CHAT WITH ANGELICA KATE

screen-shot-2016-11-08-at-4-42-56-pmAngelica Kate (pen name) writes contemporary and inspirational romances primarily, but occasionally likes to dabble in other genres. She is a lifetime scribbler who has always enjoyed writing as a release from the reality of life. In 2014 in keeping a promise to a friend that has since passed she published her first book Loving Abby through Amazon’s self-publishing tool and was bit by the bug. The feedback both positive and negative continues to propel her to hone her writing chops, and she still reads every review (even those that require a glass of wine to stomach). 

What is your latest book?

My most recent release is Out of Solitude, which is a story of two people that overcome horrifically tragic circumstances. Rather than make their stories highlight just the positive, this book was about a woman who blocked out the world after losing her children and a little girl who quit talking in response to losing her mother. Their meeting was the healing salve the other needed, and is a story of the triumph of the human spirit and victims who earn their happy ending.

outofsolitude

Do you write under a pen name? If so, can you tell us why?

I do write under a pen name of Angelica Kate, which was a name that I thought lent itself well to romance writing and featured prominently my grandmother’s name of Kate whom I am actually named after, Angela Katherine.

How did you choose the genre you write in? Or did it choose you?

I am an addict of good romance stories, with well-developed strong heroines, so this was a no-brainer when I started writing. I love a story of a woman rising above her circumstances and a man never overwhelms her story, but enhances it.

Are your characters ever based on people you know?

Yes, many of my characters and story lines are based on my own personal interactions. My friends and family members actually joke to each other how certain situations we are going through will end up in a book someday. I think the best writing has to have some baseline in real life for it to feel authentic, so many circumstances, people and event current events end up central to my books.

What do you think some of the greatest misconceptions about indie authors are?

That they cannot get published and thus their work is sub par. I never tried the traditional route and now that I’m an indie author have no desire to do so in the future. Indie writers aren’t below average writers, but rather many times strong, determined writers in charge of their own destiny. They have conquered their goals and dreams every day to see their dreams of being published happen.

screen-shot-2016-11-08-at-4-36-50-pmHow often do your characters surprise you by doing or saying something totally unexpected?

Often! I allow my stories to develop organically as a journey through each book’s inception to publish date. My most surprising character development saw one of my main heroine’s actually die in a scene, and I remember stopping and out loud exclaiming how I couldn’t believe she died. My daughter looked at me and said, “Mom, you write the story and can change it.” I could not change the scene it would have not been true to the story, but I still can remember the shock of not seeing the happily ever after I came to expect of my main characters

discord5-01Some writers edit excessively as they write; others wait until a novel is finished to do the bulk of the editing. How about you?

I write the book and then worry about editing. I need to get the story on paper and see where it is going, many times how I edit or the extent will be determined by the tone and texture of the story’s development.

Have you ever written characters that you truly despise?

Absolutely! Often my stories have been about domestic violence, murder and other current event themes. I have chosen not to focus on the monsters of these stories but rather give voices to the victims. Unfortunately, to provide a full canvas for these fabulous characters you need to pen the opposing forces and characters that made them the people they are in the story. I dislike have to channel the hate, despair and intent of these characters and find them the hardest to pen.

Where do you live now? If you had to move to another city/state/country, where might that be?

I live in Sarasota, Florida which is where I would live if I could be anywhere. After living in some big cities around the country for my career, and also in the Midwest to take care of family this was a decision we made last year for the beaches, weather and culture. I absolute adore this area, and cannot imagine every relocating anywhere else.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?

When I was 30 my daughter who was six at the time, approached my sister about wanting to get me an awesome gift. Together they bought me this delicate sapphire necklace, that I treasure. The pure joy on her face when she gave it to me has always stayed with me every time I put it on.

Care to brag about your family?

I have two fabulous polar opposite children that I adore. My creative artist child has made me look at life with different lenses from the moment she came into the world. My youngest child is a math genius who challenges me every day and has made me an advocate for education and more equality for subjects I never knew I would come to care about. Without both of them balancing out my world, I’m not certain who I would be today. My husband the gentle force that allows me to be me along with a bevy of family that make up a unique list of characters in my own life, has definitely been both a blessing and curse in my world.

What makes you angry?

People who talk before they think. I try my hardest to know when I should say something, and when I need to walk away and give a subject more thought before vocalizing an opinion. We live in a world were too many people have become intolerant, and believe that freedom of speech is a right they own to hurt others around them. I would love to see a heap more tolerance in our society and people who find constructive solutions, rather than just boisterous opinion making.

What music soothes your soul?

 Country – especially the old crooning kind that tells a story. Sometimes just getting into the car and turning that style music on can dissolve an entire rough day in the span of a few minutes.

If you are a TV watcher, would you share the names of your favorite shows with us?

Big Bang Theory and Scorpion.

What are three things you think we can all do to make the world a better place?

 Give your time to just one cause you believe in.

Find one person to be kind to, even if just saying good morning, each day.

Find a person who represents a cause you disagree with, and have a discussion with them on the topic. Really listen. Not to change your mind, but just to maybe understand more than you did before.

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CHAT WITH JENA C. HENRY

Jena_C_Henry

Jena C. Henry is an active, high-energy gal who is a wife, mother, non-profit volunteer and bon vivant. She created the book series, The Golden Age of Charli, to encourage, entertain and share her joy of living and laughing. Jena C. Henry holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Akron School of Law. Now retired, she and her husband, Alan, live in tropical Ohio.

Jena presents writing workshops to help creatives achieve their dreams of writing a book and publishing it. When she is finished tidying her house, Jena likes to relax on her front porch and read and write. She enjoys fine dining, traveling to visit family, and lounging by lovely bodies…of water.

Time to chat with Jena!

Is your recent book part of a series?

Yes! Charli, my book character and I are creating The Golden Age of Charli series. The first two books in the series have been released. My third book is in the editing process and I have completed the first draft of book four and it is in the fermenting process. Yes, Charli, I will tell everyone what our books are about; they are not just your books. Our books are about finding happiness in the golden years of life. Charli learns that it takes lots of love and laughter to find the gold.

Jena C Henry books

What are the special challenges in writing a series?

 Having Charli interrupt me with her ideas? I agree, Charli, you have contributed some fun scenes and your adventure with your husband in Cancun was certainly crazy. The biggest challenge for me in writing a series is to keep track of the characters and places, so the names and features stay the same. Along with that, I must make sure that the timelines and continuity are accurate, and that the overall voice is the same. One thing that has surprised me is that my characters have wanted to grow and develop throughout the books. What? Excuse me, Charli? Ok, I understand what you are saying. Charli wants you to know that she did have a problem with her expanding girth in the second book. But Charli, I am not talking about growing heavier. I meant that you and Stewart have grown in your marriage relationship and in your interactions and even in your own personal goals and dreams.

Do you write under a pen name? If so, can you tell us why?

Yes, I do. I decided to use a pen name because as a first-time author I thought it would be cool, that it would make me feel like a real writer. I also knew that I would be using social media, and I wanted to keep my personal accounts separate from my author accounts. My dog is adorable, but the world doesn’t need to see photos of her every day. That’s right, Charli you have a different name, too. Your given name is Charlotte, and your nickname is Charli, but that’s not the same as a pen name. It’s not.

If you were to advertise your book on a bumper sticker, what would it say?

“Wine saved my marriage”- Charli

What part of writing a novel do you enjoy the most? The least?

 When I began writing my first book, I had a general idea of the story arc, and what would happen in each chapter. I wrote my manuscript and when I was done I realized it was about ten pages long. Even as a novice writer, I knew that a real book was longer than ten pages. I had to add more than story arcs, I had to create a world, and characters and their feelings and thoughts and joys and passions. The best part about writing a novel is weaving all of the threads into the tapestry and then making sure that when the finished side of the tapestry is revealed, the image is connected and complete and lovely. As far as least enjoyable, I struggle with all the grammar and punctuation rules!

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, how do you get around it?

I would say that I have never been blocked, in the sense of I sit down, stare and have nothing to write. But many times I will be writing and I will think, this scene needs something more, it’s boring. I am not having fun writing it and readers won’t like it either. The best thing for me to do in those situations is to go for a walk with my doggie. Moving, seeing the pooch leap and bound, waving to neighbors gets my creative gears and switches grinding and firing and when I get back- aha I know what to write!

A few weeks ago, I had the opposite problem- I couldn’t stop writing. I was almost finished with my manuscript. Then, I decided that I needed an additional chapter. So I wrote it. But the story didn’t want to end. I thought I would write another scene and that became a chapter as well. I wrote some more until the manuscript told me it was ok to finish. I felt like a marathon runner who makes it to the 26.2 mile-point only to find that the race is now 27.2 miles and upon running the additional mile, she still has to jog another mile.

What are some of the crazy things people have said to you upon learning you are an author? How have you responded?

Me, happily, “I’m an author!”

Person, incredulously, “Really?!”

Or the person might approach me and say:

“You know, I wasn’t sure I wanted to read your book, because I didn’t know if you knew how to write, but I did read it and I really liked it!”

My shaky response, “Thanks?”

Can you tell us about your road to publication?

I meandered down the road to publication for forty-five years. I have always wanted to write a book. If you had invited me to a party at your chateau, I would have rushed up to you and every other writer, sloshing my wine, and said, “Oh, you’re an author. I have always wanted to write. Tell me all about it.” About two years ago, my husband said, “Honey, you keep saying you want to write a book. Well, you better start soon!” So I did. I spent a few weeks setting up my office. I bought cute paper clips, note pads and colorful pens and I hung an inspiring picture. One morning, it was time. I made a mug of coffee, coaxed the dog to lay at my feet, fired up the computer, opened up a blank template, experimented with fonts, and began to write a book-length document. I wasn’t sure if it would turn into a real book, but I wrote 1,000 words every day. After a few weeks, while I was clicking away, I used the online thesaurus. As I was looking at that site, an ad popped up, Are you writing a book? It was a sign. “Yes! Yes, I am writing a book!” I clicked on the ad and that’s how I found my self-publisher. I liked the company because they offered a full range of editing, design, and marketing services; they called it supported self-publishing. My dream came true and I lived happily ever after.

Please, tell us about your experiences with social media. What are your favorite and least-favorite parts of it?

A year ago, when my first book in the series was published I thought, Social Media. Oh no, cue the lightening, scary organ music and falling chandelier! I signed up for individual training sessions with a PR/Marketing expert, through my self-publisher. She gave me a solid foundation and helped me get my platform started. I have a website, where I blog every week, and follow other bloggers. I also feature book reviews and book tours. I am active on Twitter and Facebook and I send a monthly email newsletter. I enjoy creating my posts and I use some programs to help me produce content and schedule posts. All of my followers have come organically. The friends I have made on Twitter and Facebook are priceless. I have a group of best friends and we share everything from gourmet popsicle recipes and inspiring quotes to marketing ideas. I have learned about other authors’ books and they have learned about mine. I met Lisette Brodey on Twitter!

My least favorite part is being followed by weird sex sites. I always block those!

Do you have any grammatical pet peeves to share?

Now they’re is a good question; many people have there own rules about grammar because their are many points to consider.

Do you miss spending time with your characters when you finish writing them?

Yes, I do because they have taught me to be more kind, caring, and optimistic. I wrote my series The Golden Age of Charli to encourage and support my readers, who I think of as my friends. My goal was to share positive and helpful ways to have a rich life in all seasons, so I gave my characters the gifts of optimism, perseverance, thoughtfulness and love. I don’t always remember to focus on those traits myself, but I find that my characters remind me to live each day with gratitude and grace towards others. I ended up encouraging myself the most of all! Thanks, Charli, Stewart, and Sibby and all the rest!

If you could duplicate the knowledge from any single person’s head and have it magically put into your own brain, whose knowledge would you like to have? And why.

Erma Bombeck. Erma found the humor in everyday life and she shared her wit and wisdom in a warm, straightforward, loving way. Who hasn’t been touched and encouraged by her story, When God Created Mothers? Here are some other nuggets of her wisdom; get ready to chuckle:

“Remember all those women on the Titanic who waved off the dessert cart.” “Never have more children than you have car windows.”

I would like to have Erma’s ability to laugh at the small, ordinary yet wondrous things in life and be able to share her font of charity and compassion with others.

If you could have one skill that you don’t currently have, what would it be?

I would like to know how to use power tools so that I could build or fix things around the house. A cordless power drill, an impact driver, a miter saw, or how about a Sawzall- those are all cool! What would I build, Charli? Shelves? A gardening bench? A credenza?

What might we be surprised to know about you?

I want to get a tattoo. So now, whenever I am in a bistro or pub and the server or bartender has a tattoo, which they almost always do, I say to them, “Oh, I like your tattoo! Did it hurt to get it?” And they answer, “Yes!” so, that’s why I don’t have one yet. That’s a good idea, Charli. Maybe if we do it together, it won’t hurt as much.

What do you know now that you wish you’d known five years ago?

How fast five years go by.

My short poem, “Thank You, Lisette”

I enjoyed my visit to your

Writer’s Chateau,

Thank you for the wine and the

chocolate gateau.

It was a pleasure to meet you and share what I know

Alas, now I must find my chapeau,

pack my portmanteau

and go!

Thank you, Jena! Delightful! I love it!

 

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CHAT WITH CARON KAMPS WIDDEN

Caron–Kamps_Widden

Caron Kamps Widden is the author of RESTORATION, a novel (2006 Hilliard & Harris) and THE LIES WE KEEP, a suspense novel (2015 Hilliard & Harris). She was an editorial assistant at ORANGE COAST MAGAZINE, a submissions reader at ZOETROPE: ALL-STORY, and ran a boutique business called, The Word Source. When writing, Caron enjoys exploring the complexities of family relationships. Her stories are rich in emotion and delve deep into the intricate dynamics of love and heartbreak. She is currently at work on her third novel. Born on the west coast, Caron has lived all over the country and in Belgium, but now calls western Connecticut home. She and her husband have three grown children and an adorable grandchild who they visit often.

What is your latest book?

My second novel, The Lies We Keep was released in October 2015. Set ten years after the tragedies of 9-11, the story follows Alex Gershom from New York City across the country to Sedona, Arizona, where he tends horses and works at a restaurant at night. While on a cigarette break in the alleyway, he notices a woman hiding in the shadows, a ghost from his past that sets in motion the long buried memories of the life he left behind.

LiesWeKeep

As a character-driven author, I really like the themes that you write about in your novels: the secrets people keep, the restoration of the human soul after tragedy, and much more. Do you find that you learn more about these topics through the process of writing about them? Will readers find any similar themes in future novels?

I definitely learn about human nature as I research and write. I learn from following my characters pathway, they show me who they are through their actions. I’m simply the medium for their stories. The idea for The Lies We Keep came from the notion of people who choose to disappear. Why do some people decide to walk away from their lives? Their families left to wonder if they are alive or dead. What would have to be so wrong for someone to walk away? There’s the obvious answers, financial trouble, crimes committed, abuse, addictions, avoiding fallout of some type. But what if there is no apparent reason? What went wrong inside that person? This is the story I was after with The Lies We Keep…these are the stories I’m always after.

In my first novel, Restoration, I asked myself the simple question, what would happen if life was going along just fine and in an instant everything changed when a man lost his wife, who happened to be the glue holding it all together? What would happen to him? Would he pull it together? Would he fall apart? I like to examine human pathos, the depth of emotional response to life’s tragedies, large and small. Why do some people pick up and move on so easily and others struggle to regain any sense of normalcy? Where does strength come from? Why are others so fragile? The more I write, the more I learn and the more I seem to be able to understand people. And yes, I’m sure I’ll be writing more on these themes.

Restoration

How did you choose the genre you write in? Or did it choose you?

I write commercial/mainstream fiction, but some have suggested it leans toward literary fiction because of the depth of emotional content and the lessons learned by the characters. Others like to call my work, love stories, because there’s always love and heartbreak at the core. My most recent novel, The Lies We Keep is a suspense novel. I’m currently at work on a new novel that seems to fall under all of the above.

Are your characters ever based on people you know?

Every character is a compilation of people I have known, or know or even just see around town. It’s almost as if characters are created out of all my questions about life. Why is he so mean? Why does she talk so loud? What makes one person kinder and another cruel? I’m always wondering. And I’m always wandering! I’ve lived all over the country and in Europe and everywhere I go, people are basically the same. They want the same things. They may have different accents or speak another language, but for the most part, give or take a few lunatics along the way — everyone is after the same things. Security. Love — a good life. So yes, my characters are based on everyone I know and everyone I don’t know.

What else have you written?

For a while I was obsessed with writing super short pieces. Short-shorts. And verses. Poetry. I was never good at short stories. Although, I haven’t given up, I still try to write short stories. I have one in particular that I have revised over and over for the last seventeen years, never satisfied. I love reading short stories. Some authors are so good at telling a story in sparse, crisp detail. I’d love to be able to write that way. Like the story, Inventing The Abbotts by Sue Miller. Brilliant. I worked for a literary magazine in San Francisco called Zoetrope: All-Story. I would read through stacks and stacks of stories in the slush pile secretly hoping to learn more about the mysteries of short story. I’m still stunned when an author can take me in so deep, so quickly and finish up so fast leaving me totally satisfied. I’ve also written articles for town newspapers and was an editorial assistant writing restaurant reviews for a regional magazine. At one time, I had my own boutique business called The Word Source, and you name it, I wrote it – resumes, menus, and promotional ads, even medical transcription. When I was in the corporate world (payroll, accounting, and then sales), I also wrote the division newsletter. I guess you could say I’m always the writer. And I blog, like all authors are expected to these days, but in a run-on sentence type of way, as a way to break from the rules of prose. Oh, and I write killer love letters. But it’s novels I love to write most. That’s where my heart is happiest as a writer.

How often do your characters surprise you by doing or saying something totally unexpected?

Everyday. When my husband comes home, I often say, “You’ll never guess what they did today.”

What part of writing a novel do you enjoy the most? The least?

I love the total immersion of the novel. Becoming obsessed with the story, the characters, and the settings. But, I hate when my knees and wrists begin to hurt after I write too long.

Some authors, like me, always write scenes in order. But I know some people write scenes out of order. How about you?

Always in order — the characters drive the plot.

Is it important for you to know the ending of a book before you write it? The title?

I always know the ending before I begin. I’ve listened to the characters for months before I sit down to write the story. There are surprises along the way, but I know where they are ultimately going. It’s almost as if I’m going back to the beginning to see how they got there. The title is important but I can start without it.

Some writers edit excessively as they write; others wait until a novel is finished to do the bulk of the editing. How about you?

I write straight through on the first draft. Then Edit. Then Revise. Then edit, revise, and repeat until I’m satisfied.

After working for a very long time on a novel, many authors get to a point where they lose their objectivity and feel unable to judge their own work. Has this ever happened to you? If so, what have you done about it?

I’m fortunate to have a few close folks who tell me when I’m off the path, and a great editor who wields a big, red pen with abandon. And I love and appreciate them all.

Do you have any advice for first-time authors?

You’ve heard it before, but it’s true. Read. Read. Read. This is the way you learn.

Can you tell us about your road to publication?

You don’t want to hear my sad story! Let’s just pretend it was all fairy angels and pixie dust, and not hard work, determination, doors slammed in my face, a binder full of rejection letters and all those humiliatingly awful pitch sessions at writer’s conferences. No, it all happened in a beautiful dream. But seriously, I set goals for myself, I was polite and helpful and grateful to everyone and anyone who could point me in the right direction. I got involved, volunteered, took classes, joined writer’s groups, went to conferences, read at least forty books a year, worked for free in publishing to learn about the industry, and finally, when I was ready, I called myself an author, gave myself a five year deadline to write my first novel, find an agent and land a contract with a publisher. I met that five-year deadline by pushing myself, and others (politely) to be in the right place at the right time, by staying active and searching out every lead. You have to be your own advocate. You have to believe in yourself, and in your work. Successful authors create a great product, market and sell that product and are always setting new goals. Successful doesn’t necessarily mean bestselling. Being true to yourself, going after your dreams, and being realistic will keep you in the game. And here’s the biggest way to get published — just be nice. Believe it or not, having good manners goes a long way in the publishing industry.

What do you like best about the books you read?

I love books that stay with me long after I’ve read them.

Were you “born to write” or did you discover your passion for writing later in life?

I knew early in life I wanted to be an author. I loved wandering the stacks at the library and visited the bookmobile every week at the park near my house growing up. There’s nothing better than getting lost in the pages of a good book and I wanted to do the same thing, write those kinds of books.

Where do you live now? If you had to move to another city/state/country, where might that be?

I live in a quintessential New England village about an hour north of New York City. After living in thirteen different cities in thirty years, my husband and I struggle to figure out where we will retire. There are so many places we love. But if we had to move again, and it wasn’t a transfer for my husband’s work, I’d probably want to move closer to our three adult children. And luckily, they live in really cool places.

Trains, planes, automobiles, or boats?

Automobiles. Always love a good road trip. It’s the only time I eat candy bars from gas stations.

If you could be invisible for a day, what would you do?

I’d hang out at the White House. With an invisible pen and notebook.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?

My husband and three children, they’re the gift that keeps giving.

If you could have one skill that you don’t currently have, what would it be?

To hit a homerun, as in — be athletic.

What music soothes your soul?

Classical. (And okay, Adele)

What are three things you think we can all do to make the world a better place?

Stay calm. Tell the truth. Be kind.

What simple pleasure makes you smile?

Walking in nature. Babies laughing. Church bells. Fresh flowers. Big hugs. Warm baths. Clean sheets. Train stations. Sunny days. First snow. Waves breaking. Sunset.

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CHAT WITH LYNDA RENHAM

 

Lynda_RenhamLynda Renham has been writing for as long as she can remember and had her first work published in a magazine at age nine and has continued writing in various forms since. She has had several poems published as well as articles in numerous magazines and newspapers. Recently she has taken part in radio discussions on the BBC. She has studied literature and creative writing and has a blog on her web page: www.renham.co.uk Lynda lives with her second husband and cat in Oxfordshire, England. She is Associate Editor for the online magazine The Scavenger and contributor to many others. When not writing Lynda can usually be found wasting her time on Facebook.

Time to chat with Lynda!

What is your latest book?

I have two new books out at present. A Romantic Comedy which is the normal genre I write and also a romantic series. The comedy is titled Perfect Weddings and the romance series are titled A Village Romance and A Summer Romance.

Perfect_Weddings

Is your recent book part of a series?

A Village Romance and A Summer Romance are part of a series named ‘Little Perran.’

A_Summer_Romance

Do you write under a pen name? If so, can you tell us why?

I write The Little Perran romance series under the name Amy Perfect. I did this to differentiate the series from my usual romantic comedy books. They are more romantic in style to the comedy novels.

Village_Romance

How did you choose the genre you write in? Or did it choose you?

I chose to write romantic comedy after my contemporary romance novels didn’t sell.

I had a severe migraine and watched The Holiday movie to take my mind off things. I then wondered if it were possible to write a feel good novel. I wrote Croissants and Jam, which sold very well and I’ve never looked back. I rather think the genre chose me.

How often do your characters surprise you by doing or saying something totally unexpected?

Oh often. It’s what I like most about writing. The character Birdie in A Village Romance and A Summer Romance, took me totally by surprise though. I really wasn’t expecting what happened to her. You’ll have to read the book to find out what, of course.

What part of writing a novel do you enjoy the most? The least?

Truthfully I enjoy the ending and the promotion. I truly find writing very hard. It seems to flow but it really is agony and I’m sure many writers would say that. I’m also a terrible procrastinator so when the end comes I’m ecstatic that I even got that far. How I have written eleven novels in just four years never ceases to amaze me. I’m that much of a procrastinator.

After working for a very long time on a novel, many authors get to a point where they lose their objectivity and feel unable to judge their own work. Has this ever happened to you? If so, what have you done about it?

Yes, this has happened to me. I re-read the novels so many times when I’m writing that I reach that point where I am convinced the whole thing is rubbish. My husband is my fiercest critic and is the first to read and edit my work. He keeps me grounded and tells me when it is good. I trust his judgement and allow it to over- ride my own.

What have you done to market your novel and what did you find the most effective? The least effective?

I used to do a lot of marketing. I would promote the books on social media. Contact online book reviewers and so on. I spent more time promoting than I did writing. Then these past weeks I have been ill and could not do anything really except lay around and feel sorry for myself. The book sold loads without me doing anything which made me wonder if promotion actually does anything. I think you maybe need to do it when you start out but after that I think it doesn’t make much difference. After all tweets disappear so fast and there are only so many people who see your posts on Facebook. I think the best thing a writer can do is write good books.

Having our work out there to be judged by strangers is often daunting for writers. Do you have any tips on handling a negative review?

Accept it for what it is, simply someone’s opinion which is to be expected if you put yourself out there. Having said that some reviews are unacceptable and I have experienced some horrid reviews but these have been written by an online stalker and have been removed by Amazon. So, if an author feels a review is truly objectionable then one should contact Amazon. Otherwise I think it best to overlook the bad review and simply plod on and remember the good reviews.

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, how do you get around it?

Oh yes, too much. I feel like I have permanent writers block. I would like to give advice on getting round it but the truth is I have no easy answers. I tend to continue writing no matter what. I like to think that somewhere in the rubbish there is a little bit of gold and that I can work with that.

Where do you live now? If you had to move to another city/state/country, where might that be?

I live in a small village in the Cotwolds in Oxfordshire, England. Everyone knows everyone and we spend a lot of time going to village activities. I love it. At Christmas we have lots of party invitations. I love being part of a village and write about village life in my Little Perran series.

What’s your favorite comfort food? Least favorite food?

Chocolate is my comfort food. I adore it. I hate cabbage. Always have.

What might we be surprised to know about you?

I used to have a terrible stutter.

What makes you angry?

Foolish people.

What music soothes your soul?

Classical music and Adele

 

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CHAT WITH WHITNEY DINEEN

WhitneyDineenWhitney Dineen is a retired Ford model who writes romantic comedies and middle reader fiction. Her first romantic comedy, She Sins at Midnight, won a silver medal in the 2015 Reader’s Favorite Award. She has two young daughters, five chickens named after Barbie princesses and weeder’s hands.

Time to chat with Whitney!

Is your recent book part of a series?

Mimi Plus Two is book 2 in The Mimi Chronicles. In The Reinvention of Mimi Finnegan, Mimi is hell bent on finding Mr. Right and winds up with two remarkable specimens to choose from. In Mimi Plus Two, she marries into the aristocracy, gets pregnant and falls spectacularly into postpartum hell.

MimiReinventionDo you feel your current book is your favorite?

I love Mimi Plus Two. Mimi is my soul sister. I can definitely relate to her pregnancy and postpartum issues, as I suffered from both with my gestations. However, I do like to rely on the “funny” when writing. Postpartum is a serious issue, but I am first and foremost a romantic comedy author, heavy on the comedy.

MimiPlusTwo

Mimi Plus Two, has caused some controversy and very mixed reactions with readers. Can you tell us about that?

Wow, I don’t even know where to begin. Readers fell in love with Mimi in The Reinvention of Mimi Finnegan, where Mimi battled her inferiority complex, searched for the love of her life and joined Weight Watchers. In Mimi Plus Two, Mimi gets married, is pregnant and dreaming of her happily-ever-after when she gets hit with an extreme case of postpartum depression. About 25% of my readership is livid with the storyline.

All I can say, look folks, crap happens. Mimi is a fully dimensional character living a life like the rest of us, riddled with bumps and bruises. If you’re looking for a pure fairy tale, pass this book up, it’s not for you. Mimi Plus Two is still a humor novel and there’s plenty of it, but it gets a bit deeper than the first book. If you love Mimi and don’t want to read this book, fear not. Mini Mimis will be out in the Spring of 2017 and it’s straight comedy. As a veteran of severe postpartum depression I can only say that I’m really disappointed by the criticism of the storyline. I set out to make people more aware are a real issue in hopes of opening their eyes and creating tolerance. I had hoped to reach more of you with this message.

Do you have complete control over your characters or do they ever control you?

The truth is I’m their bitch. I do what they tell me. If I name them wrong, they let me know. If I don’t write their dialogue correctly, they wake me at 3 in the a.m. to fix it. They OWN me.

What genre have you never written and would like to try?

I currently have a fantasy novel trying to write itself. I’m all, “Not now! I don’t have the time!! OMG, wait until summer break with the kid’s is over!!!” It’s not listening and I may be forced to get up at 4 a.m. through the summer to get it out. I am not pleased at the thought.

What do you think the greatest misconceptions about indie authors are?

I think a lot of people think indie authors are writers who couldn’t make it with a big house. This is simply not the truth. Many authors choose to be indie because they want to control their content and not have it watered down or changed to the point it doesn’t resemble their original idea. They also want to produce books quicker and more often than the mainstream publishing houses will let them. Often times, unless you’re a huge name, indie authors make way more money than their “legit published” counterparts.

She Sins Cover OnlyWhat are some of the crazy things people have said upon learning that you’re an author? How have you responded?

I think the most ludicrous thing people have said is, “It must be nice to have the time to write a book!” Like time is the only ingredient necessary in penning 80K plus words into a workable and marketable tome. Like I don’t get up at 4 in the a.m. when I’m writing so I still have time to be a fulltime mother, gardener, wife, housekeeper and laundress. While my instincts are to react violently, I usually just smile and answer, “Yeah, I’m lucky like that.”

Do you have any advice for first-time authors?

Yes I do. Write what you love, write what you feel and don’t edit yourself. Let your freak flag fly and shoot for the stars! Don’t worry about what your mother, father, Aunt Betty, or third grade teacher will think when they read your words. That kind of censorship is the kiss of death to creativity.

Is it important for you to know the end of the book you write? The title?

I never even know what the next sentence is in the book I’m working on yet alone the ending. Truthfully, my books author themselves and I’m their secretary taking dictation. It’s a wonderful and weird process that I don’t question. I see a lot of my life and self in my characters so I know I have value beyond my typing skills, but man, I’m always surprised but what flies through my fingers onto the computer screen.

What is your most favorite comfort food? Least fave?

French fries, hands down! I love shoestring, steak fries and waffle cut. I adore them all! I hate snails. Actually, I loathe them. The mere thought of them gags me.

If you could have one skill you don’t currently have, what would it be?

I would be a kick ass, auditorium-filling, diva singer, the likes of which Aretha Franklin would envy. I would have heart, soul and lungs that never quit. I would be the female equivalent of Freddie Mercury and would belt out Preacher Man and I Will Survive without my children begging and pleading with me to stop.

If you are a TV watcher, what are the names of your favorite shows?

I have not been a dedicated television watcher since my kids were born; having said that, I get sick once a year and take to my bed in high drama and binge watch some show or another. I tackled every episode of House of Cards on Netflix in March and now have an extremely heightened fear of politicians and Robin Wright. Seriously, I would cross the street if she was coming toward me.

What is your biggest pet peeve?

I have this charming little disorder called Misophonia, which essentially makes me super, duper, über, insanely sensitive to sound. Therefore, I would have to say my biggest pet peeve is someone chewing nuts within a mile of me.

What simple pleasure makes you smile?

My children laughing causes me no end of joy.

What is the most valuable class you took in school?

Clearly typing. I have yet to use Logic, Rhetoric and Persuasion, Religious Quests or Trig. History has come in handy a bit and Film Criticism allowed me to live in L.A. for 18 years and have something to talk about at industry parties, but typing? Typing is where it’s at!

Have you ever walked out of a movie?

Yup. I walked out of Minions. What the heck is with those little, yellow talking phalluses. I do not get the draw to save my life.

Do you have guilty pleasures?

Um, yes. My favorite would be whipped cream sprayed directly out of the can into my mouth. I also really love mini colored marshmallows in some kind of horrid jello salad. Ooh and Peppermint Schnapps in hot chocolate.

I hear you some very exciting news! Can you share it with us?

OMG, yes! I’m pregnant again!! I am so totally and completely kidding. I’ve been pregnant 6 times to have 2 live births. My girls were born when I was 40 and 42. During my second c-section, I had my tubes tied. So if I ever, EVER, wind up pregnant again, heads will roll!!! I guess that makes my exciting news my tubal ligation.

If you were to advertise your book as a bumper sticker, what would it say?

Pregnancy, Postpartum & Aliens

         The Trifecta of Nuts

 

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CHAT WITH GERRI BOWEN

GerriBowen

Gerri Bowen lives in beautiful south central Pennsylvania with her family, many cats and three dogs. She writes paranormal/fantasy with humor, and her stories can be historical or contemporary, but usually always with characters from her wild-blooded world. Gerri is always appreciative when people read her books, and jumps for joy when someone leaves a lovely review.

What is your latest book?

ESCAPE TO GETTIS…AND LOVE

EscapeToGettis_1400(1)

Is your recent book part of a series?

 Yes, it’s book one in THE LOVE IN GETTIS SERIES. And Gettis is short for Gettysburg. Book one is a Time Travel from 800’s western Ireland to modern day Gettysburg.

What are the special challenges in writing a series?

 Remembering all the people that pop in and out, what they look like, and so on. With my Wild-Blooded world and all the characters in that world, I had to write it all down with explanations. It’s on my website, but more importantly, I have a glossary in front of my latest book, ESCAPE TO GETTIS…AND LOVE. I’ve heard back that it’s a great reference.

What are the greatest challenges in writing short stories?

 For me, it’s writing a believable romance in 10,000 words. A couple meet and are attracted to the other, have problems with the other, problems resolved, words of love expressed from both a happy ending and no room for sex. All in 10,000 words.

How did you choose the genre you write in? Or did it choose you?

 I started out writing historical romance. Those manuscripts are packed away, and will remain so. I discovered that as I wrote, humor crept in, and then fantasy and paranormal. So I’m happy writing stores with humor…the impossible…and love.

Are your characters ever based on people you know?

 They may be, but not consciously. I do use characteristics of some people I’ve come across, but not an entire character.

If you were to advertise your book on a bumper sticker, what would it say?

 Escape into my world.

What else have you written?

 Many short stores in anthologies. I have an anthology of my own with some of my short stories that make up a family story, the Wilde’s and their friends. It’s Regency, ON THE WILD SIDE.

My first novel was FOR LOVE OF GWYNNETH. Historical set in England in 1135.

AUDREY’S LOVE. A Time Travel to 1068 England, and also a murder mystery.

LOVE’S BLOOD. Historical set in Wales/England. Vikings included.

My current release features two characters from LOVE’S BLOOD.

For_Love_Of_Gwyneth

How often do your characters surprise you by doing or saying something totally unexpected?

Always. I’m usually very pleased.

Audrey'sLove

What part of writing a novel do you enjoy the most? The least?

I enjoy thinking about the story and the characters, what they get into, what they need to achieve, that sort of thing.

The least? Trying to write it down before I forget all those lovely nuggets.

Some authors, like me, always write scenes in order. But I know some people write scenes out of order. How about you?

 I prefer to write them in order although every now and then I’ll need to write a scene down and then I’ll save it for later in the book.

CoverFinalLG-LovesBlood

Is it important for you to know the ending of a book before you write it? The title?

 No, only the title. If I have an ending in mind, and I usually do, it’s never the one I end up with.

Some writers edit excessively as they write; others wait until a novel is finished to do the bulk of the editing. How about you?

 I edit a bit as I begin a new writing session since that helps me get into the mood of the scene, but I save most of the editing for when I know I finished with the book.

After working for a very long time on a novel, many authors get to a point where they lose their objectivity and feel unable to judge their own work. Has this ever happened to you? If so, what have you done about it?

 Yes, always. When it’s complete, I’ll ask if people to read it and let me know if its crap, needs more work, does it make sense or if it’s fine.

What are some of the crazy things people have said to you upon learning you are an author? How have you responded?

Can you give me a free book?

I just look at them and tell them they can buy one. I guess I’m getting grumpier as I get older.

How important is the choosing of character names to you? Have you ever decided on a name and then changed it because it wasn’t right for the character?

Very important. It’s how I think about them and picture them.

Authors, especially Indies, are constantly trying to understand why some authors sell very while their talented fellow authors have a hard time of it. It’s an ongoing conundrum. What do you make of it all?

I wish I understood. With one book, AUDREY’S LOVE, I had all these great reviews coming in from people I didn’t know. My publisher at that time didn’t know either. I’ve never experienced that level of gushiness with any other of my books.

Do you have any advice for first-time authors?

Don’t rush it. Sit on it. Let it simmer. If you send it out, the next day you’ll think of a great line or scene to add. So sit on it, start another book and when you’re sure it’s ready, send it out to be edited.

Can you tell us about your road to publication?

 I was first published with Highland Press, they gave me my start. My first short story was BLUE MOON REUNION in the BLUE MOON ENCHANTMENT ANTHOLOGY. All the stories were based on what happens in a blue moon. The book won an award. I submitted other short stories that were published and then novels to Highland Press. I finally decided I wanted to self publish. I just didn’t know how. At one of my chapter meetings Judi Fennel spoke, and that’s when I decided I’d just do it. So I did it.

Blue_Moon_ReuionPlease, tell us about your experiences with social media. What are your favorite and least-favorite parts of it?

I enjoy Facebook and Twitter, and I’ve made some good friends on there and also discovered some great books. No time for anything else, really.

My least favorite part of social media is the author who pleads/DM’s me to read their book. I don’t have time to read what is already on my Kindle as it is. I do actually add books to my want to read list, but not if people keep pushing it in my face. We all have books. We all want people to read and like our books. You can’t force that.

Do you have any grammatical pet peeves to share?

Only the rules I always, always forget.

What do you like best about the books you read? What do you like least?

The story. I want to read a good story. I want to know more about the characters in the story. If it’s humorous, so much the better.

The least? I already know about sex, so I really don’t need another description. Unless it’s funny, then I’ll read the scene. Otherwise I skip right over them. If I’ve skipped over half the book I don’t buy that author again. I also dislike when things don’t make sense, as in someone going down to investigate a noise when they know a killer is after them, but the author thinks they have to do this because they need it to happen to make the rest of the story work.

Do you have any secrets for effective time management?

My chapter has this thing called 50 words in 50 days. It gets you in the habit of writing at least fifty words a day. After a while, it’s double what you did the day before and then before you know it, you’re writing in the thousands a week. I do this every day and it’s the only thing I do remotely relating to time management.

eCoverFinalLG-PassageToSummer

Were you “born to write” or did you discover your passion for writing later in life?

Born to write. Can’t help but write and always have from elementary school on.

Do you dread writing a synopsis for your novel as much as most writers do? Do you think writing a synopsis is inherently evil? Why?

I hate them. I can write them much, much later, but not when my latest book is still fresh.

Having our work out there to be judged by strangers is often daunting for writers. Do you have any tips on handling a negative review?

Ignore them because anyone can put up a review, even if they haven’t read the book.

Many authors do giveaways; have you found them a successful way to promote your book?

To be truthful, I’ve never had a giveaway. Since most of my books are $.99, I’d say that is a giveaway.

Are you an early bird writer or night owl? And do you have any must haves like coffee, chocolates, wine, music or something else?

I like to start writing in the morning before duty calls me away. I must have coffee and music.

We all know the old saying; you can’t judge a book by its cover. This is true. However, how much importance do you place on your book cover design?

I believe it’s very important, and I do shy away from covers that look garish, show evidence of torture and half-clothed people.

A lot of authors are frustrated by readers who don’t understand how important reviews are? What would you say to a reader who doesn’t think his or her review matters?

They matter. Reviews do matter. But I think they know that already.

Do you know anyone who has ever received any auto DM on Twitter (with a link) who was happy about it?

 Never discussed that with anyone, but I would doubt it.

Where do you live now? If you had to move to another city/state/country, where might that be?

Pennsylvania, outside of Hanover. I moved here from Maryland almost ten years ago. I love it here.

Trains, planes, automobiles, or boats?

 A car. I used to love to fly, but not anymore. Boats sink. I’d ride a train if I had to.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?

 A play table with two chairs. It was a Christmas present and I was nine.

What are the most important traits you look for in a friend?

 Trustworthy, honesty, good sense of humor.

What makes you angry?

 Cruelty to people, animals.

What music soothes your soul?

 Classical.

What was the most valuable class you ever took in school? Why?

 Art. I learned to trust myself.

If you are a TV watcher, would you share the names of your favorite shows with us?

 NCIS, Bones, Big Bang Theory and Grimm.

If you could add a room onto your current home, what would you put in it?

 Bookcases for all my books.

What’s your favorite film of all times?

 It used to be Make Mine Mink. Now it’s The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel For The Elderly And The Beautiful.

What’s your biggest pet peeve?

When someone deliberately misunderstands another person.

What are three things you think we can all do to make the world a better place?

Smile at people, with a real smile. Tell the people we love that we love them. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

What simple pleasure makes you smile?

Looking at trees. Really.

 

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CHAT WITH NADIA HASAN

nadia_hasan

Nadia Hasan is a writer and poet living in Detroit, MI. Following wherever the path of inspiration leads, she strives to cultivate hope, awareness and empathy through her writing. Her work has appeared in The Mirror News under their “Through the Looking Glass” segment, The Michigan Ave. Creative Arts Journal, and Rewriting Mary Sue. She also writes paranormal fiction as N.J. Ember.

Congratulations on your new book! What is called?

Thank you! My book is called Waking the Wild.

Waking_The_WildDo the poems in your book have a theme?

I think the theme of the book would be growth. Most of my poems are about growing emotionally and mentally and the struggle between transitioning from a difficult period in life to one of healing.

How would you describe your poetry?

The majority of my poetry is free verse. I would describe it as visceral and evocative. I’ve noticed that people often react strongly to my poems, both positively and negatively. Either way, I take it as a compliment that I am able to make them feel anything at all.

What do you strive for when you write a poem?

When I write a poem I try to describe a complete narrative or emotion. I want them to be as true as possible to whatever experience I’m trying to create, but I also want it be logical. I want it to be accessible by both readers of poetry and non-readers, those trying to “get into “poetry.

Do you always know what want to write or do you just let your emotions spill onto the page and form words?

I’m emotion driven. I almost never know what I’m going to write about beforehand. Usually it stems from some lines that repeat in my head until I’m forced to write them down. I sit in front of the computer, center myself and begin. I try not to think too much about what I’m doing until it’s all out.

Can you tell us about poetry and literary-centered events happening in your hometown, Detroit?

The two events that come to mind are Progressionista and the Motown Mic competition. Progressionista is a book club founded by Shanel Adams for girls in Detroit ages eight to twelve. During each monthly meeting, they have women professionals (progressionistas) speak to the girls about their careers. Each career is related to the themes of the next book. The meetings also include interactive activities which help encourage further reading over that month. So not only does Progressionista foster literacy and cultural awareness, but it promotes female leadership and illustrates how important reading for fun can be.

Motown Mic is a spoken word competition held at the Motown Museum. The competition is held each Friday in April and provides a way for artists and local poets to share their talents. Two winners are selected each week and advance to the grand finale in June at the Garden Theatre for a chance to win a $1,000 cash prize.

Who are the poets you admire? What is it about their work that speaks to you?

There are so many! There’s spoken word artists like Alysia Harris, Miles Hodges, Zora Howard, Sarah Kay and Sierra DeMulder to start. There are also poets such as Amber Jerome-Norrgard and Ben Ditmars. I think their work speaks to me for various reasons.

I admire the first group not only because of the way they craft their poems but of the way they perform them. You really feel it and it stays with you. I’m envious of that. As for Amber and Ben, I think they write poems that are uniquely them. They leave so much of themselves on the page. Every poet I read has some quality that leaves an impression or some way of writing that teaches me something.

I know that the cover of your book has very personal meaning to you. Can you tell us more?

I lost both my best friend and her little brother this year. It was sudden, and continues to be something that I struggle to come to terms with everyday. We were both writers and many of my poems, if not written with her, were directly influenced by our friendship and the conversations we used to have. So when I was thinking about the look I wanted for the cover, my first thought was to incorporate things that had meaning to the both of us. I choose lotus flowers because she was the first person to tell me about the life of lotuses, how they rise out of muck everyday untouched by it and still sink back into it every night. I chose lilies because they were her favorite flower. It was important to me that she was represented because she was such a tremendous part of its creation.

PinkLotusWhat would you like readers to know about what you write and who you are as a poet and person?

I think it’s easy for people to forget that an artist and their work are separate. Even poetry, which is very personal and most often an intimate look at the poet is never a one hundred percent accurate portrayal. I want readers to know that even though many of my poems may seem bleak, that’s just a snapshot of whatever I’m thinking about at the time. Alysia Harris said it best when she said, “a poem is just a tombstone eulogizing a moment.” I have good days and bad days just like anyone else.

What can we expect from you in the future?

All the books! In addition to writing poetry, I plan to write paranormal fiction books under a pen name. I hope to put out at least two poetry books per year. I also want to write more flash/micro fiction.

Do you write under a pen name? If so, can you tell us why?

Yes, I do. I had always planned on writing my paranormal fiction under a pen name because I wanted a little bit of freedom to write without judgment. I wanted to be able to feel free to take creative risks. Maybe I just really liked the idea of having an alter ego.

What else have you written?

I’ve written and published short stories and flash fiction. My favorite one is called Bird Song and it’s currently up on Rewriting Mary Sue. From the Cafe and Beyond: A Collection of Poems and Other Writings was my first published book.

If you could have one skill that you don’t currently have, what would it be?

I would love to be able to draw. It would be nice to draw my characters the way that I see them or to create my own merchandise and promotional graphics.

What are three things you think we can all do to make the world a better place?

Be proactive in learning more about people or things that are different from you, especially if your ignorance causes you to fear them. Treat everyone and everything with compassion, empathy and respect. Contribute something positive to the world through the gifts that you were born with. (We all have them. The trick is figuring out what they are.)

What simple pleasure makes you smile?

I love getting something in the mail that I wasn’t expecting. My favorite things are those which are handmade or handwritten, like cards and letters. I like being able to have a tangible memory of someone. I like being able to look at something and remember the way that I felt in that moment.

If you are a TV watcher, would you share the names of your favorite shows with us?

I watch Orphan Black, Sherlock, Doctor Who, Penny Dreadful, Scandal and every version of NCIS.

If you could add a room onto your current home, what would you put in it?

I would add a library and office. If I could only add one room, I guess it would have to be a library and office combined. I’d be fine with that.

Care to brag about your family?

I have the best grandpa in the whole world! You might think that’s an exaggeration, but it really isn’t. He does everything for me and sacrifices so much to make sure that I have everything I need. He’s also the biggest supporter of whatever I do. We’re pretty much opposites in everything and it drives us crazy. He’s neat and I’m organized chaos. He’s an early bird and I’m a night owl, but I wouldn’t trade him for anything. He’s one of a kind.

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(Referenced in Interview)

Progressionista

Motown Mic

Bird Song

CHAT WITH ANGIE DICKERSON

AngieDickerson

Angie Dickerson is the author of women’s fiction and her debut novel, Friends at Forty, is the first in the Friends series with book two underway titled Friends at Sea. She is new to self-publishing and was previously a literature and creative writing teacher for fifteen years. Angie decided to risk it all and retire early to make her writing dreams a reality. She is, like her main character, a misunderstood forty-something wife and mother of three who has recently been demoted to the role of empty nester. Her novels are for anyone who’s ever felt lost and had the need to find their way again. She currently lives in a gorgeous, over-priced unit overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Newport Beach, California with her critic, editor, website designer and cheerleader-husband of twenty-two years. Is your recent book part of a series?

Time to chat with Angie!

My debut novel, Friends at Forty, is the first in the Friends series. It starts with a marriage in trouble after they inherit the painful role of empty nesters. The series is not to be confused with a trilogy. I have designed it so each book stands on its own without the need to read them chronologically. These will be the misadventures of married life, family ups and downs and much more. I am currently 40% through book 2 in the series titled, Friends at Sea. In this second book, Samantha and Daniel pack their marriage troubles and head for the high seas. The entire book takes place on a luxury cruise ship and has exciting ports-of-call adventures, as the couple continues their journey.

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What are the special challenges in writing a series?

The worst part about writing a series, at least at a fast pace and without the perks of an agent, professional agent or publisher, is that I have had very little feedback from the first book from readers. I am lucky to have a couple of wonderful book clubs reading my novel right now, but as I continue to wrap things up with book 2 I have to be confident that what I am delivering is what readers expect and will want to see from the next evolution for these two complex forty-somethings. But who knows? Maybe it’s all for the best that I don’t have lots of feedback. In that way I can just write the story the way I see it developing.

FriendsATSea

How did you choose the genre you write in? Or did it choose you?

The women’s fiction/chick lit genre absolutely choose me. I have many YA dystopian novels outlined and ready to go but this inexplicable attraction to flawed characters and marriage misadventures has a grip on me. I’m probably going to have to get countless of these women’s fiction novels out of my system before I even consider exploring other genres.

Are your characters ever based on people you know?

Every single character I create is autobiographical: based on someone I know well, someone I somewhat know, colleagues from my fourteen years in education, or my husband. The main characters are all mostly me: me on a bad day; me on a great day; me on my crazy; me at my best. The many faces of me.

If you were to advertise your book on a bumper sticker, what would it say?

“If our love life was a dishwasher, we could fix it!”

Some authors, like me, always write scenes in order. But I know some people write scenes out of order. How about you?

I must always write scenes in order otherwise I make a mess. I am horrible about continuity. My girl may be wearing a red cocktail dress and drinking a Margarita at the beginning of a scene and seconds later the drink magically morphed into a beer and she’s adjusting her jeans. Ouch! Yeah, no, I could never write out of sequence.

Is it important for you to know the ending of a book before you write it? The title?

Absolutely. I always outline. I had a creative writing professor who suggested that outlining can suck the creativity out of the narrative but I find without one my story meanders with little to objective or goal. I must know the main story arch. Now, once I start mashing those keys and scenes develop, “all is fair in love and war.” I don’t expect I’ll ever stop being surprised at the end of writing every chapter. They absolutely take on a life of their own while at the same time adhering to the big ideas, themes and story ending.

Some writers edit excessively as they write; others wait until a novel is finished to do the bulk of the editing. How about you?

Thanks to my loving, supportive and ever-present husband/in-house editor, I managed to finish my debut novel April 2016. I know where it to me I would still be editing and revising and editing over and over and over. Yikes! I also need to thank the wise words of Stephen King when he encourages beginning authors to just keep writing through “the crap” (I am paraphrasing here in other to keep this interview PG-13). Thank Mr. King!

AngieHave you received reactions/feedback to your work that has surprised you?

Yes. I think every author does at some point. Mine came with every rejection notice I received from countless agents about how my main character was just not likeable. Apparently, Samantha Blake is the forty-something, mother, wife and empty nester you’ll love to hate. I think if you are bothered by Sam, I have done my job because, honestly, we are all so very annoying, aren’t we? One recent review said: The main character was annoying and loveable all at the same time.

Are you an early bird writer or night owl? And do you have any must haves like coffee, chocolates, wine, music or something else?

Night owl. My brain doesn’t function properly until after 6 PM. I need tons and tons of coffee, sugary snacks (lemon bars are a recent favorite) & music!

A lot of authors are frustrated by readers who don’t understand how important reviews are? What would you say to a reader who doesn’t think his or her review matters?

I would say: To save an author, readers must write reviews. On Amazon and Kindle. On Barnes & Noble. On the author’s web page. On Goodreads.com and similar blogger sites. On their Facebook page and other social media venues. Anywhere and everywhere the novel is listed. Review! Review! Review please!

Please, tell us about your experiences with social media. What are your favorite and least-favorite parts of it?

At first, I was quite apprehensive and skeptical. But I read many expert articles suggesting any self-respecting author must be on Twitter, have a Facebook page, a professional-looking author website and be ever present on social media so I followed their advice. I can’t say enough great things about my experience with Twitter and the like. I was carefully to only “Follow” like-minded people who shared my passion for books and authors. This community has become an incredible asset for marketing. But the best thing isn’t what I get out of it but the great feeling you get when you can retweet another author’s work or novel and promote them. I always start my SM day by posting a reminder of the Twitter Author Challenge to promote three authors before you post—I’ve done it everyday and have quite a few “followers” turned “partners-in-crime” as we all help promote each other. The best of those examples is you featuring little-old-me on your site through this wonderful interview opportunity.

CONNECT WITH ANGIE

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CHAT WITH KATHLEEN HARRYMAN

Kathleen Harryman lives in York, England with her husband, two daughters and family dog and cat. Kathleen has always enjoyed reading, and grew up reading Enid Blyton, The Famous Five and The Secret Seven. Such stories have fueled Kathleen’s imagination, allowing her now to write her own stories.

What is your latest book?

My latest book is called When Darkness Falls This is my second novel after The Other Side Of The Looking Glass, which was more of a suspense than a psychological thriller like my second book.

How did you choose the genre you write in? Or did it choose you?

With both my books the genre really chose me.

I never really set out to write suspense, or psychological thrillers; however, I find that that is where my writing leads me.

What I like about this particular genre is the questions that it raises. I find human nature very intriguing; why do we act so differently to the same situation. Is it nature or nurture that makes us act the way we do? This in its self opens up a huge debate.

I hear you have some very exciting news! Can you share it with us?

Yes, I am currently writing a two-part book.

What I wanted to do here was look at things firstly from the killer’s perspective, take it ten years later when killing starts again, and look at it from the police/detective’s perspective.

I am hopeful that the first book in this duo will be out early 2018. (I’d better get writing!).

How often do your characters surprise you by doing or saying something totally unexpected?

Lots of times. That’s beauty of writing. I always have an idea of what I want the characters to be like, and then all of a sudden, they will do something completely out of character that will take me by surprise. I think this keeps the characters real. I know I can relate to this.

It also makes the story more interesting for the writer, as you have to look for ways out of the situation that your characters have gone themselves, and you into.

 Some authors, like me, always write scenes in order. But I know some people write scenes out of order. How about you?

I definitely write my scenes in order, this keeps the story flowing for me. I also feel that it also allows the characters to develop more. I think I would find it hard writing out of order and then piecing it back together.

Is it important for you to know the ending of a book before you write it? The title?

I like to have some understanding of how the book is going to end. The setting has more flexibility, but the ending for me is very important, as I tend to work up to this; bringing everything together. However, when I’d finished When Darkness Falls and finished editing, I found that there was something missing, so added the Epilogue. Looking back, and from the reviews I’ve received, I’d made the right decision.

The title I’m not always so stringent with.

I changed the title of both The Other Side Of The Looking Glass, and When Darkness Falls, a few times before I felt that it was right for the book.

Have you ever written characters that you truly despise?

Yes. It sounds strange doesn’t it. But I find that these characters add a lot of depth to the story and give it meaning. We don’t like everyone we meet in life, for one reason or another, and for a book to connect there always has to be a character, or two that you’re not going to like. To me it keeps the story real, and that’s important.

The strangest part about writing a book from the killer’s perspective, is that they haven’t been written to be liked; however, I still needed the reader to understand them, and though they may not agree with their methods (given that she’s a serial killer), it does help to create some likeability towards the character.

 What are the three things you think we can all do to make the world a better place?

My three things would be:

  1. Smile more. Smiles are infectious, if you’re smiling chances are you’ll pass that smile onto someone else. Being happy has got to make the world, better, right?
  2. Kindness; it doesn’t take much. Sometimes we all just seem to spend too much time rushing around, that we never stop, and think about our own actions, and how they affect other. Being kind isn’t about some great big gesture. Opening a door for someone; picking something up that has been dropped, or a simple ‘hello’ can make a huge difference on our general wellbeing and the wellbeing of those around us.
  3. This one is a bit radical, but what would happen if for one day only, we put away our mobile devices and actually talked face to face. Went for a coffee, or a drink. I sometimes think that communication is getting lost as quickly as technology advances. A day away from the whole world. A day spent in great company not worrying about missing a text or the anything, could in the long run make us happier, and the world a slightly better place to be. I did say it was radical…

 

What’s the coolest surprise you’ve ever had?

When our main computer went bang, I found it increasingly difficult to keep up with my writing. My husband came home and gave me an apple. I looked at him with a blank look on my face (I wasn’t hungry). After a bit, I think he took pity on me, and gave me an Apple Mac computer. I cannot tell you how much difference that one gift has made; huge. I even think I’m getting a little more techno, but don’t tell my kids, I swear they were born with a computer in their little hands.

Definitely the coolest present for me, ever.

Were you “born to write” or did you discover your passion for writing later in life?

I have always loved to make up stories. When I was very young I would pretend that I was an author, and that I had written lots of books.

I absolutely love writing and creating a story. Seeing the story come to life is a wonderful experience. It’s like being transported into another world, and watching the scenes unravel.

The hard part for me was finding out if I was capable of projecting my story enough to make other people love it as much as I do.

 Do you dread writing a synopsis for your novel as much as most writers do? Do you think writing a synopsis is inherently evil? Why?

Synopses are so hard. In a few short lines, you have to sum up hundreds of pages of writing. That’s really hard to do.

Evil? Yes, it’s definitely like taking a trip to the dark side.

The hardest part of writing is the synopsis. You have to consider what can be left out, and what needs to be left in. A lot happens in a book, and all of a sudden you have to make someone want to consider your full manuscript in a few words. How do you do that?

It sounds impossible, doesn’t it? And in some respects that is exactly what it feels like.

A manuscript could be rejected, not because it isn’t any good, but because the synopsis isn’t selling the manuscript. A synopsis is a very important selling tool.

 We all know the old saying; you can’t judge a book by its cover. This is true. However, how much importance do you place on your book cover design?

A cover design is what makes a book stand out, and is as important as the story within.

The book cover is what everyone is going to see first. It gives that appeal factor, and without words, invites someone to pick it up. This is the hard part. A story can’t sell itself, it needs a cover to say ‘look at me’ and ‘come on, you know you’re interested’. Then comes the blurb at the back of the book to entice the reader even more.

I had a lot of input regarding both my book covers and I’m completely blown away with how they’ve turned out.

 Care to brag about your family?

I have an absolutely wonderful family. I have two sisters, one of which is my identical twin. I tell my two daughters that a sister is the best friend they will ever have.

I had so much fun growing up, and it’s always great knowing that I have two sisters to share those times, and to reminisce with.

To me, family is one of the most important things in life. With family, you are never truly alone, even if they don’t always get you, I know that they love me. Pretty special eh!

 If you had a million dollars to give to charity, how would you allot the funds?

My dad was recently diagnosed with cancer; thankfully they caught it early and were able to operate and remove it. He is still undergoing treatment, but things are looking really good, and the doctors and everyone are really pleased with how he is doing. Until then didn’t really appreciate what a wonderful job the cancer charities do. So, I would probably split the money between the different cancer charities and those for animal welfare.

I love animals, and I’m a real softie when it comes to their welfare. It makes me really sad to see them being mistreated, or near to extinction, or removed from their natural habitat, which is why I would split the other half of the million to give to animal welfare.

If you could have one skill that you don’t currently have, what would it be?

I would really love to be able to speak another language, and admire anyone that is multilingual. This is definitely a skill I would love to poses.

 What’s your biggest pet peeve?

I have family dog, and my biggest peeve are dog owners that don’t clean up after their dog.

When my eldest daughter was four she fell over and got covered in dog poo, simply because an irresponsible owner hadn’t cleaned up after their dog.

Things like this shouldn’t be happening. We now even have dog bins to throw our dog poo in, so there is no excuse.

 What simple pleasure makes you smile?

I love the stars, and the early morning before everyone wakes up.

I get up super early in a morning 3:30am, and it is just a lovely time of the day, the birds are chirping, and I’ve seen the odd fox and deer. I even saw an owl one day. I said “Hello gorgeous” to him, he was that close. He flew off of course, but did say “T’you too” or that’s what it sounded like to me. It’s a pleasure worth smiling over.

 

  CONNECT WITH KATHLEEN

Website

Amazon Author Page (U.K.)

Amazon (U.S.)

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