AUTHOR INTERVIEWS

AUTHOR INTERVIEW BOOKPROMO

INTERVIEW – Amy Harmon Author of Making Faces


Amy Harmon is a Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and New York Times Bestselling author. Amy knew at an early age that writing was something she wanted to do, and she divided her time between writing songs and stories as she grew. Having grown up in the middle of wheat fields without a television, with only her books and her siblings to entertain her, she developed a strong sense of what made a good story. Her books are now being published in seventeen different languages, truly a dream come true for a little country girl from Levan, Utah.
Amy Harmon has written eleven novels – the USA Today Bestsellers The Bird and The Sword, Making Faces and Running Barefoot, as well as From Sand and Ash, The Law of Moses, The Song of David, Infinity + One, Slow Dance in Purgatory, Prom Night in Purgatory, and the New York Times Bestseller, A Different Blue. Her latest novel, The Queen and The Cure, book two in The Bird and The Sword Chronicles, was released May 9, 2017.

 

 

FULL INTERVIEW for Jeri’s Book Attic 
—————————————————————————— 
 
1) What is the first book you read that comes to mind?

Why is it so important to you?

The very first book I’ve read? Wow. I don’t know. It was so long ago. I think about Anne Shirley of Anne of Green Gables fame. She was one of my earliest friends, and I still see her that way. She was smart and passionate and competitive, and she loved words. She had great imagination and great heart, and I wanted to be just like her. 

2) What made you start writing books? 

As a voracious reader, I was always looking for the kind of books I LOVED to read, romantic, epic love stories, with characters that I could fall in love with. Writing has always been my creative outlet, but writing a novel is daunting. I don’t know what made me take the leap initially—I just remember wanting to see if I could do it. I kept at it, bit by bit, and finally finished, with no idea of what I would do to get it out to the world.

3) How much of you and/or your surroundings is a part of

 your stories? Is the influence based on a conscious 

decision, or do you periodically recognize yourself 

in one of yourcharacters and it wasn’t planned? 

I don’t always recognize myself in my characters, but I recognize my voice, my feelings, and my convictions in the paths my characters take and in the plot lines and the dilemmas in which they find themselves. It’s hard to separate the character from the story because I believe the characters ARE the story.

4) What author/actor or musician do you ‘fangirl’ over? 

Oh gosh. I would really, really like to meet Brandon Flowers of the Killers. I would really like that. I love his voice and his vibe and I think he’s cute. On second thought, it would probably be better if I never meet him. 

I don’t know if I have any authors I fan over. If a book is wonderful, I rarely think of the author at all, which is as it should be. A book should breathe on its own. I want people to love my books. I don’t need them to love me. So it is truly a compliment, as far as I’m concerned, when my books are loved and no one thinks twice about the fact that I wrote them.

I have several actors who I think are delicious and/or fascinating. I would love to see if there is more beneath the surface. Maybe get stranded on an island for a week or two and see what makes them tick. But I’ll keep my fantasies to myself. LOL.

5) What does your perfect writing day look like?

Do you plan when and how long you write, 

or does it happen without planning? 

My perfect writing day starts early in the morning (ha ha ha) with comfy clothes, a cold diet pepsi, and something to nibble on. Preferably rain and quiet, with maybe a little ambient music on to get me in the zone. No interruptions, nowhere I have to be or no time that I have to stop. That rarely happens. But a girl can dream.

I have four kids and I work from home, so most of the time I just have to commit to sitting my rump down every day and doing my best to hit a word target in between the chaos. I always take a little time off between projects too, just to avoid burn out and to give my family a little more of my attention.

6) What genre is the most intimidating when you think 

about writing in it? Explain why! 

Historical is the most intimidating because it is so exacting and grueling. You can’t just sit and write when you are writing historical. Everything must be authenticated and researched. It is the hardest writing I’ve ever done.

7) What do you like to do when you are not writing? 

What do you think your profession would be 

if you were not an author? 

I’m a mom, so that takes up so much of my non-writing time. But I love to read (surprise, surprise) and I love music. I used to be a teacher, and I was good at it, so if I wasn’t writing, I would probably still be teaching.

8) What is the most touching reaction you have ever 

received from a fan? 

There have been a few times when my readers cried upon meeting me. Those times are incredibly humbling, because usually they aren’t crying because of ME, but because I wrote something that touched them deeply, and their tears are an expression of that. That’s always cool.

9) In your opinion, what is the most important 

feature book needs to have? 

Soul. No matter the genre, the book needs to have heart and soul, and so many don’t. The soul comes from the characters, and if they are one dimensional stereotypes, the story will be as well.

10) What is the most difficult part of writing a book,

(including the preparations and after-publication-process)? 

The hardest thing for me is getting started and being persistent. It is a grind to write a book. It is bliss to finish, but that bliss is short-lived because eventually you have to start again. It’s like this mighty gearing up and then once you have begun, making yourself stick with it and see it through. It’s hard.

11) If you had the chance to influence the questions 

people ask you in interviews, what question is the most 

annoying and you would love to never hear again? 

What question would you really like to answer that you

 have not been asked yet, and what is your answer 

to that question? 

“Where do you get your ideas/inspiration?”

That is the most annoying question. Everyone asks it, and no one really cares what the answer is. The truth is, ideas and inspirations rarely have a definitive source. They are simply a spark that you might not even recognize at the time. That spark triggers a small flame, and suddenly there’s an idea and you’re not even sure where it came from. I liken stories to weaving a tapestry. Thread by thread, the story is built.

I’ve never had anyone ask me what I regret about being an author. Like anything else in life, I’ve made mistakes and missteps along the way. I think my number one regret is that I didn’t use a pen name or a variation of my name. I feel very vulnerable and exposed a lot of the time. Social media is frightening and people try very hard to destroy or harm each other who might have different viewpoints. I don’t feel like I can express myself honestly and must constantly guard what I say and feel because without fail, my opinion won’t be popular with someone, and I’ll get blasted or unfriended or shamed. I don’t like the way people engage with each other in this day and age. The discourse is so ugly.

12) Name three characteristics of your writing style

 that are important yet different from other authors.  

I tend to write in layers – parables, so to speak – so everything is meaningful. I think that’s why fantasy suits my writing style. I also write in a certain rhythm, and get into a rhythmic flow with the words I choose and discard. I will stay on a paragraph until the tempo of the language resonates with me and with the tone of the story. I also think I put more emphasis on love stories rather than romance, and that sets me apart from some of my contemporaries.

13) Which of your characters seems to be the most 

independent, and has taken on a life of their own? 

I hope all of them. Truly. If they don’t live and breathe separate from me when I’m done writing a story, I know I haven’t done my job. I do think Bailey Steen has burrowed himself into the hearts of everyone who has read Making Faces. Maybe that has given him more life than the others, simply because he is so loved.

14) Every author probably has a favourite character

they have created. When you look back on the 

books you have written, which character would 

you like to meet if it were possible to do so?

(name / book) What would be the first 

question you would like to ask him/her? 

I don’t have a favorite character. I really don’t. I worked so hard to love and give life to every one of them, that I can’t choose. I would, however, love to sit down with Moses and watch him paint. Of all my characters, he was the one who tried the hardest to make me hate him. Luckily, I persisted.

15) What do you want tell your readers at the end 

of this interview? 

Thank you for reading my stories and caring enough about them, and that you want to read this interview!

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AUTHOR INTERVIEW BOOKPROMO

INTERVIEW – Stina Lindenblatt Author of “Heat It Up”

 Heat It Up by

Stina Lindenblatt

 
Some games are hotter off the ice…
 
Sofia Phillips feels cursed. Her father cheated on her mother, her boyfriend cheated on her—she’s done with dating. A summer work-exchange program in Finland is the perfect escape. But instead of gaining experience as an athletic trainer, she’s cleaning toilets. Awesome. The trip is a disaster, and even better, she meets Kyle Bennett. In the sauna. Naked.Sexy hockey player Kyle was the star right wing for an NHL team. But after an accident killed his wife and left him injured, Kyle has appreciated the “therapeutic” benefits of booze and puck bunnies. Now in Finland for the summer, he’s coaching in an elite hockey-training camp for teens. When Sofia’s grandmother decides to set her up with a nice Finnish man, Sofia recruits Kyle as her make-believe boyfriend. Neither expects their first kiss to sizzle. And neither expects, while stranded on an island during a storm, to have a scorching night of passion.

But as their charade, and then their attraction, develops into something deeper, the past comes back, threatening to destroy them. They must decide if their feelings for each other are strong enough to survive—or it will be game over.

What made you start writing books? 
 
 
Ever since I
was nine years old and became addicted to the Famous Five series (Edith
Blyton), I’ve wanted to be an author. But it wasn’t until I became a
stay-at-home mom that I finally went for the goal of becoming published.
I used to want to write historical romance (even though I sucked at
social studies and history), but I knew I wouldn’t be able to write in
that style. At that point, the early Harry Potter books had gained
popularity and I tried to write a middle grade book. Except my
characters were more interested in romance and sex than they should have
been for that age. So I switched the book to YA…and eventually I went
on to write adult romances. 
 
 
How much of you and/or
your surroundings is a part of your stories? Is the influence based on a
conscious decision, or do you periodically recognize yourself in one of
your characters and it wasn’t planned? 
 
 
I think there’s a
little bit if me in all of my main characters, but it’s a different
piece of me each time. Usually it’s not planned; it just happens that
way. 
 
 
What author/actor or musician do you ‘fangirl/fanboy’ over? 
 
 
I’ve been fangirling over Jill Shalvis lately. I love her books. They’ve become my latest obsession.
 
As for actor, Sam Heughan. I mean, have you seen him in a kilt?
 
 
 
What genre is the most intimidating when you think about writing in it? Explain why! 
 
 
Horror.
I would love to be able to write it, but not everyone can write like
Stephen King, Dean Koontz, or John Saul. It takes skill to scare
readers. 
 
 
 
What is the most touching reaction you have ever received from a fan? 
 
 
One
of my fans brought a delicious cupcake to the Romantic Times Convention
last year and surprised me with it. It made my month (and the
acknowledgement of This One Moment). 
 
 
 
In your opinion, what is the most important feature a book needs to have? 
 
 
Characters you can fall in love with—or at least love to hate. 
 
 
What is the most difficult part of writing a book, (including the preparations and after-publication-process)? 
 
 
Definitely
promotion. I love coming up with the teasers and being creative when it
comes to swag, but beyond that, I quickly grow bored of it. But how
about we don’t tell my old manager that from when I used to be a
pharmaceutical sales rep. lol
 
The other tough part is
balancing my writing with my family. I’m a full time writer, but I don’t
get eight hours a day to just write due to family obligations. 
 
 
If you had the chance to influence the questions people ask you in
interviews, what question is the most annoying and you would love to
never hear again? What question would you really like to answer that you
have not been asked yet, and what is your answer to that question? 
 
 
The
hardest questions I’ve been asked that often make me cringe are the
ones about my favorite characters that I’ve written. That’s like asking a
mother which of her kids is her favorite.
 
I would love
to be asked about my top writing influences. For that I would say Kylie
Scott, Jill Shalvis, Colleen Hoover (among many others). Each has an
element about her writing that appeals to me, be it emotion, sexiness,
humor. 
 
 
Which of your characters seems to be the most independent, and has taken on a life of their own? 
 
 
I
would say all of them, but probably more so Mason Dell from the Pushing
Limits series. While working on the second book of the series (My Song
For You), his personality took a life of its own. Fortunately for him he
gets his own book (I Need You Tonight), which releases May 2017. 
 
 
What do you want tell your readers at the end of this interview? 
 
 
Don’t
ever let anyone tell you that you’ll never succeed at whatever you want
to achieve. My high school guidance councelor told me not to think
about university because I would never succeed there. I went on to prove
him wrong. I have a Masters of Science in exercise physiology. The
ultimate revenge. LOL It’s why I have ‘believe’ tattooed on my wrist. 
 
 
Thank you, Jeri, for having me here on your blog!
AUTHOR INTERVIEW BOOKPROMO

INTERVIEW – Kaylee Song Author of “Still Here”

Kaylee Song is from rural Pennsylvania. She lived in
Pennsylvania, Georgia and DC, and is now moving back to Pennsylvania. She is married and has a dog and cat. She loves reading anything that has a
romantic plot and just cannot get enough to read. She is fast
approaching thirty and happy as a clam with her life.  She has an amazing
husband who is very supportive and they plan to travel the world together.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
What is the first book you read that comes to mindWhy is it so important to you?
 
It’s
this  book that I read as a teen that I stole from my mom’s library
pile. I loooved it. And I should not have read it. But ever since I read
itI knew that I wanted to be a romance writer. I believe it was called
To Love a Man by Karen Robards. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00K0JFG4Q/
 
 
 

 

 

What made you start writing books? 

 

I’ve always wanted to write. When I was a teen I wrote fanfiction (Nsync, shhh it is my secret!). 

 

 

 

 
 

 

How much of you and/or your surroundings is a part of your storiesIs the influence based on a conscious decisionor do you periodically recognize yourself in one of your characters and it wasn’t planned? 
 

 

 

 

I’m
always writing about myself. Every female character has a little bit of
me. Hell, every male character has a little bit of me too. 😀 It’s not
always conscious but I know that I do it. 
 What author/actor or musician do you ‘fangirl/fanboy’ over 
 
Author –  Amanda Quick.
 

 

Musician – Justin Timberlake (see above, lol).

What does your perfect writing day look like?
Do you plan when and how long you writeor does it happen without planning?
 
I’m
up but in chair by 6 am and I write until noon, then lunch then I write
until my husband gets home.  In my ideal world I think stop and have
family time. In reality I usually work into the night. 😛
What genre is the most intimidating when you think about writing in itExplain why! 

 

 

 

I’m
not sure, quite honestly. They are all somewhat intimidating. I try
very hard just to keep my head down and write and not get worried.

 

 

 

What do you like to do when you are not writingWhat do you think your profession would be if you were not an author?

.
 

 

 

 

I
like to do a lot of things. Swim, hike, play DnD, hang out with my
friends. If I was not a writer I would probably go back to teaching. I
taught at a community college.

 

 
What is the most touching reaction you have ever received from a fan? 
 

 

Gosh there are so many. Anytime someone ims me I am touched. I am also just so privileged to hear about their lives, you know?
 

 

 

 

Name three characteristics of your writing style that are important yet different from other authors 

 

 

 

 

 

I
write characters like I know them. Because I do. I am sure other very
good authors write that too, but to me that is what makes me stand out.
 

 

 
I write settings that I know. I go there, I feel the earth. I know the landscape. I don’t just google.
 

 

 
I
don’t just write stories I want to read. I listen to my fans, get to
know them, listen to their lives and then I write stories I know they
want to read too.
 

 

 

 

I
bet all of these things apply to really good authors, but I also think
they make me different because I think I interpret it differently.
 Which of your
.
 characters seems to be the most independentand has taken on a life of their own?
 

 

 

 

 
Wrath.
He is my favorite. My baby character. I’ve wanted to write him for
years. Even since I was in high school and one of my friends came back
from Iraq without his arm. I knew I wanted to share the story of a
military veteran and amputee. Oh, and that guy was one of my first
crushes in high school. LOL. 

 

What do you want tell your readers at the end of this interview? 

 

 

 

 
Thank
you so much for reading. You can email me, im me, facebook friend me,
whatever you want. I’m happy to get to know each and every one of you.
Thank you so much.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AUTHOR INTERVIEW BOOKPROMO

INTERVIEW – Theresa Rizzo Author of “Silent Sentry”

 

 
Author Bio: Theresa
Rizzo is an award-winning author who writes romantic crime fiction and
emotional stories that explore the complexity of relationships and
families through real-life trials. 
Born and raised in Grosse Pointe,
Michigan, she currently lives outside of Boulder, Colorado with her
husband of thirty-three years. 
After attaining a BS in Nursing, Theresa retired to raise four wonderful children and write.
Find Theresa on the web at www.theresarizzo.com, or connect with her on Facebooktwitter or and Goodreads.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 

 

What is the first book you read that comes to mind? Why is it so
important to you? 

 
The Black Stallion Series was the first book that
came to mind. I’m dyslexic and couldn’t read until the third grade, and
even then it was a struggle. The Black Stallion series showed me how
worth it the effort was and it opened the magical world of living
somewhere else and experiencing something else and I FINALLY got a
horse—even if it was just in a book. 
 
 
What made you
start writing books? 


 
 
I always enjoyed creative writing. But when we
had children, I’d write about them and their escapades in my annual
Christmas letter and friends and family got such a kick out of my
stories, that I thought it was cool I could entertain them that way. But
it wasn’t until my fourth baby was born, that I wrote that first book.
Though
being a stay-at-home mom is a laudable profession, I felt
underappreciated, and living for my kids and husband was sucking the
life out of me—all my fault by the way. So I started learning the craft
and business of writing, and it saved my sanity. Writing was a
wonderful creative intelligent outlet and it fed my soul and made me a
much happier person and better mother and wife. 
 
How much of
you and/or your surroundings is a part of your stories? Is the influence
based on a conscious decision, or do you periodically recognize
yourself in one of your characters and it wasn’t planned?

 
 
There’s a
little of me in all my characters. That’s the great thing about writing I
get to express my sexy, evil, mean, mischievous, catty, warm-hearted,
brilliant, funny parts of my personality through the various characters,
but they all still have their own unique personas too and do and say
things I’d never do or say.
There is one heroine in one of the
books that writers friends claimed is very much like me—and that was a
shock, because I hadn’t intended it at all, and I could see how they
would make the comparison. No, I’m not going to tell you who it is. A
girl’s gotta have a little mystery J
 
 
What author/actor or musician do you ‘fangirl/fanboy’ over?
 
I adore George Clooney and think JK Rowling and Suzanne Collins are brilliant authors.
 
What does your perfect writing day look like? Do you plan when and how
long you write, or does it happen without planning? 
 
 
Me plan?
Seriously? I’m a former control freak—of course I plan. Okay,
so…recovering control freak. Every morning, I get up and skim my email
while eating breakfast, then sit down and read what I wrote the day
before to get back into the swing of things, then plot out the next
scene in this chart I developed to make sure each scene has a strong
purpose and accomplishes several things—like advances the plot, shows
characterization, sets up something, and ends with a good hook.
 
Then
I break to go to gentle yoga or take my pup on a long walk, eat lunch
and then write another few hours. That’s the goal at least.
 
What genre is the most intimidating when you think about writing in it?
Explain why!

 
 

Historical fiction—hands down. I have HUGE respect for
historical writers ‘cause they can’t change the facts of history and
harder yet…they’ve got to know all the historical facts and get it right
or those readers know. They are savvy readers and seemingly unforgiving
of factual mistakes. 
 
 
What do you like to do when you
are not writing? 
 
What do you think your profession would be if you were
not an author? 
 
 I have a ton of hobbies. I love hiking, playing
cards, playing games with my family, reading—of course—traveling,
playing tennis, skiing, creating mosaics with my wet tile saw,
crocheting and reading some more. If I hadn’t become an author, I
probably would have done well in the business world. 
 
 
What is the most touching reaction you have ever received from a fan? 
 
I’ve
had a couple of fans tell me they had to stop reading Just Destiny
because they were crying so hard the page was blurry and they needed a
break. They were emotionally wrung out–in a good way.
I was
very touched that I was successful in drawing them into the story so
that they sympathized with the characters to that degree. I reassured
them that there would be a happy ending. 
 
 
In your opinion, what is the most important feature a book needs to have? 
 
Reading
is very, very subjective, but for me…the writing’s got to be good. As
an author, pretty picky, but if the writing isn’t good, it’s very
unlikely I’ll be drawn into the story or care about the protagonist, and
if those two things don’t happen, there’s no point in my reading the
story and I’m going to put it down.
 
What is the most
difficult part of writing a book, (including the preparations and
after-publication-process)? 
 
The marketing and being fairly compensated
for your work. Writing the book is the easy, fun part, but who wants to
write a book and not share it? Not many people. Who wants to work so
hard to create a great book and make no money at it? Writing and
publishing are not for the faint of heart.
 
 
Name three characteristics of your writing style that are important yet
different from other authors. The only thing that might make these
characteristics different from other authors is that they’re all
included in the same book. Most authors will have these characteristics
in their books, but perhaps not ALL of them in the same book. 
 
  • I write
    very complex plots and characters because life is messy and I like my
    books to be as realistic as possible—yet will always give the reader a
    happy ending. 
  • Whatever writing elements I put in my books, I do it to
    the best of my ability. For instance Silent Sentry has romance,
    suspense, and mystery, aspects. It also has a lot of factual information
    with regards to the mafia, Detroit’s decline, the engineering behind
    Gianna’s invention, Prometheus, etc. Each genre has it’s own conventions
    and expectations and I worked to master each. I want to make sure I do
    all of them to the best of my ability. 
  • I write books that draw the
    reader in and make them feel things. Most readers are vested in my
    characters and stories.
 

 

 

Merken

AUTHOR INTERVIEW BOOKPROMO

INTERVIEW – Tiffany Snow Author of “Playing to Win”

 

 TiffanySnow_thumbTiffany attended the University of Missouri – Columbia, attaining two degrees in History and Social Studies Education. After working many years as an instructor and consultant in the Information Technology field, Tiffany now writes full-time.Tiffany loves to read and has been reading romance novels since she was way too young to read such things. She has an unhealthy obsession for all things Doctor Who, prefers Pepsi to Coke and Absolut to both, thinks men who drink girly cocktails are wusses, has learned to never stop believing in her beloved St. Louis Cardinals, and can recite the entire scripts of When Harry Met Sally and Apollo 13. George Washington is cool, Bon Jovi still rocks the house, and Bruce Willis is the ultimate alpha-male hero.

Married with two wonderful daughters, Tiffany and her family make their home in Kansas City, Missouri, not far from where she was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri.

 
  
1) What is the first book you read that comes to mind? Why is it so important to you?  
 
Nancy Drew, The
Hidden Staircase. It was my first “real” book and began my love affair
with reading. I devoured the Nancy Drew series and my character Kathleen
Turner in the Kathleen Turner Series was an homage to Nancy.
 
  
2) What made you start writing books?  
 
I
got really frustrated with Janet Evanovich and Stephanie Plum. I love
that series, but grew frustrated as a reader that Stephanie never would
choose a man—Morelli or Ranger. So I decided I’d write my own love
triangle series of five books and the heroine would choose the right man
at the end. So I did.
  
3) In your opinion, what is the most important feature a book needs to have?   
 
Relatable
characters. There has to be something for a reader to be able to
understand and relate to in the main character. That creates empathy and
attachment and helps the reader enjoy the story more, in my opinion.
 
  
4) What author/actor or musician do you ‘fangirl/fanboy’ over?   
 
I’ve
been so very fortunate to have met some lovely authors that I’ve read
and admired for years. Eloisa James is a wonderful, gracious lady, as is
Lisa Kleypas. I had an unexpected dinner with them at RWA and it was
one of the highlights of my life. I’ve also fangirled terribly over Lee
Child, with a terrible case of diarrhea of the mouth even as I was
telling myself to
shut up shut up shut up! But he was gracious as well and tolerated my star struck verboseness.    
  
5) What does your perfect writing day look like? Do you plan when and how long you write, or does it happen without planning?  
 
I
definitely have to plan to write. I have two kids and as all moms know,
when you’re at home, there’s a million things that call for your
attention. From laundry to groceries, errands to cleaning. So my typical
day is up at six-thirty to get lunches ready for school, have my
coffee, scroll through email, and get the kids off to school. Then I
work from about nine until five or later, though if there’s a deadline
looming, chances are good I’ll have my computer on my lap for twelve
hours a day, seven days a week.
 
  
6) What genre is the most intimidating when you think about writing in it? Explain why!  
  
Definitely
urban fantasy or paranormal. It’s one of my favorite genres to read and
I can’t imagine having that kind of creativity! I’m in awe of those who
can create whole worlds that suck me in.
 
 
7) What do you like to do when you are not writing? What do you think your profession would be if you were not an author?  
 
I
like to spend time with my kids, I love to travel, and reading is
always high on my list of guilty pleasures when I should be working.
Lol  Before I was an author, I was a network engineer and worked as a system administrator and consultant. 
  
8) What is the most touching reaction you have ever received from a fan?  
 
I
received an email from a fifteen-year-old girl who told me she hated to
read because she was dyslexic. She’d decided to start trying to read
more to help her in school and read my Kathleen Turner Series inside of a
month. Her parents were stunned that she was able to do this and she
told me I’d helped her discover a love for reading because of those
books. It brought tears to my eyes because reading is truly one of the
most amazing pleasures in life and I’m humbled and honored that I was
able to help her find some books that spoke to her.
 
  
9) How much of you and/or your surroundings is a part of your stories?
Is the influence based on a conscious decision, or do you periodically
recognize yourself in one of your characters and it wasn’t planned? 
 
 
I
think there’s a bit of myself in all my characters because otherwise,
it’s incredibly hard to find their voice. The most difficult character
I’ve ever written was Ivy in the Tangled Ivy Trilogy. She is very
different from me, especially in the first book, but even she has shades
of Tiffany in her character.

I also try to write locations that I’ve spent some time in, just
because it’s more authentic and I can convey my love and feel of the
place more accurately.
 
 
10) What is the most difficult part of writing a book, (including the preparations and after-publication-process)?  
 
Finishing.
I can start lots of books, but pulling together the plot into a good
conclusion and wrapping things up is the hardest part. I especially like
to continue my characters stories in multiple books, so saying goodbye
to them is hard. I grow attached to my characters.
 
  
11)
If you had the chance to influence the questions people ask you in
interviews, what question is the most annoying and you would love to
never hear again? What question would you really like to answer that you
have not been asked yet, and what is yo
ur answer to that question?  
  
I
don’t know if there’s ever an annoying question, though some may get a
bit repetitive if I’m doing a lot of interviews. Question I’ve not been
asked that I really want to be asked…I’m sorry to cop-out but I don’t
think I have any! Lol! 
 
 
12) Name three characteristics of your writing style that are important yet different from other authors.   
 
I
adore love triangles. I love playing with more than one hero, usually
the anti-hero, and incorporate that a lot in my stories. I think life is
usually more complicated than just one love interest, especially if I’m
writing a series that takes place over time. People change, events
change, and relationships reflect that.
 
 
I
also write first-person romantic suspense, which isn’t that common. I
used to not even like first-person. The first book I read told in that
manner was
Twilight. Then I read the Southern Vampire Mysteries (Sookie series) and Stephanie Plum and was hooked. 
  
13) Which of your characters seems to be the most independent, and has taken on a life of their own?  
  
Definitely my most beloved character that fans really enjoyed was Kade Dennon
from the Kathleen Turner Series. That series was my first and those
characters—Kathleen, Blane, and Kade—are very dear to me. They often
appear as “Easter eggs” in my other books, a wink and a smile to readers
who’ve been with me since the beginning.
 
 
14) What do you want tell your readers at the end of this interview? 
 
Thank
you for reading and following my series. Romance readers are amazingly
loyal and voracious. I hope they like the last book in the Risky
Business Series.

 

Merken

AUTHOR INTERVIEW BOOKPROMO

INTERVIEW – Amanda Leigh Author of “My Heart is Yours”

Amanda Leigh graduated with a BA in English and Communications and a double minor in Psychology and Creative Writing. During college, she worked on the literary magazine and loved every minute of it. She adores cats and has one named Sawyer – named after one of her favorite characters in Lost. Amanda enjoys reading, writing avidly in a journal, writing
poetry, fiction and creative non-fiction, cooking, listening to music,
singing, swimming and art – particularly photography. Amanda is a bit of a chocoholic and is slightly obsessed with office supplies. She has many ideas for stories so keep an eye out for more work from her.
 
 
 
 
 
Author links:


 

 
 
 
 
 
 
What is the first book you read that comes to mind? Why is it so important to you? 
 
The first one that
I read on my own that comes to mind is On My Honor by Marion Bauer. I was in
fifth grade. I know that I’d read books on my own before that but this is the
first one I really remember. I think because it was about a pretty intense and
serious situation. I remember talking to my teacher about it. From then on, the
more intense books were the ones that I often gravitated toward. Maybe that’s
why I remember it. Because it helped influence the books that I like to read
the most.
 
How much of you and/or your surroundings is a part of your stories? Is the influence based on a conscious decision, or do you periodically recognize yourself in one of your characters and it wasn’t planned? 
 
My surroundings
don’t really come up in my books a lot. (Unless you consider having books
present in both my life and my books my surroundings.) As for how much of me is
in my books, that varies. With My Heart is Yours Sam is a character that I do
consider to be a lot like me. It wasn’t necessarily intentional (although I
think that it may have been subconsciously) but when I noticed it while writing
I just ran with it. In the book that I’m working on now I did not at all set
out to make any of the characters like me. They just came to life in my head.
But reading through the books now I do see similarities to myself in each of
them. I don’t think that it’s anything that anybody else would notice, though.
 
What genre is the most intimidating when you think about writing in it? Explain why! 
 
Memoir. I don’t
know if you meant exclusively fiction but I’m going with memoir/autobiography.
The closest that I’ve come to writing straight out about my life is my poetry.
I just don’t relish the idea of sitting down to write openly about the events
in my life. I explore those things through fiction. There really isn’t a genre
of fiction that intimidates me. Whatever story comes to my mind, I’ll write it.
 
In your opinion, what is the most important feature a book needs to have? 
 
That would
definitely have to be characters for me. Plot is important but for me characters
are the most important. I’m a very character driven reader. Sometimes, even if
I don’t like the plot, if I love a certain character I’ll keep reading. Whether
it’s a stand-alone or a series.
 
If you had the chance to influence the questions people ask you in interviews, what question is the most annoying and you would love to never hear again? What question would you really like to answer that you have not been asked yet, and what is your answer to that question? 
 
Honestly, I haven’t
been interviews that many times yet so this is really difficult. This might be
unreasonable but “What inspires you to write?” Honestly, I have no idea, I just
have to write. I can’t NOT write.
 
You know,
surprisingly, I haven’t been asked if music plays a part in my writing process
and I would love to be asked that. The answer is yes, it plays a huge part in
my writing process. I always listen yo music when I write or edit or am
brainstorming/outlining. For the trilogy that I’m working on now I made a
playlist for the series that I listen to while working on it. I still end up
adding songs to it. It helps get me in the right frame of mind. I have certain
songs for certain scenes that I’ll play over and over again whole writing them.
I can even remember what song I was listening to while writing a certain scene
if for some reason it really sticks out in my mind. A scene that I deem pivotal
to the story.
 
Name three characteristics of your writing style that are important yet different from other authors.  
 
This might be the
most difficult question on here. Having things that are 100% different from
every author out there is hard but I’ll list a few things I find important
about my writing.
I write with tense
emotions to connect my characters with my readers.
I do my best not to
shy away from the darker stuff in my writing.
I don’t want to
condescend my readers with staying away from more serious issues which sort of
goes along with not shying away from darker things.
 
Which of your characters seems to be the most independent, and has taken on a life of their own? 
 
A character that
very few people have met yet. His name is Trent. He popped into my head pretty
much fully formed and entirely took on a life of his own. When I sit down to
write these people his words just come out of my fingers to the screen without
nearly as much thought as the other characters.
 
But if you want one
from My Heart is Yours, I think that that would have to be John, Sam’s older
brother. He took on a life of his own. I love him way more than I initially
expected to and would love to write more about him.
 
What do you want tell your readers at the end of this interview?
 
First off, thank
you so much for taking the time to read this interview!! I hope that my answers
were interesting. If you take the time to buy and read My Heart is Yours thank
you so, so much!! I’m working with someone on a non-fiction anthology of mini
memoirs from people with the same rare condition that I have so keep an eye
out. I’m also hard at work on a YA Paranormal Romance Trilogy that is
definitely darker and much different than My Heart is Yours. I love it so much.
I hope to be able to share it with you soon.

Merken

AUTHOR INTERVIEW BOOKPROMO

INTERVIEW – Abby Niles Author of “HEALING LOVE”

 
 


Abby Niles is the author of the contemporary MMA series, Love to the Extreme, and the paranormal series, The Awakening. She is also the author to the geeky romantic comedy, Defying Convention, where Live Action Role Players (LARPers) set out to teach their favorite author a lesson, but end up playing matchmaker instead.

Abby lives in North Carolina with the love of her life and their combined gaggle of kids. When she’s not writing, she’s trying to catch up on an endless pile of laundry and find time to get some much needed reading in.

 

Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads

 

1) What is the first book you read that comes to mind? Why is it so important to you? 
 
 
It’s
definitely not the first book I read, and it’s not just one book, but
it’s a series that made me love to read. It took reading from being a
chore to being something I loved. And that was The Sweet Valley High
series. I discovered the series in 6th grade and I discovered I loved
romance because I couldn’t get enough of Elizabeth and Todd. From that
series, I moved on to meatier stories. By high school, I was reading my
mom’s romances. 
 
 
2) How much of you and/or your
surroundings is a part of your stories? Is the influence based on a
conscious decision, or do you periodically recognize yourself in one of
your characters and it wasn’t planned? 
 
 
There’s a piece of
me in every one of my stories. When you’re writing from a deep place,
part of yourself is going to slip onto the page. Some stories have more
of me than others (EXTREME LOVE for example), but every one of them have
some of me in it. 
 
 
3) What genre is the most intimidating when you think about writing in it? Explain why! 
 
 
Honestly,
historicals. I LOVE historical romance. I wanted to be a historical
romance writer. Even tried my hand at it. I wasn’t very good. You really
have to know your stuff to write in that genre. It’s like a different
level of research. The clothing, etiquettes, surroundings…everything has
to be researched. I bow to historical writers. 
 
 
4) In your opinion, what is the most important feature a book needs to have? 
 
 
I
don’t think a book can thrive off just one feature. You’ve seen reviews
that says the romance was hot, but there wasn’t any conflict so the
book was just meh or steaming hot love scenes, but the plot sucked or
good plot, but no chemistry between the H/h. So a book needs a whole
bunch of important stuff to be complete. 
 
 
5) If you had
the chance to influence the questions people ask you in interviews, what
question is the most annoying and you would love to never hear again?
What question would you really like to answer that you have not been
asked yet, and what is your answer to that question? 
 
 
Probably
ones like the one below, lol. I wouldn’t call questions like that
annoying either. I don’t find any of the questions annoying. More like
they put me on the spot and I get uncomfortable with comparing my
writing to other writers. J
 
I’ve done a lot of
interviews so I’ve been asked all kinds of questions. One thing I don’t
think I’ve been asked a lot about is earlier books I’ve worked on, maybe
things that have never been published.
 
Something like: Have you ever pulled out the stuff you wrote before you were published and read it?
 
Answer:
OMG. Yes, I have. And, OMG. It sucks. I’m glad I’ve kept all of my
earlier work so I can see how far I have come as a writer. My voice
isn’t even the same. You can tell I was trying to find it. 
 
 
6) Name three characteristics of your writing style that are important yet different from other authors.
 
 
Umm…eek. I’m not sure. Uhhhhh, *scratches head* I have a very laid back voice. *grimace* Ugh. Yeah, I suck at this question. 
 
 
7) Which of your characters seems to be the most independent, and has taken on a life of their own? 
 
 
Ahh,
that would have been my hero Luke Evans from DEFYING CONVENTION. Gah,
he was difficult. Defying Convention is romantic comedy set at a sci-fi
convention. This was supposed to be a light-hearted read. Luke was
anything but light-hearted. He fought me in every. Single. Scene. He was
angrier than he was supposed to be. He refused to be brought down a
notch too, but for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out why he was so
damn angry. What I had in mind didn’t justify that amount of pent-up
rage. 
 
 
It’s funny how that works as a writer. You’re the
writer. You should have control. I did not. The character did. Times
like that, I just go with it, because it’s usually leading to something
I’m not seeing yet. Luke eventually let me in on why he was so
angry, and yes, he was justified…and it was much better than what I had
in mind. So sometimes, your characters know best. 
 
 
8) What do you want tell your readers at the end of this interview? 
 
 
Thank you. Without you, none of this would be possible and you have no idea how much I appreciate each and every one of you.
 

Merken

AUTHOR INTERVIEW BOOKPROMO

INTERVIEW – C.L. Parker Author of “Getting Rough”

 
 
Title : Getting Rough 
Author :C.L. Parker
Series : Monkey Business Trio #2
Release date: January 26th 2016
Rating :  4 Stars
 
Hotshot San Diego sports agent Shaw Matthews and his sexy professional adversary Cassidy Whalen have gone head-to-head in the boardroom—and the bedroom. Now Shaw has scored a big promotion—but only because Cassidy turned it down and ran off. There are many things he wants when it comes to Cassidy—just not her pity. So Shaw rushes to a small town in Maine to retrieve his dignity—and maybe the woman he’s hungry to claim once more. Cassidy has pushed herself to the max to realize her career dreams—until a family crisis brings her home. But Shaw isn’t letting Cassidy go that easily. Neither is gorgeous heartthrob Casey Michaels, the childhood sweetheart she left behind—and who now wants to win her back. As the rivalry between the two alpha males intensifies, and Shaw’s seductive moves reach a whole new level of heat, Cassidy has to make a choice. And this time, it’s for the highest stakes of all.
 

 

 
 
 
 

 

What made you start writing books? 
 
I suppose my imagination was
too big to keep inside. I’d never had an urge to write; I was simply
creative, I suppose. While riding along in a car with my sister, we’d
see a couple in the car next to us and I’d make up an entire story about
where they’d been and where they were going, what was happening in
their lives. My stories were always humorous, and my sister told me I
should be writing screenplays. I’d shrugged that off. But then I read
this book that she’d insisted I give a shot. Twilight. I’m sure there
were just a million groans at that mention since everyone thought they
could be a writer after reading the series. However, what happened with
me was that it made me thirsty for more—more adventure, more romance,
more happily-ever-after. Soon after the books ended, I found a Twilight
fan fiction sight, and my thirst was renewed once more. While reading my
first fan fiction story, I had an idea for one of my own. So I wrote
it. And then I wrote another one, and another, and another, and one
more. The feedback I was getting on those stories was very encouraging.
The next thing I knew, I was being published. 
 
How much of you
and/or your surroundings is a part of your stories?
 
 
Lots! I don’t see
how it’s possible that our surroundings aren’t absorbed into the story.
After all, writers write what they know. 
 
Is the influence based on a
conscious decision, or do you periodically recognize yourself in one of
your characters and it wasn’t planned? 
 
I think both. Again, I write what
I know. However, I’ve learned that writing is therapeutic for me. Often
times I write a character’s dilemma and then the resolution is
eventually revealed. It’s then that I sit back and think, “Huh, I’ve
just solved my own issue.” They say it’s easier to see resolutions when
you’re on the outside of a situation looking in. My characters might not
have exactly the same issue, but it’s apparent to me that it’s very
similar in so many ways. I suppose I’ve subconsciously worked it out
under the guise of it being someone else’s problem, thus removing the
emotional attachment, of something of the sort. 
 
What author/actor
or musician do you ‘fangirl/fanboy’ over? 
 
Most recently and because of
her Arcana Chronicles series, Kresley Cole. I’m in love with that story
and completely invested. Karen Marie Moning is the cream of the crop for
me, though. She’s the only person I’ve actually gotten sweaty palms
over. Ha! 
 
What does your perfect writing day look like?
 
No
interruption, of course. 
 
Do you plan when and how long you write, or
does it happen without planning? 
 
I’m a tad OCD, and therefore bound to a
schedule. If anything throws a monkey wrench in my day, the writing
isn’t going to happen. I “plan” to write Monday through Friday, from 8
AM through 4 PM, but that doesn’t always happen. I’m getting to the
point that I’m going to have to turn off all phones and social media
alerts, and issue apologies afterward. That, or maybe I should start
working third shift hours while everyone else is fast asleep 😉 
 
What genre is the most intimidating when you think about writing in it? 
Explain why! 
 
Historicals! History was a hard subject for me in school.
Man, you’ve got to get the facts right or your whole story is blown, and
readers will call you out for errors. I live in the present, so do my
characters, but historical romances are beautiful.
 
What do
you like to do when you are not writing? 
 
Read. My life is the bee’s
knees, but I love living in a fantasy world. I will devour a good book,
usually PNR. I’m always looking for suggestions on my next read. 
 
What do
you think your profession would be if you were not an author? 
 
I’ve done
the whole cubicle in an office thing. Though it wasn’t so bad, I really
think my fascination for what makes people tick would lead me into some
sort of therapist career. 
 
 What is the most touching reaction you
have ever received from a fan? 
 
One reader sent me a picture of a tattoo
she’d had put on the top of her foot with an emotional, meaningful line
from one of my books. That’s permanent, you know? So yeah, I was
touched. And so was she, apparently, though her ordeal was much more
painful. 
 
 In your opinion, what is the most important feature a book
needs to have? 
 
Individual character arcs. I feel like each character
needs to have a beginning, middle, and resolution—a reason for their
behavior and a “come to Jesus” moment, if you will. It’s fine for a
couple to meet, overcome obstacles in their way, and then fall in love …
but for the characters to grow individually while also bonding with
their love interest is simply magical and fulfilling. 
 
What is the
most difficult part of writing a book, (including the preparations and
after-publication-process)? 
 
Marketing. The literary community is
drowning in published books, especially with the ease of self-publishing
now. It’s extremely difficult to find a way to make your book stand out
from the rest. You know the readers will love it if they give it a
chance, but getting them to pick it up over another is not an easy thing
to accomplish. 
 
What do you want tell your readers at the end of
this interview? 
 
Of course I want to thank my readers. But what I really
want convey to readers is how important it is that you review books and
talk about your favorite stories to your other reader friends. This is
part of the whole marketing difficulty I mentioned before. There is no
greater marketing tool than word of mouth. Readers pay attention to
reviews. They listen to your opinion and pick up suggested reads from
those they trust. So, please . . . spread the word to anyone who will
listen. You have no idea the impact it will make.
 


C. L. Parker is
a romance author who writes stories that sizzle. She’s a small-town
girl with big-city dreams and enough tenacity to see them come to
fruition. Having been the outgoing sort all her life—which translates to
“she just wouldn’t shut the hell up”—it’s no wonder Parker eventually
turned to writing as a way to let her voice, and those of the people
living inside her head, be heard. She loves hard, laughs until it hurts,
and lives like there’s no tomorrow. In her world, everything truly does
happen for a reason.

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
Connect with C.L. Parker! 
Facebook: FB.com/CLParkerOfficial • Twitter: @theclparker • Blog: cl-parker.blogspot.com  
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Merken

AUTHOR INTERVIEW BOOKPROMO

INTERVIEW – Lis Lucassen Author of “Heat”

 

 


 
 
 
——————————
FULL INTERVIEW for Jeri’s Book Attic
——————————
 
1) What is the first book you read that comes
to mind? Why is it so important to you?
 
The first book that comes to mind is Ugly
Love by Colleen Hoover. I read it not so long ago and was totally blown away by
this heart wrenching story about not one, but two great loves. The way Colleen
Hoover writes her romance stories, is captivating. She handles the big issues
in her book, but in a way that totally mesmerizes you. I think Ugly Love was
the first book to pop up in my mind, because it was one of the books recently
that made me cry and at the same time, made my hart leap because there was so
so much I could learn from that book as a writer.
 
2) What made you start writing books?
 
I always had this secret ambition to write
books. I think as many of us book nerds that can’t go a week without falling in
love with a new story, will recognize, I found that I was surrounded by these
characters and stories that I didn’t read in books, but just happened to live
within my head. When my first daughter was born (I’m a mom of two beautiful
little girls), I thought about the things I found important and one of the
things I would like to give my children, is the believe that they can make
anything happen, if they just believed in themselves and did the work. At that
moment I realized I was sort of a phony, because I secretly wanted to write
down the stories that I lived within my head, but my own fears of failure kept
me from doing the thing I loved. I had to (wo)man up, so to speak. Now, when my
girls are old enough, I can without a doubt tell them to always follow their
dreams like I did with my writing, because when you follow your heart, you know
you’re walking on the right pad and nothing can compare to that feeling that
comes with doing what you love.
 
3) How much of you and/or your surroundings
is a part of your stories? Is the influence based on a conscious decision, or
do you periodically recognize yourself in one of your characters and it wasn’t
planned?
 
I don’t recognize myself in my characters,
but people that know me really well, sometimes come up to me and say things
like: ‘When Dan said this or that, I could totally hear those words coming out
of your mouth.’ So it’s not some conscious decision but I guess every one of my
stories has a little bit of me in them. I like to write about characters that
aren’t perfect (perfect people scare me, if you must know) and that learn from
their mistakes. I think that’s human nature and that’s why people recognize me
and maybe sometimes a little characteristic from themselves in the stories.
 
4) What author/actor or musician do you
‘fangirl/fanboy’ over?
 
O. I have this totally fangirlcrush on
Jennifer Armentrout and more recently on Elle Kennedy and Kristen Callihan. I
love their new adults. I’m totally in love with the whole jock / bad boy / good
guy vibe that’s going on in the books by Kristen and Elle. I binge read their
books (Game On series and Off Campus series) in a week and a halve or so.
And I have this little crush on Michiel
Huisman (the Dutch actor who plays Daario Naharis in Game of Thrones and Chris
Hemsworth when he’s on doing his Thor-thingy.
 
 
5) What does your perfect writing day look
like? Do you plan when and how long you write, or does it happen without
planning?
 
Being a mom of two, I don’t really have the
luxury to plan a full day of writing. It’s more that I sneak some writing time
in when ever the opportunity arises. Mostly, I write in the evenings, lounging
on the couch.
 
6) What genre is the most intimidating when
you think about writing in it? Explain why
!
 
O. Wow. That’s a hard one. I’m a journalist
so I think writing the true stories is the hardest. It’s not your story,
meaning that someone else is trusting you with their story and it’s your job to
capture that person and his or her event or life in the most truest form. You
have to stick to the story that the person is telling you, but you also have to
trust your skills as a write and write the best possible version of the events.
 
7) What do you like to do when you are not
writing? What do you think your profession would be if you were not an author?
 
I like to read when I’m not writing, or
(binge)watch series on tv. I love going to the movies or going out to dinner
with my husband or with friends. I adore my girls and love to spend time with
them. I must have watched Frozen a couple of dozen times by now and lived
through the reenactment of that fairytale more times than a person probably can
stand without losing their minds.
 
Writing isn’t my day job. Yet. I was a public
policy maker for a municipality and I’m a freelance journalist.
 
 
8) What is the most touching reaction you
have ever received from a fan?
 
Somebody wrote in a review of Heat that the
story made them think about their own issues and the way they were dealing with
stuff in their lives. It made them think. I found that touching because the
story reached out to that reader on a level that made them assess their own
life.
Another reader predicted that ‘this new
writer is going places with her writing’. I loved that one as well! I really
hope she’s right.
 
 
9) In your opinion, what is the most
important feature a book needs to have?
 
Conflict!
Every book needs conflict. Without conflict,
there is no story worth reading.
 
10) What is the most difficult part of
writing a book, (including the preparations and after-publication-process)?

 

 

 
For me, it’s the moment you’re almost done.
You’re at about 2/3 of the book and the self doubting begins. Shall I ever
finish this book? Is it going to be the story I hope and think it could be? Or
is this the point to just give up.
Also, I find it hard to start with a story.
It’s like being the new girl in a group of friends. You don’t know the people
you are spending so much time with and investing so much energy in that well
and yet you know that there is something there that makes them special and
worthwhile. It’s that process of getting to know your characters and the story
you are writing, that makes it scary and absolutely amazing at the same time.
 
12)
Name three characteristics of your writing style that are important yet
different from other authors.
 
That’s a difficult one to answer for me, so
I’ll just stick with the things readers say in their reviews and the stuff my
publisher and editor say. Most readers find my writing takes them in to the
story, that the power’s in the details. Some things in the beginning of the
story may seem unimportant, but later on all these pieces of the puzzle fit
together.
For foreign readers (non-Dutch readers) I
think my books reveal a little of the Dutch culture and way of living. The
directness of the Dutch people and their proud way of trying to live their
lives without accepting any help, then realizing there is no shame in asking
for help when you need it most.
And I love layering characters. Nobody’s just
‘good’ or just ‘evil’. Everybody has a story which contains of many many
layers. By peeling back those layers, you can find the true beauty in a person.
 
13) Which of your characters seems to be the
most independent, and has taken on a life of their own?
 
Ha! That would be Steve. You meet him in
Heat, as the very ‘hands on’ and fun colleague of Lynn. But there’s more to
Steve than meets the eye and he was very persistent in telling me his story.
Steve’s not the fun and easy going guy he wants people to believe, there’s a
bitterness inside him and a guilt that’s eating at him.
I’m happy to say Steve’s going to get his own
book, which will be published by Storm Publishers next year (2016). The English
title is going to be ‘High Gear’.
 
14) What do you want tell your readers at the
end of this interview?
 
Well, first of all, thank you very much for
this opportunity and for wanting to interview me! I love the way bloggers and
writers are interacting these days and have the utmost respect for all you
bloggers and readers out there, formulating thorough opinions about books and
helping us writers get better.
I hope readers will enjoy Lynn and Dan’s
story and find themselves wanting to learn more about Steve.

Merken

AUTHOR INTERVIEW BOOKPROMO

INTERVIEW – Holly Blackstone Author of “Step In To The Light”

 

Author Bio

 

Holly was born in New Jersey and moved to the Pacific Northwest at the age of eighteen. She’s always loved writing and expressing herself and scrupulously kept a journal at a young age. She started her first book around the age of nine, although she never completed it, and in high school was co-editor of her school’s literary magazine. She enjoys blogging and writing poetry as well as writing novels and reading. Although an American, Holly is fascinated with British and Scottish
history and culture; this interest is reflected in her choice to often use British spellings for words because she likes them better.
Holly likes exploring how a character’s personality changes and adapts as they are introduced to new experiences that are challenging. She also enjoys creating worlds and tales that are deep and complex that are driven by a solid story, yet have intense erotic elements.Much to her chagrin, Holly has many interests and has a hard time keeping up with them all. She enjoys cooking and has made wine with friends; she likes gardening, drawing, reading, video and board games, dancing, eighties music and yoga, to name a few of her more regular preoccupations.

She welcomes comments and questions at her website: http://www.hollyblackstone.com

1) What is the first book you read that comes to mind? Why is it so important to you?
 
H: I love reading and always would try to find something to read, whether it was a catalog of my mom’s, Reader’s Digest, National Geographic or her Archeology magazine. Probably the earliest ‘reading’ memory I have is of grabbing one of those and finding an article. My parents also didn’t let us read at the supper table, but at the time Kleenex’s ‘Man Size’ tissues had blurbs about America printed on the bottom, my dad kept a box of them at the table and I would periodically sneak a peek at it; I memorized Patrick Henry’s ‘Give me Liberty’ speech from the bottom of a box of tissues!
 
With regard to books specifically, one of the earliest memories I have about them is reading the ‘Chronicles of Narnia’ by C.S. Lewis – I still have the original box set from when I was six or seven. I loved the series because there was depth to them, (from a child’s point of view anyway!); the characters even in retrospect were more complex than you might expect, (for example, Eustance Clarence Scrubb), and some of them made mistakes, (Edmund is the easiest example), and grow from them. The world was rich, the story was interesting, and even though the series eventually dealt with difficult themes, (dying and materialism in the “The Last Battle”), I thought it was done well. I fully appreciate that there are clear religious overtones to the series, and am familiar with Lewis’ life and realise how big a part faith played in it, but it doesn’t detract. There are good lessons children can learn from the series, whilst being entertained simultaneously.
 
Perhaps a year or two later, I began to branch out and read other books that shaped me, particularly “A Night to Remember”, “Blade Runner” and a book about airship disasters, (I’m not joking!). If you’re tempted to think I couldn’t possibly have read those books at the tender age of seven or eight, I should add that I entered Kindergarten at four, knew my alphabet and could read at that time, and I kept a diary for nearly a decade beginning around the age of six. I’ve always loved words.
 
2) What made you start writing books?
 
H: Well, as I said I’ve always loved words, and the concept of ‘a book’ is powerful and frankly, beguiling. At any given moment, hundreds or thousands of people could be – unbeknownst to you – reading something you have created. Words are, (when taken care of), immortal, and can convey powerful and moving ideas about any topic you care to name, and the only barriers are language and access. (When I say language, what I mean is whether or not someone reads the language you’re writing in and access is whether a person can obtain books.) I started my first ‘novel’ at around nine or so, (I believe), presaging the fascination with a post apocalyptic world by decades. I never finished it, and lamented that I ever would. In late grammar school/high school I wrote a fair amount of poetry and short parable-style stories, was on my school’s literary magazine, but didn’t revisit the novel concept until a few years ago, although I’ve continued to read during that time.
 
About four years ago I had an idea for a fantasy story and tried to write it, but was apprehensive about finishing it, and whether it would be any good; I don’t want to write, (pardon my French), shitty books, and frankly, I think I was bogged down in a lot of minutiae, although some of the ideas were good and one in particular was clever.
 
I eventually put it aside until I once more became motivated to write something big; I was away from home managing a project, had my computer with me, and started reading erotica. (I had already read the ‘Sleeping Beauty’ series and other erotica years before.) I read “Fifty Shades of Grey” to see what all the hoopla was about and on the whole I was gobsmacked, but not in a good way. I was shocked at the poor portrayal of BDSM, how immature supposedly adult characters were, (gave it a creepy vibe for me), the sophomoric story and dialogue and how terrible the grammar was, yet it sold. I had some time, was in a small town and had little to do, so I decided to see if I could write an erotica novel and I finished, “An Accidental Affair”, in about two and a half weeks.
 
3) How much of you and/or your surroundings is a part of your stories? Is the influence based on a conscious decision, or do you periodically recognize yourself in one of your characters and it wasn’t planned?
 
H: I consider myself an observer of life and I write what I see and what I know,( to a good degree). I haven’t rescued anyone from a car, nor am I famous, so clearly the reactions of my characters to those events are extrapolations based on other things I have seen, and how I feel the characters I have created would respond.
 
There is at least a little bit of me in all of my, (major), characters, emotionally (as an investment), but also as a human. For example, I put a lot of heart, thought and emotion into trying to construct believable characters on paper, but many of them also contain certain attributes that I feel I have. I have been broken up with a lot, so I possess some of Lily’s relationship insecurity for example, but clearly that’s not all *I* am, and so I wanted to ensure it’s not all you come away with when you think about Lily either – although with regard to the story, it is an important aspect, especially in the beginning.
 
I set the first series in Washington because I love the Pacific Northwest, I live here and it felt good to write about it, to try to bring it alive for people, but when I describe places I haven’t been to, I read about the location to try and represent it faithfully.
 
On the whole then, there is a lot of planned inclusion of familiar themes and locations, but periodically I do re-read something and realise it is more telling or reflects something familiar to me more than I anticipated.
 
4) What author/actor or musician do you ‘fangirl/fanboy’ over?
 
H: This is that most difficult question yet! I actually don’t have a lot of people I fangirl over when I think about it. A long time ago I loved The Police and Def Leppard, and I’ve been periodically obsessed with Big Country and some other bands. When I saw “Man of Steel”, I saw a little of the pull that women felt for Henry Cavill. I guess the CLOSEST to someone I would fangirl over is the model David Gandy , and there is a reason for that. I was writing the Lily series and talking to my boyfriend, (Ray), and describing Stuart; we were waiting for a car to be serviced, and Ray was flipping through a “Men’s Health” magazine as we chatted. He stopped suddenly and said, ‘Is this what Stuart looks like?’, and showed me a picture of David Gandy in a Dolce & Gabbana ad for their Light Blue fragrance. Except for the slicked back hair in the ad, he looked A LOT like what I imagined Stuart to look like, and I’ve seen several pictures since where he looks just about perfect.
 
Now you probably think I am a bloody moron because David Gandy has been around for years; I’m sure I had seen him previously in advertisements but it didn’t click, or subliminally the archetype he represents was working on me, and it fell into place when Ray showed me that photo. As a result, I have a soft spot in my heart for him, and that’s probably as fangirl-y as I would get, although I would be absolutely petrified to meet him.
 
As for the closest author I would fangirl over… I actually sent an email to Sir Martin Gilbert, Winston Churchill’s official biographer because I LOVED “Churchill: A Life” so much. It is an amazing chronicle of the life of one of the greatest men in history and Sir Martin was kind enough to email me back! I couldn’t believe it, and I think I yelled out, “Holy shit, holy shit, he wrote back!”, or something similar and scared the cats. =) I don’t know how Sir Martin managed to keep so many facts and details straight but he did, and it resulted in a masterpiece of writing.
 
5) What does your perfect writing day look like? Do you plan when and how long you write, or does it happen without planning?
 
H: Well, things needs to be attended to in life and I can’t support myself entirely by writing yet, so “the best laid schemes of mice and men gang aft aglay”; as a result, it is difficult to plan a schedule and adhere to it daily, (for me, anyway). At the minimum, I promise myself that I will do at least one writing/book related item a day, (including Saturday), and at maximum, spend a good six hours or so writing.
 
Regrettably, being an author is more than just putting fingers to keyboard, and requires managing your book distribution, engaging in social media, proofreading, answering mail, writing blogs, doing research, etc. Some of it I don’t mind, (like the research bit and interacting with readers personally), whilst some of it – like managing distribution or figuring out how to market – are difficult.
 
An ideal writing day would mean my calendar is pretty clear, and I get to sit down and just WRITE. I actually write very quickly when I can get on a roll because I’m not interrupted and seem to just write faster and faster; this is how I was able to write my first book in just about seventeen days. If I get ‘stuck’, (I don’t usually get writers block, but might need to ruminate on how to work in something to the story), I’ll edit a book, do research or write in one of my other projects until I feel I can go back to my primary book.
 
There are some days where I try to clear everything off the docket as much as I can and devote it to writing, and those are great days! 
 
6) What genre is the most intimidating when you think about writing in it? Explain why!
 
H: LOL. It took me a second and then I realised what it was – (male) gay erotica! I’m not a gay man, and so I would be worried that the fact I have no frame of reference would make the book terrible, that the characters, situations and interactions wouldn’t be believable and would feel forced.
 
7) What do you like to do when you are not writing? What do you think your profession would be if you were not an author?
 
H: Writing is never far from my mind, but when I’m not actively engaged in it, I have a lot of hobbies and interests to keep me busy. Besides my furry quadruped children, (my beloved cats), I love cooking and gardening, (it’s mostly container gardening, unfortunately). I love computers, and computer and board games; I REALLY enjoy art and like oil painting, sketching and watercolouring, and of course I also read. I like yoga, walking and spending time with Ray and my friends, and answering questions from awesome readers. =)
 
As for my alternate profession, I’ve been in the computer industry off and on for years, and I love science and math; my other ‘dream job’ would be working on nuclear rockets with someone like Robert Zubrin and trying to get humans to Mars.
 
8) What is the most touching reaction you have ever received from a fan?
 
H: I’ve been really lucky and I have great readers! There were so many people who were kind when my mom got sick and died – people who emailed/messaged and said, “I’m so sorry – take your time, don’t worry about the book”, to “My mom is in remission, I understand some of the stress of cancer”, or similar comments. I tried to get the last book in ‘The Liliana Batchelor Series’ out before Christmas, but it was a difficult Christmas for a lot of reasons, not least among them because it was the first one since my mom died and also my birthday, so I knew there were no birthday wishes or cards from her any more, and I was depressed. When I mentioned why I couldn’t finish on time, that I was struggling with being sad about it all, I got a lot of support from people who commiserated and reached out; that meant a lot.
 
I had someone from Europe make contact with me, and we’ve become good friends and communicate pretty regularly, despite the time difference, and we’ve even met! I was so surprised that someone would have a strong reaction to something I created, and be moved enough that they wanted to chat; it’s humbling. I also had one reader say she got a reading hangover from one of my books because she stayed up all night reading it!
 
I would love to be able to have a, (monetarily), successful career as a writer, but those moments… when you connect with someone, when you make a friend, when someone is so taken by what you have produced, the words you’ve typed, that they forgo sleep – that is pretty awesome and is incredibly gratifying! It’s difficult to throw your personal creations to the aether for judgment, so when someone takes a moment and says, ‘Hey, I like this!’, it makes you feel good, and takes away some of the apprehension, (for me, anyway!).
 
9) In your opinion, what is the most important feature a book needs to have?
 
H: I need to connect with the characters ; even if they are a bit dark, I don’t want them to be one-dimensional – they need to have depth and complexity. I go back to something I’ve mentioned in my comments and blog – erotica is an amazing genre because the whole of the adult experience is spread out before you, but even though a story has sexual/sensual elements, the remainder of a person should not be ignored. I want to see the sensual side, the parts of a person that are in conflict, that are imperfect and please *show* me some of it, don’t tell me. I am not a huge fan of flashbacks in books for this reason, because you are taking a person who is ostensibly the product of all their life experiences and the character is shown to you, but not the components that made them the way they are, so it can feel as if they are constructed of whole cloth, flimsy, especially if they have some really dramatic behaviour or traits.
 
Books, including erotica, are generally about people and their relationships and interactions with the world, so as far as I am concerned it is vital to make the character breathe for you and the readers. I also want something a little intriguing, I like the character to be a bit unique and not just superficially unique – as in they like seafoam green ; I want who they are to be thought out. When I put down a book, I want to feel as if I’ve had a bittersweet parting from a friend.
 
10) What is the most difficult part of writing a book, (including the preparations and after-publication-process)?
 
H: For me, without a doubt it would be marketing. The fact that Independent publishing has taken off is a mixed blessing in some ways because the barrier for entry is low. What I mean by that is, if you write something, even seventeen pages like some ‘books’, you can get it published pretty easily though any of several venues.
 
This is great, because it means that the big publishers aren’t the gatekeepers any more, and books can be published that might not fit into whatever niche they are chasing after at that point, (sort of the Indie musician idea). The way it ties in with your question is that there are now a LOT more books out in electronic format and it is difficult to get noticed in the sea of published erotica that is out there. I was told by someone who works for a marketing service that reviews are important, but only a tiny percentage of people who read my books publish a review, and the few two-star reviews I’ve received have no explanation, so readers can’t easily judge what it was about the novel that specific reader disliked. You can plop a bunch of money down and try to get a review in Romance Times or Kirkus or Publisher’s Weekly, but we’re talking $400 or more and it’s not certain that you can make that back, or how easily anyway.
 
Also, there is the whole idea of what tack do you take when you present your book to the public; for example, what do you want the cover to look like? I thought I wouldn’t make any money, so the first few covers I made were just photos I took and didn’t spend a great deal of time on them, but when I started to make a little money I invested some of that in buying professional photos.
 
You have to also think about your book summary, keywords and all that – what do you put in the synopsis, what do you reveal, and how do you get someone interested? Keywords I have yet to figure out, so I won’t even go there! But all of that isn’t enough… how does someone stumble across your book in the first place, how do you get the word out and try to distinguish yourself? That is what I am struggling with – how do I reach all those readers that don’t know about my books?
 
I also have three series – one of them is contemporary, the other two are cyberpunk and fantasy. The latter are specific and unusual genres that are not nearly as popular as paranormal, mob, MC, or a dozen other erotica sub-genres, so how do I market those books? Traditional science fiction can have erotic elements in it, and some sword and sorcery has too and both series have interesting stories, so do I focus on the erotica or the genre story aspects more?
 
I probably have gone on in too much detail to try to drive home my frustration – you can write a book, even be told it’s pretty good, but there are still so many people out there who haven’t heard of it and you want to just hit the keyboard and continue to write, but you also have to market. 
 
11) If you had the chance to influence the questions people ask you in interviews, what question is the most annoying and you would love to never hear again? What question would you really like to answer that you have not been asked yet, and what is your answer to that question?
 
H: This is my first interview and you all have been gentle with me since it’s my first time, so I am lucky in that no question has been quite worn out yet, but I will say this: every time I tell someone that I write erotic story driven fiction, people think immediately of “Fifty Shades of Grey”. They ask if my book ‘is like that’, and to me, that’s akin to saying, ‘do you use words in your books?’ On a basic level, books all have something in common – there are words, characters and a setting. Erotica books can vary SO much that it’s a pretty shallow observation to combine all erotica into one pot; it’s such an open ended question that I can’t even begin to adequately parse it. In what way are you trying to draw a comparison? Is there explicit sex? Yes. Is there BDSM? Well, not the ‘BDSM’ portrayed in “Fifty Shades…”, no. Are there heterosexual characters? Is one of them successful? Is it set in America? Do you write in first person? I mean, what is the interrogator really asking? In some ways that question is perhaps more indicative of a stereotype that people have about erotica than anything else, but it still grates a bit. =)Wow, a question I’ve never been asked… so far you’ve been pretty thorough. I guess I am expecting people to ask, “Stuart, book five… what the fuck?!” I should maybe make inroads in addressing that. =)
I know Stuart seems a bit off sometimes… a lot off perhaps. I wanted it to be clear that there were a lot of things going on for him, and he was under a lot of pressure; people under huge stress can say and do things that are surprising. Stuart loves Lily… loves her immensely, but I think it is clear in book five that he takes her and what they have for granted; that he becomes so consumed with everything else that he becomes callous and neglectful when it comes to them. He is so certain he has found his soul mate and that bond is inviolate that he can borrow against it. How often do you hear people using ‘the greater good’ as an excuse for poor behaviour? People use it as a flimsy excuse all the time, and when you learn what Megan accused him of… I was hoping people could see how that would have affected him.
 
When I was writing it, I was trying to think of this; Stuart is clearly capable of deep, abiding love and is protective – you’ve seen it in all the books. Take that emotion and extend it for how he would feel for his child and then CRUSH those emotions the way Megan did; try to strip him of his sense of self decency.
 
Lily has been great for him because their relationship has renewed his faith, but it has also inadvertently brought up things that he has suppressed; because he wants to get rid of the negative things in his life, it is inevitable he will clash with Megan and that will bring up the betrayal, which he conveniently put into a little box and didn’t deal with, and instead surrounded himself with beautiful women and casual sex as distractions. Once he meets Lily and realises their potential, he holds off on making love to her for the first time until she is committed – he doesn’t want to risk himself and be hurt again, and he wants reassurance that Lily is as dedicated to seeing things through as he is. He realises he wants a committed relationship with her, which just dredges up the ghosts of the past and what happened the last time he made that choice.
 
As he tries to expunge Megan once and for all, the bitterness, anger and hurt finally come to the fore – they’ve been suppressed all this time, and have been simmering, which has only made them more powerful and they are so consuming, so painful that it is all he really has room for. Can you imagine realising the person you wanted to share your life with tried to emotionally destroy you, and that you’ve put a lid on it for a year and a half only to have it suddenly erupt in your face because the feelings can’t be contained anymore? I think I have used the term ‘man possessed’ but in this case he is consumed with the need for resolution, for revenge, for closure. I wanted Stuart’s out of character behaviour to be an indicator not of some hidden side, character flaw or something similar, but a barometer for just how deeply and fundamentally he was affected by Megan.
 
We all have dark aspects to us – everyone has their hot buttons, people with calm and composed demeanors can get angry and in book five we saw a limit of Stuart’s. So that’s what happened. =)
 
12) Name three characteristics of your writing style that are important yet different from other authors.
 
H: Well, I generally write in third person present tense which is unusual, especially for erotica.It’s because I prefer third person over first person, and I feel present tense sounds more immediate and interesting. I can appreciate why some people might like first person, and several readers have commented on how my writing is from a nonstandard point of view and how it took getting used to – I realise it can be a barrier for some people because they expect first person.
 
To elaborate further on why I write in third person… there are a few reasons. I don’t enjoy books that switch narrators –I feel if you’re going to do that, you can just write in third person and not have the flow of the book change when you switch to a different PoV, (point of view). Also, a lot of authors don’t try to significantly change the ‘feel’ of the stream of consciousness when switching between two narrators (the H and h). No two people think exactly the same, yet when a book changes from ‘Sue’ to ‘Joey’ both of them think in the same voice, they sound the same, but I’m told it’s now Joey. This doesn’t feel genuine to me, and pulls me out of the narrative. You also do not get the benefit of other character’s reactions, and I feel first person really limits the part that ancillary characters can play in a novel because the focus is solely from one PoV and therefore minimises the role that other actors in the story can play. Present tense was an interesting choice and after a while I decided I really wanted my stories to feel as if they are unfolding in front of you as opposed to the reader getting a revue of stale events.
 
I also write in my own bastardized version of American and British English, which is unique, and perhaps not in a good way! I like some British spellings or terms better, so I’ve adopted them and use them in my writing.
 
It’s also my intention to write erotica that isn’t just about getting to the exciting bits, (pardon the pun! =), but publish novels that tell an interesting story. I want the whole package to be there – hot sex, a compelling story, complex characters and a believable setting and events – I hope that all comes through! I also try to do research on things I am not familiar with so I get the facts correct. While these other elements aren’t perhaps unique, they are not necessarily part and parcel of every erotica book you pick up either.
 
13) Which of your characters seems to be the most independent, and has taken on a life of their own?
 
H: Actually, all of them to a different degree but Lily and Stuart more than any, probably because I’ve written a lot more about them. Sometimes I would write dialogue or a reaction and it wouldn’t sit well and I’d go back because I realised it was out of character; other times I thought perhaps I wasn’t getting enough of their personalities through, or I struggled with slightly exaggerating their reactions and words in order to emphasize a trait they had. This is the curse and joy of writing, especially a series – you may have a good idea in your head about who the players in your story are, but you probably don’t appreciate their full depth and breadth until you put them through the paces and they have some mileage under their belt; at some point I think they come into their own and you feel you’ve hit a bit of a sweet spot when it happens. =) I feel like I’m getting to that point with Julianna (‘The Void Chronicles’ series), and to a slightly lesser degree with Abigail, (‘Sine Qua Non Cycle’), and I’m excited to write more of their tales. =)
 
14) What do you want tell your readers at the end of this interview?
 
H: A few things…
 
First, I appreciate that they spent their money and time on my creations; I’ve been writing a little over two years, I’m not a big name, there are a lot of choices out there, and despite the fact that I’m an Indie nobody, a lot of people, (more than I imagined I would see in my first two years), picked up my books! Thanks for taking a chance on me. =)
 
 
Second, I enjoy interacting with readers, answering questions, and getting to know them, and I look forward to more of that!
 
 
Third, I wanted to give a little preview of my next project; I’m working on the follow-on books in my two remaining series but before they are published, I will complete a standalone paranormal dark erotica novel. Right now it’s at 80,000 words, and I’ll need another 50,000 or so before the first draft is done; I’ll post more details on my site when I am closer to completing it.
 
 
And last, thanks to the lovely bloggers at Jeri’s Book Attic for a chance to chat. =)

Buy Holly Blackstones Books at  Barnes & Noble & Amazon

Merken

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