Category: Author Interviews

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.