Ashley Chappell ~ Author Interview

We have a very special guest today, Ashley Chappell writes satire and young adult epic fantasy novels featuring expansive world-building and universes filled with magic, mayhem, and monsters!

Check out a few of Ashley’s books below!

(Click on the image to order your copy)

Check out our interview on YouTube:

Follow her on Social Media here:

Follow her home building journey by clicking HERE!


Amanda Orneck ~ Author Interview

We have a very special guest today, Amanda Orneck was raised in Southern California on a healthy diet of fantasy and science fiction. She grew up knowing from the time she was small that she wanted to be a writer. She wrote her first story at the age of five and began her first novel at eleven. While attaining a Bachelor’s in Creative Writing from USC, Amanda received the Middleton Fellowship for excellence in Poetry. Today she has one published SciFi novel and has recently begun following her renewed passion for Regency Historical Romance.  

Check out Amanda’s books below!

(Click on the image to order your copy)

Check out our interview on YouTube:

Follow her on Social Media here:


Richard Fierce ~ Author Interview

We have a very special guest today, Richard Fierce is a Fantasy and Space Opera author. He has published almost twenty books five of which were released this year!!!

Check out a few of Richard’s books below!

(Click on the image to order your copy)

Check out our interview on YouTube:

Follow him on Social Media here:


A.G. Porter ~ Author Interview

We have a very special guest today, A.G. Porter, the author of The Darkness Trilogy, a YA Paranormal Thriller.

This series includes The Shadow, The Forsaken, and The Redeemed.

(Click on the image to order your copy)

She also has two poetry collections (Pieces of My Heart and Pieces of My Soul).

She is very busy right now working on a spin-off of her The Darkness Trilogy characters, as well as a new YA Paranormal series, The Sacrifice of Ava Black, and her next poetry book.

 

Follow her on Social Media here:


Brian Finney ~ Author Interview

It’s always a pleasure when I get to welcome another author to my site to do an interview. Today, I got to interview Brian Finney, author of Money Matters.

Brian Finney, a professor of English, has published eight books on subjects ranging from a biography of Christopher Isherwood (awarded the James Tait Black Memorial Book Prize for the best work of non-fiction in 1979) to Terrorized: How the War on Terror Affected American Culture and Society, published on Amazon’s Kindle in 2011 and as a paperback in 2018. In 2019 he will be publishing his first novel, Money Matters, an unconventional detective novel in which a woman with no experience uncovers the whereabouts of a missing person with connections to the powerful CEO of a mutual fund company, a politician running for governor in California, and a drug cartel. Money Matters to be released on August 22, 2019.

Born in London, he obtained a BA at Reading University and a Ph.D. at the University of London. He spent three years as an officer in the Royal Air Force and five years in management at Joseph Lucas Electrical and Standard Telephones and Cables. In 1964 he transferred to the University of London where he taught and organized courses in the arts for its Department of Extra-Mural Studies.

In 1987 he emigrated to Southern California. After two years as a Visiting Professor at the University of California, Riverside and subsequent adjunct positions at UCLA and the University of Southern California, he became a full-time professor at California State University, Long Beach, where he is currently a Professor Emeritus in the Department of English.

He is married to fine art photographer J.K. Lavin and lives in Venice, California.


Money Matters by Brian Finney

She’s poor and naïve. They’re rich and dangerous.

At once a painful coming-of-age novel, an exciting amateur sleuth tale and an intriguing narrative involving social issues (immigration and wealth disparity), Money Matters has mystery at its core. This emotionally charged debut novel is firmly embedded in Los Angeles culture over the 2010 mid-term election.

Jenny, the 27-year-old inexperienced protagonist, faced with the tragic disappearance of a friend, is forced to take on financial tycoons, corrupt politicians and the treacherous Baja drug cartel in her search to uncover the truth.  Jenny’s investigation takes her into the twilight world of undocumented immigrants, which leads her to seek the help of the handsome director of an immigrant rights organization to whom she is strongly attracted. But will the deadly enmity of the rich and powerful thwart her search and end her budding romance?

Buy it on AMAZON today!


Let’s start by finding out a little bit about you…

What is your name and do you write under a pen name?

My name is Brian Finney, which is the name I write under.

Where do you call home?

I live in a 1908 craftsman house in Venice, which has been my home since 1987. Before that I lived in England.

Obviously, we know you are an author, but some writers have other jobs as well. Do you have another occupation? Do you believe you’re any good at it? Do you like what you do?

I am a retired Professor Emeritus of English. I enjoyed teaching in Southern California universities, especially at California State University Long Beach where I was a member of faculty from 1989-2015. So many of the students at Cal State have fought hard to make it there and they are a pleasure to teach.

What is your family like?

My wife is a professional art photographer, and we have a small mixed terrier rescue called Willow and an unusually affectionate black and white cat called Zia.

What kind of person do you wish you could be? What is stopping you?

I used to think that I wanted to be a film director. But I came to realize that movie directors have far less autonomy over the finished work than do authors. So I’m happy with what I chose.

Not to pry too much, but do you remember your first love?

I was about seven or eight when I first fell for a girl the same age. I remember leaving a love note for her in a known hiding place and that was about as far as the affair got.

What or who inspired you to start writing? And how long have you been writing?

After rebutting a poor parody of Samuel Beckett in a letter to the editor of the Irish Press, I was asked to write a short book about Beckett’s difficult later prose works. That led me to write to him, and then meet him in a Paris cafe when I clammed up for the first twenty minutes while he talked about productions of his plays.

Who is your role model?

In England after graduating I had to do national service, which I fulfilled as an Education Officer in the Royal Air Force. Occupying such a marginal role made me determined to enter the mainstream of business life. But after five years in industry, when I was offered the position of Factory Manager I realized that I would be trapped by that materialist world for life. Instead I took on a position at London University as tutor-organizer and went on to obtain a doctorate and turn full-time academic.

What is your favorite film based on a book?

Women in Love. Apart from The Rainbow, this is my favorite novel by D, H. Lawrence, whose shorter fiction was the subject of my PhD thesis. Ken Russell’s 1969 film was written by Larry Kramer who said that slightly over half the script was directly from the novel, and much of the rest came from Lawrence’s other writings. The settings are beautiful and Russell is strongest when representing strong emotions.

What is your favorite book genre at the moment?

It is and always has been narrative fiction. I spent much of my life teaching and writing about it, and now I am writing my own novels.

What book are you reading at the moment? And in what format?

I’m reading the paperback version of Michael Ondaatje’s In the Skin of the Lion, which is about the lives of immigrants building Toronto in the early 1900s.

Let’s shift somewhat and talk about your latest story.

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?

My latest book is Money Matters, a debut novel published in 2019. Brief description: A young woman disappears. Jenny with no experience as a detective investigates. Confrontations with big money and power leave her radically changed.

Is the Above book part of a series?

No.

How did you come up with the cover? Who designed the cover of your book(s)?

I had a clear idea of what I wanted for the cover. It was really well designed by Carl Graves, Extended Imagery.

How did you come up with the title for your book(s)?

A major theme of the novel is the power of big money in today’s American society. Money Matters is really two titles – matters of money ad money really matters. Once published it got listed among a lot of books counseling readers how to manage their money. Thank goodness I added a subtitle, A Novel.

Do you have a book trailer? If so, where can we watch it?

I have a four-minute preview of the audiobook of Money Matters on my website: https://www.bhfinney.com/books/money-matters/

In your latest novel, who is the lead character and can you tell us a little about him/her?

The narrator and lead character of Money Matters is Jenny. 27-years-old, she hasn’t got her life together. She has two part-time jobs and is renting a bedroom and bathroom from her rich realtor sister. In the course of her investigation she is forced to reject almost every aspect of her existing life and make her life anew.

What is your character’s greatest strengths?

She is kind-hearted, open-minded and opposes her materialist society.

And what are his/her greatest weaknesses?

She starts off being too compliant and lacks true self-knowledge.

What’s a positive quality that your character is unaware that he or she has?

Unlike her self-serving sister, she instinctually does things for others. In other words, she has a social consciousness that stands opposed to most characters’ desire for personal satisfaction even if it is at others’ expense.

What first gave you the idea for your latest book?

My latest book, a novel, dramatizes modern America’s substitution of conspiracy theories and untruths for facts. It is set in 2020 Oakland, California, and concerns a couple in their thirties who enter a crisis in their lives as the coronavirus spreads to the United States. I felt driven to write a novel that explored the parallels between the invasion of the external virus and of the virus of misinformation (the infodemic) that has infected so many aspects of our country.  

Let’s talk now about your writing process.

What is your writing style like? Are you a pantster or a plotter?

I’m both. I start off plotting the outline shape of my novel. But when I come to write each episode I turn into a pantster by allowing the characters and dialogue to dictate the direction it takes.

Have you come across any specific challenges in writing or publishing? What would you do differently the next time?

For Money Matters I allowed my development editor to erase any parts of the WIP that did not advance the action. But I don’t want to write a heavily plotted book. I want to write a work of fiction that is both a page-turner and raises larger issues that we all face in our lives today.

Are you a self-published/Indie author or did you publish through a traditional publishing company?

My last two books were self-published. Prior to them I wrote five critical books published by mainstream publishers, including an award-winning biography of Christopher Isherwood published by Faber & Faber and OUP New York.

If you’re a self-published/Indie author what made you go that route instead of the traditional publishing route?

Self-publishing my work gave me the freedom to control every aspect of the process, from matters of content and style to production and marketing. So for marketing Money Matters I employed Coriolis Company that has done an amazingly professional job promoting the book.

What’s the best advice that you have been given when it comes to writing?

Get an editor. A copy editor. A development editor. It’s worth the expense.

What advice would you give someone who wants to start writing?

Allow your characters to assume a semi-independent status. Let them determine what they would do or say in any situation. Don’t impose your own ideas on them or through them.

Where can my readers follow you? Please list links to any applicable websites and/or social media accounts.

Website | Instagram | Twitter


Author Interview – Esraa Yousry

I’d like to welcome Esraa Yousry, author of In Your Absence: Emerald Lover, to my site today.

Let’s start by finding out a little bit about you

  • What is your name and do you write under a pen name? My name is Esraa Yousry same name as my Pen Name 
  • Where do you call home? Besides my own house? In a library but of course, my house with my beloved family and my loved ones. 
  • Obviously, we know you are an author, but some writers have other jobs as well. Do you have another occupation? Do you believe you’re any good at it? Do you like what you do? I’m a designer, video editor, and screenwriter. I’m good at directing also.
  • What is your family like? When I say My family is the best I mean it. Incredibly, wonderfully, talented and loving. We’d die for each other. 
  • Do you have any hobbies, other than writing? What do you enjoy doing? Of course, astrology is my favorite hobby. I’m a Taurus so I love knowing more about Astrology.
  • Not to pry too much, but do you remember your first love? And how can I forget? even though we are not together anymore but I still respect him to this day. That’s all.
  • What is the most terrible thing that ever happened to you? That’s a hard question, many terrible things happened to me that I can’t even name one, honestly. 
  • What or who inspired you to start writing? And how long have you been writing? My family, that’s where it all began, they inspired me to start all of this. Professionally? for three or two years. As a hobby? maybe five years ago.
  • Who is your role model? My role model is Maya Angelou for sure. 
  • What is your greatest fear? My greatest fear is losing my loved ones. Maybe that’s why I’m overprotecting them, that sometimes they think that I’m controlling them.
  • Do you prefer e-books, paperbacks, hard-covers or audio-books? I’m more into paperbacks, hard-covers.
  • Have you ever read a book just based on its cover? Maybe once? you know they always say never judge a book by its cover, but I did once and it was the worst.
  • What is your favorite film based on a book? Let me be clear, I hate when books are turned into movies. It loses its identity. 
  • What is your favorite book genre at the moment? Literature. 
  • What books have made it onto your wish list recently? And why? I don’t have any on my wish list recently, I don’t know why or maybe It’s just me. But nothing really attracts me right now. Recently, books are cheap and that’s my own opinion maybe it’s wrong. 
  • What book are you reading at the moment? And in what format? At the moment, I’m not reading any. I’m currently supervising the writing of some new books by new writers.

Let’s shift somewhat and talk about your latest story.

  • 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? The name of my most recent book is In Your Absence: Emerald Lover. It’s all about relationships, culture, beauty, love, family and pain.
  • Is the above book part of a series? Yes, the book is part of the In Your Absence series.
  • How did you come up with the covers? Who designed the covers of your book(s)? The cover is Inspired by my African culture and roots. The cover is designed by me.
  • Did you listen to any particular songs while writing your book(s)? The answer is yes. Actually, the songs I was listening to inspired me to write more of what I even expected to write in this book. 
  • How did you come up with the title for your book(s)? The title is a secret, that only a few will understand but maybe if you read it you will understand why I gave it this title.
  • Do you have a book trailer? If so, where can we watch it? No, I don’t have a book trailer.
  • How did you come up with the idea for your latest book? My culture, my family and my own experiences.

Let’s talk now about your writing process.

  • What is your writing style like? Are you a pantster or a plotter? I change my mind a lot so, I’m a Pantser. I start at the beginning and let the characters and situation determine what happens next.
  • Are you a self-published/Indie author or did you publish through a traditional publishing company? I’m a self-published author.
  • If you’re a self-published/Indie author what made you go that route instead of the traditional publishing route? I choose to be a self-published author so I can do whatever I want, I can control my whole writing process from writing to publishing. 
  • What’s the best advice that you have been given when it comes to writing? “To pen down something isn’t a big deal. But to pen, something that has never been said or something spoke like never before takes courage and skill.”
  • What advice would you give someone who wants to start writing? My advice is to ask themselves why do you want to become a writer? If you want to do it for the love of the writing itself then do it, if not for the whole process then just let it go. It’s not for you. But if you do it for the whole Idea and process of writing then just try to be professional in every way and in everything that you do, that doesn’t mean that you can’t make mistakes. Of course not, you’ll fail many times but it makes you more educated. Write on a regular basis and know who you are writing for. 
  • Where can your readers follow you?

FACEBOOK       INSTAGRAM       WEBSITE GOODREADS


Also by Esraa Yousry:

MADRE: Three kids realize they’re stuck in the basement of a psychopath old woman who claims to be their mom, and forces them to call her “Mommy”, can they escape this nightmare?


If you have questions for Esraa, please comment below and she will answer them as they come in.


The Atlantis Bloodline ~ Giveaway

I’m so excited to be one of many tour hosts sharing information about The Atlantis Bloodline by C.A. Gray

C.A. Gray is the author of three YA Amazon bestselling trilogies: PIERCING THE VEIL (magic and quantum physics meet Arthurian legends), THE LIBERTY BOX (dystopian metaphysics and mind control technology), and UNCANNY VALLEY (dystopian coming-of-age with neuroscience and super intelligent A.I). She starts with some scientific concept that she’s interested in learning more about herself, and then creates lots of epic chaos and high-stakes action to go along with it. Her stories are free of gratuitous violence, language, and sexual content, and she abhors depressing endings… but they’re not all kittens and rainbows either!

She also listens to and reviews audiobooks on her website (www.authorcagray.com), Goodreads, Instagram, and on her podcast, Clean Audiobook Reviews, where she also occasionally interviews other authors.

By day, C.A. Gray practices naturopathic medicine, podcasts, and writes medical non-fiction under her maiden name (Lauren Deville). She lives in Tucson, AZ with her husband Frank, and together they maintain an occasionally contentious film review blog (under her real name: Lauren Baden. Three names. Yes.) She’s kind of the queen of multitasking–so in her spare time, she creates whatever meals or crafts she found most recently on Pinterest, drinks lots of coffee (Aeropress btw) and occasional wine (reds–and she saves the corks for craft projects), works out (while listening to audiobooks), and studies the Bible (about half of the podcasts on Christian Natural Health are scripture meditations). …She does sleep, too.

Join her newsletter for best-of-the-month reads, freebies and giveaway information, as well as new releases! http://eepurl.com/F3rof


I love when I get to interview a guest author and really get to know them. C.A. Gray is a pleasure and I’m proud to be hosting her book.

What can we expect from you in the future?

I’m working on something a little different this time. It’s an early chapter reader/middle grade series in which three 9-10 year old kids (Gabe, Elizabeth, and Marty) apprentice under a time-traveling magician called Thrylos, traveling to various critical moments in history. They must battle against the evil magician Kakovoulos, ensuring that history turns out as we know it, rather than taking a much darker turn. I love the historical research I get to do for this one! For instance: did you know that Julius Caesar was once kidnapped by pirates? Or that Plato was once sold as a slave? Or that in 1908 an asteroid nearly hit London that would have wiped out the entire city? True stories, all. Not sure how my kids are going to save the day, but they totally are… Now I just have to figure out the whole illustration thing! 🙂

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

The first novel was Intangible, and the original name for it was Ripple Effect. It referred to a quantum mechanical principle, but it was just so vague. Intangible isn’t much better, I’ll admit, but I wanted an alliteration theme with all one word: Intangible, Invincible, and Impossible is what I came up with. I know better now — I need to have some keywords in there!

Who designed your book covers?

Now I do them all on Design Crowd so each is done by a different person, though I’ve used a few designers more than once.

How did you come up with name of this book?

Actually I originally intended to call it just Bloodline. It was the name of a sermon series at my church, and I thought, that would be an awesome book title!! But then I decided, not enough keywords for Amazon searching. And since it was about descendants of Atlantis, and that’s a BIG keyword, bingo. (Then I ended making Bloodline the name of Kai’s band.)

What is your favorite part of this book and why?

I LOVED writing the initial tension between Ada and Kai as they got to know each other, and Ada wasn’t sure what his deal was. I knew what was happening and I still felt the suspense!

If you could spend time with a character from your book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?

Oh I’d totally hang out Esme (I’d say Kai, but I’m married) 😉 and she’d take me to the Mermaid Cove where we would swim with the mermaids! And then she’d take me to the Faerie Glen. I never even give the faeries any page time in this book, but I’d like to meet them.

Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?

I think all of my main characters have aspects of me in them, because I imagine how I would react in a given situation or how I might say something, and I put that in their heads or their mouths. But I suspect I’m pulling all of my characters from experience, whether it be myself, others, or fictional archetypes. You write what you know.

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

A little bit of both. I have outlines, but the outlines are pretty fluid. Sometimes as I’m writing a scene, I realize that something needs to be said or done that I didn’t plan for, and I just go with it.

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

This book is a bunch of my favorite things, all meshed together: romantic suspense, a Cinderella-ish story, a secret society, mermaids, magic, and mythology… how could you not be intrigued? 🙂

Is there an writer which brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?

Marissa Meyer or Orson Scott Card. Both of them have such distinctive narrative voices (though completely different from one another.) I could read anything by either of them, no matter what it’s about, and be engrossed. I want to know how they pull that off!


When sweet Ada Edwards meets the mysterious Kaison Hughes, lead singer of the biggest band in the world, she can’t understand what he sees in her. Despite everyone’s warnings about him, she’s rapidly falling in love. But it’s obvious he has a secret, and he’s not all he appears to be.

Kai’s life isn’t his own, and his fame isn’t the half of it. As a member of a secret organization known as the Elioud, descended from the Atlantean daughters of the Pleiades, he’s been commissioned with a task: to reintegrate the lost line of Maia into their ranks. It just so happens that Ada is the one they’ve been looking for. He doesn’t know what they intend to do to her, and he doesn’t care. All he wants is the prize for a successful mission: one unqualified wish, which he intends to spend on his beloved sister’s freedom.

There’s just one problem: Kai’s falling in love with Ada, too.

Add to Goodreads | Amazon | Apple | B&N | KOBO


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


Author Interview ~ James Murdo

I’m excited to welcome James Murdo, author of ‘Siouca Remembers‘ to my blog today.

Author James Murdo

Let’s start by finding out a little bit about you…

  1. Where do you call home?

London, UK. Brought up mostly in Highgate but I’ve lived all around. I’ve also just received Irish citizenship (very topical).

  1. What is your family like?

Brilliant, argumentative (at times) and understanding. I’m fortunate to have a great family and we’re all very close.

  1. If it doesn’t bother you, can you let us know what your childhood home looked like?

We moved from a flat to a house when I was 5. I remember the flat being enormous with the biggest garden imaginable. Turns out, it was tiny. The house we moved to was great – near parks, good transport, and more importantly, my siblings and I had our own bedrooms (finally!). Only thing that bothered me was the central heating. I can assure you it never ever worked.

  1. Do you have any hobbies, other than writing? What do you enjoy doing?

Exercise, rock climbing, increasingly healthy eating (intermittently punctuated by periods of regression), comedy…

  1. What is your greatest dream?

To go to space. I’m ambivalent about going to another planet in comparison with living in space itself. I wish I’d studied Asteroid Mining.

  1. What is the most terrible thing that ever happened to you?

Family illnesses.

  1. What or who inspired you to start writing? And how long have you been writing?

I became enamoured with reading during a family holiday when I was very young. Everyone else was out in the sun, but I was captivated. I devoured anything, although I had an affinity for ghost stories. My older sibling bought me “The Algebraist” (Iain M Banks, my favourite author who I often bang on about) from a local bookshop for an early birthday, precipitating my love of sci-fi, my degree (Physics), and a significant part of my mindset.

  1. Who is your role model?

A lot of people, but – apologies for the cliché – my parents.

  1. What is your greatest fear?

Day-to-day, spiders.

  1. Do you prefer e-books, paperbacks, hard-covers or audio-books?

Used to prefer paperbacks (or hardbacks), tried e-books and found my reading experience unchanged. I understand some people are averse to them, but for me, they work. I like volume and instant reading gratification; I don’t like waiting for books to arrive. I am still waiting to be fully converted to audio-books, I love the good ol’ radio too much.

  1. What is your opinion of novellas?

I prefer lengthier books as I like to become completely immersed for as long as possible, and I read very fast. Some say I skim, and that would be fair.

  1. Have you ever read a book just based on its cover?

Of course.

  1. What is your favorite film based on a book?

LOTR. Looking forward to more.

  1. What is your favorite book genre at the moment?

Space opera!

  1. What book are you reading at the moment? And in what format?

The People in the Trees by Hanya Yanagihara. My mother recommended it. Paperback actually!

  1. If you could invite any four (4) celebrities (alive or dead) to your dinner party, who would you invite and why?

Not to cop out, but there would be so many, and this would depend on what second of the day I thought about it, the weather, the news, so much. Sorry. Da Vinci definitely, though. He’d make it every time. Probably a Neanderthal too, although fame-wise, not sure…

Let’s shift somewhat and talk about your latest story.

  1. 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?

Siouca Remembers’: A cerebral part-space opera, part-epic fantasy spanning time and space. A first contact story twisted and on steroids.

  1. Is the above book part of a series?

Short answer, no. It’s part of the ‘Wanderer Universe’, of which there are currently 6 books. There’s the ‘Wanderers series’ (currently consisting of 3 sequential books: Gil’s World, Searching the Void, Infinite Eyes), and 3 independent/standalone books (Long Paradise, Fractured Carapace, Siouca Remembers).

  1. Did you listen to any particular songs while writing your book(s)?

Lots that happen to appear on the radio, some that I reserve when trying to write chapters in a certain style, and often silence.

  1. How did you come up with the title for your book(s)?

I thought about it for a long time, solicited the opinions of family and beta readers. Siouca is an important character.

  1. In your latest novel, who is the lead character and can you tell us a little about him/her?

I have a few, some AI, some biological, and some in between. My style of writing is mosaic-like which can take some getting used to, but everything always comes together in a satisfying conclusion (I hope). That’s why I like to caveat that it’s “cerebral sci-fi” – not to toot my own horn, but to emphasise the multiple storylines. I sometimes also say “hard sci-fi”, although I’ve found that term can be a little ambiguous and not too well known amongst readers.

  1. What’s a positive quality that your character is unaware that he or she has?

For Siouca – respect for life.

  1. Will readers like or dislike this character?

Like. Probably.

  1. What first gave you the idea for your latest book?

Lots of different things inspired me. Irodiel (one of the characters) was part-conceived following a dream.

Let’s talk now about your writing process.

  1. What is your writing style like? Are you a pantster or a plotter?

It varies, but I only have the vaguest plots. Anything more is a waste of time for me, as I constantly alter and re-write them when I have new exciting ideas. I like to keep most of the plotting in my head – which somehow works out alright.

  1. Have you come across any specific challenges in writing or publishing? What would you do differently the next time?

The writing itself – it comes in clumps and I need to be inspired (internally). I’m envious of writers who talk about aiming for 1,000 or 10,000 words a day. For me, the story comes when it comes.

  1. Are you a self-published/Indie author or did you publish through a traditional publishing company?

Self-published/Indie.

  1. If you’re a self-published/Indie author what made you go that route instead of the traditional publishing route?

A few factors, but for simplicity: time and expedience.

  1. What’s the best advice that you have been given when it comes to writing?

Write more, worry about promotion less. I still need to follow that advice.

  1. What advice would you give someone who wants to start writing?

Don’t think, just do.

  1. Where can your readers follow you? Please list links to any applicable websites and/or social media accounts.

My website: www.jamesmurdo.com (you can subscribe to my newsletter)

Amazon Author Central: https://smile.amazon.com/James-Murdo/e/B079P23SXS/

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/james-murdo

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17702300.James_Murdo

Twitter: @JamMurdo (I use)

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JamesMurdoOfficial/ (I rarely use)

Author Interview ~ Alegra Loewenstein

I am so excited to welcome Alegra Loewenstein, author of Body Wisdom Journal. She is here today to talk to us about her latest book, her writing process, and her life in general. If you have questions that aren’t covered in this interview, please feel free to comment below so she can answer them.

Author Alegra Loewenstein

Let’s start by finding out a little bit about you…

  • What is your name and do you write under a pen name?
    My name is Alegra Loewenstein. I don’t use a pen name, though if I started to write in a different genre, I might.
  • Where do you call home?
    San Diego, CA

I love San Diego. I moved there for a year after college before moving up to Los Angeles. Its a beautiful place with the most amazing weather.

  • Obviously, we know you are an author, but some writers have other jobs as well. Do you have another occupation? Do you believe you’re any good at it? Do you like what you do?
    I write my own books (author) and I also write other people’s books (ghostwriter). My clients are happy, so I think I’m pretty good at it! I enjoy the work, and I find it to be a very different creative process than writing my own books.

That is so interesting. As an author myself, I would worry that spending so much time writing for other people would distract me from my own manuscripts.

  • What is your family like?
    I am close with my family. We like to laugh together and make food together.
  • If it doesn’t bother you, can you let us know what your childhood home looked like?
    I grew up in a house that looked like southern California… but we were in Texas!!
  • Do you have any hobbies, other than writing? What do you enjoy doing?
    I like to walk in nature and make crafty stuff. I also enjoy cooking (but I hate cleaning).
  • What is your greatest dream?
    I have a very big book project that I’d like to bring to fruition. I’m a bit superstitious about it, so I can’t tell you that much, but it’s sort of a memoir.
  • What kind of person do you wish you could be? What is stopping you?
    Hmm. That’s a good question. I think I do a pretty good job on improving myself. I guess maybe I’d like to be more patient with my kids and more vulnerable with my loved ones.
  • Not to pry too much, but do you remember your first love?
    Wow, getting tricky. I had a lot of crushes. My first one was in elementary school. Taylor Clark. He was more of a frenemy though.
  • What is the most terrible thing that ever happened to you?
    I think my life has been overall pretty lucky. I have had some disturbing experiences that involved being under the influence and being in situations that could have turned out very very very very bad. They are disturbing to think about, even though at the same time I am grateful they weren’t worse.
  • What or who inspired you to start writing? And how long have you been writing?
    I’ve always loved writing. I went to a school that encouraged creativity and love of nature, and those things inspired me.

That is wonderful. I think all to often now, schools are not fostering a love for books, writing, or other creative arts. As a mom, I am always teaching my kids the importance of reading everything and expressing themselves creatively.

  • What was your dream growing up? Did you achieve that dream? If so, in what ways was it not what you expected? If you never achieved the dream, why not?
    I used to want to live in San Francisco, and that never happened. I also wanted to combine science and art in my profession, and I do feel that I’ve succeeded in that.
  • Who is your role model?
    I love Lady Bird Johnson. She was such an advocate for wildflowers! I also love Michael Pollan and his ability to dive deep into subjects and give common sense answers.
  • What is your greatest fear?
    I am very afraid of physical pain in my life. Also, I fear having a lot of regrets.
  • Do you prefer e-books, paperbacks, hard-covers or audio-books?
    Sorry trees. I love paperbacks.
  • Have you ever read a book more than once? And if so, what was it?
    Many times. Brighty of the Grand Canyon as a kid. The Hero Within as an adult. More I can’t think of.
  • What is your opinion of novellas?
    Like a small novel? I like small books for nonfiction, though for fiction I prefer about 300 pages.
  • Have you ever read a book just based on its cover?
    I don’t think so.
  • What is your favorite film based on a book?
    Harry Potter did a great job!
  • What is your favorite book genre at the moment?
    I’m kind of obsessed with nonfiction!
  • What books have made it onto your wish list recently? And why?
    Oh, that stack is too big to recall! My book club is reading the Testaments. I’m working my way through Persephone Rising. And about ten more.
  • What book are you reading at the moment? And in what format?
    I just finished The Magician’s Nephew on my kindle because I was on a trip.
  • If you could invite any four (4) celebrities (alive or dead) to your dinner party, who would you invite and why?
    Lady Bird Johnson and Michael Pollan from above – I also think they’d be super interesting to talk to. Michelle Obama because after I read her book, we were obviously best friends. Maybe Jill Lublin because she’s not that famous, but I went to her workshop once and she was awesome.

Let’s shift somewhat and talk about your latest story.

  • 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?
    Body Wisdom Journal. It’s about getting in touch with your body as a tool for self-awareness and intuition.
  • Is the above book part of a series?
    Not really, but since I write in non-fiction people do tend to buy more than one of them. They work together.
  • How did you come up with the cover? Who designed the cover of your book(s)?
    I have an amazing graphic designer! I send her a bunch of ideas and she makes something that looks great!!!
  • Did you listen to any particular songs while writing your book(s)?
    No music for this one. The superstitious memoir has a soundtrack though.
  • How did you come up with the title for your book(s)?
    I was trying to make it clear what the journal was about, though I’m not sure I succeeded. It’s all a learning process!
  • Do you have a book trailer? If so, where can we watch it?
    I’ve always wanted to make one, but since I write non-fiction, I’m not sure how I’d do it, plus my to do list is long enough.
  • In your latest novel, who is the lead character and can you tell us a little about him/her?
    I know that nonfiction is a deviation from the norm for your readers, so in this case there are no characters. Or perhaps we can say that you are the character! I was specifically looking for YA audience because I know that this guided journal really resonates with a youthful spirit. 

Let’s talk now about your writing process.

  • What is your writing style like? Are you a pantster or a plotter?
    I write very organically. So, while I have an outline, it changes as I write the book.
  • Have you come across any specific challenges in writing or publishing? What would you do differently the next time?
    I hate sitting still for long periods of time. That’s rough when you write for a living.
  • Are you a self-published/Indie author or did you publish through a traditional publishing company?
    Self-published on this one! I’ve experimented with hybrid publishing but have not had great experiences. I hope someday I’ll be recruited by a large publishing house, but I’ll wait for them to come to me.
  • If you’re a self-published/Indie author what made you go that route instead of the traditional publishing route?
    I have total control over the creative process, which is awesome. I can also just publish a book anytime I get an idea (and write it of course), and I don’t have to get approval or wait around. Plus, I love that if I re-read it a year later or whatever, and I find something I hate, I can just change it and update the file, and then from then on readers get the new version!
  • What’s the best advice that you have been given when it comes to writing?
    Balance the love of writing with a business plan so you can see success and not get discouraged.

That is wonderful advice. I find, as an author, that the hardest part isn’t the writing… its the marketing. The business aspect of being an author can be very difficult for creative types like me.

Where can your readers follow you? Please list links to any applicable websites and/or social media accounts.


Author Interview ~ A.G.R. Goff

I’d like to welcome A.G.R. Goff, author of The Sky Above, to my blog today. She is going to tell us a little about her book, her writing process, and her life.

About A.G.R. Goff
A.G.R. Goff is an author who just published her second novel “The sky above”, a dystopian story about the collapse of the world as we know it based on current political conflicts. Goff grew up in East Germany and has since lived in South Africa and the United Kingdom. She is married to an English guy and enjoys British humor and unexpected adventures. When she is not writing or travelling she plays the saxophone.

What is your name and do you write under a pen name? My pen name is A.G.R. Goff. It’s a short version of my real name and I’d like to keep the mystery by not revealing it.

Where do you call home? At the moment, George/South Africa. But I have also lived in Germany and the UK.

Obviously, we know you are an author, but some writers have other jobs as well. Do you have another occupation? Do you believe you’re any good at it? Do you like what you do? I’m also a translator. I like it but my passion is writing.

If it doesn’t bother you, can you let us know what your childhood home looked like? Just a simple flat in an apartment block in East Germany.

Do you have any hobbies, other than writing? What do you enjoy doing? I love my dog, but I guess that’s not really a hobby and I also play the saxophone.

What is your greatest dream? To be able to make a living with my writing.

I think there are a lot of us out there that feel the same way as you. I’d love to make a living with my writing as well. For now, I will settle for just enjoying the craft and sharing with others around me.

What kind of person do you wish you could be? What is stopping you? A sporty person. I guess I’m not passionate enough when it comes to physical exercise.

Not to pry too much, but do you remember your first love? Yes, but we never became a couple. I was 13 and met him when I was out with friends during school holidays. I kept going back to the same public swimming pool, just to see him. He never even looked at me.

What is the most terrible thing that ever happened to you? The death of my 16-year-old nephew. He died of pancreatic cancer.

What or who inspired you to start writing? And how long have you been writing? I always used to read a lot and I guess one day I thought, I can do this. But it took years to finally finish a book. I think I had to become proficient enough in English to feel the passion. My mother tongue is German and I wrote a lot whilst growing up in Germany but I never thought of myself as a writer.

Who is your role model? My mum. She’s an unbelievably strong woman.

What is your greatest fear? To become so sick that I cannot look after myself and my family.

Do you prefer e-books, paperbacks, hard-covers or audio-books? It depends on the mood I’m in. I read a lot from indie authors and that’s mainly e-books but when I’m at an airport I prefer paperbacks. When I walk the dog I listen to audio-books.

Have you ever read a book more than once? And if so what was it? Yes, Stephen King books but only his older stories like Cujo, Carrie, The Shining. I was obsessed with his writing when I was a teenager.

See, now you are speaking my language. Stephen King is my favorite author of all time. I get that his older stories are amazing, they are what made me fall in love with reading. But, if you haven’t already read some of his newer stuff like Mr. Mercedes, Elevation, or 11/22/63 then you should. They are great.

What is your opinion of novellas? They have their place and sometimes it’s nice to finish something quickly.

Have you ever read a book just based on its cover? All the time. When I’m travelling I buy books in stores based first on genre and then the book cover.

What is your favorite film based on a book? The Green Mile

YES! YES! YES! It is SO GOOD!

What is your favorite book genre at the moment? Thriller and Suspense

What books have made it onto your wish list recently? And why? Unspeakable Things by Jess Lourey. A friend recommended it me.

What book are you reading at the moment? And in what format? The Murderer of Cardim by Noah Alexander. I’m doing it to give a review. It turned out to be quite a good story.

If you could invite any four (4) celebrities (alive or dead) to your dinner party, who would you invite and why? Jodi Picoult and Stephen King, just because I love their books. Ray Charles, to talk about music and his life and Jamie Oliver for recipes.

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? The Sky Above. A fictional survival story about the end of the world due to recent political events.

Book Cover by Chloe Belle Arts for The Sky Above by AGR Goff

Can the world survive when hate wins?
In the year 2021, a religious civil war rocks the world, destroying civilisation and pitting Muslims against Christians. Fear rules as looters and rapists control the streets, and people are killed for nothing more than the colour of their skin. Those who survive are left to starve to death or die from lack of clean water.
Brought together by the cruellest of fates, two schoolmates, Mark and Ben—one Christian, one Muslim—band together in a desperate quest for survival. Not knowing who to trust or what the future holds for them, or humankind, they try to stay alive while caring for Ben’s little sister, until a chance encounter changes everything.

Well it is a stunning cover. I would definitely pick this one off the shelf at a bookstore to read the back cover.

How did you come up with the cover? Who designed the cover of your book(s)? I asked a professional graphic designer. Chloe Belle Arts.

Did you listen to any particular songs while writing your book(s)? Not this time. I usually like it quiet but sometimes music can be nice.

How did you come up with the title for your book(s)? It was something one of the characters said in the book and I thought it was a good title.

In your latest novel, who is the lead character and can you tell us a little about him/her? A normal 13-year-old boy who is forced to fight for survival and changes in the process. His whole world is turned upside-down.

What is your character’s greatest strengths? To adapt quickly.

And what are his/her greatest weaknesses? To lose faith.

What are some of his favorite foods? He eats anything he can get his hands on. There is no choice.

What’s a positive quality that your character is unaware that he has? He is good at looking after others without intention.

Will readers like or dislike this character, and why? Probably both because he’s torn between his upbringing and the need for survival.

What first gave you the idea for your latest book? Recent political events and what it could mean.

What is your writing style like? Are you a pantster or a plotter? Definitely a pantster. I never know where my stories begin or end. It just comes to me whilst writing.

Have you come across any specific challenges in writing or publishing? What would you do differently the next time? I’m still learning, so it’s difficult. Writing is very personal, so I wouldn’t change anything. But when it comes to publishing – Maybe learn more about marketing.

Marketing is the hardest part of it for me as well. I’m much more the creative type. Id rather be writing then putting myself out there to post about my books.

Are you a self-published/Indie author or did you publish through a traditional publishing company? Self-published and it’s hard work.

Yes it is. I’ve published 7 novel, working on #8, and I can absolutely say it is’t easy. For those people out there that say anyone can write and publish a book now because of indie-publishing – YOU’RE WRONG! It takes a lot of time, hard work, dedication, blood, sweat, and tears!

If you’re a self-published/Indie author what made you go that route instead of the traditional publishing route? As a new author, it’s almost impossible to publish traditionally even if you have a very good story. A self-publisher has more control, financially and otherwise.

What’s the best advice that you have been given when it comes to writing? Just write every day even if it’s garbage.

What advice would you give someone who wants to start writing? Do a course to get you started and then write, write, write.

Where can your readers follow you?

ALSO BY A.G.R. GOFF

Letting Miranda into his house is a big mistake. But aging comedian Dave also has some secrets. Maybe she should never have come looking for answers. As this story about murder, betrayal and dark desires unfolds, things take an unsuspected turn. Things from the past find their way back to the surface and the dead might not be so dead after all.
A diverse collection of short stories attempting to resist categorization. It starts with the love story between a cape-coloured worker and his white boss in South Africa and moves on to a Stasi-agent in East Germany and his struggle to keep secrets. The heroes of these stories are lovers and friends, acquaintances and strangers and they have one thing in common – they want to escape the boredom of their daily lives.