Category Archives: Author Interviews

Taking part in the #LlandeiloLitFest – My Book Fair Interview

I’m heading to the #LlandeiloLitFest next week – a Literary Festival from 27th – 30th April in the gorgeous Welsh market town of Llandeilo. I’ll be signing and selling books on Saturday 29th April in the Civic Hall, Crescent Road (SA19 6HN if you need SatNav directions). I’ll be offering some great deals too. While stocks last, I will be giving everyone who buys ‘A Symphony of Dragons’ paperback a free copy of ‘Beneath the Rainbow’ too…and who doesn’t want a free paperback?

LlandeiloLitFest-Llandeilo-Boook-Fair-2017

So, in preparation I thought I’d share the interview I did for Llandeilo Book Fair (find the original interview here) with you:

Please tell us about the books you’ll be bringing to the Book Fair.
L_Shambrook_Beneath_the_Rainbow_AmazonBeneath the Rainbow: Freya won’t let anything stand in her way. Not even death. Freya’s family are left to fulfil her dreams, but as time runs out final yearned for wishes remain lost. Only Freya can help as precious life hangs in the balance.

BeneathOldOak_Cover_Amazon (1)Beneath the Old Oak: Meg thinks her mother is broken. Is she broken too? Meg’s life spirals out of control and she’s terrified she’ll inherit her mother’s sins. Seeking refuge and escape she finds solace beneath a huge, old oak, but a devastating storm will change her life forever.

Distant_Star_AmazonBeneath the Distant Star: Jasmine feels like the ghost of the sister she can no longer remember and has something her sister never will – life. She fights to become her own person. Life becomes a battleground as she disregards the rules and her reckless abandon threatens to destroy what she needs most.

4. Symphony_of_Dragons_LISTINGMy newest release A Symphony of Dragons is a collection of my own short stories which connect my Hope Within books and my new chronicles, and follow the theme of dragons…A lyrical collection of seven stories featuring enchanting worlds of fantasy, contemporary fiction, romance, steampunk, and more that will let the song of dragons lead you…

Which genres do they belong to?
My three Hope Within Novels belong in the contemporary and Young Adult genres, but have delighted all ages. The short story collection embraces dragons and the eclectic genres of Steampunk, fantasy, contemporary, romance and more!

jasmine-discover-what-you-already-have-lisa-shambrook-beneath-the-distant-star

Jasmine © Lisa Shambrook

What are the characters and plots like?
My characters are real and vulnerable in the Hope Within novels, the plots cover a range of difficult subjects which will inspire those who read them.

Tell us about your newest book.
I’m currently working on The Seren Stone Chronicles which I am loving writing. This is Wales far, far into the future: ‘Centuries beyond post-apocalyptic, the landscape of Wales has turned into a whole new country…and the rumble of dragons has returned…’

crystals-gems-seren-stone-lisa-shambrook-the-last-krystallos

Seren Stone © Lisa Shambrook

Which of your books are you’re most proud of, and why?
I am totally engaged in my current writing, but I am proud of each of my books in different ways.

What is the best thing that has been said about your books?
One of the best compliments has been having my writing likened to Virginia Woolf and Mitch Albom.

Why did you decide to come to the Llandeilo Book Fair?
I have been before and the atmosphere is fun and friendly and the visitors are lovely!

Do you have a special connection to Wales?
I moved to Wales twenty-three years ago and I love it. The Welsh countryside has inspired my latest writing, and the myths, legends, and nature continue to enchant and rouse me.

author-photos-lisa-shambrook-bekah-shambrook-2015

© Lisa Shambrook

What is your personal background?
I am a quiet introvert and I live within my words! I have a lovely husband and three children, and have been writing since my youngest was born.  I also have cats and a neurotic German Shepherd!

Who are your favourite authors?
It’s always been Garth Nix and Tolkien, but Patrick Rothfuss and Philip Pullman are right up there.

So, come and see us all at the Book Fair and see if any of the weekend’s events take your fancy…Lots of great talks, classes, and a Book Hunt…check out the website and Facebook page to see what catches your eye!

Author Feature – Angela Lynn

I like to read raw stories, tales that sweep me up and tug at my emotions,
and though I’m not generally a fan of High School YA,
All The What Ifs from Angela Lynn did all that and more.

all-the-what-ifs, angela-lynn, novel, YA,
Angela Lynn radiates an exuberance that will beguile you, that’s for sure! She is a sensitive writer and her words are able to pull you right inside her stories. I met her on the Flash Fiction circuit and she immediately became someone I wanted to know. Do yourself a favour, follow her quirky brand of humour and her love of life and you won’t go wrong. In her own words she lives in the desert with her mister and their four awesome kids, and if you ask me you should engage with her on Twitter and have some fun! After reading her debut novel I was keen to interview her. You can read my review of All The What Ifs on Goodreads.

Angela Lynn, All The What Ifs, YA novel,

Angela Lynn

Angela Lynn

One of the things that struck me in All The What Ifs is the authenticity of your writing and the way you easily got inside the head of a young adult. Your dialogue is brilliant and every word, quip and comment is how I imagine a group of teens chatting. Did you find it easy to inhabit a teenager’s mind to write and did you enjoy your teens or were they difficult years? 

Oh man…where to begin!

First off, thank you SO much for having me on your lovely site and for reading All The What Ifs. I’m beyond grateful and thrilled you enjoyed it!

On finding it easy to inhabit a teenager’s mind, I’m often mistaken for one which is basically part of my master plan to never EVER grow up. 😉

As far as approaching the dialogue in All The What Ifs, I’ve been asked this question before and have yet to come up with a good response that doesn’t sound like a bunch of hot air. Ashley and her friends—Natalie, Kendra, Emma, Tyler, and Lucas—felt like close, personal friends of mine. From day one, I could hear them. Some nights they kept me up far too late with their chatter until I got it all written down. From time to time, I still hear them and I hope they’ll never leave me. We had such a good time together and I learned a lot from them.

Lastly on my experience being a teen, like most young adults, I faced many challenges as a teen. Being a young adult is terrifying and painful and beautiful in its newness and discovery. I think adults often forget that wrapped up in all that insecurity and impulsiveness is so much stinking promise. So while I can’t say my teenage years were easy or that I’d go back to them, I do try to weed through my experiences and look for the good that made me—ultimately—me.

all-the-what-ifs, angela-lynn, novel, YA,

All The What Ifs – Angela Lynn

There is a real honesty in the novel. What inspired Ashely’s character and situation, and do you fondly or awkwardly recall your own first love?

Ashley and I are two different people. Where Ashley is quiet and withdrawn, I’m loud and easily upset. Where Ashley is methodical in her overthinking, I’m a hot mess of panic attacks. But something we both share is a deep seeded desire to please the people around us and do right by them. Ultimately, Ashley wants to be loved and accepted by her father for who she is, not what he wants her to be. And when that doesn’t work for him, she tries to change for him. What I find complex about her situation is what her father is demanding she follow through with seems perfect for Ashley, but in the end, no matter how perfect the fit might seem, it’s up to Ashley to decide. At the heart of this is a universal problem we all face, do we bow down to the seemingly oh so perfect fit or do we make ourselves uncomfortable and reach for something more?

And I do remember my first love. His name was Michael Shower and I sang “True Love” by Madonna from across the playground to him. Sadly, it was an unrequited love since I had to move the next day. And yes, I’m being serious. I loved that seven-year-old boy with all the love my own seven-year-old heart could muster.

all-the-what-ifs, angela-lynn, novel, YA,

All The What Ifs – Angela Lynn

Your Nevada backdrop is evocative and I could feel the heat as I read, as someone from rainy Wales it’s always fun to drop into another location. You mention the Grand Canyon in the book too, have you ever been and where would you like to visit most?

Shockingly enough, though I live a four hour drive away from the Grand Canyon, I’ve never been! It’s most definitely on my must visit list. And right about now, I’m wishing for some rain, so how about I hop on a plane and visit you in a completely non-creepy kind of way!

I loved the scene where Ashley recalled Lucas’s visit and what she’d have said (I won’t add any spoilers) because I’ve had a similar experience in my own life. It really hit home. What was your favourite part of writing All The What Ifs?

This is a big question and I really, really suck at picking favorites.

But if I MUST, I’d say my favorite part about writing All The What Ifs was having my best friends alongside me. I dedicated the book to the two people who pushed me to follow through and believed in me and Ashley more than either of us ever could. Writing this story was a five year long journey, during which I pushed myself to not only be a better writer, but follow through and believe in my ability. My friends—from my mister and my bestie to my editor and my beta readers—made that a reality for me, which is the best part. It’s a beyond corny answer, but I’m learning to embrace that I’m a sappy soul.

all-the-what-ifs, angela-lynn, novel, YA,

All The What Ifs – Angela Lynn and Buttons/Badges

We often talk of the need to create or write because of an innate desire, what does writing do for you?

Writing helps me escape and gives me a sense of accomplishment. I started writing during a time in my life when I felt like I was losing myself in the mundane everyday responsibilities that had started to rule me. It took all the energy and passion I had stored up in me and released it onto a page. At first, I did it for fun, but soon it became something I wanted to grow and mature in. There’s always a new story just around the bend and there’s always something new to learn to stretch myself as a person, a reader, and a writer.

all-the-what-ifs, angela-lynn, novel, YA,Thank you, Ang, you’re most welcome to come to rainy Wales and swap your hot, golden desert for cool, green, rolling hills and valleys! Like I said I don’t generally read High School YA since Sweet Valley High in my teens, but this gave me something new and exciting in the genre. I loved Ashley’s vulnerability and Angela’s beautiful writing. I’m looking forward to more from this author!

You can find All The What Ifs on Amazon UK and US and your local Amazon store in both eBook and paperback. You can find out about Angela Lynn on her Amazon Author Page.

You can follow Angela’s Facebook Author Page and find her on Twitter, Instagram and Goodreads and you should also stop by her Blog Ang Writes.

Author Feature: Sophie Moss

Whenever I visit Heron Island, I feel like the wind whispers through my hair,
and I can taste salt on my lips, and hear the ocean lapping at my feet…
If you love romance then Sophie Moss is the writer for you…

s-moss-wind-chime-wedding-rosesI discovered Sophie’s gorgeous sensory writing through several flash fiction contests, which led me to read her evocative Seal Island Trilogy. From there I’ve eagerly waited for more from this expressive author.
I’m honoured to close this series of Author Features with one of my favourite writers, especially after I’ve just finished her latest new release ‘Wind Chime Wedding’ and loved it! You can check out my review on Goodreads.

Sophie Moss author, S Moss Author,

Sophie Moss

Sophie Moss

I fell in love with your Selkie books, fantasy romance with fairy tales thrown in, and I quickly became engrossed in Wind Chime Café. What inspired you to change direction from fantasy to the new Wind Chime series?

I had actually written about a third of a book very similar to Wind Chime Café several years ago. It was right after the recession hit in the U.S. and the war was going on strong and I wanted to write about a military man on leave coming back to his hometown and meeting a single mother who’d moved there to open a cute little cafe but who didn’t know how to cook anything but casseroles. I stopped writing the story about halfway through for a lot of reasons (and it’s very different from the final product of Wind Chime Café) but when I finished the selkie trilogy (or at least pressed pause on it for a while) I decided to revisit it. I noticed that café books were doing really well at the time, books on Navy SEALs were growing in popularity, and small town contemporary romances were becoming huge. So there you go.

Wind Chime Cafe Sophie Moss,

Wind Chime Cafe – Sophie Moss

Your characters are beautifully drawn, with intricate histories and depth, for example Wind Chime Café has an ex-Navy SEAL, and a great baker, Wind Chime Wedding has a teacher in its main role. How much research goes into your characters and their background stories?

I do a ton of research. While writing the first Wind Chime novel, I read almost every book written by a former Navy SEAL to get a sense of who they are, what their lives are like, and what issues are important to them. I also do a lot of research online—reading articles, watching you tubes, etc. It’s very important to me that my characters come across as authentic.

Wind Chime Wedding Sophie Moss,

Wind Chime Wedding – Sophie Moss

I love the beauty of your writing which matches your locations. I know your Selkie series was inspired by a visit to Ireland, where did you get your inspiration for Wind Chime’s Heron Island?

Heron Island is loosely modelled after Tilghman Island, a real-life island only thirty minutes down the road from where I grew up. It’s a place known for sailing, fishing, and crabbing. It’s home to some of the last few hearty souls who still pull their living from the water. It’s one of the only places on the Eastern Shore that is relatively undeveloped. One of my favorite things about starting to write a new series is getting to know the place where my characters live. I’ve always been drawn to island settings, both in reading and writing. There’s something so soothing about being surrounded by all that water. The pace of life is slower. Neighbors look out for each other. Everyone knows everything about everyone.

Myself, reading Wind Chime Wedding on my Kindle!

Myself, reading Wind Chime Wedding on my Kindle!

So far, we know you for romance, are there other genres you’d like to explore, or is romance where your heart lies?

I will probably always write love stories. I’m a hopeless romantic. Nothing warms my heart more than a well-earned happily ever after.

So, if you want romance – you know exactly where to look!

Sophie Moss is a USA Today bestselling author of five full-length romance novels. She is known for her captivating Irish fantasy romances and heart-warming contemporary romances with realistic characters and unique island settings. As a former journalist, Sophie has been writing professionally for over ten years. She lives on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, where she’s working on her next novel. When she’s not writing, she’s testing out a new dessert recipe, exploring the Chesapeake Bay, or fiddling in her garden. Sophie loves to hear from readers. Email her at sophiemossauthor@gmail.com or visit her website to sign up for her newsletter.

Find Sophie on Facebook and @SMossWrites on Twitter. She’s also on Goodreads and Pinterest. Sophie is also, like myself, a BHCAuthor.

Wind Chime Cafe Sophie Moss,

Wind Chime Café:
Kindle
Paperback

Wind Chime Wedding Sophie Moss,

Wind Chime Wedding:
Kindle
Paperback

Author Feature: Jules Vilmur

There are stories in life that should be told, that need to be told, and this is one of them.
Teenage years are stormy for most, but for a transgender teen,
life can be almost impossible.
You will come away from this book, like I did,
with both greater understanding and compassion.

Complicated

Jules Vilmur lives in California with her husband and too many greyhounds. I found this enigmatic writer on her blog, Laurustina, after her sister, Bullishink, one day posted a link. I discovered a series of pieces about Alice, which touched my heart. At the time I had no idea of the background of these snippets, and once I did, I admired this wonderful woman and her writing even more. I am privileged to feature Jules here, with a book that became an inspired and life-affirming read.

jules vilmur author, the complicated geography of alice, author,

Jules Vilmur

Jules Vilmur

When I first discovered your story, told in snippets on your blog, I was drawn to your beautiful descriptions of heart-breaking moments, what I didn’t know at the time, was that it was true. I ­understand why you wrote it, but how difficult was it to turn it into a book and share with the whole world?

I had been blogging about my life and our family for nearly a decade, tucked away in my little corner of the internet, but after Alice’s death, I couldn’t seem to string a sentence together to save my life. Then in November of 2009, my sister Ruth (aka Bullishink) challenged me to join her for Nanowrimo. Once I started writing, I couldn’t stop.

Virtually none of that first draft made the final cut but it was an incredibly therapeutic process. Taking time out between drafts was important. I waited six months between the first and second, then nearly a year between the fourth and final drafts. I also did a lot of writing aloud, inviting my family to jump in with lines of their own or whatever they thought Alice would say in a given situation. A lot of her profanity came like that and much of the humour.

The biggest hurdle was letting go of the idea of Absolute Truth in exchange for a story that made sense to the reader. Squishing multiple characters into one, shaving off extraneous subplots and rewriting family history felt like lying, but was necessary.

the complicated geography of alice, jules vilmur, book, transgender teen, transgender,

The Complicated Geography of Alice – Jules Vilmur

You tell your story bluntly, with humour, with sadness, and with love. It’s a story that will inspire and help many in similar situations. How do you think it can help the LGBT community, and if anything could change in the world for the better, after what you’ve been through, what would it be?

I wish for a better world, a safer place for kids like Alice, Leelah Alcorn and Kyler Prescott. I hope that readers will gain some understanding of and compassion for trans youth and those who struggle in these formative years. Being a teenager is tough, even in the best of circumstances. Add in issues of gender, sexuality or mental health and it can be agonizing.

A huge factor in my choice to publish with CreateSpace and Kindle, after a year with an inattentive agent, was that I wanted the book out there for the one person who might need it. If our story might help someone feel like they’re not alone or save one family from what we went through, well that’s worth it.

Alice

Alice

I came away from your book with much greater understanding and compassion. What do you think Alice would like readers to get from her, and your, story?

First off, she’d say I got it all wrong, that there wasn’t nearly enough glitter or Gwen Stefani and not a SCRUBS joke in the lot. Beyond that, I think she’d hope for more kindness and bravery. Encouraging others to live their truth was important to her. It takes a brave soul to step out into the light and be seen. When that bravery is met with kindness, we are all better for it.

Alice

Alice

I’ve read some of your flash fiction pieces and your writing is beautiful, are you writing anything more now?

Honestly, I’ve been lazy for a while now. There’s a stack of intertwined stories on my desk that I poke at when the muse strikes. But I know now that books don’t get finished without commitment and a whole lot of muse-less work.

It was important for me to tell Alice’s story simply, with all the fancy poetic language stripped away and now, as I work on other things, I find myself torn between lush language and telling a good, straight-forward story. There’s a balance there. I just haven’t found it.

Jules Vilmur, author

Jules Vilmur, author

We often talk of the need to create or write because of an innate desire, what does writing do for you?

I was an awkward kid, always felt on the outside of things, and writing was my way of dealing with that. I could escape into another world, or imagine controlling the one around me. In that way, it has always been my therapy.

I enjoy writing fiction, but even then it’s like I’m always trying to get at something – like there’s a purpose to it. My college thesis focused on the use of therapeutic writing with survivors of domestic abuse and I’m still passionate about writing therapy and its practical applications. As my friend Mateo once put it, “I’m not writing about these things as much as I’m writing myself out of them.”

the complicated geography of alice, jules vilmur, book, transgender teen, transgender,

The Complicated Geography of Alice – Jules Vilmur

I am full of admiration for Jules Vilmur, and her ability to honour her daughter’s memory, and this book is a fitting tribute. This book will be a huge support and can offer hope to those going through similar, or any, personal upheaval. I am incredibly grateful for the strength this family had to share Alice’s story. Love wins, always. 

The Complicated Geography of Alice is available in both eBook and paperback from Amazon UK, US and all local Amazon stores. Find out more on her Amazon Author Page.

You can follow Jules on Twitter @Laurustina and find her blog Laurustina, and she’s on Goodreads, Pinterest and Google+.

Author Feature – J. Whitworth Hazzard

Zombies – if you like stories about survival,
about beating the odds against the flesh-eating hordes,
then ‘Dead Sea Games’ is the book for you!
J. Whitworth Hazzard’s Deathwish will keep you biting your nails
as you urge him to outlive the forces against him…

dead sea games, j whitworth hazzard, losing is not an option, zombie book,James Hazzard resides in Illinois with his family and is another author I’ve known for a few years. His writing has enthralled me, and I seriously did bite my nails whilst reading ‘Dead Sea Games’! He has a PhD in molecular biophysics that he now uses to figure out how to scientifically justify the existence of mythical creatures. My kind of guy, I mean dragons – they exist, of course they do! It’s my pleasure to interview him in my latest Author Feature.

James Hazzard, J Whitworth Hazzard, Dead Sea Games,

J. Whitworth Hazzard

J. Whitworth Hazzard

I love the totally original Dead Sea of the title, you’ll have to buy the book to know why, but, with a fair amount of zombie television, movies and books already out there, what made you want to compete and write within this genre of horror?

The honest answer to this question is that I didn’t set out to write in this crowded space. I love the genre, but it’s a small niche in the overall horror space, and I was more interested in the action/adventure aspect of post-apocalyptic survival. Dead Sea Games started out as a flash fiction piece, and after I won the contest it was entered in, I couldn’t leave it alone. I kept coming back to the story and decided I had to know what happened to Jeremy. Thus the novel was born.

Dead Sea Games - J Whitworth Hazzard

Dead Sea Games – J Whitworth Hazzard

You appear to have quite a scientific/mathematical background, from where did you draw your inspiration?

So many years of biophysics, biochemistry, and biomechanics gives you a lot of time on your hands to think about mythical creatures. My very first attempt at a novel used a similar scientific approach to justify how a dragon could survive into the modern world.  After I read World War Z, I came up with pages and pages of theories on how a “zombie” could evolve and survive realistically. There is a huge (and unsolvable) energy transport problem that I solved using…well, now I wouldn’t want to spoil it for you. You’ll find out how I solved the problem in the sequel Dead Sea Escape in 2016.

Your characters are diverse, strong, vulnerable and fully-rounded, and I willed them on right from the start. How much of yourself did you place in Deathwish, or was he drawn completely from your imagination?

Deathwish is an extremely wilful and difficult child that’s been forced to grow up extremely fast. He’s modelled after my own kids (sorry!) with a little more sass and bravado thrown into the mix. There’s a lot of me in Jeremy’s view on life and his situation, except for that part where he yells at his mother…which I would never, never do.

They're out to get you! Dead Sea Games

They’re out to get you! Dead Sea Games

I can really see Dead Sea Games on television or on the big screen; if it made it do you have any preferences for actors or actresses and what sort of soundtrack would you go for?

It’s funny you mention the sound track, because from the very beginning I put together a “DSG Playlist” and would fire it up every time I sat down to write. Some of the lyrics and songs even made it into the book in various forms.

If Jeremy ever makes it to the big screen, I’d like an unknown to get the role. I haven’t seen a teen actor lately that have the kind of physicality and screen presence Deathwish needs, and they grow up so fast anyone I picked today would be in their thirties by the time it was made. All the rest of the cast I have pretty clearly in my head as mainstream actors. All I want in life is to have Jason Statham cast as the Khan. Come on, Jason!

We often talk of the need to create or write because of an innate desire, what does writing do for you?

Writing, for me, is one of those compulsions that builds up over time, and if I don’t write something it starts to drive me nuts. I love writing but it’s difficult to keep up a steady pace, because once I finish a project I can feel empty for weeks. I’m slowly closing in on that 1,000,000 word mark, but I still feel like a novice. For me, that feeling like I have so much more to learn is what keeps me coming back to the process and reaching out to other writers.

Dead Sea Games - J Whitworth Hazzard

So, see if you can survive the Dead Sea Games… I’m not a horror reader in general, but I love The Walking Dead, and this book had me gripped! This is the best book I’ve read in the zombie genre, and with a few other unread zombie books now residing within my kindle, this is the standard they need to reach. Now I’m so excited for Dead Sea Escape!

Dead Sea Games is available on Amazon US and UK and your local Amazon store in both eBook and paperback. Find out more on his Amazon Author Page.

Like myself, James Hazzard works with Blue Harvest Creative, our Publishing Partner.

You can find him on Facebook TwitterGoodreads and Google+. Or feel free to stop by his blog for flash fiction and book reviews at Zombie Mechanics.

Author Feature – Daniel Swensen

Captivating, riveting, fast-paced fantasy – ‘Orison’ enchanted me.
Today, I get to interview author Daniel Swensen, an intelligent and delightful writer,
in the second of my Author Interviews. If you haven’t read ‘Orison’ yet, do.

orison, the dragon's game has begun, daniel swensen,

‘The dragon’s game has begun’ Orison – Daniel Swensen

Daniel Swensen is a talented writer from Montana and I first discovered him on Twitter and his blog Surly Muse…devouring his advice such as: ‘At the most basic level, characters should enter a scene with a goal in mind and then meet with some sort of obstacle that prevents them from reaching that goal. If you take a look at your scene and can’t find any goal to speak of, then congratulations! You’ve just found a prime candidate for the chopping block.’ (Daniel Swensen: Dramatic Scenes… Surly Muse: April 2012)
His advice helped hone my own writing skills, and when he released his short story ‘Burn’, I was hooked…

Daniel Swensen

Daniel Swensen

Daniel Swensen – Author

Your writing is intense, intelligent and dynamic, and I was immersed in Orison’s plot and characters as soon as I began reading. What helps you to immerse yourself in the writing process?

Thank you! I would say the main tool in my writing process (besides Scrivener and  the act of writing itself) is music. I have a set of playlists that I cue up on my computer whenever I sit down to write. They’re mostly made up of movie soundtracks, ambient, and orchestral stuff, although there are a few songs with lyrics. When I first wrote the draft of Orison, I had a “high gear” playlist for the battle scenes and a “low gear” playlist for the calmer, more introspective parts of the story. The familiarity and rhythm of the music helps me get back in the proper headspace for writing and helps me disappear into the world of whatever tale I’m telling.

Persistence is also key for me. When I first sit down to write, I always struggle with self-doubt, second-guessing, and a rising conviction that whatever I’m writing is terrible. I just have to keep going until I push past that threshold and can start the real work. It’s like the endorphin rush when you exercise — if I can just hold out long enough for that to kick in, I’m fine.

Orison - Daniel Swensen

Orison – Daniel Swensen

When my daughter read Orison she immediately wanted to cosplay Story, do you have a favourite character in the book and why, or why not?

That’s tough. “Favorite,” to me, implies that I’d pick them above all the rest, and I can’t quite do that. I love all the characters. I love how they play off each other. Those bonds and conflicts are what the book is really about. So I feel to take any one of them alone would diminish them.

That said, I loved writing Story because in my own reading, I was having a tough time finding the kind of female protagonist I wanted to see… so I just wrote her. I’m really happy with the results. I love her determination and self-reliance.

I love Wrynn’s dry wit, Dunnac’s sense of honor and stoic humor, and Ashen’s struggle to fit into the world.

If I had to pick a favorite reaction to a character, it would have to be how readers have responded to Ashen. I didn’t really expect him to be a fan favorite, but so many people who have read the book have expressed their enthusiasm and love for the character. I’ve already had some ask when he and Camana are getting their own book!

So, I hate to dodge the question, but I couldn’t really pick a favorite. I love them all too much. I would love to see a Story cosplay, though. I’d feel like I’d “made it” as an author.

If Orison made it to the big screen, which it totally should, who would you love to see playing your characters?

While writing Orison, I actually did some “casting,” to help me find the voices for certain characters.

I’d cast Martin Freeman as Wrynn. He has a soft-spoken affability about him, but there’s iron behind it, and to me that’s the essence of Wrynn. I would cast Mads Mikkelsen as Dunnac — he has that perfect aura of charisma and menace. I could never quite find an actress who really fits how I see Story in my head, but a couple people suggested Ellen Page, and I can see that happening. (I had imagined someone more like Naya Rivera, but that’s still not quite right.)

I’ve actually had this conversation with readers, too! There’s a website called The Imagine Film List where you can propose actors for books if they were to get adapted into movies, and people made some amazing suggestions over there.  Like Simon Pegg for Wrynn and Idris Elba for Dunnac — actors I never would have thought of myself. One reader said Danny Trejo should play Ashen, which I think is an amazing idea. The iflist page for Orison is here.

Map of Calushain - Orison

Map of Calushain – Orison Map and Cover designed by Tracy McCusker

Are there other stories from Calushain, what can we expect from you in the future, and are there other genres you’d like to explore?

There are more stories in the works! I have been working on the Orison sequel, Etheric, for a little over a year now, and still hope to have it out in 2015, although there’s no official release date and I can’t promise anything. After that will be a third (and final) book in the series. I’m also working on another book in the same world, about a young woman finding a fallen dragon-god in the snowy north. The working title is Beneath the Broken Sky, and if all goes well, that might be in people’s hands by 2016. Again, I can’t make any promises.

I’m not entirely sure where I’ll go after that. For some time, I’ve wanted to expand the characters and events of my short story Burn into a full-length urban fantasy novel (or series), but Story and company are taking up all my creative efforts right now. I also want to start generating more short fiction, but I’m learning that staying focused and diversifying my writing efforts is a unique challenge!

Burn - Daniel Swensen

Burn – Daniel Swensen

We often talk of the need to create or write because of an innate desire, what does writing do for you?

The written word is an amazing thing. It lets us communicate information across boundaries of time and space, with people from faraway places who are hundreds of years dead. You can make up a story — characters and situations that are wholly fictional — and if you do your job well, people will react as if those characters were real. They’ll laugh and cry and mourn and feel intense emotions for people and events that never existed. I think that’s extraordinary. Stories are incredibly powerful. More powerful than reality itself in some ways, I think.

But to be honest, I’ve never been one of those writers who sits down every day with unbridled enthusiasm for writing. I’m not wired up that way. My stories tend to grind out slowly, and contentment only happens on the far end of a lot of hard work and anxiety. Those moments of frisson where everything just jumps to life and the prose flows like water — that’s maybe one day a year for me. Two if I’m lucky. The rest is all a hard push through thick mud.

But the connections that I’ve made with people through my writing — the wonderful writers I’ve met, the readers who share their joy with me after finishing something I wrote — they make all of that worthwhile. That’s why I write. That’s where I get to feel the incredible power of the written word: by sharing it with others.

orison-3D-daniel-swensenA great insight into the writing world of Daniel Swensen, and I am so excited for Etheric!

You can find Orison released and available to buy through Nine Muse Press and also available at Amazon.com Amazon.co.uk, all other local Amazon stores and Barnes & Noble in eBook and paperback. Burn is also available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

You can find out more at his Amazon Author Page and on Goodreads.

Daniel blogs at Surly Muse and is represented by Nine Muse Press.

Follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

The Adventures of Katie Button – Lizzie Koch

It’s a delight to begin a short run of Author Interviews with Lizzie Koch,
the author of newly released The Adventures of Katie Button.
If you’re looking for a fun read, you’ll have just that with Katie! 

I’ve known Lizzie for a while, having written on the Flash Fiction circuit with her, and she’s one of the most genuine people I know! She’s cheerful, warm, passionate and fun, and her writing reflects her personality. 

The Adventures of Katie Button - Lizzie Koch

The Adventures of Katie Button – Lizzie Koch

I decided to take the opportunity of interviewing Lizzie to coincide with the release of her debut novel, so come and take some time to get to know a great new writer…

Katie Button is fun, ditzy, distracted, and passionate, is she like you, Lizzie, or did you create her entirely from imagination?

Haha, good question. Katie Button is pure fiction. However, I like to think I’m a fun person to be around. My lovely Yankee Doodle Dandy friend, who I work with, is the ditziest person I know so maybe hanging around with her for a decade has rubbed off in my writing. As for the passion, I don’t think I’d be here now, talking with you if I wasn’t passionate. Without passion, a story can fall flat, without passion there’s no drive. So yes, I’m extremely passionate.

This book came out of NaNoWriMo, did you always want to become an author, what made you write about Katie Button?

I actually always wanted to become a police officer which I achieved. That was the only job I planned for. The rest of my life just happened, including writing. After successful flash fiction pieces, I heard about Nano and thought ‘why not?’ I love the excitement of deadlines and writing under pressure. And doing it alongside friends, Nano didn’t feel impossible.

I don’t know where the idea came from for Katie Button.  Probably during the night where most ideas decide to pop into my head! In fact Katie started out as Emily but Hubby said he heard the name Emily Button somewhere so we googled it and turns out it’s a rag doll. How he knew that, I don’t know. So Katie was born. I wanted a fun, memorable name but also a name that would work across history, alongside my highwayman flash fiction piece. But I didn’t feel confident in writing a full blown historical piece so my novel sort of shaped itself as I wrote.

If Katie made it to television, would you love to see her in a movie or a TV series, and who would you love to play her?

I have a secret board in Pinterest, showing my characters. I was going to share but then I didn’t want to put ideas in my readers heads as to what they looked like as people generate their own idea of characters. But on my Pinterest board I have Emilia Clarke from Games of Thrones (which I can’t watch as too violent for my fluffy mind). She has that cute, girl next door smile and looks bubbly and fun.  And she’s British which is vitally important,  don’t want another awful attempt at a British accent although Renee Zellweger’s Bridget Jones was fab. A movie would be fantastic a la Richard Curtis.

I’ve read much of your flash fiction and short stories, and you’re able to write in many different fields. Did you always want to write romance, will you write more romance, or are there other genres you’d like to explore?

I love romance. Everybody needs some romance in their lives. To be honest, I though it was all I could write as it was all I read. Sophie Kinsella and Lisa Jewell are my favourite authors and I devour their books! Flash fiction opened my mind and broadened my horizons.  I’ve written about a zombie apocalypse, vampires, dabbled in a bit of steampunk and horror. But the romance pulls me back. So more romantic shenanigans from me but maybe with different settings. There’s a Katie Button sequel in the works. But never say never. I mean Katie Button started with a piece of flash. I do like a challenge!

The Adventures of Katie Button - eBooks

The Adventures of Katie Button – eBooks

We often talk of the need to create or write because of an innate desire, what does writing do for you?

Writing is a form of relaxation after a long day at work. I find it very therapeutic and satisfying just tapping away at the keys, in my own little world, shutting out the TV the boys are watching, and talking with my characters. I don’t write everyday (I know I should) but that doesn’t mean I’m not thinking about plots and characters. Sometimes I just need to sort out in my head where it’s going before I commit to paper. By sort, I mean hold conversations in my head between my characters and me.  Of course, writing for me is not a solitary activity. When you write a piece of flash, you read other submissions, you leave comment. You share and talk about it. It’s a sense of belonging and achieving something I love most.

lizzie-koch-adventures-of-katie-button-2015Thanks so much for joining me, Lizzie, you’ve given us a lovely insight into your writing and ideas!

You can find Lizzie Koch’s debut novel The Adventures of Katie Button, released through Crooked Cat Publishing, at Amazon UK, Amazon US, all other local Amazon stores and Smashwords

She blogs at 40 Something Undomesticated Devil

You can tweet her  @Lizzie_Koch

She’s addicted to Facebook, here’s her Facebook Author Page: Lizzie Koch Author

You can also find her on Pinterest, Instagram and LinkedIn.