The Songs in Our Hearts — Book Trailer Launch

Earlier this year, Coffee with Architects of Worlds Afar had the pleasure of getting to interview Chantal Gadoury, author of Seven Seeds of Summer and Allerleirauh; click here to watch that video. Next year, Chantal will be releasing her third novel, The Songs in Our Hearts. It is with great excitement that I present you all with the aforementioned title’s trailer.

*Drum roll, please*

Looks like Charlie and Micah’s story is going to be a good one, doesn’t it?

(Yes, I created the trailer for The Songs in Our Hearts. 😉 )

Author Interview: Peter Fulton

The film Forrest Gump is as entertaining as it is in part because it masterfully thrusts its eponymous protagonist into the center of historically significant events; throughout the course of the movie, Forrest meets with prominent political and social figures (such as John F. Kennedy, John Lennon, and Richard Nixon) and he lives through some of the most defining chapters of the twentieth century (such as the Vietnam War). The novel How To Survive Your Death promises to deliver a comparable level of entertainment by planting one of its main characters in similar situations. (Note: similarity here is being determined solely by the historical/cultural importance of the events depicted in the novel.) The twist? The main characters in How To Survive Your Death are vampires. Yup. You read correctly. Vampires!

Here to discuss How To Survive Your Death is its author — actor, comedian, and entertainer Peter Fulton. Before we sit down with him, let’s take a look at the aforementioned title’s blurb:

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How To Survive Your Death (An Autobiography Written Posthumously) is a letter between mother and daughter that answers the two questions the daughter has been asking her mother her entire life: Who is my father and will you ever make me a vampire? The answers to these questions take us on a thrilling adventure that tramps through centuries and around the world. Emily does not forgive her mother for being a vampire, writing, “She left me to read this while she went out for dinner. I publish this now hoping that it won’t be you.” With over 225 years as the undead, Sarah has many stories to tell, from eating the man who laughed when the Liberty Bell cracked, to meeting Mark Twain, to surviving the Titanic sinking. At the heart, the book is two love stories: motherly love and the love between vampire and vegetarian. It was not love at first bite.

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
The best education I ever got was flying across the Pacific to spend 3 years wandering Asia. I started writing every day when I was 15 but I became a writer 9 years later when I saw the world I knew from the opposite side of the world. And suddenly North America is at the extreme left of the map and not in the center where it belongs. And suddenly anything is possible. And the stars are not above me and I spend the next 15 years writing 8 books.  And my book is outselling books I grew up loving on Amazon and I owe everything to a world where anything can happen. I just try and keep the best records of it all as I can.

2. Do you recall the moment you first conceived the idea for How to Survive Your Death?
There’s this gut shot I get when I know I’ve got a novel idea. I’ve only had it ten times in my life but I know it when it punches me just above the bellybutton. The punch could come from anywhere: character, location, philosophy; this one came from a question: what would it be like to know you are never going to die? This is not an original question, not even for me. This was the exact same question I had had to spark my book: Channel Surfing. However, in Channel Surfing I wanted to write about an entire society that knew they were never going to die. But I couldn’t pull it off so I compromised and wrote of a society of people that knows they are going to live exactly 150 years. My gut shot for How To Survive Your Death was to get back to playing with immortality. I figured I’d downsize to one character and then I thought if would be fun if my protagonist would be a vampire. I was excited at all the dark humor I could chew on. I chose my leading vampire to be a woman and she was writing to a daughter because I wanted to bury myself as deeply from this story as possible. I’d never been a mother or a daughter so I thought that was a good place to start.

3. How do you feel about outlines? Are you for or against them?
There’s no right way to write. But I never start with an outline. I hopefully find an outline, but I have never begun with one. My favorite part of writing is the first draft. I never know where the story is going and at my best it leads me. I like getting surprised. I trust the reader does, too.

4. Does your story have a moral?
No the story has no moral. Morals are for holy books, not works of fiction.

5. Any project in the works?
I am working on a funny sci-fi novel called: Death Envy. In the future people live to die. But if you die before your number is government appointed to be up, you miss out on getting what everyone lives to die for: a button. Then one day a man who had been dead for thousands of years awakes and shocks society to the core when he chooses to live. I’m smack in the middle of the first draft, so I have no idea where it’s going, but, I got a hunch.

And now for a game of “Which Do/Would You Prefer?”
1. Making a phone call or sending a text?
I would rather make a phone call then send a text. I have no cell phone, so that’s an easy one.

2. Summer or winter?
I would rather Summer than winter. The only thing I love more than writing and making my friends and family happy is baseball. Baseball sucks in a Canadian winter.

3. Reading or writing?
I prefer writing than reading.

4. Being able to speak and understand every language known to humankind or being able to speak and understand every language known to animals?
I would prefer speaking and all the languages known to humans than animals. I’m not saying animals are inferior to humans, I just know my audience. I’ve never had a sloth get even three pages into one of my books.

5. Being drawn into a tornado or being drawn into a whirlpool?
I’d rather get drawn into a whirlpool than a hurricane. I can swim better than I can fly.

6. Going without internet access for a week or going without watching any movies/television shows for a week?
I’d rather go a week without tv and movies than the internet because I watch more baseball than shows or movies.

7. Staying awake for forty-eight hours (continuous) or walking for twenty-four hours (also continuous)?
I’d rather walk for 24 hours. I like walking. 10 miles walking is worth 1 mile reading.

8. Losing your ability to speak or losing your ability to hear?
This is tempting fate, but I’d rather lose my ability to speak than hear.

9. To never again eat a piece of chocolate or to never again drink a cup of coffee?
I’d rather go without chocolate than coffee. I need coffee. I don’t need chocolate.

10. To never read another book or to never watch another film?
I would rather never see a movie than read a book. If I couldn’t read a book, I’d never be able to edit.

Thank you for joining us, Peter!
Readers: want to connect with Peter? You can find him on Twitter and Facebook. Also, be sure to check out his How to Survive Your Death group on Goodreads.

Author Interview: Kim Padgett-Clarke

32864582Emily and Clare are sisters who share a special bond. Clare is overweight, plain looking, and has epilepsy.

When Daniel comes into Clare’s life, all her dreams have come true. Daniel is handsome, successful, and to Clare’s amazement, is attracted to her. Clare finally has a man who will give her a loving relationship.

But Daniel is not all he seems to be. He is a control freak, who will do anything to keep Clare to himself. When Emily tells Daniel that she’s found out who he really is, he has to take drastic action to get Emily out of their lives, for good.

Coffee with Architects of Worlds Afar is thrilled to welcome the author of Made of Glass, Kim Padgett-Clarke.

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I live in the North West of England in a town called Blackpool which is the number one resort in England. It’s an exciting place to live and there is always something going on all year round. Although we are a lot smaller than London or Manchester we do rival them for the number of international events and artists that have held shows here.

2. When did you start writing?
I can’t remember a time when I didn’t write. I used to write short stories in little red notebooks and insist on reading them out to my parents. They must have had a lot of patience!

3. Do you recall the moment you first conceived the idea for your novel?
There were two drafts of the book before I finally felt that I had got it right. I sent the first draft to an Editor and believed that she would write back saying how brilliant it was and there was no need to change a thing. How naïve! I got a 20 page report back which resulted in me taking the book in a slightly different direction. The saying you can’t see the wood for the trees was most appropriate.

4. How did you arrive at your book’s title?
The title Made of Glass didn’t come along until I was part way through the book. It was a phrase Daniel used and it seemed to sum up the whole idea of the novel.

5. Does your story have a moral?
My novel mixes in a lot of major issues. Clare has a disability, a subject that doesn’t seem to be approached in many works of fiction. Emily her sister crosses the line from caring to being over-protective. Daniel has deep seated issues with women which leads him to have a rather twisted view on relationships.

6. Using five words or less, describe the protagonist in Made of Glass.
In Made of Glass Daniel is controlling dangerous manipulative and devious

7. What does a typical writing session look like for you?
In my day job I work in an office so I try to structure my writing day in a similar way. I start around 10am break for lunch then carry on until tea-time. I find I can’t write in the evenings because there are too many distractions such as TV’s and radios blaring out. The whole house needs to be silent before I can concentrate properly. If I become stuck with a phrase or idea I walk around the house and voice my thoughts out loud. I always carry a notebook with me when I am outside as anything can trigger of a thought or idea and my memory doesn’t work well enough to hold the thought until I get home.

8. Any project in the works?
I have outlined book number 3. I have a notice board that I pin ideas to then I try to structure what will happen in each chapter. It doesn’t always work because once I start writing the characters can lead me down a totally different path to the one I had intended.

9. How long does it usually take you to write a book?
I don’t set myself a timetable. I think it puts too much pressure on if there is a deadline even if it is one you have created yourself.

10. In your opinion, what makes a story ‘good’?
If the reader cares what happens to the characters and wants to know how things turn out then I believe that is a good story.

11. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Believe in yourself do the best you can and don’t give up. Seek out professional people such as Editors and Proof-readers. It’s expensive but worth it if you want to have a book that looks professional. Get as much feedback as you can from people who have read the book and other writers as the reader is the most important person in all of this.

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

2. Dogs or cats?
Dogs

3. Summer or winter?
Summer

4. Cake or ice-cream?
Cake

5. Car or motorcycle?
Car

6. Ebook or physical book?
Physical

7. Nights out or nights in?
Nights in

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

9. Having telepathy or having telekinesis?
Telepathy

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

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

12. Travelling by car or travelling by airplane?
Car

13. Staying in a hotel or going camping?
Hotel

14. Working in a group or working alone?
Alone

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

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

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

Thank you for joining us, Kim!
Readers: want to connect with Kim? You can find her on Goodreads. Also, be sure to check out her book on Amazon (U.S. readers click here. U.K. readers click here.)

Author Interview: Zack Scott

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In today’s day and age, parodies abound. Scenes — and sometimes entire storylines — from many contemporary films have been recreated with the purpose of accentuating the ridiculousness underlying them. (It’s all in good fun, of course.) Bearing the aforementioned in mind, wouldn’t it be great if a parody of Jaws existed? I’m glad you think so! One does exist. It takes the form of a book entitled One Pissed-Off Shark. Lucky for us, its author, Zack Scott, is here to discuss said novel. Before we sit down with him, let’s have a look at the blurb for One Pissed-Off Shark :

Friends with anger issues are attacked by an even angrier shark.

Meanwhile, an incompetent shark hunter is hired by a private investigator to hunt down the irate man-eating beast.

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I grew up in Los Angeles and I’m still here stuck in traffic. I went to college at Cal State Channel Islands when the campus was fairly new. The campus was haunted at the time, so my friends and I tried majoring in ghost hunting but the school wasn’t offering any classes. We wrote a movie script instead. Well, half a script. That half of a script turned into a poorly written novel about a killer farmer terrorizing college kids. For some reason that story was one of the inspirations for my zombie apocalypse trilogy Their Dead Lives.

2. When did you start writing?
When I was a kid, I made stop-action, action films with my GI Joe toys. Most of it was improvised but I occasionally wrote something resembling a script. Toward the end of college, I finished my first book Four (Their Dead Lives, 1). FOUR is about self-involved friends who are tasked with saving humanity during the zombie apocalypse. It was always planned as the first book in a trilogy. In between writing Their Dead Lives, I wrote One Pissed-Off Shark.

3. Do you recall the moment you first conceived the idea for One Pissed-Off Shark?
Jaws is my favorite movie of all time. While I was in law school, I thought it would be fun to write an homage to such a classic film. I wrote two versions of One Pissed-Off Shark: the first version was a very serious and dark story with a pretentious title I can’t remember. Then I thought to write a satirical take on survival horror and man vs nature stories. The angry shark was born.

4. Of the characters you’ve created, which one is your favorite?
In One Pissed-Off Shark, my favorite character is Delford. He is well-intentioned, and a good guy, but just can’t catch a break.

5. Using five words or less, describe the protagonist in One Pissed-Off Shark.
Horny, angry, selfish, confused, class-act

6. What does a typical writing session look like for you?
I usually write at night after work or on the weekends. Sometimes I listen to music but it can get distracting. I like to have a bag of parmesan goldfish handy to fuel the brain and my favorite drink: water. I try to write 500 to 2,000 words a day but sometimes that ends up being 3 words or 5,000. It’s fun to write in public or around friends and family, but I’m a loner at heart and enjoy Zack time.

7. How do you feel about outlines? Are you for or against them?
As long as the outline isn’t rude or mean, I’ve got nothing against it.

8. What is your favorite book genre?
Thriller, action, crime are my favorites to read. Thriller and satire are my favorite to write… Thrilltire?

9. What are you currently reading?
Bull Mountain by Brian Panowich.

10. Any project in the works?
I’ve finished the gazillionth version of my action-thriller. I started writing it five years ago, inspired by a criminal law case I read in law school. I’m also working on a romance, and also working on the sequel to One Pissed-Off SharkTwo Pissed-Off Sharks.

11. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Just keep writing. Even if it’s terrible.

And now for a game of “Which Do/Would You Prefer?”
1. Books or movies?
Movies. Don’t hurt me.

2. Dogs or cats?
Dogs. Cats are too good at creating deadly traps.

3. Ebook or physical book?
Physical book for me eyeballs.

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

5. Being Spider-Man for a day or being Batman for a day?
Batmobile, baby.

6. Reading or writing?
Writing.

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

8. Being able to speak and understand every language known to humankind or being able to speak and understand every language known to animals?
I want to be Dr. Doolittle

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

10. 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?
Bottom of a well. Lassie?!

11. Finding yourself trapped in the universe of The Walking Dead or finding yourself trapped in a slasher film?
After writing a zombie apocalypse trilogy, I’ll have to pick slasher film.

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

Author Interview: J.L. Hoyt

33006819The world is full of suffering, sometimes it’s just easier to hide…

He had not always been such a lost cause. Not long before life was consumed by the poisonous chemicals that pumped through an addict’s body, He was an active participant in what was considered society; with a beautiful wife, a home, a decent career. To an outside observer, life seemed perfect. But this story isn’t a happily-ever-after fairy tale. It’s the darkest parts of life, an internal battle of demons and, maybe, redemption.

Want to learn more about Walking Through Quicksand? Stick around. Author J.L. Hoyt is with us.

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was raised in an agricultural community out west then after getting a degree in history came out to the upper Midwest for work. I bounced around in college, starting out in drafting, then went into engineering before I finally settled on history. I like to be outdoors, hunting, hiking and photography and I love classic cars.

2. When did you start writing?
It was about ten years ago, I started out with screenwriting. I guess I was drawn into the bright lights of Hollywood.

3. Why did you start writing?
I’m not really sure, I can’t pinpoint anything in particular that sparked it but it became therapeutic for me, an outlet.

4. Do you recall the moment you first conceived the idea for your novel?
Well, part of it. The original idea was just a small portion that is in the middle of the first chapter. I had just been laid off from a part-time job at a hardware store and was feeling pretty low, things kind of branched off from there.

5. On a related note, how different is the final product (the book) from your original vision? That is, did the structure and content of the novel change with the passage of time?
It ended up changing a lot. Like I mentioned before the original idea is just a small section of the book now, it was originally supposed to trace the path of an addict but ended up being just as much about anxiety and depression.

6. Does your story have a moral?
Yeah, it has a pretty straight forward moral, this is where drug abuse can lead but like I said, the themes of anxiety and depression became just as prevalent.

7. Any project in the works?
I always have several projects in the works, I have to wait with everybody else to see which one makes it out first.

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

2. Car or motorcycle?
Car, preferably pre-1972.

3. Ebook or physical book?
Physical book, I like the smell of the pages.

4. Living in the city or living in the country?
I was raised in the country and would definitely like to return.

5. Staying in a hotel or going camping?
I prefer camping, there is a better chance that I can get away from other people.

6. Working in a group or working alone?
I’m a loner.

7. To find true love or to win the lottery?
I already have true love so the lottery next.

8. To speak using ONLY rap lyrics (from songs released in the 21st century) or to speak using ONLY quotes from Austen’s books?
I’ll go with rap lyrics, but only if everyone else is just using quotes from Austen’s books.

9. Being able to speak and understand every language known to humankind or being able to speak and understand every language known to animals?
I’d like to talk with animals.

10. Staying awake for forty-eight hours (continuous) or walking for twenty-four hours (also continuous)?
Staying awake forty-eight hours, I’ve done that so I already know what it feels like.

11. Losing your ability to speak or losing your ability to hear?
I don’t think I would miss being able to speak all that much.

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

Author Interview: Aislinn Kearns

Aficionados of romance novels, gather round! If you’re looking for a new series to jump into, you may want to check out Aislinn Kearns’ Soldiering On books. They’re imbued with healthy doses of suspense, so they’re sure to keep readers on the edge of their seats.

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1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hi, I’m Aislinn Kearns! I’m an Aussie girl currently living in Qatar. I write romantic suspense at the moment, but will most likely branch out into other romantic subgenres once I am done with my current series, Soldiering On.

I love dogs, and snow. Since I live in an apartment in the desert, I have neither right now, but it’s my dream!

2. When did you start writing?
I’ve been writing for many years – since I was a child, really. I wrote my first proper novel back when I was completing my final year of my Masters, but that one currently sits unreleased. I only started writing with an intention to publish this year. It’s certainly been a ride!

3. Do you recall the moment you first conceived the idea for your series?
I’ve been planning this particular series for a while now. The book I first had the idea for was actually what is now book 3. But I decided I wanted that story to be later in the series. I had the idea for Station Alpha, and thought it would make a good first book. In my head, the idea was much sexier and kinkier – and Paul and Christine didn’t meet face-to-face until further into the book. But when I wrote it, it just went the way it did. Funny how books can be like that!

4. How did you arrive at your books’ titles?
When I was trying to think of names for the books in the series, I knew I wanted a theme. However, I was struggling to find something that would fit all the books. I was toying with the idea of doing different versions of the word ‘Soldier’ – Soldier Forward, Soldier Mine, etc – but I could only think of a few before I got stuck, and I didn’t know how long I wanted the series to be. Plus, all the characters are in different branches of the military, so it didn’t really work.

Eventually, I settled on using the NATO alphabet. It gives me some freedom with the titles, while still having a theme.

5. What does a typical writing session look like for you?
I usually write in the evenings after work. I don’t tend to do any work unless I have deadlines, so I set myself a word count for the evening and then try to reach it before I need to sleep. If I get lazy, it means I have to sacrifice sleep, which I don’t like to do. But an impending bed time gets me motivated and writing!

I can only write in silence or to white noise sounds like rain or air-conditioning. I can’t work at all if there’s music!

6. How do you feel about outlines? Are you for or against them?
I actually did a blog post about how I outline!

Basically, I am somewhere in between a plotter and a true pantser.

7. Any project in the works?
Currently working on book 3 of the Soldiering On series!

8. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Keep writing. There is never a right time or place to write, you just have to carve it for yourself. Write even when you don’t feel like it. Write a few hundred words or a few thousand – just write. You can always fix it later.

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

2. Summer or winter?
Winter

3. Car or motorcycle?
Car

4. Nights out or nights in?
In. I’m a textbook introvert.

5. Having telepathy or having telekinesis?
Telekinesis. It would give my laziness a helping hand

6. Being able to travel to the past or being able to travel to the future?
Past. I don’t want to know what’s coming for me. Besides, I love history.

7. Making a phone call or sending a text?
Text. Definitely. I hate phone calls.

8. Working in a group or working alone?
Alone, definitely.

9. Losing all of your money or losing every picture you’ve ever taken and every picture that has ever been taken of you?
Money. You can always get more of that.

10. Being Spider-Man for a day or being Batman for a day?
Hmmm. I’d rather have the gadgets than go swinging through the city. But Batman is such a downer I’d have to go with Spider-man

11. To speak using ONLY rap lyrics (from songs released in the 21st century) or to speak using ONLY quotes from Austen’s books?
Lol, Austen, probably. But it could get a little limiting.

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

13. Having your car break down on an extremely busy expressway or along an abandoned road in the middle of nowhere?
Middle of nowhere. Less stress, even though there’d probably be a higher chance of a gruesome death :p

14. To never speak again or to never eat solid food again?
Never speak again. Food is too important to me.

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.)
Snowstorm. At least I’d die happy.

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

New Release Alert and $100 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway!

Looking for something to read over the holidays? Perhaps I can be of service. Just over a year ago, we were joined by author Lindsay Marie Miller; click here to watch her video interview. Today, Lindsay is releasing M.A.R.R.I.E.D., her ninth novel. (That’s right. Her ninth one! Impressive, eh?) To learn more about M.A.R.R.I.E.D.,  be sure to keep reading. 🙂

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Title: M.A.R.R.I.E.D.
(A S.I.N.G.L.E. Novella)
Series: Jessie & Graham
Author: Lindsay Marie Miller
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Release Date: December 20, 2016
Add to Goodreads

SYNOPSIS
In rainy Seattle, Washington, Graham Kelly has won the heart of independent minded Jessica Jacobs. Wedding bells are near, yet nothing will stop Jessie’s overbearing mother from throwing a wrench into the plans.

When an unexpected situation expands the swelling tension between the two, matters arise uncertain. Graham loves Jessie. But will his endless affection and warm heart be enough to keep her? This trip down the aisle is going to be a bumpy one.

For a limited time, M.A.R.R.I.E.D. is priced at just $0.99! (Click here to get your copy today.)

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ALSO AVAILABLE:
Singlehood comes before marriage. Hence — quite appropriately — the work which precedes M.A.R.R.I.E.D. is a novel entitled S.I.N.G.L.E..  The latter will be available for FREE between today (12/20/16) and Saturday (12/24/16) via Amazon. Click here to claim your copy!

jpeg-ebook-cover-for-singleJessica Jacobs is a twenty-two-year-old finance major at the University of Washington, whose brief encounters with blind dating have left her a single, cynical woman. When her best friend, Sara, gets dumped by the love of her life on Valentine’s Day, Jessie proposes a pact boycotting all men for the rest of the semester.

But then Jessie meets Graham, a gorgeous, yet respectable gentleman with the body of a Greek god and a heart of gold. Torn between her commitment to the pact and an undeniable attraction towards Graham, Jessie remains guarded and distant, which only makes Graham want her more. As fate intervenes time and time again, Jessie must embrace the inner fear surrounding her heart or risk losing the only man who would never break it.

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Want a chance to win a $100 Amazon Gift Card? (Of course you do! Who wouldn’t?) All you have to do is click here and enter author Lindsay Marie Miller’s giveaway.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Author PhotoLINDSAY MARIE MILLER graduated from Florida State University Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature. An incurable romantic at heart, she enjoys writing about strong heroines and the honorable gentlemen who claim their hearts. The author resides in her hometown of Tallahassee, FL, where she is currently working on her next novel.

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CONNECT WITH LINDSAY MARIE MILLER

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads

Want to be the first to know about important news and updates? Join the mailing list. Subscribers receive special offers, exclusive discounts, advanced book chapters, new release announcements and more!

Want to receive free eBooks and Advanced Reader Copies (ARCs) of upcoming releases by Lindsay Marie Miller? Join the review team.

Author Interview: Sheen Francis Reyes

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This collection of poetry is a story about love, abuse, loss, and longing. It’s the product of over a year and a half of unbelonging, tear-drenched pillows, and pain and euphoria that won’t let you sleep unless turned into ink.

Anyone who is drunk in wanderlust, has a quivering heart, and has been separated to the one they have a unique connection with by distance, wrong timing, and misjudgment would be able to relate to this book the most.

It isn’t too often that we have a poet in the virtual studio. (I suppose that that makes today extra special, doesn’t it?) Ladies and gentlemen, please put your hands together for Sheen Francis Reyes. 

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m a Filipina living in New Zealand. Aside from reading and writing, my heart belongs to nature, travel and photography. I have a bachelor’s degree in psychology but never really used it. I guess I’m too free-spirited, arguably reckless, to stick to a single profession until I get old and wrinkly. I tend to take risks the moment I feel like I’m being trapped in a box. I’m too right-brained to live a smooth-sailing life.

I’ve always been an introvert but I do appreciate the magic of meeting people for the first time, and then getting a sense of familiarity — like you’ve known each other for so long. I believe in instant connection, it’s priceless.

2. When did you start writing?
I started writing when I was 13.

3. How did you arrive at your book’s title?
It just hit me spontaneously. I was lying in bed one afternoon thinking of a title that could encapsulate the poetry collection, and there it was, Brave Vulnerable – could never be more on point.

4. What is currently on your to-be-read shelf?
Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari. The complete series of Conversations with God. My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga. A Whole New Mind by Daniel H. Pink. The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. The Holographic Universe by Michael Talbot. It’s Not Rocket Science by Ben Miller. I’m also dying to get Chasers of the Light by Tyler Knott Gregson, and Bitter Sweet Love by Michael Faudet, but I still haven’t finished Essays In Love by Alain de Botton.

Apparently, I enjoy owning more books that I could read.

5. What is your favorite book?
Veronika Decides To Die by Paulo Coelho. It revolves around Veronika, a beautiful Slovenian woman who had a failed suicide attempt and ended up in an asylum where the book’s whirlwind of powerful life epiphanies began to unravel.

I’ve read this when I was still a teenager in college. And after countless books I’ve read since then, it remains to be my ultimate favorite. This book, in one way or another, has affected my life. Putting it simply, it helped me understand, appreciate, utilize, and love the crazy in me – made me realize that madness is the way to truly live.

6. Any project in the works?
Yes, I’m working on my second poetry collection which I plan to release in 2017.

7. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Especially to those who write poetry.

Just keep on writing. It doesn’t matter if people read it or not. Write sincerely – write to express, not to impress. I know this is a cliché, but write from the heart, there simply is no better way to do it. Put your soul into paper.

Don’t listen to naysayers. You have talent. Your work is beautiful because it’s you, it’s yours – claim it, own it. If it’s your dream, your calling, stop making excuses and simply get it done. Don’t worry about the future. Work in silence. Finish what you started so you can finally stop calling yourself an ‘aspiring’ writer. You can be a writer. You are one. Believe in yourself.

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

2. Dogs or cats?
CATS.

3. Ebook or physical book?
Physical book.

4. Nights out or nights in?
Nights in.

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?
The past.

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

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

10. To find true love or to win the lottery?
True love. I hate this about me.

11. Bungee jumping or going on the slingshot ride?
Both!

12. Finding yourself trapped in the universe of The Walking Dead or finding yourself trapped in a slasher film?
The Walking Dead sounds more fun. I’d be the first to die in a slasher film.

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

Author Interview: Viv Doyle

The Treason Game hit shelves just a few weeks ago. Coffee with Architects of Worlds Afar is thrilled to welcome its author, Viv Doyle. Before we get to the actual interview, let’s take a moment to familiarize ourselves with the aforementioned novel’s storyline.

33151395The Treason Game tells the story of Lina, who is infatuated with Tyler, a handsome medieval knight avatar in her favourite MRPG. She wants to be a games artist and gets an internship at MediaCity UK, where the boss, Aron Taylor, bears an uncanny resemblance to her fantasy lover. He worked on The Treason Game in the US, so Lina is convinced he is the man behind Tyler. But the road to adulthood is a bumpy ride for Lina, with a repressive, religious mother who hates video games and her best friend coming out as gay, not to mention her fantasies about her boss-cum-avatar. Everything comes to a head when she goes with the team to the Paris Games Week.

viv-doyle1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I live in England, and was brought up in South London. I now live in a small town in the Peak District, near Manchester. My partner is a modern jazz violinist. I have been a teacher of English to 16 – 18 year-olds, but I gave it up to write full time. I sold hundreds of short stories and articles to various magazines, just to make ends meet, while I was working on novels. I also worked as a writing tutor, both for a correspondence college and on my own account. The eBook revolution has encouraged me to continue writing novels, now that I know I can publish my own works.

When I’m not writing I love walking in the rugged and varied countryside near where I live with my friends, and I usually video the walks for everyone to enjoy in retrospect. I also play piano and guitar, attend a French class and belong to a choir.

2. Do you recall the moment you first conceived the idea for The Treason Game?
I’ve been playing computer games for a long time and my experience of online multi-player gaming led to the idea for my latest novel, The Treason Game. I found the idea that you knew nothing about your fellow-players rather exciting: were they male or female, young or old, where did they live, what did they look like?

This mystery aspect led me to invent a story about a young woman who fell in love with someone else’s game avatar. I soon had the idea that my heroine wanted to be a game artist. It was easy, then, to link her love of playing The Treason Game to her career. Once I’d decided that the boss of the studio where she gets an internship should have a name very similar to the avatar she is besotted with, and look like him too, a plot evolved.

3. How did you arrive at your book’s title?
It was fun inventing an online medieval fantasy game for the book. Lina’s avatar is called Bella, and the handsome knight, Tyler, helps her when she is in danger. I wanted the book’s title to be the same as that of the game in the book, and I played with a few ideas before deciding on The Treason Game. This fits, because the fictional game is about Bella and her sister escaping from a King’s court, which counts as treason. There seems to be a bit of a Game of Thrones overlap, but it’s hard to find a title these days that doesn’t resemble something else online. Fortunately there is no copyright in titles.

4. Does your story have a moral?
If my story has a message it is that people should have the courage to follow their own  path in life and not be deterred by others. Lina has to rebel against her mother to become a game artist. My book touches on several themes that older teens may encounter as they become adults. Lina has to move from being infatuated with a fantasy heartthrob to loving a real man. She also thinks a lot about religion, since her mother is strictly religious with a narrow view of life, e.g. she thinks computer games are the Devil’s work. Then Lina’s best friend realises she prefers to love women, and Lina feels left out when she gets a female partner. A colleague of Lina’s has a younger brother with Asperger’s syndrome, and I tried to portray this character as authentically as I could.

5. Using five words or less, describe the protagonist in The Treason Game.
Lina, my protagonist in The Treason Game, is both passionate and thoughtful, talented and determined, but she lacks confidence due to her repressive mother and is something of a loner.

6. What does a typical writing session look like for you?
My writing life fits in around other activities, but I always write at my computer in my study and at any time of day or night. Music would be too much of a distraction! I have been known to make notes about writing, particularly on long train journeys when ideas come to me, but I can’t do the main work of writing anywhere else but my own room. I have never set myself a daily word count. I write until a natural break arises. I always provide a chapter-by-chapter outline but never plan down to the last detail and like to remain flexible. I took about three months to write The Treason Game once I’d done the necessary research, and this is about average for me.

7. How do you feel about outlines? Are you for or against them?
I’ve always enjoyed researching for my stories. It was a thrill to attend a couple of games conventions while I was writing The Treason Game, and meeting some gamers in real life, who were very encouraging. I made a video of PlayExpo which gave me some useful reference material.

8. What is your favorite book genre?
I enjoy reading in a very wide range of genres, from science fiction and fantasy to romance. I also enjoy non-fiction – biographies, popular science, history, etc. I have written in different genres too, but found crime fiction the hardest to master. Loved writing historicals.

9. What are you currently reading?
I always have a pile of to-be-read books by my bed! I’m currently reading the original 1943 edition of the short stories of Dorothy Parker, printed on thin wartime paper. I bought this because it was mentioned in the diary of a family member who served in the Navy in WW2. It is touching to think I am reading exactly the same book today as he did when on board his ship in the Pacific, and the book is very entertaining too.

10. Of those that you’ve authored, which is your favorite book?
I can’t possibly single out one favorite book but I loved doing the research for my book of literary parodies, called Literary Mysteries Solved. This collection includes parodies of such revered classics as Pride and Prejudice, The Great Gatsby, The Hobbit, Hamlet, Jane Eyre, Lord of the Flies and The Christmas Carol. They are mostly books I read at school or college, and to modern readers they might seem very old-fashioned, but because each has a very distinctive style and voice they were easy to parody and I hope readers can see that I did so with real affection for the originals.

11. In your opinion, what makes a story ‘good’?
I believe a good story emerges when the author cares for, and understands, the characters they create and the plot arises from their personalities. When characters seem to be at the service of the plot I start to yawn. So my advice would be to start from the situation your characters find themselves in, and let the story develop from there.

And now for a game of “Which Do/Would You Prefer?”
1. Working in a group or working alone?
It depends what the project is, but I usually prefer working alone, especially if it involves writing. When I did a course on script writing I was not good at working in a team as I found it frustrating to have to develop other people’s ideas rather than my own.

2. To find true love or to win the lottery?
For me, finding true love IS winning the lottery. I feel very fortunate that my guy has stuck with me for many years despite all kinds of difficulties.

3. Being Spider-Man for a day or being Batman for a day?
I love all comic characters, but I think I would prefer to be Spider Man. Just watched a news film about a five-year-old Syrian refugee boy who said he feels strong when he wears his Spider Man costume, and he made sure he kept it safe when he escaped from the war. I was in pieces!

4. Being able to speak and understand every language known to humankind or being able to speak and understand every language known to animals?
I would love to be Dr Dolittle and speak the languages of animals. I once learnt a few bird calls and had the thrill of hearing them answer back to me!

5. Going without internet access for a week or going without watching any movies/television shows for a week?
If the internet was down for a week I would read a good book! I guess I might miss TV shows more though.

6. To never speak again or to never eat solid food again?
I do love food, so to have to eat pap would be a real trial, but I can do without speaking myself, so long as I could hear others. It would force you to write messages, and prioritise your wants. Sadly, many elderly people in care have to cope with both – unappetising food and impaired communication.

7. Staying awake for forty-eight hours (continuous) or walking for twenty-four hours (also continuous)?
I would rather walk a marathon than stay awake for 48 hours.

8. 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’m sure I’ve drunk curdled milk in my time, so that would not be a problem.

9. 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.)
Never been in a hurricane, but I have been in a snowstorm (in Iceland). I think I could bear the cold more than the wind. I go walking in all weathers.

10. Misunderstanding everything that is told to you or being misunderstood every time that you speak?
I think misunderstanding what is said to you could be very dangerous, e.g. ‘Run, there’s a mad elephant on the loose!’ whereas someone else misunderstanding me might not be, as you could always mime (e.g. hand over mouth, finger across throat for ‘If I eat this I will die!’) Gestures and facial expressions can go a long way in communication, so we should not over-value words.

11. To never again eat a piece of chocolate or to never again drink a cup of coffee?
I could go without either chocolate or coffee, as I regard both as a treat rather than a necessity and have given both up without a problem from time to time.

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?
Being locked in a coffin for a while would be claustrophobic, but you could close your eyes and as soon as the lid was lifted you’d be out. Being stuck down a well would be damp, smelly and cold and equally claustrophobic – seeing the sky above might only make it worse. It would also be a struggle to get out of. I had to confront the coffin issue whilst writing a vampire novel, which despite the grisliness of the content I really enjoyed.

13. Have every day be Saturday or have every day be [insert your favorite holiday here]?
When I gave up teaching for writing every day was like Saturday, or Sunday. I could take a holiday or make a trip whenever I liked. Nowadays I am so busy with all kinds of activities during the week that I have my weekends back again.

14. Being two inches tall or being two stories tall?
I would rather be minuscule than gigantic, I think. We are back in the realm of my literary parodies here, as I explored the theme of body dysmorphia in my spoof critical essay entitled: The Long and the Short of it: The Influence of Gulliver’s Travels on Alice in Wonderland and the Magic Faraway Tree.

15. Finding yourself trapped in the universe of The Walking Dead or finding yourself trapped in a slasher film?
I’m generally too scared to watch horror movies of any kind but I think I could cope with zombies more than slashers. I once ran screaming from the cinema whilst watching Hitchcock’s ‘Psycho’ which probably seems very tame nowadays. It comes of having too vivid an imagination – probably because my Grandma used to delight in telling me frightening stories when I was a kid.

Thank you for joining us, Viv!
Readers: want to connect with Viv? You can find her on Facebook. Also, be sure to check out her blog. To get your hands on a copy of The Treason Game, click here.