Author Interview: Rodi Szoke

32207840The future of our civilization has always been in the hands of our children. What you may not know is that many years ago, a few of our young ones fought a quest against evil—an evil unlike anything anyone has ever seen under this sun. They didn’t know it, but their sacrifices allowed our forefathers—and us—to maintain our fragile ownership of this world.

In Seven & Two, the first book of the Our Young Guardians series, we begin the chronicle of one who was brave enough to leave behind what he knew. His faded handwriting not only captures how they struggled through that war, but how they learned to find themselves as they grew up away from their families.

You and I owe them more than we could ever give. And even though there is no word of them ever asking for anything, my heart tells me they would only ask for one thing—to keep them where their friends are.

The least we can do for them is honor their story.

Ladies and gentlemen, please put your hands together for the author of Our Young Guardians: Seven & Two, Rodi Szoke.

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Rodi Szoke and I am the author of the book Our Young Guardians: Seven & Two. This is my first novel and I am very excited that it is finally out there. I love to fish and play golf but I guess my real hobby is to be a handyman around the house.

2. When did you start writing?
I believe I wrote the first page in 2004

3. Why did you start writing?
Being an inexperienced father, I thought about writing a book series for my daughter as another avenue to share with her some key life lessons. As the adventure takes place in this story, I touch upon some serious topics, such as friendship, addiction, love, parenthood, discrimination, war, etc.

4. Do you recall the moment you first conceived the idea for your novel?
I guess it was the day my daughter asked me why we lock the doors in our house. I wondered how I was going to explain the good and bad of our world.

5. Tell us a little bit about your book’s title.
As I say in the first page of the book. The future of our civilization has always been in the hands of our children. Our Young Guardians sounded appropriate as the title of the book series. You’ll have to read the book to understand why Seven & Two is relevant to the story.

6. Does your story have a moral?
There are various key messages that I hope the readers absorb as they read the story. “Kids shouldn’t grow too fast.” Is a very important one for me.

7. Of the characters you’ve created, which one is your favorite?
Peprokh is a cranky old wizard with very peculiar perspectives about anything. Kolikuj is a funny and mysterious one.

8. Using five words or less, describe the protagonist in Our Young Guardians: Seven & Two.
A brave and loving soul.

9. Let’s discuss what a typical writing session looks like for you.

  • Do you listen to music as you write?

Yes. Instrumental

  • What is your preferred writing time? Morning? Afternoon? Late at night?

Morning and afternoon.

  • Do you have a specific location that you go to when you want to write?

I write everywhere. I move around a lot around the house. I rarely write away from home.

  • Do you set daily goals for yourself (in terms of word count)?

My daily goals are points in time in the story that I would like to reach

10. How do you feel about outlines? Are you for or against them?
I use outlines most of the time.

11. What is your favorite book genre?
Any kind of fantasy and adventure. Some WWII history books are interesting

12. What is currently on your to-be-read shelf?
Unfortunately I don’t have much time to read. I do have two that I’ll read next: Sever: The Chemical Garden #3 and Crossed: Match # 2 (both recommended by my daughter)

13. What is your favorite book?
The Count of Montecristo: Alexandre Dumas. The story is just amazing.

14. Any project in the works?
I am already writing the second installment of the Our Young Guardians series

15. How long does it usually take you to write a book?
I still have a day job so my goal is to publish one book every year (it might take me only six to eight months if I do it full time)

16. In your opinion, what makes a story ‘good’?
Characters with the right mix of talents and flaws

17. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Let your heart take control of your writing. Once he is done, ask your brain for his opinion.

And now for a game of “Which Do/Would You Prefer?”
1. Working in a group or working alone?
Group

2. Losing all of your money or losing every picture you’ve ever taken and every picture that has ever been taken of you?
Losing all my money

3. Being Spider-Man for a day or being Batman for a day?
Batman

4. Reading or writing?
Writing

5. To find the love of your life (only to find out that you’re not the love of their life) or to have someone declare you the love of their life (note, however, that this someone is not a person whom you are romantically interested in)?
Someone declare to me

6. To speak using ONLY rap lyrics (from songs released in the 21st century) or to speak using ONLY quotes from Austen’s books?
Austen’s quotes

7. Bungee jumping or going on the slingshot ride?
Bungee

8. Being able to speak and understand every language known to humankind or being able to speak and understand every language known to animals?
Every language known to animals

9. Misunderstanding everything that is told to you or being misunderstood every time that you speak?
Misunderstanding everything that is told to me

10. Drinking a glass of expired, curdled milk or eating a bowl of cold, slimy worms? (Note: the worms would be dead, though not cooked.)
Slimy worms (sushi style)

11. Spending half a day locked in a coffin (there would be a hole for air, of course) or spending two days trapped at the bottom of a well?
Two days at a bottom of a well

12. To never again eat a piece of chocolate or to never again drink a cup of coffee?
Easy one. I don’t drink coffee.

13. Being two inches tall or being two stories tall?
Two inches tall

14. Finding yourself trapped in the universe of The Walking Dead or finding yourself trapped in a slasher film?
Probably the slasher film

15. Have every day be Saturday or have every day be Christmas?
Saturday

Thank you for joining us, Rodi!
Readers: want to connect with Rodi? You can find him on Facebook, Goodreads, and Twitter. Also, be sure to check out his author website.

Author Interview: Gem Stone

Hearing of Earth’s pending destruction, Ax and his men decide to grab a human and sell it to the highest bidder. But he doesn’t realise what he is getting when they pick Ariane. Believing humans to be simple, docile creatures, he gets a big shock when he finally meets one. Ariane grew up tough. She knows how to defend herself, and has no plans to go to the auction block quietly. She intends to stop at every planet, see everything, and push every button she can along the way and she’s dragging Ax along for the ride. When Ax gets taken prisoner Ariane must decide what she wants more. Her freedom or the man she loves.

Hearing of Earth’s pending destruction, Ax and his men decide to grab a human and sell it to the highest bidder. But he doesn’t realise what he is getting when they pick Ariane. Believing humans to be simple, docile creatures, he gets a big shock when he finally meets one.

Ariane grew up tough. She knows how to defend herself, and has no plans to go to the auction block quietly. She intends to stop at every planet, see everything, and push every button she can along the way and she’s dragging Ax along for the ride.

When Ax gets taken prisoner Ariane must decide what she wants more. Her freedom or the man she loves.

Sounds like an interesting read, doesn’t it? Today’s visiting architect is Gem Stone, author of the romantic sci-fi novel Ethereal Lives. Let’s learn more about both her and her book.

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m Gem, a writer, blogger and avid reader. I live in the middle of England with my husband, daughter and a menagerie or pets. By day I work in a shop which has taught me the value of patience and that despite popular belief there is such a thing as stupid questions. By night I’m a writer and more recently have claimed the title of author since I’ve just published my first book Ethereal Lives.

2. When did you start writing?
I’ve meet writing stories in my head for as long as I can remember but I’ve only been putting them on paper since 2015.

3. Why did you start writing?
As any author will tell you, writing is something you first do in your head. Your mind is full of all these little people screaming at you to write their story. I guess I started writing because they got too persistent. lol

4. Do you recall the moment you first conceived the idea for your novel?
Yes, quite clearly. It started with one sentence. “What would you do if you were last human left in the galaxy?” I was struck with the idea of a woman being snatched from earth seconds before its destruction. I was getting ready for work but got so excited I dashed into my daughter’s room and woke her up to run the idea by her. She wasn’t impressed.

5. How did you arrive at your book’s title?
Ethereal Lives was a title that came to me at two in the morning (like most of my ideas) I was seven chapters into the book and had been wracking my brain trying to think of a title. I was having one of my sleepless nights when I decided to go through the thesaurus in search of a word to describe my hero. It was then I came across Ethereal. One of its many meanings is Invisible, which suits my hero perfectly as he lives in hiding.

6. Out of the characters you’ve created, which one is your favorite?
I can honestly say I love all my characters. Ax and his crew provide so much humour as they learn about humans but Ariane is my favourite, probably because she is very much like myself. She is a natural born button pusher who often approaches life with wide eyed wonder. Her feistiness and sarcasm offer plenty of laughs as she teaches Ax the true natures of humans. In some ways I’m sure readers might see her as slightly childish but it’s all part of her charm.

7. What does a typical writing session look like for you?
I always write in the living room with my family because if I didn’t I’d never see them. I sit on the sofa with a laptop desk and a coffee at any spare moment I can get. If I want to concentrate fully on my work, I plug in my headphones and listen to the radio, in order to block out all outside noise. If that doesn’t work, I write late into the night when everyone else is in bed, unless I have work early the next day. (Horrible day job, interrupting my writing time.)

8. How do you feel about outlines? Are you for or against them?
Outlines are a great thing… for other people. I just can’t do them. I’ve tried but I’m just a natural born pantster. I sit in front of a blank page and write. Any random ideas I get (again, usually in the middle of the night) I save on my phone, and try to worm them into the story, but I usually have no idea how my book will end until I’m three quarters of the way through.

9. What is your favorite book genre?
Romantic humour. Anything that makes me laugh is a winner but I only tend to read romance.

10. Any project in the works?
Being a pantster, I often get writers block. I find the best way to deal with it is to work on something else. This inevitably means, my desk top is full of works in progress. At the moment the majority of my attention is on editing book two of my Ethereals series (there is a sneak peak of this as book ones epilogue) and a modern days Cinderella spin off that I’m writing for NaNoWriMo.

11. How long does it usually take you to write a book?
I wrote Ethereal Lives in three months, however, it has only just been published so it depends on what you class as writing. The first draft was complete a long time before it was ready to publish.

12. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Listen to people who know more than you. No matter how good you think your book is you need an editor and a proofreader. No one can spot all their own mistakes and you will be amazed what an editor will pick up that you totally missed. But above all, never stop writing!

And now for a game of “Which Do/Would You Prefer?”
1. Books or movies?
Books without a doubt. I love to imagine things so much more than see them.

2. Dogs or cats?
I have two dogs and three cats so this is really hard. My dogs are like my children, in fact some days they are better than my children, (they don’t answer back.) But my one of my cats loves me to pieces. She is a Maine Coon called pebbles and she cuddles me and won’t even let me go to the bathroom without her. I can’t pick between them.

3. Summer or winter?
Summer! I hate the cold. Unfortunately, living in England, we don’t get as much sun as I would like but when we do you will find me typing in the garden.

4. Ebook or physical book?
Ebook, I know it’s bad but ever since I got a kindle, I find my hand hurts if it has to hold a book.

5. Living in the city or living in the country?
Country, I’m not one for hustle and bustle, I like nice quiet areas where I can walk my dogs and know my neighbors.

6. Being able to travel to the past or being able to travel to the future?
The past. I’d love to see people who I’ve lost whereas I’d be too scared to know the future. I’d rather wait and see what’s going to happen.

7. Staying in a hotel or going camping?
I’ve been camping, I hate it! It’s cold, and wet, and there are bugs! Lots and lots of bugs. And they have more limbs than I do… it’s not natural!

8. Being Spider-Man for a day or being Batman for a day?
I’m petrified of spiders so it has to be batman. I’d get Alfred to build me a machine to kill every spider on earth and spend the day exterminating them.

9. Reading or writing?
As much as I love to write I could not live without books. The escape they provide from everyday life is something I could never be without.

10. Being able to speak and understand every language known to humankind or being able to speak and understand every language known to animals?
No brainer… Animals!… though I firmly believe that my pets understand every word I say, I’d love to understand everything they say.

11. Going without internet access for a week or going without watching any movies/television shows for a week?
I actually very rarely watch TV. If it’s on, I watch it but if no one else in my house turns it on I never think about it. Now if I lose the internet it’s like the end of the world as we know it.

12. Having your car break down on an extremely busy expressway or along an abandoned road in the middle of nowhere?
Express way… I know if it was the middle of nowhere, I’d be the unlucky person who found herself in the middle of a slasher movie, and despite the fact that I would be sure not to make the stupid mistakes people normally do, I don’t run fast, he would catch me

13. Losing your ability to speak or losing your ability to hear?
Lose my ability to hear… I work in retail… wow would it be good to not have to listen to customer complaints!

14. To never again eat a piece of chocolate or to never again drink a cup of coffee?
Oh god, I don’t know… Coffee… No Chocolate…no coffee…but I do love chocolate, but I NEED coffee… damn, I love them both… I DON’T KNOW!!!

Thank you for joining us, Gem!
Readers: want to connect with Gem? You can find her on Twitter, Goodreads, and Facebook. Also, be sure to check out her author website and her book’s page on Amazon.

Author Interview: Bryan Ney

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Looking for a new historical fiction read? Well, perhaps you’re in luck! Coffee with Architects of Worlds Afar welcomes Bryan Ney, author of the historical fiction novel Calamity Jane: How the West Began.  Before we sit down with Bryan Ney, let’s take a quick look at his book’s blurb:

Fifteen-year-old Martha Canary’s family arrives in the goldfields of 1860’s Montana in impoverished circumstances and despised for uncertain reasons. Soon, though, Martha makes a name for herself as Calamity Jane through her exploits, wins friends and becomes the toast of the town. Murder and robbery stalk all who travel the surrounding trails, and Jane thinks she knows who is responsible. Can she and her new friends rally forces to clean the place up?

 

1. Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am a medical doctor in Los Angeles, the kind you would see for routine care or an acute illness, living a drought-conscious lifestyle in Malibu. I am the survivor of the teen years of three of my progeny, and a part-time participant in my wife’s reality television career.

2. When did you start writing?
I started writing decades ago in Medical School. If I hunted around a bit, I could probably find the rejection slip I received from Esquire Magazine, which I framed. There was probably a ten-year hiatus before I tried writing again.

3. How different is the final product (the book) from your original vision?
Very different. For twenty years or so I worked intermittently, writing and rewriting the story with the doctor the nexus between the good guys and the bad guys terrorizing a Montana frontier town. I wrote it as a screenplay because I live in the world capitol for that sort of thing and I have a friend who is a screen writer for advice. But I could never get a good story arc going, because the doctor did not drive the action. Three years ago, I started experimenting with Calamity Jane as the main character, and switched from screenplay to novel, since no one will read a spec screenplay anyway. This worked much better, because Jane had to figure out who the bad guys were, then figure out what to do about that, and there was room in the story for a subplot of personal growth.

4. What does a typical writing session look like for you?
I like to write at Starbucks.  I sometimes write at home, but it is too easy there to get distracted, to succumb to interruptions, or to eat too much. My weekend routine is an early start, five a.m. often, wordsmithing for several hours. Mental fatigue sets in, and the afternoon is spent on authorship- hunting down ways to publicize my book, entering contests, querying bloggers, etc.. Sometime during the day I spend at least a couple hours playing tennis, or biking to stay in shape for tennis. Very often while biking I get ideas for my writing, usually how to insert historical anecdotes.

5. Any project in the works?
Definitely. I am researching an Indian captivity story which will somehow involve Jane. There was no such event in her life, but she was known to stretch the truth quite a bit, so the same as in “…How the West Began,” this will be the story she would have told us if she had thought we might believe her.

6. What is your favorite book genre?
My favorite genre for relaxation is non-fiction. I have read everything by Malcolm Gladwell and all of the “Freakonomics” series by Levin and Dubner. I also read history, but lately that is mostly research. My favorite historical fiction authors are James Clavell and James Michener. Given a choice for a movie, I will always go for historical fiction- “Master and Commander,” and “Hurt Locker” come to mind. It appears to me, as I plow through Goodreads, K-boards and such, that I read much less than other authors. I felt at a disadvantage for that until I came across  book by Michener that detailed his writing history. After the age of 40, most of his reading was just research, very little for enjoyment. I have a job that takes at least fifty hours per week. Will I read more after I retire, or just write more? We shall see.

7. What is your favorite book?
I loved the movie, “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” which I will presume followed the book for this purpose. I admire the way the author opens with mysterious love letters, which are explained at the end and one scene in the middle. This 2% of the movie adds tremendous meaning to what is otherwise a good story, making it great.

And now for a game of “Which Do/Would You Prefer?”
1. Dogs or cats?
Cats. We have three. They can take me or leave me, and the feeling is mutual. Dogs are too much responsibility.

2. Having telepathy or having telekinesis?
How could any author go for telekinesis on this one? I would be such a great writer if I could hear the thoughts of strangers.

3. Travelling to the past or travelling to the future?
The future! I can already travel into the past in books, but the future is a mystery untold.

4. Being Spider-Man for a day or being Batman for a day?
Spider Man. I am much more attracted to swinging around the city on goo that I can shoot from my wrists than driving a cool car or motorcycle. Also, Batman needs to take his Prozac.

5. Finding yourself caught in the middle of a snowstorm or finding yourself caught in the middle of a hurricane?
Snowstorm. I grew up in Minnesota, delivering newspapers in minus twenty degree wind chill, in the dark. If you get caught in something like that, burrow into a snow drift and keep warm. The problem with a hurricane is that it is blowing debris around that can kill you (I also lived through the tail end of a hurricane when I lived in Houston).

6. To never again eat a piece of chocolate or to never again drink a cup of coffee?
Since I drink lots and lots of mocha, this question amounts to, “could you better survive on coffee or hot cocoa? The answer is hot cocoa. When I was twenty, the answer would have been coffee; but my brain doesn’t need wake-up juice like it used to.

7. Staying awake for forty-eight hours (continuous) or walking for twenty-four hours (also continuous)?
Walking for 24 hours. Staying awake is boring, if that’s all you are trying to do.

8. Being two inches tall or being two stories tall?
Two inches tall. The latter is an invitation to being treated like Gulliver, King Kong or Godzilla. Being two inches tall would allow one access to all kinds of interesting places.

9. Being able to speak and understand every language known to humankind or being able to speak and understand every language known to animals?
This is a tough one. Although being an animal linguist would give one unique insights into the minds of animals that no one else has, I have no confidence that an armadillo could describe his day in a manner that would hold my interest. I have to say, “All human languages.”

10. Have every day be Saturday or have every day be Christmas?
Every day should be a Saturday. For me, I only get to write on a Saturday or a Sunday for the most part. After a couple weeks of daily Christmas, I would be spending half my time selling all the stuff at garage sales. And who would buy it anyway, if they were being inundated with gifts every day?

Thank you for joining us, Bryan!
Readers: want to connect with Bryan? You can find him on Facebook and Goodreads. Also, be sure to check out his author website.

Author Interview: J.P. Willson

31804912Depression, self-loathing, unemployment, and destroyed relationships: the effects of drug and alcohol addiction run so much deeper than the morning-after hangover. However, awareness alone will not save the struggling addict, as J.P. Willson reveals in his fearless examination of substance dependency; recovery means doing the mental and emotional work to look inside oneself and discover a way to live as a sober, fulfilled individual in an often challenging world.

Through the Mind’s Eye: A Journey of Self-Discovery is a thought-provoking and honest examination of the emotional, psychological, and physical ways someone must enact their own healing. As a recovering alcoholic, Willson courageously shares his own story of addiction, as well the ups and downs he experienced along the road to recovery. Packed with astonishing insights about our culture’s relationship to alcohol, as well as the lies we tell ourselves in order to keep using, this book will change the way you view addiction. Willson has no qualms about telling the reader how difficult recovery is–and how there is no quick cure-all–but his compassionate, candid reflections help foster the knowledge and will to change.

Ladies and gentlemen, please allow me to introduce the author of Through the Mind’s Eye, J.P. Willson!

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Well quite apparently, my name is Joseph Willson and I am currently living in Vancouver, British Columbia. I am a certified Red Seal Chef by trade and have been working in professional kitchens since the age of fifteen. At present I am with the Salvation Army in the downtown east side of Vancouver which I will get into a little bit more later. This is a feeding ministry for the homeless and the less fortunate or people that are simply hungry, it does not matter. The greater portion of my work experience is in restaurants and hotels, yet also in schools and institutional kitchens. The Salvation Army has a sort of soft spot in my mind for personal reasons as this is where I lived for fourteen months of my life- in an addictions treatment facility located at this ministry location.

2. When did you start writing?
This is a hard thing to pinpoint exactly. I have written from a young age but nothing of any substance that I recall. What I do remember is while in school I never enjoyed English class, I did not like to read when I was young-go figure.

3. Why did you start writing?
Originally in the treatment program we were asked to keep a daily journal, as I had always journaled for both work and simply for myself this was a no brainer for me. The idea to put this journaling into the form of a book, a self-help book at that-came later. The further into the treatment I progressed, the further the idea that I could help others through their own “journey” with these writings came into fruition. Initially I was doing this for the therapeutic value to myself, yet I knew this could change others perspectives for the better. My goal had become publishing, and I needed to see this through for my own sense of well-being.

4. Do you recall the moment you first conceived the idea for your novel?
Not specifically no. What I do recall is the need to share the knowledge I was gaining throughout the treatment program. Oddly I could see others around me struggling with their addiction issues and I knew I could help, even though I was dealing with my own issues at the time a large part of my recovery was centered around helping others at the same time.

5. Tell us a little about your book’s title.
Through the Mind’s Eye: A Journey of Self-Discovery was not the original title yet for the life of me I cannot remember what it was…. Perhaps it simply wasn’t important enough for me to stick in my mind. I mean after all I did change it right. As with the cover also this was not the original cover idea, this cover was created by the design team at my publishers. I had no idea they were going to do this. The cover itself was created through/from the author’s photo that is also on the back of the book. I was truly “floored” when I first saw the design. Originally I wanted the cover to be a photograph taken by my daughter, a very serene beach setting etc…you know- a typical self-help book cover, not a scary-faced author cover but I loved it, it grabbed me-pulled me in.

6. Does your story have a moral?
Uh yeah, don’t do drugs kids! Seriously though-being a recovering alcoholic I guess the moral is self-respect if anything. There are so many varied reasons for addiction and some people are just pre-destined to it but it does not have to be that way. There is a better way.

7. Of the characters you’ve created, which one is your favorite?
Although there are many people (un-mentioned) in this book they are merely pieces of a puzzle in this journey of mine, the character is me and I have to admit-I really can be quite the character even if I do say so myself.

8. Using five words or less, describe the protagonist in Through the Mind’s Eye: A Journey of Self-Discovery.
Committed-Stubborn-Patient-Determined-Unwavering

9. What does a typical writing session look like for you?
I always write very early in the morning. Once in a blue moon I will write in the evening but rarely. There is just something about the early morning that I find inspiring. It seems to charge me up for the work day somehow. I always write at home, I prefer the isolation for the concentration, the quiet, although I do always have the radio on I keep it quite low, unless of course Alannis Morrissette is playing, (it’s a personal thing). In terms of word count rarely do I set a goal for the day, I simply write what comes to me and stop when I have nothing else to say….

10. What is your favorite book genre?
I think I would have to say memoirs and biographies are my favorites genre. I am also very partial to history but truthfully anything where I can gain knowledge whether useless trivia or actual usable knowledge it does not matter. The knowledge is the key here.

11. What are you currently reading? 
Currently I am reading, “Not Dead Yet” by Phil Collins but I am also a fan of Stephen King, Sue Grafton and Kathy Reichs for fun, a release if you will. I read just about anything-knowledge remember?

12. What is your favorite book?
Easy-The Oxford Canadian Dictionary of Modern English

13. Any project in the works?
Yes, many. There is a follow-up to Through the Mind’s Eye called How to Become a Successful (Recovering) Alcoholic, another called, A Living Hell on Earth, a children’s book titled Mr. Pickle and the Big Move, another called The Suburban Farm and-last but not least, I am also putting together a book of poetry. This of course does not include the cookbooks I have been compiling over the thirty plus years I have worked in professional kitchens.

14. How long does it usually take you to write a book?
Since I have only finished one, I guess that would be a long time as I am fifty-one years old?

15. In your opinion, what makes a story ‘good’?
Easy-the writer.

16. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
I think I would have to say both patience and persistence are two very needed attributes to have as a writer, don’t take no for an answer.

And now for a game of “Which Do/Would You Prefer?”
1. Being able to travel to the past or being able to travel to the future?
The past because I would have the knowledge of the future…

2. Losing all of your money or losing every picture you’ve ever taken and every picture that has ever been taken of you?
Surprising even to me, losing all my money!

3. Being Spider-Man for a day or being Batman for a day?
Spider-man, just the whole swinging thing appeals to me.

4. To find the love of your life (only to find out that you’re not the love of their life) or to have someone declare you the love of their life (note, however, that this someone is not a person whom you are romantically interested in)?
What a question, the latter is the lesser of two evils I think.

5. To speak using ONLY rap lyrics (from songs released in the 21st century) or to speak using ONLY quotes from Austen’s books?
Holy, I would have to go with Austen.

6. Bungee jumping or going on the slingshot ride?
Neither, I don’t believe in tempting fate.

7. Being able to speak and understand every language known to humankind or being able to speak and understand every language known to animals?
Animals without question.

8. Being drawn into a tornado or being drawn into a whirlpool?
Tornado would be neat, done the whirlpool thing and it was not a good time.

9. Having your car break down on an extremely busy expressway or along an abandoned road in the middle of nowhere?
The abandoned road, I like the serenity, and being able to figure things out for myself.

10. To never speak again or to never eat solid food again?
I’m a chef- never speak again would be fine with me.

11. Misunderstanding everything that is told to you or being misunderstood every time that you speak?
Being misunderstood, at least that way I could explain myself.

12. Drinking a glass of expired, curdled milk or eating a bowl of cold, slimy worms? (Note: the worms would be dead, though not cooked.)
The worms…

13. Spending half a day locked in a coffin (there would be a hole for air, of course) or spending two days trapped at the bottom of a well?
The coffin- shorter time frame.

14. Being two inches tall or being two stories tall?
Two inches tall, that would be neat.

15. Finding yourself trapped in the universe of The Walking Dead or finding yourself trapped in a slasher film?
Definitely the Walking Dead.

Thank you for joining us, J.P.!
Readers: want to connect with J.P.? You can find him on Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook, and Instagram. Also, be sure to check out his book’s page on Friesen Press’ website.

Author Interview: Nalini Murlidhar

Journalist and lecturer Nalini Murlidhar is in the virtual studio this fine day. Her book, Wings on My Feet, just recently hit shelves; it is a nonfiction work which chronicles her adventures in Europe, Asia, North America, Africa, and New Zealand. To learn more about Nalini Murlidhar and her book, be sure to stick around!

1. Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am Nalini Murlidhar, author of ‘ Wings on my Feet’ – Travelling around the Globe. Born to parents who were educated and enlightened, I grew up in Pune, India. Since my schooldays I was interested in writing, my imagination often running away with me. And so the moniker ‘dreamer’ was given to me by my family. After graduating with a B.A. In English Literature, I took admission to the post graduate diploma course in Journalism. After I graduated from the course with flying colours I worked as a sub-editor for a film magazine, later an editorial assistant for a management company. Marriage and two kids grounded me for several years. But between bawling brats and culinary adventures,I managed to freelance for prestigious newspapers such as ‘ Times of India.’ Later I was editor for in- house publications. With my husband opting to go to the UAE, I started freelancing again, writing features and columns for newspapers and magazines. Hungering for more, I came to India and joined university again for a Masters in Communications and Journalism at the age of 48! Surprising everyone I topped the university! After that I started teaching at various institutes/ universities in UAE and later in India. And here I am today authoring a book on travel!

2. Why did you start writing?
I have a passion for writing since my schooldays. That is the reason I took Journalism as my post graduate major. I have written features and columns in newspapers and magazines for decades and also taught Journalism in many institutes.

3. How did you arrive at your book’s title? Were there other titles which you were considering?
It was my son- in- law, an avid reader, who suggested ‘ Wings on my Feet’ as it
represented the Greek god Hermes, the god of travellers.

I was thinking of ‘Wings on my Shoulders, Wheels Under Feet’. But I realised it
was too long.

4. Could you tell us a bit more about your book?
‘Wings on my Feet’ is anecdotal. It is a collection of travelogues. It tells the reader what I saw and enjoyed in places in Europe, Asia, North America, Africa and New Zealand. Also where I should have researched and made reservations online. It has a touch of humour as it tells of the travails of a vegetarian in a non- vegetarian world.

5. Let’t talk about your favorite book genre.

  • Which do you prefer to read in?
    I like fiction, especially written by Indian authors. Also biographies.
  • Which do you prefer to write in?
    I like writing travelogues and fiction ( short stories).

6. What are you currently reading?
I am reading two books! ‘Long Walk to Freedom’ by Nelson Mandela and ‘Before we Visit the Goddess’ by Chitra Banerjee Divkaruni.

7. In your opinion, what makes a story ‘good’?
A good story should have a good plot. Most important to me is the language. The book should be not only grammatically correct but the prose should be well written with literary flourishes.

And now for a game of “Which Do/Would You Prefer?”
1. Books or movies?
Both

2. Dogs or cats?
Neither

3. Summer or winter?
Summer

4. Cake or ice-cream?
Cake

5. Car or motorcycle?
Car

6. Ebook or physical book?
Physical book

7. Nights out or nights in?
Nights out

8. Living in the city or living in the country?
Living in the city.

9. Making a phone call or sending a text?
Making a phone call.

10.Staying in a hotel or going camping?
Staying in a hotel

11.To find true love or to win the lottery?
To find true love.

12.Going without internet access for a week or going without watching any movies/television shows for a week?
Going without watching movies/ TV for a week

13.To never again eat a piece of chocolate or to never again drink a cup of coffee?
To never again eat a piece of chocolate.

Thank you for joining us, Nalini!
Readers: want to connect with Nalini? You can find her on Goodreads. Also, be sure to check out her author page on Amazon.

Author Interview: Amber Schunk-Clubb

30612467What if you were to find out that nearly everything you know about vampires is inaccurate? They can’t venture outside only at night, they do have reflections, they refer to themselves not as vampires but as Eidelons, and they don’t drain humans of all of their blood; as a matter of fact, killing humans is absolutely forbidden. Most interestingly, much like humans, their society is an organized one marked by the presence of different races and clans.

Roliath tells the story of Geannifer Whitlence, a vampire whose clan finds itself embroiled in a perpetual state of conflict. It is largely an origin story that relates how Geannifer came to be and which promises to take readers into a world quite unlike any other they’ve encountered before. With us to further discuss this novel is its author, Amber Schunk-Clubb!


DSCN1243 (2).jpg1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Well…I’m originally from Colorado, I was born and raised there until I was 16 and I miss it often. When I left Colorado I moved to California and resided there for about 13-14 years. But I now currently reside in Missouri with my husband and two stepchildren. Roughly two years ago, my insanely awesome husband presented and gave me the option to leave my job so I could stay at home and actually concentrate on my writing. Since then, not only have I finished writing Roliath and went through the process of getting it published and on the market… aside from editing, book 2 in the series is finished, book 3 is nearly halfway done and books 4 and 5 are already mapped out just waiting to find their way to my keyboard. If it wasn’t for my husband giving me this opportunity I would not be as far as I am with The Eidelon Series. Before I met and dated him I was always working, working, working. In fact, when I lived in California I often worked two jobs at a time. Whenever I had free time, I would write, and worked on the first book. But, I never really had a lot of free time between work and life. For nearly 11 years, off and on I continued writing the first book and created storylines, characters, the world of Eidelon, everything I needed to have for a complete 5 book series…I just never had the time to write them. Not that I can look at that as a bad thing though, because it was just that…what that 11 years did give me, was the time to creatively imagine, mold, twist and create this series. Lack of ideas and content on where to go with each book will never be a problem for me.

2. Do you recall the moment you first conceived the idea for your novel? On a related note, how different is the final product (the book) from your original vision?
Actually…I can recall that moment! When I was in high school I was always taking specialty-writing classes whenever I could to help further my love for writing. Roliath started out as a class assignment, an eight-page, hand written short story called “Become What You’re Supposed To Be”. (I got an A+ by the way) The theme of it always stuck with me though and the more my mind thought about it, I knew I could do so much more with it. Believe it or not…it actually started out as a typical vampire story, with the same type of view we’ve always had on them. But, it was the storyline that I put most of the concentration on vs focus on the typical lifestyle of a vampire. Over a couple more years it became a typed story titled “Survival”. I left it alone for a while, but still with the feeling it was falling short. Towards the end of my Senior year in high school I started to work on it more and more and grew the storyline, characters, everything. I think I got to about 160 or so pages, typed, when I started to gain a new perspective on things and toyed with the idea of creating a new view on vampires. Which, in my opinion, turned out to be a great thing, and a cool idea and all…but left me realizing I had 160 pages to re go through and change things up…by quite a bit. And so I did, after I got those pages caught up and continued working on it over the years, I’ve probably changed the theme to how it would all work, 5 or 6 times before I settled on a final idea/theme. From there I spent what free time I had to create the world of Eidelon around that decision and what I needed for a 3 book series, three books was my minimum goal I set for this. But as more time passed and the storyline grew on where I could go with it; I realized that I could turn it into a five book series instead.

3. How did you arrive at your book’s title?
Book 1 in The Eidelon Series is called Roliath. Roliath is the name of the town that the main character ruled over both as an Eidelon as well as a cover to the mortals. In a small sense, this book is somewhat an Origin story for the main and side characters, how they met, how they got to where they are today…etc…Roliath is where most of the story takes place at, the main root as to why the main character met her solid group that has been with her for the last two hundred years…so, with that being said, (and changing things up several times for the theme of it all) I chose to change the title from Survival, to, Roliath.

4. Of the characters you’ve created, which one is your favorite?
Picking a favorite for anything has always been a challenge for me. But, I guess I would have to say the main character, Geann. (Geannifer) Not only is she an Eidelon (a vampire), but she’s a special one at that. Not only do the trials and tribulations she’s put through make her unique…but her talents and capabilities as an Eidelon are astonishing, even to other Eidelon. What you as the reader learns of her abilities in Roliath is only the beginning, there is more to come.

On the other hand…Sherriff Dewit was one of my favorite characters to actually write. He may technically be a bad guy and all from the beginning, but, it was fun to bring out an un-characteristic side of him to life that might make you think twice about him.

5. What does a typical writing session look like for you?

  • Do you listen to music as you write?

Sometimes yes, lol. Actually I listen to music, or I have the tv on in the background, but both are normally set at a very low volume. I don’t like to write in complete silence, but, I like to have enough sound to not become a distraction.

  • What is your preferred writing time? Morning? Afternoon? Late at night?

I don’t really have a set time, but I guess most of my writing is done in the afternoon. However, there has been many times after I have my first cup of coffee in the morning and I think about a small detail to one of the books and I dive right in. But then there are those few late nights, nights when I can’t sleep and I’ll find myself at the keyboard typing away as well.

6. How do you feel about outlines? Are you for or against them?
I’m all for them. Then again, after 11 years of creating a 5 book series and no time to write it all out, how could I not be, all for outlines? Of course, I’m not sure if what I have are outlines, or just pages upon pages of notes that probably wouldn’t make sense to anyone but myself? Lol.

7. Any project in the works?
Well, as I’ve made mention before…this is a Five book Series. Book two is titled “Secrets Unveiled” and it picks up right where Roliath left off. Once the editing process has begun for Secrets Unveiled I’ll probably start working on book 4. I’m a bit of a nut and I’m always working on more than one book at a time and I’ve been refraining myself from starting book 4 until I had Roliath published, and a complete draft for editing for book 2. ((I’m almost there, just starting the editing to go))

8. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
All I have to say is simple. “Never give up!” There are many writers out there who have the talent and love to do it, but often think they could never go anywhere with their ideas and love for writing. It doesn’t matter how long it might take, how short of a chance you might think you have, or what other people might have to say about it. Never give up on what you love to do, whether it’s writing, acting, painting, whatever, it’s up to you keep it going. After all…

“How is one to decide where the limitations start and end, unless they try to break past them?” ~ Schunk-Clubb, Amber. Secrets Unveiled

And now for a game of “Which (Do/Would) You Prefer?”
1. Summer or winter?
Winter

2. Cake or ice-cream?
Ice-cream

3. Car or motorcycle?
Car

4. Ebook or physical book?
Physical Book

5. Nights out or nights in?
Nights in

6. Having telepathy or having telekinesis?
Telekinesis

7. Being able to travel to the past or being able to travel to the future?
Travel to the past

8. Travelling by car or travelling by airplane?
Travel by car

9. To find true love or to win the lottery?
Find true love…it’s just like winning the lottery

10. Being Spider-Man for a day or being Batman for a day?
Spider-Man

11. Reading or writing?
Writing

12. Bungee jumping or going on the slingshot ride?
Slingshot ride

13. Being able to speak and understand every language known to humankind or being able to speak and understand every language known to animals?
Every language known to humankind

14. Staying awake for forty-eight hours (continuous) or walking for twenty-four hours (also continuous)?
Staying awake for forty-eight hours

15. Finding yourself caught in the middle of a hurricane or finding yourself caught in the middle of a snowstorm? (Note: in both scenarios, you’d be outdoors and have no access to shelter.)
In the snowstorm

16. To never again eat a piece of chocolate or to never again drink a cup of coffee?
To never eat chocolate. (that’s a no-brainer)

17. Finding yourself trapped in the universe of The Walking Dead or finding yourself trapped in a slasher film?
In the Walking Dead

18. Have every day be Saturday or have every day be [insert your favorite holiday here]?
Saturday

Thank you for joining us, Amber!
Readers: want to connect with Amber? You can find her on Goodreads and Facebook. Also, be sure to check out her author page on Amazon as well as her author website.

Author Interview: Krista Wagner

Krista Wagner, author of Rian Field, is with us today. Please join me in extending her a warm welcome! Before we get to the actual interview, let’s take a moment to learn a bit about Rian Field.

Rian Field

Rian Field is living her dream as a Marine Biologist, but when she is attacked by a shark, it triggers memories from the past and changes her understanding of her present world. After surviving the shark attack, Rian Field continues her work at the Institute, determined to live her routine life. But as she attempts to cope with her growing post-traumatic stress outbreaks, she is plagued both by memories of an earlier trauma and a sudden onslaught of mysterious and ominous events. She soon finds herself immersed in an inescapable danger as she suspects that her former assailant is still threatening her life–and may be someone close to her; more disconcerting, though, is the growing certainty that the trauma is somehow connected to the shark attack, compelling Rian to uncover the truth of her past and discover who is after her.

1. Tell us about yourself.
I am from San Bernardino, CA and currently reside there as well. I am a college professor and teach English courses. My all-time favorite film is Jaws and I am scared of butterflies.

2. When did you start writing?
I started writing creatively when I was seven, specifically plays and songs. My latest published works are novels (The Gold, a middle-grade fantasy, Rian Field, a psychological thriller, and Intent, a spiritual dramatic thriller).

3. Using five words or less, describe the protagonist in Rian Field.
Rian Field is the protagonist in Rian Field: ambitious, hopeful, terrified, haunted, truth-seeking

4. Any project in the works?
Project in the works is a Contemporary YA Realistic-issue driven novel about a high school senior who is dealing with emotional darkness and secrets.

And now for a game of “Which Do/Would You Prefer?” 
1. Summer or winter?
Summer

2. Cake or ice-cream?
Mint chocolate chip icecream

3. Car or motorcycle?
Corvette

4. Ebook or physical book?
Physical

5. Nights out or nights in?
In

6. Being able to travel to the past or being able to travel to the future?
Past

7. Making a phone call or sending a text?
Phone call

8. Travelling by car or travelling by airplane?
Car

9. Staying in a hotel or going camping?
Hotel

10. Working in a group or working alone?
Alone

11. Losing all of your money or losing every picture you’ve ever taken and every picture that has ever been taken of you?
Pictures

12. To find true love or to win the lottery?
True love

Thank you for joining us, Krista!
Readers: want to connect with Krista? You can find her on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Goodreads. Also, be sure to check out her author website.

Author Interview: Kevin S. Chambers

636154ef-47cf-49fd-b1ab-294c78bfc096.jpgKaden Hunt has been fighting a hidden war for humanity, alone. A war that changed one night when his oldest friend tried to kill him. Now Kaden, the most powerful human in existence, has drawn the complete focus of Enki and Shamash, the two warring leaders of the Annunaki — the aliens who created humanity. Both are determined to stop Kaden from becoming what he once was, who he once was. For if he becomes the Traveler, a more powerful enemy will be freed.

God’s Rogue hits shelves today. Coffee with Architects of Worlds Afar is pleased to introduce its author, Kevin S. Chambers.

1965484_10202757537395008_494365488_o.jpg1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Well obviously my name is Kevin S. Chambers. I currently reside in the North West, where when I’m not working, or writing, I’ll fish, kayak, explore, play some video games, line dance (I really love to line dance), go to some country music festivals, spend time with my wife. I love where I live, it’s rural, an hour away from anything.

2. When did you start writing?
Novels? I started writing novels back in ’09, in general I started in grade school. Those were short stories, that I wrote in a little lined notebook, for myself. I’ve been telling and imagining stories since I can remember.

3. Why did you start writing?
I’ve got a story to tell, stories that interest me. Ones that I really love I will write, other times I’ll just allow the stories to play out in my head.

4. Do you recall the moment you first conceived the idea for your novel?
Yes, it was two years ago when I started to write a new web-series. Originally I was going to play the lead, who is now Kaden Hunt, and this girl I was interested in was to play the romantic interest. Well things did not playout, and I put God’s Rogue aside, until I went down to California, for some meetings. One of these meetings happened to be with a production company, who was interested in God’s Rogue as a movie. Well after writing the screenplay, I decided there was too much there, it needed to be a novel.

5. Tell us a little bit about your book’s title.
The title has a few meanings. God’s Rogue, as in God posses the Rogue. God is Rogue, as in God is the Rogue.

6. Does your story have a moral?
Absolutely, that there is value in each individual life. That no one else can tell another how to live their life.

7. Of the characters you’ve created, which one is your favorite?
Without going into too much detail, Raze Gron.

8. How do you feel about outlines? Are you for or against them?
Hate them, never use them. My characters tell me the story, I just get to write it down.

9. What is your favorite book genre?
Epic Fantasy.

10. What is your favorite book?
Eragon, and all the books in the Sword of Truth series. Including the ones that Terry Goodkind says are a separate series.

11. Any project in the works?
There’s this book series. I’ve also got Daughter of Time, and Starship Phoenix. Both of the latter are web-series / tv-series.

12. How long does it usually take you to write a book?
4 to 6 months for the first draft. Then another 6 months of editing.

13. In your opinion, what makes a story ‘good’?
Where the reader becomes friends with the characters, where a book makes a reader ask what if. Challenges the reader, emotionally and mentally.

14. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
It starts with a letter, and ends with a book.

And now for a game of “Which Do/Would You Prefer?”
1. Dogs or cats?
Dog.

2. Summer or winter?
Summer.

3. Ebook or physical book?
Love the smell of a used book.

4. Nights out or nights in?
Nights out.

5. Living in the city or living in the country?
Country

6. Having telepathy or having telekinesis?
Telepathy.

7. Being able to travel to the past or being able to travel to the future?
Future

8. Making a phone call or sending a text?
Call.

9. Staying in a hotel or going camping?
Camping

10. Working in a group or working alone?
Alone.

11. To find true love or to win the lottery?
I don’t believe in true love, so lottery.

12. Being able to speak and understand every language known to humankind or being able to speak and understand every language known to animals?
Human Language.

13. Going without internet access for a week or going without watching any movies/television shows for a week?
I can go without movies / TV, I’ve done it before.

14. To never again eat a piece of chocolate or to never again drink a cup of coffee?
Don’t like coffee, so…

Thank you for joining us, Kevin!
Readers: want to connect with Kevin? You can find him on Goodreads.

Author Interview: Daccari Buchelli

Looking for a new fantasy world to cast yourself into? Excellent! Don’t go anywhere. There’s someone I’d like to introduce you to. 😉

In the virtual studio today is Daccari Buchelli, author of Phoenix. Before we sit down with him, let’s take a quick look at his novel’s blurb:

Phoenix (Peradon #1)

 

Magic never ceased to bring Violetta joy, until the day it became her curse. Aged fifteen, the young Flame Mage and Princess finds herself drawn to the mysterious and charming Frost Emperor, Ryore. 

Torn between her sudden feelings and inescapable duty to the throne, Violetta seeks to strike a balance. Will she surrender her will forever, or strive for freedom by doing the unthinkable?
 
  
 
 
DAX by UC.jpg1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born in the East of England, into a working class family with four elder siblings. England is a beautiful place in parts, but it has never really felt like home to me. I’ve always longed to travel, hoping to catch a glimpse of more exotic locations.

I enjoy a healthy lifestyle and have loved to exercise since my early teen years. My hobbies include reading, art and design, and the occasion session of nature photography.

While at school, I always showed great promise in the more creative of subjects such as English Literature, and Graphic Design, and received high grades in each of these subjects.

What is peculiar about me is that I have an allergy to silver, so have been branded the nick name ‘werewolf’ from those who know me well.

I have a fascination with the colour green, particular the shade of forested areas, and also possess a great love for all things tartan related.

2. When did you start writing?
From a young age I enjoyed creating my own stories, which by age eight were usually around ten pages in length. I have always been drawn to the subject of magic and would love to live in a Fantasy world with supernatural abilities. As I entered into adolescence, I began to write full length novels and novellas, which ranged from Fantasy to Murder Mystery.

3. Why did you start writing?
I suppose I fell in love with words as soon as I could read. The power that Authors have to transport you into a completely different reality from your own is incredible and have always left me in a state of awe. I wanted to be able to bring others into a similar world, where they could forget their troubles and enjoy themselves, if only for a few hours.

4. Tell us a little bit about your book’s title.
Phoenix was not the first title that I considered for my novel. It was originally published with an Indie company under the heading ‘Sweet Surrender,’ but this title was too similar to novels of an adult nature. When I decided to part ways with the Indie company, I did some research and decided that the title had best sum up Violetta’s character transformation, from a shy girl who doesn’t know what she wants, to a strong and independent woman who is ready to fulfill her purpose and her role as heir to the throne.

Due to this enormous rebirth of Violetta’s character, I opted for the title of Phoenix.

5. Does your story have a moral?
The main lesson of Phoenix is to urge individuals to be their true selves, to try and ignore obsessions that might otherwise steer you into troubled circumstances. Violetta’s character doubted herself from the start of the novel, but we do see her grow into a more confident and able young woman, who doesn’t feel that she has to rely on other people any longer.

Obsession and betrayal by those closest to you are important themes with regards to this novel. Even those who may appear as allies have the power to cause areas of your life to crumble.

6. Of the characters you’ve created, which one is your favorite?
My character Lord Jork, the Lord and ruler of the Air Realm is one of my favourites of all. He is reminiscent of a folklore vampire, with pointed fangs and blood red eyes. His character is particularly complex and we do not learn an awful lot about his background at this point. He is left as a mysterious, yet crucial character in some ways, providing necessary support and guidance to the younger characters within the novel. He sees King Eagan’s family as his own and is a very selfless, giving character.

7. Using five words or less, describe the protagonist in Phoenix.
Five words to describe Violetta:
* Naive
* Remorseful
* Courageous
* Intelligent
* Willful

8. What does a typical writing session look like for you?
I prefer to write when ideas take hold of me naturally, rather than trying to force the material to come at will. I tend to have most of my best ideas in the evening or upon first waking up, so find it best to jot down my thoughts then.

There is something about the night that makes writing seem effortless. Easy. Perhaps it is the fact that most people are sound asleep. I can devour the lives of my own creations, without background interference or passing comment.

I prefer to remain isolated when I write. I like to fully immerse myself in the worlds I have created. In this way I find it easier to get into the mindset of the different characters, to experience what they are going through, both emotionally and physically.

9. What is your favorite book genre?
My favourite book genre would have to be Fantasy.

While I prefer to write in the Fantasy genre as it is what I’m most used to, I do enjoy mixing genres and edging into the darkness of thrillers.

When reading, I am more flexible in my tastes. They range from Young Adult to Epic Fantasy, through to Horror, Thrillers, Dystopian and Sci-Fi books.

10. What are you currently reading?
I’m currently reading Tor’s Quest: Book One: The Guide, by Trudie Collins. It makes for an inspiring Fantasy read, with many twists and turns along the way. If you enjoy Fantasy then I would certainly recommend it.

11. What is your favorite book?
My all time favourite book is Sabriel, by Author Garth Nix. It is the first book that drew me into the Fantasy genre and sparked true passion within my soul. From reading this novel, I was able to find my true calling and I couldn’t be happier for it.

12. Any project in the works?
I do have several projects in the works at the moment. I have recently completed the second draft of Book Two of the Peradon Fantasy Series, a sequel to my novel Phoenix. This project has been placed on hold temporarily while I work on improving a Fantasy novella, which I wrote a few years back.

13. How long does it usually take you to write a book?
On average, if I’m writing a full length novel, I will be working on it for around one full year. I average around 80,000 to 90,000 words per each of these novels and write at least three paper drafts before typing them up onto a computer system.

14. In your opinion, what makes a story ‘good’?
A good story involves a combination of factors. You need characters that your target audience can relate to, as well as a unique idea and intriguing plot-line that work to keep your readers hooked. The setting should be appropriate for the content, with a solid theme presented throughout your work.

15. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
My advice is to always study. Do your research on every element of writing there is. There is always more to learn and new people from which to take advice. Your work can be influenced by other authors which you admire as you develop your own sense of style and structure.

And now for a game of “Which Do/Would You Prefer?”
1. Car or motorcycle?
Motorcycle

2. Living in the city or living in the country?
Country

3. Having telepathy or having telekinesis?
Telekinesis

4. Being able to travel to the past or being able to travel to the future?
Being able to travel to the future.

5. Making a phone call or sending a text?
Sending a text. I can be shy at times.

6. Losing all of your money or losing every picture you’ve ever taken and every picture that has ever been taken of you?
Losing all of my money.

7. Being Spider-Man for a day or being Batman for a day?
Spider Man. I have always longed to fly and swinging across buildings would be thrilling.

8. Being able to speak and understand every language known to humankind or being able to speak and understand every language known to animals?
Every language known to humankind.

9. Having your car break down on an extremely busy expressway or along an abandoned road in the middle of nowhere?
Extremely busy expressway. There is less chance of an axe weilding murderer hunting me down.

10. To never speak again or to never eat solid food again?
Never eat solid food again.

11. To never read another book or to never watch another film?
Never watch another film.

12. Spending half a day locked in a coffin (there would be a hole for air, of course) or spending two days trapped at the bottom of a well?
Spend a day in a coffin. You would go less time without sustenance and so would likely be in better health.

13. Being two inches tall or being two stories tall?
Being two inches tall.

14. Finding yourself trapped in the universe of The Walking Dead or finding yourself trapped in a slasher film?
In a slasher film, providing I can use my logic to survive. At least then there are less people trying to murder you than there would be in The Walking Dead, where every other human is now a walking, decaying cannibal.

15. Have every day be Saturday or have every day be Friday?
Friday! The start of the weekend is the best feeling.

Thank you for joining us, Daccari!
Readers: want to connect with Daccari? You can find him on Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook, and Instagram. Also, be sure to check out his author website.

Author Interview: C.L. Lynch

ChemistryStella Blunt’s world is ending. Her parents have dragged her across the country, and she has to start over in a new school. This is a big problem, because she doesn’t make friends easily: she’s large, she’s loud, and she doesn’t suffer fools gladly.

The only person who likes her is the cute geek in her Chemistry class. He’s a great listener, he’s smart at science, and he loves her for her mind. Then again, she’s not sure whether that’s a good thing, considering that he also drinks brains from a thermos and walks with a lurch.

To complicate matters, undead hordes have started showing up at her door.

Can Stella take on a new school, an undead romance, and handle a chainsaw?

Written as a satirical feminist response to Twilight, Chemistry is an irreverent romp with a surprising amount of heart from debut author C.L. Lynch, who thinks that fat girls and zombies deserve love too.

Sounds like a fun read, doesn’t it? 😀 Chemistry is set to hit shelves on 15 December 2016. 

Please join me in extending a warm welcome to the author of Chemistry, C.L. Lynch.

Main Author Photo C L Lynch.jpg1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m a socially-awkward, left-handed introvert. I’m one of those people who doesn’t know where to put their hands when they’re making small talk, but as soon as you get me going on a topic that interests me, I forget all that and act almost normal.

I lived in the Caribbean when I was a kid, and we moved back home to Nova Scotia on the East coast of Canada when I was thirteen, which was pretty traumatic. Even now, I don’t like hot guys looking at me; I’m afraid I’ll get spat on again. Somehow, I survived that and made friends, but bullying and ostracism crop up often in my writing. I have a degree in Psychology, with minors in Biology and English. My mother wanted me to stay in the sciences, but I could never let go of books and reading entirely, hence the English minor. When I was twenty five, my soon-to-be husband and I moved to Vancouver, where we live with our two young kids, an elderly dog and cat, a lot of dust bunnies, and too many books. I’m pretty sure we have more books than square feet in our house.

2. When did you start writing?
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. My childhood diary starts at age seven. I remember being small and banging out stories on my mother’s old typewriter. As soon as we got a computer (I was ten) I set to work on a novella which I called Follow the Animals Home. My mother had it spiral-bound with a laminated cover, and I still have it. It’s phenomenally bad. I almost want to publish it so people can enjoy it ironically because it is so hilariously atrocious. I followed it up with another, almost-as-terrible book called All That Glitters when I was twelve.

When I was growing up, I always told people that I wanted to be an author. My mother warned me that authors don’t usually make much money, so by the time I was ten, I was telling people that I wanted to be an author, but I’d be a veterinarian as a “day job”. All through high school, I would sit up late in the night working on stories that no one else would ever read. I tried to show my writing to my friends, and then my boyfriend of the time, but no one showed much interest – probably because it was still garbage. I developed a lot of negative self talk and quit, until NaNoWriMo helped me power through that, and I found the joy again. But my writing still sucked.

Then I started a blog. The great thing about a blog is the feedback you get from your readers. I learned what kind of writing style and topics tended to get the biggest reaction, and how to tell a story in a way that kept people interested and entertained. My most popular posts were about books – particularly a string of posts I wrote comparing Twilight to Harry Potter. I found my writer’s voice on that blog and for the first time I learned that I was funny. Humor was the salt that my writing had been missing.

3. Why did you start writing?
I don’t know. It was just something I wanted to do. I wanted to take the stories in my head and put them down and make them real.

4. Do you recall the moment you first conceived the idea for your novel?
I think it started as a joke. I had just made a series of blog posts analyzing the writing in Twilight and comparing it to Harry Potter (they exploded my traffic and five years later, they are still among my most frequently viewed posts) and I had been watching The Walking Dead. I joked to my husband that I should do a Twilight parody with zombies instead of vampires, and he liked the idea. I chewed on it some more and began to wonder whether, instead of making a parody, I should do a satire, changing some of the things that bothered me and infusing humor with a zombie love interest.

When NaNoWriMo 2012 came around, I sat down and created my main character, designing her to be the opposite of Bella Swan. I ended up with Stella Blunt, and she was such a power-house of a character that she took the story by the horns and dragged it in its own direction. I ended up with something that bears very little resemblance to Twilight, except a few key homages which would only be spotted by people who remember the story well.

5. Does your story have a moral?
Yes, I’m afraid it does. People don’t go into zombie romantic comedy books looking for lessons, but Chemistry is ultimately about taking risks in love, and opening yourself up to other people. Stella, my protagonist, is a very angry, loud, defensive person. She finds it hard to believe that anyone could really like her, and she has to learn to open herself up, let people in, and find a form of self confidence which isn’t threatened by the behaviour of other people. Sometimes you have to run the risk of being hurt, in order to develop a real relationship with someone.

6. Of the characters you’ve created, which one is your favorite?
I should say, “Stella”, because she’s the star of my novel, and I notice that all of my Goodreads reviews focus heavily on her. One called her “larger than life” and they’re right. She’s certainly hard to ignore, and I wouldn’t have a book without her giant personality.

But honestly, my favourite character is her Dad. I don’t know where his personality came from, but next to Stella, he’s probably the biggest source of comedy in the book. Tim Blunt is a weird and quirky guy, but he’s also a great husband and father. He’s a ton of fun to write, but then he also surprises me by spouting wisdom when I least expect it.

7. Using five words or less, describe the protagonist in Chemistry.
Loud, defensive, impulsive, snarky, sassy

8. What does a typical writing session look like for you?
Me, huddled on the couch with my laptop precariously balanced on one thigh. There would be a can of Diet Pepsi nearby, and a mess (like dirty dishes or a pile of laundry) that I keep casting guilty glances toward. Then a baby starts to cry or my phone buzzes to let me know that it’s time to go to work, and I heave a sigh, close the laptop, and go back to the real world until the next time I can escape for a while.

9. How do you feel about outlines? Are you for or against them?
I’ve used them, and I’ve gone without. I think it really depends on the writer and how clearly the story is already laid out in your head.

10. What is your favorite book genre?
Probably children’s fiction, honestly. I read a lot of YA, and I even read the occasional grown-up book (I love Jane Austen, and I impatiently await new Robert Galbraith books), but to me, the best stories are usually written for children and teenagers.

11. What is your favorite book?
Stargirl, by Jerry Spinelli. If there were any justice in the world, that little book would be the most widely read book in the world. Stargirl is about being human. It’s about true selflessness, and caring about others without caring about what others think. It’s about whether you could undergo social rejection to be with the person you love, and it does all of that with Jerry Spinelli’s inimitable style – he manages to infuse the feeling of epic myth, even when telling a story about a high school in modern day Arizona. It’s one of those books that makes you want to be more true to yourself, and to be a better person. It’s a short read, and easy read, but it’s the kind of book that changes how you think about everything.

12. Any project in the works?
I have the sequel to Chemistry about three-quarters written and the third in the series about one quarter written. I actually have a sneak peek to the sequel included at the end of Chemistry.

13. How long does it usually take you to write a book?
That’s difficult to answer, because I spend so much time editing. I write the first 50,000 words during NaNoWriMo, so that’s 50,000 in a month, but 50,000 isn’t actually all that much – Chemistry is nearly twice that length and History will probably be closer to 150,000 or more. But then I can happily spend years editing, and adding, and editing, and adding, and finally editing, and deleting, and editing, and deleting… until I feel that the story is the shape that I want it to be. I wrote Chemistry in 2012 and I’m just publishing it now. That’s years of editing and sending it out to be read by my beta readers and then editing again before I decided that it was good enough for strangers to read.

14. In your opinion, what makes a story ‘good’?
Ooh, great question. I could go on for a long time about that, and I did on my old mommy-blog. The short answer is this: A good story has a character who you like, but who has a flaw. The character should undergo a character arc which rectifies this flaw. Meanwhile, the plot should be full of conflict and twists and turns, so that you don’t end up where you thought you would, but it is awesome when you get there. If I can predict an ending, I’m disappointed. When the character doesn’t grown and change and learn, I’m disgusted. What’s the point of all that misery if nothing changes? A good story ties up loose ends, too. The ending should tie in all of the plot lines, all of the scenes, and details. If a scene doesn’t matter to the ending, it doesn’t belong in the story. Finally, a good story makes you care. You should care about the protagonist. You should care what happens to them. You should care about how it ends. Good stories make you feel feelings.

15. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Write, and learn about writing. People like to think of writing as this kind of God-given talent. Like, either you’re a writer or you aren’t. That’s not how it works. Some parts are probably ingrained – if you don’t enjoy writing, you probably shouldn’t write, for example. I’m often baffled by whole writing groups full of people who don’t actually seem to want to write. But if you enjoy writing, then it’s important to remember that it’s something to be learned. At first, you’ll probably use purple prose. You’ll have passages that don’t go anywhere. You’ll have characters who don’t use contractions. You’ll have adverbs everywhere. But if you read about writing, and pay attention to how your favourite authors write, and read more about writing, and then write some more, you’ll get better. You’ll learn to cut out the dialogue tags, and to infuse conflict into your scenes. It’s like learning to play an instrument – you need to learn how the instrument works and then practice, practice, practice.

And now for a game of “Which Do/Would You Prefer?”
1. Nights out or nights in?
IN IN IN, OH GOD PLEASE DON’T MAKE ME GO OUT

2. Having telepathy or having telekinesis?
Telekinesis. I’m not sure I want to hear people’s thoughts.

3. Being able to travel to the past or being able to travel to the future?
Past. I want to see a dinosaur SO BADLY.

4. Staying in a hotel or going camping?
Hotel. With a big bathtub.

5. Losing all of your money or losing every picture you’ve ever taken and every picture that has ever been taken of you?
Money. I can get THAT back, you know?

6. Being Spider-Man for a day or being Batman for a day?
Spider Man

7. To find the love of your life (only to find out that you’re not the love of their life) or to have someone declare you the love of their life (note, however, that this someone is not a person whom you are romantically interested in)?
The second. It happened to me. I ended up changing my mind and marrying him.

8. Being able to speak and understand every language known to humankind or being able to speak and understand every language known to animals?
Animals!

9. Being drawn into a tornado or being drawn into a whirlpool?
Tornado, I guess… at least I’d get to fly before I died…

10. Having your car break down on an extremely busy expressway or along an abandoned road in the middle of nowhere?
Abandoned road. I’m actually more likely to have someone stop and help me – the science of human behaviour fascinates me.

11. Drinking a glass of expired, curdled milk or eating a bowl of cold, slimy worms? (Note: the worms would be dead, though not cooked.)
I guess I could tell myself the milk was cheese

12. Losing your ability to speak or losing your ability to hear?
What did you say?

13. Spending half a day locked in a coffin (there would be a hole for air, of course) or spending two days trapped at the bottom of a well?
Can I have a book in the coffin?

14. Being two inches tall or being two stories tall?
Two inches tall. That would be adorable. I could ride around in people’s pockets.

15. Finding yourself trapped in the universe of The Walking Dead or finding yourself trapped in a slasher film?
The Walking Dead. I’d find Carol and cling to her like glue.

Thank you for joining us, C.L.!
Readers: want to connect with C.L.? You can find her on Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. Also, be sure to check out her author website.