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David (Dave) Maine joins mandythebookworm’s author profiles.  Please get more acquainted with Dave by clicking here where you will find links to his blog, Goodreads page, links to his work and much, much more.

Dave’s On Tour!!

Exciting news, Dave’s on tour.  He is set to tour one of my favourite blogger’s and friend’s blog next week – the now very well known Lori over at TNBBC’s The Next Best Book Blog.

Click here to read all about the upcoming tour.

And if you haven’t navigated Lori’s blog then you must and you can do that by clicking here.

It will be well worth your time, loads of reviews, interviews, guest posts and interest in indies. 

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Hi everyone!  Are you ready to learn a bit more about Mr David (Dave) Maine?  You are?  That’s great!  Sit back in a nice chair with your favourite drink, get comfy and let’s see what Dave said in our recent interview.  Awaaaaay we go!!

 

So, Dave, I’m very interested to find out why you chose to switch genres for your new book The Gamble of the Godless

Well, to everyone else it’s a switch, because my first four published novels were mainstream literary fiction. But to me it’s more of a homecoming. I grew up reading fantasy and SF—my older sister got me into it and I’ve been at it ever since. In high school I devoured books like Lin Carter’s Callisto series, and Paul O. Williams’s Pelbar cycle. After college I was reading Melanie Rawn and Katherine Kurtz, and of course had already gone through Tolkein and Terry Brooks and Stephen R. Donaldson. I’ve always had this weird schism in my writing, with the “literary” stuff and the “popular” stuff at odds with each other; it just happened that my literary stuff got published first. But as far back as 2005 I was showing my fantasy novels to my agent, and he was getting excited about them, he was saying, “We have find a way to publish these.”

In other words, I’ve been writing fantasy for years, just as I continue to write literary novels even now. Next year my fifth literary book, An Age of Madness, will be published by Red Hen Press in California. And sometime before that, in all probability, I’ll be releasing the sequel to The Gamble of the Godless.

So you enjoy writing fantasy? Will you continue to do so in the future?

Yes! And yes!

Fantasy, as I said, was my first love, along with science fiction of the “space opera” variety. Writing The Gamble of the Godless was an exercise in pure fun. I got to create a wildly varied cast of characters, most of whom are not human, and send them out into this alternative world populated with creatures and species whose approach to life is, to say the least, unfamiliar—both to my hero and to my readers. Then I got to throw in magic, and then, of course, a deadly threat to the entire known universe! Oh and there’s a pantheon of gods too. How could I not love all this?

As for continuing in the future: The Gamble of the Godless is just Book I of The Chronicles of Avin. There are two further volumes already finished, and number four is half-written in my head. So there’s plenty more in the pipeline.

Do you have a total number in mind for the series? Four, seven, ten?

Yeah—but it’s a secret.

Harrumph. How about a title at least?

The Rime of the Remorseless.

Catchy! I don’t suppose you can give us any hints about it?

Nope! But let me say this, because it’s important: every book in the series will be a self-contained story. I’m not doing this Game of Thrones thing, where you read a thousand pages just to be left with a cliffhanger that you have to wait six years to resolve. You’ll be able to pick up any book in the series, read it, enjoy it, feel satisfied with it and move on. Obviously it will add to your experience if you start at the beginning and get to know the characters and so on. But in terms of plot, in terms of knowing what the heck is going on, I have no desire to string readers along for years.

I don’t mean to pick on George RR Martin, he’s awesome. But people forget, even The Lord of the Rings took decades to complete—The Hobbit came out in the ’30s sometime, and maybe the first book of the trilogy. Then there was the war, you know? I think he finally finished the thing in the ’50s. Don’t quote me, but it was something like that.

And now, let’s go back to where and when it all began.  How did you begin your career in the world of writing?

I was the sort of kid who, if he read a story, he would want to write one, and if he saw a movie, he’d want to make one, and if he heard a song he liked, he’d want to hum his own. I read a lot of comics and tried to draw them. In junior high I got a secondhand movie camera. So I was one of those so-called creative kids. I say so-called because I think kids are naturally creative… I had a short attention span and jumped from idea to idea, but sooner or later I always went back to what I’d been doing before. I’m still kind of that way, actually.

As for when it started—in the third grade I had a teacher named Mrs Christensen who did the most remarkable thing ever: she assigned every one of her students to write for 20 minutes every night, at home. We each had little blue books and had to write until the time was up. Sometimes she assigned a topic, sometimes not. After 20 minutes we were to stop, and if we were in the middle of the sentence we were to just leave a dash, like —  And then the next day she’d read through them and leave comments and hand them back. I loved it. Other kids didn’t. You want to know something? I’m pretty sure she’s the reason I’m a writer.

After that there was no stopping me. For a long time I was obsessed with Star Trek, so I wrote a Star Trek parody called Scar Trek, featuring Captain Jerk and Mister Schlock. And other stuff too, like post-apocalypse stories in high school. It was the late ’70s so people were thinking about that kind of thing. I loved Harlan Ellison’s “A Boy and His Dog” and Roger Zelazny’s Damnation Alley.

Describe your perfect place to write.

It’ll be a snug room with a lot of bookshelves and a big desk. Also a rocking chair, which is where I’ll be sitting, next to a window that will look out on some greenery, trees and shrubs, a scrap of lawn. Nothing too industrial or jarring—a rural setting. There will be birds flitting around, and enough sky that I can see storm clouds rolling in above the treeline. The room will be done in teal and dark blue, the furniture will be stained dark, and there will be stereo and a couple guitars.

Who and/or what has been most inspirational in your life on a writing level and also on a personal level?

My wife Uzma Aslam Khan is a tremendous inspiration both as a writer and as a person. She is the most principled person I know, and it shows in her work. She writes beautiful, artful, demanding, rewarding novels that will transport you.

In college I had a teacher for a semester named Mary Robison, a well-known writer, who influenced me hugely as far as looking at words and sentences and recognizing when they were good, when they did the things I wanted them to do and when they didn’t. A lot of writing teachers focus on character motivation and fuzzy stuff like that. Mary just talked about the sentences. “Here, where you say the aliens ‘sloshed through the door’—I like that, I like the word ‘sloshed’ there.” She helped me realize that everything starts with the word choice, and it’s pointless to talk about other stuff until you’ve focused on that.

Growing up, my parents and sisters and brother all gave me lots of encouragement, but the person who stands out is my Aunt Margaret, my godmother. She was a crusty Irish former teacher who never gushed about anything, but in her reserved way she let me know that she thought I was something special.

A little more of the personal stuff – given you live on a beautiful island do you ever want to leave and actually go on holiday somewhere else?

Well, sure. Wherever you are, you know, there are good points and bad points. Hawaii is beautiful but it’s rather isolated. Sometimes I just want to spend some time tromping around a city with a little more verve, or I should say with a verve that’s unfamiliar to me. Sometimes I like to experience different types of wilderness too, like deserts or pine forests.

Where is your favourite holiday destination?

That’s a tough one. Generally speaking, it’s wherever I find myself at the moment. Bangkok has astonishing food, Kathmandu has jaw-dropping temples, and northern Pakistan is the most ruggedly beautiful wilderness I’ve ever seen. I’m also partial to deserts—the Sahara in southern Morocco, the Sonora in Arizona, the Thar in eastern Pakistan. But if I had to pick just one place to go for a week, it might be Istanbul. It’s such an astonishing city, with layer upon layer of history, of east-meets-west, of architecture, art, food…

As a youngster and now as an adult have you and do you have pets?  If yes, what kind were/are they and do you have a favourite?  Tell us, what is the happiest memory you have of said favourite pet?

Growing up our family had a somewhat neurotic coonhound named Rocky. He was the runt of the litter and a little jittery. As an adult, though, I grew to love cats with a passion. An Abbysinian-tiger mix named Abbie allowed me to take care of her for many years. She was a sweetie, though also a little neurotic maybe. But hey, she was a cat. I loved her very much. She was extraordinarily loud, which I guess Abbysinians are famous for.

Probably my fondest memory was looking through the window of my house one day in 1991 and seeing her playing with a woman who was going to be staying with me as a house guest. I was in grad school and had agreed to put up this person, a new student, for a few days while she looked for a place to live. Two years later we got married. I’ve always thought that Abbie, who was not a particularly outgoing cat, gave me the go-ahead by welcoming my Uzma into our lives.

Now, a little opinion piece if I may.  E-books have broken out of the starting block and seem to be gathering speed. 

I’ll say!

What are your thoughts on e-books  and how their emergence has changed the way we read?  Do you like this technological development and step into the future? 

To take your second question first: whether I like it is irrelevant. Other people like it enough to buy it, so it’s a done deal. Personally, I have some reservations about books that you need to constantly upgrade, books that you’ll need new software to read every 18 months. With paper books, you can set one aside for fifty years, pick it up again and read it. Try doing that with a Kindle! But then, I feel the same reservation about computers, and I seem to have been outvoted.

As for how they’ve changed our reading habits, I don’t know, because I don’t have an e-reader. I do however have students with them, and they all claim that they read more than they used to. They say it’s easier to access books, to buy books, to take the Kindle or Nook around with them instead of a bulky hardcover, so they can just read a few pages while waiting for the bus or whatever. Is this true? It’s tough to say, but who am I to say that they’re lying? And let me tell you, it’s difficult to get angry about any innovation that actually results in people reading more.

And, last but not least, why did you decide to publish “The Gamble of the Godless” as an e-book?

To be honest, it’s a bit of an experiment. If eBooks are the wave of the future, then it’s self-defeating to be a Luddite and deny their existence. There are inarguable advantages for everybody: they’re cheaper to produce than conventional books, they don’t consume paper or trees, they can be sold at a lower cost to consumers with an equal profit to writers, and so forth. Sure, I could shop around and try to convince a publisher to take Gamble of the Godless, and then watch as they sold it to readers for ten or twelve bucks. Why bother? This way I can sell it for 2.99, make a liveable royalty, save a few trees, save readers a bunch of money and—I hope!—bring them back for Book II. Seems like a win-win for everybody, no?

Thank you, Dave, for giving us an insight to your life – thanks for taking part in this interview.

So, readers, did you learn something new about Dave today?  I most certainly learnt a lot.  How gorgeous was the story about the cat?  And Dave is right isn’t he, as long are more people are reading it doesn’t really matter which format it’s in.  A teacher who makes homework each night 20 minutes of writing sounds like a good one to me.  And that perfect writing place sounds perfect!  I could go on with my observations but let me just say this was a great interview!  Thanks again, Dave!  I look forward to reading The Gamble of the Godless.

Want to hear more about Dave, stay tuned, an author profile will be coming your way soon.  In the meantime visit him at:  http://davidmaine.blogspot.com/

 

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Many thanks to Peggy Tibbets for providing this interesting guest post.  I hope you all enjoy!  Thanks, Peggy!

How does a book get noticed?

Natalie Collins and I often discuss marketing techniques and run promotion ideas by each other. Book reviews. Interviews. Booksignings. School visits. Advertising. Blog tours. You name it. What works? What doesn’t work? Okay, some days we agonize over book promotion.

“If there was some magic bullet, we’d all be doing it,” I always tell her.

When it comes to Natalie’s books there does seem to be a magic bullet that definitely has an impact on sales. Her books get noticed.

Ever since the reality show Sister Wives gained national attention, Natalie’s book Sister Wife has been selling remarkably well. It’s the most amazing thing. Sister Wife is a great story, solidly written by the master of behind-the-Mormon-veil mysteries. But the book has been around a few years.

We had seen this life-imitates-art thing with her book Wives and Sisters. Natalie signed the contract with St. Martin’s after Elizabeth Smart was kidnapped. Wives & Sisters, which was penned long before the famous abduction in Utah, just so happens to be about the disappearance of a young Mormon girl after an encounter with a stranger [cue Twilight Zone theme].

So you see, it was no great leap to make the connection between Sister Wives and Sister Wife. Natalie and I agreed it’s definitely the popularity of the TV show that has captured readers’ interest in Sister Wife – the book.

So what does it mean?

It means I need a TV tie-in forLetters to Juniper. That’s what it means!

One day I pitched Natalie these reality show concepts to tie in with my book:

%*$@ My Fundamentalist Extremist Gun-Dealing Dad Says
I Don’t Know I’ve Got a Secret
My Crib is Surrounded by Big Brother

She ROTFLMAO’d back.

Alas, those reality shows – however clever – do not exist. So my next option is to tie Letters to Juniper to a show that’s already on TV. I decided to build on Natalie’s theme and started with the obvious:

Brothers & Sisters – A show about a dysfunctional family with a lot of dirty secrets. That explains the Smith family in Letters to Juniper all right. Except the kids in my book are a little young to be so cutthroat – and they don’t drink.

Sons of Anarchy – The title is perfect! A tight-knit gun-dealing clan with dark secrets. Now that describes the Smith family to a T. But this show is about a biker club. No motorcycles in my book.

No Ordinary Family – Again, the title says it all. The Smith family is anything but ordinary. However this is a show about a family with super powers. No super powers in my book either.

Fringe – This is my favorite show! FBI agents investigate unexplainable phenomena and an alternate universe. Alas, as much as I’d like to tie in my book with this awesome show, it’s too much of a stretch. The closest I can come is the Smith family as a target of a Fringe Division investigation.

Gossip Girl – Another apt title. Gossip plays a big role in Sarah’s story. Problem is, she’s not a rich Manhattan teen.

The Secret Life of an American Teenager – Even though Sarah’s not quite a teen yet, she is definitely living a secret life. Same glitch as the above though, Sarah’s not a teen living life in the fast lane. She’s a tween living life in the slow lane.

Lie to Me – Adventures of Dr. Lie Detector? Don’t think so.

Smallville – Clark Kent’s boyhood? No way.

Justified – A western? Nope.

Fear not. There are dozens – maybe even hundreds – more TV shows. Like Dog the Bounty Hunter. What a great title – that has absolutely nothing to do with my book. But it’s okay. I am undaunted in my search. I know the secret. The magic bullet. There are summer replacement series, and a whole new fall line-up coming …

******************
Peggy Tibbetts
www.peggytibbetts.net

Available in ebook & paperback @ Amazon.com
LETTERS TO JUNIPER
“This is a book you will want to share with your children, your parents, and your friends.”
– Natalie R. Collins, author of “The Fourth World”, “Sister Wife”, and more

 

Don’t forget to visit Peggy’s author profile by clicking here

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I am pleased to announce we have a new author joining us.  Please welcome Peggy Tibbetts, the author of Letters for JuniperLetters for Juniper is currently on its way and I will be reading and reviewing this book.  In the meantime please get to know Peggy by clicking here  and visiting her author profile on this website and stay tuned for her guest post which will be here in the very near future.  Welcome, Peggy!

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Now that we’ve gotten to know Shalini Boland a little more via her author profile it’s time to read her guest post.  Many thanks, Shalini, for providing this guest post.

MY GLOB

“I have a glob!” my chic Parisian Great Aunty Joyce declares. “Would you like to see it?”

I must confess I’m not at all keen to see it. She’s ninety years old and I have a fairly weak stomach. But, there is no refusing Aunty Joyce. She leads me into her bedroom and I brace myself.

“I have met zis wonderful man,” she confides. “And he make me zis marvellous glob. You must see, you must see.”

My Aunty Joyce is what’s known as ‘a character’. She resides in a bohemian apartment on the Seine. She paints, she writes, she creates! Her home is a treasure trove of flamboyance and kitch. A leopard printed, Japanese-laquered, decoupage-encrusted jewel of a place. Her bedroom is no exception and my eyes are pulled every which way at the marvelosity of everything.

“Look, look.” She pats the chair and I squeeze in beside her. We sit at her dressing table, in front of a laptop and she shows me her glob.

“It is good, no?” she smiles. “I am fantastic, yes?”

“Yes, Aunty Joyce. You are fantastic.” I kiss her rouged cheek and she hugs me.

She is fantastic. She’s ninety years old, she looks incredible, her life has been tough and yet she has so much vibrancy and enthusiasm. She also writes a glob.

If she can write a glob, I reckon I can give it a go.

And if you haven’t already visited Shalini’s profile please do so by clicking here

 

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I would like everyone to please give a warm welcome to Shalini Boland, our new friend at mandythebookworm.  Please visit Shalini’s author profile by clicking here where you will find out a little more about our new author and her books.

Shalini is the author of Hidden, a book I will be reading and reviewing hopefully in the not too distant future.

Welcome, Shalini!  I hope you enjoy your stay at mandythebookworm 🙂

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Everyone, I have a new author to introduce to mandythebookworm – Lorena Bathey. Please give her a big round of applause and enjoy her guest post. Once you’ve read this be sure to check out her author profile by clicking here where you can find out more about her and her book.

Welcome aboard, Lorena, and thanks for posting!!

I’m Lorena Bathey, an Indie Author. What is that exactly? I decided to eschew the traditional world of agent/publishing house and do everything myself. Sounds daunting, huh? Sometimes it can be if you don’t decide how being a success occurs.

I love to read, which is why I probably write. And like you I often wonder what my favorite authors are like in person. Do they have a funny laugh? Do they like chocolate? What kind of personality do they have and is it like their characters? So when Mandy allowed me to guest blog on her wonderful site she told me to do whatever I wanted and then showed me that any question was a good one. Because I liked her ideas, I decided to answer them…like an impromptu author’s interview.

I’d also like to put out to all of Mandy’s followers to send in your own questions and I’d be glad to answer them. I’m pretty forthright and I don’t shock easily so ask away.

* How you are going on holiday soon and where you will be going or if posting after your holiday where you went and what you did?

Well I am going on my first vacation in several years. And it just so happens that it is the first vacation for the love of my life and my kids all together. We are visiting my nation’s capital, Washington D.C. It is cherry blossom time and since my other love is photography I am thrilled to be able to take pictures when the flowers are blooming. Even more, I’m excited to have some time off after finishing my novel to relax, laugh, and see the sights like a tourist.

* Where your favourite place to holiday is?

This is an easy question…Italy! I love Italy. My first book, Happy Beginnings: How I Became My Own Fairy Godmother told of my travels to Italy after my separation from my husband. It was the perfect land to be alone and yet be around people. I walked, talked in Italian, and ate like a crazy person. Gelato every day..twice a day : ) My dream is to live there six months out of the year and learn to be fluent in Italian learning from the Italian people.

* What you like doing in your spare time?

I recently started getting serious about photography. My love gave me a new camera…the fancy kind…for Christmas and I have been enjoying capturing all different kinds of scenes. When I take pictures it’s a Zen moment where I focus (not my strong suit) and get lost in the moment. It’s very clearing for me and I think I’m pretty good. (Check out my images at http://www.facebook.com/lmbathey )

* Pets if you have any?

I don’t have any pets at the moment. But I know that one day I will own a dog named George. He will be a huge Newfoundland. It’s funny but I could see his face (and his big head lying on my lap when I write) but I didn’t know what type of dog he was. So I wrote big, dark dog and Newfoundland came up and I screamed, “Its George!”

* When you began to write and why?

Ohh…this is a bit longer of an answer. I have always written in journal format and even some poems but it wasn’t until my Mom passed away from cancer in 2001, my dad remarried within six months, and my husband left which left me facing my biggest fear – being alone. Other than my kids I had lost all the foundation and stability of my life. So I began to write about what I was seeing about me, who I was, what I didn’t like about getting stuck in roles, living for everyone else’s happiness and before I knew it I had eighteen chapters and a really great book telling about starting over. I called it Happy Beginnings: How I Became My Own Fairy Godmother and a career in self-help began.

I started speaking to women’s groups, giving conferences, doing one to one work with women who didn’t know that making yourself happy is something you need to do yourself and not wait for things to happen to you. During this time I got this person in my head and started writing it down and before I knew it I had written half a novel. But I set it aside for five years until one day I got another thought and finished the rest in nine months.

After that ideas or characters would hit me and I would see it like a movie played out in my mind so I had to write it down. Now I have nine novels percolating in my writing queue and every one of them I plan to write a screenplay for too.

* Where you see yourself in 10 years?

With many New York Times Bestsellers, most of my books made into movies that are produced by creatively authentic Hollywood people (is that possible?), living with the love of my life in our house called 100 Acre Woods and visiting Italy for months at a time. Surrounded by family, kids, grandbabies, and George with no regrets, some bumps and bruises, but a great big smile on my face!

* How you think electronic books have changed things?

It has and will continue to revolutionize the world of publishing. The old school type of publishing is not necessary to be successful as an author. And the cost factor for only having to upload a file rather than print books is huge. For the industry it allows a lot of really talented people to get a chance to show the world their work. But it also allows a lot of untalented and not detail oriented writers to also publish their work.

For now the concept of self-publishing is not completely accepted and when I say I’m an Indie author I still can get wrinkled up noses. But not as much. I will say that I will always have print copies of my book. I love books. The feel, smell, look of books is more than just something to read, it’s an experience…and not to sound trite…but an adventure.

But I believe that there are some pitfalls to electronic books. As I said before many individuals just want to publish and don’t take the time to make sure the quality is there. That is a big scar in the industry. But as you see more and more successful, I mean successful in the traditional publishing world, giving up contract and doing it themselves you know that this is something. The profits will come if you do the hard work. And I believe that the day of the agents and publishers making all the money while the talent does all the work are over.

* How you go about promoting your work?

Well, with this novel I have spent a lot of time getting familiar with the social networking world. I was already a huge Facebook fan but then I stretched it out to look more at the world of writing. There is so much available. But mostly I love to form relationships. To help each other out. So I did the legwork looking for Book Review Bloggers that had reviews, bios, and a feel I liked and contacted them. These heroes of the Indie Author world have no idea how you can make our day by being excited about our work. Mandy, has been phenomenal about that.

I had my own radio show, done talk shows on the West and East coast, been the speaker at conferences so I am not shy about talking about myself. It is a huge thing if you can sell yourself. And I never have trouble talking, ha! My first book I sold on airplanes, in stores, out to dinner. Because it’s my passion it’s easy to get me going on writing.

* Your favourite book when you were young and/or your favourite book now?

I read a lot when I was a kid because I was an only child so it was a great way to escape. But the one book that I believe made a huge impact on me was when I was about twelve years old. My Mom and I were going to visit England with my Aunt. Before we left my Aunt gave me the book, Katherine, by Anya Seaton. It’s the story of The Duke of Lancaster, John of Gaunt and his illicit love affair with Katherine Swynford. Their relationship and subsequent marriage made up the line of the Tudors, Stewarts and even the royal family now. It is historical fiction, which I still love, and so because it was based on fact those people came up during our trip.

I remember asking all the time, “Was John of Gaunt here?” and getting excited about seeing places I had just read about in the most romantic and wonderful of ways. I ended up reading every book by Anya Seaton and visiting the other places she wrote about later in life.

The funny thing is that until I was writing this article I never knew she was American. I just assumed she was British because she writes it with such truth.
(Anya Seaton, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anya_Seton)

*Something close to your heart?

Well this is a big question and my mind is racing to nail down one thing. I think the biggest thing that comes to mind is the needs that kids from the ages of 9 to 18 need. I believe that our future generations are lost a bit. With all the upheaval of divorce, societal pressure, and lack of interest these kids don’t get the opportunity to know who they are, what they need to become, and how to do it. When I was still doing my Fairy Godmother work I developed a program called “U Got the Power.”

This program was based on the three “R’s” of life…Respect, Reaction, Responsibility. These three words can create a whole new way to look at life, how you treat others, and what is in your hands to change.

I plan to go back some day and bring this to fruition. I would love to see this on an international level and the concept is not hard. Afterschool every week for an hour the kids come with questions that they put in a hat. Every class a question is drawn and discussed. This means no one has to be embarrassed by asking a question and chances are many kids have the same question. Then we would put the three “R’s” to the answer.

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A little while back I interviewed Tristan de Chalain, author of Wolf’s Paw. During that interview Tristan posed some questions to me and I said I would answer them. I must here give my sincere apologies to Tristan for not answering these questions sooner.

I have included the original question I asked, Tristan’s answer and then my answer to his questions. I hope you all enjoy.

Are any of the characters and/or storylines based on real people and/or events?

I have certainly used characteristics of people I know to flesh out my main characters and family stories, suitably dressed up inform various characters and their experiences, but no, there are no exact copies of any real people. I suppose, because I’m a Plastic Surgeon and I’ve made Neill proctor one as well, there might be a supposition that I’m producing a poorly disguised Walter Mitty- esque facsimile of myself, but that isn’t the case. I’ve kept to the Plastic Surgery theme because it’s something I know well and I believe that there is a lot to tell of in the field and because it suited my plotline. Did you find the cases described believable? Interesting? OTT? Most of them were exact copies of real cases I’ve operated on.

Mandythebookworm: Absolutely I found the cases to be both believable and interesting. I have no doubt there are some weird and wonderful things that go on in this field and stories people could tell which no one would believe and would think they were over the top. That’s what makes it interesting!

The relationship between Neill Proctor and his wife Sharon is very strained and stressful at times. Why did you decide to make this such an important aspect of the story?

As I said, my original motivation for writing was to help me process stuff. Moving to the US as a fellow myself, we met a number of other young doctors and surgeons in similar situations and the stress really was quite enormous. This appeared to be a fairly common experience. We would gather socially and swap war-stories and it is these shared experiences that, suitably blended, form the basis of Neill and Sharon’s experience and the superficial explanation for their fraught relationship – this was an essential component of the “Glass Wall” of the original title. As an immigrant, one would feel cut off, isolated, present, but not really part of the society around one. (That this was a stressful time for people in this situation can be attested to by the fact that in our group of about 8 or 10 couples, two ended in divorce and one couple abandoned their fellowship and left early) In Neill’s case, the toxicity in their marriage was amplified by his previous torture and abuse, which he dealt with by denial and putting up a brave front while developing an increasing burden of rage within. Effectively, he remained emotionally distant, holding Sharon at arm’s length.

I wanted verisimilitude, and I think it makes them a more believable and even sympathetic couple of characters. Do you think it worked?

Mandythebookworm: Tristan, I can say their relationship was completely believable. I bet this sort of thing happens to many couples right across the world. I imagine it would be a very difficult and stressful time for both parties and if they have children each child as well. Having said that I must say my comment above is more for the moving aspect and trying to feel comfortable in a new environment. As for Neill’s past and how it affects the relationship, well I just can’t even imagine what that would be like for Neill or Sharon. You did a great job of showing both sides.

Was it hard to write from both Neill’s and Sharon’s point of view?

Yes, definitely, so much so in fact that I’m not sure that I’ve successfully differentiated them. Do you think that they each have a recognizably distinct and different “voice”? Do they seem different or do they come across as a poor blend of one another?

Mandythebookworm: I do think Neill and Sharon have distinct and different ‘voices’. I was very impressed how you were able to get Sharon’s story and feelings across. You must have a great insight into the female’s mind. I really thought Sharon’s story was well thought out and it came alive on the page.

Revenge is the driving force in Aaron Ryan’s life. Do you think his need for revenge is warranted? Does it make him a more likeable character than if he were to carry out his actions without revenge being the reason why?

I felt that Ryan needed a credible reason for his actions. He wasn’t to be some formulaic psycho serial killer. He is a sane, rational man with a precise, logical reason for his every action. He kills people for a living and he’s good at it, but in the end it is just a job. It’s part of the essential amorality of the organization he works for that it is regarded as simply another component of his skillset. Would you have liked him more as a ruthless undirected killer, or is he more sympathetic as a principled man on a self-appointed mission? Certainly I think he earns some kudos for the way he deals with the odious Dr.Knight, while yet remaining unmistakably the baddie.

Mandythebookworm: I must admit there were times throughout the book I was very sympathetic towards him and then I would think to myself, wait, no, you can’t be like that, he’s killing people! I think it would be easier for him to exact his revenge given his line of ‘work’ and perhaps that is why he wanted to kill them rather than use another method of revenge. I don’t know, I was a little bit torn but then in the end I saw him as a killer with a mixed up mind. His past definitely had a lot to do with his present way of thinking and I guess it is these kinds of people who need mental help rather than being locked up in a gaol.

To read the full interview with Tristan click here

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Teresa Geering is the author of The Eye of Erasmus, a story of finding love in different times….literally. Please enjoy the following interview with Teresa.

THE EYE OF ERASMUS QUESTIONS

Can you please explain the significance of the title?

This may sound very naïve Mandy but when I began writing, I had no idea Erasmus was a philosopher. The name just popped in unexpectedly as I was writing.
The Eye of Erasmus (watching me work?) just seemed to fit the bill.

The character names are quite unusual, in a good way. How did you come up with these names?

Truthfully speaking I have no idea. It was as if someone was helping me write the story – perhaps their story – and making suggestions for the names. I was extremely pleased with them though.

The main character Erasmus travels through time for love and he goes through changes to his personality. Did you specifically use this as an avenue to highlight how love can change someone?

Not specifically – no – but love changes our attitudes in all so many ways. The hardest man/woman can mellow with a love interest 🙂

Shasta takes care of Hesper like he is her own which showed her caring nature. Would you think this is a positive or negative trait to possess?

I would like to think we all have some positive traits within us somewhere Mandy. Whether we show it to humans or even animals!

Hesper is known to have some mood swings – was this used as a way to show how children adapt to certain situations, behave around certain people and generally show his character as a child instead of a man?

Aha… I think Hesper’s attitude and mood swings fitted in with his forthcoming actions within the book. (Best not say too much here)

I love the character of Merlin. Why did you choose him to be a cat?

Actually I can blame that on my cat who regularly lays beside me as I write. His real name is Lossy but friends persisted in calling him Merlin as he is mostly black. I do try to incorporate animals, birds etc into my books where possible. As a Wicca I love all things to do with nature
.
Liana is a soothsayer. Why did you decide to include the character of Liana in this story?

Well Shasta is clairvoyant and psychic. The story takes us at times to the market place and in times of old there was always a soothsayer there casting teeth. (Similar occurrences in “The Ides of March” come to mind.)

Who is your favourite character in The Eye of Erasmus and why?

Easy peasy. I would say Erasmus himself, as he is based on a couple of colleagues I work with. Erasmus is them to a ‘T’ in all respects.

What age bracket would you say is your target audience?

Initially Mandy it was aimed at young adults but so far it’s only been read by adults. References were made to the Harry Potter books and it seems to have spanned all age groups with good reviews.

Will we be seeing any of the characters from The Eye of Erasmus in any future works?

Absolutely …. I’m working on the fourth book now and I have several ideas for the other characters up my large sleeve. 🙂

…[to read the full interview please click here]…

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Many thanks to Tristan for taking part in this interview and many many thanks to Tristan for his patience with me as time has been quite busy of late and I haven’t posted this interview as quickly as I would have liked.

Readers, please enjoy the following answers. Tristan is the author of Wolf’s Paw (which I shall be reviewing shortly) and the following gives an insight into the book and also Tristan as author and person. Enjoy 🙂

WOLF’S PAW QUESTIONS

The title “Wolf’s Paw” is a telling symbol throughout the book. I loved the idea of this symbol and how it was used. Please explain for the readers the significance of the title and how you came up with the idea to use this symbol throughout the novel.

I had originally conceived of this story as one, essentially, about the experience of alienation that an immigrant feels in first entering a high-tech society such as that which the Proctors find in Atlanta. I wanted this to be distinct from the more usual, dirt-poor, blue-collar, have-to-hustle-to-survive immigrant story, since that was never my experience to portray and I was writing, ultimately, to help process my own experiences. The original title was therefore “The Glass Wall”.

Having created Neill and Sharon, I needed a strong antagonist and Aaron Ryan was born. Of course, he had to have a fatal flaw and his was a life based on self-deception. There never was any medical malpractice, no abuse of his stepmother Dot, but in Ryan’s world, everything must be rationalized. Perhaps he believed that his animal paw lucky charm really was that of a wolf, but perhaps it was just one more self-deception, which finally caught up with him. On another level, as a simple literary device, it provided a graphic symbol and allowed me to tie the loose ends of the plot together, bring the past in Angola up to speed with the current events in Atlanta and link, at least psychologically, Ryan’s back story with his later avocation.

The back stories for both Aaron Ryan and Neill Proctor are intriguing and quite an important avenue to understanding those characters and how they present in their later lives. Which back story did you enjoy creating the most and why?

As you’ll be aware, I was born in Canada, but moved to South Africa when I was about six and lived there until my thirties. I lived and travelled pretty much all over SA and got to know the country well, so although Neill Proctor is most definitely not an autobiographical creation, I enjoyed creating him the most because I could incorporate so many of the experiences and stories of SA that I had come across, into his life. In the original version, Neill’s back story alone was close to a novella length in its own right and one of my early readers commented that he felt like he’d wandered into a Wilbur Smith novel by mistake.

Aaron Ryan’s life in Shiprock was drawn from the time I spent working on a Navajo reservation in the four corners area near Shiprock and trying to accurately or realistically produce his formative years was much harder. My least favourite part of the book, because I don’t think she rings true, at least in her shortened, amended format ( again, she used to be MUCH more detailed), is Ryan’s mother Linda, who takes him to Shiprock in the first place and then dies relatively young.

Are any of the characters and/or storylines based on real people and/or events?

I have certainly used characteristics of people I know to flesh out my main characters and family stories, suitably dressed up inform various characters and their experiences, but no, there are no exact copies of any real people. I suppose, because I’m a Plastic Surgeon and I’ve made Neill proctor one as well, there might be a supposition that I’m producing a poorly disguised Walter Mitty- esque facsimile of myself, but that isn’t the case. I’ve kept to the Plastic Surgery theme because it’s something I know well and I believe that there is a lot to tell of in the field and because it suited my plotline. Did you find the cases described believable? Interesting? OTT? Most of them were exact copies of real cases I’ve operated on.

You are a plastic and reconstructive surgeon. Did you enjoy being able to include your profession in “Wolf’s Paw”?

Yes, definitely. See Above and Below.

…[to read the full interview please click here]…

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As I said a few posts ago, The Poison of a Smile is due to be released shortly but in the meantime I have a preview interview with author Steven Jensen and hopfeully after you read the answers you may just be inclined to seek out a copy of this book when it becomes available.

And so here we go, the preview interview:

After reading the first four chapters I’m intrigued. What can I expect from the rest of the book?

The nature of The Poison of a Smile has changed in recent months. Alatiel has become more and more important to me, as the perfect symbol of the themes I’m trying to express. Initially, art was highly important to the book; now it’s ‘merely’ an adjunct to a discussion of obsession.

Gabriel Holland is a haunted man. Alatiel and Gabriel have a shared history, and her shadow looms over his entire life…so why is he so willing to embrace Death once more? The Poison of a Smile is the story of his blighted past, his poisoned present, and his uncertain future…

Can you please explain the meaning behind the title?

Many of Poison’s chapter titles were inspired by the work of the surrealist René Magritte. I love the chosen titles of his paintings…I find them enigmatic and interesting. Sometimes I’ve used these titles directly – The Scars of Memory, The Enchanted Domain, The Treachery of Images, for example – and, on occasion, I’ve invented my own or combined Magritte’s titles: The Poison of a Smile is one such combination. The book’s title suggests deception, a lure to snare the unwary, a contradiction and fractured personae; all these things are the very essence of The Poison of a Smile.

The beginning of The Poison of a Smile is written in a female voice; why did you decide to write it this way? Was it hard to do so?

Alatiel began life as ‘Catherine’, the antagonist of my short story The Lost Girl. This tale was a contemporary one, and the backdrop was the underground Goth scene. Seeing as my natural passion is for Victorian novels, it occurred to me that I could recast Catherine as a Nineteenth Century anti-heroine and give her a bigger stage on which to play. Given the style of the books I grew up with, it wasn’t too difficult to write in a very prim and formal manner – as my character Helena Graham – and then have her ‘voice’ changed irrevocably when she is possessed by Alatiel. My favourite part of The Poison of a Smile is when this dramatic, insidious change occurs: everything that is wicked delights Helena-as-Alatiel, and she takes pleasure in the most exquisite, sinister expressions. This was captivating to write, and flowed easily.

Art features a lot already in The Poison of a Smile. Do you have an interest in art?

I’m very interested in art but my passion far outstrips my talent. Like Wilde, I’m more of a dilettante than an expert. I’m only a novelist by default, not by choice: ideally, I’d prefer to paint or compose music. Unfortunately, I paint like Mozart and play piano like Toulouse-Lautrec.

More seriously, while I admire fine art, I’m equally as interested in the artists themselves, and this fascination reveals itself in The Poison of a Smile. There are such great stories – great inspiration – for a writer in the history of art and artists: Caravaggio, a killer capable of the most beautiful and sacred work; Dali, the madman who ventured further and further down the twisted road of his surreal imagination; Rossetti, Romney and Waterhouse, each obsessed with a single face, repeated time after time in their portraiture. Their motivation was enigmatic and this leaves me free to imagine, effectively to ‘create’, when I think or write about their artistry. Behind every great work of art there lies a story, a myth we are at liberty to invent anew. For example, there is precious little in the histories to suggest that Antonio Salieri caused Mozart’s death, yet the dramatist Peter Shaffer wove the sublime Amadeus from just a few mildly suggestive strands. Given enough talent, any writer can create something new and wonderful from the tales told of great men and women.

A little way in there is a story within the story about Alexandre and Alienor. I personally think it sounds like a great story, something I would definitely read. Would you ever consider expanding on it, perhaps making it into a novel?

The episode is based on a Native American legend. It relates how two lovers kill themselves and, after death, their cries to each other are lost to the wind and they don’t recognise one another’s names anymore. This terrible, tragic and poignant state is hinted at in Susan Hill’s renowned ghost story The Woman in Black – two spirits, mother and child, haunt the same location but there is no happy reunion; hence, the vengeful, vain and hate-filled haunting. A haunted place is sometimes a wasteland of forlorn and wretched hope.

I think that, in general, good ghost stories are basically simple. They depend on the creation and maintenance of atmosphere; as such, brevity is key. Many of the best ghost stories are novellas and that, I feel, is telling. The author Colin Wilson wrote about Sheridan Le Fanu’s stories: ‘They are the kind of ghosts one might hear of in ancient ballads’; that remark suggests to me that good supernatural fiction is analogous to songs or poems. Ghost stories have a kind of rhythm in their structure – the whole subject, real and fictional, is based on the idea of ‘returning’ in any case – and the finest of these tales haunt the mind in much the same way as an effective chorus or stanza remains in our memories long after we have experienced them. Essentially, a ghost story is a spell cast over the reader by the author; traditionally, spells are ‘words of power’, songs or poems. It’s just a matter of arranging the right words in the right order, but with a non-linear quality to the lines. We imagine that a song flows or that good, poetic and resonant prose has a kind of ‘aromatic’ quality, an ethereal something which drifts, smoke-like, between and around the lines spoken, written or read. Poets, composers, and writers are the heirs of magicians.

Describe your book in one word.

Prismatic.

Describe your book in ten words.

What if the one you love longed for your death?

When can we expect The Poison of a Smile to be released?

The book will be published in the fall (October or November), and will be available from Amazon, Smashwords and other outlets, in print and e-book formats.

Preorder enquires can be directed to:

stevejensen@hotmail.co.uk
timroux@nightpublishing.com

Any last words you would like to share?

I would like to thank all those kind people who supported and encouraged me, at Authonomy and Inkpop. Thank you too, Mandy.

Steven Jensen:
http://spauljensen.wordpress.com/

Night Publishing:
http://www.nightpublishing.com/

Many thanks to Steven for participating in this preview interview. Steven, I wish you all the best for the future and fingers crossed your sales go through the roof 🙂

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Many thanks to Helen for participating in this interview. I loved reading the answers as much as I loved reading the book. Please enjoy the following interview where we get an insight into Helen herself, as well as her book, and her humour shines through 🙂

MAJOR PETTIGREW’S LAST STAND QUESTIONS

After reading the book I believe the Major stood up to a number of things; some which had been brewing for a while, others that were thrust his way. What do the words “Last Stand” in the title refer to?

The title of my book came early and unbidden. I think it represented a lot of issues that were in the back of my mind and it helped keep me on track whenever the writing process seemed complicated and uncertain. The fact that it seems to refer to more than one thing is somewhat deliberate. Obviously it does refer to a last chance at love; more than his physically heroic stand at the end. However, I feel strongly that life is a continuing series of chances – and who is to say when our last chance has come and gone?

I have seen a couple of different covers for your novel, which one do you prefer and why?

You are trying to get me into trouble with this question! My individual publishers and their marketing departments get to choose the covers they think will represent the book in their marketplaces. They asked my opinion and I was happy with all so far. I love the vintage Life Magazine image used in both the US and UK markets, while the Australian tea cups and folkloric icons design is very friendly and inviting – and both designs have been equally bestsellers. Book design is a field unto itself and I’m thrilled to have had excellent design teams assigned to my novel.

Who is your favourite character in “Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand” and why?

I love to claim that my favourite character is Roger, the Major’s obnoxious son. People love to hate him and I slyly accuse them of finding Roger a little too familiar to be comfortable! I can tell you that my parents did not take kindly to my own offer to buy them a phone with bigger buttons. Don’t we all have to watch out for our personal ‘Roger’ moments?

Are any of the characters based on real people and any of the places based on real places?

The landscape is very real to me. Even though the village and town are imaginary names, the shape of a village lane, the long stretch of a seaside promenade – these are visions of ‘home’ that live in the forefront of my imagination. I try very hard to make up people. I dislike the idea of taking a real person and simply changing hair colour or name to disguise them. I would find this lazy and if I feel a character approaches too close to someone I know, I will work hard to change direction. At the same time, nothing is really new, is it? I think all imagination is made up of small shards of experience, recombined in a new pattern.

…[to read the full interview please click here]…

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Many thanks to Teresa for taking the time to do a guest post on my website. Read what Teresa has to say about how this whole experience started, the rejections that followed and the happy ending.

When Mandy asked me to do a guest blog I instantly became brain dead. I have done so much writing lately since publication of my book ‘The Eye of Erasmus’. Blogs promos etc. they seemed endless. The more I wrote the more work it generated. What to write about that is the question? Well, I’ve decided to let my fingers do the talking and writing for me. I successfully wrote three books that way so it’s stood the test of time so to speak.

I started writing in my teens, nothing special just odd bits here and there for the amusement of my younger brother.

My serious writing began a couple of years ago, whilst sitting in my garden one beautiful summer evening. I was sitting amongst the Shasta daisies which grow in abundance and I watched a spider spinning a web. It was so intricate and delicate it became almost sensuous. As the web grew I started to imagine the beginnings of a storyline. Faeries, time travel, etc. began buzzing around my brain. Grabbing a note book I couldn’t write quick enough so I resorted to my tape recorder. Having filled both sides of the tape I started another fresh tape as Erasmus materialised.

I wrote the three books within in a year and then started the endless trawl for a literary agent. I bought the Writers and Artists Year Book and began at ‘A’ working through to ‘Z’.

Like many others I have draws full of rejections. Finally that wonderful day came when a literary agent emailed me asking to represent me. Wahoo !! “Yes please.” He actively pushed it around the publishers for 6 months until that fatal day when he contacted me stating ‘I have faith in it but none of the publishers I’ve pursued do. So I can no longer represent you’.

Completely gutted I started again and somehow came across Richard Grayling of Struggling Authors. He picked me up dried my tears and gave me words of encouragement. I’m now one of the core members and we have become firm friends. It’s the most supportive web site I have ever come across. – A bit like warm fluffy slippers and a hot chocolate drink on a bitterly cold night.(http://strugglingauthors.co.uk )

I then came across another American web site who asked to represent me and then eventually wanted to publish me. I was jumping through hoops – UNTIL I did a bit of investigating and discovered they were being investigated by the Attorney Generals Office in America for fraud. (Note: I did not mention their name!)

Once again Richard and Struggling Author members dried my tears and set me on the road to recovery.

Was I downhearted? Bet your life I was but after feeling sorry for myself I started again. I have always had tremendous faith in my books.

Quite by chance I then came across Tim Roux of Night Publishing. I interviewed him on behalf of Struggling Authors and eventually joined his Night Reading site. I put a chapter of the Eye of Erasmus on there and to my utter surprise I was headhunted.

And the rest as they say is history.

The moral of the story ….? Believe in your work and never give up. Rejection is only one persons opinion. ….. Teresa Geering 04/08/10

Thank you once again, Teresa.

And please, don’t forget to check out Teresa’s author profile by clicking here

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A big thank you to Pamela Callow for providing this guest post, a great insight into how her book Damaged came to be.

Inspiration can appear in many forms. Sometimes it sneaks up on you and whispers, “boo” in your ear. That happened to me one afternoon while I was reading the newspaper. I came across an article in which an appalling and devious US criminal case was described. I knew in that instant I wanted to write a novel based on it.

However, I didn’t want to write a fictionalized account of the crime. Instead, I used this crime as a springboard for DAMAGED’s biomedical plot. I researched the case, studying various angles of the crime and extrapolated a number of facets – including the addition of Halifax’s first fictional serial killer – to create the debut novel of my thriller series.

The inspiration for my characters came about quite differently. There was no unexpected discovery of a thrilling case while sipping tea and reading the paper. No, the characters in DAMAGED were created layer by layer, year after year, from personality types and experiences I’d encountered during my professional career. First, while I trained in one of Halifax’s largest law firms. Next, when I worked as a strategy consultant for an international consulting firm. In both careers, I’d lived the politics, the struggles, and the ambitions of working in a blue-chip corporate environment.

And so does Kate Lange, the series lead of DAMAGED. But Kate is no silver-spooned, Ivy League, fast-tracking attorney. A survivor of a difficult past, she’s the owner of a fixer-upper Victorian home, and the recent adoptee of an orphaned husky. She’s in her thirties when she finally lands her dream job – and finds herself on the brink of professional and personal disaster.

Kate is searching for redemption, both past and present. As are most of the characters in DAMAGED. The title rings true: from the victim’s mother to the drug-dealing witness, all of the characters are damaged. They are all trying to find their way out of their personal no man’s lands. They are flawed, real people, who aren’t always nice and have made mistakes. And they have to deal with the impact a brutal murder will wreak on their lives.

But in Kate’s case, she also has to face her darkest fears. She has to face a serial killer. And when I put Kate in that situation, it was because every time I read about a killer in the newspaper, I found myself asking: how far would I go to stop a serial killer?

I may never know the answer, but in DAMAGED, Kate finds out.

Thank you once again, Pamela.

Don’t forget to check out Pamela’s author profile by clicking here

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At an early age Pamela loved to read, her local bookmobile introducing her to the wonderful world of books. Pamela went on to work in libraries and now she is writing books. I was very happy to be asked to read and review her book Damaged and also in the pipeline is an interview with Pamela – so be sure to keep an eye out for it. A guest post will also be up very shortly.

In the meantime please visit Pamela’s author profile by clicking here where you will find links to her website, info about her book Damaged and a link to her Goodreads profile.

And to get the ball rolling here is a little bit of background on Pamela from her website:

I was born in Ontario, Canada, the youngest child of two immigrants. My mother emigrated from East Germany after World War II. My British father was hired to work as an engineer on the ill-fated Avro Arrow project.

At the age of two, my family moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia. Growing up by the ocean has shaped my life, and has, in turn, shaped my writing. I attended the University of King’s College, where I took the Foundation Year Program, studying the greatest works of Western Civilization. I graduated with an undergraduate degree in English Literature. Following that, I studied law and was admitted to the Nova Scotia Bar. I’ve always had an interest in public policy, so I returned to university to complete a Master’s Degree in Public Administration.

I then worked as a strategy consultant for an international consulting firm, travelling all over North America. When I had my first child, my local office closed. I decided to stay home with my young family, a period in my life for which I am very grateful. It also gave me an opportunity to exhume an old passion: writing.

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Many thanks to Joanne Ellis for providing this guest post. Like Joanne, I have always loved to read and it started with Enid Blyton. Read on to find out more about Joanne.

How to introduce myself? What to write? Well the best place to start I guess would be to say I have always loved to read. As a child I fell in love with Enid Blyton and The Magic Faraway Tree which moved onto stories such as Deenie by Judy Blume and then sweet teen romances. The love affair continued and although my range of genre choice is diverse, romance is my first love. Authors such as Nora Roberts inspired me to write romance. My favourites in Paullina Simons (The Bronze Horseman series, Tully and The Girl in Times Square) and Nicholas Sparks inspire me to be better.

Reading has always stimulated my imagination and I have always had a huge one. Being an only child encouraged me to create characters and stories in my mind but I never felt confident to put pen to paper. So what gave me the courage to give it a go? Being a stay at home Mum I found although challenged with everyday life, I need an outlet. I sat one day, pad and pen in hand (yes my first book was hand written as notes, I have not done any this way since) and jotted down an idea and basic characters. Two weeks later the first draft of Spoilt was complete. With a surge of creativity, a floodgate opening of ideas, I wrote three more which follow on in quick succession. Three others completed novels, several short stories, three works in progress, dozens of notes for further stories, two years and a lot of polish on Spoilt, I am being published by Night Publishing.

How did I get to this point? I joined the Harper Collins hosted website authonomy, a peer review ranking system that sees the top five books each month selected for review by a HC editor and a nice gold star replacing the ranking. After eight months of meeting fantastic people, learning to review other’s work, receiving very helpful advice and tons of editing I received my gold star and my review. Overall I was pleased with the advice I was given and the encouraging comments from HC. I discovered I could perhaps write pretty well and I wasn’t wasting my time.

During this time, I joined Night Reading, the blog based website hosted by Night Publishing. After two months on the site Spoilt was selected for the monthly poll in April/May and much to my surprise I won. I was then offered a contract for Spoilt and I once again was shocked and stunned. Excitement soon followed and I still think I’m floating about happily in disbelief.

The editing process was a rewarding experience and I learnt a lot from Tim. So now I await the proof and then Spoilt will be ready to go to press. It is a dream come true (yes cliché I know but I am a romance writer after all) and I hope I can now give back to readers what my favourite authors have given me over the years.

Thank you once again, Joanne.

And please, don’t forget to check out Joanne’s author profile by clicking here

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I am excited to announce that I have an interview on the horizon with Australian author Joanne Ellis. Her book Spoilt is due to be released shortly and once I have read that I am sure I will have some great questions for Joanne to answer.

Please click here to visit Joanne’s author profile on my website.

Congratulations on winning Night Reading’s competition, Joanne!

The latest (and fourth) winner of the Night Reading ‘First Chapter of the Month’ competition is the Australian writer Joanne Ellis who built up a substantial lead in the May / June poll with the first chapter of her serial killer-thriller ‘Spoilt’ which is due to be published by Night Reading / Publishing in late June or early July 2010.

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I’m very happy to annouce coming up in a few weeks will be an interview with Teresa Geering, author of The Eye of Erasmus. In the meantime please get to know Teresa a little by visiting her author profile on my website by clicking here. Teresa has also kindly agreed to do a guest post for me so make sure you keep your eyes open for what should be a great post.

And a little something from Teresa’s website to get you started:

My name is Teresa Geering; I grew up in Hastings and was tutored by nuns in a convent.

I spent many days walking barefoot for miles – through choice. (Think hippy and you wont be far wrong.

I then went to Orpington near London in my teens. This is where I met my first husband but the outskirts of London was in my blood and we moved to the South East of England – farming country with wellies provided! I then married a second time, had a son and became a stay-at-home mum.

I then worked and continue to work as a volunteer for Kent Police.

It was in my quieter moments as I sat in my garden sipping wine one balmy summer evening that I started to write and completed a trilogy of books for young adults set in a fantasy time travelling world.

All three books were completed within the year.

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Some readers may remember Jon and his post about the Wounded Warrior Project which featured here a few weeks ago. Now Jon is back participating in an interview with yours truly. Please enjoy the following interview:

DERELICTION OF DUTY QUESTIONS

Agent Fox is the main character in “Dereliction of Duty”. What do you see are the similarities between yourself and Agent Fox?

When I finally got serious about writing Dereliction of Duty, I wanted to write a story that broke from the stereotypical soldier stories you see on TV and in the theatres. I wanted to write a story about a real soldier, not a superhero so I went with what I knew best. I tried to use my own personality and feelings when I created my main character and all of the other characters.

We read how Agent Fox being in the army has affected his family life, how it has taken a toll on his marriage and relationship with his son. Why did you decide to include this in the story?

Although sad, being a soldier is probably the toughest profession on marriages and families. After 20 years in the Army, I only know a handful of friends who still remain married to this day. A story about soldiers, military life or war that does not touch on that aspect of military life is not believable. I thought it was an important aspect to include to add a little more realism to the story.

Are the characters and events in “Dereliction of Duty” based on real people?

Yes! I based every character in the story off of a real person that I met or somehow came in contact with during my career. A lot of the events are based on real events but may not have happened the way they did in the story. I took a group of unrelated yet real events and people and brought them all together into what I believe is a fun and exciting story. On that question, I have received repeated questions from reporters asking if it was a true story, so I guess I was able to make it believable enough to convince the people who reported on the stories I touched on.

…[to read the full interview please click here]…

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After the publication of Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand Helen Simonson has been very busy, attending book tours, promoting her work, all of the things that go with hopefully becoming a best seller. So far this book has been a hit and fans of Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand are wondering when Helen Simonson will publish another book.

It is my pleasure to announce that in August Helen will be allowing me to interview her so watch this spot!

At the moment Helen is preparing for a trip to Europe; a much welcomed vacation after quite a busy period and also for some research…….hm, I wonder what will come of this 😉

In the meantime please click here to go to Helen’s profile on my website where you will find links to the blurb of Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, my review, Helen’s website, her Goodreads profile and a link to purchase the book.

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