#Interview with H. Schussman of El Tiburon. @RonovanWrites

Today I’m interviewing H. Schussman, author of El Tiburon, an action/thriller due to release on Dec. 31, 2015 and available for pre-order NOW! I’m not wasting time with my words, let’s get to hers.

The first thing I would like to do is ask, why the CIA and an action thriller?

Gee, that’s a hard question. I don’t know why I picked the CIA. It was a toss-up between them and the FBI. I’m glad I chose them though because the CIA has so many covert sub-groups. As for being an action thriller… well, that’s just how Sean and Sport are. Never a dull moment with those two. (I do have a book on the back burner, which is more of a family generational saga, so I have other genres.) I seem to be attracted to the intense fast-paced genre. I write like I’m creating a movie script.

In my review of El Tiburon, I talk about your creation of legitimate El Tiburon by H. Schussmanwomen roles, was there a conscious effort to make certain these woman remained women and not men with women’s names?

It wasn’t a conscious effort, no. Until you pointed it out, I hadn’t realized I was unique that way. I was raised in a police family. When I was in my teens I wanted to be a California Highway Patrolman like my father. I still remember my father telling me that men and women are heroes in different ways, but equally heroic. I guess I let my heroines be women, because they are.

You do hands on research. What does your husband think of a woman that knows how to handle guns and goes into crazy parts of the world?

As I answer this, my husband is at the shooting range. He asked me if H. Schussman, AuthorI wanted go, but I need to stay focused on this book release. I learned to shoot when I was five, and have always enjoyed researching firearms. I will go down to the range, and get brochures and handle guns to make sure I have a good feel for them. As for the traveling, he’s the ring-leader there. You’d be amazed at the crazy places he’s dragged me to. Both times we went to Guatemala, we stayed with local families in their homes for a month each time. We wandered the streets aimlessly looking for wine bars and new friends.

I’ve read that you and Sport McGee would be great buddies, what life experiences of your adulthood are found in Sport’s creation?

I suppose the fact that I work in a hospital as a physical therapist would put me in contact with the ‘Dr. McGees’ of the world. Maybe that’s why I de-glamorize her… make her more human.

I’m not quite as feisty as she is, but I’m not exactly a softy either. Like her, I like to work out and stay fit. As I stated earlier, I was a bit of a rough and tumble teen. My brother and I would physically fight fairly often while growing up, which endowed me with quick reflexes and a mean kidney punch. Her fight scenes are not far from my personal experiences.

On the intellectual level, I guess my mother and my mother-in-law both influenced my view of womanhood. They were both very intelligent and interested in politics and business. All in all, I think Sport would be fun to hang around with. I love her compassion and humor.

From what I can tell, you’re a seat-of-pants writer. You have a basic idea of what you want but the characters take over at some point. Can you give an example of a corner the characters wrote you into that you escaped?

Too many to count! I’m the ultimate scene critic. I can’t tell you how many times I just threw up my hands and said, “Come on you guys! Just kill the dude!” So then, I have to back up and justify why they H. Schussman, Authordidn’t kill off so-and-so while they had the chance. Or I just kill ‘em off myself and make Sport and Sean figure out what to do from there.

Who would you say is the one most influential person from your childhood that has an impact on your writing today? In that question, I mean as in your character development and interest, not so much writing style.

From my childhood, I’d have to say my father, Leo Schussman. He was my hero, but he’s really not any of my characters, oddly enough. I think he had a keen eye for crime. My Mom impacted my insight into character. She was incredibly creative and constantly made up stories. We called her, “Little Miss Adjective.” She would ask us to make up a story about some stranger at a diner to keep us entertained.

I mentioned in my review about the relationships in El Tiburon, are those aspects you were hoping for or side effects of the story itself?

They were natural side effects and often surprised me.

You mention the Guajeros* in El Tiburon, and in fact, they are a central part of it, are there things you are doing now, or ways you know of for people to help them? Also, tell our readers a little about them.

We have a church family in Guatemala City. I choose not to tell you who they are, as it could place them in danger with their government. The people group living inside the Guatemala City garbage dump are called Guajeros, or nicknamed the Cockroaches. Most third world countries have their ‘Guajeros’. This dump has over 11,000 people living there, inside the dump. 6,000 of those are children. At one point many years ago, a magazine article was written about them and their horrible living conditions. The humanitarian groups decried the situation, and the Guatemalan Government shut down all visitation from churches and relief organizations. They also built a wall between the garbage-homes and the garbage, so they could say the people didn’t live in the dump. Now outsiders need permission and an escort to go there.

The ways to help them are limited because of government suppression. One organization helping the Guajeros is http://www.safepassage.org/, A website describing the scenery is http://www.vice.com/read/the-basurero-is-burning-life-at-the-gates-of-hell-in-guatemala-city.

In this book, I allow them to come forth as strong characters, not pathetic wimps. I wanted to let the characteristics of ethics, honesty, and anger come forth in a real way. My desire isn’t to change them, but to allow ourselves to be changed by them.

Counterpart by H. SchussmanHow did you go from e-author to Vinspire Publishing author?

Smashwords is a great platform for getting your name out there. I made the decision to let my first novel, Counterpart (Sean and Sport’s debut), be a financial wash. I felt that having my book read was more important for a long-term career in writing. For that reason, I made it free for several years. I’ve had over 700 downloads, and 42 reviews at Barnes & Noble. I used that success to sell El Tiburon. I shopped around for a publishing company and loved Vinspire’s slogan; ‘Your Travel Guide To Adventure’. I researched the company and felt they would be a good match. I put a few of my reviews with my query and they accepted me. They are using my book to launch a new genre—Ethnic Romance.

I read where you used Operation eBook Drop** for promotion; can you tell us about how that worked for you with book promotion and audience reach?

Operation eBook Drop was proposed by Smashwords to its authors. I liked it because it helped our active duty military. They get books for free from any author who signs up for it. At that time, my book was a couple of bucks. I think it helped with sales. My books have a pretty strong military angle. There is no way for me to know who buys my book, but my blog ( dashingboldadventure.blogspot.com ) had a huge increase in foreign country page views. To this day, it will occasionally have more views outside of the US than inside. I have a strong readership in Russia and the Middle East.

You’ve written two books with these characters, the first being Counterpart, what are you working on now?

Pirates! Sean and Sport take a lesser role to Craig and a new character, Dan. Pirates is about modern day pirating starting off the west coast of Costa Rica and traveling to Italy. Right now, they are misbehaving and I can’t figure out what they’re doing. I may have to take over and rein them in for a tighter read. It looks as though this one is going to be my first non-conspiracy theory book… just good old-fashioned organized crime. But who knows?


One of the things I found surprising about El Tiburon was the story was different to me than what the book cover gave me the impression of. I ended up with a well paced thriller, squarely focused on the mission and not a man-saves-woman-and-then-sex or that chauvinistic vein of thriller.~Ronovan


Ms. Schussman is asking everyone possible to pre-order the book before the release date of December 31. All those orders will show up for that date and help make her book do great on the best seller’s list. (That’s what we all wish readers would do. It’s nice to have the best seller label to attach to a book.)


Connect with H. Schussman:

http://hschussman.blogspot.com/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6430632.H_Schussman



*https://youtu.be/O6SPy9qV1M4

**According to Smashwords, Operation eBook Drop has ended, although you may find articles out there which say to the contrary and do similar things.



About the Reviewer

Ronovan Hester is an author, with his debut historical adventure novel Amber Wake: Gabriel Falling due out in Valentine’s Day of 2016. He shares his life  through his blog RonovanWrites.WordPress.com. His love of poetry, authors and community through his online world led to the creation of a site dedicated to book reviews, interviews and author resources known as LitWorldInterviews.com.

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@RonovanWrites

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Interview with Award Winning Author Claire Fullerton @cfullerton3

Unless you’ve been hiding under a CPU and working on your own book, then you know how much I’ve enjoyed a book called Dancing to an Irish Reel by Award Winning author Claire Fullerton. But I made a mistake with that book review. And I want to correct that up front. I wrote the review too soon after reading the book and failed to give time for reflection and full comprehension to take place. I didn’t take it all in and examine all the nuances hidden within the story. Every day since then I’ve been working on some aspect of the Claire Fullerton Experience. Yes, I call time spent working with an author an Experience like that because it does not normally end with a review and/or an interview. There is a lot more going on in the background than anyone other than one of my authors knows.

During the Experience I realized just how much Claire put in her book and how much she put in to her book. The more I think about it, the more I love the book. I don’t normally dwell very long after a review and interview, I always have the next to go to and I have since. But this would had a truth about it, a realness that one connects with and it stays with you. But before I get too carried away, unless I’m already too late, let’s get to my discussion with Claire Fullerton, Award Winning author and #1  GoodReads Irish Romance.

Claire Fullerton Interview

Claire, for a book that finds itself at times falling into the category of Romance, I have to say I was surprised by what I found with keeping that genre in mind. Did you set out to write a Romance? Was that your goal?

I’m so glad you asked this question, Ronovan. Actually, “Dancing to an Irish Reel” is literary fiction, which is a genre that means true to life. It’s a story about those near misses people experience on the road to a love that endures. I can’t think of anyone I know who hasn’t been in this situation before; where all the variables of attraction are in play, while two people are coming to know each other, yet for one reason or another, they can’t seem to get it together. But there is always such hope, and I think new love is typically replete with uncertainty. There is excitement and high hopes, yet on the flip side there is unpredictability and attendant fears. Extending oneself in new love can be risky and can leave one feeling vulnerable. It’s my belief that most people experience uncertainty and doubt when in the throes of new love, it’s just a question of to what degree they’re going to admit it! This is what “Dancing to an Irish Reel” is about. This is also why this book does not fall into the romance genre, but it does explore the subject.

Actually when I was thinking about this interview and the book I thought of real life with those moments of almost romance, or more relationship to tell the truth.

I think so as well. This is why I gave the reader Hailey’s thoughts throughout this book. I’m fascinated by the way people will say and do things in order to project a certain appearance, while thinking something completely at variance with their words and actions. I wanted the reader to know Hailey’s personality as she made her way in rural Ireland; that she saw things from an American frame of reference for much of this book, yet as the story progresses, that frame of reference was changed as she came to understand the Irish culture. I think this is what people do in life: they tend to resist what is new because their mind is already made up, but if one allows themselves to be influenced, there is much to learn!

Dancing to an Irish Reel
Click Image for Amazon

The role of Hailey Crossan is a strong woman who knows who she is and what she wants. Where did those characteristics come from, as far as a model for her?

I love your use of the word role! I, too, see this book as a movie! You’ve just made my day! But seriously, and to your astute point, I know more women like Hailey Crossan than otherwise. When I consider all the close girlfriends, with whom I was lucky enough to grow up in Memphis, I realize they are all nobody’s fool. My mother was the same way. The women in my life have always been self-confident and self-reliant. They have a savvy, keen eye with regard to sizing people up. And the thing I’ve found with many of my friends is they rarely let on. They prefer to keep things close to the vest, so you have to know them for a while before you realize how aware they really are. This is how I wanted to write the character of Hailey. It was necessary that she was self- sufficient and sure of herself in order to move to another country without fear. She had to be able to hold her own in her new environment because she was a fish-out-of-water, so to speak.

I think your description of close to the vest fits Hailey well, now that I think about her. Cautious is another word that comes to mind. Recently I became a fan of a young man named Hozier, an Irish blues singer/musician/songwriter of about 26. I couldn’t help but picture him during my reading of Dancing to an Irish Reel. Did you have any images in mind, anyone in particular when you were writing Liam Hennessey?

Generally yes, but no one specifically. But I’ll use Hozier to make a point because the look of him is a good example; it is common in Ireland. There are many with dark hair and fair skin. And having lived in Ireland myself, I found the men to be subtle and beautiful, almost with a graceful, feminine quality. And those artistically attuned are the sensitive sort. This is what I had in mind when I created Liam Hennessey.

Oh, and one other thing before we move on, why that name, why Dancing to an Irish Reel?

Spiddal Pier Galway Bay Ireland
Spiddal Pier Shore Galway Bay, Ireland

In Irish traditional music, a reel is a tune that is circular; it goes back and forth and in and out in its execution, and to the listener it may seem unstable, but it is not. A reel has a plan! The title “Dancing to an Irish Reel” is meant to evoke this concept. It refers to the push and pull of the story and the search for stability. Hailey’s navigation of Ireland as an outsider and her sometimes off, sometimes on relationship with Liam Hennessey left her in the position of having to artfully manage a shifting tide, so to speak. She had to learn the ways of the Irish culture in order to live there inconspicuously, and the unpredictability of Liam Hennessey’s actions left her constantly searching for solid ground!

I’ve seen your handling of Ireland compared to that of one of Ireland’s most famous and beloved authors the late Maeve Binchy. When you see comparisons like that what comes to mind?

With regard to Maeve Binchy, because she was Irish, she handled Irish nuances effortlessly, as a matter of course. They were not unusual to her at all, but she reveled in their specific, unique quality. With regard to Ireland, she was in it as well as of it, yet able to stand back and observe the islands peculiarity in a way that celebrated its facets. I sought to do exactly this in “Dancing to an Irish Reel” because I carry a love and appreciation for the land and its culture. I find the Irish people earthy and authentic, unpretentious and in possession of a good perspective with regard to what is important in life. They place importance on quality of life and seem to me to accept life on life’s terms, as opposed to trying to manipulate their way through it.

When you were writing the book, was it an organic experience or did you have a specific outline in mind first? And whichever way, is that the same way you wrote A Portal in Time, your previous release?

Spanish Arch Galway
Spanish Arch Galway, Ireland

For both books, I had a point to make, as in something to say. I started with a premise as a statement then set about getting there via a story that unfolded. As for an outline, my process is very loose. I leave room for the story to tell itself, which is something best exemplified as I write dialogue. I never know ahead of time what the dialogue will be, yet I aim for information to be revealed. We learn about characters through what they say and what other characters say about them. In both books, I was mindful of the spirit of intention and had a loose outline of what was going to happen with regard to turning points. I simply held a firm impression of who the characters were to make the events in both books plausible.

Reading your book and the description of A Portal in Time, I get the feeling of your enjoyment of writing about past lives, mystical and spiritual elements. Is this something that comes natural to you, I mean as in the aspects of writing?

A Portal in Time Claire Fulerton
Click Image for Amazon

My introspection must be showing! In truth, I’m not completely decisive on the subject of past lives one way or the other, but I do love the mystery. Perhaps the idea of past lives shares a blurred line with genetic memory, who’s to say? If you consider the idea of genetic memory, what it basically proposes is that we carry the impressions and experiences of our forebears because they are past down to us through genetics like imprints. This explains inherited talents and proclivities in an understandable way. And if you look at, say, the Druids, they didn’t believe so much in past lives as they did in the transmigration of the soul, meaning we are souls gathering wisdom in this business of living on earth, but it takes many incarnations to accumulate something with staying power. We can’t just get it all in one lifetime, if the aim is enlightenment, i.e, perfection. And because it is an ongoing endeavor, the idea is we return to this earthly plane repeatedly, where we try on different hats. I think there is confusion over the idea of past-lives because it places importance on the experience of the human as opposed to the experience of the soul as it seeks alignment with the divine, however you choose to define the divine. But this subject is important, and it’s enough for me to be mindful of the question. I think Sting touched upon something beautiful when he proclaimed we are spirits in the material world, and I know he wasn’t the first to posit this, but he did make a proclamation that brought it to the public fore.

Everyone that’s read my review of your book knows I loved it, and that I suggested a sequel. We’ve talked about it and it hadn’t come to you as an idea until then. But you set it up so well with the tarot card reading of Hailey. Do you think maybe some of those outside forces were guiding your story during certain parts? Maybe they want you to take another trip to Ireland.

Actually, I have been back to Ireland since I wrote “Dancing to an Irish Reel,” and I plan on going again! As for going back to Ireland in a sequel, I never thought along those lines because “Dancing to an Irish Reel” is a self-contained story with a point to it, which is to say we make our choices in life and from them our lives are set on a consequential course. As of this interview, I am not ruling a sequel out. I’ll let Hailey decide.

Now let’s get something a little more personal. We have a lot in common. Southern. Music business. Location of living for a time. How does your time in the South influence your writing, and is that part of your heritage something that you think might have drawn you to Ireland?

Ireland and the American South share something in common, but do keep in mind that much of the American South was settled by the Scotch-Irish, so perhaps it is something inherent in the area. Both areas spawn terrific communicators in possession of the gift of the entertaining story. It is a cultural way of being in the world, and therefore something passed down to each generation. In both the South and Ireland, I’ve found extremely colorful characters, completely unabashed in personality. As for the South influencing my writing, all I can say is that I write as I think, from the internal monologue I have in my head as well as how I see the world. The South has clearly influenced this as an environment because it is my frame of reference.

What’s the most satisfying thing that has happened to you so far while you’ve been an author?

The writer’s life style. I write daily for one reason or another. It has transpired that with two books in the world and the dynamic that promotion brings therefore, that I am always writing something, and this is due to the affiliations my books have given me. Take for instance the Irish online community “The Wild Geese.” They’re a group of the most erudite, Ireland loving writers I’ve ever come across, all with the desire to communicate and share their love of the island. I contribute to this community regularly by writing pieces that appear as blog posts, but what they really are is a way to celebrate the business of what it means to be Irish! So there is that gift, but I have also spent the last two years writing my third novel, which has been a joyous process. Then, of course, I contribute to magazines. It seems I’m always writing something and sharing it, which to me is simply the high art of communication for its own sake. All this is my idea of fulfilling days with a purpose. Can’t get more satisfying than this!

Do you have a favorite line in Dancing to an Irish Reel?

Yes, it is this: “There’s a feel about Galway that you can wear around your shoulders like a cloak.” It is very true.

Thank you, Ronovan. This has been big fun! Thank you for supporting writers through your exceptional blog.

About Claire

Claire Fullerton AuthorClaire Fullerton grew up in Memphis, TN and now lives in Malibu, CA. She is the author of literary fiction, “Dancing to an Irish Reel,” which is set in Connemara, Ireland, where she once lived. She is also the author of “A Portal in Time”: A paranormal mystery that unfolds in two time periods set on California’s hauntingly beautiful Monterey Peninsula, in a little village called Carmel-by-the-Sea. Both of Claire’s novels are published by Vinspire Publishing. Claire is a three- time award winning essayist, a former newspaper columnist, a contributor to magazines including Celtic Life International and Southern Writers Magazine. She is a five-time contributor to the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” book series and can be found on Goodreads as well as the website under her name. Currently, Claire is writing her third novel, which is a Southern family saga based on her award winning essay in the 2013 San Francisco Writer’s Conference.

You can connect with Claire on Facebook and Twitter.

Get her books by clicking the book images above or clicking here for her Amazon Author Page.

Please share this Interview in order for Claire to receive as much support as we all may possibly give.



Interview by Ronovan

Ron_LWI

 

 

 

 

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An @COLLEENCHESEBRO INTERVIEW WITH @READEANDWRITE

Grab a cup of coffee or tea, and come on in and get comfortable. I am excited to share that I have Amy M. Reade, the author of, “Secrets of Hallstead House,” here with us this morning. First, let me share a bit about Amy so that you can get to know her. Amy reveals:

“I am an author of women’s fiction with strong elements of suspense and setting. A former lawyer, I now write in New Jersey. I have a husband and three kids, as well as two cats and a great Bouvier des Flandres (that’s a dog, for those of you who may be unfamiliar).

When I’m not writing, you will find me in the kitchen or the laundry room, but I much prefer the kitchen. I love to cook and share the things I make. I blog about writing and wine at http://amreade.wordpress.com. My website is http://www.amymreade.com.”

As many of you know, I love looking for free books on Amazon. Not to save money, but instead because many times the author is brand new and undiscovered. I love to read debut novels, and that is exactly how I found Amy Reade, through a free download on BookBub. She volunteered to write a guest post for me a few weeks back and I shared with her that I had just started reading her book. One thing led to another and here you have it, my interview with Amy Reade! Click here to read my book review of, “Secrets of Hallstead House.”

Author, Amy M. Reade

Colleen: Amy, please give us the title and genre of your book and a 30-word or less tagline.

Amy:
Secrets of Hallstead House is women’s fiction with a gothic feel to it.

Tagline: After moving to a private island in upstate New York to provide nursing care for an elderly widow, Macy must uncover secrets from her past before they destroy her future.

Colleen: How did you come up with the title of your book?

Amy: The working title was The Leaning Tree, and my editor and I felt the book needed a spookier feel to it. We discussed several options and decided that Secrets of Hallstead House had just the right amount of mystery.

Colleen: Amy, tell us about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image/artwork?

Amy: The cover art came from the Kensington Art Department. I like it because it contains elements of several of the homes in the Thousand Islands. It also has a darkness to it, and the churning water looks just like the Saint Lawrence River on a stormy day.

Colleen: So, what else have you written?

Amy:
The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor, which is also women’s fiction in a gothic style, was released in April, 2015. It is the story of Carleigh Warner, a restoration specialist who moves from Chicago to South Carolina when she is hired to restore an antebellum manor house, the family home of an old friend. The family disagrees over the future of the property and Carleigh is quickly swept into the tensions, which escalate to violence that threatens Carleigh and her young daughter.

I am also in the edits stage of my third novel, which is in the same genre, this time set on the Island of Hawaii (sometimes called the Big Island). Kailani, a sous chef, leaves Washington, D.C., to return to the Big Island, where she grew up. She lands a job working as a personal chef and is soon called on to deal with more than the job description called for, with a family in desperate turmoil and an unexpected and unwanted visitor from her past. Before long the secrets and the tensions in the home begin to build and Kailani must find the courage to stay and follow her heart.

In addition, I blog most Tuesdays at
http://amreade.wordpress.com.

Colleen: Where can we buy or see your books?

Amy: Readers can find both my books on amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, books.google.com, kensingtonbooks.com, amazon.co.uk, amazon.ca, and kobobooks.com.

Colleen: Please give us an insight into your main character. What does she do that is so special?

Amy: Macy Stoddard, the main character in Secrets of Hallstead House, is quite young when the story begins. She has suffered a personal tragedy that leads her to seek employment away from New York City. She has her own demons to face as she tries to help her patient come to grips with the deaths of her husband and daughter.

Colleen: What are you working on at the minute?

Amy: I’m plotting out a new series right now, and I’m working on the research for that.

Amy, thank you so much for letting us into the workings of your books. I always feel like I get to know an author better after learning more about the motivations behind their work. It has been a pleasure getting to know you.

Don’t forget, I love a good book! Oh yeah, guess what?

Amy loves to connect with readers!

Website: http://www.amymreade.com

Blog: http://amreade.wordpress.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/amreadeauthor

A @COLLEENCHESEBRO INTERVIEW of @REBIRTHOFLISA ABOUT THE MISTREATMENT OF ZORA LANGSTON

Silver and Lisa

 

 

 

 

I would like to introduce you to Lisa W. Tetting, the author of her first novel, The Mistreatment of Zora Langston, which can be purchased on Amazon. I have had the pleasure of getting to know Lisa for at least the last six months, as our paths seemed to cross often in the WordPress blog world. I have read many of her poems, insightful blog posts, and reviewed her debut novel, The Mistreatment of Zora Langston, which you can find here.

Mistreatment of Zora Langston

I was deeply moved by the main character in Lisa’s book, Zora Langston. Through Lisa’s writing, Zora tells her story with all the wisdom a nine-year-old girl could share.  The reader lives through her, and experiences what the child goes through on a daily basis.  I was visually shaken after the confrontation with Zora’s, mother’s boyfriend.

There is sexual abuse and violence portrayed in the book.  However, Lisa portrays this abuse realistically through the words of young Zora. This young child handles her circumstances with the grace and dignity of a true survivor.  I was drawn into Zora’s world.  I felt her pain and neglect, and her joy and sorrow.  All I wanted to do, was grab this child, hug her, and never let her go!

Interviewing Lisa about her book

 

 

I enjoyed this book immensely and wanted to find out more about Lisa and her inspiration for Zora Langston.  Here is what Lisa had to say:

Colleen: Lisa, please tell me something about yourself, so your readers can get to know you better. Where do you currently live?

Lisa: I am the youngest of seven children. I grew up in Eastern North Carolina and love being from the South. An introvert at heart, I am working on being more social. It was my dream to be a writer and after 45 years of living, I finally decided to stop being scared and do something I wanted to do. I currently live in Tampa, FL with the love of my life, my husband.

Colleen: Are you a full time writer?

Lisa: Yes, I write full time. I currently author my blog, Rebirth of Lisa, as well as freelance as a guest blogger on another site called, Thoughtful Minds United. I am currently writing another novel and a self-help book with tentative release dates slated for later this year.

Colleen: Lisa, what inspired you to write your first book?

Lisa: I have wanted to write since I was a child, but never felt confident that I could actually do it. I finally decided I would try my hand at living my dream.

Colleen: What is the message you want your readers to get from The Mistreatment of Zora Langston?

Lisa:  I want readers to know they can survive anything, as long as they have faith, and believe in themselves. They don’t have to end up doing the wrong things in life because something bad happened to them.

Colleen: Lisa, who is your favorite author, and explain what inspires you about their work?

Lisa: My favorite author is hard to pin down because there are a few that have influenced me, but if I must choose only one, I will say Maya Angelou. She was so uplifting and positive. She was not the classic beauty, but she was elegant and smart, and she made words sing. Maya Angelou was an amazing woman who was very open-minded, and in my opinion, the best writer to live during my lifetime.

Colleen: What was the hardest part about writing your book?

The most difficult part of writing my book was writing the sexual abuse scenes. I was never abused myself, but had to put myself in Zora’s place to see what it was like. It was emotional to say the least.

Lisa, thank you so much for spending some time with us all and letting us get to know you, and your inspiration for “The Mistreatment of Zora Langston.”

In addition, you can find Lisa on:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13650235.Lisa_W_Tetting

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rebirthoflisa

Twitter: https://twitter.com/rebirthoflisa/

Instagram: https://instagram.com/rebirthoflisa/

Email: rebirthoflisa@aol.com

Colleen_Silver_Threading

 

 

 

 

@ColleenChesebro

SilverThreading.com

 

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LWI list of #Adult #Fiction #Authors!

Check our the LWI list of Adult Fiction Author Interviews and find a Last Minute Gift or use your Gift Money!

Genres & Authors

Adventure

Detective

Drama

Fantasy

Neo-Victorian Gothic

Paranormal

Psychological Thriller

Romance (Contemporary and Otherwise)

Steampunk

Thriller

Urban Paranormal

The Author Interview: How, Why, What, Who?

I love to interview authors, publishers, illustrators, cover artists, proof readers, agents, editors. I think you get the picture. If they are involved with the book business then I want to talk to them. I’ve learned a lot as an author along the way and I’m taking notes as I go. I’m not here today to talk about those notes I’ve taken. All the interviews are there to read and I’ll likely compile a few things at some point, knowing me, and share them with you.

Today I want to discuss what Authors should do with an interview, and also how they should interview.

the_author_interview.jpgI’ve done research about how to interview. In other words, what questions should I ask. Well, I actually came up with my own questions after getting a feel for what was going on. I won’t get into my technique because it’s my technique. It’s not that I think it’s a great technique about what I do or how I do, but it’s mine and it’s changing as I write this.

Remember the purpose of the Interview

  • Profile Snap Shot Questions-Maybe 5 things about you.
  • Book Promotion such as Book Blog Tour-Let’s say, 10 questions mostly about your book.
  • Interview about you and your work-No real limit, minimum or maximum. But this is one that is more to give the reader a good impression of who you are personality wise and good detail about your work. This is the one that is to make them connect with you, become your friend, and become your book buying fan.

As I get into details here, just know these are my opinions. I have been thinking of these details for some time though so they are not just quickly put together for an article.

Each type of Interview will determine how you, the Author, might answer. The shorter the interview the more precise your answers and the longer the interview, the more conversational you want to sound. Looking at the number of questions I noted above for each type of interview you can almost see the urgency to be efficient in your use of words without straying off topic.

At the moment I do the Long Form Interview because I enjoy them, and I want every Author that wants an interview to have a good interview of length to turn to when an agent or publisher asks about publicity. And the long form is the type of interview I will discuss today.

For authors I have already interviewed I will be asking some follow up questions in the future for some short form blurb type posts to continue their presence here on LWI and to have one more item out there for their name to show up in when agents or publishers search for them.

What is your goal in a long form interview?

This really depends on the questions you are asked, what you have agreed to. My interviews are all encompassing.

My first piece of advice is-Read through all of the questions before you start answering, if this is an interview where you are sent the questions, such as the way I do it. I would like to do interviews differently in the future so they are more organic, but in truth, the email interview keeps things focused.

Reasons for reading all the questions first

  • You don’t want to include information one place that you will be including elsewhere. Yes, repetition is fine, but save yourself the headache of repeating yourself, and your interviewer from having to edit down for space limitations. LWI is my site. So I have no set limits, but the longer your interview the greater the possibility of losing the reader, especially with repetition.
  • You will get an idea of how the interview is set up and the flow of it and that might help you get into the mood of the interview.
  • This gives you time to think about the questions instead of that feel of needing to jump right in. For those interviewing with me there is no deadline. When I get the answers I then put them on the calendar for the next open date unless the Author has some date that is beneficial to them.

 What is my purpose as an interviewer when giving you certain questions?

  1. To discuss your book that has just been released or is about to be released.
  2. Note previous work
  3. Note the book you are working on for the next release
  4. Show your personality
  5. Show your professionalism
  6. Promote you

Those are not in any particular order. If they were, number 6 would be number 1. And know this when you hand over your answers to me I am going to take them and try to make you look like the most interesting person possible. Know that an interviewer edits. I don’t change words unless it is a grammar thing. And no, I don’t leave the wrong spelling in there and note it for the world to see. I even have someone on staff I can turn to that edits for me to make sure that we both look good. Of course I have to ask her to do it. But then she reads the interview anyway and I get these chat messages saying “Oh Ronovan, did you really mean to spell that word like that?”  “Oh Ronovan, are you really a grammatical idiot?” And yes, yes I am. I think proof readers and editors should be assured of jobs security.

In order to engage a reader I like to create a conversation.

But there have been times that it’s been impossible because I wasn’t given enough to use, so I simply put the questions and answers in an article and put it out there. However, there are some authors who give me what I need and help themselves. If you ask me for an interview, just know that the more you give me the better your interview will turn out. I don’t mean a book, but not one sentence answers either.

 When I send out my questions and the information email I suggest what one should do.

  • Answer the questions like you would in a conversation.
  • Have some fun.
  • Show your personality.
  • Be yourself.

For those who give me that I can create a nice interview. Again, I am not going to go into detail about what I do. If you read the interviews here on LWI you can see which ones really work. All give good answers. Don’t get me wrong. They all answer the questions with the right answers, it’s just that some loosen up and just put it out there honest and like they were talking to their best friend.

It might be that people are worried what they see will make them look bad or someone will use what they say against them. I guess you do need to watch out for that. I personally don’t do that. You can ask any Author I’ve interviewed and they will tell you I am as honest and trustworthy as you get and I’ll make you look as good as I can. Sometimes people will give an answer that I know just doesn’t sound right. I know it’s going to come across wrong. I’ll send an email asking for perhaps another take on it or I will just leave it out. My job is to make YOU look good. Regardless of if I approached you or You approached me for the interview, once we both say yes then my job is to promote you. If I do a hatchet job on you then why would anyone else want to interview with me?

How do you know what an interviewer wants?

Check out their other interviews. See what their style is. You don’t have to say yes if someone asks you.

Who to Interview With

I feel a bit odd answering this one, as I am an interviewer but in truth I am an author first. Check interviews, talk to authors they have interviewed if you have concerns. Most interviewers should be fine. But before saying yes check things out. Unless it is with me, just say yes.

How to get an Interview

You might be asked or you can ask someone who interviews. Some might have how to approach them on their site. I rarely get approached for interviews and to be honest it gets a bit exhausting searching down and approaching authors. But my goal is to help whomever I can, so the search goes on.

 What to do with the interview?

  1. Link to it on your own site
  2. Include it in any publicity packet you send to potential agents or other publicity opportunities
  3. Share it in Social Media. Let me tell you this. Don’t Tweet it to death. Use it once a day at the most and that should be around 12:30 New York Time. And have other things going on in between the Tweets. Also change up how you Tweet it with different wording. Why? People will start skipping over things that look like it and might miss a new Interview, a new book, or a sale you have running
  4. Use excerpts from the review. Meaning use quotes from the interview in some promotional way

Finally and Most Importantly

Come back to the person that interviewed you! If you were happy with them and they were happy with you, there is a promotional relationship there waiting to happen. I personally want to keep the people I’ve interviewed as friends. Currently I’ve interviewed 29 people that have appeared here on Lit World Interviews. At some point I intend to take time off from writing on LWI and check up on them, seeing what they are doing and checking all their sites for any new promotions. Although I encourage authors to let me know when any new promotion is going on, I know I will be forgotten. But I don’t forget, well I actually have Retrograde amnesia and Short Term Memory problems due to a concussion but hey, it just makes note taking that much more important.

 

Until next time, I hope this helps,

Ronovan

Ron_LWI

 

 

 

 

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The Gift of Charms @JuliaSuzuki_uk Q&A Read and you’ll want more of her.

the_gift_of_charms_julia_suzuki.jpg

“Julia has written a delightful story that touches on all the themes we were told were important when we were growing up- rising to the occasion in times of crisis, trusting yourself in times of peril, the things that make us unique are often the things that lead us to succeed, and that there is the possibility of greatness in everyone, even those that others think are hopeless.”-Brian Switzer-Amazon Review

“I have enjoyed reading this book for myself, I know my daughters will certainly enjoy it in a couple of years and until then, I can quite happily read it for them, knowing that there are no unexpected plot twists that will confuse them.”-Merissa (Archaeolibrarian) (Excellent reviewer ranking)

“This is a captivating tale for young readers, and interesting enough to feed the imagination of older fantasy readers as well.
It starts out rather slow, but once the little dragon starts training, the adventure and excitement continue through the rest of the book.
Entertaining and well written!
I look forward to the sequels.”-Amazon Review.

 

Why today’s guest? Why not, right? The book subject is just right. I can’t wait for my son to read it, hopefully over the holidays. British. Well, I do seem to be that British magnet. Serious about work and getting an author career off in the right direction. Well I can’t say much more without revealing . . .

Author

Julia Suzuki

julia_suzuki_author.jpg@JuliaSuzuki_uk

RW: You told me about two other famous authors, other than yourself, that come from the place in which you live. Share with my friends who they are and where that is.

JULIA: Erasmus Darwin; the philosopher, and Samuel Johnson; who invented the dictionary. I live in Lichfield in Staffordshire, England. Lichfield is in fact the smallest city in Europe but has many enchanting places to visit including a stunning Cathedral.

RW: And yes, the Historian in me just geeked a little bit there. Now what is your background in writing, what makes you a writer?

JULIA: I studied Creative Writing in my degree at University, and also took exams with The London School of Music in ‘Speech and Drama’, which included a lot of literature recital.

RW: Why do you write in the fantasy/adventure genre, what is appealing about it to you?

JULIA: I am really comfortable writing in a fairly simplistic tone and I find I engage with children easily. I absolutely adore fairy tales and adventure and feel at home in this genre.

RW: Why did you pick The Gift of Charms as the title of your book?

JULIA: The Gift of Charms is the first release in the series ‘The Land of Dragor’. This title just came to me — suddenly — and I felt it sounded magical and mystical which is exactly fitting for Dragor.

RW: Tell us a little about your your first adventure into ‘The Land of Dragor’.

JULIA: ‘The Gift of Charms’ is the introduction to the Land of Dragor series. Dragor is an epic place where the world’s remaining dragons are hiding from us humans and the dragsaur beasts. The novel is based around the main character Yoshiko, who undergoes many challenges at Fire School, and then discovers a hidden talent that leads him on a great mission and a new destiny…

RW: Tell us about Yoshiko and what you think will make him connect with readers.

JULIA: Yoshiko is tormented for being different and I believe many of us can relate to a time like this in our lives, when we may have felt we do not fit into a situation. Yoshiko is kind and has a huge heart, but because he is so sensitive he takes everything personally. However, underneath this soft exterior he has deep determination and grit. This zeal helps him to overcome obstacles and go from zero to hero. Many readers have stated that they enjoy sharing Yoshiko’s journey of development — that it is empowering when good wins through and to witness his hard work paying off…

RW: You said that relationships and personal challenges were the main catalyst for your The Gift of Charms, what other things were involved? And please don’t tell me it was because you mentioned that Tom Cruise would make a fab voice Yoshiko.

JULIA: I had been thinking back to the wonderful vintage books I had read and wishing there were more like this — but with unique and modern edge and interactive web presence. I knew first hand what parents were looking for when purchasing a book for their children, yet more than that, I knew also what they sought themselves. They wanted gripping action, loads of adventure — all the classic aspects of heroes and villains, mystery and magic, quests and suspense, and the hope of happy endings.

My desire was to create books with universal appeal, that were fantastical and ‘out there’ and yet still felt somehow real; to fulfill the expectations of book lovers and also hook non-readers back into reading. For me this had to be in the form of a series set in a place we would all be excited to visit and so the Land of Dragor came to be.

The most beautiful places that I had seen on my international travels were integrated into the setting of Dragor: the amazing mountains of Colorado, the great deserts of Palm Springs, California, the vast waters in the Lake District, and the seaside caves of Cornwall  — not forgetting the enchanting wilderness of Scotland. Dragor would be my ideal place to live — full of magnificent scenery, bursting with animals and nature’s magical trees, flowers and plants. Dragor is a place full of adventure, excitement and promise.

RW: Describe your book in one word.

JULIA: Enchanting.

To connect with Julia:

 @JuliaSuzuki_uk

Julia Suziuki-Author on Facebook

Register for the newsletter at www.juliasuzuki.com

Visit the dragor interactive cave www.thelandofdragor.com

 Julia Suzuki on GoodReads


RW: Who are your favorite authors?

JULIA: CS Lewis, Charlotte Bronte, Enid Blyton.

RW: What is your favorite beverage to drink, any kind?

JULIA: That has to be coffee — from Starbucks!!!

RW: What is your escape from writing when you are at that about to explode point?

JULIA: Movies — I love the cinema!

RW: What book are you reading at this time?

JULIA: I am reading Martina Cole’s latest thriller, which is about a guy who takes revenge on a man who upset his daughter. It is actually titled ‘Revenge’Martina is one of my favourite authors. Her work is very hard-hitting;  this is definitely not a book you would find put you to sleep!

RW: What is your biggest tip for someone to getting published?

JULIA: Be professional and follow guidance of the top people. Read books and articles that other have printed about getting published. Always stay true to your overall vision. Shut your ears to the nay-sayers.

RW: If you could have written any book that exists, other than your own, what would it be and why?

JULIA: ‘The Secret’ by Rhonda Byrne, because it has positive impact on millions of people’s lives — helping to eliminate negative thinking patterns can only be a good thing

RW: What is your favorite word?

JULIA: Eloquent!

 
http://youtu.be/uMPsWoJR4jI

Now you see why I asked Julia for an interview. She is really in to her story. We all write with some inspiration but some go that bit beyond and Julia has done that. I’ve checked out her sites and followed her everywhere. The idea of an interactive site is just, pardon this, awesome! Some very good ideas there. I can’t wait for her next book to come out. If you want a sneak peek, check out her newest Author photo. That isn’t The Gift of Charms cover from above and that’s not the same hair style we saw from Julia from above. Whichever book and whichever look she brings us, always remember . . .

Read a Book, Write a Review.

To Order The Gift of Charms

An important thing to note is that the books are only available to pre-order in America at Barnes and Noble.
However, it is available for INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING to the Untied States from the UK here: http://bit.ly/DragorChristmasGift 

julia_suzuki_author_new.png

Much Respect

Ronovan

Ron_LWI

 

 

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Q&A Sandi K Whipple Dancing with a Cowboy @whipsan

Dancing With A Cowboy

 

 

Reviews of previous work Loving Adonis

 

The happy ending is full of twists and surprises that I couldn’t foresee, and it made up for all the frustration.-Trish Jackson (Author) 4 out of 5 stars

 

I’ll tell you this was a very sweet but frustrating read but that is not a bad thing it this case. You have this amazing couple that fall in love with each other the minute they meet and yet they spend the entire book confusing each other because they are to stubborn to talk….Keep the tissues handy and enjoy a GREAT READ!-DD Gott 5 out of 5 stars

 

My guest today just kind of ended up being one of those finds. I liked what I saw so I asked her for an interview. It’s pretty much that simple. Okay, so I had to send the information and then received an okay. But now we have her and that’s what counts. So now it’s time to meet . . .

 

Sandi K. Whipple

 

 

RW:Where are you from?

SANDI: I was born in Waukegan, Illinois (Home of Jack Benny) but moved to California’s San Francisco Bay area as a teen. With the exception of time spent in the Military as an Air Traffic Controller, I spent most of my adult life there. I moved to North Dakota in June of 2000.

 

RW: Who are your favorite authors?

SANDI: Bari Wood, who wrote the Killing gift and Mrs. John R. Marsh, also known as Margaret Mitchell, author of one of the greatest love stories ever written, “Gone With the Wind”. A little trivia about her, the fame disrupted her way of living to a point that one day, in a fit of exasperation she said she was determined never to write another word as long as she lived.

 

RW:What is your favorite beverage to drink, any kind?

SANDI: I drink Vodka martinis or have a few beers when I go out (which is seldom), otherwise I like Cran-Rasberry juice or ice water.

 

RW: What is your favorite word?

SANDI: Are the honesty police nearby? I’m ashamed to admit it, “crap”.

 

RW: What is your background in writing, what makes you a writer?

SANDI: I guess I really don’t have a background in writing. In 2007, after major surgery, I was in a wheelchair for eleven weeks, and I was bored! I was reading two and sometimes three Romance novels a day. I shared my disappointment with a friend regarding a novel I read, and she suggested I write my own. So I did. And it kind of stuck.

 

RW: What is your escape from writing when you are at that about to explode point?

SANID: I watch one of my favorite movies on DVD. I have close to 1000, as well as 15 complete older TV series. (Kojak, Streets of San Francisco, FBI, Mannix, and more.)

 

RW: What is the title of your book and why did you choose that name?

SANDI: My current book is titled “Dancing With A Cowboy”. I was perusing stock book covers on the Internet one day, and I saw a cover that caught my attention. It had a make believe title on it, as most stock covers do, and I thought a book with that title would be great.

 

RW: What genre does your book fall into?

SANDI: Romance

 

RW: Why do you write in the genre that you do?

SANDI: I’ve been reading Romance stories and books since I was ten years old. (A very long time ago!) I’d steal my mother’s True Confession magazines, now owned since 2012 by True Renditions LLC. (After being sold several times since it started in 1922.)

 

RW: Tell us a little about your book.

SANDI: Lucy Baumgardner, working partner in a law firm in Philadelphia, works too hard. So says the senior partner, who just happens to be her father. When she’s forced to take a two week hiatus, she assumes two weeks of pedicures, massages, and poolside relaxation with a glass of wine won’t kill her. But things aren’t always what one expects.

To her horror, city girl Lucy ends up stuck on a working ranch with no phones, cell service, or WiFi. Her acute shock dictates she will NOT play cowgirl for two weeks.

Lucy’s a well educated, quick witted, observant young woman who, for the first time as an adult, finds herself in a position that she isn’t in control of. Stace, the ranch owner, whose carrying some heavy baggage after being hurt in the past, finds Lucy comical, and oh yeah, beautiful!

As a relationship develops, it comes to light that a few guests aren’t on the ranch to play wanna-be cowboys. Trouble is brewing, and they’re behind it.

As an attorney, Lucy jumps right in to find out what’s going on, and Stace let’s her take charge of the situation. When the problem is solved, for fear of getting hurt again, he foolishly shows his gratitude by sending her away!

I wrote this book, and I laughed out loud while writing some of the comical things Lucy does and says, and I even found myself looking for the Kleenex box.

 

RW: What inspired the book?

SANDI: A mixture of 2 pictures I saw on the Internet.

 

RW: Tell us about your main character(s) and what you think will them connect to readers.

SANDI: Lucy’s an educated and independent woman who above all is no quitter! No matter what! I think since the late sixties, and even still today, women who are strong and independent, yet still sweet and feminine, are the survivors of romance.

 

RW: Who would play your main character(s) in a movie?

SANDI: That’s a ‘tuff’ question. I’m thinking maybe a Sandra Bullock type?

 

RW: What message do you think your book delivers to the reader?

SANDI: If you truly love someone, a sad romance, doesn’t necessarily have to end sadly.

 

RW: What did you learn about yourself from writing this book?

SANDI: That I have a sense of humor. Or so a friend told me.

 

RW: Describe your book in one word.

SANDI: Entertaining!

 

RW: Where can we get your book now?

SANDI: After October 15th Smashwords for eBook, and Amazon, Createspace, and Barnes and Noble for paperback.

 

RW: What other books have you written?

SANDI: Loving Adonis and Twisted Engagement

Loving AdonisTwisted Engagement

RW: How do people connect with you through all forms of social media?

SANDI:

Reader and Writer of Romance

www.sandikwhipple.com

www.lovingadonis.com

www.twistedengagement.com

www.dancingwithacowboy.com

Facebook ~ Loving Adonis

Facebook ~ Twisted Engagement

 

GoodReads

Linkedin

 

RW: Do you currently have representation? If so who, and if not describe what qualities you would like in an agent and what you would bring to the relationship.

SANDI: NO! At this point, after so many depressing rejection letters, I’m not sure. I even received a response from an agent telling me, successful, willing agents, are few and far between, and unless I’m a Nora Roberts, not to hold my breath. But even if I could find and agent with tremendous connections, I might question what they would do for me that I can’t. I arranged an appearance on the local CBS affiliate for a live interview, and plugged two, not one book. I arranged and advertised a surprisingly successful book signing. I made certain both local newspapers ran articles about my books. Am I getting rich? No. Am I selling books? Yes, and more than I anticipated.

 

RW: What are you working on right now?

SANDI: A romantic suspense that takes place in Maine.

 

RW: What book are you reading at this time?

SANDI: The River Maiden by Meredith R. Stoddard.

 

RW: What is your biggest tip for someone to getting published?

SANDI: Do your homework. Unless you can afford to get ripped off for a lot of money, let the website “Preditors & Editors” become your bible. I speak from experience! And learn whatever you can about MARKETING! It’s a never ending process. Even if you’re fortunate enough to land an agent, you’ll still be expected to market, publicize, advertise, and sell your own books! It’s a never ending process.

 

RW: If you could have written any book that exists, other than your own, what would it be and why?

SANDI: Gone With The Wind, because it’s a real heartwarming love story that has you hating, loving, and pitying the hero! The romance and love stories of today are expected to have the HEA! (Happily Ever After)

Military Air Traffic Controller to romance writer. That one kind of blows my mind just a little. But in an awesome way. Who would think that I would ever write romance myself? (Hopefully no ex-girlfriends are reading this.) I want to thank Sandi for joining us for an interview. And I want encourage all of you to guy her books, follow her where you can online.

And one last thing: Whenever you read a book, write a review.

 

Much Respect

Ronovan

 

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Q&A Shannon A. Thompson of Take Me Tomorrow @ShanAshleeT23

takemetomorrowTake Me Tomorrow

Shannon A. Thompson

 

5.0 out of 5 stars  An exciting YA dystopian novel-Elaine Jeremiah
“This was an exciting, intriguing tale. In the dystopian world Sophia, her family and friends are living in, there is a war on between the State who control the various regions in this post-modern America and those who use and promote a clairvoyant drug.”

4.0 out of 5 starsEnticing, mysterious dystopian!-Jen @Star-Crossed Book Blog

“This was truly a unique read! I love my dystopian worlds and while some can blend together, that definitely wasn’t the case in Take Me Tomorrow. The elements of the storyline were enticing and the mystery of all of the unknowns kept me flying through the pages. The little hints of romance were innocently sweet and what blossomed from it left me smiling. And the ending of the book left me completely dismayed (but in a good way)! I can’t even start to imagine where they can all go from here!”

4.0 out of 5 stars A YA novel unafraid to address grown up issues-Allie Potts

“The book’s premise hooked me right away. Set in a realistic future featuring extreme immigration control and harsh anti-drug policies, a teenager named Sophia Gray’s sheltered world is turned upside down after a chance meeting with a stranger in the woods. This stranger has ties to a risky drug believed to provide users with the temporary ability to see everything all at once, including the future. While users are potentially endangering their own lives by using the drug, it is the government that is the most threatened by its existence. The novel asks you to answer the question, what is more important security or freedom?”

 

 

I want to say my guest and I have followed each others blogs for some time now. I mean she’s an author, I think authors are cool, so of course I followed the author lady. That of course meant that when I decided to start this site I wanted to interview her and amazingly enough she said yes. I am surprised with each person that says yes, but especially those who have several books out. Now it’s time to meet . . .

Shannon A. Thompson

pic1 

 

RW: Where are you from?

SHANNON: I’m from the road. Even though I’m only 23, I have moved 15 times in my life. I’ve lived in Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Georgia, and on the Kansas-Missouri border, so I don’t really have a hometown. It’s hard for me to stay in one place for too long. Traveling is when I feel at home.

RW: Who are your favorite authors?

SHANNON: Jack Kerouac and Edgar Allan Poe are my favorite traditional authors, but I absolutely adore Meg Cabot, Cassandra Clare, Lauren Oliver and Lynne Ewing in the young-adult market. I’m also a huge fan of the poet, Billy Collins.

RW: What is your favorite beverage to drink, any kind?

SHANNON: Coffee! I’m such a coffee addict that I just cannot go a single day without at least one pot of coffee. I’ve actually been drinking it regularly since I was twelve. I am not a fan of chocolate, so I didn’t like having hot chocolate in the winter mornings to keep me warm, so my father thought it was a good idea to give me his leftover coffee. Been hooked ever since. The funniest moment was when my middle school teacher realized what I was drinking every morning, but that’s another story to be told. I’m actually drinking a coffee right now.

RW: What is your escape from writing when you are at that about to explode point?

SHANNON: Writing – I know that sounds like a contradiction, but I have many types of writing. I write young-adult novels, but I’m also a poet, and I work on numerous books at a time. If I’m stressing out about one, I just skip over to something else – something that I don’t have to worry about – and if I don’t want to write at all, I’ve been known to hop in the car and drive without a destination in mind. The road is a comforting place. Unless you’re short like me driving into the setting sun. Then, it burns.

RW: What is your favorite word?

SHANNON: Midnight – I am a night owl, practically nocturnal, and the single word reminds me of how calm everything is late into the evening when everyone else is asleep.

RW: What is your background in writing, what makes you a writer?

SHANNON:  I’ve been writing as long as I can remember. In fact, my mother taught me to write in order to cope with my night terrors as a child, but she – unfortunately – died very suddenly when I was eleven, so I began chasing a serious writing career after that. My first novel was published five years later, and since then, I’ve had four novels, two short stories, and a collection of poems published all around the world, including a Norwegian magazine. I also studied literature and creative writing at the University of Kansas where I graduated from in 2013.

RW: Tell us about why you chose Take Me Tomorrow as the title of your novel?

SHANNON: Take Me Tomorrow is my latest novel, and the title created itself. About halfway through the story, one of the protagonists talks about tomorrow and what it means to them, but explaining it too much might give away parts of the story. The novel is a young-adult dystopian tale about a clairvoyant drug. When citizens can see the future, it changes how everyone lives in the present and remembers the past, so time is a huge factor in both the story and the title. The drug is also called “tomo” and everyone believes it is a nickname for “tomorrow” but it isn’t. ::wink wink::

RW: What genre does your book fall into?

SHANNON:  Young-adult dystopian.

RW: Why do you write in the genre that you do?

SHANNON:  I write in many genres, but I currently only have young-adult, paranormal romance, dystopian, contemporary, military, and poetry published. Whew. I thought that list would be shorter when I started, but – as you can see – I love writing in various styles. I look at it this way: I love reading numerous genres. Why would I only write in one genre?

RW: Tell us a little about your book.

SHANNON:  Take Me Tomorrow is a young-adult dystopian novel about a clairvoyant drug, but sixteen-year-old, Sophia Gray, has other problems to deal with. Her father runs an illegal forgery, and her best friend is caught up in small crime, and that is not even the end of it. When a mysterious boy shows up in her backyard, Sophia has to decide whether to fight for a tomorrow she cannot see or sacrifice her loved ones to the world of tomorrow.

RW: What inspired the book?

SHANNON:  Take Me Tomorrow deals with many sensitive issues within society, including drug abuse, addiction, and immigration. I decided to write about these topics mainly because my mother was a drug addicted, and it ultimately killed her. I spent many years researching drugs, and that research developed itself into this novel. I actually wrote an article about this if you want more details: http://shannonathompson.com/2014/07/18/why-i-write-about-immigration-drugs-and-addiction/

 

RW: Tell us about your main character(s) and what you think will them connect to readers.

SHANNON:  Sophia Gray is strong, stubborn, and willing to do anything to help her friends and family, but she’s also human. Her anger can get the best of her, but she doesn’t let anyone try to stop her from doing what she thinks is right. Noah, on the other hand, is rather forced into doing things, and everything has slowly broken him down. He’s a very complex and damaged character, but when the two come together, a dark serenity clears the tension around them.

RW: Who would play your main character(s) in a movie?

SHANNON:  I would beg, beg, BEG for an open-casting call. I wish Hollywood would do that more often for two reasons:

  1. It gives new actors and actresses a chance at participating in a large project

  2. (I think) Viewers can believe in the characters more when they haven’t seen the actors everywhere before.

RW: What message do you think your book delivers to the reader?

SHANNON:  As much as Take Me Tomorrow deals with sensitive topics revolving around drug abuse, I strived to stay neutral to the topic, and so far, many readers have reflected that in their reviews. The message is completely up to the reader, and I wanted it to be that way because society is that way. These things are not black and white. These moments are always gray.

RW: What did you learn about yourself from writing this book?

SHANNON:  After it was all written, I think I realized how much of my personal life I have slipped into the story. Sophia is very much like me when I was sixteen years old. She has a knife collection. (Something I do, in fact, have.) And she finds peace in a forest that she checks with her dog, Argos, who she loves very much. That was practically my life. I had acres I had to watch over, and my husky and I spent hours out there. Writing about it brought many happy memories back, but writing about the drug use was also very hard. When my mother first died, I never told anyone how it happened. I just avoided explaining it. But after many years passed, I slowly dealt with the fact that she had been addicted to drugs, and writing allowed me to explore a lot of those emotions. There’s a moment in Take Me Tomorrow where Sophia looks at Noah and states, “I could handle his drug-induced state. His sober state was more terrifying.” This line has been pointed out by readers, and I think that’s because it’s uncomfortable and true. Not for all situations, of course, but for some people who’ve had loved ones addicted. Sharing those moments can be scary, confusing, disheartening, and honest.

RW: Where can we get your book now?

SHANNON: Take Me Tomorrow is available everywhere – Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Apple, etc.

RW: What other books do you have to share with us and can you tell us a little about them?

SHANNON: The Timely Death Trilogy is an award-winning, paranormal romance, and it is also available everywhere. Minutes Before Sunset (book 1) explores the world of lights and shades, creatures that live among humans as humans, and two characters – Jessica and Eric – tell the story of two destinies and one death. Book 2, Seconds Before Sunrise, is also available, and Death Before Daylight, book 3, is releasing in January of 2015.

RW: How do people connect with you through all forms of social media?

SHANNON:  I am mainly found on my website – ShannonAThompson.com – where I talk about reading, writing, and publishing. We are so close to 18,000 followers! But I love connecting with anyone and everyone, so I am also on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Wattpad, Instagram, and more.

 

RW: Do you currently have representation? If so who, and if not describe what qualities you would like in an agent and what you would bring to the relationship.

SHANNON:  In 2012, I was signed by AEC Stellar Publishing, Inc., and they’ve represented The Timely Death Trilogy as well as Take Me Tomorrow. My poetry was published by LALUNA magazine and Kansa Publishing, and my short story was in The June Project. My first novel was done by Golden Eagle Publishing, but I’ve gotten my rights back, and I plan on re-releasing November Snow in November of 2015.

RW: What are you working on right now?

SHANNON:  For publication, I’m working on my content edits for Death Before Daylight, book 3 of The Timely Death Trilogy, and November Snow. I have other works pending in various stages of publication, but I don’t like talking about them until they’re coming out – I’m a very superstitious person, and I always feel like I’m jinxing it if I talk about it with anyone but beta readers.

 

RW: What book are you reading at this time?

SHANNON:  One of my jobs at AEC Stellar Publishing, Inc., is pre-reading novels before release, so I’ve been reading two novels we’re releasing – The Stars Are Infinite, book 2 of The Stars Trilogy, by Amber Skye Forbes and The Pandora Chronicles by Ryan Attard.

RW: What is your biggest tip for someone to getting published?

SHANNON:  Research and research some more to make sure the path you take is the best one for both your novel and your goals. Traditional publishing, small press, and self-publishing all have pros and cons. Understanding those is key to achieving the type of publication you dream of.

RW: List links to all websites you have and social networks such as Twitter.

SHANNON:

There you have it all folks. Everything you need to know about Shannon. Below you will see her book trailer for Take Me Tomorrow, enjoy it. I once again thank Shannon for agreeing to join us today. I just cannot believe the generosity of the Literary Community in starting this site off in such a great way.

 

Much Love & Respect to You All

Ronovan

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Q&A P.S. Bartlett-The Blue Diamond: THE RAZOR’S EDGE @PSBartlett

Reviewed by Michelle Stanley for Readers’ Favorite
“It’s not often I read stories about female pirates and I am impressed with The Blue Diamond (The Razor’s Edge Book One). P.S. Bartlett writes an entertaining novel that offers great action, adventure and witty dialogue. The personalities of Ivory and her cousins are complex, but I easily connected with them. These are independent, free spirited women with lusty appetites, especially Miranda. Their sense of humour shines through any situation they are placed in. I liked this romantic story which includes some historical data to make it appropriate for that era.”

*This Book Was Given To Me By The Author In Exchange For An Honest Review* Amanda Masters of Nerd Girl Reviews 5 out of 5 Stars
“Great Story! full of adventure and pirates! P.S. Bartlett is a wonderful storyteller and her characters are full of life and woe and they go from ship to ship plundering and pillaging. I found myself caught up more and more by their story as I got to know more about them and I can’t wait to read more! These are some of the mose interesting pirates I have come across in a long time!”
Kindle Ninja 5 out of 5 Stars
“There’s a feisty pirate at sea and she’s not to be messed with. Swashbuckling Ivory “Razor” Shepard, with three of her equally fearless female cousins, set sail to escape the manhunt, err femalehunt. Forget damsels in distress, you won’t find them in here. Instead, you’re treated to a rampaging story dressed up in the trappings of pirate lore.”
 ps-bartlett

 The Blue Diamond: THE RAZOR’S EDGE

 

History, adventure and a touch of romance. Is there any wonder why I wanted to interview my guest today? Veteran of several novels and a great conversationalist, I might add, P.S. Bartlett was a must as soon as I met her. So now without any more words, meet  . . .

Author_Photo

 

RW: Where does a Pirate Adventure Romance author live?

P.S.: I was born and raised in Baltimore, MD. I grew up in a corner row home in South Baltimore. Now they call it Federal Hill but when I was growing up there, Federal Hill was just a big hill overlooking the inner harbor where we rode our bikes and went sledding because the hills were awesome. It is also a national monument.

RW: Why do you write about Pirates?

P.S.: I love history. I love doing research and learning something with each book I write.

RW: Where did the title The Blue Diamond – The Razor’s Edge come from?

P.S.: The reason for choosing that name is simple; the book is about a big blue diamond. The Razor is the main character and the Razor’s Edge means…well, you’ll have to read it to figure that part out for yourself. 😉

RW: I did read it but I won’t give the reason away. Tell those that haven’t read the book what The Blue Diamond is about.

P.S.: The best way I’ve found to describe it in a simple way is: Charlie’s Angels meet the Pirates of the Caribbean. However, here is the blurb: Ivory Shepard didn’t want to be a pirate when she grew up but she didn’t plan on being orphaned and alone at thirteen with her three cousins either.

RW: Ivory and her cousins were basically orphaned after a Spanish raid, that’s not giving away anything of the story, what happens next that ends up leading them to lives as pirates?

P.S.: Ivory held her cousins together, trained them to fight for their lives and led them to a life of quiet refuge on the banks of the Ashley River. Out of reach of the hands of unscrupulous men, they found life on the farm a tolerable substitute for the traditional alternatives life would force onto them—until the night the pirates showed up.

Setting foot on that first pirate ship was nothing compared to the life of freedom and adventure awaiting them, once Ivory and the girls were through playing nice. Only one man believes he can stop her and he won’t need a ship full of guns to do it.

If it were only that easy…

RW: Is it ever that easy when romance is involved? Tell us what inspired the book?

P.S.: Who knows where my crazy ideas come from, right? I love pirates, adventure and stories about powerful women. I mushed them all together and this is what came out my head.

RW: Ivory and the man Maddox Carbonale are the main, I guess I will say love interests, protagonists in the book. In my review I referred to their relationship as similar to Rhett and Scarlett from Gone with the Wind. Two leaders, strong willed and strong minded who meet and fireworks begin, tell us about them and who else we’ll find in The Blue Diamond-The Razor’s Edge.

P.S.: Ivory is strong, proud and capable but she is also wounded deep inside. She’ll kill or die to protect her family—and has. Fortunately, she and her cousins are survivors. All four women are completely different but I believe they represent women of every century.

Cassandra: The voice of reason and logical thinking.

Miranda: Passionate, willful and loving—and perhaps a bit promiscuous.

Keara: Stern and matter of fact. She’s small but she’s a spitfire and true leader.

The male protagonist is Maddox Carbonale. He is a rival captain and an interesting man. He enjoys the finer things in life, even if he does steal them. He reads Shakespeare and isn’t the sort to engage in down and dirty deeds.

Alphonse Green is Maddox’s Quartermaster and best friend. He’s a native Jamaican and is both Maddox’s right hand and his conscience.

RW: Describe your book in one word.

P.S.: Fearless!

RW: The Blue Diamond-The Razor’s Edge is your first trip into Adventure, but you’ve written two other books, one that has actually won a few awards. Tell us about them.

P.S.: My first two novels: Fireflies and Hope From the Ocean are the first two books in a series about the Whelan family. They are an Irish immigrant family. Both stories take place in the 19th Century and have paranormal elements and tell quite a bit of the family saga.

RW: You failed to mention the Reader’s Favorite Awards for Fireflies. But I just did so we’ll let it go for now. So being a pirate lady, is your favorite beverage rum with gunpowder in it like Blackbeard?

P.S.: Coffee—the darker roast the better. No sugar but I love sugar free flavored creamers of pretty much any kind.

RW: What did you learn about yourself from writing this book?

P.S.: Besides the fact that I can write an awful lot, I suppose that I really am living out some great fantasies through my writing.

RW: What are you working on right now?

P.S.: I am currently writing book three in the Fireflies series and preparing to launch The Blue Diamond.

RW: Tell us about your publishing as it stands right now.

P.S.: I am currently with Ravenswood Publishing but down the road, I would hope an agent could be a possibility. Obviously I want to be a bestseller some day and I know someone is going to have to sell my books up the chain. Right now, I’m very happy with Ravenswood and the owner, Kitty Honeycutt. She’s been a fabulous advocate for my books.

RW: What is your biggest tip for someone to getting published?

P.S.: Write the BEST possible book you can. Learn as much as you can about the publishing industry so you can make the right choices for yourself.

RW: Sometimes our stories or our characters just don’t cooperate with us and we want to tear our hair out. What do you do to let that go?

P.S.: Playing with my three granddaughters or just hanging out chatting and having fun with my girlfriends watching a football game.

RW: What book are you reading at this time?

P.S.: I’m finishing up the first book in the Outlander series. I’m hoping to read book two by Christmas. When you work a full time job, write, have a family, grandchildren and husband, finding precious time to read is a blessing.

RW: Who are your favorite authors?

P.S.: If I’m going way, way back, I’d have to start with the master himself, Stephen king. I loved horror and after I read Carrie in middle school, I was hooked. I also love Anne Rice, Jane Austen and in high school, I was obsessed with William Shakespeare.

RW: If you could have written any book that exists, other than your own, what would it be and why?

P.S.: Gone with Wind. I don’t know why. I suppose because it is a masterpiece of historical fiction.

 

How to acquire P.S. Bartlett’s books at Amazon!

The Blue Diamond-The Razor’s Edge

Fireflies

Hope From the Ocean

 

Where to find P.S. Bartlett online:

Web Site

Twitter

Facebook

Goodreads

LinkedIn

Pinterest

PUBSLUSH for Blue Diamond

 

 

The Blue Diamond-The Razor’s Edge Book Trailer

 

 

 

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Q&A w/Cyril Bussiere of The WorldMight @cyrilbussiere

new-cover-sept-2014-4

“The writing is utterly descriptive and sensory oriented and it really gets you to experience what the characters are going through.”-Dan

“This book is set in a fantasy land, and Bussiere does a fantastic job at painting a scene. You instantly fall in love with the characters, and the character development is phenomenal. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fantasy fiction.”-Alyssa from Lubbock, TX

“Spell binding. I didn’t want the book to end. In The WorldMight Cyril Bussiere weaves together a world of fantasy and the deep, complex questions of life. The characters are wonderfully and fully drawn.”-V.C.

 ~~~

I’ve known Cyril Bussiere for some time now. He’s a guy with a great sense of humor but who is way to smart at times. Sometimes you just wish he could stop thinking, but you know it’s not going to happen. Cyril did an interview with me back when I first started doing them but now we have a new one about his book The WorldMight and of course a little about the man behind it.

Now it’s time for you to meet . . .

Cyril Bussiere

copyright_Cyril_Bussiere_All_Rights_Reserved@cyrilbussiere

RW: Tell everyone your interesting path to where you currently find yourself?

CYRIL: I was born in Avignon, France and spent my youth in Marseille, Provence by the Mediterranean Sea.

Cyril Journey

After high school and a brief stint in Med School, I left for the US. There I got my B.S. in Biology from the University of Utah and then my PhD in Microbiology from the University of Texas at Austin.

RW: Who are your favorite authors?

CYRIL: Tough one, among a good fifty, the ones that marked me the most are Kazantzakis, Nietzsche, Stephen King, and Emile Cioran.

 

RW: What is your favorite beverage to drink, any kind?

CYRIL: A light beer like a Shiner or a Blue Moon. But they don’t last long.

 

RW: What is your escape from writing when you are at that about to explode point of overload or writer’s block?

CYRIL: Something mindless. Right now I’m getting back into classical guitar after a five year hiatus, so I do a lot of that. I’m also involved with Big Brother Big Sister and my little lent me Grand Theft Auto V so I’m playing that too.

RW: What is your background in writing, what makes you a writer?

CYRIL: I was trained in microbiology and the last thing I wrote before getting into fiction was my Ph.D. thesis (you can find it here if you’re into that kind of stuff, or would enjoy a headache right about now). I wrote a lot as a youth, but  only poetry and some short plays.  Most people who knew me before I graduated from high school were surprised when I went into science rather than literature.

As far as being a writer, I instinctively shy away from labels, they always feel so reducing (as if we’re not stuffed into enough boxes already). So instead of calling myself a writer, I prefer saying that I write, the difference is probably more about how one feels about it than anything else, but that’s where I stand.

RW: What genre does The WorldMight fall into?

CYRIL: I’d say it’s a mystical fantasy imbued with romance. It contains a good dose of philosophy too and has spiritual stuff interwoven throughout the plot. At its core it is a drama in the classical sense where events long passed have far reaching consequences in the lives of people and there is not much they can do, knowing little or nothing about them, to change the flow of events they find themselves sucked in.

RW: Gives us your book jacket version of The WorldMight.

CYRIL: It is the end of fall in the kingdom of Alymphia. Princess Aria and Prince Hob are readying themselves for yet another Fall Passing Festival. But unbeknownst to them, change is coming to the kingdom. Change brought on by dark forces and events that occurred generations prior. And those changes will unfold over their lives like a flood that nothing can stop.

In another place and another time, a mysterious prince walks the world, trusted steel at his belt and a mystical stone imbued with magic at his neck. He is looking for a word that has never been said; a word that would save his love from the grip of an ancient beast.

RW: What inspired the book?

CYRIL: The idea came to me while driving a U-haul truck across Texas (I was helping my wife move from Austin to Lubbock). It was a simple thought, about a princess trapped in a sleeping beast and her prince trying to free her; and he needs a word that has never been said to wake the beast up and rescue her. That was it; like I said, simple. That idea stayed dormant for a year and a half. I finished my PhD, moved to Lubbock and one morning, in October 2011, out of the blue I started writing what became the prologue of The WorldMight. The strangest thing is that I didn’t stop writing. And from those first few paragraphs the rest of the novel came to life more or less of its own accord.

RW: Tell us about your main character(s) and what you think will make them connect to readers.

CYRIL: There are really four main characters. But one ends up being the most preeminent, so I’ll tell you about that one.

The prince is described in the first lines of the prologue as follow: “His father was no king and his mother was no queen, but he was a prince nonetheless.” He is a mysterious character who one mindedly searches the world for an equally mysterious word which would save his love. His whole quest is wrapped in mystery and learning more about who he is and what the word is is one of the drives pulling the reader along the pages.

He is the embodiment of devotion and perseverance; he relentlessly forges forward in his quest and faces off with many natural and none-natural obstacles and enemies, some coming from within. I think we’ve all gone above and beyond for someone we love, though probably nothing as epic as what the prince goes through, but we can relate to that feeling of going to the end of the world for someone we deeply cherish.

 

RW: Who would play your main character(s) in a movie?

CYRIL: Well, let’s see, he’s a young man, so without giving it to much thought, I’d pick Xavier Samuel

Xavier_Samuel

RW: What message do you think your book delivers to the reader?

CYRIL: I’d say there are many,  faith, governance, self-cognizance, but in the end it is the tragic story of the prince and his love, and the take-home message is that in the face of chance, of all the things that pre-determine who we are and where we stand in life (think genetics and environment – which are everything and are completely determined by chance, or randomly if you want to put it that way) there is little we can do within these tight and often insurmountable constraints but persevere forward toward our goals, however unreachable they might appear or actually be.

RW: What did you learn about yourself while writing The WorldMight?

CYRIL: First thing would be that I can write a novel. That was not something I was sure of until the epilogue was finished.

Second, that I don’t have much control over the writing process. It happens more than I make it happen. It’s both engrossing when it flows and utterly frustrating when it doesn’t.

Third, that I pour a lot of who I am in my characters. They might be very different from me, but there’s always a crucial aspect about them that is a reflection of an aspect of my own persona. Sometimes, I don’t see it right away and it’s only on the umpteenth reread that it jumps at me, but it’s always there.

RW: Describe your book in one word.

CYRIL: Introspection

RW: Where can we get your book now?

CYRIL: At this moment it’s available at Amazon for Kindle.

RW: How do people connect with you through all forms of social media?

CYRIL:

By email at: cyril.buissiere (at) gmail (dot) com

Also to follow:

cyrilbussiere.wordpress.com 

@cyrilbussiere

Bloglovin

RW: Do you currently have representation? If so who, and if not describe what qualities you would like in an agent and what you would bring to the relationship.

CYRIL: Since I enjoy writing in various styles and in different genres, flexibility would be important in an agent. Also, given my attachment to well written sentences, one who is ruthless when it comes to editing would be a definite plus. And of course someone who would know how to get my work in the right hands both publisher-wise and to reader-wise.

 

RW: What are you working on right now?

CYRIL: Right now, I am working on a novel, BLUR.

blur-logo

The story takes place in Austin, TX, and follows Barrett, a scientist and wannabe writer, and, Pete, the protagonist of Barrett’s first novel. In it I explore love, lust, and the effect childhood experiences have on intimate relationships. It’s a raw, sometimes graphic work, that’s very different from my first novel. I’m six chapters short of being done, so I hope to have it out by beginning 2015.

RW: What book are you reading at this time?

CYRIL: I’m between two books from authors new to me: American Gods by Neil Gaiman (a friend’s recommendation) and Death’s Hand by SM Reine (a random internet freebie find)

 

RW: What is your biggest tip for someone to getting published?

CYRIL: Hmmm, I’m self-published so that’s very different from being traditionally published but I think having a good story and a tight manuscript trimmed of all the excess fat and well edited is definitely a good starting point either way.

RW: If you could have written any book that exists, other than your own, what would it be and why?

CYRIL: Hands down Report to Greco (or Letter to Greco in French)  by Nikos Kazantzakis. An amazing book, beautifully written, deep and thought provoking. Ha! What a life that man lived, so much fire, unyielding in the face of the void, deeply spiritual in the most life-affirming way. One can only hope to live half a life such as his.

Thank you Cyril for this interview. I encourage all to get a copy of The WorldMight, as I have my own as well, and no I had it long after my first interview with Cyril. For that interview click here. It has much more detail about many things you might find interesting, including his original book cover art and book trailer. Also you can see Cyril with his guitar.

Again to purchase a copy of The WorldMight click here.

 

Much Respect

Ronovan

 

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Q&A with Alysha Kaye Author of The Waiting Room @alyshakaye7

Book Description

“Jude and Nina are the epitome of that whole raw, unflinching love thing that most people are jealous of. That is, until Jude dies and wakes up in The Waiting Room, surrounded by other souls who are all waiting to pass over into their next life. But unlike those souls, Jude’s name is never called by the mysterious “receptionist”. He waits, watching Nina out of giant windows. He’s waiting for her. What is this place? How long will he wait? And what will happen when and if Nina does join him? The Waiting Room is a story of not just love, but of faith, predestination, and philosophy, friendship and self-actualization, of waiting.”

 

Alysha Kaye Author of The Waiting Room Interview

 

Today I’m spotlighting newly published author Alysha Kaye. Her debut novel The Waiting Room was just released at the end of June and we are fortunate to be a part of her tour.

Alysha Kaye Author The Waiting Room

I immediately wanted to be involved with this tour when I saw not only the premise of Alysha’s novel but also the fact that she’s a teacher. This old man holds a fondness for the noble profession.

Alysha received her BA in Creative Writing from Texas State University and was accepted into Teach America ending up in of all places, Oahu, HI. I am still recovering from that piece of information.

But even Hawaii, where she received her Masters in Education from the University of Hawaii couldn’t keep her from the her home state where she now teaches 7th Grade in Austin.

 

 

Now for the interview!

Having read the summary of The Waiting Room, I just had to start off by asking;

RW: Where did the idea for the book come from? Was it some event or what that sparked the idea?

 

ALYSHA: I had a dream about waiting for my boyfriend after death. I was in a strange room that looked a lot like an airport terminal. I wound up writing him a (very cheesy) poem about it and somehow, that became an entire Cover of THE WAITING ROOM by Alysha Kayenovel! I just couldn’t get it out of my head.

 

RW: Alysha, I know from having been in the classroom that free time is rare, even at home. Many people don’t realize the time you have to put into teaching, unless you have a very good system in place. How do you balance teaching and writing, managing the other aspects of your life?

 

ALYSHA: It’s extremely hard! Teaching is exhausting, especially my lovely middle schoolers haha but I adore them. I try to get all of my lesson planning and grading done at school so that when I come home, my night is free for writing/blogging, and everything else in between.

 

RW:  I know from reading what I’ve written things surprise me in what I learn. What did you learn about yourself while writing this book?

 

ALYSHA: I definitely learned that I am much more of a philosopher than I ever realized! THE WAITING ROOM asks questions that we’ve all wondered–What happens after we die? Do our souls still exist in some way? Can we find our loved ones again? The novel is a romance, but it’s also so much more. It offers various perspectives on the afterlife and welcomes new discussion.

 

RW: I know I always seem to connect with one particular character the most when I write a novel. What character do you most identify with in your book and why?

 

ALYSHA: This is hard. I think a lot of myself went into Nina, who is also an English teacher. But Jude, her husband, is extremely sarcastic, which is what I live for!

 

RW: That makes a lot of sense. You’re the writer, the creator so you do often times end up channeling parts of yourself into the characters. Now for something I know my Friends want to learn. How did you go about being published?

 

ALYSHA: I decided to self-publish and the experience has been amazing (although difficult). I wanted to get it out as soon as possible since it had already been collecting dust on my laptop for 3 years. I also wanted creative control- which large publishing companies don’t really offer. I used Expert Subjects for editing, cover design, and website design. Then the novel is published through CreateSpace and Amazon.

 

RW: Alysha, you said the novel collected dust for 3 years. How long did it take you from idea to now for the project?

 

ALYSHA: I began writing THE WAITING ROOM while interning at Simon & Schuster Publishing in New York. I was so inspired, but also so young! I didn’t finish it until I was out of college, about three years ago. Ever since then, it’s just been sitting patiently in my laptop.

 

RW: Then it wasn’t an overnight thing. Being that you are an English teacher I just have to ask, are you an outliner or a seat of the pants kind of writer?

 

ALYSHA: Definitely seat of the pants (although I stress to my students the importance of outlining so shhh!). I loathe editing.

 

RW: I take gift certificates to all Mexican restaurants for staying quiet. Now I know writing and throwing yourself into a book can take a lot of your time, and the subject matter must have taken some emotional energy as well. How has your family and friends been as far as support during this time? How did they handle your devotion to the project and did they see any changes in you as far as the way you thought about subjects you discuss in the book?

 

ALYSHA: My family has always thought that I’m a little crazy, I think haha I’m a bit of a black sheep. When I decided to major in Creative Writing they reacted as most families do: “But…what…are you going to DO?” Now that I’ve published, my parents are realizing how serious I am about writing. I understand though–it’s hard to take someone else’s passions and hobbies seriously until they prove that they’re MORE than simply “passions and hobbies”.

 

RW: What project are you working on now or do you even have the time?

 

ALYSHA: My energy has been completely devoted to marketing this novel, now that it’s released. However, I hope to start the next one very soon!

 

RW: Finally, what were/are your go to munchy food and beverage while writing?

 

ALYSHA: One word and one word only: caffeine. No music, no food, no people…just caffeine of some delicious sort!

 

It was a great honor to be part of Alysha’s Book Tour. Much appreciation goes out to her for agreeing to let us be involved and answering questions I am sure she’s been asked a million times before. Make sure to watch the Book Trailer for The Waiting Room below.


 

Get The Waiting Room by Alysha Kaye in print or for Kindle here at Amazon.

Be certain to Follow Alysha Kaye everywhere:

AlyshaKaye.com

Twitter

Facebook

Goodreads


REVIEWS OF THE WAITING ROOM

A list of reviews of The Waiting Room can be found here. But I included two for you that I thought would really make you want to read Alysha Kaye’s novel.

“I love the whole afterlife concept that Alysha Kaye created, because it looks so ‘normal’ and so ‘human’. The Waiting Room is a light, fun reading that comes with great message behind it. I read it like one day. It totally answered my question about true love.”

Virna Aryanita-Indonesia

 

“I think my final comment is that The Waiting Room built characters that I cared about. I cared about not only Jude and Nina but supporting characters as well. I even cared about the Waiting Room itself and was glad to see how it changed and grew throughout the book. Fantasy lovers, romance lovers, lovers of a thoughtful story – all of these readers will enjoy The Waiting Room. I wish the book success and I hope to read more by Alysha Kaye in the future.”

Tara Olivero-Indiana

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Q&A with Vashti Quiroz-Vega Author of The Basement @VashtiQV

THE BASEMENT

by Vashti Quiroz-Vega

 

Book Description

 Robbie is a meek boy in New York City who struggles with the desire to prove himself to his friends, his enemies, and himself. Robbie’s father is a stubborn man determined to teach his son through tough love. When he witnesses Robbie being bullied, he forces his son to face his fears. Robbie is sentenced to a frightening challenge––staying in the basement alone for a night. But what lies in the dark recesses of the basement? Will Robbie make it out alive and well? Will the urban legend about the terrifying creatures that hide in the dark basement prove to be true? And most importantly, will Robbie prove to his friends and his father that he is brave enough to take on the challenge? The Basement is a tale of angst, teamwork and solutions, treasure hunts and adventure, and facing fears. It focuses on the small world of one group of preteens and the very real and wondrous challenges they face.

I never expected a book like this from a lady like this. When I first approached Vashti, who I met through her blog, about an interview I wanted to learn more about the author behind The Basement. I still want to learn more but in truth, I want to know about this book and how it came to be and what else this author has planned for us. I’m going to get out of the way of this interview, simply ask the questions and let you meet . . .

VASHTI QUIROZ-VEGA

Ron Cover ShotRW: Vashti Quiroz-Vega. Love the name. Tell us a little about your ancestry. I am very into history. And your name spins all sorts of imagery through the echoes of my mind.  And is there a meaning behind your name?

 

Vashti's Web PhotoVASHTI: My first name, Vashti, is Persian in origin and has very little to do with my ancestry, I’m afraid. Vashti is the name of a queen in the old testament of the bible in the book of Esther.

 

Ron Cover ShotRW: Your book, The Basement available on Amazon,where did the idea come from?

 

Vashti's Web PhotoVASHTI: The Basement began as a short story I wrote in high school. I won an award for it and put it away in a box, along with a bunch of other stories. Years later, I came across it. After reading it again and with the encouragement of others, I decided to expand the short story into a novel.

 

Ron Cover ShotRW: The book is about an 11-year-old boy and his troubles, how did you connect with the character?

 

Vashti's Web PhotoVASHTI: I have a brother and two sisters. I’m close to all my siblings, but I grew up especially close to my brother (maybe determined by the fact that I was a tomboy). The Basement is loosely based on memories I have from childhood. The main character, Robbie, was inspired by my brother and my nephew, Joshua.

 

Ron Cover ShotRW: And the abuse parts?

 

Vashti's Web PhotoVASHTI: There has been no abuse in my household, but I did know a child growing up who was verbally and physically abused by a parent. The parent did not try to hide this from anyone. I saw and heard this child being abused on many occasions. This experience and the memory of this child have stayed with me till this day, which is why I tolerate no kind of bullying or abuse of any kind.

An ex-boyfriend once told me that I was a perfect mix of femininity and masculinity because I am feminine and very much a woman, but I am also assertive, straightforward and I love basketball, action movies, UFC and camping.

 

Ron Cover ShotRW: What did it feel like writing the character of Robbie, the 11 year old boy in the book, as you had to basically become him for periods of time?

 

Vashti's Web PhotoVASHTI: When I wrote The Basement, I essentially became an 11-year-old boy. I felt vulnerable––like my life was not in my control. I guess I felt like a child in a scary world.

 

Ron Cover ShotRW: For those reading who may not be familiar with you can you give an example of an author and perhaps a book that would give them an idea of what this book is like as far as feel and style?

 

Vashti's Web PhotoVASHTI: That’s a tough one. Some people have compared my storytelling to that of several other writers, including Stephen King and Anne Rice, who are two of my favorite writers and whose books I have been reading for years. So I don’t doubt that there is some of their influence in my writing, but I believe that I’m developing my own style. Not that I wouldn’t love to write as well as Stephen King and Anne Rice, but I don’t think I’m quite there yet.

 

Ron Cover ShotRW: Are you a character in The Basement?MC_99732309_4

 

Vashti's Web PhotoVASHTI: Let’s just say that several of the characters in The Basement have some of my personality traits.

 

Ron Cover ShotRW: Tell us about your writing process. You took a short story and turned it into a full-length novel. How did you go about that?

 

Vashti's Web PhotoVASHTI: As I re-read the story, I added, changed and rearranged sentences, and I replaced and deleted words. I had read so many books and learned so much since writing that story in high school that expanding it was not that difficult. Even now, I feel that I have learned so much since publishing The Basement. I guess that’s how it is with writers. We are constantly reading, learning and improving. I feel that my second book, Lilith, will be much better written than my first, and my third book, Dracul, will probably be better written than my second, and so on. That doesn’t mean any of my books are badly written. It just means that as I learn and gain experience, my work will reflect that. I have noticed this when I compare Stephen King’s earlier books with the books he’s written in the last couple of years. But I have always enjoyed all of his books.

 

Ron Cover ShotRW: Can you walk us through how you went from complete and satisfied manuscript to now available for purchase? Many will be reading this who haven’t gone through it yet, and since you have on a number of occasions, I know I would personally like to hear it from a pro like you.

 

Vashti's Web PhotoVASTHI: Wow! You flatter me, Ron. 😉 I’ve actually gone through the entire process only once with my book The Basement. The best advice I can offer anyone who has finished writing a story is to give the finished manuscript to several trusted people and ask for their honest opinions. Then after revisions (if any), hire a professional editor.

 

Ron Cover ShotRW: Ah, I get the impression you have published several because of how professional everything seems. What other works do you have available and what are you working on presently?

 

Vashti's Web PhotoVASHTI: I have written a variety of short stories, from horror and dark fantasy to sci-fi and romance. You can check them out on my blog.

I’m in the final stages of editing my book Lilith. This is a dark fantasy about angels aimed at a young adult/ adult audience. I’m hoping to have it available in early 2015.

 

Ron Cover ShotRW: Is there a lot of romance in your work or sensuality?

 

Vashti's Web PhotoVASHTI: There’s always a little romance because I believe that’s part of life and reality. There’s also some sensuality in my work-in-progress because that’s part of who I am, and that part of my personality comes through in the story.

 

Ron Cover ShotRW: How understanding are your friends and family when the writing mania takes hold of you?

 

Vashti's Web PhotoVASHTI: Some are very understanding, especially other writers because they’ve been there. Others––not so much.

 

Ron Cover ShotRW: What would be your ideal agent be like to sign with?

 

Vashti's Web PhotoVASHTI: I would love an agent who truly enjoys my story. The editor that’s working with me on my second book ‘Lilith’ truly loves the book. It is obvious by her enthusiasm, the comments she’s made and the questions that she’s asked me. It makes a difference when the agent loves the genre and story. Also, an agent that is hardworking and self motivated is great. One that will stop at nothing to get you the best deal possible for your book. I would love to get into one of the big publishing houses.

 

Ron Cover ShotRW: Now for a few fun and trivial questions. What’s your go to beverage while writing?

 

Vashti's Web PhotoVASHTI: Water. I know you’re thinking, “boring,” but I prefer to be sharp and focused when I write. Being well-hydrated does that for me. I don’t drink much coffee, beer makes me bloat like a blowfish, wine puts me to sleep, margaritas and rum are fun, but put me in the wrong frame of mind, and I get distracted easily. So while I’m writing, it’s water for me.

 

Ron Cover ShotRW: What is your escape from writing when you need that break before burnout happens?

 

Vashti's Web PhotoVASHTI: Reading, cooking, baking, hiking, kayaking, getting together with family and friends, watching one of my favorite shows on TV (Criminal Minds, Law and Order, Castle, Modern Family . . .) or going to the cinema, playing with my dog, and other things I shouldn’t mention––not necessarily in that order.

 

Ron Cover ShotRW: And finally, as a writer, what is your favorite word and why?

 

Vashti's Web PhotoVASHTI: Wow! There are several words I love, but the first word that comes to mind is “Dulcet.” Why? Because it’s a beautiful word, I enjoy pronouncing it and writing it down. Meaning: 1: sweet to the taste 2: pleasing to the ear 3: generally pleasing or agreeable.

Thank you, Ronovan, for inviting me as a guest author to your awesome blog. I appreciate you.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I want to thank Vashti for taking the time to answer a few questions for us. And I hope she comes back when her next book is due out.

Her various contact information appeared in some links throughout the interview but I am putting them all here together so you can follow her everywhere. Also here are some some fan art of her and one of her characters from The Basement, Natasha. Don’t worry, she won’t mind, I already do and if she will let me follower her she’ll let you too. And we are all about supporting each other here, right?

 

ScaredGirlFinal FanArt
Fan Art of ‘Natasha’ from The Basement.
Vashti5
Fan Art of Vashti

Website

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The Basement Fan Site

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