Category Archives: Interviews

Interview with Author Sverrir Sigurdsson

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

I was born in Iceland and lived there until graduating from high school at 19. Since Iceland is a small country, it’s common for Icelanders to go overseas to study. I went to Finland to study architecture. Afterwards, I launched a three-year plan to see the world. Three years turned into 50 some years and travels to 60 some countries. My international career as an architect took me to the Middle East to build a ruler’s palace and harem, and to poor countries in Africa to construct schools. My last job was with the World Bank, a UN affiliate and the world’s largest agency in international development. I now live in the U.S. with my wife and coauthor, Veronica Li.

In my retirement, I became the newsletter editor of the World Bank retiree group. The quarterly featured news about members. I soon got interested in the lives of several founding members of the retiree association. They’d worked at the Bank since its inception, when the organization was established to reconstruct the war-torn countries of the Second World War. One of them was a hundred years old! Realizing this was the last chance to capture their stories, I interviewed them and wrote a short bio about each. These stories were collated and published as a book by the association. Then I decided I had an interesting story to tell too.

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2) What inspired you to write your book?

I love telling stories of my international adventures. My friends encouraged me to write them down. So I did and saved them as “episodes” on my computer, kind of like dumping photos in a shoebox. Then I showed some pages to my wife Veronica, who’s a published author. She read them and said, “Wow, Sverrir, you’ve had a fascinating life!” From then on, she helped me put my episodes into a memoir called Viking Voyager: An Icelandic Memoir.

We wanted to make it a human-interest story that appeals to a wide audience. At the time of our writing, Iceland was a tourist hot spot. (The country, which has a population of only 360,000, hosted 2 million tourists in 2019!)  The literature on Iceland, however, was mostly travel guides. We decided I could tell tourists about my country by introducing them to my family, our way of life, and the road we’ve traveled to be where we are today.

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

There’s a saying: travel broadens the mind. After reminiscing about my own travel adventures, I must add to the adage: travel has also expanded my soul, strengthened my character and enriched my life. My Viking forefathers traveled the world to loot and plunder and bring home riches. Modern-day Vikings don’t do that anymore, thank goodness. We travel to learn, study, and to contribute on the world stage. At the end of my life, I can say I’ve found my fortune in an exciting career that required me to work with people of diverse cultures. Those experiences are worth more than any treasure.

My message to people of any age but especially to the young is: travel, spend some time in a foreign country. You’ll be surprised at what you’ll discover about other people but most importantly, about yourself.

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

I’m drawn to memoirs/biographies because I grew up with the Sagas, which started out as biographies of real people. The first Saga, called The Book of Settlements, tells us about the first settlers in the country more than a thousand years ago—where they put down roots in the uninhabited island, whom they married, and who their descendants were. It’s a dry, and some would say boring, account of who’s who in Iceland in the 9th century. As time went by, various writers embellished the stories and turned them into what’s comparable to today´s historical novels. The stories became increasingly fantastical and the realistic historical novels gave way to tales of superheroes performing magical feats. The writing finally ceased during the Little Ice Age in the 14th century, when the country descended into poverty and misery. But itinerant story tellers told and retold the stories as they traveled from farm to farm to entertain the inhabitants.

I’m an eclectic reader of many genres, including thrillers, mystery, and historical novels. After a lifetime of reading, my conclusion is that every fictional story, no matter how fantastic, has a real-life element to it.

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

I find Facebook and Twitter most useful. Being an old geezer who had no time for social media, I had to start almost from scratch. On Facebook, finding friends turned out to be very easy. Without much effort, I added to my friends list my connections from all over the world. I posted news of my publication, and soon I was hearing back from relatives, childhood friends, former colleagues, and even friends of friends.

The covid lockdown also forced me to look into virtual book tours. I did so reluctantly and was pleasantly surprised at the result. For two weeks, the tour host tweeted several times a day about my book and interviews at various blog sites. From zero followers on Twitter, I quickly gained a respectable following. 

The posts on Facebook and Twitter created a snowball effect. Contact with one book blogger led to another, and their reviews added to my credentials on Amazon and Goodreads. This network of friends in the book world is invaluable to any author. For example, I never knew there was such a thing as contests for indie authors. I entered one, The Wishing Shelf Award run by a group of UK authors, and was most happy to receive a prize. 

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

If you’re interested in writing your memoir, I’d say, start writing now. Even if you don’t know what you want to say, you can always begin by putting down your most salient memories. After a while, you may be able to connect the dots and see the big picture. This was what I did—the “pantser” style of writing.

Fortunately, my wife and coauthor is a “plotter.” She taught me the importance of the theme. Once the theme is established, the episodes fall into place and become the building blocks of a plot. In the absence of a theme, a memoir can end up a mishmash of anecdotes, with no meaningful message for readers to take away.

During the writing process, I learned a lot about creative writing from Veronica, who insisted on painting vivid pictures of places and people in order to transport readers to a different world. When I said I couldn’t remember the specifics, she threatened to exercise a coauthor’s right to creative license. Of course, I couldn’t let her turn my life into fiction. So, I dug into my memory, did some research, and found the details to flesh out the scenes. From its birth as a factual and dry account, the story evolved into a visual canvas for the reader. 

One suggestion to aspiring memoirists is to put their experiences in the context of their environment. Their stories will resonate with readers who share their culture and history, while those who come from a different place will learn something new. Since my memoir starts in Iceland, a little-known country, readers appreciate the Viking heritage and the country’s development described in my book.

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

I’m working on publishing the Icelandic edition of Viking Voyager. I’ve translated the book myself, with the help of an editor, and an Icelandic publisher is aiming to release the book before the end of the year, in time for the “Christmas book flood.” The Icelandic tradition is to give each other books as Christmas presents. Iceland is known to be one of the most literate nations in the world. Given our long, dark winters, there’s nothing better than curling up with a good book.

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About the Author

Sverrir Sigurdsson grew up in Iceland and graduated as an architect from Finland in 1966. He pursued an international career that took him to the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and the U.S. His assignments focused on school construction and improving education in developing countries. He has worked for private companies as well as UNESCO and the World Bank. He is now retired and lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and coauthor, Veronica.

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www.linkedin.com/in/sverrir-sigurdsson-29b51732

Interview with Author Tia Ray Dhar

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

I was born in India but grew up in Canberra, Australia, and Toronto, Canada. After completing my medical degrees from India, I moved to the U.S, where I worked in the biomedical and healthcare communications domain for more than a decade. Since childhood, I have always been a movie and rock music buff, but I didn’t start enjoying reading fiction until 2014. The mystery and suspense genre consistently garnered my interest, and I started reading the works of Agatha Christie, Mary Higgins Clark, Alafair Burke, Ruth Ware, Shari Lapena, CL Taylor, and Lucy Foley, to name a few. I didn’t start thinking about embarking on an author’s journey of my own until the second year of the pandemic. I thought I’d give creative writing a go since I’ve started to love reading fiction and love most creative things in general, like art, theatre, global cinema, history, museums, heritage architecture, etc. With the advent of new avenues in publishing, I thought I’d harness my writing creativity and storytelling skills and draft work that would engage, enthrall, and entertain. We never know which piece of writing can usher in a positive change or impact someone’s life meaningfully.

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2) What inspired you to write your book?

Some people work in fields that are either monetarily profitable or offer positions in highly respectable academic echelons. However, what proportion of these people are fulfilling their core passion or purpose in life? Probably not a large proportion. For these people, the mundane pattern of their high-paying and socially super-respectable jobs can potentially fuel boredom and loneliness and cause them to seek solace in friends or even a potential romantic partner. Shifting focus and energy towards a close friendship or relationship is wonderful as long as the connection is balanced and mutually prioritized. However, if the bond becomes unbalanced or dysfunctional, the person may feel their world collapsing. This scenario further accentuates feelings of negativity, isolation, self-doubt, and self-blame. Finding your passion and working towards that can boost zest and enthusiasm for life, and the right people will automatically gravitate to you. It’s important to stay grounded in your efforts, and easier said than done, “never give up.” Some of my graduate and medical school classmates opted for different career trajectories after graduation and are in happier spaces now. 

I wanted to write a story that would blend the above message with a medical school setting, friendship, romance, a bit of mystery, and how the protagonist eventually finds her calling.

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

It’s beautiful to try to find your core passion something you love, something you look forward to developing and continually learning about, and something you can contribute to and nurture regularly. We should also focus on building a “core” of three or four people (probably from within our family), whom we can trust implicitly and who will have our back. We should keep an open mind because soul-stirring inspiration can flow in from the most unexpected sources (as the reader will find in this book). After publishing “Unfurling,” I published a mini-manual titled “Don’t Let Your Break-Up Be Your Break-Down. This booklet highlights the above message along with seven other simple strategies we can cumulatively inculcate into our daily schedules to make us feel empowered, self-reliant, and resilient in the face of a loss of a close friendship or relationship.

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

I wanted to tell a simple, light-hearted tale of a young doctor finding her core purpose in life as she navigates the joys and uncertainties of friendships and romance and even finds herself embroiled in a murder mystery. So, my book would belong to a mix of contemporary, romance, and mystery genres. I consider my book less a murder mystery and much more a journey of a young woman finding her true calling in life.

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

Now that she’s identified her calling and core purpose, I want to sit down with the protagonist Dr. Mandy and ask her about her academic and career trajectory. Is she planning to pursue her super-specialization in India or at an international location? I would also like to ask her about her friend circle, and her current equation with the two male leads in the book. 

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

I’ve just started my author journey, and I’m developing my readership on Instagram and Facebook. I also update my Amazon Author Central page.

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

The advice I would give to aspiring authors would be: If you have a story, experience(s), a memoir, or research findings that you would like to share with the worldfearlessly put it out there! Take constructive criticism, but don’t let anything daunt you or steer you away from your path. An author’s journey is not a sprint. It’s a marathon. Be patient and persevere.

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

I’m enjoying my author journey as much as getting to the destination. 

I plan on writing short stories and novellas, mainly in the genres of contemporary romance, mystery, and suspense.

I have a romance novelette titled “SANCTUARY” coming out end of this year. The plot involves an emotional journey based in New Delhi and New York City.

I have a suspense novella which will be published towards the end of 2022, titled “SINISTER REUNION.” The story takes place in New Zealand.

I look forward to networking with other authors and connecting with more readers.

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About the Author

Tia Ray Dhar grew up in Canberra, Australia, and Toronto, Canada, and has over 15 years of experience in content creation for biomedical and healthcare communications across India, the US, and New Zealand. The mystery and suspense genre has always enthralled her. She started her fiction reading journey with novels by renowned authors like Mary Higgins Clark, Agatha Christie, Stephen King, Shari Lapena, Alafair Burke, Ruth Ware, and CL Taylor, to name a few. After years of reading, she decided to embark on a fiction writing journey of her own! 

She is a Goodreads author and has two published books in two different genres: A murder mystery novel titled “Unfurling: A Tale of Friendship, Love, Mystery & Mayhem” and a short self-help book called “Don’t Let Your Break-Up be Your Break-Down.” 

Her upcoming plans include publishing a romance novella, followed by few novellas and short stories in the mystery and suspense genre.

She has just started her writing journey and knows that there’s a long way to go. The creative landscape of writing is a space where we continually aspire to learn, engage, enthrall, entertain, and motivate the reader audience. 

Besides being an avid fiction reader, she loves public speaking, photography, rock music (especially from the 80s and 90s), films, theatre, and world history. One of her favorite places anywhere in the world is sitting at a window-side table in a cafe and sipping an Americano, long black, or flat white coffee while reading or writing. 

She enjoys connecting with other readers and writers and participating in social and cultural events for all age groups. 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tia.ray.1848

https://www.instagram.com/tia_writer1980/

Interview with Author Jared Bodnar

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

I’m a husband and dad first, that’s where much of my attention goes. For work, I am an advertising executive at an architectural technology company. I really love my job and I’m extremely passionate about what I do. In addition, I have several side hustles, including real estate investing, card playing, distance running, guitar playing and yes, I’m a proud novelist. I’ve always been into writing and almost by happenstance, I was always placed in advanced reading and writing courses as a kid. I really learned to hone my writing craft as an advertising and marketing professional, writing PR content, newsletter articles, case studies and advertorials. My most influential writing mentor, Steve Unger, taught me to write conversationally and that is absolutley my style. I write like I talk.

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2) What inspired you to write your book?

I actually came up with the idea for The Shattered Violin as a unique concept for a movie. I began to start to write a screenplay and I learned very quickly that I didn’t know the first thing about script writing. After deciding to start with a book first, I came to the painful realization that I knew even less about writing a novel 🙂

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

That life is full of twists and turns, and that you never know how far your life can unravel after you experience a truly traumatic event.

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

That was actually an accident. I came up with the original plot and it was rattling around in my head, begging to be put down on paper. As I began to flesh out the story, I really fell into the crime thriller genre, which was a perfect fit for the story.

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

I’d sit down with Julia. She’s not the flawless, perfect character. She’s passionate, fiery and confident. And she is very assertive when she knows what she wants. I’d love to just learn about her background. Why did she go into the music field after pursuing a career in medicine? Has she always been so intuitive when reading people or did she have to develop that skill? Why would she be walking around with a priceless antique under her arm?

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

Definitely Facebook. It’s a medium that combines visuals with prose so I can preview content, share visuals and get immediate feedback.

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

Find a unique take or twist on something. I see many books out their in the sci fi or fantasy genres in particular and they seem to follow the same formula. I say flip that formula on its head and present something that’s truly unique. That’s what I tried to accomplish with The Shattered Violin, present a novel new story with some very intriguing and thought-provoking twists.

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

Yes! I just finished an outline for a new psychological thriller about a PhD student who wants to develop a worldwide, free Internet network but inadvertently gives birth to an AI who is able to replicate and self-program at a tremendous rate. It’s a really interesting study of what can happen as robots replace humans and a different way that Artificial Intelligence can have signifiant drawbacks.

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About the Author

Jared Bodnar is an advertising professional by day, dedicated dad by night and novelist after Midnight.

He graduated from Arizona State University with a Journalism and Psychology double major, a perfect combination for writing psychological thrillers.

A lifelong writer, Jared is passionate about dialogue and is obsessed with converging, twisty storylines. Jared lives in Gilbert, Arizona with his wife Shannon, daughter Harlow, and sons Easton and Kai.

https://jaredbodnar.com/

Interview with Author David B. Seaburn

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

I began my career as a Presbyterian minister serving a country church. I went back to school to get a degree in counseling and entered the mental health field. Eventually I got my PhD in psychology. I was an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Family Medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center, where I directed the Family Therapy Training Program in Psychiatry and coordinated the Psychosocial Medicine Rotation in a family medicine residency program. Later I directed a free family counselling center in a local public school district. I started writing stories, poetry and personal essays when I was in the ministry. I wrote extensively at the Medical Center (two books, over sixty articles). It wasn’t until 2000 that I started writing long fiction. I had had an idea for ten years and finally took the leap. I published that first novel in 2005. I been writing novels ever since. Broken Pieces of God is my eighth novel. 

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2) What inspired you to write your book?

Eight years ago, I read an online news article about a man whose wife was gravely ill. He prayed to a statue of Jesus that she would be healed, and she was. To repay this blessing, he cleaned the old statue, only to have it fall on him, crushing his legs. I couldn’t let go of the story and finally created a broader narrative to go with it. 

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

I am always interested in the extraordinary experiences of ordinary people. This novel is no different. It follows several characters coming to grips with tragic events in their lives (life threatening illness, job loss, rape, and more), some of which have been kept secret for many years. And though they may end up with scars, they find ways to emerge with hope and resilience. I think that’s a particularly important perspective in our current time. 

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

As a marriage and family therapist and a minister, I have always been fascinated with the stories that people have to tell, especially stories of hardship and triumph. Broken Pieces of God, like my other novels, is character driven. It delves into the deeply human foibles and strengths that we all have. I hope it speaks to the lives of my readers.

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

This is a tough question. I think I would like to talk with Gayle Kimes, who is facing a terminal cancer diagnosis. She concocts an over-the-top solution to a problem that she and her unemployed husband face. I would like to ask her where she got the strength to face these problems simultaneously and gracefully. And—What happened next in their lives?

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

I wish I were better at this. I use Facebook and Twitter mostly. Goodreads, Netgalley, and Reedsy have been useful. Email blasts have worked. I’ve used virtual book tours. A little bit of everything.

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

Don’t worry if you don’t know exactly where your story is going or how it will end. Keep writing. Let the narrative, the characters, lead you.

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

Usually, immediately after I’ve sent a manuscript to my publisher, I start a new novel. This time is no different. I am about half way through the next one, which will be entitled, Give Me Shelter.

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About the Author

David B. Seaburn’s first novel, Darkness is as Light, was published in 2005. He followed with Pumpkin Hill (2007), Charlie No Face (2011), a Finalist for the National Indie Excellence Award in General Fiction, Chimney Bluffs (2012), More More Time (2015), and Parrot Talk (2017), which placed second in the TAZ Awards for Fiction (2017) and was short listed for the Somerset Award (2018). Seaburn’s latest novel, Gavin Goode (2019), was an American Book Fest Finalist for “Best Book” in General Fiction (2019) and Semi-Finalist in Literary, Contemporary and Satire Fiction for the Somerset Award (2019).

Seaburn is a retired marriage and family therapist, psychologist and Presbyterian minister who lives in Spencerport, NY with his wife, Bonnie. They have two daughters who are married and four wonderful grandchildren. After serving a rural parish for six years, Seaburn entered the mental health field. He was an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Family Medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center for nearly twenty years. There he was Director of the Family Therapy Training Program (Psychiatry) and Coordinator of the Psychosocial Medicine Rotation (Family Medicine). He published over sixty academic papers and co-authored two books. In 2005, Seaburn left the Medical Center to become Director of the Family Support Center in the Spencerport Central School District, a free counseling center for students and their families. Seaburn is currently a writing instructor at Writers and Books in Rochester, NY.

Seaburn’s novels are available through Amazon, and can also be ordered through your favorite bookstore. He is available for readings and can be reached at dseaburn@gmail.com. Visit his website at www.davidbseaburn.com. Read his Psychology Today magazine blog at https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/going-out-not-knowing.

Interview with Author Kerry Hughes

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

I am an Ethnobotanist and Clinical Herbalist and I have long been inspired by the healing roles plants play for both humans and also our planet—and so I have built a career around this! I am incredibly lucky to have found my passion early in life and I have always just followed it, even though much of the times the path ahead seemed so unclear!  I got into writing because when I was doing my Master’s Thesis I had to do a lot of writing to prove my research was valid and in the process I had an awesome advisor (the late Dr. Thomas Ruehr from Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, CA) who really helped edit my work and gently lead me into realizing this was something I could do!  Strangely, although I always hating writing classes in my school days, I ended up with one of my first jobs out of college being a Staff Writer for an alternative medicine publishing company!  From there, even though I never thought I would aspire to become a writer (in the least!) the projects kept coming and I have realized that it is SUCH an important medium in order to get my message about plants across!

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What inspired you to write your book?

This series of books has been something long-simmering in my mind over the years. I have done a lot of research and writing that is heavy on the scientific side of things, but I really wanted to reach the common person who either had a garden or had some inclination that they were interested in plants. I feel it is so important for people to begin developing this relationship and to realize the potential healing role they can plan in our lives—even common garden plants that are right under our noses!

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

I would like them to start wondering and looking at the plants that already exist in their lives, to develop a curiosity for what that plant is about.  It’s kind of like getting to know a person, we often develop some curiosity about them before we become friends…Plants are the same. Once someone learns one thing—maybe it is a plant that is useful in some aspect—they will never look at that plant the same again. They will always remember its name.

I would like people to stop looking at the amorphous “green carpet” that surrounds them and start realizing there are  individuals that make up that green carpet. Once people turn that corner in their minds, the world becomes a much richer place!!  People will also become more effective and interested in saving our precious biodiversity.

What drew you into this particular genre?

It was really my career and work with plants and herbs. I have a few other published books (from mainstream medical or educational publishers), but these books are pretty nerdy scientific type of books that aren’t focused at the general public. I wanted to write a beautiful book with colorful photos that people would enjoy looking at and could use to begin their interest in alternative garden uses.

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

I suppose Facebook has been the most helpful in getting the word out, but I really could do more work to develop communities of people who are interested in my “Botanicals With Benefits” topic. In fact, I have just created a Facebook Group for Botanicals With Benefits which I hope can do this, and I would love people to come and check it out, become members of the group to swap their experiences with plants and their multiple uses.. if you have a unique or really useful way to use a plant in your garden, please join and share with us…Or just come to learn!

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

I think it is just to do it –if you have an interest in writing, then create an outline, and start in small steps by tackling the topics in chunks—before you know it, you will be well underway in your writing!

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

The Botanicals With Benefits volumes will be coming out over time.. there are about 6-7 of them planned, so I have my work cut out for me with those! Also, I am currently writing/Editor of a book in a new field called Decoloniality which will be published by the educational publisher Springer Nature. It will be called: Understanding Socio-Ecological Systems Through Decoloniality: Case Studies on Convergence of Indigenous and Western Knowledge. It is a mouthful ☺ and another nerdy scientific book. However, I feel this field is very important and relevant to plants because much of our plant knowledge comes from indigenous wisdom! That should be published in 2022.

I am also currently joining a friend of mine who is a Doctor in San Luis Obispo, and will have a limited herbal & Flower Essence practice alongside her integrative primary care practice, Dr. Lindsey Faucette at the SLO Health center. We will be planning a lot of activities to merge our experience and bring natural healing to people. Come join us!

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About the Author

Ethnobotanist, Herbalist and Author, Kerry Hughes – with a 20-year record-of-
success in natural product development – is driven by a tenacious fascination
with the potential health enhancing role plants and nutrients can play, and her
purpose is Ethno-Botanical Discovery and strategically innovating and expanding
the boundaries of new natural product development. Through this, Kerry has
catalyzed significant phyto-product breakthroughs that have been applied to
bring to market new, efficacious and profitable products that not only heal people
but also protect our threatened global biodiversity.


Kerry’s love of natural products has compelled her to write and speak frequently
on a variety of subjects. Her writing includes the recently published Botanicals
With Benefits: Establish a New Relationship with your garden (2020), as well as
these in-depth text books: Understanding Socio-Ecological Systems through
Decoloniality: Convergence of Indigenous and Western Knowledge (in press);
The Incense Bible, Taylor & Francis (2007), one of the first scientific reviews &
examinations of incense, The Health Professionals Guide to Dietary
Supplements, Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins (2006), a peer-reviewed guide to
herbs and nutritional supplements, and Botanical Medicines: The Desk
Reference for Major Herbal Supplements, Haworth Press (2002) an in-depth text-
book on the medical aspects of many of our top supplements. Additionally, she
has authored over a dozen articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals on various
natural product topics.

Kerry is the Founder of EthnoPharm; a consulting business focused on Natural
Product Discovery and Development. She is also on the Scientific & Medical
Advisory Boards for Amare Global, Good Pharma and Hilma, and is on the
Advisory Board for Global Food Forums. Kerry has acted as a consultant to the
United Nations through the International Trade Centre (ITC) for international
development projects involving botanicals and authored essential oil and organic
reports for the Market News Service (MNS). As the Director of the US office of
The Institute for Market Ecology (IMO), an eco-product certifier, she helped to co-
develop and establish the Fair for Life Social & Fair Trade Certification in the US
market, the highest-bar global Fair Trade certification standard. Today, she
continues her work with standard development on the Certified Regenerative
standard by A Greener World, currently in its pilot phase.


Kerry has a background in Ethnobotany and Biochemistry, with a Bachelor of
Science degree in Biochemistry, and a Master of Science degree in Agriculture
with an emphasis in Ethnobotany and Soil Science from California Polytechnic
State University, San Luis Obispo, California. She is also a certified Clinical
Herbalist by the Berkeley Herbal Center, an Advanced Australian Bush Flower
Essence Advanced Practitioner, and teaches at the Berkeley Herbal Center &
The Herbal Academy of New England. Kerry also maintains a Clinical Herbal
practice at the SLO Health Center in San Luis Obispo, CA.

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https://ethnopharm.com/

Interview with Author Noelle Ihli

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


I wrote and edited for other people long before writing under my own name. But after fifteen years in marketing content and editing (all while hurrying home to finish the latest thriller or horror novel on my nightstand) I decided it was time to tell my own stories.  

2) What inspired you to write your book?

I can’t get enough of scary things. And that includes haunted houses. The effects are sometimes so real that I couldn’t help but wonder if these attractions could be a real target for the right sociopath. If I screamed for help, would anyone really notice? After all, everyone around me was screaming. A couple of years ago, my husband and I went to a sprawling outdoor haunted attraction in Albion, Idaho (the inspiration for The Thicket“). The old buildings and history were supremely creepy. And there’s this image burned into my mind of a security officer looking down at his phone while a person with a chainsaw chased a screaming girl around the dark campus. They were actors, of course. But the screams sounded real to me. And of course, nobody did a thing. Because we all trusted it was part of the fun. 

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


Sometimes there’s a very thin line between our fascination with horror and reality. One person’s scary story is another person’s actual nightmare. And in this novel, the two sides of this dynamic intersect: Norah’s horrifying tragedy becomes this mythical, exciting draw for horror-lovers and thrill seekers who want to attend the “real” haunted house.

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4) What drew you into this particular genre?

I’ve loved scary stories for as long as I can remember. When I was in elementary school, I checked out every single book in the library’s “Scary Stories” section (there weren’t that many; it was an elementary school). And I’ve been reading horror and thrillers ever since. That said, I’m a total wimp and I check my locks three times every night. 

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

That’s a hard one. I love Norah so much, so I’d have to choose her. But what to ask? I’d really like to know (given the scene at the cemetery) if Norah and Taylor rekindled their friendship. 

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


Facebook is still such a great place to connect with other amazing authors and readers. I’m gathering the courage to venture onto BookTok (so watch out!) but for now, Facebook is where I’m at! 

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


Just do the next thing. Don’t let the distance between where you’d like to be and where you are keep you from just taking the next step. 

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

I’m hard at work on my next thriller/horror novel. Look for it in early 2022! 

About the Author

Noelle’s two great passions are murder and horses (separately, never together).

Noelle is a boy-mom to Luke and Max, and a cat-mom to Michelle. When she’s willing to wear pants (which is less often than she aspires to wear them), she can be found in mom jeans. Her husband Nate is the best person she knows.

Interview with Author L.M. French

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

I was always that kid with her nose in a book. Books were, in a lot of ways, my safe place. I saw my first computer in a library. I have fallen asleep in libraries. Now, I don’t advocate that as a habit, since it scares the pants off you when they close up but libraries really molded my youth.

When I was nine, I read Robinson Crusoe and I think it planted the seed for writing. Looking back, the subject matter was probably inappropriate, but surviving against all odds is a theme that never gets old for me. 

2) What inspired you to write your book?

Insomnia. Anxiety. So much of 2020 left me feeling helpless and out of control of my life. My fate was not in my own hands and that chafed. I needed to do something-anything- and Shadows of Rebellion was born from that feeling. I started it in a spiral notebook and then transitioned to my laptop. 

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

That the odds are often stacked against us, but you don’t have to be a hero to keep going. We all have monsters that chase us. Be they anxiety, depression, self-esteem or simply fear. Sometimes the monster is sneaky and disguises itself as a friend. Our monsters may not be literal and some of us have more than others, but we can no more lie down and give up than Veda could. If you do, the monster eats you. 

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

Fantasy is the bravest, most extraordinary genre in my humble opinion. It takes a lot of your soul to create a whole world, magic systems, histories and peoples. It’s the most terrifying and rewarding feeling. Fantasy offers the ultimate what if? I like finding the ordinary in the extraordinary. It makes me brave and bold and daring in a world when I am often not many of those things. 

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

Denny. I have so many questions for this guy. Why a tophat? Why fringe? His role in Shadows of Rebellion was very, very disturbing but it seemed almost common and transactional for him. I would like to know if he ever does anything as mundane as comedy night or does he prefer wine to beer? I just need answers, man.

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

Some cross between Tiktok and Instagram. I like Instagram because it’s so easy to interface with my Facebook page and group. I’m still learning to put myself out there on TikTok but I think it gives readers a place to be interactive and engaged with authors and their work without the commitment of a newsletter. 

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

I guess I could say just write. It is the tried and true. But I won’t. What I am going to say is this: 

  1. Ask yourself what if? Why not? If you get stuck, plow through even if it sucks today cause you can fix it tomorrow. But. Never. Stop. Writing. Ever. 
  2. Read as much as you can because it is the tie that binds. 
  3. Don’t be scared to put yourself out there. Be awkward, embarrass yourself a little. 
  4. And never stop listening to your characters. They know your world better than you do. After all, they live there.

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

Lots of writing, editing, and a hefty amount of daydreaming. I’m working on Fated Uprising, Four Territories Book Two. Denny will get his own book at some point and I’m excited about that, but it’s still marinating. I’m getting those answers, though. 

About the Author

L.M. French is an indie author of urban fantasy residing in the Lone Star State with the love of her life, eight-year-old Jack. While she dreams up misadventures with uncooperative participants, he keeps her inspired with his own stories of villains and anti-heroes. Where they live, imagination is a superpower. Connect with them via Facebook, email, or carrier pigeon.

Just kidding.

Birds are mean.

Social Media and Website:

www.lmfrench.com

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/21633981.L_M_French

https://www.instagram.com/authorlmfrench/

https://www.facebook.com/lmfrenchauthor/?ref=pages_you_manage

And on TikTok you can find my @authorlm_french

Interview with Narrator Jeremy Olivier

Tell us a little about yourself.

I am originally from Minnesota and presently live in Korea as an ESL Teacher. I served in the US ARMY and served in Korea for one year which is what encouraged me to move there. My wife is Korean and we live pretty comfortably, but we have plans to move back to the states in the near future. I presently do Voice Over as a side gig, but I hope to develop it into my full-time work. My hobbies are martial arts (gotta stay in shape), playing video games, and sitting down to some good ol’ Dungeons and Dragons with my friends. 

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How did you get into narration?

This is a fun story. I was working as an English teacher for a nuclear power plant here in Korea (KHNP) and they have E-Learning modules on their website to help them with their English. So, we had a project to record the worker’s scripts in a studio. Here in the city of Busan, the local university has a building that is supported by the government that has a complete recording studio. This studio can be rented out to the public and the sound engineer students work there to help whoever wants to do the recording. After that experience, I had so much fun that I was hooked. I got “bit by the VO bug”. So I did some research and found that the first website that most people recommended was ACX (this is the audiobook creation website for Audible.com). I got my microphone, setup, and started auditioning. 

Which character did you connect to the most in this book?

It was, at first, a hard decision between Jericho Caine and Tom Padilla. However, I have to go with the same character that I know Dee chose. That is, of course, Jericho Caine. The reason I connect with him is that he has the same characteristics as me. I’m not as impulsive as he is, but I am direct and interested in just getting the job done. I also like his “run in and figure things out as they go” method. He is also quite optimistic about coming out on top. I also rely on the help and trust of my friends to make it through anything!

What is your process like when trying to tap into the individual characters when recording the dialogue?

I will always reference to playing Dungeons and Dragons on this one. We always use the phrase “theater of the mind” in our quests and when the Dungeon Master creates the world through their words. I use that exact idea to voice each character. Thanks to Dee’s great explanation of each character in detail, I am able to lock in a solid mental picture of the character. With the words that the character says, I try to feel out how they would speak and the mentality that would come with it. Once you’re able to lock in the mental picture, speaking style, and the character’s motivation in the story; the rest just flows. 

What are some of your favorite genres to work on as a narrator? 

I have to easily start with science fiction. The stories can span from a small town to the edges of the galaxy. I have also been fascinated with the supernatural (and it shows with Dee Rose’s novels). Westerns are quite fun to do because the voices come through quite naturally. I am still extremely interested in anything in the fantasy RPG realm as well with my love for all things D&D. 

What advice would you give to aspiring voice actors or narrators looking to get into narrating audiobooks? 

I can’t stress this enough. DO YOUR RESEARCH! As voice actors, we have to wear many hats. We have to learn a lot about sound engineering with the use of DAW’s (Digital Audio Workstations); knowing which mic to use; and how to treat a space to make sure our sound is the best it can be. Start with Youtube. Oh, and prepare yourself for LOTS of rejection. I always live by the phrase “fail forward”. If you didn’t get the part, there’s always tomorrow. However, this direction has limitless educational opportunities. No one in the industry learns it all. Whatever your initial goal or dream is in voice over, buckle up, you’re gonna get pulled in many directions. Don’t worry, this is a good thing. Finally, connect with voice over communities such as ones on Facebook. The support they offer is there to lift each other up and help you through this crazy audio jungle. Everyone’s voice has a place. I hope that helps a little.   

What does the future hold in store for you? 

Right now, just working at building up my Voice Over business and grinding away to build a successful brand. I want to get myself out there and help whoever I can with my voice. I’d like to get that that eventual point where I can wake up in the morning excited and ready to record something fun for someone. I truly want to add enjoyment to people’s lives, no matter how corny that sounds. 

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Any new projects on the horizon?

I am still in close contact with Dee Rose and kicking around the idea of rounding out and taking the rest of his Hangman Universe into the audiobook realm. Other than that, I am working at building up my presence on freelance websites like Fiverr and Upwork. I am also keeping my eyes open for any fun character auditions out there in the aether. 

https://www.acx.com/narrator?p=A3VR8LH4COF79I

https://www.linkedin.com/in/jeremy-olivier79/?originalSubdomain=kr

Interview with Author Dee Rose

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

I got into writing when I was a senior in high school. I entered a poetry contest, and even though I didn’t win, I received great reviews. From then on, I only wanted to write poetry. 

I went to the Navy two weeks after high school decided to turn poems into raps. I wasn’t bad, but obviously I wasn’t good enough to make a dent in the music industry. I called my style of rap, psycho rap, and made a song called The Hangman. 

When I got out of the Navy, four and a half years later, the writing bug hit me again. I wondered how I could make the Hangman into a novel. However, I wrote two other books before the Hangman, called Cloning Around and Forbidden Love. The love story was dedicated to my sister because she died of cancer, and I wanted to make sure it was the first book I published even though I’d finished Cloning Around first. 

I moved to Denver, Colorado and went to college to study creative writing. I got married and had two beautiful daughters, Nadia, and Nicole. I then wrote The Hangman but developed a serious case of writers bloc soon after. It lasted for years. Tragedy struck again when I was shot in the Aurora Theater Shooting. I was shot in the shoulder, which required a metal plate, and in the back, which caused nerve damage and I developed drop foot syndrome. 

I thought my life was over until I met a young man named Panhnha Tran and offered to write a book, based off his idea, Then I thought, “I want to finish my own books”. So, with his help, we developed a follow-up book to the Hangman called The Grand Librarian: Life of an Immortal. It was a standalone book, but I tied it to the Hangman story, and the Hangman Universe (HMU) was born. I couldn’t stop writing either. Eight books later, on March 21st, I published The Hangman: Vengeance, book ten, and ended the series. I had a blast.

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What inspired you to write your book?

Susan Taki: The New Coven is the eighth book in the HMU series. I didn’t promote it as much as I should have. I always thought of it as just a gateway book between The Death Brothers: A Supernatural Awakening and The Hangman Vengeance. However, a brilliant voice actor named Jeremy Olivier narrated The Death Brothers book. I thought he did an amazing job! He convinced me to continue the audiobook story of the HMU and I agreed. So, Susan Taki lived through his words.

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

The message I want people to take away from the book is that good can triumph over evil. Love doesn’t require specific genders. And hang the rules. Fantasy is just that…fantasy. If you have a good story to tell, then tell it the way you envisioned.

What drew you into this particular genre?

I’ve always loved fantasy with supernatural elements my whole life. I’m a huge comic book fan. Anyone with abilities or powers… I’m hooked.

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

If I could sit down with any character in my book, it would Jericho Caine, the vampire slayer. I think he is badass. And I would ask them, why are you such a badass? I think he has the coolest one-liners, and his wit is unmatched.

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

Facebook has been the social media site that has been most helpful in developing my audience. I think it’s because the readers from India and Columbia are the ones that contacted me first about my writing.

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

My advice to aspiring or just starting authors would be to just get the story out of your head and on paper. Editing is important but save it for later. I can’t count how many times I got caught up so much into a scene I was writing that I smiled the entire time. That let’s me know that it’s a good scene.

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

I believe my future is bright. Right now, I have just released a space opera on Kindle Vella entitled, Hut-Yo Cull: The Hunt Begins. I’m almost finished with the follow-up to Cloning Around called, Special Agent Robert Bassett: Accepting Commonology. I’m also working on another book about people with abilities called, The Bad Guys about a group of villains.

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About the Author

Dee Rose was born on July 5th and resides in Denver, CO. He is the father of two daughters. “They are my life.” He says. He attended Metro State University of Denver, where he majored in Political Science. The Hangman is his third published novel and he plans to make it into a series. “Novels like the Hangman are the reason I started writing in the eleventh grade. I love taking readers on an incredible journey.”

https://www.facebook.com/DeeRoseBooks