Author Interview: Amy Maltman

a woman on the ground beside a horse, reading a book; text says 'author interview'

Be sure to check out Amy Maltman’s books on Amazon!

Interview:

1.      Paperback, hardback, audiobook?

I prefer paperbacks, but I’m forced to read e-books because my hands cramp and spasm if I try to hold a book. My Kindle and Kobo cases have built-in stands. I’ve always found hardbacks too cumbersome. (*ducks head and hides*)

2.      Pick a genre, any genre!

Just one? That’s mean! I guess it’s a tie between epic fantasy and murder thrillers. Is that cheating?

3.      What is the first book you remember reading?

It was one of Dr. Seuss’s. Possibly The Foot Book? I remember being at my nana’s house lying on the bed with her before a nap and reading it out loud to her.

4.      What book shaped your childhood most?

This one is easy. The Black Stallion by Walter Farley. It sparked my lifelong love of horses and started me on my journey to competitive riding. I was the quintessential horse-crazy girl that seems to exist in every classroom in the world. I had the uncanny ability to bring horses into every conversation…kind of like I’m doing now.

5.      When did you first start writing?

In the sixth grade, roughly 35 years ago. Yikes. That math was painful. I have a picture of myself at an electric typewriter, wearing one of my many horse T-shirts, huge glasses, bad hair, and a farmer’s tan.

6.      What made you want to write? Does it still hold true?

Growing up, my family referred to me as the What-if Kid. Most of my what-ifs were anxiety-based imaginings of catastrophes such as something spooking my horse and me falling off and getting injured and everybody laughing at me. Or, what if the teacher calls on me in class and I give the wrong answer and/or people laugh at me? What if my crush catches me looking at them, or what if I say something to them and make a fool of myself? However, other what-ifs were flights of fancy that I finally decided to write down because I couldn’t stop thinking about them, building on them and fleshing them out in my mind. What if a young man with a tragic childhood tried to work his way onto the Canadian Equestrian Team? What if a plane crashed in the mountains and a survivor took refuge in a cave, only to accidentally pass through a portal into another world?

7.      What book/poem are you most proud of creating?

I’d have to say Ride Every Stride because it was truly a labour of love. It went from the incredibly rough and laughably bad first draft of a teenager to reaching #1 on Amazon charts in Canada, the US, the UK, and Australia. When I had to give up riding because of my health, it also became a way for me to experience it vicariously, through my characters.

8.      Did you publish your first book or is it for your eyes only?

After a couple decades of working on it, yes, I did. I began Ride Every Stride in 1993 during my final year of high school. The class was called Writers’ Craft and it was taught by Mr. Chiappetta. I didn’t want to do any of the suggested topics for the class’s main project (called an Independent Study) so I asked if I could start writing a book instead. He later told me that he expected me to hand in about 15 pages. Instead, I handed in over 70. I finished the first draft in 1998, between university degrees, and it sat until a couple years after I was forced onto long-term disability. I finally published it in 2015 after many, many revisions.

9.      How many books/collections have you published so far?

Three, and I’m working on number four. My first, Ride Every Stride, is a standalone equestrian novel. A Journey Unveiled and An Enemy Defined are the first two books in my fantasy trilogy, Daughter of Venus.

10.   What genres do you write in (or hope to)?

I’d like to try my hand at a mystery since I enjoy reading them so much. I have an idea germinating in the back of my mind that could take that route. Maybe. Possibly.

11.   Do you do research for your writing or is it all in your head?

Ride Every Stride required research because it takes place in the real world. In fact, I found the research about drugs and their effects so interesting that I became a pharmacist. A Journey Unveiled and An Enemy Defined, being fantasy, didn’t require as much research, although I did base some of my fantasy races on paleontological fossils, and the Transit of Venus (a rare astronomical event) plays a major role in the plot.

12.   To plan, or not to plan your plot?

I completely pantsed Ride Every Stride. I had the basic premise and the main character and that’s about it. With A Journey Unveiled and An Enemy Defined, I had a faint outline in my head. I knew the starting and end points of the trilogy and a basic idea of what had to happen in between, but I made up much of it as I went along. For some reason, plotting always seemed too daunting a task, perhaps partly because I’m indecisive. A Destiny Confronted is my first foray into the world of planning and I wish I’d been doing it from the beginning! It makes things so much easier. I know there will still be ideas I come up with as I’m writing, but I have the major plot points planned according to the traditional three act structure. Highly recommended. Five stars.

13.   What route of publishing have you chosen? Do you plan to stick with it?

I chose to self-publish and will continue to do so, the main reason being time. My parents are getting older and I wanted them to be around to see my books published. Of course, I hoped they’d witness me being far more successful than I have been, but that’s another story. Also, with my health issues, I didn’t want to spend years querying, etc. I myself wanted to be around to see them published! And I can’t work within a deadline because my health is so unpredictable. When my symptoms flare, it’s not unheard of for me to be unable to open my laptop for weeks at a time, and even when I’m well enough to write, it’s in short bursts with many breaks.  

14.   If you could live inside another author’s universe, which one would you pick? (Ex: Middle Earth, Narnia, etc.)

Narnia, one hundred percent. Talking animals. I mean, enough said. Animals are already my best friends, and to be able to communicate with them? Hmm, although on second thought, what if I don’t like what they have to say? (See? There’s that ‘what if’ again!)

15.   Do you currently have a WIP?

I do! A Destiny Confronted is the third book in my fantasy trilogy, Daughter of Venus. I hope to publish it by the end of 2022.

16.   Tell me about the character you’ve created who is dearest to your heart.

I’d have to say Jed Carver, the main character of Ride Every Stride. I spent 22 years with him, after all. I put him through some terrible things, yet he persevered and rose above them and never lost his humanity or his kind heart. Plus, he’s a cute horse guy.

17.   What do you consider your *current* magnum opus?

That would imply that I consider something I write to be (or have the potential to be) a masterpiece, and I’m far too insecure to have that much confidence.

18.   Do you have a favourite romance in your books? Or, if yours features no romance, tell us about your favourite character friendship!

I do, but I don’t want to spoil anything.

19.   Do you listen to music as you write? Recommend a favourite writing song.

It depends on my mood and on how well I’m able to focus. Sometimes it’s classical music and movie soundtracks, but I most often listen to a playlist of slow songs that features a lot of Louden Swain, Elton John (and Taron Egerton as Elton John), Garth Brooks, U2, Our Lady Peace, and Lady Gaga. In fact, U2’s “Love Rescue Me” was a big source of inspiration for one character’s arc in Daughter of Venus.

20.   Do you have any character art for your books, whether by you or another artist? (Be sure to credit/link if you can!)

Having fans care enough about my characters and stories to create character art is a dream of mine, as is fan fiction. Until then, I’ve created character portraits using Artbreeder, which I can’t recommend highly enough. It is amazing. Just beware! You can lose yourself in it, especially if you’re a perfectionist.

21.   If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?

I’d give two pieces of advice. Manage your expectations and develop a thick skin. I’ve yet to accomplish either.

22.   Have you entered any writer contests? Tell us about your experience!

I’ve entered five, including one that I deeply regret because the judges’ comments made me want to unpublish my books and quit writing. Have I mentioned that I’m an insecure perfectionist? However, I won a short story contest hosted by the Firecracker Department this summer. I almost didn’t enter because I didn’t think I stood a chance against professional writers and screenwriters. The night before the deadline, I decided to take a chance, and boy am I glad I did! With a maximum of 500 words, the task was to write a story about heroes that included a potato or a license plate. ‘The Boy in the Box’ was based on the real life heroics of Irena Sendler and you can find it on my blog (AccioTofu.blogspot.com).

23.   Who are your top 5-10 favourite writers?

Karin Slaughter, Harlan Coben, Leigh Bardugo, Angela Marsons, Linwood Barclay, Kristin Hannah, Patricia Cornwell, and Kate Quinn.

24.   Link us your book/twitter/goodreads or wherever we can best connect with you!

I’m on Twitter (@AMaltmanWrites) and Instagram (@AmyMaltmanWrites), and I have an underused blog (AccioTofu.blogspot.com). I’m also on Goodreads, and I have a Facebook page that I rarely use because, well, it’s Facebook.

My links can be found at linktr.ee/AmyMaltman, including my author pages in every Amazon marketplace and all my reviews across all platforms for A Journey Unveiled and An Enemy Defined.

Author Interview: Luther Kross

a man's hand turning a book page; text says 'author interview'

Be sure to check out Fever Dreams: Volume I! My review is here.

Interview:

1.  Paperback, hardback, audiobook?

To be perfectly honest, I read most books in ebook format these days. It allows me to carry multiple books at once, ready anywhere I like, and make notes in the text. It’s the perfect solution for a person that’s always on the go. That said, I do have a small collection of paperbacks at home, that I am slowly adding to.

2.  Pick a genre, any genre!

Anyone who’s talked to me for more than five seconds probably already knows the answer to this question; horror.

I’ve been a horror fan for as long as I can remember. As I’ve gotten older, that love has only solidified.

Horror is the perfect genre for a deep exploration of the human condition and the world in which we live. It also gives us a chance to reframe our own lives. To think, “Yeah, things are bad, but at least I’m not living through that.

3.  What is the first book you remember reading?

That would have to be The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis.

I’m sure I read other books prior to that, but it was the first one that really stood out to me.

Perhaps that’s why I’ve always been fascinated by the idea that there are other worlds than these.

4.  What book shaped your childhood most?

That honor goes to The Dark Tower 3: The Wastelands. An older cousin of mine was reading the book and had left it open on the page with the illustration of the creatures that Roland and his ka-tet saw while riding through the wastes in a sentient bullet train.

It wasn’t long after that until I found the first book in that series and started reading it. If it wasn’t for The Dark Tower, my own series, The Toad Road Chronicles wouldn’t exist.

5.  When did you first start writing?

That’s hard to pin down. When I was in the 4th or 5th grade, my dad had shared a notebook of his own poetry with me. I remember thinking, “My dad wrote this? No way.”

After that, I started dabbling in poetry myself. Maybe a year later, I tried my hand at my first couple of short stories.

From there, I floundered in and out of writing, until about five years ago when I truly took the plunge and started pursuing it more seriously.

6.  What made you want to write? Does it still hold true?

Ultimately, it was the desire to share a story as epic and meaningful as King’s Dark Tower. That series helped me push through some of the darkest moments in my life. To this day, that remains my focus. To tell stories that people can turn to when things get rough. To provide an escape hatch for when reality is just too much to bear.

7.  What book/poem are you most proud of creating?

So far, that would definitely be book one in The Toad Road Chronicles. It took me five years to finish that book. Between struggling with Impostor Syndrome, beating alcoholism, and fixing my marriage, I somehow managed to finally finish a full-length manuscript. I honestly never thought I’d get there, but I did.

8.  Did you publish your first book or is it for your eyes only?

I decided to publish it. After putting so much blood, sweat, and tears into that manuscript, I couldn’t being myself to hide it away.

Besides all of that, the plans for a sequel (or multiple sequels) were already rattling around in my mind by the time I finished book one.

I firmly believe that The Toad Road Chronicles will be my magnum opus. My readers are, of course, free to agree or disagree. Only time will tell.

9.  How many books/collections have you published so far?

As of right now, I have six short story compilations published and one full-length novel.

The short story compilations are fairly small, with just three stories per volume, but that was a stylistic choice on my part. They are an homage to my favorite short story compilations of yesteryear. Things like Tales from the Crypt, Tales from the Darkside, and others of that ilk.

10.   What genres do you write in (or hope to)?

My go-to genre is horror. Probably always will be. That said, I do have some ideas on the back burner for other genres. I have the plans for an entire urban fantasy, super-hero series, a couple fantasy ideas, and another that is purely human drama.

11.   Do you do research for your writing or is it all in your head?

I do tons and tons of research. Some stories require little to none, especially if they’re set in entirely fictional worlds. Others require knowledge of real world locations, events, people, etc. For those, I hit the books…and Google. Definitely Google.

12.   To plan, or not to plan your plot?

When I’m in short story mode, I fly entirely by the seat of my pants. Short stories are my playground. It’s where I go to simply have fun and create something new and weird.

For my longer works, I do lay out a general plot line, always keeping in mind that it could change.

13.   What route of publishing have you chosen? Do you plan to stick with it?

I chose the self-publishing route through Amazon’s KDP and Kindle Unlimited.

First and foremost, I don’t believe that the literary world needs the gatekeepers of traditional publishing. We, as readers, can determine for ourselves what we do and don’t want to read. Moreover, there is a plethora of downright amazing Indie books out there. Books that, most likely, never would have managed publication via traditional means. That’s a crime as far as I’m concerned.

Secondly, Amazon has the largest share of the Indie market. I think choosing another route would have been a bit foolish, but that is my own personal opinion on the matter.

14.   If you could live inside another author’s universe, which one would you pick? (Ex: Middle Earth, Narnia, etc.)

Definitely King’s Midworld! I want to stand in the field of Can-Ka No Rey and see The Dark Tower firsthand. Can you imagine standing at the very nexus of all of existence? Touching it with your bare hands?

15.   Do you currently have a WIP?

Well, that is decidedly a loaded question. At the moment, I am working on Book Two of The Toad Road Chronicles and I am astonished at where the story has chosen to go. I’m also working on a new volume for The Interwoven Underverse. It’s called Edges of the Abyss. And, of course, I am still jotting down ideas for new volumes of Fever Dreams. That will probably remain true until I draw my last breath.

16.   Tell me about the character you’ve created who is dearest to your heart.

Once upon a time – read, about seven years ago – I had an idea pop into my head to write a detective noir novel. I wanted to do something completely outside of my normal genre and surprise readers with it one day. The main character – a private eye named Tommy Knox – was your typical, grizzled, antisocial private eye, complete with a missing fiancée and a HUGE chip on his shoulder.

Unfortunately, that manuscript simply never came to fruition, but old Tommy Knox never stopped kicking around in my head. I tried resurrecting him in a number of ways, but none of them felt right.

Finally, when I sat down to write Book Two of The Toad Road Chronicles, I’d found a place for him. I won’t give away much because I wouldn’t want to spoil the story, but I think this is the place for him.

17.   What do you consider your *current* magnum opus?

At the moment, that would be Book One of The Toad Road Chronicles. It is the book that almost never was.

It took me about five years to finish that manuscript. Between the Impostor Syndrome, my obligations, and some other things, this book became difficult to write.

Now, I’m not only writing a sequel, but I’m planning even more for this story’s future. It’s crazy how that worked out, but I’m not one to look a gift horse in the mouth.

18.   Do you have a favourite romance in your books? Or, if yours features no romance, tell us about your favourite character friendship!

My favorite relationship thus far has been the family dynamic between the main characters of Toad Road.

You start with Donnie and his older brother Will. Will’s been raising Donnie since childhood. Then, you add Sean – Donnie’s best friend – who’s more like an extra little brother to Will. Now, you add Gabby – Will’s long-time girlfriend – and voilà! You’ve got a tight-knit little family that would go to the ends of the Earth for each other. Family might start with blood, but it doesn’t end there.

19.   Do you listen to music as you write? Recommend a favourite writing song.

Sometimes, yes. Sometimes, no. When I do, it’s usually some kind of metal. Lately, I’ve really been digging Ice Nine Kills. Their album Welcome to Horrorwood is freaking killer!

20.   Do you have any character art for your books, whether by you or another artist? (Be sure to credit/link if you can!)

Sadly, I do not. I, myself, am not much good with drawing or painting things. I haven’t commissioned any character art thus far, either, though I may do so in the future. I do have a gnarly character sketch in mind, and I may know an artist willing to do it.

21.   If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?

I’ll give you the same answer to this question as I gave to another interviewer recently, because I believe in it that strongly.

To quote Margaret Atwood, “A word after a word after a word is power.” Never forget that. You don’t need a publisher or an agent to validate you as a writer. A writer writes. Simply by putting those words on the page, you are accomplishing something that a large number of people will simply never achieve. Don’t let the naysayers deter you, including your own inner critic.

If you’ve been bitten by the writing bug, embrace it!

22.   Have you entered any writer contests? Tell us about your experience!

Never participated in any writing contests, per se, but I did submit a couple of stories to Creepypasta.com many years ago.

I’ll never forget how stoked I was to get that first story approved for a post on the main page. Felt like a small-time celebrity for a moment.

It didn’t take long until people started picking it apart and leaving negative commentary. Some of it was downright hilarious, but it all served to fuel the fire.

23.   Who are your top 5-10 favourite writers?

All right. Here goes nothing!

1. Stephen King – Hard to start this list with anyone else. If it wasn’t for Stephen King, I wouldn’t be writing today.

2. Clive Barker – Let’s face it, the man’s a genius. There’s no way around it.

3. H.P. Lovecraft – No matter what, you can’t deny the impact that cosmic horror has had in the literary world. This man created an entire genre, then stuffed it full with massive universe.

4. Jeff Strand – One of the best writers working in the genre. Nobody can weave a horror-comedy quite like Jeff Strand does. His body of work serves as a reminder that horror doesn’t have to be serious one hundred percent of the time.

5. Iain Rob Wright – If you haven’t read his Hell on Earth series, you are seriously missing out. If there ever were a story to perfectly capture the unyielding human spirit, Hell on Earth is it.

6. Erik Henry Vick – Erik has a wide range as an author, and it shows when you look at his bibliography on Amazon. Whether you’re into fantasy, horror, detective noir, or a blend of all three, Erik’s got you covered.

7. Benjamin Wallace – Benjamin is the author of one of my all-time favorite post-apocalyptic series called Duck and Cover. If you’ve never read it, I can’t recommend it highly enough. The Librarian is a force to be reckoned with.

8. Bryan Smith – Bryan is another author whose range is impressive. He covers every subgenre of horror you can think of, and probably a few that you haven’t. If you’re on the hunt for a scary story to keep you up at night, Bryan has definitely got you covered.

That’s my list, as it stands now. I’m sure there will be many names added to future iterations.

24.   Link us your book/twitter/goodreads or wherever we can best connect with you!

I hang around Twitter quite a bit (@lutherkrossauth). Also, here’s a link to all of my socials and other whatnots. https://hy.page/lutherkross.

Author Interviews Roundup

a girl reading while drinking tea, sitting on a pile of leaves; text says 'author interviews'

I’ve had the honour and joy of interviewing some seriously talented indie authors recently. Be sure to check out these interviews and get to know these authors better! And there are more interviews to come, so stay tuned!

Author Interview: Sinnamon Carnelian
Author Interview: Ciarán West
Author Interview: Mansur Hasib
Author Interview: Val Neil
Author Interview: Alan Denham
Author Interview: Barbara Avon
Author Interview: Rita A. Rubin
Author Interview: Maxime Jaz
Author Interview: Chris Clancy
Author Interview: Elford Alley
Author Interview: Dan McKeon
Author Interview: Elena Nix
Author Interview: Charlotte Sullivan Wild
Author Interview: M. W. McLeod
Author Interview: L. Krauch
Author Interview: Sarah Bell
Author Interview: D.N. Schmidt
Author Interview: Casie Aufenthie
Author Interview: Courtney Maguire
Author Interview: Diana L. Smith
Author Interview: Jamie Jackson

Author Interview: Sinnamon Carnelian

four pictures around text 'book review'. pictures of a girl holding a book, glasses on a book, someone writing, and a cup of coffee, the foam in a heart shape.

Check out Sinnamon Carnelian’s books on Amazon!

INTERVIEW QUESTIONS:

1. Paperback, hardback, audiobook?

Paperback and soon to have an audiobook. I’ll make hardcovers someday.

2. Pick a genre, any genre!

Fantasy/Science Fiction. Give me magic. Give me aliens. Give me magical aliens. Romance is in there somewhere.

3. What is the first book you remember reading?

The Berenstain Bears Junk Food

The Berenstain Bears The In Crowd

4. What book shaped your childhood most?

Probably the Berenstain Bears and Star Trek books I read.

5. When did you first start writing? 

Around the age of 12. Spent years being told by teachers that it was a waste of time to try to become an author, ex-husband said the same thing so I stopped in my late teens and did not start again until two years ago after losing my job and being stuck at home because of the pandemic.

6. What made you want to write? Does it still hold true?

All of these weird stories and fantasies have to go somewhere besides spinning in my mind. It also helps me get out some of the darker parts of my life. Each story has a small piece of something or someone who either helped or harmed me. My main character always has a best friend, that’s my tribute to the two best friends I had growing up that I stupidly cut off for my ex. Our friendship lives on through the stories I write. 

7. What book/poem are you most proud of creating?

‘A Trashy Pirate Romance’ got me out of my comfort zone. It failed on Vella but does alright on Kindle Unlimited, and people seem to enjoy it. I just have to finish writing the second one.

8. Did you publish your first book or is it for your eyes only?

No! It’s 218k word vomit. The storyline is cool, but it has so many problems I don’t know if it’s worth fixing, changing, or reworking. I let it sit in a dark corner and hide. 

9. How many books/collections have you published so far?

Four completed and published. Two under this pen name and two under my real name. My pen name does worlds better.

10. What genres do you write in (or hope to)?

Fantasy & Science Fiction with hefty amounts of romance.

11. Do you do research for your writing or is it all in your head?

Depends on what I need to know. My google history is words I can’t spell, different swords, guns, and medical things I don’t want to get wrong.

12. To plan, or not to plan your plot?

What is this ‘planning’ you speak of? I just go for it. These stories and characters are always in my head.

13. What route of publishing have you chosen? Do you plan to stick with it?

Self Publishing. Agents want a fully edited, ready-to-go manuscript from the get-go anymore, with a large social media following. Then you have to turn around, hand over your rights for them to choose the cover art and when it comes out, but have you do all marketing and pay you pennies. I can do all of that and get my full royalties while keeping my rights in place. 

14. If you could live inside another author’s universe, which one would you pick? (Ex: Middle Earth, Narnia, etc.)

Middle Earth, after Frodo finished his quest. I’m already short I could easily be a Dwarf or Hobbit.

15. Do you currently have a WIP?

More than one, and I just finished a first draft and started on its sequel. I also have three stories trudging along on Kindle Vella. If I got my ducks in a row, I could have five books ready for next year under my pen name and two for my real name. Those ducks keep running away though. 

16. Tell me about the character you’ve created who is dearest to your heart.

Lord Fynce from ‘A Trashy Medieval Romance’ and his fantasy ADHD. He has a heart of gold and the attention span of a squirrel. 

17. What do you consider your *current* magnum opus?

I don’t think I have one at the moment. I have a book I’ve been trying to write, but each time I get anywhere in it I quit and hide it. 

18. Do you have a favourite romance in your books? Or, if yours features no romance, tell us about your favourite character friendship!

Favorite Romance: ‘A Trashy Alien Romance’ Nadia is a military nurse in an alien prisoner of war camp who garners the affection of the new commander of the aliens who hold them in the camp, and a new prisoner. 

19. Do you listen to music as you write? Recommend a favourite writing song.

Yes, all sorts. 

‘In the End’ by Black Veil Brides. It’s epic! 

‘Northwest Passage’ by Unleash the Archers. That song is pretty much Canadian Viking Metal.

‘The Past is Dead’ by Beartooth. Another epic ballad.

20. Do you have any character art for your books, whether by you or another artist? (Be sure to credit/link if you can!)

No, it would be cool though.

21. If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?

If someone is giving you advice of a legal nature, go to the source and don’t use third-party, shady information.

It’s okay to use a thesaurus, just don’t overuse it. (You can just say she had blue eyes, I don’t need to hear about her sparkling, sapphire orbs in every book.)

I will use all the adverbs I want! Just learn how to use them correctly.

Other writers are not your competition.

22. Have you entered any writer contests? Tell us about your experience!

Nope.

23. Who are your top 5-10 favourite writers?

Ursula K. Le Guin

Max Brooks (I’m a sucker for zombies)

Herman Melville (Moby Dick is a favorite)

Edgar Allan Poe

24. Link us your book/Twitter/GoodReads or wherever we can best connect with you!

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SINNAMONCARNEL1

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/21777491.Sinnamon_Carnelian

Author Interview: Ciarán West

four pictures: a book with flowers in the pages, a stack of books with a ladder on the side and someone reading on top, a man holding a book and a man reading a book. Text says 'author interview'.

Check out Ciarán’s new book What Do I Do Now on Goodreads!

Interview:

Paperback, hardback, audiobook?

I only listen to audiobooks these days. I’m the opposite of those people who tell you that they need to feel a real book in their hands, or they love the smell of paper. I need to feel a book in my ears, and I love the smell of, well, lots of things that aren’t paper.

Pick a genre, any genre!

I’ve been avoiding doing that for nearly ten years, but Kindle Direct Publishing insists I choose at least two every time I write a book, so I usually pick Coming of Age, and something else. I write stories that definitely have plots, but I think the best way to describe what my books are about isn’t the plot – it’s that they’re about relationships you can identify with as a reader. The ones you had with friends growing up, with enemies growing up, with your parents, or with your first love. So I guess Coming of Age is pretty accurate, actually. Damn you, Jeff Bezos.

What is the first book you remember reading?

I’m way too old to remember things, but it was probably a Famous Five one. Back when I was too young to realise that the baddie was always the first stranger the kids met who seemed nice. It was always that guy. I was also too young to realise Enid Blyton was a massive racist, too. #itwasadifferenttime

What book shaped your childhood most?

The enormous hardback Bible that mother would use to spank me.

When did you first start writing?

My mother says I could read and write before I started primary school, but I’m not sure I trust her memory. I don’t think I had time to learn to write back then, to be honest. I was too busy being beaten with a Bible.

What made you want to write? Does it still hold true?

Reading some terrible books and thinking I could do better than that. And yes, it holds even more true now, because there are even more terrible books in the world.

What book/poem are you most proud of creating?

I used to say The Boys of Summer – my first novel, but now it’s Breaking into Heaven, because I hadn’t published anything in three years before that, and I suspected I’d never write another book. Turns out I was wrong, and I wrote the best book known to man, woman, or herd of goats.

Did you publish your first book or is it for your eyes only?

I did publish it, but a lot of my books must be for my eyes only, since no one can be arsed reading them.

How many books/collections have you published so far?

I’m writing my eighth full novel right now. Very full, if the page count of the last two are anything to go by. I’m writing very long books now, which is great for Kindle people, because they get a big read for a bargain price. Not so great for people who love the smell of real paper, since they’re quite expensive to print, but on the plus side they can use them to spank their children, so everybody wins.

What genres do you write in (or hope to)?

I think I’ve covered this question earlier, accidentally, but to add to it, I think what I’m writing now is comedy romance. Or romantic comedy. Both are equally possible.

Do you do research for your writing or is it all in your head?

I write a lot of real world stuff set in eras that I lived through, so a lot of it is memory rather than research. That said, my last three books were from the POV of teenage girls, and I have to say, these heels are killing me.

To plan, or not to plan your plot?

I write a classic three-act story structure with a brief synopsis of what happens in every chapter, so it’s all definitely plotted out. Halfway through writing it though I’ll get much better ideas and change the whole thing, so who’s to say, really?

What route of publishing have you chosen? Do you plan to stick with it?

Self-Publishing, and yes. I know my own writing, I know what I’m trying to do. I’ve invented a new method for writing and editing and a new style as well, so they thought of some editorial sending me arbitrary notes about a semi-colon isn’t my idea of a great time.

If you could live inside another author’s universe, which one would you pick? (Ex: Middle Earth, Narnia, etc.)

My own, I think. In 1995 my back didn’t hurt so much, and everything was less expensive.

Do you currently have a WIP?

Yep. It’s called Head over Feet and it’s the third book in a new series. I wrote a three book series set in this same universe before, but with those three you could read them in any order, as they didn’t spoil each other. With the new series you’re going to have to read them 1, 2, 3, or you’ll be very, very confused. And maybe a little angry.

Tell me about the character you’ve created who is dearest to your heart.

At the moment it’s the new MC, Caoimhe. She’s very likable and funny, so it’s easy to write her. She’s a good soul, and a complete mess, and she’s kind of fumbling her way through life with the help of some great friends, and I enjoy writing those characters too. Characters are the most important part of my books. Characters and emotional moments – doesn’t matter what the emotion is, I just like to make people feel things.

What do you consider your *current* magnum opus?

That guy from Transformers who turns into a lorry. No, wait. That’s Optimus Prime. Still though.

Do you have a favourite romance in your books? Or, if yours features no romance, tell us about your favourite character friendship!

I do, it’s from the new series, but I can’t say who they are, because SPOILERS.

Do you listen to music as you write? Recommend a favourite writing song.

I make playlists on Spotify with all the songs I mention in each book, and then I listen to them while writing, to get myself in the mood/atmosphere. Otherwise I listen to Billie Eilish, because she’s amazing.

Do you have any character art for your books, whether by you or another artist? (Be sure to credit/link if you can!)

 No, I don’t think they’re that sort of book, but I’m very big on description, so I reckon readers can picture everyone in their heads pretty accurately.

If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?

Write the sort of book you’d want to read, and then make it good enough that everyone else wants to read it.

Have you entered any writer contests? Tell us about your experience!

I think I did some Flash Fiction for a competition in Maxim magazine in 2012. I’m still waiting to hear if I won.

Who are your top 5-10 favourite writers?

Oh, I don’t know. Irvine Welsh, Maeve Binchy, Marian Keyes, Dean Koontz, Alice Sebold, Stephen King, Chuck Fightclubguy.

Link us your book/twitter/goodreads or wherever we can best connect with you!

Um, the new book is book 2 in the series, so I think Breaking into Heaven is the one people will be more interested in. If you like that one, read What Do I Do Now?, and with any luck, once you’ve got through those combined 1,380 pages, I’ll have finished Head over Feet. Thank you!!!

Author Interview: Mansur Hasib

man reading in a chair, words over him say 'author interview'

Check out the Bring Inner Greatness Out: Personal Brand audiobook!

1.      Paperback, hardback, audiobook?

I enjoy well narrated audiobooks in the author’s voice. That way I feel the author is personally sharing the story and their passion to me. However, I know readers have their preferences. So, as an author, I have produced ebooks, paperback (black and white and color), hardback (full color), and audiobook versions of my main books. My ebooks also have hyperlinks, which provide a richer learning experience.

2.      Pick a genre, any genre!

My primary genre for writing is personal success and marketing related non-fiction. I love reading or listening to humor and thrillers. I stay away from books with gratuitous sex or violence. English is my favorite language and I am familiar with both British and American English. I love authors who can demonstrate their art through their literary expertise in the English language.

3.      What is the first book you remember reading?

I think it was Gulliver’s Travels.

4.      What book shaped your childhood most?

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. The book played well to my natural strengths and helped me develop rich long lasting relationships and friendships with all kinds of people from all over the world.

5.      When did you first start writing?

The local newspaper published one of my poems when I was in the 7th grade. That inspiration was like rocket fuel to my brain and my early writings from 7th grade till high school were preserved and published in 2014 in the book Muses and Rhymes: 1968-1975.

6.      What made you want to write? Does it still hold true?

Early on it was simply to master the English language, to get my name in the newspaper, and to get the small amount of compensation the newspaper paid to writers. Today, my goal is simply to transfer what I know to others so they can benefit and have a shorter path to success. I chose independent publishing to make my work affordable to anyone and I have often given away my work for free or almost at giveaway prices to those who could not afford it.

7.      What book/poem are you most proud of creating?

Bring Inner Greatness Out: Personal Brand (2021). When I saw millions of people being laid off worldwide in 2020, I decided to try to help people in my own modest ways. I started a video podcast and made myself available for free for 15 minutes of career consulting to anyone who wanted it from anywhere in the world. I also started giving people free public speaking lessons in my Toastmasters club because I knew this would help them do better in job interviews and their careers. Then, in late 2020 I published the first edition of this book and gave away hundreds of copies for free. Even though the book was an immediate success, I decided the writing community needed additional insights in the book publishing and marketing areas. So, I expanded Chapters 10 and 11 and republished and rerecorded the entire book again in October of 2021. Anyone who bought the ebook or audiobook of the older version, got a free update. Right now all editions have the updated content. So people can buy the format they prefer.

8.      Did you publish your first book or is it for your eyes only?

I did publish my first book titled Impact of Security Culture on Security Compliance in Healthcare in the USA. However, it is my doctoral dissertation. Thus, it is only relevant to people who wish to do a doctoral degree and those interested in healthcare cybersecurity.

9.      How many books/collections have you published so far?

I have published 4 books of my own. In addition, I have produced a dozen audiobooks for other authors.

10.   What genres do you write in (or hope to)?

Non-fiction so far. However, I do wish to publish the story of my mom’s life as a biographical fiction. The first draft is done. However, I still do not know when it will be ready for prime time as fiction is not my area of strength.

11.   Do you do research for your writing or is it all in your head?

I always write an outline and then do workshops and presentations on various ideas to understand if they will benefit others. Once I feel I have test marketed the ideas and I know they will be well received, I do the first edition and see how it is received in the market. Then based on qualified reviews from people who are experts in their own right, I decide on subsequent editions. Cybersecurity Leadership is now in its 4th edition.

12.   To plan, or not to plan?

I always plan.

13.   What route of publishing have you chosen? Do you plan to stick with it?

I chose Independent Publishing. Yes, I plan to stick with it as I have no desire to relinquish any of my rights to my work so others can make more money from my work – all while increasing the price unnecessarily for consumers. I think the publishing industry is undergoing serious disruption from people like us. More than half of all books published in the world today are by independent publishers. This trend will only grow as humans are incredibly talented and technology has empowered everyone to have a voice in print, audio, and video.

14.   Do you currently have a WIP?

Yes, my mother’s life story.

15.   Do you have a favourite person in your books?

All my former students and mentees who are featured in Bring Inner Greatness Out: Personal Brand will forever have a special place in my heart. Without their achievement of greatness and success I would never have known that my methodology works. They showed me that anyone using my simple methodology can and will succeed. They simply have to do the work and follow the plan I recommend.

16.   Do you listen to music as you write? Recommend a favourite writing song.

No, I absolutely cannot listen to music or watch TV while I am writing. I write directly on a computer and take breaks from writing to listen to music, watch TV, eat, drink, walk, or spend time with family and friends.

17.   If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?

Just start writing and developing your own voice. It will be a journey and do not expect perfection in your very first effort. However, do not ever serve the wine until it is ready. Even your first publication must be high quality, free from errors and typos. If you are a storyteller, create short 5-7 minute versions (500-700 words) of story segments and present them at any Toastmasters club and see what kind of audience reaction and feedback you get. Such audience feedback will enable you to develop your own authentic voice. Stay away from formulaic writing and do not be influenced by others. The best authors have their own original voice. Read your final draft aloud with a blue or red pen and mark every typo and grammatical error you find and then correct them. The brain autocorrects and reading aloud is the only way I know to catch all errors.

18.   Have you entered any writer contests? Tell us about your experience!

I did enter one where I paid $50 to enter even though I really felt odd about it. The experience was awful as I got nothing out of it and I later felt it was a scam. However, I now use my experience to teach others not to fall for these paid contests. Real contests are designed to be fair to all and do not require entry fees. They will want free copies of books sent to them – that is okay. I will never again enter a contest that requires money. I also do not pay for reviews. I feel those are scams as well.

19.   Link us your book/twitter/goodreads or wherever we can best connect with you!

People can contact me using the contact form on my website where they can also buy signed copies of my books. https://www.cybersecurityleadership.com/buy.html

LinkedIn:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/mansurhasib/

Twitter: @mhasib – https://twitter.com/mhasib

Podcast Bring Inner Greatness Out on Anchor:  https://anchor.fm/ridetherainbow

Amazon USA: https://www.amazon.com/Bring-Inner-Greatness-Out-Personal-ebook/dp/B08LB69BMM

Book Depository will ship worldwide:  https://www.bookdepository.com/Bring-Inner-Greatness-Out-Dr-Mansur-Hasib/9781087905310

Author Interview: Val Neil

book beside a cup of coffee and camera, text says 'author interview'

Check out the first Fall of Magic book, Dark Apprentice, on Goodreads!

1.      Paperback, hardback, audiobook?

If you’re asking what I prefer as a reader, ebook! Dark Apprentice is currently available in paperback and hardback. The audiobook will release next year. I sprang for duet narration (M/F narrators within the same scene) and I’m super excited about it. You rarely see duet outside of romance. 

2.      Pick a genre, any genre!

Fantasy is my fave.

3.      What is the first book you remember reading?

The Fox on the Box was the first book I read on my own. I remember immediately taking it to show my parents, but then of course my words failed me. Reading in my head was easier than out loud in front of an audience.

4.      What book shaped your childhood most?

None of them, really, though that seems odd to say. I did love books but my imagination was sparked by movies and TV shows. I’m a very visual person.

5.      When did you first start writing?

I was writing and illustrating my own picture books in second grade. I reread them a few years ago and they all have complete arcs. It’s amazing how we internalize story structure even that young. I’ve tried to encourage my kids in their own writing efforts.

6.      What made you want to write? Does it still hold true?

It was a need, not a want. I’ve always had stories in my head. When we did pretend play as kids, my siblings and cousins always looked to me for direction because I had the best stories. I had wanted to become a writer but as early as third grade I didn’t see how it was a viable career. Even then I had an idea of the starving artist. It’s insidious how there’s such a demand for creativity and yet society devalues it.

7.      What book/poem are you most proud of creating?

Dark Apprentice

8.      Did you publish your first book or is it for your eyes only?

I started writing Fall of Magic (current series) back in college. It had been running around in my head forever and I just had to get it on paper. At the time I shared chapters with one friend but life events caused me to quit. I wouldn’t touch the story again until recently, and the current iteration is very different.

9.      How many books/collections have you published so far?

Just one novel and one short story.

10.   What genres do you write in (or hope to)?

I hope to do children’s fiction at some point. 

11.   Do you do research for your writing or is it all in your head?

My current series takes place in our world so I have to research historical events. 

12.   To plan, or not to plan your plot?

I don’t plot, but I usually know where I’m going and where the characters will end up. I have the skeleton of Fall of Magic in my head, with all the characters and major plot points, but I have to flesh out the details along the way. I love writing this way because you can throw characters in situations and see how they’ll react.

13.   What route of publishing have you chosen? Do you plan to stick with it?

Indie all the way! I could see maybe licensing print to trad since they have an easier time getting into stores though.

14.   If you could live inside another author’s universe, which one would you pick? (Ex: Middle Earth, Narnia, etc.)

My own, honestly, because I would love to have magic and in a lot of other author’s universes you’re either born with abilities or you aren’t. In my world anyone can become a mage if they train long enough.

15.   Do you currently have a WIP?

Dark Mind and Dark Whispers, the sequels to Dark Apprentice. I’ve also started writing one of the later books, which centers around a different character.

16.   Tell me about the character you’ve created who is dearest to your heart.

Nikolai ❤ I have a soft spot for dastardly, manipulative characters. He has antisocial personality disorder, colloquially known as a psychopath. He’s just interesting and fun to write. His reactions are so different compared to neurotypicals and his first impulses aren’t yet tempered by age so they’re over the top. He lowkey poisons a whole neighborhood just to avoid suspicion poisoning one person. There have been a few times when something happened and I’m just like, “Oh. Oh shit, Nikolai’s not gonna like that.” And then I laugh or cringe while I type his reaction.

17.   What surprised you the most after publishing?

That the frog licking scene would be what stuck with people, and the kiss with Harper. I almost cut the kissing scene! It’s right near the end of the book when things are supposed to be ramping up, but instead Nikolai takes this detour to see his friend. I worried it would throw off the pacing, but people love it.

18.   Do you have a favourite romance in your books? Or, if yours features no romance, tell us about your favourite character friendship!

Ew, romance. I’m aroace and while I do enjoy love stories, so many feel contrived. There has to be a genuine connection between the characters. Society seems so focused on heteronormative styles of love when there is SO much more than that. You can love people without wanting to sleep with them! You can love multiple people!

My favorite relationship in Dark Apprentice is between Nikolai and Harper. Harper is very much the opposite of Nikolai – kind and empathetic, offering help with no strings attached. Nikolai doesn’t quite understand this and views it as weakness. He can’t really form emotional attachments to people, but sees value in Harper and respects his loyalty. He lies and manipulates his friend because that’s just what he does, but he’s careful not to take things too far and is fiercely protective of him.

19.   Do you listen to music as you write? Recommend a favourite writing song.

I wear noise canceling headphones, with or without music. If I have music on it has to be mostly instrumental or something with repetitive lyrics. Lindsey Stirling is a favorite, Kaskade, deadmau5, Daft Punk.

20.   Do you have any character art for your books, whether by you or another artist? (Be sure to credit/link if you can!)

I have fanart! It amazes me that people connected enough with my characters to draw them. As a debut author this is something you dream about but don’t expect to happen with your first book.

https://twitter.com/manjimagatsu/status/1435044175175725056
https://twitter.com/vxctorvale/status/1435258975327592450

21.   If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?

Finish the damn book. Perfect is the enemy of done. Also, consider Indie publishing. It is not a fallback.

22.   Have you entered any writer contests? Tell us about your experience!

I entered the seventh Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off and Dark Apprentice made it into the cover contest! Pretty cool considering I made it myself. Unfortunately the book itself didn’t get very far. I didn’t expect it to, given it has a villainous protagonist that people tend to love or hate (or love to hate). SPFBO finalists tend to have broader appeal. 

23.   Who are your top 5-10 favourite writers?

Robin Hobb. Aside from that it’s hard to say because books are really hit or miss for me. I love Mark Lawrence’s prose. I love GRRM’s characterization. For nonfiction I like Bill Bryson, Oliver Sacks, V. S. Ramachandran.

24.   Link us your book/twitter/goodreads or wherever we can best connect with you!

https://books2read.com/DarkApprentice
https://twitter.com/ValNeilAuthor
http://goodreads.com/author/show/21265288.Val_Neil

Author Interview: Alan Denham

four separate pictures: a man reading, a man with a book, a book with flowers in the pages, a stack of books with a ladder going up the side; text says 'author interview'

Check out A Different Sight on Goodreads!

Interview:

  • Paperback, hardback, audiobook?

Well, since I am self-published and with very little hold on the market so far, it’s all electronic.  Until I feel confident enough of my status in the writing world, I don’t much want to mess about with ISBNs and any complexities there might be to ‘print on demand’ or Audiobooks.

  • Pick a genre, any genre!

A few years ago I would have put ‘SF’ and very little else.  But the world moves on, Space Opera has less appeal than it used to, and other ’hard’ SF has too much ‘Military’ in it nowadays, so I read quite a lot that falls into the general ‘Fantasy’ genre.  I also read quite a lot of crime, but I tend to avoid anything that carries the label ‘Gritty’, same as I avoid fantasy ‘Grimdark’.  Nothing badly wrong with them, I have read some from both categories – but generally I read for escapism and relaxation. 

For example: One particular crime book I read a couple of years ago began with the rape and murder of a child, with the body left on the altar table in a (named, not too far from my home!) church.  After that, it got a bit dark.  That’s not my scene.  I am more likely to go for light urban fantasy, perhaps YA.  But not vampires.  And I can tolerate a bit of Romance, so long as it doesn’t spoil or overwhelm the worldbuilding.

  • What is the first book you remember reading?

Oh, come on!  That’s <cough, cough> decades ago!  Within the preferred SF genre, it was probably Capt. W. E. Johns – same bloke that wrote Biggles, back in the 1950s, also wrote some children’s stories that would now be counted as SF.  Then I moved on to Heinlein, Asimov, Clarke, et. al.  Remember those big yellow Gollancz anthologies from the early 1960s?  Them!

  • What book shaped your childhood most?

Now there’s a question!  I didn’t discover Tolkien until well out of my ‘childhood’.  Perhaps a children’s version of the Legends of King Arthur?

  • When did you first start writing?

OK, now we get to the nitty-gritty.  Round about 1981-ish a friend found he had some time on his hands so he wrote a book.  It wasn’t too bad – needed some work, but a very respectable F/SF first effort.  So I thought ‘If he can do it, anyone can do it’ – so I tried.  The result was only about 10K words, and … unimpressive, even to me.  I sent it to him with a covering note, acknowledging that in one particular sphere of human activity, he had me well and truly beaten.

He sent it back three or four weeks later.  It had almost doubled in length, acquired some new characters – and become very promising indeed!

We co-operated for the next 25+ years, writing stuff that we thought might get published one day …  And some of it eventually did, but it was a long hard road, and it only happened because self-publishing became available through Kindle, about 2010.  Sadly, we then had a notable falling out, and I was left trying to write on my own.  There’s a lot more background here (change of career, for a start!) but eventually I self-published a couple of novellas earlier this year, and have outlines on the computer for quite a bit more, if I ever get round to it – though writing is only a second hobby, I am principally a woodcarver.  It’s just that in winter, my workshop gets ****** cold!  So I stay indoors.

  • What made you want to write? Does it still hold true?

See question 5.  I tried it mostly as a challenge to an old friend.  Now … because I think I can.

  • What book/poem are you most proud of creating?

I’m not answering that one unless/until it gets published.

  • Did you publish your first book or is it for your eyes only?

See Q5 – the long, complicated answer.

  • How many books/collections have you published so far?

Again, see Q5.  There are three in the Nuome series written with a friend (and one more that has his name on it, not mine, at my insistence), and two novellas on my own, this year – one YA urban fantasy, the other Crime.

  • What genres do you write in (or hope to)?

Fantasy, generally Urban fantasy at the YA end of the spectrum.

  • Do you do research for your writing or is it all in your head?

If it is going to have any ‘real world’ connection – dates or locality – then I do some research.  But it starts in my head, and the research is just to avoid glaring mistakes.

  • To plan, or not to plan your plot?

Oh, Gawd!  Plan in head.  Start writing.  Forget plan in head, recognise major problems, plan on paper.  Write a bit more.  Rewrite plan. Write a bit more. Repeat until insanity threatens.  Leave it three months.  Go back to ‘recognise major problems’.  Repeat loop.

  • What route of publishing have you chosen? Do you plan to stick with it?

Self-pubbed on Kindle.  Chosen for simplicity; I want to be creative, I don’t want to spend time marketing.  If/when sales and popularity justify it, I shall go paperback, still self-pubbed.  If I get beyond that (dream on!) then some publisher can pick up my work and handle the admin.  Audiobook?  I’m a traditionalist, I don’t really call that reading – but it’s becoming popular, so I suppose I shall have to look at it at some point.

  • If you could live inside another author’s universe, which one would you pick? (Ex: Middle Earth, Narnia, etc.)

Tempting . . .  They all have their dark sides, but if they didn’t, they wouldn’t be interesting.  Aaronovitch’s ‘Rivers of London’ have a lot to be said in their favour.  So has Mark Hayden’s ‘King’s Watch’ series.  And I am rather fond of Charles de Lint.  And Patrick LeClerc.  And Michael Scott Rohan’s ‘Spiral’ series.  So many!

  • Do you currently have a WIP?

Yes – but don’t hold your breath, I write VERY slowly.  It’s urban fantasy, using some Sami mythology, but set in County Durham about a decade ago.

  • Tell me about the character you’ve created who is dearest to your heart.

I have to offer two:  While working with that old friend, we came up with Cormell, in Shades of Smoke.  He’s an Illusionist, with a very strong sense of justice – and some powers just enough to help achieve it.  On my own, there’s Louise, from A Different Sight.  Her Special Abilities don’t make life easy!

  • What do you consider your *current* magnum opus? 

Current WIP, see above, Q15.

  • Do you have a favourite romance in your books? Or, if yours features no romance, tell us about your favourite character friendship!

Romance is not my favourite genre – but a bit of it helps keep a story rolling along.  Louise (A Different Sight) has an old schoolfriend who is a criminal (and a very decent bloke), and a boyfriend who is a detective sergeant (and a bit of a *******).  Not a situation that leads to a smooth romantic story.

  • Do you listen to music as you write? Recommend a favourite writing song.

Writing isn’t that easy.  Music in the early outlining stages (Classical, or late 60s, early 70s rock & pop), to help the fantasies, but later, I need to concentrate.

  • Do you have any character art for your books, whether by you or another artist? (Be sure to credit/link if you can!)

Only the covers, and I did not enjoy doing those.  Digital art is hard work!  Something else to be put off until sales and/or reviews prove its worth the effort.

  • If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?

Get a good collection of ‘Beta Readers’ – and listen to them.  Don’t necessarily accept all their advice, but think about all of it.

  • Have you entered any writer contests? Tell us about your experience!

A couple.  I got some good feedback from one, but apart from a small ‘feelgood’ they generally didn’t help.  Another friend often takes prizes for very short fiction at his local Festival – but that style is not useful to me at present.

  • Who are your top 5-10 favourite writers?

Refer back to anyone I have already mentioned – that gives you eight names.  Add Larry Niven for hardcore SF, and …. No, I have to stop somewhere.

  • Link us your book/twitter/goodreads or wherever we can best connect with you!

I used to run a website supporting the PlanetNuome books, but those days are gone.  I have a page on Goodreads, but it hasn’t been updated recently – Goodreads went a long way downhill when Amazon bought it, and it hasn’t yet re-established itself.  Mostly (at present), I am on Twitter, as @nuomer1.  I’m on facebook as well.

Author Interview: Barbara Avon

Check out Barbara Avon’s books on Goodreads!

Interview:

1.      Paperback, hardback, audiobook?

Definitely paperback for me! Both as a reader, and a writer. 

2.      Pick a genre, any genre!

Horror! 

3.      What is the first book you remember reading?

That’s so tough. I can’t remember that far back! “The Monster at The End of this Book”, I think. Starring Grover!

4.      What book shaped your childhood most?

Being a shy kid, I preferred to stay in and read, and read all the books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. 

5.      When did you first start writing?

I started with poetry when I was a teenager. 

6.      What made you want to write? Does it still hold true?

The need to create, and escape, and share my new worlds and characters with others sparked in me my love of storytelling. Yes, that still holds true! 

7.      What book/poem are you most proud of creating?

I’ve always hated this question, because choosing makes it sound like I’m proud of one and not the others, but today I’m going to go with my latest release “Sultry, Is the Night”.  There’s no real reason except that it feels like a culmination of all my years spent writing. If I were to never write another word again, I’d be happy with the fact that I ended with “Sultry”. 

8.      Did you publish your first book or is it for your eyes only?

I wrote my first book in 2002, put it away, and published it in 2015. It spawned three other books in the series, but they all read as standalone novels. 

9.      How many books/collections have you published so far?

I have published twenty-five titles. 

10.   What genres do you write in (or hope to)?

I’m multi-genre and write Romantic Suspense, Thriller, Horror (including Psychological Horror), Fantasy (Time Travel only), Literary Fiction, and Children’s books that allow the child to draw the illustrations. 

11.   Do you do research for your writing or is it all in your head?

I research as I write. I believe it’s important to not get facts wrong, so if I’m writing a story set in 1980, I’ll Google brand names and make sure they existed back then. The rest is in my head since I lived through the 80s!

12.   To plan, or not to plan your plot?

For me, it depends on the genre. For example, I don’t plot my horror stories, but I will email myself bullet points for each chapter for a romance, for example. 

13.   What route of publishing have you chosen? Do you plan to stick with it?

I’m a proud self-published, Independent author and I’m going to keep it that way!

14.   Do you currently have a WIP?

I just published a couple of weeks ago in November so right now, I’m still deciding what I should write next. I’m leaning towards Time Travel again! Or a mesh of Time Travel/Horror. I love marrying genres. 

15.   Tell me about the character you’ve created who is dearest to your heart.

Peter Travis, my very first protagonist, is dearest to my heart, probably because he started this journey with me, but also because he’s flawed, yet kind, generous, older, and incredibly sexy! 

16.   What do you consider your *current* magnum opus?

My latest release, “Sultry, Is the Night”, for the reasons I mentioned in question #7. 

17.   Do you have a favourite romance in your books? Or, if yours features no romance, tell us about your favourite character friendship!

Another tough one since there’s love in all my books! Even in my horror stories! I think I’m going to have to answer by saying that all of my love stories are unique and special in their own way. 

18.   Do you listen to music as you write? Recommend a favourite writing song.

Absolutely not, haha! I need absolute silence!

19.   Do you have any character art for your books, whether by you or another artist? (Be sure to credit/link if you can!)

Yes! @ayalpinkus created the attached artwork to represent my characters Lina and James in “Postscript” – my paranormal romance. 

20.   If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?

Be bold. Be Brave. Be different. 

21.   Have you entered any writer contests? Tell us about your experience!

No, I haven’t actually! 

22.   Link us your book/twitter/goodreads or wherever we can best connect with you!

Everything about me is in my Twitter profile or pinned to my page: @barb_avon. Thank you so much again, Rebecca. I really enjoyed answering the questions for your interview! 

Author Interview: Rita A. Rubin

author interview text below a picture of an open book, a camera and a mug.

Check out Amulet of Wishes on Goodreads!

Interview:

  1. Paperback, hardback, audiobook?
    Paperback.
  2. Pick a genre, any genre!
    Fantasy!
  3. What is the first book you remember reading?
    I think it might have been Bridge to Terabithia.
  4. What book shaped your childhood most?
    I wasn’t much of a reader as a child, but I was definitely a bit obsessed with The Spiderwick Chronicles for a time and I used to play in my backyard and pretend there was a hidden world of faeries living there.
  5. When did you first start writing?
    I think I was about eleven and I had just finished watching Avatar: The Last Airbender, but I wasn’t ready for it to be over so I decided to write my own sequel instead.
  6. What made you want to write? Does it still hold true?
    I just really love creating stories and all of the characters and fantastical worlds to go along with it and that’s always been what keeps me going.
  7. What book/poem are you most proud of creating?
    So far it’s Amulet of Wishes.
  8. Did you publish your first book or is it for your eyes only?
    I published it.
  9. How many books/collections have you published so far?
    Amulet of Wishes is my first and, so far, my only published work.
  10. What genres do you write in (or hope to)?
    At the moment I write fantasy, but I’d also like to try my hand at sci-fi, steampunk and horror one day.
  11. Do you do research for your writing or is it all in your head?
    For my Chronicles of the Guardians series, a lot of the world-building and such are just products of my imagination, but there are some things I might need to do research on, such as different types of weaponry and things to do with the Victorian and Regency eras.
  12. To plan, or not to plan your plot?
    Plan it.
  13. What route of publishing have you chosen? Do you plan to stick with it?
    I chose to go with self-publishing and I’m so glad I did. I am open to giving traditional publishing another go one day, though.
  14. If you could live inside another author’s universe, which one would you pick? (Ex: Middle Earth, Narnia, etc.)
    I’d really love to live in Red London in V.E. Schwab’s Shades of Magic trilogy.
  15. Do you currently have a WIP?
    Yes! Right now I’m editing Lady Night, which is the second book in Chronicles of the Guardians and drafting Darus’s Story, which is a short story about one of the main characters.
  16. Tell me about the character you’ve created who is dearest to your heart.
    This is always such a tough question, because they’re all so dear to me. But I guess, I’ll pick Derek since he’s my main protagonist so I think that makes him just a bit extra special.
  17. What do you consider your current magnum opus?
    Amulet of Wishes.
  18. Do you have a favourite romance in your books? Or, if yours features no romance, tell us about your favourite character friendship!
    I do have a favourite romance, but just telling you about it would be a spoiler. As for friendships, I love the friendship between Derek, Jared and Arabelle. They’re all so dear to each other and each of them would one hundred percent turn someone into a past tense if it meant saving the others.
  19. Do you listen to music as you write? Recommend a favourite writing song.
    I do, but only instrumental stuff, so mainly movie soundtracks and such. At the moment, my favourite music to listen to is the Dragon Age: Inquisition soundtrack.
  20. Do you have any character art for your books, whether by you or another artist? (Be sure to credit/link if you can!)
    I sure do! I draw a lot of my own character art and you can find most of it through my instagram account.
  21. If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?
    Write what you want to write because you can’t expect readers to be passionate about your work if you aren’t.
  22. Have you entered any writer contests? Tell us about your experience!
    No, I’m not confident enough to put myself out there like that.
  23. Who are your top 5-10 favourite writers?
    C.S. Pacat, V.E. Schwab, Melina Marchetta, Victoria Lee, Natasha Ngan.
  24. Link us your book/twitter/goodreads or wherever we can best connect with you!
    I’m most active on Twitter.