11 Jan 2015

“CHIMERAS: A Medical Mystery” by E.E. Giorgi

Comments Off on “CHIMERAS: A Medical Mystery” by E.E. Giorgi Book Reviews, News

t

“CHIMERAS: A Medical Mystery” by E.E. Giorgi is an excellent medical thriller that opens a variety of issues about genetics and places them in the context of a fairly fast paced and cleverly plotted crime story. It is written competently by an author who knows her science but also knows how to create and keep tension and drama at the same time.

The book feels never dry and is told with the powerfully honest voice of Detective Ulysses / Track Presius, an epigenetic chimera, which gives a unique perspective into his ‘being different’ and how it affects him and his work. He is a well-chosen character with some darker components, a protagonist who can keep your interest. He is joined by a partner in crime and by a scientist, both of are equally fascinating.
The book uses a wonderfully descriptive style and keeps the reader on their toes, with the science and also the crime side of it.
I have read a lot of information about genetics because my partner suffers from haemophilia and so the issues that are raised here in the context of genetic science resonated well with me. I found it particularly rewarding that the author added a section about the science at the end of the book, which clarified a few topics, and reassured me how medically sound and competent the foundations for this story are.
This is a very rewarding read and was even better than I hoped for. A writer to watch.

 Here is a link to my interview with E.E. Giorgi

Author’s blog: http://chimerasthebooks.blogspot.com/

Chimeras: http://smarturl.it/chimeras

Mosaics: http://smarturl.it/mosaics

Gene Cards: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NH8V8OE

And for those who don’t read books but love to stare at images, this is my photography portfolio: http://elenaedi.smugmug.com/

 

11 Dec 2014

Interview with author David Cook

Comments Off on Interview with author David Cook Book Reviews, News

It is May, 1798, and Ireland is a country at war.  FINAL_v6_RGB One hundred thousand peasants have risen up against the Crown to the tales of men, women and children butchered as traitors. It is whispered that the feared and despised ghosts of Oliver Cromwell’s New Model army have returned seeking bloodshed, and no one is safe. Major Lorn Mullone, a man forged by war and torn by past failures, is sent by the government to apprehend Colonel Black, a dangerous and shadowy figure, who is harming the fragile peace talks with his own murderous retribution. In a race against time, Lorn must journey across a country riven by fighting, where at the walled town of New Ross, he discovers a new horror. In the desperate battle for peace, Lorn must survive for the sake of Ireland’s future. Liberty or Death is an authentic historical story set against the brutal backdrop of Ireland’s Great Rebellion, the first novella in The Soldier Chronicles series.

David’s books are well researched, gripping and for this reader, quite an eye opener. I started with the third in the series, “Blood on Snow”, which is about the Flanders Campaign of 1794 – something that I had little knowledge of and Cook brought it to life with historical competence and splendid details. The novel comes with a variety of well chosen characters that felt authentic and made for a fascinating and compelling read. The weather and living conditions, interactions with the locals and the morale and discipline in the regiment are described exellently. A very recommendable novel and a writer to watch.

 

Interview with David:

How did you come to writing? photo

I’ve been scribbling away since I was 16 years old. It was only reading a soldier’s journal about life in Egypt in the early 19th century in 2006 that I decided to put my ideas together and write my Napoleonic story I’d been putting off.

What is your interest in history and the eras you write about? Do you have a preferred era?

I write historical-fiction. The Soldier Chronicles relate to a Napoleonic series I’d like to have published, but my interest is not only military. I have a written a story about Robin Hood and a band of outlaws who are fighting back William the Conqueror.

How do you come up with your story?

The Desert Lion (unpublished) is the start of the Napoleonic series and it was from reading the journal that I started with. I finished the story and sent it off to agents. In the lull I wrote backstories which have formed The Soldier Chronicles.

How do you research? CA_GD_COOK_final_1000

Online, read and visit places. The only place I haven’t managed to visit is Egypt. Hopefully, I can soon remedy that.

Do you prefer to stay in one era and genre or do you see yourself spreading out?

I’m happy – or I should say – I work best in the past. I have always loved our country’s (UK) history and I think I’ll stick with that. I will say, however, that I have an interest in pursuing a modern day ghost story but I don’t know when that will happen.

Were the plot and subplots completely planned from the start or did they change during the process, and if so, how?

I wrote all the outlines and the first five stories of The Soldier Chronicles about six years ago. They have remained the same, however I always start with a brief outline and let the words flow. I don’t usually know what will happen until I see the words. For instance, Heart of Oak was originally going to finish at the fort, but both the protagonist and antagonist wanted more!

I‘ve only read one of the books so far. What is the idea behind your series?

The chronicles are snapshots of military history in the periods of 1793-1815. I wanted to write them as standalones, to be read in any order, but the characters feature in the main Napoleonic series. There’s this connection that I want to explore. I didn’t want to write them as novels, so decided on novellas, but if they prove popular there is scope to make them into novels at a later date.

What are the best and the worst aspects of writing? Blood on the Snow Final Cover Large

The best is how the story unfolds. I love research, but it’s not knowing what will happen until it does. It’s very exciting as I’m sure you feel the same. The worst has to be marketing. It’s not terrible, but for an Indie author its hard work to get your voice shouting louder than everyone else. I work full-time and writing isn’t a hobby, it’s a future way of life and I have to work hard at promoting it. It’s very tough and sometimes it’s very lonely.

How do you balance marketing one book and writing the next?

For some reason I always find myself starting the next book just as I’m finishing the last. There’s no transition period it seems. I just seem to be always writing. You have to juggle marketing your book and concentrating on the next book’s story. I can’t really afford to take a break between the stories, not until I’m relatively successful anyway.

What is your main reason for writing?

I want to tell people of these stories. I want people to like them and to transport them back to a time of that period. I hope I can evoke the past.

What do you do when you don’t write?

I work full-time as I said, so when not doing either I try to have a social life. Try is the word here J Spending time with my family, friends, go for walks, visit new places. Relax. It’s good to get out, to get up from the writing chair. If I didn’t, I think I’d have a permanent chair seat-shaped arse.

You have created great characters. Which one is your favourite?

Thanks but that is a tough question. I like them all – can’t choose. Sorry.

Who would you cast to play the characters in a movie?

I updated my facebook page the other day with this question. For Lorn Mullone who is the protagonist in Liberty or Death, I’ve had Liam Neeson, Gabriel Byrne, Michael Fassbender, and Gerard Butler. In fact, I would agree that they would all do Lorn justice as a screen version. In my head and perhaps in the readers mind, Mullone would look very different.

Are you like any of the characters (and how so)? Marksman eBook Cover Large (1)

I think a part of me is in every character to be honest. I’ve drawn out my idiosyncrasies and given the characters foibles.

Tell us one odd thing about you and one really mundane thing.

One odd thing would be that I can eat chocolate at any time of the day. Mundane thing is that I have to have coffee with my breakfast.

Who are your editors and how do you quality control your books?

My editor is Catherine Lenderi (@cathlen78 on Twitter) and she was recommended to me by several authors. She’s excellent, professional and one of the planet’s nicest people. I’ve learned to proof-read until my eyes bleed and then give it to Catherine. Who then spots mistakes and gives ideas to help the story flow or other recommendations.

How have you found the experience of self-publishing? What were your highs and lows?

I self-published in April this year and after a few formatting issues, it was very easy to add to Amazon KDP, CreateSpace (and Smashwords for the first three books). I’m looking at the sales per day which can be wonderful to heart-breaking.

What is your advice to new writers?

Just keep at it. Keep writing, keep reading. To be honest I’m really not qualified to give advice. This reminds me of Chandler Bing when asked in Friends. He said ‘‘I’m not so good with advice. Can I offer a sarcastic comment instead?’’

Who are your favourite authors?

Oooohh there are lots…Bernard Cornwell, Simon Scarrow, Lee Child, Stephen King, C.J Sansom, George R.R. Martin…

What is your favourite book?

It’s ‘Sharpe’s Siege’. It was given to me as a Christmas present by my father and it introduced me to Richard Sharpe and his world. I’ve been reading them ever since.

What book are you currently reading and in what format (e-book/paperback/hardcover)?

A complete change of genre for me, but I’ve just started ‘Gone Girl’ by Gillian Flynn. I’ve heard amazing things about it which piqued my interest.

How do you handle criticism of your work?

Take it on the chin and move on. If someone slates my work then that’s their opinion. I’m not going to worry about it. Often I read stories where authors have ranted on social media and made fools of themselves. I say just let it go and move on. There are far more important things to worry about than someone else’s opinion.

You can find David and all of his books on 

Amazon US and Amazon UK

Goodreads

and connect with him on http://thewolfshead.tumblr.com

Twitter https://twitter.com/DavidCookAuthor

Google + https://plus.google.com/u/0/113814484444212345228?tab=wX#113814484444212345228/posts?tab=wX

and

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/davidcookauthor

David Cook is from Chandlers Ford, Hampshire, but now lives in Leicestershire with his wife and young son.

David has been interested in history since his school days, and developed a love for the Napoleonic Wars era from his father, who painted and amassed a lead model army of the Battle of Waterloo. From there David became fascinated with The English Civil Wars and English medieval history, particularly the legend of Robin Hood. David is writing a novel titled The Wolfshead, a story of Robin Hood, but based on the original medieval ballads as the source.

For more information and updates please visit http://thewolfshead.tumblr.com

 

21 Nov 2014

Interview with Eden Baylee, author of “Stranger at Sunset”

18 Comments Book Reviews, News

 

“Stranger at Sunset” by Eden Baylee is a fantastic read. So much, that I read it twice. I first noticed Eden through her blog and didn’t realise for too long what a gifted writer she is. Her thriller is amazing (my review is below) and her adult fiction has literary quality. Today I am proudly presenting you with an interview with Eden.

Hi Eden, I must say, your bio is very impressive. Tell us about your transition from banking to writing?

Thanks so much for inviting me on your terrific blog, Christoph. It’s so cozy here. eden

The transition took twenty years and hasn’t been easy, but it’s been tremendously rewarding. I actually left my job after ten years to pursue a writing career the first time. I moved to NYC and immersed myself in the writing scene there. Unfortunately, not long after, I was diagnosed with cancer—bad timing! It forced me to move back to Canada for treatment. The process of getting my health back took about two years, and by then I was not financially sound.

I had to return to work and thought I’d only stay for a year or two before leaving again. Who knew it would take another ten years before I got up the nerve to do it?

All I can say is I was in a much better position to leave the second time. I would encourage writers to keep their day jobs unless they are able amass enough savings to last at least 3-5 years. I was never able to work a full-time job and write, so I had to make a choice.

What made you decide to be a writer? Have you always written?

Before I was ever a writer, I was and still am an avid reader.  Reading and writing have been passions of mine from when I was young, though I can’t say I ever thought I would become a writer professionally. I just never considered it a financially viable profession for me when I was in my twenties. At the time, I was concerned with material things.

That changed over the years of course. Life is not just about money and things. It’s about what makes me happy, and the combination of a life-threatening illness and not being happy in my job made me rethink my priorities.

Writing may not be bringing me riches monetarily (not yet anyway), but I’m much happier with where I am in life right now.

You started off with Erotica but even there you’ve written quite deep characters. I was surprised to find you turn to crime fiction instead of a literary theme. Tell us about the transition. Cover_small

I read my first book of erotic fiction when I was eleven, and it definitely affected my psyche. The novella was Story of O by Pauline Réage. I started with erotica because I enjoy reading well-written stories about love, romance, and sex as relevant to the story. The genre, however, works best as short novels, approximately 25K – 35K words. I’d written eight of them and compiled them into two anthologies. (Fall into Winter and Spring into Summer). After that, it was time to move on.

I’ve been a reader of many genres, and mystery/suspense novels have always interested me. I also needed a challenge. Writing Stranger at Sunset was challenging because it forced me to plot. There are intricate threads in my book that will be carried over to the next two books since it’s the first of a trilogy. With short stories, I rarely had to plot.

The transition to writing a full-length novel really tested me. It made me feel much more confident about my writing, more so than for the fact that I changed genres.

Who are your favourite crime authors?

I love the classical writers and I’ve read some excellent indie writers too. A short list of authors I enjoy are: Dashiell Hammett, Agatha Christie, Raymond Chandler,  Elmore Leonard,  James Ellroy, Dennis Lehane, Patricia Highsmith.

For good indie mystery/thriller/crime writers, there are too many to mention, but you can find many of them interviewed on my blog. I tend to support the writers I enjoy reading as I want to see them succeed and continue to write.

I love your blog posts, especially the music ones. Tell my readers about them and about your connection to music. 

Thank you for your compliment, Christoph! I’m a fan of 60s and 70s rock, blues, and jazz, so music is something I enjoy very much. I also play harmonica and guitar, though neither proficiently.

As a child, I grew up with music based on the taste of older influencers. Cousins, aunts and uncles shared their record collections with me, and that’s the music that touches me the most, even today.

There is so much ‘bad’ music out there, so in blogging about what I enjoy, I am also re-discovering music I haven’t listened to in some time. Perhaps in the process, I’m sharing what I like with a new generation.

Music, as a universal language, unites people. By blogging about it, it’s another way for me to connect to others.

You’ve written great characters. Would you say you’re like any of them? Or, how do you create your characters?  Did you have any actors or people in mind when writing your characters?

In formulating a story, my main focus is on characterization. I believe that a story exists because the characters make it happen. Even though my book, Stranger at Sunset is a mystery/thriller and considered genre fiction, it doesn’t imply you can have a great plot at the expense of great characters. 

I enjoyed Dr. Kate Hampton, the protagonist of the book. I relate to her, which in itself is a little scary. Some readers have said she is not likeable. Others think she is terrific. It’s a strangely dichotomous reaction, but I can understand why. For me, she represents two sides of one person – the one you show to the world and the one you keep hidden.

I would say many of us keep parts of ourselves hidden, even to the people closest to us. That’s why I think her story is interesting, and why she will have two more books written about her.

As much as I love film, I don’t write a book with specific actors in mind. It’s less important for me who plays the characters. I prefer to think of film directors and how they would convey the overall plot. To that end, I love the filmmaking styles of David Fincher, the Coen Brothers, and Alfred Hitchcock.

What is your writing environment like?

Sitting for long periods of time to write is not a good idea, so I stand at my kitchen counter. Sometimes, I have ankle weights and exercise at the same time. When standing becomes tiring, I stop for a while and take a walk or do yoga or meditate. I like writing by natural light, so that dictates where I write most days.

Did you have any say in your cover art? What do you think of it? Tell us about the artist.

Yes, I use award-winning designer, JB Graphics from Toronto. (http://www.john-beadle.com/). He designs my covers, website, and any other artwork I need. I am involved in most aspects of the design, mainly because visual art interests me.

I also know the message I want to convey, and how a cover can set a mood for a book since it’s the first thing a potential buyer sees.

My requirements for a cover are that it should look professional across all platforms, with a unique design and the right proportion of image and fonts. 

How have you found the experience of self-publishing? What were your highs and lows?

As you know, Christoph, being a self-published author is never just about the writing. When we go this route, we expect to do it all, and if we can’t, then we hire professionals to help us.

Given that, each day is somewhat of a juggle to write, read, and promote.

There are many things that need to be done to spread the word of a book before and after it’s written. Selling books is a huge part of being a full-time writer. It’s what pays the bills and allows me to keep writing.

The highs come when I realize I’m living the life I want to live, moment by moment. It’s all about the writing.

The lows come on days when I don’t know if I’m coming or going, when I haven’t slept enough, and I’m “chasing” a story that’s just not happening. Doubt about my abilities as a writer creeps in. I’m not one to wallow, but at one or two in the morning, the mind can play tricks on my self-confidence.

As writing for me can be all-encompassing, I have to force myself to walk away from my laptop and decompress. It’s difficult but it’s necessary.

What is your advice to new writers? 

My main tip is to keep writing. It’s amazing how much I’ve learned by writing continuously. The fact that I cringe a little when reading some of my earlier works is a good thing. It means I’ve moved on from there. I feel the mark of any writer should be to improve with each book they write.

I’d also advise to hit a word count or daily goal you set for yourself. As a writer of fiction, I’m fully aware that my imagination is a function of my brain; the brain is a muscle. And like any muscle, it needs exercise daily or it will atrophy.

What makes you laugh?

Many things and sometimes everything! I love dry, witty English humour, but I also like silly slap-stick. I don’t need anything highbrow, as anything that hints at farting usually makes me giggle.

There’s nothing like having a great belly laugh, the type that doubles you over with tears streaming down your face because you just can’t stop. This usually only happens with a few close friends. I’m convinced they’ve discovered the way to kill me is by making me laugh until I can’t breathe!

What (not who) would you like to take to a lonely island?  

Haha! I suppose if I took someone it would no longer be lonely. I’ve answered this question before and my top 3 things are always the same: 

  1. Solar-powered laptop with an unlimited iTunes account and WiFi. This satisfies my need to read, write, and listen to music.
  2. Power tools to build a proper shelter.
  3. Lip balm because I loathe chapped lips.

Who would you like to invite for dinner? download

You, Christoph, of course! I think you would be an amazing dinner guest – fun, intelligent, and we can even speak in my poor German if you like! I make a wonderful schnitzel, just so you know.

Perfect. It’s a date…
What song would you pick to go with your book?

Actually, Stranger at Sunset has a soundtrack for sale on iTunes. Because of my love for music, I inserted songs into the storytelling, so I have a playlist of approximately thirteen songs that go with the book.

In one of my erotic novellas, “Seduced by the Blues,” the male lead is a blues guitarist, and there are numerous references to music in that book, including one of my all time favourite musicians, Van Morrison.

How do you handle criticism of your work?

I hire a hitman … just kidding. (hehe)

I take criticism of my work as a valuable lesson to improve my writing. If someone reads my work and takes the time to write a review, or to tell me what they thought, then they are doing something very few do. They are making a concerted effort to express their opinions for why they liked or did not like a book.

As an author, you need to have a thick skin, and if you don’t, grow one fast. Our writing will not appeal to everyone. That is just not possible.

If you think the criticism is valid, then learn from it and move on.

If you think the criticism is bullshit, do the same.

Everyone is entitled to their opinions, not just professional critics/reviewers. The worst thing is to let negativity paralyze you … so don’t allow this to happen. 

Tell us one weird thing, one nice thing, and one fact about where you live.

Hmm… what an interesting question. Toronto, Canada is not known for ‘weird,’ but right now I will say the weather is weird. It’s snowing in mid November. I hate the cold, so I’m not looking forward to this winter. This weird pattern is probably the case for the weather worldwide.

Nice: All the festivals and events we have, along with numerous restaurants. There is never a shortage of things to do and places to eat.

Fact: Toronto is the center of Canada for business, art, and … condominiums. A friend who is a realtor said we have the most condos of any city in all of North America. She must be right because our skyline is littered with cranes and tall buildings. 

What are you working on now?

I’m writing my next novel called, A Fragile Truce, which is the book that follows Stranger at Sunset. I’m excited to see where the main character, Dr. Kate Hampton goes next. I hope my readers will be as well.

Thanks so much Christoph for the opportunity to share with your readers. You are an amazing advocate for indie writers, and I’m so happy we are connected.

Big hugs, eden  eden

Stranger at Sunset by Eden Baylee

Author Bio

Eden Baylee left a twenty-year banking career to become a full-time writer. She incorporates many of her favorite things into her writing such as: travel; humor; music; poetry; art; and much more.

Stranger at Sunset is her first mystery novel, on the heels of several books of erotic anthologies and short stories. She writes in multiple genres.

An introvert by nature and an extrovert by design, Eden is most comfortable at home with her laptop surrounded by books. She is an online Scrabble junkie and a social media enthusiast, but she really needs to get out more often!

To stay apprised of Eden’s book-related news, please add your name to her mailing list.

Author Links

Website | Blog | Amazon Author page US | Amazon Author page UK

Twitter @edenbaylee | Facebook | Goodreads | Youtube | Pinterest | Linkedin

* * *

My review of the book: Cover_small
A group of strangers and acquaintances spend a week together in a holiday resort in Jamaica after a tropical storm has recently devastated parts of it. One of those guests has given the resort a terrible write up in a travel magazine, another is an egotistic self-declared ‘alpha’ male, there are a few couples and house staff and then there is our heroine psychologist Kate.

The atmosphere is loaded with tension between the owner and the reviewer as well as between some of guests, there is plenty of sexual chemistry and the air is also full of secrets, plans and deceits. The focus of the narrative shifts to let us into the minds and thoughts of the well-chosen and perfectly fleshed out characters. They are all multi-dimensional and I ended up feeling for even the less likable ones because of the insights into their pasts or backgrounds. Kate as the trained psychologist is a great character who, with a razor sharp ability to dissect and analyse them, brings further dimensions to our perception and understanding of the cast.
The writing establishes and carries forward an excellent sense of expectation from page one, where a brief and ominous episode with binoculars already whets our curiosity. Atmospheric, stylish and confident Baylee feeds us the story day by day until some big events do take place. I do not wish to spoil the experience by hinting at what is going to happen, only that I thoroughly enjoyed the story and was genuinely surprised by the way everything developed.
I read some of Baylee’s erotic writing which has much more depth than the genre normally calls for and “Stranger at Sunset” is no exception. A psychological thriller of literary quality.

 

Stranger at Sunset (Book summary)

Vacation can be a killer.

Dr. Kate Hampton, a respected psychiatrist, gathers with a group of strangers at her favorite travel spot, Sunset Villa in Jamaica. Included in the mix are friends of the owners, a businessman with dubious credentials, and a couple who won the trip from a TV game show.

It is January 2013, following the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. The luxury resort is struggling, not from the storm, but due to a scathing review from caustic travel writer, Matthew Kane. The owners have invited him back with hopes he will pen a more favorable review to restore their reputation.

Even though she is haunted by her own demons, Kate feels compelled to help. She sets out to discover the motivation behind Kane’s vitriol. Used to getting what he wants, has the reviewer met his match in Kate? Or has she met hers?

Stranger at Sunset is a slow-burning mystery/thriller as seen through the eyes of different narrators, each with their own murky sense of justice. As Kate’s own psychological past begins to unravel, a mysterious stranger at Sunset may be the only one who can save her.

 

Available in e-book and print

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon worldwide http://authl.it/B00L7BVDFM

Apple | B&N | Smashwords | Kobo

Also available in Print | iTunes Soundtrack

51LvLtnSRPL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_

26 Oct 2014

“Dog Days of Summer” by PJ Fiala

Comments Off on “Dog Days of Summer” by PJ Fiala Book Reviews, News

51hgsJIE-IL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_As you all know, I only read the odd romance book and when I feature one on my blog you know it must be really good. “Dog Days of Summer” by PJ Fiala is a real treat. As romances go this has great chemistry and interesting characters. I found it refreshing to have a romance between people who are parents themselves. The setting in the biker community and its annual charity ride was particularly fascinating for me, since it is such a different world to mine. It was much how I imagined it would be yet with great individuals and ideas that made the story and the characters very relatable and likeable. A good dependable war veteran as love interest should have readers fall in love, just as Joci does in the book. The language and the erotic scenes are quite explicit at times but fit the storyline and characters perfectly. A heart warming and uplifting book full of great values.

Here is an interview with P.J. Fiala:

Tell us a little about yourself as writer and as person. PattiFiala (2)

As a person, I am a wife of 29 years, a mother to 4 grown children and a grandmother to 3 lovely grandchildren.  My husband and I are bikers and love to travel on bike as much as we can. 

Tell us about your writing history. When was the first time you decided to write and when was the first time you did?


I always wanted to be a writer and let fear get in the way.  I simply didn’t know how to begin and who would want to read what I had to say anyway?  Then, one day, I was reading my thousandth romance novel, by a very well-known author, and I found mistakes.  The kind like eye color of the heroine or technical mistakes in the flow of the story.  I was irritated that between all the editing, formatting, etc., no one caught this.  That’s when I decided, I could do this.  It’s the details, baby.

What inspired you for the stories?

If you are aware of my stories, you will know that I write about bikers, at least in my latest series.  It seemed natural for me to write about bikers, since we are bikers.  I wanted to write a positive story about them, because there is so much written about the 1% bikers, but not much on the other 99%.  The groups we ride with support charities, local organizations and each other.  I was standing on the deck at a local bar, waiting for a ride to start one day.  As I looked out over the crowd and heard snippets of conversations, I thought, “I should write about bikers.”  I mentioned it to my husband and he said, “Now you’ve got it.”

How did you decide on the characters, plots and titles?

The characters are mostly figments of my imagination, but, they are all loosely based on someone I know in some way.  Some of the physical characteristics are different and the stories may be modified a bit, but the general idea came from a true event, or person.

Are your books auto-biographical in any way? Are you like any of the characters, or is your life similar?

The parts that are auto biographical are the trips and the rides.  The rides I mention in my books are rides we have already taken or charities that we support on a regular basis.  I’m not like my characters, but I would like to be, at least the heroines.  I find that I write qualities or characteristics of people that I wish I could be like or would like to have as friends.

Did anyone influence you / encourage you to become a writer?

As I mentioned above, I have been married to my husband for 29 years.  We dated for 6 years before getting married, so we have a fair amount of history between us.  He has been my number one supporter throughout our lives together.  When we would encounter something interesting he would say, “You need to put that in a book someday.”  When I finally decided to do it, he was right there supporting me all along the way.

What do your family or friends say about your books. Do they mind you taking so much time to write?

I think my family would appreciate it if I didn’t spend so much time on it.  It isn’t just the writing, it’s all the marketing that takes up so much time.  But, they are supportive of it.  My friends are, shall I say shocked?  I write erotic romance, or at least romance that is explicit and steamy.  In real life, I guess I don’t come off as someone who would be interested in reading it, let alone writing it.  My books have been the topic of many conversations and late night phone calls.

When did you decide to write in this genre?

I love this genre.  Love it.  So, it’s natural for me to write in it.  I will venture into fantasy/paranormal soon.  I have ideas floating around in my head regarding a fantasy/paranormal series.

Would you say there is a message in your books beyond the story? Do you find it is well received and picked up by the reviewers?

There is a message.  It’s mostly that bikers are good people, have regular lives and do many good things in their communities and for others.  The general comments have been that it’s nice to read about bikers doing good things.  It’s why I generally promote my Rolling Thunder Series as “Romance of a different kind”.  

Who would you hope plays the characters in a movie version?

Oooooo, Brad Pitt would be my Jeremiah, no doubt.  Linsee Davis would make a fabulous Joci.  Scarlett Johanson would be that awful LuAnn. 

Did you have your books all planned out before you write them or do the characters and story surprise you?

I find that the characters and the story surprise me all the time.  I usually have something in my head when I begin to write, but something happens along the way, and I just go with it.  Sometimes it changes again later.

Which character did you most enjoy writing?

I really liked Jeremiah.  I had him in my head from the beginning.  He is smart, devoted, dependable, caring, loyal, sexy and the best kind of alpha.  He isn’t a jerk.  I didn’t want him being one of those men that has to be hated in the beginning, I’m tired of those characters.

What would your character(s) say about you?

Hmmm, good one.  I think they would say I am dependable, smart, stubborn and tenacious.  When I really want something, I go after it.  I’m also willing to step out of the box a little bit and see where it takes us.

What do you like best about writing? What’s your least favourite thing?

The best thing about writing it creating the fantasy.   Creating those characters that you want to love and fall in love with.  Creating the situations and stories around them.  It’s fabulous.  The least favourite thing is the darn marketing.  It seems never ending and there is a plethora of information you have to learn every day.  All the social media and websites, learning new software, writing tweets, creating teasers, posting, posting, posting.  Oh, and don’t even get me started on blogging.  Where does the writing fit in?  Family? What family? 

Did you have any say in your cover art? What do you think of it? Tell us about the artist.

I did. My publisher has used this artist for a very long time.  They would submit it to me and ask me what I liked and what I didn’t like.  From there, changes would be made and sent back to me.  I love the cover of Dog Days of Summer.  Wait till you see the cover for Rydin the Storm Out, it’s amazing.  It’s from a different artist, JC Clark, but she is doing a fabulous job with it.  She also just redesigned the cover for Second Chances, which I will be republishing next year.

What is your writing environment like? Do you need silence or music to write?

I write all over the house.  Usually in my office and always with music or television on.  I like the noise and I can do several things at once, so I can sing and write at the same time. Or listen to the news and write.  My office is very nice and I face windows that over look my front yard.  It’s a nice view. 

How many rewrites does it normally take you for each book?

Several.  For Dog Days I had 4 rewrites.  Rydin the Storm Out, my next book and the second in the series, is on rewrite #3.

How do you edit and quality control?

I have beta readers that I trust and enjoy.  They are my quality control.  I am pretty good at keeping the story and facts straight, but every so often, something will slip past, that’s where my betas are so valuable.  Then, I send my books off to my editor, who I adore.  She is fabulous and she does a phenomenal job and she will catch things here and there.

How have you found the experience of self-publishing? What were your highs and lows?

Well, it’s certainly a learning experience.  It’s nice having all the control over everything and at the same time, it’s difficult having to make all the decisions and being the only person responsible for everything, marketing, teasers, finding editors, beta readers, social media, etc.  Highs are definitely when a reader writes a fabulous review.  It makes me soar and I feel as though I was meant to do this.  The lows are the long hours and of course, trolls.

 

What is your advice to new writers?

This isn’t an easy business.  You will climb on a rollercoaster and ride it up the hill and back down again.  Hang in there and keep writing for the purpose you began writing in the first place, because you love it.  Read as much as you can read, learn about every aspect of publishing a book so you can be self sufficient and find that group of fellow authors who will support you and help you along the way.  They are out there.

Who are your favourite authors?

Right now I am really enjoying Joanna Wylde and S.C. Stephens.  They are relatively new to publishing but I just love their books.  Of course I am a huge Sylvia Day fan and have been for many years.  Lauren Dane is another favourite.

Who are your favourite independent writers?

There are so many fabulous independent writers out there.  I’ve found JC Valentine and Sibyl Matilda as well as yourself  Christoph, Hunter S. Jones, Tanya Holmes, Melodie Ramone and so many others.

What book are you currently reading and in what format (e-book/paperback/hardcover)?

I always read ebooks.  I have the kindle app on my phone and I also have the kobo app.  I can read at anytime, anywhere and I love it.  Currently, I am reading Rekindled Love by TL Clark.

What three books have you read recently and would recommend?

I mentioned Joanna Wylde above.  I just finished her Reaper’s Stand, which I would recommend.  Steamy, sexy and wild.  Sylvia Day has the last of the Crossfire Series coming out in November and I am trying to clear my schedule for that one, because, I won’t be able to put it down.

Who would you say are the biggest influences?

Well, for me it’s any writer who can make me sigh!  I just absolutely love a great story.  I prefer romances, but if a story can grab me and keep me interested from beginning to end, I am influenced.  I like reading different writers to learn different styles and techniques.  Some authors just have a fabulous way of describing things, or making you feel.  I like learning all of these different techniques.

What books have you read more than once or want to read again?

Well, I’ll admit, I read Fifty Shades of Gray twice.  I’ve read the Harry Potter series twice.  I’ve read S.C. Stephens books twice.

 

What is your life like outside of writing?

I’m married to my best friend.  I know that sounds like a cliché, but it is true.  He make me laugh everyday.  We are bikers and ride as much as we can.  We have four grown children and three grand children that we love spending time with.  We have a large group of friends who we enjoy hanging out with as well, so you could say we are always busy. 

What makes you laugh?

I have a dry sense of humour and so does my husband.  He  is very funny and always coming up with something witty or cleaver about anything and everything.

What (not who) would you like to take to a lonely island?

It would have to be my phone loaded with books to read.

Who would you like to invite for dinner?

I think it would be a hoot to meet Maria Shriver.  I also think Jon Stewart would be interesting to talk to.

Hot or cold?

Hot.  Always hot.  I hate being cold.

Salty or sweet?

Hmm, that’s a tough one.  Both.

What would your friends say are your best and your oddest quality?

I’m creative. No kidding, right? I paint with oils and I paint on walls.  I’ve done a ton of faux painting in my day and enjoy that so much.  I am very good with color and mixing colors.  My oddest quality is probably that I get bored easy and move on.  If something doesn’t hold my interest, I can walk away without a second thought.  That means jobs, hobbies, whatever.

What would you chose as those qualities?

Same thing. 20869617

Tell us about your other books?

Second Chances was my first book.  I enjoyed writing that one.  I had a publisher that charged me money and I haven’t seen a single dime from them since then.  Luckily, I own the rights to it, so I will be republishing that one in March of 2015.  Rydin the Storm Out is the second book in the Rolling Thunder Series.  Ryder is Dog’s son from Dog Days of Summer and very shy.  That was a harder book to write for me, because, I’m not shy. After Rydin, I will release Danny’s War, which is the third in the Rolling Thunder Series then Gunnin for You, Gunnar’s Story.  Gunnar is Joci’s son from Dog Days of Summer.  Then, Restoring Connor and there will be more after those are released but I don’t have titles yet.  Each of the stories mentioned is in some form of existence.  Written, half written, outlined or something.

What song would you pick to go with your book?

Ahh, I just love Kid Rock, anything he sings will work.

How do you handle criticism of your work?

Let’s just say, my skin is getting thicker.  Some people have a nice way of critiquing and I appreciate that.  I know I’m not perfect and I believe I will always have something to learn.  So, I try to approach criticism with that in mind.

Tell us one weird thing, one nice thing, and one fact about where you live.

Okay. Weird-Almost everyone in Green Bay owns a cheesehead!  In some form or another, we all have them, cheese can coolers, cheese pillows, cheesehead, yep, it’s a thing here. Nice-we almost never have traffic jams. Fact- It’s cold here in the winter, and yet sometime throughout the winter, you will always see people wearing shorts. Don’t understand it, don’t think I want to.

What are you working on now? 

Besides all of the books I mentioned above, I am beta reading and reading for other authors, learning marketing.  I am the area coordinator for my local RWA chapter and I work full time. 

Bio:

PJ Fiala

I was born in a suburb of St. Louis, Missouri named Bridgeton. During my time in Missouri, I explored the Ozarks, swam in the Mississippi River, and played kickball and endless games of hide and seek with the neighborhood kids. Spending summers in Kentucky with my grandmother, Ruth, are the fondest childhood memories for me.

At the age of thirteen, my family moved to Wisconsin to learn to farm. Yes, learn to farm! That was interesting. Taking city kids and throwing them on a farm with twenty-eight cows purchased from the humane society because they had been abused was interesting. I learned to milk cows, the ins and outs of breeding and feeding schedules, the never ending haying in the summer, and trying to stay warm in the winter. Our first winter in Wisconsin we had thirty-six inches of snow in one storm and were snowed in our house for three days! Needless to say, I wasn’t loving Wisconsin.

I am now married with four children and three grandchildren. I have learned to love Wisconsin, though I still hate snow. Wisconsin and the United States are beautiful, and my husband and I travel around by motorcycle seeing new sites and meeting new people. It never ceases to amaze me how many people are interested in where we are going and what we have seen along the way. At every gas station, restaurant, and hotel, we have people come up to us and ask us about what we are doing as well as offer advice on which roads in the area are better than others.

I come from a family of veterans. My grandfather, father, brother, two of my sons, and one daughter-in-law are all veterans. Needless to say, I am proud. Proud to be an American and proud of the service my amazing family has given.

Website:

https://www.pjfiala.com

You Tube

http://goo.gl/3F2keF

Facebook:

www.facebook.com/pjfiala1

Twitter:

https://www.twitter.com/pfiala

Pinterest:

http://www.pinterest.com/pattifiala/dog-days-of-summer/

Authorgraph:

https://www.authorgraph.com/authors/pfiala

Authorsdb:

http://authorsdb.com/authors-directory/8914-pj-fiala

AuthorsdB – Book:

http://tinyurl.com/p8gmujz

AuthorsdB – Book Cover Contest:

http://authorsdb.com/books/2014-book-cover-contest/romance-2014/dog-days-of-summer

Thunderclap Campaign: Started September 12, 2014

http://thndr.it/1m0gvdM

Goodreads author:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7866768.P_J_Fiala

Goodreads Book:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21851827-dog-days-of-summer

Amazon Author Page:

http://tinyurl.com/mmcrnlb

RebelMouse:

https://www.rebelmouse.com/pjfiala/

Google+:

https://plus.google.com/+PJFiala/posts

Spotify:

www.spotify.com

Follow the links for the playlists for each book:

Second Chances  – http://tinyurl.com/nuut3wn

Dog Days of Summer  – http://tinyurl.com/qhld35l

Rydin the Storm Out – http://tinyurl.com/l8x8p84

 LinkedIn:

http://www.linkedin.com/profile/edit?trk=hb_tab_pro_top

Amazon Listmania List:

http://www.amazon.com/lm/R36XEL1VZUDWU3/ref=cm_lm_pthnk_view?ie=UTF8&lm_bb=

Bookarma:

https://bookarma.net/book/9781595983251-dog-days-of-summer

Riffle:

https://read.rifflebooks.com/profiles/151221

Riffle-Dog Days:

https://read.rifflebooks.com/books/331300

 

 

27 Mar 2014

Author Interview: Seumas Gallacher

Comments Off on Author Interview: Seumas Gallacher Book Reviews, News

wall copy 2

I am finally catching up with one of the great indie thriller writers. I reviewed two of his marvellous books, Vengeance Wears Black recently here  and The Violin Man’s Legacy here.

Today I have the pleasure of an interview with Seumas Gallacher

Tell us a little about yourself as writer and as person.

Born in the Govan Docklands in Glasgow in the same street as the former Manchester United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson. He’s older than me by a handful of years, has much more money, but I’m better looking than he is. I have an IQ that apparently lets me solve the problems of the Universe, but I can’t switch a laptop on without the risk of it exploding. Wandered through the maze of international banking (shssh, whisper that) for forty years before escaping into the world of quill-scraping. LUVVIN IT!

Tell us about your writing history. When was the first time you decided to write and when was the first time you did?

Scribbled teenaged angst-ridden poetry and dabbled in short story fiction many years ago. Discovered ‘that book’ we all supposedly have in us about five years ago, and enjoying it so much now, I don’t wanna stop.

Tell us about your first book? How did you decide on the characters, plots and title?

‘The Violin Man’s Legacy’, the first book in what has now developed into the Jack Calder crime thriller series is about a trio of former SAS officers who set up their own security firm to engage in protection of high value goods and personnel. In the course of their business, they encounter international crime lords of sundry hue. Not being bound by the normal terms of engagement, they deploy their extensive black operations skills in countering the bad guys.

The idea for the stories was born in the Far East where at one point I was doing a ‘turnaround’ project for a stricken ferry company. I was obliged to fire trade union workers, policemen and local mayors in some places. That called for the need of an armoured car and armed bodyguards who were trained by a former SAS officer, who became a pal. The characters, plot and title were developed in a ten-day period when I walked twelve kilometres every evening, just thinking about how the book should be shaped.

Did anyone influence you / encourage you to become a writer?

I think a writer’s entire life and experience influences his/her work. As for other authors, see the question below about them.

When did you decide to write in this genre?

I’m attracted to any kind of good writing, but crime fiction seemed the easier route to begin with as a newbie scribbler.

Who would you hope plays the characters in a movie version?

Any of the usual suspects who attract audiences would be good.

Did you have it all planned out before you write your stories or do the characters and story surprise you?

Always surprises. I usually know how the ending is going to pan out, but the plot and characters hijack the laptop so often, and they drive the narrative.

Which character did you most enjoy writing?

A minor character in the first novel, a South American guy called Rico, who helped to make things happen for the main men was a heap of fun. I reluctantly had to write him out of the novel (without killing him). I think he make an appearance again in a later book.

What would your character(s) say about you?

I’d like to think they consider me flexible in allowing them to get on with their business. I understand some of the sh*t they have to put up with.

What do you like best about writing? What’s your least favourite thing?

I absolutely enjoy every bit of the ‘business’ of writing. My regret is that I didn’t discover this gig forty years ago.  No least favourite thing. The whole nine yards comes as a package deal. The writing, the proofreading, the editing, the artwork, the Kindle formatting, the promotion. You name it, I LUV IT!

Who are your favourite authors?

So many, but include Dickens, Churchill, Steinbeck, Ruark, O’Hara, Solzhenitsyn.

Who are your favourite independent writers?

Again, so many, as I try to buy at least one new author’s work per week and eventually do a review for them, as part of my way of ‘giving back’. Include John Dolan, Joe McCoubrey, Rachel Abbott, Andrew Peters, Nancy Jardine, O.G.Tomes, Mac Logan, Eric Gates, Alex Shaw… the list goes on… there are some outstanding quill-scrapers out there.

What book are you currently reading and in what format (e-book/paperback/hardcover)?

About to start eBook, ‘One Last Summer’ by Gerald Neal.

What makes you laugh?

Lots of things tickle me. My god of comedy has been Billy Connolly for forty years. Anything that borders or overshoots on irreverence is always good.

What (not who) would you like to take to a lonely island?

A television set tuned to receive all the English Premier League football matches, an endless supply of Diet Coke, and good Scottish cheese, and my laptop.

Who would you like to invite for dinner?

So many again. If they were alive, Peter Ustinov and Winston Churchill. Also the above mentioned Mister Connolly, along with Judy Dench.

Hot or cold?

Hot.

Salty or sweet?

Sweet.

What would your friends say are your best and your oddest quality?

Hopefully they’d think me witty and loyal as best. Oddest is spouting irreverence at the most inopportune times.

What would you chose as those qualities?

I never ever give up. (Best and oddest)

How do you handle criticism of your work?

I differentiate between ‘criticism’ and ‘critique’. The former is relegated to the mental garbage can. The latter I try to take aboard.

What are you working on now?

The fourth novel in the Jack Calder series, ‘Killer City’. I’m also currently considering publishing my thoughts, guidance and experience about this gig of self-publishing via Kindle and the proper use of the social networks to ‘build the platform’.

Is there anything you would like us to know about yourself and your books?

Just that I hope people get as much pleasure out of reading them as I do creating them. And many thanks, Christoph, for giving me room on this superb blog.

 Connect with Seumas: 

Blog                : seumasgallacher.com

Twitter                        : @seumasgallacher

Facebook         : http://www.facebook.com/seumasgallacher

Email               : seumasgallacher@yahoo.com

AMAZON LINKS for THE VIOLIN MAN’S LEGACY

UK http://amzn.to/10wo0ha

US http://amzn.to/10wnMXB

AMAZON LINKS FOR VENGEANCE WEARS BLACK

US  http://amzn.to/W59BB3

UK  http://amzn.to/13yV1YX

Amazon Links for SAVAGE PAYBACK

UK   http://amzn.to/1gTgJh0

US   http://amzn.to/16hKHci

Aus : http://bit.ly/184hKzs

01 Mar 2014

Interview with Jackie Williams

Comments Off on Interview with Jackie Williams News

 I have featured some of her books already but today I finally managed to get a proper Interview with Jackie Williams: 

4576669

 

Tell us a little about yourself as writer and a person.

I’m a lady of a certain age ; born in the 60’s but not old enough to enjoy them (shame).  I always like to see the lighter side of life (though I am anything but light myself) Positive thought and attitude goes a long way to keeping the wrinkles at bay. Running Scarred Book

In real life I am a professional pearl stringer. I repair broken strands of all types of pearls and beads, from the plastic fun ones from Christmas crackers to those worth thousands of pounds worn by royalty. Every day is interesting and every single job is different but I have done this for over thirty years and I don’t mind telling you that I am pretty good at it. When I am knotting between each pearl I no longer have to look at what I am doing which is where my absolutely favourite piece of technology comes into its own. My Kindle has been a complete revolution to me. I can’t think what I ever did without one. I read at least a book every single day and if I am not reading, I have plenty of time to let my imagination get the better of me and I jot down the odd note for my next book.

I often think up book ideas when I am sitting at my pearl stringing board. The mind can wander freely when I have a 300 pearls to knot between.

What made you become a writer? Have you always written?

Although in the past I wrote long and detailed letters to friends I hadn’t attempted to write a book but two things made me.

The first was a competition on a TV programme. I was broke and there was a ton of money being offered if you wrote a book and this TV programme featured it. So I thought, Okay, I can do that,(I’m nothing if not determined!) so I go and start typing and my husband comes through to my office and starts to laugh at me and said something like. “Don’t be daft woman. You can’t write.” Or words to that effect…well, I do like a challenge so I quietly thought… “I’ll flipping well show you!” (as you do) And the other thing was that my lovely daughter asked me to write a book just for her.  She listed her essential ‘Ingredients’ and I wrote A Perfect Summer for her. Forever Scarred Book

When did you decided to write in your chosen genres? Do you have a favourite genre? Do you read the same genres as you write?

I decided to write romance right from the start. It’s what I write best. I read just about anything but I do like a good mystery. I have a funny story about my reading matter.

When I first published I was so excited. I told my family and they were excited too but my dear old mum just wouldn’t download my book. After a few weeks I asked her why and she suddenly burst into tears and said that she couldn’t read my book because it might be my own diary (it’s not – I have no idea where she got that idea from.) Anyway, I assured her that it wasn’t my diary.

 I didn’t mention it again until I published A Perfect Summer as a paperback later in the year. I gave her a copy and she was thrilled and promised to read it.

After a few more weeks had gone by the family went out for a Christmas meal and I quietly asked my mum if she had read my book.

 “Yes!” she says, and then she glances around the table and whispers back to me, “I liked it, but I don’t think you will…It’s a romance and you like mysteries!”

Needless to say, I was speechless. Treasured Dreams Book

How long does it take you to write and publish a book?

It differs. Last year I went on holiday to France on my own (I often do, not unusual for me at all) and an hour out of port my car broke down. It was the middle of nowhere in the middle on the night and I had gone from 60 miles an hour in a perfectly functioning car, to nothing, nada, zilch. No motor, no lights, no steering, no brakes. Bit scary actually but I was a Girl Guide, I am prepared for anything… anyway to cut a long story short (I can waffle for England) I ended up spending  2 weeks with a very uncomfortable hire car and nothing much to do. (hire car was an extremely small machine with seats fit only for a very slim 17yr old boy and I am a good size 20 with flesh to spare so didn’t fancy going very far.) So in my forced idleness I wrote Forever Scarred, a 70,000 word book in the two weeks, Including all the editing, formatting and proofing. I uploaded it to amazon the day after I eventually arrived home and it has subsequently become my best seller! 

Echo Beach on the other hand, was a complete nightmare. Took over a year and it was just as well I had other projects going on at the same time or I would now be bald and sitting in a padded room!

What is the easiest about writing and what is the hardest?

Thinking of the story and writing it are the easiest. Proofing is just the worst thing ever!

How do you balance life and writing? Silent Treatment book

With difficulty. I do promotion tweeting etc. first thing in the morning and then get on with pearl stringing. In the evening I pack pearl stringing things away and move to the other side of my table and begin writing for as long as my mind lets me. Everything else fits around that.

Would you say there is a message in the books beyond the stories? Do you find it is well received and picked up by the reviewers?

Some of my books have a message somewhere but that wasn’t the original purpose of writing them. Some reviewers get it but most don’t. I particularly hate any reference to ‘Beauty and the Beast’ concerning my Scarred series. It wasn’t written that way and I detest how shallow the reference sounds.  The thought that some people think that a scarred person has to be horrible makes my blood boil. Scarred people are not beasts! My scarred characters are just fabulous; strong, gorgeous, courageous, PERFECT…Exactly as they are! The baddies in my Scarred books are the beasts…they are vile!

What do you like most about your characters? Which one is your favourite?

I like the vulnerability of the men. They are all strong and good but each has that tipping point where they hurt so badly that they lose it…big time. I love all the men in my books. They all have their best/worst points but I simply adore all my ‘Scarred’ characters. Kick-arse but cute as. Strong but vulnerable.  And that includes the girls too.

Which is your favourite book that you wrote and why? Which was the most fun to write?

My fave book is Running Scarred. Patrick is just the most  perfect hero. The book was so easy to write and conveyed a lot of strong messages.  I also had plenty of inspiration with the ruined château. The Château Coat an Noz is right near to my own house in France. The place is gorgeous and if I had enough money I would make the book come true. Coat an Noz now has new owners who are restoring the castle to its former glory. I took them a copy of my book and they gave me a ‘grand tour’ of the place. I have an open invitation to go back any time I like too.  Just fabulous!

The most fun book I have written so far is Tinted Lenses. I sniggered a lot during that one.

Who would play the characters in a film? A Fallen Fortune Book (might change)

Absolutely no idea.  I’ll let the readers decide.

What are your next projects? Tell us about your other books.

Scarred 4 (no title yet) is already on its way. Gemma is getting the treatment this time, and I am also dipping into ‘historical romance’. All those Earls and Lords and blue superfine and cravats and valets and footmen and horses and the gossip of the ton…Ahhh! gush…it just has to be done.

What is your life like? What do you do for pleasure and work when you are not writing?

I like to read. I read loads. I also love going to France. I like going for a drive and seeing where I end up. I never mind getting ‘lost’ (I have a map and a compass, I can find my way home.) I like cooking and trying new recipes too and my favourite thing is to go on a ruined château hunt. Nothing quite like finding a deserted ruined château in the middle of a forest in the middle of nowhere. Lovely!

Who are your literary influences? What are your favourite books/ films/ albums?

He’s not an influence (I don’t think) but I love a Lee Childs book to read. Jack Reacher is perfect. But I also adore Pride and Prejudice and Harry Potter. 

I can’t tell you my favourite film. I love everything from ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ to ‘Twilight’ (Yes, I am a team Edward fan) I like stuff like ‘Step Up’ and ‘Star Wars’. I’m not keen on sad films. ‘Green Mile’ broke my heart. I can’t bear to think of it. 

Music albums – I am a massive MUSE fan, so anything by them and I love Biffy Clyro, Blue Foundation, 30 Seconds to Mars, Lifehouse, Local Natives…Loads…too many to mention. I love a good festival and we are lucky enough to have V festival every year here in Chelmsford.

What are your views on independent publishing?

It’s brilliant. Go for it!

Can you recommend any indie books/ authors?

Historical Western – Rebecca de Medeiros, Delicious Desires Book

Apocalypse – Thomas Wolfenden

Vampire – Travis Luedke

Romance – Laura Taylor and Danielle Rose-West

What would your friends tell us if we asked for your best and your oddest qualities?

I’m a great cook. I’m also a really positive person. I love a good giggle. I never assume anything about a person, and I’m always willing to help if I can…Odd things about me. Am I odd? Hmmm. You would have to ask everyone else.

What are your favourite animal/ colour/ outdoor activity?

Fave animal – I like gecko’s (No idea why and I don’t want one, I just like to see them)

Fave colour – pink

Outdoor activity – ruined château hunting or swimming in the sea when there are some nice waves (not too big or too small) or going to a music festival (right up the front)

What would you take to a remote island?

Easy – My kindle (with solar charger) and a laptop (again with charger) so I can write a million romances.

Who would you like to invited for dinner and why?

Louis Theroux (interesting guy) and my family (because we don’t get together often enough.) but not at the same time. Louis I would want on my own.

What are you writing at the moment and where would we find out about your next projects?

I am writing the historical romance and Scarred 4 at the mo. I always have several projects coming along at the same time. I haven’t yet, but I will add a page to my website so that my readers can find out what my next projects are.

What else would you like us to know about you and your books?

You can ask me anything you like if you either email me or ask on FB. My answer will depend on how much champagne you can bribe me with. 😉

Her Website is www.romanticsuspensebooks.org where there are snippets and insights to my books.
MHer links to amazon are as follows (I only sell on amazon)
Running Scarred  viewBook.at/B0089UMGAK
Forever Scarred     viewBook.at/B00EMMD1Y4 
Scarred Horizon      myBook.to/ScarredH 
A Perfect Summer viewBook.at/B0088A4YY2 
Silent Treatment     viewBook.at/SilentTreatment 
Treasured Dreams  viewBook.at/B00948Q29M 
Tinted Lenses         viewBook.at/B00AUVVJK4 
A Fallen Fortune    viewBook.at/B00CVAZ0NO 
Echo Beach           myBook.to/EchoBeach 
Delicious Desires viewBook.at/B008UD2LCE 
19 Feb 2014

Jasmine Bath: “No One’s Daughter”

2 Comments News

17251007 “No One’s Daughter” by Jasmine Bath is the story of a neglectful and cruel childhood. Told from the perspective of a young girl this tragic tale portrays how she is forced to take care of herself and her siblings while her irresponsible mother wastes her life away without any kind of responsibility. 
Although the protagonist is the victim of violence and emotional abuse to say the least, one of the biggest strengths of the novel is the understated character of the often almost factual descriptions of what does happen. I found this style of story telling much more powerful than loud accusations and self pity. What we recognise as outrage and abuse, for the girl in this novel it is almost ‘normality’.
Like our narrator I was waiting with her for the next drama with fear but certainty that it would come: the mother’s next baby or boyfriend – she would surely draw the short straw.
The minute detail and the many episodes of this ruined childhood illustrate poignantly how much suffering and hardship is involved for a child in such circumstances. It is hard to comprehend how much is irretrievably lost and how far reaching the consequences are. 
Although we are all aware of the basic concept of abuse this book needs to be read. 

“My name is Jasmine Bath and the novel “No One’s Daughter” is based on actual incidents from my childhood during the 1960s and 70s. I did not write this book for sympathy or notoriety; I wrote it in an attempt to shed light on the ghosts that have haunted me for a lifetime, hoping that by putting them down on paper that I could look at them more objectively from a mature point of view and eventually free myself from them.”

 

Tell us a little about yourself as writer and a person.

I live in the Midwestern area of the United States with my husband. With the exception of our oldest daughter, all of our children and grandchildren live within a one-hour radius. Our children are all grown and have turned out to be exceptional people that we not only love, but actually like. I’m extremely proud of each of them. Since the kids are now adults I’m now able to take writing from the back burner of my life and make it my fulltime job.

What made you become a writer?

Writing has always been a part of who I am, what I do. I don’t think there was anything that made me write, it is as natural to me as breathing.

Have you always written?

Yes, always.

When did you decide to write your chosen genres?

Memoir is not really my chosen genre, I had considered publishing “No One’s Daughter” as a novel but to put it forth as such, would have been a lie, a denial of the truth of what I wrote and my own conscience wouldn’t allow it.

Do you have a favourite genre?

Not really a favorite, I enjoy all genres but am drawn towards biographies and drama.

Tell us a little about the history of your book. How long did it take you to write and publish?

I never intended to write a book when I began writing what eventually became “No One’s Daughter.” It began as a form of therapy for me to help me look back at incidents that happened when I was growing up as a way to look at those events more objectively. Each incident became a chapter and when put together chronologically, it pulled together as a book. There are about ten chapters that I decided to pull before finally publishing it. Because I originally had no plans to publish it and was in no hurry, it was written over a time span of about ten years.

What was the easiest about writing the book and what was the hardest?

The easiest thing was the writing, once the words began to flow; there was no stopping it. Because it was my life, there was no guessing as to how it would end, I knew. The hardest part was deciding what to share and what to hold back when it came time to publish it.

Would you say there is a message in the book beyond the story?

Yes, I like to think that there are many messages and depending on the reader, they will each walk away with a different message.

Do you find it is well received and picked up by the reviewers?

People have been wonderfully kind for the most part regarding reviews and I’m grateful for each and everyone.

What do you like most about your characters?

My characters are real human beings, people who have played huge parts in my life. Two of these people, my aunts, have always been my favorite people. Both are gone now and I miss them terribly.

Which one is your favourite?

If I had to choose a favorite, it would be my Aunt Thea. I owe my life to her.

Who would play the characters in a film?

Oh, geez, I have no delusions of that ever happening so I would have to say that I have no idea.

What are your next projects?

I have two novels that I will start working on in the immediate future; both will revolve around controversial subjects and will probably raise more than a few eyebrows.

What is your life like?

After a violent, chaotic childhood, I’m thrilled to say that my life is usually pleasantly calm and peaceful. What do you do for pleasure and work when you are not writing? I spend time with my husband, children and grandchildren but I am also finally learning to find time for myself as well. I love working out, walking, reading and listening to good music. Thankfully, now that the kids are all grown, I don’t have to cook as much because I’m a horrible cook. My husband is a wonderful cook and takes over in the kitchen for me whenever he has time. Wandering through stores with my husband, spending the afternoon watching a movie and then a quiet dinner makes for the perfect day.

Who are your literary influences?

Dorothy Allison, Sharon Olds and Frank McCourt immediately come to mind but there are dozens of other authors that I also appreciate.

What are your favourite books/ films/ albums?

There are so many excellent book that there is no way to pick one as a favorite. As for films, one of my more recent favorites would be “12 Years a Slave.” When it comes to music, like books, I tend to gravitate toward unusual voices. Van Morrison, First Aid Kit, F.U.N., The Rolling Stones, Sister Hazel, Mumford and Sons and Barenaked Ladies are some of the bands that I listen to.

What are your views on independent publishing?

I submitted “No One’s Daughter” to about a dozen publishers before self publishing. My reward for my hard work resulted in a nice collection of very kind, handwritten rejection letters wishing me nothing but the best. One publisher was very interested but the final decision rested with the bean counters that feared it would have too narrow an audience. Realizing that the bottom line is the bottom line with traditional publishers, particularly at a time when there is so much uncertainty within the publishing community, even more so now with e-publishing being readily available, I think that independent publishing is not only a viable option but is here to stay. I love that the reading public no longer has to accept what the book gatekeepers, traditional publishing, says is worthy of reading versus what is not. As a reader I like being able to decide what is worth my time instead of having a publisher making that choice for me. For writers, this may be the only opportunity to get their work out there to be judged as to whether it has merit or not.

Can you recommend any indie books/ authors?

There are so many that I wouldn’t even want to attempt to rattle off a list of names out of fear of leaving one off.

What would your friends tell us if we asked for your best and your oddest qualities?

They would tell that despite my insane childhood that I am relatively sane and on a mentally even keel; they would tell you that I rely on logic over emotion, that I suffer from OCD and most importantly, I would hope they would tell you that I am a compassionate person.

What are your favourite animal/ colour/ outdoor activity?

Favorite animal would be a snow owl. Favorite color is emerald green. Favorite outdoor activities are walking and people watching.

What would you take to a remote island?

I don’t think my claustrophobia would be able to handle a remote island…

Who would you like to invite for dinner and why?

Friedrich Nietzche. No explanation needed. What are you writing at the moment and where would we find out about your next projects? I have several works in progress but not able to go into great detail about them at the moment.

What else would you like us to know about you and your books?

My biggest hope for “No One’s Daughter” is that people will read it and understand the desperation that some children endure on a day-to-day basis. If one abusive person reads it and realizes the pain and life long consequences of the effects of their behavior and seeks help, that would make it all worthwhile.

 

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/No-Ones-Daughter-Jasmine-Bath-ebook/dp/B009O5HA5U G

oodreads https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17251007-no-one-s-daughter

Twitter https://twitter.com/JasmineAuthor

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/jasmine.bath.author

30 Jan 2014

John Paul Godges: Oh, Beautiful: An American Family in the 20th Century

Comments Off on John Paul Godges: Oh, Beautiful: An American Family in the 20th Century Book Reviews

 

8893424

“Oh, Beautiful: An American Family in the 20th Century” by John Paul Godges was recommended to me by a friend and I am so glad she did. 
The book has a lot to give but for me one of the main attractions is the huge arsenal of historical detail. Godges describes the roots of his family in Italy and Poland, the reasons why members of the respective families decided to try their fortune in the US, how they and their kins lived and how they got the money for the journey. Godges’ ancestors arrive in the US as immigrants, try to establish themselves in the cross fire of hopes, expectations and often harsh reality. With minute detail and precision he gives accounts of their experiences from the Great War up to modern times, focusing on individual family members. These characters are a great cross section of Americans and humans and serve brilliantly to reflect on the historic and personal events and issues that hit his family, be that strong religious affiliation and convictions, attitude to Vietnam or to homosexuality, which affects more than one person in the family.
This variety of people from his family – who go their own way and reunite at a family gathering – enables us to see a huge chunk of American history and socio-cultural aspects of modern times through a patchwork of real lives.
Well written and with wonderful reflections this is a very enjoyable and rewarding read

Interview with John:

Tell us a little about yourself as a writer and a person.
What made you become a writer? Have you always written?

I wanted to be a journalist since childhood, because being a journalist seemed like the practical way to be a writer back then. How things change! Seriously, whenever I’ve faced a vocational crossroads in life, I’ve remembered this insight from my college days: The things that have always given me the greatest sense of accomplishment in life are things I’ve written and edited, either as a journalist or otherwise. So being a writer is, for me, a matter of being true to myself.

When did you decide to write this book? 4180918

At my parents’ 50th Wedding Anniversary. They are opposites in some respects, and they produced six extremely different children. The more I reflected on my parents’ lives, on their parents’ lives, and on our lives as the children and grandchildren, the more it dawned on me that our family story of immigration and assimilation, of going our separate ways and yet somehow coming back together, reflected the national story and the continuous American experience of struggling to juggle our individualism with our communitarianism. The more I saw the parallels between the familial and the national, the more I wanted to tell this story.

How difficult was it to write about real characters?

That was easy. It was journalism. It would be difficult for me to write about unreal characters.

Tell us a little about the history of the book. How long did it take you to write and publish?

It took me ten years to write and publish Oh, Beautiful. Because I work full time, that’s ten years of weekends, nights, and vacations. Writing the book required a lot more research, interviewing, travel, and investment than I had anticipated, but it always felt like progress was being made, because the outline at the beginning served as a good guide and pretty much survived intact as the outline at the end.

What was the easiest about writing the book and what was the hardest?

The easiest thing was that my family was all on board, and they all agreed to undergo the lengthy interviews as our schedules permitted. The hardest thing was that the interviews and other shared stories brought back a lot of painful memories for everyone. Working together on this book became a grand exercise in group therapy, which can be very painful. One thing the book itself underscores is that the greatest wisdom comes from the greatest pain.

Would you say there is a message in the book beyond the story? Do you find it is well received and picked up by the reviewers?

Absolutely. The core message is this: To be an American in the fullest sense of the word means to discover oneself as an individual within a community—and to sustain that tension, to the detriment of neither the individual nor the community. How that plays out in our individual lives as Americans is a source of endless fascination, conflict, resolution, and amusement. It’s a great big tug-of-war. It’s messy. But it’s who we are. I was really glad that the Kirkus reviewer completely picked up on this abstract concept and saw how the characters embodied it.

What do you like most about your characters? Which one is your favourite?

Forgiveness is the characteristic I like most. Without the ability to forgive one another and to look beyond our personal agendas, there can be no family, and there can be no society. The characters stick to their guns, but they learn to respect each other’s competing guns and to forgive one another for the wounds they inevitably inflict. My favorite character of all is my mentally ill sister. She is the heart and soul of the family, because she taught us how to love one another.

Who would play the characters in a film?

Valerie Harper would play my mom, the emotionally effusive Italian. Christopher Plummer would play my dad, the morally rigorous Marine. These two characters display numerous irreconcilable differences, yet they stay together regardless. Sally Field would play my mentally ill sister, whose character is a cross between “The Flying Nun” and “Sybil.”

Who did your cover work? Were you involved in the process?

A longtime friend and colleague helped me. We worked side-by-side.

What are your next projects? Tell us about your other books.

They haven’t taken from yet. I tell people I’m “between passions.”

What is your life like? What do you do for pleasure and work when you are not writing?

I write and edit for a living. I’m editor-in-chief of RAND Review, the flagship magazine of the RAND Corporation. For fun, I play beach volleyball and go on long hikes with friends.

Who are your literary influences? What are your favourite books/ films/ albums?

Steinbeck is my role model. In just about everything he wrote, he revealed his love for people, animals, and the land. My favorite books of his are Grapes of Wrath and East of Eden. I genuinely miss his characters: the Joads, the Hamiltons, and the Trasks. They had their faults, but Steinbeck showed us how to love them through his words. I cannot imagine a nobler task for a writer.

What are your views on independent publishing?

I am indebted to independent publishing for having made it possible for me to become an independent publisher, but I do hold some darkly humorous views. When I attended a self-publishing conference in New York City about five years ago, I grew skeptical of the conventional wisdom of finding your niche, your tribe, your target audience, and sticking with it. “The way things are going,” I quipped during one seminar, “we’ll all end up writing for audiences of five!” I’m afraid my snarky prediction might be coming true. I wonder if Steinbeck could’ve succeeded today, because he wrote for a mass audience. Here’s another dark view of mine: The best way to succeed in publishing today, independent or not, is to write a three-way romance between a dragon, a vampire, and a zombie! Don’t get me wrong. There are wonderful people in the world of independent publishing, and they have helped me tremendously. But I don’t think independent or traditional publishing today does a great job of helping readers find really good writing. 
I wonder if Steinbeck could’ve succeeded today, because he wrote for a mass audience, and the only “platform” he had was a second-story bedroom in his father’s house.

Can you recomm end any indie books/ authors?

The one indie book and author I have often recommended is The Indie Author Guide by April L. Hamilton. April’s seminar was the best one at the conference I attended in New York, and her book was particularly helpful to me.

 

Connect with John here:

Website:
http://www.johnpaulgodges.com/

Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/Oh-Beautiful-Am…

iTunes:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/oh-b…

Barnes & Noble:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/oh-be…

26 Jan 2014

Chris Westlake: Just a Bit of Banter, Like

Comments Off on Chris Westlake: Just a Bit of Banter, Like Book Reviews

1600242_10201261518087858_1416597280_n

 

 Today I am happy to present another chance find of mine: Chris Westlake and his lovely book: “Just a Bit of Banter, Like…”

 

“Just a Bit of Banter, Like…” by Chris Westlake is a warm hearted, funny and charming book with some serious and depper tones.
It describes the downward spiral and recovery of a young Welsh man in London when he discovered his girlfriend and his best friend in bed together. Katie was the perfect girlfriend and it takes him some time to get over his problems.
He moves back to Wales, where he is confronted with some ghosts from his past and where he finds out that you cannot run away from your problems. Gradually through a string of small events and baby steps his life starts to turn round again.
Told in a warm and very dry humorous way the book is funny, upbeat and philosophical in one. The friendships Nick has in London and in Wales and the harmless “banter” (from the title) between them is very entertaining and has some great one-liners and it also has a very authentic feel. It helps that I not only live near the Bristol Channel but also have a Welsh partner; but beyond the setting and the specifics, the book has a wonderful message that is beautifully delivered.
This is not a action packed fast read but a very accomplished slow burner with more than meets the eye. A great read.

 Interview with Chris:

Hi Chris, thanks for joining me today, please tell us a little about yourself as a person and your life:

As a person, I like to think that I am a down-to-earth, easy-going kind of guy. That’s what I strive for, anyway. It is not always the case! I like to draw a line between my creative side and my practical side. I work full-time as a team leader in a public-facing role. I like playing football and I have recently joined a tai boxing class, although most of the members of the group are much more committed than I am! I have wonderful wife, Elizabeth, who I’ve been married to for seven years.

Tell us a little about your writing LI130804_01-29

My writing is mainly restricted to the weekends, where I hole myself away in the library with just my laptop, earphones and big flask of coffee. I loved writing as a child, from the age of seven. I wrote long, rambling stories about monsters and football teams and roller-coasters. I loved creating new worlds with infinite possibilities! My mum and grandparents read the stories and excitedly told me how good they were. I knew then that I would be a writer. And then I stopped writing. School and university and work got in the way. I know. Excuses, excuses. Practical life seemed so much more prominent and urgent. I always knew that I would start writing again, I just did not know when.

Four years ago I decided that the time was right. I enrolled on an online writing course. I thrived on the feedback from the tutor, just as I had from my family as a child. I had a few letters published in magazines and earned a little money.

Then I won my first competition. That was an amazing thrill. My short Story, Welsh Lessons, won the Global Short Stories Award 2010. I came first out of about 600 other contestants. And then The Heatwave of 76 won the Stringbybark Erotic Stories Award. I had about seven stories published in e-book anthologies. I thought it was the right time to start a novel. I am still exploring genre. It is in no way my intention to be restrictive. My writing is intended to be enjoyable, to make you think and to be original. If I achieve this then I do not see why I cannot write across many genres.

One thing I have been consistent with is location. My competition winning stories were based in coastal South Wales, where I was born and brought up. I now live in Birmingham, and with every passing day I’m away that I am a day further away from my original roots. Setting my stories in Wales feels good and it feels right.

Tell us about writing and publishing JUST A BIT OF BANTER, LIKE

I started writing Just a Bit of Banter, Like at the beginning of 2012 and it took me near enough twelve months to complete. Most writers make a clear separating between research, planning, drafting and editing of a novel, but it is inevitable that the stages overlap. The story had a rough plan and further research was needed to iron out the final details. Drafting is the most frustrating stage. The temptation is always there (and I think most writers will agree that the temptation is very strong) to tweak every word as you go along, because it is difficult to leave words alone that you are not entirely happy with) but this way you end up writing hardly anything!
I had to keep telling myself, over and over like a mantra, that it will be better after the editing stage! Editing is the most satisfying stage because it is where you reap the rewards for all your previous effort. I designated at least three months to the editing stage and it was worth it for the end result.
I didn’t enjoy trying to get my book published through mainstream. The Agent and Publisher websites remind you in no uncertain terms that they have thousands of applicants and take on just a few. It felt like Mission impossible IV, or whatever number we are up to now. I knew that my cover letters and synopsis were good. I took time tailoring them to the individual Agent. But most submissions seemed to disappear into a black hole. I did receive some responses, and they were all appreciated. A few were personal with some really positive feedback but stating that unfortunately my genre did not fit.
After about five months I secured Mirador Publishing, which is an independent publisher. I did pay a small fee for the publicity and marketing of the book, but it was worth it to finally have my book in print. Once I secured a publisher the process was enjoyable and exciting.

How has the book fared so far?

Just a Bit of Banter, Like has very well received. Everybody who has read the book has enjoyed it. The biggest compliment is when readers enjoy my writing style, because that is the platform for everything. The biggest obstacle is getting read in the first place. I have been amazed by the number of authors competing for attention. Unless you are a recognised author or celebrity it is very difficult to generate interest. I have worked very hard at this, from having articles published about the book in the local newspaper and magazine to keeping in contact with other authors and readers on social media sites.
I think it is important to have a balance though, and again this can be difficult. Sometimes you need to know when to stop publicising your previous book and spend more time writing your next book!

Tell us about JUST A BIT OF BANTER, LIKE and its characters

The characters in Just a Bit of Banter, Like are crucial to everything. The twisting storyline and the surprise ending all goes to waste if the reader doesn’t care about the characters. I try to ensure my characters are rounded with personality traits readers recognise from everyday life. Den is the guy gifted with looks, intelligence and personality, and yet scratch the surface and none of this is really important to him. Nick lives this perfect life in London with a fancy job and fancy girlfriend and yet there is so much more to him than the superficial shell he hides under. Deep down, though, the central characters are all decent people and I hope the readers will them to do well.

Who are your influences?

My writing is inspired by writers such as Irvine Welsh, John King and JK Salinger. I read a wide variety of books not only for enjoyment but because I think you can pick up so many different things. Nowadays I definitely read as a writer. I observe how writers build up scenes, create tensions and develop tensions. I am also rather critical when they don’t do these things!

What are your current projects and ambitions?

At the moment I am working on the drafting stage of my next novel. Yes, the frustrating stage! I am keeping with the Welsh setting. This novel is based primarily in the depleted coal and steel community of Merthyr Tydfil and the seaside resort of Porthcawl. It covers different eras, from the 60’s to present day. I love modern history, and so the research side both fascinating and challenging. Although I am working hard on the story, I want it to be right, and I am not setting any timescale other than it will definitely be completed by the end of 2014!
I aim to be working on a novel at all times and, realistically for me that equates to about one novel per year. This year I plan to write some short stories, too, as I appreciate a year is a long time and I want to maintain interest in my writing. I will be spending some time creating and updating a website with details of the stories. I have short-term and long term aims. Long-term, I want to improve an aspect of my writing with every book and to keep building my readership. I would love to be on the bestsellers list but think it would be much better to write books I am proud of that is appreciated by a loyal readership.

 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Chris-Westlake/e/B007WKK8QW/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1378231623&sr=8-1

14 Jan 2014

Skadi Winter: “Hexe”

Comments Off on Skadi Winter: “Hexe” Book Reviews

 “Hexe” by Skadi Winter is the captivating and amazing story of a childhood lived in post-war Germany right after the war. Told from the heart breaking and naive perspective of a young girl the story tells mainly of the love between the narrator and her grandmother from 1945 onwards. Hexe
The grandmother is a wonderful and inspiring character that is nick-named a ‘Hexe’ (witch) by people in the village, mainly because of her interest in herbs, paganism and tarot, to name a few. Despite such un-worldly interests the woman is however very wise and feeds her granddaughter lots of very philosophical and logical advice. The young girl also has to come to terms with the hostility against her mother who is accused of farternising with the enemy, even as late as 1948 when there should be nothing but regret amongst the population about its terrible past.
The perspective of the naive and innocent child does wonders to hit home many of those obvious historical and cultural points. By way of side characters, such as an abducted Polish boy working for the Germans, and other secondary people Winter describes post-war Germany incredibly accurate and with excellent detail.
Winter writes about what many Germans would prefer not to be true: Many were misled by Hitler but many deeply shared his beliefs and those did not just stop believing in 1945. It is a tribute to the author to have captured this so accurately as a strong side plot without getting stuck in it.
Besides the splendid historical aspect of the story I found myself aazingly reminded of much of my own childhood in Germany decades later: The Grimm fairy tales, Muckefugg and idiosyncrasies I had forgotten about.
The grandmother is such a impressive character, written with so much love and detail that I almost felt related to her myself.
Hexe is a very impressive, insightful and warm novel that strongly affected me while reading it, written so real it felt like a memoir more than fiction this should appeal to a large group of people, historians and those who read with their heart.
Just beautiful.

Interview with the author:

Tell us a little about yourself as writer and a person.

I am 60 years old now, a mother of 4 sons, a grandmother of 8 grandchildren from mothers of 4 nations, cultural background and religion. I love my grandchildren. I had to put my dreams on shelves for a long time. I had to work to put bread on the table, build a house and be a partner to my Iranian husband, who indulged being at university and make a career.

What made you become a writer? 

I had this story in my heart for a long time. It is part of my own history and the history of my German people.

I am a passionate reader. At the age of 5, I started to read Wilhelm Busch, an illustrated book, kneeling in front of our old sofa, trying to put letters into words. I go through books, sometimes 2 at a time, living with them, getting angry if they don’t satisfy me as a reader. My little house is clustered with books. They are my friends.

I have been inspired by other writers. The ones I thought worth reading. Those who shared my believes, my dreams, my longings. Hemingway, Günther Grass. Heinrich Heine. Goethe. Schiller. Kant, Hegel. Oh, the list is endless. Philipp Kerr (a great writer, noir). One unusual one, which I keep close to my heart: Susan Fletcher’s “Corrag”. The book of my soul.

Tell us a little about the history of “Hexe”. How long did it take you to write and publish?

It took me 8 months to write and publish “Hexe” – the book about my own family, German history and the way I see it. It is a book from my heart. Maybe not overly correct with the historical facts – I only was a child when I experienced Germany after WW2. But, to me it was important, and always is important as a writer, to find out about the human soul. What makes some people stand up against political deceit, to find bravery in themselves to endure being singled out and pointed at and even pushed to the limits of society with all the hardship. Heroes? No, one facette of our human soul. To make the decision what side we are on, whom we believe and support, whom we deny and fight.

What was the easiest about writing the book and what was the hardest?

The easiest to write my book was the writing. Words just spilled out, memories, findings. I enjoyed writing Hexe. I loved my grandmother and all the values she gave to me on my way to adulthood. A little, strong, proud woman. Different from the rest. Never a follower, never a believer in Ideologies. Never bending, no matter what. She was my hero.

Would you say there is a message in the book beyond the story? Do you find it is well received and picked up by the reviewers?

Every writer is sending a message out. Why else would we write? We want to be read. Understood. We want to communicate with our fellow humans. My message is, in everything I write:Think! Make up your own decision. Listen to your heart. Be part of this human society and understand you are a part of this human history. You have a responsibility for everything you do or not.

The reviews I have received so far, well, I am happy. There are people out there who pick up on things behind the words, between the lines. I still have to learn on how to get the message out there, but – hey, it is worth while. I am writing.

What do you like most about your characters? Which one is your favourite? Who would play the characters in a film?

My favourite character in my book is Frigg. The innocence of a child, the heart of a lion. Listening to her inner voices, experiencing with all senses. Being part of this universe. A twinkle of the eye in time. And, knowing it.

I could see my story made into a film. Why not? Dark, sinister times. Winds, forests, ancient heathen Gods. Universal questions put into animation. A young hero, historical background. Hurt, blood, killing and a soul searching for a place in this eternal web of mankind.

What are your next projects? Tell us about your other books.

I am writing on my second book. The Wolf Children of Eastern Prussia. Again, for me it not only is the accurate historical background. I did my research, though. For me it is important to pick out the one human soul dealing with atrocities, hurt, pain, inflicted by fellow humans. Political circumstances influencing on how we act or react. As individuals.

What is your life like? What do you do for pleasure and work when you are not writing?

When I am not writing, I sit in my garden, doing old, ancient rituals, walking up and down my garden path. Reflecting, breathing. Many of us have turned to old ancient Asian wisdoms for meditation. I am trying to return to our own old wisdoms, the ones before the Nazis had occupied them. I am not exactly a believer and I certainly am not a follower. I do what I feel in my heart. I try to find my roots.

Who are your literary influences? What are your favourite books/ films/ albums?

Literary influences? There are many. Grass. Hemingway. Roth. Even Shakespeare. Schiller, Goethe. Philip Kerr (love him). Susan Fletcher.  Alan Wynzel and Christoph Fischer. The latest ones and I do love them. Stieg Larsson. Thomas Willmann. Crazy, how can I list all the ones I love?

Films? There are some, but I tend to be a reader, not a film watcher.

What would your friends tell us if we asked for your best and your oddest qualities?

My best and oddest qualities? My friends love me over 30 years without me remembering their birthdays. Does that say anything?

Odd? Yes. I am not the usual friend, I am not. But when I love, I love unconditionally. My heart finds a heart and sticks to it, no matter what. I am loyal, terribly loyal.

What are your favourite animal/ colour/ outdoor activity?

My favourite animals are dogs. I have three old, soppy Cocker Spaniels. They fascinate me with their pack loyalty and pack order. So easy, so unquestionable. So straight forward. So honest.

My favourite colour is blue, deep as the ocean.

What would you take to a remote island?

To a remote island I would take books. Really. Not a cliché. You never feel lonely with books.

Who would you like to invited for dinner and why?

Invite for dinner? I am a passionate cook. I even watch cooking programs on tv. I love to eat, I love to cook. It is an artist thing, is it not?  Oh, I would love to invite writers, a whole bunch of them. Exchange thoughts with them. Eat, indulge, drink and talk. Smile, leaning back into a comfy chair, philosophy. Words. I am a writer.

What are you writing at the moment and where would we find out about your next projects?

I am writing on my second book. Don’t have a title yet. It is about the wolf children of Eastern Prussia. A story about a child’s heart. Lonely, innocent, fighting to survive. The dark forest of life. Spirits and gods of ancient tales. Are they still with us? Do we need them? What makes us follow ancient paths? What keeps our soul fed? How do we find the path we have to follow? How do we deal with collective guilt? Is there such thing? How do we carry the burden of being part of a people who did wrong?

What else would you like us to know about you and your books?

I write books. Yes I do. I don’t think I can compete with the good ones out there. I only use words, searching for them, to explain what is in my heart, soul and mind. Sure, I want to pass my words on. Am I not a witness of a time? Of a people? Of a family? Of a history? I think I am. Oh, sweet arrogance. I want to be read. I have to tell. I am writing. Always will be.

Find HEXE on your Amazon site: http://bookShow.me/1491801344

https://www.goodreads.com/SkadiWinter

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers: