Tag Archives: Literary Fiction

Author Interview: ‘The Predatory Animal Ball’ by Jennifer Fliss

About the Book:

In a society where predators are always the ones doing the celebrating, Jennifer Fliss’s debut collection of short stories, THE PREDATORY ANIMAL BALL, crashes the party. These stories are about the people left in the predators’ wake, and the large and small ways in which their grief and fear manifest. Predators appear in the places we least expect it, and this collection turns the previously accepted hierarchies upside down in a series of flash fiction that are often absurd, but always cutting.

Add to Goodreads

Purchase Links:

Amazon – UK / US

Author Interview:

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

I got into writing as a way to process my childhood experiences. I lived in a home filled with abuse and neglect, and I felt so lonely, both during my childhood and in my young adulthood. As a twenty-something year old, trying to figure out my life (and in the aftermath of my father’s death), I began to write fictionalized versions of my experience. They were close to the truth, but I wasn’t yet comfortable with writing it all out so plainly. After doing this, I realized I loved writing, creating. So, I then moved on to writing all kinds of short stories and my fiction took off. My mother says I wrote stories as a kid; I don’t remember that. But I did create worlds: drafting maps of made-up towns that covered the floors of my living room, creating entire school rosters of made-up people, etc. It was elaborate, and not something I told people until recently. I know that was storytelling in a way and certainly must have had an impact on my writing later.

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

I wish I could say I write in the early hours at a desk by a window looking out into a wood, but I just write when I feel inspired. This is, fortunately, often enough for good output, but I don’t have a writing routine. I do my best writing on my laptop in bed or in a cozy chair. Ideally, it’s raining out and I have the window open, a mocha beside me and the cat — always the cat — in my lap.

3: Where do your ideas come from?

They truly come from all over. Quite a few are sourced from my dreams, which are vivid — often wretched and terrifying, but interesting. I find inspiration almost everywhere. Back of a cereal box, an advertisement on the subway, an overheard snippet of conversation, the tilt of a crow’s neck.

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 let the story carry me. My work generally starts with a word, idea, or sentence. I put that down and then see what happens. If my brain and fingers can see a path, it just flies out. If it’s harder, sometimes I close the file. I may or may not return to it. Hence I have a zillion partially-done stories and ideas. 

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

My writing is literary fiction. I love ghost stories, mysteries, and thrillers. I am a big fan of when these three genres merge, as in Carmen Maria Machado or Helen Oyeyemi’s work. I’ve always been drawn to the dark: ghosts, haunted houses, abandoned places. I am a sucker for setting. Give me any of the aforementioned settings and it almost doesn’t matter what the story is. I love to immerse myself in place. 

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

Melissa McCarthy. She’s an incredible actress. She is hilarious, yes, but she can also hit so many layers of humanity. I think she would service many of my protagonists well, who are often women in dire but absurd situations. As for the supporting characters? I don’t know. Maybe it’s Melissa McCarthys all the way down.

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

I read lots. I used to read more before smart phones! (I really hate that invention.) But I read about a book or so a week. I’m always on the hunt for mysteries that are well written and not formulaic. I utilize my library a LOT. I’m the one with an entire shelf labeled with my name in the holds section. I don’t have one or two favorite authors per se, but there are authors whom I’ll always read a new book of theirs: Yoko Ogawa, Dara Horn, Samantha Irby, Kiese Laymon, Karen Russell. Of late, I’m excited about Morgan Jerkins, T Kira Madden, VE Schwab, Nafissa Thompson-Spires, Deesha Philyaw, and Diane Cook. I could go on and on actually. I’m certain I’ve missed some names here.

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

The People of Paper by Salvador Plascencia. It was recommended by a great writer peer, Dana Diehl. It’s magic realism written mostly in triptychs using different narrators. The entire novel uses really unusual narration and style. I love fabulism and magic realism. I love unique styles of writing. Reading it is fun and makes you realize that writing is truly an art (even when it’s straight prose). Writing in an experimental/hybrid style is a great way to expose the absurdities of the world we live in and the possibilities are endless because your imagination is the limit. 

I also just finished a graphic work called Seek You by Kristen Radtke. The subtitle is “A Journey Through American Loneliness,” but I think most people in the world can relate to it. It was so poignant and timely. It’s amazing what people can do with fewer words and visual elements. Highly recommend!

9: What is your favourite book and why?

I don’t have a favorite book and I don’t reread books. There are just too many good books to read. I only have so many years in my life! But E.L. Konisburg’s From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler was probably the most influential book on me. It’s a middle grade book about siblings whose parents are divorcing, so the kids go off to live in a museum in New York for a while. The setting was such a huge part of that book that I’ve never forgotten the images in my head — that stayed with me as a writer and impacted how I write setting and probably is connected to why I love setting so much. It was an escape for these children, and I was reading it at a time when I desperately could’ve used such an escape. It was literal escape coinciding with the escape that good literature can provide. 

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

Writing is a compulsion for so many of us. I don’t know many — maybe any that I know of — of folks who think about doing it or not. You just…do it. One is a writer if you write. It doesn’t necessitate a list of publication credits. For someone who wants to publish their writing, there are myriad paths. My suggestion is to start reading literary journals (most are online now) and get a feel for where their own writing might fit. There are journals that skew straight narrative, some love pop culture, some like a good ghost story, or experimental styles. Figure out where your writing fits and then click “submit!” Rejections are part of the game; you have to expect them. Even the very best writers get turned down. But as you move on, keep writing, learning, and submitting, then you should have success with publishing. As a writer, be open to learning. If you submit and get rejected over and over, it could be that your work isn’t a good fit, but it also could mean you could stand to learn a few things. Don’t get cocky. There’s always more to learn, more that can enhance your work. And of course, the best teacher is to read, read, read. 

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

Twitter. Hands down. At first, I didn’t get it. But it’s been integral for learning about other writers, editors, journals, and opportunities. Just be sure to mute or block liberally and cultivate your own feed. Twitter is my only public social media account and it works for me. I’d love to see y’all there!

Twitter: @writesforlife

About the Author:

Jennifer Fliss has been nominated several times for both the Pushcart Prize and the Best of the Net, and her work has been selected for the 2019 Best Small Fictions anthology. Her stories and essays have appeared in print and online at The Citron Review, F(r)iction,, Jellyfish Review, Necessary Fiction, PANK, The Rumpus, The Washington Post, and elsewhere. She was a 2018/2019 Pen Parentis Fellow, a recipient of the 2019 Artist Trust GAP award, and is currently working on her first (and second) novel.

Leave a comment

Filed under Author Interview, Reading Nook Blog Posts

Author Interview: ‘The Blood of Bones’ by N.T. McQueen

About the Book:

The boy’s name is Tesfahun. Nestled in the vastness of Ethiopia, he lives among an ancient tribe untouched by modern civilization. His people live an isolated life where revenge killings are required and ruled by superstitions where mingi or cursed babies are thrown into the river for the sake of the tribe.

As friends are forced to avenge the tribe and children disappear in the night, Tesfahun begins to question his people and his beliefs, growing further from his grief stricken mother and hardened father. After his initiation into manhood, Tesfahun discovers a terrible secret about his family and himself.

Fearing for his life and the demons he tried to flee, Tesfahun crashes headlong into his blood-soaked fears and must come to terms with the violence inherent in his bones in order to find salvation.

The Blood of Bones is a mythic, coming-of-age tale that speaks to the struggles of humanity across cultural boundaries. Themes of belief vs. violence, community vs. the individual, and, above all, the quest for peace are imbued in the narrative. Based on actual, current practices among tribes in the Omo Valley, The Blood of Bones is a testament to the resilience of hope in even the most hostile circumstances.

Add to Goodreads

Purchase Links:

Amazon – UK / US

Author Interview:

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

I’m originally from northern California but recently made the permanent move to the Big Island of Hawaii. One of my goals was to, at some point, live close to the ocean. Both for therapeutic reasons and for fishing. I received my MA in Creative Writing from CSU-Sacramento, have had several publications and a couple books published. I’ve been married to my wife for 17 years and have three amazing daughters who are growing up too fast and we frequently threaten to send them to Neverland so they will slow down. 

When I’m not with my family or teaching college courses, I enjoy fishing, playing and watching basketball (Go Dubs!), reading and being in nature in some capacity.

I was never much of a reader or writer when I was a child or as a teenager. However, I always had an affinity with stories. My reading habits didn’t take shape until my first year of college. I came home for the weekend and my wife (then girlfriend) was engrossed in John Grisham’s The Testament and I, being a non-reader, sat twiddling my thumbs while she turned the pages. I thought, “Maybe I should read a book” so I jumped into Palahniuk’s Fight Club and off I went. 

What drew me to be a writer was a couple events. One was the birth of my oldest daughter. It seemed to awaken the writer within me and I started writing since then. The other was reading a bunch of bad literature during my undergraduate program and thinking, “I can write better than this.” Couple those together and my writing aspirations began.

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

I find I’m more productive in the mornings than any other time during the day. Mainly because my mind is fresh and I’ve had coffee. Other parts of the day, I can write but to get in the right mindset takes longer and I’m more easily distracted. In terms of a specific place to write, anyplace works but I enjoy sitting in coffee shops or at my home. This may seem a bit contradictory but it is what it is.

I guess I enjoy coffee shops or public places because it has the potential to inspire some facet of my writing. Whether it be a character, hearing a conversation or any small minutiae of life that lends to the creative process. When I’m feeling antisocial, then I head home and write.

3: Where do your ideas come from?

Robert Olen Butler talks about fiction emerging from our subconscious or “from where we dream” and I agree with that to some extent. To be honest, real life is the greatest inspiration. My first novel, Between Lions and Lambs, was inspired by my experience growing up in a Pentecostal subculture. I have a work-in-progress where the premise came from a radio news story about a woman who bought a used dresser and found a note saying where buried treasure could be found. My new novel, The Blood of Bones, came from hearing a non-profit speak at our church about the Omo Valley tribes which sparked the novel into existence. So I would attribute interactions, stories, and the coincidences of daily life are the muse of my ideas.

Music also plays a vital role in inspiring my ideas and the writing process. Often, I have a soundtrack in my head and I will play music as I write that is integral to the story. For example, when I was writing Between Lions and Lambs, I would play songs from Johnny Cash’s My Mother’s Hymn Book along with southern gospel tracks from Hank Williams and George Jones. For the work-in-progress I mentioned earlier, the protagonist is a jazz pianist so Bill Evans usually plays as I write. I even wrote a short story called “Porcelain” (published in Story Teller magazine) that was based on a track by Ben Gibbard called “Lady Adelaide.”

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?

Yes and no. I usually have a plan for how the story will begin and end but how they reach the end is a mystery I try to follow. Even with this preconceived idea of beginnings and endings, it is all fluid and malleable. The end of The Blood of Bones changed about three or four times before settling on the right ending. When writing fiction, there is a zone you get swept into once the elements of the story take shape and following the natural sequence of the story simply happens. Doug Rice, my mentor during my grad program, often said, “Your stories are smarter than you.” I may have mentioned this before but it still sticks with me today every time I am surprised at how the drafts turn out.

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

I kind of hate genres and labelling but I understand it makes diversity more palatable for the readers. I lean toward literary fiction which is character driven rather than plot. I guess complex characters fascinate me more than non-stop action. For example, Daniel Plainview in There Will Be Blood is far more engaging and fascinating than anything Marvel has to offer. In my opinion, anyway. But I do enjoy Marvel films so I like to think of myself as not pretentious. But I also am not a fan of Harry Potter which automatically puts me into the pretentious category and puts me on the bad side of my daughters who love Harry Potter. All this to say, I write literary fiction.

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

To be honest, I can answer this question fairly easy with Between Lions and Lambs but my latest novel, The Blood of Bones, is a bit trickier since it is based in Ethiopia. My knowledge of Ethiopian and African actors is quite limited so I would have to go with actors I know so here it goes:

Tesfahun, the teenage protagonist: His age changes but the older version might be Jaden Smith. He has the look and build and I’m sure he could do a good job.

Kelile, his father: Mahershala Ali

Wagaye, his mother: Lupita Nyong’o

Dawit, his best friend: Jharrel James

Ogbay, his uncle: Daniel Kaluuya

The Old Man, recluse in the mountains: Delroy Lindo

Demissie, the vigilante warrior: Idris Elba

Any filmmakers think this is a good idea, feel free to let me know. Nudge, nudge, wink, wink.

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

My reading has slowed a bit lately but I try to always be reading a book. When I think of favorite authors, they have to have written several books I enjoy and not just a single book. With that being said, some of my go to writers are Cormac McCarthy, Marilynne Robinson, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Kurt Vonnegut, Percival Everett, Shusaku Endo, William Faulkner, Mario Vargas Llosa and others I can’t think of at the moment. 

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

I just finished Gilead by Marilynne Robinson which was an extraordinary book. It’s amazing how a story with little to no plot can captivate the reader and I guess it is a testimony to why Robinson is such an incredible writer. Ted Chaing’s Stories of Your Life and Other Stories was another mind-bending collection that redefined science fiction for me earlier this year. Recently, I read several non-fiction books including a Bobby Fischer biography, a book on Michael Jordan and some others. This very moment, I am rereading The Road by Cormac McCarthy but I may put it off and jump into Home by Marilynne Robinson.

9: What is your favourite book and why?

This isn’t a fair question. It’s like choosing which is your favorite child. I can list a few books which stand out and I have read multiple times. 

The Bible is one since it is a staple of my faith and morality as well as having fantastic stories and characters. Blood Meridian or The Evening Redness in the West by Cormac McCarthy is a book I love and hate. It’s brutal and beautiful all at once and Judge Holden is a character of nightmares who you want to hear every word he has to say. It’s quite a dilemma as a reader. Silence by Shusaku Endo is another book whose form and content speaks deeply to me. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez is another fabulous book.

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

Accept rejection. Learn from it but don’t let it stop you from writing, sending your work out and letting others hear your story. One reader will say hurtful, cruel remarks at what you’ve poured hours, months and maybe years into while another will praise it as life changing. You’ll get rejections by literary magazines, publishers and agents and others will publish it. My point is don’t allow rejection to define you as a writer. Yeah, it sucks sometimes and you might sulk around for the day, eating gallons of Rocky Road and watching syndicated episodes of Seinfeld. But don’t stay there. Get back to submitting, keep writing and do what you love.

In terms of feedback, take it with a grain of salt. Some people you allow to read your work will get hung up on a few misspelled words or misplaced commas and define your entire story based off a few errors. Those people aren’t worth your emotions. Find readers who give solid, constructive feedback on the good and the bad of your manuscript. Reviewers will do the same. Take what is helpful and shake off the dust and move on.

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

Social media is a necessary evil as a writer. Since I want to sell books, I have an Instagram (www.instagram.com/ntmcqueen), Twitter (@NTMAuthor) and a Facebook page (www.facebook.com/NTMcQueen). I’m also on Goodreads (www.goodreads.com/author/show/5989274.N_T_McQueen) and I have a website you can visit (www.ntmcqueen.com).

For buying books, visit my Amazon page at: Amazon.com: N.T. McQueen: Books, Biography, Blog, Audiobooks, Kindle

About the Author:

N.T. McQueen is a writer and professor in Kona, Hawai’i. His novels include The Blood of Bones (Adelaide Books) and Between Lions and Lambs (City Hill, 2010). He earned his MA in Fiction from CSU-Sacramento and his writing has been featured in issues of the North American Review, Fiction Southeast, Entropy, The Grief Diaries, Camas: Nature of the West, Stereo Stories, and others. He has done humanitarian work in Cambodia, Haiti and Mexico and teaches writing at several colleges and universities in California. For more info and events, visit http://www.ntmcqueen.com or follow him on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Leave a comment

Filed under Author Interview, Reading Nook Blog Posts

Author Interview: ‘Goods and Effects’ by Al Schnupp

About the Book:

Devastated by the death of her husband and sons, Hannah Mercer sells the family farm and creates a store and living quarters in a delivery truck. As she travels several circuits selling her wares, Hannah becomes the heart of a network of interlinking lives: Nathan owns the motel where Hannah often parks her truck. Darla is a young and talented deaf artist, whose parents let her accompany Hannah on her rounds. Wanda, the sassy receptionist at a hardware distribution center, has larger ambitions. Naomi, wife of the pious Mennonite deacon, entertains fantasies of sexual freedom. Frank, a gentle farmer with a chronically-ill wife, harbors great affection for Hannah, but has troubling biases. LeRoy is a black farmer and talented singer, yet his family is subjected to racial terrorism. Velma owns a woodworking shop. Is she a good match for Vivian, Ronan County’s elegant, lesbian librarian?

Larry… Maddie … Tom… Molly. As time passes and Hannah’s relationships deepen, her faith diminishes but her vision of humanity expands. Hannah Mercer is a clever problem-solver, a shrewd schemer, a spinner of tender lies, an advocate for justice, and a dream weaver.

Add to Goodreads

Purchase Links:

Amazon – UK / US

Author Interview:

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

I was trained in theatre and was a university professor for thirty years.  During that time, I directed and designed numerous plays and wrote about a dozen plays that were produced in university setting, regional venues and Off-Off-Broadway.  Analyzing and composing dialogue was a significant part of my theatre craft.  After retiring, I decided to try my hand at prose.  ZERO was originally a play; GOODS & EFFECTS was originally a screenplay.

2.  Do you have a favourite time and place where you write.

For the most part, when writing I lounge on the sofa with a clipboard and several sheets of paper.  My first pass is hand-written.  After composing several pages, I then move to the computer and type out the text.  After completing the first draft, the remainder of my work — revision and polishing — is done at the computer.  I find I do my best work in the morning.

3.  Where do your ideas come from?

Ideas come from every aspect of my life — from the events I experience, the books I read, the ideas I research, the things I imagine.  I especially enjoy writing dialogue.  Also, I am a fan of implying, not outright stating, subtext.  Many times during my solitary mountain walks I conceive ideas for developing a story.  I’ve written several plays inspired by actual persons.  These people tend to be female visual artists and/or activists.  Examples include Käthe Kollwitz (beloved German artist and activist), Peggy Guggenheim (art collector) and Ivy Bottini (LGBTQ icon and co-founder of NYC Chapter of NOW, National Organization for Women).  

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’ve tried writing using both methods.  In most cases, I begin with a place, a set of characters and an inciting incident.  Sometimes I outline a plot prior to writing.  At other times I let the writing be a journey, letting the characters take me where they wish to go, letting events unfold and organically inspire new events.

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

I write in a wide variety of genres: biographical, literary, women’s fiction, political satire, reworking classic Greek myths, fantasy.  Currently I am interested in exploring gentle stories filled with acts of kindness that celebrate diversity and inclusion.

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

Two novellas were released in Spring 2021: ZERO and GOODS & EFFECTS.  My ideal cast for ZERO is Bette Midler, Nathan Lane, Alan Cumming and Helena Bonham Carter.  For the role of Hannah in GOODS & EFFECTS, I would select Kate Winslet.

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

I tend to read in spurts.  I may read 3 or 4 novels within several weeks.  Then, I will go for a spell of non-reading, instead, spending time painting or being consumed by other projects.  I am a fan of Fredrick Backman, Anthony Doerr and the Greek tragic playwrights.

8.  What books/s are you reading at present?

At the moment I am spending most of my time promoting my books, so I’ve taken a hiatus from reading.

9.  What is your favourite book and why?

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.  This author captures an invisible magic on many levels.  It shows the goodness and horror of humanity.  The chapters are impeccably crafted, always ending with a perfect sentence, one that may reflect on the past, summarize the scene and set up further action.

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

Be prepared for rejection.  “No” to one’s work is a large part of a writer’s life.  One must persevere, hoping to connect with the right people who connect with the material.  Listen to your editor; try not to get defensive.  An editor has your best interest in heart.

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

Website: www.playsanddesigns.com

Website: www.playsanddesigns.squarespace.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/al.schnupp

About the Author:

Al Schnupp is a retired faculty member of the Theatre and Dance Department of California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Mr. Schnupp studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City and holds a doctorate from UCLA. He performed in summer stock and directed or designed approximately eighty productions for academic and professional theatres. For two years he was scenic designer for Wichita State University Summer Theater.

Mr. Schnupp was the recipient of the Margo Jones National Playwriting Award for the play My Body, awarded by Texas Women’s University. His play, Censored, about the life of artist Käthe Kollwitz, was produced professionally at The Invisible Theatre. His improvisational game book Bravo! was published by Meriwether Published Ltd. The Stone Circle, a full-length adult puppet show, was co-authored and designed by Mr. Schnupp; the show was produced at the Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta and won an UNIMA International Citation of Excellence. Zero to Infinity, in its original form as a play, was selected to be performed at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, Region 8 Festival and was produced at Cayuga Community College. The Site was produced at the American Theatre of Actors in New York City and at Walkerspace in New York City. Living Stones was produced at Cal Poly and showcased in Los Angeles. Antigone and Letters to Soldiers Lost was produced at Cal Poly and in New York by Auburn Players.

He is the author of The MerryWinkle International Troupe of Vagabonds Performs a Delicious Potpourri of Fantastical Fairy Tales and Astonishing Folk Legends. His play CrossRoads won an Art Inspires grant and was produced in New York at Cayuga Community College. The Collection, a play about art collector Peggy Guggenheim that featured fifty interactive paintings, toured Central California. inclusivity – the Ivy Bottini Story was produced at Emerald Theatre in Memphis, Tennessee.

GOODS & EFFECTS, a novella, has been published by Golden Antelope Press. As a visual artist, Al participates in a variety of art and craft festivals in California and has shown his work in several galleries. Zero, a novella based on the play, Zero to Infinity, is published by Cabal Books.

Leave a comment

Filed under Author Interview, Reading Nook Blog Posts

Book Blitz: ‘Finding Me Series’ by Kameo Monson

Series Title: Finding Me Series

I NOT David (Book One)

I NOT Buddy (Book Two)

I Joey (Book Three)

Author: Kameo Monson

Genre: Family Life Fiction, Literary Fiction

 

About the Series:

I NOT David (Book One)

A toddler’s autism diagnosis, a father’s denial, and a mother’s perseverance.

When three-year-old Joey is diagnosed with autism, Kat’s heart sinks. With a single phone number and a few suggested therapies, she and her husband Derek are left to wade through the unknown abyss of ASD. Derek assures Kat their son will grow out of it, but she has done enough research. That never happens. Still, Joey can improve, and Kat vows to make his life better any way she can.

Jumping feet first into the depths of therapies and developmental preschool, Kat gives it her all. Everything should get easier. But Derek still can’t handle Joey’s meltdowns, and now he only wants to spend time with her. What happens if his attitude doesn’t change?

As Kat’s world continues to crumble around her, she finds something in herself that she didn’t know was missing.

I Not David: Finding Me Book One is a character-driven, women’s fiction novel that evokes emotion as it twists and turns through silly smiles and torturous tantrums, love and loneliness, and everything in between.

 

.•°*°•.☆.•°*°•.☆.•°*°•.☆.•°*°•.☆.•°*°•.☆.•°*°•.☆.•°*°•

 

I NOT Buddy (Book Two)

After being abandoned by her husband, can Kat find it in herself to love again?

Three years after being abandoned by her then-husband, Kat works at the middle school across the street from her son’s elementary school. It’s the perfect place to care for Joey while giving him space. Still, first grade and autism have their struggles. Meltdowns, food aversions, and above all, potty-training woes leave the school on edge and Kat with plenty to do.

As she continues fighting for Joey, the handsome new vice principal at work battles his way toward her heart, even after an unexpected visitor shows up on his doorstep. But Kat swears she only has space in her life for Joey.

Could she be wrong? Does she have room for someone else?

Heart-wrenching and hopeful, I NOT Buddy promises much more than romance. It offers a story of healing hearts, second chances, and a mother’s unfailing love.

 

.•°*°•.☆.•°*°•.☆.•°*°•.☆.•°*°•.☆.•°*°•.☆.•°*°•.☆.•°*°•

 

I Joey (Book Three)

The truth of who she is lies within one word: family.

When Kat’s son, Joey, was diagnosed with autism three years ago, she learned everything she could to give him the best life possible. Months later, her husband abandoned them. Luckily, her now-boyfriend Warren and his sisters pushed their way into her heart.

But life still has bumps. Joey’s school doesn’t agree with the accommodations he requires. Warren’s sister Kristen continues struggling with no way to support herself. And, worse yet, Kat’s ex is back.

Even with all that’s happening, Kat wants Joey to have a fulfilling life. But when disaster strikes, she’s forced to make a choice. Can she figure out how to help others while providing for Joey’s needs?

At the conclusion of the Finding Me Series, I JOEY offers a whirlwind of emotions that promises heartache, hope, healing, and second chances.

 

Add series to Goodreads

 

Series Purchase Links:

Amazon – UK / US

 

About the Author:

Kameo Monson grew up in Glendale, Arizona, where she picked cotton on the way to school through her kindergarten year and smelled orange blossoms on the way to church through junior high. The first time her husband, McKay, drove an hour across the Phoenix Valley to pick her up for a date, he thought she’d be surrounded by farmland. Unfortunately, most had been built up a decade previously. 

When Kameo was still young, her parents allowed one family dog at a time, despite her begging. McKay has a harder time saying no. That’s why they house three dogs, a cat, a Guinea pig, and two lovable rats. The fish are his. She and her husband reached twenty-five years of wedded bliss in June 2020. They have four children, ranging from adult to young teen.

Kameo loves spending time outdoors and dreams of being a reverse snowbird. Pine and aspen trees regularly call to her from the Mogollon Rim. She also enjoys exploring Arizona and surrounding states with her husband.

Most of Kameo’s spare time is spent writing women’s fiction novels, where she gets to explore the emotional toll that comes with being human from different points of view. She also enjoys writing short stories and won the February 2020 What’s Your Story contest sponsored by Envie Magazine, a literary publication.

 

Social Media Links:

Website: www.kameomonson.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/KMonson.author

Twitter: @KameoMonson

Instagram: www.instagram.com/kameomonson

Pinterest: www.pinterest.co.uk/kameomonson

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/18249178.Kameo_Monson

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Blitz, Reading Nook Blog Posts

Author Interview: ‘Everything That Came Before Grace’ by Bill See

About the Book:

A single-father comes of age as he discovers whether it’s love or fatherhood that could save him. Haunted by his mother’s death and a series of serendipitous events from his past, Benjamin Bradford desperately tries to keep his mental illness under control while raising his daughter Sophia. Set against the iconic streets of Los Angeles, there’s music always playing, heavy therapy sessions and private emails to discern, shattered friendships and betrayal, and the specter of a true love that got away. Think: Silver Linings Playbook meets High Fidelity with a dash of Eighth Grade. Can Benjamin find redemption? Can he escape his demons and find love again? Come along for the ride and find out.

 

Add to Goodreads

 

Purchase Links:

Amazon – UK / US

 

Spotify Playlist

Author Interview:

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

One of my earliest memories is my mom, who was also a writer, telling me, “We have no choice. We’re artists.” I watched her all through my childhood scramble for napkins to scrawl down her latest thought. So, when my overactive imagination kicked into high gear, it was no coincidence I started filling journals with all my hopes and fears and dreams. That’s never stopped.

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

Mornings on my porch. Dogs at my feet. Coffee close by. The main character Benjamin of this new book does the same thing, so now it can be told where that came from!

3: Where do your ideas come from?

Well, for “Everything That Came Before Grace,” it basically came from bumping into a stranger I’d first met on 9/11. We’d each brought our young kids to a park to escape the horrible news of that morning. It was just the two of us sitting on a bench. We got to talking and we shared each shared our fears and our hopes for what the suddenly scary future might bring for our kids. I’d been going through a hard time in the early days of fatherhood, and I told him I thought I was starting to lose it. He told me the answer was to go all in on fatherhood and cast every distraction aside, and I’d be alright. He said I could hold on to sanity by being the dad I never had. I’ll never forget that. Anyway, I ran into him again years later and I remembered what a watershed moment that was. When I dropped that meeting into the story everything started to come together.

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 don’t do blocking or structuring beforehand or any of that, to be honest. I trust my initial idea and it’s kinda like improvisational jazz from there. At some point, I stop and turn it over to revisions for however long it’s necessary to get it right.

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

My first book “33 Days” was essentially a memoir. It was based on the journals I kept during my rock and roll touring days. I called it a docu-novel. This new one is literary fiction, but like all writers, we draw from our real-life experiences, and as a result, honestly, it feels very much like my first book in a very seamless manner.

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

Well, that’s funny because it’s filled with references to music and movies because those are the passions of the lead character Benjamin and the love interest Anna bond on. Like Benjamin thinks Anna is a dead ringer for Ali Macgraw in “Goodbye Columbus” and Anna tells him he looks like a young Sean Penn in “Racing with the Moon.” And Benjamin thinks the foil and his on again off again best friend Keith looks like a young Steve McQueen.

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

There’s a moment in the book, Benjamin is driving back from a cathartic therapy session and a song comes on that lifts the pall, and he starts rattling off a list of things that make life worth living. And in the last three he gives thanks to Salinger for teaching him how to write, to Kerouac for teaching him how to live and Harper Lee for Atticus Finch who taught him how to be a father.

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

I’m reading a book called Virtual Velocity: An L.A. Story by a guy called Anthony Mora. Incredibly gifted writer. Criminally underrated.

9: What is your favourite book and why?

I tend to love first person narrative, and coming of age stories. The classics. Catcher in the Rye, On the Road. That sort of thing.

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

It was Annie Lamont in Bird by Bird who advised us to embrace “shitty first drafts.” I’ve always tried to adhere to that, and I tend to really trust the spirit behind those first drafts. You gotta try and dispense with self-consciousness and purge it without rules or structure. You can edit it for years if you want, but more often than not, a lot from that first draft tends to survive.

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

The book’s website, www.everythingthatcamebeforegrace.com is your best bet. My personal email is on there. But there’s also the Everything That Came Before Grace Facebook page www.facebook.com/Everything-That-Came-Before-Grace-The-Novel-114187990029279 and Instagram, I’m at Bill_see1: www.instagram.com/bill_see1

 

About the Author:

Bill See was the founding member of critically acclaimed Los Angeles indie rock band Divine Weeks and has been a mainstay in the L.A. music and writing community since the mid-80s.

His debut docu-novel “33 Days: Touring in a Van, Sleeping on Floors, Chasing a Dream” was released in 2011.

His new novel, “Everything That Came Before Grace” is set to be released in December 2020.

Check out the Everything That Came Before Grace Official Website at: www.everythingthatcamebeforegrace.com

Check out the Everything That Came Before Grace Podcast: https://anchor.fm/etcbg

See Divine Weeks on All Music Guide for an overview of the band’s career: www.allmusic.com/album/never-get-used-to-it-r5916/review

33 Days Official Website: www.33daysthebook.com

Divine Weeks’ official website is www.divineweeks.com

Leave a comment

Filed under Author Interview, Reading Nook Blog Posts