Here is my interview with Jacquie Rogers

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Name: Jacquie Rogers

Age: I rather think of myself as vintage.

Where are you from? I live in Seattle, Washington, USA, now but I’m from Owyhee County in Idaho, and a good share of my stories are set there.

A little about your self; i.e., your education, family life, etc.

I grew up in Owyhee County, Idaho, where most of my books are set.  The Old West still lives on there, and it was great fun to ride horses all over the hills with my friends.  But my favorite thing to do then and now was read.  My husband and in live in the big city now.  I miss my old stomping grounds, but I enjoy Seattle, too.  Writing has brought me many friends, most of whom I’ve never met in person, but they are dear to me just the same.

 

 

Fiona: Tell us your latest news?

Jacquie:  I have two recent releases.  The first is a western historical romance duet with Caroline Clemmons titled Mail-Order Tangle.  She wrote the first book, Mail-Order Promise, and I wrote the second, Mail-Order Ruckus.  You can read more about it at the Mail-Order Tangle blog.

The other release is my short story, Have Wand – Will Travel, in Cowboys, Creatures, and Calico, Volume 2.  This is a crazy-fun story that’s a mash-up of Have Gun – Will Travel, Narnia, and The Princess Bride.  The other stories in this anthology are excellent reading, too, and they’re a wonderful bunch of authors.  I wrote about my story at the Prairie Rose Publications blog.

 

 

Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

Jacquie: I started writing in 1996 for lack of anything else to do (I was sick) and have been at it ever since.  Before that, I’d never given a single thought to being a writer.

 

 

Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Jacquie: It sort of came gradually.  Probably the first rejection started me thinking I could be a writer, because it was very encouraging.

 

 

Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

Jacquie:  I dreamed it.  That book will never see the light of day.  It’s my learning book.  But I still love the characters and the story.  It’s a time-travel to the future and is somewhat of a mash-up of later movies: Fifth Element, Firefly, and Cowboys and Aliens.

 

 

Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?

Jacquie:  All my stories are fast-paced and lighthearted.  There are no messages.  I love braincandy so that’s what I write.

 

 

Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

Jacquie:  For Mail-Order Tangle, it was a collaborative brainstorming session with Caroline Clemmons.  Both Dickerson sisters were mail-order brides, and both encountered difficulties that neither of them were prepared to handle—a tangled up mess.  Hence, Mail-Order Tangle.

 

 

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

Jacquie:  Just that love will prevail.  I don’t write self-help books.

 

 

Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?

JacquieHave Wand – Will Travel isn’t realistic at all.  There’s a mage, a centaur-horse-unicorn shifter, griffins, a giant man-eating centipede, and beavers of extraordinary size.  I don’t know about you but I’ve never seen any of those in real life. LOL.  As for Mail-Order Tangle, both books have authentic settings and the mail-order bride business boomed in the Old West.  Of course, fiction is larger than life, so while I’d say the stories are authentic and plausible, I wouldn’t call them realistic.  But then, isn’t that the fun of it all?

 

 

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

Jacquie:  I often include peripheral characters that are an amalgam of people I’ve known.  That’s one of the things that make storytelling so fun.  The main characters, though, are generally all from my imagination.  As for experiences, I grew up on a dairy farm in a remote area that is still very similar to the Old West, so I have a wealth of incidents that happened to me or to my friends from which I can and do draw.

 

 

Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?

Jacquie:  More than individual books, just the act of reading obsessively shaped me more than anything.  Especially my backside, although now I can read my Kindle while on my exercise bicycle.  Yes, I have favorite books—my favorite of all time is The King Must Die by Mary Renault.  It would be interesting to re-read that book because I haven’t read it since I started writing, so I might have a different perspective after having learned the craft.

 

 

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

Jacquie:  Many authors have helped me over the years.  Gerri Russell, Karen Harbaugh, Stella Cameron, Judith Laik, and my critique partners, Ann Charles and Wendy Delaney.  I’ve also learned a lot from Caroline Clemmons.  After I’d written a couple books, I read one of hers and loved it.  I analyzed that book for plot and structure, so I’ve been a fan of hers for a long time.  You can just imagine how delighted I was to work with her!

 

 

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

Jacquie:  I’m just getting ready to start Outlaw Ranger by James Reasoner.

 

 

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

Jacquie:  All the time.  Isn’t that the greatest thing about the new publishing landscape?  I’ve found some really talented writers whose works would never have been published five years ago.  Two brand new authors are Kathleen Rice Adams and Kirsten Lynn, both of whom are very gifted.

 

 

Fiona: What are your current projects?

Jacquie:  I’m writing the first chapter for the sixteenth volume of Wolf Creek (all the authors write under the house name Ford Fargo), also the second story of my Muleskinners series, No Small Tempest, and the fifth book of my Hearts of Owyhee series, Much Ado About Mustangs.  Plus I have some other works in the stewpot.

 

 

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

Jacquie:  I can’t.  There isn’t just one.  I’ve been blessed with many, many people who’ve helped me every step of the way.  Currently, Western Fictioneers, Prairie Rose Publications, and dozens of friends are lending me the strength and motivation to carry on.

 

 

Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

Jacquie:  Yes.  I want to write more books, but I can’t do that if I don’t sell books, so writing morphs into a career whether you planned it or not.  That said, being an author requires all the same tools that any other business owner needs.  Only thing is, most of us would rather be writing than marketing or bookkeeping.

 

 

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

Jacquie:  Anything can be improved, but once it’s published, I get amnesia; otherwise, I’d worry it to death and that’s certainly not productive.  So I guess the answer would be no.

 

 

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

Jacquie:  It just happened.  My mother wanted to be a writer and she wanted me to be one, too.  That’s why I did just about anything else.  But once I started writing, the bug bit me and here I am.

 

 

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

Jacquie:  This is an excerpt from Mail-Order Ruckus, my story in Mail-Order Tangle.  This is where the hero, Matt Johanssen, first sees Laura Dickerson, the heroine.  Just before that, his uncle had given him a new puppy.

Mail-Order Tangle

© Copyright 2014 Caroline Clemmons and Jacquie Rogers

From Mail-Order Ruckus:

“Miss Dickerson?”  He gawked again.  “Miss Laura Dickerson?  What the hell is she doing here?”  Feeling contrite over his language, he nodded toward Helga.  “Pardon my French.”

“Yep, I was right.  Matt’s seen her up close, so he’d recognize her.”

“And you knew she was coming with the brides?”

“Inga wrote.”

Matt wondered if this was some crazy scheme of Kage’s to get him leg-shackled.  If so, it wasn’t going to work.  He vowed to have words with his cousin next time they met up, and those words might be followed by a little tap to the nose.

The short man in a green striped suit stood beside Miss Dickerson and called out an invitation to sign up.  He explained that only those men on the roster would be allowed to court the women.  Of course, it cost ten dollars to sign up.

Helga pushed him forward.  “Go ahead, Matt, sign up.”

“Not a way in the world.”  He couldn’t believe Miss Dickerson stood with a bunch of husband-hunters.  Laura was a decent, beautiful woman who’d make any man a fine wife.  She didn’t have to resort to antics such as this.  She deserved to be courted proper, not auctioned off on the balcony of the Idaho Hotel.

Warmth trailed from his heart and pooled in his waistband.

Puppy pee.

*   *   *

 

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

Jacquie:  Description and transitions—all the housekeeping you have to do to get from one scene to the next.  Dialogue comes easy.  Sometimes it’s difficult to think of unique situations, or unique ways to turn ordinary situations to something usable.

 

 

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

Jacquie:  Caroline Clemmons is a favorite, as I already mentioned, but honestly, I can’t pick just one.  There are so many who have amazing bodies of work.  Robert Randisi has written over 700 books and they’re all good; James Reasoner has written over 300 and they’re all good.  I can’t even whittle it down to my top ten.  Top fifty might be doable.

 

 

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

Jacquie:  Not really.  Most of my books are set in Owyhee County, Idaho, and I go back there as often as I can.  Sleight of Heart was set in Colorado where I rode the narrow-gauge steam train from Silverton to Durango, which plays heavily in the book.  But I’ve written others that were set in places I’ve never been.  Google Earth helps a lot.

 

 

Fiona: Who designed the covers?

Jacquie:  Dar Albert designed the cover for MAIL-ORDER TANGLE.  Livia Washburn Reasoner designed the cover for Cowboys, Creatures, and Calico (both volumes).

 

 

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

Jacquie:  The grind.  I love dreaming up the characters and the situation.  Plotting is fun.  But writing a book is a marathon and I have a short attention span.  It’s really hard to stay on task when there are so many other stories that are waiting to be fleshed out.

 

 

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

Jacquie:  I always learn something from every book, novella, or short story because I do a lot of research.  History books tell you about battles and politics, but they’re sorely lacking on daily life.  What does an average farmer do from dawn to dusk?  I grew up on a farm so I already knew that, but it’s an example.  In Much Ado About Marshals, I learned quite a lot about patent medicines.  In Much Ado About Madams, I researched Old West brothels.  For Sleight of Heart, I had to learn about poker in 1883—the rules were different then, and so were the cards.  The mail-order bride business wasn’t straightforward, either.  There were many different schemes and I had to find one that fit.  In every book, I learn more about the craft of writing and what works or doesn’t work for me.

 

 

Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?

Jacquie:  I used to have a lot of advice but the more I write, the less advice I have to give.  Writers need to read, though.  That’s the one thing that gets shoved by the wayside when you’re so busy writing your own stories.

 

 

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

Jacquie:  First and foremost, thank you!  And thank you, Fiona, for hosting me today.

 

 

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

Jacquie:  No, I don’t, but I was a big fan of Billy Goat Gruff.

 

 

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

Jacquie:  Situational humor and double entendres make me laugh.  Sentimental things make me cry.

 

 

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

Jacquie:  I’d like to meet my ancestor, Gamellus de Alsop, who was given the township of Alsop-en-le-Dale in Derbyshire by one of William’s nobles, Henry de Ferrers.  Gamellus fought in the Battle of Hastings and it would be intriguing to listen to his story.

 

 

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

Jacquie:  She made us laugh.

 

 

Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?

Jacquie:  I like to watch baseball and rodeo.  I also like work Sudoku puzzles, and of course, I love reading.

 

 

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

Jacquie:  I don’t watch TV—can’t abide all the commercials.  Besides, if I like a series, it’s a sure-fire indication that the show will be cancelled.  Favorite films are Apple Dumpling Gang, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Blazing Saddles, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, The Outlaw Josey Wales—mostly westerns and romcoms.

 

 

Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music

Jacquie:  Strawberry shortcake/ jewel colors/ rock, country

 

 

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

Jacquie:  I did a lot of things before I started writing—campaign manager, deli clerk, office manager, bookkeeper, software developer, and I even milked cows.  But what I love to do is photography.

 

Links:

Mail-Order Tangle

Have Wand – Will Travel

Cowboys, Creatures, and Calico, Vol. 2

Other links:

Jacquie’s Website | Pickle Barrel Gazette | Pickle Barrel Bar & Books

Facebook | Amazon  | Pinterest | Twitter | Goodreads

Blogs

Romancing The West | Jacquie Rogers, Author

Books

Hearts of Owyhee series

Much Ado About Marshals

Much Ado About Madams

Much Ado About Mavericks

Much Ado About Miners

High Stakes Heroes series

Sleight of Heart

Short stories/novellas

Muleskinners #1: Judge Not

Don’t Go Snaring My Heart (Lassoing a Groom)

Much Ado About Misfires (Rawhide ’n Roses)

A Flare of the Heart (Hearts and Spurs)

A Gift for Rhoda (Wishing for a Cowboy)

’Twas the Fight Before Christmas (A Wolf Creek Christmas)

Single Girls Can’t Jump

Willow, Wish For Me

Non-fiction Books (with Ann Charles)

Nail It! The Secret to Building an Effective Fiction Writer’s Platform

Growing Your Audience: Workbook for Published, Unpublished, and Under-published Writers

 

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Here is my interview with Betsy J. Bennett

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Name: Betsy J. Bennett

Age 59

Where are you from originally from?

New York. We now live in Michigan.

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

I’ve got two grown daughters and five grandchildren. My husband and I have been married almost 40 years. We always have pets, right now an English bulldog and two cats.

 

 

Fiona: Tell us your latest news?

Latest news?  The third book in my Dragon’s Roost Bed and Breakfast series was published yesterday. I’m very excited to see it out. It’s as paranormal romance called a Wizard’s Spell. After he is shot, Pierce “dies” long enough to go on a walkabout and see this woman in trouble. He is reunited with his body before he gets her name, but he’s a wizard and using his arts, he can find her.

The series involves a Bed and Breakfast in upstate New York that sits on the nexus of other worlds. There is a dragon, a gargoyle, a wizard and several other special heroes all ready for my heroines to check in.

 

 
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

With the understanding that I’ve always been writing, I would have to say I first became aware that it was more than a hobby when I was on maternity leave with my first child. I needed something to keep me occupied that I could pick up for a few minutes and put down sometimes for days or weeks at a time. It couldn’t cost any money, had to be really riveting and not take up too much space. What’s better than writing?

 

 
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

When I got the email that Tirgearr had accepted my first book for epublication, I knew I was an official writer, and I could admit it on my tax returns and to friends and people I meet at the grocery store, etc. There’s nothing worse than saying “I’m a writer,” when you fear the follow up question, “What have you published?” a legitimate question, but still painful for someone with one or more books on their hard drive or in boxes under the bed. When I had a publisher love my book I knew I had finally become a writer in the eyes of the world. To myself I had been a writer long before that, but it was like a guilty habit, one I was almost ashamed to admit to.

 

 
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

I have never had any trouble coming up with ideas for novels. I find short stories too confining. I need more space to develop my characters. But as for my first novel I think it started with a television series I watched, long, long ago. There was one episode where I hated the ending. So I rewrote it. Although I was probably in high school at the time, I understood a little about copyright infringement, so I changed names, places, relationships. It was a great book (for a high schooler). I don’t have a copy of it any more, but I still remember the fun and the freedom of writing that book. These days many people are doing the same thing, and there’s even a name for it Shippers, people who write about their favorite characters’ relationships. I’ve moved on from that, and prefer to work on my own characters from start to finish, without infringing on anyone else’s work.

 

 

Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?

Specific style, I hope so. I would like someone who reads my work to recognize it as mine. Style is extremely important. Without style and unique voice, a reader should be reading someone else, someone unique, not an interchangeable book which could have been written by a clever robot. I love romance novels, so most of my books fall into that category, and they always have a happy ending and usually a baby!

 

 
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

Titles are hard for me. Sometimes I can come up with exactly the right title, but that’s the exception. My series, Dragon Roost Bed and Breakfast, the first three books were The Dragon, the Gargoyle and the Wizard in my mind, but I knew they were not strong enough for someone who didn’t know me, who was looking for a new author to try, to pull them in. So working with my publisher, who grants me great creative freedom, I came up with A Dragon’s Tea, A Gargoyle’s Vow and A Wizard’s Spell. I like these titles much better. Oddly enough I doubt I could ever come up with the correct title until the book is finished. A working title I start with isn’t always the title that works for the finished book.

 

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

Do you ever ask any easy questions? I’d like my readers to know how strongly I feel about marriage, and how much a miracle a new child is. I want them to understand I believe in “they lived happily ever after” and perhaps because my characters can, they can too. I want them to know evil can be destroyed, that good is always stronger, that fighting evil is better when there’s love involved. And finally I want people to open their minds to the possibility of dragons, gargoyles, wizards, elves, etc. You don’t really have to believe in ghosts to have fun with one of my novels, but I’d like you to accept the possibility of ghosts while reading.

 

 
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?

I love paranormal, fantasy. While I strongly want to believe in elves and dwarves etc, I would have to say clearly most of the storylines are not realistic, but I want you to believe while you read. One of my heroes is Santa Claus. So, please if you read Santa Takes A Wife, do so with the belief Santa exists that you had when you were eight and nine. Having said that, love is the greatest power in the universe, and my books are infused with love. I hope that makes them realistic, at least on that level.

 

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

No, never. While it’s impossible to completely keep the author’s experiences out of fiction, I try very hard to make my characters unique to me. My Bed And Breakfast series is set in upstate New York, a place I love, but beyond that, it is all fiction. My heroes and heroines all have “something extra” that are total fiction, I’m sad to say.

 

 
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?

Mercy, I read all the time because I love reading. There’s probably 100 writers I could say I love, but to pick one or two out to say they’ve influenced me, would be very hard.

 

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

This actually is an easier question. My sister S.L.Kotar is probably my greatest mentor. She’s got several books published, fiction and non-fiction and she’s always been there to edit my messy first drafts, and to tell me to keep going, that some day I’d be published.

Secondly, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Charlene Raddon, another published author and a great mentor. We met in a writer’s critique group over 20 years ago, and there’s still advice she’s given me that I remember as being invaluable.

 

 
Fiona: What book are you reading now?

I belong to two book clubs, and I read what they suggest. I don’t always like their picks, but I love forcing myself to think what works, what doesn’t. I love paranormal romance, there’s some brilliant authors out there, and of course I’m reading Audition for a Legend, from SL Kotar.

 

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

I’m always picking up books from new authors. That’s where the excitement comes from, that I’m not reading a book from an old established author who has written the same story ten times before.

 

 
Fiona: What are your current projects?

While I try desperately to work on one novel at a time, I find for me, that’s not possible. I am working on a high fantasy (not a romance), that I started working on over twenty years before. It’s been bubbling around in my mind all this time, and it might be right to get serious about it again. I am working on a 4th  and 5th book in my Bed and Breakfast series, A Ghost’s Chance, and one with an immortal who doesn’t quite know what she is that’s called the Snark’s Hunter..

I’m about half way through a sequel to my Santa Takes A Wife novel. This time it’s Santa’s daughter Virginia who is posed to take up the reins, but first she must deal with this pesky guy who caught her delivering presents one Christmas Eve. He doesn’t quite believe in Santa, but I have a feeling he will before the end.

I have an idea for a science fiction romance series, a planet of scientists who send scholars to Earth to research and not get involved directly with humans, but after a few years they stop sending their reports back. Well, it seems they fall in love and have to go into hiding, because they don’t want other humans to know they are extraterrestrials. I’m about three chapters into each of three books. Way fun.

 

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

RWA, SCBWI. These are fabulous groups to help beginning writers as well as professionals. I go to their conferences whenever I can to feel rejuvenated and to meet others who feel as strongly about their characters as I do mine.

 

 
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

Right now, although I have 6 published books, it’s more of a hobby, since I’m not making enough money to survive. I know that for me to make it a career, I have to study and get far more involved with self-promotion. This is my next greatest challenge. I want to get my books into the hands of readers who are not related to me by blood, and to do this, I have to do what other professional writers know: promotion. At this point I can honestly say writing is the easy part.

 

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

No. I mean if there’s small annoying typos that certainly I’d change, but the plotting, characterization and Voice, I’m pleased with. One of the greatest advantages of having a book published is that you can’t go back and tweak it over and over making it better. You have to accept and let it go.

 

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

My Sixth Grade teacher, Mr. Herman would read to us in the afternoon, books that I found out later were Newberry’s. I loved the way I was transported to other places with those books. I was a devout reader before then, but it was a solitary hobby. Listening to him read created a force within me to learn to write that powerfully. I’d love to dedicate a book to him one day.

 

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

Right now I’m working on A Ghost’s Chance. Abby believes her apartment is haunted. She doesn’t believe in ghosts but is intelligent enough to know that something is going on. She escapes to the Bed and Breakfast where she meets Rafe, the man she believes has been haunting her. Fun book. I’m almost finished with it.

 

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

Time. Two of my grandsons live with us, and they need attention frequently, and more than that, I enjoy spending time with them with balls and games and just silliness, which takes me away from my writing. Perhaps it’s not more time I need, but more dedication to my career.

The other thing I find particularly challenging about my writing is learning the techniques and steps of self promotion. I know this is something I’m going to have to learn if I want to sell more books. I’d much rather write. And I find social media fine for checking on friends, but very difficult when it comes to promoting my writing career.

 

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

I’d love to have the income to travel to research books, but right now, being paranormal fantasy, I’d have to say I don’t need to travel, I only need my imagination

 

 
Fiona: Who designed the covers?

My publisher Tirgearr comes up with my covers, and lets me have a say in what I like and what I don’t. I love that freedom, and I have to say, I have loved every single cover of my published books.

 

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

The old standard butt in chair, I’d suppose. I do get stuck plotting sometimes, but I like working through that, finding motivations for my characters (and villains) and figuring out how to get them to save themselves and their love life.

 

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

Right now I’d have to say I’m in the process of learning the difference between writing as a hobby and writing as a career. Trust me, I’m getting serious learning self-promotion.

 

 
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?

There’s fabulous advice out there for writers, on plotting, voice, characterization, getting a working critique group, and I thought once all that came together, that was all I needed to be a successful writer. I’ve learned differently. If asked, the advice I’d offer would be learn now, before you’re published, about self-promotion. Writing is only 50% of the job, and the easiest half. Make friends, follow other writer’s blogs, talk to people who might later be able to help you promote your books. It’s all part of the process.

 

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

Just that if you like/love my books, I’d love to hear from you. My blog BetsyJBennett.blogspot.com And if possible, if you love my books, please give me a book review. A lot of sales come through positive book reviews. Since I’ve learned this, I have gone out of my way to post book reviews.

 

 

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

I loved the magic of the Dr. Seuss books and old books like Fish out of Water. I’d been exposed to lots of picture books, but when I found these easy readers, my reading took off. I know now that picture books are to be read to a child. I didn’t know that then.

 

 

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

I like silliness and the ridiculous things children do. Children are a constant source of laughter for me. As for crying, I cry all the time, aspirin commercials, supermarket openings, going through Hallmark cards at the store. It’s embarrassing really. I have very active tear ducts.

 

 

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

Nora Roberts is the first name that comes to mind. She is so prolific and I love her style so much. Her characters are so real to me. I’d like to sit with her and just ask her how she sees writing, and how did she develop her unbelievably fabulous style.

 

 

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

I’m too young to have given this much thought, and I don’t particularly want a headstone, but I hope my children and grandchildren who live after me have fond memories of someone who always had time to play ball or have a spontaneous tea party. I want them to know how important they were to me, because I game them my time and my love. Beyond that, I’d like to leave a large body of work so people who didn’t know me would have an idea what I was like, and what I loved. Certainly Santa should know I believe…

 

 

Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?

Reading. I read everything I can get my hands on, romance, fantasy, sci fi, mystery, adventure, and loads of YA. That could be argued as part of my writing, but mostly I read for escapism and fun. I love to bake, cakes, cookies. I can tomatoes, spaghetti sauce, apple sauce, etc. And I’m trying to learn to garden, although so far my soil is lousy and there isn’t much we can harvest.

 

 

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

I like the supernatural/fantasy shows, especially anything with Spiderman, Ironman, and other superheroes, Lord of the Rings, Avatar, the very well done popular things. There are a lot of TV shows with paranormal elements in them. I’m hooked on most of them. I don’t watch any reality TV, since I find for myself more reality in fiction than in anything on TV.

 

 

Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music

Food, anything chocolate and most pasta. I love holiday foods, the special things we bake, create for birthdays, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter. I love thick creamy soups in winter, bright fruit and vegetable salads in summer. I love picnics and cozy afternoon tea with cookies.

Favorite colors, no. As soon as I say my favorite color is blue, I worry, because I love green so much, and yellow. Can’t pick a favorite color.

Music, mostly I listen to oldies. 60’s music mostly. I think there are a bunch of brilliant new artists, and I’m glad they’re getting a following. I could listen to Christmas music year round, and don’t see why there isn’t a Christmas radio station. Of course I must listen to my Christmas music in solitude so the rest of the family doesn’t kill me.

 

 

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

I always wanted to be a research scientist, but realized I don’t have the intelligence or the dedication to do so. Still, I think it would be a great career. Those people make a real difference in the lives of people they never meet. In another life, I would have loved to be an astronaut. Exploring space, doesn’t that sound fun?

 

 

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

I’m working on my blog. It’s BetsyJBennett.blogspot.com. Please stop by and drop off a comment.

http://www.amazon.com/Dragons-Tea-Roost-Book-ebook/dp/B00JOV90XO/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1414015396&sr=8-3&keywords=betsy+j+Bennett

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Fiona, thanks for the time you’ve taken to set this interview up.

Here is my interview with Kirsten Lynn

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Name  Kirsten Lynn

Age  Old enough to know better, but still too young to care

Where are you from   Sheridan, Wyoming

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

I’m a Wyomingite born and bred. I spent most of my childhood escaping the hustle and bustle of town life (I’m kidding I grew up in a small town, there was very little hustle and almost no bustle) and visiting my grandparents farm; climbing haystacks, walking along the ditch, chasing wild cats, trying to rope steers, teasing the bulls…pretty much everything my grandfather told us not to do. I was blessed with an awesome childhood…no psychiatry needed…well for me, my parents might need therapy. J

But like most youngsters I thought the grass was greener elsewhere. I didn’t go far though, attending college in Billings, Montana where I got my BA in History. I also got my first job there, working in accounting of all things. Continuing my education, I received my MA in Naval Warfare and left the West for the bright lights and big city of Washington, D.C.

I spent six years working with the Navy in D.C. until Wyoming called me home. I still do some contract work for the Marines and keep my ties to the military tied tight.  But when I’m not writing, I’m working as a local historian at two museums and I will be starting work at a third in the spring.

 

 

 

Fiona: Tell us your latest news?

This year has been a dream year for sure. I contracted with Prairie Rose Publications and my debut novel, HOME FIRES was unleashed on the world in August!  Since then Prairie Rose published a novella THE BALLAD OF ANNIE SULLIVAN for their Halloween releases, and I have a Christmas novella CHRISTMAS STROLL due out in November and have contracted with Prairie Rose for a second winter story.  Once my feet hit the ground, I can tell you how much all of this means to me.

 

 
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I started writing fiction about four years ago (I was writing articles for Navy publications before that).  I’ve always had a vivid imagination, but just never thought of putting it down on paper. Once I started, it became a magical obsession that I wish I’d started many years ago.

 

 
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I considered myself a romance writer when I finished the first draft of my first manuscript. I had accomplished what many fail to do, and so I gave myself the title.

 

 
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

A friend was looking into writing and I started looking into online sources that might help her. The more I looked, the more excited I got and thought “Why am I not doing this? Why aren’t I getting down all the stories in my head?”  So, I started my own manuscript. I hope to revise it someday and get it published. It was a fun story to write.

 

 
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?

I just go where the characters take me. I always tell them (yes, I hold conversations with the people in my mind) the first draft is theirs; they can do what they want, when they want. So, I really am 100% panster. I fill out a character chart as I go, for series, but that’s about all the plotting I do.

 

 
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

Titles usually come to me right away. Sometimes from a song, or just a scene I know from the book.  HOME FIRES comes from the saying “keep the home fires burning.”  The title for THE BALLAD OF ANNIE SULLIVAN came from the title of the ballad in the story.

 

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

The message in HOME FIRES is the power of love, and of holding on tight to that love once you’ve found it.  The message in THE BALLAD OF ANNIE SULLIVAN, is about releasing bitterness and vengeance and allowing love to take its place.

 

 
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?

Quite a bit in both stories is realistic. Being an historian, I’ve drawn from a lot of research to make HOME FIRES as authentic as possible. I also visited the Bozeman area many times while living in Montana and still visit up there today.  Also, in ANNIE SULLIVAN, the information on cow camps and the Bighorn Mountains comes from interviews with local cowboys and living here in Bighorn country.

 

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

For my recent releases, the people in these stories are not intentionally based on people I know. I’m sure Cord (the hero in HOME FIRES) and Hank (the hero in ANNIE SULLIVAN)  carry a lot of characteristics of the cowboys I grew up with and know today. The same with the heroines Olivia (HOME FIRES) and Annie (ANNIE SULLIVAN), they are composites of the strong and amazing women I’ve read about and know personally.

 

 
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?

Oh wow, there are so many. HONDO, FLINT and CONAGHER by Louis L’Amour.  THORN IN MY HEART by Liz Curtis Higgs (that whole series).  NORTH AND SOUTH by John Jakes. PERSUASION by Jane Austen. The HORATIO HORNBLOWER series by C.S. Forester. Add about a million others to this list, there are so many amazing stories out there.

 

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

When I first started writing I friended Julie Lessman on Facebook and she directed me to a group called Seekerville. I credited each of these amazing women for taking a newbie under their wings and critiquing parts of my first stories and providing valuable information that I wouldn’t have found anywhere else.

 

 
Fiona: What book are you reading now?

Yikes, I should say a Western Romance, but to be truthful, I’m reading WILD HEAT by Bella Andre.

 

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

Since joining the Pioneer Hearts group on Facebook, I’ve found a few “new to me” authors that have grabbed my attention including  Cassie Hayes and Kirsten Osborne. Also, through my publisher I’ve been introduced to Kristy McCaffrey, Kathleen Rice Adams, Sarah McNeal and many more.

 

 
Fiona: What are your current projects?

Currently, I am working on a few revisions to the sequel to HOME FIRES, with the tentative title OPEN FIRES.

I’m also working on a series that is the series of my heart. It is based on my ancestors who lived and died in Sheridan, Wyoming. I would say loved, but unfortunately they didn’t get much of that, so I’m determined to give them their happily ever afters. There will also be a spinoff series from that, which will incorporate my naval history background, and I adore what is happening in both series. If you want to see where my heart and soul lies it will be in these series.

 

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

God has been my biggest supporter, greatest helper and biggest fan through all of this. I don’t currently write inspirational romance, but that doesn’t mean He isn’t a huge part of everything I produce.

I’ve also received amazing support from Western Historical Romance Book Club, Pioneer Hearts, Seekerville, Cheryl Pierson and Livia Washburn Reasoner at Prairie Rose Publications, and so many friends it’s a real honor.

 

 
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

I do. I have day jobs that I really enjoy, but I see writing as where my heart is and where my attention is most of the time.

 

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

No, I’m happy with the way the story unfolds and I love the characters in it. I can’t think of anything I would change.

 

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

I’ve always written, just mostly non-fiction, so there has always been that interest. I enjoyed writing in school, which is a good thing because as a history major that is about 90% of your time. So, I’d have to say I was born with an interest in writing and probably with the gift of storytelling because both of my grandmothers were masters at it.

 

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

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EXCERPT from THE BALLAD OF ANNIE SULLIVAN (Out Now)

Little Creek Cow Camp, Bighorn Mountains, October, 1916

A slow shiver ran up Hank’s spine causing cold sweat to chill his neck and forehead. His gaze held tight to the spot where he saw the woman. She was real. She had to be real. He jerked his gaze down the rough, uneven terrain he climbed after jumping from his horse and tearing after a blur of red hair and blue dress. He closed in on his quarry until, in a thick copse of pine, she vanished quicker than a plate of his mother’s doughnuts.

Hank tugged up the collar on his wool plaid coat and tipped his hat down. Not even a damn track. He’d pawed the ground like a bull searching for tracks, but his efforts failed to reveal a toe print. He turned on his boot heel to run his gaze over the mountainside before he reached his mount. The buckskin gelding gave him the skunk eye, the brown gaze following Hank. His horse, questioning his sanity, itched Hank’s hide.

Stepping across leather, Hank settled into the saddle and patted the buckskin’s neck.

“Sorry there, boy. But didn’t you see her?”

Chap whinnied and shook his head.

Mrs. Baka, an elderly lady Hank helped out a bit who still held to a few of the gypsy ways of her people, once told him animals sensed spirits and things unseen by human eyes.

“Either you missed that special trait, boy, or I’ve been up here too long with only you and cattle for company.”

Hank reined Chap back to cow camp. The peace he usually found in these mountains eluded him as he made his way back to the small cabin serving as his summer home. The crunch of Chap’s hooves on dried leaves, pine needles and branches set his jaw to grinding as the noise he normally wouldn’t notice boomed inside him until he was sure his folks down in the valley heard them.

Since Cal and Josie Renner adopted him thirteen years ago, Hank volunteered to be the rider left on the mountain to secure the cattle and make sure the bulls scattered to breed those heifers ready. Every June like clockwork Hank, Cal, Josie and his brothers, except the littlest one at only five, gathered the herd and moved ’em up a narrow trail to cow camp on a grazing allotment the J Bar A shared with other ranches.

Then come September, Cal and the boys returned for the beef roundup. Pairs were separated from the yearling steers as ranchers worked together to earmark their beef. Hank breathed a bit better when they took the yearling steers down and headed for Parkman and he was alone again. He never begrudged his brothers and father the train ride to Omaha or Chicago to see the stock sold. As the only single Renner, Hank stayed put on the mountain while the others rotated which lucky couple got to head to the city—and which wife got a shopping trip and a few fancy dinners.

He glanced back. Thank the good Lord, the family would be back in two weeks to help take the rest of the herd down before the October fifteenth cutoff to be off the mountain. All this being alone was causing him to create red–headed women in blue dresses.

Aspen trees, dressed in gold leaves just a week ago, now stood bare and black against a sun fading into the west. Hank scrubbed a hand over his face and scratched the rough whiskers, more the start of a beard. How did a woman disappear quicker than summer in Wyoming? She was real. She had to be real.

Hank shook his head and released thoughts of the woman into the frigid air. Real or not, she was gone and he had cows to check. Accustomed to the routine, the buckskin made his way to the herd. The chill in the air drove the cattle to huddle together and Hank made quick work of counting the pairs. When he came up three short, he reined his mount toward the tree line where black shadows shifted between the white trunks.

He swung his gaze left and right. Even after confirming the shadows were his missing cows, he couldn’t unhook the feeling that eyes were on him. He’d felt eyes on him every summer, but had tossed it off to a rider from another ranch. This year, he couldn’t brush it off— because an alternative option had presented itself just an hour ago. Urging the three stragglers down to join their herd, Hank clicked his tongue and reined Chap toward a warm fire and some supper.

A mule rummaged around in the corral next to his sorrel. Hank rode past the holding traps and sent his eyes toward heaven. A groan rumbled from deep in his gut. Smoke curled from the stovepipe of the small cabin he and Cal had built the previous summer. For the first time, it didn’t invite him to settle in for the night with a belly full of beans and a good book. He no more than got Chap combed and oats, and fresh hay to the horses kept at camp, when a rough voice had his head ducking farther into the collar of his coat.

“Howdy, Hank boy. I took the liberty of gettin’ the beans on the fire.”

Hank wavered between being grateful the fire was already burning and irritation that he’d have to share it. He wasn’t much on people. Oh, he loved his family and missed them right now, but give him a couple of weeks down at the ranch and he’d be riding off alone first chance he got. About the only person he could stand longer than most was his twin, Jerry; but for being born a few minutes apart, they couldn’t be more different. Jerry was a man about town and never met a stranger; where, it seemed a person remained a stranger to Hank for years after they met.

His brothers all found girls the minute his stepmother Josie married Cal Renner, and Cal saw to it the family went to socials and the boys all went to school. Like dominos, each brother married—with the youngest, Mitch, being the first to marry. Each brother built a home on the ranch, and the brothers and their wives started having children almost as soon as the roof was put on the house.

Hank chose to go to the university in Laramie. After earning his degree, Hank wandered a bit, always finding his way back to the J Bar A. Two years ago, he planned to follow a family friend, Will Connor, to Europe and help the Brits fight against the Kaiser, but his Ma had raised the roof—so Hank stayed, but spent his time away from town and the busybodies asking why he wasn’t married and starting his family. His family respected his need to be alone. People like Walter Sorenson did not.

“Are ya comin’ in, or starin’ at the sky ’til it turns blue again?”

Hank kicked at the dirt, then started toward cabin. “What brings you up this far, Walter?”

“A little huntin’. And checkin’ on the ol’ place.”

Hank gave a nod. He ducked a bit to get through the door without knocking his head off. How two men well over six feet could build a place and not make the door passable for anyone over five foot ten, Hank couldn’t say. Could have been the few nips they had of the French wine Will Connor sent while they were measuring. Cal tried to tell Josie they’d been celebrating hearing from Will after a year of nothing when she found them propping up a wall singing God Save the King and toasting George V.

His mouth twitched with the memory as he toed off his boots and hooked his hat and coat on the wooden pegs by the door. The humor turned to a scowl at Walter’s hat and coat taking up room. He stomped over to the fireplace and sat on his heels, rubbed his hands together in an attempt to shake the cold and his sour attitude. The gas light over the table hissed, casting a dim light over the room. The Little Creek cow camp’s abode wasn’t a mansion, but it was spacious compared to most. Though one room, a kitchen area occupied one corner, complete with a Monarch iron stove and icebox, and even a few cupboards above the sink with a pump, so when Josie was there she didn’t have to haul water.

Memories warmed Hank and thawed his mind. He’d never call Walt a friend, but he couldn’t slot him as an enemy, either. It wouldn’t hurt him to be hospitable. Once he gained his manners, he unfolded to his full height. Walter stood dishing up beans from the Monarch stove onto an enamelware plate.

“You know most people up in these mountains?”

Walter flopped on the cedar bench, taking up one side of the table and swallowed a spoonful of beans. His dark eyes sparked with flames from the fire and curiosity.

“Not many left up here. Why?”

“Any have a daughter, or maybe a younger woman?”

Hank couldn’t say why he thought it was a young woman other than the fact she moved with the speed and grace of a deer. If truth be told, at twenty–eight he might not be as spry as he used to be, but he sure as hell didn’t want to hear a woman of eighty outran and outfoxed him.

If he hadn’t been staring holes into him, Hank would have missed the way Walter shifted in his chair and raked his fingers through what little was left of his gray hair. After a deep draw of coffee, the man wore a mask of innocence.

“A woman, ya say?”

“Yeah, you know…” Hank waved his hands drawing a curvaceous figure in the air, “a woman. Remember how they look?”

Walter’s eyes narrowed. “Vaguely. But there hasn’t been a woman up here in…” he swallowed hard; like emotion clogged his throat and smoke filled the eyes that just seconds before held fire. He pushed the plate away from him. “Ten years…ten years to the day next Sunday.”

Hank slid into the rickety ladder–back chair opposite Walter, his own hunger forgotten. Something rode him hard to find out about the woman who lived in the Bighorns. It was ten years ago, but something as intangible as air told him she held the key to the day’s insanity.

“What happened October 10, 1906?”

Walter’s eyes turned to black ice. “I’m not much on ghost stories, boy, so if you’re lookin’ for entertainment, look to someone else.”

Hank leaned back in his chair and could only stare at a man who lived to gossip, tell wild stories and entertain. Hell, even among the chatty hens of Sheridan, a man couldn’t find half the juice to a story as Walter Sorenson could give. And damn if what the man didn’t know, he could weave a wild tale around until a person didn’t care what was fact or fiction anymore.

Walter pushed off the bench and scraped the leftover beans into the pot before dumping his plate into a sink of soapy water. Hank watched the man shift his short stature from fire to water. He smoothed his mustache.

“I saw a woman today.”

A blue and white enamel mug hit the floor and Hank winced as the last mug was chipped. Then he turned his attention back to Walter. The man was white as the frosting on his brother Howard’s birthday cake. The buzz of the gas light hummed like a swarm of bees in the awkward silence.

“A woman?”

Hank shrugged, “Yeah, well at least from what I saw, which wasn’t more than a flash of red hair and her blue dress.”

“Annie,” the man choked out the name.

Hank hitched a brow. “Annie? You know her?”

A tremble shook Walt’s shoulders and his face darkened. “Used to.”

“Used to?”

“Annie Sullivan was raped and murdered ten years ago.”

 

 

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

Hmmm…I suppose it’s all a bit of a challenge, which makes it fun, but it’s something I enjoy so much from start to finish I can’t think of anything that I find a real trial.

 

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

Wow, I’m not even touching this one. There are so many, I couldn’t pick just one.

 

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

Not really, my stories all take place right outside my front door for the most part. I will be doing some travel in the near future to research an aspect of the upcoming series.

 

 
Fiona: Who designed the covers?

Livia Washburn Reasoner does a magnificent job of designing the covers for Prairie Rose Pub.

 

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

Getting all the details into the story without it becoming a history text.

 

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

I learned how much I truly love writing, but how obstinate characters can be and writers must be able to adjust and go with the flow.

 

 
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?

WRITE!  Best advice I got was: Writers, Write.  Don’t worry if it’s going to be a NYT Bestseller, just put butt in chair and write.

 

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

Thank you a million times over! It would be a sad thing if the only person who ever read these stories was me, so I thank you for picking up my books and meeting the characters who plague…Whoops, I mean bless my life. :D

 

 

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

It was the fairy tale ROSE RED AND ROSE WHITE.  My dad brought home the book from a business trip. This is the first story I remember, my parents were both teachers so reading was huge in our family.

 

 

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

I don’t cry very much at all, so that would have to be death of a loved one.  Laughing, that’s a different story. Anything can make me laugh.

 

 

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

I would love to meet Elizabeth Van Lew. She spied for the Union during the Civil War, even placing one of her servants into the house of Jefferson Davis.

 

 

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

“Don’t Tread on Me”

 

 

Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?

I play the fiddle, enjoy hiking, camping, and enjoy visiting historic places.

 

 

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

Currently, I enjoy SLEEPY HALLOW, HELL ON WHEELS, NCIS: NEW ORLEANS.

 

 

Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music

My favorite food is Tex-Mex. Favorite color is Green.  Favorite music is anything but rap and hip-hop.

 

 

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

I’m doing it, working in museums, gathering oral histories.

 

 

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

Some Links:

WEBSITE:  www.kirstenlynnwildwest.com

AMAZON:http://www.amazon.com/KirstenLynn/e/B00MF8DN0O/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

FACEBOOK:  https://www.facebook.com/KBuddy

TWITTER:  https://twitter.com/KLynnAuthor

GOOGLE +  :   https://plus.google.com/u/0/105672275456512281966/posts

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Thank you so much Fiona for interviewing me and allowing me to be on your website!

 

 

 

 

Here is my interview with Amber Sherwood

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Name  Amber Sherwood

Age 38

Where are you from I’m originally from Baltimore Maryland, but relocated to Fort Lauderdale Florida two years ago.

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

I am currently a stay at home wife and mother to an eleven year old son. Being able to stay home has really allowed me to focus my attention on writing and promoting my newly released debut novel. In the past, I’ve had many jobs ranging from working at a 1-hour photo shop to being in charge of my employer’s annual convention. Because I was so busy and stressed out, I had actually stopped writing for many years. I was always thinking and plotting in my head, just couldn’t get anything onto paper.

 

 

Fiona: Tell us your latest news?

Well, I am newly published! That’s my biggest news. I had a short teaser novel (Angels of Death: Genesis) released in June which was a primer for my novel, Angels of Death: Succumb which was released on my son’s birthday!

 

 
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I wrote my first story at age 11. I was always an odd child, obsessed with Vampires, loved horror movies and ghost stories, and until R.L. Stine appeared on the scene, there really weren’t any “age-appropriate” books that appealed to me. Here I was in 5th grade reading Clive Barker and Stephen King while the other girls were reading The Diary of Anne Frank and Judy Blume books! So, I started writing the kinds of stories I wanted to read and that I had control over. Also, it’s a nice way to live out a fantasy. Most of the leading men in my novels are based on my celebrity crushes. It’s a way of having my cake and at least being able to smell it too!

 

 
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

The minute that 90% of my thoughts were consumed with plot outlines and character development, when every song on the radio became the inspiration for a storyline, that’s when I knew I was a writer in my heart.

 

 
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

I’ve started many stories over my lifetime, but Angels of Death: Succumb is really the first book I’ve actually FINISHED, so I consider that my first REAL novel. The prologue was actually part of a short story I’d written just for fun and practice and it just got the wheels turning in my head and eventually the ideas for the full length novel started flowing. I decided to use that scene as my prologue and build on it.

 

 
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?

I don’t know if I have a style per se. I’ve been told I write with a certain flare for description to where the scenes play like a movie in the reader’s mind. But, when I’m writing that’s how they play out in MY mind, so I try to translate as much of that to paper as I can. I also detest first person, so I would probably never write a book in first person unless it was absolutely necessary to the plot line. To me, it’s too limiting. When I read, I want to know what EVERYONE is thinking, not just one person. Because of this, as an avid Reader, I also find it very hard to stick with a novel that is written in first person. It has to be very gripping to hold me.

 

 
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

I get my titles from lines in the novel and the general theme. “Angels of Death” comes from a line where one of the lead male vampires is referred to as an angel and Brita, the lead female thinks, “Yes, an angel of death”. “Succumb” comes from the theme of the characters being forced to succumb to certain things that they have been fighting. Brita is forced to succumb to the anger and hatred that brews within her in order for her life to progress and move on.

 

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

I think the most important message in my book is that no matter how bad you feel your life is, there is always hope that it can get better. No matter how much you believe you will never be loved or maybe that you don’t deserve love, there is someone out there who will love you. Don’t give up hope. And, don’t be afraid to kick ass when you have to!

 

 
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?

Well, it’s a book about vampires, so it can only be so realistic! The feelings and fears of the main characters I’ve tried to make as realistic as possible.

 

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

No. I wish I could say I’ve had two gorgeous vamps vie for my love, but alas, it’s total fiction.

 

 
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?

I’ve read so many books in my life that I can’t remember half of them! However, I loved Call of the Wild. I read it when I was 12 or 13 and it always stuck with me. And of course there’re the vampire novels, Dracula and Vampire Diaries (the books not the show). That as a big one when I was a teenager. I don’t think a lot of people realize that series has been around for over 20 years! I also read a book called Voodoo Child about voodoo in New Orleans. That one I really enjoyed.

 

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

This is a toughie. I’d probably have to go with Stephen King, Clive Barker and Anne Rice. I mean, they had a huge hand in paving the way for weird little monster and vampire loving writers-in-the-making like me. I’ve been told my novel is very reminiscent of an Anne Rice novel.

 

 
Fiona: What book are you reading now?

I’m about to finish reading Outlander. Not sure what I will move on to next. I spend so much time on my own writing that I don’t really have time to read other books.

 

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

Honestly, I’ve been so wrapped up in my own stuff that I usually end up reading whatever is popular and then it takes me forever to actually read it! But in the process of promoting, I’ve had the opportunity to meet some wonderful new and established authors. They all have grabbed my interest, but since it would be impossible to name them all without inadvertently forgetting someone, I will refrain from giving names.

 

 
Fiona: What are your current projects?

My current WIP started out as a Pirate novel, but kind of segued into something else. More of a nautical-themed romance set in the time and locale of Pirates.

 

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

Since I consider my BFF part of my family, I can’t name her so I’d have to go with Llumina Press, my publisher. From day one, Deborah Greenspan, the Editor in Chief has been wonderfully supportive, answering my litany of annoying questions and consoling me when I was having a rough day. Her team is great as well. Shari Reimann, my project manager, went out of her way on several occasions to help me get this book out to the world. I honestly don’t think I could have done it without their support and guidance.

 

 
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

Absolutely. Now, instead of referring to myself as a Stay at Home Mom, I now tell people I’m a Self-Employed Author. I’ve been doing it my whole life, now I’m finally getting paid for it!

 

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

Yeah. I’ll think of something to change that I think could make it better and then I’ll realize that it’s too late! It’s out there to the world so what’s done is done!

 

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

It was originally supposed to be a Pirate Romance, but it deviated slightly off path. Basically it’s about two best friends from childhood, Thane and Brant, who were placed into the service of the Royal Navy as children. Once released from service, they both settle in English-occupied Port Royal, Jamaica where they both become well respected members of the city. The Governor of Port Royal commissions the former seamen to sail to England to retrieve his daughter Scarlet who has been receiving an education there. Upon their arrival, Scarlet, now a young woman of 19, is thrust back into the girlish infatuation she has harbored for Thane for so many years. They are both forced to cope with the impact of her emotions when paired with the close confines of a long journey aboard a ship. This combined with the many perils of life at sea as well as the undermining plans of her father provide for a roller coaster of emotions for the characters as well as the reader.

 

 

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

Since Historical Romance has always been my forte, one of the most challenging aspects has been trying to ensure that my dialogue and details are as perfect as possible. Having never been to most of the locations and having never lived during the time make research critical. It’s a good thing I actually enjoy doing research!

Another thing that can be a pain is when I sit down to write with a certain plan in mind and then all of a sudden the characters step in, possess me and they write the story the way THEY want it to go. Usually it’s in a completely different direction that I wanted, and usually is ends up being so much BETTER! But my characters have forced me to do many things that I didn’t want to- including killing one of them off because it needed to be done, despite the fact that it killed ME to do it!

 

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

I don’t think I have a favorite writer at the moment. I really enjoyed Suzanne Collins Hunger Games Trilogy (even though it was written in first person!)

 

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

I wish! But most of the places I write about are overseas making travel just about impossible for me. The only traveling I HAVE to do right now would be for promotional purposes. I actually just came back yesterday from New Orleans where I attended The DitterCon convention. I had actually been contemplating setting book three in the Angels of Death Series in New Orleans, so I was able to use the opportunity to do some research and scouting while I was there.

 

 
Fiona: Who designed the covers?

I do along with the help of my mom who fills the role of everything from Bookkeeper to Manager, to PR person! We designed both covers for AoD Genesis and Succumb. I really enjoy doing artistic things like that, so I will probably continue to do my own covers, and if I get really good at it, I would like to maybe get into the business of cover design.

 

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

Just finding the time to devote to it on a daily basis. Life just gets in the way and has to come first.

And Facebook! Facebook, I think, is the downfall of just about every author! We have to use it to promote ourselves, but we get so caught up in that promotion that all our free time is spent there! I know I sit down to write, but think ‘Oh, I’ll just check really quickly’ and then three hours goes by! It’s horrible!

 

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

Yes, I learned that, for me, it’s much easier to write a gruesome death scene then a sex scene! I just LOVE killing people off in the most gruesome ways I can think of.  Hmm…that doesn’t sound very good, now does it????

 

 
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?

Don’t give up and don’t be afraid. Succumb is sixteen years old and I just finally had the guts to get it published because I was too scared to put myself out there. I was too afraid of what others would think of me and honestly, I STILL am, but writing is too important to me to let those things stand in my way anymore. I’m still very much a baby in this game, but I’m quickly learning through my many author friends that I’m NOT going to become an overnight success, this is a HARD business and not everyone is going to like me or my work and that I have to just keep forging ahead and eventually I’ll develop my following. I have also learned that there are some really great authors out there who are eager and willing to help newbies like me navigate these shark infested waters.

 

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

I hope you enjoy spending time with my characters as much as I do and I hope I am able to move you in some way. If I am able to make you laugh or cry, to make you feel like you are in the scene with the characters living it with them, then I have done my job properly!

 

 

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

Nope, can’t say that I do, but I do still have an old Disney Cinderella picture book from when I was a child. I’ve always loved that book, so I suspect that was probably one of the books that started my love of reading.

 

 

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

I laugh all the time. My husband has said the stupidest things seem to make me laugh the most. As for crying, I’m very sensitive so just about anything can get the tears going depending on what frame of mind I’m in or how much wine I’ve had!

 

 

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

I would love to be able to meet my birth grandfather. He died when my dad was only twelve years old and my grandmother remarried. That man was my Pop Pop, but I’ve always wished I could have known my Grand Dad. I like to think he would be proud of the person I grew up to become.

 

 

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

I don’t even want to THINK about my headstone right now! I feel like my life is just now starting, so I don’t want to think about it ending anytime soon!

 

 

Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?

I’ve become a pretty good cook over the past couple of years. I also love the peace and serenity of gardening, and I love photography. I am a very artistic person, but not in a crafty kind of way. My mom can sit down with 3 scraps of paper and make a beautiful card out of them in 10 minutes. I can’t do that, but I do have a knack for taking pictures and altering them to create a totally different image or creating flyers, brochures and stuff like that.

 

 

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

Chicago Fire, Walking Dead, Game of Thrones and any movie with Henry Cavill -my current obsession- in it! (insert mischievous eyebrow waggle!) Lol!

 

 

Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music

Spaghetti and French fries, Purple and Pink, all types of music as long as it has a good beat and moves me in some way.

 

 

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

I always wanted to be an actor (but I stink at acting) or a singer (and I stink at singing).

 

 

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

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/angelsofdeathvampires

Blog: https://ambersherwood.wordpress.com

 

perf6.000x9.000.inddMock cover Genesis

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/author/ambersherwood

 

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/angels-of-death-amber-sherwood/1120313826?ean=9781625501394

Llumina Press: https://www/llumina.com/en/bookstore/821-angels-of-death-succumb.html

 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/Amber_Sherwood

 

YouTube:

 

Here is my interview with James Reasoner

NoahsRide_21

Name James Reasoner

Age 61

Where are you from

Born in Fort Worth, Texas, lived all my life in a small town near there.

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

I had about as normal a small-town, 1950s and ’60s childhood as anybody could imagine. The town where I grew up once was referred to in a newspaper article as “The Mayberry of Texas” (this was when THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW was still on TV), and that’s pretty accurate. My mother was a former schoolteacher, my dad worked at the aircraft plant in Fort Worth and was also a TV repairman. I majored in English at North Texas State University (now the University of North Texas) and got my degree there in 1975. Married a year later to my wife Livia, who encouraged me to be a writer and wound up being one herself.

 

 

Fiona: Tell us your latest news?

I’m trying to write a million words of fiction this year, and if I do it’ll be the tenth year in a row I’ve done so. I think I’ll make it. I’ve started a new Western series called OUTLAW RANGER. The first book came out in September,  and the second one will be out in November. These are the latest books under my name. Most of what I write appears under other names.

 

 
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I wrote my first story when I was 11 years old. Well, that was the first one I wrote down on paper. I’d been making up stories for my own amusement as far back as I can remember. So there’s not really a “why”. It’s just something I’ve always done.

 

 
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

When I sold my first story: December 27, 1976. I still remember opening the envelope and taking out the check. I’d already decided I wanted to write for a living, so making that sale was a real milestone for me and made me believe there might be a chance of achieving that goal.

 

 
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

I’d been selling short stories pretty regularly to several different markets, and I was writing the Mike Shayne novellas under the Brett Halliday house-name in MIKE SHAYNE MYSTERY MAGAZINE, but I knew if I was going to make a living in the business, I had to be able to sell novels, too. Besides, I was ready to tackle something bigger.

 

 
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?

My style is pretty adaptable because I write in a number of different genres, and since I do a lot of ghost-writing I have to be able to approximate another writer’s style as well. But overall I’d say my style is pretty straightforward, more concerned with telling the story than with trying to do anything fancy.

 

 
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

Titles can be a problem, but I’ve been doing this long enough that I have a pretty good instinct for what will work. A lot of times my editors change my titles, though, so what do I know?

 

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

Buy this book! No, seriously,  I’m not much of a message writer. I might try to slip in something a little thought-provoking now and then, but for most part my goal is to entertain.

 

 
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?

Since I write mostly about larger-than-life characters, I tend to tell larger-than-life stories, but I try to make the physical details as realistic as possible.

 

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

As the old saying goes, everything is grist for the mill. Sure, bits and pieces of real life and real people show up in my books, but usually in very different ways from reality.

 

 
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?

All the great pulps and pulp reprints and paperback originals in every action-packed genre I could find! And decades of comic books, too.

 

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

Early on, the first editor I ever sold to was Sam Merwin Jr. at MIKE SHAYNE MYSTERY MAGAZINE. Sam was also a writer with a long career stretching back to the pulps, and I learned an awful lot from him. Also, I consider Robert E. Howard something of a mentor as well, even though he died long before I was born, because his success as a writer even though he was from a small town in Texas, like me, has always been a great inspiration to me.

 

 
Fiona: What book are you reading now?

I just finished a great Western novel called BORDERLINE by Bob Herzberg. I’m not sure what I’ll read next.

 

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

Oh, too many to list! I’d forget someone. But I read many new authors and think there’s been a real resurgence in the business over the past few years.

 

 
Fiona: What are your current projects?

I have to finish up the second OUTLAW RANGER book and come up with a plot for the third one. Other than that I have ghost-writing projects lined up for the next year and a half.

 

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

My editor and good friend Gary Goldstein, who has bought more books from me than anyone else. But I also have to mention my good friend Ed Gorman, who has helped my career along many times over the years. Without those two guys, I might not still be in the business.

 

 
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

It’s all I’ve done since 1987, so yes, it’s certainly my career.

 

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

When I look back at a book, I always see things I’d change. I suppose I always will. But I do the best I can at the time and move on, so I don’t worry about it too much.

 

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

That actually goes back too far. As I mentioned above, I’ve always made up stories. I don’t know what prompted me to see if I could write them down. Curiosity, I suppose.

 

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

Unfortunately, it’s a ghost job, so I can’t divulge any details about it.

 

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

I’ve been known to say that I like starting a book, and I like finishing a book. It’s all that stuff in between that’s hard! Really, the biggest challenge is just finding the self-discipline to sit down and produce pages nearly every day. Whoever said that being a writer is like having homework every day for the rest of your life really nailed it.

 

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

I don’t have a single favorite author. There are too many good ones!

 

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

I’ve had to make some research trips over the years, but for the most part my schedule hasn’t allowed the time for that, so I do the best I can with books and now the Internet.

 

 
Fiona: Who designed the covers?

My wife Livia J. Washburn designs the covers of all the books we publish, including the Outlaw Ranger books. Although I did do the cover for one short story of mine. I’m not very strong where visuals are concerned. She’s the artist in the family.

 

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

As always, sitting down and doing it every day.

 

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

I always learn things, because I look stuff up as I go along. But I can’t go into what any of it was on the current book.

 

 
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?

Read, read, and then read some more. Then write and keep writing. Know when to stop and move on to the next project. Endlessly rewriting the same book isn’t going to accomplish anything.

 

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

Buy my books! No, seriously, all I’m really saying is that I hope the reader has a good time.

 

 

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

Not really. It might have been SCUPPERS, THE SAILOR DOG. I was a big Scuppers fan.

 

 

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

Almost anything. I’m a very emotional person, although I try to present a more stoic image.

 

 

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

Robert E. Howard, so I could ask him, “Bob, what would you have written if you hadn’t died?” and settle that age-old question among Howard fans.

 

 

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

Ten more pages! I need ten more pages! (Actually, I plan to be cremated, so there probably won’t be a headstone.)

 

 

Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?

Only reading, and that’s kind of work-related, too.

 

 

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

I love old TV shows and movies and will watch almost anything if it was made before 1970. But I like a lot of current stuff, too, TV shows like JUSTIFIED and GAME OF THRONES and HELL ON WHEELS. I was a little surprised to find that I really enjoy DOWNTON ABBEY. I like the Marvel superhero movies, big action/adventure movies where lots of stuff blows up real good, and the occasional romantic comedy. And Westerns. I’ll give anything Western a try.

 

 

Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music

Food: simple stuff like burgers, pizza, pasta, ice cream. Music: jazz, classic rock, classic country, movie soundtracks. And I’ve always said my favorite color is red. I don’t know why, it just is.

 

 

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

Chances are I would have been either a history teacher or a librarian. I would have liked to write and direct movies, but I’m not really cut out for the directing part.

 

 

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

My blog is jamesreasoner.blogspot.com and my website is www.jamesreasoner.com.

 

Thanks for having me here!

Outlaw Ranger

http://tinyurl.com/qfex5m8 Outlaw Ranger

Hangman's Knot

http://tinyurl.com/nhr28tg  Outlaw Ranger #2: Hangman’s Knot

 

Here is my interview with Dan Thompson

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Name Dan Thompson

Age 27

Where are you from

Gainsborough, England – a small, market town that homes an old Tudor manor house called, rather unoriginally, The Old Hall.

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

I am a father to a five-going-on-fifteen daughter called Autumn who keeps me on my toes. She’s going through a cheeky stage, which I find more amusing than I should do.

I’ve always lived in Gainsborough and went to school here. I went to the High School – Queen Elizabeth’s and stayed on for sixth form, but I decided that university wasn’t something I fancied at the time. I’ve often wondered if I should have gone, but they say things happen for a reason and all that.

 

 

Fiona: Tell us your latest news?

My new-adult dystopian novel Here Lies Love was published by Autumn Orchard earlier in the year. It was rather an instinctual write that sort of took over everything else I should have been doing. I started off with the question: what would happen if the sun went away?

Despite being a very dark book, with some upsetting themes, it has been generally well received, and I am thankful that readers have been able to connect with Abbey, the main character. She’s a tough cookie that has to learn about her world as she ventures into it for the first time. It’s a coming-of-age story about revenge. It will undoubtedly shock you, but it’ll keep you hooked too, I promise.

 

 
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I began writing when I was about nine I think. I used to write my own stories on pieces of paper and then ‘borrow’ my mum’s sewing kit and stitch the pieces together to form a book. It was a dream I was intent on following. I made my own series of children’s picture books about animals and their adventures around the house. The first book was called Animals Hide and Seek. It had working flaps too!

 

 
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I guess I fist considered myself a writer when I had a book to prove it to people. I self-published my adult novella The Caseworker’s Memoirs and toured a few local libraries in my area giving talks. People came to hear me and get me to sign their copies! It was a weird feeling, but something I will never forget.

 

 
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

The first ‘proper’ book I wrote isn’t published yet. It’s been through a series of changes and was due for publication in February 2015, but sadly the publisher has shut down. I’m still not giving up hope of finding another publisher that will embrace a YA fantasy that isn’t as conventional as the ones out at the moment.

I was inspired to write The Black Petal by my love of Greek myths. I wanted to write a compelling epic fantasy series that modernizes some of the more unfamiliar myths of Ancient Greek culture. If you love adventure and magic, you’ll bound to find something to enjoy.

 

 
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?

I guess I do, which may not appeal to everyone. I like to add detail into my descriptions. My stories are paragraph heavy rather than dialogue heavy. In Here Lies Love, I explore her inner most thoughts through her internal observations rather than her expressing them vocally.

I firmly believe that teenagers don’t need simple sentences and vague description to keep them reading. Reading should be entertaining, not simple. I want to draw my readers into the story and put them in the main character’s place.

 

 
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

Here Lies Love was a title that needed a lot of thought. I always have a working title whilst writing, which was ‘Firefly’ in this case. And although the term Firefly is significant within the book, I wanted something more. Here Lies Love was perfect and embodied what the main themes of the book are. The dying of love, cold emotions, dark thoughts etc. What do you think, Fiona? Is it an interesting title?

 

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

The book is very dark and at times, depressing. I wanted to convey how a young woman was on the edge of death only to find a purpose in life again. I guess the message, although subtle, is that no matter how much pain and darkness there is, eventually a light at the end of the tunnel will emerge. It may not appear bright, but there will be one there.

 

 
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?

For anyone who reads the book, they may be surprised to discover that a lot of the things that happen are in fact possible. Despite the sun vanishing, food still grows. A light source, despite being artificial, is in fact there. I did my research thoroughly and I have to say that I was thrilled to discover that scientists are currently researching how food can be grown using artificial light, instead of natural sun light.

 

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

Nope. Here Lies Love is entirely fictional.

 

 
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?

It has to be Philip Pullman’s Northern Lights. It really wowed me; made me take the brave step in writing my own proper novel. Pullman has such a magical way of writing that he can make you smile, cry, shout, leap and gasp. And Northern Lights sits proudly on my bookcase, in full view, so if I’m feeling lonely, sad, disheartened, in need of a muse, I can grab the book and lose myself for a few hours.

 

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

I like to think that every book you read, influences your own writing. However, I have to say that working with Sharon Sant – author of the Sky Song trilogy and Runners – really elevated my writing. She made me aware of my faults, corrected my grammar and ultimately, gave me so much knowledge to take with me further. She is fabulous! Gifted and completely underrated.

 

 
Fiona: What book are you reading now?

I am actually reading two books at the moment. I always read an adult novel and a childrens/YA novel, so I can swap and change when I feel like it. I am reading Deborah Harkness’s The Book of Life, which so far is utterly brilliant, and Marcus Sedgwick’s Ghosts of Heaven.

 

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

Oh yes. The first is Chrysler Szarlan. I recently had the opportunity to read her upcoming novel The Hawley Book of the Dead. Her writing and conviction is powerful. She will go on to be a bestseller, let me tell you.

 

 
Fiona: What are your current projects?

I am currently writing the sequel to my YA fantasy. The working title is The Golden Lyre. I am also beginning my planning stage of a YA thriller that follows a teen lass who discovers that she can have visions.

 

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

It has to be my fellow indie authors. Without their support, encouragement, laughs and everything in between, I would have fallen away from writing altogether. When I get a bad review, they lift me right back up again and that is why Here Lies Love is dedicated to them.

 

 
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

What a tricky question! I guess, ultimately, yes. But in saying that, for authors such as myself, where book sales fluctuate, it currently doesn’t pay enough to live off. I’m not sure what position I’ll be in in ten years. I guess having a career doesn’t necessarily mean money though, does it. I’ve done things in my writing career I never thought I’d ever do. I’ve been on radio twice, toured libraries, met reading groups! Those experiences have defined my journey so far.

 

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

I don’t think so. That doesn’t sound very confident, does it? No, I wouldn’t change anything.

 

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

I wanted to tell stories, and to do that effectively, you have to learn to write. Being creative is all well and good, but without the right direction you would fall flat on your face. I knew early on that I had to ‘be’ interested in writing, so I gave it a good go in school and had to learn from mistakes along the way.

 

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

Here is the first chapter of Here Lies Love.

 

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

Like most writers I think I struggle with the actual flow of writing. Finding the time to write properly – not just a sentence here and a paragraph there. And then there are the dreaded edits. I hate editing with a passion. I mean I get why it is important, but I’d rather hibernate through that part.

 

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

I’ve already mentioned Philip Pullman, so I will write about one of my favourite indie authors now.

Dianne Gray is an Australian author, who in my opinion, is underrated and not nearly as famous as she should be. She writes with so much conviction and realism. She analyses behavior and situation really well. She doesn’t need magical fireworks and thriller action scenes to get you hooked. Her book The Everything Theory is simply amazing and one I strongly suggest everyone to check out. I also think she has taken far too long in writing her next novel – I think we should, politely, hound her until it is done.

 

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

As in myself? No, I don’t travel much at all. The great thing about the internet, is that research is available wherever there is a wifi spot. But while I was writing The Black Petal, I did visit the Royal Armories museum to research weaponry through the ages.

 

 
Fiona: Who designed the covers?

The brilliant Ravven designed the cover for Here Lies Love. I probably was a pain when I wanted something adding or changing, but she is so professional and exact when it comes to creating your vision.

 

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

As I’ve already mentioned the darker themes in my book, there was one chapter in particular that wasn’t so ‘fun’ to write. It was necessary for the book’s plot. It concerns sexual abuse, and I had to put the writing to one side actually afterwards to let my brain recover from what I had just written.

 

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

I actually learned to not set deadlines. I never meet them! I also learned to have some patience. You really want to get words out, but sometimes, you have to take the time to do it properly. There were moments when I felt like I was taking too long, but by the end I knew it was better to wait than to rush.

 

 
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?

Apart from the usual ‘Never give up’ – I guess I have two pieces of advice. The first is to always work with an editor. You can’t edit your own work effectively. An editor gives a pair of fresh eyes, as well as ideas, which should always be considered. The next bit of advice to grow a thick skin. Writing and publishing isn’t a happy, smiley business. There will be a ton of rejection as well as bad reviews that hurt and sting more than you realise. By learning how to accept this and moving on without overthinking things, you’ll be better off for it.

 

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

Just to stay reading. Reading nurtures the mind and gives us an escape.

 

 

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

I don’t think I do. Grrr – that’s annoying. It’ll probably come to me when I’m doing something mundane, like the washing up – which I also hate!

 

 

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

I’m not sure why, but there is this one advert on Animal Planet that makes me howl with laughter at the moment. Give this a whirl – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2SoGHFM18I

 

 

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

They always say don’t they: not to meet your heroes. But I met Deborah Harkness (author of A Discovery of Witches) at a book talk and she was lovely! So friendly and inviting and gave everybody a little of her time. I would love to meet her again and spend a few hours chatting to her about Tudor history, writing, her trilogy and everything in between! I would have a blast!

 

 

Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?

Other than reading too? I guess it would be listening to music. I think everyone should set some time aside to relax, unhook the phone and shut every interruption out and just listen to music that relaxes you. It’s almost magical how therapeutic and reenergizing it can be, and with the ability to now create playlists, you can make one for any mood. I have such an eclectic taste in music, but I will be dragging my best friend along with me to see Nerina Pallot live in Sheffield in early November.

 

 

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

Like music, I have a wide variety of tastes when it comes to TV. I grew up watching cult teenage hits like Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Farscape, Alias, Xena, The X-Files etc. Recently I’ve really got into Elementary. I think it is so cleverly done. I also watched Cloud Atlas for the first time a few weeks ago and I was absolutely blown away by the strong character driven storyline.

 

 

Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music

Black is my favourite colour (although, my other half would happily point out that black isn’t a colour, but a shade). And I have a love of Chinese food! I’m a glutton for junk food, sadly.

 

 

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

I would always have loved to be a history teacher. I have a special place for ancient civilisations as well as Tudor history. I would be in my element teaching them, I think. In my school, history was taught to us from detached teachers who couldn’t relate to us. It made lessons boring and naff! History can be hands on and explorative – not reading manky textbooks that if you blew on them they’d collapse.

 

 

 

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

Come and join me over on my website http://danthompsonauthor.com/

Twitter: @dan_pentagram

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/theblackpetal

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Here is my interview with Peggy Browning

 

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Name Peggy Browning
Age 59
Where are you from
Joy, Texas. USA
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
I am a single lady, a mother of three, and grandmother of three. I have a bachelor’s degree in education with a minor in sociology, but most of what I know, I’ve learned through living.

 

 
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I just re-released my first novel, Matilda’s Extraordinary Ordinary Life. It is available at amazon.com. It was previously released as The Big 5-0, but I wasn’t satisfied with the title and I re-worked some of the content as well. I also am using a pen name (Elaine Moody) for this book and the ones that follow.
Matilda’s Extraordinary Ordinary Life is the first in a series about Matilda Mason, a woman who starts her life over at the age of 50.

 

 

Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I started writing seriously in 2011. I started a blog then and started working on my novel. I compiled and released two books of essays using posts from my blogs. I also created a “persona” and character of Square Peg who is a cartoon character who dispenses advice.
Prior to that, I had worked as a freelance correspondent for our local newspaper, The Times Record News.

 

 

Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I first considered myself a writer in 2013. I have wanted to write since I was a little girl, but never dared to consider myself seriously as a writer. Now I do. That’s how I define myself now.

 

 

Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I was tired of reading about women in their 30s and 40s and found that their dilemmas didn’t pertain to me. I had already “been there and done that”. I wanted to read something that dealt with the feelings of women my age…empty nesters, women starting over, women following their dreams after a lifetime of doing for others.

 

 

Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I am writing the Matilda Mason series in first person. My story is fiction. I also write essays/blog posts and newspaper and magazine articles. I’ve been told that I have an “authentic” voice…whatever that means! I hope it’s a compliment!

 

 

Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I called the book The Big 5-0 at first because my 50th birthday was a real turning point for me. Then I found that women were turned off by the title…that they viewed it with disdain because of the age thing. The issues of the main character, Matilda, are universal themes for women, so I changed the title to Matilda’s Extraordinary Ordinary Life. Matilda is an ordinary, middle-aged woman who wants to do extraordinary things with the rest of her life.

 

 

Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I want women to know that life doesn’t end at middle age; that, in fact, a whole new world opens before you.

 

 

Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
All of it. I write in a realistic fashion. The settings, people, actions in the book could all be real. I don’t write fantasy, although I guess all fiction is a little bit fantasy.

 

 

Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
I have experienced some of the things I write about. After all, we are encouraged to write what we know, aren’t we? But most of the things I write about are merely fiction. I have had a lot of jobs in my life, so some of the different jobs in the book are based on my own experience. The book is set in a town very similar to the mid-sized Texas city where I now live. The characters could be (but are not) my neighbors, co-workers, and family.

 

 

Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?
I love the books of Maeve Binchy. She is my favorite author. I love how she has a whole cast of characters that have a common basis, but very different experiences and lives.

 

 

Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Maeve Binchy and Fannie Flagg.

 

 

Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I am reading The Funeral Dress by Susan Gregg Gilmore. I just finished Evil at Heart by Chelsea Cain.

 

 

Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I just started reading Chelsea Cain. She writes psychological thrillers. I recently read Heart Sick, Sweetheart, and Evil at Heart. I’m ready to start the fourth book in that series.

 

 

Fiona: What are your current projects?
As Elaine Moody, I am writing Waltzing Matilda, the second book in the Adventures of Matilda Mason. I have seven more in the series already outlined! I expect Waltzing Matilda to be out in February, 2015.
As Peggy Browning, I am putting together a cookbook with the stories that go with the recipes. The title is Heart and Soul Food. It will be out on Amazon December 1, 2014.

 

 

Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
There’s more than one: my high school English teacher, an editor at the local newspaper, and my friends.

 

 

Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Absolutely. This is the work I intend to do for the rest of my life. I hope I make enough money to support myself so I don’t have to live under a bridge.

 

 

Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Oh my! I’ve changed many, many things in that book! Every time I look at it, I feel the need to edit it. At some point, you just have to say “All Done” and start the next story. However, there is a birthday party scene in the book that I am not particularly fond of, but didn’t know how to cut it out of the story once I had written it. I did try to delete it, but eventually left it in place. It is my least favorite part of the book.

 

 

Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
From Matilda’s Extraordinary Ordinary Life:
PROLOGUE

Cambridge Women’s Clinic, Cambridge, Texas
October 21

Buy a red balloon.
I scribbled one last item at the bottom of my TO DO LIST. The list was already quite full.
Have Pap Smear.
Have Mammogram.
See Teresa.
Meet Edie at Pat’s.
Cook supper for family.
Have fun.
But I’d forgotten to write down “buy a red balloon”. Adding the last detail assured me that everyone was taken care of…for today, at least.
I am a Libra. Astrologically, I am supposed to strive for perfect balance. It’s a struggle for me…I tend to be a little scattered. I blame being scattered on having so many responsibilities…
I make lists to balance myself. I often scatter my lists, just like I’m prone to scatter my energy, so I’m not sure the list making works.
Perhaps I’m a little unbalanced.
Oh, well. I try.
I am Woman. I take care of stuff. That’s my lot in life. I take care of my family…my job…everyone…even when they don’t appreciate it…even when I don’t really want to take care of them.
*

I opened a magazine and waited for my first appointment.

*

ONE
“Matilda Mason?”
I stuck the Southern Living magazine under my arm and followed the blonde nurse to the back of the women’s clinic. Could this young thing wearing the Elmo scrubs possibly be a nurse? It seemed the nurses got younger every year.
I checked her name tag. Sure enough, the tag said Amy Wilson, LVN.
“Let’s check your weight now,” Amy the LVN said as she slid the measure up to the one hundred pound mark.
Obviously she hadn’t looked very closely at me or she would have started at one-fifty. Tactfully, she changed the scale to the one-fifty mark, slid it up to one-sixty, and moved it carefully back until she stopped on one-fifty-five.
“Looks like you’re up a little bit from last year,” she smiled. “How tall are you?”
Oh, for Pete’s sake, Nurse Amy, I thought. Give me a break. After all it’s my birthday. Spare me a little shame, please.
“Five feet two inches“, I answered with a little smile of my own.
She jotted both measurements in my chart.
Amy opened the door into the exam room and motioned for me to sit on the table while she took the blood pressure cuff off its holder.
“How old are you?” Nurse Amy asked
“Fifty. Actually…fifty today. It’s my birthday,” I said.
“Oh. Well, happy birthday,” she said. She wrapped the cuff around my upper arm. “How have you been lately?”
“Oh…fine,” I said.
“No problems?” Amy said.
“Nope. None that I can think of,” I answered.
Well, of course I could have mentioned there were a few problems. Like my temperature fluctuations: too hot or too cold … never just right. I could have told her about night sweats and insomnia. Pulling my quilt up to my neck, kicking it off, then….well on and on. But I didn’t feel inclined to discuss this with young, non-menopausal Amy.
Amy took my temperature and felt my pulse, gave me a paper gown, and asked me to undress.
“The doctor will be in shortly,” she said as she left the room.
I changed, folded my clothes over the side chair, and continued reading the magazine. I was tearing out a recipe I wanted to try when Dr. Ayers came in. She was a petite, round woman of about sixty and I considered discussing my newly fluctuating body temperature with her.
“Lemon cupcakes,” I said as I waved the torn page at her.
She sighed, but smiled, brushing her gray streaked hair back behind her ear. I could see it was a struggle for her to have a good bedside manner. But still she gave it a good try. I can’t say that I blamed her. If I was in her position, I’m sure I’d tire of hearing the complaints of menopausal women, too.
Dr. Ayers looked at my chart and then cut to the chase.
“Well, the blood pressure is a little high. Looks like you’ve gained some weight since the last time you were here. Pulse is a little fast, too. Shouldn’t be so high at resting rate,” she said.
“Yeah, well,” I muttered.
“You need to cut out carbs and start exercising. You’re actually thirty pounds overweight for your height. I’d like to see you lose at least twenty pounds before you see me again next year. Do you use much salt?” Dr. Ayers looked up from my chart.
“Well, umm. Not that much,” I said.
“Cut back on that, too,” she said, looking at the chart again. “How old are you now?
Damn, didn’t they write these little tidbits in the chart? Nurse Amy had written down all the other pertinent information. Surely my birth date was written down in there somewhere.
“Fifty,” I said. “Fifty today…in fact. Today is my birthday.”
“Oh, well, happy birthday. Take a deep breath,” Dr. Ayers said as she placed the cold stethoscope under my little paper split-front shirt.
“Are you having any hot flashes? Any symptoms of menopause? Light periods, spotting, missed periods?” she asked.
Well, yes, that and a whole lot more, but I didn’t want to discuss it today. Maybe I should have told the doctor about this general feeling of malaise. Perhaps I should have mentioned the anxiety I felt building in me day-after-day or the excruciating boredom I experienced.
But Dr. Ayers had already pissed me off by telling me to cut out carbs and salt and to start exercising. (Oh, yeah…I was irritable and had rapid mood swings…I’d neglected to report that too.)
I wanted no more suggestions from her. These complaints could wait until my next physical. I was already feeling a little old today. No need to complain about my waning ability to reproduce or my lack of enjoyment of life.
“Not really,” I lied.
“Lie back and relax, please,” she said.

 

 

Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Writing…instead of talking about writing. It’s easy to lose momentum once I start talking about what I’m working on. My goal is to tell a tale…and if I tell the tale aloud, then I feel my job is done! But, of course, it’s not done because I want to WRITE the story to share with lots of people, not TELL the story to just one person!

 

 

Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Not yet. I hope to travel to promote them someday.

 

 

Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I did. I used the Create Space cover creator.

 

 

Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Writing the middle. I had the beginning and the ending, but got stuck in the middle.

 

 

Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Write every day. Write Every Day. WRITE EVERY DAY. Sometimes it is pure crap, but you can always edit and revise.

 

 

Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Write every day! Read every day! Stop talking and start writing!

 

 

Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
It’s not too late to follow your dreams. If you desire to do something: plant a garden, sew a pillow, weld a trailer, travel, sell your house, start a new career…then do it. Do what makes your soul happy. Find a way. You can do it and you will be so glad that you did.

 

 
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
The first book I read was Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss.

 

 
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Almost anything. I try to laugh much more than I cry.

 

 
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would
To meet and why?
No. I feel that if I was meant to meet them, I would have already done so or I will do so in the future.

 

 
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
“I told you I was sick.” Because my kids never believe me when I tell them I don’t feel well. They think I’m a hypochondriac. (But seriously, I think I have some very serious symptoms of something…)

 

 

Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
No. There are things that I enjoy doing, like taking long walks, sewing, gardening, riding my bicycle, reading…but I don’t consider them hobbies. I just think of that as a part of my life.

 

 
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I like Modern Family and Saturday Night Live. I also enjoy Downton Abbey and Mr. Selfridge (or whatever it’s called).

 

 
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I’ve done a lot of things: teaching, social work, retail bookseller, nurses’ aide, receptionist, grant writer/fundraiser, waitress, graphic artist. However, there is nothing that has touched my soul and satisfied my creative needs like writing. I never want to work at anything else again. Now that I have finally started writing, I never want to stop.

 

 

Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Fifty Odd. http://fiftyodd.com
Twitter: @BrowningPeggy

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http://www.amazon.com/Matildas-Extraordinary-Ordinary-Life-Adventures/dp/1502549115/ref=sr_1_1_title_1_pap?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1413900771&sr=1-1&keywords=elaine+moody

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http://www.amazon.com/Well-Seasoned-Laughing-Rose-Colored-Bifocals-ebook/dp/B00KWANFM8/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1413901274&sr=1-3&keywords=peggy+browning

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http://www.amazon.com/View-Through-My-Rose-Colored-Bifocals-ebook/dp/B00AB3SH6A/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1413901290&sr=1-1&keywords=peggy+browning

Here is my interview with Jo Grafford

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Name: Jo Grafford

Age: 40

Where are you from: Midwestern U.S.A., currently living in Bavaria

A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc: Complete nerd. Started off with the whole glasses and braces thing. Graduated high school first in my class and headed off to college. Didn’t know what I wanted to do so I studied business and completed an M.B.A. and went on to enjoy ten wonderful years in the financial services industry. I love the long, winding journey I took before pursuing a full-time writing career. It’s life that gives you something to write about.

 

 

 

Fiona: Tell us your latest news?

My new Viking short story called VIKING FOR HIRE is releasing October 25 in a romance anthology with 10 authors called Autumn’s Kiss. Available for preorder now at a discount on Amazon at http://amzn.com/B00O5D6LEM

 

 
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

As soon as I could hold my first crayon.

 

 
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

In elementary school while entering short story writing contests

 

 
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

I wrote my first mystery novel (a Nancy Drew / Trixie Beldon inspired project) in my early teens. Hand wrote it in a spiral bound notebook. The heroines were Jeannette and Josaphine, twin mystery solving sisters who discovered an underground fortress. Before you ask, nope. It was never published. I’m not even sure where it is. I bet my mother does, though. :D

 

 
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?

I’ve been told my writing resembles everything from literary fiction to James Patterson. I guess it’s in the eye of the beholder (or reader).

 

 
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

My Lost Colony Series (a trilogy) has titles based on what was happening to these brave pioneers. Book #1 BREAKING TIES is the story of their cutting loose (or being cut loose) by their motherland England. Book #2 TRAIL OF CROSSES was a rescue attempt where a small band of gritty colonists followed a set of carved crosses (a pre-agreed upon signal of distress) in search of their missing friends. Book #3 INTO THE MAIN describes what I think ultimately happened to these amazing heroes and where they ended up.

 

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

Yes. Never ever give up. No matter how badly the odds are stacked against you. At least go down trying, but heroes can and often do rise from impossible circumstances.

 

 
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?

The Lost Colony Series is based on real people and real historical events and follows an accurate timeline through book #1. Book #2 picks up where the last historical record of the Lost Colonists ends so it is woven more heavily from research and artistic license.

 

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

They are based on the story of the Lost Colonists from Roanoke Island, the settlement in 1587 that was intended to be the first permanent English colony in the New World.

 

 
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?

A Tale of Two Cities, Gone With the Wind, Les Miserables, A Scarlett Pimpernel, Tom Sawyer, Jane Eyre, The Iliad and the Odyssey

 

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

Nora Roberts

 

 
Fiona: What book are you reading now?

Just finished The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley – a pre release copy I was give at the RT Bookovers Convention 2014 in NOLA. Loved it!

 

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

Kristen Ashley with her Chaos biker series – another one I discovered at RT 2014

 

 
Fiona: What are your current projects?

Oooo…I haven’t told many people this. It’s sort of under wraps because it’s very different from anything I’ve ever written. Hmm…should I confess now or later? Okay, now. I’m writing an erotic romance. Reason? It’s just another one of the many stories in my head that needs to be written, and it’s a story that simply couldn’t be told without the explicit content. (I’m such a genre hopper and have a YA paranormal and MG fantasy complete and sitting on the sidelines as well.) However, for branding purposes, you will mostly see a lot more historical romance from me in the near future.

 

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

An amazing counselor, mentor, and friend named Bud. He knows who he is without shouting out a full name.

 

 
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?

Every time I read through a book, I can find little places to tweak, so I’m going with yes.
 

 

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

No. It’s just always been a part of me.

 

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

Chance meeting between a 36-year-old college professor (in the middle of the Big D) and a billionare who reminds her way too much of her first love as a teen – a sailor who died during a terrorist attack – who just might have ties with the Russian mafia group claiming responsibility for his death.

 

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

Lack of sleep sometimes causes my brain to fizzle out. Solutions: lots of caffeine to finish the scene and then getting horizontal to recover from it all.

 

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

One of my favorite authors is Stephenie Meyer. I can’t get enough of her deep POV and masterful character development. To this day, I’m not 100% sure what charmed me the most about the Twilight Series: The well-built vampire world or the timeless love story between Edward and Bella. For me, their love story ranks up there with the classics.

 

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

Occasionally. I took a road trip to the Outer Banks to visit Ft. Raleigh while writing the Lost Colony book one.

 

 
Fiona: Who designed the covers?

Amanda Matthews

 

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

The revisions. Ugh. Yucky. There are no short cuts. You just have to dog through them.

 

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

I always learn massive amounts of new history, processes, and trivial facts from the many hours of research required to write any novel, including fiction.

 

 
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?

Just keep writing. The only way to get better, ever finish that book, and eventually get published is simply to write. Every day. No matter how you feel. No excuses.

 

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

I’d love to stay in touch with you in social media (see the list below) and through my newsletter for booklovers. Please sign up at www.JoGrafford.com and never miss another one of my contests, giveaways, new releases, or monthly hot book picks. :D

 

 

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

No.

 

 

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

People with great senses of humor make me laugh. People who know how to laugh at themself make me join in. World hunger, natural disasters, and war make me cry. A good book can make me laugh or cry, plus my writing tugs at my senses. I really get into my characters’ heads and frequently end up laughing and crying through their journeys.

 

 

Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would

To meet and why? I really want to meet Nora Roberts. Maybe at RWA in New York next year? Fingers crossed. I own several shelves of her romance novels and J.D. Robb futuristic thriller books. She has done an amazing job of making heros and heroines out of regular people. Along with millions of others worldwide, I can well relate to her writing. Plus she simply spins a good tale. Every time. I particularly love her ability to paint a gorgeous scene with words. Her descriptions are just so…good.

 

 

Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?

Running (at least a few times per year – bwahahaha!), quilting, baking (desserts, desserts, and more desserts which is why I have to run), playing the piano

 

 

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

Castle, NCIS, Supernatural, Big Bang Theory, Vampire Diaries

 

 

Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music

FOODS: Belgian chocolate, big salty pretzels, Bavarian ice cream, Italian imported sweet wines

COLORS: Black. Just can’t go wrong with a classy little black dress.

MUSIC: Muse, Justin Timberlake, Foreigner, Styx, Lada Gaga – It’s a very long list. How long do you have? LOL

 

 

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

Seriously? I’ve worked a lot of other jobs and everyone one of them has led to writing. Editing my high school newspaper and typesetting for a local news journal in my teens was just the beginning. I ended up writing LOTS of training curriculum for the bank and brokerage firms that employed me and tons of curriculum (of course) for the schools I worked for. Just like all roads lead to Rome, all paths seemed to lead to writing in my life. I finally gave up the fight to pursue writing full time.

 

 

Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it? www.JoGrafford.com

Here is my complete list of social media sites:

Website: www.JoGrafford.com

FB: https://www.facebook.com/JoGraffordAuthor

Twitter: @jografford

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7360736.Jo_Grafford

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

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

Book #1 YouTube Book Trailer:

Book #2 YouTube Book Trailer:

Autumn’s Kiss YouTube Book Trailer:

Amazon: http://amzn.com/B00FYIYM7A

Also, here is a link to my giveaway that starts Saturday: http://www.jografford.com/#!autumns-kiss-hop/c56g. (Sizeable gift card and a piece of Waterford crystal – based on the Lost Colony book two – are up for grabs.) Let me know if you need or want anything else for the post.

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Here is my interview with Norman W Wilson, PhD

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Name: Norman W Wilson, PhD

Age: 81

Where are you from: Camano Island, WA, USA

 

 

Fiona: Tell us your latest news?

I have just finished my course work to be a Reiki Master Third Level. It’s a wonderful healing system from the ancient Far East. I am now beginning the study of the use of crystals in healing. It is a fascinating topic.

 

 
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I began writing at a very early age, continuing that on through public school (the school newspaper), and college. I wrote college textbooks before moving into fiction.

 

 
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

When I got my first check from a newspaper column I wrote. I was fourteen at the time.

 

 
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

I will begin with the college textbook in the humanities. I felt there had to be a better way of getting my students involved in their own learning processes. I approached two my of fellow professors and we wrote our first textbook called Butterflies and All that Jazz. My first novel was a result of many long conversations with my mentor. Our discussions ranged from quantum physics, art, music, literature, and the value of man and his world. That resulted in my first novel called The Quest: Seeking the New Adam. That subsequently was revised and renamed, The Shaman’s Quest. That was followed by five other novels; all having a shaman as the main character. Sandwiched between these were several nonfiction books. So You Think You Want to Be a Buddhist?, Promethean Necessity, Shamanism: What It’s All About, and Activating Your Archetype.

 

 
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?

Generally, I prefer to write in first person when it comes to fiction.

 

 
Fiona: How did you come up with the titles?

Titles of my books come to me as I write them. Hopefully, they give a hint as to the subject matter of the books.

 

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

Yes there is a message. I have been criticized for making my books too philosophical and from one point of view I suppose that’s true. I have a message that is carried through the six novels. I suppose one word could act as a summary of that message: Respect. Respect for all living things, for each other, for that which is created.

 

 
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?

Realism is a broad term. There are events in my novels which would make wonderful scenes for special effects.

 

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

The novels come from some of my own experiences with shaman. I met my first shaman when I was seven years old. That meeting has had a lasting impact on my life as I have struggled to understand that which is.

 

 
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life?

Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations, Immanuel Kant, any of Alan Watt’s books, and of course the great Romantics of the 18th Century.

 

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

Alan Watts.

 

 
Fiona: What book are you reading now?

I am on volume two of Katrina Raphaell’s books on crystals: Crystal Healing. I am also reading Evelyn C. Rysdyk’s Spirit Walking: A Course in Shamanic Power.

 

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

Modern writers would include Lee Child,  and David Baldacci.

 

 
Fiona: What are your current projects?

I am revising and adding new material to my book, Shamanism What It’s All About. I run a writers’ group that has 20,000 members world wide called Authors Writers Publishers Editors and Writing Professionals. I write reviews for the New York Journal of Books. I own a small publishing company called Mélange Publishing.

 

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

My former boss and mentor, Strato E. Televely who is now deceased.

 

 
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

I suppose at my age, I would have to say probably no; yet, on the other hand, I could I do have one.

 

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

My last novel, The Making of a Shaman, a coming of age book, has sex scenes that are quite explicit. I could make them softer toned, perhaps.

 

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

Sure, my teacher, when I was six years old, had us write a story.

 

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

I am working on a nonfiction book on how to make moral decisions. It is aimed at the home-taught. Philosophies are explained and then short scenarios are presented that test those philosophies and students have to respond to a series of questions reflecting a particular philosophy.

 

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

Getting out of the main character’s head. My main characters get very bossy.

 

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

Besides Shakespeare, probably Charles Dickens. He allows his characters to come alive and then lets them live that life.

 

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

No, I seldom travel an distance any more.

 

 
Fiona: Who designed the covers?

I am truly blessed with a wonderful designer for my book covers. He is supremely talented. His name is Stephen R. Walker and owns Stephen R. Walker Designs. His website is www.srwalkerdesigns.com.

 

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

Because my writing is heavily researched, I had to be extra careful to make that blend with the story line.

 

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

WOW! You got another fifty years? I honed my personal belief as to what life is, my role in the scheme of things, and what I see as the future. Without getting into a huge religiou/philosophy discussing, simply put I feel All is One; One is All. And Fiona, so we are. :D

 

 
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?

Don’t procrastinate.
 

 

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

Let the philosophy in my novels take you on a new and wonderful journey.

 

 

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

Yes. It was the story of Bruce of Scotland.

 

 

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

I love laughter and yet most people I know consider me serious. I find laughter in watching a mother bird feeding its young and the noise they make; my cat bossing me around while I’m trying to respond to interview questions. I can and do cry over the inhuman treatment of people around the world. The vitriol spreading throughout our world is so sad.

 

 

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

C.S. Lewis comes to mind. I enjoyed his outlook on life.

 

 

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

Well, first of all I am not having a headstone. I am being cremated and my ashes are being distributed on a snow-capped mountain not far from where I live. By the way, I don’t consider it dyeing; but rather a birthing. We move from one womb to another and are born again.

 

 

Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?

I go to yoga classes twice a week, and I am involved in the Chakras, crystal healing, and meditation.

 

 

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

I don’t watch television. Haven’t been to a movie in several years.

 

 

Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music

Love Italian and Vietnamese foods. Blue is my favorite color and easy jazz is my music.

 

 

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

Well, I was a college professor for years. I might have like to have been an archaeologist.

 

 

Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it? http://nwwphd.blogspot.com/

Website is: http://www.shamanicmysteries.com/

Archetype Book CoverBuddhist coverMakingOfShaman2Shaman's RevelationsShaman's Transformation ShamansGenesis5x82-2-01ShamansQuestCover-01 The Shaman's War

Sayings-Cover-01Promethean Necessity (JNG)

Thank you, Fiona, for giving me the opportunity to be one of your interviews. I appreciate the many kindness you render to fellow writers.

Norman

Here is my interview with LORRIE FARRELLY

Lorrie.Farrelly1

Name:  LORRIE FARRELLY

Where are you from: SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA, USA

A little about your self, your education, Family life, etc:

I’m the daughter of a Naval officer and moved around quite a lot as a child. When my dad retired, we settled in the San Francisco Bay Area in California, and I attended the nearby University of California at Santa Cruz.  Following graduate school at Northwestern University, I began a career in education that included teaching art to 4th graders, drama to 8th graders, and finally, math to high school students.

I’m a three-time winner on the Jeopardy! television quiz show. I’ve shepherded wide-eyed foreign exchange students along Hollywood Blvd and have happily curried and shoveled as a ranch hand at Disneyland’s Circle D Ranch. And always, I’ve loved to write.

I’ve won a Presidential Commendation for Excellence in Teaching Mathematics and been a Renaissance nominee for Teacher of the Year. I still tutor kids in math, and I have three children, three grandchildren, and a bunch of dogs and cats. My family and I live in Southern California.

 

 

Fiona: Tell us your latest news?

My novels TIMELAPSE and TERMS OF SURRENDER have just been announced as winning MEDALISTS in the 2014 READERS’ FAVORITE BOOK AWARDS. My short story “The Sheriff of Hel’n Gone” has just been released in Prairie Rose Publications’ Halloween Western anthology COWBOYS, CREATURES, AND CALICO. A Christmas Western short story, “Christmas Treasure,” will be released next month in another Prairie Rose anthology, PRESENT FOR A COWBOY.

 

 

Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I’ve always loved to write. As a kid, I wrote tiny books for my dolls.

 

 

Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I’ve always been a writer. I became an author upon the publication of my first novel, Western historical romance TERMS OF SURRENDER.

 

 

Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

TERMS OF SURRENDER began as a very personal and emotional journey for me. In an old box of papers and keepsakes I found a faded copy of an Oath of Allegiance to the United States signed by my Confederate great-grandfather at the end of the War Between the States, as well as a parole pass allowing him to go home – if he swore never again to take up arms against the USA.

I couldn’t stop wondering what would be in such a man’s heart – Defeat? Honor? Bitterness? Loss? What could have driven a good man to forsake his country and fight for a new one founded on terrible injustice? Could he ever find peace? Would he ever have a true home again? I just had to write that story!

 

 
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?

All of my stories have a touch – and sometimes much more than a touch – of the paranormal. The stories may have an otherworldly character such as a ghost or a guardian angel, or may involve time-travel or clairvoyance. I also pack a lot of emotion, action, suspense, and even humor into those stories. My characters speak with their own voices, and they definitely have lives of their own, usually doing exactly what they want to do. I frequently find myself pulling at my hair and yelling at a character, “No! No! Wait! Why in the world did you do that??”

 

 

Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

TERMS OF SURRENDER is about surrender in many different forms, from military surrender at the end of a war to the ultimate trust – surrender of one’s heart into the keeping of a loved one.

 

 

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

The only things that can truly release a person’s heart and mind from the burdens of guilt, sorrow, and grief are forgiveness and love – for others, and for oneself.

 

 

Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?

Most of TERMS OF SURRENDER is quite realistic, as the story is based on historical fact and real places. Characters are drawn from real situations, such as the devastation of families and friendships during the American Civil War, and veterans’ struggles with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (which was not understood at the time). The fanciful part of the novel deals with a family ghost, ­ or possibly angel, whom one of the main characters believes is a figment of his imagination. The ghost himself, however, has quite a different opinion!

 

 

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

I’m a history buff, and I think one of the most touching stories from the Civil War era is the friendship between Confederate General Lewis Armistead and Union General Winfield Scott Hancock (for whom Hancock Park in Los Angeles is named). Brothers-in-arms during the Mexican War, and fast friends later stationed together at the garrison in Los Angeles, they were wrenched apart by the outbreak of war. Armistead resigned his commission with the US Army and left Los Angeles to return east to fight for his home state of Virginia. In his heartbreaking farewell to his dear friend Hancock, he said, “Good-bye. You cannot know what this has cost me.” The abiding friendship of these two men, who both felt duty came before personal happiness and peace, so impressed me that I knew my novel had to have characters with a similar, deeply emotional bond of brotherhood.

 

 

Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?

Oh, way too many to mention all of them! However, some books I really love are Harper Lee’s TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, Michael Shaara’s THE KILLER ANGELS, Stephen King’s SALEM’S LOT, Elizabeth Lowell’s WINTER FIRE, Linda Howard’s DIAMOND BAY, Robert B. Parker’s SMALL VICES and APPALOOSA, Dean Koontz’s LIGHTNING and WATCHERS, Harold Keith’s RIFLES FOR WATIE, Nora Roberts’ VALLEY OF SILENCE and (as J.D. Robb) the IN DEATH series, Charlotte Bronte’s JANE EYRE, Anne Rivers Siddons’ THE HOUSE NEXT DOOR, Shirley Jackson’s THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE, and Owen Wister’s THE VIRGINIAN.

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

Any and all of the above!

 

 

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

I’m always reading several books at once. Three I’m currently reading are Mary E. Trimble’s TENDERFOOT, Jack Bailey’s A TEXAS COWBOY’S JOURNAL, and Jackie Weger’s NO PERFECT SECRET.

 

 

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

Mary E. Trimble, Mary Smith, Demelza Carlton, Kathleen Rice Adams, Pete Barber, Jenny Harper, Cindy Nord, Jennifer McMahon, Glynis Smy, Kate Meadows, Peggy L. Henderson, Jackie Weger, Shilpi Somaya Gowda … and so many more! There are really some amazingly gifted authors out there right now!

 

 

Fiona: What are your current projects?

We have a two-year-old toddler at home, so right now I’m writing short stories, which don’t take as much of a time and concentration commitment as a novel.

 

 

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

I can’t leave it at just one, so I’ll say this very fast: Authors’ Cave, eNovel Authors at Work, Western Historical Romance Book Club, Paranormal Romance Guild, The Romance Studio, and Women Writing the West.

 

 

Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

It’s my career now.

 

 

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

No, I’m happy with it.

 

 

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

Here is an excerpt from the just-released “The Sheriff of Hel’n Gone,” the story of courageous frontier lawman Tom Reeves, doomed to repeat the worst – and last – Halloween of his life, until the day he rescues archaeologist Hallie Constantine from the wreck of her Jeep. It’s featured in Prairie Rose Publications’ COWBOYS, CREATURES, AND CALICO:

Tom read the bottle’s label: Hydrogen Peroxide. Turning the bottle around, he studied the neck of it. There was no cork. He thumbed the top, but what seemed to be a little cap would not come off.

“How, um, how do you get the top off this thing?” he asked.

He didn’t need to meet Hallie’s eyes to know her expression was incredulous. “Seriously, Sheriff? Here, give it back.” He returned the bottle and she gave the little cap a twist. Off it came. Without a word, she handed it back to Tom.

He took both the bottle and the cap, and mimicking her motions, twisted the little top on and off again. Huh, he thought. Whattaya know. Now that’s somethin’, ain’t it?

Watching him play with the twist top, Hallie was flummoxed. He looked like he’d never seen one before. Not even realizing she was speaking her thoughts aloud, she muttered, “Jeez, what is this? The freaking nineteenth century?”

Surprised, Tom stopped fiddling with the cap and looked at her, one eyebrow raised quizzically. “Well, yes’m, that it is. When else, exactly, did you think it might be?”

© 2014 by Lorrie Farrelly

 

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

It’s always a challenge. That’s what makes it fun.

 

 

Fiona: Who designed the covers?

The covers (and several of my video book trailers as well) were designed by my husband, Wally Farrelly.

 

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

Dealing with those times when I simply didn’t know what would happen next.

 

 

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

It’s immensely gratifying to share the stories that are close to my heart with readers.

 

 

Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?

Write the stories you love, and write them well. How you write is as important as what you write, for if execution is poor, the story won’t connect with readers. A successful novel or short story has both art and skill, and skill can be readily learned. There are many, many resources available to help with the techniques and grammar rules of writing.

 

 

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

I love my readers, and appreciate them more than I can say. I’m especially grateful to those who take the time to comment on my stories on sites such as Amazon and Goodreads.

 

 

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

I remember my mother reading FERDINAND THE BULL, MADELINE, and A CHILD’S GARDEN OF VERSES to me. The first book I can remember reading to myself (other than school primers) was THE BOXCAR CHILDREN.

 

 

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

My family takes the prize on both of those!

 

 

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

The historical person who has always most impressed and fascinated me is Abraham Lincoln. He came from nothing, and despite overwhelming sorrow and personal tragedy, became one of the most eloquent, steadfast, moral and political geniuses of all time.

 

 

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

“Hey, I wasn’t done yet!” (No explanation needed, I hope!)

 

 

Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?

I love to travel, go to the movies, research history and genealogy, and have fun with the kids and grandkids. We’re a family of former and current Disneyland cast members, so we love to go over to the Park, and often spend the day there.

 

 

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

My current favorites are Sleepy Hollow, The Walking Dead, Hell on Wheels, Resurrection, Who Do You Think You Are? and Finding Your Roots.

 

 

Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music

My favorite color is blue, I love classic and oldies rock ‘n roll, show and movie music, and folk music. I’m not crazy about New Age, Heavy Metal, or rap. I never met a chocolate I didn’t like.

 

 

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

I am, and always will be, a teacher.

 

 

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

My website is https://sites.google.com/site/yourbestreads/home.

Some links are:

AMAZON: http://www.amazon.com/Lorrie-Farrelly/e/B008P3LJ0O

AMAZON UK: http://amzn.to/1mWwAxJ

AMAZON AUSTRALIA:  http://bit.ly/1iwU1y5

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LorrieFarrellyAuthor

Website:  https://sites.google.com/site/yourbestreads

Twitter: https://twitter.com/@lorriewrites

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+LorrieFarrelly/posts/p/pub

Cowboys, Creatures, and Calico 1 WebDangerous copyGuardian's Angel copyT-Engagement copyTERMS OF SURRENDER cover with medalTIMELAPSE cover with medalT-Temptation copyLorrie_Farrelly

Many thanks, Fiona, for inviting me to visit today! I truly appreciate it, and I had a great time!

 

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