Interview with Sarah Marie Graye

Interview with Sarah Marie Graye, author of The Second Cup

Everyone has a ‘first novel’, even if many of them are a rough draft relegated to the bottom and back of your desk drawer (or your external harddrive!). Have you been able to reshape yours, or have you abandoned it for good?

My first novel was an attempt at ‘chicklit’. It was awful because I couldn’t write happy characters so they came off as fake. Two of the characters I created for that novel were developed into characters for The Second Cup though, so the process was worth it. I also completed my chicklit novel, so I knew I could finish one – which was a great psychological stepping stone.

Some authors are able to pump out a novel a year and still be filled with inspiration. Is this the case for you, or do you like to let an idea percolate for a couple of years in order to get a beautiful novel?

I would love to write that quickly! It just takes me longer to get my ideas on paper. I hope to get faster with each novel as I become more accomplished as a writer.

I have heard of writers that could only write in one place – then that cafe closed down and they could no longer write! Where do you find yourself writing most often, and on what medium (pen/paper or digital)?

I have ADHD, so my approach to writing is a little unusual. I write snippets at they occur to me and then piece them together afterwards. I use an app called Evernote for my snippets – which I sometimes record as me speaking rather than writing. I also use it for images that inspire my ideas. About once a week I go through Evernote and paste different snippets into my manuscript. I build chapters up from these snippets as they start to connect to each other, which seems to happen naturally, so I guess that’s my subconscious working on my ideas.

Before going on to hire an editor, most authors use beta-readers. How do you recruit your beta-readers, and choose an editor? Are you lucky enough to have loving family members who can read and comment on your novel?

I studied an MA Creative Writing in order to write The Second Cup so I had my own personal beta reader in my supervisor! Since being published, I’ve formed friendships with other writers whose work I respect who offer editorial services. My plan for my second novel is to have three or four “editorial beta readers” before the final edit. I admit there’s a temptation to ask bloggers who loved my first novel to beta read my second, but I’d rather ask them to read and review the final version.

If you could be one of your characters, which one would it be?

This is really difficult because each of my four main characters in The Second Cup is a representation of me in some way. The one least like me is Olivia, but she goes through the most positive transformation, so I’ll choose her!

Did you discover anything about yourself while you were writing your novel?

I believe I’ve become more empathetic. I created four characters that sometimes behave in ways I don’t personally find acceptable (for example, cheating on a partner). But it was important to understand the “why” of their behaviours in order to paint rounded characters. Looking into why someone behaves in a way I wouldn’t opened up all sorts of questions about my moral framework – and I realised I can’t judge other people by it; it’s a framework for me.

I walk past bookshops and am drawn in by the smell of the books – ebooks simply don’t have the same attraction for me. Does this happen to you, and do you have a favourite bookshop? Or perhaps you are an e-reader fan… where do you source most of your material from?

I’m a fan of real books – my preference is for paperbacks as hardbacks can be too heavy! But the ebook revolution has allowed so many more writers to be heard, which is amazing. I think ebooks are useful if you’re trying out new authors – but I buy a paperback version of any ebooks I really enjoy.

I used to find myself buying books in only one genre (fantasy) before I started writing this blog. What is your favourite genre, and do you have a favourite author who sticks in your mind?

I read a lot of what has recently been named “uplit” – uplifting literature where the characters go though a mental or emotional transformation. I think many authors have been writing these sorts of stories long before the term came along, but it is making it easier for me to discover new ones now the term exists! Maggie O’Farrell is a perfect example of such an author – her flawed characters are so beautifully drawn that you love them for everything they are.

Social media is a big thing, much to my disgust! I never have enough time myself to do what I feel is a good job If you manage your own profile, please tell me as much as you are comfortable with in regards to your preferred platform and an estimate of time you spend doing it [and whether you like doing it!].

I find the marketing side of social media hard work. I like to use it to chat to other writers and share ideas, but pushing my novel onto people makes me feel uncomfortable. My preferred platform is Twitter because I think it’s the best for getting involved in random conversations that can trigger ideas. It’s also where I look for bloggers who might be interested in reading and reviewing my novel.

Answering interview questions can often take a long time! Tell me, are you ever tempted to recycle your answers from one to the next? 

Ha ha ha! Even if I’m giving the same answer to the same question I’ve answered before, I try to answer it in a different way. I leave answering these ones until last, so I’ve already found the right tempo for my answers in answering the other questions. (I answered this question first!)

 

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Interview with Jaime Questell

An Interview with Jaime Questell, author of By a Charm and a Curse

Jaime Questell is a writer and graphic designer from Houston, Texas. She has also been a bookseller, a professional knitter, a semi-professional baker, and an administrative assistant. None of these jobs involved wrangling corgis, which is quite sad. She lives in the ‘burbs with her husband, children, and pets.

I’m not going to be reviewing your newest novel, but from your other published novels, is there one that is your own personal favourite?

By a Charm and a Curse is my first published novel, but of my other manuscripts, the one I’m currently working on might be my favorite. It has witches and a good dose of the Mexican culture I grew up with. It’s set in a fictional Texas town that’s buried in secrets, and it’s been so much fun coming up with all the components.

Everyone has a ‘first novel’, even if many of them are a rough draft relegated to the bottom and back of your desk drawer (or your external harddrive!). Have you been able to reshape yours, or have you abandoned it for good?

OMG, that first novel! It is so, so rough. It’s definitely been gathering some cobwebs, but I don’t want to write it off forever. I’m thinking it could be reshaped one day, or potentially be harvested for dialogue (because there’s some funny stuff in there, if I’m remembering correctly).

 

Some authors are able to pump out a novel a year and still be filled with inspiration. Is this the case for you, or do you like to let an idea percolate for a couple of years in order to get a beautiful novel?

I am so awed by the people who have an unending supply of ideas, but I definitely like to let things percolate. I like to make hidden Pinterest boards where I can post images that relate to the idea I have, so I can remember them later, but for the most part I just let the idea simmer in the back of my mind while I work on other things.

have heard of writers that could only write in one place – then that cafe closed down and they could no longer write! Where do you find yourself writing most often, and on what medium (pen/paper or digital)?

Writing time is limited and precious, so I’ll write anywhere: at home, at Starbucks, while on my lunch hour, waiting for an oil change. And I prefer my laptop to write, but again, because I need to write whenever and wherever I can, I’ll write on my phone or in one of the bazillion notebooks I usually have on me. That said though, I do find that if I’m stuck, writing by hand usually works to get me unstuck.

Before going on to hire an editor, most authors use beta-readers. How do you recruit your beta-readers, and choose an editor? Are you lucky enough to have loving family members who can read and comment on your novel?

I am incredibly lucky to have four critique partners who go over my work before I send it to my agent. I’ve worked with them for years, and their commentary is always on point and insightful. And I don’t work with an editor until my work is sold, but my agent is very editorial, which is fantastic. She really knows her stuff, and makes my writing better.

I walk past bookshops and am drawn in by the smell of the books – ebooks simply don’t have the same attraction for me. Does this happen to you, and do you have a favourite bookshop? Or perhaps you are an e-reader fan… where do you source most of your material from?

Everywhere! My favorite indie bookshop is Murder by the Book in Houston. They have a great selection and a knowledgeable staff, and I love shopping there. But I also like to utilize the library. I recently discovered Overdrive, and it’s made my audiobook habit much easier to feed.

I used to find myself buying books in only one genre (fantasy) before I started writing this blog. What is your favourite genre, and do you have a favourite author who sticks in your mind from:
1. childhood? When I was a kid, I could not get enough of The Baby-Sitter’s Club. Every birthday, every bit of money I was able to save went toward those books. And then, when I was a little older, it turned into a Sweet Valley High obsession. Those felt so taboo after the BSC, I mean, there was kissing.
2. adolescence? The movie version of Jurassic Park (and let’s be honest, Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park) got me hooked on Michael Chrichton, which led to me reading everything I could get my hands on. Around this same time I became obsessed with the classics, but, of course, never the classics assigned to me in class. I loved Alexandre Dumas, and read The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers over and over.
3. young adult? I was working in a bookstore at this time, and that was pure temptation. I read everything and anything, but Sophie Kinsella and Louise Rennison were favorites at the time.
4. adult? I love to read across genres now. Some of my current favorites are Leigh Bardugo, Holly Black, Kelley Armstrong, Heidi Heilig, and Victoria Schwab. Basically, I’ll read anything that sounds good.

Social media is a big thing, much to my disgust! I never have enough time myself to do what I feel is a good job. You manage your own profile, please tell me as much as you are comfortable with in regards to your preferred platform and an estimate of time you spend doing it [and whether you like doing it!].

I’m too much of a control freak to relegate to anyone else. But I agree that social media is so overwhelming! It can be hard, feeling like you have to do everything. I think it’s better to choose one or two platforms and do them well. So I choose to focus on Twitter and Instagram. Every now and then I start to think that I should have a Facebook author page, but then I remember how much it would stress me out and that the page would suffer. I’m going to quote Ron Swanson from Parks and Rec here and say, “Never half-ass two things. Whole ass one thing.”

About By a Charm and a Curse:

Le Grand’s Carnival Fantastic isn’t like other traveling circuses. It’s bound by a charm, held together by a centuries-old curse, that protects its members from ever growing older or getting hurt. Emmaline King is drawn to the circus like a moth to a flame…and unwittingly recruited into its folds by a mysterious teen boy whose kiss is as cold as ice.

Forced to travel through Texas as the new Girl in the Box, Emmaline is completely trapped. Breaking the curse seems like her only chance at freedom, but with no curse, there’s no charm, either—dooming everyone who calls the Carnival Fantastic home. Including the boy she’s afraid she’s falling for.

Everything—including his life—could end with just one kiss.

 

Buylinks: https://entangledpublishing.com/by-a-charm-and-a-curse.html

Author Links:
Author Website: jaimequestell.com
Author Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/jaimequestell
Author Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jaimequestell/
Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15396319.Jaime_Questell
Author Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.ca/jaime_q/
Newsletter: http://jaimequestell.com/events/

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Interview with Erica Cameron

Interview with Erica Cameron, Author of Sea of Strangers

I’m not going to be reviewing your newest novel, but from your other published novels, is there one that is your own personal favourite?

It’s so hard to pick because every book I’ve written has some special element that means a lot to me, but there is something incredibly wonderful about The Ryogan Chronicles. I love the world, the characters, and the story told there. I also love that I finally got to populate a world that I initially created back in college. That means more than I know how to explain.

Everyone has a ‘first novel’, even if many of them are a rough draft relegated to the bottom and back of your desk drawer (or your external harddrive!). Have you been able to reshape yours, or have you abandoned it for good?

In 2007-2008, I wrote my first ever original novel. It took the concept of angels and gave them a new origin story and whole new mythology. There was a lot I loved about that concept and the story itself, but it was my first novel and I made a lot of plotting mistakes I didn’t know how to fix. Although I did steal certain concepts and systems from that novel, it won’t ever be published.

Some authors are able to pump out a novel a year and still be filled with inspiration. Is this the case for you, or do you like to let an idea percolate for a couple of years in order to get a beautiful novel?

Sea of Strangers is my third release in 2017, so I have to go with the option one! I am always working on something, and often have a few projects waiting in the wings. It’s hard to find the time and mental energy to work on all of them at once, but I am lucky enough to have a very wonderful editorial team at Entangled who make sure my books go out into the world as polished and pretty as they possibly can be.

I have heard of writers that could only write in one place – then that cafe closed down and they could no longer write! Where do you find yourself writing most often, and on what medium (pen/paper or digital)?

Thankfully, I’m not nearly so particular! I do almost all my writing in Word on a laptop, but I can write by hand if needed. Sometimes the change of method helps, actually. I have written in bed, at my desk, on a couch, an airplane, a car, on my phone on break at work—pretty much anywhere. I do enjoy writing at coffee shops, though! So long as I can get a comfortable seat somewhere, that is.

Before going on to hire an editor, most authors use beta-readers. How do you recruit your beta-readers, and choose an editor? Are you lucky enough to have loving family members who can read and comment on your novel?

I have had numerous beta readers over the years, and they have all helped me develop my work in wonderful ways. I especially like an early reader who asks questions. Sometimes they notice patterns or missing information that I never saw, and them asking questions about those things helps me even out the rough edges of the story. My family is incredibly supportive, but they tend to read the final versions rather than the early ones. As for editors, I’ve never actually paid for editorial services. When deciding to work with an editor at a publishing house, though, I need to know what they see in the story and what they’re hoping I can change in it. If their vision doesn’t match mine, the partnership won’t work. Everyone working on a novel needs to be heading toward the same end goal or the whole project will turn into a mess.

I walk past bookshops and am drawn in by the smell of the books – ebooks simply don’t have the same attraction for me. Does this happen to you, and do you have a favourite bookshop? Or perhaps you are an e-reader fan… where do you source most of your material from?

There is a dearth of good independent bookstores in my area! The best one is about an hour away—Books & Books in Coral Gables. There are several Barnes & Nobles, though, and I even work at one close to home! It’s a brilliant job, but also difficult. I want to bring home so many books I don’t have the time to read or the space to keep! I do read electronically a lot, and I don’t mind that format. However, seeing my bookshelves full to the point of groaning under the weight of my library is something I won’t easily give up.

I used to find myself buying books in only one genre (fantasy) before I started writing this blog. What is your favourite genre, and do you have a favourite author who sticks in your mind from:

  1. childhood?Once I got to the point of picking my own books and authors, I fell in love with fantasy! Tamora Pierce was my first ever favorite author.
  2. adolescence?I stuck to the sci-fi/fantasy realm for a long time, but I also tended to read mysteries my dad left around the house. He was going through a James Patterson phase at that point. Those were also the years I introduced myself to Anne McCaffrey’s Pern world.
  3. young adult? College interrupted my reading years (it’s hard to read anything you’re not assigned!), but once I graduated I also branched out. Romance. Classic literature. I discovered authors like Georgette Heyer, Jasper Fforde, Jim Butcher, Jacqueline Carey, Brandon Sanderson, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, and more. So many more. It helped, of course, that I worked at Borders Bookstore for a couple years after college. It’s also what brought me back to the world of young adult, a section that didn’t really exist when I actually was a young adult. [Rose: A woman after my own heart!]
  4. adult? These days I read mostly young adult, middle grade, and adult (though mainly sci-fi/fantasy). Most recently, I read and loved Fish in a Treeby Lynda Mullaly Hunt, This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp, and The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher.

Social media is a big thing, much to my disgust! I never have enough time myself to do what I feel is a good job. Do you manage your own profiles or did you choose someone else to?

I’m on several social media sites and it’s all my own posts and comments! Which is probably why my Facebook and Tumblr pages are all but ignored. Social media is time consuming, and I only have so many hours in the day. I used to be way more involved online and would post several times a day on my various accounts, but I’ve been forced by necessity to pare it back until I mainly check notifications, answer direct messages and comments, and then log off again. I like being able to talk to friends across the country (and the world), however, if I have to choose between social media and either writing time or sleep, social media usually loses.

About Sea of Strangers (The Ryogan Chronicles, #2):

Know your enemy if you want to survive…

The only way for Khya to get her brother back alive is to kill Varan—the immortal ruler who can’t be killed. But not even Varan knew what he was doing when he perverted magic and humanity to become immortal.

Khya’s leading her group of friends and rebels into the mountains that hold Varan’s secrets, but if risking all their lives is going to be worth it, she has to give up everything else—breaking the spell that holds her brother captive and jeopardizing her deepening relationship with Tessen, the boy who has been by turns her rival and refuge since her brother disappeared. Immortality itself might be her only answer, but if that’s where Khya has to go, she can’t ask Tessen or her friends to follow.

About Erica Cameron:

Erica Cameron is the author of books for young adults including the Ryogan Chronicles, the Assassins duology, and The Dream War Saga. She also co-authored the Laguna Tides novels with Lani Woodland. An advocate for asexuality and emotional abuse awareness, Erica has also worked with teens at a residential rehabilitation facility in her hometown of Fort Lauderdale.

Website: ByEricaCameron.com

Blog: ByEricaCameron.com/wp/blog/

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/ByEricaCameron

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ByEricaCameron

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/ericacameron

Newsletter: http://byericacameron.com/wp/newsletter/

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Interview with Amber Hart

An Interview with Amber Hart, author of Wicked Charm

I’m not going to be reviewing your newest novel, but from your other published novels, is there one that is your own personal favourite?

I think whatever book I’ve written last—in this case, Wicked Charm—is always my favorite. It’s fresh on my mind, and exciting, and I adore being able to share it with readers.

Everyone has a ‘first novel’, even if many of them are a rough draft relegated to the bottom and back of your desk drawer (or your external harddrive!). Have you been able to reshape yours, or have you abandoned it for good?

 

My first stories were written with crayon. They have somehow been lost over the years, which is probably, mercifully, a good thing.

Some authors are able to pump out a novel a year and still be filled with inspiration. Is this the case for you, or do you like to let an idea percolate for a couple of years in order to get a beautiful novel?

Inspiration is around me daily. I would love to aim for a novel a year, but it does seem to be more around the two year mark. I definitely get many, many more ideas than I’m able to write. I listen to the ones that are the loudest.

I have heard of writers that could only write in one place – then that cafe closed down and they could no longer write! Where do you find yourself writing most often, and on what medium (pen/paper or digital)?

Pen and paper feels the most organic to me, but a laptop is more feasible, so I work on that. I prefer to work at home, with a cup of tea, silence, surrounded my novels, and my cat curled up at my feet.

Before going on to hire an editor, most authors use beta-readers. How do you recruit your beta-readers, and choose an editor? Are you lucky enough to have loving family members who can read and comment on your novel?

When I first started, I had beta readers, but now my agent reads the manuscripts first. Occasionally I hand it over to a trusted friend or fellow author, when they have time to read, and I always appreciate their feedback. I leave the editor decision to my agent and publisher, because they know what’s best for my stories. Thankfully.

I walk past bookshops and am drawn in by the smell of the books – ebooks simply don’t have the same attraction for me. Does this happen to you, and do you have a favourite bookshop? Or perhaps you are an e-reader fan… where do you source most of your material from?

I see the need for paper books and ebooks. I love both. I support both. Paper books have the allure of touching a physical copy and giving it a home on your shelf, along with the smell of parchment and ink. Ebooks have the allure of fitting into tighter places and containing many stories all in one device, of being practical for travel, and of being incredible space savers.

I used to find myself buying books in only one genre (fantasy) before I started writing this blog. What is your favourite genre, and do you have a favourite author who sticks in your mind from:

  1. childhood?  Thriller. Goosebumps series by R.L. Stine
  2. adolescence? Fearless series by Francine Pascal and Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
  3. young adult? I love all genres, but suppose I lean a little more towards fantasy
  4. adult? Contemporary or fun/flirty romance. I love stories with happy endings.

Social media is a big thing, much to my disgust! I never have enough time myself to do what I feel is a good job. Where can my readers find you?

I’m on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Amazon, and Goodreads. They all help draw readers to novels!

Amber: Thanks for the interview! I hope readers enjoy Wicked Charm.

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Interview with JG Dow

An Interview with JG Dow, author of Jane of Manchester

I’m not going to be reviewing your newest novel, but from your other published novels, is there one that is your own personal favourite?

I basically started writing chick lit type novels as a new venture and so under my pen name, J.G. Dow, Jane of Manchester is my debut and Jane Once More the sequel. I have written other novels under my own name a few years ago however but these are very different and so I like to separate the two by having a pen-name for the chick-lit ones. As for a personal favourite, I don’t know if I have one as I like aspects of them all but if pushed, maybe I’d go with a science fiction one I wrote called Head of an Apostle.

Everyone has a ‘first novel’, even if many of them are a rough draft relegated to the bottom and back of your desk drawer (or your external harddrive!). Have you been able to reshape yours, or have you abandoned it for good?

My first novel was actually the one I just mentioned above- Head of an Apostle. It is the first in a trilogy and all are on amazon and so it hasn’t been stored away in a cupboard and forgotten about. I think it is probably my best book so far which is odd as it was the first novel I ever wrote. It is pretty dark and weird and so is worlds apart from my J.G. Dow pen-name books but one reviewer said it reminded them a bit of H.G. Wells which was a lovely compliment!

Some authors are able to pump out a novel a year and still be filled with inspiration. Is this the case for you, or do you like to let an idea percolate for a couple of years in order to get a beautiful novel?

That debut novel I have mentioned, Head of an Apostle, actually took quite a long time in total to write and the planning and research were quite tricky and another few I wrote under my own name also took a long time. One called Symmachia took over a year to write and is pretty long and complicated as well as having an experimental structure that was a real nightmare trying to work out. My J.G. Dow chick-lit novels are much easier to write and plan however and take less time but still a good few months- maybe five or six before editing.

I have heard of writers that could only write in one place – then that cafe closed down and they could no longer write! Where do you find yourself writing most often, and on what medium (pen/paper or digital)?

I always write in my bedroom, sat in a blue Ikea armchair, surrounded by piles of books and CD’s with a plant over in the corner and clothes hanging off hangers and stacked up near the books. I never write anywhere else and couldn’t write in a cafe or even a library I don’t think as other people being around is too distracting- I would end up people watching! I write straight onto my laptop as i find that the easiest way to do things I suppose.

Before going on to hire an editor, most authors use beta-readers. How do you recruit your beta-readers, and choose an editor? Are you lucky enough to have loving family members who can read and comment on your novel?

I don’t have beta readers or editors. I plan the novel, write it and then edit it carefully myself and then that’s it apart from these J.G. Dow chick-lit novels where I have gotten my Mum to read them afterwards to see what she thinks and to see if they read well as I’m not an expert in chick-lit…she seems to like them (or says she does which is fine!)

I walk past bookshops and am drawn in by the smell of the books – ebooks simply don’t have the same attraction for me. Does this happen to you, and do you have a favourite bookshop? Or perhaps you are an e-reader fan… where do you source most of your material from?

I do like bookshops and did have a favourite second hand one in the town centre which was an Oxfam one but it has closed down now sadly. I used to love going in there and perusing the different sections and seeing if there were any bargains or hard to find titles among the shelves. I still have a few from there yet to read actually. I do buy books online as well and get some for presents for birthdays and Christmas…there was another good bookshop in Manchester as well when I lived there in a place called Withington that sold lots of philosophy and science books as well as cheap novels, poetry and plays- I liked that one as well- also now sadly gone.

I used to find myself buying books in only one genre (fantasy) before I started writing this blog. What is your favourite genre, and do you have a favourite author who sticks in your mind?

I like lots of genres of novel I suppose- science fiction, fantasy, experimental, contemporary as well as the odd philosophy book and poetry and plays occasionally as well. A favourite childhood author would be Roald Dahl I suppose as he was so wildly inventive and entertaining. In adolescence I quite liked Tolkien and other fantasy writers as well as a bit of sci-fi and the odd Hardy Boys book. Young adult and adult blends together a bit in my mind, but I love writers like Bukowski, Kerouac, Salinger, Brautigan, Fante, Hemingway, Steinbeck, Queneau, Cheever, Bryson and many others.

Social media is a big thing, much to my disgust! I never have enough time myself to do what I feel is a good job. How do you manage it?

 

I do use social media but I’m not great with it and do find it a struggle in a way. I go on Twitter and tryto promote my books but it can feel like yelling into a canyon at times! I am on Facebook and have a separate page for my pen-name- J.G. Dow@homeofJane and post links to interviews like this one I’m doing now on it as well as the odd review and things like that. I also post about my books on Facebook book groups which gets the word out a bit and try to do this every day.

Answering interview questions can often take a long time! Tell me, are you ever tempted to recycle your answers from one to the next? 

It can take a while doing interviews but I don’t recycle answers and just answer as well as I can. The questions here are quite specific which is a good thing as you can give a focused answer and that often brings responses that you won’t see somewhere else…thanks!

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Interview with Danielle Ellison

Danielle Ellison is a nomad, a lover of make-believe, and a bit of coffee snob. Always on the lookout for an adventure and the next story, she has had more zip codes and jobs than she can count.

In addition to writing, she’s the founder of the NoVa TEEN Book Festival in Virginia and a teen librarian. When she’s not busy with books, she’s probably watching her favorite shows, drinking coffee, or fighting her nomadic urges.

She is settled in Georgia (for now) with her cat, Simon, but you can always find her on twitter @DanielleEWrites.

I’m not going to be reviewing your newest novel, but from your other published novels, is there one that is your own personal favourite?

Honestly, they each have a special place in my heart. Besides the newest one, which is probably my favorite – I’d say Days Like This. I worked really hard on that one. Or Salt because it was the first one I published.

Everyone has a ‘first novel’, even if many of them are a rough draft relegated to the bottom and back of your desk drawer (or your external harddrive!). Have you been able to reshape yours, or have you abandoned it for good?

Oh goodness, my first book is in the proverbial closet forever and it will remain there. I learned a lot from that book. Parts of it have been reshaped into other stories that I’ve written, but I’ve never really gone back to it. I don’t think I would now either. While that was a fun story, I’ve grown as a writer and I’d rather move forward instead of going back. Sorry, first book.

Some authors are able to pump out a novel a year and still be filled with inspiration. Is this the case for you, or do you like to let an idea percolate for a couple of years in order to get a beautiful novel?

It varies. Some stories take longer than others. The Sweetheart Sham was started two years ago, then shelved, then taken out and written with my editor. Other books, some published and not, have moved much, much faster and some longer. Unless I’m on a deadline, I try not to stress myself with writing in a certain timeframe. I don’t go seeking inspiration or any of that because I write characters, so as long as they are there, I’m writing them.

I have heard of writers that could only write in one place – then that cafe closed down and they could no longer write! Where do you find yourself writing most often, and on what medium (pen/paper or digital)?

I write on the computer. It’s just easier for me. Sometimes I will venture into a notebook, but then it’s always typed up. I’m not really sure on the one place thing. I can write anywhere, I think. I do like having a go-to place, and when I lived in Georgia I had that. But here in Oklahoma, I don’t have that yet, but I only moved recently so I’m hoping to find it with my new routine.

Before going on to hire an editor, most authors use beta-readers. How do you recruit your beta-readers? Are you lucky enough to have loving family members who can read and comment on your novel?

My beta readers are always my agent and typically a friend or two, depending on the story and the kind of feedback I need. I have a beta reader, Traci, who reads EVERY book as I write it. We started that a couple years ago and now she can’t get away from me. She used to be a book blogger, and then when I was an editor at a small press, she was one of my editing interns. One day I asked her for an opinion on one of my stories, and ever since then she’s been one of my first sets of eyes. It’s great to have someone to talk to while drafting. I am very lucky.

I walk past bookshops and am drawn in by the smell of the books – ebooks simply don’t have the same attraction for me. Does this happen to you, and do you have a favourite bookshop? Or perhaps you are an e-reader fan… where do you source most of your material from?

I love bookstores. I was a bookseller for years and years, so bookstores hold a special place in my heart. I think indie stores, especially, are filled with passionate staffers and readers. My favorite bookshop is One More Page Books in Arlington, VA: great selection, atmosphere, awesome staff. (But I’m biased.)

That said, I love e-books too. I think there’s enough room in the world for both!

I used to find myself buying books in only one genre (fantasy) before I started writing this blog. What is your favourite genre, and do you have a favourite author who sticks in your mind from:

  1. childhood? 

Goosebumps. Hands down. Those were my jam.

  1. adolescence? 

VC Andrews – I read the first one  in 5th grade (the Orphan girls/Runaways series)—and Lurlene McDaniel. I thought all books ended sadly.

  1. young adult? 

Harry Potter. I was a teen in love.

  1. adult?

YA books, the whole genre really.

 Social media is a big thing, much to my disgust! I never have enough time myself to do what I feel is a good job. If you manage your own profile, please tell me as much as you are comfortable with in regards to your preferred platform and an estimate of time you spend doing it [and whether you like doing it!]

I use twitter and instagram, and I have an author facebook, but I’m not as good about it as I want to be. I love using it because it’s an instant connection with readers and other writers. That’s the best part for me. I get why people don’t like it. Sometimes, it can feel like you’re shouting into the void, but if you shout enough then someone will hear you. It’s changed a lot the last two years, so I’m still figuring it all out for the current climate of things. As far as how much time I spend, probably not enough.

About The Sweetheart Sham:

In a small town like Culler, South Carolina, you guard your secrets like you guard your cobbler recipe: with your life. Georgia Ann Monroe knows a thing or two about secrets: she’s been guarding the truth that her best friend Will is gay for years now. But what happens when a little white lie to protect him gets her into a fake relationship…and then the boy of her dreams shows up?

Enter Beau Montgomery: Georgie’s first love, hotter than ever, and much too much of a southern gentleman to ever pursue someone else’s girl. There’s no way to come clean to Beau while still protecting Will. But bless their hearts, they live in Culler—where secrets always have a way of revealing themselves.

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains a hilarious “fakeship,” a scorching-hot impossible relationship, and a heartwarming best-friendship that will make you want to call your best friend right here, right now.

Buy link: https://entangledpublishing.com/the-sweetheart-sham.html

 

Author Links:

Website, Twitter, FacebookInstagram and Newsletter.

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Interview with Nicky Blue

An Interview with Nicky Blue, author of Escape from Samsara

Everyone has a ‘first novel’, even if many of them are a rough draft relegated to the bottom and back of your desk drawer (or your external harddrive!). Have you been able to reshape yours, or have you abandoned it for good?

My first novel is still sitting in my desk drawer. I have so many ideas moving forward, I don’t have the inclination to revisit it yet. I think the book has quite a solid plot and I still stand by a lot of the imagery. It would take a lot more work to get it ready for publication.

Some authors are able to pump out a novel a year and still be filled with inspiration. Is this the case for you, or do you like to let an idea percolate for a couple of years in order to get a beautiful novel?

Ideas come easily for me I’m pleased to say. I like to write fast and get things down as quickly as they come to me. I change/ update ideas in my edits. I aim to write 2-3 novellas a year.

I have heard of writers that could only write in one place – then that cafe closed down and they could no longer write! Where do you find yourself writing most often, and on what medium (pen/paper or digital)?

I can write anywhere on any medium. My favourite is the local library in town as it is full of students typing away. I join their rhythmical flow.

Before going on to hire an editor, most authors use beta-readers. How do you recruit your beta-readers, and choose an editor? Are you lucky enough to have loving family members who can read and comment on your novel?

I have family members to read my stuff work but you don’t get the objectivity. I am lucky to have a team of people on my mailing list that read my work and give me feedback.

I walk past bookshops and am drawn in by the smell of the books – ebooks simply don’t have the same attraction for me. Does this happen to you, and do you have a favourite bookshop? Or perhaps you are an e-reader fan… where do you source most of your material from?

I love old musty bookshops, the dustier the better, I source most of my material leafing through bookshops in Brighton my hometown. Ebooks have their place though, especially on trips away.

I used to find myself buying books in only one genre (fantasy) before I started writing this blog. What is your favourite genre, and do you have a favourite author who sticks in your mind?

Tom Holt was my favourite in adolescence, I used to only read comedy. I started reading Dystopian novels in my early twenties. I loved Aldous Huxley. Now I read across all genres. If it comes recommended I will read it. I am currently rereading Dune by Frank Herbert.

Social media is a big thing, much to my disgust! I never have enough time myself to do what I feel is a good job. What do you do?

I manage my own social media profiles but hire a virtual assistant for admin related tasks. I only spend 1-2 maximum a day on social media, normally in the evenings.

It is my belief there is a lot of hype around social media. It is wise to have a presence but it won’t make you a better writer. If you are a good writer people will find you.

Answering interview questions can often take a long time! Tell me, are you ever tempted to recycle your answers from one to the next?

It’s tempting but I enjoy the writing!

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Interview with Sue Bentley

An Interview with Sue Bently, author of We Other

Tell me a bit about your writing history so far.

A personal favourite from my other published works – it’s difficult to choose a favourite as I also write sparkly books about magic animals for kids. Very different, to We Other! But if I had to choose a title – it would be A Summer Spell, the first title of this series of books for ages 5-9 years, also written as Sue Bentley.

My first novel – well there were a few turkeys! But I learned a lot from the mistakes made when writing them. I had high hopes for Mooncaste, an historical novel inspired by an iron-age, hill-fort close to where I live. I hand wrote it in three notebook. It was never published, but I did get an agent on the back of that book.

Some authors are able to pump out a novel a year and still be filled with inspiration. Is this the case for you, or do you like to let an idea percolate for a couple of years in order to get a beautiful novel?

I work best when writing to commission. A dead-line is wonderfully motivating. My children’s series were written in concentrated bursts of energy, but each book was quite short. I haven’t been commissioned by a publisher for a while. The publishing world has changed a lot. We Other was a much bigger undertaking. It’s a complex novel, aimed at an older readership. I did a lot of research before beginning to write, made notes about the main characters, and wrote a detailed plot outline. I find it works for me to live with characters for a while before diving in – maybe for a few months. But when the urge to write is too strong, I’ll begin. It would be easy to be seduced by doing research, which I love, but I have to force myself to call a halt. We Other probably took around 3 years to write, all told.

I have heard of writers that could only write in one place – then that cafe closed down and they could no longer write! Where do you find yourself writing most often, and on what medium (pen/paper or digital)?

I’m lucky enough to have a room of my own, where most of the writing is done. I write directly onto my desktop. I scribble notes on bits of paper, which pile up on my desk. I also take notebooks and research books with me to cafes and sit writing in longhand, which I type up later. I like writing with a pencil. There’s something about the way ideas flow, but I couldn’t write entirely in long-hand. I’m a perfectionist and do a lot of re-writing as I go along, so any piece of paper would soon be unreadable with all the crossings-out and notes in the margins.

Before going on to hire an editor, most authors use beta-readers. How do you recruit your beta-readers, and choose an editor? Are you lucky enough to have loving family members who can read and comment on your novel?

I have close writing friends who will read and comment on work in progress. I do the same for them. Over time I’ve developed a good instinct for when a passage is working. I also know when it isn’t right and will re-write as many times as I need to, before finishing a first draft. There are usually cuts and more edits to make before I finally show it to my agent or publisher. And then more to do when working with an editor.

I walk past bookshops and am drawn in by the smell of the books – ebooks simply don’t have the same attraction for me. Does this happen to you, and do you have a favourite bookshop? Or perhaps you are an e-reader fan… where do you source most of your material from?

I’ve always loved everything about books, their smell and feel. Opening a new book is such a pleasure – better than a box of chocolates. I enjoy browsing bookshops – especially small independents. Haye-on-Wye, a small town in Herefordshire, is my favourite place to go as it’s full of bookshops, cafes, and vintage shops. But I also enjoy browsing larger bookshops like Waterstones and Foyles. I buy books online too, and can’t resist looking at the shelves in charity shops. I’m also a regular user of my local public library. I’m never without a book in my bag.

I used to find myself buying books in only one genre (fantasy) before I started writing this blog. What is your favourite genre, and do you have a favourite author who sticks in your mind from your different life stages?

Historical. I started with these, as I enjoy being lifted out of the every day. But I also like fantasy, magic-realism, gritty dark fairy fiction, gothic and dystopian fiction. I enjoy crime now and then. A good psychological thriller with a fantasy or historical setting can be good. From childhood, I enjoyed traditional fairy tales, some sword and sorcery stuff, anything unusual. The works of BB. A local author who wrote some fabulous books about the last gnomes left in England, rich with details of the natural world, made a huge impression on me as a child. As did Jane Gaskell and Michael Moorcock, when I was growing up. I’ve been inspired by Diana Norman, Tanith Lee and latterly Teri Windling, Holly Black, Stef Penney, Carol Birch, and so many others.

Social media is a big thing, much to my disgust! I never have enough time myself to do what I feel is a good job. What do you do?

Social Media is a mixed blessing. For authors it’s a great way of bringing your work to the attention of readers and it’s great to keep in touch with other writers and friends. Writing is a solitary craft, which is fine most of the time as I’m comfortable in my own company. I sometimes use social media for research, but it’s easy to become distracted, when you ought to be working. At the moment I manage my own profile, which can be very time consuming. I try to limit posting on FB, Twitter and Goodreads to the evenings, but don’t always succeed. Two or Three hours can go by without me noticing. I’m presently about to have a major overhaul of my website and I’ll then write a regular blog. I’m constantly learning how to make the best use of social media.

Answering interview questions can often take a long time! I try to make my questions as interesting as possible, is there anything else you wished I had asked? And tell me honestly… Are you ever tempted to recycle your answers from one to the next?

This Q and A session – the questions were interesting and stimulating – thanks Rosemarie! Yes it takes a while to answer all of them. Makes you think hard – which is no bad thing. Was I tempted to recycle my answers from one interview to the next? Yes and no. Yes – because it would have been less work and some of my answers may have been of interest to readers. No – because it’s a privilege to be asked to contribute to a blog and I’m grateful for the opportunity and the time you’ve taken with this. The least I can do is try to be honest and provide full answers. I hope your readers will enjoy reading this interview. It’s been a pleasure.

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Interview with David Meredith

An Interview with David Meredith

I’m going to be reviewing your newest novel, but from your other published novels, is there one that is your own personal favourite? 

Actually I’d say my favorite is one I haven’t published yet. It was one I started WAY back in 2004 that is mostly complete.  It is a fantasy series based upon Japanese myth, legend, and folklore, rather than the European model that is so prevalent in fantasy literature today. Originally it was a 406,000 word behemoth, but I’ve edited it down to three volumes that are between 95,000 and 120,000 words each. It’s still kind of my baby, so I’ve been holding back on publishing, but I think that time is coming. I wrote most of it while I was living in Japan. It is based on many of my experiences there and borrows heavily from the mythology and folklore of Northern Japan where I spent the bulk of my time. It is probably the one thing I’ve written that is the most personal to me so I’ve been reluctant to release it until I’m sure it’s perfect.

Everyone has a ‘first novel’, even if many of them are a rough draft relegated to the bottom and back of your desk drawer (or your external harddrive!). Have you been able to reshape yours, or have you abandoned it for good?

Well, I definitely had several false starts, (I think I got 50+ pages into four separate novels before abandoning them for various reasons) and those are probably well and deservedly dead, but they were all extremely important in helping me develop as a writer, especially in terms of learning what didn’t work. However, the piece I mentioned before was the first novel that I actually finished.  It has gone through countless rewrites and now 13 years after starting it, I think I finally have the writing chops to realize my original vision in a way that other people will actually want to read and the knowledge as an Indy writer to promote it the way it deserves. It will definitely be published at some point. It’s just a question of when.

Some authors are able to pump out a novel a year and still be filled with inspiration. Is this the case for you, or do you like to let an idea percolate for a couple of years in order to get a beautiful novel?

I probably could, but I don’t think I’d be very happy with the final result. I easily take at least twice as long editing and revising my completed work as I do writing the initial draft. Maybe others are different, but I really need to see that complete final vision to truly understand where it’s working where it’s not and how to tighten it up. I don’t really let ideas percolate, per se. I do however, try to get new ideas down as soon and as quickly as I can, but I don’t like to release until I’m sure a piece is as solid and tight as it can possibly be.

I have heard of writers that could only write in one place – then that cafe closed down and they could no longer write! Where do you find yourself writing most often, and on what medium (pen/paper or digital)?

Especially since I just finished my doctorate degree, I’ve been pretty busy. I usually work on my laptop whenever and wherever I have a couple of free minutes. Home, office, coffee shop, kids’ sports practice, even parked in the car! I can’t afford to be fussy if I want to get anything done.

Before going on to hire an editor, most authors use beta-readers. How do you recruit your beta-readers, and choose an editor? Are you lucky enough to have loving family members who can read and comment on your novel?

I impose often on talented friends and family. My wife is my first proof reader, and she offers a lot of valuable insight. Other friends also offer their two cents, but recently I’ve started doing Beta-Trades through Goodreads. I Beta-read theirs. They do mine, and that has been an enriching experience so far. I infinitely prefer Beta-Trades to review swaps, which I really don’t like doing. In trading reviews I always feel compelled to spin a book as positively as possible or risk hurting someone’s feelings. Telling someone their completed masterpiece is awful never feels good. With Beta-Trades on the other hand, I feel like I’m offering valuable constructive criticism that will hopefully make the final product better.  I have a great deal more freedom to be honest, and feel much better about myself in the end as well. Then of course, the feedback I receive is extremely valuable too.  It has been a great way to get a number of diverse perspectives on my work, and see things in a way I might otherwise not have.

I walk past bookshops and am drawn in by the smell of the books – ebooks simply don’t have the same attraction for me. Does this happen to you, and do you have a favourite bookshop? Or perhaps you are an e-reader fan… where do you source most of your material from?

The smell of my dad’s office growing up is a foundational memory for me, so I understand what you mean. I do like physical books. Given the choice, I honestly prefer them, but as time has gone by I find myself reading more and more electronically. My favorite shop though is actually a used book store named McKay’s. They have several outlets here in Tennessee and are all opened in old warehouse buildings stacked floor to ceiling with used books. It definitely has the smell you’re talking about.

I used to find myself buying books in only one genre (fantasy) before I started writing this blog. What is your favourite genre, and do you have a favourite author who sticks in your mind from:

I read mostly fantasy for my own entertainment though I have branched out some in recent years. It’s still my strongest inclination and preference. In terms of my own writing, so far all of my fiction work has had some kind of fantastical element to it. I really enjoy the freedom that speculative fiction offers. Most of my reading lately has been required course material for my doctoral program, but some of my favorite authors are Tad Williams, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Robin Hobb. I also like work by Robert Jordan, Liza Dolby, and James Clavell. I still reread Tad Williams’ Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn Trilogy every couple of years.

  1. childhood? Dr. Suess – Wacky Wednesday (I wore that book out) and the Winnie the Pooh stories by A.A. Milne. I also spent a lot of time at Number 32 Windsor Gardens J.
  2. adolescence? I read A LOT of Dragon Lance and Forgotten Realms novels.
  3. young adult? LOTR by J.R.R. Tolkien and the Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn Trilogy by Tad Williams
  4. adult? I really liked Shogun by James Clavell and The Tale of Murasaki by Liza Dalby. They helped me make sense of the Japanese people and culture I found myself immersed in for nearly a decade. Both are great stories, but even better resources for getting into the nuts and bolts of the Japanese psyche in a way that is easy for westerners to understand.

Social media is a big thing, much to my disgust! I never have enough time myself to do what I feel is a good job. What do you do?

I was not a natural in terms of using social media to promote my writing. I still struggle with it honestly, but make regular use of Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads in particular. It is admittedly however, an area where I still have a lot of room to grow.

If you manage your own profile, please tell me as much as you are comfortable with in regards to your preferred platform and an estimate of time you spend doing it.

After a book is released I easily spent two or three hours or more a day sending review requests (I use Twitter heavily for finding book review sites), working on my Facebook writer page and monitoring sales and promotions. I easily spend as much time and effort on online promotion as I do actually writing the book if not more. I’ve gotten to where I have accepted it as a necessary evil, but I enjoy working on the promoted pieces themselves much more than their promotion.

Answering interview questions can often take a long time! I try to make my questions as interesting as possible, is there anything else you wished I had asked? And tell me honestly… Are you ever tempted to recycle your answers from one to the next?

Maybe, “what do you want Aaru to accomplish? What do you want people to get out of it?”

Aaru is first and foremost an entertaining and emotional YA/NA SyFy/Fantasy novel. It is at its core a story about the love of two sisters, and how they struggle to cope as the paradigms of what they’ve always been taught is true and good is challenged and shifted in a monumental way. However, Aaru also explores a number of what I think are fundamentally human questions: What happens when religion and faith conflict with technology and science? Is there a way to reconcile the two? What constitutes a human being or human soul? What would happen to religion and faith if the fear of death was removed from society? How would that change the way individuals choose to live their lives? In a world where people in power can essentially choose who is and is not saved, how should that determination be made? Who should be saved? Is the act of choosing winners and losers, judging who is righteous and worthy vs. who is not in and of itself even moral at all? I suspected that the answers would be a lot messier and more complicated than the utopian realization of John Lennon’s Imagine lyrics and lead to a great deal of conflict as people try to hash it all out. In the end, Aaru doesn’t really answer any of these questions, nor is it intended to, but it does speculate on what the answers of different people from different circumstances and indeed society at large might be. What I want people to get out of Aaru is an intensely emotional experience that stimulates some productive introspection even as they enjoy it as a compelling story about the fierce love of two sisters that transcends even death.

And as to the other question… Sometimes… J

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Interview with Theodore Ficklestein

An Interview with Theodore Ficklestein, author of A Day in the Life

Theodore Ficklestein is an author, blogger and poet. His books include This Book Needs A Title Volumes 1 and 2 and I Killed the Man Who Wrote This Book. His first novel Day In The Life will be published by Gen Z Publishing in 2017. His multiple blogs include This Blog Needs Sports, This Blog Needs Poetry and This Blog Needs Movies.

Some authors are able to pump out a novel a year and still be filled with inspiration. Is this the case for you, or do you like to let an idea percolate for a couple of years in order to get a beautiful novel?

I have actually been able to produce content out on a regular basis. I self-published my first book in 2013 and have written three books since then, so I am on pace to write a book a year. The only thing that stops me from writing books at a faster pace is focus on my writing elsewhere, like a blog or social media.

I have heard of writers that could only write in one place – then that cafe closed down and they could no longer write! Where do you find yourself writing most often, and on what medium (pen/paper or digital)?

I write in my office and I always write in pen. I try not to put my first draft in digital form. I remember a teacher saying how people are more elaborate in their writing when they actually write it. I tried to type some posts on one of my blogs and felt that there is something to writing it out first. I’m interested if there is a major difference when people write in script compared to print, since script is out of style for most people. I will say that my one requirement when I write is silence. I don’t like to write with music on or while watching tv.

Before going on to hire an editor, most authors use beta-readers. How do you recruit your beta-readers, and choose an editor? Are you lucky enough to have loving family members who can read and comment on your novel?

I don’t use beta readers. I have a few family members that I pitch my ideas to in order to get a readers take on it, even then I only summarize the work. The most I give them is the synopsis of the work and see how they respond to it. I never have anyone besides the editor manually look it over. I’m not really crazy about people (who are not the editor) criticizing my work before it is released. People will do that anyway, so I might as well stay as close to my original story as I can.

I walk past bookshops and am drawn in by the smell of the books – ebooks simply don’t have the same attraction for me. Does this happen to you, and do you have a favourite bookshop? Or perhaps you are an e-reader fan… where do you source most of your material from?

I have a Barnes and Noble by me that I love to go to. When I visit I normally have an idea on when I want to go because there is a book that I am looking for, but I still go to the literature fiction section to browse afterwards.

I used to find myself buying books in only one genre (fantasy) before I started writing this blog. What is your favourite genre, and do you have a favourite author who sticks in your mind from your different life stages?

I like the classics. I find an author and try to read all of their work. If I have not read any of the author, I cover their main stuff first. I like reading the unknown from the classic writers. That is where it is fun for me as a reader and I learn of stories that sometimes the writer never even intended on publishing.

Social media is a big thing, much to my disgust! I never have enough time myself to do what I feel is a good job. What do you do?

I manage the content I put up on all my social media accounts. I have found a company that helps with finding suitable followers for one of those accounts. I try to put out enough so people know I am doing something, but not too much where it takes too much of my time. It is a balancing act.

Answering interview questions can often take a long time! I try to make my questions as interesting as possible, is there anything else you wished I had asked? And tell me honestly… Are you ever tempted to recycle your answers from one to the next?

Perhaps something about where literature is going or a silly question, like if I could go to outer space with any author who would it be? I am tempted to copy and paste some of my answers for interviews, but I answer them honestly and if a bunch of interviewers ask the same question, I give them all the same answer because that is the only answer. For example, a lot of interviewers ask about my reading habits and I tell them all the same answer, classics, because that is what is in my library right now.

A post through Roger Charlie Book Promotions.

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