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:

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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.

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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:

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Author Q&A- Candra Baguley

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

Find Candra Online:

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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!

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Author Q&A- Rose Montague

Today I had the pleasure of interviewing and amazing author named Rose Montague. She is coffee, chocolate, and wine lover, as well as an amazing writer. If you haven’t read her books, you are missing out big time. Read the interview below.
Q: How long have you been writing? Why did you start?
A: I experimented with writing when I was a teenager and even submitted a few short stories. It never went anywhere and I didn’t try again for a long time but I love to read and I kept that up. Four years ago I decided it was time to write my first novel and was fortunate to see Jade published in 2013.
Q: What inspires your writing? Do you have a muse?
A: I get most of my story ideas when I am half asleep. Sometimes I remember to write them down and sometimes they are forgotten. Most of my writing is done in the early hours of the morning, well before sunrise.
Q: Tell me about your series Norma Jean’s School of Witchery. What was the original idea behind it?
25116933A: You know that SNL skit with Christopher Walken demanding more cowbell? I was writing Jane, the sequel to Jade and my beta reader, Hans Markus kept saying we need more Jewel. Jewel was a young teen witch who helped Jade, Jane, & Jill. The more cowbell, more Jewel eventually led me to spin off a new series featuring Jewel and Norma Jean’s School of Witchery was born.
Q: What makes your witches different than other witches in books and movies. What did you base their powers off of?
A: My goal was a Harry Potter style school for older teens with more romance and more of the things teens think about. One of my reviewers said it “Makes Hogwarts seem like a play school”. I like that quote. Magic is not hidden in the world of Norma Jean’s and the setting is in the United States. There is a ton of action to go with that romance.
Q: You have also written Jade and the sequel, Jane. Tell me a little about these. What inspired them?
18820229A: Jade is an action paranormal mystery with a little romance on the side. I loved writing this one because of the mystery and I drop clues here and there than most readers don’t catch until the mystery or surprise is revealed. The biggest mystery is Jade herself. That was so much fun. My main goal in writing is to have fun writing fun books to read. Jade is the prime example of that. Jane is more of a roller coaster ride of a road trip, packed with enough action to fill three books. I can only describe it as a war. There is a wedding, and a funeral. Both were a ton of fun to write. The wedding of Jade & Jane is my favorite scene in that series.
Q: What is the strangest place you have ever come up with an idea?
A: Usually when eating or drinking. A word search of Jade will show coffee mentioned 20 times, espresso 11, wine 39 (LOL), & chocolate 13. If you like those things you will love Jade.
Q: Which of your characters is most like you and in what way? Which is least like you?
A: I would like to think that Jewel is most like me. She doesn’t hesitate when it’s time for a decision to be made. She goes 100 percent constantly. She values friendship and she knows what is right and wrong. She doesn’t second guess herself even when the result of her decision does not turn out exactly like she wanted.
Q: If you could be a character in any movie, who would it be and why?
A: I like Selene from the underworld series.
Q: What are some of your favorite books? What about them do you like?
A: I love urban fantasy and young adult reads. My favorite authors are Jim Butcher, Faith Hunter, Ilona Andrews, & Patricial Briggs. My favorite book is Sunshine by Robin Mckinley.
Q: What is something you want the world to know?
A: My books are a lot of fun but it’s not all fun and games. There are some life lessons and messages in my books. I wrote a blog post about this here if you are interested in finding out more….
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Author Q&A- Jonathan Moeller

Today I had the pleasure of interviewing Jonathan Moeller. He is an amazingly fast writer, and has written several awesome books for his various series! If you haven’t read his series, I suggest you get on it! Keep reading to see what Jonathan had to say in the Q&A.

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

A: My second year of high school. So, a real long time ago!

I started writing because I used to run RPG campaigns for my friends in high school, and eventually I realized I was much more interested in the storytelling aspects of it than the mechanics, the die rolls and the character sheets and so forth. I started writing short stories, and it sort of snowballed on from there.

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

A: A combination of current events and historical events, mostly.

If I have a muse, I think it’s a combination of discipline and habit. When I’m working on something new, I like to get at least 3,000 words written a day, preferably more. Even if I would rather take the day off and play computer games, I still try to get a minimum of 3,000 words a day. I don’t always succeed, but I do hit my 3,000 words most of the time when working on a new book.

Q: You have written seven series of books, including The Ghost Series, The Frostborn Series, and The Cloak Games Series. Which has been the most fun to work on?

A: Each one has its own merits, I think, and its own enjoyable aspects to write.

For The Ghosts, Caina Amalas has evolved into a very interesting protagonist to write. One reviewer called her a mixture of Sherlock Holmes, Batman, and Valeria from RED NAILS, which I thought a good description of her character. I also like the rules I have for that world – sorcery as a badly understood form of science, no nonhumans except for spirits, and a world that’s kind of like the Western Roman Empire survived to the Renaissance.

For Frostborn, I wanted to write a big, long epic fantasy series (it’s going to be 15 books) that recreated the feel of a really good RPG campaign, one where the characters start out dealing with minor local events of no significance, and ends with them deciding the fates of kings and empires.

Cloak Games is fun because it’s the only series I write from a first-person perspective. Nadia is an interesting protagonist to write. I’ve said that the Cloak Games series would be about a bad guy very slowly and very much against her will learning to be a good guy, and that definitely applies to Nadia.

Q: How much ‘grunt work’ goes into each book you write?

A: Not much, I would say. I used to unload trucks when I was younger, and THAT was definitely grunt work!

In terms of writing a book, I just write it until it’s done. I can usually do a 90,000-word rough draft in about twenty-five days or so.

Q: Which one of your characters do you identify most with?

A: Probably Laertes in GHOST EXILE. Every group needs someone competent to attend to the details, and in my real life that’s usually me. 🙂

Q: Which one of your characters would you want to meet the most?

A: None!

If they ever met me, they would (quite rightly) blame me for their various sufferings, and likely concoct some elaborate means of revenge.

Q: How did you come up with the ideas behind each of your series?

The Ghosts started when I wrote a short story about chivalrous romance that got rejected. So the next story I wrote was the exact opposite, about a cynical spy, and The Ghosts grew out of that.

Demonsouled came out of an Arthur Schopenhauer quote about the innate evil of man.

The Frostborn series began because I wanted to write a series that matched the feel of a good RPG game, and I wanted to write a series that was planned from the beginning, since both The Ghosts and Demonsouled happened pretty organically.

The idea for the Cloak Games series came when I read a really long and slightly boring article about how the mass media is frequently used to influence the public in favor of certain social and political positions. I wondered what that would be like in the hands of someone clever, and I came up with an idea where magic-using Elves from another world conquered Earth and used carefully managed propaganda to keep their hold on power, and the Cloak Games series started.

Q: What are your favorite books? What about them do you like?

A: My favorite books are the ones that adhere closely to the rules of storytelling – as a writer, you can see all the nuts and bolts of a story, so I suppose it’s like a builder visiting a house and admiring the craftsmanship of the construction.

So some of my favorite books are THE LORD OF THE RINGS by JRR Tolkien, KNIGHTS OF DARK RENOWN by David Gemmell, THE HOUR OF THE DRAGON by Robert E. Howard, THE ICARUS HUNT, THE THRAWN TRILOGY, and CLOAK by Timothy Zahn, THE SCREWTAPE LETTERS by CS Lewis, THE BROKEN SWORD and THE HIGH CRUSADE by Poul Anderson, AWAKE IN THE NIGHT LAND by John C Wright, THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES and THE SIGN OF FOUR by Arthur Conan Doyle, IVANHOE by Sir Walter Scott, STEELHEART by Brandon Sanderson, CRYPTONOMICON by Neal Stephenson, and the entirety of the DRESDEN FILES by Jim Butcher.

Lately I’ve been reading THE EXPANSE series by James SA Corey and I like it.

For nonfiction, I think THE MIDDLE AGES by Morris Bishop is one of my favorite nonfiction books. I also like THE DAY OF THE BARBARIANS by Alessandro Barbero, THE FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE by Peter Heather, BATTLE CRY OF FREEDOM by James McPherson about the US Civil War, THE SECOND WORLD WAR by John Keegan, and Alison Weir’s books about the Tudor period.

Basically, my nonfiction reading is all history and technical manuals. (I think MORE DOS FOR DUMMIES by Dan Gookin was perhaps the best technical book I ever read, but it is sadly out of date at this point, though many of the basics of DOS are still applicable to modern Windows.) I do think it is a good idea for a writer to read a great deal of history.

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

A: Finish as many books as possible, because in 2011 you’ll discover this thing called the Kindle, and your unpublished manuscripts will suddenly become much more useful!

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

A: If you are a writer starting out, it is better to self-publish than to bother with traditional publishers. I think the best approach (as of February 2016) for a new writer is to write a novel series, and then eventually make the first book free, which will help slowly but surely build an audience.

If you’re a nonfiction writer, I think it is best to start your own website and publish regular articles with an eye towards turning them into a book eventually.

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Author Q&A- Clive Culverhouse

Today I had the pleasure of interviewing a very talented author, Clive Culverhouse. Between raising awareness for mental health and blogging, he has created a whole new world in his book, The Legend of Heliodor.

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Q: When did you start writing?

A: I have always enjoyed writing, whether it be short stories or comedy sketches for television. I started writing my book The Legend Of Heliodor: The Crystal Spirits in 2010 after finding myself with a long period of time suddenly on my hands. Writing a book was something I always wanted to do but never got around to it until I was injured out of my career as a Paramedic and then I had all the time in the world so eventually I began to write it.

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

A: I’ve always had an urge to write something no matter what it is. Life is full of inspiration. I like the stories people tell. When I was a paramedic I got to hear a lot of what people said as we chatted in the back of an ambulance. Everyone has a story to tell.

Q: Tell me about your book The Legend of Heliodor. What was the original idea behind it?

28688701A: One thing I like about books, especially the fantasy genre, is the world that can be created out of the imagination. I always liked the world of Tolkien, the lands and the maps. I had the idea to invent my own world, a magical land far away. I combined that with a long-time passion of rocks, minerals and crystals to come up with a world and a people who worship and use crystals. I also wanted the people to be named after the crystals we know today. The other main thing about the book I was keen to install is also Tolkien-like and inspired by the bible. I’m not religious but I do like the fact that we have all grown up with ancient tales, folklore and myths. I wanted my book to be centred on an ancient story that has been passed down for generations where it suddenly springs to life as the current characters are thrown into the legend and then become part of its continuation.

Q: You raise awareness of mental health, and have been depressed before. What is one thing the world needs to understand about depression and mental sickness?

A: It was the loss of my job and career due to injury that sent me into a long clinical depression. I lost my function, my role, my purpose both in work and at home in my family. I let friends go and drifted into a world of solitude almost losing my family too. I cut everyone off. But I did come back to reality after a long and difficult fight. In fact I retrained as a counsellor and gained qualifications in mental health. I now co-run a mental health support group. So it is there that recovery IS possible, a new life can come from the ashes of the old. The life I have led since and especially the people I met along the way is something I wouldn’t change, so therefore I look at the depression and mental illness I suffered and think it was necessary to make me who I am now. The illness and experience doesn’t have to be negative, for me it is all positive and I wouldn’t turn back the clock. I still have bad days and re-occurrences from time to time but I cope a lot better now. They are just little nudges to remind me to self-reflect.

Q: If you could give advice to yourself when you first started writing, what would it be?

A: Just to plan and plan again.

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

A: When I was planning The Legend Of Heliodor I wanted it to be told over three books. So I’m working on the next two instalments. Although actually, they’re taking a back seat because I decided to write a book called The Legend Of Heliodor: Tales From The Realm. It’s a collection of short stories, tales, myths and fairy tales from the world I created. It’s a way I suppose to draw people into the main story. I’m really enjoying the experience of writing short stories using different writing styles and formats. Good practice!

Q: Which of your characters do you have the strongest bond with?

A: I think the character would have to be my main character Kyan. With him being the main one, it’s him that I have had to be with most of all. He finds himself thrown into a world due to things happening to him, not by choice and in a world where he has to learn quickly and he’s unsure with worries and fears. He shows self-doubt and needs reassurance and support. I think that sounds like me!

Q: Do you have any advice for budding writers?

A: I think if you’re creating a world then that world has got to work. A society needs to function and so there has to be a logic that needs to be thought through and that will need a look at all aspects of that society to remove inconsistencies or things that wouldn’t work for whatever reason. I like my magical world to be believable even though it’s just fantasy. So the key is to plan and plan again. Then again. With magic there has to be a way the magic works, it can’t just work any old how, in my world of Heliodor the magic comes from the mind linking with the crystals. People in my world can’t just summon up magic, there needs to be a crystal. So I think the most important thing about writing is the story, the plot, the world and the magic all needs to work with no flaws or contradictions. You can have the most bizarre world imaginable but if it functions logically then it will work!

Q: If you could travel anywhere in any time period, where would you go and why?

A: I’ve always liked the Victorian era of the 1800’s. It was a time where science started to take off and a lot of inventors are from this period. A lot of things were getting started, and they were the first to realise that life needn’t be hard work and so they invented leisure! They were the first to go on holidays! Some of the great writers and works of fiction came from this period. Science fiction, fantasy and horror all came from this period. Plus my great great great grandfather was a chemist and apothecary, his father before him was a chemist and I like to believe an alchemist. I’d love to have a look around their laboratories, shops and back rooms.

Q: What is one thing the world should know?

A: I discovered that instead of suffering from something, whatever it is can be used. It’s a tool for your toolbox of life. I wrote a blog post called ‘A Lightbulb Moment’ which explains it well. I use my mental illness to be non-judgemental and understanding of others, I don’t ‘suffer’ it. I still have depression from time to time but depression doesn’t have me! I use it now, therefore I have ownership of it and it has made life easier thinking of it like that.

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Author Q&A- Caitlyn Duffy

Today a had the honor of interviewing the amazing Caitlyn Duffy! She has been one of my favorites for a long time, and her books are definitely worth reading- again and again and again.

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Q: When did you start writing?

A: I started writing as soon as I learned how to hold a pen! Really! I loved making little “books” out of construction paper and pencils even as a little kid. I probably first started writing more seriously in high school, when I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do professionally. I’m not going to lie – most of high school was pure misery for me – but I had this fantastic English teacher named Sonia Kallick who thought I had talent. Her encouragement made it seem like becoming a writer was a possibility.

 

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

A: Just about everything I write is based on personal experience, at least on an emotional experience. For example, my dad is not a rock star (he’s just about the furthest thing from a rock star: a nuclear engineer) but I created the character of Taylor when I was grieving the loss of someone close to me. Her journey is about making peace with your life when circumstances beyond your control change. I wouldn’t say that I have a muse, necessarily, but a lot of readers on Wattpad have inspired me to keep writing.

 

Q: Your series, Treadwell Academy, follows girls from the school and deals with serious issues such as abuse, anorexia, and the death of a parent. What challenges did you face writing about these subjects?

A: Each of the books is pretty different, so the challenges were different. For Emma’s story, which is about anorexia, I wanted to be very careful to keep the story from triggering a condition in a reader, and to prevent it from making an existing condition worse for any reader already struggling with an eating disorder. For Grace’s story, it was a challenge to both represent her religious faith authentically and still keep the story engaging for any readers who might not be religious at all. With Taylor and Betsey, both of those characters could be kind of bratty sometimes, so I wanted the reader to empathize with what they were enduring.

 

Q: Do you plan on continuing the stories of any of the Treadwell girls? Are there any more girls to come?

A: I have at least ten more books outlined, and I’m not kidding! It’s just a matter of finding the time to write them. People have been asking me to write a proper sequel to the Taylor book for four years, so that’s probably next. Others on the horizon would be about Juliette, whose father is convicted of running a lucrative Ponzi scheme; Paige, who struggles with alcoholism, and Stacy, who’s a lesbian in love with a girl at school who is struggling with her own sexuality (you might be able to guess who).

 

Q: When you wrote The Rock Stars Daughter, did you know there would be more Treadwell girls after Taylor?

A: Yes. I started writing an outline for the entire Treadwell world back in 2003! I knew that there would at least be a book about Allison, Taylor’s best friend, and that Chase Atwood would be one of the judges for the reality TV show on which Allison was competing (that book, Center Stage, is free on Wattpad right now.

 

Q: What books do you like to read? In your opinion, what makes a book good?

A: I think the best books are ones in which the main character undergoes some kind of change, and it’s a change that the reader truly emotionally feels. I read a lot, and my reading tastes are all over the board. I’m a huge fan of Rainbow Rowell, Stephen King, and Neil Gaiman. Margaret Atwood and Lois Lowry are probably my two all-time favorites. Margaret Atwood posts a lot of new, experimental material to Wattpad, which I think is the coolest thing ever. And I have always loved – and will always love – Judy Blume.

 

Q: Of all the characters you have created, which is most like you and why?

A: That’s a tough question! Probably Taylor, because although she’s highly opinionated and very self-sufficient, she’s also a little bit of a lost soul. Throughout her whole life, no one has ever really taken care of her, and when her father and stepmother take a genuine interest in her, she’s not sure what to make of it! I was very independent at a young age, so my relationship with my parents has always been kind of atypical. And Allison, too, because I very distinctly remember feeling like I was invisible in high school. Allison got kind of a bad rap in The Rock Star’s Daughter, but it’s a pretty natural reaction to feel jealous when someone you know is being showered with all of the things you want most in life for yourself.

 

Q: If you could go back to the beginning of your writing career, what advice would you give yourself?

A: To start publishing sooner. I was very caught up in the belief that you need a literary agent and a formal publishing deal with a major publisher to be a proper writer. Without having either of those, I wrote The Rock Star’s Daughter, and it was on the iTunes Children’s Top 10 list for about 2.5 years in four countries. I’ve received emails from readers all over the world about that book; it’s a story that’s made a difference in the lives of a very wide variety of readers (girls in Nigeria, UAE, Australia, I mean – everywhere, and of all ages)! That means more to me than anything else I’ve ever accomplished professionally, and if I’d waited for a literary agent and a big publisher to tell me that my writing was good enough, I’m pretty sure I’d still be waiting.

 

Q: If you had two hours to waste on anything, what would you do?

A: Either run on the treadmill while listening to Drake, or watch four back-to-back episodes of The Mindy Project on Hulu.

 

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

A: I would want young women to know they are capable of so, so much more than the culture surrounding them constantly tells them. We live in a world of ironies; we preach #girlpower in social media while still force-feeding young women relentless messaging implying that looking a certain way should be their biggest priority. That’s a load of crap. Appreciating how spectacularly unique you are, and making sure everyone you meet realizes that you’re amazing – that should be your biggest priority.

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