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Stephanie Ayers  (pictured right) is currently circling the book community on tour for her latest novel, The 13: Tales of Macabre!

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Pre-orders are available here: The 13: Tales of Macabre.  As of this interview, The 13 is available at a special price–just $0.99–as an e-book on Amazon!  The 13 will officially release on October 26, 2018, just in time for Halloween.

Visit Stephanie’s website to connect and checkout what else she’s working on: Stephanie Ayers. 

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1. What is your latest book project?

I am currently working hard at wrapping up the first novel in my Destiny Defined fantasy series, Elven Games. Tribba runs a B&B for her dwarven village. The problem is all her potential clients keep choosing the elven castle next door. More than ready to be rid of them, she challenges them to a series of games, the Elven Games, winner takes all, loser packs up and leaves.

2. Which story is your favorite in The 13: Tales of Macabre? Why?

It’s “Send in the Clowns.” I enjoyed writing this one because I put on the music and really got into the characters and the story. I creeped myself out with it and that made it extra fun.The 13 Macabre Clowns

3. What are your future projects?

I am planning to release 11 more volumes of The 13 for a complete series of 13. I have a 7-book fantasy series planned, along with keeping my writing skills sharp by entering contests and submitting to anthologies.

4. What else have you written? What else do you write?

I have a lot of short stories written, some unfinished. Most of my Amazon page contains 5-6 anthologies I have stories featured in. “Endless Darkness has Gloria,” a sci-fi kind of horror about a woman who accepts a new job position but gets a lot more than she bargained for. Monsters is an anthology put together by a group I’m in on Facebook. The story there, “Headlines,” talks about those headlines where families are killed by other family members. It’s scary in the very true sense. Precipice holds my fantasy story, “Fear,” which is about a princess who must face her greatest fear before coronation. I have about 17 poems contained within Ambrosia, which is a poetry anthology we dedicated to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. When I’m not writing fiction, I freelance as a content creator.

5. Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

No, not intentionally.

6. In your opinion, what is the most unethical practice in the publishing industry?

Those who take authors in, publish their stuff with grand promises of marketing and etc., and then don’t do anything they say they will. I’ve seen it happening a lot in small presses.

7. What are common traps for aspiring writers?

There are a lot of them but the one that sticks out most in my mind is vanity presses. Never pay to be published. Use that money for a good editor instead.

8. How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

It validated my writing. It also slowed it down. Somehow I got in the frame of mind that I accomplished that goal, so let’s do something else. I regret it now. I’m working hard to make up for it.

9. When you’re not writing, what do you do?

I tend to use my creativity in other areas, like graphic design. I have found that it is one of the biggest commodities I can help other authors with. Sometimes, they need quality work on a very limited budget. That’s where I come in.

10. What inspires you to write?

Everything inspires me. Usually while I’m driving, which isn’t always a good thing. 😉

11. What is the most important thing about a book in your opinion?

It is someone’s story. Ursula Le Guin once said, “stories aren’t alive until a reader reads them.” I believe there is an audience for any book. It is bringing that story to life that is the most important thing.

12. Tell us about your writing style, how is it different from other writers?

I don’t know that it really is. Readers have told me I remind them of Stephen King, Poe, and Lovecraft. I suppose it’s in the way that a lot of my writing is about stuff that could happen, an answer to all the what ifs you could possibly dream up about anything.

13. What books have influenced your life the most?

I read a lot of Stephen King growing up. I definitely think he has influenced my writing the most.

14. What is your favorite genre to read and why?

High Fantasy, hands down, especially if its based on Celtic legends and mythologies. I find fantasy writing has more description. It really takes me to the world I’m reading in more than others.

15. If you had the opportunity to live anywhere in the world for a year while writing, where would you choose?

Ireland. No question.

16. Do you have any writing buddies?

I have a few.

17. What are the upsides and downsides to being an author?

I’m always poor, but I’m always creative, too.

18. Who are some authors in your genre that inspire you?

Stephen King, John Sandford, Dean Koontz

19. What does your writing space look like?

It’s a cluttered mess but I know where everything is. It has room for everything I need within “hands distance.” And there’s always a unicorn, a few fairies, and a coffee mug around.

 20. What are your top three favorite books of all time?

The Stand (King), Inkheart (Funke), and Alice in Wonderland (Carroll).

21. If someone is brand new to your work, what book do you think they should start with or what should they know?

I think they should start at my blog, then probably read my newest work available, and then work backwards. I’m a coffee guzzling, word whispering creative ninja and unicorn disguised as a human being. I may or may not have fairy wings.

I’m a coffee guzzling, word whispering creative ninja and unicorn disguised as a human being. I may or may not have fairy wings.


22. What do you want readers to take away from reading your book(s)?

I want them to stick in their heads, come to mind when they see something out and about that makes them think of the story.

 23. If you could live in the story of a book, which one would you live in?

Wonderland of course.

24. When did you know that you wanted to be a writer and how long have you been writing professionally?

Growing up, I always waffled between author, journalist, actress, and singer. I got serious about writing in 2010, even though I had tons of writing from my earlier years, dating back to 4th grade.

25. Where do you think book publishing will be in 10 years from now?

I am a little worried about the future of book publishing to be honest. All the new rules and regulations the biggest book vendor in the world is mandating, makes it much harder for an indie author to rise to the top. I fear it will become elite, allowing for only certain people to publish and only out of certain places.

A review on The 13 will be posted soon. Happy October!

 

-E

 

 

 

 

 

An Interview with Horror Novelist Alistair Cross

“The idea for this book hit me hard and fast, and the characters came at me full-force, demanding that their stories be told.”

–Alistair Cross on writing Sleep, Savannah, Sleep

Q: Tell me about Haunted Nights LIVE and what inspired you to start this radio show? How can people listen in?

Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! came about when the show’s producer, Pam Stack, approached me via Facebook, asking if my collaborator, Tamara Thorne, and I would be interested in hosting a weekly horror-themed show. Haunted Nights LIVE! is part of the Authors on the Air Global Radio Network which has more than 3 million listeners worldwide…so naturally, I said y

es without hesitation.

Through Haunted Nights LIVE! I’ve met some of the most fascinating people alive today and I don’t take that for granted. Many of the guests we talk to each week are authors I grew up reading and loving, the ones who inspired me to become a writer. And I consider myself incredibly fortunate to be a part of this show because it allows me to spend time with many of the writers who will be remembered hundreds of years from now.

Listeners can check out the show at our Facebook page: Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights Live! Or at the guest page on my website: Allistaircross.com.

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Q: What would you say is the best thing about hosting Haunted Nights LIVE?

Meeting my heroes. Through Haunted Nights LIVE!, I’ve met folks like Laurell K. Hamilton, Andrew Neiderman (V.C. Andrews), John Saul, Charlaine Harris, Preston & Child, Kim Harrison, Christopher Rice, and The Walking Dead author, Jay Bonansinga, just to name a few. Getting to know these great writers is a pleasure beyond anything I could have imagined.

SavannahCoverQ: So, Sleep, Savannah, Sleep is your latest novel. What inspired you to write this book? What do you want your readers to take away from reading your work?

The inspiration for Sleep, Savannah, Sleep came from no place I can identify. It was one of those ideas that struck late one night as I was trying to fall asleep. I just began wondering, “What if,” and as these things often go, I was up for the rest of the night plotting it out, and by the time the sun was rising, I had the book mapped out in its entirety–which has never happened before. Usually, plotting happens as I go along, but this time, it came to me all at once, fully-formed.

The main thing I want readers to get from my work is entertainment. I want them to enjoy spending time in the world I’ve created, with the characters I’ve come to love so much myself. My only real goal as a writer is to pull readers into the story and make them a part of it.

Q: How long did it take to finish writing, Sleep, Savannah, Sleep?

Unlike my previous works, which often take between nine and fifteen months to complete, the first draft of Sleep, Savannah, Sleep was written in just 25 days! The idea for this book hit me hard and fast, and the characters came at me full-force, demanding that their stories be told. As a result, I pulled many, many all-nighters, sometimes writing well into morning the next day. This, of course, created a strong need for serious revisions later, but it’s very first telling came out in under a month.

Q: Did you do any special research or take any literary trips to finish Sleep, Savannah, Sleep?

While I often end up doing some minor traveling for research, Sleep, Savannah, Sleep did not require me to leave my writing studio. But I did have many conversations with a massage therapist, an attorney, and someone in the cemetery business, all of whom were instrumental in helping me get my facts straight–and all of whom were incredibly generous with their time and very kind to me.

Q: Did you consider any alternate endings for Sleep, Savannah, Sleep?

No, because the ending was the first thing I knew when I began plotting out this book. For me, it couldn’t have ended in any other way–which is not to say that at certain times along the way, I didn’t wish I could change things. Sometimes, the villains grow on you and you want to absolve them of guilt…but no, there was no way Sleep, Savannah, Sleep could have taken a different turn. I think the difference with this book is that it’s a whodunit–and that requires knowing the ending from the very beginning.

“The characters know themselves–and the story–better than I, and it’s only when I set them free that the narrative comes to full life.”

Q: What’s the worst writing advice you’ve ever been given?

Without question, the absolute worst advice I was ever given was to never allow my characters to take full control of the story. I was told to “keep them on a tight leash,” and always “insist they do my bidding.” I have since learned otherwise. The characters know themselves–and the story–better than I, and it’s only when I set them free that the narrative comes to full life.

Q: What does your “writer’s studio” look like or where do you feel most inspired to write?

My “writer’s studio” is a tall corner desk in a bedroom surrounded by plants, my favorite framed paintings, and all the books I love the most. As for feeling inspired to write, I don’t believe in waiting for that. I don’t want to be at the mercy of such a fickle emotion as inspiration, and instead, I set writing hours and am militant about spending that time writing and I protect that time fiercely.

Q: When you’re not writing, what do you do? How do you spend your spare time?

The truth is that I really don’t have much spare time at all, but when I do, I like to go driving aimlessly, stereo blaring, the open road ahead. There are also a few shows on Netflix I enjoy watching.

Q: How do you choose names for your characters?

The very weird–but very real–truth of it is, I don’t. The characters tell me their names, and if I try to change them, the characters simply stop working for me. It’s a strange phenomenon, but until I “know” their names, the story just doesn’t work–and, apparently, it isn’t for me to decide what they should be named.

Q: In your opinion, which is the greatest book ever written and if you could choose to, would you live it out?

Violin by Anne Rice. And no, I wouldn’t. I couldn’t. I don’t have that much guts.

Q: Of all the characters you’ve created, which would you say is your favorite?

I will always have a particular fondness for Gretchen VanTreese, the four-foot-eleven, blonde-haired villain in my vampire novel, The Crimson Corset. She’s wicked in delicious ways and I can’t wait to get back to her.

Q: If you could turn one of your books into a movie, which would it be and who would play the leading character?

I think The Angel Alejandro would make a good movie because it would have to be pretty visually stimulating. And I’d like to see all those quirky townspeople committing their many nefarious little crimes in the flesh. But as for who would play any of them, I wouldn’t dare say. Books and movies are such different entities that I feel it’s best to leave casting to the casting directors, who have a far better idea of what they’re doing than I would.

Q: Where do you think the publishing industry will be in 5 years? What would you change if you could?

I have no idea, but I firmly believe in changing with the times, so wherever it may end up, I’ll be there.

Q: How can readers stay connected with you and stay up-to-date on what you’re working on?

The best way to stay up-to-date on my upcoming work is to join the Thorne & Cross monthly newsletter: http://eepurl.com/ckaBrr.

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Stay updated on Alistair’s work by going to his website: alistaircross.com. Need something chilling? Tune in to Haunted Nights Live!

-E

An Interview with Rico Lamoureux, Author Without Eyesight but With Great Insight

 “But even when I was at my initial stage of childhood I somehow knew I’d tell the world my personal story. And now, here it is.”
-Rico Lamoureux on Power of the Pen: An Autobiography

Q: What inspired you write this book? 

I’ve lived quite a diverse life, with each chapter feeling like a whole separate life in itself. This reincarnation of sorts has provided a vast array of experiences, but even when I was at my initial stage of childhood I somehow knew I’d tell the world my personal story. And now, here it is. 🙂

Q: What challenges did you have while writing it?

I didn’t really have any challenges with the actual writing of it, unless you consider the fact that I had to revisit some harsh memories. But that’s fine, as one should never hide from the past, but instead realize it’s part of who they are, while making sure not to necessarily let it define their present and future.
Physically it was quite a challenge, having to use the aide of a magnifying glass to do so, since I’m totally blind in one eye and legally blind in the other. It hasn’t always been that way; you’ll have to read the book to learn of that story and many more.

41c1ee77fflQ: What do you want readers to take away from reading your book(s)?

Whether it be this autobiography or the fiction I write, the one common element I want readers to take away is the truth in the writing. Those who recognize and embrace such [truth] prove themselves to be beautifully open-minded people. On a personal level, different people will take away different things, depending on perspective, where they’re at in life, etc. That’s why this book is for anyone who considers themself to be open-minded and respectful of truth.
It doesn’t matter how old you are, what sex you are, background, preferred genre, etc. If you’re human, if you’re a student of life, this book is for you.

Q: If you could live in the story of a book, which one would you live in? 

Hmmm, that can be a doubled-edged sword because any good story has drama, and drama is conflict, so one would have to be prepared to deal with this conflict–not just reaping the positive aspects of the tale. So, to answer your question, I guess I’d want to go into one that involves a time machine, so as to have as much control over things as possible. 
I don’t mean that in a dictatorial kind of way, although sometimes with the world the way it is, I don’t think that would be such a bad thing. LOL!  

Q:  When you’re not writing what do you do?

I am a lifelong lover of story. Fiction, nonfiction, films, TV, music, etc. So for me, absorbing great storytelling is one of the greatest joys in life. But nowadays, finding such greatness is not so easy. There’s a lot of repetition, fluff, cliched crap out there, so whenever I do come across something great, I’m indeed a happy camper!

Q: What else have you written? What else do you write? 

I’m a multi-genre dramatist. I’ve written over a dozen novellas and hundreds of short stories. My energy is now focused on my new blog, The Flash Fiction Ponder, where I post my current work twice a week.  

Q: What’s your “writer studio” like or where do you feel inspired to write?

The only thing I really require is a decent table, chair and good lighting. A quiet environment is always nice, but sometimes I go ahead and write at a fast food restaurant on days where I just want a quick meal so I can get to the writing. This was the case during the month of October, when my stories were laced in some form of darkness in honor of Halloween. But yeah, I hope to have a great office built sometime in the near future. 🙂

Q: Of all the character’s you have written, do you have a favorite?

I’m not a parent yet, but I can imagine that this would be like asking someone who has more than one child who their favorite is. All the characters I’ve written have a special place in my heart. From the noble acts of Jeremy Riker in Riker’s Calling to the driven nature of Lacey, a young woman in a couple of my most recent stories (Lacey’s Becoming/That EXTRA Something) on The Flash Fiction Ponder. They are all very special to me.

Q: When did you know that you wanted to be a writer and how long have you been writing professionally?

Subconsciously, I’ve always known, being drawn to story from as early as I can remember. But life doesn’t always give you the obvious answers, so, on a professional level, I’ve been writing for about seventeen years.

Q: Where do you think book publishing will be in 10 years from now?

Less print and more tales told digitally, although it will still take another generation before we really start to see that bleak sci-fi future of actual printed books being a thing of the past. Also, novel-length stories will lose their allure, new generations choosing the shorter form of novellas, short stories, and flash fiction as their preferred length of literary works. The one thing that won’t change is the love for a great story, yet we must keep in mind that like any other art, this is subjective. 
Thanks for having me, Eleonor, it was a pleasure!   

Learn more about Rico at: http://www.TheFlashFictionPonder.com and grab a copy of his book, Power of the Pen.
-E

An Inspiring Interview With Child Rights Leader and Author of “I Remember the Time…”, Kim Hemphill

“I felt strongly about sharing my experiences with others to perhaps inspire people to know that you can be down and out on your luck, but you can prevail. I hope to show some of today’s parents you can break the chain of abuse that has gone on from one generation to the next.”

-Kim Hemphill on his book, “I Remember the Time…”

 

 

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Q: Your book covers some really personal things about your life. What inspired you write this book? How long did it take you to decide that your story needed to betold?

Yes, there are some very personal issues revealed in my book. Some are very painful and some still hurt toda

y; even after six decades. I felt strongly about sharing my experienceswith others to perhaps inspire people to know that you can be down and out on your luck, but you can prevail.

I hope to show some of today’s parents you can break the chain of abuse that has gone on from one generation to the next.

I also wanted to bring “giving back” to the front burner. I have mentored 6 people who were down on their luck as I was. They all went on to be successful professionals with a second chance in life.

As I got older and looked back on how I did some things right and other issues not so right, I realized however I did learn from all these experiences. I am a vocal person and like to express my opinion. The best and most practical application is to be an author and put it down in writing. I want to take my past experiences and convert them into revenue to help several causes: children, our veterans, our police officers and our elderly. These are the closest to my heart.

Q: What challenges did you have while writing it?

Well, there were different types of challenges. The first was the pain that I had buried for over 50 years was dug up and re-experienced. At times there was more crying and pain than there was writing.

Another challenge was my confidence in my writing ability due to lack of any formal education. So as I practiced and studied, it improved. I still have to say thank goodness for my editor!

Another issue for a self-publisher is that there is so much offered on the Internet that it becomes over-whelming. There is so much information/offers that conflict with each other; you do not know what direction to take. There is so many people hawking their programs that it is hard to detect who really knows what they are doing or just attempting to preform a cash-ectomy on you, and really not offer anything of value.

Q: What do you want readers to take away from reading your book(s)? 

In this first book I want to inspire people to believe that they too can go on and become successful no matter how they were raised. I want to help bring child abuse to the front burner and show that it can be defeated. I want to help children that are abused or neglected. The book I Remember the Time… is the first of a series. I am donating 20% of the profits to advocates who care for abused children.

Q: What have you found to be your greatest life lesson?

Now that is a tough question so I want to say this first:

“ Winners never quit and quitters never win” (Vince Lombardi). If you quit, so do your dreams. I have never met a successful person who quit their passion.

Kindness and love is so much more powerful than anger and hate; plus it is so much more enjoyable for all parties involved.

Q: If you could live in the story of a book, which one would you live in? 

American Rebel: The Life of Clint Eastwood. I was a little boy watching Clint in his roll as “Rowdy Gates”. He made quite an impression on me. He was my hero! I wanted to live back in that time–the 1860s. Clint Eastwood is still my hero. Look at how he grew and developed into a hero to millions of people.

Q:  When you’re not writing what do you do?

I have been a Real Estate Appraiser for 40+ years and my son has aspirations of taking over the company. My ambition is to continue training him and mentoring him as the transition takes place. My wife Carol and I ran our company for 35 years and now it is a great opportunity for our boy to take the reins.

Q: What else do you write?

I am now working on my next book  Remembering Those who Gave Back. This book brings to light those “angels on earth” who stopped and helped people in need. This has a special place in my heart, as I was the recipient of very special people who saw a young man in need of help.

Q: What’s your “writer studio” like or where do you feel inspired to write?

I like to sit in my easy chair where there are no distractions and it is very quite. There I can think and write as my thoughts flow. This room has lots of windows and the natural light and sunshine is abundant. It is important to me to have the right environment to totally relax and enjoy the moment. When writing I have nothing on my mind but the topic that I am composing at that moment.

Q: Of all the characters you have written/written about, do you have a favorite? 

So far I written non-fiction so the “characters” I have described are my family members. My brother Craig, who was killed in Vietnam in 1969 after just 2 weeks at 19 years old is my favorite person in my book I Remember the Time…. He was such a kind and caring friend of mine.

Q: When did you know that you wanted to be a writer and how long have you been writing professionally? 

I have wanted to write for the last 20 years or so but life and a busy schedule continued to disrupt my intentions. Then I got started and the rewards and positive results started to happen. Publishing is no different than any other accomplishment in life; you have to learn how to do it correctly. My advice is to go at a slow pace to start and make the right decisions. It is so much more enjoyable than making mistakes and having to start over. It can be very destructive to ones confidence to make too many costly errors in the start of any project, as this is when you are the most vulnerable.

I am now 65 and am on my second book and my second year of writing. I have truly enjoyed the journey and all of the kind people I have met along the way.

Q: Where do you think book publishing will be in 10 years from now?

The self-publishing world has turned this industry upside down and right side up. The good ol’ boys club in publishing has been shattered and put in its proper place. The tight control on how a book was published 10 years ago is gone. Now, a new novice author can get his/her work out and build a fan base. With social media and hard work from the author, they can succeed. Just keep in mind you still have to do two things: quality and lots of hard work! I think this trend over the past 5-6 years has gained a lot of traction and will continue to develop in the same direction.

Q: How can people help fight child abuse?

Now this question could be an entire book! I would say there are several ways and to name a few:

  • Starts right at home. Don’t use physical, mental or sexual abuse when raising your children. If you hear about it happening in other households, report it immediately. If your spouse or anyone else in the household is hurting the children, you must protect them and take appropriate action.
  • You can contribute cash to worthy causes or established advocates for child abuse or neglect. I would not donate without some confirmation that 80-85% of the money actually gets to the intended cause. Administration costs should not be over 10% and marketing costs another 10%. The worthy ones have independent third party audits annually showing were the funds are allocated. These reports are made available to the public. There are great organizations for charity and then there are some, who in my opinion, are deceptive.  Just do your “due diligence” so your hard earned money goes to good use.
  • Contribute your time. Check out your local area for children and women’s shelters. Children’s hospitals are another great place to give.
  • If you belong to a club and have the ability for fundraising, this can be a group effort that will be a lot of fun and very rewarding to the club and the recipients.

Learn more about, connect, and stay updated with Kim at:  kimhemphill123@yahoo.com or kim@kimhemphill.com.

Find him on Facebook at Author Kim A Hemphill and visit his website: kimhemphill.com.

-E

Interview With Multi-Talented Sean-Paul Thomas, Author of “The Old Man and the Princess”

“It’s a feel-good book at its heart and core, and should leave a big smile on the face of even the most cynical of readers. I’ve tried to take the reader on a new journey, adding a little bit of mystery and spicy, banterous Irish dialogue along the way.”

-Sean-Paul Thomas on The Old Man and the Princess

41kzyjzuhnl-_sx326_bo1204203200_Q: What inspired you write this book?

The novel was inspired by a lot of things. For example the old man in the book is loosely based on the brilliant Irish actor, Brendan Gleeson, and some of the more darkly humorous characters he has played throughout his career; in the likes of In Bruge, The Guard and The Calvary. I just love his dark, brooding, cynical “Irishness” and wanted to put that into a book, mixed with my own style of writing and humor.

The other main, and most influential inspiration for the book, is actually another old classic sci-fi tale, but I can’t really discuss it without ruining the story, main plot of my own novel, and the important role this old classic tale has throughout the narrative.

Q: What challenges did you have while writing it?

Since the main characters are both Irish, I had to get a lot of advice from my mum and grandmother (who are both, luckily, Irish) about dialogue, and certain words and pronunciations. I also watched a lot of Irish movies and TV shows.

The challenges for writing in general–the first ten minutes of just sitting down and concentrating on the blank screen in front of you in the morning, is always gonna be the hardest. There are so many distractions, from Facebook, e-mails, internet surfing to catching up on TV shows/books/movies. And before you know it, it’s a nearly 6 pm. To combat that, I like to turn my fuse box off for a few hours, (make sure your fridge is empty first lol 🙂 ) and trying to write then.

Q: What do you want readers to take away from reading your book(s)?

It’s a little bit different and unique, I think, especially in the diversity of the two main characters ( I mean they could not be more opposite from each other, in both age, personality and mannerism), and the direction the book goes and some of the themes it deals with. It’s a feel-good book at its heart and core, and should leave a big smile on the face of even the most cynical of readers. I’ve tried to take the reader on a new journey, adding a little bit of mystery and spicy, banterous Irish dialogue along the way.

Q: If you could live in the story of a book, which one would you live in?

Would have to go for Lord of the Rings, just for the action and adventure side.

Q:  When you’re not writing what do you do?

I’m a plumber right now, which is where I make most of my income. But when I’m not working in general, then I love traveling, reading, cinema and watching Scottish football. I enjoy cooking too, yoga, meditation and playing tennis twice a week.

Q: What else have you written? What else do you write?

So far The Old Man and The Princess is my eighth book. My other books are:

  1. The Universe Doesn’t Do Second Chances–a kind of time traveling romance story.
  2. Cafe Independence–a black comedy satire set inside a Scottish cafe during the day of the Scottish referendum back in 2014.
  3. Alone is a lost in space, ghost story, chiller.
  4. Ugly/beautiful is a mix of genres, crime, thriller, horror, mystery and romance, and is mostly set in a hide out cottage in amongst gorgeous Scottish Highlands.
  5. Sarah Smiles is a young adult, adventure/drama, loosely based on my childhood growing up on an army base in Cyprus.
  6. Lust for Life is a kind of modern day action thriller. Think Taxi Driver meets the Bucket List. It’s my biggest selling book to date.
  7. My last novel was my first venture into Young Adult, Fantasy adventure: The Fairy Boy of Calton Hill. The book will hopefully be a continuing series. I have almost finished the 2nd book too.
  8. And last but not least–my most recent novel–THE OLD MAN AND THE PRINCESS

Q: What’s your “writer studio” like or where do you feel inspired to write?

Mostly I write at my city centre flat in Edinburgh’s Toll Cross. To me, Edinburgh is the most beautiful, Gothic, magical, inspirational and just plain awesome “wee” city on Earth. But back to my flat, it has a great view out onto one of the busy main streets, just off Lothian Road. So with my ear plugs in and a hot cup of the black stuff, I am able to sit back, chill out, put some light classical music on, enjoy the view and just let go and write.

Q: Of all the character’s you have written, do you have a favorite?

Without naming names, I have a few, but most of the ones I favour turn out to be absolute monsters, yet they never even realise it (lol).

If I had to choose one though, Sarah, from my third book Sarah Smiles. She is one feisty, kick ass, adventurous tomboy, who, if she isn’t already your friend, then defiantly shouldn’t be messed with. Every young teenage boy should get to hang out with a Sarah for at least one day in their lives. She is one street-wise, tough son of a gun. With a come back and smart answer for everything. She pretty much does whatever she likes to. Although she does have a very soft core, if you can indeed find it.

Q: When did you know that you wanted to be a writer and how long have you been writing professionally?

When I was 13. I watched the movie Bram Stokers Dracula, and became so obsessed with it that I decided to write a sequel to the movie, but as a novel. From that day on, I have been writing on and off, for the past 20 or so years.

Q: Where do you think book publishing will be in 10 years from now?

Possibly dead in the water. More and more authors these days are becoming more and more digital savy. They are able to write their books, get them proofread and edited for a reasonable fee, create and prepare their own cool and unique book covers, and convert their files to epub or mobi with just a few clicks. They can do their own  promotion and book tours, print-on-demand paperback copies.

Slowly but surely the middle man, agents and publishers, are being cut out of the loop. It’s not great for the people who work in these publishing houses, but it is good for serious authors in general whose writing isn’t half-bad, but never great enough to get that lucrative publishing contract. Now, through self-publishing, they can get away with making a respectable living and continue doing something they love without the constant, soul destroying, rejection letters.


Anyone else wish they had a bestie like Sarah after that? Me, too.

Order your copy of The Old Man and the Princess! And don’t forget to review! For a list of Sean-Paul Thomas’ other books you can find them here: Sean-Paul Thomas’ Books.

Find Sean-Paul Thomas on Facebook!

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Interview With Editor Justin Bog, Author of “Wake Me Up” and “HARK”

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Please tell me about your book.

I have two books out in the past three months. Wake Me Up is a literary crime novel, twisty and thought-provoking, centered on the theme of social injustice in a small Montana college town. HARK: A Christmas Collection shares six literary holiday tales about adults struggling during Christmastime with life issues. There’s humor entwined in the stories, but they aren’t the usual sweet sugarplum tales—there are lessons learned and characters tend to figure things out in startling ways.

Q: What makes your books different?harkofficialcover-194x300

Wake Me Up is narrated by a teenage boy. He is in a coma. He hovers over the town, witnessing the recent past and present, trying to figure out what his parents and the rest of the town were doing while he was being beaten by his bullying classmates. The deepest secrets are revealed.

HARK is different because of the mature themes: loss, grief, longing, love, isolation, injury, slights, gossipy asides, and illness mixed with a natural atmosphere of realism (except for one romance tale that is humorous and centered around a businesswoman who, out of loneliness, decides to seduce Santa one Christmas Eve).

Q: What inspired you write these books? 

Wake Me Up was partly inspired by the brutal Matthew Shepherd slaying of the late nineties and by observing, secondhand, a husband making really unsettling life decisions. I didn’t know why, still don’t, so I wrote Wake Me Up to answer this question: why would a successful husband and father spiral out of control, feel that he was at a breaking point? The boy in the coma is this father’s son, and the story reveals dark truths.

HARK came about because I have always loved stories set at Christmastime. Dickens is a major influence. He humanized his characters in brilliant situations.

Q: What challenges did you have while writing these two books? 

The challenge, mainly, was finishing the stories, and then editing them dozens of times. Wake Me Up took over ten years to publish. It never felt right, my own obsession with perfectionism at play, and now I can let it go.

HARK was a fun idea to put six stories I’d shared on my writing blog together to form a short stocking stuffer title for Christmas readers. I had four under my belt and had to complete the last two in October. I think these last two turned out strong. I had HARK and wrote The Heralds, about a couple with that last name, contemplating a grim diagnosis, and how they choose to live each day like it may be their last. This story does have a wonderful end and a big heart despite its simplistic plot point.

Q: What do you want readers to take away from reading your book(s)? 

I hope readers feel any emotion after reading one of my stories. I have a dry, dark sense of humor, and I want to share this within the tale, jigger a chuckle out of people while startling them the next moment. I hope they see my characters come to life and that most of them are memorable.

Q: If you could live in the story of a book, which one would you live in? 

Since I set two of the HARK tales in my hometown, and these are linked by several characters, I actually do live to create the stories in my book, walk the same streets of Anacortes, Washington, think about the past, present, and future. Live life to the fullest.

Q:  When you’re not writing what do you do? 

I am also a Development and Content Editor, and have helped several books reach publication to good acclaim. I love consulting with writers about their projects. It’s strictly word of mouth, and my editing site is www.theauthorsadvocate.com — I’m also thinking about taking a position locally with work that would inspire me while also helping to pay the bills better. I will always write.

Q: What else have you written? What else do you write? 

I write a few weekly horror serials on my writing blog www.justinbog.com and these are fun and darker than anything I’ve ever tackled before. The Volunteer is about a high school tennis coach who takes on a devilish new volunteer coach to help him attain a winning season for once. Bad things begin to happen in the small island town (similar to the one I live on in the Pacific Northwest). With a few of the same characters interlinked, my second novel, A Play Demonic (The Queen’s Idle Fancy), is well over 43,000 words at this point and nearing the mid-point at 30 chapters on my blog. This is about a mysterious man (or force) conjured to seek out the town’s theater group to produce an ancient play . . . the play, of course, is cursed, and other demons begin to wreak hovoc on the island . . . please read on my blog and comment . . . I love to hear what readers think of these early drafts. I imagine these two tales will come to a complete end sometime next year, but first, I will publish four original eNovellas separately before bundling them into one long book. These are also in the suspense/horror genre and are also at the halfway point. The first is done, and I’ll add two short stories to each novella, one an original, and one a bonus story from Sandcastle and Other Stories to possibly lead readers back to that first dark collection.

Q: What’s your “writer studio” like or where do you feel inspired to write?

My office is a small square with bookshelves lining the walls along with too many comic book longboxes. My desk, an oak roll-top desk is smack in the center. There’s a skylight and I love living in a log cabin on the edge of town. The downtown center is a little over a mile away.

Q: Of all the characters you have written, do you have a favorite? 

I love Deepika from Wake Me Up. She is a complex, strong woman from a coastal town in northern India who travels to the United States for her formal education and never leaves. She ends up teaching writing at the college in the Montana town and falls into an affair with a colleague’s husband. She’s the catalyst for a lot of what happens in the narrative, and she shares the stories she’s writing with the boy in the coma as well, taking bits and pieces of their lives to create her own fiction. Deepika is strong and knows what she wants. She’s also kind, sure of herself and what her actions caused. Often, it’s the characters who do something wrong that resonate the most, for better and worse, and I really like how the story evolved when Deepika drove up to the boy’s home in her old green Saab one rainy October day.

Q: When did you know that you wanted to be a writer and how long have you been writing professionally? 

I enjoyed writing from grade school on, and loved reading equally well. It wasn’t until my college years that the heavy idea that I could actually make progress as a writer developed. Enrolled in every creative writing course beginning my sophomore year, I soaked up fiction. I learned how to approach a piece of fiction critically, what works in a story, and what needs strengthening. I took a few years off after college to live life, gain a better perspective on the world outside of the educational system for the first time since a toddler, and then applied to several MFA programs. I was lucky to have a few choices after acceptance. Really lucky since most were small programs and only chose about five writers each year. This two-year period gave me time to write without having to worry so much about making ends meet. As a bonus, I was offered a TA position and taught six courses of upper level Creative Writing and English Composition. This was a long long time ago now, and that worry about living is creeping back. I’ll write and write on though no matter my circumstances.

Q: Where do you think book publishing will be 10 years from now?

I hope book publishing improves by leaps and bounds, and that there are more and more avenues to pursue in terms of sharing books with readers. I hear readership is falling, and that’s worrisome. I’m an optimist even though I write about dark moments. Book publishing, especially online stores, are my main focus. Even though two publishers have handled a few of my books, I’m now fully in the indie world once more and happy to be back where I was when I published my book as a Kindle original. Writing is a global endeavor now, and this will continue to open doors. Write quality books, and publish them. Begin writing the next book and have fun.

Learn more about Justin Bog

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Website:  http://www.justinbog.com.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JustinBog

On Amazon: http://amzn.to/1SwsfUv

On B&N: http://bit.ly/1PE9fkf

On Goodreads: http://bit.ly/20KuQLi

 

-E

Interview with Author of Seven Days Dead, Christopher M. Johnson

Christopher M. Johnson takes his readers on a journey through Jerusalem–while it’s crawling with zombies. Still want to come along?

“I wanted a real response to a terrifying situation.”

– Christopher M. Johnson on his new book, Seven Days Dead
Q: What inspired you to write this book? 
Well, there were a couple of things that made me want to write this.  Firstly, I got tired of reading books about fantastic concepts and finding that many authors felt that ‘suspended disbelief’ could also extend to their characters having outlandish luck, or for circumstances to almost divinely work out.  I wanted a real response to a terrifying situation.  I wanted people to be in reasonable positions, using items reasonably expected to be available.  I didn’t want my main character to just happen to be a virologist who also happened to be trained by the military and just happened to be immune, if you catch my meaning.  Secondly, I wanted to take a place filled with people who have been warring on each other for centuries and strip away all the man-made divisions; to give them a common enemy that put their shared humanity into perspective.
Q: Did your time in military service help you write it?
Oh definitely.  I was able to draw on training to put a realistic spin on the actions of some of the characters.  To provide a sort of real world sit rep dialogue, where the characters would assess their situations, take inventory of their assets against their liabilities, and to adapt to changes in the mission–which was ultimately to survive.  In the real world things change, and the first casualty of war is always “the plan”, so having at least one character who was used to having to “adapt and overcome” was pretty much a requirement.
Q: What challenges did you have while writing it?
Time!  Always time.  I have three boys that I have with me all the time, and I’m a single father since my divorce in 2014. So many, many, times during the creation of this book, I was startled to see that I often started writing in the PM and finished writing in the AM.  Aside from that, much of the time was spent in research;  I wanted realism, and that also meant that the landscapes and places had to be real.  The entire route that the characters take is authentic and so are the landmarks.  If you followed along on Google Earth or Maps, you would (in many cases) be able to go down to the Street View and see the roads, the towns, the villages, the landmarks, and the terrain described in the book.
Q: What do you want readers to take away from reading your book(s)?
First and foremost I want them to feel satisfied that they had an adventure.  I want them to look at the characters’ actions and think, “That’s exactly what I would have done!” or “Thank God he didn’t find some magical cure!”  But as a back drop, I want them to realize that people are just people.  That a lot of our divisions are self-created and that no matter your skin color, ethnicity, religion, or culture, we are all brothers and sisters and that no one is more or less important than another.  It’s almost a social commentary.  You will note that one of my favorite characters was Christine, who was not cast in the role of a simple love interest, nor a “fearful woman” or any other stereotype.  These characters evolved, like real people, and each and every one of them had individual value.
Q: If you could live in the story of a book, which one would you live in? 
Ok, I know it’s overdone, but Lord of the Rings.  I love the fantastic daily lives that these people lived within the story. Wizards, demons, magic, swords, and gods.  There you could become what you had in you to be.
Q:  When you’re not writing what do you do?
Raise kids!  But I have other pursuits, too.  I’m a Freemason so I’m very involved with my lodge trying to find ways in which we can do the most good for the most people, and to grow what I believe is the greatest fraternal organization in the world.  I read and research religions from an anthropological standpoint, and I’ve taken a recent interest in the attempts to decode the Voynich Manuscript.  I blacksmith a little (though with the state of my back, it’s really more like I tell my middle son how to do things and then supervise.  Swinging a hammer is, sadly, beyond the pale of my abilities anymore).
Q: What else have you written? What else do you write? 
I’ve written a book on obtaining VA benefits for veterans called, VA Benefits – The Definitive Guide to Obtaining Your Benefits From the Department of Veterans Affairs, based largely on my own 10 year fight to get mine.  I’ve also written a short book on religion called, Be Ye Therefore Wise as Serpents: A Genealogy of Faith.  And I’ve compiled a few ancient texts together in the area of ancient philosophy.  All of them are available on Amazon and my Author Page at: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00L3SCI4Y
Q: What’s your “writer studio” like or where do you feel inspired to write?
My “studio” is a computer desk in my Florida room.  It’s a mess.  As to where I feel inspired to write, it kind of just hits me and I turn the idea over in my head virtually all day for a while before I even hit the first key on my keyboard.
Q: Of all the character’s you have written, do you have a favorite?
I enjoy the main character of Seven Days Dead, Tal.  He’s authentically flawed, and self-deprecating, but he also–deep down inside–has the heart of a hero and does the right thing even when it hurts him personally.
Q: When did you know that you wanted to be a writer and how long have you been writing?
I’ve read since forever and always wanted to write, but in 8th grade we were given an assignment to come up with a myth to explain some natural phenomenon or another.  It was the first time I ever got an “A+++”.  It was also the last time.  But my teacher came to me and said that I needed to be a writer, so I thought maybe I could….
Q: Where do you think book publishing will be in 10 years from now?
Honestly, I hope it gets no different.  I would be immeasurably sad to see the death of the paper book.  There’s a world of issues that can crop up with keeping the entirety of human literature in digital format, and the possible ways that it could all be lost are legion.  Plus it’s super hard to dog ear an eReader or to flip pages to cross reference.
Learn more about Christopher M. Johnson by visiting the following:
 www.cjauthor.com, on Facebook at : https://www.facebook.com/cjwordsmith and on Twitter at @johnsoncm.
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