in!

Where are you from?

K.E.: I was born in a military base hospital in Mountain Home, Idaho. However, my parents are from Texas, and so most of my life was spent in Texas. My dad went to UT on the GI Bill, and we lived in the Breckenridge Apartments in Austin when I was two years old while he was going to school. From that point on, we never moved out of Texas again. However, my dad worked for the state and we moved around a bit, spending some time in Athens (twice—my parents’ home town), San Antonio, Duncanville, Austin a couple of times again, Grand Prairie, and Tyler, before we settled permanently in Austin when I was 12 years old.

A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc

K.E.: I went to Southwest Texas State University and got a BA in Sociology, which I never used professionally! I minored in Psychology, and I’ve used that information prodigiously throughout the years. I moved to Houston in 1989, where I met my future husband in 1991 at a party. We lived in sin (lol!) together until 1999, when we finally made it legal. He’s a great guy with a wonderful sense of humor. We have two cats and one cockatiel. I absolutely love nature, so any chance I get to go camping or just communing with nature makes me very happy. I also like to garden, but don’t get to do as much as I used to before I became an indie-published author of romance.

 

 

Fiona: Tell us your latest news?

K.E.: My latest release is a medieval Highlands romance entitled, Song of the Highlands: The Cambels, and is actually the fourth book in my Medieval Highlanders series. (The first three books are a family saga about the Macleans: Highland Vengeance, Highland Grace, and Highland Magic). The hero of Song of the Highlands is a side character in both Highland Grace and Highland Magic. This fourth book begins a new “chapter,” if you will, about the Cambels, and is the first in a duet of books about the Cambel cousins, Morgana and Vika.

I’m currently writing the fifth book about Vika Cambel and her Nordic hero, Grímr Thorfinnsson, and hope to have it ready for publication sometime in 2015. I’m a slow writer, and an obsessive editor/reviser, so I’m not promising anything, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I can get it completed sooner rather than later.

 

 

Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

K.E.: I had written poetry (more stream-of-consciousness, angst-y stuff—certainly nothing worthy of any other eyes seeing it, lol!) and in personal journals for years and years. I’d tried writing fiction, like essays or short stories that were more literary in nature, and, honestly, I bored myself silly. I just couldn’t stay interested in what I was writing. Then, one day, after reading Julie Garwood’s The Bride for about the 20th time, I once again felt that I wanted desperately to know what happened to Mary and Daniel, the sister and friend of the main characters. This was November of 2006. So, it just really popped into my head to try to write the story myself, JUST for me, of course, so that every time I read The Bride again, I’d also feel satisfied knowing what happened to Mary and Daniel. Anyway, it ended up taking more time for me to get my computer up and running and to open a blank document, than it took me to figure out I truly had ZERO idea how Julie Garwood would write those characters—and that’s really what I wanted: Julie Garwood to write the story of Mary and Daniel (still do)! SO, I blew it off. However, I realized just about as quickly that I had a few great plot ideas, and, since I had no idea what motivated Julie Garwood’s characters, I made up some of my own. After that, it just flowed like water over a fall. And that is how Highland Vengeance came to be.

 

 

Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

K.E.: Definitely by the time I’d gotten 25K words written of that first manuscript! I’d found something I absolutely loved, and I was determined to learn more and more and more about how to become better at it, enough to publish. My goal was cemented further when I joined RWA and got myself a critique partner, then started entering contests and submitting my work to agents and publishing houses.

 

 
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?

K.E.: If you mean, do I plot before I write a book or do I write by the seat of my pants, then I’d say I’m a bit of a hybrid of both. I definitely do a lot of character development, write down the major plot/turning points, and write a ton of backstory before I ever start writing my novels. However, I will say as an aside, that I just started writing a contemporary completely by the seat of my pants that’s connected to two of my other contemporaries, Love is the Drug, and A Heart is a Home: Christmas in Texas, more as a brain rest and for pure entertainment for myself. It kind of helps me to get my head out of the middle ages sometimes and tell myself a story that doesn’t require hours and hours of research.

If you mean the actual style of the prose, I’d say I tend toward a good mix of description, dialogue, humor, sexual steam, action, and internal thought. My main goal while writing is to keep the tension high enough to maintain the interest of the reader. I strive to create a page-turner with every book—I don’t know that I’m always successful, but that is my goal! :D

 

 
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

K.E.: All of my Highlands book titles have usually just popped into my head. Highland Vengeance is pretty self-explanatory: It’s a vengeance tale set in the Highlands. Highland Grace, I do remember having to really think about that one a bit, however, because I knew that a) I wanted it to be a continuation of the external over-arching plot of Highland Vengeance, and b) I also knew that my hero from Highland Grace needed and wanted forgiveness, and that the heroine was a calm, beautiful, and graceful woman—so it was kind of a play on words as well as the next phase after the vengeance part of the plot. Highland Magic has more of mention of the mystical, faery world running through it—in fact, the hero mistakes the heroine for a fae creature early on in the book, so “magic” in the title made sense. The heroine in Song of the Highlands is suffering PTSD and is mute due to the traumatic experience in her early life. However, she sings in her sleep, and this aspect of her arc to become well again plays an integral part in the story.

 

 
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

K.E.: Only the usual one: that love can come to all shapes, sizes, ages, ethnicities, and personalities!

 

 
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?

K.E.: As far as the historical aspects, about 80-90% (or as close as I’ve been able to learn from scholarly texts and research). The remaining percentage that isn’t spot-on is more to do with what we perceive as beautiful and handsome today that would not have been the case back then, and other aspects that are better kept to more modern sensibilities. With regard to the way women and men relate during the time they are falling in love? Again, probably about 90%. However, these percentages are completely a guesstimate, and to some extent, subjective.

 

 
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

K.E.: Nope. Completely fabricated.

 

 
Fiona: What books have influenced your life most?

K.E.: My life: Green Eggs and Ham; The Cat in the Hat; Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret; The Diary of Anne Frank; Fair Day, and Another Step Begun; Bride of Pendorric; Spindrift; Fahrenheit 451;The Bell Jar; All of Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets; White Oleander; Peace is Every Step – Just to name a (very) few off the top of my head!

My writing life: Better to list authors, lol! Julie Garwood, Linda Lael Miller, Kathleen E. Woodiwiss, Nora Roberts, Arnette Lamb, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Lisa Kleypas, Jo Goodman, Nicole Jordan, Phyllis A. Whitney, Victoria Holt, and on, and on, and on, and on!

 

 
Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

K.E.: Well, for my historical stuff, Kathleen E. Woodiwiss has influenced me the most. However, I think I’ve also been influenced by the humor in Julie Garwood’s historicals, and the sexiness in Nicole Jordan’s and Lisa Kleypas’ works, as well. With regard to my contemporary romances, I have been influenced the most by Susan Elizabeth Phillips, but, again, with sex scenes on the page in mine!

 

 

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

K.E.: I’m actually listening to an audiobook of Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ latest, Heroes Are My Weakness. It’s so very good!

 

 
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

K.E.: Well, I don’t think you would call her a brand new author, but I think she’s only been published a few years. Her name is Lynda Chance, and she writes contemporary romance featuring sexy alpha males. Very good author. I buy her new releases without even reading the description first!

 

 
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

K.E.: Definitely, my critique partner, author Rae Renzi! She has given excellent feedback and loads of pats on the back. She completely and totally supported my decision when I decided to indie publish.

 

 
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

K.E.: Definitely. As well as all the other aspects of the “job,” such as, marketing, promoting, and administrating.

 

 
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

K.E.: Not a jot. It took me so long to get that thing to the point where I liked it, that I can’t even envision ever wanting to tell Robert and Morgana’s story differently.

 

 
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

K.E.: I have always had an urge, or internal pull, to create things. I dabble in drawing with pen and ink. I crochet. I garden. I write. I cook. I guess I just need to somehow express myself, and writing is a means of doing so. My father was a fabulous oral storyteller, and I think I got that penchant to do so from him. I am just fortunate that the stories I create also appeal to others.

 

 
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?

K.E.: I’m still writing the first draft now, and it’s not meant for anyone’s eyes but my own, at least until I’ve had a chance to get the full story written, revised and edited (and proofed!!). I follow the philosophy that Stephen King says he follows in his book to writers, On Writing. He says he doesn’t show or talk to anyone about his current story in any specific detail until after he’s finished writing his first draft.

However, I can say in general terms that it’s about Vika Cambel, a Highland lady, and Grímr Thorfinnsson, a Norseman who has inherited the lairdship and fortress of his uncle (who also is Vika’s deceased husband). The fortress is located in the Outer Hebrides, on the Isle of Lewis. In Song of the Highlands, it is established that Vika had Grímr had a child together almost three years ago, and, due to Vika’s own internal issues she’s running from instead of dealing with head-on, she abandoned the child to him. This new tale is going to basically (hopefully!) redeem Vika in the eyes of the readers, as they take the journey with her to overcome those inner issues, and realize that she needs to face her demons and be the mother of her child that she, way deep down, really wants to be.  Of course, Grímr is going to play an integral role in her learning, growing, and changing into the better person she is meant to become!

 

 

Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

K.E.: The loads and loads and loads and LOADS of research I have to do. Just to write one sentence in the manuscript, sometimes. Like I said before, it’s kind of fun and nice to let my imagination fly with a contemporary that I don’t have to do near as much research on in order to get the love story onto (virtual) paper.

 

 
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

K.E.: Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Julie Garwood. (I named two since they are in the different genres I write in). I will say that with both, it’s the humor, which they seem to so effortlessly employ, that really resonates with me. I strive to emulate that ability for humor, but I fall way short. They are simply geniuses at their craft. Their characters are invariably ones that we, the readers, can not only identify with, but also like and root for.

 

 
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

K.E.: Thus far, no. Luckily, most of what I need to know about medieval Scotland is available in books and online. Plus, there are incredible photos available to look at as well, which can also help me with my descriptions. However, this does not mean that I don’t want to visit those places in person, it just hasn’t been in the cards for me yet.

 

 
Fiona: Who designed the covers?

K.E.: Angela Waters at http://angelawatersart.com/ designed all of my Medieval Highlanders book covers, including the cover to the Highlands Trilogy Collection. All of my contemporary covers were designed by me, as well as the covers for each part to the Highland Vengeance (Book One) serialized version of the novel.

 

 
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?

K.E.: I first began writing Song of the Highlands way back in 2009, directly after I finished writing Highland Magic, in fact. But, then I got stuck. I just couldn’t figure out who those bad guys were, and what they wanted from the heroine, Morgana Cambel. So, I sat on it and wrote a few contemporaries instead. Then, after I finally went indie (as opposed to commando, lol!), and published my trilogy, and after so many fans of the books emailed me wanting more, I decided to dust off the manuscript and dig into the story again—and hoped that this time I could figure those bad guys out!

Happily, and after much head scratching, brainstorming, and elbow grease, I finally got the answers I needed and plowed ahead.  It took me longer to write than I was expecting (after all, I’d done so much research into Medieval Scotland while writing the other three, I thought I wouldn’t have to do as much this time around—I was very wrong!)

 

 
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

K.E.: I learned so much! I don’t know where to begin! One kind of weird thing I ended up needing to research was what the physical effects of surviving a hanging were. I cannot begin to tell you how fortunate I feel that a couple of people from the 1800s (and I think even one in the 1600s), had their physical reactions documented either in a newspaper article, or in a historical piece written regarding medical treatments. That information really helped me to describe Morgana’s father’s reactions, both internal, as well as the way he moved, after he survived the hanging by the bad guys in the book.

 

 
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?

K.E.: When in doubt, stick to the three-act structure in plotting your story, and use scene & sequel to move your plot forward.

 

 
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

K.E.: Thank you all so very much for buying my books, for reviewing them, and for (especially this one) sending me an email to tell me how much you liked it, or ask when the next one will be available, or how the story affected you! I absolutely love hearing from you all!

 

 

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

K.E.: Yes. One of the Dick, Jane & Sally books in first grade.

 

 

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

K.E.: Reruns of Seinfeld always make me laugh. The Yearling, when the boy has to shoot his pet deer—OMG, I’m already crying just typing this right now! If I ever had to cry in a screen test—that would be all anyone would have to say to me. It gets me every single time. Sooo heart-wrenching!

 

 

Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?

K.E.: Yes! Myself, when I was 20 years old, so I could impart all the wisdom I’ve learned over the years, lol! (Of course, this is not possible, even if time travel were, because, I’d be changing history—and, you know, what I’ve learned might be different once my older self gave me a clue, so it’s a never ending circle. Plus, butterfly effect must be taken into consideration as well).

 

 

Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?

K.E. She was a really funny chick, and a super great person. Why? Because that’s what I strive to be.

 

 

Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?

K.E.: Yes. I cook; I crochet; I draw; and when I have the time, I love to grow vegetables.

 

 

Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?

K.E.: I watch the Colin Firth version of Pride and Prejudice at least 10 times a year. Same goes with When Harry Met Sally. I love sci-fi movies, too, like The Day After Tomorrow, Independence Day, Star Wars, Mars Attacks! The TV shows I really enjoy are, Grey’s Anatomy, Bones, and, more recently, Transparent.

 

 

Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music

K.E.: I love trying new dishes, and am very fortunate to live in a city with such a huge number of culturally diverse restaurants—and loads of food festivals hosted by the different ethnic groups in the city. I enjoy American, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, French, Italian, Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Mexican, Polish, German, South American…gosh, just about all cultures’ food dishes.

My favorite color is green.

My favorite music is 60s-90s Rock n’ Roll. But, I also love the popular music from the 20s, 30s, and 40s, as well as the crooners from the 40s, 50s and 60s. I love Disco music, too! It’s the best to work out to.

 

 

Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?

K.E.: Own and run an organic gardening center.

 

 

Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?

K.E.: Yes! http://www.kesaxon.com

 

Amazon page http://www.amazon.com/K.E.-Saxon/e/B005PODE6S

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Here is my interview with Megan Whitson Lee

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Name: Megan Whitson Lee
Age: 42
Where are you from: Originally I’m from Kingsport, Tennessee, but I moved to the Washington, D.C. area when I was 13.
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc: I went to college for a music degree and graduated from George Mason University. Later I decided that I really wanted to write, so I went back for a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the same university. I currently teach English at Centreville High School in Clifton, Virginia, and I live in the Northern Virginia area with my husband, our retired racing greyhound, Chase, and our Italian greyhound, Trinity.

 

 
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
Song from the Ashes was released in August of this year, and since then I’ve been doing book signings and a lot of online promotions!

 

 

Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I first started writing when I was a little kid and my grandfather asked me to write a ghost story about the street where we lived. I titled it “The Ghost of Fleetwood Road”, and it was about a ghost who had six toes rather than five on each foot (yes, I was very young). Later, I wrote fan-fiction for my friends in high school, and I felt compelled to keep writing from thereon out.

 

 

Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I think I didn’t consider myself a writer for a long time because I wasn’t “published.” Now, after being published, I realize that I’ve been a writer all my life. Being published doesn’t make you a writer and not being published doesn’t negate your writer membership card. I think it’s something deeply ingrained within.

 

 

Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
My first full-length finished novel is still sitting on my hard drive somewhere. It was a modern vampire novel, which I wrote around circa 2002. It was inspired by my residence in Melbourne, Australia and the “vampire” clubs around the city frequented by people who fancied they were actually vampires.

 

 

Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I like to write in first person, but I also like a clean, simple writing style with an engaging plot and realistic dialogue. I like to think that’s how I write.

 

 

Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
One of the main characters is a musician, and one of the other main characters sees his life burning into ashes. Because I’m a huge believer in redemptive stories, this one seemed to call for a title that screamed “redemption!”

 

 

Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yes. I think as human beings we’re often too quick to remove ourselves from a situation in order to jump into another because we don’t necessarily feel “happy” in our present state. The decisions we make for our own lives greatly impact others, and I really wanted to shine a light on that. Sometimes making yourself happy isn’t what’s best for everyone else in your life. Self-sacrifice is a foreign ideology in today’s culture, and my main character is faced with this decision. Does he make himself happy at the expense of everyone around him? Or trust in God for true joy? Doing the right thing often brings happiness by default.

 

 

Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
Well, I’d like to think it’s a realistic story. I think people struggle with these sorts of decisions all the time.

 

 

Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
No, not really. The novel is a modern re-telling of Edith Wharton’s classic The Age of Innocence. But the story is set in my hometown of Kingsport, Tennessee.

 

 

Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?
Well, other than The Bible…if we’re talking about novels, I’d have to choose my all-time favorites as huge influences: Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (my favorite!), Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, and Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates. These have influenced the types of stories I most like to read and the writing style I most like to read and write.

 

 

Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Well, interestingly when I studied at George Mason, I had some amazing writers as mentors: Richard Bausch, Beverly Lowry, Susan Shreve—they truly mentored me and made me a better writer. Otherwise, I still have to choose the classic writers as mentors (Bronte, Austen, du Maurier—these are the writers whose works I read again and again).

 

 

Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Currently, I’m reading The Shining. I’ve never read it, and I have to say I’m loving it! I love a good ghost story.

 

 

Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Well, she’s not really new, but she’s newer than what I’m used to read. Gillian Flynn. I’m quite captured by her characters, stories, plot. She knows how to write a page-turner.

 

 

Fiona: What are your current projects?
I’m writing a novel set in Virginia wine country. A young girl marries an older man who owns a sprawling and successful vineyard, which turns out to be haunted by a demonic presence brought in by some of the practices of his previous (and currently missing) wife.

 

 

Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Definitely Jesus. No one else supports and encourages like him.

 

 

Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I hope so. That’s my goal. It’s the only thing I really want to do.

 

 

Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No, I don’t really think so. I loved Wharton’s original tale, and my own rendering I felt was, in many ways, divinely inspired, so I feel that I was only partially responsible…

 

 

Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Yes. I used to watch old episodes of the 1966 Dark Shadows episodes. I wanted to write my own episodes, so I started writing them and making my poor elementary school librarian read them. Ha!

 

 

Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Finding enough time to write! My full-time job (teaching) sucks the life out of me, and I really have to discipline myself to come home and continue my day at the computer.

 

 

Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I don’t really have a favorite author, but if I had to pick one I’d say Emily Bronte. I feel that she had a lifetime of best-sellers within one tumultuous and passionate novel. I’m eternally impressed by her ability to write about thwarted love with words evoking raw emotional torment, yet she maintained the restraint expected from Victorian audiences.

 

 

Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I don’t get to travel too much, but I have in the past traveled to have first-hand experience of settings. I’ve taken up temporary residence in England and Australia (but that was in my twenties, and now I have too many other responsibilities!) Last year, my husband and I traveled back to England and we hope to do it again next year. I have some story ideas brewing on that side of the pond.

 

 

Fiona: Who designed the covers?
My husband, Stephen Lee. He’s a professional graphic artist, and he designed the cover for Song from the Ashes (and my previous, self-published novel, All That is Right and Holy).

 

 

Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
For this novel, I had to make sure I wasn’t slipping into nineteenth century language. Edith Wharton’s novel was set in 1870, so I needed to make mine sound like 2013. I couldn’t read her book and write mine simultaneously or it would have sounded ridiculous.

 

 

Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Beginnings and endings are easy for me. The middle is the hardest part.

 

 

Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Perseverance is what it’s all about. If you really love to write, you’ll do it as much as you possibly can, and eventually, someone somewhere will love it and want it. The old cliché: don’t give up. I know it’s a cliché, but it’s so, so true.

 

 

Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you for supporting me. We’re just at the beginning of this ride. There are many more stories to come!

 

 
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I remember my mom read a lot to me as a kid. I memorized everything and re-read it to myself again and again before I could ever read. I loved Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Cinderella. I had them all on audio records with picture books to accompany. I listened and read them over and over again. I remember The Secret Garden being one of the first books I ever read as a kid.

 

 
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Physical comedy (people falling over, sadly) usually makes me laugh. Witty humor makes me laugh. Witnessing loss (either for myself or others) breaks my heart.

 

 
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
My grandmother. I’d love to see her again. She died three years ago, and I’ve missed her every day since. She was an encourager and a wonderful inspiration to me. She was also a great reader, and I wish she could have been around to see Song from the Ashes published. I’d love to have lunch with her again. Hopefully, one day in heaven.

 

 
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why?
Not here. Because it will be true.

 

 
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
Oh goodness, yes! I love dogs. I am a dog freak. We have two sighthounds, and I volunteer with a sighthound organization (Sighthound Underground) when I can. I’m really passionate about it because they rescue dogs from other countries (particularly Spanish galgos) and find them loving homes in the U.S. I also love to read, of course, and I love cooking! I could cook all day! My step-mom buys me a yearly subscription to Southern Living and I try out all their recipes. I also used to sing a bit.

 

 
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Madmen, Nashville, Parenthood are my favorite series dramas, true crime shows like 48 Hours and Dateline Mysteries, and my guilty pleasure, The Bachelor. For movies, I love a good drama. Nothing gory or violent. I like movies that make you think.

 

 
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music:
If someone told me I had Italian blood, I’d believe them. I love, love, LOVE Italian food. Pasta of any kind, but it really doesn’t get better than spaghetti marinara for me. I do love the colors black and electric blue. For music, I’m a country music fan. But I also love old seventies and eighties music. In the late eighties I was a heavy metal fan, but now I enjoy listening to instrumental music and movie soundtracks.

 

 
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I would love to have been a forensic investigator (ha! That never would have happened. I’m too squeamish). I’m fascinated by the world of criminal investigation. I also think I would’ve enjoyed being a licensed clinical social worker. I like to listen to people.

 

 

Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Yes, I blog weekly at: http://meganwhitsonlee.blogspot.com
Website: http://www.meganwhitsonlee.net

 

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Amazon site to buy book: http://www.amazon.com/Song-Ashes-Megan-Whitson-Lee/dp/1632130424/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1414269376&sr=8-1&keywords=Song+from+the+Ashes

Here is my interview with Mya Larose

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Name Mya Larose

Age 34

Where are you from

I was born in Turkey, brought up in France. I’m a mixture of franco-turc

A little about yourself `i.e. your education Family life etc.

As I mentioned earlier, I was born in Turkey in the eighties, educated in France, studied in Cambridge University. 34 year old youngish woman living in Northern Ireland, now, with her wonderful Northern Irish husband as well as my two daughters, step-son and a wee granddaughter.

 

 

Fiona: Tell us your latest news?

My latest good news is the released of my 4th book Dec/Jan, called “Anya _ the beginning” is the foundation of my new series named “Kismet”

 

 
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I was always attracted to books since I could remember. As I grew “older” :D my love for books followed. I always wanted to write but had this fear of refusal. Putting my phobia aside, I pulled my big girls knickers on and started to write six months ago.

 

 
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

It came gradually.  Probably the first rejection started me thinking I could be a writer. I persisted with my husband’s encouragement.

 

 

Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?

My book is purely fictional so it’s not based on anything specific that’s happened in my life. However, I strive to be historically accurate for locale, costumes, mores, and speech patterns. Using the internet, I do a lot of research for everything I write. That said, the town I use in my 2nd series is fictional, but the locale in which I locate the town is correctly represented. By using a fictional town, I can incorporate any business, street name, or house I wish.

 

 

Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

I couldn’t possibly choose one author over another. The majority of the Siren-Bookstand authors are my inspiration amongst others. However, I have a weakness for Stephen king.

 

 

Fiona: What are your current projects?

Now that my latest is finished, I’ve begun writing the 2nd Book in the series

 

 
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

Well, I see myself as a full-time mother and writer.

 

 

Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

Unfortunately, I can’t afford nor have time to travel. I let my imagination do the traveling for me.

 

 

 

Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?

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EXCERPT from Yasemin’s First Chance (Out Now)

With a frown, she said, “Good evening, lovers! What’s going on around here? Where is my wee man? Thomas and I had a date with a new book I bought for him.” She thumbed in the direction of her handbag. Her playful chatter died when the couple in front of her jumped simultaneously. Zara had her hand against her chest and Peter tried to swallow a couple of times.

“Dear God, Yasemin!” Zara suddenly exclaimed. “You scared the daylights out of us!”

“Don’t mind your sister, honey! Come and join us. Grab yourself a cup of coffee.”

She gave them a suspicious look. They were not dressed to go out. With an uneasy feeling, she poured herself the hot brew. She feel their stares behind her back. With her mug, she turned and made her way around the table. As she took the seat facing them, she placed her cup in front of her and crossed her arms on the table.

“What gives? And where’s Thomas?” she demanded with a heavy sigh, looking from Peter to Zara and back. “Why aren’t you dressed? You are going to be late. Don’t tell me you cancelled your date! I told you I would mind Thomas,” she reprimanded her. God! She loved her sister dearly, but sometimes…

She heard Peter cough a couple of times. “Yasemin, we had to cancel it, honey. Something has come up. We called my mother and asked her to come and take Thomas to her place for tonight,” he said, and looked at Zara for some kind of confirmation.

Zara nodded. “This morning, we received a phone call from…Turkey.”

She could see her sister inhale deeply as tears gathered in her beautiful, doe-brown eyes. Did she just say Turkey? Oh my God! Lara…Suddenly, her heart pounded fast. She felt lightheaded.

Before her disappearance, they knew that Lara had planned to travel to Turkey the day after Zara and Peter’s wedding. She even had made a reservation at a hotel in Istanbul for a fortnight.

“Yes?” Her mouth was suddenly very dry. She squeezed her cup with shaky fingers. She brought it to her lips and drank the strong liquid, but it didn’t satisfy her needs. She needed something stronger. Could it be possible?

“The man on the phone told us that he had found Lara.”

Now, tears flowed down her sister’s cheeks. Peter wrapped his arm around her shoulder and held her tightly against him while murmuring comforting words. She couldn’t understand why Zara was so upset. Why didn’t she jump up and down with joy?

“That’s fantastic! Did you talk to her? Who was this man anyway? When is she coming back home? Why did she disappear on us, huh?”

She was so happy and excited. Lara had been found! She knew she was babbling but she couldn’t help it. Her sister had been right all along. She started to giggle and was about to say something when she lifted her head and looked at her sister and Peter. The look of despair in their faces told her another story, and her happiness was short lived.

“Sort of…” Peter murmured.

He completely lost her. “What do you mean by sort of?”

“The man is the curator of a museum in Istanbul. He found a painting of Lara,” Zara said with a broken voice. Yasemin didn’t interrupt them. She wanted to know what was really going on.

They looked at her oddly. “Honey, the painting was dated 1531 and the historical period was in the Ottoman Empire,” Peter finished.

Yasemin blinked several times for her brain to process what they had just told her.

“I’m going to catch the first flight to Turkey and see the painting with my own eyes,” Zara continued.

Holding her hand up, she said, “Now, hold on a minute, here! How do you know it isn’t a prank or a false lead, huh? It has been a year, Zara. I know you want to believe that she’s still alive, love…”

Zara and Peter looked at each other for some kind of support, then Zara focused on her.

“Yasemin, the curator found a letter hidden behind the painting with my name, address and telephone number written on it.”

She felt dumfounded. “Are you trying to tell me that Lara didn’t die but travelled back in time?” Yasemin laughed nervously.

Could it actually be possible? Did Lara go back in time? She rubbed her temples with her fingertips. She could feel a headache coming on. Suddenly, Yasemin pushed her chair backwards and commenced marching up and down the kitchen.

Zara wanted to go to Turkey and follow this new lead. By doing so, the wee man’s routine would be disturbed and it would confuse him. The idea of upsetting Thomas was unthinkable to Yasemin.

She faced them and took a deep breath. “I will go! I have taken some days off…”

 

 

 

Fiona: Who designed the covers?

I was lucky to have Harris Channing. She is a wonderful designer as well as an Author. She created all the cover of my books.

 

 
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Believe or not, the hardest part of writing is time. I do most of my writing at night as soon as I put my children to bed.

 

 
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?

Continue writing and persevere. Don’t let anyone kill your dream!

 

 
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Thank you so much! I thank you for buying my books.

 

 

Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?

My other hobbies will be gardening and cooking. I love to spend my time in the garden when my muse decided to have a wee break and leaves me to stew a bit.

 

 

Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music

My favorite foods will be French and Turkish cuisine. I’m a sugar addict, especially French patisseries and Turkish sweets.

My preferred color is black and blood red.

 

 

Fiona: Do you have a blog/website?

 

Blog: http://milegul.blogspot.co.uk/

 

Social Media links:

 

Facebook (Personal Profile): https://www.facebook.com/authormyalarose

Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/myalaroseauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Myalarose

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/116126746648055198583/posts

Google+ (Author Page):  https://plus.google.com/u/0/b/105079650122514578292/+MilegulBlogspotCoUkauthormyalarose/posts

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/myalaroseauthor

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCh1mrhwHhnx7K22vdQw52nA/featured

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=342761384&trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile

Tumblr: http://maylaroseauthor.tumblr.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/24718416-mya-larose

ManicReaders: http://www.manicreaders.com/myalarose/

Authorgraph:https://www.authorgraph.com/authors/Myalarose

 

Online Purchase:

 

Siren-Bookstand (Author Page): http://www.bookstrand.com/mya-larose

Amazon UK Author Page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B00LEY1L18

Amazon.Com Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00LEY1L18

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/search?q=mya%20larose&c=books

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/search?Query=mya+larose

Barnes&Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/mya-larose?store=allproducts&keyword=mya+larose

E-mail: myalarose@outlook.com

 

 

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Here is my interview with Donna Hughey

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Name: Donna Hughey
Age: 52
Where are you from: Southern California
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc: I live with my husband, a dog, and a parrot. We have three adult children. I’ve had three Bible study books published and one novel.

 

 
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I recently had my third Bible study released, James Through the Eyes of Paul, and my first novel, The Preacher.

 

 

Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
For years I led and attended Bible study groups and noticed most Bible study books were aimed at stirring emotion in the reader rather than focusing on solid biblical truths. So I began writing workbooks that rely solely on Scripture to teach biblical principles and truths that the everyday believer can understand and apply to their lives. My first workbook, The Apostles’ Creed: An Advanced Study For the Everyday Believer, was released in 2010.

 

 

Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
The subject and title of my latest Bible study is courtesy of my oldest son. He thought it would be interesting if I wrote a study on the book of James through Paul’s perspective. When pitching his idea, he even included a title, James Through the Eyes of Paul, which was perfect for the book.

For my novel, The Preacher, I knew I wanted to write about the struggles of a small-town preacher, so the title focused solely on him.

 

 
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Thank you for asking! With my novel, The Preacher, I try to convey to the reader that perseverance, forgiveness, love, and hope should always remain regardless of what’s going on around us. And as Christians, these qualities are what we should always be striving for. Also, we aren’t always aware of how God is preparing us or others for the outcome he wants in a situation, but sometimes, when we look back, we can plainly see God’s involvement. With The Preacher, I wanted readers to witness God’s involvement first-hand and hopefully, the next time we’re faced with a difficult situation, we’ll remember we aren’t alone and that God is very active in every believer’s life.

 

 

Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
My book is purely fictional so it’s not based on anything specific that’s happened in my life, but I hope it realistically portrays the struggles of an ordinary preacher. I wanted to show my readers that anyone, regardless of how “holy” they are, can experience times of worry, doubt, anger, and sin.

 

 

Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?
A book that stays with me is The Road by Cormac McCarthy. Even in the most horrific of situations, when all is lost and destroyed, love still exists. McCarthy does an excellent job of showing how powerful love is and how its mere existence can cause us to behave differently, to sacrifice ourselves, all for the love of another. I’ve read the book several times and try to look past the terrible external conditions of the story and instead focus on the relationship between the father and son. In my personal life, I’ve tried to do the same—not focusing so much on the external conditions, but instead turn my attention towards what’s important—namely love, and the people in my life.

 

 

Fiona: What are your current projects?
Now that my latest two books are finished and published, I’ve begun thinking about the subject of my next Bible study, but haven’t come to a final decision yet.

 

 

Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
No, I see my writing as something I’m called to do as a Christian. As believers we’re expected to reach people for God, and for those who are willing to reach out like that, God will undoubtedly equip and prepare them. I believe he’s done that for me through writing.

 

 

Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I was a big reader as a child and started writing my own stories when I was very young. Later, when I was twenty years old, I wrote a story and submitted it to a women’s magazine. It was quickly rejected!

 

 

Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Because I write Bible studies, I do a lot of research. Having to sift through what other authors have written about a particular subject can be difficult, especially when they veer from God’s word and instead offer their own opinions.

 

 

Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work? I think that would be Cormac McCarthy. His work can sometimes be dark, but he writes with such detail and beauty. I’m in awe at the words he uses and the way he constructs his sentences.

 

 

Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Not too much. I do guest speak at churches and attend a few book signings throughout the year. But my best friend is Israeli, so I’ve been able to travel to Israel many times. It’s great being there when I’m just about to start a new study because I get so inspired by the Jewish people and their culture. There’s something really special about being a believer and standing in the middle of Jerusalem! I’m always in awe.

 

 

Fiona: Who designed the covers?
My publishers have designed every cover of my books and I always hold my breath during that part of the process!

 

 

Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
For my Bible study, James Through the Eyes of Paul, the hardest part was going through the editing process. I work very closely with my editor and trying to keep in line with each other can be difficult. I tend to veer off course and he has to pull me back! But he and I always have the same vision for a book. He keeps me on track and holds me accountable. I’d be lost without him.

 

 

Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I’m sure I learn more from writing my Bible studies than any of my readers. I believe that’s because of the research involved as well as being totally immersed in the book for a year or more. With James, it wasn’t any different. With that book, I recognized my strengths as a Christian as well as my weaknesses. I’m much more aware of areas that need improvement and because of writing James, I understand more clearly what it means to really live the life of a believer.

 

 

Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
The only advice I can give is the same advice I’ve been given—keep writing, write every day because the more you write, the more you’ll improve.

 

 

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Laughing comes easy to me. I find humor in just about anything. I’m not much of a crier, but I do get sad about the state of the world.

 

 
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
Family is very important to me so I think it’d be cool to meet my ancestors.

 

 
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
It should say “Christian, wife, mother, and writer.” In that order because that’s who I am.

 

 
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
I play the violin. It’s something that totally relaxes me as well as inspires me. Sometimes I get so overwhelmed with the beauty of the sound, that I actually have to stop playing to get myself back under control. It’s a beautiful instrument.

 

 
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website?
If so what is it? I have both a blog and a website. Blog—donnahughey.blogspot.com Website—www.donnahughey.com

 

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Here is my interview with Cathy Mansell

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Name: Cathy Mansell
Age: Older than I care to be
Where are you from Originally from?
I was born in the small community of Ballsbridge about three miles south of Dublin city in Ireland
A little about your self `i.e. your education Family life etc.
Basically, I was educated in Dublin by the nuns. They instilled discipline, taught me to be creative with drama, music, craft and needlework. I was brought up in a strict Catholic household with mum and dad, my three sisters and one brother. In my teens I moved to England where I continued my education as a mature student and gained my ‘A’ level certificate in English Literature.
I now live with my husband in south Leicestershire in the UK with my three children and eight grandchildren. My ninth grandchild was born in New Zealand six months ago. I love my life especially when I’m working in my attic room overlooking trees and fields.

 

 
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I’ve had a wonderful year, Fiona. Two more books, Galway Girl and Where the Shamrocks Grow published with Tirgearr Publishing and contracted with Magna for library large print and audio next year. Making four books published in less than two years. I’m over the moon about that.
I’ve had three book launches this year, two in the Leicester, UK and one in Dublin in August. They took a lot of promoting and hard work. It was worth it as they were all a great success and enjoyable.

 

 
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I think it began when I was a child. I have always loved stories but had no idea how to write them. So I made them up in my head. Sometimes my friend and I would put on little plays for the children in our neighbourhood. It was fun. Not sure they enjoyed it as much as I did, because we used to charge them half a penny to watch. Enterprising or what? My parents couldn’t afford to buy us books and we were very fortunate to have a local library nearby.

 

 

Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Long before I was published I joined a few writers’ groups and went along to a tutoring class. The tutor Rosemary Hoggard, a wonderful lady insisted that we called ourselves writers. “Remember, you are a writer,” she used to say. I took all that she said on board. However, it was years later than I realized what she meant. Belief in what you do is the key.

 

 

Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
My mother inspired my first book. Brought up by her grandmother from the age of two years old, she told me a story about the Banshee that she believed to be true. When she was quite young she heard the scream of the Banshee and found her grandmother dead in bed next to her. It was a time when the myth of the screaming Banshee was strongly believed in Ireland. So, I began my first ever book with this scene.
The book, a family saga was recently released as an eBook with Tirgearr. Strangely, in spite of it being the first book I’d penned, it was the fourth book to be published.

 

 
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Yes, I think I do, Fiona. At first I wasn’t sure until I found my own voice. Although I knew early on that I would never be a literary writer, I wanted to tell stories in my own way.

 

 

Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
The title of my latest release, ‘Where the Shamrock’s Grow’ has under gone many changes as it has titles. Firstly, it was called ‘Somewhere Out There’ until someone asked if it was a book about space. I quickly changed it to ‘One Step towards Tomorrow.’ Once I established my own brand with my first best selling novel, Shadow Across the Liffey, I decided to stick with Irish titles, hence ‘Where the Shamrocks Grow’.

 

 

Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yes, I would like younger readers to appreciate how lucky they are to be living in the world of today where women are free to make their own choices in life. I would also like them to enjoy reading about an era long since past and try to imagine what it was like for the heroines of my books living during the 50s/60s Ireland.
One of the best things about that time though, was, the music.

 

 
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
I try to make the stories as realistic as I can. I write about characters that I hope the reader will engage with. But mostly, I just go with an idea, or something that I’ve overheard that might make a good story. In my first written story ‘Where the Shamrocks Grow’ there’s a little of me in there as well as a brush stroke of my mother and an uncle I was very fond of. On the whole it’s a fictional story.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I guess most authors take something from life’s experiences. It helps when writing emotional scenes if you’ve experienced something similar. I know I cried a lot when I was writing ‘Where the Shamrock’s grow.’

 

 
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?
I love books that show a strong heroine who rises above diversity. Even if the story is sad but always has to have a good happy realistic ending.
I adore Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte, one of the first books I enjoyed that left a lasting impression on me. I love the dark side of Cathy and Heathcliff’s love story. Since then my reading genre has grown, I still enjoy a love story with shades of dark, light and intrigue.

 

 
Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
I would have loved to have known and worked with, my great aunt, Maryanne O’Rourke who was a poet and songwriter. She penned a poem for President Roosevelt and he replied by letter thanking her. Her song lyrics were known all over America in the early part of the latter part of the 18c

 

 

Fiona: What book are you reading now?
The Misremembered man by an Irish writer, Christina McKenna. It has dark and humour and they go side my side seamlessly. I’m enjoying it so much that I don’t want to get to the end.

 

 

Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Sibel Hodge, ‘Look Behind You’ Rachel Abbott, ‘The Road Back’ Isabella Connor, ‘Beneath an Irish Sky’ Kitty Neale, ‘A Broken Family’

 

 
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I’m currently working on my fifth novel, set in Dublin and Birmingham. And I’m enjoying the process. I’ve given myself a deadline to finish it by February 2015.

 

 

Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
The Romantic Novelists’ Association.

 

 

 

Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes, I do. I spend a lot of time promoting my work. As a published author, I hope to make some money, enough to enable me to go out to New Zealand to visit my son and his family.

 

 
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No, not in my most recently published book, Where the Shamrock’s Grow. I hope that my writing has improved with time and although this was my first novel, I’ve had time to make necessary changes to make it the best it can be.

 

 

 

Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
The seed grew from a very young age but I never had the opportunity to do anything about it until many years later. At school I made up stories in my head.
My great-aunt was a poet/writer who went to live in America. She made money from her poems and song writing. I guess I inherited her writing gene, so, I was always going to be a writer.

 

 

 

Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
My fifth book is still very much in draft mode. It is a romantic suspense novel set in Dublin and Birmingham towards the end of the 60s, where I lived for a few years before I married.

 

 
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Yes, when I begin a new story I struggle with point of view and a real sense of place. It usually becomes clearer to me as I write myself into the story. The plot comes easier and I always know the beginning and how the story will end before I start. It’s filling in the middle that can sometimes be a challenge.

 

 
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I don’t have a particular favourite. I quite like Lesley Pearse. She creates wonderful plots with characters that I find impossible not to care about. She is brilliant at plotting. Her books are amazingly long stories and take me weeks to get through.

 

 

Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I have never had to travel to exotic place, I wish. I have travelled back to Ireland many times while writing Her Father’s Daughter. My books are mostly set in Ireland, so that gives me an excuse to spend a few days there. Most of my family still live in Ireland and it’s lovely to catch up with them at the same time. I have visited New York while writing, Where the Shamrocks Grow. That was an exciting experience but it wasn’t long enough.

 

 

Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Tirgearr Publishing created wonderful covers for my books with Amanda Stephanie as their cover designer. I love all the covers they have done for me so far. I feel that you need an eye-catching image to draw readers to your book, and Tirgearr are very much aware of this, and work hard to achieve the best covers for their authors.

 

 
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Not getting lost halfway through. I found that if I had a map of were I was going it kept me on track. It’s so easy to get sidetracked. Although there were times when my characters insisted on going their own way and I was amazed at the outcome.

 

 

Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
When I was writing Where the Shamrocks Grow I did lots of research. I learned so much about American history in the 1920 that I found intriguing. I loved that because it helped to make my story realistic during that time.

 

 

Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
We all need advice, no matter how long we’ve been writing. And I love it when other writers give advice on their experience when writing various aspects of the novel.
For writers’ out there still wanting publication I would say, don’t give up. If you feel passionate about your story, there will be someone else out there who will love your work and want to read it. Writing a novel takes hard work, dedication and above all passion for what you are doing. If you don’t have that, you won’t finish it. Keep going no matter how much you feel it’s not working. It will pan out in the end.

 

 

Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thanks to all my readers’ who have left me reviews on Amazon. It’s been a pleasure to read them. I hope you will continue to read my books and I will strive to do my best to make them interesting enough for you to want to read.

 

 
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
As a child I went to the library to read, Enid Blyton’s, The Famous Five series. The first one I recall reading was ‘Five Run Away together’. It was the intrigue that gripped me. There wasn’t a lot of choice back then.

 

 
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Silly humour in Irish books, Irish saying and Irish comedians make me laugh.
I can cry at anything sad. I cried when I read ‘A child called it” by Dave Pelzer.

 

 

Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would to meet and why?
The person I would most like to meet is my dear departed great aunt. Not least because she was a writer and a poet, but I’ve always been fascinated to know how she coped travelling alone across the Atlantic Ocean, at that time, and how she managed when she arrived. I often imagine the conversations we would have.

 

 
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
I’d like to be remembered as someone who maybe inspired others to be the best they can be. I never gave up the hope of becoming a published author. Perhaps something like, ‘She never gave up”

 

 
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
I had many hobbies before I became a serious writer. I used to knit all sorts of things from coats to baby bonnets. Knitting has fallen by the wayside to concentrate on my writing. I have grandchildren that I love spending time with, and have taught my granddaughter Molly how to knit. It is a joy to see her so enthusiastic about knitting. I’m sure she will never forget and maybe later on take up knitting as a hobby.

 

 
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Fiona, I love drama no matter how it comes. Anything that shows a characters behaviour. I love watching the soaps and glean a lot from the scriptwriters of these show. I also love to watch live theatre, plays and musicals.

 

 
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
My favourite food is all fattening, cheese, and Ice-cream meringue. My favourite colour is yellow and reminds me of the warm sunshine that I can’t get enough of.
I love all music, especial songs that tell a story. I love watching XFactor on television. We have some wonderful songs in the charts at the moment. I’m also a great lover of classical music.

 

 
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I would have concentrated on music. The few instruments I play rather badly, i.e. the mouth organ, piano and piano accordion. I would have concentrated on one of these musical instruments and learned it to perfection, possibly the accordion.

 

 
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
My Website has a link straight to my blog at: http://www.cathymansell.com

 

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Buy links for the book ‘Where the Shamrocks Grow’

 

Thank you Fiona for hosting me as your guest today.

Here is my interview with Carlie Pettit

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Name: Carlie Pettit
Age: 26
Where are you from:
London (born and raised in Islington. Now live in Wimbledon).
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc:
I live a very unconventional, and unpredictable life. I love it. I am waiting for other half to propose to me. Yes, I have been badgering him for a ring. Nearly 4 years together – I deserve it (smiles).

 

 
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
It was my birthday not long ago. I went to see The Lord of The Dance – Dangerous Games. I got to meet my childhood idol; Michael Flatley. I got kisses and cuddles. It was a magical evening.

 

 
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I started writing two and a bit years ago. I started writing because I had a story that I wanted to tell. I had characters that I wanted to develop. I wrote a book that I would love to read.

 

 
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I finished the first draft of Matches.

 

 
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
A collection of things that I have seen, experienced and witnessed!

 

 
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Yes, everyone has a writing style. I am not overly descriptive. I like short, sharp chapters, and constant action/drama.

 

 
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
With great difficulty. It took a long while to find the final title. The working title that I had was completely different. When I was ready to publish, someone had published a book a few months earlier with the title I had. So I had to change it – which was for the best. I love the title; Matches.

 

 
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I wanted readers to become invested in the emotions of the characters.

 

 
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
The emotions that the characters feel are very, very real. Each character has their own demon (s), their own strengths and their own struggles. I worked very hard on developing the emotions of the characters, and have been overwhelmed by the positive response from readers. I purposely wrapped the book into a glamorous world, because I think you need that escapism. And I enjoy that escapism. If you create meaningful, real characters, then having a world of glam fiction, and indulgence, is perfectly acceptable – and not just for the sake of it. Whilst readers might not be able to relate to the lifestyle that the characters live, they will most definitely be able to relate to the emotions. And that’s the most important part. The characters and their trajectory are the focus, everything else is secondary.

 

 

 

Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Yes.

 

 
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?
Books haven’t influenced my life. My experiences and exposures in life have influenced me. And they’ve given me a whole wardrobe to write. Books are a pleasure for me.

 

 

Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Danielle Steele and Jilly Cooper.

 

 

Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Danielle Steele – Toxic Bachelors.

 

 

Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I haven’t had a chance to discover new writers yet. Every hour I have is spent writing, editing, and, spending time with my family.

 

 
Fiona: What are your current projects?
Editing the sequel to Matches.

 

 

Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members:
No-one. The only support I have had for writing, is from my partner, Chris. He has supported me beautifully from the very day I started writing. He has given so much time to my writing. It’s been a journey that we have shared, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

 

 

Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes.

 

 

Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Nope.

 

 

Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
As with anything, you either love it or you don’t. It’s something you realize you want to do, or you don’t. I realized it at the right time in life.

 

 

Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Yes. But, it’s undergoing edit, so it might not make it to the end result, and if it does, it might look different. But, happy to give you a taster.

‘Kim, Ralph is coming over.’
‘What? Why Ralph?’
‘He has some news. He also wants to see that you’re ok.’
‘Why wouldn’t I be ok? How does he know that I am apparently not ok?’
‘I called. Asked if he and Victoria would come to see you. I am at a loss at the moment, Kim. I am doing all that I can to support you. This behaviour is not normal. It’s too much for me to handle.’
‘How dare you call and tell people that I am struggling. Presumably you said I am having some sort of break down. I don’t have a friendship with Victoria either, you do realise that don’t you? I do not want to see Ralph either.’
‘It’s too late. He’s already here. Put some clothes on and come out.’

 

 

 

Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Editing. Making sure there’s continuity. It’s hard work mulling over seventy thousand words (constantly), over, and over again. You start seeing things that aren’t even there.

 

 
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I don’t have a favorite. Just like my music collection, I have an eclectic mix. I like a bit of everything.

 

 
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I have been very lucky with where I have been able to travel too over the years. It’s my travels that have helped inspire my writing, which you’ll see more of in the next few books that I publish.

 

 

Fiona: Who designed the covers?
A friend of my partner.

 

 

Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Finishing it.

 

 

Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learnt a lot about writing, structuring a book, and technical focuses. I also learnt that I can write a book, and that I have many more books in me.

 

 
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Keep writing. Ride the emotions. It’s not easy. But if you want it bad enough and you’re willing to work hard, anything is possible.

 

 

Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
That I think you’re awesome, and I promise to keep writing.

 

 
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
An Irish Dancing book! I was an Irish Dancer as a wee girl.

 

 
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
Running, travel, dance, and food.

 

 
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Breaking Bad is my all-time favorite box set. I love Midsomer Murders and Come Dine With Me. Bugsy Malone is my favorite childhood film. I enjoy watching a bit of everything.

 

 
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music:
Roast potatoes, sweet potatoe, gravy, steak, chicken. God, I could go on, and on. Favorite colors are navy, brown, and green. Music – a bit of everything.

 

 
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
A professional Irish Dancer, starring alongside (as the lead lady) in Lord of The Dance – with Michael Flatley.

 

 

Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it? Yes  http://carliepettit.wordpress.com/

 

 

MATCHES APPROVED COVER - LARGE

Here is my interview with Peter Arpesella

 

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Name Peter Arpesella

Age
I am here now.

Where are you from
Made in Italy. Born in Bologna, grew up in Rimini.

A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
My family owned the Grand Hotel of Rimini, Italy, the one in Federico Fellini’s award winning “Amarcord.” Federico and Giulietta were dear family friends. I grew up with his niece, Francesca. Federico’s sister, Maddalena, was one of my mother’s best friends and one of the funniest ladies I’ve ever met. She was a phenomenal joke teller, and we often tried to one-up each other with the funniest joke. She won, most of the times.
I never felt drawn to the Hotel or the tourism business. I graduated in Business Administration in Italy. Worked as an investment banker, in Italy and New York City. I made some money, and lost a lot of myself. Not because I made money, but because the financial world isn’t my vocation. I went to therapy and I became an actor and writer.
Telling stories is what I love to do. Touching people’s heart and mind is what I love to do. I love nature and sailing. I always love a good laugh. I live in Los Angeles with my wife Annie Wood and our dog-ter, Lucy.

 

 

Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
Personally: today I have the beginning of a cold and I’m writing this interview from my bed.
Professionally: Next month I’ll be working on the second season of the digital series “Karma’s A B*tch.” It’s a brilliant show that had over one million views in season one, created by Annie Wood (you can see it here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FMyoCSxyoII&list=PLP3FXak42IHhCnw6qQtCDJNxJfTtwlHVs and here http://www.anniewood.com ).
Also, a production group I shot a movie with last year just told me that they’ve written a script with me in mind for the lead role. The story’s compelling and the role is fantastic. I’ll be a priest with a shadowy past caught in an interesting scheme. I feel very honored to have received this offer.
On the writing side, one of the things I’m working on is a screenplay that my wife and I have been engaged to write together. It’s based on a very peculiar true story of a person in show business (can’t disclose more information now).
Finally, I’m beginning to work on a new novel, a comedy.

 

 

Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I started writing in school as part of homework. I loved my stories, but my teacher didn’t like my writing. I stopped writing.
When I became an actor it was hard to fill the time in between jobs. As a storyteller I feel I constantly have to create or I get clogged, like my nose now with the cold, or a broken toilet. It’s very unpleasant.
I started writing, and I loved that I could do it everywhere, anytime, just because I wanted to. I wrote and performed my one man show, “Life & Me… What A Couple!” I wrote a couple of screenplays. One of them won an award. From then on out, I never stopped writing. My novel, GOOD LIKE THIS, is based on that award winning screenplay.
Acting is very visceral, dynamic, practical, you start from a world that has been already created (by the writer), and you immerse yourself in it.
Writing is more of a “God job.” You start from nothing. A blank page. You have to create the entire world of the story (“In the begging was the word…”). It’s a beautiful adventure and a big responsibility. That’s also why I started to write and I keep writing.

 

 

Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I wrote the story that my teacher didn’t like, but it took me years to realize it. The assignment was, “Write anything you want.” I called my story, “A Hole In The Wall.” It was about what I would have found if I ventured into a hole that I saw in the wall. I was seven years old. I thought it was beautiful. I just had a tough crowd.
Then I loved writing my graduation theses. I remember feeling great just about sitting in front of the computer and writing. I liked the physical act of writing. Then I wrote an article for a financial magazine. I had more fun writing that article than making any of the deals on the job.
There’s something about putting words on a page that feels beautiful, transcendental, universal, and fun.

 

 

Fiona: What inspired you to write this book?
The desire to tell an entertaining and inspiring story (in that order) about a simple concept: it’s not what we have that counts, or that makes us happy or miserable. It’s what we do with it. GOOD LIKE THIS is a passionate and fast paced story about a family that has to come to terms with its lies. Each character has a chance to learn to love and to accept themselves. Ultimately it’s a story about transformation and the power of our choices.

 

 

Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
“Good like this” is a line that Paul, the protagonist, says toward the end of the story. When my wife read the manuscript she said, “How about “Good Like This” for the title?”
I’m a wise man, I listen to my wife.

 

 

Fiona: How much of the book is realistic? Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I always start by writing what I know. Not just about specific facts (like diabetes – I have type 1 diabetes since the age of seven – or investment banking, or drug addiction – I lost my father to drugs), but mostly about human conditions and emotions, like desire, ambition, lies, passion, fear, delusion, love.
Most of the things about diabetes and addiction are very real, either from my own experience or from someone very close to me. But everything is immersed in the fictional world of this family, struggling to face their truth and learn to love and accept themselves and each other.

 

 

Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book? Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
The hardest part is always when I have to dig deep inside myself to create characters that are real and true. That’s the most challenging part. If I do my job well it is also the most rewarding, because it will resonate with the readers.
In GOOD LIKE THIS, all the parts that where about Paul’s “addiction” to taking poor care of his health were very hard to write. The comas, the choices that almost led to death, the denial, the anger, the fear, the shame. I had to be shamelessly honest with myself about my experience in those areas, and put that truth on the page.
Also the fights between Paul and Candice, their moments of insecurity and fear were very personal to me and challenging to write with simple honesty. When writing about their little daughter, Sally, her solitude and her pain while her family was falling apart, it required me to relive similar parts of my experience, feel that pain again, so I could put it on the page.
But, like I said, even if hard and challenging, these are also the parts that give the story its humanity, its heart, and, hopefully, make it touch the reader’s heart.

 

 

Fiona: What books have most influenced your life?
“The Prophet,” Khalil Gibran.
“Orlando,” Virginia Wolf.
“The Little Prince,” Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

 

 

Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Shakespeare.
And Woody Allen.

 

 

Fiona: What book are you reading now?
“Time and Again,” Jack Finney, and “The Holden Age of Hollywood,” Phil Brody.

 

 

Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Write. Observe and listen, outside and inside of yourself. Read. Be interested. Live life. Love. Laugh. Sleep. Repeat.

 

 

Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you! I write for you. I hope you enjoy my stories. Tell your friends and loved ones, if you do. And stay in touch with me, I love to hear from you.

 

 

Fiona: Do you have any hobbies ?
Yes, several. My favorite is sailing. I love working out, yoga, meditation, painting, watching movies, walking, road trips.

 

 

Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Everything that makes me laugh, touches my heart, and inspires my mind.

 

 

Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Salad / Turquoise / The sound of the waives and the wind.

 

 

Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?

Website: www.peterarpesella.com
Blog: How About This. Stories, stories, stories. http://www.peterarpesella.com/blog/
Find out more about GOOD LIKE THIS, A Novel here
http://www.smarturl.it/GoodLikeThis
Tell me what you think. I’d love to hear from you!
Twitter: @peterarp
Facebook: Peter Arpesella Author

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Here is my interview with David Ciferri

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Name   David Ciferri

Age   58 on 9 November 2014

Where are you from?   Poughkeepsie in Upstate New York, USA

A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc.   I was born and raised in the town of Poughkeepsie, New York, where I still live. My influences were a wonderful family, good friends, and endless summers while growing up, teachers who knew how to inspire, and work that challenged and rewarded me. I am a clinical social worker who has worked extensively with at-risk adolescents.

 

 

Fiona: Tell us your latest news?

My first novel, Here By Mistake: The Secret of the Niche, has been published. It is a Young Adult time-travel adventure about three high school friends who inadvertently transport from upstate New York in 2005 to New Orleans in 1965. Enthralled by their new surroundings, the kids explore the mid-1960s American South while striving to return to their own time and place. The story is told from the perspective of Brandon, age 14, who grows in understanding of himself and others over the course of the narrative.

 

 

Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I began Here By Mistake in August, 2005 and worked on many drafts of it over the years in my spare time (which I had little of). I have done a great deal of expository and clinical writing over many years, but Here By Mistake is my first foray into fiction. I wrote it because I enjoy storytelling and wanted to try my hand at putting a story on paper. I also wanted to create characters from an age group I like and understand well.

 

 

Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I don’t know that I do. If my writing finds an audience, I suppose I will consider myself a writer.

 

 

Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

In addition to my wish to put a story on paper, I wanted to play with time travel, a concept I love and one which has fired my imagination since I was a kid.

 

 

Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?

Hopefully, my style is visual and detailed without being cluttered, with good pacing for a YA audience (and adult readers).

 

 

Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

With difficulty. I struggled through five or six before settling on Here By Mistake: The Secret of the Niche.

 

 

Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

My novel is an adventure, with suspense and humor, and if readers enjoy it on those terms I’ll be happy. I also hope readers will note that my main character, Brandon, is shaped by the challenges he faces and comes through them knowing himself better and treating others with more forbearance.

 

 

Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?

Period detail is accurate. 31-cent gasoline may sound ridiculous, but that’s what Americans paid back in 1965. Sights and sounds of New Orleans are sometimes embellished, but those who know the city will recognize it. The fictional Upstate New York town of Rollings bears a remarkable resemblance to Poughkeepsie and other burgs in the vicinity.

 

 

Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

I grew up in the Sixties, and some of my experiences add texture and background to the story. Unfortunately, I never got a crack at time travel.

 

 

Fiona: What books have most influenced your life?

David Copperfield and Great Expectations, for their peerless descriptions of the terrors and triumphs of growing up.

 

 

Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

I have never met him, but to the extent I have been mentored by the work of a current author, Stephen King.

 

 

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

Time and Again by Jack Finney (a time-travel story).

 

 

Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

Jack Finney, though not new, is new to me, and I find his book absorbing.

 

 

Fiona: What are your current projects?

I am outlining a sequel to Here By Mistake: The Secret of the Niche.

 

 

Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

The editors who worked on my manuscript, who critiqued my work well while encouraging my efforts.

 

 

Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

I probably will if my work finds an audience.

 

 

Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

Over the years I went through many drafts, changing many details. If I were to make another pass, more details would certainly change. But I wouldn’t make a fundamental change in the narrative.

 

 
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

From my interest in storytelling, and my wish to try it on paper.

 

 

Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?

My outline of a sequel to Here By Mistake: The Secret of the Niche involves a trip to the future.

 

 

Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Showing the evolution of a character – his thinking and actions – as his insight deepens.

 

 

Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

Charles Dickens. (See comment on David Copperfield and Great Expectations above.)

 

 

Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

No, I have traveled to New Orleans, but the trip was prior to my decision to write a novel.

 

 

Fiona: Who designed the covers?

The design team at Hillcrest Media (with my input).

 

 

Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Creating characters and breathing life into them so that the reader would believe in them and care about them.

 

 

Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

Yes. I learned how to write fiction, which is very different than the expository and clinical writing I had done previously.

 

 

Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?

Write draft after draft until you find your voice and your narrative flows. Then submit your work to a professional editor and remain open to his/her critique.

 

 

Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

I loved writing the book and I hope you will love reading it.

 

 

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

 

 

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

The antics of kids and adolescents (most of the time) make me laugh. I’m not really a crier, but if I see one more news report about a school shooting, that may change.

 

 

Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?

Although he is known to have disliked Americans, I would love to meet Charles Dickens and discuss the characters from his novels.

 

 

Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why?

“He helped people”

 

 

Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?

Bicycling; photography.

 

 

Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?

’m not a big TV watcher, but as for films I like character-driven dramas and well-crafted science fiction stories.

 

 

Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music

Pizza, burgers; blue, red; film scores, classical.

 

 

Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?

I’ve never done any acting, but I sometimes wish I had tried it.

 

 

Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?   Yes, my book’s website is at www.herebymistake.com

The cover of my book is on the page following.

Many thanks for the interview and for your interest in my book.

41w09tvAVDL

 

Here is my interview with Regan Walker

Regan Walker profile pic 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Name: Regan Walker
Where are you from? California
A little about yourself `ie your education Family life etc :
I’m a lawyer turned romance writer. I was educated on both coasts. My mother taught me to read when I was four. Since then, I’ve always had my nose stuck in a book! Now that I’m a writer of historical romance, I’m mostly on the computer. But I have a wonderful Golden Retriever who insists I take him on long walks twice a day. So I do get out! I have one child, a tall, dark and handsome son in his 20s.

 

 
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
After finishing my Agents of the Crown trilogy of Regency romances, and several related stories, I just finished my first ever medieval romance, The Red Wolf’s Prize. I am very excited about it. It was such an adventure diving into the 11th century and England after the Norman Conquest. I wanted to see how an English maiden dealt with being given to the enemy as his bride. Knowing my heroine would rebel, I knew that I had a story of deception as well as love.

 

 
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I began writing at an early age, but when I became a lawyer, most of what I wrote was advocacy on behalf of clients or boring legal stuff. In 2011, hearing me talk about alternative endings to some of the historical romances I was reading, my best friend urged me to write a story of my own. That book was my first, Racing With the Wind, published in 2012. The rest is history.

 

 
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Interestingly, it was not when I began writing, but when I saw my book on Amazon. And when readers liked it and gave it good reviews, I was stunned, and oh, so grateful. It was then I knew I was a writer and an author.

 

 
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
It really was my best friend’s urging. But when I turned to writing the story, I picked a time in history I liked where much was going on in Paris. I like strong heroines and stronger heroes (in real life as well as in fiction) so this first book, like all my books since, features such. And all my books include real history. There is also much of me in my first novel as my friends have told me.

 

 

Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Well, my editor tells me I make my point and move on. I like a story that moves well so you’ll not find my characters wallowing in introspection too long. I’d say my style was direct with a definite romantic heart.

 

 
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
The opening scene, the wolf attack, was the first that came to me. And then I had this line in my head: “The wolf will hunt for the jewel hidden among the stones, and if he finds it, his cubs will advise kings for generations.” And that told me that there would be a prize…was it the lands William the Conqueror gave the Norman knight, the one called the Red Wolf? Or was it the English maiden the king gave the knight? That’s how I came up with The Red Wolf’s Prize.

 

 
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
There might be. It’s a story of letting go of the past in order to embrace the future, no matter how difficult a change that might be.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
All of my stories feature real historical figures and real history. I try and make them as realistic as possible. This one is no different. William the Conqueror is a character and I did much research to portray him accurately. The story is set in England in 1068, two years after the Conquest, and it features the Siege of Exeter and the Battle of York, both of which occurred that year. Of course, ther is a fictional romance, but it could have happened. I like to think so~!

 

 
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Neither. However, my life experiences did come into play, as they do with all authors.

 

 
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?
That is a most difficult question. In the nonfiction area, I would say the Bible, followed by the great works of men (mostly) who made a difference in the world. Winston Churchill was my hero growing up (I named my son after him). I recall one biography of Amy Carmichael, A Chance to Die, by Elisabeth Elliott, that influenced me as a young woman. Amy Carmichael gave her lift to India and saved the lives of young girls in the process. In the historical romance area, it would be books by authors like Jan Cox Speas (Bride of the MacHugh), Penelope Williamson (the Passions of Emma) and Kathleen Givens (On a Highland Shore).

 

 

Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Probably it would be NY Times Bestselling Authors Virginia Henley and Heather Graham. Both of them have written superb historical romance based on significant research. Virginia has been kind enough to read my books and offer quotes that I promptly put on the covers. She always includes history as a character.

 

 
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Well, on my Historical Romance Review blog, I read a different subgenre each month. Coincidentally, October is medieval romance on my blog so I am reading the books on that “to read” shelf of my library. I read a book every few days so for which of those I’m reading, you have to check out my Goodreads “currently reading” shelf.

 

 
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Yes, quite a few. I like Ellen O’Connell for Westerns, Amanda Hughes for angst-ridden gritty historicals, and Carmen Caine for Scottish historicals.

 

 
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I am writing To Tame the Wind, the prequel to my trilogy. It’s set in France and England in the late 18th century during the American Revolutionary War when England was fighting to keep the Colonies, and France was helping fund our independence. Paris was an interesting place. The hero, Capt. Simon Powell, is an English privateer, and the heroine, Claire Donet, is the wild daughter of a French nobleman’s son, who has turned pirate. The research requited for this one is incredible but I’m already writing.

 

 
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
My best friend.

 

 

 

Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes, I do, and I only wished I’d started in my 20s. If I had it to do over, I’d have majored in history, got an advanced degree and taught at the university level while I wrote romance in my spare time.

 

 
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Not a thing.

 

 
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
The middle of the book. I’m a “pantser” (I write by the seat of my pants; no plot a forehand). The beginning and the end are usually relatively easy but the middle is a morass.

 

 
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I travel a lot in my mind, through books and on my computer. I remember for some scenes in Wind Raven, I spent a week in Bermuda online. I was so saturated with the history and culture and food that I felt as if I’d actually traveled there. I’ve also been to over 40 countries, so I have a lot to draw upon. But I also do research with travel. My trip to Scotland in September was a research trip for a book I hope to write in future.

 

 
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I am always very involved in my covers. It is usually a collaboration between me and the cover artist. I pick the images and the style and then worked with the draft they came up with to get the final I want. The Red Wolf’s Prize was a bit different, as I sought out the artist and told her what I wanted. She painted over a photo shopped image to get the medieval effect. And then I used a cover artist to finish it. And I am pleased with the end result. I was going for a “classic” look that my Goodreads friends told me they missed in modern covers.

 

 
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Working in the 11th century in my mind to get the mindset and the culture. It took hundreds of hours of research.

 

 
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned that I can write in any historical period and that I love the challenge of setting a book in a different era. I will likely always be doing something new.

 

 
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Yes. Just finish the book and don’t let others change your voice. Then get a good editor who can make your work better.

 

 
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you, thank you, thank you—for reading my books and writing reviews! I love hearing from my readers as to what they’d like to see in my future novels, too. If you love my work, join my Street Team! (They can do that from my website.)

 

 
Fiona: Other than writing, do you have any hobbies?
Yes, I like to cook. I remember one time I was studying for my Criminal Law final while baking a cheesecake. I needed the break that cooking gave me.

 

 
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I like series pieces that take me into history (or a reasonable semblance of it): Outlander, Game of Thrones, the Borgias, Vikings.

 

 
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
I like anything French or Italian. And seafood is a staple in my diet. I have a weakness for dark chocolate—the gourmet kind. My favorite color is red. And I like all kinds of music. I write to a 3-hour playlist of movie scores (no words; just music). My favorite composer is Alexandre Desplat.

 

 
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Well, I think I did it. I was a lawyer, and before that, I thought of myself as a scientist of sorts (my other degree is in Ecology).

 

 
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Yes, I have a website and a very active blog. Here are my links:
Regan’s website: http://www.reganwalkerauthor.com/
Regan’s blog: http://reganromancereview.blogspot.com/
Twitter: @RegansReview (https://twitter.com/RegansReview)
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/regan.walker.104
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6450403.Regan_Walker

And, of course, here’s The Red Wolf’s Prize on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Wolfs-Prize-Medieval-Warriors-Book-ebook/dp/B00MRF8WVA

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Here is my interview with Michelle Lowe

25

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Name: Michelle Lowe

Age: 35

Where are you from? Originally, I’m from Atlanta Georgia.

 

A little about yourself `ie your education Family life etc

I’m a high school graduate who went through a couple of years of college before leaving when I discovered my true passion was becoming a writer. I’m married and have two beautiful daughters, Mia and Kirsten.

 

 

Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
Michelle: I’ve been lucky enough to have been accepted into the Beau Coup LLC family, and last summer they published my latest novel, Atlantic Pyramid!

 

 

Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

Michelle: I’ve always written little stories throughout my life, yet it wasn’t until 1998 that I decided to pursue it as a career. During that time, I’d lost someone very dear to me, and one night I wanted to momentarily escape my grief by elaborating on a short story I had. As I wrote, something clicked and right then I instantly fell in love with storytelling and knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life.
 

 

Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Michelle: I guess, I really thought of myself as a true writer when I received my first review for my debut novel, The Warning. To have someone like something you’ve created, something you put so much heart and soul into, was not only a great feeling, but it told me that I might actually know what I’m doing.
 

 

Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

Michelle: When I ready to write something for publication, I learned that murder mysteries sold well so I figured I’d write my own kind of murder mystery. I already had several little stories in my head for awhile, like an artificial human who escaped its creator, a group of justice seekers searching for truths, and a young man accused of murdering his ex girlfriend. I decided to put these little stories together into one story.
 

 

Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?

Michelle: Generally, I prefer to write in third person just because I like to get into the heads of other characters just as much as the protagonist(s). Even though it’s somewhat acceptable to switch POVs when a book is in first person, it just isn’t my style. Atlantic Pyramid had started out in third person but later on I changed it to first person when I felt it would better serve the story.  
 

 

Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

Michelle: It was meant to be a temporary title. I thought several times to chance it, but obviously I stuck with it. Since the story took place inside the Bermuda Triangle which, of course, is in the Atlantic Ocean, Atlantic came to mind. In the story, I described the island inside the triangle as looking like a pyramid so I had Atlantic Pyramid.
 

 

Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Michelle: Atlantic Pyramid is a survival story about determination and self growth. The protagonist, Heath Sharp, strives to the brink of madness to find a way out of the triangle. I guess the message is to never give up.
 

 

Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?

Michelle: Although a complete fantasy, I tried to keep it as organic as possible in order to make it appear realistic. Even so, the disappearances within the triangle are very much real.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Michelle: There’s a lot of paranormal subject matter in this book. I’ve had a handful of paranormal experiences throughout my life, some that still make me shudder when I think about it.

 

 

Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?

Michelle: Joe Hill, captivated me in his novel, Heart Shaped Box. Not only did I love the storyline, but was wowed by his writing style and the way he described his scenes. It inspired me to dig deeper into emotions and find new ways to describe things.

Dean Koontz’s novel, Life Expectancy is another great read that I learned certain writing techniques from.
 

 

Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Michelle: Neil Gaiman. He’s a brilliant writer and storyteller and in his stories there lies deep meaning that I have tried to incorporate into my own work.

 

 

 

Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Michelle: I between books, The Steampunk Bible, by Jeff Vandermeer and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick.

 

 

Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

Michelle: I recently read Black Feathers (the Black Dawn) and The Book of the Crowman by Joseph D’ Lacey, and these are two very well written novels that pulls you into a world full of love, horror, self awareness, and mystery. Joseph is a splendid writer who gets right down into the grit of his novels and brings you right there as if you were actually part of the story. I look forward to read more of his work.

 

 

Fiona: What are your current projects?

Michelle: One of the reasons why I’m reading The Steampunk Bible! I’m in the middle of a series, titled, Legacy, in which takes place in the world of steampunk. The series centers around a gypsy born, turned thief, young man named Pierce Landcross. In the first book, Pierce is fleeing England after he tried stealing from Queen Vitoria herself. Fate has other plans for him when a man named Tarquin Norwich ropes Pierce into a quest to help find a toy-maker, Indigo Peachtree, and his journal which contains the secrets on how to gain immense power.
 

 

Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

Michelle: I can name two. Catherine Rudy and May Bestall. They are my mentors who are part of this workshop program for new writers, called Wolf Pirate Project. These wonderful ladies taught me how to write and gave me much needed constructive criticism that made me grow greatly as a writer. Their support and guidance helped change my life.

 

 

Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

Michelle: It’s not an easy one, especially for novelists, but there are people out there that have made a living at it. I can only hope I’ll someday reach that level of success to be able to truly title my writing jig as an actual career.
 

 

Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

Michelle: Honestly, and I don’t say this about most of my work, but I’m perfectly content with the way Atlantic Pyramid turned out.
 

 

Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

Michelle: Whether in the form of movies, TV shows, songs or books, without stories the world would be a dull place to live in. It thrills me to no end to be part of something as ancient as storytelling. Growing up, I’d watch or read something and if there was a part in it that I didn’t like I’d think on how I would write it differently. Or if liked a story enough I’d write what is considered today as Fanfiction and write my own versions.
 

 

Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Michelle: Sure! Here’s a book blurb about Atlantic Pyramid.

The flight started out as usual for flight instructor, Heath Sharp, and his student, Gavin Cole, until a sudden storm forces them to crash into the Atlantic Ocean. Heath awakens to find Gavin dead and his plane stuck in the middle of a historical junkyard. The Bermuda Triangle has claimed hundreds of ships and planes over the centuries and Heath has accidentally happened upon them. Set in the center of the junkyard is an island inhabited by nearly every pilot, sailor, and passenger of those lost transporters, still alive and unchanged.  The island is the centerpiece of one of the world’s greatest mysteries and there is no escape for anyone caught in its web. Yet Heath refuses to believe this foggy, dark place will become his last destination and searches for the greatest unfound treasure of all: a way out.

 

 

 

Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Michelle: For me, it’s finding new ways to surprise my readers. When writing anything, I do my best to keep my readers in mind and question, would a reader be wowed by this? Would they get chocked up, would they laugh, or feel the emotion the same as this character? When I don’t believe that the reader will do or feel any of these things, I strive to think up another way to approach the scene that, I hope, will improve the quality of it.

 

 

 

Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Michelle: I adored many of the authors whose books I’ve read, but if I were to choose one, I’d say Neil Gaiman. I’ve loved his work since I was fifteen and reading his Sandman graphic novels. Neil has a brilliant trait in taking you into made up worlds and making you believe they could actually exist.

 

 

 

Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

I wish! I love traveling and to do so for my books would be a dream come true. There’s so much inspiration out there and so many interesting people to meet. Umm, maybe I should start a Kickstarter project?
 

 

Fiona: Who designed the covers?

Michelle: I’ve designed and created every cover except for Atlantic Pyramid. I had come up with an idea for its design and one of my mentors, May Bestall, made it better.
 

 

Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Michelle: Figuring out what came next. I’m the kind of author who needs an outline. Usually I write one out to help guide me through the story. With Atlantic Pyramid, I had only part of an outline, leaving me flying blind for most of the way.
 

 

Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

Michelle: I learned many things while doing research, but what I’ve learned the most was opening up my creativity box a little more. I taught myself how to take chances with my ideas and intertwine the fantasy, the theories, and the realities while maintaining the right balance to keep one from overlapping the other.
 

 

Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?

Michelle: It’s very tempting nowadays with the access of free self publishing, but you must be patient. Don’t hurry along with your story just to get it out there. Take your time to write it out as best as you can, revise it numerous times, seek editorial help, and wait a little while afterwards to take that last read through before either submitting it to publishers or publishing it yourself. Showcasing professional work will reflect on you more favorable. Take constructive criticism with a positive attitude and learn from it. Be humble and write what you love!
 

 

Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Thank you! Thanks for reading my stories and to those who leave reviews, thank you all for your kind words. I can only hope that I will continue surprising you with my works to come.

 

 

 

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

I don’t remember the very first book I read, but my first chapter book I finished was Old Yeller.

 

 

 

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

Michelle: I love to laugh and perhaps I can be easily amused at times. Seeing other people laugh even without knowing what they’re laughing about makes me chuckle. What really gets me going is a good standup comic who tells good stories in their comical way.

There are plenty of things that can make me cry. Loss, cruelty, bad traffic! Something that tugs on my heartstrings the most are those happy moments, like soldiers being reunited with their families, animal rescues, and an underprivileged child given a second chance in life. *Sniff* Sorry, feeling a bit verklempt.

 

 

 

Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?

Michelle: I wrote a book about the infamous highwayman, Claude Du Vall, titled, Cherished Thief. I suppose, I would like to meet him and ask if I got his story right.

 

 

 

Fiona: What do you want written on your headstone and why?

Michelle: Well, I plan on having an eco-friendly burial, no embalming or casket, just put into the ground and become part of the earth. If I were to have a message on a tombstone, however, I’d want some oddball like, ‘Hi, there! Come take a seat. Have some tea and tell me your story.’

 

 

 

Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?

Michelle: I like oil painting and doing little arts and craft projects, especially around Halloween time.

 

 

 

Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?

Michelle: Oh, I have a list of shows, such as Game of Thrones, Walking Dead, Sleepy Hollow, Face Off, and Vikings.  I won’t bore you with all the movies I like, but some of my favorites are Star Wars, The Neverending Story, Lost Boys, and the first three Indiana Jones.

 

 

 

Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music

Michelle: I’m not much of a foodie; however, I do enjoy a good cluster or two, or three of crab legs. Colors? I love purple, red, and black. Don’t get me started on music! I love so much of it, I don’t really have a favorite. I do fancy Tori Amos, Abney Park, Amanda Palmer, Warpaint, Concrete Blonde, Alice in Chains, and Kidneythieves.

 

 

 

Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?

Michelle: I’d loved to be a movie director.

 

 

 

Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?

Michelle: I do, it’s www.michellelowe.net.  You can also find me on Facebook and Twitter.

@Michellelowe_7

www.facebook.com/michelleloweauthor

 

My Amazon page http://www.amazon.com/Michelle-Lowe/e/B004W0CUIE/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

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