The “Get to Know Me” Tag + Facing one of my Biggest Fears + Trying out a New Look

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I saw this tag over at Awkward Aris and decided to do it. Why? I don’t know. Why not? I’ve been blogging for a year and a half, there are now more than 500 of you amazing people following me (don’t forget to enter the giveaway here before it ends!!), and I’ve never really done a “get to know me” thing. Better late than never… right? RIGHT????

Hahaha anywayyyy….

I have a fear of sharing my personal life on the internet. Why? Maybe because I watch too many Sci-Fi movies about scary internet stuff. Or because of how I was raised… Who knows.

But guys: I’m inching out of my shell for you, because I love this community so much and want to get to know all of you and make some amazing book-loving friends that I can geek out with. And the first step of that is letting you know more about me, so here goes nothing. Time to face my fears.

The Get to Know me Tag

(I am hiding under my bed while you are reading this)

Part 1: Vital Stats

Name: Emma. I was actually named after the Jane Austen book, and was almost named

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This throw back accurately captures the sibling dynamic

Elizabeth (after Pride and Prejudice).

 

Nicknames: Oh gosh, I’ve had so many… A lot of people call me Em (which I like). One of my little brothers calls me Queenar (as in Queen Enar), and my other little brother just calls me Enar. Don’t ask me why cause I have no idea. My dad calls me Scooter, but only he is allowed to call me that. Here is a list of the rest of my nicknames (that I can think of) through the years:

  • Emsie
  • Memsie
  • Me-me (like saying “me” twice… not meme)
  • Ems
  • M&M
  • Puppy/puppy love/pups
  • Leh-her (because nobody can pronounce my last name… and the mispronunciation stuck)
  • I’m sure there are more, but I can’t think of them right now

(That’s 11 nicknames I can think of… I didn’t realize I’ve had that many?!)

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Unfortunately for me, my brother’s birthday is Nov 22nd, which means he usually gets the Thanksgiving day celebrations

Birthday: November 28th! Sometimes my birthday falls on Thanksgiving, which is pretty cool. I love having a fall birthday, but sometimes (like the last two years) it falls on the first day of exams (2 years ago) or the first day back from Thanksgiving break (last year) which kind of sucks. Happy birthday to me.

 

Star Sign: Sagittarius!! I love my star sign. I am the archer. I am the warrior. I once hit a bulls eye with a bow and arrow (don’t worry, it was a total fluke, but I forever have bragging rights in my family).

Occupation: Ummm… Blogger? Volunteer Librarian? Student? Camp Councilor? Baby Sitter? What do you want me to say?

Part 2: Appearance

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AKA me whenever I try to put makeup on

Hair Color: Dark brown (but still very far off from black)

 

Hair Length: Down to my waist until a few weeks ago when I chopped it off to shoulder length. I’m still getting used to it.

Eye Color: Hazel. Sometimes they look brown, and sometimes they look green. But once I was told they looked orange which will forever go down as my favorite description of my eyes in the history of me.

Best Feature: HAHAHAHAHAHA idk.

Braces: Nope! Never needed em. My teeth grew in straight and I will be forever grateful for that.

Piercings: Just your normal one in each ear. Although I did have a second piercing in one of my ears (I think it was the right? I can’t remember), but I let that close up years ago. I do want to get some cartilage piercings though. My phone is full of inspo pics.

Tattoos: Nope. I’m not sure if I want any either… not that I don’t like them, just that I have commitment issues (see: let my piercing close up) and the permanence of them scares me. But…. if I were to get one it would be something small and meaningful on the side of my rib cage (cause bring on the pain suckahssss)

Right or Left Handed: Right. But I am kind of ambidextrous. I broke my right arm twice in 2 years, so I had to do a lot of writing with my left hand. I was really good at it for a while too.

Part 3: Firsts

Real Holiday: Yeah not really sure how to interpret this. I’m pretty sure I was born on a Sunday, so I think that means I missed Thanksgiving… so maybe New Years.

No, wait. I know what my real first holiday was: MY BIRTHDAY (that counts, right?)

Best Friend: Um, well the first best friend (other than my big bro) that I remember was named Kessie and she moved away when I was like 5, but we follow each other on Instagram. We haven’t talked in forever. But, I did learn how to read with her (we homeschooled kindergarten together), so that’s pretty cool I guess.

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Kidding! My first sport was reading, because that 100% counts. #BookJocksFTW

Award: Ummmm…. sports related or school related? And I don’t remember for both. Probably something for participation.

 

 

Sport: Soccer. I was on a co-ed team with my older brother pretty much as soon as I could walk. Kessie was also there for that, just fyi.

Concert: I mean, I grew up playing piano (ya know, cause my family is so original), so the first concert I was at was probably one I played in? That being said, I’ve never been to a full on concert. Just classical stuff and some stuff at festivals which I don’t count because that was more of a “stop for a second and watch before I move on” type of thing.

Part 4: Favorites

TV show(s): If I listed all of my favorite TV shows this post might never end. I am the

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Why is there no “Favorite Person” question? Cause that would be my big bro #BestiesForLife

kind of person who binges one TV show at a time… and one after another. So I always have a new favorite. Right now, I’m binging Royal Pains (which is amazing and funny… plus a doctor show ).

 

Color: Pink. Pink for now and pink for always. But, I wear a lot of blue and make everything blue. But my favorite color is pink. (Yeah, I’m weird)

Song(s): Hahahahaha this is even longer than my TV show list. But if I had to pick one all time favorite, it would be Breathe (2 am) by Anna Nalick. That song speaks to me on a spiritual level.

Restaurant: Setta Luna (aka the most amazing Pizza Place). I wish I still lived near it, but then again if I did, I might not have any money left. Oh, also if we’re talking fast food, I love Taco Bell and Subway. I don’t eat any other fast food.

Shop: Barns & Noble. It’s been my favorite store forever. When I was little, I made a 9378297jingle for it during a car ride. My brothers and I still sing it whenever we see a store.

Book(s): Okay so I thought my lists of TV shows and songs are bad. This list *lets out long, low whistle*. But, if I had to pick one book, it would be Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake. This has been my favorite book since I found it (at Barnes & Noble!!) in 2012, and I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve read it.

Shoes: Yeah, not really a shoe person. You can find me in my blue Asics sneakers or flip-flops from Walmart (what? They’re like 85 cents a pair! Who am I to say no to that?).

Part 5: Currently

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Halloween has always been my favorite holiday.

Feeling: Super nervous to publish this post (my stomach is twisting), and also nostalgic because of all the old pics I’m putting in this post.

Single or Taken: Single

Eating: Nothing right now, but I made myself an egg sandwich for breakfast a few hours ago that was delicious. And I don’t even like eggs that much…

Thinking about: How scared I am to post this. Also:

  • what I’m going to have for lunch
  • finding time to finish my millionth re-read of Anna Dressed in Blood
  • I need to do laundry at some point today
  • How long can cooked lobster stay in the fridge? Also how should I eat it?
  • My WIP
  • How hard it is to come up with good names for my characters.
  • I really want to see a pink dolphin and a blue penguin one day.
  • And a bunch of other really random stuff

Watching: Season 2, Episode 11 of Royal Pains.

Wearing: My dad’s old shirt (which is bright orange and incredibly soft), baggy green sweatpants from Pink, and mismatched socks. I’m so sexy in my PJ’s.

Part 6: Future

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At the Sea Coast Science Museum AKA pretending to be a serious biologist.

Want Children?: Yes!

Want to be married?: Yup.

Careers in Mind: Writer, Geneticist, Biologist, Doctor/Surgeon… Something else entirely… I have no idea.

Where do you Want to Live?: A suburb or a college town. Preferably on the east coast of the US where all four seasons are present.

Part 7 (last part, I promise): Do You Believe In…

God: Nope. I believe in the Greater Unconsciousness.  Or at least that’s what I call it. It’s kind of like karma.

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Not love at first sight, but my first crush! Also he gave me roses that day. Also check out the sword on my brother’s belt.

Miracles: Nope. But my theory of the GU has something like them.

 

Love at First Sight: No. But I believe in lust at first sight. And I have had that electric-current-when-you-first-see-each-other feeling and it is amazing and he was a great boyfriend… but it was more of a physical attraction than anything else, and, needless to say, it didn’t work out.

Ghosts: 100%. Maybe not the kind of ghosts popular in fiction/supernatural stories, but I do believe that somebody’s consciousness can remain whole after they die, if there is something left for them. Again, it has to do with my GU ideas, which would take wayyy too long to explain.

Aliens: Yes. I refuse to believe that we are the only beings that exist. There has to be something else out there.

Soulmates: Kind of. I like the idea of soulmates, but I don’t think there is just one for each person. I think that there are tons of people out there that can relate to each other on a deep level, and that kind of connection is what coined the term “soulmate”

Heaven: nope.

Hell: Just for people I don’t like. Lol, just kidding. Nope, I don’t.

Kissing on a First Date: If it feels right, I see no problem with it

Yourself: I have my moments

And. That. Is. Me. Ta-da. I can hear my heart pounding right now. Why is this so hard for me?

Also if you liked this post and want to see more like it, tell me that too… or ya know, if you don’t want to see anything else like this then that’s cool too.

Now I need to tag people:

Okay, so I really want to get to know everyone, so if you are reading this, consider yourself tagged. I tag you.

If you already did this tag (even if it was a million years ago), leave me a link so I can go check it out!

Or, if you want, you can just answer the prompts in the comments below!!

Thanks for reading!!

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Author Q&A- Ian Jackson

Today I had the pleasure of interviewing I. D. Jackson, the author of Deadly Determination and Dead Charming. He is currently working on his next novel, so if you haven’t read his books yet, now is the time to catch up!

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Q: When did you start writing?

A: I began writing as a child. Whenever we had people around my parents would wheel me out as the ‘party trick’ and ask their friends to come up with a character and a situation and I would be expected to create a fascinating story on the spot…I was about 6 they tell me! My first books were adventure stories written when I was about 10 and passed among my friends and family – unfortunately none survive, but I can still see and ‘feel’ them in my mind…. yes, I’m strange!

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

A: You know what I don’t, but probably should. Psychology and human nature fires my imagination to write.

Q: Tell me about your books Deadly Determination and Dead Charming. What were the original ideas behind them?

A: My interests lie in psychology and I’ve always been fascinated how seemingly normal people can be affected by an event or perhaps another person in their lives which then drives them on to commit heinous crimes. A germ of a story began emerging in my mind that eventually went on to become my first novel, Dead Charming which was greeted with critical acclaim. Deadly Determination is the second book (not a sequel) and carries through these themes. Both novels are crime thrillers with a twist that will take the readers breath away.

Q: How much ‘grunt work’ went on behind the scenes of writing your novel?

A: Many hours of research as well as interviews with detectives, coroners and some criminals – fascinating stuff.

Q: You have written articles for magazines such as Concept and Style Guide. How is this process different than that of writing a book?

A: When I wrote for magazines and newspapers it was a job to be completed, whereas now I get to write about things I’m interested in – thrilling crime!

Q: Did your days as a local magazine and sports program publisher help you in your quest to publish your novels?

A: Surprisingly not – the contacts I have through publishing magazines are completely different to novel writing and literary agents – like chalk and cheese really.

Q: What is some advice that you wish you had received when you began writing?

A: Start pitching your book as soon as you’ve written the first three chapters and have a tight synopsis ready for the rest – literary agents and publishers only want to see the first three chapters anyway and will base their decision on your writing style and the synopsis of the book.

Q: How has becoming a published author changed your life? Has it always been your goal?

A: My life hasn’t particularly changed as such. I love the fact that I have two books in print, but it wasn’t one of my ambitions as a young man.

Q: You got married to your wife, Susie, not to long ago. Has she read your books? Does she like them?

A: Yes, she has. She helps me as I go through reading chapters and commenting on characters and plot-lines. I think she enjoys the creative process and she says she likes the books…but then she has to really!

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

A: Labels are dangerous and anyone can work to improve their psychological imbalances, however severe they are. I believe in redemption for everyone when they are ready and I hope that readers identify with, and even feel sympathy for, some of my darker characters.

Find Ian Online:

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Author Q&A- Ruthanne Reid

Today I had the pleasure of interviewing an amazing and inspiring self-published author; Ruthanne Reid. Ruthanne has been writing since she was eight, and her dedication shows. Her book, The Sundered is out now!

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Q: How long have you been writing? Why did you start?
A: I’ve been writing with the intention of storytelling since I was eight, when I crafted my first masterpiece: a My Little Pony story in which all the ponies were murdered by the snake kingdom except for one single princess pony, who was just so pretty and precious they couldn’t kill her, but adopted her as their own instead.
That’s right. It’s a Mary Sue/My Little Pony/Genocide story. I typed the whole thing on my mother’s typewriter with red ink because I thought it was pretty. Take that, child psychologists.
I do have to note, however, that even this demented early tale shows the seeds of what my current universe became: genre-mixing, dramatic tragedy, and overwhelming cuteness. Oh, dear.
Q: What inspires your writing? Do you have a muse?
A: I don’t have a specific muse, per se; good storytelling is what gets my engines going every time. The format doesn’t matter, either; animated, written, or simply told, a good story is the fuel that drives mine.
I have had favorite characters over the years who showed up in any stories I imagined (Grimlock, Vegeta, Chang Wufei, Severus Snape, Steve Rogers). Weirdly enough, crafting a world around a known character often helped me to suss out the details of that world and its needs. From there, original characters were easier to build – especially since I’d already analyzed just what I loved so much about other people’s characters.
Q: Tell me about your book The Sundered. What was the original idea behind it?
A: I can answer this one of two ways: with the plot “hook,” and with the themes. How about both?
THE SUNDERED is about a young man who has to make a horrible decision: he can either save the human race, or save the aliens the humans enslaved. What’s “fair” in this situation? There’s certainly no easy answer, and in the midst of a world flooded by water that kills when touched, revisionist history and abusive homes, Harry has a lot of growing to do before he can even begin to answer that question.
I touch on the question of what makes a life worthy of survival; of what makes “right” and “wrong” in situations where no one is innocent; and on the challenge of making a “good” choice when no choice comes without heavy consequences.
(It’s a cheerful little tome, really)
Q: What challenges have you faced in your writing career? What have you done to overcome them?
A: The biggest challenge I faced was during the period of time I tried to get an agent. Over and over, I received personalized rejections from literary agents with essentially the same wording: I love this story, but it’s too weird for me to sell because publishers don’t like to take risks. If you could change the story to make it more normal (add a romance, change the gender of the protagonist, change the entire ending, etc.), then I could take you on and sell this book.
 
My challenge was literally deciding whether to change my story down to the core in order to sell it, or keep it as it was and try to make it on my own.
The last straw for me was an agent who told me he couldn’t possibly represent the book for the same reasons already mentioned, but he really had to know how it ended, and so asked me for the rest of the manuscript AFTER he’d already turned me down.
 
That told me I had a story worth telling. So I chose to self-publish.
That was one of the best and hardest decisions of my career. The more I’ve marched down this path, the more I’ve realized what a good idea it was for me. It’s not for everyone, by any means; but for someone like me, whose mind isn’t quite normal, it was the only way to retain my writing integrity.
I may still get an agent someday, but now I know enough to do this without compromising my stories.
Q: What advice do you want to give to budding writers?
1. Read EVERYTHING. Read fiction and non-fiction, classics and current best-sellers. Read indie; read how-to books.
2. Learn how to write by thinking about what you read. Learn how to write by writing, and writing, and writing.
3. Forgive yourself. Remember this: EVERYBODY sucks starting out. Absolutely everybody. Ira Glass put it really well in this amazing video that you should go and watch right now:
“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners[:] All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. 
 
But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. 
 
And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. 
 
Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know it’s normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”
 
That right there may be the most important advice anyone has ever given a writer.
Q: Did you anticipate how well received you and you books would be?
A: Not even a little – and it must be emphasized that they were not always well-received! No matter what you write, some people will love it, and some people will hate it. That’s okay. That’s normal. At first, when I got a bad review,  I’d honestly flip out a little; it took me a long time to see that everyone’s taste is different, and bad reviews are okay.
Now, the good reviews… those are delicious, gold-coated chocolate. Edible gold, that is. I genuinely had no idea starting out that this book would ever appeal to as many people as it has. It’s been a real encouragement to me. I may be weird, but evidently, so are a lot of others. 😉
Q: Which of the characters you have created is most like you? In what way?
A: There’s a little bit of me in every single protagonist I have.
  • Harry has father issues and has had to reevaluate everything he was ever taught.
  • Katie is so done with the drama of the world she grew up in, and she ran away to New Hampshire. That was LITERALLY me.
  • Grey is fearful and doesn’t want to be a hero; when he finds courage in himself, it’s more of a surprise to him than anyone else.
  • Notte has a gift for seeing all sides of a story, which means he doesn’t always assume he’s the good guy. It’s a sobering perspective I’ve had to grow into over the past ten years
Q: What is one thing you wish you knew in high school?
A: That I didn’t have to please other people the way my folks wanted me to. I felt like my whole world was my family and their acquaintances, but that simply wasn’t true. There are SO MANY people out there, and someone WILL “get” you in time. Keep looking; don’t give up because of rejection. Who you are matters, and who you are is who God made you to be, and there will be other people out there who understand. You just have to find them.
Q: If you could go anywhere in the world in any time period, when and where would it be? Why?
A: Does it count if I pick a time that might not have existed? I’m REALLY fascinated by cryptoarcheology. I want to see the really ancient metropolises of the world – the ones that sank and were lost, or were abandoned so long ago in the jungles that we don’t even realize they’re there without satellite imagery, or the ones that lie hidden under desert sands.
Q: What is something you want the world to know?
A: It’s worth pushing through.
There’s so much trouble and pain in this world that sometimes, it might not seem worth it – but it is. It’s worth getting hurt to try again. It’s worth trusting and fighting and forgiving.
It’s worth pushing through. Don’t ever give up.
Find Ruthanne Online:

Author Q&A- Lee H Haywood

Today I had the honor of interviewing Lee H Haywood; an awesome writing and amazing world builder. You can enter a giveaway here for a chance to win a signed copy of his book, The Guardian! Read his interview below.

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

A: I’ve been writing since my senior year of high school, so I guess it’s been close to fifteen years now. It is by no means a coincidence that my first endeavor into the realm of fantasy writing occurred the same year that The Fellowship of the Ring was released on the big screen. My first manuscript was poorly written, full of clichés and not something anyone would want to read. Still, it was a start, and helped to establish the work ethic I would need to write a 100,000-word novel in the future.

 

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

A: Reading a good story inspires me more than anything. Tolkien was my first love, but I’ve since found a whole assortment of “muses.” Brian Jacques still lingers with me twenty years after I closed the final page of Mossflower. Cormic McCarthy’s post-apocalyptic tale The Road taught me a lot about building tension through description. It wasn’t until the last year that I picked up my first Stephen King novel. I’m certain shades of King have slipped into my most recent work.

 

Q: Tell me about your new book, The Guardian. What was the original idea behind it?

A: I wrote the first draft of The Guardian while I was attending college. It started off with a very generic good vs. evil story arc. Thankfully, I grew up quite a bit in the decade between the first and final drafts of my book. As I got older, I learned a few things concerning the complexities of human nature. The final result was a book that examines the drive that keeps people moving forward even when the odds are stacked against them. That, and of course dragons. Everything is better with dragons. I knew this fact when I was eighteen, and I’ve only grown more certain of it with age.

 

Q: Which of your books has been the most fun to work on? Which was the most challenging?

A: My third book, The Order, was definitely the most fun. I hammered it out in a three week writing frenzy. Nothing is more enjoyable than the words flowing easily. The most challenging was a prequel to The Guardian that I’ll call Book X. Book X will probably not see the light of day for some time, as it is a disjointed mess. It was a five-year undertaking from start to finish, written at a time when writing was something I did when I had some extra time to kill. It was a genuine slog, but in the end, writing Book X proved absolutely crucial to my development as a writer and my decision to take up writing fulltime.

 

Q: Which of your characters is most like you and in what way?

A: Whenever I read a book, I always like to guess which character is really the author in disguise. In my writing, I think there is a little bit of me in all of my point of view characters. Bently, one of the central characters in The Guardian, struggles through a lot of the same questions I have about loyalty, service, and duty. While the character Dolum is pretty spot on with some of my own fears and insecurities. Even Demetry, the story’s antagonist, speaks to me on some days.

 

Q: If you could be inside any book besides one of your own, which would it be and why?

A: My mind wanders to the great fantasy worlds, and as terrifying as it would be, I’d choose George R.R. Martin’s Westeros. It just feels like a place that could actually exist. He has set a brilliantly high standard for world building.

 

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

A: This is going to take a lot longer than you think. Progress with writing is measured in months and years, not days and weeks. Keep your head down and keep going. Every word written on paper is a step forward. You only fail when you stop writing.

 

Q: What is the biggest obstacle you have faced in your writing career? What did you do to overcome it?

A: Getting published. For about a year and a half I languished through the process of trying to get someone to represent my work. I collected a staggeringly high pile of rejection letters from editors and agents. The solution: I quit my job and stepped into the world of Indie Publishing. I haven’t regretted the choice.

 

Q: What is the best part about building your own worlds? Where do you get your inspiration for them?

A: I majored in world history in college and proceeded to spend the next nine years of my life teaching history to high schoolers. World building has always come easily to me, simply because I have such a deep well to draw from. My thoughts on world building – you don’t need to reinvent the wheel, just paint it a different color. Laveria, which is the setting of my book, is heavily inspired by Greco-Roman and Ottoman history.

 

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

A: I received a letter from a former student the other day. In it he explained how happy he was that I decided to write full time because my book was “awesome.” The letter absolutely made my week.

Writing can be a lonely endeavor, and it often feels like I’m working in a vacuum. I’ve made a lot of leaps of faith, be it in writing, world building, designing covers, or even marketing. If you have enjoyed the work of an indie author, please be loud with your support. Write a review, recommend the book to a friend, and reach out to the author. I mean it, we want to know what you are thinking! The support of my fans keeps me clacking away at my keyboard, day in, day out. You can get in touch with me on Facebook, Twitter, or on my website at www.leehhaywood.com !

Find Lee Online:

Website

Goodreads

Twitter

Facebook

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:

Website

Amazon

Twitter

Goodreads

Amazon

 

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- 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: