20 Questions With...

20 Questions with…Kate Spitzmiller

 

It wasn’t long ago that I first heard Kate read two of her pieces and I was instantly brought back in time.  As a fan of ancient Greece and Rome I find myself falling in love with her characters along with the history that surrounds them.

Not only have we been awarded by Spider Road Press, but we both have pieces included in Approaching Footsteps which are definitely worth the read until her debut novel is released on Dec. 1 from Spider Road Press.

Even if historical fiction isn’t your thing the characters that Kate creates are so unique yet identifiable that you’ll have to find out what happens to the next.

So without further adieu I bring to you award-winning author Kate Spitzmiller.

Kate Author Photo

Twenty Questions With…Kate Spitzmiller

 

  1. Every writer has that one book that made him or her want to be a writer, what’s yours? I think it would have to be a toss-up between Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor.  Heart of Darkness taught me about the power of a single word, the weight just one word can carry, while Shipwrecked Sailor—a much shorter work—taught me about brevity and how much emotion and conflict and tension can be squeezed into a novella. They both taught me how important it is to write about the human condition.

 

  1. How old where you when you started writing? I don’t even remember. My Mom has stories I wrote in first or second grade. The first big project I remember writing formally was in eighth grade. It was for an assignment in social studies class. We were supposed to take on the persona of a representative from the Continental Congress and write a letter from their perspective. I wanted to write from the perspective of John Adams’ wife Abigail. I got a lot of grief from my teacher for that, because Abigail was a woman and not even at the Congress, but I fought my teacher on it and won out. I wrote a great letter!

 

 

  1. Name four authors that you’d love to have lunch with. Stephen King (definitely!), Joseph Conrad, James Michener, and Maya Angelou

 

  1. What would you eat? Well, I’m gluten intolerant, so something gluten-free. Maybe sushi. Or some nice mussels or New England clam chowder.

 

 

  1. How do you plot out your work? I’m a bit of a pantster, not a plotter. As an historical fiction writer, usually the scaffold of the story is there for me already, and I can just fill in the gaps with fictional aspects. But some of my best work has come from just having an end goal and then sitting down at the computer and letting the characters working it out on their own. For example, in my upcoming novel Companion of the Ash, I had two characters who had never met before but I needed them to become allies. They were already in an awkward position due to family issues. I had no idea how the conversation was going to go. So, I put them together in a room and just let them talk. The scene ended up being great. Sometimes you just have to let your characters lead the way.

 

  1. Do you write in the morning or evening? I usually get going around four or five o’clock in the afternoon and write until about midnight. I’m a night owl. Occasionally, if I’m working on something that has my head going a mile a minute, I’ll wake up early before work and write.

 

  1. Is there music on? Sometimes. It depends what I’m working on. I have a novel in the works that is set in Vietnam. When I’m working on that, I play Motown music for inspiration.

 

 

  1. What inspired your last story? Weirdly, one of my last published stories was inspired by a dream. I had a dream one night that my husband was a German spy during World War II and everyone hated me for it. I woke up and immediately took notes on the dream. The story, The Song of Saint George, ended up being about a woman who has to be convinced by British Intelligence that her husband is a spy. No one hates her (yet), but the basic element of her being married to a German spy is there.

 

  1. Name three books so good you wish you wrote them. I suppose it would be cheating if I listed three Outlander books, so I’ll say the first book in the Outlander series,Continental Drift by Russell Banks, and The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley.

 

10.  What television shows, movies, or albums do you believe are written well? I think Game of Thrones is exceptionally well written. If you watch the bonus material after each episode and hear what the show’s creators have to say about each episode, you get an even greater sense of the meaning behind the writing. It’s good stuff. As for movies, generally speaking, I think anything directed by Ridley Scott is written well. He has a habit it seems of getting great screenwriters. I particularly liked the writing in Gladiator andThe Martian. In music, I am a huge Eagles fan, mostly because of their lyrics. Don Henley and Glen Frey tell great stories with most of their songs. “Lyin’ Eyes” is my favorite. It’s a very sad and poignant tale about two people who love each other but who can only be together very briefly because of circumstance.

 

 

11.  Which actor would you cast in the protagonist role of your most recent piece? For A Song of Saint George, I’d need a British actress for the role of Mrs. Ridley, so I might cast Sophie Turner fromGame of Thrones. She’d have to cut her hair, though, as the story is set during World War II.

 

12.  Which of your pieces was the hardest to write? In one of my scenes in my upcoming novel, my main character is sexually assaulted. This was a very difficult scene to write from an emotional standpoint. As writers, we get very attached to out characters, and I hated putting her through that. She’d already been through hell, and it was just awful to write. But it was necessary for the story.

 

13. Which was the easiest? I wrote A Song of Saint George in an afternoon—probably three hours—with very little editing. It’s a short piece, and mostly dialogue, but it just seemed to really flow. It’s the easiest thing I’ve ever written.

 

14.  Which of your pieces did readers ‘get’ when they told you their thoughts on it? I think The House of Special Purpose, which is my story about Olga, the oldest Romanov daughter during her last days before the family is executed by the Bolsheviks. Even people who didn’t know the original historical story “got it,” and I was even told by a few that they learned something from it. A lot of people said they cried at the end—so I suppose that means they really “got it.”

 

15.  What are you working on now? I’m finishing up a novel set in the Roman Empire, 121 CE. It’s a historical with a romantic twist. I have one chapter to go and then the final edit. The novel is about two people—non-Romans—and their experiences as outsiders living within the Empire. There’s a lot of action and plot twists. I’ve done quite a bit of research for this novel, having traveled to Rome twice and northern England once to gather materials, notes, and photos of places and artifacts related to the time period and the story. Now I just need to get the novel finished!

 

  1. What story do you have to write before you die? Ever since high school, I’ve had an idea for a novel set during the Vietnam War. It’s been buzzing around in my head for months now, and I work on it every now and then. It’s going to be a huge project—Michener-sized. But I see it as my one big work. The entire story is already laid out in my head, I just need to get it down on paper. That’s the story I need to tell before I die.

 

  1. What’s your best fan story? I don’t actually have any fan stories.

 

  1. What sentence have you written that you feel encapsulates your style? From my Roman novel, in the epilogue, when the main character is describing the life she is living with her husband after their journey across the Roman Empire to freedom, she says: “Daman and Aeneas may both be men who traveled far and honored the will of the Fates, but Daman chose a different path in the end — the path out of darkness; the path of humanity and light.”

 

  1. Have you ever based characters off of real people? Other than my historical characters (like Olga Romanov), one character was based on a person I know. I did that once. S/he is to remain nameless.

 

 

  1. Who’s your favorite character? Andromache, the main character in my upcoming novel Companion of the Ash. I didn’t create her, Homer did, but he made her out to be weak and rather pathetic. My version of her is brave and tough and vulnerable all at the same time. She is also able to forgive. I admire her for that.

 

 

You can find out more about the author on their blog katespitzmiller.com and purchase their work in Spider Road Press’s Approaching Footsteps from Amazon.

Companion of the Ash releases December 1, 2018.

But if you can’t wait until then take a look at some great reads-

The House of Special Purpose

The Song of Saint George

 

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My Girl

 

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Mad Girl's Publishing, Unseen

A Thrilling Playlist for ‘Unseen’

I love music.

Well maybe love isn’t strong enough a word, because it has been instrumental (pun intended) in my personal writing process.

So to all the musicians out there-thank you.

Below are the specific songs that were integral to the writing of my romantic thriller ‘Unseen’; which introduces you to Samantha Locke, a volitive assassin, and Matthew Burke, a straight-edge spy, while they work for Erebus a nefarious agency headquarterd in Washington D.C.

UNSEEN EBOOK

 

 

The titles which have a (+) after them mean that from now until the end of time when I hear that song I’ll instantly think of a man’s final wish (Precious), when we first meet Lilly (Boys Wanna Be Her), or Matthew walking through the streets of D.C. (The Tune). 

The songs with an (*) are far fewer and what I like to call inspirational if you will.  The songs were written long before I started the novel, but when I hear them I feel as if they were composed specifically for me to create ‘Unseen’. 

Titles that are italicized are either directly or indirectly mentioned in the novel ‘Unseen’.

During the early stages of writing ‘Ava Adore’ by Smashing Pumpkins resonated strongly with me, so much that if I were to give the entire novel one song to sum it up, that would be the song to do it. 

So get on your favorite music app and listen to some great music while reading a thrilling book.

 

Jack

-Precious by Depeche Mode+

Recruitment

-Boys Wanna Be Her by Peaches+

-Hurt by Johnny Cash

The Test

-The Tune by Wax Tailor+

-Strawberry Bubblegum by Justin Timberlake

-Bad Girls by M.I.A.

Stiff

-Bury Me With It by Modest Mouse

– The Letter Edged In Black by Johnny Cash

-Over and Over by Hot Chip

-Criminal by Fiona Apple

The Last Time

-Bang Bang Boom Boom by Beth Hart

– Wandering Star by Portishead

Locke’s First Mission 

-Rollercoaster by Bleachers

-This Is A Trick by (Crosses)+

End Of The Line by Sleighbells+

Looking Glass

Written In Reverse by Spoon

King Night by Salem+ 

-Man In Black by Johnny Cash+

-Dirt Off Your Shoulder/ Lying From You by Jay Z & Linkin Park

Bad Blood by Taylor Swift

– Terrible Lie by Nine Inch Nails+

Three Women

No You Girls by Franz Ferdinand

Summertime Sadness (Lana Del Rey vs. Cedric Gervais) by Lana Del Rey & Cedric Gervais 

– Wasted Time by Best Coast

Truth or Truth

– Philosophize In It!  Chemicalize With It! By Kishi Bashi

– You Go Down Smooth by Lake Street Dive

– Ava Adore by Smashing Pumpkins*

Ghosts n Stuff (Nero Remix) by deadmau5

– When I’m Small by Phantogram

Paris

– 6 Underground by Sneaker Pimps+

– Hong Kong Garden (with strings intro) by Siouxsie & The Banshees

– Let It Fall by Lykke Li

Elevate by St. Lucia

Young Blood by The Naked and Famous

Night Terrors

– Harlequin Dream by Boy & Bear

– Every Day Is Exactly The Same by Nine Inch Nails

– Gooey by Glass Animals

Damaged Goods

– The Cat With the Cream by Belle and Sebastian

– Cut It Out by Kitten

Seven Cards

– Devil’s Spoke by Laura Marling

I Walk The Line by Johnny Cash+

– No One’s Gonna Love You by Band of Horses

The Broken Promise

– Highly Suspicious by My Morning Jacket

– Devil In Me by Gin Wigmore

The Arc

– Ink by Coldplay+

– Killer Bangs by Honeyblood

– Black Out On White Night by Sage Francis

– Crown On The Ground by Sleigh Bells +

Skin and Bones

– Lead Me Home by Jamie N Commons

– Something Is Not Right With Me by Cold War Kids

– I’ll Believe In Anything by Wolf Parade

– Always by Blink-182

Video Games by Lana Del Rey

Somplace by Jake Bugg

– Breakin’ Dishes by Rihanna+

Maggie’s/Saul’s Night 

– Black Tongue by Yeah Yeah Yeahs

– Phazing by Dirty South Featuring Rudy

– I Told You I Was Mean by Elle King

– It’s All Over by Johnny Cash

Locke’s Last Mission

– Female Robbery by The Neighborhood*

– Sing by Travis

Bullet With Butterfly Wings by Smashing Pumpkins

– Tell ‘Em by Sleigh Bells

– Magic by Bruce Springsteen+

– Good Lookin Out by Kurt Vile

– Gamma Ray by Beck

– Why Do You Love Me by Garbage

– In Circles (Remastered) by Sunny Day Real Estate

Bleach 

– Tennessee Whiskey by Chris Stapleton

– Lady Luck by Richard Swift

– No Below by Speedy Ortiz

      Christina by Kitten

Friends With Benefits 

Bad Girls (feat. Missy Elliott & Rye Rye) [Switch Remix] by M.I.A.

– Animal (Switch remix) by Ke$ha+

– The Lament of Pretty Baby by Cursive+

Gasoline and Matches 

– You Don’t Get Me Twice by Sleigh Bells

– Knives Out by Radiohead

Video Games by Lana Del Rey

– Army of Me by Björk *

– Bitter Rivals by Sleigh Bells

I Know by Fiona Apple+

Golden State

– To Hell With You by Sleigh Bells+

20 Questions With..., Uncategorized

20 Questions with…Pamela Fagan Hutchins

I refer to her as my mentor, and I tell everyone that she’s my Mom’s favorite author, but in actuality her most important role to me is friend.

Pamela Fagan Hutchins has numerable fiction and non-fiction titles, a multitude of awards, and can turn out books faster than you can say gluten-free brownies.  I met her in Houston where I attended her critique circle (the second I’d attended after going the Houston Writers Guild) and found that she could make her teenage child a meal, have a conversation with her husband, AND give all the authors valuable feedback that made me into the writer I am today.

I’ve also attended a conference in which she had her own breakout session.  Pamela spoke, nearly continuously, for five hours enriching the authors with her knowledge of the publishing industry while leaving us awestruck.

I’m thankful that she has been brought into my life, and anytime I need her she’s been there for me.  At this point I don’t know what else to say other than I’m so happy that she’s now moved to ‘Nowheresville’ where she can spend the days with her beloved animals including Feathers (on the left) and Kitty Katniss (on the right) who supported her as she wrote Bombshell which is out now.

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Twenty Questions With Pamela Fagan Hutchins

  1. Every writer has that one book that made him or her want to be a writer, what’s yours?

Oh, if it were only one. Cheaper by the Dozen, Where the Red Fern Grows, Lonesome Dove, The Great Santini, and a slew of female sleuth mysteries by Sara Paretsky, Sue Grafton, Patricia Cornwell, and many, many others.

  1. How old where you when you started writing?

Third grade.

  1. Name four authors that you’d love to have lunch with.

Pat Conroy, Larry McMurtry, Liliana Hart, Craig Johnson

  1. What would you eat?

Ribeye steak (medium rare), baked sweet potato, and roasted Brussel sprouts.

  1. How do you plot out your work?

I brainstorm and storyboard with my story partner (aka my smart, creative, cute husband), then I do a little research, a lot of thinking, and make some chapter notes those loosely resemble an outline. I write character-driven mysteries featuring amateur female sleuths with strong women’s fiction themes, so I try to come up with a new way for someone to die with a fresh villain and interesting motivation at the same time as pulling off a fast-paced contemporary slice of a woman’s life. Ultimately, I just start writing, though, and let the characters tell the story. I update my chapter notes as I go, and I revise comprehensively one time before I turn it over to my content editor for suggestions, then my copyeditor for perfectifying.

  1. Do you write in the morning or evening?

Both

  1. Is there music on?

Only during the final stages. I find it distracting, which becomes an excuse to procrastinate, and I have pretty aggressive deadlines, so I have to stay focused. Music can help me fine tune voice and tone, though, so I like it a lot during final stages.

  1. What inspired your last story?

My characters inspire my stories. Once I get to know them, it becomes clear that their paths will lead to good stories. Knockout is my third “Ava” mystery, and her journey from unknown to superstar to indie involves bright lights, big stages, and betrayal. I just have to put my butt in the chair and let her speak through me.

  1. Name three books so good you wish you wrote them.

See #1.

  1. What television shows, movies, or albums do you believe are written well?

Justified was really well written.

  1. Which actor would you cast in the protagonist role of your most recent piece?

Ashanti is who I would cast in my Ava trilogy (Bombshell, Stunner, Knockout).

  1. Which of your pieces was the hardest to write?

To date, my Michele novels have been the hardest (Going for Kona, Fighting for Anna, Searching for Dime Box), especially Fighting for Anna. It also won the Silver Falchion for Best Adult Mystery, so maybe being hard to write is a good thing.

  1. Which was the easiest?

My easiest novels so far have probably been my Emily mysteries (Heaven to Betsy, Earth to Emily, Hell to Pay). The protagonist Emily was based on a dear childhood friend and set in the town I grew up in, so it was a setting, culture, and characters that came to me more easily than some others have.

  1. Which of your pieces did readers ‘get’ when they told you their thoughts on it?

Women really seem to relate to my Katie mysteries (Saving Grace, Leaving Annalise, Finding Harmony). Katie is insecure, awkward, and her own worst enemy. I can certainly relate to that myself!

  1. What are you working on now?

I’m working on the Maggie Trilogy. She’s a modern hippie turned junker/salvage artiste who owns an antique store in the Hill Country of Texas. And, oh yeah, she was a rising star on the music scene until she burned all her bridges and ended up broke and in a last-chance rehab. She’s wild, crazy, and super interesting. She first appeared in my mystery Fighting for Anna as a supporting character, and I knew I had to give her trilogy of her own.

  1. What story do you have to write before you die?

I have a story about “polarity” between two lovers. It’s a Serendipity­-­type story but with my own Pamela twist, based on my husband’s and my meeting. I don’t write romance…so we’ll have to see if this turns out as straight up romance, or something cross genre with suspense.

  1. What’s your best fan story?

When we moved from Houston to our little Nowheresville, we made friends with another couple who had also transplanted. One day, when I was taking a group of writers out to breakfast from a writers’ retreat I held at our house, I ran into those new friends. It turned out that his mother was with them, and “my biggest fan.” It was fun to have our new friends discover I was a writer through her eyes. She’s since become a friend, too.

  1. What sentence have you written that you feel encapsulates your style?

Oh geez, I’ve written nineteen books! LOL, a sentence? Well, in lieu of that impossible task, here’s the intro to my 2nd Ava novel, Stunner:

 

They say be careful what you wish for, but they don’t know beef from bull foot. I jump out of the helicopter, which I rode over from Virgin Gorda for the sole purpose of making an entrance. Collin, my man, hustles forward. I clutch my floppy hat with one hand and take Collin’s fingers with the other as I concentrate on how to look graceful in a forty-mile-per-hour wind that creates a pelletized sand spout. On one side of us is crystal blue Caribbean Sea. On the other coconut palms bend nearly double behind a tiki hut with twinkling red and green Christmas lights. My eyes continue down the beach across the roofline of an enormous house and land on a thatched-roof pavilion with what looks like heavily loaded buffet tables.

 

All of this for the wrap party for my first album. Bombshell—that’s the name of the album—is memorialized on a giant banner across the top of the tiki hut: AVA BUTLER’S EXPLOSIVE DEBUT ALBUM, BOMBSHELL, FROM VENUS RECORDS. DECEMBER 15, EVERYWHERE. There’s a picture from the album artwork incorporated into the banner. In it, I’m a road-weary skank with eye makeup streaked down my cheeks and a ripped green lace top, but I’d do me.

 

  1. Have you ever based characters off of real people?

Every one of my twelve novels features real people in fictional roles. Now your job is to guess who is real and who isn’t! I’ll tell you one for sure: Ava is based on my best friend from my years in the Virgin Islands.

  1. Who’s your favorite character?

Of mine, or of anyone’s? Woodrow and Gus from Lonesome Dove. Dan and Little Ann from Where the Red Fern Grows. Or my Katie J

 

You can find out more about Pamela Fagan Hutchins on her website at http://pamelafaganhutchins.com and purchase her work anywhere online, in ebook, paperback, hardback, or audio. Get free exclusives when you sign up for her newsletter at https://www.subscribepage.com/PFHSuperstars. Email  pamela at pamelafaganhutchins dot com if you’d like her to Skype with your book club or women’s group.

Be sure to pick up Knockout the third book in the Sexy Ava series out June 12.

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20 Questions With...

20 Questions with…T. Haven Morse

She wears so many hats that I don’t even know where to begin.

But I guess that explains her poetry since it too has a million different perspectives.  I suppose it’s because T. Haven Morse perfected the craft of performance before she delved into the art of the written word.

When she’s not enjoying time on her ranch with her husband and children, she’s the girl Friday for Spider Road Press.

I’m so glad to have her on my side, so without further adieu may I introduce you to T. Haven Morse.

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Twenty Questions With…T. Haven Morse

  1. Every writer has that one book that made him or her want to be a writer, what’s yours?

 

When I was eight, I took a small, thin book from my grandmother’s shelf: “Angel Unaware” by Dale Evans Rogers. The tale is written in first person, from the point of view of Dale’s sick daughter. Robin talks to God, sharing the story of her brief time on Earth. That was the first time a book brought me to tears. As Maya Angelou says—make them feel and they will remember. I’ve never forgotten.

 

  1. How old where you when you started writing?

 

In 1987, at the age of eleven, I published my first article for the Jones Gazette (our family newsletter). Titled “Grandparents Coming,” the piece was short but informative. My first paid gig was to write a script for a Six Flags Astroworld show in my early twenties. However, I didn’t actually go “pro” until my late thirties.

 

  1. Name four authors that you’d love to have lunch with.

 

  1. Paulo Coelho—although we might need a translator
  2. Elizabeth Gilbert—she’s a writing idol of mine
  3. Maya Angelou—though we’d require a medium
  4. Holly Lyn Walrath—she’s local and we have lunch every Tuesday, so she’d be an easy one to arrange and I love talking writing-shop with her

 

  1. What would you eat?

 

Would it matter? No, but for the sake of this questionnaire and my longtime vegetarianism, let’s say veggie sushi and tempura with Boston Cream Pie for dessert (it’s my favorite).

 

  1. How do you plot out your work?

 

Each piece is different. Sometimes the story or poem just spills out like an uncontrollable gush of words, characters, and plot. Other times I actually outline the story with a set beginning, middle, end, theme, twists, and beats. However, even with those more structured creations, I always stay flexible for the unknown, alert to unexpected yet ever-present input from the characters or my muse.

 

  1. Do you write in the morning or evening?

 

Every day is my life is different. On certain days, I write first thing in the morning—before the sun is up. Other days, the writing happens in a hammock at high noon. And some days, words meet page after dinner or dark.

 

  1. Is there music on?

 

Almost always. Either the Hans Zimmer channel on Pandora or the DirectTV Movie Soundtrack channels usually. I’m not a fan of lyrics when I write but love emotion-filled music.

 

  1. What inspired your last story?

 

For the first time, I’m actually working with a Story Guide on a fantasy yarn based on a true experience in my life. My guide is the Amazing Alysia Seymour and the story is a metaphorical novelette about my daughter’s birth and the heart-wrenching trials of spending a week in the NICU. Leyna, my counterpart, deals with some nasty demons—inside and outside—as well as meets some extraordinary spirit guides along the way. It’s, by far, the most cathartic and honest work I’ve ever written.

 

  1. Name three books so good you wish you wrote them.

 

  1. “By The River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept” by Paulo Coelho
  2. “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert
  3. “Wonder” by R.J. Palacio

 

  1. What television shows, movies, or albums do you believe are written well?

 

There are many! Currently on TV, I’m loving “The Alchemist” and “The Good Doctor.” In films, one of my favorites that I can’t believe wasn’t a book first is “The Age of Adeline.” I’m pretty much a fan of any screenplay by Darren Aronofsky (my first love of his work was “The Fountain”—still a regular go-to film for me) and Guillermo Del Torro. As for music, having work with Houston Grand Opera for six seasons, I’m a huge opera fan—especially of Iain Bell’s work. He’s incredible, as a writer and a human being.

 

  1. Which actor would you cast in the protagonist role of your most recent piece?

 

I have a number of pieces in progress at the moment, and at all times. Cressida, my romantic fantasy lead for book one of the Feathers of the Phoenix series, would be played by India Eisley or an undiscovered talent with dark-hair and green-eyes. Leyna, fantasy protag in my based-on-true-life novelette, would be played well by Natalie Dormer from Games of Thrones/Hunger Games. Finding the lead for my historical fantasy WIP, “Tales of Tuttleman” might be tougher—Tuttleman is a two hundred year old talking pug. Not sure how we’d manage that one on screen!?! If animation or not, Paul Bettany would do his voice. No question!

 

  1. Which of your pieces was the hardest to write?

 

“Cressida”, book one of a romantic fantasy, has been the hardest because she and I started together before I had a clue what I was doing. She went from hardcore romance (verging on erotica) to straight fantasy and has now pendulumed back to somewhere in the middle. But once we’ve figured out the right balance of sexy and fantastical, she’ll be amazing—as will her offspring in the Feathers of the Phoenix series.

 

  1. Which was the easiest?

 

My first poetry collection published, “Flooded By”, simply poured out in about 45 days. That collection is way more muse than me. The persona poet in me took over and ran for the finish line, dragging me behind.

 

  1. Which of your pieces did readers ‘get’ when they told you their thoughts on it?

 

I just finished a flash piece called “More Than a Pigg” for a contest. With the exception of one beta reader, everyone else who has read her, has absolutely loved the story. They were engrossed, sad to see the end, and were still reeling days later. Hopefully, she’ll win the contest and be published later this year. If not, I will definitely shop her around more. People need to hear this story.

 

  1. What are you working on now?

 

Lots of things! See above. 🙂 In a nutshell, book one of a romantic fantasy series, a free-standing fantasy novelette based on a true event in my life, a novella about a two hundred year old talking pug (think Forrest Gump meets Frank from Men in Black), and a series of chapbooks based on writing prompts called “Splintered Musings.” No, I don’t sleep. And when I do, I dream in epic storylines!?!

 

  1. What story do you have to write before you die?

 

All of them. I will write until my last day, I have no doubt. My muse is faithful and will guide me to the stories I need to share.

 

  1. What’s your best fan story?

 

One of the poems in “Flooded By” is a glimpse into the love between a ghost-woman named Melody and a Catholic priest. It’s pure and complicated and lovely. I’ve had many readers, including some esteemed writer colleagues, tell me how much they love that poem. I love it too.

 

  1. What sentence have you written that you feel encapsulates your style?

 

This is hard for a multi-genre writer like me, whose style is all over the place. But let’s go with this one from “The Tales of Tuttleman”:

 

“Although we were about the same age when we first met, I matured much faster than he did and achieved an adult perspective while he was still foundering with pimples and discovering what to do with his Wee Willy Winky.”

 

  1. Have you ever based characters off of real people?

 

Sure. In one of my current works-in-progress, there are three fantastical bird-women that are based loosely on my great-grandmothers (the three I knew). I’ve loved spending time with them while writing the story.

 

  1. Who’s your favorite character?

 

Wow! That’s a wide-open question!?! In my own work, I have a serious writer-crush on Tuttleman—the two hundred year old talking pug—right now. He’s funny and charming and British with a wealth of knowledge and life-experience. Plus, he’s introduced me to Mary Shelley, Jack the Ripper, Nina Simone, Nelson Mandela, and a number of other famous and infamous people from history.

 

As for characters that aren’t mine, I absolutely love Odd Thomas—created by Dean Koontz. He’s young but wise, funny but poignant, and laidback but polite. A well-rounded twenty-something who sees ghosts and helps solve murder mysteries. What’s not to like?

 

 

 

You can find out more about the author on their blog “The Bountiful Balcony Buzz” (https://www.bountifulbalconybooks.com/blog) and purchase their work from the Bountiful Balcony Bookstore (https://www.bountifulbalconybooks.com/bookstore) and Amazon.

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20 Questions With...

20 Questions with…Andrea Barbosa

I can’t say that I’ve met anyone ‘famous’ per se, but I have met a silver medal winning poet, which is as close as I might ever get.

And that’s totally okay with me.

Andrea Barbosa is a throughly talented author and I’m so very proud to have my own work included alongside hers.  We’ve even entered many of the same contests and the only way I’m able to accept the loss of first place, is because she won it.

 

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Jennifer Leeper, Andrea Barbosa, and Melissa Algood (me) accepting our awards for the Spider Road Press Flash Fiction Contest 2016

It’s  not only amazing that Andrea is award-winning poet and author; but English is her second language, and yet she strings together prose that is pure magic.  The Brazilian born, high powered business woman never lets anything get in the way of her beloved son; not even her fictional characters.  Every time I see her she tells me about the latest in his life, and is always an internal part of his life.

So yeah, she’s a great mom too.

I’m so happy to bring author Andrea Barbosa to you, and to have her answer my 20 questions.

 

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Twenty Questions With…Andrea Barbosa

  1. Every writer has that one book that made him or her want to be a writer, what’s yours? I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was a child, so it’s hard to remember what book exactly incited that desire within me, for I loved all fairy tales. One tale that I particularly recall is Oscar Wilde’s The Nightingale and the Rose.
  2. How old were you when you started writing? 12, 13, maybe earlier.
  3. Name four authors that you’d love to have lunch with. Shakespeare, Hemingway, Henry Miller, Anais Nin. Of course, they’re all dead but it would be a fantastic gathering.
  4. What would you eat? Anything vegetarian.
  5. How do you plot out your work? The characters take control and I plot as we go, usually.
  6. Do you write in the morning or evening? Evening.
  7. Is there music on? It depends. I like the silence but sometimes I need the music for inspiration for a particular scene or for a particular mood.
  8. What inspired your last story? My love for Greece and Greek history.
  9. Name three books so good you wish you wrote them. The Colossus of Maroussi (Henry Miller), The Name of the Rose (Umberto Eco), The Picture of Dorian Gray (Oscar Wilde).
  10. What television shows, movies, or albums do you believe are written well? One movie that comes to mind as being well written is Arrival, as it conveyed a poignant story.
  11. Which actor would you cast in the protagonist role of your most recent piece? To be Nikos, my Greek character in Olympian Passion, I always look at British model David Gandy. But since Gandy’s not an actor and wouldn’t have a Greek accent that Nikos needs to have, I’d choose Greek actor Apostolis Totsikas.
  12. Which of your pieces was the hardest to write? The romance novels are the hardest to write because I find the steamy scenes hard to describe.
  13. Which was the easiest? Poems are the easiest pieces that I write.
  14. Which of your pieces did readers ‘get’ when they told you their thoughts on it? The romance novels usually. In the second novel in the Olympian Love trilogy, Olympian Heartbreak, I did a lot of research about Greece. Several readers wrote to me praising the way I described the country, one even daring to say she felt that Greece was like it’s own character in the book, that I did such a good job that she felt she was in Greece while reading the book.
  15. What are you working on now? The final and last book in the Olympian Love trilogy.
  16. What story do you have to write before you die? Haven’t thought about that… ideas come and go but the one I had to write was my psychological thriller Massive Black Hole and I’m glad I was able to have it published.
  17. What sentence have you written that you feel encapsulates your style? Since I write poetry, short stories, fiction, and romance novels, it’s hard to find a particular sentence for my style. So I’m giving you a verse that I really like from one of my poems: “and the images vanish like soft clouds up high, transforming the colors of my rainbow into the dark loneliness of my night.”
  18. Have you ever based characters off of real people? Not entirely but I believe there’s a little bit of people I know in every character.
  19. Who’s your favorite character? From the ones I’ve written, Nikos, the protagonist of the Olympian Love trilogy. I love writing him. He’s complex, enigmatic, a little mysterious, and of course, extremely handsome, a typical alpha male, and a Greek archaeologist.

 

Thank you!

 

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Chantell Renee, a wonderful reader, Myself, and Andrea Barbosa

You can find out more about the author on their blog http://massiveblackholenovel.blogspot.com/ , and purchase their work from Amazon. Andrya Bailey (romance): https://www.amazon.com/Andrya-Bailey/e/B01667R2D8.

Andrea Barbosa (fiction, short stories, poetry): https://www.amazon.com/Andrea-Barbosa/e/B00DGXPK6W

 

 

 

20 Questions With...

20 Questions with…Kyle D Garrett

 

Although I’ve never met him in person, I’m sure Kyle D Garrett real.

Or at least I’m sure that his alternate persona is real because he’s narrated my  award winning story ‘Hair Dying’ (avaliable on You Tube)  as well as ‘The Silencer’ a fan favorite of mine and ‘Going Home’ from the multi-talented D. Marie Prokop (all of which are available in ‘Hair Raising Tales of Horror’ ) on his podcast The Dark Narrative(subscribe on iTunes).

Anyway he’s cool and has way too much going on to be completely fictional.  Kyle hails from California and somehow manages to do all that narrating, writes some pretty terrifying stories, all while being an awesome dad and husband.

He might not have any titles under his belt currently, but Mad Girl’s Publishing will have the pleasure of publishing his piece ‘A Madman’s Manifesto’ in the upcoming anthology ‘Hair Raising Tales of Villainous Confessions’ (stay tuned for release dates).

Kyle is sure to have a promising career in the writing world and it has been really cool to be any part of that.  So until you can get you hands on a copy of ‘Hair Raising Tales of Villainous Confessions’ the answers to his 20 questions will keep you going.

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Twenty Questions With…Kyle D Garrett

  1. Every writer has that one book that made him or her want to be a writer, what’s yours? It’s hard to say since I started writing at such a young age, but I do remember loving the Fudge books by Judy Blume as well as the Encyclopedia Brown books– those definitely ignited my love for stories
  2. How old where you when you started writing? Around 6 or 7– I wrote stories about my stuffed animals hehe
  3. Name four authors that you’d love to have lunch with. Stephen King (of course), Ted Dekker, and (were they still living) Frank Herbert and Ray Bradbury
  4. What would you eat? Probably burger and fries or steak and potato
  5. How do you plot out your work? What’s that? Haha, I have a bad habit of just picturing my story in my head completely then trying to write it. It can make for some challenging sessions especially when your typing can’t keep up with your thoughts.
  6. Do you write in the morning or evening? In the evening.
  7. Is there music on? Sometimes. I listen to some dark ambient piano by a very talented pianist named Nicolas Gasparini, known as myuu on YouTube.
  8. What inspired your last story? The one I’m currently writing was the question of what a woman would do to be a mother if she was desperate enough (She can’t have her own children). It goes into some delightfully dark territory.
  9. Name three books so good you wish you wrote them. Desperation by Stephen King, Thr3e by Ted Dekker, and Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.
  10. What television shows, movies, or albums do you believe are written well? I believe a lot of the Marvel movies have been well done, as well as the shows on Netflix. I watch a lot of the superhero shows hehe. As far as albums I’m pretty nostalgic and tend to listen to older stuff like Metallica– Load and Reload are two of my favorite albums that I thought were really well done, and I will always love Hybrid Theory by Linkin Park.
  11. Which actor would you cast in the protagonist role of your most recent piece? I honestly think an unknown would be more fun than a well known actor/actress.
  12. Which of your pieces was the hardest to write? All of them lol. I am notoriously scatterbrained and have a hard time staying focused, so each piece can be pretty challenging.
  13. Which was the easiest? Refer to the last question, haha.
  14. Which of your pieces did readers ‘get’ when they told you their thoughts on it? I have yet to write that kind of piece.
  15. What are you working on now? Two short stories, and a slew of voice narration projects (I also do voice narration on YouTube).
  16. What story do you have to write before you die? A fantasy series I’ve been working on since high school. My wife calls it my life’s work.
  17. What’s your best fan story? My old high school history teacher coming all the way down from Oregon to SoCal to attend the launch party of my first novel. I cried.
  18. What sentence have you written that you feel encapsulates your style? Still working on that sentence hehe.
  19. Have you ever based characters off of real people? Almost all the time.
  20. Who’s your favorite character? I love Paul Atreides from Dune– his tortured conflict of whether or not to accept his destiny definitely kept me drawn in.

 

 

You can find out more about the author on  Kyle D Garrett’s blog

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20 Questions With...

20 Questions with R.L. Nolen

I was a fan before we met.

And when we did I couldn’t help but tell her that I loved her book while we were still shaking hands.

Deadly Thyme is a haunting love story, in a way, my favorite combination.  Throughout the years I’ve had the pleasure of signing my own works alongside her, had her input on my own work long before publishing, and she’s my go to when I find myself with a big issue in the writing world.

She’s lived all over the world, trained as a graphic artist, teaches our youth, and co founded the Houston Writers House which is a great place for authors of all levels.  I always learn at least one thing when I go to one of their Tuesday socials.

You might know her as R.L. Nolen, but I call her Rebecca, and she was integral in the publishing of Everything That Counts and in the future re-release of my romantic thriller (stay tuned for detail on that).

Until then Rebecca Nolen answers my 20 Questions…

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  1.  Every writer has that one book that made him or her want to be a writer, what’s yours?  I believe the one book that made me want to writer adventure stories was “The Black Rose” by Thomas B. Costain.


2        How old where you when you started writing?  I distinctly remember I wrote my first book at the age of 16 that I hoped to get published. 

Name four authors that you’d love to have lunch with.  A.A. Milne, Charles Dickens, P.D. James, Ruth Rendell 

What would you eat?  I believe we would all settle down to a fine high tea in a small room with a roaring fireplace and linen tableclothes.

How do you plot out your work? I start with a small idea and write a page or two of how that will be a story.

  1. Do you write in the morning or evening? I write best in the morning.
  2. Is there music on?
    Yes, I listen to anything quiet with an allegro beat.
  3.  What inspired your last story?  I was trying to come up with a plot and I was thinking about stray cats.
  4.  Name three books so good you wish you wrote them.
    Spare and Found Parts by Sarah Maria Griffin, The Crow Trap by Ann Cleeves, The Girls by Lisa Jewell
  5. What television shows, movies, or albums do you believe are written well? The Good Wife, anything by Lynda LaPlante
  6. Which actor would you cast in the protagonist role of your most recent piece? Some good looking Brit with green eyes.
  7. Which of your pieces was the hardest to write? The very next book
  8.      Which was the easiest? Surprisingly the next book was a lot easier
  9. Which of your pieces did readers ‘get’ when they told you their thoughts on it?I’m so happy when readers “get” The Dry – it has many layers.
  10. What are you working on now?I’m working on the next Deadly book – Deadly Haste
  11. What story do you have to write before you die?I have to get a picture book manuscript published
  12. What’s your best fan story?I have a lot of fans with Deadly Thyme
  13. What sentence have you written that you feel encapsulates your style?
    That’s a really difficult one to answer. My style is so very different in each book. In The Dry I like my first sentence: “There was a lot of dark in the house in Jeffersonville, Virginia, several long halls, lots of doorways, and countless deep corners.
  14. Have you ever based characters off of real people?Of course, but I take bits and pieces of different people and collage them together to bring alive someone unique.
  15. Who’s your favorite character?
    My favorite character may be Morrigan Wasp. She is a fearless warrior and leader to her vespid colony

Find out more about Rebecca Nolen here.

 

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20 Questions With...

20 Questions with Enos Russell

He has been granted lifetime membership to writing groups, books dedicated to him, and is often the first person I go to when I need assistance with anything to do with writing.

His name is Enos Russell.

I hate to use a broad stroke to describe a multi faced human being and all that encapsulates Enos, but if you’re in the Houston writing world you need to know this man.

Over a dozen titles in his name, but none of it would have come to fruition without his beloved Enid.  She is the brains of the operation by far.  A truth that Enos has mentioned nearly every time I meet with him.

I don’t know what else to say, other than he’s known me from the beginning of my career  and I will never forget all that he’s done for me.  Enos Russell is not just an award winning sci fi writer, he’s an amazing friend.

And now Enos answers my infamous 20 Questions!

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Enos, Enid, and myself at the release of ‘Eclectically Criminal’.

Twenty Questions With…Enos Russell

  1. Every writer has that one book that made him or her want to be a writer, what’s yours?

ELR – Stanger in a Strange Land a 1961 science fiction novel by American author Robert A. Heinlein.

  1. How old were you when you started writing?

ELR – 70

  1. Name four authors that you’d love to have lunch with.

ELR – John Campbell, Robert A. Heinlein, Haruki Murakami, and Mary Shelley.

  1. What would you eat?

ELR – Crow

  1. How do you plot out your work?

ELR – Wetware all the way. I think about them.

  1. Do you write in the morning or evening?

ELR – Yes

  1. Is there music on?

ELR – No, I write outside on the patio.

  1. What inspired your last story?

ELR – except for short fiction, I write in series. So, technically book 2 inspires book 3. I save the shorts for ideas I get whenever I find something interesting in current research. I ask the question about writing Life Code in general, “What could go wrong? As I posted on FB, I am in the middle of my research for the 2nd Meret Mather Mystery Technothriller, SKV, about Genomic Ransomware, trying to avoid too much science speculation AND addressing the question “What could go wrong?” when I spotted an article that showed three Americans won the Nobel in Biology for discovering how genetic material and be coded to act as a timer. I am concerned about how much time we have before this is weaponized.”

  1. Name three books so good you wish you wrote them.

ELR – I enjoy a good story but have never wished I had written one I read.

  1. What television shows, movies, or albums do you believe are written well?

ELR –  anything by Aaron Sorkin

  1. Which actor would you cast in the protagonist role of your most recent piece?

ELR – Scarlett Johansson to play Finna in the SEEKER series. Here’s a pitch for the first story, Finna’s Quest: “While Finna battles in the crusades for Eleanor of Aquitaine, a time traveler kidnaps her to fight in a Steampunk war across the galaxy. THE SEEKER – Finna’s Quest, High Concept Science Fiction, is the first novel and the Origin Story within a seminal series that pre-dates all of our published stories. Follow Finna on her thousand-year mission to lay the foundation for the emergence of Homo Evolutis and save Earth from destruction.”

 

  1. Which of your pieces was is the hardest to write?

ELR – My wife and I have published 25 novels and short stories. The most difficult story I have encountered is “Goth Glamm.” You may remember it from Critique Circle.  Here’s a start on its pitch: “If you remember puberty and claim you enjoyed that part of your life, this story is not for you. A Sixteen-year old Glam discovers she is losing her newfound womanly appearance while gaining shapes and hair in other areas. She tells her parents her body is turning her into a male and pleads with them for help. Her ex-counter-culture parents freak out, blame her for using bad drugs, unhealthy sex, and improper diet. Glamm decides to runs away and looks for solutions in the streets.

 

  1. Which was the easiest?

ELR – My first published story, Flash Fiction, an 800-word piece of humor titled “To Find a Thief.”

 

  1. Which of your pieces did readers ‘get’ when they told you their thoughts on it?

ELR – my experience with ‘live’ feedback is that they first claim they couldn’t put it down and then proceed to ask a few questions about the science or technology.

 

  1. What are you working on now?

ELR – Okay, make me feel bad. I have ten unfinished works in progress. All are novels that currently have about 20k words each. Just like good wine in the cellar, I constantly spin them to keep the corks wet. The next to be published, in November, is GENECAUST

 

  1. What story do you have to write before you die?

ELR – out of deep respect for my former agent I took a vow to uphold her wishes for me to: “Just write the next damn book.”

 

  1. What’s your best fan story?

ELR – a former student from long ago posted on FB, “I could not stop reading it.” The book was ONSET.

 

  1. What sentence have you written that you feel encapsulates your style?

ELR – I’m going to cheat here. After all, we’re getting close to 1.5 million words so I’m going to give you a short paragraph titled ‘Tiny Voices’ from RESET.

“One day, in church, her anxieties had their epiphany. As she watched a pregnant relative in her eighth month begin to walk the length of the church toward her mother’s closed coffin, Chloe wondered if she could detect sound from the woman’s womb.  She had heard them from other women carrying babies and while the other voices in her head frightened her, the little ones, the weenie ones, the ones from the womb, were different. They were special. Their small sweet sounds gave her comfort.

“On that day, long ago, Chloe sat at the end of her row holding tight to the wooden back of a pew. Unable to release her grip, she turned and stretched toward the aisle as far as possible in anticipation of the pregnant woman’s passing.

“But as she watched her draw closer, she heard nothing. The shape hidden under the woman’s dress remained dark. Empty. The absence of sound, the nothingness of it, sucked the soul from Chloe’s being. She pushed against the wooden pew trying to turn away from the aisle as the woman and the dark void passed. Frightened and confused, she withdrew into herself and spoke to no one for days.”

 

  1. Have you ever based characters off of real people?

ELR – not as such. My research into modern genomics usually led me to current Nobel Prize winners. The closest one is from my first book “Deadly Awakenings.”  In the book, her name is Elizabeth and she is more an inspiration than a characterization.

 

  1. Who’s your favorite character?

ELR – Chloe in ONSET, RESET, MINDSET

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Enos Russell, his talented wife Enid, and myself at the release of ‘Eclectically Criminal’ in which I was the featured author.

You can find out more about the author on their website www.elrussell.com and PURCHASE their work from Amazon and Smashwords. Readers can get Sample Reads, ARCS, and FREE books at https://www.instafreebie.com/free/zy2Af

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I’m signing my story ‘The Silencer’ for Enos Russell

 

Everything That Counts, pictures, Signing Events

Celebrations and Zombies

I’m totally one of those girls that loves Pumpkin Spice.  It’s the only time of year that I change my Starbucks order-and it is well worth it.

Needless to say I will be busy this winter (I’m a hairstylist in the ‘real’ world (and I’m really damn good if you want your hair looking amazing during any of these events then book with me here.))  So I’m going to attend some really interesting events this fall which I hope you’ll enjoy as well.

The first is in support of the indie publishing company Spider Road Press (check them out they donate a portion of their profits to charity).  Harvey ruined the first date, but us indie authors can’t be kept down, so it’s been rescheduled for October 17 from 7-8:30.

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The food is amazing, the company will be friendly, and the readings will be hauntingly memorable which will include my piece ‘Julia’ (which will be included in the upcoming ‘Hair Raising Tales of Villainous Confessions’ from Mad Girl’s Publishing out 2018).

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Patricia Flaherty Pagan with ‘Approaching Footsteps’ which includes my piece ‘Thomas’ and myself with my debut ya novel ‘Everything That Counts’.

 

 

 

 

Second will not only be a blast for all ages, but part of the profits will be donated to a scholarship for a Houston child.

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I could go on and on about this event but to find out more about the Houston Zombie Walk and how they’re donating to education click here.  

Myself, Chantell ReneeJae Mazer, and Jessica Raney will be in there Saturday October 21 from 5pm until they kick us out. We’ll have candy, razor sharp wit, and a pen to sign copies of our work.

Hope to see you there!

 

20 Questions With...

20 Questions with…Carla Conrad

When I think of this writer the first word I think of is class.

She is a true Southern beauty, highly educated, graceful, stylish, and kind.  Winston Churchill had many famous quotes, but Carla Conrad is the embodiment of “Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip.”  Thankfully she’s never asked me to take that particular trip.

Carla is one of the many authors whom I’ve worked with in a critique circle setting, and helped shape ‘Everything That Counts’ into the novel it is today.  Although she is a romance writer (she’s been awarded over three times for her work in the genre) Carla is not afraid to read stories about bloodsuckers, or mass murder and give you valuable information on how you can enhance your story.

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I can’t count the many times that Carla has helped me out of a creative jam, but I’ll never forget what a true friend she is when it comes to my personal life.

Carla Conrad is a writer that every reader should be on the lookout for if you like mystery, intrigue, with a heart pounding hunk of romance to boot.  So without further adieu I give you Carla Conrad and her answers to my 20 questions.

 

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Twenty Questions With… Carla Conrad

  1. Every writer has that one book that made him or her want to be a writer, what’s yours?
    1. Probably one of the Nancy Drew mysteries.

 

  1. How old where you when you started writing?
    1. I began my first mystery story when I was 11 years old. I think I titled it Treachery on the Amazon. I seriously doubt that I completed it. I still have a problem completing stories. I think I just don’t want them to end.

 

  1. Name four authors that you’d love to have lunch with.
    1. You should enjoy this since it would require zombies. Two of the writers are dead:
      1. Dorothy Dunnett (deceased)
      2. Frank Yerby (deceased)
      3. Sylvia Day
      4. J.K. Rowling

 

  1. What would you eat?
    1. I’m more worried about what they would eat. Don’t zombies chow down on brains?

 

  1. How do you plot out your work?
    1. I need to be better at this. I straddle the line between being a plotter and a pantser. Plots percolate in my head for years before I conquer my inertia enough to put them on paper. Once I reach that point my outlines are more of a sequence of events I try to push, shove, squish and squash into a cohesive narrative resembling the three-act structure. I’m afraid that’s as good as it gets before I dive in.

 

  1. Do you write in the morning or evening?
    1. I’m actually most productive in the afternoon. Since I tend to be lazy, it takes me most of the morning to get going.

 

  1. Is there music on?
    1. I’ve tried several times to write to music, but I love it too much and find myself listening more than writing. However, I do find songs that inspire scenes and create a soundtrack appropriate to the book. The selections can be highly eclectic.

 

 

  1. What inspired your last story?
    1. The genesis of the idea came from a television special many years ago featuring David Copperfield. Like my heroine, I’ve always been fascinated with magic acts.
    2. I nicked the idea of large cats from Siegfried and Roy, who primarily performed with tigers. Not to appear a completely shameless thief, I gave Julian lions he named for artists he admired (or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles).

 

  1. Name three books so good you wish you wrote them.
    1. I can do better: any books in the following three series.
      1. The Lymond Chronicles: (historical)
        1. The Game of Kings
        2. Queens Play
        3. The Disorderly Knights
        4. Pawn in Frankincense
        5. The Ringed Castle
        6. Checkmate
      2. The Crossfire Novels (contemporary)
        1. Bared to You
        2. Reflected in You
        3. Entwined With You
        4. Captivated by You
        5. One With You
  • The Harry Potter Series (YA fantasy)
    1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
    2. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
    3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
    4. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
    5. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
    6. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

 

  1. What television shows, movies, or albums do you believe are written well?
    1. My current favorite television show is Lucifer. The concept is unique and I love the tongue-in-cheek humor.

 

  1. Which actor would you cast in the protagonist role of your most recent piece?
    1. The visual I used for Gigi isn’t an actress. Arizona Muse is a model who did a series of print ads for David Yurman jewelry. She’s done many other fashion features, magazine covers and ad campaigns, but the Yurman ads are the ones I used for Gigi.

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  1. Which of your pieces was the hardest to write?
    1. Always the one I’m currently working on.

 

  1. Which was the easiest?
    1. The one I haven’t started yet.

 

  1. Which of your pieces did readers ‘get’ when they told you their thoughts on it?
    1. I have an excellent critique circle as you know, so I pay attention to their feedback.

 

  1. What are you working on now?
    1. Finishing a draft of Devotion and Deception, the first book in the Now and Then trilogy. It’s due to the editor the end of August. Book three, Forgive and Forever, is partially written. The big gap is book two, Reunion and Revenge.

 

  1. What story do you have to write before you die?
    1. Whatever I happen to be working on when the Grim Reaper appears. I’ll be like Anthony Hopkins in Meet Joe Black. Me: “Uh, can you hang on a moment, I only have 1,000,000 pages to go.” Don’t laugh. Completing his Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones) series may be what’s keeping George R.R. Martin alive.

 

  1. What’s your best fan story?
    1. Sadly I don’t have any fans yet. (sniff, sniff. Pass me a tissue for my tears, please). I haven’t published, but I’ve won and placed in a few RWA contests.

 

  1. What sentence have you written that you feel encapsulates your style?
    1. It’s either the first line of Forgive and Forever: Disappearances can be deceiving.
    2. Or when Julian asks Gigi where she’s from and what she’s doing in Paris. “I’m from Houston, Texas, and I came to Paris to lose my virginity. Are you busy tonight?”  I could be more subtle, but where’s the fun in that? Besides, I liked the image of Julian choking on a swallow of espresso and spewing it back into his cup.

 

  1. Have you ever based characters off of real people?
    1. Not intentionally, but there are probably elements of my personality – or who I’d like to be – in both my male or female characters, and some of my husband in Julian.  I think most writers unwittingly or intentionally infuse different characters with aspects of themselves. How could we not? We spend years trying to impose our belief systems and values on our children. Thankfully, they usually retain only what they want and become separate individuals.

 

  1. Who’s your favorite character?

I presume you mean a character I didn’t create. I’m partial to many male characters, but Frances Crawford in the Lymond Chronicles may be my all time favorite.

For female characters, number one has to be Scarlett O’Hara. Except for her inexplicable (and ridiculous) obsession with Ashley Wilkes, Scarlett has it all: courage, determination, self-focus, and defiance.

If you mean characters I have created, it better be one, or more, of those I’m writing currently.