Author Interview with David Kummer

  • my abigail coverHow long have you been writing?
  • I have been writing since an early age. When I was younger, I would write fantasy novels that never got finished, and I’ve just recently picked up and now work on it. My first published work was in May of 2015, when my short story collection As Trees Turned Away finally got released. Since then, I’ve added a couple more works and have many in store.
  • What is your favorite genre to write? Most of what I write is Horror and/or Psychological Thriller, but I’m also working on a Literary Fiction novel and a Fantasy, Lord of the Rings-type novel.
  • Which genre have you never tried before, but would you like to try out? A week ago, I would have said Fantasy, but I’m trying that out now I guess. Um… I’ve never written any Comedy or any Detective Stories? Probably the detective ones. Sherlock Holmes is pretty inspiring in that regard.
  • Please tell us about your book. My Abigail is a thrilling book that will disturb your conscience. There’s a twist about three-quarters of the way through that I know you won’t see coming. As of now, nobody I’ve talked to has predicted it. Good luck, though 😉 Anyways, the book is about a teenage boy who falls in love with a girl, only to find out she’s nothing like he expected. Sound pretty cliched? That’s where the unpredictable twist and the creepy little things I add come into play.
  • Which character was your favorite, and why? Which character was your least favorite, and why? My favorite character was this little girl named Ayva, who’s got lots of quirks and little habits that are sure to creep you out. I liked her so much I wrote another short story, which I published under the title My Other Friends (it also has some of my author-friend’s stories as bonus material.) My least favorite character was the unnamed father in one of the flashback scenes. There’s no way to express how hard that chapter was write, which leads me to the next question…
  • What was the hardest part about writing your book? About halfway through the book, there’s one chapter that explains everything and demystifies all the secrets. Writing those 7 or 8 pages brought me to tears and broke me down like no other piece of literature has done. Hopefully, it will have the same effect on you.
  • What is your writing routine? Are there things you absolutely need to start writing? Well, I get home from school and work out. Then I shower and eat. I start writing around 7:30 (unless I’m answering interview questions like this), and stop about three hours later. To write, all I need is my laptop. Most of the time, I’ll play some music, but if I don’t have it I’m still fine.
  • How long did it take you to write your book from start to finish? My Abigail is only 30,000 words long (half the size of a normal novel), so it took me about a month to write after the outline was set. The editing process took another two months, mainly because I was chasing reviews at the same time.
  • Can you tell us about your editing process? My editing process consists of a few steps. First, I do a quick read-through and fix any mistakes I see, whether that be punctuation or word choice. My dad will then do his own review of the text. Once I apply his corrections, I’ll find a few other people to read it and then do one last scan myself before formatting it and getting it published.
  • Is this book part of a series? If so, how many installments do you have planned? As I said, there is a short story add-on to this which centers around Ayva and her own story, although it does tie up some loose ends from the main book. Besides that, I have no other installments planned, but you never know. I refuse to close this door.
  • Do you have any advice for aspiring authors? Never give up, and never stop reading. Whether it’s lack of sales, lack of (good) reviews, or lack of inspiration, you will find plenty of challenges that stand between you and that final button to publish. There are a plethora of books on this subject, and I highly suggest Rayne Hall’s books on the various parts of publishing. Besides reading nonfiction books, though, you should also read in your genre and whatever you enjoy. If you’re not a reader, it’s hard to be a writer.
  • Why should everyone read your book? I am very proud of every word I put into this book. While it’s nowhere near perfect (what book is, really?), the story line is unique, the book is easy to read, and the characters are some that you will never forget. And if you need yet another reason, it’ll take you maybe three hours to read at the most. This is like paying 99 cents to see an epic, emotional, three-hour movie, people!
  • If you could meet three authors, dead or alive, which authors would you choose? K. Rowling, because her series (Harry Potter, if you somehow don’t know) has inspired me, shaped me, and been especially helpful in improving my dialogue. Second on my list, John Green just because he’s really cool and makes me laugh with his Crash Course World History videos (Youtube it). Lastly, I’d choose to meet Sir Arthur Conan Doyle just because I wanna see what Sherlock Holmes could decipher about me from just a glance.
  • What inspired you to write your book? I’d been longing to write something beautiful, emotional, and never written before. When I got the idea for the plot twist, I decided there was only one way to make this as effective, and that was with teenage characters. Before long, I’d written the outline, filled out my character charts, and I was staring at the blank page, having no clue just how far the story would take me.
  • Are you working on something at the moment? If so, can you tell us more about it? Of course I am! Right now, I’m working on a trio of horror novellas that I will publish in the summertime hopefully. I’m also editing the first book of my Literary Fiction series, and writing my Fantasy novel, so I’ve got a lot on my plate. Wish me luck everybody 😉 And have a fantastic day. If you have any questions, I can be reached at davidkummer7@gmail.com

About the Book

A great thriller from the beginning … kept me reading until the endAlysia on Goodreads

Never a dull moment … A great set of unique characters … Could make another great movie— Tony on Goodreads
-Kummer had me going crazy wondering what Abigail’s secret was … A plot that is so complex and unique … It is one that I have never read before— J. Garcia for Readers’ Favorite
In this gripping, terrifying readCaleb meets the girl of his dreams. She’s different, beautiful, and cares more than anyone ever has. But Abigail isn’t who he thinks.


He begins to notice things. The way she disappears for days on end… How she won’t go home at night… All the warnings he gets about her… He must ask himself, Who is she really?


When Caleb is faced with the choice of a lifetime -to love or to hate, to give in and try again- he must make the ultimate decision. Who will he hurt? What will he choose? And is it too late to turn back now?
…Abigail had a secret.
I knew it soon after meeting her.
She was different than other girls, and not just because she actually showed some interest in me. She was really different. I loved it. I loved her.
But Abigail had a secret.
Damian told me so, the first time I met him. I wasn’t sure whether to believe him or not. He wasn’t trustworthy. He wasn’t nice. He was a terrifying figure, the embodiment of fear. But he was right.
She had a secret.
I’m sorry I keep repeating it. It’s still hard to believe. How could somebody so gentle, nice, and loving be so… scary?
That’s the only word I knew to describe her after it all ended. Everything about her being was scary.
Abigail was my life, I told myself. She was my everything.
She left me with nothing.
If she was my life, does that make this suicide?…

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Author Interview with David Meredith

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  • How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing since I was very small. I think I produced my first “book” was when I was about nine. It was hand-written on notebook paper, bound with cardboard from T-shirt packages, and then decorated with magic marker. When I was in middle school and high school, I wrote some pretty awful fan-fic, that I would never want anyone else to read now, but it was probably as a college student that I started to feel like my writing was good enough for other people to read. I published my first articles around 1999 in Yamagata, Japan in a local English Teacher Magazine called “Bang the Drum” and I published an academic article through ERIC (Educational Information Resource Center) in about 2004. I have been working on various fiction and non-fiction writing projects ever since.

  • What is your favorite genre to write?

Definitely fantasy, but even when I write in other genres, I always include some kind of fantastical or speculative element.

  • Which genre have you never tried before, but would you like to try out?

I’m actually working on a sci-fi/YA novel right now called Aaru, that is a little out of my traditional comfort zone.

  • Please tell us about your book.

The Reflections of Queen Snow White tries to answer the question, “What happens when “happily ever after” has come and gone?” The original version of most fairy tales were pretty brutal, (especially compared to the highly sterilized Disney versions that most people are used to). However, in spite of the fantastical elements they invariably contain, they are at their root, very real. They speak to our deepest desires, darkest fears, and greatest flaws, but they are also aspirational. They provide us with examples, regardless how improbable, of how we might overcome desperate circumstances to achieve greatness and contentment in a world where such things often seem rarified and elusive.
However, in most popular retellings fairy tale princesses, particularly of the Disney variety, in spite of horrible trauma and tragedy, the heroines seem largely untouched by it. Thy just simply don’t appear to have the same weaknesses and failings as regular people and do not generally suffer any long term impacts of those traumatic experiences. If you really examine the story of Snow White as a human being, there is some really interesting potential for a great deal of darkness. In my approach, I try to more accurately examine the likely impacts that a life of neglect and abuse (like the one Snow White was forced to endure) would have on a person in real life. It’s the sort of thing that has the potential to break someone and I wanted to explore that struggle and triumph over it more thoroughly. The Reflections of Queen Snow White essentially desanitizes the story and tries to look at Snow White as a real woman, real victim, and real survivor of trauma, abuse, and depression.

  • Which character was your favorite, and why? Which character was your least favorite, and why?

I think the answer to both questions is Snow White, and I think this has been borne out in the reviews from my readers. On the one hand, they find her highly sympathetic and relatable. They describe a great deal of admiration for her ability to overcome the horrors and hardships of her toxic upbringing to not only survive, but also to rule. However, they additionally describe a great deal of frustration at Snow White’s persistent inability to “just get over it” and move on with her life and about her “whining”.
I actually made a conscious effort to write her as simultaneously strong and weak, because I believe that to be the paradoxical dichotomy of abuse survival. I think this is exactly the reality of severe depression.  Everyone around you fails to understand why you can’t move forward. Even when rationalizing to one’s self it can be impossible to explain, but the crushing grip that depression takes on your soul is persistent and undeniable. This might be frustrating for the reader who prefers a more archetypal heroine, but above all, I wrote The Reflections of Queen Snow White with the primary goal of creating a character who was authentically human in all of her strengths, weaknesses, and failings.

  • What was the hardest part about writing your book?

Actually, it was the wedding night scene between her and Charming. That isn’t generally the sort of graphic content I employ in my writing, but at the same time I did not see how (again keeping my goal of absolute realism and authenticity in mind) that I could leave it out. Though some people may question whether including such graphic content was necessary, I decided that it was vital to telling the story.
This novel is about Snow White exploring her innermost reflections and revisiting her most intimate, impactful, and traumatic memories. Her marriage to Charming marked a turning point in her life. It marked an end to fear and suffering at the hands of her step mother. It was also her first and only experience with love apart from childhood memories of her father. There was no question in my mind that she would remember the experience fondly and more importantly, in every minute detail, leaving nothing out as she recollected it. After all, who censors their own head?  At the same time, I spent a very great deal of worry and effort writing and revising it because I didn’t want it to feel salacious, trite, or voyeuristic – like the obligatory love scene in some bad erotic novel. I just wanted it to feel like a real memory. It was a very difficult tightrope to walk.
 

  • What is your writing routine? Are there things you absolutely need to start writing?

All I really need is my laptop or notebook and time. I suppose my “routine” is simply to use any spare moment to get done whatever I can. I currently have two jobs and am a full-time doctoral student as well. Spare moments are hard to come by these days, but I always make it a point to do at least one thing every day related to my writing. It might be writing something new or revising some part of something that I am working on. It might be promotion like this, but I always make it a point to never let a day go by without having done something to do with writing.

  • How long did it take you to write your book from start to finish?

I wrote the first draft in about four months, but then spent at least as much time editing and revising. All together I think I worked on this just a little less than a year before releasing it.
 

  • Can you tell us about your editing process?

Copious rereading followed by breaks where I put the manuscript away and don’t think about it for a day or two. I almost always come across something that needs to be changed or fixed after that. I also often read the manuscript out loud, because I find that I catch more mistakes that way.

  • Is this book part of a series? If so, how many installments do you have planned?

I have been asked if I planned to write any more retellings like this by a number of people. My answer was no, but since I have been asked so often, I think it might have shifted to “maybe”. At this time, however, The Reflections of Queen Snow White is a standalone novel.

  • Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

-Be confident in your craft, but open to criticism.
-Read lots of different writing styles to expand your writing tool-box.
-Be pleased with your work but never satisfied – Always strive to be better on your next piece of writing.
-Enjoy the process – Writing should be about process first and product second. If you fail to enjoy or attempt to rush the process, your work will likely suffer for it.

  • Why should everyone read your book?

It is an emotional and gritty retelling of a familiar story presented in a much more authentically human way. If you want to feel something when you read, this is the book for you.

  • If you could meet three authors, dead or alive, which authors would you choose?

Probably J.R.R. Tolkien, James Clavell and Tad Williams

  • What inspired you to write your book?

It is actually based on a short story I wrote shortly after both of my grandfathers died just a couple of months apart. As I observed how hard my grandmothers took their deaths, it led me to wonder on their behalf – “So… Now what?”
They had both had wonderful, loving relationships – many long, happy years together (over 60). Now it was over. It made me wonder, “When your life has been so closely tied up with and centered upon another person for so long, how do you pick up the pieces and move forward?” That was the original kernel of the idea for The Reflections of Queen Snow White.

  • Are you working on something at the moment? If so, can you tell us more about it?

I’ve got several things in the pipe, but the work that is currently on my front burner is a YA/Fantasy/Sci-Fi Novel in its Beta Reading phase called Aaru. Here’s the synopsis:
…Death and the stillness of death are the only things certain and common to all in this future…
-Friedrich Nietzsche
Rose is dying. Her body is wasted and skeletal. She is too sick and weak to move. Every day is an agony and her only hope is that death will find her swiftly before the pain grows too great to bear.
She is sixteen years old.
Rose has made peace with her fate, but her younger sister, Koren, certainly has not. Though all hope appears lost Koren convinces Rose to make one final attempt at saving her life after a mysterious man in a white lab coat approaches their family about an unorthodox and experimental procedure. A copy of Rose’s radiant mind is uploaded to a massive super computer called Aaru – a virtual paradise where the great and the righteous might live forever in an arcadian world free from pain, illness, and death. Elysian Industries is set to begin offering the service to those who can afford it and hires Koren to be their spokes-model.
Within a matter of weeks, the sisters’ faces are nationally ubiquitous, but they soon discover that neither celebrity nor immortality is as utopian as they think. Not everyone is pleased with the idea of life everlasting for sale.
What unfolds is a whirlwind of controversy, sabotage, obsession, and danger. Rose and Koren must struggle to find meaning in their chaotic new lives and at the same time hold true to each other as Aaru challenges all they ever knew about life, love, death and everything they thought they really believed.
I’m going to try to traditionally publish this summer, but if that doesn’t work out, I may go the Indy route again since it has worked out so well for The Reflections of Queen Snow White.
 

About the Book

What happens when “happily ever after” has come and gone?
On the eve of her only daughter, Princess Raven’s wedding, an aging Snow White finds it impossible to share in the joyous spirit of the occasion. The ceremony itself promises to be the most glamorous social event of the decade. Snow White’s castle has been meticulously scrubbed, polished and opulently decorated for the celebration. It is already nearly bursting with jubilant guests and merry well-wishers. Prince Edel, Raven’s fiancé, is a fine man from a neighboring kingdom and Snow White’s own domain is prosperous and at peace. Things could not be better, in fact, except for one thing:
The king is dead.
The queen has been in a moribund state of hopeless depression for over a year with no end in sight. It is only when, in a fit of bitter despair, she seeks solitude in the vastness of her own sprawling castle and climbs a long disused and forgotten tower stair that she comes face to face with herself in the very same magic mirror used by her stepmother of old.
It promises her respite in its shimmering depths, but can Snow White trust a device that was so precious to a woman who sought to cause her such irreparable harm? Can she confront the demons of her own difficult past to discover a better future for herself and her family? And finally, can she release her soul-crushing grief and suffocating loneliness to once again discover what “happily ever after” really means?
Only time will tell as she wrestles with her past and is forced to confront The Reflections of Queen Snow White.
(Disclaimer: contains some violence and sexual content)
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Author Bio

David Meredith is a writer and educator originally from Knoxville, Tennessee. He received both a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts from East Tennessee State University, in Johnson City, Tennessee as well as a Tennessee State Teaching license. He is currently a doctoral student in Educational Leadership. On and off, he spent nearly a decade, from 1999-2010 teaching English in Northern Japan, but currently lives with his wife and three children in the Nashville Area where he continues to write and teach English.

Author Interview with Wilnona Marie

27470824I’m interviewing Wilnona Marie today, author of “And I Thought Divorce was Bad”.

 1)    How long have you been writing?
I have been writing for twenty four years now.  If you mean profesionaly from the time of publishing at seventeen years of age,well then it would be seventeen years.
 2)    What is your favorite genre to write?
 Suspense/Thriller. My favorite characters are in a suspense series. I love writing with these characters therefore it is my favorite genre.
 3)    Which genre have you never tried before, but would you like to try out?  
 Fan Fiction. I would love to give this a try. When you write your own work everything is created by the author, but with fan fiction there is a universe you have to stay true too. I want to be part of a story that is massively bigger than my contribution.
 4)    Please tell us about your book.
And I Thought Divorce Was Bad is the stories of five women who has there lives turned upside down. One author with an emotionally abusive marriage, another an abusive childhood,others deal with disappointment and heart break.Life had changed for the worse and they are tired of just surviving the storm, they want to thrive,but they have changed so much from life’s bumps it is hard for them to recognize themselves let alone go forward. Since they are not the same people they were  before they must learn how to accept themselves in order to flourish.
 5)    Which character was your favorite, and why? Which character was your least favorite, and why?
Laurie is my favoriate character because she is fighting her demons, and making headway in her own right. She knows she isn’t adhering to social norms, but she is proud of what the actions she takes. My least favorite, this is a hard call, I guess if pressed I would have to say Yvette. She is to eager to move on with life without doing the work of a review
 6)    What was the hardest part about writing your book? 
Writing with other authors.  The writing was fun, but deciding the order and editing the book was a new challenge. I am used to working alone so when I make decisions I just have to check with myself and my team. When writing with others there is just so much more to the process. It was also and expansion in my work
 experience.
 7)    What is your writing routine? Are there things you absolutely need to start writing?
I write almost every day, because I really love the creative art of the written word. Normally if I start a book it become an obsession until I am done. My biggest quirk is I write from the back of a notebook to the front and by hand.
 8)    How long did it take you to write your book from start to finish?
This book was different for me it just poured out so it took nine days.
 9)    Can you tell us about your editing process?
I send it two amazing editors they work their skills to the point when I get it back I barely know my own price.
 10)    Is this book part of a series? If so, how many installments do you have planned?
It was not planned as a series but it is becoming one. There are three books planned. One about Independence and love.  The last one will be about settling down and being content.
 11)    Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Keep writing. Persistence pays off
 12)    Why should everyone read your book?
It makes the reader feel, and reflect on their life choices. A few readers say they were re-introduced to issues they thought they had resolved. It is raw book with life lessons
 applicable to most who read the stories.
 13)    If you could meet three authors, dead or alive,which authors would you choose?  
Jane Austen,(because who doesn’t love Mr. Darcy) Charles Dickens (simply to know how how satisfying literary revenge can become) and Janet Evanovich(she is just amazing)
 14)    What inspired you to write your book?
My sister one day ask me to put all my poetry and short stories about dating after divorce and recovering from an abusive relationship in a book.  I said no. Poetry doesn’t sell.  I dropped the idea. Later that week I met my cardiologist for the first time during the visit she told me I should write a collection of stories about my life.  Two
 days after that I go to the dentist, briefly we chat(because it is impossible to talk with a drill in your mouth.) and she wants to know if I will ever do a collection of poems and stories.  I caved and wrote the book.
 15)    Are you working on something at the moment? If so,can you tell us more about it?
I am finishing up for print the first installment of my first series. This is a series of mysteries/suspense novels. Secondly, I am releasing my autobiography, and third, I am writing the prequel to this book. That is about the struggles of growing up and becoming an adult, and first romantic encounters. I have my first romance novel in the works. My editors are a little overwhelmed because all those manuscripts are sitting on their desk and I just finished the second book in the children’s fantasy series.

About the Book

When your life changes where do you find yourself? How do you find yourself? This is a collection of short stories and poems describing the journey of four women as they cope with life, accept the changes, and discover their new selves.

Author Interview with Larry Luikart

Today I’m interviewing Larry Luikart, author of “Throw Salt on the Water”. I hope you enjoy the interview, and thank you to the author for taking the time to answer my questions.

Author Interview

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  1. How long have you been writing?

   After a career as a Missouri State Trooper about six years ago I decided to make a serious commitment to writing a book. I started another project approximately ten years before that but could never get it done. This time however, I had the time and the desire to see it through. After four years of writing and research my project came to fruition.

  1. What is your favorite genre to write?

     I am a historian by training making that my favorite overall area with Civil War and World War II both the European and Pacific campaigns as specifics to the broad area. The current project is historical fiction in order to appeal to a broader audience than just pure history individuals.

 

  1. Which genre have you never tried before, but would like to try out?

     This is an interesting question. I’ve really never thought about it before. Maybe a mystery novel or something centered around my Christian faith in a historical context of course.

  1. Please tell us about your book.

Throw Salt on the Water, A Test of Friendship and Faith is the story of two friends, Tug in Virginia and Andrew in Ohio. These two boys have grown up along the Ohio River and become best friends. The looming Civil War and then the war itself force the two boys to make serious decisions about their relationship and the paths they will take regarding their loyalties to the political firestorm around them. All the battle movements and troop designations are historically accurate. The characters are fictional which allowed me some latitude to keep the story interesting.

  1. Which character was your favorite, and why? Which character was your least favorite, and why?

Andrew Hale is my favorite. He is the protagonist who moves the story forward but without Tug Goodloe the story would only be half told. Tug is a slightly less strong character but still essential to the story.

My least favorite is Colonel Traxton – Revonne’s father – Tug’s love interest. He is a pompous, stuffy, aristocratic southern planter turned Confederate soldier who makes it clear he does not think Tug is good enough for his daughter. Almost always absent he left Revonne to operate their plantation while he “ran off to play soldier” as Revonne indicates in one passage from the book.

  1. What was the hardest part about writing the book?

     The most difficult part of writing a book is the constant concern, the question always present in your mind, “Are my words really conveying what I want to say? Are the emotions for this character being transmitted to the reader? What could I do differently to

make a sentence, paragraph, or chapter flow so the reader enjoys the journey through the book?”

  1. What is your writing routine? Are there things you absolutely need to start writing.

     I found writing in the morning works best. My mind is fresh and uncluttered with the cares of the day. I tried to write six hours a day. I did research in the afternoon. The one absolute for me is quiet. I cannot have a lot of noise and other distractions going on while I try to write. It takes focus and concentration to write well. Otherwise, I found it a waste of time. I would end up redoing my work or just giving in to the noise, quitting for the day.

  1. How long did it take you to write your book from start to finish?

   The final draft from start to finish took about three years. But I did not work at it full time. The editing took another four months and another eighteen months to find and complete the publishing.

  1. Can you tell us about your editing process?

   The most important task is to get those first words on paper. Once I had that done then I would first go through a chapter to remove the obvious typos and misspellings. The second go through would involve cleaning up the text for clarity, composition, mood and flow. I may do that a couple more times. A good writer like any other artist is not ever satisfied with their work. Eventually, you have to say I can live with this revision. I then sent my entire manuscript to a professional editor. If you don’t think you need this step it is a mistake. I learned a tremendous amount regarding how the story read and how the characters evolved from another set of eyes. My editor also verified historical facts and events.

  1. Is this book part of a series? If so, how many installments do you have planned?

     I thought quite a lot about a second book. Throw Salt on the Water ends near the last part of 1863. The Civil War went on for another nearly two years making a second book a real possibility especially if it went into Reconstruction. I decided to let the readers help make that determination. So far, even though the book is relatively new I have received some very positive feed – back for a sequel. Time will tell.

  1. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

     Write, write, write. This sounds cliché almost worthless advice for its obviousness.
The fact remains writing is not innate or a God given talent. It is a learned skill requiring intense practice. The key is to keep in mind the idea of what you write today will be better than what you wrote yesterday. I found that one word or one punctuation mark made a tremendous difference in producing the result I wanted. Be patient as you write. Take your time and savor those words you put on paper. Each word matters offering you an opportunity to give your characters unique voices for your readers.

  1. Why should everyone read your book?

       I created a book that was historically informative and easy to read. The idea was to create interesting characters who moved through a historically accurate background. People find pure history boring and dry. I hoped to create a book that would offer a good story while you learned a little history. I don’t think everyone will read my book by the way. But, it certainly is a lofty goal!

  1. If you could meet three authors, dead or alive, which would you choose?

     Shelby Foote: His three volume coverage of The Civil War is wonderfully done.

     David McCullough: His style and choice of words coupled with his consummate research makes reading his work a joy.

       Doris Kearns Goodwin: She draws you in to her story and before you know it the book is done and you’re asking for just one more chapter.

  1. What inspired you to write your book?

       I have read history for forty – five years. I thought it time I gave something back.

Besides, if you read long enough you begin to think, “I can do that too.” It proved to be a much more difficult journey than I expected but it was well worth the effort.

  1. Are you working on something at the moment? If so, can you tell us more about it?

     Yes. I have a couple of projects in mind but I think it best to keep them in my mind for now.

 Thank you for the opportunity to answer these questions regarding my work. I appreciate the opportunity to showcase Throw Salt on the Water. My sincere hope is that your readers enjoy it as much as I did writing it.

Best regards

Larry Luikart

About the Book

Throw Salt on the Water tells the story of two young friends thrust into making decisions regarding their personal friendship and faith by finding themselves on opposite sides of the US Civil War. A novel of historical fiction. Follow these two as they move from boyhood transformed by the crucible of war into men.

About the Author

DSC03626-250x250Larry Luikart is an Ohio native who holds Bachelor and Master degrees in History and Political Science from Concordia College [Concordia University]. An avid reader and historian, he has studied the Civil War for over thirty years.

Larry completed a twenty-six year career with the Missouri State Highway Patrol where he served as a road officer, member of the SWAT team, full time ATP multi-engine aircraft pilot, and gaming agent on a riverboat casino.

After obtaining an Accounting and Finance Bachelor’s Degree from Missouri Western State College, Larry ran an accounting business for several years.

Larry and his wife, Monica, live in the beautiful Westcliffe, Colorado area with their two giant breed dogs. Larry writes articles for the weekly newspaper, the Sentinel, serves as a citizen volunteer on the local school district budget committee, is a board member of the Southern Colorado Space Museum and Learning Center, and currently serves as an Elder in his local church.

When not writing Larry enjoys camping, fishing, travelling, and cooking.

Buy the book on Amazon.

Author Interview with Alan Joshua

Today I’m interviewing Alan Joshua, author of science-fiction novel “The SHIVA Syndrome”. Welcome to my blog!

51RymJFaz-L._UX250_How long have you been writing?

Since I could hold a pen; elementary school to be exact. I was/am in love with film and drew poster ads for exciting films—Destination Moon, for example–adding text. Later, school compositions gave me the chance to exercise my imagination and share it. I wrote my first (unpublished) novel while working in a mental institution. The environment was as surreal as the book.

What is your favorite genre to write?

Sci-fi by far. I was stimulated by comics, movies, and reading Asimov and other major writers. I can remember a boost of adrenalin while reading R.U.R., by Karel Čapek. He first introduced the word robot into our lexicon. Later, when I saw Gort, the robot in The Day the Earth Stood Still, I was over the moon with excitement.

Which genre have you never tried before, but would you like to try out?

Actually, I’ve tried quite a few—of those I care about. With art, science, and psychology backgrounds, it’s very hard for me to limit myself (and feels artificial) to restrict my writing to genre categories. Writing is organic and should encompass whatever is needed to tell the story. The SHIVA Syndrome is multigenre. It even includes a touch of romance. It blends real and speculative science, a huge dose of psychology and parapsychology, myth, anthropology, genetics, neuroscience, and other areas needed to bring it to life. I think of it as “edu-taintment,” both for thinking readers as well as myself.

The Midwest Book Review said, “At first glance one would think this to be either a sci-fi saga or perhaps a thriller: technically, that’s correct; but it’s so much more. Its focus on untapped human potential gone awry in a deadly experiment also lends to its enjoyment by new age readers or any interested in the paranormal – and let’s not forget the reader who enjoys political intrigue and a bit of spiritual reflection in their reading. The Self-Publishing Review put it well: “Any attempt to describe the book in a single statement is difficult, but the book mixes uncommon palettes and manages a masterpiece with it.”

I’m not sure about it being a “masterpiece,” but I was honored when a British critic said, “Joshua shows his working in a way Asimov might have been proud of, bringing this plethora of scientists around a table to discuss the intriguing science and pseudoscience of the novel.  The vision is enthralling, building a fantastical concept from a multi-faceted discussion of the world’s experts as they travel by plane to Russia to investigate the crash site.”

Please tell us about your book.

Beau Walker’s academic career is at a standstill, when he’s called to be part of a team that, under military supervision, aims to investigate a mysterious accident near Moscow. A mile-deep crater is all that remains after the city of Podol’sk is disintegrated by a black hole. The investigation is carried out by a secret international collaboration.

Walker and the others risk their as the exploration becomes more complicated, more surreal. Everything suggests that it is the result of experiments on paranormal powers gone very wrong. The SHIVA project is the American counterpart of the Russian project that caused the disaster. The real fear is how to avoid repeating the disaster in the U.S. when none of the scientists has a clear idea of ​​what they are doing and that vital information is being hidden from them by the military.

One reviewer ‘s comment sums it up nicely: “Whatever your thinking. Think again. The first notable conclusion after reading this book is that it is nearly impossible to classify this book in a sole genre. It’s a unique mixture of paranormal, science fiction, thriller, and mystery.”

Which character was your favorite, and why? Which character was your least favorite, and why?

Understandably, my favorite is Beau Walker. The son of a Mohawk father and African-American mother, from childhood he is challenged by paranormal “gifts” he cannot understand. He grows past those early limitations to become a researcher, only to carry the painful residue of his formative years with him and into the story.

My least favorite is also an intriguing enigma of a man: Karl Slezak, the director of the SHIVA project. He is almost reptilian in his cold-bloodedness and, up to the very end, shows Machiavellian traits.

Both Walker and Slezak are inscrutable and not easily understood.

What was the hardest part about writing your book?

Finding some way to make the ideas accessible to most readers. There are important, real issues and concepts that need to be understood. It goes far beyond soft sci-fi into areas not explored by many other writers. Paddy Chayefsky tried in Altered States, his only novel, but wasn’t very

successful. Heinlein touches on it in Stranger in a Strange Land, but doesn’t penetrate into the psyche of Valentine Michael Smith.

What is your writing routine? Are there things you absolutely need to start writing?

These are two questions.

First, I have no routine. I’m more of a “pantser” and, depending on my state of mind, will either write or conceptualize.

I do need my muse. Call it insight or inspiration. It’s a blend of thought and feeling that says “Aha! That’s where it goes.”

Quite often it’s the characters who take my hand and lead me. It’s during those times that I feel as if I’m “channeling” them.

How long did it take you to write your book from start to finish?

A few years. SHIVA started as a screenplay, then grew exponentially. Finally, I realized it had to be a novel.

Can you tell us about your editing process?

My experience tells me that I can only go so far in self-editing. It’s like someone trying to psychoanalyze themselves. You can’t be sufficiently objective to see what needs to be seen and do what has to be done.

Luckily, I had some fine editorial help along the way.

Is this book part of a series? If so, how many installments do you have planned?

Many readers/reviewers have asked for a prequel dealing with Walker’s life and a sequel.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

I suppose it would be, as the anthropologist Joseph Campbell said, to “follow your bliss.” There are moments of utter confusion and doubt. These have to be endured. Then again, there are times of clarity where you find yourself happily and busily drawn forward. These are the blissful moments when the effort and product make perfect sense to you. You have to tolerate the former to get to the latter.

Another awareness is that there is no real sense of completion. Even once in print, you will always find changes you would like to make.

Why should everyone read your book?

Not everyone should. One reviewer said, “The SHIVA Syndrome was a phenomenal read but it is not a quick read…The story was amazingly developed to keep the reader attentive and on their toes constantly and always guessing where the plot is heading up until the very end.”

However, those readers who are seekers and not wanting literary “chewing gum” seem to find it an extraordinary and worthwhile trip.

If you could meet three authors, dead or alive, which authors would you choose?

This is a tough call. I’d have to say four at least.

Shakespeare, of course. His use of words was beyond brilliant and his plays mirror reality, comedy, the tragic, and the paranormal. His work was absolute genius.

Philip Dick would be another. His unusual views of other realities was extraordinary.

Jules Verne, for his futuristic visionary writing that presaged what has been realized in the present.

H.G. Wells, another visionary, who blended science fiction and social commentary.

What inspired you to write your book?

My psychological research into the paranormal and my personal exposure to it. I wanted to convey the sense that what we consider as “paranormal” is actually a normal extension of human consciousness. We love books and films dealing with these subjects as they open up worlds and possibilities beyond our senses. But limiting this to shallow, faddish pulp stories about vampires and zombies sells short the richness of parapsychological realities.

Are you working on something at the moment? If so, can you tell us more about it?

I’m formulating ideas for a prequel and sequel to SHIVA, as well as another parapsychological suspense murder-mystery.

That’s about all I can say at the moment.

 Thank you for having me as a guest. I hope I’ve been helpful in answering your questions.

About the Book

TheShivaSysndrome-EBOOK-newTitle: The SHIVA Syndrome

Author: Alan Joshua

Genre: Science-Fiction

Science opens a door for humans to reach God-like powers of creation and destruction. A secret Russian mind research laboratory in Podol’sk erupts, annihilating thousands and leaving a monstrous, one-mile deep crater in its wake.

Beau Walker, a parapsychologist and reluctant empath, is coerced into joining a research team, code-named SHIVA, to investigate the mystifying catastrophe. What seems at first to be a scientific investigation leads Walker and the research team into realities beyond mainstream comprehension.

Walker soon learns enough to threaten his life and the continued existence of humankind. He must fight against political and military deceptions, deadly human and superhuman adversaries, and his personal demons to unlock the riddle of the SHIVA syndrome.

The SHIVA Syndrome offers a dizzying ride into human abilities far beyond the known.

The SHIVA Syndrome was written by a published clinical psychologist and parapsychologist. It is endorsed by an internationally known psychologist and parapsychologist.

Author Interview with P.R. Mason

The Books

 

The Interview

 

Thank you for taking the time to answer these interview questions!

Thank you so much for having me on your excellent blog. I appreciate the opportunity to connect with readers.

1. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

One of my earliest memories is of regaling a group of my childhood friends with a story I’d created. I believe it featured an excessive number of dragons. My love of story telling continued through my teens. However, my teenage writings were much too angsty and featured characters who whined a lot. I finished my first novel about five years ago, A GIRL, A GUY and a GHOST written under the name Patricia Mason. That book does not feature any dragons, but does have a somewhat whiny, discrimination-obsessed, vampire. Now I write steamy romance as Patricia Mason and YA urban fantasy and paranormal romance as P.R. Mason

2. How long does it take you to write a book?

Every book is different but, if I can get the beginning “right”, it takes about three months for me to write the first draft and about a month to revise. For Entanglements, I must have written the first thirty pages at least five times before arriving at a beginning that felt right. The basic plot points of the story were set but I just couldn’t open the novel in an exciting way. Once I found the right beginning, the whole story flowed and was written quickly. However, there were a few plot points that changed and were added along the way as the characters took over and decided what they wanted to do and not to do.

3. What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

Probably the fact that I usually need to leave my house and go to a coffee shop in order to write. If I stay at home, my cat overlords, or at least one of them, lies on the keyboard, sits on my lap, meows for treats, demands caressing…. you get the picture.

4. Where did you get the idea/inspiration for your main character, Kizzy Taylor?

Some stories start with the character and some start with the plot. With Entanglements, the idea for the plot came first and then I had to decide what sort of heroine would be caught up in what I’d envisioned. As I said earlier, I wrote the first thirty pages a number of times. The heroine of Entanglements, Kizzy, started out with brown hair but she was too whiney and not bold enough.

She didn’t fully form into a real person for me until I decided she had extremely curly red hair, which she straightened when trying to conform to societal expectations. Her personality soon followed and became as fiery as her hair.

Also, since the novel is an urban fantasy/paranormal romance, I wanted Kizzy, to be engaged in a hobby that reflected the feisty but reckless aspects of her personality. The hobby also had to lead her into a setting that would serve the plot, which by that time I knew would involve Kizzy’s accidentally opening a vortex to a dangerous alternate dimension. The hobby also had to fit with my hero, Rom, an athletic alpha male who is soldier-tough and bent on doing his duty.

The idea for the specific hobby that would fit my needs ultimately came from an anonymous Facebook posting on a page devoted to urban spelunking in NYC: “If you’re interested in going on a spelunk ask yourself these questions: (1) Am I okay with getting arrested? (2) Am I afraid of getting tuberculosis, inhaling intoxicants, etc? (3) Am I okay with getting cut up? (4) Do I know how incredibly dangerous and stupid this is?”

Since Savannah, Georgia—the setting—has a number of tunnels connected to nefarious activity or tragic circumstances, I knew I’d found the perfect hobby for my heroine. I’d found the hobby that would lead Kizzy into an abandoned building, through a reportedly haunted tunnel, and ultimately, into another world.

5. How did you come up with the idea for Entanglements?

I saw something on string theory on the Discovery channel. When I googled the concepts, I came across a quote from Einstein about the quantum mechanics theory of entanglements where he referred to it as “spooky action at a distance.” Scientists had discovered that a particle could be tweaked miles away from another and still cause the second particle to react even though there was no discernable connection between them. The scientists theorized that the two were “entangled” in an alternate dimension or universe of which they believed there are at least seven. Interestingly also, in the world of quantum physics, effect does not always follow cause. Sometimes they are reversed. I began to wonder what would happen if people or beings were entangled in alternate universes? And from this, ENTANGLEMENTS was born.

6. Who would you consider your favorite author and why?

I have so many favorite authors some of whom are: Jane Austen, J.R. Ward, J.K. Rowling…Wow I just figured out I have a thing about J names. But I think what they all have in common is that they are able to create a world and transport the reader inside to experience a way of life that is very different from their own.

7. Are you working on something right now? If so, what?

A sequel to Entanglements is in the works. RESISTANCE takes up the story of a fighter in the human resistance who, along with her alchemist/vampire hero, must defeat an army of soul sucking golems. I expect to release the sequel in March of 2012.

Right in the middle of working on the sequel, however, I became obsessed with the concept of predestination and the line between fate and free will. My father always came down on the side of 100% predetestination because he often had vivid dreams that foretold future events in his life. Some of these occurred years after the dream. So he thought every event in his life was “fated” to happen and his choices made no difference. I argued that choices had to matter. I always thought that his dreams were precognitive of an event that would happen if he continued on the path on which he was traveling at the time. And those dreams of events that never happened were forgotten because he changed paths. Anyway, these issues came to the forefront of my mind in relation to two characters and so I felt driven to write their story. The 11000-word paranormal romance novella FATED HEARTS is the result. It was just released. Here’s the blurb:

EVE has always played by the rules, afraid to take chances. HOLDEN wants to change that. She’s certain they’ve never met before…or have they? Holden seems so familiar, but who is he? What is he? Yesterday her biggest challenge was trying not to bomb on her SATs. Today, paranormal forces have transformed an ordinary high school dance into a test of fate vs. free will and loving Holden could be Eve’s end.

It’s available exclusively at Amazon. As a promotion, it will be FREE on January 24th and 25th. I hope you’ll check it out.

I definitely will check it out! Thank you for answering my interview questions!

The Author

 

P.R. Mason writes steamy contemporary and paranormal romance under the name Patricia Mason and young adult paranormal romance and urban fantasy as P.R. Mason. She escaped from the snowy Midwest winters of her youth by moving in 2001 to the strange and wonderful city of Savannah, Georgia to pursue her dream of being a novelist. Pat’s background is eclectic. She was an Assistant District Attorney and for a number of years was the owner of an antique shop which was home to a number of ghosts. Her home is ruled by two black cats, one of whom was rescued from the most haunted cemetery in the southeast.

Please visit www.prmason.net. You can also follow the author @prmason on Twitter.

Author Interview: Michael Lee

The Book

10775739Title: My Frankenstein
Author: Michael Lee
Genre: Retelling Classics, Fantasy, Gothic Horror, Historical Fiction, Dark Romance
Read my review for My Frankenstein.

In a small village in early 19th Century young Eva is enthralled by the new young baron, Viktor Frankenstein. Viktor promises to transform the traditional little town into a beacon of science and gives the book loving Eva access to his fantastic library. Eva becomes his student and assists him in a secret experiment, though she is kept in the dark about its ultimate aim. Soon after that Viktor introduces Eva to his “cousin” Adam. Adam is horribly disfigured with stitches running across his face. Viktor claims he is mute and simpleminded, but Eva takes pity on him and sets out to teach him to speak.…

What follows is a combination of tragic romance and classic horror as Eva is pulled between Viktor, who grows jealous and takes murderous steps to ensure his secret, and Adam, who possess tremendous strength and rage yet deep inside is innocent and vulnerable.

In his debut fantasy novel, Michael J. Lee retells the classic story by Mary Shelley as a dark romance with steampunk overtones.

Author Interview

1) As the title suggests, My Frankenstein is a retelling of the classic Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. What inspired you to write about Frankenstein?

Frankenstein is one of those stories that makes up part of my “writer’s DNA.” It’s a tale I grew up with. I was going to write about it sooner or later because I loved the story so much. And it’s a wonderful story that can find new applicability with the times. I felt the time had come to revisit the story with fresh eyes.

2) I liked the character of Eva. With her intelligence, fast learning skills and rather naive (at least at first) attitude, she seems a perfect fit for Viktor. Whereas the original “Frankenstein” novel barely even mentioned love or other emotions, why did you choose to bring a romantic twist to the story?

That’s what really made the story come alive, the emotions and deep feelings the characters have. What really kicked this story into high gear for me was remembering something an actor once told me, “You can’t hate someone you don’t give a damn about.” That element of love that Eva brings to the story is the real spark that brings the novel to life.

3) I have to admit that Viktor, despite his many flaws, was my favorite character. There is something darkly romantic and tragic about a scientist too advanced for his era. Who was your favorite character to write?

Viktor. Writing a hero can be fun but creating a dark character like Viktor and making him work, for me that is the heart of writing. In his own mind, he’s a hero not a villain. He has a reason for everything he does. That makes him an active character. He’s very much alive. And he just creates tension and drama. He doesn’t even have to do or say anything. Just having him enter the room makes the drama up a notch. A character like that is a joy to write.

4) Are you currently working on a new novel? If so, can you tell us something about it?

Yes I am. It’s called From Russia With Blood. This is also a tale close to my heart. Frankenstein is part of writer’s DNA, so is Dracula and so is James Bond. And I think the two genres are really tailor made for each other. The first drafts are done. I’m just working on fine tuning and editing the story.

Thanks for answering my interview questions!

Thanks for having me!

The Author

Michael Lee is a script consultant, judge and entertainment blogger for The Wrap.com and has lived in Detroit, Connecticut, Ohio and Los Angeles.
Visit his website.

Author Interview: Fiona Dodwell + Giveaway

The Book

10660843Title: The Banishing
Author: Fiona Dodwell
Genre: Horror, Supernatural, Thriller
Publisher: Damnation Books
Review copy provided by Bewitching Book Tours.
Goodreads | Author’s Website
Read my review for The Banishing!

When Melissa first notices the change in her husband – subtle at first – she thinks it may be the stress of moving into their new home. Or working long hours. But soon he turns into something far darker, far more sinister.

Who or what is the dark shadow living beneath her husband? What is haunting him?

Melissa must quickly find the answer to these questions, because Mark is changing, and fast. Soon her fight will be for her life, as well as for her marriage.

The Banishing is a dark, disturbing novel exploring the world of demonic possession, spiritual oppression and domestic abuse.

The Interview

1) The Banishing is a supernatural horror novel, that vaguely reminded me of classics in the genre, like The Exorcist and Poltergeist. Why did you decide to write a horror novel, and what inspired you to write The Banishing in particular?

Well, I have been in love with horror since I was a child; I grew up reading horror books and watching horror movies from a young age, so it made sense to me that my own creative writing would be quite dark in nature. I think The Banishing was inspired by my fascination with possession. I have always been drawn to this frightening idea that we could be, at any time, taken over by an evil entity. I read many fictional studies and my ideas for The Banishing blossomed from there.


2) When you start writing a book, what does your writing schedule look like? Do you write mostly at night, daytime, whenever you feel like it, or…?

I don’t have a writing schedule, I generally seem to write when I feel inspired and in the mood. Because I love writing, that means I usually sit down to write most days. I won’t force myself to write if I’m not in a good place for it though: I wouldn’t be able to create good work that way.


3) Did you do some research on so-called “real cases” of hauntings before writing this novel, or is it all purely fiction? If you did some research, can you tell us a bit about your findings?

Well, The Banishing is fictional, nothing in my novel resembles real life. I relied on my imagination. However, I have read a lot of books over the years, factual accounts of hauntings and demonic possession, so some ideas have bloomed from there. As for my findings when researching the subject of hauntings and possession… it’s tough. I am open minded, and I believe there is more to this world than meets the eye. If I have learned anything from the things I have read and studied about these paranormal subjects, it is that many people across the world swear to having experienced something weird and unexplainable. These people are happy, healthy normal people like you or I, but they have been touched by unseen foreces. Many people’s testimonies of hauntings and possession all appear to have common threads of events/symptoms, which definitely gave me food for thought.

4) The message at the end of the novel is quite dark. We venture into the darkest corners of the human mind, and wonder what exactly we are willing to give up for the people we love. Without trying to spoil anything, why did you decide to put this twist at the end?

The ending of The Banishing is something people seem to love or feel upset by. I have had people say it’s one of the most original endings they’ve ever read, and had others say it upset and disturbed them. However, I love reactions like this! It means my story has provoked an honest, emotional reaction in people’s minds. I decided to make the ending of The Banishing this way because it felt right for the character. In Melissa’s case (my main character), she loves her husband so much, knows so deeply that he is a good, kind, soul, that she will literally give up the world in order to restore him to the man she knows and loves. The endings captures something about human nature, I think. I like to leave it up to the reader to decide what that message means. Is Melissa right or wrong for what she does in those last pages of The Banishing? I’d love to hear from readers to know what they think!

5) Are you currently working on another novel? If so, can you tell us something about it?

My second novel, Obsessed, is currently being considered for publication. I am also writing my third novel, The Shift, which is about a young man who, while fighting off low self-esteem from a broken down marriage and unemployment, starts to be visited by a spirit. The story takes the reader on a journey.. Who is the ghost? What does it want? What lies in the shady and shadowy past of the main character that keeps the ghost at his side?
It’s early days yet – I am only half way through the first draught!

The Author

Fiona Dodwell lives in the UK with her husband. She has studied an unusual mixture over the years, from film studies, theology and drama to psychology.

She grew up with a deep passion for horror, both in film and literature, and greatly admires the works of Stephen King, Susan Hill, Adam Neville and Bill Hussey.

She began entering fiction contests at a young age, winning several, and had some of her poems published.

Her first novel to be published, The Banishing, is a dark story exploring demonic possession and domestic abuse. She is currently submitting her second novel, The Obsession, for possible publication and is enjoying writing her third. Visit her website!

The Giveaway

Fiona was kind enough to offer 1 print copy and 1 e-book copy of her novel The Banishing for giveaway. The giveaway is tour wide, meaning you can enter at every tour stop! From all the comments left during the tour, two random winners will be chosen. The contest is open internationally.

Participating is simple: just leave a comment on this post, or on my review for The Banishing, or on both, if you feel like it. Good luck with the contest!

Click on the banner below to see the other tour stops!