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 ~ Author, Sandra Block

Meet this amazing author, Sandra Block! She is giving away a copy of each of her books, which I will post my reviews for this weekend, when most of us are snowed in!!! So, join in the fun, and comment below!!!

Sandra BlockQ: When did you realize you were a novelist?

 I was a poet first. I remember writing on little scraps of paper around seven years old, describing the jet trail from a plane as “chalk across the sky.” My mom asked with some surprise, “you’re writing poetry?” I realized then, “oh, that’s what this is.” I guess I always knew I’d be some kind of writer. 

 

Q:  I see that you are a practicing Neurologist! Where do you find the time to do both jobs? How do you manage both careers?

It isn’t always easy, but it is doable. I usually write first thing in the morning, before anyone in the family is up. For years, I didn’t write because I was too tired after a full day of work, not to mention kids. Changing my routine to writing first thing in the morning made all the difference. 

Q:  Does your medical career help with your stories?

My medical career definitely colors my writing. Both Zoe books were based off memories of my neurology residency, a formative time for me. At this point, I subspecialize in sleep disorders and epilepsy, so I don’t really see some of the cool cases that pop up in my novels. But, I know enough psychiatry to fake it at least! 

Little Black LiesQ:  As you geared up for your Book Releases, what was the most exciting part(s) for you? 

For Little Black Lies, I was having a medical procedure done on my pub day  (everything turned out fine 🙂 ) so I was pretty much sedated. Not an ideal pub day. For The Girl Without a Name, my pub day was quite special – like a hundred birthdays. One of my fondest memories is an unlikely twitter exchange with Salmon Rushdie. It turns out his newest book came out the same day. In response to his simple tweet of “pub day,” I joked how I was sorry that his book would likely be overshadowed by my book, but “take heart, your day will come.” With utter grace, he retweeted: “Happy to stand in your shadow. Have a great pub day.” to his 1M (seriously, one million!) followers. I still smile thinking about that. 

Q:  How long did it take you to write each book? Releasing two books in one year is huge accomplishment!  

The Girl without a NameThank you! It took me about one year for each. I was writing The Girl Without a Name before I even sold Little Black Lies. When negotiation came around and they were willing to do a two-book deal, I just happened to have one all ready! It definitely taught me the lesson that no matter what happens: keep writing. 

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

I would say Gillian Flynn and Meg Abbot for their colloquial, yet poetic style. 

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

 I write whenever and wherever is my honest answer. As I mentioned above, I definitely put in a good forty-five minutes in the morning. But then I just grab time. I write on my iPad and take it everywhere. I might write while waiting for my daughter at school or my son at a swimming lesson for example. Even if it’s just half a page, it’s something. 

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

I split my reading time between mystery/suspense and literary fiction. For literary, I would say Ann Tyler, Sue Miller, and Richard Ford. Oh, plus Louise Erdrich and Jennifer Egan. (I could go on and on.) For mystery/suspense, I love Henning Menkel, Charles Todd, Gillian Flynn, and Kate Atkinson. Plus Sara Gran. (I could go on and on.) 

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

I would say the writing community. I belong to a group of women writers (shout out the Tall Poppies!) Some days writing is drudgery, some days it’s a joyful. The publishing side is also full of highs and lows. But writing friends are always there for you. That’s been a wonderfully unexpected side benefit. 

Q:  Lastly, Book or eBook??

Both, baby! Read, read, read, I don’t care how you it!

#BookReview: “City of Ladies” by Sarah Kennedy

City of Ladies.jpg

Summary:

It’s midwinter in 1539, and former nun, Catherine Havens Overton, has just given birth to her second child, a daughter. The convent in which she was raised is now part of her husband’s lands, lands that once belonged to Catherine’s family. With a son, Robert, and her new daughter, Veronica, her life as the mistress of a great household should be complete. But Henry VIII’s England has not been kind to many of the evicted members of religious houses. And in order to protect her old companions from the hostilities, Catherine has gathered about her a group of former nuns in hopes of providing them a chance to serve in the village of Havenston, her City of Ladies. Catherine’s past haunts her. Her husband begins to suspect that Robert is not his child. Then the women of Overton House begin to disappear and one of them is found brutally murdered nearby. Seizing the moment, under the pretense of ensuring her safety, William forces Catherine to enter service at Hatfield House where the young Elizabeth Tudor lives. Reluctantly, Catherine obeys, only to find herself serving not only the Protestant Elizabeth but also the shamed Catholic Mary Tudor. As the murders in Yorkshire continue to mount and her loyalty to the Tudor sisters grows more complicated, Catherine must uncover the secret of the killer and save her City of Ladies.

Review:

I loved this cover. It looks fabulous on my book shelf.

This was my second book by Sarah Kennedy, and it is book two in the “Cross and The Crown” Series. When I finished I was looking forward to getting to the third book. This is a series that I will never forget and they stand out as originals, as I never read books about this time in history. Sarah Kennedy writes such knowledge of historical facts that you feel like she was right there, walking among the women.

The book “City of Ladies”, is about the women from her first book. It is 1539, and Catherine Havens Overton gathers the women that she lived with in the Convent with her when they were removed by the king’s men. She has them all working at the Overton House, to have them remain together.

But, the women start disappearing. They are being murdered. Catherine is determined to find the killer and save the women in her “City of Ladies”

This book is an amazing tale of mystery and intrigue. You will be spellbound.

5 Stars

 

#Interview & #Giveaway ~ Author, Sarah Kennedy

Sarah Kennedy, photo by Rachel Fowler of RFD PhotographyPhoto Credit Rachel Fowler at RFD Photography 

COMMENT BELOW TO WIN A COPY OF HER FIRST NOVEL, THE ALTERPIECE (US ONLY)

Q:  When did you realize you were a novelist? 

A:  The realization crept up on me gradually.  I used to consider myself a poet only, but when I got to my third book, the poems became less lyrical and more narrative . . . and they got longer-lined.  At some point in my forties, I hit the right-hand margin, and one evening in a bookstore with my husband it came to me:  I’m going to write a novel! 

Q:  As you geared up for your Book Release of your books, what was the most exciting part(s) for you? 

A:  Seeing the hard copy for the first time, definitely!  It’s always exciting to see the cover, too, of course, but there’s nothing like opening the cardboard box and seeing the actual books in there.  I’m usually almost too excited to lift one out!

Q:  I am so excited to read, “The Cross and The Crown Series”, what first sparked this interest for you? 

A:  Well, it was actually a research project for poems that got me thinking about the story of a young former nun under Henry VIII.  I’ve been interested in English women’s history for a long time, and as a Renaissance scholar (and frequent traveler to the UK and Ireland) I’ve walked through many a religious ruin.  I had done a lot of reading about the European witch trials and about early female mystics and other church women who were well-known.   It occurred to me as I was reading, though, that there were no stories about what happened to the ordinary women in the convents after Henry VIII closed them and seized the properties, so I felt a strong urge to create a history for these lost women. 

Q:  You have several books, including poetry. What is that your favorite topic to explore? 

A:  Oh, wow, that’s a hard one!  I have an abiding interest in the lives of ordinary women from all periods.  I guess I’m particularly interested in how women cope during times of great upheaval—wars, changes in government, changes in religious belief.  Women kept families together and often had to do much of the behind-the-scenes work (like making sure that food was available and clothing was washed) that made life go on—for everyone. 

Q:  Tell us more about how you learned so much about the lives that were lived in the 1500’s in Tudor England? 

A:  I love to read odd sorts of “literature,” like letters, diaries, and manuscripts that people left, like recipe (or “receipt”) collections.  You can get interesting tidbits about how people really lived from them.  I also like to go to out-of-the-way sites, like ruined old castles and houses that almost nobody visits, to see the layout of the buildings.  You can definitely tell quite a lot about how people lived from seeing where they put their kitchens and sickrooms and libraries.  People often don’t think about how ordinary folks did things like wash their linens (you had to make the soap first!) and dispose of bodily waste (put the toilet near a sluice that can run to a river . . . but don’t put it upstream from your drinking water source!). 

Q:  Is there any truth to what you write about?

A:  Yes, there’s quite a lot of truth to the way people dressed, spoke, behaved, and misbehaved.  I try to use documented types of medical procedures and keep true to historical events and persons.  I also try to create characters who are true to the belief systems of the day, without making cardboard figures.  For example, many nuns were quite devout . . . but many of them weren’t and got carried away by ambition, lust, or greed.  I want my characters to be fully human (which includes flaws, alas!) without making them modern humans. 

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

A:  That’s another difficult one!  I’m not sure I know what my style is!  I know that I like knotty characters and plausible plots.  I get impatient when characters are too good (or too evil, for that matter).  I want characters to make mistakes and figure out how to fix or atone for them.  I just finished reading a long novel, Sweet Caress by William Boyd.  There’s really not a plot to this novel, but there is a leisurely unfolding of character.  There’s no big central crime; the character moves through history to the end of the book.  I loved this novel for its description and close attention to character.  At the same time, I love good crime fiction like that of Benjamin Black (aka John Banville) that’s fast-paced without losing sight of character. 

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

A:  When I started writing fiction, I changed from a daytime writer to an evening writer.  I used to write poems in fits and starts, in several short sessions per day.  Now, I write in longer stints, after dinner.  I think I need the daytime hours to let my subconscious work on the manuscript, and when I sit down I need a few hours of uninterrupted time at my desk.  Of course, I sometimes have to pace around some during those hours! 

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

A:  I’m not sure I have a favorite!  I love Tana French, Morag Joss, and Ian Rankin for crime fiction, and I think Hilary Mantel is great (though I don’t agree with her assessment of Thomas Cromwell’s character!).  I think Charles Frazier is wonderful, and I look forward to anything Lee Smith publishes.  Because I’m a teacher, I get to revisit the classics frequently, too, and I never tire of teaching Thomas Wyatt, Shakespeare, John Donne, and Isabella Whitney. 

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

A:  The freedom to disappear into my own world!  I’m quite solitary by nature, but my head is always full of people talking.  Being an author lets me talk back to them without appearing nutty to the “real” people around me. 

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

A:  I hope the next installment of The Cross and Crown will be out next year.  This one moves forward in time several years and takes place during the first year of Mary Tudor’s reign.  It’s tentatively titled Queen of Blood—but I promise that it does not feature any vampires. 

Lastly, Book or eBook??

For me?  Book, hands down.  There’s nothing better, in my opinion, than stretching out in a comfy chair with a physical book in my hands.  I like the feel of paper and the smell of print.  I want to run my hand over the cover and rub the pages between my fingers.  Yeah, it’s book for me.  And a cup of coffee and my dog.

#INTERVIEW & #GIVEAWAY ~ Get to know Vicki Abelson, author of “Don’t Jump”

Vicki AbelsonComment below for your chance to win a print copy of her book, “Don’t Jump” (US Only)

Q:  When did you realize you wanted to add author to your list of accomplishments?

On October 27th, 2015, when Don’t Jump was published and I became one.  Seriously, during all the years writing the book, I barely considered myself a writer, let alone an author. There’s something kind of weighty and serious about that title isn’t there?  

Don’t Jump began as a two-page rant. I showed it to my writer husband and he encouraged me to continue. When I’d written about twenty pages I committed to seeing it through, having no idea it would be a thirteen-year journey. 

I’d written a screenplay and some television treatments, one was even optioned, but, it wasn’t until I published my first column in The Huffington Post  that I called myself a writer without looking over my shoulder to see if the authenticity police were about to haul me in for fraud.  

Q:   I love your cover.  How hard was it to choose one? 

Thank you. I do, too. It exceeds my highest imaginings. I’d had a few ideas over the years and had brainstormed them with smart, creative people.   Vicki Abelsons Dont Jump

Over a lunch with publisher, Lawrence O’Flahavan, we discussed the book, and some of the ideas which had been bandied about. After about an hour, Larry picked up a pencil and a scrap of paper and started sketching. I have no idea how he came up with the traffic signal, but as soon as he did, it became the perfect focal point. He continued to add elements and allowed me a couple… but, the genius of it, is his.  

Q:   Can you tell me more about your Literary Salon, “Women Who Write”?    

My original intention was to transform the prose into a play.  That was my ultimate goal from the get-go. When I began working with editor David Tabatsky on the revision of the first draft, I was new to Los Angeles and had no idea how to get stage time to workshop the thing. David suggested I start my own group––invite others to read with me, and local mommies to listen. I knew a few respected writers, and well-known performers who wrote, and used that as my hook, whilst slipping in a chapter of mine each month. When, six months in, Carol Leifer asked if her friend, Academy Award Winner, Marlee Matlin, could come read, that was the game-changer.  With the help of introductions from friends, Facebook, and even Twitter, the readers and musicians who’ve read and performed for us rivals any talk show, and many of the women who attend are equally accomplished.  

Over the eight years we’ve morphed into a solid community of support, friendship and fun. We have writing workshops, I coach individually, and we have a Facebook group where all are encouraged to promote their work, ask for help, guidance, and support. We have 30-Day Writing Challenges and many of us are accountable on the site, daily.   

We support each other’s work and projects in the real world, collaborate, socialize and have become very much like family.  

First-timers are welcomed into the fold as if old friends, and, we’ve opened the door to some special men.  

Q:  As you geared up for your Book Release of “Don’t Jump”, what was the most exciting part(s) for you? 

A few months prior to publication I sent the manuscript out to people I respect and admire in hopes of gathering blurbs. Who the hell was I? I was the host, who wrote, they were the authors––accomplished celebrities.  I was more than a tad terrified. Within two days, responses started coming in––beyond my wildest dreams. I hoped the book would resonate… I had moments over the years where I believed it was worthy… and, more, where I doubted it. Not a negative word came back. The reactions were effusive… thrilling. The books were available for order on pre-sale. Inadvertently, Amazon jumped the gun and sent out about a bunch of books before the launch. The gift of the error was discovering that not only were people ordering the book, they were reading it… for the most part in a couple of days, and have continued to. It’s been an extraordinary validation.  

I had an amazing launch party, thanks to Annie and Jake Deptula (brother and sister producing partners), with incredible music from the Night Train Music Club and a stellar turn-out of amazing people. Selling and signing books for the first time was an absolute trip. Living the dream…  

Being a guest on radio shows and podcasts, answering questions rather than asking them has been a  “please pinch me so know this is real” continuing excitement.  

Q:  Does your character “Andi Stone” represent you or anyone you know?

Yes.  

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

There are many authors who resonate with me. I’m not sure my style compares to any of them, specifically, but I’ve surely been influenced by many I admire.

Stephen King’s On Writing is my bible. Which, I’m certain, I’ve desecrated more than once. He was my “ideal reader” as I wrote. Unbeknownst to him.  

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

I committed to writing at least five minutes a day 3,928 days ago. I’m accountable to a very generous woman from my NY writers group who’s received my daily emails for the past almost eleven years.  

I’m at my computer all day and most of the night. Much of what I write most days I post on Facebook. It’s where I found my voice, and my audience. I hate the way that sounds. It’s a “grouptually” reciprocal arrangement.  

I write Morning Pages daily, whenever the spirit moves me, oft late night… I  take notes throughout the day/night for articles I’m working on, treatments I’m developing and the two books which loom ahead. My desk is in the kitchen… it’s open, has good light, and easy access to snacks. When I get serious, am ready to hammer out a final draft, I write with my computer on my lap, in bed. And I don’t get up, till I’m done.  

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

Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar transformed me. I adore Dostoyevsky, especially, The Brother’s Karamazov, Augusten Burroughs Dry and Running With Scissors, David Sedaris’ Naked, Stephen King’s The Shinning was one of my favorite books, ever, as was all of his work before it and what followed for many years after. I read a load of Jonathan and Faye Kellerman and love them both. James Clavell’s  Shogun and Tai-Pan have stayed with me, Love Erica Jong, John Grisham, and ate up bestsellers prior to starting Women Who Write, when memoir became my focus.  Anne Lamott’s Traveling Mercies had profound effect on me as has Marianne Williamson’s Return to Love and Illuminata 

Q:  Can we expect another book? If so, do you want to tell us a little bit about it? 

I have two books I’ve been unofficially writing in spurts.  It was essential to me for Don’t Jump to publish before I turned serious attention to them. One is my misadventures as a sober, single, now, sixty year old woman. WHAT?!? That’s just crazy to me. The other is how I went from being a housewife and mother to creating and hosting a renowned literary salon in less than a year… thanks to the Facebook.  How Facebook has transformed my life in every way. How it can be used for good. Lord knows I abuse it, too.   

I also have a compilation book I attempted to do outreach on last winter. I had zero credibility as an author and got little response from the lofty list I pursued. Perhaps on next attempt I’ll fair better.  

Q:  Lastly, Book or eBook?? 

I’m new school with just about everything. Books… I want to hold in my hand. With a cover, pages and a bookmark. 

I read one book on my computer and iPhone Kindle. It was fun. I read at red lights, on line at the grocery store, everywhere. I get it. I may try another. I’m mostly iTune’ing these days… so, who knows .

 

#Interview & #Giveaway ~ Meet author, Ann Troup!! and, enter her Giveaway!

Meet Ann Troup, the Author of “The Lost Child”. Comment below for your chance to win an eCopy of her book along with a $10 Amazon Voucher!!

Ann Troupe PicQ:  When did you realize you wanted to write a book?

I knew that I wanted to be a writer, or more accurately a novelist, in my early teens though I didn’t write my first full length novel until I was in my twenties.  I did write a play when I was eight, which was performed at my primary school I do recall that it was very tragic and deeply romantic and probably quite terrible – I’m sure my mother was cringing in the audience. So, I have always written for my own pleasure but didn’t become serious about publication until I hit my 40’s and had the necessary time to devote to it. 

Q:  As you geared up for your Book Release on May 19th, 2015, what was the most exciting part(s) for you? 

The single most exciting aspect was the enthusiasm and great feedback from book bloggers who had received advance reader copies of the book. Knowing that people who love books, storytelling and sharing their passion had enjoyed my work and wanted to shout about it was a fantastic experience and for me definitely the most exciting part of the process. Everything else was exciting and daunting in equal measures, when you have written a book and it is unleashed onto the world there is a feeling of exhilaration and fear – it can make you feel very vulnerable, very humble and very hopeful.  

Q:  Where did you get your inspiration from for this book?

I’d had the idea for some time. In the town where I grew up a girl had gone missing and years later that incident turned out to be connected with terrible crimes. I used to work as a psychiatric nurse and worked with some of the people who had been affected by the crimes and the losses they had caused – the dynamics of it stayed with me and formed the seeds of the story that became The Lost Child. The book is purely fictional, as are the characters however the relationships, reactions and behavior of the characters is very much rooted in my real life observations of how people behave in unusual and extreme situations. Human behavior is a never ending source of story material.

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

I honestly don’t know. My editor is adamant that she sees a similarity between the stories that I write and the books that Diane Chamberlain and Rosamund Lupton write. I’m sorry to say I had never read anything from either before The Lost Child was published. I have since read some of their work and can see the connection, though not in style. Our similarities lie more in our subjective choices regarding plot and story development than in any similarity of style.

Q: When do you typically write?  Where do you write?  How long did it take you to write? Set this up for us…

These days I have the luxury of being able to call writing my full time job, so I now try to have a working day as regards writing and fit it in between nine and five as much as I can – though if I’m ‘on a roll’ those limits are entirely flexible. I write in my home office, which was my daughter’s bedroom before she left home, so we call it the empty nest.  It’s a warm, light and relaxing space, full of all my bits and pieces and I can shut the world out and enter my imagination quite happily in there.  In terms of The Lost Child writing the actual book took around six weeks for the first draft, though in reality from first thoughts to publishable book probably took years. I take an inordinate amount of time with the planning and plotting, but once that’s done the book emerges relatively quickly. By the time I sit down at the computer I usually know exactly what the story is and where it will go, of course there is always room for new ideas to emerge, but the skeleton is definitely there. 

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

Haha, there are too many to list! I just like beautiful writing, thought provoking stories and sheer entertainment. For beautiful writing I would say John Steinbeck (any, but particularly Cannery Row) Edna o’Brien (August is a Wicked Month and The Country Girls) Kate Atkinson (Behind the Scenes at the Museum and and Human Croquet) and one of my all time favourite authors Jane Gardam (again, I would read her grocery list, but in particular I love Old Filth, Faith Fox and Bilgewater). I absolutely cannot name one favourite, there really are too many wonderful books and writers.

Q:  What is your favorite part of being a published author? 

Knowing that people have enjoyed something that I created and that for a few hours they have been transported out of their lives and have been entertained by my words.  Chatting to and connecting with other people who love books and writing is also hugely enjoyable, and I love to hear from people who are passionate about the written word. Second to that I do rather enjoy getting paid for doing something that I love – I don’t intend that to sound mercenary about it, but it is rather gratifying to know that what you do can be valued and appreciated in monetary terms. 

Q:  Do you have a new book on the horizon?  Do you want to tell us a little bit about it?  

I do have a new book on the horizon – it’s called The Silent Girls (It was originally listed as The Unnamed, but we have decided to change the title before it is published in February 2016).

I can’t say too much about it at this stage but it is a very different story that explores similar themes to The Lost Child in regards to how people adapt to terrible things and how their choices form a legacy for others.  It’s a darker story but just as twisty (maybe even a little more twisty…) and full of characters that you will love and hate – I hope! 

Lastly, Book or eBook?? 

Gah! Both, but for different reasons. I love, love, love books – they are my favourite possessions, but I have a modest home and not much room, so I am very selective about my dead tree books. I will always by a paper copy of a book I will read again. On the whole I buy more eBooks now, mainly for convenience, but a book is a book and I will value it either way.

#Interview & #Giveaway: Meet Camille Pagan, and learn about her book that was released yesterday!

Meet the author, Camille Pagan. I met her when she interviewed me for Arthritis Today, and I was in love with her first book….You must read this interview. Camille is a very talented writer and a wonderful person…

Enter your chance to win one of two signed copies!! (US residents only) by commenting below

camille noe paganQ:  When did you realize you were a novelist? 

I’ve been in love with fiction as long as I could read, but for a long time, the idea of being a novelist seemed out of my reach. In fact, I remember attempting to write a book shortly after I graduated from college and realizing I was completely in over my head. So, I put it aside, and though I had ideas along the way, didn’t really try again until just before I turned 30.

The idea for my first book, The Art of Forgetting, came to me suddenly, and I started writing at night when my daughter (who was then an infant) went to bed. Several months later, I had a rough draft on my hands. That draft required many, many edits, but soon after, I found an agent (the wonderful Elisabeth Weed of The Book Group; she’s still my agent today), and sold to a publisher in the U.S., and half a dozen foreign publishers, too. It was a great experience, and also a lucky one. I wrote many novels between Forgetting and Life and Other Near-Death Experiences, many of which were so-so, and some of which were actually terrible. But that process ultimately helped me write a great “second” novel (which is really like my seventh; I’ve lost count).The art of forgetting

Annie: You know I loved your first novel, “The Art of Forgetting”. I remember going to meet you at a book store in Brooklyn where you were doing a reading and signing novels…So much fun!

Q:  Tell us a little more about how you began writing.  I know I met you because you interviewed me for an article you were writing for the “Arthritis Today” magazine. Do you think those experiences helped you become a better writer?

After college, I attended a post-graduate publishing course at Radcliffe (the program’s now at Columbia), and then moved to New York and took a position as an editor at a health publication. I spent several years doing that, and then struck out on my own as an independent journalist at the end of 2004. In the following decade, I wrote for dozens of different publications—including Arthritis Today, where I worked as a contributing editor for six years, and which is of course how we met.

Interestingly, I took a position as the health editor at Real Simple this past January, so now I’m back to being an editor full-time. Both writing and editing non-fiction have been hugely beneficial to my career as a novelist. I know how to do intensive research on health topics (including brain injury, which I wrote about in my first novel; and cancer, which I wrote about in my second novel). More important, though, I spend my day thinking about the meaning of words, the rhythm of sentences, and the structure of paragraphs. This thought process undoubtedly improves my fiction.

Life and other near death experiencesQ:  As you geared up for your Book Release of “Life and other Near Death Experiences on November 1st, 2015, what was the most exciting part(s) for you?

Amazon chose my book as a Kindle First pick, which means it was one of six books offered this October—a month early—to Amazon Prime and Kindle First members. It spent the very first week of October the single bestselling title in the Kindle Store, and has already reached thousands of early readers. To say that’s a dream come true for me is the understatement of the year.

Annie: I ordered your book that way….thought I may as well have the print and eBook! Congratulations, that is definitely an impressive dream come true!

Q:  You have another amazing book, called “The Art of Forgetting”. You went to the top of my favorite’s book list with that novel!!  MUST READ ALERT!!

What is that your favorite topic to explore in your writing?

Annie, thank you! And wow—that’s a tough question! Ultimately, I am drawn to stories that explore how humans deal with the inevitable sadness and loss that comes with life. Personally, I deal with grief and pain with equal parts introspection and humor, and I think that’s what you’ll find in my novels.

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

I just discovered Lauren Fox after picking up her third novel, Days of Awe. I devoured it—such a smart, funny, heartbreaking take on friendship and life. As soon as I finished Days, I immediately read her first, Still Life With Husband, which was also terrific. So, she’s my new author crush.

Annie: I reviewed “Still Life with Husband” for Elle Magazine back I 2006…I actually got to hold the manuscript. She is a great writer. I see why you like her!

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

I write most mornings before work, almost always at my desk. I’m not a write on the couch kind of person; I need a bit of structure. Then I write out the next day’s scenes by hand at night before I go to sleep.

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

The books I have read over and over are Barbara Kingsolver’s Prodigal Summer, Wallace Stegner’s Crossing to Safety, Gail Caldwell’s Let’s Take the Long Way Home, and all of Lorrie Moore’s short story collections, particularly Birds of America. Beyond that, I enjoy so many different authors. Elena Ferrante is a new favorite, and I just read and absolutely loved Per Petterson’s utterly devastating I Refuse. I devour anything my friend Sarah Jio writes, and always pick up Elin Hilderbrand’s latest; her books are consistently good. 

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

I love the act of writing a book. Yes, it’s hard—especially when you get to the end of a first (or third, or fifth) draft and realize you have to go back and fix so many things, but the actual writing process brings me great joy. It’s like my way of meditating and figuring out what I think about, and expect from, life.

Even beyond that, there is nothing better than hearing from readers who say that my work has resonated with them. (My advice to anyone who loves books: if you enjoy a novel, email the author to tell her! You’ll make her whole week, if not her month.)

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

Soon, I hope. I don’t have a publication date yet, but I’m just past the halfway point on the draft of my next novel. It’s about marriage—and for now, that’s all I can reveal!

Annie: Looking forward to it…

Lastly, Book or eBook??

Can I say both? Seriously, I’m the person who often buys an e-book—and if I love it, end up buying the paperback or hardcover to add to my bookshelves (my office is filled with books … and so is the rest of my house, for that matter). I love the feel of a “paper” book, but I travel frequently for work and pleasure, and there is nothing better than loading a bunch of new books onto my Kindle and knowing I don’t have to bring an extra carryon to tote them all.

Annie: What a pleasure getting to interview Camille! She is super talented, and I hope you take the time to read both of her novels!

#INTERVIEW & #GIVEAWAY: Get to know author, Kathleen Irene Paterka

GIVEAWAY: 1 Signed Copy of your choice of her novels, and 1 eBook. Please comment below to enter.

Kathleen Irene Paterka by Anora O'Connor of A13 StudiosInterview with Kathleen Irene Paterka ~

Thanks so much for inviting me to be a part of your blog today, Annie! As much as authors tend to be private people, living isolated lives as they indulge in the creation of their own imaginary worlds, we actually do enjoy connecting with real people!

Annie: Thank you for taking the time to participate in this interview. I enjoyed getting to know you better.

Q:  When did you realize you were a novelist?

I don’t think there was any one specific moment when the realization struck me. I started writing at a very early age, and I grew up knowing that someday I would write books. While in school, my professors attempted to steer me towards poetry and short stories, but I rebelled. I never had any interest in anything but novels. I love the freedom which comes from having at least 100,000 words (or 400 pages) to play with. A novel allows the author to explore all sorts of character development and themes.

Q:  As you geared up for your Book Release of “SECRETS OF THE ROYAL WEDDING CHAPEL”, what was the most exciting part(s) for you?Kathleen Irene Paterka at the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign, September 2015 (3)

What a fun question! I think it was the ‘reliving the Vegas theme’ part. My daughter and her family live in Las Vegas, and my husband and I recently flew in to spend some time with them. We visited the famous Vegas Strip (check out the photo of me at the Welcome sign!), and also spent some time exploring Caesar’s Palace (where much of the book takes place). Vegas is such an interesting town. Being able to use that backdrop as a location for the book’s setting provided a fascinating dynamic. There are numerous wedding chapels all throughout Vegas, and the Royal Wedding Chapel fit right in!

Q:  You have several books, what is that your favorite topic to explore?

Interpersonal relationships fascinate me, and I tend to gravitate towards anything that causes disharmony. Husband vs. wife. Mother vs. daughter. Friend vs. Friend. What happened to cause the chaos? How can it be resolved? I write women’s fiction; each of my six novels deals with issues which will resonate with women. The women’s fiction genre can be hard to define; it doesn’t necessarily include romance (though it can), and it doesn’t necessarily promise a happily-ever-after (but it sometimes does). Women’s fiction revolves around how the main character(s) deal with particular issue(s) in their lives, and the emotional journey and growth which results. In Secrets of the Royal Wedding Chapel, the heroine Lily Lavendar has relationship issues with both her aging mother Mimi (who owns the wedding chapel) and teenage daughter Tori (who runs away from home to be with Mimi and help run the chapel). Though Lily has no interest in running the chapel, she returns to Las Vegas to ‘rescue’ Tori from the nonsense of ‘happily-ever-after’. But when she arrives in Las Vegas, a family crisis forces Lily into the wedding chapel business, and she’s trapped in the dilemma of what to do?

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

I tend to read anything in the women’s fiction genre. Novelist Jane Porter (The Frog Prince, Flirting With Forty) made a big impact on my writing with her use of 1st person present tense. I explored that particular voice in a few of my novels (Fatty Patty, Lotto Lucy, and Secrets of the Royal Wedding Chapel). For my current work-in-progress, I’m using 1st person past tense. That narration seems to fit with the book.

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

My home office has a desk which faces the wall so I’m not distracted by people or things. There’s a sign on the office door which reads: “Caution! Is the house on fire? Is there blood involved?” Unless those two things apply, my family learned long ago never to bother me when the door is closed. I’m an early-morning person, and take advantage of those creative energies and mental abilities by writing during the early morning hours. Two hours working on my latest work-in-progress, then I’m done for the day. The rest of the day is spent writing blogs, connecting on social media, and spending time with family and friends.

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

Women’s fiction is my favorite genre. I’ll read anything written by Jennifer Weiner (Good in Bed, We All Fall Down) or Jodi Picoult (her novel Change of Heart is excellent). My favorite novelist? Stephen King. While I don’t care for his futuristic or sci-fi books, some of his other novels have a permanent home on my ‘keeper’ shelf. King’s book 11/22/63 is one of my all-time favorites. It’s about a man from contemporary time who discovers a time warp, and travels back in time to try and prevent the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. If you haven’t read 11/22/63, I urge you to grab a copy today.

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

People fascinate me, and I love exploring why they behave like they do. ‘What happened?’ is where the story magic begins. For me, the best part of being an author is being able to escape to my office, sit behind my computer, and fall into the imaginary world I’ve created on the screen. I love spending time with my characters. There’s always a certain sadness that occurs when I type ‘The End’. It’s hard to say goodbye to characters in a book.

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

My current work-in-progress is about a father-daughter team who own and manage a restaurant together. When a stranger shows up at the restaurant one day, the family is thrown into chaos. But why? What happened? Why would one person’s presence cause such a huge disruption in their lives? Why did the father do what he did so many years ago? Why does the daughter react the way she does when she learns the truth? And what about the stranger? How does her presence impact their lives? The book does not have a title or a release date. I estimate it will probably be available sometime in 2016.

Lastly, Book or eBook??

Do I prefer reading books or eBooks? Both! I love my Kindle, but I’m also a huge fan of our local public library. Free books! Who doesn’t love free books? My dream was always to have my own books available in our public library. Pinch me! My dream has come true! I can walk into our library and see my own books sitting on the shelves. My six novels are also available on all digital channels, (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and Kobo), plus in print (Amazon).

Thanks again for hosting me today, Annie! I hope this little bit of info I’ve shared about myself, my books, and my writing life has proved helpful for readers. What I find amazing is that every book in the world is just a combination of 26 different letters. It’s how an author strings those 26 letters together in different combinations that provides for a fascinating read. And isn’t that what we’re all searching for? Whether you’re an author or a reader, all of us want a great book to read. Hopefully I’ve given you a little bit of my inside world, and some tips today. Happy reading!

Connect with Kathleen:

Kathleen’s website:                            http://www.kathleenirenepaterka.com

Subscribe to Kathleen’s newsletter:  http://kathleenirenepaterka.com/for-readers/

Find her on Facebook:                        https://www.facebook.com/KathleenIrenePaterka/

Find her on Twitter:                           https://twitter.com/KPaterka/

Find her on Pinterest:                         http://www.pinterest.com/kathleenpaterka/

Author Bio:

KATHLEEN IRENE PATERKA is an Amazon bestselling author of women’s fiction novels. Her popular James Bay series includes Fatty Patty, Home Fires, Lotto Lucy, and For I Have Sinned. Her latest work, The Other Wife, is set in Chicago. Her newest release, Secrets of the Royal Wedding Chapel, will be published by Booktrope Publishing in October 2015. Kathleen lives in Northern Michigan with her husband Steve, where she is busy working on her next James Bay novel.

#INTERVIEW & #GIVEAWAY – Get to know Rachel Lacey, Author of the Romance novels, “Unleashed”, “For Keeps”, & “Ever After”

Rachel LaceyRachel Lacey is giving away an autographed copy of her newest book, “Ever After”!! (US Residents Only) YOU WILL LOVE THIS BOOK!!!

Please comment below to Enter. The winner will be announced after 5pm on Monday, October 15th, 2015.

First, I would like to say that I adore your covers!!  They are very endearing…
Thank you so much! The art department at Forever Romance does such a great job. They have really spoiled me with beautiful covers.

Annie: Your books look great on my shelf, and I loved EverAfter!!

Q:  When did you realize you were a novelist?
I don’t think I had a specific moment; it was more of a slow progression for me. I had been writing for fun since I was a teenager, but it wasn’t until about five years ago that I decided to get serious and see if I could actually publish a book. Even then, it took a while before I truly felt like an author and not just a shy girl writing stories on her laptop! 🙂

Annie: Well, I believe you are a very talented author!  I am in love with your storytelling! I really enjoyed this story because of how you had the main characters love animals so much…and, everyone was so likeable, they felt like friends.

Q:  As you gear up for the August, 25th, 2015 Book Release of your third story in your “Love to the Rescue” Series, what was the most exciting part(s) for you?
Great question! For me, the most exciting part of release day is seeing my book “in the wild.” I always ask people to send me pictures, because for me there is really nothing more exciting than seeing my books on the shelves, or on your e-reader, or in your hands (or anywhere really!) It makes me so happy!

Annie: Makes your fans happy, too!

Q:  Will you always write love stories about beautiful couples and rescued dogs?  Is that your favorite topic to explore?

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(Here is Rachel with her Rescued Boxer, Lacy…sooo cute!)

For now, contemporary romance is all I write, although I can’t say for sure that it will never change. But I love creating the magic of helping two people overcome all the obstacles in their way to fall in love. Animal rescue won’t be as prominent in my next series, but you can definitely expect to see future heroes and heroines of mine who have a rescue dog (or cat!) in their lives. 

Q:  Is there an author that you feel resonates with you and your writing style?
Jill Shalvis was the first author I read before I was published where I said “Yes! This! This is what I want to write.” I love her style. She writes with so much humor, but she also packs a lot of emotional punch. I want to laugh *and* cry when I read a great romance. I want to feel all the emotions that the characters are feeling, and Jill does that perfectly. 

Q: When do you typically write?  Where do you write?  Set this up for us….IMG_20150916_231836
Ahh, the non-glamorous truth comes out! 🙂 I do most of my writing late at night after my son is in bed. My “work day” generally starts around 9pm, and I work until at least midnight. I have an office, but the truth is I usually write on the couch. It’s comfy!
Annie: I love this picture of you working with your Assistant, Luke!!

Q:  May I ask who your favorite authors are?  Books?
Well, as you might have guessed from my earlier answer, Jill Shalvis is one of my favorites. Her Lucky Harbor series is my all-time favorite romance series. Julie James is another auto-buy author for me.  And Lori Wilde. Her Jubilee, Texas, and Twilight, Texas, are two of my favorite series. A few other recent favorites are Carolina Man by Virginia Kantra and Need You For Keeps by Marina Adair.

Annie: I love getting recommendations from other authors! This is great!

Q:  What is your favorite part of being an author?
I get to actually do my dream job! How many people can say that? I feel so incredibly fortunate to be able to do what I love and get paid for it. Without a doubt, my favorite part of being an author is hearing from readers. Knowing that someone read and enjoyed one of my books is just the best thing ever. I can’t even explain how much it means to me! 

Annie: Posting your review for EverAfter! I will be sure to send you the link!

Q:  When can we expect your next book?  Do you want to tell us a little bit about it?
My next full-length book is called Run to You, and it will be out August 30th, 2016. It’s the first in a new contemporary romance series that follows three men who met as children in the foster care system and have reunited as adults to open an extreme outdoor adventure facility in the small mountain town of Haven, North Carolina. I am so excited about the new series and can’t wait to share more information soon! 

Annie: Please make sure I get this to review!! SO EXCITING!!

Lastly, Book or eBook??
You know, I love both! I probably read more on my Kindle these days, but I definitely still buy and read plenty of paperbacks. I can’t imagine I’d ever give them up completely.

Thanks so much for having me as your guest, Annie, and for the fun interview. I’m so happy to be here on The Write Review.

Annie: Rachel, Thank you for being here…You have a loyal fan in me!!