Category: Author Interviews

Graphics by Carol Marrs Phipps

Graphics by Carol Marrs Phipps

The Newest Name in Graphics

I’ve long been impressed by Carol Marrs Phipps’ marketing on Twitter. I’ve always found her artwork eye catching and compelling and let’s face it, that’s what marketing is all about. We want our target audience to stop whatever they’re doing, read our ads and potentially, buy our books.

With this in mind, when I discovered Carol had started her own graphics business, I jumped at the chance for her to create posters for me. I’m quite pleased with the results. 

Below is a response from Carol regarding her new business; also enclosed are samples of her work. Just to give my two cents, Carol is amazing to work with and is highly responsive to your needs on a budget most Indie Authors can afford.

CMP – I’ve always been a bit of a do-it-yourselfer, so when I needed more graphics than I could comfortably afford to purchase from graphic artists to adequately promote my books, I decided it was time to learn how to use Photoshop and make my own. 

And so the adventure began. Once I became much more adept with the program I started turning out better and better promo ads for my books, and people began commenting about how good my banners were. A few suggested I ought to earn some extra money and charge people to make banners for them.

 

After much consideration I decided, “why not?” and opened up Carol’s Posters, Gifs & More (which I recently re-named Carol’s Banners, Gifs & More) http://www.niarg.com/carols-posters-gifs-more/.  My rates are very reasonable and customer satisfaction is my highest priority.

 

Interview w Fantasy Author Carol Marrs Phipps

Interview w Fantasy Author Carol Marrs Phipps

Please welcome brilliant author Carol Marrs Phipps from the writer team of Carol Marrs and Tom Phipps

 

Hello Carol, welcome and thank you for doing this interview- 

Aside from all the help and support you’ve given me regarding my own work, I know so little about you. Would you mind sharing a little about your background? Where are you from? How did you and your partner/husband Tom Phipps get started in writing? Have you always written fantasy?

About the Author

Carol Marrs Phipps – I am a mother, grandmother, wife and doting pet owner. I say this first because my husband is always telling me that if I didn’t have anything else, I would mother a rock   Apparently my students agreed with my husband, because when I still taught elementary school, many of them often referred to me as “mom” rather than Mrs. Phipps.

My pets include six cats, a cockatiel, a raven and a blue-fronted Amazon parrot. (Though, anyone who has ever hand-raised a parrot understands they are far more like having another child, than a pet, particularly if they talk). 

I also love the outdoors where I enjoy walking, hiking, swimming, biking and picnics in the woods. Movies, traveling and family get-togethers are also an important part of my life.

 I was born and began life in Trenton, Missouri, but my parents moved to Illinois when I was very young. My husband Tom and I lived in the Southwest (Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada) where we taught on a number of Native American Reservations until we decided to move back to Illinois.

The Evolution from Teacher to Writer

Carol Marrs Phipps – I haven’t taught since our return, concentrating on our writing instead. Tom is retired from teaching, but now has a part time job (three 12 hr, days a week).

I am a fantasy writer and a dreamer. I love to weave the visions which play out in my imagination into fantastic tales for my own amusement and the enjoyment of others. If not writing I am a voracious reader.

I had a number of short stories I had written for my creative writing classes and the yearly anthology which I read to my husband and step children. Tom was impressed by my writing and encouraged me to take it up again.

Since writing had always been my first career choice, I was easy to convince. However, I discovered along the way that Tom also had a great writing talent, though he was more of a non-fiction writer. We soon decided that combining our skills would make some realistic fantasy stories that all ages could read and enjoy. Thus, we became a team.

The Troll Language

I just finished Elf Killers and like with WHAM!, could not stop reading. My only pause in the book was trying to decipher the troll language. That is until I found the glossary. Big help, by the way! Thanks for adding it.

How did you come upon the troll language or was this something you created?

Carol Marrs Phipps – Yes…and, no. As I mentioned earlier, Tom and I spent the bulk of our teaching careers on the Native Indian Reservations. The troll language evolved out of native Navajo…with some creative adjustment, mostly exchanging one consonant for another. The word meanings, however, remained the same for our book.

Elf Killers and Other Stories

Regarding Elf Killers, your world creation was highly detailed, your adventure compelling and fast paced, and your characters so fun to read, I absolutely lost myself in the book. Such an amazing story. Is Elf Killers a standalone novel or do you plan a sequel

Carol Marrs Phipps – Again I must answer yes…and no to your question. Although ELF KILLERS is our first published work, it was not actually written first. Tom and I had written four or five of the HEART OF THE STAFF books before we decided to do ELF KILLERS.

In STONE HEART, the 3rd book of the HEART OF THE STAFF series, the elf killer trolls are actually introduced, and they appear in each book of the series thereafter. ELF KILLERS is more or less a prelude to the series, even though it is not so labeled. Most of the trolls and elves from the series appear in ELF KILLERS, too.

Then in WHAM! the readers who have read ELF KILLERS and/or the HEART OF THE STAFF series will discover in book 2 of the TIMEWALKER series, that the troll barber is a descendant of Thunderman Veyfnaryr. Yes…all of our books are “connected”. WHAM!, book 1 of the TIMEWALKER series takes place 700 years after the HEART OF THE STAFF series, but you’ll find some of those “eternal” fairies and long-lived elves cropping up from time to time.

What other books have you written?

Carol Marrs Phipps – To date we have written: ELF KILLERS, GOOD SISTER, BAD SISTER (book 1 of HOTS), THE COLLECTOR WITCH (book 2 of the HOTS), STONE HEART (book 3 of the HOTS), THE BURGEONING (book 4 of the HOTS), THE REAPER WITCH (book 5 of the HOTS), DOOM (book 6 of the HOTS), the HEART OF THE STAFF: complete appendix (a companion book for the boxed set, HEART OF THE STAFF: complete series. Amazon would not allow us to attach the appendix to the boxed set because they said their policy did not allow a work of that size to be sold for only 99 cents. At he time we were adamant about the 99 cent price as we were still relative unknowns and we hoped to develop a bit of a readership.), and WHAM! (Book 1 of Timewalker)

What is your favorite genre to read? Write?

Carol Marrs Phipps – Fantasy is my answer to both questions.

Regarding your series, Heart of the Staff, please tell us a little about it?

Carol Marrs Phipps – The HEART OF THE STAFF series is a true epic fantasy saga which spans four complete generations in the life of a wizarding family.

Two evil sorceresses are on a path to rule the entire world; one from the shadows and the other from the throne she “inherited” early by killing her adoptive parents, the former king and queen, shortly after her sixteenth birthday. The wizarding family, headed by the most powerful wizard in the land, Razzmorten Dewin , who had previously lived in a  peaceful, even idyllic land, now find themselves and their very world in great peril.

In Closing

Thank you so much for taking the time to meet with me, Carol. I know you’re short on time. Is there anything else you’d like to add:

Carol Marrs PhippsThanks the opportunity, Ingrid. Yes, there is.  To wrap up, I offer the following reader review for this series:

“I very highly recommend this “Heart of the Staff” epic

fantasy series. If you like fantasy stories, set in a time

of kingdoms and castles, loaded with evil witches, wizards,

elves, fairies, trolls, unicorns, dragons, kingdoms with

marching armies of war, this series has it all. I absolutely

loved these books!!”

A Great Announcement!

Many thanks to Author Carol Marrs Phipps for joining us! I have long admired her marketing efforts on Twitter, creating these elaborate detailed and colorful posters.

 

Click on this pic and get a great Christmas Wonderland Surprise!

 

Here’s one she designed for me –

 

For more on Carol’s great new venture, stay tuned for next week’s post!

and for more about Carol and Tom Phipps and their marvelous stories, use the following links –

Amazon                         Niarg Website

Twitter                           Smashwords

Facebook                       Goodreads

My Interview with the Incomparable Laney Smith!

My Interview with the Incomparable Laney Smith!


Most of us know Laney Smith as the warm and personable Blog Talk Radio Host. Please meet Laney Smith, the talented multi-genre author who is never afraid to tackle any subject and through her passion for words makes that subject her own.

Welcome, Laney, and thank you for accepting my request to interview you. I’m so glad you could join us!

Laney – Thank you for having me, Ingrid. 

Laney Smith, Author

Laney, I just finished What He’s Done? and was truly amazed by your character Michael “Sully” Sullivan. From start to finish he truly was the perfect angelic killing machine. One never knew what he was going to do next.

One of your reviewers called the story, a creative nonfiction. That made me wonder if the story was based on a true story. Was there a real-life Sully or did you create him based on another serial killer?

Laney – “Creative non-fiction” is the perfect way to describe this work. Sadly, this story and this character are loosely based on truth. Obviously, names have to be changed when you’re writing something “based on a true story” unless you are writing a non-fiction, factual story where you have evidence and consent from every party involved.

That would be impossible, in this case. Also, with a situation such as this, a fair amount of the details available to you are hearsay. While some of those details can be proven, some are impossible to prove. So, I took a story and I created this work based on that story. I had to bridge gaps in some of the details and timelines.

Sully is a disturbing character to have in your head. He’s got an ego and he wants the story out there. He wants the world to see how “smart” he is. He loves to talk about “What He’s Done.”

This book was written, edited, and published in three months. That is how aggressive this character is. There were a number of times that I had to get away from my computer and out of my house, just to get him out of my head. He’s the most intense character I’ve ever met. I’m not sure I could be a true-crime, non-fiction author. I love to read those books, but I can’t imagine sharing my head with someone like Sully on a regular basis.

As a fan of suspense novels, especially yours, I’m hoping you’ve written other novels in this genre. If so, please tell us about them and if not, please tell me you’re planning to write more in the future. Your book really did captivate me.

Laney – Thank you, Ingrid! That really means a lot. You’ve actually just made my day. I love playing in the realm of suspense and mystery. I have several suspense, thriller type stories that are in the works.

I have Threshold which is a horror/suspense tale. At the time, my son was thirteen and he couldn’t find a book that creeped him out like some of his favorite movies. So, he asked me if I would write a book for him. So, I did.

That one was a struggle because as a mother, knowing my thirteen-year old son was going to read it, I had to dial myself back in a lot of ways. However, when it was all said and done, he loved it and thought it was just the kind of creepy he was looking for. Others have told me it freaked them out.

Then, there’s Ripples, which was written to turn the reader against themselves and everything they believe in. That one has brought a lot of unexpected reactions.

It is cool when people tell you they can relate to your character. It’s heartbreaking to find out how many people can relate to Rachel, however. The moral dilemma in Ripples was written to pit the reader against themselves. It was nervy and it worked, for the most part. There were a couple of issues. But, I’d do it all, again.

Wow, Laney, looking at your website and reading your answers here, it occurs to me that when it comes to writing, you’re up for any topic! So with that in mind, I want to know some history…some history about Laney Smith:

Laney, when, where and why did start writing?

I wrote a poem for a contest when I was nineteen years old. My poem was accepted and published in an anthology.

At the time, I had no idea what that meant. I didn’t even keep up with the title of the anthology or the letter that came saying my submission had won a place in the book. So, technically, I was published, for the first time, when I was nineteen. I have no idea which book that poem is in. I only remember something about a strawberry.

Anyway, I wrote articles for one of the local newspapers, here in Southern California. The editor for the paper, like many of the other people in my life, suggested I should write a book. I wish I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard that. I always laughed it off, but for some reason, when the editor told me that, it kind of snapped and something just clicked. So, I started writing Lock Creek.

What was your favorite story as a child? And what story scared you, but you had to read it anyway?

Laney – As a child, I loved Where the Red Fern Grows and Old Yeller. Those books make me cry, still. I love stories that can reach in and become a piece of you. For me, those two stories definitely did that. I will never forget them. They will always be favorites.

As far as stories that scared me, The Amityville Horror scared me half-bald. I was OK with everything, until it got to the part with the pigs with glowing red eyes, looking in the windows. That bugged me and I refused to preceded light, anytime I went into a room for a long time, after that. It freaked me out!

I read the Amityville Horror as well. I was in my teens and babysitting my niece. I couldn’t put it down, read the whole thing…talk about scary!  As for the Lutz family, I couldn’t believe they stayed in that house for a month. I wouldn’t have lasted a week.

Next question, you have two brothers and two sons and a daughter. Were you a tomboy?

Laney – I actually only have two boys. My brother has two little girls and I see them quite a bit. So, I can see how that confusion could happen. But, I just have two sons – which, to answer your question – do keep my inner tomboy from childhood alive and awake.

Both of them are all boy and they’re teens, now. So, if I want to hang with them, I’m fishing or watching them race RC cars. We go shooting – target practice. Camping is a fun time.

The funny thing is I’m really into watching various sports – baseball, football, hockey. Neither of them have any interest in sports. They’d rather be out doing something than sitting and watching anything. So, yes! We have a worm farm because they need bait. Being a sister to two brothers or a mother of boys is not a dainty job. I love it, though!

I can imagine. I got to be my daughter’s Girl Scout Leader for three years. I loved the camping and being in nature.

* * *

I read on your website that you have imperfections, scars, we all do. I got my first scar when my cousin ran over me with his bicycle when I was four. How did you get your first scar?

Laney – When I was three-years old, I was bitten by a German Shepherd. Apparently, he chewed up my face.  I was too young to remember anything about that experience. I just see the result from it on a daily basis. For some reason, the dog saw me as a threat, in some way, to the little kids he belonged to and he was protecting them.

Unfortunately, it was severe enough that the dog had to be eliminated and I hate that. I love dogs! I’m not particularly fond of German Shepherds to this day, even though I don’t recall the incident. It must be a sleeping memory. I just know the older I get, the deeper the scars seem to be and the more apparent they become.

My gosh, Laney, I am so sorry! What a traumatic experience! I’m also glad you lived to tell about it. This reminds me of one of my favorite pics, “Don’t be afraid to show your scars. It only proves you were stronger than whatever tried to hurt you.” And, you, my dear, even at three, are very strong! 

Okay, switching gears a little….

Laney, who was your childhood hero?

My dad was and still is my hero. He was a firefighter and I believed he could do anything. I remember sitting at the fire station with him when we would take dinner to him. The alarm would go off, every time, without fail, as soon as he sat down to eat. I’d get so mad at people. For the life of me, I couldn’t understand why they couldn’t wait until my dad got to eat his dinner to have a fire. I was young and I didn’t understand.

But, I remember the truck tearing off, lights and sirens wailing, waving at him and feeling so proud of that guy. It broke my heart when he was too busy to wave back at me. He was the coolest guy in the whole world, as far as I was concerned.

He still is! I still call him to solve every little problem I have. Now, instead of telling me what to do, he says, “Google it! Look on You Tube and find you a video.” Yep! At seventy-years old, my dad is more technologically astute than I am.

I wish we lived closer. He’s a pretty incredible man. He means so much to me and I get teary, thinking about how beautiful my life has been because of him. I want my boys to have more of his influence in their lives.

Such a beautiful story and tribute to your father! I hope he reads this interview.

* * *

Where was your least favorite place to live and why? Or, if you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?

Laney – My least favorite place to live was Lamar, Colorado. We lived there for a brief time after we moved to Colorado to be closer to my dad’s family. That was hell! Actually, it was worse! It was the waiting room for hell where you just festered in the anticipation of hell. I hated living there.

There was nothing to do and it was miles from anything that mattered. It was dead and flat. It was hot and smelly in the summer. The whole town is surrounded by feedlots and it didn’t matter which way the breeze came from, it was horrid. There was nothing to do.

At school, they had never seen anything like me. Here I was, this little southern belle, complete with a southern accent. The teachers would make me stand in front of the class and talk so they could all laugh at how I said things. At the time, I couldn’t possibly know how that would help me in the future, but it did. So, I guess I walked away with some good out of that experience. I’m not at all bothered about standing in front of crowds and speaking. That’s my comfort zone. They helped me a lot! Special thanks to those Lamartians!

 As far as where I would like to live, quite honestly, I really want to live on Decker Estates, from Lock Creek. A private eight-hundred-acre lake? I’d love that! I’ve lived on a lake before and it was the most serene place I’ve ever lived. So, maybe I wouldn’t need a full eight-hundred-acres to call my own. But, I’d live just about anywhere with a lake. I do like being able to go to the ocean and stand on the beach and listen to the Earth breathe, too. So, maybe a lake. Maybe on the ocean.

Regarding your experiences at Lamar, what an awful thing for a teacher to do to a child! I applaud your resilience in taking a negative life experience and changing it into a good thing. You certainly are a great role model for the rest of us!

Okay, we’re starting to run out of time, but there’s so much more I want to ask you.

Laney Smith’s New Release

Laney, you have a book coming out this month. Do you want to tell us about it?

This book has been in the works for two or three years, now. You will understand, Ingrid. You have those works that you tinker with and they end up slithering off into some forgotten abyss. Then, you have other stories you tinker with that just aren’t through with you, yet. This was one of those:

 We have an MVP pro-baseball player, Ryan Priest, who has gotten himself in a little trouble, gambling on games. Then, he went out and played to “help” the wager go in his favor. It was dirty and he knows it. He got caught and he paid the consequences.

Then, a couple years later, his team makes it to the World Series. He misses a catch that cost his team the win. There isn’t anyone in baseball who believes he doesn’t have money riding on that game. He suffers an injury, after the fact and the organization uses that as an excuse to force him into early retirement. He had a jet-set life and it all just falls out from under him.

So, a couple years down the road, he returns to his hometown where there is a mischievous, seven-year-old baseball aficionado, Nathan Brock. The two end up crossing paths and a friendship builds. The boy is an only child to a single mother who works crazy hours to support her son, which leaves the boy home alone, quite a bit.

Ryan is adrift in his life, seeing as how baseball was his end all-be all. Now, here’s this kid with a knack for getting himself into trouble. Ryan ends up developing a soft spot for the kid and before you know it, through a series of comical events, he’s Nathan’s babysitter. You have a single mom and this guy who has lost all direction in life and a mischievous little boy who just might have a way to help Ryan find a new direction, while helping his mother find a way to realize her dreams.

 The story is titled, His Best Yet, and it’s a fun story!

Nathan is one of the most lovable kids, ever! I don’t want to ruin anything, but he insists his mother’s favorite food is “radishes.” He’s close! Only not at all!

I’ll let people read it to solve that little riddle. It’s a fun, light-hearted, comedic romance. There’s a little heat in some of it, so I’ve written two versions. Both will be out on June 26, 2018. The “Uncensored” version is for those who like the heat. The other version is for those who can do without it. It’s the same story, either way.

So, after almost three years, it’s finally happening and I know it’s time because I’ve tried for years to get a cover for this one and it’s just never happened. I connected with Jo-Anna Walker at Just Write Creations and she’s nailed it! So, I’m super excited!

This one has been a long time coming and I think everyone is going to love little Nathan and all of his little antics. I think they’re going to enjoy watching Ryan grow up, in terms of maturity. I also think they will be happy to see how it all plays out for these three characters.

The editor said there needs to be a sequel, so that will be in the works, as well. However, for now, this one is going to be a homerun! I just know it!

That does sound like a fun read! His Best Yet, available on Amazon tomorrow, June 26th in both the censored and uncensored versions.

* * *

Laney Smith, Blog Talk Radio Host

Okay, now for the second part of this interview. I first became familiar with you through your Blog Talk Radio show. I applauded your ability to make your guests feel at ease, something I am quite sure came from years of experience. So, please tell me, Laney, how you got into doing the shows and where your ability to be so down-to-earth and welcoming came from. It truly is a rare talent.

You know, I miss doing that show. Laney’s World for Writing Under the Influence was such a fun experience for me. I would love to have a regular show like that, again. I can’t tell you how many friendships I made and how many authors and books I discovered. I’m thankful to you for your kind words, because I had never done anything like that before in my life. Emmanuel Neal (Fre Thought) interviewed me for his show and after that interview, he asked if I would be interested in hosting a show. I thought he was joking, so I laughed. He wasn’t joking.

So, I’m forever indebted to him for affording me that opportunity. Before every show, I talked to the person I was interviewing to get a sense of how they felt, going into the interview. If they told me they were nervous or afraid, I knew I had to quiet that fear or they wouldn’t be able to share everything they wanted to get out. Then, the whole point of the show would be lost.

I think that time – talking to them just before the show started – gave them a chance to unwind a little and to stutter and stammer and confess that they were scared to death before they went out across the Blog Talk Radio waves. They were able to deal with the initial onset of nerves that always fades after a few minutes. So, by the time the show started, they had already gotten that part out of the way. Those minutes before also gave me an opportunity to joke with them – because that’s my answer for everything. Jokes!

There were a lot of special moments that happened in that time prior to the start of the show. I got to ask them what they wanted people to know so if they forgot to mention it, I could bring it up. I was able to ask them if there was anything in particular they wanted to discuss or that I needed to avoid discussing. I wanted their show to be what they wanted it to be.

I really do miss doing that show. I have all the links up on my webpage, to this day. I’ll probably never take them down. Maybe someday, I’ll have more links to post there. You could be my first guest, Ingrid.

 Thank you, Laney, I’d really like that!

Laney, you have such a big heart and are so eager to help worthy causes, I applaud you for that! I also hope that you get your radio show back on the air so you can continue helping others.

Thank you for that! That means a lot. And, thank you for having me. I really enjoyed this. I hope we do meet up in person. I think that would be a blast. I’m looking forward to that.

For more information about Laney Smith, please check out her links –

www.authorlaneysmith.com

www.facebook.com/ONEYEARSTIME
Twitter: @OYTLaneySmith
Amazon: www.amazon.com/e/B00LOZDHLO
Instagram: author.laney.smith

 

Interview with Kevin Ansbro

Interview with Kevin Ansbro

Kevin Ansbro, Author – KINNARA

 

 

Intriguing and exotic, Kevin Ansbro’s novel explores how our actions can come back to haunt us in the most unexpected ways.

‘Murder, myth and Mr Ordinary meet up in this extraordinary novel. However bad the weather is here, Ansbro’s vivid writing will transport you to a sun drenched tropical island – with darkness at its heart. I loved it!’ – Karen Holmes, editor 2QT

 

Hello Kevin, thanks for the interview –

I just finished reading Kinnara. Such a brilliant and enjoyable adventure!

Kevin – Thanks, for inviting me to answer some questions, Ingrid.  I like being probed, though not by alien life forms … not that this has ever happened to me … or has it? They wipe your memory afterwards, don’t they? Now, on to the questions…

You know so much about Thailand, have you lived there? You character, Sawat, is so real, did you know someone like him?

Kevin – My wife and I are fortunate to have visited Thailand more than twenty-five times: we love the people/the culture/the overall vibe, and we speak a lot of Thai. Sawat, like many Thais, has an unassailable positivity, despite having to eke out a living in difficult circumstances. He seems to be everyone’s favourite character and is based on a friend of mine, whose winning smile would light up any room.

As for your portrayal of the tsunami that hit Thailand, were you there during that tragic and horrendous event?

Kevin – I wasn’t in Thailand at the time of the tsunami (we were there a couple of months prior), but waking up on Boxing Day in 2004 to those alarming scenes is something I shall never forget. I was immediately on the phone to friends whom I knew to be in the areas affected. One actually had to cling to a coconut tree while the spiteful torrent surged through, giving me the idea to write that frightening event into the book.

I love your use of the Swan People (Buddhist god, Klahan) and Buddhist mythology in your book. How did that originate and develop?

Kevin – Whenever I’m ferried into Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport in a taxi, I always marvel at the bronze statues of mythical creatures that line the route into the terminal. These statues depict the half-bird, half-human Kinnaree, much-loved in Thai folklore. And it was there that the nucleus of an idea began. By the time I’d paid the cab fare I was already planning a storyline that would involve these celestial beings. The male of the Kinnaree are known as the Kinnara, hence the title of my novel, which is essentially a teeth-rattling thriller wrapped in a burrito of magical realism.

I really enjoy your writing. It’s clear, smooth and flows. I’m curious about the German serial-killer connection in Kinnara. It seems to stand out so much from the rest of the story. May I ask how you came up with that?

Kevin – Why, thank you, Ingrid. 
The German serial killer connection was dreamt up to give the book an international flavour, my inspiration coming from a lifelong love of Bond movies!

You also wrote a short story entitled, The Angel in my Well. I’m curious where it came from. It is so different from Kinnara, and yet, I can see the underlying magical realism from the description you posted on your website.

KevinThe Angel in my Well blossomed rather unexpectedly in the darkest of hours. 

My high-spirited (Irish) mum, Kathleen, had become a living shadow of her former self, ghosting the bleached corridors of a nursing home, lost in the fog of dementia and dying of cancer. While visiting her one day, I watched as she caught sight of her eighty-three-year-old self in a mirror, rather than the vivacious teenager she imagined herself to be. She turned to me, confused, and asked, “How did I suddenly get so old?”

It was heart-breaking to watch and at that moment I thought how wonderful it would be to have my mum come back to me again, as the scintillating young woman I remembered as a little boy – even if it was just for one day. And so, there and then, the nucleus of a book idea was borne.  As with Kinnara, the story is set in our real world, but with something otherworldly happening in that world.

My mum died not knowing she’d inadvertently inspired me to become an author, a silver lining to a very dark cloud.

Thank you, Kevin, for sharing. I’m sorry for your loss. The Angel in my Well sounds like a wonderful tribute to your mother. I look forward to reading it.

 

Now, Kevin, please tell us all about your next project.

Kevin – Although I’m a full-time writer, it has taken me three years to write my current novel. It’s complete, my best yet (I think), and I’ve only just begun to send submissions off to literary agents. 

It’s titled The Fish that Climbed a Tree (a metaphor for a Homeric, near-impossible, odyssey within its pages). And, again, there is an alchemy of reality and otherworldliness to my novel but it reveals, within its beating heart, a spiteful, teeth-rattling thriller that is in no way formulaic or prosaic (my style veers more towards the rich and linguistically playful).

I do want to add another question, I was actually referring the family question to your wife, Julie. Any correlation between Hannah and Calum and Kevin and Julie? Aside from the karate and kickboxing of course, btw, I’m totally impressed! So, all the traveling…because of tournaments?

Kevin – There isn’t a correlation between Hannah and Julie, though I channeled some of my wife’s wisecracks, swordplay and reactions into Hannah’s dialogue. Julie is also the first person I turn to for an honest, unvarnished appraisal of my work. 

When I was a kickboxer, the only travelling I did was around Britain. I have trained in Muay Thai (Thai kickboxing) while in Thailand though. Don’t let looks deceive you; those guys are hard as nails! 

Kevin, one of the things I admire about you is your encouragement and support of other writers. With that in mind, what advice would you give to new writers?

Kevin – Thank you! and I’m so pleased you asked this! 

I spot a great deal of uninformed guidance on social media: people suggesting that the way to get better at writing is simply to carry on writing. What utter nonsense! You wouldn’t employ an untrained person to run a restaurant kitchen on their own and say to them, “There’s the fridge; the pots, pans, knives are over there. Away you go!” Yeah, they’ll probably muddle through and improve, but will never attain the skills needed to become a great chef.

So, my best piece of advice is to read, read, READ. And don’t just read any old piece of pap. Peruse the classics; learn from the gods of literature. Find out about literary devices and how to construct a narrative arc; understand what it means to ‘show and not tell’. And please, please accept constructive criticism as if you were Gollum being offered the Ring.

Trust me, you need candid advice more than you need cheerleaders! It’s true that all writing has value, but aspire to be the Michelin-starred chef, not the short order cook. 

Ingrid, thank you so much for inviting me in for this groovy interview. It’s been an absolute pleasure!

I know that you are also eminently passionate about your work and I’d like to wish you every success for the future!

Thank you so much, Kevin Ansbro, for the interview, your thoughtful words, and for your amazing book, Kinnara. I look forward to reading The Angel in my Well and  The Fish that Climbed a Tree.

For more information about our guest, Kevin Ansbro, and for the latest on his upcoming novel,  you can find him on the links below:

Kevin’s website

Kevin’s author page on Amazon

‘Kinnara’ novel

‘The Angel in my Well’ short story

Kevin’s Twitter page

Kevin’s Goodreads author page

 

My Interview with Author Vanessa Ravel

My Interview with Author Vanessa Ravel

Vanessa Ravel, Author – Four O’Clock Alice

 

 

A little girl. An ancient enemy. A shared past.

Alice Davies wouldn’t hurt a fly, but death seems to follow her everywhere. And as the body count rises, people in Dolwicke start to whisper.

If you like ancient myths and portal fantasies, you’ll love this surreal tale that will pull you down the rabbit hole for the adventure of a lifetime.

 

Hello Vanessa, thanks for the interview!

I just finished Four O’clock Alice and I have so many thoughts. I found it suspenseful with Alice Davies one of the most fascinating, engaging, and endearing characters I’ve read in a long time.

Now, most of us know the story of Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, but yours is a different kind of Alice and I’m still not sure of the reference between the two stories. Would you please explain?  And also, if you don’t cover this, I’d love to know where you got the idea for this amazing story!

Vanessa – Thank you for inviting me to chat, Ingrid! I’m so happy to hear you liked Four O’clock Alice. It was my first novel—my baby, if you will—so I’m really pleased to know that she turned out okay! Like most first-time parents, I wasn’t quite sure what I was doing (I’m still learning with this next one, but I like to think I’m getting the hang of it!)

The relationship between my Alice and Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll is nuanced. I wanted to create a character with the same kind of curiosity and wonder as Lewis Carroll’s Alice, so I peppered my book with allusions to Carroll’s story. I also wanted to use Alice in Wonderland to establish exposition and setting (Edwardian England) and to show that the book was contemporary (though Carroll published his work 50 years earlier).

As it turns out, those superficial allusions opened a Pandora’s box of hidden connections between mine and Carroll’s story that, thanks to your great question, I just noticed. For example, both stories can be considered coming-of-age stories. In each story, the girl learns about herself and the world around her, and experiences fabulous and frightening things. She physically grows (and shrinks!) and for better or worse, Alice goes on the adventure of a lifetime.

Of course, it’s all subjective—some may see Alice in Wonderland as a political allegory and my book as a paperweight, but that’s what’s fun about literature analysis, isn’t it? The meaning is in the eye of the beholder.

A lot of people have asked me where I got the idea for Alice, and unfortunately, the story is really not that interesting! I don’t know how often this happens to other authors, but in 2012, I sat down to write a completely different book (I’m not really an “outliner”). Yes, the main character was a little girl. Yes, the genre was gothic/dark fantasy. But that’s pretty much where the similarities ended.

What happened was I wrote myself into a rabbit hole and instead of trunking my beloved first novel, I dug deeper and found Alice on the other side. Moral of the story: sometimes you have dig through mud to find clay!

– I really like that! “Moral of the story: sometimes you have dig through mud to find clay!” Kind of reminds me of your field “epidemiology” where you must dig through all the cases to find the “clay” so to speak. Right? Or am I way off base here?

Vanessa – Nope, you’re spot-on, that’s what epidemiologists do. They dig through a bunch of data to uncover the hidden associations between exposures and diseases. And then they write papers about it! (Clearly my favorite part about being an epidemiologist is writing the papers)

I – And like all readers who enjoy getting lost in the next big adventure, I’m not going to ask you about the ins and out of your story or your characters. Though I must say, I did marvel at how your story unfolds. Well done!! It was a crazy and wild ride and I’m so very glad I had the pleasure!

Vanessa – So glad you enjoyed your trip down the rabbit hole!

I – I must ask why gothic/dark fantasy?

Vanessa – I didn’t choose this genre; it chose me. Judging by my reading track record, I would probably have chosen something more steeped in horror (which is what I’m writing now) or at least supernatural. However, that isn’t to say I don’t like dark fantasy; most of my favorite films fall into this genre (Pan’s Labyrinth, Edward Scissorhands, The Devil’s Backbone, etc.).  The Gothic part kind of snuck up on me too. Even though I don’t have much experience reading those kinds of books, for some reason the Edwardian setting really spoke to me for Alice. There’s a certain romantic appeal to the period around the time of the Great War, something about not having antibiotics I guess, that’s both horrific and enchanting. It would be cool to visit that period—though not without a pocket full of Azithromycin.

 I – Okay, so can you give us a sneak peek at what’s next for Alice?

Vanessa – Alice is a standalone novel, although now that you mention it, maybe there’s more story to tell…

I -I certainly hope so! Alice is truly a great character. So, what’s next from Vanessa Ravel?

Vanessa – Speaking of series, I do have one planned down the line. I’m hoping to start on it after my upcoming release, Demon Dance. This gritty short horror story collection is a big departure from Alice, and came from somewhere completely other within me. I think the strangeness of Alice is still there, though, and if you dig deep enough, so is the heart, but it’s surrounded by a lot of barbed wire.

 I – Sounds great! I love a good horror story!

 

Okay, time for some fun! You can answer any questions below you want to answer:

Where would you love to take a hot-air balloon ride real or imaginary?

Vanessa –Assuming you could tranquilizer dart me and drag me into said hot-air balloon (not a fan of heights), it would be nice to visit the past. Back when I was five and my only worry was how long I was going to get to play on the swings before it was time to go home.

I – I love your attitude, your strength, reading your bio on your website you really are amazing! Aside from writing, what are your other creative pursuits, goals, dreams, what have you?

Vanessa – I do declare, that’s probably the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me! I don’t have much time to do anything creatively but write nowadays, but I do like to draw and make stuffed toy animals. I used to make them as Christmas gifts. I should get back to doing that!

Vanessa w Dudley before he passed in 2014

I – Stuffed toy animals, what a great gift idea!

What are your other passions?

Vanessa – Aside from writing, I’d say my passion is animals. Specifically, dogs, if my Facebook profile is any indication. I have five at the moment, but there’s always room in my heart (though not necessarily in my house) for more. I’d love to have a big plot of land to build a rescue or sanctuary. Better get working on that next book…

I – Please do! I think your readers and the homeless dogs of this world would much appreciate it.

Favorite genre to read? A genre outside your norm that you’d like to read?

Vanessa – Definitely horror! I’m a major fan of Stephen King. I actually love how boring his books are. It sounds strange, but I think the true King fans will know what I’m talking about—at least I hope so… for all I know, they’ll want to burn me at the stake for calling their idol boring. In any case, what I mean is that for me, the best parts of his work—short stories and novels alike—are the exposition, where basically nothing happens. Gives you a chance to fall in love with the characters before you even get to the story. It would be interesting to read a science fiction book, but I’m afraid I just wouldn’t ‘get’ it!

I -I totally get what you mean about the “boring bits” in Stephen King books. I LOVE those!! Mainly because you know he’s introducing you to his characters and then there’s the sudden buildup that you just weren’t expecting but, “Bam,” it hits you square in the face like a really scary snowball. I LOVE Stephen King with John Saul a close second, oh, and Ira Levin’s Rosemary’s Baby was awesome. And my absolute favorite book ever so far is “IT.”

What’s your favorite flavor ice cream?

Vanessa –That would have to be pistachio

I– Flip flops or sandals?

Vanessa – Flip flops all day long. I’m an L.A. girl, after all!

I– Favorite place to veg?

Vanessa – Being a vegetarian, it’s hard to find “acceptable,” let alone edible food at non-vegan restaurants apart from side salads and French fries and mozzarella sticks. We just discovered that Fatburger sells the Impossible Burger, which is an impossibly awesome meat-free, plant-based burger that tastes exactly like meat. So, my boyfriend and I have kind of been living at Fatburger on the weekends. Don’t judge.

I – I asked where you like to veg? Sorry, that’s probably a generational thing. I meant relax, hangout, unwind, but the food thing was awesome, didn’t know you were a vegetarian until then. 🙂 I’d like to include both if that’s acceptable to you.

VanessaOh, LOL to the generational thing. You know, I should know what that means. The first time I heard that was in the movie “Clueless” when they were talking about “vegging” out on the couch all day long. Duh. It’s actually what I thought about when I read your question! But circuitously, what I replied with actually makes sense, because I really don’t veg out except when I go out to eat. I’m kind of a shut-in! Since I’m super shy, I don’t really go out and do things apart from car rides and walks and hiking in the forest and desert (not really “vegging out” – kind of the opposite LOL). So I guess Fatburger and the local vegan place is where we kind of loiter/”veg.” And the couch with the dogs, of course!

I – Your earliest happy memory?

Vanessa – Seeing Santa in my house! I know now that it was a false memory, that there was no fat man in a red suit in my house (no wonder my mom kind of freaked out when I told her). But it sure made my four-year-old self happy!

Your favorite horror movie actor?

Vanessa – Interesting question! I’ll give two answers to this one: my female favorite would be Sigourney Weaver (gotta love the Alien movies) and the male favorite is Anthony Hopkins (Silence of the Lambs is in my top 5 movies and is my favorite book!). Of course, there are a ton of great character actors that totally make the genre but those are my two big-name actors.

I – Your favorite horror author(s)?

Vanessa – In case you hadn’t noticed… Stephen King, I also like Dean Koontz. Sadly, I don’t read enough to be able to scrape up a real list.

I – First movie or first book, both 😊

Vanessa – My first book was a picture book called Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain by Verna Aardema about an African shepherd boy that must find a way to end a drought that threatens all the wildlife in the plain. I think first movie that really left a mark on me was Killer Klowns from Outer Space. I was about four and already into scary stuff. Easy to do when your sister is ten years older than you and it’s the late eighties, i.e., the era of bad horror films!

I – Killer Klowns from Outer Space! Hysterical!

Any question I didn’t ask during the interview that you want me to ask?

Vanessa – I can’t think of anything… you were very thorough, Ingrid!

Thank you, Vanessa, for the interview. It’s been an absolute pleasure!

You can follow Vanessa on the following social media sites!

WIN a copy of Vanessa Ravel’s Four O’clock Alice!

JUST Leave A comment below.

The BEST READER COMMENT WINS the eBook!

 

VanessaRavel.com

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Bookbub

 

 

Coming June 2018

Coming June 2018

Two Great Interviews!

Coming in June, two great interviews with two great authors. Be sure to check them out –

 On June 4th – Vanessa Ravel

Author of the brilliant and surreal Gothic Horror FOUR O’CLOCK ALICE – 

A little girl. An ancient enemy. A shared past.

Alice Davies wouldn’t hurt a fly, but death seems to follow her everywhere. And as the body count rises, people in Dolwicke start to whisper.

Little do they know, Alice is the least of their worries.

A diabolical entity lurks in the shadows, finding nourishment in the ravages of war and plague. The insidious being also hungers for Alice, who is safe so long as she obeys the mysterious four o’clock curfew imposed by her parents.

But she’s a curious girl.

Desperate to uncover the truth behind her predicament, Alice embarks on a frightening journey of self-discovery that will lead her to face an ancient enemy and to discover a world she not only belongs in, but where she reigns supreme.

If you like ancient myths and portal fantasies, you’ll love this surreal tale that will pull you down the rabbit hole for the adventure of a lifetime.

Takes you by surprise and leaves you wanting more. A captivating read unlike anything I’ve ever read before! – Ingrid Foster

 

June 18th – Kevin Ansbro 

Author of the exciting, exotic and intensely captivating KINNARA –

“Sawat, I want to go into the water…”

Phuket, Thailand, seemed to be the perfect getaway choice for twenty-two-year-old Calum Armstrong:

What he saw, and did, on that holiday proves to have far-reaching consequences; not only for himself, but also for those closest to him.

In Germany, uncompromising Frankfurt detective, Otto Netzer, is leading the manhunt for a brutal serial killer who preys on heavily-pregnant women…

Neither Calum, nor the killer, yet realise that their destiny lies in the hands of a mythical creature who resides beneath the turquoise waters of the Andaman Sea.

Intriguing and exotic, Kevin Ansbro’s novel explores how our actions can come back to haunt us in the most unexpected ways.

A unique blend of old world mythology and new world travel. Ansbro skillfully enables the reader to feel and relate to the gentle and caring Thai people as they experience the monster tsunami that all but levels Phuket. – Ingrid Foster

 

Author Interviews Starting in June

Author Interviews Starting in June

Resuming Author Interviews

Author Laney Smith

Thanks to the wonderful support and encouragement by Authors S.J. Hermann and Laney Smith, I’m going to start doing author interviews again in June (Indies have preference.) I know what you’re thinking. Why? With two upcoming novels and a collection of short stories, don’t I have enough going on?

 Actually you’re right. But these interviews are as much for me as the authors I’m interviewing. I love books and when I finish a really good book, I want to contact the author and say, “Hey, I loved your book! Do you have some time? I’d love to talk to you about it.”
And, this, this is my opportunity to not only talk to the author but share with as many people as possible about this amazing read and the even more amazing author who wrote it!
Author S.J. Hermann

Here are my requirements for doing an interview:

 – I must LOVE your book
– I don’t do canned interviews so every question is organic
(specific to that book and your interview)
– All communication must be honest and sincere.

Process –

 If you agree to let me interview you, I’ll ask for your website address, press release and any pic of you (no nudes, please,) do some research and then send you 1-3 initial questions. I’ll base my next questions upon your responses to the initial questions and so on. No pressure, no hurry, and no worries. Any questions?
 
If you’re an Indie Author and want me to interview you. First, thank you! Whether I pick your book or not, I wish you much success in your writing, and never give up. There is only one of me, so I must be extremely picky in what books I choose to read.
 
Second, send me the link to  your book either in the comments section below, a message to my Twitter account or via my Facebook Author page so I may read the description and the first few pages on your book along with your reviews. (If I can’t do that, you’re book will automatically be disqualified.)
If I’m interested in reading your book, I’ll let you know.
Thank you. 🙂
Sincerely yours,
Ingrid Foster
Interview – SJ Hermann’s SPLINTERED LOVE

Interview – SJ Hermann’s SPLINTERED LOVE

Please welcome SJ Hermann, Author of  the MORIUM Trilogy and SPLINTERED LOVE –

 

SPLINTERED LOVE

Thank you, SJ, for joining us. The anthology Splintered Love is brilliant, but quite different from your Morium Trilogy with its focus on school bullying, I’m wondering where the concept for your collection of short stories came from?

Thank you, Ingrid, for having me on your blog.

I wrote Splintered Love after I finished the book of the Morium Trilogy, Dark Horizons. I wanted to try my writing skills on something more mature. Something that everyone deals with at some point in their life, and that is love. Most romance novels today all end in happy endings. I wanted to turn that around. All but one of the stories in Splintered Love have a happy ending.

As far as the concepts for each story, I just sat down in front of the computer and started typing, not really knowing where each one would go. All I knew was that they would have a supernatural / paranormal theme. I wrote them by the seat of my pants and wanted them to each leave a questions for the readers or having moral questions.

Leap of Faith – Could one find true love again and if you can, what if it came from an unusual place.

Inner Beauty – Today’s society is based on a person’s looks and not what they carry on the inside.

Desperate Souls – What would you be willing to give up for love?

Reckless Thoughts – You find your true love, then you carelessly throw it away.

Forever Love – Love is eternal.

I was lucky enough to have a great group of romance writers help me through my first stint as a romance writer. It’s their quotes you see at the beginning of each story.

Thanks, SJ, you answered another question I’ve had for the longest time. “What about those quotes?”

So, did the writers read your short stories before writing their quotes?

Yes. They were an important part in bringing each story together.

You certainly seem to have a knack for writing the darker side of love. I enjoyed them all, each so different and every one with surprise twists and turns.

Thank you.

I also noted what you said about moral questions, this seems to be an ongoing theme for you. May I ask where that comes from?

I have no idea, lol. When I start writing, I don’t have the idea to toss in morals into my stories, they just seem to evolve with the story. I shouldn’t say that. Inner Beauty was written for anyone who sees only what’s on the outside, and not the beauty of a person within. The other four in Splintered Love just came to be morality tales by the time I finished writing them.

Well, this formula definitely seems to work for you! I sincerely hope to see more of the same in the future. Speaking of which, haven’t you just put out a new book based on one of your Splintered Love stories?

Yes, it’s called Eventus and it follows the same formula as, Reckless Thoughts. Actually, Eventus came before Reckless Thoughts. I reworked the ending to follow the romance theme of the anthology. To go further, the book I am currently working on titled, Perfect, is about a teen who is born nearly omnipotent. As he gets older, he gains more abilities. He suppresses his powers until a tragic event happens. After that, he doesn’t give a damn about anything and he uses the powers for his own amusement. It goes into depth about the main character in Eventus / Reckless Thoughts as we watch him grow from an innocent child into a monster.

It’s something about having godlike abilities that can make one hell of a story and that’s why I’m drawn to it.

THE MORIUM TRILOGY

Speaking of topics you’re drawn to, I recently got a chance to listen to your interview with Laney Smith on BlogTalkRadio from October of last year. Such an emotionally powerful interview.

I especially enjoyed the discussion on the Morium Trilogy and how you’ve used it to encourage a focus on bullying. As someone who was bullied most of her school years, I must ask, how do you feel being bullied has changed you?

Thank you for listening. I thought really hard if I should bring out my demons for all to hear. Laney is such a fantastic host it made it easier. For the longest time, even after the bullying had stopped, I would say my Junior year, the emotional scars stayed with me. My self-esteem was in the toilet. I had no confidence in anything I did. Thirty years later, I still suffer from depression and anxiety with bouts of self-harm. Writing has become a tool for me to release some of what I’ve kept locked away, which is probably why my writing is dark in nature.

In what ways do you feel your writing has helped you?

It’s an outlet to convey how one (myself) deals with emotional problems. I can write about it and yet, I hope, don’t come across as being preachy. Devin is Desperate Souls was/is essentially me. Living in darkness waiting for a glimmer of light to shine through the darkened skies. Now, in the story, it was Moira that’s the glimmer of light. Where in me, it’s the writing.

And what reactions have received to your “bringing out your demons”? I hope supportive!

They have been positive. The main reason I decided to come out was to show that men do suffer from depression and self-harm and not solely focused on women.

We all have our demons. Without my going into specifics and as one who has revealed his demons, what advice would you offer people like me? People who’ve been buried under this crap, afraid of their “shadows” so to speak?

Find a creative way to step out from the shadows. For me, it’s not only through writing, but with art as well. I understand how difficult it is to express your inner feelings for fear of being called weak, especially if you’re a male. There are so many great resources to turn to for help.

Thank you, SJ. I appreciate your advice.

 

DIGITAL ARTISTRY

Before this interview I did get a chance to check out your artwork on your website and FineArtAmerica.com . I really enjoyed your digital art pieces, especially Spring Serenity and Calm and your use of color in By Dawns Early Light is amazing. Just briefly, because are running out time, how did you get started in digital art?

Thank you. I actually started art back in, I would say, sixth grade when I started drawing hockey logos. From there my drawings became of cartoon and animated characters. It was during those times that my eye got trained to draw what I saw. I slowly drifted into landscapes with charcoal and graphite, then to pastels. It wasn’t until the last few years that I moved into digital art. Some say that digital art is not truly art. I beg to differ. It’s using your creativity to create a painting. The same rules apply whether it’s by traditional, or digital.

One last question, aside from your next novel, Perfect, are there any other upcoming projects you’d like to mention?

I am currently working on the screenplay for the first book in the Morium trilogy. Once that is complete, I send it off to my producer and the long process of having it turned into a movie begins.

A movie? How exciting for you, SJ! I think it’s every author’s dream to see their “baby” on the big screen.

In closing, Thank you, SJ Hermann, for joining us.

Thank you, Ingrid,  for having me.

Readers, to learn more about Author SJ Hermann, please check out the links below.

Also, as a special treat, SJ has given us an excerpt from his short story, “Leap of Faith.” One of my favorites from his book, SPLINTERED LOVE.

 

LINKS FOR SJ HERMANN

Website: www.authorsjhermann.wordpress.com

Twitter: @Writing_Novel

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SJ-Hermann-250758318466659/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/s.j.hermannwriter/

Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/+SJHermann

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9784255.S_J_Hermann

 

 

 

An Excerpt from SJ Hermann’s Leap of Faith

An Excerpt from SJ Hermann’s Leap of Faith

Leap of Faith 

A splintered love story

Coming soon to Amazon

He reached under the bed and took out a small silver box graced with a darker shade of a silver band just above the opening. For a fleeting moment, she pondered how many times he had rehearsed this scene in his head, but as soon as he flipped the lid open the thoughts vanished. Wishing she could see the ring through the tears, she fell to one knee.

“Lisa Fielding. My devotion. My love. My soul is yours, and I would be honored if you take my hand in marriage and be my wife.”

Author S.J. Hermann

 

Amie Irene Winters, Author of Strange Luck and The Nightmare Birds

Amie Irene Winters, Author of Strange Luck and The Nightmare Birds

Our guest for today, Amie Irene Winters, author of bestselling novels, Strange Luck, and Nightmare Birds.

Amie, congratulations on becoming an Amazon Bestseller! If you had one word of advice for struggling writers, what would it be?

Thank you! It was a long-time goal of mine and it feels very strange now that it’s finally happened.

Here’s my best advice for struggling authors:

  • Don’t ever give up writing! It’s okay to take breaks from your book. It’s normal to feel burned out. It’s normal to be upset if you get a rejection or bad review. The good news is that it does get easier with time and experience. At the end of the day the most important thing is focusing on your craft.
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment. Every author and book is unique, so one type of marketing technique might work for one author, but not another. It’s all trial and error. Just don’t get too caught up in the marketing and repeatedly changing things. Writing a stellar book should be your number one priority.

I was privileged to recently read Strange Luck, a fun, truly unique and original tale. What I found the most striking was the Darling shop for haunted “junk.” There has to be a real-life story behind this idea. Please tell!

I’m so glad you enjoyed Strange Luck! Yes, there is a real-life story behind it. That being…I love to antique! My antiquing addiction started when I was a little girl and my parents would take me to garage sales and antique fairs. Oh, the wondrous things I would see and learn! Each object was a unique piece of history, and sometimes the story was more intriguing than the actual antique.

A lot of the antiques in the Strange Luck shop were inspired by real things I’ve seen or read about over the years. For example, the fortune-telling cricket is real! Well, sort of. Growing up, my parents had a little cricket statue in our living room. When I got older, I asked where it had come from and my mom told me it was given to her by my great grandma who said it would bring their home good luck. I always thought that was neat, so when it came time for me to live in a house of my own, my mom gave me the cricket. Since then, it’s traveled across the country with me and it currently resides in my living room.

You can learn more about some of the peculiar antiques of Strange Luck here: http://www.amieirenewinters.com/antiquesofstrangeluck.html

–  Fascinating! Being a lover of owls, I especially like the owl clock.

I read in your bio that you have a Masters Degree in Environmental Leadership, my immediate thought was, “Wow, such a big step from that to writing,” but as I think back at the fantastical adventure in Strange Luck, I have to ask, “How did your background influence your writing?”

Yes, it was certainly a leap, but the experience has definitely influenced my writing. They say to “write what you know”. Since I’m an outdoorsy girl, I found it easy for my protagonist to be one, too. Daisy’s a bit of a tomboy who loves hiking and camping. The trails she hikes and places she goes are based on some of my favorite real-life places in California.

With that in mind, do you ever write outside? And if so, do you have a favorite place to write?

Not really. I’ve found it difficult to find a good spot that isn’t distracting. I also primarily work on my laptop, so I’m always battling with the glare from the sun. Occasionally I’ll write ideas in my notebook outside, but that’s only during the beginning stages of drafting a book.

I believe you’ve written a sequel to Strange Luck, “The Nightmare Birds.” The description on your website looks enticing. What can you tell us about the book and where do you see your series going from here?

Yes. There are three books planned in the Strange Luck series. In Book I, Strange Luck, eighteen-year-old Daisy Darling uncovers a world built using stolen memories.  It is in this world that Daisy discovers that she possesses unexplainable and unique abilities that she uses to battle the dark forces at play.

Book II, The Nightmare Birds, flashes forward to Daisy at twenty-one-years-old and uncovers more of her strange abilities and how they tie in to her heritage. In the process, Daisy uncovers the truth about the mysterious Theater of Secrets – long thought a dark legend by many, but known as a frightening reality to those who truly know its powers.  As Daisy assumes her new role as ringleader, she not only discovers a surprising connection between herself and the previous ringleader, but also the haunting truth behind the theater’s limitless power.

I’m working on Book III, A Darling Secret, right now. It’s expected to be released in winter 2017. You can sign up for my newsletter here to be notified about new book releases and special promos.

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00XZ88V5A

Blog: https://golden-cricket.blogspot.com/

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

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13851542.Amie_Irene_Winters

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/amieiwinters/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AmieIWinters

Website: http://www.amieirenewinters.com

 

Amie, thanks so much for joining us today. It was truly a pleasure, and best of luck with your writing. I look forward to reading Nightmare Birds. Such an amazing cover!

And to my readers, thanks so much for joining us here on “Please Welcome!” Again, our guest today was Author Amie Irene Winters. Her books are available in both ebook and paperback format. Check out “Strange Luck” you’ll be glad you did!

Our guest next time on “Please Welcome!” will be SJ Hermann, author of the Morium Trilogy and my personal favorite, Splintered Love.