Here is my interview with Alessandro ‘Alex’ Reale

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

 

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

Alessandro ‘Alex’ Reale. Age 27

Fiona: Where are you from?

I live just outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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

I graduated from Temple University in 2011 with my Bachelor’s Degree in English. I currently live with one roommate, a bamboo plant named Gregg.

Fiona: Tell us your latest news.

I am currently preparing for several book festivals and conventions in the Fall. I will be in Baltimore, Western Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and possibly New York.

Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I started writing as early as six years old. One of my first stories I remember writing was in kindergarten or first grade. It was a short booklet about the adventures of our class teddy bear. I’m not sure why exactly I wanted to write it – maybe because I just enjoyed telling stories? I was quite the story-teller (read ‘constant fibber’) as a child, and I decided to channel it into a creative outlet!

Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I officially considered myself a writer when I self-published my first novel, Dodger’s Doorway, in 2011. However, I think a real defining moment for me was when I became an employed writer in 2013. Since then, writing has been a major part of both my personal life and professional life.

Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

Well my first storybook was when I was five (as mentioned earlier). But my first published book, Dodger’s Doorway, was inspired by my love of fairy tales and fantasy adventures. I loved stories like Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Chronicles of Narnia, which featured characters venturing into new realms and encountering magical beings. In a way, I wanted to create this generation’s Alice in Wonderland.

Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

I honestly don’t know. I just remember it popping into my head one day while I was in the middle of a chapter.

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

I think I try really hard to make it conversational – like, I want my writing to sound like something you can read to another person in a casual conversation. I don’t like the books that get too formal with their speech. A lot of it just seems like fluff to me. But then again, that kind of writing seems to go hand-in-hand with the fantasy genre.

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

Well, the main character being bullied is definitely drawn from my own personal experiences. Other than that, the rest is pure imagination.

 

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

I’ve never had to travel for my writing so far, however, I am currently working on a side project that may require me to visit major landmarks around the world. I can’t reveal many details, but it could require much, much research.

Fiona: Who designed the covers?

The covers for my two novels, Dodger’s Doorway and Return to Storyworld, were designed by the publishing platform, Createspace. But the cover for my children’s book, Only One Samantha, was designed by a good friend of mine.

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

In Dodger’s Doorway, the message is about the importance of standing up for yourself and not being afraid. In Return to Storyworld, the themes get a little deeper, and the message is to learn about forgiving yourself and to not dwell too much on your mistakes or the past.

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

I am currently reading a book by a local author, Blake Renworth, called The Exiled Seven. I’m loving it so far due to how much it resembles The Hobbit (one of my favorite stories). I’m very much looking forward to the sequel.

My favorite writer of all time (and this may sound cliché) is J.K. Rowling. I love, love, love the Harry Potter series, and I think that’s what ultimately inspired me to create a full-length novel. I think what strikes me about Rowling’s work is the imagination. It’s amazing how she was able to create an entire world so imaginative and wonderful and yet still be appealing to such a wide audience. Truly amazing.

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

I don’t think there is a sole person who supported my commitment – it was a collective effort. Plenty of friends and acquaintances have 100% supported me in my endeavors. I wouldn’t have the time to list all of my supporters.

Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

That’s the plan. I’d love to support myself solely on my books, but I know that’s a bit of a journey.

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

I would’ve published Only One Samantha sooner! I had the story ready for a year but I delayed in getting it published. It’s gotten such a great reception that I wish I started writing kids books years ago!

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

I learned that even if a book is only 500 words, it can still be difficult to write! Only One Samantha proved to be quite a challenge, mainly because of trying to rhyme words together and trying not to use words that were too complicated for young children to understand.

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

I actually did a few Facebook posts about who would play the characters in Dodger’s Doorway if it ever became a feature film. I would want Dodger to be played by David Mazouz, best known for portraying Bruce Wayne on Gotham.

Fiona: Any advice for other writers?

Network, network, network! Make friends with other writers! Never underestimate the power of connections.

In general, I just love meeting other authors and buying their books. It’s awesome getting touch with people who share the same passion as you.

Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?

If you’ve read my books, I’d appreciate an honest review on Goodreads and/or Amazon. Remember – your reviews go a long way for self-published/indie authors!

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

As mentioned earlier, I’m reading The Exiled Seven by Blake Renworth. I am also reading a collection of Golden Age Marvel Comics.

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

I don’t remember the name, but there was this one book I read cover to cover when I was six or seven. All I think I can remember is a character called the Sand Witch. Or something about sandwiches in the sand. Ugh, I wish I could remember the name!

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

Hmmm what makes me laugh? Fail videos on YouTube. A guilty pleasure of mine.

What makes me cry? The ending to Toy Story 3.

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

I would’ve loved to have met J.R.R. Tolkien or C.S. Lewis. And obviously, if I ever have the chance, I would love to meet J.K. Rowling.

Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?

Besides reading and writing, I like binging Netflix shows, going on long drives, and trying to learn new skills/concepts.

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

Shows: Parks and Rec, The Office, It’s Always Sunny, The Walking Dead, Once Upon a Time, and basically any superhero show

Movies: I’ll watch almost anything superhero-related. I also love comedies, action films, and sci-fi. I’m not big on horror – mainly because most horror movies seem to rely on jump-scares rather than actual horror. And I refuse to watch sappy love stories/romantic comedies (unless my lovely girlfriend makes me).

Fiona: Favorite foods, colors,  music?

Food: Pizza, French fries, basically anything covered in buffalo sauce.

Colors: Green!

Music: My playlist is as random as you can imagine. I’ll go from Linkin Park, to Run the Jewels, to the Kingdom Hearts soundtrack, to Avenged Sevenfold, and so on.

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

Oh jeez. I don’t know what I’d do. I’d probably go back to school and learn a science. I’ve always been fascinated by the STEM field, but I was too committed to my writing.

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

I’ll be back, one way or another

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

You can follow my blog where I offer advice on writing, self-publishing, and marketing:

https://realewrites.wordpress.com/

Or you can follow one of my many social media accounts:

Facebook.com/RealeWrites

Twitter.com/RealeWrites

Amazon.com/author/realewrites

Goodreads.com/RealeWrites

 

Here is my interview with Elgon Williams

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

 

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

Elgon Williams, 61 years old, but I suffer from temporal dyslexia. This year, I’m acting like I’m 16.

 

Fiona: Where are you from?

Originally from Ohio. I was born in Springfield, which is a small city of about 100k to the west of Columbus. It is the county seat of Clark County. I grew up on a farm in southeastern Clark County near a small town called South Charleston. I’m not sure why it is called South Charleston. That implies that there should be a Charleston around somewhere about and maybe a North Charleston or something. But, no — Just South Charleston, a town of about 1700 people, though I kind of think they counted pets in the most recent census. Currently, I live in southeastern Orlando – hmmm, I’m noticing a trend here. I tend to live southeast of things.

 

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

I’m divorced with three adult children. My son is a physical therapy doctorand alsolives in Orlando. My oldest daughter has a Masters in theater and lives around Cambridge, which is a suburb of Boston. My youngest daughter is an artist, photographer, cake decorator and dog groomer who lives in central Illinois. I studied at Purdue University and the University of Texas at Austin, earned a degree in Mass Communication and another in Marketing. I also studied Chinese Mandarin, of all things. I served in the US Air Force and spent some time in Asia.

 

Fiona: Tell us your latest news.

Wow, there’s a lot to choose from. The latest-latest is that my publisher, Pandamoon, is contracting for audio book versions of Fried Windows and Becoming Thuperman, my two most recent publications. Early next year the first of The Wolfcat Chronicles, a ten book fantasy series, will be released in eBook and Print. The current plan is for an audio book of that one to be released later in the year.

Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

It was pretty early in life. I toyed with the idea of writing something when I was in the second grade (age 7 or 8). Trouble was, I suffer from a variety of things that all fall under the term dyslexia. You thought I was kidding about the age, thing, didn’t you? Well, I was, but I struggled in grade school with reading and such because of my disability. Mostly, I had to teach myself how to reader because teachers back then didn’t know how to deal with dyslexia. I started writing fiction stories when I was in high school. My 9th grade teacher, Mrs. Hibbett, expressed her doubts that I would ever be a writer. I took that as a challenge. I became a feature writer for the school newspaper and later, during my senior year, I was an editor. I studied journalism for a while, which helped me focus on structural elements of writing and composition of paragraphs and stuff like that. In the background, during college, I wrote a horribly complicated story of novel length, parts of which ended up in published things later. I still have that volume of pages in my closet. I pull it out every once in a while. It reminds me of where I began the adventure of writing and how awful I wrote back then. It helps whenever I think something Ihave just written is bad. Writing continued to be a hobby throughout my adult life until I finally decided to have a go at publishing something. That was when thetrue adventure began.

Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

High school. Like I said before, I took Mrs. Hibbett’s overall appraisal as a personal challenge.

Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

When I was younger, I had weird dreams. It was probably because I read a lot of science fiction and horror. I started a journal to record the elements that I could recall of those dreams. The journal also included some short pieces that were feigned attempts at creating stories. I took a creative writing course while at Purdue. One of the assignments was to create a character profile. Really, that was the beginning of The Wolfcat Chronicles. My instructor didn’t like the character at all, by the way. He told me it wasn’t realistic. Well, duh! It’s a fantasy character! But, then, he also hated sci-fi and fantasy. He spent an inordinate amount of class time telling all of us that odds were that we’d never be published. Really positive things to say to aspiring writers, you know? In his mind he may have thought he was doing all of us a favor, discouraging what can be a painful experience in life. But, if you really have the bug, you cannot choose to not write. The suffering is much worse.

 

Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

I’ll talk about wolfcats first. They are part human, part wolf and part cat. It was pretty easy to name them. And since the ten books are about two wolfcatsin particular, I decided to work that into the title. Fried Windows is actually Fried Windows (In a Light White Sauce). I misread a news headline. I really should wear my glasses whenever I am attempting to read from the computer screen. Anyway, I wondered to myself how one would serve a fried window?With that book, as well as Becoming Thuperman, I had the title before writing any of the book. Thuperman comes from how one would pronounce superman with a lisp. The main character, Will, bit the tip of him tongue off in a playground accident. So, he has a lingering speech impediment.

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

If I have a personal style it is about leading with conversation and writing the narrative around that. In that way, the characters tell the story not only to me but also to the reader. I incorporate a lot of concrete details into my writing, making it feel more real to the reader even though some bizarre things are going on as well. I think that too often sci fi writers focus on the gee whiz gadgets and infinite possibilities of a future when, being realistic, the future will incorporate a lot of the present and past. Look around. This is the 21st Century. George Jetson still drives a car to work!

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

Fried Windows is loosely based on my real professional and family life. My kids would tell you that it is really close to accurate at times. Becoming Thuperman borrows a lot from not only my childhood experiences, pretending to be a superhero for example, but also watching my kids grow up. The setting for BT is Normal, Illinois. What a great name for a place to find two budding superheroes! The idea for using Normal came to me while I was text messaging with a friend while I was en route to visiting my daughters who both lived in central Illinois at the time. My friend asked me where I was. I told her Normal. She replied, “You’re nowhere near normal.”

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

I did a lot of traveling when I was younger. I draw on the memories, I guess. But I also incorporate things from wherever I am. Fried Windows is set, in part, in a mythical part of Florida that is somewhat like where I used to live (Satellite Beach area). Come to think of it “mythical part of Florida” may be redundant. Is there anywhere in Florida that is not mostly mythical?

Fiona: Who designed the covers?

The Fried Windows cover was designed by Fletcher Kinnear, a very talented graphic artist. Becoming Thuperman was designed by Matt Kramer, who will also be involved in designing The Wolfcat Chronicles covers.

 

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

All my novels are about finding the humor in the world. I’m pretty sure that the binding force of the universe is irony. So, you’ll find a good bit of it in my writing. And, even though my books are not in the humor genre, there are humorous moments – because life is like that. It would be a horrible existence if it weren’t for the humorous moments. Other than that, the message is that anything and everything is possible because the only real thing in the world is the magic inside of you.

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

I have a great side job, working as a global publicist for my publisher. It is a role I slipped into because of my marketing, advertising and public relations experience. As a result, I know a lot of authors personally. Choosing any one of them would be wrong on so many levels because they are all amazing people for quite different reasons. Read Pandamoon Publishing books and find out for yourself! I’ll tell you about some authors from outside of the Pandamoon community, though: Rose Montague. I love her writing. Her novels are all about action and pushing the edge of every possible envelope. I also like Margaret Snowden’s period romances. Surprise, I read romance novels! Margaret and I became friends online when we were both submitting our rough drafts for comments from a writing community.

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

The greatest encouragement I received was from my present publisher, Zara Kramer. Yes, I published some things before I met her, but she has the same vision as I do about fostering a supportive creative community of artists and writers. We’re getting there, together, one book at a time.

Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

I made it a career five years ago. I’ve had to sacrifice a lot to get where I am and it’s still a work in progress. I waited until my kids were grown and out on their own. I’m divorced, so, really, right now it’s just me. I cut down on expenses. For example, I ride bike everywhere I go. I rent a room from a friend. I work side jobs to help make ends meet. All this so that I can continue to write. If you want to be a professional writer, for a few hours each day you need to write. You need to do that  to the exclusion of anything else for that period.

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

Actually, I changed a lot of things in it when it was in substantive editing. My editor, Jessica Reino, is also a writer. She writes non-fiction on writing theory but also writes children’s books. We had a an unusual bonding there right away. I bounced ideas off her and what happened was that I plotted the essential framework for two more novels. In a way, I guess you could say that writing another couple of books modifies the original novel.

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

I wrote the core of Becoming Thupermanin about a month, while Fired Windows was in substantive editing.From its inception it was a concurrent project to my mind. Then, when the line editing for Fried Windows was in progress, I revised BT. I thought the book was good enough to submit and gratefully, my publisher agreed. But I guess what I’m trying to convey, is that I learned how to work on at least two projects at once. That’s hard to do as a writer, I think, because while you write fiction you tend to live inside your story to a large extent. The story arcs  of FW and BT will eventually converge, but the characters are different and, at least for the first book of the BT trilogy, it had always existed as a distinct plot. The other thing I learned is that a story can be improved greatly in editing if you  are working with the right person.

 

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

The kids in BT would be tough. Will has red hair and freckles. Sandra has dark hair and olive skin. Any pair fitting that bill would be candidates. For Fried Windows, maybe someone like Matt Damon. It would be change of pace for him, I think.

Fiona: Any advice for other writers?

Never quit. Always be writing, even when you appear to be doing other things. That’s how the process works. The saddest thing is to hear that someone isn’t writing anymore. If you are writing there is hope that the story or stories you have inside of you will emerge for the world to appreciate.

Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?

Thanks for your support. And, yes, I’m probably at least as weird as you think I am.

 

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

I’m reading The Beacon by Chrissy Lessey. It’s the third and concluding piece of the Crystal Coast Series. It comes out this week (8/22/17). It’s about a coven of witches who live in a small North Carolina coastal town, some of them are descendants of Blackbeard the pirate, who actually died near where the novels are set. I have read the first two part of the trilogy. Chrissy is a good storyteller and how can you not like a story about witches and pirates?

 

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

H.G. Wells’The Time Machine. I read it cover to cover in one sitting. It’s not a long book, but for a kid that was an accomplishment. After that I read lots of fantasy and sci fi, Jules Verne figured prominently.

 

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

I like slapstick comedy. I’m sorry, but it is funny. Laurel and Hardy and the Three Stooges were mainstys when I was growing up. I also love the Marx Brothers and Abbott and Costello. When you say crying, I assume you mean happy crying. I love hearing stories of triumph over adversity. That will get me misty. And I love things about pets.

 

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

Kurt Vonnegut Jr. Because he has always been my favorite author. I mourned when he passed away.

 

Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?

 

I’m kind of a computer nerd. I used to build my own.

 

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

I don’t watch a lot of TV. That maybe a good thing, though. I don’t know. I like watching the History Channel. I guess as you grow older you get nostalgic and like reliving times you experienced or things you heard about when you were younger. I also like the Treehouse Masters on the Animal Channel. I love watching how to build things. Fictional TV, I watch some of the superhero things. Movies tend to be the same, sci fi, fantasy dominate.

 

Fiona: Favorite foods, colors,  music?

I love Italian and Asian foods. Favorite color is Blue. Fav music is classic rock – like Plink Floyd, Deep Purple, Emerson Lake and Palmer, and Yes. My fav band is and will always be The Beatles.

 

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

I’d not exist, or if I did, I’d be a miserable dude walking around with a warning sign dangling from my neck.

 

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

Immortal, except that things don’t always work out as planned.

 

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

 

My website is in transition and being redesigned. Please be patient. Shortly, I’ll begin installments of a sci fi novel there: www.elgonwilliams.com  You can also find news about me at my publisher’s website: www.pandmoonpub.com I submit stuff to the authors blog there. I’m active on Twitter @ElgonWilliams and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/elgonwilliamsauthor

Amazon Authors page

UK  https://www.amazon.co.uk/Elgon-Williams/e/B001K8TYXU/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

USA https://www.amazon.com/Elgon-Williams/e/B001K8TYXU/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Becoming Thuperman links to Amazon Page in US, UK, and CA

US http://amzn.to/2lHC4DX

UK http://amzn.to/2lHBqqj

CA http://amzn.to/2kOj9bt

Fried Windows links to Amazon Page in US, UK, and CA

US http://amzn.to/2azzLge 

UK http://amzn.to/2azANZX

CA http://amzn.to/2aFeTBP

 

Here is my interview with Nina Romano

Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie. Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we?

Tell us your name. Nina Romano

What is your age?

In my head, I’m about 19

Fiona: Where are you from?

Brooklyn, New York, USA

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

I grew up in a very loving family.  My father never went to college and wanted me to get a degree, so I did, in fact, I got four of them.  One in English and an MFA in Creative Writing.  I married and left teaching to move to Italy with my husband.  We lived in Rome for twenty years, where I learned Spanish and Italian, and how to manage a shop.

Fiona: Tell us your latest news.

I’m working on a new novel.  It’s historical, but it might get pigeonholed into the Western genre.  It takes place in the later 1870s New Mexico and St. Louis, Missouri.

Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I always scribbled poems, even when I was little and continued my whole life through, although I never had a formal course in poetry until Grad school.  I’ve been blessed—it’s easy to publish individual poems, but I’ve had five complete poetry collections published with small, independent publishers, and two poetry chapbooks.  I also wrote a non-fiction collaborative book on writing and a collection of short stories.  After Grad school, I kept writing and publishing stories and poems.  I found a lovely independent publisher—Turner Publishing, in Nashville, TN, and they published the three novels of my Wayfarer Trilogy.

Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Always.I wrote prayers and poems when I was little.  Then when I turned sixteen I tried to write my first novel.  I realized I didn’t have enough life experience or anything of value to say, so I closed the notebook and figured I’d try again when I hit forty.

Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

My family’s Sicilian background. I always wanted to write a novel, and based this novel, Lemon Blossoms, on a short story I wrote in Grad school, entitled: “The Seventh Day Photograph,” which was about my grandparents camouflaged in guises as Angelica and Giacomo.

 

 

Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

Sicily abounds in lemon trees, and the perfume from the blossom is exceptionally sweet and fragrant.  It’s a metaphor that I used throughout the novel—the sweet flower, the bitter fruit.

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

I wrote this first novel, Lemon Blossomsin very lyrical prose, and then I wrote the prequel which became the first book of a trilogy. This novel, The Secret Language of WomenI also wrote lyrically. These are historical fictions set in the late 1800’s early 1900’s, and I believe that the writing style I chose for them was unique and the best–suited for the stories I was narrating.The third book of the trilogy, has a much zippier tone and voice because it’s set in New York during the Depression Era and the main character, Marcella, is a feisty young woman who works in Macy’s and wants to be a singer; and the songs of that age simply dictated a younger voice with all the colloquialisms of the day.  It was great fun to write.

I think what is always challenging but interesting for me is the amount of research that I do for these historical novels.  You never want the research to show, but it needs to be present in the books, so you try to fit it in seamlessly. What happens often is you can get stuck in the research which interferes with the writing.  I did extensive investigating for both Books 1 and 2, because the writing touched on so many different subjects I was unfamiliar with—I’m of the school that believes in writing what you know, but also writing what you don’t because you can find out what you need to through reading.

However, for Book 3, In America, I changed tactics.  I wrote and wrote until I needed to research something, and did, but as soon as I was finished, I began writing once more.  I tried very hard not to seek to go beyond what I was researching.  I have a great curiosity and one bit of knowledge tends to make me want to discover more.

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

Approximately half and half. In the Secret Language of Women, there are two characters who actually lived and breathed on this earth.  The last Empress of China, CiXi.  There was also an Italian priest, Fr.AlbericoCrescitelli, who served as a missionary.  He was martyred in China.Every other character in that book and my other two are either based on people I knew who had lived or some composite of them or I completely invented them.

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

Heaven, yes!  I’m fortunate in that I’m married to a world traveler.  We had our own boat in Italy and traveled to Greece, Yugoslavia, France, and the islands of Sicily, Sardegna, Ischia, Capri, Elba, Corsica, the Pontine islands (supposedly where Odysseus was bewitched, Pontius Pilate skinny-dipped and Mussolini was jailed), and the Aeolian islands.  From these travels, I was able to cobble together many poems and short stories.

I voyaged to China twenty-three years ago where I took copious notes for Book 1 of the trilogy, The Secret Language of Women. I returned to China last year, after the book was published, to see if I got it all right—and I did!

For Book 2,Lemon Blossoms, I converted family stories and history into fiction.  I love Sicily and have been there numerous times.  I still have a one-hundred and three year-old auntie living in Palermo, and I speak with her often. I’d love to write a novel based on her interesting life—who knows—perhaps I will.

For my Book 3 I simply time-travelled back to Brooklyn and New York.  There, I listened in on my mother’s conversations with her mother and sisters when I was young.

Fiona: Who designed the covers?Maddie Cothern of Tuner Publishing designed my beautiful cover images for the novels, and I chose the all of them for my other books—poetry collections and a short story collection.  The non-fiction was a collaborative affair, and not much to my liking.  Oh well~.

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

If there is a message, I’d like to think that it’s this: in life everyone has a destiny to fulfill—it’s almost as if each of us is dealt a hand of cards—you must play to the best of your ability, no matter what the stakes or what it takes.  At least, that’s what my characters do.

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

Lately I’ve been reading Linda Holman—her exotic settings are wonderful. I enjoy Sally Gunning Cabot—she’s an incredible writer and does extensive research.

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

I think that would have to be favorite “writers.”  I love reading the classics, and especially Russian literature.  I’ve read almost all of Steinbeck’s—I think that’s at least twenty-three books, but not Viva Zapata.  Maybe I should. I like Cormac McCarthy, E. Annie Proulx, Kazuo Ishiguro, Ann Patchett, Charles Frazier—although he may not fit into the literary cannon, I loved Cold Mountain, which won the National Book Award, and Thirteen Moons, although it got shot down, and I read both novels three times.  I like Geraldine Brooks, and Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling’s mysteries—I’m not a fan of Harry Potter—mea culpa, mea culpa mea maxima culpa!)In Grad school, apart from the great classics, I liked A.S. Byatt, Alice Munro, Pat Conroy, Amy Tan.

I read no fiction when I’m writing—I can’t read books when I’m hitting the keyboard every day with my own work.  Like now, I’m writing a new novel that has nothing to do with the trilogy.  I read poetry, sometimes for about ten minutes before writing, to give me a sense of rhythm and balance.

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

Unfair question.  I have to say that my brother was my biggest supporter. I only wish he’d lived to have seen the fruit of it all in my published novels. Besides my brother, my professor, mentor and dear friend, John Dufresne has always been a huge supporter, not only reading and critiquing my work but also blurbing most of my books.

Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

Most definitely.I’m in it for as long as God gives me the ability to write.

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

Not in my last book, no.  In the one I’m writing now, yes! I’m about to start a major revision, after which I’ll submit it.  When, hopefully, it’s accepted, there will still be time to change and re-write.

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

I’m learning a great deal and putting it smack dab in the middle of the manuscript I’m writing now. That’s why I love historical novels.  I get to read and discover so much history and geography.  I acquire information about other cultures and societies—their customs, morals and mores. Plus, I seem to manage to give interesting occupations to my characters, thus I experience their livelihoods. Currently, I’ve learned how to brand cattle—my hero is a cowboy raised by the Jicarilla Apache Indians in New Mexico.  I’ve researched the Jicarilla Apache Puberty Ceremony, and so many other fascinating subjects.   

 

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

Scott Eastwood for the part of Cayo Bradley, and Lily Collins for the role of Darby McPhee.

Fiona: Any advice for other writers?

Read.  Read everything.  Take as many workshops as you can and definitely attend writing conferences.  And most of all, write every day.

Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?

My books are available on Amazon, Books a Million, Barnes & Noble, etc.  If you read them, please be so kind as to leave a customer review on Amazon—whether or not you buy the books there.  Thanks.

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

Monticello before I started writing the new novel, but now only poetry.

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

My mother read me the Fairy Tales, and then when I was about four, she began reading from The Song of Hiawatha andThe Arabian Nights: One Thousand and One Nights.  I was fascinated by Scheherazade. I begged her to read it over and over.

 

I started school early and skipped a grade because we moved.  I remember losing my place while reading in the second grade and a nun smacked me over the knuckles with a ruler. The truth is I don’t remember reading a single thing after that until I got the measles and then I devoured Little Women.    

 

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

You want the long or short answer?  My husband, children playing, dogs running, horses in a pasture, mountains, seashore, beautiful poetry—mine and other poets—gorgeous prose, sunsets, sunrises, hummingbirds sipping nectar and dive-bombing into the aspens, trees, flowers, deer, elk, moose, infants smiling, news of pregnancies, weddings, rocks, wood, good wine, great food, cowboy movies,books, handmade objects, surprises, intelligent conversation, sports, especially the Olympics, etc.

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

Leo Tolstoy.  To ask him how he ever conceived the idea of writing Anna Karenina and what inspired him to write “The Kreutzer Sonata.”

Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?

When I was young, I played tennis and skied.  I still read, knit and travel.

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

I don’t watch TV…at all.  I love movies: romantic comedies, cowboys, drama, thrillers, mysteries, you name it! I don’t like sci-fi or fantasy particularly, but I’ve watched these kinds of films as well. Anything that is entertaining—musicals.  I detest scary movies about hell, demons, Dracula.  There is only one Dracula I really liked and that was Bram Stoker’s novel.

Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?

Pasta and vino! You can do so much with pasta.  My husband’s a wine collector.  We’ve travelled all over to many vineyards in the US—I especially like wines from Oregon and Washington.  We’ve been to visit many in Europe—Italy, France, Spain.

I like filet mignon and lobster, but not a steady diet of it.  I am a fan of vegetables and fruits.

My favorite color is yellow and my favorite flowers are daffodils and yellow roses.

I like most kinds of music.  Least favorite is rap and jazz.  My husband and I used to frequent the Opera and Ballet in younger days. I love theater!

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

Read, cook and bake, knit, play with the grandkids, have lunch out with my friends, watch movies, travel—pretty much what I do now with the inclusion of writing.

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

Here is Nina, who loved life, family and friends, and who wrote novels and poetry because writing was her bliss.

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

My blog is on my website, but it isn’t up to date—I’ve been too busy writing.  I’d like to get back to having guest bloggers, though.  That’s fun and gives other authors a chance to show their wares. My website does have updates, etc. www.ninaromano.com

Thank you, Fiona, for this lovely opportunity to share my thoughts and ideas with your readers.

 

Author’s Bio:

Nina Romano earned a B.S. from Ithaca College, an M.A. from Adelphi University, a B.A. in English, and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Florida International University. She lived in Rome, Italy, for twenty years where many of her poems and stories are set. She is a lover of history and a world traveler.

Romano has taught English and Literature as an adjunct professor at St. Thomas University, and has interned for Marie Howe, Denise Duhamel, and C. K. Williams at the Palm Beach Poetry Festival.

She has facilitated poetry and creative writing workshops at Ft. Lauderdale Main Library, the Sanibel Island Writers Conference, Bridle Path Press Baltimore, Lopez Island Library, Florida Gulf Coast University, Rosemary Beach Writers Conference, the Outreach Program of Palm Beach Poetry Festival and Summit County Library.

Her short fiction, memoir, and poetry hasappeared in numerous literary journals and magazines.

Romano has presented several times at the Miami Book FairInternational with her poetry collections which include:Cooking Lessons from Rock Press, submitted for a Pulitzer Prize, Coffeehouse Meditations from Kitsune Books, She Wouldn’t Sing at My Weddingfrom Bridle Path Press, Faraway Confections, from Aldrich Press, and Westward: Guided by Starfalls and Moonbows from Red Dashboard, LLC. She has also published two poetry chapbooks:Prayer in a Summer of Grace and Time’s Mirrored Illusion, both from Flutter Press, and a short story collection, The Other Side of the Gates, from Bridle Path Press.She has been twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize in Poetry.She hasco-authored: Writing in a Changing World.

Romano has published the Wayfarer Trilogy with Turner Publishing.  All three of the novels of the series were finalists in book contest awards, and Book 1, The Secret Language of Women, won an Independent Publisher 20016 IPPY Gold Medal Award. The other two novels are Book 2,Lemon Blossoms, and Book 3,In America.

More about the author here: www.ninaromano.com.

Amazon Author Page: 

https://www.amazon.com/Nina-Romano/e/B00AU3T9WW/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

 

 

 

Here is my interview with Johanne R. Deschamps


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

 

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

Johanne: Hi Fiona! My name is Johanne R. Deschamps and I’m 53 years young.

 

Fiona: Where are you from?

Johanne: I’m from Montreal, Quebec, Canada

 

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

Johanne: I am married with three grown children and four wonderful grandchildren. I’ve lived in Boston, Miami and Vermont, where I attended Hartford High School. I have also attended Concordia University in Montreal as a mature student while raising my children. Though I did not complete my studies, I consider myself a graduate of the school of life.

 

Fiona: Tell us your latest news.

Johanne: I am currently working on my newest book, a memoir, which I hope to have traditionally published. It deals with a few different themes such as poverty, love, abuse, forgiveness and self love. I am always busy looking for ideas for upcoming projects.

Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

Johanne: I have always loved English. I’vebeen reading and writing since I was a little girl in grade one. Since I was extremely shy as a child, I found that writing was a more effective way to express myself. I felt more confident using this form of communication.

Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Johanne: I have considered myself a writer since I was twelve years old when I wrote and illustrated my first children’s story.

Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

Johanne: Well Fiona, I have always written; poetry, articles, and essays but I really wanted to try my hand at writing a small book. I was online one day and spontaneously Googled, “How to write a book in a week.” When I saw the plethora of results that popped up, I was flabbergasted. I wondered how I should choose.  After glancing briefly at one or two of them, I realized that this is what I’d been doing my whole life. I didn’t need these articles. I already knew the, “How To.” Now, I just had to do it. So, I challenged myself. I promised myself that if I could indeed write a book in a week, that I would self-publish it. It’sa book containing the best advice that I would give to anyone starting a career in writing.

 

Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

Johanne: I tried to keep it simple and to the point. I decided on, “How To Write A Book In A Week. ( A Writer’s Guide To Meeting A Deadline )” The subtitle comes from the fact that I gave myself the deadline of a week.

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

Johanne: I specialize in writing non-fiction, though I do not believe in confining myself to a certain genre. A writer is a writer and expression comes in all genres. I plan to explore many of them. As far as my style goes I could best describe my writing as, authentic, honest.The thing that I find the most challenging about writing non-fiction is that because I am so honest, I often have a fear of judgment. I had to learn to let that go.

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

Johanne: Since I do write non-fiction, I would have to say that most, if not all my writing is at least influenced by my own experiences and by those of the people in my life.

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

Johanne: I think it all depends on what I’m writing at the time. I need to be alone to do most of my writing and often, I am more creative and expressive when spending time outside in nature. Strange, since I’m not really a person who prefers the outdoors.

Fiona: Who designed the covers?

Johanne: I worked closely with my sister giving her my thoughts and ideas about what I had in mind and she executed the technical aspects. I am so grateful for her help.

 

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

Johanne: Though it is not a novel but more of a How To-book, the main message that I would love my readers to come away with is simple. You do not have to be perfect to write a book. You don’t need to have a university degree or many years of experience being published. You just have to want to do it and commit to doing it.

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

Johanne: I have a particular interest in an, as yet unpublished writer named, Wallis Tyne. She specializes in writing children’s books and from what I have had the privilege of reading, is a brilliant gem just waiting to be discovered!


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

Johanne: I had a lot of support from a great Facebook group I joined called, Writers Unite! We all have the same goals and the vibe of the group is very supportive.

Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

Johanne: I see writing as a career because I decided that it would be. I have tried numerous jobs in my lifetime. I’ve heard people say, time after time, that if you want to be successful at something, you should do what makes you happy. I finally decided that I would take that advice and I have never felt happier.

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

Johanne:  My latest book, is called Gestalt Poetry, and is a collection of poetry spanning 40 years. It was co-written with my sister, Paula Deschamps. The only thing I would change is that I would have gotten more help with the technical aspects of publishing an e-book of poetry. Specifically, formatting.

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

Johanne: Well, using my upcoming memoir as an example, I’d have to say that I learned that I was a lot stronger than I thought I was, and that it’s okay to not be perfect!

 

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

Johanne: My choice for an actress to play the lead today would be Meryl Streep.

Fiona: Any advice for other writers?

Johanne: Don’t let anyone, and I mean ANYONE, burst your bubble. Go for it!

Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?

Johanne: I want to Thank everyone who has and continues to support me by, buying my books, liking and sharing my posts on social media, writing a review or simply by visiting my website.

 

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

Johanne: I just finished reading, High on Arrival. It is a memoir by Mackenzie Phillips.

 

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

Johanne: The first book I remember reading for pleasure was Grimm’s Fairy tales and after that Fairy tales by Hans Christian Anderson.

 

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

Johanne: Life makes me laugh and cry. Sarcastic humor makes me laugh. Cruelty to humankind makes me cry.

 

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

Johanne: I would love to meet Ernest Hemmingway because he seemed like such an interesting character.

 

Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?

Johanne: I love drawing and gardening. These activities give my mind time to rest.

 

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

Johanne:  It’s an old show but I love watching Frasier because the sarcastic, witty humour makes me laugh hard. I don’t watch much television anymore now that I spend more of my time writing. As for movies, anything with Tom Hanks. Anything directed by Ron Howard. True stories. I am not into gory movies.

 

Fiona: Favorite foods, colors,  music?

My favorite food is cheesecake. My favorite colors are usually pastels like lavender or buttercream yellow. As for music, my tastes are quite diverse and it depends on my mood. I like Bruno Mars, Justin Timberlake, James Taylor,blues and any kind of dance music. (not techno) I also like a lot of classical music. (I’m partial to the violin and cello)

 

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

Johanne: I can’t imagine that kind of a future but if I had to, I would focus on my art as a form of expression.

 

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

Johanne: She wasn’t afraid to be different! No regrets.

 

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

special offers?

Johanne: I invite everyone to visit my website and connect with me on social media via the following links.

http://jdeschamps8.wix.com/connect

 j.deschamps@mail.com

https://twitter.com/johannewrites

https://www.linkedin.com/in/johanne-deschamps-6a7b72b9/

https://www.facebook.com/johannewrites/

https://fi.pinterest.com/johanne_descham/

My Amazon Author’s page link is:https://www.amazon.com/Johanne-Deschamps/e/B01GHYCEB0/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

I would like to Thank you for the interview Fiona.

Here are the links to my books

https://www.amazon.com/dp/15https://www.amazon.com/Gestalt-Poetry-Johanne-R-Deschamps/dp/1539392058/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1503231340&sr=1-239392058 

http://www.amazon.com/dp/1533666938

Here is my interview with Natalie Bennett

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

 

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

My name is Natalie Bennett, my age is somewhere between 20 and 30. 😉

Fiona: Where are you from?

I’m originally from Ohio, now I live in Florida.

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

I have three little boys and I’m happily married.

Fiona: Tell us your latest news.

I have two series coming early 2018. ❤

Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I started writing off and on when I was little, officially in November 2016. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do.

Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

To be honest it’s still weird to think of myself as a writer. I guess it became a little more real when people started telling me they read my book.

Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

A really messed up movie called the Seasoning House.

 

Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

The title popped in my head and I just went with it.

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

Not really. I just write whatever I want, however I want.

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

Considering my genre, I hope my books never turns into actual life experiences. Lol As for realistic, I believe the things I write about could actually happen and certain aspects do happen.

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

Nope, everything I write is straight out of my head.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?

Love Obscene and Love Corrupted were both designed by Dark Water Covers.

All my other covers (excluding the UltraViolence duet) are designed by Covers By Combs. Daqri Bernardo is amazing.<3

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

Umm…psychopaths need love to?

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

I’m a new author myself so I can’t really refer to anyone else as one. My favorite author is Courtney Lane. I LOVE her Wicked Trinity trilogy. It was The Sect that made me fall hard for dark books and crazy anti-heroes.

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

I don’t have an answer for this. Self-determination?

Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

Yes. J

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

Nope. I’m happy with how it ended.

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

Nothing huge, I mean I learned I can spend hours on reddit.

 

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

Lol Freddie Highmore, the guy looks nothing like my main characters but he nailed Norman Bates.

Fiona: Any advice for other writers?

Don’t let negativity get you down, and write whatever the fuck you want. I know my books are weird and people probably wonder wth is wrong with me, just like I know there are a shit load of people that despise my writing. *Shrugs*. You’re never going to please everyone and if you write for anyone other than yourself I think that takes way from the story you ultimately want to tell.

Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?

I FLOVE you! I’m always beyond humbled when I’m tagged or get a message from someone that read one of my books and enjoyed it. ❤

 

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

Enthrall by Vanessa Fewings.

 

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

Lmao. Wonders Promise by Joana Campbell is the first actual book I can remember being consumed by. I was all about horses when I was little. (still am) Teresa Deny’s, The Silver Devil was one of the first actual ‘dark’ books I came across. To date it’s one of my favorites.

 

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

I laugh at everything inappropriate. I cry over ASPCA commercials.

 

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

The list is way too long.

 

Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?

Horseback riding, reading (of course), and I’m attempting DIY projects on Pinterest.

 

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

Animal Kingdom–Smurf is love.

& good horror movies.

 

Fiona: Favorite foods, colors,  music?

Favorite food? Rice, I love rice. Favorite colors are red, black, and dark blue.

Music-Lana Del Rey is my spirit animal but I listen to everything.

 

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

I wanted to be a vet. Can’t imagine not writing though.

 

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

I have no idea, but I do want to plan my own funeral.

 

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

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

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

Website: https://www.nataliebennett.net/

 

https://www.amazon.com/Natalie-Bennett/e/B01G8Z4IF8/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

Here is my interview with A. Maslo

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

 

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

 My name is Alicia Maslo, but I go by A. Maslo in the author world.

 

Fiona: Where are you from?

I wasborn in Hawaii, but I have travelled all over the US and have currently settled in Tennessee.

 

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

I have an amazing husband who is in the Army along two boys ages 10 and 8. We also have two Rotties that are pretty much a second set of children.

 

Fiona: Tell us your latest news.

I have 2 new releases coming this fall, one in Sept. and one in Oct. that I’m pretty excited about. I also am working on book 2 of the Annarii Fae series, an anthology set for next year, and I recently teamed up with a dear friend and co-worker of mine to co-write another series we thought of.

Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I started to seriously write in Feb of 2016 because I had an idea for a great story and decided the best person to tell it would be me. Before that, I dabbled in poetry and storytelling as an outlet.

Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I would say when I was about halfway through writing my first book. I knew that I was hooked into the story and loved it so much, that that is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

Two things really- one, I had this wicked crazy dream and told my best friend about it, and two- she convinced me I should make it a story.

 

Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

I wanted something catchy and unique, so I started thinking and then it just hit me- the story really jumps off during the characters graduation ceremony, which is called the Rite of Annarii, so I went with it.

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

 I prefer to write in first person and if the mood strikes, I’ll write, but I don’t force myself to write or make those word counts- I can’t handle the pressure, so I go at my pace. I also don’t do any sort of outline or plot pointing, I just let the story go where it wants to. If an idea for it strikes, then I’ll write that down on a notepad for possible later use if it goes that direction. But honestly, I write as if I am the character going through what they go through. I get so wrapped up in immersed into the story it gets overwhelming sometimes- especially when that character goes through something traumatic. That’s what’s challenging to me; to step away and remind myself that it’s just a character and not happening. (Lol) I get really attached to them.

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

Well, there’s the interesting part. The personalities of my characters in my main series are of people in my life I know personally. The foods from that era and region, along with the building materials and things of that sort are all “real” for the era it’s set in, but since I write fantasy, the stories are just that. I take inspiration for people as a way to connect with the story.

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

Not generally, no. I have travelled all over the US countless times and I love taking pictures of the sky and of nature, then I use those images to describe the landscapes. I even have people who send me photos of things in nature they found beautiful to help in that endeavor.

Fiona: Who designed the covers?

Original cover design for Rite of Annarii was Red Umbrella Graphic Designs, until I signed with my publisher in which Feather Dreams Press created its new cover. FDP also designed the cover for The Unremembered, while The Anguished Queen is also being designed by Red Umbrella Graphic Designs.

 

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

I think the overall theme would be to never give up, even though things are going to get tough and seem ridiculously impossible, you can still make it through, especially if let others in to help. That’s kind of a central theme in all of my work now that I think of it- that was completely unintentional. (Lol)

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

Yes, I really loved Yolanda Allard’s Illuminous novel and am patiently waiting for book 2. I also am enjoying a book by Zizi Cole titled Sweet Nightmares- the second one just recently released, so I am behind the ball there. (Lol)

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

Hmm, well, my best friend is the one who said I needed to publish my book, so if she counts as an entity, then I’d say her. However, I submitted my novel to Bella Tulip Publishing after a few months of being self-published, who replied saying they wanted to sign the series, which blew me away.

Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

Definitely. It’s a long and hard process, but I love it. I may not be the next Rowling, but I love writing and making people feel something when they read my work. For now, that’s enough.

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

Not a word. The Anguished Queen just flowed so beautifully. I didn’t know where it was going or what it was doing, but it was an amazing tale and I love every single bit of it.

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

 Well, I realized I have a dark side in my writing. I always end up having at least one death, I always put the protagonist through some kind of heartbreak, and I love when I can make people cry. Man, I kind of sound sadistic in my writing. (Lol)

 

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

I have been asked this and I thought a lot about the answer. If Rite of Annarii was a film, I would want Ashley Greene or Mila Kuniz playing Fellwynne. They are amazing actresses.

Fiona: Any advice for other writers?

Just do you. Be yourself and tell the story you want to tell. Don’t give up and don’t let anyone drag you down. You got this.

Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?

Please be patient and in there with me, I am working on book 2 and it’s moving along smoothly, and I have some exciting projects coming up that I can’t wait to share with you.

 

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

I’m actually reading 2 currently- Sweet Nightmares by Zizi Cole that I mentioned earlier, and Game of Thrones book 1 because I can’t get enough of George R.R. Martin.

 

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

I remember the first novel I read- The Fairy Rebel by Lynn Reid Banks which could be what started my obsession with Fantasy.

 

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

Too many things to name honestly. But I always get teary when an animal or child dies, especially in films.

 

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

Jane Austen, because it’s Jane Austen. I’m a big Austen fan- books, films, it doesn’t matter. She was so incredibly talented. I would want to know if the stories she told were based in truth or fiction. If truth, I’d want to know if they were her way of escaping her own life, making her own tale better. Or maybe it’s of the lives of her friends, giving them better endings, ones they deserved instead of what they received. I would want to know her passion and inspiration that has captured fans for decades and made her a legend.

 

Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?

 I love painting and singing, reading, watching movies with the family, and I won’t lie, I even like to play with Legos, building cathedrals and castles for the kids to play with.

 

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

Game of Thrones, Outlander, Grimm (it’s over though), Vikings, H2O (an Aussie tv show), Gotham, PLL (but it’s done too), Shadow Hunters, etc. Honestly, if I named them all, we’d be here a while. (Lol)

 

Fiona: Favorite foods, colors,  music?

 Favorite foods: pizza, ribs, spaghetti, lasagna, potatoes (in all their forms), corn, tacos, burgers- what can I say, I love food. My favorite color is Sapphire Blue, and I love music. I’ll listen to anything except Jazz and Rap. I especially enjoy classical, celtic (folk or punk), and metal. What a mix, right?

 

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

 Hopefully turn to my painting. I love creating. It’s what I did before I got in to writing, so I’d imagine, I’d continue with that.

 

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

 I don’t know because I used to want to be cremated, but I would want it to say something witty like, “Died from not forwarding that message to ten people,” or “She watched the damn video 7 days ago.” (Lol)

 

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

My website is: http://amasloauthor.wixsite.com/amaslo and my FB page is: www.facebook.com/amaslo-author Both locations have a ton of info from book links, to order forms, to upcoming info and teasers, swag and much more!

 

 

Amazon author page (US): amazon.com/author/aliciamaslo

Amazon author page (UK): amazon.co.uk/-/e/B01MXRE65T

Rite of Annarii: https://www.amazon.com/Rite-Annarii-Maslo-ebook/dp/B06ZYNFN91/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1503173605&sr=8-1&keywords=rite+of+annarii

The Unremembered: https://www.amazon.com/Unremembered-Maslo-ebook/dp/B071K75FFQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1503173663&sr=1-1&keywords=the+unremembered+a+maslo

Fractured Fairytales book 1 (ft. THe Unremembered): https://www.amazon.com/Fractured-Fairytales-R-L-Weeks-ebook/dp/B072MW783B/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1503173723&sr=1-1&keywords=fractured+fairytales+book+1

 

Here is my interview with Kevin Cowdall


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

Hi, Fiona. Good to meet you, and many thanks for the invitation.

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

Kevin Cowdall

58 and counting

Fiona: Where are you from?

Born and grew up in Liverpool, England, where I still live and work.

Great city, great people – “Liverpool is The Pool of Life” – Carl Jung

 

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

 Educated at Our Lady of Good Help Primary School and Cardinal Allen Grammar School, Liverpool. After taking my A-levels I went hitch-hiking round Europe for several months before returning to Liverpool and a series of jobs in the Public and Charity / Community sectors. More recently, I’ve been self-employed as a freelance training and development consultant, helping to set-up and establish small businesses, sole-traders, community groups / entrepreneurs, etc.

 My father died when I was only 11, my mother tragically early, aged just 63 in the early 1990s.

 Had a series of short- and long-term relationships, but never married, no children, and single at the moment.

 One brother, four nieces.

 

Fiona: Tell us your latest news.

I recently finished compiling a new poetry collection, Natural Inclinations, fifty poems with a common theme of Nature / the natural world. I’ve been sending off individual poems to journals and magazines to build up the Acknowledgements section and am now starting to submit the collection to publishers.

Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I’ve always enjoyed reading and I suppose writing my own stories was just a logical and natural progression.

I started my first novel, a children’s story, The Dinsdale Fox, when I was 17, followed by an Arthurian saga, Death Of A Warrior, in my early twenties.  I can honestly claim to have the nicest set of rejection slips from that time; even having publishers pass work on to other publishers they thought might be more responsive. However, I grew quite disillusioned and it was at that point I decided to concentrate on writing poetry, producing three chapbook collections during my twenties and early thirties.


Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

In my heart, always. In my head, when I had my first poem, The Photograph,  published in 1983 (in the prestigious First Time magazine).


Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

Everything I’ve ever written, poem, short-story, novel, play, has always began with a single image in my head (not always the opening line or paragraph). With The Dinsdale Fox it was the image of a dust cloud in the distance drawing nearer along a road:

Early June in Southern Ontario; that part of the vast sprawling province which juts down into the United States like a wedge between Lake Huron to the west and Lake Ontario and Lake Erie to the east and south. Farming country; and that means wheat, mile after mile of it gently swaying in the breeze like the waves of a vast ocean. A great mass divided into sections roughly a mile square by a grid of dirt tracks running to the four points of the compass, which from the air gave the countryside the appearance of a giant chessboard.

             On this particular day the air was still, the sky cloudless and the sun, now at its zenith, beat down, pushing the temperature up into the high eighties and causing the distant horizon to shimmer in the reflected haze. Far off to the right, on the very edge of the wheat fields, a dust-cloud wormed its way across the skyline.

 

Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

I just liked the word ‘Dinsdale’ and gave it as a surname to the local land owner in the story.


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

I don’t think so, on either point, and I don’t write in one specific genre. In addition to the Children’s and Arthurian stories mentioned above, Paper Gods and Iron Men is a WWII desert survival story and my most recent work, Cosgrove’s Sketches, is the story of an Edwardian Liverpool artist. My play, Sometimes, is a modern tragic-comedy set in the Home Counties – so a pretty mixed bag.


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

I think all writers put something of themselves in to their work, even if only subconsciously, but I think only a couple of the poems could claim to be about actual experiences.

Paper Gods and Iron Men I tried to make as ‘real’ as possible and reviews have used phrases such as: ‘really atmospheric’, ‘ I could feel the heat of the desert from the first page’, ‘believeable characters’, ‘You could almost feel the heat, the grit of the desert and really empathise with the characters.’ and ‘I felt that I was in the footsteps of the journey from start to finish’, so, hopefully, I got it right.


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

No, research is so easy to do on-line these days, but I would love to be able to just go and stay somewhere like Lake Garda (Italy) or Söll (Austria) to write – maybe even Hollywood one day!


Fiona: Who designed the covers?

I designed the covers of my first three poetry chapbooks myself (back in the eighties and early nineties), then both Assorted Bric-a-brac and Paper Gods and Iron Men.

                       

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

Paper Gods and Iron Men is  a story of endurance and survival, of ordinary people in extraordinary situations. I suppose the message, if there is one, is that we don’t know what we are capable of until we try.

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

I’ve met so many new authors through Facebook / social media, and many have been really supportive and encouraging. I’m a great admirer of Graham Greene, and Paul Pickering (The Leopard’s Wife, Over The Rainbow) is the closest of these in style and content to Greene. I’ve also enjoyed the work of Mark Ellis and Robert Southworth recently.

Greene and H E Bates are consumate story-tellers, hardly a wasted word, and much under-appreciated these days. I was so proud to be a prize-winner in the annual H E Bates short-story competition a few years ago.

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

Warren Adler (War of the Roses, Random Hearts) was most encouraging and urged me to release my novella, Paper Gods and Iron Men, on Kindle a few years ago. It has received a number of excellent reviews and I am most grateful for his support.


Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

I’m getting there!

 

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

Is any writer ever completely satisfied with what they’ve written? I can only say that I do the best I can and am genuinely proud of the Natural Inclinations collection – there are some lines I wrote in individual poems where I just sat back and smiled contentedly.


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

I had a rejection recently from a leading poetry journal in the USA to which I’d submitted a selection of poems from the Natural Inclinations collection (I’m not a writer who agonises over rejections at all and always look for a positive / constructive reaction). The Editor wrote: “As with [Robert] Frost’s work, your work has a strong narrative sense (I understand what each poem is about, which is more than I can say for most poetry I read); further, you do not overload your diction, so when you do employ a charged word / phrase it stands out effectively. “

That really made me think about how much I’ve pared down my writing over the years, stripping away the waffle and padding – less really is more.

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

The two central characters in Paper Gods and Iron Men are British Army officers in the Second World War. In the heyday of the British movie industry they would have been played by Richard Burton and Trevor Howard or Stanley Baker and Donald Pleasence. Today,  Daniel Craig and Colin Firth would be perfect. I do like the idea of a ‘Based on the novella by…’ screen credit!


Fiona: Any advice for other writers?

I love the Thomas Berger quote: “Why do writers write? Because it isn’t there.” and Toni Morrison’s: “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”

My advice would be: Don’t ever have any expectations, and don’t ever give up!

 

Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?

Thank you for all your support – and please leave a review: they are so important!

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

I always have a couple of books on the go. I’m plodding through Hilary Mantel’s Bring Up the Bodies, and finding it really hard going. Joanna Cannon’s The Trouble With Goats And Sheep is a much easier read and far more enjoyable.

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

The first ever? No. I’ve always been an avid reader and was brought up on the classics of childhood and adolescent literature, everything from Enid Blyton’s Secret Seven and Famous Five, through the works of Robert Louis Stevenson, G A Henty, Mark Twain, Jules Verne and C S Lewis, to J R R Tolkien, H G Wells, Richard Hughes, Laurie Lee and John Wyndham.

There was a branch library at the bottom of the road I grew up in as a child and passing through those big double doors was always like setting out on a new adventure.

Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer was the book that first made me want to write, simply because it was a ‘Boy’s Own’ type of adventure that I could relate to. In my teens, Graham Greene, H E Bates, Daphne Du Maurier and John Steinbeck were a great influence as far as style, characterisation and narrative are concerned.

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

At the moment, Trump, in equal measures.

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

I stopped trying to answer this question when I got to two dozen! Bogart and so many other great, film stars; writers such as Graham Greene, H E Bates, Oscar Wilde; artists, musicians . . . it would be one hell of a dinner party!

Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?

I am an avid reader, enjoy live and recorded music, theatre- and cinema-going, dining out and travelling widely ­– that sounds like a Lonely Hearts Advert!

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

I love classic black-and-white films – Humphrey Bogart is my all-time favourite film star. Shirley Temple, Fred Astaire, Marilyn Monroe, The Marx Brothers, Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn, Bette Davis . . .

I grew up as a child in the 1960’s Golden Age of escapism television (The Avengers, The Prisoner, The Man From Uncle, The Saint, Batman, Thunderbirds, etc, etc). Great comedy shows which use language / word play have always appealed: M*A*S*H, Frasier, Yes, (Prime) Minister, Blackadder. . .

My current favourite TV series is The Blacklist; along with various factual / documentaries on Sky Arts and BBC Four.

Fiona: Favorite foods, colors,  music?

Mediterranean / Chinese

Black / White

Classical, Opera, Jazz, Blues, Rock, World

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

Read!

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

“Stop reading this – go read a book . . .”

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

www.kevincowdall.com

You can also give my Facebook Official Author Page a ‘Like’ at: https://www.facebook.com/Kevincowdallauthor

 

Check out Paper Gods and Iron Men and Assorted Bric-a-brac at:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Kevin-Cowdall/e/B008BW2AJS/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

and

https://www.amazon.com/Kevin-Cowdall/e/B008BW2AJS/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

 

 

Thanks again, Fiona – some thought-provoking questions, enjoyed answering them all.

 

 

Here is my interview with Sahara Kelly

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

 

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

Hello Fiona, and thank you so much for suggesting this interview. I’m Sahara Kelly, I’m a writer, and I’m a bitolder than Harry Styles, but younger than dirt. 😀

 

Fiona: Where are you from?

I’m proud to say I was born in Cardiff, then moved to London for a few years. After that it was off to Hampshire, a little town just outside Southampton, and I spent a dozen or so happy years there before emigrating to the US.

 

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

Since arriving in the USA, I’ve managed to find a husband, keep him for over thirty years, (he’s still around, LOL) and we have a son who has achieved adulthood in spite of us. I have family in Florida, and after 25 years in Massachusetts I now find myself in Northern Virginia, within hailing distance of the Pentagon and Washington DC. (Please note: The current political situation is not my fault.)

 

Fiona: Tell us your latest news.

Well I have an upcoming Regency novel releasing at the end of this month (August 2017), and in September I’ll be heading west to Spokane, Washington state, for a marvelous chance to be a Regency Lady for a week at the Historical Romance Retreat. All costumes, all the time. Pure heaven. J

Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

That started here, in America, although Barbara Cartland planted the seeds long before. After I finished my 124th novel of hers (yes, seriously, I counted ‘em), I wondered if I could do one myself. One where the heroine had a bit of backbone to her. (No disrespect intended.) So I did, and after a series of lucky coincidences it was accepted and published two months before my son was born.

Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I’m not quite sure. Holding my first book (only paperback in those days) was almost as good as holding my son. LOL But motherhood took over for quite a few years. It wasn’t until the offspring was relatively self-sufficient that I got back to writing. And earned some money. That helps make it more real.

Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

See the Barbara Cartland comment above. I was exhausted with heroines who possessed “delicate heart shaped faces and eyes of liquid beauty”, and who relied on the hero for most of her stuff. I also felt that melting from the one perfect kiss…well, it was a nice ending, but it left me underwhelmed. Thus I embarked on my own version.

 

Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

My first book? The publisher gave it a new title. My first experience with what it would be like writing for a publishing company. (I am now self-published and loving it, btw.)

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

I’ve been told that I have a strong voice, and that readers can hear my characters talking. I love that notion, because I hear them as well. That may mean I need psychiatric counseling, of course. LOL But since I write in more than a few genres, each one comes with its own set of challenges. Right now, I’m all about the Regency, so it’s research, research, research.

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

Well, my historicals? Very little to none. I would have loved to have lived during the Regency, but since I haven’t…I must rely on records for information. Now and again something I recognize will creep into one of my contemporaries, but I love inventing things…so again, real life mostly stops outside my door when I’m writing.

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

Nope. Travel as a writer is so that I can meet readers face-to-face. Writing is a solitary experience, so a chance to hug readers in person is priceless. Although I hope to go home to England at some point and drop by all the exciting places I never went to while I was living there. Sigh.

Fiona: Who designed the covers?

I do all my own cover art, and have been involved in that side of digital publishing for some years. Going on six years ago, a friend and I began a small art business, specializing in art for authors. We’re still going strong, I’m proud to say. (There are some links below if anyone cares to take a peek.)

 

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

Interesting question. I don’t consciously intend for my work to be anything other than entertaining; a chance to escape into a romance/adventure/otherworld/past age, and leave everyday stress behind for a bit. If readers DO find a message there…well,good for them!

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

I wish I had more time to read new authors. Sad to say, I don’t. But I will try and squeeze in time for the latest Nora Roberts because her characters are so well crafted. I’m also a big fan of Susan Elizabeth Phillips who ALWAYS makes me laugh.

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

That’s difficult to answer, since my development as an author was prolonged, taking place over quite a bit of time. So many friends were part of that period, and I’m not sure if there was one in particular who was any more supportive than anyone else.

Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

Absolutely. It’s my full time job and has been for nearly fifteen years now. I wear two hats; one as the writer, and the other as a publisher of my own work. I have control over release schedules, promotions, print distribution…all the business end stuff. It can be daunting, but it is worthwhile.

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

I don’t think so. All the parts came together pretty much the way I wanted.

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

I always learn something new from each book, especially my Regencies. This latest book features a Vicar as the hero, so I dove into learning about the Church of England in the early 1800’s. Also  bit of Church architecture, because I like to have an image of the setting in my mind. The next in the series will require some research into Regency-period erotica. What kinds of erotic literature would one find on the shelves of a country home, for example. (Or behind locked doors in said home.)

 

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

Oh boy. Um…That is very hard. LOL For the character of Simon Ridlington? I would cast…possibly Jude Law? He has the right look and my Vicar is a deliciously available and attractive lad…

Fiona: Any advice for other writers?

Only one. Finish the damn book. Don’t talk about it, whine about it, complain or stress or agonize about it. Just FINISH it. Then you will know what, if anything, needs to be done to it.

Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?

It is hard to find the right words to tell readers how much they mean to us writers. The fact that someone will buy a book I wrote, and read it…that is a priceless gift I treasure each time it happens. I’m honored by their interest, their encouragement and their opinions, both good and bad. I learn from them, I value them and I wish I could give each and every one a big hug. But since I can’t I’m limited to two very simple words…THANK YOU.

 

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

Don’t laugh…I’ve just started Excel VBA Programming for Dummies. That’s for the business side of writing. LOL We self-published authors HAVE to keep track of every detail and spreadsheets become our colleagues. It’s work, but it’s worth it.

 

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

Oh gosh…I think it was The Water Babies, by Charles Kingsley. I certainly remember the pictures…

 

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

For laughter? Monty Python, of course. Robin Williams. Miss him. Stephen Fry –  we adore QI in this house!

What makes me cry? These days, it’s politics.

 

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

So many names fly into my mind! Shakespeare…Churchill…Thomas Jefferson and of course Stephen Fry, just to name a few. All men who used/uselanguage as I feel it should be used. With joy, reverence and appreciation.  Sheer linguistic beauty is a big attraction for me.

 

Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?

I love sewing. The upcoming Historical Romance Retreat requires costumes, so I pulled out my sewing machine, indulged in yards of fabric and have been happily creating my day dresses and ball gowns ever since. LOL

 

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

I am a science fiction fan; can’t wait for the new BLADE RUNNER movie in October. For television, don’t talk to me while Game of Thrones is on, and Westworld is a close second. My favorite mind-candy? Midsomer Murders and the Miss Fisher Mysteries. Although I may add Hamish MacBeth to that list because I do enjoy whimsy. Such an awesome series. So my viewing preferenes are a bit eclectic I’m afraid.

 

Fiona: Favorite foods, colors,  music?

Um…chocolate, probably blue this week, and songs I know the words to. Which rather limits my music preferences. LOL

 

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

Ugh. <shudder> Probably design clothes?I’m not sure, to be honest.

 

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

I may be gone, but all my books are still available at Amazon. J

 

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

I do…thanks for asking.  Here’s the list of useful links:

My website (about to be re-done this autumn), http://www.saharakelly.com

My blog (I don’t blog very often unfortunately. No time…) https://writersaharakelly.blogspot.com

My newsletter (best way to keep in touch with what’s happening) http://eepurl.com/bxPvP

Follow me on Amazon here:http://amzn.to/2iftQmv

(I’m on Facebook – search for Sahara Kelly to find my personal page and my fan page; and also Twitter @writersaharak. But tweeting isn’t my thing…I’m too wordy. LOL)

Oh, if anyone is curious about the Historical Romance Retreat, here’s their website. It’s a fun browse if you’re a Historical novel fan: https://www.historicalromanceretreat.com

Here’s a link to the company I co-own with artist and author Scott Carpenter, which focuses on art for authors; we’re also happy to do promotional graphics, book plates, social media stuff…doesn’t just have to be for authors!

http://www.pandngraphics.com

Last, but not least, here’s the link to the first book in my latest Risqué Regency series TheSix Pearls of Baron Ridlington.This book, the story of The Landlocked Baron, kicks off a six-book series and the second book, St. Simon’s Sin, is ready for release at the end of this month.

I hope you’ll have chance to stop by and visit some of these links – and if you do please remember how much I appreciate you all.

 

Fiona, my thanks for a fabulous interview. These questions have been a delight to answer, and I trust your readers won’t fall asleep in the middle of ‘em. LOL

Here is my interview with K. A. Laity


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

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

K.A. Laity: age? Old enough not to want to say because we live in a culture that despises age especially in women.

 

Fiona: Where are you from?

Originally Michigan (the lower peninsula, which looks like a mitten)

 

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

I have lived many places: currently I divide my time between the Hudson Valley in NY and Dundee in Scotland whilst traveling all kinds of places in between. I write fiction, non-fiction, academic and whatever else strikes my fancy. I am an English professor at a small liberal arts college, the kind actively being destroyed by neoliberal forces at present.

 

Fiona: Tell us your latest news.

I’m working on a fairytale novel for Fox Spirit; I’ve recently finished a mainstream novel, Hire Idiots; as Graham Wynd I have a couple of new things coming soon – a noir novella and a giallo serial; as Kit Marlowe, I have another medieval Breton Lai novel coming along to join Knight of the White Hart. As Basil Morley I have a manifesto for our times: How to Be Dull.

Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I have always written: it’s the way I think. I never know what I really feel until I write about it, which is why I have journals going back to about the age of ten.

Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I think always, though as I child I thought all writers were dead already. When I realised it was a thing you could do, I assumed it was not something for the likes of me. I suppose when I first started getting paid, I began to believe it.

Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

My first published novel was inspired by my medieval research for my dissertation and fairy tales (Pelzmantel from Immanion Press). My first novel written was a comic tale of an accidental spy. I wrote it in high school to amuse my friends.

 

Fiona: How did you come up with the title of your current book?

The two Graham Wynd projects are Love is a Grift (novella) and Madonna of the Wasps (giallo serial). Both are swiped from lyrics, though oddly enough not songs by The Fall. The novel I’ve recently finished under my own name, Hire Idiots, is swiped from William Blake.

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

I have many styles, though I think the voice is the same. But I play up some aspects and tone down others: so Kit Marlowe’s books are light and fun, Graham Wynd’s are dark and mordant, Basil Morley’s are just very silly.

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

Oh, real life seldom makes good stories. It’s too unbelievable. I sometimes use news stories or steal names from real life. I use real settings. They tend to be more vivid. Although Hire Idiots is the thing I swore I’d never write, a roman a clef, inspired by what’s happening to academia at the moment.

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

I have to travel because it’s my nature. It depends on the kind of travel. There’s nothing as relaxing as a hotel room. No history, no distractions.

Fiona: Who designed the covers?

I’m fortunate to have some great artists who’ve done covers for me like Stephanie Johnson (sljohnsonimages.com) and Sarah Anne Langton (secretarcticbase.com). It’s generally something I leave up to the publishers, so I am grateful to work with terrific publishers who pay for those artists.

 

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

Life is strange and unpredictable.

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

Oh, I try not to talk about current authors because so many of my friends are authors and it gets a bit awkward. I’m currently devouring classic crime authors like Dorothy Hughes, Elisabeth Sanxay-Holding and Patricia Highsmith, both reading and writing about them. Everybody fixates on Chandler and Hammett (though often I wonder if they’ve actually read them) but these women are absolute genius.

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

Adele Wearing, now head of Fox Spirit Books: she was a book blogger when I met her and supported my work even then. When she became a publisher, I was gratified that she has continued to support my work and buy my stories.

Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

I see it as a non-stop practice. In late stage capitalism, it doesn’t pay the bills for many people. It’s painful to see long-successful creators struggling while vile industrialists get richer.

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

As I haven’t finished it, I’m still making changes.

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

Same lesson I learn from each one: Every book is different.

 

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

Helen McCrory (because she’s so awesome).

Fiona: Any advice for other writers?

Remember the fun.

Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?

Buy more books. Preferably mine. And reviews: they count for so much. They need not be elaborate or detailed.

 

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

Elf Queens and Holy Friars: Fairy Beliefs and the Medieval Church by Richard Firth Green

 

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

Probably Go Dog Go.

 

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

Peter Cook/my royalties

 

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

Jane Austen: she has such sparkling intelligence and wit. I could tell her to stay away from the arsenic (I know, that theory has been disproved but –)

 

Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?

Writers don’t have time for hobbies 😉 I do play music on a variety of eclectic instruments and sometimes sing.

 

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

I loved Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, and I keep rewatching bits as I keep writing about it. Hannibal: sublime. Buffy: always. We’ve been catching up on Grimm which is fun. I haven’t seen any films this summer, which is rather terrible.

 

Fiona: Favorite foods, colors,  music?

Chocolate, martinis; blue and sometimes purple; all kinds of music but since I steal so many titles from the lyrics, I’ll have to say The Fall.

 

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

Go mad.

 

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

She specifically requested not to be buried so this is probably a hoax.

 

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

http://kalaity.com (general nonsense and scholarly things)

http://kit-marlowe.com (historical nonsense)

http://grahamwynd.com (crime)

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/K.A.-Laity/e/B002KL29FG,

https://www.amazon.com/Graham-Wynd/e/B00GBZPNSC,

https://www.amazon.com/Kit-Marlowe/e/B004BI4PQ2 ,

https://www.amazon.com/Mr-Basil-Morley-Esq/e/B01LWUFBFE

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

HOW TO BE DULL

Have you had enough of “pushing the envelope” and “thinking outside the box”? http://amzn.to/2cc07FX

 

 

Here is my interview with Aurelio Rico Lopez III

Fiona: Hello, and welcome back to my blog, Author Interviews. How long has it been?

Aurelio: Hello, Fiona.  It’s good to be back.  It’s been two years, I think.

 

Fiona: Wow.  That long?  Let’s not waste any time then. Tell our readers who you are.

Aurelio: My name is Aurelio Rico Lopez III.  If that seems like a mouthful, most people just call me Thirdy.  I’m a fiction writer and a poet.

 

Fiona: And where are you from?

Aurelio: I am from Iloilo City, Philippines.

 

Fiona: Tell us a little more about yourself.

Aurelio: I’m a practicing OB Gynecologist.  No punch line.  It’s what I am.  Really.  My dad is a retired civil engineer, and my mom is a retired English teacher.

I am the author of 18 books, with 2 more set for release later this year and a couple more slated for next year.

I’m also a bit of a night owl by nature.  When I’m not reading, writing, or causing all sorts of trouble, you’ll find me on Facebook.

 

Fiona: Tell us your latest news.

Aurelio: Night Horse Publishing House has recently released my kaiju novella Kaiju Double Barrel, and HellBound Books has also published my poetry collection Detours and Dead Ends.

Currently, I am putting the finishing touches on my latest horror novella Not the Forgiving Kind.

Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

Aurelio: Back when I was in Grade 4, we were required to write short stories for our English classes.  That was, without a doubt, my favourite part during class.

Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Aurelio: I considered myself a writer when my first book Food for the Crows was published by Crowded Quarantine Publications in 2012.  It was a zombie apocalypse novella set in Iloilo City.

Fiona: What inspired you to write it?

Aurelio: I had read a lot of zombie novels, but most of them were set in Western countries.  I thought it would be fun to write a zombie story set in my city, incorporating familiar streets and establishments.

 

Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

Aurelio: I honestly can’t recall. (laughs)  I just remember I didn’t want to use the word “zombie” in the title.

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

Aurelio: Most of what I’ve written is horror (with the occasional sci-fi, dark fantasy, and thriller novella).  I’d like to think my stories are fast-paced with characters readers can connect with.

One of the challenges I often face is creating an exciting story that differs from the millions of stories out there.  Sure, you can write a zombie novella, but if it pales in comparison to the other novellas in the market, why bother?

Fiona: How much of the book is realistic? Are any of the characters and scenes based on people you know and events that have happened to you?

Aurelio: I believe in the rule “Write what you know” so I always leave a bit of myself in any story I write.  Have I ever hunted werewolves, been chased by giant centipedes, or fought against an alien race?  No.  But I might have coffee with a friend one day, and he might say something funny or creepy.  Then the writer in me goes, “Hey, that’s actually pretty cool.  I could use that.

Fiona: To craft your stories, do you need to travel?

Aurelio: Travelling isn’t necessary, but it’s certainly a plus.   It exposes you to new sights and sounds, and it’s also an opportunity to try new cuisines and meet new people.  Sometimes, it’s the small details that pull the reader in.

Fiona: Who designs your book covers?

Aurelio: I’ve had the honor of working with extremely talented artists like Alex McVey (Old School), Dennis Hubag (Mongrel Blood), Arik Dela Cruz (Wretched), Luke Spooner (No Grave Too Deep), Cycy Berlin (Kaiju Double Barrel), Liza Vasquez (Raising Hell), Chipe (Detours and Dead Ends), and many others.  Their art is amazing, so please check them out.

 

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

Aurelio: If I had to pick a singular message, it would be:  Bad stuff happens.

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

Aurelio: Jasper Bark and Jeff Strand are two authors whose work I have grown quite fond of.

It’s difficult to pick a favorite author.  To do so would be like selecting a favorite finger or toe. However, I do enjoy Joe Lansdale’s dialogue, and Brian Keene’s ability to create tension seems so natural to him.

Fiona: Outside of family members, who supported your commitment to become a published author?

Aurelio: I owe a lot to Marilou Hormigos and Girlie Libutaque.  Miss Marilou was my grade school English teacher, and Miss Girlie was my English teacher in high school.  Even if there was no way these lovely ladies could have known I’d become a writer, I wouldn’t be where I am today without their support.

Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

Aurelio: I’ve been writing for a long time.  Sometimes, it’s a gig I wish I could do 24/7, but I’m not quitting my day job.

Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your latest book Kaiju Double Barrel?

Aurelio: I’ve learned that you don’t mess with a guy trained to use a Barrett M82 sniper rifle. (laughs)

 

Fiona: If Kaiju Double Barrel were made into a film, who would you like to play the lead roles?

Aurelio: That’s a pretty fun question.  Here goes…

Jimi “Hendrix” Hoffman to be played by Ethan Hawk

Fritz Ardales to be played by Jon Seda

Team Leader Maddox to be played by Stephen Lang

Fiona: Any advice for aspiring writers?

Aurelio: Read.  There are no shortcuts.  Also, stay clear of fancy fonts.

Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?

Aurelio: Thanks, mom and dad.

Seriously, to my readers, thank you.  I hope you enjoy reading my books as much as I enjoy writing them.

 

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

Aurelio: Deadrush by Yvonne Navarro

 

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

Aurelio: The Vision by Dean Koontz

 

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

Aurelio: The show Brooklyn Nine-Nine always makes me laugh.

As for crying, a swift kick to the nuts will do that.  No doubt.

 

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

Aurelio: That’s a tough question.  I’d love to meet the past me, if only to tell myself to lay off the doughnuts.

 

Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?

Aurelio: I am a tarantula keeper and a cap collector.  I also collect books faster than I can read them.

 

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

Aurelio: I watch Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Bob’s Burgers.  I’m also looking forward to the next season of Stranger Things.  My favourite movies include Jaws, The Evil Dead, the first Matrix film, and Dog Soldiers.

 

Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?

Aurelio: I love pizza, doughnuts, a local Filipino delicacy called batchoy, and coffee.  I’d mention more, but it’s making me hungry.

I listen to a lot of heavy metal and rock and roll.

I have an affinity to the color black, and anyone who takes time to tell you that black is actually the absence of color deserves a dunk in the River Styx.

 

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

Aurelio: Sit around and wonder whatever happened to my hands.

 

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

Aurelio: Easy.  “Wrong Head Stone.”  Now, that would confuse the heck out of everyone, I think.

 

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

Aurelio: Here’s a link to my Amazon page: https://www.amazon.com/Aurelio-Rico-Lopez-III/e/B00JPFRHW0/

Readers can find me on Facebook or email me at thirdylopez2001@yahoo.com