Tag Archives: writing

Meet the Author… Sandra Bass Joines

Sandra Bass Joines is a sweet lady I met through One Stop Fiction. Sandra has written a book on spine surgery recovery and a romantic suspense novel called Tears of Sand. Earlier this year, she has published her second romantic suspense novel called Shoe in the Road. It’s a story about a woman finding a shoe in the road. Oh, and about finding true love after leaving a cheating husband and a suspenseful road trip. Let’s talk to Sandra to find out more about this strangely titled novel!

Sandra Bass Joines

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Thank you so much for affording me the opportunity to share a little about my latest novel SHOE IN THE ROAD and how it came about.

It’s a strange title. Can you tell us how you got it?

Titles come to my mind before stories do. The title for this last novel, for instance, popped into my mind one day when I saw a shoe in the middle of the road. I thought that would be an interesting name for a book – shoe in the road. I had no idea what it would be about or anything regarding characters. I sat at my computer one day and typed Shoe in the Road on the first page. I then closed my eyes and listened (I try to listen, not think). At this point, the idea presented itself to have a shoe influence the lives of the heroine and hero.

So, after you had the title, how did you come up with the story?

The story pretty much wrote itself. Well, I have to give some credit to the heroine’s conversations with her deceased grandmother’s ashes (don’t worry, they were in an urn) and an ornery cat who invited himself into the story. I’m a southern girl who can spin quite a yarn. Therefore, it seemed logical that a girl running from a controlling, cheating husband would certainly be more interesting escaping in a 1960 Coupe de Ville convertible named Gussie than in a traditional vehicle.

Why did you use this setting for your novel?

A showdown between Boston Calbreth, the heroine, and her husband made sense to happen in a place I have heard scary stories about all my life. Tales of people going into Tate’s Hell Swamp and never coming out have been passed down from one generation to the next.

How long did you take to write the story?

It took six weeks to write the novel and a year for revising and editing. I have more stories in my head than I have time to write. I plan to put as many as possible on paper.

How did you experience the launch of your book?

I did a launch using a four-day free promotion and a four-day ninety-nine cent promotion before raising the book to full price. So far, everything has been running smoothly. Each time I make a scheduled change, I am afraid of doing it incorrectly or concerned that Amazon or one of the promotion companies will not come through. I am enjoying the ride, and am grateful to all the wonderful people who are supporting me.

Sorry everybody, as Sandra’s book was launched in February 2018, the discounts no longer apply. I’m sure Sandra will bring the price down now and again, though 🙂 .

Sandra Bass Joines’s books are available on Amazon.

You can follow her via the following social media:

Website

Facebook

Twitter

 

Meet the Author… Rudi Jennings

This week’s author is another Dark Sider (from The Darker Side of Fiction book signing in Peterborough last October). I only had a little time to chat with Rudi, but I immediately thought he was far too modest. His book intrigued me; the cover is simple yet compelling, the blurb even more so. Let’s find out more about this lovely author.

Rudi Jennings

Rudi Jennings

Biography

Rudi Michael Jennings spent the majority of his childhood growing up in the Norfolk, UK, countryside of fields and trees, really living amongst nature and possibly giving the basis of description in his book. Through travel, various professions ranging from pest controller to close protection officer, and a keen interest in psychology and fantasy writings, he developed a style of his very own and is keen to share it with the fantasy adventure world. This plans to be the first installment and adventure of many to come.

What do you love most about the writing process?

The total emersion into a world you have created, a world you can invent as you go along and I guess most of all, the amazing feedback I’ve been receiving. Not just the 5-star reviews, but people really taking time to explain what they like and all the questions. It really makes you feel like someone has lost themselves in your world.

Do you have any unique or quirky writing habits?

Rudi_Jennings_WaterstonesV2.jpgOne method I have been trying to get across to all the schools and colleges I’ve visited is my method. When I was at school we had to read authors’ works but had no instruction into their process of writing. So I always keep and pen and paper by the bed, as the first three chapters of my book was a dream I had. Also, I tell students I don’t pay attention to typical fantasy word counts; I just write scenes. Then I will place these scenes in some sort of order, then consider writing more scenes to join them up. Then again set them out in order and write more scenes to fill in the gaps. When you step back and look at your story, you’ve nearly got your word count without even knowing it.

Do consider yourself to be a successful writer? What do you think would make you successful?

On the scale of success this is a tricky one, what do you class as successful? I think money and fame tend to come and go, people are famous these days for just being on a reality show. Several different students have told me I have inspired them, I think that is the true height of success, inspiration. If you can get someone else to try writing, then really that’s about as successful as you can be.

Could you tell us a bit about what you’re working on at the moment?

The Last Myon on the Waterstones book shelfSo I am currently writing the second book to my Myon series. I plan to write one more, then a prequel, however not strictly in that order. It is just such an epic experience, people are always asking ‘how’s the next book coming?’ and ‘what happens to such and such?’ I love just having ideas pop into my head and the rush in excitement at getting them down on paper, I think the people that enjoyed my first book will love the second… Well, I hope.

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

My book is Fantasy Adventure with a dark twist, it’s really just the sort of thing I’d love to read, so it was a bonus so many others felt the same. I have had ideas on a post-apocalyptic style novel, but I’m just concentrating all my mind on The Last Myon series for now, but who knows what the future will hold when I’m done here.

Does your book have a lesson, a moral?

Rudi_Jennings_TheLastMyon1I think it was an unintentional moral that has crept in from something my parents always taught my brother and me; never give up, never quit. I, like many people, have had to overcome some shocking huge obstacles, it’s only after these things we can really appreciate the goodness. That did bleed over into my main character and I tried to give this positive outlook for others to take away with them.

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

It was a dream, it sounds such a cliché, I know, but the first three chapters were a dream I had, I wasn’t even in the dream, just watching the event unfold. When I woke up I had to jot it all down, not with any real intention of writing a book. But a few weeks later I glanced at the notes, my mind went swimming back to that moment and I did wonder if I could actually write a book. After weeks of pros and cons, I thought what the hell, it’s for my own pleasure and I won’t even bother getting it published. Wow did that change.

What is your favorite part of the book?

It would have to be the few Chapters beginning with ‘The Pit’. So I had nearly finished the whole book, but I couldn’t for the life of me join two scenes together, I wracked my brains for weeks and suddenly when walking around in the supermarket one evening it came to me like a lightning strike to the head! I had to stand to one side of the aisle and text myself the plan, I really did enjoy writing that section and I’ve had some amazing feedback from readers.

What did you edit out of this book?

Rudi_Jennings_TheLastMyon4Very little, I have notebooks of other characters which didn’t make an appearance (this time), also this was one of my most feared moments. Sending it off to be edited was torture, I kept expecting to get it back cut to ribbons, turns out I had nothing to worry about, and the editor didn’t want to change anything, just a few grammatical errors so it really is how it was meant to be.

What has been the best compliment?

I did a signing at a library and a lady that worked there approached me. She said she had brought my book, not because she liked Fantasy, but because I was coming along and it would be a good thing to get me to sign it. Well, she said after reading my work, she felt she had totally missed out on a genre and will definitely be reading more fantasy works. That blew me away to think I had turned someone on to that whole genre.

Anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?

Firstly, to my mum; I think now your one of my biggest fans. Thank you so much for reading to me as a little boy. I am confident this is what got me wanting to be an author. My dad; thank you for your unwavering support of every crazy idea and scheme I’ve come up with (which is a hell of a lot). Finally, to my readers, friends and fans; your words and ratings have blown me away, it still feels like a dream and with all your wanting to find out more, it helps me to focus and keep on going to fulfill my lifelong dream of being an accomplished writer. Thank you all.

Thank you, Rudi, for sharing your journey into authorship with us. I, too, had my first story come to me in a dream and never dreamt I’d be an author. I agree it’s a fantastic feeling to bring joy to others. I’m sure you’ll bring lots of joy in the years to come!

You can follow Rudi Jennings via the following social media:

Twitter

Facebook

YouTube Interview with Rudi Jennings

Amazon Author page

Rudi Jennings’s book The Last Myon is available in Waterstones, Barnes and Noble, Amazon, eBay, and many good bookstores and online retailers as well as from Olympia Publishers.


Meet the Author… Mistress Joanna Noor

‘But… didn’t you interview Joanna already?’ I hear you think. Yes, you are absolutely correct; I did! And last week I promised you that I would interview Dark Side of Fiction authors. Writers are very, very busy people, though, and don’t always check their emails. If they’re like me, they get too many a day to check them all out. Not to worry, I’m going to get to them, one way or another :).

In the meantime, let’s find out a bit more about the creative process of this funny, mysterious, and mischievous Mistress…

Mistress Joanna Noor

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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.

How has your environment & upbringing colored your writing?

Joanna_Noor_StormingtheBarbariansGates

We moved around a lot as a child, so I changed schools often and learned to be very self-sufficient emotionally. I created my own portable worlds, stocked with countless imaginary friends who comforted, amused, and incensed me. My mother is a professional artist and writer, so she was totally cool with that.

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

Joanna, please focus more on story and characters than style. Style will come as you develop and gain confidence, but no one will want to read your work if you can’t spin a good yarn.

Do you view writing as a kind of spiritual practice?

Spiritual and mental. It’s how I organize my thoughts, it’s how I connect with strangers on an intimate level, and it’s how I make sense of the beautiful mystery and cosmic joke that is life. It’s also how I get to be naughty and subversive.

How long have you been writing?

Since I was old enough to pick up a crayon. Literally.

Pen or typewriter or computer?

Pen for jotting down ideas and sketches, computer for outlining, drafting, and writing my manuscripts.

Do you write alone or in public?

Both. I like to mix it up, working from my office at home, at a library, or sometimes at my favorite coffee shop with a latte close by.

Music or silence?

Joanna_Noor_DildorRampage

Music when I’m brainstorming, silence when I’m writing. When I’m writing, I’m actually just dictating a narrating voice in my head (and it usually sounds like Christopher Lee or Ian McKellan). If I can’t hear the voice clearly, I can’t write.

Goals of certain # of words a week or when inspiration strikes?

I try to write 2000-5000 words a day, five days per week, when I’m completing a novel. If I do less, it makes me grumpy.

Do you have any unique or quirky writing habits?

I must have coffee.

Are you a full-time or part-time writer? How does that affect your writing?

I am a full-time author/artist, and doing it full-time for most of my adult life has allowed me to develop into the enthusiastic writer I am.

What are some day jobs that you have held? If any of them impacted your writing, could you please share an example?

Joanna_Noor_TheWizardsMagicalWood

As an artist, I have a very visual way of looking at things, and this informs my writing. Readers often remark that my fantasy worlds are very vivid and well-drawn, and that makes me happy. They are very vivid and well-drawn in my imagination, so conveying that is a triumph.

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Writing energizes me like nothing else, leaving me buzzing for hours after a successful session. It’s almost post-coital in the way it leaves me feeling warm and happy.

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

Definitely achieved. I work very hard at what I do, from the writing to the packaging, to the presentation and the promotion. It is my passion.

What is your writing style?

I always hated reading first-person narration, but I have completely embraced it with my new books and it works very well. My style is muscular, poetic, playful, and polished.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

Joanna_Noor_TheBigBlackKock

I’m a history buff and, as mentioned, I have a magpie mind which is very good at hoarding useless facts. I draw upon my extensive wealth of arcane knowledge, and supplement it with Wikipedia articles when required.

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

Anywhere from two months to two years. Mostly about two to three months now.

What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?

Remaining in my chair and not getting up to play with my cats.

Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story?

Sometimes they hijack it, but then I hijack them in the editing phase. My guns are bigger.

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

Joanna_Noor_KockRiderofKhymeera

If it makes me laugh or smile, then I know it’s a winner and it goes in. I have a bawdy, totally absurd, and ridiculous sense of humor. Aspects of my characters’ personalities may be based on real people, but their names certainly are not.

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

Definitely a mix of both!

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

Yes. If you can decipher the clues in my texts, it will lead you to a church in France where you will discover that Christ had a child and . . . oh wait, that’s already been done! Let me think of something else.

What do your plans for future projects include?

Many, many more Khymeera novels/stories, and many stories in my new, top secret series.

How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

I have streamlined all my systems and the whole book creation experience is now a well-oiled machine.

What do your fans mean to you?

Joanna_Noor_SuccubusofKhymeera

Everything. Without readers, there would be no completion of the artistic circle, no home for the characters in my stories. I, the author, plant the seed of a tale. You, the reader, give it life and nourish it into a garden. Thank you 🙂

Thank you, Joanna, for letting us know about your writing process. I think many of us are a slave to ‘the coffee’ when writing. And I think your explanation of what fans are to a reader is beautiful!

Next time (yes, there will be a next time!), we will concentrate a bit more on the contents of Mistress Joanna’s books.

Don’t forget her second novel, Sukkubus of Khameera, the sequel to Kock Rider of Khameera, is now available!

You can contact Mistress Joanna Noor via the following Social Media:

Email: mistressjoannanoor@gmail.com

Twitter

Facebook

Amazon Author page


Meet the Author… Helen Claire Gould

Remember I attended The Darker Side of Fiction book signing? Well, I met a lot of lovely people there, and a bunch of great authors, of course! All fantasy writers, all trying to find fans. You’ve already met one of the writers, Martin Tracey, and in the next few weeks, I’ll be featuring more of these Darker authors, hoping that they may find some new fans amongst you. First up is Helen Claire Gould, writer of science fiction and fantasy. I’ve been chatting with her since we became friends on Facebook. She’s very active as a writer in her community but broke her hip and arm in an unfortunate fall recently. She is recovering well from her hip replacement and should be up and about soon!

Helen Claire Gould

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Biography

Helen took English Language and Literature, A level (prior to going to university as a mature student of Geology in 1997) and came 5th in the country out of 16,000 candidates. She worked as a proof-reader for the first 5 years of her working life, firstly in publishing and then in insurance, where accuracy is even more important as an insurance proposal is a legal document. She edits and proofreads her own work, and she’s proud to mention Floodtide has an approximate 0.005% error rate.

Karma has not been easy on Helen. She has dyscalculia (the maths version of dyslexia), dyspraxia (the co-ordination version), and some features of dyslexia (luckily not spelling, grammar or punctuation, which seem to have gone in the opposite direction)–i.e. left/right confusion, so if she ever gives you any directions to get anywhere, take no notice of what comes out of her mouth, just follow the hand signals!

Who is/are your favorite author(s)? How much is your work influenced by his or her works?

Helen_Claire_Gould_TheStallion.pngAndre Norton. I write about similar subject matter, though not in her style. I’m not an imitator. I write what comes, but try to adhere to professional writing standards that are (supposedly) the same for traditionally published authors. She wrote science fiction, and science fantasy; I also bring in elements of horror.

What made you want to become a writer?

I read my first science fiction at the age of nine, and wrote some when I was fourteen. I’ve written ever since. I was top of the school for English from nine on, and bottom of the school for maths. I wanted to be a scientist, but didn’t think my maths would be good enough. I was interested in geology and palaeontology as a child, and when I researched the geology for Floodtide, I realised there was a science I could do. At 43 I went to uni, and discovered one tutor who was interested in planetary science, so I did all his modules–perfect for a science fiction writer!

Do you outline or just write?

Sometimes I’ll write a chapter or two to see where it’s going before I outline the story. When I wrote The Stallion I got up in the night to write down the dream I’d just had. My husband came into the study a couple of hours later, having realised I wasn’t in bed, and said, “Oh, so this is where you’ve got to!”

What are some day jobs that you have held?  If any of them impacted your writing, could you please share an example?

I worked as a proof-reader and in retailing, where I became a professional trainer, learned to write courses, and taught evening classes in geology and creative writing. After publishing Floodtide, I spent 18 months writing workshops on writing and self-publishing, delivered through local libraries. They include eureka moments, research and examples; I use my scientific knowledge to design diagrams and animate them in PowerPoint. Everything’s on handouts, with practical assignments, even in the self-publishing workshops.

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

When I submitted the print version of Floodtide, the printers sent me an e-mail saying there was a problem with the dialogue from page 42 on. I checked the page and the telepathic conversations, bracketed with < > instead of “ ”, began there. I emailed back and explained about the telepathic conversationsand that because the alien concepts I used didn’t exist in English I’d invented a language, so if they came across what appeared to be nonsense words, these were in Naxadan!

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?

Most of my writing is set in an imaginary universe, based on ours. I’ve set up part of my website as a companion to it, with a timeline, views of the solar systems in each book, notes on the Naxadan language, relevant scientific material, links to book trailers and readings on my YouTube channel, and a star map of that universe. Some stories contain cross-references between the series.    

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

Helen_Gould_FloodtideHaving put out two short books this year, I’m currently working on The Zarduth Imperative: Discovery, about the crew of Zarduthi clanship, the Bekel. The Zarduthi are space mercenaries who trade their services for food, clothing, and weapons. The ship drifts into the solar system and 33 unaccompanied children are discovered inside, revived, debriefed, fostered in different countries, and forbidden to communicate with each other. Raised communally on the Bekel, they’re desperate to take back their ship and find their parents. Oh, and a dead Voth, a bacterium-like species terrorising our corner of the galaxy was onboard–and Earth is next in line…

From the opening scene:

“Kaylar, raise shields. Nam–switch orbit now! And keep us hidden from the Voth fleet.” Although the Bekel would be vulnerable to detection during this manoeuvre, for this planetary configuration it was the best defence Rilla Dekkutz knew.

“Defence shields raised, Rilla,” Kaylar said.

“New orbit laid in,” Nam reported from the nav column.

Rilla stared into the simtank cube mounted between and below the forward sightports. A white hologrammatic dot marked the Bekel’s position between the twin moons, Bacar and Ammax, as they swung about their common centre of gravity. They’d exchanged positions again. Bacar was now nearest the planet below. Rilla saw the white dot marking their geostationary orbit change from Bacar to Ammax.

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

Helen_Gould_She...Postal writing workshops contain five members, each allowed to keep the parcel for up to two weeks. The administrator puts their work in a parcel and sends it to the next person on the list, who writes feedback, puts in their work, then sends it on. When the parcel comes back, the administrator has four pieces to write feedback on and four pieces of feedback on their work. I learned to critique work and received helpful criticism and suggestions.

The least helpful thing was feedback from a publishing house talent scout. She didn’t read my manuscript properly, and with hindsight I realised she wasn’t even as good at giving feedback as my fellow orbiters.

What has been the best compliment?

My friend Fyzz, who runs the Fyzz Wallis Band, had read that books you love, near the end, feel like ‘that break-up feeling’, and said Floodtide was like that! Her bassist Zoe apparently reads lots of self-published books, and said they often contain many typos, but Floodtide read like a traditionally published book.

What motivated you to become an indie author?

When ill-health set in, Mike said I should stay at home and work on my novels, but he probably didn’t expect me to publish anything. In 2014 I published the ebook of Floodtide, and in 2015 brought out the print version. A day’s free self-publishing course at the printers’ gave me the confidence to go into print.

Social Media Details

Here’s where you can find Helen Gould online:

Email: cleargold1@gmail.com

Website (where the first three chapters of Floodtide are available to read!)

Facebook

YouTube

Amazon Author page

As mentioned before, Helen is very active as a writer in her area, East Anglia, and has her books available in the following stores:

  • Waterstones, Bridge St., Peterborough;
  • Peterborough Visitor Information Centre, Bridge St., Peterborough;
  • Bookmark Spalding, 20, the Crescent, Spalding;
  • Beccles Books, 1, Exchange Ho., Exchange Sq., Beccles, NR34 9HH;
  • Oundle Bookshop,13 Market Place, Oundle PE8 4BA.

Her books are also available from the following local libraries: Peterborough Central Library, Bretton Library, Orton Library, Stamford Library, The Deepings Library, Spalding Library, Oundle Library, Long Sutton Library, Boston Library, Huntingdon Library.

Thank you so much for sharing your story with us, Helen. I wish you a speedy recovery and have my fingers crossed you get some reviews for your short story and horror bundle!




The Emit Blackwell Show

I have been interviewed for the third time (first time by Detroit’s DJ Jon, the second time by lovely Londoner Angelina Kalahari)! This time by Emit Blackwell from Michigan, and it’s live!

The Emit Blackwell Show 4.png

 

You can listen to the interview here:
 

But why stop at my interview? Emit interviews a lot of authors to put them in the spotlight for a moment. Check them out too on The Emit Blackwell Show website!

The Emit Blackwell Show

My Darker Side of Fiction Experience

I was on such a high after attending The Darker Side of Fiction book signing event last Saturday, but I crashed on Monday and Tuesday afternoon (I had an appointment I couldn’t get out of on Tuesday morning). Two days of people-ing takes its toll on me:). The event was organized by Hourglass Events ladies Jo Curtis PA and Rachel Brightey PA, and these two ladies did a fabulous job! The venue, The Bull Hotel in Peterborough, was awesome, the organization run as smooth as a well-oiled engine, and the people I met were fantastic!

Getting there

My husband and I flew to Birmingham on Friday evening (leaving our teenaged kids at home for the first time. They didn’t set the house on fire!). We could have driven, but it would have been an eight-hour drive. As my husband still has to work (I’m afraid someone has to), we just didn’t have the time for this, so I didn’t expect to earn our expenses back. The reason for going was to show my face and get my name out there. I did have a pre-order form and had four orders of all the books of the trilogy beforehand which was great. As we were flying, we had a limit to what we could bring, but we managed to bring another five sets, some short story bundles, and some extra copies of Book 1.

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Showing off my wonderful assistant

 

On Friday evening, we arrived in Birmingham, picked up our rented car, and drove to Peterborough. We arrived at the Bull Hotel at 11pm and went straight to bed. I wanted to be ready for the long day. Unfortunately, I didn’t sleep the night before, and I didn’t sleep well that night either. Whether it was caused by the high temperature in the room, the hum of the air-conditioning, or the hard mattress (yes, I’m a bit of a princess in that respect), or plain excitement, I will never know.

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The Bull Hotel

The Big  Day

The next morning we got up at 8am. The signing started at 10am, and this would give us enough time to have breakfast downstairs, get dressed up for the occasion, and set up the table. I was so glad I brought my husband as an assistant with me as he was such a great help. I couldn’t have managed without him! Before the doors opened, I went around the other authors’ stalls, to see what they had and what they priced everything. As this was basically my first signing with more than one book and with accessories, I had no idea about this. I had brought several price tags and put the ones down that I thought were a fair price.

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The Darker Side of Fiction, well… half of it 😀

They had sold ‘only’ seventy tickets (apparently they’re used to more), but there was a continuous stream of buyers walking past the tables. Some bought a whole set of the trilogy, some bought the short story bundle, some immediately walked past as soon as they saw my books were about vampires. It was fun to chat with the people who stopped at my table. My husband, bless him, was a better salesperson than I’ll ever be and often could win people over to buy something. All in all, I sold over thirty-five books which was great! Here are some piccies with visitors and myself.

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In the afternoon, there was a raffle with proceedings going the Samaritans, and many fantastic prizes were picked up.

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The excellent prices of the raffle!

The doors to the signing closed at five and we quickly packed up. I put our names down for the evening ball, but we had a few hours to spare. We headed into the city center of Peterborough beforehand but unfortunately were a few minutes too late to enter the Museum of the Moon exhibition. Instead, we walked around the cathedral and learned about its architecture through the multiple information boards. When we got back to the hotel, I managed to fit in a quick nap before we headed downstairs for pre-dinner drinks. There were a magician and a photographer.

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Our table companions Katie and Ben. Sorry, Lou and John; your photo turned out blurry!

Sunday in Birmingham

The next morning we drove back to Birmingham to visit the Newman Brothers coffin museum. They actually didn’t make coffins there, but the furniture, i.e. the handles and metal plates that they put on the coffins, as well as the shrouds the dead are put in. We had a fun guide and it was interesting. After a quick bite, we managed to meet with a fellow author, Iain Pattison/Jay Raven, who is from Birmingham. Unfortunately, time was short and so was our meeting. We could have talked for hours. Birmingham is a beautiful city and I hope to be back there one day. Here are some photos from this beautiful place.

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Jay Raven and me

Getting Back

Our trip back home was less relaxed as the way to Peterborough. Our plane was delayed for an hour and once back in Aberdeen, it appeared that both the headlights of my car had given the ghost. The ride home hence was a bit of an adrenaline ride, tagging behind people who did have lights, but we made it home safe. All in all, what a ride! What a fantastic weekend!

 

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

Terri_Reid

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:

Email: author@terrireid.com

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

Pinterest

Amazon Author page:

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!



 

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


6 Ways to get your story written

You may know I run two writers’ clubs at the local library. One weekly one for adults and one monthly one for children. I had a great session with the kids again yesterday. They’re all girls, and some are born writers. I can’t believe how they absorb what I teach them like a sponge, and how prolific and creative their minds are.

The adults seem to have more problems putting pen to paper. Yes, they have more chores and responsibilities that take up their time. I don’t deny that. One lady, though, has a particular problem with writing stuff down (you know I’m talking about you, lovely lady X 🙂 ). I’ve tried all sorts to get her to write a full story, including the ending. This post is to share with you all the creative ways I’ve come up with to get a story written.

1. Set aside a specific writing time

cuvier-eAs adults have less spare time than kids, it helps to set a specific time aside for your writing. The adult writers’ club runs every Wednesday afternoon, so I set every Wednesday morning aside for my short story writing.

I’m lucky not to have to go to work every day, but if you do, you may have to get more creative. Get up an hour earlier or work later into the night when you’re family is still/already asleep. Perhaps you can get your story down during your lunch break or while you’re commuting by bus/train/walking?

2. Just ‘write’

Writing on Mountain Top_W700This is my way. Each week we pick a few keywords and write a story about them. As soon as I know the words, I usually already know the major direction my story will be going in. I don’t always know the ending. In fact, most of the time I don’t. I like to surprise myself.

It doesn’t matter how you write. It can be with pen on paper, or typed on your computer, laptop, or phone. Any which way will do. You could write it in the sand with the tide coming in. You could even record your voice. The thing is to not let the inspiration slip away from you.

It also doesn’t matter where you write. I sit at my desk, but I have a friend who stands at his desk. Desks are not a requisite, though. You could be sitting in public transport, or like I mentioned earlier, walking to work or walking your dog (obviously, you’d be recording your voice as writing while walking is rather difficult and, quite frankly, dangerous). Some people go on holiday to write and get inspiration. You could write your story on a mountain top!

Two years of writing short stories has given me the experience to write a full story within one thousand words, but this may not be the case when you’ve just started writing. The 5-Finger Pitch may possibly help you.

3. 5-Finger Pitch

Microsoft Word - 5-Finger-Pitch.docxIt can help to know more specific what you’re going to write, when you know the major characteristics of your story. We used the 5-finger method to do this, and these are the five points you need to know before you start writing:

  • genre
  • protagonist
  • goal
  • obstacle
  • twist

I learned this system during an online creative writing course and have adjusted it a little. I changed the last ‘finger’ into the twist part. I love twists. Nearly all my stories have a twist at the end.

4. Plotting

Plotting is fun for some
Plotting is fun for some

For some, knowing these five points is still not enough to get to the ending of your story. In this case, you may want to plot your whole story before actually writing it. There are a lot of authors out there that plot every little detail of their novel before writing one sentence. I did this for my third novel and didn’t like it. Like I said before, I like my characters to surprise me and take me into directions I haven’t thought of before.

Apart from the 5-Finger Pitch, you may also need to know the following points to get your story written:

  • Setting and introduction
  • Change of status quo (at about 25%, i.e. 250 words)
  • Reaction
  • Midpoint/Resistance (at about 50%, i.e. 500 words)
  • Action
  • Lowest point of MC (at about 75%, i.e. 750 words)
  • Climax building
  • Ending/Resolution

Knowing roughly where the major turning points in your story are help you stick to the one thousand words.

5. Snowflake method

The Snowflake Method of writing
The Snowflake Method of writing

The above method does require you to know the ending. If you can’t make up your mind on how to end your story, or keep changing it, maybe the snowflake method works better. With this method, you start with writing the whole story in one sentence. Then, you divide this one sentence into three, giving you the beginning, the middle, and the end of your story. Next, you divide these three sentences each into three, more detailed ones. And so one until you have a story of about one thousand words.

Yes, this forces you to know the ending beforehand as well, but also forces you to stick with it. Well, technically, you can change the ending as soon as you’ve split it up from the rest of the story, but you’re not supposed to!

6. Start at the end

When all of the above didn’t work for my writing buddy, I racked my brain on how to get her to write a full story. As endings are her problem, maybe starting with the ending was the way to go. So, for next week, we’re writing a story starting with the end.  It doesn’t matter how detailed or how far ‘back’ you go as it’ll always have an ending (which actually is the whole point of this post).

Next week’s story is going to be a murder mystery, so it’s going to be interesting!

Write Backward
Write backward

Now, I know these methods don’t address the character arcs or tension building, etc. But that were not the issue here. These are six ways for those who have a problem writing things down and getting a full story happening. You can work on the other stuff once you have words down on paper. Like they say; you can’t edit a blank page !

If you know of any other methods of getting your story written, please do let me know. I’d love to hear them, just in case No.6 also doesn’t work…

Meet the Author… Craig Wainwright

I met Craig Wainwright on Twitter (where I meet most of the authors I interview). He was talking about a big reveal and ramped the suspension up enough to peak my interest. I was dying to find out what he was talking about! His first book, The Lost Titan, launched yesterday, and Craig’s going to reveal his big secret in this interview, so quickly continue reading…

Craig Wainwright

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Biography

I’m normally a reserved, middle of the road, kind of  guy, whose always been geeky about Sci-Fi. When I got married, I warned Diane, my long suffering wife, that there would be three people in our relationship: me, her and the Doctor (big Doctor Who fan you see). Nowadays, the Doctor and Diane often pop out and leave me busily tapping away on the keyboard, only to return before I miss them – it’s a time travelling thing, I’ve been told…

Who is the most famous author you have ever met?

Terrance Dicks, Dr Who editor (from 1968 to 1974)
Terrance Dicks, Dr Who editor (from 1968 to 1974)

Terrance Dicks, by a long way. To date he is still the longest serving Doctor Who script editor there’s been (1969 – 1974), wrote some cracking stories for the TV series and then topped that by writing the lion’s share of the Doctor Who range of Target books. What a guy.

Of course, being a cheeky Doctor Who fan when I was younger, I thought it would be fun to invite him round to my house when meeting him at a signing. To my amazement he agreed. At the time I was a member of the local Doctor Who group and so I quickly organised a sponsored “Stay Awake” event for the visit. Terrance got the proceedings going, with an auction and stayed for a couple of hours afterwards to chat with us.

Then I asked the typical fan question: ‘What advice would you give to someone who wants to write a book?’ His answer was the obvious one, but it stuck in my mind because he’s such a lovely bloke. ‘Just write it,’ he said. Succinct, concise and to the point. The answer hit home.

We raised £600 for Cancer Research that day, and am proud of the fact.

What made you want to become a writer?

An urge to tell stories about characters which have lived with me since I was 10. I’ve needed to do this for a number of years and have had various failed attempts since 1989 to get the job done. The thought of dying before I’d managed to let everyone know about these wonderful characters and the situations they find themselves in, mortified me. Morbid I know, but it’s true, and since I’m not getting any younger, I knew I had to do it sooner rather than later to have any chance of getting book 5 written.

What do you love most about the writing process?

via GIPHY

That moment when a character says something and you think that they have suddenly just come alive during that moment. It’s a magical time. Then, as the book takes its course, these people go on their journey. You see them grow and, by the end of the book, after all the twists and turns in the plot, they come out different people – as anyone would. With my style of writing, with the plot driving things forward and not the characters, this development does add an extra dynamic which can enhance the story.

On the flip side, I hate writing the first draft. I find the whole process painful and really hard work. But after that hurt, building on the original draft, the process suddenly becomes enjoyable because it then becomes a time of discovery. This happened with Book 1, were several things happened in the first five chapters and by the tenth I thought, ‘There have to be some consequences here’, and so the court scene was born. One of my beta readers loved that scene, as I do, because the hero shows he’s not just a physically powerful individual, but also a clever one as well. A fact which will become more important as the series progresses.

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

The Last Titan, by Craig Wainwright
The Last Titan, by Craig Wainwright

That’s an interesting question because this series is multi genre: Book 1, The Last Titan, is Sci-Fi with a strong super hero facet to it, bringing in the fantastical element. Because I plan to the nth degree, I know Book 2, The Last Titan: Titan’s Quest, will leave Sci-Fi behind and become purely Fantasy, with large dollops of horror towards the end. Book 3 leans more towards Horror with Fantasy elements embedded within it. I see this as being a very dark book and only hope I can pull it off as Horror isn’t my genre of choice. Strangely, and having just said that, these books cry out for the darker writing to add to the growing menace. Book 4 will return to straight Fantasy again. That’s just series 1. Series 2 will be different again in structure and feel, but that’s a long way off…

Does your book have a lesson? Moral?

These books are about ten races of people who need one another to survive, for them racial tension never existed until one man brought with him intolerance and hate. With his coming terrible acts of violence followed. When such a scenario enters a society which seems utopian, we would often find a very fertile breeding ground for the evil to grow.

The motto, I suppose. is that we need to spot this type of person when they get into power and deal with them quickly. We don’t want another Hitler and we definitely don’t want another world war.

What’s the strangest thing you have ever had to research online for your book?

That’s easy. This was for Book 2, which I’m writing now, and it’s the melting point of Quartz. It starts melting at around 600c, if you’re interested.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

The overall process of research for the book has been mainly passive, since I’m quite well read when it comes to the history and literature of Ancient Greece. I spent a few nights researching the Chernobyl accident and got an understanding of how it happened and how the reactor was designed. It turned out in the end most of that research wasn’t used in the book. I also did quite a bit of research on Mauy Thai, since the hero is a an expert in the martial art. I checked out a few websites and bought a couple of VHS (yes VHS) tapes and sat down and watched them, taking a few notes.

Regarding much lighter research I spent a bit of time finding the right stars which might have Hellas orbiting them. They ended up being in Ursa Major and they’re a true binary system called Gliese 412. These stars are red dwarfs and one is much smaller than the other. However, every now and again this smaller star becomes much brighter than its neighbour, which fits beatifully with one of the background Mythos I’ve already written. I won’t say any more because I plan to bring the Mythos out as anthologies eventually. Maybe even bringing the first one out before The Last Titan 2.

What did you edit out of this book?

via GIPHY

Loads of stuff. The bulk of it centred around a narrator and two children who would ask him questions about the action in the preceding chapters. These guys discussed pertinent points which I felt needed further explanation but couldn’t fitted in the story any other way. This allowed me to bring in several background stories (one of which tied in with the end of the book beautifully). When I later looked at these sections, I had to admit they had become somewhat redundant as I grasped the mechanics of writing a novel and the need to save space added further reasons to chop these sections anyway.

Interestingly, there was also an alternative chapter 8 which introduced the character of Jimmy (a tramp) and it described Omicron (the female villain) conducting horrific experiments on his two friends. This was made redundant when Jimmy informs a character later on what he saw, and rather than taking fifteen pages to get this across it took three paragraphs to explain it instead. The chapter also had a very different version of Jimmy; he was a more crotchety character. I prefer the character he’s evolved into because he’s a much more approachable, comical character – to the betterment of the whole series I think. 

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

I like to leave little markers which might hint at what’s be coming: a little comment here, somebody saying something there. That sort of thing.

What are common traps for aspiring writers?

I think some writers maybe tend to accept their lot and don’t try to push for the best they deserve. My advice is to be ambitious and adventurous in your plans, be cheeky and ask the questions to get what you want when it comes to publishing and publicity. You don’t get unless you ask in this world, unfortunately.

From the above you can tell that I’m very ambitious, maybe more than my talent deserves, but I’ve known what I want from the start and I’ve pushed to get it. Sometimes it doesn’t work out, then other times it does and I’ve ended up doing business with some wonderful people who wanted me to succeed because they saw my drive and determination. Chris Grant (the voice over artist for the ad) put in an email to me: “So, go get’em Giant Killer.” A comment which sums up what I’m trying to achieve with this first book – break through and get established quickly. I dearly want these characters to be remembered and loved even. If I fail, well, at least I tried. If I succeed, then book 8 would most definitely be on the cards

The only other thing I can say is love your subject matter and let it draw you in. Some writers are mechanical in their execution of prose. Get involved with it. I’ve had a love affair with my characters since I was a kid and they’re so clear in my head now, they’ve become like old friends. If you are detached from the work, it’ll reflect in it and your characters will end up being distant at best and uninteresting at worst. Get into their heads, understand them, and the characters will write themselves.

So… what’s your big reveal?

As mentioned earlier, I have a book trailer/ad. Apart from promoting the book via an interview and review in Starburst (a British Science Fiction Magazine), followed by the ad in SFX (a British Science Fiction and Fantasy magazine) and Starburst for three months and a small ad on Doctor Who Online, it is also going to be… on TV! The book trailer will be shown on Sky1 and Syfy from August the 23rd for two weeks!

Craig_Wainwright_TheLastTitan.png

Wow! That is so awesome! I bet every writer is incredibly jealous now. I certainly am. You do dream big, and I applaud you for it! I wish you all the best with your launch, Craig, and hope your book sales sky-rocket!

Craig Wainwright’s book is available NOW on Amazon, and you can watch the trailer on his website. You can contact Craig through Twitter.


Meet the Author… Ken Stark

I’ve yet to read Ken Stark’s books, but I know I will… one day. Their blurbs stir something primal that makes you want to read them, to find out if the protagonists are going to survive or not. I’m pretty sure not all of them will… Meet Ken Stark, author of two zombie novels, a novelette about unspeakable horrors, and his new horror novel Arcadia Falls.

Ken Stark

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Biography

Ken Stark lives in Vancouver, Canada, where he worked in the armoured car industry for far too long before finally committing full-time to his one true passion. Ken’s writing tends toward the dark, yet through it all he remains an optimist, seeing a ray of hope in even the most dire of circumstances.

And yes, he once gave his lunch to a rat, but in his defense, the scruffy little thing looked hungry.

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

Ken_Stark_Stage3So many things! But the top two would have to be:

a) Get out and experience everything life has to offer, and

b) It’s perfectly alright to be disappointed, but don’t get discouraged. Good or bad, every experience a writer has adds more color to the palette, and every disappointment brings us one step closer to success.

But younger me probably wouldn’t have listened anyway. He was kind of a know-it-all.

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

When the time came to dedicate myself completely to writing, I knew I would love it, but I was surprised at how much I loved it. I expected it to be like satisfying an itch I was never quite able to scratch, but it was more like breathing freely for the first time.

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

I actually have nothing like a typical writing day. I might write for 10 minutes or 10 hours, depending on my mood and whatever else I have going on. I punched a clock for so many years that I never want to think of writing as a job. It’s my passion, and passion doesn’t stick to a schedule.

Pen or typewriter or computer?

Ken_Stark_AlphaI would be completely lost without my computer. My brain seems to work at the exact same speed as my ham-fisted typing, so the words have a way of flowing in a very natural rhythm. And of course, a computer makes editing a breeze. It’s hard enough chopping out all of those fine words without having to rely on erasers and White-Out.

Do you write alone or in public?

I’m always alone when I write. I’m sure I could get along just fine in a crowded room, but only if no one was allowed to peek over my shoulder. Tuning out the distractions is one thing, someone reading an unpolished work is another thing else entirely.

What is your favorite genre? Why?

I’ll read just about anything, but when I write, I prefer a good scary tale. Fear is the most fundamental of emotions, after all. Say what you will about love and compassion and caring, it was fear that kept our primitive ancestors alive in a violent world and let us to survive as a species. Whether you shy away from scary things or face them head-on to get that rush of adrenaline, we are all hard-wired to feel fear, and if I can tap into that most primitive of emotions for even an instant, it’s as if I’m kicking up a few million years of genetic memory. That’s a pretty awesome superpower to have.

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?

Ken_Stark_Arcadia FallsMy latest release is a break from the zombie apocalypse, setting the horror on a much smaller stage. Arcadia Falls is a town with a secret. People are going missing and no one seems to care, until one young man and his little band of misfits start to look into what evil thing might be preying on their town. I won’t tell you what they discover, but you know it ain’t Care Bears!

Does your book have a lesson? Moral?

It’s not so much a moral as an observation. As dark as my works are, the common threads running through them all are the simple act of hope and that ridiculously powerful force known as friendship. There’s never a time when all hope is lost, and a good friend in your corner can make all the difference in the world.

How did you come up with the idea for Arcadia Falls?

One day, I happened to ask my best friend’s teenaged daughter what kind of books she liked to read. Her response was, “Something scary, with a monster, and some kind of mystery.” From that barest of outlines came Arcadia Falls. It’s being marketed as YA because I kept the language cleaner than my usual, but that’s the only concession I made. And really, I did that more for the parents of younger readers rather the young readers themselves.

What has been the best compliment?

Ken_Stark_JittersI met a man named Chris Roy on the Deadman’s Tome podcast a while back. He is a writer, currently serving a life sentence in prison. He was interested in my books, so I sent him a few and he shared them around the cell block. Much to my amazement, several of those men took the time and effort to write a review by hand, photograph the piece of paper, and have Chris send me the pix. Understand that these are the kinds of guys who won’t hold back what they really think, and not only did they like the books, but they actually went through the trouble to tell me in those handwritten notes. That response simply blew my mind, and those reviews will always be very special to me.

Where can we find you online?

website,

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Amazon Author page

iTunes book page(s)

Ken’s books are also on sale at:

Barnes & Noble

Audible