Author Q&A- Candra Baguley

Today I had the pleasure of interviewing Candra Baguley. Her debut novel, The Grey Ones, is  available now! Read the interview below.

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Q: How long have you been writing? Why did you start?

A: I’ve been writing since I was a little kid. I loved telling stories and had such an active imagination that writing came natural for me.

 

Q: What inspires your writing? Do you have a muse?

A: I get inspired by movies, books, myths and legends, the news, etc. For instance, Red Dawn and Walking Dead were two big inspirations for The Grey Ones. I don’t have a muse, but I do look up to other authors.

 

Q: Tell me about your book The Grey Ones. What was the original idea behind it?

28177330A: The Grey Ones is about a family searching for others to help them fight back against the monstrous aliens that have killed most of mankind. The original idea was going to be focused on a short story, which is now known as the first and second chapter.

 

Q: How did you decide what your aliens (Grey Ones) would look like? Did you base them off of something?

A: The Grey Ones were actually designed in accordance with the idea of them living inside their planet. I wanted them to be a scary twist to a classic alien.

 

Q: The Grey Ones is a trilogy. Do you know what is going to happen next, or are you figuring it out as you go along?

A: I planned the trilogy before I sat down and began the first book. I know the major details, but the rest I figure out along the way.

 

Q: How much preparation goes into your writing? Is there a lot of ‘grunt work’?

A: There’s a lot of prep before I begin writing. For The Grey Ones I was studying some Latin, researching aliens and myths, researching other books to make sure mine isn’t the same, and I was constantly thinking and writing little notes down about it.

 

Q: What advice do you wish you received when you began writing?

A: Hm.. Probably how to balance reading, writing, and family – along with everything else. I’m a mom so it can be difficult to juggle the daily tasks.

 

Q: If you could be one of your characters, who would you be and why?

A: Isabelle. She’s strong, brave, a great mom, and she’s a feminist. I consider myself those things too, but Isabelle actually gets out there and proves herself in a way I wish I could.

 

Q: What has been the biggest challenge in your writing career so far? What have you done to overcome it?

A: My biggest writing challenge is and was my own insecurities of sharing my work. I believe I have overcome that for the most part by self-publishing and being an Indy author. It forced me to believe in my work and myself.

 

Q: What is something you want the world to know?

A: At least 10% of The Grey Ones royalties will be donated to the pediatric cancer research at Primary Children’s Hospital. This cause is very important to me and my family and that is why I chose it. You don’t know courage until you see the families and warriors fighting cancer every day.

Find Candra Online:

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Author Q&A- Tricia Stewart Shiu

Today I had the pleasure of interviewing Tricia Stewart Shiu, an amazing writer who has won many awards for her books. Her newest book, Please Hold, is on sale now. Read the interview below to see a glimpse of Tricia’s life.

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Q: How long have you been writing?

A: I’ve been writing since I was twelve years old. I was in middle school and read James Joyce’s “Portrait of an Artist” for the first time. About an hour later, I was overcome by an urge to write, and indulged the impulse. Time stood still, I have no idea what happened. All I remember is coming to, with pages upon pages filled with words in front of me. It felt incredible to express myself so freely and I never looked back.

 

Q: Do you have a muse? What inspires your writing?

A: Just about every experience I have (emotionally, spiritually, energetically) inspires me in some way. No matter what the genre, I draw from my human experience on that particular level. So, in the MOA Series, I write about my metaphysical experiences and spiritual awakening after a personal encounter I had with a Hawaiian spirit called, Moa.

 

Q: You have won an impressive 25 awards for your writing. Can you tell me a little bit about them? Which are you most proud of?

A: The Moa Books—MOA, STATUE OF KU and IRON SHINTO—have earned numerous awards and honors at several national and international book festivals. Here are a few: IRON SHINTO won Best YA Novel at the DIY Book Festival, an ‘Honorable Mention’ in the London and New York Book Festivals in the Young Adult category and ‘Runner Up’ at the renowned Beach Book Festival. The book was also ‘Runner Up’ at The Great Southeast Book Festival, ‘Honorable Mention’ in the San Francisco, Southern California and Los Angeles Book Festivals in the Young Adult category and in Portland Oregon’s Great Northwest Book Festival. MOA received a ‘Runner Up’ and STATUE OF KU ‘Honorable Mention’ in the Spiritual category at the Pacific Rim Book Festival. PLEASE HOLD won Best Unpublished Manuscript at the Southern California Festival and Best First Chapter at the Novel Festival. I can’t pick one specific award or book of which I’m most proud. So happy to write and share and love it all!

 

Q: Tell me about the MOA series. What was the initial idea behind them?

A: When I was five, I was visited by a vision. I’ll never forget it, I was running down the stairs and the entity, a girl with dark hair, stopped me in my tracks. The spirit said that I would go through a deeply challenging time in my life, but would resurface, later in life, with unimaginable joy and fulfillment. That vision stayed with me. In middle school, I would sit quietly at my desk adding up the years to figure out exactly when my life would turn around.

And then I forgot. I moved to Los Angeles after college, somehow that kimono made it into the mass of clothing I put in the back of my red Toyota hatchback. I got busy, my work and then, many, many years and moves around the city later, the stress of family life took over and I was completely overwhelmed and in desperate need of a vacation. My husband, daughter and I decided to go to Hawaii.

When the plane landed in Honolulu, I remember feeling the difference in the atmosphere as I disembarked. The air made me somehow, remember that there was a part of me that knew…something…what was it?

Never mind, I was in Hawaii it was time to see the sights! So, I sped off to see Diamond Head, Waikiki Beach and then headed home for an afternoon nap before an evening luau. As I drifted toward sleep, I heard my name being called. In my mind’s eye, I saw a beautiful young woman with dark hair, who said her name was Moaahuulikkiaaakea’o Haanaapeekuluueehuehakipuunahe’e—Moa for short.

And then I remembered.

Boy, did I remember. That final experience sparked a spiritual journey that continues to this day. In fact, the event and subsequent interactions with Moa (oh yes, they continued) opened the door to my writing the entire Moa Series (MOA, STATUE OF KU and IRON SHINTO).

My biggest lesson throughout the years of metaphysical studies has been that we all possess these gifts, and much more, to some degree, and I have dedicated the rest of my existence to spreading that message. As frustrating as it is to hear, we all have the answers to those burning questions, deep within us and if we find them, we find our truest form of self-expression.

 

Q: Tell me about the other books you have written. Which was the most fun to write? Which was the most challenging?

A: The time between stories is the most challenging for me. When I am inside a story and writing I am at my most peaceful and joyful. Not only do I mourn the end of a story when I write, I also do it when I read a great book. Nevertheless, I believe that this sadness brings with it, a great opportunity and depth of creativity and I wouldn’t change a thing about the process. My latest book, PLEASE HOLD, is a New Adult Romance and a departure from the YA, SciFi genre. In it, I write about the world of high-level executive assistant’s world in which I worked for many years.

 

Q: How much ‘grunt work’ goes into each book? Is there a lot of research involved?

A: Quite a bit of research goes into my writing, but, because it is organically driven, it doesn’t feel like work.

 

Q: If you were transported into the life of one of your characters, who would you want it to be and why?

A: I am fascinated by the lives of the spirits who narrate each of the MOA books and find that when I write from each omniscient perspective, I am transported. It would be fascinating to spend time as Moa, the Hawaiian spirit. I love how she is able to articulate the human experience from a different plane. How fun it would be to effortlessly move between the worlds!

 

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world in any era, when would it be and why?

A: I would love to travel to the exact time frame when Stonehenge was created. It would be glorious to know why and how it was created.

 

Q: What advice do you wish you had received when you began writing?

A: There is nothing I would change about my journey with writing, as I believe I am who I am, as a writer, because of that experience. One thing I can pass along, in a word is: tenacity. Everyone has her own journey in writing and nothing should get in the way (whether positive or negative) of the every moving, consistently changing story flowing through us. Keep going through the rough times, the good times, the light and the dark. In the end, all of it will make for a good story.

 

Q: What is something you want the world to know?

A: Each of us has at least one divine gift to remember. The moment we wake up and retrieve the memory of who we are and what we are here—on earth—to do, the adventure begins. Be kind to yourself and to others.

Find Tricia Online:

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Author Q&A- Alyson Noelle

Today I had the honor of interviewing Alyson Noelle, an internationally best selling author, and one of my person favorites. She has published 21 novels and has many on the way, including Unrivaled, the first book in her new Beautiful Idols series.

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Q: When did you start writing?

A: Unofficially: In junior high. I wrote terrible, very bad, albeit heartfelt poetry in an attempt to make sense of my parent’s divorce, being bullied, and my general unease in my own adolescent skin. Thankfully, those poems shall never see the light of day, though they did serve their purpose at the time.

Officially: In March 2005 my debut novel, FAKING 19, was released into the world and I’ve been writing ever since. With 21 novels published, 3 in production, and several more in the works, it’s been an amazing 11 years!

Q: What inspires you to write? Do you have a muse?

A: No muse. While I like the romantic concept of a muse, it’s always seemed like such a flighty, intangible, whim-driven thing with a shaky sense of integrity when it comes to showing up at the agreed upon time. As a punctual person, this would never work.

Same goes for inspiration. Aside from the initial spark behind every new book idea, when it comes to the actual writing I rarely feel inspired at the start of each day. Not when there are so many shiny things like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, online shopping, and Gilmore Girls reruns on Netflix vying for my attention. But once I’ve worn myself out with all that, I force myself to get to it, whether I want to or not (usually not). But then, like magic, somewhere in the middle of all the typing inspiration hits, and the next thing I know an entire day has passed without my even realizing.

Q: You have written an impressive 21 novels. Does it ever get easier?

A: Since I’m generally a silver linings kind of gal, I want to be optimistic here and tell you, yes, it most certainly does! But the honest answer is no, it really, truly doesn’t. But maybe that’s a good thing (optimism alert!), because easy tends to get boring, and boring makes me want to run back to more interesting endeavors like watching Gilmore Girls reruns on Netflix. So basically, every time I begin a new book, I stare at page 1 and think: How can I possibly fill this page, much less the 325 to follow? But somehow, word by excruciating word, it manages to come together. And when I reach the end I can’t help but feel like some intangible bit of magic, not entirely of my doing, has just occurred. After a brief but celebratory hiatus, I dive in once more and hope/trust the magic will happen again.

Q: In your Immortals Series, how did you decide what the conditions of the immortality were?

A: Well, it was a bit of a puzzle, really and it didn’t come all at once. But generally, all magic has consequences, and in order to best serve the story it helps if those consequences can get in the way of the protagonist’s goals as much as possible. So it was mostly a matter of figuring out what Ever wanted versus what she needed and then shaping the rules of the world accordingly. Also, I tried to insert a certain sense of logic based on the research I’d done on the subjects of immorality, the afterlife, chakras, auras, psychic phenomenon, etc. that would correspond with the parameters of the world I’d built.

Q: If you could be inside one of your books for a day, which one would it be? Why?

A: The Immortals for sure.

Mostly because of Summerland.

And yeah, Damen.

Also Jude.

And Roman.

Q: Which one of your characters do you relate the most with? Who was the most fun to write about?

A: Most of my protagonist’s contain at least a small piece of me, so I relate to all of them in some way. Alex in Faking 19 was very much like me in my senior year of high school back when I was totally failing myself until I figured out I was the only one who could turn it around. Like Rio Jones in Art Geeks and Prom Queens, I know what it’s like to be the new girl at school and have all the other girls hate you. Like Colby Cavendish in Cruel Summer I once lived in Greece (Mykonos though—I sent Colby to Tinos). Like Hailey Lane in Fly Me to the Moon I was a NYC based flight attendant who longed to be a writer and end up marrying an attorney. Like Ever Bloom in The Immortals I know what it’s like to be drowning in the seemingly bottomless grief over losing your loved ones. And in Unrivaled, book 1 in my new Beautiful Idols series, I used to be cynical like Layla (before I surrendered to optimism), I love shoes as much as Aster, Tommy and I share the same musical tastes, and though I have no idea what it’s like to live a life as gilded as Madison’s, I do have serious closet envy!

As for the most fun, that’s a tie between Riley Bloom from The Immortals and The Riley Bloom series, and Nick Dashaway the protagonist from my upcoming MG novel, Five Days of Famous. Placing myself in the head of 12-13 year olds allows me to re-experience the pre-cynical me (before the snarky phase that preceded the optimism surrender) when I had a surplus of confidence and believed myself capable of superhero-type feats. #GoodTimes

Q: Are you currently working on a writing project? If so, what can you tell me about it?

26116460A: I’m working on book 2 in my new Beautiful Idols series. Book 1, Unrivaled, is set for a simultaneous global release in 17 languages on May 10, and I had so much fun writing it, I’m really excited for everyone to read it!

It takes place in the fast-paced world of LA nightclubs, where three teens get caught up in a high-stakes competition and the desperate measures they take to win that make them suspects in a mysterious crime. It’s been compared to Pretty Little Liars meets Scandal, which thrills me to no end!

Q: What advice would you give to a budding writer? What advice do you wish you had gotten?

A: When I was younger, I wished I’d paid less attention to all the people who saw fit to predict what future me was capable of. I wished I’d realized that they were speaking from a place of their own limited vision and failed dreams and that their bleak projections were all about them and had absolutely nothing to do with me.

As for advice, I’d say that if you want to write, then by all means write! It’s really that simple. You may not get published right away, and that’s okay. It took me 2.5 years to get my first book deal, but now I look back on all those early rejections as a test to my commitment and tenacity. There were so many reasons to give up, and at times I declared that’s exactly what I would do. But by the next day, I was back at it, just stubborn enough to keep trying, and I’m so glad I did.

The truth is, there are no guarantees, no 401K, no health insurance plan, and all the logical, well-meaning people in your life will probably do their best to talk you out of it. But if it’s your dream, if entire plot lines and worlds take shape in your head, if characters talk to you on a daily basis, if your dreams involve wearing pajamas and sweating over every word you type on a screen, then you owe it to yourself to give it your best shot and bring those stories to life.

Q: Would you ever want to see any of your books as a movie or TV show? Why or why not?

A: Yes, definitely, a thousand times yes!

So far, I’ve had 17 novels optioned for film, but no movie yet…

Though, I am happy to say that the Soul Seekers was optioned by Cheyenne Enterprises and Traziende films and is now moving forward as a Spanish language franchise, which is so super cool—now I just need to get back to studying my Rosetta Stone tapes! The Immortals was recently optioned by Gil Adler (Valkyrie, Constantine) and Jason Rosenberg and I have high hopes they’ll be able to get something going. And Saving Zoë was optioned by actress/producers Ellen Marano, Vanessa Marano (Switched at Birth), and Laura Marano (Austin and Ally), with Jeffrey G Hunt (Vampire Diaries, Gotham) set to direct. I’m super excited to have the Marano sisters on board because they’re beautiful and talented and perfect to play the parts of fictional sisters Echo and Zoë.

Q: What is something you want the world to know?

A: That after writing 21 books in 8 years and going on countless international book tours (5 continents!), I decided to take a year off. During that year, I traveled extensively, spent time with family and friends, and took time to refill the well as they say. What I didn’t do was write. Not a word (aside from e-mails, twitter, texts, and the like). By the end of the year, I found I missed writing. I missed creating fictional worlds I could get lost in. I missed pondering over themes and ideas in order to challenge and/or determine my own thoughts and beliefs. So, I’m happy to announce that I’m back, and the first book in my new Beautiful Idols series, UNRIVALED, is set for a simultaneous global release in 17 languages on May 10! Also, my new MG, FIVE DAYS OF FAMOUS, will debut on December 13. It’s going to be a busy year, and I’m super excited to return to what I love most—publishing books and connecting with readers! I had so much fun writing both of these stories and I hope readers enjoy them as well!

Find Alyson Online:

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Author Q&A- Christopher Westley

Today I had the honor of interviewing an amazing author as well as a veteran; Christopher Westley. When he is not flying in a helicopter or travelling the world, you can find him at home, writing amazing books and editing Seven Days To Brooklyn, his newest novel.

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Q: How long have you been writing? Why did you start?

A: I have been writing for nearly two decades, starting in college.

Writing is a good escape from the daily stressors of life, just as reading a book or watching a well-made movie.

Q: What inspires your writing? Do you have a muse?

A: Inspiration comes from many avenues, but I am inspired mostly to do my best. Big name Authors, but mostly I am inspired by the sense of accomplishment when I finish a novel.

My muse or source of inspiration: Clive Cussler, Stephen King and a few others. This is why you need a good editor….because, mostly is mostly overused!

Q: You were enlisted in the U.S. army for a three-year tour. Does that have any influence on your writing? How did that experience change your life?

A: The Army will always influence those that served. Many of the situations that I detail in Seven Days to Brooklyn are based on military protocols and experience. Although, I will state that I never went to war even though I served during desert storm and never shot anyone. I am thankful for that and am grateful to have served and appreciate those that are still serving, we owe them more than we could ever pay them. Military life instills discipline and structure; at age 19, it was a good fit for me. Every day, I use things in daily life that I learned in the military.

Q: You are an avid traveler. Tell me about the places you’ve been. Where was your favorite place? Least favorite?

A: I recently drove to Alaska, up the Alcan Highway with my wife and cat (Angel). The rest of last summer, we lived in a 16×16’ cabin on a remote lake on the Kenai Peninsula, while I flew for the US Forest Service, fighting wildfires. Other places of note include: Belize, Honduras, Mexico, Canada and I have been through every state, adding Alaska last year. My most favorite place is Puerto Vallarta Mexico. Least favorite, Virginia; it is not a bad state, we just prefer to live in the western states.

Q: If you could visit one of the places you’ve travelled but in a different time period, when and where would it be? Why?

A: The Yukon, during the gold rush. It is still a very remote place and one of the most beautiful places I have visited on the planet. It is refreshing to drive down the highway and not see another car for hours. I am a risk taker, so I’m pretty sure if I had lived in the 1800, early 1900s, I would be out there digging for gold in a mountain stream.

Q: How much ‘grunt work’ goes into your writing?

A: Writing is tough work. The headliners spend months on end, 14+ hours a day or more banging away at the keyboard throwing their mental energies into trying to make a story readable and acceptable to the public. It took four years to write Seven Days to Brooklyn, and a couple of months editing (we are just finishing up now.) The next two books, I wrote in four months. Just to clarify, the two I just wrote in the last four months, was full time writing nearly six days a week at least four to eight hours a day or more. Once the juices get flowing, I just go with it. Writing is like that, some days you can bang out 7000 words, the next day you will be lucky to get 500. I also spend a lot of time researching what goes into the book, just to make it as accurate and truthful as possible, even though it is fiction.

Q: You have said that you love coffee; especially a cappuccino. How much coffee would you say you drink every day?

A: Cappuccino is my kryptonite. Some days I drink 1 cup of coffee, other days as much as six, but I try to stick to two cups a day.

Q: Which of the characters you have created is most like you? In what way?

A: My characters are fiction, but I guess they all have a piece of me in them. My experiences definitely play a part in what or how the character reacts. I’ve never killed a zombie before, but do know how to chop some brushy jungle down with a machete’ and have spent days on end walking in the Army. I also fly helicopter and have a fixed wing rating (airplane) so my main character Sara Robinson, fly’s and I use firsthand knowledge but keep the terminology simple for my reader (nobody wants to hear the technical jargon of wing twist, etc., lift and those boring things, unless you are reading a technical publication on aircraft. Sara is a survivalist, like myself and has to overcome many things en-route across the states, much like I have with various jobs and travels.

Q: What advice do you wish you received when you were in high school?

A: High School advice: High school teaches you the basics. I.E. how to go to lunch, add a+b to get c and basically interact with other students. What they need to teach you is how to function in the job market and how to deal with difficult bosses and difficult work situations. You learn this by doing. Myself, I have learned it by making lots of mistakes.

Q: What is something you want the world to know?

A: All humanity should know that life and people are generally good. To put it simply; the Dalai Lama and Buddhist teachings view all people as their mother. In doing so, this makes them appreciate even the most difficult person or someone they really do not like. Viewing that person and treating them with respect and kindness like they would do for their mother alleviates a lot of problem in and of itself. The golden rule, that’s what they should teach you daily in school.

Find Chris Online:

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Author Q&A- Jessica Dall

Today I had the pleasure of interviewing the amazing Jessica Dall. With her first book in the Order and Chaos series out, and a second coming, she is not one to miss! Read the Q&A below.
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Q: How long have you been writing?
A: My mom will tell you that I’ve been “writing” since before I actually knew how. I would scribble loops on paper in a way that I thought looked like cursive and write “stories.” As far as actual writing, well, I wrote some fan fiction in middle school and then finished my first novel in high school (which is now safely buried away on my hard drive and only comes out when I need to remember I have actually improved over the last decade-plus). I’ve been noveling ever since.
Q: What inspires your writing? Do you have a muse?
A: All sorts of things have inspired my writing–pictures, music, quotes… I’ve never had a lack of ideas. I’ve just never had enough time to write them all!
Q: Tell me about your book, Raining Embers. What was the original idea behind it?
Raining Embers is a historical fantasy novel set in a world loosely based on Renaissance Italy with a bunch of ancient Greek/other mythology thrown in for good measure. The actual story has been through so many iterations that most of the original parts of it has likely been lost to red lining at this point, but the original spark actually came from an art history lecture I went to years ago. The lecturer put up a picture of the Vatican library–and all the beautiful artwork decorating the walls in one of the rooms–and the idea of a similar library in the middle of a battle began to percolate. That original scene is still a small part of chapter one.
Q: What plans do you have for the next books in the Order and Chaos series? How many books are you planning to write?
A: Book Two–currently titled Graven Idols–should be coming out later this year and is currently in edits. It starts a few months after the end of Book One and directly continues the story with all the main characters trying to deal with how their lives have changed. I’m working on writing Book Three right now and have a rough outline for Book 4. If all goes as planned, things should be done at that point–but who really knows until everything is written?
Q: You did a “virtual book tour” hosted by Sage’s Blog Tours. Tell me exactly what that means. What happened on this blog tour?
A: A month after Raining Embers came out in November, my publisher–Red Adept Publishing–partnered with Sage’s Blog Tours to host a virtual book tour. Mostly that means a series of blog take overs/reviews/other things related to the release all taking place over a couple weeks. There are a number of reviews and guest blogs and author/character interviews still floating around cyberspace from December for anyone who’s interested in tracking them down.
Q: Are you working on any writing projects now besides the Order and Chaos series?
A: I’m currently in the research phase for a historical fiction novel that’s planned to take place in 18th Century Portugal–which is really a lot of fun, since it’s entirely not my area. I’m trying to see if I can work out a trip to Lisbon at some point for research (and because Portugal is supposed to be a beautiful country). Whenever I need a break from Order and Chaos I pop over there for a bit to try to clear my head.
Q: What is your favorite thing to do while writing?
A: It entirely depends on my mood at the time. I’m one of those lucky people who is able to write pretty much anywhere any time. Sometimes music helps, sometimes silence, sometimes I’m sitting with my laptop on the couch with a glass of wine. Whatever it is, I’m just glad to be writing most of the time.
Q: Who are your favorite authors? If you could meet one (alive or dead), who would it be and why?
A: On top of being an author, I’m also an editor, so I’m actually pretty lucky that I’ve gotten to meet a lot of brilliant authors from working on their books. For one author that I would still love to meet, though, that would be J. K. Rowling. On top of just seeming like a wonderful person from everything I’ve heard about her, Harry Potter is definitely part of what got me writing years and years ago (see that middle school fan fiction…) Partially I’d just want to say “Thank you.”
Q: Where is the strangest place you have ever come up with an idea?
A: Man, that’s a tough one, since my ideas tend to pop up just about anywhere I am. One strange one would have to be watching my husband play Assassin’s Creed. I’m not a huge video game person myself, but Assassin’s Creed has an amazing range of craziness that has sparked some equally crazy ideas.
Q: What is something you want the world to know?
A: I love talking to readers. It’s always a ton of fun to hear what people think, and I’m happy to answer questions if anyone wants to catch me on Twitter or my blog. And remember, if you like any author’s work, leave them a kind review on Amazon/Barnes & Noble/wherever. Good reviews help authors get through days when picking up scorpion petting seems more attractive than going over rewrites for a seventh time.
Find Jessica Online:

Author Q&A- Michelle Hauck

Today I had the pleasure of interviewing Michelle Hauck, a chocolate loving bookworm who also happens to be an amazing author. Read the interview below.michelle_h (2)
Q: How long have you been writing? Why did you start?
 
A: I’ve been writing for about six years and really got started not long after a health crisis was resolved. I’d been feeling poorly for so long without knowing it that the sudden return to health also brought a return of my imagination. I’ve not looked back since. I just love writing.
Q: What inspires your writing? Do you have a muse?
A: I believe the only muse I need is the desire to surprise my audience. I love leaving cliffhangers and taking unexpected turns as you’ll see in my latest epic fantasy, Grudging
Q: Tell me about your book, Grudging. What was the original idea behind it?
Grudging (1)A: I got the idea from the lyrics of a song, Come Along with Me by Vicci Martinez. A city in the desert in peril. But the original scene that popped into my head is one of those unexpected turns, so I can’t be too detailed. 😉 
 
The book blurb makes it seem about a knight and a witch, but it’s so much more. We see both sides of the conflict. As a favorite review said, Grudging is about more than good versus evil. It’s culture versus culture. 
Q: Where is the strangest place you have come up with an idea?
A: My usually places for ideas are in the shower or when taking my dogs for a walk. Just before I fall asleep is a good time also. Sometimes ideas come to me when I’m vacuuming. Fantastic ideas seem to spring when I’m doing something that leaves my mind free. Then it’s good to have my phone near to quickly text them to myself so I don’t forget! 
Q: You are the host of Query Kombat (#QueryKombat) and Sun vs. Snow (#SunvsSnow). Tell me about these. What are they? What are their goals?
A: #QueryKombat and #SunvsSnow are a few of the yearly contests I host to give writers a chance to find their agent. I host these on my blog and writers email their query letter and first 250 words during the submission window. My co-hosts and I pick the best entries and post them for the agents to come and make requests. I’m always hosting some kind of contest, and I’m thrilled to say the books from these success stories started coming out in the last year. I’ll soon have a bookcase full of them! It’s a great feeling to match a writer up with their future agent, or to hear of a book deal for something that I read as a query letter. The best way to know when I have another contest coming is to sign up for my newsletter over at my blog. 
Q: If you could only have one type of chocolate for the rest of your life, what would it be?
A: Oh my! You don’t pull any punches. That’s so tough. So many choices like Fannie May meltaways and M&Ms. Cadbury Creme Eggs might be my choice. Love those! Either that or just regular Cadbury milk chocolate. I rely on a daily dose of chocolate.
Q: You have an upcoming novel, Faithful. What can you tell me about it?
A: Faithful is the first sequel I’ve gotten to write. It’s very exciting to be granted a trilogy. I’m so thrilled to spend more time with the same characters! So many secrets about what’s going to happen. Of course, things are going to get worse for all of the characters. I can say that we find out more about the witches in Faithful and their culture. And there will be a fifth POV character in Teresa. She’s also a LGBT character. 
Q: You have told me you compete in writing contests. Which ones? How many have you done?
A: It’s been a few years since I entered contests. That ended when I got my agent. Back then I entered Pitchwars and PitchMadness and there were some more which have now stopped running. I heard that I came close to being picked a few times, but never made it into any big contests. I got my agent from a query letter. Kind of strange considering I run my own contests now. But I always say they are for fun, learning about writing, and making connections with other writers as much as the agent requests. 
Q: What advice do you want to give to budding authors?
A: Be persistent is one often heard advice suggestion. I prefer to say something more tangible: read in your genre. Reading newly released books in your genre will help you understand pacing, tone and style. Also get involved on social media and you’ll learn even more. Writing is a craft that has to be learned, just like an other form of art. 
Q: What is one thing you want the world to know?
A: Many of my followers are newer writers who are looking for agents. I would remind them that finding an agent is the beginning of your journey, not the end. There is always another goal on the horizon when you are a writer. Keep aiming for those goals and you’ll do fine. 

Author Q&A- Don Bruns

Today I had the pleasure of interviewing Don Bruns, the award winning author of two mystery and thriller series. Read the interview below.

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Q: How long have you been writing? Why did you start?
A: I wrote my first story at age 12, sent it to Alfred Hitchcock Magazine, and they promptly sent it back. I wrote ad copy for years…that was mostly fiction, but I have written novels for fifteen years.
Q: What inspires your writing? Do you have a muse?
A: I simply have dozens of stories rumbling around in my head and until I can tell them all I will continue to write.
Q: You just won the Silver Falchion Award at Killer Nashville for your book, Reel Stuff. How did that moment affect your life?
A: I’ve received dozens of awards…local and national. Dozens of reviews, mostly, thank God, positive. They don’t change my life, but I do try harder…I want a positive result no matter what I write.
Q: Where is the strangest place you have gotten inspiration in?
A:I am inspired by winter because I only want to write about warm climates. I am inspired by poverty, because I want my writing to be profitable. I am inspired by too much blandness because I want to write about exotic locations.
Q: If you were in one of your books, who would you be? Why?
A: A writer is, like it or not, part of every character he or she creates. Bad or good, I am some of everyone.
Q: When do you do most of your writing? Do you have any ‘rituals’?
A: I create more in the evening after a glass or wine. Or two. Or three.
Q: What is some advice you wish you had gotten when you began writing?
A: Persevere. In writing, searching for an agent, finding a publisher…keep on keeping on.
Q: You have published two mystery/thriller series. Tell me about them. What were the original ideas behind them?
A: Last week I signed a contract with Severn House Books in Great Britain for a third series. The first book, Casting Bones, releases in England and Australia in June in the States in October. It’s about a New Orleans homicide cop and a voodoo queen who solve a murder. The Mick Sever series is about a journalist who covers the entertainment industry, and the Stuff series is about two 24 year old private eyes who have no idea what they are doing and they get in all kinds of trouble.
Q: If you could be a character in any movie, who would you be and why?
A: Chili Palmer, in Elmore Leonard’s “Get Shorty.”I love a good con man.
Q: What is something you want the world to know?
A: The world? That I tell great stories!
Find Don Online: