Tag Archives: author interview

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 Sam Mansourou 

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

I travel and teach. I don’t consider myself a writer, I just put into words what interests me.

What inspired you to write your book? 

Just everything going on. I’m thankful for the kind reviews. 

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

That it will promote civic action and that they know a peaceful revolution is possible.

What drew you into this particular genre? 

I always was interested in social philosophy.  

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

Probably Facebook. Reviewers will usually include your book in a post if they like it, or write something nice about it.

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

If I were an artist I would challenge myself to write the hardest style or the most difficult book. I would see what I can do with my art. 

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

No, I’m just promoting this book for now. I don’t see a new book in the near future. Maybe there will be another one on the horizon, but I have other interests. I like to travel, and I like teaching.

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About the Author

Sam Mansourou is an author and English teacher. His fiction has been published in multiple literary magazines. This is his second nonfiction book.

Sam Mansourou (Author of Perceptions) | Goodreads

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

Interview with Author Bill Richardson

  1. Congratulations on the release of your novel, Hell Fighters: 21st Century Lovecraft!  For those who may be unfamiliar, how would you describe the book’s premise, and what inspired you to tell this story?

Professor Max Heller stumbles upon a remote area in the woods that challenges everything he thought he knew about the world. There is an evil in this place that defies logic. An evil with murderous intent. An evil that can destroy the world. Heller then joins a self-proclaimed group of Hell Fighters who wants to defeat this evil. Together this ragtag bunch of misfits embarks on a journey to save the world from an evil that is so great that it can barely fit into the human mind. The story has cults, giant monsters, otherworldly beings, doomsday preppers, survivalists, ancient gods, mystical technologies and more. It will shock you, scare you, challenge you intellectually and awe you. 

I wrote the book for several reasons, but one was that I wanted to play in the wonderful world that Lovecraft created. The evil in HP’s work is so foreign and otherworldly that it is difficult to even conceive of a way to combat it. In most of his stories the evil either wins or the main character escapes it. No one ever really defeats it. 

When I was a boy reading Lovecraft, it often left me unsatisfied. I wanted more. I wanted more detail. I wanted to see the monsters and understand the evil. The forces he shows us are on this grand scale but he always wrote about them in these very short works. It was like a mosaic that revealed different parts but never the whole. I wanted to gather up all those fascinating threads Lovecraft created and weave them into a big, cohesive tale that is accessible to a modern reader. The story features the Quantum Resonator, Arkham, Miskatonic University, an aspect of the Elder Gods, malformed monstrosities and many other elements of Lovecraft. But it’s also book you can enjoy if you’ve never read any of Lovecraft’s stories. 

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  1. The novel deftly combines fantasy and Lovecraftian horror.  What can you share with us about your creative process in weaving these narratives together, and what have been some of your creative influences?

As to influences, I read horror, sci if, fantasy, crime, non-fiction, historical fiction, poetry, classics and literary fiction. How that becomes what I write is something of a mystery to me. I’ve always leaned toward dark stories and most of what I write has a dark edge to it. But I also do a lot of humor, so go figure. As to process, I keep cramming stuff into my head until something comes out. I go to bookstore and browse covers and titles. I’m also a visual artist and sometimes I’ll create an image that will spark a story idea. I read, listen to audiobooks, watch movies and daydream about stories. Every waking minute, I’m either immersing myself in creative content or trying to create it myself.

  1. At Fanbase Press, our #StoriesMatter initiative endeavors to highlight the impact that stories can have on audiences of various mediums.  How do you feel that Heller’s story will connect with and impact readers, and why do you feel that this story was important for you to bring to life?

Heller is a person who has always used his intellect to solve his problems. But he comes face to face with something so foreign and otherworldly that it defies all logic. So it requires him to use other skills to take on the enormous challenges he faces. He has to get out of his comfort zone and become something of a man of action. I’m interested in the idea that there is a hero in all of us. If put in the right situation we can all rise to the occasion and be heroic in our own way. Churchill was a mediocre politician before the war and after it too. But when the challenge of the Nazi invasion came, he was able to rise to meet it and become something more than he was before, or even after. What is a hero? A hero is someone who takes on a challenge that they think is too big for them and meets that challenge. We can all do that in our lives. I want people to realize that they can be more than they think they are. 

  1. Do you foresee expanding the novel into subsequent books, if given the opportunity?

I would like to continue Heller’s story and the Hell Fighters as well. Another thing I explore in the book is how the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. How a group of people with different skills and failings can come together and do more than any of them could do alone. It’s like how the Beatles or the Stones or any other musical group you can name is better together than they are separately. I would like to explore that more with these characters. I have entire story arcs for each of them in my head. I leave the book open for the possibility that there can be more and I have several ideas. But I really enjoy exploring new worlds and new characters and at this point I’m more comfortable with that. Honestly it will come down to what fans want. If they want more, I’ll give it to them. 

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  1. In addition, you also have the audiobook version of More Than Evil coming to Audible.  What can you share with us about the premise of this book, and how would you describe your creative process in bringing it to life?

In More Than Evil a group of coal miners release an evil force that has been trapped in the earth for millennia. It begins to spread through their isolated town, overtaking its citizens and turning them into virtually unkillable monstrosities. Harlan is the local sheriff and he has to figure out a way to stop these unstoppable creatures before the evil spreads to the wider world.

More Than Evil and Hell Fighters are very different in tone. More Than Evil is quite visceral. It’s not gore for the sake of gore. The blood is central go the plot and the nature of the evil we encounter but there is plenty of it. It’s kind of like Clive Barker’s early writing in that way. 

I wanted to make the audiobook for More Than Evil a different experience than reading the novel. As a result, I used my years of filmmaking experience to create what I like to call, a movie for your ears. I created a rich 3D soundscape with tons of music and effects. The audiobook has both dark and light humor in it that the prose version doesn’t. This was done with music and effects, not by changing the text. The idea is that you can enjoy each version in a different way. Horror really lends itself to the kind of audio treatment I used in this audiobook but it rarely gets it. That’s what sets it apart and elevates it. It’s a very different listening experience than you’re used to.

  1. Are there any upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?

I have a book on Kindle Vella called Two Girls Save the World. It’s basically YA adventure/horror. You can read almost half of it for free on that platform. And the appeal of that book is broader than the title or genre might lead you to believe. Guys will like it and adults will too. I have a lot of other stuff in the can and I’m trying to figure out which one to release next. The genres range from SF to fantasy to historical fiction. There will be a new release the 2nd half of February for sure. My intention is to have a release schedule of February and September of each year. 

  1. Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about Hell Fighters, More Than Evil, and your other work? 

My website is https://bilrichardson.com  and below is a link to my Amazon author page. I’m on Goodreads and twitter @billrichardso10 as well. 

Let me say in closing that I appreciate every person who gives my work a chance and reads it. It is a struggle for every author to build an audience. My number one rule is, don’t be boring. I’ve got a 4+ star rating across all platforms, so a lot of people have liked my work. I feel confident that readers who try my books will enjoy them. 

I’ve been fortunate to do a lot of cool things in my life. I’ve been a film and TV producer, a nationally know historian, artist and writer. I’ve been inside the great pyramids of Egypt, embraced the pillars at Stonehenge, seen the world’s greatest works of art in person. Those things brought me great joy, but not as much as writing does. I hope folks will come along on my writing journey with me. I promise it will be a blast. 

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About the Author

As a filmmaker Bil Richardson has produced feature films, documentaries, commercials and a 16 episode series for the History Channel.

He has appeared on numerous national TV shows including CBS This Morning, CBS Sunday Morning, American Pickers, Mysteries at the Museum, the National Geographic Channel’s Diggers and Discovery Networks’ Blood Feuds.  

His films are being used as teaching tools at such prestigious universities as UC Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon and Marquette; and are part of the U.S. Library of Congress holdings. 

Bil has been quoted in the New York Times, USA Today, Washington Post, London Times and hundreds of other newspapers.  He was a contributing author on the Random House book, The Appalachians, the West Virginia Encyclopedia and has published both fiction and non-fiction. 

Professor Richardson has been featured as a speaker both nationally and internationally and his work has been supported by the National Endowment for the Arts. 

Among his many other creative ventures Bill has done covers for books, magazines and graphic novels. 

Interview with Issac Nasri

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

I’m a 27-year-old indie author that’s a native of Washington, DC and I have a penchant for cyberpunk. My passion for writing extended when I was young but I definitely made very good use of it as I was in college. In University of Maryland, I participated in writing clubs, where members shared insights and feedback on each other’s chapters or stories. Then my writing, though imaginative, was juvenile. But looking back and to now, I have to say my writing has significantly improved and age also plays a factor as we become sage over the years flying by, at times we recoil at what is done in the past. 

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2) What inspired you to write your book

The story itself is heavily based on the real-life events that went on, and the elements presented in Into the Violet Gardens shine light on the issues present in humanity today. Albeit cyberpunk, the novel is set two years later from now but ties in elements that are deemed ongoing issues in our society today. Plus humanity has played a great part in exacerbating these issues. 

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

Readers should take heed that this novel covers themes that extend to the chimerical concept of peace, mendacity, and most importantly the dark reality of human nature, an element I do hope many readers look into. The latter is commonly demonstrated in this story where after the events involving the drug war, cyborgs and robots become targets for human prejudice concerning the turmoil plaguing Latin America in the aftermath of the war. As a result, this corruption enacted by humans takes a toll on the characters in my novel, giving fuel and pent-up anger within my main antagonist. The reality is that many people will take delight in taking part in an act that may seem trendy just to achieve gratification, even if the act is devious.

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

I’ve been a fan of science fiction due to how grounded the genre is to real-life and I believe that many authors can take liberty in applying its components to the modern world.

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

This is a challenging one. A dangerous choice here, but I’d say that Eva Moreci, the main antagonist, would be a suitable candidate. She’s undergone numerous struggles in the story such as mortification and deception from humans, the people she once placed her trust in, and as a result, creating her into that monster that wants nothing but their decimation. Her motives are something readers can’t snub so freely. It would be interesting knowing how would she go about revolutionizing the world for all cyborgs and robots if she had succeeded in her plan. 

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

The use of fiverr has been beneficial in helping me improve on my fiction. I’ve found a good amount of beta readers and editors that were willing to give their insights in components that needed fixing such as the Spanish dialect, which is very common in the story.

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

I encourage readers to make use with editing rounds. One round of editing isn’t enough to make your writing transparent, and use editors that are convenient for your budget. Second is make use of beta readers. They have been of much help to me during my period of revising and their insights will help you figure plot holes and inconsistencies in stories.

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

I definitely look forward to possible sequels to continue the storyline if I’m successful with the audience. As of far, the reaction has been going positive but I’m still pushing forward in reaching out to more people.

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About the Author

Isaac Nasri is a self-published author. He grew up in Washington DC and graduated in May of 2017 from the University of Maryland, College Park with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology. His stories focus on offering allusion to recent events happening in contemporary society and how they affect his characters.

Heart of the Scrapdog is his self-published work that was released in 2020.

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/20806995.Isaac_Nasri

Interview with Tamel Wino

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

– I stumbled into writing in elementary school. Everyone in class had to write a poem, in celebration of Independence Day. I was shocked and thrilled that my poem was one of the very few that got picked to be submitted to a local newspaper agency. It was never published but ever since then, I started writing and experimenting more. 

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2) What inspired you to write your book

-I’m a big fan of ‘the Moth’ podcast. One of the episodes is about a female African writer who had to move heaven and earth just to publish her book. That truly inspired me to publish my own book.

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

-I want the readers of my book to walk away with gnawing uneasiness. Realizing the vileness that lurks within certain people. And wondering what if.

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

-I’ve been reading horror for as long as I can remember. Growing up with and devouring the works of the lords of terror (King, Koontz, Barker, Poe, etc.) immensely influence my own writing.

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

-It’d be really intriguing to probe more into their motives, intentions and turning points.

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

-I’m never been very active in social media. Just really started using it recently. Instagram is my preferred platform.

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

-Perfect first drafts don’t exist. Everybody has great stories to tell, more often than not, it’s down to timing, luck and perseverance to fish them out.

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

I see myself exclusively writing short-form fiction. Currently working on my third collection in the same vein as the first two.

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About the Author

Tamel Wino is a Canadian fiction writer from the resplendent British Columbia whose works focus largely on degeneration of sanity and morality. He studied Health Sciences and Psychology, which only furthered his interest in human nature.

With inspirations including Alice Munro, Chuck Palahniuk, Cormac McCarthy, Stephen King, Margaret Atwood and Edgar Allan Poe; Tamel’s expositions are strongly grounded in traditions of dark fiction. Yet, with his bold narrative voice and incisive plot construction, Wino is paving a new movement within the space.

When he’s not reading or scribbling away on his laptop, Tamel loves listening to jazz, rewatching good ol’ classic shows and traveling.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ekleipsis29/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ekleipsis29/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ekleipsis29

Website: https://ekleipsis.ca/

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Interview and Spotlight Of Author Natasha Jeneen Thomas and her Novel, “Family Medicine”

Family Medicine: A Psychological Suspense Thriller

Synopsis

Therese Hughes-Baldwin arrives in Boca Raton with hopes of joining the most prestigious dance company in south Florida. But instead of finding ballet success, she suffers an embarrassing heartbreak and takes a boring barista job. She also inadvertently gains the attention of the woman who stalks her on every train ride she takes. So, when Therese’s favorite café customer, Dr. Dara Clemens, offers an escape to her beachside mansion, Therese can hardly say “yes” quickly enough. With her suitcase in hand and best friend Phoebe by her side, she heads to the Clemens’ oceanfront getaway. The home is gorgeous. The beach is, too. So is the stranger Therese gives her number to at the bar. But there are voices in the vents. And there are people who stare. And Therese faces a sinking feeling that something is hauntingly off about Phoebe’s behavior. As Therese questions the motivations of those around her, she opens the door to a reality she never thought she’d find. CONNECT WWW.NATASHAJENEENTHOMAS.COM

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Interview with Author Natasha Jeneen Thomas

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

I was born and raised as an only child in Daytona Beach, Florida and now live in the Metro Atlanta area. I work as a psychiatrist who specializes in caring for pregnant and postpartum women, and in treating posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 

My parents tell me I was a very quiet child. I think that’s partially because I am introverted. I think my constant daydreaming contributed to my quietness, too. Solo activities like reading and playing piano filled my childhood.  I was fortunate to have several strong English teachers who taught me grammar and writing construction, spurred on my love of literature, and entered me in writing contests. In high school, I won a National Council of Teachers of English “superior performance in writing” award after my teacher submitted an extemporaneous piece I had written. Winning that accolade made me think, “Hmm, maybe I’m good at this writing thing.” 

I’ve been writing in some form ever since. I began with poetry but have also written short stories, newsletters, and mental health blogs. Now, I’m presenting my first novel! 

2) What inspired you to write your book?

My work as a psychiatrist has been a major inspiration in both my blog writing and in the writing of my book, Family Medicine. As I mentioned earlier, I specialize in women’s mental health work. Many of the themes throughout the book were selected based on areas where I see women struggle. 

However, this book was also inspired by a recurring dream I’ve had for over twenty years. I started writing the story a decade ago and couldn’t pull all the pieces together. It was always scratching at my brain. I finally took the opportunity to write it once my work travel time was eliminated as I converted my psychiatric practice to an exclusively telemedicine practice in 2020.

It was fun to make the story a fictional account and to put a psychological suspense thriller twist on it. That part of my writing is heavily influenced by my father and all the horrors and thriller films we watched together when I was young.

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

Well, since this book is a thriller, I’d love to save the surprise of discovering the theme for my readers. It would be really cool to hear after people read it what themes they picked up—and what they think is the major message. 

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

I write psychological suspense because I am infinitely interested in the human mind. In medical school, I very strongly considered becoming an OB/GYN and planned to live out my career delivering babies. But in the end, I selected psychiatry as a specialty because I realized I’d never fully understand or master the human mind. That idea intrigued me. 

My fictional writing, at this point, is a reflection of the awe, respect, and sometimes outright terror I discover when delving into human psychology.

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

I love this question! In the story, the main character runs into a woman on the train who begins to stalk her. I think it would be really interesting to know what this woman is doing when she’s not stalking our main character. 

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

So far, it seems like Facebook has been the most helpful in that respect. I have the most followers on that platform and some people are beginning to really interact with the page. They’re entering contests, have subscribed to my website, and respond in some way to most posts. It’s cool to see. 

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

I’d say don’t talk yourself out of your dream to write. You don’t have to be super experienced to do great writing but you do need to be open to learning. You also have to set aside time to write, even when you don’t feel inspired. Don’t give a ton of credence to the idea of writer’s block. Get advice from other writers and keep what resonates with you. Don’t be afraid to share your work with people who can make it stronger. If you’re too sensitive to critique, your work will suffer. Have fun with it! You get to create your very own world!

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

Now that I’ve gotten over the hump of writing my first novel, I definitely expect to continue writing and hope to have another project out in 2022. Who knows, Family Medicine may even have a sequel!

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About the Author

Natasha Jeneen Thomas is a Florida-born psychiatrist and psychological suspense writer. She has spent the past eleven years in psychiatric private practice exploring individual and collective story and the power of perception. Witnessing life from the vantage point of the human psyche’s inner workings, Natasha sees the state of the world as a reflection of the stories we tell ourselves – and allow ourselves to believe.

Natasha earned a Bachelor of Science from Spelman College, studied medicine at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, and completed residency training in psychiatry at University of Maryland and Sheppard & Enoch Pratt hospitals. When she is not doctoring or writing, she is enjoying her family, her home, or her corner of the couch.

https://linktr.ee/natashajeneenthomas

https://www.instagram.com/natashajeneenthomasauthor/

https://www.facebook.com/natashajeneenthomasauthor/?ref=

Interview with Jeff Costello

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

I’m a long-time sales executive in the technology space. That’s how I’ve made a living for the past 30-plus years. But, deep down inside, I’m really a storyteller. Whether it’s a presentation to a large group, a barstool conversation with a customer, or just hanging out with friends, I like to tell stories. Usually, they’re humorous. Occasionally, they’re insightful. Sometimes, they’re both. I hope that book falls into the “both” category.

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2)    What inspired you to write your book?

There’s a famous quote from Toni Morrison that goes like this, “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” I’ve always wanted to read a book that accurately captured what I’ve experienced in my career. I felt that readers would enjoy the people, passion, camaraderie, customer interactions, and overall craziness associated with hitting a revenue goal, chasing the big deal, or being for sale, especially if I did it in a humorous way.

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

I hope that readers gain a better understanding of the salesperson-buyer relationship and, hopefully, a better appreciation of it. Business people are almost always portrayed negatively in books, movies, and TV shows, especially salespeople. It’s a common trope to show salespeople as either smart but devious or affable morons. This has not been my experience. I’ve interacted with thousands of buyers and salespeople over my career and have found the great majority of them to be intelligent, honest people.

One other theme that I’d like for readers to see is to always find the humor in things. The characters in my book deal with a lot of turmoil in a short period of time but are always laughing together every step of the way. That should feel authentic to every salesperson I’ve ever met.

4)    What drew you into this particular genre?

I find what I do for a living to be fascinating. I love it and really thought readers who were unfamiliar with my world would love it as well. I confided to friends that I wanted to write a book that described the process of running a sales organization with the same level of passion and detail that Tom Clancy uses in describing the inner workings of a submarine because I think it is every bit as intriguing.

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

I want to sit down with Joseph Whitehorn. Every other character in the book is very familiar to me from my years of experience running technology sales teams, so I’ve already had the pleasure of spending time with many similar people.  I find the backstory of Joseph Whitehorn to be fascinating, especially since this year marks the 100th anniversary of the first casualty from the Osage Indian Murders. I love his blend of purpose, focus, and his hidden humor that emerges as the story progresses. 

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

As a business person, I have the most extensive following on Linked-in, so that has been the best outlet for me. I also use Facebook and Twitter and would expect those two platforms to grow in importance to me in the future.

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

The two obvious answers are to read more and write every day. That’s the recommendation from every reputable source, and I agree with that wisdom. The best way to get better at something is to do it, so writing daily helps. I would suggest that when you read other author’s work, read with a purpose. Notice the things you like, such as descriptions, dialog tags, POV choices, story structure, etc. Take notes and use them as inspiration for your own work.

Those are the two things that everyone will tell you. Now, I’ll give you some advice that few people will give to you. My book is filled with humor, and I found this advice from Neal Simon quite helpful. I saw him on 60 Minutes, where the interviewer asked him, “Do you laugh at your own work.” He answered that he does the first or second time he reads it, but after that, he doesn’t because he already knows the joke. He remembers it was funny, though, and that is the key. As you proof a chapter for the 50th time, the funny lines are no longer funny to you. You’ll be tempted to pull them or change them. Don’t do that! If it was funny when you wrote it, it will be funny for your readers the first time they read it. That advice may seem blindingly obvious, but when you are deep into the editing process and questioning everything you’ve written, it isn’t.

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

I just released Surfing with the Bishop and will focus on promoting the next few months. After that, I’ll see what inspires me. I’ve already got some thoughts on future projects but want to get more reader feedback before I lock in on anything.  I do publish a weekly blog called Trifling Amusements on Business and Life that readers might enjoy. To view, check out my website, jeffreybcostello.com.

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About the Author

Jeff Costello served as a senior sales executive for 30-plus years, driving billions of dollars of revenue from emerging technology markets. He’s led worldwide sales teams that supported partners in over 100 different countries and participated in numerous company acquisitions. Having entertained customers for decades, he’s often boasted that he has, “fed more people than Mother Teresa, or at the very least, served better wine.” Jeff lives in the Dallas/Fort Worth area with his wife, Trina, and their dogs, Bentley and Bo. 

Author website

https://jeffreybcostello.com/

Social Links

https://www.facebook.com/jeff.costello.7

https://www.linkedin.com/in/jecostello/

Amazon Buy Links

Hardcover https://www.amazon.com/dp/1737501902

Kindle https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09BT7C9YP

Interview with Amanda Blackwood

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

I always wanted to be a writer. I remember writing stories in elementary school to go along with the drawings I would create. One particular teacher in the 6th grade really encouraged me when I wrote five pages in twenty minutes on a two paragraph creative writing project. I was upset that I had to turn it in because I wasn’t done yet. He took it anyway to grade it with everyone else’s. Then he asked me to turn it in again for extra credit when I was done with the story because he wanted to know what would happen to the characters I’d created. He told me I’d be a published author someday. Sadly he passed before I could make that happen, but I think he’d be proud. 

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2) What inspired you to write your book?

Too many people talk about human trafficking as they know without a shadow of a doubt what it means or why it looks like. Even when I stand on stage and tell my story of survival, I still can’t fully show or explain to someone the levels of fear involved, nor the torture I lived though to make it to the other side. I knew that if I was ever going to really move forward in my own life, I needed to get it all out in the open. Ironically, less than two months after my book was published I got engaged to the man of my dreams and I have finally, fully, totally moved on. 

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

Human trafficking can happen to anyone, regardless of upbringing, age, gender, race, religion, personal beliefs or relationship status. Nobody is immune, and it will NEVER look how you think it will or should. 

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

I’ve lived a strange and amazing life. I also wrote science fiction post apocalyptic takes (who better to predict the end of the world than someone who already lived through it?) but this venture of nom-fiction autobiography seems to be what I get asked the most about. Truth is stranger than fiction. The fact I’m still alive is a miracle to be celebrated, and if it can help even one other person to do the same then my story deserves to be in the open. 

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

Lately I seem to have more following on Facebook, though my social media skills haven’t been focused heavily on other platforms to really expand the following in other ways. I hope to do more of that in following months. 

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

It’s impossible to edit nothing. Getting started can be so intimidating for everyone, including the seasoned writers. Don’t let that hold you back. Get stuff written down to start, even if it’s just ideas. You can edit and add later. 

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

I actually have my next book in a series being published on October 1st. My first book was published in January of 2018 and this next book will be book eight for me. I’m averaging two books per year right now while also balancing a personal life and full time job. I don’t plan to slow down anytime soon. I’ve had people tell me that I’m too ambitious and that this is an impossible pace. I just want to remind those people that it’s not impossible, and if they want to write a book the only thing holding them back is themselves. They just have to decide how much they really want it. Apparently I want it badly enough twice a year that somehow make it happen. 

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About the Author

Amanda Blackwood is a survivor of human trafficking and an avid writer. A portion of every book sale goes to local organizations in the state of Colorado to help rescue other victims of human trafficking and offer them a better chance at life.

Check out more books by Amanda Blackwood on Amazon.

– Detailed Pieces of a Shattered Dream

– The Miller Miles

– Twisted Fate – poetry from a survivor

– Thirty Synchronized Woodpeckers

– The Shack in the Woods

– The Unlikely

– Custom Justice

– New Hope

…More coming soon!