Category Archives: Author Interview

Author Interview: ‘Rise of Light Series’ by H.M Gooden

About the Series:

Dream of Darkness

(Rise of Light Series Book 1)

Tired of moving yet again, Cat McLean finds herself in the town of Valleyview when her dad is transferred to a new job. Along with her older sister Vanessa, she must find a way to fit into another new school for what feels like the millionth time. And if that wasn’t enough to deal with, shortly after their move, Cat and Vanessa are involved in a near-fatal car accident. Waking to find that she has the ability to see auras and to heal others, Cat is horrified to also discover an ancient evil that means to destroy her new home. Cat must join forces with her sister and a new friend to defeat it, or die in the attempt. Will she learn how to harness her new powers before the darkness comes for them? Or will she succumb to the darkness she fears?

 

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Excerpt from Dream of Darkness

The girls finished lunch without any attention from other students, other than an occasional glance. As they walked back to the office, Cat tried to avoid catching anyone’s eye, wishing again that she was more outgoing or had a thicker skin. Vanessa stopped abruptly and Cat had to pull up short to avoid running into her.

“How’s the first day working out?”

A boy Cat didn’t know smiled at them and she felt herself color involuntarily.

Damn it!

“So far so good!” Vanessa chirped.

The boy flashed another smile, and be damned if his hair didn’t appear to ripple when he moved. He looked like a movie star, with his dark blond hair, dimples and grey eyes. He was probably about six feet tall, slightly taller than Cat, and well built. He looked directly at Cat, giving another blinding, toothy smile.

“We haven’t met, but I guess you must be Catherine. It’s not every day we get new students. I’m Declan Boyer. I’m in History with your sister.”

Cat found herself feeling uncomfortable, but not because of his good looks. A weird, cold, and empty sensation washed over her. It felt completely out of place in the bright hallway, standing next to a guy who could be a homecoming hero.

“Hey, nice to meet you, too. It’s Cat. Um, people call me Cat, generally.” She managed to croak out her reply, wincing at how dumb she must sound.

Vanessa immediately noticed she was off and came to her rescue.

“Hey, Declan, do you know who we’d talk to about a track or running team? Cat was on the team back home before we moved and wants to try out here.”

He nodded. “Of course! You want to talk to Ms. Fisk. She’s the Art and Music teacher, but doubles as the cross-country coach. There aren’t a lot of teachers here, I mean, the school only has 300 students from grade nine to twelve, so a lot of the teachers double as coaches.” He looked at his watch. “I have a few minutes, I’d be happy to take you to her office.”

Cat followed behind Vanessa and Declan, trying to figure out what felt so off. It was more than her usual discomfort with new people. This felt bigger and she knew she needed to listen to the feeling. It reminded her of the time she’d gone swimming with Vanessa and some of the neighbourhood kids. She’d refused to jump off the dock into the water when she was dared, walking out instead because of a weird feeling she’d had telling her not to do it. The next kid who’d jumped had hit a broken board and torn their leg badly. She had the same cold, dark feeling now that she’d had while wading in the water that day. Something about this beautiful guy made her as scared as she’d been back then.

“And here you go!” said Declan, bowing and waving his arm as though producing a rabbit out of a hat. “Ms. Fisk, in person.”

A short and powerfully built Asian woman in her mid-forties smiled at him.

“Oh, Declan, always the charmer!” she said, as she fluttered and preened at his attention.

Declan smiled suavely, turning back to Cat. “I hope you find what you need. I’m on my way to a quick drama club meeting before lunch is over.”

Vanessa straightened up, looking interested in something for the first time. Declan noticed and extended the invite to her.

“We’re planning the show for the annual spring review.  It’s going to be a big one this year. We could use more players, if you’re interested in joining us.”

Vanessa looked at Cat with excitement. “Do you want to come?”

Cat shook her head. “You go ahead. I’ll be busy here for awhile. I’ll meet you outside after school, at the parking lot doors.”

Vanessa smiled and gave a quick ‘see ya’ wave, before turning and following Declan down the hall without looking back.

Cat watched them walk away, still feeling an odd sense of unease, turning to see Ms. Fisk watching Declan walk away fondly. Ms. Fisk switched her attention to Cat, giving her a friendly once over.

“So, what brings you here today? Are you a budding artiste, looking for extra work perhaps? A musician? What can I help you with today, my dear?”

Cat smiled, finding the friendly warmth from the teacher relaxing after the oddness that had come with meeting Declan.

“Sorry, no. I’m not the artist in my family. But I’d heard you were the person to talk to about a cross-country or distance running club? I was on the track and cross-country team at my last school. I’d like to continue here, unless I missed try-outs, or whatever.” Cat felt calm asking this teacher, warming to her open and attentive face.

Ms. Fisk smiled, regretfully. “Well, the track team is done until spring, but we do have cross-country into November, depending on weather. It isn’t a very large group, so there’s no need for try-outs. I can introduce you to the other students at the next practice on Wednesday and you can consider yourself officially a part of the team now, if you want. The last actual meet is in a couple of weeks.”

Cat took down the rest of the information on a corner of a notebook, promising to be at the practice. Maybe she’d get a chance to talk to someone outside of class in an environment she was comfortable in. Feeling more optimistic than before, Cat checked her schedule and headed to her next class, English. Apparently they were learning Shakespeare, according to the titles on her book list. She sighed again, and prayed to whoever listened to high school students. Please spare me from a group read along…

 

 What people are saying:

The plot of H. M. Gooden’s novel is fun, but the best part of the book is the relationship between the two sisters. There’s a little jealousy and a period of great guilt, but mostly there’s love and support shared between both girls. When Gooden throws in Evelyn, a mutual friend with powers of her own, the picture is complete and the girls are ready to take on the evil threatening their world.

Steve Lindahl — Author of Under a Warped Cross, Hopatcong Vision Quest, White Horse Regressions, and Motherless Soul

 

“Dream of Darkness” by H.M. Gooden is a YA (and up) fantasy with elements of both the paranormal and the faerie world. Two teenage sisters-Cat and Vanessa discover they have powers and must learn to use them quickly when a dark menace threatens their new hometown. A delightful tale of friendship, sisterly love and good triumphing over evil. I’d heard a bit about this book and author and wanted to give it a go. The “out-of-body” experience in the hospital is described so eloquently and passionately that it alone is worth the price of admission. I wasn’t disappointed.

David W. Thompson — Author of Sister Witch and His Father’s Blood

 

The Stone Dragon

(Rise of Light Series Book 2)

Cat has finally settled into her new town and is happy with her life just the way it is. Until the day that her friend Evelyn shows up on her front step, with a recurring nightmare that began after they defeated Declan. A dark stranger surrounded by fire and destruction tortures her every night, and in order to help her, Cat must discover the truth about the dark man and his origins. This time, they must face a much older evil on new ground. With the addition of a new ally, the girls will stand against the darkness together. Will they be victorious, or will they fall to his power the way so many others have?

 

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 What people are saying:

This book is the second of the series. I found it very easy and fun to read, and the story is a real page-turner. Anyone with an imagination and a wee glimmer of intellect will really enjoy this.

Harold Lamont — Amazon Review

 

As an avid YA fantasy reader, I’ve always enjoyed strong female protagonists with relatable challenges and intriguing plot twists. Gooden delivers in her second installment in this series where her prose pulls you into the world of young teenage characters who are just starting back at school after a lazy summer break, hoping for a reprieve after facing the evil Declan at the end of their previous year. New dreams and visions foretell that they need to focus on improving the control of their powers together and prepare for a new enemy.

The characters are all likable and remind me of old friends from my high school days (if only we had powers). Looking forward to the next book!

Jessica Goeller — Amazon Review

 

A compelling and suspenseful read from start to finish. I enjoyed every aspect of these characters and the insightful plot. will definitely read this author again!

Melissa Franckowiak — Goodreads Review

 

The Phoenix and The Witch

(Rise of Light Series Book 3)

Fresh from their triumph against Dub in San Francisco, the girls are content to return to their normal lives, unaware that their fight against the darkness is not over.

Although they succeeded in destroying their previous adversaries, another threat has risen in a far away country. This time, they must travel to Edinburgh to confront the darkest of all evils.

The origin.

As the conclusion to this trilogy, this adventure will set the course for everything in their lives and they will learn that even their friends may not be what they seem.

Will they succeed in fighting back the dark or will they be left irrevocably changed?

 

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 What people are saying:

The Phoenix and the Witch is another fun story involving our favorite characters Cat and her best friend, Evelyn. This time their adventure takes them across the pond to England and Scotland. Not only does this adventure open their eyes to the magic all around them, it also brings them closer together to face another challenge against the darkness. Their personal magic is stronger than ever, allowing them to feel confident in their ability to win this epic battle, yet the fear of failure looms as the days pass. I especially liked how the girls all get along so well, wanting to help one another in life, love, and magic. This is a really great YA adventure with fun elements of magic, transformation, and cooperation.

Amy B — Amazon Review

 

Just when I thought this series couldn’t get any better, H.M. Gooden brings more to the table in the form of a new character, Zahara…strong, loving and amazing! The girls must again face a new evil while joining together not only as friends, but joining their powers. Surprises and trials are around every corner and the character development is outstanding. These are a group of girls that you wish were your best friends, by your side as you face the trials in your life. Never wavering, they have each others backs and don’t back down from the challenges that they are destined to face.

Amanda — Amazon Review

 

Dragons are Forever

(Rise of Light Series Book 4)

Mai has everything. Friends, a job, and a loving boyfriend. But just when life is perfect, he pops the question. Suddenly, everything changes. Once Jake declares his undying love, their journey of discovery begins. Swept up in a sea of adventure, Mai will travel to Norway to meet the most dreaded creatures in the world-the inlaws. Along the way, Mai will battle all manner of supernatural creatures to get to the altar, only to find that this is just the beginning. Life as she knows it will never be the same.

 

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 What people are saying:

Great book I enjoyed reading the story of water dragons and I would like to see what happens next in their adventure I won’t give to much away but I am curious about the children.

Jerry Connellysr — Amazon Review

 

The story has lots of action and adventure in the early part and ends more focused on family. I liked the sweetness to the relationship between them. They have a genuine bond and respect one another. Her meeting his family starts them on a new path.

 It is well written and the author lets both of them narrate part of the story which I prefer. The other characters are well developed too and add to the richness of the story.

L Levine — Amazon Review

 

This is such a great book! I would suggest reading the rise of light series so you have a little bit more background. Jake and Mai’s story of love adventure and friendship is so sweet. Watching them grow as a family and havong outings will keep you entertained and wanting more. Can’t wait to see whats in store for the rest of the girls and the family!

Allie Eggers — Amazon Review

 

The Raven and The Witch Hunter

(Rise of Light Series Book 5)

Vanessa lives a charmed life as the rising star in a hit new TV series. She has family and friends that love her, as well as the secret perk of having air magic and being able to turn into a raven and fly away if things get stressful. But when her best friend moves away and a mysterious woman enters her life warning her of impending danger, her perfect life takes an unexpected turn. Not only is Vanessa confronted with the very real threat of someone trying to kill her, but her own emotions will become inexplicably tangled. What is it about this Witch Hunter that breaks every rule Vanessa has for herself? And what the heck is she supposed to do about it?

 

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 What people are saying:

This was a very touching story in what seems to be a potentially great series. You can’t go wrong with romance when it is done like this. The healing that happens in this story while again saving people is amazing. Love to read more with Vanessa and Emma Jane.

Coneja — Amazon Review

 

What a fun book! Ms. Gooden has added an exciting and romantic new addition to her magical series. Though Vanessa isn’t my favourite character, I truly enjoyed her interaction with Emma Jane. The subject matter was covered with delicacy and correctness. Not to say the action, mystery, and a bit of a cliff-hanger ending didn’t blow me away. Honestly an excellent book and a quick read. ‘The Raven and The Witch Hunter’ keeps you on the edge of your seat and leaves you wanting more! Cheers to the next book in the series!

Fairestsky — Amazon Review

 

I really loved this book. The story is imaginative and I can’t wait to see if Vanessa and Emma find any other bad “girls” to catch while they figure out if there is a solution to their problem. And what a problem!

Meg Gruber — Amazon Review

 

Author Interview:

1: Tell us a little about yourself and what got you in to writing?

I’ve always loved reading, and when I was in school I would start these horrible novels. I never considered writing a short story; it was always a horrible romance that morphed into a story where my main character had magic powers. When I went to university I dabbled with a few creative writing projects on the side as electives, but writing was left behind by my 6th year and I delved into the full time world of medicine.

It wasn’t until after my last child was born when I was up one night, at 1 or 2 or 3 am, the house was quiet and I was alone that I wondered if that was it. Was that the rest of my life? Work and kids and repeat ad nauseam?I was restless and trying to figure out what I was supposed to do that would enrich me and make me feel complete.

I had always wanted to write a book and I said well, it is time to do that now. I’m finished school, I’m finished having kids, and if I don’t start right this minute I’ll be another person still saying “one day” on my death bed- and I didn’t want that to happen.

2: Do you have a favourite time and place where you write?

I would love to write all day long. I’ve done that, once or twice when my husband has blessed me by telling me to leave and write. In that case, it’s usually a Starbucks somewhere nearby. Otherwise lately most of my writing is in my car on my way to and from work. I dictate my first draft, which I find wonderful, because I can talk almost as fast as my brain moves.

3: Where do your ideas come from?

From everywhere. My first book sprang from a recurring stress- dream I used to have in my teens. But I take my ideas from my kids, work, things that strike me as funny or bizarre, people I see in Walmart, anything and anyone is fair game.

4: Do you have a plan in your head of where the story is going before you start writing or do you let it carry you along as you go?

It’s a little bit of both. My first book was definitely one that carried me away, but now I will loosely plot out where I want the story to go. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be able to dictate nearly as easily.

5: What genre are your books and what drew you to that genre?

I write what could be best considered ya paranormal, although the series I’m working on currently is a second world high fantasy YA. I’m drawn to the YA/NA genre because there is so much potential here. We are all in a state of becoming in our teens and early twenties, and learn so much about who we are during that time. Of course, when you add magic and the occasional romance in, you not only have the usual character development you’d expect from the young adult years but you have stories that I love.

6: What dream cast would you like to see playing the characters in your latest book?

Haha! My dream cast are all too old now, but if I could grab any teens from the 80s and 90s and 2000s I would have picked a teen Lisa Bonet for Evelyn, Marie Kondo for Mai (I know, not an actress technically) or Lucy Liu as a teenager. A teenage Katherine Zeta Jones for Vanessa, Lindsay Lohan as Cat (as the redhead, Mean Girls era) and Zahara would be Parminder Nagra from Bend it like Beckham.

7: Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?

I read as much as I can, although writing has definitely cut that back to a few books a week. I love JK Rowling, have read most Stephen King novels (unless they are too scary!) James Patterson, Nora Roberts, Sherilyn Kenyon, Richelle Mead, Cassandra Clare, and too many others to name

8: What book/s are you reading at present?

My bedside table has about 75 books on it and I’m no longer allowed to go into a bookstore (self imposed!) I have been watching Marie Kondo and this year is about decluttering my house and life, so I need to read and keep or get rid of. I can’t get rid of a book I’ve never read due to the possibilities 😉 I just finished a great ARC for a book called Shattered Echoes – I’d never heard of the author before and I may have to add them to my favourites list. I love finding new people to read! I’m also reading a Jayne Castle book, Siren song, and SJ Maas a Court of Thorns and Roses, as I’m sadly behind in her stuff and I know she’s huge in the genre right now.

9: What is your favourite book and why?

I really can’t pick just one favorite, but there is a book that has stuck in my head for almost twenty years called Beggars in Spain. It was written by Nancy Kress and it is more sci-fi fantasy, but the genetics are frightening in the potential. What gets me the most is that although none of what she talked about in the book was possible then, it IS now…. and I wonder….

10: What advice would you give for someone thinking about becoming a writer?

Stop thinking. Write. Write every day, even if it’s a journal, a blog, or a short story. The more words you write the easier it will become until it’s a habit and as much a part of you as anything else you do. If you need a deadline or goal, sign up for the next nanowrimo wherever you are- it’s an online organization to help you get there, and it’s free. They have camps in April and July, and then the original Nanowrimo is in November.

11: What are the best Social Media Sites for people to find out about you and your work?  

You can reach me at the following:

Website: www.hmgoodenauthor.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/HMGoodenAuthor

Facebook Group Page: www.facebook.com/groups/981341802029808

Twitter: @HMGooden

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/17229510.H_M_Gooden

Instagram: 
www.instagram.com/hmgoodenauthor

BookBub: www.bookbub.com/profile/h-m-gooden

Amazon Page: www.amazon.com/H.-M.-Gooden/e/B078JXQZQR

 

About the Author:

H.M. Gooden has been scribbling on everything since she first learned how to hold a pencil. While often told that her handwriting was atrocious, she persisted, and upon discovering computers and learning how to type, she realized that she was no longer limited by her (admittedly) messy writing.

Unfortunately, life and work and family have conspired to make it only possible to write in the wee hours or at coffee shops, so most of her love of reading and writing are indulged at times when only vampires and insomniacs abound.

Beginning in October of 2017, her love of writing and the characters in the world she has created burst into public view in her first book, Dream of Darkness, which follows the adventures of a group of girls fighting evil with abilities that H. M. Gooden would love to have. As a result, 4 am has become even busier trying to find out what will happen to her paranormal buddies in the future, and book six, seven and eight are in the works.

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Author Interview: ‘Policy of Truth’ by Scarlett Holloway

Sacred Heart Continuum Book 1

About the Book:

Five years ago, Tamra “Durty” Simon’s life was falling apart, and she had a one-way ticket to six-feet under. And if it hadn’t been for the Death’s Angels Motorcycle Club swooping in, dusting her off, and transforming her into the badass biker she is today, she’d be taking a dirt nap. Now, she has everything she ever wanted—or so she thought.

Brett “Sting” Jackson is on a mission, and nothing is going to stop him—not even the sexy, enticing female biker who makes him hard with a single look. Too bad he’s lying and keeping secrets from her. But the alternative could get her killed, and that’s not a risk he’s willing to take.

It took Sting crashing into her life to make Durty realize there’s something else in this world she wants to ride as hard as her bike—too bad fate has other plans for them. When a rival club makes a move against the Angels, all hell breaks loose. Lives will be lost, secrets will be revealed, and lies will be exposed. Because in the motorcycle world, lies may get you hurt, but the truth can get you killed.

 

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Purchase Links:

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Author Interview:

1: Tell us a little about yourself and what got you in to writing?

There’s not much to tell really lol. I am a massage therapist by day, cranky writer by night. I drink a ton of coffee, I love my cupcakes and glitter.

2: Do you have a favourite time and place where you write?

I have this spot on my couch that has been nicknamed the ‘Bunny Hole’. It’s a space that it overrun by stuffed animals, fluffy blankets and pillows. That is my writing area. I usually write after my son goes to bed.

3: Where do your ideas come from?

Where don’t they?? Mostly music triggers ideas, but then again…TV does, movies, honestly everything does.

4: Do you have a plan in your head of where the story is going before you start writing or do you let it carry you along as you go?

I am a plotter. My stories are too complex to try and pants them. I use 3×5 cards and plot out the basic outline chapter by chapter, and then I have a plot wall covered in sticky notes for timelines.

5: What genre are your books and what drew you to that genre?

I am a multi-genre author. I write in Romantic Suspense, Family Saga, Cozy PNR and Cozy Mystery – so far. Sky is the limit when it comes to what genre I will write in.

6: What dream cast would you like to see playing the characters in your latest book?

That is a hard question. Policy of Truth is my latest and I had certain people in mind when I was character creating. Brett Michaels, Jason Statham, Dwayne Johnson—the list goes on.

7: Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?

Stephen King, Jackie Collins, Clive Barker, Sandra Brown.

8: What book/s are you reading at present?

George R.R. Martin and his book Fire & Blood.

9: What is your favourite book and why?

I think I’d have to say The Watcher in the Woods by Florence Engle Randall. That was the book that turned my life around when it came to reading, and I think sparked the fire to start writing.

10: What advice would you give for someone thinking about becoming a writer?

Never quit. Never write for fame or money. Always write for yourself.

11: What are the best Social Media Sites for people to find out about you and your work?  

Website: www.scarlettholloway.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/thescarlettholloway

Twitter: @scarlettssong

Instagram: www.instagram.com/ascarlettssong

 

About the Author:

Growing up on the Central Coast, Scarlett Holloway always dreamed of seeing her name on the cover of a book and on the New York Times Best Seller List. What better way than to bring part of her past onto the pages of a novel, as well as writing about issues that women face on a daily basis? When she is not in her bunny hole writing, she is a massage therapist, trying to help people through therapeutic healing. Scarlett is hopelessly devoted to her husband, who she lovingly calls her plot bunny, and is active in her teenage son’s life.

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Author Interview: ‘The Demon Hunter’ by David Belau

About the Book:

Tsayad is tasked with vanquishing demons for his clients in the sleepy town assigned to him. With his trusty blade and riotous shotgun, unclean spirits were no match for him- that is, until a greater darkness began to seep in. Tsayad soon finds that he is not strong enough on his own to drive off this force of evil.

For fans of B-horror movies with ridiculous violence and plenty of cheese.

 

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Purchase Links:

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Author Interview:

1: Tell us a little about yourself and what got you in to writing?

I’m a married father of three beautiful daughters, seven, nine and eleven. My day job is engineering work in the fenestration industry. We live in beautiful Southern Oregon and enjoy being active and spending time with family.

I had a teacher in the third grade that really planted the writing seed in me. We’d have a time during the week where we’d write books. My friend and I had a whole series about jet fighter pilots. I think we spent more time drawing pictures in them than actually writing and it still amuses me how the number of exclamation points corresponded to how large an explosion was. Nevertheless, I continued writing all through school and ended up writing a novel for my senior project in high school.

2: Do you have a favourite time and place where you write?

I usually like to write at night when the house is quiet.

3: Where do your ideas come from?

My mind wanders sometimes and these thoughts just pop into my head. I like to people watch when I’m in a crowd and I think in observing people I get ideas. That’s the best I can describe it.

4: Do you have a plan in your head of where the story is going before you start writing or do you let it carry you along as you go?

This is an interesting topic that I’ve talked with different writers about. I’ve tried both ways. On a previous novel, I tried writing an outline and then filling in all the scenes. It was almost like writing a screenplay and filling in the imagery. The problem was that I’d imagined the entire story in my mind and it didn’t end up on the paper. It made sense when I read it because it was in my mind, but others did not get it. For my latest work, I decided to start with a vague idea and just let it carry me as I went. I felt like this allowed the story to exist on the paper before it existed in my mind. In doing so, my hope is that the story will be more natural and translate to others.

5: What genre are your books and what drew you to that genre?

I’ve had a lot of genres through the years, but I’ve settled on supernatural/horror – but I don’t take myself too seriously. I like humor in my writing, so it ends up being kind of like a B-movie with elements of horror but also funny dialogue.

Growing up, I was drawn to horror movies, especially the ‘80’s vintage. A lot of those movies were really cheesy, but I loved it. I’ve also had experiences in my life that I can draw from. I don’t think that what we can see of the world is all there is. I’ve had too many experiences that say otherwise.

6: What dream cast would you like to see playing the characters in your latest book?

My main character reminds me of Jayne from Firefly, so I think Adam Baldwin would make a good lead in my story. Danny Huston would be great for my head villain. The rest of the characters would have to be CGI apparitions.

7: Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?

I don’t get to read as much as I’d like due to work and family commitments, but usually I find time during the winter to read. Frank Peretti was a favorite growing up. John Sandford is pretty good. CS Lewis is always good. Steven King has some good stuff, although I haven’t enjoyed all his works. Steigg Larsson, I am in awe of how he wove the story in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Ken Follett is one that my mom has recently introduced me to.

8: What book/s are you reading at present?

I am currently reading Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy. It was recommended to me by a friend and it’s been a growing experience for me. He’s writing about a brutal time in American history and he has an extensive vocabulary. I think the hardest thing about reading it is that he doesn’t use quotation marks for dialogue, so it’s hard to tell when someone is speaking.

9: What is your favourite book and why?

The Visitation by Frank Peretti. I end up rereading this one every few years because I can relate to it so much. It has elements of the supernatural but also a man wrestling with his beliefs and how to reconcile them with what is happening in his town.

10: What advice would you give for someone thinking about becoming a writer?

Write what you know. I don’t write police detective stories, even though I love reading them, because I’m not a cop. My characters can’t be authentic if they don’t act like a real officer would. I read how Ken Follett spent time learning about WW2 aircraft and even about the exact model he wanted to write about so that his descriptions were authentic. You may not have the luxury of researching like Mr. Follett, so write what you do know.

11: What are the best Social Media Sites for people to find out about you and your work?  

I have a page on Facebook for The Demon Hunter. I also have a WordPress blog for my writing: www.davidbelau.wordpress.com

I also have another blog covering automotive projects at www.dartslantsix.wordpress.com

 

About the Author:

I’m a 30ish year old, married father of three girls. I’m a mechanical engineer that is moonlighting as a writer. I love cars and working on them, specifically old Mopars. I like writing on a variety of subjects, so you never know what you’re going to get.

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Author Interview: ‘Initiated to Kill’ by Sharlene Almond

About the Book:

Two men from two different generations, both initiated into a powerful organization that throughout history has sought control and uses their power for destruction. They leave behind a wake of murder, manipulation and ancient secrets. The first man wreaks havoc in and around the Whitechapel district of London, England in the 19th century. While the other stalks his victims in the cosmopolitan city of Seville, Spain in the 21st century; knowing that only he could uncover the true motives of one of the world’s most infamous serial killers—Jack the Ripper.

 

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Purchase Links:

Amazon – UK / US

 

Author Interview:

1: Tell us a little about yourself and what got you in to writing?

I am a 31-year-old author and student living in Auckland, New Zealand, with my two Jack Russell’s, and my partner, Dan.

Both as a hobby and hopefully as a paid author, I spend my days writing. When I’m not writing, I have dabbled in quite a few courses that have taken my interest.

First studying as a beauty and spa therapist, I decided to go further a field, and study Dog Psychology and Animal Behaviour. I still had other interests I wanted to explore, which lead me to study Editing and Proofreading, along with Freelance Journalism.

Although, Freelance Journalism provided me with a writing backdrop, I still wasn’t completely satisfied. Always having an interest in psychology, I went for a course in Criminology. This began the process of wanting to learn more about the inner workings of people.

I certainly think at this point I was just addicted to learning, gaining as much knowledge as I could. Learning about people wasn’t quite enough. Another element that I wanted to explore, and have as my Plan B in case writing didn’t provide me with what I needed, I thought along the lines of becoming a counsellor. Which then guided me to study Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for two years, and expanding on that with learning Neuro-Linguistic Programming, and Body Language.

I wanted to provide a complete service for my clients, and I always found nutrition was an incredibly important element to incorporate into mind wellness, that led me to study Naturopathic Nutrition; which I have nearly completed.

After I have finished my nutrition course, I will then go on to study and specialize in Post-traumatic Stress Disorder and Dialectal Behaviour Therapy, and Facial acupuncture. All of these qualifications enable me to give a comprehensive service for my clients; whether it is one-on-one counselling sessions, or on-line counselling.

If I’m not writing or studying, I tend to spend a lot of time marketing my first novel, contacting publishers for my second, writing health and animal articles, and reading.

The last four topics have proven to be the most useful qualifications for my writing. My main character, Annabella Cordova is deaf, so she communicates through sign language, and of course, body language. So, studying body language has helped me to get a better insight to how Annabella sees things.

The Criminology Diploma has been useful as my books are psychological thrillers. Having a better understanding of the inner workings of criminals, in particular, serial killers certainly helps. Although, I am keen to do further study in criminal profiling as well.

I have written four novels; all are part-historical, and part-present day psychological thrillers. They are based in Spain, Romania, Egypt and Greece. Each book has Annabella Cordova as the main character; however, unlike in my first novel – Initiated to Kill, Annabella is part of an organization that hunts down the worst criminals. Each time bringing her into contact with Andres Valero, the detective in charge of the case of the missing girls in my first book.

Currently, I only have my first novel published, while contacting publishers to publish my second book – The Legend Returns.

Way back in high school, I was home-schooled through the Correspondence School, which encouraged essay writing instead of actual exams. This piqued my interest in writing, as I even enjoyed writing academic papers.

Throughout my teen years I dabbled writing a variety of things, including short stories and novels. However, life sort of got in the way, and I didn’t fully commit to writing an actual novel until I was about 21 years old.

From there, I finally completed my first novel, and continued to write three more. As well as a New Zealand travel E-book, and a variety of health and animal articles based around my training as a therapist and animal nutritionist.

2: Do you have a favourite time and place where you write?

Usually where sun is peering through, and where I can occasionally look out at nature. So in the dining room, or lounge, where we have a sun seat is a great spot.

I can put my coffee and water on the window ledge, spread out my research paper along the long length of the window seat, lean back against some cushions, and let the creative juices flow.

I find what works best for me is to get some writing down early in the morning. Doing a workout, shower, coffee, then writing. When I’m starting a novel, several hours a day is ideal. I don’t like to write for too long, as my brain tends to switch off. So when I’m not writing, I study or do research.

However, sometimes I just get the urge to do a bit of writing. Whether it be at lunch, afternoon or evening. If something comes to me, I like to quickly put it on the computer.

3: Where do your ideas come from?

I first started to get my ideas from random things popping up in documentaries or on television, or even in other books. They tended to guide me down several paths of the kind of books that I wanted to write.

From there, my own thought processes and ideas kicked in on what I wanted to do with the snippets of information I heard about, saw or read.

History is one of my best inspirations for ideas. As it also lends credibility to the story line, so when the reader reads my book, the plot isn’t that implausible, hopefully making it even more thrilling. 🙂

My novels are not designed to create ‘copy-cat’ killers; merely the historical killers are connected in some way to the present day killers.

Locations are also a key part on where I get my ideas. Whether it is a place I want to go to, or just a place I literally pointed to on the map. That then leads me to research more about the location, and its myths and history on the location. Of course, every time plenty of information pops up, and usually more than one idea pops into my head of where I want to take the story line.

The conspiracy angle also gives me plenty of ideas, as it tends to be the base for the plot line, then I just expand everything from there. Whether it is several conspiracy theories or myths intertwined, or with some of my novels, the ideas materialized from my research. I begin to make connections between different events and people, building on the theory of what I think could have happened.

Finally, my main character Annabella Cordova, also allows me to create another aspect to the plotline through detailing how to read facial expressions and body language, and how to detect when someone is lying. Because Annabella is deaf, she has to hone her other skills to help solve the case.

For Initiated to Kill, I already had written a sentence for a story idea. I decided to run with that, and as I did more research, more ideas came flooding in. And like I mentioned above, the historical aspect on Jack the Ripper with the connection to the Freemasons – history had already written that. I just expanded on it. I try to bring the characters to life, and use the real events to create a fictional, and hopefully, exciting read.

4: Do you have a plan in your head of where the story is going before you start writing or do you let it carry you along as you go?

I’m definitely a plotter. For Initiated to Kill, I started the process by putting a few ideas together for the overall feel. From there I did a one-page outline from the beginning to how I wanted it to end.

I also did character outlines – as in what they looked like, certain things about their personalities etc. Then I did character outlines of how they fitted into the grand scheme of things.

The last part of the process was using Word Excel to construct the chapter outlines. Writing out the chapters at the top of the document, then underneath a couple of sentences describing what should happen in those chapters.

Of course, throughout this process, I kept on researching, which just meant I kept adding to the chapter outline. Ironically, looking back at it now, the final product is vastly different to what I started with. However, the main characters have stayed the same.

5: What genre are your books and what drew you to that genre?

My main genre is thrillers; however, sub-genres are historical, psychological and international. I love messing with readers’ heads a bit. Examining the psychology of the characters is fun because so much is unveiled – their flaws, their strengths.

I also like to be creative with the comparison to the historical killers to the 21st century killers. And writing about the places that the stories are located in.

I like to look at my writing as layers, which is a pretty common element in thrillers. Layer upon layer, little by little more is revealed, so by the end of the novel, what has happened makes sense. That is what is fun, to learn about the characters, myself included. The more I write, the more I learn about every character.

There are so many facets to my books, which is the only way I really like to write. Although, for some readers, they may struggle with that aspect of my novels, I would hope that at least it would be memorable for them.

Also, thrillers have plenty of action, twists and turns. However, one of my favourite topics in school and to read about is history. History and historical characters have always fascinated me. To learn about what happened in the past, and how it dramatically changed our future.

Combined with the conspiracy aspect, they allow the reader to explore the ‘what if’ possibility. “What if this was true?” “What if this conspiracy theory was actually based on fact?” Now that possibility could be terrifying.

Because I studied Criminology, and covered a bit in criminal profiling; combined with Cognitive Behavioural therapy, I enjoy probing into the psyche of characters, especially those that commit murder. Serial killers usually have a very complex past, investigating that past, bringing that past to life on paper keeps me coming back to that every time. Being able to better understand what drove these real-life serial killers to what they did.

The international aspect really enables me to research about places I would love to go, and to perhaps learn about places that have deep historical roots.

6: What dream cast would you like to see playing the characters in your latest book?

For Annabella Cordova, Scarlett Johansson. Andres Valero would be Jim Caviezel.

And Gary Oldman as the artist/Jack the Ripper.

7: Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?

Yes, I read a lot. I aim to read a book every 2-3 weeks. Psychological thrillers, historical and sci-fi are the genres I prefer to read in.

James Patterson, Dan Brown, Jeffery Deaver, Karin Slaughter, Stephen White, Jack Kerley, and Michael Marshal are all authors that I enjoy reading. All authors do an excellent job in delving into the mind of a killer, the sadistic crimes, and the on-the-edge-of-your-seat read.

8: What book/s are you reading at present?

I am reading a James Patterson novel, ‘Step on a Crack’.

9: What is your favourite book and why?

When I have been asked that before, I always struggled to answer – there are so many!

The authors that I mentioned above all fit in my top favourite books.

Although, a Voice in the Wind trilogy series, by Francine Rivers has to be up there for my all-time favourite read.

It is actually a religious book based in the Roman times of religious prosecution after Jesus was crucified. People may be surprised on that choice of book. However, the writer did an amazing job of creating a deep connection with all the characters, so when something happened to one of them, I really felt sadness or joy.

The books were a trilogy, with a variety of characters on different sides of the story – a Jewish slave, a Barbarian gladiator, a Roman citizen etc. Each character having his or her own individual voice, progressing through the story line, revealing the part each person played in the story.

Even as I write about it now, scenes crop up in my mind of what happened in the book, and it still has quite an impact. I have never reacted to a book like I did to those ones. There seemed to be something deeply personal about it. And at the same time, also covered a historical topic that is controversial to this day.

Even if a person is not religious, it is still a fantastic read.

10: What advice would you give for someone thinking about becoming a writer?

Stick to what you love. If you love writing and entertaining people, then writing will never be a waste of time. Yes, you will be rejected and criticised countless times, but as the saying goes ‘whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’.

Take note of constructive criticism so you can improve on your writing. Every bad review may also have some valuable advice that you can take on.

Keep persisting. You will get a lot of rejections unfortunately, but it goes with what we do. If you love to write, you never know what might happen.

A good query letter is also key. You need to be able to hook the publisher pretty quickly. A query letter shouldn’t be long winded, but get straight to the point.

In the end, it’s easy to fit into the popular genre, it’s harder to actually write what you enjoy writing if it’s not so popular. However, like many books now, in which once a upon a time they weren’t popular, you never know when your one could be the next best thing.

Write, write, and write. The only way to really improve your writing is to constantly write a range of different things. Like any other skill or job, it takes time and practice to become a good writer. The more you write, the easier it will be to discover what works best for you.

Keep a notebook handy. Ideas may crop up at random times of the day (or night), having a notebook handy to quickly jot down ideas prevents you forgetting about an idea. Also, if you suddenly get an idea at night, it can keep you up, as you might worry that you will forget. Additionally, ideas can be combined together and inspire more ideas to flow.

Research, write, research, and write. This is the stage when you are actually intending to flesh out a novel, instead of just writing to improve your skill. Researching before, during and even after the first draft is not only useful for getting more ideas, but it makes it easier to remember things when you are writing, so you are as accurate as possible. I find the best way to prevent writer’s block is to have plenty of research to work from. That way you can pick and choose what you find necessary to include, and helps you come up with a wealth of ideas.

Snowflake Method. This is my favorite, and in my opinion most useful tip for authors. And not just ones that are starting out, I still have used this for my second, third and fourth novel. In my opinion, a good novel needs a detailed plot outline. You can just sit down and write; however, if you haven’t created an outline, the structure may be all over the place.

And you might waste time trying to think up what you want to write each day for the chapters. Events may not be cohesively linked. Using the Snowflake method can help to arrange all your thoughts and ideas. And in word excel, it makes it easier to rearrange chapters, and add to them, without having to do that after you have done all the writing.

Also, the chapter outline basically helps to schedule in what you need to focus on each day, by using the section under chapter headings to write a few sentences on what you want the chapters to include.

You will of course probably add to the chapter outline, remove other things etc. However, this just gives a great starting point. And it means you can even add what research you have collected so it fits into the story better.

11: What are the best Social Media Sites for people to find out about you and your work?  

Links to my social media:

Blog: www.sharlenefreelancewriter.wordpress.com

About.me: Blog: www.sharlenefreelancewriter.wordpress.com

Amazon Author page: www.amazon.com/Sharlene-Almond/e/B00K3ZK2ZA

Twitter: @SharleneAlmond

Facebook: www.facebook.com/sharlenealmond.co.nz

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/sharlenealmond

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/6626652.Sharlene_Almond

LinkIn: www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=272284909&trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile_pic

About the Author:

As an author of historical/21st century psychological, international thrillers, my books challenge readers to think beyond what they believe, as well as taking the reader on a journey throughout Europe and abroad.

Having studied in Criminology and Neuro Linguistic programming; in addition to doing a diploma course in body language, enables me to give an authentic feel to my characters, and the crimes committed. Because I’ve always been fascinated with human psychology, especially criminal psychology, I always include that element in every book I write.

My books don’t just cover the crimes committed, but what drove that person to commit those crimes? Examining their past, their weaknesses, and childhood; all building up to why some of the most infamous crimes were committed.

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Author Interview: ‘Schrödinger’s Elephant’ by Jonathan Frame

About the Book:

The End of Man. The Future of Woman.

Schrödinger’s Elephant is collection of five novellas, inspired by the work of ethologist John B. Calhoun who defined the term Behavioural Sink to describe the collapse of society resulting from overcrowding. These stories take points in a history where the crisis of overpopulation is resolved by women uniting to eradicate men completely from the world, to continue humanity’s journey as a single-gender species. And the resulting consequence of that.

Why Schrödinger’s Elephant? The Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger said “Imagine a cat in a box. Quantum mechanics implies the cat is both alive and dead until the box is opened and its state can be determined”. And with that, the thought experiment Schrödinger Cat was conceived.

Schrödinger’s Elephant takes the idea of the Elephant In The Room, the subject no one is prepared to discuss, to be the ever-expanding global human population and the resulting environmental and social consequences – depletion of natural resources, the increase in violence as more and more people compete for survival. Only that particular Elephant is in the next room, the room politicians and world leaders ignore, the room no-one dares open the door to, for fear what state they may find.

The five novellas are:

Universe N :- A scientist despairing of the human race attempts to introduce a virulent flu epidemic to cull the human population to a more manageable number

Spark :- A series of attacks on women ignites the switch where women first band together to defend themselves against the rising tide of crimes against their gender by men.

Born of Woman :- Set several years after Spark, a group of men are on the run and being hunted down by the authorities. They believe they are some of the last men left alive on the planet.

Alphabet :- In a world populated by women, one woman investigates a Collective in the belief its members are illegally trying to create male babies. At the same time, the world’s paediatric scientists are trying to engineer foetuses to produce women who are capable of reproducing parthenogenetically, that is the ability to self-fertilize.

Only Human :- A lone woman travels through the world, pursued by a vicious pack of creatures that threaten to kill her.

 

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Purchase Links:

Amazon – UK / US

Author Interview:

1: Tell us a little about yourself and what got you in to writing?

I live in the UK and work in IT. After reading the book Doctor Rat by William Kotzwinkle, I was inspired to consider writing to channel my creativity. I wrote various sci-fi works over a period of 15 years or so, without much success, then took a break to focus on my IT career. After about 4 years, the urge to write grew too strong for me to ignore. This time, I didn’t just focus on sci-fi and found I was enjoying the process more than I had done previously.

2: Do you have a favourite time and place where you write?

I write before I go to work. It’s the quietest time and the freshest, especially if I get the chance the day before to think about what I’m going to write next. During the commute, I might be reviewing something I’ve written before or considering. And I have been known to jot down ideas at work.

3: Where do your ideas come from?

Generally it starts with saying What If? For my latest book, Schrödinger’s Elephant, when it was announced the world population had reached 7 billion, I wondered what would happen if the population kept growing.

Schrödinger’s Elephant consists of five novellas charting the course of human evolution over a number of centuries and focusing on five particular eras seemed the best way to do it.

4: Do you have a plan in your head of where the story is going before you start writing or do you let it carry you along as you go?

I’ll have a beginning and an end plus various points that I want to include. I’m not keen on planning in great detail – I like to have the option to change tack if a new idea emerges.

With my latest book, the book originally was just going what the first novella eventual became. As I was writing it, the ideas for the other four novellas emerged so I was left to figure out how to incorporate them all. In the end, I want with putting them into this book.

5: What genre are your books and what drew you to that genre?

My work tends to fall into the sci-fi/thriller genres. Basically, if you think of the SyFy TV channel in the UK which spans a variety of genres, my work wouldn’t look out of place on there.

6: What dream cast would you like to see playing the characters in your latest book?

I don’t really have a dream cast in mind although for one or two of the characters, I did find it useful to think of an actor. For example, with Siobhan O’Reilly in Schrödinger’s Elephant, I had in mind Kylie Bunbury from the Under The Dome TV series.

7: Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?

I don’t read as much as I would like. It simply comes down to time. When I was reading more, I found I was spending less time writing and I’m not the fastest of writers to begin with. Favourite authors? I would say Robert Harris, Christopher Priest and William Kotzwinkle.

8: What book/s are you reading at present?

I’ve just received a few books for Christmas so I’ll be making my way through those. The ones I’m looking forward to are Mythos by Stephen Fry and 12 Rules for Life by Jordan B. Peterson.

9: What is your favourite book and why?

I don’t have a favourite per se. Once I’ve read a fiction book, I rarely go back to it so reference books I enjoy include A Brief History of the Worlds by Bill Bryson, the Encyclopedia Britannica, some of the Reader’s Digest compendiums.

10: What advice would you give for someone thinking about becoming a writer?

Make sure you give yourself enough time and don’t rush it. Also, bear in mind what Elmore Leonard said on the subject, “Writing is all about rewriting”

11: What are the best Social Media Sites for people to find out about you and your work?  

I don’t really do Social Media at the moment. I did have a few accounts but then I found I wasn’t spending any time on them. Maybe that’ll change in 2019.

 

About the Author:

Jonathan Frame is combining working in the IT industry with writing fiction. Taking inspiration from various places and adding the catalyst flash of ‘What if ….?’, Jonathan has produced a number of books spanning different genres. He reasons as he enjoys books and movies across many categories, there’s no reason why his work shouldn’t reflect a broad range.

To Become Like Gods is a historical epic set in Ancient Greece, a re-imaging of the myth of Daedalus and Icarus where Icarus survives his fall;

Cat’s Paw, a thriller which was created in two versions, in a similar way to the films Let Me In and Let The Right One In, one is set in an English-speaking environment, the other not; Moving Pictures, a thriller set against the backdrop of Art fraud.

Schrӧdinger’s Elephant is a collection of five novellas which form the narrative of a world buckling under the burden of overpopulation, and the human race’s response.

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