Here is my interview with A.L. Marchant

Name: A.L. Marchant

A.L. Marchant consists of two people – Sisters Andrea Katz and Laura Finley.  

Age:

Andrea is 39 years old, and Laura is 34 years old

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

Andrea: We were raised in Travelers Rest, SC. It’s situated right in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. I think, at the time, I didn’t really appreciate it, but now I know it was a wonderful place to grow up. I earned a B.S. Degree in Biology. I’m married to the love of my life and we have two little boys. Like Laura, we moved quite a bit. First, Virginia Beach, then we moved to Carlsbad, NM, and we are now settled into beautiful Aiken, SC.

Laura: I was raised in a beautiful town called Travelers Rest, South Carolina. I married a wonderful military man and travelled with him a bit. We ended up settling back down in South Carolina. We have two children together. As far as education, I have an Associates in elementary education. However, I choose a different path and currently am an Optician. Did we mention that Andrea and I are sisters?

Fiona: Tell us your latest news?

Andrea & Laura: This past year has been a whirlwind for us. We were assigned to a creative-mind reading cover artist, all of our edits are complete, and Soul Search should be out soon. The latest news for us was the chance to participate in our own panel at Soda City Comic Con, Columbia South Carolina. It was the first time for both us, and way outside of our comfort zone. But we had awesome feedback, promotional opportunities, and proved to ourselves that we can do this.

Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

Andrea & Laura: We are both avid readers – no joke. If given the chance, we could easily read a novel a day. I can’t remember the book or the Author, but a few years ago *cough ten years ago* we called each other talking about the novel. We were so mad at how it the plot was weak and predictable, the female protagonist was whiney, and the male lead was border line abusive. I specifically remember in that phone call conversation we had an awkward silence like ‘What now?’ We both spoke up at once in a ‘let’s do this’ conversation. Honestly, this whole series is a labor of love. We actually wrote the book with adults in mind, originally. Eerily enough, we can to the conclusion that it was not working, and scrapped that idea. Andrea had the idea of taking it back to the beginning, ie the teen years. Laura was surprised, as she was having the same thought. Thus, Soul Search was born.


Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Laura: For me, it was when we received our initial contract. We finished the original version of Soul Search, and approached agents. We got some amazing feedback, and reworked the story into what it is today. The whole process became real for me was the moment we signed the contract.

Andrea: Maybe, it hit me when I first me when we knew we were done with Soul Search and were ready to send it out to agencies and publishers. I remember telling Laura that it didn’t matter how many no’s we received, as we only needed one yes. Now, I have people already asking for autographed copies, and the book hasn’t been released quite yet.


Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

Laura: I kind of answered that a few questions back. As far as inspirations for the actual book, Andrea and I both write what we know. We are both into to Science Fiction and Fantasy plots. I can’t answer for her, but for me once we had the different worlds defined-the story came together. *Laughing* That is once we listened to exactly where the characters wanted to take us.

Andrea: When we started talking about writing together, I lived in Virginia Beach, and I believe she was either in Rhode Island, or had just returned to SC. Either way, we were quite a distance apart. What struck me as odd was that we seemed to be having similar story ideas, and that the voices (or muses, depending on who you talk to) were very much the same. It was like fate saying, “You have to get this story out, and you have to do it together.” And that was right. We could not do this story without working together.


Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?

Laura: It is different when there is two of us. When we first started the characters, we had an interview with each of them. The questions were describing physical attributes, quirks, what ticks you off, what do you like, et cetera. Even though we somewhat scrapped the original Soul Search, our characters stayed true to the original interview questions. What is working for us, is we write chapter for chapter. We typically call each other and work out a plot, but for the most part we write alternate chapters. Andrea and I think crazy alike, so now going back through Soul Search I couldn’t tell you what she or I wrote individually. It’s all one author, AL Marchant.

Andrea: To take Laura’s statement one step further, one of us would write until the “voices” were done with us, then send what we had to the other sister. That sister was always able to pick up where the other left off. Almost like we were hearing the same “voices” at the same time. My husband still gives me the oddest looks, because I’ll stop in the middle of the most mundane task, and just have to tell Laura about this idea I just had. And, 9 times out of 10, she’s probably had the same idea.


Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

Laura: Andrea did that. She is amazingly creative at putting the whole theme of the novel into those two words. She also thought of the second novel title.

Andrea: The title is really a 2 word phrase to sum up not just the theme of book, but what our main character, Reagan Harbin, is going through at the time of the novel. And now I’ almost blushing by what Laura just said. I don’t really know that I had to think hard about the title. It just came out of me one day, and we both were just very much, “Oh my God. That’s it!”


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

Laura: For me, the theme that always pops in my head is that you always have a choice for your actions. Our protagonist, Reagan Harbin, is presented by many situations that will ultimately shape who she will become. At the end of the day, it is her choice alone that defines her actions. I hope that by the end of Reagan’s story, even though some will disagree with her choices, they will at least understand why she did what she did to become the person she needs to be.

Andrea: To take this a step further – Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. The scientist in me just came out. Anyway, not just Reagan has choices to make. The choices that other made in the past influence choices that Reagan, and others, make.


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

Laura: Soul Search is in the fantasy genre, so as far as realism goes…it’s not necessarily realistic. However, we did choose the town we grew up and many of the locations in the novel are real. For the fantasy aspect, we chose to stick with many of the local legends of the area as defining points in the novel. Culturally, we felt it important to stay true-as much as a fantasy novel allows-to local myths and legends.

Andrea: If you are asking if any of the characters are based on real people, the answer is yes and no. Some characters we completely made up. Others, we kind of thought of people we knew, but then took it to a twisted extreme. So the original thought of a known person may have been there, but the character is no longer based in reality.


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

Laura: This is hard. I love reading that much. As far as genre’s, I enjoy Fantasy (all sub-genre’s), Science Fiction, Romance, Alternative History, Mystery…if it catches my eye, I will read it. So, I would say not one particular book has influenced me, but reading as a whole. Growing up there are two books that are will always be my ultimate read: What Dreams May Come by Richard Matheson and Ember From the Sun by Mark Canter. Those two books opened my love of reading and I haven’t looked back since.

Andrea: I very much enjoy fantasy and sci-fi. I guess, if I’m choosing influences, I’ll go with my favorite authors – Sherrilyn Kenyon, Laurell K. Hamilton, Kresley Cole, and a few others.

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

Laura: I don’t necessarily have a favorite author, but I do lately I have been sticking true to the fantasy/urban fantasy themes. A new author that has grasped my attention is Lauren Stewart, Hyde. What stuck with me was the re-envisioning of the concept of Jekyll/Hyde.

Andrea: Hmm…I don’t really think they are new authors, but I’ve recently started enjoying Heather Killough-Walden’s “13 Kings” series. Also, A.G. Howard’s retelling of “Wonderland.”


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

Andrea: Wow, hard question. We are close to our family and they’ve very much supported us through everything. Friends outside the family have supported me, but I feel the biggest amount of support has come from family.

Laura: That’s not a fair question because our family is close, so all of our family has been supportive. My husband is the most supportive and the biggest cheerleader for me. I think that still counts as family, but I am sticking to that answer.

 

Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

Andrea: Oh my, yes. That would be a dream come true. Take for granted that right now, both of us have jobs, and writing is on the side. But, if one day we actually could make a full time career of it, I’d jump all over it.

Laura: I never thought I would love writing as much as I do. So yeah, maybe one day it would be a career.


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

Andrea: We’ve already written Soul Search completely twice. This version of the book is what it was always meant to be, I wouldn’t write it again. The next book in the series is still a work in progress, so it’s still changing as the story continues. But Soul Search is a completed story.

Laura: No, I wouldn’t change anything. I have a feeling that if something would change then we would have to change the whole plot. I am not sure if I am up to writing Soul Search a third time.


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

Andrea: I don’t know exactly when my interest started. I just remember starting to hear the story in my head. I also remember that it just got louder until I finally wrote it down. I’m just thankful that Laura was having the same ideas at the same time, and we were able to fill-in any holes in the story the other had.

Laura: For me, I have always loved to tell stories and to talk to whoever would listen to me. It was a natural progression to transition what was coming out of my mouth to writing it on paper.

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

Andrea and Laura: How about this scene from Soul Search, about halfway through a dream sequence:

As I touched the black, it rippled like how water would ripple if you barely skimmed the top. Feeling brave I stuck my hand through and pulled my hand back. It cascaded like the water effect, but my hand was not wet. My heart threatened to pop out of my chest, but feeling a little braver (or stupid depending on your personal opinion), I closed my eyes and stuck my head through the darkness.

 

Inhaling deeply and not drowning, I opened my eyes. Interestingly enough, on the other side of the black was a long hallway. Since there was nobody in the hallway, I decided to be braver still, and step through. This could be the stupidest thing I have ever done, but it just felt like the right thing to do.

 

The hallway was narrow and about fifty feet long. In it were thirteen paintings. The paintings were tall rather than wide, and they all were shaped like doorways. Each painting showed distinctly different scenes. One was a beautiful green field with the beginnings of a forest in the background. Behind the forest was house with smoke puffing out of the chimney. One of the paintings was what I have always imagined medieval Europe to look like. Obviously no electricity, and exaggerated buildings in the skyline. It was just dark. I turned around and looked at the painting I stepped out of and realized for the first time that I must be having a wicked dream. That would be the only explanation. What I do know about dreams is that if I realize that I am sleeping, then maybe I can control it, and I can’t be hurt in a dream. Feeling more in control and a whole lot calmer, I take a deeper look at the scene I stepped out of.

 

The girl was still sitting there threatening Mikey’s life if he doesn’t show soon, and no longer paying attention to the dark energy. For some reason, I think she actually doesn’t see it; therefore, she isn’t moving. Since I feel a lot less threatened, I decide to step back through the painting and see where this dream takes me. When I stepped back through the painting, the girl gasped. I started to say hey again, thinking that maybe she heard me, but stopped myself when two different entities walked through me.

 

One was dressed professionally in a suit and tie and close cropped hair. He looked like an average banker-type, except that he was missing both his pinkie fingers, and when he turned around, I could see he had a rather long scar across his left cheek. The light of the one candle does not allow me to see any more detail. The other body was covered from head to toe in a dark robe, like what a monk used to wear. Every part of the being was covered. As it walked through me, it turned around as if it had felt me. For the first time since this dream started, I felt a vague sense of danger, and thought that I could actually get hurt.

 

The guy in the suit said in a gravelly voice like he has smoked one too many cigarettes, “Hey man, why are you stopping. We got to go.”

 

The being in the cloak leaned toward where I was standing and audibly inhaled a deep breath, as if it were breathing in and enjoying my scent. The girl then decided to show some false bravado and said with an attitude only a child can show, “Where the Hell did y’all come from?”  It stopped inhaling and slowly turned its head around. In comparison to how slow it had been moving, it walked relatively swiftly to the girl. It almost looked as if it were floating slightly above the ground.

 

“I wasna told I was gonna be fed,” the cloaked figure said with a very distinct Olde Irish or possibly Scottish accent. It sounded excited at the prospect.

 

The other guy moved toward him and put his hand on the cloak of one shoulder, “This isn’t Obyri, man. If you kill, O.A.T. will come after you.” He pronounced O.A.T in three separate drawn out letters.  It sounds familiar.  What the hell is O.A.T.?  I must be craving oats or something in reality.

 

“O.A.T. will tremble at me feet.” the cloaked figure said on in a less pronounced accent yet still an oddly formal old fashioned phrase. Apparently, he doesn’t get out much.

 

“Whatever, man.  If you insist, don’t leave too much of a mess,” said the guy in the suit. He shrugged his shoulders and started to walk across the bridge toward the road.

 

The guy in the cloak leaned down and picked the girl up by her throat from her seated position. She started struggling by kicking and clawing at his hands on her throat. Somehow, she sounded oddly quiet as she was gasping for air. He lifted her toward the opening face of his cloak and I couldn’t see what he was doing to her, so I moved closer. 

 

I moved closer because it looked as if the pervert was going to try to kiss her. But when I moved closer to her, there was an iridescent glow leaving her body. His inhale was pretty audible, and he inhaled that glow deeply, quickly, and audibly into his body. Feeling nauseated by this sudden turn in my dream, but still a little curious, I reached out to touch the glow he hadn’t quite yet inhaled. Once again, my hand moved through the glow and her. My hand did; however, touch the being’s cloak. In fact, I could feel the solid, muscular form underneath the cloak.

 

The cloaked figure never stopped what he was doing. He just kept inhaling the glow from the girl. It probably took less than a minute for the glow to stop, but the cloaked guy kept on inhaling. The girl’s body, obviously dead, started collapse in on itself. Her bone structure became more and more defined to the point of looking like a skeleton. The cloaked figure stopped inhaling, and touched the body’s cheek, and it disintegrated to grey powder-clothes and all. Other than what looked like ash from a fire pit, there was no evidence of the girl.

 

The figure grabbed my hand that was still resting on his arm. I jumped not expecting to be a player in this dream. “Who are ye?” the voice demanded. Not wanting to end up like the girl I tried to pull away from his grasp.


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

Andrea and Laura: How far to push the lines in the Young Adult Genre. Soul Search is a YA book. Eventually, this story will cross over into New Adult themes, just for the fact that our main character is going to age with each book. But, right now, it’s figuring out exactly what point a book stops fitting into Young Adult. How far are we allowed to push that boundary before we know we can no longer say this is a Young Adult story, and say it’s an Adult book?


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

Andrea and Laura: We’ve both lived all over the country, so you will see other influences outside of South Carolina in future novels. I don’t think we have travel to areas concerning out book, and it helps that we are Fantasy and much of this series may not take place in the here and now. As for us personally traveling for the book, so far, not much. We’ve gone to Columbia, SC for Soda City Comic Con, but that is very far for either of us.


Fiona: Who designed the covers?

Andrea and Laura: Great question. We are so lucky with who was assigned to us. Amanda Kelsey designed our covers. It’s like she read our minds and came up with the perfect cover art.


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

Andrea and Laura: This is an easy question, and we both agree – Listening to where the characters want to take the plot. We will start thinking the story is going one way, then our cast of characters take it in the complete opposite direction.


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

Laura: Another easy question. What I learned is to stop forcing plots. What that means to me, is to relax and get lost in the characters. If I trust that, then the stories will guide itself and more often than not, the store will end somewhere completely different.

Andrea: I mostly agree with Laura here. I learned that if you try to force the story to go where you want it to go, the story will not work. We did that with the first version of Soul Search. That lesson was quickly learned when we had to write the story all over again. I also learned that when the characters start having a conversation in your head, write it down, because they will just get louder until you either write it down or you have a headache,

 

 

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

Andrea and Laura: This is hard one. Some of the secondary characters we’ve have picked out. The main character…not so much. We are both natural red heads, as is Reagan. We are both picky about how fake the color of dyed red looks on camera. So, we can’t find a natural red head that would fit Reagan. We are actively looking. Suggestions are both wanted and encouraged.


Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?

Andrea: You only need one yes, so don’t worry about all the no’s you will get.

Laura: Don’t stop at the first no.


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

Laura: When Soul Search comes out we really hope you enjoy reading it as much as we have enjoyed creating it. Please write reviews.

Andrea: I just really hope that people not only like the story and want to see where it goes in the rest of the series, but that they can also see how much we enjoyed bring Reagan’s world to life.

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

Andrea: The Demon King by Heather Killough-Walden

Laura: Crane by Stacey Rourke

 

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

Andrea: Our grandmother gave me the first chaptered book I remember reading, and it may be an odd choice for someone in middle school, but I loved it: Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews

L: The Forbidden Game series, LJ Smith.

 

 

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

Laura: The weirdest things.

Andrea: Kinda depends on my mood at the time. I’ve been told that I can have rather twisted sense of humor.

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

Laura: Cleopatra. Why? I would love to know the real deal. Why it happened the way it did, why did she make her choices and then, *cough* I would write about it.

Andrea: Either Queen Elizabeth I or Catherine the Great, just to know how it felt to be the most powerful person in their world while still being in a male dominated society.

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

Laura: She was happy in life. Why? Because I want future generations to know that as long as you are happy then everything else doesn’t matter.

Andrea: She was loved. Because what is life without love?

Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?

Laura: My husband owns a gun store, so I do enjoy shooting from time to time.

Andrea: Reading, hiking, watching my children grow up…

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

Laura: I am loyal to Big Bang Theory, but currently my guilty pleasure is Lucifer.

Andrea: I love The Big Bang Theory and Lucifer, as well. I also absolutely love RuPaul’s Drag Race.

Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music

Laura: I love food-not particularly picky there. Favorite color is red because there is always so much more to that color. For music, my playlist has everything from classical to metal core. I currently have X Ambassadors Unsteady on repeat. That is a great writing song.

Andrea: I don’t really have a favorite, but I do enjoy baking cakes. My favorite colors are blue and green – they’re both just alive in my eyes. Music – I don’t really have a favorite kind. What listen to depends on my mood at the time.  

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

Andrea: I’m not yet writing full-time, but hopefully one day, that will happen. I’m not the most social person, but I do like to listen to people, so maybe I would do something with that.

Laura: Writing is currently not my full time career. But, outside of writing I like people. So, I would be doing something with the public.

 

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

Andrea and Laura: You can find us as www.almarchant.com or you can always find us on Facebook.

Here is my interview with Paul DeBlassie III, Ph.D.

Name Paul DeBlassie III, Ph.D.

Age 62

Where are you from New Mexico

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

I am a husband of 40 years to a wonderful artist and art historian, Kate. We share the joy of four adult children, two writers and two artists, and a wild creature of creativity, our granddaughter – Zoey. I am a Ph.D. in clinical psychology specializing in adult psychotherapy for individuals in emotional and spiritual crisis, a therapist and writer whose writing has been both in non-fiction (psychology and spirituality) and fiction – thrillers, the first of which is The Unholy, a novel that explores the dark side of religion and the human struggle for spiritual freedom.

 

 

Fiona: Tell us your latest news?

My latest news is that my next psychological thriller, Goddess of the Wild Thing, is completed and ready for release in about six months with my publisher, Sunstone Press. It’s a thriller about love and whether bad love is better than no love – a woman’s struggle to find herself and her discovery that love is a wild thing!

 

 
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I always wanted to be a psychologist and writer since I was sixteen years old. I read Freud, Jung, and William James along with H.P. Lovecraft, Algernon Blackwood, and Arthur Machen. They were the old men that set loose a passion for the human psyche and creativity in the realm of therapy and writing.

 

 
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

It really began when I was sixteen. I saw an image of myself in my mind as a writer. It’s never left and I hope it never will. It’s a good and replenishing thing.

 

 
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

My first thriller was The Unholy. My wife, Kate, inspired me to bring my experiences in treating survivors of religious trauma into a story. Out popped The Unholy.

 

 
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?

I feel that the old gothic writers like Blackwood and Lovecraft and Machen are guiding lights for me along with Hemmingway and Carver. I like things to be as lean and into the story as possible, to move along, tell the tale, and paint the picture of what can happen when things go wrong and how to set about dealing with it.

 

 


Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

Ahhh….religious trauma is The Unholy. It gets to the heart of things that violate the soul, human integrity and conscience. The title hit the mark of the darkness that the young medicine woman suffered and had to go up against and deal with in a way decisive and shocking.

 

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

The message is – the dark side of religion kills. It’s about the soul being snuffed out and fear and despair setting in so deep a person feels there’s no way out. The dark side of religion kills, as The Unholy dramatizes, and it’s how the young medicine woman in the story dealt with it that’s totally riveting.

 

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

Oh – The Unholy dramatizes real experiences of real people whose identities are obscured to protect their privacy, a novel about so many people that it is about no one person because it is about everyone at some time or another in life when religion has been questioned and the face of the dark side of religion jumped out front and center.

 

 


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

Like I said, it’s the novels of Lovecraft, Machen, Blackwood along with Hemmingway, Carver, and Castanaeda, with his workings of natural magic in the everyday world, that set my pen afire on the page.

 

 

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

The new indie authors that I have read such as Tamara Ferguson, Jeff Jackson, Alice Montalvo, Rayna Noire, Nuzo Onoh, David W. Wright, and Sean Platt are stimulating reads. All these folks are great writers, tell a good story, and clear out your head.

 

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

An entity that supported me – well that’s tough – gotta’ say there’s nothing that comes to mind in terms of anything outside of my own sense of self and my intimate relationships.

 

 
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

Oh…writing is a calling. It comes from deep inside. And, if it’s there you got to follow through and write out the words, tell the story, and speak your mind.

 

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

Nope – The Unholy hits the dark side of religion hard. It’s riled people up. That’s what a novel is supposed to be – a new idea, a novel thought, that provokes and sets the wheels of imagination turning.

 

 


Fiona: Who designed the covers?

Harries Channing did the cover along with my publisher Sunstone Press. I described the actual place of the Devil’s Throne and they did a bang up job of making the image into a surreal book cover.

 

 
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?

If you feel the urge, do the words. There’s something in you or you wouldn’t feel it in the first place. Do what you have to do and don’t look back.

 

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

When you pick up the story of The Unholy, have a blanket close, wrap up, and get ready for a thrilling read and a wild ride!

 

 

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

Website: http://www.pauldeblassieiii.com/

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Unholy-Novel-Paul-DeBlassie-III-ebook/dp/B00F8OEH70?ie=UTF8&keywords=the%20unholy%20paul%20deblassie%20iii&qid=1424179189&ref_=sr_1_1&sr=8-1#navbar

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theunholy.deblassie/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/pdeblassieii

Here is my interview with Christina Fisanick Greer, Ph.D.

Name Christina Fisanick Greer, Ph.D.

Age 42

Where are you from 

I grew up in a trailer park in a little town in West Virginia, USA. I left in 1993 to go to college. I went on to earn a three degrees in English, including a PhD. I returned to West Virginia in 2008, where I live with my husband, son, and two cats.

Fiona: Tell us your latest news?

I am the author of more than 30 non-fiction books. My latest memoir, The Optimistic Food Addict: Recovering from Binge Eating Disorder, comes out on September 27.


Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I began writing around age 8 as a way to express myself. My grandmother and I loved to write poetry together at the kitchen table. That same year, I won my very first award for writing. I never looked back.


Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

In a sense I new from age 8 that I was a writer, but it wasn’t until I was able to make a decent income from writing, which was when I was around 30, that I called myself writer. At that point I was the author of four books.


Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

This is a complicated question. I wrote my first book, a novel, because I had a story to tell. I wrote my first published book, about the Bay of Pigs, because I was a struggling graduate student who needed the money.


Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?

I have been working on my writing style for decades and have never felt more confident about my writing and my voice. I describe my writing style as literary non-fiction. I was trained by expert memoirists, and my writing reflects that training. It is both approachable and beautiful.


Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

I have always been an optimist, and one day when I was talking to my therapist I referred to myself half-jokingly as an optimistic addict. A book title was born!


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

I hope that readers find inspiration in my memoir. I hope they find themselves between my words. I hope they realize that they are not alone and that there is no reason to feel guilty about being addicting to food. Throw away guilt and shame; find recovery.


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

Every word.


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

I have been most influenced by Joan Didion’s work, especially her book, A Year of Magical Thinking. I want to be her when I grow up. Her books are carefully crafted and no one can turn a phrase like her.

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

I am not sure I would call her a new author, but I do think she is one that many people overlook: Molly Haskell. Her book, Love and Other Infectious Diseases, really drew me in. It is a memoir that explores the effects that illness had her on her marriage. Crisp, clear, evocative writing. Highly recommend.


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

So many I could name, but universities have been my biggest support system. I have attended three and taught at three. It was a university that I first believed that I could become a professional writer.


Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

Yes. Writing is a my second job. I am a writing professor also.


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

I think I would make it longer. There is so much left to say about the subject.


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

As I say above, I used to write with my grandmother and then it grew from there. I have kept diaries and journals all my life. Once I started getting praise for my writing, I just kept going.

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

The Optimistic Addict is about my 30+ year struggle with binge eating disorder. It is an unflinching look at what it is like to suffer with an untreated mental illness. Here is an excerpt:

My body was rotting from the inside out.

Twenty-eight years of bingeing and dieting had finally caught up to me, and the results were obvious to anyone who came near me.

I stank.

My gastrointestinal track was so diseased that I had constant odorous gas, which made my clothes smell. It was painful and embarrassing.

My feet smelled so badly because of my inability to comfortably bend over and wash them that they reeked through my shoes. People could smell my feet while sitting next to me.

My body was overrun with candida from eating so much sugar and flour, and every crevice smelled like death, including my belly button and other skin folds.

I hurt. 

My feet were in so much pain from plantar fasciitis from eating an inflammatory diet that waking up in the morning and walking to the bathroom was sheer agony.

My stomach ached with alternating bouts of diarrhea and constipation.

I had to sleep propped up on five pillows because my acid reflux was so severe that being flat took my breath away–literally.

My migraines were out of control. At 10-12 migraines per month, my quality of life was greatly diminished.

My back burned, and I could not make it through the grocery store without leaning over the cart.

I was mentally ill.  

My anxiety was so severe that I couldn’t sleep without the lights on, I thought I was dying daily, and I was going to a myriad of doctors seeking treatment for illnesses for which no one my age should suffer.

I would also sink into periodic pits of despair that drove me to eat more and more and to hate myself.

In addition, I suffered from cystic acne; thin, greasy hair; and bursitis in both hips.

And yet the urge to keep eating was so powerful that with all of those symptoms I continued bingeing. I continued alternating between starving and overeating. I continued to berate myself. I continued to deny that I was sick, even though I was ill is so many ways.

I was just 39 years old when I entered recovery, but my body was disintegrating, and I felt helpless to stop my behavior.

For the first time ever in my life, I knew I had to seek help or I would die. I chose weight loss over well being. I chose me over societal expectations. 

On the night I put down the food, I cried to the universe for help. I did not beg to be thin like I had for decades. I did not wish for a bikini body. I did not long for a svelte silhouette in an evening gown. I petitioned for sanity. I called for freedom from food obsession.

Two and a half years later I am in active recovery. ALL of the diseases mentioned above are gone. I am not thin. I am not going to wear a bikini any time soon, but I am doing something I only did sporadically when I was deep in the food–living.

I actually listen to people when we meet over dinner, instead of obsessing over who will get the last appetizer. I started a brand new business, instead of thinking all day about when I would eat next. I volunteer at my son’s school, instead of sitting at home eating myself sick after everyone goes to bed.

Not every day of my recovery is perfect, but an imperfect day in recovery is far better than any day without it. 

If you are suffering like I once was, please believe that recovery is possible. Give yourself the power to love who you are right now. Give yourself the gift of daily gratitude. Help yourself to living your life for maybe the first time since childhood.

Don’t wait until Monday or the first of the year or after you daughter’s birthday. Start today. Start right now. Your first step is admitting that you have a problem with food. Your next step is forgiving yourself.

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

Writing is hard. It is not for the weak. My biggest challenge is getting it done. My job as a writing professor and being a mom take up a lot of my time and energy. Finding time to write and revise is difficult, but always worth it.

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

Nope. It’s all inside.

Fiona: Who designed the covers?

I have designed the covers for my last two books.

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

Being absolutely unflinchingly honest, even if it meant that people close to me might feel hurt by my words.

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

I learned more about myself. I learned more about writing. I learned that I am in a better place in my recovery that I believed myself to be.

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

I would love to have Melissa McCarthy play me! She is brilliant, funny, and beautiful.

Or Ginnifer Goodwin. She is amazing too.


Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?

Read. Read. Read. Read the good stuff. Find the best writers in your genre and read. Study them. Be them. Then write. Find you and your voice on the page. The best thing I ever did was start a blog and get some traffic. It gave me the pressure I needed to write regularly because I knew my readers wanted  more.


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

Don’t suffer through food addiction alone. Binge eating disorder is a real mental health issue. Help and support are out there. Look for us on Facebook as Food Addiction Recovery.

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

Right now I am re-reading Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl and Let’s Pretend this Never Happened by Jenny Lawson. Frankl’s seriousness is balanced out by Lawson’s funny and often times grotesque humor.

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

Yes. Mother Goose. I still love it.

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

I get some of my biggest laughs from malapropisms, but I also laugh pretty hard at absurdity. Life makes me laugh an awful lot just because truth is always funnier than fiction.

I rarely cry, but when I do it is because I am powerless over something that has happened to me, animals, or someone I love. Injustices. Unnecessary deaths. Heartbreaking.

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

I would love to meet former US President Bill Clinton. He is a big hero of mine. Without his education reforms, I would not have a PhD.

I would also love to meet Joan Didion. Her writing inspires me.

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

The class is now half empty. Because as an optimistic, I always see the glass as half full.

Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?

I am a crafter. I make things out of recycled book pages. I make wedding bouquets and household decorations.

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

I am a big fan of Downton Abbey, Frasier, Friends, and Stranger Things. My favorite films: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and It’s a Wonderful Life.

Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music

My favorite food is guacamole. It goes great with veggies and can be made in a snap.

My favorite color, oddly enough, is sage green.

My favorite band is Over the Rhine, a Cincinnati, Ohio, USA band whose music is eclectic, real, and beautiful.

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

Being an English professor, which is my other job. I am living my dream occupations, for sure.

 

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

Readers can find me at OptimisticFoodAddict.com. I regularly blog there about food addiction recovery, create free courses for food addicts, and share the latest science about binge eating disorder.

Here’s a link to my book on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Optimistic-Food-Addict-Recovering-Eating/dp/1942891288/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1474148202&sr=8-2&keywords=fisanick+greer

Here is my interview with Karen Vaughan

Name Karen Vaughan

Age old enough to know better but to do it anyway—actually I’m 52

Where are you from

I am Canadian. I live in Peterborough Ontario with my husband of 13 yrs and a feisty cat named J.J.I have taken many college courses from business administration, Word processing/Secretarial and ended up working for a mental health agency for 5 yrs. I retired from that and started writing 11 yrs. ago. I have a grown daughter and a super-smart 6 yr. old grand-son who is already smarter than a 5th grader.

 

 

Fiona: Tell us your latest news?

I recently self-published HOLMES IN AMERICA on Amazon. I am also part of a boxed set called MYSTERY GONE MAD to be released Oct 1st.

 

 
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I started writing 11 yrs. ago after I left my job due to a bad case of burnout. I was bored at home so I sat down and started writing what became DEAD ON ARRIVAL.

 

 
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I felt like a real writer after DEAD ON ARRIVAL was published. I also wrote DEAD COMIC STANDING right after that. I really felt accomplished afterwards

 

 
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

First of all, it was boredom. I was sick of starting at four walls and twiddling my thumbs. I also wrote a bit of it and asked a friends opinion and she said “ strap yourself to that chair and write the damn book” I was supposed to be the Canadian equivalent of JANET EVANOVICH according to Louise.

 

 
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?

I love humor and dialogue so there is a lot of both in my books. I don’t plot. I have a general idea of the story and then I let the characters take over

 

 
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

For DEAD ON ARRIVAL it was the fact that the body had arrived on her living room floor while she was out. My latest, HOLMES IN AMERICA was inspired by the fact that I wanted to bring a modernized Holmes to North America and turn into a police procedural.

 

 

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

Holmes in America’s theme is basically that you can learn from past mistakes and adjust to new situations with the help of friends.

 

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

My series and Holmes in America is set in Toronto.  I have used people I know as basis for my characters and the dead bodies.  Laura is a lot like me personality wise but she is younger.

 

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

I love JANET EVANOVICH’S STEFANIE PLUM SERIES—It probably had a lot to do with my writing style.

 

 

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

I have a few favorites—Celeste Burke for one, has a great comedic style and her books are page-turners

 

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

Friendships I have developed on social media and a few local friends are very supportive to me for writing and Stand-up comedy.

 

 
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

Well more like a paying hobby. I have a job as a personal assistant with my friend Viv Drewa in OWL AND PUSSYCAT PROMOTIONS

 

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

No I love the way it turned out.  I might have used more British slang and made Nigel more politically incorrect for a longer time. He morphed into a decent chap you could take home to mother.

 

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

I was always writing stories as a kid and I did well in creative writing in high school.

 

 

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

EXCERPT FROM HOLMES IN AMERICA:

PROLOGUE PART 1 

 

MANCHESTER UK POLICE HEADQUARTERS

 

Nigel Holmes knew he was in deep. He had broken every rule on the case. He was supposed to maintain a professional detachment and not get involved with the witness in any way. That was his first mistake. He had taken one look at Nikki Harrison and he was a goner. His grey matter turned to mush and from then on his boys were doing the thinking.  They shagged at every opportunity and he decided he was in love.  He and Nik were planning to run off after the case was solved, to elope at Gretna Green just over the Scottish border.

 

That never happened. Two days ago, Nikki was found dead in her flat. Bludgeoned by a hammer and lying in her own blood. It was his fault. When he should have been protecting her from a vicious killer, he was banging her senseless.  He did his best to keep his cool at the scene, but directly after, he lost his lunch, cried like a baby and nearly poisoned himself with a bottle of Glenfiddich.

 

Here he was, the day after getting his stomach pumped, up on the carpet in front of his superior officers, about to receive a new butt hole. Nigel was already blaming himself for not keeping that distance.

 

That wasn’t the end of the story.  A killer was free to kill again and his only witness and the love of his life was dead.

 

“Nigel Holmes, you have been accused of interfering with a witness in the case you are working on. What say you in your defense?”

 

“There really is no defence, sir.  I clearly overstepped the bounds with the witness and got involved with her romantically.  This led to some distractions and I wasn’t watching my back, or hers, as closely as I should have been.  As a result, I wasn’t on guard the night she was murdered providing the killer with the opportunity to break in and murder her.  As a result, we have no witness and the killer is still running free.  This is all on me, sir, and I deeply regret my lack of professionalism.”

 

“Very well Holmes.  I’ve discussed this with the disciplinary team and since you have come forth and admitted your guilt.  We will not be firing you.  However, we’ve decided to send you over to North America for a period of six months.  It is during this time that I hope you will learn from the Metropolitan Toronto Police Force how they solve crimes.  It’ll give you time to reflect on your misdeeds and come back home with a fresh perspective.  I highly recommend that you take this opportunity to learn from your past indiscretions.  Also while you’re there, you can brush up on your people skills.”

 

“What’s wrong with my people skills, Inspector?”

 

“They are sorely lacking Holmes.  Keep in mind that your superiors are not your best friends, and going around and asking everybody on the force how it’s hanging just will not do.  Your ability to solve the crime is indeed first rate.  However, people simply don’t want to work with you because of your crass attitude and lack of respect for those higher up in the food chain.  When you come home, I better not hear you ever say the old broad in the castle or we will fire you.  Are we clear?”

 

“Quite sir.  When am I to leave?”

 

“You have four days to get your affairs in order over here.  Clean out your locker and your desk, as somebody will be using them in your absence.  You’ll be reassigned a new one when you come home.”

 

“I’ll have to find someone to sublet me flat!  That could take weeks!”

 

“You don’t have weeks, Holmes.  I suggest you get moving as soon as possible.  Time starts now.  The clock is ticking.”

 

Nigel left Inspector Clemons’ office.  He was clearly flummoxed over the whole affair.  He was being sent into the world like a brand-new baby. never having stepped out of Manchester in his entire life.  He had to figure it could have been worse.  They could’ve just fired him.  He lived in shame over the whole mess he had gotten himself into.  Not only that, he sorely missed the woman he loved.

 

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

I hate editing. I have someone to beta read and do the grammar edits. I am not thrilled about typing so I use dictation software.

 

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

No in the internet age I do virtual book/blog tours. I have local signings and I sell books at cafe night events where I used to work.

 

 
Fiona: Who designed the covers?

DEAD ON ARRIVAL: A FAMILY FRIEND

OVER HER DEAD BODY—AN ONLINE FRIEND WHO IS AN ARTIST DID THIS COVER

DAYTONA DEAD—MY FORMER SON IN-LAW

DEAD MEN DON’T SWING-MY STEP SON SEAMUS

JAMAICA DEAD-ME

LEFT FOR DEAD -GERALD DARNELL

HOLMES IN AMERICA-GERALD DARNELL

DEAD COMIC STANDING-HALEY RAISON-FORMER CO-W0RKER

 

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

Distractions, a little thing called life. Finding time to write.

 

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

It takes a lot to keep up the momentum of a new project when all you want to do is stick to your series and the characters. I wrote HOLMES during NaNoWriMo last year. I learned not to push myself too hard –it’s great to finish and win but it’s not a must.

 

 

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

Ricky Gervais as that’s who I thought of when I created Nigel and Jennifer Lawrence for Kristen Sherlock.

 

 
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?

Keep writing; don’t give up! Don’t take critiques to seriously. It’s your project.

 

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

I want to keep writing good humorous books but if you are going to read one please leave a review even if you didn’t like it, but please tell me why so I can learn from it.

 

 

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

Our angel by L. Ann Marie. It’s an action adventure book with a touch of erotica. Not suited for anyone under 18. She is one of my authors and I am reading to review.

 

 

 

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

Bobbsey twins mysteries then worked my way to Hardy boys and Nancy Drew.

 

 

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

A good joke and a sad movie

 

 

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

I would love to meet Janet Evanovich to say thanks for inspiring me to write comedic mysteries.

 

 

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

Going to heaven to meet George Carlin. Big fan of his comedy

 

 

Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?

Drawing, adult colouring and doing stand up comedy

 

 

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

Crime and medical shows some witcoms like Big Bang and Fuller house

 

 

Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music

Chicken wings, blue and green and classic rock

 

 

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

Been a teacher

 

 

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

amazon.com/author/karenvaughan

Here is my interview with Mike Hartner

Name   Mike Hartner

Age 50+

Where are you from?  Born: Miami, Florida.  Living in Vancouver, BC with my wife and son.

 

 

Fiona: Tell us your latest news?

The Eternity Series has had a spectacular summer.  First, In June, we released book 4: I, Angus.   Then we released The Eternity Series Coloring Book in July, and a book of short Stories, A Quiver of Characters, in August.   All of them are available online.

 

 
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I began writing as a child to express my feelings at points in my life that were very emotional.  I continued writing when, years later, a relative challenged me to write down my genealogy.  After that, I received the Challenge to write The Eternity Series.   That will take some time to fulfill.

 

 
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I’m not even sure I do today.  But, I think the answer to your question would have to be after the Release of I, Walter in April 2013.

 

 


Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

The Eternity Series, for the large part is a reteling of Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales on a global perspective.  So, it’s inspired by Chaucer, by all the other historical fiction writers I’ve read, and by the ultimate battle of good vs evil.

 

 
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?

No.  I try to write each book individually.  Each book’s style is determined by the story of the main character as I transcribe it.

 

 
Fiona: How did you come up with the title? 

The titles are the start of anyone’s last will and testament, or oath: “I, (State your name)….”

 

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

In today’s world, many people create opinions of each other based solely on fashion, politics, or some other materialistic option.  I’d like people to understand that you can’t really judge a person unless you understand what they’ve been through.

 

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

That’s more than one question.  How much is realistic?  I think a lot of it. How much is based on myself, or people that I know?   Based on the historical aspects of my stories, I’d say very little, since I live in the present, and we have other ways to do things  than they did in the past.

 

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

I have been influenced by  a large variety of historical fiction authors: Chaucer, Shakespeare, Verne, Hugo, Twain, and Dumas to name just a few.

To answer who is a mentor?  I’d have to say the best mentor is my editor, Robert L. Bacon, who runs www.theperfectwrite.com

 

 

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

I have a great number of author friend, and could list hundreds of them.  Each and every one has a different take on their genre and all are well worth reading.   But, here’s a few of them:

Paranormal Fiction:  Charity Langley:  The Abattoir Series:  Wicked Intentions

CyberPunk:  Jesikah Sundin: The Biodome Series, all books

Middle Earth Fiction:  Selah J Tay-song:   Dreams of QaiMaj series.

Post Apocalyptic:          Robert L. Slater The Deserted Lands Series.

S.L Dearing The Lia Fail Chronicles

Polish History:  James Conroyd Martin:  The Poland Chronicles

Women’s Studies:  Rachel Thompson: The Broken Series

Battlefield Nurses:  Janet Shwago: the Look For Me Series

Comical Mysteries:  Wendy Delaney:  A Working Stiffs Mystery Series

YA:                             Gina Ciocca:  Last Year’s Mistake

Dahlia Adler:  The Daylight Falls Series

Leigh Ann Kopans:  One,  Two, …

 

 

 


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

My Editor.  Definitely.  Robert L. Bacon understood during Book One what I wanted to do, and he’s been on board ever since.  Great editor, fantastic mentor.

 

 
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

Yes.

 

 


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

No.

 

 


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

My interest in writing came from trying to make sense out my emotions.   By writing down things that were happening to me, both good and bad, I came to enjoy writing.

 

 

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

My current work is Book 5L  I, Alice. It is the story of Alice, who was a villain in Book 3: I, Mary, and a sister in Book 4: I, Angus.  It should be interesting to see where her life story takes the reader… or even the writer.  laugh

 

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

Finding the time to do it well.

 

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

A little, but not much.   Most of my travel is in the marketing stage.

 

 
Fiona: Who designed the covers?

I’ve had a few cover artists:  I, Walter’s cover was an artist attached to Brian Schwartz and http://50interviews.com/ .   My second artist was Luna Casnaghi, a graphic artist in central America.  My latest artist is: Kristine Abigail Morton, and she’s currently in Illinois.   All of them are fantastic artists.

 

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

Writing evil.

 

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

Every book is a learning experience.  Most often, I’m learning about how to deal with different emotions, lifestyles, and motivations.

 

 

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

Personally, I think any one of the books would make a great movie.  As a matter of fact, a reviewer once said that about I, Walter.  So for a leading man: Brad Pitt, or Pierce Brosnan.   For a leading lady: Keira Knightley or Julia Roberts.

 

 
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?

Write with passion.  Because if there isn’t passion in your writing, there won’t be passion in the reading.

 

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

Thank you.  To all of you who’ve read my books. Thank you.  To those who’ve left reviews. Thank you.  You are the reasons I write.

 

 

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

New books by many of the readers in my list of recommends

 

 

 

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

No, but it was probably Harry the Dog.  Or one of the Peanuts books.

 

 

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

I would love to meet with any of the authors that I have read.  Particularly Mark Twain, or Jules Verne, because they were successful in mixing humor with commentary.

 

 

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

His was a life well lived.    Because isn’t that the biggest compliment any of us can ask for?

 

 

Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?

Cheer-leading for my son’s school and physical pursuits, enjoying time with my family. Shooting pool with my friends. Photographing Eagles.

 

 

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

NCIS is cureently one of my favorite.s

 

 

Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music: 

My heritage is German, and my stomach is Italian.  My wife is Chinese, and we love Thai food.  So any food is good if it’s well prepared.  My favorite colors are primary colors.  My favorite music is now referred to as Easy Listening:  Springsteen, Diamond, Cash, Buffett, Coe, …

 

 

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

I have been many things in my life.  I’ve taught and tutored, I’ve been a businessman, I’ve worked with computers.  Right now, I think Writing will last a while.

 

 

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

The series website is: www.theEternitySeries.com Anyone wanting to keep up with me can do so at: wwwmikehartner.com and there are reviews and blogs there as well.

Amazon Authors page https://www.amazon.com/Mike-Hartner/e/B009VJQBEA/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

 

Here is my interview with Peggy A. Wheeler

Name   Peggy A. Wheeler

Age  62

Where are you from?  

Born in Bishop, California, in the eastern High Sierra mountains of California

 

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

Been married twice, the first time I was seventeen and four months pregnant. The second time, I was 38, and we’re still together and deliriously happy.  I’ve one child, Aimee. She’ll be 45 in a few months.  She has two beautiful daughters, one is twenty and in college, the other seventeen in her last year of high school.

My husband and I live in the mountains of northern California in a very cool geodesic dome on a few acres of ponderosa pine forest a couple of hundred yards from The Feather River.  Tiny town of 2,000 not far from Tahoe.

Here’s my author bio:

 

 

AUTHOR BIO 

My non-fiction, short stories and poetry appear in numerous publications in the U.S., the UK, and Canada. Most recently, I’ve stories inHorror from the Inside Out, Llewellyn’s Magical Almanac, and Women Writing the Weird. Dragon Moon Press in Canada recently published my debut novel, THE RAVEN’S DAUGHTER, short listed for the CCC Great Novel contest.

I have a B.A. in English Literature from UCLA, and an M.A. in Creative Writing from California State University at Northridge. While attending UCLA, I was one of only twelve students — and the only undergraduate — chosen to study with Robert Pinsky, former Poet Laureate of the United States. I won first prize awards for two of my poems from an Evergreen Press nationwide poetry contest, and honorable mentions for others from the Los Angeles Poetry Festival and The Academy of American Poets. My poem Du Fu was nominated for a Rhysling award for Best Long Science Fiction Poem. I’ve led adult poetry and novel critique groups in both Colorado and California.

 

 

Fiona: Tell us your latest news?

My agent just quit the biz, so I’m looking for representation for my Allegorical Fantasy and my Dystopian Adventure.

 

 
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing? 

I wrote my first poem at around age 10.

 

 
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?  

I don’t know, really.  Been doing it for a long time.

 

 
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

Watching Disney’s Fantasia, and Cameron’s AVATAR

 
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?  

Not that I can explain.

 
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?  

Of which book?  The one published is THE RAVEN’S DAUGHTER.  The protagonist shapeshifts into a raven per a Yurok legend of a raven who has a half human daughter.

 

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

Important to accept your true nature.

 

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

I’ve a few experiences reflected in the book, but it’s fiction.  Some of the characters are loosely based on people I’ve known. My grandchildren show up in the book as younger twins.  An old lover appears as a university professor.  A Modoc medicine man I know in person shows up as the half-Yurok brother of my protagonist.  The town I base the story in was a northern CA town I lived in, so some of the setting is recognizable to those who still live there.

 

 


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

The Little Prince, and One Hundred Years of Solitude, Stranger in a Strange Land – many other books influenced me.  No mentor.

 

 

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

I just discovered Neil Gaiman.  WOW  I love his imagination and his voice.

 

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

Not including bio family, my husband.  He’s my greatest advocate and believes in me even when I don’t believe in myself.

 

 
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?  

Yes.

 

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

Not really.  Perhaps some minor things, but I’m happy with the book.

 

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

I have been writing since I can recall.

I wrote my first poem at around age 10, and career wise, I was a technical writer for many years and ended up with a masters in Creative Writing.

 

 

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

Oh, gosh.  I’m working on four novels simultaneously, but I’m focusing right now on the sequel to THE RAVEN’S DAUGHTER.  Hope to have a draft completed by year end.  Here’s the link to my debut novel:

https://www.amazon.com/Ravens-Daughter-Peggy-Wheeler/dp/1897492987/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1474051608&sr=1-1&keywords=the+raven%27s+daughter

 

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

There’s many things challenging to all writers, but I find spinning a good yarn the most joyful occupation in the world.  I only wish I’d started writing novels years ago.  I didn’t start work on my first novel until I was 57, and I was 61 when I finally saw my first book in print.

 

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

I wish I had the money for that.  My publisher is small and doesn’t have marketing budget to send my on a book tour or to cons.  It’s on me, and we just don’t have much of a budget.  I do the best I can.

 

 
Fiona: Who designed the covers?  

My publisher designed my book cover. She hires pro artists for her covers, but THE RAVEN’S DAUGHTER she did herself, and she did a spectacular job.

 

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

Rewrites.  Took me three times as long to rewrite as it did to create the first draft.

 

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

I could write another book just on what I learned.

 

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

I would like a Native American woman to play the lead for THE RAVEN’S DAUGHTER.  I see Mark Ruffalo in the opposing lead character role.  He’s about the right age with the right level of cragginess blended with a bit of sex appeal.

 

 
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers? 

 

I went to a book fair in Los Angeles a few years back and saw Margaret Atwood.  I spread one bit of her advice around:   “Don’t write what you know.  Write what you’re passionate about.”

 

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

Thank you for taking your time to read my book, and if you are so inclined, please take a few minutes to leave an Amazon review. Those reviews mean the world to a writer.

 

 

Fiona: What book are you reading now? 

I have several open.  I often have as many as five going at a time.  Right now, besides friends’ books, I’m reading The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman, The Girl on a Train by Paula Hawkins, 11-22-63 by Stephen King, A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry, and Great and Secret Show by Clive Barker

 

 

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?  

Probably “The Saggy Baggy Elephant” – a Golden Book, when I was a small child.  It was my favorite.

 

 

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry? 

I cry if I see animals or children abused or abandoned, or old growth trees cut.  I laugh at my own foibles.

 

 

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

One?  How about many?  Wish I’d met Robin Williams, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Richard Feynman.  Huge fans of all three.

 

 

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

“She Did Her Best,” because I do my best.

 

 

Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?  

Gardening (I love puttering around outside), soap making (although I’ve not done that in a long time), Traveling (when we money to do that), cooking (I’m good in the kitchen), Reading (of course!)

 

 

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

We haven’t had tv reception since 2001, but we do watch Netflix.  Just finished binge watching Longmire

 

 

Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music

Oh, gosh.  I love almost all food – except whole wheat Fig Newtons, which I think were created by Satan.  Colors?  All.  Among my favs are greens, reds, light blues, oranges.  Not partial to pastels, but I do like light yellow.  Music? I’ve eclectic tastes, but you can never go wrong with symphonic music, which I listen to when I write.

 

 

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

Probably teach, although I don’t really have patience for that.

 

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

Yeah..I have a blog, but I hardly ever contribute to it.  You can find it on my website, www.peggyawheeler.com.  My website is still kind of wonky.  It needs completing and updating.

 

Amazon authors Page https://www.amazon.com/Peggy-A.-Wheeler/e/B00PRDA1I6/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_1

Here is my interview with Nikki Palomino

Name Nikki Palomino

Age Forever 21

Where are you from

I grew up in a small town that later became surrounded by Houston, Texas. In the back stood a field belonging to Texaco, two ditches and a gravel road. We’d pick wild blackberries and dream. I was ADHD so my energy surpassed the constraints of nothingness. The only place I could escape was my imagination. My parents didn’t have lots of money so books were limited to the library with a small selection. In the summer, we’d pile into the car and drive to Overland where my grandfather, a writer, lived. I’d sit on a stool in his upstairs office and watch him type. Being hyperactive at three, it was hard to hold still. When I’d let loose, he’d stare me down over his wire-rim glasses. He reminded me of Truman Capote because it was in his office library that I met the greats, Harper Lee, Eudora Welty, James Cain, Flannery O’Conner, and poets like Dylan Thomas and Sylvia Plath.

I had been tested at a clinic for my ADHD, but they discovered I was highly intelligent. That was cool until I hit school and lost my hearing in my left ear due to an undiagnosed infection. I suddenly became stupid at six years of age, dropped into a special education class and forced to read primer books that I had passed by three. So I hid the material I read. I knew To Kill a Mockingbird practically by heart. I liked the kids, labeled retarded, Down’s etc. I looked to them as my friends who would profoundly influence my life. When a teacher discovered my hearing loss as the culprit of my sudden stupidity, I was thrown back into general population where I was called retard among other things. But it was the sheer joy washing over my grandfather’s face as he wrote what made me want to be a writer. It was my life as a freak that pushed me to connect with others who were different, and later write about their struggles.

 

 

Fiona: Tell us your latest news?

DAZED: The Film is being submitted to 2017 festivals and has Industry showing in Los Angeles this fall. The UPCOMING non-fiction crime book The Last Gentleman Smuggler by former Texans Steven M. Kalish, one of the largest pot smugglers and money laundering masters in US history, and Nikki Palomino, award-winning author/filmmaker, rock journalist, former grunge rock musician/radio personality.

 

 
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

Because I couldn’t stop the words from coming. Before I could write I orally told stories to anybody who’d listen. I could make a kid believe what I said because stories excited my senses. I didn’t know I was a writer. I just knew worlds existed in my head and those worlds wanted out. The photo of Grace Metalious, author of the 1956 novel Peyton Place from my grandfather’s library, on the cover grabbed me by the soul. She sat on the front porch in a hard-back chair, typewriter in front of her on a small table. Her hair pulled back in a ponytail, she wore rolled-up jeans and a large flannel shirt. I knew then I had glimpsed into a future where words could be preserved.

 

 
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Once I could write with a pencil on any piece of paper I could find, a grocery sack, the back of a price tag, anything that allowed me to put down what was in my head.

 

 
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

I wrote anything and everything from short stories to novels to articles about music. I observed an underbelly of heaven I had found I never judged. These different or discarded lives I believed hung by a thread we all share. We have the capacity to understand what lay in the hearts of others if we want. After years of touring as a musician or covering music I knew and saw many things which went into the DAZED novel series. Rock ‘n Roll is as complex as the people involved in making music. The opportunity opened. I didn’t think I had a story to tell. By the next day, I knew the story and why I should tell it.

 

 
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?

Dark, realistic, nothing pretty, with layers your mind can choose to see. If you want light, you can read only what appears on the surface. If you want to dig deeper to find meaning, you have only to reach.

 

 
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

DAZED: The Story of a Grunge Rocker was inspired by the music and the times. The reckless abandon of youth with heavy consequences sometimes, great rewards on occasion and the inability to process them all at once.

 

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

There by the Grace of God go I…and never say never. What is inconceivable today may hit you so hard tomorrow that what you thought you were dissipates.

 

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

My connection to Cobain, met in LA at club I think ‘90 at Coconut Teaser on Sunset. I was covering music for local rag, and he kept looking at me. I was wearing a designer French black mini that fit skinny girls tight as a glove, and I smiled at him. He came over and whispered, “Can I borrow that dress for my next gig?” I said sure. He never borrowed the dress but took my number, didn’t leave me alone and we finished the night going our separate ways. At about 4am, I get a call. He’d only told me his name was Kurt. So he says,” Do you know who I am?” I said not really. He said, “I’m Kurt Cobain.” “That’s nice. Goodnight.”

No matter what it appeared, I can tell you one thing, Kurt’s first love was heroin, not any woman or any child. I let him be numb with me until it was too bad to handle. I punched him back to life more than one time on my couch. If you look deeply at DAZED: The Story of a Grunge Rocker you’ll understand what makes a junkie with talent destroy himself. Eric Peterson (protagonist) embodies my soul, Kurt’s soul and two other lesser known junkies. Overwhelmed with talent he could not handle, Kurt longed to be free from the constraints of a monster. A bullet was his only true means of escape. Had he not died from the gunshot, he had enough heroin in him to do the job.

 

 

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

An understated story that scared me more than any other was Daphne Du Maurier’s The Birds. Alfred Hitchcock changed some details. Du Maurier shows an unnatural switch of power. The birds’ instinct destroys mankind with all the deft precision of machines.

Mentors have come and gone and not just writers. Those who inspire leave their essence for which I absorb. Passion is Van Gogh slicing off his ear, Janis Joplin losing herself in Southern Comfort and not giving a shit about beauty or perfect pitch, and Mary Shelly creating ugliness to stare in the face of God.

 

 

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

I have many favorite authors for different reasons. What I like most about a story are the words that pull me beyond the page and into the constant struggle of the characters. If I feel with my senses, then the writer has done his job.

 

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

I had a mentor who was born on a train and as a child, performed on stage in New York. She believed in my potential. Everyone has a story. That’s what supported my desire to write.

 

 
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

I write as a journalist, author, short fiction, films, and anything where words speak and visuals tell the story. I’ve made money, and I’ve made nothing. It is my career. It is my life.

 

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

No. It is the only story needed to be told.

 

 


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

I don’t remember ever not wanting to tell something that made people laugh, cry or understand. I said the words before I knew how to pick up a pencil and write.

 

 

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

Out of the gaps, the emptiness and darkness of life the non-fiction crime book The Last Gentleman Smuggler by former Texans Steven M. Kalish & Nikki Palomino emerges as one of the most compelling stories in twentieth century U.S. history. From the pages of this thrill-ride into the President Reagan and Bush War on Drugs with every decent American just saying ‘NO’, the gentleman smuggler lost Steve Jennings, Frank Brown and other aliases as he began to clearly see he was becoming human again as Steven Kalish, the fifteen year-old drop-out from Houston, Texas.”
THE TRUTH ABOUT THE LARGEST DRUG SMUGGLING RING EVER DISCOVERED IN THE UNITED STATES.

 

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

Every bit of writing is natural and the hardest work I do. It’s not the word count but how wiped you are after you finish.

Excerpt from DAZED: The Story of a Grunge Rocker

I unscrewed the metal cap to the empty oversized mayonnaise jar, wiped it with a tissue, and set it next to my rig. The only real illness Dr. Horowitz had claimed I possessed was loneliness. No, the pain that cut through my gut was nothing. All in my fucking loaded head. My heart thumped in anticipation for the moment my breathing would ease into dark separate thoughts and I could finally beat this dead thing inside of me out and sleep. I cleaned my works, shooting out the old blood on some wrinkled newspaper, cooked the shit, and then tied off, unafraid of me turning into a tragedy. I spiked my abused vein twice. That first normally dramatic bubble of blood brought not a thought of my past life except my son. I was going to shoot big since I’d overfilled the rig. Poor judgment, maybe, or deliberate, hard to say, but something I couldn’t help.

I could live or die with my pushing the plunger at an accelerated speed. I felt the explosion, first in the heart, then ripping through my head until it felt like my skull split into a million spikes shooting through the constellation above the dampened lifeless hole. At that, my eyes closed, and without a blink, I was gone.

 

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

I have and will when needed.

 

 
Fiona: Who designed the covers?

So far the Publishers have cover designers.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?

The lack of time. But as Alfred Hitchcock said about suspense, a man sits on a seat in the theater. A bomb is beneath the chair. The minutes he sits unknowingly creates the suspense, not the bomb exploding. The lack of time keeps me on edge where the real meat resides.

 

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

I learned a body of work has to clique. The words must ring true. The rules should be thrown to the wind. Gut instinct is what resonates with the reader. Save the proper English for academia. A writer has one rule. Grab deep, hard and fast what makes the story worth its existence.

 

 

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

Have had films made of my work. I just want someone who believes what the character believes. If he can’t, then he is useless.

 

 
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?

It’s hard work. It’s a curse to be blessed with talent. Ignoring it doesn’t make it go away. There is a reason a writer can write. He sees what else is in the mind’s frame. If he’s lucky, he catches what’s right. If he misses the mark, imagination will give the gift back. Remember it isn’t success but rejection that holds power.

 

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

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury published in 1953 showed a world on a mission to burn all books. So there began a colony where each person memorized a book and then verbally passed on to the next person. Why? Because without art, humanity is doomed.

 

 

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

Mostly research books to understand the time period of The Last Gentleman Smuggler.

 

 

 

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mocking Bird and Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood at six years old from my grandpa’s library.

 

 

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

The idea we all have purpose.

 

 

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

Too many to name but they all gave something of themselves.

 

 

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

I don’t want a headstone. What I’ve given through words I hope will be enough.

 

 

Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?

No time for hobbies. I am fine with that. When asked if I was having fun writing, I can’t say that is true. It’s the satisfaction that comes from accomplishing what I set out to do that I guess could be the fun part.

 

 

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

I don’t have a TV. I love many types of film and the newer computer series do a great job with character development.

 

 

Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music

I love any good music, all colors, forget to eat.

 

 

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

I am a writer no matter what else I do. I work with discarded kids who once they discover imagination, they are given permission to believe. Does it always work? Never say never.

 

Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it? Here are the places you can find DAZED, The Last Gentleman Smuggler and DAZED: The Film. You can also find articles in Punk Globe Magazine. Also an example of my short work in Flash Fiction Offensive.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1100845919933061/
https://vimeo.com/172825287
https://www.facebook.com/DAZEDGrungeRockerAuthor/
https://www.facebook.com/dazed.novel.series/
http://www.dazedthestory.com
https://www.facebook.com/groups/889183727860495/
https://www.facebook.com/groups/dazedraioshow/
punkglobe.com

http://www.outofthegutteronline.com/2014/04/true-love.html

Here is my interview with C. Michael Forsyth

Name C. Michael Forsyth

Where are you from I was born in New York City and live in Greenville, S.C.

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

I am a graduate of Yale College, where I majored in English Literature. I also hold an MFA in film production from NYU. I’m married with three children, including a pair of identical twins.

Fiona: Tell us your latest news?

I recently launched a literary services practice. I’m now available to proofread and edit the works of other writers. I’ve also begun to narrate and produce audiobooks. My current project is writing and illustrating a graphic novel entitled Night Cage, about vampires running amok in a women’s prison, which will come out next year. I just attended Dragon Con, where I got to meet James Marsters, who starred as Spike in TV’s “Buffy The Vampire Slayer.” I posted an account of my experiences at the convention on my blog. Next weekend, I’ll be leading a writing seminar at the Augusta Book Festival


Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I’ve been writing since childhood, first creating elaborate comic strips. My first paid writing gig was in corporate communications, doing scripts for business videos: sales, training, motivational, etc., in the late 1980s.


Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

When I was in high school, I received a lot of praise from a creative writing teacher and my classmates. I began to realize I had a knack for the craft.

Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

My girlfriend at the time read nothing recreationally except historical romance novels. At the time, there were none that featured black heroines. I set out to write one for her. The Blood of Titans takes place in an ancient, highly advanced African civilization.

 

 
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?

My style is very visual. Perhaps this comes from my background in cartooning and later as a film student. I don’t consider a scene fully written until I – and the reader – can visualize it from beginning to end.


Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

The Blood of Titans comes from the very last line of the book. A holy man says that the descendants of the ancient African protagonist will always have courage because “through their veins runs the blood of titans.” I loved the line, and how it both captures the book’s central theme that we come from a race of strong, noble people, and conveys the passionate nature of the main characters.

Hour of the Beast, about a werewolf, was originally titled Nature of the Beast. There’s a mystery in the novel that is only solved when the true nature of the beast is understood. I was disappointed when a title search revealed that there were already several books, movies and record albums with the name. But it turned out for the best. “Hour” packs more punch because it suggests an imminent threat.

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

In the Blood of Titans, the main character Princess Halima must choose between duty to her people and romantic love. The cost of her choosing the latter is enormous. I want the reader to examine the idea that, as important as romantic love is to us, it is in also a very selfish thing. All that matters in the world when you are caught up in the emotion is you and your lover. Hour of the Beast is a meditation on the nature of good and evil in a man. The reader sees that what we call “evil,” – lust, aggression, and so on – is generally just the animal side of our nature. Repressing it doesn’t work, but we have to choose whether or not to embrace it.

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

The Blood of Titans is set in mythological African kingdom, but I did a tremendous amount of research into African culture – everything from food to religion and proverbs. Those are woven throughout the story, and I’ve been told they give people a strong sense of realism. And a lot of the emotions I experienced in my first real relationship informed the love story. Hour of the Beast takes place on a college campus with spooky gothic buildings and mysterious tunnels, much like Yale. I borrowed a lot of imagery from there, and lifted entire anecdotes from my four years at the college. For The Identity Thief, about a con man who impersonates the worst possible person, I researched real cases, and incorporated some of the most fiendishly clever scams. My most recent novel, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle & Harry Houdini in The Adventure of the Spook House, is chock full of biographical details about the two legendary figures. I read Conan Doyle’s autobiography, several biographies and a collection of the 1,500 letters he wrote, so that I could really bring him to life as a character in fiction, and recreate his speech patterns.

 


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

I read voraciously when I was younger and some of the classics influenced my writing a lot. Nathaniel Hawthorne, the author of The Scarlet Letter, used symbolism brilliantly and I often use symbols in my work. I always loved those powerful monologues in Shakespeare. King Shomari, the love interest in The Blood of Titans, speaks with a nobility that might remind you of Othello.


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

I can tell you about a writer who has been around for decades, but is new to me: Charles Saunders. He wrote as series of sword and sorcery novels about a character named Imaro who is like an African Conan. It’s a pity his books are not better known, because he is a wonderful storyteller. Tom Wolfe is one of my favorite authors. What impresses me most is how he creates suspense in every scene. We don’t necessarily fear that the character will be hurt physically, it may be that he faces humiliation. Either way, you must turn the page.


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

I joined a small writing group. At each meeting, we read aloud what we’d written in the intervening weeks. Knowing with certainty that someone would be hearing my next chapter gave me the impetus to keep forging ahead. Also, the constructive criticism was invaluable.


Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

Certainly. For the 14 years I worked for American Media, the publisher of The National Enquirer, it was a 9 to 5 job for which I received a bi-weekly paycheck. Now that I am an indie writer and publisher, I work even harder and take it just as seriously.


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

I would have proofread it at least one more time. When I was recording the audiobook, I came across several mistakes that had eluded both the proofreader and myself. Most excruciating were instances where I used a different first name for a minor character in different chapters, and similar continuity errors. The gaffes were annoying enough that I had the layout person fix them and uploaded an updated version. A benefit of Print on Demand is that you can do that.


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

It emerged from childhood play. My cousin and I would watch shows like “Star Trek,” and make up our own adventures. When I got too old for make-believe, I still craved the experience of creating stories.

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

Night Cage takes place in an underground, maximum-security prison for women. It’s a hellhole, where race riots, shower room catfights and abuse by brutal prison matrons are just part of the day. Things really get out of hand when a fledgling vampire is locked up for murder. The contagion quickly spreads, and soon virtually every prisoner and guard in the joint has joined the ranks of the undead. The only survivors are four badass female cons who had been tossed in solitary confinement at the very bottom level of the prison. Their only hope is to battle their way up to the surface through an army of bloodthirsty vampires who were vicious gang leaders, serial killers and ax murderers even BEFORE they got converted. It was fun to write, and it’s fun drawing the sexy girls and cool monsters – but a lot of work

 

 


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

I attend a lot of the book festivals and conventions. They’ve taken me as far as Chicago (from South Carolina).  Promoting yourself in person is part of the job as a writer.


Fiona: Who designed the covers?

The cover art for The Identity Thief and The Blood of Titans was by the wonderful artist Mshindo Kuumba. The cover designer for most of my novels is Iraeus. (The one word is his professional name).


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

The research. I spent months researching the Conan Doyle book, and I kept chafing at the bit to start the first chapter. I always tell myself the next novel will be off the top of my head and require no research. But inevitably, each book has needed considerable digging to create an accurate setting.


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

The value of a strong outline. When I wrote my first two novels, I just told the story as I went along. It was a very organic process letting it unfold that way. The problem was, I’d keep reaching dead ends, and have to keep doubling back, like working your way through a maze. I’ve found that starting out with a solid roadmap makes the journey a lot smoother.

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

I’d love to see Lupita Nyong’o play Princess Halima, the heroine of The Blood of Titans. My dream cast for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle & Harry Houdini in The Adventure of The Spook House would be Hugh Grant as Conan Doyle and Patrick Dempsey as the escape artist.

Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?

Join a writer’s group. Constructive criticism is essential.


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

Check out all the books, even those in a genre you don’t typically read. Historical romance, horror, mystery, thriller – I’ve enjoyed writing in each area, and you might be surprised to find you get a kick stepping out of your comfort zone.

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

Order of The Seers by Cerece Rennie Murphy. A great piece of dystopian fiction about a group of psychics held captive by the government, which uses their visions for its own nefarious purposes. When they escape and go on the lam, they discover the full extent of their powers.

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss. Reading it to my children later, I was struck by how it combines a sense of chaotic fun with teaching.

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

I am a huge movie fan. I will laugh to tears at the latest Melissa McCarthy movie. And heartbreaking scenes – like Patsy being whipped in Twelve Years a Slave will move me to tears of sadness.

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

Jesus, for obvious reasons. It would be fun to spend a day with Mark Twain. I’d love a chance to meet the president to say how America’s problems could be solved.

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

“He was born with a gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad.” It’s a line from one of my favorite adventure novels, Scaramouche, and it’s how I like to see myself.

Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?

I draw a lot. My son is an aspiring artist and we’ll spend an hour every Saturday on art projects.

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

I’m addicted to “Orange is the New Black.” It’s remarkable how characters are rotated from background to foreground, minor to central and comic to tragic. Those revealing backstories add depth and dimension to each character. As each actress gets her chance to step up to the plate, she knocks it out of the ballpark. It’s an amazingly talented ensemble cast, all the players able to handle dramatic and comedic scenes adeptly. And a range of ages, ethnicities and body types that don’t often get much screen time.

 

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

I would have love to have been an inventor. Science fascinates me.

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

My website is http://freedomshammer.com. You’ll find book trailers and sample chapters of each novel, fascinating facts and images related to African civilizations and much more. My main blog features news satire https://forsythstories.com

 

Here is my interview with Tina Piney

Name Tina Piney

Age: 

I admit to nothing hahaha

Where are you from

I’m a Canadian, born and bred with English and Irish roots. I’m married with the most adorable twins you have ever seen!

 

 

Fiona: Tell us your latest news?

This weekend I have sent two more submissions in. I was published in three different anthologies this summer and expect to be in five more by the end of the year.

 

 
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t making up stories to entertain people though for a period of about twenty years I never wrote a complete one. As an adult, my short story writing began again at the tail end of 2014.

 

 
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

This is kind of a strange answer because, as a child and teen I wrote poetry and was recognized a couple of times for it but I never referred to myself, really, as a writer until this year, 2016.

 

 
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

Near the end of 2014 there was an open call for a horror anthology. A friend and I (who used to write but wanted to get back into it) challenged each other to enter. My goal for 2015 was to see if I could get a short story published. I didn’t want to invest the money at this point to get an agent or pay to enter contests so I answered the open call. I was told the competition was stiff but “Chuckles” made the cut and I was over the moon!

 

 
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?

No, although first person seems to work best for me. I become the character and am much more able to feel out who they are.

 

 
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

I think it may have been different for everyone so far. For “Chuckles” I named it after the main character. For others, as I am doing an outline, I hit upon a title that relates to it. For another I couldn’t decide between three titles so I took it to a writers group for a vote and for my most recent story I was having a laugh and trying to describe a strange situation and when I named the situation, I named the story.

 

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

So far, no novel though I am fleshing out two different ideas currently. There is no unifying message throughout but I think a re-occurring theme is that I find dementia the scariest thing out there!

 

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

I name most of the characters after people who are dear to me. The last one I completed had a main character named Jesse, in memory of my cousin who passed away a couple of weeks ago.

 

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

Clive Barker. I swear that I can walk inside the worlds he creates.

 

 

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

Clive will always be my favourite! Joe Hill, however has blown me away with his works so far. N0S 4A2 is one of my favourite books. Oh and let’s not forget the Lord of the Rings, the only book I have ever attempted to read in the shower.

 

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

My Friends, Particularly Tara W for her encouragement and editing and Dave G for his cheerleading and support.

 

 
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

Well, I would like to. I am new to the game. As I stated before, my goal for 2015 was to be published. My goal for this year was to be paid for some of my work and I am happy to report that I have been. And my goal for next year, 2017, is to see if I can make enough money to replace a part time job so wish me luck!

 

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

No, I have been overjoyed by what’s happened with my stories so far. The couple of reviews on my latest anthology have both mentioned my story as a standout in a book of wonderful stories by talented people so, you know, woo hoo!

 

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

My crazy active imagination!

 

 

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

Sure, this is an excerpt from a story I just submitted for an upcoming anthology. I have yet to hear if it has been picked up by it’s only been a day. It is a horror story but I find this part pretty funny!

I must mention at this point that Annabelle, the fat lady, likes to work the blue moon into her act once a month. To say she is a fat lady is an understatement. The pride of the Blue Moon, she outweighs the biggest sideshow gal by 80 plus lbs. In our little family to be a standout among standouts is quite an accomplishment. Long story short, once per month, on the night of the full moon, she gets her favorite clown and sometime lover Chuckles to use his greasepaint to colour her enormous ass blue. For the folks who purchase the “full-moon special” it’s a real treat. After seeing her scarf down copious amounts of food, the crowd winds down ready to leave. She rises slowly from her perch and asks them if they saw the gorgeous full moon sitting so low the sky. She swore to the audience whist holding her right hand over her heart, she thought it could be a blue moon. The patrons think she is simply paying homage to the name of the venue. She then pivots as “The smallest man alive” Edward joins her on stage. She turns around, leans over and puts her weight on her stool while Edward reaches up to throw up her Mumu and expose her pantaloons. A drumroll starts and at its crescendo, Edward drops down her panties and the spotlight swings to reveal the full blue moon in Annabelle’s pants. By this time the crowd is roaring with laughter. Chuckles enters from the other side of the stage holding a torch. The crowd gets quiet in anticipation as Annabelle’s dimpled moon shines on. He lifts the flame to the heavens and asks if anyone has ever seen the blue angel. Nothing usually except a few titters from people that had previously witnessed the spectacle. Everybody’s eyes are cast upward as Chuckles holds the torch steady and a new drumroll begins. Simultaneously as the cymbals crash Chuckles swiftly lowers the torch even with Annabelle’s backside and with military precision Annabelle cracks off the loudest fart you have ever heard. It’s the kind of fart you would assume only someone of her girth could produce. The gas expelled hits the touch and suddenly Annabelle’s ass is a flame thrower.

It is truly something to behold and certainly worth the price of admission.

I go out of my way to see it every month, sneaking around the side of the stage just out of sight. The one time, a couple of years back, when Edward stood too close and had his eyebrows and mustache burned off I will always recount as one of the best moments of my life.

 

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

Editing. Lucky for me a friend helps me out.

 

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

Not so far, no.

 

 
Fiona: Who designed the covers?

I am with three different publishers so it varies.

 

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

There are times when I just can’t write and others when I find it hard to stop, it is such a fickle beast, this writing bug.

 

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

Ha-ha, that someone actually wanted to read my stories because I honestly wasn’t sure!

 

 

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

“The Keepers of the Knowledge” would be great for Angelina Jolie. She might not think the same though, nothing like reaching for the stars.

 

 
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?

Keep trying and believe it can happen.

 

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

Write reviews!!!!

 

 

 

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

I just finished “The Fireman” by Joe Hill. Excellent book, even my mom liked it and she’s as picky as hell!

 

 

 

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

No. I was reading before I entered Kindergarten and I read at least one book per week. It’s all a blur really.

 

 

 

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

That depends on the day. I laugh more than I cry. My kids and pugs are hilarious.

 

 

 

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

Probably Clive Barker but then, what could I possibly say….

 

 

 

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

Something funny. I’m so clumsy I expect death by a misadventure of some sort so probably just a description of it would suffice.

 

 

Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?

I like making things with my hands, exploring abandoned places and most of all spending time with my children.

 

 

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

American Pickers and The Walking Dead

 

 

Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music

My favorite foods are thin crust cheesy pizza and coke slushies. I love blues colours and black. I like a lot of greys too. Music, depends on my mood. I love Eminem, AC/DC, Celtic music, just about everything but country. Nothing against it, just is not my thing.

 

 

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

Maybe sleep more or another creative outlet.

 

 

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

You can find me at

https://www.facebook.com/authorTinaPiney/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

Or

https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B016VTUA2G

 

Here is my interview with Kristina M. Sanchez

Name: Kristina M. Sanchez

Age: 34

Where are you from: Orange County, California

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

I’m a Sociology major currently working for the county of Orange in benefits eligibility. I’m very close to my immediate family—my mother, brother, and sweet sister-in-law. Currently, I am only the mother of two cats. A fluffy old man named Mutt and a skittish, insaniac named Sirus Blackcat (she is a black cat). However, I’m currently working on starting a family.

Fiona: Tell us your latest news?

I have a new book coming out in October. Should be October 13. Spaces Between Notes


Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I guess I’ve always made up stories. I used to dream up primitive Bugs Bunny fanfiction in my head to entertain myself because I was an insomniac even when I was tiny. But I began putting words to paper in elementary school. I loved writing assignments.


Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Probably when I was sixteen and started writing X-Files and Star Wars fanfic.


Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

I’d written a bunch of stories using other people’s characters. I thought it was high time to try some of my own.


Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?

Third person


Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

Of my latest? Spaces Between Notes is pulled from one of my favorite songs by Ani Di Franco, Asking Too Much


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

There are different ways to communicate, but communication is important regardless.


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

I would hope all the events are realistic. Besides the fact I’ve known a lot of people, men in particular, who are so allergic to feelings that it gets in the way of things they can accomplish and relationships they can have, none of the specific events happened to me or anyone I know.


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

Books in general have influenced me. I can’t really pinpoint a specific one. Books are a great way to get new ideas about the world, new perspectives. If a book can teach you anything, it’s that there’s always a story behind what people do. So something that looks inexplicable—how could they get themselves in this situation—makes perfect sense when you know the story behind it.

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

New authors I’ve found recently are Kate Sherwood and Roan Parrish. Kate’s work can be very sweet and funny, but they have enough drama and angst to fulfil my need for a deeper story. Roan gives amazing angst, and I can’t wait to see what they’ll do.


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

My friends. I have a group of dedicated friends who read and critique everything I write. Everything. And that’s a lot of reading. These are a group of people who I can trust to tell me when something is off, and who understand my writing style well enough that they know what I’m trying to accomplish.


Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

I really wish it could be. There isn’t much I wouldn’t give to be able to support myself by writing. But I can’t stop writing at this point, so I suppose it is a career, if not a lucrative one.


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

Only the process. I fell out of love with this book fairly early on, so it wasn’t any fun to write.


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

I’ve always liked making up stories.

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

A bit from Spaces Between Notes:

His rage had subsided, and Niko was beginning to realize how much trouble he was in. He let himself fall back on his elbows, tired and resigned to his fate. Destruction of property was at least a lighter sentence than murder, so there was that.

“Uh, hello? Excuse me?” The woman took a step away from her doorway. “Who did this? Did you do this?”

He wanted to ask her if she was stupid. There wasn’t anyone else around. Then again, he was just sitting there, staring at her. He supposed he could’ve played it off as though he’d chased the unknown offender away and gotten knocked down in the process.

It didn’t matter anyway. It wasn’t as though he could tell her anything.

“What the heck is wrong with you? Are you hurt?” She had her arms wrapped around herself, and she seemed reluctant to leave the doorway. Of course she was. It was the middle of the night, her windows were broken, and he was a strange idiot staring at her. She craned her neck so she could look him over, and her eyes widened. “Your hands are a mess. Are you hurt? I can call 911. I should call 911.”

Niko raised an eyebrow. Hadn’t she said she called the police when she came outside? A sane person would have called 911 after the second window shattered at the very latest. Then again, he wasn’t a good representative for all things sanity at the moment.

The woman was just figuring out he was, in fact, the one who had assailed her house when a car drove up. “Niko. Dammit, Niko.”

Jamie had found him.

Niko pushed himself to his feet, ignoring both his friend and the now understandably belligerent woman. He got in the passenger seat and closed his eyes to wait for jail or sleep, whichever came first.


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

For some reason, I really hate describing people.


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

Not yet. Hopefully soon!


Fiona: Who designed the covers?

My friend Mina. She’s amazing.


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

When I know key points but I have to patiently fill in the path to get there. I want to jump straight to good stuff!


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

You have to be in love with your story to write. Otherwise, it’s just a terrible job, and what’s the point of that?

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

Jensen Ackles. He’s a little old, but he’s who I pictured.


Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?

Write every day. Anything. Even a little. Even ten words. Ten words today is more than you had yesterday.


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

Thank you. Really. There are days when you’re the only thing that gives me purpose.

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. I’m loving it.

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

Can’t say that I do.

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

Everything makes me laugh. I enjoy wittiness as opposed to dumb humor, but a lot of times all it takes to make me laugh is a look or the way something’s worded.

Cry? Practically nothing. I’m a robot. You have to really get me to care before you can make me cry.

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

Misha Collins. I just feel a kind of kinship with him. He came from a poor background, and speaks openly about issues he’s faced such as self-harm. Yet he is one of the kindest souls I’ve ever heard of. For me to know where he came from, to understand what his childhood must have looked like, and to see what he’s accomplished is nothing short of inspiring.

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

She had no regrets. Because I don’t believe in regret. Even your mistakes make you better as long as you’re learning.

Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?

Consuming fiction—books, movies, television. I love fictional worlds. I’m a huge nerd, and I find such happiness in stories.

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

Supernatural is my current obsession. I’ve also been big into the Marvel world lately, with an emphasis on the relationship between Captain America and the Winter Soldier.

Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music

Food – shrimp, pho, anything thai

Color – Purple. I love purples and blues.

Music – Ahhhh I like lyrics. If you can grab me with good lyrics, it doesn’t matter the genre.

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

I’ve finally found fulfillment in social work. I’m actively working on becoming a social worker, and I find that idea very rewarding.

But I also would have made a damn good lawyer.

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

https://kristinamsanchez.com/

 Amazon Authors Page https://www.amazon.com/Kristina-M.-Sanchez/e/B00DYW5VWI/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1473626568&sr=8-1

https://kristinamsanchez.com/books/