Here is my interview with Kirsten Osbourne

Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.

 

Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?

I’m Kirsten Osbourne, and I’m 49 years old.

Fiona: Where are you from?

I’ve lived in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Texas, Louisiana and now Idaho. Born in Wisconsin, but I lived in Texas longer than anywhere else.

Fiona: A little about your self (ie,  your education, family life, etc.).

I’ve been married nineteen years and we have a thirteen-year-old son. I wanted twenty-seven children, but God only gave me one. We home school our son, so writing can be a challenge during the day. I tend to start writing at eleven at night and write until the sun comes up!

Fiona: Tell us your latest news.

I have a new series that I’m writing with one other author. It’s called Seven Sons, and I absolutely adore it. It’s about brothers who each have a supernatural power.

Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I started writing when I was ten. We had an assignment for English class, and when my teacher read mine out loud, everyone laughed and enjoyed it. I went home from school and announced I wanted to be an author.

Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

When I started publishing  my work, so in 2011.

Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

My first book was written when I was ten, so I’d say the boredom of living in the country over summer vacation!

Fiona: How did you come up with the title? Which title?

There are millions!  I love alliteration, and you’ll see that in most of my titles.

Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?

Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging? I tend to skip over too much description in my books. If it’s something I skim as a reader, it doesn’t go into my books. Challenging? Romance readers expect very specific things from their books, but since I’ve been a romance reader since I was sneaking my mom’s Harlequins at eleven, it’s no problem for me.

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

I’ve written over 120 books at this point. Some characters are based on real people, and some are not. Many of the things happening in my books have happened in real life. Many I just make up.

Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?

I do travel a lot. Usually anywhere I go will eventually end up in a book!

Fiona: Who designed the covers?

Erin Dameron-Hill, cover artist extraordinaire. She is amazing!

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

There are some woven throughout. Mostly, don’t whine. If something is wrong with your life, stop complaining and do something to change it. If people would spend a fraction of the time fixing their lives as they do complaining about them, the world would be a better place.

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

  I would say Julie Garwood’s historicals, or Julia Quinn’s novels. I love how they suck me into a world I want to be part of. I want to be friends with each of their quirky heroines.

Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.

I can’t think of a single person outside family.

Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

Definitely. I work fourteen hour days. That’s not a hobby.

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

In my latest? Nope. I was very happy with it.

Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?

I learned about a disease very few people have ever heard of and exactly how it works.

Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?

The latest? No clue. I’m really not up on actors or actresses.

Fiona: Any advice for other writers?

Put your butt in the chair and work. Stop finding reasons not to work, and instead find reasons you can work.

Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?

Thank you for giving me a little door into your lives.

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

I’m reading some Scottish history books at the moment.

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

The Monster at the End of this book.

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

I cry easily. I laugh easily. I’m incredibly emotional about everything that happens around me. If a book doesn’t make me laugh and cry, there’s something wrong with it.

Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?

I think it would be fascinating to interview Queen Elizabeth the first at the beginning of her reign. She probably had no idea she’d never marry and rule England for as long as she did.

Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?

I enjoy baking. I like to read. My biggest hobby—writing—is now my job!

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

When Calls the Heart is the only TV show I keep up with.

Fiona: Favorite foods, colors,  music?

Chocolate, green, country.

Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?

Cry. A lot. I can’t imagine a world where I didn’t write.

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

She was kind.

 Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?

http://www.kirstenandmorganna.com/ It’s currently going through some major changes, so give it a couple of months!

https://www.amazon.com/Kirsten-Osbourne/e/B005G995IS/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

http://www.kirstenandmorganna.com/series-links

 

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Here is my interview with Jill Amy Rosenblatt

Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.

 

Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?

Hi Fiona, thank you so much for having me. My name is Jill Amy Rosenblatt. I am 49 years old.

Fiona: Where are you from?

I was born and raised on Long Island.

Fiona: A little about your self (ie,  your education, family life, etc.).

I am the youngest of three, I have two older brothers.Over the years, I went to several colleges (5 colleges actually, I went to one college twice!) because I could never decide what I wanted to be when I grow up. I finally finished my Bachelor’s degree and then went back and finished my Master’s degree in Creative Writing and Literature.

I am an avid ice hockey fan and I love to watch the New York Rangers.

Fiona: Tell us your latest news.

I am currently editing the third book in my crime suspense/thriller series, The Fixer. The title for Book 3 is The Last Romanov. My current schedule is to finish and release the book before Spring 2018.

I’m also happy to announce that the first book in the series, The Fixer: The Naked Man, won the Silver Medal for Suspense Fiction in the 2017 Global Ebook Awards competition and the second book in the series, The Fixer: The Killing Kind, won the Silver Medal for Thriller fiction in the same competition.

Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I started writing in my early twenties. As a kid I liked to read and I watched a lot of television and movies. I was a bit of a loner and a constant daydreamer. In school, I was the kid sitting in the back of the classroom, staring out the window. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t thinking up stories. Finally, I wanted to get my stories down on paper so I began writing screenplays.

Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

My first book, Project Jennifer, was published in 2008 but I started to consider myself a writer around 8 years or so earlier. I had attended Robert McKee’s Story seminar in 2000 and I experienced a creative breakthrough after that program. A little later on, I decided to switch from screenplays to novels.

Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

When I write a story, I’m usually trying to figure something out or answer a question that interests me. In my first book, Project Jennifer, I wanted to explore the question, “If you had a different name, would you have had a different life?” In my second book, For Better or Worse, I wanted to explore power structures between husbands and wives. Those books mean a lot to me but creating my current series, The Fixer, is very special to me.

Prior to The Fixer series, I suffered from a terrible case of writer’s block and I wasn’t able to focus on any writing projects for severalyears. I really felt lost. I was very fortunate to have family and friends to help me find my way back to the process.

I started with an idea of a woman engaged in a negotiation with a man but I didn’t know who the woman was, what she wanted, or why. I had heard of the term “fixer” before, a specialized job for someone who will make problems go away or make arrangements for a sum of money. Many times, these activities are illegal.

There were other stories of “fixers,” such as Scandal and Ray Donovan, so I decided to make this an origin story. How does this young woman, Katerina Mills, find herself in this line of work? How does she learn the skills to do the job?

Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

The title of Book 1 is The Naked Man. There are number of different men in the story who are naked, each one for a different reason in a specific situation. But only one of the naked men is a character that has a far-reaching effect on Katerina’s life and future.

The title of Book 2 is The Killing Kind. This refers to the different people Katerina meets in the book and what they’re willing to do to get what they want. But it’s also about Katerina taking a hard look at herself and her circumstances and deciding what she is willing to do in this new profession to protect herself.

Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?

I prefer short, fast prose to keep the story moving. Since I started off in screenwriting, I tend to think in dialogue and focus a bit more on conversation in my stories.

I have always found narrative to be a bit of a challenge. It’s something I constantly work on to improve. When I read other authors I study how they construct their narrative so I can learn. Sometimes I’ll read a sentence in a book and it’s so beautiful, I’ll read it over several times and think, “How did they do that? I want to do that!” so I’m always challenging myself for my writing to evolve.

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

The experiences in The Fixer books are purely fiction; they’re not based on me or anyone I know.

However, it’s very important to me that the book have a realistic feel so I do a ton of research for each book to get the details correct. I’m also very fortunate to have experts who are so kind and giving with their time and their expertise to help me.

Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?

The series is set in New York City. I love the city so I will pick the places where I want my characters to be and then I will go and walk the route and take pictures.

For example, for Book 2 of the series, The Killing Kind, I visited one of the last internet café’s in the city two days before it was closing down so I could give an accurate description and have Kat’s experience be authentic.

For research for The Last Romanov, I just went on a fantastic tour of the Washington Heights area through a terrific service, Noshwalks, because Katerina will be in that area during the book.

Fiona: Who designed the covers?

Alan Gaites of Graphic Design. I’ve known Alan for almost twenty years. I really enjoy working with him on the concepts for each cover. He’s very patient with me! In the traditional publishing process, I had very limited input on the covers, so I really appreciate and enjoy this.

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

There isn’t a specific message in the books. Instead, as Katerina goes further into this shadowy underworld, her choices challenge her sense of ethics and moral code. I really liked how one reviewer put it, “How far is too far?”  That question comes up a lot in the books and will keep coming up in the future.

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

I have so many favorite authors, it’s difficult to name just one or two. I enjoy spy novels; Daniel Silva’s Gabriel Allon series is my favorite. I also really enjoy dystopian fiction. Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and Cormac McCarthy’s The Road are two of my absolute favorites.

Their ability to tell a story that affects the reader so deeply is amazing to me; you process the story with your mind but feel it emotionally as well. By the time I was at the end of reading The Road  I was openly crying. I love books you think about for days after finishing them.

Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.

Part of my Bachelor’s degree program at Bulington College required working toward gaining representation. I signed with an agent for Project Jennifer while I was in school. Burlington’s staff supported all the writers attending the program and encouraged us to follow our passion and work on our craft. The Independent Degree Program at Burlington was a wonderful experience. I will always be grateful for their support.

Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

Yes!! Absolutely. That’s the dream and I’ve never given up on it. The Fixer is a planned, 12 book series and I can definitely see myself working on this project as a full-time writer. I’m working toward that goal and I hope to be fortunate enough to achieve that.

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

No, I don’t think so. As I finish up The Last Romanov and polish the plotlines for Books 4 through 6, I wouldn’t change anything. I try to work a bit loosely and give myself room to move with future events.

Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?

I learned a lot during research for The Last Romanov.  For example, I have been reading up on safecracking. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to interview two locksmiths who specialize in opening safes, Phil Mortillaro of Greenwich Locksmith and Elaad Israeli at Precision Lock & Safe. They were both wonderful and very giving of their time to answer my questions.

Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?

I’m glad you asked! On my Facebook page, I have been indulging in some fantasy casting. My wish would be for Jennifer Lawrence to play Katerina Mills.

Fiona: Any advice for other writers?

I don’t really give advice because there’s no one way to do something. Everyone has their own process that works for them. I can make two suggestions. The first is I would recommend reading as much as possible. It’s a strange thing but reading does help to improve writing. The second suggestion is if you are a writer working on your first book, consider using an outline. Using an outline forces you to plot out the book from beginning to end and will help you to come out with a full manuscript and avoid getting stuck in the middle of the project.

Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?

I am so excited to share The Fixer series with you! I hope you will come to care about Katerina Mills as much as I do and will enjoy reading her journey. I’ve also included supporting characters who will come to back to visit in each book and I hope you will look forward to seeing them as well.

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

I am reading Lillian Boxfish Takes A Walk by Kathleen Rooney. It’s a very witty and enjoyable book and the main character’s voice is so sharp and well-defined. It’s such a pleasure to read.

I am getting ready to read Daniel Silva’s latest, House of Spies. A new Gabriel Allon book comes out every July. But I always wait to read it until Christmas. I’m home every year between Christmas and New Year’s. It’s a treat I wait for every year, when I can sit back and relax and take my time to enjoy it. It’s a silly, odd reader habit but it’s become my tradition.

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

Wow! No, I’m sorry I don’t. That’s a great question. I wish I did.

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

Seeing someone sad or in pain will make me cry. To make me laugh, I appreciate a dry sense of humor but I also like silly slapstick as well (the Austen Powers movies are guilty pleasures. No matter how many times I see them, I laugh. I can’t help it).

Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?

I would like to meet William Shakespeare and have him tell me all about his life and experiences. I want to know how he wrote such wonderful plays that revealed the deepest secrets of human nature. How did he know all that?

Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?

Not as many as I used to. I have a very short attention span and many things used to catch my interest. I have been a wannabee watercolorist, cartoonist, and saxophone player. I like to crochet. I still draw and paint on occasion, but if I have a choice, I will always choose to use whatever time I have to write.

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

There’s a lot of good television on now. I admit I’m obsessed with Stranger Things. Such a great program and I enjoy trying to find all the clues. I’m also watching Imposters on Bravo and I’m a big fan of Good Behavior on TNT. If there’s a rerun of The Big Bang Theory on, I will be watching it.

There are films that I will watch over and over again and they’re all different genres. Jaws, The Godfather I and II, Goodfellas, You’ve Got Mail, Sleepless in Seatte, justto name a few. I’m also a bit of a fangirl. I enjoy the Avengers franchise and the Batman/Superman movies.

Fiona: Favorite foods, colors,  music?

Chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate. As far as I’m concerned, chocolate should be a food group!

My favorite color is blue.

I listen to all kinds of music so I don’t have a particular favorite. I always have the radio on in the car when I drive to and from work. I’m constantly switching channels looking for a song that hits the spot.

 Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?

Oh no! I’ve already had a period where I wasn’t writing and it was awful! If that happened, I think I would take up studying mathematics. I was terrible at math all the way through high school but I developed an interest in the last few years (I was researching a book idea). I discovered I could understand the material and do the problems and get the correct answer! I would like to continue studying and see what I can learn and accomplish.  

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

Here lies Jill Amy Rosenblatt. Nice girl. She never gave up.

Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?

Yes, thank you. Readers can visit me at my website at http://www.jillamyrosenblatt.com or head over to the blog at http://www.jillamyrosenblatt.wordpress.com

Amazon Author Page:

https://www.amazon.com/Jill-Amy-Rosenblatt/e/B003B0BSEI/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

The Fixer: The Naked Man:

https://www.amazon.com/Fixer-Naked-Katerina-Mills-Book-ebook/dp/B00ZV0AFUO/ref=sr_1_1_twi_kin_2?s=instant-video&ie=UTF8&qid=1512951481&sr=8-1&keywords=The+fixer+the+Naked+man

The Fixer: The Killing Kind:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01M7TO22Q/ref=series_rw_dp_sw

Thank you so much, Fiona,for having me. I’ve enjoyed the interview. It was fun!

Here is my interview with Jordon Greene

Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.

 

Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?

My name is Jordon Greene and I’m 30 years old.

Fiona: Where are you from?

I grew up in the North Carolina foothills in Lenoir, but I now live in Concord, North Carolina about half-an-hour east of Charlotte.

Fiona: A little about your self (ie,  your education, family life, etc.).

I’m a Senior Full Stack Web Developer by trade, but my degree from UNC Charlotte is actually in Political Science. As a developer I work for the nation’s largest privately owned shoe retailer, SHOE SHOW, Inc., handling the company’s internal websites. In my spare time, when I’m not writing, you’ll probably either finding me reading or at the theater, or off at some festival or comic con promoting my books.

Fiona: Tell us your latest news.

I don’t really have any recent news. However, my last full-length novel did garner Official Selection status from the 2017 New Apple Summer eBook Awards in Horror a few months back and I believe I’ve decided on the general plot of my fourth novel, but that’s a secret right now.

Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I began writing, technically, in sixth grade. Of course, it wasn’t like now, but I attribute the beginning to that year for me. The year before I entered a short story competition with a friend (he wrote the story and I illustrated) that got me thinking about writing, and then from that point, as best as I can remember, I’ve wanted to write ever since. I really got started, as in seriously into it, in 2012 about a year after graduating from college.

Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

At first I didn’t consider myself a writer until my first book, They’ll Call It Treason, came out in May of 2016. Since then I’ve come to the conclusion that if you write, and you are taking it seriously, that you’re a writer, regardless of your publication status.

Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

I can’t say that there was any one real thing that inspired me to write my first book, except for the point that I was extremely into politics during the years before and after its release. I lived politics at the time. I went to school for it, I was involved in it, I ran for office at one point on the state level, and I even formed my own election law advocacy organization that up until about a year ago I still ran. It was just natural at the time. Now, I’d prefer to avoid the politics if at all possible.

Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

It took me a while, and at points I swear it was harder than writing the book. Of course, I went through many different title ideas during the first few months, but I ended up settling on They’ll Call It Treason in the end. I wanted something that sound conversational, but at the same time sort of blunt and major, and it’s actually a phrase taken straight from the book itself.

Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?

I’ll just say that I do a lot of planning. Now, that I’ve moved over to horror instead of political thrillers, the challenges are different. Instead of just thrilling someone with tense action sequences, car chases and explosions (all of which I like to include even in my horror where possible), I have to find a way to get under their skin, to make them actually fear for the characters in a way that’s real. That’s not easy.

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

For the most part I like to write about things that can happen. Even with my first novel, They’ll Call It Treason, while some of it may seem farfetched, it really isn’t. Now with my horror, up until my current project, I’ve wrote stories about scenarios that are all-too plausible. I think that realistic horror is in some ways more scary. I mean when you read a story about a home invasion, you sit there reading knowing that the horrible things happening to the family on the page, like in my horror novel To Watch You Bleed, could easily happen in real life. Even the events in my short stories Anywhere But Here and The Maze are possible.

As for my characters or events in the story, in ways you’ll find me in my stories as well as my family and friends. It’s more of characteristics than anything, but it’s there. For instance, the main character in the novel I’m writing now, Cooper, is in some ways like me, like having two brothers (one older and one younger) and a younger sister. I also like to use real places, places that I’m familiar with. You’ll usually find some location in North Carolina in my books, even if it’s as small as one character being from the state, or as much as in To Watch You Bleed which takes place entirely in Concord and Kannapolis, NC.

Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?

At this point no, but that doesn’t mean I won’t. I do a lot of Google Mapping and Google Street View, as well as online research about the locations I want to use, but when time and money allows it I’d love to be able to actually visit locations before writing with them.

Fiona: Who designed the covers?

Creative Paramita designed the covers for both of my novels, They’ll Call It Treason and To Watch You Bleed. I designed the covers for my short stories, Anywhere But Here and The Maze, along with the anthology I edited, Down with the Fallen.

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

The main thing I was trying to get across in To Watch You Bleed, apart from trying to tell a non-Happily-Ever-After story, was the importance of cherishing and appreciating those that you have in your life while you have them.

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

Marie Lu has been around for a few years now, but she’s still relatively new. She’s a young adult author, but I love everything she’s wrote so far (except I haven’t got to her latest, Warcross, yet). As for my favorite author, I’d have to go with James Rollins, the amazing author of the Sigma Force series. His work is amazing, they’re so detailed and the twists seem to never end. Of course, picking one favorite is hard, so I’ll still give a little list. In addition to Rollins, I love the work of Marie Lu (as already stated), the late Michael Crichton, and James Alan Gardner. I’m working on getting into Stephen King’s work, but I’m just getting started there.

Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.

That’s easy. Outside of my family I had one teacher, among many, who stands out. Mrs. Hicks, my sixth grade teacher, now Tammy Sanabria-Cook, was a major support. She pushed me to pursue writing even then, when it was really just a fascination for me. I remember her letting me take a group of my classmates off to the side in our own little room to discuss the book I wanted to write, you see my friends were to be characters in the story. I came to find out just this year that the principal didn’t take too kindly to her letting me do this, but she didn’t stop, and I’m glad. I’m not sure I would be writing today if she hadn’t pushed me to.

Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

No, not right now. I mean, I’d love for it to be. However, at the moment I see it more as a hobby, an almost all-consuming hobby, but a hobby nonetheless. Being single and having a stupidly irrational anxiety of group events definitely lends itself to writing though. That’s one reason writing it’s about all I do outside of my full-time job, reading, the occasional house work and attending events to sell my books (yeah, I don’t get the anxiety when I’m behind a booth or talking to groups about my writing, sounds weird I know, but it’s true). Hopefully one day that’ll materialize into an actual career in writing. We’ll see.

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

Yes. I would go back and find a way to provide more insight about the three antagonists of the story, their problems, their mental states and their motivations. When I planned the story for To Watch You Bleed I did a bit of research on psychological abuse in teenagers (you know, just enough to make me vaguely dangerous with it, haha) to ensure what I was planning was reasonable and realistic. This research changed and molded the story. Each of the “bad guys” has a story, why they are who they are. They’re not just two-dimensional bad guys, and looking back I feel like that didn’t get through as much as I wished it would have. Yeah, they are bad kids, but at the same time, even while you hate them, as you’d have every right to in the story, I wanted the reader to feel bad for them in a way as well as products of their environment and nature. Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like I didn’t get that through enough for them, maybe the main bad kid, but not all of them.

Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?

I don’t know if I’d say I learned something while writing To Watch You Bleed, but I did come to realize that it’s taxing on yourself to write the darker scenes sometimes, especially when you have to kill a character off that you’ve come to care for. I mean I’ve killed off other characters that I liked in my previous book, but these characters were different, closer it seemed.

 Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?

Jason Bateman. It’s an easy question because, for better or for worse, when I start forming my characters I get a basic idea who they are and what I might want them to look like and then I find actors and actresses that I think fit the part and visualize them playing the part in the book as I write it. It helps me keep things straight and be able to see the story playing out in my head. Jason Bateman is who I envisioned playing the part of Dalton Summers, the dad and main character in To Watch You Bleed.

Fiona: Any advice for other writers?

Don’t rush it, and heavily consider your words when you go through your rewrites. I tend to put myself on arbitrary deadlines and feel like I’m not doing well if I don’t meet them. Yet, that shouldn’t be how it works. Write as your comfortable, let the story build naturally, and let it be done when it’s done. Then when you finish go back and reconsider everything.

Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?

Yes, thank you so much for reading my books first, and second, get ready for spring 2018! My next horror novel will hopefully (fingers crossed) be out then!

 Fiona: What book are you reading now?

It’s definitely not my usual read, but I’m reading fellow North Carolina author Nicholas Spark’s Safe Haven. I don’t usually read romance, but my little sister loves it and I’m trying to vary my reading genres up a bit instead of just reading techno-thrillers and post-apocalyptic young adult stories. I actually just finished reading Stephen King’s Pet Semetary, only the third King story I’ve read and the first of his novels. Just like with my writing I don’t want to necessarily pigeon-hole myself into reading just one genre, so I’m trying to widen my palette a little.

 Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

I’m going to go with the first book I read by choice, because I have no clue what the first book I ever read was and or the first book I was forced to read in AR (the school system’s dreaded Accelerated Reader program that almost killed my desire to read and write, like I think it did to so many). So, the first book I ever remember reading fully by choice, which is still probably my favorite book, was Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park. I was in seventh grade, I loved dinosaurs, and I loved the movie. Let me tell you, the movie is nothing like the book. The book is way better (as always) and almost an entirely different story, but don’t get me wrong, I loved the movie too.

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

That’s a harder question. My family makes me laugh a lot. They’re all crazy, not quite clinical, but crazy nonetheless, and we have a lot of fun. What makes me cry? Usually thinking too much.

Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?

I used to say Thomas Jefferson, back when I was into politics (my degree is in Political Science after all, but I hate politics now), but I don’t know anymore. I think he might still be the person I’d like to meet, if I could bring him to our time at least, I definitely don’t want to go back to the late 1700s. He was brilliant, an inventor, a lover of books, a man of liberty, though just as flawed as anyone else.

Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?

Yep, writing. Haha! Oh, you mean other than writing? Gotcha. Well, in that case does listening to music count?

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

I love House of Cards and Seth McFarland’s The Orville for TV. For my movies, the list is long. I’ll keep it short though. Star Trek, as in all the Star Trek movies, are my favorite, especially numbers six, four, two, eight, eleven and twelve. For those that don’t watch Star Trek that’s The Undiscovered Country, The Voyage Home, The Wrath of Khan, First Contact, Star Trek (2009) and Into Darkness. Outside of Star Trek, I love V for Vendetta, both John Wicks, Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy, Casino Royale and Skyfall (James Bond movies) as well as Chappie, Gravity and of course Jurassic Park.

Fiona: Favorite foods, colors,  music?

Hmm… Favorite foods, that’s hard. I really like Mexican, especially Arroz con Pollo, and Japanese, but my favorites are probably an amazing gyro from the Greek restaurant Gateway to the Athens in Concord, NC or a big juicy American cheeseburger piled with bacon. However, I’m dieting right now, so this section of the interview is tormenting. Haha!

Colors, well, I guess I’m partial to green and gold in some ways since they’re my alma mater’s colors (UNC Charlotte 49ers), but I typically gravitate towards black, yellow and silver.

Ah, music. I could go on a long time about this. Haha! As a whole I listen primarily to metal, punk rock and alternative rock, with a little variety here and there into some more poppy stuff, with a lesser dose of country and pretty much exclude rap altogether. My favorite bands right now, mostly in no particular order, are Imminence (an awesome Swedish group), Bad Omens, Villain of the Story (appropriate, right?), Makeout, Five Finger Death Punch (the best metal band of my time) and Starset.

Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?

I’d probably be doing what I currently do for a living which is developing websites from the ground up. Right now I just do it for the company I work for, but if I didn’t write, I’d probably go back to doing it on the side freelancing again too.

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

I don’t know. I really don’t know, and no that’s not what I want wrote on my headstone.

Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?

I sure do. They can find me at www.JordonGreene.com

My Amazon Author page can be found at: https://www.amazon.com/author/jordongreene

Here is my interview with C. David Belt


Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.

 

Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?

David: I’m C. David Belt and I’m fifty-seven going on seven.

Fiona: Where are you from?

David: All over.  I was born in the wilds of Wyoming.  As I child, I lived in the Philippines and travelled extensively around the Far East with my parents.  (In Thailand, I once fed so many bananas to a monkey, the poor creature swore off bananas for life.)  I’ve lived in ten of the fifty states.  Currently, I live in Utah.

Fiona: A little about yourself (i.e., your education, family life, etc.).

David:  I graduated from high school in Poplar Bluff, Missouri.  I served as an LDS missionary in South Korea and southern California (Korean-speaking), and yes, I love kimchi. I graduated from Brigham Young University with a BS in Computer Science and a minor in Aerospace Studies, but I somehow managed to bypass all English or writing classes. I served as a B-52 pilot in the US Air Force and as an Air Weapons Controller in the Washington Air National Guard and was deployed to locations so secret, my family still does not know where I risked life and limb (other than in a 192′ wingspan aircraft flying 200′ off the ground in mountainous terrain at night). My wife and I have six children and five grandchildren.  We live in Utah with an eclectus parrot named Mork (who likes to jump on the keyboard when I am writing). There is also a cat, but she can’t be bothered to take notice of the parrot (or us half the time), and so that is all the mention we shall make of her.  Our children are all grown and gone.  My parents and my aunt live with us, so we are no longer empty-nesters.

Fiona: Tell us your latest news.

David: My first sci-fi novel, Time’s Plague: A Tale Told in Five Acts comes out in September.  I just finished the second draft of The Witch of White Lady Hollow, and it is now out to beta-readers.  My wife and I took a two-week cruise to the British Isles this summer.  We got to see RAVENS at the Tower of London.  We visited Stonehenge and the Ring of Brodgar and the beaches of Normandy as well as a number of castles (including my wife’s ancestral castle in Kilkenny, Ireland).  And all this has given me some GREAT material for my next novel.

Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

David:  In one form or another, I’ve been writing stories since I was a child.  But I got serious about writing my first novel in 2009, when I was almost 50.  Why?  Because I had an idea, an image in my head, that haunted me, possessed me.  I knew it wouldn’t let me go until I gave it flesh—which I did in the form of The Unwilling.

Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

David:  When I finished my first book.  Lots of false starts before that (which got no further than a page or two), but once I finished The Unwilling, I thought, “I really can do this.”  And I haven’t looked back.

Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

David:  A dark image in my head.  In a very dark place—a warehouse, under a bridge, in a cave, or somewhere like that, a group of vampires is gathered around a mortal, ordaining him (for lack of a better word) as a new vampire.  I knew two very important things about this image: #1: Vampirism must be a voluntary, deliberate choice (because I don’t believe in involuntary eternal damnation) and #2: That the man being converted to vampirism is being converted AGAINST his will.  He will be the world’s first and only unwilling vampire.  The problem was, I didn’t know how to reconcile the two mutually exclusive ideas.  It took me ten years to work it out.  But when I did—BOOM!  It all came together.  It took me a year to finish the first volume.

Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

David: I came up with a lot of really stupid and elaborate titles.  But then I just reduced it down to the essence of the book: Carl is an UNWILLING vampire—the first and only.  Therefore, The Unwilling.  The trilogy title, The Children of Lilith, came only when the first volume was finished, and I knew I had a trilogy to tell.  That title came about because I was incorporating the ancient Lilith myth into my story, including Lilith herself…

Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?

David: I start with very detailed character sketches.  I need to know WHO my characters are before I cantry to figure out what they will do and why they will do it.  Once I have that down, I’ll write down notes about the fantasy/supernatural/sci-fi elements of the story.  I need to determine all the RULES before I can start.  Then I write down a list of possible plot points that may or may not make it into the story (and most don’t).  This list of plot points is a form of brainstorming on paper.  I need a title, or at least a working title too before I can start.  I learned this from J. Michael Straczynski.  Then I look for the perfect opening line for the first chapter.  Once I have that, I can begin.  I can’t outline, because as I go along, my characters tell me what they will and will not do, and thus the story changes.  I have a vague idea about the ending, but that will change as well as I listen to the voices in my head.  My stories are very much driven by the characters.  The hardest part about starting a chapter is the opening line.  It must be perfect.  After that, I just let the characters drive the story.  I get feedback early and often, i.e., after each chapter.  I want to know if the story is going off the rails before I get too far off track.

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

David: The best fiction comes from real life.  No matter what period I may be writing about, the story is based on people I know (including myself).  For a villain, for someone truly evil, I may have to dig deep into the dark parts of my soul and say, “What would you do if you had no moral compass of if you were unleashed?”  And after channelling a villain, I need to go take a shower.  I just finished a novel set in 1978 in the Bootheel of Missouri.  One beta-reader commented on a scene where a teacher boasted about her great-grandpappy slaughtering Mormons.  The reader said that sounds so far-fetched.  Well, it happened to me.  That was my teacher (for all of 5 minutes until I told her off, politely, and walked out of the class).  The best fiction comes from life.  Often, my male protagonists tend to be software engineers with a military aviation background…

Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?

David: YES! Before and during.  I need to see places and experience them (and write off the travel as a business expense).  We just went to Stonehenge…  Sometimes, I can’t go to an important location.  If possible, I ask a friend to visit and report.  Subtropolis comes to mind.  I did my research, then I sent a friend in the area on a scouting expedition.

Fiona: Who designed the covers?

David: Ben Savage, cover artist extra-ordinaire!  www.theotherbensavage.com.  He is not the famous Ben Savage, he’s the more talented one!  We used to work together at Electronic Arts.  Ben asked to take home with him a manuscript copy of The Unwilling.  He started reading at 8:00 PM that night, finished at 5:00 AM the next morning, and three hours later came into work, wide-eyed and asking to be my cover artist.  He’s great!

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

David: I don’t really start out with a message (consciously), just what I think is a compelling story idea.  However, as the story unfolds, a message emerges.  In The Children of Lilith, the story is all about moral agency, choices, consequences, and redemption through the atonement of Jesus Christ.  (Yes, in a vampire story.)  In Time’s Plague, there are themes about blindness—physical and spiritual—forgiveness, friendship in the unlikeliest of places, and ultimately love.  In The Sweet Sister, the messagesare quite simply, “You are more than what they see,” and “True beauty is found within.”  In other words, stop selling yourself short.  In The Witch of White Lady Hollow, we find messages about the power and glory of womanhood, about love and loyalty, and the fierce courage of a mother.  Ultimately, in all my books, the message seems to be about having the courage to keep your covenants, do what you believe is right, no matter the cost, even when—especially when you don’t know if you’ve been abandoned by Heaven.  That’s what LDS Horror is all about—taking a good, covenant-keeping LDS man or woman and thrusting them into darkness so they can fight their way back to the light.

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

David:  Jenny Flake Rabe was my first beta-reading partner.  I enjoyed her work and I wish her the greatest success.  Loury Trader, whose work I have enjoyed, is another new writer I want to see succeed.  My absolute favorite writer is J. Michael Straczynski, best known as the creator of Babylon 5.  Every time I finish watching that series I say, “I want to be able to tell stories like he does!”  Then comes Neil Gaiman.  I love his ability to make the mundane sound magical and the extra-ordinary sound perfectly logical and normal.  A lot of his stuff is not suitable for LDS readers, but The Graveyard Book is an absolute masterpiece.  And then, there is Stardust and The Sandman. That’s what I love about Gaiman.

Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.

David:  Beth Bentley, the publisher and editor for Parables.  She gave The Unwilling a chance when the world was just saturated with Twilight.  She has been a great help to me.

Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

David:  I’d love for it to be my career.  For now, I just keep pushing and writing and hoping for that big break.  If and when I can support my family as a writer, I’d do it in a heartbeat.  But when someone writes to me and tells me that my vampire trilogy strengthened their testimony of the Saviour, when a huge man comes up to me, grabs me by the shoulders, shakes me, and says, “Your book made me weep!”—that makes it all worth it.

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

David:  Surprisingly, no.  Every time I think, “I should go back and change this one thing or add this one thing,” my characters speak up and say, “No.”  You see, I listen to the voices in my head.

Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?

David:  Always.  I research obsessively.  I learned a lot about the Salem Witch trials, how little it took to condemn a woman for witchcraft.  (Sarah Towne Cloyce was condemned, because she spoke up in defence of her sister, stormed out of the church, and slammed the door on her way out.  Ooh, obviously a dangerous witch!)  I had to go back and examine yearbooks and old phone-books to get some of the details correct about 1978 southeast Missouri.  I did a ton of research on women’s issues in that period.  I’m always researching and uncovering interesting history, facts, myths, beliefs, and other fun… stuff.  Did you know that ravens are about as big as a turkey buzzard, have been known to attack sheep, and eat (at least at the Tower of London) “6 oz. of raw meat plus bird-biscuits soaked in blood” every single day?  (Okay, that last titbit was from The Sweet Sister, but it was a fun fact I uncovered doing research.)

Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?

David:  In The Witch of White Lady Hollow, I would want my youngest daughter Rachel to play Tabitha.  She’d be perfect.

Fiona: Any advice for other writers?

David: Be honest.  Listen to your characters.  They know who they are better than your conscious mind does.  Never force them to say or do something they wouldn’t do just to make a scene “come out right.”  If you are honest with them, the scene will come out right, even if it isn’t the way you originally envisioned it.  Research, research, research, and then research again.  Details matter.  Authenticity matters.  Just because you’ve seen it on TV or in a movie doesn’t mean that’s the way things happen in real life.  If you have a fantasy element, know your own rules and obey them.  Never, ever cheat.

Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?

David: I cannot promise you the fairy tale ending.  However, I do promise you the RIGHT ending, an ending you will be satisfied with.  I promise that I will scare you from time to time, but I always strive to give you an uplifting ending.

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

David: I am reading volume 4 of Ellis Peters’ Brother Cadfael Chronicles.

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

I believe it was Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham.  Dr. Seuss had a great influence on my young life as a reader.  However, the first book I remember that scared the living snot out of me was Bram Stoker’s Dracula.  I read it for the first time when I was nine years old.  I have read it many times since.

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

David: Laugh?  Mack Wilberg chastising the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in rehearsal and then immediately telling us that he loves us anyway.  The movie, Return to MeMystery Science Theatre 30001776 (the musical).  My own dumb jokes.  (Just ask my wife and kids.)

Cry? Stories of selfless courage and sacrifice.  Singing “Amazing Grace” with bagpipes playing.  Singing “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing”.  That moment in a Mormon Tabernacle Choir concert when we are singing “Battle Hymn of the Republic” and Mack Wilberg turns around and invites the audience to sing the final chorus with us, and they rise to their feet and sing with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  Reading the tender parts of my own stories.  (I know it sounds stupid, but I do.)  Hugging my children when they leave for college or a mission.  Holding a new, precious grandchild.  The second time they sing “White Christmas” in Holiday Inn and the first time Bing Crosby sings it in White Christmas.  And speaking of White Christmas, the moment when General Waverly walks down those stairs in uniform and sees his old troops assembled to wish him a merry Christmas.  Laying my hands on the head of my wife or my child to give them a blessing.  1776 (the musical).  The whole last half of the final episode of Babylon 5.

Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?

David: Captain Moroni.  He is the embodiment of the perfect warrior-priest.

Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?

David: When I am not writing (or working as a software engineer), I sing in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. I collect swords, spears, and axes (oh, my!), and other medieval weapons and armour.  I teach classes on medieval weaponry at Renaissance faires and writers conferences.

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

David: #1 – Babylon 5!  After that, in no particular order, Poldark, MST3K, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, Knightfall, all the Disney Princess movies with The Little Mermaid and Sleeping Beauty at the top, 1776, Broadchurch, Return to Me, White Christmas, Holiday Inn, Scrooge, Dracula (with Jack Palance in the title role), Frankenstein, the True Story (mostly because of Jane Seymour), The Scarlet Pimpernel (with Jane Seymour).  (By the way, I got the chance to perform with Jane Seymour on stage for one of our Christmas concerts, and she is one classy lady.)  Fiddler on the Roof, Star Trek (the original series), Enterprise, the Dark Knight trilogy, Episodes IV-VII of Star Wars, Captain America: The First Avenger, Agent Carter, Wonder Woman, and occasionally Bob’s Burgers.  The only reality TV I have ever enjoyed was Full Metal Jousting.  I used to love Disney’s Gummi Bears and the original Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?.

Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?

David: Foods: kal-bi, teh-ji bul-go-gi, ggakk-du-gi, Scotch eggs, my wife’s pumpkin pie, roast turkey skin, turkey stuffing smothered in turkey gravy, cranberry sauce (the jellied kind), root beer milkshakes, steak gorgonzola with fettuccini Alfredo.

Colors: the blue of my wife’s eyes and the nut-brown of her hair.

Music: Showtunes, Celtic (especially Irish drinking songs), just about anything arranged by Mack Wilberg, “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”, Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus” from “The Messiah”, and just about anything sung by Loreena McKinnett or the Lennon Sisters.

Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?

David: Tell stories.  I’m a storyteller.  Maybe somebody else will write them down.

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

David: Loving Husband, Devoted Father, Doting Grandfather, Faithful Son, HopefulDisciple

Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?

David: Do I ever!

www.unwillingchild.com

www.unwillingchild.wordpress.com

https://www.amazon.com/C.-David-Belt/e/B005ODEK3Q/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

 

Thank you, Fiona, for introducing me to your audience.

 

 

Here is my interview with my Julie Ann Newman

Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.

Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?

Julie Ann Newman. I am 68.

Fiona: Where are you from?

Originally I’m from Bexley, Kent. UK. I now live in Norfolk UK.

I grew up in a big house and garden. My mother and grandmother took in boarders/ paying guests while my father was a commercial artist in the West End. I was an only child until I was seven years old and to get me out from under their feet, I was often told to go and look for fairies at the bottom of the garden. Consequently, my imagination began to flourish. At primary school I was always told off for day-dreaming. At senior school I filled my rough note books with comic strip stories for my classmates to read. I loved art, history and English but hated school otherwise. The thought of a desk job when I left school filled me with horror. I wanted a creative job so I went into hairdressing. 40 years later my husband retired and we moved to Cornwall. I was twiddling my thumbs until I spotted an advert for a creative writing course and I never looked back.

Fiona: Tell us your latest news.

I published my memoir in September this year. ‘No One Comes Close’ tells the story, in diary entries, of how I met Ron in 1966 and our brief but intense love affair. We lost touch after a misunderstanding but I never forgot him. In 1986 I was drowning in a loveless marriage and sent Ron a 40th birthday card, not knowing where he was living. It finally reached him 10,000 miles away in Australia. He still wasn’t married. Dream became reality when we met in Trafalgar Square. This was the catalyst for my divorce.

Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I have always enjoyed writing in one form or another. I have kept a diary for most of my adult life. But I really started creative writing in 2008 when I found a creative writing course in my location. I have taken many creative writing courses since and I’ve had many articles published in This England and Evergreen magazines and short stories published in Cornish anthologies.

Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

When I had my first article published in Evergreen magazine and got paid for it!

Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

I had a burning desire to release my memoir into the world.

Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

‘No One Comes Close’ is the title of a song by John Farnham. He’s Australian, one of Ron’s favourite artists.

Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?

I wrote my memoir in diary entries and flashbacks. It took me a long time to figure out the best structure for the story.

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

All of it is based on events in my own life.

Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?

No. Not for this book.

Fiona: Who designed the covers?

I designed my own from the templates on CreateSpace.

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

Yes. My divorce was a major upheaval in my life and I came out the other side as a different person. I had to examine my conscience, my principles and my motives. I stayed friends with my ex-husband and I think this is very important. Friendship between men and women can be platonic. It doesn’t have to be all about sex.

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

I love Kate Morton. Her novels are family sagas/ mysteries that span many years. Her work is very evocative. She’s very descriptive without being laborious and puts the reader right in the picture. She lives in Australia but writes about places in England. I have all her novels to date.

Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.

No one person, but my critique group in Cornwall has been extremely supportive.

Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

Not really. If I’d gone into it when younger, maybe.

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

I think you can always find things you could change. You wouldn’t progress otherwise.

Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?

Yes, loads. Not only the writing but the publishing and marketing and I’m still learning.

Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?

I have pondered this many times but I can’t come up with an actress young enough. She needs to be tall, slim, blonde and naive. The first part of my memoir is set in 1966 and I would love to see it on the silver screen, the fashions, the cars, how it was a simpler era. Even later in 1987, before mobile phones. Although it’s a piece of nostalgia, I think it would interest young people to see how we lived.

Fiona: Any advice for other writers?

If you have a burning ambition to write your story, go for it, no matter how long it takes. Good writing requires good editing so make sure you have a reliable editor/proof-reader to read your final draft. Feedback is very important. Hang in there when you want to publish – you might not find an agent or publisher willing to take you on, but self-publishing is always an option.

Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?

The best way to thank an author is to write a review! Writing is a very solitary business and it’s very important we get feedback. If you enjoyed my book please go to ‘No One Comes Close’ on amazon and write a review.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/No-One-Comes-Close-memoir/dp/1548679410/ref=sr_1_8?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1512929953&sr=1-8&keywords=J.A.+Newman

Fiona: What book are you reading now?       

‘The Dry’ by Jane Harper.

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

Squirell Nutkin by Beatrix Potter.

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

Stories like Brief Encounter and Out Of Africa make me cry.  Billy Connolly and Tommy Cooper make me laugh.

Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?

I would love to meet Anne Boleyn. I think she was misunderstood by the people and mistreated by Henry but she remained strong to the end and I have a lot of admiration for her.

Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?

I draw and paint. Also calligraphy, but my creative writing has taken over in recent years. I like walking in the countryside and on a deserted beach. I love theatre and I performed in many shows in Sterts Theatre in Cornwall. I also sang in their choir.

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

History programmes. Mystery dramas. Poldark. Downton Abbey.

Fiona: Favorite foods, colors,  music?

I love cake! although I’m not overweight. Comfort food like stew and dumplings and Fish and Chips. And I love good coffee.

For clothes I like muted shades of blues, pinks, amethyst. Greys. For decor, I like a mixture of rich and calm shades.

My music tastes are very varied. Depends what mood I’m in. Classical – Beethoven, Mozart, Vivaldi, Prokofiev. Theatre – Phantom of the Opera. Westside Story. Cats. Pop – Diana Ross and the Supremes, The Four Tops, Simon and Garfunkle, Dire Straights, David Bowie, The Police. Keen. The Beatles. Dusty. The Pet Shop Boys.

Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?

If I had the money I would travel.

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

Nothing but the Best.

Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?

‘Writing From the Heart’    julienewman.wordpress.com

I have a Facebook author page:  Julie Ann Newman writer

https://www.facebook.com/j.a.newman.writer/?hc_ref=ARTK9OtRsR1L8-muJSbSGOsOry9-cJezQVJD7upzVLlDp4N2EiKukmNmKcmEC1u4Fcc&fref=nf

https://www.amazon.co.uk/J-A-Newman/e/B0763743BN/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_book_1

Here is my interview with Barbara Carter

Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.

 

Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?

My name is Barbara Carter and I was born in 1958. A little math involved!

Fiona: Where are you from?

I was born in Nova Scotia, Canada, and that is where I still reside. I grew up and lived outside the town of Mahone Bay until moving to the Halifax area in 2002.

 Fiona: A little about your self (ie,  your education, family life, etc.).

I had a bit of an unusual childhood in that my mother took in boarders, both young and old. So it was an ever changing household of people. Lots of chaos and confusion.

My main education comes from the school of life. And I never stop learning.

Fiona: Tell us your latest news.

My second memoir was released in September 2017. I am working on a series of memoirs based on various themes and life situations.

Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I’d dabbled with writing in my teen years, mainly poetry and song lyrics. But my desire to become a visual artist was much stronger, so I chose visual art over writing.

It wasn’t until I was in my early forties that I began to write again.

It felt like a choice of write or go crazy.

Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I found it hard to stick that label on me. For years I looked for approval outside of myself. After getting a few short pieces published, I started to feel a bit more like I might be a writer. But mainly after publishing my first memoir and selling it and having people respond to what I’d written helped me to accept myself as a writer.

Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

At first my inspiration or inner drive was to understand my life better.Heal from the past, especially to understand the effects my childhood had on my adult life.

I had very few memoires and I wanted to learn more about how I thought and felt as a child.

Later I saw the importance my story could have for others.

Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

That took a lot of jotting down words and possible titles. At first I wanted the word blood in the title, in reference to how my mother referred to “blood is what makes a family”. But I also felt a strong connection to the ocean and saltwater and all the symbolism with the healing qualities of salt.

Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?

Narrative. First person. Using as few words as possible. Clear, strong, writing. I’m not big on detail sometimes. And I like dialogue because it lets you get to know the characters so much better.

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

I write memoir, so my life experiences are what creates the stories!

I tried writing fiction and found that others often didn’t believe some of the situations I wrote about.

Truth truly is stranger than fiction and I like the rawness and depth of real life stories. Learning about the decisions others make in their lives are fascinating to me.

Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?

Not to the outside world, but lots of travelling within.

Fiona: Who designed the covers?

I design my book covers and my husband does all the computer work needed.

Each one of my memoirs will feature a bird on the cover instead of a picture of me.

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

The messages I would like people to take away from my work is the importance of looking beneath the surface. Not to be so quick to pass judgement on others. Be more compassionate and understanding of others.

And that it all comes back to us in the end.

I hope to open more of a dialogue on subjects such as anxiety, depression, addiction, etc.

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

I have so many favorite authors, it’s so hard to pick one. So I’ll go with the one who has most inspired my writing: Abigail Thomas. I discovered her by picking up one of her books in a used book store and quickly ordered all the rest. What strikes me most about her work is her uncluttered writing style. Saying so much with a few words.

How she’s gone from writing fiction to nonfiction and how she’s able to draw me into her world and make me so glad that she became a writer. My hope is that someone someday will feel the same about my words.

Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.

The internet!

When I couldn’t find people to connect with, I turned to meeting others online.

I spent two years on Critique Circle; weekly submitting and giving critiques. I learned a lot by doing so.

I did a lot of research trying to decide which way to go when it came to publishing: traditional or self-published.

Reading about success stories of others helped me decide to go ahead and take the plunge.Giving me the confidence that if they could do it, so could I.

 Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

Yes, I want to write until I leave this physical body.

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

No.Because there comes a point when I have to stop wanting to change sentences around. When enough is enough.

Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?

That is gets easier in the sense that it wasn’t as scary as that first step out into the world as a writer. That I know so much more about how to go about doing it.

Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?

OMG! This is a tough one. I have no idea. I’d need a child actor for the younger years, a teen. Too complicated for me to answer. Lol

Fiona: Any advice for other writers?

Believe in yourself! If it’s your dream: DO IT!

Don’t listen to that critical voice that says you can’t. Never stop learning.

Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?

That I love each and every one of them and that I’m so grateful and honored for them reading what I write. And that they should never feel that they can’t reach out and let me know what they think: both good and bad.

 Fiona: What book are you reading now?

I read several at a time, both fiction and nonfiction.

Miriam Toews “Irma Voth” & M Train by Patti Smith

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

I don’t remember the first book I ever read, but I loved fairy tales as a child. Maybe the Three Little Pigs or Little Red Riding Hood. Later I remember loving Fog Magic and as a teen I loved reading horror stories, and about sex or mental illness. My likes have changed as I’ve grown.

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

What makes me cry is that moment when something happens and there is no turning back: a loss of innocence, a hard lesson learned.

What makes me laugh is the humour found in situations that weren’t so funny at the time.

Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?

Past: Janis Joplin. To tell her that so many others felt her pain and loneliness too. Give her a hug and tell her drugs are not the answer.

Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?

Walking, reading, learning, and creating.

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

Shows on HBO, FX. I like shows that are unpredictable, that I don’t know how they might end and that main characters can get killed off, I like the dark, dramatic, stuff.

Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?

I am somewhat of a picky eater. I like lentils, rice, and barley. I like cheese and eggs.

I’m not big on red meat or vegetables.

Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?

Tell stories.

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

Well, I’m not going to have a head stone. I want my children, husband, friends, grandkids, to do whatever they want with my.

 Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?

www.barbaracarteraryist.com

Barbara’s Facebook Page:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16278274.Barbara_Carter

Draft2Digital (Floating in Saltwater):

Or

https://www.books2read.com/u/bro6G7

Draft2Digital (Balancing Act):

Or

https://www.books2read.com/u/478RZ7

 

Here is my interview with Josh Matthews

Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.

 

Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?

Josh: I’m Josh Matthews, a writer of young adult post-apocalypse fiction. I’m in my mid-fifties, but am still young at heart (some people claim I never grew up).

Fiona: Where are you from?

I was born and raised in Everett, Massachusetts, just north of Boston. I spent twenty-three years living in north Virginia and northeast Asia while working for the federal government, and then four years in central Florida. I now reside outside of Concord, New Hampshire with my wife, daughter, two dogs, and two cats.

 Fiona: A little about yourself (i.e. your education, family life, etc.).

Josh: I have a Masters in History from Tufts University. I was employed by the CIA for twenty-three years; travelled throughout Asia and the Middle East; and worked against North Korea, Iran, cyber espionage, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. I enjoy an occasional cigar, junk food, and two shots of whiskey at night. Besides my family, the greatest joy in my life is my pets – nothing makes me feel more loved than to have two dogs cuddle against me while I sleep, or to have my cats follow me around the house.

 Fiona: Tell us your latest news.

Josh: My latest news is that the second book in my Hell Gate saga, Wasteland in Red Square, was released this past October. The third book in the series, The Rise of the Sataners, which is set in China, is scheduled for release in the summer of 2018.

 Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

Josh: Writing has always been a passion for me. When I was a kid, my father brought home an old manual typewriter: I folded pieces of construction paper in half and used it to create my own monster movie magazine. It had a subscription of one (my mother), but I loved making them.

 Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Josh: As I said earlier, ever since I was a kid. In high school, I took a creative writing class that honed my skills. I became a serious writer, in other words writing to get published, after I graduated from Tufts and began working for the CIA.

 Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

Josh: I was looking for something different to write about, something new yet still monstrous and exciting. The market is flooded with vampires, zombies, and werewolves. That’s when I developed the idea of a failed scientific experiment blowing open portals between Hell and Earth, allowing all sorts of demons to be released into this realm. For me, the best part has been coming up with the Hell Spawn. With vampires and zombies, you must follow certain guidelines otherwise you’ll alienate your readers. With demons from Hell, I can let my imagination run wild.

Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

Josh: It was easy. I chose Hell Gate because the portals are gates into Hell.

Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?

Josh: I don’t have a specific writing style. However, I am known for my intense action sequences and for killing off most of my characters.

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

Josh: I try to make the novels as realistic as possible, which sounds strange for the horror/fantasy genre. I thoroughly research the weapons used in the story as well as the science associated with the plot, such as the effects of EMPs, radiation levels, etc. With regards to my action scenes, I attempt to make them as realistic as possible. The characters sustain bruises and wounds, and the battle sequences don’t stress credulity.

Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?

Josh: Most of the locations that appear in the novels are places I’ve visited previously, such as Mont St. Michel, Paris, Red Square, Lenin’s Tomb, and, in upcoming novels, northern China and Tokyo. For those sites that I’ve never been to, I either do extensive research, like I did with Moscow’s underground bunker system, or rely on Google maps.

Fiona: Who designed the covers?

Josh: Loraine Van Tonder of RynKatryn Designs. I love her work and am excited to see the cover designs she comes up with for future books.

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

Josh: Not really. I’m a story teller. My novels are meant only to entertain, not to impart a social or political message. Although I do deal with themes everyone faces such as trust, loyalty, honor, and responsibility.

Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.

Josh: There are two writers I owe a debt of gratitude to. Early in my career, when I was just starting out and had not yet been published, I made friends with Brian Keene and the late J.F. Gonzalez. They provided a lot of moral support in those early years until I finally got my first novel into print. To this day, I repay their kindness by mentoring new writers I meet who I think have promise.

Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

Josh: I hope I’m fortunate enough to some day make writing my full-time career. Writing is my life, and I have dozens of stories I still want to get into print. The difficult part is that, with self-publishing so proficient, it’s harder than ever to rise above the writing wolf pack.

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

Josh: Not a thing. I love the series so far, and am very pleased with where it is and where it’s going.

Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?

Josh: I love researching this series because of the things I learn. For Wasteland in Red Square, I learned about Moscow’s post-apocalypse underground survival bunkers and Soviet-era steam locomotives. The current two books in the series that I am working on have taught me a lot about modern airships, nuclear power plants, radiation levels, and landmarks in and around Tokyo. So far, the favorite part of my research has been on Hell itself; I’m creating my own version of the underworld for the fifth and last book in the saga.

 Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?

Josh: I think the series would make epic movies, but I haven’t really thought about who would play the main characters.

Fiona: Any advice for other writers?

Josh: Keep writing, even if you are not happy with it. Writing is like any other skill – the more you practice, the better you become. Also, write every day, even if it’s only one page. If you write one page a day, at the end of a year you will have a full-length novel of 352 pages.

Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?

Josh: I hope you enjoy my books. I love telling the story and hope you enjoy reading it. If you do like it, please leave a review on Amazon. Many people don’t realize that reviews are a writer’s bread and butter. The more we receive, the more exposure we get, and readers trying to decide whether to buy our novels use those reviews to make their decisions.

 Fiona: What book are you reading now?

Josh: I’m reading Go Down Together: The True, Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde, for a tour I am taking in January with friends to east Texas/west Louisiana to see many of the locations related to their history. I’m also reading Hi Hitler: How the Nazi Past Is Being Normalized in Nazi Culture. I’m a huge history buff, and often read two or three books simultaneously.

 Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

Josh: It was probably a Dr. Seuss book. However. the first book I read that had an impact on me was Graham Masterton’s The Manitou, which my mother gave me when I was ten. Up until then I had only classic horror and Sci-Fi (Shelley, Stoker, Wells, Verne). The Manitou introduced me to modern horror – an ancient Indian spirit deformed by x-rays emerging from a woman’s back, a nurse turned inside out, a squad of police in an elevator being butchered. That book leeched onto my ten-year-old mind and I was hooked on modern horror.

 Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

Josh: I’m generally a happy person, so I laugh a lot, especially at things that are inappropriate. I also make jokes about everything and am a horrible punster. It drives my wife crazy, especially when my daughter and I engage in pun wars.

I cry when I see animals abused. I even feel sad when a see a critter killed and laying on the side of the road. I used to volunteer at the animal shelter in Loudon County, Virginia, where I used to live, and wanted to bring home every pet that was abandoned there.

 Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?

Josh: This is going to sound strange, but being a World War II buff and having studied this period of history all my life, I would want to meet Adolf Hitler. Not because I admire the man. I don’t. He was one of the most evil man in history. But I would love to spend some time with him, see what he was really like, and try to figure out what went on in that twisted brain. A close second would be Joseph Stalin, for the same reasons.

 Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?

Josh: Reading, war gaming, and visiting historical locations. I also enjoy building scale models, but have not had time to devote to that hobby in years.

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

Josh: Too many. I am very selective about what I watch so I don’t waste all my writing time on crappy television. For comedy, I love Family Guy, Rick and Morty, The Orville, and The Big Bang Theory. For drama, I watch The Last Ship, Doctor Who, Z Nation, The Walking Dead, and Fear the Walking Dead; however, I’m starting to get bored with the last two because I think the writing is slipping. I also DVR tons of programs from The History Channel and NatGeo.

As for movies, the ones I watch repeatedly are The Thing (1982), Resident Evil, Silent Hill, Dawn of the Dead (2005), and 30 Days of Night.

 Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?

Josh: Favorite foods: spicy burritos and ice cream. Favorite colors: red and black. Favorite music: Meatloaf, 1950s rock and roll, 1980s rock, and country and western.

 Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?

Josh: Read, especially histories of World War II and the Cold War. I also would spend a lot more time doting on my family and pets.

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

Josh: “Here lies the best-selling writer whose books were adored across the world.” Seriously, I don’t think about my death. When my time comes it comes. I only hope that I go quickly and that a loved one is there by my side; to me, the worst thing is to die alone.

 Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?

Josh: Yes, I do. First, let me thank you for giving me the opportunity to get to know your readers. I appreciate it, and hope to make several new fans.

Facebook page:https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100013874139869

Hell Gate Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/HellGateSaga/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/HellGateSaga

Webpage: https://hellgatesaga.blogspot.com/

Amazon Author’s Page: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B01M5C8E53

Goodreads Author’s Page: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/59557248-josh-matthews

Hell Gate: https://www.amazon.com/Hell-Gate-1-Josh-Matthews/dp/0692796959/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

Wasteland in Red Square: https://www.amazon.com/Wasteland-Red-Square-Hell-Gate/dp/0692778446/ref=sr_1_12_twi_pap_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1512801260&sr=1-12&keywords=wasteland+in+red

Here is my interview with E. Rachael Hardcastle

Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.

Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age? Where are you from?

My name is E. Rachael Hardcastle, I’m 26 years old and I’m from Bradford, West Yorkshire (UK).

Fiona: A little about your self (ie,  your education, family life, etc.).

Alongside being a self-published author, I’m a trained copy-editor and proofreader but also work a full time office job. I’m an avid reader of a range of genres, but my favourites include fantasy, post-apocalyptic and visionary fiction.

Fiona: Tell us your latest news.

I recently (Dec 2nd 2017) celebrated the release of my brand new visionary novella, Noah Finn & the Art of Suicide. On release day, I did my first ever public reading from the book (and also from my bestseller, Finding Pandora) at the Oastler Shopping Centre in my home town, and on December 17th 2017 I’ll be at another local event for another two readings, sharing my success with a local independent store who are selling my paperbacks.

Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I started writing when I was 14 years old. I won a poetry contest in school and a bunch of us were published in a collection. I thought if I could write a poem and have that published, why not something bigger like a novel. So I started writing and my debut novel came out in 2010.

Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

During the second draft of my debut novel, I started acknowledging my passion for writing and proudly admitting I was an aspiring author. Personally I think if you write regularly, you’re a writer.

Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

I think I chose the genre and the story based on what I loved to read at the time (romance and chick lit). I decided to have a go at it myself.

Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

I’d had the title in my mind for quite some time, The Soul Sanctuary.  I can’t tell you how or why because I don’t know. It just came to me and worked well with the story.

Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?

I’ve been told my books seem to follow a theme – humanity’s struggles. If I’m not writing about the end of the world, I’m writing about the end of a society or a life. I think this is closely linked to my mission statement. I think writing in general is challenging, which is why I enjoy it.

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

I like to people watch and observe, but I have never used someone I know as inspiration for a character. I like to keep everything a complete work of fiction, but through observation I sometimes borrow habits or ticks I notice, accents, body language etc, which is pretty normal for a writer.

Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?

I haven’t yet had to travel to write a book, but I do an awful lot of research.

Fiona: Who designed the covers?

I did, and it’s a process I thoroughly enjoy. In fact, I love it so much I now design for other authors.

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

From Noah Finn & the Art of Suicide, there are seven important life lessons that Death teaches Noah. I use them because I want my readers to learn them also. Life is precious. We should be grateful for it and kinder to one another.

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

I meet a ton of independent authors through my podcast interviews, blog interviews and local networking, but my favourite author is Mitch Albom, who is a well-known bestseller. His work speaks to me; I read one of his books every year, even if I’ve read it before.

Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.

Local businesses, local public figures, schools, friends, family – these are all people with whom I have worked or who have supported me in one way or another. They contributed to my success and for that, I’ll always be grateful.

Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

Yes, I treat writing and everything related as a business.

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

No, I think the book is what it needed to be, including the length and the content. I wrote the book for a reason; I’m pleased and proud of it.

Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?

Yes, an awful lot about New York City and (unfortunately) terrorism and the terrible happenings of 9/11. As the book is set on 9/11 this was unavoidable, but research is extremely important.

Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?

This is a wonderful question because my family are voting Matt Damon as the lead – Noah. I think he’d be a brilliant choice.

Fiona: Any advice for other writers?

Silence your inner critic during the first draft. The editing comes later.

Believe in yourself even when others don’t offer their support or encouragement. Write firstly for yourself, then let others in.

Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?

I’d like to thank them all for buying, downloading, sharing and reviewing my books. There’s more to come, I promise.

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

At the moment I’m reading several books, including a non-fiction and a fiction. The non-fiction is by Tony Robbins and the fiction is by Adrian Walker.

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

I read a lot of books as a child, but as a teenager I think PS. I Love You by Cecelia Ahern is the first to come to mind because it made me cry.

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

I like to see other people happy and surprised; that fills me with joy and also makes me cry (happy tears, though). I also cry at books and movies.

Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?

Mitch Albom. He’s a fantastic writer and a very genuine human being.

Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?

Reading and writing are my two main hobbies, but as I design all my own covers and my website myself, you could say design is on the list also.

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

The Walking Dead is probably my favourite at the moment, but there’s a few more I record and watch on an evening or weekend, such as the Ellen Degeneres Show and a bunch of others.

Fiona: Favorite foods, colors,  music?

I write to Lindsey Stirling who is a very talented violinist, but I also love Jace Everett, Bryan Adams and Eric Church. I don’t really have a favourite colour or a favourite food, except I love ordering pizza on the weekends and when I’m shopping for stationary etc, I go for pastel colours above all others.

Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?

I’d be working my full time job still, but I’d probably have some other hobby like art or music. Turns out I’m a writer, which is lucky because I can’t sing, play an instrument or paint very well!

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

That’s a serious question and honestly I don’t know. As a writer you’re probably expecting something creative and I must admit, I’d like to leave my mark in the world, but as long as it says I was a loving friend or relative to someone, somewhere, I’ll be happy.

Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?

Sure, you can find me at www.erachaelhardcastle.com – all my social media links, events and offers are there.

http://www.erachaelhardcastle.com/
https://www.facebook.com/erachaelhardcastle

https://twitter.com/erhardcastle

https://www.amazon.com/E.-Rachael-Hardcastle/e/B01GRQK4YC/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1512753533&sr=8-1

 

Here is my interview with Allyson R Abbott

Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.

 

Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?

Hello everyone, my name is Allyson and I write as Allyson R Abbott. I am British and have nearly reached the big 60

 Fiona: Where are you from?

A large town in the Midlands called Northampton, not the most well-known place in England, but it is the county that Diana, The Princess of Wales, came from and lays at rest about ten miles from my old home.

 Fiona: A little about your self (ie,  your education, family life, etc.).

I am a bit of a late developer, I didn’t go to university until I was in my forties and gained a degree in Business and English and became a teacher. Then after meeting the man of my dreams at the age of 50yrs, gave it all up to go travelling with him.

We married two years ago. Between us we have quite a few children, and two grandchildren both in their early teens. Although we are both from England we choose, at this time, to live in Spain. We have travelled around the world in the past five years and have now settled close to home, but in a warmer climate, so I can be more at hand for my wonderful mother who is 90 next year.

 Fiona: Tell us your latest news.

I worked so hard on getting my three nonfiction books out by Christmas that I ran out of time for my Christmas Story; book 2 in the Christmas Kiss Series, A Tangy Christmas Kiss so have put it on hold and will bring it out earlier next year. Book 1 is A Prickly Christmas Kiss, which has recently been awarded a finalist award in a RWA Contemporary Short Competition, which I was thrilled at winning.

Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I began writing while we were on a road trip around the United States, starting in 2014. We spent nearly a year in a motorhome, mostly driving around the coast, but really we did a big loop of the The States, visiting 32 states on our journey. It was fantastic. I started writing on the West Coast, heading up through California. I realised that for the first time in my life I had time on my hands, and I have always wanted to write a book.

Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I still don’t really consider myself a writer, I only write short stories or novellas and stand in awe of those writers who can churn out huge books again and again. I did try to write a longer book, but I struggle to keep track of details and was forever going back and forth checking information.  There must be a method, but it became a chore, rather than enjoyment, so I decided to stay with the shorter books.

Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

I think everyone has a certain way of writing, and I am a bit of an ad hoc sort of person. Once I decided I wanted to write a book, I put pen to paper and started to write. I am what is known as a panster, the story develops as I write. Very often it is the first line that takes me the longest. Once that is there I am off and running.  Having the time to write was my biggest inspiration, and of course a very supportive partner who had every faith in my abilities. One of our many motto’s is‘What can possibly go wrong’, so it was  why not have a go, moment.

 Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

The first book I ever published is called ‘Countdown to Love’. It is a short Rom/Com story about a woman about my age, who is fed up of being on her own and decides to make an effort to get a date, and hopefully some ‘cuddles’ before Valentine’s Day. So the title was easy to decide.

The advice about writing is ‘write what you know’, so I decided I knew what it was like to be my age and without a partner.

Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?

Like I previously mentioned I am a panster (which literally means writing from the seat of your pants), and I will admit I tend to waffle a lot. I write like I am talking to someone, and I usually try to become the character (within my mind), so I smile when they says funny things, or cringe when they put their foot in it. I write romance and nonfiction books. I even carry my chatty style over into the nonfiction books.

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

I use my knowledge and experiences within my book if I can, because I think it helps to ground the story. Part of, Goodbye, Hello is based in Fiji, because I have travelled there I felt confident in writing about it.

Fiona: Who designed the covers?

Most of my covers are by Ada Frost, who is a very talented and offers a very good service. I sometimes design and created the covers myself, especially for my nonfiction books, as you can probably tellJ

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

Most of my fiction is about women struggling to become themselves again. It is all about, ‘you can do it’, you have the strength’, even The English Rose, which is a short story about a lady in her eighties, has the same message. That book was written loosely around my own mother.

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

 Before I became a writer I would mainly read the bestselling authors and work my way through their long list of series, plus of course the re reading of the great classics like pride and Prejudice. Since becoming an Indie author, I have discovered so many brilliant books and authors. I read a much broader genre collection now and try to support my peer as much as possible. I have discovered a love of Cozy Mysteries and Christmas stories. I do have to mention one favourite book though, especially as it is still fresh on my mind.

I mentioned I am a fan of Jane Austen, and often I read books that associate themselves with her works. I think I am just desperate to find similar work. Well, the other day I found it. I smiled all the way through ‘Longbourn and Beyond’ by Margaret Lynette Sharp, it was like reading book two of Pride and Prejudice, it was brilliant. I cannot sing its praises enough to do it justice. Any P&P fan…it’s a must read! I am even smiling while I write this. I am going to read the book again, but slower next time, to savour it.

Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.

My traveling lifestyle. I had the time, space and inspiration, but also we hoped to earn extra income from writing to support our nomad style.

Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

No. I see it as a hobby that has taken over my lifeJ

Fiona: Any advice for other writers?

Most of the advice I can offer to new writer has now been condensed into three nonfiction books,

Calling all Authors: How to Navigate the Path from Writing to Publishing

Calling all Authors: How to Navigate the Social Media Maze

Calling all Authors: How to Navigate the Road to Building Reviews

These are the last three books I have published. They have taken over my life for the past year and my fiction writing has taken a backseat.

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

I don’t remember my first book, but I clearly remember reading Joe’s Boys and I think it was from there that my love of the classics developed. Other favourites were the Secret Seven, by Enid Blyton, which is probably the reason I enjoy mysteries.

 Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

I love to read or watch humour, so comedy films are my favourite for a good laugh or a meet up with my friends, can guarantee a few chuckles.

 Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?

Jane Austen. I would like to understand her sense of humor. Her books are so full of subtle wit, she must have been such a fun person to know.

 Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?

Cooking. Since we have stopped traveling and I now have a kitchen I have discovered my love of being creative in the kitchen. Being in Spain there is plentiful fruit trees about and I very often get crates of satsumas or persimmons on my doorstep, so jams, chutneys, cakes and muffins are a plenty in my cupboards and freezer. We also have a lemon tree in the garden so I make our own lemonade for those hot days.

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

I don’t watch TV, much to busy writing and reading.

 Fiona: Favorite foods, colors,  music?

I really love Indian food, which is plentiful in the UK, but here in this part of Spain, there are no Indian restaurants and I miss it. I do try to make my own, but it is never the same. It is usually one of the first places I visit when I go back home; my local Indian restaurant.

 Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?

Read. I used to read 3 or 4 books a week, but now I find I don’t have time. Which is a pity.

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

‘She just didn’t understand’

I am one of those people who struggle to understand when things are not done the way I expect them to be. I very often get frustrated and say, ‘I just don’t understand why’,

I am told I am a little bossy.

 Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?

 I do have a blog, at https://allysonrabbott.blogspot.com/ I post about new releases, not just my books and very often have giveaways.

I also have a web page at www.AllysonRAbbott.com  where you can find out about all my books.

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Allyson-R.-Abbott/e/B00SJPD84I

 

 

Here is my interview with R. Lynn Barnett


Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.

 Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?

I write as R. Lynn Barnett and let’s just say I’m middle aged.  (Not that I was born in the Middle Ages), but I’m middle aged.

 Fiona: Where are you from?

I’m from New York originally, but I came to Atlanta, Ga., as a teenager to attend Emory University, so this girl from the Big Apple has been a Georgia Peach for a long time now.

Fiona: A little about your self (ie,  your education, family life, etc.).

This ex-Yankee married a southern boy, and as of this writing, we’ve been married for 24 years. I got my graduate and undergrad degrees at Emory. We live in an Atlanta suburb.

Fiona: Tell us your latest news.

I’ve written 2 books so far, “What Patients Want: Anecdotes and Advice,” and, “My Mother Has Alzheimer’s and My Dog Has Tapeworms: A Caregiver’s Tale.”

Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

When I was at Emory, I was fortunate enough to have 2 writing internships, but really, I enjoyed writing papers in high school. That seemed to be my strong suit, and several teachers (as well as my parents) recognize that.

Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Probably when I entered a writing contest when I was in Junior High. I didn’t win, but I made it past the first round. In addition, a history teacher in high school wrote the following on my paper on the changing role of women in society: “Your paper was timely, well-written, has a keen sense of perspective and a fine sense of humor. But those are qualities I associate with you anyway.” It has been a long time since he wrote those words, but I still remember (and cherish) them

Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

Our first dog was diagnosed with cancer around the same time I was, (skin cancer for me, a more invasive type for him). I had to wait 2 weeks for surgery, but he had to wait 2 hours to see the vet. My husband said we wanted to be treated like our dog; hence, “What Patients Want: Anecdotes and Advice,” was born from that “germ” of an idea.

Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

I thought about the title for the “Patient” book because I thought about the title of the movie, “What Women Want, ” where Mel Gibson’s character can read women’s minds. I thought doctors shouldn’t have to read patients’ minds, (but they should have to read my book(s). That book encourages patients to help doctors help them, by sharing information about their symptoms, concerns, etc. I thought of the title, “My Mother Has Alzheimer’s and My Dog Has Tapeworms: A Caregiver’s Tale,” when I was driving home from work one day, and I realized that this “broad’s” once broad life was reduced to the 2 pressing health concerns of my mom and dog.

Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?

My writing style is conversationalistic. In both books, I sometimes divert from the matter at hand, to mention something tangentially related. When you have a conversation with someone, it’s often that way. It’s not always linear.

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

Everything in both books is based on my life.

Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?

No, the only traveling I had to do for the books was to go from the kitchen where I had my morning coffee, to the living room, where I’d do my typing. I like to travel though; we just haven’t done much of it lately.

Fiona: Who designed the covers?

The cover of the “patient” book has a picture that was in the public domain, allowed for any propose. A friend’s daughter designed the cover for the Alzheimer’s book, and she captured my mom and dog to a tea, or should I say “tee,” because my mom loved to golf. The artist drew this without having met either my mom or dog, making it that much more special.

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

I think in both books, (though not novels, since they are not fiction), I tried to give readers information when they needed it, humor when they wanted it, and strength when they thought they had none left. I tried to write both with humor and heart.

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

I know Amy Lyle, who started a writer’s group in my area. She wrote a book whose title intrigues me: “The Amy Binegar-Kimmes-Lyle Book of Failures.” Who can’t relate to that? Who amongst us hasn’t had a failure, like burning the pot roast, or the pot that it was cooked in, for that matter. I like Erma Bombeck’s writing. She saw the humor in   domesticity and in every day life. She didn’t take herself too seriously, a lesson we can all learn. A cancer diagnosis, (which she had too), also teaches you that. A run in your pantyhose shouldn’t cause you to run and hide.

Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.

I have to thank Dr. Neil Shulman, the author of the book which the movie, “Doc Hollywood” was based.I reviewed his book, “Finally I’m a Doctor,” for an assignment when I was at Emory. I thought when I wrote my first book it was only fitting that since I had reviewed his book, that he get to review mine. I thought he’d say, Thanks,” or maybe, “No, thanks,” but instead, he has been incredibly helpful on all fronts and fonts.

Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

Yes, absolutely.

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

I like both books the way they are. Each has its strengths, and hopefully not too many weaknesses.

Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?

While I was writing the Alzheimer’s book, I’d often talk to people whom I’d run into on a weekly basis, mostly just to vent about my situation. I learned that many people have a mess of stress in their lives, and some have less stress, be it medical for you, your family members or other stressful situations. You can’t change what befalls you in life, but you can change how you deal with it. We all just have to take things 1 day at a time.

Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?

Maybe Helen Mirren to play my mom.

Fiona: Any advice for other writers?

Writing is a great exercise. It teaches you patience, it forces you to pay attention to detail, and it’s a great cathartic experience. Like one of my students said, “It’s a lifetime achievement.” It’s one way to achieve immortality in a way. Your writing can touch people whom you might never meet, but they’ll meet you, in a way, because they’ve met your ideas, your soul. Some people have told me that my books really made a difference in their lives: it provided hope, humor, information, etc. I love that I could help people.

Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?

Both books touched on areas that affect many of us. Many readers have told me that they keyed into certain chapters of each book, and I think that’s great. A friend of my mom told me that she recognized my mom on each page. I hope readers do too, even though they never met her. Regarding the “patient” book, most people will be a patient at one time or another, and we all experience the same fears, hopes, frustrations, etc. If med students or doctors read that book, I’d encourage them to look up from their computer screen and look their patients in the eye. The docs will see more than cataracts. They’ll see the same aforementioned hopes and fears.

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

I just finished an autobiography by Carol Burnett.

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

No, but it might have been a Dr. Seuss book, (my favorite kind of “doctor”). I find I’ll often talk in rhyme, especially if I’m under stress. I remember telling my mom, “Sit right there, in your chair, please sit there and I’ll do you hair.”

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

Even with Alzheimer’s, my mom’s sense of humor came shining through. I once sat her at the pick-up are of the supermarket’s pharmacy, where people would wait to pick up their prescriptions. There was a young man sitting there, and he noticed her condition and the difficulty I was having in convincing her to sit there. He said he’d keep her company while I shopped. Since I just had to pick up a few things from the adjacent aisle and I could keep an eye on her at all times, I felt comfortable with that. After picking up my few items, I thanked him, and my mom and I went to pay for my groceries. When she and I got into the car, she said, “It’s a pick-up area in more ways than one.” I loved that about her. Even when she had a mammogram, (or as I call it a mom-ogram,) that showed a problem, she retained and maintained her sense of humor. A friend of hers had called to see how she was feeling, and she said, “I feel fine, I just take lousy pictures.” That still makes me laugh, and the fact that I can’t share things that happen to me now, makes me cry.

Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?

I would have loved to have met Lucille Ball. I loved Lucy, as I guess much of the world did. I got to see her daughter in a play here a long time ago, and that was really nice. I’ve watched Lucy for as long as I can remember. I had curly hair as a kid; I looked like Shirley Temple, and although I liked Shirley Temple, I didn’t like my curls, and my mom said, “Let’s watch Lucy. She has curly hair, and she’s an actress,” So, a fan was born.

Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?

I like to write, read, watch TV, give speeches about my books, and walk the dog.  (The dog likes to watch TV too,  almostas much as going for a walk.) I used to play a lot of tennis and I liked to travel, but my husband and I haven’t done either of those latter two hobbies in a long time.

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

I like a lot of reruns: all of the Lucy show variations, Everybody Loves Raymond, Andy Griffith, old game shows like Password, etc. I like some new shows too, like, The Middle, The Big Bang Theory and Young Sheldon.

Fiona: Favorite foods, colors,  music?

My favorite foods are anything I don’t have to cook; “cook” for me is a 4 letter word, and not just because I know how to spell. My favorite things to make are reservations. That said, I do cook a fair amount, mostly chicken in a variety of forms and vegetables. I once gave my mom some salmon for dinner, which she usually loved, but this day she wanted chicken, but I didn’t have any more, so I put some mashed potatoes on top of the fish and told her it was chicken, She said it was delicious. No harm, no foul, (or, no fowl). Of, if you prefer, no luck no cluck, (but a little “pluck,” a little nerve, I guess). I also like chocolate mint flavoring, like for coffee. My favoritecolors are turquoise, mint green, (I guess to go with the chocolate mint food) and coral or a peach color, maybe because I became that Georgia Peach. I’ve always liked a soft sound in music, like Barry Manilow; I guess I’m what they call a “fan-ilow.” I also like the music of Marvin Hamlisch and Burt Bacharach.

Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?

Hopefully continue to give speeches about the books that I’ve already written.

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

“She gave it her best shot.”

Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?

They can reach me at rlynnbooks@gmail.com

Thanks, Fiona, for letting me introduce myself to people who might be interested in my books.

https://www.amazon.com/What-Patients-Want-Anecdotes-Advice/dp/0983783101/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1512641726&sr=1-1&keywords=what++patients+want+Anecdotes+and+Advice

https://www.amazon.com/Mother-Alzheimers-Tapeworms-Caregivers-Tale/dp/098378311X/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1512641550&sr=1-2&keywords=my+mother+has+Alzheimer%60s