Category Archives: Author Interviews

Interview With Author Jackie Ross Flaum

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The Yellow Fever Revenge coverLow Down Dirty Vote Volume 2 cover                Mayhem in Mephis cover                                                                                 

CTC:     Good afternoon everyone. Please join me in welcoming acclaimed author Jackie Ross Flaum to my blog. She has most recently written the novella story The Yellow Fever Revenge. You can find my review here: 

https://chessythecat.wordpress.com/2020/04/07/love-will-prevail/

Let’s get started.

CTC:     When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? When did you write your first book and how old were you? 

JRF:     Writing came naturally to me all my life. Escaping into my own world and telling myself a story was always part of me—I can’t remember when it wasn’t! I wrote my first novel, Ricky and the Midnight Colt, when I was in the sixth grade. My mother, bless her, typed all 100 pages of it. I ran across a few pages when we cleaned out the attic!

CTC:     How long does it take you to write a book?

JRF:     I am slow, slow, slow. I write historical romantic suspense with Southern heroes and heroines. They require lots of research, many hours in libraries, on the phone talking to people, Internet searches. When you read The Yellow Fever Revenge I want you to feel like you are in Memphis during the epidemic. I can’t do that without lots of research.  And, I confess, I agonize over every word. I have a novel coming out soon, Justice Tomorrow, set in a 1960s Georgia town. It’s taken me two years to crank it out. I check and recheck everything.

CTC:     What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

JRF:    I usually buckle down after lunch. Then my husband has to remind me it’s getting close to dinner or I’d write up into the night. He makes sure I keep a regular life.

CTC:     What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

JRF:     Hmm, maybe a better question is what quirk do I aspire to have? I would love to be like Joseph Heller in Catch-22. He often starts a sentence, and it is going the way you expect it, then suddenly he twists it and you go, “oh” or laugh. For example, this is a classic sentence from the book: “His mother was a Daughter of the American Revolution and his father was a son of a bitch.”

CTC:     LOL

JRF:     When I’m actually writing on the computer, I have to have water and eye drops close by. I sometimes forget to blink! Plus, I’m always thirsty.

CTC:     Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

JRF:     Ideas come from news stories, family stories, people I’ve met who are so interesting. I have a short story that will appear in the July 4 crime writer’s anthology Low Down Dirty Vote V.II that came from my family history. I had heard the story in pieces from my grandmother, then read a newspaper or magazine account of it. I changed my grandmother’s tale around a little, but I hope you enjoy Two Dead, Two Wounded.

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

JRF:     Swimming, playing bridge with friends, reading, arguing politics with my husband—those are some of my favorite things to do. But I devote a lot of time to a program I helped create called Team Read. It links trained volunteers with second graders who need help learning to read. It’s been very successful and spread from one school to 63 in just a few years. We have 1,400 volunteers in my county alone! It is a great free program that has measurable success. I discuss it on my website www.jrflaum.com.

CTC:     What does your family think of your writing?

JRF:     Oh, they are very supportive. My husband is a retired business writer and edits my work. But he won’t read anything without a murder on the front page. He’s a picky reader. My teenage grandson even read The Yellow Fever Revenge and declared it more interesting than his history book’s description of the epidemic and its impact on Memphis.

CTC:     Why on earth would you release a book about an epidemic during a pandemic?

JRF:     Good question. I was conflicted. On one hand, it is a timely story about a woman in Memphis facing challenges posed by the epidemic and the arrival of her rapist in town. Much of what Elizabeth McAlister sees and endures is part of our time, readers can immediately relate. On the other hand, as one of my author friends said, people may not want to read about something historical that bears so much similarity to their current experiences. The pandemic is traumatizing for many.

Elizabeth McAlister pushed me to tell her story, to expand on what I’d explained before about her desire to protect her son and her new love, a policeman, from knowing about her past. The arrival of her rapist Barkley Mills and his family changes everything for Elizabeth. She decides she must kill him or he will come upon her someday and recognize himself in their son’s face. Barkley is a horrible man—personally, I couldn’t stand him.

In the end, Elizabeth is swept up into caring for the thousands who are sickened. She must decide if she can take a life when so many are struggling to keep theirs.

CTC:     Personally, I loved it.

CTC:     What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

JRF:     As a reporter for The Hartford Courant I learned early on that what I thought I wrote was not what people read. I had to be really careful as a journalist to convey the correct meaning with my words. I thought it would be different in fiction. Surprise! It’s even more important!

CTC:     That has to be really hard. I see that every day on social media. Folks tend to read more into my posts than I meant.

CTC:     How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

JRF:     I have written four books, all in the Sterling and Gray “Sterling Brothers Ltd” series. Sterling Brothers is a company of investigators who worked in the civil rights movement. The first will be published in summer Justice Tomorrow. It introduces Madeline Sterling, a daughter of a Harvard University professor and his Mississippi-bred wife, and her partner Socrates Gray, son of two well-educated black school teachers in the rural South. The story opens in 1965. Sterling and Gray head a team of college students who work in part of the civil rights movement and they arrive in a small Georgia to investigate the lynching of a teenager. The second book Price of a Future follows Sterling and Gray from the chaos which follows Justice Tomorrow. My favorite, however, is the last—a book I wrote first! It finishes the Sterling/Gray story arc and, I hope, leads to their agency having many mysteries to solve.

CTC:     What lead you to write?

And, well, it was first reading all the time. I was the kid who read the geography book the first week of school and hid another book inside it during geography class. Well, I couldn’t use the math book, it was too small.

I love all the J.D. Robb books, all the American political intrigue books like “Advise and Consent” and “Night of the Generals.”

CTC:     What is it about your writing that sets you apart from other authors?

JRF:     Every writer has a unique voice and tells a story in a way no one else can. For proof, look at the number of people who have written books on the same subject. How many novels of kidnapping and murder have you read? I am a Baby Boomer, Southerner tempered by years in the North, and a woman—nobody has seen or experienced life as I have and my vision of the world is unique. That is true of every person. And those things that make me unique are reflected in my writing.

I had a creative writing teacher tell me this story and he claimed it was true: a professor walked into his writing class and offered an A to the student who could successfully intertwine the most thrilling elements of literature—deity, royalty, sex, mystery—in one story.

The winning student wrote: “My God,” cried the queen, “pregnant again. I wonder who {whose?} it could be?”

CTC:     What do you think makes a good story?

JRF:     A sympathetic heroine or hero and a sense of increasing danger or doom for him or her.

In my novella, Elizabeth McAlister has already sacrificed and struggled to make a decent life for her child, a boy born from rape.

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

JRF:     I wanted to be a jockey. I was short enough but too fat.

CTC:     Is there anything else that you would like for the audience to know?

JRF:     Writing is hard work. Harder than you can imagine. The actual writing part is easy, fun, exciting. The research part is too. Even the editing is fun. And that’s because I can get lost in the story, it lives in me all the time in my head and heart. Once I send it off, fearfully and sometimes tearfully, it leaves me. I took both my daughters to college and as I drove away I had this same gut-wrenching, heart-twisting feeling: will my loved ones be ok? Did I teach them all the things they will need to be successful? Did I give them all the strength they’ll need to endure whatever happens? Will they remember how much I love them and let it comfort them in times of distress?   Of course, you can’t take that analogy too far, but there is a lot of fear in publishing what you write!

CTC:     Thank you so much, Jackie, for taking time out of your busy schedule to do this interview for my readers.

You can follow Jackie Ross Flaum at any of the following:

Email: jrflaum@gmail.com

Website: www.jrflaum.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Writer-Jackie-Ross-Flaum-1653778164835646/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jrflaum

jackie2_orig                                        Justice Tomorrw cover

 

Interview with Author Angie Grigaliunas

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CTC:       Today I have the pleasure of interviewing Angie Grigaliunas, author of the medieval dystopian Sowing.

Sowing Cover

Thank you for joining us today, Angie. Let’s get started, shall we?

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

AG:       It’s been a gradual thing, really. I’m not sure of one specific moment when I was like, “Yeah, this is what I want to do.” It’s something I’ve always loved, though I got away from it for a while in my teens. I never stopped writing completely, but it wasn’t my focus. I’d say around March 2006, I buckled down and decided to be serious. So just over eleven years ago!

CTC:       How long does it take you to write a book?

AG:        I have no set answer for this. Ack! My very first book (about elves), I wrote in just over a year, I believe. That was back when I was like 18. My first published book (Sowing) took about a year to write as well…but I had been working on the world for a couple of years before that with a different book one (Searching for Silver). This most recent one (Quelling, book two of that series) is up to about a year so far, if not more, and it’s not done yet. It really just depends.

I take however long it requires, there! Haha!

CTC:       What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

AG:       I write when I can. I have a day job and work 30 hrs/wk, so it’s a lot of writing on the weekends or evenings.

CTC:       What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

AG:       Um…a quirk…hmm. Well, talking to my characters? Arguing with them? That’s pretty quirky…and I do that a lot…

CTC:       Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

AG:       The ideas just come, haha! I get inspiration from everywhere. Conversations, radio talk, songs, articles, brainstorming with friends/critique partners, prompts, dreams every once in a while, etc. I’ve done research on a bunch of different topics and time periods.

CTC:       When did you write your first book and how old were you?

AG:       My first complete book…I believe I started it when I was about 18 ½. It’s the one I mentioned above and took about a year to write.

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

AG:       Walking/exercising, hanging out with my husband, facebooking…

CTC:       What does your family think of your writing?

AG:       For a while, they were skeptical and not super encouraging. They kind of thought I was wasting my time. My mom was always supportive, but the dream of publishing was so far-fetched at the time. Now that Sowing is published and in actual book-form, the skepticism has faded into awe and interest. Funny how that happens! 😉

CTC:       What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

AG:       That characters take over! They truly do! It’s the weirdest but coolest thing. I’ve also learned just how much I love writing. I can’t imagine doing anything else.

CTC:       How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

AG:       I’ve completed four now:

-elf one (the one I mentioned previously)

-former book one (Searching for Silver) of my current series (The Purification Era)

-Sowing (actual book one of The Purification Era)

-and as of 4/1/17 (!!!!!!!!! It still needs a lot of edits/revision, but it’s WRITTEN!!!), Quelling (book two)

As for favorite…oh gosh. The elf one was a huge accomplishment – the first book I ever completed – but Searching for Silver was a massive undertaking, taxing, and took like 2 ½ years (and sadly, most of it is now unusable, but still…such a valuable time of learning). Sowing was amazing, and I adore it so much. First published book, eep! Quelling is especially special (“especially special,” haha! Say that five times fast!) because I have never completed a sequel to anything before. Ahh, I love them all for their own reasons! Since I’m coming off the high of Quelling, I’m almost leaning toward that one; it builds on the world in Sowing so much more…and the characters grow…and it’s so intense (I hope!)…

 Sowing/Quelling. There. Final answer. They can’t really be separated too much. Haha!

CTC:       Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?

AG:       Read! Read a lot. Join a critique group. But the biggest thing is be teachable! Be willing to listen to constructive criticism. WRITE, write, and write some more. Learn the rules and learn when to break them. Find your voice.

CTC:       Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

AG:       Define “much,” haha! Some of my readers are also my crit partners, and I talk to them frequently. Thus far, everyone has pretty much loved my story. I think everyone who has read Sowing is eager for Quelling. They love the characters, the world-building, and they say “WHERE IS BOOK TWO?” a lot…

CTC:       Do you like to create books for adults?

AG:        Yes and no? I write sort of YA…and I say “sort of” because it’s really dark stuff most of the time. Dark themes, lots of violence… But I’d rather make books for adults than children, so… Haha!

CTC:       What do you think makes a good story?

AG:        There are so many elements that go into it, but for me, characters make or break a story. I can put up with a LOT of less-than-ideal stuff (grammar issues, plot holes – within reason, at least! – inconsistencies, etc.) as long as I care about the characters. Make me care, and you likely have me. Fail to make me care, and you can have the best plot in the world, and it will feel like I’m forcing myself through your book. Sorry…just how it is!

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

AG:       A cat. Ha! No, I probably wanted to be an artist or something. I’m sure at some point in my childhood, I did want to be a writer, though I don’t know if I even thought it could/would be a career.

CTC:       Is there anything else that you would like for the audience to know?

AG:       Um…Quelling should be out by the end of the year, and Sowing is out now! =) You can find it here: amzn.to/2ck9So6

CTC:       Again, thank you, Angie, for allowing me to take up your time.

You can follow Angie Griguliunas here:

http://www.facebook.com/angiegrigaliunaszewriter

http://www.instagram.com/angiegrigaliunas

http://www.twitter.com/angie_zewriter

Angie GrigaliunasAll is not as it seems.  In fact, nothing may be.

Interview with Author Adrienne Lecter

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CTC:       Today I have the pleasure of interviewing Adrienne Lecter, author of the amazing zombie apocalypse series, Green Fields.

GF Incubation     GF Outbreak     GF Escalation

GF Extinction     GF Resurgence     GF Unity

Thank you so much for joining me and taking time to answer a few questions for my readers. Let’s get started, shall we?

When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer?

AL:          When I started writing my first book at age 13, but it was much closer to 30 that I considered it in earnest.

CTC:       How long does it take you to write a book?

AL:          Anywhere from four weeks to six months. I try to get the first draft done in 6-8 weeks.

CTC:       What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

AL:          Ideally, I sit down in the morning and write until late afternoon, with some light editing and social media in the evening. Some days that works perfectly. Others, not so much. I usually finish writing my books at 3am after working myself to the bone for the last few days, so that should give you an idea how well my time management works.

CTC:       What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

AL:          Not sure if that counts, but I fully visualize my books before I sit down to write.

CTC:       Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

AL:          I love to do a lot of research, which as a former scientist who writes from a former scientist’s POV during the zombie apocalypse can get very interesting. I would be lost without YouTube and Google StreetView.

CTC:       When did you write your first book and how old were you?

AL:          I started in 1996 when I was 13, a few months after we got our first computer. That abomination will never see the light of day, but I have plans to revisit the world and do a complete re-write.

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

AL:          Read, play video games, ride my motorcycle. The usual 😉

CTC:       What does your family think of your writing?

AL:          Only my boyfriend has read my books, but my parents are surprisingly impressed with the fact that their daughter is a published author. Everyone is very supportive, which I consider a true blessing.

CTC:       What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

AL:          That as an Indie author you’re lucky if 50% of the work you do is actual writing. I never expected how much else there is to releasing books in multiple formats.

CTC:       How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

AL:          Written, close to 30, I think. Published under this name, 6; Under another penname, 13 altogether.

My favorite is Incubation, the first in the Green Fields series. It was the “make it” book in the “make it or break it” phase of my writing career.

CTC:       Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?

AL:          Read. That’s really the best suggestion to hone your craft. Read, and write. Don’t re-write, don’t edit your one manuscript until it has lost all soul and voice. You need to create and be inspired as a writer, so keep the ball rolling!

CTC:       Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

AL:          They can be a chatty bunch, mostly on facebook and via email. I like to think that I’m doing something right, writing slightly off the beaten path in the zombie apocalypse genre. What a lot of readers mention (particularly when they recommend the books) is how dark and twisted they are. If it works for them, it sure works for me!

CTC:       Do you like to create books for adults?

AL:          Yes. I wouldn’t dare even consider writing for children. I’d traumatize them for life!

CTC:       What do you think makes a good story?

AL:          Great characters and an engaging plot. You need both. I’m also a huge fan of Stephen King’s idea of writing about what scares you the most. As a horror writer, that’s really all you need for inspiration.

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

AL:          Be a scientist. Tried that, can’t recommend it 100%, but it gave me a lot of ideas for the books I’m writing now.

CTC:       Again, thank you, Adrienne, for allowing me to take up your time.

You can follow Adrienne Lecter here:

http://adriennelecter.com

http://facebook.com/adriennelecter

https://www.amazon.com/Adrienne-Lecter/e/B016AD26SE/

Adrienne Lecter logo

Interview with Author Tania Hagan

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CTC – Today I have the pleasure of interviewing Tania Hagan, author of the amazing dystopian novel, The Cure.

The Cure

Thank you so much for joining me and taking time to answer a few questions for my readers. Let’s get started, shall we?

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

TH – I sort of fell into news and feature writing right out of college. I didn’t know I would love writing fiction until I sat down to write The Cure.

CTC – How long does it take you to write a book?

TH – The Cure took about nine months. It’s a lengthy novel at 112 thousand words. The sequel is taking me about the same amount of time.

CTC – What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

TH – I do my best work in the morning, but I’ve been known to stay up late typing. I don’t really have a schedule, since I don’t have a day job.

CTC – What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

TH – I write whenever I get an idea. I literally stop in the grocery aisles to type into my phone, if an interesting concept hits me. I think that might be a quirk.

CTC – Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

TH – I try to think of topics that have not yet been explored.
My idea for The Cure series came out of a conversation I had with my brother. He was discussing another possible idea for a book about cloning. Suddenly it hit me–what would happen in human cloning was mandated by the government? What if the only legal way to procreate was through cloning?

CTC – When did you write your first book and how old were you?

TH – The Cure was my first book, and I was forty-something.

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

TH – I’m a stay-at-home mom, so my daughter is my life.

CTC – What does your family think of your writing?

TH – My family is incredibly supportive. We come from a long line of media people, so I have professional eyes everywhere with my extended family.

CTC – What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

TH – The most surprising thing was that I actually could do it. I was also shocked at how quickly The Cure was picked up by my publisher.

CTC – How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

TH – I’ve written The Cure, and I’m nearly done with the sequel. I also have a part in the anthology, Lurking in the Shadows.
So, I’m fairly new to this business.

CTC – What is it about your writing that sets you apart from other authors?

TH – I think my writing is typically in plain, easy to follow language. My goal is to make the reader feel like he or she is experiencing the words, rather than reading them.
I also strive to make my subject matter different from anything anyone has ever read. I’m fairly confident I accomplished that goal with The Cure. Although Dystopian books are everywhere, no one has ever attempted a theme quite like mine. If I couldn’t come up with something entirely original, I don’t think I would be a writer.

CTC – Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?

TH – The best advice I can give to anyone is to read, read, read!! You can’t write if you aren’t an avid reader.

CTC – Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

TH – I do! I’m blessed with the most amazing readers.
They tell me if they liked my book, and how it has affected them. We also just chat about life events in general. I’ve made some awesome friends through this whole process.

CTC – Do you like to create books for adults?

TH – So far, I’m primarily a YA author. I do have an upcoming short story for adults. It’s not adult content though. My writing is very tame.
It seems like The Cure somehow appeals to all ages, male and female. So, even though I write for a YA audience, everyone gets something out of my work.

CTC – What do you think makes a good story?

TH – A good story is anything that will stick with you. A reader once told me she knew my book was important to her because she remembered random scenes long after she finished the book. Comments like that make my day.

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

TH – I wanted to be a teacher. I’ve been a preschool teacher. When I got married, all I wanted to do was to be a mommy. Being a mom is my number-one accomplishment.
I suppose we all change a bit from whatever we wanted to do as a child. I’m very content being a mom and an author.

CTC – Again, thank you, Tania, for allowing me to take up your time.

You can follow Tania Hagan here:

http://taniahagan.com/

https://twitter.com/tania_hagan

https://www.facebook.com/TaniaHaganAuthor/?fref=ts

http://smile.amazon.com/Tania-Hagan/e/B01BQ4M8YY/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1464463812&sr=8-1

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14739174.Tania_Hagan

Tania Hagan photo What do you do when the monster is you?

Interview with Author Brian Parker

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May 14, 2016

CTC – Good afternoon! I’m happy to have had the chance to interview Brian Parker, author of Zombies in the Basement, the Washington Dead City series, Self-Publishing the Hard Way, the Path to Ashes series, and others.

Welcome, Brian. Let’s get started, shall we?

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

BP – I’ve always been a writer, from early childhood, but when I graduated from college, I fell into the mental trap that so many adults seem to do. I had a career and didn’t have time for frivolous pursuits–or so I thought. 

In reality, I watched a lot of TV to unwind at the end of the day, just vegging out instead of doing something productive. Then, about five years ago, I read a book by active duty Navy officer J.L. Bourne and I decided if he could find time to do it, so could I. The TV goes off when my kids go to bed and I use that time that I used to watch television for writing.

And I haven’t looked back since.

CTC – How long does it take you to write a book?

BP – That’s a difficult question. My first book GNASH took me 2.5 years to write. But I edited as I went and then would set it aside for a long time. After I finally published that one, Enduring Armageddon took about 8 months to write; now I have a process, I just go balls to the wall writing and then go in to edit once the rough draft is done. So, for the past 9 or so books. It takes about 4 months from concept to finished first draft, including my initial edits. Of course, I sprinkle in short stories and other projects during that time, so it may actually be a little faster, but I’ve always got a few irons in the fire.

CTC – What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

BP – I write at night after my kids go to bed and on the weekends before my family wakes up, so that gives me about 2 hours a night during the week and 3-4 in the morning on weekends.

CTC – What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

BP – Hmm, that I write in silence seems to be odd to a lot of folks. Most writers I talk to have music playing or the television on in the background, but I usually write in solitude since the family is asleep.

CTC – Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

BP – Remember that mental trap? I’ve got almost 20 years worth of ideas floating around my head! For the military parts of my books, I use my experiences, for everything else, there’s Google. The CIA World Factbook is also a godsend.

CTC – When did you write your first book and how old were you?

BP – I finished writing GNASH in 2013, so that made me 36.

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

BP – I’m lucky in that my job “forces” me to work out, so I get my gym and pavement time out of the way for my job, but I do love to lift weights and hike. Actually, pretty much anything that I can challenge myself physically is exciting to me. I run, go to the park, play outside with the kids. I like adventure races like Tough Mudder and Warrior Dash. I’ve ran 5 full marathons and want to get back to that (my last was the Marine Corps Marathon in 2012).

One of my long-term life goals is to through-hike the Appalachian Trail. I think the sense of accomplishment from that would be amazing.

CTC – What does your family think of your writing?

BP – My kids think it’s cool that I’ve been on TV and have spoken at schools for my kids’ book Zombie in the Basement, but they’re still too young to appreciate how much effort it takes to write a book.

CTC – What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

BP – The cost! People, myself included before this all began, seem to think that writers are all making money hand over fist. It’s not the case for the vast majority of us. For self-published authors, there’s the cost of the editing (anywhere from a few hundred bucks to several thousand), cover art (again, a wide range of prices), formatting if you can’t do it yourself, then promoting the book once it comes out…everything costs money and you’re only earning, at most, a couple of dollars per book sold, so it takes a while to move into the black on each book.

CTC – How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

BP – As of today, I’ve written 10 novels, 1 kids’ book, 1 how-to guide for self-publishing, and two published short stories (I’m waiting on word back for a few others that have been submitted). I’m about 3/4 of the way through the rough draft of my 11th novel, a sci-fi noir detective story that will become a series.

The second part of your question is hard. All of them are my babies and all of them are different, with unique storylines an “personalities.” But, if I HAD to choose, it would be either Enduring Armageddon or REND.

CTC – What is it about your writing that sets you apart from other authors?

BP – I feel what sets me apart from a lot of other authors out there is the amount of realism that I apply to my stories. I hate when there are parts of books or movies that make me roll my eyes, so I use my real-world experiences to bring as much realism as possible into each story.

CTC – Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?

BP – Ignore all the experts! Seriously. That whole “show don’t tell” mantra that all the out of work MFA degree holders try to tell you is BS. Write for you, in your style and how you feel comfortable writing; it’ll feel forced otherwise and your readers can tell. 

I’m not saying don’t try to improve your craft every day, far from it, but just don’t get wrapped around the axle of the three-part story or the idea that you have to follow established patterns. Play around with timing. One of my favorite movies of all time is Memento, a film that tells each scene from the ending to the beginning, while the scenes progress chronologically.

CTC – Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

BP – I typically hear from a core group of about 50 readers who interact with me via facebook. For the most part, everyone is positive about my work and I’ve even got a couple of champions who go out and talk me up, which is super cool (thanks guys!).

CTC – Do you like to create books for adults?

BP – All but one of my books and short stories are for adults. I like that I can let myself be who I really am in my books with language and situations. I keep my facebook page strictly PG-13 because that’s my brand. I don’t curse when I interact with folks or post, but in real life, I do curse and I think there’s an advantage to being able to express myself however I want in my books.

CTC – What do you think makes a good story?

BP – This is a cop-out, but I think it’s different for every person. To me, a good story holds my attention with peaks and valleys. It can’t be all high adventure 100% of the time, that would just be exhausting, and books that are all details with no action are boring! I like action that builds, then ebbs and builds up again, following that pattern for most of the book.

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

BP – I wanted to be a soldier or a lawyer. I became a soldier and married a lawyer, so I guess I hit them both in some ways!

CTC – Is there anything else that you would like for the audience to know?

BP – Where to find me, of course!

I’m on facebook, that’s where I interact with readers the most. My page is http://www.facebook.com/BrianParkerAuthor

Also, the one-stop link to find my books on Amazon. Only my four books published by Permuted Press are available on Nook, Kobo or iTunes; my self-published works are Amazon-exclusive. Here’s where you can find everything: http://www.amazon.com/Brian-Parker/e/B00DFD98YI

CTC – Thank you so much, Brian, for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer these questions for my readers. And, congratulations on the new baby!

Brian Parker 2 Evil doesn’t become extinct. It evolves. Our world is a violent place. Murder, terrorism, racism and social inequality, these are some of the forces that attempt to destroy our society while the State is forced to increase its response to these actions. Brian Parker

Author Sarah Noffke

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April 30, 2016

CTC –Today I’m fortunate to have Sarah Noffke, author of The Lucidites Series, The Revarians Series, The Ren Series, and The Vagabond Circus Series.

 

Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer some questions for my readers. Let’s begin, shall we?

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

SN – I used to sit in my treehouse and write plays and poetry. I loved to write from an early age, but I never really thought I’d go into business doing it. For most of my life it was an obsessive hobby. However, when I was working in college administration I used to go to the library on my lunch break. I would browse books, not knowing what I was looking for. I felt really lost at that time in my life. Almost every day I would run my fingers over the spines of the books in the library and stop randomly, thinking I’d find the book I was looking for. For some reason I just knew I needed to find a certain book. And then one day I heard the voice of intuition in my head. It said, “You can’t find the book because you need to write it.” And that’s the day I decided I needed to become a writer.

CTC – How long does it take you to write a book?

SN – Most of my books have taken around six weeks to write. The first book in the Ren series was written in about two weeks, which was exhausting and awesome. And the second book in the Reverian series I really didn’t want to finish so that one took around eight weeks. My productivity really is centered on how I feel about the book.

CTC – What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

SN – Sporadic. I usually wake up around 3 am with an idea and make myself get up and write it down. This may take a minute or three hours. I keep the worst hours when writing, but after I finish a book I always take a break and recharge.

CTC – What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

SN – I do most of my writing on the treadmill. I struggled with output for a while because I take care of my four year old daughter full time and teach college classes. So I decided to start multitasking. It totally works.

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

SN – I wanted to be an Olympic gymnast. For six years I trained every single day for four to five hours. I held onto that dream until I was thirteen when I realized that I really liked boys and wanted to free up my schedule.

CTC – When did you write your first book and how old were you?

SN – When I was twenty-four I wrote a middle grade novel called One Day Hill. It’s a really fun book about the idea of time and how adding a single day to the end of your life can change it. However, I never found the right ending for it, so it’s sitting in the bottom drawer of my desk.

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

SN – I’m an avid hiker. I love being outdoors and exploring. Connecting with nature is one way I keep the creative vault full.

CTC – What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

SN – That I become my characters during my time with them. If they’re depressed then so am I. If they’re confused and in the dark, then that’s how the story is for me. I have feelings of heart-stopping crushes, anger at the slightest irritations, or the urge to save humanity. It’s the oddest thing and really makes me feel like a schizophrenic.

CTC – How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

SN – Currently, I have eleven published novels and I’m working on the twelfth. It’s hard for me to pick a favorite because they are all so different. However, I think that Ren: The Man Behind the Monster is the book I enjoy most. I write YA mostly, so to be able to take off the gloves and get dirty with that book was fun. Ren is bad and censored in the other books where he appears. But in his own novel, which is NA, he says it how he thinks it.

CTC – Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?

SN – Meditate. I don’t do it like I used to, but that’s what really helped me to connect with my writer’s voice.

CTC – Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

SN – Every day and I hope they never stop. I hear all sorts of things. They tell me what they love or what surprised them in my books. It’s not uncommon for them to tell me how heartbreaking something was that they read. And they share. Their lives, their struggles, their ideas. Many of them want to be a writer and share those goals with me. They ask for advice. And some just pop up to say hi and thanks. It’s really so much fun.

Thank you so much for the interview and the support of my books. I really can’t do this author thing without people like you.

CTC – Thank you so much, Sarah. It’s been a pleasure.

You can find Sarah’s book on Amazon.

And, you can keep in touch with Sarah here:

Personal webpage: http://www.sarahnoffke.com/

Amazon: http://smile.amazon.com/Sarah-Noffke/e/B00QQC5PFQ/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/officialsarahnoffke/?fref=ts

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9830676.Sarah_Noffke?from_search=true&search_version=service

Twitter: @RealSarahNoffke

Sarah Noffke     Born with the power to control minds, hypnotize others, and read thoughts, Ren Lewis, is certain of one thing: God made a mistake.

Author Talk with A. S. Winchester

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April 23, 2016

NOTE: My sincerest apologies to Author Winchester. This interview was originally scheduled to be posted on April 16, 2016.

CTC – My interview today is with A. S. Winchester, author of Terra: Genesis and soon to be published Terra: Identity.

Terra Genesis Book Cover

Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer some questions for my readers. Let’s begin, shall we?

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

ASW – It wasn’t really a realization. I was born to be a writer just as I was born female. It’s ingrained in me. 

CTC – How long does it take you to write a book?

ASW – That really depends on my schedule, the length of the book, and so many other factors I can’t begin to label. “Terra: Genesis” was a two year project. “Terra: Identity” is (hopefully) going to be considerably less if I can get it off the ground in April as planned. It really just depends. I have a project with a friend of mine called “Hunters”… it’s going on 9 years to write, re-write, re-plot, write, adjust, edit, re-write again.. you get the point. I can’t put a timeline to it since every project is different.

CTC – What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

ASW – Chaotic. I work full time and then some to support myself financially because writing is just a side thing. So usually it’s work all day, write on breaks or jot down notes when I can, and write at night. I usually have to force myself to write through the rough patches of just wanting to sleep or relax.

CTC – What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

ASW – I’m not entirely sure if I’m understanding this, but I’ll give it a shot. Physically, I really get into my writing… walking, pacing, hands waving, looking around… I really try to see and feel what it is I’m putting my characters through. As a result, I don’t write outside of my personal space much. I often forget where I am and continue doing ridiculous things.

Another writing quirk, which may be more writing style, is that I go into every project with the idea of one goal:I want to see how far I can push my character before they break and rise again or can’t take anymore. It’s my philosophy and I think it comes from me having gone through a lot in my life and rising above all that to the best of my ability.

CTC – Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

ASW – Internet searches mostly. I do a lot of science websites, articles, and so on. I also collect resource books as I find them in the B&N Bargain section. It all depends on what I’m looking for.

CTC – When did you write your first book and how old were you?

ASW – I was five. My mom typed it up for me. It was a story about a kitten who ran away from wolves, got stuck in a tree, and made friend with another kitten who helped it escape. 

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

ASW – I work a lot. That’s kind of how most people define me… “oh, you’re always working”. However, I have big dreams for my future and I’m building on that. Outside of that, I like to go out to zoos, museums, for walks, that sort of thing. I love to read, collect books, binge netflix when I can, do photography, and see my friends. 

CTC – What does your family think of your writing?

ASW – They definitely support my adventure and are proud of me. They have my book and my sister has sent me snapchats on her shock at certain things. It’s nice to be able to share it with them. 

CTC – What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

ASW – I’ve turned into a conscientious Earth person. I was incredibly unaware of the state of our planet until I started plotting how the Earth would “end” in Terra. The hardest realization came to be just how not far off I am when we look at birth rates, death rates, and usage of resources trends. Predicting the end of the world and not being far off if we don’t start doing something about it kind of hit me in the gut. Now I go out of my way to. 

CTC – How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

ASW – Fully written and published? One. Written in general? Half a dozen or less. So far “Terra: Identity” is my favorite, which comes out in April so I’m super excited to share that. I have another brewing project that I think will end up blowing that out of the water, but I have no idea when it will happen. That’s a co-op project that’s just being done over time.

CTC – Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?

ASW – Write every day even if it’s just 100 words. Don’t give up. And explore genres even when you’re struggling. I never thought I could write science fiction. It was never something I was interested in. I was always on paranormal fiction or chick lits. However, after failing at completing numerous projects, Terra formed in my head. It started out as a romance novel with a little science fiction undertone. The science fiction and plausible fiction hit me hard in a good way and I haven’t looked back since. I haven’t been able to. I found my niche without meaning to. 

CTC – Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

ASW – I love talking to my readers. I’ve made friends with a lot of them and have just this tiny network of helping these young adults become stronger writers simply because we connected over “Terra: Genesis”. 

CTC – Do you like to create books for adults?

ASW – I love it. Granted I haven’t much dabbled in anything other than writing for adults, but I do love it. There’s an ability to add darker content, more sexualized ideas, and push the story further than you could while sensoring for a young audience. My favorite example is actually in a WIP I have called “Hunters”. One of the characters, Andrea, has a mouth on her. She literally says the “f” word every few sentences. It may seem excessive just when talked about here, but as you see her, watch her interact, learn of her… reading a chapter where she never swears is the most uncomfortable thing. She’s not right without it. If it was written for a younger audience, she’d be sensored up the wazoo and be just a wrong character.

CTC – What do you think makes a good story?

ASW – The author has to write for the author and not the audience. It’s kind of like the way of selling your soul. As soon as you’re telling the story for someone else, you stop moving yourself and the entire story is affected. It doesn’t have the same resonating effect as it should. 

I’m also huge proponent in strong characters can carry a weak plot, but weak characters can’t carry a strong plot. You need some part of your story that’s relateable to your readers and the only part they’re going to connect to is the connection to a thinking, feeling thing… your characters. Make a character real with flaws and strengths, doubts and confidences and suddenly your readers will see some part of themselves in the character and they will carry through to the end. 

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

ASW – A vet, a doctor, a teacher, a theater teacher, a pet orphanage owner, an English teacher, in the Army (which I actually tried for, but my vision is too bad for), an artist, an actor, an architect… I’m multi-talented in both creative and logical minded things so I’ve always had a hard time pinning down just one kind of career that I want to do. Heck, I’m 27 and I’m still struggling with this. 

CTC – Is there anything else that you would like for the audience to know?

ASW – Support indie authors by leaving reviews and spreading the word by mouth. It’s hard doing the author thing all alone and even with a few friends and supporters, it gets way easier. I don’t care about the money… every person has told me “Terra” is a story that needs to be heard and I agree. Just trying to get it out there to be shared is easier said than done.

CTC – You can follow A. S. Winchester on

Amazon – http://smile.amazon.com/A.-S.-Winchester/e/B012Q93B2G/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/aswinchester

Twitter –  https://twitter.com/ASWinchester3

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/a.winchester7688/?fref=ts

And, you can find her books on Amazon here:

http://smile.amazon.com/Terra-Genesis-S-Winchester/dp/1514848856/ref=la_B012Q93B2G_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1461436749&sr=1-1

 

ASWinchesterCala is not special. Cala is Exceptional. A young woman possessing a rare kind of intelligence . . .

 

T #AtoZChallenge