Tag Archive | Author interview

Interview with M.L.S. Weech

My guest today is author, M.L.S. Weech, otherwise known as Matt!

Hi Matt, welcome to Rainne’s Ramblings.
Would you like to begin by telling us a little about yourself and your background?
Me

I’ve been published for about three years. I do that when I’m not enjoying my job teaching Sailors at the Defense Information School. I was raised in the desert southwest, and in my youth, there wasn’t exactly a lot to do because I essentially lived in a desert. My imagination was my most accessible toy. I grew up to join the Navy, and after ten years of service, I returned to where my career started as a civilian instructor.

 
When and why did you decide to become a writer?

I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was about 8. I’d just watched what is still my favorite movie ever, and my favorite character died. Naturally, I cried, but my biodad sort of chuckled at me and told me to write a better movie if I didn’t like this one. So started work on the sequel, and I’ve been writing ever since. I finished my first book when I was about 17. I got genuinely serious in 2009, when I joined a writer’s group and committed to writing 1,000 words a day. I love stories. I love thinking about the plot. I love the crafting of words. It has simply been a part of my life for so long I’m not sure what my life would look like if I didn’t do it.

 
What inspires your books?

My posts are usually inspired by something random. My first book, The Journals of Bob Drifter, was inspired by my family dod and my dad. My mom had a nightmare she told me about, and that inspired my second book, Caught. My newest published novel is an anthology in which my contributing story was inspired by the riots in Virginia. So usually I see or hear something, and my brain, which is prone to flights of fancy, takes it to an extreme degree.

 
Are there any particular places that help you get the creative cogs turning?

I’m a believer in work habit and ethics. I can pretty much write anywhere, but I’m most productive on my couch with my laptop and cool elevating table. (I can pull the top up so it’s even with my arms). That’s where and how I’ve written for about five years, so that’s where my body is most conditioned to want to write.

 
What is the setting and genre of The Power of Words?

The Power of Words has four stories. The first is a science fiction novella set in a world where people can virtually swim in a social media world. That world is dominated by a group of speakers called Voices. This is a world in which social media and digital lives (in this case lived through visors known as omnies) rule, and bare faces are considered odd.

The second is a traditional fantasy set in Richard T. Drakes’ Hollow World series. The story takes place at a seedy bar, and it’s essentially a hostile negotiation between an entrenched criminal and a newly risen hero of the people.

The third is the first in a post-apocalyptic series. It’s a zombie survival story taking place in San Antonio. Some might roll an eye at the idea of “another” zombie apocalypse, but this story is unique in that the main character isn’t one who’s in any way suited to survive in such a place.

The last story is my own, of which I’m very proud. It’s a dystopian science fiction heist story. A mom, who’s essentially a former policeman, hatches a scheme to take out the servers for the planetary silence protocol currently enforced. She believes in the right to speak, and, more importantly, she wants her daughter to be saved from the ruthless enforcement policies currently in place.

 
Why do you think this book will or should appeal to new readers; what makes it stand out?

The first reason would be that it’s great speculative science fiction in the vein of Hugo novels of old. There’s a clear message and meaning, which is nice in a world of popcorn scifi.

The other reason is that it’s all dedicated to the importance of communication. We live in a world where maybe sometimes people want to be heard, but they don’t want to listen so much. I think people need a reminder on the importance of hearing and speaking. Communication is what matters. These themes are wrapped stories that are engaging and fun.

 
Many authors state that their characters are portions of themselves. Is this true with you?

I don’t even hide from this. Part of my process when I create characters is that I give them one trait from myself. Sometimes it’s a good trait. Sometimes it’s a not so good trait. Every now and then, I take a positive trait to an obsessive degree to see what happens. I’ve has people ask me which character is most like me, and I do have a thought on that, but the fact is every character has a part of me. Those who know me and read my books often comment how much of myself they see in each character.

 
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

Umm….(counts in his head)…five unpublished books and one half-finished.

 
What is your favourite part or scene in The Power of Words? Can you give us a peek?

I can’t give you the peek because my favorite part is the reveal in my contribution to the story. I’ve had many people complement me on the plot twist in Caught, and I think this twist is just so much better. That’s honestly my favorite part, but another part I enjoy is a scene in which the crew’s lifter, Laree, is trying to get a security badge. It’s just a cute little scene that makes me chuckle. Here it is:

A pair of glass doors whooshed open as she stepped into the lab. She kept her eyes down, but noticed a few technicians look at her. She pointed at the empty lab chair before snatching up a data pad, pretending she’d forgotten it.
Bad mark! she thought looking at the first person she saw. He didn’t have a red badge either. Bad mark! Bad mark! Two more employees displayed their green badges like wards against her plan, mocking her increasingly impossible timeline.
She walked around the monitors and holo-tables as if simply taking a leisurely route back out of the room.
Bad mark! For spark’s sake does anyone on this floor have a … there’s a good mark.
A spindly young technician in need of two meals and a gallon of anti-acne cream sat at a monitor. His red badge dangled from his white coat pocket like a pretty bow. She made a show of nearly dropping the data pad, and the helpful tech, who’d probably never seen a woman naked before, had his moment in the limelight. He heroically stood there while she plowed into him. He just managed to snag the data pad as she snatched the man’s badge.
He looked at her, and she could practically see the wedding play out in his eyes.
Oh, Sweetie, no! She hid her face with the data pad and winked at him before heading out of the lab.
That’s when her wrist communicator started flashing.
Come on, Laree! Did you really think it was going to go that smoothly?

 
Tell us about the cover and how it came about.

Power of Words Cover_FRONT_EBOOKAgain, I’m super proud of this one. I actually designed it myself. I knew I wanted a text-based cover because it was an anthology. So I took the title and played with some concepts. One of my favorite design techniques is the Gestalt principle of figure and ground. Silhouettes use this same principle. The idea is the contrast of one set of shapes on a simple background create the impression of an object or, in my cover’s case, words. I took this one step further because I used a very specific set of words as my figure (the text creating element). I keep it secret as to what those words are because I’d like to think people wonder what the words are and end up staring at them to figure out what publication they’re from. It’s a simple concept executed well. I’m not trying to boast. I’m not saying it’s the greatest cover or concept ever. I just assert it’s a solid idea done well. The real judgement of that would be the viewers though.

 
Have you done any personal appearances?

Ever? Yes. I’ve been in a few bookstores, and I usually do a book launches at a local comic book store. The owner (Bumper) is a great guy, and I like to hang out there. I don’t anymore because if I go in there, I’m going to buy rare comics, and they’re expensive. Most of my appearances (and the one I’m about to do) are at conventions. My next one (and last for the year) will be the Baltimore ComicCon Sept. 28-30.

 
What do you think makes a good story?

I honestly have a simple formula for that. Sympathetic, proactive characters + interesting plot + interesting world = good story. The key element there is the character. They can be reading a book or talking about the weather if they’re sympathetic and proactive enough. I do have to explain that sympathetic to me doesn’t necessarily connote “likable.” A character someone hates can be just as captivating as a character someone loves. The point is, the character evokes strong emotions.

 
Which writers inspire you?

Currently, I’m a huge fan of Brandon Sanderson. I think Peter V. Brett is the best with characters. Dan Wells is the most underrated author out there right now. Then there are the go-tos, Anne McCaffrey, Robert Jordan, Timothy Zahn, and Dean Koontz. I do want to give special attention to Michael G. Manning and C.L. Schneider, two indie authors who really are outstanding.

 
Do you have plans to, or have you already, released audio editions of your book(s)?

The Journals of Bob Drifter is already out on Audible, and Caught is nearly finished. In fact, the Audible version of Power of Words is in production, though I’ve hit a snag there, so it might not be out as soon as I want.

 
Writing seems to be a large part of your life. Imagine a future (if you can) where you no longer write. What would you do?

Well, I’m getting married in November, so I’d probably just be an annoying dad and (hopefully) loyal husband. I’d watch WAY more football (and THAT’S saying something) and play a few more video games too. I might take up sleeping as a hobby. I’ve heard good things about it.

 
Your blog is a mixture of books (news and reviews), Book Cover of the Month and your Mum/your faith:
How/why did you come up with the idea for Book Cover of the Month?

I love top ten lists and competition and brackets. I also love book covers. So I started out just picking covers I thought were nice because that’s actually how I discovered C.L. Schneider. After I started doing that, I wondered what to do the covers. The idea for a bracket came pretty quickly after that. I just like to talk about covers. I’d like to see more voters, and I would really like to have more (professional) debates about why this cover works and why that one doesn’t. For now though, it’s really fun, and I’d look at the covers regardless. This just gives me an interesting bit of content to offer my readers.

 
Has writing about your Mum’s illness and your ‘Trial of Faith’ helped you?

The testimony is first and foremost about giving glory to God. This trial truly shaped me. It saddened me. It broke me. It humbled me. But it also helped me improve my relationship with God. I struggle with pride so much in my life. I was raised in it. I was trained in it while in the Navy (Take Charge! Be a Leader! Be Assertive!). This event was humbling because here I am, a man committed to the idea of, “There’s always something I can do!” Then I’m placed in this situation where I was simply helpless. It’s put me in a place where I’ve realized I’m subject to God’s will and God’s grace, and I’m better for it. Life was hard when I felt like it was all on me. Now I realize my life is in God’s hands, and everything he does, even this, is for good. The testimony reminds me of that. I still struggle with pride. MAN do I struggle with it, but I hope I’m improving and growing.

It also helped me to open up more. As I said above, I already fail to see what’s “interesting” about me. Combine that with the fact that I’m honestly super private and generally selfish with my time, opening up like this has helped me grow as a person.

The greatest help would be hearing, thinking or knowing that my testimony has helped introduce more people to Jesus, and through him God. I fear now that what I’m doing might be brining too much attention on myself and not enough to God (which is the main objective). I feel this way because our faith and grace are evidenced (not granted!) by the fruits of our labors. I’m not honestly sure if’ I’ve born any fruit. I’m not sure if I’ve helped anyone find Jesus or even encouraged anyone going through something similar. That portion of the blog is almost over. I have ideas on what the Sunday blogs will be, but I want them (and everything I do) to glorify God. I may fail more often than I succeed (because we all fall short of the Glory of God), but I want to try.

 
It’s time to relax! What do you do?

I write. When I’m not writing or watching football, I’m playing video games. Reading is fun. But honestly if I had more time for writing, I’d be much happier. Marketing, editing, publicity, those things just really burn me out.

 
What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?

Favorites ever are: Buffy the Vampire Slayer (BEST EVER), How I Met Your Mother, Stargate SG-1, and Supernatural (the first five seasons only). Current series would be Doctor Who, The 100, The Marvel TV shows, Game of Thrones, and Stranger Things.

 
If you had to choose a character from one of your books to have lunch with, who would it be and why?

Bob from The Journals of Bob Drifter. Sure, he might be there to take my soul, but he’s hundreds of years old. He’d have a ton of stories to tell me before I croaked.

 
Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?

I’m bad at sharing. Not because I’m unwilling, but because I’m really just sort of baffled at the sorts of things people want to know about. I think I’m pretty boring, so it’s hard to think about things because I just don’t know. I usually talk about my students or my kids (my fiancee’s kids, but I’ve pretty much already hijacked them).

 
Thank you for joining us today, Matt. Good luck with the release of The Power of Words in October, and best wishes for your wedding and the future.

 

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Interview with T.E. Hodden

HeadSpace

Yesterday saw the release of HeadSpace, a sweet but dark romance with a psychological twist.

Today the author, T.E. Hodden, (AKA Tom) in the ‘hotseat’ answering questions about
his books, his writing and himself!

 
Good morning, Tom. Welcome to Rainne’s Ramblings.
Would you please kick off by telling us a little about yourself and your background?

11692692_751530404964797_6362793632642236555_nMy name is Tom, I’m from Kent, in the UK, and my background is in a very specialised niche of engineering, in the transport industry. I’m married, to the most amazing person in the world, and I am probably best known (admittedly by a very few people) for writing short and sweet romances.

 
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

It was always there as a hobby. Like a lot of people these days, I wrote stories as a hobby, and had the luxury of experimenting with self publishing digital works before I was brave enough to submit to a publisher like Roane. When I was a kid, I wrote stories in exercise books, when I was doing my apprenticeship, there was poetry or short stories on my laptop, and eventually I wrote something that I was confident enough about to share on Kindle Market Place.

I think a lot of that comes reading a lot, from the TV I loved as a kid, but I think what sparked it seriously in my head was when Virgin Books launched a bunch of original adult novels based on Doctor Who, and shortly after the shock ‘swearing, and sex in Doctor Who!’ came the realisation of ‘Wait, people were paid to write stories like this? And it’s taken seriously?’

I’ve never expected to be taken seriously, and pretty much every time I submit a story to a publisher there is a part of me who is worried they will work I’m still just the kid writing stories for fun.

 
What gets your creative juices flowing?

I wish I knew so I could make it work when I needed it! Sometimes idea pop from nowhere, and sometimes they grow over a long time. Sometimes they come from pulling apart other stories and trying to work out how the plot and the details work under the hood.

 
What’s the best writing advice you’ve been given?

To just write. Sit at the computer, and write something. It doesn’t matter if you write a few pages of trash, and delete it. What matters is you try, and somewhere down the line, you find an idea that works, and you keep writing it. Don’t care about the rules, or what is meant to happen in stories, or how your English teacher told you the language works. That’s what second drafts, and edits, are for.
Just write.

 
What do you enjoy most about writing?

I like experimenting. HeadSpace is the kind of book I enjoy working on. I like playing with time, and playing around with dream-logic rather than real world logic. A lot of my stories are framed in ways that I hope look at romance plots from a slightly different angle, or to dissect moments in a way I haven’t written before.

 
You’re a prolific writer where do you find your inspiration

The inspiration I go looking for, is from history, mythology, and folk lore. A lot of my stories tend to come from experimenting. I’ll write dozens of first chapters, and find one of them will work, and a story will just grow out of it…

 

What Once Went Wrong.Of all your books do you have a favourite?

It depends how you mean ‘favourite’. The books I write just for my own fun, are the ones about the Bears, because I can just let go, and let the scampering, sticky pawed, teddy bears do whatever seems fun. On the other hand, the book of mine that makes me feel proud, that I can read back and wonder how somebody like me, ever wrote something like that, is What Once Went Wrong. It is a long way from perfect, and it has a lot of wrinkles that I think I managed to iron out, and make right, for the tighter, leaner, more satisfying stories that Roane published, but it has something about it I just got… right.

 

What Once Went Wrong is a wonderful and emotional read, Tom.

 

Do you develop characters from your personal experiences and/or draw from that of others?

A little. If we intend to or not, we all look for characters in life. If you sit there and try to write, you give a character dialogue, and that means thinking about how people speak, and there is a bit of your brain, that we don’t even know is there, that is watching how people talk, and listening for the way they twist phrases. I don’t sit down and think “this character is based on a mate”, but I do consider how I have seen different people react to different emotions, and draw from those experiences to try and make characters feel real, and the characters start growing organically.

 
How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning?

A lot of the time characters start with a name plucked from the ether, that is a little bland and dull, but as I get to know the character they begin to feel more like something suitable.

 
HeadSpace_FinalCoverTell us about the cover for Headspace and how it came about.

It started like as one of my mood sketches. I doodle stuff when I get writer’s block to try and nudge my brain with a little inspiration. So, I doodled a romance story, happening inside a broken mind, and… it worked well, so I tidied it up and toyed around with it a lot on a computer, to use in my promotional work. When the publishers started talking to me about what kind of a cover I wanted, I sent them a few of the doodles, and they liked that one. (It is kind of my favourite. I was aiming for something a bit Saul Bass, and missed, but the result was pretty cool).

 
Who is your intended audience and why should they read Headspace?

HeadSpace is for anybody who likes a sweet romance. It’s a little different, (hopefully you won’t have read a romance like it), but it’s a guy meets girl story, it’s sweet, it’s dark in places, and it is very… dreamy. It’s a good story for those who like fantasy and fairytale wrapped into their romance.

 
What can we expect from you in the future? Do you have a wip we could take a sneaky peek at?

I have WIP but it isn’t ready to be shared yet, it’s still a little rough, and still growing and changing as I hear back from the Beta readers, and proofers. The working title is ‘The Stories We Tell’, and it’s about a guy forced to confront the woman who jilted him at the altar, with a literal gun to his head, and rake up all the dirt of her family secrets.

 
What advice would you give to your younger self?

To cherish every moment with those you love, and not take a single second for granted.

 
How do you spend your free time?

Writing is my free time hobby, it’s how I decompress from my worklife. I also love art, cooking, family, walks, and museums. Above all of these, however, I love to just spend time with my wife.

 
Tell us about your favourite memory related to reading or writing?

Being accepted for publication in an anthology for the first time. It was a story called Feathers, for an anthology called Hearts Of Valour, and although I had played around with some light hearted and silly romance stories before, and some romantic but not quite romances, it was the first time I had tried to write a real, serious, romance story before, and I had never expected it to be picked up.

 
Name three things you consider yourself to be good at, and three things you consider yourself to be bad at.

I hope I’m good at my job, good at cooking, and a person people can approach if they want to talk something, anything, through. I don’t know if I’m quite so good at washing up after cooking, dancing, or adulting.

 
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

To like junk food less, and exercise more…

 
If someone gave you a free plane ticket to anywhere in the world, where would you go?

I have never been to America, and I think I would like to see it some day. Maybe not LA or New York, where everybody wants to holiday, but… a quite corner of New England, or to go ghost hunting in Boston.

 
Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?

Writing is very much a community hobby, and a serious business. I know that HeadSpace would be a far worse book if people like SallyAnn Cole, and Jenn Nixon hadn’t been so supportive when I was writing, of if Terri Rochanski and Sharon Hughson had not offered so much support at Roane. Or if people like you, Rainne, didn’t take the time to write blogs, support writers, and help the readers find books they will love. So, what I would really like to share, as corny as this might sound, is a huge ‘THANK YOU’. And thank you, reader, for sticking with us, and getting this far. I mean, you’re still here! Wow! Thank you!

 
Thank you for joining us, Tom. Congratulations on your new release, and best wishes for all your future projects. Keep writing awesome books!

Find Tom on Facebook, and his books on Amazon, B&N, Kobo and other book stores

Noémie’s Journey by Victoria Saccenti

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is proud to announce the release of her newest novel
Noémie’s Journey

 
Noémie's JourneyLove is waiting around the next curve…but trouble is never far behind.

Desperate to shake memories that stalk him like feral beasts, Richard Winters points his motorcycle toward the highway and twists the throttle—destination anywhere but New York. By the time he puts his kickstand down, he’s in Summitville, North Carolina, where, with a few annoying exceptions, one being an outlaw MC, he’s left alone.

Except there’s one woman who catches his notice and resurrects the protective instinct that cost him everything once before. A woman with stunning green eyes that haunt his dreams, and facing prejudice that makes him want to rise to her defense. But that would mean doing the last thing he wants to do—lower his guard.

Noémie Bellerose has heard times are changing, but in 1968 North Carolina, she and her younger brother are second-class citizens. The new bartender in town is temptation on two wheels, but in what world could the two of them connect? Not this one.

Despite their best intentions to avoid trouble, trouble finds them both—and so does an attraction that won’t be denied. But can love bloom where it is planted, or will they be forced to resort to desperate measures…before hate cuts them down?

Available for pre-order now at 99c

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Excerpt:

PROLOGUE
Mount Vernon, New York. April 1968

         Dickey entered his apartment, and before he could flip the light switch, the memories—feral beasts lying in wait—pounced from every direction.
         
Damn it. Stop. Stop. He stabbed his fingers into his face, but the self-inflicted pain had no effect on the barrage of angry whispers circling him. Taunting him, they grew louder…intensified to a roar of screams and jeers.
         He’d done everything to break the pattern, had changed his routine, rearranged the sequence and time of his actions and nothing worked. As soon as he was alone, the scene and participants came to life, clawing at him whether he played music, listened to the radio, or watched TV. No distraction, no entertainment on earth could end the torment or silence the voices. No. They pulled him, yanked him back to the moment…the god-awful moment.
         
No more.
         It was late, close to midnight, and still he reached for the phone—a pathetic jerk, a slave of the past. He loathed the lack of control, the outright weakness the call would reveal.
         “Hey, Skip. Sorry to wake you.”
         “Hmmm…yeah. Dickey?”
         “Got a moment, pal?”
         “Shoot. I’m awake now.”
         “You once offered to buy my share of the business. Are you still interested in going solo?”
         “It was a passing interest. But…why bring it up now?”
         “Because I’m getting out of Dodge. I refuse to spend another hour in this state. I’m done. Finito.”
         “Hold on, man. Vivian again? It’s been years.”
         “I can’t shake it. I see her…them… No more.”
         “What about that sweet young thing? She likes you.”
         “And she was getting too clingy. I don’t do girlfriends. Mind’s made up.”
         “Wait, Dickey—”
         “Nah, I’m packing. I’ll head west or maybe south. Not sure. When I stop, wherever I stop, I’ll call. Hopefully, a drastic change will do the trick. And Skip, when you see that girl, please tell her I wish her the best.”
         He dropped the phone on the cradle and swept through his place, tossing a few rolled items into the smallest duffel he owned. He didn’t need much. He’d tear into the road, travel light and long with a single purpose in mind: leave good old Dickey behind and forgotten. Hello world, meet Richard Winters.
         In a few strides, he closed the door to his last home in New York, mounted his bike, and, with a deep rumble, sped into the night.
         Ill or fair, he’d meet the wind head-on.

 

About the Author:

Victoria SaccentiAmazon Bestselling author, Victoria Saccenti picked up pencil and paper the moment her childhood book heroes started conversing with her. Sounds a little crazy, but there’s no rhyme or reason for inspiration. Back then, she wrote one-act plays and short fairy tales for simple amusement. Today–many…many moons later–her playful stories have grown into family sagas and retro and contemporary romances with an edge. An avid people watcher, she explores in her novels the twists and turns of human interaction, the many facets of love, and all possible happy endings.

Victoria lived overseas and traveled the world for thirty years, and she brings that experience and sense of adventure to her stories. She enjoys taking her reader on a private journey from America to Europe to Southeast Asia and back around.

Central Florida is home. She splits her busy schedule between family and her active muse at Essence Publishing. But if she could convince her husband to sell their home, she would pack up her computer and move to Scotland, a land she adores.

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Interview with Victoria Saccenti:
by Karina Kantas

-What made you want to be a writer?

My writing journey began decades ago. I plunged into the adventure-filled pages of Emilio Salgari’s Tigers of Malaysia and my imagination awakened. I started writing juvenile fantasies, kept a diary, progressed to short stories, then finally took on the big project, full-length novels.

 
-How important is it to read books when you want to be an author?

Read, read, and read some more. That is the main advice given by every major author. As other works expand the knowledge and style base. We’re exposed to new and different worlds when we read.

 
-Which character do you identify with most in your novel?

This may sound crazy, but I don’t identify with one specific character. I love and identify with all of them. When they speak to me, I listen.

 
-Is there a message you’d like to send through your book?

I don’t like to tell anyone how or what to think. I only present events, choices, and possibilities. The characters come up to the proverbial crossroad and learn from their mistakes. In the exchange I can only hope the readers take something of value.

 
-Tell us how the atmosphere needs to be for you to be able to write. Example, music on or quiet etc.

I hide out in my silent cave. LOL I can’t write with music. If I do, my mind wanders away, gets lost in the notes and I lose the connection to the character(s).

 
-What is one goody you must have at your desk when you’re writing?

My cave is an organized chaos. I have all sorts of necessary goodies. Affectionate notes from my dear hubby, photographs of dear friends, my special notebook, things like that.

 
-What is the worst thing you’ve had to overcome before publishing your novel? IF it’s too personal just make a generalized statement if you can.

The biggest challenge was to gather the courage to put your work “out there” exposing your soul to the public.

 
-When you need some extra encouragement who do you turn to?

I have a wonderful set of friends.

 
-How do you market your book?

Social media platforms are a great way to spread the word. I also advertise via Internet publications. Plus, I have a terrific VA.

 

-Have readers ever contacted you? If so, tell us the best thing they’ve said to you.

Yes, readers regularly contact me. Their compliments are extremely rewarding.

 
-Who do you trust to read your finished books before publication?

I send the manuscript to two fantastic Beta readers. My editor is also a wonderful barometer/critic.

 
-Tell us all about your very first book signing. Take us there with your description of people, place, food, décor etc.

My very first book signing took place in San Antonio, Texas, at the lovely Menger Hotel. I was a nervous wreck and didn’t know what to expect, or how many books to bring. Authors decorated the packed room with colorful pullout and table banners. Logo’s, quotes, and character images where everywhere. My table partner was sweet and funny. She was probably as nervous as I was, since that was her first event as well. The happy cacophony of laughter and conversation and the scent of fresh popcorn are indelibly etched in the memory bank. Who knew that would be offered at the door? I also remember the aroma of chocolate. I had swag Hershey’s bites spread out on my table. I have a feeling the bites had a lot to do with the readers stopping by. They might have sold a book or two. Hershey’s bites rule!

 
-What do you enjoy when you’re not writing?

Reading is my favorite pastime.

 
-Tell us your favorite novel?

I’ll take a different tack. My favorite writer is Dorothy Dunnett. I love her series The Lymond Chronicles and House of Niccolò. The best historical fiction books ever written, in my humble opinion.

 
-What kind of advice can you give to other aspiring authors?

Hire a good editor. Editors are worth their weight in gold.

 

WRITING 101

 

KKantas AuthorAssistKKantas AuthorAssist

Interview with Joan Schweighardt

Joan Schweighardt

 

My guest today is Joan Schweighardt. Joan is an award-winning author, who’s books include The Accidental Art Thief and The Last Wife Of Attila The Hun.

 

Hi Joan, thank you for joining me today. I’ll dive straight in with the first question, if that’s ok?

How did your journey as a writer begin?

Joan SchweighardtI started writing when I was a kid. I wrote poems, and later short stories. I won second prize in a college short story contest the first year I took a creative writing class. And then I had a few stories published in literary magazines. In addition to my own projects, I was always looking for jobs where I could write—press releases for a PR company, copy for an ad agency, resumes for a resume company, local newspaper articles. At some point I realized I had become a “pen for hire.”

 

What gets your creative juices flowing?

In the case of my most recent novel, Before We Died, it began with a freelance job I took speed reading backlist books for a publisher and then writing up a paragraph or two about each book for their website. One of the books I was asked to read was a thin diary of a rubber tapper working in the South American rainforest in the early 1900s. I knew nothing about rubber tapping before this little book, but after a second read I had to know more, so I made two trips to South American and began to research everything I could find on the rubber boom, the tapping process, the indigenous people of the South American rainforests, Manaus, Brazil, the hub of the rubber boom, the time period, and on and on and on.

 

What do you enjoy most about writing

Being really engaged in a project takes me outside of myself. I think we can all relate to that. When we can get the ego to climb into the backseat, the subconscious has a chance to slip into the front. And suddenly it seems like ideas are coming from out of thin air. Not all writing experiences go like that, but some do.

 

Describe what your ideal writing space looks like.

We have a sizeable den, and my desk is in one corner. Friends ask me all the time why I don’t set up in the back bedroom where there is a door I could close for complete privacy. I’m claustrophobic, I guess. I like being out in the traffic area.

 

Where do you find your inspiration?

I always worry when I’m wrapping things up on one book project that I won’t have an idea for the next one. And sometimes that happens… there’s a gap of time where I seem to be looking and looking and can’t find a single thing to inspire me onto a new project. And then something shows up, usually when I least expect it.

 

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?

Before-We-Died800x1200The great thing about writing historical fiction, which is what I have been doing in recent years, is that you are gifted a setting—a time and a place—right off the bat. Boom: Amazon rainforest; early 1900s. Women did not travel to the Amazon to tap rubber trees in the early 1900s, so boom again: narrator has to be a man, a tough man who can endure the hardships of working in the jungle, probably youngish. My knowledge of the setting kind of dictated the details I would I would need to develop the plot. On the other hand, researching the historical setting also got in my way at times. By the time I was ready to write I knew almost too much about the rubber boom and life in the rainforest. When I reread my first draft I thought I was reading a text book. I had to delete a lot of the historical stuff and focus in on the characters and plot for the next draft.

 

How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning?

I am very bad at choosing names. I wish someone would come along and pick out all the names for me. And while I like the titles I usually end up with, it takes me forever to come up with each of them.

 

When you consider your future, what would you like to make happen for you?

I’d love to see Before We Died and the other two books in the series (Gifts for the Dead and River Aria) be made into a movie, or better yet a TV series. The books collectively cover 1908 to 1929, and they move back and forth between the New York metro area to the jungles of Brazil. WWI as seen from the docks of Hoboken, NJ, the Spanish Flu, and the lead up to the great depression are all accounted for, as are events going on in South America, including Henry Ford’s unsuccessful attempt to start a rubber tree plantation in Brazil. So that’s all happening in the background of the three books, and in the foreground my characters, Irish emigrants who settled in Hoboken, NJ and their offspring, are trying to deal with personal challenges regarding issues of love, loyalty, betrayal, power… all elements of the human condition. Great stuff for a TV series!

 

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Read, hang out with my husband, hang out with family and friends. I love to travel. I spend hours painting, but I’m not great at it.

 

How many books have you written? Which was the most fun to write ?

81X1YZaP1VL._SY300_I’ve written eight books to date. The first three were rather similar—darkly humorous contemporary novels with female narrators. My first historical novel is entitled The Last Wife of Attila the Hun. It took a long time to research and write because it was informed by both Nordic legend and the actual history of fifth century Hun, Roman and Germanic tribes. But I loved writing that one and I’m very proud of it. When it was completed, I wrote another darkly comic contemporary novel and also a memoir. I published the latter under a pseudonym so that I could go all out and divulge all my secrets. Then I started on the trilogy, of which Before We Died is book one. During the time I was writing the trilogy, I had a zebra dream, and I woke up and wrote a children’s book based on it, and I’m excited to say that No Time For Zebras will be published by Waldorf Press in the near future.

These are all my books that I’ve written for myself. There are also several books I’ve ghosted for other people as part of my freelance work.

The most fun books were the Attila novel and this new one, Before We Died, because I love research so much.

 

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

I was very creative as a kid. I always drew, and after my father bought me oil paints, I always painted. I wrote; I tried to learn to play the guitar; I made houses for my paper dolls and filled them with items from magazines. I was always doing, living more often in that state of engagement that I describe above than not. But what I wanted to do most was go to an art college and become a better artist. That didn’t work out; my family did not have the money to send me to the school. So I started taking college classes at a community college and working part time to pay for it, and after a few English lit classes, I changed course.

 

If you could travel to any time in history, when would you visit?

I have given so much thought and attention to the early 1900s that I suppose I would visit then. I’d head right to the docks of Hoboken, where my characters are from.

 

What movie or book character are you most similar to?

Elisa Esposito(Sally Hawkins)The Shape of WaterI’m going to say Elisa Esposito, the mute janitor that Sally Hawkins plays in The Shape of Water. I’m not mute, and I’m not a janitor, but I identify with Elisa in other ways. Elisa is a bit clumsy, a bit short on social graces and self-confidence, but big on heart, always dreaming, and adventurous enough to be able to step outside her comfort zone. (I love the movie, and I love the writer and director, Guillermo del Toro.)

 

What would your warning label say if every person was required to have one?

Do not put the enclosed woman on a small overcrowded tour bus filled with strangers under any circumstances or for any length of time.

 

Quick fire ‘this or that’ round:

◊ Ocean or Mountains?

Ocean

◊ Pancake or Waffle?

Neither

◊ Tablet or Computer?

Computer

◊ Jogging or Hiking?

Hiking

◊ Couch or Recliner?

Couch

 

Many thanks for your time, Joan and best wishes for the upcoming release of Before We Died!

Catch up with Joan and her books:

WebsiteFacebookTwitterInstagramGoodreadsAmazon

 Joan Schweighardt

 

Interview with Eve Lestrange

Eve Lestrange

Eve Lestrange, author of The Christina Lafage Chronicles, has joined me here on Rainne’s Ramblings, to answer a few questions about herself and her books.

Hi Eve, and welcome.

Would to like to start by telling us a little about yourself and your background?

A1bydGUdukL._UX250_I was born in New York but now reside in Pennsylvania. I originally wanted to be a musician & I was for a while, playing bass for the Empire Hideous. When the band broke up, I turned to writing for a creative outlet.

 
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

I always liked to write, but playing with the band didn’t leave me a lot of time. I had written some poetry but started writing books after the break-up of the band.

 
What gets your creative juices flowing?

Music, definitely music. It is an essential tool for me & I can’t write without it.

 
What’s the best writing advice you’ve been given?

Aside from a few technical things, I don’t think I’ve been given any.

 
What do you enjoy most about writing?

Writing is truly my own; I can do whatever what I want & don’t have to worry about creative differences or time restraints.

 
The Christina Lafage Chronicles is a horror series set in the eighteenth century, what drew you to this genre and time period?

The character of Christina Lafage is based on a woman named LaVoisin. She was a poisoner & held black masses for Seventeenth Century French aristocrats. The story was an interesting one, but I thought it would be more interesting is I made the character younger & moved the timeline to the Eighteenth Century.

 
Do you develop characters from your personal experiences and/or draw from that of others?

No, not really.

 
How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning?

Names are very important. You want a character with a distinct name that readers will remember. I chose the names mostly because of the way they sounded & they were memorable.

 
Widdershins

Tell us about the covers and how they came about.

The cover of Widdershins was done by an artist named Jose Pardo.

 
Who is your intended audience and why should they read your books?

Fans of horror, the occult & the supernatural are my intended audience. My books are written for them, because I am also a huge fan of horror &the occult, so I know what the fans are looking for.

 
Which book of the series was the most fun to write?

They were all fun to write, the series just seemed to write itself.

 
In a perfect world where you could cast your book for a movie, who would you pick to play Christina?

I’m not really sure, maybe an up-and-coming actress.

 
What can we expect from you in the future?

Right now, I’m working on a ghost story set in Baltimore, but I am also thinking about a prequel to Widdershins. Christina & Madame Duchamp are not done yet!

 
What advice would you give to your younger self?

Be patient, but I’m actually still not patient!

 
How do you spend your free time?

I like to read. Listen to music & hunt for odd antiques.

 
Tell us about your favourite memory related to reading or writing?

My favorite memory is discovering HP Lovecraft. His tales are very well written & have definitely shaped my own storytelling.

 
Name three things you consider yourself to be good at, and three things you consider yourself to be bad at.

Well, I think I’m good at writing, proofreading & trivia, I have a vast wealth of useless knowledge! I’m not very good at math, art or technology, I’m lucky I can work my cell phone!

 
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

To have a little more patience.

 
81rZEqVhA0L._UY200_If someone gave you a free plane ticket to anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Egypt, Italy & all of the other places that Christina Lafage has been.

 
Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?

Thank you for the interview & I hope your readers enjoy The Christina Lafage Chronicles!

 
Thank you for your time, Eve.
 

Author Links:

WebsiteFacebookGoodreads • Amazon

 

If, like me, you enjoy a good horror, check out last weeks feature on
The Christina Lafage Chronicles.

 

 

Interview with Anita Kovacevic

Anita Kovacevic Interview Banner

 
Earlier in the month, I spotlighted The Forest of Trees by Anita Kovacevic. Today I’m interviewing the author. I’m a bit nervous as Anita is often the interviewer rather than the interviewee…

 
8512581Hi Anita, welcome to Just books.

Would you please begin by telling me a little about yourself and your background

You may have heard about my country through Game of Thrones, although I myself have not yet sat on the Iron Throne. I come from Croatia where I have been teaching English as a second language for over 20 years now. My books have entered the world of publishing in the last three years. I write multiple genres – from children’s chapter books to adult poetry, paranormal thrillers and fantasy, light romantic comedy, and short stories. I live with my family in a small town near the capital city Zagreb.

 
Have you always wanted to be a writer? (And was there a particular moment you thought, ‘I can do this!’?)

Ha-ha, this is a fun question to reply! When I was about 8 or 9 I wanted to write and did, a lot. I loved books of all sorts and would sometimes visit the library twice on the same day. Later on I started writing theatre plays and became a movie fan, so as a teenager I wanted to become a movie director. Since my love for the English language permeated all of these, I eventually became a teacher of English, which I love to do. Logical development, huh?Well, considering I do lots of storytelling with my little learners, also developing and writing stories for them, and I teach a lot of literature and creative writing to my bigger learners, as well as write and direct plays in which they perform, I would say I found a job in which I can do a bit of each. Not to mention the fact that now my books in English are actually out there on the market!

‘I can do this!’ comes with the territory as soon as you hold on to your printed paperback. There is no other feeling like it.

Mind you, there are days when I don’t want to be a writer at all. I tell myself I should have dreamed of getting a job which would make me enough money to travel the world with my family, not this. And then my characters wake me up in the middle of the night, laugh to my face and tell me their stories, and keep telling them till I write them down.

 
Do you have a writing routine?And how do you fit everything you do (writing, blogging, interviews etc.) into your day?

Oh that’s a tough one. There are days and days which go without me writing or blogging at all, which doesn’t mean I don’t think about it and want to do it. But my time is always split – most of it goes to my family and day job (teaching). Sometimes, usually in springtime when I feel most energised, writing strikes a deal with insomnia and the two make miracles. Mostly, I steal time to write from my weekends, holidays and sleepless nights.

 
Are there any particular places that help you get the creative cogs turning?

Dreams, hahaha! Well, I am not actually kidding. Most of my ideas come to me on what I call dreamstep – when I’m just about to fall asleep or just waking up, or when I am already deep within a story, then scenes and characters wake me up from my deepest sleep. If it’s within a dream, then it doesn’t matter where, if it’s my bed at home or a hotel room on holiday.

Interestingly enough, I get great ideas whenever I am in contact with water – whether I am swimming, taking a bath, even doing the dishes. No idea why, but water has always had an ethereal effect on me.

 
What can we expect from you in the future?

Great things, I hope! There are so many works in progress, some waiting to be drafted till the end, some already waiting for the finishing touches, that I honestly hope I don’t give in to that overwhelming feeling of exhaustion. I truly enjoy writing, telling my stories… We are each granted only a few gifts in life and we should live up to them. Creativity is mine and I feel most myself when I create. I also feel I am my best to everyone around me when I create. Therefore, I am definitely planning to keep honing my skills, writing, designing, illustrating, interviewing, so that the tools I use to tell the stories end up create books which keep getting better and better.

 
Are there any differences between writing a novel and a short story for an anthology?

Huge differences! Writing a short story is a world of its own – you need to keep the mood steady throughout the story, you have to be compact and say a lot with very few words, still maintaining the flow of words and style, otherwise your story sounds as if someone just retold it. There is very little time to develop a character, so every detail counts. And still, a good short story needs its introduction, plot and peek, and some sort of a resolution.

As for a novel, the fact that you are given a larger space and time span to fill, actually makes it more risky and your responsibility seems greater. You get a lot of ‘playing space’ but you have to be aware of your timeline, characters, their development, and you need to keep the readers’ interest the entire time. I remember reading this quote a while ago: “A short story… is like a kiss in the dark from a stranger.“ (Stephen King), and thinking that a novel is like a relationship then – you really need to work at it to make it work.

However, for myself I can say I never think about these things while I write. Sometimes I start writing something without having any idea if it will be a story or a novel. As it develops, it becomes clearer. I think about the points I mentioned above when I revise and edit, be it my work or somebody else’s. Being aware of the ‘big picture’ helps maintain the rhythm, the pace of a story, and pace is very important, because reading must feel like music to the reader. Not everyone likes the same music though, but that’s life.

Anita.banner.2018

 

What are the hardest and easiest parts of being a writer?

The easiest part is the easiest to explain. The easiest part is the writing – when you are able to just let go and write, you become immersed into that mood, the world of your characters and you are just a witness, a scribe, who is humbled and honoured to be allowed into that world.

The hardest part… well, let me split this in two parts – one linked to ‘while writing’, and the other one to ‘after writing’.

The hardest part for me while writing is dealing with certain characters and acknowledging what happens is beyond my control. We often have to write characters and scenes which are painful, even disgusting, and sometimes our characters suffer fates we would never wish them to. There have been moments, while I was writing The Forest of Trees, when I felt physical pain and sorrow, and moments when I was sickened by some of my characters to the point of nausea. But if you try to cheat and force the story into where it does not want to go, it is no good. It reads fake because it is fake.

The after writing part of writing is what sometimes makes you want to quit writing altogether. Revisions, edits, proofreading, beta reading… those are time-consuming, but part of the process and absolutely necessary. But then you have to start seeing your book as a commodity to sell, a business, which can be torment for any artist. Getting the book published is quite a challenge – there is such a huge market out there that it is overwhelming. You encounter a fair share of vanity presses, preying on your hunger to be published and extracting from you any and all funds you may have or have borrowed to invest into your book, without any promise of even a return, let alone promotion or profit. Traditional publishers are mostly so flooded with submissions that they only bet on a safe thing, and sequels by already famous authors are enough to sustain them. Self-publishing has an unsteady reputation, constantly fluctuating between quantity and quality. Some authors have money to invest, but not all splendid covers encompass great writing. There is a huge number of books out there, but there is also a huge number of readers, all with their tastes and preferences. What is perfection to me is pulp fiction to somebody else, and I have learned to accept that. But some admirable authors write well and can afford excellent publishing promotional services, and this is my goal in writing – to hone my craft as best I can and earn enough to invest in a full-quality book. My light at the end of the tunnel.

 
THE.FOREST.3DYour book, The Forest of Trees, is being made into a movie, what music would you use as a soundtrack?

Oh wow, that would be something! To be honest, I’ve only ever seen The Forest as a great TV-series (so modest of me, right?). I’d like original music to be made, not use anything already in existence. A slight Celtic subtone would be most welcome. Mostly instrumental music, but I wouldn’t mind a strong theme song, maybe even two.

 
How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning?

This is one of the most interesting things I’ve recently talked about with one of my readers. They said my choice of names for the characters in The Threshold and The Forest of Trees was perfect and must have been thought about for a long time. It actually wasn’t at all, but shhh… don’t tell anyone. For instance, the villain in The Threshold changes his surname from Thibbit to Thibedeaux, trying to sound more posh and important. The secret is this – his surname is actually tidbit, revealing the true size of his tiny soul. In The Forest of Trees, the town where the story takes place is called Tillsworth (not the actual place, I had no idea there actually was a place with that name) – the place is supposed to bring this huge positive change in the lives of The Stones (the main family) and, in a way, it does but not without some complications – basically it’s like buying a product off a shelf – the promise of a discount is there, the price tag is there, but what you end up paying at the till may not be what the product is worth. You get what you chose to take from the shelves.However, the names were not chosen on purpose – they simply… came to mind as such, and remained non-negotiable, just like the book titles.

As for my children’s books, they are slightly different and let me have a say in things;). Children’s characters need simple, often illustrative names. Winky is a penguin who winks when he is very happy (his name shows exactly that because he never pretends to be anything he’s not), Mimi is a spoiled little squirrel (behaving like a princess at first but embracing her independence), George is a common man trying to be a pirate so he could win his love (no pirate-like name for him because he is simply too kind to be a pirate), and Hank is a little hedgehog (his parents give him that name to make him sound tough, but he finds strength elsewhere), and so on.

Childrens.books.Anita

Names are fun. I don’t think they really reveal what we are like, but the way we interpret them does reveal who we are. Hmmm… perhaps I should not have explained my name choices then, eh?

 
Can you tell us anything about any of your current work(s)-in-progress?

Too many to admit without blushing. I have two short story collections, one poetry collection, two children’s books and a YA fantasy novel in editing stages. Yes, you read it well. Still, it will take some time to edit those. I am currently putting on two teenage plays with my learners. I also have initial notes for a paranormal thriller which I am very excited about, but should keep quiet not to jinx it.

 
Other than writing, what are you passionate about?

Our children. They are our miracles and not a day goes by that my husband and I don’t feel blessed about that fact. I mean it. We must be doing something right to deserve such good people for kids, as crazy as they may make us from time to time.

I adore music. One of my passions used to be dancing, but I’ve had to cut down on that due to various reasons. I often dance in my mind though, to my favourite music. It’s like meditation.

As for hobbies, it changes as life goes by and free time is scarce. I enjoy repurposing old stuff into new, be it clothes, furniture, spaces… whatever. I love creative hobbies such as knitting, drawing, painting, sewing, cooking…

Reading is an essential part of my life and I am always reading something, fiction or non-fiction. I often write reviews, although I have slowed down because I realised it was beginning to limit my joy for reading. Reading for yourself is one thing, but reading to review is quite another. I enjoy interviewing authors – it is fun and I meet so many interesting people from all over the world.

 
If you could travel to any time in history, when would you visit?

Oh my, huge choice options! No battles, please, no wars, slavery, witchhunts… I’d like to watch great works of art being created – monuments, buildings, paintings, books, music… Oh to be in the room when some of the most famous music was made! To be in the room with Cleopatra when she let down her guard and allowed herself to feel weak… to see Tesla in his frenzy of ideas… to watch Da Vinci paint…Given the choice, where/when would YOU go?

 
I’m asking the questions today, Anita! 😉
I’d like to visit the times of dinosaurs, to see what they were really like, and how close the palaeontologists have been in their interpretations.

I wish I’d known … when I was younger.

I wish I’d known I was not as fat as I thought in high school. I wish I’d known I should have more fun. But then again, things come to us when we are ready, right?

 
You’re stranded on a desert island and you can take three people who would they be and why?

Hmmm… I’ll need to think about that. For my next book perhaps?

 
Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?

Thank you for inviting me as a guest, Rainne. I hope you and your readers enjoy stories whenever you get and share them with someone you love, or even someone you’ve never met. Share a good story – kindness matters!Find me on WordPress, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest… either by name or Anita’s Haven

 
Thanks ever so much for joining me, Anita, and for the interesting answers. It’s been a pleasure.

 
You can find Anita’s interviews, and other articles, on her blog: Anita’s Haven.

Book links:

Lulu Author Spotlight • Universal Book Link • Barnes & Noble/Nook • Kobo/Rakuten

iTunes/Apple • Amazon Author page • BookGorilla • Goodreads

 
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The Forest of Trees by Anita Kovacevic

 

An Interview with Maya Sacher

Publication1

 
My guest today is Maya Sacher, author of Hungry for Love.

Maya is a law school graduate, an activist, and the author of three books. Two books were published in Croatia, a short story collection and a novel.

Hungry for Love is a new adventure for her, as it is her first self-published book and an attempt to reach a new, wider market.

Hungry for Love is due for release on March 1st, and can be pre-ordered on Amazon

 

07Hi Maya, and welcome to Rainne’s Ramblings.
Would you like to kick off by telling us what motivates you to write…?

Life, experience, people, society and its anomalies.

 
…And how your interest in writing originated?

I was twelve when I first dabbled with writing. I remember we used to frequently go down to the air-raid shelter, (Croatia was at war in the early nineties), and there wasn’t much to do for a kid in a shelter. I would bring a notebook with me and I started writing down stories. But it wasn’t until I graduated high school that I realized I wanted to be a writer.

 
Who or what has helped you become a better writer over time?

One of my first teachers was my Croatian editor, Mr. Kruno Lokotar, who helped me shape up my first two books. I also learned a lot from the mentors of The Writers’ Workshop, Elizabeth Garner and Laurence Daren King, who I have worked with on Hungry for Love.

 
What are the hardest and easiest parts about being a writer?

Writing is the easiest part, that’s where all the fun is. Rewriting is not as fun, but it’s still writing. Researching, although it has its moments, is the hardest part for me because it isn’t writing.

 
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

I don’t know yet. I’ll let you know when one of my books hits bestseller list.

 
Walk us through a day in the life of Maya

After my cats and I have had our breakfast, they find a cozy place to sleep, and I tap away at my computer until lunch break. After lunch I write some more. If the weather is nice, I’ll go for a walk. I usually finish off my day with a movie or I catch up on my reading or both. See, quite glamorous.

 
Are events in Hungry for Love based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

I’m sure most writers draw their inspiration from their own experience, the people they know and the world around them. Actually, this is the first rule of writing – write what you know. So most stories have a touch of their author’s lives in them. Hungry for Love tells of trials and tribulations of a woman who falls in love with a new man while her husband is in a coma, and the most difficult decision she has to make when her husband wakes up. This premise is made-up, however some characters were inspired by the people I know.

 
Who is your favourite character from your book and why?

I could say the main character, Elizabeth, because she is both fragile and strong, but I could also pick her therapist, Dawn, because she is wise, cool and understanding. On the other hand, I also love the two male characters, Elizabeth’s quirky husband, Jesse, and her lover, Aidan, who is somewhat rough around the edges but has a big heart. I can’t really take my pick.

 
How about your least favourite character?

I can’t choose the least favorite character either because they are all my creation and I sympathize with all of them. All characters are, in essence, bits of their author. Choosing the least favorite character would be like saying I don’t like some part of me, and that wouldn’t be true.

 
Would you please tell us about the delicious cover and how it came about.

book cover

 

My friend, Sonja Kovač, takes pictures of books for publishers and websites. I love her photographs, so I asked her if she would take my cover photo.

I told her I wanted cookies theme, since Elizabeth bakes cookies, but I also wanted the cover to suggest a love triangle without actually showing people.

At the bottom you will notice a recipe. It was Sonja’s idea. It’s actually a recipe for happiness taken from the novel. So when the readers watch the table on the cover, it’s as if they are seeing from Elizabeth’s perspective, as if they are baking cookies themselves.

 

 
Who is your intended audience and why should they read Hungry for Love?

Women (and men) who enjoy unconventional love stories and family dramas.

 
Have you any books in the pipeline? Can you tell us a bit about it/them?

I am currently working on a young adult novel, a dystopian romance.

 
Your book is being made into a movie, what music would you use as a soundtrack?

Something along the lines of early Maroon 5.

 
Other than writing, what are you passionate about?

Movies, traveling, food. I love trying new flavors, visiting new places, and I’m probably addicted to movies.

 
What can we expect from you in the future?

Hopefully, more books.

 
If you could change one thing from your past, what would it be, and why?

I used to fantasize about changing this or that about my past, about whether or not I could have made a better choice or prevented something bad from happening, but now I don’t want to change anything. Let bygones be bygones and all that.

 
What are your pet peeves?

I guess my biggest pet peeve is when people don’t believe you even in the face of evidence. And when people spend more time on their phone than they do interacting with the people they are supposedly having a conversation with.

 
Quick fire round:

  • favourite thingsFavourite book?

    The Little Prince.

  • Favourite food?

    Chocolate.

  • Favourite flower?

    Sunflower.

  • Favourite animal?

    Cats.

  • Favourite quote?

    “I believe that everything happens for a reason. People change so that you can learn to let go, things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they’re right, you believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself, and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.”
    Marilyn Monroe

 
Is there anything else you’d like to share with us before you head back to your writing and your cats?

I hope the readers will enjoy Hungry for Love. If you’d like to share anything, ask a question, or just chat, feel free to get in touch via my Facebook page.

 
Thank you for joining us, Maya. Best wishes for Release Day!