Interview with Author Peter Bailey

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

Tripadvisor was my gateway drug to authorship. I wrote up a completely factual holiday report, but using a comic style that I borrowed from Douglas Adams with a dash of Terry Pratchett and people loved it! It got over a hundred responses and it was as if a lightbulb had gone on. I can write! And I’ve been trying to prove it ever since

The report is still on-line and can be seen here https://goo.gl/CNUaCZ

 

2) What inspired you to write your book?

 

I thought it was a good idea. I’ve always hates the idea of an effect without a cause (lots of books have zombies, but very few explain *why* the dead are suddenly ambling around.) But I had an idea that would not only explain the sort-of-zombies but also why someone would want them.

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

 

Hope. That there is always a way, there is always a sunrise.

 

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

 

Stephen King. I picked up Salem’s Lot on a whim mumbly years ago and loved the clear direct way he could tell a story, and I’ve been a fan ever since.

 

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

 

Facebook. Everyone tells me that Twitter is the place to be, but as someone once said. A twit is like shouting in a crowded room.

 

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

 

Keep on keeping on, and, it’s easier to correct a page of bad wring than a page of no writing

 

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

My third book ‘One step way’ is being published soon. This opens with three suicide bombers who step out from their Bronx apartment to an alien world that will be their prison for the rest of their lives. My forth book (so far untitled) opens with two men driving their car into the Hudson River and deliberately drowning themselves.

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Interview with Author Shauna Packer

A couple of months ago, I had the distinct honor to review and help share the word on an important novel called Destroying Their God: How I Fought My Evil Half-Brother To Save My Children by Wallace Jeffs, Shauna Packer and Sherry Taylor. You can read the full review here.  This book is an extremely important look at the FLDS cult and the impact it has on it’s members and their families. I am now fortunate to be able to share an exclusive interview with one of the authors, Shauna Packer. Here is what she had to say about her experience writing this story and how she views the events related in it.

 

1: Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you meet and eventually collaborate with Wallace Jeffs and Sherry Taylor?

Sherry and I have known each other for years as we volunteered in leadership positions through the League of Utah Writers. Sherry became acquainted with Wallace from a business networking group in the Salt Lake area. Wallace was in the movie, Prophet’s Prey, and a big-name producer/director (won’t name drop here) approached him and said he wanted to make a movie based on Wallace’s life story, but first, he wanted a book written. Wallace approached Sherry to co-author the book, but at that juncture, the timeframe for completing the project was only six months, so she asked me if I would like to join so it could be fast-tracked. As a professional writer for many years, I have been asked to collaborate on multiple books and, though I find all ideas interesting, have always refused. But when I heard Wallace’s story, of almost dying in order to protect his daughters from spiritual slavery, I knew this was one opportunity I couldn’t pass up! I believe strongly in a commitment to family, and the loyalty and sacrifice Wallace made for his children proved a theme that resonated deeply with my core values. I am continually grateful I had a chance to work on this project with Sherry and Wallace. After four years of co-authoring together, we get along well and enjoy a friendship and strong team commitment to each other individually as well as to our book.

 

2: What was the process like working on Destroying Their God?

Sherry and I would go to Wallace’s place and interview him as he told his life story. Or, sometimes we met at a restaurant or bookstore (nearby patrons were often quite intrigued by our conversation!). Some evenings there were things he wanted to speak about in particular; sometimes we had questions and we directed the interview. Then, I would come back to my home office and write the chapters and send them to Sherry for her feedback and addition/deletions. Quite often, we would have a lot of additional questions as we started laying out chapters and sections, so there was a great amount of follow up and digging down to do. We also had to make sure we put things into the correct historical context, sometimes that proved a challenge because access to FLDS records can be spotty or completely unavailable. Personally, I was super interested in the everyday life of an FLDS family. As a mother of children myself, I marveled at how you would even go about cooking meals for the sixty-five-plus children. So, alongside the details of Wallace’s life, Sherry and I asked a lot of questions about family dynamics. From a reader’s perspective, the feedback has been interesting: some of our readers felt like we included too many day-to-day details and some were quite frustrated that we did not include a whole lot more! But that’s the great thing about reading, it is a personal experience and preference.

 

3: What message do you hope this book sends to readers who are unfamiliar with FLDS or who don’t realize the affects both physically and psychologically on those who escape destructive religions? 

 

The truth of what happens in the FLDS and the reality of Wallace’s life is shocking to a lot of people. It certainly was to me. As a writing team, we genuinely strived with this book to illuminate, without hitting people over the head with the message, that being raised in the FLDS lifestyle demands certain behaviors and compliance or you doom yourself to destruction. It can be easy when reading about another’s life to become somewhat of an armchair psychologist. However, although highly suspicious to an outsider, this lifestyle literally represents life and death to people who are in the midst of the madness. If Wallace, or any other faithful FLDS member, would have chosen to leave, they would be banished from their family, their homes, their livelihood, their friends, and ultimately, in their minds, their salvation. Leaving the priesthood people and land equates a total loss of everything and utter destruction. This is especially a heavy reality when your own father, the prophet, and your mother represented this as absolute truth from birth. It is a culture of control and fear. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Wallace’s healing and ability to operate in a world he was raised to believe was wicked. I hope that the book not only educates, but also allows people to examine their own personal values. Wise individuals with sound moral compasses can indeed be manipulated by a parental and religious culture.

 

4: What would you say was the most difficult aspect of writing this novel?

There is some really raw information included in the book. In order for the reader (and Sherry and I) to understand why Wallace was willing to die to protect his children, we had to spend a lot of time with dark and gritty subject matter. This included listening to many hours of audio tapes made by Warren of his degradations. As a woman and mother to daughters myself, I can still scarcely believe what these women had to endure in order to attain salvation. However, I believe that writing should be about truth and we need to stand in that truth. Some publishers were interested in the story, but wanted us to remove some of the more challenging subject matter. We agreed as a team that as much as we found what happened repugnant, we had to recount it in truth, without allowing it to become gratuitous.

 

There is also a building up to extreme cruelty toward Wallace. Warren is a master of creating custom-made punishments, tailored to the individual “sinner”. I don’t want to give away too much of the book, but after Wallace defied his brother, Warren customized a punishment that is every parent’s worst nightmare. The night we discussed this event was a somber one indeed. I waited until I got to my car, because Wallace doesn’t like to see women cry and it seemed disrespectful to get rattled about something so personal to him, but how the tears flowed when I was alone! I even traveled down to St. George, Utah (about five hours from where I live) because I wanted to see the house where these painful events occurred and I also wanted to see where Wallace’s accident took place. Even though I have read this book dozens of times, I still get choked up when I read certain parts. I always have to call Wallace or text him to say, “I’m so sorry you had to go through this!” His reply is generally, “Thank you, but it’s what made me the man I am today.”

 

5: If you were able to reach out and talk to those still living the FLDS life, what would you want to say to them? 

That there are people and resources available to help them leave this cult. I do not believe it is God’s wish for families to be torn apart and for a prophet to constantly preach a message that says members are not worthy of the blessings of heaven. I would also share with them the many audio files Warren recorded, which are actively withheld from the FLDS people by leadership, and his own jail confession that “I am not the prophet”. They don’t have to lead a life based completely in fear, there are many who will help them discover the truth and find their own path!

 

6: What was the process like working with Wallace and diving into the ins and outs of FLDS and their practices?

Fascinating! I wanted to know everything and could still spend hours asking questions. When we are interviewed as a team, I never tire of listening to what Wallace has to say. The reality of growing up FLDS is a little hard to wrap your mind around. I really admire Wallace’s bravery; he always has an open and forthcoming attitude. Wallace has had a lot of things happen to him in his life, but he never wants to be seen as a victim. To write a book such as this, you really need to crawl through the cobwebs and challenge, probe, examine and then examine some more. There is a lot of digging into emotions and difficult memories. However, we chose to write the book in a more journalistic tone to match Wallace’s personality and so it wouldn’t seem overly emotional, as if he felt sorry for himself for the life events he experienced.

 

7: What’s next for you personally as an author? Any other projects on the horizon? Would you want to work on a memoir similar to this in the future?

I am always open to discussing future book ideas. If another project like Wallace’s came along that captivated me with a story of courage, love, and triumph, yes, I would definitely consider working on another memoir. I think Wallace has a few more books in him as well, and we have discussed further collaboration. I have my writing business, consulting with executives, corporations, and fiction authors on their content and editing needs. That keeps me happily occupied as I work on new books. Currently, I am in development on another non-fiction project. I also have a fictional short story that I wrote years ago and would and like to turn into a novel. It’s more of a happy story about redemption and it feels right at this moment in my career to work on something a little more upbeat. I have two completed novels I am in the process of marketing to agents. One is historical fiction called The Shadows of Plain Sight, set in post-Civil War Nevada, and the other, Ways To Go, is a women’s fiction novel.

 

Thank you for your time. It was an honor to speak with you and thank you for sharing this important story with the world. 

 

Shauna Packer

Shauna Packer Headshot

 

Shauna Packer has been a professional corporate and freelance writer, researcher, and content editor for over twelve years. She is a multi-award-winning fiction and non-fiction author. Shauna has been published in several commercial anthologies, including Angels to Bear You Up, Utah Voices: A Literary Annual, and Mother’s Messages in a Bottle. Though she has crafted a great deal of non-fiction over the years, Destroying Their God is her first full-length non-fiction book. She resides in the Salt Lake area with her family, including two cats named after candy bars.

 

Find Shauna Packer at:

 

https://www.instagram.com/shaunapacker/  

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

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17815620.Shauna_Packer

https://twitter.com/spackerauthor

https://www.facebook.com/Shauna-Packer-210939476157092/

http://www.destroyingtheirgod.com

 

Interview With Author Thomas Neviaser

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

I’m a retired orthopedic surgeon who opted for the “good life” after 33 years of practice in Virginia. I decided to trade in my scalpel for a word processor.

In theory, I’ve been writing for decades, but all of that work has been in the orthopedic field of medicine. I have authored over 40 peer reviews articles, written chapters in orthopedic textbooks, presented at symposiums and instructional courses, but did not start writing for fun until I retired in 2000. Mm first endeavor was an informative yet humorous book, Man’s Unofficial Guide to the Use of His Garage, followed by a collection of short stories, The Comb in the Urinal and other Perplexities of Life, about everyday objects we all see in very unusual places and how they got there. Some stories are fictional but some of the stories actually happened to me.

At the encouragement of family and friends, I published (2016) my non-fiction orthopedic manuscript, THE WAY I SEE IT: A Head-to-Toe Guide to Common Orthopaedic Condtions, a guide for the layperson and orthopedic patients so they could educate themselves to their conditions and be able to converse with their doctors in intelligible manners. There are 90 conditions discussed as well as 80 diagrams/photos/x-rays included. Medical terminology is phonetically spelled and explained in easy to understand language.

What inspired you to write your book?

My first novel, YOU DEAR SWEET MAN (2017), was inspired by a digital photo in a subway car advertisement poster while I was traveling into Washington, DC. It was so vividly clear and almost three dimensional, I thought the woman in the ad would move if I stared at it long enough. Hence, the idea for the book was born. A blue-collar worker is seduced into the unsavory world of advertising by an attractive but evil woman whose alter-ego poses as a model in a most unique subway car ad, becomes his living fantasy, and ultimately defines his destiny.

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

I think this book illustrates how easily people can be swayed from their lives and think that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.

What drew you into this particular genre?

I always loved books and TV shows that were somewhat out of box, made me think, and yet surprised me with the ending.

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

I would choose Samantha, the antagonist in YOU DEAR SWEET MAN. The question would be, “Sam, why in the world would you use your exceptional extra-sensory abilities for evil rather than good?”

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

I have never been interested in social media until I started writing. I’m still not a fan, but found it necessary to have some platform for myself, my orthopedic guide, and all of my books. I would have to say, Facebook, but as I said, I’m not that enthusiastic about it. I’m not on Twitter and a novice at Instagram. I guess I’m old school to the core.

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

Write what comes to your mind and keep writing. Correct all the mistakes later. I found that if trying to write grammatically correct, one loses concentration and tends to grind to a halt quickly. It one of the reasons for “Writer’s Block!”

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

I have just finished my second novel, THE MYSTERY OF FLIGHT 2222, a book I’ve been writing for sixty years, believe it or not. When I was in high school, I wrote this short story about a plane crash and the subsequent trials and tribulations of nine passengers as they endure stresses well beyond one’s imagination leading to physical and mental decline, paranoia, death, sharks, bad weather and open seas pirates. Their subsequent rescue only initiates another trip from which they can never escape.

I finally decided to expand the story that had been in the back of my mind for six decades, and now:

THE MYSTERY OF FLIGHT 2222 will be launched on July 25, 2018 on Amazon. It should soon be on the Amazon’s pre-order list, and I hope all your readers will read and review it.

Thank you so much for asking me to participate in your blog interview,

Thomas Neviaser

 

Man’s Unofficial Guide to the Use of His garage:

 

Guest Post: Why Authors Should Get Social on Social Media Networking Sites by Michael Okon

Hi Everyone! I am honored to share with you this amazing guest post from author Michael Okon on the importance of social media for authors. Enjoy!

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Why Authors Should Get Social on Social Media Networking Sites

By Michael Okon

Any serious author wanting to be discovered by readers knows how important it is to engage online. Whether we love social media or we hate it, it’s necessary for branding purposes. Authorship is a business. And like all businesses, you MUST actively participate in your marketing efforts. Social media platforms make this possible.

Truth be told, I actually despise social media. Yes, I said it. But that doesn’t mean I ignore it. It’s time consuming, and at times can be downright silly. All that follow to unfollow nonsense. Who has the time? I’d rather be writing than worrying about getting and maintaining followers.

At first, I did most of my social media management on my own. Trust me, I wasn’t an expert and I recognized that pretty quickly. There’s no shame in hiring someone to help out with your social media efforts. That’s what I eventually did, but I do still try to stay as engaged as I possibly can.

Now I have a team of social media experts who work tirelessly to get my name out there in front of as many potential readers as possible. Indie publishing is a tough business to be in and you absolutely need every edge possible to get people to notice you and your books.

If you don’t yet have the finances to hire a social media manager I implore you not to ignore this side of book marketing. Just posting once or twice a day on the biggies – Twitter, Instagram and Facebook – will help readers find you. And don’t forget to comment, like and repost while you’re at it. Social media is here to stay so you may as well get used to it!

Michael Okon is a bestselling author and screenwriter. Monsterland Reanimated, Book Two in the Monsterland series, was just released on April 13, 2018 and promises to be bigger and badder than Book One. Michael invites readers to connect with him on his website.  

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Interview with Author Sarah Baethge

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

I’m Sarah Baethge and I’ve always loved reading. After a car wreck derailed my college career, I started reviewing stories and that eventually led to me trying to write my own.

2) What inspired you to write your book?

I self published a short novella a few years ago (free on Google Drive now) but it started somewhat abruptly, so I wrote this story to be a prequel for it because the whole story has just kept growing in my mind.

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

I hope that they can enjoy it. I wrote it as fun entertainment.

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

I like to read it.

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

I’d sit down with Ronald Carpenter, I’d like to know more about his view of The Eclipse company; I don’t feel like I describe it very well.

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

I like using Twitter, but more people seem to be concerned with my Facebook page.

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

Write what you like to read. Don’t give up just because you aren’t sure how other people will react.

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

I have some plans for about four sequels to this Speed of Darkness book and a couple of Ideas for both a space story and a time-travel story. I’m not really sure which one I will work on first.

Interview with Author Wendys Donuts

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

 

Growing up I was always inclined more towards science and engineering. In fact I almost failed my English classes a couple of times in high school. Even in college I studied Mechanical Engineering.

 

But I’ve always been a fan of telling stories and coming up with outlandish jokes to make my friends laugh. It was my love of telling stories that first drew me into trying to put some of them down on paper and flex my writing muscles.

 

2) What inspired you to write your book?

 

The inspiration for The Sweetness Run came from my fraternity brothers and our fantasy football group chat. We constantly fire jabs at each other and often joked about what would happen if anybody ever saw the things that were said on the group chat.

 

I really wanted to come up with something to showcase the silliness of our friend group and give an idea of how close we are after all these years. The book started out as a few jokes sent across on the group chat and quickly ballooned into a full story.

 

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

 

When people read The Sweetness Run I would like readers to first have a good laugh. Even if they get nothing else from the book, as long as they have a couple of laughs I’m happy.

I would also really like to give the reader a deep look into the stereotype of a post-college man-child and hope they relate to some of the mundane struggles Jason has to contend with everyday. The idea being that when these seemingly small catastrophes take place in our daily lives it’s not the end of the world. We can always persevere through them, especially if you have a few friends to call in for support.

 

Lastly I really want readers to get an idea of the way guys bond together and how life is always better when you have your boys around you. Jason’s day always gets better when he’s around his friends.

 

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

 

I’ve always been interested in comedy. Stand up specials, comedy fiction, movies, podcasts, etc. You name it I love it. Not only that, I feel that joking around is the glue for a good friendship or relationship in general. If you’re not laughing with each other then what is the point?

 

My love for comedy and laughter is what kept me going and kept the ideas flowing when I was writing The Sweetness Run.

 

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

 

I really like this question

 

I would love to sit down with The Wizard. Even though he has a small part in the book he is a big part of the glue that holds everyone together. I would love to ask him where he got a poster of Courage the Cowardly Dog. I’ve personally always wanted a poster like that. The Wizard seems to have some pretty weird stuff floating around his house so I’d also love to get an idea of who he uses as a decorator.

 

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

 

Facebook and Instagram have been the most useful for me.

 

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

 

My advice would be to always keep writing. It’s very important to write a little bit everyday even when you feel nothing of value is being written. What I found is that if you just keep writing a little bit every day that first draft will come up in no time. Then comes the fun of editing and refining your story.

 

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

 

I have a few different projects I’m working on. The first is The Wendys Donuts Report, which is a blog aimed at giving readers funny articles and outlandish solutions to problems that are seemingly unimportant but in reality, they are vital.

 

After that I have a few short stories I would like to release followed by part two of The Sweetness Run. Let’s not forget that her Majesty The Sweetness has to be rescued at all costs

Guest Post: Redemption by Author Mike Schlossberg

Note From Anthony Avina: 

 

Hi there everyone! I am thrilled to share with you an amazing guest blog post from an author I will be working with in the months to come. Please read and enjoy this post from author Mike Schlossberg on how he came up with the title for his book Redemption and how others can learn from it. 

 

 

My book is called Redemptionand it’s about depression, anxiety and saving the world. From the blurb:

Twenty young people wake aboard the spaceship Redemption with no memory how they got there.

Asher Maddox went to sleep a college dropout with clinical depression and anxiety. He wakes one hundred sixty years in the future to assume the role as captain aboard a spaceship he knows nothing about, with a crew as in the dark as he is.

Yanked from their everyday lives, the crew learns that Earth has been ravaged by the Spades virus – a deadly disease planted by aliens. They are tasked with obtaining the vaccine that will save humanity, while forced to hide from an unidentified, but highly advanced enemy.

Half a galaxy away from Earth, the crew sets out to complete the quest against impossible odds. As the enemy draws closer, they learn to run the ship despite their own flaws and rivalries. But they have another enemy . . . time. And it’s running out.

Now, here’s the question I keep getting: Why is it called Redemption?

First is the obvious: It’s the name of the ship. But it’s the name of the ship in the book for a reason.

Okay. So I wrote this thing not just to tell a science fiction story, but to tell a story of mental illness and give those who suffer hope. That’s sort of been my driving force, as an elected official and advocate for the mentally ill. And to be perfectly honest, that permeates just about every facet of the book. Including the name of the ship.

I named it Redemption because I think the idea of guilt – and seeking Redemption – was and is a big part of my depression. Guilt is a common symptom of depression. It’s something I certainly got to know in a very personal way. And I spent most of my life searching for redemption. I desperately wanted to be redeemed from some unknown sin. And I think that’s something that’s relatively common among those who have suffered.

The entire plot is, at it’s core, a redemption story, but not from a sin: From mental illness, from depression and from anxiety. It’s a redemption that I think we all strive for. In my experience, it’s almost not complete obtainable. Personally, I know I will never be completely free from mental illness. It will always be there, running in the background like an iPhone app. Recovery isn’t an end state, it’s a journey. And that’s a lesson I that I have tried to learn all my life, and a journey I try to highlight in Redemption.

As always, I’d love to have your thoughts. Is this an experience you understand? No? Either way, let us know in the comments!

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07C7M8WT8

https://mikeschlossbergauthor.com

http://www.twitter.com/MikeSchlossberg

http://www.facebook.com/MikeSchlossbergAuthor

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39896276-redemption

Summary:

Redemption Cover from Amazon

Twenty young people wake aboard the spaceship Redemption with no memory how they got there.

Asher Maddox went to sleep a college dropout with clinical depression and anxiety. He wakes one hundred sixty years in the future to assume the role as captain aboard a spaceship he knows nothing about, with a crew as in the dark as he is.

Yanked from their everyday lives, the crew learns that Earth has been ravaged by the Spades virus – a deadly disease planted by aliens. They are tasked with obtaining the vaccine that will save humanity, while forced to hide from an unidentified, but highly advanced enemy.

Half a galaxy away from Earth, the crew sets out to complete the quest against impossible odds. As the enemy draws closer, they learn to run the ship despite their own flaws and rivalries. But they have another enemy . . . time. And it’s running out.

Author bio:

Michael Schlossberg

Mike Schlossberg has been a writer since he wrote his first short story in eighth grade, a Star Wars fanfiction. While he claims it was terrible, the creative passion followed him into adulthood.

Serving as a State Representative in Pennsylvania, Mike has had the chance to make a difference. The problem closest to his heart is mental health, where he strives to break the stigma surrounding those who suffer from mental illnesses and give them hope. For Mike, this issue is personal, as he has been treated for depression and anxiety related disorders since he was 18. It was this desire to help which drove him to write Redemption, his first novel, but not his first book. That honor goes to Tweets and Consequences, an anthology about the varied ways elected officials have destroyed their careers via social media.

When not writing, Mike plays video games (both modern and old school), watches anything related to the Muppets (specifically Fraggle Rock!), reads, attempts to get to the gym, and calls his constituents on their birthdays.

Mike lives in Allentown, Pennsylvania, with his wife Brenna and his two wonderful children: Auron, born in 2011, and Ayla, born in 2012.