Another chat with author Marjorie Young

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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

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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.

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  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

 

 

Writer Interview: Tim McBain

Tim McBain

Tim Mcbain is an ambitious and driven writer, and is the author of The Scattered and the Dead. Quite rightfully he admires some of the most talented authors in the business, such as George R.R. Martin. Like a lot of fiction writers he finds that the make believe world he creates often makes more sense than the real world. And I for one, second that!

Tim’s a busy man so I was honoured to get the time to interview him.

 

INTERVIEW

1.What are you working on right now?

I’m working on the audiobook for The Scattered and the Dead (Book 1), writing parts of the sequels in that series and polishing the final book in the Awake in the Dark series. I also can’t stop daydreaming about a series I probably won’t get to work on for a few months.

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

Well, I think The Scattered and the Dead (Book 1) is a good mix of disturbing and stimulating story. Our early readers have responded strongly to it. I’m excited to see how the general public reacts.

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

I think there are a lot of tangible reasons I could give — it’s an effort to communicate, a way to connect to people, a way to make money. But really it’s like explaining why you dream when you sleep. I feel like I’m always trying to organize the meaning and lack thereof I find in life — both at once. Sometimes it comes out in a philosophical way, sometimes in a spiritual or animal way. Somehow, fiction became a place to do that, and now it often makes more sense to me than real life, which is weird.

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

I like coffee. I write better when I first wake up in the morning. I’m too tired to be self-conscious, I think. I sit in the dark and the weirdest things occur to me and make me laugh. It’s fun.

5. What is your favourite book? 

That’s a tough one. I think the single biggest inspiration was The Collector by John Fowles. It’s really disturbing, but the psychology is so intricate and interesting. It clicked with me. I like Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck a lot, though. That might be my favorite.

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

Which career I admire, or which career I dream of attaining myself? I’ll take it the second way. I had no particular interest in genre fiction and had barely read any until I read George R.R. Martin’s book. Now I write genre fiction full time. But it’s hard to picture becoming as successful as he became in these last few years. So instead I’ll go with Roger Zelazny, one of GRRM’s friends. He was a very successful and beloved science fiction and fantasy author. Pretty prolific. He died in 1995. A dedicated group still love and read his stuff, but he never quite broke into the mainstream in a Stephen King or George R.R. Martin way.

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

It’s hard to pick just one annoying quality of mine. I have so many. Sometimes I take off my pants and shake my genitals at my writing partner. I actually don’t find it that annoying, to be honest. I guess it’s more of a hobby than anything.

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?

Yeah. I guess twitter is a pretty good place to see how annoying I am: http://twitter.com/realtimmcbai

9.What are your writing plans for 2016? 

My writing partner and I are going to release a book every 60 days this year and beyond.

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

I’d never had them before, so I went and bought some after you talked about them. They’re weird. I can’t imagine wanting to eat them very often. The middle is excessively squidgy. It’s troubling.

To follow Tim and his work please follow the link below:

Twitter: @RealTimMcBain

It was awesome to interview Tim. He’s a talented writer and an ambitious one and I admire ambition in people. Plus, he’s never going to try and steal my Jaffa Cakes! Thanks for taking the time Tim!

 

Writer Interview: Francis Sparks

Francis Sparks

Francis Sparks

Francis Sparks grew up on a farm in northwest Iowa with his two sisters, where he spent his days avoiding bulls and other livestock as he created castles in the pasture made of fallen trees, twine pilfered from his father’s hay bales and his imagination. Since graduating from college, he has lived in the ‘big’ city where he continues to build castles and fight dragons in the IT industry as a web programmer. He has an amazing wife and two beautiful children and enjoys spending time with them, writing and teaching his children, ages 2 and 6 weeks, all about dragons.

Francis recently got a piece of his work accepted in one of Bards and Sages anthologies titled The Great Tome of Darkest Horrors and Unspeakable Evils.

I was both lucky and quick to grab him for an interview.

INTERVIEW

1.What are you working on right now?

 

I am working on my first high fantasy novel, a short story and edits for my debut novel that will be released this fall by Pandamoon Publishing.

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

 

The fantasy novel is something that sort of came to me differently than most ideas. I’m a pantser so I don’t always know where the story is going until I get there, but for this one I know how it ends and it’s all about getting there which is fun but also scary for me. It has all of the great stuff for me, wizards, politics, swords and murder.

The short story is something that I just started writing a few weeks ago but the voice of the main character  is incredibly strong so I think it will go quickly, it is more along the lines of a crime/thriller story. It’s a take on how someone might react if they found out they were living on borrowed time. What if that person happened to be a repressed sociopath?

Made Safe is my debut novel that will be published in Fall 2016 from Pandamoon Publishing. It is a crime/mystery novel in which I explore the different circumstances refugees of the Bosnian conflict find themselves in and the choices they make when they are resettled in the Midwestern United States.

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

 

I am a restless wreck if I don’t have a creative outlet.

 

My inspiration comes from everything around me. My doctor with the accent and broken nose for instance. Where did he come from? How did he break his nose? My mind takes me many places when I ponder things like that. I suppose I could ask him but that wouldn’t be any fun.

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

 

Interesting, I find the habits of artistic people incredibly fascinating. There is a great book called Daily Rituals: How Artists Work filled with anecdotes about how the greats worked. For me it is coffee. I usually write in the morning or over lunch and coffee is a must, it gives me an excuse to pause and do something other than write for a moment (which isn’t always bad).

5.What is your favourite book?

 

The Sun Also Rises. When I was in college I discovered the campus library’s excellent collection of Hemingway’s works and tore through them, but I still re-read The Sun Also Rises and For Whom the Bell Tolls the most. The way Hemingway can draw you in with his simple declarative sentence structure is something I try to emulate in my own writing.

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

 

At the risk of talking too much about him, Ernest Hemingway had a great career. His first novel was a near masterpiece written at age 27 in the Sun Also Rises. He was an Expat in Paris at the height of the roaring 20’s, he was around for the rise of fascism in Europe and covered it as a journalist during the Spanish Civil war. He helped liberate Paris from the Nazis. All this time he is experiencing life and writing about it with ironclad discipline. And then at age 50-something he writes the Old Man and the Sea and wins the Nobel Prize. Not a bad run.

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

 

This probably covers a few of those. I can do voices/impressions some good, some terrible. I’ve started doing a version of Mr. Carson from Downton Abbey that my two-year-old son thinks is hilarious.  Also I am an avid runner and I’m taking up fencing next month.

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?

 

The date for release of my novel hasn’t been set yet but if you go to my website you can sign up for updates. I promise no spam.

www.francissparks.com

https://twitter.com/writingsparks

https://www.goodreads.com/francis_sparks

9.What are your writing plans for 2016?

 

I am going to complete the first draft of my WIP fantasy novel, launch Made Safe my debut crime/mystery novel and hopefully begin my next mystery novel I have on the backburner.

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

 

I’m going to try them — Amazon Prime will have them here on Tuesday.

 

 

To follow Francis and be kept informed of the launch date of his debut novel please follow the links below:

 

www.francissparks.com

https://twitter.com/writingsparks

https://www.goodreads.com/francis_sparks

 

Francis was kind enough to share the blurb of his soon to be released novel Made Safe. Here it is:

 

When an adultery investigation takes a violent turn, Fred Dunsmore lands in the hospital with a near-fatal stab wound and private investigator Moses Winter lands in jail. He’s not alone, though. He’s there with his unstable client, Sharon Dunsmore, and Fred’s mistress, a Bosnian refugee who just happens to be the cousin of DCI agent Raif Rakić. After Rakić secures their release, Fred disappears, and Moses Winter must now find the man his client tried to kill, and in doing so navigate the murky waters of the Des Moines criminal underworld run by the local Bosnian mafia.

 

Francis’s piece in The Great Tomb of Darkest Horrors and Unspeakable Evils, is titled Twenty Steps.

 

http://www.bardsandsages.com/speculative_fiction/great_tome_vol_2

 

It was a real honor to interview Francis. He is such a well-read and talented writer with an awesome imagination. Thanks Francis!