Category Archives: Interviews

Interview with Author Lee Fearnside

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

I’ve also been interested in stories, although until a few years ago most of my storytelling was done visually. I believe stories are a great way to understand other people – their experiences, their perspectives on the world – and so developing an anthology as a collection of people’s stories seemed a natural fit.

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2) What inspired you to write your book?

Let’s be honest – 2020 sucked. It pretty much sucked for everyone. We were all affected by a pandemic the likes of which our world hadn’t seen in 100 years, America was increasingly polarized, there was a tidal wave of protests against racial injustice, we had a tumultuous presidential election, and it feels like the list goes on and on. Developing this anthology and making the portraits of public figures who died was both obsession (I made a lino cut portrait every week, and I think I gave myself carpel tunnel) and balm. I wanted to try to make sense of my own grief by understanding others’ grief.

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

My hope is that even amidst despair we can find hope in our collective experience. That even though 2020 sucked, the way through was together. That somehow by mourning these people, these celebrities and public figures and our complicated relationships with them, we could find connection.

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

In many ways this book is an extension of an anthology I edited and illustrated with my brother, published in 2018, that mourned celebrities who died in 2016. Perhaps these books serve as bookends to each other.

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

Instagram is a way that I connect with other artists, and have been able to share work in progress from this and other projects.

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

Just keep making. If you have a story to tell, you’ll find your audience. Yes, it’s a lot of work but your story is important, so keep using your voice.

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

I’m working on a project about community. I’ve been interviewing people from all over the country and in all different fields about how they define community and how they work to create change. To date, the participants include a political candidate and Trump accuser, an urban planner, a human trafficking victims advocate, an immigration lawyer, a poet, a Franciscan nun, and more. Collectively the book creates a portrait of a community in America today. I hope to finish the book sometime later this year. 

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About the Author

Lee Fearnside is an artist and curator. Her photographic work has been exhibited in galleries and museums  in New England, the Midwest and in national juried shows, including the Toledo Museum of Art, the Reece Museum and the New York Hall of Science. She published O! Relentless Death: Celebrity, Loss and Mourning with her brother in 2018, and the book won the Independent Voice Award gold medal from the Independent Publishers Book Awards and was a finalist in American Book Fest. She has curated group exhibitions around themes of sustainability, diversity, food systems and art from Ohio prisons, funded in part by grants from the Ohio Arts Council and the Ohio Humanities Council. Fearnside earned a BA from Smith College, a M.F.A in Photography from the Rhode Island School of Design, and a M.S. in Arts Administration from Drexel University.

https://www.chimeraprojects.art/current-project-death-never-dies

Interview with Author David R. White

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

I’ve always enjoyed writing, but it took some time to take it seriously. I studied film at university, so I spent most of my 20s writing screenplays and dreaming of breaking into the film industry. My plan was to write a book when I was old and decrepit, but the bug bit a little earlier than expected.

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What inspired you to write the book?

I had the general idea back in 2007, but it was about a decade later that I was watching a documentary called ‘The Death of Superman Lives’  about Tim Burton’s failed reinvention of Superman. His costume designer on that movie was a man named Jose Fernandez. He (and his team at Ironhead) have been responsible for a lot of the super-suits we’ve seen on film in the past twenty to thirty years. Long story short, google ‘Jose Ferandez Batman Forever’ and you’ll likely see the exact photograph that led me to writing the character of Cavaliar and, ultimately, Thunderhead.

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

Thunderhead is first and foremost about friendship. Tom considers himself a loner, but in reality, he’s simply shielding himself from rejection. On a broader scale, it’s about prejudice. Many of the rules and restrictions forced upon Supers are predicated on this idea that they’re predisposed towards violence. 

What drew you into this particular genre?

The scope for creativity. If I wasn’t writing a Superhero series, I’d be writing high fantasy or sci-fi. There’s a glut of Superhero content out there, but the challenge of bringing something new to the genre is exciting.    

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

Walter Cobb, and what’s his favorite sandwich. 

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

To be honest, I’m still learning how to navigate social media and get the most out of it. So far I would say Twitter has been the most helpful.

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

There’s a piece of advice in Ann Lamott’s Bird by Bird that’s always stuck out – her father said that writing is a contract with yourself. Nothing could be more true. Commit to writing every single day and the rest will follow. 

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

The sequel to Thunderhead should be out by mid-2022. The plan is to release an installment every six months and finish the series off by the end of 2023.

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About the Author

DAVID R. WHITE was born and raised in the small town of Maffra, Australia. He spent most of his childhood reading Asterix comics and fantasy novels. He has been a bartender, an optical mechanic, a salesman, a store manager, an English teacher, and survived a near twenty-year stint in customer service with most of his wits intact. His love affair with books began with Roald Dahl’s The Twits, but it was upon discovering the likes of David Eddings, Frank Herbert, Tolkien, and Douglas Adams that he was inspired to write something of his own. He currently lives in Spain.

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/21913839.David_R_White

Interview with Author TC MARTI

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

I grew up in Eastern Ohio/Northern West Virginia; about 45 minutes west of Pittsburgh. I’m a familiar face in town since I love to go outside and run the streets for at least an hour a day. I’m also a huge fan of Arizona sports teams (hence my main character’s last name). 

With so little to do in town other than going to the local gym and running, writing has always been a fun way to pass the time. After writing a few full-length manuscripts in 2014, I thought, “why not go public with this someday?”

My first few works were not good and therefore, I never published them. But after reading a few books I felt was comp titles, I went in and retooled those early full-length manuscripts. The first of which became Wind Wielder, with the book being nearly eight years in the making! 

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2) What inspired you to write your book?

I grew up watching a lot of TV, reading, listening to music, and watching movies. Since writing served as my primary escape, I wanted to write something inspired by my favorite entertainment outlets. Books like Harry Potter, movies like Star Wars, and TV shows like Lost and Avatar: The Last Airbender, with a touch of Call of Duty. 

Music also served as a huge inspiration for Wind Wielder – mainly fantasy-based power metal bands like DragonForce, Twilight Force, and others. 

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

My biggest message to readers is to never allow someone else who knows nothing about you, especially authority figures, pick and choose what’s best for you. In Wind Wielder, we’re introduced to elementals (also referred to as mutants), and a global superpower that propagated its people to treat elementals so poorly they’re willing to frame elementals by staging attacks on the majority, non-elemental population to further push their anti-elemental propaganda. 

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

I grew up reading all sorts of genres, but mainly historical fiction, believe it or not. However, as I grew older, I realized I could create so much more with fantasy/sci-fi as opposed to limitations I believe some other genres bring.

For example, I could create new worlds, my own magical or tech systems, and let them go to work in fantasy/sci-fi. While, if I tried a genre like historical fiction (which I still love, by the way), I’m forced to stick to specific time periods. 

The only real drawback with fantasy, science fantasy or speculative fantasy, is that with each new magical system created, many possible loopholes open. They can be tough to find and even tougher to close. It took me a good ten to twelve rounds of editing Wind Wielder just to find and close them. 

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

From Wind Wielder, I would love to sit down with Raj. This is a girl where there’s so much more than meets the eye, and I’ve always described Raj as the book’s breakout character. 

She and I also share identical interests; we love sports, and we also both talk to others, in the same manner, they talk to us. She’s one of those people who, academia-wise, is so well-rounded you can talk to her about pretty much any subject and she would respond with expertise, or at least with general knowledge. 

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

I actually don’t use mainstream social media platforms. However, I have found Bookfunnel and StoryOrigin to be ultra-helpful in building a readership via mailing list integration. It’s also a remarkable place to find authors who write comp titles, and to team up with them via cross and joint promotions. I highly recommend both platforms for authors who are looking to get new sets of eyes on their work. 

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

Start marketing your book months if not longer in advance, ideally before you even start the first draft. 

Instead of writing your novel first, write a short story or novelette and turn it into a reader magnet. Join the platforms listed above and sign up for a mailing list provider and charge readers a mailing address in exchange for downloading your stories. 

Cross-promote your stories with other authors, join group promotions, and you will be surprised as to how many fans you will generate. Send regular mailing campaigns to your readers and give them another free short story regarding your characters every now and again. Ask them for feedback and they will respond. 

By the time you’ve written Book I in your series, your readers are already wanting more of the characters they already have come to know and love via your reader magnet and tidbits. 

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

I actually have five more books following Wind Wielder. Two of which are in the Elementals of Nordica Series, set to be released on February 1st, 2022, and March 1st, 2022. My other three comprise books featuring the same magical systems but in different worlds and situations. 

Those projects, along with Elementals of Nordica, take place in a shared universe. There will be characters from each series crossing over into others. In fact, the final scene in Wind Wielder leaves a huge clue to the reader that the book is, indeed, part of a shared universe. 

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About the Author

TC Marti has been an avid reader/writer for over three decades. He is the author of the Elementals Universe, a shared speculative fiction universe spanning multiple series. He is also a workout fanatic, and a fan of Arizona sports teams.

https://a.co/4kcgQa1

Interview with Author Gary Marinin

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

I’m a private English tutor and have been doing this for about eight years in total now.

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2. What inspired you to write your book?

The inspiration for my first book came while I was watching BoJack Horseman. My cat came to sit with me while watching and I usually refer to him as a “brick shithouse” and “shit” came up several times in the episode. When the episode finished, I had the idea, “how many phrases and expressions with ‘shit’ can I come up with in five minutes?” When five minutes passed and I was still going, I knew I had something if nobody else had already done it. 

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

Swearing isn’t good or bad, it just is and the context we put it in makes it good or bad. I think people will think a little more critically about how swearing is viewed and used based on the science and cultural examples given. For example, it’s hard for people living now to think of “bastard” as the worst taboo in existence, but it was. Besides that, I hope they realize the diversity of ways that we incorporate swearing into speech and just how many meanings they can have. 

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

I’ve been an English tutor for about eight years in total and doing it full time online for about four years now, so I sometimes get questions about slang and curses. I know that there are many uptight people in my field that don’t want to explain these things as well because of the ideas they hold toward those words, phrases and expressions, but if we don’t explain these things when students want to know, we hold them back from reaching their goals of achieving true fluency or mastery. Not to mention how embarrassing or dangerous it can be if you’re learning a language and misuse a curse.

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

I’m terrible with social media. I started a FB page and was making posts for a while, but then it was a matter of laziness and “what do I post?” and it was the same with IG. 

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

People thinking about writing or just starting out, just realize that marketing your book is going to be way more difficult than writing it. Chances are that no literary agent or publishing house is going to want to work with you, so you may have a high belief in your project, but no one else is going to share the same enthusiasm that you do while you’re in the process. Editors can be expensive, but they’re necessary. Look at the different types of editors as well, they all serve different purposes. If you don’t have much money to spend on developing your book, the one thing you shouldn’t try to save on is cover design. A bad design will be a sure way to put readers off before they ever look inside. 

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

I’m in the process of transitioning to a healing and forgiveness coach. I still teach English full time and my autobiography is being beta read by four people right now, so I’m hoping that when all is said and done it’ll be released around August 2022. 

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About the Author

Gary Marinin was born in Worcester, MA and is a digital nomad and world traveler, having lived in Macedonia, Kosovo and Mexico. He has a B.S. in sociology from Worcester State University where he got his first taste in writing through several independent study courses and internships. To further develop his writing and ideas, he took master classes from Margaret Atwood and Steve Martin and read several books on developing screenplays. He freelances on Medium and likes to write about topics that he’s passionate about, which vary from workers’ rights to women’s rights and everything in between. Know Your Shit is his debut book, but there are several others in the works ranging from psychology and linguistics to general humor about his cats.  

https://www.facebook.com/TheShittionary

https://garymarinin0140.medium.com/

Interview with Author Carla Doria

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

My passion for writing started when I was a little kid, around 8 years old. I would imagine these fantastic stories and I knew that I had to write them.  Adding some drawings to illustrate these stories, I would write them by hand and gift them to my family. They were my first “published” books. Unfortunately, my family has been terrible to save them. I’m pretty sure there was good content in them. Then life brought some swirls and made me go on a different path. But deep inside me, I always knew that I would once sit down and become a writer. It wasn’t until probably six years ago when I started to consider it again. Specifically, two years ago I started The Last Families and it has been quite an adventure. 

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2. What inspired you to write your book?

I always had in mind these landscapes with extremely tall cliffs, deserts, a purple sky, and other characteristics that are depicted in The Last Families. I also wanted to write about an end-of-the-world story with survivors that had somehow developed special skills. These characters had to feel forced to go somewhere else where things would be particularly harsh. I started playing with the idea and soon the story started to develop. Also, I’m a very visual person and most of the promotion of this book is been based on characters’ illustrations drawn by a friend of mine. I wanted those characters to be stunning and different. That is why each family has specific traits not only in what it comes to powers but also physically. 

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

That in spite of all differences humanity can still carry on if they work together. The Last Families touches on some underlying themes like a post-apocalyptic era, skin color as a survival factor, family superiority, and misogyny. Of course, these topics are addressed in a very specific way in this fantastic world, but somehow they can also relate to some of the issues that our society faces today. I hope that the story helps readers from around the world question not only their beliefs but also imagine humanity’s fate (although the book’s one might sound too far-fetched) if we don’t take care of our current world. With Covid, I think many of us have are able to see fiction as a potential happening. 

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4) What drew you into this particular genre?

As a voracious reader, I read almost anything and I read in all genres. But fantasy and science fiction have a special place in my heart. However, reading fantasy and science fiction is not for everybody.  Good fantasy and science fiction invest a lot in world-building. If you read Tolkien, Asimov, Hubert, and others in these genres, you come to see these writers have invested quite a deal in describing the backgrounds and characteristics of their worlds.  When I started writing as an adult, I knew I had some great stories in mind in these genres, but I didn’t think I was good enough to write them. I thought that writing a contemporary story was going to be easier for me as an aspiring writer. After all, I’m still a good reader of thrillers by John Grisham, Lee Child, and others. Therefore I began with a technological thriller about five years ago. 

But after some time, I understood that it doesn’t work that way. Writing a thriller is also hard. You have to make sure to research well your location. Since it is a real location, you have to really know about it. You have to make sure your characters talk and feel like they are people from a specific location. It actually became tougher than I thought.  

Therefore, I came to the conclusion that for me specifically, imagining the whole location, and better yet imagining the whole world made sense. I have a very good imagination after all.

I’m definitely happy now writing fantasy. I want to explore science fiction but that is for later. I believe these two genres are very important nowadays. Through them, we can imagine certain worlds that don’t exist yet but might exist in the future. Whenever I think of our current world’s inventors and all advances in technology, I’d like to imagine they got some of their ideas of fictions stories they read or saw on film. 

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

This is a tough question. The Last Families narrates the story from several POVs. Some characters like Yarisha, Palista, Malakay, Palista, and Marquesh are more visible than others. Yarisha might take the lead as the main character but I love Malakay. I love making imperfect characters. I like that Malakay is cocky and arrogant. I like how he is feisty and looking to snap at everybody’s comments. In some ways, he feels like the grown-up version of a spoiled brat. Yet he can change. All people change. If could sit down with him, I would probably ask him why he’s taken his mother’s teachings so high. Does he really think his family is superior to everybody else? I guess that as the character’s creator I know the answers. But Malakay is Malakay, and I could actually expect him snapping at me and replying something I wouldn’t expect. 

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

I’m still developing my readership but I would say Facebook and Instagram. These two social networks are mostly connecting me with people that I already know, so it is a bit hard to get to other people out there. I started a Bookstagram only one month ago. I wished I had done it sooner. That bookstagram (currently in Spanish but working on getting the English version) has connected me to people outside of my social circle. I’m still growing it but so far it looks like the most promising one. 

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

Make sure to have people looking at your writing as soon as you can. As starting authors, we terribly self-doubt ourselves –  the infamous impostor’s syndrome. We feel too ashamed to show our writing to others. We are afraid somebody will say “you should work on your writing” “or the story is really poor”. With The Last Families,  I had some people take a look at my story, and of course, somebody helped me edit it, but I wished I had had more beta readers. Sometimes we focus too much on getting help with editing that we forget it is also important to have somebody looking at your story from a developmental point of view. We need somebody who will point out plot holes and tell us that a specific scene or dialogue doesn’t make sense, or that a character feels too flat. Also, those beta readers then become a point of contact when you are about to launch your book “your launch team.”

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

While I waited for some people to revise The Last Families manuscript, I started another story. So yes, there is already another story halfway. It is a dystopian story. This time there is not too much fantasy in it, but still a post-apocalyptic turn of events based a bit on our current pandemic. It is located in Bolivia (where I live). I’m pretty sure that people will love the characters. I’m having fun writing them. Of course, it has no title. Coming up with a title was the most difficult thing for The Last Families, so this new manuscript will probably receive its title at the very end of its cycle.

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About the Author

Carla Doria was born in Cochabamba, Bolivia where she currently resides. Graduated as an Industrial Engineer, she decided to acknowledge her lost love from childhood: writing. She spends her time working, blogging, writing, traveling, doing yoga, biking, running, and enjoying the good life in the city valley of Cochabamba.

Social media and websites

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

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

Bookstagram https://www.instagram.com/delfinliterario/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/carlisdm 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/carladoria

Tumblr: https://thelastfamilies.tumblr.com/

The Last Families’ website: https://thelastfamilies.com/

My personal author blog: https://carladoria.com/ 

Interview with Author and Podcaster Alan McGill

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

My father was a third-generation coal miner who grew up in a small town in rural Pennsylvania. My father told humorous stories about life in a coal mining town involving various antics he was involved in as a child. He was a gifted storyteller, but he also taught me to be respectful, polite, and kind. He always talked about helping those who were unable to stand up for themselves. As the president of a local with the UMWA, he represented this type of attitude. The example was also set by my maternal grandfather with whom I was very close. He was a WWII Navy veteran at Normandy with a gift for storytelling and was always there to help anyone in need. 

At a young age I read a lot of comics and admired heroes. Anyone who helped or stood up for those who couldn’t. When I was young, I was bullied for several years until I could defend myself. I tried to help or defend those who couldn’t when I was able. I failed more times than I succeeded, but it was always what drove me. 

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2) What inspired you to write your book?

I had been writing since I was in my early teens. I have written several books but never published any. In the late 90’s I was playing an online war game involving various teams and races of beings including undead creatures. Part of the game involved message boards with teammates. I took to writing elaborate short stories about battles and threw in little romantic elements to round out the stories. A couple of years later I wrote A Cry in the Moon’s Light about undead creatures but centering around werewolves and witches. 

The story sat for over twenty years until 2019 when I decided to self-publish. I had started doing podcasts as a hobby and was receiving positive feedback about my voice. I thought it would be a good idea to start there. I edited the story as an audiobook in the spirit of old radio. I narrated the story, voiced all the characters, bought sound effects, and commission an original score. I edited everything together and released it on Halloween night 2020. 

It took a little while to catch on, but within six months I had over 10,000 downloads and the comments were all positive. Now we have over 27,000 downloads and the people really seem to enjoy the story. That gave me the confidence to self-publish. Because I love artwork so much, I decided to publish an artbook/guidebook alongside the main title as well.

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

The first is that love defeats evil. That is the subtitle of the book, but it is the underlying theme. It’s a horror/fantasy book with a bit of romance. Despite the magic, weapons, relics that are in the story, the only thing that really defeats the horror and darkness is true love. It the story of two people that love each other so deeply they care more about the other’s wellbeing than themselves. It’s also the story of true heroism. Doing more for others than yourself. 

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4) What drew you into this particular genre?

It’s kind of a mix of genres. I bill it as a horror/romance, but it has a lot of fantasy, action, adventure, bit of mystery. Those are generally my favorite things to read or watch, but I have a wide range of tastes in many things. There isn’t one type of genre over another to me. It just needs to be a great story that captures my imagination and that is what I try to do as a storyteller.

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

Such a good question. I really like Colonel Voelker and in this book you never really know which side he is on. But I probably would pick mi, Lady. She is a bit mysterious at times, but her love for Seth is absolute. I would want to know why she loves him so deeply. What was it that made her fall so madly in love with him? So in love that nothing else mattered to her except his well-being.

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

Without exception, Twitter. I don’t have a million followers or anything, but it introduced me to Ed Bajek Publishing Services introduced me to Sal Borriello of the Reading List. Sal company provides professional editing services and Ed’s company does marketing and various other author related services. This sparks to expanding readership in other social media, catalogs, bookstores, etc. Sal turned it into a beautiful book and Ed puts it in front of potential readers. Without those two, it wouldn’t go far. Twitter also introduced me to artists and the cover designer which are all necessary elements in making this book be the best it can be for a reader. 

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

First, write the story and worry about making it great later.  

Second, you should really love the story. You are probably going to be spending a lot of time there, editing, re-editing, etc. so you might want to make sure you like it. Even if you get picked up by a publisher, you will be involved in editing and re-editing.

If you are self-publishing, hire a professional editing service. I know a lot of people can’t afford this and that is okay. Your story deserves to be out there if you want it to. But make it the best it can be. If you can’t afford a pro editor, take your time and keep going over it again and again until it’s right. 

Watch out for scams. Vetting is important. Do a little research on anyone you will pay to work on your book. There are lots of scams out there. Editing, marketing, etc. 

Keep your expectations realistic. Know your goals. Mine was just to write a good story and produce a beautiful book. Anything after that is a bonus. 

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

I just finished book two of A Cry in the Moon’s Light. It is about double the size and the world is completely expanded. It has the same elements as the first, horror, romance, and mystery. But this time our characters find themselves in the middle of a war with the undead. There are a lot of previews in the artbook/guidebook that are out now titled Father Daniels Compendium of the Undead. I hope to publish this in 2022 along with season two of the podcast. 

I also have a surprise about A Cry in the Moon’s Light coming in 2022 as well. It has a little bit more and is a beautiful piece of work.

Lastly, I am also working on a historical fiction book which centers around my family immigrating to a small coal-mining town in western Pennsylvania. The main character is my grandmother Rose. We follow her as a young girl growing up in the early 1900s, through the Great Depression, and carving a life in Manhattan. It will also have a lot of action, adventure, and some horror with a romance side. I just haven’t decided yet if this will have any fantasy elements yet or not. 

I’m really excited about all three of these projects and I hope readers are too. 

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About the Author

Alan McGill is an American author who lives in an old farmhouse with a clowder of cats. Alan was close to his grandparents, who grew up during the Great Depression. They were married young and remained together until his grandmother’s passing. His grandfather served in the Navy during WWII and was a gifted storyteller who wove humorous tales about tough events. Alan grew up listening to these stories of right and wrong and watching fictional heroes–such as the Lone Ranger, Adam West’s Batman, and Captain America–stand up to bullies and protect those who count not protect themselves. This inspired him to always do what was right in his own life and shaped his love of storytelling. He is a multigenre author whose debut novel, A Cry in the Moon’s Light, combines horror, romance, and mystery. As with all his books, A Cry in the Moon’s Light centers on characters who strive to do the right thing regardless of the adversity they face. The book focuses on the theme of love–a pure and deep love that defeats all evil.

https://cryinthemoonslight.podbean.com/

https://www.instagram.com/alanmcgill14/

Interview with Author Neil McKee for Kid on the Go! 

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

I started my career as a volunteer teacher in Sabah, Malaysia (North Borneo) during 1968-70. There, I became an international filmmaker and later a multimedia producer, working for development agencies and living in or traveling to countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean and Russia until 2013. I had written three technical books and many journal articles during my career, for example on the role of communication in defeating the HIV/AIDS epidemic. But I never had time to write creatively until I retired. I started by taking an evening course and drafting stories at St. John’s College, Annapolis, Maryland. After my wife and I moved to Albuquerque in 2015, I attended Master’s-level workshops in creative nonfiction and poetry at the University of New Mexico. That’s when I started writing my Borneo travel memoir, Finding Myself in Borneo, and another travel memoir on my ancestors, Guns and Gods in My Genes. These have both won awards. Simultaneously, I also began drafting short pieces of what became Kid on the Go! for review by my professor and fellow students in those workshops, and revised them after feedback. So, it’s my third book from to be released from the time I became a creative writer. 

2) What inspired you to write your book?

I spent the first 19 years of my life in Elmira, Ontario, Canada—a formative place for me. It’s where I learned life skills which helped me as I went farther and farther away from my hometown. As I recall in my memoir, I had to work for monetary rewards from a very young age. My father’s father was killed in a farm accident in 1933 and my dad and most of his brothers had to quit school and take over the farm. In spite of this, they all became successful businessmen. Only one of them stayed on the farm. So, my role models included men who overcame obstacles and succeeded in life by using their brains. But I also had a lot of fun and great freedom in Elmira and that sometimes got me into trouble with authority figures of all kinds—especially in my rebellious teenage years. Such experiences are life skills building too. I have dedicated the book “To my late parents. Russell and Alma McKee, who gave me the time and space to wonder, and wander far from home.”  

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

I hope that readers conclude that it is possible to write an interesting childhood and/or youth memoir even if you had loving parents, supportive siblings, and haven’t suffered from abuse, neglect, discrimination, war, terror, etc. So many top-selling memoirs are written by people who have beaten such odds and risen to a successful life, accomplishing great things. But many more of us have stories worth telling if we dig into our memories and let our creative juices flow. It does help to have an antagonist to fight against. In my case, it was my hometown’s polluted environment in which I lived from 1945 to 1965—a chemical factory that produced insecticides and herbicides, the latter employed in the making Agent Orange for the American Army’s use in Vietnam. Although few people in town knew about that ugly fact at the time, we all knew the place often stank from by-products of that factory, as well as a fertilizer plant, a foundry, and more—all proud signs of the post-war boom. The pollution provided conflict in my stories, allowing me to use the theme of “escape” by just about any means possible—finding various routes out of town, fishing, hunting, building or renovating “escape vehicles,” working on my dad’s farm in the summer, dreaming about girls instead of paying attention in school, confronting authority in my teenage “rock n’ roll” years, being introduced to philosophy and Zen Buddhism in senior high school, taking “existential leaps” out of airplanes, going out West to Calgary, Alberta for clear air, big blue skies, and mountains to complete my B.A., and finally leaving Canada in 1968 for the verdant Island of Borneo in Southeast Asia.

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

By genre, I believe you mean creative nonfiction memoir. I was drawn to it because I have had such a rich and varied experience in life, both in my formative years and my 45-year career traveling and working all around the globe. In my mid-70s, I am lucky to have the health and good memory to write about experiences in a creative, nonlinear way. During my career, I wrote technical books and articles in my field and wanted to do something different in my final decades. Creative nonfiction seemed to be a natural thing for me. I was never much interested in fiction, except for watching movies for relaxation. 

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

Quite frankly, I am not sure. I do post on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, linking people to my website, hopefully. But I haven’t seen evidence that this drives up sales. I have a large email list which I use to send out updates when I have something significant to announce. Social media might increase your visibility in google searches. But I’m of the opinion that most people only spend a few seconds on each post in this age of minimum attention span. I love to present and discuss issues in person or on zoom and connect with potential readers that way. I also take my books on blog and review tours, like WOW! Women in Writing; enter contests and try different innovative ways such as Shepherd.com: https://shepherd.com/best-books/exotic-asian-travel

https://shepherd.com/best-books/to-understand-the-true-founding-of-america

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

a) Be prepared for very hard work. I put in about seven hours of research, writing, corresponding, and promotion each day. b) Get reviews from readers and other writers before you publish, and make revisions accordingly, if you feel they are helpful. After all, readers should know. In my former communication work we call it “pretesting.” c) If you have five or more years to wait, you can try to get a publisher. I had a couple of late offers for my Borneo memoir but the companies involved wanted to start over on the editing and didn’t want to put any money into promotion. So I set up my own company and employ a good literary editor, copy editor/proofreader, and designer. I print and distribute through IngramSpark. This company sends out your book and e-book files to many distributors: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, a chain bookstore in Canada called Indigo.com, to many other ebook distributors, and my books are available through most independent bookstores and libraries. It is one way to begin no matter what age you are. You have to be prepared to put a lot of time into promotion, however. I think that is the case for any author because every day about 1,000 new titles are released in all genres in North American. 

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

I have completed over half of the first draft of my next manuscript on my career as an international filmmaker and multimedia producer, working for two Canadian development agencies, UNICEF, Johns Hopkins University, and my last job in an agency called FHI360 in Washington, D.C., where I was director of a communication project with 150 staff and a large budget. 

During my career, I lived for four years in Malaysia, four years in Bangladesh, seven years in Kenya and Uganda (East Africa), and my last overseas posting was in Moscow, Russia during 2004-2007. Besides that, I traveled to about 80 countries on short-term assignments. All this has given me significant experience in learning about the issues within so many fields of endeavor that aim to improve human life in the developing world: volunteering during your youth; the role of science and technology in agriculture, forestry, fisheries and aquaculture; finding solutions for delivering health care, clean water, sanitation and hygiene; empowering girls, women, and young people to take charge of the their lives, while attempting to change the behaviors and social norms that restrict them from reaching their full potential. I think there’s a good story here. I’ve set up a website on my main projects, including most of the videos, comic books, and other media products that I have been able to retrieve, so far. 

My challenge is to write about my career creatively and coherently in a way that will entertain and educate—that is, make readers smile, wonder, and think about the present state of our planet. I am also including thoughts on what was achieved or wasn’t achieved in the projects I documented or created, my advancement in skills, personal development, marriage and family life, and memories of many of the people I met in my travels and those who influenced me and propelled my way forward. 

I hope to complete this book by the end of 2022. In the meantime, I also want to begin a new writing project, probably involving travel through New Mexico and America’s Southwest. That project is gradually taking shape through reading and thinking about the history, ethnicities, and cultures I have encountered here.

Book Summary

In this new book, McKee takes readers on a journey through his childhood, adolescence, and teenage years from the mid-40s to the mid-60s, in the small, then industrially-polluted town of Elmira, Ontario, Canada—one of the centers of production for Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. 

McKee’s vivid descriptions, dialog, and self-drawn illustrations are a study of how a young boy learned to play and work, fish and hunt, avoid dangers, cope with death, deal with bullies, and to build or restore “escape” vehicles. You may laugh out loud as the author recalls his exploding hormones, attraction to girls, rebellion against authority, and survival of 1960s’ “rock & roll” culture—emerging on the other side as a youth leader. 

After leaving Elmira, McKee describes his intensely searching university years, trying to decide which career path to follow. Except for a revealing postscript, the story ends when he accepts a volunteer teaching position on the island of Borneo, in Southeast Asia.

Purchase your copy now available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Bookshop.org. Make sure to add it to your GoodReads reading list too.

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About the Author

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Neill McKee is a creative nonfiction writer based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He has written and published three books in this genre since 2015. His latest work is Kid on the Go! Memoir of My Childhood and Youth, a humorous and poignant account of his growing up in an industrially-polluted town in Ontario, Canada, and his university years. This memoir is a stand-alone prequel to his first travel memoir Finding Myself in Borneo: Sojourns in Sabah (2019) on his first overseas adventures in Sabah, Malaysia (North Borneo), where he served as a Canadian volunteer teacher and program administrator during 1968-70 and 1973-74. This book won the 2019 New Mexico/Arizona Book Award for Biography–(other than a New Mexico/Arizona subject) and a Bronze Medal in the 2020 Independent Publisher Book Awards (Ippy Awards). 

In late 2020, McKee also released Guns and Gods in my Genes: A 15,000-mile North American search through four centuries of history, to the Mayflower—an entertaining account of how he searched for his roots in Canada and the US, in which he employs vivid descriptions, dialog, poetic prose, analytical opinion, photos and illustrations. In this work, McKee slowly uncovers his American grandmother’s lineage—ancestors who were involved in almost every major war on North American soil and others, including a passenger on the Mayflower, as well as heroes, villains, rascals, and ordinary godly folk. Through his search, McKee exposes myths and uncovers facts about the true founding of America.

McKee, who holds a B.A. Degree from the University of Calgary and a Masters in Communication from Florida State University, lived and worked in Asia, Africa, Russia and traveled to over 80 countries on assignments during his 45-year international career. He became an expert in communication and directed/produced a number of award-winning documentary films/videos, and wrote a many articles and books in the field. McKee is now busy writing another travel memoir on his career. He does readings/book signings and presentations with or without photos. He prefers lively interactive sessions.

Follow the author online at:

Author’s website: www.neillmckeeauthor.com

Kid on the Go! book page: www.neillmckeeauthor.com/kid-on-the-go

Kid on the go! buy page: www.neillmckeeauthor.com/buy-3

Author’s digital library: www.neillmckeevideos.com/

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/neill-mckee-b9971b65/

Facebook: www.facebook.com/McKeeNeill/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MckeeNeill

NBFS: www.northborneofrodotolkien.org

— Blog Tour Calendar

November 8th @ The Muffin

Join us as we celebrate the launch of Neill McKee’s newest memoir, Kid on the Go. Come by and read an interview with the author, find out more about his newest book, and enter to win a copy for yourself.

https://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com

November 10th @ Quiet Fury Books

Visit Darcia’s blog today where she features an excerpt from Neill McKee’s memoir Kid on the Go!.

http://quietfurybooks.com/

November 12th @ Choices

Visit Madeline’s blog and read Neill McKee’s guest post on surviving the 1960’s Rock n’ Roll culture.

https://madelinesharples.com/

November 15th @ Bring on Lemons

Visit Crystal’s blog today and read her insights into Neill McKee’s memoir Kid on the Go!.

http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

November 15th @ Katherine Itacy’s Blog

Stop by Katherine and read her review of Neill McKee’s memoir Kid on the Go!. You can also enter to win a copy of the book for yourself too!

https://katherineitacy.com/

November 17th @ Beverley A. Baird’s Blog

Join Beverley as she features a guest post by author Neill McKee on issues on writing about your hometown. 

https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/

November 20th @ Sweet Silly Sara

Visit Sara’s blog and read her review of Neill McKee’s memoir Kid on the Go!.

https://www.sweetsillysara.com/

November 24th @ Beverley A. Baird’s Blog

Visit Beverley’s blog again and read her review of Neill McKee’s memoir Kid on the Go!.

https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/

November 24th @ C. Lee McKenzie

Join C. Lee McKenzie today as she interviews author Neill McKee, author of the memoir Kid on the Go!.

https://www.cleemckenziebooks.com/blog/

November 26th @ StoreyBook Reviews

Visit Leslie’s blog where she shares an excerpt of Neill McKee’s memoir Kid on the Go!.

http://storeybookreviews.com/

November 30th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Join Anthony as he interviews Neill McKee, author of the memoir Kid on the Go!.

https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/category/interviews/

December 2nd @ The Mommies Reviews

Visit Glenda’s blog today where she reviews Neill McKee’s memoir Kid on the Go!.

https://www.themommiesreviews.com/

December 4th @ Mother Daughter Bookclub

Join Cindy today when she reviews Neill McKee’s memoir Kid on the Go!.

https://motherdaughterbookclub.com/

December 5th @ Fiona Ingram’s Blog

Join Fiona today when she shares Neill McKee’s guest post on writing a memoir in a youth’s voice but with present-day adult reflections.

http://fionaingramauthor.blogspot.com/

December 7th @ CK Sorens’ Blog

Make sure to stop by CK Sorens’ blog today and check out a feature of Neill McKee’s memoir and enter to win a copy of the book too.

https://www.cksorens.com/blog

December 8th @ World of My Imagination

Join Nicole as she shares her thoughts about Neill McKee’s memoir Kid on the Go!. You’ll also have the chance to win a copy for yourself too.

https://worldofmyimagination.com/

December 10th @ Bookshine and Readbows

Join Steph as she shares Neill McKee’s guest post about how mentors changed his life.

December 10th @ Jill Sheets’ Blog

Join Jill as she interviews Neill McKee and features his memoir Kid on the Go!.

http://jillsheets.blogspot.com/

December 12th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Visit Anthony’s blog again as he shares his thoughts on Neill McKee’s newest memoir Kid on the Go!.

https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/category/reviews/

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Interview with Dick Woodgate

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

I’m 56-years-old and I’m British. I live in rural Kent, the garden of England, with my partner and six-year-old son. As well as being a father and a writer, I’m also a furniture maker. One day in a beautiful garden on a long, languorous summer holiday in Normandy I was relaxing in a sun lounger, looking up at a line of silver birch trees, watching their leaves catching the wind. That was the moment when I decided to start writing something. The story I began in my notebook that day would, several years later, grow to become Cold Star, my first published novel. I’ve also written a short story, Treasure Hunter, a spin-off from Cold Star which is available to members of my mailing list.

2) What inspired you to write your book?

The skies are dark down here in Kent. I bought a telescope soon after we moved here from London and watching the skies with it inspired the idea behind my first novel, Cold Star.

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

With Cold Star, there are a few themes and ideas expressed within the story. Firstly, there is the idea of things not always being what they seem and there is no better time in history than during the cold war for this idea to be presented. The obsfercation which was endemic within the soviet’s state-controlled media at that time in Russia is unparalleled. And beyond this, I feel the story explores failure – a subject that is not so often examined in literature. Cold Star is the first book in the Agent series, charting the race to the moon in the sixties and so there is also a sense of that pioneering decade of space exploration expressed in parallel with both the plot and the theme of each book in the planned series.

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

I just love espionage stories and most especially, Fleming’s James Bond. With Fleming, I think it’s the escapism that Bond represents which I love, not just in place but also in time. Reading Fleming is a nostalgic experience, a link to childhood and to simpler times. And I love the plot-driven nature of the spy story genre, the intrigue that’s always present. I believe Fleming to be hugely underrated and, once you get past the anachronisms of the period in which he wrote his Bond books, you find a highly accomplished writer able to draw perfect pictures with beautifully descriptive passages throughout his stories.

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

Valentina Primakova. ‘Will you have dinner with me?’ Do I need to say why?

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

It’s early days for me as an author but I will say that I’ve enjoyed posting on Facebook. I never thought I would ever say that!

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

Write the book you want to write, the way you want to write it, and enjoy your writing. Concentrate on getting your story down, all the rest of the process of becoming an author and publishing your book can be dealt with later, just don’t think about it for now. Don’t start re-writing until you get your content down, you’ll never get to the end if you do.

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

I’m nearing completion of my follow up to Cold Star, provisionally called Silverbird. It features the Agent again but alongside him this time there’s also a strong female lead. Silverbird is set a little later on in the sixties in Europe, Russia and California.It will be the second book in the Agent series. And besides this, I shall be continuing to promote Cold Star.

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About the Author

As well as being a writer, I’m also a furniture maker. I moved from London to rural Kent seven years ago to start a family. The skies are dark down here. I bought a telescope soon after we moved and it was this – and a love of espionage fiction, Fleming in particular – which led me to start writing my first novel, Cold Star.

Cold Star is the first book featuring the Agent in a planned series charting the race to the moon in the sixties. A sense of that pioneering decade of space exploration is expressed in parallel with the plot and theme of each book – I’m nearing completion of the second book, set later on in the decade in Europe, Russia & California. I hope you’ll enjoy reading it as much as I have writing it for you. 

Website: https://www.dickwoodgate.com/

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

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WoodgateDick

Amazon Author Profile page: https://www.amazon.com/Dick-Woodgate/e/B095C7G189?ref_=dbs_p_ebk_r00_abau_000000

View Cold Star on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B094YJX65Q

Interview with J Michael Chamberlain

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

I began my writing career by penning skits and sketches for my stand-up comedy act and SNL. Eventually, my writing evolved into postcards, grocery lists, and post-its. 

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2) What inspired you to write your book?

My inspiration to write “Tiny Yellow Hat” was my ongoing support from my beautiful spouse. We also needed a new refrigerator. 

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

Message-wise: I want folks to pack up all their cares and woe, swing it high, swing it low, and walk on the sunny side of the street, laughing.

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

I was drawn into the comedy genre by the burning question: If a stand-up comic tells a joke in the forest and there aren’t any hecklers, is the joke still mildly amusing?

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

With regard to enhancing my readership: I’m currently working on a “Word Of Mouth,” application. I have no idea what that means.

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

My advice to aspiring writers: Write between eleven and sixteen hours a day, or until you have to renew your Costco membership.

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

What’s on the horizon? I’m going to complete the final edit on my new book, “Life Doing Its Thing,” then, I’m going to start a podcast, and write a prequel to “Gone With The Wind,” or “Thelma and Louise.” 

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About the Author

Originally hailing from Brooklyn, New York, J. Michael Chamberlain, the doctor of comedy, began his career as the class clown with cohort Larry David, co-creator of Seinfeld and resident neurotic on Curb Your Enthusiasm. After a brief stint with a brokerage firm on Wall Street, the bestselling author signed up as a horse-and-carriage driver in Central Park. Comical tours through the park steered the way to stage doors, television studios, and major motion pictures. Soon, the gifted performer was working alongside Gene Wilder in The Woman in Red and Ed Harris in the timeless Irwin Winkler production, The Right Stuff. As a young actor and writer in Hollywood, he performed in over thirty motion pictures and countless television productions. When he isn’t penning bestsellers and appearing on The Late Show with David Letterman, he can be found playing the blues across America and enjoying the good life with his spouse and their rescued hounds, Charles Beresford Tipton and Gracie Poochinella Pants.

http://peopleneedtolaugh.com