Tag Archives: interview

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/

https://books2read.com/links/ubl/38dQwZ

https://a.co/2Y7ZMep

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!

Interview with Author Matteo Sedazzari

1) How did you get into writing Matteo ? 

I enjoyed creative writing; when I was at school, that was my first taste. Then many years later, my then-girlfriend was studying journalism, which rekindled my interest in writing. This led me to do my fanzine, Positive Energy of Madness, inspired by counterculture and the Acid House scene that was sweeping the UK. I got the name from the tagline in Ken Kesey’s book Demon Box, ‘Ken Kesey challenges public and private demons with a wrestler’s brave and deceptive embrace, making it clear that the energy of madness must live on.’ I just added the word positive.  Back then I was into Kesey, Hunter S Thompson, Tom Wolfe. Their raw, pacey style depicts everyday life in an engaging yet brutal narrative.  I suppose this is the template I have been using ever since. The fanzine frizzled out in 1997, then I got back into writing in 2003, and more seriously in 2009 when I launched my website ZANI. I wrote my first novel, A Crafty Cigarette – Tales of a Teenage Mod, in 2015.  Since 2009, it has been a natural and enjoyable vibe. When I was younger, it was stop, start, as I put a lot of my creative effort into being in a band by playing rhythm guitar and song writing. Being in a band is fun, yet so is writing. I love books and music in the same breath. 

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2) What inspired you to write Tales from The Foxes of Foxham? 

As a child, I spent many Easter and Summer holidays in Norfolk with my English grandparents. They had moved from the outskirts of East London to the countryside. I fell in love with the ambience, the woodlands, the folklore, and the wildlife, especially foxes, as my grandmother had knitted me a toy fox which I called Foxy. My brother and I were huge fans of horror films, the classic Hammer and Universal movies during this period. Furthermore, any book, fictional or factual, be it fantasy, folklore, thriller, or horror, I would beg my grandparents or parents to buy it for me as an early ‘birthday’ or ‘Christmas’ present; like most children, I would use emotion to manipulate the older generation! Those loves, whether Norfolk or Christopher Lee as Dracula, never left me. 

My first two books, A Crafty Cigarette – Tales of a Teenage Mod and The Magnificent Six in Tales of Aggro, are homages to my passions, Mod, The Jam, London-based situation comedies, and London theme crime films and books. So, for my next book It felt right to pay tribute to the enthusiasms of my childhood, like Foxes and Witches. The three books are interlinked, called the ZANI Tales Trilogy. A policeman from The Magnificent Six in Tales of Aggro makes a cameo in Tales from The Foxes of Foxham. 

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

First and foremost, it’s a magical adventure story of good vs. evil.  I want readers to be excited and entertained with a smile on their faces. Scootering magazine says, ‘it’s a book for the young and young at heart.’ In Foxes, war, racism, prejudice, and animal cruelty are woven into the story without preaching.  I have had friends and readers, say that they have read the novel with their children or grandchildren and how they have all adored the story as a family. That is fantastic feedback. 

4) What drew you into the fantasy genre?  

The loves of my childhood, which I mentioned earlier. The books I read as a kid; Wind in The Willows, One Hundred and One Dalmatians, Enid Blyton’s The Magic Faraway Tree series, Midnight Folk.  There are illustrations in those  books that add magic to the story. Therefore, I wanted pictures for my first fantasy-themed book, and Andy Catling (the illustrator) has brought Tales from The Foxes of Foxham to life. 

5) If you could sit down with any character from Foxes of Foxham, what would you ask them and why?

Charles Renard, he’s the leader of Foxes across Europe. Charles lives in a mansion called Fox Hill Hall in Foxham. He is a dapper dresser and likes the finer things of life. Not only that he is also a fair yet firm fox who negotiated with the then prime minister, Winston Churchill, for animal equality, after which Churchill had approached Charles to get the foxes and other animals to help with the war effort.  I would ask Charles about his life, how he went from working on a farm to becoming a chief, while making a killing at the Bank of England in the process. After that, I would ask Charles for a guided tour of Foxham to meet all the other residents and see the landmarks. Then finish the day with a pint with him at the local pub in Foxham, The Six Bells.

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

Facebook and Instagram, not so much Twitter, but I wouldn’t rule it out. LinkedIn for contacts, that’s how I met the illustrator, Andy Catling, who I now regard as a good friend.  

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

Forget the doubters, have fun, but keep to a timetable. Please don’t wait for inspiration; you can create it. As you write the book, absorb yourself with similar books, TV shows, or films of that particular genre.  Maybe read a chapter just before you start writing. I find this an excellent practice to get the creative juices flowing. 

Remember writing the book is just one part of the process. Find someone who can help or advise with the marketing, either as a favour, or that won’t dip into your savings.  But at first, learn to do it yourself; it’s a good learning curve. Put the book in front of as many people as you can in a respectful manner. Don’t worry if you get a negative response; keep knocking on doors. 

Shop around for typesetters, proof-readers, and graphic designers, as you would when buying a house, a car, laptop, etc. 

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

ZANI, my website, which I use as a banner to publish my books, is growing. Irvine Welsh has already brought out a book on ZANI, Performers, which is terrific. ZANI is bringing out a fashion book with unique illustrations, The Desired Article: A Concise Look At Style. Written by my friend, Jason Disley, an author and poet. The fashion articles originally appeared in ZANI in the summer of 2020.  Jason and I believe they will work well as a book.

I want to take Foxes of Foxham to the top, so I will keep pushing and believing. I will bring out more novels, no question, as I enjoy writing. The future looks promising. 

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About the Author

Matteo Sedazzari developed the zest for writing when he produced a fanzine entitled Positive Energy of Madness during the height of Acid House, in 1989.

Positive Energy of Madness dissolved as a fanzine in 1994 and resurfaced as an ezine in 2003, which became ZANI, the ezine for counter and pop culture in 2009, promoting online optimism, along with articles, reviews, and interviews with the likes of crime author Martina Cole, former pop star and actor Luke Goss, soul legend Bobby Womack, Clem Burke of Blondie, Chas Smash of Madness, Shaun Ryder of Black Grape/ Happy Mondays and many more.

After producing and writing for his own publication, Matteo’s next step was to pen a novel, A Crafty Cigarette – Tales of a Teenage Mod. Matteo is influenced by Hunter S Thompson, Harlan Ellison, Kenneth Grahame, Arthur Conan Doyle, Mark Twain, Irvine Welsh, DH Lawrence, Alan Sillitoe, Frank Norman, Joyce Carol Oates, Mario Puzo, Iceberg Slim, Patricia Highsmith, Joe R. Lansdale, Daphne du Maurier, Robert Bloch, George Orwell, Harry Grey and many more. American comics like Batman, Superman, and Spiderman, along with Herge’s Tintin, also provide Matteo with inspiration.

Matteo also finds stimulus from many films like Twelve Angry Men, A Kind of Loving, Blackboard Jungle, Z, Babylon, This Sporting Life, Kes, Midnight Cowboy, Scum, Wild Tales, The Boys, Midnight Express, La Commare Secca, Dr Terror’s House of Horrors, so on and so forth. As for music, anything that is passionate, vibrant, and with heart is always on Matteo’s playlist.

Matteo Sedazzari resides in Surrey, which he explores fanatically on his mountain bike. Matteo supports Juventus, travels to Italy and Spain, eats and dress well, as he enjoys life in the process.

https://www.zani.co.uk/

Interview with Author Sverrir Sigurdsson

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

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

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

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2) What inspired you to write your book?

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

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

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

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

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

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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About the Author

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

Sverrir Sigurdsson Author | Facebook

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

Interview with Author Tia Ray Dhar

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

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

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2) What inspired you to write your book?

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

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

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

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

4) What drew you into this particular genre?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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About the Author

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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