Author Interview: Melissa Lynn Herold

Welcome fellow bibliophiles. Today, we are featuring author Melissa Lynn Herold.

About The Author

Melissa Lynn Herold

Melissa Lynn Herold is artistically-talented, scientifically-minded, and magically-fascinated, something that manifests in both her fiction and nonfiction. Her debut into published fiction is the artistically immersive Heaven’s Silhouette, first book in the Iyarri Chronicles (September 17, 2019).

An herbal alchemist, Melissa owns and runs NightBlooming where she blends up herbs and oils that grow real-life fairytale hair, including ones lifted right off the pages of The Iyarri Chronicles. She has published two nonfiction books, Rehabilitating Damaged Hair Naturally and Coloring Hair Naturally with Henna & Other Herbs.

She lives with her husband in a sweeping river valley with their mutinous cats and garden dotted with honeybees.

You can connect with author Melissa here:

Author websitePatreon | Amazon | Goodreads | NightBlooming | Etsy | Instagram | Twitter


The Interview

Welcome to TRB! Please give our readers a brief introduction about yourself along with your writing ambitions before we begin with the actual interview

I’m Melissa, author and herbal alchemist, and I toggle between creating unique herbal blends for my store, NightBlooming, and writing. Although I’ve published two non-fiction books, Rehabilitating Damaged Hair Naturally and Coloring Hair Naturally with Henna & Other Herbs, my fiction writing has always been the second beating heart in my chest. I’ve been working on The Iyarri Chronicles for years, and Heaven’s Silhouette is both the series debut and my debut as a fiction writer. My goal is to see the entire series through (I’ve planned at least four books but the series can easily grow into more) and to complement it along the way with side projects that make use of my fine art skills (for an illustrated guide to the Iyarri) and my herbal alchemy (for character-inspired perfume blends).

Please tell us something about your book other than what we have read in the blurb?

My husband titled it in the sweetest way possible. I’d been working on Heaven’s Silhouette for a good while but didn’t have a title for it. I was away for a weekend and as a surprise he wanted to make me a book cover and set it as the wallpaper for my computer as a surprise. But a book cover rather needs a title, so he picked something he thought went with what he knew of it. It was a fantastic surprise and felt the title was perfect—years later, that was the title we went with in the end.

Who is your favourite character in this book and why?

I think authors that write first-person tend to favor their main character (which is why they ARE the main character), so if I went with that answer, I love that Aurelia’s strength draws from her artistic side—her eye for detail and visualization—rather than her becoming some sort of physical badass over the course of a few 1980s Training Montages. There’s a quiet strength to the art of creation, and I wanted that to be what Aurelia uses to come to terms with herself and, eventually, shape the world around her rather than physical prowess and ass-kicking. To give the non-first-person-POV answer, I love Cæl so much. He’s a character who is trying to get out of the morass that his past decisions have landed him in, but none of the choices in front of him are easy, either on him or those around him. He’s an immensely conflicted character and that makes him a joy for me to write.

What inspired you to write this book? An idea, some anecdote, a dream or something else?

While some authors have a “What if-?” idea for a world-threatening conflict or start with a societal issue they want to explore, I always start with an individual character and spin the story outwards from there. Aurelia is a character that exists in the grey spaces, in between the halves of her world. The larger inspiration for Heaven’s Silhouette, and the series of The Iyarri Chroniclesbecame an exploration in what happens when halves and pieces, real and perceived, get torn apart and pushed back together.

How long did it take you to write it?

This question is a little tricky because I didn’t write this book and then start the next. I actually wrote the first draft of Heaven’s Silhouette, then the first draft of book two Mourning’s Dawn(which is coming out next year), and then would go back and tinker on Heaven’s Silhouette, then start drafting the third book, etc. There was a lot of concurrent drafting and editing for the first three books over the better part of a decade, but I’d say Heaven’s Silhouettetook me about two years solid to write and then a year to work through the final editing and publishing process.

Are you working on any other project(s) right now? If yes, what are they?

I’m working on more books in The Iyarri Chronicles. The second book, Mourning’s Dawn, should be out in a year or so and that’s in the editing process. The third book is being redrafted based on some revelations that came out of editing book two, and I’ve got the skeleton for the fourth book, which will be a prequel to the first three. As a Patreon goal, another big project I can’t wait to get my hands into is the illustrated Précis on Iyarri Society. I’m a visual artist as well, and this project would marry my writing and my drawing. I’ve also been making Iyarri-Chroniclesinspired essential oil/perfume blends for my herbal alchemy store, NightBlooming.

Why have you chosen this genre?

This is probably going to sound familiar to a lot of readers and writers of fantasy, but I fell in love with the genre, initially, because of the escapism it provided. I didn’t particularly enjoy middle school and high school (*cough* understatement *cough*) and wasn’t popular, so reading let me go to these other worlds instead of being stuck in reality. I’m also a huge gamer and started playing D&D and other RPGs in middle school, so fantasy settings where you can create your own characters and choose your own course of action have always been where I’m most at home. Being an avid reader in the genre, and then playing RPGs in the same genre lends itself naturally to writing (and being a Dungeon Master) in it.

When did you decide to become a writer?

I don’t think there was ever a decision to start writing, I just had these stories in my head that I wanted to pull out and put down. It kept up as a hobby until I was reading a particularly questionable book and went, I can do better than this. I think I’m already doing better than this. It was my husband who nudged me to take that final step from hobby writer into author with physical book in her hands.

What is your writing ritual? How do you do it?

The main thing is late at night, really late at night. While a lot of writers are night owls, I have a sleep disorder called Delayed Phase Sleep syndrome, which means that my internal clock doesn’t budge and can’t be trained into a new schedule. I’m hardwired to go to bed at 5am, which puts my best and most creative hours from about 11pm until 4am. There’s something wonderful about the rest of the world being hushed and asleep and while I’m working. So, late, lateat night, with a cup of green tea and a kitty is what I need to settle in and write.

How do you prefer to write? On computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

In an ideal world, I’d write longhand, but the downside there is I can’t read it half the time. I’m naturally left-handed, but when we moved back in with my grandma she decided that was a no-go and I had to relearn to write right-handed when I was 9. The result is that I can write illegibly with either hand. Because of that, I do the bulk of my writing on my gaming computer while listening to music on my headset, but I will use a notebook for taking notes, and I have a special waterproof note-taking board in my shower (which is where I get all my best ideas). Something I love but don’t get to do often is writing on my laptop on the train. There’s a magic of being in that in-between space where you’re not one place or another, with the ticking of the tracks and the sway of the train.

Your 5 favourite books?

I’m a huge rereader and finally managed to answer this question by looking at which books I’ve reread the most. Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey, Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier, The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle, Stardust by Neil Gaiman, The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher (I’m going to cheat a bit and cite the series here because when I read them I binge on them back to back to back.)

How do you deal with Writer’s Block?

There’s two parts to this answer.

1) I take a bath or a long, hot shower. I get all my best ideas there and keep a waterproof notepad in there for exactly this reason. The number of ideas I lost before I did that is kind of depressing.

2) I let the problem I’m grappling with stew in my brain for a while. I go work on something else, I read, tinker on character-inspired perfume blends, go for a walk, but what I don’t try to do is force it. After a couple days or a couple weeks of my subconscious gnawing on the problem, and the answer will present itself and it’s always the right It’s part of why I take a little umbrage at all the “You MUST write XXXX words a day!” advice out there. Yes, there’s immense value in getting into the habit of writing daily (or nightly, in my case), but there’s also knowing when you, as a writer, need to step back and give yourself breathing room to make the right decisions moving forward.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Realize that you are both a better writer than you think you are and a worse writer than you think you are. By that, I mean that I think most writers know what they’re good at and where they need to improve, but also need to be mindful of overusing the things you’re good at, and avoiding the things you’re bad at. For example, my favorite, and strongest, part of writing is the description— I love going into the insane amounts of detail I can see in my mind’s eye. Because I was so confident and comfortable with description, I didn’t notice that it manifested in my writing as me introducing a character or a setting with a Wall O’ Description that totally killed the forward momentum of the story. By contrast, I was told I used too many commas in school and this turned into me becoming immensely comma-shy in my writing. I had to learn to trust my judgement again when it came to punctuation. That’s a really long way of saying to be critical of your strengths and trusting of the improvements you make to your weak spots rather than declaring yourself ‘bad at XYZ’ forever.

Thank you, Melissa, for all the honest and inspiring answers! I love the way you deal with writer’s block and your advice on writing really strikes a chord.


About The Book

Heaven’s Silhouette

When I was little, other children called me a monster. A painting proved them right.

A lifetime of cruel taunts and heartbreak has taught Aurelia to hide, to not get too close to anyone. A painter and gallery docent, her only solace is in the art that can’t stare back. When a new piece arrives, depicting an angelic figure who shares the physical features she’s always thought of as monstrous, Aurelia searches for the artist, determined to get the answers her mother has long refused to provide.

But she isn’t the only one searching. There are others who want the artist—and the truth—silenced. Aurelia is attacked by figures from the painting, fierce warriors with wings and sharpened blades. Shaken and bloody, she manages to escape with her life but finds herself hunted by the Iyarri, who are anything but angels. As she comes to terms with her connection to them, Aurelia is drawn deeper into the heart of a millennia-old struggle. If she’s not careful, the consequences will tear her body, her heart, and the Iyarri in two.

You can buy Heaven’s Silhouette here:

Amazon and Goodreads


To read more author interviews, click here.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed or if you are a publicist and want to get your author interviewed on TRB, then please get in touch through direct e-mail: thereadingbud@gmail.com
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Author Interview: Rob Shackleford

Welcome to the TRB Lounge, the part of TRB that helps authors and publishers promote their titles.

Today, we are featuring Rob Shackleford, author of Traveller Inceptio, for our feature, Author Interview.

About The Author

Rob Shackleford

An English-born Australian, Rob Shackleford has lived in New Zealand and Papua New Guinea, with a varied career that has included Customs Officer, Scuba Instructor, College Teacher and management roles in too many places.

With degrees in the Arts and Business, he is mad keen on travel, Scuba diving, Family History, martial arts, astronomy, and playing Djembe and Congas.

Rob is father of two and lives on Australia’s Gold Coast.

 

YOU CAN CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR HERE

FACEBOOK | TWITTER | PINTEREST | LINKEDIN


The Interview

Can you please tell my readers about your ambitions for your writing career?

To become a highly paid, best-selling author.

Seriously, it would be nice to make a living from being an author as I have a few stories that are ready for print. To write more and do what I love will be the ultimate life goal relating to my writing career.

Which writers inspire you?

I can’t say I have a firm favourite, though many do inspire.

Brilliant and imaginative storytellers with whom I can relate include Stephen King, J.K. Rolling (yes – I know – Harry Potter – but what can I say?, she is very clever), Arthur C Clarke, Frank Herbert, H.G. Wells, Margaret Atwood, and many more.

Beautiful writers I admire as wordsmiths include Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway, George Orwell, Steinbeck, Tolkien, Yann Martel, and Gregory David.

There are so many others.

I aim to become a great storyteller and hope my writing skills improve as I progress.

Tell us about your book?

If you were sent a thousand years into the past, would you survive?

With the accidental development of the Transporter, university researchers determine that the device sends any subject one thousand years into the past.

Or is it to a possible past?

The enigmatic Transporter soon becomes known as a Time Machine, but with limitations.

An audacious research project is devised to use the Transporter to investigate Medieval Saxon England, when an international team of crack Special Services soldiers undergo intensive training for their role as historical researchers.

The elite researchers, called Travellers, are to be sent into what is a very dangerous period in England’s turbulent past. 

From the beaches of Australia to the forests of Saxon England, Traveller – Inceptio reveals how Travellers soon learn that they need more than combat skills and modern technology to survive the trials of early 11th Century life.

How long did it take you to write it?

I was obsessed in making sure my data was correct; about the Saxons, the Vikings, and about modern Special Forces. In the end my head swam with so much information I ultimately began to believe in myself.

I was often banned from my local library because one obscure tome on Saxon history or another had been out for six months.

It took me about five years before the book was in a state I thought worthy of someone to read.

I then gave the book, then called ‘Traveller’, to an English editor. He metaphorically tore off my arm and beat me over the head with it. Wiping away my tears I followed his advice in most areas, reduced the draft by 50,000 words, sent it out for review and received a positive response and 5 star ratings. My head still hurts though.

Are you working on any other project(s) right now? If yes, what are they?

Traveller Inceptio lends itself to a sequel. The tale of sending 21st Century, Special Forces trained ‘History Researchers’ back 1000 years can spread to other locations than Saxon England, so Traveller Book 2 – ‘Traveller Probo’ (to Prove) takes in missions to New Zealand and Byzantine Turkey. Traveller Book 3 – ‘Traveller Manifesto’ – details the issues that arise from missions to Mississippi USA and Jerusalem.

I have completed a couple of other books away from the Traveller stable, but I am keeping those under wraps for now.

Why Have You Chosen This Genre?

For as long as I can remember I have loved Science Fiction and History. My father is a keen genealogist so I have been fascinated by tales of our ancestors’ struggle to survive.

Traveller Inceptio is a mix of science fiction and historical fiction that examines how members of 21st Century Western society could survive the world of the 11th Century.

I was inspired one day when I sat on a beach imagining how the location would have looked 100, then 200, then 1000 years in the past. Fortunately I lived close to the beautiful beaches of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia and the exercise of imagining the location before resorts, powerlines and phone towers brought to mind a very different world.

The next step in the tale was to imagine how modern humans would survive ‘back then’. Then – how was this leap of imagination possible?

Traveller Inceptio (Latin for Beginning) examines what could happen if such an accidental discovery was not hidden from public view. How would a device that takes one back a thousand years be used? Where would one go? In a world where academic historians are not like Indiana Jones, who would be sent?

So, that is my long-winded way of saying that I didn’t really select the genre, but in a way the tale and thus the genre selected me.

When did you decide to become a writer?

I am kind of old. I really started my writing in my late 40’s. I never sat and thought, “I know! I’ll become a writer!” The story began to coalesce and, in the end, I decided to actually write. To my surprise I liked the creative process and, I hope, have learned a lot about writing and language.

Why do you write?

When I decided I had a story to tell, it was almost impossible not to write. It became a compulsion, not driven out of an arrogance that my story was to change the world, but something that, once I began, I found something I could do.

Surprisingly I have found a few stories lurking in the deep crevasses of my mind which, I hope, will be entertaining.

Where do your ideas come from?

My ideas come from a mixture of real life – real people and their funny and silly ways, and the creation of an ‘if-then’ scenario. I try to keep the story as realistic as possible within those parameters and retain the reality of response of the characters involved.

Through research I have been able to understand the history and reality of some of the lives my characters could experience. Also, many amazing tales can be shared rather than experienced, thus enriching the story without having my characters having to actually engage in everything.

How do you prefer to write? On computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

I am a computer writer. Word on a PC. Don’t hate me.

What are your 5 favourite books and 5 favourite authors?

In no apparent order – here are 5 books I enjoy with wonderful authors:

  1. Shantaram by Gregory David
  2. The Roman series of books by Colleen McCullough
  3. The Lord of the Rings series by Tolkein
  4. The Dune series by Frank Herbert
  5. 1984 by George Orwell

Ask me next week and I will have others, but these are a great start.

How do you deal with Writer’s Block?

Rather than writers block, I experience writer’s fatigue. I get sick of writing, so I go for a swim in the ocean or play a game on my PlayStation. Getting smashed by ‘Red Dead Redemption’ and loved ‘Fallout 4’. A gaming legend I am not.

I also go through a book many times. Once immersed I think of issues or situations to include or discover new items in my reading or even from Social Media. I keep my eyes open for possibilities and my ears open for good stories from people I talk to daily. That inspiration then pads out the bare bones of a tale into something I hope resembles real life.

What advice would you give to new aspiring authors?

Writing can be tough, because much is about your own personal confidence and desires.

My first piece of advice is to start writing, no matter what. Too many believe they must have the whole story before writing starts, while I find the story develops as I write. It’s like painting, or weaving a rich tapestry with words. Like a journey, it starts with the courageous first step.

Second is to not worry about what everyone else thinks. Writing is like running: you have to practice to get good at it. I find the process of writing and rewriting allows me to get better. Just go for it and let your creativity shine.

Third: Never be happy with the first draft. I always go back through the story, the words, the creative writing many, many times. It might feel like an OCD thing, and that is what makes writing so personal. My format will be different to everyone else. Find your way and follow it.

Fourth – and the hardest. Be prepared to be disappointed at criticism. As my first book, ‘Traveller Inceptio’ was initially self-published, critiqued, then edited. Criticism can be very tough, but cling to what others might say are well done. Not all can be Salman Rushdie.

Fifth – have a market in mind. Writing is a creative art, but selling books is strictly a marketing endeavour. I aim to become an author that sells. That is my ultimate goal. For any writing to sell it must appeal to a market, to a slice of humanity who likes what you produce. Some popular book series come to mind that are only marketing, with no substance, yet they sell. Publishers only seek what will sell and then leave it to you to create the market for them. Gone are the days of offering a new author a million dollar contract. Yes, it’s a tough gig.

Thank you, Rob, for all the interesting answers!


About The Book

Traveller Inceptio

If you were sent a thousand years into the past, would you survive?

With the accidental development of the Transporter, university researchers determine that the device sends any subject one thousand years into the past.

Or is it into a possible past?

The enigmatic Transporter soon becomes known as a Time Machine, but with limitations.

An audacious research project is devised to use the Transporter to investigate Medieval Saxon England, when a crack international team of Special Services soldiers undergo intensive training for their role as historical researchers.

The special researchers, called Travellers, are to be sent into what is a very dangerous period in England’s turbulent past. 

From the beaches of Australia to the forests of Saxon England, Traveller – Inceptio reveals how Travellers soon learn that they need more than combat skills and modern technology to survive the trails of early 11th Century life.

AMAZON | GOODREADS | WEBSITE

To read more author interviews, click here.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed or if you are a publicist and want to get your author interviewed on TRB, then please get in touch through direct e-mail: thereadingbud@gmail.com

Author Interview: Erin Rhew

Welcome to the TRB Lounge, the part of TRB that helps authors and publishers promote their titles.

Today, we are featuring Erin Rhew, author of The Transhuman Project, for our feature, Author Interview.

About The Author

Dwayne Gill

Erin Rhew is an editor, the operations manager for a small press, and a YA fantasy and sci-fi author. Since she picked up Morris the Moose Goes to School at age four, she has been infatuated with the written word. She went on to work as a grammar and writing tutor in college and is still teased by her family and friends for being a member of the “Grammar Police.”

A Southern girl by blood and birth, Erin spent years in a rainy pocket of the Pacific Northwest before returning to her roots in the land of hushpuppies, sweet tea, and pig pickin’. She’s married to fellow author, the amazingly talented (and totally handsome) Deek Rhew, and spends her time writing side-by-side with him under the watchful eye of their patient-as-a-saint writing assistant, a tabby cat named Trinity. Erin and Deek enjoy taking long walks, drinking coffee, lifting, boxing, eating pizza, staying up late into the night talking, and adventuring together.

 you can connect with the author here
Website | Facebook | Twitter


The Interview

Can you please tell my readers about your ambitions for your writing career?

Of course, everyone would love to have a bestselling novel, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t dream of that. But mostly, I enjoy entertaining people. If people read my book and feel like they’ve taken an amazing adventure by the end, I can’t ask for much else.

Which writers inspire you?

I love, love, love Rick Riordan. His Percy Jackson series is top-notch for me. I really like how he mixes mythology with the modern world and adds a splash of humor. I’m not nearly as funny as Rick, but I try to have a humorous character, my Percy homage if you will, in every book.

Tell us about your book?

The Transhuman Project is about two neighboring countries, each subjugated by different things. Pacifica is run by a brutal dictator, and Kadar tangled up in the fake niceities of social media shows called Life Channels. Molly Richards and her friends get sucked up in the middle of both countries, and Molly must figure out a way to stop a tyrant from turning people into robots called transhumans while smiling and waving for the Kadarian masses who’ve made her their latest obsession.

It’s about friendship, love, social media, family, and what’s really important in life.

How long did it take you to write it?

The initial draft took me about three months to write. However, what you see now is actually the sequel. I decided the real story lay not in the original but in what comes after. So, I’ve been writing, rewriting, and fussing with this story for about five years.

Are you working on any other project(s) right now? If yes, what are they?

I am currently working on story which places a historical figure in modern times. I’m very excited about it and can’t wait to share it with readers!

When did you decide to become a writer?

I don’t know that I ever really decided to become a writer. I think I was born a writer. When I was four, I wrote my first poem (a terrible rhyme verse about cars, since my grandparents own a car dealership), and I’ve been hooked since that moment.

Why do you write?

I write because I can’t not write. Stories live in my core, and characters take up residency in my mind. They clamor to have their stories told, and I am at their mercy to oblige.

Where do your ideas come from?

I am inspired by everything around me. But mostly my ideas come from conversations I have with my husband. We’ll be like “what if this” or “have you ever thought of that,” and stories evolve.

How do you prefer to write? On computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

I prefer to use my laptop because it’s portable, and I think way faster than I can write. I’m a pretty fast typist though, so my fingers can *almost* keep up with my brain when I type.

What are your 5 favorite books and 5 favorite authors?

Wow, that’s a tough one. I love a lot of books, so I’ll just name five I really dig.

  1. Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare. I know it’s not technically a book (it’s a play), but the Bard is one of my biggest inspirations. I’ve played Juliet in three different renditions of the play, and I have almost the whole thing memorized.
  2. The Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan. Percy Jackson is one of the funniest characters I’ve ever read.
  3. 122 Rules and Birth of an American Gigolo by Deek Rhew. Yep, that’s my husband. I’m obviously biased, but let me tell you, my man has got words. I’ve worked for small presses for years now, and I can truly say I’ve never seen such an amazing mix of literary and commercial in one voice. He’s masterful.
  4. She Wants It All by Jessica Calla. One word—Dave. I love this story so much, and I definitely have a book crush on Dave. Jess creates such vivid worlds and characters that you can’t help but get swept up in them.
  5. The Bloodline Series by Richelle Mead. While I enjoyed the Vampire Academy series, I really, really loved the follow-up series. It’s a whole world of alchemists and vampires that is a new, fresh take on the genre.

How do you deal with Writer’s Block?

It depends. If I’m on a deadline, I sit down and force myself to write, even if what comes out is garbage. But if I’m not on a deadline, I take some time to get inspired again. I read, watch shows, and talk to people. Inevitably, it rejuvenates my spirit.

What advice would you give to new aspiring authors?

Two things: never give up on your dream and edit, edit, edit. This business is tough, so you’ll need a thick skin. You’ll have to believe in yourself and your works even if no one else does. But you wrote something, so stick with it and keep believing. Secondly, edit, edit, edit, and when you think you’re done, edit some more. Never, ever, ever turn in a first draft to anyone.

Thank you, Erin, for all the insightful and interesting answers. I personally loved your writing advice!


About The Book

The Transhuman Project

When a video of Molly Richards is taken out of context and goes viral, she’s thrust into the upper echelons of social media stardom and becomes an overnight success in a country where Life Channel ratings reign supreme. As Kadar’s fastest-rising celebrity, her life becomes a media circus, a show put on for the shallow national audience salivating for the next new thing.

But in a world where image is king, danger and death hide among the shadows. In the nearby country of Pacifica, the brutal Caezar turns his citizens into robotic weapons who infiltrate Kadar as sleeper transhumans. They walk among the populace, unaware they are pawns in the madman’s personal arsenal.

Only Molly, her friends, and an elite group of Kadarian fighters known as the Cyber Knights fully understand the transhuman threat, and only they can break the Caezar’s terrorist grip on both Pacifica and Kadar. Battling Fire Bots and humanoid agents, they seek to put a stop to the Caezar’s tyranny by unraveling the secrets buried between layers of deception.

And they have to do it all while smiling and waving for the cameras.

As Molly and her friends peer behind the glitz and glamour, they discover something more frightening and more sinister than anything they’ve encountered yet…the truth.

Amazon |Barnes and Noble | Smashwords | Kobo | iBooks | Goodreads

To read more author interviews, click here.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed or if you are a publicist and want to get your author interviewed on TRB, then please get in touch through direct e-mail: thereadingbud@gmail.com

Author Interview: Dwayne gill

Welcome to the TRB Lounge, the part of TRB that helps authors and publishers promote their titles.

Today, we are featuring Dwayne Gill, author of Written By Blood: Conviction, for another one of our very popular feature, Author Interview.

About The Author

Dwayne Gill

Dwayne Gill is a new, up-and-coming author with a big imagination. He first thought of the premise of his series “Written By Blood” when he was just twelve years old. Growing up, he loved action movies and larger-than-life heroes, which is evident when reading his writing.
However, as he got older, he became bothered by the typical action figure tropes and the predictability of the plots, causing his series idea to evolve further.

If you like action thrillers, unlikely, conflicted heroes, twists, and character development that has a much deeper moral than most other thrillers in its genre, you’ll want to follow the series “Written By Blood.”

The two short stories, “Cane’s Detour” and “Daniel’s Darkness” feature Cane and Daniel, two major characters in his series “Written By Blood.” The first novel of the series, Conviction, will be released in December 2018.

Dwayne Gill lives in Louisiana with his wife, newborn son, and his yellow Labrador Retriever.

 you can connect with the author here
website | facebook | bookbub | goodreads


The Interview

 

Can you please tell my readers about your ambitions for your writing career?

My starting ambition was simply to put my story out there for everyone to read, but a funny thing happened along the way. I separated one long book into separate volumes. By doing this, I knew I’d be losing a lot of content, so I decided to incorporate the extra content into short stories.

I published Cane’s Detour in February 2018 with little expectation and a lot of pride. It was awesome to see my book, my story, on my own Kindle. Of course, my family and friends read it and said they loved it, but the reception I began receiving from complete strangers is what first made me realize there may be more to this. There were readers writing me expressing how much they enjoyed the story and began asking me when the full-length novel would be published. A few readers turned into many, and by the time I released the second short story, Daniel’s Darkness, in May 2018, I had quite a substantial following. Little did I know that readers would like Daniel even more than Cane.

Daniel’s Darkness caused my following to multiply exponentially, which made me realize the potential in what I was doing. I knew if all of these people loved the two short stories this much, they’d love the novel.

Then, in August 2018, my wife gave birth to our first child, and my world changed forever. My wife and I were both working before, but shortly after Sampson was born, we both decided she would stay home to raise him. It’s what my wife always wanted. That left me shouldering the burden of being the sole breadwinner, which made me realize how badly I needed this author thing to work for me in the long-term.

I hope to someday be able to support my growing family as a full-time author. We’re not done having kids, so I better get busy!

What started as a hobby has escalated into a deep desire to entertain people, and to make an honest living doing so.

 

Which writers inspire you?

This may sound funny coming from a self-published author, but I’m inspired by the traditionally published authors who came before me. These authors didn’t have the luxury that I have today of being able to decide to put my work out there for the world to see, absent any gatekeepers. Authors Like Margaret Mitchell, John Grisham, J.K. Rowling, even James Patterson, were all turned away multiple times by publishers, yet they never lost hope. They kept writing. They didn’t have the alternative that we indies have today; they just had to keep submitting their manuscripts, hoping someone would believe in them. That inspires me. I hope that I’d have the same level of confidence in my writing to trust myself on that level.

 

Tell us about your book?

My book is, in a lot of ways, your classic action thriller. It has all the elements you’d expect to see: a scary bad guy, epically bad-ass protagonists, damsels in distress, high-level corruption, and heavy doses of action sequences. It’s set in the near-future and features genetically enhanced men to throw in a dash of Sci-Fi. Conviction is also obviously pointing at a soon-to-be apocalyptic-type event, which would give readers that enjoy that sort of scenario something to look forward to in future volumes.

The book features Cane, a rogue-assassin who was trained by the government. He’s ruthless, efficient, and because he was isolated from society from birth, unable to understand most human emotions. In one of the short story prequels, Cane’s Detour, you get to see him at his worst. He’s still an asset of the government program, before it’s shut down, and he’s on his way to kill an American citizen. He runs into Kristy, who’s recently escaped from a serial killer, and has to decide what to do with her. He ends up helping her, albeit in an unconventional way.

The other main character is Daniel, who you also get a peek at in the short story Daniel’s Darkness. He’s 7’5 and over 400 pounds and is locked up in a super-max prison, convicted of multiple counts of murder. While Daniel isn’t in the novel as much as Cane, he’s still a highly entertaining character.

There are lots damsels in distress; besides Kristy and Taryn, the two you meet in the short stories, you meet Natalie and Jordyn as well. Not all the women in the novel are in need of protection though; readers will get to see a lot of the female characters evolve and stand apart on their own.

The other supporting characters of note are Lynks, who is Cane’s best friend and former fellow trainee, Bowman, the man who trained Cane and Lynks, Calvin, Daniel’s best friend, and Agents Hart and Barkley, whose roles grow bigger as the plot unfolds.

The villain of the novel is named Amos, and he’s one of the seven terrorist leaders who are giving orders to the marked men. Years ago, men by the thousands began disappearing all over the country, then reappearing elsewhere. What made it stranger was that they all were ordinary, hard-working family men. They abandoned their families and careers and moved away, and every one of them now have a marking, like a tattoo, on their forearm. There are also some who commit seemingly unprovoked acts of random violence, leading many to be suspicious of the group’s intentions. The true nature and origin of these men become clearer as the novel progresses.

The centerpiece of the plot has to belong to Marcene, however. She’s a mysterious lady that directs Cane to save Natalie from the marked men, thus bringing them to his attention. She also leads him to Calvin, then Daniel. She’s instrumental in the novel.

The novel follows Cane’s journey to save Natalie, investigate the marked men, recruit Calvin, and extract Daniel.

It also follows Amos’s path of trying to corner Cane, and when he fails, he targets Kristy and her mother, the two people Cane cares most about.

It turns into a feud that will keep escalating until the final pages.

Anyone who likes thrillers in the vein of Rapp and Reacher will surely be entertained, but where my novel and series differ from most thrillers, I believe, is in the exploration of the characters’ own inner struggles. Cane and Daniel are two of the most unlikely hero-types you’ll ever find in a novel, but each have found a way to overcome their own limitations to be someone better.

And it’s just the beginning of that journey.

 

How long did it take you to write it?

I won’t count the original version of Written By Blood, because it was really long and ended up being segmented into different volumes. Because of the way I had to restructure the one long story, it’s hard to gauge how long it took to actually write Part One: Conviction. I began separating Written By Blood into different volumes in February 2018, which was a complicated process. I wanted each volume of the story to stand alone on its own, absent cliffhangers, so I had to add some plot and move things around.

The end product was Written By Blood Part One: Conviction, and I finished the manuscript in August 2018. In total, it took nearly four months of actual writing, once I had the plot worked out.

 

Are you working on any other project(s) right now? If yes, what are they?

Oh yes! I’m always working on other projects. Currently, there are three short stories due before the launch of Written By Blood Part Two. One features Cane, another is a prequel to Part Two and features Daniel, then the other features the third main protagonist of the series, William, who will be in Part Two.

Of course, I’m also working on Written By Blood Part Two itself, which I think readers will like even better than Part One.

Why have you chosen this genre?

I didn’t really choose the genre. In fact, I didn’t consider genre until after I finished my first short story. It turns out my novel really crosses genres; it’s best described as a technothriller, but it could fall into a number of others as well.

 

When did you decide to become a writer?

I wrote my first book when I was about five years old. It was called, The Thing, and it was awesome. My sister helped me make it into an audiobook, in the form of a tape cassette recording. In fact, I would read a page aloud and she’d press the side button of a walkie-talkie to indicate it was time to turn the page.

Seriously, though, after that phase of my life I gave little thought to writing. However, all through school I excelled in English and Grammar, and my ninth-grade teacher was so impressed with my journal entries that she presented me with a special award at the school end-of-the-year awards ceremony. She also told me she wanted a signed copy of the first book I wrote. I plan on following through on that promise.

I still didn’t quite fancy myself a writer at that point, and it really wasn’t until I wrote the first version of Written By Blood that I yearned to become a writer. It was more of a pipe dream then, but as I got older and the publishing industry became more indie-friendly, that dream became a reality.

 

Why do you write?

I started writing because I had a story burning inside of me. I didn’t sit down to write it until I was twenty-eight years old, and it was for fear of the story being lost somehow. I knew when I died, the story would die with me, unless I put it in writing.

So I did. However, I didn’t actively pursue publishing until I was thirty-nine years old. I had talked about it, people had encouraged me to go for it, but it took many years to pull the trigger.

However, Written By Blood isn’t the only story in my head. In fact, I have entire books, or stories, start-to-finish, sitting in my mind, waiting to be written. Dozens of books in many different genres, and I plan on writing them all.

I write for two reasons: One reason is the love of the story, for seeing the movies in my head come to life in written form. There’s no bigger thrill for me than that.

The second reason is for my fans. No one ever warned me about what it would be like to have fans that turn into dear friends. I have met so many great people in the past year, people that began as casual readers who took a chance on me. I’m so thankful for the relationships I’ve formed, and my readers mean everything to me. I vow to always be accessible to fans; I answer every email and have months-long conversations going with people.

Where do your ideas come from?

I’ve always had a very vivid imagination. When I was a young boy, I’d play entire movies out using G.I. Joe men or stuffed animals. I’d even set a timer to make sure the length of the “movie” stayed in a certain time-frame. As I got older, even though I’d abandoned my toy props, I’d still play movies in my head. My favorite time to do this was on the school bus; because I lived in a rural area, I rode the bus for over two hours to and from school. In the mornings, I would lie on the back seat, close my eyes, and let the film roll in my mind. During these trips to school, the concept of my series Written By Blood was born.

Even at age thirty-nine, I still have the same, active imagination, although I rarely use stuffed animals or action figures. I’m inspired by anything I watch on television, anything I read, and I’m greatly inspired by music. I can listen to an emotionally moving song and have a movie trailer, of my making, playing through my mind by the end. I also use complete silence to brainstorm. One thing’s for certain: I never force an idea into a book or plot. It all comes very naturally, for I could only write stories that move me personally.

 

How do you prefer to write? On computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

90% of my writing is done on a desktop computer, however, I’ve been known to type out portions of my books using my phone. I use MS Word and save my work on OneDrive, so my phone can connect seamlessly to any document that I need to edit on the fly. In fact, I do a lot of my proofreading on my phone.

I’ve yet to master dictation. I’ve tried a few times but so far it doesn’t seem to suit me.

 

What are your 5 favorite books and 5 favorite authors?

Five Favorite Books:

  1. Tough Customer by Sandra Brown
  2. American Assassin by Vince Flynn
  3. Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
  4. The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris
  5. Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane

Five Favorite Authors:

  1. Vince Flynn
  2. George R. R. Martin
  3. John Grisham
  4. Dean Koontz
  5. Sandra Brown

Each of the books and authors played a great role in me becoming an author. I don’t claim for any of the books or authors to be a top five list of the best, but the impact they each had on me was substantial.

How do you deal with Writer’s Block?

I’ve honestly never experienced Writer’s Block, but that’s likely because all the writing I’ve done has consisted of stories that I already know from beginning to end, and everything in between. I’m sure at some point I’ll inevitably hit the wall, but so far there’s been no issues.

 

What advice would you give to new aspiring authors?

The most important piece of advice I’d give is simply to write. That may seem like a no-brainer, but I think too many aspiring authors out there don’t consider themselves true authors. I think this rings truer with Indie authors; we tend to only think of ourselves as an author once we see one of our books published. However, being an author starts long before any of your writing is published, so we should act accordingly. A true author writes, and does so every day. Set time away and make content your priority. By writing daily, you’re honing your craft, finding your voice, and becoming a better author.

The second piece of advice would be to grow your audience, and to do it immediately. This ties into writing everyday as well. Produce content, whether it be blogs or short stories, and get that into the hands of readers that will value your work. And keep producing! Give free material away all the time to your faithful readers to keep them engaged.

Decide whether you’re writing as a hobby or making it a career endeavor. If you’re writing as a hobby, you don’t have too many rules or guidelines you need to follow. But if your aim is to make a living from your writing, there’s certain things you’ll need to do if you want to be successful, and it will cost a few dollars. Don’t think you can put out quality work completely on your own without spending a dime. While you absolutely can publish at virtually no cost, your chances of long-term success are pretty low. Get a professional editor and cover designer, at the very least, and if you’re really looking at getting your name and novel out there, consider researching marketing. Learn how to write a professional blurb, learn categories on Amazon or wherever you’re publishing. Consider Facebook and/or Amazon Ads.

Lastly, join communities, whether it be other like-minded authors or readers in your genre. Goodreads has a ton of groups. Join one, or three. Get to know other people in the industry.

If you want to be successful, visible, and to stand out, you’ll need to do things other authors aren’t doing, because let’s face it: there are thousands of authors out there that no one knows, so if you want to avoid being just another name thrown into the mix, go the extra mile.

Have confidence in yourself and your writing. Accept criticism; it’s more important than you realize. Have fun. And most importantly, value your faithful readers. They’re the ones who will always have your back. Keep them happy, and never take them for granted.


Thank you, Dwayne, for all the insightful and exciting answers! 


About The Book

Written By Blood: Conviction

Abandoned to a secret government program at birth, Cane was trained to be the world’s most skilled assassin. For years he excelled in the field, bringing dangerous terrorists all over the world to justice and making even the most protected villains lose sleep. But since the program was shut down four years ago, he’s been forced into hiding, doing odd jobs to keep himself busy, and struggling to find a place for himself in society. The years of social isolation and, seemingly, his own brutal nature, have made him question whether or not he possesses the ability to feel certain emotions that most others exhibit effortlessly.

Cane’s only hope of normality in a lonely life rests in the warmth of his friendship with Helen and her daughter Kristy, the latter of whom he rescued five years earlier, from the clutches of the evil Blue Rose serial-killer. Cane lives with his friend Lynks, with whom he served in the disbanded “Red Delta” assassin program.

Cane finds a cryptic message from Marcene, a mysterious lady who knows more about him than she should. He soon finds himself thrust into the middle of a mystery that’s been at the center of the country’s attention for the past several years: ordinary men around the United States have been disappearing by the thousands, leaving their families and careers behind, only to turn up elsewhere in the country. Even more curious are the markings, which look like tattoos, that each bear upon their return. Conspiracy theories have abounded for years, but little has ever been known about these men, until now. Marcene claims the missing men are not only dangerous terrorists plotting a major attack on U.S. soil, but that they’re also genetically enhanced, and she aims to prove it to Cane through a series of instructions.

First, Cane is to save a college girl named Natalie, who, without her knowledge, is being targeted by the marked men. Guided more by curiosity than information, Cane and Lynks agree to help the girl, but after succeeding, they find only a new web of mysteries to unravel. The marked men are receiving their orders from seven dangerous men, and Cane remembers one of them by name: Amos. He’d been on Cane’s radar in the past, though he remained out of reach. Amos’s re-emergence gives Cane added motivation, so he looks to Marcene to continue pointing him in the right direction…

She leads them to the next, and most important step: find and recruit Daniel, a mountain of a man with a long history of violence.

There’s only one problem: he’s a convicted murderer in a super-max prison.

Cane and Lynks enlist Calvin, Daniel’s old friend, and Bowman, the man who trained Cane, to help orchestrate a plan for extracting Daniel. But Amos and the marked men are watching and making plans of their own, and they’ll use any tactic available in order to ensure their sinister plans remain in place, including hurting the few people Cane cares about.

It’s not only the marked men hot on their trail; FBI Agents Hart and Barkley, who’ve been hunting Cane and Lynks since the dissolution of Red Delta, are getting closer as well. But the nearer they draw to Cane, the more they learn about Amos, the other six terrorist leaders, and the marked men. And what they discover leads to even more terrifying scenarios and a deeper web of corruption than anyone expected, including a conspiracy involving high-ranking U.S. officials and the Russian government.

If Cane can just save Daniel and set him free, he’ll have a valuable ally: Daniel stands over seven feet tall and weighs over four hundred pounds, and he has his own bitter history with the marked men.

What started as curiosity for Cane quickly turns into something personal when Amos targets Helen and Kristy, sending him on a frantic race against time, pitted against enemies that far outnumber him and his friends. It’ll be a struggle to balance saving Kristy, rescuing Daniel, all while battling his own demons and self-doubt.

To succeed, it’ll take determination.

It’ll take focus.

It’ll take CONVICTION.

book links
amazon and goodreads

To read more author interviews, click here.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed or if you are a publicist and want to get your author interviewed on TRB, then please get in touch through direct e-mail: thereadingbud@gmail.com

Author Interview: Kally-Jay Mkwawa

Welcome to the TRB Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome Kally-Jay Mkwawa, author of Isidora – The Life, Mind and Memories of an African Phoenix, for an author interview.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kally-Jay Mkwawa

Kally-Jay Mkwawa (a pseudonym), is a lady of 30 years living and working in
Tanzania and is the author of Isidora – The Life, Mind and Memories of an African
Phoenix. She gained her undergraduate degree in Bcom Law (majoring in law and
minor in business management) which she was awarded in South Africa and is
currently working for an NGO dealing with provision of medical assistance in the
country whilst pursuing her MBA with the University of South Wales, the latter
being via distance learning.
She’s always been a lover of reading and collecting books, a passion through
which (in addition to formal education) and, possessing a mind louder than words
she can actually utter, has enhanced and inspired her to start writing. Her writing
is more of a born talent since she’s never had classes in literature or the arts which
would have enabled her to grow further in the field. To her, writing is a form of
therapy and a way to tap into her imagination.
Besides her love of writing, Kally-Jay has a passion for lending an ear to people
who most of the times need someone to listen to, music and watching series or
movies.
She draws inspiration for writing from travelling, reading fiction novels and devotional books and conversations with close friends and family and, anything that is ‘out the box’ or living life not conforming to society’s normal set standards. She strives to write stories from real life experiences and thus, living an essence of herself in them and what she’s personally been through in life and epiphanies she’s come to in the process.

 you can connect with the author here
instagram | linkedin | goodreads


The Interview

 

can you please tell my readers a little bit about yourself?


I’m a Tanzanian lady living and working in Tanzania and am the author of Isidora – The Life, Mind and Memories of an African Phoenix. My given name is L.J. Mkwawa even though for the purposes of publishing my work I’ve picked the pseudonym of Kally-Jay Mkwawa. I attained my undergraduate degree in Bcom Law (majoring in law and a minor in business management) which I was awarded in South Africa.


please tell us about your book?


My book is generally about life stages, epiphanies that one comes to whilst encountering different people and experiencing different situations. It’s about love (in most of its facets), friends, family, memories one collects during one’s life and personal growth. I’d say parts of it are quite emotional but I’d rather readers look at the bigger picture. I’ve put an essence of myself in the book as well.


how long did it take you to write it?


I’d actually started scripting the chapters for quite a while but, the process had actually been on and off since I’d had to juggle work, family and school. But ideally, I’d say it took me less than a year to complete it since I’d set a deadline of my birthday in 2018.


why did you choose this topic?

Wow (chuckles). This is definitely one of my favorite questions. I chose the topic/ title because ‘Isidora’ which ideally means ‘gift of isis’ or in other different stories, she was an empathetic woman always overlooking herself and putting others first whilst in history she is said to have been quite reserved as well. This is something which talks about Isidora’s character. The subtitle ‘Life, Mind and Memories’ is simply about her life, the way her mind works and the memories she’s kept instilled within her that’s somehow shaped and still shaping her character. ‘African Phoenix’- a phoenix is a mythological bird who at the end of its life, goes in flames and, out of the ashes it is reborn. This portrays the various stages and trials that Isidora goes through by experiencing different situations and encountering different people and in signifies that no matter how trying a scenario/ experience is for her, she lives to see another day. And, ‘African’ is just the fact that it represents the story being based in Africa – Isidora’s home. Having said that, I therefore chose this title for my debut book.


which writers in your field inspire you?


The actual fact is that I haven’t quite read a lot of books by non-fiction authors, but the few that come to mind are such as C.S. Lewis, Susan Cain, Sarah Young, Stephen Covey and the like. In all honesty, I’ve read more fictional books than non-fiction and I feel it’s perhaps because I’m quite particular about a writer’s writing style.


what inspired you to write?

I’ve personally grown up to have very few people I can speak to or confide in, and thus, there more times when my mind tends to be louder than my mouth or the number of times I speak. I also easily always find myself thinking a lot (most especially about deeper meaning of issues in and of life) and thus, writing is my way of emptying my mind. This is especially because most times not a lot of people would understand what I’m saying (thus appreciating my level of ‘weird’) or relate to what I’m saying. Writing is my type of therapeutic exercise. When a thought or an epiphany (be it spiritual/religious or general, comes to my mind, it even gets to a point of getting a headache. Thus, I’d grab my laptop or a pen and notebook and just pour it all out.


are you working on any other project(s) right now? if yes, what are they?

I’m currently working for an NGO dealing with provision of medical assistance in the country whilst at the same time, I’m pursuing my MBA with the University of South Wales, the latter being via distance learning. I also manage a vacation home on a part-time basis (this being a family venture). At the same time, I’m still writing and thus, in the process of writing my second book as well.


how do you prefer to write? on computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?


I prefer writing with a pen in any notebook of mine I can find and when it’s something I feel I can include in a book, that’s when I use my laptop (or, my phone when the urgency to get a thought out of my head gets too overwhelming).


what are your 5 
favourite books and 5 favourite authors?


  • K. Rowling – All the Harry Potter Books (wouldn’t be fair to pick just one)
  • Susan Cain – Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking
  • Nora Roberts (definitely too many books of hers to mention as I’ve read (still reading) a lot of them and equally loved all of them),
  • Stephen Covey – 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
  • Dan Brown – Angels and Demons


non-fiction deals with a lot of facts and real-life study. how do you deal with the all research work?

Honestly, it’s really not that much of a challenge for me at the moment and this is simply because debut book is about things or people I’ve encountered or experienced or, have in one way or another played a role in. This is be it through conversations with my close circle of friends or my family or, at times, through reading work from other non-fiction writers/ authors (something which isn’t at all hard for me since reading another form of relaxation for me. I’m a certified book junkie!). I also think non-fiction isn’t solely about research all times, it’s just the mere fact that it’s based on true or real life occurrence of events.


what advice would you give to new aspiring authors in your genre?

I reckon each person has a story to tell about oneself and it doesn’t matter if it’ll be a bestseller or not or, whether you’d be praised for your heroics or be laughed at. The point remains that you have a story which has somehow shaped their character and made you who you are today; it is your testimony. If you touch one person, one million or all 7 billion, you’re in a position to inspire, change or motivate someone. With your story, another person would grow and learn to do and be better, why not share it? I encourage aspiring authors to speak up and let them be heard. It’s one which through which you can definitely make a difference.

Most times it’s not easy to make your mark in this world, so even if you’ll eventually be writing for an audience or readers, initially, you can write for yourself. Do it for you! This piece of advice was hammered into me by one of my closest friends and she said ‘do it for yourself woman! Be your own fan’. It took a lot of debating and second guessing myself to have finally decided to publish (and self-publish at that, a field I was completely clueless about) but I did it for me. And it still amazes me that so many people praise the fact I published and that they appreciate my writing.


Thank you, Kally-Jay, for all your honest answers and for the insightful and exciting answers! 


ABOUT THE BOOK:

Isidora – The Life, Mind and Memories of an African Phoenix

Spending the better part of your life being called a good listener, a weirdo, a hermit or a ‘mirror of ugly truths’ and a walking-talking memory machine isn’t at all that it’s cut out to be. To a large extent, it’s a lonely life. You arrive into this life without even meaning to and suddenly it seems that you carry the weight of the whole world on your shoulders. You get sucked into it quite easily and coming up for a breath of fresh air is not easy at all.

This is an account that will give the reader an idea of what Isidora has encountered this beautiful, yet twisted and noisy place called the world. It’s not a long story with a happy ending (at least not so far). Rather, it’s about the reason for her tears, worries, unending voices in her head, the blows that life threw at her, about those precious moments of sheer joy and last, but certainly not least, her encounter with Him. Hopefully, sharing her story will find others who can relate to it and make them feel they’re not alone. Writing this work has been like an ‘extension’ of herself whilst overcoming her fear of hurting people or being compelled to ‘walk on eggshells’. It’s one of her legacies and as always, has been her type of therapy. May it be a type of therapy or inspiring for you too.

book links:
amazon and smashwords

To read other author interviews, click here.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed or if you are a publicist and want to get your author interviewed on TRB, then please get in touch through direct e-mail: thereadingbud@gmail.com

Author Interview: Thomas Josef

Welcome to the TRB Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome Thomas Josef, author of Incoming! Secrets Of A Contract Warrior In Afghanistan, for an author interview.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Thomas Josef

Thomas Josef is a native of Wisconsin and a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin. He hiked the epic 2,200+ mile Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine in his mid-twenties. Thereafter, he served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Tunisia, North Africa. He studied Spanish in Mexico, Guatemala, and Ecuador. With his passion for travel and adventure, he took a military contractor position with a Fortune 500 engineering and construction company to serve the Warfighters of Afghanistan. This is his story of that time and his first book.

 Facebook | Amazon | Goodreads | Website


The Interview

Can you please tell my readers a little bit about yourself?


I was born and raised in Wisconsin, and I’m a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin. I took a short time off between my sophomore and junior year of college to hike the epic 2000+ mile Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine.
From 1989 to 1991, I served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Tunisia, North Africa as a community service worker helping local farmers manage greenhouses. We were ordered out of the region by decree of the State Department because of the initial Iraq-Kuwait conflict that escalated to the Gulf War.
With my Peace Corps assignment cut short and the US is on the brink of war, I decided to travel to Mexico and Central America where tensions were much more subdued. I learned Spanish in Mexico and Guatemala. When I returned to the states, I endured my career with the State of Texas and continued to reside in Austin.
After nearly ten years of service to the state, I was looking for a change in my career and one that would offer an excellent compensation package and travel opportunities. I decided to take a military contractor position with a Fortune 500 engineering and construction company to help serve the Warfighters of Afghanistan. During that time I started to write about daily accounts that became the premise of my book.


Please tell us about your book?


Life as a military contractor working in a war zone is very different, yet fascinating as you can imagine. It’s more about attitude than aptitude. It takes a unique personality and character to stick it out in a war zone and probably more so for a gay man on a military base.
Every day in a war zone, you’re reminded of death. We were working seven days a week, 12 hours a day. Frequently it’s melancholy, but there’s also beautiful cultivation of how you handle your work and what you do outside of work. I worked out nearly every day. I trained to run marathons. I made lasting friendships, had libidinous love affairs, and knowing you’re working alongside our men and women in uniform serving our country as well as our NATO allies made the experience rewarding.
I have a passion for life and adventure and things out of the ordinary, so I decided to keep a journal of the highs and lows of my experiences and feelings during this time in Afghanistan. I started writing stories and sharing some of them as newsletters back home. I had several friends tell me I should compile the newsletters and make it a book. So I did.


How long did it take you to write it?


The book spans four and half years of my time that I served in Afghanistan. It took me another four years after my service to rewrite, rethink, and rework the book for publishing.


Why did you choose this topic?

It’s a memoir, and I wanted to share some of my thoughts and feelings of war that are not shared in newspapers or magazines, how I was able to find peace and happiness in a place that reminds us of dark and gloom almost every day, and that it’s more about the journey, not the destination.


Which writers in your field inspire you?


I’ve always been fascinated by writers that wrote about their life experiences, thoughts, and how they handle things on a daily basis. A few writers that inspired me are Sylvia Plath, Anne Frank, Alice Walker, Khaled Hosseini, and Kevin Powers.


What inspired you to write?

Life’s an adventure. I think it’s great to live and talk about my unique life and experiences that are outside of the norm.


Are you working on any other project(s) right now? If yes, what are they?

Not at this time. I want to see how this book is perceived before I pursue another.


How do you prefer to write? On computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?


I prefer to write using a computer or laptop. I can’t imagine how writers did it before computers.


What are your 5
favorite books and 5 favorite authors?


The five authors that I mentioned that inspired me to write are also on the list of my favorite books:
  1. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
  2. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
  3. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
  4. The Kite Runner and 10,000 Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
  5. The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers


Non-Fiction deals with a lot of facts and real-life study. How do you deal with the all research work?

My memoir is a real-life study, so I guess that portion speaks for itself. I made several political and social comments in my writing on topics that I explored and researched. I have a personality trait as a thinker and analyzer. I love to study subjects that interest me, so it’s something I enjoy to find differences in thought and perception, but also familiar ground.


What advice would you give to new aspiring authors in your genre?

As a friend and fellow author told me, “Everyone has a story to share; share yours.”


Thank you, Thomas, for all your honest answers and for the simple yet powerful writing advice! 


ABOUT THE BOOK:

Incoming! Secrets Of A Contract Warrior In Afghanistan

INCOMINGis an intimate view of one man’s highs and lows during his four and half years of work as a military contractor at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan.

Thomas’ account explores the oftentimes melancholy details of working in a war zone, but equally delves into the beautiful cultivation of lasting friendships, libidinous love affairs, and the many other ways one must find to help them endure a life away from home and family.

Through his vivid recollections of training as a marathon runner, as well as the amorous but sometimes tumultuous exploration of life as a gay man on a military base, Thomas offers a political and social commentary along the way. For every harrowing moment dealing with personal or wartime bleakness, there’s an equally uplifting reminder that we find peace and happiness within ourselves and those we choose as companions.

Book Links:

Amazon | Goodreads

 

To read other author interviews, click here.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed or if you are a publicist and want to get your author interviewed on TRB, then please get in touch through direct e-mail: thereadingbud@gmail.com

Author Interview: K.M. Mackmurdie

Welcome to TRB Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome K.M. Mackmurdie, author of The Inheritants, for an author interview.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

K.M. Mackmurdie

K.M.Mackmurdie has always preferred fantasy lands to reality – and it only took her twenty five years to bring her daydreams to life.
Born and bred in Islington, London, she moved from place to place soaking up snatches of conversation and the body language between furrowed brows, before ending up in Hertfordshire, with a wonderful partner and two highly distracting cats. A local government dropout, K.M. Mackmurdie swapped politics for storytelling and published the first three instalments of her hotly anticipated Inheritant Saga in May 2018.

When not being a tortured artist, K.M. Mackmurdie can be found reading, (duh, right?), cooking up a masterpiece or making a fool of herself on the dancefloor.

Check out The Inheritants now on Amazon Kindle and Ingram Spark. K.M.Mackmurdie’s full debut novel is also available in print.

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The Interview

Can you please tell my readers about your ambitions for your writing career?

My ambition right now is to just keep telling the stories I love and improve my craft. The publishing world can be a daunting place for a debut author and so I want to just keep learning and absorbing as much as I can so that the novels I share are the best they can be.

Which writers inspire you?

I’m very much inspired by a variety of authors, but if I had to pick a top five, I’d have to go with my favourites; Glen Duncan, Neil Gaiman, Lee Child, J.K Rowling and Margaret Atwood.

Tell us about your book?

An urban fantasy, The Inheritants is set in present day London, with the only difference being the descendants of Gods who walk among us. Blessed with special and potentially dangerous abilities, they live under the gaze of the Watchers who ensure that The Inheritant families are contained. None are deadlier than Meredith Earl, who has learnt that using her powers can have fatal consequences.

Yet when her boyfriend is killed and his corpse taken, Meredith will have to confront her past to find him – and the Inheritant families who want revenge.

At its core, The Inheritants is a twisted love story, where old secrets and severed familial ties are resurrected for nefarious means.

How long did it take you to write it?

The novel took about eight months to write and a few more months to edit and publish.

Are you working on any other project(s) right now? If yes, what are they?

Yes! Other than the sequel to The Inheritants, I’m working on a crime novel at the moment, with the working title of The Devil’s Game. In a nutshell, the novel is about a badass female vigilante / private detective, who must work with the police when a young boy washes up on Coney Island’s shore. Who killed Ed Summers and why? Read the explosive new Ash Wheeler novel in 2019 to find out!

Why have you chosen this genre?

The urban fantasy genre is my favourite to read and the only genre I’ve written in previously, so my debut published novel was going to be an urban fantasy. I really like to subvert traditional genres though, so there are some real dark, noir aspects to the novel as well as graphic violence and sex scenes, which really contrast well with the fantastical elements of the novel.

When did you decide to become a writer?

I decided to become a writer when it became clear that not writing was making me feel very unfulfilled and unsatisfied. They always say if you do something you love you’ll never work a day in your life – and all the hard work is worth it for a career that makes you smile.

How do you prefer to write? On computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

I write on a Surface Pro, which is the only laptop I’ve been able to stand for hours on end. It’s really comfortable and I can write on it anywhere – I do have a study but I’m rarely one to sit still. I write anywhere and everywhere, whenever the inspiration strikes!

How do you deal with Writer’s Block?

A lot of the time I use music and film. I like to make playlists and research scenes that spark ideas in me or fix challenges I’m having with my plot. I find that I can’t ‘push through’ writer’s block like some other authors do. It’s much more helpful for me to read a novel or do some research and switch off as it were. In the creative arts, it’s important to give yourself thinking time.

What advice would you give to new aspiring authors?

Not to give up, firstly, because it’s very easy to give up and if you do, the important thing is to get over it and try again. I give up on a daily basis!

Secondly though, it’s to be honest about your abilities. There will always be mistakes and things you could do better – writers are their own best critic. Listen to feedback and try to identify your weaknesses and work on them. You can always improve.

Thank you, Katie, for all your insightful answers! 


ABOUT THE BOOK:

The Inheritants

An urban fantasy like no other, The Inheritants delivers adventure and magic with a realistic, gritty twist. Meredith may have inherited her powers from the Gods, but she isn’t the only one….and she soon discovers that the other side fights dirty.

Meredith Earl is an Inheritant orphan with no one left to trust. Her lover Sloane is dead and his corpse missing – now Meredith must find out who took him, and why.

After the tragic death of her parents she vowed never to use her powers again, but to find Sloane Meredith must enter the shrouded world of the Inheritant Families once more, and rediscover who she really is.

Meredith embarks on a voyage rife with love, loss, sacrifice and despair to face an enemy more cruel and vengeful than she could have ever imagined.

Book Links:

Amazon | Goodreads

 

To read other author interviews, click here.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed or if you are a publicist and want to get your author interviewed on TRB, then please get in touch through direct e-mail: thereadingbud@gmail.com

Author Interview: Roger Peppercorn

Welcome to TRB Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome Roger Peppercorn, author of On The Devil’s Side Of Heaven, for an author interview.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Roger Peppercorn has suffered for the better part of his life from wanderlust and this need to see the other side of the horizon has taken him to all parts of the world. The people and backdrop of his travels have served as the inspiration behind his characters and storytelling. As a child, his mother taught him to read and write. His father’s collection of Louis Lamour novels provoked the fantastical images in his mind and the romance of the written word. In the seventh grade, his history teacher brought the characters of a bygone era alive. From that point on, Roger began to hone his skills in storytelling. After high school, Roger took a course in creative writing that was taught by a long haired hippy in a Hawaiian shirt. Roger’s grandmother used to tell tales of traveling across the plains in a covered wagon, the woes of having a son sent off to war, and the larger-than-life man she met at Pea Green Hall who later became her husband. His first two novels “On The Devils Side of Heaven” and “The Sometimes Long Road Home” take place on the western slopes of Colorado, in the sleepy town of Fruita, where he grew up. They center on the strained relationships and sorted histories of three characters – Walt, Ronald and Jessica, and violence that erupts around them. Roger is married and is a father of four beautiful children. He currently calls South Dakota his home.

Contact:

Website: https://rogerpeppercorn.com/ 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OfficialRogerPeppercorn 
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheRogerPepper
Instagramhttps://www.instagram.com/rogerpeppercorn/

Can you please tell my readers about your ambitions for your writing career?

To entertain my readers first and foremost. The compliments that has meant the most is ‘such a great story, I just couldn’t put it down and my favorite there is going to be a follow up right?’

I love to tell stories so to have anyone who is willing to read something I’ve written is humbling and flattering.

Money and success would be awesome. It would be great to see the brinks truck back up to the front lawn every day and dump lots and lots of cash on the front lawn. I mean who wouldn’t love that? And if that should ever arrive I’m not going to pretend I would just turn them away out of some artist integrity.

But the reality is at this stage in my life being known as a good storyteller and having the respect of tried and true writers giving a tip of the cap to my stories would mean more to me in the long run and having my wife and kids proud of my work means the most to me. Having people in your life who are closest, tell you what a good read it is, is what gives me the energy to keep writing and telling stories.

Which writers inspire you?

There are a couple of modern writers, James Lee Burke and Dennis Lehane are two of my favorites. Both of them have a style and visceral backdrops and characters. I love the way they paint scenes and write dialogue. I think they may be the best writers of our time.

Tell us about your book?

The book is center on two men and a woman. Walt and Jessica are brother and sister. Ronald is married to Jessica but was the childhood friend to them both.

Walt is a lot closer to someone everyone knows he’s that hot mess in the office but he’s the only one that seems to not know it. An alcoholic whose been fired from being a cop and now is getting by as an insurance fraud investigator. Walt sees the world generally through the prism of an empty bottle.

Ronald has the moral compass of a rock and is a contract killer but oddly it’s not the killing that is an issue for him. It’s being reduced to hitman. He prefers the term human resource manage.

Jessica is the tie between them. Sister to Walt and married to Ronald she is the thing that keeps them connected and from killing each other. She is also the reason they both have moved on from their chosen professions. But is also the reason why they must come together to confront a threat to all of them because of Ronald’s prior bad acts but also because of their own shared violent past.

Ronald’s past begins catching up to him but instead of dealing with it like he would or maybe even should he makes promise not to kill again. Which is how Walt gets drug back into it. You watch both of these guys start morally in very different places and then steadily march towards each other.

Walt erases line after line he swore he would never cross only to see Ronald drawing a line and stepping back from it. It’s fun to watch that play out.

On The Devils Side of Heaven is a fast paced character driven adventure. It’s visceral and is played out in the adobe deserts and the mountains of western Colorado.

How long did it take you to write it?

10 months from start to finish. But like I was just saying it spent about two years in my noggin before I sat down to write it.
The books I didn’t finish I spent anywhere from a few weeks to a few months working on.
The other difference this time is the scenes were so clear and the characters were vivid and three dimensional.

You know, the other thing too is this book here wrote itself, where the other books just stopped. Probably for a variety of reasons, but the plots and arcs just didn’t hold like this one did.

Are you working on any other project(s) right now? If yes, what are they?

Yes, I am working on the follow up now. Which is titled “The Sometimes long Road Home.” It will take place about eighteen months to two years after the first one. I’ve done a lot of research and have about ten scenes laid out. I know where the arcs are and the ending but there are a few details I am still working out. I’m probably around twenty pages into it right now so lots of work to do.

Why have you chosen this genre?

Good vs bad or right vs wrong has always been fascinating to me mostly because there most of the time there are versions of what people think is right and wrong depending on their perspective and beliefs. My brother is detective in south TX. He has said repeatedly the line between police and criminal can be very narrow but with nuanced distinctions. As an example both will look at an unattended cash register and the first thing they both look for is ‘who’s watching?’ While the rest of us are wondering where the clerk is so we can check out and go home.

That similarity has always been intriguing to me and a good storyline in that genre is rich, layered and textured. A good caper story keeps you rooting for the thief not the police. Which is socially wrong but in the realm of entertainment a character like the Punisher is rooted for. Maybe its wishful thinking we have socially to write our own justice or to get away with it.

So for me it all comes down to storylines and perspective.

Which is a long way of saying yes that particular genre has always been my favorite read.

When did you decide to become a writer?

I’ve either been cursed or blessed with an active imagination. Because in my head I’m always writing something. Sometimes it’s watching the interaction between people on the street, or a song on the radio will trigger a scene in my head as its playing. So from that aspect at least for me, it’s always been a lifelong thing.

Actually writing is a different thing. Getting a book written and published has been on my bucket list for a long time. I’ve started two or three times on different themes and story lines, but at some point the story stops or life gets in the way and I set it down with the intention of finishing it but don’t.

The difference this time is the story started to come alive in my head in 2013 and it rolled around for a couple of years until it dominated a lot of my waking time.

Why do you write?

Honestly the motivation is to get the words and images out of my head. I lived with the first book for about two years in my head and dreams before I set down to write it. Most of the stuff I produce that I really like comes out of living with it for a while. Turning it over and over. Wash, rinse and repeat. This book came about because I just wanted to get it out of my head and on the page to read.

I really got serious about writing when I started my blog. I know, I know everyone has one and some of them are really not good at all I leave them up for better or worse because it’s a way for me to gauge how I am progressing and maturing in the words and how they fit together.

Where do your ideas come from?

So this goes back to what I was saying earlier. I see and get ideas all the time from music to the people and things in my environment. For me at least it starts with one scene and then progresses from there.

This book here started by a visit to a friend out in the adobe desert of Loma CO. It was so isolated that it stuck me that only people who are looking to get away from society or maybe the law chooses this place to set down a home. From there I started to see scenes play out in front of me. It would take a couple more revisits to see my folks and time on the road in places like Texas and Florida before the whole thing came together for me.

This next novel I’m working on is called ‘The Sometimes Long Road Home’ came alive from an off handed comment of a friend of mine. The whole story just exploded in front of me.

How do you prefer to write? On computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

Laptop definitely. I do have a notebook app on my phone and tablet for thoughts, notes or bits of dialogue I’m working on. I wish I could say I have one of those little bedside notebooks and a pen for dreams you see guys rolling out of bed and franticly writing in the middle of the night but pretty much when I wake up I almost never remember what the dream was or if I do what it has to do with anything. And talking into a recorder just seems weird to me not to mention making myself awkward for no good reason.

What are your 5 favourite books and 5 favourite authors?

This is a tough one because there are a lot of authors I enjoy for different reasons. Just leafing through my kindle I probably have a dozen different authors. But if I had to narrow down my favorite authors and by extension the books they’ve written it would be in no particular order. James Lee Burke, Dennis Lehane, Harlan Coben, Lawrence Block, Elmore Leonard.

Sins of the Father, Creole Belle, A Drink Before the War, Stick and Deal Breaker.

How do you deal with Writer’s Block?

I’ve never had a situation where I didn’t know what comes next or where the beats are at. But more than once I have had problems with needing a character to get to a certain place but half way through I realize they would not say those words or take that particular action and have to rewind the scene and start over with how they would act or speak.

There is also the occasional problem where I’ve had a scene and get almost to the end and realize I just ended the story in a very logical way but that’s now what I need to happen. As an example there is a scene that takes place in a taco shop between Walt, Ronald, Marcie (Walt’s high school sweetheart) and some state cops. Without giving it away they walk outside and the cops confront both Walt and Ronald. Now in real life they probably go to jail which is bad because I’m on like page one hundred.

I tried a few different scenarios to end the scene the way I wanted but it just didn’t write believably. What I wound up doing is calling my brother the cop and ran it past him. After a lot of back and forth where he ended every sentence with “it wouldn’t happen that way and they go to jail.” Says my brother the cop

I finally said its fiction and just has to be believable enough to keep the story moving.

He gave me what is in the book but it took a lot of effort to drag that out of him!

What advice would you give to new aspiring authors?

You have to love the process of storytelling first and foremost. Write the stories you want to read and write for your enjoyment and freedom of movement of the mind and expression. Unless you have the magic ticket to literary freedom and success be prepared for a very long road to getting published. Building an audience and a following takes time, energy and some money on your part. But there are a lot of support on social media that can help. Lastly don’t expect anyone in the “bookstore” business to really help out a lot. You are your own best advocate for your work and your brand

Sometimes stories or scenes just don’t write and when it happens take some time for reflection maybe hit the backspace key a few times and either start again or better yet look for those off beat paths that are adjacent to the one you are working on. But never let it stop the story.

Thank you, Roger, for all your interesting answers! 


ABOUT THE BOOK:

With the drop of a judge’s gavel, Walt Walker has finally lost everything. The badge and gun he used to carry and the moral certainty of right and wrong, good and evil that used to keep him grounded. Now Walt, sans gun, gets his badges from an Army Navy store. He spends his days in South Florida, working for a boutique insurance firm as their investigator. He spends his nights in dive bars, trying to forget the mess he has made of his life. Ronald Jacobs always preferred the title Human Resource Manger to Hitman. But now that he’s retired, he can concentrate on living in the shadows as a respectable gentlemen farmer. Far from the reach and pull of his past life. Their transgressions are behind them but a chance encounter and a failed assassination attempt sets the two of them on a collision course of violence and retribution. Hunted by contract killers, the law, and corporate bag men, they are pursued across the unforgiving adobes and the sweeping vistas of the Mesa Valley in Western Colorado. Survival means putting their past in front of them and their differences aside, because in this world the only thing that matters is to cast not others on the devil’s side of heaven, lest you be cast in with them.

Book Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Devils-Side-Heaven-Roger-Peppercorn/dp/198351246X/
Goodreads
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36898756-on-the-devil-s-side-of-heaven

To read other author interviews, click here.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed or if you are a publicist and want to get your author interviewed on TRB, then please get in touch through direct e-mail: thereadingbud@gmail.com

Author Interview: Justin Enos

Welcome to TRB Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome Justin Enos, author of From Wrath To Ruin, for an author interview.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Growing up in a military family, Justin Enos was lucky enough to get to see a lot of the world as a child. Born in Thailand, he subsequently lived in Kentucky, Maryland, Vermont, California, Germany and Virginia. He hasn’t stopped moving around as an adult either, calling Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Thailand again, and now Portland, Oregon home.

Justin began devouring books at a young age and his interest in writing followed soon after. Never much of a student, he could at least count on his creative writing abilities to gain him some top marks. Fantasy novels were his main love as a teenager and that led to what has now become a long-term interest in fantasy writing. After publishing a couple of short stories in fantasy magazines that no one has ever heard of, he buckled down and began working on his first novel.

“From Wrath To Ruin” is the first in what will eventually be an ongoing series of books. Inspired in part by the Conan novels written by both Robert E. Howard and Robert Jordan, each of Justin’s books will be stand alone stories.

Contact:

Website: https://justinenos72.wixsite.com/mysite
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Justin-Enos-Author-1215967911845266/
Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16792333.Justin_Enos

Can you please tell my readers about your ambitions for your writing career?

Currently working a full time job while I write. Trying to find a balance  between the two is not always easy. While it would be great to be able to be a full time writer, I know that for the vast majority of writers that is not possible.

I already consider my writing career a success simply because I have published my first book! Whether or not my career becomes financially successful or not, I will continue to write as I thoroughly enjoy it and I have so many stories I want to tell.

Which writers inspire you?

Neil Gaiman, George R. R. Martin, Bernard Cornwall and Jonathan Carroll in particular. Each in their own way make me want to be a better writer.

Tell us about your book?

“From Wrath To Ruin” is the first in what will eventually be an ongoing series, though each book will be a stand alone story. The stories follow the adventures of Tijodrin, a man who has been exiled from his homeland and now wanders the world as a mercenary. Though the genre is fantasy, “From Wrath To Ruin” reads more like a medieval tale. It is a gritty, action-filled story with virtually no elements of true fantasy to it, something that will change a bit in further books.

How long did it take you to write it?

About three years, in fits and starts.

Are you working on any other project(s) right now? If yes, what are they?

I am in the process of writing Tijodrin’s next adventure titled “Under A Shadow Of Sorcery” as well as working on some short stories that take place in the same world.

Why have you chosen this genre?

I read a ton of fantasy novels growing up and that lit the early fires of my interest in writing. Though I have dabbled in sci-fi and historical fiction, my real passion for writing will always be in the fantasy realm.

When did you decide to become a writer?

Well its something I have been good at ever since I was a teenager and I have always had a lot of ideas floating around in my head, but it wasn’t until recently that I gave much thought to actually trying to earn a living as a writer.

Why do you write?

That’s easy – because I enjoy it. I enjoy the creation of the worlds, the various characters and their backgrounds, bringing it all to life.

Where do your ideas come from?

Most of my ideas have come to me totally at random, something I have seen or heard that gives me a sudden burst of inspiration. Along with writing, another long-time interest of mine has been architecture and perhaps unsurprisingly I have gotten several ideas from specific buildings. Two examples of this are the Foster Building (now the Renaissance Hotel) and the Cathedral of Learning, both in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where I lived for many years and the closest thing to a hometown that I have. The Foster Building gave birth to The Grim Gate, a fortress that will feature prominently in one of Tijodrin’s later adventures. The Cathedral of Learning became The Spire, around which I came up with an entire world and story line.

How do you prefer to write? On computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

Definitely with pen and paper. I only commit my writing to a computer once I am in the latter stages of editing.

What are your 5 favourite books and 5 favourite authors?

Never been good at picking absolute favorites in any category so I will just list some books/series that I have really loved.

  • The Earthsea Cycle by Ursula K. LeGuin
  • A Song of Fire and Ice by George R. R. Martin
  • “Neverwhere” by Neil Gaiman
  • “Land of Laughs” by Jonathan Carroll
  • “The Historian” by Elizabeth Kostova
  • The Thieves’ World series by Robert Aspirin and Lynn Abbey
  • “The Name of the Wind” by Patrick Rothfuss
  • “Gates of Fire” by Steven Pressfield

How do you deal with Writer’s Block?

Unfortunately, there are many distractions when you are trying to write and when those get the better of me I find its best to just step away from my work until the creative flow returns. If it persists, I will try to write something, anything, as long as it is not related to my current project

What advice would you give to new aspiring authors?

Write as often as you can, every day if possible. Writing is like any other skill, you can only get better at it by practicing.

 

Thank you, Hunter, for all your straight-forward answers! Great writing advice too!


ABOUT THE BOOK:

In exile from his homeland… As a mercenary, Tijodrin has wandered far and wide, and now his travels have brought him to the great city of Hohvenlor, a city he knows well. He quickly finds himself caught up in a fierce rivalry that threatens to destroy two powerful merchant families and turn the streets of Hohvenlor into a battlefield. Within the city walls, Tijodrin will find danger in many forms. Can he survive the endless plots of the vengeful merchants and the swords of their bloodthirsty henchmen, as well as the lurking daggers of the shadowy assassin’s guild?

Book Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Wrath-Ruin-Justin-Enos/dp/1483598004/
Goodreads
: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35070270-from-wrath-to-ruin 

To read other author interviews, click here.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed or if you are a publicist and want to get your author interviewed on TRB, then please get in touch through direct e-mail: thereadingbud@gmail.com

Author Interview: Ashraf Haggag

Welcome to TRB Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome Ashraf Haggag, author of Legends Over Generations, for an author interview.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Ashraf Haggag is a senior executive with nearly three decades of experience in close proximity to the corporate market. His more recent experience has also taken him to every facet of the hospitality industry.

Haggag has direct experience in many different aspects of business, including sales, marketing, revenue management, and administration. Having worked in Germany, the United States, Turkey, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia, his global experiences have helped him realize that companies must target new market zones in order to grow and prosper in the international marketplace. He is eager to bring enhanced cross-cultural awareness to today’s business leaders.

Contact:

Website: http://ashrafhaggag.com 
Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16573314.Ashraf_Haggag

Can you please tell my readers a little bit about yourself?

I have spent nearly three decades in the corporate business world and I am currently working as a senior executive in the hospitality industry managing a group of hotels. With direct experience in many different aspects of business, including sales, marketing, revenue management, and administration. Having worked in Germany, the United States, Turkey, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia, my global experiences have encouraged me to formulate my thoughts into written documents in business, management, history that I see may be beneficial to the younger generation. Eager to bring enhanced cross-cultural awareness to today’s business leaders.

Please tell us about your book?

The deep admiration of the historical legends and masterminds of the various life aspects and how they have helped us grow better understanding of the world we live in was the core drive for drafting the idea of this book. In these Legends, we’ve seen inexplicable abilities that helped us define our existence and human life. Their names are engraved in the sands of time for their work in the welfare of mankind with different inventions that have made our lives easy, enjoyable and successful. The following chapters commemorate the greatest personalities we’ve ever seen who changed the world.

How long did it take you to write it?

From the point of selecting and identifying the idea of the book until the date of completion passing through the following phases; drawing out the book structure, selecting the legends, researching the icons from various sources, drafting my own thoughts around it took a complete six months.

Why did you choose this topic?

When pondering on the various aspects of life it is evident that many fields have been shaped and molded by the great pioneers who had a keen interest to discover something new about the world we live in. These achievements helped the new generation to enjoy and experience their legacy. In this book, I wanted to highlight these achievements and inspire the coming generation.

Which writers in your field inspire you?

Jim Collins

What inspired you to write?

Conveying the accumulative experience that I have gained throughout my academic career and the cross culture environment that I have been exposed to. Passing this knowledge to young generations who I believe are in need of such direction to help them accomplish their goals and enable them to face the everyday challenges that life brings.

Are you working on any other project(s) right now? If yes, what are they?

Yes I am. I am in the process of writing my fourth book which I foresee to have the title “The Bright and Dark side of the Greatest Empires”.

The core idea for writing this book is to give a strong highlight on the evolution and the development of human behaviour starting from the early ages and the tendency of countries to acquire resources, land and economic influence outside their boarders in order to expand their size, power and wealth using military force.

How do you prefer to write? On computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

Actually neither. My all-time go to is always a PENCIL HB2. This is the tool I feel most comfortable and relaxed with and it helps stimulate my thoughts.

What are your 5 favourite books and 5 favourite authors?

  1. Blue Ocean Strategy (W. Chan Kim)
  2. Built to Last (Jim Collins)
  3. The Automobile Club of Egypt (Alaa Al Aswany)
  4. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (Steven Covey)
  5. Laws of Leadership (John C Maxwell)

Non-Fiction deals with a lot of facts and real-life study. How do you deal with the all research work?

Once the idea has been selected and identified I have got a few reliable resources that can help me with my research and assist me to draw a complete and accurate image of the subject I need to tackle.

What advice would you give to new aspiring authors in your genre?

Do focus on one or two fields and develop them via intensive research. This will enable you to identify new ideas and new topics that you can write about.

Thank you, Ashraf, for all your interesting answers!


 ABOUT THE BOOK:

Since the beginning of human settlement, a lot of people came up with ideas, philosophies, beliefs, experiments, research, redesigning of thoughts, talents, and surveys to bring myths to reality.
People contributed to various life aspects science, politics, literature, arts, social activities and so many other fields. These genius minds put a keen interest in every phenomenon right from when they were young. The zeal, passion, dedication, hard work and efforts they put into their work helped them discover something new about the world we live in.
In these Legends, we’ve seen inexplicable abilities that helped us define our existence and human life. Their names are engraved in the sands of time for their work in the welfare of mankind with different inventions that have made our lives easy, enjoyable and successful. The following chapters commemorate the greatest personalities we’ve ever seen who changed the world.
They are among the most influential people of today’s world. With practical advantages in various aspects, they have helped us to grow a better understanding of the world and different working phenomenon’s that governs us. Their way of shaping modern day culture is completely unrivaled.

Book Links:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36586774-legends-over-generations

To read other author interviews, click here.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed or if you are a publicist and want to get your author interviewed on TRB, then please get in touch through direct e-mail: thereadingbud@gmail.com

Author Interview: Hunter Trammell

Welcome to TRB Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome Hunter Trammell, author of Bitterhold, for an author Interview.

[scroll-box]ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Author Hunter Trammell

Hunter Trammell is an independent novelist and owner of Outland Publishing. He primarily writes science fiction but enjoys reading and writing other genre’s. When he is not behind a keyboard Hunter can typically found behind his PlayStation or spending time with his family.

You can visit him on Facebook and at http://www.OUTLANDPUBLISHING.com.

Contact:

Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/huntertrammellauthor/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/outlandpublishing/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/outlandpub
Website: https://huntertrammellauthor.wordpress.com/ [/scroll-box]

Can you please tell my readers about your ambitions for your writing career?

I work fulltime and write on the side, as I work to grow my library and reach an audience I will eventually shift into writing full time as that is what I truly love to do

Which writers inspire you?

Dan Brown. I am a huge fan of his works, his methods, ideals, etc. He crafts these worlds that bleed effortlessly into a believable reality. Not an easy thing to do, but given the dedication he has to his works, it is something I admire.

Tell us about your book?

Bitterhold follows a grieving father, Decklan Brady, as he is thrust into a conspiracy involving an ancient artifact and a corrupt galactic regime. He is sentenced to life onboard a Cryogenic reformation colony, Bitterhold. There he uncovers evidence of the Eglar Empire’s corrupt practices ultimately leading to the death of his only son. His quest for revenge opens a much larger can o’ worms that will pit him with the task of saving the universe.

How long did it take you to write it?

It took me a little over a year. I took a pretty long break from it as I had my first child, my daughter Murphy Rhead (named from one of the characters in this book). After a while I dove right back in and finished it up.

Are you working on any other project(s) right now? If yes, what are they?

Bitterhold is the first in a long-planned series, Phoenix Rising. I am currently in the process of writing on the next book in the series, not a direct sequel, but a prequel of sorts that will provide insight to the plot in Book 2. I hope to have Shadow of Aetherius finished by the end of the month!

Why have you chosen this genre?

I have always loved Science Fiction. I love the creation that comes along with it. If I were to write a book centered in say 1950’s New York, I would have a predefined set of boundaries to adhere too. The limitations of the technology, the colors of the fauna, etc. I have created my own universe in Bitterhold and aside from the “laws of the universe” I can build my worlds how I see fit.

When did you decide to become a writer?

I started writing after I tested out of High School. I didn’t finish my senior year and opted to get my GED instead. To me writing was my way to prove to myself that I was in control of my future.

Why do you write?

I love it! I’m a very imaginative person, ideas are constantly flowing into my head. Writing is a way for me to funnel my creativity into an artform and connect with others in a way that I can’t do in person

Where do your ideas come from?

Anything! I’ll see a pattern in the orangepeel texture on a wall and it will look like the outline of an alien. I’ll be talking to someone and they will say something that triggers a series of off topic thoughts that ill lead into the plot of a story. I would say that I am easily distracted and often my mind wanders, but that just means that I am easily inspired.

How do you prefer to write? On computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

I’ve tried a few different methods, but computer works best for me. Laptop is good, but I prefer a set station.

What are your 5 favorite books and 5 favorite authors?

Books not in ranking order

  • Jurassic Park – Michael Crichton
  • The Silence of the Lambs – Thomas Harris
  • Thrawn – Timothy Zahn
  • Watchmen – Alan Moore
  • Deception Point – Dan Brown

Favorite Authors

  • Dan Brown
  • Michael Crichton
  • J.R. Tolkien
  • Frank Miller
  • Timothy Zahn

How do you deal with Writer’s Block?

Get inspired! Although I recommend staying away from social media while trying to get over writer’s block, I find Instagram can be useful. I follow a few accounts that post science-fiction art. Looking at the environments and creatures these artists have crafted can be very inspiring. But at the end of the day, writer’s block is unique for every person so the only person who can really take you out of writer’s block is yourself

What advice would you give to new aspiring authors?

Write Every day. It doesn’t need to be lengthy, it doesn’t need to relate to your current project. If you force yourself to write every day, and set out a time to do so, writers block will become less frequent and you just might surprise yourself on how quick you’re getting your work done.

 

Thank you, Hunter, for all your interesting answers! I found your advice on Writer’s Block very helpful.


[scroll-box]

ABOUT THE BOOK:

In the future, Earth’s civilization has spread across the stars and now humans and aliens peacefully coexist under the rule of the Eglar Empire as it spreads relentlessly across the universe. Crime is almost unheard of and to many the Empire is a Godsend.
But for an enlightened few it is different. While the media distorts the facts, the universe is on the verge of destruction as the Elgar’s get closer to the Aisle of Dominion, an ancient fable that tells of immeasurable power to whomever beholds it.
An attack on an Eglar Militia base forces Decklan Brady, a grieving father of one of the casualties, to embark on a quest for retribution. But as he investigates he discovers that there is more to it than he was led to believe.
Falling foul of the law, Decklan ends up as a prisoner in Bitterhold, a cryogenic reformation colony onboard the Starship Arcadia. There, he befriends Wesley Rhead, the former leader and founder of a militia group known as Phoenix.
Together, the two devise a plan to escape and rekindle the fire of a broken dream. But can Phoenix really bring justice to the oppressed and restore peace throughout the stars? And can Decklan expose the harsh truth of what happens within the Eglar Empire?

Book Links:

Kindle: http://a.co/avugpQS
Amazon paperback: http://a.co/f7Ts8QB
iBooks: https://geo.itunes.apple.com/us/book/bitterhold/id1345268963?mt=11
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17486512.Hunter_Trammell

[/scroll-box]

To read other author interviews, click here.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed or if you are a publicist and want to get your author interviewed on TRB, then please get in touch through direct e-mail: thereadingbud@gmail.com

Author Interview: Stacey Salinas

Welcome to TRB Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome Stacey Salinas, author of Philippines’ Resistance, for an author Interview.

About The Author:

Stacey Anne Baterina Salinas is an history PhD student currently attending the University of California, Davis. She received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Irvine and received her Master’s degree from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, both in American History. Her research focus is on Asian American History centering on the roles of Asian American women and their impact on America’s Civil Rights Movement(s) and contributions to the diversity of the American woman’s experience. She dedicates her late nights of research and writing to the many men and women who fought for her grandparents’ and parents’ native homes in the Philippines. Her maternal grandfather served as a Filipino USAFFE soldier, drafted from Baguio City, who survived the Bataan Death March. Along with her paternal grandmother’s late night tales of her terrifying confrontations with the Japanese as a young girl in the northern provinces of Luzon, their histories of World War II serve as proof of the impacts and legacies of Asian America. Their stories and perseverance helped fuel both her desires and pursuit in writing histories on the humble heroes and innocents unable to voice their struggles and wisdom.


Can you please tell my readers a little bit about yourself?

My name is Stacey Anne Baterina Salinas and I am PhD history student currently attending UC Davis. My research focus is on Asian American women’s history, particularly their intergenerational experiences and their intergenerational contributions to the Asian American identity. I myself am a second generation Asian American woman who found Asian American female role models or historical figures in mainstream American textbooks and curriculum lacking, if not absent. I hope to produce readable historical material that showcases Asian Americans as active, present, and influential so that younger generations of Asian Americans have a history to fall back on, reference, and find role models in.

Please tell us about your book?

Philippines’ Resistance: The Last Allied Stronghold in the Pacific is about the diverse units of guerrilla fighters throughout the Philippine Islands during World War II. Despite General MacArthur’s exit from the Philippines after the American losses and surrender at Corregidor (and in turn the American surrender of the Philippine Islands to the Japanese Imperial Army), the Filipino people were not hopeless nor willing to surrender their homes without a fight. The book provides a broad overview of World War II in the Philippines, the Bataan Death March, the casualties and brutalities the Philippine people endured, but above all focuses on the many unique cultures and individuals who participated in an endeavor to save the Philippines despite the insurmountable odds set against them. Filipinas and other women of color participated not only in the organization of guerrilla units but took on new roles as military leaders, strategists, and therefore challenging traditional gender roles. Chinese ethnic Filipinos and Chinese nationalists fought to save not only the Philippines they had called home but also fought in order to honor their Chinese countrymen and women who experienced the first waves of war brought on by the Japanese Imperial Army in the late 1930s. Overall, the book seeks to promote the contributions of the very colorful, yet lesser well known, underground guerrilla resistance in helping to secure an Allied victory in the Pacific.

How long did it take you to write it?

I was lucky to find the very hands on internship program by the Pacific Atrocities Education by chance as I was sifting through research, teaching, and writing opportunities to fill up my summer break. In April, Jenny Chan (the head of the SF Chinatown’s Pacific Atrocities Education) interviewed me and within a week or two, I was informed as to my topic of research for the organization and with whom I would be paired with (the amazing Klytie Xu) on the writing project. We began researching as early as May during my Spring quarter at UC Davis so as to become comfortable with Pacific War histories. In June I began collecting interview material on guerrilla veterans, by July I was writing chapter summaries, and by August I was fine tuning rough drafts of the chapters with my colleague Klytie and doing the grueling tasks of footnotes, bibliographies, endnotes, and overall formatting (photographs, newspaper clippings, film, posters, etc.)

Why did you choose this topic?

As a graduate student, Jenny was kind enough to trust and allow me to set up the potential outline of the piece, manage the oral histories/interviews with the humble and fearless guerrilla female veteran Mrs. Lourdes Poblete, and above all write on topics that interest my field of research: gender and race. Klytie would arduosly summarize the painful histories of the various atrocities in the Philippines during its occupation by the Japanese Imperial Army (Bataan Death March, Hellships). I would be tasked with breaking down gender roles for women of color who during the war faced a multitude of barriers and threats to their independence, safety, and future. The contributions of women during the war only within recent decades have been uncovered and discussed but primarily from a Western perspective on American or European women, not necessarily women from indigenous or colonized territories like the Philippines. Whereas Jenny narrowed down a broad topic for Klytie and I (The Guerrilla Resistance), Jenny also allowed us to be creative and curious about the topics I was interested in.

Which writers in your field inspire you?

Writers in my field that inspire me are Yen Le Espiritu, Sucheng Chan, Erika Lee, Karen L. Ishizuka, Huping Ling, Mei Nakano, and Susan Johnson. These authors are mainly Women’s Historians, Ethnic Studies, or Asian American Studies scholars. Their styles in writing are approachable, insightful, speak to gender, race, and sexuality and were my favorite authors that inspired to me to continue to pursue graduate school.

What inspired you to write?

I love reading and how the written word can transport you to other worlds, times, or places. Stories, if written well and with heart, can make more visible the perspectives of other people from both the past and present and therefore mentor and teach empathy. I think reading Asian American writer Yoshiko Uchida’s stories as a Japanese American girl in San Francisco during the 1930s and her uprooting during World War II to be sent off to Japanese internment camps (San Bruno’s Tanforan Racetrack and then to Topaz, Utah) really inspired me to look at history in a personal way. That the past is full of human figures with feelings and thoughts similar to mine, not just names on paper who had passed on generations ago, and whose stories speak to issues that still persist in the present.

Are you working on any other project(s) right now? If yes, what are they?

Right now, as a second-year graduate student, I am working on a paper discussing the roles of Asian American women during the Yellow Power/Asian American Movement. I am trying to tease out the barriers that Asian American women faced as women of color during both the Civil Rights Movement and the Women’s Rights Movement. They weren’t allowed to fully participate in both because gender and racial prejudices, unfortunately, plagued both movements respectively. I also have in mind writing historical fiction stories that reflect the personal struggles that my family, friends, and peers have faced as women of color with long immigrant family histories.

How do you prefer to write? On computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

I used to love writing by hand. I still write short stories, outlines, and journal entries by hand. But professional work I must admit defeat and opt for the laptop simply because research, notes, and writing papers are much easier to organize with technology.

What are your 5 favorite books and 5 favorite authors?

That is a tough question. If I had to narrow it down it would have to include genres like Children’s Literature, Fiction, History, and Asian American Studies.

  1. Corduroy by Don Freeman.
  2. Asian American Women & Men: Labor, Laws, & Love by Yen Le Espiritu
  3. Immortal by Traci Slatton
  4. On Gold Mountain by Lisa See
  5. Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery

My favorite Authors:

  1. Yen Le Espiritu
  2. Susan Johnson
  3. A. Milne
  4. Huping Ling
  5. Yoshiko Uchida

Non-Fiction deals with a lot of facts and real-life study. How do you deal with the all research work?

One day at a time. That might sound cliche but it is really nerve-wracking if you immerse yourself in rather depressing material most of the day. Taking breaks, watching a Disney movie, reading fiction or poetry, those breaks really get my mind relaxed before absorbing and writing historical narratives. Researching history is a very liberating and enlightening process but also very intense and rigorous. But if you love the subject matter and it has a personal effect or tie to you, the numerous days at the library or at the desk, going from resource to resource, begins to be a fun habit. Either way, I get to read every day for fun and for work! You really can’t beat that.

What advice would you give to new aspiring authors in your genre?

Just write, and really I mean write, write, write. Practice. Write short stories, practice oral histories and writing out interview questions, immerse yourself in the secondary sources on the topic you really connect with or find interesting. If you love to read, if you love to write, you really can’t lose.

Thank you, Stacey, for all your enlightening answers! 


About The Book:

The people of the Philippine Islands during the early half of the twentieth century experienced various waves of Western Imperialism, two wars of attempted secession from western powers, and two world wars. And yet, the Philippine Islands and its people have received only small subheadings in many American textbooks and histories. The wartime experiences from the perspectives of the Philippine people have gone unnoticed and have become overshadowed by the socio-political dominating legacy of American figures like General MacArthur, leader and historical symbol of the Pacific Theater during World War II. MacArthur’s famous phrase “I came through and shall return” are etched into every facet of World War II historical narratives, textbooks, and monuments that pay tribute to the Allied forces in the retaking of the Pacific from the Japanese. But It is the lesser known people and leaders of the Philippine resistance against the Axis powers whose efforts and contributions allowed for the effective and speedy return of MacArthur’s military forces…

Book Links:

Amazonhttps://www.amazon.com/Philippines-Resistance-Allied-Stronghold-Pacific-ebook/dp/B074LFK9H9/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1512947464&sr=8-1&keywords=philippines%27+resistance
Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36351342-philippines-resistance


For more author interviews, click here.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed or if you are a publicist and want to get your author interviewed on TRB, then please get in touch through direct e-mail: thereadingbud@gmail.com

Author Interview: Stacey Salinas

Welcome to TRB Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome Stacey Salinas, author of Philippines’ Resistance, for an author Interview.

About the author:

Stacey Anne Baterina Salinas is an history PhD student currently attending the University of California, Davis. She received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Irvine and received her Master’s degree from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, both in American History. Her research focus is on Asian American History centering on the roles of Asian American women and their impact on America’s Civil Rights Movement(s) and contributions to the diversity of the American woman’s experience. She dedicates her late nights of research and writing to the many men and women who fought for her grandparents’ and parents’ native homes in the Philippines. Her maternal grandfather served as a Filipino USAFFE soldier, drafted from Baguio City, who survived the Bataan Death March. Along with her paternal grandmother’s late night tales of her terrifying confrontations with the Japanese as a young girl in the northern provinces of Luzon, their histories of World War II serve as proof of the impacts and legacies of Asian America. Their stories and perseverance helped fuel both her desires and pursuit in writing histories on the humble heroes and innocents unable to voice their struggles and wisdom.

Hello, Stacey. Thank you for being here today.

Can you please tell my readers a little bit about yourself?

My name is Stacey Anne Baterina Salinas and I am PhD history student currently attending UC Davis. My research focus is on Asian American women’s history, particularly their intergenerational experiences and their intergenerational contributions to the Asian American identity. I myself am a second generation Asian American woman who found Asian American female role models or historical figures in mainstream American textbooks and curriculum lacking, if not absent. I hope to produce readable historical material that showcases Asian Americans as active, present, and influential so that younger generations of Asian Americans have a history to fall back on, reference, and find role models in.

Please tell us about your book?

Philippines’ Resistance: The Last Allied Stronghold in the Pacific is about the diverse units of guerrilla fighters throughout the Philippine Islands during World War II. Despite General MacArthur’s exit from the Philippines after the American losses and surrender at Corregidor (and in turn the American surrender of the Philippine Islands to the Japanese Imperial Army), the Filipino people were not hopeless nor willing to surrender their homes without a fight. The book provides a broad overview of World War II in the Philippines, the Bataan Death March, the casualties and brutalities the Philippine people endured, but above all focuses on the many unique cultures and individuals who participated in an endeavor to save the Philippines despite the insurmountable odds set against them. Filipinas and other women of color participated not only in the organization of guerrilla units but took on new roles as military leaders, strategists, and therefore challenging traditional gender roles. Chinese ethnic Filipinos and Chinese nationalists fought to save not only the Philippines they had called home but also fought in order to honor their Chinese countrymen and women who experienced the first waves of war brought on by the Japanese Imperial Army in the late 1930s. Overall, the book seeks to promote the contributions of the very colorful, yet lesser well known, underground guerrilla resistance in helping to secure an Allied victory in the Pacific.

How long did it take you to write it?

I was lucky to find the very hands on internship program by the Pacific Atrocities Education by chance as I was sifting through research, teaching, and writing opportunities to fill up my summer break. In April, Jenny Chan (the head of the SF Chinatown’s Pacific Atrocities Education) interviewed me and within a week or two, I was informed as to my topic of research for the organization and with whom I would be paired with (the amazing Klytie Xu) on the writing project. We began researching as early as May during my Spring quarter at UC Davis so as to become comfortable with Pacific War histories. In June I began collecting interview material on guerrilla veterans, by July I was writing chapter summaries, and by August I was fine tuning rough drafts of the chapters with my colleague Klytie and doing the grueling tasks of footnotes, bibliographies, endnotes, and overall formatting (photographs, newspaper clippings, film, posters, etc.)

Why did you choose this topic?

As a graduate student, Jenny was kind enough to trust and allow me to set up the potential outline of the piece, manage the oral histories/interviews with the humble and fearless guerrilla female veteran Mrs. Lourdes Poblete, and above all write on topics that interest my field of research: gender and race. Klytie would arduosly summarize the painful histories of the various atrocities in the Philippines during its occupation by the Japanese Imperial Army (Bataan Death March, Hellships). I would be tasked with breaking down gender roles for women of color who during the war faced a multitude of barriers and threats to their independence, safety, and future. The contributions of women during the war only within recent decades have been uncovered and discussed but primarily from a Western perspective on American or European women, not necessarily women from indigenous or colonized territories like the Philippines. Whereas Jenny narrowed down a broad topic for Klytie and I (The Guerrilla Resistance), Jenny also allowed us to be creative and curious about the topics I was interested in.

Which writers in your field inspire you?

Writers in my field that inspire me are Yen Le Espiritu, Sucheng Chan, Erika Lee, Karen L. Ishizuka, Huping Ling, Mei Nakano, and Susan Johnson. These authors are mainly Women’s Historians, Ethnic Studies, or Asian American Studies scholars. Their styles in writing are approachable, insightful, speak to gender, race, and sexuality and were my favorite authors that inspired to me to continue to pursue graduate school.

What inspired you to write?

I love reading and how the written word can transport you to other worlds, times, or places. Stories, if written well and with heart, can make more visible the perspectives of other people from both the past and present and therefore mentor and teach empathy. I think reading Asian American writer Yoshiko Uchida’s stories as a Japanese American girl in San Francisco during the 1930s and her uprooting during World War II to be sent off to Japanese internment camps (San Bruno’s Tanforan Racetrack and then to Topaz, Utah) really inspired me to look at history in a personal way. That the past is full of human figures with feelings and thoughts similar to mine, not just names on paper who had passed on generations ago, and whose stories speak to issues that still persist in the present.

Are you working on any other project(s) right now? If yes, what are they?

Right now, as a second year graduate student I am working on a paper discussing the roles of Asian American women during the Yellow Power/Asian American Movement. I am trying to tease out the barriers that Asian American women faced as women of color during both the Civil Rights Movement and the Women’s Rights Movement. They weren’t allowed to fully participate in both because gender and racial prejudices unfortunately plagued both movements respectively. I also have in mind writing historical fiction stories that reflect the personal struggles that my family, friends, and peers have faced as women of color with long immigrant family histories.

How do you prefer to write? On computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

I used to love writing by hand. I still write short stories, outlines, and journal entries by hand. But professional work I must admit defeat and opt for the laptop simply because research, notes, and writing papers are much easier to organize with technology.

What are your 5 favorite books and 5 favorite authors?

That is a tough question. If I had to narrow it down it would have to include genres like Children’s Literature, Fiction, History, and Asian American Studies.

  1. Corduroy by Don Freeman.
  2. Asian American Women & Men: Labor, Laws, & Love by Yen Le Espiritu
  3. Immortal by Traci Slatton
  4. On Gold Mountain by Lisa See
  5. Anne of Green Gables by   L. M. Montgomery

My favorite Authors:

  1. Yen Le Espiritu
  2. Susan Johnson
  3. A. Milne
  4. Huping Ling
  5. Yoshiko Uchida

Non-Fiction deals with a lot of facts and real-life study. How do you deal with the all research work?

One day at a time. That might sound cliche but it is really nerve wracking if you immerse yourself in rather depressing material most of the day. Taking breaks, watching a Disney movie, reading fiction or poetry, those breaks really get my mind relaxed before absorbing and writing historical narratives. Researching history is a very liberating and enlightening process but also very intense and rigorous. But if you love the subject matter and it has a personal effect or tie to you, the numerous days at the library or at the desk, going from resource to resource, begins to be a fun habit. Either way, I get to read everyday for fun and for work! You really can’t beat that.

What advice would you give to new aspiring authors in your genre?

Just write, and really I mean write, write, write. Practice. Write short stories, practice oral histories and writing out interview questions, immerse yourself in the secondary sources on the topic you really connect with or find interesting. If you love to read, if you love to write, you really can’t lose.

 

Thank you, Stacey, for all your enlightening answers! 


About The Book:

The people of the Philippine Islands during the early half of the twentieth century experienced various waves of Western Imperialism, two wars of attempted secession from western powers, and two world wars. And yet, the Philippine Islands and its people have received only small subheadings in many American textbooks and histories. The wartime experiences from the perspectives of the Philippine people have gone unnoticed and have become overshadowed by the socio-political dominating legacy of American figures like General MacArthur, leader and historical symbol of the Pacific Theater during World War II. MacArthur’s famous phrase “I came through and shall return” are etched into every facet of World War II historical narratives, textbooks, and monuments that pay tribute to the Allied forces in the retaking of the Pacific from the Japanese. But It is the lesser known people and leaders of the Philippine resistance against the Axis powers whose efforts and contributions allowed for the effective and speedy return of MacArthur’s military forces…

Book Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Philippines-Resistance-Allied-Stronghold-Pacific/dp/1947766023/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36286417-philippines-resistance


For more author interviews, click here.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed or if you are a publicist and want to get your author interviewed on TRB, then please get in touch through direct e-mail: thereadingbud@gmail.com

Author Interview: Emily Stroia

Welcome to TRB Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome Emily Stroia, author of Into The Light, for an author Interview.

About the author:

Emily is an intuitive teacher, spiritual leader, author and artist. Emily first discovered her gifts of intuition and creativity as a child and was placed in a highly gifted program for children. She often explored her gifts through writing, art, and experienced frequent visions and dreams that would turn out to be accurate. Not understanding fully why or how she was able to do this, she decided to study. She has always felt a strong attraction to the metaphysical and spiritual aspects of life and continues to delve deeper into each. Believing strongly in her intuitive gifts, as well as wanting to express her deep desire to help people, Emily decided to utilize her abilities to turn her passion into a profession.

Her mission is to inspire people to find the gifts in
their stories and live powerful transformed lives with
ease and peace.
Her life is a breathing expression of intuition,
passion, spirituality and creativity.
Most days you can find her coaching clients, writing, practicing yoga and playing with her dog in Los Angeles.


Hello, Emily. Thank you for being here today.

Can you please tell my readers a little bit about yourself?

I am a spiritual teacher, intuitive and writer. I am avid practitioner of yoga and love exploring new ways to heal and connect to my intuition. I live in Los Angeles with my mini-schnauzer, Scarlett.

Please tell us about your book?

Into the Light is a memoir-inspired journey of healing and transformation told through poetry. It explores abuse, trauma, mental illness, healing and finding peace in the past through personal exploration and spirituality.

How long did it take you to write it?

A little under a year.

Why did you choose this topic?

Healing has been an ongoing journey for me and this topic is very personal to my heart. I am passionate about sharing tools to heal and grow in the darkest times of life.

Which writers in your field inspire you?

Rupi Kaur, Pavana Reddy, Gabrielle Bernstein, Rebecca Campbell.

What inspired you to write?

One day I picked up Milk & Honey in a bookstore in Bushwick and was immediately curious about the work. I fell in love with Rupi’s writing and learned about her story of being raped. I knew then that it was time to share my story with women and anyone who has experienced abuse.

Are you working on any other project(s) right now? If yes, what are they?

I am working on a second book that will be in addition to Into the Light. This will explore the recovery process after loss, abuse, falling in love and continuing the transformational journey.

How do you prefer to write? On computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

I prefer to write on my laptop and traditional pen and paper.

What are your 5 favorite books and 5 favorite authors?

Milk & Honey by Rupi Kaur, Brave on the Rocks by Sabrina Ward Harrison, Light is the New Black by Rebecca Campbell, Spirit Junkie by Gabrielle Bernstein, Wild by Cheryl Strayed

Non-Fiction deals with a lot of facts and real-life study. How do you deal with the all research work?

My research is mainly focused on personal growth, spiritual insight and finding inspiration from new places, writers, artists and stories.

What advice would you give to new aspiring authors in your genre?

Explore writing without being attached to the outcome. Let go of any insecurity with if the work will be good or not. If anything remember WHY you are drawn to writing and visualize where you want the work to go. Who’s life will it touch?

Thank you, Emily, for all your enlightening answers! 


About The Book:

Into the Light is a memoir-inspired poetry collection in seven parts. The book shares the author’s life from a transformative perspective of experiencing trauma & darkness to finding hope, miracles and light.

In the final part, there are notes to the reader and finding one’s inner peace after adversity and healing through brokenness. This book explores trauma, abuse, sexual abuse, mental illness, loss, healing, spirituality, meditation, inspiration and empowerment. This book is for anyone who has ever experienced loss, grief, brokenness, depression, abuse, trauma and heartbreak.

Book Links:

Book site: http://www.emilystroia.com/intothelight 
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Into-Light-Emily-Stroia-ebook/dp/B0765VJGJ2/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36365956-into-the-light


For more author interviews, click here.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed or if you are a publicist and want to get your author interviewed on TRB, then please get in touch through direct e-mail: thereadingbud@gmail.com

Author Interview: J.D. Oldenburg #authorinterview

Welcome to TRB Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome J.D. Oldenburg, author of Horatio And The Fear Of Dying, for an author Interview.

About the author:

J.D. Oldenburg (Jose Diaz-Oldenburg) grew up with an unusually intense fear of death. He didn’t suffer trauma or family member’s death in his early youth, yet as a little kid he often sat with his parents to ask concerned questions about the subject. Conversations about death took place almost every evening. Some nights he understood, some nights he feared.
At the early age of nine, he confronted his anxiety by penning a short tale titled “La Muerte de la Muerte” or, Death of Death. A short story inspired by Jim Henson’s 1997 adaptation of an old Russian Folktale called The Soldier and Death.
In early 2015, La Muerte de la Muerte showed up hidden between old books in the family library and a new idea was born. Horatio and The Fear of Dying would come to life.
Armed with a bachelor’s degree in film, a couple of highly encouraging rejection letters, and seven years of experience in film production and advertising, J.D. felt compelled to bypass traditional publishing and retain full control of the final product. He built his creative team through persistence, trial and error, and craigslist ads. After locking the right artists, they embarked on an almost three-year process to the final creation released now.
J.D. hopes the book will help kids all over the world ease this universal fear and gain a strengthened sense of adventure about life.

Horatio and The Fear of Dying comes to Kickstarter October 3rd, 2017 – It will be available for shipping worldwide.

J.D. Oldenburg lives in Los Angeles, California.

Contact Details:

Websitehttp://www.jdoldenburg.com
Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/jdoldenburg/
Twitterhttps://twitter.com/jd_oldenburg
Instagramhttps://www.instagram.com/j.d.oldenburg/


Hello, J.D. Thank you for being here today.

Can you please tell my readers about your ambitions for your writing career?

I am a film maker as well as an author. I aspire to lead my books into becoming movies.

My biggest aspiration with Horatio is to move kids into a place of less fear earlier in life.

Which writers inspire you?

J.K. Rowling inspired me to write my first novel when I was a scared teen who wanted to feel brave, and Neil Gaiman inspires a lot of ideas at the moment. They are both great at adding elements of real humanity to their fantasy worlds.

Eckhart Tolle inspires me as well. Though not a fiction writer, his through understanding of self has made me a better human and a better writer.

Tell us about your book?

Horatio and The Fear of Dying was inspired by Jim Henson’s adaptation of an 1850s Russian folktale called The Soldier and Death.

It is the story of a little boy who manages to kidnap death to save his family. Along the lines, he accidentally kidnaps the joy of living as well and must mend the cycle he has broken.

How long did it take you to write it?

It’s been a long process, I wrote the first draft in one sitting, inspired by a little tale I wrote when I was 9, after watching the aforementioned Jim Henson show. It took months of revisiting and sitting with my editor to get it finalized.

In addition to writing it, I drew sketch concepts and found all the artists involved through online ads. The whole process from conception to the final book took about three years.

Are you working on any other project(s) right now? If yes, what are they?

I’m finalizing the publishing house so it’s ready for the book, and I have a line of greeting cards on amazon I’m really excited about because it supports the artists who paint them with royalties.

I’ll also have a horror coming of age novel titled The Feeder ready in a year or two. It’s based on a film I made in college, which you can see here: https://youtu.be/NIx1vbOH8bs. Though it’s packed with scares, it’s message remains one of growth and hope. Horror just seems to be the best genre to break into the film industry.

Why have you chosen this genre?

I love magic realism. I think you can plant deep messages in people’s minds in a really beautiful way with it.

When did you decide to become a writer?

I’ve been telling stories for as long as a I can remember.

Why do you write?

Because I have to. I have the best time doing it. When an idea finally comes, I fall in love with it and it almost becomes more real than the world around me. I like being in that place.

Where do your ideas come from?

Tough one. Where does any thought come from? The ether, I think. Most of my ideas have come from dreams. It’s odd to call them mine, because I feel they came to me, I didn’t come up with them. I don’t have that many, either, I don’t think I’ll be one of those authors who put out hundreds of books in their career, I don’t know how they do it.

How do you prefer to write? On computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

I like the laptop. Sorry if that’s uncool. I do free-write on a notepad, but thoughts and ideas only, never a draft of the story.

What are your 5 favorite books and 5 favorite authors?

A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle is the only book I can say I’ve consumed more than ten times. Each time I do it leaves me something new.

The Harry Potter series changed me because I wanted to feel brave like Harry but I didn’t think I was, not really. I took to writing so I could have my own hero.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman is almost a rethought model of The Jungle Book. I love his prose, it’s amazing.

I’m currently reading Patrick Rothfuss, The Wise Man’s Fear. He takes his time with the book and I’m definitely not bored so I’ll list him too.

I’m a fan coming of age stories and idealized nostalgia, and Stephen Chbosky did an amazing job both penning and directing The Perks of Being a Wall Flower.

How do you deal with Writer’s Block?

By watching movies and re-reading books that got me writing in the first place. I try to turn on my writer/film maker mode and really notice why these stories moved me,

so I can re-discover why I was writing in the first place.

What advice would you give to new aspiring authors?

Enjoy the process. The result is only a reminder of the time and energy you put into achieving it. If you didn’t enjoy writing it, finishing it will turn out disappointing. I think this ends up being true for both you and your audience.

Thank you, J.D., for all your enlightening answers! 


About The Book:

Once upon a time… a brave boy named Horatio challenged and conquered Death, dawning everlasting life over his Kingdom. But as life and death are in love, one without the other became joyless. Soon, Horatio must mend the cycle he has broken.

Horatio And The Fear Of Dying was inspired by Jim Henson’s 1997 TV adaptation of the famous 1850s Russian Folktale, The Soldier And Death.

 

Book Links:

Book site: http://www.horatioandthefearofdying.com
Book Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Horatioandthefearofdying/
Book Twitter: https://twitter.com/horatiostory
Book Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/horatioandthefearofdying/


For more author interviews, click here.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed or if you are a publicist and want to get your author interviewed on TRB, then please get in touch through direct e-mail: thereadingbud@gmail.com

Author Interview: Serina Adham

Welcome to TRB Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome Serina Adham, author of Lulu’s Balallam-Bam-Bam Grooves, for an author Interview.

About the author:

Serina Adham drew on her experience as a dancer and dance instructor to give you this fun new adventure with Lulu and all her animal friends. She hopes that Lulu will teach children to enthusiastically follow their dreams but also consider the effects they have on others.

Adham lives in Vancouver, British Columbia. In addition to teaching dance, Adham has also worked as a jewelry and clothing designer and an interior designer. She has one fearless, dancing and singing daughter of her own.

Contact Details:

Website: https://www.adhambooks.com
Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17117983.Serina_Adham


Hello, Serina. Thank you for being here today.

Can you please tell my readers about your ambitions for your writing career?

I am looking forward to publishing many more books.

Which writers inspire you?

As far as children’s books, My favourite writers are Dr. Seuss and Enid Blyton. As for adult fiction, Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchet.

Tell us about your book?

It’s about a gorilla that loves to dance but is unaware here actions cause a huge disturbance in the jungle. I wanted to show children in a fun and interactive way that they can do what they love but also be thoughtful of others.

How long did it take you to write it?

This story started off as very differently, it took a year until I was happy with it and a little longer for the illustrations to be done.

Are you working on any other project(s) right now? If yes, what are they?

Yes I have Three stories that are in the final editing stages, unlike Lulu they were much easier and faster to write.

They are also about life lessons but with a playful and fun theme also involving animals and a little bit of magic as well.

Why have you chosen this genre?

I have a daughter of my own and I thinks books are one of the best ways to connect with kids and teach them life lessons.

When did you decide to become a writer?

I have always been a writer but I decided to call myself a writer, about ten years ago when I realized that this is what I would love my career to be.

Why do you write?

It is the best way to bring to life all that I imagine.

Where do your ideas come from?

Hard to pin point where exactly, I grew up with an over active imagination, and so grew up with many of these characters that I later developed into stories.

How do you prefer to write? On computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

I love the feel of a pen in hand and pen on paper, and have this strange love for notebooks especially ones filled with my scribbles.

What are your 5 favorite books and 5 favorite authors?

  1. Terry Pratchet: Mort,
  2. Douglas Adams: The Long Dark Tea time of the soul..
  3. Ann Rice: Lasher.
  4. Paulo Coelho: The Alchemist.
  5. Amy Tan: The Joy Luck Club
  6. Neil Gaiman: Good Omens

How do you deal with Writer’s Block?

I make a cup of tea and just scribble whatever comes to mind, otherwise I do something else creative like painting, dancing, designing or sewing. When I am being creative in another way it always feeds and refreshes my imagination and creativity.

What advice would you give to new aspiring authors?

If you love to write, just keep writing. Don’t edit too much, do that at the end.

Write about what you love, what you know and trust your instincts, however every now and then it’s good to get some feedback from another writer maybe or editor, or life partner as in my case.

Thank you, Serina, for all your answers! 


About The Book:

There is nothing Lulu loves more than dancing by herself. With each new song, she practices the “Ballalam-Bam-Bam Grooves.” She slides her feet, claps her hands, and bumps her hips against a tree trunk.
There is just one problem. Lulu is a gorilla! When she stamps her feet and shakes the trees, she ends up disturbing all the other animals in her jungle home. Poor Squin Squirrel cannot even sip his nut tea without Lulu’s dancing rattling his tree home. Squin and the other animals try to tell Lulu that her dancing is disruptive, but they cannot get through to the gorilla.
Then, Lulu’s loud music and dancing ends up waking up the mighty king of the jungle. The angry lion Jhawfors then confronts Lulu with the problem. Will the animals be able to find a compromise?
This rhyming children’s tale imparts valuable lessons to young readers. Lulu does not want to stop doing what she loves, but she needs to understand that her actions affect others. Through Lulu, children will learn the importance of respect, compassion, and compromise.

Book Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=lulu%27s+ballalam+bam+bam+grooves+kindle
Goodreads
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36104433-lulu-s-ballam-bam-bam-grooves 


For more author interviews, click here.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed or if you are a publicist and want to get your author interviewed on TRB, then please get in touch through direct e-mail: thereadingbud@gmail.com

Author Interview: Tyfany Janee

Welcome to TRB Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome Tyfany Janee, author of The Invitation: To Journey Through A Conscious Mind, for an author Interview.

About the author:

Tyfany Janee is a devoted mother and a graduate of Strayer University in Virginia. She is a prolific writer, author and poet and she has an upcoming plan of releasing a debut novel in 2018 that she titles; “I Used to Love Him.” and another book titled “RSVP: To Be You Unapologetically.”

Tyfany Janee’s love for poetry has gained her several publications in Anthologies as a young adult for poetry. Her recent book is comprised of truth, meaning, hope, possibility and a much needed element of humor when it comes to exposing the true nature of humankind. Tyfany devours inspiration wherever she can get it, from cult classics, to just about anything she can see.

Contact Details:

Websitehttp://www.tyfanyjanee.com
Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17027338.Tyfany_Janee


Hello, Tyfany. Thank you for being here today.

Can you please tell my readers a little bit about yourself?

I’m a Maryland native and a Mom of two. I work full-time as Membership Coordinator/Content Marketer at a Non-Profit Association. Currently finishing my degree in Business with a minor in Marketing. I plan to pursue entrepreneurship into a Publishing and Marketing company.

Writing has always been a part of my life. I’ve been at this since the age of 13, and have written many unpublished works such as stories, screen plays or poems. I’ve been learning everything about my craft waiting for the time when I could share with the world.

Please tell us about your book?

The Invitation: To Journey through a conscious mind, it’s just that of which it states. An invitation to join and emote in the conversation. That it’s ok to “be” and have thoughts or experiences like the ones that unfold. Furthermore, in the end there’s a strengthening that can begin from it all.

It’s the invitation to celebrate oneself. Be brave and courageous to be who you. You’re not perfect. I’ve lived, laughed, loved through the good and the bad. The purpose of it all, to learn and make me better. On the social side, there will are things not fair or equal. Be the change you want to see. And on the relationship side of life, we love, lose, get played and cry the blues. It will be ok, but it sucks, I know let’s express about it. You think, does love even remember your name? You don’t fit in but like being different. It can make you feel insecure and socially awkward. There is so much in this book to speak to.

I’ve experienced some of these things and gave a voice to others that have. Just to be conscious enough and speak to the topics not many want to speak on. It’s reality, It’s someone’s reality. I came to share the story in poetic form, give to the one that needs it and maybe doesn’t even know it.

How long did it take you to write it?

It took 3 months to bring it all together. I had some older poems that fit the theme. However, there was still 70 percent of new content that I had to work on. Poems are not typically hard for me. I tend to get inspired often, and can write them without any hesitation. So, I just kept writing and judged if they fit the theme later.

Why did you choose this topic?

I chose this topic and the five themes in the book because it represented a current moment. It represented truth in this moment. Some of themes fit personally for me now or in past. Others that I’ve heard related in conversations or seen from women/men that are attributed to the joys, insecurities, struggles in relationships, lack social acceptance etc.

I’m open enough to say, I’ve been there, seen it, heard it, and I understand. To have loved and lost, have or had insecurities, struggle to find one self, battles of fitting in. Understand because that person was a family member, friend, or stranger to me.

Which writers in your field inspire you?

I’m like an old soul. So, there are many that inspired me that are not present. These great writers include Maya Angelou, Zora Neal Hurston, and Nikki Giovani. Growing-up I read books from Omar Tyree, Toni Morrison, and E. Lynn Harris.

What inspired you to write?

I read many great Authors coming up and I was always taken by the words of many of them. I probably was the only thirteen-year-old into Shakespeare. Ultimately, I wrote to express myself. In every emotion, I was compelled to write versus speaking. It was a release. I was always an imaginative child. Once I grabbed a pen and paper it became home to the constant stories I thought up.

Are you working on any other project(s) right now? If yes, what are they?

I’m writing now the next book, The Road Sometimes Traveled, it contains three short stories that are tied together by a central theme of my characters dealing with secrets of their past coming back to haunt them. The cover is ready and it’s been put up on my website and all the ways to connect with me via social media.

I plan to release another poetry book in 2018, titled, RSVP: To Be Unapologetic. That book will have poems that are aimed to shed light life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. About being confident in your own skin, speak your truth, getting naked in a sense to say yes, I have flaws and imperfections. I’m human. It pulls out a chair to the table that tells it like it is. We all have our vices, mistakes are made daily. We move forward and learn, for those that are still there, you’re no less than anyone that has moved onto the next phase. Be unapologetic in being who you are.

How do you prefer to write? On computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

I prefer the longhand with a pen. I know very old school and probably double the work. But it allows me to organize my thoughts and clearly write. I start every story in a composition book. I don’t know how many words I’m writing like I would on the computer. However, I can take it everywhere and when inspiration comes that may help what I’m working on, I can jot it down.

What are your 5 favourite books and 5 favourite authors?

Books:

  1. Tales of the Fourth Grade Nothing – Judy Blume (Yes, I had to go back to childhood lol. She is an amazing writer. I’ve read more than a handful of her titles.)
  2. Never Again Once More- Mary B. Morrison
  3. The Notebook – Nicholas Sparks (It’s unfair to list just one. I like anything by him.)
  4. Twilight Book Series – Stephanie Meyer (Need I say more.)
  5. The Joy Luck Club – Amy Tan

Authors:

  1. Kimberla Lawson Roby
  2. Mary B. Morrison
  3. Nicholas Sparks
  4. Stephanie Meyer
  5. Judy Blume

Non-Fiction deals with a lot of facts and real-life study. How do you deal with the all research work?

Poetry is a different type of process and it is technically Non-Fiction. Moreover, I believe the research comes in a way of discovery. Discovery into the feeling that has become inspired.

What advice would you give to new aspiring authors in your genre?

Don’t be afraid to be yourself and embrace your style. Allow people to get to know your tone and your words to the point that they can recognize them anywhere, because you are that distinct.

Thank you, Tyfany, for all your enlightening answers! 


About The Book:

The Invitation: To journey through a conscious mind, is a showcase in talent from author and poet Tyfany Janee. She’s eloquently produced the anthology through plaintive artistic angst. Injecting the essence of her soul into her prose. The diverse collection of poetry which lies between the covers is the result of an entire life’s work experimenting within her vocation.
Her work is comprised of truth, meaning, hope, possibility and a succinct hint of humor as she tears away the facade from humanity. The works shed light on relative issues that we’re all faced with in our easily waywardly led astray lives, and the monotony that makes up our existence.
The Invitation: To journey through a conscious mind is an ode to the beat generation of poets that carved their names in literary history. Any creative mind will revel in the inspiration that lies between these pages, it’s full of daring attitude, and celebration for the authentic. A unique look on love, that you have to dare to delve within. It harnesses true devotion, with a stark, hair raising element of modern reality.

Book Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Invitation-journey-through-conscious-mind/dp/0998889202/ 
Goodreads
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35674490-the-invitation


For more author interviews, click here.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed or if you are a publicist and want to get your author interviewed on TRB, then please get in touch through direct e-mail: thereadingbud@gmail.com

Author Interview: Jay Chirino

Welcome to TRB Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome Jay Chirino, author of The Flawed Ones, for an author Interview.

About the author:

Jay is an author, mental health advocate and recovering addict, who spent over ten years battling his demons. Today he focuses on sharing his story and the story of others like him in order to create awareness and help eradicate the stigma that has always surrounded mental illness. He lives in Tampa, FL with Ana, his cat.

Contact Details:

Websitehttp://www.theflawedones.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theflawedones
Instagramhttps://www.instagram.com/flawedones/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/theflawedones


Hello, Jay. Thank you for being here today.

Can you please tell my readers about your ambitions for your writing career?

 

I want my stories not only to entertain, but also to inspire and to give awareness, to make the reader think and see things from an angle that maybe they hadn’t seen from before; to give a poetic light to some of the negative things in the world and explain them in a way that make them neither good or bad, just real. In essence, I want to squeeze the reader’s heart and make them feel alive.

Which writers inspire you?

I am not a huge fan of horror fiction, but when I read Stephen King’s “On Writing – A Memoir of the Craft”, I understood the hype that eternally surrounds him. The man is a flawless story teller and he knows the craft very well. I think George RR Martin is another one of those writers that excels in creating masterpieces, not only for his talent at creating incredible worlds, but also for being able to put you in the center of those worlds with his impeccable prose. I have also been reading Tom Perrota lately, his writing style captivates me as it’s smooth and fluid; you go from chapter to chapter without even realizing that he is taking you on an unexpected journey. As far as the classics, Hemingway has always been on the top of my list.

Tell us about your book?

The Flawed Ones is an immersion into the world of mental illness in a way that I don’t think has ever been done before. I didn’t want it to be a memoir, there are already enough of those out there. I wanted to shed light not only on my personal struggles, but on the struggles of different people with different levels of mental deficiencies and their everyday lives. What happens when you put them all together in one place? How do they portray their own humanity? I wanted the story to be almost poetic; sometimes bitter, sometimes cruel, sometimes funny, sometimes scary and other times inspiring. I want the reader to feel with the characters, to laugh, to cry and to understand maybe what they haven’t understood before. I want them to think about these characters when they are finished with the book, to wonder and worry about them, almost as if they were family.

How long did it take you to write it?

From the time I put the first word on the paper to the time I finished the last correction it was about one-and-a-half years.

Are you working on any other project(s) right now? If yes, what are they?

Right now I am solely working on getting the word out there about The Flawed Ones as much as I can, but in the background and I am toying with the idea of a prequel for this novel if it all goes well.

Why have you chosen this genre?

It’s deeply personal to me. I have lived and breathed mental illness since I was a child, and I couldn’t find another topic that moved me this much, in order to write an honest and provocative first novel.

When did you decide to become a writer?

I never really decided, it has always been a part of me. My mom had one of those old typewriters when I was young, and I really enjoyed writing stories on it, as it made the loud CLACK CLACK CLACK of the letters being printed on the page. When I was sad, writing always helped, when I fell in love, poetry was always there, there has been no me without writing; it’s not a choice I made, it’s as natural to me as taking showers or drinking water. Nothing brings me more peace.

Why do you write?

I write because it frees the chains of my mind and allows me to travel, to fly to unexplored territories, to islands of thought, were imagination is queen and her beauty sublime, where routine doesn’t enslave me, where I can make sense of my world by tearing it apart and looking inside, where love doesn’t hurt and hope doesn’t fade… where time slows down just enough to touch, to feel, to dance with, intricate motions in collaboration that lead me to realizations and allow me to dream, to smile, to live. I write because it brings me peace.

Where do your ideas come from?

The beautiful struggle that is life. I like making poetry out of the mundane things that we might not even be aware of; the everyday routines that we are tied to, the automatic processes that we perform without even realizing. Then, you see it written on paper in a way that even the most insignificant moment demands your attention, and you have no choice but to pay it.

How do you prefer to write? On computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

To get the ideas out of my head I need a pen and a white sheet of paper. Once the basics are down I transplant them over to the word processor on the computer and I polish it several times.

What are your 5 favorite books and 5 favorite authors?

Authors: Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Stephen King, George RR Martin, Tom Perrota. Books: The Great Gatsby, The Sun Also Rises, The Old Man and The Sea, The Leftovers, Game of Thrones Vol 1.

How do you deal with Writer’s Block?

I step away from the desk and think about anything but writing. I go out and explore, and put myself in situations that make me think- maybe sitting at a coffee shop people watching or going for a walk in the park. Once you let your thoughts roam free, the ideas will begin to flow.

What advice would you give to new aspiring authors?

To read as much as they can, and to be honest when they write, not holding back, finding the true story deep inside them, and not in what they think others will like.

Thank you, Jay, for all your amazing and insightful answers! 


About The Book:

After leaving behind a trail of drug-addled destruction, Jay finds himself confined to the walls of a psychiatric hospital. He is now compelled to confront his actions, his issues, and the past that led him to such downhill spiral. But what surprisingly affects him most are the people that he becomes surrounded by; people with considerable deficiencies that will shed some light on the things that truly matter in life.

“The Flawed Ones” is a thorough examination of the struggles of mental illness, depression, addiction, and the effects they have on the human condition. Most importantly, it proves that physical and mental shortcomings do not necessarily define who we truly are inside- that the heart is, in fact, untouched by our “flaws”, and that love will always prevail above all.

Book Links:

Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35893903


For more author interviews, click here.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed or if you are a publicist and want to get your author interviewed on TRB, then please get in touch through direct e-mail: thereadingbud@gmail.com

Author Interview: Kate Trinity

Welcome to TRB Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome Kate Trinity, author of It Is The Demon In Me, for an author Interview.

About the author:

11 countries, 2 degrees, a love of animals, and all things supernatural. When Kate isn’t writing she’s baking and loves to decorate cakes in unusual ways. Brought up around steam trains, her father was an engine driver and her mother a nurse in St. Luke’s. The eldest of five siblings and with 2 children of her own her family is a large one. After the break up of her marriage and becoming unwell Kate began to write, and never stopped. Her world is filled with gods and demons, monsters and fae.

Hello, Kate. Thank you for being here today.

Can you please tell my readers about your ambitions for your writing career?

To keep writing and maybe, one day, possibly, fingers crossed, have a book made into a movie.

Which writers inspire you?

Andy McNab, Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett. They all have a very different voice and unique way of approaching their story. But they all write stories that take you into the action and make you want to keep reading.Tell us about your book?

Tell us about your book?

It is the Demon in Me is the first in a trilogy about a young woman, Deanna, who has to make big decisions about her future. Only, they’re not simple decisions like where shall I go to college, shall I get a job or go on vacation this summer. They’re much more complicated than that, with much more devastating consequences if she chooses wrong. And she has the added complication of being a witch whose powers have been kept bound by her parents coven.

How long did it take you to write it?

A long time. I wrote it by hand during a time when I was suffering with depression. So, there were days when I hated the very idea of getting up and writing. On other days, it was like therapy. And then when I was done with pen and paper I had to type it up on my very ancient, slow, argumentative, computer.

Are you working on any other project(s) right now? If yes, what are they?

I’m writing a script. I began writing the story as a novella for a competition and half way through realised it would work much better as a movie.

Why have you chosen this genre?

It chose me. I wrote the story as it came to me with no thought as to what genre it might fit into.

When did you decide to become a writer?

I don’t think I ever decided to become a writer, I always just wrote. There was a point (quite) a few years back when I suddenly thought ‘I am a writer’.

Why do you write?

It’s a compulsion. A story begins to form in my head, and over a couple of days it grows, and then I have to write it down so I can stop thinking about it.

Where do your ideas come from?

Music sometimes suggests a story, other times it could be something I’m reading, or something I’ve seen whilst out and about. It’s often from a ‘what if…’ question that my imagination runs away with.

How do you prefer to write? On computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

I used to prefer to write by hand but as my typing has gotten better it’s much easier to go straight to the computer. Occasionally I’ll make a story idea note on my phone. Or start an idea for a story with pen and paper but I rarely write the whole thing by hand any more.

What are your 5 favorite books and 5 favorite authors?

Books

  • Rules for a Knight by Ethan Hawke
  • Smokey the Cow Horse by Will James
  • The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
  • Rats by James Herbert
  • The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

Authors

  • Andy McNab
  • Stephen King
  • Neil Gaiman
  • Terry Pratchett
  • Philippa Gregory

How do you deal with Writer’s Block?

Music. A great way to deal with writer’s block is to compile a playlist for the scene you’re trying to write. One that makes you feel the way you want that scene to feel. Then listen to it whilst thinking about the characters in the scene. Don’t try to write it at first, simply listen and think, eventually the words start flowing again. I don’t think it’s something you can force your way through. But if it goes on and on, lasting for days, I think you have to ask yourself some questions about what you’re writing. Maybe it’s not the right thing or if the direction you took earlier in the story was the wrong one.

What advice would you give to new aspiring authors?

Learn about the story arc. It makes plotting easier and helps you get into your reader’s brain. I wish I’d known about it when I first started writing stories but it’s taken me a while to appreciate all of its intricacies.

Thank you, Kate, for all your lovely answers! 


About The Book:

A wickedly good novel about magic, curses, witches, and demons.
Born a witch, Deanna knew she had powers but not the extent of them.
Her parents and their coven bound her to keep her safe from the demons that wanted to find her.
But as her powers grew, the bindings weakened and they were found.
She must be unbound quickly as only she has the power to fight off the demons.
But what she discovers changes everything.
Her place in this world is not as she thought.
The time has come to make a decision and the lives of her family and their coven rest on it.
‘It Is The Demon In Me’ is the first in a three part series about Deanna, her family, and their true bloodline.
When your whole world changes, do you use fight or flight?


For more author interviews, click here.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed or if you are a publicist and want to get your author interviewed on TRB, then please get in touch through direct e-mail: thereadingbud@gmail.com

Author Interview: Donnie Masters

Welcome to TRB Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome Donnie Masters, author of Start Winning With Money: Your Guide to Personal Finance, Small Business Growth, and Building Wealth, for an author Interview.

About the author:

Donnie Masters is the current owner and president of Masters Investment Group. He is an accountant for a small private business, as well as an American book author. Donnie was born and raised in Martinsburg, West Virginia.
In 2015, after having spent more than 15 years as a restaurant manager and retail store manager, Donnie began working on his first book. was published in June 2016.
Mattress Buying 101 is a how-to book on properly buying a mattress. The book was written as a guide to help the average consumer purchase the best mattress for their budget. Donnie’s inspiration for writing the book was based on his career at Sleepy’s, where he rose from salesperson to district manager in just 3 years time.
After his first book’s success in the small niche genre of mattresses, Donnie decided to write again on a couple more subjects he knew about, business and money. Start Winning With Money was started in September of 2016.
In early 2017, Donnie founded the Masters Investment Group and began focusing his energy on financial education. He continues to actively work as an accountant and write full time.

Contact Details:

Website: http://www.donniemasters.com/
Twitter: @realdonniem
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/realdonniemasters
Email: mastersinvestmentgroupllc@gmail.com


Hello, Donnie. Thank you for being here today.

Can you please tell my readers a little bit about yourself?

Sure. I was born and raised in a little city in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia called Martinsburg. The city of Martinsburg is about 2 hours north west of Washington D.C.

I entered into the real, working world when I was 15. I speak about this in the very first chapter of my book, Start Winning With Money. I started earning money while working after school. Once I bought my own car and had to be “responsible” with my money, I began working longer and harder to buy more stuff and do more things in life. The really sad part is, I made every bad decision that a young person with extra cash can make!

I went on to work as a manager for several retail and restaurant chains before I was 25. I then decided to get some college education and was a district manager for Sleepy’s from 2010 – 2015. I left at that time and used my talents to get into an accounting role for a small business as well as started writing part time. I have more than 15 years experience in upper level management for retail and restaurant operations.

Please tell us about your book?

Start Winning With Money was written as a book that I wish I was given when I entered the working world. It contains vitally important information on managing your debt, student loans, building true wealth, and lots more. I believe that people have been misled on several widely believed money myths and need to hear the real and factual evidence speak for itself.

Most importantly, Start Winning With Money was meant to be a starting point on your financial journey. I wanted to provide a “road map” that you could follow on your way to making better financial decisions. It gives the reader a general and broad path to follow based on your life decisions.

How long did it take you to write it?

About 12 months all together. There are some very specific pieces of information that required a good bit of research. I spent 2-3 months outlining and researching, then I started writing the content.

Why did you choose this topic?

I am an accountant by trade. I handle the finances for a small, privately owned business every day as my “normal” job. After I received a lot of really positive feedback from Mattress Buying 101, my first book, I decided to write on another subject I knew about, money.

It was also important to me that I made an impact on someone’s life. I wanted to write a guide that would help the average person get motivated enough to fix the financial mess that they were in. You are talking to the guy that made every mistake imaginable after all, so if I can do this, anyone can!

Which writers in your field inspire you?

I read them all for different reasons, but Dave Ramsey, Clark Howard, Robert Kiyosaki and Brandon Turner from Bigger Pockets. All of them have given me valuable gems that I have used in my personal life. I believe they all have a message to share with people.

What inspired you to write?

Originally I wrote Mattress Buying 101 because I was frustrated with how the industry treated the average mattress customer. Most of the salespeople at all the mattress stores were on commission only, so they didn’t care about anything other than making a sale. We taught people to sell differently and we thrived financially, both as a business and personally, because of it.

Now I still write with the intent to educate and inform people, but my subject matter has changed as my life has changed. I provide clickable links in all my work to the articles and opinions I reference for that very reason. I do not want someone to take my opinion, but rather look at factual information and make an educated decision. I want you to know that you have more options in life and most people were probably never taught anything about money other than go to school, get a job, and be happy in your retirement 40 years later. That just doesn’t cut it anymore.

Are you working on any other project(s) right now? If yes, what are they?

Yes, I am working on Keep Winning With Money, which is the detailed sequel to this book. Once you have learned the basic foundation that I teach in Start Winning With Money, I believe people will need a much more detailed and step-by-step guide that will walk you through your life as things happen.

I compare the two books to road maps. Start Winning With Money gives you the general map with big highways and lots of landmarks. Keep Winning With Money will offer a much more focused and specific road to follow in order to get exactly where you want to go in life.

I am also working on my podcast coming out soon and considering exploring a book for children about money issues.

How do you prefer to write? On computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

I use a laptop and dictation most of the time. My thoughts can run really quickly sometimes and so my fingers can not keep up! I like to be able to type as if I was speaking to you face to face, or even better in a teaching environment. I hope my style reflects teaching and compassion.

What are your 5 favorite books and 5 favorite authors?

I don’t have just 5 favorite books, I have read way too many to name just 5.

My 5 favorite authors are David McCullough for history, Stephen King for fiction, and Robert Kiyosaki for money. I love to mix in Brad Meltzer as well as John Grisham from time to time. I read on many different subjects, though not as much as I used to obviously.

Non-Fiction deals with a lot of facts and real-life study. How do you deal with all the research work?

Alcoholic beverages. No, I am kidding. I spend 2-3 months on the average book outline and research to support my position. Most people do not realize that it takes a lot of time to find good, pertinent information that can be used to help support a major point or validate an opinion.

For me, I love it though. I listen to a lot of podcasts and read a lot of money articles and books that offer differing opinions. This allows me to offer up what I have used in real life, as well as what the “smart people” tell you to do with your money. I believe the research makes it possible to explain this to the reader in an informed and logical manner.

What advice would you give to new aspiring authors in your genre?

Write a lot and keep focused on good content.

I literally have pages and pages of material that were edited out of 2 small books that I have published so far. I do not like a lot of what comes out on paper at first, and so I go back and work on it trying to make sense of what I am reading. I have been known to re-write paragraphs and even multiple pages that didn’t come across on paper correctly.

Remember that actionable content is king. If you are going to ask people to spend their hard earned money, then the book needs to be worth the money spent on it. Don’t just sell fluff and bluster to create pages, offer real content that people can use in their lives. Non-fiction makes you work at proving your credibility to the reading audience. I love that about it.

Thank you, Donnie, for all your interesting answers! “Alcoholic beverages” had me cracking! And it is very true about what Donnie said about actionable content being the king.


About The Book:

If you are looking to make millions of dollars while sitting in your pajamas, then this book is not for you!

Start Winning With Money is financial book that offers high impact, real world solutions for life’s many money questions.
Want to better your personal finances?
Want to open your own successful business?
Would you like some real clarity on the cost of higher education?
Want to address the issue of debt in your life?
All of that and more is available to you.

Start Winning With Money will teach you:
Why your current income has nothing to do with obtaining wealth
Challenge the popular belief that all debt is bad
Address the issues with public education and why you were taught to fail with money
Define a proper budget
Why good debt can help you grow wealthy
Explain the importance of money in achieving financial freedom
Redefine true wealth.

Book Links:

Amazonhttps://www.amazon.com/dp/B071NMPPYR
Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35666557-start-winning-with-money


For more author interviews, click here.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed or if you are a publicist and want to get your author interviewed on TRB, then please get in touch through direct e-mail: thereadingbud@gmail.com

Author Interview: A.P. McGrath

Welcome to TRB Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome A.P. McGrath, author of A Burning In The Darkness, for an author Interview.

About the author:

AP was born and grew up in Ireland.

He now lives in London and works in TV. He is a single father with three beautiful teenage children.

He studied English and Philosophy and then post-graduate Film Studies.

A Burning in the Darkness is his first novel.

Contact Details:

Website: http://www.apmcgrath.com


Hello, AP. Thank you for being here today.

Can you please tell my readers about your ambitions for your writing career?

My primary ambition was to write an intelligent page-turner, character-led novel. I believe I’ve achieved this, to some extent, judging by the feedback. The numbers are not enormous, but I believe them to be genuine and that counts for so much. Do I want to become a full-time writer? I have a creative, fulfilling job as a head of the camera department in TV drama. It’s not a job that I want to give up. But I majored in English Literature and Philosophy and I’ve always been a writer. I feel encouraged to continue writing.

Which writers inspire you?

I’m a big fan of WB Yeats’s poetry, though I am definitely not a poet. I love the richness and rhythm of the words and the tension between the beauty and tragedy of our world and the hope for perfection in the next – even if this is a forlorn hope. I’m also a big fan of George Elliot, the female Victorian novelist. I love the American crime writer James Elroy. He has been a special inspiration for me. I love the comic swagger and pantomime of Raymond Chandler. Like many people recently, I’ve re-read The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood and I’ve been reminded what a great book it is.

Tell us about your book?

What or who would you sacrifice everything for? This is a question at the heart of A Burning in the Darkness. Michael Kieh is a virtuous man who confronts the painful legacy of his war-torn childhood to make the world a better place. He is a full-time faith representative at one of the world’s busiest airports where he is falsely accused of murder. As a child, Michael was a witness to unspeakable horrors, but was protected from harm by a caring priest, so he knows the importance of the strong protecting the weak. But we all need a little selfishness to survive. And Michael certainly has a smattering of selfishness because he is not afraid to assert his need for love as a strong-willed lover. But the reader roots for Michael because he refuses to betray his higher ideals. I wanted the novel to justify Michael’s faith in putting the needs of others who cannot protect themselves before your own needs. It’s easy to talk the talk on this, but entirely different to walk the walk when you have to make a big sacrifice.

How long did it take you to write it?

Seven long years. Part time, of course. But I worked on it for at least two to three hours most days. I’m a bit flummoxed as to why it took so long.

Are you working on any other project(s) right now? If yes, what are they?

I’m sketching out an idea for an historical novel set in 2nd century Greece. This is completely different to the setting of a busy modern airport in A Burning in the Darkness.

Why have you chosen this genre?

I wanted to write a page-turner and the crime thriller genre is ideal for this. I’s perfect for creating tension. The protagonist in A Burning in the Darkness has a real heart-breaking dilemma to solve, especially as he is falsely accused of murder. It’s not like a detective who arrives at a murder scene and must solve the crime because it is his or her job. Michael’s very survival is threatened by his profound dilemma.

When did you decide to become a writer?

I’m sure it was decided for me by forces beyond my control. They struck before I was ten years old. I’ve always wanted to be a writer.

Why do you write?

The need to tell stories goes very deep in all of us. It’s an attempt to put a perspective on our lives and the world we live in.

Where do your ideas come from?

Interestingly, this is a question asked in the novel. In ancient times the answer might have been that ideas for stories and art come from the gods. But it’s a real mystery. In the novel the question is asked of revenge and love. Why does one person choose revenge and another love? How are those seeds planted? We can ask the question, but I’m not sure there’s a satisfactory answer.

How do you prefer to write? On computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

I use a laptop computer and a pen and paper. I also use the note apps on my phone for quickly jotting down ideas.

What are your 5 favorite books and 5 favorite authors?

This is a difficult question. It’s probably the case that my five favourite books re by my favourite authors. So, in no particular order:Middlemarch by George Elliot

  1. Middlemarch by George Elliot
  2. Ulysses by James Joyce
  3. Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Wolf
  4. The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy
  5. The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler

How do you deal with Writer’s Block?

I take a break and hold onto the idea that it will pass.

What advice would you give to new aspiring authors?

Keep on writing. It takes a long time to produce a good novel. It’s a lot of hard work and you must be very self-critical of whilst holding onto the belief that you can produce a work that is worthwhile.

 

Thank you, AP, for all your interesting answers!


About The Book:

A murder at one of the world’s busiest airports opens this simmering crime story where a good man’s loyalty is tested to its limits. Michael Kieh is a full time faith representative serving the needs of some of the 80 million passengers, but circumstance and evidence point to his guilt. His struggle to prove his innocence leads him on a charged journey that pitches love against revenge.

Michael’s loneliness was eased by a series of brief encounters with a soul mate. When she confides a dark secret, he is motivated to redress a heart-breaking injustice. Together they must battle against powerful forces as they edge dangerously close to unmasking a past crime. But Michael faces defeat when he chooses to protect a young witness, leaving him a burning spirit in the darkness.

Michael’s commitment to helping those in need was forged in the brutality of the Liberian civil war. Protected by a kind guardian, he too was a young witness to an atrocity that has left a haunting legacy of stolen justice and a lingering need for revenge. More poignantly there is a first love cruelly left behind in Africa because of the impossible choices of war. When Michael and his former lover find each other once again they become formidable allies in proving his innocence and rediscovering their lost love.


For more author interviews, click here.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed or if you are a publicist and want to get your author interviewed on TRB, then please get in touch through direct e-mail: thereadingbud@gmail.com

Author Interview: K.M. Aul

Welcome to TRB Lounge. Today we’re hosting K.M. Aul, author of Synesthesia, for an interview.

About the author:

KM Aul is the Best-Selling author of the Senses Novels series of books.

KM Aul started writing fiction at the age of six and hasn’t put the pen down since. KM’s writing consists of short stories, novellas, and even a published game. His first full-length novel, AURA was put into written form in 1988 and has undergone multiple revisions until finally published in 2015.

KM Aul’s personal life consists of his much younger bride, youngest daughter, a three-legged dog and pursuing his relationship with God. When not writing, his passion is for feeding the hungry by donating to his local food pantry. Mr. Aul spent time in Europe, Mexico, Canada and Asia and through it all, discovered that there is no country on earth more beautiful than the United States of America. Having travelled across our fair country multiple times, and meeting people from every walk of life and every circumstance, KM has found that there are lessons to be learned everywhere. The most important of these are, no matter your race, religion or country of origin, every life matters and everything you do in life has meaning.

KM currently lives on a small private lake in the beautiful state of Georgia.


Hello, K.M. Aul. Thank you for being here today.

Can you please tell my readers a little bit about yourself?

I was born on the south side of Chicago. My family began a nomadic/American life when I was eight months old as my father was with the aerospace industry. I’ve lived in or visited all 48 contiguous states. At the age of 17, I met the woman who I would one day marry. We have, over the course of our 43-year marriage had three children, adopted three more and fostered another 24; I became a born again Christian in 1988. At this time, I live in the beautiful state of Georgia on a quiet, private lake with my wife and youngest daughter.

Please tell us about your book?

Synesthesia is the fourth book in the Senses Novels series but can be read as a stand-alone novel. It picks up on the life of Lazarus after he has been raised from the dead. Instead of living out a normal lifespan, Lazarus has been given an extended, almost immortal, new life. This installment in the series traces his new life through to the time where he, and others, are preparing to battle mankind’s greatest enemy.3. How long did it take you to write it?

How long did it take you to write it?

Because of the extensive research involved, it took me just over a year to write Synesthesia.

Why did you choose this topic?

There is very little known about Lazarus after his brief mention in scripture. Several locations claim to be his burial place, but there is no definitive proof. Lazarus is the only person raised from the dead by Jesus where there was no physical contact. There is a lot of mystery surrounding the man.

Which writers in your field inspire you?

Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker are two of the authors that inspire me. While he wasn’t at all a Christian author, H.P. Lovecraft has also influenced my writing style.

What inspired you to write?

I think Robert A. Heinlein put it best, “Writing is a disease, you don’t choose it, it chooses you.” My stories, and especially AURA, the first book in the series, percolate out of me and have, ever since I can remember.

Are you working on any other project(s) right now? If yes, what are they?

Yes, I am currently working on book five of the series. This is the most challenging book yet as I have already covered the five senses we all know. What does that leave?

How do you prefer to write? On computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

I do all my writing directly on the computer, without an outline.

What are your 5 favorite books and 5 favorite authors?

  1. The Bible – Multiple authors (inspired by God)
  2. Dune – Frank Herbert
  3. Alas Babylon – Pat Frank
  4. The Ringworld series – Larry Niven
  5. The Art of War – Sun Tzu

Non-Fiction deals with a lot of facts and real-life study. How do you deal with the all research work?

I don’t do a lot of non-fiction writing, but the fiction I write almost always has its basis in fact. I do all my research using both online and physical documentary sources. Most of the research is kept in note format and by date. I have also made numerous contacts over the years and have an extensive network of people from all fields that I can call on for factual data as well as fact-checking of any data I may wish to use.

What advice would you give to new aspiring authors in your genre?

Never believe the nay-sayers! You will face hardship and rejection from publishers, readers, and even your own family at times. Do not give up, ever. If the writing is in you, then you need to let it out. The world wants to hear your story; it just doesn’t know it yet.

Thank you, K.M., for all your interesting as well as deeply insightful answers!


About The Book:

The Best Selling Christian Fiction/Fantasy Series Continues!

Time has run out. The world as we know it is coming to an end and a handful of heroes are all that stand in the way of the final darkness.

Born in an age of brutality and miracles, Eli was raised from the dead to start a new life unlike any other. His touch can heal; his pain can destroy. He has not only seen the rise and fall of civilizations, his power has been the cause of them. Prepare yourself for an adventure through time, prepare to face the greatest challenge humankind has ever known.


For more author interviews, click here.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed or if you are a publicist and want to get your author interviewed on TRB, then please get in touch through direct e-mail: thereadingbud@gmail.com

Author Interview: Aaron Poochigian

Welcome to TRB Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome Aaron Poocigian, author of Mr. Either Or, for an author Interview.

About the author:

AARON POOCHIGIAN earned a PhD in Classics from the University of Minnesota and an MFA in Poetry from Columbia University. His book of translations from Sappho, Stung With Love, was published by Penguin Classics in 2009, and his translation of Apollonius’ Jason and the Argonautswas released October 2014. For his work in translation he was awarded a 2010-2011 Grant by the National Endowment for the Arts. His first book of original poetry, The Cosmic Purr (Able Muse Press), was published in 2012 and, winner of the 2016 Able Muse Poetry Prize, his second book Manhattanite will be out in the Fall of 2017. His thriller in verse, Mr. Either/Or, will be released by Etruscan Press in Fall of 2017. His work has appeared in such journals as The Guardian, POETRY and The Times Literary Supplement.

Contact Details:

Websitewww.mreitheror.com and www.aaronpoochigian.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aaron.poochigian


Hello, Aaron. Thank you for being here today.

Can you please tell my readers about your ambitions for your writing career?

I want to find a broad audience for poetry, and snappy, un-put-down-able narrative verse is, I think, the best way do to it. Poets often complain that no one reads poetry anymore but, as I see it, the lack of interest is primarily the fault of the poets themselves who tend to alienate readers in various ways, rather than giving them something engaging and exciting. I want to engage and excite people through words—that’s my career ambition. I aspire to write poetry that is as popular in the 21st century as Lord Byron’s “Don Juan” was in the 19th. Can you imagine a literary world in which books of poetry sell as well as books by Danielle Steele and Stephen King? I can.

Which writers inspire you?

Raymond Chandler, one of the fathers of the noir crime genre, has been a great inspiration. Though he wrote in a mode generally regarded as “inferior” to literary fiction, his novels are nonetheless master-crafted—every sentence, every phrase, has been labored over and perfected. He is a consummate artist. He taught me that literature can be both popular and virtuosic.

I also find Thomas Pynchon’s early work inspiring. His “The Crying of Lot 49” was another major model for “Mr. Either/Or.” It taught me that the demands of the plot need not restrict wild creativity. The writer should never be merely telling the story—he/she should do that, of course, and do it well but always at the same time be enjoying him/herself creatively. Pynchon’s novel is a mad whirlwind of a thing, a boundless conspiracy theory. I highly recommend it.

Tell us about your book?

“Mr. Either/Or” revives the genre of the verse adventure-story (à la Homer’s Odyssey and Byron’s Don Juan) by sustaining the charge of lyric poetry through an extended narrative. I regard “Mr. Either/Or” as an “upgrade” to prose fiction in that the poetry provides a sound-track as in a film by alternating between free-rhymed lines for the exposition and the alliterative verse of Beowulf for the action scenes. The setting is not real-world New York City, but a timeless one in which fantastic things can happen (as in an urban fantasy novel). The plot focuses on legends and on what I call “American Mythology:” mole-men living underneath the New York and the Roswell Incident, for example. Best of all, the novel is in the second person: “you” the reader are the hero—you think his thoughts and encounter the world through his eyes as in a “first-person-shooter” video game.

How long did it take you to write it?

It took me eight years to write “Mr. Either/Or”—two years to figure out how to write narrative in verse and about six years to write and polish the thing. I am preparing to write a sequel, and I hope it will go much faster now that I know what I am about.

Are you working on any other project(s) right now? If yes, what are they?

Yes, I am working on a new book of poems that aims to invest American places and characters with religious awe. We’ll see if I can do it. I am also preparing for the sequel to “Mr. Either/Or,” though I doubt there will be a sequel proper, rather another book with the same characters and setting.

Why have you chosen this genre?

“Mr. Either/Or” brings together all of my great loves—epic poetry, genre fiction (noir and thriller), action films and Americana. I really don’t know what to call it—sometimes I call it a thriller, sometimes urban fantasy, sometimes an epic poem. The “action” mode was appealing to me for a number of reasons. First, because it is the opposite of most of the poetry that is being written today—it is not static, observational, meditative. Second, the adventures of the hero gave me, I confess, a purely escapist pleasure. We writers are a sedentary bunch: we sit; we write—it’s our job. It has been good for me to get out and have adventures through my hero.

When did you decide to become a writer?

In high-school I was all about music—my band, musical theory, songwriting—but as soon as I took a poetry class in college, the rhythms and sounds of language re-focused my creative impulses. I had a sort of religious experience during my Freshman year. I was reading the opening lines of Vergil’s Aeneid in Latin—Arma virumqute cano. . . Though I didn’t know the language, I was so moved that the sky became brighter and everything became clear: I should learn the Classical Languages and spend the rest of my life writing poetry. That’s what I have done. No regrets. I guess I’m lucky in that I never had a phase when I didn’t know what I was going to do with my life.

Why do you write?

Whoa, tough question. At this point, I write mostly by habit. It’s just what I do every day. I also write by instinct—I feel certain that I was meant to be a writer. I can’t imagine doing anything else. There is also, of course, the fear of death. I want to be able to feel, as I age, that the best of me will live on in literature. Yes, that was a tough question indeed.

Where do your ideas come from?

Where do my ideas come from? Out of my curious mind and out of all that I have read, yes, those and out of daily experiences—the doppler sound of traffic passing in front of my house, the sheen the barista’s mop leaves on the floor at the coffee shop, out of the crazy junk in my backyard and backlot, out of the many, many places I have lived. You’ve got these lines from Yeats’ “The Circus Animals’ Desertion” running through my head:

A mound of refuse or the sweepings of a street,
Old kettles, old bottles, and a broken can,
Old iron, old bones, old rags, that raving slut
Who keeps the till. Now that my ladder’s gone,
I must lie down where all the ladders start
In the foul rag-and-bone shop of the heart.

How do you prefer to write? On computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

I’m left-handed and writing by hand was always clumsy for me, so I took to the keyboard early on. I prefer writing on a laptop. I always have one with me. I tend to buy super-cheap crappy laptops ($250) so that I can drag one everywhere with me and not worry about it getting banged up. For “Mr. Either/Or” I created one Word.doc for each plot event and allowed myself to go crazy creatively in each file, so long as I also narrated that one plot event. I then fitted all the files together into the whole narrative and polished the transitions. That way, I found I was able to get the story told while still giving myself freedom for creativity.

What are your 5 favorite books and 5 favorite authors?

Five Favorite Books:

  1. “Whitsun Weddings” by Philip Larkin
  2. “The Tower” by William Butler Yeats
  3. “Goodbye, My Lovely” by Raymond Chandler
  4. “The Crying of Lot 49” by Thomas Pynchon
  5. “The Inferno” by Dante Alighieri

Five Favorite Authors:

  1. William Butler Yeats
  2. H. Auden
  3. Philip Larkin
  4. Raymond Chandler
  5. Dante Alighieri

How do you deal with Writer’s Block?

I do my best not to fall into the doldrums of Writer’s Block in the first place. After I finish a poem, I do tend to feel what I call “postpartum depression” tugging at me. I then sit down at my laptop, open a Word.doc and fill a page with lines that I like, phrases, curious words. I play around with them until something happens. A number of years ago I made a promise to myself that I would write full time, 40 hours a week at least, and, since then, I have forced myself to write even when I don’t feel like it. Yes, there are occasional blessed periods of spontaneous creation, but writing is usually hard, certainly harder than just watching tv instead. All the same, we writers must make ourselves focus and do our work.

What advice would you give to new aspiring authors?

I’m afraid that I won’t be able to give anything more than boilerplate advice: craft, craft, craft. Work, work, work. Force yourself to know boring subjects like grammar backwards and forwards, so well, in fact, that you don’t have to think about them any longer. The time you spend early on studying grammar, for example, will pay off down the line, I promise, by making you a clearer and more efficient writer. Preachy, boring advice, I know, but it’s sincere as Hell.

 

Thank you, Aaron, for all your insightful answers! I particularly agree about the need to know grammar through and through.


About The Book:

Aaron Poochigian’s Mr. Either/Or is an ingenious debut, a verse novel melding American mythology, noir thriller, and classical epic into gritty rhythms, foreboding overtones, and groovy jams surrounding the reader in a surreal atmosphere.

Imagine Byron’s Don Juan on a high-stakes romp through a Raymond Chandler novel. Think Hamlet in Manhattan with a license to kill.

 

Book Links:

Amazonhttps://www.amazon.com/Mr-Either-Aaron-Poochigian/dp/0997745525/
Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34381389-mr-either-or


For more author interviews, click here.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed or if you are a publicist and want to get your author interviewed on TRB, then please get in touch through direct email: thereadingbud@gmail.com

Author Interview: Bridget Nash

Welcome to TRB’s Author Interview Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome, Bridget Nash, author of Players.

About the author:

Bridget Nash was a newspaper journalist who received several Associated Press/Oklahoma Press Association awards for both writing and photography, before starting her own small portrait photography business. She now stays home with her daughter, contributing to the news world on a freelance basis.

Players is Bridget’s first novel but ever since she could hold a pencil, she has enjoyed writing as a recreational activity. As a child and a teen, she could often be found outdoors with a notebook and pen, listening to the birds and the wind while making up her own worlds on paper.

When she isn’t writing or taking photographs, Bridget enjoys reading and watching sitcoms simultaneously. Her favorite books are Frankenstein, Jane Eyre and A Ring of Endless Light. Bridget lives in a very small Oklahoma town, along with her husband; her daughter; two dogs, Trevor and Penny; a border collie named Taban; a cat named Taylor Swift; and a fancy rat named Sheldon.

 


Hello, Bridget. Thank you for being here today.

Can you please tell my readers about your ambitions for your writing career?

There are always stories going on in my head, so, really, it’s just a relief to get them out and have them in book form so I can share them or revisit them myself. I suppose my goal is to just get the stories out but I would be lying if I said I didn’t hope a lot of people would read them. It would be really nice to have a story that a lot of people liked.

Which writers inspire you?

Madeleine L’Engle is a writer whose words always just sort of floated around in my head after I’d finished one of her books. I always thought she had such a magical way with words and that really inspired me. She could always make me look at the world in a different and unexpected way.

Tell us about your book?

Players is a dystopian piece about a young man named Ryan who stumbles upon a mysterious group of traveling stage actors. These actors intrigue Ryan and cause him to question things he’d always taken for granted. He begins to wonder if all the world really is a stage.

How long did it take you to write it?

It took several years to write Players. I started it while I was a newspaper reporter, jotting bits of the story down any time I had to do any waiting (there is actually a lot of waiting around when you’re a reporter!). When I quit my job to stay home with my baby, I continued to jot the story down whenever I could, usually in the middle of the night. I wrote the entire first draft by hand.

Are you working on any other project(s) right now? If yes, what are they?

I am currently working on a sequel to Players. It will continue the story, starting a few months after Players ends. The world was just too big to fit into one book!

Why have you chosen this genre?

“What if?” is one of my favorite questions. Tyranny is one of my greatest fears. I think these two things combined are what make me enjoy visiting dystopia. I had only read a couple of dystopian books before I started writing Players but they really stuck with me. After I finished writing it, I found out there is a plethora of dystopian novels out there and I love the genre. So many what-ifs can turn into so many different stories and warnings for society.

When did you decide to become a writer?

Ever since I learned to write, I have written stories to entertain myself. As a kid, I could most often be found somewhere outside with either a book, a notebook, or both. I guess I’ve always been in the clouds.

Why do you write? 

Simply to entertain myself. There are always story ideas dancing around in my head and they won’t leave me alone until I write them down. Sometimes the story dies on the paper and sometimes it comes to full fruition. Either way, the act of writing sets the stories (and me) free.

Where do your ideas come from?

Usually they come from insomnia. I have a hard time turning off my mind at night. Sometimes I’ll imagine I’m not in my bed but, rather, I’m in a bed in a cabin or in a boat on the ocean or in a stairwell, seeking shelter from the rain. Then I imagine someone else in those places. What are they doing there? Are they alone? Where will they go next? These thoughts just turn into stories.

How do you prefer to write? On computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

Writing certainly goes faster on a computer and I like the mobility of laptops. I’m getting better at writing fiction on a computer but I feel more connected to the story if I’m writing by hand.

What are your 5 favorite books and 5 favorite authors?

  1. A Ring of Endless Light by Madeleine L’Engle
  2. The Giver by Lois Lowry
  3. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  4. Hamlet by William Shakespeare
  5. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

If you ask me again next month, my answers might change. Too many good books by too many good authors to narrow down a solid top five.

How do you deal with Writer’s Block?

Ugh. You just have to push through it and write anyway. But I’m not one to be touting the virtues of writing when you don’t feel like it. I’m not very good at making myself pick up the pen when I’m in a dry spell.

What advice would you give to new aspiring authors?

You won’t get it done if you don’t do it. I know this from experience. Just write the story! I know I just said that I’m not very good at making myself write, but I would have never finished writing any books if I hadn’t, at some point, made myself just do it.

Thank you, Bridget, for all your lovely answers!


About The Book:

Ryan Scribe is eighteen and has it made.He lacks nothing and doesn’t even know anyone who lacks anything.

Ryan Scribe is eighteen and has it made.He lacks nothing and doesn’t even know anyone who lacks anything.

He lacks nothing and doesn’t even know anyone who lacks anything.Then he hears a beautiful actress say, “Truth is often stranger than perception,” and he begins to look at his world with new eyes.

Then he hears a beautiful actress say, “Truth is often stranger than perception,” and he begins to look at his world with new eyes.All it takes is one wrong question and he is swiftly banished from the only home he’s ever known. Forced to join a band of traveling players, stage actors who look like they could have stepped straight out of Elizabethan England, Ryan begins to question his life, his country and everyone around him. Can he really trust a group of actors? Will his questions land him in even more danger?

All it takes is one wrong question and he is swiftly banished from the only home he’s ever known. Forced to join a band of traveling players, stage actors who look like they could have stepped straight out of Elizabethan England, Ryan begins to question his life, his country and everyone around him. Can he really trust a group of actors? Will his questions land him in even more danger?

Book Links:
Amazon: https://www.amazon.in/Players-Bridget-Nash-ebook/dp/B016J9X2CS
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27557254-players


For more author interviews, click here.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed or if you are a publicist and want to get your author interviewed on TRB, then please get in touch through direct e-mail: thereadingbud@gmail.com

Author Interview: Jon Budd

Welcome to TRB’s Author Interview Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome Jon Budd, author of The Legend Of The Washo Gold.

About the author:

Jon Budd is an author, musician, and an archeologist. He is also known by his formal name, Jonathan Budd. He grew up in Northern New Mexico playing music and studying ancient Indian ruins. Jon started playing professionally for school dances when he was fourteen years old. By the time he was sixteen, he was performing in nightclubs. When he came of age, he lived and performed in Albuquerque, Houston, and Denver. It was in Denver where he began his university training in archeology. He moved to Los Angeles and recorded his original music album entitled, “Musical Ontology”. This album consists of ten original songs that Jon composed as well as a drum solo he performs. Jon wrote and produced all of the music. He sang all of the songs, played drums, keyboards, most of the guitars, as well as some of the bass guitar. There are some really talented musicians who also recorded on Jon’s album including Andy West (bass), Cornelius Bumpus (saxophone), and Steve Richards and Mike Richards on Guitars. This album is available as a compact disc album as well as individual song downloads at https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/jonathanbudd3. Jon now performs in and around Austin, Texas – the Live Music Capitol of the World!

You can reach him at:

Website: www.jonbudd.org
Email: jonbudd@yahoo.com


Hello, Jon. Thank you for being here today.

Can you please tell my readers about your ambitions for your writing career?

I want to create something original that I can feel good about. I also want to entertain my readers and make them feel good.

Which writers inspire you?

I admire JRR Tolkien who wrote, “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” because he took me to a faraway place. I also admire Richard Henry Dana Jr. who wrote, “Two Years before the Mast” because he revealed to me that good history is entertaining. Finally, I really admire Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) who wrote, “Tom Sawyer” and “Huckleberry Finn” because of his earthy and ingenious ways of weaving humor into a story.

Tell us about your book?

The title of my novel is, “The Legend of the Washo Gold”. It’s about Hank and Vince who are friends. They work together for the Forest Service near Lake Tahoe in California. Vince is an archeologist and Hank is a Native American Indian Hank is from a local tribe called, “the Washo”. They have an ancient, sacred, landmark known as “Cave Rock”. This place is located on the shore of beautiful Lake Tahoe. Precious tribal treasures are stored there. When one of Hank’s tribal elders learns that raiders have found their way into Cave Rock, he sends Hank down to San Francisco to retrieve what was stolen. Hank learns that there is a curse on Cave Rock and the strangers who have raided the cave may have set things in motion that could culminate in a terrible earthquake just like the one that destroyed San Francisco in 1906. Hank, Vince, and a War Party of Indians must travel to San Francisco and take back what was stolen from the cave before thousands of people perish or get injured from another devastating earthquake. This is their story.

How long did it take you to write it?

It took me twenty years to write this novel. I hope the next one, if there is one, will not take quite as long. I don’t think I have another twenty years.

Are you working on any other project(s) right now? If yes, what are they?

Artistically, this novel drained me. That’s the way it supposed to be isn’t it? I poured everything I had into it. It’s a little painful to think about what my next literary project may be. I’m sure there will be one and I have some ideas, but that’s what they are now, just ideas, nothing firm. However, I am returning to my musical writing and performing. My next artistic endeavor will be bringing forth more original musical compositions and performances.

Why have you chosen this genre?

This genre, Native American Historical Fiction, is what I know. I have a Master’s Degree in Anthropology specializing in Archeology. I have well over twenty-five years working as a professional archeology for the United States Forest Service and the State of Texas where I work now. I have studied Native American Indian culture, religion, and history since I was a boy growing up in New Mexico.

When did you decide to become a writer?

I didn’t consciously make any decision to become a writer. I just had an idea for what I thought would be a good, entertaining story, so I began to write it. I do remember though, a long time ago, while looking for a decent movie to rent at the local Blockbuster Video, saying to myself, “I could come up with a better story for a movie then what I see here”!

Why do you write? 

I think that everyone has an artist inside them. I can’t draw, paint, or sculpt, so I express my personal artist through music and literature.

Where do your ideas come from?

I have a very active imagination. So active, that sometimes it gets me into trouble. I get ideas all the time and from all kinds of different sources. I can however, really act only on the ones that have some meaning for me. Only if I have strong feelings about things.

How do you prefer to write? On computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

In my experience, writing is a long, painful experience. It’s like giving birth (I’m a man, so I can only guess). The only way that I know how to write is to use a computer keyboard. It’s much easier to edit that way. But, it’s still very difficult for me. I am looking forward to using new technology where you can speak into a microphone and your words are transferred into text.

What are your 5 favourite books and 5 favourite authors?

I have already listed three of my favorites above. Two other authors that I really like include Israel Finkelstein, “The Bible Unearthed” and Francesca Stavrakopoulou, “Land of Our Fathers: The Roles of Ancestor Veneration in Biblical Land Claims (The Library of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies)”. However, these are very esoteric archeological books that debate the historicity of the Bible. I have a very odd sense of what’s entertaining to me in literature.

How do you deal with Writer’s Block?

I focus on the process and not the outcome. An artist may not have all control over what is ultimately produced. However, they do have control over how much they put into the process of creating. I schedule a time period every day where I write just as hard as I can. For example, I commit to writing just as hard as I can for one hour a day. If you do this every day regardless, in three months you will have a draft of your novel. If an artist commits to the process, amazing things happen over time.

What advice would you give to new aspiring authors?

Take the first step and just begin. Commit, commit, commit. Write as hard as you can for an hour a day. Keep track of the days you write and try to set and break records for consecutive days. Write for an hour about each one of your characters. Who are they? What are they like? Who do they remind you of? That will help you develop deep, rich, memorable characters. Don’t be afraid of failing. You are only beaten when you give up. Never give up. Network, network, network. You can never have too many friends.

Thank you, Jon, for all your interesting as well as deeply insightful answers!


About The Book:

To prevent a repeat of the Great 1906 San Francisco Earthquake, Hank, a modern day Native American Indian, overcomes his doubts about his tribe’s ancient religion and leads a war party to recover a cursed Indian treasure.

Succumbing to the genocide brought down upon them during the infamous 1849 California Gold Rush, the Washo Indians were teetering on the brink of extinction. With the help of a mysterious stranger, they devised an ingenious plan to survive. Many years later, when the secret of their survival is threatened, the tribe appoints a modern day warrior to lead a war party to San Francisco to recover stolen Indian treasure and secure the secret of the Washo Gold.

This novel enables the reader to experience the infamous 1849 California Gold Rush from the perspective of a tribe of Native American Indians who lived through it.


For more author interviews, click here.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed or if you are a publicist and want to get your author interviewed on TRB, then please get in touch through direct e-mail: thereadingbud@gmail.com

Author Interview: Michael Lent

Welcome to TRB’s Author Interview Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome, Michael Lent, author of i, Holmes.

About the author:

Honored as a ‘Google Author’ in 2007, Michael Lent’s transmedia writing/experience spans films, fiction and nonfiction books, biographies, graphic novels, animation, video games, and reality television. He got his start in On-Air Promotions at MTV. More recently, Lent wrote the graphic novel i, Holmes (Alterna) adapted into a graphic novel E.M. Forster’s “The Machine Stops” (Alterna) and Stephen King’s “The Reaper’s Image” for the Audio Theater for Our Troops radio. His credits include more than a dozen graphic novels and comics including Prey (Marvel), Brimstone (Zenescope), graphic novel bios for Orbit including Keith Richards, Stephen Hawking, Stephen King and JRR Tolkien. He has written eight books including On Thin Ice, published by Disney/Hyperion, based on the top-rated reality television series Ice Road Truckers. Research for this project entailed spending winter in the Arctic.

He was a writer on three video games including Vigilante 8: Arcade for Xbox 360 Live. Lent was a producer on five films including executive producer of IF YOU’RE SERIOUS, shot in Fenghuang, China and nominated in 2014 by the Academy of Sound Editors for the Verna Fields Golden Reel Award for Sound Editing. Lent has taught screenwriting at UCLA, University of Miami, Santa Barbara City College, as well as lectured at Chapman University. For 2 ½ years, Lent also taught creative writing at the Chino Mens’ Prison in the UCLA Extension/Artsreach Program. He has experienced a prison lockdown, which often comes in handy in a writers’ room.

Contact Links:

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/michael.lent1
Twitter: https://twitter.com/michaellent2
Quora: https://www.quora.com/profile/Michael-Lent


Hello, Michael. Thank you for being here today.

Can you please tell my readers about your ambitions for your writing career?

This is one of those questions I used to ask myself a lot in a big picture sense of “I would like to create something that can stand the test of time.” At one point, I quit my job in New York and went backpacking around Europe for five months while trying to write the next great American novel. 47 pages in I was broke and realized I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. But these days I am much more Buddhist in my approach to my ambitions, that is, great joy and sometimes suffering in the smallest moments. So it means a lot to me to find the exact right word or emotion. I enjoy the cadence of crisp dialogue and the rhythm of good storytelling. I try to create characters that I truly care about and feel bad when they’re hurting. I’m trying to earn the privilege and opportunity to keep writing stories, so I feel like if I work hard to craft those small moments, I will connect with readers and tell the best story possible.

Which writers inspire you?

Well, I read a lot which I think is important to any writer so the list of inspirational writers evolves with my current reading list. Six months might be a couple dozen writers and books ago. There are so many writers deserving of our time.

I think Stephen King did a great service to us all when he took time to share his process in his autobiographical book On Writing. I read that cover-to-cover many times over and it got me through some fallow periods. Recently, I’ve been reading a lot of Neil Gaiman and he is wonderful. I write graphic novels, scripts, and non-fiction books. Recently, I reread Art Spiegelman’s Maus series which both inspired and reminded me to dig deeper and write as honestly as possible.

Tell us about your book?

i, Holmes is a graphic novel, a gritty urban detective drama set in 2009. The story is about a brilliant loner, a streetwise 17-year old girl fresh out of juvie who is truly alone in the world. She knows very little about her past except that someone wants to kill her and is willing to take out most of New York. Who she is, in fact, is pretty special, as is the identity of her would-be killer. Through the course of the story the main character begins to open up enough to let others in. The art is by Marc Rene, who I most recently worked with on The Machine Stops series, an adaptation of the E. M. Forster science fiction story. Marc is very, very talented and his style is ideal for this story. Our publisher is Peter Simeti at Alterna. Alterna also published The Machine Stops.

Recently, television producer David Rambo picked up i, Holmes to develop as a television series and has been instrumental in helping to shape the story.

David has helped create some of the best television produced over the past decade including EMPIRE, REVOLUTION and CSI, as well as the upcoming series WILL on TNT. He is certainly one of the most creative people I know, so we are pretty excited and hopeful for what the future holds for i, Holmes.

How long did it take you to write it?

I needed a year to write i, Holmes. The original concept for the story occurred to me very quickly and I got out to a fast start mapping the basic story but then real life intervened with the sudden passing of my sister. John Lennon sang that “life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.” When I returned to the story a few months later, I discovered that I wasn’t quite the same person anymore, so the story changed a bit. Without that personal tragedy, the process to create i, Holmes would have been much quicker but not as personal.

Are you working on any other project(s) right now? If yes, what are they?

I have a few writing projects in the works. One is a pre-Christian, pre-Viking Norse story that needs an artist. Another is a neo-noir graphic novel about a woman who witnesses a murder and seeks sanctuary in a church with the killers hot on her heels. We’re just beginning to draw this book. I’m also finishing a horror movie script about a boy who loses his family and must go to live with distant relatives who aren’t all that they seem.

I also produce movies. MALEVOLENT is a horror film starring William Shatner, Marena Baccarin and Ray Wise, and TWIN CITIES is an ambitious independent drama coming out in festival.

Why have you chosen this genre?

Actually, I move around and operate in several genres. Basically, I think most writers have a central theme that comes from their own lives that pops up over and over in their work. It doesn’t matter what the genre is, the theme is always the same. Instead of operating in a single genre, theme is the constant. For me, it’s “the Lazarus Man,” the idea of a person leading an auto-pilot existence, essentially dead to their life, but then, suddenly some jarring event occurs, causing them to wake up to the first moment of the rest of their life. How they see the world and what they do next is something I find fascinating. As I said, this theme is something personal: out of college I struggled to find some direction in my life but this struggle was all internal. Outwardly, it looked like I had things figured out. I was working on Wall Street in New York, making a good living, and I had been accepted into law school. But something didn’t feel right. I didn’t want to deal with it, though, because the future seemed so set and all I had to do was acquiesce. One morning, I walked into the executive bathroom at work. In one stall I discovered that someone had strapped a bomb to the toilet. Actually, it was three sticks of dynamite. There was timing device so I never knew whether someone was making a statement or had been interrupted. But that was my Lazarus moment. I quit the job and bought a backpack, one-way ticket to Paris, as well as a Eurorail pass.

When did you decide to become a writer?

When I was in grade school I entered a couple of essay writing contests. “Why I love America,” that kind of thing. That was the start. As an adult I sort of came to writing kicking and screaming. My grandmother had taken in my sister and me as kids. She owned her own beauty shop in the back of our house, working six days a week and also cared for my grandfather who suffered PTSD. She wanted me to become a lawyer and represent IBM. When you see someone with their back to a cliff and fighting against the wind on your behalf, you don’t want to add to their worries. Since my grandmother had done so much for us, I didn’t want to disappoint her. Telling her I was going to be a writer was like saying I planned to juggle chainsaws for a career. Even when I began making inroads into a career as writers she would say, “That’s wonderful — maybe you could be one of those lawyers who write crime novels when they’re not busy.”

Why do you write? 

For a long time, I kept telling myself that there were many easier, more lucrative career options. I think you become a writer after trying those other things and you keep feeling like you’re spinning your wheels and not contributing to the planet unless you get back to writing. Basically, I’m restless doing most other things that aren’t writing. Also, I’m good at researching other endeavors but after about six months, I get tired of them and want to move on. So for a time I might be obsessed with everything that is entailed in landing on Mars but I wouldn’t make a career of it. Luckily, six months is about as long as most projects last.

Where do your ideas come from?

Like a lot of writers I sort of see myself as a sort of detached outsider at least enough to be able to look at things in an overall sense. So things constantly strike me as strange, illogical and interesting. Also, I have always identified with underdogs even though sometimes as a somewhat privileged well- educated Caucasian male it doesn’t seem like I have much right to think that way.

When I was a kid, I read that Robert F. Kennedy had said, “Some men see things as they are and ask, “Why?” But I dream of things that never were and ask, “Why not?” I think this is the basic view of most writers and serves as a springboard for their ideas.

How do you prefer to write? On computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

It’s a team effort between MacBook Pro laptop, iPhone Notes dictation and my trusty Moleskin reporters pad. I’ll also write on napkins, receipts, gum wrappers and bathroom tissue.

What are your 5 favourite books and 5 favorite authors?

  1. Blood Meridian – Cormac McCarthy. This book shocked me out of the complacence of my life.
  2. The Road – Cormac McCarthy. I read this book when I became a dad. It made me cry and made me realize the obligation for sacrifice that parenting entails.
  3. LotR – JRR Tolkien. It was the first fully immersive universe I ever read and fell in love with. Edith Hamilton’s Mythology had the same effect.
  4. Hamlet – William Shakespeare. It’s a play, of course, but for me, also formative like LotR. Mr. Harmon, my lit. teacher in high school, was our Virgil guiding us into the world of Shakespeare. He was a classically trained actor who would perform Hamlet’s soliloquies and make the story come alive. Through Hamlet I realized the both burden and complexity of being heroic.
  5. A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens. One of the greatest endings of all time.

It’s certainly humbling to list these books and authors and realize how far I must go with my own work.

How do you deal with Writer’s Block?

In On Writing, Steven King has some wonderful observations about writer’s block and Dennis Palumbo has a terrific book about it called Writing from the Inside Out. I think it’s important to recognize WB for what it is, namely, a lack of inspiration. It’s something all writers deal with from time-to-time. First, I try to keep the well from running dry by reading a lot because its inspirational and gives you a discourse with great minds. Second, contracts and deadlines are important because they keep you focused. To be blunt, a publisher can cancel your contract and maybe sue you to get back an advance if you fail to turn in your work on time. That puts the fear of God in most writers. Even when you aren’t on deadline with someone else, you can make an agreement with yourself to finish something by such and such date. You can go one step further by requesting that colleagues and friends read the result, then give them a delivery date.

The in-process way to deal with writer’s block is through structure. Structure is the scaffolding we stand on for hard to reach places. I rely on four layers of structure as the powerful tools that will get me moving forward again. These are:

  1. Conveying Action
  2. Business of the Scene
  3. Advancing Themes and Conflict
  4. Tone

When I come to a roadblock on a particular scene, I say to myself, “Well, what happens next?” The answer is usually something like, “The cop goes to the apartment building to interview a potential witness.” (Conveying Action). Next, I’ll ask what the cop needs to learn via the exchange. Hopefully, this will be more than just gathering a clue. Hopefully, the scene will spin the story in a new direction and cause the cop to reconsider what he thinks he knows about the situation or even the world. That’s the business of the scene. If the cop is reevaluating his base assumptions about people or if the witness is interesting beyond the information they possess, that can advance the themes and conflicts of the story. So maybe we’re dealing with a reluctant witness. Finally, tone is what makes the scene stand out both contextually and artistically. If the scene is set in a small town in Wyoming in 1952, it’s going to have a look and feel that we haven’t seen much of before now. From my reading I might think about Road to Perdition, In Cold Blood or The Onion Field. How did people live and what was the architecture like back then? If the witness is a single woman about 30 years old living in an apartment building in such a place, what could we surmise about her circumstances? How did cops treat such individuals back then? That’s where tone and nuance come in.

15 minutes ago, I didn’t have a clue about how this scene might be written but suddenly, I have lots of ideas and my brain is popping because I know what has to happen and why. I feel inspired. Structure leads to creative solutions when you’re feeling blocked.

What advice would you give to new aspiring authors?

I love what I do so when I meet aspiring writers at conventions and festivals. it’s wonderful to hear of their aspirations. My message is very DIY because I want to see those aspirations go to the next level. For me, it’s unfortunate to run into an aspiring writer a year later and they haven’t moved their dream forward into reality. Sometimes they are rewriting the same chapters or have abandoned a promising premise to work on something new.

The most important advice I can give is to go past dreaming and get your book scheduled. The idea is that the more you tell people about your project and when it will be done, the more tangible it is. So create a community of fellow scribes at your level and one step above.

As long as something stays inside your head, it is pure, perfect and unassailable. I get that. The critic inside all of us says, “What if it’s no good or a waste of time?” So we keep it locked up ostensibly to protect ourselves from failure by rearranging the idea furniture.

Writing takes on a life of its own ONLY when it makes it out into the world. So I wouldn’t get hung up on making it “perfect,” finding agents, or waiting for publisher responses. Get your story or book out there any way you can, then get started on the next as soon as possible. This way, you’ll engage with a community of fellow writers, readers and give yourself a chance at opportunities like mainstream publishers.

Once you’re up and running with your writing, work on multiple projects so that you’re ready for opportunities when they arise. For example, i, Holmes was one of several several projects that I pitched to my publisher. When Peter Simeti said “yes,” we were ready to go.

Thank you, Michael, for all your interesting as well as deeply insightful answers!


About The Book:

Everyone has a secret. Hers can get her killed and she doesn’t even know what it is.

She was born with no parents and no name. Fighting to survive in a world of danger and intrigue is nothing new to i Rose who lives by her wits on the streets of New York, but after discovering that she’s being targeted as the descendant of someone world famous who she’s never met, i Rose realizes that life is about to become even more complicated.

Book Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/IHolmesGraphicNovel/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32994026-i-holmes


For more author interviews, click here.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed or if you are a publicist and want to get your author interviewed on TRB, then please get in touch through direct e-mail: thereadingbud@gmail.com

Author Interview: Mark Canniff

Welcome to TRB’s Author Interview Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome, Mark Canniff, author of Dream, Recurring.

About the author:

Mark Canniff was born and raised for the first twelve years of his life in Seattle Washington. The next thirteen years were spent in England. (Beginning in London, then moving to Cornwall, finally settling in Somerset.) He arrived there because his mother remarried after being divorced for about ten years. His step-father was English, asking the family “why don’t you come over to my place?”.

And so Mark’s journey into the paranormal began. Finishing his education in England, obtaining an “A” Level in English Literature (which he feels is about the equivalent to an Associates Degree in the US), his adventure led him to discover an interest in things that go “bump in the night”.

While he hasn’t been on a paranormal ghost hunt, he has personally experienced: demons, haunted locations and many apparitions, plus much more. “It’s not for the faint of heart”, as he would later say referring to his experiences. This fueled a passion to create short stories and article writing. (Realizing that he found his “Calling” in life), he began work on a short screenplay (when he was in the film industry) entitled “The Dream.” Although the script was never produced, it did show him that he had something. So the road to “Dream, Recurring”, his first novel, began.

Currently in the Aviation industry, he sees his future in writing. “This is the first book in a series totaling four stories.” The plan being that each one will have their own screenplay (written by him). Plus much more to follow.

Personally, he has been married to the most amazing woman he knows, since 2004. They have one son. He’s said many times how complete his life feels because of both of them. They are the best thing that has ever happened to him.

You can reach him at:

Websitewww.markcanniff.com
Facebookwww.facebook.com/markcanniff1
Twitter: @mark_canniff


Hello, Mark. Thank you for being here today.

Can you please tell my readers about your ambitions for your writing career?

Absolutely! My ambitions are to grow into a full-time writing career. Quite simply, I feel this is my calling, I have this strong sense that I can author some fantastic stories that readers will like with messages they will appreciate.

Which writers inspire you?

Dr. Wayne Dyer and Terry Pratchett.

Interestingly they aren’t in my genre (obviously), however those two have inspired me the most. Not only as an “author” from their own work but helped me to constantly drive towards the one thing that I love to do.

Which I think we all have a special gift to give. Discovering what that is can sometimes take years. The funny thing is, for the longest time I wanted to become a pilot. Flying a 747 or a helicopter was a dream of mine. Neither one of those things I could do.

Going from “pilot” to “author” is I’m sure a curiosity. I’m certain there’s a story there somewhere.

Tell us about your book?

“Dream, Recurring” is a paranormal mystery. The short description which I think describes it well is:

“Cynical by nature, a photographer discovers that she’s haunted by a being after she starts having a recurring dream. Revealing a secret that only the dead know – with the entity bent on keeping it.”

How long did it take you to write it?

Okay, so here’s the fun part…

It took a total of 18 years from concept to publication. The genesis of this novel began life as a short screenplay when I was in the film industry. The name of that script was called “The Dream”.

During that time, I let my friends read it and they all really loved it. Then I had a Producer read it (he really enjoyed it too). So much so that he said if I could make it a full-length feature, he would fund the movie. I laughed when he said it, so he repeated it. He was very serious.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t turn it into a full two-hour film at the time. I didn’t have all the pieces together.

Then I thought what better way to bring the story to life than a novel? This was where the idea was really born.

I thought, at the time, if I could do that, I’ll be able to “reverse engineer” it back into a screenplay for film later.

Now that the book is here, I fully intend doing that.

However, little did I realize what that really meant at the time. It’s been an incredible journey of ups and downs as I put the pieces together. Of course, it still isn’t over because it ultimately needs to be turned into a movie. Which I believe will eventually happen.

The actual “writing” of the book began in 2012 when I wrote the first chapter. I still didn’t have the final “sections” together even then. However, in 2014 is when I really had everything that I needed and two years after that was when I could publish it as a self-published novel.

I’ve learned so much during this whole process and I continue to gain more insight into this journey daily.

Are you working on any other project(s) right now? If yes, what are they?

Oh yes! The great thing about creating a story is that you can do with it whatever you want. The one book has grown into a four-part series. All of them will be under the banner “Island River Tales”.

The second novel, which I’m currently working on is called: “When Night Has Fallen”.

When the series is done is when I will focus on the script of the first one. I don’t aim to do any more than that from that set of stories. (From a film perspective.) Because I’ll want to devote my time in creating another novel.

Why have you chosen this genre?

Great question! For me, this genre allows my imagination to wander. I’ve had countless paranormal experiences, starting when I was about six years old (but really “kicked” in when I became a teenager) that it just seems a natural fit.

I like to explore what “could be” and fiction allows me the leeway to do that. So, putting the story in that kind of setting really worked for me.

If you put those two together what you get is a tale that hopefully the reader will enjoy.

When did you decide to become a writer?

Oh wow. Well, I think a part of me has always known. In my younger years, I would write short stories, or outlines to possible concepts that might become novels one day.

However, it wasn’t until I was in my thirties that I became drawn to writing articles, which were about things I felt I needed to say.

What I learned there was the “cadence”. For example, writing three or four pages a day is of very little effort for me. Plus, I always make sure the story is moving forward in that time-frame.

This I learned from writing articles.

Novels became the next “natural” step as I wanted to create something in-depth. After writing the screenplay for “The Dream”, putting two-and-two together was something I absolutely needed to do.

Why do you write? 

I want to tell a tale that leaves you thinking about it long after you’ve read it. There is always a subtle message underlining the book. Each theme is different for every novel.

It would be my hope that as my writing career grows, I’m able to have a body of work that people will want to read more and more.

At the end of the day, if I can resonate with one person, then I will have done my job.

Where do your ideas come from?

That’s kind of a multilayered answer. I pull from my life’s experience, imagination and sometimes even my dreams become the outline for the story. (In the case of the latter, for example, the fourth book in this series came from a “vision” I had while I was sleeping.)

I often feel that there is no “one” source for storytelling. If you are to really find inspiration then you should let it flow. You have no idea how the next concept is going to come.

How do you prefer to write? On computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

I used to write longhand then transfer to computer but once I started writing novels (I’m currently working on my second), I found that it was better for me to just go straight for the computer.

The writing flows easier for me that way, plus I don’t have to transfer it to the “electronic medium”. It ultimately saves a lot of time.

What are your 5 favorite books and 5 favorite authors?

I love this question. Here goes:

  1. Terry Pratchett: “Mort.” This was my first introduction into the “Discworld” series and I loved it! Basically, it’s about Death taking on an apprentice, whose name is Mort.
    It was a great introduction to the Discworld series. It’s funny, imaginative, tells an incredible fable and kept me thinking too. I think from an “author’s” perspective, he was a huge inspiration in becoming a writer for me.
  2. Dr. Wayne Dyer: “The Power of Intention.” Anything from this man I love but what I really enjoyed about this book was that it introduced me to the concept of “The Law of Attraction”.
    This law has become a guiding principle for me over the years and I have him to thank for planting the seed, as it were.
  3. Maurice Sendak: “Where the Wild Things Are.” This was the first book I ever read. I poured over it again and again. I loved it. I imagined their world, through the eyes of the story and couldn’t get enough of it.
    It showed me what the power of a great book could do to your own creativity.
  4. Anne Frank: “The Diary of a Young Girl.” This was just so powerful. It was hard to read in places but was so inspiring at the same time.
    It impacted my life in many ways. Mostly, it showed me the power of the written word and how it could draw the reader into real life. At a time when I had little insight from “inside” that world, she enlightened me to her experiences. Wow!
  5. Stephen Hawking: “A Brief History of Time.” I loved this. It was easy for me to read and understand the concepts being discussed. I obviously couldn’t get the mathematics but that didn’t matter. Stephen put it in a way for the reader (in this case, me) to explore Quantum Mechanics. I had read the “very large” from Albert Einstein and now I read the world of the “very small”. Totally awesome.
    It was just pure enjoyment from the very beginning.

How do you deal with Writer’s Block?

Uh… hmm… let me see…

Sometimes I simply do nothing. I walk away for a while, taking a break for as long as I feel. (It’s surprising what “distance” can do to a story.) In instances like that I would make sure that I’m not thinking about it. In fact, the less I do wonder about where I’m headed next, the better it becomes when I do go back.

Other times I push through with only one page at a time. Doing that, helps me to drive my story forward at a faster pace than “stepping back”. Sometimes that’s what’s needed though.

In either case breakthroughs happen and I can drive on. It really depends on how fast I want to go.

They both teach me something about myself, as an “author”. I love that process as much as I enjoy the writing.

What advice would you give to new aspiring authors?

If you are considering a writing career because you feel it’s something you should do, then do it!

Everyone has a good story in them. Relatively few can sit down and do the work.

The best advice I could give is to make sure you are reading too. It is amazing how much you learn from other authors. I would also say practice. Just get in there and write something. Doing that action leads to more.

Once you have an idea, then enjoy it as you see your story come to life. (From concept to synopsis to finally a novel), it is a beautiful process.

Finally, once as you are seeing it develop, switch your thinking to holding the book in your hands. Visualize that so completely that you can feel it there. It’s especially at that point that doors really start opening. Inspiration comes from goodness knows where but you can see it. Maybe no one else can, however you don’t need anyone else for this task in the beginning (for the first draft anyway).

It’s that movement that will really bring the “Author” out in you. Then there’s no stopping you!

I look forward to hearing about the tale(s) that you can bring to life.

Thank you, Mark, for all your interesting as well as deeply insightful answers!


About The Book:

Can there be a mystery that goes back over a hundred years, that only the dead can reveal?

Lucy has been having a recurring dream. Night after night she finds herself driving on a winding road with her best friend Sam. She feels lost as this path seems to lead to nowhere. That is until she discovers a house. Curious, she goes up to investigate, discovering that the place is empty.

The mystery of the dream deepens when she realizes that she’s being haunted by an entity. Why is it attached to her?

Both Sam and her uncover a piece of history that only those that have passed on have kept secret. Why is it so important and does it have anything to do with the dark being?

It suddenly becomes a race against time as they grasp that their very lives might be at stake.

Can they uncover what is really going on in time, before it’s too late?

Is there a connection between the house, the uncovered past and the evil entity?


For more author interviews, click here.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed or if you are a publicist and want to get your author interviewed on TRB, then please get in touch through direct e-mail: thereadingbud@gmail.com

Author Interview: Christopher Long

Welcome to TRB’s Author Interview Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome, Christopher Long, author of Something Needs Bleeding.

About the author:

At thirty-six years of age, Christopher Long is a relatively young writer. But when you read his writing, you realise he is older than beyond his years. He has the horror and torment of a million tortured souls in his work.
Dark, supernatural stories are his life blood. His first shocking novella, The Compressionist, is a scary tale about a man that feeds on the very life force of people and has done since the dawn of time. It was published early Spring of 2014.
He writes like a man possessed. Maybe he is? He sure seems older than his years suggest. No one dare go up in his attic to see if there is a picture of his good self that might be changing.
His second novella, The Final Restoration of Wendell Pruce, a tragic tale of a recently retired thespian who finds something very strange in the grounds of his seaside retreat. Was published in the summer of 2014.
His third novella, The Narrow Doors, a tale that proves sometimes you should leave the past buried, was also published. all three of these were released as part of a novel length collection, Christopher Long’s Unusual Things.
His debut novel Something Needs Bleeding, was a ground-breaking novel where he edited the last stories of mysterious horror writer Thomas Singer is a horror tour de force. A further two novels are in the pipeline, or sewer pipe in Christopher Long’s case. The next is early 2017 and we at KGHH Publishing can’t wait.
Christopher has been writing stories since he was first able to hold a pen. Reportedly his first book collection, Tales from the Crib, would scare any nursery school or kindergarten.
It all began for Chris when someone gave him their copy of Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach, and he hasn’t looked back since. If only in fear that someone’s going to hit him with the library late returns fee.
For Chris, stories are a means of escape. Not always to a place your average person or writer would go, but a dark, scary place that Chris feels most at home. The dark places that are in all our minds.
He is happily married to the lovely Samantha, or “Her Highness” as she likes to be called. They live in the midlands of England, which is a bit like Tolkien’s Middle Earth, but with just a few less Orcs! And where Sam refuses to let Chris read her his bedtime stories, as he told her one once and she didn’t sleep for a month.

Hello, Christopher. Thank you for being here today.

Can you please tell my readers about your ambitions for your writing career?

I did start with ambitions but, I’ve got to be honest, they got in the way of the writing. For a long time, I was really only writing for myself. Then, when I self-published a couple of stories, I waited for the praise. The adulation. I know it sounds really childish and naïve, but I assumed that you wrote a story and people came running to you for more. The minute I realised they didn’t, I found it started affecting any story I was working on. It made me question everything I was doing. That’s why, these days, I’m trying to keep one ambition ahead of all the shiny and distracting ones; just enjoy what you’re writing. It seems to be working for me so far.

That said, I will never turn my nose up at thought of fortune and glory.

Which writers inspire you?

Roald Dahl was definitely the first. When I came across his stories as a kid, they caught me off guard. They were devious and cunning. They could make me laugh, scared the hell out of me and never felt like they were talking down to me. I kept waiting for people to come along and confiscate them at first. He taught me a lot as I read everything of his I could get my hands on. Not just about story, but also about the relationship the writer can have with his readers as well.

Neil Gaiman has definitely been a big influence. Although a lot of that influence can also include me hating him for just good his stories are. Pretty much every story I’ve read of his just feels like this perfect, polished gem that’s come from another world. They’re so insightful, yet so deceptively simple. So perfectly designed to fit in a gap in your head that you didn’t know was there until you’ve put the book down. Damn him.

I recently realised Emily Brontë taught me a very important lesson about writing. The first time I read ‘Wuthering Heights’ I was pretty young and I didn’t understand the idea of an untrusty narrator. So, when Lockwood is taking you into the story, I didn’t understand that he was lying to me and trying to cover over his own fault. She had written him so sublimely that all his passive aggressive nature almost snuck under my young radar. Thank you, Emily. Any time I doubt the value of first person narrative, you remind me why it matters.

Tell us about your book?

‘Something Needs Bleeding’ is, on the surface, a collection of ghost stories by recently diseased author called Thomas Singer. However, as you read each of his stories, you’ll start to find links between them that all hint to a secret Thomas kept until his death.

It wasn’t what I was set out to write at all. I was trying to write a far more standard dark horror comedy, but I couldn’t get my teeth into it. It made me start questioning where my own flavor of horror came from and what it really said about me. Which, in turn, got me thinking about how horror can affect people both as a genre and as an actual event in someone’s life. That was when I saw that the far more interesting story lay not so much in telling a horror story as looking at how we tell a horror story through a horror story. It let me talk about how we express something which has scared us or damaged us through the stories we tell other people.

How long did it take you to write it?

Once I actually got moving on the idea, I think it took me around half a year. Although it felt a lot longer at the time. I remember seeing friends and barely being present when they were talking to me. My mind was forever wandering back to these stories and to the man I was creating to write them.

Are you working on any other project(s) right now? If yes, what are they?

The main thing I’m working on right now is my second novel. I started trying to write it back in 2016 and so far, I’ve got to say, it has been an absolute beast. In fact, early this year, I had to drop the story I’d been working on for months and start something new. It wasn’t easy but the original idea had been restarted so many times that I’d completely lost faith in it. On the bright side, doing that has allowed me to start something very different from anything I’ve written better and, so far, it’s going really well.

I’ve also got to get a couple of short ghost stories ready for a Halloween and Christmas collection for this year and I might be getting a story onto a rather popular podcast. Although, I’m worried about jinxing that one. Also, recently, I’ve set up my own website. Which means I’ve entered the glamorous world of the weekly blog. It’s also got me writing poetry again, which I’ve not done in ages. In fact, recently, my poetry got me some incredibly humbling feedback. Someone wants to put one of my poems up on a canvas print in their house. I still can’t quite wrap my head around that.

Why have you chosen this genre?

This is going to sound really tacky, but there’s a possibility it chose me. I never really set out to be a horror writer. To be honest, for a long time, I wasn’t really much of a horror fan. I read Stephen King’s Dark Tower series and some early Clive Barker, but I never delved into the dark and gruesome torture fiction my friends were into when I was growing up. I was busy with Arthur C Clarke, Terry Pratchett and Raymond Chandler.

I was writing big, sweeping fantasy sagas back, until I stumbled across Fight Club and Hunter S Thompson. Which led to me writing some very dark, strange tales for a while.

The ghost stories really came about because of M R James. I’d seen a TV show where Christopher Lee told some of James’ classic tales pretty much straight to camera and that always stayed with me, but I never dreamt of trying to write one. Not until I was bored on a long car journey about three years ago. I saw someone standing on a motorway bridge and then thought I saw someone standing on the next one. It got me thinking and I ended up writing a story called ‘The Low Road’ that afternoon. I found it surprisingly easy and enjoyable to do. It also got a great response from people who read it

As I started to explore the genre I found the potential to write some great character driven stories. Really good horror stories push characters into unfamiliar territory. They force them to face the impossible. So far, that chance to disturb the equilibrium of flawed character’s lives has lead me to some pretty interesting places.

When did you decide to become a writer?

That happened at primary school. I was reading ‘James and the Giant Peach’ when I became aware of the fact people could tell stories for a living. I couldn’t believe that was an actual way to live as an adult. In some respects, it felt a little wasted on adults. Everyone I knew had parents who were office-bound every morning or worked in a shop. I still remember walking into our classroom one morning and one of the girls in my class asked me what I wanted to be when I was older. I told I wanted to be an author and I’ve never really looked back.

Why do you write? 

I guess it’s somewhere between a compulsion and an addiction for me. I know I hate not writing, if that makes sense. When I finished ‘Something Needs Bleeding’ and sent it off to my publisher, I opened a new Word file. I wasn’t exactly sure what I was about to start, but I knew I couldn’t just sit back. It felt wrong. There are too many stories I want to tell. I can’t quite imagine a day where I get up in the morning and don’t write for a couple of hours.

Where do your ideas come from?

The ideas come from the tiniest of details normally. The whole of ‘Something Needs Bleeding’ started off with me walking home from the pub on the first night they turned all the streetlights off after midnight around here. There was that cold, heavy silence that you only get when it’s truly dark. It really got to me and started the wheels spinning in my head. ‘The Final Restoration of Wendell Pruce’, which is probably my favourite of all the short stories I’ve written so far, came from a nightmare. I woke up with these strange images of an old man trapped in a house that was constantly changing around him and knew I had to use them. I ended up sitting and writing for that whole day. I started when it just getting light and stopped after the sun had set. I was determined to capture that fear and I think it worked pretty well. One thing I will say is they rarely come fully formed. They’ll start off as one thing and just the process of telling them to myself on that first draft will change them into something far more interesting.

How do you prefer to write? On computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

I have the worst handwriting in the world. Well, it’s probably in the top ten. I used to write all my stuff by hand, years ago. I would scrawl them down on pads or spare sheets of paper. They were these ever expanding bundles of scruffy looking pages. I always thought a computer would ruin the process, until the day I tried to read one of them back. After spending hours trying to decode the smudged hieroglyphs I’ve covered those pages with, I decided I had to start typing stuff instead. It took me a while to get used to it. In fact, I started with poetry before I went to prose. It helped me get the rhythm right, as pretentious as that sounds.

Annoyingly, over the years, I’ve been given some really nice leather notebooks to write in and I’ve not got the heart to tell people those pages will never hold a draft of a story. Ideas for a story, sure? The odd comic book shopping list, definitely. But not a story. Not if I want to be able to read it.

What are your 5 favorite books and 5 favorite authors?

That’s a tricky one. It’s a list that can change from one week to the next. That said, my favourite book is pretty much always going to be ‘Catch 22’ by Joseph Heller. I love the insanity and pain of that book. The dizzying logic of the whole thing. It’s brilliant, hilarious, powerful stuff.

‘House of Leaves’ by Mark Z Danielewski is another one of my favourites. It’s a book that plays with reality and style, but has an ingenious story at its heart.

‘Number 9 Dream’ by David Mitchell is another book I will go back to over and over again. I know a lot of people will say ‘Cloud Atlas’ is better, but this was the first Mitchell book I read and it blew me away. It toys with you and your expectations, but it never feels shallow or like a trick.

‘The Witches’ by Roald Dahl is on the list, without a doubt. One of the perfect horror books for a kid. It’s chilling and exiting and, for me, the best use of witches in any fiction.

‘Neverwhere’ by Neil Gaiman is close to perfect as well. I watched the original BBC TV show and hunted the book down as soon as I could. It has this wonderful array of strange fantasy characters who are out of this world but have their roots sewn into the streets of any major city. It’s such a great mythology. Yep, now I have to hate Neil again for a while. Damn him.

How do you deal with Writer’s Block?

Very, very badly. I keep writing as often as I can in order to keep The Block at bay, but it can still catch up with me. Take that idea I had for a second novel. I tried any which way to dodge past it, but it tackled me to the ground in the end. If I’m not careful, I get lost in a maze of notes and previous drafts.

What I’m trying to do right now is work around it. So, if I start to struggle with an idea, I set it aside and try something else out for a while. Work on the next blog post, a poem, look over something I need to get written for a future commitment. Sometimes I pick up a really early idea and play with it again for a day or two. That seems to be a pretty decent distraction at the minute.

What advice would you give to new aspiring authors?

Everyone is going to tell you to write and they’re one hundred percent correct. The best way to find your voice and to find what you want to on the page is all held in that process of just keeping at it. Keeping writing. The thing is, though, I think every aspiring author knows that deep down, already.

So, the best piece of advice I can offer you is to find likeminded people. Hunt them down on social media. Or at conventions. Or at writing groups. Over the past couple of years, I’ve been lucky enough to meet some great people. Some really friendly, really open, really creative writers. Reading their work and talking to them about stories has helped me up my own game no end and it’s also helped me to feel like this isn’t just me sitting in a room on my own. Especially when it hasn’t been easy finishing a story or starting one.

So, yeah, that’s my advice. Go find other writers and stick with them. There’s safety in numbers

Thank you, Christopher, for all your impressive answers!


About The Book:

Kensington Gore is a man on a mission. He always aims to give his readers something fresh from the world of horror. Only this time he is offering you something a little different. This time he is offering you a piece of horror history to call your very own. Collected in this volume are the final works of one of the great unsung heroes of horror, Thomas Singer. Singer was a man who truly knew how to terrify his readers with his strange, nightmarish tales. Sadly, though, he never received the acclaim in life he so rightly deserved. Following the mysterious death of the reclusive writer earlier this year, Kensington Gore Publishing author Christopher Long was invited to help edit Singer’s final five bone chilling tales and introduce them to the world. There are many rumours and theories about what secrets these stories may hold. Singer himself selected them from his extensive back catalogue and held them back to be released only after his death. So read Something Needs Bleeding, if you dare. See what you can find hidden in the final pages Thomas Singer had to offer the world. Just be careful you don’t come away with blood all over you.


For more author interviews, click here.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed or if you are a publicist and want to get your author interviewed on TRB, then please get in touch through direct e-mail: thereadingbud@gmail.com

Author Interview: Patrick A. Roland

Welcome to TRB’s Author Interview Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome, Patrick A. Roland, author of Unpacked Sparkle.

About the author:

A new voice in self-help, author Patrick A. Roland, in partnership with Az Publishing Services, has released his new memoir about grief and recovery, Unpacked Sparkle, now available on Amazon.
Unpacked Sparkle chronicles Roland’s transformative journey upon finding his partner Pack dead in January 2014. It begins on the day of the funeral that he was uninvited to by Pack’s homophobic family and details the nearly two year journey back to a now thriving, joy-filled life he experienced after attempting to jump out of a twenty-six story Vegas casino after a weekend of intended Britney Spears and Mariah Carey concerts that he mostly missed in the throes of grief and addiction. He was instead hospitalized there after his mother miraculously found him. There, he began to take the vital steps necessary to take back control over his life.
The book discusses addiction and the recovery from it, grief and the journey to acceptance that ensued, the family dynamics and DNA that resulted in a live-saving bi-polar diagnosis, and the importance of civil rights and marriage equality. This miraculous journey is threaded together by a tapestry of amazing friends who helped him find his way back to happiness, as well as signs from beyond that his partner is still with him spiritually, even though his body is not.

Hello, Patrick. Thank you for being here today.

Can you please tell my readers about your ambitions for your writing career?

I’ve been a writer for my entire career, more than 20 years now. I think I probably always wanted to be an author, but I’m not sure I ever thought I would actually do it. I’m glad I did. The whole experience has been the best thing that has ever happened to me. I wrote myself out of pain and made it my power. My whole being shifted as a result of this experience.

Which writers inspire you?

I’ve always been inspired by female African-American writers like Maya Angelou, Alice Williams and Toni Morrison. In fact, Morrison inspired the time-jumping, kind of jumbled narrative in my book because that’s truly what grief is like – it’s all over the place – one day you are lamenting one thing and the next you are fixated on another. But as I was looking at it afterward, it all fit together like a puzzle that I had to put together to heal. Morrison often does that too. I also like authors who are really bold like Augusten Burroughs. I feel like he and I probably have a lot in common.

Tell us about your book?

It’s mostly about the two year period following the sudden death of my partner, Pack. It’s about what happens at the intersection of grief and addiction; but then it’s about what can happen afterward once you overcome it and become sober. It’s about finding the beauty even amid the most horrible thing that ever happened to you. It’s about taking pain and making it power. It’s about loving yourself as you are and letting your inner light – your sparkle – shine the brightest it possibly can do that you can live a beautiful life of joy and purpose despite what your past may have dealt you. It’s about experience, strength and hope. I’m showing readers what I got through in the hope that they realize they can get through things too. You just have to love yourself and believe that you can.

How long did it take you to write it?

I wrote the majority of it in about 12 days. It poured out of me. I was never more inspired. But I was only about 100 days sober at the time and I felt like I needed more sobriety for it to have impact. So, about a year later I wrote some chapters to flesh out my first six months of sobriety since that’s when it ends. I also wanted to redeem my mother more, because at the time I wrote the book we were not getting along. As a matter of fact, the earlier drafts of the chapters about the difficulty of that relationship were much harsher before the editing process, which took about six months.

Are you working on any other project(s) right now? If yes, what are they?

I wrote a children’s book that needs to be illustrated and I am hoping to turn Unpacked Sparkle into a screenplay. I think this could be a movie. I want this to be a movie!

Why have you chosen this genre?

It was the most honest. I felt like I had been through something that was really hard that I also felt could help other people. That’s what this is about: sharing my story so the next person doesn’t have to hurt as much as I did.

When did you decide to become a writer?

Ironically I wrote a poem about my dog dying in the sixth grade that won a pretty major award and now 30 years later I’ve written a book about grief. Maybe this subject matter chose me. I think I have something inspiring and moving to say about a subject that might seem grim on the surface.

Why do you write? 

I think I needed to write this book to work through the grieving process. I started it as one person, and emerged a whole different one by the time I was completed. Even if I never released it, the result was already a major success for me. But I felt like what I had survived could offer others hope. So I wrote this for others like me who are struggling. It’s for the beautifully broken. I hope they unpack their own sparkle and learn to love themselves as they are.

Where do your ideas come from?

For this project, I made a list of all the things I wanted to write about and checked them off as I went along. I had a lot of chapter titles in my head already (many are song titles that pertain to or are an homage to the events that transpired within the chapter). Like I said before, when this was finished it didn’t feel “done” until I wrote those later chapters, one of which – “Safe and Sound” – is the most beloved of the whole book by audiences.

How do you prefer to write? On computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

I actually wrote this whole book in the notes section of my iPhone. I later put it all together in Word and it was edited that way, but I usually get ideas very quickly so I just grab my phone and get going.

What are your 5 favorite books and 5 favorite authors?

  1. Waiting to Exhale – Terry McMillan
  2. Dry – Augusten Burroughs
  3. Song of Solomon – Toni Morrison
  4. The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
  5. The Color Purple – Alice Williams

I’d say those are my favorite authors too, but I’d add Maya Angelou in the mix.

How do you deal with Writer’s Block?

I meditate or try to center myself with relaxation or positive self-talk. If you reframe the situation, you can usually power through anything and make the situation bear fruit.

What advice would you give to new aspiring authors?

Keep going and don’t give up. You can do and be anything if you believe in and love yourself. It all starts with you!

Thank you, Patrick, for all your exciting answers!


About The Book:

Over a year ago, I left a Mariah Carey concert in Las Vegas after six songs. I had gone on the trip as a present to myself for turning forty. But I couldn’t enjoy it. I was high on multiple drugs, but mostly crystal meth, and extremely drunk. I had been this way the majority of the year and a half since my partner Pack had suddenly passed away.
I found him dead on the bathroom floor one January morning while I was getting ready for work. The police told me I had no rights in my own home and asked me to leave. This was before gay marriage became legal. Life as I knew it changed instantly.
His family pretended I didn’t exist. They mauled our home the day he died, leaving it a ravaged mess. I was kicked out of that home. I was also disinvited to his funeral. In eight days I lost everything that mattered. Not even the law protected me from this.
So I got high in an effort to shoulder the pain. It didn’t work. I carried the heavy weight of unresolved complicated grief and addiction on my back. It was like an elephant. A large, unwieldy elephant that wanted me to die.
No longer able to participate in anything that mattered and unwilling to bear this burden anymore, I went back to my hotel room on the twenty-sixth floor of a casino and looked out on the sparkly lights below. I wanted to be in the light. So I opened the window and decided to jump.
But God intervened. My mother had somehow found me. Help came and I surrendered to the powerlessness of my situation. I asked God to help me. I stayed and I fought and I learned how to love myself. I put on a pair of sparkly shoes I had bought for that barely attended concert and I walked in to the rooms of Crystal Meth Anonymous. I had bought the sparkly shoes hoping Mariah would see me in the audience. Though she didn’t get the chance, you did. You all embraced me and my sparkly shoes. They have become my calling card of experience, strength, and hope.


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If you are an author and wish to be interviewed or if you are a publicist and want to get your author interviewed on TRB, then please get in touch through direct e-mail: thereadingbud@gmail.com

Author Interview: Jen Benjamin

Welcome to TRB’s Author Interview Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome, Jen Benjamin, author of Follow Me Home.

About the author:

Jen Benjamin is a newspaper writer who enjoys fiction when she gets time away from writing facts. She lives in Oklahoma with her husband, daughter and various furry creatures. When she isn’t writing, Jen enjoys photography, reading, catching re-runs of Frasier and playing the violin. She used to play the violin for church and various other events, but now just plays for herself (and still has nightmares about her one gig as a strolling violinist!).

Contact Details:
Email: authorjenbenjamin@gmail.com.
Facebook: www.facebook.com/authorjenbenjamin
Twitter: @jenbenjam.


Hello, Jen. Thank you for being here today.

Can you please tell my readers about your ambitions for your writing career?

Oh, ambition! Such a strong word for someone as scatterbrained as I am! I love to write and while it would be fabulous to make a living making up stories, I can safely say that my only immediate ambition, as far as writing goes, is to entertain anyone who happens to read my stories.

Which writers inspire you?

There are and have been so many great writers. It’s hard to narrow it down and my writing skills are nothing in comparison with my favorite writers. I think the first writer who struck me with the beauty of her words was Madeleine L’Engle. She was the master of, not showing me, not telling me, but making me feel a story.

Tell us about your book?

Follow Me Home is a romantic comedy/chick lit story about a (what else?) writer named Katie who is thrust into Hollywood life when her novel becomes a film. She is a fish out of water in so many ways as everything she’s familiar with is yanked out from under her. And she wasn’t even blessed with the good hair gene to help her navigate life with silky, smooth confidence. Follow Me Home is a story that will hopefully allow people to see the humor in every-day life as Katie awkwardly navigates her new environment. And there’s men. Attractive men.

How long did it take you to write it?

Well, it was a project for National Novel Writing Month, an event during which writers torture themselves by writing an entire novel in a month. The reward is the satisfaction of knowing that you’re capable of doing this. So…Follow Me Home took one grueling November to write.

Are you working on any other project(s) right now? If yes, what are they?

I have a second romantic comedy coming out in April called Quick, Fast and in a Surrey. It’s about Annie Gallagher who is a museum curator, surrey cart driver, fashion lover and believer in Fate. When a handsome historian comes to Annie’s small Oklahoma town, she’s sure Fate delivered him there just for her. Or maybe Satan did. It was probably Fate. It had to be Fate.

Why have you chosen this genre?

The chick lit writing style is a nice break for my mind. It’s written in present tense and flows like a natural thought pattern which can be flowery prose or fragmented musings. It’s a lot of fun.

When did you decide to become a writer?

I’ve always liked to write just to amuse myself. I like to daydream and writing is making something out of whimsy.

Why do you write?

It’s an escape and it feel constructive at the same time. Like, yes, I’m crazy but look what I made with my craziness.

Where do your ideas come from?

A lot of my ideas come straight from insomnia. They are born from random things I think when I’m lying awake at night. Other times it’ll be a song lyric or a little anecdote that my mind just builds a story around.

How do you prefer to write? On computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

I am learning to use the computer for writing. Obviously I know how to use a computer but I used to always write by hand. It’s harder for me to feel connected to a computer screen like I feel connected to a pen and paper. But it’s more efficient to use the computer, so I’m now making myself do it.

What are your 5 favorite books and 5 favorite authors?

That’s a hard question! I’m going to go with:

  1. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  2. A Ring of Endless Light by Madeleine L’Engle
  3. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
  4. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  5. The Giver by Lois Lowry

And we’ll say those authors are my favorite five, too. Ask me again tomorrow and things may have changed.

How do you deal with Writer’s Block?

I’m not very disciplined at making myself write when I don’t feel like it. I need a taskmaster to threaten me. Deadlines are great taskmasters. But I’ve found that if I just sit down and do it, the words flow.

What advice would you give to new aspiring authors?

Be your own taskmaster! Don’t be as lazy as I am! Just do it!

Thank you, Jen, for all your interesting answers!

About The Book:

When writer Katie Kendall moves to LA to turn her best-selling novel into a film, she is pretty sure it should be the happiest time of her life. But with an unsupportive husband who suddenly files for divorce, the paparazzi assuming she’s having a fling with the leading actor, and her friends left miles away in her old hometown, she begins to think she’s made a big mistake.
Can her new crowd of friends help her through these times? And could those paparazzi snappers have a point about that leading actor…?
This witty romantic comedic debut novel by Jen Benjamin is a tour de force that will have you coming home to it again and again.


For more author interviews, click here.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed or if you are a publicist and want to get your author interviewed on TRB, then please get in touch through direct e-mail: thereadingbud@gmail.com