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.


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.



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.



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.



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.


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.




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:






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.




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