Here is my interview with Jason Matthews

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

 

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

Jason Matthews, 49, male, libra, 5’10”, 170 lbs, bald, blue eyes

 

Fiona: Where are you from?

Born in North Carolina. Also lived in Mass, Ohio, Oregon and California since ‘91, the golden state where I intend to stay.

 

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

I like playing soccer and snow skiing. Love dogs. I have two amazing college age daughters and spend as much time with them as they’ll allow.

 

Fiona: Tell us your latest news.

Latest news? Did a gig at Santa Barbara Writers Conference and had fun with that.Now working on a book for a celebrity author, hoping it does well.

Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

Age 4. My mom took notes of shit I’d say as a kid so I guess she was my first secretary. I reread some of those stories recently. Probably not commercial material.

Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Calling myself a writer took a long time because I was more of a jock and gamer as a kid than an avid reader. For years I called myself an “ideas person who put them down on paper.” I’m getting better with the title now.

Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

The concept for the plot got stuck in my head. Originally I wrote a screenplay because I thought it would be easier. When I realized how hard it is to get people to read screenplays, I decided to write my first book as a novel. Still my favorite book after writing seven thus far.

 

Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

The Little Universe. That’s what it is, a miniature self-enclosed universe. I like the paradox in the title. Hopefully I’m not alone in that.

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

My style is mostly conversational. I’m something of a simpleton so I try to keep things basic. I know my limits.

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

Well, I’ve written seven books, two novels and five non-fiction books. The novels are concepts from my head mixed with scientific and metaphysical things that interest me. The non-fiction is primarily how-to stuff.

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

No. But I’d like to travel more. I have a teddy bear I bring on trips. Awkward moments happen.

Fiona: Who designed the covers?

I’ve designed a few because one of my books teaches how you can do everything yourself at no cost in self-publishing (if you want, though I don’t recommend it for everyone). Otherwise I’ve hired several people for covers. One time a person from Fiverr did a great cover for about $20 so that was pretty cool.

 

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

Plenty of them. One is that there are clues in everyday life that suggest there is more going on than we are aware of. Our lives have meaning and things that happen have meaning, even if we can’t make sense of it right away.

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?

This feels like two separate questions. The first answer is probably no. The second is I don’t have a favorite writer, but I remember enjoying Richard Back and Carl Sagan very much among others. I listen to Anthony Bourdain who does travel shows focused on food and the people who make it. He’s captivating, funny, witty.


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

I had several good friends read early drafts of my screenplay and first novel. Their support meant the world to me.

Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

Yes, but it’s very difficult to make “good” money writing. I earnway more from my how-to guides and video courses that teach self-publishing than from my novels.Even still, I do other things to pay the bills.

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

This question about doing it all over again applies more to things I did with my first books than my latest. Once you’ve published seven books, you have a much better handle on things. My first book came out on Kindle in 2009. Knowing what I learned over the next few years, I would have been much more active in networking on Kindle Boards and Goodreads than I was back then.

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

It was a non-fiction book on self-publishing, so I mostly reinforced things I already knew.However the sales are lower than a self-publishing book I released in 2010, so there’s probably a lot of truth in the saying “timing is everything.”

 

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

Not sure. Sometimes I think it would be cool if big stars like Tom Hanks and Scarlett Johansson played the leads. Other times I want it to be lesser known actors so the story can be the main focus. I’d be happy either way of course 😉

Fiona: Any advice for other writers?

Do it for the love of writing and the benefits you get from putting thoughts and emotions on paper (or the screen). Don’t begin writing for the hopes of making money. If money comes, all the better, but it shouldn’t be the impetus for writing.

Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?

I hope people search for the meaning in our lives and how each of us can make efforts to contribute to the whole. I believe stuff like that.

 

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

Just finished Art of Intuition. Haven’t started the next one.

 

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

Maybe a Paddington Bear book from the school library in the third grade. My mom says it was a traumatic experience for me because in front of everyone my teacher said it was too difficult for me to read. I don’t remember that, but I have gotten over my fear of libraries and teddy bears.

 

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

Everything makes me laugh or I see humor in almost everything. Not much makes me cry, but not because I don’t care. I’ve grown numb to so much of the inhumanity we see in the news and to the hardships people endure. It can be a horrible, disturbing, insane world sometimes. I wish Mr. Scot would beam me up soon. Not easy dealing with the problems of the world.

 

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

Nikola Tesla. The greatest human mind to ever exist and perhaps the most underappreciated.

 

Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?

Hobbies not so much. I used to grow pot and was very good at it. I go to the gym almost every day and enjoy a meditative mindset during my workouts. I trade high risk stocks and am addicted to it.

 

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

I prefer lighthearted stuff or shows that make me think. I also have loved The Simpsons since it first came out around 1990. I don’t like stupid violence, crime drama, or spy stuff which seems so prevalent in Hollywood.

 

Fiona: Favorite foods, colors,  music?

Pasta, Mexican, Chinese. Green. Rolling Stones. Zeppelin. Pink Floyd. Grateful Dead. Bowie.

 

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

Travel with a beautiful, sexually energetic woman and enjoy the beaches and villages around the world. (If this sounds like you, contact me through my blog below.)

 

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

Thank you for your contributions! Well done.

 

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

My blog for self-publishing: https://ebooksuccess4free.wordpress.com/

My blog for anything else: http://www.thebigbangauthor.com/

 

And Amazon Authors page: http://author.to/JasonMatthews

 

Here is my interview with Dianne Noble

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 Dianne Noble and I’m 69

 

Fiona: Where are you from?

I was born in Yorkshire but with a father in the RAF and a husband who was a civil engineer I don’t really belong anywhere. For example my childhood was spent in Singapore and Cyprus and my early married life in the Arabian Gulf.

 

 

Fiona: Tell us your latest news.

I’ve just released my third book, Oppression, which focuses on a forced marriage in Egypt, but also the issue of control in an Englishwoman’s relationship with her husband.

Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I’ve always written but I suppose the in depth writing began with journals I kept on my travels around the world – China, Russia, Guatemala etc…

Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

When people bought my first book, Outcast.

Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

It was based on my experience of teaching English to street children in the slums of Kolkata, India.

 

Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

The Dalits – untouchables – of India featured, hence the title of Outcast.

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

I put down on paper what’s in my head then have to build on what is, in effect, reportage. Most people write too much and have to cut. I have the opposite problem!

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 writing is based on experience of places and situations.

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

I have to know the place before I feel I have the right to put it on paper.

Fiona: Who designed the covers?

Cora Graphics

 

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

We women are stronger than we think!

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

I’ve always loved the novels of the late Helen Dunmore for her sense of place, also Kate Atkinson for her sheer ingenuity of plot. I’m always on the lookout for new authors.

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

Just Write – a Leicester writing group.

Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

Yes, because I’m totally unable to stop!

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

No, it’s had so many edits it’s as good as I can get it.

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

I’ve begun to realise you have to know when to stop editing, know when to call a halt.

 

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

Anna Friel

Fiona: Any advice for other writers?

Keep at it. I had 32 rejections before I found a publisher.

Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?

Join a manuscript critique class. Don’t be precious about your writing and accept advice and criticism.

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

Grasshopper by Barbara Vine

 

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

Janet and John followed by Enid Blyton’s Noddy.

 

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

Peter Kay makes me laugh. The recent losses of life in Manchester and London have made me cry buckets.

 

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

Gandhi because I love India and all he epitomised.

 

Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?

Reading and eating cake.

 

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

Vera and Masterchef.

 

Fiona: Favorite foods, colors,  music?

Chips and chocolate – red – Country and Western.

 

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

Read more! I already read 2-3 books every week, one of the advantages of living alone.

 

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

She never refused a challenge.

 

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

www.dianneanoble.com

 

 

 

Amazon Authors Pages UK  https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dianne-Noble/e/B01CXAWOO4/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

USA https://www.amazon.com/Dianne-Noble/e/B01CXAWOO4/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

 

 

Link for my latest novel Oppression

UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B071KY8BJ8 

USA  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071KY8BJ8

 

Here is my interview with Xio Axelrod

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.

Hi! I’m Xio Axelrod.

 

Fiona: Where are you from?

I was born in New Jersey, but I grew up in Philadelphia, PA. 😀

 

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

Well, as I said, I grew up in Philadelphia. My family is deeply involved in the music industry, so that makes up the bulk of my chidhood. I went to university in Maryland, and then lived in London for a bit before returning to Philly. I’m married to my own romance hero. We have a fun life together.

 

Fiona: Tell us your latest news.

I will release my first MM contemporary romance on 6/27. It’s called Fast Forward (an Alt Er Love novella). This book is near and dear to my heart, and it’s the first in a series of standalones.

Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I’ve always written, though my focus was on songwriting until 2013 when I “accidentally” wrote my first novel. It was a serial on my blog that went viral. Four years later, I’m writing my 7th book.

Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Hmm…I suppose it’s when my first book started to pick up steam. I didn’t think anyone would buy it, to be honest. But they did, and it got great reviews, picked up a few awards, etc. I guess that’s when, though I still struggle with the concept of myself as a writer.

Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

I was deep into my love of Outlander (books by Diana Gabaldon/TV series on Starz) and the fandom that sprouted up around the show. I write a lot of ‘what-if’ stories. The Calum was ‘what if a woman obsessed with a particular romance hero decided to fly to Scotland to find him, or someone like him?’

 

Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

It was originally called A Jamie for Christmas. I emailed for permission to use the name and references from Outlander, but never heard back from Diana Gabaldon – go figure-  so I changed it. It took a bit of time to find a name that was Scottish and not over-used, and that sounded good as a title. Hence, The Calum.

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

I don’t have a style that I can point to, unless ‘earthy’ is a style. I tend to write very realistic dialogue, which some people love and some people hate. It’s what I like to read. People don’t always speak in complete sentences. In fact, we rarely do. I play around a lot with that in my prose. The challenge in writing contemporary, at least the way I write it, is being faithful to the universe. My universe is very diverse, and I want to be true to that in the books. Sometimes I have to police myself, when I start to repeat myself/my characters and ignore the other voices around me.

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

I only recently started to draw from my experience in the music industry. But I haven’t based any characters off of anyone I knew, except for one who has shown up in the last two books. She’s a long-distance acquaintence that I have a great affinity for, and she just keeps popping up.

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

I do travel for research, sometimes after the fact, lol. I went to Scotland last year to do some research for the Calum series, even though the first book is out. Next year, I’ll be in Norway for the Alt Er Love series, for the third book that’s actually set there. And to (hopefully) sit down with my muse for a big single title that I’m working on. Oh yes, I like to meet my muses. My latest release, Camden, features my friend Stuart Reardon on the cover. We met at a signing last October and decided to work together. After getting to know him, though, I found it difficult to write the love scenes in his book(s). I had to picture someone else. He’s too much like a brother or something to me now. LOL!

Fiona: Who designed the covers?

Some are my designs (The Warm Up, Fast Forward, Falling Stars, Starlight, La Promesse, and Remembering the Alamo,) and the others are by Lou Harper Designs (The Calum – redesigned, and Camden.)

 

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

My message is very simple: we are all the same, even in our differences. We all want love, we all want peace (I hope), and we all want the best for the people we care about. Most importantly, love is love, and no matter who you are or who you love, you deserve to love and be loved. Alt Er Love translates to everything is love, or love is everything. It’s a motto I picked up from a TV show called SKAM, but it fits so well with my outlook on life that I have adopted it.

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

I have so many favourites. I’m glad you asked me about new authors, though. As a new author myself, I’m a big believer in paying it forward. Sarah Hegger is a big favourite, also Susan Scott Shelley, Pintip Dunn, Mika Jolie, Sarina Bowen, Alyssa Cole, Sierra Simone, Robin Covington. I told you there were a lot, lol. Right now, I’m in love with the work of Roan Parrish. She brings the pain in her books, they’re so poignant and striking, but filled with so much love and hope. She blows me away.

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

I didn’t tell my family about it right away, lol. It was ‘oh, by the way, I just released a book.’ Once it was reviewed for USA Today’s blog, it became harder to hide. But a librarian, and friend, in Philadelphia named Dena Heilik is probably the biggest reason why I’m an author now. She read that first, viral story and decided I needed to do something with it. She even created a Goodreads profile for the book. And then another friend, Denny S. Bryce, told me about Romance Writers of America, and took me to a conference with her. That was the summer of 2013. That story became Falling Stars and Starlight.

Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

If you had asked me four years ago, I would have laughed at that question. Now, though, I absolutely do. I love writing, I love helping others with their writing, I love it all.

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

I would have made it longer, but I get to explore more of the story in the follow-up, with a bit of a twist. I’m having fun writing it.

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

I learned that some people will close their minds if something challenges their reality, and that others will embrace the challenge with open minds and open hearts. I have some of the best readers in the world, and they’re pretty open to whatever I decide to write.

 

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

The book spans seven years. For the younger Ian, I’d go with the original inspirations: Tarjei Sandvik Moe, and with Henrik Holm for young Jessen. For older Ian and Jessen, maybe Josh Hutcherson and someone like Alex Pettyfer if he were taller. Henrik is 6’4”, lol.

Fiona: Any advice for other writers?

Keep writing. Keep reading. Network. Engage your readers, and not just by hawking your book. They want to get to know you. Stay positive, be kind, and believe in yourself. And realize that your path is your path, don’t try to follow someone else’s.

Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?

Thank you for supporting me, I wouldn’t be where I am without you.

 

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

Heart of the Steal by Roan Parrish and Hot Cop by Sierra Simone and Laurelin Paige.

 

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

The first book? No. The first romance I read was Crazy, Little Thing by Tracy Brogan.

 

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

A well-crafted, angsty story with a happy ending.

 

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

Right now, I’m itching to meet my muse, Henrik Holm, and his mom, Siv Svendsen, who is also an inspiration.

 

Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?

I still write and record music, and do shows occasionally. I don’t tour the way I used to. Writing has replaced music as my primary career.

 

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

SKAM, which just ended, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, American Gods, Outlander, Sense8 (which was canceled, grrrr.) I love SciFi and fantasy. Genre TV. Anything fresh, and new, and challenging.

 

Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?

I love seafood, and English custard. Not together though, lol. Favourite colours are black and purple. Favourite music? Way to much to list, but right now I am obsessed with Cezinando, Verdensrommet, and Crooked Colours.

 

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

I love to travel, and to learn languages. Right now I am learning Norwegian. I’d love to learn more. Travel more. I can’t imagine not writing, whether it’s books or music.  

 

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

She tried her best. She loved as hard as she could. She hopes she left you with a smile.

 

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

http://www.xioaxelrod.com I’m also on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc, aas @xioaxelrod

Fast Forward Author: Xio Axelrod Release date: June 27th, 2017  Publisher: Xio Axelrod LLC ISBN: 9780998931616 Print ISBN: 9780998931523 ASIN: B072R5X1GL

Blurb ~ As a nineteen-year-old, wunderkind doctoral candidate, Ian Waters had little interest in social interaction. Books were his companions, and that had suited him just fine. Then a hurricane named Jessen Sørensen blew into his life, throwing Ian off his axis.

On the cusp of rock stardom, Jessen had burned brightly, and Ian had fallen heart-first under his spell. But Ian soon learned he was only a temptation, a pit stop on the road to the rocker’s dreams, and Jessen was gone as quickly as he’d come. Ian buried his heartache in academia, the only home he’d ever known.

Author Links: Website:  http://www.xioaxelrod.com  Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/XioAxelrod/e/B00JCFOOHY  Email Signup: http://eepurl.com/SunFL    Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/XioAxelrod   Twitter:  https://twitter.com/xioaxelrod   Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/xioaxelrod  Instagram:    http://instagram.com/xioaxelrod/

 

Excerpt (PG-13: use of language)

“Aren’t you going to invite me in for a nightcap, or whatever?”

Ian arched his brows. “I wasn’t, actually. No.”

“Ouch.” Jessen flattened his hand over his heart as if mortally wounded. “I’m surprised by how rude you’ve become, Ian.”

Before he could react, Jessen slipped the keys out of Ian’s hand and jogged up to the door. He chose the right key on his first try, because of course he did, and strolled into Ian’s home like he belonged there.

Which he most certainly did not.

This was so fucked up, but Ian followed him inside and flicked on the lights.

Jessen whistled. “Fuck, Ian. This is beautiful!”

And it was. Ian had painted the walls of the main living space in Wedgewood blue, true to the period in which the house was built, and it set off the pristine, white wainscoting beautifully.

A large bay window let in plenty of light during the day and provided a comfortable reading spot at night. Oversized furniture in cream twill made up the bulk of the seating.

He’d transformed the formal dining room into a makeshift A-V suite, which housed his iMac and his Mac Pro, plus his other editing equipment. Unconventional, but it suited him.

“This is really nice, Ian,” Jessen murmured, turning to him. “I’m really happy for you.”

There was awe in his voice and reverence.

Ian suppressed the wave of pride that swept over him. Jessen was the only person he’d told about his tumultuous childhood, his deadbeat father, and disturbed mother. He was the only person he’d told about his dream of owning a beautiful home and planting roots in a community.

Most people never asked about the family of a prodigy, as long as the prodigy kept producing.

Siv knew a bit about his wrecked childhood, but only Jessen knew it all. Every dark and dirty detail.

Ian had told Jessen everything one night, overwhelmed by the emotions spilling over him after

their first time having sex. Making love. They’d done a lot before then, just about everything, but it wasn’t until that night that they’d gone all the way.

Ian had given Jessen his all, every little bit of himself. Had spilled his heart and soul to the man who had cracked open his hard shell for the first time in his life.

And then he had woken up one morning to an empty space in the bed next to him, and a note on the floor.

I’m sorry.

He still had the note.

Those two words had splintered Ian into a million indiscernible pieces. Pieces he was still trying to fit back together.

And there stood Jessen Sørensen, in his fucking dining room, glowing like he kept his own personal sun somewhere behind his rib cage.

“Do you have any coffee?”

“Yes.”

“Could I possibly get a cup?” A smile danced at the edges of his sinful mouth.

“No.”

Jessen laughed. “Please?”

“There’s a Char-bucks on the corner if you want coffee. I am not making you coffee, Jess.”

“Aww,” he pouted prettily. “Why not?”

Why not.

Why not.

“Why not?”

“Yeah.” Jessen was grinning. No, he was smirking.

The bubbling volcano in Ian’s belly erupted.

“Who the fuck do you think you are?”

The blonde’s eyes widened and the smirk melted away. “I…”

“Seven years, Jess. Seven. Fucking. Years. You walked out of my life in the middle of the goddamned night, no goodbye, nothing. Just ‘I’m sorry’ scratched on a piece of brown paper bag.”

“I know, and I…”

“Shut the fuck up.”

To his credit, Jessen did shut the fuck up.

To his credit, Ian wasn’t screaming. Yet.

He turned on his heel and stalked into the living room, throwing himself onto the couch. It was

big and plush and the first piece of furniture he’d purchased for the house.

His house.

His.

He felt like his safe haven had been invaded by the enemy from his heartbroken past.

Ian’s chest heaved. There was so much he wanted to say, so much he’d bottled up and walled off. And Jessen was right there. Right there.

The other man entered the room slowly, carefully. He sat on the coffee table across from Ian.

No one sat on the coffee table. It was an antique that had come with the house and Ian was proud of it. But he didn’t give a shit right then. Fuck the goddamn coffee table and the man sitting on it in his five-hundred-dollar skinny jeans.

He wanted Jessen gone, and yet he was terrified to let him go.

“What do you want me to do?”

Ian blinked up at him, confused by this all-too-sober sounding Jessen. “What do you mean?”

“If you want me to leave, I will leave. Right now, just say the word. If you want me to give you some time, I will.” His gaze softened. “If…if you want me to stay, I’ll stay.”

“What if I wanted you to leave Philly and never come back?” Ian eyed him carefully. “Would you do that?”

Jessen looked pained, but he nodded. “Eventually.”

“What if I wanted you to go back in time and fix what you broke, could you?”

“God, I wish.” He’d choked out the words.

Ian frowned. Studying Jessen, he noticed a slight hunch in his shoulders. There were dark circles

under his eyes. He seemed smaller, dimmer. It was confusing, conflicting with the mental image he’d always carried.

“Why are you here?”

Jessen exhaled and rested his elbows on his knees. He knit his fingers together and faced Ian ,his expression more serious than Ian had ever seen.

“I owe you an apology.”

Ian snorted, he couldn’t help it.

Jessen’s smile was slight. “I know, seven years too late, but…I hope…I was hoping…”

“What? Thought you’d pop back up, bat those pretty eyes of yours, and I’d bend over for you?”

“You still think my eyes are pretty?”

“That’s what you focus on?”

At least he had the grace to look contrite. “Sorry.”

“Are you?”

Jessen’s expression morphed into a mask of regret. “Yes, God. Yes. You have no idea how sorry I  ran away, Ian. I ran away from you, and I’ll never forgive myself. Even if you somehow find a way to forgive me, I’ll never forgive myself. I hurt you.”

“You hurt me?”

“I know I did.”

“No, Jess. You don’t know shit. You didn’t just hurt me, you broke me. You fucked up an already fucked-up kid.” Ian ran a rough hand through his overgrown hair. “I could barely function after you disappeared. I missed classes, had to postpone my exams, I was a total wreck when you fucked off and out of my life.”

Ian was shaking, his jaw trembling so hard his teeth chattered. And he was pissed because it shouldn’t affect him this much anymore, not so many years after the fact. He was beyond this pain.

“Fuck, Ian…I’m so…” Jessen reached out as if he were going to touch him and Ian pressed himself back into the cushions. He could not let that happen.

“I’m so sorry. God, that sounds lame. Even to me.”

“Because it is lame. Sorry? Sorry was seven years ago. Six, maybe. I’d even give you five. But now?”

Jessen nodded. His gaze flicked toward the door, and Ian panicked.

The thought of letting him walk out in the middle of this long overdue conversation was almost paralyzing.

“Don’t go.”

Jessen’s gaze snapped back to his. “What? No, I…”

“You were thinking of leaving.”

He nodded. “Yes, but only to give you some space. I had no idea I’d cause…I didn’t think you’d…”

“You thought I was over you.”

Jessen’s jaw hung open, his eyes wide. For the first time since he’d first met him, Ian saw fear in

Jessen’s eyes.

“Are you?”

Ian wanted to pretend. Wished he could. He wanted to lie, but even after so long he knew it

was pointless. He was an open wound where Jessen Sørensen was concerned. He could never

hide the bleeding from him.

“No, Jess. That’s the problem. I’ll never be over you.”

BIO

Xio Axelrod is a USA Today Bestselling author of love stories, contemporary romance and (what she likes to call) strange, twisted tales. She also writes erotica as Xio Nin.

Xio grew up in the music industry and began recording at a young age. When she isn’t writing stories, she can be found in the studio, writing songs, or performing on international stages (under a different, not-so-secret name of course).

She lives in Philadelphia with one full-time husband and one part-time cat.

Author Links: Website:  http://www.xioaxelrod.com  Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/XioAxelrod/e/B00JCFOOHY  Email Signup: http://eepurl.com/SunFL    Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/XioAxelrod   Twitter:  https://twitter.com/xioaxelrod   Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/xioaxelrod  Instagram:    http://instagram.com/xioaxelrod/

Here is my interview with Ally Blue

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 pen name is Ally Blue. My real name is A Secret, sorry 🙂 I’m 53.

 

Fiona: Where are you from?

Originally from Mobile, Alabama, although I’ve lived in the Western North Carolina mountains ever since I got married as a sweet young thang.

 

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

I started out going to collegefor a biology degree. Then I met the man who would become my husband. We got married (at age 21; we were babies!) and I switched to nursing. I’ve been an RN for 29 years. My husband and I have two wonderful children, both grown now. My daughter is a pre-school teacher and my son creates 3D computer models. I grew up on the Alabama Gulf Coast, and now live in the Western North Carolina mountains with my family. The mountains are wonderful, but I miss the ocean.

 

Fiona: Tell us your latest news.

My latest book release is actually a re-release: The Happy Onion, first published by Samhain Publishing back in 2009. Samhain went out of business earlier this year, so I’m self-publishing some of the books (20+) that I had with them. The Happy Onion is the first. It’s now available for pre-order through all the usual channels. Release date is July 30th.

Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

Oh man. I wrote my first stories when I was a child. I wrote (and illustrated!) picture books about my younger sister’s (mostly fictional) adventures camping, hiking, swimming in the inflatable kiddie pool in the backyard, and other such super exciting stuff. I also penned my very first romance, a less than brilliant work of crayon-on-stationary titled Sylvia the Milk Maiden.I don’t remember what it was about, other than involving a Beautiful Milk Maiden. Why? Who knows? It seemed like a good idea at the time. I think I watched and read too many Cinderella-type princess tales.

There were other stories over the years.I wrote a romantic crime thriller in creative writing in high school which I thought was fabulous at the time but probably wasn’t. And I’ve created countless tales in my head all my life. I guess it just seemed like a natural progression to go from there to fan fiction, which is what led me into writing professionally.

Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

You know, the answer to that isn’t as straightforward as I used to think. I always figured it was when I wrote my first published short stories. But really, I think I started considering myself a writer before then. I used to write band slash fan fiction. Most of it was mediocre at best, but some of it was pretty good. I loved the process of creating a story. I couldn’t pinpoint a day or a time, but somewhere along the way, I started to think of myself as a writer.

Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

You’re gonna laugh. But my first book, Forgotten Song, was inspired by a fan fiction I wrote. My original intent was to re-work the story with original characters, but that didn’t end up happening. There’s nothing left in the book of the original fanfic. But the book wouldn’t exist if the fanfic story had never existed. It was by far the longest fanfic I’d ever written, and the most complex. The fact that I was able to craft what amounted to a pretty decent mystery/thriller gave me the confidence to try writing a book with my own, original characters.

 

Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

The same way I do with basically all my titles that don’t immediately suggest themselves to me: I Googled quotes, poems, etc. until I found one that fit my needs.

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

I try to write in a way that’s direct and evocative, which is always challenging. Creating characters who live and breathe on the page is always a challenge as well, and I do try to do that. Not sure if you’d call that a style, really. LOL.

I write gay romance. The pronouns can be a real pain, especially during sex scenes.Balancing the use of proper names and pronouns is always difficult. I usually end up changing things around several times before it all sounds right to me.

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

In all of my books, the actual events are 99% invented. Occasionally, I’ve put in something experienced by myself or someone I know. Where my own experience comes in–with every book–is in the thoughts, the feelings, and the emotional reactions. We’ve all felt love, grief, loss, joy, excitement, etc. I draw on those emotions in my own life to help turn my characters into real people. To me, that’s the key. Characters who feel real are always the heart of a good book. If readers don’t care what happens to the characters, then nothing else in the book makes any difference.

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

I wish! There are so many places I’d love to see, and to write about. And I’ve written books set in places I’ve never been but would love to see (like the Oregon coast). That said, I’ve definitely used places I’ve been in my books. I love to travel and wish I were able to do more of it.

Fiona: Who designed the covers?

The majority of my covers were done by artists working with my various publishers. I’ve been very lucky to work with some amazing artists. My very own live-in artist–my husband–has done a couple of covers for me lately, as I’m starting off on my self-publishing adventure.

 

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

None of my books really have any particular message, beyond love, inclusion, and equality for everyone. I feel like those things are part of what it means to be human, and therefore an indelible part of any character who I want readers to care about. I never really go into writing a book thinking, I want to get across this or that message.

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?

Not sure if you’d call him a new writer, but I love Joe Hill. I’m a horror fan from way back, and I think he grasps the way good horror needs to be built on well-constructed characters. It runs in the family! (For those who don’t know already, his father is Stephen King.) Another newer author (to me, anyway) is Madeline Ashby. I recently read her novel Company Town, and OMG, the world building, the characters, and the plot in that story blew me away. I was looking for a non-romance novel starring a grown woman (YA is fine, but, yeah; I wanted a grown-up heroine) and man, she delivered in spades. Definitely gonna be reading more of her stuff.

I can’t say I have a single favorite author. The authors I love to read are numerous–the aforementioned Joe Hill, Stephen King, Nalini Singh (Guild Hunter series!!), H.P. Lovecraft, to name a few. The thing most all of them have in common is that they write (or wrote; I read a lot of dead authors) wonderful, living, breathing characters. The exception being Lovecraft, who was extraordinary with world-building and mood–nobody has ever done cosmic dread like Lovecraft–but IMO was weak on characterization.

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

Loose Id was my first publisher. They took a chance on my very first novel, when I was a complete and utter nobody. I’ll always be grateful to them for that.

Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

Oh yes, definitely. It’s not my primary source of income; I still need a day job to keep myself and my family fed, clothed, and housed. But I see the day job as the thing that pays the bills, and writing as my real career, because writing is what I love. It’s what holds my heart.

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

Hm. Well, since I actually could change my self-published short story collection, Loose Stories, if I wanted, I’m applying this question to my latest published novel: No Small Parts, published by Riptide Publishing in Dec. 2016. And the answer is, no. Not one thing. Riptide’s wonderful editors helped me polish that book to a diamond sparkle. At this point, there’s not anything I’d change. I’m very proud of it.

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

The very latest book I wrote is a Southern Gothic horror/romance called The Night Orchard, currently being shopped to agents. I learned more than I ever wanted to know about the life cycle of pecans, LOL. I also learned some extremely interesting Muskogee monster legends.

 

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

Still talking about The Night Orchard, I’d want Donald Glover. I had his face in my head when I wrote Roland Boone, one of my two point of view characters.

Fiona: Any advice for other writers?

Don’t stop. Never give up. Never, ever stop learning and honing your craft. We all have stories in our heads. The key to getting them on the page in a form people will want to read is learning that skill. And it is a skill. No one is born knowing how to craft a story. A successful author learns how, and keeps on learning all his or her life. The worst mistake you can make is to say, “I know this, I don’t need to listen or learn.”

Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?

First of all, my primary publisher, Samhain Publishing, has gone out of business, which I think many already knew. I’m going to be self-publishing some of those books, including my most popular series, the Bay City Paranormal Investigations series. Probably also the BCPI spinoff series, Mojo Mysteries.

Also, for anyone who hasn’t read many of my books before, I write mostly romance–in sub-genres ranging from romantic comedy to futuristic dystopian–but I’ve recently branched into horror. So, just fyi: check before buying, so you’ll know what you’re getting.

 

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee. The follow-up to To Kill A Mockingbird, for anyone who doesn’t know. It was actually written around the same time. It’s an interesting story, with that same interesting and evocative voice.

 

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

No, I’m too old! LOL. But I remember the first book I bought myself with my allowance. It was The Demon of Detroit and Other Tales of Terror. One of those little paperbacks from the little Scholastic catalogue they used to give out in school when I was a kid. Do they still do that now?

 

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

I have a ridiculous sense of humor. I laugh at stupid puns and nonsensical stuff, and whatever happens to strike me as funny at random times. Rarely anything very highbrow, although I do tend to laugh at silly nerd-memes. And SpongeBob. I love SpongeBob.

I cry at the drop of a damn hat. I cried pretty much all the way through Wonder Woman. Because she was so fierce charging at the Germans and crouching behind the shield and smashing the tower, and all the things, aaaaaahhhh!!! And every episode of The Handmaid’s Tale has made me cry. (I still have to read the book…) And the end of Lord Of the Rings (book and movie, but more so the book) makes me cry every time. In fact, there are lotsof parts of the LOTR book trilogy that make me sob like a little girl. Still, after reading them more times than I can count. Weddings always make me cry, even if it’s somebody I don’t know well. There’s one part of one of my own books that still makes me cry. That’s just weird.

 

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

Hillary Clinton. Is there anyone on this Earth more poised, more composed, more competent? Not to mention calmer in the face of decades of unjustified attacks, for no other reason than her being a successful, smart woman. She’s my hero.

 

Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?

Reading, obviously!Besides that, I enjoy running. I run two or three days a week, about 3 miles each time. That’s my “me” time. It’s relaxing to my mind and invigorating to my body. I’ve come up with great ideas for stories and solutions for problems while running.

I also love to watch found footage horror movies. Yeah, I know, that’s weird. LOL. But I love them. I don’t even care if they’re bad, although I obviously like good ones more.

 

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

Horror movies! I’ve always loved to scare myself. I also love sci-fi. Combine the two, and I’m in heaven.

My favorite TV shows right now are Orphan Black, Game of Thrones, Better Call Saul (just as good as Breaking Bad!), and The Handmaid’s Tale. I still watch The Walking Dead, mostly because my husband still likes it, but that show’s on shaky ground with me right now, for reasons that would require an essay to explain. Oh, and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt! Love that show.

 

Fiona: Favorite foods, colors,  music?

I love veggie pizza, kettle chips, fresh blackberries, crispy French fries, and a good Reuben. Oh, and chocolate cake. And dark roast coffee. And Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. Or Chile, they make good SBs too. My favorite color is green–lime green, emerald green, deep grassy green. Sea green. Not so much olive greens.

I have many, many opinions on music. I will not bore y’all with them. You’re welcome. Suffice to say, my number one all-time abiding favorite is Radiohead. As Snape would say, “Always.” They always give me new things to love. Besides Radiohead, I love Perfume Genius (the “genius” part is not an exaggeration btw) and Patrick Wolf. There are tons of other singers and bands whose music I listen to and love, but those three are the only ones who I love enough to have all of their albums, and listen to them regularly.

 

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

 Become a ghost. Seriously. I can’t imagine that. It scares me.

 

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

She persisted.

 

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

My website is allyblue.com. Any updates you need will be there.

You can also sign up for my newsletter. I usually only send a newsletter when I have something to say, so it’s not all that often. Subscribers get exclusive excerpts and occasional newsletter-exclusive contests. Also random pictures. And recipes, sometimes. It’s a glorious smorgasbord.

 

Here are the links:
Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B004XKCER0


The Happy Onion: http://www.allyblue.com/standalone-books/the-happy-onion/


No Small Parts: http://www.allyblue.com/standalone-books/no-small-parts/


Down: http://www.allyblue.com/standalone-books/down/

Here is my interview with Janice Preston

Name  Janice Preston

Age  Much older than I feel, which is another way of saying I can be very immature!

Where are you from

I was born in London and grew up in Wembley. At 18 I decided I wanted to work with animals so I took myself off to Devon to do 6 months practical experience on a dairy farm before going to agricultural college. I never did get to college. I met my first husband, a dairy farmer and that was it! We had two children, a boy and a girl, who are both now adult. My son is married, with a son of his own and another baby on the way, which I’m thrilled about. I now live with my second husband in the West Midlands, and through him I have acquired a stepson and a stepdaughter.

Fiona: Tell us your latest news?

Cinderella and the Duke is my sixth book for Harlequin Historicals / Mills & Boon, out on 1st July, the first book of 2 linked trilogies. The first trilogy is The Beauchamp Betrothals and the second book – Scandal and Miss Markham – will be out in October. I also have a novella which will be published in a Regency Christmas anthology, titled Regency Christmas Wishes, out in November. I am currently working on the third book of The Beauchamp Betrothals trilogy.


Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I loved to write when I was at primary school, and I longed to be ‘an author’, but I never actually believed it was achievable for an ordinary person like me! As an adult, I only began to write after my children left home for university.


Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Probably not until I saw my first novel on the shelf! Although I was a writer before that – in that I wrote stories – there was always that niggling suspicion that I was fooling myself.


Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

As I said before, it was after my children left home for university. I had more time to read and I rediscovered the novels of Georgette Heyer, which I had devoured in my teens. After I’d read all I could get my hands on, I turned to contemporary Regency writers and then one day I read a Regency romance and the fateful phrase ‘I could do better than that’ wandered through my brain.


Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?

I’m not a plotter, although I do a lot of work on the hero and heroine’s back stories, to make sure there is enough inner conflict to last the book. Neither do I write the first draft from start to finish without any editing (which is what writers are often advised is ‘the right way’). I tend to write two steps forward, one step back. It sounds inefficient, but it works for me. If something changes as I’m writing the story, I find it very hard to move on. It’s like trying to walk with strong elastic anchoring me to the spot. I push on and push on and the elastic stretches but I get slower and slower. In the end, I have to go back to alter what I’ve already written before I can progress. Now I have accepted that this is how I work and I’ve stopped worrying about what I ‘should’ do!


Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

My first book is my only original title – it was called Mary and the Marquis. All my other titles have been changed by the publisher, including Cinderella and the Duke. My original title was Duke in Disguise, and they did use that in the tagline: Falling for a duke in disguise…


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

The importance of family is central to the story, in which the hero (a widower and father of three) learns to trust again, and the heroine, who sacrificed the chance of marriage for the sake of her siblings, overcomes the prejudices of the past.

In my writing I like to write strong heroines who will resonate with modern day readers.


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

I do use bits and bobs of people and situations, but they are all knitted into a very different fabric from the original. Nothing would be recognisable as a real person or real life event, but every writer uses past experiences – including what they’ve read, or seen on TV or in films – to inform their work. How could we do otherwise? It is what we know.


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

I read and enjoy many different genres. Obviously I have to include Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen, but the series The Morland Dynasty by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles also influenced me a great deal. The series follows the Morland family from the 15th century up to at least the Second World War (I have fallen behind – there must be close to 40 books in the series now!)

In other genres I like Stephen King, Kate Atkinson, JK Rowling… oh far too many to mention.

I wouldn’t say either were exactly mentors, but the Regency writers Elizabeth Bailey and Sarah Mallory were both influential in my journey to publication, for which I am very grateful.


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

This is far too hard to answer – I am friends with so many great writers, some new, some not so new, that I couldn’t possibly pick out one.

And the same goes for the second part of the question. My favourite author is constantly changing. If I was pushed (and I know you want to!) I would say Stephen King because I still love his writing after first reading Salem’s Lot forty years ago. It terrified me J. And The Stand must be a close contender for my favourite book ever. I love the laid-back style that just sucks you in, his realistic dialogue and his characterisation.


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

The Romantic Novelists’ Association
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

Very much so.


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

No – although no doubt if I read it through now I’d itch to change a word here and a phrase there. I’m a confirmed fiddler!


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

That would have to be at primary school, even though it took me so long to write seriously as an adult. I loved writing ‘compositions’ as they were called then, and I often got 10 out of 10 and had my work read out by the teacher. Thrilling for an 8 or 9 year old!

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

Excerpt from Cinderella and the Duke

Note – To put this excerpt into context, it is from soon after the start of the story. The heroine, Rosalind, has just been accosted by Lascelles (the hero’s unsavoury cousin) in a quiet country lane. Hector (Rosalind’s dog) has rushed to her defence, growling and snarling.

 

‘Quiet, sir!’

The sharp voice sounded above Hector’s growls and the silence was sudden and absolute. Amongst the confusion, Rosalind had failed to notice the arrival of three more riders. Her nerves strung tighter. Even Hector could not withstand four men if they were intent on harm. She grasped his collar, more for her own comfort than by the need to restrain the dog, for he had responded to that autocratic command and now stood, mute but alert, his gaze locked on to Lascelles. Rosalind concentrated on breathing steadily and maintaining her outward calm, despite the tremble of her knees.

‘How much further back to the Manor, Anthony?’

It was the middle of the three—chisel jawed and broad-shouldered, with a haughty, aristocratic air—who spoke, his voice clipped. He sat his huge bay with the grace of one born to the saddle, his mud-spattered breeches stretched over muscled thighs, his gloved hands resting casually on the pommel. The hard planes of his face were relieved by his beautifully sculptured mouth, his eyes were an arresting silvery grey under heavy lids and straight dark brows, and his hair, glimpsed under his hat, was very dark, near black.

Rosalind’s racing heart thundered in her ears as her palms grew clammy. She swallowed past a hard lump in her throat and raised her chin, still fighting to hide her panic.

‘A mile or so down there.’ Lascelles pointed with his whip.

‘In that case let us proceed. It is getting late and I for one am tired and hungry. If you really wished to spend your time on that sort of hunting, I suggest you should have remained in London. I’ve no doubt the quarry there is less well protected.’

With that, his gaze swept over Rosalind, who experienced an instant tug of attraction despite the arrogance of his perusal—he had not even bothered to glance at her face. His indifference as he viewed her muddy boots and shabby attire stirred her resentment, but his words, and his tone of voice, had reassured. Surely this was not a man to turn a blind eye to a woman in jeopardy?

Then the man’s attention moved to her face. Rosalind sensed a subtle shift in his bearing as his silvery eyes narrowed, boring into hers with such intensity her insides performed a somersault. She felt a blush creep up her neck to her cheeks. Despite her aversion to his kind, she could not deny his magnetism. Try as she might, she could not tear her gaze from his, even though the slow curve of his lips in a knowing smile made her blood simmer.

The spell he cast was broken when Lascelles, who had finally brought his horse under control, manoeuvred it between Rosalind and the other men, blocking her view of all but the man on the right of the three, who had removed his hat to reveal thick, brown hair and chocolate-brown eyes.

‘You three ride on to the Manor,’ Lascelles said. ‘I won’t be long: I simply wish to reach an understanding with the charming Mrs Pryce.’

The brown-haired man threw a look of disgust at Lascelles. ‘Leave her alone, Lascelles,’ he said. ‘I’ll wager there are willing women aplenty around here, but she don’t seem to be one of them.’

‘Ah, but therein lies the attraction, my dear Stanton. I find I enjoy a spot of resistance in my wenches—it adds spice to the chase and makes the ultimate reward all the sweeter, don’t you know?’

He made her skin crawl. How dare he talk about her like this, as though she were not even present? Wench indeed.

Lascelles swivelled his head, assessing Rosalind with his chilling black gaze and a humourless smile. ‘And I always do get my reward, you know,’ he added.

‘Get him out of here, Stan.’ Quiet words, spoken with menace, by the man with those hypnotic silver eyes.

Stanton spurred his horse alongside Lascelles, jostling the other man’s horse so it faced in the direction of Halsdon Manor as Rosalind sidestepped out of their way, tugging a still-alert Hector by the collar.

‘Let us go, Lascelles. You lead the way.’ Stanton shot an apologetic look at Rosalind as he rode past her, tipping his hat.

But Lascelles, with a snarl, hauled his horse round to confront the remaining two men.

‘You have no right—’

His venom was clearly directed at the silver-eyed man, but it was the third man who kicked his horse into motion. He was handsome, with green eyes and chestnut-coloured hair, and bore such a striking likeness to the first newcomer and, to a lesser extent, Lascelles that Rosalind could not doubt all three were related.

‘Don’t be a fool, man,’ he muttered, placing his hand on Lascelles’s forearm. ‘You know how Leo feels about such matters. Leave well alone.’

Lascelles hesitated, his lips a thin line, his brows low. Then he gave an abrupt nod, wheeled his still-fretting horse around and followed Stanton down the lane. The green-eyed man hesitated in his turn, glancing at the man called Leo, who ignored him, his attention still fixed on Rosalind. The other man shrugged, raised his hat to Rosalind and gave his horse the office to proceed.

Leaving Rosalind facing Leo.

She met his gaze, suppressing the quiver that chased across her skin as he looked deep into her eyes—his expression impassive—for what seemed an eternity. Finally, goaded, she tilted her chin and raised her brows.

‘I am grateful, sir.’

His lips flickered in the ghost of a smile and he tipped his hat as he nudged his horse past Rosalind.

‘Good day to you, madam.’

She watched him go. Unfamiliar sensations swirled through her, provoking a sense of loss she could not begin to explain. Unbidden, her hand lifted to her chest. There, outlined beneath the wool of her gown, her fingers sought and found the oval shape of the silver locket made for her by Grandpa for her sixth birthday. Her most treasured possession, representing her father’s world, and her only link with his side of the family. Her mother had severed all links with the Allens after Papa was killed.

The gentleman riding away from her was of the world that had moulded her mother: a world of entitlement ruled by strict codes of behaviour and an unshakeable belief in class—a world that neither accepted nor acknowledged Rosalind and Freddie, even after their widowed mother had been welcomed back into its folds.

A hateful, unforgiving world that Rosalind wanted no part of.

But the emotions those silver eyes of his aroused in her paid no heed to reasoning. Those emotions picked her up and tossed her around until her head whirled as giddily as her stomach. Those emotions hinted at possibilities—they raised the promise of pleasure, disturbed a desire for the touch of a man’s hand and lips.

And not just any man.

This man.

She should be shocked at herself for such scandalous thoughts, but she was intrigued. Never before in her thirty years had a man aroused such feelings in her breast. Those eyes. They penetrated, seemingly, into her soul and, for the first time in her life, she had the inkling of an understanding of passion.

 

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

I’m an inveterate procrastinator so just getting stuck in is a constant challenge!


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

No, although I did recently visit Worcester to check out some locations for Scandal and Miss Markham. I also like to visit National Trust properties when I get the time, to get the feel of those spectacular country mansions my characters inhabit.


Fiona: Who designed the covers?

The Harlequin Art Department, based in Toronto.


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

The first draft. Once I have words on the page, I quite enjoy the editing but the first draft is tough.


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

It’s the same thing I learn from every book I write and that is to keep going and ignore the negative voices in my head that tell me it’s rubbish. Invariably, when I read it back, it’s better than I feared.

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

For Cinderella and the Duke, I couldn’t cast the hero better than the model Harlequin used on the front cover!

Normally, though, I do have actors in mind when I’m writing (in my current wip my hero is modelled on Aidan Turner – it’s no hardship imagining him whilst I’m writing!) I’m not so good at casting the heroines, though. But in my third book, Return of Scandal’s Son, I had a very strong vision of a young Daniel Craig as the rugged hero, Matthew, and Julia Roberts, with her wide stunning smile, as the heroine, Eleanor, so I’ll plump for them (particularly as the couple on the cover looked nothing like them L)


Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?

Never give up, and never believe you’re too old to start – you have a wealth of life experience to offer. Also, be open to constructive criticism.


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

Just… thank you very much! If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t get to keep exploring my Regency world (most of my books are set in the same world and therefore have common characters. I’d hate to have to abandon it!)

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak. It is a book club read, and I’m still not sure what I think of it (I’m about 25% through it).

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

Apart from Janet and John books at school, I should imagine it was Enid Blyton. I read from a young age, so Noddy or something similar I would guess.

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

Laugh – watching animals in You’ve Been Framed type of TV shows.

Cry – I’m guaranteed to get a lump in my throat any time I see a woman giving birth on TV. It doesn’t matter if it’s fictional or real life, it sets me off.

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

Jane Austen. I could learn so much about everyday life in Regency times, plus she had a wicked sense of humour.

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

This question stopped me in my tracks. It’s not something I’ve ever thought about but – having been forced into thinking about it – I don’t think I want a headstone! I should like my ashes scattered off a cliff somewhere.

Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?

I don’t get much time for hobbies, but I read (obviously!), I enjoy gardening and I swim a couple of times a week. I visit stately homes and gardens when I can and it’s not great for my image but I do enjoy playing Super Mario Bros on the Wii!

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

Currently it’s Broadchurch (just finished as I write this) and Masterchef. Coronation Street is a perennial favourite, but I don’t watch other soaps. My favourite show of all time was West Wing. I enjoy Strictly when it’s on in the winter.

Films – I rarely go to the cinema, although I do enjoy going so probably should make more of an effort! I love a good disaster movie and I enjoy rom coms, but really I like films in all different genres – it depends on my mood and how much I’m willing to concentrate.

Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music

Food – Roast chicken. Chocolate. Fresh bread and butter.

Colours – any autumnal shades

Music – I enjoy an eclectic mix, from Led Zeppelin to Paul Simon. My teen favourite was Roxy Music.

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

I did it! When I was young I wanted to work with and breed animals, and I became a dairy farmer.

Now, my choice would probably be working in a museum or for the National Trust, or owning and running an independent (and profitable!) book shop.

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

Website – www.janicepreston.co.uk

Amazon author page – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Janice-Preston/e/B00LA7P1VU/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1493041577&sr=1-2-ent

Universal Amazon link to Cinderella and the Duke – http://mybook.to/CinderellaAndTheDuke

Here is my interview with Paul White

 

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

 

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

I’m Paul White and I’m clocking on a bit; too soon I’ll be standing at bus stops saying to complete strangers “Do you know I’m 60!”

 

Fiona: Where are you from?

I am a Southerner by birth, Hampshire. But grew up mainly in the county of Kent, known as the ‘Garden of England’. For the past thirty years I have lived in Yorkshire, (God’s county), which is almost long enough to be accepted as more than an outsider!

 

 

Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

This is a question I am often asked and each time my answer differs slightly because I cannot recall exactly when I started writing. It is something I have always done, at least from the age of 5 when I had my first poem ‘published’ in the school magazine. My teacher encouraged me to write more, so I did and have never stopped since then. I owe her much.

 

Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Now this is another question entirely. I began to write poetry in a serious way around the age of eleven or twelve, about the time I found how malleable and pliable words were. My first genuine attempts at writing a ‘story’ waited until I was in my early twenties. One story I began to write back then is now published as a novelette, it is called ‘Miriam’s Hex’. But I did not consider myself a writer, in the author sense of the word, until after I published my first full-length novel ‘The Abduction of Rupert DeVille’.

 

Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

I have always been an avid reader, while reading I would considering writing down all the tales floating around inside my own mind. Then I read Maya Angelou’s saying, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” So, I opened the cage and let my bird sing.

 

 

Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

The Abduction of Rupert DeVille is the second title I have used for this novel. The first being ‘A Most Extraordinary Day’. I still like that name, but it is less descriptive, less ‘mainstream’ and did not attract as much attention; which is a shame because ‘Rupert’ is not really about an abduction…well it is, BUT…it is also a love story, a tale of commitment, a suspense thriller, a comedy and a story about finding one’s self, all rolled into one.

 

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

I do not write a specific genre, in fact I love the challenge writing in differing areas bring. For example, I have a three-book collection called ‘Tales of Crime & Violence’. Each story varies greatly. Some are from the perpetrator’s perspective, some from the victims or innocent by-standers and some by those forced, or coerced, into compromising situations. But the binding factor throughout is the human factor, the worries, fears, hopes and dreams of those involved.

 

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

I think it is impossible not write much of yourself into every tale you tell. The skill is to make people believe the facts are fiction and the fiction fact. Which in fact they are, unless they are not.

 

 

Fiona: Who designed the covers?

I do. Luckily, I am also a digital artist. I am quite excited about my latest cover designs for my works in progress. I have also made many bookcovers for other authors, when I have time to do so. You can ask me too, if I can fit it in, I will.

 

 

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

My favourite new indie author is a chap called Squid McFinnigan (I kid you not). He writes amazing shorts and wonderful novels, like ‘Honeysuckle Lane’, look him up on Amazon.

As for established mainstream authors there are many I love, too many to mention. But you could read ‘Down by The Dockside by Criena Rohan’, one of my all-time favourite books. (read my review on Goodreads) or ‘Do Not Go Gentle by David MacCuish’, another book that should be classed as a classic. I doubt you have heard of either author, but you will not be disappointed in making their acquaintance.

 

 

Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

I am a full-time writer. I write both novels and short story fiction, children’s books, military non-fiction. I have a blog of short stories, another about writing for writersand one on independent travelling. One of my current WiP is the conversion of a defunct blog, about life and living, into a paperback book.

I am also the chief editor of CQ International Magazine and owner of TOAD Publishing (high quality hardcover books).

 

 

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

Yes. It is expensive to have full colour illustrations in a paperback. It is far more effective to go the whole hog and produce a hardback version. The quality alone justifies the cost. (If you get the right printer)

 

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

Oh, good question. I have thought about this! I would love to ‘pluck’ people from their daily life, ‘unknowns’ and have them, under the control of a great director, such asQuentin Tarantino, Matthew Vaughn or Guy Ritchie, become the stars. I would love a cameo role myself!

 

Fiona: Any advice for other writers?

Yeah. Write.

Everyday sit and write something, anything. Even if you throw it away the following day. Just the act of writing will get your creative juices flowing. Too many writers sit down and ‘try’ to write what they think they ‘should’ be writing. That is nonsense and where the ‘myth’ about a non-existent condition called ‘writers block’ stems from.

 

Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?

Yes. Buy my books, all of them. You will enjoy my stories and, as an added bonus, they will make your bookshelf and coffee table look great, especially the hardcover books. (I will send a signed photo if asked nicely…when I get one!)

Seriously, I would like you to enjoy my stories. I would them to touch your mind, your soul. That’s why I write.

 

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

Cryptonomicon a 1999 novel, by Neal Stephenson. I have only just started this massive tome which is a bit of a departure for me in recent reading.

 

 

Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?

Yes. Art. My second passion. I have several collections of digital art, from portraits to collages. Feel free to take a peek on my art website. (link below).

 

 

Fiona: Favoritefoods,  music?

I love most good foods. My original profession was as a chef and I had my own restaurants for over ten years. But I do have a penchant for a deeply flavoured, thick, rich curry. I love a simple feta salad or tabbouleh, with warm pita bread and homemade humus.

I have a wide range of music I enjoy, it is according to where I am, what I am doing and what mood I am in, to which I prefer listening to at any particular time. So, anything from classical, such as Holst, Tchaikovsky or Elgar. I love Pink Floyd and David Bowie, traditional Jazz and Skit, middle of the road stuff from the Eagles or Dire Straits. I have also been known to chill to Euphorbia and dance to Happy house, Adel and Celine Dion. Rule nothing out!

 

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

I would have to concentrate on my art. No contest.

 

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

“What if I am not really in here? Think about that”

 

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

I certainly do!

My website is. http://paulznewpostbox.wixsite.com/paul-white

(Links to my blogs, books, artwork etc can all be found from here.)

My Artwork can be found here. https://paulznewpostbox.wixsite.com/artworks

CQ Magazine’s blog. https://cqmagazineblog.wordpress.com

 

 

Here is my interview with Danielle Dickson

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 Danielle Dickson—but everyone calls me Dan—and I’m 25.

 

Fiona: Where are you from?

 Dan: Originally from Newcastle in the UK, but I currently live in North Yorkshire—but who know when that will change, I’m an army wife so I follow where they need him.

 

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

Dan: I always hate talking about myself, it feels like I’m speed dating HA! But I’ll start by saying I’m completely random and go off on tangents a lot, so I’ll apologise now. I’m  a huge reader before a writer, books are my escapism since I don’t get to travel as much as I used to. I’ve lived all over the world and experienced many things, but I gave up living abroad to move back to the UK when I was 16 so that I could go to college where I studied Hairdressing, Beauty Therapy, and Makeup Artistry. I’ve been a freelance makeup artist for seven years now which I do alongside my writing. As well as this, I’m also a mum to a 4—going on 14—year old little girl. She keeps me busy but I wouldn’t have it any other way, she’s like a mini version of me and I love that I can have conversations with her.

I have four novels out currently, with the fifth and sixth being written. Two are part of my Little Hollow series—One Moment and When I’m With You—one is a romantic comedy spin-off of Little Hollow—Betting On Love—and one is a co-authored book that is book 1 in the Broken Tracks series—Etching Our Way. Each one is on Kindle Unlimited on Amazon.

 

Fiona: Tell us your latest news.

Dan: I’ve just released a co-authored book with my best friend Abigail Davies. It’s called Etching Our Way and it was an incredible experience writing it with her. I’m also working on book three and four of my Little Hollow series simultaneously—I don’t half make work for myself HA! I’ve just got back from a book signing and had the best time meeting all my readers and friends that I’ve talked to online for a while.

 

Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

Dan: I’ve just had the first post I put up on Facebook about starting writing pop up about a week ago, so it’s been a year since I started writing properly. I wrote short stories when I was a lot younger, probably 13/14, so it wasn’t a spur of the moment thing of waking up and thinking “I’m going to write a book today” I’ve always loved to read and write and when I had a dream and woke up sobbing because the story hit me so hard, I knew I needed to write that story and immediately rolled out of bed and grabbed my notebook to make notes. I haven’t looked back since.

 

Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Dan: From the moment I started writing I “considered” myself a writer, but it didn’t really hit me until I had a paperback of my romantic comedy “Betting On Love” in my hands. It was the first book I ordered in paperback even though it was my third release.

 

Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

Dan: Like I said above, a dream inspired the plot of my debut book “One Moment” but if it wasn’t for Abigail spurring me on, I’m not sure I would’ve published it.

 

Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

Dan: “One Moment” is about that one moment that can change your life forever. The title seems obvious, but it took me a while to come up with it. Sometimes the best titles are staring you right in the face and you don’t even realise.

 

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

Dan: I write in first person and present tense, it’s a personal preference really. When I write I feel like I’m experiencing my writing, if that makes any sense at all, and writing in present tense helps me picture everything so much more clearly that it feels like I’m connected. I write different genres, but with my contemporary I try to add real life situations into them so they can sometimes be challenging in the way that I want to write them real and raw and I just hope I do them justice if it’s something I haven’t myself experienced.

 

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

Dan: “One Moment” was complete fiction bar the heroine’s best friend. She was kind of based on my younger self and I used my sarcasm to portray her how I wanted.

The second of the Little Hollow series “When I’m With You” is the best friends story and some of her dialogue came from my real life, but like One Moment, the storyline was purely fiction.

My romantic comedy “Betting On Love” is a little more true to life. The heroine is me in a nutshell, she’s sarcastic, witty, a little insecure, and a total prank queen 😉 it was SO much fun to write because it was like writing how I would react to the what was going on in the book. The pranks in it were 100% tried and tested, the dialogue was things that I’d say, but again, the plot was made up.

Etching Our Way, the plot was made up, but some of the upsetting scenes in there were based upon real life, either me or Abigail, or someone else we know, have been through, we researched a lot for this book and I think it paid off. We also took inspiration from our own children for the two little people in it..

 

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

Dan: I don’t travel, but I do have to do some extensive research sometimes for the things that are written. If you looked through my google history, you’d probably lock me up for everything I had to look up for books one and two of Little Hollow.

 

 

Fiona: Who designed the covers?

Dan: “One Moment” was designed by Kari Ayasha of Cover to Cover Designs.

“When I’m With You” was designed by Marisa Shor of Cover Me Darling.

“Betting On love” was designed by Eleanor Lloyd-Jones of Schmidt’s Author Services.

“Etching Our Way” was designed by Emily Wittig of Emily Wittig Designs & Photography.

 

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

Dan: There’s a couple of messages in every one of my books, but there’s one main one in each.

“One Moment” conveys that you shouldn’t bottle up your feelings and wish they’d go away, you should deal with things head on and talk to people if you need to. You may feel like you’re the only one going through something, but talking helps, and everyone has problems.

“When I’m With You” ultimately teaches you that you shouldn’t settle and try to conform to fit someone else’s ideals. Be you and that’s good enough.

“Betting On love” is about having fun, staying young, and not necessarily forgiveness, but about not letting things weigh you down and rule your life.

“Etching Our Way” is the hardest to pinpoint one main lesson, but the undercurrent of it all is that if you feel like you’re drowning, there’s people that love you that can and want to help with whatever it is you’re struggling with. It’s also about not letting people rule your life and dictating what you should/shouldn’t do.

 

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?

Dan: I’ve been reading a lot of new authors lately, not necessarily new to writing, but new to me. I read “Crash Burn Sting” by Alora Kate and it blew me away so I will be reading all of her works immediately. I’ve also enjoyed books from T.J. Spade, Kendall Ryan, Missy Johnson, and Laurelin Paige—all were fantastic reads.

My favourite writer is hard to pinpoint because my “go-to’s” are all different genres and have different writing styles, but I have a few “one-clicks.” Cecelia Ahern, C.M. Owens, Colleen Hoover, Abigail Davies, Yolanda Olson, Addison Jane—just to name a few. They all spin their tales in a way that sucks you into their work and spits you out at the end so you sit there thinking “what did I just read,” but in a good way. They’re all incredible in their respective genres!

 

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

Dan: My best friend—who actually started out as a colleague and at the point of starting to encourage me, we’d only known each other for a day; if that—Abigail Davies. She’s an author herself and like I said in an earlier question, I’m not sure I would’ve published without her guidance and support. She’s amazing and someone I always go to if I need a kick up the backside.

 

Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

Dan: Absolutely, it’s my aim to keep putting my stories out into the world. Whether people like them or not, I know I’ll have told my characters stories and that’s an amazing feeling for me.

 

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

Dan: Absolutely not, “Etching Our Way” is the story it was meant to be all along. It started off as something else entirely and I wouldn’t go back on ANY of the changes we made. Me and Abi love the story we wrote and we poured our heart and soul into it, so much so that I wouldn’t change it in the slightest, and neither would she.

 

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

Dan: I did. I learnt that I’m getting better as a writer and I’m know more grammar and sentence structure than I knew a year ago. Being a writer is a learning curve and I’m so happy to be learning as I go along and honing my craft.

 

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

Dan: Eeek, loaded question! I’ll do Etching Our Way since we’re talking about it. I think I’d like Matt Bomer to play our hero, Tristan, and maybe Emma Stone to play our heroine, Harmony. Matt Bomer has that moody/mysterious thing going on and Emma plays a free spirit amazingly well, I think they’d both do our characters justice.

 

Fiona: Any advice for other writers?

Dan: Oh, wow, I have a lot of advice I wish I was told at the start, like to be prepared to dig deep to publish a book. Covers, formatting, editors, proofreaders, teasers, and advertising cost a lot as an Indie author, but it’s completely worth it to invest in yourself. Which brings me onto the point of that I advise you get yourself a professional editor, or at the very least someone that is amazing at grammar and catching things that don’t sound right. Readers seem to pick up these mistakes, and if there’s a ton of mistakes in your book, then it can show in their review and it’s not worth it. Get it edited.

I’ll also advise you to start a reading group from the start, even if you only had three people in there, it’s worth it. I only started one two months ago and it was the best thing that I’ve done, it’s amazing being able to interact with your readers and they start to become your friends. There’s nothing better for me than talking to my readers/friends!

Always write a book that you’d want to read, don’t change your story up because a few people didn’t agree with the ending or don’t think something should’ve gone down the way it did in your book. I’ve known authors to read a few reviews stating that the reader didn’t like X and they’ve gone back into their book and either changed it or took it out!! That’s madness!! It’s your book, your story, write it your way. If people don’t like the story then that’s fine, not everyone will, and even people who love your other books may not like your most recent or they didn’t like the character in X book, and that’s fine too. People interpret books differently and react differently in certain situations, so what may not ring true or seem impossible to someone, may not to someone else. As long as you love the story you’ve put out there, that’s all that matters deep down.

I’ll leave you with one last piece of advice otherwise I’d take up pages HA! Just have fun writing, don’t ever let it become a chore or feel like you’re writing for anyone else than yourself. Writing is such an accomplishment, and you should be proud and love what you’ve written, don’t let the magic of finishing a book die off. Every time you release you should have butterflies in your stomach.

 

Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?

Dan: I love you all, but you already know that, I tell you enough on my reader group HA! I can’t thank you all enough for sticking by me and interacting, it makes it all worth it, especially when I get your special messages that make em feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I know I’m a big weirdo and I’m totally random, but I feel accepted by all of you, so for that I’m grateful.

 

 

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

Dan: I’ve just finished “Becoming A Vincent” by C.M. Owens and MY GOSH!!!! It was such a fantabulous book that EVERYONE needs to read it. It was bloody brilliant and hilariously funny. If you’re looking for a lighthearted, laugh your socks off read, then pick it up, it’s only .99 cents. I’m now going to move onto Confess by Colleen Hoover because I thought I’d read it, but apparently not :O bad CoHo!!

 

 

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

Dan: Not exactly, but I still have my childhood book of “We’re going on a bear hunt” that I read to my daughter all of the time. The first books I started reading by myself were Roald Dahl and Enid Blyton, I was reading from a very early age.

 

 

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

Dan: I have a very witty/silly/sarcastic sense of humour, it’s also a little dirty at times so I can lower the tone with that, but it’s all good fun. I love to laugh, it’s my favourite thing to do and I love people that make me laugh. I like to pretend I’m hard, but I wear my heart on my sleeve, I cry a lot behind closed doors but I hate people seeing me cry unless they’re happy tears. I cry at songs, videos, films, books, letters, seeing people get hurt, sad stories… everything HA!

 

 

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

Dan: I’m going to cheat a little and say meet again. I would do anything to talk to my grandad again, he made his own stories up for me when I was a child and I can’t remember them properly and it’s frustrating. I’d love for him to tell me them all again so I can make them into books in his memory, he had a wild imagination and I can only remember bits and pieces, it makes me sad that I won’t get to do it.

 

 

Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?

Dan: I love makeup HA! I love to sit and practice different looks as I see it as an art. I also love walking and travelling.

 

 

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

Dan: I’m currently binge watching Teen Wolf and can’t believe I’ve never watched it before, it’s amazing! Anything like that, Orange Is The New Black, iZombie, Games of Thrones, Pretty Little liars, I love. But I also love crime documentaries and watching prison programs. Saying all this, I don’t actually watch a lot of TV apart from the past few weeks. Movie wise, horrors and comedies are my favourites, but I do love adventures and soppy romances.

 

 

Fiona: Favorite foods, colors,  music?

Dan: FOOD. I love it. HA! I’ll eat pretty much everything, bar peppers, I hate the taste of them. My favourite I think is Italian, I love pasta and pizza. My favourite colours are purple, black and khaki and my favourite music is everything! I love everything from Classical and Country, to Heavy metal.

 

 

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

Dan: Twiddle my thumbs? HA! No, I’d probably just work on my makeup business and have a lot more free time. 

 

 

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

Dan: I don’t want to be buried, it creeps me out so I’ve never thought about it. But I think if I WERE to have one, it’d be something sarcastic.

 

 

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

Dan: I have a readers group that I post ALL of my teaser, excerpts, and special offers on before anywhere else. But be warned, I also post random things like stories of birds waking me up at 5 in the morning and pictures of puppies, but nobody seems to mind my randomness, so I’ll keep going HA! Here’s the link if you want to become a Vixen: https://www.facebook.com/groups/735761679920055/

 

***Book Links***

 

One Moment: mybook.to/onemoment

When I’m With You: mybook.to/WIWY

Betting On Love: mybook.to/bettingonlove

Etching Our Way: mybook.to/EOW

 

***Amazon Author Link****

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Danielle-Dickson/e/B01KQMZ632/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Thank you so much for having me on your blog!

Here is my interview with Stephanie Kepke

Name: Stephanie Kepke

Age: 49 years old

Where are you from: Long Island, New York

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

I am married with three boys and two rescue dogs. My boys are eighteen and a half, sixteen and a half and twelve and a half. My oldest just finished his freshman year at my alma mater, University of Massachusetts, Amherst and I couldn’t be more proud of how well he did. He’s in the College of Engineering, while I majored in English. He knows exactly what he wants to do, while I changed majors every year and graduated with a degree in English, because it was the only one in which I had enough credits to graduate. My favourite major: Independent Study in Creative Writing and Photojournalism. I still love telling stories with photos—good thing there’s Instagram! I also took writing workshops after college at Simmons College in Boston and few other programs.

My family life is busy, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love spending time with my boys. When I can get them to carve out some family time from their busy social lives, I’m always extremely grateful. Our favourite things to do usually involve being outside—on the beach or on a nature trail. We are planning a trip to the Grand Canyon this summer—we’ve never been there and are so excited!

Fiona: Tell us your latest news?

I recently celebrated the launch of my book of essays, Boys, Dogs and Chaos, at an amazing book store on Long Island, Book Revue. The biggest authors—from J.K. Rowling to Hillary Clinton—stop there on book tours, so it was humbling and a great honor to read and sign books there. I hope to do a (very) mini book tour this summer, with stops in the Boston area and Montauk (fingers crossed!), and maybe my hometown too.

I had been working on my next novel, Feel No Evil, but that’s been delayed a bit while I work on the screenplay adaptation of my first novel, Goddess of Suburbia. I can’t really say anything about that yet—but it’s been a lot of fun. I think it will be an adaptation of the first version of the novel, which had a murder. An agent asked me to take it out back in 2013 (two years before it was published), but I think it will be perfect for a film version—romance and mystery intertwined with a thread of humor always make up my favorite films.

Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. My second grade teacher told my mother I should be a writer after I wrote a “book” about a mouse and an elephant who were friends. (Apparently at eight years old I thought that was hilarious, because I had read that a mouse is forgetful and an elephant never forgets. Plus, you know…the size thing…) I haven’t wavered in my path since. I found a journal from when I was twenty-one years old that probably gives the best explanation for why I started writing (or at that point continued writing), “I want to write things that make people cry on airplanes. I want to write things that make people feel. Things that make people have to swallow hard and close my book on when they’re on mass transit. Close it, and wait until they get home or get to their hotel room, so they can be alone and let their true feelings show. Laugh or cry.” I wrote that after I had to closed the book I was reading on a plane, because I didn’t want anyone to see me cry.


Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

That’s a great question. I guess I first considered myself a writer when my first article was published. I was twenty-one years old, and it was for a gift magazine, Gift Reporter. It was an article about a teddy bear festival in my college town. After that article, I wrote several more my junior year. I traveled around the country for the same magazine the summer before my senior year. I attended gift shows and interviewed so many interesting people I met at them. One person asked me for my autograph when he realized I had written an article in the magazine I handed him (part of my job was working the magazine’s booth at the gift shows). That really made me feel like a writer. But…I stopped considering myself a writer for many years—after my second child was born, I stepped away from writing until my third and youngest child was in nursery school. It was about seven years, though I probably wrote bits and pieces here and there, I didn’t consider myself a writer at all during those years, and maybe not again until my first article after my hiatus was published when my youngest son was in kindergarten.


Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

I had plenty of time to muse on different story lines while sitting in my minivan while my son napped in the back seat after nursery school three days a week; and I wondered what it would be like if a regular, worn-out mom suddenly became an Internet celebrity. This was at the height of Paris Hilton’s celebrity (my son is finishing up seventh grade now), so I decided a sex tape going viral would be a good vehicle. It also worked, because I wanted to explore a character who doesn’t see how beautiful she really is. She has body issues—and having a naked video zooming around cyberspace and not dying of shame is very freeing for Max. I had hoped that a lot of women would recognize themselves in Max, and it’s been really gratifying that they have. Most of us are harder on ourselves than anyone else would ever be—I’m included, of course.


Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?

I think my writing style is realistic and conversational, with hopefully some poetic language thrown in. A recent review of A New Life stated, “She writes on this personal level like she’s your friend…” I’ve heard that a lot, that reading one of my books feels like chatting with your best friend, and I’m so honored, because that’s my goal. I love writing “domestic fiction” that hopefully resonates with readers who see themselves in the characters. You’ll never find a vampire or even a millionaire playboy in my books—not that there’s anything wrong with characters like that, they certainly sell tons of books!

Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

“Goddess of Suburbia” is what the tabloids coined Max as her video went viral and the name just seemed appropriate for the book. She is a goddess, but doesn’t realize it, because of her cottage-cheesy thighs and gray strands threaded through her blonde tresses.

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

I would love for readers to grasp a few messages—first that you are the only you, and you’re perfect the way you are. Flaws make you unique, and they’re nothing to be ashamed of—live your life out loud and don’t worry about the size of your thighs. Also, it’s never too late to stop living your life on “autopilot” and start living authentically. Max is in her forties when her life implodes, forcing her to finally break out of the rut she’s been in—and it’s a blessing that she doesn’t quite grasp at first.

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

The book is realistic in the small moments—Max’s relationships with her children, her best friend, her (soon-to-be ex) husband and her ex-boyfriend. It’s realistic in Max’s insecurities about her appearance, the judgmental moms surrounding her and the way she sometimes feels like she’s failing as a parent. What is absolutely not based on any of my own experiences—or the experiences of anyone I know—is the sex tape going viral. Nope, never happened to me!


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

I had some amazing writing teachers, but from twenty-eight years old through thirty-one years old I studied with Jill McCorkle—three annual one week workshops at Simmons College (the New England Writers’ Workshop) and one eight week workshop the next year when I was a mom of a one year old (it was an amazing once a week escape). I’d have to say Jill was my biggest influence—my first published work, the novella A New Life, was written during that eight week workshop.

Books that have influenced me include Tending to Virginia, Ferris Beach and Crash Diet by Jill McCorkle (there are more, but I kept it to three); Happy All the Time, Laurie Colwin; The Mezzanine, Nicholson Baker; A Vocation and A Voice, Kate Chopin; Love Medicine, Louise Erdrich; Fortune’s Daughter, Alice Hoffman; and The Pull of the Moon by Elizabeth Berg. Those are probably more books than you were looking for—sometimes I can’t stop when it comes to talking about my favorite books. I have at least ten more that I could list.

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

I haven’t had much time to read at all, to be honest—so I don’t know many new authors. I did read Sleeping With Santa by my friend, Debra Druzy, and that was great—spicy and sweet. Her next book, Falling for Cassanova is on my TBR list. I have books by many of my other author friends on my TBR list—Arla Dahl; J.C. Wing, and others—too many too list. Most of the new authors I’m excited about are authors I know personally, because I know that they are good.

I would have to say that my favorite author is also my favorite teacher (mentioned above), Jill McCorkle. I hadn’t read any of her books until I studied with her, and I was just blown away. I read Tending to Virginia twice, I loved it so much. The first time was during the first workshop I took with her. The second time was a couple of years later when I was pregnant—the main character is a pregnant woman who goes home to her family during the end of her difficult pregnancy to be taken care of by the women in her family, three generations (to put it simply—it’s more complicated and nuanced). I was living five hours from home during that pregnancy (my first), and it comforted me.


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

My friend, John Giannone, was incredibly supportive during all the rejections I received when sending out Goddess of Suburbia a few years ago. He sent me a message reminding me of how many times J.K. Rowling was rejected. He read the book three times, at least, and offered me his eagle-eye journalist’s (he was a print journalist before becoming a television sports reporter) advice. He also read my synopsis and pitch letters, as well. And he gave me advice on my book covers. I’m blessed to have friends who support me, and I could think of at least half a dozen others I could list here (for example, my friend who called me while he was on a date, to offer sympathy after I texted him about my first rejection or my friend who read my elevator pitch in the wee hours of the morning and coached me on it), but John’s message about JK Rowling really resonated with me when I was feeling frustrated (and John’s many stints as beta reader helped).

Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

I was just having this conversation with my husband last night. Writing is my career—it’s my job and the only one I have ever wanted. But, that said…when you don’t make any money, it makes it challenging to think of it as more than a hobby. On the other hand, there are a lot of other benefits a career affords you, besides just monetary, especially a career in writing. Holding a book in my hands that I’ve written gives me a sense of accomplishment that is hard to beat. My words will live forever now. And that’s pretty heady stuff that even a hefty paycheck can’t match (though, of course I wouldn’t turn one down…).


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

I would have caught the typo in it before it went to press. But, I was able to change that when I ordered more books, so I guess the answer would be no. Boys, Dogs and Chaos is my heart book. Being essays, it’s a peek into my soul…I actually couldn’t be happier with the way it turned out, which is pretty unusual for me. I’m generally harder on myself than any critic.


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

As I mentioned earlier, I was in second grade, and I wrote a “book.” That is my earliest writing memory and one that really sparked my interest. My teacher’s positive reaction was quite heady for me—I adored her. As I got older, I really dreamed about my words affecting people. I wanted to make people laugh, cry, feel…

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

Sure! This is an excerpt of Feel No Evil (warning—it’s about a sexual assault, though it is not graphic at all):

2:21. 2:22. 2:23. All I could see were the digital numbers of the clock. All I could hear was his menacing voice, “Is it going to be hard or soft?” All I could say was, “Please stop. Please don’t.” See no evil. Hear no evil. Speak no evil. They forgot feel no evil. All I could feel were his hands pushing down on my shoulders and the searing pain ripping through my core.

I close the journal—the flowers on its cover faded; the paper almost silk-like from age. It has been over twenty years—twenty-one years, to be exact—since I wrote those words. I wish that they were fiction from a long ago college creative writing class, but they aren’t—they’re real and every year on the anniversary of my assault I pull out that journal and read that entry. After I read it, I put the journal back in my old leather briefcase on top of my closet and drink a glass of wine. It’s my way of marking the anniversary and moving forward. My husband, Alec, keeps our kids downstairs or even takes them out for a slice of pizza or ice cream, so I can read it alone, in peace. So I can shed a tear or two.

I know that it might seem odd for a forty-one year old woman to still think about something that happened so long ago, but if you’ve ever been assaulted, you know that the fact of what happened never really goes away. It just sits like a rotten little bit of food in the back of the refrigerator. The smell will eventually take over the whole thing if you ignore it, so every year I pay attention to it—I take out that rotten bit of food, throw it in the symbolic garbage and try not to think about it, until it starts festering again a year later. It’s an odd ritual, to be sure, but one that works for me or at least it did work, until this year…

 

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

I find it challenging sometimes to get out of my own way—I want everthing to be perfect and that can keep me from getting the words down. But, I try to remember that I can always edit after. Also, I have a hard time naming secondary characters. Usually the main character’s name will just come to me, like Kate in Feel No Evil; Max in Goddess of Suburbia; and Tess in a book that has no name yet, but I feel like Tess is just waiting her turn to be written (a single mom parenting a son with OCD—but there’s a lot more to the plot “written” in my head). I usually go to baby name databases and look up baby names in the 1960s an 1970s, the era during which most of my characters were born.

 

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

No—the only time I traveled for my book was when I had a book signing in Massachusetts. It was amazing. I went to the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, and several of my college friends attended. Also, my husband is from the Boston area, and his relatives attended too. It was like a fun party. There were even people there I had never met, who found the event on Facebook. I hope to travel there again this summer for another signing.


Fiona: Who designed the covers?

Greg Simanson designed the cover of Goddess of Suburbia for Booktrope. Michelle Fairbanks of Fresh Design (formerly of Booktrope) designed the cover of Boys, Dogs and Chaos. Diana Carlile designed the cover of A New Life for The Wild Rose Press. RJ Morris designed the cover of You & Me for The Wild Rose Press.


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

Changing the plot of Goddess of Suburbia twice for agents was probably the hardest part—and was also probably pretty foolish on my part. One agent told me the book should be darker, so I added in a murder (my friend said she kept expecting someone to get killed when she read it). That took a couple of months to rewrite. That agent disappeared—she’s not listed anywhere anymore, so of course that didn’t work out. Then another agent two years later told me that the book was too dark, and she wanted more romance. So, I spent three months rewriting it without the murder and with more romance. My dream editor at one of the big houses had an exclusive and waited almost a year for all the rewrites, but passed on the rewritten version, even though she loved it, because it was now lighter than what her imprint was acquiring. The agent who requested that second rewrite never responded to it. So…through that very difficult situation, I learned a very important lesson. Don’t change your work, unless you have a signed contract in hand—and even then, fight for what you believe in. It’s your baby, and what one agent dislikes, another may love. When Booktrope accepted Goddess of Suburbia, there were no major rewrites—just little, tiny stuff that made it better. I also had a great editor, who said to me right off the bat, “This is your baby.” That helped in the final editing process a lot. Of course, sometimes a bigger edit is exactly what the book needs—an editor who ended up working on my novella’s asked me to add a sex scene. That really made the book better, according to many readers (it was just suggested in the earlier version)…


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

I learned that perseverance and hard work pays off…and also to never give up. There were times that I thought I would never finish—whether it was the first draft or edits. But, I took my laptop everywhere when I was on a deadline. I even took it to the beach and the pool. And I also learned that I do much better with a looming deadline—it gets my butt in gear. But, I probably already knew that from all my late nights before deadlines in my twenties as an arts reporter and music journalist…

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

When I was deep in revisions, I pictured Kristen Wiig as Max—she’s vulnerable and beautiful, but you can imagine that she might not realize it. But now that there’s a real chance that it will get made (fingers crossed), I’ve been thinking about indie actresses. It struck me recently that Katheryn Hahn would be the perfect Max. She just lights up the screen and steals every scene she’s in. Plus, she does desperation and even lunacy so well. I just love her.


Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?

Just keep at it. If there is nothing else you have a passion for, nothing else that makes you feel alive, nothing else that lights a fire in you, then write and don’t worry about the rejections. But, if there is anything else that makes you feel like that, and you want to write simply because it seems like it would be fun—or you dream about being a famous author…find something else. To weather rejections, you have to have a deep passion for writing and a conviction that you are meant to do this. If you have that, and you believe in yourself, your words will get out there. It only takes one yes, to make every single no fade away.

And if you never get that yes from a publisher, you can be the yes and self publish. That’s what I did after my publisher folded when Boys, Dogs and Chaos was in the proofreading stage—I published it myself, and I’m so glad I did. Two of my books, my novellas, are traditionally published—but that publisher does not publish non-fiction, so I took matters into my own hands and it is so gratifying to know I did it myself. Now, I never have to worry about whether or not my next book gets rejected, because I know that I can simply get it out there on my own.


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

I LOVE hearing from you! Seriously, the best thing in the world to me is when a reader reaches out and lets me know that my work has affected her (or him—there are guys do read my books). I have made friends with many of my readers this way. Most I only get to see in cyberspace, but some are from my area, and we’ve become friends in “real life.” I’m so grateful for that.

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

Cut to the Chase—it’s a book about the art of screenwriting. Something I’ve learned I really need a refresher course on if I’m ever to finish the adaptation of Goddess of Suburbia.

 

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

I believe it was Little House on the Prairie—I’m sure I read other books before that series, but that’s the first book I remember. Or, perhaps it was Anne of Green Gables. I remember that was the first book I really got lost in—Gilbert was my book boyfriend!

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

My dogs and my kids make me laugh more than anyone. They are just inherently funny. I also love funny movies—pretty much any old Mel Brooks movie; Fletch; Bridesmaids; The Hangover; Airplane. Luckily, I married someone who likes funny movies as much as I do—if we have a rare movie night, it’s always going to be something that will make us laugh. And my friend Scott has always been able to make me laugh for 30 years—since we met in college. We share the same twisted sense of humor.

Animals in need or being harmed in some way make me cry more than anything else. Oh and America’s Got Talent. I cry at least twice during every show. My kids think it’s hilarious. But, there’s always some back story that just brings on the waterworks. The producers play it up too—showing the family of the performer and pretty much everyone in the audience wiping away tears. I know I’m not the only one who sheds a few tears. Sometimes I can have a good cry to a song—only when I’m driving, though. I don’t “ugly cry” in front of anyone. Ryan Star’s new song, Don’t Give Up has definitely gotten me teary lately—I’ve been going through some challenges, especially with one of my kids, and it’s just a really emotional, beautiful, inspiring song.

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

I would love to meet Don Henley. He sent me $100 when I was twenty-six years old and I’d love to thank him for it in person. (I had written a letter to The Eagles about my anger over a radio station that was bashing their ticket prices—I told them it was worth my rent money. He wrote to me that I won their “sweetest person contest” and reimbursed me.) I tried to thank him in person (I had written him a thank you note) when I saw him in concert in Rhode Island at a music festival not long after. But since I didn’t have a press badge, I was shooed away. I think that moment led me to become an arts reporter and music journalist—after that, I always had a press badge and met so many amazing musicians, but never Don Henley. He’s been my favorite musician since I was a little girl (and perhaps the reason I married a drummer).

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

“She always tried to help.” I always try to help those in need. I was the Community Service chairperson for my boys’ elementary school for nine years—it was supposed to be a two year post. I created and ran fundraisers for everything from helping earthquake victims in Haiti to pets in need at the local shelter to collecting books and jackets for the Department of Social Services. Or perhaps I would just go with the simple “Mom. Wife. Animal Advocate.”

Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?

Trying to save dogs is my other hobby, if you can call it that. I’m a “cross poster.” I post death row dogs on my Facebook rescue page, Lucky Dogs (and Cats), though lately I haven’t been that good about it, because I’ve been so busy and for some reason, I haven’t been receiving dogs to post. But, I’m passionate about helping animals. I also love to read, of course, but I don’t have time for that either lately… I used to make memory books—I decorated the outside, leaving the inside blank. I sold them as baby books, sign in books for bar and bat mitzvahs, sweet sixteens and other celebrations. They sold at our local Y, along with greeting cards I crafted. I also made and sold jewelry. I love crafts and have a craft closet and cabinet, even though I haven’t used much in it lately.

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

I watch mostly hockey, believe it or not. I’m a huge Rangers fan—so every other day from October through the spring (June if they make a deep playoff run), my youngest son and I watch hockey. That said, I love funny shows. I’m a sucker for Seinfeld and Friends reruns. My kids go to sleep really late, so I don’t get the TV to myself much… One show my kids and I do all watch together is America’s Got Talent. Even my oldest watches with us. He’s usually running out with friends, so I make the time to sit with them and watch it. (Of course, he leaves as soon as it’s over to see his friends, but for those two hours it’s family time.)

Regarding movies, I love small stories saturated with emotion—movies about regular people. I love movies that I can see myself in, more than super hero or action movies. One of my favorite movies is Enough Said with Julia Louis-Dreyfus and James Gandolfini (it was his last movie). It was just so real and touching. And I love funny movies (see above). If there’s a movie that’s funny and emotional, that’s one I’ll watch again. Besides Enough Said, some of my other favorites are Friends with Kids, Along Came Polly, Love Actually are all some of my favorites in that category. Oh and I’ll always watch You’ve Got Mail or While You Were Sleeping any time they are on. See the previous question about what makes me laugh for some of my other favorites.

Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music

My favorite foods are: Pizza; Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (especially chopped up in vanilla ice cream); New York bagels that are as big as your head (Bagel Boss on Long Island are the best). Wow—I sound really unhealthy! I’ll add tomatoes—especially the ones sold at my local farm stand in late July through August. They are grown right at the farm, and they are so amazingly delicious, you can just eat them on their own—maybe just a sprinkle of sea salt. To me, they taste like summer. Of course the freshly picked Long Island corn from that same farm stand is amazing too. Now, I’m getting hungry!

Colors: My favorite colors are either cheerful, calming or both. Green (especially mint or sage green), pale pink and butter yellow (not really bright sun yellow).

I have very varied taste in music—I love classic rock (Eagles, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel); new wave from the eighties (Howard Jones, U2—which fits into classic rock also, Echo and the Bunnymen, The Cure, The Cult); and singer-songwriter “adult alternative” rock—Ryan Star, Matt Nathanson, Jude Cole. Music is my inspiration when I’m writing. I always create a Pinterest board soundtrack as soon as I start working on a story. The soundtrack of a story is so important to me.

 

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

I would have liked to have been a fashion designer. I designed my bat mitzvah dress and my prom dress. My father was the general manager of a girls’ dress company, and I would go into work with him sometimes and just stare at all the bolts of fabric, imagining what I could create with them. When I designed dresses, the women who worked for him would make patterns and sew them for me. I took fashion design in high school, and if the fashion design classes weren’t on the other side of campus at 8:00 in the morning, I probably would have majored in it in college, so my laziness at age eighteen determined my life course… I also have always loved photography—my junior year in college I switched my major to creative writing and photojournalism. I didn’t have enough credits to graduate, though—so I stuck with my English major. And here I am, still writing decades later, so I guess everything happens for a reason…

 

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

www.stephaniekepke.com is my website. You can get to my blog from there—there’s a button in the upper right corner. With a click on that, you’ll land on all of my essays.

Amazon Authors Pages USA https://www.amazon.com/Stephanie-Kepke/e/B00SHUYLXM/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/Stephanie-Kepke/e/B00SHUYLXM/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1498122465&sr=1-2-ent

Here is my interview with Kevin McManus

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 Kevin McManus, I am 48 years old.

Fiona: Where are you from?
I live outside a village called Carrigallen in County Leitrim in Western Ireland.#

Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I am married to my wife Mary for the last 12 years. I completed a masters degree in history and a higher diploma in education at University and I have worked as a secondary school teacher for the last 20 years. I love music and I played in rock bands from the age of 16 up until about 5 years ago when I turned to writing as a creative outlet.

Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
My third novel entitled “Under the Red Winter sky” is currently at the editing stage and I am due to publish it in October if all goes according to plan. It is a sequel to my first novel “The Whole of the Moon”. I am also writing a second Detective Ray Logue book which I plan to publish next Summer.

Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
As a child I read tonnes of comic books and I was always inventing my own comic book stories. I dabbled with poetry as a teenager and that turned into dabbling with writing song lyrics as a young adult when I got involved with bands. I always liked words and the sounds that they make. A remark that somebody makes in a conversation or on TV could spark off an idea. I started writing my first novel “The Whole of the Moon” about 5 years ago but it took me a long time to develop the confidence to complete it. Like a lot of writers I am very self critical and when you present your first novel its exciting but also a bit scary because you are not sure how readers will react to it.

Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When people read my first book and told me that they enjoyed it.

Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
The story is inspired by my own experiences growing up in rural Ireland in the 1980s. It is also shaped by some of the friends and personalities I encountered during my student days.

Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
The title “The Whole of the Moon is inspired by the famous song by the Waterboys. I read somewhere that the writer of that song, Mike Scott said that it was a song about admiration and jealousy describing how he felt that his songs could never compete with those of Prince. My book is inspired by that because the central character, Conor is in awe of and jealous of a supporting character called Darragh.

Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I don’t think that I adhere to all of the “rules” of writing, I never went on creative writing workshops. I just write and I think that you get better at writing the more you do it. The hard part is coming up with original ideas.
Some reviewers have said that my first book depended too much on narrative and other reviewers said that my second book “Death Rains Down” was too dialogue driven. Its all a matter of taste I suppose. I just read “The fiends of Eddie Coyle” by George V. Higgins and its just all dialogue and its a fabulous book and regarded as one of the greatest crime novels ever written.

Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
The story of “The Whole of the Moon” is inspired by my own experiences growing up in rural Ireland in the 1980s. It is also shaped by some of the friends and personalities I encountered during my student days.

Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I didn’t have to travel but I carried out some research into the politics of the late 80s and various news stories that were prominent then. I revisited the music, TV, literature, etc. of the period to get a feel for the era again.

Fiona: Who designed the covers?
“The Whole of the moon” by the Austin MacCauley design team. “Death Rains Down” by the Endeavour Press design team. My new book “Under the Red Winter Sky” was designed by Paul Moore.

Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
It will pull you back to the late 80s, which were hard times growing up with high levels of unemployment and emigration, but also, it was a time when Ireland was coming on age and taking its place on the world stage with the success of the Irish soccer team and the rise of U2 as a rock super group. It was a time of awakening for Irish people, when we began to stand up and question the institutions that had kept us so tethered for so long.

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?
My books are crime novels but I read a lot of different genres not just crime. I like Charles Bukowski, Dermot Healy, Ken Bruen, Henning Mankell,Thomas Harris, James Ellroy, Franz Kafka, Dennis Lehane. My favourite novel always has been and always will be Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte.

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

Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I am a full time secondary school teacher. I enjoy teaching, its a rewarding occupation and it keeps the wolf from the door. I think in this day and age making a full time living from writing is near impossible unless you are extremely fortunate.

Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
There are so many little things I would change but nothing major.

Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
That you can never be totally 100% happy with what you write and you can keep rewriting and tweaking it but in the end you have to move on.

Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
One of my readers reckons that the main character, Conor should be played by Aidan Turner from Poldark.

Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Just write, keep at it and have belief in yourself. If it makes you happy just do it.

Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Please buy my books

Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I am reading Bones by Johnathan Kellerman

 

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
It was Damnation Alley by Roger Zelazny

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Bills

Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
My two grandfathers, they were both dead before I was born.

Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Playing bass guitar

Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I love 70s fims, the golden age in my opinion: The Godfather, The French Connection, Star Wars, Jaws, Close Encounters, Serpico, Mean Streets, The Deer Hunter, Apocalypse Now, Dirty Harry, The outlaw Josey Wales. The list is endless, so many brilliant films from that decade.

Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Steak, blue, 70s Rock

Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Eat steak in a blue room listening to 70s rock music.

Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
That’s a tough one, I’ll pass on that.

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

I have an amazon page: https://www.amazon.com/Kevin-McManus/e/B01E4GF0GY/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1498058093&sr=8-1

A facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Books-by-Kevin-McManus-1075444599167606/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

The Whole of the Moon is available free from 22-26 June on http://mybook.to/TheWhole

Here is my interview with Rick A. Mullins

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?

RAM: Hi everybody! I’m Rick A. Mullins, but my closest friends call me, Moon, (from the old ‘50s, 60s, & early 70s comic strip Moon Mullins). I’m less than three months away from my 65th birthday (September 10th). The reason I always add my middle initial is because I used to make independent films and the film industry is like horse racing … no two can have the same name and there’s a Christian writer named Rick Mullins … so I added my middle initial.

 

Fiona: Where are you from?

RAM: I was born in Madison, WV, grew up in New London, Ohio, and have lived in Norwalk, Ohio since a year after the second time I got out of the service in ’82.

 

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

RAM: I’m the second of five children, three brothers (the oldest, Randal, died in 2010, Gregg and Mark) and the youngest, a sister (my tech-geek, Melissa) … I graduated in ’71 … got drafted during the Vietnam era and joined the Air Force (so I wouldn’t have to kill people for politics), where I was a Nuclear Weapons Tech in South Dakota (and ‘still’ got spit on and called a ‘baby-killer’).

After discharge in ‘75 I went to Ohio University for one year (it was too much like high school, so I moved on), then did two years of ‘working travel’ where I would move somewhere, explore the local area for three or four months, then move somewhere else and repeat.

In ’78 I joined the Navy to travel overseas, and as a Hull Tech I was the Assistant Fire Marshal on the aircraft carrier Midway (Oh, the stories I could tell, including fighting fires while wading through shin-deep fuel oil). After discharge in ’82 I did another year of working travel before returning to Ohio where I became a (union) factory drone till I retired in July of 2015.

I’ve driven through, lived in, or hitchhiked through every single state except Alaska (been there on the way to the Midway, but they wouldn’t let me off the plane to ‘touch foot’ on the ground).L Bummer … still ‘planning’ to add the fiftieth to my list.

 

Fiona: Tell us your latest news.

RAM: I recently had a little trouble getting cover artand kept writing but didn’t publish for over a year. Back on track with a new artist, I published my most recent novel, “Changeling Moon” (my sixteenth total, twelve e-books only) in February, and will publish “Deluge” in late July or early August (as soon as my sister finishes the cover), and “Final Extinction” in late October or early November, then “Cretaceous Empire” (the sequel to “Cretaceous Anomaly”), early next year.

 

Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

RAM: When I was twelve, my older brother, Randal, turned me on to “The Hobbit”, then the entire Pellucidar series by Edgar Rice Burroughs, and I immediately started writing my own stories. I have a large stack of handwritten tablets full of stories, but never (self) published through a vanity press (1st Books) till 1999.

 

 

Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

RAM: Three different times … in ’64 as soon as I started writing after finishing “The Hobbit” and the Pellucidar series … then again in 1999when I (self)published “Cyberneural Symbiote” … then finally ‘knew’ I was a writer in 2014 when I published “Dragonhome” through Amazon e-books

 

 

Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?

RAM: I’m going to go with “Cyberneural Symbiote” in 1999,(book one of the Cyber Human trilogy), with this one. I used to read every issue of “Scientific American” from cover to cover and read an article about nanotechnology, (cell-sized robots that could be injected into the body). I imagined what would happen if you could inject nanites into your body and control them mentally … and the story grew from there.

 

Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

RAM: The ‘hero’ in the story meets and alien who ‘gifts’ him with a symbiotic implant that grows inside his body under his direction through a cyberneural link. The implant repairs all medical defects and can construct additional, microscopic tech advances under the skin and within the body … basically, a Cyberneural Symbiote under his direction.

 

 

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

RAM: I read what is called grimdark (progressively dark, apocalyptic doom and gloom), and some horror … but I don’t write in that style. I don’t write graphic, overly descriptive violence. There’s death and violence, but it is mostly restrained … except for the monsters, which sometimes get blown up.J

I also don’t do relationship drama where the male and female characters can’t decide whether to kill each other or jump in bed till the last chapter. My married and unmarried couples get along and don’t have weird or rebellious children.

Second question: Nothing. Writing is about the easiest thing in the world for me because my stories write themselves, (including in my dreams where my themes originate or problems and speedbumps are ‘fixed’) … I just pound the keys the story tells me to hammer on.

 

 

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

RAM: I write science fiction, but I try to use as much ‘real’ science as I can, (‘adjusted’ just enough to fit the world(s) I’ve created), as well as throwing in the occasional ‘personal’ opinions regarding integrity, morality, and life experiences as they pertain to politics and faith.

 

 

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

RAM: I’ve traveled so much that I don’t ‘have to’ but since I love to travel I have no trouble taking road trips to add to a story. For instance, soon after I retired I took a road trip from Ohio to New Mexico for no other reason than to get a feel of the southwest region of New Mexico for “Cretaceous Anomaly” and that helped me change the part about the Rio Grande. In my book, the river was wider and had a dense population on both sides. In real life, where the river goes by the town of Truth Or Consequences, the Rio Grande is barely wider than a two-lane road and the western side is sparsely populated. It didn’t take long to adjust the story to fit the reality. If I haven’t already visited or lived there, I use MapQuest, which has satellite views as well as normal map views.

 

 

Fiona: Who designed the covers?

RAM: I get pictures from both iStock and local (tattoo) artists … then my sister constructs my covers from the artwork. She’s awesome by the way and without her every one of my books would be nothing more than files on my laptop. J

 

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

RAM: All my books project a positive message of morality, inclusiveness, and cooperation while dealing with natural and manmade obstructions through logical preparations and resistance. I do try to add humor whenever the circumstances of the plot allow and have no problem allowing redemption for the ‘less savory’ characters.

 

 

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?

RAM: There are too many of both to list. I’ve lately focused on Indy authors for my reading both to gauge how I compare and to support their work … but I do have several trad authors who I read whenever they put out something new.

 

 

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

RAM: Actually, none before I got published … but since then, other Indy authors have supported me tremendously, especially at the group APC (Author Publisher Co-op). The founder, Jessica Wren, started the ball rolling, while ‘everyone’ in the group is like a Family that helps and supports everyone else.

 

 

Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

RAM: I see it mostly as a lifelong passion … but since I do very little marketing or self-promotion, (it interferes with my OCD writing time), having it turn into a career at my age (less than 3 months from 65) would be a welcome surprise. 😀

 

 

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

RAM: Nope! (Unless a reader points out something missed in the many edits). 😀

 

 

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

RAM: I’m usually writing several books at the same time, (I currently have five finished in various stages of editing and awaiting covers … and another seven that are more than 90% finished) and am ‘always’ learning something new in my craft. I consider any day you learn something new a ‘good’ day. 😀

 

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

RAM: I couldn’t begin to choose … but I would try my best to do the same as Stan Lee and get a cameo with a speaking line. 😀

My great-great grandmother was full-blooded Cherokee and several of my main characters are full or part Native American, so I would ‘hope’ that a movie with those characters would also have Native American ancestry instead of being some ‘famous’ white guy with heavy makeup.

 

 

Fiona: Any advice for other writers?

RAM: Read, read, read in your chosen genre (both trad and Indy), and (if you pay attention) you will learn more about ‘how’ to write than any other way … and when you finish a story, put it away for at least two weeks and read something else before you edit it … then repeat two or three times MINIMUM!

Also, make a ‘formatted’ template with cover page, disclaimer, dedication, table of contents, and chapter headline … and use it for every new story. Make a list of ‘useless’ words (mine includes that, had, as, very, which, and starting sentences with so or well) and when you edit, say sentences with those words ‘out loud’, with and without those words. If it sounds good without, delete it.

Also: This is something I see quite often in Indy works (and catch on my own edits) … pay attention to whether or not you use a word or phrase more than once in the same sentence or paragraph. If you do, you might want to make a change.

One last thing: If you publish e-books, don’t be in a hurry to publish a paperback. Wait a couple of months and re-edit the e-book AGAIN and you WILL find more mistakes. Make e-book changes first, THEN do the paperback and it’ll cause you less stress and better reviews.

 

 

Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?

RAM: If you’re tired of excessive violence and relationship drama, and just want a ‘fun adventure’ in the science fiction multiverse … I know where you can find a dozen good examples (wink-wink) 😀

 

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

RAM: In between re-re-re-editing my five finished novels, I just started “Storm Unleashed” by Indy author Michael R. Stern

 

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

RAM: “The Hobbit” followed by the Pellucidar series by Edgar Rice Burrows … then I got ‘hooked’ on both reading and writing. Up until my early twenties I regularly read a book a day … but that was when books were rarely longer than 200-250 pages. In high school, I always had my ‘current’ novel with me instead of textbooks and got called on it frequently. My answer was that I already read the textbooks (I did the first month of the year) and the teacher was so good they told me everything I ‘needed’ to remember from then on, (which usually worked). J

 

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

RAM: Just about everything from babies to family to friends to politicians …

 

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

RAM: Nope! Experience has shown me that meeting your heroes is usually a letdown because you don’t expect them to be as human as you.

 

Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?

RAM: Just one … writing. J(But I have been known to jump in the car, drive in a random direction for a day, get a hotel and party an evening, then drive home the next day.)

 

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

RAM: I cancelled cable nine or ten years ago, don’t subscribe to Netflix, and only buy science fictionDVDs (which I rarely watch), because TV interferes with my writing. Like I said … writing OCD <shrugs>

 

Fiona: Favorite foods, colors,  music?

RAM: You can’t beat a good surf-n-turf, lobster and steak with steamed veggies and squash, and red potatoes ‘smothered’ in real butter … all the colors of the rainbow are awesome, but lavender draws my eye first, then a bright yellow … alternative rock, folk, and 60s and 70s classic rock.

 

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

RAM: I have an EXCELLENT imagination … but it’s not THAT good … 😀

 

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

RAM: I was born of stardust … it was a fun, exciting ride … to stardust I return.

 

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

RAM: My website is http://dreamquestbooks.com/index.html … and if it wasn’t for my awesome tech-geek sister I wouldn’t even have that … 😀

I have some lower prices but work too hard to ‘give away’ my work (Except for the occasional, promotional ‘giveaway’ on somebody else’s event … and my writing OCD gets in the way of anything/everything else.

Amazon Authors Pages USA

https://www.amazon.com/Rick-A.-Mullins/e/B00JH10JUY/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1498050807&sr=1-2-ent

UK

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rick-A.-Mullins/e/B00JH10JUY/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1498050867&sr=1-2-ent