Tag Archives: author interview

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

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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 – 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+.