Author Interview with Lily Black

1)      Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

A: I’ve always been a writer—even though I was actually a late reader. Ever since I was a kid books and reading were my first go-to in coping with the challenges of life, so writing became a natural outgrowth of all that time spent reading.

 

2)      What inspired you to write your book?

A: I have a black belt and on occasion teach women’s self defense classes, so as my mind turned over story ideas I was struck by the concept of a warm and cozy small town juxtaposed against a seriously scary situation, and the people caught up in it. I explore this dynamic in both my first book, Storm of Attraction, and the second which is also set in charming Willowdale.

 

3)      What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

A: The story always comes first, but one takeaway I really believe in is that even the most difficult circumstances can lead to unexpected good.

 

4)      What drew you into this particular genre?

A: I guess despite being very aware of the dangers in the world, I’m a romantic at heart and believe that true love can triumph over anything. Totally cheesy, I know! I also believe that sometimes people need something to shake them out of their usual circumstances in order to discover what other resources they might have, and who they really trust. Romantic suspense is the perfect medium to explore this.

 

5)      If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

A: Just now I’d sit down with Detective Rawlings and have a long chat with her about her estranged husband! I know the two of them have split—leaving her to raise her twins mostly alone—and I know he’s a National Geographic photographer, but I don’t have all the other details and want them, because these two will be getting a novella or some newsletter time in the near future!

 

6)      What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

A: I use my Facebook page to connect with my readers, and really enjoy that. I also have my news page on my website which doubles as a blog, and more importantly send out a newsletter to subscribers in which I share short fiction bursts that I’ve written, or anything else I can to give my readers insights into my characters and Willowdale. I also love connecting with readers generally through the Book Ninjas website (www.book-ninjas.com), a content-rating catalog of romance and women’s fiction which I co-own and help to run. There I can see which books are popular and of course pick out new books just right for me based on their blush level, and what I see other readers picking up!

 

7)      What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

A: First, read, of course. Then, write. Remember that even short burst of writing time can train you in the craft, so never underestimate the importance of short snatches of time you can devote to your writing dreams.

8)      What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

A: I’m so glad you asked! I recently turned in Willowdale book two—tentatively titled Storm of Deception—to my publisher, and it will release sometime in 2019. It’s the story of a senator’s daughter and the veteran who publicly humiliated her when he ended their engagement, plus a deadly black mailer. The hero was introduced in Storm of Attraction so readers will remember him, and there are cameo appearances from the first couple, so I think readers will get a kick out of that. But mostly it’s just a super intense love story set against the back drop of a winter festival and the black mailer’s schemes, with touches of the drama which comes from life in the political limelight. To celebrate Storm of Deception’s acceptance for publication I made ‘suspenseful snowflakes’ by printing a page from the unedited draft. So much fun to make, since they have tiny teaser peeks at a page from the novel! They’ve been lots of fun to give away and I’m happy to share them here, too, if anyone would like one. This is a novel that nearly ripped my soul in half writing, and I can’t wait to share it with my readers!

SofD three sparkly snowflakes white side

Lily Black website: http://www.lilyblackbooks.com/

LB Twitter: https://twitter.com/lilyblackbooks

Book Ninjas website: http://www.book-ninjas.com/
LB Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Lily-Black-1713161408963150/

 

Storm of Attraction low res

Advertisements

Interview with Author Philip Bencel

Check out my latest #authorinterview with Philip Bencel, author of Freedom City, a dystopian novel set in a world way too similar to our own… #interview #bookblog

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

I’ve been a private investigator in Washington, D.C. for almost twenty years. I’ve written stories since I was a kid, but I didn’t publish my first books until I was in my mid-thirties: Introduction to Conducting Private Investigations and Principles of Investigative Documentation. I returned to writing fiction last year, when I took a sabbatical from my investigations company to write a novel.

2) What inspired you to write your book?

The book I aspired to write last year was called Order of Damaged Souls, set around the 14th century Flemish peasant revolt. I finished that book, but I ultimately decided it was too dark for mainstream consumption. While bemoaning all the time that I “wasted” on Damaged Souls, I had an epiphany about just how demoralized I was about the American disaster marked by Donald Trump’s presidency. This soul-searching led me to re-read The Monkey Wrench Gang, a campy novel written by Edward Abbey about a band of misfits who sabotage stuff to protect the environment. I thought, ‘I should write something like that, but set in post-Trump America!’ Thus inspired, I wrote Freedom City in about three months, rushing to get it out before Trump’s impeachment. [Laughter].

3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

I don’t know if I can curse on your blog—but fucking hell, what we’re living through right now is the resurgence of fascism, plain and simple. I know the left is often too loose with the word ‘fascist,’ and that’s regrettable, but there is nothing else to call attacks on the press, on the judiciary, and outright distain for the rule of law by the so-called President of the United States. So, Freedom City is a serious book about a very serious topic, but I really tried to bring it down to a level where I’m not just screaming incoherently out the window. The thing is that, when you take a deep breath, Trump and his enablers are evil in an almost inept-comic-book-villain sort of way, so there is actually a lot to laugh about in the situation. The one thing I hope people get from my book is that we must kill them with laughter. That’s their biggest weakness, which is why the right has been so up in arms the past few days about Michelle Wolf’s scathing comedy routine at the WHCD.

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

Well, my first novel was historical fiction, which is what I often like to read. Freedom City, I suppose, is contemporary literary fiction, but I’ve really struggled with whether to call it satire or dystopian fiction. It’s a little of both, actually, more like a tragicomedy. Like I said, I didn’t really set out to write it, but as a longtime private detective who lives in D.C.—I can literally see the fucking U.S. Capitol out of my window—I was probably the person best situated to write a novel like Freedom City.

5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

I admit that I struggled a bit with Clare Swan, the main female protagonist. Some female readers have pointed out her promiscuity, and that’s certainly a fair critique. But while my book might not pass the Bechdel test, nobody (so far) has accused me of being anti-feminist. Actually, I’m a diehard feminist. It’s just that I have an active imagination, so when I write female characters I sometimes imagine ways I might sleep with them. [Laugher]. Ultimately, I think Clare turned out to be a delightfully complex human being and a righteous warrior. But if I could talk to her I’d ask if she feels I did her justice.

6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

That’s a great question. I had already developed this public persona as a private investigator, and by far the biggest platforms for that are LinkedIn and Twitter. Because of that professional following I already had from my non-fiction books, I’ve gotten the most traction so far from those sites. However, I’m super excited about Instagram—which I confess I wasn’t even on until a few months ago. As I’m someone who loves readings and events, it really gives me a chance to chronicle the “buzz” around my book and hopefully help it, one day, take off.

7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

So much of the advice aspiring writers get is to clichéd. I mean, I could say ‘don’t be afraid to suck’ or ‘join a writing group’—both sage pieces of advice—but instead I’ll say this: Write about the things buried deep in your soul that you think might scare your friends to know about you. Just do it. They won’t scare, and you’ll be writing honest shit.

8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

I’ve got a couple irons in the fire, including a continuation (sort of) of Freedom City. Lately, however, I’m back to doing investigations, so I don’t have all the time to write I had last year. That’s okay though, because now that I recognize impeachment isn’t happening anytime soon I can take the time to make the next book longer and even more snarky.

 

freedom

_______________________________________________________________________________

Available Now! Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup. Get the full inside story of the rise and collapse of a multibillion-dollar startup

Save $5 on Any 2 Books with code BOOKISH

Interview with Author Stephan Morse

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

Writing came about from a failed project in the 5th grade. It was a bad fiction where I turned into a dragon and burned some other child in class I hated for reasons that were probably silly. We ended up meeting Ursula Le Quin (I believe, this was decades ago well before I’d read her books) as part of a school event. Between those two events, I’d always had an interest in writing novels. It only grew as I went through Junior High and High School and read anything fantasy related in three libraries. It took some time before I dared to write my own novels and release them to the public.

2) What inspired you to write your book?

 I tend to read a dozen or so books as part of my recharge process. over a few month span.  The Fiasco came about from a superhero kick, where I read nearly anything my Kindle could find from the genre. During this reading spree I’d been editing prior works, prepping some for release on eReaders, and so on. I wanted to try something new – a way to see a new story in an older setting. Comics, movies, and even a few old audio novels all played their part in inspiring The Fiasco but I feel like I managed something new(ish), which is my first goal when writing.

3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

It’s less about theme and more about exploring the rest of a world that others may ignore. As an example, my favorite characters in the Marvel Universe were the ones that fell between the cracks – specifically the Morlocks. They weren’t good enough to fit on a team, they weren’t powerful enough to be villains or anything else, and generally ugly enough that everyone gave them dirty looks. I loved these people because they were living a real life. They had day jobs and failure to fit in with normal crowds. They were the most developed characters because their plight started well before mainstream heroes started addressing life behind the mask.That sunk in, misfits among misfits.

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

The Fiasco’s superhero sort of ideas were a weird mix of every other mainstream series – since I’d spent so much time reading superhero novels. That being said, probably Marvel’s universe had the biggest impact on a desire to write in the genre. It’s simply been around so long that nearly everything else shares some inspiration from their works. Heck, I grew up reading comics (and compulsively sorting them). But I couldn’t let my work be a carbon copy of the classic coming of age and learning to use powers for great justice sort of tale. It couldn’t be about stopping the big bad from ruining the world in their ill thought out megalomaniac plot. It became about the captives left behind, the person who’s forced to be in all these powered events. The man who’s simply tired of being in the super powered world because he’s never the actual hero or a catharsis seeking vigilante/villain.

5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

There’s a lot of stuff I’d ask my characters – and constantly are things I’m asking them. I could pick Ted, who’s the first book’s semi villain and sort of mentor. His role is complicated because people are rarely one dimensional. He wants to get back at those who ruined his life and took away his daughter. He wants to make his wife see that there are some forces which are unstoppable – that losing their kid wasn’t his fault, but he also wants Adam to answer for his reactive role in everything that goes on. But because I know all those things, asking him his motivation seems weird.So, any question I ask has to be really out of the way.

Like, what’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten and where was it? That’s a question I may never have an answer to. So now, I really want to know.

6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

Facebook, hands down. I have my little author page and hang out in a few groups that focus on the same genre as my main series. It’s fun interacting with the readers who ping me when topics come up. I try to avoid self promotion and generally only pop by when someone messages me about a post – but Facebook lets me see what people think about the work, and that’s always an awe inspiring moment.

7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

Finish a book. Don’t restart it 10 times. Don’t edit it until you’re drowning and hate yourself. Finish it. Quality aside, knowing that you have finished a book means a ton. It was the greatest thing I ever did.

8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

More books, more writing. But real life and the day job take precedence over putting together novels. However, now that I’ve started – I don’t think I’ll ever be able to stop. There will be two more books for The Fiasco eventually, bringing the series to a close. There’ll be some virtual reality based books along with western fantasy mashups. Ideas tend to occur faster than my fingers can type.

Interview with Author Caspar Vega

Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

I’ve been writing in one form or another since I was a kid. My first attempts were dirty rap songs that I wrote on A4 paper and illustrated – I must have been around eight years old then. My mother might still have them stored somewhere. Some angsty teenage poetry followed, then a few short stories that I thought were decent at the time.

I started taking it seriously when I turned 18 in February 2009. That’s when I wrote the first pages of what would eventually become my debut novella The Eclectic Prince that I self-published in 2012. It took me a long time to finish because I didn’t have any writing habits developed but in my mind, I knew I was pursuing something.

What inspired you to write your book?

Different influences inspired the vignettes in Southern Dust. Gretchen’s story is more of an introduction to the Governor. The Governor’s part explores similar themes I had already covered in my earlier novel Hayfoot but something still felt unfinished there and I took it a bit further with Nightingale’s story.

Roger Conaway’s story is a mash-up of several things. Captain America is one of my favorite heroes and I always liked the idea of a super soldier experiment. This was exacerbated when I watched The Guest for the third time – the best movie of 2014 by far.

I was also watching Game of Thrones for the first time a few months before I started outlining and Theon Greyjoy’s arc was so tragic and disturbing. Also Nightmare Alley with Tyrone Power. It made me want to tell a story where we see the complete rise and fall of a character. Someone who becomes truly monstrous and unrecognizable by the end of it.

Dominic White is about one third myself, one third Oberyn Martell – one of the greatest characters to ever be on TV – and one third something else.

Plotting this book was a lot of fun because I felt like I was writing a prologue and three separate mini-books. I think they tie together neatly in the end.

What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

None whatsoever – I only hope they’re entertained.

What drew you into this particular genre?

I think I bend several genres together in this one but as far as a black magic adventure story, this is my version of a Dennis Wheatley book. Now to replicate his sales numbers.

If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

Dominic’s the most like me but he’s very anti-social, I don’t think he’d agree to a meeting.

What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

I used to be on Gab which gave me a few interesting acquaintances but I’ve gotten rid of everything except Instagram now. Something about being able to send out condensed little messages on a big platform brings out the worst in some people, myself included.

What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

Force yourself to write until it comes to you naturally. I spent three years on my first book – a 20,000 word novella – because I only wrote when I felt “inspired” which is a copout. If you have a rough outline, set yourself some simple goals and get writing. I’m very proud of my first book and I wouldn’t change a thing about it but I was definitely making excuses and stalling for a while.

What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

I’m working on a new novella now that’s a parody of the modern thriller genre entitled The Gone Girl On the Train Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest. I’m also working on a few TV pilots because let’s face it, that’s where the real money is for writers. Wish me luck.

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/princeofpulp/.

Interview with Author Joe Giambrone

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?
In high school I finally dove into rock and roll. I began playing guitar, singing, and I wrote countless lyrics, as well as band names. Not sure if any of the songs live on in any form, but that’s where I concentrated my words. I hear rhythms, melodies, harmonies in my mind once I get ramped up, and so it’s basically a matter of trying to capture on paper what I’m already hearing.

I next wanted to understand my own brain. So I began a massive research project on psychology, philosophy, the theory of Primal Pain, and evolution. The book wound up more plagiarized than original, and so I eventually scrapped it. But I learned a lot.

2) What inspired you to write your book?
Wrecking Balls–and thanks for reviewing it–was a labor of love, the love of stand-up comedy. I’ve always been a stand-up fan. That’s where the artist has zero oversight, zero distance from the listener. It’s raw, uncensored, unfiltered, verbal mayhem, or whatever. I tend to appreciate the mayhem side of it, as if that wasn’t clear from the text. It’s one of the last places you can still push boundaries in the arts, without it devolving into straight political propaganda. My heroes were people like George Carlin and Bill Hicks. They could deliver the death blow without flinching AND it was funny.
There’s actually more to my motivation than all that. My personal life took a turn for the worse, and I needed to laugh. Originally, I was to follow up my YA science fiction thriller (Transfixion) with a superhero story (Demigods), also aimed somewhat at younger readers. I just wasn’t writing it, wasn’t feeling it. So, I watched every stand-up routine and documentary that Youtube had to offer that year, instead of writing. The motivation had left me. I wanted something adult, raw, full of obscenities and pushing people’s buttons; I mean, those are the kinds of books I want to read: Hunter S. Thompson for example. I prefer the ravings of an author who does not give a fuck what you think, and he’s going to say what he needs to say, without you even as an afterthought. That’s sort of the diametrical opposite of today’s “market.”
3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?
The Wrecking Balls story evolved quite a bit from its initial inspiration. I knew it was a buddy comedy, something there seems to be no genre category for in literature but is a staple in movies. Odd. So it’s about the limits of friendship, the boundaries, the lines that should not be crossed. Once I accepted that as the premise, it was natural to pluck a bunch of related scenes. These guys are not heroes, and they shouldn’t be shoehorned into appearing like heroes. That’s not real life. They’re both jerks at times. This is more realistic than fantastical. I was almost convinced it actually happened, because it could have happened, or something quite similar.
4) What drew you into this particular genre?
I’ve always loved comedy, provocative comedy not slapstick. It’s an opportunity to ram a banana into someone’s brain. When it works it’s glorious. When it bombs it’s universally painful. The highs are higher and the lows lower. As the old saying goes, “Dying is easy; comedy is hard.” It is hard, and so it is quite a challenge to take on. You know you’re not going to please everyone, but the few you do will probably be fans.
5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?
Ignoring how hot Amanda Winters is, and that I fall madly in love with female comics all the time… that’s a tough one. I’d probably ask Amanda all the cliché, usual, boy questions about life on the road as a woman in stand-up comedy. They hate that, by the way. Don’t do it.
6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?
I suppose Facebook, numerically speaking. I like the formatting options of WordPress better.
7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?
Write so many stories that you can do whatever you want, because there are another dozen waiting to go. That’s liberating. Don’t let perceived rules dictate content for you.
8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?
I may be directing and producing a vampire film at the end of the year. The script is just about done, and my lead actress has potential.
It’s a mad plan but a hell of a lot more feasible than just a few years ago. A strong spine to the story, it’s a movie I very much want to see. Someday, if you click past a no-budget indie horror film called Peculiar Blood, rent it.

 

Interview with Author Jennifer Renson

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?
Hello, my name is Jennifer Renson and I love to write. I started writing as a child. I remember keeping diaries and coming up with short fictional stories. As I got older I developed story ideas and wrote poetry. While attending Monmouth University I participated in the university newspaper and literary magazine. I decided to write three poetry books and two books finally putting my writing skills to the test. Today I write articles for Lost Treasure Magazine and became a contributor for UnDead Walking. For years I read my poetry at Open Mic nights in New Jersey while attending comic conventions and having the opportunity to be filmed for The Walking Dead TWD100 videos. Aside from writing I love history, animals and sewing.
2) What inspired you to write your book?
Both Carousel and The Cottontail started with the villain of both books: Feletti. He was the first well thought out character that I wanted to create a story around. At the time I was on a real history kick, specifically Italy in the late 1490’s. By taking my favorite ride as a child and combining it with a very Tim Burton inspired fairy tale I was able to write Carousel. After I received warm feedback and interest in that world I created I decided to take a step back and write the prequel The Cottontail. 
 
3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?
I want readers to be swept away by the world I created in both books. To feel frightened when Feletti speaks, enamored when Princio and Marian/Victorio and Antoinette bond, awed by the carousel and the palace it resided in. As long as readers can imagine being a part of the books and enjoy them I have done my duty as a writer. 
 
4) What drew you into this particular genre?
I’ve always enjoyed fiction and fantasy books. Though I have been writing for years, Carousel was my first finished book. I wanted to write a completely different story than the others I’ve been working on. This was a true experiment to see how well I could write fantasy and I’m happy with the results. 
 
5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?
Though I love all my characters equally, Placido from Carousel has a special place in my heart. Although he’s not a main character, I named him after a relative in my family. I would love to pick Placido’s brain and find out what he would ask his deceased father. Placido was left with a huge responsibility of caring for his younger sister Marian after his father dies. Placido juggles being a older brother, father figure and running his newly opened toy shop. I truly want to know what he thinks of his father’s decision. I can almost picture it being a awkward conversation, having Placido sit, arms folded at his chest stuck between wanting his father to speak first and wanting answers.
 
6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?
I use a few social media sites and although I believe all of them help I would say Twitter has been the most helpful. It’s the most fun, engaging and has introduced me to new writers in a similar boat as myself.
 
7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?
Write what you want with passion and strength. No one is perfect and you will receive feedback, both good and bad. Do not let the bad reviews bring you down but raise you up. It’s important to differentiate between critics who will nitpick but offer advice to improve your writing and the bitter complaints that hold no water.
My own personal motto is, “There is no apology for passion”.
 
8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?
After ending my contract with my publisher I am going to self publish Carousel and The Cottontail. I am in the process of redoing the covers and once complete they will be available online. Be sure to keep your eyes open for them in the near future. My three poetry books: Uncharted, Eo: Go, walk, ride, sail, pass, travel and Delightfully Dark: A Collection of Poems and Tales are doing well and I hope to add a fourth book of poetry soon. I’ve been writing pieces for UnDead Walking and I hope it will lead to more writing opportunities. My first historical fiction book is undergoing edits. I’m not sure where my future will take me but I hope it will lead to more writing experiences.  
The Cottontail

Interview with Author Brooke Williams

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?
I’m pretty sure I’ve been writing since birth. Ha! As a child, I used to cut photos out of magazines, glue them to blank paper and write stories about the pictures. But I don’t think I ever thought writing could be a career. Actually, I went in radio after college and spent a decade on the air and in production behind the scenes. When my first daughter was born, I quit my full time job to stay home with her. After a year, I wanted to find something I could do from home around her schedule and I’d always loved to write so that seemed like a good fit. I started writing novels and got into freelance writing and things have steamrolled from there. 
2) What inspired you to write your book?
Reality shows are hilarious to me and I often wonder what they would be like with someone more like me on it. Someone who wouldn’t excel on TV! I like the put characters into situations that make the uncomfortable and watch things unfold. More often than not, they grow as a person and learn their true strength. I wanted to watch confidence grow, but I also wanted laughs so nothing goes right during any competition! 
The Leftover cover (1)
3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?
That it’s okay to be who you are…whoever that is. Be strong and confident in your body and in your personality because you are who you are for a reason!
4) What drew you into this particular genre?
I think sleep deprivation, honestly! After you have kids, things just seem funnier. I got advice from an agent to try the romance genre and I couldn’t go straight romance, it had to be humorous! 
5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?
I think I’d want to talk with Grace, one of the side characters in the book. She’s a little spit fire and has a fascinating military background. I think I’d just want to know more about her, what makes her tick, and what inspires her to be such a strong person.
6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?
Facebook because it’s the only one I do much with. 🙂 I do have a twitter account and I use it on occasion, but I can’t begin to understand that realm of social media.
7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?
Write because you love it and everything else will fall into place. If you love to write,  you can’t lose because you get something out of it yourself, whether someone else reads it or not!
8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?
Next year, my youngest daughter will start kindergarten. So I hope to write more fiction at that time. Right now it’s hard with her around part of the week and my full time freelance writing business. But I have so many ideas floating around my head, it’s not even funny! Well, hopefully it will be, if I keep up with romantic comedy… 🙂

theleftoverquote1 (1)
@authorbrookew