Here is my interview with Noelle Riches

Name  Noelle Riches

Age:  35

Where are you from:

Guelph, Ontario, Canada

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

I went to university to study English Literature (though I preferred sneaking in juicier reads when I had the time), and taught English in Japan and Vancouver afterward, dabbling in chocolate making on the west coast which has now developed into a full blown yearly obsession every winter. I live in Guelph with my husband, 3 year old son and kitty, and write whenever I can (usually at 5am before the little guy pops his eyes open).

 

 

Fiona: Tell us your latest news?

I recently celebrated the launch of my 1st book, The Queen’s Training, a party which I won’t soon forget, and am getting ready for the release of the next two in the trilogy- The Queen’s Lover (due out in May) and The Queen’s Army (due out in July).

 

 
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I remember writing short stories on our long family road trips (I tried reading but with the goal of keeping my lunch moving the right way through my digestive tract, I sadly never lasted long reading in the car), which graduated to 60 page handwritten ‘novels’ while in grade school until my parents got me the oldest computer alive on which to compose my stories and then save them to floppy disk (yes, I’m that old). I took a break from writing somewhere between late elementary school and my mid twenties, but since taking it up again, I haven’t looked back.

 

 
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I think I first considered myself a writer about two weeks ago with the release of my first published book, so I’m still getting used to it. In some ways I’ve always felt like a writer, but the struggle to believe other people considered me a writer is pretty much ongoing. Now that I have something tangible I’ve tossed out in the world, it’s a lot easier to do, but it’s something I still have to remind myself that I am, and not just something I want to be.

 

 
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

Because I write romance novels in different sub genres, ideas often start as different things- the first sentence to a novel that seems to have a life of its own, or a scenario for a relationship that seems interesting and unique in its way, or an idea for a main character, as was the case for The Queen’s Training. Soriana popped into my mind pretty randomly, and the more I thought about her, the more I enjoyed learning about and developing her story.

 

 
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?

For The Queen of Oran series, yes. It’s all from Soriana’s point of view, and she seemed to have her own voice. Which is funny, because though The Queen’s Training is my first book to be published, I’ve written a few others I’m currently working on and none of them have the same tone. I’d say I do have a writing style, but it changes depending on the book I’m writing- what sub genre of romance, time period, point of view, mood—everything plays in to adjust the style.

 

 
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

I’ve never been great with the naming of things- novels, characters, pets, my son….The Queen’s Training seemed pretty straightforward to me, though. The training of Soriana to become the next queen, and all that entails, was the premise for the entire book, so that coupled with the fact that it sounded like something I’d pick up if I was browsing the bookshelves made it easier than normal to lock down.

 

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

If there’s an underlying theme, it’s strength. Throughout the book, and the trilogy, Soriana wrestles with her self–worth and her belief that she’s strong enough to do the things she needs to do to help herself and her people. It’s something I’ve always struggled with, so it was a good reminder to myself to trust in my own abilities and know that what I can handle and what I can achieve is constantly adjusting and updating as long as I keep challenging myself.

 

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

Because it’s a fantasy sub genre of romance, very little of the book is taken from real life, but that being said, little pieces of each character are pulled from people I know to create this kind of mash up of qualities I’ve given to each character. Similarly, the landscape and geography of Oran and its surrounding countries are pulled from places I’ve visited, or places I’d like to see.

 

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

The most influential books to me have been ones I read as a kid or young adult and will probably re–read forever. Winter of Fire, by Sheryll Jordan is one of my favourite YA novels, and I’ve re–read the Clan of The Cave Bear series about 17,000 times. Another book that introduced me to a kind of romantic fantasy was Maia, by Richard Adams. And then of course all the romance novels I read on the regular teach me what I’m doing and what I’d like to do.

 

 

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 had the privilege of having Gina Wynn as my first editor on The Queen’s Training and I fell pretty hard in love with her book What You Wish For. It’s not typically my style, but I wanted to check her out if she was bleeding red on my pages, and I’ve since read it at least three times. Such great character development and I love the way the story progresses, with tones of The Time Traveler’s Wife, which I also loved. I’m also pretty obsessed with Christina Lauren. Pretty hot reads and such a fun voice.

 

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

My husband has definitely been a big supporter. I was signed to two previous publishers who sadly closed up shop before The Queen’s Training was released with them, but he kept encouraging me to start submitting again, to not give up. That was pretty huge.

 

 
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

I’d obviously love for that to be the end game in all of this. Definitely the dream. Though even if it’s something that has to stay on the side for whatever reason, I doubt I’ll ever stop. It’s just too much fun to create my own worlds and see what happens in them.

 

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

That’s a good question. I’ve edited The Queen’s Training about three million times, and could probably continue to edit it forever. I don’t think I’d change anything major in it at this point, but I’m constantly looking to tweak sentences, change the meaning here or there. That seems to be the point when I need to let it go, or else be doomed to work on it until I die.

 

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

The first time I remember wanting to write, my parents had taken me to an old family friend of my grandma’s. It was this amazing house in rural Ontario and had been designed and built by the husband for his wife. I thought that was the most romantic thing I’d ever heard. The first time I could get my hands on pen and paper, I wrote some made up version of their love story, which ended up being the beginning of a lifelong love for love and writing.

 

 

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

The next two books in the Queen of Oran trilogy are due out, so aside from reviewing the last bit of copy editing, my job is basically done with them. I have an idea knocking around for a spin–off with the Gwinolha character, but I’m currently editing a romantic suspense I started last year and just finished up an outline for a quirky chick lit (with some romance. Obvi.) and am chomping at the bit to lay words down on that one.

 

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

The beginning. Always the beginning! I rewrite the beginning of any novel about three times more than any other part of the book. Obviously, I want the entirety of anything I write to be fantastic, but I’m hyper aware that the first page, the first chapter, is key to locking in readers who have busy lives and justifiably zero patience for something that isn’t quite good enough for them.

 

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

I wish! Pulling details from my travel has helped me in world building with fantasy, and visiting the small town in which my romantic suspense was based on was key, but I think the next book should be set in some gorgeous tropical location. I wouldn’t complain about a nice vacation I could write off come tax season.

 

 
Fiona: Who designed the covers?

Cherith Vaughan, who works with Red Empress Publishers designed the covers, and she was pretty much a dream to work with. Very excited to see what she has in store for the next two!

 

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

I find it hard to see the forest for the trees when I edit. The editing process is possibly my favorite part, but I get caught up in nit picky details and find it difficult to take a bird’s eye view of the story to see which elements works and which ones need tweaking.

 

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

I learned how to write. Which is a pretty big deal, though I attribute most of that learning to my first editor Gina Wynn who had me cracking up with her comments while simultaneously wincing at how…let’s say ‘fresh’ I was to the writing world. I also learned that a solid outline helps me actually finish books. Also a big deal.

 

 

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

Ooh, this is a fun question. I see Ranneth, the love interest, played by a Jason Momoa type, and Soriana, the main character, played by Tina Desai or Mila Kunis

 

 
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?

Soak in as much life as possible, and experience as much variety in life as possible. Pay attention, observe, and LIVE. And then hole yourself up to write. But also keep breaking for life.

 

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

Thank you for picking up the book, thank you for reading past the first page, thank you for letting me transport you in your busy life.

 

 

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

Right now I’m reading Last Chance Llama Ranch, by Hilary Fields for a fun read and because I’ve always had this secret dream to run an alpaca farm. It’s still on the bucket list.

 

 

 

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

I know I read books before this one, but the first one that stands out is Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne while on a family road trip in grade four I think. Finished it in two days, loved every word, had a terrible headache from reading too much. No regrets!

 

 

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

Now that I’m a mom, anything to do with kids makes me cry, good or bad. Such a sap now. But mostly all the people I love in my life make me laugh, and I’m really grateful for that. Also inappropriate jokes.

 

 

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

I would love to meet my grandparents when they were young. I feel like they have juicy stories they’re not telling me…

 

 

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

‘She loved.’ Because I did, and I do, and that’s important to me.

 

 

Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?

I’m also a chocolatier. I worked a bit for a small boutique shop in Vancouver before realizing it should remain a hobby, but every autumn I order 40lbs of Lindt chocolate and go to town making a variety of confections- caramels, toffees, truffles, designer chocolate houses and bowls….it’s my bliss and I love giving them away. And eating the rest.

 

 

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

I love a good romcom to lighten the mood, or a fun action flick if I’m feeling a bit more rambunctious. I love a well done documentary, especially about food (Jiro Dreams of Sushi, or the Abstract series on Netflix is great), and anything kind of funny/quirky, like The Lobster, In Bruges, Seven Psychopaths, with some great satire is always welcome.

 

 

Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music

Foods- I have deep love of butter and a satisfyingly unhealthy relationship with croissants if they’re the real kind. Butter. In all it’s beautiful forms.

Colors- Green

Music- Currently obsessing over Allen Stone, or anything with some old school Motown, gritty, bluesy feel. Paolo Nutini is a staple.

 

 

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

Massage therapy. It’s something that feeds me. I love giving treatments and helping people relax as they come back into their bodies, accepting whatever change may happen or accepting themselves if there’s no change at all. There’s something kind of beautiful about that.

 

 

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

Yes! My webdesigner is working hard to lock it all in and make it wonderful, so right now I have a placeholder website, which will become a true website in a week or so. I don’t technically have a blog, but on the website there will be a Read With Me page so I can post what I’m reading, my thoughts, and see if anyone wants to book club- it with me. Check me out at www.noelleriches.com

Here’s my Amazon page: USA https://www.amazon.com/Noelle-Riches/e/B06XKWXFP7

UK  https://www.amazon.co.uk/Noelle-Riches/e/B06XKWXFP7/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

 

And here’s a link to my publishers who also have all the buy links to the book: http://redempresspublishing.com/en/

 

Here is my interview with Melanie Macek

Name Melanie Macek

Age About halfway to retirement

Where are you from

I was born in California but have lived in Texas over half of my life now. I’ve been married for 16 years. I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Studies EC-4 (teaching) from Western Governors University in Utah and a Master of Art degree in Creative Writing from Regis University in Denver, Colorado. I have been lucky enough to find a job utilizing them both. I enjoy Texas but still identify as a SoCal girl, a desert rat. My husband and I love to travel, which is where a good number of story ideas come from.

Fiona: Tell us your latest news?

I’m working on the second book in the historical series ‘Heroes, Hearts, and Honor’. It’s almost done and I’m excited to get this one to beta readers in a month or so. I’m also working on a contemporary novel that has a bit of romance, a bit of science fiction, and a bit of thriller. No clue where that’s going, but it’s fun to write.


Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I’ve been writing something for as long as I can remember. I didn’t try to write my first novel until I was 21. I had an undeniable urge to start a story so I put on my jacket, grabbed a spiral notebook and a pen and started writing. I think I had about ten handwritten pages before frozen fingers forced me inside. It took me another 14 years to finish that book.


Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Not until I went to my first writer’s conference. I’d finished the first book, and had two others partially started. The women I met at that conference told me to call myself a writer and to do so proudly. They were extremely encouraging.


Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

Not depress your readers, but it was the death of my mother and my first marriage. My mother passed away suddenly when I was 21. Life fell apart for a few months, which took a toll on my marriage. With all the feelings I was dealing with, writing seemed like the perfect outlet at the time. I’ve have stops and starts along the way but it eventually became something that I need to do on a regular basis.


Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?

I write stories that fall to the sweeter side of the spectrum. I try to do as much research as possible to make them historically accurate, going so far as to not use any words not in use at the time the story takes place (I try to catch them all but I’m sure a few have slipped by me). That way the reader can get a feel of what life used to be like. I’ve been told that the dialog is realistic and gives readers a real feel for what the characters are like. I try to make them relatable.


Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

Titles, the bane of my existence, lol. Sometimes I wake up with a title, then write the story. Other times I’ve had to wait until the book is completely written before I can think of a title. For my book, The Path to You, the title came about two weeks before release with the help of some online writer friends. No one except me like the original title. That one almost killed me! One thing I do is to check online to see if there are any other books with that exact title. If there are, I completely change it.


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

Compromise, working as partners, and letting yourself be vulnerable. I see so many instances of people breaking up, either in fiction, television, or real life because they think one person gets to have it their way all the time. A lasting relationship can rarely survive that. I try to show strong characters who keep their dignity, who can appreciate a strong personality, and learn the give and take required to make it last.


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

Well, now if I told you that…. There are some similarities to my stories and events or people I’ve met. Most of the time, it’s a conglomeration of several people or incidents that end up in the books.


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

There are several. It’s going to sound very cheesy, but in some way, every book I’ve read has influenced my life. Either by making me think about a situation in history or how I look at different types of relationships like work, romantic, or friendships. Depending on what’s going on in my life will dictate how much a certain book affects me at the time I read 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?

I hate to admit that since I switched jobs I haven’t had much time or brain energy to look for new books. I’ve stuck to established authors lately simply because I know what they’ll deliver.

I’d have to say my favorite author is Diana Gabaldon. (I can only imagine how much her name comes up in a search!) Hers are the only books that I’ve been able to read over and over again. I’ve probably read Outlander, the first book in the series, at least 7 times. That includes listening to the audiobooks. In fact, they’re the only audiobooks I own. Let’s just say, I’ve contributed greatly to Diana’s retirement fund.


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

Romance Writers of America. While they’ve struggled a bit to keep up with the changes in the industry, they’ve made an effort to do it. They’re working toward accepting self-published authors in more and more ways and offer quite a few ways for a writer to better themselves.


Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

I would love to see it as a career. My books are not what’s popular on the market, so I still have to have a day job in order to pay bills and sock away something for the future.


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

I think I would have like to spent more time on the research. For what I had at the time, it’s accurate but I know I would find something incorrect if I went back over it.


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

Not really. I’ve always read and created stories since as far back as I can remember. When I was younger, I wrote songs in my head. I helped write a play in elementary school. It actually wasn’t too bad, for a bunch of eleven year olds. It just kind of morphed from there.

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

Nothing yet, as it’s still the first draft and completely unedited. I will tell you that it’s set during the end of the American Revolution in March 1781, Connecticut. There are many changes going on. The story takes place about six months after Benedict Arnold’s act of treason against the Continental Army. There’s uncertainty about where the next major battle will occur. Annabeth Smyth and Sergeant Major Benjamin Anstruther find themselves thrown together by unusual circumstances that force one to reevaluate what important and the other to take charge and not let people walk all over them. I’m hoping to have it out this coming summer, as the first draft is nearly complete.


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

Currently, the biggest challenge is finding the energy. Teaching takes a good chunk of time and even bigger chunk of energy. Most of the time, I only get to write on the weekends.


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

My books end up being born from my travels. The historical series was born after a trip to Newport, Rhode Island. The information we learned while taking a local history tour made the story completely bloom in my mind. I’m originally from California, so the trilogy was born from places I lived and visited. For the places that I’m unable to visit or never have, Google Earth has become an invaluable tool because of the street view, elevation, where the sun is located during different times of day, all of that can be found on that program. I would hate for someone who lives in that city read my story and immediately tell that I didn’t bother to research their city.


Fiona: Who designed the covers?

Several people have designed my covers. Stephanie Littlefield designed the cover for ‘Through Paige’s Eyes’ and did a beautiful job! A local photographer/designer Calcote Creations did the covers for my Rosewood Falls novella series. I personally did the covers for my ‘When Love’ trilogy and the stand alone ‘The Path to You’. Cindy Whitney did Renaissance Wench and Kincaid Group did ‘For Honor or Love’


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

I think the most difficult part structurally was getting the characters to talk to me. This is actually the third story line and this one finally worked! Research wise? The hardest part is the strategies and remembering where all the pieces of the Continental Army were at the time, major illness outbreaks happening at the time, and making sure that it’s as historically accurate as possible.


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

The book I’m writing now, the second book in my historical series, has taught me more about the American Revolutionary War. There are so many things that happened during that time in our history that aren’t ever covered in any history class in public school. As far as writing, it’s helping me to hone being able to give more than two characters a distinctive voice. This book has six different points of view.

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

Can I say I dislike this question? LOL I’ve been asked this numerous times and I really have no idea. I don’t see famous people when I write. The characters tell me what they look like and rarely is it someone exceedingly famous.  The only one that I could come close would be ‘Renaissance Wench’. John Barrowman would play Simon English and Kiera Knightly would play Calista ‘Callie’ Houston.


Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?

LISTEN TO YOUR INSTINCTS. People will offer tons of advice. Not all of it is right for you, nor is there one method that is an absolute road to success. There have been opportunities offered to me that seemed the best way to approach my career. A few were, but the opportunities that set off warning bells and I passed on were the ones that ended up hurting those who were involved.

FOLLOW YOUR PATH. No one else is in your heart or in your head. You know what audience you’re trying to reach. If you fall into the mindset that you have to write to a specific audience, you run the risk of taking the soul out of the story. Tell your story.

PROTECT YOUR WRITING. I’m not just talking about the pirates out there stealing stories because they can. I’m talking about protecting your writing time, your writing structure, and your voice. Now, that doesn’t mean ignore editors who tell you something sounds off because if it’s someone with experience, they’re probably right. It means protect the integrity of it. Do the best work you can, learn the grammar rules – then you’ll know how to properly break them, listen to your beta readers when they say something’s wrong. Constructive criticism will better your writing. Don’t take it as a personal attack.


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

I appreciate the time and money they spend on my books and I’ve enjoyed engaging with them. It’s been fun to hear how the stories affect them individually because rarely does the same scene affect readers the same way.

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

I’m going between ‘The Scottish Prisoner’ by Diana Gabaldon and ‘The 14th Colony’ by Steve Berry and a Nora Roberts book on my shelf that I want to start.

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

No. I just know that my mother read to me from an early age. From about the age of five, we had a set of encyclopedias in our home, so I was always reading through those. My favorite volume was the last one where it had the most common words translated into six different languages. I no longer have the set, but I still have that one volume.

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

Good movies, sappy commercials, sometimes the things my students say make me laugh and it’s so difficult not to lose it in class.

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

I can’t pick just one! Writer, I guess either Diana Gabaldon or Steven King, Simon LeBon from Duran Duran, Wolfgang Mozart, Leonardo da Vinci.

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

Nothing. I don’t plan on being buried. I’m claustrophobic to a degree and the idea of being stuck in the ground, in a box, for eternity, is not appealing in the least. I hope my friends have a party where most of the sentences start “You remember when Melanie did….”

Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?

I’m a crafter: crochet, cross stitch, creating little projects especially if they require painting. I’m no artist by any means but I do attempt to draw occasionally, and reading. Reading is probably the hobby that takes the most of my time.

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

I’ve been watching ‘Turn: Washington’s Spies’ on AMC, which is shooting the 4th and final season (I think the British call them series) right now, ‘Outlander’, and my husband and I have been watching ‘The Crown’ on Netflix. I started watching ‘This Is Us’ but I never remember that it’s on and we don’t have a DVR. There’s not really that many shows that I’ve gotten into lately. Oh, ‘Sherlock’ on PBS was pretty addictive.

Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music

Food: Pizza and Spaghetti

Colors: Orange and Blue, Red when I’m doing a writing event.

Music: Duran Duran, Celtic Woman, Mozart, most 80’s music, I’ll listen to most styles at least once.

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

All through school, I wanted to be a veterinarian and for a while, I did work with animals. I guess I would have ended up doing what I’m doing now: teaching. 

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

https://www.facebook.com/MelMacekauthor
www.featherpenstartandreams.wordpress.com
https://twitter.com/Melanie_Macek

 

Amazon author page – https://www.amazon.com/Melanie-Macek/e/B00B44HEPA/

 

Latest book links  – links them to all available ebook vendors.

https://books2read.com/forhonororlove

 

https://books2read.com/throughpaigeseyes

 

 

 

Here is my interview with Parker S. Huntington

Name : Parker S. Huntington (Pen Name)

Age: 21

Where are you from: Orange County, California

A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc.: I come from a family of 5 kids—3 sisters and 2 half-brothers. I have four parents—biological and “step”—that are all best friends, and we grew up vacationing together as a massive family unit. I have a B.A. in Creative Writing from the University of California, Riverside. I am currently working on a Master’s (ALM) in Literature and Creative Writing from Harvard University.

Fiona: Tell us your latest news?

Asher Black, my debut novel, will be released on April 21, 2017. It is currently available for preorder.


Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I started writing when I was 2, though I’d tell my parents stories, and they’d write them for me. I’d color in the pages, and BAM! I’d have my very own picture book. I decided to pursue writing my second year of undergrad. I went in as a Bioinformatics and Genomics major, but after talking to a TA for a Creative Writing course I was taking, I decided that this is something I can do, that I want to do. So, I chose to follow my dreams rather than what others have dreamed for me.


Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

 Ha! I don’t know if I’ll ever consider myself a writer. I’ve been writing for most of my life, and it still feels new.


Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

While Asher Black is the first novel I’m releasing, it’s not the first book I’ve written. Kennedy Carter is, and that was inspired by Tijan’s Fallen Crest Series. She’s awesome.


Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?

Nope. I float from genre to genre and tone to tone. This is something I was able to develop at UCR, courtesy of the diverse writers I’ve studied under.


Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

It’s the name of the main character’s love interest.


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

 Lucy, the protagonist, struggles with bravery. She runs away from all of her problems until Asher becomes one of them. She’s not necessarily cowardly, but she hasn’t had anything worth staying for until now. So, this is the first time she’s fighting through her problems, and with that experience comes a lot of messages about courage and things worth working for. For Lucy, that’s an education, safety, love, and friendships.


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

 In terms of realism, the novel is fairly realistic. I mean, I don’t think I’ll ever accidentally call the cops on the mafia’s fixer, but I suppose it could happen. Lucy’s education is based on my own life and the value I place on learning. I can’t see myself ever writing about a character that doesn’t value an education. That’s just not a message I’d like to spread.


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

All of Tijan’s books are huge influences, along with Elle Kennedy’s, Erin Watts’, and Blakney Francis’. I went/am going to school for writing, so I’ve had a lot of mentors, particularly at UCR. Most notable ones are Charmaine Craig, bestselling author of The Good Men; Jane Smiley, whose novel A Thousand Acres won a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and was adapted into a film, staring Jessica Lange and Michelle Pfeiffer; and Juan Felipe Herrera, a former U.S. Poet Laureate.

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 sound like a broken record, but I love Tijan’s work. She’s hands down my favorite author, because she’s able to portray angst so well. Jane Washington is an up and coming author that is quickly becoming a favorite.


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

My boyfriend is my rock.


Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

Yes. Ideally, it’ll be the career I’ll pursue, but it’s also very risky. Not many people make it, and I may be one of those that don’t. I don’t like to think about it, but I do have a plan B. I’m getting my Master’s and then a Ph.D., so I can teach English or Creative Writing at a university.


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

No, mainly because I still have the opportunity to do so, but haven’t.


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

 I’ve always loved books. I learned to read when I was two, because my dad was a single dad at the time and therefore enrolled me in school early, while he worked. My teachers there really fostered my love for all things creative.

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

 Asher Black is about Lucy Ives, a 20-year-old that has aged out of the foster care system. She spent the last two years volunteering abroad and has finally made her way to NYC to go to college. On her first night there, she accidentally calls the cops on Asher Black, a former fixer for the mob. When he tracks her down, he asks her to be his fake fiancé, which is where their love story takes off. I really like Lucy—she’s surprisingly brave, funny, and quirky.


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

 The general outline is so hard for me to do, but I need to in order to start the book. I get a headache just thinking about outlining.


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

No, I’m a student, so I’m pretty stuck in one place.


Fiona: Who designed the covers?

Me!


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

Finding the time to do so. It’s hard to balance schoolwork and writing. I thought I could do it, but I’ve learned the hard way that pursuing a Master’s is far more difficult that pursuing a Bachelor’s.


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

Yes—I’m funnier than I think I am.

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

I can see Cindy Kimberly as Lucy Ives and Nick Bateman as Asher Black.


Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?

I’m going to have to quote Shia and say, “Just do it.”


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

I hope you enjoy Asher Black! You guys were on my mind the entire time I wrote it!

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

 Sin by Kelly St. Clare

 

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

 My first chapter book was the first book in the Junie B. Jones series.

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

 Everything. I’m an overly emotional person, so I’m usually either laughing, crying, or angry.

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

 President Obama. In so many ways, regardless of whether or not people believe in his politics, he is an incredible person. I truly admire the man. Whenever I’m lacking motivation, I go back and listen to two of my favorite of his speeches—his New Hampshire Primary Speech and his 2004 speech at the Democratic National Convention.

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

 Oh, goodness… That’s a sobering thing to think about at my age. But in Asher Black, Lucy says, “My tombstone could read, ‘Here lies Dumbass: horny, lonely, and not entirely right in the head,’ and it wouldn’t be wrong all.”

Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?

Reading! It’s hard to be a writer without being a reader!

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

 I like all films, but I have an obsession with DC and Marvel films. I also love most shows, but I really, really like Impastor, The Mick, and Superior Donuts. Oh, and 24 is my life! I named my dogs after Jack Bauer and Chloe O’Brien.

Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music

Foods: anything out of a sous vide; Colors: black, red, blue, and gray; Music: Punk, Pop, Screamo, Rock, Country, Indie, etc. (so pretty much everything)

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

I’d be a professor, which is still my backup plan!

 

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

Facebook: www.facebook.com/parkershuntington

Instagram: parkershuntington

Twitter: @authorpsh

Amazon: www.amazon.com/author/parkershuntington

Preorder Asher Black: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XRMLG69

Here is my interview with Charlotte J. Rains

Name   Charlotte J. Rains   My author name is: C.J. Rains

Age I will be 64 in August of this year

Where are you from 

I was born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, but now live in Arizona, USA

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

I have no formal education to speak of. I am married, have 3 children, 5 grandchildren, and 1 great-grandchild.

Fiona: Tell us your latest news?  

I just recently published my fourth poetry book “Reflections” and my very first poetry book for children, “Ladybug! Ladybug!” recently won a Silver Medal “Feathered Quill” book award for best illustrated children’s poetry book for 2016. It is the first book of my “Flitter, Flutter, Crawly” series. The second book of this series, “Bluebird! Bluebird” is scheduled to be released in this Fall.


Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?  

I began writing at an early age, in elementary school. My class was given an assignment to write a cowboy poem, and my poem was published in our school paper. That was when I fell in love with writing. I was so proud!


Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I finally considered myself a writer when my first book of poetry, “Hills and Valleys” was published in 2011.


Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

I joined several writing groups, and when I began getting positive feedback from fellow writers who had been published, I was inspired move forward.


Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?

No, not really. My style is whatever mood I might be in when I sit down to write.

It may even come from something I read that day.

 

 


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

I absolutely love the Bronte sisters. I own several copies of Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre. I guess they influenced me the most. Then there is John Grisham who is a genius in my opinion. I have really not been what you would call, mentored by anyone, although I have a few fellow writer friends I adore and have encouraged me along. I will be forever grateful to them.

 

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?

Linda Huber is a fairly new author I was fortunate to discover. She is from Scotland, but now lives in Switzerland. I own and have enjoyed many of her books. I love how she so vividly describes scenes. It puts me right there, and that is a big plus for me in any book I’m reading.

I guess if I had to choose a favorite author, it would have to be John Grisham. I have read just about all of his books. I love his attention to detail.

 


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

My writing groups have been my biggest supporters. Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am today.


Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

I can only say that I will continue to write for pleasure, even if it does not become a

career.


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

Absolutely not.


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

I have always been a lover of words and how they sound when spoken. As I said earlier, my school poem being published was where my true interest originated.

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

To date, I am working on a short story I began a couple of years ago, “The Disappearance of Tom Walters.” I’m hoping to turn it into a novel or a novella. I have also brought out and began working on a novel I started many years ago. The title is a toss up between, “Fly Away Anne” or “Inside Out.”


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

Yes. Just finding the free and quiet time I need has made it very difficult to write. And like most writers, I hate editing with a passion!


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

No, thank goodness!


Fiona: Who designed the covers?

Susan Joyner-Stumpf of Wildfire Publications designed the cover of my latest book, “Reflections.” She did an amazing job! I love it and have received numerous compliments. And the cover for “Ladybug! Ladybug!” was designed by my illustrator/publisher, Alexandra MacVean. She is just amazing. I feel so fortunate to have her.


Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?

Yes. Never quit! If writing is your passion, don’t allow anything or anyone to hinder you or cause you to give up.


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

Yes. Thank you for reading my work and please write a review once you’ve finished reading. A good review is so important and means a lot to a writer.

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

Right now I am reading, “Frozen in Time’ by a dear writer friend of mine, Sharon Ricklin Jones. I don’t think she really knows just how talented she truly is.

 

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

Not really, there were just too many books and too many years.

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

Funny situations make me laugh. And I am an animal lover, so add one to a book and I am sure to cry at some point.

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

Charlotte Bronte, because of her amazing writing, and Anthony Hopkins because of his brilliant acting.

Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?

Yes. I love to cook, and although I haven’t sketched or painted in many years, I enjoy it and would like to try again. I also love music, and have tried my hand at writing songs in the past.

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

I am hooked on Bates Motel! I will be very sad when it ends. I like a good movie drama and just recently enjoyed watching “The Light Between Oceans.” It was a wonderful book and the movie was definitely not a disappointment as some have been in the past.

Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music

I love Mexican and Chinese foods, as well as southern dishes. I like blue and green. And I like a little of all music, except for heavy metal. I can’t tolerate it.

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

I have a nursing background, so it would be either that or teaching.

 

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

Yes.   http://cjrains.blogspot.com/

https://www.amazon.com/C.J.-Rains/e/B01M5C6CS2/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_book_1

 

Here is my interview with Catherine Cavendish

Name  Catherine Cavendish

Age 62

Where are you from

Originally from Hereford, England where the famous white-face beef cattle come from. This was swiftly followed by Birmingham, Halifax, Liverpool, Leeds, Peterborough, Bedford, Hull, back to Liverpool and now we divide our time between there and North Wales where we share our home with a delightful ‘trainee’ cat (she’s nearly eight months old) called Serafina and a friendly part-time ghost possibly called Mrs Edwards

 

 

Fiona: Tell us your latest news?

There has been plenty going on this year. With the closure of Samhain Publishing, my books with them – Linden Manor, Saving Grace Devine, The Pendle Curse, Dark Avenging Angel and The Devil’s Serenade have all been reissued by Crossroad Press.

I have also signed a three book deal with Kensington-Lyrical beginning with Wrath of the Ancients, which is available for pre-order now and comes out on October 24th

 

 
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I don’t remember a time I wasn’t writing. I loved reading so much and started at a precociously early age. I kept running out of things to read, so I wrote my own

 

 
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

When I was nine years old! But then, not for many years until I signed my first book contract

 

 
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

I have always loved ghost stories and some odd things were happening in a house where I lived at the time, so I drew inspiration from them and a story developed from there. That one never saw a publisher, but it spurred me on.

 

 
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?

I think it’s difficult to judge your own writing in that way. I don’t (generally) do happy endings or romance, but I do love to lure readers into atmospheric houses where shadows move and unseen eyes watch every move. I love to add a Gothic flavour where appropriate and if I scare myself, I usually know it’s working.

 

 
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

Wrath of the Ancients is descriptive of what the story is about. Dr. Emeryk Quintillus is an archaeologist with an obsessive love for the last pharaoh of Egypt – Cleopatra. He is determined to bring her back to life and to tear her spirit away from the only man she ever loved – Mark Antony. He will stop at nothing to get what he wants, even if that means incurring the wrath of the ancient gods

 

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

If you see a strangely dressed man with black eyes, flowing black hair, a stovepipe hat, beard and long black jacket – run like hell!

 

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

The locations are real – Taposiris Magna is a ruined temple near Alexandria in Egypt and recent archaeology is leading experts to believe Cleopatra may be buried there (possibly alongside Mark Antony). The locations in Vienna are real too – and the historical characters seen in the Café Central in 1913 would most likely have been there. Gustav Klimt – who plays a cameo role – was also real and I have tried to present him as I think he would have behaved in the situation I put him.

 

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

Wuthering Heights has been a recurring favourite throughout my life. I love that dark, brooding atmosphere Emily Brontë created. I regard Ramsey Campbell as a major influence and I read his books avidly. Do I need to say I love Stephen King’s work? I certainly do. Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House is also compulsive reading and Susan Hill’s The Woman in Black is a perfect example of how she creates an authentic period atmosphere in a non-specific timeframe. I believe her publisher (or maybe her agent?) calls it ‘Hill-time’.

 

 

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?

There are some amazing new – or relatively new – authors out there. Hunter Shea, Jonathan Janz, Ronald Malfi, Russell James, Holli Moncrieff, Somer Canon and, away from horror, Shehanne Moore writes great historical fiction, while Martin Millar writes the most compulsive fantasy – check out The Good Fairies of New York or Lonely Werewolf Girl – totally irreverent and great fun.

I can’t single out any one author. All the ones I have mentioned – and more besides – are my favourites and I love them because they write strong stories, with memorable plotlines and characters so that I lose myself in their world and am sorry when the book ends.

 

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

My fellow writers. Horror authors are an incredibly supportive, friendly bunch, and I am lucky to know some brilliant ones, along with some amazing non-horror authors who have supported me throughout.

 

 
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

Most definitely

 

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

I don’t think so – but it’s not out yet. As for my previous titles, I don’t think there is anything I would change fundamentally – although you can always find a better word than the one you chose!

 

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

From all the reading I have always done.

 

 

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

Here’s the synopsis for Wrath of the Ancients:

DESTINY IN DEATH

Egypt, 1908

Eminent archeologist Dr. Emeryk Quintillus has unearthed the burial chamber of Cleopatra. But this tomb raider’s obsession with the Queen of the Nile has nothing to do with preserving history. Stealing sacred and priceless relics, he murders his expedition crew, and flees—escaping the quake that swallows the site beneath the desert sands . . .

Vienna, 1913

Young widow Adeline Ogilvy has accepted employment at the mansion of Dr. Quintillus, transcribing the late professor’s memoirs. Within the pages of his journals, she discovers the ravings of a madman convinced he possessed the ability to reincarnate Cleopatra. Within the walls of his home, she is assailed by unexplained phenomena: strange sounds, shadowy figures, and apparitions of hieroglyphics.

Something pursued Dr. Quintillus from Egypt. Something dark, something hungry. Something tied to the fate and future of Adeline Ogilvy . . .

Wrath of the Ancients is available for pre-order from:

Amazon * B&N * GooglePlay * Kobo * Apple

 

 

 

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

I get carried away sometimes and have to extract my characters from some extremely awkward, dangerous situations. That’s half the fun though!

 

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

It depends. For most of them, no, but the trilogy for Kensington wouldn’t have worked so well for me if I didn’t know Vienna as well as I do, or if I hadn’t been to Egypt. I will soon recommence work on a planned trilogy of novellas which required me to visit Edinburgh as they are largely set in the famous Closes. It all adds to the atmosphere – and gives me a great excuse to visit my favourite places.

 

 
Fiona: Who designed the covers?

I don’t know who designed the cover for Wrath of the Ancients yet – but I love it. The books that have now been reissued by Crossroad Press have covers designed by David Dodd. I love them!

 

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

The ending. I’m not saying why, but it took a while before I got it how I wanted it.

 

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

That writing a trilogy is in some ways harder than writing three entirely standalone novels. It’s so easy to be inconsistent over minor detail – and it’s important to get it right. Loyal readers will notice if you don’t.

 

 

 

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

I would love Johnny Depp to play Emeryk Quintillus. He does dark, brooding and sinister just as well as he does the more comic fantasy characters.

 

 
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?

Keep going. And don’t forget to read – not just your own genre but others as well. It will broaden your skillset as a writer.

 

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

Thank you. I love each and every one of you and hope to keep entertaining you for many more years to come.

 

 

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

We Are Always Watching – the latest from Hunter Shea

 

 

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

It may have been Alice in Wonderland but I’m not sure now. It was a long time ago.

 

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

Stephen Fry, Paul Merton – Have I Got News for You – always has me laughing out loud as does QI – Alan Davies is hilarious and Sandi Toksvig is doing a grand job.

Any animal film – even if it’s a cartoon – always reduces me to a messy, soggy blob. The Incredible Journey had me weeping buckets and I have never dared watch Watership Down

 

 

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

Only one? Wow! That’s a tough one. Oscar Wilde was the first person in my head. He was born so far ahead of his time. I would love to take tea with him at Claridge’s and get his views on how the world has changed since his time.

 

 

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

The End…or is it?

Because I always like to finish with a little twist in the tale (tail?)

 

 

Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?

Apart from copious amounts of reading, and film watching, I am a history buff and love exploring ancient sites and historic homes

 

 

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

I have mentioned a couple above but, as far as films go, I love watching horror – Cherry Tree, The Hallow and Wakewood are among my more recent favourites. I also love Neil Simon’s California Suite, and a fabulous spoof murder mystery called Murder by Death. Hilarious.

 

 

Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music

Foods: Italian. Colours: Black, red, purple. Music; Goldfrapp. Richard Hawley, Liam McKahey, Mary Chapin Carpenter and lots more besides, depending on what mood I’m in.

 

 

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

Act. I have trodden the boards in Am Dram but would have loved to do it professionally.

 

 

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

www.catherinecavendish.com

Cat’s Amazon page: Amazon

Thank you for hosting me today, Fiona. Really enjoyed it!

Here is my interview with Lily Harlem

Name Lily Harlem

Age A lady never tells!

Where are you from

Originally I’m from Scotland, but I grew up in Yorkshire then moved to London, now I live in South Wales and love it! In fact, I’ve loved all the places I’ve lived in, I’m very lucky.

 

 

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

By trade I’m a nurse, and that was my reason for moving to London, to train. I then worked just outside the City for several years. Life was a whirlwind as my job was centred around acute nursing (coronary care, accident and emergency, and surgery). I then met Mr Harlem, married, and his job brought us to South Wales and in turn gave me a slower pace of life. I missed the rush of nursing and the companionship but it gave me a chance to study creative writing, something I’d always wanted to do.

 

 

 

Fiona: Tell us your latest news?

There’s always something going on but I guess the most recent thing is my new release with Stormy Night Publications – HEAD OF HOUSEHOLD http://www.lilyharlem.com/head-of-household.html . It’s a historical, time-travelling novel that was great fun to write. Set in England I called on memories from my many wonderful visits to stately homes when describing Lord Radley’s manor. I never thought I’d write either historical or time-travel, but one thing I’ve learned about this game is never say never when it comes to genres.

 

 
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

The urge had always been there. It was my husband who encouraged me to finally sign up for the course.

 

 
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

 

When I’d finished the course and started to get published. Though before that happened I won the LoveHoney Award for erotic fiction with a story titled MADAM PRESIDENT. Because of that I always say the genre found me!  You can read the winning story in my 99c/99p anthology STORIES FOR WHEN THE SUN GOES DOWN http://www.lilyharlem.com/stories-for-when-the-sun-goes-down.html

 

 
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

After the competition and having a few short stories published I settled down to write a novel. I was inspired by a newspaper article Room to Let: Wanted, Girl to Share. The novel is titled SHARED http://www.lilyharlem.com/shared.html  and is a sexy ménage a trois set in Cardiff. It’s been very popular and just about to be published as an audio book, it also has a sequel SHARED TOO http://www.lilyharlem.com/shared-too.html. I actually got quite a taste for writing threesomes and more and have a wide selection. http://www.lilyharlem.com/menage-a-trois.html

 

 
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?

For a while I was hooked on first person, it’s so deliciously intimate, now I’m flitting between that and third again. Always simple past tense, I’m not even a fan of reading anything else. I’ve been told that my books read like movies , which I take as a huge compliment as I try and create scenes with lots of visuals and sensory descriptions.

 

 
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

For my last book the title actually came first, I imagined a stern but fair Lord of the Manor who was suitably kinky and looking for love.

 

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

I only hope readers let themselves fall into their imagination, and mine, and are whisked away from reality and into the Victorian era for a few hours. I write sexy romance, often kinky, sometimes GBLT, and when everything else feels dark and heavy, I hope my stories can provide some sensual escapism and lightness. Did I mention I’m a fan of happily ever after? I am, big time.

 

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

I’ll answer the mentor question because I had a wonderful creative writing teacher and for that I will always feel very blessed. She was enthusiastic, honest, brilliant, and inventive in the ways she got the class thinking out of the box. She was also very technical when it came to plotting and characterization. It wasn’t until I was published I began to learn about editing and sentence structure which is essential of course, but without the foundations of a technically good story, those details are pointless.

 

 

 

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 haven’t been reading much lately so I’m finding this a hard question to answer. But I’m one of the Brit Babes and I’m always happy to dip into my colleagues work. http://www.thebritbabes.co.uk In fact if you follow this link there is a FREE ebook for everyone and it includes one of my short stories.

 

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

The Brit Babes as cited above! They’re my friends, they cheer when things go well, commiserate when they don’t. Writing is a lonely job, without other authors who ‘get’ what it’s like I don’t know if I’d still be doing it.

 

 
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

Most definitely. It pays the bills (well, some of them!).

 

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

In my latest book – no. In general, then yes, I’d read contracts more thoroughly, I got stung with a few dodgy lines of wording back in the beginning. I’m too trusting and try not to be, it’s hard, though, my nature is to see the good in everyone.

 

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

It’s been there since I could read, I just needed to take some time to go and be a nurse for 16 years before I could indulge. It was the right thing to do, I like to think I made a difference to lots of people’s lives when they were having a tough time. My experiences on the wards have also fed my imagination and BREATHE YOU IN, http://www.lilyharlem.com/breathe-you-in.html which was inspired when I was working in coronary care, was named a USA Today Recommended Read of 2014. And CONFESSIONS OF A NAUGHTY NIGHT NURSE was published by HarperCollins http://www.lilyharlem.com/confessions-of-a-naughty-night-nurse.html

 

 

 

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

Sure, I’m working on a series of novellas called REDWOOD SHIFTERS http://www.lilyharlem.com/redwood-shifters.html they’ll be published approx. one a month starting in June by Pride Publishing.

 

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

Yes, I have Repetitive Strain Injury in my right forearm from typing so much! I have to make sure I rest my arm otherwise it’s so painful it keeps me awake at night. And when I’m awake at night I lie in bed thinking up more stories that I can’t write down because my arm hurts – it’s a bit of a vicious cycle I’ve gotten into!

 

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

No, but I do love to travel as does Mr H. I usually post pictures of our adventures on Facebook and on my blog. http://lilyharlem.blogspot.co.uk

 

 
Fiona: Who designed the covers?

The publishers’ art department or Posh Gosh. http://emmyellisblog.blogspot.co.uk/p/posh-gosh-art.html

 

 

 

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

Ohhh that’s a good question. Can I say my entire HOT ICE series? http://www.lilyharlem.com/hot-ice.html Because that would mean auditioning lots of hunky actors to play the sexy Viper hockey team. Anyone want to help me? 😉

 

 
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?

Learn the craft. It’s all well and good having a brilliant imagination and loads of story ideas but without the basics of how to write them down you won’t produce something you feel proud of (or that people will buy).

 

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

Thank you for buying my books and sticking with me!

 

 

 

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

I’ve been reading a travel book about Nepal. I want to go trekking there later in the year.

 

 

 

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

It was an Enid Blyton Ladybird book I’m sure!

 

 

 

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

Laugh – when Mr H is relaxed and being silly (he’s so serious and busy most of the time!)

Cry – when people (those I love and strangers) are hurt, or unhappy, or struggling against injustice.

 

 

 

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

Lady Diana – I’d like to tell her not to get in that car.

 

 

 

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

My real name and my pen name? That would confuse people. I don’t reveal my pen name to many in my real life.

 

 

 

Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?

Hiking in the mountains, horse-riding, and running (though running is out of necessity, if I didn’t run every day I’d have a shocking writer’s bum!).

 

 

 

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

I’m into boxed sets – The Walking Dead, Homeland, Game of Thrones, OA, Sons of Anarchy are all on the go at the moment.

 

 

 

Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music

Food – Anything Mr H has cooked (except once when he made celeriac mash and it was disgusting!) and I’ve sat and watched him with a glass of wine on the go.

Colour – purple, if it’s sparkly even better.

Music – right now I have an ear worm for Rag ‘n’ Bone Man – I can’t stop listening to his album. https://www.ragnbonemanmusic.com

 

 

 

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

I would have stayed in nursing. I loved it, not for the money obviously, but the sense of satisfaction, and the wonderful people I worked with and met. It was more than a job, it was a way of life.

 

 

 

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

Thank you for such great questions. Here’s a list of where you can find me on the web. If you sign up for my newsletter you’ll get a FREE ebook.

 

Website http://www.lilyharlem.com/

Newsletter Subscription http://www.lilyharlem.com/newsletter.html

Blog http://www.lilyharlem.blogspot.com/

Twitter https://twitter.com/lily_harlem

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100015536740182

Facebook author page https://www.facebook.com/authorlilyharlem/

Pinterest http://pinterest.com/lilyharlem/

Raw Talent http://rawtalentseries.co.uk

BritBabes http://thebritbabes.blogspot.co.uk

Google+ https://plus.google.com/u/0/106837751333678531161/posts

Harlem Dae http://www.harlemdae.com

Goodreads http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4070110.Lily_Harlem

 

Amazon Author Page

 

Amazon US – http://www.amazon.com/Lily-Harlem/e/B004MHRTQK

Amazon UK – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Lily-Harlem/e/B004MHRTQK/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1359708195&sr=8-2-ent

 

Lily Harlem Author Bio

 

Lily Harlem lives in the UK and is an award-winning author of sexy romance. She writes for publishers on both sides of the Atlantic including HarperCollins, Totally Bound, Pride, Evernight, and Stormy Night Publications. Her work regularly receives high praise and industry nominations.

Before turning her hand to writing Lily Harlem worked as a trauma nurse and her latest HarperCollins release, Confessions of a Naughty Night Nurse draws on her many experiences while nursing in London. Lily also self-publishes and The Silk Tie, The Glass Knot, Cold Nights, Hot Bodies, Bite Mark and Shared have been blessed with many 5* reviews – all available on Kindle Unlimited.

If you love sporty romance don’t miss Hot Ice a seven novel 5* series about those sexy bad boys of the ice all available on Kindle Unlimited and the first book FREE when you sign up to her newsletter. And also check out Formula One themed novel Accelerated Passion and sexy soccer story Scored, also on KU.

Lily writes MF, MM and ménage a trois, her books regularly hit the #1 spot on Amazon Bestseller lists and Breathe You In was named a USA Today Reviewer’s Recommended Read of 2014. Her latest MM novel is Dark Warrior and you can grab Part One of her MM series Caught on Camera  for FREE!

Lily also co-authors with Natalie Dae and publishes darker plot lines and suspense under the name Harlem Dae – check out That Filthy Book which has been hailed as a novel ‘every woman should read’ and is available in book stores nationwide. The Sexy as Hell Trilogy, a critically acclaimed boxed set, is available on Amazon and KU.

One thing you can be sure of, whatever book you pick up by Ms Harlem, is it will be wildly romantic and deliciously sexy. Enjoy!

Visit Lily’s website for more details of her other books or her Amazon Author Page. Subscribe to her newsletter to get a FREE ebook and be the first to hear of new releases, and if you enjoy Facebook, hop on over there and say hi!

Here is my interview with A P Bateman

Name A P Bateman

Anthony Bateman but I write as A P Bateman (somebody else got there first!)

Age

45 (I had to think for a while, do some sums – for some reason 36 still rolls off my tongue…)

 

Where are you from?

I was born in Cornwall and apart from some time working away and several trips travelling (I hate that term now, but I guess that’s what it’s called when you holiday for six months at a time on virtually no money!) I have lived in Cornwall all my life. If you remember to take the time and keep doing new things, Cornwall is an idyllic place to live. There are woods and moors, beaches and rivers – it’s a great place if you’re outdoorsy. But wages are low, house prices are high and job prospects are not so good. If you’re happy to trade all of that, it’s got most of the country licked.

Home for my childhood was at Watergate Bay. The seventies by the sea was pretty eclectic – surfing and skateboarding were big. We moved when I was eleven and I started private school. It was all boys, mainly boarders who didn’t see their parents for twelve weeks at a time, and pretty tough. You learned to fight or run. I wasn’t fast, so got tough. We lived in the country and for a while my dad was a gun dealer and brought his work home. I was shooting crazy and became quite a marksman. It’s followed me through life. Clay pigeon shooting is my favourite discipline.

 

 

Fiona: Tell us your latest news?

My latest novel, Shadows of Good Friday came out in March (2017). It took me 19 years to complete – it was always shelved for different reasons – now the time felt right to re-write and I did so as a 17-year prequel to The Contract Man. There’s a lot of me in the book. The protagonist is starting his career in MI6, I had just trained and started to work as a bodyguard, so there were parallels there. We were both young and eager, naïve really. The main plot of the story was worked from three anecdotes told to me while training in close protection. I worked them into a plot and I guess my writing career started right there.

 

 
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I tried several times, but failed to get a plot moving. The first novel I finished was Spiral of Conspiracy in 1999. The publishers went bankrupt and I did not get the royalties I was owed. It was a blow, but I managed to secure an agent but still nothing happened. I was represented by another agent soon afterwards and he was all but there with a deal with Orion, a publisher he previously worked for as an editor, but Saddam’s regime fell and the first incarnation of The Contract Man was horribly dated. Pertinent predictions merely became fact, and that wasn’t the point of the book. Writing is nothing if not a flexible art and I later wrote ISIS and the Chinese economy into the book and it became a no.1 Amazon bestseller.

I like the control writing gives me, the creative outlet also. I own a business too and it’s reached the point where my writing has become my focus and main income. It’s time for a rethink and a fulltime career as a writer is on the cards. I’m excited, mainly because of the flexibility and time it will give me with my family, and my wife who is a teacher. Like most writers I get distracted, so I’ll have to be careful not to stare out of the window for six hours thinking about plots and bacon and waste a day’s work!

 

 

Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Only recently. Spiral of Conspiracy was published in 1999. Business, marriage, mortgage and kids took my eye completely off of writing, plus I had taken some serious knockbacks along the way. By 2004 I had given up writing completely. I didn’t get back into the grove until early in 2015, when my wife suggested I get the manuscripts out of the attic and put something on Kindle. That book was The Ares Virus. It may sound shallow, but it wasn’t until around late 2016 when I received an Amazon all-star bonus. My monthly royalty was the most I’d earned in a month in my life, and now there was a substantial ‘gift’ from Amazon because my books were in the top 95% of pages read on Kindle. That’s when I thought, “Shit, this could happen…”

 

 

Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

I was working in close protection and private investigations. There was a lot of inspiration to pull on, but also long periods of inactivity. I started plotting out Shadows of Good Friday, but changed halfway through and wrote Spiral of Conspiracy. It was the best feeling to have finished a full length manuscript and many months later, when I saw it in print I was ecstatic.

 

 

Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?

It’s becoming a little punchier. Less is more worked for Hemingway, Fleming and Chandler. The Rob Stone series are written in an American style, similar to Lee Child. This style is transcending a little to the Alex King books (an English series), which by their nature are longer, more complex stories. This transition in Lies and Retribution made for a faster read. Readers say the books are fast-moving and full of twists and turns – which is exactly as I want them to read. There are always comparisons to Lee Child, Frederick Forsyth, Gerald Seymour and Tom Clancy, but I’m A P Bateman and it’s just the way I write now. I’m not trying to copy anybody.

 

 

Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

The titles are always part of the story. It’s tricky and to date only one book has started as a title and remained that way. That was The Contract Man. Everything else has had a working title. The title eventually comes from a plot twist or something crucial that happens along the way. Shadows of Good Friday refers to the Good Friday peace agreement in Northern Ireland. The shadows aspect refers to ambiguous intentions of the IRA in the last few days – also the shadow world of the intelligence services.

 

 

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

I don’t feel that important. I just want readers to enjoy them as much as I enjoyed writing them. I’m not going to be on The Man Booker Prize committee’s radar, but I’d love to be on someone’s must-have holiday reading list.

 

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

I trained on weapons ranges with the Union County SWAT team, in New Jersey. I trained as a bodyguard with security companies run by ex-army, police and special forces. I have completed advanced skills evasive driving courses. And I have trained in karate and various martial arts most of my life. Those are all practical skills that transcend the writing and make it onto the page. I use experiences in life, and work with them as a seed. It grows to something more ‘dramatic’ in the story. There are a few scenes that are real – the train wreck King travels past in Indonesia in The Contract Man. I saw bloated, burned bodies, train wreckage, birds feeding on the eyes – there was nobody clearing it away. The injured had been moved, but there was a transition where the dead were left and nobody supervised the accident. I had to put that into the book – it was like a bad dream. In Shadows of Good Friday, the plot is based on three anecdotes I was told. I once got lost in the jungle on Sumbawa, Indonesia and spent the night sleeping in the forest without any kit. Humid, a hundred degrees, the forest floor alive with spiders, scorpions and snakes and without any water – that went into The Island where Rob Stone is forced to survive while being hunted in similar conditions.

 

 

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

The fist adult fiction I read was Jaws. It’s so much more than a rubber shark! Small town politics, an anti-hero, an affair, overcoming fear (the fact the chief can’t swim is perfect) – the shark is the catalyst to a great story. Ian Fleming was a great inspiration with the James Bond books – completely different to most of the films. Colin Forbes got me into serious series reading, and Lee Child has always had my attention with the Reacher novels. Early in my career EV Thompson read Spiral of Conspiracy (later updated and re-released as Lies and Retribution) and he said it was one of the best modern thrillers he’d ever read. He organized a reading with his agent – who dismissed it out of hand! So much for fifty books and a forty years as a bestselling author! It was a great thing for him to do though. Meeting Lee Child and giving him a copy of The Town to read was great. He was full of praise and encouragement. A genuinely nice bloke.

 

 

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?

Blake Crouch. I read the first of his Pines trilogy whilst on holiday in France in 2013. He has had two series of Wayward Pines filmed since then. He’s had a tremendously rapid rise – I had to wait two more years to finish the Pines books as he hadn’t finished them. LJ Ross has done very well – I met her at The London Book Fair and she was extremely personable. As was Mark Dawson, who I admire for his self-publicity and promotional work. He has done well as an indie author and is just about everywhere. Lee Child has always been my go-to author for holiday reading, his success is inspirational. I get most plots before the reveal, but not Child’s. Forsyth is a good read too. He has moved with the times very well indeed.

 

 

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

My readers. I was surprised how many contacted me to say how much they enjoyed my work, or couldn’t wait for the next book. It’s a regular thing now and never gets old.

 

 

Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

Definitely.

 

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

No. Not in terms of plot. To be honest, with Kindle and print on demand paperbacks, we indie writers have the facility to tweak. I had earlier books edited and re-uploaded when it was apparent there were a few typos. I have made small changes with some books. I added a few sentences and felt better about the plot because of the changes.

 

 

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

I thought it would be a great way to make a living. They say if you enjoy your work, then you’ll never work a day in your life. I have found that true of writing.

 

 

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

It’s another Alex King thriller (book 4) and a good deal of it is set in Cornwall. To be honest, it’s a pretty good concept and not been done before to my knowledge. It would make a good film pitch, so I’m keeping the plot under my hat! It fits the world well right now. Alex King was a hardened, weary assassin in the first book and I’m humanizing him a little with this story, giving him a detective role and creating a bit of tension between his fiancé and another character. I think to create longevity the character has to develop and grow with each story. Don’t get me wrong, he’s as cold and ruthless as it gets and he’ll be getting his hands dirty at some point.

 

 

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

I avoid sex scenes! I use it as a scene change, or come back to it with an insight into how a relationship consolidates because of the sex. Obviously people get close through the story, sometimes it’s progressed and sometimes it hasn’t. In all honesty my books are so full of life-threatening situations and dramatic pace leading towards an ultimate danger, there isn’t really time for it. There are abusive scenes and reference to rape in Shadows of Good Friday and that was really horrible to write. And there was torture and the threat of sexual torture in The Contract Man, those scenes were difficult to write as well.

 

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

With the exception of Northern Iraq in The Contract Man, I have visited every country in my novels. I feel it’s important to get the feel for a location, especially the people. I spent quite a few months in Indonesia, Australia and America and I’ve been to lots of countries in Europe. I like to add a location where we’ve holidayed as a family as well. It immortalizes a great time we’ve had together and I like that.

 

 

Fiona: Who designed the covers?

Spiffing Covers. They are excellent to work with and have a real attention to detail. I designed my first self-published cover. I was pleased with it, but knew that I would have to cough up some money to get to the next level. My sales virtually tripled overnight when The Ares Virus cover was changed.

 

 

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

Just finishing a book is a relief. The re-write gives me the greatest pleasure – putting meat on the bones. Some books have taken me to the edge because I have had to juggle a family, writing and my business throughout. I went a few months with only a few hours’ sleep each night because I was writing until 1 or 2am and up for work at 6.30am. Sometimes I would get up at 5am to get some words down and tidy a scene. But it’s writing fiction, I’m not after medals and it’s my choice. It’s what has to be done to finish a book. It’s important to me, because the goal has always been to write as a sole career. Now I’m close. Nothing infuriates me more than someone telling me, “I’d love to write a book, but I just don’t have the time…” No, you just haven’t got what it takes.

 

 

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

If you’re going to be a writer, you don’t quit. Some things in life need letting go. Like a job or relationship that makes you unhappy. Or friends who stab you in the back. But not writing. Never. It will be the hardest thing you’ve ever done and at times you will question whether you can do it and whether you will remain sane. Ultimately, you can only call yourself a writer if you finish the story and engage the reader.

 

 

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

I’d love to play the lead! But as I’d also love the film to be a success, I’d hand it over to Hugh Jackman. He’s play King well. I like Gerard Butler for Rob Stone.

 

 

Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?

Be careful who you take advice from and why they are giving it.

 

 

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

Thanks for reading, and I hope to keep you as my readers for a long time to come.

 

 

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

I’m writing, so I don’t read anything else. The last book I read was I am Pilgrim.

 

 

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

The Little Red Hen. About a thousand times!

 

 

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

My children.

 

 

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

Present: I met Lee Child recently, that was awesome. To meet a writer who sells a book every twenty seconds is incredible.

Past: I’d like to meet Hitler. I’d love to know what he was thinking and what his ultimate plan was. When and why he felt justified to do what he did in the holocaust. Only one of us would leave the room alive, but it would be an interesting conversation.

 

 

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

Bugger, I wasn’t ready!

 

 

Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?

Shooting, martial arts, a host of water-sports.

 

 

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

I sometimes lose myself in discovery documentaries that seem ridiculous like Gold Rush, Deadliest Catch, Alaskan Bush People, Mythbusters – but it’s dangerous, before long you’re watching some guy making a living buying junk in a container. They can make a show out of anything now. I enjoy crime drama and definitely The Walking Dead! All the James Bond films and good action-adventure films.

 

 

Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music

Bacon, steak, sausage and more bacon/blue and green/anything with a good beat and guitar rift –so generally rock bands

 

 

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

It’s hard to imagine now that I’m writing. Anything else now would be second best. As my website says –a secret agent, astronaut, deep sea diving cowboy would be the ultimate. That would be pretty cool.

 

 

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

Amazon author page:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/A-P-BATEMAN/e/B00TIS48AI/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Website:

http://anthonybateman1.wix.com/author-blog

Facebook:

@authorapbateman

Here is my interview with Cheryl Butler

Name  Cheryl Butler

Age  40…something

Where are you from?          

I live in a small village halfway between Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells in Kent and have lived here for nineteen years. I’m married with two gorgeous young boys and a beautiful step-daughter. I left school with seven O-Levels, determined I was done with education but, although I have had many, many jobs since, I have never quite found anything that I wanted to stick with. I have, however, found many true friends through work, so I’ve been lucky. I always wanted to do something creative and have tried several outlets but, again, nothing lasted…until now, but it’s all-consuming and I need to find a way to organise my time better! Both my husband and I have large families and we see them as often as we can, although our children’s activities seem to dominate our time so life is pretty busy.

 

 

Fiona: Tell us your latest news?      

My first novel, A Proclivity To Prurience, is due for release April 28th and I am so excited, though slightly apprehensive as this is all very new and unfamiliar.

 

 

 

Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?      

I started writing my first novel two years ago after my husband suggested it and a close friend encouraged me, but before that I’d written monthly reports, for three years, on the activities of my sons’ pre-school for local magazines and the occasional article for local newspapers and, although I loved it, when I stopped, I didn’t consider writing anything else until my husband’s suggestion.

 

 
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?     

I’m still waiting for that…but if Proclivity does well, I have several ideas waiting to be explored.

 

 
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?         

I had an idea that I tried to ignore but couldn’t and told my husband and he suggested I write a book. When I finished laughing, I spoke to a close friend and she agreed, so I started writing, expecting to complete maybe five chapters but a year later, I’d written two books.

 

 
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?

Yes, I think so – very direct but very elaborate at the same time, which contrasts well.

 

 
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

I wanted something obscure but appropriate so played around with many titles before settling on this one. It’s one of the things that kept me awake and I was halfway through my second book and had a title for that one before I finally decided on the first.

 

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

Yes: don’t judge people by their actions or your own standards. None of us knows how we would react in a given situation unless we have experienced it and even then, our own personalities and how they have been shaped dictate our responses.

 

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

None! The characters, their experiences and behaviour are completely fictitious, I’m happy to say!

 

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

None, really. I’m always captivated by autobiographies, especially when they are completely honest – an insight into someone that you hold in high-regard is often therapeutic.

 

 
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?

Since I’ve been writing, I have read very little because I don’t have the time, but I enjoyed Paula Hawkins’ The Girl On The Train. My favourite book is Wuthering Heights – like everyone else, I was enthralled by the complexities of the story, but especially because of the time it was written and because it was written by a young woman who had no experience of the lives she was writing about. I don’t have a favourite author…apart from Rob Osborne, of course and having already read the manuscript for his book, Anything Is Possible, I’m looking forward to reading it again when it’s published.

 

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

My family could not have been more supportive, but my friends have been amazing too. Amanda, one of my closest friends, has spent the past two years listening to me talk about nothing else and every time doubts crept in, she would patiently encourage me to keep going. She also read my first two books before I found a publisher and is currently reading the third. Another friend, Tracey, helped me with research, without any clue as to what she was getting involved with, as did Amanda’s dad, Paul. Rob and his wife, Marsha – my closest and oldest friends – have been as excited for me as they have been for Rob.

 

 
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

Yes – I have never found anything else that I want to spend every spare minute of the day and night doing and still not tire of it. There are two more books to complete the story of the characters in Proclivity and I have started a fourth unconnected book. I have ideas for at least three more stories after that so that should keep me busy for a while.

 

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

Probably! I’m a perfectionist so I’ve rewritten it dozens of times and would probable do so again if I had the chance but it’s too late now! I’m currently rewriting the follow-on which I will no doubt rewrite another two or three times before I’m happy…and then maybe again, just to be sure!

 

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

Yes – to get rid of a niggling idea so I could get on with other things…but that didn’t happen, I just carried on writing. If it hadn’t been for my husband’s suggestion and continuing support, I may never have started.

 

 

 

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

Yes – it’s a story about a young man’s obsession with his best friend’s mother and the repercussions of his fixation. It’s very direct, explicit and intense but the writing style fits with the characters…I hope. It’s the first of three books that focus on the uncompromising attitudes and lives of two main characters and those caught up in their questionable exploits.

 

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

Yes – time, mainly. Some days I can spend two hours trying to write a single paragraph because I can’t find the right words or phrasing; luckily, that doesn’t happen too often but when I reread the difficult parts, it’s generally worth the time spent.

 

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

Not yet but I have a meeting with my publisher this week in Leicester so that’s a bit of a trek.

 

 
Fiona: Who designed the covers?

My publisher, The Book Guild – I wanted something subtle and they delivered.

 

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

Having the confidence to continue with something that I knew could be controversial and would offend some. At times I felt it I should soften it, but I honestly believe it’s more authentic and necessary as it is to portray the characters accurately.

 

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

That I could do it. I’ve never considered writing before because I felt I should have a complete outline before I started and I struggle with that. I don’t plan beforehand, I have a simple idea that unfolds as I write. I can’t formulate the story and characters first because the plot and personalities develop as I go along and it works for me…I just wish I’d realised that sooner!

 

 

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

Ooh…that’s difficult! I really have no idea but I would very much like to have a say if the time comes!

 

 
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?

Write whatever you’re thinking. If you dismiss a plot or even a single sentence, you’ll lose it but if you write it down and then decide it’s not appropriate, you can always remove it at a later date or use it elsewhere. And always keep a notepad or your phone close – there have been too many times that I’ve struggled with the next sentence or paragraph late at night, closed my computer down and then had the perfect idea!

 

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

I hope you enjoy A Proclivity To Prurience and I hope you love the characters as much as I do…no matter how despicable they might be! But, it is just a story.

 

 

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

I’ve just finished reading Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography.

 

 

 

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

Probably a Peter & Jane story at primary school!

 

 

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

Laugh – I love comedy and panel shows and of course, my husband, children and family keep me constantly amused; cry – anything that involves children; I hate to think of any child suffering in any way.

 

 

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

Bruce Springsteen – he’s a self-taught genius and not without his quirks, but that just makes him more human and fascinating.

 

 

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

Still dancing – I think that’s pretty self-explanatory.

 

 

Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?

Music. I listen to music all day, every day and love to watch my children play their cellos. I cannot imagine my life without music and am immensely proud that my children have developed their own interest. Photography has been an on-going interest and there’s always socialising…

 

 

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

Currently I’m enjoying Lucky Man, Big Little Lies and Broadchurch but loved The Replacement. Films – I love anything with intrigue.

 

 

Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music

I adore Mexican food; green is my favourite colour and most of the rooms in my house are green; I love Blues and especially The John Doe Trio, but my favourite singer, without doubt, is Paolo Nutini – he’s in a class of his own.

 

 

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

Been involved in music somehow but it’s very difficult when you’re not at all musical!

 

 

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

Not yet but I’m working on it.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cheryl-Butler/e/B01NARMRQW/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1490696735&sr=8-1

Here is my interview with Johanna Craven

Name:  Johanna Craven

Age: 35

Where are you from? Melbourne, Australia

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

I spent the first 24 years of my life in Melbourne before moving to Los Angeles to study film and TV scoring. After my course, I returned to Australia for a few years before moving to the UK in 2011. I currently live in London with my partner, where I work as a musician and writer and run workshops for artists.

Fiona: Tell us your latest news?

My second novel, The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea was recently released by London-based Endeavour Press. This book took me years to research and write so it’s a great feeling to know people are finally reading it!


Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I’ve been writing stories ever since I could spell. It’s something I’ve been doing for so long I couldn’t tell you how I started- it was just a need that I had. I used to write purely for myself, but now I’m selling my books, I can see it’s so much more rewarding to be able to entertain other people with the characters and worlds I’ve created.


Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Not really until I published my first novel. Even now I sometimes still feel like I’m faking it!


Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

I wrote my first book, Music From Standing Waves to combine my two loves, music and writing. There are parts that are quite autobiographical- like the protagonist, Abby, I studied at Melbourne Conservatorium and found it often very challenging. Writing about it helped me make sense of the experience in a way.


Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?

I’ve been told my writing is quite lyrical- I pay close attention to the sound and rhythm of the prose, which I’m sure is a result of my musical background!


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

That the line between ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ can sometimes be blurred. That people are too complex to be labelled as ‘goodies’ or ‘baddies’. I rarely write characters with the aim of making readers love or hate them. I just write them in all their complexity and leave it to the audience to determine where their sympathies lie. I know there are plenty of authors who disagree wholeheartedly with this approach, but I feel that human nature is too complex for a character to be labelled as good or bad.


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

The book is based largely on a true event: the earthquake and tsunami in 1692 that left the pirate haunt of Port Royal, Jamaica, at the bottom of the Caribbean Sea. The characters in the book are fictitious, but I have stuck as closely as possible to the events of that day, as preserved by eyewitness accounts.

While writing, there were some great coincidences, where I needed something in particular to happen in the story then discovered while researching that that exact thing had happened in real life. For example, I wanted the crew to be forced to row into Port Royal, as there was no wind. I discovered that at the exact time I wanted them to arrive- the morning of June 7th, 1692- a dead calm had fallen over that area of the Caribbean. I also needed the governor to be occupied when the pirates arrived. In my research, I discovered that on the morning of the earthquake, the governor of Jamaica had called an emergency council meeting as they suspected French spies in the colony.


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

As a kid, books by Judy Blume. As a writer, I’m influenced by authors like Hilary Mantel and Susan Fletcher. I was also really lucky to have author Rebecca Smith as an editor/mentor while writing The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. Her advice and support was incredibly valuable, particularly as I was beginning to doubt if I would ever see it finished and published!

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

I love the Sons of Odin series by Erin S. Riley. It’s set in the Viking era and has a fantastic cast of complex characters. Great writing and story telling.


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

Definitely the network of fellow authors I have built up since publishing my first book. Publishing is such a huge learning curve and it’s great to be able to bounce ideas off people and share our successes and failures.


Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Absolutely


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

Haha I don’t want to think too hard about that one in case I come up with things I want to change! I don’t think so- I’m very happy with the final product!


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

Not really- I’ve been doing it for as long as I can remember!

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

My work in progress, Forgotten Places, is an historical novel set in colonial Australia. It’s based around the true story of a group of convicts who disappeared into the bush- one of whom was never accounted for.


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

The amount of research needed for historical fiction is definitely a challenge! In today’s digital age, there’s so much pressure to do everything quickly and there are many authors producing numerous books a year. With so much research needed for my books, I can’t imagine ever being able to match this pace!


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

Yes, I love travelling to do research. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the chance to travel to Jamaica to research The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, but I’ve had research trips in Tasmania and Cornwall for my works in progress. It’s such a great experience as it makes my writing so much more authentic. I’ve found locals and historians are always so willing to help out when they hear you’re researching a book.


Fiona: Who designed the covers?

My publisher.  


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

Staying historically accurate. It puts me off if I’m reading a novel and I find an anachronism. Hopefully I haven’t let any creep in!


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

I learned a ridiculous amount about pirates! I also learned that’s it’s okay to write a really terrible first draft. I still have early drafts of The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea and they are hilariously bad. It’s really inspiring to be able to look at the finished product and see how much it’s improved!

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

Anyone but Johnny Depp! I love Pirates of the Caribbean but this is a very different type of story.


Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?

Be patient. With self-publishing so easy to do, I think there’s a tendency for people to click ‘publish’ as soon as they’ve finished a draft or two. Take your time, have a break and come back to the manuscript with fresh eyes.


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

Thank you!

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

The Girl in the Red Coat, by Kate Hamer

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

Spot Goes For a Walk?? No, I really don’t remember. I was a big Enid Blyton fan as a kid though, and after that, I loved the Babysitters Club.

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry? Pretty much everything! I cry at the drop of a hat.

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

Henry VIII’s wife Katherine Howard. History makes her out to be such a ditz, but I don’t believe anyone that brainless could have risen to the heights of queen. I’d love to know what she was really like.

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

No headstone for me- I’d rather be cremated and thrown over the sea! I have a severe case of wanderlust and this way I never need to stop travelling!

Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?

I love travel (see above…), cooking and I’m learning the Celtic fiddle!

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

I love horror films- anything with a good ghost story! I was a huge X-Files fan and I’m currently obsessed with Once Upon A Time.

Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music

Chocolate, red, 80s pop!

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

When I’m not writing, I’m teaching, playing and writing music. I’d keep doing all of these things.

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

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Devil-Deep-Blue-Sea-ebook/dp/B01N95XMBJ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1490685970&sr=8-1&keywords=johanna+craven

 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33124738-the-devil-and-the-deep-blue-sea

 

Here is my interview with Rita Goldner

Name Rita Goldner

Age 73

Where are you from?

Scottsdale, Arizona, USA

Fiona: Tell a little about yourself, i.e. your education Family life etc.   

I have a degree in elementary school education, and have always loved children, teaching, and drawing. I’ve combined all three in becoming a picture book author/illustrator

 

 

Fiona: Tell us your latest news?

I just finished a picture book Making Marks on the World. I’ll be picking up my first printer run tomorrow.

 

 

Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I started in earnest ten years ago, writing picture books, to combine my two passions, story-telling and drawing.

 

 

Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

When my publisher submitted my first print book, Orangutan: A Day in the Rainforest Canopy to a prestigious contest for books about the natural world, and it won a silver medal. I was flabbergasted!

 

 

Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

I took a class on writing and illustrating children’s picture books taught by an author/illustrator who since became a Caldecott Honor recipient. She got me hooked; it was a lot of fun, so I signed up for the advanced class.

 

 

Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?

My audience is young, so my style is simple and the pictures are colorful and whimsical.

 

 

Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

My publisher helped me come up with the Orangutan book title, and my critique group suggested the other title, Making Marks on the World.

 

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

In Orangutan: A Day in the Rainforest Canopy I hope the readers fall in love with orangutans and maybe when they grow up they can do something to help endangered species. However I didn’t mention anything in the book about their critically endangered status, since it’s a problem kids can’t solve, and it would make the book sad. In Making Marks on the World my message is that kids can learn in non-traditional ways.

 

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

Making Marks is fantasy and time-travel, but the places the protagonist goes to are real. The orangutan book is scientifically accurate. I did a lot of research, and had it fact-checked by a primatologist who runs a foundation that rescues and re-habilitates orphaned and injured orangutans in Borneo.

 

 

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

My mentor is Molly Idle, the author who taught the first writing/illustrating class I attended. When my own kids were small, I liked reading Richard Scarry books, mainly because he drew busy, madcap, detailed drawings. I loved Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are, again, because of the illustrations.

 

 

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?

My teacher Molly Idle’s work impresses me because she’s written several wordless picture books. This is especially challenging, since the story is conveyed through facial expressions.

 

 

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

While I was writing the orangutan book I corresponded with orangutan experts. They were an important part of my research. My critique group helps too, we meet monthly to bounce ideas off each other.

 

 

Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

I am retired from another career, so I vowed I would only do what was fun, but so far, this is a blast! I work almost full time now writing and illustrating.

 

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

It’s so new I haven’t had time to think of that yet. But I’m having it printed in small batches, so I can change something if I get negative feedback. The first book had a run of 1000 copies, so it had to be as perfect as I could get it. That book is almost sold out.

 

 

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

I wrote poems and short stories as a kid, and a few articles and news releases as an adult, but never considered doing serious creative writing until I took that children’s book writing course. Since then, I’ve taken dozens of classes, seminars, and webinars on the craft of writing and illustrating.

 

 

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

Making Marks on the World is about a boy who dislikes school but learns through drawing and painting. He’s assigned a history report, so decides to draw and paint it by time-travelling to places and years where people have used art to leave a mark on the world. (cave paintings, King Tut’s tomb, etc.) The reader can color the line drawing illustrations. I also put the coil binding across the top, for left or right-handed coloring. I’m a southpaw, so I was always annoyed by my hand resting on the binding when I colored.

 

 

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

Even though I enjoy it immensely, it’s challenging to budget time. I’m also doing marketing myself, which I enjoy, but it’s a steep learning curve.

 

 

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

I do a lot of readings at elementary schools, but only in neighboring cities. I’ve driven to do weekend book fairs in Tucson, Payson, Prescott, and Sedona. Those cities are about 100 miles from me.

 

 

Fiona: Who designed the covers?

I did the illustrations and my editors cropped them and picked out the font.

 

 

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

Finding a “voice” not too formal, that would appeal to a child.

 

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

I learned how important it is to communicate with children and get them to love reading. Toward that end, I really like doing the school author visits.

 

 

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

The Orangutan book would have to use a digitally created orangutan, because I wouldn’t allow a real animal to be exploited. In the Making Marks book, my protagonist boy has spikey red hair, which is my silent homage to Van Gogh. So any day-dreaming 3rd grade red-haired kid would do.

 

 

Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?

Join a writers association and meet other authors for networking in marketing and critiquing. Take classes and read how-to books on plot and character developing, and finding your “voice”. Hire a professional editor. Read voraciously.

 

 

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

Read with discernment, so you’ll learn to tell good books from not-so-good. Discussing them with your friends will help this.

 

 

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

The Longmire series of novels by Craig Johnson. The characters were in a Netflix series, but the books have different stories. (And last week I got to meet Craig Johnson and shake his hand at a book fair, where we both had booths!)

 

 

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

I remember the first book I took out of a library. It was The differences Between Crocodiles and Alligators. Even as a young kid I was intrigued by science and animals.

 

 

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

Human interest stories.

 

 

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

I’d like to go to Borneo and meet the primatologist who fact-checked my book, and see his rescue center, and the wild orangutans in the rainforest.

 

 

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

“She tried to make a positive difference in the world.” Because that would be the greatest compliment I could receive.

 

 

Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?

Sewing and painting landscape plein air (on location, outdoors).

 

 

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

I don’t watch much TV, but when I do, it’s cowboy movies.

 

 

Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music

Foods: Anything, as long as someone else is cooking. Colors: The cool colors of nature: greens, blues, violets. Music: Rock. (I take a Zumba class, and love dancing.)

 

 

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

I already had a 38 year career as a costume designer before I started writing. For something completely different, I guess I’d be a forest ranger.

 

 

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

I have a website www.ritagoldnerillustrations.com

And a newsletter http://shoutout.wix.com/so/3LhQU9GZ#/main

https://www.amazon.com/Rita-Goldner/e/B00NOCPT9S/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_1