Here is my interview with Larry Yoakum III

Name:  Larry Yoakum III

Age:     42

Where are you from?   Born in Wichita, KS, raised in Valley Center, KS.  Currently in Rowlett, Tx

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

Raised in a small town, a have a different outlook on life.  I joined the Air Force after high school and served 4 years.  Married twice before and divorced twice, I now have met and married the love of my life, Allison.  We have been together since 2002, but married in 2014.  Took a long time, I know, but we didn’t feel the need to rush.  😀   I am also the founder of a veteran’s brotherhood in the Dallas area called Knights of Targoth Order of Veterans, and I’m an ordained minister through the Universal Life Church.  I like karaoke, World of Warcraft, horror movies, the Simpsons, and the comedy of George Carlin and Sam Kinison (R.I.P. both of them).  I like rock, everything from AC/DC to ZZ Top.

Fiona: Tell us your latest news? 

Just got back from a weekend in Vegas with the missus.  Had a great time.  I don’t gamble (don’t have the skill or the funds to waste) but there is a lot to do there.


Fiona: When and why did you begin writing? 

I began writing small articles and short stories in high school during my computer class when I was done with my assignments.  I got bored waiting on the others.  Then, in the military, I began writing short stories, many of which are currently published in my Yoakum’s Compendium of Bizarre and Original Stories.  Everything from a grocery store in Hell to intelligent zombies.  I wrote a lot because I had stories cluttering my brain, and the only way I could get them out was to write them down.  In fact, my story Lawson One-Eye was written on paper with a pencil while I was deployed to Bahrain.  When I got back, I transcribed it onto the computer, fleshed it out, and it is included in my Compendium.  It was written in 1998, so I had held onto it for a while.


Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

The first time I wrote a short story when I was 20 and stationed at Eglin AFB.  Once you write, you’re a writer.


Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

I had the stories to tell.  Better to have them in the world for others to read (and hopefully enjoy) than to keep them locked up in your mind.


Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?

I like to write a mix of horror, fantasy, with elements of sci-fi, blended with my own unique twisted humor and world perspective.  All of my books are in a shared universe, so you’ll see some main characters in one story become a background character in others.   A lot of my stuff centers around Valley Center, KS in some way.  In my world, it is a nexus point where portals sometimes pop up, taking you from anywhere to the distant past of Saturn to five blocks up the road an hour into the future.  I know the secret of why it happens, but I will cover it in a future book.  The town attracts ghosts, monsters, etc, that hide in the shadows, but are still there nonetheless.


Fiona: How did you come up with the title? 

I don’t know, they just come to me.


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

Not really a message.  But the themes are things such as, the good guys don’t always win, the universe has much more to it than what we see with our own eyes, and evil isn’t necessarily always out to get you for the sake of getting you.


Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Sometimes I take real life experience and just put the paranormal or government conspiracy flair into it.  Such as one of my time traveling characters meeting JFK and knowing he’ll die, but has to let it happen so that the future is the way it should be.  I’ve also had weird experiences in a house I know to be haunted when I was growing up, so I put some of those into my books.


Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?

I like the stories of Lovecraft.  They were all short, sometimes a page long, but the mythology he weaved was amazing.  I also watched anthology shows like Tales From The Darkside, which influenced some of my short stories.

 

Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest and who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

In the Dallas area, I’ve met a lot of great locals authors.  One of my favorite is Jacqueline E. Smith, who is writing the Cemetery Tours series.  And on FaceBook, I’ve met other great authors across the country who I’ve read, such as Donna Walo Clancy and Peggy A. Wheeler.


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

My best friend, brother from another mother, and co-founder of the Knights of Targoth Order of Veterans, James Rosenthal Jr.


Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

I’m working on it.  I’d love to give up the day job and write for my living.  I don’t care about being a millionaire, I’d be happy with being a thousandaire.


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

No, I like to think the stories are already there and I just write them down from my mind.  They’re by no means perfect, but there really is no such thing as perfection.  Only what you feel makes the story complete.


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

In the military is when I kicked it into gear, but in high school, I did enjoy it a bit.

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

Right now, I’m working on a book called Baba Yaga: Cannibal Witch.  It is the next in line of my folklore series, beginning with Redcap, in which Baba Yaga was a minor supporting character.

 


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

Since all my stories are in a shared universe, continuity can be a chore, but I do it well.  I don’t want to contradict a previous story.


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

Not yet, but I’d love to be the type of author who can fly to other cities to do book signings and speak at events.


Fiona: Who designed the covers? 

I do, for the most part, but Haunting on the Nobility had its cover done by a professional.  Donna Collier.  I highly recommend her.


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

Sometimes I am just not feeling it, so I’ll walk away for a bit, but eventually you have to push through.  That, and as previously stated, continuity.


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

Just how to tie all the parts together and make it cohesive.

Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film who would you like to play the lead?

Well, Redcap is going to be made into an indie film later this year, but if it were mainstream with Hollywood names, I’d like to see the protagonist played by Liam Hemsworth.  He seems like he could be a young ex-soldier returning home to a funeral only to come into contact with a mythical creature.  If my Targothian series got made into a film, Ryan Reynolds could be the lead.  He has the moves down, as you can see from Deadpool.  He can use a sword and play dark and brooding, too.


Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?

  Don’t stop.  Write for yourself, and if others like your work, then so much the better.  But, you have to write what you love.  If you force yourself into writing what others want, then you won’t have the heart in it.


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

Thank you, you all make it special by reading the stories that flow out of my brain.  I love you all.

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

I just finished reading Death By Chowdah by Donna Walo Clancy.  Awesome ghost story.  I recommend it.

 

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read? 

Not really the first, but one of the earliest was The Time Machine by H.G. Wells.

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

Even after all these years, the Simpsons still make me laugh.  As for cry, not to sound cliché, but I’m sick of the Powers-That-Be using partisan politics to turn us against each other.  As far as I’m concerned, both sides of the fence are working together to keep us at each other’s throats in order to better control us.  Or maybe I’m just being paranoid.  I guess that doesn’t make me cry.  Just boils my blood at times.  Not to sound too much like a nerd, but when (Spoilers)

Spock dies at the end of Star Trek 2: Wrath of Khan, I get teary eyed.

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

Lovecraft.  He died young (age 46).  I’d just like to tell him how great his stories are and how they’ve held up even after all these decades.

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

Veteran, Patriot, Author, Husband, Brother, and Original Thinker.  I think it sums me up.

Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?

Karaoke, World of Warcraft, horror movies.  I don’t know if this counts as a hobby, but every year we go to Oktoberfest in Addison, Tx.  Someday I want to go to the one in Munich, Germany.  What can I say?  I love German beer.  Especially Spaten.

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

The Simpsons, of course.  Supernatural.  The Walking Dead.  Arrow.  Agents of SHIELD.  I don’t watch a lot of current shows other than those.  But I do have Tales From The Dark Side, Lexx, Married With Children, Sons of Anarchy, as well as other shows, the complete series, that I’ll watch every now and then.  Movies, I love the Star Wars movies.  Since I was three.  And, anything paranormal/horror.  And Fight Club.  I never tire of that movie.

Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music

Anything grilled and meat.  Steak, burgers, pork chops.   I like to wear a lot of black t-shirts with various things.  On Fridays, I wear my Red Friday shirt (Remember Everyone Deployed) in honor of my brothers and sisters deployed far from home.   Music, rock.  Bon Scott era AC/DC is my favorite, followed by Motley Crue, Kiss, Def Leppard, Black Sabbath, Journey, Foreigner, and Rammstein.  I don’t speak or understand German, but the music still rocks.

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

If I would have learned to play guitar, I’d love to be a musician.  Maybe not to the level of a rock god, but I’d be happy to play classic rock in a bar cover band at night.

 

Fiona: Do you have a blog/website?

If so what is it?  My site is called Larry’s Office, located at http://larryyoakum3.webs.com/ Come on by and don’t forget to sign the guestbook.  I have a blog on there, but I hardly write on it anymore.

I am also on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, all as LarryYoakum3.   On Facebook I also have my own page Larry Yoakum III – Independent Author

I have an Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.com/Larry-Yoakum-III/e/B0118ONKR6/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1462068950&sr=8-1

You can also find me on LinkedIn, though I don’t post a lot on there.

 

Here is my interview with Phyllis Labrie Morneau

 

NAME – Phyllis Labrie Morneau

 

AGE – 64

 

WHERE ARE YOU FROM  I am originally from Manchester, NH. We moved to West Hartford, CT in 2003 so our youngest son could attend the American School for the Deaf. When my husband retired in 2012, we moved to Maryville, TN so our youngest son could attend Tennessee School for the Deaf, where he will graduate next month. We also enjoy living closer to our grandchildren who live in the South.

 

A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF

I am retired and have been happily married for almost 45 years to my husband, Rich. We have 3 sons, 1 daughter, 1 daughter-in-law, and 7 grandchildren.

I grew up in New England with a loving Mom & Dad and 2 wonderful sisters. I was raised in the Catholic Church, which gave me a good foundation for my faith. However, although I knew about God, it wasn’t until I was 20 years old, that I surrendered my life to God and really came to know Him as my Lord and Savior. Actually, it is this knowledge of His love and saving grace that inspires me to share it with everyone who has an open heart to receive it through my writing.

 

TELL US YOUR LATEST NEWS

My 3rd book called Hope for the Daily Grind: Morning Meditations on God’s Word has recently been published as a kindle book.

 

WHEN AND WHY DID YOU BEGIN WRITING?

To be honest, although I loved reading books as a child, I didn’t have a passion to write until I was 51 years old, in 2004, when my husband was stationed in Iraq. I wrote to my husband faithfully every day, either by email or by letter, sharing news of life back home in West Hartford, CT.  It was therapeutic for me to write creatively from my heart in a positive and humorous manner. It helped me to continue to be optimistic and lighthearted during a difficult year when my husband was so far from home.

 

WHEN DID YOU FIRST CONSIDER YOURSELF A WRITER

Although I always enjoyed writing – either essays or book reports when I was in school and then later those long emails to my husband when he was stationed in Iraq – it wasn’t until I started writing my 1st book, a memoir for my family, that I considered myself to be a writer.

 

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO WRITE YOUR FIRST BOOK

The inspiration was actually a memoir that one of my husband’s cousins had written about herself to share with her family and friends. I read it and thought it was a wonderful idea and then had the strong desire to write my own memoir to share with my family and friends.

For my book, I was blessed to be able to ask questions of my Mom and Dad and to hear the stories of their life as well as those of their parents. I also looked at family photographs to help me remember stories about my own life. It was a way for me to share the love of our family with my children and grandchildren. To be honest, my grandchildren enjoy it most when I read to them all the funny stories about myself that I shared throughout the book. 🙂

 

DO YOU HAVE A SPECIFIC WRITING STYLE?

My genre is Christian non-fiction and Christian poetry. I have been inspired by reading books in that genre and hope that my books will inspire people as well.

My favorite place to write is sitting in my recliner with either pen and paper or my laptop computer. And my favorite time to write is during my quiet time with the Lord in the morning. That is usually when the Lord places an idea about something on my heart.

For example, my 2nd book “My Season of Writing: Bible Bedtime Stories, Poems, Prayers, and Songs” was written during my morning quiet time with the Lord. That is when I first got the deep desire to write some bible bedtime stories and prayers as nursery rhymes for my grandchildren to read at bedtime. After many months of writing, I decided to have the collection of poems published to share not only with my grandchildren but with my family and friends.

Usually my ideas come when I am praying or reading the Bible. But they have also come from a conversation with someone or a song that touches my heart or an inspirational book that I have read. I try to stay open to whatever I feel the Lord is placing on my heart to share with others through writing.

 

HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE TITLE?

My husband likes to tease me that I can make a short story long. I guess I can make a short title of a book long, too 🙂 The title of my 3 books are From My Heart to Yours: A Legacy of Love, My Season of Writing: Bible Bedtime Stories, Poems, Prayers, & Songs, and Hope for the Daily Grind: Morning Meditations on God’s Word. I have never really thought about how I came up with the title for each of them. I think that, in the process of writing the books, the titles were something that the Lord placed on my heart.

 

IS THERE A MESSAGE IN YOUR BOOK THAT YOU WANT READERS TO GRASP?

I actually wrote a poem about the themes for each of my 3 books:

“Being still before the Lord this morning, I had the desire today,

To share with you my faith, my hope, and my love when I did pray.

Then I realized that I had already shared those 3 things – it was true,

In my bible stories, poems, meditations, and book written for all of you.

Faith was actually the theme throughout My Season of Writing,

Sharing God’s Word in Bible stories, poems, and prayers by rhyming.

And Hope was the theme in my meditations – Hope for the Daily Grind,

God’s Promises help us cope in every situation by renewing our mind.

Finally, Love was the theme for writing my 1st book – Legacy of Love,

The story of my family’s love and also God’s amazing love from above.

The greatest gifts we can receive are not costly – they are free,

They are Faith, Hope, and Love that God gives to you and to me.”

 

WHAT BOOKS HAVE MOST INFLUENCED YOUR LIFE MOST? A MENTOR?

Although I enjoyed reading the Nancy Drew mystery books as a child, I think that one of my favorite childhood books is “The Diary of Anne Frank”. It had a deep impact on me. I loved how she wrote so honestly from her heart about her daily life. When I first read the book, I was probably about the same age as Anne Frank when she wrote it.  I could relate to her when she shared the mixed emotions she was having as an adolescent. And, In spite of the terrible conditions of her daily life, she wrote these profound words, “Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart.” That statement really touched my heart.

Another favorite book of mine is “The Pilgrim’s Progress” by John Bunyon – it is not only enjoyable but also very inspiring. It is an allegory about the journey of a person called Christian from his home to the Celestial City or Heaven. He encountered much hardship along the way that threatened him many times and made it difficult to remain on the right path. I could relate to it as a Christian in my own life and was encouraged and inspired in my own walk with the Lord.

My favorite poet is Maya Angelou. Everything that she wrote – whether books, poetry, essays, or a memoir – she wrote from her heart. Her poetry, especially, touches my heart and affects me in a profound way. Each poem expresses her incredible wisdom and strength of character. I think that many people, including myself, have a new appreciation of poetry because of her.

 

WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE AUTHOR AND WHAT IS IT THAT REALLY YOU ABOUT THEIR WORK?

I think that my favorite author is John Eldredge and my favorite book is Epic: The Story God is Telling and The Role That Is Yours To Play. It is a book that delivers a powerful message of truth about the reality of our life being a grand drama with God as the Central Character and the Hero in our own story. It is very interesting and inspiring. My favorite quote from the book is “The Lover of our souls, the One who has pursued us down through space and time, Who gave His own life to rescue us from the Kingdom of Darkness, has made it clear: He does not want to lose us. He longs to be with us forever.”

 

DO YOU SEE WRITING AS A CAREER?

I would like to continue to write as I feel led by the Lord. For me, I think of my writing not so much as a career, but as a ministry.

 

CAN YOU SHARE A LITTLE OF YOUR CURRENT WORK WITH US?

My most current work is my 3rd book called Hope for the Daily Grind: Morning Meditations on God’s Word. I’ve heard that it takes 21 days to form a new habit so my hope is that the 21 daily meditations in the book will help us to create a new habit of renewing our minds daily with the hope that is available from the many promises in God’s Word.

 

IS THERE ANYTHING YOU FIND PARTICULARLY CHALLENGING IN YOUR WRITING?

When I am in the flow of writing, I lose all sense of time and can easily write for hours. When I wrote my 1st book “From My Heart to Yours: A Legacy of Love” I spent many hours at a time sitting in my recliner using my laptop computer to write. I remember one time that I was literally sitting for hours writing and found that, when I finally did stand up, I was so stiff that I actually had trouble walking. 🙂 So, for me, the most difficult part of the artistic process is to be patient, pace myself, and take breaks periodically.

 

DID YOU LEARN ANYTHING FROM WRITING YOUR BOOK AND WHAT WAS IT? –

The reason for writing my 3rd book was to share the hope that is available from God’s Word that will help us deal with difficult situations in our daily life. However, I didn’t realize the extent of so many wonderful promises of hope that are available in God’s Word until I was in the process of writing the book. I was truly blessed in researching the many promises in God’s Word and my hope is that it blesses all who read it.

 

DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR OTHER WRITERS?

I would simply advise any aspiring writers to just start writing. If you have the desire to share something that is on your heart or something about your life that would benefit others, than do it. It is not easy but it is very rewarding.

 

OTHER THAN WRITING DO YOU HAVE ANY HOBBIES?

My husband and I enjoy retirement. I actually wrote a poem called When You Retire about the fact that every day is now a holiday. We love to go on long walks and enjoy nature together. We also enjoy going to the movies, too.

We also keep busy with different tasks around our home. My husband enjoys working outside our home – mowing, weeding, and pruning. While I enjoy working inside our home – cleaning and also cooking. I also love to find new recipes to cook for my family.

We are retired but we also are caretakers of our youngest son, who is deaf and autistic. He is definitely a blessing in our lives but I have to admit that, at times, it can be challenging dealing with his unique needs.

One of our favorite times together is traveling on vacation. We have enjoyed visiting Disney World the past few years and have also visited Hershey, PA too. We also enjoy taking weekend trips to either Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg in the Smoky Mountains during the year.

No matter where we visit,  I always take many pictures and then later enjoy organizing them and putting them into photo albums.

 

WHAT TV SHOWS / FILMS DO YOU ENJOY WATCHING?

My favorite tv shows are action/adventure and dectective/mystery shows such as 24 Legacy and Designated Survivor. However, my favorite films are Disney Fairy Tales such as Cinderella and Beauty & the Beast.

 

FAVORITE FOODS / COLORS  / MUSIC?

My favorite food is comfort food such as lasagna with garlic bread. My favorite color is purple. My favorite music is Contemporary Christian and my favorite CD is Transparent with Living Water Sound, my son’s band.

 

 

 

DO YOU HAVE A BLOG OR WEBSITE?

I do not have a blog or website.

However I do have an author page on Amazon.com:

https://www.amazon.com/Phyllis-Morneau/e/B010R8THEY/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0 I also have a page on Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14781769.Phyllis_L_Morneau

Bio

Phyllis Labrie Morneau’s desire to write a personal memoir for her family, especially her grandchildren, was the reason for writing her 1st book “From My Heart to Yours: A Legacy of Love”. She wanted to share her family’s story and their love and also share God’s story and His amazing love, too. It was originally published in May 2011. Her 2nd book “My Season of Writing” was also written with her grandchildren in mind. It is a collection of Bible Bedtime Stories, Poems, Prayers, and Songs written during a season of her life. Her 3rd book “Hope for the Daily Grind: Morning Meditations on God’s Word was recently published as a 21 day devotional focusing on the hope we can have by renewing our minds on the many promises in God’s Word.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is my interview with Iris Sweetwater

Name Iris Sweetwater

Age 28

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

I have two degrees to speak of, but the one I am most proud of is my degree in Education. I love teaching children and adults alike. I make my own curriculum and just love to help people learn about life and leadership as well as the Arts, English, and History.

I am a mother and wife at this point. My husband works a lot of hours so I can do this crazy writing thing and take care of my child.

 

 

Fiona: Tell us your latest news?

The first in my paranormal romance series called Brothers of Fang is available for pre-order right now. It will officially release at all major ebook retailers on May 2nd. I am very excited because I put everything I had into this and have already begun working on the other three books in the series.

 

 
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I wish I could go into my childhood psyche and pull out the whys because it would be interesting to find out. However, I was an early reader and writer. I wrote my first poems at age 4.

 

 
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I have always felt like a writer, and my classmates and teachers felt the same way. An author, though, that’s taken much longer. Doing ghostwriting, I didn’t even feel like one.

 

 
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

I have literally hundreds of unfinished novels sitting in a huge chest in my closet. I was always meant to write them, but now I have finally been determined and confident enough to make it happen. I was sick of others getting credit for my talent.

 

 
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?

This is always hard to describe, but I use a basic outline, nothing too detailed, and I always aim to give as much imaginative detail to the reader as possible without overwhelming them. (Think JK Rowling vs. Stephanie Meyer)

 

 
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

For this book, it was about my characters. The main subjects are three werewolf brothers. It just made sense.

 

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

I think it’ll be pretty clear, but there are two main themes I think readers will see as they read. The first has to do with family and how fickle it can be. You trust them whether you like them or not, you feel obligated to love them, but sometimes that comes back to bite you. The other theme I would think would be obvious is how the heart is constantly at war with the mind.

 

 
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Most of this book is purely fictional. It involves witches and werewolves. However, I think the struggles with family is something we can all relate to as well as liking someone you know you shouldn’t.

 

 
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?

JK Rowling has been huge for me, and not just because of Harry Potter. Her entire life and gumption inspires me. Other than that, I would say a lot of YA authors have been big for me such as Alyson Noel, Addison Moore, and Holly Black.

 

 

Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest and who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

I keep singing her praises everywhere, she might just get creeped out, but I am a big fan of Something Blue by Kristy Nicolle.

 

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

The author community has been amazing in general. So many Indie authors have come to my aid in so many ways.

 

 
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

Absolutely. I hope it turns out that way.

 

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

Nothing at all.

 

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

Like I said, it began with poetry. I liked to use metaphors for my feelings and others’ feelings. I often would turn anger and sadness into monsters or trees.

 

 

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

 

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

Word count and knowing what is too much or too little.

 

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

Not yet, but I would love to start attending some author events.

 

 
Fiona: Who designed the covers?

My husband and myself do a lot of them, but I also have two other authors who are great at cover design. This one was done by C.L. Cannon.

 

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

Not overthinking the editing. I am my own worst critic.

 

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

It was that I needed to be more confident in my writing as well as how to give myself enough time to write. It really got down to the wire on this one.

 

 

Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film who would you like to play the lead

Oh my goodness, this is such a fun question. There are a lot of lead characters in my books, but I will stick to casting the three werewolf brothers. Two of them actually have celebrities as their inspiration, so those are easy; David Beckham and Jason Behr. The younger brother requires some thought, but I think Ian Somerholder or Joseph Gordon-Levitt would be a good fit.

 

 
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?

Don’t let anyone dictate what you should be writing unsolicited.

 

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

Yes, I would like them to know I appreciate each one of them. Never hesitate to send me a hello or a question about my work on social media. I would love to get to know them!

 

 

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

I am desperately awaiting the next in the Celestra series by Addison Moore.

 

 

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

I think the first chapter book I sat down to read by choice had to be the second Harry Potter book.

 

 

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

Most things involving Russell Brand.

 

 

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

Again, this comes back to JK Rowling. I want to know when she was at her lowest if she ever thought she would be where she is today.

 

 

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

Ew, that’s kind of morbid lol. Well, something about being a mom. That’s the most important thing to me.

 

 

Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?

I love to dance and sing!

 

 

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

PLL, Vampire Diaries, The Bachelor (sorry!)

 

 

Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music

Crepes and Lemon Chicken/Pink and Black/Too much to mention but my latest obsession is Halsey

 

 

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

I would have been an actress or singer.

 

 

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

http://irissweetrh.wixsite.com/irissweet-author

Iris Sweetwater | Paranormal, Fantasy & Romance Author

Where to find my books:
Amazon | Smashwords | Nook
Connect with Iris:
Website | Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn

Here is my interview with Jonathan Austen

Name Jonathan Austen

Age 48

Where are you from: Scottsdale Arizona

A little about yourself `ie your education Family life etc  

I’m currently not married but I am in a serious relationship.

 

Fiona: Tell us your latest news?

I just released the latest book in my children’s adventure series A Tale of Hope and Adventure. It’s the third book in the series. It’s great for kids age 7 to 12. Each story sends a strong, positive message. Something we all can use nowadays.

I also just did a pre-release for my short story fiction The Wrong Choices. It’s not for you kids. You can find it and my children’s series on my website www.jonathanausten.com. The books are available everywhere.

 

 
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I started writing seriously in May 2016. A friend encouraged me to write a short story to get the juices flowing. She loved it and encouraged me to turn it into a book. I am now halfway through the second book in the series. It’s for young adults and it’s called The Crystal Kingdom. It should be ready for release at the end of 2017.

I write because I enjoy bringing happiness to others. In the past that was through my job as an IT professional and also as a martial arts instructor. But doing those things wasn’t enough. I had to be more creative and writing allows me to do that.

 

 
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I struggle with this one because writing is still new to me. I think after I finish the YA series, which is a HUGE undertaking by the way, I’ll think of myself as a writer.

 

 
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

Technically the first book i wrote is still in the works. It’s part of a series. Book one is done. It’s 100k words. I’m almost done with book two and that looks like it’s going to be another 100k words. The first book I officially published was The Dragon Thieves. I wrote that in between the rounds of content editing for the first book in my YA series. But what inspired me? Stories like The Lord of the Rings and Lord Fouls Bane. I love epic stories of fantasy where the only limit is your imagination.

 

 
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?

Not sure exactly what you mean but here goes. I prefer to write in third-person. And I do NOT use an outline. I am a pantser. And there always has to be someone sarcastic in my book. That character is always a lot of me in it.

 

 
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

For my children’s series, the book The Dragon Thieves came up at the very last second. I original wanted to call it A Tale of Hope. But sadly it was too similar to something already out there. My cover artist suggested adding “and Adventure” at the end and voila! Oh and it wasn’t The Dragon Thieves. It was originally called The Hunters. I wanted to go with a theme to have the title be after the villain in each book but Hunters wasn’t scary enough.

 

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

Each book in my children’s series has a strong message. For example, The Dragon Thieves is about family, friends, and accepting others for their differences. The second book, The Frost Giant is an anti-bullying theme. The third book, The Ogre King is about not judging others based on their appearances. The fourth book, which will be out later this year, will be called The Fenrir. It’s message is going to be about being able to change who you are and not accepting what life deals you. Pretty big topic for young kids LOL.

 

 
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

None of the books in my series A Tale of Hope and Adventure are realistic. The characters are a talking dragon, wolf, and fenrir, along with other animals. However, my new short story fiction The Wrong Choices is very much real and is actually based on combined events of my life and my brother’s life. It’s a gut-wrenching story. Fortunately for the reader it’s short so the pain doesn’t last long 😉

 

 
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?

No mentor. Lord of the Rings, Lord Foul’s Bane, The Jack Reacher series by Lee Childs, and most importantly Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand.

 

 

Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest and who  is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

I love this new book I picked up called A Tale of Two Reapers by Jack Wallen. The main character is so sarcastic, evil and funny. I laughed through most of it.

 

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

The SCBWI – Society for Children’s Book WRiters International.

 

 
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

If I can get people to buy my books, then YES. I love writing.

 

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

I would have had an alpha reader for the first book. I have one now. It’s great.

 

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

I spent a lot of time alone as a kid. I used to scribble in writing pads practicing my cursive. I knew then I wanted to be a writer but life sidetracked me until now.

 

 

 

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

I’m working on a YA series called The Crystal Kingdom. Book 1 is called The Crystal Kingdom. Book 2 is called The Blood Lands: A Crystal Kingdom novel. Book 3 is called Resurrection: A Crystal Kingdom novel.

It’s about a troubled teenage girl in our world who can do magic, but doesn’t know that what she is doing is magic. She learns she is the last descendent in her bloodline, the only bloodline that possess the ability to magic. She must to travel to another world (arthurian world)  to save not only her family, but the kingdom there as well. There are a few twists that will punch the reader in the stomach along the way. I can’t wait to get it out there.

 

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

Staying focused on writing and not worrying about marketing/sales. I’m fortunate I guess in that I don’t need to create an outline and each chapter I write tells me where the next one is going. I do have a basic guide in my head where I want the story to go, but nothing concrete. Just major plot points.

 

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

Nope.

 

 
Fiona: Who designed the covers?

Melinda VanLone.

 

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

The content edit for the first book. There were so many issues with it. The rules for magic changed. Characters were erased. It was like writing the book twice. Rookie mistake.

 

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

Know the rules of your world first or you end up doing what I did. Rewriting a lot of it. And don’t worry about making each chapter perfect. If you have a good team of editors, they’ll help you get through it.

 

 

 

Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film who would you like to play the lead.

The lead in my book is a 16 year old girl. I’d say Chloe Grace Moretz would be perfect.

 

 
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?

Keep writing. Every day. Don’t let excuses get you down. You don’t want to leave this world with regrets. And stick to a word count. When you’ve reached it, reward yourself with a break; snack, gaming, TV show. Don’t become too obsessed with writing. But don’t forget to do it, either.

 

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

Leave me feedback! LOL. I would love to hear from you. Either write reviews or post on my website. Let me know what you think. And I would love to know who your favorite characters are and why.

 

 

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

Throne of Glass.

 

 

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

The Hardy Boys series.

 

 

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

Laugh-sarcasm. I love it when people are sharp-tongued without making it personal. Cry-the one scene in the Lord of the Rings when Sam is carrying Frodo up the side of Mount Doom on his shoulders. To me, that’s the epitome of true friendship. People think that story is just about orcs and wizards but they’re wrong. It’s about love, friendship, betrayal, and so much more.

 

 

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

Jimi Hendrix. I used to play his songs on the guitar as a boy. He influenced me a lot in my rock band days.

 

 

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

He did his best.

 

 

Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?

Bodybuilding. I’ve competed a few times in natural bodybuilding shows.

 

 

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

Anything that has to do with superheroes and vampires. I’ve watched the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series 6 times! And I’ve watched the Angel spinoff 5 times.

 

 

Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music:

I love everything Italian. Blue. Pink Floyd, Linkin Park, and Sohnne Mannheims.

 

 

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

Played lead guitar  in a band.

 

 

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

www.jonathanausten.com

 

https://www.amazon.com/Jonathan-Austen/e/B01N5H9R3B/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_

book_1

Here is my interview with Dani René

Name Dani René

Age 34

Where are you from Cape Town, South Africa

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

I’m a qualified graphic designer and have been working in the field for twelve years. I’m married with two fur babies. I’m a self-proclaimed coffee addict and I have a love for cheesecake, sushi, and tattoos.

 

 

Fiona: Tell us your latest news?

I’ve just released a book in April titled Crave, it’s book one of my Forbidden Series, and will be releasing book two in June 2017. In the meantime I’m also working on multiple manuscripts which are part of my 2017 schedule, and slowly planning my 2018 schedule as well.

 

 


Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I started writing from an early age, around 12 or 13 when I wrote short stories and poems. I didn’t think I’d ever publish a book, but I enjoyed creating worlds and characters to escape into. In 2015, I started writing fan fiction on Wattpad and from there my love for writing grew substantially when I got feedback from readers saying they were enjoying the stories. I then decided to take the plunge and self-published my first novel in December 2015. From there, I just haven’t stopped. I love what I do and because of the readers and bloggers who support me I’m thankful that I can continue doing what I love.

 

 


Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

When I hit publish in December 2015 on my debut I would say. When I saw my name up there along with other published authors it made it all the more real.

 

 


Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

The readers who loved my fan fiction. They told me I should perhaps pursue my dream, and convinced me to consider publishing. If it wasn’t for their support and love for my characters, I’m not sure I would have taken the plunge. Who knows.

 

 


Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?

If by style you mean present or past tense, I write in present tense and definitely first person. I feel more connected writing, and reading first person stories. I also enjoy writing dual pov, I love getting in the mind of both male and female characters. And I also tend to be a pantser, I don’t normally plot anything, I just sit down and allow the characters to tell me where to go.

 

 


Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

Title for my books? They generally come to me either while I’m writing a story, or after. Depends on the characters and the storyline I have in my head.

 

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

All my novels have messages. Some people do pick them up, some don’t and that’s okay. Normally, I try to convey specific messages, and this once again depends on the storyline, what the characters are struggling with, and how they overcome it.

 

 
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

A lot of what I write, put my characters through, is based on personal experience, as well as personal stories I’ve heard from friends over the years. There are a few things I add to the story, like locations, time frames, etc, which make the story unique, but I write what I know.

 

 
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?

There are so many amazing books out there. I’ve always loved romance novels, it’s great to get lost in another world for a while, but I can’t pinpoint one particular novel that stands out from the rest. I say each book is special in its own way. I have many authors who I look up to, who have shaped the way I write and think, but once again, not one I can pinpoint.

 

 

Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest and who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

So many! I’ve found a love of indie authors in particular. At the moment, I would have to say K. Webster, and M. Never are my favorites. They’re incredible writers and have a way with words that grip you from the first page to the last. Both write dark romances and I do love the thrill of their storyline’s.

 

 


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

I have many friends in the book world that support me more than I can even thank them for. My family don’t read my books, but my husband supports me by cooking and making sure the house isn’t falling down. LOL!

 

 


Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

I do. I’d love to write full time, but until that day, I’ll keep working hard to get there.

 

 


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

No. I loved the last book I released. The characters consumed me like no others have and I loved everything about them. It’s probably my favorite book of mine to date.

 

 


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

I have a vivid imagination, since I was a kid, it was only when I got to my early teens did I start jotting down what was in my head. I’ve always been a creative person, so writing came easily to me. However, I must say, school work like writing essays and such was the bane of my life. But creative writing I did on a personal level was always a passion.

 

 

Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I can share a short snippet from Crave as the other book I’m working on is top secret J
______

“You’re delicious,” he declares on a sinful smirk. The way he’s looking at me has me aching for more of that filthiness he delves out. When he steps back to regard me, the smirk on his perfect mouth falls and is replaced with something akin to hunger. 

“Sir.” The word falls easily from my lips, and it has his beautiful cobalt orbs boring into me. “I need more.” Once again, the look he gives me is one of shock, but also desire. I know he wants me as much as I want him. 

“Soon, my little Angel, I promise you. When I take you, it will be when I say, not when you do. Remember, as much as I enjoy you begging, I’m the one in control.”

I nod, but regard him with a smile. “I trust you.” It’s been a long year and we’ve been back and forth more times than I care to count, but those words I’ve just given him mean more than anything I’ve ever said in my life. Because I do trust him. I’m giving him the one thing every man in here wants. The one thing clients pay for but never receive. 

He’s getting it on a silver platter. 

I’m giving it freely.

The one thing I know he’d kill for. 

Me.

 

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

There’s always challenges, from research to making sure the character’s voice is the way you imagine it. I am terrible with timelines, so my BETAs always give me grief about that, LOL!

 

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

I’ve got my first author signing in July 2017 which will be the first time I’m traveling because of my writing. I will hopefully do more signings which will allow me to travel some more.

 

 
Fiona: Who designed the covers?

Since I’m a graphic designer, I do all my own covers, teasers, etc. Also, I’m too picky to work with another designer. I’m lucky enough to be able to save money and do all that myself.

 

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

Sometimes if I’m on a deadline and the characters decide to stop speaking to me, that’s the worst. Other than that, I love what I do.

 

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

Don’t give up. Pursue your passion and don’t compare yourself to others.

 

 

Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film who would you like to play the lead?

Uhm… Totally stumped me now. But, if my debut novel Ace of Harts was made into a film, I’d have to choose Jared Leto as the leading male character. He was my muse while writing it, so it’s how I picture Triston.

 

 
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?

Don’t compare yourself to others in your genre. Focus on what you love, writing. It’s difficult, but don’t read reviews, and if you do, don’t let the bad ones make you stop writing, you can’t please everybody. Write what you know and love. Make sure you’re active on social media and get to know bloggers and other authors. If you need advice, don’t be scared to message an author you look up to, if they don’t respond immediately, it’s probably because they’re so busy they didn’t get a chance to respond. Do not give up, ever! Make time to write every day, even if it’s an hour, or 500 words, it makes a difference. And RESEARCH!

 

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

Thank you for your never-ending support, all the messages, comments, and reviews. Thank you for taking a chance on me and loving my words. And thank you for giving me a chance to do what I love.

 

 

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

I’m currently reading the Hades Hangmen MC Series by Tillie Cole

 

 

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

To be honest, no. LOL! That would be a long, long time ago.

 

 

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

My friends and family, my cats, I love to laugh, it’s a good stress reliever. Generally, certain books or movies, even TV series make me cry. There are a lot of real issues that make me sad too, animal and child abuse, things like that.

 

 

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

I think the only person that I would have loved to have met was Nelson Mandela, he was such an inspirational person in so many ways.

 

 

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

Lover of Life. Writer of Words. Honest to a fault and loyal to the death. Something like that.

 

 

Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?

I love reading, spending time hiking the mountains close to home and relaxing on the beach.

 

 

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

Arrow, The Vampire Diaries, The Originals, Supernatural, Grimm, Orphan Black, Reign, How to Get Away with Murder, and so many more.

 

 

Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music:

Food – sushi, pizza, and lasagna. Colors – Black and dark purples and blues. Music – Anything as long as it’s good, but I do consider myself a rock lover.

 

 

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

Graphic Design, which I’m doing already 😀

 

 

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

www.authordanirene.com

Bio

An indie author and freelance graphic designer, Dani’s writing has evolved from short fan fiction stories to full length novels. From sweet and romantic, to dark and delicious, she’s grown from strength to strength and hitting her stride.

On a daily basis, she has a few hundred characters, storylines, and ideas floating around in her head. Generally working on two or more manuscripts at a time, she loves the variety of where her writing is taking her.

She’s normally found in the cave with a mug of coffee or a glass of wine whipping up new emotional rollercoasters. You can also find her on social media – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.

She has a healthy addiction to reading, TV series, music, tattoos, chocolate, and ice cream. Some of her go to authors are M Never, K Webster, Pepper Winters, KL Kreig, Meghan March, and that’s just to name a few!

Stalk Links

https://www.instagram.com/danireneauthor/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/DanisDreamers/

https://www.facebook.com/DaniReneAuthor

https://twitter.com/DaniReneAuthor

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14541877.Dani_Ren_

https://open.spotify.com/user/22qzclbobe2imphgpvtuktvbi

http://www.amazon.com/author/danirene

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http://www.quotesrain.com/page/DaniRene/

https://za.pinterest.com/DaniReneAuthor/

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/dani-rene

http://danirene.tumblr.com/

 

 

Book Buy Links

Ace of Harts

Amazon US:  http://amzn.to/1Sv9JMh

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1S2w3fJ

Amazon AU: http://amzn.to/1nJ1U8c

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iTunes: http://apple.co/1SZSi63

 

Broken by Desire

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Amazon AU: http://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B01BA13UAE

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Shattered by Love

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iBooks: http://apple.co/2mizgyj

 

Between Love & Fire(Backstage Series Book #2)

FREE ON KU

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UK – http://amzn.to/1VfhRlq

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AU – http://bit.ly/1RMkl7M

 

Between Lust & Tears (Backstage Series Book #2)

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CUFFED (Falling Stars Duet Book #1)

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From the Ashes – A Forbidden Series Novella

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Crave (Forbidden Series Book #1)

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AU: http://amzn.to/2lnk9U9

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Kobo: http://bit.ly/2nPa7M4

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Love Beyond Words

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CA: http://amzn.to/2irCPNL

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2kS008b

iBooks: http://apple.co/2kZ02ex

 

 

 

Here is my interview with Jim Hart

Name Jim Hart

Age 67

Where are you from Brooklyn, New York

A little about yourself `ie your education Family life etc.

I was raised in Brooklyn where I still reside with his wife.  I began my working life as a drummer in rock and blues bands before beginning a thirty-year career in the New York City Sanitation Department. During which time I worked my way through the ranks to serve in such positions as the Deputy Director of Public Affairs and Director of Correspondence for the Sanitation Police.  Proving inspiration can come from the strangest places. I retired from the Department to pursue my love for writing.

 

Besides my Poetry collection: “Ramblings Of A One-Eyed Garbage Man,” I have published a noir detective novel: “A Tom Collins To Go.” My works have been published in over 60 journals and reviews throughout the world.

My work has appeared in the United States, Ireland, England, Austria, India, Scotland, Wales, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, South Africa and on the Web.

One of my poems has been made into a poster by Phantom Billstickers and appeared in Myanmar (formally Burma) and in Thailand.

I have also co-written two songs for the 2015 Peter Stevens Band cd “Change My World.”

 

Fiona: Tell us your latest news?

I was recently interviewed about my work and my former job with the Sanitation Department by the New York Daily News – Sunday Edition [April 9, 2017].  I have also done recent book signings/readings in the Brooklyn area.

Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

In the 1960s, I began writing song lyrics and moved to poetry and novel writing from there.

Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I am still wrestling with that. I find it hard to give that definitive yes, “I am a poet,” or “I am a writer” response to the question. But I can guarantee that the passion burns as bright within me as it does for any writer regardless of success or failure.

Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

My first poetry collection was inspired by the Beat poets that I grew up reading and wanting to be able to say so much about any given subject with at least a certain amount of brevity.I fell in love with the Beat poets. And maybe because of their writings – or perhaps just because of who I am – I would love to trespass on the souls of my readers – or short of that – to at least bump up against them.

My novel was again inspired by those writers, mostly the noir style, of my youthful reading.Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, Robert Leslie Bellem, Paul Cain, etc.

Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? 

With poetry my style tends to lean toward, but is not limited to, the narrative. With novels “A Tom Collins To Go” is very noir and I am working on a series “The Harry Parker Mysteries”

Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

Playing in bands you find what most people call jams or jam sessions others refer to as rambles. I have been blind in one eye since the age of three and worked for the New York Department of Sanitation for thirty years – so “Ramblings Of A One-Eyed Garbage Man” just felt like the perfect title.

As for “A Tom Collins To Go” Tom Collins a prominent Wall Street Investor gets kidnapped which starts the action and first introduces our hero and narrator, Harry Parker to the readers.  The title seemed like another natural.

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

From the reviews the book has received to date it would seem that the message is to enjoy a well-crafted noir mystery about a hardscrabble PI with an interesting cast of characters who both help and hinder him along the way. Adam Mitchell a noir writer from the UK began his review – “Brilliant the bar has been set… “ That’s pretty heady stuff to hear about your work whether it’s your 1st or your 21st novel.

Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?

While it is all fiction I can well imagine that some parts may very well be true to the 1947 Brooklyn way of life.

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

Some of the characters may be melded fragments of many people I have met in my life. But the book takes place before I was born in a different Brooklyn than I knew.

Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? A mentor?

I read almost any poetry I can – but I was most influenced by the Beats. With regard to novels anything that catches my interest at the time. Currently Lee Child, David Handler, Richard Stark, Lawrence Block and Robert J. Randisi are among my favorites. My mentor for poetry was the late Professor Theo Simms who allowed me the privilege of sitting in his office and talking poetry even though I was not one of his poetry students.

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

“Killer In The Rain” – a collection of Raymond Chandler short stories.

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

Most of those listed  above are current if not new.

Fiona: What are your current projects?

I am working on my second Harry Parker novel tentatively titled “The Plane Truth.” And I continue to do poetry readings as well as readings from “A Tom Collins To Go.”

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

Thomas Tracy – Reporter for The New York Daily News, Ken Siegelman’s Brooklyn Poetry Outreach, Tom Kane’s Bookmark Bards and The Bookmark Shoppe of Brooklyn.

 

Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

Yes. As the third act of my life.

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

Getting to know my characters sooner would have saved a great deal of editing time. And – my brother John was my biggest supporter for the novel – I wish I would have gotten it out there before he lost his battle with cancer.

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

I think I was a freshman in High School and we had to write a piece about safe driving and read it in front of the class. When I finished the class applauded and I was hooked.

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

Enough to say that Tom Collins took place in January 1947 “The Plane Truth” is in February 1947 and also contains the darkness, murder and humor that are important traits of the good noir novel. Harry Parker continues to plod his way through another series of twists and turns with his friends and enemies along for the ride.

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

Writing! There is nothing more desperate orbeautiful than that blank white page. Desperate in fear that it will remain that way and beautiful because of the promise that the “just right” next page will come to be.

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

I don’t really have A favorite writer although the authors I mentioned above are certainly among my favorites.

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

No. But I hope to.

Fiona: Who designed the covers?

My son, Chris Hart took the picture for “Ramblings Of A One-Eyed Garbage Man” and I took the picture for ‘A Tom Collins To Go.” Create Space did the placement of titles.

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

Editing. I tend to write fast and edit slow – and often.

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

Writing is hard, lonely work.

Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?

It is a job. Work at it every day.

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

I am honored and grateful that people chose to spend some of their time reading something I have written.

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

No. But I am extremely grateful that I had parents who encouraged reading.

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

I have a good sense of humor so there are a lot of things that make me laugh. As I get older the loss of friends and loved ones makes me cry.

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

Jesus. To ask forgiveness – and to see if I could make him laugh. I can’t be the only one who has wondered if He had a sense of humor – can I?

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

“…end quote.”

Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?

After thirty years working for the Sanitation Department I collect toy garbage trucks.

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

The Blacklist, The Big Bang Theory, Graham Norton, Blue Bloods for TV. And most mystery and action movies.

Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music

Favorite food is burgers and fries, color is purple and music classical or jazz when I am writing rock from the 60’s to 90’s for just kicking back and listening.

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

I guess I would have liked to have stayed playing music. I have recently stepped back in not as a player but I have co-written two songs on The Peter Stevens Band cd “Change My World.”

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

My web sit is:  http://jimhartpoet.com/

My facebook page is  https://www.facebook.com/jim.hart.142

My facebookfanpage is https://www.facebook.com/jimhartpoet/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

https://www.amazon.com/Ramblings-One-Eyed-Garbage-Man-Hart/dp/1480125865/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top?ie=UTF8

 

Here is my interview with Jill McDonald-Constable

Name  – Jill McDonald-Constable  (or – Gil McDonald. Or – Amos Carr. Or – Jill McDonald. Depends on which of my books you are reading!)

Age – As old as my tongue and older than my teeth.

Where are you from?

Liverpool in Lancashire, England, but my family travelled around a lot so I lost my Liverpool accent quite early on.

 

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

Ok, Education – I left school with absolutely no qualifications/certificates, went back into education as a ‘mature student’ and plodded through all the certificates, eventually in 2001, gaining an M.A in Writing Studies (a combination of Eng Lit and Creative Writing.)

Family life. – My husband passed away four years ago, so now I live with my two Miniature Schnauzer ‘girls’ who keep me busy. Although my daughter and family live nearby so I often get visits, especially from my 13 year old granddaughter who is very keen on writing!

 

 

 

Fiona: Tell us your latest news?

My latest release ‘The Gypsy’s Kiss,’ under the pen name Jill McDonald, came out in February. I am working on four more books now all in different genres.

 

 
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I had a grandfather who would write me long letters when I was quite young, he illustrated them with little pictures of animals and people, I tried to make my letters back to him as interesting. It’s a shame that letter writing seems to have gone out of fashion, isn’t it? Once I had started doing that, I began to write poems and stories, and had my first poem published in a paper at the age of 13. When I saw my name in print, I knew I wanted to be a writer, hold a ‘real’ book in my hand and say, ‘I did this.’

 

 
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I think that would be when my lifelong ambition was realised and in 2011 I finally got to hold a copy of my first ‘real’ published book in my hands, a traditional, ‘shoot-em-up’ Western, ‘The Ghosts of Poynter,’ published under the pen name of Amos Carr, by Robert Hale in London. They have since published two more Amos Carr books – ‘Crazy Man Cade’ and ‘The Secret of the Silver Star’. They are all in hard back and have also been brought out in Large print. They are available in local Libraries throughout the UK (and possibly further afield?)

 

 
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?  

Well, I had written one or two (very bad Romances over the years, but hidden them away.) My first published book came to me in a dream. I woke up one morning with a ‘film’ running around in my head, characters, names, etc. including the title. I just had to write it down. It was my first traditional Western.

 

 
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?

I don’t think so, style is hard to define, isn’t it? I write in a variety of genres, therefore the style has to be different for each one.

 

 
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?  

For my first one, or the latest? I’ll go with both. The first one was there in my head when I woke from my dream, so that was easy, and the publisher didn’t change it either! The latest one, ‘The Gypsy’s Kiss’ is simply because the heroine thinks the hero looks like a gypsy and they share one very passionate kiss.

 

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

Don’t judge a book by its cover (or a person.)

 

 
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

‘Mere Hall’ (actually just a large cottage) is loosely based on a combination of one where I lived with my parents, which was 300 years old and came with a ghost, and one where my husband and I lived, which, when we first saw it, was just as dirty and derelict as the one in the book, but it gave me the same warm and welcoming ‘hug’ that Sofia experiences when she first enters Mere Hall.

 

 
Fiona: What books have influenced your life most? A mentor?

I think the main influence on me has been ‘Beauty and the Beast.’ (But most definitely not the Disney versions! Talking crockery? No! Just NO!) I fell totally in love with the original story as a child, and that has stayed with me ever since, I always try to see the good inside a person, no matter what they might look like. I think if I did have a mentor it would have been my grandfather, with his lovely letters.

 

 
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest, who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

I’ve read so many now, I can’t even remember most of them. My favourite author though, is Tim Bowler, technically a YA author, he creates incredibly beautiful and poetic prose, it’s as if he writes everything from the deepest personal experience. Oh, I wish I could write so well! It’s something I am aiming for.

 

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

The Internet! It’s invaluable for research. Especially for two of the books I am working on now, one set in the 1920s and one Medieval. There is a lot of research to do for them!

 

 
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career? 

Well, I’m retired now, so it’s probably a second career.

 

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

No, I don’t think so.

 

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

That goes back to my earlier reply, the letters from my Grandfather. Illustrated manuscripts really! And I actually still like to look at real illustrated manuscripts.

 

 

 

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

Of course I can, Fiona. – This is from Chapter 4 when Sofia is first confronted by Jake in the house.

 

“Well, Miss Sofia Marchant, I guess you are entitled to be here after all. I do apologise. Please, forgive my attitude. I’ve been sort of – well, keeping an unofficial eye on the old place for the last couple of years. I’m quite fond of it. Oh, sorry, my name’s Jake, Jake Hartley.”

He held out a broad hand for her to shake.

His hand was hard and warm in hers.

Hers was smooth, soft and cool in his.

Neither one seemed to want to let go, as their eyes locked and something passed between them. A tingling shiver almost like a bolt of electricity arcing from one to the other, made them jump and they pulled their hands apart in a hurry.

Jake frowned and shook his hand as if trying to get rid of something on his fingers.

Clenching her fist, Sofia pulled her hand in to rest on her stomach. Right where there was a large nest of butterflies doing a jig.

Around them, the sudden thickening of the atmosphere stole the breath from her lungs.

“Right, yeah, erm – well, I’ll get out of here, Miss – Marchant, leave you to your sorting out. And there’s a hell of a lot of sorting to do, by the look of it. Staying around here for a few days, are you?”

Sofia grimaced. Her hand was still tingling from the sensation his had left behind.

“Oh! Good grief, no! No way! It was simply a condition of the will, that I had to come in and look around. Which is all I’m doing, then I’m going back to my job, my boyfriend, Edward and our river front apartment; I will then sign this place over to the solicitors and leave it all to them to sort out. They can bulldoze it to the ground as far as I’m concerned.”

“That would be a real shame.”

The crease beside his mouth deepened as his luscious lips curved up into a broad smile and his dark eyes twinkled mischievously. Sofia cursed to herself. Why on earth had she felt the need to tell this – this scruffy – gorgeous – gypsy pig man, any of that?

“Did my… did Eleanor – not have any friends? Or – household help of any kind?”

Her voice was weak with emotion as she tried to imagine a frail old lady trying to cope in a house like this, all alone. Jake shook his head slowly. Sofia felt a deep and burning shame for not having visited her old Aunt when she could well have done.

“Don’t think so, no.”

She was beginning to feel a certain strong empathy for the old woman for some reason.

“Poor, poor Great-great.”

A warm, fat tear whispered down her cheek, she swiped it away with impatient fingers.

‘So – o – f -.’

Sofia looked up at Jake, judging by the startled look on his face, he’d heard it too.

‘- f – ia – h.’

“Bloody hell! What was that?”

He looked around, his eyes wide and startled, ‘he looks like a scared deer in a car’s headlights,’ she stifled a smile.

 

You can get ‘The Gypsy’s Kiss’ as e book or paperback from Amazon and other online book retailers now.  Link: http://amzn.eu/92RprwM

 

 

 

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

Yes! When ‘real life’ intervenes and I have to drag myself back to the real world to go shopping or do the ironing.

 

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

Only in my head and my dreams.

 

 
Fiona: Who designed the covers? 

The publishers have designed all my covers. Thanks to you all.

 

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

I think it is making myself write something every day, and trying to keep my writing life and real life apart in my head.

 

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

To revise and revise again, no matter how many times you do it, there is always bound to be something not quite right somewhere that others will spot.

 

 

 

Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film who would you like to play the lead?

Oh, now I’m going to descend right into the cliché bog here. Sorry! I would like the part of Jake in ‘The Gypsy’s Kiss’ to be played by Aiden Turner! I think he was in my mind as I wrote the book.

 

 

 

Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?

Never give up. Believe you can do it!

 

 

 

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

Yes, when you read my books (or indeed any author’s books) please, please do go and leave a review. That is the main way we can tell how people feel about our work, and reviews help other readers to decide if the books are going to be to their taste or not. So please review. Thank you.

 

 

 

Fiona: What book are you reading now? 

No one book, I read the way I write, multiple titles on the go at once. I am quite into Time slip/Time Travel romances and medieval romances. And others!

 

 

 

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read? 

I believe it was Treasure Island. I was a real tomboy and almost always read ‘boys’ books.

 

 

 

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

My dogs and my family for both.

 

 

 

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

I think, Shakespeare, so I could show him that his works are still as popular now as they were when he first wrote them.

 

 

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

‘She did it!’ because it took me a lot of time and patience to get published, but at last, I did it!

 

 

 

Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies? 

Watercolour painting, gardening, my dogs, and facilitating two writing groups.

 

 

 

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

Archaeological programmes, true forensics, and ‘heavy’ costume dramas, like – The Musketeers, Desperate Romantics, Poldark, The Last Kingdom, etc.

 

 

 

Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music.  Foods

Salmon, Eton Mess, ice cream. Colours – Orange and blue. Music – Bon Jovi, Meatloaf, James Blunt, Jack Savoretti, Classical guitar and lute music. A real mix!

 

 

 

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

Artist. I did go to Art school for a couple of years and gained some certificates, but as always, life got complicated for a while and I couldn’t carry it on. I’d like to go back to that.

 

 

 

Fiona: Do you have a blog/website?

If so what is it?  I do have a website, but not a blog. The website is my given Native American name, and for that particular story, you’ll have to go to the website!  Go to – www.womanwholeads.webs.com

 

My Amazon author page is ‘Gil McDonald,’ where you will see all of my books under all 3 of my author names.

 

 

Here is my interview with Laurie Lucking

Name Laurie Lucking

Age 32

Where are you from Minneapolis, Minnesota

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

I grew up in Wisconsin and always loved to read. After graduating from St. Olaf College with majors in English and economics, I went on to the University of Minnesota Law School. I practiced as an attorney for several years but left my career to become a stay-at-home mom, at which point I discovered writing fiction is much more fun than drafting contracts! I now make my home in Minnesota with my husband and two, young, red-headed sons.

Fiona: Tell us your latest news?

I recently signed a publishing contract with Love2ReadLove2Write Publishing. My debut young adult fantasy novel, Common, will release in early 2018!


Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I’ve always enjoyed reading and making up stories, but creative writing didn’t come naturally to me in grade school so I assumed I wasn’t cut out to be a writer. When I became a stay-at-home mom I found myself in desperate need of a project, and I had the crazy idea to write a book. I started writing a story assuming that I’d give up within a week, but instead I fell in love.


Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

It came on very gradually, but I think it was when I completed the rough draft of my first manuscript. At that point it was clear I had the perseverance to stick with a story to the end rather than just dabble with it.


Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

My first book, which has for now been set aside (but I hope to rewrite it someday!), was inspired by the stories I loved to read over and over again as a teenager. It reimagined the premise of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew in a setting that was part fairy tale, part Regency England.


Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?

My tagline is Fantasy Adventure, Fairy Tale Romance. I love writing stories in a fantasy world where anything can happen, but with a historical feel and a strong thread of romance. I prefer writing in first-person point-of-view because it helps me develop the character’s voice and allows the reader to really experience the story from the protagonist’s perspective.


Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

The original title for my upcoming debut novel was With You It Would Remain, which was inspired by a quote from Jane Eyre that I felt fit my story well: “All my heart is yours, sir: it belongs to you; and with you it would remain, were fate to exile the rest of me from your presence forever.”

When my publisher encouraged me to come up with a title that would be shorter and more attention-catching, we landed on Common, because it reflects the main character’s misconception of herself due to her status as a servant.


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

I want readers to know that no matter how insignificant or common they may seem due to their circumstances, their life has an important purpose and they can rise above to accomplish extraordinary things.


Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

My book takes place in a fantasy world, so obviously some elements aren’t very realistic. But my main character’s journey of discovering her self-worth reflects a lot of my own personal growth, and her interactions with her family, friends, and fellow servants were largely inspired by my own experiences. For example, two stable hands like to poke fun at my main character, which is reminiscent of the teasing I experienced in high school.


Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?

One of the books that has influenced me the most as a reader and a writer was Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. Levine’s mix of light fantasy, character development, hints of fairy tales, and innocent romance produced a story I revisited time and time again as a teen, and I hope to achieve a similar blend in my stories. Other authors that have had a large impact on me are Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, L.M. Montgomery, Louisa May Alcott, Shannon Hale, and Robin McKinley. So the fact that I write YA with historical and fantasy elements probably comes as no surprise J

Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest and who  is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

I’ve discovered so many wonderful new authors since becoming a writer, it’s almost impossible to choose! To name a few: Sara Ella has an amazing voice, Julie Hall’s descriptions and world-building blow me away, and Carrie Anne Noble writes some of the most beautiful prose I’ve ever read. And all three have a blend of fantasy and romance in their books that I love!

One favorite author I haven’t mentioned yet is J.K. Rowling. I think a big part of the reason her books are so popular is because her characters are so easy to relate to and she interweaves magical elements into the ordinary world with such skill. She also managed to make 600-page books feel short, which is a true feat!


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

My critique group! They offer support and encouragement whenever I need it, plus took the time to fill my very rough first draft with edits and comments that brought my writing to a whole new level.


Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

I do see it as a career, but a part-time one, if that makes sense. At the moment being a stay-at-home mom for my two little boys takes top priority, and once they’re in school I hope to supplement my writing with some legal consulting so I don’t have to put pressure on myself to earn a full-time equivalent income from my books.


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

I still have a chance, since it’s not out yet J But I wish I had discovered the heart of my character’s voice sooner, because it would’ve saved me a ton of time editing!


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

I love books (both reading and hoarding them!), and nothing captivates me more than a well-told story. I’ve long enjoyed daydreaming about alternate endings or different ways scenes could play out, which eventually led to brainstorming stories of my own. I just can’t believe it took me so long to start putting those stories on paper!

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

Here’s an excerpt from Common, in which my protagonist, Leah, is meeting with Rafe (a.k.a. Prince Raphael) in their favorite closet hideout on her birthday:

I crossed the room to sit on one of the barrels, still clutching the open box.

 

Rafe took a seat on an adjoining barrel. “Even if you won’t be able to wear it out there any time soon, would you like to try it on?”

 

“I would, but…” Embarrassment clenched my stomach. “I don’t even know how to unfasten the clasp.”

 

He chuckled, taking the box from my hands. “Who would’ve guessed I’d end up teaching a young lady about jewelry?” He lifted the pendant off its small satin pillow, letting it dangle as he took the clasp between each thumb and index finger. “Here, it’s really quite simple.”

 

My mind still reeled from the enormity of the gift, making it impossible to concentrate as he demonstrated the workings of the catch mechanism.

 

He paused and held the ends apart. “Now, turn around and lift your hair.”

 

I obeyed, holding my breath as he brought the pendant to lie at the base of my throat. His warm fingers grazed my neck as he secured the clasp, sending a tingle through my shoulders. Thank the new moon he couldn’t read my expression.

 

Rafe cleared his throat. “There.”

 

I lowered my braid to rest on my back once more and turned towards him. Reluctant to meet his eye, I glanced down at the gleaming jewel that produced such a stark contrast to the patched, faded bodice of my dress.

 

His gaze flitted to the pendant before returning to my face. “Perfect.”


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

It’s hard to come up with new ways to say things! I tend to use the same descriptors when trying to express characters’ responses or emotions, and then have to go back and get really creative to find something more unique.


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

The only traveling I’ve done so far was to the Realm Makers Conference, which was in Pennsylvania last year (this year it’s in Reno, Nevada). It was well worth the trip since that’s where I connected with my publisher, plus I met many amazing new writer friends!


Fiona: Who designed the covers?

Sara Helwe designs all the covers for Love2ReadLove2Write Publishing, and she’s amazing! Check out her art here: http://sara-helwe.com/.


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

For me, the hardest part is working through discouragement. It’s hard to hear that a section isn’t working or that you need to start the story in a different place than you thought, and then get up the energy to put all those hours of work in. It’s also hard pushing through on the days when you’re wondering why you even bother since there are so many other authors already out there struggling to get their books in front of readers.


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

I learned that casual writing can be far more effective than making it sound professional and formal, especially when writing for a young adult audience. When I allowed myself to loosen up and drop in the occasional fragment or single-word sentence, it made my voice so much more interesting and compelling.

Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film who would you like to play the lead

Raffey Cassidy has a good look for Leah. She’s a little young yet, but the movie wouldn’t come out for at least a few years anyway, right? J


Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?

Find a community of fellow writers. Writing can feel very lonely at times, and it’s critical to have the support, advice, and encouragement of other writers who understand the unique joys and challenges of the writing and publishing journey.


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

To my future readers: thank you!!! I’m honored and humbled to think that someone might choose to spend their time and money on something I wrote when there are so many other books out there.

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

At the moment I’m beta-reading Arbiter by Jamie Foley, which is amazing so far! Next on my list is Halayda by Sarah Delena White.

 

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

Hmm. According to my parents (and the rough state of the book), I really liked Pat the Bunny. I definitely remember being fond of Corduroy.

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

I tend to appreciate dry wit and someone with a self-deprecating sense of humor (think Peeta from The Hunger Games), but my kids say a lot of things that make me laugh, too! I tear up pretty easily, so anything from a song to a commercial to a sappy moment in a book or movie can get me crying if I’m in the right mood.

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

Jane Austen. I adore every one of her novels and I wish we could just sit around and talk about books and life. The opportunity to experience her wisdom and wit first-hand would be amazing.

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

Hmm, I must admit I’ve never given that any thought J Something like “A+ for Effort” because I feel like I throw myself into so many projects and I don’t succeed at a lot of them, but I really do try!

Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?

I enjoy singing, playing piano, and taking walks around the many beautiful lakes in Minnesota.

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

My husband and I enjoy watching The Big Bang Theory together. I also was a big fan of Gilmore Girls and Downton Abbey when they were still airing. For movies, I tend to prefer romantic comedies and adaptations of books I love.

Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music

Foods: Pizza, comfort foods like chicken pot pie or chicken and dumpling soup, pasta, and anything involving chocolate J

Colors: Blue, green, and any combination of the two

Music: Anything I can sing along to!

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

Since my background is in law, if I weren’t a writer I would probably still be working as a lawyer. Another job I think would be fascinating would be a literary agent.

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

I do! My website, www.laurielucking.com, gives some insights into my writing and updates every month or so, plus you can sign up for my monthly newsletter there!

 

I also am a contributor to www.landsuncharted.com, a blog for fans of young adult fantasy.

Here is my interview with Bru Baker

Name Bru Baker

Age 37

Where are you from Indianapolis, Indiana

A little about yourself `ie your education Family life etc  

I have degrees in journalism and political science and I live in Indy with my husband and two kids. I worked in newspapers before making the jump to fiction, and I currently split my time between writing and working in the reference department of a library. It’s a given that I love being surrounded by books.

 

 

Fiona: Tell us your latest news?

My latest release, Tall, Dark, and Deported, came out at the beginning of April, and I was able to attend the LA Times Festival of Books to promote it. It’s the biggest book festival in the United States, so having a book signing there is both exciting and daunting.

 

 


Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

There has never been a time I didn’t want to be a writer. One of my earliest memories is writing a family newsletter when I was four. After getting a degree in journalism and spending ten years in newsrooms I made the jump to freelance writing, and from there I transitioned into fiction.

 

 


Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I’ve always considered myself a writer, but there are a few milestone moments that stand out. As a journalist, my proudest moment was getting my White House press pass. As an author, it was opening up the box of my advance copies of my first novel and getting to hold it for the first time–it didn’t feel real before that point. Island House was recommended in the USA Today romance column, too, which was also pretty awesome and writer-ly.

 

 


Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

I started Island House as part of National Novel Writing Month in 2010. I wanted to challenge myself to see if I could meet the 50,000 words in the month, and I did. But then I put it away and didn’t get it back out for more than a year. Finishing it seemed so daunting, but I managed. I was over the moon when Dreamspinner Press picked it up. It came out in late 2013.

 

 


Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?

I tend to write dialogue-heavy books because you can tell so much about a character by how he interacts with others. I write almost exclusively in third person, though the YA manuscript I’m working on right now is in first.

 

 


Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

In general I’m terrible at titles. It’s so hard to distill an entire book into just a few words! My first novel’s title is Island House, and, predictably, it’s set on an island. It’s the first book in the Dropping Anchor series, which gets its name because all three books have some sort of nautical element to them and they all feature protagonists who are looking for stability and a place to call home.

 

 


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

The entire Dropping Anchor series revolves around the themes of forgiveness and moving on. Each book follows a different main character in his journey toward learning to accept himself so he can finally move toward finding happiness. The third book in the series, Playing House, features a character who struggles with anxiety and worries about how that will affect his future. I try to write about realistic characters with relatable problems.

 

 


Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

It’s always a mix. It’s funny, because often when I incorporate real-life anecdotes or situations, those are the times reviewers say ‘That was so unrealistic!’ My favorite example is a scene in Talk Turkey where the main character gets his hand stuck inside a turkey while he’s trying to stuff it. A reviewer called the scene out and said it was completely ridiculous–but that actually happened to a friend of mine in college!

 

 


Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?

I love gothic stories and unredeemable antiheroes. My favorite author is Daphne DuMaurier–the way she can set a scene with just a few words is amazing. I also absolutely adore Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights. I collect old editions of both that and DuMaurier’s Rebecca.

 

Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest and who  is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

I don’t know if he counts as a “new” author because he and I started publishing at roughly the same time, but I love Brandon Witt’s books. He does such a wonderful job of developing his characters–I always feel like I know them personally by the end of the book. And Brandon is an amazing guy, too.

 

 


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

My publisher is a huge source of support. Every editor I have worked with has been wonderful, and I’ve never had an interaction with someone there who wasn’t helpful and genuinely excited to get my book out. I’ve made a lot of great friends among other authors they publish. It’s like a family.

 

 


Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

I definitely do. Right now I’m only writing part-time, but I’d love to be able to get to a point in my career where I could support myself by writing full-time.

 

 


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

Just the timing of it! I wrote Tall, Dark, and Deported almost two years ago, and at the time the title was just a fun play on words. I had no idea our political climate would become so hostile. (It’s still my favorite of all of my book titles, but I do wish recent presidential policies didn’t make it so spot-on.)

 

 

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

I’ve always loved reading, and for me a natural extension of that was to want to create stories of my own.

 

 

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

I’m currently in edits for my next book, Camp HOWL, which will be out late this year. Here’s the publisher’s blurb:
Moonmates exist, but getting together is going to be a beast.

When Adrian skipped his “werewolf puberty,” he assumed he was—somehow—human. But he was wrong, and he’s about to go through his Turn with a country between him and his pack, scared, alone—and eight years too late.

Dr. Tate Lewis’s werewolf supremacist father made his Turn miserable, and now Tate works for Camp H.O.W.L to ease the transition for young werewolves. He isn’t expecting to offer guidance to a grown man—or find his moonmate in Adrian. Tate doesn’t even believe in the legendary bond; after all, his polygamist father claimed five. But it’s clear Adrian needs him, and if Tate can let his guard down, he might discover he needs Adrian too.

A moonmate is a wolf’s missing piece, and Tate is missing a lot of pieces. But Adrian is up to the challenge.

 

 


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

I use a lot of junk words (that, really, very, though, etc.) when I write. Try as I might, I can’t break the habit. I struggle with falling into passive voice or showing instead of telling–all the normal writer pitfalls. I know where my weaknesses are, which helps me look for those things as I edit. And I have great editors who wield their red pens (and delete keys) with laser-like precision to catch the things I miss.

 

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

I don’t do a lot of on-location research (I tend to set books in places I’ve traveled so I am familiar with the local atmosphere) but I do take three or four trips a year to attend book signings and conferences. Last year I attended the Romantic Times book convention and Book Con, and this year my big event is the LA Times Festival of Books. I also try not to miss my genre’s big convention, GayRomLit. It’s so energizing to be at a conference full of people who all love to read!

 

 

Fiona: Who designed the covers?

I’m extremely fortunate because my publisher has an amazing art department. I love working with them.

 

 


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

The hardest part of writing my first book was convincing myself not to give up. It’s a daunting thing, writing a novel. I couldn’t have done it without all the encouragement I got from National Novel Writing Month. I’ve loved my experiences with the program, and last year I was thrilled to be asked to write about genre fiction for their blog.

 

 


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

I’m constantly learning as I write, which is a good thing. Writing is a craft that evolves as you practice. Since Island House was my first book, a lot of what I learned from it was just about the publishing process in general. I’d never signed a contract with a publisher before or had to do a marketing tour. I had no idea that writing the manuscript was the easy part! There are so many rounds of edits and so much to be done to promote a book–it’s definitely a labor of love.

 

 

Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film who would you like to play the lead

I don’t usually think about casting my books, but I’ll admit that when I was writing Some Assembly Required (which I co-wrote with Lex Chase) I pictured the main character Benji as Jesse Eisenberg.

 

 

Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?

Stick with it. I have a bird cage in my study where I keep my rejection letters. I print them out and make them into origami animals. Having them right there where I can see them keeps me motivated to keep writing, keep getting better, and keep trying.

 

 


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

Thank you! *g* I wouldn’t be an author without readers, and I’m always humbled when a reader reaches out about a book or leaves a review. I’m genuinely thrilled every time I hear that someone has picked up one of my books.

 

 

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

Shira Anthony’s First Comes Marriage.
 

 

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

I have a pretty clear memory of that, actually. The first book I read by myself was This is the House That Jack Built.

 

 

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

I love to make other people laugh and I’m constantly cracking jokes and telling funny stories. Laughter is infectious, so I usually end up laughing along. I’m not a super emotional person, so I don’t cry often.

 

 

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

I’d love to meet Shakespeare. Our image of him is of a revered playwright, but really, at the time, he was just another writer. I can’t imagine how he’d respond to knowing how his works have endured or that they’re performed much more today than they were in his own time.

 

 

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

I want to be cremated! Burial (and headstones) have always struck me as morbid.

 

 

Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?

I’m always involved in something. I paint and sketch fairly often, and I’ve usually got a crocheting project in some stage of disarray at any given time. My husband and I have also just joined a curling league. We’ll see how that goes…

 

 

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

I rarely watch television, but I never miss a Marvel movie.

 

 

Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music

I love to cook, so my favorite food changes often as I discover new recipes and flavor combinations. My favorite color is green, and I’ll listen to anything but country music.

 

 

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

I had a strong interest in microbiology as a teen, so I’d probably have gone into the sciences.

 

 

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

www.bru-baker.com

 

 

Bio:

 

Bru Baker spent fifteen years writing for newspapers before making the jump to fiction. She now balances her time between writing and working at a Midwestern library in the reference department. Most evenings you can find her curled up with a mug of tea, some fuzzy socks, and a book or her laptop. Whether it’s creating her own characters or getting caught up in someone else’s, there’s no denying that Bru is happiest when she’s engrossed in a story. She and her husband have two children, which means a lot of her books get written from the sidelines of various sports practices.

 

Visit Bru online atwww.bru-baker.com or follow her onGoodreads, Facebook orTwitter. You can find her books on Amazon and other online book retailers.

Here is my interview with H.C. Bentley

Name H.C. Bentley

 

Age: As my Mema would have said, a lady never tells. So I’ll just say somewhere in my 30’s. 😉

 

Where are you from?

I’m from a little town in Kentucky…and I do mean little. We’re talking rural, one stoplight, everyone knows your business kind of small!

 

Fiona: Tell us your latest news?

I’m working on a secret project, and driving everyone crazy because I won’t spill the beans. lol. I’m keeping it really close to the vest…the only other person who knows anything about it is my PA (she’s editing it for me), and even SHE hasn’t seen the cover yet!


Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I’ve always been more of a creative person. Writing for me started in grade school, but by the time I was in middle school, I was entering national writing contests and placing in the top three of my category. That’s when I really knew I’d want to write books someday.


Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Oh, gosh. I’ve written two books (with two more in the works) and I still have a difficult time calling myself a writer!


Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

I had this idea for a story that just would not go away. It nagged at me for the better part of a year before I finally gave and wrote the thing. The product of all the nagging of my brain is Her Last Love.


Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?

I tend to write how I talk, for the most part. I try to keep the characters and dialogue true to life, because there’s nothing worse than stiff characters and awkward speech. Of course, this also means there’s sarcasm, some attitude, and a few swear words. lol


Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

It’s kind of a play on words. Without giving too much away, Carter was the last man Lynn ever loved, and after time apart, will be the very last. I hope that makes sense!


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

That second chances don’t come around often for the things that matter, so they should be grabbed with both hands!

 

Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Bits and pieces. I was in the military, so that helped when creating the character of Lynn.


Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?

I’m an avid reader, and can devour a book a day, given the time. So there is no way I can choose.

Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest and who  is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

To be honest, I’ve been so busy lately with my own projects that I have had the time to branch out to reading new authors. As for my favorite, anyone who knows me knows I’m a Nora Roberts junkie. lol. The woman is my writing idol, and I’ve read probably 90% of everything she’s written. I love how relatable her characters are (something I strive for myself).


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

The indie author community is AMAZING. There have been so many indies who I’ve come to consider friends, and there is always someone to answer a question, offer support, or lend an ear when things sometimes go sideways.


Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

I would love to be able to write full time. But, I have two teenagers who will be off to college in a few short years, so unless I hit the big time with my books, I’ll still be writing while working full-time.


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

No, I’m pretty happy with how everything went. 🙂


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

It’s been so long ago, I really don’t. Writing is something that’s always just been a part of me.

 

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

Other than the teasers on my Facebook page, I can’t! lol. I’m not being difficult, I promise, but it’s just that my current work is the secret project, which won’t be revealed until May 27th! I’m working on the last book of my trilogy now, but it’s nowhere near ready to share.


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

Finding the time to write! With raising a family and working full time, there are days where I’m too tired to try to write (and it makes me a little cranky when I can’t write!).


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

Right now, no. My books are set in Kentucky at the moment, so no travel necessary (though I’m always hopeful to have an excuse!)


Fiona: Who designed the covers?

That would be me. 🙂 Before I went to work full time at my local library, I owned and ran my own photography studio, photographing mainly newborns, children and families. Learning the design aspect of things, not to mention the software, was a huge help in doing my own covers.


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

With the first book, it was learning when to stop and knowing it would never be ‘perfect’. Oh, and letting others read it. That part was terrifying.


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

So much! Not only technical points of the writing itself, but the formatting, marketing (oh, the marketing), and so forth.

 

Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film who would you like to play the lead?

Someone asked me this question not too long ago, and it really made me think! For Her Last Love, Amy Adams would make a great Lynn, with Chris Pine as Carter. A brown-eyed Henry Cavil paired with Juliette Hough would make a great Kari/Marc duo for When Love Comes Home!

 

Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?

Just write, worry about all the other stuff later. Read (a lot). Ask questions, get feedback.

 

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

I love my readers! I enjoy hearing from them, so I always invite them to follow me on social media. Having a reader pop in to say hi or tell me they’ve read my book makes my day! 🙂

 

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

I’m between books as I’m working on finishing the secret project and getting the last book of the trilogy ready for editing. I just finished re-reading The Obsession (so good!).

 

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

I don’t. I do remember being a big Beverly Cleary and Roald Dahl fan as a kid, though. Oh, and The Babysitter’s Club! My favorite series growing up.

 

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

My daughters both have a fun sense of humor, and something one of them says or does makes me laugh just about every day. Really emotional scenes in books or movies can make me cry (my husband has learned to ignore it), as do big moments in the lives of my family.

 

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

If we’re talking writing-related, I’d love to meet Nora Roberts one day. Just so I can tell her how much I love her work and how it’s inspired me to be a writer. And, yeah, I’d want to pick her brain a bit too. 😉

 

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

Never really gave it much thought, since I’ll probably be cremated. lol

 

Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies? 

Reading, traveling with my family. I’ve recently taken up oil painting…that’s been an interesting adventure so far!

 

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

I love romantic comedies, and too many shows to mention. I like dramas, and shows with a cop/political theme. I’m an NCIS junkie, a Scandal addict, and my oldest daughter and I watch Designated Survivor together every week without fail.

 

Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music 

The only one of these I can be definitive on is my favorite color (blue). I love food and music…two of my favorite things, actually! With food, I enjoy foods from all over the world. To name a few…Greek, Italian, Mexican, Chinese, Indian, Yugoslovian…I’ve tried (and loved) them all. As far as music, it depends on the day. I’m pretty eclectic…my playlist includes Adele, Maroon 5, Sam Smith, Justin Timberlake, Elvis, The Eagles, Tim McGraw….you get the idea. lol

 

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

If money were no object, I’d own a restaurant or food truck.

 

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

I do! My website is http://hcbentley5.wixsite.com/hc-bentley . It’s main hub for everything…links to social media, my blog, signed paperbacks, eBooks, newsletter signups…they’re all there! 🙂

 

 

Website: http://hcbentley5.wixsite.com/hc-bentley

 

LINKS &SOCIAL MEDIA:

Facebook: http://bit.ly/1SpBTnS

Newsletter: http://bit.ly/2b1orft

Twitter: https://twitter.com/hc_bentley

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/author_hc_bentley/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/hcbentley/

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/H.C.-Bentley/e/B01E847GOQ

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/h-c-bentley

 

BUY LINK (Signed paperbacks & eBooks):

http://hcbentley5.wixsite.com/hc-bentley/books

AUTHOR BIO

There’s just something about a small town that makes relationships interesting, whether they are romances, long-running feuds, or life-long friendships. These are the relationships H.C. Bentley enjoys discovering and exploring. Well that, and the fact she just loves a good happily ever after or second chance story.

When she’s not writing, H.C. works as a cataloging librarian at her county library. In her spare time, you can find her playing pool, traveling with her family, or curled up watching movies (romantic comedies are a favorite!). She’s also an avid reader, leaning towards various authors of romance and chick lit, but her favorite is Nora Roberts.

A southern girl at heart, H.C. calls Kentucky her home. After opting to join the military to pay for college, she spent three years stationed in Wiesbaden, Germany before returning to her hometown in rural western Kentucky, where she and her husband live with their two daughters.

H.C. loves chatting with readers. You can contact her through her website, or any of her social media.

 

Her Last Love blurb

She left for the military thinking she would have it all. The career, the man she loved, a family of her own. Then her fiancé issued an ultimatum: come home and marry him, or lose him forever.

Eight years later, Lieutenant Lynn Johnston returns to her small Kentucky hometown with a secret to keep and a desire to find peace. Her planned lifelong career had been cut short by events beyond her control. Now, she hoped that she could forge a new path, one that would heal her heart and help to put her past behind her. Those hopes are dashed when she discovers Carter Mathis, her former fiancé, has also returned and is raising his two young sons.

Lynn must decide if she can deal with not only the old hurt feelings from the past — and Carter’s soon-to-be ex who has a vendetta against Lynn– to give Carter a second chance. A deadly collapse at the coal mines where Carter works, an accident that rocks the town, could possibly take the choice out of her hands. Does she confront her feelings and move forward, or leave the life she’s always wanted behind?

 

When Love Comes Home blurb

The summer before she left for college, Kari Nelson had the world in the palm of her hand. She was on her way out of her small hometown and out from under the thumbs of her controlling parents. But more importantly, she was in love for the first time.

 

That summer would change her life forever.

 

Years after returning home unexpectedly, Kari is no longer a naive and hopeful teenager. She’s a grown woman who has been married and divorced, and is now a single mother who balances running a respectable business while also raising her daughter. The daughter Marc Eaddens, the boy she’d loved all those summers ago, didn’t know he had.

 

That boy is now a man who’s returned to town to take over the family business from his ailing father. Sparks fly and tensions rise when he discovers the truth about the girl in Kari’s life. Will he forgive Kari for keeping her secret – and his daughter – to herself? And can the two of them come together for their child…and themselves?