Category Archives: Author Interview

Meet the Author… Martin Tracey

I met Martin at The Darker Side of Fiction book signing in Peterborough. He had his stand next to ours and it was fun chatting with him during those few quiet moments. He’s a lovely man from the beautiful city of Birmingham who writes thrilling novels!

Martin Tracey

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Biography

Martin Tracey is an author who likes to push the boundaries of reality. Even when injecting elements of the supernatural, the terror that grips you is very real. The events that feature in his work could – just could- really happen! He has a passion for The Beatles & Wolverhampton Wanderers FC. Both music and football/soccer often find their way into his stories. Martin lives in Birmingham, UK and is married with 2 daughters.

Do you have any hidden or uncommon talents?

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I used to play piano and play in a few bands. One highlight was when a duo I played in supported Roland Gift and The Fine Young Cannibals. It became a natural progression for me to augment my creative writing by scribing novels. I still love music, especially The Beatles, but don’t play so much these days. I’m an avid supporter of Wolverhampton Wanderers and one of my songs Raging Bull appears on an official Wolves CD: Old Gold Anthems – the Songs of Wolves. The CD is still available on Amazon (click here to check it out).

Do you remember the first story you ever read and the impact it had on you?

Well it’s certainly not the genres I write in and it may surprise a few people. It was Noddy Goes To Toyland by Enid Blyton, and pretty soon I was reading the entire series of Noddy books. I loved Enid Blyton’s stories as a kid. Even now I can remember how I was able to get lost into a magical world as I read in bed. Her writing certainly fed my imagination. Even at that early age I was able to sense the special friendship that Noddy and Big Ears shared. One of my better traits is that I like to help people and the way Big Ears helped Noddy settle into Toyland most likely sowed a subconscious seed of some kind. I know it sounds a bit daft but I believe a lot of what we project as adults stems from childhood experiences.

Have you read anything that made you think differently about fiction?

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Reading Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons made me realise for the first time how fact can be weaved into a piece of fiction with dramatic effect. People who read my books will spot the influence.

As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

Being a Wolves supporter a wolf of course! Two of my tattoos are wolf depictions and I have a wolf as my author logo.

If you could travel through time to visit a special time period or famous person, what or who would it be and why?

I’d love to have met John Lennon. His music was pioneering and the raw intelligence of the man fascinates me – just listen to some of his interviews on You Tube. So many of his off the cuff remarks have transpired to become evergreen inspirational quotes. I think the fact that he was willing to put his credibility on the line in the name of peace also has to be admired. Like all great leaders he saw the cause being bigger than himself. Sadly, the manner in which he left us is too tragic beyond words.

Could you tell us a bit about your most recent book and why it is a must-read?

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My most recent book is Club 27. It’s the second in the Judd Stone series and it explores the theories (some conspiracy, some not) behind the club’s famous members who all remarkably died at the tender age of 27: Brian Jones, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse and many more. The protagonist, Judd Stone, finds himself catapulted into trying to prevent the club from claiming its next victim. Why read it? There are twists and turns within a unique page turning story.

Of all the characters you have created, which is your favorite and why?

That’s like choosing your favourite child! I love them all equally, but I certainly have fun and a lot more writing mileage to go with Judd Stone.

What character in your book are you least likely to get along with?

In Club 27 there are a couple of characters but to prevent the ‘spoilers’ it would have to be Kaleb who is the parasitic boyfriend of Rock and Pop sensation Phoenix. He is a nasty piece of work and Judd has countless problems with him.

What do your plans for future projects include?

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I already have two books lined up for Judd – I just need to write them! Lunar will be based around the legacy of the Lunar Society – a gathering of prominent figures who met in Birmingham between 1765 and 1813. The society included the most innovative and visionary industrialists, philosophers and intellectuals of the day…but Judd discovers an age-old murder which casts a shadow of their brilliance. The other book has no title yet but it will have a comedy theme involving tribute artists.

What is something memorable you have heard from your readers/fans?

Mind Guerrilla was meant to be a substantial standalone novel in the vein of Stephen King’s The Stand(size not content –Mind Guerrilla is a hefty tome) but Judd Stone proved such a popular character in reviews and other feedback I’ve received that a series was destined to be born!

Where can we find you online?

Email: martinpaperbackwriter@yahoo.co.uk

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

Things They’ll Never See Book trailer

Club 27 Book trailer

Amazon Author page UK

Amazon Author page US

Thanks so much for telling us about your musical prowess and your compelling mystery novels. I’m so glad we met at the signing! And kudos to Ares Jun, your cover artists. The covers look amazing!



Meet the Author… S.S. Bazinet

Sandy Bazinet writes about vampires. That was enough for me to ask her for an interview! It appears that, like my own stories, her vampire stories are about being human and about relationships. Stuff to make you think. I also love her book covers. Let’s find out how she got into writing about vampires.

S.S. Bazinet

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Biography

Sandy Bazinet grew up in Kansas, spent many years in the Baltimore, Maryland area and currently lives in New Mexico. After raising a family, she found out that she loved computers and worked in website design. Since 2008, she’s been passionate about writing. Her books include The Vampire Reclamation Project series, the Sentenced to Heaven series, as well as the YA thriller, My Brother’s Keeper, and a dystopian novel, Dying Takes It Out of You.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I love walks in the desert, working jigsaw puzzles, and graphic design! Graphic design is particularly nice when I’ve been writing all day and need to switch to a different way of expressing the artistic part of myself.

What is your favorite childhood book, and why?

A favorite was and still is Mr. Snitzel’s Cookies, by Jane Flory. It has a wonderful message. Do what you love and you’ll succeed!

Do you remember the first story you ever read and the impact it had on you?

SS_Bazinet_DyingIt wasn’t the first story I read, but I read Wuthering Heights when I was about twelve years old. I think the intense, emotional states of the characters impressed me the most. I still feel that strong character development is a must in the books that I write.

If you could tell your younger writing-self anything, what would it be?

I’d tell my younger self to stop worrying about getting everything perfect, to relax and have more fun with life and writing.

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Energizes!

Have you thought about joining with another author to write a book?

Actually, my two grown daughters and I used to have a writer’s meeting once a week via a conference call. After a while, we decided to co-author three stories. Each week, one of us would write a section of a story and then pass the story on to the next person. It was great fun and also challenging since we each had a knack for leaving our section on a cliffhanger. We enjoyed the process, however, the stories got so complicated that we never completed them.

What gives you inspiration for your books? How did you come up with the idea for The Vampire Reclamation Project series?

Actually, I had writer’s block for many years. I took writing very seriously, and I think my mind’s ideas about how to write got in the way of my creative side. In frustration, I finally threw up my hands and decided not to worry about what I wrote. I decided to just write for the fun of it.

With that thought in mind, I sat down with a pad and pencil. I didn’t have a clue about what to write or what my story should be about. And I’m so grateful that I was in that open, receptive state. A story began to flow in on its own, a story about a wonderful angel named Michael and a desperate vampire named Arel. After that, I had to start writing at the computer because I couldn’t keep up with pad and pencil.

SS_Bazinet_MyBrotersKeeperDo you try to be original in your storytelling or to deliver to readers what they want?

Nope, since I gave inspiration permission to lead the way, I have never tried to steer the stories I write. I’m always as surprised as any reader as the story reveals itself. Maybe that’s why writing is so enjoyable for me.

Do you want each book to stand on its own or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

In my series, The Vampire Reclamation Project, each book is complete in itself, but the characters change and grow as the series progresses. In that way, they build on each other.  In my other books, the stories are always able to stand on their own too.

How do you select the names of your characters? Are your characters based on real people?

None of my characters are based on real people. A couple of times, it took a little longer for a name to come in, but most of the time, I begin to write about a character and a name pops in on its own.

What was your hardest scene to write?

The worst scene I had to write was one in which one of my main characters remembers a past life when he was burned at the stake. I don’t like violence or writing about violence so that was very hard to write. Thankfully, the brutality was kept to a minimum.

Of all the characters you have created, which is your favorite and why?

Sorry, but that’s like asking me to name a favorite child. I love them all.

When you develop characters, do you already know who they are before you begin writing or do you let them develop as you go?

I start out with a blank slate. I don’t know who or what will populate a story. My characters are in charge and definitely develop as the story progresses. For instance, in the vampire series, the main character, Arel, is suffering from low self-esteem when the story begins. He’d had a very abusive childhood that left him nearly crippled with fear. However, as he’s helped by his angelic mentor, Michael, and some humans who “adopt” him, he comes out of his shell.

In each book, Arel becomes more himself, and we learn just how strong and gifted he truly is. However, in the last book, Tainted Blood, his attempts at finding the perfect partner were hard for me to watch and write. I felt like the protective mom who’s observing their adult child flounder. However, I never have to worry. My stories have a way of working out in the end. Thank goodness!

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

I read my book reviews, but I try not to assign much weight to a negative one. Everyone has their perspective, and I respect that. What really helps is that I love writing, and I’ll write no matter what someone else thinks about my books.

What writing/publishing wisdom would you bestow upon new writers?

Don’t try to rush anything. Take your time and make sure that your book is the best it can be before you publish it. Make sure it’s well edited. Also, find a good designer for your cover! A cover is the first thing a person sees when they look at your book.

What is something memorable you have heard from your readers/fans?

One reader said that my story helped them to reexamine their own life. They found comfort in the characters finding ways to give themselves a break and live happier lives. Another reader said my story gave them the courage to carry on in very adverse circumstances.

What do you consider to be your best accomplishment as a writer?

In a world that is often stressful, I love the idea of providing people with stories that they can enjoy. If in some small way, I can contribute something positive and inspiring to others, I feel doubly blessed.

Thank you, Sandy, for sharing your answers with us. I can so relate with the non-planning way of writing. It is so much more exciting to wake up and not know what is going to happen next. And what great comments by your readers! It is a huge boost when you learn that you have had such a positive influence on someone 😀 .

Where can we find you online?

Email: ssbazinet@gmail.com

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Pinterest

Amazon Author page

The Vampire Reclamation Project series has five books now. Check them out!



 

Meet the Author… Terri Reid

October is the month of Halloween, so I’m hoping to be featuring writers of spooky stories this month. I recently I’ve had the pleasure of following Terri Reid on Twitter. Her books sparked an interest with me as I always had a love for the paranormal, and I’m sure Terri has a few good stories about it to tell. Check out her own story and the multitude of books that she has written which will send shivers down your spine.

Terri Reid

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Biography

Terri Reid has been telling ghosts stories since she was a toddler. Her mother tells of a time when two-year old Terri would sit in her highchair, look past her mother into the dark back porch and say, “Look. Man.” When her mother would turn in horror, Terri would laugh delightedly.
She lives in the same area of the United States as her Mary O’Reilly character, Northwest Illinois. She lives on five acres of rolling land in a 100 year-old farmhouse, with her husband, children, dogs, cats and several dozen chickens (well, the chickens live in the barn.)
Her background is in marketing and public relations, but she has always enjoyed telling stories. For a while, she worked as a freelance journalist for the local paper and wrote the Halloween feature for many years, collecting as many local ghost stories as she could. She gave her collection of local ghost stories to the local historical society to use as a fundraiser, they are now in their third printing.

How has your environment & upbringing colored your writing?

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I come from a large Irish family – I have two sisters and five brothers – and we all loved to gather together and tell stories. Whether it was an amusing situation we’d encountered that day or a scary, paranormal experience that had happened the night before, we loved besting each other with our tales. I also have a mother who always loved to read, and she would read to us at night. I think that was probably the seed that grew into my love of books.

What do you love most about the writing process?

I love watching the story unfold in front of me during the writing process. First, the surprise when your plot changes in front of you and suddenly, organically, the story becomes something different from what you’d originally imagined. The characters take control and lead you to where they want to go. And then when you find yourself laughing out loud at something a character just said or sobbing uncontrollably when a character you love dies – it pulls on all of your heart strings. It’s probably the best therapy ever invented.

As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

Terri_Reid_LooseEnds

I love this question! I think I would choose an owl. Sometimes an owl is considered a creature of the night, it can be portrayed as something mysterious or spooky. But, in many cases, it’s a friendly and beloved creature, like Owl in Winnie the Pooh. JK Rowling characterized owls as loyal and dependable. We have some owls in the forest beyond our home. At night, I can hear them calling to one another, a lonely sound that floats across the sky. Who? They ask. Who? Who? Who? Perhaps that’s the curiosity of the author spelled out by their spirit animal, especially when the author writes mysteries.

Do you outline or just write?

I read once that Jim Butcher had all his Dresden Files book outlined on a spreadsheet, so he knew exactly what was going to happen when. That really depressed me. Until, I read Stephen King’s book “On Writing” and discovered that Stephen King is a seat-of-his-pants writer. Whew! So am I. I do jot down notes about the main ideas I want to try and cover in the chapters I’m planning on writing that day, but that’s as far as it goes. If I wrote an outline, I’d end up throwing it away by the fifth chapter. My characters never go where I want them to go.

Could you tell us a bit about your most recent book and why it is a must-read?

Terri_Reid_GhostGravesGroves

I just published a book, along with my friend, Ophelia Julien, about true ghost stories. Normally, I write paranormal mysteries, but I have found that people with real ghost stories are attracted to books about ghosts and they are always willing to share a story or two. Ophelia and I have both been blessed(?) to have paranormal experiences of our own. So, we combined our own experiences and some stories shared with us and wrote “Ghosts, Graves, and Groves.” It’s the perfect book for a dark, autumn night.

Generally, my books are about either paranormal mysteries, which can include ghosts, witches or the fae. Or they are fantasy stories. I love digging into the unknown. I love the idea that there’s much more out there than we understand. You will also find in my books, the underlying theme that family and friends are vital to our existence. And that faith, hope and love can conquer anything.

Are you working on another book? What are your current projects? Can you give us a small teaser?

Right now, I’m juggling far too many projects. Every year, at Halloween, I put out a short story called “Tales Around the Jack O’Lantern.” This will be the fifth year. It’s a collection of fictional ghost stories that the O’Reilly family (the family of Mary O’Reilly the protagonist in the Mary O’Reilly Paranormal Mystery Series) share with each other on Halloween night. Most of the members of the family are police officers, so they offer an interesting take on the supernatural. All of the stories (which are family friendly) will leave you with a little chill up your spine.

Terri_Reid_MaybellesSecret

The second book in the Finders Mansion Series is nearly complete. This takes up after the novella “Maybelle’s Secret.” It’s really the further adventures of Mary O’Reilly after the final book, Book 20, in her series.

As soon as I finish that, I’m going to be writing the second book in the Willoughby Witches series. This time, I’m going to be featuring Hazel, who has such a fun personality. I’m really looking forward to finding the right partner for Hazel and seeing if he can keep up with her.

Here’s a teaser of the next Finders Mansion Series:

Stanley raised his hand and Bradley acknowledged it. “Stanley.”

“I’m thinking we need to get more disguises,” he said.

“Disguises?” Bradley asked.

“Darn tootin,” Stanley replied. “Iffen I keep going to folks’ homes with a cashier’s check and saying I’m from a lottery no one ever heerd about, people are gonna get mighty suspicious.”

Alex Boettcher, Stephenson County District Attorney, nodded. “That’s true,” he agreed. “But I don’t know if disguises are really what we need.”

“I brought some with me,” Stanley continued. “So’s you can see.”

He moved his chair back, reached under the table to a shopping bag next to his chair and pulled out an item. Then he bent forward, placed the item on his head and sat up.

“Stanley,” Mary exclaimed, muffling her laughter. “That’s a mask, that’s not a disguise.”

“Same difference,” Stanley said behind the large rubber mask.

“And you look like our president,” Alex added. “I don’t think it’s going to work.”

“Two things,” Stanley said, his voice slightly muffled by the rubber. “First, it was on sale, so I kept expenses low. Second, if anyone was going to be handing out money, it would be him. He’s got plenty.”

“But you don’t sound like him,” Bradley tried to reason.

Stanley pulled the mask off, his face wet with perspiration. “I can get a recording,” he improvised.

“You don’t think someone in a mask of our president giving away thousands of dollars isn’t going to cause a little commotion?” Mary asked.

Stanley sighed. “Well, I ain’t thought of it that way,” he said. “But we gotta do something, if we want to keep this on the down low.”

What writing/publishing wisdom would you bestow upon new writers?

Terri_Reid_Tales Around the Jack O'Lantern Combo Package

Write the best story you can – because you only get one chance to make a first impression. Think about it, if you rush this story, but assure yourself that next time you’ll take more time, get an editor, pay for a nicer cover – who is going to give you a second chance? There are too many other books out there to pull your readers away from your work. If they feel that your first book felt incomplete, sloppy, amateurish – what is going to entice them to try you again?

Make sure you offer the very best you have and then, go on to the next book.

What is something memorable you have heard from your readers/fans?

I wrote a scene in a book where Mary (a woman who can see and talk to ghosts) is driving home from meeting a little girl ghost who had been abused and killed. The man who killed her had pretended to be a pastor, but he really was a sex-trafficker. Mary has a guardian angel who works with her, his name is Mike. When the little girl saw Mike, she was terrified. To her, Mike represented God and God let the pastor hurt her. So, Mike is in the car with Mary and he asks her something like, “Why did God let her die, Mary? Why didn’t He let an angel come down and save her? He could have done that, why didn’t He?”

Mary turns to him and explains that during her near-death experience (that actually gave her the ability to see and communicate with ghosts) she made one of the hardest decisions that she had ever had to make. She was given the choice to continue to the light or go back and be with her family. She said, “I wanted to go to the light, Mike. But I knew my family needed me, so I came back. God didn’t let her die, Mike. God took her home.”

Terri_Reid_RowansResponsibility

After the book had been published I received am email from a reader. She explained that she was only a little way into the book, but when she’d read this passage, she knew she had to write to me. She and her brother had been very close. She worked with her brother, he had been her boss. One morning, she came into work and found her brother at his desk. He’d been working late and had a heart attack. He was dead. She said that she couldn’t understand why God had taken her brother. He was a good man, he did wonderful things in the community. Then she read my passage and was filled with peace. God didn’t take her brother, He just brought him home. She told me that she knew that God had used me to send a message directly to her. I will always cherish that email.

Anything you would like to say to your readers?

I am so grateful to my readers. I could not do what I love to do without their support and their willingness to take a chance on an indie author. I love that social media has created a vehicle where I get to know my readers, where I can share their successes and their sadness. I feel like my readership is part of my family. And, I am truly blessed with the best readers on the planet. I’ve had other authors comment to me that they’ve never seen readers so loyal and so willing to share my posts and information about my books. I don’t know what I did to deserve them, but I am so grateful they are all part of this great adventure I’m on.

Thank you, Terri, for sharing a bit about your writing with us. It’s intriguing to hear that you have had paranormal experiences. I’ve always been open to them, but so far none have come forward. The only thing I can say is that the house I now live in, a house where teachers used to live, fills me with a happiness that I haven’t found elsewhere. I am home.

If you want to follow Terri Reid, you can do so via the following social media:

Terri has way too many books for me to put them all in this post. I’ve put a few links of her books in here, but why don’t you guys head over to Terri’s Amazon page and check them all out there!

Email: author@terrireid.com



Don’t forget: all my books in the Suckers Trilogy are each now 99c/99p only!


Meet the Author… Sherrie Brown

Sherrie Brown writes time travel romances. I love any sort of travel, but if I could, I’d be traveling to all sorts of times 😀 . And, of course, I love a good romance story as well. Let’s find out how Sherrie got to write her stories.

Sherrie Brown

Sherrie_Brown

Biography

“Sherrie Brown, what do you want to be when you grow up?” I could never answer that question until now. Life for me has never been boring; it has always been an adventure. While serving in the Air Force, I married one of my best friends. I stayed at home to raise our two sons, who married two wonderful women, and one grandson. I have several incredible friends, and I love to travel. My husband and I are now living in Texas.

How has your environment & upbringing colored your writing?

Sherrie_Brown_King RoanMy 6th grade teacher told me (a young girl about 12 years old) that “I would never amount to anything without a dictionary tied around my neck.” Because I had a difficult time spelling and reading out loud. After that happened, I refused to read or write anything that was not required for me to pass my classes in school. I started reading again for enjoyment at the age of 37 when I was introduced to historical romances and then I couldn’t find enough books to read.

If you could tell your younger writing-self anything, what would it be/if you had to do something differently as a child or teenager to become a better writer as an adult, what would you do?

Not to listen to anyone who tells you that you aren’t smart enough. I would have listened, participated and studied more in English class.

Who is the most famous author you have ever met?

I would have to say, Sky Corgan the author of Bully and several other books. We live in the same area and frequently enjoy having lunch together. It is never a competition for us, we write in different genres and she has a huge heart. She is also a wonderful writer, no matter what genre she writes in.

How long have you been writing?

In 2017, a good friend of mine dared me to write a book. Unable to refuse the dare, but still unconfident in my ability, I wrote my first book, The Dreams: Will Set You Free by Sherrie Brown. It is a Jane Austen fan fiction (JAFF) based on Pride and Prejudice. To my surprise it sold and during that series I wrote in my first, time traveler into the 2nd book. This created my love of writing, because I could decide what I wanted in the story and how I wanted the characters to act. Once I started, I didn’t want to stop so I wrote 3 books in The Dreams: Series and 3 in The Eternal Knot Series in one year. Book 4 has taken longer because I was sick for a few months.

Music or silence?

Definitely Music! I put in my earbuds and crank up the music. The type of scene dictates the music I listen to. I listen to rock during most of my writing, especially during a fight scene and I listen to music that is from that specific time or location if I can find it, to help set the mood.

What genre do you consider your book(s)? Have you considered writing in another genre?

Sherrie_Brown_RavenThe Eternal Knot Series by S. Brown is Time Travel Romance – they are not written as one specific genre. They have the element of science-fiction with time travel, but they include a small amount of romance because they are searching for their soulmate. The romantic scenes are kept to a minimum and the storyline focuses on the relationship development. I love writing in this genre, but I started writing with a three-book series in Jane Austen fan fiction (JAFF), titled The Dreams: by Sherrie Brown.

Do you want each book to stand on its own or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

I wrote The Eternal Knot series, so it can be read in any order or only certain ones and still be able to enjoy. This series has a main event connecting them together and is included in each book. Each book tells about the events and journey related to one of nine women, who are in possession of a special necklace.

Are you working on another book?

Yes, I am working on book 4 – MacKenzie: Time Travel. This one is set in 1717 with Irish Pirates. MacKenzie (Mac) is a security guard who begins to question her career and what is fair related to the law when she interrupts a robbery at her job. When everything she thought about her father growing up is revealed to be a lie; she questions who she is. Traveling to Ireland, Mac finds herself on a 1717 Pirate ship, and must decide if those who break the law are always bad. Will she ever break the law or risk her life, for someone she loves?

When you develop characters, do you already know who they are before you begin writing or do you let them develop as you go?

I have a basic outline on each character. However, it is easier if I create my book cover before I write. Then I can write descriptions about my lead character that corresponds with the picture. As for their personalities, they develop as I write. Anytime I plan for something they hijack the story and it goes in a whole different direction, so I follow the lead they give me.

What is the toughest criticism given to you as an author?

Sherrie_Brown_SamanthaMy toughest criticism came with my first book. I released it without allowing anyone to edit or proof read it. I had a large amount of errors and should never have been published, but I was too afraid to tell anyone other than the person who dared me to write it. I had a reader tell me that her Labrador Retriever (dog) could write better than I could. I cried and wasn’t going to write anything ever again. However, my friend Sky Corgan, convinced me to get the book edited and release it again. She told me that most authors have a bad review sometime in their career and I need to learn from it, so I can be a better writer.

Wow! It’s amazing to hear that your teacher had such negative influence on your reading and the fact that you proved him so wrong! It’s great to hear real-life stories like these. And I hear you about planning your stories. My characters have a habit of not following instructions either 😀 .

Where can we find you online?

Email: authorsherriebrown@att.net

Website

Twitter

Facebook (friend me)

Facebook  (follow me)

Amazon Author page

Books2Read.com

All Sherrie Brown’s books in The Eternal Knot series are available as eBook and in paperback. Don’t forget it’s under the name S. Brown, not Sherrie Brown (as her non-time-travel romances are under that name).


 


Meet the Author… R.H. Hale

Rebecca H. Hale is one cool chick! I asked her for an interview and she said yes immediately… in July. And then her email slipped the net. My bad. Instead of bombarding me with emails asking what’s happening, or getting stroppy and giving me the cold shoulder when I asked her the other day when I could expect her answer, she just went with the flow. I like people like that.

R.H. Hale

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Biography

Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, R.H. Hale’s interests range from reading and writing, to science and the arts, including theatre. After receiving a BSc (Hons) in Natural History from Kingston University in Surrey, she returned to Edinburgh where she joined a ghost tour company to pay the bills – and became hooked, terrifying innocent tourists on a daily basis in the city’s underground vaults. Not long after being clinically diagnosed with autism, in 2014 Hale began work on her first novel, Church Mouse (Book 1): Memoir of a vampire’s servant. Its sequel, Church Mouse (Book 2): The Change, is completed and due for release in 2019.

Who is the most famous author you have ever met?

That’s a tie between two. When I was eleven years old I attended a festival in the town of Wick in Caithness, Scotland, where I had the pleasure of meeting the late, great Scottish poet Norman MacCaig. He was a delightful old gentleman, very calm and patient. If I’d had any idea at the time how famous he was, I probably wouldn’t have had the courage to read him a poem I’d recently written for class at school. I did read it to him however, and he seemed very impressed by it.

Far more recently, last year I met Dacre Stoker, the great grand-nephew of Bram Stoker, at the Edinburgh Horror Festival. Fortunately, I’m close friends with the event organisers, so I took him and his assistant on a short tour around The Banshee Labyrinth, the reputedly haunted pub where he was giving a talk about his latest book and his research. He is fantastic company, a joy to speak with and very generously asked me about my debut novel, so I felt honoured to have had the chance to discuss it with him.

What is the biggest surprise that you experienced after becoming a writer?

It may sound cliché, but in truth my biggest surprise has been that people are liking the book! Every writer understands how scary it is releasing a debut; it’s like having one of those dreams where you find yourself haplessly walking around in public in your birthday suit.

Is being a writer a gift or a curse?

R.H.Hale_ChurchMouse1I think it depends on who you’re asking. For many including me, writing is also a way of exorcising demons, a silent scream if you like. I think it can be both, since it’s lovely to be told you have a gift and makes it all worthwhile if your work touches people and takes them on the journey you intended. But it comes with a price: you may’ve had to live through (or be living through) hell to create the worlds, scenes, characters and descriptions you did. The greatest reward is getting good reviews, so combined it can be negative feedback loop.

Pen or typewriter or computer?

Often pen since you can never know where you’ll be when ideas strike. Computer later, though ideas churn out on both. I haven’t used a typewriter since I was child just before computers kicked in everywhere and frankly I don’t intend on revisiting them; the stress of corrections and Tippex would give me a heart attack.

Do you write alone or in public?

Definitely alone for me. To many distractions in public. I even have to pause grumpily if I hear my poor housemate crossing the hallway to visit the bathroom!

What is your favorite place to write?

My room at home, sitting in bed, propped up by the pillows. Though in an ideal world I’d love a secluded Victorian study with a massive bay window and fireplace, me curled up in a gigantic leather armchair with cushions, hemmed in by a small portable table for my laptop and another table by the armrest for my coffee and ashtray. Maybe a grandfather clock ticking away in the corner…

Is your ‘being an author’ a goal achieved or an accident?

I never expected this to happen. I’d always had ideas for stories, screenplays, written dozens of poems and started many things throughout my lifetime, but I never originally set out to be an author. I thought I was going to be a scientist or maybe an actress. One day I just had some scenes in my head so solid they were baying for release and I had to get them down on paper. The rest grew from there.

Do you try to be original in your storytelling or to deliver to readers what they want?

Some people may disagree with me here, but to be honest I don’t understand this concept of ‘giving an audience what they want’. How are audiences supposed to discover anything new otherwise? If art of any sort teaches, shocks, surprises or inspires, it makes an imprint or mark, and to me that should be the whole idea. In fact, ‘what they want’ may have been exactly that to begin with – something original they weren’t expecting; before it got re-used again and again. I know that realistically there’s hardly any such thing as new ideas, and no matter how hard any writer works, it’s impossible to please everyone, but long as you’re driven by the desire to create, that’s what counts. Putting original ideas out there always carries a risk, and in many art forms, the powers that be like to “play it safe” by sticking with whatever made them money last time, but to me there’s something dishonest – maybe even mercenary – about ‘giving readers what they want’. Not all audiences know what they want until they’ve seen it. Besides, if I tried writing from only that perspective, I’d never get anything done. My head and heart do the dictating, otherwise what’s the point? That said, it really isn’t for me to tell anyone how to write, and if some readers prefer authors that give them what they want, fair enough, it’s their personal choice.

Can you give us an interesting fun fact about your book?

V0017193 Still life with a skull and medical book. Oil painting by anIn Church Mouse (Book 1), there’s a scene involving an old Victorian surgeon’s medical case, bound in leather, containing the top half of a human skull. That was inspired by a completely true story. When I worked at the ghost tour company in Edinburgh, one of the vaults was run by a group of Wiccans, led by George Cameron. One day he entered the office, showed me the medical bag with the top part of the skull inside and I was fascinated. My other colleague present at the time was not quite so enthralled and turned green on the spot, so I tortured him by chasing him around the office wearing the skull on top of my head like cap. Out of respect though I did apologise to the human remains in advance. I don’t know if this is true, but Cameron told us that apparently the skull came from a cadaver stolen from Greyfriars Cemetery in the early-1800s, possibly by an ambitious medical student, as cadavers at that time were in relatively short supply. The crude chisel marks of the surgeon’s blade were clearly visible around the bone. The above details are mentioned in the novel.

What motivated you to become an indie/published author? How did you break into publishing?

I decided being an indie author was the only way, chiefly because of word count. No literary agent is going to take a chance on the printing costs for a newbie if it’s over 100k words. My editor also works for Help For Writers: not a traditional publishing house, but they convert authors’ work into e-format, publish and distribute for a fee; the author keeps all the royalties.

Thank you so much for sharing all this with us, Rebecca. I feel very privileged that I actually have that perfect writing spot that you talk about. The windows are still a bit draughty, so I don’t sit in front of them, but yeah, all the other bits are there. If you’re ever in Aberdeenshire, do look me up!

Where can we find you online? 

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

YouTube

Amazon Author page

R.H. Hale’s book is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, Google Play, Goodreads, Blackwells, and other online bookstores


Meet the Author… M.N. Seeley

As you may know, I follow Leonard Tillerman’s website as he reviews a lot of books. He reviewed my book as well, and after some nail-biting days, I was very happy he gave Living Like A Vampire five stars! You can read his review of it here. He doesn’t always give five stars, so you know when he does, the books are good 🙂 . So, one of the books that received five stars from Leonard was A Flicker of Shadows, by Neil Seeley. I contacted Neil and here’s the interview.

M. N. Seeley

Neil_Seeley

Biography

M.N. Seeley is a former Illustrator now working as a professional Art Director, Copywriter, Commercial Artist and Marketing Brand Consultant all rolled into one. But, what does this have to do with writing? Everything, if you ask him, because he believes storytelling is at the core of every successful creative endeavour. To him, the creative process never changes; only the medium does. He lives in Meaford, Ontario, Canada, where his children have spent years trying to teach him how to throw a football with a decent spiral. To date, they remain unsuccessful and undeterred.

Do you outline or just write?

I won’t begin writing anything until I have the entire story outlined, detailed and paced. My first novel was outlined using Post-it Notes stuck to a wall. The outline for my second novel is a 30 plus page document. I leave plenty of room for changes and sudden inspirations, though.

What gives you inspiration for your book? How did you come up with the idea for A Flicker Of Shadows? Tell us about your writing process and the way you brainstorm story ideas

Neil_Seeley_AFlickerofShadowsA Flicker of Shadows began life as a series of children’s illustrations. However, since illustrating is a painful and labourious process for me, I found it more fun to write the accompanying story paragraphs for the paintings. That’s when I decided to forget the illustrations entirely and just focus on the writing. But, I had no interest in writing a children’s novel, or even one for young adults. The concept of transitioning into adulthood was a massive inspiration. It occurred to me that I could tell a different story based on the illustrations; a story that has one foot in the children’s world and one foot in the adult’s world. Where these two worlds rub together is where my novel lives. At least to me, I thought I had a hold of something unique.

What is the biggest surprise that you experienced after becoming a writer?

I was surprised by how exhausting, hive-inducing and ulcer-burning self-promotion is. I’d rather perform drug-free DIY dental work on a gorilla.

Give us an interesting fun fact about your book

In A Flicker Of Shadows, I never allowed Morton, the bat, to use contracted words in his journal. I thought this rule would make him appear uptight and repressed. 

Is being a writer a gift or a curse?

It’s a curse well managed, I’d say. There have been many, many times when I wished to trade all of my creativity in just so I could play 8-ball better. At the very least, I’d like to be able to make a simple cross bank with some regularity. To date, the Devil has yet to present himself with a contract detailing the trade conditions.

What is your favorite part of the book?

The very last paragraph of A Flicker Of Shadows, particularly the last sentence, makes me happy. I enjoy the tempo of the words as well as what they imply. For the most part, it was effortless to compose. That didn’t happen to me often.

Do you want each book to stand on its own or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

I prefer stand alone stories because of their finite structure. When the book is over, it’s over. Done. Myself, the reader, the person who glances at my novel laying crumpled and dirty in the bottom of a garbage bin, can all move on with their lives. Having said that, I do plan on reusing one character from A Flicker Of Shadows. A variation of him will show up in every future novel I write. Readers of A Flicker Of Shadows will likely be surprised to know which character I’m referencing.

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

Treasure_W700.jpgSure. I love symbolism and other hidden gems. They’re mostly there for my amusement. I like to amuse myself. A Flicker Of Shadows has plenty of meat to be picked off the bones, should one feel so inclined.

What writing/publishing wisdom would you bestow upon new writers?

You’re looking in the wrong place if you’re looking for wisdom here. I wrote a novel that I wanted to read. That alone was hard enough without adding other people’s expectations to the mix. This may not be universally true, but I think authors need to pick a lane: either write for themselves or write for an audience. Both options have merit. Both options have big concessions. For me, combining the two is madness and leads to mediocrity.

What is something memorable you have heard from your readers/fans?

One reader of A Flicker Of Shadows thought my book had more in common with cult classics than popular best-selling books. That was very cool to hear. I would gladly take more of that sort of praise. I know my book won’t appeal to everyone. That’s how I prefer it.
Thank you so much for your time and your words of wisdom, Neil. I know you think they aren’t, but I think your comment on picking a lane is a very wise one. I’m still at the crossroads myself but leaning very much to the ‘write for yourself’ direction. I think that gives the most pleasure to the writer and hence the reader. You can’t please them all, so you better please the ones that do like your writing! And I can relate to your thoughts on promoting!

Neil Seeley’s book is available in eBook and paperback form on Amazon. You can follow him on the following social media:

My Interview with Angelina Kalahari is live!

If my day couldn’t get any better, I just got word from Angelina that her interview with me is live on her website and YouTube!

Have a listen to the interview with her. She’s a wonderful lady, and I so hope to be able to meet her at the London Fair next year!

Thanks for having me on your podcast, Angelina! xx

 

My interview with Dr DJ JoN will be airing soon!

Remember I mentioned I was interviewed by Dr DJ JoN last week? Well, I just got the heads up that the interview will be aired on Flobcast Radio within the next hour! Don’t worry if you’ll miss it as it will be repeated Monday, Wednesday, and Friday next week a during the 1-3pm (EST) timeslot (early in the slot).

The website to go to is:

Flobcast

You only have to click on the play button on the website to hear the radio station.

I haven’t heard it yet, so I’m going to listen too!

Meet the Author… Mistress Joanna Noor

Joanna is a writer of naughty stories and has some really beautiful book covers on her novels. I commented on them via Twitter, we got chatting… and here’s the interview with Joanna. After a string of male authors, I thought it was time for a female writer again. And what a treat!

Mistress Joanna Noor

Joanna_Noor

Biography

Hi, I’m Joanna Noor, and when I’m not penning naughty epic fantasy stories, I am also an illustrator, cartoonist, graphic designer, and editor. Unfortunately I can’t divulge my real identity, because I have a successful alternate career as a YA author and children’s picture book artist. However, everything you need to know about me personally can be summed up in one description: I am a cat. Sweet, friendly, mischievous, sometimes scratchy and fierce, a little bit lazy, but very patient and determined when I need to be! I also enjoy having my back scratched.

Tell us something about you not many people know

I love to surf, but not on water. On land. On a skateboard. In the biggest concrete bowls I can find. This is unusual for a person whose livelihood depends on them being able to wield a pen deftly with their fingers, but I don’t care. The thrill of carving a nice pool and finding new lines far outweighs the pain of the bumps when I occasionally fall.

Do you remember the first story you ever read and the impact it had on you?

Joanna_Noor_KockRiderofKhymeeraClearly. It was something by Richard Scary, and it had a mouse driving a little car, and it has informed my drawing style and whimsical sense of humor ever since. But the first prose stories to really impact me were C. S. Lewis’s Narnia Books. I spent most of my early life searching for that magic wardrobe which would transport me to another world. I finally found it in the form of a MacBook Pro using Scrivener and Microsoft Word.

What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

Once when I was a little, a Ku Klux Klansman gave me a business card to take to my mother. We had recently arrived in a small Georgia town and it was his way of seeing how she responded—to discern whether she was one of the “good folk,” i.e. racist. My mother took one look at it, saw the writing, and recoiled as if it were a rattlesnake. I saw then how powerful words could be.

What made you want to become a writer?

Fame and fortune. But when real life quickly disabused me of those silly ideas, it was the satisfaction of entertaining people and connecting with them emotionally.

What is the biggest surprise that you experienced after becoming a writer?

Joanna_Noor_SuccubusofKhymeeraNo one is waiting to read your great masterpiece. My first book made a little splash, then sank like a stone, where it remained on the bottom of the literary ocean like pirate treasure waiting to be discovered. Yours probably will too, but don’t be discouraged—you’ll have to fetch it, polish it, and show it off to get attention. But that’s part of being a self-published author.

What do you love most about the writing process?

I LOVE immersing myself in another world and getting caught up in my characters’ adventures. I’m a very visual, very emotional person, and it almost becomes real for me at times. I feel things very acutely.

As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

My avatar is the one you see: Catwoman. And though our resemblance is more intellectual than physical, I look enough like her (without the mask) for it to be a passable picture.

What do your friends and family think of your writing? Do they support your career as a writer?

I am fortunate to be blessed with very supportive and encouraging friends and family. But only two people know about my naughty side-hustle as Joanna Noor, purveyor of kinky Epic Fantasy.

What does your typical writing day look like? How many hours a day do you write?

Joanna_Noor_StormingtheBarbariansGatesFor someone who self-identifies as a feline, I’m actually very disciplined. I rise early, write as much as I can before I have to turn my attention to other work, then I sometimes edit at night. But often, like a cat, I have frenetic bouts of effort punctuated by sleepy stretches where I do very little.

Do you outline or just write?

I create a detailed outline/roadmap which I happily deviate from, but also use to find my way back to the essential story when I get lost. When I start a story, I know who the main characters are, what their objectives are, and most of the challenges they will face along the way. The rest I just pull from a magician’s hat, like an endless rope of knotted handkerchiefs.

What is your favorite genre? Why?

Fantasy and sci-fi, and most definitely fantasy and sci-fi combined with erotica. As for why—well, it appeals to the anarchic, anything goes side of my personality. The part that happily navigates around a concrete bowl at high speed on a thin piece of wood attached to a few bits of metal and rubber, with tiny little wheels.

If you didn’t write, what would you do for work? 

I would be a professional skateboarder and cultural anthropologist.

If you had to write yourself as a heroine, what kind of heroine would you be? What would you be named?

Her name would be Karli Talbo, and she would be a Kock Rider for the city of Hungri’La on Khymeera.

Tell us a little about your plans for the future. Where do you see yourself as a writer in five years?

I plan to write as many wildly entertaining novels as I can, for as long as I am able to consume coffee and turn caffeine into stories. Many of these books will be about the wonderfully wicked world of Khymeera. Others will not.

What is/are your book(s) about? Could you tell us a bit about your most recent book and why it is a must-read?

Joanna_Noor_DildorRampageKock Rider of Khymeera follows the adventures of a transgender heroine named Karli Talbo, who is transported from Earth to another world by mysterious celestial beings called the Pu’ussy Kings, where she becomes a pawn in their unfathomable games. It’s fast-paced, thrilling, funny, at times heartbreaking, and downright staggering in its erotic scope. Man, woman, or whatever—if you like your fantasy kinky, then I guarantee this book has something that will appeal to you.

What gives you inspiration for your book(s)? How did you come up with the idea for Kock Rider of Khymeera? Tell us about your writing process and the way you brainstorm story ideas.

It started as a John Norman/Gor-inspired joke, to be honest. I wanted to write a smutty parody of all the Golden Age sci-fi/fantasy books I loved as a teenager. But somewhere along the way, I fell in love with my characters and their plight, and then I had to take it seriously. When they started to make me laugh and cry, I had to give them some respect. I typically brainstorm ideas by placing my hapless characters in dreadful situations, then let them figure out how to escape, before I torture them again.

What have you put most of your effort into regarding writing?

Learning how to tell an exciting story.

Do you want each book to stand on its own or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

Joanna_Noor_TheWizardsMagicalWoodMy Khymeera novels and stories do stand on their own, but you’ll enjoy them more if you start with Kock Rider of Khymeera and go from there. The terminology won’t be confusing later, and all the rich connections between the characters will make more sense. I hide Easter eggs everywhere!

Of all the characters you have created, which is your favorite and why?

Karli Talbo, my transgender heroine of Kock Rider, is my favorite. I adore her because her journey to accepting, loving herself, and finding her place in the world is such a thrilling, funny, and poignant story. With her, I wanted to completely defy readers’ expectations, and I also wanted to empower people who feel marginalized by their sexuality, whatever that may be.

Are you working on another book? What are your current projects? Can you give us a small teaser?

Yes indeed I am, and the first part has already been published! But it’s under another pen name, and I won’t give you any clues except this: Death dies.

What did you find most useful in learning to write? What was least useful or most destructive?

Don’t be afraid to color outside the lines. Write that big, messy first draft without fear or censorship, then whip it into shape later. And plan beforehand if that makes things easier.

What do you consider to be your best accomplishment as a writer?

Joanna_Noor_TheBigBlackKockSeeing projects to completion, connecting with people emotionally, and entertaining people for a while when they have so many other options.

Thank you, Joanna, for your funny and your honest answers. It’s good to see people embrace their sexuality!

For people who love Joanna’s writing after this interview, Joanna has four stories (27-47 pages) and two full-length novels (with the beautiful covers) for sale on Amazon. You can contact her via the following social media:

Email: mistressjoannanoor@gmail.com

Twitter

Facebook

Amazon Author page




An Apropos Interview with Dr DJ JoN

I had a great time chatting with DJ JoN via Skype yesterday. As you may have noticed, I did a shout out to book bloggers to join me in my October blog tour. Dr DJ JoN was the first to contact me and asked if I wanted to talk on his show about it. Of course, after the great advice of my fellow author Wendy H. Jones, I said, ‘Yes!’ It’s my second interview this past week, the first with Angelina Kalahari which will air sometime this coming week (but more about this later!), and I was thrilled.

DJ_JoN_4.png

Originally, we planned the interview to happen on Saturday, but as we checked our connection with Skype, I mentioned we could do the interview now if he had the time. I’m afraid I put DJ a bit on the spot, but he grabbed the moment, set up his microphone and everything, and we started chatting. He wasn’t prepared, I wasn’t prepared, and I’m afraid my answers are all over the place, but I hope the listeners can make sense out of my ramblings!

Not only does DJ look like Santa, he also gives new artists a chance to get heard, mainly musical artists, but he, and I quote, “loves to give every artist an opportunity to be heard.” He has a real nice, warm-timbered voice, and it’s very pleasant to listen to. He made me feel at ease (yes, I shiver out of nerves when interviewed), and after the interview ended, we chatted for another hour about all sorts. DJ has great stories to tell as he’s been around and has met many great people. I wished there were more hours in a day so I could hear all of them, but the clock struck twelve and DJ was called for dinner while I was slowly turning into a pumpkin (there’s a five-hour difference between us). We called it a day, and I went to sleep with a smile.

After DJ has edited the track, he’ll send it to me for approval, and hopefully he’ll be able to air in before Halloween. I’ll let you all know when it’s airing on Flobcast Radio (also on Facebook)!

Thanks again for the opportunity, DJ! I hope your dream of fishing naked on a Costa Rica beach comes true!