Ashlea Thompson ~ Author Interview

Ashlea Thompson is an avid reader and a lover of Atlanta Braves Baseball and Crimson Tide Football.  She is also a member of the Alabama Writer’s Cooperative. “Steel Hearts” is her debut novella. 

Check out our interview on YouTube:

Check out HER book below!

(Click on the cover image to order your copy)

(As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. That means, when you purchase a book using an Amazon link on this site, I earn an affiliate commission. All commission earnings go back into funding my books; editing, cover design, etc.)

STEEL HEARTS by Ashlea Thompson

Lottie Mae Haywood is living her best life doing what she loves. Art. When she meets Jake Samford, she believes she has found the one to spend the rest of her life with. When he is not the man she thought, she returns home to Thomasville, AL. With a new love interest and things going well, her sister brings home Jake. Things take a turn, and Lottie has a decision to make. Will she make the right one?

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Meet Sci-fi and Fantasy Author Dan Rice…

Dan has wanted to write novels since first reading Frank Herbert’s Dune at the age of eleven. A native of the Pacific Northwest, he often goes hiking with his family through mist-shrouded forests and along alpine trails with expansive views.
Dragons Walk Among Us is his debut novel. He plans to keep writing fantasy and science-fiction for many years.

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How do you find the time to write?

Finding time to write can be challenging, especially when you’re a parent. I have two high-energy schoolboys who participate in all the activities of childhood. How do I find time to write? I follow a set routine and am always flexible.

I’m a big believer in the habit of writing every day. To accomplish this, on weekdays, I’m literally up before the crack of dawn, no later than 4:30 a.m. By five a.m., I’m doing something writing-related, often either pounding out a rough draft or editing a scene. My aim is to have about ninety minutes of uninterrupted writing time before my sons drag themselves out of bed to get ready for school. It also corresponds to when it’s time for me to prepare to hit the day job.

On the weekends, I don’t force myself out of bed at 4:30 in the morning, although sometimes I’m wide awake at that hour. Typically, I’ll still get up early and try to write until eight a.m. Then, after fixing breakfast for the family, I’m back at it until ten or eleven, depending on plans for the day and how restless the boys are. 

I’ve learned flexibility is vital if you want to keep your sanity. In On Writing,Stephen King points out that children and life in general often interrupt writing time. His solution is not to treat writing time as sacrosanct. Instead, work the time you write around everything else in your life. This is really great advice for all of us who have families and dreams of being future bestsellers.

What I do to be productive as a writer while having children might not work for everyone. That’s okay. Everyone’s situation is different. But having a set routine whenever possible and being flexible has served me well. I wrote my YA fantasy debut, Dragons Walk Among Us, by dragging myself up before everyone else in the household and not stressing out when the inevitable interruptions intruded on my writing time.

Do you think Writer’s Block exists?

I suppose it’s a subjective thing. If you think you suffer from it, you probably do. 

My critique group, the Puget Sound Writers’ Guild, had a resident writer, may he rest in peace, who staunchly did not believe in writer’s block. If you can’t come up with ideas and bring them to fruition, then you aren’t creative enough to cut it as a writer. He could be hard, but he was a best-selling author under several pen names, so who were we, his pupils, to contradict him.

Now, I won’t go so far as to say writer’s block simply does not exist. But I do think there are practices a writer can implement to overcome it. Personally, I’ve never suffered from writer’s block. For example, the characters and plot for Dragons Walk Among Us came easily to me. It probably helped that I’ve been thinking about some of the central fantasy elements of the story for years. Here’s my remedy, or put another way, how I avoid writer’s block.

I start small with a one-page concept that lays out the story from start to finish in broad strokes. This isn’t easy; it’s hard. It takes me numerous drafts to get the concept down to one page, but I think it’s worth it. From that, I create a scene-by-scene outline that I ultimately treat as a roadmap. It shows me how to get from the start line to the finish line, but I can always take detours and side trips along the way. I find the rough draft flows quite naturally from this roadmap.

If you suffer from writer’s block, start small. That strategy has always served me well.

Dragons Walk Among US is your debut novel. What can your readers expect to come next?

Dragons Walk Among Us is the first novel in The Allison Lee Chronicles. I can confirm that readers should expect more books featuring Allison Lee and her squad. Right now, I am planning four, maybe five, books to comprise the entire series.

Where do these books stand now? Well, I have the broad strokes outlined for the entire series. I’m currently writing the rough draft for the second installment. I’m about fifty percent through the draft. If everything goes to plan, I’ll have a complete manuscript ready to turn in to my publisher by December this year. The novel deals with similar themes of belonging and angst found in Dragons Walk Among Us, along with a few new topics readers will hopefully find engaging. Without giving too much away, portions of the second novel will take place in Southeast Asia. I’ve traveled the area extensively and hope my experiences will help me capture the essence of the region’s beauty and diverse cultures.

After book two, while I do have an outline, my plan is a bit more nebulous. That’s why I say the series might turn out to be five books as opposed to four. With any luck, these novels will come out steadily over the next several years. After completing The Allison Lee Chronicles, you can expect more action-packed sci-fi and fantasy tales with social commentary woven in that I think young adults will find very appealing.

Tell us about the protagonist in your novel Dragons Walk Among Us!

Allison Lee is the protagonist of my debut YA urban fantasy, Dragons Walk Among Us, and possesses a deep-seated need for belonging. In part, her yearning is no different than anyone else’s. She wants to be part of something greater than herself and be surrounded by people who accept her. These desires burn exceptionally bright in her because she has never known her mother, who she believes abandoned her at birth. Allison’s need for acceptance hits overdrive when she starts seeing or, perhaps, in reality, hallucinating dragons. When her best friends make it clear they believe she is delusional, their bonds of friendship begin to crack.

Allison is a passionate photographer with dreams of becoming a photojournalist. Her pictures of high school sporting events around Seattle are published weekly in her school’s online newspaper. She combines her love of photography with civic-mindedness, often documenting climate marches and social justice issues. When an unprovoked attack leaves her blind, Allison feels like her life has been flushed down the toilet and fears she will never photograph again.

I’m a big believer in the adage to write what you know. It allows me to inject verisimilitude into the story. For example, Allison is an avid photographer, often out and about with her camera in hand. Details on composition and exposure for different situations are sprinkled throughout the narrative. These details are accurate because I’m a shutterbug. I think these details are just enough to characterize Allison Lee, be interesting to readers, and add a sense of realism to a story that is, after all, a fantasy.

Would you like a chance to win a $35 Amazon gift card? Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. That means, when you purchase a book using an Amazon link on this site, I earn an affiliate commission. All commission earnings go back into funding my books; editing, cover design, etc.

I am happy to be one of many tour hosts sharing information about author Dan Rice. If you want to check out his debut novel Dragons Walk Among Us, click HERE!

Meet Author Samantha Wilde

Samantha Wilde resides in Saskatchewan, Canada, with her husband and two small daughters. Teddy, the family multi-poo, completes her family. Samantha writes steamy, fast-paced, romantic suspense novels in the rare moments she has uninterrupted—even interrupted, she manages to apply words to paper. Aside from her love of writing, her other interests include cooking vegan meals, fantasizing about working out, and eating far too much chocolate.

Website * Facebook * Instagram * Bookbub * Amazon * Goodreads

Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?

Becoming an author was a very organic experience for me. I started reading at a young age and was always writing short stories as a child. For me, writing was just part of who I was. It wasn’t until my late teenage years that I actually thought I could make a career out of writing. All of those old, unfinished and messy manuscripts were the stepping stones to my goal.

What is something unique/quirky about you?

Ha! I’m sure my husband would answer this better than me. I’m a very, very routine person. So much that I will get out of a warm bed to floss my teeth if I forgot.

Tell us something really interesting that’s happened to you!

My husband and I were almost in a plane crash eight years ago. We were flying home from Montego Bay and there was a bit of a storm. We were about forty-five minutes away from Jamaica, right over the ocean and we hit an air pocket. The only way I can describe it was like hitting a speed bump at three hundred miles an hour.

I had my seatbelt off because I was waiting to use the restroom. The plane dropped (for what seemed like forever). Everything went flying including a flight attendant. Because my seat belt was off I flew out of my seat. My husband grabbed me and pinned me down to keep me anchored. To this day, I don’t know how that airplane regained itself and we didn’t crash. We had four hours left of our flight, and I cried most of the way, lol.

I still feel bad for whoever was in the restroom!

What are some of your pet peeves?

A messy house, haha. Which is really unfortunate since I have two small kids and a puppy—to say I’m annoyed half the time is an understatement.

Where were you born/grew up at?

I’ve lived many places in Canada. I was born in Chatham, Ontario, but moved to Vernon, B.C. when I was two. I lived there for about five years, Airdrie, Alberta for a year or so and back to Ontario. I lived there for a good thirteen years and I’ve been in Saskatchewan for the twelve years. Now, my family and I are planning another move—am I the only one who gets the itch to be somewhere new? We’ve loved our time in Saskatchewan, but western areas are calling and I desperately want to be closer to the mountains.

What are you passionate about these days?

Health, but I don’t think that’s anything new, lol! I love teaching my kids about food and right now I’m starting to get more and more into fermented foods. I make sourdough bread, which isn’t as hard as it sounds. I feel better feeding my family less store-bought food and if I can make bread at home, why not?

I’m also finding a new passion in homeschooling my children. Before my oldest daughter was born, I always thought I would homeschool. But she’s a very outgoing child—extrovert would be a better term—and I quickly learned that she needed a school environment. She’s only been in school for half-days, but this year she’ll be entering grade one and my youngest will be in pre-k. And to be honest, I enjoy having them home, even if I get less work done. It’s very rewarding teaching them at home and although we have our struggles, it’s been a positive experience for all of us.

What do you do to unwind and relax?

Eat far too much chocolate and watch Netflix, haha. But I also love yoga, working out, and trying to calm my mind enough to meditate.

How to find time to write as a parent?

Time is something I struggle with! As I’m sure every author and parent does. My children are still young, not quite six and three-years-old so they’re very much in need of my attention. Especially my three-year-old who is our wild child that you can’t turn your back on. We’re also homeschooling, so that’s been fun, ha! Routine and consistency are key. I usually get an hour of work in the afternoon while the kids relax and I save the rest of my work for when they’re in bed, or when my husband takes them out on daddy-days.

Describe yourself in 5 words or less!

Healthy-food, chocolate eating, momma mess.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

When I finished my first novel, Abducted.

Do you have a favorite movie?

I can’t think of a favorite movie off the top of my head, but I’m a little obsessed with Vikings and The Last Kingdom.

Which of your novels can you imagine made into a movie?

All of them, actually!

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. That means, when you purchase a book using an Amazon link on this site, I earn an affiliate commission. All commission earnings go back into funding my books; editing, cover design, etc.

What inspired you to write Bound?

The first spark of inspiration for bound was a secret society/brotherhood. The second, almost instant inspiration was my father’s childhood. He and his six siblings were abandoned at a young age, and I really felt the need to share a tiny part of his story. 

What can we expect from you in the future?

Right now, I’m working on a novella series. If you know me personally, you know I’m obsessed with the mountains. I lived in British Columbia as a child and it’s my favorite place in the world. Naturally, I felt compelled to write a series around a small mountain town. I also have Dallas and Cole’s (Nash’s siblings from the Blood Brothers series) stories to tell! Which I’m hoping to complete that series next year. 

Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in Bound?

Nash Holmes is dark and dangerous. He’s a bit over confident, which cripples him when he comes face-to-face with Lexi. This super strong heroine drop-kicks Nash out of his comfort zone and it’s entertaining to watch unfold. Nash struggles because he’s used to holding the upper hand, but Lexi is way ahead of him on that count. Lexi has her own sufferings though. She’s hell-bent on destruction and is surprised when the man she should despise actually softens her.

How did you come up with the concept and characters for the book?

The idea of a secret society was always fascinating to me. Once I started researching, Nash’s character came to mind. A man who’s loyal to the organization, but has his own line of morale that he won’t cross.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

I loved the instant fire between Nash and Lexi. Not just the sexual tension that starts on page one, but the depths of each of their internal wounds.

Who designed your book covers?

Covers by Combs and she did a phenomenal job!

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

No! Lol. I don’t like the idea of having any regrets. Once I write a book, I don’t read it outside of editing, because there would be something I would want to change that would drive me nuts.

If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?

Oh, fun question! I could see Olivia Wilde playing Lexi. The male lead is a tough because I have a mega crush on Chris Hemsworth, and although he doesn’t look anything like Nash I’d maybe pick him in hopes of meeting him, lol.

How did you come up with name of this book?

Nash, the male lead, was adopted by the grand chancellor of Lionsgate Kinship. As a teenager he’s felt somewhat indebted and forever bound to the brotherhood. Bound relates to his internal and external struggles with his upbringing and life choices.

What is your favorite part of this book and why?

Without giving anything away, there’s a particular memory in Bound that Nash shares with Lexi. It was emotional for me to write as it’s a memory my dad had of his mom. Adding that to Nash’s character was very meaningful to me and I think that’s why it’s my favorite.

Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story?

I’d say the characters hijack the story. I had a rough idea of the conflicts, but wrote this book without really knowing what the next chapter would hold. It was really just a matter of letting the characters react naturally and seeing where that took the book.

Convince us why you feel your book is a must read.

Bound has a little bit of everything. It has the suspense that will keep the pages turning, parts that will tug your heart strings, a dash of humor, and of course, a whole lot of steam! Bound is the full package and you won’t want to miss these characters duke it out.

If your book had a candle, what scent would it be?

Vanilla and sandalwood.

Fun Facts/Behind the Scenes/Did You Know?’-type tidbits about the author, the book or the writing process of the book.

My husband, Jesse, is the type of person who knows something about everything. He’s fascinated with so many topics and which makes for some fun conversations between us. One being secret societies! The idea of a secret brotherhood was so fascinating to me that I had to run with it.

What are your top 10 favorite books/authors?

Lori Foster, Karen Robards, Lisa Jackson, Melinda Leigh, Megan March, Linda Howard, Sidney Sheldon.

How long have you been writing?

For as long as I can remember!

What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book?

Very little, lol. I jump in and write, then research as I go.

Do you see writing as a career?

Absolutely. There’s nothing else in the world for me except being a mom!

Do you read yourself and if so what is your favorite genre?

My favorite genre is romantic suspense (shocker). But I also love dark romance and paranormal romance. As long as there’s a love story and some heart-pounding moments, I’m in!

Do you prefer to write in silence or with noise? Why?

Silence because my head is just too loud, haha.

Do you write one book at a time or do you have several going at a time?

This might be a quirky quality, but I’m completely strict about finishing what I start. Not just with writing, but life in general. So I won’t start—or even read—another book while I’m in the process of creating.

Pen or type writer or computer?

Computer! My wrist would cramp in ten minutes if I wrote by pen, and my hand wouldn’t be able to keep up with the words.

What made you want to become an author and do you feel it was the right decision?

My love for romantic suspense made me want to become an author. I hated waiting for my favorite authors to release books, so I decided to write exactly what I love to read. I’ve always known in my heart that writing is my path in this life. I don’t doubt for a second that it’s the right decision. Even if everyone hated my books, I’d still write them! Haha.

A day in the life of the author?

My six-year-old is up with the sun every day, but thankfully she’s an independent girl and will make herself breakfast and watch TV while I sleep in a bit. I workout at 6:30 and usually have time to shower before my three-year-old wakes up at 7:30 and chaos begins.

I make a quick and nutritious breakfast, either sourdough raisin bread or plain yogurt and berries—sometimes we make smoothies or fresh juices if the kids are feeling it. I try to do homeschooling first thing in the morning. My just-turned six-year-old is a fantastic reader (surprise, surprise!) and this helps a lot because she can read her math and French lessons with little help. During this time, I occupy my three-year-old with tracing or sensory activities. Then the kids play while I do the one thing that consumes the majority of my day—clean!

We hit up the park late morning, come home for lunch, and then the kids watch a movie in the afternoon while I squeeze in a bit of work. I often use this time to edit my critique partner’s chapters or do other non-writing tasks that I don’t have the stamina for in the evenings. When the movie is done, we take our puppy Ragnar for a walk, or go for a quick bike ride. The kids then play in the backyard while I make supper. I’m a stickler for bedtime, so we get ready for bed right when they finish eating and lights are out before 7:00 p.m. Routine is especially important for us because my husband travels for work, so it’s just the kids and I for part of the month! Once the kids are down, I focus on writing.

Advice they would give new authors?

No one has “time” nowadays. All we can do is make time. I find getting enough rest, working out, and being active with the kids, actually allows me to be more productive with writing. I’ve also learned that it’s not about how much “time” we have, but what we do with that time. For example, I could have my kids with grandma all day, and I might only write 500 words. But when I’m focused, and have nothing else on my plate and don’t allow for distractions, I can do that in ten minutes. Work with what you have and don’t be afraid to remove things/people that don’t serve you.

Describe your writing style.

Freestyle? Pantser? Definitely not organized plotting and planning, but as long as I have the characters firmly in mind, it works out great.

What makes a good story?

For me, a good romantic suspense keeps me on the edge of your seat. I love books that I get sucked into and can’t put down. The romance is where it’s at! I want my characters to love each other despite their circumstances and to fight for what they want—all the while trying to stay alive, haha!

What is your writing process? For instance do you do an outline first? Do you do the chapters first?

I don’t do an outline, but I often wrap my head around the initial concept and then just start writing. Sometimes I don’t even do that and I just start the book off where the first spark of inspiration hit and see where it goes!

What is your writing Kryptonite?

My kitchen. I love to cook and am always making fresh sourdough bread, homemade applesauce and other dishes for my family. It’s easy to lose many hours a day in the kitchen.

Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

I always strive to write something original, but I also feel like I don’t have much say in what happens. My imagination takes the book where it’s destined to go and the characters dictate that direction.

What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?

I love writing male characters! I don’t know why, but it comes easy to me. Maybe because the male energy I write is brash and I don’t need to overthink it, haha.

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

If I’m extremely focused, I can write a full-length novel in 8-10 weeks.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

I don’t necessarily think of it as a block. But I have periods of the month where I slump and other periods where I’m highly productive. I keep meaning to see if astrology patterns have much to do with this or if it’s just the way I am, lol. But I’ve never been consistently blocked. I sense when my mind needs a break, which means I switch my focus to editing and other productive elements, and then the driving need to be creative returns.

Would you like a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card? Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

Meet Author A.K. Smith #giveaway

Full of wanderlust and a professional sunset watcher, A.K. Smith writes twisty suspense books that will keep you up late. Her debut novel, A Deep Thing was awarded the Readers Favorite Gold Medal. A freelance travel writer (under another name), she loves to experience the world, and discover new settings to feature in her latest novels and articles. If she’s not on the water or in the water, she is looking at the water. She spends her days working remotely online in either Mexico on the Sea of Cortez, or in the desert or forests of Arizona. Beautiful settings provide thousands of story ideas that she can’t wait to get down on paper. She is convinced, her best life is with a beach, a blanket, and a book.  Her big loves are her husband, family, friends, and kindness. Her goal is to step foot on every continent on Planet Earth (maybe even the moon) –she’s slowly getting there.

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Bookbub * Amazon * Goodreads

Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?

I’m a freelance travel writer and have written travel books, and travel articles for the last fifteen years. My favorite books to read are full of twisty suspense, and if they have a beach, an island, or an ocean in the setting, I’m in. I guess you write what you love to read, and both of my published books have settings by the ocean, intertwined with unique places to visit. My debut novel, A Deep Thing, was traditionally published by a small press less than five years ago. My new release, Pseudocide, is independently published by my publishing company, Books with Soul® Press. Books With Soul has published over 400 gift books, including children’s books, travel books and inspirational journals.

What is something unique/quirky about you?

 I work remotely from the beautiful Sea of Cortez in Mexico and the desert of Arizona. For my first book, A Deep Thing, I dove the beautiful cenotes of the Yucatan, so I could accurately write about them in my novel. My husband and I took 99 vacations in three years, and I wrote a book about how it is possible on a working budget.

Where were you born/grew up at?

I grew up in a small Western Pennsylvania town outside of Pittsburgh. Although, I have lived in over ten states and two countries.

If you knew you’d die tomorrow, how would you spend your last day?

Wow, that’s a tough question to answer, unless I could be like the main character in my book, Pseudocide and just fake my death and start all over again.

What are you passionate about these days?

Kindness, traveling, and sunsets. If I’m not on the water, in the water, or walking on the beach, I’m probably looking at the water. Now that traveling is back, I am passionate about my quest to step foot on every continent and explore this planet. I’m slowly getting there.

What do you do to unwind and relax?

I love to stream twisty series or movies especially if they have an island or beach in them. I think there should be more series and movies with boats, oceans and unique destinations. That goes for books as well.

Describe yourself in 5 words or less!

Beach lover writer who loves kindness…whoops that’s six.

Which of your novels can you imagine made into a movie?

I can imagine my first novel, A Deep Thing, would make a great twisty adventure thriller, complete with islands, diving, and a college campus with a secret tunnel underneath. My second novel Pseudocide, I imagine as a young adult series, with gorgeous bay settings, thick green woods, and the shiny lights of Las Vegas.

What are your top 10 favorite books/authors?

To me that is harder than stating my favorite movie. I love books that take me on a journey and surprise me.

I’m a fan of Karen M. McManus, One of is Lying and Lauren Oliver’s, Panic. I love books that put females in the center of every story.

The Handmaids Tale, by Margaret Atwood is right up there with The Help and I loved Janet Fitch’s book, White Oleander, and the classic, To Kill a Mockingbird. I’ve read every Nicholas Sparks book and loved every minute of The Firm and A Time to Kill, by John Grisham

American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins and Wool series by Hugh Howey and Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens are some recent favorites. I also love Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine Book Selections that focus on women authors and female protagonists.

What book do you think everyone should read?

Well, A Deep Thing or Pseudocide by A.K. Smith would be great to be on everyone’s list, if a writer doesn’t believe their book should be on everyone’s list, no one else will.

How long have you been writing?

I have journaled and created stories since I was a kid. But, in the last ten years, I made it a priority. Making it a priority and acting on it made it happen.

Do the characters all come to you at the same time or do some of them come to you as you write? I try to create character sketches of my main characters before I write, but as the story develops, some characters creep in and I have to include them.

What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book?

I am a researcher. In fact, the more I research the more ideas flow. It’s gathering the research together that develops my story. I read books, watch movies, and google everything!

Do you see writing as a career?

Yes, it is what I love to do, and I hope I can do it the rest of my life as a successful career.

What do you think about the current publishing market?

What I think, is there are so many great books out there, that is often difficult to get your book to stand out.But, if you can find enough fans, and you have a great story something good can happen.

Do you read yourself and if so what is your favorite genre?

Yes, I love to read, and I will read most fiction genres where I can learn something or go somewhere or that opens my mind to. My go to genre is twisty suspense– especially if it has a beach, an island, or an ocean as it’s setting. I also love magical realism and a twist of sci-fi. I love adventure stories with heart, that introduce me to somewhere new.

Do you prefer to write in silence or with noise?

I love the focus playlist on Spotify. However, sometimes I like to make a playlist for each book.

Why? My books playlist is something I share with my characters, my readers and they help set the mood or setting of the book. They also bring back great memories.

Do you write one book at a time, or do you have several going at a time?

Oh, I have several going at a time and then pick one to focus and finish.

If you could have been the author of any book ever written, which book would you choose?

I read The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks for the first time when I was young, and it was such a great story, that I wished I would have written it. But, I also remember my first Dean Koontz novel, Whispers which made me so tense, that I wondered how I could make someone feel those emotions from words on paper.

Pen or type writer or computer?

Wow, Computer all the way, I can’t imagine pen, I wouldn’t be able to read my own handwriting.

A day in the life of the author?

Writing is a very solitary job. Mix it up, set a schedule to write then get up and move around and then stick to your writing schedule.

Advice they would give new authors?

 Don’t give up, keep writing

What is your writing process? For instance do you do an outline first? Do you do the chapters first?

I have tried both outlining and writing with a general idea of plot. I think a rough outline works best for me, however outlines morph into their own path as I write. I believe every new writer should try out both methods, to see what works for them.

What are common traps for aspiring writers?

I think giving up is a common trap. My advice is to go somewhere quiet, set a 30-minute alarm on your phone and just write. If it’s going well, do another 30 minutes, schedule this in every day and by the end of 6 months you will probably have a rough draft. A common mistake is thinking once you have the rough draft your novel is done. Oh, it’s only just begun, but at least you have something to work with. Don’t give up and don’t let others bring you down. Also, you must work with a good editor.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Wow, if I could time travel, I would tell my young self to start writing a book in high school. Would I listen? Hopefully. Imagine how many books I could have written if I only started when I was younger!

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

 If I could write fulltime, I could finish a novel in 3-6 months, but unfortunately life and other priorities get in the way. My two completed books have taken several years. My other suggestion, is to try to keep writing even when you are working on the finished rough draft, spend a little time on the next one, even if it’s just doing the research for an hour a day.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

Absolutely does not exist in my mind, not having enough time to write is my only block.

What inspired you to write Pseudocide

There are numerous stories in history of men and women faking their death and starting over again. As technology progresses, and humans create more and more digital footprints, it will become difficult to accomplish this. We are tracked by our digital footprints.

Because of technology, and for the integrity of the story, my main character had to be young. Digital footprints of an adult are much harder to erase. The first few drafts were written before the pandemic, and as the pandemic of 2020 exploded, I tried to rewrite the manuscript and set it during pandemic times. It didn’t work. In the year of the pandemic, we are all more connected by technology than ever before, even children with online learning. So, the novel starts right before the pandemic.

As I googled ‘how to fake your death’, ‘gun violence” and ‘radical and domestic terrorism’ theories, I was concerned what my digital footprint must look like! My wish is to take my readers on a journey from Sunday’s point of view. I hope this book makes you feel. There are strong social issues such as bullying, racism, sexual assault, domestic abuse, and gun violence, which unfortunately are all too real in today’s world. For anyone who has experienced any of those issues, please know you are not alone. Talk to someone. There are resources in the back of the book to help anyone who needs to talk.

What can we expect from you in the future?

I’m working on a twisty suspense novel, set on a true to life island in the middle of the sea, with a medical school. I will be visiting that island for background and research.

How did you come up with the concept and characters for the book?

The definition of Pseudocide is “faking one’s death”. Thoughts of writing Pseudocide began in 2015. I read an article about a man who faked his death, and then got caught. I reasoned, if I were ever going to fake my own death, I would never get caught. Why would one want to fake their death? Typically to start over, to escape something terrible.

Where did you come up with the names in the story?

I used interesting names I like; I always thought the name Sunday was a great name. Sometimes, I use friends or family members names (with their permission) and give that character a trait or two of that person and then mix it in with something completely off-the-wall.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

 I enjoyed creating the twists. I constantly asked myself, now what else can go wrong?

Tell us about your main characters- what makes them tick?

Sunday the protagonist is a good person in a bad situation. Regardless of what terrible circumstances life is throwing at her, she has a drive to succeed and change her destiny. Unfortunately, bad things happen to good people, but it’s what you do after, that counts.

How did you come up with the title of your first novel?

 My first book, A Deep Thing was easy. The setting is almost like a character. Cenotes are beautiful luminescent deep underground caves; plus, there’s a deeper message to this thriller. It really is–a deep thing.

If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?

A young Miley Cyrus type actress would be perfect.

Anything specific you want to tell your readers?

Pseudocide deals with strong social issues teens and adults face every day. I think part of the solution of getting past these issues is understanding and knowing they are out there, not censoring them.

How did you come up with name of this book?

 I was fascinated with the word Pseudocide. I want readers to have to think about the word and what it means. Most people do not know what the definition is. I thought about calling the book, Playing Dead or You’re not really dead, are you? But I pictured the cover and just couldn’t change it.

What is your favorite part of this book and why?

 I love the ending, but I can’t tell you why or I would be spoiling the conclusion.

If you could spend time with a character from your book whom would it be?

Oh, I would like to spend a day with Hudson. I printed out a picture of him from the internet that captured Hudson, he was sitting in front of me when I wrote his chapters.

 And what would you do during that day? Well, if you read the book, you would understand, I would like to go on “Hudson’s Ten Buck Tour” in Las Vegas.

Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination? My imagination, mixed in with a little reality. I worked at an Alice Paul House Crisis Center in graduate school in Indiana, Pa. Unfortunately, I witnessed abuse and sad stories. But, I also witnessed strong teens and women that become survivors with a story to tell, and a strong ladder to climb. Teens, women, and any person that has been a victim of abuse need to know they are not alone. They are survivors, their story might just help someone else out.

Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story? My characters definitely jumped off the page, right before my very eyes and there was a little bit of hijacking going on. One character who wasn’t supposed to be the good guy initially, talked me out of making him the bad guy.

Convince us why you feel your book is a must read.

I think teen social issues should be addressed at home and in school. Discussion of issues is healthy and helpful. If Sunday’s story makes the reader feel, or learn one small thing about understanding troublesome situations, then this is a must read. If the readers are surprised at the outcome, then perhaps they opened their mind to the what if’s.

If your book had a candle, what scent would it be?

Well, my character Sunday could answer that question in a heartbeat, as she has an extraordinary sense of smell. A mix of woods and sea with cinnamon and dryer sheets.

Is there a writer which brain you would love to pick for advice?

Oh, I would go straight to the top and pick J.K. Rowling’s mind. What a fascinating mind to pick.

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Book Burgling Blood Magic by Gretchen S.B. #giveaway

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Book Burgling Blood-Magic (Jas Bond Book 3) by Gretchen S.B.

Genre: Urban Fantasy

The last thing I need, is the book everybody wants…

When a volume eight of Geysers Journals falls into my lap I’m left with a conundrum. Do I hold onto it and try to get the most money out of it I possibly can, shoring up my finances for at least a year? Or do I get rid of it as quickly as possible in an effort to avoid any more attempts on my life? To me, the choice is obvious. But what am I supposed to do when the buyer isn’t who they seem, and I end up getting stiffed? Then I get a frantic call about my dog. Cheat me out of a heck of a lot of money and I’ll angrily grumble but come after Bailey and you and I have a problem.

Some books bring a heck of a lot of trouble. See what’s in store in Book Burgling Blood-Magic.

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Gretchen spawned in the Puget Sound region. After some wandering she returned there and now lives with her husband and the daintiest Rottweiler on the planet. When not drowning herself in coffee, as is custom in the Greater Seattle Area, Gretchen can be found at her day job or sitting at her desk in the home office, flailing her arms as she dictates to her computer.

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Anna Stewart ~ Author Interview

USA Today and national bestselling author Anna J Stewart writes sweet to spicy romances for Harlequin and ARC Manor’s Caezik Romance. Her sweet Heartwarming books include the Butterfly Harbor series as well as the ongoing Blackwell continuity series. She is also the author of the Honor Bound series for Harlequin Romantic Suspense and contributes to the bestselling continuity series, the Coltons. Her second Butterfly Harbor romance, RECIPE FOR REDEMPTION, was optioned as a TV movie and aired as CHRISTMAS RECIPE FOR ROMANCE in 2019 on UpTV.

Check out our interview on YouTube:

Check out BRIDE ON THE RUN below!

(Click on the cover image to order your copy)

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Finding true love…
In the unlikeliest places!

Sienna Fairchild never imagined she’d be a runaway bride. Or that she’d stow away on a worn-down boat belonging to handsome tour operator Monty Bettencourt. Monty’s used to navigating rough seas, but Sienna might overturn his whole life, and avoiding drama is tough in such close quarters! If Sienna’s sure she doesn’t know what she wants, then why does running away feel so much like coming home?

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Meet Author K.J. Gillenwater

K. J. Gillenwater has a B.A. in English and Spanish from Valparaiso University and an M.A. in Latin American Studies from University of California, Santa Barbara. She worked as a Russian linguist in the U.S. Navy, spending time at the National Security Agency doing secret things. After six years of service, she ended up as a technical writer in the software industry.

She has lived all over the U.S. and currently resides in Wyoming with her family where she runs her own business writing government proposals and squeezes in fiction writing when she can.

In the winter she likes to ski and snowshoe; in the summer she likes to garden with her husband, take walks with her dogs, and take trips into the Big Horn Mountains nearby. She has written multiple books, including several short story collections.

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What is something unique/quirky about you?

I am multi-lingual. I studied Spanish all through high school, made it one of my majors in college, I studied abroad in Mexico my sophomore year and then got a master’s degree in Latin American Studies. Then, I joined the Navy and went to the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California where they taught me Russian.

Then, I got an assignment to the National Security Agency at Fort Meade in Maryland where I held a top-secret security clearance and did things of which I cannot speak!

It sounds more exciting than it actually was…as some of my fellow sailors ended up on submarines or on recon flights picking up signals and translating, while I was just sitting behind a desk in a room with no windows for three years. LOL.

How long have you been writing?

I have been writing for almost 20 years now. Since my children were very little. I’ve always wanted to be an author, but didn’t think I had a full-length book in me. When NaNoWriMo was barely anything, I read about it in the newspaper of all things, and I thought I’d give it a try. I had never written a full book, only short stories, and wanted to give it a go. I had no plot in mind, I just sat down at my computer and made myself write whatever I wanted to.

I ended up with almost 40,000 crappy words written that November, which turned into a book I finished. But it will stay on my hard drive never to see the light of day. Really, that’s the best place for it. Trust me!

From there, I followed my muse and eventually ended up with a publishing contract with Samhain Publishing for my paranormal suspense book, The Ninth Curse.

I took a break from writing for about eight years after a divorce to focus on my children as a single mother. But dove back into writing a few years ago with a passion and haven’t looked back since.

Describe your writing style.

I have been told my many an editor that I have ‘choppy’ style. I am not the kind of writer who writes long, gorgeous descriptive sentences. I think that is because I love writing action and suspense. And things happen quickly in those genres, so you don’t want to slow down the action with lots of words.

Editors will usually combine my sentences into one connected piece, which I typically accept. But this is how the story comes out of my head and onto paper, so it can feel a bit strange to smooth things out for the reader.

If I can keep a bit of the choppy, I will do it! LOL.

I also have a great fear of writing something ‘corny.’ Not sure how people decide if something is corny or not. I want realistic dialogue and realistic thinking and decision-making. Maybe I’m not successful to some readers, but I want them to know it is important to me to be as real as I can when I’m writing my scenes and characters.

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. That means, when you purchase a book using an Amazon link on this site, I earn an affiliate commission. All commission earnings go back into funding my books; editing, cover design, etc.

If your book Illegal was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?

Oh, what author doesn’t fantasize about her book being picked up for film?

When I started writing Illegal I wanted it to be like a romance version of The Bourne Identity. Selena is a quick thinker who has some guts, and she takes this embassy worker on race across Mexico to get away from bad guys who come after her for a reason unknown to her. So a very similar feel to The Bourne Identity when Jason wakes up with no memory of who he is and must figure things out alone and on the run.

For the heroine, I’d love to see someone like Lindsay Morgan, Raven from The 100, play Selena. She can play tough, smart and sexy all at the same time. And for the hero? Well, in my mind he looked just like Jensen Ackles from the early days of Supernatural, but I suppose he’s getting too old to play Wyatt. Guess I’m showing my age with my casting! LOL. So, I guess Connor Jessup, Tyler in Locke & Key on Netflix, would be a better age match and has a similar look to me.

But seriously, I wouldn’t be picky. I’d be over the moon if Hollywood came knocking and wanted to take my book and film-ify it!

What is your favorite part of your book Illegal and why?

My favorite part of Illegal is when the two of them, Selena and Wyatt, become separated (I won’t give away how or why). That’s when the action and danger really picks up. I so much enjoy writing scenes with a lot of tension and drama. So once I build up the background of the story and introduce these characters, to put them in a horrible situation and just let ‘em go is so much fun for me as an author.

Also, at that point in the book, a lot of secrets are revealed and questions are answered. Everything comes together in a big explosive WOW ending…I want my readers to love that part as much as I do.

What inspired you to write your book Illegal?

A news story inspired me, plus my own background and experiences. I read a news story about a young man who had been deported to Mexico. He’d lived most of his life in the United States, but had been born in Mexico and had been brought to the U.S. illegally as a child. He was struggling to survive in a country that he had no memories of and in which he had few connections. I couldn’t even imagine being in his situation and thought about how I would handle such a shock.

In college, I was a Spanish major and had studied at La Universidad de las Americas in Puebla, Mexico for a semester. So I have an affinity for Mexico and did a lot of traveling by bus all over the country when I was there. I seem to be drawn to Mexico as a setting for my books…as I have another contemporary romance set in Acapulco. I imagined a story that would intertwine this immigration theme with some of the other problems Mexico currently suffers from…the drug trade, cartel wars, police corruption. It had all the elements of a really suspenseful story.

After I wrote most of the book, I wanted to find out more about our immigration laws, how that affects people here in the U.S. and what their options are to become legal citizens. I enlisted the help of a really lovely immigration attorney from southern California to ensure the details of my book were accurate to the laws we have now.

My hope is that readers will be entertained by my story of Selena and Wyatt, but also learn something in the process.

What can we expect from you in the future?

I currently am working on several projects at once, as my mind wants to jump to the next new thing. It’s fun to juggle projects, so I never get bored of a story. I can always write a scene in a book that my creative self wants to write and then write something else in another book as the muse directs me.

My main projects are:

  • The Genesis Machine. This is a work of serialized fiction that will be available in the new Kindle Vella app that will be coming online soon. I describe it as: ‘when NCIS meets the X-files.’ It’s a science fiction technothriller with some romance.
  • Aurora’s Winter. This is a sequel to my book Aurora’s Gold. It takes place in Nome, Alaska and features an underwater gold dredging heroine who falls in love with a damaged Navy veteran with a past. Its part adventure, part suspense, part romance and will be a trilogy of books when I’m done. This book should be out by the end of 2021 if all goes according to plan.
  • Revenge Honeymoon. This is a contemporary romance with a rom-com feel to it. A woman gets left at the altar and decides to take her maid-of-honor on the honeymoon cruise she’d booked for her and her fiancé. The cruise is for honeymooners only, so there are some misunderstandings and fun things that will happen as these two women come to grips with their love lives and their decisions. And, of course, we will have a cute romance!

What is your writing process? For instance do you do an outline first? Do you do the chapters first?

I started out as a full-on pantster. I plotted nothing. I started with an idea for a book, an opening scene and knowing where I wanted to end things. The rest was up to me to figure out along the way. This resulted in a long, painful writing process, and I’d get stalled out…sometimes for months. I think it took me two years to write The Ninth Curse from beginning to end, including the edits.

Then, I went on a writers’ cruise several years ago, just as I was getting back into writing again. The speaker said this: if you are a pantster, you will eventually become a plotter.

I mulled that one over and wondered if my difficulties lay in the fact I didn’t at least come up with a simple plot ahead of time. Since that time, I have attempted to refine my process. I have written simple outlines of 1 to 3 pages to give me at least a path to follow. Sometimes I expand on that outline to get into the deeper elements of the story, which has seemed to help me with my writing.

I wrote Illegal in about seven months from beginning to end, so maybe this has helped! I used the process outlines in Romancing the Beat by Gwen Hayes for that one. And I recommend that book to anyone who might be struggling with the plotting or pacing of a romance.

But these days I am of the mindset that I write what I feel like writing. That is why I now juggle multiple books at once. I have ideas in my head that get me excited, where before I’d see them as distractions from completing the current project I was working on. I see these ideas as a ‘strike while the iron is hot’ opportunity. Whenever I come up with an idea or a scene, I write it. No matter if it’s out of order from the plot of if I’m in the middle of writing something else.

I want to encourage my creative side more by getting as much as possible down on paper while it’s in my head. I also have started to use a voice-to-text app on my phone and tablet when I don’t have time to type things up.

In fact, I’m writing a whole three-book series (at least I think it will be a three-book series) using voice-to-text 95% of the time. I want to stop limiting myself, slowing myself down and getting in the way of my creative brain. I am trying whatever I can to get down those ideas on paper as quickly as possible.

My goal for the next year is to finish five separate projects. I don’t know if I can do it, but I sure as hell want to try!

Would you like a chance to win a $15 Amazon gift card? Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

Remember My Name by Laurencia Hoffman #giveaway

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. That means, when you purchase a book using an Amazon link on this site, I earn an affiliate commission. All commission earnings go back into funding my books; editing, cover design, etc.

Remember My Name

Remember My Name Series Book 1

by Laurencia Hoffman

Genre: Thriller, Suspense

Dark and twisted secrets mar Shane Coulter’s skin, and darken his fragile heart. Yet he keeps his nightmarish truth hidden from all those he holds dear with a smart mouth and abrasive attitude.

His first love, Callan Reid, refuses to accept Shane’s tough exterior. Convinced something truly horrific lurks beneath Shane’s defenses, Callan vows to uncover the truth.

But some things are better left buried. As darkness from the past threatens to be brought to light, there are those who would kill to prevent it. Can Callan break down Shane’s walls? Or will digging into the past come with deadly consequences?

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Laurencia Hoffman specializes in various sub-genres of romance. Her stories often focus on the darker side of fiction, but love and survival remain the central themes throughout her work.

When she’s not writing, she also enjoys playing video games with her family, listening to music, satisfying her sweet tooth, and watching films.

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Would you like a chance to win a $15 Amazon gift card? Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

Remember His Name (Remember My Name Series Book 2)

Born an Empath, the intrusive feelings of others force themselves into the forefront of Wren Stafford’s mind and haunt his dreams.

For a time, he thought he put the pain of his past behind him when he met the love of his life.

But fate had far more cruel plans.

He tried to warn his husband, Henry; begged him not to ignore his predictions of the terrible atrocities to come. Then Henry was found murdered, and Wren was named as the prime suspect.

Harassed by the police and condemned by the public, Wren hunts for his husband’s killer amid being plagued by nightmares of his own grisly death. Time is running out. Can he unravel the clues within his visions in time to stop the killer? Or is he destined to become the next victim?

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I am happy to be one of many tour hosts sharing information about Remember My Name by Laurencia Hoffman.

NIGHTSHADE by Dr. Stuart Knott

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Who is Nightshade?

That’s the question that has gripped the townsfolk of Westbridge, a perilous borough in the Midlands beset by knife crime, drugs, and violence.

Who is Nightshade?

That’s the question that has dogged Blake Harte, a sadistic thug and co-founder of the Cougars, the most violent and dangerous gang in Westbridge’s history.

Who is Nightshade?

That’s the question that has tormented Chris Hauser, a troubled teenager pushed to the edge and lashing out with uncharacteristic aggression.

Who is Nightshade?
A teen pushed to the edge. A town on the brink. Both about to change forever. A life-changing event leads Chris Hauser to adopt a vigilante persona and sets him on a collision course with anarchy.

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Dr. Stuart Knott is a lifelong fan of horror, science-fiction, and action films, he has spent much of his free time between working and studying writing stories of varying length and quality. Having completed his PhD, he now applies his skills to critiquing the media he loves so much and has been branching out into self-publishing his stories through Amazon. 
Much of his writing comes from his own sordid imagination or is inspired heavily by his life and the people and events he has encountered and witnessed. At its core, his writing seeks to take the normal, everyday, and the mundane and introduce a fantastical element to it, be it horrific or dangerous, and focuses on dark humor and character-building.

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What is the name of your most recent book and if you had to sum it up in 20 or fewer words, what would you say? 
It’s titled Nightshade: The Inception. It’s a thriller, something of a coming-of-age tale, in which a troubled teenager adopts a vigilante persona. 

Is the above book part of a series? 
It’s not, no, though all of my works are tangentially related in some ways. 

How did you come up with the cover? Who designed the cover of your book(s)? 
I made it myself using a website called Canva. It’s a really good, user-friendly website for creating banners and logos and book covers and has some great options on there for independent authors like myself who can’t necessarily afford to pay for a cover to be created. 

I came up with it through wanting to use a simple, central image to kind of define one of the themes of the book: anarchy. I wanted something simple but also quite memorable and striking and I’m really happy with how it turned out. 

Did you listen to any particular songs while writing your book(s)? 
Absolutely, yes. I always have a few songs on the go when I’m writing, if not an entire playlist, but Nightshade: The Inception was started way back in about 2004-ish, when my love for nu-metal was really starting to blossom, so I listened to a lot of songs by bands like Linkin Park, Adema, and Disturbed.   As I edited and finalised the book, though, I was listening to Cold, Five Finger Death Punch, and Breaking Benjamin and basically anything that conjured up the feelings I was trying to evoke in the book. I actually put together a playlist on YouTube if people are interested: 

How did you come up with the title for your book(s)? 
The title actually has been pretty consistent over the years. It began really basic as Project: Mask and then, once I settled on the character’s vigilante persona, I knew that “Nightshade” had to be front and centre. When I started to finalise it for publication, I added the “The Inception” subtitle to indicate that it was the origin/beginnings of this character and to naturally leave the door open for potential follow-ups. 

Do you have a book trailer? If so, where can we watch it? 
I do, actually, yes. I cobbled it together on a website called Biteable and it can be viewed here: 

In your latest novel, who is the lead character and can you tell us a little about him/her? 
So my main character is Christian “Chris” Hauser, a nineteen-year-old boy who live sin the fictional town of Westbridge in the United Kingdom. He’s very much based on me at that age; generally a sarcastic and insightful character, his personality has shifted into uncharacteristic glumness and angst following a difficult break-up. Usually the cool-headed one, he lets his emotions overwhelm him and these drive him towards a somewhat self-destructive and violent path. He struggles a lot to reconcile these emotions, distancing himself from friends and family somewhat, and has quite an in-depth internal dialogue where he tries to come to terms with the impact his actions have on those around him. 

What is your character’s greatest strengths? 
His loyalty to his friends and family, for one, and his willingness to set aside his own issues and problems for others. What’s more paramount though is how selfless the character often is; even though his actions are often out of anger or selfish motivations, he always tries to do the right thing and I think that’s very important to his growth in the book. 

And what are his/her greatest weaknesses? 
He’s far too sensitive for his own good, for one thing. He’s also young; while he might see things differently and have a logical head on his shoulders compared to his friends, he’s still a teenager and hasn’t yet realised how things can be sometimes so he has a steep learning curve in the book. What are some of his/her favorite foods?
He’s based on me so he loves a greasy cheeseburger and big, chunk chips/fries.  

What’s a positive quality that your character is unaware that he or she has?
He doesn’t realise how much of a positive impact he has on people; he just kind of sees himself as “there” and not as a pivotal element in his friendship circle or even in the town once he starts going out in a mask and such. Things very quickly spiral out of control for him, which makes things a bit intense and scary for him, but he goes largely unaware of how much his actions affect the criminal element of Westbridge until probably the very end of the book. 

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why? 
I hope they do like him. He’s meant to be flawed and vulnerable and sympathetic; he routinely chastises himself and his actions so even if he does something wrong it’s not really from a place of malice. I try to make him layered and complex so that he could be someone you know and surround him with characters who don’t have quite the same balance of emotion and logic as he does so he appears more grounded even when he’s losing control.  

What first gave you the idea for your latest book? 
A very similar event happened to me that Chris goes through; I had a rough break-up and turned those feelings inwardly in destructive ways and writing was a good way of coming to terms with those conflicting feelings. I also read a lot of comic books and watch a lot of superhero movies and one big influence on my book was the film adaptation of The Crow, a fantastically dark and gritty urban story. As the years went by the likes of Kick-Ass and Super came out and I was excited at how similar they were in their premise to my book, so they may have influenced me later in the edits. 

What is your writing style like? Are you a pantster or a plotter? 
“Pantster”? I like that! But no, I’m definitely a “plotter”. I get the germ of an idea, jot out the basic premise, then map out the main characters a bit before deciding on how the story will go and then, once I have a rough idea of the chapters, I start to break down what’s going to happen and when and let it evolve from there. 

Have you come across any specific challenges in writing or publishing? What would you do differently the next time?
So many when trying to publish! First of all there’s the fact that it is incredibly hard to get published traditionally as literary agents and publishers either just ignore you or aren’t interested. It wouldn’t be so bad if you were given some feedback but you rarely are and, if you do get feedback, it’s either very general or it’s a lot of different criteria that fundamentally change your work. 

Also there’s the threat of so-called “vanity publishers”, who try to woo you with praise and promises to publish your work and then ask for thousands of pounds/dollars with no guarantee of your work actually being published or successful. The marketing, too, can be very difficult; if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that “likes” and followers don’t equate to sales or reviews so you really have to be bold and network and put yourself out there constantly to get your work seen. 

Are you a self-published/Indie author or did you publish through a traditional publishing company?
I’m self-published. My dream/goal is to one day be traditionally published and see my book sitting on a shelf in a book shop (or even a thrift shop!) but it’s so hard to go that route. Self-publishing through Amazon is a much better solution, especially for independent authors.

If you’re a self-published/Indie author what made you go that route instead of the traditional publishing route? 
Not just because traditional publishing is almost impenetrable but also because self-publishing allows you to reach a lot of readers very quickly. E-books and Kindles and such have become tremendously popular and are very cheap to download so it’s great for independent authors who have a lot of short stories or novellas to get their work published. 

What’s the best advice that you have been given when it comes to writing? 
Just to stay the course and stay focused. It’s so easy to become disheartened or frustrated but you have to keep at it; plug your book, writing, and content as much as you can and reach out to other writers on social media to build a network. It all helps and will help to raise your author profile over time but, at the end of the day, nothing happens unless you make it happen so you have to do something. 

What advice would you give someone who wants to start writing?
Be prepared. Have a plan, do your research, and decide what route is best for you. Invest in an editor or proof-reader, fi you’re not confident at that, and in a cover, banner, and website as well if you think it’s going to help. Most of all, though: write! Even if you’re having a bad day, something is better than nothing and you can always turn a “bad” piece of writing into something positive. 

The Blind Affect by Michael Poeltl #giveaway

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The Blind Affect by Michael Poeltl

Genre: Literary Fiction

Diversity, inclusion, and equality are at the heart of this character-driven story. While difficult and heart-breaking lessons await Jonah, Severn, and Darnell in their own lives, a shared event along a similar timeline links all three despite their glaring differences. Caught in the gravity of the event, purpose presents itself and their shared blind affect validates the notion that no life is wasted.

The Blind Affect explores the purpose behind existence – the reason we take our first breath, and the rationale behind all the drama leading up to the moment we breathe our last. It is a walk on the wild side of family life and the events, people, and places that make us who we are.

As Jonah reflects on his life an asymmetrical pattern featuring a thousand shades of grey appears as if caught up in a fragmented kaleidoscope – the introduction of any colour negated for fear of denoting some appeal. He’d lived a fruitless existence built around fear and addiction, the blueprint to his life; his twin brother stillborn moments before Jonah’s birth. The guilt he harboured over his brother’s death kept him sedated. His mother’s overprotective parenting supported this inertia. An addict, Jonah struggled through life seeing multiple therapists over his seemingly endless issues until a chance meeting attempts to rewrite his abject history.

Severn was born in a Christian home with an alcoholic mother whose addiction became intolerable after Severn’s father died when she was ten. The affluent lifestyle she was accustomed to remained, but her family life collapsed soon after, leaving her to fend for herself. One fateful night in 1973 Severn was abducted, and any issues she’d had with her past paled in comparison to the life she was forced to endure.

Darnell had it tough his whole life. At 17 his abusive father was killed in a raid on his illegal business, while Darnell’s mother had been shot dead the year before. Discovering a large sum of money upon his father’s death offered Darnell the opportunity to flee his impoverished neighborhood and change his luck, and that of others along the way.
Lives are lived and lost ubiquitously, these three just so happened to be in the same city along a similar timeline. Can life be more than the sum of one’s own experiences?

Goodreads * Amazon

Born in Toronto, Canada, Poeltl went on to study fine art and illustration, honing his love for storytelling while working as a freelance illustrator. Soon the art of writing overtook his artistic pursuits and his stories found their voice.

Michael Poeltl is a multi-genre author with several books ranging from a post-apocalyptic trilogy, science fiction trilogy, upmarket fiction, children’s fantasy, picture books, and educational children’s books. Poeltl’s illustrations feature prominently in his picture books, connecting him to his artistic roots.

He enjoys the processes that drive creativity whether it appears as a conversation in his head while enjoying time outdoors in his kayak or mountain bike, or as a random thought that might otherwise be lost were it not for that napkin on the table or phone in his pocket. If the artistic endeavor has taught him anything, it’s that inspiration can happen anywhere and at any time. All he can hope to do is record it before it slips back into the ether.

Would you like a chance to win a $15 Amazon gift card or an ebook copy of The Blind Affect? Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

What is book club fiction? Upmarket fiction. What’s upmarket fiction? Commercial, literary fiction. Is commercial fiction a sell out? No, it’s sellable fiction. There’s a difference. It’s the sort of fiction people actually read. Literary fiction aspires more toward art than entertainment, but when it’s combined with commercial fiction, we call it upmarket fiction which in turn means book club fiction. What’s The Blind Affect? Upmarket fiction. No, we’re not going to go through all of that again.  

No, but really, what does The Blind Affect mean? It’s an artful description explaining the affect one feels upon learning of the impact their action had on a person, place, thing, or event. It’s the emotional and intellectual response to discovering how far-reaching your influence was. 

If you’re looking for a book that will keep your interest and excite conversation in your book club, this is the book for you. Why? Because it offers everything a book club wants to get excited about but rarely finds. Diversity, inclusion and equality are at the heart of this character-driven story. While difficult and heart-breaking lessons await Jonah, Severn and Darnell in their own lives, a shared event along a similar timeline intimately links all three despite their glaring differences. Caught in the gravity of the event, purpose presents itself and their shared blind affect validates the notion that no act goes unacknowledged.  

For better or worse, we’ve all more than one blind affect to experience before we make our exit, and if we’re lucky we’ll get to hear about them, and if we’re really lucky, we’ll hear that our action made a positive difference in someone’s life. 

Book clubs, unite! The Blind Affect is your ticket to a lot of pretty serious trigger warnings. Discover how three lives that travel in opposing circles could find a common, localized event that would change their lives forever and give birth to the phrase, The Blind Affect. 

I am happy to be one of many tour hosts sharing information about The Blind Affect by Michael Poeltl.