Kathryn Brown Ramsperger has been INTERVIEWED!!!

1.      What’s your name? Where can we find you? Blog? Twitter? Facebook?
 
Hello! My byline is Kathryn Brown Ramsperger, but feel free to call me Kathy.

You can order my debut novel at shoresofoursouls.com, and I have a blog tab there, too:

Shoresofoursouls.com/

You can find my short fiction at shoresofoursouls.com/media

Google me to find my other writing.
 
I’m also on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, and I’m getting the hang of Instagram and Pinterest. Here are some of my links:
Twitter: @kathyramsperger
2.      Other than writing, what is your favorite hobby or thing you enjoy for fun?
 
I try to read one new novel, and one of the classics every month.There is nothing like sitting by a window with your cats smelling the grass right after a rain, reading the afternoon away.  Although I love audio books because it lets me read more. I mix it up with nonfiction because I’m also a life and creativity coach. You can find more info on that at groundonecoaching.com. I love anything Creative: from fashion to photography, from singing to travel.  (Yes, I consider travel as a creative endeavor.) What brings it all together is a long, meditative walk in Nature. 

3.  How long have you been writing? What genres have you written? They don’t have to be published.

I’ve still got stories I wrote in grade school. The story I remember most was about an errant pumpkin. I wrote my first novel in college, but I never tried to get it published. My first full-time job was as a journalist. My entire career has involved writing: National Geographic and Kiplinger publications, poetry, publishing Red Cross & Red Crescent publications, and now writing nonfiction online. I breathe, therefore I write. Can’t imagine a day without it!

4.  What has been the greatest influence to your writing? Other authors, life experiences, etc…

Oh, countless people: My professors at Hollins University, especially Dara Weir and Richard Dillard; so many renowned writers who led me to the right avenue when I was searching down empty alleys; and my Southern family, who bottle fed me on The Story on long, lazy days rocking away the heat on a porch swing. 

My time living and working overseas inspired me to write about immigrants and refugees. I also get a lot of my stories sitting in cafes and observing when I travel. My biggest early influences were Ernest Hemingway and Eudora Welty. I wasn’t able to meet Hemingway, but I went to every reading I could find that Eudora Welty held. Her readings were workshop-like; she was a wonderful teacher, and she was a photographer as well. I get inspiration from every writer I meet. 

 5.  Are you currently writing anything now? If so tell us about it? If not make something up…

The most exciting fiction I’m working on right now is the sequel to my novel The Shores of Our Souls. Its working title is A Thousand Flying Things. It continues Dianna’s story, and Qasim may just show up. The first part of the novel takes place in Southern Sudan. Not the most conducive place to find the love of your life, but a great place to grow and learn who you really are. This part of the second novel is hugely autobiographical because I worked in Africa in the 1990s, though not in Sudan. I was also the one who looked through the countless photos of wounded children during war–photos deemed too graphic for the public, and that was an education about children in war and refugee families. Both are a a big part of this sequel. 

6.  How do you typically begin your projects? Do you create outlines and character profiles or jump in head first with the initial idea? And do you focus on just one at a time?

To tell you the truth, I wish I had a template for beginning a book project, but every one is unique and needs a different approach. I usually write first, then outline, then organize to the outline, then revise and revise. This way my characters lead me, and I don’t have to lead them. An image of a scene comes to me before I ever begin writing. My favorite way to start any project is with an interview. I interview my main characters, and that way they already have a voice when I begin to plot. I’ve never had writer’s block because it’s like meeting a friend for lunch every day. Ever had a lack of things to talk about with a good friend?

 7.  What aspect of your writing do you consider your strength? Your weakness?

I guess you can tell characterization is my strength. People tell me I’m good at dialogue, too. I close my eyes and I can see my story unfold like a movie, so my prose is pretty visual. I may have finally gotten plotting down to a science, but I struggled with it for years. So many wonderful books taught me the best techniques, and a shout out to Paula Munier who wrote the magical and practical Plot Perfect, which has become my encyclopedia for all things plot. I despise revision and proofreading, even though I’m good at both, because I’m obsessed with getting to the perfect final draft.  Which may be why I have an animosity toward them…my perfectionism.

 8. After publishing, the next trouble facing writers is marketing. What do you typically do when marketing your novel? Do you have tips you’d like to share?
I did marketing for the American Red Cross and then the International Red Cross & Red Crescent. When I told people what my job was, they’d ask me, “Why does the Red Cross need PR?” 
 
I’d answer: “Because if they didn’t have marketing, there would be no Red Cross. No one would know they existed.” 
 
The same is true for writers. It’s important to get the word out, and now we have social media as well as live book tours to engage our readers. If I hear about a way I can promote my book, I do it. I consider writing a business, and business means an investment in marketing.
 
My biggest tip: Get away from your computer and get to know people. Have conversations with as many people as you can. Ask how you can support them.  Ask them for feedback on your writing. Friends share their stories with you, buy your books, and spread the word about your writing. Friends want you and your writing to succeed. Just this morning, a friend gave me the seed for what may become my next short story, which takes place on the Mediterranean Sea. 

9. What advice would you give a writer who is starting out?
  • Apprentice with someone who is willing to mentor you. Remember the people who helped you and pass it on when you become more established.
  • Practice! Write until you find your own Voice.
  • Use grammarly. Or something like it. As someone who used to approve and reject nonfiction manuscripts, your writing had to be stellar if it had lots of typos. I was a nice editor; one or two typos were okay. More than that and it went in the trash.
  • Learn all you can about the publishing world itself, what they want, and what they don’t want. Which will change. Try to give them what they want. After you get your first big break, you can begin to write more of what you want.
  • My screensaver says: “Never, ever, ever give up!” Winston Churchill was supposed to have said that in the aftermath of World War II. Writing is its own kind of uphill battle, and there’s a reason my dad called me “the little engine that could.” My nonfiction got published early on in my life. My novel’s available today because of my persistence and resilience.
  • You’ve got what it takes if you desire to write. Now learn, practice, knock on doors, get up and dust yourself off if you get knocked down. Keep going. You’ve got this!
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Aaron Ozee has been INTERVIEWED!!!

Book Marketing Buzz Blog Interview (Q & A) – Conducted January 4, 2017

  1. What really inspired you to write your book, to force you from taking an idea or experience and conveying it into a book?

In my earlier years, crafting picture books portraying obscure narratives about mythical heroes and talking animals was merely a precursor to my future career as an author. Little did I know that my adventures in writing and publishing would lead me to become a bestselling American poet having published ten books and claimed six world records all before entering my sophomore year at the College of DuPage. And even though my talent for the written word developed around children’s literature, it never seemed logical to simplify my poetry for younger readers, but to my surprise after being influenced by those closest to me, My Darling Child Shiloh emerged from the furthest reaches of my creativity. The basis for my first children’s book didn’t just originate from the desire my readers expressed for a more youthful extension of my work, but from the fact that one vital element was missing from my creations – the love for my mother. Everything I’ve achieved since birth is because of her and is a debt that weighs gracefully on my shoulders that I may never be able to repay but certainly deserves the attention of my inherited abilities. Dedicating this book to my mother is more than a gesture of respect for a parent but a heartfelt honor that lies beneath my duty as a devoted son. Ever since My Darling Child Shiloh was officially released through Lulu Press back in August 2016, it has been ranked on six different bestseller lists and continues to receive national acclaim from prominent media outlets capturing the highlights of its growing success.

  1. What is it about and whom do you believe is your targeted reader?

The underlying story of My Darling Child Shiloh focuses on a particular day a boy named Shiloh and his mother are spending together in the wilderness enjoying the wonders of nature. Experiencing the simplicity of life by observing the pleasantries of their environment, they begin to understand the value that rests within the love shared between them and what it truly means to be joined as a family.

The intended audience of a book like this would primarily be children anywhere from 6-8 years old aiming to connect their developing minds to the purely concocted messages behind the series of events that gradually unfold throughout the story in the most intriguing way.

  1. What do you hope will be the everlasting thoughts for readers who finish your book? What should remain with them long after putting it down?

There are many benefits associated with reading a book, especially when that book pertains to a topic you find interesting and can relate to in one way or another. Books are more than just tools of personal entertainment or education but are gateways to other worlds apart from ours that allow you to express yourself without fearing the impact that everything in your exterior may have on your life. And giving that My Darling Child Shiloh depicts such a spirited, innocent, and lovable tether between mother and son, it grants the reader an opportunity to relive their greatest childhood memories word after word.

When parents read this book to their children, it is my sincerest hope that they sense the commitment my mother had for me growing up and ultimately feel the tenderness of the love we continue to share. The idea of maintaining the balance of family is not typically a priority that our generation cares about but shouldn’t taint the changing perspectives of those who look up to us. If there’s anything that should be taken from my book, it’s to appreciate those closest to you and never forget where you came from.

  1. What advice or words of wisdom do you have for fellow writers?

My advice to any aspiring author is simple: once you get going don’t stop rowing. Meaning that when you make your first move to enter this space you can never go back because once your name is out there it’s out there for good. Trust me, when I published my first poem on PoetryNation.com and shared it with all of my Facebook friends, I was nervous that they might think differently about me as an individual, but when the feedback started to roll in, confidence was the only thing that remained.

You have to understand that anyone can publish a book nowadays and be given the same opportunity as everyone else to make a name for themselves. The art of this equation that most fail to realize is that even though anyone can make the first step, how are you going to figure out what happens next? There’s no one there to stand beside you and walk you through the process from start to finish. It’s just you. For instance, I didn’t have someone advising my every decision as I published my first book when I was only 15 years old. I was still in high school and didn’t have the slightest clue what I was doing. But within the vast networks of the miracle we know today as the Internet, anything was possible and nothing stood in my way from success.

If you really want to become the best writer you can be, you need to utilize the information already available to you. Don’t try to go the traditional route, submit your manuscripts to big publishing houses, eagerly await their approval, and then find out they won’t accept works from unknown authors. Use your time wisely and do exactly what I did five years ago. Become best friends with your computer and go on an adventure you’ll never forget.

  1. What trends in the book world do you see and where do you think the book publishing industry is heading?

I’ve always had a passion for the written word being pressed unto printed paper. There’s just something about it that stimulates the senses differently compared to reading a book digitally. The publishing industry has definitely taken a turn recently and has begun to explore alternative avenues of manuscript distribution through the production of eBooks and audiobooks, which in their entirety, are promising in terms of accessibility and portability but just aren’t the same. Picking up a freshly bound book and caressing the matted paper and ink with your own two hands as you soak in the beauty behind every page is priceless. You can’t do that with a tablet.

The common misconception that consumers and even industry professionals alike have is that print is dying and will not be a medium of choice ten or twenty years from now. But actually, they’re mistaken. We live in a physical world that is focused around an epicenter of touch and without it would be not much of a world at all. You can’t take away an aspect of life from a daily enjoyment such as reading a book. That would be unspeakably cruel. And that is exactly why print media is far from going out of style and will certainly last longer than some might expect.

  1. What great challenges did you have in writing your book?

My Darling Child Shiloh assumed a firm poetic identity when it was drafted and was intended to be the headliner of a new anthology focused on the timeless qualities of life at its finest, but oddly pivoted at the last minute to a more gentle, serene, and visually-dependent piece. Now, my area of expertise depends on my ability to professionally compose and connect the rhythm of words, but hardly on the creation and placement of original illustrations. Partnering with Mallory Clark, the artist commissioned to visually represent the morals carefully inserted throughout My Darling Child Shiloh, was necessary for the completion and survival of the publication. You can’t craft a quality children’s book without unique artwork, and considering each picture was produced by hand over the course of three years, there’s nothing but originality in the book. Even though assembling imagery required the most effort, its debut in the marketplace proved that patience pays and is explicitly vital to the manufacturing of any masterful work of literature.

  1. If people can only buy one book this month, why should it be yours?

The merit of a book should be decided not by attractive casing that cloaks the pages or the description stamped on the back previewing what awaits within, but the dimension that lies just beyond the title. In My Darling Child Shiloh, there is more than meets the eye and is a gift that keeps on giving regardless of how many times you read it. You’re always uncovering details that you previously overlooked and seeing the finer realities that have been unnoticeably positioned in every word and illustration that collectively makes the story worth the wait as you follow the trail the characters place before you. If you’ve be searching for the perfect book to ease your thoughts or share with the family, you need look no further.

Lucie Babikian has been INTERVIEWED!!!

  1. What’s your name? Where can we find you? Blog? Twitter? Facebook?

My name is Lucie Babikian and you can find me on:

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/luciebabikianauthor

Twitter

https://twitter.com/LucieBabikian

Goodreads

https://goodreads.com/LucieBabikian

  1. Other than writing, what is your favorite hobby or thing you enjoy for fun?

I love reading, traveling, fashion, and my morning muay-thai boxing sessions.

  1. How long have you been writing? How many books have you written? They don’t have to be published.

I’ve been writing stories since I was in college, but I’ve never published anything and never thought I would get the opportunity to do so. I have, however, written some articles to an English magazine in Saudi Arabia.

  1. What genres do you like writing the most? And why? Is this genre the same as the one you prefer to read?

Romance has always been my preferred genre when picking my reads. But in the Middle East, access to English-language literature was limited, until the advent of e-book availability worldwide. With this new access, I discovered erotic romance, and it became my favorite genre. The new access to and connection with erotic romance changed my writing style and inspired me to pen my first erotic romance, Belonging To Him.

  1. Are you currently writing anything now? If so tell us about it? If not make something up…LBBelongingBookCover6x9_HIGH

Thank you for your interest! Yes, my second book is in process.

The setting this time is in California and Las Vegas, two places which I’ve visited recently and loved.

The story centers around a woman whose life changes when her own family abuses her trust in the most terrible ways and she has a one-night encounter with a man in the most unbearable situations. Although she’s ashamed of what she’s done, she can’t deny her attraction to him, but one thought makes it all bearable; she simply will never see him again.

Years later, she has a great job and a secure life. But her whole life turns upside down and her stability is jeopardized when she meets that man again.

She’s not what he thought she was and his trust in her is nonexistent, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t want her again. Only this time the game has changed, and with meeting again, both their lives will change forever. This work is still in its early stages and I’m currently working out the plot.

  1. How do you typically begin your projects? Do you create outlines and character profiles or jump in head first with the initial idea? And do you focus on just one at a time?

I usually have the initial idea and have a good knowledge of my characters, then I jump into writing and the story unravels as it goes.

  1. What aspect of your writing do you consider your strength? Your weakness?

With writing my characters, the better I know them, the easier and better writing my story becomes. My weakness is overcoming writers block, it’s a common problem I hear. I’m still trying to figure out faster ways to overcome it.

  1. After publishing, the next trouble facing writers is marketing. What do you typically do when marketing your novel? Do you have tips you’d like to share?

This is all so new to me and now I know how difficult it is as a writer to balance your time between your daily life responsibilities, marketing and writing your next book.

Online is my only source in marketing my book and I am lucky I’ve found a publicist to help me with this task. Social media, as well as reaching out to bloggers and reviewers, is a great place for me to find support and to connect with people who share my passion. And there are so many places where you can meet other amazing writers and readers as well, which helps with building connections and maybe even friendships. This is another dream for me, that I hope one day I will achieve.

  1. What advice would you give a writer who is starting out?

Talking from my own experience, it’s always been a dream for me to get my book published and because of where I live, I never thought it was possible. But I did it! And most definitely so can you! You just need to believe in yourself and never let any negativity get to you. You’ve written a book and that’s awesome! If you love what you do, and you want to share it with the world, never let anything stand in your way of achieving your goals. I wanted to share my book with the world and I’m happy I found the courage and determination to do it.

Darren Beyer has been INTERVIEWED!!!

  1. What’s your name? Where can we find you? Blog? Twitter? Facebook?

My name is Darren Beyer, and I’m a story teller. When I was six years old, my mother woke me in the middle of the night to watch one of the Apollo landings. I was hooked and knew at that moment I wanted to work in the space program. After I graduated from Virginia Tech, I was graced with a job offer from NASA at Kennedy Space Center. For nearly ten years I had one of the best jobs I could hope for: I got to crawl around spacecraft. I saw some amazing things including the Hubble Space Telescope and the first modules of the International Space Station. I climbed aboard  Space Shuttle orbiters just prior to launch to install experiments, and on landing did it again to remove them. I got to turn wrenches and operate cranes – all the things any kid at heart would love to do. After time, the excitement of the job waned and I moved on to more entrepreneurial ventures, but my fascination with space has not ebbed. Now I get to write about it, and I draw my NASA experiences to create realistic backdrops and technology. My name is Darren Beyer, and I’m a story teller. I can be found online at:

Blog: https://tek22.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tek22blog/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DarrenDBeyer
Web: http://www.DarrenBeyer.com

  1. Other than writing, what is your favorite hobby or thing you enjoy for fun?

I’m one of those people who must always have their mind going and I carry a number of interests. Sitting in my living room is a 370 gallon reef aquarium. I’ve been keeping saltwater aquariums for about 35 years and now I grow corals and keep happy fish. The “fun” of reef keeping doesn’t happen day to day – the corals grow so slow that you don’t get that instant gratification. But then 6 months or a year later when you compare photographs, you see just how much things have grown. I’m also an instrument-rated private pilot and try to stay in shape playing beach volleyball. I’m not sure I succeed at the staying in shape part.

  1. How long have you been writing? How many books have you written? They don’t have to be published.

The first time I put pen to paper for anything resembling fiction was during a creative writing class in college. I really didn’t learn anything other than how a “C” looks on a report card. The pen and paper were put away and I decided that writing must not be for me. Then about 15 years later I began to formulate a story and pulled back out that pen and paper – this time in the form of a laptop. That was a little more than 10 years ago. Telling a story is an art. Creating a story is like building a puzzle. I worked to create the most intricate puzzle I could as I believe realism lives in that intricacy, and realism is what makes a story believable. Casimir Bridge is the first of a three book series and is my first novel.

  1. What genres do you like writing the most? And why? Is this genre the same as the one you prefer to read?

I like to write what I call Smart Science Fiction. Rather than epic space battles and monster aliens, I like to focus on the character development, realism and technology. I want the reader to know what it feels like to stare up at something as grand as the Hubble Space Telescope, to feel your body shake and the air crackle as massive rockets carry a Space Shuttle into orbit, or to look out through the ruins of the Apollo 1 launch pad to waves crashing on the empty beach beyond. I strive to get the technology and science as correct as it can be. With so much misinformation floating around, if one of my readers can learn something real and true, then I’ve accomplished something.

When it comes to reading, I like “smart” novels as well. While science fiction, and to some extent fantasy, will always hold a place in my heart, I also enjoy thrillers and alternate history. I can work my way through a good Dan Brown novel in no time flat, and, as a student of history, the historic unknowns associated with stories from writers like Robert Conroy and Harry Turtledove have always fascinated me.

  1. Are you currently writing anything now? If so tell us about it? If not make something up…casmir

My debut novel, Casimir Bridge, is the first of the three book Anghazi series. As the first book, Casimir Bridge does much to set the stage, but only lightly delves into the true back story of the series. The second book, Desolation Bridge, is currently in work and reveals so much more about what’s behind all the plot twists and conspiracy. I literally can’t wait to finish this second novel and tell so much more of the universe it took me ten years to develop.

  1. How do you typically begin your projects? Do you create outlines and character profiles or jump in head first with the initial idea? And do you focus on just one at a time?

Before I begin a project, I have a core event envisioned, along with a basic idea of the backdrop. I then develop some key scenes and envision the characters that will work within them. From there I develop the main protagonist(s) and antagonist then just start writing. This is where the puzzle aspect begins to come into play. It’s like I’ve found all the straight-edge pieces and now I need to fill in the middle. I’ll develop a scene, or string of scenes, then find a gap. “That wouldn’t make sense because…” Then I create something to fill that gap, in some cases creating even more gaps that need to be addressed. By working through each of those puzzles with Casimir Bridge, I was able to create an intricate universe that comes across as believable.

  1. What aspect of your writing do you consider your strength? Your weakness?

My background in space travel and technology gives me insight that few others have into how the science part of science fiction really works. It allows me to insert realism into a fantasy setting. If I don’t know the answer to a technical question, I seek it out until I’m sure it is as close to correct as it can be. For Casimir Bridge, I needed to know more about nuclear forensics so I interviewed experts from a major government nuclear research facility. I wanted to make sure my assumptions on things like antimatter were correct so I interviewed a particle physicist from Fermilab, a U.S. facility that creates and studies antimatter. I feel that authors who gloss over the science, history and facts, or, worse yet, get them wrong, do a disservice to their readers.

When it comes to intimate or personal moments, I have a hard enough time with them in my real life, so it’s no mystery to me why I have such a difficult time writing about them in fiction. Fortunately I have an excellent developmental editor who helps me past some of my hangups.

  1. After publishing, the next trouble facing writers is marketing. What do you typically do when marketing your novel? Do you have tips you’d like to share?

Marketing is a universal problem – not just for writers. Some of the best ideas for business have failed simply because the marketing savvy wasn’t there to back them up. For writers it’s even more difficult because there is literally a sea of choices for readers to choose from. In my business life I learned long ago that if you don’t have the talent or know-how to do something very well, hire someone who does. Unless a writer is a book marketer by profession, then hiring a marketing/PR agency is a great move. Such a company will take a writer places they never would have gotten on their own.

  1. What advice would you give a writer who is starting out?

There is one piece of advice that I feel everyone should know. If you are writing your first book, hire a developmental editor after you get your first 25-30% of the manuscript done. Actually, hire the right developmental editor. I hired two. The first one came back with limited feedback. “Wow,” I thought, “I must either be a prodigy who hit a home run my first time at bat, or I need a new developmental editor.” I’m pretty sure I’m not a prodigy so I went to my second. You know those pictures of alien cattle mutilations? Child’s play. This editor eviscerated my manuscript – but in a very constructive way. At first I was crushed, but then I did a cover to cover rewrite and performed wholesale slaughter of certain characters and scenes. The result was far superior and is my debut novel: Casimir Bridge.

Columbo: The Hoover Files

BOOK 4: The Game Show Killer  by  William Harrington

BOOK 5: The Glitter Murder

Columbo: The Hoover Files   description:

Tell-all biographer Betsy Clendenin was many celebrities’ worst fear. But when she began writing a book that would expose secrets buried in the notorious Hoover files, someone decided she’d gone too far. A mail bomb soon sends her, and the evidence she’s unearthed, up in flames. The killer thinks he’s pulled off the perfect crime, but what he doesn’t realize is that “perfect crimes” are Columbo’s specialty.

hooverBOOK 6: The Hoover Files   5 STARS

My favorite so far, and it was perhaps the trickiest Columbo has ever had to get, and the first time I’ve seen it where he didn’t have a bead on the killer right from the beginning. Of course since the killer really had very little connection to Betsy, and with a bomb to destroy any evidence you can’t really blame him. Yet, even as he struggles with the main case he manages to solve several others along the way. This book didn’t really feel like the other ones, and I think in part because it was dealing with the memory of a real person, J. Edgar Hoover, but I did like how it tied in with past cases. Like I’ve said before, you have to read these in order. A lot of old detective novels like these tend to be set up where you can read them in whatever order you want, and I fell for that mistake, but you do need to read them in order to get the full understanding of the story out of it. Still you get the wonderful Columbo we all know and love, and the view of how much other respect and look up to him. These books improve on the show, and that’s a rarity that makes this series definitely worth checking out.

Elaine Taylor has been INTERVIEWED!!!

Taylor sitting in LR1.    What’s your name? Where can we find you? Blog? Twitter? Facebook?

Elaine Taylor

Website & Blog: KarmaDeception.com

Facebook: Elaine Taylor, author

Twitter: @eTaylor_author

2.    Other than writing, what is your favorite hobby or thing you enjoy for fun?

Love hosting dinner parties! Since we moved to North Carolina three years ago, we have met the most fascinating people. A woman who leads custom safaris in Africa, a man who lectures about Supreme Court rulings. One of the first American women to do business in Hong Kong, a doctor who went to Liberia as a volunteer during the Ebola crisis. A pro bono lawyer who advocates for children, a man who counsels third-world countries on how to set up their economies. I always end the evening knowing things I didn’t know before. (Not to mention getting character and plotline ideas!)

3.    How long have you been writing? How many books have you written? They don’t have to be published.

Four books! In the mid-90’s, two characters took up residence in my days waking/sleeping conscious. Stephen, a “sexual connoisseur.” Catherine, owner of ETC, Emerging Technology Consultants, who had a sex-only relationship with Stephen. (Was he ever liberating! And instructive …) Stephen ended up dead; Catherine was framed for his murder. I started writing a few vignettes—because I never imagined I could write a whole novel. I mean, I had a life, right? Had to make a living. But you know how insistent these characters can be. A few years later FINAL BETRAYAL became a reality—my first suspense novel. Second came FINAL CONSEQUENCE. After that I worked on a project that is still a work in progress (or maybe it’s a work not worth progressing—TBD.) I’ve just published KARMA, DECEPTION And a Pair of Red FERRARIS: A Memoir.

4.    What genres do you like writing the most? And why? Is this genre the same as the one you prefer to read?

I love reading and writing suspense novels. Love the challenge of untangling the mystery—both as a reader and writer. The memoir was a fluke—something I never intended to write. But, as a real-life “character” I have traveled an unusual path through universal stories that many people struggle with. Childhood betrayals and loss led me to grow a heart as tough as armadillo hide—an unintentional consequence of which was that I shut out love as well as pain. As a woman clawing her way in a man’s world I defined “emotional strength” as all sharp-edges and impenetrable boundaries. I had to relearn that tenderness and vulnerability are the DNA of true emotional strength. Only after that did I find the long-lasting love for which I so yearned. I wrote KARMA DECEPTION to inspire, and perhaps offer a roadmap for, others who are walking a similar path. (Feedback I have received from readers has been very gratifying.)

5.    Are you currently writing anything now? If so tell us about it? If not make something up…

Am in the early stages of plotting the third suspense novel, FINAL (SOMETHING). It will include the serial characters; and involve the kidnapping of a child—with a twist.

6.    How do you typically begin your projects? Do you create outlines and character profiles or jump in head first with karmathe initial idea? And do you focus on just one at a time?

Definitely one at a time. I eat, drink and sleep (cliché alert) the book I am writing!

I write with no formal outline; but I know essentially how the story begins and ends. I have a strong idea of who the protagonist/antagonist and the other major players are. Then I sit quietly and envision the major plot points (beginning, end of the beginning, midway recommitment, dark night of the soul, climax, resolution) for the journey the main characters will take. (I learned this invaluable plotting technique from Martha Alderson.) Next, I build in-depth backstories for all major characters. Then I’m ready to begin writing scene drafts and filling in the plot points. (By then I will have an expandable folder full of character/story notes that will advise the writing.) Plot is invariably modified as I write; but at least I know where I’m going. Kind of like planning a vacation: once I decide I’m going to Cannes, I have a gazillion options on how to get there.

7.    What aspect of your writing do you consider your strength? Your weakness?

Story structure is my strength. When we analyze the stories that have endured through the ages, virtually all of them have consistent craft elements that make them resonate with readers. (Except, of course, French movies—which only the French seem to understand!) So I spent two decades studying story craft elements such as how to create conflict, wounded (=interesting/multi-dimensional) characters, plotting the story arc, character growth/arc, dialogue that moves the story forward (not “just talk”), scene setting, etc.

Major weakness? Literary writing (whatever that means); and punctuation! I, too, like ellipses … ;-}

8.    After publishing, the next trouble facing writers is marketing. What do you typically do when marketing your novel? Do you have tips you’d like to share?

Well, the big buzz is social media. Which I am neither good at, nor like. (Although I do like writing blogposts.) So I am going about marketing KARMA DECEPTION the old-fashioned way: I hired a phenomenal publicist to kick-start the process!

9.    What advice would you give a writer who is starting out?

·      study the craft of storytelling—not just “writing”; expect to practice the craft elements for a long time before they come naturally

·      take as many classes/workshops from reputable well-established professionals as possible. (I’ve been writing for over twenty years, and am always on the lookout for good classes.)

·      don’t ask friends and Mom to be your critics; find a critique group that knows something about telling stories; and gives feedback based on solid story craft. (I have found myself in critique groups that wanted to tell where I should have put a comma or conjugated a verb differently … and I’m outta there! For me, that kind of editing is best done by a professional, as the last step before publication. A great critique group helps me figure out how to create page-turning conflict and characters a reader will want to spend hours with and be sorry to let go of at the end. If I don’t do that, no one will ever discover my poor punctuation.)

·      writing a book is really hard; and all writers (myself included) believe they can knock out a bestseller in one draft. Not likely. KARMA DECEPTION underwent five (5!) full rewrites before I even got to the heart of the story I was telling; and before I knew how to tell it.

·      Send your ego on a years’ long walk-about in a land faraway. Writing good books ain’t for the crying, fainting easily-offended types. Because no matter how good a book you write—or how many rave reviews you get—more than one somebody is going to hate it.

Eric Wilder has been INTERVIEWED!!!

Drbbblavi1. What’s your name? Where can we find you? Blog? Twitter? Facebook?

Eric C. Wilder

Ello: @ericwilder

Twitter: @grimmreport

Tumblr: Grimmreport

Google+: +Grimm Report

2. Other than writing, what is your favorite hobby or thing you enjoy for fun?

I might tell you that I’m also a designer, or a blogger. What I should say is that I spend the majority of my time responding to the whims of my adorable children.

3. How long have you been writing? How many books have you written? They don’t have to be published.IHumpty_Kindle

We have been writing nearly as long as we have been reading. I, Humpty is the first book that I have written.

4. What genres do you like writing the most? And why? Is this genre the same as the one you prefer to read?

Satire. I make jokes when I get nervous, and writing make me very nervous. I’ll read just about anything. Writing is a constant learning process for me. New ideas can come from anywhere.

5. Are you currently writing anything now? If so tell us about it? If not make something up…

I’ve always got something going on in the back of my mind. Sorry, I can’t give you any details at the moment.

6. How do you typically begin your projects? Do you create outlines and character profiles or jump in head first with the initial idea? And do you focus on just one at a time?

Every good story begins with a glass of wine. Then, after two or three, I’m thoroughly convinced that I’m at least as half as creative as Hemingway ever was, or at least nearly as intoxicated.

7. What aspect of your writing do you consider your strength? Your weakness?

My brevity. My Speling.

8. After publishing, the next trouble facing writers is marketing. What do you typically do when marketing your novel? Do you have tips you’d like to share?

After publishing I spread the word using carrier pigeon and twitter, but only one of those methods is actually effective.

9. What advice would you give a writer who is starting out?

Write every day. Learn to accept criticism. Never get complacent. And never eat an apple given to you by a stranger.

The Silkworm

BOOK 1: The Cuckoo’s Calling  by  Robert Galbraith

The Silkworm   description:

When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, Mrs. Quine just thinks her husband has gone off by himself for a few days—as he has done before—and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home.

But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine’s disappearance than his wife realizes. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows. If the novel were to be published, it would ruin lives—meaning that there are a lot of people who might want him silenced.

When Quine is found brutally murdered under bizarre circumstances, it becomes a race against time to understand the motivation of a ruthless killer, a killer unlike any Strike has encountered before..

silkwormBOOK 2: The Silkworm   5 STARS

I would say that it’s better than the first… but it’s so different you can’t really compare… both have Strike investigating crimes that are so unusual… though while the first one about half way through I had a pretty good idea who the killer was but with this one I didn’t have a clue until the accusation came out of Strikes mouth… it was a twisty story where every little piece of info counts… but I spent the whole time thinking it could be anyone… but when you get to the end… and that ending was a surprise… suddenly everything makes sense… and I’m already rereading it just so I can see it all come together again… I will say you have to pay attention because there are so many layers to the story as you see the actual characters and then the symbolic characters and trying to keep that straight was a bit of a struggle… because the victim is a writer and his latest book is a big factor in solving the case… and for all that complained about it in the first book… the F word has been cut down on a great deal but any comfort you might gain from that will be thrown out the window due to the dark and disturbing nature of the investigation… and the imagery that is used due to the victim being an author that apparently liked making people sick to their stomachs… all I’m saying is that if you can’t handle someone saying the F word you might not be able to handle this… but I thought it was masterfully done and what I really love most about these books is the detail that is put into it… I feel like I can see everything and you get these great descriptions of people that instantly feels like you know them while using very little of the book to do so… because with so many characters you’d think Galbraith would have to waste a lot of paper on introducing them but the story is told in a way that everything is built up while being very necessary and useful so no dragging… no wasted moments…

The one thing I do think got a bit repetitive especially since Strike mentioned it several times in the first book… is the fact how Strike kept thinking how glad he was that Robin was engaged because that kept things for getting complicated… and while in the beginning that sort of made sense considering the relationship he just got out of and the fact that he didn’t know Robin well at the time… now that they’ve really developed a good partnership and things are moving forward I found such comments a bit off-putting… it’s almost like if she was single then she would somehow make their partnership sexually tense… and while if she was single there’s always that chance of a relationship I find him thinking it would have to happen slightly conceited… yet even so it wasn’t enough to really in any way hamper the story but I do think in the next book such thoughts can be let go unless Galbraith really intends to make something romantic happen between them… which honestly I hope doesn’t happen… there’s something just nice about their working relationship that feels almost Holmes and Watsonish… altogether an amazing book and I’m just frustrated I’ll have to wait for a third…

Mark Cantrell has been INTERVIEWED!!!

Mark Cantrell Author1. What’s your name? Where can we find you? Blog? Twitter? Facebook?

Mark Cantrell

In ‘real space’ I live in Stoke-on-Trent, England, and commute to Manchester where I work as a journalist on a trade journal covering (for the most part) the social housing sector. In the virtual world, I can be found at:

Website/blog: http://www.markcantrell.co.uk

Twitter: @Man0Words

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MarkCantrell.Author

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/814446.Mark_Cantrell

2. Other than writing, what is your favorite hobby or thing you enjoy for fun?

These days I can’t say that I have much in the way of hobbies. Sure, I’m an avid reader, I also enjoy watching a good movie, but somewhere along the line I’ve become something of a workaholic.

If I’m not actually writing – or doing those ever-multiplying non-writing jobs that come with the territory – then I am stressing about the writing. What can I say, the words have kind of taken over.

There’s a lot of good television I’ve missed out on because of this. I’ve never seen Game of Thrones, or Firefly (though I did catch Serenity – excellent movie!), or Breaking Bad, or… well, I’ll catch up someday.

At least I’ve still got the books. If the writing ever eats away my reading, then I’ll know I’m in trouble.

So, hobbies are a bit thin on the ground, but there’s always beer and a chat with mates, and I seem to be developing a curious addiction to DIY.

3. How long have you been writing? How many books have you written? They don’t have to be published.

It’s been a long time now, longer if I care to look back at what I often think of as my creative origins.

Around 1986, I got into adventure games for the ZX Spectrum computer and started developing my own, which I sold myself mail order until an outfit called Zenobi Software picked them up.

From this, I guess it was almost a natural progression to turn my head to more conventional writing pursuits. I started writing articles in 1989, having discovered the wannabe journo bug, and the following year I turned my hand to fiction when I wrote my first short story (actually, it turned out to be more like a novella). From there it took off.

Since then, I’ve written four novels and a fair few short stories. The first novel was pretty much an exercise in writing a long piece of fiction. I guess I’d have to say it’s not very good, but I remain proud of it, and it did teach me a thing or two.

My second novel, Citizen Zero, I started writing in the tail end of my student days. After spending years touting it around publishers and agents, I finally released it myself in 2010 as an ebook. It wasn’t my original intention to self-publish, but I felt that outside events had kind of forced my hand.

The novel is a science fiction thriller in the dystopian tradition. From the outset, it was intended to be a cautionary tale about the dangers society faces if we trade in our civil liberties for perceived security, and allow notions of social justice to be abandoned or turned against us. I wanted to set out a warning about how politicians could transform the Welfare State into an integral part of a surveillance society and use it for purposes of enforcing social control on all of us.

Lo and behold, in 2010 the Conservative-led Coalition took office and embarked on its programme of austerity and welfare reform (although in the interests of balance, I should point out that the previous Labour Government did its fair share of laying down the ‘backstory’ for the novel). Since then, as I’ve watched the Government’s policies unfold through the media, it’s steadily come to feel as if current affairs is writing the novel’s prequel for me.

My third novel, Silas Morlock, published by Inspired Quill late last year, is a different beast entirely. It’s an urban gothic fantasy, and something of a homage to Fahrenheit 451, so even if it has echoes, it’s a far cry from the provocative social satire of Citizen Zero. Even so, I trust it’s every bit as thought-provoking.

Like kids, you don’t really have a favourite (do you?) and it’s the same with my books, but out of my current crop I think I’d have to say I’m proudest of Silas Morlock.

That leaves number four still languishing. I’ve been kind of distracted by the publication of the previous two (and the long slog to master the art of writing a synopsis) so I have yet to pick up where I left off and seek its publication.

This book is called “In Workers’ Paradise”, by the way, and I call it my ‘accidental novel’. Originally, it was meant to be a novella, but it kept going long enough to make it as a novel. In terms of describing it, I’m still working it all out. The more I ponder it, the weirder the book seems to me. Anyway, I often refer to it as a kind of ‘future nostalgia’; it’s a fantasy memoir and – off the top of my head – I think it’s the only piece of fiction I’ve written in the first person.

Some day, I’ll pick it up again and try and do something with it.

4. What genres do you like writing the most? And why? Is this genre the same as the one you prefer to read?Silas Morlock Cover

That’s a difficult question to answer, because I largely write to the idea with the genre – or genres – trailing behind. On the whole, I tend to think of genre as the colours on an artist’s palette, there to be mixed and matched to the vision emerging on the canvass.

Broadly speaking, I’d say I’m most comfortable writing a mixture of science fiction, fantasy and horror. These tend to reflect my favored reading tastes.

Over the years, I’ve got used to referring to myself as a science fiction author, though I remain wary of the term since I know – I mean I really know – that hard science fiction writers could blow me out of orbit. If pushed, I always confess that strictly speaking I’m probably not a science fiction writer; well, maybe I write the softer variety.

The thing is, when describing my work to friends and associates, they’ve tended to respond “that sounds like science fiction” so over the years it’s become simpler to go with the flow and nod my head. The truth is, as I mentioned above, I write for the story and only then do I start to think about what genres might apply.

5. Are you currently writing anything now? If so tell us about it? If not make something up…

Currently, I’m working on a short story that’s been lying fallow for a decade or so. It’s no big deal as stories go, I guess, but I’ve been that busy with servicing the publication of my two novels, and focused on the journo side of my writing, that I feel the fiction has become rather neglected. So this story is a project to get me back into the flow of fiction again.

Also, the short fiction fell by the wayside while I was working on the novels, so I just want to write some more shorter works. They bring a whole different set of challenges. I think I’m a better novelist than I am a writer of short stories, so it will be good to get a few more under my belt.

That said, I’ve got a couple of novel ideas waiting in the wings. I’m keen to get them underway. I think once I’ve got this short story finished, the next short project will find itself in a fistfight with these novels to win my attention. I have no idea which of them is going to emerge victorious.

6. How do you typically begin your projects? Do you create outlines and character profiles or jump in head first with the initial idea? And do you focus on just one at a time?

There’s only one word to describe me – a ‘pantster’. The truth is I am an ill-disciplined writer. I tend to dive in head first with the writing and then plan and outline as I go along. Often as not, the outlines become drafts in themselves as situations take shape in my head, and then dialogue starts spilling out of my characters’ mouths, so in many respects the outlining and planning is difficult to untangle from the actual writing.

I find that writing has much in common with doodling, at least in the earliest phases. A lot of ideas emerge out of the ether when I just play around with half-formed notions that flit through my head. Occasionally, these crystallise into some kind of shape strong enough to grab my attention, and before I know it the doodling becomes serious writing.

On the whole, I need a trigger. When an idea detonates in my head, or else a doodle takes sudden form, that’s when I find myself pulled into a world of writing. I almost have no control over it; indeed, exerting some kind of control can subdue the flow of ideas if I’m not careful (that’s a mistake I made with a couple of projects I put to one side a few years back, but fortunately not before I got that first rush of outline and drafting done so that I’ve got something solid to pick up and run with).

The trigger can be anything: a character who pops into my head, or a scene, a line of dialogue, sometimes even a title has been known to trigger a writing project. Some of these need more background work than others to devise plots and broad story arcs, but I usually have a good idea of where the story is going when I make a start, even if I don’t know how I’m going to get there.

Take Silas Morlock, the idea popped into my head in the pub as I was downing a pint. I often joke that the idea slithered down my neck with the dregs of the beer. The trigger was the sudden notion of two people meeting in a bar to conduct a transaction for contraband material. In this case the ‘drugs’ were books. Quite why books were being traded in this illicit fashion, why they were illegal, and who were the two people involved in the deal were the questions that took me into the heart of the book that subsequently emerged.

As I said, I’m a ‘panster’ so Silas Morlock was outlined and plotted and written simultaneously. And a delightfully dark journey it was too.

7. What aspect of your writing do you consider your strength? Your weakness?

In all honesty, one of the greatest weaknesses in my writing is probably also one of its greatest strengths. That is, I’ve been told my work is rather introspective. My characters are frequently misfits and outsiders, thrown into situations and events outside their immediate control, so they are often getting to know themselves and their circumstances just as much as the reader is.

This introspection no doubt reflects me – I’m quite an introspective person – but I also think in some respects it’s a reflection of the way I write. I’m big on using multiple points of view (POV) throughout a story (with suitable scene breaks when the POV shifts), where the narration is conducted from the perception of the character concerned. In some ways, it’s kind of like riding piggy back inside their heads; putting it another way, when I’m writing it often feels like I’m acting out their part in my head.

I like to think my work has layers and hidden depths, there for the reader to discern if they feel so inclined. Hopefully, my stories can be read for entertainment value alone, but it’s my aspiration (at least) to have a little something to say, to challenge readers to dig a little deeper into the narrative and be, well, challenged.

I’ll defend to the hilt, the freedom of an author to write stories that set out to straight up entertain and nothing more; I’ll also defend the freedom of an author to delve deeper into the human condition, to set out to philosophize, to provoke thought, to say something, and take their story beyond just entertainment.

I guess I’m confessing to literary aspirations, but I loathe that imposed division between ‘literary’ and ‘genre’ that raises the former on a pedestal and tries to demean the latter as trivial. I’ve read plenty of thought-provoking material on serious matters in works otherwise dismissed as genre. On the flipside, I’ve read enough pointless drivel praised as literary to find the snobbery tedious (but, hey, I guess that’s me just showing my ‘hoi polloi’ mind – I just didn’t get it). But this isn’t the place for that discussion; it’s an essay in itself.

To give a more conventional answer, I’ve been complimented on the strength of my dialogue in the past. Now, that’s great to hear because I do regard dialogue as a potential weakness in my writing, but it’s also left me wary of stumbling over my characters’ words in future. So, I face a little extra trepidation there.

Beyond that, well I don’t know if it’s a weakness as such, but I’d have to say I have never yet written a first sentence that I’m entirely happy with. I don’t know how many writers would say the same thing, but I certainly remain in pursuit of that perfect opening line. Maybe I’ll find it someday. Then again, maybe it’s something I should never find – it’s the chase that keeps us moving.

Citizen Zero Cover8. After publishing, the next trouble facing writers is marketing. What do you typically do when marketing your novel? Do you have tips you’d like to share?

What do I typically do when marketing my novel? Make a mess of it, mostly. I am hopeless at promoting my work. Marketing is largely a mystery to me. It’s something I’m still picking up and trying to make sense of it all, so I am not the best person to ask for marketing advice by a long shot.

To be honest, I don’t quite feel comfortable with the marketing side of things. In fact, I downright distrust it. It’s a journo thing, I guess. In the day job, I often have to fend off marketing types trying to pass off non-stories as news just so they can get some free advertising for their clients. It’s the newsroom equivalent of cold calling salespeople trying to flog you double glazing you neither want nor need.

9. What advice would you give a writer who is starting out?

This is a tricky one to answer, but with the last question still echoing in my head, I’ll make a potentially rather subversive suggestion: don’t subordinate your writing to the marketing. Or to put it another way, don’t write for the ‘market’ and don’t write for the ‘reader’ – these are both abstract generalizations.

We can’t second guess all those millions of flesh and blood people out there who read fiction, be they novels or short stories, no matter the genre or style; we can’t predict how they’ll respond to our work, all we can do is write to the best of our ability and stretch ourselves so that we grow and develop as writers.

Marketing crunches the numbers, it mines the data and the demographics, it trawls the waters of what’s been published to build the models and abstracted generalizations it hopes will provide it the means to sell more books and stories (or if you want to be cynical, help reach into people’s wallets). In short, it’s trying to second guess the future by quantifying the past. In so doing, I’d suggest it tends to end up clipping the wings of the present.

As writers, we’re creating something new. And the new cannot be quantified until it has spread its wings and flown. So, I’d say to a writer starting out, be true to yourself and to your writing; write for the story, write for the ideas that fire your imagination, write to see where it takes you.

 

T.S. Krupa has been INTERVIEWED!!!

T.S.1. What’s your name? Where can we find you? Blog? Twitter? Facebook?
TS Krupa! You can find me on

Twitter @ts_krupa

Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/TSKrupaAuthor

website: http://www.tskrupa.com

2. Other than writing, what is your favorite hobby or thing you enjoy for fun?
I really like to read! I haven’t had much time in the last couple years because I have been finishing up my doctorate but I hope to get back to it as I have a very long list of books to catch up on.

3. How long have you been writing? How many books have you written? They don’t have to be published.
I have been writing my whole life! At first it was mostly journals and then it transitioned into school work – papers, articles, presentations. Most recently I started fiction writing again in 2013. This is my first novel.

4. What genres do you like writing the most? And why? Is this genre the same as the one you prefer to read?
I like writing in Romance/Contemporary literature. I like to write stories that I can related to and that can take your mind off of everyday problems for a little bit. I like to read everything so I bounce all over various genre’s in the books that I tend to read.

5. Are you currently writing anything now? If so tell us about it? If not make something up…safe and sound
I have been doing research for my upcoming novel. It centers around a mother-daughter relationship and the adventures and hardships that come with raising a child alone. It will be set in New Hampshire and follow the pair to Colorado as the daughter becomes a rising phenom in her sport.

6. How do you typically begin your projects? Do you create outlines and character profiles or jump in head first with the initial idea? And do you focus on just one at a time?
I do not do very much outlining! My grade school teachers would cringe over this but I don’t find it very helpful. I always have an idea and know (for the most part) where I want that idea to go but there are always surprises when writing. I do focus on one story at a time but when I get an idea I do write that down to save it for later when I can address it more fully.

7. What aspect of your writing do you consider your strength? Your weakness?
My strength is my ability to just sit down and write often times for hours with a pretty good stream of thought and ideas. My weakness is my grammar and spelling! I would be lost without spell check.

8. After publishing, the next trouble facing writers is marketing. What do you typically do when marketing your novel? Do you have tips you’d like to share?
I work full time so I knew that I would not have the time to market well so I made the decision to partner up with a social media specialist at Royal Social Media. They have been a dream to work with and we have been able to create a plan in which we are currently executing.

9. What advice would you give a writer who is starting out?
Always ask yourself, ‘Why not me?’. This helped me whenever I was getting discouraged or frustrated. I would think about all the other people doing things they loved and putting themselves out there and that I could do it too!