Another chat with author Marjorie Young

GE6frontcoverpdf copy.jpg

 

Marjorie is an incredibly talented woman, spiritual counselor and a lover of a good story and anything mystical. She is an award-winner for her book series The Boy with the Golden Eyes, yet she is one of the most humble people I have had the pleasure of coming across. She lives in Seattle, and calls Japan her second home. 

An excellent book for readers of all ages

Marjorie Young has managed to blend a fantasy adventure and real life lessons in a manner that is always entertaining

The incredible world of the author’s creation comes vividly to life

These are just some of the reviews for her award-winning series, and they are well-earned and justified. I’m honored once again to have Marjorie make time to sit down for an interview. We discussed her series and any advice she may have for new writers.

 

 

1.Hi Marjorie, When we last spoke, you were close to finishing your amazing and award-winning series ‘The Boy with Golden Eyes.’ How was it received?

Book Six, entitled ‘The Tainted Throne’, was presumed to be the final entry in the series…but as I was writing it, I realized that a seventh installment was required, which came as quite a surprise to me! Meanwhile, the latest work did bring many vital matters to a conclusion though most likely a rather unexpected one for many readers. I’ve received so much positive feedback, especially concerning a resolution that urges them to reflect upon the real meaning of ‘victory’ or ‘defeat.’ And there has been rejoicing that another book is to follow.

2. Of all the wonderful characters in the series, which was your favourite to create and write about?

Oops! That’s like asking a parent to name their favourite child! Obviously my hero, young Rupert dominates the saga and I believe I’ve created someone memorable in him. He is superbly gifted in so many ways, but replete with imperfections as well. One advantage to creating a series is that characters have room to grow. It may sound odd, but those populating ‘Golden Eyes’ seem ‘real’ to me. I can see, hear, and occasionally even smell them! Each not only possesses his/her own vivid existence, but brings the others more into clarity through their complex interactions. I love Drego’s brazen boldness, Lira’s confidence and sweetness, Morley’s gallantry and easy humor, Liam’s sanity and wisdom, Zara’s demand for feminine equality, Komo’s steely yet tragic sense of honor, and so on.

3. You had plans to create a spin-off of “The Boy With the Golden Eyes” called “The Lira Chronicles.” How is that going?

Yes, I have begun book one of The Lira Chronicles and I’m enjoying the process thoroughly. It is very much its own thing…and there are few elements of ‘fantasy’ to be found, which may surprise fans of my first series. ‘Golden Eyes’ was a fantasy/adventure due to Rupert’s extraordinary spiritual and mystical gifts, abilities that his sometimes mentor Shomila shares in abundance. However, Lira, though remarkable in her own right, does not possess these particular talents. Instead this saga focuses on her arranged marriage with the crown prince of Castilan, and therefore is steeped in the world of dark political intrigue. At times it proves unsettling to absent myself from the ‘occult’ realm of my previous work, but it is also refreshing to have both feet firmly ‘grounded’ in the world of the ‘Chronicles.’ As a psychic medium, who has undergone many extraordinary experiences since early childhood, it is appealing as well as challenging to see the world through a new perspective.

4. You’re a big fan of self-publishing. What advice would you give to anybody wanting to self-publish?

Yes, I relish the fact that the author retains complete control of his or her work, which is vital to me. Of course, there are minuses involved. Nevertheless, it is essential that writers design a strategy to get the word out once their books are published. Even traditional publishers largely

leave it to authors to publicize their work. While I’m not a great fan of social media, it is a useful tool for getting the word out. I limit myself to Twitter, mainly because the posts must be brief lol! I spent time building a following and it has paid off. Directly and indirectly through Twitter, I have had contact with film producers and a major book publisher in China who were very interested in my series. Unfortunately, (as well as maddeningly) agreements fell through at the last minute. But despite any disappointment, this still demonstrates that social media can indeed bring attention to self-published authors and remains an essential element for every author’s work.

One other piece of advice is to enter contests aimed at indie writers. I did so for book one on a whim, placing ‘Golden Eyes’ in the Los Angeles Book Festival in the Young Adult category. Much to my astonishment…it won! It subsequently was chosen runner-up in the Paris Book Festival, and also received kudos in London and New York. Clearly, it is a plus to label a book/series as ‘award-winning’ and I hope every author will give competition a try.

5. As someone who is successful, what would you say are the pros and cons of self-publishing?

As mentioned above, the main appeal is that self-publishing allows the author control of their work and to get it out fairly quickly to the world. (I would find it maddening if a publisher made changes to my story, for example). Meanwhile, finding a publisher can be a long and frustrating ordeal (usually requiring a search for a literary agent first…in and of itself a major challenge), and even if one is successful, the book may not appear for several years. Of course, if a traditional publisher believes in a work, they may publicize it, arrange for book signings, and the like, all of which is very positive…but such perks are largely reserved for authors already well established. Naturally, writers should consider all their options and seek out an agent/publisher if that seems their best route. There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ approach…just the most suitable for oneself.

6. As a writer, what would you choose as your spirit animal, and why?

An odd and interesting question! ‘The Boy with Golden Eyes’ features a remarkable mastiff hound and a magnificent golden stallion, both playing a major part in the story. But if there’s a ‘spirit animal’ to the tale, it would have to be a red fox called Kara. She is featured in book one as Rupert’s dearest childhood companion and later reappears in distant lands and under mysterious circumstances, to continue to guide her friend. Having lived in Japan for many years, I recalled their folklore concerning foxes, or ‘kitsune’ in Japanese, as intelligent beings possessing paranormal abilities that increase with age and wisdom. Kara comes to represent an element of the unknown to Rupert (no one else can see her) causing him to follow where she leads.

As an aside, I should mention that I am a passionate champion of animal rights (as is Rupert) and I adamantly believe they and their natural world should be cherished and protected by all.

7. If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Alas, since my older and young self are very much alike, I wouldn’t have any special counsel to offer the earlier version of me lol. But one piece of advice I’d give to every fellow writer

would be to never limit yourself. I always greatly resented the supposedly wise adage to ‘write what you know!’ Yes, that’s fine if that’s your inclination. But if all authors confined themselves in that way, we’d never have science fiction or crazy thrillers, for a start. I’m fairly sure Stephen King never encountered a psychic teen who decimated her senior prom, nor did Isaac Asimov likely travel to outer space. Imagination is vital for any author. Never allow anyone to label or categorize you…whether as a writer or as a human being.

8. Do you use real people as inspiration for your characters?

Originally, ‘The Boy with Golden Eyes’ began as a bedtime story for my great-nephew Sam, who was only seven at the time. Thus, many of my hero Rupert’s characteristics were inspired by Sam…his brilliance, fascination with the world, marvelous looks, and so on. As time went on, Sam continued to influence Rupert, including his astute contributions for plot twists as we brainstormed the story. Naturally, my personal experiences with the mystical/psychic realm figured heavily into Rupert’s outlook as time went on. At the same time, my hero emerged as an entirely independent being as well.

The character of Lira, now featured in her own spin-off series, was originally shaped by Sam’s younger sister Lucie. Her self-confidence, beauty, and clarity of mind influenced the fictional creation. By the way, Sam appears as ‘Rupert’ on all six book covers and Lucie will similarly grace ‘The Lira Chronicles.’

I do personally relate to Rupert’s elderly and enigmatic mentor Shomila who seeks to pass on wisdom from the mystical realm, just as I have with Sam and Lucie…with what measure of success is open to debate, lol.

My beloved Komo, the stoical warrior with a tragic past, is in many ways a tribute to the superb Japanese samurai films that fired my imagination and influenced me in countless ways…eventually leading me to make Japan my second home.

9. What does your writing schedule look like?

I write either in the morning or early afternoon. I find it an engrossing yet draining process, so I limit myself to no more than two or three hours each day. As has been the case from the start, I begin each session with absolutely no idea what is to come. Though my six books have been praised for their intricate plotting, I find that the story/characters emerge almost independently…graciously revealing what is unfold. Odd, perhaps, but true. I hear J.K. Rowling outlined all seven Harry Potter books before beginning the first chapter of book one. That’s quite unimaginable to me! But creating the journey without foreknowledge continues to be a truly exciting and fruitful ‘experiment’.

10. Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

I’ve been fortunate that the reviews I’ve come across thus far have been very positive. But it’s important to keep in mind that everyone is entitled to their opinion. As far as I know, no work ever received a unanimously glowing reception…including those by Shakespeare, Picasso, or Mozart! Therefore, it’s good to take naysayers in stride as they might also prove to have interesting things to point out. Still, the goal of being true to one’s self remains paramount while bringing about something that resonates with your spirit. Each writer is entirely unique and only you can give life to your conception and summon up your own universe, which is a very precious privilege indeed.

 

Thanks again Marjorie for taking the time. It’s our third interview and I just know it won’t be the last!

 

I urge you to check out Marjorie’s work if you haven’t already. You can keep up to date with her, and of course her wonderful characters at:

http://www.theboywiththegoldeneyes.com

Twitter: @psychicmarjorie

Advertisements

Another interview with Holly Kerr

Holly has three beautiful children and is a devoted wife. She is a huge Harry Potter, Star Wars and Marvel fan. She loves historical fiction. She has self-published over 20 books and her most recent one was released January 2019!

I was lucky enough to grab her for a quick chat.

holly kerr2.jpg

  1. Hi Holly, nice to have you back again. Can you tell us what you’ve been working on?

Hi Phantom!
Thanks for having be back.
My latest book will be available Jan. 29. It’s called Hanging On, and it’s the sequel to my women’s fiction novel, Coming Home, about sisters living in a small town. Coming Home came out a few years ago but I had so many requests that I had to write a sequel. Now Hanging On is ready to go, I’m finishing up a contemporary romance to be out by the spring. As well, I’m in a group of rom-com authors working on a series that will be out in May. After all that, I’ll have a new Anna Ellis series to talk about!

2. You have self-published over 20 books, all of them are fantastic with loveable characters. Which of your stories is your favourite, and why?

It’s really hard to pick a favourite book. It’s sort of like picking a favourite child! But I have a few favourite characters – Pippa McGovern from my Charlotte Dodd series, Jacey, from the Husbands and Wives and Adults Only series, and Cat, one of the sisters from Coming Home and my latest, Hanging On.

3. Even though your books are beautifully-written and enjoyable, when you read back over them, are there any that you would change?

Thank you! There isn’t much I’d change from most of my books – a few little things, but what I’d really like to change is the ending to my book, Absinthe Doesn’t Make the Heart Grow Fonder. It ended up being a little darker than I expected.

4. Self-publishing seems to be the way forward these days, do you have any advice for people thinking of self-publishing? 

Publishing is hard, whether it’s self-publishing or traditional. My advice is to make your book as professional as you can. Have it read by someone who isn’t a family member, and have it edited. Spend some money on a cover and make your blurb catchy with a hook. Your book will only have one chance to make a first impression so make sure it’s a good one!

5. Although it can be difficult, does self-publishing have any positive points?

Self-publishing is a challenge but the best thing about it is that you hold all of the control. You to decide on the cover, the price, when it comes out, the frequency of your books. It’s a scary thought, but you have to remember that with great power, comes great responsibility. Make sure your book is the best it can be.

6. If you were asked to choose one of your books to be turned into a Hollywood movie, only one, which would be your choice and why? Who would you cast as the lead role?

I would love if any of my books could be turned into a movie! But I think the most fun would be to see The Secret Life of Charlotte Dodd because there’s action and romance and a lot of fun. Charlotte is a tiny little blonde, and there’s an actress AnnaSophia Robb that would be a good fit to play her. Or Emma Stone, with blonde hair!

7. Who is your favourite author at the moment, and why?

My favourite author at the moment…good question. I have my all-time list of favourites (JK Rowling, Jane Austen, Jilly Cooper) but at the moment I’m loving Emma Chase and Christina Lauren. And Sarah J. Maas.

8. With technology so popular these days, it isn’t uncommon to see young children using phones and tablets. Do you think books should be an important aspect of children’s daily lives?

I think it’s essential for books to be a part of the lives of kids these days. As a mother, I make sure my kids have developed a love of reading and as author, I’m trying to do my part to encourage reading by writing books for my kids that their friends can read.

9. What are your goals for 2019?

My goals for 2019 are to improve my sales, naturally and gain more connections with my readers. I had five books out last year and I have plans for 4 already this year, so I think I can pass that. I need to develop my brand, which is difficult if I’m writing in different genres, so that’s always a work in progress. Mainly, I want to be become a better writer, a better storyteller, to bring readers more enjoyment from my books.

Thanks Holly, for being a star and finding time in your busy schedule to sit down with me again.

For anyone interested in checking out Holly’s recent work please follow the link below:

http://getbook.at/HangingOn

To follow her on Twitter:

@hollykerrauthor

 

Writer Interview: Marjorie Young (Second Interview)

Marjorie Young

Marjorie was born in Rhode Island and when she was thirteen moved to San Francisco with her family. As she grew up she became enthralled with Japanese history and tradition and became an expert on Japanese cinema. She attended San Francisco State University and travelled throughout Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, China, India, Nepal and Central and South America; until finally setting foot in her beloved Japan where she spent the next twenty years working as an English teacher. Whilst there she learned Japanese and Aikido. The unforgettable life experiences she has had on these journeys have greatly inspired her writing.
Marjorie returned to the USA and set about creating her award-winning fantasy/adventure series ‘The Boy with Golden Eyes.’ What began as a bedtime story for her great-nephew Sam, has gone on to win awards in New York, Los Angeles, Paris and New York and is read the world over, with recent prospects of becoming a movie franchise and being translated into Mandarin.
Marjorie also uses her psychic and spiritual abilities to write for a Seattle publication called The Ballard News Tribune.
This is the second time I’ve been lucky enough that Marjorie has been able to find time in her busy schedule to sit and interview with me, and I’ve enjoyed it just as much as the first. She is inspiring, talented and has some amazing stories to share.

Interview

1. When we last spoke, you were working on the sixth book of your awesome award-winning series ‘The Boy with the Golden Eyes’. Do you have plans to write a seventh in the saga, or maybe a spin-off?

While I’m finally nearing completion of book six, my head is filled with ideas for book one of the ‘spin-off’ series, ‘The Lira Chronicles.’ It will centre on young Lira, one of the featured characters in ‘Golden Eyes.’ Her arranged marriage to the prince of neighbouring ‘Castilan’ will put her at the centre of complex political intrigue as well as royal family turmoil. Joining her from ‘Golden Eyes’ will be ‘Komo’ the extraordinary Asian warrior, now assigned to train Castilan’s army. Though only thirteen, Lira is confident, self-possessed, and ready for the challenge. After completing book one, I’ll return to ‘Golden Eyes’ for the seventh, and I believe the final, instalment.

2. Sagas like the one you’ve created always make excellent movies. Will we ever see yours on the big screen?
Actually, there has been interest in turning the series into a movie franchise. It’s a complicated business and I’m working with my agents and (newly acquired) entertainment attorneys to determine if we can come to an agreement. When selling the film rights, the author largely gives up control over the project, which is no easy thing. I’ve also heard from a publisher in China who wants to bring out the books in Mandarin. So, good things are happening for my hero ‘Rupert’ and his friends.

3. What are you working on right now, and can you tell us something about it?
I’m currently hard at work completing book six of ‘The Boy with Golden Eyes.’ It’s been a longer process than usual because not long after starting, my landlord put my place up for sale and I had to find another that I could afford…not easy here in Seattle. Eventually it worked out, but it was a long and stress-filled time and certainly distracted from my writing. But I’m finally nearing the finish line. Looks like book six will be the longest of the novels thus far. It will bring culmination to so many storylines and I confess I’m having a fine time with it. As usual, I never have anything planned out, so I’m in suspense myself as I sit down to write. And the solution to whatever dilemma I’ve written my characters into always somehow magically appears.

4. In the past year, have you read a book you would recommend to others?
I read a unique memoir called ‘Survival in Paradise’ by Manfred Wolf. It recounts the incredible story of how the seven-year-old and his family escaped Nazi occupied Europe during World War Two, eventually finding themselves on the exotic island of Curacao, and his growing up amidst the clash of many cultures there. It’s riveting, touching, often very funny, and in the end, thoroughly astonishing.
5. If you weren’t an author what would you be and why?
I spent many years teaching English in Japan…and teaching is something I’ve treasured. Touching the lives of my students and being touched in return is both fulfilling and exhilarating. However, if I had the choice of any profession at all, I would adore being an artist. It is something I did not pursue, for one sad reason; I have no talent whatsoever in that direction! But oddly, it appeals to me more than anything else I can think of. Since I believe in reincarnation, perhaps I’ll get my chance next time around. Meanwhile, I cherish writing and will have to be satisfied with that.
6. What advice would you give to an aspiring author?
My advice would be never to limit yourself. I especially find the ‘write what you know’ adage to be an artificial barrier. Imagination is the key! Science fiction writers haven’t been to other galaxies or fought off marauding zombies, but they manage to write about them all the same. So, let your thoughts fly and see where they take you. Also, don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone. If you write romance novels, try a war story if a good idea presents itself. Or if you normally stick to fiction, writing the biography of someone you admire still holds possibilities. And most of all, recognize that whatever you choose to write, some readers will like it while others won’t. Not even Shakespeare has universal approval, so why would you? Keep writing and know you’ll find your audience. But the most important thing is expressing yourself; an unmatched reward all on its own.

 

7. Self-publishing has become a big thing for many authors/poets as a way of getting their work out there. However, it can still be daunting. What are your thoughts on self-publishing?
I remain a big fan of self-publishing. I never even sought out a ‘traditional’ publisher for my series. I wanted control over my work…especially the cover art, because my great-nephew Sam inspired the hero, Rupert, and I wanted his image on the covers. A traditional publisher would have never agreed; nor did I want them editing my work. As you can tell, I’m rather ‘exacting’ when it comes to my saga. So that’s one huge positive about self-publishing…the work remains the author’s own.
It’s not enough to simply publish your book, however. It’s a necessity to get the word out on social media. I admit that most are far more savvy than I on that score, but I have learned to make use of Twitter, with very positive results. Just beware of spending more time promoting your books than actually writing them!
8. If you had to write a book in a different genre than fantasy/adventure, which would you choose and why?
Great question! I enjoy historical fiction…so perhaps that’s an area I might explore. ‘Gone with the Wind’ and ‘Forever Amber’ are classic examples of that genre. I’d say the research must be meticulous, though, bringing a bygone era to accurate life. For some reason, I’ve always found The Black Plague fascinating! So perhaps that might be a fertile, if gruesome, place to start.
Another appealing category would be detective fiction. I enjoy a good mystery! Don’t know if I have the aptitude, but many very talented writers have produced an unending supply of terrific tales. ‘Sherlock Holmes’ has always been a huge favourite, and I remain in awe of its creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

9. You are also a psychic and spiritualist. Can you tell us about a psychic incident that has had a big impact on your life?
That topic would demand a book in itself! I’ve had a number of truly profound experiences that changed my life forever. Many of Rupert’s amazing fictionalized happenings in ‘Golden Eyes’ have their roots in what I’ve encountered in actuality. One event included tracking down a friend who was known to be somewhere in South America in the days before cell phones, texting, and the like. I had no idea whatsoever of his whereabouts, other than the ‘information’ conveyed from a mysterious source. I realized my true goal was to heed it and see what happened. And after an unforgettable odyssey, I found myself in a small town in Peru, where I was led directly to his door. After that, there was no question I would ‘trust the force’ from then on.

10. If you were trapped on a desert island, and could only take three items or people with you, what or who would you take?

It hardly seems fair to take other people, as that might be construed as ‘kidnapping’ lol! So, I’ll limit myself to items. Guess I’d take my computer so I could continue writing and keep contact with the outside world while viewing old episodes of ‘Downton Abbey’ (if solar power worked for re-charging), lots of sunscreen, and perhaps my well-worn copy of ‘Pride and Prejudice,’ which never gets old. Hopefully, food delivery could be arranged too. Since I adore the sight and sound of the ocean and the open sky, it might prove a glorious experience. And in the end, I could always write about it.

 

It was an amazing experience to sit down and interview Marjorie again. Her series is well loved and I urge you to check it out if you haven’t already; not only will the children love it but you will too

 

To follow Marjorie and her amazing series please visit the links below:

Website: http://www.theboywithgoldeneyes.com/
Twitter: @psychicmargie

Writer Interview: Holly Kerr

 

Holly Kerr

Holly is a full-time writer, devoted wife and loving mother to three gorgeous children. She’s a huge Harry Potter, Star Wars and Marvel fan and a wine lover. She is a fan of historical fiction.  She is not, however, a fan of chocolate. Weird.

 

INTERVIEW

1. What are you working on right now?

Right now I have 3 projects on the go – I’m getting ready to re-release my novel Coming Home, which was first published in 2013. I’m changing publishers and so the book will be getting a new cover and a few changes inside. It’ll be out April 11. 

Oops, I think I just announced the release date here before my website! 

I’m also working on a sequel to The Secret Life of Charlotte Dodd called The Best, Worst First Date. It’s chick lit with a side of action adventure. I guess we can call Charlotte an action chick, and in the sequel our heroine Tenley Scott gets caught up in Charlotte’s adventures, which are a little out of her comfort zone. It will be available June 2017.

My third project is pretty close to my heart. I have 3 kids and they keep telling me they want to read one of my books. Because my books aren’t exactly kid-friendly, I wrote them their own novel, The Dragon Under the Mountain. Now they want a sequel! I was hoping to have it finished for them by last Christmas but the way things are going, maybe I should aim for December 2017!

2. Can you tell us a little something about it? 

I’ll tell you something about Coming Home, because I’m pretty excited about it.  It’s a story about sisters and small-towns and how even though you may love them, it’s not always easy to like your family.  

3. What inspired you to write it? 

It was inspired by my own relationship with my sister. Like Brenna and Cat, we’re from a small town, and like them, we did not get along. (Although there was no cake batter thrown by us, there has been mashed potatoes seen flying across the table) After we both left home, any relationship between us disintegrated, until my sister’s divorce some years ago. It was like I got my sister back, as well as a good friend.

 4. What advice would you give to aspiring writers? 

Advice to aspiring writers –Write. Keep writing. Write every day. It’s the only way you’ll improve. And don’t rush it. And don’t disregard self-publishing. Things have changed and traditional publishing isn’t always the end game. 

5. If you weren’t an author, what do you think you’d be doing instead?  

If I wasn’t a writer, I think I would be working in a book store. Reading other people’s books!

6. If you could have written any book, which book would you have written and why?  

If I could have written any book…that’s a tough one. I would want to write a book whose characters jumped off the page and into your heart, with a world a reader would want to escape to, over and over again, full of history and romance and excitement. 

The Harry Potter series is too obvious, so let’s say Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon. It has all of that and more.

7. If you were asked to write a book in another genre to the one you currently write in, which would you choose? Why? 

If I could write in another genre, I’d pick historical fiction. It’s my favourite genre to read, and I love learning about history but as for writing it, I think I’m daunted by the amount of research I’d have to do!

8. To me there’s nothing like a good paperback, the smell of the pages as I read, turning them, that new book smell. But now e-books are growing ever popular. Do you think paperbacks and hardbacks will soon be a thing of the past and something we’ll all miss, or are you a fan of the modern way of publishing and reading books? 

I personally, will do everything I can to make sure actual paper books stay around forever! I publish ebooks, but every one of them (except the prequel to Charlotte Dodd) is also in paperback and I have a copy sitting on my shelf. I agree, there is nothing like the smell, taste (maybe not taste!) and touch of a book. I find I don’t read the books I have on my Kindle! I forget about them. I’d rather see a tidy stack of books waiting for me to pick up rather than scrolling through an ereader, trying to decide what to read next.

9. Who is your favourite fictional character from literacy?

I can’t pick just one favourite fictional character, and I did my best not to pick the usual suspects. (For me that would be Elizabeth Bennett and Hermoine Granger!) 

I limited myself to 3, all surprisingly from books with a bit of a sci-fi slant!

* Stuart Redman, from The Stand

* Mark Watney from The Martian

* William, the alien from V

 10. If you were trapped on a desert island, what three things or people would you want with you? 

If I were trapped on a deserted island…I should say I would want my family with me, but right at this moment, I might want to be intentionally trapped on an island just to escape from the chaos!! So let’s leave them out of my answer!

Three things I would want, providing I’m not concerned with rescue or survival, but just simple enjoyment:

* A library supply of books

* A never-ending stack of notebooks and pens

* A healthy stock of wine

 

To follow and her work, please follow the links below:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HollyKerrAuthor

Website:  http://hollykerr.ca/

Amazon Author page: http://amzn.to/2l8Qx8f
It was a pleasure to interview this wonderful writer again, I’ve previously interviewed her under her other name. She certainly talented and ambitious. Thanks for taking the time to sit down with me Holly 🙂
Don’t forget to keep a look out for the re-release of Holly’s novel Coming Home, available on April 11th.
holly-kerr

 

 

Halloween Edition: Writer Interview: L.M. Durand

Lauriane

Lauriane is originally from the Reunion Island, a French island located in the Indian Ocean. She attended college in Paris, France and worked there for a few years before moving to Los Angeles, CA to be with her now husband. It was there that she completed her MBA. She now has a very corporate  job and has worked with the same company for the past five years. A little over two years ago, Lauriane gave birth to an amazing little boy and a deep desire to become a role model for him burned deep inside her. So, with the encouragement of her incredible husband she decided to pursue her dreams of being a writer, and everything has blossomed from there. She has a real passion for reading but admits that even though she is French and English is her second language, she hasn’t read a book in French in over fifteen years, and feels more comfortable writing in English, and so she does.

INTERVIEW

1. What are you working on right now?

I just completed the first draft of my manuscript. I’m in the process of revising it at the moment, but I’m taking my time because I want this book to be the best it can be. It’s a Young Adult Fantasy fiction.

2. Can you tell us a little something about it?

The story is about a young witch chosen to save a magical land ravaged by war. Magic, as they know it, is on the verge of being destroyed by a powerful and greedy wizard. She has no choice but to accept her destiny, but nothing will come easy to her. Fortunately, love will find her in an unexpected form of a stubborn savior. They need to succeed where many failed before and the clock is ticking.

3. Tell us, why do you write? Where do you draw your inspiration from?

I’m a daydreamer and I’ve always loved making up stories in my head. One day, I decided I needed to share them. I was introduced to Fantasy close to twenty years ago when I started to read Terry Goodkind’s series Sword of Truth. I absolutely loved it and couldn’t put the book down. From there, I kept on reading and thought I would try other things. I read just about any genre, but Fantasy is still my favourite. I’m a huge Harry Potter fan and more recently read books, such as Games of Thrones, Hunger Games, Divergent, Maze Runner or The Fifth Wave, but would also read thrillers, romance, and non-fiction.

4. When I write, I require Jaffa cakes (and lots of them), do you have a writing must-have?

This is so funny! – (Confession: I had to look up what Jaffa cakes were and they looked delicious!). I don’t have a must-have, per say. I only need my computer.

5. What is your favourite book?

This is a difficult question because you’re asking me to pick a star in the sky. I’m not sure I can do this, but if I had to select one, it would be The Alchemist from Paolo Coehlo. This is probably the book that resonated with me the most, because I felt that this story was about my life. I ended up finding my husband, who was right next to me all these years (I met him when I was eleven).

6. Which author’s career, alive or passed on, do you admire most, and why?

I admire all people who worked against the odds to make their dream happen and who still believed despite all the obstacles. In the writing world, most writers faced it at one point or another. I admire Stephanie Meyer because even though she did not have a writing background she still wrote a great series. The odds weren’t in her favor but she still succeeded. I also admire J.K. Rowling for her ability to turn one of the darkest moments of her life into an incredible story. These are just a couple examples, but there are so many more I admire. I believe that each author can teach us something.

7. Tell us something about yourself…an annoying habit or party trick perhaps? Can you speak a foreign language or have a hobby?

French is my native language. I also learned Spanish and German, but I’m kind of rusty now. I speak Creole from my island if that counts. 🙂 I love hiking and often use that moment to empty my mind and create more stories. My brain does not have a pause button. I always need to stimulate my mind. Sometimes, that can be an annoying habit… LOL

8. Do you have a blog, website or social networking account people can go to if they wish to learn more about you or your work?

As a matter of fact, I do.

Blog: www.lmdurand.com

Twitter: (@loryannhd)

Facebook:  (facebook.com/lmdurandpage)

9. What are your writing plans for 2017?

My hope is to publish my book next year and start working on the sequel. I also have a few more ideas that I’m working on. This book has been an eye-opener for me so I know what to do for my next book.

10. And now, for the most important question of all: Jaffa cakes – love them or hate them?

I’m sure I would love them, but never had a chance to try them. ☺
To follow Lauriane and more of her work, please follow the links below:

Blog: www.lmdurand.com

Twitter: (@loryannhd)

Facebook:  (facebook.com/lmdurandpage)

It was a pleasure to interview Lauriane, an extremely talented and creative writer, and she’s French too. How cool is that?

 

 

 

 

 

Writer Interview: P. J. Benney

P. J. Benney

 J. Benney grew up in Essex, England and still resides there today. Luckily he managed to ignore the lure of spray tans and reality TV and instead became interested in art and literature. He attended the University of Roehampton in London and graduated in 2013 with a BA in Creative Writing. Since graduating he has worked in marketing, and as an indie publisher, quality assurance for a design studio, and is currently working in medical recruitment screening locum doctors for work within the NHS. Almost as strong as his love for creating worlds and characters that his readers delve into and get lost in, is his love for coffee. Any coffee. No seriously. As long as there’s coffee around the man is a happy chappie. Luckily in between his busy schedule of work, writing and keeping himself caffeinated, he was able to squeeze me in for a quick interview.

 

INTERVIEW

1. What are you working on right now?

I’m currently in the process of finishing the eighth and final draft of my comic-fantasy novel Déjà Moo. It’s a project I’ve been working on ever since my first year of university in 2010, and I went onto develop the novel for my final project before graduation in 2013. I won Roehampton’s novel writing prize for the opening chapter, so somebody must have liked it! Another three years on and I’m almost finished.

2. Can you tell us a little something about it? 

Déjà Moo is a comic-fantasy heavily inspired by some of my favourite writers – Jasper Fforde, Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman to name but a few. Set in an alternate, present-day London, Déjà Moo follows a reclusive witch named Cynthia Panettiere and a celebrity cattle trader named Daniel Wesley. After Daniel’s prize-winning mascot Lily disappears during a live TV broadcast on the day of his retirement, he crosses paths with Cynthia, also planning to shut down her own business after her warlock boyfriend Errol vanishes. The two realise that Lily and Errol’s disappearances may be connected to a larger conspiracy against both Daniel and the secretive magi population of London. Cynthia and Daniel’s investigations are continually dogged by journalists desperate to broadcast the scoop on Daniel’s company, while Cynthia is desperate to keep the witching world out of the press. Not so easy, when they find out that the city’s top reporter has more than a few tricks up her own sleeves. It’s really about the battle between publicity and privacy.

3. Tell us, why do you write? Where do you draw your inspiration from? 

In terms of Déjà Moo, that actually started out as a joke. We were tasked in one of my first creative writing classes to write something set in London, and I didn’t like the brief so I ran with the most absurd, ridiculous idea I could come up with to protest and irritate my tutor – what if Hyde Park was maintained not by gardeners or lawnmowers, but by grazing cattle? As it turns out my tutor had a sense of humour and gave me a decent mark, so I continued to write other stories set in this same world, and tie them together.

Generally speaking, though, I have no idea where my ideas come from. Many of the themes in my novel sort of appeared without me planning or even noticing them until several drafts later – I’m sure a psychiatrist would have a field day with me. I don’t believe in “inspiration” as some kind of lightning bolt that strikes you. I think that people that want to have good ideas must work hard for them. Sometimes you might be walking down the street, and a billboard, or an overheard conversation, or a memorable passer-by might form the crux of a good story in your head. But it’s nothing if you don’t put in the time and hard work to develop that idea. It’s like a job – you’ve got to show up at your desk and put in the hours.

4. When I write, I require Jaffa cakes (and lots of them), do you have a writing must-have? 

Coffee. Black coffee. White coffee. Coffee with soy milk. Sweet coffee. Coffee with cream. Mocha, latte, cappuccino, coffee ice cream, coffee chocolate. Even those little coffee beans covered in chocolate. It’s all good. I also must write with music. Some of my favourite singer-songwriters are David Bowie, Amy Winehouse, Regina Spektor, Nick Cave and Kate Bush.

5. What is your favourite book? 

The first one that comes to mind is The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. It was astounding, vivid, and moving. People write off time-travel and romance as fluff, but the book takes difficult subjects – genetic illnesses, miscarriage, childhood and parenthood – and makes them more easily digestible through the lens of fantasy/science fiction. I still get emotional remembering the character of Ben, living with HIV, always asking his time-travelling friend Henry if he’s still alive in the future.

6. Which author’s career, alive or passed on, do you admire most, and why? 

Emily Bronte. She wrote one book before her death – Wuthering Heights – and it remains, in my opinion, one of the most powerful works in the English language. She was a visionary. Charlotte was more prolific and reserved, Anne more overlooked and understated, but Emily wrote with the most unbridled passion of the three sisters. And those rumours that Emily had written a second manuscript, so shocking and outrageous, that Charlotte threw it into the fire? That’s a story in itself! She shares her birthday with Kate Bush, who was inspired to write the famous song, and I share my birthday with both of them. Maybe I’ll have to write something inspired by them too.

7. Tell us something about yourself…an annoying habit or party trick perhaps? Can you speak a foreign language or have a hobby?

I experience synaesthesia, not so much a condition but a harmless brain phenomenon where the sensory areas of the brain have their wires crossed, so to speak. I hear colours and taste words. For example listening to the music of Amy Winehouse elicits a kind of green soundscape in my mind’s eye, while Nick Cave’s music is brown, black, sepia. The colour teal makes me ill because it brings to mind the smell of burnt plastic. Very rarely have I tasted things like cherries and mint while reading books. It also helps me to structure my writing because my brain sort of automatically colour-codes scenes, characters, locations. I’ve read that lots of artists and musicians have it – Stevie Wonder can purportedly see in colour.

8. Do you have a blog, website or social networking account people can go to if they wish to learn more about you or your work?

I’m on Twitter @pjbenney – that’s my favourite distraction. I always try to share useful links and tips as well as progress updates. Love chatting to other readers and writers too. Use the hashtag #dejamoo to find the best bits!

If people want to know more they should head over to www.dejamoo.co.uk where I’ve already posted a few announcements and teasers for my upcoming book, including an article about working with the designer who did my book cover. Some time next week I’m hoping to interview my editor for a bit as well!

9. What are your writing plans for 2016? 

My first priority is completing and publishing Déjà Moo on Amazon for Kindle. The eBook is going to be priced at around £2 and will be available by the end of September. What’s more, I’m planning to serialise the book for free online at the same time. So if you’re not sure you want to buy, a new chapter will be released at www.dejamoo.co.uk every week. You can either wait for weekly installments or buy the complete book straight away! Second will be cracking on with the third draft of my sequel, entitled Bovine Intervention, that picks up a few months after the events of Déjà Moo. Lastly I’ve got a novella about parallel universes I’m toying with that ties into Déjà Moo. I might release that towards the end of the year if I can wrap it up nicely. I’m not short of ideas!

10. And now, for the most important question of all: Jaffa cakes – love them or hate them?

Love them. I like to bite the cake bit off, then eat the jelly separately.

To keep up with P. J. Benney and his work please follow the links below:

Twitter: @pjbenney

Blog: www.dejamoo.co.uk

It was a real honour to interview this author; he’s not only talented but has such a unique imagination that allows him to create some fun and interesting ideas, worlds and characters. Thanks P. J. Benney  🙂

Writer Interview: Lynne Hale

Lynne Hale

Lynne was born in Malaya and cruised back to England, sleeping in a hammock, slung from the rafters of a troop ship. She spent her first birthday at sea and it was during the voyage that she learnt to walk. After they arrived in England, they found a beautiful home a short stroll away from a river, and from the end of their road they could see the Liver Birds across the water. Lynne became fascinated by the shore line and found crossing the river Mersey by ferry a real treat. Lynne has always had a love of animals, and their next home was in Shrewsbury right on the banks of the Severn. This meant their garden was often waterlogged, but Lynne adopted a huge toad as a pet and would pick it up and carry it with her. She even caught flies and slugs to feed it on before returning it to its ditch each night.

Lynne met her future husband at work and at lunch time the pair would often go and sit at Day’s Lock on the Thames and watch the boats. They dreamed of some day owning one. They were married, and Lynne was pregnant with their first child when her husband converted a long wheel base Land Rover so they could head off for a three-week adventure across Europe to explore the lakes and mountains.

Their love of adventure and travel was passed down to their daughters. When their daughters were young they wanted to go on holiday abroad, but the family couldn’t afford it. However, the ever resourceful Lynne and her husband found a cheap all-inclusive boat and train trip to Amsterdam and watched the joy on their children’s faces as they explored the streets and canals. A few years later they managed a proper family holiday and went camping at Interlaken, staying between the two lakes where they had the most spectacular views of the Jungfrau Mountain. Being adventurous, the family chose to ride different forms of public transport to explore the countryside and discover stunning waterfalls, rather than drive.

As I mentioned Lynne loves animals and has many pets who are actually the inspiration for the animal books. The Intrepid Pony Escapes is about her pony Intrepid. She’s had many dogs and her large lurcher is the star of her book Lurching Through London. She’s also had cats, guinea pigs, gerbils and hamsters.

Just as interesting as the adventures Lynne has had, are some of the jobs she’s had. Her first job was as a destructive tester of cloth. The samples came from all over the country, and she’d use a rain machine, Velcro tester and a lab to test the material. On her first day she was handed a packet of paper knickers with instructions to do a burn test in the lab. At first she thought it was a newbie prank. Whilst working at the lab, Lynne earned a Science TEC Level2.

Lynne has had a really interesting life and in my opinion that can sometimes create the best and most imaginative of writers. With so many pets to care for, a husband, two beautiful daughters and five grandchildren, Lynne is always busy. So I was honoured when she agreed to sit down and interview with me.

INTERVIEW

1. What are you working on right now?

The sequel to The Intrepid Pony Escapes, it will probably be called The Intrepid Pony Bolts.

2.Can you tell us a little something about it? 

Zoe is frightened by her new pony’s unpredictable bursts of speed, particularly when he takes off towards a busy road. While she battles with her pony and tries to work out why he gallops off conflict arises between two riders. To make things worse, a close friend becomes seriously ill, shortly after her parents split up . How can Zoe cope with all the conflicting emotions, support her friends and enjoy riding her pony again?

3.Tell us, why do you write? Where do you draw your inspiration from? 

All my stories are loosely based on my own life. I used to read pony books and think my life was more like a novel than those unreal plots.

4. When I write, I require Jaffa cakes (and lots of them), do you have a writing must-have? 

When I write I lose track of time. I don’t require anything but my husband keeps my thirst quenched with coffee. However chocolate doesn’t last long if its within range of the keyboard.

5. What is your favourite book? 

Just one book? The pony book must be The Silver Brumby by Elyne Mitchell.  Sahara by Clive Cussler tops my adventure list and Looking Good Dead by Peter James for crime.

6. Which author’s career, alive or passed on, do you admire most, and why?

Jane Austen. Genteel women were supposed to write letters and useful communications, but not novels. She wrote wonderful romances with wit and described her characters so well you could see them. Her work has withstood the test of time, but still delights her readers. I admire the way she must have written everything by hand with a quill pen. One page would take so long that I would forget what I was trying to convey.

7.Tell us something about yourself…an annoying habit or party trick perhaps? Can you speak a foreign language or have a hobby? 

For the last seven years my husband and I have explored the canals and rivers of England in our narrow boat. It’s a wonderful way to see our country and its abundant wildlife. Coots, herons, swans and Moorhens populate the busiest canals. Sometimes a kingfisher flies ahead of the boat, its wings a vivid flash of blue. Towns look different from the water. So far we have moored in London at little Venice, and close to the sea life centre in Birmingham. We have been through long tunnels and over high aqueducts.

This year we hope to continue our water wanderings somewhere in the north of England. The biggest challenge will be crossing the Pennines with 83 locks in 24 miles and tackling the longest tunnel in England which boasts of being at the highest elevation whilst being the deepest underground.

8.Do you have a blog, website or social networking account people can go to if they wish to learn more about you or your work?

Intrepidpony.blogspot.com is my blog. The blog mainly focuses on our narrow boat trips. I also have  a Facebook page under the name of LottieLurcher

9. What are your writing plans for 2016? 

Another of Lottie Lurcher’s adventures. It should be ‘Lurching through Wales’ but I fancy doing ‘Lurching Down the Trent’ first.

10. And now, for the most important question of all: Jaffa cakes – love them or hate them? 

I hate them – even though I love chocolate.

 

To follow Lynne and her work please follow the links below:

Facebook: LottieLurcher

Blog: Intrepidpony.blogspot.com

Twitter: @lynnehale14

It was an honor to interview Lynne, she’s had an interesting life and it’s always fun to interview writers from all walks of life. Even if some of them are crazy and don’t love Jaffa Cakes! Thanks Lynne!  🙂

Interested in checking out Lynne’s work? Then the Intrepid Pony Escapes  can be bought from her using pay-pal by emailing intrepidpony@btinternet.com Lurching through London can be bought from her using pay-pal by emailing lottielurcher@btinternet.com