Interview & Giveaway ~ I had fun with this interview with Jamie Ford, author of two amazing novels!

Jamie Ford with scarf

I just had to interview Jamie Ford because I kept finding him all over the place with his books getting tons of 5 Star reviews and lots of other accolades!  

I was simply drawn to him, so I wanted to have him as a guest on my blog.  I am so grateful that he accepted the offer to let me interview him. I was rather humbled, to be honest.

The next few days, I will be spotlighting his books. So, be sure to check back. 

Comment Below to Enter your chance to *WIN

a signed copy of both of his books!!

(Pictured Below)

*Winner will be announced on Thursday, April 14th, 2016

Q:  When did you realize you were a novelist? 

When I went to Norway for a book tour. That’s when I realized I’d created something that had taken on a life of its own. Basically, it feels like my book has a career now and I’m just along for the ride. (I stole that line from Pamela Anderson who once said, “My boobs have a career, I’m just along for the ride.”)

 Annie ~ You are funny!! I love it..

Songs of Willow FrostHotel on the corner of bitter and sweet

Q:  As you geared up for your Books being released, what was the most exciting part(s) for you? 

Writing a novel is a like giving birth to a ten-pound baby, sideways. So after laboring for months and sometimes years—to finally hold that printed book in your hands is an amazing moment. Also, my wife who is a Labor & Delivery nurse just assured me that the sideways baby thing is not possible.

Annie:  I can imagine how wonderful it is to hold the book in your hands for the first time!!  You had me concerned that a baby could be born sideways. Thanks for getting that visual out of my head. 🙂

Q:  You have written two novels so far; what is that your favorite topic to explore?

I love forgotten history. I’m like a little kid, I love turning over rocks and looking at the squishy things underneath—the stuff that we forget as a society.

Annie: Your stories definitely show that this is where you heart is!! 

Q:  Will you always write Historical Fiction? 

I cheated a little bit last year and wrote a trio of steampunk stories. They’re published in the Apocalypse Triptych—three anthologies about the “end of the world as we know it.” But, there was a lot of research involved and they have a historical vibe. And I have a bit of crime noir in the works. Let’s just say that I’m enlarging the canvas of my imagination a bit.

Annie: Make sure I get to read your crime noir book! It sounds very different for you!   

Q:  Is there an author that you feel resonates with you and your writing style? 

This isn’t a comparison as much as it’s pure admiration, but I love Pat Conroy’s writing. He’s a pure storyteller, who also weaves in amazing, lush prose that never obfuscates the story. Some people have lucid dreams where they’re flying. In my dreams I’m writing like Pat.

Annie: That was beautifully said! My friend, Sonya met Pat Conroy. Just recently, I was so sad to hear of his passing.  The best thing though is that his books will live on. Sonya LOVES Pat Conroy….I am going to look for their picture and send it to you. 

Q: When do you typically write?  Where do you write?  Set this up for us 

I write in the mornings, upstairs in my office, surrounded by books, comics, and research materials, with my three dogs lazing about. Around noon I take the dogs for a walk to the Missouri River, about a mile away, then edit. Life, and writing, is better with dogs.

Annie: Dogs do make life better! That is for sure!! I have one dog, and he is enough to take care of, LOL..I could not imagine having three. Where do you live? Jamie Ford reading

Q:  May I ask who your favorite authors are?  Books? 

Fiction: Pat Conroy – The Great Santini

Non-Fiction: Jon Krakauer – Into Thin Air

Short fiction: Harlan Ellison – Deathbird Stories

Poetry: Buddy Wakefield – He’s a slam poet. Best seen LIVE.

Comics: Marjorie Liu – Monstress  

Q:  What is your favorite part of being an author? 

Doing interviews! Kidding. In Italy I once did 11 interviews in one day, with an interpreter. By the end, my brain was tapioca.

Honestly, the best part has been meeting some of my favorite authors. I’m still just a fanboy.

 Annie: I love that you are still a fanboy!!! You are so cool!

Q:  Any hobbies you’d like to share with us? 

I like red shoes. I like Hiking. I especially like hiking in red shoes.

Annie: Love it!!!  This is a great picture! #HAPPYFEETJamie Fords red shoes

Q:  I see that your books have been translated in to 34 languages, and you won an Award. Can you please tell me more about that…? 

Books in translation are amazing; in fact, HOTEL was #1 in Norway for nearly four months. I always credit the translator—they must be doing something right. They could put zombies in my books and I’d never know

As far as awards, they’re a lovely validation, but nothing compared to getting a tweet from a high school student who says “This is the first book I’ve been forced to read that didn’t actually suck.” That kind of stuff makes my year. 

Q:  When can we expect your next book?  Do you want to tell us a little bit about it?

As soon as I finish it. I’m close—and this time I meant it! The new book (no title yet) is about a mixed-race boy who was raffled off at the 1909 World’s Fair in Seattle. That part’s true.

Annie: A must read, for sure! 

Lastly, Book or eBook? 

Book. I do read eBooks as well, but prefer comfort over convenience.

Annie: I am an Old-School person too. I have a library in my home, and my husband has a man cave.  I love being surrounded by books…it is rather calming for me.

Jamie Ford Hotel

Annie: Thank you Jamie. I appreciate your time, and patience.

I have enjoyed all of your answers, and getting to know you better!!

Keep me in mind when you release your next book!

I am a fan!!

 

#Interview & #Giveaway – Meet author Maha Gargash!!

Maha Gargash ap1Meet Maha Gargash: Author of the newly released book “That Other Me”!

http://bit.ly/ThatOtherMe

She is a fascinating woman and author. This is an interview not to be missed.

Comment below to win one of two copies of “That Other Me”
(US/CA Residents)

That Other Me - Maha Gargash
Q:  When did you realize you were a novelist?

When I got my first novel published! That’s when I could introduce myself with confidence as an author.

Q:  As you geared up for your Books being released, what was the most exciting part(s) for you?
I’m usually geared up even before I finish a book. The most exciting parts are when the editor says we are ready to go to print and when I receive the advance author copies.

Q:  You have written two novels so far; what is that your favorite topic to explore?

I love to put my protagonists in tricky situations or push them to the edge of desperation. I have an idea of what they will do and then, it’s a question of writing it all down. But we all know how characters can get. They take a life of their own and surprise you with all sorts of possibilities—and before I know it, they are the ones pulling me along. The Sand Fish

Q:  Is there an author that you feel resonates with you and your writing style?

I think this should come from the reader because, quite simply, like most writers, I get so engrossed in the whole process of writing a book that it’s near to impossible to provide an objective comparison.

Q: When do you typically write?  Where do you write?  Set this up for us…

Think of exercise: it always gets easier once the effort has been made with the feet snug in socks and sneakers. For me, it’s the same with writing: the mind alert yet lazy, sifting through all manner of trivial distractions and chores. Should I wash that mug or watch a bit of news on television or play a quick round of solitaire on my Iphone?

I have to jump up and hurry to my desk, shake the mouse to wake up the screen and start. My desk is modern and broad. I chose this shape so that I have hand and elbow space whenever I feel the urge to slide my arms about (a quirky habit). That means I can’t write unless it’s organized. And even then, concentration is not something that occurs magically.

I have to keep telling myself to just sit and do it. And that’s when it comes. Ideas form and flow. Then, the hard part becomes pulling myself away from the story.Maha's Desk
Q:  May I ask who your favorite authors are?  Books?

Oh, so many!

All time favorites include: Rohinton Mistry and his ‘A Fine Balance’; Arundhati Roy, and her ‘The God of Small Things’; Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and her ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’; and more recently, Adam Johnson and his mind blowing ‘The Orphan Master’s Son’.

Q:  What is your favorite part of being an author?

There are days (and weeks) when the writing goes smooth as butter. The words and sentences don’t thin no matter how much you spread them. These are rare time spans where everything falls into place, and I find myself thinking, I love being an author.

Q:  Any hobbies you’d like to share with us?

Reading, of course, and photography. I enjoy watching BBC documentaries and television dramas. Years ago, I used to collect tiny perfume bottles. But the interest waned when I realized that the fragrances were not going to stay bottled up forever and that the tiny things might as well be filled with water.

 Q:  When can we expect your next book?  Do you want to tell us a little bit about it?

Nothing concrete yet. I’m dabbling with many ideas at the moment, flinging a hook with the hope that something will soon bite.

Lastly, Book or eBook?? 

I feel more grounded when reading a hardback or paperback copy. It’s to do with the texture of the paper, the solidity of the book, and seeing a page number (as opposed to being told on a monitor) that makes it more real, if that makes sense. Having said that, an eBook brings the convenience of instant delivery (and that wonderful built-in light) and the choice of many books at the same time: very handy when traveling.

For more detailed information on “That Other Me”, Click Here

 

 

 

 

 

 

#Interview & #Giveaway ~ Come meet author, Barbara Hinkse

Please comment below for a chance to win Barbara’s Giveaway. She is offering “Coming to Rosemont”, One print copy (US Only) and one eBook.

  1. Q:        Have you always wanted to be a novelist?Barbara Hinske

A:        I’m an attorney and have done a lot of technical writing, but knew I wanted to write novels. I planned to do so when I retired. Fate stepped in, as it often does, and put me on this path sooner. I broke my neck in an auto accident and suffered from double vision for months. I couldn’t read or watch TV, so I conceived and outlined the plot for my 5 book Rosemont series.

Annie: I broke my neck too, and it changed the course of my life…I am glad yours was a positive one!  5 Book Series! This is exciting!Coming to Rosemont

  1. Q:        Why did you decide to write a series?

A:        I write a fictional series because that’s what I enjoy reading. I like an in-depth, continuing relationship with characters. I very much admire Alexander McCall Smith’s Ladies Detective Agency series and Jan Karon’s Mitford books. My Rosemont series is set in the current day, but I’ve tried to capture a feeling of comradery and connection that takes us back to a slightly simpler time and place.

Annie: I think you have definitely accomplished that feel. I was in love with the town of Westbury.

  1. Q:        Who has had the greatest influence on your author life?

A:        My dad–without question. He read me a bedtime story every night of my childhood, often adding his own twists and turns to the plots or dialogue. He also wrote novels–who-done-its–when he retired. I have 17 of his manuscripts and can feel his comforting presence in the room with me when I pick up his pages and read.

Annie: I bet he is so proud of you…

  1. Q: What of your own interests have you written about in the Rosemont series?

A:        I love my home and all things related to homemaking: cooking, gardening, decorating, and entertaining. I love celebrating all of the seasons and I change my decor for Easter, 4th of July, fall, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and spring. I’m also addicted to vintage silver and china, with a special fondness for teapots.

Annie: I could totally feel your love of good china, and I love that you chose Easter as the big holiday in “Coming to Rosemont”. It was beautiful.

  1. Q:        When do you typically write? Where do you write? Set this up for us…Barbara Hinske Writing Space

A:        A small office in my home is my perfect place to write. It’s cozy and I look out onto a beautiful garden with a fountain. I’m a morning person and am most productive between 4 am and 6 am. I also write for longer periods of time on the weekends. I’m very disciplined and can produce the first draft of a novel in 6 weeks (while working full time).Barbara Hinske view from office

Annie: That is impressive. I don’t know how you do it!

  1. Q:        What are your favorite books?

A:        The Shell Seekers

Any of the Harry Potter series

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

A Long Way from Chicago

Annie: I love The Shell Seekers, too! Did you know that they rereleased it this past year?

  1. Q:        What is your favorite review?

A:        I’m extremely grateful for all of my reviews—good or bad. Reader feedback helps authors grow in our craft. If I had to pick just one, it would be a review for Uncovering Secret (third book in the Rosemont series). The reviewer wrote “Another cozy visit with old friends. I always hate for the Rosemont books to end.” That’s exactly what I’m hoping my readers will experience.

Annie: I look forward to getting to that book! I felt the same.

  1. Q:        What is your favorite part of being an author?

A:        Hearing from and interacting with readers. Hands down.

Annie: I love authors that make themselves available to their fans.

  1. Q:        When can we expect your next book?

A:        The 4th book in the Rosemont series—working title is Drawing Close—will be published mid-2016.

Annie: Please make sure I get a copy to review!!

  1. Q:       Book or eBook?

A:        eBook. I have terrible eyesight!

Annie: I find that my kindle love is growing.

 

 

#Interview & #Giveaway: Get to know more about author, Patricia Sands

Patiricia Sands#Giveaway:

Patricia is giving away both of her “Love in Provence” books.  Winner will choose whether they want print copies or eBooks.

Winner will be announced Monday, after 5pm.

Please leave a comment below to be entered!!  Thank you, Patricia!

Interview with Patricia Sands, author of the women’s fiction novels, The Bridge Club and the Love in Provence series: The Promise of Provence, Promises to Keep and I Promise You This (coming Spring 2016)

Q:  When did you realize you were a novelist? The Bridge Club

It actually happened quite by accident! Ten years ago, I began writing a book about my real-life Bridge Club, strictly for our little group. We’ve all been friends since we were in our twenties, some even earlier. A few friends began to read bits and pieces of what I had written and encouraged me to publish, saying their book clubs would want to read it. They felt I was telling women’s stories that should be shared. So that’s how the journey to publishing began. The Bridge Club was published in 2010 and an exciting new career began for me in my sixties.

Annie:  I think it is great that you began to write more for yourself, and now you have this amazing career.

Q:  Will all of your stories bring us to Provence, France, and make us fall in love with it..as I am already in beginning the first book!!  Did you visit France, and say…”Ok, now I need to write a book about this place”?

The Promise of ProvenceThe Bridge Club is set in Canada. Once it sold well and I realized I wanted to continue writing, I knew I would set the next story in France. I’ve been in love with that country since 1967, when I backpacked around Europe for a year with friends. It truly was love at first sight for me when we arrived in Provence. Fortunately I’ve travelled there many times since and for the past 15 years, my husband and I spend time in the south of France every year. We stayed in Antibes for five months when I wrote the first draft of The Promise of Provence. As you can tell from the Provence books, I love to share my feelings about that beautiful part of the world in my writing and photographs.  It’s been a great pleasure to discover how many readers love to read books set there.

Annie:  Your writing style really does make you feel like you are visiting France, yourself.

Q:  When will the next book for your “Love in Provence” Series be released?  

I Promise You This is the title of Book 3 and it will be released by Amazon’s Lake Union Publishing in Spring 2016. Amazon approached me in January and invited me to sign a contract for the Provence series. They are going to re-launch the first two books in October to their worldwide readership. There will be three more books coming after I Promise You This. I love writing this series!

Annie:  I am reading The Promise of Provence to review for Chick Lit Plus, and I am really in love with this story. I can tell I am going to be following this story, and any others you write.Promises to Keep

Q:  As you gear up for a Book Release, what is the most exciting part(s) for you?

A lot of work goes into finally bringing a book to its release, so it’s incredibly satisfying and exciting to finally feel the work is done. The best part is feeling happy about writing a story that will please readers. Even after having beta readers and editors help make certain your book is the best it can be, there’s always a little nail-biting time as you wait for reviews to come in.

Q:  What is your favorite part of being an author?

I absolutely love hearing from readers ~ right from aged 20 to 87! It’s a thrill to have someone write and tell me how and why she (or he … I do hear from men too) enjoyed my novel. To know that your words have impacted people and sometimes even helped them with an issue they were dealing with in their life, is truly rewarding and humbling. It makes me very happy when people tell me they felt they were right there in France as they turned the pages. It’s fun to see how engaged readers become with the characters and want to hear more about them. Writing is hard work and readers make it all worthwhile with messages and reviews. They are my inspiration.

Another positive aspect of being an author is the incredible collegiality of the writing community. Authors are friendly, supportive and happy to help each other by sharing experiences. I’ve become friends with some amazing writers from all over the globe … an unexpected pleasure! I’m constantly learning.

Annie:  And, you treat your reviewers wonderfully!

Q:  I always enjoy your book covers; they really make you dream of being in Provence!  Are they hard to choose, design?

Thanks! I love my covers too and was really pleased when Amazon decided to keep the original artwork. They have changed the appearance of the title and my name but you can still see the artwork. I hired a Toronto artist to do watercolour paintings after we met and talked about what I wanted. I also provided him with some of my photographs to use for ideas. Once his original work is done, then a tech person formats it into a book cover.

IMG_1107 (1)Q: When do you typically write?  Where do you write? Set the scene for us….

Oh, this could be a long answer! I’ll keep it simple though. I write wherever my laptop is. Because we travel so much, my “office” changes constantly and I have fun posting photos on Facebook showing where I’m writing at different times of the year. Wherever we happen to be, I like to start writing early … around 6:30 or 7:00 and there are days when I will work write through until after midnight. It’s a bit of an obsession! But I love it and because I began writing in my sixties, I feel I have to make up for lost time. Of course I don’t do that every single day. With a blended family of seven adult children and six grandchildren, life tends to interrupt my writing on a regular basis. I love that too though!

Annie: Your view is gorgeous.  I bet it is very inspiring!

Q:  May I ask who your favorite authors are?  Or, Books?

That’s a question I’m often asked and simply can’t answer. There are so many great authors I admire and enjoy and the list of books I love keeps growing. So I’ve never been able to narrow it down. I like all genres but, if I have to choose one, my favourite is historical fiction.

Annie: I love historical fiction, too!

Q:  Is there a special message you want to share with your readers through your writing?

Since I write women’s fiction, I try to write stories that will speak to women of all ages. However I definitely write to an older demographic and those women are happy to discover a main character who is over fifty. One message I hope I pass on with my work is to encourage people to follow their dreams and not be afraid to try something new no matter what their age. It’s fun to write about women who discover they are stronger than they thought they were. There are adventures waiting for all of us, if we take a leap of faith and look for them. We should all be possibilitarians!

An unexpected bonus of writing women’s stories is that I’m often asked to speak to women’s groups where I also get to share that message. It’s such a buzz to hear the stories many of the women share about the inspiring ways they are pursuing life. I have women of all ages connect with me about writing advice and indie publishing and I also love to share the benefit of my experience.

Annie:  I can see that you inspire many women…and, I love that women of all ages enjoy your stories.

150626-263-Edit-sm-CarmenBlike-R3

Q:  Lastly, Book or eBook?

I have a library full of lovely print books but I have to admit I am a convert to ebooks and read novels on my iPad or … gulp … this always sounds a bit weird … on my phone. Actually, I know quite a few people who read novels on their phones now so I don’t feel quite so embarrassed to admit I do. I love having my library with me at all times. Having said that, when I see a cover that I love I usually do purchase a print copy too.

Annie, thanks so much for inviting me to visit with you. It’s a pleasure!

Annie:  It is always fun to learn more about an author, and what brought their books to life.  Your story is amazing!

#INTERVIEW & #GIVEAWAY ~ Award Winning Author, Bette Lee Crosby answers a few questions, and she is offering an eBook copy of “The Memory House” to one lucky winner!! You must enter, this is one of my favorite stories!

For a chance to win an eCopy of “The Memory House”, please leave a comment below.  Winner to be announced on Monday, September 14th, 2015, after 5pm. 

I can honestly say that most of my friends and family will ADORE this book, and get on board with all of Bette Lee Crosby’s writing after reading this! She is stunning!

DSCN0145 (3)

DIRECTLY FROM THE DESK OF BETTE LEE CROSBY!!  AN INSIDERS LOOK!!

Q:  When did you realize you were a novelist?

About a year after I finished 4 years of college studying to be an artist. Haha. I started out as a packaging designer and when one of the salesmen asked me to make up some copy to fill the empty space on the back of a pantyhose package I got hooked on words. It is a form of painting – but instead of a brush you use letters.

red brushstroke

Annie: This explains why your writing is so “fluid”, like a brushstroke.  I love getting to ask these questions.  I learn so much about the author, and it explains a lot.

Q:  With “The Loft” being released on September 15th, 2015, have you started your next big story?

I am getting very close to completing Book 3 in the Memory House Series – which will be called “Flawed Memories” – and I must say I am loving this series. It is sort of a mix of mystery, magic and a bit of romance. A bit different than some of my other books – more contemporary and with a magical realism sort of twist.

Annie:  So excited for your next book! I was drawn in by “The Memory House”, I need to catch up! As a book reviewer, it is hard to find the time to read all of the books that you want to…but, I have purchase ALL of your books, and plan to read them while on vacation next month.  I get a lot of books in exchange for an honest review, but I have to say that I just had to have your books in my library!!!!

Q:  As you gear up for a Book Release, what is the most exciting part(s) for you?

By far it is hearing the comments from early readers and reviewers.  I spend all this time writing a book and worry right up to the very last minute of release day wondering whether or not readers will like it. When someone writes to me and says something like “I fell in love with this look, Annie is so like me…etc.” My heart melts. Reader acceptance, this is what it is all about. When readers enjoy my books, I do a happy dance.Happy Dance

Annie:  I did a happy dance too! As a reviewer, it is always great to read a book that you love, and I surely devoured yours!    My tagline is “Devour Books”, so that is awesome!!

Here is a Link to my review of “The Memory House” THE GIVEAWAY BOOK:

https://thewritereview.com/2015/06/02/may-book-club-choice-memory-house-by-bette-lee-crosby/

 

Q:  I always enjoy your book covers, especially the one for your new book!  Are they hard to choose, design? The Loft

Some are very difficult, some are easier. The key is finding the right image to portray what you want people to see in the story. It is always a bit more difficult when you have a story set in the 1940’s or 50’s because a lot of the images are too contemporary for that time frame.  I was extremely pleased with the job the designer did on Passing through Perfect.  That cover is perfect for the story and it was one of the first ones he did.  However on The Loft, the final cover was the 12th design submitted.  Having come from an art background I am probably way too nit-picky, but I want my readers to feel the same magic I feel when I finally see the right cover.

Annie: I love a great cover, and you certainly offer several!  I love looking at your authors page on Amazon and Goodreads.

 

Q: When do you typically write?  Where do you write? Set the scene for us….

I am by nature a night owl, but the funny thing is my best writing time is in the early part of the day. That is mostly because I think about my story before I go to sleep, often include it in my dreams and wake up anxious to get back to it.  I try not to get online until late afternoon because once I start that, I go back to being me and lose the personality of the character I am writing about. I have an office in the front of our house. It is a very serene spot that looks out onto the lawn and a HUGE oak tree. My office has double doors and when they are closed hubby knows not to disturb me.  My writing buddy is Sugar. She sits in my lap a good part of the day and when she isn’t in my lap she is under my desk. Her toy basket is in my office and if she gets bored, she rummages through the basket and hauls out a toy for me to throw. We play for five minutes, then it is back to work.

Annie: Sounds like me with my dog, Simon!! Aren’t they the best!  He is always with me when I read and write the reviews.



HERE IS BETTE WITH HER DOG, SUGAR!

IMG_3381

Q:  May I ask who your favorite authors are?  Or, Books?

Favorite books more than authors, and my taste is somewhat eclectic. To kill a Mockingbird is one of my all time favorites; s fairly new favorite is The Night Circus and an even more recent favorite is The Nightingale. All of these are very different. I loved Mockingbird for the strength and authenticity of the characters, I loved Night Circus for the beauty of its prose and I loved The Nightingale for the way it captured the heartache of a war-torn country.

Annie:  Ok, Now I know I must check out Nightingale, are you speaking of the book by Kristin Hannah? I have heard great things about this book! 

Let me add, “You are one of my favorite authors, Bette Lee Crosby!” I can see how you have earned so many awards and being on best sellers lists!

I am lucky to know you!  You are not only a great author, but a wonderful person!

Lastly, Book or eBook?

E-books. I love the instant gratification of hearing someone talk about a great book or seeing it online and then having it in my hot little hands in less than a minute. Also, as an author I am very appreciative of the fact that e-readers enable me to offer my books to readers for far less than I would pay if I had to pay for paper, printing, storage, and distribution. Is it sad to see less print books in circulation? Yes, perhaps it is, but I believe the good far outweighs the bad.

Annie: Great take on this.  I love having the book in hand and being able to share the book with others.  But, while traveling, eBooks are certainly wonderful.

Thank you for taking the time to let me interview you…My mission is to inspire others to read, and your books are definitely inspiring!  I love spreading the word!!

To purchase Bette Lee Crosby Books, please go here:

http://www.amazon.com/Bette-Lee-Crosby/e/B005TLT1PK/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1441912463&sr=1-2-ent

#GIVEAWAY & #INTERVIEW with Sejal Badani, author of “Trail of Broken Wings”

Comment Below for a chance to win a Print Copy of Sejal Badani’s book, “Trail of Broken Wings”!

Sejal BadaniI Had the pleasure of interviewing Sejal Badani.  Learning more about an author makes the books more enjoyable for me to read. A connection is made.  I love that!

Q:  When did you realize you were a novelist? I’ve always been a writer – as a child I wrote poems and then short stories. When I was a teenager I wrote my first novel, which honestly should never see the light of day. I think law school was the real turning point. All of my friends were talking about big firm jobs and their futures as attorneys and all I could think about was the next story I wanted to write. That was my first real clue that I needed to re-think my future. I started my writing career doing screenplays. There was one that won a number of awards – and that was really my breakthrough into the writing world. So I would say to aspiring writers – write whatever comes to your heart. Don’t limit yourself or believe one medium is the only way to express yourself. I wrote screenplays, short stories, plays and novels and grew as a writer from every experience.

Q:  Will you always write about strong female bonds?  Is that your favorite topic to explore? It is definitely a topic that is close to my heart. I am incredibly grateful for the relationship that I have with my two sisters and Mom which served as a foundation for Trail of Broken Wings. Having said that, I am a fan of exploring close relationships generally. My screenplay was about two male collegiate runners who supported one another in their quest for gold. My next book is about the friendship between a woman in 1940’s India and a male servant who is an Untouchable. I am fascinated and moved by the human spirit, the resilience and bonds that help people get through some very difficult experiences together. That’s definitely my favorite topic to explore.

(McHorsky ~ Looking forward to your next book!)

Trail of Broken WingsQ:  Which character in this book do you feel a connection with the most? I would say Sonya because I am also the youngest of three sisters. There are definitely similarities between our personalities and reactions to abuse, but Sonya chose the path of solitude and flight before finding herself and love, which to me made her story even more poignant and satisfying. Her quest to find all her broken pieces and use her family’s and David’s love to help her glue them together really drove home to me that connections to other people can help to heal wounds. I found myself admiring her as her story came to its honest and fruitful conclusion.

Q:  Is there an author that you feel resonates with you and your writing style? When writing Trail of Broken Wings I drew on my own experiences but also read so many incredible books on dv. The Woman Who Walked Into Doors, Picture Perfect, and Black and Blue are just some of the examples. In regards to the immigration experience I absolutely love The Joy Luck Club and the author Jhumpha Lahiri.

(McHorsky ~ Adding these books to my To-Read List! How have I not read, “Joy Luck Club”!)

Q: When do you typically write?  Where do you write? In the mornings after dropping my kids off to school. It’s very motivating – I only have a few hours before pick-up time so I write much faster on school days! I set a goal to write around 1,500 words a day. I write at my desk in my bedroom which doesn’t bode well for my husband when I get an idea at 3 am and have to get it on paper right away.

Q:  May I ask who your favorite authors are?  Books? I love Jodi Picoult – she is the master at telling a story from different viewpoints. Liane Moriarty and Kristin Hannah are amazing writers. Malcolm Gladwell is a must read. I don’t think you can be a writer without being in awe of J.K. Rowling. To paraphrase Stephen King from his book On Writing – if you want to be a writer then read – a lot. So I have and my writing is better because of the countless number of incredibly talented authors whom I admire and from whom I have learnt.

Q: Lastly, Book or eBook? Honestly, we are so fortunate to have both. My Kindle goes on every trip with me and to the gym. I love how easy and accessible it has made reading. I also still love the feel of a book and turning its pages. I find myself reading Fiction on my Kindle. Non-Fiction I prefer as a book because I usually highlight and earmark them to death.

(McHorsky ~ I am a huge highlighter, as well.)

You can purchase her book, right now, for just $1.99

http://www.amazon.com/Trail-Broken-Wings-Sejal-Badani-ebook/dp/B00N58XLLE/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1440769881&sr=1-1&keywords=trail+of+broken+wings

#GIVEAWAY & #INTERVIEW: Margaret Locke, author of “A Man of Character”

COMMENT BELOW FOR A CHANCE TO WIN A SIGNED COPY OF HER BOOK!!!

You will adore Margaret, this interview was alot of fun!!  I am reading her book, “A Man of Character” right now…and looking forward to getting back to it with my cup of coffee!!

MargaretLocke

Q:  When did you realize you were a novelist?

Wait. I’m a novelist? Bwah ha ha!
I’m not sure when the transition from “I’m giving this a go” to “I think I’m actually a writer” fully happened. The main turning point was probably when I typed “The End” on that first draft of A Man of Character, way back on December 31st, 2012.
Sure, I was still naïve enough not to realize how far from The End that first draft’s “The End” actually was, but I had also accomplished something I wasn’t positive I could do, and that was write a complete romance, with a beginning, middle, and end.
As to calling myself an author? That came the day my book released; no more was I a writer striving for publication—I was a published author, baby!

 Q:  As you geared up for your Book Release on May 26th, 2015, what was the most exciting part(s) for you?

Hands down, the day my physical proof copy showed up in the mail. I ripped the package open, and there it was—my book. MY book, with my name (okay, pen name) on my cover, and all the words in between that little old me had written.
I was so excited that I ran right out the front door and halfway down the street to show my husband and daughter (they were chatting with a friend). And I. Don’t. Run.
A close second was watching the pre-orders tick up. Sure, they were probably all from friends and family, but who cares? Knowing thirty people were willing to take a chance on my book before it even hit the (virtual) shelves? That was thrilling!

Q:  Will you always write romance with a bit of whimsy?  Is that your favorite topic to explore?

Whimsy. What a wonderful word. And, gosh, I sure hope so. I absolutely adore romances with witty interplay between hero and heroine, that back-and-forth dance of verbal seduction, and hope to someday be half as good as Julia Quinn at writing that kind of prose. I also love romances that don’t take themselves too seriously, that can have fun in the middle of all the chaos and heartache, that can poke fun at themselves (like Eloisa James’ recent Four Nights With the Duke). That doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate a good, heavy, angst-ridden read—I do (think Laura Kinsale’s Flowers from the Storm). But books with that magical balance of humor and emotion always hook me. Please let me live up to that wonderful descriptor for my writing—I would most definitely love to be known for writing whimsical romance.

Q:  Did you know someone like “Cat”? 

True answer? Yes. Very, very well. Cat is me. And Eliza is me. Hey, they say write what you know, and especially for my first book, it was very easy to tap into the person I both know the best and often understand the least: myself.
Cat is the Eeyorish side of me, the side that falls down into pessimism, that worries, that struggles to believe good is a comin’.
Eliza is me on chocolate. Okay, rather, she’s the Tiggerish side of me, the side that is optimistic, that believes in true love and happily ever afters, that cracks sarcastic comments and consumes entirely too much cheesecake, and is basically a goofball.
Of course, as I was writing, each character took on a life of their own, so by the end, are Cat and Eliza truly me? Yes and no. There are elements there, similarities, but no, now they are definitely their own people. I think.

Q:  Is there an author that you feel resonates with you and your writing style?

Well, the authors I most want to emulate are what I call my Regency Triumvirate: Julia Quinn, Sabrina Jeffries, and Eloisa James. Of course, now Sarah MacLean, Erin Knightley, and Tessa Dare are nosing their way in there, so it’s more like a Regency Sexumvirate. Uh, is that a word? If not, it should be. And it sounds, ahem, perfect for describing romance writers, doesn’t it?
However, my first book is not the Regency historical I always thought I’d write. No, of course not. The first one is a lightly paranormal contemporary romantic comedy, because the book’s premise (what if a woman discovers the men she’s dating are characters she created long ago?) hit me over the head and wouldn’t let go.
Given that I don’t read a lot of lightly paranormal contemporary romantic comedy, it’s hard for me to know if I sound like anyone else, although a recent reviewer said my writing reminded her of Cecilia Ahearn. (I promptly picked up a number of Ms. Ahern’s books and added them to my Leaning Tower of To-Be-Read Books, but haven’t gotten to them yet.) I can only assume someone saying I reminded them of a popular writer who’s had books made into movies is a good thing, right?

Q: When do you typically write?  Where do you write?  Set this up for us…

Oh, wouldn’t it be lovely if I could tell you I adhere to a regular daily schedule? Wouldn’t it be lovely if I did? Most of the time, my primary writing time is the morning, and, ideally, you’ll find me down in my Writing Cave (desk in the one room in the basement that has no windows, so yes, literally a cave), typing away. Or, I admit, checking Facebook and Twitter far too often, and then maybe typing away.
Occasionally, when I can’t go another hour without sunlight somewhere in my vicinity, I settle into the big, falling-apart armchair in my living room, and type, type, type away there.
Sometimes I break it up by heading out to Panera, to type among people—being social while isolating myself, as it were …

Q:  May I ask who your favorite authors are?  Books?

I have a zillion. I listed six above, who are all Regency authors. In the ‘80s, when I first fell for romance, I couldn’t get enough of LaVyrle Spencer, Johanna Lindsey, Catherine Coulter, Susan Johnson, Pamela Morsi. I fell in love with Lisa Kleypas, Jane Feather, Betina Krahn, and many more.
Then I <cough cough> went on a romance hiatus for about five or so years. I had small children, but also, some silly part of me felt like now that I was married and a mom, I ought to give up the romance. Luckily, stumbling across Julia Quinn’s “The Duke and I” cured me of that dumb notion, and launched me into a love affair with a bevy of new-to-me authors, like the Sexumverate above, and new names I discover all the time.
I just wish I had more time to read. Scratch that: I wish I took more time to read—writing has definitely sucked away a lot of my free time, but I must admit, if I stepped away from the computer, if I gave up my evening habit of delving into a BBC show episode or two, I’d get more reading done. I do, however, read for at least 5-10 minutes every day. It just needs to be more.
As for specific books? I did blog about my 5 favorites once (http://margaretlocke.com/what-are-your-top-five-favorite-romance-novels-of-all-time/), but I’m sure I could add more to the list. I tend to fall in love with authors more than specific books, but the one book I refused to give up when on that idiotic self-imposed romance hiatus was Lynn Kurland’s Stardust of Yesterday.

Q:  What is your favorite part of being an author?

On the practical side, I love that I get to do something that fits in with my family’s schedule and needs. I’ve been at home with my kids since they were born. Now that they’re older (9 and 14), they’re much more independent, but it’s still much easier to have me available (for taxi service, meal prep, deep philosophical discussions) than not.
Oh, also on the practical side? I love that bras and showers are sometimes optional.
On the emotional side, first and foremost, I love the fact that I followed through on a dream I’d had since I was a teen. I love the ecstasy of the first draft, of amusing myself with something I’ve written, of watching characters and scenes and story come alive.
And second, I love the people that writing has brought into my life. Writing, by nature, is a solitary activity, perfect for the introverted half of me. But the extroverted half craves interaction and connection, and I cannot believe how much my life has changed for the better now that I’ve added so many writing-related friends to my life. Whether in person or online, whether talking to writers or readers, it’s been such a blessing to me to surround myself and be surrounded by people who love what I love. Can a girl get any luckier than that?

Q:  When can we expect your next book?  Do you want to tell us a little bit about it?

A Matter of Time is set for a fall debut, although I don’t have the date narrowed down just yet; I’m waiting to see what my editor says about the draft I sent her this afternoon.
In it, A Man of Character’s best friend/sidekick extraordinaire Eliza James gets her own shot at finding her happily ever after – in England. With a Duke. In 1812.
It’s long been Eliza’s fantasy to live out a love story worthy of the Regency romances she loves to read. Every girl deserves her own Darcy, right?
Only what happens when the Duke in question turns out to be less than Prince Charming?

Lastly, Book or eBook??

There’s room for both. I admit, I love a physical book. That’s one of the key reasons I turned down the digital press that offered to publish A Man of Character: I couldn’t imagine not holding this book in my hands.
However, I, who once swore she’d never get into reading online (the eye strain, people!), now happily own far more Kindle titles than I ought, and I enjoy reading them on my iPad’s Kindle app.
I do worry that digital reading makes books feel more disposable and less valuable (especially since their price points are often so low).
And hey, you just can’t beat snuggling in bed with a good book propped open over your face, and a cat sitting at your side, right? Still, let’s not make it book versus ebook; let’s make it book plus ebook. The more, the merrier, baby.

Thank you so much for letting me blather on here on your blog, and for reviewing A Man of Character! I’ve had a blast!

Interview with Samantha March, author of 4 novels, including the newly released “Up to I Do”

marchsamantha

Q:  When did you realize you were a novelist?

When I was about 9. Seriously. I have it written down in my childhood memory books that when I grow up, I want to be an author J 

Q:  As you gear up for a Book Release, what is the most exciting part(s) for you?

The most exciting part is probably seeing the reviews and feedback. It’s also the most nerve-racking part! But it’s so fun to see how readers connect with the characters.  

Q:  I love all of your covers.  Are they hard to choose, design?

Kind of! It’s hard because you want it to be perfect and reflect the book and the story the best you can. My latest novel features a personal wedding photo of mine, which was an idea I had when the book was first being plotted. I love how it turned out! 

Q:  Will you always write about strong female bonds?  Is that your favorite topic to explore?

It really is my favorite topic to explore. It’s utterly fascinating to me, and I really think it will be a big focal point in my future novels. That and love…because who doesn’t love love J 

Q:  You have just released your 4th novel, have you started your next big story?

I have! Book 5 has been plotted since early this year and I have a few scenes written so far! 

Q:  Is there an author that you feel resonates with you and your writing style?  

I really think Emily Giffin, and she is the author that really pushed me into finally start writing after I read Something Borrowed. I love the topics she explores in her books, in particular Something Borrowed and Something Blue. 

Q: When do you typically write?  Where do you write? Set the scene for us….

I have an office in my house with a nice big desk…and a chair that I share each morning with my Vizsla puppy! Typically I write in the morning, before I let the stress of my to-do list really start to bother me! I have a word count goal each day that I achieve that helps keep me on track! 

Q:  May I ask who your favorite authors are?  Books?

Emily Giffin, Sarah Pekkanen, Jen Lancaster and Sophie Kinsella!  

Lastly, Book or eBook?

eBooks solely because of my job as a book reviewer – it makes my schedule much easier!