Featured Author · Spotlight Interview

Featured Author: Chioma Nnani

Wednesday Spotlight

Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?

My name is Chioma Nnani and I am an award-winning author & blogger, radio presenter, producer and the CEO of The Fearless Storyteller House Emporium. I was born and raised in Nigeria, had my university undergraduate and postgraduate education in the UK and now live in Nigeria. I hold an LLB Honours degree from the University of Kent in Canterbury and a Postgraduate Certificate in Food Law from the De Montfort University in Leicester.

What inspired you to write?

I started writing when I was maybe six years old. I am inspired by the Universe.

What inspired your novel?

I come from a country where the authorities don’t take domestic violence as seriously as they should. Yes, there is an NGO called Project Alert that deals with such cases, but it is more the norm for abused women to be told by the police to ‘go home and settle with your husband’. Other themes in the book are friendship, love, sisterhood, cultural clashes and religion.

I read a book by Faye Kellerman in which one of the characters said that everyone is either running away from or towards something. But people run because they’re uncomfortable. They run till they get home. Home is a person, place or thing where one can be naked and unashamed. So Because Home Is … is a collection of short stories on finding a home, going home and being home – and it highlights the thing about home meaning different things to different people and how there are many paths to home for different people.

What is the genre?

Forever There For You would fit into General Romance, Women’s Literature, Feminist Literature and there is a bit of Coming-of-Age in there. Because Home Is … is a collection of short stories, so there’s a fair bit going on – definitely Women’s Literature, Feminist Literature and a bit of YA.

What draws you to this genre?

I was going to say something really profound and clever but I honestly don’t know (laughing). I genuinely believe that some pieces of work choose you, not the other way round.

How did you develop your plot and your characters?

Lots of research. I tend to get a bit OCD with research. Then, I like working with warped characters on paper of course …

What inspired your protagonist?

Lots of things. Some of the things that Nadine experiences – like coming to England to study, attending college in the city of Oxford, having her hair break because of the weather, wanting to dye her hair and difficulty with finding an African saloon – and some of the things she is – the girl who thinks the world is coming to an end because she scored an 80% on an exam as opposed to 110%, the girl who is so terrified of failure that she works herself into an ulcer … all of that were things from my own life. You will be glad to know I have matured a lot since then (laughing), so certain things aren’t that big a deal anymore. But there was a story that needed to be told. I will say however that Nadine’s story isn’t my story.

What inspired your antagonist?

I know abusive, violent people and one of them is the inspiration for Tony who is the villain in Forever There For You. There are a number of antagonists in Because Home Is … as it’s a collection of short stories. But they are based on real people, which is kinda scary, I was talking to a friend about one of the antagonists in the book and he kept going, “Are you sure this is based on a real person cos this dude sounds like he has serious issues?!”

What was the hardest part to write in the book?

For Forever There For You, there was a rape scene. There’s physical and verbal abuse. So that was difficult to write because I had to have those in my head; it was really uncomfortable. For Because Home Is … when Jade’s mentor dies of cancer. I lost one of my mentors on September 11, 2016 and the shock to my system … for like a week after that, I would wake up at like 2 or 3o’clock just to cry. And that blows because there are times I still feel robbed. She passed on in September and I won an award in October; it was one that she was sure I had the ability to win. And she had told me that exactly a year before. So, having what she predicted to happen and she’s not there in person, you’re like, “Yep! Cancer is a bitch!”

What was your favourite part of your book to write?

In Forever There For You, one of my favourite parts was the friendship between Nadine and her best friend, Stella. In Because Home Is … one of my favourite parts was writing about Victor’s character beating cancer.

Are you a full time or a part time writer? If part time, what do you do besides write?

I’m a full-time author-preneur. I’m CEO of The Fearless Storyteller House Emporium Ltd. It’s a media and publishing firm based in Abuja, Nigeria. And we have a suite of products and services – books, online courses, screen productions, stage productions, audio productions and a done-for-you service for entrepreneurs and SMEs so that they can concentrate on their real business. I also run the “Memo From A Fearless Storyteller” blogazine and we won the 2016 BEFFTA (Black Entertainment Film Fashion Television and Arts) Award for “Blog of the Year”. And I’m a radio presenter …

What are you currently reading?

“Sun Sets At Vanity Fair”. It’s a book by one of my new authors and it comes out at the end of March 2017. So, I am going through with a fine toothcomb (laughing)

Who would you say are your favourite authors?

Oh, I don’t really have a favourite author per se; when I get into an author, I will literally gorge myself on them. So, I will read everything I can find that they have written. My reading tastes are varied – Martina Cole, Chimamanda Adichie, Barbara Taylor Bradford,

How about your favourite books? What would be your top 5?

I don’t have any favourite books; I’m more like a “I like an author, I’ll read their work”.

What are your future projects, if any?

As a writer, I’m working on a trilogy aimed at teenagers, the trilogy comes out in the summer. Then, there’s a collaborative autobiography scheduled for release in September. And I am working on my second full-length novel. As a radio presenter, I need to revamp my show. As the CEO of The Fearless Storyteller House Emporium, there’s stuff … screen productions, a stage production, online courses, more clients’ books to publish, and a done-for-you service for entrepreneurs and SMEs to help them focus on their real business.

What is your preferred method for readers to get in touch with you and your books?

Social media and my mailing list.
Connect with Chioma here
TwitterLinkedInFacebookPinterestGoogle+Website

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Write. Read. Write some more. Read some more. Look for an editor Look for a publisher. Read. Network. Learn. Read.

Advertisements
Featured Author · Spotlight Interview

Featured Author: Brooke Williams

Wednesday Spotlight


Genre: 
Romantic Comedy
Publisher: Boutique of Quality Books
Publication Date: September 1, 2017
Pages: 268
Add to Goodreads
Buy: AmazonB&N

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About the Book

A reserved wallflower discovers that reality TV is the perfect backdrop to develop her confidence in this lighthearted rom-com. Megan Malone is the ultimate homebody. When her sister talks her into going on The Leftover, a local version of the TV show Survivor, she isn’t sure she’ll make it past the first vote. Meanwhile, Cane Trevino is nursing a broken heart by joining the show as a medic. With time away from his regular job and a dozen contestants to distract him, he hopes he can finally get over the woman he thought was “the one.”

Interview

Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?

 I’m a stay at home mom by day, a freelance writer and author by naptime, and asleep by 9pm! I have a decade long history in radio broadcasting as a producer and on-air announcer. And I did a brief stint in TV news…that was a disaster! I’ve always loved to write, though, and when I had my first daughter in 2009, I fell back into it as something I could do from home with her around. It’s always been my first love and I never should have given up on it.

What inspired you to write?

 As scary as it sounds, the voices in my head tell me what to write. Ha! Characters form and stories take shape in my imagination and I know the right one to write because it will NOT leave me alone until I do.

What inspired your novel?

 I’ve always been fascinated by reality shows and the type of people who go on them. I wondered what would happen if someone who didn’t really want to go on the show got pushed into it. Someone more like me… Those wonderings got me started!

What is the genre?

 Romantic comedy

What draws you to this genre?

 I feel like it’s my job as a writer to help readers get an escape from everyday life. Nothing too serious or overbearing. Just something light-hearted and fun that will help them get away from it all. A good laugh and a little love never hurts!


How did you develop your plot and your characters?

 For this book, I used the TV show Survivor as a basis, but the book revolves around a local version of the show. So there are competitions, but they’re nothing compared to the national show. People get voted out and funny instances arise.

What inspired your protagonist?

 I wanted someone shy without much confidence to get pushed into going onto the local version of Survivor called The Leftover. She’s reluctant and anti-social and not someone you would expect to see in such a position. She’s also big parts me. She wears glasses, doesn’t do well with people much of the time, and is clumsy.

What inspired your antagonist?

 I knew I would need a bully or jerk to push my main character to extremes. I didn’t know which of the characters that would end up being at first, but Andrew stepped up to the plate. 

What was the hardest part to write in the book?

 Finding the time to write it. Honestly, when I’m inspired, it’s hard to stop. But with two little girls running around, I HAVE to stop. Way more often than I’d like. If I had a week alone, it would be a breeze!

What was your favourite part of your book to write?

 I liked writing the competition scenes. Describing what the contestants were doing and how they were doing it and how things went wrong was a lot of fun.

Are you a full time or a part time writer? If part time, what do you do besides write?

 I’m a full time mom, part time writer. I have two daughters, one of whom is in school. Once my younger daughter hits school age, I will make it more of a full time career. While I dabble in fiction, my “real” job is freelance writing. I write for a number of different marketing companies. I do blogs, product descriptions, copy, all sorts of exciting things.

What are you currently reading?

 Mostly magazines. I do always have a book on my kindle and one in paperback going, but it’s been a few weeks since I’ve picked them up so I can’t even say what they are. My reading time is right before my daughters go to bed. They watch a few videos, I read. But lately, they’ve had some serious games going at that time of day so I’ve just let them play those longer and we’ve skipped the video/reading time.

Who would you say are your favourite authors?

 I have plenty! Karen Kingsbury, Richard Paul Evans, Heather Gudenkauf, I could go on.

How about your favourite books? What would be your top 5?

 I have trouble remember book names. I really enjoyed The Time Traveler’s Wife, though, and anything Jodi Piccoult.

What are your future projects, if any?

 I would like to make this book into a series. This one revolved around a local version of Survivor, but I’d like to write one that is a local version of The AMazing Race and another revolving around a local version of Big Brother and so on. Call it “The REality of Love Series” or something like that. But I’m going to have to wait until my daughters are both in school.

What is your preferred method for readers to get in touch with you and your books?

 Email, website, facebook, twitter, I’m not picky!

www.authorbrookewilliams.com

https://www.facebook.com/authorbrookewilliams/

@authorbrookew

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?


Write because you love to write. That needs to be first and foremost. If you don’t love it, don’t bother. Never dream of giving up. IF you give up, you never know what would have happened. IF you keep with it and keep searching for your path, you’ll find it.

Featured Author · Spotlight Interview · Spotlight Sunday's

Featured Author: Kharma Kelley

Wednesday Spotlight

 
Genre: 
Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Wicked Bayou Press
Publication Date: September 30, 2016
Pages: 214
Add to Goodreads
Buy: Amazon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About the Book

Half vampire. Half human. 100% Badass.

Chloe Hunter can’t seem to stay out of trouble. Incarcerated by The Bureau after running amok for a century with a brood of vampires, grifting and terrorizing humanity, she’s ready to make up for her dark past. Luckily, when The Bureau would rather see her at the end of a wooden stake, in comes her new straight-laced handsome boss, Ethan Raines, who’s got other plans for the seductive ex-con.

An enigmatic and sexy vampire who finds Chloe’s hybrid blood and street prowess too irresistible to pass up, Ethan requests The Bureau to release her into his custody to protect the streets of New Orleans. Now, her debt to society is to punish other supernaturals who break the law and bring them to justice.

When Chloe’s creepy old gang involves her in a plot to unlock a mysterious box, she’s forced to make some hard choices that threaten to betray the trust of the man who’s given her a second chance at life and love. Ethan may have his work cut out for him in Tall, Dark & Deadly, the first steamy New Adult Paranormal Romance blockbuster in the Agents of The Bureau supernatural romance series!

Interview

Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?

Sure! I was born and raised in Texas to a pair of Cajun parents. I was a Tomboy growing up, despite my Dad trying so hard to keep me a lady. Now my husband still fights that battle LOL. I’ve been writing fiction since I was 13 and after my much older friend smuggled me some romance books, I was smitten. I fell in love with romance and urban fantasies and it keeps me plenty busy. I venture into many genres of fiction, but I always come back to paranormal romance.

 

What inspired you to write?

I’ve always enjoyed writing, but I think it was my brother that continued to inspire me to keep writing. We both were big movie buffs and loved creating dialogue, so we both got into screenwriting. Mark continued on that path, but I kept exploring writing in different styles of fiction. I remember telling him that I was a bit embarrassed to write romance because so many people looked down on it. He told me to forget what others think and to just write for myself because I enjoy it. After that discussion, I wrote what I enjoyed and never looked back.

 

What inspired your novel?

It’s so funny it turned into a full-length novel! When I first started “Tall, Dark & Deadly”, I wanted to make a short story. I’ve always found making short stories challenging because I always end up fleshing it out more and more until it turns into a full length. I had written my first draft of my other book, “Selenium Night”, but wasn’t ready to publish it. I wanted to write something short and sweet–a “friends turn lovers” story with different characters–but not another full-length book. My rationale was to make a fun short story in the same vein of urban fantasy/paranormal romance to put out to the masses to see how people would like my style and storylines. Only then, would I have decided to be brave enough to put my full-length novel out there. (Laughs) Well, that was blown away after I decided to write it on Wattpad. Turned out, writing the story through the app forced me to think big picture and for the first time, really help me understand how to pace my story and keep my little audience engaged. Thanks to the readers on Wattpad, the story became something bigger than I ever hoped for. It was amazing, so I just ran with it. Chloe and Ethan were too fun to turn away and I’m glad I didn’t.

 

What is the genre?

It’s a Paranormal Romance with strong Urban Fantasy elements.

 

What draws you to this genre?

Oh my gosh, I LOVE world building! There are some amazing authors out there who possess such a beautiful imagination to create entire worlds that readers can wrap themselves in. As an avid reader of the genre, I could always appreciate the level of dedication it takes for an author to spin up a new reality for us to enjoy. Urban Fantasy is just so much fun and my generation was inundated with it growing up with “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Angel.” That’s why I just had to mention Buffy in the book regardless of how dated it made the book feel. I wanted to pay homage 🙂 I know this generation is all about “The Vampire Diaries” (which has become my guilty pleasure), but when I started falling in love with writing and reading paranormal romance/urban fantasy, it was all about Miss kickass Buffy!

But seriously, I love spooky things and creatures finding love. There’s something intriguing about strong women finding love in all the “wrong” places in the world of fantasy. Of angels, demons, ghosts, werewolves and your occasional blood sucker, all these paranormal metaphors are catalysts of what humans are and crave most…that we’re all different, beautiful and a little bit weird–and just want someone to love us for who we are.

 

How did you develop your plot and your characters?

I’m a recovering pantser, so I actually started with the character development. I knew I wanted a strong female character who was far from perfect. I wanted her to have a past where she was a bad guy and collide with a goody two-shoes. One of the themes in the story is redemption and that’s what Chloe wants. She wants people to trust her. That’s pretty hard though when you come out of incarceration and everyone is judging you. You may have served your time, but the judgement never really stops. That kinda adversity can do two things: it can force you to shut down and give up or it can fire you up and make you prove to the world you don’t need their approval and get on with your life. Chloe obviously took the latter.

It also doesn’t help that she’s a vampire-human hybrid. In that world, she’s actually the freak. She doesn’t belong and anytime you feel that level of exclusion from society, it’s gonna drive a bigger wedge between you and what society thinks. I think Chloe’s a badass because she’s got so much working against her, but still, she doesn’t let it break her. She’s my hero.

On the flip side, I probably didn’t imagine her hero, Ethan, such a prim and proper authority figure at first. He kinda developed that way organically. Because Chloe is so out there and gung-ho, it would’ve been absolute chaos without giving her some sort of an anchor. I needed a sage mentor for her. Someone who was wiser, older and on some level relate to Chloe and accept her for who she is. Ethan has seen so much and been around for so long, nothing should really amaze him. But somehow, something possesses him to take a chance on a hybrid ex-con and bring her on his team. So either he was bored or saw something in Chloe that he hadn’t seen before 🙂

In developing the plot, I kept thinking about interviews I watched and read about street gangs and small time criminals when they get out on parole. You aren’t supposed to connect with any felons per your parole release. You have a list of rules long as your arm to obey or else you go back in. It had me thinking about the gang Chloe ran with. The ones that got away would still be up to their hell-raising ways, while she was forced to walk the straight and narrow. So I thought, “Okay, I have to get the Boyettes to do something foul and in doing so, Chloe will already raise suspicions because it’s sadly ‘guilt by association’.” She’ll have to prove her loyalty to The Bureau and Ethan. What the Boyettes are up to can destroy and unravel a lot for not just The Bureau, but the world, so it’s game on to retrieve the box!

 

What inspired your protagonist?

Chloe is beautifully human. She’s flawed and hopeful and wants to be accepted. However, she’s also a “bad girl.” She’s tough and has this tenacity to her that makes the story work. When I thought about the ideal heroine for this book, I pictured her sitting in a jail cell, having this feeling of regret and resentment. She made some mistakes, and she sat back and let things happen instead of speaking up. Lots of us have experienced that kind of regret. It’s pretty character-forming, you know–having to live with a mistake where you are almost certain wouldn’t have happened if you’d just stepped up and said/done something. It doesn’t make you horrible, it just makes you human. So when I thought of a heroine, I wanted her to be someone who was destined to set things right.

 

What inspired your antagonist?

I’m a bit obsessed with villains who are a bit sociopathic. I’ve always read about the kinda gangs that were in the streets in New York at the turn of the century and there were some seriously bad guys. Twisted, hard-nosed guys that got away with a lot of wickedness. Inspiration to have a gang of brothers, the Boyettes, came from reading about the gangs like The Dead Rabbits and the Bowery Boys. Alistair is taunting and cruel, but he loves his brothers. He believes in family, but above all, he’s territorial and isn’t afraid to shock. He and his brothers didn’t get enough love before they turned and it spoiled them for all eternity.

 

What was the hardest part to write in the book?

The action! Don’t get me wrong I LOVE action! It’s not a shock that it found its way into my Paranormal Romance books. But, I wasn’t used to writing action in my style. I had to find my own rhythm and educate myself a LOT on realistic fighting as well as how to actually write action that wasn’t so technical it was boring or so abstract readers couldn’t visualize. That part was really tough.

 

What was your favourite part of your book to write?

It would have to be the mellow downtime in the story where Chloe and Ethan get to connect. The story is so fast paced, I welcomed the time where they could stop for a minute and get to know each other better. Ethan is so closed and reserved, it’s very hard to figure out what he’s thinking, at least from Chloe’s POV. When they calm down and talk, it’s downright touching and often hilarious.

 

Are you a full time or a part time writer? If part time, what do you do besides write?

When I’m not writing, I lead a team of fantastic techies at an Austin-based software company. I love doing anything creative, so if I’m not writing, I’m painting, reading, drawing, knitting–you name it! It all fights the dreaded writer’s block!

 

What are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading a collection of Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter short stories titled “Love Bites.” It’s making me happy 🙂

 

Who would you say are your favourite authors?

I’m always on the lookout for the new and rising authors, but Gena Showalter writes some sizzling paranormal romance! Sherrilyn Kenyon’s magnum opus of world building keeps me inspired and giddy. Kresley Cole makes me need a glass of ice water nearby to read her work and L.A. Banks is reigning champ on urban fantasy with her “Vampire Huntress” Series. The writing world continues to miss her imagination and craft.

 

What are your future projects, if any?

Yes! I have a 2nd book to add to the Agents of the Bureau series. Leto’s story is in the works and if you read “Tall, Dark & Deadly,” I think you’ll understand why 😉 Also, I have another series I will start next year based on werewolf-like creatures called “ShadowShifters.” Yep, “Selenium Night” will be in the works for publication.

 

What is your preferred method for readers to get in touch with you and your books?

Feel free to stalk me on Facebook or Twitter as I hang on those a lot. Readers can always email me–I’ll always respond 🙂

Other Links:
Website | Goodreads | Amazon | YouTube | Smashwords

 

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Two words: just write! Doesn’t matter how rough it comes out if you feel it sucks. Just write it! Let your imagination run wild and let your writing make its own path. Remember, you can always go back and re-tweak it. I just have one published book under my belt and I don’t plan on stopping there. The best thing a writer can do to hone their craft is practice and that only happens by writing. So stop finding excuses and write every day. Things will get better. Just write!

Featured Author · Spotlight Interview · Uncategorized

Featured Author: Geoffrey Saign

Wednesday Spotlight

 
Genre: 
Epic Fantasy, Young Adult
Publisher: Kiraku Press
Publication Date: November 26, 2016
Pages: 296
Add to GoodReads
Buy: Amazon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About the Book

A hundred-year-war that won’t end… Three young women sworn to kill each other… Famere, the wyshea butcher, seeks vengeance with loyal mythic beasts called shadows, Jennelle, commander of the Northerners, fights for her people’s survival using brilliant strategies, & Camette, a wild divided draghon, searches for her kidnapped lover… Famere, Jennelle and Camette must discover who is friend or enemy, who is responsible for the hundred-year dark sky, and death mists, and if the men they adore will still love them.

Interview

Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I love nature and wildlife, so environmental issues concern me. I have many other passions, including water (swim, sail, snorkel), cooking, self-awareness, walking in forests, and of course, writing. I grew up in a city that was surrounded by forests and a small farm, so the outdoors became my playground. Later I studied biology, humpback whales, and got into sailing. I’ve travelled over much of the South Pacific, and have worked in special education for decades.

What inspired you to write?

I love stories, but my first thoughts about writing were triggered by a high school creative writing teacher, who prefaced reading my homework essay assignment with, “A writer like this comes around once every 17 years.” I was shocked, and her words always stuck with me.

What inspired your novel?

I wanted to show that good and evil can be in all races, each of us and that our choices decide where we end up. One of the main characters in Wyshea Shadows hates war but ironically becomes a cold-blooded warrior/killer after a tragedy. Our responses can either swing us to peace and love, or violence. Another theme is the overarching threat to their world, which is being caused, ultimately, by a quest for power—a parallel to the current situation in our world.

What is the genre?

YA epic fantasy action thriller with romance subplots.

What draws you to this genre?

The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant by Stephen Donaldson were some of my favorite books. Fantasy that is a bit dark (darker than my books), but with hope too. I grew up reading thrillers and fantasy, and combining the two seemed a natural fit. At one point I decided I enjoyed writing for younger readers, MG and YA, but really my stories seem to appeal to all ages.

How did you develop your plot and your characters?

Unlike many of my books, this story was developed over many years. It was my first fantasy novel, and over the years morphed from adult to YA, and from first-person to third, and from male main characters to female (though the book also has male main characters, the story is seen mostly out of the eyes of three women who have tremendous challenges and tragedy to overcome while fighting a war).

What inspired your protagonist?

I wanted to show a young woman struggling with what is expected of her, rebelling against that, while events overtake her desires and force decisions upon her. She’s strong, connected to nature, in love, confused, and tired of everyone’s expectations of her. The other two women in the story have similar situations, and they also have to make decisions that force them into dangerous alliances. I wanted to show women leaders who were strong, yet sensitive and compassionate, tough and mysterious, yet very clear on what they want. War, love, and mystery entangle them together.

What inspired your antagonist?

Actually, there are several antagonists of different stature. Some are minions, one is conflicted, and there is one who is driving all the conflict. In our current society, there are men of power who don’t care what happens to the environment or people who stand in the way of ‘progress’—whether it is pipelines or a new dam in Brazil threatening native peoples. These men have single-minded goals—riches and power, and their actions become very destructive. The antagonist in Wyshea Shadows is in a fantasy world, but with those same attributes.

What was the hardest part to write in the book?

Blending the beauty of the dangerous world of the Wild Lands on Pangaea with action and suspense so that beauty is always there, yet never slowing the pacing or taking over the scenes.

What was your favorite part of your book to write?

The book is full of action and suspense, yet I love the emotional strands connecting the characters, who in the end are willing to die for what they believe in, and for each other. It brings deep emotion to me even now after reading it a hundred times.

Are you a full-time or a part-time writer? If part-time, what do you do besides write?

I work full-time in education, where I teach novel writing, self-awareness, and speech, among other things. But I’m writing 25+ hours/week, and 40+ in the summer.

What are you currently reading?

I read science articles at times, to keep current on environmental issues. I’m also reading some things on Virtual Reality, which is used on one of my thrillers. Mostly right now I’, rewriting a thriller, and even more time is spent on marketing the 6 books I have out.

How about your favourite books? What would be your top 5?

I loved Sabriel by Garth Nix, Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, and more recently I’ve read Hunger Games (book 1), and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children—I read to see what others are doing, and enjoyment. I spend most of my reading time on my books—I will be putting out another 5-8 by July 1, 2017.

What are your future projects, if any?

I will be publishing 2 adult thrillers over the winter. Then the 2nd Books in the Bubblegum Mike series and Divided Draghons series. The 3rd books in each of these series will be out by July 1, hopefully. I also have a younger MG book, another nonfiction book, and possibly a romance. Many of these books are written already, and thus just need editing and production—otherwise, I could never do something like this, put out so many books so fast.

What is your preferred method for readers to get in touch with you and your books?

WebsiteFacebookTwitterLinkedIn

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors? 

You either write just for fun, pleasure, a few friends and family, or it’s a business.

Publishers often are no longer the best route, since an agent/publisher if you are lucky will take two years to put out a book (IF you sell it fast), and then you have 3 months in B&N. If you don’t sell well, you’re done. I know a number of writers who have experienced this. Then you have to get the rights back, redo the cover and interior files, etc. Thus, self-publishing gives you more chance of success and more options. However, it costs more up front, and there are 4,000 new Kindle books published daily. That’s a lot of competition. But most of these books will never be read, never be successful, and are glutting the platforms. Most writers work other jobs, so you have to love it to keep at it.

Winning awards, sales, readers telling you they love your book all help keep you excited along the way.

Good luck!

Featured Author · Spotlight Interview

Featured Author: Chrys Cymri

Wednesday Spotlight

Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: March 31, 2016
Pages: 230
Add to GoodReads

Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: December 2, 2016
Pages: 234
Add to GoodReads

Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: April 12, 2017
Add to GoodReads

Interview

Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I currently reside in England but have travelled widely and in my time I’ve lived in the USA and Wales. My first career was in financial services, but in 2003 I left my well-paid job to train to be a Christian minister. I’m a priest in the Church of England and I’m in a full-time training role, with a bit of input into an urban church. Previously I served in a small village church. A bit like Penny White…

My main hobby is photography, and I love to travel. My most interesting trip was to North Korea in August 2016. You can read about that on my travel blog, www.travellinghopefully.co.uk

 

What inspired you to write?

When I was seven years old I had a vivid dream, and I wrote it down. From this, I discovered that writing (when going well!) is a bit like dreaming while awake. A film plays in my mind, and I try to capture it on the word processor.

 

What inspired your novel?

Some years ago I decided to try my bishop’s patience by asking him whether Holy Water, blessed by a female priest, could harm a vampire who didn’t accept the ordination of women. His response was ‘Only you would ask that!’ A few months later I found myself wondering, what if he’d answered differently? And out of that came the Penny White novels.

 

What is the genre?

Urban fantasy. The main human character has an ordinary life in England (as a female Church of England priest) but has stumbled across a parallel fantasy world, Daear. The parallel country to the United Kingdom is called Lloegyr.

 

What draws you to this genre?

The contrast between the ordinary and the extraordinary. I can well understand why Penny longs to be more involved in the fantasy world, particularly when her life in England seems so, well, ordinary.

 

How did you develop your plot and your characters?

I usually know the start of a story, and how it’s going to end. Sometimes I struggle a bit in the middle and I find myself making lots of notes. The characters simply surprise me. Sometimes I feel like I’m simply the channel through which they are speaking. A few are loosely based on people I know.

 

What inspired your protagonist?

Penny loves science fiction and fantasy. So stumbling upon a world which has dragons, gryphons and unicorns initially seems like a dream come true. As she discovers a darker side to this fantastic world, she becomes inspired to help.

 

What inspired your antagonist?

My books don’t have so much an enemy as those of opposing viewpoints whose backgrounds leads to them making decisions which affect the protagonist. In the first Penny White book, ‘The Temptation of Dragons’, a dragon family is opposed one of their own who decided to become a monk and, later, form a relationship with a human woman. This went against their sense of honour.

 

What was the hardest part to write in the book?

There is a budding romantic triangle for Penny. She’s met a police inspector, Peter, who loves ‘Doctor Who’ as much as she does, but there’s also a darkly handsome dragon, Raven, who is keen on her. I found it difficult to make Peter’s character interesting enough for him to be real competition to a dragon!

 

What was your favourite part of your book to write?

I loved a scene at the end, when Penny is riding on a dragon with a small snail perched at the front, giving them directions. The image makes me chuckle.

 

Are you a full time or a part time writer? If part time, what do you do besides write?

My role as a minister takes up plenty of time (I only get one day off a week). So writing is something I do on evenings and my days off.

 

What are you currently reading?

A fantastic piece of fan fiction set in the ‘Dragonriders of Pern’ universe. It’s online only and called ‘Dragonchoice.’ The writer’s ability to write dialogue, action scenes, and characterisation exceeds many of the official novels.

 

Who would you say are your favourite authors?

Patricia McKillip, Ayn Rand, Ben Aaronovitch, James Herriot, Katherine Kurtz

 

How about your favourite books? What would be your top 5?

The Riddle-Master Trilogy by Patricia McKillip

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Dragonchoice by Faye Upton

All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot

His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik

 

What are your future projects, if any?

I’m currently writing the third book in the Penny White series (the second, ‘The Cult of Unicorns’, was published December 2016) and I have plans for at least seven in the series. After that, I plan to return to a science-fiction series which I’ve started and need to finish.

 

What is your preferred method for readers to get in touch with you and your books?

I can be contacted via my website, http://www.chryscymri.com. Anyone who signs up for my newsletter list (I send out an email around four times a year) can choose a free ebook copy of any of my books. I also have a Facebook page and I’m on Goodreads as well as other social media sites.

Here are all the links:

www.chryscymri.com

https://www.facebook.com/chryscymri/?ref=bookmarks

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1076161.Chrys_Cymri

https://plus.google.com/u/0/+ChrysCymri

http://chryscymri.tumblr.com/

 

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors? 

Write, write, write. And accept criticism, because it will come and you can learn from it. Make friends with other writers. Other pointers can be read on my website.

 

Thank you to Chrys Cymri for sharing a lovely interview. Since I interviewed her, she has published a new book in the Penny White series. I have made sure to add that for all of you who are seeking a new urban fantasy read! – Leticia

 

Featured Author

Featured Author: Natasha Bennett

Wednesday Spotlight


Genre: Horror, Mystery
Publisher: Belfire Press
Publication Date: September 13, 2016
Add to GoodReads
Buy: AmazonIndigo/ChaptersIndieBound

 

 

 

 

 

 

About the Book

After finding his family murdered, Matthew Burke is arrested and sentenced to life in prison. The next day he is mysteriously released and given a briefcase of money. Needing answers, Matthew finds a pile of old documents in his house and discovers his wife was once part of an organization called D.R.E.X, who were responsible for hunting and killing supernatural creatures. Even though D.R.E.X had been shut down for years, his wife was murdered just after she tried to reach them. Matthew reluctantly joins with the remnants of her old organization and investigates a new problem arising in France. But the more he discovers, the more he realizes how few people he can trust….

Interview

Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?

First of all, thank you very much for the opportunity to be in the author spotlight. I am a Canadian author living on Vancouver Island. In my spare time, I also review horror books and produce short films with my husband.

What inspired you to write?

My mother was a writer, so it ran in the family, the main difference being that she wrote non-fiction and I wrote fiction. I have been trying to write books ever since I was a kid in class. It didn’t lead to them being published, but it was great practice.

What inspired your novel?

That’s a tough one to answer. In the end, it was a bunch of little ideas that came together. I am a huge fan of both spy and horror genres. It seemed natural to bring them together.

What is the genre?

D.R.E.X Blackout is primarily horror with military action and a dash of mystery thrown in as well.

What draws you to this genre?

A couple of things. For me, horror is more liberating than other genres. The main characters are under no obligation to survive in the book or have a happy ending, which gives me a bit more freedom to work with. At the same time, it is a very easy genre to write in. In fantasy, for example, you normally have to create a great deal of world-building and establish quite a few things before you can write about the actual characters. Horror usually takes place in a very real-world setting, where many things have already been established. And in the end, I simply love horror.

How did you develop your plot and your characters?

Some writers spend a considerable amount of time drafting out an outline for a book. Usually, I have a rough idea of what the main idea is, and what drives each character. I then usually write my favorite scene in the book, and the ideas naturally flow after that.

What inspired your protagonist?

Matthew Burke is a man who has lost everything. His wife and child have been murdered, and he is arrested for their murder. The next day, he is mysteriously released and given a briefcase full of money. Finding answers is what leads him to D.R.E.X.

What inspired your antagonist?

The antagonist, Father Jacobs, is a priest who has lost faith in himself and God. He is simply going through the motions rather than be passionate about anything. When a stranger offers him genuine power, he decides to see where it takes him.

What was the hardest part to write in the book?

Anything that is focused on action is a bit of a challenge for me to write. Since the ending is very action-heavy, that was the last part for me to finish.

What was your favourite part of your book to write?

There is a significant scene where the team arrives at a town and the people inexplicably try to kill them or commit suicide. It also introduces two important characters and overall was a great deal of fun to write.

Are you a full time or a part time writer? If part time, what do you do besides write?

Unfortunately, I have met very few writers who can successfully write full-time and make ends meet. I myself am a part-time author. My 9-5 job is working in the administrative world providing sales support. In my spare time, however, I also like to produce films with my husband, review books, and learn how to design video games. We always have something to do.

What are you currently reading?

Currently, I run a book review site at http://www.blackhavenreviews.com. At the time of this interview, I am reading the House that Death Built by Michaelbrent Collings. However, I typically read a few books a month.

Who would you say are your favourite authors?

Stephen King is without a doubt my favorite inspiration. I know it’s a bit obvious, but a horror author who is known throughout the world and has several movies after his work is definitely something to aspire to.

How about your favourite books? What would be your top 5?

I grew up reading J.R.R Tolkien and a Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. I also love reading anything by Stephen King and my blog has given me an opportunity to read many diverse horror stories. So far my favorite is Massacre of the Mermaids by A.Manzetti.

What are your future projects, if any?

At the moment I have two novellas which are out for consideration with publishers, and I have quite a few book ideas and short stories on the brain. Please check out my facebook for my latest updates. I promise don’t bite… 🙂

What is your preferred method for readers to get in touch with you and your books?

I am the most social on my facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/natasha.bennett

Otherwise, there is my twitter page: https://twitter.com/Natasha_Bennett

And my goodreads page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2963817.Natasha_Bennett

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors? 

Be prepared to work hard. Even after you are published, there is still a lot of work goes into editing, marketing, etc. Be sure to also look closely at your contract as well. Being published is a wonderful feeling, but you don’t want to sign away all of your rights at the same time.

Featured Author · Spotlight Interview

Featured Author: Konn Lavery

Wednesday Spotlight


Genre: Weird Fiction, Horror
Publisher: Reveal Books
Publication Date: July 15, 2016
Pages: 228
Add to GoodReads
Buy: AmazonKoboIndigoBarnes & Noble

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About the Book

WARNING: DO NOT CONSUME

If you’re reading this, then you did not take the above warning seriously. In that case, you’re probably as stupid as me. I’m Logan, by the way. I didn’t pay attention to any warning signs either. Being an unemployed deadbeat in Edmonton with no family and getting dumped by your girlfriend for her best friend can wear a guy down. All I had was my cokehead buddy, Skip, to cheer me up.

Surprisingly, my precautionary tale was not caused by either Skip or the drugs. Let’s just say a drunken make-out session with a pale girl by a dumpster, who was supposedly pronounced dead earlier in the evening, can leave you mentally jumbled up. A good motivator to figure this scenario out is having robed cultists stalk you, asking where the girl is.

Is this an ill twist of fate? Did I bring this on myself? Is there a reason behind my misfortune? Is the moral to not make out with spooky girls behind dumpsters? Hell if I know…

Interview

Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?

My name is Konn Lavery, I was born in Edmonton, Alberta. Raised as a vegetarian by trekies (Star Trek fans), I was home schooled until reaching High School where I chose to go to Jasper Place High School so I could make some friends and get ‘the real high school’ experience. It wasn’t what it was cracked up to be.

Following graduation, I quickly learned retail sucked and I went on to learn web development and graphic design from Guru Digital Arts College (now known as Edmonton Digital Arts College) since multimedia was my highest marks in high school. Using this knowledge, I now work as an independent graphic designer and web developer. These skills also transition into my writing where I create the novel covers, build my web presence among other marketing materials.

What inspired you to write?

Writing has been a huge part of my life from a very early age. Originally I wrote background stories to strategy board games that I made up at the age of eight. The back stories kept growing and eventually I started writing, a lot.

The inspiration to those board games as a kid, and for my writing today, comes from movies and video games (specifically RPGs). These two sources of media were my primary enjoyment while growing up and I wanted to share the same awe factor that they gave me as a kid.

I dabbled in video games and animation to try and share stories but found myself getting stuck in technicalities of the medium and was unable to express the stories in a comprehendible manner. I shifted from learning to produce those forms of entertainment and dove fully into writing. To this day I have found it to be the best method to portray the stories I want to share with people.

What inspired your novel?

For my latest novel, Seed Me, it has been inspired by a number of various sources such as my experience with bed bugs which started my research into symbiotic relationships amongst creatures. Bed bugs are a horrible experience and it genially made me uncomfortable. So I thought basing a story on hostile symbiotic relations (amensalism) would be an exciting idea.

I was also inspired by Edmonton’s rich river valley and my love for the horror genre, which is where my fascination with cults comes in.

What is the genre?

On a large scale, Seed Me is a horror genre. Specifically, it can be narrowed down to weird fiction, a term coined by H.P. Lovecraft. His writing was an inspiration to this novel. His style specializes in having horror elements while keeping the frights and gore shrouded in mystery, letting the reader’s imagination fill in the blanks.

What draws you to this genre?

I’ve watched horror movies growing up and love them for their dark, creepy (and sometimes cheesy) vibes. They also make me laugh, not sure if that is a good thing…

How did you develop your plot and your characters?

The story and characters went through MANY revisions. Originally in 2012, the plot was something entirely different with a freelance blogger wanting to solve a mystery of a girl’s death in the river valley for a big story on his site. This plot was shelved as I couldn’t see any conclusion to it. I participated in NaNoWriMo back in 2014 where I approached the same concept but with a new plot.

After NaNoWriMo, I gave the first draft a very critical review and decided to scrap over half of the manuscript. I rewrote the second half and revisited various characters’ motives and backgrounds while doing research at the City of Edmonton Archives and searching on Google.

What inspired your protagonist?

Logan, the protagonist was pieced together from myself and my brother. The fun thing with Seed Me is it is a first person narrative, so you get to hear the internal monologue of his mind. I was in a very different place than I am today when writing Seed Me so my own thoughts did meld into his behaviour. He also pulls a lot from my brother with his worldly views.

What inspired your antagonist?

The antagonist went through many variations. With Seed Me, there was no one primary antagonist, rather various pieces that formed the overall opposing force (that is where the cult and amensalism comes in). For this book, I originally wanted it to be a creature feature – this is where the bed bug inspiration came in – which had a lot of slash and gore. All of this was drastically cut out after the first manuscript, it came across way too cliché and was boring. After researching about amensalism and studying Edmonton’s history I refined the monster and the cult to what they are in the final piece.

What was the hardest part to write in the book?

The first and last chapters. As stereotypical as that is, it is the truth. The meat of the book was straightforward to do because the premise had been set. It was the initial opening scene into the book that was a challenge because there had to be a hook to have the reader continue on but I couldn’t give too much away.

The ending was also a challenge for similar reasons, I didn’t want to reveal everything to the reader because then it would be over. It’s like the man behind the curtain concept, the mystery would be taken away and would lose all wonder to it. Both the beginning and end had to have the right balance of just enough information and not enough to keep the reader guessing and wanting more.

What was your favourite part of your book to write?

Logan’s internal rambles. A lot of them were removed in the final version but I kept the relative ones in the story. Again, Logan pulled a lot from my state of mind during writing this book and these parts were more like a diary to me.

Are you a full time or a part time writer? If part time, what do you do besides write?

I am a part time author, working to the dream of being full time. For income, I work as an independent graphic designer and web developer in Edmonton. My portfolio is under Reveal Design (revealdesign.ca). Before that, I taught at a digital arts college and worked as operations and marketing for a home warranty company.

What are you currently reading?

My current book that I am reading is Looking In Seeing Out – Consciousness and Cosmos by Menas Kafatos and Thalia Katafou. I don’t often read fictional books, I tend to gravitate to non-fiction for their subject matter.

Who would you say are your favourite authors?

Clive Barker is my favourite author, a major inspiration to writing. Todd Mcfarlane and Chuck Palahniuk as well.

How about your favourite books? What would be your top 5?

These aren’t in any particular order, but my top five would be: Flight of the Eagle by J. Krishnamurti, Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk, Tales Tall and True by Alberta Education, Graphic Design Basics by Amy E. Arntson and The Satanic Bible by LaVey, Anton Szandor.

What are your future projects, if any?

I have quite a few projected projects. More on this to come in early 2017. A hint is I am going back to finish my dark fantasy series, Mental Damnation.

What is your preferred method for readers to get in touch with you and your books?

My website has all of the information they need to get in contact with me and grab my books. It can be found at konnlavery.com. I am also fairly active on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors? 

Keep pushing forward. That doesn’t mean you have to write every day, some people do not work well writing every day or simply do not have the time to invest in doing so. However, make sure you always keep doing something to improve your writing.

Featured Author · Spotlight Interview

Featured Author: Calvin Wolf

Wednesday Spotlight

 
Genre: 
Science Fiction, Political Thriller
Publisher: Ravenswood Publishing
Publication Date: November 25, 2016
Pages: 326
Add to Good Reads
Buy: Amazon CANAmazon USBarnes & NobleCreateSpace

 

 

 

 

 

About the Book

Months after a devastating terrorist attack on the Human Capital Market servers on the University of Wyoming campus, a corrupt administration in Washington is looking to maintain its grip on the future by any means necessary. After a grieving father unleashes powerful forces the president would rather keep hidden, two falsely accused men struggle to find their families and clear their names while being hunted by the full force of the United States government…and two vicious ne’er-do-wells whose grudges run deep. As a desperate White House tries to track down its prized fugitives and keep a discontent public under control, new technology offers wonder and horror in droves. From omnipresent surveillance to secret prisons to trading equity in citizens’ wages on the new stock market, The Singularity is a fast-paced ride into a near future where anything is possible.

Interview

Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I’m a high school social studies teacher and department chair, and I currently teach AP Economics and AP Government to high school seniors.  As a result, I have developed more of an appreciation of economics and politics…and it has definitely affected my writing!  My writing could best be described as political thrillers, though my recent novels have added more sci-fi elements to the mix.  There is always an undercurrent of class struggle and economic policy.  I have been a teacher for six years, and I received a post-baccalaureate teacher certification from Texas Tech after earning bachelor’s degrees in Criminal Justice and Political Science, and then an MPA degree, from the University of Wyoming.

I tend to be geographically specific, based on where I have lived and visited.  I grew up in the interesting city of Midland, Texas, which is known for being an oil mecca, a football haven, and the hometown of George W. Bush.  Later, I attended the University of Wyoming and Texas Tech University, and tend to feature those institutions prominently in my writing.  During the summers while I was in college, I worked in New Mexico and regularly include Colfax County, New Mexico in my novels.  I was born in Colorado and spent a lot of time there during college, so that state is also a prime location in my writing.  My family originally hails from Virginia and Pennsylvania, so those states typically receive geographic cameos as well!

I used to be a backpacking guide, so my writing tends to focus on mountains rather than beaches.  I once stood between a mama bear and her cub and lived to tell the tale!

What inspired you to write?

I’ve always been a storyteller.  From an early age, I heard stories and wanted to create my own.  I would think “that could be more realistic,” “that could be more exciting,” or “that could be more…”  I viewed stories as a challenge, and sought to meet those challenges!

What inspired your novel?

I am interested in the potential of nanotechnology, and so The Singularity explores its potential to transform mankind…or destroy it.  What would you do if you were suddenly gifted with amazing speed, strength, memory recall, and inability to be affected by pain?

What is the genre?

The Singularity is a sci-fi political thriller, blending the two genres.  A corrupt government is trying to recollect and control the nanotechnology, which it has dubbed MIST (Microtronic Infrastructural Symbiosis Technology)

What draws you to this genre?

I like politics and imagining how presidents and their cabinets would respond to scary, unexpected threats.  We would like to assume that they have a plan…but what if they don’t?

How did you develop your plot and your characters?

I imagine what the next step would be, and go from there.  I write by the seat of my pants, for better or worse.  There is usually a “movie in my mind” of my novel, and I play various scenarios to see what fits most seamlessly.

What inspired your protagonist?

My main protagonist, Hank Hummel, is based pretty closely on myself.  I imagine how I would react to various scenarios, and then embellish a bit!  I like to think of Hank Hummel as an everyman who finds himself forced into harrowing situations.  He wants to do the right thing, but he has his own limitations.

What inspired your antagonist?

I have a due of antagonists.  Adam Pastorius is scary because he is unpredictable, and little about him is known.  He is a former Syrian spy and is primarily motivated by revenge.  He holds grudges against many foes, and is highly able of lethal retaliation.  This character is inspired by America’s general fear of terrorism:  The scariest thing can be never knowing when, where, or why your enemy will strike. 

The second antagonist, Ben, is a former Russian spy who has become thoroughly Americanized.  He is motivated entirely by profit and is loyal to nobody and nothing.  This character is inspired by the cold, impersonal gears of cutthroat capitalism.  He values efficiency over all else and does not care who he must eliminate to meet his goals.

What was the hardest part to write in the book?

It’s always hardest for me to write the middle.  I know what the climax should look like, but how do I get there?  I try to make it suspenseful, believable, and intriguing.

What was your favourite part of your book to write?

I like writing the climax because there’s good dialogue in the final confrontations between protagonist and antagonist.  I prefer to mix serious “tough talk” with a bit of humor.

Are you a full time or a part time writer? If part time, what do you do besides write?

I’m a part-time writer.  I write novels, and also political editorials for different websites.  When I’m not writing, I’m either teaching at a 6A public high school or helping my wife with her home décor business.  I’m currently trying to learn how to stain various pieces of wood to perfection.

What are you currently reading?

I’m reading a biography of president Lyndon B. Johnson.  I like to read facts that are stranger than fiction, and then include them in my fiction.  I’ve read the biographies of many American presidents and all the major national leaders during World War II:  FDR, Winston Churchill, Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong, Adolf Hitler, Hideki Tojo, and Benito Mussolini.  Talk about interesting characters!

Who would you say are your favorite authors?

My favorite is Stephen King, followed by John Grisham.  Each writer is great at what he does:  King is a master of character development, while Grisham writes tightly-crafted legal thrillers.  I also loved Michael Crichton’s techno-thrillers, as well as Tom Clancy’s blend of military/tech/political thrillers.  Dean Koontz is sometimes hit-or-miss, but he can knock it out of the park like nobody else.  The Singularity was inspired by Koontz’ Midnight, and his novel The City (same title as mine, entirely by coincidence) was perfect until the climax.

How about your favourite books? What would be your top 5?

1.)  I Was An NKVD Agent – amazing true-life story that I randomly discovered on a bookshelf at the University of Wyoming library while doing a paper for a Russian history class.

2.)  Midnight – a late-1980s precursor to nanotechnology, written by Dean Koontz.

3.)  Roadwork – how has this amazing Stephen King novel not been made into an Oscar-winner?

4.)  The Running Man – this book was much better than the 1987 movie.  One of the best predictors of the future ever!

5.)  The Catcher in the Rye – a classic, bar none!

What are your future projects, if any?

A standalone psychological thriller set in an American high school during a hostage situation.

What is your preferred method for readers to get in touch with you and your books?

My books are on Smashwords, and I love getting emails from readers at authorcalvinwolf@gmail.com 

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors? 

To quote Winston Churchill:  “Never, never, never, never, never give up.”

Featured Author · Spotlight Interview

Featured Author: Daniel Barnett

Wednesday Spotlight

 
Genre: 
Coming of Age, Horror
Publication Date: June 7, 2016
Pages: 291
Add to Good Reads
Buy: Amazon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About the Book

Summer crashes to an end on a winding road. Just like that, football superstar Joel Harper finds himself rolling his wheelchair into a new school in a strange town. Soon he’s making friends of misfits, taking lessons in Iron Maiden, and trying to keep away from a ruthless bully with a penchant for switchblades. Little is he aware, something ancient and wounded has awoken deep beneath the tiny mountain community, and when it surfaces, all of Honaw will know its pain.

Interview

Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I’m an ex-Boston transplant living in Portland, Oregon, after going to school for psychology at BU. Right now my lifestyle is a blend of reading, writing, and paying the bills. Heavy emphasis on paying the bills. Thanks, college loans!

What inspired you to write?

Stephen King. Yeah, I know, not too original, but it’s the truth. I read a ton as a kid (I distinctly remember having The Hobbit taken away from me in the second or third grade, so I would have to play with the other kids at recess), but I never really considered writing myself. Then I picked up IT in high school, and something just kind of . . . clicked. Insanity, I think. I was in love. I went on to read every book by King I could get my hands on, and I got this idea that if I could write a story that moved someone—anyone—half as much as his stories moved me, I’d be happy. I wrote my first (terrible) novel senior year, and I kept at it since then. I’m not sure if I’ve hit my goal yet, but I’d like to think I’m a little closer.

What inspired your novel?

Poor Things was the coming together of a few different things. One of them was the desire to write something fast and fun and LOUD after my second novel, Longreave, a ghost story wherein the real horror spends a lot of time lurking behind the curtain. But the biggest, whole piece of Poor Things came on a summer road trip with my dad and stepmom in 2014. The trip was meant to recapture the magic of one that we’d all taken when I was in middle school, and of course that didn’t work out quite as we’d hoped. Magic is like that wild friend you run into at the bar; it shows up and you have a great time, the best time, but it always loses your phone number when you try to set a date. Still, we took home a few memories. The most memorable of them for me was on this twisty road up in the mountains. It was dark out, and damned beautiful, no light but the low beams and the stars. Time seemed to stretch out and slow down, the way it only can on summer nights in the country, but underneath the calm was this electric tingle—this sense of unease. Some of the disquiet was no doubt due to edginess we had all taken on after a long, cramped day in the car, but a lot of it was the deer. We saw more deer on that road in the course of one winding hour than I have seen on any road, before or since. Most of them were alive. At least one was dead. They’d pop up deep in a curve, and there’d come a camera-flash moment, as their eyes met the headlights, where you could almost feel the crunch. The crunch never came for us (we arrived safely at my uncle’s house before midnight), but the road and those deer stuck with me, and they became the backbone of Poor Things.

Them, and Iron Maiden.

What is the genre?

Horror, adventure, coming of age.

What draws you to this genre?

Horror has always appealed to me from an emotional standpoint. It gets a bad rap sometimes for being shallow and shock obsessed, but when done right, it tries and tests its characters in a way no other genre can. A candle shines brightest in the dark, and so do we, both the best of us and the worst of us.

How did you develop your plot and your characters?

I went into Poor Things with an overall trajectory for the plot and a few landmark scenes along the way, but for the most part the story and the characters developed themselves.

What inspired your protagonist?

I can’t honestly say. Joel takes a little bit from me and from people that I’ve known, which is true of the characters I’ve written. His voice was always there for me.

What inspired your antagonist?

There isn’t an antagonist in Poor Things. At least, not a traditional one. There are only victims and the pain that drives those victims, turning them into monsters.

What was the hardest part to write in the book?

I found Poor Things pretty smooth to write overall, with the exception of one chapter that takes place in the copper mine below Honaw, the small mountain town where Joel comes to live. That section proved challenging because it called for a shift in voice and required me to do some extra research on the side. The hardest part to write, however, was the death of a character a little later on in the book. I knew it was coming, but the suddenness of it—the brutality of it—left me shaky.

What was your favourite part of your book to write?

The talent show. Joel and his friends get up on stage in front of the whole school, and, well . . . you’ll just have to see.

Are you a full time or a part time writer? If part time, what do you do besides write?

Part time. I keep myself warm and dry at night by waiting tables.

What are you currently reading?

I’ve been on a King kick lately, and right now I’m re-reading Pet Semetary.

Who would you say are your favourite authors?

Stephen King (big surprise, right?), Joe Hill, Clive Barker, Ramsey Campbell, David Mitchell, John Steinbeck, Richard Matheson, and you’re skimming now, so I’ll stop.

How about your favourite books? What would be your top 5?

The Stand, Imajica, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, all seven of The Harry Potter books but particularly the third and fifth, Firestarter, Misery, The Shining, and The Dead Zone, to name the first few that come to mind. Yeah, I know that’s more than 5.

What are your future projects, if any?

I’ve got a few ideas rolling around in my head.

What is your preferred method for readers to get in touch with you and your books?

Feel free to reach out to me at Goodreads or via dbhfiction@gmail.com. I also have a website (danielbarnettfiction.com) that is currently having some technical difficulties. I hope to have it up and running again soon.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Read a lot, write a lot, and learn to revise your work ruthlessly.

Book Tour · Excerpts · Featured Author · Spotlight Interview

Guns for Hire Blog Tour

 
Genre: 
Suspense, Romance
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Publication Date: June 14, 2017
Pages: 258
Add to Good Reads

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About the Book

The job should have been easy—patrol a swank beach that serves as a backyard for Maui’s rich, kick out the riffraff, and get a tan in the process. But rent-a-cop Samantha Winters didn’t anticipate a deliciously grumpy cop, Sergeant Grady Roark, who comes down to the beach to bust her chops and instead leaves her breathless…and wondering why the one man who could help her seems determined to thwart her at every turn.

Grady is keeping secrets from Sam that have him walking the line between attraction and duty. But when Sam becomes the target of a shadowy organization, Grady will have to choose between the law and the temptation of a woman who has him breaking every rule he’s ever known.

The job should have been easy, but when the bullets start flying, Sam learns nothing is as easy as it seems when you’re a Gun for Hire.

Excerpt

The sunlight was intense after a half hour in that gloomy space, but I squinted hard and kept moving toward a narrow set of steps down to the parking lot. Grady walked a few paces behind me, and if he heard the crinkle of paper as I moved, he elected not to say anything.

Grady hit the remote to his truck and grabbed for the passenger side door, his hand light on my elbow as he helped me up. Paper crackled as my butt hit the seat and Grady’s eyes narrowed. Without a word, he slammed my door and went around to the driver’s side, climbing up into the cab and stabbing the keys into the ignition.

“So, I—” I hesitated as I shifted in my seat and my movement was accompanied by the distinct sound of cardboard bending.

“No,” Grady muttered, and clicked on the radio. “No talking.”

“But—”

“Shh.” Grady put a finger to his lips, his eyes still on the road. “Any minute you’re going to tell me about the felony crime you just committed. And then I’m going to have to deal with the fact that I was an accessory to a felony crime.”

“Umm, yeah.” I reached around to the back of my pants and eased the file folder up from my waistband, working it out slowly so as to not lose anything as Grady headed up the hillside toward his house. As I brought it around to look at it, the red block letters damning me to years of incarceration should I get caught, a muscle ticked in Grady’s jaw.

“You stole classified documents.” He shook his head from side to side.

I looked up at Grady and then down at the mangled file with the red Top Secret heading. I took a corner of the front sheet and ripped across the width of the page, separating the words “Top Secret” from the rest of the paper.

“They’re declassified now.” I crumpled up the classification and shoved it in my pocket.

Grady sighed.

I shrugged and opened the file.

Where to Buy

The Wild Rose Press | Amazon

Interview

Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I’m from Oregon and I’m a mother of two little kids. I work full time and write in my spare time (HA, as if there were such a thing, right?) I started writing when I was very young, but it took me a long time to finally get to a place of finishing a novel. My first novel was pretty terrible, but my second was where I finally had some success. Gun for Hire just came out so effortlessly in that first draft…and then the hard work began.

What inspired you to write?

I had just always made up stories in my head. I talked to myself in the mirror extensively as a kid and I was always day dreaming, head in the clouds. I almost feel like I didn’t have a choice – these stories had to go somewhere!

What inspired your novel?

My sister and I were on Secret Beach in Maui when I first witnessed the real Sam. The first chapter in my book pretty much describes exactly how it was that day. And when I saw the real Sam I wondered what motivated her? What would cause a person to go to a job that was obviously pretty terrible day in and day out? It struck me that something was driving her and I just had to dream up what it might be.

What is the genre?

Romantic suspense, but there’s a lot of humor in it and it’s as much about Samantha’s relationship with herself as it is about her relationship with Grady. Though there’s plenty of Grady in there as well.

What draws you to this genre?

I have always loved action books and I’ve said this before but, all action books have a romance in there somewhere. All people – men and women – love a good love story. So this is the perfect combination of what I enjoy reading.

How did you develop your plot and your characters?

I wish I could say I had some well-organized method of plotting, but I’m a pantser, much more than I wish to be. My first draft just flew out of me and then the plot became much more refined with each draft. The characters just came to me for the most part, though my villains were a bit more thought out – I wanted them to be complex and three dimensional and that took some forethought. I wanted them to be fundamentally rational and driven by rational needs.

What inspired your protagonist?

Samantha is part the woman I saw on the beach that day and part my sister. My sister has a larger than life personality and more grit than I can fully express here. For her, no never means no – that’s just your starting point. She’s always been able to talk or charm her way through any situation and even when you’re giving her more than you intended, you’re just glad to be in her orbit. I wanted Sam to have my sister’s charisma and strength.

What inspired your antagonist?

I have multiple antagonists in this book! I wasn’t inspired by any particular person. It was just really important to me that my ‘bad guys’ not be fully bad. I wanted them to be rational and motivated by things that might motivate anyone. I guess that’s part of my worldview that no one is ever totally bad, nor is anyone totally good. Nuanced villains are much more interesting, in my view.

What was the hardest part to write in the book?

I really disliked writing anything where Sam’s nieces are upset, because those girls are based on my own nieces. And yet, their influence is a large part of why Sam is forced to change, so…as a writer, you have to write what the story tells you to write.

What was your favourite part of your book to write?

I loved writing the scenes between Samantha and her sister, Josie. There is so much there that is a throwback to my sister and my relationship. I also loved writing Josie’s scenes with Kai because I’m madly in love with the person I invented in Kai!

Are you a full time or a part time writer? If part time, what do you do besides write?

I work full time, so unfortunately, I can only write part time. I dream all the time about quitting my job and writing but it’s just not in the cards yet. Someday!

What are you currently reading?

I am about halfway through Stanalei Fletcher’s Breaking the Honor Code – she has created this incredible universe, and it’s a great romantic suspense book.

Who would you say are your favourite authors?

I love Sandra Brown, and Janet Evanovich makes me laugh out loud. Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Jennifer Cruisie are my absolute favorites.

How about your favourite books? What would be your top 5?

I enjoy a lot of different genres, but given that we’re talking romance, I’ll give you my top five for romance (note that this also makes my job a lot easier by limiting it to just one genre!)

Bet Me by Jennifer Cruisie. This is the best romance novel I’ve ever read.
Match Me If You Can by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. She is so clever and the chemistry between her characters is undeniable.
The Hating Game by Sally Thorne. This is the best new romance I’ve read and the dialogue between her characters can’t be beat.
Envy by Sandra Brown. I dream of someday writing a romantic suspense this good.
Cry No More by Linda Howard. I dare you not to cry at this book. I just dare you.

What are your future projects, if any?

I’m working on a sequel to Gun for Hire, Josie and Kai’s story. These two are starting from a place of intense chemistry and the challenge I face is to keep that going!

What is your preferred method for readers to get in touch with you and your books?

I would love for readers to get in touch with me! Find me at www.jjmontgomery.com, on Instagram (my favorite!) at www.instagram.com/jmontgomerywrites or Facebook www.facebook.com/authorjjmontgomery, a platform that still confounds me every time I log on. I also highly recommend checking out some new authors at www.17scribes.com — I’m on there, too!

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Write because you love to write. If you do it for the money or any other reason, you’ll be disappointed. But if you do it because you love it, you’re passionate about it and you like belonging to a community of people who feel the same way, you’ll never be disappointed.

About the Author


J.J. MONTGOMERY writes romantic suspense novels with a sense of humor. Her heroines are as smart as they are smart mouthed and the men in their lives are just trying to keep up. Gun for Hire is the first book in J.J.’s Maui Heat Series.

If you’d like to know more, including info on her newest book, where she gets her ideas, and how it’s possible she can’t use Facebook, please visit her:

 

Instagram | Website | Facebook | Twitter

 

Giveaway

5 ebook of Gun For Hire