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 ~ 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!

#AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: Patricia Sands

Patricia Sands Biography

Patiricia Sands

We had an intimate interview, that will post on Friday.

We will also be Hosting a Giveaway of the 1st two books in her “Love in Provence” Series.

Patricia Sands lives in Toronto, Canada, when she isn’t somewhere else. An admitted travel fanatic, she can pack a bag in a flash and be ready to go anywhere … particularly the south of France.

Her award-winning debut novel The Bridge Club was published in 2010 and her second novel, The Promise of Provence was an Amazon Hot New Release in April 2013, a USA Best Book 2013 Finalist and a 2013 Finalist in Literary Fiction, National Indie Excellence Awards. In 2015, eLit Books Silver Award (Literary Fiction) ~ and ~ eLit Books Gold Award (Travel Fiction).

Due to tremendous reader response, The Promise of Provence became Book #1 in the Love In Provence series. Promises To Keep ~ Book #2 was released in Summer 2014. Book #3 will be released in February 2016. The series explores a mid-life coming of age and allows readers to lose themselves in the beauty of the south of France without leaving home. Patricia was invited to join the Lake Union imprint (Women’s Fiction) of Amazon Publishing in January 2015.

Celebrating the rewarding friendships and bonds women share, her stories examine the challenges life often throws in our paths. Location features prominently in all of her novels.

Frequently invited to speak with women’s groups on the subjects of writing and self-publishing, topics also cover the importance of valuing our personal stories and seeing ageing as opportunity. At other events along with her Sommers & Sands speaking partner, through keynotes, workshops and conferences, audiences are encouraged to embrace change and see challenges as opportunities.

Her philosophy is that it’s never too late to begin something new, to seize each day and be a possibilitarian! As the saying goes, just do it! Hearing from readers (both men and women, from ages 20 to 84) is her greatest reward.

#BookReview: “Little Woman in Blue” by Jeannine Atkins

Little Woman in BlueSummary:

May Alcott spends her days sewing blue shirts for Union soldiers, but she dreams of painting a masterpiece—which many say is impossible for a woman—and of finding love, too. When she reads her sister’s wildly popular novel, Little Women, she is stung by Louisa’s portrayal of her as “Amy,” the youngest of four sisters who trades her desire to succeed as an artist for the joys of hearth and home. Determined to prove her talent, May makes plans to move far from Massachusetts and make a life for herself with room for both watercolors and a wedding dress. Can she succeed? And if she does, what price will she have to pay?

Based on May Alcott’s letters and diaries, as well as memoirs written by her neighbors, Little Woman in Blue puts May at the center of the story she might have told about sisterhood and rivalry in an extraordinary family.

Review:

I was given a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Jeannine Atkins brought back to life a wonderful memories, and I learned so much!  I am glad I had the chance to learn more about the Alcott’s lives.  This book is one I will always treasure.  It is already up on my bookshelf next to Louisa May Alcott’s books.  Jeannine was a genius to write this book!

I devoured this book from beginning to end.  It was like reliving my youth.  I was meeting new characters, but, they already felt like “home”.  I never knew that “Little Women” was loosely based on Louisa May Alcott’s family.  Needless to say, I will be going back to read that book again!

I have so much to learn about Louisa May Alcott.  Her book, “Little Women” is one of my all-time favorite novels.  It was the first book I read as a young lady that made me realize that I really wanted to read, and possibly write.  As influential as this book was to me, I knew I had to read, “Little Woman in Blue” once I laid my eyes on it.

Jeannine Atkins brought us back to the same family referenced in Louisa May Alcott’s book and it was such a joy to read.  Her writing is nothing short of brilliant.

Amy March was not the most likable character in “Little Women”, but this book will help you see that was just an embellished story, by an older sister…..that may have been a little jealous of her youngest sister.  Louisa May Alcott based Amy on her real sister, May Alcott.

This story is all about May Alcott and her love of life.  She had goals of being an Artist.  One that would be featured in Museums, and sought after. She wanted to be married, and she wanted to be a mother.  The question is: Is this too much to ask for?

I highly recommend this book, as I am off to do research on the Alcott’s and see if Jeannine Atkins has any other books…because I will certainly be more than pleased to read them.

Fantastic. Inspiring. Brilliant.

5 Stars.

#BookReview: “Once Lost” by Ber Carroll

Once LostI was given a copy of this book from Chick Lit Plus in exchange for an honest review.

Summary:

Are some things better left unfound?

Best friends Louise and Emma grew up next door to each other in a grim inner-city suburb of Dublin.

Now Louise, an art conservator, is thousands of miles away in Sydney, restoring a beautiful old painting. She meets Dan, whose family welcome her as one of their own, but she will always feel lost until she finds her mother who walked out when she was just eight years old.

Back in Dublin, Emma is stuck in a job where she is under-appreciated and underpaid, but her biggest worry is her ex-partner, Jamie. Emma has lost so much because of Jamie: her innocence, her reputation, almost her life. Now she is at risk of losing Isla, her young daughter.

So where is Louise’s mother? Will Emma ever be free of her ex? Both women frantically search for answers, but when the truth finally emerges it is more shattering than they had ever expected.

Review:

“Once Lost” had me at hello!  Now, I need to read all of Ber Carroll’s books!!!

Ber delivers a wonderful literary menu: Best Friends. Dublin, Ireland. Women’s Fiction. Women’s Dilemma’s. Turmoil from the past. Friendships. Motherhood. Romance. Travel.

It had everything I love and more.  An intricately written story that will have you flipping the pages until you are finished.

Louise moves from her home; Dublin, Ireland and travels the world for her business, which is conserving art work.  As a Conservator she can spend months, even years working on one piece of art work.  Louise has to “go to the art”, so she has spent time in places like New York and London, to name a few.  At the beginning of this story she is searching for a place to call home in Sydney, Australia…thousands of miles from her home in Dublin, Ireland…and her Best Friend, Emma.

I loved getting to know Louise. She was just an awesome character.  Her mother abandoned her when she was 8 years old.  All she had was her Step-Father, and her best friend, Emma next door.

Emma is still in Dublin and she is missing Louise something fierce. Emma has a daughter named Isla, from a previous relationship with a man named Jamie.   He is a terrible father figure, but the courts say that Isla must see her father.  Emma spends most of her time worrying about Jamie, and trying to take proper care of her child.  She now lives with Eddie, and he is a fabulous character in this book, as well.

I loved bouncing back between characters and countries.  I loved being in Dublin most, but I am biased as I lived there when I was younger.

This is a marvelous work of woman’s fiction.  Ber Carroll’s books are going to be added to the bookshelves in my Library. (My version of my husband’s Man Cave)

5 Stars.

You can purchase “Once Lost” here:

http://www.amazon.com/Once-Lost-Ber-Carroll-ebook/dp/B00VSIRCI6/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1442562548&sr=1-1&keywords=once+lost+ber+carroll

#BookReview: “Things Unsaid” by Diane Y. Paul

Things UnsaidSummary:

Jules, her sister Joanne, and her brother Andrew all grew up in the same household―but their varying views of and reactions to their experiences growing up have made them all very different people. Now, as adults with children of their own, they are all faced with the question of what to do to help their parents, who insist on maintaining the upscale lifestyle they’re accustomed to despite their mounting debts. A deft exploration of the ever-shifting covenants between parents and children, Things Unsaid is a ferocious tale of family love, dysfunction, and sense of duty over forty years.

Review:

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This story was almost hard to digest, because it speaks of a family in such dysfunction that it is painstaking to read.  But, that is exactly what makes this story so wonderful and different.

To tell a tale of a family that is always at its breaking point must have been hard to do; but, Diane Y. Paul gives them a very loud voice.  While uncomfortable at times, I did enjoy this book.  I almost had to put it down at the beginning because of the sheer amount of pain on each page, but I am glad I ended up reading the entire book, in just one sitting.  I was completely enraptured with the story.

This is the story of Bob and Aida Whitman and their three children, and grandchildren.  We learn how Bob and Aida meet, and how they raise their two daughters, Jules and Joanne and son, Andrew. And, then years later, we learn how these children figure out how to take care of their ailing parents.

Their eldest daughter, Jules was a hero to me.  She tried to do everything right by her parents, even if they had not done the same for her.  She was the entire family’s safety net.  Losing herself along the way may have been enevitable.

Diane Y. Paul writes of a time in life that we will all encounter.

No matter what, losing our parents is never easy.  Not even for the Whitman family.  Even when walking away may have been the easiest thing to do.

This is a wonderfully engrossing read.

4.5 Stars.

Releasing on October 13th, 2015, you can grab it right here:

http://www.amazon.com/Things-Unsaid-Diana-Y-Paul/dp/1631528122/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1442333356&sr=8-1&keywords=things+unsaid