Here is my interview with Sydney Sloane

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 Sydney Sloane and I’m 50 years old.

Fiona: Where are you from?

I live in a small rural town in Central North Carolina

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

My family life is hectic! Five kids at home and one off to college. I have two daughters that work in the nursing field. We have three dogs and a cat. My special pup is Fionnlagh. A Scottish lover and writer needs a Scottish pup warming her feet when she’s writing. I attended the University of Southern Maine as an English major. I also enjoy biking, hiking, and love photography.

Fiona: Tell us your latest news.

I’m currently working on book 2 of the First Ladies of the Fae series, Embraced by the Warrior.  I absolutely adore Calum and Delilah’s story.

Fiona: When did you start writing? Why?

I wrote a little in high school, but it wasn’t until my 40’s that I figured out these voices in my head were characters trying to get out. It’s been refreshing to get them on paper!

Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I spoke with Michelle Willingham once and she gave me some great advice. “Don’t ever say you’re an aspiring writer.  If you write…you’re a writer. The only difference between you and a published author…is that they never gave up. Never give up!”

Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

After reading a time travel by Veronica Wolff! I absolutely love watching/reading about characters when they are thrust into another time period.  Some of their reactions are priceless!

Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

I have no idea! It just came to me one day.

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

I love to read and write in third person only. I do love to put a bit of humor in some of my characters and some can’t help but be forthright. Love that about my character, Mo Daol in Kissed by the Laird! The only challenge I have, and it’s actually a challenge I love is research! Oh, and keep my timeline straight. I second guess myself constantly!

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

I think each one of my characters have a bit of myself in them.  I do have a character in an upcoming story named Julianna. It wasn’t until after I put her character traits on paper did I realize she was exactly like my niece, Kayla. Superficial!

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

Oh, I’d love to travel. Just can’t find a babysitter. I watch a lot of documentaries, read a lot of books, and research online for most of my information.

Fiona: Who designed the covers?

Celestial Waters Publishing

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

No message. I would hope that the reader would become lost in the history, romance, and beauty of Scotland while they read my story.

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 love reading April Holthaus. She’s been around a few years. I fell in love with kilted highlanders after discovering Paula Quinn and Monica McCarty’s books.

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

Deb Julienne is my mentor! She is my biggest cheerleader. Always shooting me messages to keep me moving forward.  She’s great at brainstorming with me!

Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

Oh, I wish! For now, I’m content with getting these stories out while my characters are talking to me. Maybe someday.

https://www.amazon.com/Sydney-Sloane/e/B01F3YCEAQ/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1497883020&sr=1-2-ent

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sydney-Sloane/e/B01F3YCEAQ/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

Here is my interview with Steve Grogan

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?

Steve Grogan, almost 41 years old.

 

 Fiona: Where are you from?

Originally from Troy NY, but now I live in Stillwater.

 

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

I spent most of my life in Troy, although while I attended SUNY Albany I spent 3 years living on campus. I lived in Denver CO for about a year and a half. Came back home because I missed my friends and family. Today I am a father of four kids: twin daughters and two sons.

 

Fiona: Tell us your latest news.

This past May finally saw the publication of my magnus opus, a webcomic called REDemption. It is to zombie fiction what KILL BILL was to kung fu movies: everything I love about the genre thrown into one story, with the voice of my artist and I thrown into the mix to give it a unique spin.

Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

 I always wrote short stories, even as far back as grade school. Granted they were only one page long, but they WERE stories. However, I didn’t get truly bitten by the writing bug until I was in seventh grade. I read Stephen King’s IT, and I was amazed. As for why, well…I’m not sure how much personal detail I want to air here, but I had a very miserable childhood. There was so much that was beyond my control. I think writing was a way for me to not only vent these feelings, but also to feel some power. I decided who lived or died. It was therapeutic.

Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

When I wrote my first mini-novel called VAMPIRE TRAIN. Looking back, it was kind of lame, but I felt accomplished.

Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

The horror fiction of Stephen King, although Clive Barker quickly overtook him as a bigger influence.

 Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

Well, I want to move on from VAMPIRE TRAIN to the webcomic now because honestly I don’t remember many details about that story. As for REDemption, I came up with the title when I looked at the outline and realized redemption was a theme that ran through the entire story.

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

I think everyone has writing styles, although I am not sure how to verbalize mine. The only thing that is challenging about it is I cannot start until I know exactly where the story is going and how it will get there. I can’t let the story throw me any curveballs; I need to be in charge, and I won’t set pen to paper until I know everything.

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

Considering it is post-apocalyptic zombie fiction, I would say none of it is real.

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

Here is the shortest answer ever: no.

Fiona: Who designed the covers?

Since we are a webcomic, we don’t have covers, but my artist’s name is Johnny Carruba.

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

Not really. I have never been a fan of “stories with a message.” By that I mean where the author purposely tried to teach a lesson. They usually come off as preachy. However, if someone learns something unintentionally from this story, that’s great.

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?

New writers? Not lately. My favorite author is probably William S. Burroughs, for the way he could write something nightmarish and yet funny.

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

My English teacher Donald Eldridge. I haven’t seen or heard from him since I was 17. In fact, he may be dead, but he encouraged me more than anyone else I have ever met.

Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

Absolutely!

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

I already have. If you look at the comic book, we go from the scene of a little girl on a hillside to some American soldiers in the jungle in Vietnam. Originally, there was supposed to be a different sequence, showing some Vietnamese scientists creating the zombie virus. We have relocated that scene to a later point in the story.

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

I learned how to pace a story to last for a really long time. The entire tale of REDemption is over 2000 pages. None of it reads like filler.

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

For the role of Vincent, I’d want Denzel Washington. For the role of Molly Burroughs, that is tough because physically she is modeled after Johnette Napolitano (lead singer of Concrete Blonde), who has a way of being tough, sexy, dark, and yet vulnerable and feminine all at the same time. However, I don’t know if she can act, so she might not be best for the part!

Fiona: Any advice for other writers?

Write from your gut. Pass on writing groups. If there is a part of your story that you think is weak, just put it aside and to the back of your mind for a while. Someday you will achieve the answer on your own.

Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?

Be patient. Right now we are setting up the rules of our zombie world, but soon this story goes off on all kinds of crazy, cool tangents.

 Fiona: What book are you reading now?

None. I have so many to read that I don’t know where to start! I am open to suggestions.

 Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

THE MAD SAMURAI, although I don’t remember the author.

 Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

My children and girlfriend do both. Movies. THIS IS US (cry), MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER (laugh).

 

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

I cannot narrow it down between these two men, but I would say Bruce Lee and Billy Corgan. To me they are both shining examples of what one can achieve when you do not box yourself into a corner. In Bruce Lee’s case, he refused to adhere strictly to the dogmatic way some people have of thinking about martial arts. Billy did the same thing with music. He showed me that you can be an amazing guitarist who plays metal-like solos, but then the next song on your album can be a sweet love song.

 Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?

Well, wing chun, exercise and writing are my passions, so I would have to say hobbies would be watching movies, going to concerts, and browsing the internet to learn more about whatever subject interests me.

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

TV shows: THIS IS US, MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000, FORENSIC FILES, and BIG BANG THEORY.

 Fiona: Favorite foods, colors,  music?

I’ll eat just about anything, except I am not a pasta fan. Too much in the way of carbs makes me balloon up something awful. Colors: red, black, purple, blue, forest green. Music: alt-country, shoegaze, dream pop, some classic rock. If you want bands, I would have to say the Smashing Pumpkins, the Beatles, and the Jayhawks.

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

Practice wing chun kung fu and work out.

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

“What do batteries run on?” (It’s a one-liner from quirky, monotone comedian Steven Wright.)

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

https://redemptionwebcomic.wordpress.com/

Not only is this the main website for the comic, but if you browse around you will also find articles that I write on a weekly basis, plus links to our YouTube channel AND our availability for freelance services. (https://redemptionwebcomic.wordpress.com/freelance-services/)

https://www.amazon.com/Search-Warriors-Path-Martial-Enthusiast/dp/1495419754/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1498688369&sr=1-1&keywords=THE+SEARCH+FOR+THE+WARRIOR%27S+PATH

Here is my interview with Julia Blake

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

 

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

Hi Fiona, My name is Julia Blake and I’m coming up to a big birthday – I’ll be 50 in July.

 

Fiona: Where are you from?

I come from a gorgeous little market town called Bury St Edmunds, nestled in the heart of the Suffolk countryside in the UK

 

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

I was born in Bury, and have lived for the past twenty-five years in a lovely, three storey, Victorian town house, with my thirteen year old daughter, one crazy cat and a succession of crazy lodgers.

 

Fiona: Tell us your latest news.

My latest news is probably all about my latest book to be published. It’s called “Eclairs for Tea and other stories” and is a collection of short stories, flash fiction and poetry. This is a real leap of faith for me, as my poetry has never before been shared with anyone other than close friends.

Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I’ve always been writing, since I could first pick up a pencil, and loved writing plays for my dolls to act out. At school, I enjoyed writing essays and once my play was picked for the Christmas production. What a rush that was, seeing my words acted out by my classmates.

Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I don’t know if I even consider myself one now, despite having two novels, a novella and this latest collection published, it all still seems like I’m pretending.

Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

A divorce from hell. This was a very difficult time for me, when all control over my life was taken out of my hands. During this period, a close friend asked me to attend a writing course with her, I did, and it was as if a lightbulb went off in my head. That evening, I started to write furiously, two months later, my first novel was published. Although it was ten long years before I had the self-confidence to actually publish anything, and, when I did, it wasn’t that first novel, written in a state ofanger and bitter frustration.

 

Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

Titles are generally the easiest part of writing. Usually, I have a title floating about my head with no story attached to it, then, suddenly, something will click. In the case of my first published novel, The Book of Eve, the title was initially because the main character, Eve, was writing a book about her life. Then, I gradually realised each chapter was directly related to books of the bible, i.e. the funeral chapter – Exodus. The chapter dealing with how she met everyone – Genesis. The chapter in which a great tragedy occurs – Lamentations. The chapter in which the reader discovers the secret – Revelations. So, the title, The Book of Eve, came to have an even deeper meaning.

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

I read of other authors, who plan and map out each chapter and character. I’m afraid it’s nothing like that for me. I simply sit, at my laptop, disengage my brain, open the floodgates and let it all pour out. Hours later, I’ll look down and realise, somehow, I’ve written over 4000 words. Then I edit thoroughly, each segment, until I’m happy with it, before moving on to the next. My biggest challenge with writing, is lack of time. Holding down two jobs, running a home, raising a child, self-promoting my published books, blogging, reading and reviewing, doesn’t leave an awful lot of time for actual writing, which can be very frustrating. Walking around, with all these voices shouting in my head to be released, can sometimes make me very distracted and hard to live with.

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

That’s a tough one, I would say not much of my real life is in my books, but then, I guess, my experiences and opinions must filter into it somehow. I don’t tend to use actual people I know as templates, but, sometimes, a mannerism or character trait will strike a chord and in it goes. For example, in The Book of Eve, I used the way an old friend of mine used to drive her car.

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

No, my books come purely from my imagination, and two of my novels, Becoming Lili and The Book of Eve, are actually based in my home town, so, no travelling necessary.

Fiona: Who designed the covers?

The Book of Eve’s cover was designed by my publisher, with lots of input from me. The covers to Becoming Lili, Eclairs for Tea and my eBook novella, Lifesong, were all designed by me, using purchased images from Shutterstock and a friend’s graphics computer graphics programme. My covers tend to be simple, classy, designs, which I hope will stand out and make people want to read them.

 

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

In Becoming Lili, the message is clear, no matter how awful your childhood is, no matter how neglected and abused you are, you alone have the ability to change who you are, to grasp life by the throat and make it your own. My eBook novella, Lifesong, also has a very powerful message. It’s the tale of an alien woman from a far-away planet, who travels to our world and is horrified at what she finds. The message here is, “What kind of a world is this, that can treat itself so?”

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?

There are so many amazing authors out there, it would be impossible to pick just one. I adore the fantasy works of Robin Hobb, and the urban fantasy of Charles de Lint. Since joining Instagram, I have been blown away by the sheer talent of the many indie authors I have encountered. All struggling for recognition in such an over saturated market.

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

Yes, the lovely Becky Wright – Author. A long-term friend, we met eleven years ago at the writing course I spoke of, she has been an absolute inspiration, encouraging me to not give in, no matter how hard it gets at times, and supplying me with much needed technical advice. You should totally check out her books.

Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

Yes, definitely. Even if I never make it big, at least, if I keep publishing, I’ll know that someone, somewhere, is reading my words. Also, it is encouraging to know that people love my stuff.  Eve was published three years ago and, over forty-five reviews worldwide later, I have not had a single bad one. That is encouraging, and makes you carry on, no matter how difficult a path it seems.

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

Pay someone else to do the formatting – uggh, what a nightmare it turned out to be. Being a collection rather than a novel, it made for formatting hell.

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

I have recently started on the sequel to Becoming Lili, which was written ten years ago, and have realised how much my writing has matured, changed. It just goes to show, writing is like a muscle, the more you exercise it, the stronger it becomes.

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

Oh, that would depend on which book we were talking about. My next novel, now in final edits, is a fantasy and I can see exactly whom I want to play the king, Daniel Craig. In fact, I even had one character in the book remark to her sister, how much the king looks like the latest James Bond.

Fiona: Any advice for other writers?

Don’t stop writing. Try to set aside and time and a space that is your time and your place for writing. Reinforce that to your family, that you are not to be disturbed during that time and in that place. It is so hard sometimes, life gets in the way, but you need to keep writing.

Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?

Thank you for all the amazing reviews, the feedback on Facebook, Goodreads and Instagram. The way you message me about the characters in my books, as if they are as real to you as they are to me. Thank you. Your support means the world, and without you, it would all be for nothing.

 

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

I’m actually reading two. On my kindle I’m reading The Isle of Winds for the fabulous James Fahy, and, because reading my kindle in bed makes my eyes water, my bedtime book is The Heir by Kiera Cass. This was my daughter’s recommendation. She absolutely adored this series, and, as I like to share her reading experiences, I thought I’d give it a go.

 

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

Probably not, I was an early reader. But I remember loving all the Enid Blyton books, and being hopelessly addicted to anything fantasy or other worldly, so C.S. Lewis, of course, and the Joan Aiken “Wolves of Willoughby Chase” books, such imaginative writing, they were steampunk before we all knew what steampunk was. And, of course, I loved all the classics – Heidi, The Secret Garden, Five Children and It.

 

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

Not a lot makes me cry – cruelty to animals, my daughter being hurt or upset and intolerance or injustice to others – no, on second thoughts, scrap that last one, that just makes me angry. Far more makes me laugh – funny films, spending time with friends, the silliness of life in general. I have a very broad and easy going sense of humour.

 

 

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

King Alfred the Great – what a man. He was completely crushed at one point, hiding out in the Somerset marshes with a handful of men, but, he refused to be beaten, rose up and drove out the Vikings. He founded the justice system still used in the UK, and many other parts of the world, today. He united the country under one king, and did all of this whilst suffering from Crohns Disease. But, why I really like him, when he died, instead of leaving his wife to the care of his eldest son, as was the custom, he gave her land and money in her own name. Like I said, what a man.

 

Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?

I don’t have time for many hobbies, and some would say writing is my hobby. But, I do enjoy cooking and spending time with friends and family, I have a lovely little garden and enjoy pottering around in it. I love films and going to the cinema, and, when I have enough time, enjoy decoupaging.

 

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

Game of Thrones, obviously, really excited for the new season. I also love shows such as Stranger Things, Orphan Black and Doctor Who. I hate sport, reality shows and soaps – my life is simply too short to waste on them.

 

Fiona: Favorite foods, colors,  music?

I pretty much enjoy all foods, especially Italian and Chinese. Colour and I get along very well, and I love using bold, rich colours in my home décor. As to music, again, my tastes are very wide ranging, from classical to heavy metal and everything in-between, although I do like groups such as Fleet Foxes, Clannad and Munford and Sons, and I’m really like Rag and Bone Man’s new album.

 

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

I can’t imagine that future. I have over a dozen stories in my head right now, all demanding attention. It’s going to take me years just to write them all down.

 

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

Here lies the famous author, Julia Blake…

 

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

I post blogs on my Goodreads page, and people can always visit my website which is www.juliablakeauthor.co.uk

My Goodreads page is  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13428242.Julia_Blake

My YouTube channel is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zqDAyIxGNfE

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Book-Eve-Julia-Blake-ebook/dp/B00R4UBII2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1498646256&sr=8-1&keywords=the+book+of+eve

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Eclairs-Tea-stories-Julia-Blake-ebook/dp/B072YVXHYH/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1498646322&sr=8-1&keywords=eclairs+for+tea

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Becoming-Lili-Julia-Blake-ebook/dp/B07167WWH8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1498646293&sr=8-1&keywords=becoming+lili

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lifesong-Novella-Julia-Blake-ebook/dp/B06XJ897B1/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1498646350&sr=8-1&keywords=lifesong

 

Here is my interview with S. Jackson Rivera

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

My name is Susan, but I write under S. Jackson Rivera, and I’m … old enough.

Where are you from?

I grew up on a ranch in eastern Oregon, but I’ve lived in Utah since getting married, a long time ago.

A little about yourself:

I’m still married to the original, My Own Personal Hero (My H). We have 5 great kids and 9, soon to be 10, grandkidlets. We love to scuba dive, all of the original 5, and even their spouses—yeah, diving is a make-or-break requirement to marry into the family, (ha ha) I’m sure the grandkidlets will love it too. When they are old enough, Damma and Dampa plan to whisk them all off to a different tropical island each year for our own version of sea-camp. It’s going to be a blast.

When we can’t get away to get wet, we like to take off for the weekend on the Indian Roadmaster and enjoy the beautiful scenery in the area. And if we can’t get away for that, you can find us on our deck, enjoying the view, or watching The Walking Dead.

Tell us your Latest news:

I released my latest book on Amazon a couple of months ago, Poppy’s Anthem. Then, I planned to finish Jungle 2, but got invited to join an anthology project. I just finished that story, but it will be a while before it releases—Next Spring, I think, but I’m excited about it. I based my H character on my big brother who was a pro bull rider. It was a fun dedication to a very interesting man.

Finally, My H just announced that we are going diving the end of July. No plans made yet, and we aren’t sure where we’re going, but he’s determined to make it happen. Yay!

When and Why did you start writing:

So, I had a dream about 2 little kids playing on a pile of rocks that were a set of ruins that had been overgrown. It was such a sweet dream, I didn’t want to wake up, so when I did, it just kept growing in my imagination until I started thinking I should write it down someday. Then, years later, all the kids were grown, and I had another birthday approaching that had me feeling old, and I realized that if someday didn’t come soon, it never would. So, I sat down and hammered out my first chapter . . . and then I cried like a baby. Ha ha

The rest just grew from there.

When did you first consider yourself a writer:

That was a hard one for me to figure out. While writing my first, I think I told myself I’d be a real writer/author when I made a top-selling list, or when I made X amount of money … I had all these ideas. People told me I wasalready a writer because I was writing, but I didn’t buy it until I finally released Jungle: The Whispering Ruins, and it went crazy. I think I finally decided I could allow myself to feel legit.

How did you come up with the title:

Coming up with a title is very stressful for me. I agonize over it for quite a while. I keep lists of possibilities, but only because I’m not comfortable with any of them yet, but then, so far anyway, it just hits me and I KNOW, that’s the one.

I took a lot of heat for my Wet series title though. I’ve had so many people suggest I change it. I tried, but nothing better ever came to me. I might still change it when/if it happens, but for now, in my mind, Wet is perfect. In the diving world, we say, “Let’s get wet.” My Wet series is set in the world of scuba diving. See? Not what you sexpected, right? ha ha

How much of your books is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your life:

I try to keep it realistic. Even in Jungle, which is paranormal, I tried to stay believable. We’ll see if I can still pull it off in the sequel. You’d think most of a person’s writing would come from personal experience, or their take on them, but I amaze myself what comes out of my fingers as I’m typing a scene, and the character does or says something very foreign to me. It’s weird, like, how did I even know that?I don’t think I did, my characters made me do it.

I find preachy books kind of annoying, so I try to be careful, but I still feel compelled to throw in little life lessons or wisdom I’ve learned. I hope someone will find it useful, so they don’t have to learn it the hard way, the way I did. (And I hope I do it stealthily enough that no one knows what I’ve done.)

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

Kind of. I’ve been lucky enough to travel a lot, and it has come in very handy. My 1st trip to Costa Rica really helped me with Jungle. All the diving trips we’ve taken helped with Wet, especially heading to Utila, Honduras to visit my daughter who decided to become a dive master—a little inspiration there for Rhees. It was my first out-of-country trip, alone, and it made me feel pretty grown-up, even though I was a full-grown woman at the time. I tend to use places I know whenever possible in my books, to be authentic.

Do you see writing as a career:

Yes. I’ve been a Realtor for 14 yrs, and while I recently renewed my license, I don’t practice real estate anymore. I love writing, and I wonder why I put it off for so long.

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

Yes! Always changing and revising, but there comes a point where you just have to say, “Let it go.” I would like to go back and get the typos fixed though. On my to-do list.

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

Something I think about all the time. Ha ha(Fingers crossed)

I keep boardsof the possibilities on my Pinterest. It helps me to visualize my characters in order to get the expressions right. One good picture can inspire several scenes. However, I have a problem when I picture myself trying to talk to the producers:

Them: So, who do you picture as this character?

Me:  A young Paul Walker (Paul Weaver), or a young Heath Ledger (Jungle). A young Danny Trejo (Pala).

See what I mean? I’m old … enough.

Any advice for other writers:

Just do it! Get to it! Like me, if someday isn’t soon, it’ll never be. You just have to sit yourself down and start typing. Don’t put it off until you take those refresher English classes. Don’t put it off until you have more time, you’ll never have more time. Don’t put it off. I sooo wish I’d started sooner.

Anything specific you want to tell your readers?

I love you! Thank you for validating me   . . . Oh, and have you by chance left a review on Amazon yet? It would really mean the world to me.

What are you reading now:

At the moment, I’m mostly reading other stories in the anthology I’m a part of. We are Beta reading for each other, though I did manage to sneak in two of my friend’s books, Untouchable, and Unraveled, by Nicole Dykes—I love her books. I also just read,Becoming a Vincent, by CM Owens, and I laughed aloud through, The Virgin Romance Novelist, by Meghan Quinn. (I really, really wish I could write comedy. My books have funny moments, but I want to be Meghan Quinn, Lindy Zart, Penelope Reid, or Helena Hunting when I grow up!)

I want to list my whole Kindle library, but I’m pretty sure you said the word‘recent’.

Do you remember the first book you ever read:

Not the title, but in 4th grade, I read a book all way through for the first time. Up until then, I didn’t have an attention span and only managed to quickly skim through, looking at the pictures. I remember feeling amazed that it was so good—Yeah, I was a little late to the party, but that opened a whole new world for me, and I actually remember the moment. Next book to make a big impression: The Good Earth, by Pearl S. Buck.

What makes you laugh/cry:

I think I have a weird sense of humor. I laugh at the grandkidlets, funny videos, funny books, and just good old-fashioned storytelling, sitting around with loved ones, reminiscing. I don’t like to cry, I guess because I only cry when I am too emotional and out of control. So, I avoid sad movies, books., etc.

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

I always wanted to meet Paul Walker. I based my Paul Weaver on his looks and expressions and was halfway through my Wet series when he died. After his death, Idecided to dedicate the book to him and named the character Paul, which was not my original plan. I’d like to meet him and thank him for the inspiration of a great character. I think Wet will always be my favorite, but shh … don’t tell my other books that.

What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching:

I really don’t watch a lot of TV. If I have down time, I’d rather write, but when I do, I love The Walking Dead. I like Survivor, Ray Donovan, HGTV, and my guilty pleasure, Shameless. My favorite movie is probably Into the Blue.

Favorite foods, colors, music:

I don’t eat sugar, flour, potatoes, or rice, which after 4 years, eliminates the fun out of this question. My cravings change, but my go-to is always nuts. At the moment, I like the dry-spiced wings at one of our favorite restaurants, Straptank Brewery.

Fav colors are Purple, Orange, and Lime green, all together.

My taste in music is quite diverse. I pretty much like anything, but can only take so much rap, and opera.

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

Wow! I finally found something I am passionate about, besides diving, and now I have to figure out what I’d do if I had to give it up?That’s a hard one. I’d probably still be doing real estate, and I think I’d be bored, as well as feeling like I missed the Fulfillment Boat.

What do you want written on your head stone:

I have no idea. That question is kind of like trying to come up with a blurb for a book, something I hate. “We hates blurbs.”

Do you have a website, or blog:

Yes. Please visit:https://sjacksonrivera.com/to find out what events I’m attending, and read my hit-and-miss blog.

Amazon Author Page:  https://www.amazon.com/S-Jackson-Rivera/e/B00HYJWF7Q/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Poppy’s Anthem:   http://amzn.to/2nbkmea

Wet Part 1   http://amzn.to/2p1ewbA

Wet Part 2   http://amzn.to/2o3FHF8

Wet Part 3   http://amzn.to/2o3USyb

Jungle: The Whispering Ruins   http://amzn.to/2o3BmBZ

Facebook Author Profile:  https://www.facebook.com/sjacksonriveraauthor

Instagram: @sujax

 

Here is my interview with Jordan Monroe

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?

Thank you for interviewing me. I’m Jordan Monroe, and I will be 27 this August.

 

Fiona: Where are you from?

Fredericksburg, VA

 

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

.I’m one of those writers who did, in fact, end up studying English. I have two degrees: a B.A. in English from Virginia Tech and an M.A. in English Literature from George Mason University. However, I initially went to college in pursuit of a biological sciences degree, with the goal of eventually attending occupational therapy school. One organic chemistry class was enough to stop that journey straight in its tracks, and I’m so glad for it; I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish what I’ve done had I stayed on that path.

Nowadays, I live in Maryland with a wonderful man and our wild cat. We’re a metro ride away from D.C., and for that we are fortunate. Being able to wake up on a Saturday and go to one of the Smithsonian museums, walk in for free, and learn something new is certainly a blessing.

 

Fiona: Tell us your latest news.

My first novella, One Night in Washington, D.C., published by Tirgearr Publishing, comes out on June 28, so I’m excited to share that with readers. Along with that, I’ve been editing an erotic anthology titled Symphony Amore: Erotic Stories of Love and Music, which will be published by Sexy Little Pages this year.

Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I put my creative writing aside for scholarly pursuits in 2012, but picked it back up in November 2015. First, I read Stephen King’s On Writing, and got back to practicing my craft. Then, a highly regarded adult boutique, Lotus Blooms, advertised a two-hour erotic writing course hosted by Rachel Kramer Bussel. I attended, she gave us her contact information and a list of publishing companies, and continued to practice. My first short story, Winding Down at Watergate, was published in March 2016, and I just can’t seem to stop.

I write primarily because it’s fun for me. It’s a way for me to relate to the world, and comment on it. Even in my short stories, I strive to make my characters rounded and complete, with flaws that make them perfectly imperfect.

Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Honestly, when I sent my first email to a call for submissions. I knew I had the ability to craft a story, but that recognition of my work sealed the deal for me.

Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

This novella was started in June 2016 and completed in October 2016; editing and polishing occurred after the 2016 election. Living in this area can be a blessing and a curse: politics is not removed from the discussion at all. That factor, along with the glut of excellent television shows like The West Wing and Scandal, made me want to tell a story that starred D.C. and the many other people who live here.

One of my other passions is playing my French horn. I’ve been playing for a long time, but I didn’t want to get into the rigorous, competitive world of professional musicianship. While I’ve lived here, I’ve had the privilege of meeting professional musicians, including Lisa Bergman and Abel Pereira. My SO went to school to be a professional musician, so I owe a great deal of my knowledge of the business of classical music to him.

As I sat down to try my hand at contributing to the City Nights series, I kept thinking about D.C., the Kennedy Center, the President’s Own, and French horn players. With a fair amount of research, a few rewrites, a decent amount of wine, and a steady schedule of grinding out words, the story of Lauren and Adam materialized.

 

Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

Tirgearr Publishing has an excellent structure for their City Nights series, so the title was essentially given to me. That’s a wonderful thing, in truth, because I am actually terrible with giving my work titles.

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

I don’t know if I’ve written enough to say I have a definitive style. I do know that I strive to make my characters, particularly the women, not shy about any of their desires. They are unapologetically themselves, at least I hope they are.

Erotica and erotic romance falls under that umbrella of romance. While there may not always be a happy ending (my second short story, Not Sorry, does not have one), a key element of erotic fiction is crafting chemistry between characters. To me, that can be the biggest challenge. Being a witty flirt is difficult enough in the real world; doing it on the page adds additional elements that make it tough. However, I’ve read novels where the chemistry between the main characters practically burns the page (Tessa Dare and Sarah Maclean are excellent at this) and I know how rewarding it can be.

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

I aim for realism in my fiction, so hopefully readers will read this and think it’s plausible. The actual events of the story are not based on anything either I or anyone in my friend group has experienced.

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

Generally no. I have visited all of the landmarks mentioned in the story, so they’re familiar to me.

Fiona: Who designed the covers?

Cora Graphics. Many thanks for the beautiful cover!

 

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

You’re allowed to live the life you want to build for yourself.

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?

Mindy McGinnis’s The Female of the Species was incredibly powerful. I read it at the start of this year, and it still haunts me in the best of ways.

On the complete opposite end, both Sarah Maclean and Tessa Dare are excellent examples of romance fiction continuing to surprise readers. Spoiler alert: both of them introduce little elements of kink in their sex scenes, which is so wonderful for me to read.

I’ve also started to read some Beverly Jenkins She’s not new, but she’s new to me. Her work is vital to the fiction space because she’s introduced to pockets of American history that were totally unknown to me. Her stories are beautiful, fascinating, and a joy to read.

Finally, Rebekah Weatherspoon’s Haven is, as of this writing, the best erotic novel I’ve ever read. I’ve said it before, and I’ll keep saying it. Now, I might be biased because I have a weakness for a man with an excellent beard (shout-out to the SO), but the prose is unwavering and powerful. Seriously, stop what you’re doing and go grab yourself a copy. You won’t regret it.

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

My best friend, hands down. I don’t know what I’d do without her.

Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

Possibly. I wouldn’t say no to that, but I’m not there yet. I’m lucky to have a day job that I, more often than not, really enjoy.

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

I don’t think I would. However, my SO recently discussed the idea that I create a sort of classical musicians of D.C. series. In Performance, which is featured in the anthology, Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 2, one of the characters is a percussionist in the NSO. I might explore that in the future, but it’s not in my immediate plans.

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

The practice of “killing your darlings” was hammered home this time around.

 

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

 Christopher Meloni as Adam, for sure. If Rachel Weisz can do an American accent, I’d love her as Lauren.

Fiona: Any advice for other writers?

Keep writing, and listen to your editors.

Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?

 I hope that readers enjoy the story and that they’ll see a bit of D.C. that’s not all politics and power struggles.

 

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

I have at least five books on rotation. It’s a terrible habit. I’m working through a hefty book on the Romanov dynasty, which is fascinating but can also be challenging.

 

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

It had to have been a Dr. Seuss book.

 

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

All kinds of things. I’m way in touch with my emotions.

 

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

J.R.R. Tolkien, for many reasons. In October 2015, I took my first trip overseas and ventured to the UK. My SO and I met because of our love for Tolkien’s work, not just The Lord of the Rings, and we took a day trip to Oxford. We stopped by 20 Northmoor Road and ate at The Eagle and Child, which was fantastic. Based on his letters, his love of nature, and his affinity for enjoying a pint with his friends, I think he’d be an excellent person to meet.

 

Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?

 Besides playing the horn? I’ve been known to quilt.

 

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

Oh Lord, so many. I just finished the fifth season of Orange is the New Black, and I’m about to start The Handmaid’s Tale. I watched Harlots and I desperately need them to say they’re making a second season.

 

Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?

I’ll eat almost anything, but I’m a sucker for seafood. I love jewel tones and anything red. My music tastes are all over the place; it really depends on what I’m doing.

 

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

Probably what I’m doing as my day job, which is editing.

 

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

“She drank, and she knew things.” Yes, I’m all about Tyrion Lannister.

 

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

 I do. Readers can find my website here. I have an Amazon Author page here. If readers wish to purchase One Night in Washington, D.C., the direct purchase link is here. From now until July 2, the novella is priced at $.99, which makes this a perfect little read for any Independence Day travels.

 

My other links are as follows:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MissJMonroe13/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Miss_J_Monroe

Novella Buy Link: http://www.tirgearrpublishing.com/authors/Monroe_Jordan/one-night-in-washington-dc.htm?refresh

Amazon Author page: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B01H0H83HM

Website: https://missjmonroe.wordpress.com/

Thank you for your time, and happy reading!

 

 

 

Here is my interview with Michael R. Stern

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

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

Hi Fiona, hi everyone. My name is Michael R. Stern, but please call me Mike. I’ve been called a lot things, but we’ll skip that. My age, hmmm. Let’s say I’ve been around for 12 U.S. Presidents, and I watched Queen Elizabeth’s coronation.

 

Fiona: Where are you from?

I was born in Chicago, raised on Long Island, in a village called Garden City, which is suburban New York City, and I live now in southern New Jersey, about 20 minutes from the center of Philadelphia (without too much traffic).

 

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

I am a graduate of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, a college town in the Finger Lakes region of New York State, and an area where there are quite a few vineyards. My Bachelor’s degree is in Industrial and Labor Relations, and I hold Master’s degrees in Hospital and Health Services Administration, and a Master’s in Business Administration, all from Cornell.

I am married with two adult children. My spouse is also a writer, having just recently released her second book, the first of a trilogy. She’s a better writer than I am.  She publishes under the name of L.C. Bennett Stern, in case you wondered.

 

Fiona: Tell us your latest news.

In April, I released the fourth book of my time travel series, called Quantum Touch. Book Four is titled “Storm Unleashed.” I also entered my first short story contest and submitted my entry last Monday. Now, it’s wait and see, but the contestants chose from nine prompts. I intend to try writing stories from the eight others. I see a short story collection in the near future.

Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I have had scraps of paper, notebooks with doodles, essays, and general yelling on paper all over the place for years, but I never thought I would attempt to write a book. In 2009, my dad died, and I intended to write some personal memories for my family. When I began to format the stories, I also was sorting his stuff, and found a lot of source material, about his life and the world he lived in. He was born in 1911, lived through the Depression, was in the US Army during World War II, and returned to have a successful business career, as well being an active member of the community. In that context, I wrote a book about the world in his lifetime, focusing on him, but also the events that captured his generation. A lot happened in 98 years. The book is titled “Reflections on a Generous Generation.” He was friends with people the world over, including the family that founded J. Lyons, Ltd., the Salmons.

Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

As a tribute to indecisiveness, I guess I would say after my second book. But I’m still not sure I really am. I pinch myself a lot.

Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

You already know part of the answer. The inspiration was my father, but the opportunity presented itself, so I took it, and I haven’t stopped since.

 

Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

The Greatest Generation was already taken, but I think Tom Brokaw didn’t go far enough. That generation created a new world, and rather than settle for accolades, pushed further. There was no limit to accomplishments.


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

I think I do. Much of my story telling, for the series, is dialogue. I almost feel like I’m recording, not writing. My characters are very much alive for me. I am challenged with keeping the story exciting, interesting and accurate. I find that a fine line exists between too much description and too little. But it has been fun. Book 5 is in final first draft, and book 6 is now at 110,000 words. Editing will take a while.

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

I grew up with books always around me. My parents read constantly, my dad with two or three going at the same time. As I said, my first book is realistic. But the series, although science fiction and time travel, takes a different approach. My main characters are high school teachers, history and English, and are based on two men who taught me in Junior High School. The selections I have made for where they travel in time is of course based on people who I would have liked to meet and places I would like to go.

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

No, at least not in the sense of getting in a car, or hopping on a plane.I do my travelling online. And find that some of what I’m making up is actually available, and hence I can check my inaccuracies.

Fiona: Who designed the covers?

Cover design is so important to a reader’s total experience that I let artistic people do the work. I have ideas of the elements that fit the story, tell my designer and we find the pieces to fit. Then the massaging goes to my wife and daughter, Amanda for final approval. My designer is Jack Parry of Parry Design Studios.

 

 

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

I am an historian, albeit amateur, and try to present the story to show how important history is to our understanding of the present, and its implications for the future.

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

The list of new authors is too long to add here, Fiona. I am a fan of indie authors, and as one, I’m a cheerleader. The world is full of incredible imaginations, and stories that are as good as you’ll find, better even, than what traditional publishers think makes the market. The worst thing is that there are so many new writers that I would like to read and just not enough time.

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

I would have to say that early on, I joined a writer’s group called The #Awethors. The members have been tremendously supportive.

Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

I would like to continue to write for the rest of my life. If I ever make enough income from writing, then it could be the endgame. But I’m not there yet.

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

In the age of publish on demand, do-overs are not only possible, but in my opinion, a great way to improve as a writer. I haven’t thought about my most recent release yet, but I have republished the first and second books of my series, based on comments that have come from readers. I think they are both better reads than the originals. More excitement, more conflict, and I closed a plot hole I didn’t see the first time through.

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

Yes. With five published books, all edited professionally, I had a light-bulb moment. My editor (for all the series thus far) is my primary beta reader. It’s not criticism she offers, but rather, what doesn’t work for her as a reader. I’ve listened to her all along, but now I appreciate why she’s been so hard on me.

 

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

I have four main characters, and my choices cover a range of time, appropriately enough for a time-travel series. I’ve actually thought about this. If wishes were horses…Anyway, I would have younger version of Damon and Affleck as the main characters, William Frawley (Fred Mertz in I Love Lucy) as the school principal, Jennifer Aniston as Fritz’s wife, Linda, and Angelina Jolie as Dr. Jane Barclay.

Fiona: Any advice for other writers?

Start early. Read everything because you never know when you’ll need it. Write to challenge yourself. Writing is an art and a craft. Learn the craft, become the artist. And have fun. Try things you don’t think will work, and then make them work. And don’t expect to make any money. If it happens, great. There are currently 7.5 billion people on this planet. If you write a book, you will still be one of the very few who have done it. Have a website, and learn how to use it.

Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?

What…you mean besides buy my books? I love talking to my readers. Send me a note, and above all, remember to write reviews for all the books you read. Not just mine.

 

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

My next books are C.L. Schneider’s, Nite Fire, and Rick A. Mullins’ “The Changeling.”

 

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Sitting on either my mom or dad’s lap, they probably did more of the reading than I did.

 

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

Comedy and politics. They do both.

 

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

Only one? I guess I’ll need to use time travel for the rest. John Jakes, author of the Kent Family Chronicles, North and South.

 

Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?

Besides writing? It’s still an avocation. At an earlier age, I would have said skiing. Today, I guess digging in the dirt. Some people call it gardening. And of course, reading.

 

 

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

I’m one of those annoying people who can rewatch a movie many times. Love Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit. I appreciate good drama, and I like good war films. Love “Band of Brothers” and “The Pacific.” My wife and I watch BBC detectives on Netflix. I liked Doyles War, and the Father Brown mysteries. And not to forget Cumberbatch and Freeman in Sherlock We like some paranormal, like Haven. And the news is on most of the evening.

 

Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?

Enchiladas, prime rib, broccoli, French fries, red, and the poetry of 1960s folk rock, like Simon and Garfunkel.

 

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

I would listen to stories, read, and watch TV, yelling at the news reports.

 

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

When that time comes, I hope that I will have earned the right to be called a good storyteller.

 

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

Used to blog, used to have a website, and probably will again. Right now, I’m a regular on Facebook, with a little Twitter thrown in.

My email address is sternmike52@gmail.com

My Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/michael.r.stern.5

My Twitter page is @sternmike52

My Amazon Author Page is https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B008OP4DVU

I write for you, the reader. I hope you enjoy my stories. And I would love to hear from you. Ask questions, discuss writing, or anything else. I am a politics fan,  a believer in good government, and I have faith in the eventual wisdom of people.

Thank you, Fiona for the opportunity to be part of your world. Mike

 

 

 

 

Here is my interview with R.M. Gilmore

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 R.M. Gilmore and I am 17. Okay, 21. Okay, okay, 29. Yeah. 29.

 

Fiona: Where are you from?

The t’ain’t of California. Not the beach. Not the redwoods. Not Yosemite. And nowhere near Disneyland. Dead nuts in the middle of grapes and almonds, baking the sun.

 

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

My husband would call me crazy, but I’m just your normal, everyday weirdo. I grew up in a single parent home with a little brother and an affinity for art and horror. I still draw and paint on anything and with anything I can, but writing seems to be my best fit artistically. I have a kid; looks just like me. Is plotting to kill me by slowly raising my blood pressure until I pop. I’ve worked in special education since I was 18 and will likely continue in some capacity until the day I die. I married my best friend and favorite drinking buddy and we’re still mostly the same person ten years later. We’re just a normal family, really. Star Wars loving, horror freak weirdos, with tattoos and a drunk YouTube show. You know, the usge.

 

Fiona: Tell us your latest news.

Dylan Hart series is getting a special edition reboot! Cover reveal June 29th! It will be available for purchase everywhere July 17th. Also, the second Prudence Penderhaus book, 19 Marigold Lane, cover reveal is coming up in July. News updates and stuff are always on my website and newsletter subscribers get the news before anyone else.

Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I think it was 2005, may have been 2006. I was drunk, surprise, and talking somewhat valid shit on the Twilight series. The original plan for the series, made that very night with my drunk friends, was a far cry from the Dylan Hart series you can read today. Things got a little out of hand and now, ten years later, I’ve finished that series, plus a novella series, and I am currently working on the Prudence Penderhaus series. I really didn’t see that coming.

Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I still don’t. Will I ever? I don’t know. Maybe when I have a beer with Stephen King.

Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

A drunken bet and Twilight.

 

Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

In my research for The Scene, I read often about the vamp/goth club scene. It was often just called The Scene. So, obviously, the title fit. Whether Joe Reader gets the reference I don’t know. But I thought it was cool.

Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?

Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging? I should be writing screenplays, honestly. The images in my head run like a movie while I’m writing. Sometimes that becomes an issue when my head runs faster than my hands or the scene is mostly indescribable. One day I’ll be writer/director Rhiannon Gilmore. But until that day, I’m okay being R.M. Gilmore.

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

All of my work, writing, drawing, painting, whatever, has a basis of reality. It makes my black heart flutter to take a regular person and plunk them in the middle of some really f*cked up shit just to see what happens. Sometimes they make it. Sometimes they don’t. But that’s the fun of it.

Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel?

Before or during the process?  I travel, yes. From my office to the Keurig.

Fiona: Who designed the covers?

I do. I hate outsourcing so I pretty much do everything. Cover design, formatting, graphics, website, etc. I have a background in art and design so it wasn’t a far reach. Then when I realized there we a ton of authors out there getting screwed by jerks I decided to start RMGraphX and offer quality on the cheap. No jerks allowed.

 

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

Life sucks. It’s wild and ever changing. Uncontrollable. Unpredictable. Painful and beautiful in the same breath. The charming billionaire is a fantasy. Real people live real lives and sometimes shitty stuff happens to them, and that’s what I want to read about so that’s what I write about. Sometimes the shitty stuff is cancer. Sometimes it’s demon possession. Roll of the dice. Life isn’t happy endings.

 

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

Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?I read a lot of indie, but I always have my go-to trad-pubs on hand. Nicki Scalise is my best beezy and I love her and everything she writes. I am currently waiting, impatiently, for Revenants in Purgatory #4. I love Laurell K. Hamilton (Anita Blake 1-5. I don’t do sexy books), Ann Charles, Anne Frasier, Dave Pelzer, JR Rain, I could go on forever.

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

Me. My family, to an extent, was supportive. My aunt and sister from another mister in particular helped a lot when I was working on The Scene. And after I published The Scene in 2011 I gained a close group of fan friends who have been their throughout my career. But the driving force from day one was always me. I’m sure I sound like an asshole saying that, but it’s true. More people should say that about themselves. It takes guts. Guts I didn’t think I had but here they are.

Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

Well, yeah. King and Rice status takes time and patience. I can wait. Work and wait.

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

No. Not one thing. I have other books, they’re not available currently, that I rushed and am now working to make better. You can always do that, make things better.

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

I’ve watched way too many movies.

 

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

I hadn’t found anyone I’d want to play Dylan Hart, she’s an enigma really. Pru and Lynnie are the same. I’d want someone new to play them. I’d want that actor to be that character. Think Harrison Ford Han Solo.

Fiona: Any advice for other writers?

Don’t be an asshole. Seriously. Be tough. Be strong. But be humble. Be grateful. Be gracious in all situations. You are your brand. Act like it.

Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?

I love you! You’ve been as far into my head as anyone on the planet and I love you for it.

 

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

I am reading The Walking Dead volume 3 (I waited forever for the library to get it back in) and listening to Circus of the Damned on Audiobook. I’ve read it of course but the Audiobook is pretty awesome.

 

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

Like ever? Hey Diddle Diddle. Iread it with my aunt (the helpful one) when I was three or so. I couldn’t read I guess, but I memorized every damn word.

 

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry? I laugh at pretty much everything, but mostly people losing their shoes kills me. Every.

Damn. Time. Crying is more difficult for me. It comes at random and when it does it’s ugly.

 

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

Why? My great grandma Evelyn. I hear I’m a lot like her. Chasing a mystery to the ends of the earth.

 

Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?

Drinkin’.

 

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

The don’t like watching list is shorter. But mostly, horror, geekery, sci-fi, mystery, documentaries. Oh the documentaries. Star Wars, Dr. Who, Fright Night, Poltergeist, the list could go on forever.

 

Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, 

music? I have a close relationship with fried potatoes and good beer. I guess black is my favorite color, but I don’t really have one. I don’t like yellow. I listen to anything, mostly. Punk, rock, indie, grunge, pre 2000’s country and rap, anything from the 90s, folk, golden oldies (the king!), The Beatles, Stones, Supertramp, REO Speedwagon, I can’t keep typing but you get the idea.

 

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

Die. I’d probably be dead.

 

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

Nothing. I don’t want one. Viking burial. Valhalla, I’m coming home!

 

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

Of course. You can check me out at www.RMGilmoreAuthor.com for all things books. If you’re looking for something artsy, check out www.RMGraphX.com. And every Saturday night you can find me drunk and live on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC26mYSOsUc0hLe6n4Gr93jQ).

I am also having a cover reveal this week. Not sure if you have time or want to be involved, but here’s the link if you do. http://www.rmgilmoreauthor.com/release-reveal-sign-up-1.html

Thanks for letting me ramble about nothing. Happy reading!

 

Sliante!

 

 

 

Here is my interview with Christian Riley


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 full name is Christian Riley, but everyone calls me Chris—which, of course, is the name I used for my novel. I am 46 years old, and loving life!

 

Fiona: Where are you from?

Originally, I grew up in San Diego, CA. But I went to college at Humboldt State University, in Humboldt County, CA, and then I lived in that area for several years beyond graduation. Although I currently live near Sacramento, CA, I still consider Humboldt County as my home.

 

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

Some may consider my life boring, but I wouldn’t change a thing. I teach special education at an elementary school, have been married for 16 years, and have two children. I rarely get time for myself.

 

Fiona: Tell us your latest news.

Of course, the biggest news is the publication of my debut novel—an event which has brought me a high level of unexpected terror! Additionally, I will be participating in book signings, and other author events, all of which is very exciting for me. Literally, a dream come true.

Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

The idea of writing has been on my mind since I was a young child. But it took me thirty-plus years to figure out just how to do that. I started writing seriously about six years ago, after realizing that some of the video games I was playing were a colossal waste of my life.

Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I’ve had over seventy short story publications in various magazines and anthologies, and across different genres. And, I completed my first novel, as well as begun my second novel (which I am almost finished with)—all before I really considered myself as a writer. When did this realization hit me? When I got the email from my agent, asking me to call him for representation.

Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

I can cite many of my life’s experiences as sources of inspiration for this novel. But to pin down any one thing, the first spark if you will, it would have to be as a spontaneous idea that hit me one day, while swimming laps at the local pool. The act of swimming is a critical detail in the book…but I’ll let you read it to find out just why.

Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

I didn’t. Well, technically I did – the phrase “the sinking of the Angie Piper” occurs in my novel. But that wasn’t what I had originally planned for as the title. My publisher came up with it, after opting out of my original title.

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

I’ve written across many genres, so in that sense, I don’t consider any one specific genre as being mine, per se. But for sure, the style that comes easiest to me, and the one I find much pleasure in writing, is dark fiction. Most of my short stories fall into that category, and for whatever reason, my imagination tends to gravitate toward this subject. Ironically, there is very little darkness in THE SINKING OF THE ANGIE PIPER—as compared to what I have traditionally written. Quite the opposite; in fact, as a whole, I think it is very “uplifting”. Overall, in terms of versatility of style, author Dan Simmons has been a huge influence on me.

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

Probably the toughest question to answer. Nothing about the story is speculative, in my opinion. Everything that occurs in this story is hypothetically possible, considering the circumstances. Even the amazing conclusion to Danny Wilson’s character is feasible. The Alaskan atmosphere I took solely from my own experiences of working up there. Some of the supporting characters I drew from real friends and family. I’ve worked with students very similar to Danny Wilson…and I’ve often felt the same frustrations and desires that plague the main character–Edward.

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

I’m always up for traveling to support the research of my stories—if that’s possible. Sometimes, due to my demanding schedule, I have to restrict my traveling to what Google has to offer. But this question taps into the conducting of research, for the use of story development—which is something I absolutely love. I have a genuine, unending desire for learning. I am always reading, and will spend hours consulting various books and websites, and people, before diving into my next project. I love to talk with people, and won’t hesitate to pick up the phone to call on the experts information. For example, for THE SINKING OF THE ANGIE PIPER, I interviewed both commercial crab fishermen of Alaska, as well as Coast Guard personnel. It should be noted that the novel takes place prior to 1992.

Fiona: Who designed the covers?

Sabrina Sun designed the cover for my novel. I think it turned out beautiful.

 

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

Great question. On the surface, THE SINKING OF THE ANGIE PIPER is clearly a coming of age story, one that contains suspense, drama, and tragedy. But below the surface, something I hope reaches the readers, is a story of compassion, forgiveness, and persistence. It is a story of self-sacrifice, and one containing the triumph found within achieving the impossible. Last but not least, I hope readers discover their own form of inspiration through this novel—whatever that may be.

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?

A cliché answer—but there are so many good authors out there. I read a lot, and I read just about everything. I love short stories, and there are so many insanely good authors, creating such works. Some of them are well known throughout the small presses, and magazines, but perhaps not as much in the mainstream. Michael Wehunt, Nathan Ballingrud, and Brian Hodge are some of my favorites in the dark fiction arena. As previously mentioned, Dan Simmons has made a big impact on how I conduct my writing. But my favorite author is John Steinbeck. I love how he created characters and scenes. Cormac McCarthy’s THE ROAD, and Ernest Hemingway’s THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA are probably my favorite books of all time. I love the writing style of historical fiction author, William Napier—his Attila Trilogy, and stand alone novel JULIA were amazing. Louis L’Amour is always a good read—I’ve read most of his stuff. I could go on, and on…

 

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

That one entity would be my writing group, and some of the members in it. I put most of my work—short stories, and novel/s—past them, for critiquing purposes, etc. They’re all good supporters to the cause of writing.

Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

I do now. Perhaps only a part-time career, but one that I take very seriously. I’ve always maintained the opinion that writing is a hobby, one in which I love, and one that pays for itself, as well as my reading addiction, through the sales of short stories. I have done quite well with that perspective. But now that I have an agent, and my debut novel coming out, along with the motivation to write more novels, perhaps this hobby will someday create a legacy for my family. That would be more than I could ask for.

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

I would probably make a few of the ideas I tried to convey less cerebral, and more accessible to all readers. I sometimes overestimate people’s willingness to “read into” things. And I think that willingness is necessary in order to grasp all of the themes I wove into the novel.

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

Wow. I learned a ton…so much, that I had to take frequent breaks from writing altogether, just to rest the brain. The genre of the book was unlike anything some of the readers in my writing group were used to, or cared to read for that matter. That caused a lot of upheaval, and I had to learn how to receive, filter, accept and/or reject certain opinions, in that order. I learned how to become as objective to criticism as possible, and what saved me from straying away from my goal (which I could have easily done had I listened to some of the opinions thrown my way) was the many hours I’d logged into reading. I knew what genre I was writing for, and this knowledge helped me filter through some of the negative criticism.

Of course, I learned a lot about the commercial crabbing industry—which was fun. I also learned the ropes of professional editing, thanks to my publisher. I learned more about the craft of writing. I learned how generous people can be, when it came to providing me with information. Most surprising of all, I learned that much of the story seemed to write itself. At times I would discover something about the book, the characters, the story plot, etc., by sudden happenstance, often after going for a long swim, or taking a walk. Those were the learning moments I appreciated the most.

 

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

Charlie Hunnam would be nice. He’s so good at playing the tough guy, but I think he could pull off Ed’s cowardly character. It would great to see him try.

Fiona: Any advice for other writers?

Write short stories. Read everything—all genres, etc., and read every day until your eyes hurt. Write short stories, and actively try to get them published. Join a writing group if possible, but be wary of criticism. Try to be original by writing a novel that is actually worth reading. Write more short stories.

Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?

I hope they enjoy the book, and that they get something out of it. That they don’t regret reading it. I would encourage them to contact me, if they wish, as I love to hear from people. Most of all, I’d like to tell them Thank You!

 

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

BLACK HILLS, by Dan Simmons.

 

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

No way.

 

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

My children—every day.

 

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

I would love to travel on horseback through the southwest with Louis L’Amour. That would be epic.

 

Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?

Other than reading and writing, I have many interests. Swimming, especially in natural environments such as lakes, oceans, etc. I used to practice martial arts a lot. I like being in nature. I play the drums, and thanks to Blackstone Audio’s generous advance on my novel, I’m now playing a Roland V Series kit. Epic.

 

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

With my wife, anything with limited violence and drama. We’re watching White Collar right now.

 

Fiona: Favorite foods, colors,  music?

A carne asada burrito, followed by chocolate cake makes for a good day. I’ll listen to just about anything, depending on my mood. And I like the contrast between cobalt blue, and limestone white, as they remind me of the one place I long to visit—Greece.

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

I’d keep myself busy. I love to learn new things.

 

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

Nothing. I want to be burned up and tossed into a Humboldt County wind.

 

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

 

www.chrisrileyauthor.com

chakalives@gmail.com

 

Here is my interview with Orlando Ortega-Medina

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

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

Hi, Fiona. My name is Orlando Ortega-Medina. According to my PT, my metabolic age is 42.

 

Fiona: Where are you from?

I was born in Los Angeles. But I hold three nationalities – U.K., Canada, and the USA – and I’ve lived in all three countries. Currently, I live in London.

 

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

I majored in English Literature at UCLA, with a concentration in Creative Writing. My writing professors included the late Carolyn See, Daniel Menaker, and Gerald Jay Goldberg. After university, I read law at Southwestern University School of Law and was subsequently admitted to the California State Bar. These days, I manage a US corporate immigration practice based in South Kensington. My husband and I have been together for 26 years. We married in Montreal 12 years ago when it finally became legal for us to do so.

 

Fiona: Tell us your latest news.

My book Jerusalem Ablaze: Stories of Love and Other Obsessions was recently longlisted for the fabulous Polari First Book Prize. We’re keeping our fingers crossed for the shortlist, which will be announced on 31 July 2017.

 

Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I’ve been writing since I was a child. I can’t recallwhy I began writing. I’ve always been a creative person. Writing is just one of those creative things I love doing.

 

Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

When I won my first literary award in 1987, the National Society of Arts and Letters Award for Short Stories.

 

Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

My first published book Jerusalem Ablaze: Stories of Love and Other Obsession is a collection of short stories inspired by my struggles in coming to terms with my sexual and religious identity and by my fascination with the darker side of human relations. I set the stories in places that have been formative of who I am today.

 

Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

Jerusalem Ablaze is the title of one of the stories in the collection. It’s an allegorical title that refers to a sexual encounter that takes place between a priest and a prostitute in Jerusalem’s Old City. The publisher came up with the tagline Stories of Love and Other Obsessions.

 

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

I strive for elegance and readability. I’m obsessive about choosing the right phrase, the perfect word. This means that I spend countless hours reviewing each line of text, on paper and out loud, to make sure the manuscript is as close to perfect as possible.

 

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

It’s entirely fictional. None of it is directly based on my own experiences or on someone else’s life. That said, all of it springs from inside of me. It’s expressionistic.

 

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

No, I don’t.

 

Fiona: Who designed the cover?

I’m proud to say that La Boca Studio designed the award-winning cover of Jerusalem Ablaze.

 

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

One might find a message in the collection if one were to stand on one’s head and read the whole thing in reverse. Seriously, though, I’m not Aesop; there’s no moral or lesson. My aim is to tell a good story that will remain with the reader for a lifetime.

 

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?

One up and coming writer that I recommend people keep their eyes on is Abi Curtis, a British writer whosebrilliantly-written dystopian novel Water & Glass is coming out later this year. I genuinely believe she’s going to be the next Margaret Atwood. Besides Abi, my favourite living author is Salman Rushdie. In my view, his prose is unparalleled.

 

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

The late Carolyn See, my beloved writing professor, was one of the architects of my writing career.  I’ll always remember her sage advice when I was struggling with the decision of whether to go to law school or enroll in an MFA course. She said, “Become a lawyer first; write later.” Anyone on a similar journey should read Carolyn’s book Making a Literary Life: Advice for Writers and Other Dreamers.

 

Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

It’s definitely a career for some people.

 

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

Nothing that I can think of.  I’m happy with it as it is.

 

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

I learned how critical it is to work with an editor. I also learned the value of surrendering creative control to a publisher and its marketing team.

 

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

One of the most cinematic stories in the collection is the title story “Jerusalem Ablaze”, which is about a sexual encounter between a young priest and a prostitute.  I’d cast Zayn Malik as the priest and Salma Hayek as the prostitute.  That would be perfect.  Are you listening Zayn and Salma?

 

Fiona: Any advice for other writers?

One can’t very well call oneself a writer unless one actually writes. So: Write – Everyday – No excuses.

 

Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?

I’ll be taking you to those places in your heart and mind where you may have previously feared to journey.  But, don’t worry, I won’t let go of your hand.Be ready to have your world shaken.

 

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

Sunburnt Faces by Shimon Adaf.

 

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

I’m afraid that I don’t.  I was an early reader.

 

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

That’s a tough one.  I don’t easily laugh or cry.But every so often, something will hit me, and I’ll laugh until I cry.  Does that count for both?

 

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

I’d love to sit down with Salman Rushdie and have a nice, long conversation with him about writing and about the very interesting life he has lead.  I’m sure I’d learn a lot from him.

 

Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?

Is traveling a hobby?  If so, that’s my hobby.  If not, then put down dining out as my hobby.

 

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

When it comes to TV, I enjoy binging on what Netflix or Amazon has on offer, such as House of Cards, The Borgias, The Man in the High Castle, and Z: The Beginning of Everything.  As for films, I’m an art film and foreign film junkie – the edgier the better.

 

Fiona: Favorite foods, colors,  music?

My favourite cuisines are Yemeni, Syrian, and Persian – in that order. My favourite colour is the electric blue of twilight. As a musician and songwriter, it’s difficult for me to say which is my favourite type of music.  I love it all. I enjoy the theatricality of rock concerts. David Bowie, Queen, and Lady Gaga come to mind.

 

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

I’d read.

 

Fiona: What do you want written on your headstone?

“The show must go on.”

 

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

My author website is: OrlandoOrtegaMedina.co.uk

Mt twitter page is: @OOrtegaMedina

My Facebook Author Page is: https://www.facebook.com/orlandoortegamedina/

My Goodreads Page is: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15336919.Orlando_Ortega_Medina

And least, but not Beethoven, my Amazon Author Page is: https://www.amazon.com/Orlando-Ortega-Medina/e/B01LY08GEB

Cloud Lodge Books, the publisher of Jerusalem Ablaze, also lists product updates and special offers on its website:  http://www.cloudlodgebooks.com

 

Here is my interview with Val Tobin


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?

Val Tobin, age fifty-five.

Fiona: Where are you from?

Newmarket, Ontario, Canada

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

I have an eclectic education. I started with literature, psychology, and philosophy at the University of Waterloo and then went to DeVry Toronto for a diploma in Computer Information Systems.

 

After working in the computer industry as a software/web developer for ten years, during which time I also wrote for an on-line tech magazine, I became a Reiki Master/Teacher.

 

From there, I received my Angel Therapy Practitioner® certifications from Doreen Virtue in Kona, Hawaii. I also studied for and received a B. Sc. In Parapsychic Science from the Institute of Holistic Theology. Then I completed a master’s degree in Parapsychology.

 

Writing was always something I did, and I wrote for a variety of on-line publications. I also contributed a story to Doreen Virtue’s book Angel Words, which was published by Hay House. In 2013 I published the first novel in the Valiant Chronicles series. I’ve written and published five more novels and some short stories since then.

 

I still live in Newmarket with my husband and cat, and enjoy spending time with my kids and grandkids.

 

Fiona: Tell us your latest news.

 

I have another novel in progress. It’s called Poison Pen. Here is a one-sentence summary: Three wannabe authors suffering from various mental disorders find love in unexpected places when they interfere in the investigation of a colleague’s murder.

 

I’m also working on turning my master’s thesis on the after-effects of near-death experience into a non-fiction book

 

Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

 

I’ve always written. It was a natural progression from my love of reading.

Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

 

I’ve always considered myself a writer, because I’ve always written. I didn’t consider myself an author until I had a few novels published. Weird, perhaps, but true.

Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

 

I had a story inside that was busting to get out.

 

Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

 

The Experiencers is a reference to a term coined by Dr. John E. Mack, a leading researcher into UFOs and alien abductions. He used hypnosis to help abductees recall their experiences.

 

He preferred the term “experiencers” to “abductee” because he considered abductee to have too many negative connotations. Some contend that abductee is more appropriate since that’s what’s happening — the person has no choice when taken.

 

Some readers will recognize what’s behind the title while others will come to learn about it from reading the story. From there, readers can decide on which side of the debate they fall.

 

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

 

My style flows naturally from my personality and the way I think. I write in numerous genres and don’t find any more difficult than the others. They all involve hard work.

 

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

 

Life influences art in whatever form of expression it takes, including writing. Some of my stories reflect incidents from my life. The Valiant Chronicles had a few true-story-based events in it.

 

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

 

Yes, I’ve travelled to some of the places I wrote about. It’s always better if I can see the places for myself. I’ve been to California, for example, which features in Injury. I’ve also spent a lot of time in Port Perry and Bancroft, which provide some of the settings in the Valiant Chronicles. For The Experiencers, I took time to explore Algonquin Park.Poison Pen is set in Niagara-on-the-Lake. I’ve been there numerous times but will revisit it this fall to scope it out specifically for my story.

Fiona: Who designed the covers?

 

Patti Roberts of Paradox Book Covers and Design did all my covers.

 

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

 

All my novels contain messages, but it’s up to readers to discern the message that pertains to 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?

 

Writers that have grabbed my interest lately include Eric Lahti, Norman Turrell, and Rebecca Bryn. My favourite writer has always been Tokien. Lately, I’ve been voraciously reading Lee Child’s Jack Reacher books and Michael Connelly’s books. I’m also a huge Nora Roberts fan.

 

What strikes me about these works is the author’s style, the stories told, and the interesting characters moving the plot forward. All components work together to create stories I just can’t put down.

 

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

 

An author friend mentored me through the process before I was first published. He’s a hybrid author who helped me a lot. I find other authors are wonderful for offering support and guidance. The Indie Author Support & Discussion group has been invaluable. So many awesome people in that group.

Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

 

I see writing as a life purpose.

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

 

The thing with electronic files is that you always have a do-over if you need it. Right now, I don’t see anything I’d want to change.

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

 

I always learn something with every book I write. With Earthbound, my latest release (a prequel to The Experiencers), I explored the possibility that there’s an afterlife. Much of what I based the story on (exaggerated for added thrills, of course) came from my formal studies in parapsychic science, parapsychology, and other courses, as well as my experiences as an Angel Therapy Practitioner® and Reiki Master/Teacher. I’ve also participated in paranormal investigations in Canada and the US, which has given me a unique perspective on ghosts and paranormal events.

 

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

 

If the Valiant Chronicles were made into a film, I’d love to see Jensen Ackles or Misha Collins play Michael Valiant. Laura Prepon might make a great Carolyn.

Fiona: Any advice for other writers?

 

It’s always better to delay hitting “publish” than to find out you released a file full of errors. Before letting your manuscript out into the world, make sure you go through it even if you’ve had someone else proofread it. I’ve seen instances where an author relied on someone else to upload and publish, and the file contained formatting or technical errors. That’s not a good first impression to give new readers of your work.

 

Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?

 

Thank you for all your support, encouragement, and feedback.

 

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

 

Lee Child’s Night School; Eric Lahti’s Henchmen; Why They Kill by Richard Rhodes; and The Mental Health Disorders Sourcebook edited by Karen Bellenir;

 

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

 

I remember reading Dr. Seuss books and a book of stories written in Hungarian.

 

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

 

People.

 

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

 

Jesus, because he’d be cool to hang out and chat with.

 

Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?

 

Reading. Paranormal investigations. Travel.

 

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

 

I like action movies, relationship movies, science fiction movies, shows about the paranormal, The X-Files, Supernatural, and some sitcoms shows. I really got into the show Grace and Frankie on Netflix.

 

Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?

 

Chocolate, yellow, rock and roll.

 

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

 

Waste away.

 

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

 

She’s watching you.

 

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

 

Website: http://valtobin.com/

Blog: https://bobandval.wordpress.com/

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Val-Tobin/e/B00KC5S69K

Thank you, Fiona, for the opportunity to share about my work.