Interview with Author I. Ashmawey

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?
Since a young age, I’ve always imagined the world differently. Asked strange questions. Pictured how things could be rather than how they are. Writing is my way of capturing that imagination and documenting it. When I have a thought, I write it. It’s my way of allowing that thought to leave my mind and instead, possibly go into the minds of others. If people like my thoughts, wonderful. If not, I have plenty others!
2) What inspired you to write your book?
I don’t know anyone who reads regularly in my circle of friends. Perhaps that means I need new friends 🙂 But it also means that in general, my generation is not one of readers. My generation gets a ridiculous amount of screen time. Whether it’s TV, YouTube, or whatever else, it’s all the same. First of all, it limits the kinds of opinions they will hear. Second, the mind simply doesn’t work when it is receiving content through a screen. It’s a lazy method, and breeds even more laziness. Even those who laud themselves as people who read the news, do they really read it? Or just the gist?
I wrote this book to encourage my generation to spend more time with an open book in front of them, rather than a screen. The hope is that with only five minutes a day, people can escape their lives and take a small glimpse into a life that once was, or could someday be. And perhaps they would gain something positive from this insight.
3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?
The themes in the book are plenty, as every short story aims to take the reader somewhere different than the one before. If I was to summarize all the messages and concoct a common theme that connects them all, it would simply be: think differently. If society runs things in a certain way, that way may be entirely wrong. There may be a far better way that is waiting for someone to discover it. There may be a way far worse, that’s still worth trying in order to feel more assured of society’s way. There is always something to be gained when thinking differently and questioning everything.
4) What drew you into this particular genre or genres?
Writing a book of short stories was never my intention. I actually finished a sci-fi novel and had sent it to my editor for editing which usually takes a few months. In the meantime, I couldn’t sit idle. So I decided to put some ideas down, which turned into short stories. I then wanted to challenge my creativity: 30 stories in 30 days. I was able to do it, a story a day. Then I added ten more, and thought to myself, “Why not publish?”
5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?
That’s an extremely tough one given that there are 40 shorts with 40 main characters. But I think I would choose Apolena Kipp from the story “Before the Beginning.” A space explorer who takes humanity’s first trip back to before the Big Bang. There was a moment while writing that story that I truly felt scared for her. I couldn’t imagine the courage it would need to take such a trip. Being the first to ever do anything requires courage, but especially to cross that threshold where there are no safety precautions, that’s something else. I would want to ask her what this trip means to her personally. Why does she so desperately want to know what happened before the Big Bang? And more importantly, how did she feel about what she found?
6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?
I have to be honest, I don’t have social media. I used to. I was one of the first to join Facebook back when it required a .edu address and you needed to put in which classes you were taking. But on a specific day, I found myself with my 1-yrld daughter at Disneyland, and I was fighting with someone I didn’t know on Facebook about some political opinion. It hit me then, and then I deactivated my account, and vowed never to return.
I don’t deny however that social media can tremendously help marketing a book. So that’s something I’m currently working on, but without social media 🙂
7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?
The most important thing any writer can do, is write. It doesn’t matter how bad the writing is initially. It doesn’t matter if t hey don’t have a fully fleshed story. Start writing, and write everyday. One’s writing is a muscle. If it’s not exercised it, it will become weak. To write is to find the characters, then the characters will build the story. Just start, that’s the most important thing. Start!
8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?
The soft sci-fi is currently out with agents! The book is titled, “ETA: the Trial of Logan Gruver.” The story talks of Logan, a traveler on a commercialized time-travel trip to the Pliocene epoch, who finds purpose and love when he meets Giselle, a fellow traveler in the past. Together, they discover that humanity will mysteriously cease to exist in the future. The newly discovered Canvas of Time, a fabric that covers the universe and also lends way to time travel, will begin to deteriorate. Logan and Giselle understand their devotion, the consequences of their actions, and why humanity may have to pay the price.
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My Interview with Author Claire Gem

I was fortunate enough to work with author Claire Gem recently on her novel Spirits of the Heart, and she was kind enough to offer me a chance to do an interview for her website as well. So be sure to check out my interview with Claire over on her website, and don’t forget to follow her while you’re there!

 

via Welcome Author Anthony Avina

Interview with Author Claire Gem

 

Interview for Claire Gem, multi-award-winning author of contemporary romance, women’s fiction, and supernatural suspense.

 

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

 

I’m a native New Yorker who grew up in a small town about 60 miles northwest of Manhattan. Mother of three, I’ve been married to the same wonderful man for 39 years. I think it’s why I chose romance as my genre—I’m living it, so I feel qualified to write about it.

 

I’ve always loved to write as a form of expression. Therapy, really. In the seventh grade I had an excellent English teacher who took me aside one day and said, “You have an exceptional talent for writing. Don’t waste it.” I never forgot her words, and they inspire me and give me confidence to this day.

 

But I’m dual-sided: by day, I work in the field of scientific research. When I come home from work, I let the creative side of my brain come out to play. I didn’t start writing seriously until about ten years ago, when the business of life and raising children allowed me the extra down time to nurture the passion.

 

 

  • What inspired you to write your book?

 

Spirits of the Heart is set on the grounds of an abandoned mental asylum that really exists in the town where I grew up. I remember as a child feeling very haunted by the majestic old buildings and wondering what went on inside them. When I was about eighteen, I dated a young man who was a nighttime security guard at the facility before it closed down in the 1990s. He became my inspiration for Miller, although he and Miller are nothing alike.

 

When I decided to write the book, my sister (who is a photographer and still lives in the same town) spent a day driving around the mostly abandoned campus, taking pictures for my cover and book trailer. That’s when I decided on Talcott Hall—mysteriously, two weeks after that photo session, the building caught fire and burned to the ground. A local fireman took the fire photos and gave me permission to use them.

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

 

In every one of my books I try to address real life, big issues and show how my characters overcome them. Miller lives in the shadow of his alcoholic father and beats the addiction himself. Laura learns to accept her parents’ divorce and her father’s new choice of a mate. By the end of the book, both characters have not only fallen in love, but have grown as individuals.

 

  • What drew you into this particular genre?

 

I have always been fascinated by the paranormal, and really do believe in ghosts—spirits trapped between this world and the next. For some strange reason, I love to wander in old graveyards—it’s called taphophilia. The histories of the lives commemorated there intrigue me. So, it’s only natural I would choose to write supernatural suspense.

 

 

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

 

That’s a difficult question because in developing my characters, I get to know them so well that I know what all their answers would be. It’s my way of making them real. To me, they become real people who I actually miss when I’ve finished writing the book. My process of character development involves me asking them every question I can think of—by the time I’ve written The End, I know them intimately.

 

 

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

 

I’m active on many social media sites but have found Twitter to be my most helpful. I have 21.6K followers, and it’s easy for me to put up snippets from my books with buy links, or teasers from the book I’m working on next. I have my Twitter account linked to Facebook, so my ~1000 Facebook fans automatically see what I post on Twitter as well.

 

 

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

 

READ. Whatever genre you want to write in, read as many books as you can. I also highly recommend listening to audiobooks. I always have three books going at the same time: one in print, one in eBook, and one on audio. I believe an aspiring author can learn something different from consuming the same book in different formats—what you see with your eyes will be different from what you hear with your ears. I have some titles I have listened to and read multiple times. I learn something different every time.

 

Also, write what you are passionate about. At one time an editor at a conference suggested I write something in the YA genre because it as “hot” at the time…I’m not a fan of YA, and just couldn’t muster up the enthusiasm to write something I didn’t love. If you are passionate about what you write, that passion comes through on the page. If you love it, there will be other readers who will love it too.

 

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

 

I just completed another supernatural suspense, CIVIL HEARTS, which is set in an abandoned antebellum home in rural Alabama. The idea for this book came to me in a dream, as many of them do. My heroine is a widow whose husband died from a dreadful form of brain cancer, and the hero suffers from epilepsy. The house my heroine buys is haunted by a Confederate soldier who’s come home from war looking for his bride.

 

Next is Sirens of Salt, another idea that came to me in a dream. This one is set on the Atlantic coast of Florida and revolves around some theories I have about the mysterious underwater stones off the island of Bimini. I’m in the research process right now . . .

Author Links:

Website         Facebook        Twitter     Smashwords        Amazon       Book Gorilla

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Interview with Author Steve Conoboy

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. What made you want to become an author?

 

There are so many reasons why I ended up here, all weaving together to make the destination inevitable. The very short version is that I was always obsessed with stories. I read every magazine and book I could get hold of from a very early age (I was reading from the TV guide at age 4). I couldn’t get enough of video rentals – all the covers looked incredible. Then I began to record my own voice as I read out all the characters in comic books. Soon I was copying the stories I loved the best: further Star Wars adventures in the form of drawn space battles, writing extra chapters for my favourite fantasy books. Stephen King happened. Then I got hold of a typewriter in my late teens, and I loved the clacky sound it made. After that, I simply wrote for the love of finding out what my crazy characters would get up to next.

 

2) What was the inspiration behind Macadamian Pliers, both the book and the character?

 

It was on a journey home from work, many years ago. The bus passed by a brand new set of apartments, and on the opposite side of the road was a very old building, a real dilapidated hunk of junk. It was obvious which one would be haunted. New buildings are never haunted, unless they’ve been built on top of an old burial ground of some kind. So I wondered, was there any other way to make such a place haunted? The next thought came quickly: was there a way that an estate agent (realtor) could sell a family one of these lovely homes, then render it haunted so that they could chase that family out and sell the house again? The kind of character that would do such a thing would have to be a particularly nasty piece of work… and also a little bit crazy.

I started writing it that night.

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3) What theme or message do you hope readers get from this story?

 

No matter how small you think your voice is, you must always speak out against the darkness.

 

4) If you could have a conversation with any of your characters, who would it be and what would you ask them?

 

Probably Misha from my new release A Graveyard Visible. She’s pretty damn peculiar, so it would be a very interesting conversation. She has a pet mystic 8-ball for a start. It gives her advice. Bad advice.

There’s one other character I’d be interested in talking to, but only over the phone: Macadamian Pliers. I’d love to hear his voice, but I definitely wouldn’t want to be in the same room as him. He just can’t be trusted.

 

5) What social media site has been the most helpful in reaching and conversing with your readership?

 

This is a difficult one, as I’ve got a bit of a rough relationship with social media (bad news for me, considering how all-encompassing such sites are now). Twitter’s been pretty good for picking up leads on review opportunities, and people are very quick to reciprocate any kindness – but tweets go by in a flash, and if you don’t keep up constant engagement, it’s all for nothing. Facebook is good for giving out more information, as well as finding decent groups, but my reach there is limited and advertising does very, very little. Also, I feel Facebook has no interest in supporting its users if they have any significant issues as a result of the site and its other users, and therefore resent being on it at all. I kind-of feel like that about all social media, really – I think they’ve encouraged a deep-rooted seam of unpleasantness to bubble up from the masses, and people can be so vile.

I actually find that being on other people’s book blogs and websites is most useful. If anyone is visiting those sites, they have done so for a reason. Far fewer people, maybe, but at least it’s your target audience.

 

6) What matters more to you when writing: developing plot or creating characters?

 

Characters must always come first. No doubt. Anyone who says different is wrong. All story must be driven by the characters actions (or inaction). If plot comes first, then you’re forcing your characters to do things that they definitely wouldn’t do, and readers will pick up on that in a heartbeat.

 

7) What advice would you give to up and coming authors?

 

Do it for the love. Really, that’s the most important part of the whole process. If you’re enjoying what you’re writing, then there’s a chance that someone else will enjoy reading it. If it feels like a slog, something’s wrong. I’ve dumped a couple of novels partway through the writing process because they felt so off.

 

8) What’s next for you in the world of writing? Any new or upcoming books on the horizon?

 

I’m currently gearing up for the release of A Graveyard Visible on 27th April 2018, so there’s a lot of promotion work and pulling together some reviews (which are proving to be very divisive so far – that’s either incredibly worrying or a great marketing tool). It’s being published by Lodestone Books, and the cover and the layout of the paperback look absolutely fantastic, so pleased with the result. On the writing side of things, I’m playing about with a possible tone change for an AGV sequel, as well as being deep into the writing of a story about the political activism of a pig. Yeah, it’s something a little bit different.

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Interview with Author Daniel Blake Smith

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

I was trained as an historian—was a professor of American history at the University of Kentucky for many years—so early on I was into the storytelling business.  Most of my earlier books, in fact, are works of history:  I’ve published books with major commercial presses (Henry Holt/MacMillan and St. Martin’s Press) on the founding of Virginia (THE SHIPWRECK THAT SAVED JAMESTOWN); The Trail of Tears (AN AMERICAN BETRAYAL:  CHEROKEE PATRIOTS AND THE TRAIL OF TEARS); and a family saga (OUR FAMILY DREAMS).

2) What inspired you to write your book?

I was inspired to write MR. WONDERFUL out of autobiographical motivations.  I began the work as a memoir but soon found that I wanted (and the book needed) to have the freedom of fiction, so I quickly moved beyond my own story (yes, I am a college professor, like the protagonist, Brian Fenton; and yes, I have a son—but not ‘wayward and loopy’, like Danny in the story; and, yes, my father recently passed, a small town Texas doctor just as in the novel) to create something larger, deeper, and more meaningful that takes readers well beyond the confines of my particular experience.  But watching my father go through dementia as he came near the end did serve as the initial spark to write something in honor of him.

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

I guess I hope that readers come away feeling that they’ve met some real, relatable, flawed, but fascinating characters who struggle with issues—success, manhood, relationships, death, loss, and legacy—that we all must confront.

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

I love first-person narration in novels, especially with the story set in the ‘eternal present tense’ and so this story—narrated (not always reliably) by the father and son, Brian and Danny Fenton—offered the opportunity to show how much point of view matters in understanding how life and our emotional reactions to it unfold and acquire meaning.

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

I would love to sit down with at least three characters and ask the following questions:  1) Danny, the wayward son:  ‘what gives you meaning and purpose when you get up every day?  Are you thinking of some goal, some future accomplishment or just living moment to moment?  2) Claire Fenton:  how in the world do you maintain such commitment, devotion, and positive feelings in the face of so much negativity, decline, and loss?  3) Robert (‘Doc’) Fenton:  how could you be both John Wayne and a feeling person who reached out to others?  Why and how did you hide this secret, inner self?

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

Facebook and Twitter have probably helped me reach out the most to prospective readers—in part, because I built up a pretty significant following through my previous work as a filmmaker.

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

Aspiring writers need to read as much in the world of writing they intend to work in—novels for fiction writers; history and non-fiction for those wanting to tell ‘true’ stories.  And then you have to write.  Write some every day, just to feel yourself giving expression to images, thoughts, emotions.  Don’t worry if it’s not perfect or ‘publishable’ (it won’t be) at first.  As the great playwright, Tennessee Williams said (but it applies to all kinds of writing): “You don’t write plays; you REWRITE them.”

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

Next up for me are a couple of film projects I’m trying to get off the ground—BLOOD BORN, a thriller about a down-on-his-luck 20 something young man whose world is turned upside down when he discovers that his blood can cure cancer; and I’ll be turning MR. WONDERFUL into a screenplay and hopefully an actual movie someday soon.  Book project:  I think I’ll do a sequel to MR. WONDERFUL, focusing on the antics and wild story of Danny and Dawn, the next generation, so to speak.

My website (has lots of photos, trailers, and other info about my work as book author and filmmaker):  danielblakesmith.com
Author bio:  DANIEL BLAKE SMITH is the author of several books including, THE SHIPWRECK THAT SAVED JAMESTOWN (Henry Holt); AN AMERICAN BETRAYAL (Henry Holt); and OUR FAMILY DREAMS (St. Martin’s Press).  He’s also a writer/producer whose most recent film, TEXAS HEART, starring John Savage (THE DEER HUNTER) and Lin Shaye (INSIDIOUS), is now available on Amazon Prime and on DVD.  Formerly a professor of American history at the University of Kentucky, Smith now lives in St. Louis where he works as a filmmaker and author.

Interview with Author Simon Williams

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

 

I was born in Australia and moved to the US after university for what was intended to be a 2-year working holiday. I never made it home. My mother was a prolific letter writer when I was young, and I started writing letters when I moved here to my family and friends. They were essentially just long stories of my life here and I developed a following amongst my friends when I started doing it on email. I was told over and over to put my stories into a book format, so I started writing my first series of books, the TORN trilogy, about a depressing time in my life to get over my sadness. Loved doing it. I mean it was the best bloody medicine I could have asked for. So that is what got me into the effort required to sit at a desk for 5 hours after a ten-hour work day. Of course, being bat shit crazy helped as well.

 

 

2) What inspired you to write your book series?

 

The need to fill up the hours of isolation and I was experiencing at the time 5 years ago. It just starts as a very serious note to my family after one of the most depressing nights of my life. I had a choice, keep writing or jump off my balcony. Thankfully the bloody computer didn’t crash on me (although bugs in Word sometimes does push me to have suicidal thoughts on occasions) I have a very compulsive personality. Once I start something I get my teeth into it and won’t stop till I am finished. So, I wrote for three straight years to finish the series.

 

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

 

Don’t give up. Never give up. No matter how f’ing bad life may seem, you could be 2 minutes away from the news that will lift your spirits. You could be a minute away, you could be 30 seconds away. This is the basic tenet of life. If you are a writer, or a runner, or a student, or a patient. The moment you give up, everything you have worked towards is over. Even if it takes 20 years to succeed, suck it up and keep working for 20 years. It is worth it.

 

 

4) What drew you into telling your story as a series rather than one book?

 

Because I when I started the first book I had a hope that the HUGE problem in my life would be resolved by the end of it, and it wasn’t. So, I wrote a second book with the same hope. It finally got sorted out as I was writing the 3rd book. Otherwise I would still be writing that series now. I didn’t really set out with a plan. It was just something I fell into without thinking and then was continually swept along.

 

 

5) If you could sit down with anyone you talked about in your book, what would you ask them and why?

 

I would sit down with the main villain in the series and ask them, what the f@ck were you thinking?

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

 

I used Facebook with good success until they banned me from advertising my book for some reason that 10 emails later they still wouldn’t explain. So, I have been using Goodreads website for my promotions lately. But it is a hard slog. I am spending a lot of time working on my next series of books so once they are finished I will be able to have a greater library of work to promote and more time to promote.

 

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

 

Go back and read Question 3 and the answer over and over until you are sick of reading it. Nothing is going to come easy. Not the writing, not the promoting, not the complaints from your spouse that you want to write on your anniversary and the kid’s birthdays. But don’t stop. If you love doing it and believe in yourself, never give in.

 

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

 

A 4 or 5 book series on my stories of travelling for 25 years from Africa, to India, Nepal, the USA, Japan and Brazil. Stories of my near misses with police, gangs, injury, death, and girls. All told with a good dose of self-effacing humor.

 

Following that I have a book planned on how the USA Healthcare system is a piece of crap and what to look out for when you go to hospital. If could save your life. That book probably isn’t going to be that funny.

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Interview with Author George Bachman

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

Writing started out as an extension of reading for me, continuing the same activity. I’ve been doing it for as long as I could write my name, even if it took a long time for the scribbles to mean something.

2) What inspired you to write your book?

My interests in fin de siecle England, when social attitudes among the aristocracy were changing as wealthy Americans penetrated their ranks, and the occultism practiced during that period.

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

How both good and bad people can be driven to do horrible things through no fault of their own, because of social pressures in no way designed to inflict the pain that they do.

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

My love of fantasy novels I grew up reading, in particular the Alice books (the best in the genre), John Crowley’s great Little, Big, Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast books, Peter Straub’s underappreciated Shadowland, Mark Helprin’s Winter’s Tale and Swan Lake trilogy, Hope Mirrlees’s Lud-in-the-Mist, and many others.

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

I would ask my lead character Christine if she believes she could ever earn Allie’s forgiveness.

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

Facebook. It’s the easiest way to reach like-minded readers and to keep them engaged.

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

Read, read, read. Read the current market, read the classics, absorb as much as you can.

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

I’m just finishing another historical fantasy, this one centered on Renaissance Europe.

@OfficialBachman