Category Archives: Author Interviews

Author Interview: Ashley Goss

An author who isn’t afraid to be prolific in any genre that pleases her, Ashley Goss and I had a moment to chat about her book background and where she’s headed with her writing.

What inspired you to write about vampires?

Honestly, I love reading about vampires and werewolves so I knew I would end up writing a series one day however I didn’t think it would be this soon. My series all came from nightmares I had for a series of nights. I would jot notes down as soon as I would wake in case I would forget anything. It’s crazy how that happens. Always have need a pen and paper by my bed.

Will there be more vampire books in the future? 

Yes, there will be more books in the future along with werewolves, witches and others. I have built an entire world around this vampire series which will fall into the other books. Once the vampires series is done, certain characters will play HUGE roles in the werewolf and witch novels. I can’t say too much cause I don’t want to give anything away too early.

Tell us about your other books.

My other books are strictly romance books. I have written a mystery novel that should be released at some point towards the end of 2018. Stay tuned for more information on that release.

I see that you like to do book reviews.  What do you look for in a book?

I look for a good synopsis. If your synopsis can hold me then I use the Look Inside feature and read the first chapter of the book.  Of course if I’m still interested then I purchase the book and continue reading.

Were books a large part of your childhood?

Yes, as a child I was obsessed with reading anything I could get my hands on. Some of my favorite authors are still: John Green, Nicholas Sparks, Danielle Steel and Gayle Forman. Of course, I couldn’t have gotten through grade school without Judy Blume or Goosebumps.

In your opinion, what does it take to be a writer?

No matter what kind of writer, you have to have an active imagination, a way to tell your story, and of course keeping it interesting. The hardest thing about being a writer is finishing your story, seeing it through from beginning to end.

What’s your life like outside of writing?

I am a mother of a beautiful 9-year-old girl and just recently got engaged on Christmas Eve of 2017. I work a full-time office job as well as writing on the side. I am still an avid reader. Right now, I just got done binge watching the Harry Potter collection.

Tea or coffee?

I don’t even like tea. I am 100% a coffee FIEND. I write often at coffee shops. When I write, I always have a cup of coffee by my side. =)

Do you have other books in the works?

I have about 20 unfinished manuscripts at the moment, all of which are half-written. I have three books coming out in 2019. I have not released exactly what books on what dates yet but I will announce this in March 2018.

Be sure to check out Ashley’s website, follow her on Twitter at @authorashleyg, and like her on Facebook.  Her books can be found on Amazon.

 

 

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Author Interview: Carlos LoPopolo

There’s nothing better than a good children’s book, unless it’s one that is based on real life.  That’s the case with Zobo:  The First Mustang, the first in a series of books that follows the real history of the mustang in America.

              Zobo with his mother, Rain

I see you’ve established two wild horse preserves in New Mexico, and you’re working on starting another one in Texas.  Where did your passion for horses come from?

I’ve always been around horses since I was seven, but in ‘99 when I found out what was happening to the mustang it became important to understand their plight and help to preserve them for future generations.  It was on their back this country this country was built.

It’s quite a process to produce a picture book.  What’s the toughest part?

Finding an artist that understands your concept.

                    Zobo’s father, Sombrillo

What does the future hold for Zobo?  Will there be more books coming?

Zobo is the first generation. The series brings the lineage forward from the area of present day Vera Cruz, Mexico to the government preserve they graze on today.  I am presently working on the eighth book in the series and the tenth line of Zobo’s descendants.

How long have you been writing?

Since I was in a kid but didn’t get serious until I was in high school.

 

Who are your favorite authors?

Thurber, Diaz, Castaneda. I like this quote from Castaneda: The trick is in what one emphasizes. We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves happy. The amount of work is the same.

The path Zobo and his family would have taken.

What are you reading right now?

Historical documents from New Mexico, Texas, and Mexico.

Bio:  Pam and Carlos live in Bastrop Texas on a little parcel of land with their friends; three dogs, Bob, Mindy, and Trish, two cats Molly and Terry, three chickens (the chickens all look alike so they are hard to name), two donkeys, Bella and Storm, and two horses, Bliss, and Crackers. They all live together in harmony most of the time but, sometimes in chaos.  When they are not enjoying the bright sunshine of Central Texas or the fantastic sunsets they are thinking about where Zobo’s descendants are going next.   Since 1999 Carlos has been rounding up and preserving wild horses.  He has established two wild horse preserves in New Mexico.   Together with his wife Pam they are trying to raise enough money to purchase land here in Texas to open up another wild horse preserve. They are not asking for donations, which is why they are writing the Zobo series.  Through the sale of the books and the development of the movie project,  they hope to raise enough money to purchase land for a new preserve.

 

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Author Interview – Rachel De La Fuente

With her book, The Most Special Chosen, out this weekend, I got a chance to chat with Rachel De La Fuente about books, writing, and our addictions-in-common.  Make sure to check out her release party on Facebook as well!

Tell us a little bit about your new book, The Most Special Chosen.

The Most Special Chosen is about a seemingly normal, though somewhat vampire obsessed, college student, Elysabeth Vance; her best friend of 8 years, Shawn Dooley; and her sexy new boyfriend, Damien. Damien draws Elysabeth like a moth to a flame, but practically repulses Shawn, literally making his hair stand on end.

Shawn is concerned about their relationship, but Elysabeth’s intuition, the little voice that has been guiding her throughout her life, convinces her that all is well. With a little help from Damien and his family, Elysabeth will uncover her powerful bloodline and unlock her destiny. After all, fate happens, even if you don’t believe in it.

What more do you have planned for the Exalted Bloodline series?

The currently planned story arc includes 6 books. That could increase if any of the books get too long. For example, when I started writing the second book, it included book 3, but the manuscript got too long, so I separated them.

Book 2 is currently about 1/2 – 2/3 done. I have to go back and make some changes after the editing I’ve done on The Most Special Chosen, and then I can work on finishing it.

I also have an ongoing commission with artist Kyle McGill, a friend of mine from college. He’s creating portraits of all of my main characters. I’ve featured his work in each of my character interviews.

The best way to keep up on future Exalted Bloodlines Series news is to subscribe to my blog or newsletter.

I see that you’re a fountain pen enthusiast (something I’m guilty of myself). Do you prefer a certain brand of pens or ink?

Yay! Another person afflicted (or blessed, depending on your point of view) with the fountain pen virus. 😀  Fountain pens are so much fun, and write so smoothly.

I have a particular affinity for visually arresting pens, especially brightly colored ones. New pens are always coming on the market, so it’s nearly impossible to say that any one brand has the prettiest pens.

As far as ease, my favorites are Lamy Safari and Pilot Metropolitan. No matter how long I leave those pens without writing, I can come back, pick one up, and it will just start writing again. It’s fabulous.

For writing quality, of the pens I own, the smoothest pen is my Pineider Key of Heaven. But it’s an EXPENSIVE pen, so I would expect it to be fabulous. I wouldn’t have picked it up if I wasn’t offered a fabulous deal. And the store let me try writing with it, which completely sold me on the pen.

Favorite ink brand…that’s even harder. I’m going to go with the easiest metric. Of my currently inked pens, the most utilized brand is Diamine. But Pilot Iroshizuku and Organics Studio are high on my list as well. And my fiancé loves Robert Oster.

Sorry for the long response. I get a little carried away with fountain pens and ink. I don’t have a problem…really…

I’m thrilled to see that you love to cross stitch! (Are we related or something??) What’s your favorite piece that you’ve done?

My family tree is spread so wide, we could be. J I’ve only finished a few pieces, and I have one massive one in the works.

My favorite finished work is one featuring two sleeping kittens in a windowsill. I stitched it as a thank you gift to my cousin for paying for some life-saving vet care for my male cat. I couldn’t afford it at the time. The kittens happened to match the coloring of my two cats almost exactly. To finish the piece, I framed it with a mat where I added my cats’ paw prints. My cousin still has it up on a bookshelf in her living room.

My in-progress piece is an enormous Harry Potter piece based on the Giant sampler available through CloudsFactory. I made a bunch of edits and separated the characters and objects by books. But now it’s around 3′ x 4′. Who know when I’ll actually get a chance to finish it.

What’s your writing process like?

That’s a little hard to say. The Most Special Chosen is my first novel, but it’s been a nearly 8-year journey to get it to this publication, and that’s only in this iteration.

Recently, I’ve noticed that my writing has been changing. I have an outline of sorts for book 2, whereas I didn’t for book one. I feel like I’m more aware of my writing, too. I’m more careful in my word choices and how I present my characters. I also do a better job of maintaining my characters’ individual voices. I’m hoping this means less editing for book 2, because I really don’t want to take another 8 years.

But there are also things that have stayed the same. I still write in a non-linear fashion. Sometimes things come to me, and I have to jot them down. Then I can go back and work them into the story. I also still write, then read over what I’ve written repeatedly, revising as I go.

One thing I wish I could get a hang of is writing to a daily quota. I don’t know how people do it. I write when I feel inspired, because otherwise, whatever I write is complete crap. More often than not, when I force myself to write, I end up simply deleting everything.

But, on the up side, when I write while inspired, it typically flows very easily, to the point where I can write several thousand words in a sitting.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Just keep writing. It sounds silly, I suppose, but if you really enjoy writing, if you really want your writing to go somewhere. Just keep at it. Some of my friends read The Most Special Chosen when it was self-published, and then went on to read the beginning of book two several years later. They noticed a significant improvement in my writing, and I wasn’t even “trying” to improve. It just happens with practice.

Also, read as much as you can. Really study the books you like. Pay attention to the details. Take note of the way characters interact, how settings are described. And don’t disregard the bad books either. You can learn a lot from them as well. As you learn what does and doesn’t work, you can refine your own writing style.

Scroll down for an excerpt for The Most Special Chosen, or you can find the entire first chapter on her website.  You can also visit Rachel on Facebook or order her book on Amazon.

  * * *

It takes every ounce of my self-control to not slam my books down on the table as I reach Shawn. To avoid getting thrown out of the library, I plonk them down lightly and drop into a chair with a sigh.

“Bad day?” whispers Shawn, my best friend of eight years. “I thought it was supposed to be great.”

I schlump forward and rest my chin on my hand. “It was supposed to be, according to my intuition. That’s why I dressed nicely.” I gesture vaguely to my outfit with my free hand. I have on a pair of black, knee-high, leather boots; black leggings; and a lightweight, crimson sweater dress that accentuates my curvy figure. I only wear a little makeup to set off my brown, almond-shaped eyes. I’ve left my copper-colored hair long and wavy, hanging to my hips.

“The only thing special about today is that I’ve been rather hot.” I pull my hair up and shake it as I speak, coaxing some air to my neck. “Southern California isn’t particularly cold in November.”

“I thought you said your intuition is never wrong.”

“It’s not, I just…” I shrug, unsure how to finish that sentence. My intuition hasn’t been wrong once in my entire life, and ignoring it has always been to my detriment. I can’t understand how it’s suddenly wrong.

Shawn leans forward to touch my hand. “Maybe your something special is still to come. The day isn’t over yet.”

I shrug again and watch as he goes back to his studying. He hasn’t changed much since high school. His soft, dirty-blonde hair hangs to his ears; huge, horn-rimmed glasses hide his startling green eyes; and his nose is a little too big for his face. He’s not ugly, but he’s no model, either.

Look up.

My intuition, the same strange whisper I’ve heard at various points in my life, speaks again. I obey instantly. Perhaps this is the something special I’ve been waiting for. I catch sight of the most gorgeous guy I’ve ever seen around the many bookcases and quickly sit up straight. He’s perfect! Imagine if he’s — No, Lys. My movement catches Shawn’s eye. He peers over his shoulder, following my line of sight, then turns back, rolling his eyes.

“What is it with you and guys in black?” he says, “Especially ones that look like —”

My sharp look shuts him up. He knows better than to discuss that in public. But I have to admit he has a point. I glance back at Mr. Gorgeous. He does look like — Dammit Lys! They don’t exist. I try not to stare and fail miserably. He has shoulder-length, jet-black hair that looks almost blue in the light; large, ice-blue eyes; full and sensual yet masculine lips; a square jaw that somehow doesn’t look chiseled; a mustache that grows into a short goatee; and lovely, olive skin.

He rounds the last bookcase and I can see he’s wearing a black, form-fitting shirt that hints at washboard abs; black leather pants; a floor-length, black, leather, trench coat that accentuates his broad shoulders; and combat boots. He must be at least six feet tall and he walks with a deadly purpose. He’s exactly what I’ve always imagined. Everything about him screams dangerous; and the effect is mesmerizing.

He’s obviously looking for something — or someone. Probably a girlfriend. I’m still ogling him when his gaze suddenly meets mine. I see a brief flash of recognition, but I know I’ve never seen him before. His eyes dart down and back up, and I have an irrational desire to pull my neckline down a bit. His grin is sinful. It promises wicked things, and I want to find out exactly what they are. I drop my gaze to Shawn who’s making kissy faces at me. My glare could freeze fire. Shawn stops.

The guy walks up and stops next to me. “Hello.”

Oh, holy mother! His voice is deep and sensual and envelops me, sending shivers down my spine. I look up at him and become enraptured by his smile. It takes a moment, but I finally manage to speak. “Hi, can I help you?”

“Not exactly. I merely wondered if I may sit with you.” I can’t quite place his accent. It’s French, but there’s something else there, too, and it runs right through me like fire, pooling low in my belly. What the hell, Lys? This is not a normal reaction for me.

I glance at Shawn who nods reluctantly, knowing I’ll say yes either way. “Yes, of course. Are you new? I don’t believe I’ve seen you before.” Idiot! I mentally kick myself. It’s a huge campus, and I don’t know everyone.

He fluidly takes a seat, and I take in his perfect posture. It certainly doesn’t go with the way he looks.

“Actually, I have been taking classes online. I decided that since I will be graduating soon, I should get to know some of the other students and start networking.”

I nod. “Yeah, definitely a good idea. What’s your major?”

“International Relations and Diplomacy, and International Business.” Wow, double major. Must be smart, and obviously ambitious. “And yourself?”

“Architecture and Interior Design. My mom’s always said I have an eye for detail, and I like doing it. The money’s not bad either…” I don’t know why I feel the need to explain myself, but my major suddenly seems frivolous.

He smiles. “It is good you chose to do something you are passionate about,” he then looks to Shawn. “And what are you studying?”

“Advanced mathematics. I’d like to be a college professor.” I grin at the defiant way Shawn speaks. His father wanted, still wants, him to go into business and follow in his footsteps. Shawn, however, has other ideas.

“That is admirable. I do not have patience for such mathematics,” he looks down as though embarrassed, then glances back up at Shawn. “But I have a great respect for those who do.”

His response, spoken without any hint of sarcasm or derision, disarms Shawn. “Oh, uh, thanks…”

“Forgive me, where are my manners? I am Damien Delanciennes,” he says, dipping his head like he’s bowing. How odd.

“Interesting name,” grumbles Shawn. I shoot him a dirty look. “I’m Shawn, Shawn Dooley.” He offers Damien his hand, and they shake.

“It is nice to meet you, Shawn. And you, Chérie? I am certain your name is as beautiful as you.” Perhaps it’s because I’m hit by the full force of his blue eyes, but despite having just met, his endearment doesn’t sound odd, nor does the line sound cheesy.

“I’m Elysabeth Vance.” I hold out my hand to shake his, but instead, he takes it lightly and raises it to his lips. He brushes a soft kiss against my knuckles, staring straight into my eyes as he does so and my stomach flips over. Holy crap! I feel all fluttery. His actions don’t match his appearance in the least, and I love it.

“I am very pleased to meet you. You have a lovely name. It references beauty and greatness.”

My face heats. “Thanks. Your name is… elegant.”

He nods his thanks. Damien turns suddenly to face Shawn and sees his frown. “Forgive me, have I given offense? Are you… together?”

Before Shawn can answer, I make sure to set the record straight. “No! No, we’re friends. Shawn has been my best friend since freshman year in high school.”

His look of concern vanishes. “Friendships like that are special.”

I grin at Shawn. “They are.”

It’s quickly becoming apparent I won’t be getting any schoolwork done tonight. Good thing I know the material well. I take a quick glance at the clock and confirm what I’d already suspected.

Damien follows my glance. “I am sorry, am I detaining you?”

“No, not at all, but the library will only be open another ten minutes. I won’t get much done in that time.”

“My apologies, I have kept you from your studies.”

“Oh, no, it’s okay. I don’t have much homework.” I reluctantly gather my things and stand. I don’t really want to go. I want stay and talk to this gorgeous guy. “It was really nice to meet you, Damien.”

He places a hand on my arm to keep me from leaving. “Perhaps, if you are not too busy, you would allow me to buy you a coffee?” Yes! I do a little victory dance in my head.

I see doubt and even worry in Shawn’s eyes when I glance at him, and it makes me pause. I don’t know this guy. It probably isn’t smart to go anywhere with him no matter how gorgeous he is. Maybe I should give it a pass.

Go.

Well, my intuition knows best. I’m certainly not going to argue this suggestion. “If we can go somewhere with hot chocolate, I’m in.” Damien looks almost relieved at my answer. “But I have to be up early in the morning, so it will have to be quick.”

“That is acceptable.” There’s a hint of disappointment in his eyes. “Thank you for joining me. Shawn,” he turns to my best friend. “Would you care to join us as well?”

With Damien’s attention elsewhere, I shake my head emphatically with a pleading expression. It’s easy to tell that Shawn isn’t happy about it, but he gives in. “No, thanks. I actually do need to study. Lys, I’ll see you when you get home.”

I sigh. He just HAD to get in a parting shot. Damien is looking between us, obviously confused. I do my best to set him at ease. “We’re roommates. We share a townhouse. But we’re only friends, really.”

He relaxes. “I see. Shall we go then, Elysabeth?”

“Yeah. I’ll follow you to your car. Shawn drove this morning.”

* * *

If you enjoyed this interview, be sure to follow my blog and come find me on Facebook.

 

 

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Author Interview: Catherine Bannon

Having lived both in Canada and the US, Catherine Bannon gives a unique perspective to experiencing two different worlds.  She has used this understanding in her writing, and I got the chance to chat with her about that.

I see that you were born in Canada but live in the U.S.  What do you miss most about Canada?

I’ll be honest, I’m not sure how best to answer that. I was eleven when we moved to the US because of my father’s work, so my memories are those of a child and I’m not sure of their accuracy. I think Canadians are better about respecting your personal space; Americans are so friendly and open and that’s not a bad thing at all, but I’m just made so that I need a wide space around me. And I’ll probably make some people mad with this but when it comes to the concepts that America is supposedly all about, the “Land of the Free” and the “All Men Are Created Equal” type thing, quite honestly I think Canada does it better. On a more personal level, I wish I could have grown up closer to my cousins; there are some I haven’t seen for thirty or forty years just because we live so far apart. And one of my absolute favorite places on earth is the Banff National Park. I probably wouldn’t have been able to get there any more frequently from Ontario, but I still miss it.

What has writing this book done for you?

It’s made me more completely aware of how much I still identify as a Canadian. Jillian is not Canadian; she’s British, but the point still holds. I’ve lived in the US most of my life and all of my adult life, but there’s still something in me, when the wheels of the plane set down in Toronto or Calgary or Vancouver, or when the car clears the Customs station, that settles down happily, sighs, and says, “Home!” I love my home in the Boston area but that little inner something is never completely satisfied until I’m north of the border.

Was there anything specific that inspired you to write this book?

I first started thinking about writing Imperfect Cadence when a friend of mine kept asking me, “Is that a Canadian expression? I never heard it before,” on a fairly frequent basis. I began to realize that I didn’t even know, a lot of the time, whether the idioms I used were Canadian, British, or American as all three had an influence on my speech. That started me thinking about culture shock, and my realization that even after spending most of my life in the US I still was undergoing a certain amount of culture shock that I’d never really gotten over. So I started writing Jillian’s story, and how she tried to reconcile the more reserved British culture she was used to with the more relaxed US culture here. They are similar in many, many ways but there are subtle differences that will over time become more evident. I wanted to try to make my readers see that, as great a country as the US can be, it isn’t the whole world.

What’s your favorite book?

That’s a really, really hard question. It changes every week. I suppose if I had to pick just one, it would be either Anne of Green Gables or The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Both children’s books, but both books that have a lot to say to adults on many levels as well.

What are you reading right now?

Right now I’m re-reading the books of Charlotte MacLeod. She’s also a Canadian author who lived in the US, and her books are very, very funny. They’d qualify as cozy mysteries, I think, but the characters are drawn somewhat larger than life and in fact are deliberately overdrawn. She died a few years back and I’m still mourning that there won’t be any more of her wonderful stories.

With working at a university, how do you find time to write?

I have to use all my time as effectively as I can. I use my commuting time to do my plotting and planning; I named all the characters in Imperfect Cadence while at a baseball game. My husband is very good about doing things like the dishes and his own laundry to leave me time to write, and I can sometimes make time during the day by bringing my lunch, eating it at my desk and using my lunch time to write. I try to get a couple of writing hours a day during weekends and when I can after work. I always have a pen and notebook with me so I can jot down ideas as they come to me.

Do you have more books coming?

I certainly do! Pas de Deux, a sequel to Imperfect Cadence, should be coming out in late winter or early spring; I’m just doing the last revisions on it now. It picks up the story about a year and a half after Imperfect Cadence leaves off but follows when Joyce, Jillian’s next door neighbor in the States, goes to graduate school in London. I have plans for a couple more books in the series but I’m not ready to talk about them yet. I’m also working with a co-writer on a series of contemporary mysteries about a different set of characters, but set in the same universe as Imperfect Cadence, and also on a series of historical fiction with a paranormal twist.

Catherine Bannon was born in Canada and lived there until her family moved to the United States while she was in middle school. Despite living in the US for most of her life, she still finds the mix of cultures confusing, which is why she wrote this book in the first place. Catherine likes to travel but doesn’t have to time to do as much of it as she wants. She also is fond of classical music, which drives her classic-rock husband crazy. Catherine likes to cook, and her idea of hell is being stuck somewhere with nothing to read. She likes cats, but doesn’t have any at the moment because her husband is allergic to them. Occasionally she borrows a friend’s cat or dog just to get her “furry friend fix”. Catherine is a Christian and sings in her church choir. The church that Jillian, Josh and their families attend is the same one she went to for many years before she got married and moved out of town. Catherine works in the Employee Benefits office of a university in Cambridge, MA. She is married to Brad Bannon, a political analyst and adjunct political science professor. They live in Marshfield, MA, which is just south of Scituate. You can check out Imperfect Cadence on Facebook and Amazon.

 

 

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Author Interview: Claire L. Brown

Between cooking, writing, fundraising, and spending time with her dog, author Claire L. Brown always has something happening.  Check out my interview with her below.

Did you do any writing as a child?

I’ve been a writer all my life. I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t telling stories.  If there was a story I didn’t like as a child, I’d write my own ending.  Then if I couldn’t find a book I wanted to read I started writing my own.  I was also badly bullied as a child so my imagination and writing became my safe haven and a place where the characters were friends you could trust.

Tell us a little bit about your charity, The Poppy Garden.  

After the publication of The Poppy Garden, on 11th November 2016, I decided that I could do more than just tell a story so I decided to start the Poppy Garden as a charity to help veterans of our armed forces to deal with their PTSD.

I was Inspired by my grandfather, SGT Joseph Robinson, who was part of the RAF during WWII, and how he dealt with his experiences of war by throwing his effort and his passion into his garden.  In the novel, the issues around PTSD and how this affects not only the veteran but also their family are looked at and examined in more detail.

I now aim to establish The Poppy Garden Trust – a charity to create a Poppy Garden in various areas of the UK for veterans to seek assistance and support and create their own poppy garden experience.  The Poppy Garden will be a centre to provide support, assistance and recuperation facilities, retraining and family support.

I am currently in the initial stages of setting up and starting to fundraise.  I am also currently in the process of identifying a suitable property and site in the North East for the very first Poppy Garden to be developed. You can track my fundraising progress at Go Fund Me.

Your blog includes several posts about recipes and cooking.  What’s your favorite thing to make?

I love cooking and baking and I also love experimenting with food.  What I love to cook changes with the seasons and with the ideas that I come up with or recipes I research.   Lately I my most prolific tests have been with Cinnamon Sugar Madeline’s and Ginger Bread tray bake.

With books like The Draco Chronicles and Jonah Axe and the Weeping Bride under your belt, it’s clear you like fantasy.  What first got you interested in the genre?

I think it’s the pure escapism, in fantasy nothing is impossible the only limits are your own imagination.

What’s your favorite time of day?

Early morning, especially on a day off when I can wake up naturally, get up and go for a walk with my dog Hero.

Tell us what your writing process is like.  Are you an outliner or a pantser?

I class myself as an organic writer and my process changes to fit the project.   Sometimes I plan manically and have every page plotted out in fine detail, other times I have a brief idea of the story and I just start writing it and see how the words flow.

What are you reading right now?

I’m currently reading The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith. I love crime stories and have for the last year been reading a lot of cosy mysteries.  This is my expansion out in to other branches of the crime genre and I’m enjoying it so far.  I’m also reading The Little Book of Lykke, the research carried out by the Happiness Institute in to what constitutes and how we create happiness.

Do you have any future books in the works?

I’m currently working on a project with the working title Dear Diary. I’m just in the initial writing phase and I’m not sure where it’s going, but I’m enjoying meeting the characters and starting on their journey.

 

Be sure to check out all of Claire’s links below:

Website     Facebook     Twitter     Pinterest     Instagram     Amazon Author Page

My Life As A Writer Blog  & My Life As A Writer When I’m Not Scribbling Blog

 

 

 

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Author Interview: Val Rainey

One look at Val Rainey’s website, and you’ll be in love!  It’s a treasure trove of beautiful illustrations and fun.  Val and I spent a little time talking about her children’s book, Sunny’s Grand Adventure.

What was your inspiration for writing Sunny’s Grand Adventure?

Well, it was a daisy pin that belonged to my mother Betty. Sunny began as a six-page double spaced hand written piece of silly and grew into a story/colouring book.

She is limited to a print run of 1000 copies and naturally I sign them all.

Part of her earnings is donated to children’s charities.

Do you have children in your own family who enjoy your books?

Yes. I gave my brother and my nieces and nephews their own copies for Christmas 2004.

Since then Sunny has been doing a lot of flying. Some of her adventures have taken her to Australia, Germany, New Zealand and of course Canada and the U.S.

Your website, The Elf and Toadstool, is a wonderful place full of whimsy and fantasy.  Have you always been interested in fantasy?

I guess so. I always loved the faerie tales that I was read and learned how to read on my own.

What’s your writing process like?

Oh, now there’s a dangerous question! The adventure begins when a character comes to visit the way Sunny and Marigold both did. From there it can get pretty crazy with everyone telling me how the story actually happened. Yes. Past tense.  I end up being an overworked recording secretary as much as the author.

Marigold is a series that I am working on. Marigold is a dragon. She is definitely not your regular dragon…oh no…not her.

Did you have a hand in choosing or creating the illustrations?

You want to believe it. I have a lovely lady Emily J. Hercock who lives in the U.K. I let her know what I want and voila.

What is your favorite children’s book?

It is a series of books that has been around a very long time. It is called simply My Bookhouse. The early illustrations were absolutely scrumptious. They were done in plates. The set I had was printed in the fifties. The series started with easy poems like the Little Red Hen and went all the way through to Shakespeare. I sure wish that I still had it.

Do you have more children’s books planned for the future?

Always! One series that I’m busy working on is called The Sunshine Collection. The first book, Fun and Frolic, is a collection of stories and poems written by my mother and I over a 75 year period. I never knew that she wrote until a box arrived from one of her sisters in 2000 with her work and other family treasures.

I’m busy with Down on the Farm and plan have it out for Christmas. The lovely Emily Hercock is doing the illustrations and cover for it.

Oh! I almost forgot……. I will also have a special poem about Max the Christmas Mouse available then too.

 

You can find Sunny’s Grand Adventure and Fun and Frolic at The Elf and Toadstool under the Book Nook tab.  Also, check out the Facebook page for The Elf and Toadstool.

 

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Author Interview: Harriet Hunter

While many books are written purely to entertain, Harriet Hunter seeks to help those dealing with alcoholism.  Since she has been through it herself, she is able to provide an insider’s perspective for those looking to walk a higher path.  Miracles of Recovery is due out later this year, but her website provides a lot of valuable information.

Since Miracles of Recovery was an outgrowth of your own experience with addiction and recovery, was it difficult for you to write?

No, quite the contrary. I’ve been writing (journaling) for years and writing each morning was natural, as a way to focus on one thought or a specific emotion.

The idea for Miracles of Recovery came to light after the death of my only child four years ago while overwhelmed with emotions. I realized I was already writing what I knew about, so for the first year, I never had to think about what I was going to write. Spiritual and emotional reflections were right before my eyes. It was after that first year I said to myself, “You realize you have a daily reader here, don’t you?”

It’s obvious that you’ve put a lot of work and caring into your website and blog as a service for those who are seeking help.  How do you find time for it all?

I try to wake up before my two dogs, a golden retriever and an American bulldog, and I am driven. Losing a child, a husband and two brothers, three in the last four years, has a way of propelling me to “see each day as if it is my last.” I write as if squeezing as many hours most days as possible.

My dogs demand a lot of physical attention and in between, I have my home I care for, volunteer work, and outings with friends. And of course, my critique groups!  Between these, including articles for submission, I try to write and edit at least five hours a day, but even this is not nearly enough.

Is there any one thing that you feel can help people most when they’re struggling with addiction?

The desire to change is an individual need that must come from the user, and no one else. Other than sharing with them what was so freely given to me, the responsibility for anyone who wants sobriety rests with the individual.  If new to recovery, we can help to allay fears and provide insightful information and literature.  This is a program of attraction, not promotion. Short of prayer, emotional support and encouragement while providing information about the AA program is about all we can do. We know manipulating, begging, jail, and loss of home and family isn’t enough at times to stop this terrible disease that demands it have all of us.  Jails, institutions, and death are a typical outcome for those with addictions. Any life-altering requires dedication from the individual to go the distance. They have to want change above everything else.

Recovery allows those who care to, to share with others our experience, strength, and hope so they may identify and see they too, can have hope to maintain sobriety one day at a time. Miracles of change that have happened to me and millions of others occur every day in our meetings of recovery. Those returning to the program already know what to expect and find it easier, sometimes, than the newcomer to come back.

I have always believed information is power. My book, focused on the newcomer and relapse, is a holistic attempt to provide reminders and an “inside look” at what they can expect coming into Alcoholics Anonymous. It takes a small mustard seed of willingness to walk into the rooms, which is often the most difficult thing to do of all. The AA program of recovery, as with any 12-step program, is a one-day-at-a-time commitment to not drink.

When can we expect Miracles of Recovery to be released?

I hope to be ready before the close of 2018, the very latest.

What are your favorite books?

The Outlander series, Gone with the Wind, Prince of Tides and many others.

What’s your favorite time of day?

Early morning before the angels fly and my dogs awake!

Do you have other books in the works?

Yes, I’ve been preparing a sequel to Miracles of Recovery, which will focus on recovery as being a program of action, with exercises, tables and personal accounts from others on each of the 12-Steps as to how the program has changed their lives.

We know normal people never have to think they may have a problem with alcohol. If they wonder, then chances are good that they do. Please visit http://www.aa.org/ for more information, telephone numbers and meeting schedules in your area.

 

Harriet Hunter lives in Florida with her dogs and when she’s not writing, she can most often be found outdoors gardening, walking or helping others. Visit her at Harriethunter.org or on Facebook. You can also follow her on Twitter @Elizza6. For personal questions or information, contact her at Harriet@harriethunter.org.

 

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