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
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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.

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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
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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
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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
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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 · Spotlight Interview

Featured Author: Konn Lavery

Wednesday Spotlight


Genre: Weird Fiction, Horror
Publisher: Reveal Books
Publication Date: July 15, 2016
Pages: 228
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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
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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
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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.

Featured Author · Spotlight Interview

Featured Author: Damien Black

Wednesday Spotlight

 
Genre: 
Dark Epic Fantasy
Publisher: IngramSpark/KDP
Publication Date: July 26, 2016
Pages: 650
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Interview

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

I’m from the UK. I was born and raised in London. I wouldn’t say we were poor but money was often tight. Reading was a release for me from an early age, that and television. Then I got into the music thing in my teens, played a lot of guitar and probably did more partying than was good for me! I cleaned up my act a few years ago and around that time it dawned on me that I loved writing more than music.

What inspired you to write?

I remember writing a lot of stuff at school that I never finished. Then in adult life I came back to it. Rock ‘n’ roll is very seductive, but the more I got back into writing the more I realised that it offers more. For one thing, you can have complete creative control – especially on a self-publishing ticket. No more band arguments, no struggling with sound engineers or producers… You’re the boss! And words have far more intellectual clout than music – they can be beautiful for their own sake, but they can also be used to send ideas far and wide. I can’t think of a more satisfying feeling than creating your own world and story and watching them come to life through the power of prose.

What inspired your novel?

Er, God? It has to come from somewhere… That collective unconscious that we tap into without thinking, all artists can relate to this I believe. In particular I wanted to explore the links between monotheism and polytheism, how they bleed into one another (despite the best attempts of clerics of many faiths to deceive us to the contrary). I also wanted to write a story of high adventure – chivalry, derring-do, battles, what have you – that was underpinned by creeping horror – demons, evil spirits, possession, warlocks and black magic. HP Lovecraft meets George RR Martin if you will!

What is the genre?

Dark fantasy. Although it crosses over into grimdark too.

What draws you to this genre?

Everything. The creative potential is limitless. You get to design your own world with its history and cultures, drawing on the real one as much or as little as you like. I didn’t choose this genre; it chose me. I may branch out into other kinds of fiction but for now I couldn’t imagine writing anything else!

How did you develop your plot and your characters?

I started much as Tolkien did, concocting a series of histories and nations, each with their own culture, religion and linguistic identity. Once I had a fully functioning world I started to devise the storyline. I went on holiday and spent several days chain smoking and writing out a synopsis for an epic saga. Once I was done I had 50 pages of A4. I thought: I’m on to something here.

What inspired your protagonist?

In Adelko of Narvik I wanted a hero who is a pacifist and doesn’t use violence to solve his problems (although he falls in with quite a few characters who do). I also wanted someone whose job it is to hunt down sorcerers. In that way I believe I’ve come up with a lead character who is the opposite of the stereotypical wizard or warrior you find in most fantasy novels… unless of course you count the prayers Adelko uses to neutralise magic as magic itself…! That’s my idea of an ambiguous character: you can read him in completely different ways.

What inspired your antagonist?

Depends which one you are talking about… There are several, of varying degrees of depravity. You see, I also wanted to channel elements of a thriller/mystery into my work, so in Devil’s Night Dawning the arch villain’s identity remains ambiguous… I would say more but I don’t want to give the game away!

What was the hardest part to write in the book?

Ooh good question! Most of it seemed to come quite naturally… I think editing it was the hardest part. I’ve got years of experience as an editor but making judgement calls on your own work was tough. But again, incredibly rewarding – I have an idiosyncratic style of writing and having complete control of the creative process is very important to me.

What was your favourite part of your book to write?

I think the segment where Adelko is on the run with his mentor Horskram –  they know that somebody knows what they know and is sending agents – human and supernatural – to kill them before they can warn the Grand Master of their order. They’re being chased across the wilderness day and night, with the suspense gradually building (a bit like in the first part of The Fellowship of the Ring). I like to pace the telling of a story – don’t give it all away at once! It also gave me the opportunity to world-build through Adelko’s POV – he hasn’t seen much of the world to date so it’s all pretty fresh in his eyes.

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

I worked for more than a decade as a freelance journalist and copywriter, sidelining in music, but now I’ve quit those things to concentrate on writing. The second installment of the Broken Stone series will be out this year!

What are you currently reading?

Dawn of the Gods by Jacquetta Hawkes. I’ve just started and it’s a fascinating read: it details how the Minoan civilization in Crete was influenced by the Near Eastern cultures of Mesopotamia and went on to influence that of mainland Greece – the Mycenaean palace culture that preceded the classical era most people are familiar with. I read a lot of history and it definitely inspires my writing.

Who would you say are your favourite authors?

Oh so many. To name but a few: Sir Thomas Malory, Charles Dickens, Sir Walter Scott, JRR Tolkien, Michael Moorcock, Joseph Conrad, HP Lovecraft, Aldous Huxley, Anthony Burgess, Mervyn Peake

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

Ow, that’s hard…! The Heart of Darkness, A Tale of Two Cities, The Lord of the Rings, The Talisman, Gormenghast. Better move on to the next question, before I change my mind!

What are your future projects, if any?

To continue writing the Broken Stone series. I’ve synopsised for five books, but it might run over. I’ve every intention of finishing it too – unlike some other authors of epic fantasy I could mention… Ahem!

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

My website is damienblackwords.com and I can be reached any time of the day at damien@damienblackwords.com – I also have a Twitter account @TheDevilsFriar and I’m on Facebook too under www.facebook.com/damienblackwords/

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors? 

Don’t aspire: be.

Featured Author · Spotlight Interview

Featured Author: Brett Arquette

Wednesday Spotlight

 
Genre: 
Thriller, Military, Young Adult
Publication Date: November 15, 2016
Pages:  354
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Buy: Amazon USAmazon CANBarnes & Noble

 

 

 

 

 

About the Book

Marshall Hail was a husband, a father, a Physics Nobel prize winner and industrial billionaire. But when Hail’s family was killed in a terrorist attack, he became a predator and redirected his vast industrial assets toward one goal, removing every person on the FBI’s Top 10 Terrorist list. With the help of his MIT colleagues, Hail designed and built a devastating arsenal of attack drones of all shapes and sizes that are flown by the nation’s best young gamers. The world will come to realize that Marshall Hail possesses the capability of getting to anyone, anywhere, at any time, unleashing an operation so disturbing that the CIA has named it Operation Hail Storm.

Interview

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

The middle child of five, I was born in 1960 and anointed with my mother’s pen name “Duncan”, given to me by award-winning author Lois Duncan. During her career, my mother Lois wrote 48 best-selling young adult books, some of which have been made into movies, including the movie “I Know What You Did Last Summer” and “Hotel for Dogs”. I was raised in New Mexico and moved to Florida on my 30th birthday. Writing on the weekends, my first book, “Deadly Perversions”, was published in 2002. My additional titles are “Seeing Red”, “Tweaked”, “The Pandemic Diary” and “Soundman for a B-Band”. My newest book is an adventure into Young Adult writing with a series of “HAIL” books with the first one called “Operation Hail Storm. I currently reside in the Sunshine State with my wife and three children.

What inspired you to write?

My Mother inspired me to write. She cranked out 48 books during her lifetime and was still able to run a family with five children. I really had no business writing, since I had no background novel writing in High School or College. But after I wrote my first book, I came to the realization that I could do it and I was hooked.

Has having a famous best-selling author as a Mother opened doors for you in your writing career.

Yes and no. By dropping her name, I can every once in a great while get a book read by an agent that would have never bothered without my family pedigree. However, past that, every book will live or die on its own merits. And the publishing business has change 180 degrees since my Mother published her first book. I am writing a multipart blog on my website http://brett.arquette.us about just that subject.

What inspired your novel?

I had written many novels with adult themes, but had never written a book that was written for teens. My Mother had made a career writing almost exclusively for teens, so I knew there was an audience out there. One day, my son came home from middle school and told me that his teacher was reading his class “Rainbow Six”, a classic special ops book by Tom Clancy. Unfortunately, they had to stop reading the book due to too many profanities in the novel. At the time, I was really enjoying reading special ops books, such as “The Gray Man” series by Mark Greaney. I couldn’t recall anyone writing special ops books for young adults that could be read in the classroom that had no profanity and G rated violence. Six months later, wa-la, OPERATION HAIL STORM received the last typed words “The End”.

What is the genre?

The genre would be classified as a Thriller, but it has a military feel to it. Since it was written for teens, I also wanted to add some educational information. So there is the potential for math, social studies, geography and science workbooks that could accompany the CLASSROOM edition.

What draws you to this genre?

I love reading fast paced books. You know, lots of action and if you skip a dozen pages, you probably missed something important. Thrillers should thrill throughout the book; not just at the beginning or the end. And I think I accomplished that with OPERATION HAIL STORM. I also feel when I’m writing for teens, I am going up against video games and video and movies and music, all competing for their attention. So I’ve got to keep the story moving, creating action in scenes where you would not expect action elements.

How did you develop your plot and your characters?

During the past few years I’ve been reading the magazine called the MIT Review. There is some crazy complicated science that is being discussed in that publication, and one of those topics was about a new design of a nuclear reactor called the traveling wave reactor. This is the type of technology that is a real game changer for our planet, because these safe reactors burn depleted uranium. The United States alone has enough depleted uranium stockpiled to supply all the energy for our entire planet for the next 10,000 years. Bill Gates currently sits on the board of TerraPower who is prototyping the reactor, so this is real science. Based on that information, I created my main character, Marshall Hail as the person who takes that technology to the next level and brings the traveling wave reactor to market. This makes him a billionaire. But what is a billionaire if he loses his family in a terrorist attack? What does money matter at that point? What matters to Marshall Hail is retribution. Hail is a flawed character and he recognizes his flaws and hates himself for them, but he is still set on using all his resources to bring terrorists to justice. The Marshall Hail form of justice.

What inspired your protagonist?

Marshall Hail lost his family in a future terrorist attack that is called THE FIVE. Five shoulder launched missiles took out five commercial aircraft in five difference countries from five different terrorist groups all within five minutes of each other. Hail was immersed in grief and could no longer go on with business as usual. So he made some significant modifications to his fleet of cargo ships, making each of them command and control centers in which to launch drone strikes anywhere in the world.

What inspired your antagonist?

There are a few difference flavors of antagonists in the novel and each of them has an agenda. There is a beautiful CIA operative Kara Ramey that is assigned to work with Marshall Hail to track down terrorist, but she has her own reasons for doing what she does. Then there is a major arms dealer who was responsible for suppling the missiles to the terrorist groups who shot down the airplanes in THE FIVE. Needless to say, his agenda is markedly different.

What was the hardest part to write in the book?

As I mentioned, I like books with action and I enjoy writing the action elements, but there is always a need to humanize your characters so they have substance and the reader cares about them. Writing the personal parts of each character, how they feel, their background, what makes them tick, those sorts of segments are always hard for me to write because I have to completely change gears. And it is very easy to get carried away with emotional elements and lose the pace of the book.

What was your favorite part of your book to write?

I like writing the technical segments – how the drones fly, how they are designed and assembled. I like writing the dialogue between the engineers and designers and the pilots who will fly the contraptions. Words just seem to flow when I get into that frame of mind.

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

Sadly, right now part time. I spent most of my career working as the Chief Technology Officer for one of the largest Circuit Court Systems in Florida. In 2002, Computerworld Magazine selected me as one of the “Premier 100 IT Leaders” in the world, describing me as a “visionary” in reference to the cutting-edge technology. My books are peppered with technology acquired from vast experience in advanced computers and audio/video systems. I was also the Editor in Chief of the Court Technology Forum, Contributing Editor for eWeek Magazine, columnist for ComputerWorld and SmartComputing magazines, all of which has helped to create a loyal fan base and lots of traffic on my website. Like most parents, I spend most of my free time with my faimly doing fun stuff.

What are you currently reading?

I am reading some Dean Koontz, love Jack Reacher novels, love the Gray Man series and the John Rain series, and have started reading all of my mother’s books, just to see what I can learn from them.

Who would you say are your favorite authors?

Mark Greaney, Steven King, Robert Crais, Barry Eisler, Dean Koontz, Vince Flynn

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

Any books from my favorite authors.

What are your future projects, if any?

I already have the next three Hail books in the series plotted in my brain. The next one will be called OPERATION HAIL WARNING. And hold on to your seats, because this book is going to BRING IT!

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

They are welcome to email me a brettarquette@gmail.com. I will also be doing the free Kindle Download off of Amazon for a week as soon as the book posts. Please check my website for the exact dates at http://brett.arquette.us

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Yes, when you are writing books, try to put as much description as you can into dialogue. That may mean even adding some sort of confidante character who the lead characters can discuss plot elements. Always be thinking, if this was optioned as a movie, how would the screenplay be written. In some cases, such as the Gray Man series I mentioned, the Gray Man is a loner and barely ever talks to anyone. That creates a big problem when it comes to writing the screenplay. You would be almost starting from scratch.

 

Featured Author · Spotlight Interview

Spotlight Interview with author Dominic Adler

Wednesday Spotlight


Genre: Military, Technothriller, Thriller
Publisher: Thistle Publishing
Publication Date: May 4, 2017
Pages: 272
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About the Book

‘Adler’s prose is razor sharp, his characters flawed enough to be believable. A great read.’
Alex Shaw, best-selling author of Cold East.

Cal Winter: Junkie. Murderer. Winner of the Military Cross for Gallantry.

Penniless and desperate, Cal Winter is coerced into working for a band of freelance paramilitaries known as The Firm. After a decade of deniable killing, he plots revenge. Armed with a secret file of The Firm’s dirtiest secrets, Winter returns to London. There he discovers the organisation has evolved into something even worse…

Winter assembles a careworn team of The Firm’s cast-offs and misfits. Their enemy: a ruthless warrior elite, information warfare specialists battle-honed in the West’s ‘Forever Wars’.

From Iceland to the City of London, to the lonely marshes of England’s southern coast, Winter must stop The Firm. Not just to save the country he once scorned, but to fulfill his vow to be a better man.

Interview

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

Hi. I’m Dominic Adler. I’m from London and have been writing for eight years. I live with my wife and son and a dog. When I’m not writing I’m cooking, watching movies, drinking beer or gaming (for the record I’m pretty much addicted to ‘Grim Dawn’ at the moment).

What inspired you to write?

It’s a deeply disturbing urge / compulsion – I’m sure other writers know the feeling. Then I got to a point where I was having a rough time with the stuff life hurls at you now and then. Someone suggested I write, if only to get it out of my system. The result was my first novel, which wasn’t published. It did, however, get me an agent and a lot of its DNA is in ‘The Saint Jude Rules.’

What inspired your novel?

Three things. First of all, it’s the final part of a trilogy: I wanted to tie up an existing story in a satisfying way (although my books can be read as standalones too). Secondly, I always wanted to write a technothriller where the technology was something more subtle than a new drone or super-cyborg. In my book, it’s a computer program – what it does is the important thing. Thirdly, current events seem so incredible at the moment, I thought they could easily be the work of a bad guy from the pages of Ian Fleming. I’m offering an alternative explanation, in a classic conspiracy-thriller style.

What is the genre?

My books are thrillers. If we put them in a sub-category, it would be military-espionage-crime (with a side helping of dark / snarky humour). I know that’s not a sub-category but dammit it should be.

What draws you to this genre?

Thrillers were my first love as a reader (closely followed by fantasy / SF). I’m also of that generation of men who grew up with World War II as a strong cultural point of reference – Sunday afternoons watching ‘Where Eagles Dare’ or ‘The Guns of Navarone.’ It’s also a very broad genre a writer can ruthlessly exploit play with. Some great thrillers have barely a shot fired, others (like mine) are a maelstrom of bullets and gore.

How did you develop your plot and your characters?

As a kid I played pen and paper role-playing games like ‘RuneQuest’ and ‘Traveller.’ You always had a character sheet, right? I create one of those for each character, then flesh it out as they develop through the story. Then I draw character maps in a notebook, where ‘x’ is the character and ‘y’ is the plot. I usually envisage plots around a series of set scenes, then work backwards and join them all up. For example, in my first book (‘The Ninth Circle’) I wanted an extended chase sequence at a Chernobyl-type ruined power plant. I also wanted a siege in a country house in the snow. I worked from there. Hopefully, the plot and the characters segue together, like a chemical reaction. I often change one because of the other.

What inspired your protagonist?

Cal Winter is fundamentally a good man trapped in a bad guy’s body. He’s Elric of Melniboné with a Glock instead of a big black soul-stealing sword (and like Elric, Cal sometimes needs chemical sustenance to keep going). His story arc is about reconciling his predilection for violence (the only thing he’s good at) versus redemption, and to be seen as the better man. He’s fixated on revenge, but is dimly aware it’s unlikely to solve anything. I’ve actually met one or two people a little like Cal, combat veterans. They wanted to do the right thing when they joined the military. Then their country asks them to do things they never expected to do. To make things worse, when they obey, they are abandoned and ostracized. I thought that was an interesting starting point for a character.

What inspired your antagonist?

The most important bad guy is a visionary, spurned by his bosses in the American military establishment. He’s charismatic, physically powerful but megalomaniacal. He was partly inspired by Colonel Kurtz from ‘Apocalypse Now.’

What was the hardest part to write in the book?

The Prologue. I always have one, mainly because (a) I love the scenes at the start of a Bond movie where you see 007’s last mission and (b) I use them to pick out some themes about the characters, not least for people who might not have read the other books. This one takes us back to Cal’s first assassination gig. It took a lot of time to get right, making sure the characters, timelines etc. all worked in the context of a trilogy.

What was your favourite part of your book to write?

There’s a scene where Cal and his wingman interrogate two maths geniuses about a complex economic modelling program. Getting the banter between two combat grunts and two scientists right was fun.

Are you a full time or a part time writer? If part time, what do you
do besides write?
I write part-time. I worked in law enforcement for many years, so I’ve done my time sitting on a roof watching people through a pair of binoculars.

What are you currently reading?

‘Kings of the Wyld’ by a new Canadian author called Nicholas Eames. It’s a fantasy-comedy that really reminds me of the movie ‘A Knight’s Tale’ with Heath Ledger. Imagine a game of Dungeons & Dragons where the heroes get treated like rock stars. It’s great fun. And it’s got a character called Arcandius Moog. Which is cool.

Who would you say are your favourite authors?

Off the top of my head… Jack Higgins, Tim Willocks, Michael Moorcock, Philip Kerr, Len Deighton and Joe Abercrombie.

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

You love tough questions, don’t you? The following would get me through a stint on a desert island: The Eagle has Landed (Jack Higgins), The Religion (Tim Willocks), The Heroes (Joe Abercrombie), Bomber (Len Deighton), The Hawkmoon cycle (Michael Moorcock).

What are your future projects, if any?

I’ve got a short story coming out soon, in a charity anthology for Alzheimer’s research. It’s been put together by Brit indie author Ryan Bracha and is called ‘The Twelve Lives of Frank Peppercorn.’ There’s also a Cal Winter 4 planned, but it’s tricky as the central premise of the stories changes in the new book. Then there’s my post-apocalyptic detective thriller with superhumans, Communists and a Die Hard vibe (rewrite number 15 ongoing ha ha). I’ve also got a US-based novel about a former female CIA extradition agent. Lurking in my mind is also a fantasy / spy mashup.

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

Facebook is my number one writer’s interface with the world. And according to my page management tool, I’m ‘very responsive!’ Find me at
https://www.facebook.com/dominicadlerauthor/

I’m also on Goodreads, which I enjoy.
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7259786.Dominic_Adler

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

It sounds obvious, but you’ve got to write. A lot. And the more you write, the better you’ll get. The better you get at the technical side, the more your awesome ideas come to life on the page. I’d also get in the habit of people-watching and making notes. I’ll give you an example – the other day I was on a busy train, and noticed a woman putting on her makeup in a certain way (because she was crushed by other commuters, it reminded me of someone eating one of those tiny meals on an airplane). I later made a note of the order she did it, and the facial expressions she made. It was a very human moment, and one day it might end up in a book.