Spotlight Interview

Spotlight Interview with author Michael Bray

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Genre: 
Horror, Thriller, Zombies
Publisher: Magnum Books
Publication Date: December 22, 2015
Pages: 461
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Buy Links: Amazon CA*Amazon US*Audio Book

About the Book:

What if man’s thirst for knowledge resulted in it’s own destruction?

Richard Draven is a scientist interested in the healing properties of primates and transferring them to humans. When he discovers a new species of monkey with amazing regenerative powers, he has no idea that his report will set off a chain of events with dire consequences.
Six years later, and Draven’s research has been put into practice. The government has engineered a virus which has begun human trials. It’s job – to make the armed forces of the world better, stronger, faster in their numerous conflicts across the globe. Something, however is not right. Disturbing reports about the behaviour of those modified by the virus are growing in number raising concerns amongst those in charge that something has gone wrong. As the Apex teams go dark and stop responding to orders, the government discover that there is a much more sinister force at work.
Joshua Cook is the alpha male, the first man to be administered the virus and bond with it successfully. Joshua is tired of the human race, tired of their self-destructive nature. He has a plan, one which involves wiping the slate clean of the ‘lesser’ edition of the human machine and repopulating the earth with his own kind. As the full and devastating scale of Joshua’s plan begins to unfold before the eyes of the world, the government are forced to turn back to Richard Draven in an effort to find a way to stop Joshua and his growing army before he can eradicate humanity from the planet.
A tense, global thriller taking place across multiple countries, from the government-centric streets of Washington to the slums of Mumbai and the burning heat of the Iraq desert, Project Apex features a rich and varied cast of characters each with their own motivations and sub plots through the main narrative as they tell the very human story of a disaster on an unprecedented global scale where people are forced to do things they never imagined possible, and in some cases revert back to the instinctive savagery long repressed by our species as society starts to crumble the world over.

Interview

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

Of course! My name is Michael and I was born and raised in Leeds in the UK. I’m married and have one daughter. Background wise, I’ve always loved writing and reading, although for some reason or another I didn’t really start considering doing it seriously until 2012. At the time, the indie/rock band I was playing in was doing quite well. We were recording and touring, getting our names out there and that was the potential career focus. However as often happens, creative differences on the direction of the band meant that we split, and suddenly with no creative output I was craving something to focus on. It had always been in the back of my mind to have a serious attempt at the whole writing thing and had been mulling over the idea of doing a collection of interlinked short stories so decided to give it a go, unsure how far I would get or if it would even be any good. To my surprise, the whole thing came naturally to me and within a month or so I had just over ninety thousand words and a completed project. Unsure what to do next, I did a little research and found a couple of potential publishers and decided to send some tentative queries. Within a couple of days, I received a reply from one offering to publish the book! Here we are four and a half years later with the crazy situation of having a couple of amazon bestselling titles under my belt and having just sold movie rights to another book (MEAT 2013) to a Los Angeles-based production company. I find it humbling and crazy in equal measure and can’t believe how fortunate I am.

What inspired you to write?

There was one very distinct moment that I remember when I was growing up. I must have only been eleven or twelve at the time and came home and my eye was caught by a huge hardback book on the dining room table. Curious I went to take a closer look. It was my sister’s copy of Stephen King’s Skeleton Crew. I was drawn in by the artwork and picked it up (even though the bookmark inside said she was currently reading it) and turned the page to the first story and started to read. Long story short, I devoured that book. I remember the feeling it gave me, the way the prose was able to take me away and deliver a really visual experience. In the back of my mind, I wondered what it would be like to be able to be the one delivering that feeling. To write something that gave the reader that sense of separation and take them somewhere new, even if those places were frightening and uncomfortable. I suppose that stuck with me for years until I made a serious stab at trying to see if I could pull it off.

What inspired your novel?

The idea for Project Apex came together from a few different things. It was conceived in 2013 although it wasn’t actually written until much later. It was a time when every time I switched on the news there were reports of wars, suicide bomber attacks. I always wondered how it was for the innocent people caught in the middle, how a regular person might try to survive amid a catastrophic event that changed their lives forever. A couple of other things I had been toying with at the time was writing a fresh take on the whole zombie attack angle but grounding it in reality and science. I had been reading some Michael Crichton at the time and loved the scientific spin he used to put on his books. I came up with the idea of creating a world where something so catastrophic and devastating happens but instead of following the exploits of a muscle bound action hero as he tries to resolve it, I would use very real, very ordinary people. There is no main protagonist as such in Project Apex. The story follows several different people and groups from different walks of life as they try to deal with this devastation. There is a young boy and his disabled brother trying to survive the death of their parents in the attack. We also follow an Indian aid worker who had escaped the poverty of her old life and had returned as an aid worker when everything happens. We have a scientist who feels responsible for the situation but is neither strong or brave enough to fight, relying instead on his female companion assigned by the military to protect him as he tries to find a way to help. We also follow a heavily funded church in Texas which looks to exploit the world events and transcend into a cult-like entity. The most polarising relationship of all though is between an American Special Forces soldier and one of the terrorists he had captured. Forced to work together when the global catastrophe happens, the story really digs into the idea of putting aside preconceptions and prejudice in the face of a bigger threat. They transcend from bitter hatred to respectful if uneasy allies as the three books play out, which for me was a really interesting dynamic. Finally, tying all together we have our villain of the piece, a man called Joshua who is essentially like the second coming of Hitler. He is maniacal and ruthless, yet a flawed villain. Readers have said they drift from hatred to seeing his point and finding themselves siding with him until I throw in something particularly horrible to sway them back over to the hatred side of the fence!

What is the genre?

Pinning down a specific genre for this was hard as it dips into several areas. It’s part thriller, part horror part science fiction. It’s a huge global scale story and even now I can’t nail it down to one over the other.

What draws you to this genre?

Although I started out and make my living in horror, I’ve found myself increasingly drawn towards doing some high concept commercial thriller type things. Although I enjoy writing the supernatural stuff, I also love working in the real world and crafting stories which more people would relate to. It’s definitely an area I’ll be exploring going forward. After the project Apex series is complete, the next couple of novels I have planned are also leaning more towards the thriller genre than outright horror.

How did you develop your plot and your characters?

I’m a plotter at heart for long fiction. I like to bullet point my story chapter by chapter to give me a rough skeleton of a story. Often it will change along the way but I like to go in knowing I have a beginning, middle and end. For this one, the initial intention was to just do one book, but it became apparent early on that the plot was too complex for one book so I made the decision to split it into three which was the right call.

As for characters, I’ve always hated working in black and white. For me, there is nothing more boring than having characters who are fully good or fully bad. For me, the most interesting ones have always been somewhere in the middle. It’s those grey shades I like to work within. I like the balance and how it flits from one to the other. If you have several characters like that who are flawed in some way, it really opens up the scope of the story.

What inspired your protagonist?

During the initial thought process of putting this together, one thing I wanted to do was not to have one specific protagonist. I had watched Quentin Tarantino’s movie Pulp Fiction and loved the idea of all these storylines taking place at once. In that move, you would be hard pressed to pick out a lead character. All the plots feel as important as the next. I wanted to translate that to the book. The concurrent plotlines are all of equal importance and it was important to me to really develop each character or group to the best of my ability so that each time the reader goes back to a given situation they are still invested. Sure enough, it was a risk and logistically a nightmare to make sure everything felt relevant without overwhelming the reader. I like to think the balance is good though and all the plot threads which unravel across the trilogy will be as satisfying as each other.

What inspired your antagonist?

I was thinking about the idea of power, and how depending on who wields it the outcome can potentially be very different. As mentioned earlier I love working with flawed characters, so I took a guy, a good guy. An upstanding citizen from an upper middle class family who was raised the right way and taught good values. A man who, after seeing the World Trade Centre attacks joins the army as he feels he has to protect his country. The problem is, the army sees his benefits more in using his brain. He’s physically weak but mentally strong, so they tie him to a desk job and don’t let him fight. Even though he is frustrated by this, he does his job. When an opportunity comes up to volunteer for a new genetic modification program to aid the soldiers in the field but nobody volunteers, he does, feeling he owes his country. When this proves to be brilliantly successful and he becomes all those things he never thought he could be and more, I was interested in exploring what would happen if that mindset changed. If he suddenly felt that he was now superior to those around him and looked at a world full of hatred and people killing each other as something he finally had the power to fix. I wanted to explore how that twisted superiority complex would change a man and warp him into doing unspeakable things and in turn becoming the very thing he joined the army to protect his country from. Joshua is a very complex character and most readers like and detest him in equal measure!

What was the hardest part to write in the book?

There were a lot of difficulties in this one. The research was a test as it broke the flow of writing. I wanted to make it accurate, so, for example, when I was writing the scenes in Mumbai, I had Google maps open and doing a virtual street walk on there to really make sure the locations and atmosphere were right. There is also a pretty harrowing scene in there where there is an attempted rape. It was difficult to write although I felt it was vital to the plot, especially in regards to where the character goes next in her character development. That situation, however brutal and nasty shapes who she will later become.

What was your favourite part of your book to write?

There are certain moments – certain scenes where when you finish writing it you sit back in the chair and smile to yourself and can’t wait for the reader to get to that particular part. It might just be something simple, a plot twist of the way a particular passage is written. It is those moments that for me are the joys of the job.

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

I’m fortunate enough to make a living from my writing so this is my only job. I resigned from my day job in October 2015 and have never looked back. I feel so fortunate that writing has given me this opportunity and will do whatever I can to give back.

What are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading David Morell’s First Blood. The Movie is one of my favourites, but the book is vastly different. The Rambo character in the book is brutal and violent in ways the film doesn’t get close to.

Who would you say are your favourite authors?

Stephen King (of course!) is up there. I also like the works of Shaun Hutson, Brian Lumley, Michael Crichton, Adam Nevill, James Patterson, and Paul Tremblay. Far too many to mention here. I’m actually fortunate enough to be appearing in a couple of anthologies this year with Hutson, Lumley and Nevill which is crazy and exciting.

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

Hmmm, this is tricky. In reverse order it would have to be:

5. Apartment 16 – Adam Nevill

4. Jurassic park – Michael Crichton

3. A head Full of Ghosts – Paul Tremblay

2. MEG – Steve Alten

1. Skeleton Crew – Stephen King

What are your future projects, if any?

It’s actually a really busy time right now. I just finished a novel called FEED for Severed press which should be getting a release date soon. There is the third and final book in the Project Apex trilogy to write then another novel called THE WITCH. Even though it’s not written yet I already have a couple of publishers vying to purchase that one which is nice. The biggest upcoming project by far, though, is the movie adaptation of my novel, MEAT! I recently sold the rights to it and the script is being written. I’m lucky enough to be getting involved with the writing process a little to ensure the story stays true to the original, but the whole process is incredibly exciting. I’m looking forward to seeing how that develops going forward and hope it opens the door to more adaptations. I had a little interest in adapting the Project apex books too, but I really need to make sure that any deal for that one is right. Hey, if anyone is reading this and is interested in buying the rights, get in touch! I’m confident there is money to be made there. 😀

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

I make a point of being open and approachable at all times so am more than happy to talk either via email or Facebook or via my website. Whichever method is preferred I always like to hear from you so don’t be shy and get in touch. I’ve left some handy contact links here:

Email: Darkcornersbook@gmail.com

Official website: www.michaelbrayauthor.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/michaelbrayauthor

Twitter: www.twitter.com/michaelbrayauth

Instagram: www.instagram.com/michaelbrayauthor

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

A couple of things that I’ve picked up along the way. First, never give up. This is a hard business and the road is rarely straight. Chances are you will take a few twists and turns before you get to where you want to be.

Second, get a thick skin! The writing world is one where there is a lot of options and as such a lot of readers with varying tastes. Just because a reader might not like your work, it doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with it. All it means is that it wasn’t suited to that particular individual.

Third, get in the habit of writing every day, even if it’s only a few hundred words. You’ll be surprised how quickly the word count will grow if you do a little each day.

 

Other Books in Series:

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Featured Author · Featured Author Wednesday

Spotlight Interview with author V.S. Kemanis

Wednesday Spotlight

 
Genre: 
Short stories, Thriller, Mystery, Romance
Publisher: Opus Nine Books
Publication Date: May 1, 2017
Pages: 304
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About the Book

Loves big and small, crimes forgiven or avenged. These are the themes that drive the eleven diverse stories in this new collection of psychological suspense from storyteller V.S. Kemanis.

Meet the husband and wife team Rosemary and Reuben, master chefs known to sprinkle a dash of magic into every dish. Lucille Steadman, a dazed retiree who can’t explain why she’s left her husband, only to discover, too late, the meaning of love and commitment in the most surprising place. Franklin DeWitt, an esteemed ballet critic who witnesses—or abets?—a bizarre criminal plot to topple a beautiful Soviet ballerina. Rosalyn Bleinstorter, a washed-up defense attorney whose stubborn belief in her own street savvy leads her unwittingly into a romantic and criminal association with an underworld figure.

These are just a few of the colorful characters you’ll get to know in these pages, where all is fair in love and crime. While the endings to these tales are not always sweet or predictable, and self-deception is rarely rewarded, the lessons come down hard and are well learned.

Where to Buy

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple | Smashwords

Interview

Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I grew up in California, went to law school in Colorado, and now make my home in New York. My years of experience in criminal law inspired my legal mystery novels featuring prosecutor Dana Hargrove (Thursday’s List, Homicide Chart, and Forsaken Oath). I also love to write short stories, and Love and Crime includes my latest work. Another passion is dance—I’ve taught, performed, and choreographed contemporary styles and ballet.

What inspired you to write?
I have an active imagination in need of outlet! This is much better than TV.

What inspired your novel?
Love and Crime is a collection of short fiction, each story inspired by a different idea or event. For example, the opening story, “Rosemary and Reuben,” features characters who are challenged emotionally and physically by their heightened senses of smell and taste. The story was inspired by the fact that I’m extremely sensitive to smell.

What is the genre?
Literary short stories of psychological suspense.

What draws you to this genre?
Writing the short form is very satisfying for me because it fits a busy schedule. A complete work can be written quickly. I love language, and every word counts. It’s also a challenge to see how much depth of meaning and emotion can be conveyed in a short work.

How did you develop your plot and your characters?
The stories come to me as small ideas that hang around for weeks, months, or years, either at the back of my mind or on a scrap of paper. They develop gradually, as other events in my life add to the idea over time. At some point, I wake up and say, “I’m ready to write this one!”

What inspired your protagonist?
These eleven short stories feature many protagonists from different walks of life. I’m fascinated by situations involving self-deception or disillusionment. Each protagonist faces a unique challenge of this kind, developing to the point of crisis or leading to revelation and change.

What inspired your antagonist?
My antagonists are people or emotions or doubts that challenge the protagonist to act or change. I’m a big fan of ethical dilemma!

What was the hardest part to write in the book?
The hardest part, always, is the beginning. I tend to write and rewrite the opening lines of every story or novel many times.

What was your favourite part of your book to write?
For every story, the end. I become completely immersed. It’s exciting to reach a resolution or a lesson or a change in the character, and sometimes, the characters lead me to places I hadn’t anticipated.

Are you a full time or a part time writer? If part time, what do you do besides write?
Part time for now. I work for an appellate court, where I’m a supervising editor.

What are you currently reading?
To the Bright Edge of the World, by Eowyn Ivey, and Glory over Everything, by Kathleen Grissom.

Who would you say are your favourite authors?
In legal thrillers, Adam Mitzner. In literary fiction, Ian McEwan.

How about your favourite books? What would be your top 5?
Homestead, by Rosina Lippi; Atonement, by Ian McEwan; The Snow Child, by Eowyn Ivey; Bel Canto, by Ann Patchett; and Ladder of Years, by Anne Tyler

What are your future projects, if any?
I’m currently working on the fourth novel in the Dana Hargrove legal mystery series.

What is your preferred method for readers to get in touch with you and your books?
I can always be reached through the contact page on my website, www.vskemanis.com

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors? 
If you love to write, persevere. Your craft will steadily improve. Take heed of Ernest Hemingway’s “Iceberg Theory” (sometimes less is more):

“If a writer of prose knows enough of what he is writing about he may omit things that he knows and the reader, if the writer is writing truly enough, will have a feeling of those things as strongly as though the writer had stated them. The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water. A writer who omits things because he does not know them only makes hollow places in his writing.”

Spotlight Interview

Spotlight Interview with author Mehreen Ahmed

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Genre: 
Historical Fiction
Publisher: Cosmic Teapot Publishing
Publication Date: May 11, 2017
Pages: 300 pages
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Buy At:
Amazon | Smashwords | Kobo | iTunes
B&N

 

 

 

 

About the Book

In 1866, Peter Baxter’s misfortune ends the day he leaves Badgerys Creek orphanage. Unsure of what to do next, Peter finds himself on a farm run by Mr. Brown. An aging man, Brown needs help and is happy to give Peter a place to live in exchange for his labor. Unbeknownst to Peter, Brown’s past is riddled with dark secrets tied to the same orphanage, which he has documented in a red folder.

During a chance encounter, Peter meets Rose. Peter cannot help but fall in love with her beauty, grace, and wit but fears that his affection will go unrequited as a result of his crippling poverty. But fate changes when Peter joins the search for gold in Hill End, New South Wales. Striking it rich, he returns to Rose a wealthy man. Peter is changed by his new found affluence, heading towards the mire of greed. Will Rose regret her relationship with Peter?

Meanwhile, Rose has her own troubled history. One that is deeply entwined with Brown’s past and Peter’s future.

Interview:

Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I have always been attracted to reading and writing. Before I went into publishing, I maintained a regular diary. I didn’t publish until 1987 in Canada. A few journalistic write ups for the campus newspaper at the University of Saskatchewan, The Sheaf set me off. I embarked on a writing career, as I published academic articles and reviews in peer review journals. Since 2011, I decided to become a fiction writer. I have two MA degrees, one in English Literature and the other in Applied Linguistics.

What inspired you to write?
When ideas pop into my mind I feel like writing them down. Nothing inspires me so much as does nature. The sound of the winds move me as much as a sunset on the beach or the falling of rain. Every object in nature inspires me.

What inspired your novel?
I was drawn by the adventure of the gold rush period in Australia. I find this era really romantic and worth talking about. That people had poured in from so many countries throughout Europe and Asia to strike it rich, to give it a go. There was a madness for gold collection. But it wasn’t until I had gone to see a lighthouse in Cape Byron that I was truly moved to write this story. That beacon forced me to reflect on the cape’s history. That’s really what started it.

What is the genre?
Historical fiction.

What draws you to this genre?
The magic of the past pulls me towards this genre. I am very fond of history.

How did you develop your plot and your characters?
I have a few ideas about what I want to write and I jot a few notes down but for me, the creative process is quite messy. I delve into the first draft almost right away and see where the story takes me. Same with the characters, they speak to me when a situation arises. I get to discover them as the story develops.

What inspired your protagonist?
The corporate world. I observed how the corporate world operates and drew inspiration from that.

What inspired your antagonist?
I also observed how the vulnerable are exploited by institutions. I imagined a typical situation where such tortures could take place. I created my antagonist based on that.

What was the hardest part to write in the book?
The hardest part was to make sure that the historical accounts were accurate. I had do thorough research on many aspects of that era to make the details authentic. It was not just the gold rush period, but other facets of life such as food, clothing, utensils, bathrooms, architecture, the pay structure and their livelihood, in general. Everything had to be minutely researched before they could be pieced together.

What was your favourite part of your book to write?
The dreams and the wavering thoughts were my favourite segments. Presenting them as they occurred in the characters’ minds.

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

What are you currently reading?
Tender is the Night by Fitzgerald.

Who would you say are your favourite authors?
I like many authors but if I had to choose, I’d say Virginia Woolf. I was deeply moved by Mrs. Dalloway.

How about your favourite books? What would be your top 5?
Generally speaking, I like introspective books and those written in a stream of consciousness style. I’m going to skip this one because I can’t narrow it down to five.

What are your future projects, if any?
I am writing a novella at the moment. It’s very early in development, so there isn’t much to talk about yet.

What is your preferred method for readers to get in touch with you and your books?
People can contact me through Facebook, Twitter, or Goodreads. They can also send email through Cosmic Teapot Publishing. I’m always happy to hear from readers.

Contact Links:
FB: https://www.facebook.com/mehreen.ahmed.3551
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MehreenAhmed2
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5267169.Mehreen_Ahmed
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Mehreen-Ahmed/e/B005L6HMHM/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0
Website: http://www.cosmicteapot.net

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors? 
Read a lot first and then create your own. Because one learns about the craft of writing through reading other books.

 

Featured Author Wednesday · Spotlight Interview

Spotlight Interview with author Marie Lavender

Wednesday Spotlight


Genre: Science Fiction, Romance
Publisher: Solstice Publishing
Publication Date: November 15, 2016
Pages: 200 pages
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1) Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
Sure! I’ve been writing stories since the age of nine; it seems there was always some of kind of tale playing out in my head, and I wanted to be an author from a young age. I pursued the dream from then on, taking writing classes or studying up on the elements of fiction. I also read voraciously. In college, I pursued Creative Writing as a major. About five years after graduating, I decided to finally try to publish a book. I am an indie author, in a sense, because I have self-published as well as used traditional publishing. In 2012, I was picked up by Solstice Publishing, and through them I released my first historical romance, Upon Your Return, book one of the Heiresses in Love Series. The rest, as they say, is history.

2) What inspired you to write?
The muse inspired me, the voices in my head, the characters that drove me to tell their stories.

3) What inspired your novel?
With Blue Vision, I wanted to tell an entirely new story, a different approach to meeting a stranger. Through some unusual circumstances in this tale, the main character encounters a mysterious man.

4) What is the genre?
The genre is science fiction romance.

5) What draws you to this genre?
Although I’ve always been drawn to the romance genre in most of its forms – at the core, we’re all human and I think we’re all meant to find that special person – I actually got to try something new with this novel. Blue Vision is my first published foray into sci-fi. I like playing around with unique characters; with this one, I just let my imagination soar. I had to think beyond the world we see.

6) How did you develop your plot and your characters?
Though one character isn’t exactly human, I had to try to make him relatable to readers. I think they’ll connect with his struggles. And with Brooke’s character, she’s a blend of various traits. She’s braver than she realizes. As for the plot, once I had the seed, it just exploded forward. I even found myself planning the second book in the series.

7) What inspired your protagonist?
As both main characters share the novel equally, I’ll address the question for them. With Colin, I just tried to imagine someone who reluctantly follows his people, though deep down I think readers will realize he isn’t exactly like them. As for Brooke, she evolved on her own. I began with her speech patterns, her mannerisms, delved into her history, then discovered even more about her in the process of writing the story.

8) What inspired your antagonist?
The antagonist in the book is a combination of elements that make up one main entity. I’d say I just imagined the most power-hungry people in the world, changed a few things and went on from there.

9) What was the hardest part to write in the book?
The hardest parts for me were the technical aspects, the sci-fi portion of the novel. Well, the advanced technology, you know? I didn’t want the book to sound juvenile. I had a friend who was a science fiction geek, and he gave me some really good advice. “Use your imagination; that will take you all the way…” So, after I got over my initial anxieties, I let the story and the characters speak for themselves.

10) What was your favourite part of your book to write?
My favorite part? Ooh, that’s a tough one. I’m divided between what it was like to write about an alien as a male character (would I have said ‘no’ if a strange blue, sexy man kissed me?…ah, probably not), or just writing about his home planet, imagining the way his world looked. That was actually pretty fun!

11) Are you a full time or a part time writer? If part time, what do you do besides write?
I write part-time for now. When I’m not writing, I do two things. I am a designer at Ambrosia Innovations, where I design book covers, graphic teasers, social media banners, and make book trailers/marketing videos. The rest of the time? I work at a call center.

12) What are you currently reading?
I’m reading Lover Enshrined by J.R. Ward.

13) Who would you say are your favourite authors?
Among others, a few of my favorites are J.R. Ward, Nora Roberts, Chloe Neill, Kris Tualla and P.C. Cast.

14) How about your favourite books? What would be your top 5?
1. The Black Dagger Brotherhood Series by J.R. Ward
2. The Chicagoland Vampires Series by Chloe Neill
3. The House of Night Series by P.C. Cast
4. The Discreet Gentlemen Series by Kris Tualla
5. Three Sisters Island Trilogy by Nora Roberts

15) What are your future projects, if any?
Right now, I’m editing a contemporary romance/romantic drama collection, which is titled Directions of the Heart. I hope to have that out in early 2017. I am also writing the second book in the Blood at First Sight Series. It’s called Blood Instincts, and the novel is a futuristic paranormal romance/urban fantasy.

16) What is your preferred method for readers to get in touch with you and your books?
Readers can connect with me on social media. They can also subscribe to my author website, and my monthly newsletter. I host three blogs as well: Writing in the Modern Age, Marie Lavender’s Books! blog, and the I Love Romance Blog. They can find a full list of my published books here, or just follow my Amazon author page for updates.

17) Do you have any advice for aspiring authors? 
Patience is a big thing to remember. The journey is rough, and it will take as long as it takes. However, if you want this bad enough, if you wake up and most days all you can think about is when you can get back to writing, if the story and the characters guide you, then don’t worry. You have a good handle on what’s important. Be persistent with your dreams, and be patient. At least have a nice balance between the two, and you’ll come out the other side published and working on a lifetime writing career. Think about it like you’re launching a new business. It takes time and effort, but in the end you’ll be rewarded in numerous ways, the most imperative being that you preserved your dream and saw it through.

Featured Author · Spotlight Interview

Spotlight Interview with author Stacy Hoff

daze

 
Genre: 
Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
Publication Date: September 28, 2016
Pages: 160 pages
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Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I am a full-time attorney, wife, and mother of two boys (ages eleven and fourteen). My only chance to write is late at night, when the rest of my household is fast asleep. Not surprisingly, coffee is my best friend.

JOCKEYING FOR YOU will be my forth novel with Soul Mate Publishing, Inc. I have two more complete manuscripts under contract with Soul Mate. Those two books will start a new series.

What inspired you to write?
Who knows how my quirky mind works? I’ve always had a strong creative side. I’ve been writing and drawing since I was little.

What inspired your novel?
JOCKEYING FOR YOU was inspired by the 2015 Triple Crown. I was truly wowed by American Pharoah.

What is the genre?
JOCKEYING FOR YOU is a contemporary romance. It could also be considered “sports romance,” with one major exception–the heroine is the athlete instead of the hero.

What draws you to this genre?
I write the type of book I like to read. Contemporary romance has been my favorite genre for as long as I can remember.

How did you develop your plot and your characters?
They developed organically. I am a true “pantser” (someone who writes “by the seat of their pants”). Sometimes I write a whole book with nothing planned out, other than a vague sense of the “tag line.” This may sound like a creative freefall, but I like not knowing what happens next. It’s the exact opposite part of my brain I use when I’m in lawyer-mode.

What inspired your protagonist?
I wanted a character who had an emotional journey as dramatic as the storyline itself.

What inspired your antagonist?
I always conjure up the antidote to my hero and/or heroine, and then begin to flesh the villain out. The villain in this book is motivated by greed and control.

What was the hardest part to write in the book?
Accurate sports details. I always sweat when it comes to getting details right. Precision is important to me.

What was your favourite part of your book to write?
My favourite part was writing the sections where I had conducted real-life research. I had visited the New York Racing Association’s famous race tracks, Belmont Park and the Saratoga Race Course. I also spent time at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, New York. After my trip, I wrote these sections in mere days.

Are you a full time or a part time writer? If part time, what do you do besides write?
As an attorney, I draft and review business contracts all day. I recently celebrated my twentieth year in practice.

What are you currently reading?
Because my younger son has dyslexia, I read his assigned books along with him. “The Giver” by Lois Lowry is the book we’re reading now.

Who would you say are your favourite authors?
Kristan Higgins, Diana Gabaldon and Charlaine Harris.

How about your favourite books? What would be your top 5?
It seems that every time I pick up a romance book, it becomes my new favorite. But right now I’m focusing on series, since I’m in the process of writing a trilogy myself. Some of my favorite series are: J. Kenner’s “Release Me,” Chloe Neill’s “Chicagoland Vampires,” and Vanessa Kelly’s “The Renegade Royals.”

What are your future projects, if any?
The series I’m currently working on is BUILDING LOVE. Book 1 is BUILDING LOVE IN VEGAS and book 2 is BUILDING LOVE IN THE CARIBBEAN. This series is set in the construction industry, and is jammed packed with family drama, secrets and lies. Not to mention plenty of passion!

What is your preferred method for readers to get in touch with you and your books?
I love to hear from readers! They can connect with me the following ways:
Website: https://www.stacyhoff.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorStacyHoff
Amazon author’s page: https://www.amazon.com/Stacy-Hoff/e/B00NN0HCW8
Twitter: @authorStacyHoff

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors? 
Yes. Join a writing organization. I joined a chapter of RWA (Romance Writers of America) and it changed my life.