Author Interview with April Presnell

Grounded in fanfiction, expanded by literary fiction in college, and continually inspired by the fandom world, April Presnell has a lot in store for her readers.

Where do you get your inspiration?

I get my inspiration from a variety of places, but often it is nature that inspires me. I think it is amazing how different landscapes can alter the way you are feeling. When I find something that leaves me awestruck I could stare at it for hours and never get bored. I usually use those feelings as a jumping point for my characters in my fantasy stories. I want my worlds to give my readers the same sense of awe I feel.

Tell us about the book you’re working on.  Can you share an excerpt?

I’m actually working on two books right now, since at the moment it’s National Novel Writing Month. The one that has my primary focus for editing is titled Seeking Utopia. It is a YA fantasy/sci-fi novel about a world that is filled with cracks; along the ground, buildings, trees, everything. When my main character steps into one of these cracks, she steps into a different dimension:

The cracks in the world had always been there, much as the sky had. While walking down any street you could see buildings, roads, trees, and of course, the cracks. They were as commonplace as the cracks in the sidewalk, though the cracks in the sidewalk did not shine with the same sort of faint, glowing light. They also were not guarded by police or, more common as of lately, blocked by a wall of concrete.

Officials had declared the Tectonic Preservation Act a huge success that would soon be implemented to protect all the tectonics of the world. The cracks and tectonics were the same thing, though I’d never been entirely sure why they were called tectonics. They never seemed like tectonics in the traditional sense, and they were absolutely everywhere. Along the sidewalk, climbing buildings, zigzagging up trees. I’d always asked how the cracks could all be connected, but from a young age my parents had always told me to stop asking questions.

That had never sat well with me. After all, asking questions was how humans had grown. But apparently humans had forgotten that, as I had always been told that my curiosity was going to get me in trouble. 

I was surer of that more than ever now, as I lingered on a street corner that was currently unguarded. As usual, KK Street was bustling with activity, even in the middle of the week. Across the street small clumps of people were cluttered around metal tables, drinking coffee that was too expensive under sunlight that was too bright. Nearby, people dressed in printed shirts with large purses were seated on the patio of a slightly below upscale restaurant. I was currently loitering near the corner of a building (an organic grocery store, to be precise), eyes glued to the small, glowing crack on the wall there.

What’s your favorite book?

This is always a tough question. I have to give Harry Potter a shout out, as it got me writing, but currently my favorite book is Room by Emma Donoghue. The writing, characters, and plot are all beautifully done.

Favorite authors?

I love Scott Westerfeld. He has really fresh ideas for the YA fantasy realm, which I really appreciate. I’ve also really been enjoying Fredrik Backman. His characters are so interesting and his writing style manages to be both incredibly humorous yet tragic at the same time.

Where’s your favorite place to write?  What’s your writing process like?

My absolute favorite place to write is this tiny independent café near my apartment. It’s very cozy, the coffee is great, and the employees know me on sight by now. I can’t focus on writing if I am at home. When I am out, especially if it is on my own, I can really focus on the page in front of me. For my novels I like to have at least a rough outline so I can do the proper character development and foreshadowing. And I always write chronologically. I’ve tried jumping around and I just completely lose the flow.

What do you do when you aren’t writing?

I’m a huge geek. I love to cosplay, go to conventions, and play video games. I am really passionate about traveling and most of my extra money goes to that. Other than that, a lot of reading, adventures with friends, and eating out. I love eating out.

Real books or e-readers?

100% books. I hate using e-readers. I like to have the book in my hands. Plus I work at a computer so much that I need a break now and then.

How long have you been writing?

Since I was about thirteen. I started with Harry Potter fanfiction. Before then I wrote here and there, but not nearly as seriously.

 

For updates from April, follow her on Facebook and Twitter, and be sure to visit her website.

 

 

 

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Author Interview with J.E. Nice

J.E. Nice is about to release the third book in The Last War trilogy, In My Bones.  I got a chance to chat with her about her love of dragons, her writing process, and her life outside of writing.

What was your inspiration for this story?

There were a couple of inspiration points for In My Bones, especially as it’s the third book in a trilogy. The first book, Matter of Time, started when I was in a new job and I was bored. I’d run out of work and they didn’t have any more to give me. I was sat next to the window and I stared out at the rain lashing against the glass. I opened up an email to myself and typed, ‘It was raining.’ That was the beginning of the trilogy, and that sentence is still in there. It led onto a scene with Del, a veteran, exiled dragonslayer meeting a company of dragonslayers seeking shelter during a storm.

A few months later, I was driving home from work with music blaring. Edge of the Earth by 30 Seconds to Mars came on and I suddenly had a vision of Del standing with sword in hand, looking down through the heat of lava and fire to a large dragon. That became my focal point for In My Bones and helped to drive the rest of the trilogy.

 

Have you always loved dragons?

Yes. I’m pretty sure my love of dragons probably evolved from a love of dinosaurs when I was small. I discovered fantasy when I was about sixteen, but I was attracted to dragons before then. When my mum bought me a fancy hobby horse, I picked a dragon instead!

 

Tell us about the third book in the The Last War trilogy.  No spoilers!

I tried to make each book in the trilogy work as a standalone. It means you can pick them up in any order, although it helps to do it in the right order! This was quite difficult with In My Bones, and it’s difficult to explain the book without giving away spoilers from the previous two, but here we go…

In the city of Drummbek, humans and dragons live side by side. But it took a war to get there. Our dragonslayers, maid and army commander have already dealt with the screams in the castle, people going missing and gangs forming to fight dragons on the Wastelands. Now an ancient dragon is ready to destroy what the humans and dragons have built.

At the beginning of In My Bones, an egg cracks open. It’s the beginning of a new life, not just for the creature inside but for the inhabitants of Drummbek. Magic is returning to the world.

The book follows characters from the previous two books, Del, Tabitha, Markkus, Andra, Johnny and Venkell, as they try to protect the city and its inhabitants from the biggest threat their world has seen in thousands of years.

What’s your favorite book?

I have a few favourites but my absolute favourite is the novella ‘The Body’ by Stephen King. I first saw the film Stand By Me when I was twelve and fell in love. I finally found the book it’s based on, ‘The Body’, and fell even more in love – the book is usually better than the film!

It’s about four twelve-year-old boys venturing out to find a dead body. It’s a rite of passage story and the two main characters are the misunderstood bad boy and the writer.

The book goes into much more detail about the characters and story, of course, and because it’s Stephen King, the writing is incredible.

 

What book are you reading at the moment?

I’ve been rereading the Rivers of London series by Ben Aaronovitch. The latest in the series, The Furthest Station, was recently released but it’s a novella so it was over pretty quick. It’s been a long time since I read the first book, Rivers of London, so I went back to that. Then I accidentally picked up the second book, Moon Over Soho. I’m sure I’ll stop after this one and go back to my massive TBR pile!

 

Favorite authors?

I tend to fall in love with stories and characters rather than the author, so one book or series from an author I’ll love but another series from the same author, not so much.

Right now, I love Ben Aaronovitch, V E Schwab (Vicious is beautiful) and I love K. S. Merbeth’s Bite. I also love Chris Wooding’s ‘The Ketty Jay’ series, and Joe Abercrombie’s ‘The First Law’ trilogy.

 

Where’s your favorite place to write?  What’s your writing process like?

I’ve almost trained myself to write anywhere! But I usually write at home, in a little office room upstairs where it’s quiet. I’ve also been known to write sat at the dining table and, if I’m struggling, down at the local coffee shop with a hot chocolate.

When I’m working on a first draft, I try to write at least a thousand words a day. When I’m in the swing of things, that only takes me half an hour. I like to plot out the story beforehand so I know where I’m going, but it’s all open to change if a character decides to take it a different way.

I prefer the writing to the editing so editing is the long slog. I try to do so many pages a day, and then towards the end, so many chapters a day. I love the feeling of the book coming together.

I also love to talk about whatever I’m writing. Even if it’s just to myself! It really helps with plot problems (showers with no pen or paper also frustratingly help with that), but also helps me to get fired up and motivated to go write.

 

What do you do when you aren’t writing?

When I’m not working on my books, I run a virtual marketing assistant business called Adminosaurus and I’m hoping to soon take my technical publishing experience to offer services for authors. I’m also building a writing resources business called Write into the Woods, after speaking to so many people over the years who bombard me with questions about how to get started writing when they’re feeling overwhelmed and a bit scared.

Outside of work, I love watching movies and TV, and I’m often very behind! As well as playing with our new Labrador puppy, Bucky, who I’m hoping will be a keen listener to plot problems in the future.

A few times a year, I drag the people I love up to Scotland (my favourite place in the world) for an adventure. Otherwise, you’ll often find me sat on Bristol Harbour, even in the depths of winter, and watching the paddle boarders go by.

 

Real books or e-readers?

Definitely real books. I have some ebooks but I can’t get the hang of reading them. You can’t beat a real book. I especially like to read before bed and the thought of staring at another screen before I sleep is enough to give me a headache.

 

How long have you been writing?

My whole life. My mum used to make up stories for me when I was a baby. Then we’d make them up together. As soon as I started learning to write, I was off! I owe it all to my mum. I haven’t ever really stopped longer than a few months, when life got in the way.

 

Do you have any other books in the works?

I have lots of ideas for future books. I’m just starting to work on a new book about two women who form a paranormal investigation team. There’ll be fairies and ghosts and time travel in there too.

In the middle of writing The Last War trilogy, I wrote another book about a werewolf hunter. I’ll be giving that a rewrite at some point and hopefully turning it into a series.

I had great trouble saying goodbye to the characters in In My Bones, so I’m also planning a couple of short stories just to delve a little further into that world.

And then there’s the pirate historical fantasy, the steampunkish fantasy following a crew on a flying ship, and the sci-fi dystopian thief.

Needless to say, there’s more to come!

 

Where can we find your book?

In My Bones will be available on Amazon (ebook and paperback), iBooks, Nook, Kobo and my Etsy shop (ebook only) from Tuesday 19 December 2017.

 

Be sure to check out her website, and don’t forget to follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for the latest updates!

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Author Interview with Tyler Omichinski

As a game designer and writer who has traveled widely, Tyler Omichinski brings a lot to the table.  I got to spend a little time chatting with him about his writing life, his most recent book, and whether he prefers real books or e-readers.

How has your work in game design influenced your writing?

Two main ways. The first of all is that when you’re doing things like writing up rules, you need to be extremely specific and efficient. It’s really almost technical writing at that point, and it teaches some great skills. I’m not a particularly purple writer when it comes to my prose, and this kind of thing really forces you to look at your writing with a brutal sense of efficiency.

The other thing is that same old focus on the shape of stories. A good game should, functionally, be telling a story, just one that emerges from gameplay. Risk has you waging war against your friend, and every time a story arises from that. When I’m designing a game, I’m trying to keep an eye on telling the right kind of story when that happens – with ReAnimator, for example, we wanted to keep the stress piling up, while also giving a general sense of unease. That was accomplished through forcing the players to make an increasing number of choices between suboptimal choices, reflecting what happens to a lot of protagonists, while also having the subplot cards dealing with some unsettling things here and there.

I see that your book takes place in Paris.  Have you ever been there?

Yes I have! I’m also a huge fan of the city. I was there for about three days while living abroad, and something about the city just grabbed me. For this piece I also read a ton: Robb’s Parisians, a bunch of books about the history of the city, Robb’s Strangers (about LGBT people throughout the Victorian Era) and more. Then I promptly went and did an alternate history so if I got anything wrong, I could claim that it was on purpose.

What was your inspiration for this story?

A combination of a couple of factors. I’ve gushed about Robb above, he’s a phenomenal historian that sometimes covers these amazing niches of history, weaving masterful narratives with these anecdotes that give you so much information and makes you feel like you’ve really experienced something.

The next part was to try to put my mind in the struggles that are going on for some people in our own world right now. I’m an out bisexual and I’ve faced my fair share of discrimination, but at the same time we have people literally being killed for being like me elsewhere in the world. Even not that far away if we think about Orlando. I wanted to try to put myself into that experience, to try to figure out what someone would do in order to avoid the worst of that. To really try to understand when coming out wasn’t even really an option for people.

To all of that, I really just wanted to write about Paris and monsters. It all wove together pretty well.

You’ve done a lot of work in the board game industry.  What was your favorite board game growing up?

Probably Trivial Pursuit: I’m from a family of competitive know-it-alls  (including myself) and we would all get really into that game. It’s fascinating how much useless knowledge like that can really encourage you to be a writer. You want to figure out “Well, why is that random factoid a thing,” then you realize that there’s a story behind it, and a story behind that. Stories the entire way down.

What’s your favorite book?

Probably American Gods – it was there for me during an incredibly dark time in my life and it was like the perfect balm. It really is one of those books that you can go in looking for something and probably find it. There’s so much going on in there, and the prose is so beautiful. That being said, it is definitely fighting against something like Name of the Wind or Three Parts Dead.

Favorite authors?

Now that’s a list. Margaret Atwood, Salman Rushdie, Neil Gaiman, Jeff Vandermeer, Max Gladstone, Cassandra Khaw, Caitlin R Kiernan, Ben H. Winters… I read a crazy amount. Like, three or four books a week. It’s so hard to pick just a few, but at some point it becomes way too long and unwieldy. My friends have long ago learned that if they ask for a recommendation, I’ll just keep piling books on them until they politely tell me to stop. Then I’ll go for a bit longer as I think of a few more ideas.

Where’s your favorite place to write?  What’s your writing process like?

My favorite places to write are either lying down on the couch, or in a bar. I need a lot of noise around me to get my best work done, and I do this weird thing where I don’t usually look at the screen while I’m typing. I’ll usually be staring off into space, or my neck at a weird angle as I look at the ceiling. Almost like the story has to sneak up on me, and I’m trying to make it easier for it.

Most of my first full-length book that I’ve finished was written in the back of a bar while my friends played pool. I’d sit there watching the pool game and typing away.

For a process – it really seems to be different for each project. It’s almost like each one needs something specific to bring it into the world. Queen in Yellow was a lot of Lou Reed and other punk like music written in the middle of the night in bars. Wild Bloodlines was written listening to Celtic instrumentals during the afternoon and was almost done in a single, mad, fury of writing.

Plague in Paris was done with classical music in short, focused, attacks. Each session was a few hundred words here or there, and the entire thing had an outline and a structure to it. I’ve never been able to recreate that process for anything else, but that’s basically the way it has been for everything for me.

Real books or e-readers?

Oh jeez. Both? I love the convenience of e-readers, but there’s nothing beating a book. I’m also a collector of real books, so that similarly helps me out. But, I have friends and colleagues around the world so I love being able to read something from them the instant it comes out. You might have to come back to me on this one – I’m not sure if I can really choose.

How long have you been writing?

Since I was twelve, so what’s that, 17 years now? That’s been quite awhile. I still have the first “story” I wrote as a kid, complete with the regular kid deus ex machina at the end. It was about the Elves going on strike on Christmas, and then I think Santa replaces them with robotic transforming snowmobiles. Even as a kid I was writing some pretty weird stories.

Do you have any other books in the works?

Yes, pretty much always. I have a book called The Queen in Yellow that I’m doing another round of edits on after it went through some agents who gave me some nice feedback but it wasn’t quite for them. I have a ghostwriting contract that is in the works, and I’ve started another book that’s currently called The Last Witch and is still in its first draft.

 

You can find Tyler’s book on Amazon.  Make sure you leave a review to tell him how much you love it!  You can also check him out on Facebook, Twitter, or his website at www.omichinski.com.

 

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November Poetry Contest

Hey folks!  Starting this month, I’m hosting a poetry contest here on my blog.  For this month, there is no theme and there are no preferred styles.  Just send me your favorite poem! The winner will have their poem published on my blog. Submit your poem to ashleyomelia@yahoo.com with the title “November Poetry Contest.” Please have your poem pasted into the body of the email; attachments will not be opened.  Deadline is 11/30.

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Author Interview with Anne Norchi-Iglesias

Anne Santoro is finishing up her junior year in high school, in her new home town in Upstate New York. She is reminded of a tale she was told as a child of the witch’s house. The house was on the road she and her family took to get to the beach. She and her best friend Colleen McFadden decide to visit Smithtown, NY, where Anne grew up, to see if the witch’s house is still there. Anne has kept parts of her life on Long Island to herself and faces painful moments when she returns. How will her best friend react?
As a child, Anne anticipated seeing this house with every trip to the beach. Is it still there? The quest becomes more than just finding the house. It becomes a search to find a young Native American Indian girl who disappeared over 100 years ago. Finding clues to solve this century’s old mystery is tough enough, but when deciphering a ghost’s way of communicating, tough takes on a whole new meaning.
What will Anne and Colleen discover? Follow them on their hunt to find the Witch’s House and see if they uncover the answers they’re looking for. The Road to Long Beach and the Witch’s House is a story of mystery and suspense. The adventure brings to light the weight of being bullied and how passing judgment on others can last through centuries of time.

The debut novel from Anne Norchi-Iglesias, The Road to Long Beach and the Witch’s House, is set to be released on September 2nd.  I spent a little bit of time chatting with her about the book and what inspired her to write it.

What was your inspiration for this story?

I saw a video on Facebook that said, “You know you’re from Smithtown (NY) if this is the road you took to get to Long Beach.”  It brought back great childhood memories, because that is where I grew up and that was the road we took to get to Long Beach. It reminded me of the tale my sister told me at a very young age, like maybe 4 or 5, about the witch’s house. It was a crumbled down house that sat up on a hill in the woods. It intrigued me, even at that young age, and I would always ask, “Did I miss the witch’s house?”  While watching this video, I wondered if the house was still there (41 years later, lol). Then I thought, “Wow, that would make a really good book title: The Road to Long Beach and The Witch’s House.” The thoughts and ideas started to stream into my mind and I decided I was going to write a story about it.

I see you have some paranormal elements in your book.  Do you believe in ghosts?

I do!  The spirit world has been an interest of mine for quite a while. I love cemeteries, metaphysics, ghosts and paranormal phenomena. A few of my children are sensitive to energies and spirits. In one house, they used to tell me things, little things, like footsteps and things moving, but I brushed it off a little, because I didn’t know how to handle it. Then in another house, a Victorian home that was over 100 years old, there was a lot of activity. We had a picture of a little girl in my daughter’s closet, another daughter saw apparitions, and we all heard unexplained noises. There were other things, and on occasion I would ask the spirit(s) to stop because they were making us uncomfortable. The activity would stop. We had an investigative team come in, and they had some voice and noise recordings.

From your Facebook page, I see that you’ve taken a lot of elements out of your real life and incorporated them into the story.  Do you think that made it easier or harder to write?

In many ways, it made it easier. I loved finding ways to fit in snippets, like birth dates, names, remembrances. One I have not mentioned is a tribute to my bus driver’s daughter Rene. I named the bus driver in my book Rene, as a remembrance because she was a sweet girl and unfortunately committed suicide. I felt strongly about giving her a presence.

What’s your favorite book?

Wow, that’s hard. I have a favorite from each time period of my life: Harold and the Purple Crayon, Dr. Seuss’ Are You My Mother?, Pippi Longstocking books, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, and as an adult, Colin Powell’s autobiography My American Journey. As an adult, I didn’t read often, as I have five children and life was busy and hectic.

Where’s your favorite place to write?  What’s your writing process like?

I wish it were at my roll top desk that is in a little bay window nook, looking out to my back yard.  Reality is, I sit at the kitchen table, the living room couch so I can be with family, and most often, in bed. I have Fibromyalgia, and I am more comfortable in bed by early afternoon.

I start off mind dumping the basics of the story. I don’t pay attention to anything proper, just getting my thoughts out. Then I break it up into short chapter summaries so I can see how the story will move from beginning, to the middle, and to the end. Then I write. The chapter summaries are just guidelines so I don’t digress. Somewhere in the mix, I write up the character’s personality traits. Once I start to write, the story and characters take on a life of their own. I often visualize myself in the scene as any one of the characters and ask myself (based on the character’s traits), what would I do or say. I have a goal to write 500 words per day minimum no matter how bad it is. Often, it is much more than that.

Real books or e-readers?

Both 😊 Reading takes a large amount of energy for me, so I save my reading for bedtime and read with a Kindle Fire. However, I LOVE books. I love the feel, the smell, the graphics, the fonts. Everything about them. Occasionally, I’ll take a book out of the library (one of my favorite places) because I enjoy reading an actual book.

How long have you been writing?

When I was very little, before I could even write words, I would sit at my little brown desk in our den and scribble write on paper, then staple the pages together to make a book. As a teen, I wrote poetry and short stories. As an adult, I wrote short family stories. The thought of writing an actual book has been on my mind since my late 20’s, but I didn’t know what to write about. Now I have about ten ideas in the waiting.

Do you have any other books in the works?

Yes, there are about ten ideas. Starting in September, I will be working on three pieces. The Gravestone That Calls Your Name, 13 Eerie Tales, and a play based on a local legend in Berlin, NY, The One Week Bride.

Where can we find your book?

It will be published as an ebook on September 2, and it will be available on Amazon.com. People can follow my Facebook page to keep posted on details and the Amazon link when it becomes available.

How can everyone reach you?

Facebook.com/IndieAnnie and  @carms57 on Instagram

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*Now Available* – In a Sky Full of Stars

I’m so happy to let you know that my latest story, In a Sky Full of Stars, is officially available on Amazon!  This story encompasses dragons, eclipses, and the difficulty of being human.  It’s just a short one this time, but it’s one that I’m really in love with.

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*Author Interview- Ashley O’Melia*

Check out my author interview from Jenny King!

Itsjennythewren's Blog

Its that time again! Grab a cuppa and sit back and read on 🙂

Tell us a bit about your book

In a Sky Full of Stars is a story about a girl in a fictional feudal village.  Her mother is a laundress and not very well liked by the rest of the townsfolk.  Her father had been the village storyteller, but he has been gone for several years.  As Perspica helps her grandmother prepare for their a special event the day of the solar eclipse, she finds that her entire life can change in a matter of minutes.

20257990_1530363753652912_5445901263471101977_nWhat would say is the genre for your book

Fantasy, for sure, but not the kind of epic fantasy that you see on the bookstore shelves.  My favourite stories are the ones that bring a little bit of magic into someone’s real life.  The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keeping was the…

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