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.

Author Interview ~ Francis H. Powell

I love days when I get to support other authors and showcase some of their work. Today is one of those days. I’d like to welcome Francis H. Powell, author of Adventures of Death, Reincarnation and Annihilation to my blog today.

About Francis H Powell
Born in 1961, in Reading, England Francis Powell attended Art Schools. In 1995, Powell moved to Austria, teaching English while pursuing his varied artistic interests adding music and writing. He currently lives in Paris, writing both prose and poetry.

What is your name and do you write under a pen name? My full name is Francis Hulbert Powell and my author name is Francis H Powell.

Where do you call home? Brittany in France, I have lived in France for over 20 years

We know you are an author, but do you have another occupation? Do you believe you’re any good at it? Do you like what you do? I am a teacher and have been for the last thirty years, so I can’t be too terrible at my job. I mostly enjoy it, but there are occasional hard days, with problematic students.

What is your family like? I am married with a wife, a child who is nearly 7  and a dog that does not get on with other dogs, when he feels he should be protecting us.

What is your favorite film based on a book? I love One Flew over the Cuckoo’s nest, it is a great story and film, with some great acting, it is the kind of film, that sticks in the head, for the rest of your life. The ending is tragic of course.

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 most recent book is called Adventures of Death, Reincarnation and Annihilation. The title says a lot about it’s content. It is a mixture of horror, science fiction, with quirky characters and a bit of humor, so it is not all doom and gloom.

How did you come up with the cover? Who designed the cover of your book? I wanted to do the cover, because I am an artist and went to Art school. I sent many versions, which were rejected by the publisher. Last Christmas I took a photograph, at night, in the town where I live and they finally accepted it.

What if the human race was considered irrelevant and then each being was just uploaded then locked away on hard drives called “brain pods?”

What if a sub species was to come into fruition, then the human race turned on it, hunted it down before trying to annihilate it? Imagine you found out you were an ancient soul, who is reunited with another being from your former life?

Set in different time in a variety of settings and time periods, the past, the present and the future, the book explores the inevitable unknown that lies before us all “death”. Death can be arrive in a multitude of forms. Each part of the book explores different themes. There are characters who following their demises have to face up to their lurid pasts….

How did you come up with the title for your book? I wanted to have a title that (hopefully hasn’t been used by another author). I wanted the idea that the book was like an adventure/ journey, as death is the ultimate journey.

Are you a self-published/Indie author or did you publish through a traditional publishing company? The book is published by Beacon Publishing company.

What advice would you give someone who wants to start writing? Maybe start with short stories. Try to develop your own unique style. Develop a strong  rich vocabulary.  Develop your craft.

Also by Francis H. Powell

Flight of Destiny

A collection of 22 short stories about misfortune characterized by unexpected final twists at the end of each tale.

Where can your readers follow you?


Author Interview ~ Marc Neuffer

I’d like to welcome Marc Neuffer, author of Light Thief – Journey to the End as a guest on my website. He will be sharing a little about himself, his latest story, and of course his process as a writer. If you have questions that aren’t answer in this interview, please feel free to comment below so he can respond personally.

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

  • What is your name, and do you write under a pen name?
    Marc Neuffer. My children refer to me as ‘the old one.’ I don’t have a pen name. I use a pencil.

Oh boy, it looks like Marc is a comedian… I have a feeling this interview might be very interesting.

  • Where do you call home?
    Middle of nowhere in Marshall County, Alabama
  • 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 fully retired from the U.S. Navy – 22 years – and a follow-on twenty-year civilian career as a business owner and as a professional photographer. Perhaps you’ve seen my work on the wall at the post office. I was very good at what I did and have the documentation to prove it. Those other records have been sealed by the court. In the navy, I was a nuclear propulsion engineer.
  • What is your family like?
    Well, my four kids are out on their own with successful careers and families, and they don’t ask for money. I blame their mother for their individual successes. We are empty nesters with one dog and three cats. I don’t know where the cats came from; I’m allergic to cats.
  • If it doesn’t bother you, can you let us know what your childhood home looked like?
    My childhood homes? Well, there were five of them. My father’s career, as an aerospace engineer, caused us to move around a lot until the space program settled down in Huntsville, Alabama. The houses were always in the suburbs, real Leave It To Beaver-villes.
  • Do you have any hobbies other than writing? What do you enjoy doing? Well, I like Pina Coladas and walks in the rain … no wait, that’s just a song I heard on the radio yesterday. Since retiring, I have taken up the piano; it soothes me as much as writing does.
  • What is your greatest dream?
    Well, if you’re asking about a persona dream of doing something I have never done before, then I haven’t got one. I have been around the world, visited more than a dozen countries, played guitar on stage with a band, arrested people, driven police cars, ambulances, and fire trucks, been a sports coach, and Scout Master, started and ran a successful small business, which I have since sold. Everything on my bucket list has been crossed off.

    Now, if you’re asking about things like people I would like to meet or places I would like to go, and we’re talking dreams here, then Samuel Clemens and Mars… yeah, those two.
  • What kind of person do you wish you could be? What is stopping you?
    I’d like to be thirty-two, tall, dark, and handsome with an exotic accent. My wife would like that. Time and genetics hold me back.

Yes, a comedian… I was right.

  • Not to pry too much, but do you remember your first love?
    YES!  She had the most sorrowful brown eyes. Her tail wagged furiously the first time we met. I was twelve. Sadly, she passed away.
  • What is the most terrible thing that ever happened to you? Well, I suppose I would have to say the deaths of my mother and father.
  • What or who inspired you to start writing? And how long have you been writing?
    I remember precisely when I decided to start writing, I was just starting my daily nap, my mind disengaged, letting whatever thoughts might surface, drift around. I came up with a story idea. Ended up writing a science fiction novel around that … then four more books … since late March of this year.
  • 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?
    Not really any dreams of the future when I was growing up. So, you can leave this one blank. I was a boy, and as I recall, we didn’t sit around planning our dream wedding, we were too busy finding food and fun.
  • Who is your role model?
    Sorry, I thought about this one … seriously, I don’t have one.
  • What is your greatest fear?
    The greatest fear is something terrible happening to my wife or children. No phobias
  • Do you prefer e-books, paperbacks, hard-covers, or audio-books?
    When my children still lived at home, we would make a trip to ‘the big city’ once a month to visit the book store. Everyone loaded up for their monthly read. So, print books back then. Now I use e-books since I can keep my library on my phone available at all times. I have a few audiobooks I listen to … they help me fall asleep at night.
  • Have you ever read a book more than once? And if so, what was it?
    Since e-books have come along, I have occasionally re-read some of the Sci-Fi classics I read as a teenager. Heinlein, Asimov, Clarke.
  • What is your opinion of novellas?
    I like novellas much the same way I like short people. For me, it’s all about the story; word count is irrelevant.

As a rather short person, I appreciate the lack of discrimination. lol

  • Have you ever read a book just based on its cover?
    No, not without reading a synopsis or back cover.
  • What is your favorite film based on a book?
    Can’t think of one.
  • What is your favorite book genre at the moment?
    History, Historical Fiction, Science Fiction
  • What books have made it onto your wish list recently? And why?
    Humm … don’t have a wish list. I browse when looking for my next book.
  • What book are you reading at the moment? And in what format?
    “Let me see,” he said, reaching for his phone …

    Robinson Crusoe … to study Defoe’s first-person narrative style.
    The Ruin of the Roman Empire – James O’Donnell
    Sector C – The Chosen, by you-know-who

Yes, I do believe I know who write SECTOR C – The Chosen and I appreciate you reading it.

  • If you could invite any four (4) celebrities (alive or dead) to your dinner party, who would you invite and why?
    I don’t care for fictitious people with publicists.

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?
    Light Thief – Journey to the End
    Sci-Fi – In the far future, a twelve-year-old girl finds her purpose 20 years later, while searching for something else.
  • Is the above book part of a series?
    Yes, but it can be read as a stand-alone novel
  • How did you come up with the cover? Who designed the cover of your book(s)?
    When starting a new book, I browse the pre-made cover offerings for something that fits.  I do the title graphics myself.
  • Did you listen to any particular songs while writing your book(s)?
    Not unless my wife has the radio on.
  • How did you come up with the title for your book(s)?
    Well, for the first one, I was thinking about physics and the universe, how heat and light are the basic building blocks. Don’t get me started on E=MC2; it’s not an equivalency.   Anyway, Heat and Light became the title, followed, naturally by Cold and Dark, then Light Thief. See what I did there?
  • Do you have a book trailer? If so, where can we watch it?
    No book trailer… have a boat trailer.
  • In your latest novel, who is the lead character, and can you tell us a little about him/her?
    In Light Thief, Darby is a 12-year-old, precocious self-assured daughter of a scientist mother and a lost space explorer father. The book follows her through the next twenty years.
  • What is your character’s greatest strengths?
    Belief in self and living a non-self-limiting life.
  • And what are his/her greatest weaknesses?
    Men?  The unrelenting pull into space to find her lost father, or what had happened to him.
  • What are some of his/her favorite foods?
    Jahuna chips — very crunchy with just the right amount of salt — the hot ones.  I made that up for the book.
  • Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?
    Unless the reader is a sociopath, they will not only like, but identify with her coming of age story. She never kills anyone who doesn’t deserve it. What a girl!
  • What first gave you the idea for your latest book?
    A reader of my books, Paradox Twins and Riley 2.0  asked what happened to Riley after the 2.0 story. Rather than continue with Riley as the main character, in Light Thief, she becomes an off-stage (and disembodied) persona that occasionally interacts with Darby.

Let’s talk now about your writing process.

  • What is your writing style like? Are you a pantster or a plotter?
    I write with my high-beams on … letting the characters live their lives unencumbered by me. I simply type as I watch the movies play in my head. Given that, I usually have an end-of-story I’m driving towards.

I write in much the same way. I do use a planning guide to help me keep track of important details, but mostly I just fly by the seat of my pants following my characters’ lead and writing what I see at the movie of their lives play out.

  • Have you come across any specific challenges in writing or publishing? What would you do differently the next time?
    I would pick the brains of someone who had been through self-publishing themselves. As for writing, I generally do a very structured stream of consciousness flow, not letting myself be too concerned with commas, split infinitives or starting sentence with an –ing ending word.

    Self-publishing is very easy, once you learn the technical steps. If you need help, ask a teenager to walk you though the website steps. I think they are all IT department people.

  • Since you are a self-published/Indie author what made you go that route instead of the traditional publishing route?
    First, it is very time consuming to find an interested traditional publisher.  I think Amazon’s platform for indies makes them nervous. They may become the next buggy whip manufacturers, as in ‘what purpose do they serve.’

    Secondly, I don’t trust anybody’s opinion but my own. I know my material, I do research for my books, and I know when my work satisfies me.  I learned that editors don’t read like real people; it’s so sad.
  • What’s the best advice that you have been given when it comes to writing?
    I never received any, except from my 6th grade teacher who wanted me to write legibly. I didn’t know any writers when I started. So, I got nothing on this question.
  • Where can your readers follow you? Please list links to any applicable websites and/or social media accounts.

Author Interview ~ Matt Nagin

One thing I love to do is interview other authors. Not only does it introduce me to potential books I can add to my ‘to read’ list, but it also helps spread the indie-author love to other readers. Marketing is hard and if I can help a fellow author, I’m happy to do it. With that in mind, I’d like to welcome Matt Nagin, author of Feast of Sapphires, to my blog.

Matt Nagin, author of Feast of Sapphires, AKA Bart Schumacher (Standup Comedian)

What is your name and do you write under a pen name? My name is Matt Nagin. I do not use a pen name, but I do have a comedy alter ego, a standup comedy character, if you will, named Bart Schumacher.

Where do you call home? I live in New York City. 

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 an actor, a comedian, and, when I can find the work, a college professor. Yes. I believe I became a better actor and educator over time. I enjoy very much the areas in which I work since I am passionate about them and they are connected to my overall artistic orientation.

What is your family like? I have a large family; four brothers, a nephew, thirteen cousins, many uncles and aunts etc. In addition to my parents, I’m fortunate enough to have a 99 year old grandma who turns 100 in January.

Do you have any hobbies, other than writing? What do you enjoy doing? I love watching films, particularly classic films and/or films that in some way tell an innovative story. I also enjoy traveling, since it expands your understanding of your own little area of residence, helps you get a better grasp of your particular social and cultural predilections, and occasionally even inspires creative work.

What is your greatest dream? To make a living as a writer by completing works others find meaningful.

What kind of person do you wish you could be? What is stopping you? I would like to be working creatively at a higher level than I am now. By this I mean I would, ideally, like to be more productive. What is stopping me, I suppose, is I get distracted easily and I have a million little obligations that keep me from focusing and completing work. I’m also a bit of a perfectionist, which, at times, can be a hindrance.

Not to pry too much, but do you remember your first love? Yes. Lasted a year and a half. Unfortunately, she became a lesbian. It broke my heart at the time. Now it seems vaguely humorous.

What is the most terrible thing that ever happened to you? Getting hit by a speeding car while walking across the street in a construction zone with an obstructed view was one of the worst things that ever happened to me. More than twenty stitches in my wrist. Glass in my arm. Ten herniated discs in my back. A number of ongoing issues with my knees. There have been a few others. A plane nearly crashing–the gas masks coming down. A boat nearly going under during a storm. Three surgeries for Crohn’s disease. The point is it has been a struggle, at times, just to persevere.

And how long have you been writing? I have been writing around 25 years, but the first five years I did not work with any level of seriousness. There have been periods where I didn’t write at all, but, eventually, I always came back to it. Of late I’ve been trying to maintain a regular schedule.

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? To be a writer/actor/filmmaker etc. To a certain extent, I achieved my dream. This is because in pretty much all the fields I’ve pursued I’ve had at least a few accomplishments. All that being said, I still feel I have a long way to go.

Who is your role model? Most of my role models are artists with an uncompromising yet powerful vision. Examples include Stanley Kubrick, Charles Bukowski, Phillip K. Dick, Emily Dickinson, William Blake and Salvador Dali.

Do you prefer e-books, paperbacks, hard-covers or audio-books? Paperbacks. The presentation is generally the best. I also think the idea of a book as something really special and unique is lost when you read it on a Kindle.

What is your opinion of novellas? Novellas are a great form. I enjoy the unusual length very much. I also think it is a great way to develop characters, setting, and a compelling plot without dragging a story on endlessly. Finally, in the age of social media, where readers have very little free time, novellas make a whole lot of sense.

What is your favorite film based on a book? Barry Lyndon. It’s based on a Thackeray novel.

What is your favorite book genre at the moment? Satire/Humor.

What books have made it onto your wish list recently? And why? Stephen King’s “The Stand.” I have read many King books, but never actually got to “The Stand.” I’m looking forward to reading this classic.

What book are you reading at the moment? And in what format? I’m reading the book of a friend, David Voice, “The Can Man: My Five Cents Worth,” that I’m enjoying. Kindle format. I generally don’t read much on my Kindle, but, since this is a relatively short book, it made sense.

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 book is ‘Feast of Sapphires.’ It is a poetry collection that aims to be illuminating in a variety of ways. I take daily experiences, or interesting phrases, or magnetic ideas, and use them as a springboard for poetic exploration.

FEAST OF SAPPHIRES

“Feast of Sapphires,” is a compendium of poems covering topics both timely and universal. There are poems of psychic revolution, poems on social media and gun control, poems about MRI’s, gambling, and mystical storms of all varieties; then, too, on a deeper level, more than a few of these poems are about the desire to surmount the collective facade in search of a kind of truth that cannot be hyperlinked.

Located from Costa Rica to the LIRR,  this metaphysical cartography of anticipation and despair is perfect for those seeking answers in the bottom of the tea, in the resonance of a thunder storm, or, even, in the ethereal high of a linguistic flight of fancy. From comedic monologues to existential reflections, from angry rants to countercultural analysis, from wily narratives to verbal pyrotechnics, this is a book that strives, in new ways, to be illuminating… CONTINUE READING

Is the above book part of a series? No. That said, it is a follow-up to my first poetry book, “Butterflies Lost Within The Crooked Moonlight,” which  did fairly well on Amazon.

BUTTERFLIES LOST WITHIN THE CROOKED MOONLIGHT

This highly-accessible, dynamic collection offers existential ponderings, comic situations, poetic meditations on death, musical riffs, political commentary, striking imagery and more. The 45 poems in this collection represent a range of styles and subject matter. 18 of these poems were previously published in such journals as Antigonish Review, Grain Magazine, Arsenic Lobster, Dash, Spillway, The Charles Carter, Downtown Brooklyn, and many, many more. This debut collection of poetry from Matt Nagin is sure to, as the title suggests, comment on the way even the most delicate and majestic of us tend to be drawn, willy-nilly, towards the crooked moonlight.

How did you come up with the cover? Who designed the cover of your book(s)?Julia Noel Goodman designed the cover. We reviewed the concept together and went through a number of iterations of it till we settled on one we thought best.

How did you come up with the title for your book(s)? I pick a bunch of different possible titles and go with what sounds best. I also ask friends/associates for input.

Do you have a book trailer? If so, where can we watch it? I created a trailer for my first book, ‘Butterflies Lost Within The Crooked Moonlight.’ Watch it below:

Also, I have videos of readings of individual poems from ‘Feast of Sapphires,’ set to imagery. One of these, ‘Regret,’ is available below:

Let’s talk now about your writing process.

What is your writing style like? Are you a pantser or a plotter? I am a pantser. I go with what inspires me–allowing it to lead the way. Then I go back and edit. At times this editing is extensive. At others very little is required. It totally depends on the state of the first draft. I sometimes edit immediately after I complete the writing portion. At other times, I like to wait a few weeks till I return to the work, since I often can then see it much more clearly.

Have you come across any specific challenges in writing or publishing? What would you do differently the next time? The biggest challenge I’ve encountered with publishing is properly formatting poetry for Kindle on KDP…something that sounds easier than it is. The second biggest challenge is acquiring new readers in an oversaturated marketplace.

What’s the best advice that you have been given when it comes to writing? Not sure if I was ever specifically given this advice, but it is what I always tell others: keep at it! This is the key to success in any field, but particularly with writing a high level of self-discipline is required. 

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

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/mattnaginwriter/

GOODREADS: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17008526.Matt_Nagin

AMAZON: https://www.amazon.com/Matt-Nagin/e/B01M6ZZV3J

INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/naginplease/

Where do you see yourself in five years? I hope to have several other books published by then. Right now I have a humor book coming out in the next few months with an indie publisher, and, after that, I am looking to publish a short story collection. There are a few more books, as well, I’m at work on, so I am really hoping to get a lot of work out into the world soon.

Any last thoughts about your overall journey? It’s been a wild ride–these last few years–and I have really enjoyed expressing myself creatively and reaching out to others with my creative ideas. I’m also grateful to be doing something I’m passionate about, something that fills me with a sense of purpose. What can I say? I’m very lucky!

CALL TO ACTION: If you have questions for Matt that weren’t addressed in this interview, I invite you to comment below and he will respond here!

Author Interview ~ Hanna Abi Akl

I’d like to welcome Author Hanna Abi Akl to my site.

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 Hanna Abi Akl. I stick to my original name when writing and don’t use a pen name.

Where do you call home? Paris, France.

Do you have any hobbies, other than writing? What do you enjoy doing? Reading, listening to music, and playing my guitar.

What is your greatest dream? To live in a small remote house by the beach and write quietly and peacefully.

What is the most terrible thing that ever happened to you? Losing my father when I was 13.

What or who inspired you to start writing? And how long have you been writing? I was inspired by some great writers I had the chance of reading, most notably Charles Bukowski and John Fante. I felt they were talking to me through their books so many years after they were published and that’s what got me into writing. I’ve been writing seriously since college and published my first novel at 23.

What is your greatest fear? Failure.

Do you prefer e-books, paperbacks, hard-covers or audio-books? Paperback or hard-covers. Anything in print.

Have you ever read a book more than once? And if so what was it? Factotum by Charles Bukowski.

What is your opinion of novellas? I’m all for them.

Have you ever read a book just based on its cover? “God is Dead” by Ron Currie Jr.

What is your favorite film based on a book? The Shawshank Redemption based on the work by Stephen King. Close seconds are Ask The Dust and Factotum.

What is your favorite book genre at the moment? Literary fiction. I especially enjoy dirty realism.

What book are you reading at the moment? And in what format? “Slouching Toward Nirvana” by Charles Bukowski in paperback.

If you could invite any four (4) celebrities (alive or dead) to your dinner party, who would you invite and why? Charles Bukowski, John Fante, Charles Baudelaire and Ernest Hemingway. I think they each have their distorted view of reality they’d like to make us part of. Plus, they’re all good drinkers!

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 book is titled “It’s a Big Big World”. The work is a novel. It’s the story of an up-and-coming writer trying to get published while having moved to another country. It deals with the themes of immigration, institutionalization, society, and love.

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)? The cover was made to be simple and vague, just like the book title. It is based off a circle, which could easily be interpreted as a globe or the world. It was designed by a small subsidiary team of my publisher.

Did you listen to any particular songs while writing your book(s)? Classical music, mostly Chopin, Mozart, Beethoven.

How did you come up with the title for your book(s)? I was aiming for something simple and that could reflect a feeling of overwhelming vastness at the same time.

In your latest novel, who is the lead character and can you tell us a little about him/her? The protagonist is John Kaliba. He is a stubborn, opinionated, semi-alcoholic up-and-coming writer who has just published his first book.

What is your character’s greatest strengths? His passion for writing and his love for Diane.

And what are his/her greatest weaknesses? Stubbornness, alcohol problems, detachment, pride.

What’s a positive quality that your character is unaware that he or she has? His indomitable will to be different and stay true to himself. Not follow the herd.

Let’s talk now about your writing process.

What is your writing style like? Are you a pantster or a plotter? I write in a concise, economical, lyrical style. My writing is a stream-of-consciousness so I prefer to sit down and write instead of outlining.

What’s the best advice that you have been given when it comes to writing? The final judge of writing is the writer himself.

Where can your readers follow you?


Other Books By Hanna Abi Akl:

Click on the image below to find out more about each book and to order your copy today!