Author Q&A- Thomas Fleet

Today I had the pleasure of interviewing Thomas Fleet, a world building, fantasy writing author who recently published his debut novel, The War of the First Day! Read the interview below.

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Q: How long have you been writing?

A: My earliest relevant memory is from a Spanish class in high school. We were practicing conversation by discussing career choices, and when it was my turn, out popped “escritor” (or whatever the Spanish word for writer is).

I first wrote a complete story when I was 25. It lay dormant for a long time before being submission-ready. It’s about a woman in the 1600s who’s accused of being a witch and has no tools with which to save herself but her own wit. She has to figure out how to threaten, beg, seduce, or razzle-dazzle her way out of it.

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

A: There are two things that inspire me. One is just that cool idea or image that pops into your head. For example, there’s a witch in The War of the First Day who constantly has little copies of herself running around all over her. This ended up as the cover image. I don’t remember the origin of this idea. Where do images like that, or story ideas, come from? It’s a mystery, isn’t it?

The other thing that is inspiring is reading great fiction by other writers. A really innovative writer will blow open your conception of the possibilities of fiction. Jorge Louis Borges, with his “Fictions,” did that to me. Even if it doesn’t rise to that level, if it’s fun and capably executed, good fiction makes you want to hop back on the computer and start writing.

The sheer range of possibilities in fantasy is energizing. Two recent examples of this are Scott Lynch’s Gentleman Bastards series, which follows the insane adventures of a gang of con artists in another world, and Lev Grossman’s Magicians series, which imagines what magic would actually be like in this world if brilliant twenty-somethings got their hands on it. They’re very different (and they’re both very fun).

Q: Tell me about your debut novel, The War of the First Day. What was the original idea behind it?

A: The novel is a fantasy novel about a war between two groups of witches. The idea is to combine pacing which (I hope) takes your breath away with intellectual and emotional themes that engage other parts of your brain. Action novels are all about ka-boom, obviously, but you need some emotional weight to ground the ka-boom.

Its genesis was a vignette in which a young woman wanders across a forbidden border and is captured by a witch. The witch tells her that as punishment for her transgression, she must kill or be killed. I became intensely interested – cough, obsessed, cough – with this vignette and reworked it again and again in my mind before writing it down. Later, that sequence of scenes was to develop into a core sequence in The War of the First Day. The book grew vastly around it, and the captor had her moral rough edges filed down somewhat, but it’s still the heart, in terms of the heroine’s internal conflict, of the novel.

How this got to be embedded in a war of extermination between rival camps of witches, I don’t remember. There’s that mystery again!

Another thing I wanted to do was to get back to the roots of the western world’s fairytales, but that goal sort of got tossed out the car window along the way. E.g., as one reviewer noted, the dialogue sounds fairly modern; it isn’t much like stereotypical fantasy novel dialogue. Ultimately the classic fairytale roots ended up in the setting: The area is roughly medieval politically and technologically, and a lot of it is northern climate with craggy rocks and lots of pine trees. It’s very witchy. I have a lot of affection for this classical fantasy setting and may return to it in the future.

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

A: A great thing about fantasy is that you get to make up your world. You could probably get away with very little grunt work, in terms of research, compared to, say, science fiction. Every now and then there’d be something that I’d want to not embarrass myself about, so I had to do a little research. Fortunately, my setting (although in the future) is roughly medieval-ish, and the medieval period in Europe had a pretty broad range of economic arrangements, building styles, weapons technologies, etc., so the writer has a lot to choose from.

I’m also helped by the fact that I’m story-oriented, not world building-oriented, so I don’t have detailed fictional languages, etc., to keep track of. My world building supports the story; beyond that it keeps out of the way.

Q: Are you currently working on any writing projects? If so, what can you tell me about them?

A: One of the many things I learned in the course of writing TWOTFD is that writing a good novel, one you put your heart, mind and soul into, is emotionally and intellectually exhausting! So the brief answer to your question is, a bunch of short stories! I am going to re-charge my batteries for a while before I start in on another novel.

About half of the stories are fantasy. The non-fantasy ones are all over the place: A crime story, a fanciful book review a la Borges or Stanislaw Lem, and a story about a person who house-sits for her vacationing neighbors and gets snoopy. You can play that sort of scenario for horror, as in the classic Bluebeard story, or, as I’m doing, just for amusement value. A short one, which I flung up on my web page instead of trying to get published, is a take on the classic “inertialess drive” from SF. What happens if you actually try to take the physics of that idea seriously?

Q: If you could become a character from any book, who would you be and why?

A: From *any* book, whoa! Hmm… Most stories that are entertaining drag the hero/heroine through some horrible times, so it wouldn’t really be fun to be them. But there certainly are lots of worlds that would interesting to take part in. For instance, the worlds of…

The Magicians, by Lev Grossman. You’d be one of a group of very smart people with magical powers. Also, you can go to R-rated Narnia if you want. ’Nuff said.

Illuminatus, by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson. I wouldn’t want to be Hagbard Celine, but hanging out with him would be great, because he’s creatively crazy. You get the sense that he might do anything at any moment, yet most of it actually has a purpose. He’s the owner and captain of a submarine made of gold, LOL.

Man to Hagbard: “You take yourself too seriously.”

Hagbard: “What do you mean? I own a yellow submarine; it’s straight out of a rock song.”

Dark is the Sun, by Phillip Jose Farmer. A crazy SF book set billions of years from now in which evolution has created tons of weird animals and plants, and remnants of high-tech civilizations are left strewn around to be used or abused by the current inhabitants. A setting in which anything could happen. It would be hair-raising to live in this environment, but you’d never be bored. Come to think of it, maybe I’d just stay home watch the documentary on Animal Planet.

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

A: Good fiction proceeds from who the writer is. If you’re a left-brained person who likes action novels, write like a left-brained person who likes action novels. If you’re a right-brained person who is entranced by the possibilities of meta-fiction, then you should nevertheless write like a like a left-brained person who likes action novels. No, just kidding! Write like a right-brained person who is entranced by the possibilities of meta-fiction.

And if you are made to do this, you’ll make your own contribution. You’ll look at the world of fiction and think, why is everyone else ignoring this thing that they could be doing with fiction? That’s the thing you should do.

Find Thomas Online:

Website

Goodreads

Library Thing

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Author Q&A- Tony Riches

Today I had the pleasure of talking to best-selling historical fiction author Tony Riches. Tony is a full time author and lives in Pembrokeshire, one of the most unspoilt areas of the UK. Read the interview below!

 Tony  Riches Pembroke

Q: How long have you been writing?

A: Like many authors, I wrote for magazines and journals before self-publishing my first book on Amazon four years ago. It was a short ebook about how everyone can use the principles of Agile Project Management and was a surprising success. I went on to write non-fiction books on subjects as diverse as the story of Scott’s Antarctic ship, the Terra Nova, to Atlantis, about the last flight of the NASA Space shuttle. Now my focus is very much on historical fiction and I have become something of an expert on the rise of the Tudor dynasty.

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

A: My muse is my wife, Liz, who always encourages me to write and helps me develop my ideas and characters. It was Liz’s idea for me to write The Secret Diary of Eleanor Cobham – about her ancestor who was condemned as a witch and imprisoned for life.

Q: What was the main idea behind your series The Tutor Trilogy?

A: Everyone knows about King Henry VIII and his daughter, Queen Elizabeth Ist – but I was surprised to discover there were no books about the amazing story of Owen Tudor, the Welsh servant who married a queen and founded the Tudor dynasty. I discovered several accounts of the life of Henry Tudor (who later became King Henry VII and began the Tudor Dynasty) but there were no novels that brought his own story to life. The idea for the Tudor Trilogy occurred to me when I realized Henry Tudor could be born in book one, ‘come of age’ with the help of Owen’s son, Jasper Tudor, in book two, and rule England in book three, so there would be plenty of scope to explore his life and times.

Owen and Jasper

Q: Have you always been interested in history? What sparked your passion?

A: Yes – and I enjoy visiting historic sites, so the research for my books is always fun. In June I’m off to explore chateaus in Brittany where Jasper and Henry Tudor lived in exile. I think my passion was ‘sparked’ by the Hollywood historical epics, which raised more questions than they answered – and led to me reading the original sources.

Q: Is there a particular time in history that you find most interesting? If so, when and why?

A: I was born within sight of Pembroke Castle, so I feel a special connection with Henry Tudor, who was born there. My historical fiction books have so far been set in the fifteenth century, during what have become known as ‘The Wars of The Roses’ – and I have a wealth of books I’ve collected over the years on life in the period. As a writer I’m glad there are plenty of detailed records of the time – but it’s still little known by most readers, which means they can learn a lot from my books.

Q: If you could travel back in time, when would you go and where would you visit?

A: I’d like to return to Pembroke Castle at Christmas 1460 and find a way to warn Owen Tudor and his son Jasper NOT to take on the army of Edward of York!

Q: Which of your books has been the most fun to write?

A: I’ve particularly enjoyed writing my last book, JASPER, as the hero Jasper Tudor has some great qualities. He never forgot his promise to his brother’s widow, Lady Margaret Beaufort, to always look after her son, Henry Tudor. In the new book he narrowly escapes York’s army and flees with his nephew Henry to exile in Brittany. In an unlikely and daring move, they then return to England with an army to seize the throne for Henry.

Q: How much ‘grunt work’ goes into each of your books?

A: One of the great things about writing historical fiction is that I have the ‘framework’ of my historical research – so all I have to do is ‘fill in the gaps’. I’ve developed a good system of writing 25 chapters, each around 4000 words long, to arrive at a first draft of 100,000 to reduce in the editing by around 5000 words. The whole process takes about a year, as I allow about six months for the first draft, then about three for editing and revisions. I try to have a long summer break, as my main interests are sailing and sea kayaking, so I like to have the best of the weather. When I first started writing novels I kept making improvements to the final draft but experience makes it easier to know when it’s time to publish.

Q: Are you currently working on any writing projects? If so, what can you tell me about them?

A: I’m now researching book three of my Tudor trilogy, which explores the life of King Henry VII. Henry Tudor was born in book one, and book two takes him up to the Battle of Bosworth, so the final book will follow his life from there to his death at Richmond Palace on the 21st of April 1509. It will be published in the spring or early summer next year

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

A: I’m sure there are many people who know they could write a novel – if only they had the time. I’d like them to realize that simply writing one page a day is a book a year, so even if you still have to juggle other responsibilities, write something, every day, until it becomes a habit, which it will.

Book Trailers- The Tudor Trilogy

Find Tony Online:

The Writing Desk

WordPress website

Facebook

Twitter @tonyriches.

 

 

Author Q&A- Christa Wojciechowski

Today I had the pleasure of interviewing Christa Wojciechowski, a writer and internet genius. Between writing her blog, reading, and working, she writes some pretty awesome books, which you can read more about below!

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

A: I’ve been writing all my life, as soon as I could scratch out a story with my crayons in elementary school. I wrote picture stories about animals and rhyming poems. As I got older I began keeping journals.

In high school, I passed around outrageous short stories to my friends. Then I went on a long break from anything creative throughout my twenties. I was too busy partying to write, but I accumulated a lot of interesting material during this time.

After moving to Panama, I rescued a pelican who eventually was killed by my own dogs. It was tragic, and I finally felt this compulsion to write about him. That broke the ice, and then I wrote The Wrong David, which I published a few years later. But it wasn’t until November 2011 that I wrote my first full-length novel for NaNoWriMo. Since then, I just kept writing and now I can’t stop!

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

A: I’m kind of a muse whore. They all come and go. My muse could be a writer, a painting, an actor, or a song of some kind that gets me going for a particular story. I‘ll wear that muse out during my writing process. I conjure it up everyday, doing my best not to lose the magic between us.

Unfortunately, these relationships are short-lived. It’s like when an addict builds a tolerance to their drug of choice. You just can’t get a buzz anymore. Then I have to let the muse go. It’s always sad and scary, but I have to keep the faith that I’ll find a new one, maybe even a better one.

Q: You offer several services including beta-reading, social media marketing, and eBook and Print formatting and publishing. How did you get started in this business? What about it do you like?

A: My career in internet marketing began when family members asked for help building websites for their small businesses. I wasn’t a pro or anything, just more computer literate than the rest. My aunt soon introduced me to Hubspot, and I went through all of my social media training through them. Then I enrolled in Google Analytics training and passed the SEO certification. Most everything I taught myself. There is such a wealth of free information and eCourses on the internet now that you can learn anything! Now I’ve got tons of experience under my belt, which is not something taught anywhere and is the most valuable asset of all.

Although I would’ve never expected a future in social media, I feel this career was my destiny. Living in Panama and traveling a lot, I have the freedom to work from anywhere. It also gives me the luxury of setting my own schedule so I can have time to work on my own projects. I’m developing an eCourse to teach others how to work as digital marketers from home or anywhere. You can sign-up for the beta course at http://workinginyogapants.com

Q: You moved from the United States to Panama. What was that experience like for you?

A: I’m not going to romanticize it. It was very difficult. As much as I love new places and new adventures, I missed my family a lot. I had to learn the language and how to understand a culture wholly different from mine.

Luckily, I’m an introvert and don’t mind keeping to myself, but excessive isolation isn’t good for anybody. You start to get weirder and weirder, especially when you spend most of your time with characters like mine.

Despite the challenges, it was worth it. Panama is a veritable paradise. The ocean, the mountains, and the city are all within a day’s drive. The beauty here is lush and wild and it never ceases to blow my mind. I’ve lived here for almost ten years now. It is my home, but I don’t recommend it for everybody.

Q: You are a yogi. When did you start doing yoga? How has it changed or influenced your life?

A: I always wanted to try yoga and was envious whenever I saw people performing these beautiful asanas. Would you believe I learned yoga from the internet too? My parents were the best and supported me through years of ballet when I was young. After so much conditioning, my body is hooked on having some sort of physical discipline. Yoga is also crucial to fighting backaches and stiffness from sitting at the computer too long. Yoga has changed my life in many ways. I’m stronger both physically and mentally.

I would suggest Yoga with Adriene for beginners. She’s a total dork and so much fun. Yoga Today can take you up to a more advanced level. Their instructors have an amazing way of describing how you should be aligning every muscle, bone, and tendon in your body. I just started a new one called Yogea that is very expressive and takes you out of the usual traditional poses. It’s great to get the creativity flowing. You can find them all on YouTube or their own websites.

Q: What writing projects are you working on at the moment? What can you tell me about them?

A: I just released Book II of the SICK series. It’s called SICKER. Now I’m working on, you SICK cover 2 sm drop shadowguessed it, SICKEST. It’s a psychological suspense/thriller series about a very, very sick man.

My muse in this case was a nightmare. I wasn’t planning on releasing anything like this. I’d never written anything so dark before, but I’m kind of mystical when it comes to creative inspiration, so I acted on this dream.

I was really scared at first. The subject matter is very disturbing and I was afraid I’d put people off, but I’m so glad I followed my intuition. The series is getting a great response!

Q: Being a self-proclaimed “lit junkie”, what are your favorite books?

A: I am a devourer of classic literature. I have this app aptly called Free eBooks, which has enough classic lit to keep a person occupied for life. My favorites are the Russians (Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy), Oscar Wilde, and the Bronte’s. I was obsessed with Anne Rice as a teen. On the other hand, I love writers like Charles Bukowski, Douglas Adams, and Jerry Stahl, so I’m all over the place.

Q: What criteria does a book have to meet for you to consider it a “good book”?

A: A good book has to move me. I still enjoy books and movies that are purely for entertainment, but for a book to be good, it has to affect me on a deeper level. Life is so complex and confusing. I feel really disoriented as a conscious being here and now, and I gravitate toward authors who either clarify or commiserate with me on the aspects of the human experience I can’t figure out.

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

A: I would just tell the people of the world to go for your passion. Find it. Live it–­through all the ups and downs.

One of the greatest rewards of living overseas is gaining an outside perspective. Whenever I go back to the US I am shocked at the culture there­–a culture I was born and raised in that made me miserable. Every commercial is either for a shiny, giant SUV or a pill. This is the modern American Dream: work for all these things that are supposed to mean a successful life, then buy a pill to help us cope when we’re not fulfilled.

I believe everyone has a unique gift they should cultivate, and they will only be happy when they follow their passion and make use of it. If you’re a writer, write. If you’re a painter, paint. If you’re just a dude who likes to fix cars, go fix cars like a boss. Buy into yourself, not the American Dream.

I’m distanced from American life and values, and even though I still feel a little bit lost, I’m grateful I’m not part of that scene anymore. It might sound weird, but I feel I’ve got a head start. I know where my happiness isn’t. That narrows things down a lot! Once you let go of who you think you’re supposed to be and start searching for who you really are, that’s when life gets interesting.

Find Christa online:

Website

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter

Google+

Goodreads

Pinterest

Amazon

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- Tasha O’Malley

Today I had the pleasure of interviewing Tasha O’Malley, an upcoming author. Keep an eye out for her debut novel, Sweet Capture; a romance novel about the business world.

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

A: I first started writing a few years ago but stopped for a couple years due to various reasons, getting married and raising two boys being the most prominent. I started back up again in February 2015 and really started looking into publishing in June of the same year. I think the reason I started writing was because I wanted to turn a hobby into a career that I could love and enjoy and share with others.

 

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

A: Lots of things inspire me from conversations in coffee shops to things the kids say or do. I’ve been inspired by the weather and long walks in the park. I see all the little things that other people tend to miss and turn it into something that works within my book. I think if I do have a muse it would be my gran. She always had a wisdom to her and some of the things I remember about her are a source of inspiration in themselves.

 

Q: You are currently working on a book called Sweet Capture. What can you tell me about the book? What inspired it?

A: Sweet Capture is a romantic story of a highly respected businessman who is struggling to cope with his current relationship. He’s a man that loves his work and the life that goes with it; however, he feels trapped. His long-term girlfriend is ready to settle down and he isn’t and he can’t see how he can change that until he meets his new personal assistant who changes everything for him.

I have always been impressed with businessmen and how they have the ability to change things for others. They always seem so calm and controlled even in stressful situations. The idea for Sweet Capture came up after watching ‘pretty woman’. I loved how the businessman changed the life of the woman and wanted to see if I could get a story to work where one person’s life was changed by another’s actions.

 

Q: When do you do most of your writing?

A: I’m most often found at a computer between school hours or in the evening when everyone is settled. I find the quiet times really give me time to think and it helps me to concentrate on what I’m trying to get across to readers.

 

Q: What kind of work has gone into your writing at this point? Is there a lot of grunt work involved?

A: Yes, I think there is a lot of grunt work involved in writing but it makes it more interesting. So far I’ve interviewed a CEO for research purposes, I’ve taken courses to improve my writing standards and I’ve written about 20 draft copies. I’m starting yet another to see if I can fit bits in where I couldn’t before. I’ve even posted bits on a website where you can get feedback on it. Using the info I’ve received my book is finally taking shape. I’ve also made a start on thinking how I’d like to publish; whether I would like to go traditional or Indy it’s a tough one to be honest.

Q: When you accomplish something, do you make sure everyone knows or do you keep your success to yourself?

A: If it’s something notable, like passing an exam, then I tend to get over excited and tell everyone I know. If it’s something small like, getting my first bit of feedback I’m more reserved and tend to keep it to myself.

 

Q: What habit do you have that you wish you could break?

A: My husband would say it’s my ‘putting things in a safe place’ habit that I need to break and I would have to agree with him. I have a nasty habit of putting things in this safe place and forgetting where that place is only to find it again a year later.

 

Q: What has been the most exciting moment of your life so far?

A: Oh wow! There have been a few exciting moments getting married and having my children would be top but being told I have a fan was also very exciting.

 

Q: If you could enter the world of any book/movie/TV show, which would it be and why?

A: There is only one answer for this. I would love to enter the world of my favourite book collection, ‘the adventures of Odysseus.’ Glyn Iliffe captured my heart with this collection. The way he combines fact with fiction is completely amazing and I love the way he re-tales the battle of troy. (I’m a big fan of Greek history.)

 

Q: What is one thing you want the world to know?

A: I think one thing I’d like everyone to know is that no matter how hard something looks or how daunting something can be, never give up. Never live a life of what ifs, maybes and buts as you will always be wondering what would have happened had you chose a different path.

Find Tasha Online:

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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.

Lee H Haywood

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:

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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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Website