Thursday, 16 December 2010

Interview with Nancy Brauer

So, hands high. How many of you are hustling and bustling? Yes, I'm raising my hand as well. But I love you all so much, I had to take the time out to post another interview for you. Let's meet Nancy Brauer.

Hi, Nancy. Tell us a bit about yourself.

I wear many hats: writer, web programmer, graphic designer, and geologist. Yes, really. I have a degree in geology that I only use when out hiking, which invariably results in bringing another rock home. You never know what you'll find, from fossils to unusual minerals.


So, yeah. I'm pretty much a card-carrying geek. I live in southwestern Virginia with my boyfriend, a dog who's allergic to nearly everything, two allergy-free cats, and no cable or satellite TV. We cry when our Internet connection goes down.

How long have you been writing?

Over ten years now. It's hard to believe it's been that long, but I'm glad I kept at it. Some of my early stuff is cringe-worthy. I'd like to think that my recent work induces few to no cringes.

Tell us about STRANGE LITTLE BAND. What’s the story about?

SLB is the story of two very bad people who work for a very bad company and fall in love despite everyone's best efforts. The bad people are Addison and Shane, two self-centered psychics. Their employer, the Triptych Corporation, "encourages" Addison to have a child. When she and Shane learn that Shane was the sperm donor, drama ensues.


Addison and Shane are just as manipulative as Triptych, so there's a lot of scheming as they try to build some sort of relationship to raise their son. Along the way the antiheroes make important discoveries about themselves, each other, and the company that all but owns them. There's angst, romance, violence, sex, and some comedy. A little bit of everything. :)

How did the idea of the story come to you?

My coauthor Vanessa Brooks and I have been writing together for several years. We have two characters that we keep coming back to. One version of them is Shane and Addison. They're how the characters turned out if key events in their youth went badly.


Initially Vanessa and I emailed each other scenes with Addison and Shane misbehaving just to amuse ourselves. We kept going and going. Before we knew it, we'd racked up over 100,000 words! The next logical step was reworking all of those scenes into a single narrative. The end result is SLB.

What’s the hardest part of writing for you?

Plot. Definitely plot. Vanessa and I are great at writing individual scenes. Start with a conflict and run with it. It's hard for me to step back and figure out how to tie it all together. That's the main reason why we initially released SLB as a web serial. We had so much material, plenty of character arc, and the beginning of a plot. We needed something linear to force us to fit all of the pieces together and fill in the gaps. Knowing that a small but loyal audience was waiting for the next installment kept us moving forward.

Let’s get to know you on a deeper level. What do you absolutely have to have nearby when writing?

Music and coffee. I write on my laptop, so I usually have Pandora or Radio Paradise playing in the background. As for coffee, it's now either half-caf or decaf. My caffeine habit was getting out of hand until a few months ago. But I still like the taste of coffee, and associate it with writing.

If you could have any super power, what would it be?

Telepathy. There's a reason why I write about psychics so much. :)

Quick writing test! Use the following words in a sentence: interrogate, marching band, and cartographer.

"Interrogate!" the wannabe dictator--actually a slightly unhinged cartographer--shouted over the marching band's din.

Wow, wasn't expecting that, lol. Here’s the part where you thank the people who are supporting you. Let's hear your shout outs.

First and foremost, thanks go to everyone who read SLB over the year and a half it ran as a web serial. Your encouragement, interest, and silly comments were are huge help to Vanessa and me.

My boyfriend Brandon definitely gets a shout out. He's heard more about imaginary people than he's probably ever wanted. He kicks butt at brainstorming, too.


Rachel Phillippi and A.M. Harte have my undying gratitude for proofreading the final draft of SLB.


Other people who are made of win, in no particular order, are M. Jones, Paige Baldassaro, Lyn Thorne-Alder, Kim Grandstaff, MCM, Steve Spalding, Brian Goff, Charissa Cotrill, my family, and many, many more. Seriously, I could go on all day.

And finally, where can people find you and your book online?

You can find all things SLB at http://www.strangelittleband.com, including the first four chapters in ePub, Kindle, and PDF formats. The paperback edition of SLB is available through CreateSpace and Amazon. The Kindle version is in the Kindle store and Amazon.


I occasionally blog at http://www.nancybrauer.com. The site is primarily my online portfolio. If you want to stay abreast of my everyday inanity, I'm @tenaciousN on Twitter and on Facebook.

Thank you so much for letting us get to know you and your book, Nancy. I wish you lots of success!

Thanks for the interview, Dorothy!

Monday, 13 December 2010

Interview with Kathy Collier Mehl

Hello, Blogosprites! Can you believe there's only a few more weeks left in the year? Time sure does fly. Before the year ends, let's add some more memorable moments of 2010 by indulging in another interview. This time we're talking with aspiring novelist Kathy Collier.

Welcome, Kathy! Tell us a bit about yourself.

I'm a mother of 7 and a grandmother of 17. Since an early age, about 7, I loved reading books. One year Santa brought me a complete set of classics like Black Velvet, Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, etc. I couldn't have been happier. In ninth grade I was on the newspaper staff, and my one chance to write something, I caught the german measles and missed the opportunity. For years I have kept journals of my life, but raising my children took precedence. As soon as my last child was an adult, I headed for the computer and began writing my first novel with a lot of enthusiasm. I have read and studied hard about the business of writing and have been learning the proper methods of publishing. It is not easy, but I have enjoyed the journey.

Let's hear about your novel THE VEIL. What's the story about?

Ahh my story. Tommie Lanier seeks to know everything about everyone, especially if they pique her interest. This YA paranormal romance of 125,000 words is about a young teen graduating high school and traveling to Maui, where her eldest brother lives, to vacation with her friends and twin brother.


Teen years are confusing enough, but her twin William and she communicate mentally. Unlike Tommie, Will is funny, easygoing and in love with her best friend. He is not the least bit interested in sleuthing. Tommie, on the other hand, notices everything around her and is intrigued by the secrecy. She discovers Adam, her eldest brother, is involved in scientific research for immortality. Tommie seems to put herself in the right place at the wrong time repeatedly until she uncovers Adam’s secret formula. This discovery sends her spiraling into a world of chaos and secrecy. Her friends will see Hawaii as most people, but Tommie will see the other side of The Veil and discover myths about Hawaii are real. The sparks fly when she meets the first immortal, Douglas Brice, and the adventures begin.

Sounds really cool. How did the idea of the story come to you?

Believe it or not, I used to sell Morinda Noni Juice, and knew about its properties and healing abilities, including the fact it even repairs DNA damaged cells. This led me to the idea of writing a story about a genetic scientist seeking "The Fountain of Youth". Because I have worked with youth for the past 7 years, I chose to write for YA since this seems to be the area that is selling the most Paranormal Romance.

Do you have a critique group/partner or beta readers, or do you self-edit?

I have an editor, and I belong to a Writer's Club where we help each other from time to time. We meet monthly. If anyone has an issue or problem, there is someone to answer the question. I also have an established author in this area that has been my mentor, and has read my manuscript.

Sounds like you've got your bases covered. What’s the hardest part of writing for you?

Writing is the fun part. I write 4 to 5 hours a day religiously. The one thing I have learned to do is to write the story first, then edit. My biggest challenge has been to edit constantly, but I have been training myself to get the story down first.

Any tips you’ve learned about writing you’d like to share?

Take your time, don't be in a hurry with publishing. Rewrite until it sparkles, and have faith that you can do it. Be confident, and with all the information out there, you can learn the business. Never give up, no matter the rejections. Stephen King once said he had put a nail in the wall to hold all of his rejections. After awhile they all fell off and he put a bolt up. He said the bolt was full, and several years passed before he was successful in publishing, but he never gave up. Therefore, if you are serious and truly believe in yourself and your abilities, you will succeed. Don't get discouraged, we all get rejections.

Let’s get to know you on a deeper level. What do you absolutely have to have nearby when writing?

When writing, I absolutely have to have my laptop, my thesaurus, my Master Writer Program, and Internet for research. Lots of water to drink. I forget to eat and sleep when my thoughts flow.

If you could have any super power, what would it be?

Super Power, wow! To be immortal and never have to sleep or eat, so I can write incessantly.

Quick writing test! Use the following words in a sentence: accountant, ferris wheel, and frogs.

The colossal ferris wheel slowly ebbed to a stop with a shrill creeking of metal, terrorizing the riders including Mr. Habbish, a simple-minded accountant whose face turned the shade of tree frogs due to his fear of heights.

Love the visual with that one! Here’s the part where you thank the people who are supporting you. Let's hear your shout outs.

Awesome. Thanks Dorothy for this wonderful interview and opportunity to announce my someday-to-be-published novel, The Veil. I would love to thank my editor, Liz Gerace, and all of her wonderful expertise and ideas. I couldn't have managed without her. Liz also was my moral support, my light in the dark. Most of all I want to shout out to my husband, who puts up with my typing all hours of the night while he sleeps. (Thank goodness he is hard of hearing.) hehehe. He has been such a wonderful support to me, and my children and grandchildren who have read and constructively helped. To my friends and strangers that I have allowed to read my manuscript. Thanks to everyone who has played a part in supporting me through my year of writes and rewrites. I love you all.

And finally, where can people find you online?

kscollier1.blogspot.com, twitter as Kathy Collier Mehl, and facebook as Kathy Mehl.


Super. Thank you so much for chatting with us, Kathy. Your book sounds great and I wish you lots of success in getting it published. Please let us know when you've reached the next step of your publishing journey.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Interview with Victoria Hamilton

Here's an interview for all those mystery lovers out there, seeing as my interviewee kills people for a living. On paper, that is. Please welcome fabulous author Victoria Hamilton.

Hello, Victoria. Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am a passionate fan of cozy and not-so-cozy mysteries, and have been since I was very young. I love to cook, I collect vintage kitchenware, I crochet occasionally, cross stitch more often, and play with the kids... er... cats. I like chocolate and tea, wine and cookies (not all together) and have been known to sing in grocery stores to muzak.

Awesome mini bio. How long have you been writing?

A long time! I've been a romance author for years, but have been pining away to write my true love, murder mysteries! I'm fortunate enough to have been given a three book contract for Vintage Kitchen Mysteries, and am just finishing up Book One.

Congratulations! Tell us about the Vintage Kitchen Mystery series.

This is so much fun!! Book One introduces Jaymie Leighton, a vintage kitchenware collector (Wonder how I came up with that idea! LOL). At an estate auction, Jaymie sees and bids on the most gorgeous Hoosier cabinet she's ever seen. (Wondering what a Hoosier cabinet is? You'll know when the first book of my series comes out). After taking it - and all of her other purchases - to her Queensville, Michigan home, she is awoken in the middle of the night by horrible screaming and her little three-legged Yorkie-Poo Hoppy's insistent barking.


She rushes downstairs to find a murdered man on her summer porch, by the Hoosier, with some of the stuff from the other boxes of auction goodies spilled all around him. Why did the well-dressed fellow break into her home? Was he after something she bought at the auction? In the following days Jaymie tries to find out not only who the victim is, but also why he was murdered. She and her home become the target of another break-in and attack; is she getting a little too close to the truth?

Okay, not fair to stop there. Now I'll have to get the book to find out what happens. What attracts you to writing mysteries?

I love writing characters, interweaving their lives, giving them something to figure out. People are fascinating, and why people do what they do - from committing crimes to strange but everyday stuff - is incredibly interesting to write about. Also, I watch a lot of true crime shows - The First 48, American Justice, etc. - and it's interesting to watch detectives at work.

What’s the hardest part of writing for you?

Staying organized! I am terrible at the organizational side, which leads to confusion in something that requires ruthless attention to detail, like a murder mystery.

Any tips you’ve learned about writing mysteries you’d like to share?

For writing tips I would refer hopeful writers to Gillian Roberts' and Carolyn Hart's websites. But my own tip? What I have found is that staying open to the possibilities in your own plot is important. Sometimes you really think you know where something is going, and then it twists away from you, but that's good! It means your subconscious is taking the story and working with it.

Let’s get to know you on a deeper level. What do you absolutely have to have nearby when writing?

A window to stare out of. No, seriously! A good deal of a writer's time is spent staring out of windows. I keep trying to convince people I'm working when I do that, but I'm not sure they believe me.

If you could have any super power, what would it be?

Mind reading, for sure. Selectively, though. Haven't you ever seen somebody do something, and wondered, 'Now, why the heck did they do that?' If you could read their mind, you'd know. Maybe.

Quick writing test! Use the following words in a sentence: consequences, poodle, and lemonade.

If Lizzie had known the consequences of feeding a poodle lemonade, she wouldn't have to purchase a piddle-proof carpet.

Hehehe, fair enough. Here’s the part where you thank the people who are supporting you. Let's hear your shout outs.

Yay! Love 'shout outs'. Shout out to Jessica Faust of Bookends Literary; she is awesome, best agent ever! And Michelle Vega at Berkley Prime Crime; talking to her was the highlight of my year, truly. And my two cats, Bad and Worse, (just kidding) for being good sports about the lack of lap time lately. Redecorating your house while the holidays are coming and you have a November 30th deadline equals insanity.

And finally, where can people find you online?

I don't have my dot com up yet, but I will eventually be blogging at vintagekitchenmysteries.blogspot.com, and I am on twitter @MysteryVictoria, and I'm on Facebook.

Victoria, thank you so much for talking with us. Your books sound fantastic, I wish you the best of luck with them.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Interview with Claudette Walker

Happy St. Nikolaus, everyone! Did you all leave your shoes out by the front door last night? No? Well, I hope you got to indulge in some holiday chocolate anyway. Speaking of delicious treats, today's interview is with a very talented author whom I'm sure you'll all grow fond of. Please welcome Claudette Walker.

Hi, Claudette. Tell us a bit about yourself.

I was born in Monroe Michigan, the youngest child of factory workers. My mother Lois Walker, my father Claude Walker, and my sister Deborah Walker are now deceased. I lived a glorious childhood of love and laugher, playing on Lake Erie. Growing up, I was an avid diver, rode small motorcycles, ice skated, roller skated, and more. I have been married, divorced, and I am now remarried.


I am the mother of an adult daughter. In 2003, just as I was launching my first book and was writing C Street, I fell in love and married my husband David, an attorney in Florida. Within hours of our wedding ceremony my life changed, as I was severely injured in an accident. I spent the years since recovering, and I still suffer from the injuries I sustained. It was left to time for me to find out if I would every finish my second novel. Despite the ominous beginning of our life together, I am very happily married.

Wow, what a life! How long have you been writing?

Since childhood; I first published poems in newspapers in my early twenties, and I am now in my fifties.

Tell us about C Street. What's the story about?

C Street is the story of what could be. It is a very possible scenario of the present and future drawn from my examination of the powerful men in recent history. C Street is also a story of intense love, as well as good and evil.

How did the idea of the story come to you?

I came to know some of the players of Washington, D.C. I saw the love of power and I realized that total power totally corrupts during my days of being married to a bipolar genius, a government lawyer, now deceased.

Is this book similar to your first book, To Love the Rose?

No, although To Love The Rose started the journey of the characters and the tapes of secrets. It was the book that began the journey for my voice. C Street is the book where I believe I found my voice.

What’s the hardest part of writing for you?

Deciding when to stop the story and leave it for the next book.

Any tips you’ve learned about writing you’d like to share?

Work some every day. Think about the book and get it onto paper. Then, work a lot on the days when the ideas are flowing. Whatever success you obtain, remember the next great storyteller is yet to come. Be humble and grateful that the world liked your last story. The point of writing is to communicate and the only way to do that is to disseminate your work. It isn’t communication if it never leaves your hands to be read by others.

Great tips! Let’s get to know you on a deeper level. What do you absolutely have to have nearby when writing?

I need a good chair with neck support, paper, a pen, a computer, and lots of coffee.

I'm with you there on the coffee, lol. So, if you could have any super power, what would it be?

Omniscience.

Quick writing test! Use the following words in a sentence: hibernation, fiber, and social butterfly.

A social buttery I am not, for every fiber in my being prefers hibernation in my writer’s lair.

Excellent sentence! Here’s the part where you thank the people who are supporting you. Let's hear your shout outs.

I would like to thank my daughter NeCole who provides endless ideas for my characters and keeps me grounded in life. Without NeCole, I would not be the woman I am today. I want to thank my husband David, who stands with me at every bend in the road, edits my work before the ever editor gets the final draft, lifts, laughs, and goes wherever I need him to be, just in case I need him. To the people who do work for me, from technical work to editing, I thank you. I must not forget, to my neurologist Dr. William Greenberg, who has worked with me over the years to understand what has happened from the injury, provided the treatment course, and brought me back to finish C Street, I thank you. To my readers, old friends and new, who have been so supportive at every step in my journey, I thank you for allowing me the privilege of writing for you. Without all of you, I would not be the author of C Street.

And finally, where can people find you - and your books - online?

I can be found online at www.AbacusBooks.com, My books are available at that website, as well as at www.Amazon.com , UK, FR, DE, AT, CA, JP , www.BarnesandNoble.com and in bookstores. eBooks are available for Kindle, Nook, iPhones, MP3 and other reading devices. You can find me in Saint Petersburg, Florida most all of the time, and in Washington, D.C. in the spring -- signing books.

Claudette, it was wonderful talking with you. Thank you so much for taking the time to talk about your book. I wish you lots of success!

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Interview with Alex George

Today I'd like to welcome a very interesting writer to We Do Write. When I read the biography on his website, I was pretty impressed, and now I'd like to introduce him to you. Say hello to Alex George.

Hi, Alex. Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am an Englishman, living in Missouri. I’ve been here for over seven years now (my wife is from mid-Missouri and we moved from London to be closer to her family.) I’ve been married to my wonderful, long-suffering wife, Christina, for twelve years. We have two beautiful children, Hallam (9) and Catherine (5). By day I am an attorney; I have my own firm in Columbia, Missouri. I’m also involved in running a water park at the Lake of the Ozarks; consequently I have been known to clown about in a shark suit.

Wow. You'd make a well-rounded character in a book! How long have you been writing?

I’ve always enjoyed writing but I suppose I began seriously half way through the 1990s. I was always complaining about the books I was reading, and people kept telling me that I should shut up and write my own. So I did! My first novel was published in England in 1999. I’ve written four books prior to the novel I’ve just sold to Penguin. They’ve been sold in the UK, France, Germany and Italy, but none of them has been published in America (although I have had some very nice rejection letters from American publishers!) I wrote full-time for a few years after my second book was published, but now it has become more of a secondary career again. I get up at five o’clock every morning and write for two hours before the children wake up. Then I go to work. It does make for rather slow progress sometimes and I find it difficult to stay awake much past ten o’clock in the evening!

From what I understand, your current book is untitled as of yet, but can you tell us what the story is about?

It’s the story of a young couple who leave Germany in 1904 and make their way to America. We then follow the lives of the family over the course of three generations. The book spans all of the twentieth century – America’s century. And while it’s a book about them and the adventures they encounter in their new country, I hope it’s also a story about America itself.


As with all my books, there’s a lot of music in it. The narrator of the book is one of four brothers and they sing together in a close harmony quartet. It’s been a lot of fun researching that, although I think I’ve driven my wife slightly mad with all the barbershop CDs I’ve bought.


I had an awful lot of fun writing it. In addition to the principal characters in the main family, I had an opportunity to populate the fringes of the novel with a lot of characters whom I really enjoyed creating. Among others, there’s a prim church organist who strangles chickens with her bear hands and a bicycle-riding dwarf. Two U.S. Presidents make cameo appearances, as well.


And no, no title yet. I have been writing this story for years, always hoping that a good title would fall out of the sky, but it hasn’t happened yet. Soon, I hope! Next time I’m going to start with the title, and do it that way around.

Sounds like a plan. How did the idea of the story come to you?

Well, I was casting about for a topic, having begun, and abandoned, a couple of (awful) ideas. And the thought occurred to me that I had done something that not many people have the opportunity to do, namely move to another country to live. I’m an immigrant, in other words. And America is, at its core, a country of immigrants. So I began to explore that theme. Around that time, my wife’s great aunt Ethel passed away. We attended her memorial service, and half way through, four men (who I later discovered were brothers) stood up and sang Abide With Me in beautiful four-part harmony. And while I should have been thinking: poor old Ethel, she had a good life, what I was actually thinking was: of course! A barbershop quartet! So there I had the two pillars on which the rest of the book is constructed: the story of a family of immigrants, and close-harmony singing. Kind of like The Godfather Part 2 meets The Sound of Music.

Being sort of an immigrant myself, in that I'm an American who moved to Germany, I find that quite interesting. So tell us, what’s the hardest part of writing for you?

Knowing when to stop. The French poet Paul Valery said, “Poems are never completed, merely abandoned,” and the same applies to novels. But at some point you have to take a deep breath and let your baby out into the world to see if it will walk on its own. I’m a perfectionist, and know that if I do one more review then I’ll improve the book a little more. But at some point you just have to let go.

LOL, I think my problem is I let go too often. Any tips you’ve learned about writing you’d like to share?

Tons, but the most important would probably be: write every day. Even if it’s only a little. If you’re serious about writing, you need to make it a priority. Find a time to write, and stick to it. (That’s why I write early in the morning. I know that there will be nothing else competing with my attention then, no excuses to do something else instead.) If you do that, then – little by little – words will appear on the page. The most important asset that you can possess as a writer is stamina. Writing books is a long slog; you need the drive and energy to propel you through the less inspiring moments (which can be much of it!) And, of course, you should read and read and then read some more.

Great tips. Who are your inspirations?

I read all the time (see previous remark!) and books, rather than people, serve as my principal inspiration. Writing is a craft. There is always room for improvement, more to learn, and higher hurdles to clear. Reading a wonderful novelist like Richard Powers (to choose one of many literary heroes more or less at random) gives me a slightly vertiginous sense of all that can be achieved within the form, and shows me how much further there always is to go.

Let’s get to know you on a deeper level. What do you absolutely have to have nearby when writing?

Peace and quiet. I can’t write in coffee shops, or places like that. I sincerely wish I could listen to music when I write, but it’s impossible. It’s a complete distraction and my productivity plummets. I work in a very small room in my house, facing away from the window. I need to minimize the risk of distraction when I sit down to write. It helps that I know I only get two hours a day; that concentrates the mind.

If you could have any super power, what would it be?

I think I would like to be able to fly. It would make it much easier to get back to England.

Quick writing test! Use the following words in a sentence: needle, orange juice, and teepee.

When my daughter spilled her cup of orange juice I couldn’t help but needle her about it, even though it wasn’t really her fault; it had been a long and stressful day, and I was (as my son pointed out) both a wigwam and a teepee – in other words, I was too tense. (Sorry.)

Don't be sorry, that was surprisingly unique! Here’s the part where you thank the people who are supporting you. Let's hear your shout outs.

I am lucky to have had four wonderful reading angels, who have read this latest book in various drafts and have offered nothing but honest appraisal and unstinting encouragement throughout. Every writer should be so lucky to have just one such reader, let alone a quartet. They are my wife, Christina, and my three great friends Elaine Johnson, Jennifer Perlow, and Allison Smythe.

My agents, Bruce Hunter in London and Emma Sweeney in New York have shown endless faith, patience, and perseverance. And of course I’m grateful to Amy Einhorn at Amy Einhorn Books for having faith in the book and applying her enormous skill to the editorial process.

And finally, where can people find you online?

My website and blog is at www.alexgeorgebooks.com. There are links there to my facebook page and twitter pages.

Excellent! Thank you so much for chatting with us, Alex. Good luck naming your novel, and I wish you lots of success in all your writing endeavors.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

eBook Winner

Happy December, everyone! Seems like time is flying right by, doesn't it?

As promised, I'm here to announce the winner of Aubrie Dionne's eBook NEBULA'S MUSIC. And the winner is ...

Rachele Alpine!

Congratulations, Rachele. I'll be emailing you your prize soon. :)

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Interview with Karen Collum

Hello everyone! Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving weekend. Now that we're back in the swing of things, lets dive into our next interview. But be sure to check in tomorrow when I announce the winner of Aubrie Dionne's ebook.

Now on to a wonderful writer I know you'll be glad to meet. Her children's book SAMUEL'S KISSES is launching tomorrow! Say hello to Karen Collum.

Hi, Karen! Tell us a bit about yourself.

I'm a stay-at-home mum to three pre-school boys. My eldest son is 5 1/2 (that half is very important) and my identical twins are 2 1/2. I'm also in the last few weeks of my pregnancy with a baby girl. Prior to being at home with the kids I was a primary school teacher (equivalent to elementary school).


Wow! You've got your hands full. How long have you been writing?

I've always loved words and dreamed of being an author but it wasn't until four years ago I took myself and my craft seriously and decided to do something about it. I enrolled in a beginner's course in creative writing and began the long process of learning the ropes of what it means to be a writer.

Tell us about this great new picture book you've got coming out.

SAMUEL'S KISSES is my first picture book and will be released on December 1
in Australia, although the official launch won't be until February next year when the post-Christmas madness has settled. It's a warm and fuzzy story of how one little boy's kisses can make the world a better place.

Sounds great. How did the idea of the book come to you?

As a toddler my eldest son used to blow kisses to complete strangers when we were at the shops. I was always amazed at how the adults responded. They couldn't help but smile and engage with him in some way. I knew it would
make a great story one day, and it has!

What's the hardest part of writing for you?

Time! Life with three little children is exceptionally busy and I have to make time for me to write. When I'm not heavily pregnant and exhausted, I usually get up at 5am three or four days a week to have a couple of hours of writing time before the kids wake up. I'm not an early morning person but I look forward to that time that is just for me.

Let's get to know you on a deeper level. What do you absolutely have to have nearby when writing?

Good question! I don't need anything in particular to be honest, although silence is my best friend. I can't write with music in the background, for example. I often write my first draft of picture books in a notebook on the run somewhere, but when it comes to really working with them I use my laptop and need quiet to hear the words and make good decisions about the text.

If you could have any super power, what would it be?

It would be to read people's minds. I'm fascinated by what makes people tick and human behaviour and sometimes it would be great to be a mind reader, especially in conversations with my husband! LOL

Quick writing test! Use the following words in a sentence: hyper, mosquito, and megaphone.

As I am hyper-allergic to mosquitoes and end up with massive welts whenever I am bitten (which is often!), I don't need a megaphone to yell for the insect repellent - I'm quite loud enough as it is! (And that is a true story, by the way!)

Yikes! Here's the part where you thank the people who are supporting you. Let's hear your shout outs.

My husband is great and will help out with looking after the kids if I'm doing a writing course or have a deadline on a freelance article that I'm working towards. My parents have also been incredibly supportive, but I have to say that there's a group of Australia children's authors who have been absolutely wonderful in their support. In particular, Kathryn Apel, Susan Stephenson and Dee White have been sounding boards, confidantes and critique buddies of mine and I'm so very thankful that they are my writing buddies and friends. I've also got a great network of people on Twitter with whom I have regular contact. Twitter is an awesome place for me to find support while I'm limited in my capacity to leave the house without children in tow :)

And finally, where can people find you online?

I'd love people to come and visit me at my website, http://www.karencollum.com.au/. When life isn't quite so crazy, I blog about once a week and share my journey as a writer.

Karen, thank you so much for spending time with us. Good luck with your mini-launch tomorrow and especially the big launch in February!

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Interview with Aubrie Dionne

Is everyone ready for Thanksgiving weekend? I can't believe it's already here, and I can't believe it's the beginning of Advent already which means Christmas is practically around the corner. But before you all settle into turkey mode, I've got a wonderful treat for you. Namely, an interview with a very talented woman named Aubrie Dionne. And, one lucky commenter will win Audrie's book, Nebula's Music.

Welcome, Aubrie. Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am an author and a flutist in New England. I teach flute at the university level and own my own music business, where I play with my husband at weddings and other special events. My short stories have been featured in Mindflights, Niteblade, Silver Blade, Emerald Tales, Aurora Wolf, A Fly in Amer, Moon Drenched Fables and various anthologies.

How long have you been writing?

I've been writing all my life. My first known writing was a poem about a unicorn in elementary school, saved in my mom's scrapbook. But I started writing seriously in 2006. My first story idea was about Wishcasters, woman that could control the elements of earth, air, fire, and water.

What are you working on now?

I'm working on a young adult science fiction novel titled COLONIZATION: PARADISE 21. It's about a girl that has lived her whole life on a deep space transport vessel on route to colonize a paradise planet. She has to take aptitude tests to place her with a lifemate and a role on the new colony.

How did the idea of the story come to you?

I wondered what it would be like to live all of your life up in space, and also what would happen to everyone if we exhausted our resources on earth. I'd like to think we could live somewhere else and spread out over the galaxy.

Do you have a critique group/partner or beta readers, or do you self-edit?

I self edit the previous day's work the next day, but I also have critique partners and, of course, loyal beta readers like my mom and my sister!

What’s the hardest part of writing for you?

All of the rejection is tough. I get 95 percent rejections on stories and novels, but it's the 5 percent that keeps me going and gives me hope. You have to be persistent to be successful, and that's the hardest part.

Good advice. Let’s get to know you on a deeper level. If you could have any super power, what would it be?

I'd love to be able to stop and start time. Then I'd have all the time in the world to write and practice my flute!

Quick writing test! Use the following words in a sentence: cape, lecture, and Slip 'N Slide.

She threw herself onto the Slip 'N Slide, cape flying behind her as her brother lectured on about being more grown up!

Excellent visual there. Here’s the part where you thank the people who are supporting you. Let's hear your shout outs.

I'd like to thank all of my publishers: Wyvern Publications, Gypsy Shadow Publishing, Lyrical Press, and SynergEbooks for having faith in my writing. Also, my mom and my sister for being so supportive, and my husband for putting up with my crazy story ideas.

And finally, where can people find you online?

I have a website: www.authoraubrie.com and a blog: http://authoraubrie.blogspot.com


Thanks for chatting with us, Aubrie. I wish you much success with all your endeavors! 

Thank you for interviewing me! Remember one lucky commenter gets Nebula's Music!

Friday, 19 November 2010

Interview with Jesi Lea Ryan

Happy Friday, everyone! Excited about the weekend? I know, dumb question, right? Well I've got an interview to start up the good times. Help me in welcoming brilliant author Jesi Lea Ryan.

Welcome, Jesi! Tell us a bit about yourself.

I was born and raised in the Mississippi River town of Dubuque, Iowa. I moved to Madison, WI after college where I met and married my husband, Steve. Let’s see…I treat my cats as my children, I love Oscar Wilde quotes and I hate to organize anything!

How long have you been writing?

I started writing as a little kid—scribbled stories and such. I was never one for journals though—I would always end up lying to them in order to make my life seem more interesting. I guess you can see why I like to write fiction!


Writing as an adult was difficult. Even though I had majored in Literature and Creative Writing in school, I ended up taking the practical route and taking a job in the insurance industry. I didn’t have the time for writing then, but it was never far from my mind.


When the economy crashed in 2009, I lost my job. It was the best thing that ever happened to me! I was fortunate enough to be able to take time off to write. The result is Four Thousand Miles.

Let's hear about this recently released book. What’s the story about?
"When Natalie Spencer loses both her career and marriage in the same morning, the emotional shock sends her on a spontaneous journey to England. There, she is nearly mugged in a Tube station, but an introverted songwriter named Gavin Ashby scares off her attackers. Recognizing Natalie’s fragile state, Gavin offers help and invites her to recuperate from her trauma at his country home.
As she adjusts to her new role and surroundings, Natalie finds healing by helping others. Gavin and his family begin to accept Natalie into their hearts, leading her to a choice…abandon her old life in the States and trust in a new chance at love, or flee once again?"
Four Thousand Miles is a women’s fiction novel with strong romantic elements. It is almost fantasy in that I think all women dream of running away from their problems now and then.

Sounds intriguing. How did the idea of the story come to you?

I was staying at Elvey Farm in rural Kent (England), which is this 500 year old farm which has been converted into a modern bed & breakfast. This place and Leeds Castle, which is twenty minutes away from Elvey, are two of the most romantic settings I’ve ever been in. I really didn’t want to leave. I started thinking about what it would take to get someone to abandon their life in the US and just stay there permanently.


Both of these settings play important roles in Four Thousand Miles, although I did change the name on the farm. I worked very hard to capture the magical quality that both inspired in me.

What’s the hardest part of writing for you?

Coming up with a title! I could care less what a story is called, as long as people want to read it. I put off titling my work until the very last second, because I hate doing it so badly. I think I just have a hard time summarizing up a whole book into three or four words. I’m a novelist! I need room to move when I write!


I came up with the title Four Thousand Miles, because I mention it in the text as being the exact distance from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where Natalie’s journey began, and Pluckey, Kent, where she ended up. I fully expected my editor to hate it and ask me to change it, but she didn’t.

Let’s get to know you on a deeper level. What do you absolutely have to have nearby when writing?

Coffee! I don’t drink much or smoke, so coffee is my vice. I don’t know that it is even about the caffeine, really. I can drink it at any time of the day and it doesn’t seem to have an effect on me either way. I just really like the taste of strong, black coffee. It’s comforting.

If you could have any super power, what would it be?

Teleport. I love to travel, and I want to see so much before I die. If I could just will myself around the globe, that would be really cool!

Quick writing test! Use the following words in a sentence: humble, trapeze, and fireplace.

The humble trapeze artist huddled in front of the fireplace in an attempt to thaw his aching joints.

Here’s the part where you thank the people who are supporting you. Let's hear your shout outs.

First, thank you for taking the time to interview me! Seriously, it is hard to market a first novel, so anyone who will help me get my name out there is a god-send.

You're welcome! :)

I also want to thank my writing partner, Alexandria Darcy, for her ability to get me out of writer’s block. Thank you to my early readers, Steve Riggles, Victoria Grundle, Noelle Jennings and Jeanne Pluemer. This book wouldn’t have been half as good without their input.


Lastly, a BIG shout out to my Twitter followers! They have done so much to give me moral support and spread the word of my book. I might be biased, but I think I have the best followers on Twitter!

And finally, where can people find you and your book online?

Where to find Four Thousand Miles:


http://www.thedarkcastlelords.com/4000_Miles.htm
http://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-fourthousandmiles-469376-149.html


Where to find me:


Twitter - http://twitter.com/#!/Jesilea
Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jesi-Lea-Ryan/152086598147945
Blog - http://diaryofabibliophile-jesilea.blogspot.com/


Stop by and say hi! I love getting to know new people!

Jesi, thank you so much for letting us get to know you. Your book sounds amazing, and I wish you lots of success!

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Interview with DL King

Almost Wednesday, folks. Which means almost half-way through the week. Woohoo! Let's celebrate by partaking in an interview with a very interesting and fascinating writer, DL King.

Welcome to We Do Write! Tell us a bit about yourself.

I'm going to have to quote Alfred Lord Tennyson: "The words 'far, far away' had always a strange charm." Sometimes I wonder if I was born in the wrong era. I think if I had one wish, it would be to have a time machine. Nothing sounds more fabulous than visiting writers like Wilde, Poe, Austen, the Brontes, Stoker, Dickens...I could go on forever.


I'm also fascinated by the origin, meanings, and importance of fairy tales and mythology. I remember writing a paper in college on the significance of the Prometheus myth and how it’s been recycled throughout popular culture (Frankenstein, Jurassic Park, etc.) That was one of my favorite assignments. I think if I wasn't a writer I would be a mythologist or archeologist.


But for now, I am a proud YA and picture book writer currently querying literary agencies for representation.

How long have you been writing?

Since I was about five. I remember writing short stories in elementary school, and one of our homework assignments was to write a story, make a book, and read it to the kindergarteners during storytime. I was enthralled. I also kept a journal all throughout junior high and high school. However, I really started considering a writing career in college, but debated if that was what I really "should" do. When I finally got over that psychological hump, I took the plunge and got involved in SCBWI and a critique group and have been writing seriously for five years.

That's great. What is the name and genre of your manuscript?

The name of my novel is SCARLETTE HOOD and it's a dark, historical YA.

Love the title! Here’s the part where you pitch it. What’s your story about?

It is a retelling of LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD set in 18th century France against the historical Beast of Gévaudan "werewolf" attacks (1764-1767). Laced with horror, romance, and gothic undertones this novel explores the dark side of the fairy tale, yet it's grounded in historical reality. It answers the question: "What if Little Red Riding Hood had been a real person?"

I love it already! How did the idea of the story come to you?

Back in January of this year, I was very ill and knew I was going to be spending some hard time in bed and on the couch. I needed some type of artistic distraction besides writing to keep me sane, so I looked into finding cross-stitch patterns. After doing some research, I found some really hip designs and finally decided on the Japanese designer Gera's scene from Little Red Riding Hood.


As I was stitching away, some questions pulsed through my brain: What if LRRH was a real person? Where would she have lived? And if she was real, wouldn't that make an awesome YA premise? My fingers walked their way over to the keyboard, and before I knew it, I came up with a rough outline and notes for a story.


After reading Charles Perrault's version of LRRH, I was shocked to find that his original tale was much darker than the common story we've all grown up with. Told as a cautionary tale warning young women of men's wolfish sexual appetites, this early telling was very moralistic and resulted in a tragic ending for the heroine: The wolf "devoured" her.


I knew I wanted to make my story dark like Perrault's version and also thought the novel would be more interesting if the wolf in the fairy tale was a werewolf. Lo and behold, as I was reading all the different versions of the tale, I found another French version entitled The Grandmother were the wolf was in fact a bzou (werewolf).


So I had my werewolf, knew I wanted to use a dark angle, and set the story in France, but I still wanted to pin down a real setting to use as a backdrop. After a little more digging, I got lucky. After researching werewolf history and mythology, I found out that nearly 60 years after Perrault penned his version of LRRH, (1697) one of the most famous alleged werewolf attacks happened in the south of France.


An unidentified animal known as La Bete, The Beast of Gévaudan, killed almost one hundred people between from 1764-1767 in the Gévaudan province (now the department of Lozère and part of the Haute-Loire department). I knew this would be the perfect setting! So I made the wolf in the original fairy tale The Beast of Gévaudan and wrote the story as if Little Red Riding Hood might have really happened in history.

Holy researching, Batman! I'm blown away. So, do you have a critique group/partner or beta readers, or do you self-edit?

Just as it takes an army of stylists to glamorize a celebrity, so it takes a legion of literary artists to beautify a book.

I'm a firm believer in critique groups/partners and beta readers. Writing a novel is like tightrope walking blind folded. You can't trust yourself to see your project clearly and need help getting across and keeping on track.

That's an excellent analogy. What’s the hardest part of writing for you?

The hardest part of writing is preparing to write. I think most forms of writers block happen because we haven't prepared to come to the keyboard yet. Doing your outlining, plotting, daydreaming, and brainstorming before coming to the computer is key. Everytime I sit down I want to be lost in the process of raw creation of words, emotions, and images and not have to think about the "prep work."

Let’s get to know you on a deeper level. What do you absolutely have to have nearby when writing?

Music. And it's usually blasting. It is not uncommon that I will think of the scene I'm about to write, pick out a song to match its tone, and play it over and over until I've fleshed it out perfectly. And when I have my earbuds in, everyone knows that they are not to disturb me or they will suffer my werewolf bite. ;)

Quick writing test! Use the following words in a sentence: cartwheel, snoring, and electricity.

Melvin got zapped by a lightening bolt, and the shock of electricity made him do 500 back flips and a cartwheel, but now he's sound asleep and snoring after his trip to the hospital.

Excellent sentence! Here’s the part where you thank the people who are supporting you. Who would you like to give a shout out to?

Dennis Foley my writing instructor and mentor, my on-call-all-purpose historical advisor John Bladek, Kathy Dunnehoff my screenwriting instructor, my mom, and my beta readers: Logan, Wendy, Tessa. And Coley for your undying support! You all rock!

And finally, where can people find you online?

Feel free to stalk me and add me here:


Twitter: http://twitter.com/dlkingwriter
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/people/DL-King/100001612312924
Blogger: http://dlkingwriter.blogspot.com/
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/4349663-d-l-king

Thank you so much for chatting with us. I look forward to seeing your book on the book store shelves someday soon.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Interview with Donna Sirianni

I am totally having a relaxing Sunday. The sun is shining, and although there's a crisp breeze in the air, I find it very cozy. And what better to top off a perfectly cozy day than a cozy author interview. And guess what - I've got one for you! Today we're chatting with YA fantasy writer Donna Sirianni.

Welcome, Donna. Tell us a bit about yourself.

Well, I'm a Taurus, I like long walks on the beach yet fear getting eaten by giant squid. Really, I'm an insurance underwriter by day and a writer by night. I have to utilize my English degree somehow, plus I need to justify all those student loans I've accrued over the years that are really, REALLY painful to look at. I have a psychotic Miniature Pinscher that went through a vindictive peeing phase and when I'm not working, writing or enjoying some semblance of a personal life, I also have a young adult review blog wherein I read a lot of books and put forth my reviews into the world wide internets.

Sounds like you've got your hands full. How long have you been writing?

I started when I was 9 with a lovely piece of Saved by the Bell fanfiction I wrote for class. The rest is history.

Wow, Saved by the Bell. That brings me back, lol. What is the name and genre of the manuscript you're currently pitching?

My current manuscript out on submission is called Earth Shatterer and it's YA fantasy (snarky fantasy, I guess, although that's not a recognized genre).

I'd totally read snarky fantasy. Sounds great. Here’s the part where you pitch it. What’s your story about?

I'll just give you my blurb, otherwise I'll ramble -


Michael and Zana are being held captive in another world by a guy that used to be their dog. Instead of a yellow lab, he’s a jerk with a bid for multi-world domination and fully intends on using the siblings to get it.


With the gateway open, the former dog can release the Fey into Michael’s world and these things aren’t anywhere near sparkling little pixies. Separated, Zana gets poisoned by the used-to-be pet while Michael teams up with the creep’s enemies and the kingdom’s main mage to get the gateway closed. Lucky for Michael, he’s the only one that knows where the mutt’s constantly moving castle is so the task to rescue his sister and get the gateway closed falls squarely on his shoulders. And it feels like an elephant that’s just swallowed an anvil. Despite the fact that he has noodle arms in a fight and would sooner stab himself than his attacker, he has epic ground to cover if he wants to get him and his sister home in one piece. If there’s still a home to get to.

How did the idea of the story come to you?

I hate these kinds of questions! I never have really cool answers to them. Really, I was just sitting around one day dazing off into space when the image of a sequoia popped into my head. From there the sequoia cracked and a whole other world was on the other side. The rest of the story and the characters formed around that tree image in my brain.

Sounds cool to me. What else are you working on?

Right now I've just finished re-reading a trunk manuscript for which I loved the idea for but wanted to kill what I'd written dead. So I'm giving that one an enema and writing it over from scratch with hardly any remains from the corpse I'm leaving behind. That one's high fantasy, taking place in a world entirely of my own creation about kids that cry diamonds. That's the most immediate one I'm working on at the moment.

Manuscript enemas. Sounds like a very fitting term, lol. Do you have a critique group/partner or beta readers, or do you self-edit?

For the most part I self-edit but I dig for beta readers when the situation calls for it.

What’s the hardest part of writing for you?

BIC. I'm such a horrible procrastinator (well, I guess I'm a really good procrastinator as it were) so I'll make excuses not to write. It takes a lot of me to actually just sit my ass in the chair and write. Editing's a pain in the ass, too.

Let’s get to know you on a deeper level. Can you name three non-writerly things about yourself?


I would hope so! I'm afraid of the dark, I love California and I have a terrible fear of natural bodies of water.

Quick writing test! Use the following words in a sentence: swan, turbo engine, and stapler.

After picking all of the swan feathers out of my hair, I realize that maybe it wasn't such a good idea to jerry rig the turbo engine on the back of a row boat with a stapler.

Hehehe, awesome. Here’s the part where you thank the people who are supporting you. Let's hear your shout outs.

Because my memory sucks terribly and for fear of leaving anyone out, I'm just going to say thank you to everyone that supports me and my writing, past, present and future. You know who you are.

And finally, where can people find you online?

I can be found at my blog, Fantastical Imagination, http://www.imaginewrite.net/blog

Thank you so much for letting us get to know you, Donna. I look forward to seeing your work in the bookstores. Good luck!

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Interview with Pamela DuMond

Today we're chatting with a wonderful lady and excellent author. Her book CUPCAKES, LIES, AND DEAD GUYS is available now! Let's get to know her.

Welcome, Pamela. Tell us a bit about yourself.

I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago. As a kid I loved going to the pool in the summer, rolling in the leaves in the fall, (yes I was a dork,) and building snow forts in the winter. I did not enjoy eating liver that was cooked hard enough to be used as a weapon, or trying to figure out if the fruit-like thingies embedded in the jello du jour were edible.


One day when I was in college my Dad declared I had to stop dallying around with Spanish, Psychology, cute boys and pick a profession. Dad was old school, first person in his family to put himself through college and start his own business. Therefore, I wasn’t allowed to pick something namby-pamby like Artist, Musician, or Secret Spy as a career. My choices were limited to doctor, lawyer, or Indian Chief. I hated blood and guts, had never been on the debate team and certainly wasn’t cool enough to be an Indian Chief. So that left chiropractic.

How long have you been writing?

As a kid I stuttered badly, so I did a lot more reading and writing than talking. Any kid who is considered a little ‘different’ knows: the bullies zone in on you. By the time I could actually talk without stuttering, I was beyond shy and didn’t. When I turned 22 I started yakking. My brother commented that I haven’t shut up, since. Since it’s relatively boring talking to oneself all day long, I started writing a lot more then, as well.

Tell us about this fabulously-titled book Cupcakes, Lies, and Dead Guys.

Annie is a baker with a pinch of psychic ability. Her married life is perfect until a famous self-help author, Dr. Fuller, ruins everything. When Fuller ends up poisoned with one of Annie's cupcakes, she's a murder suspect. When Fuller doesn't pass to the After-Life, he recruits/haunts Annie to find his killer. Now Annie's stuck with the world's most irritating ghost while investigating the wackos who wanted him dead. Can she solve the crime before she is whacked by the real killer?

Sounds absolutely awesome. How did the idea of the story come to you?

I was working on scripts that were going nowhere. Three authors inspired me to try writing novels: Jacqueline Carey, Lisa Lutz, and Toni McGee Causey. Their characters are rich and their worlds are intriguing.


I’ve had enough experiences that convinced me it is possible to communicate with people who have passed on. I wrote several non-fiction articles about those moments that were published in Soul Moments: Marvelous Stories of Synchronicity – Meaningful Coincidences from a Seemingly Random World, edited by Phil Cousineau. I’ve always loved mysteries, as well as comedies. I started to think about the comedic possibilities of being stuck with the ghost of the person you hated most in the entire world. That situation seemed pretty funny.

Sounds hysterical. I can't wait to read it. What’s the hardest part of writing for you?

When I’m in the middle of writing a story, I’m hoping that there is a pony at the bottom of the heap, and praying that I can dig my way through to her. Then, I hope that my readers will love that pony as much as I do.

Let’s get to know you on a deeper level. What do you absolutely have to have nearby when writing?

A notepad, a pen, a highlighter, research materials, my super-duper abdominal belt that exercises my abs while I write, (weird, I know,) and sometimes a cat on my chair.

If you could have any super power, what would it be?

I already have the super-duper abdominal belt. Okay. My super power would be the ability to get to the pony more quickly.

Quick writing test! Use the following words in a sentence: jujitsu, summer house, and ambidextrous.

I discovered the only survivors of the summer house were ambidextrous middle aged women with jujitsu skills: just like me.

Love it! Here’s the part where you thank the people who are supporting you. Let's hear your shout outs.

Krill Press, Ramona DeFelice Long, my family, my friends, my furballs, writers, readers, bloggers like yourself, Dorothy. The list is endless. I am blessed.

And finally, where can people find you online?

Facebook at Cupcakes, Lies, and Dead Guys.


My website should be up this week: www.Pamela.DuMond.com

Thank you so much for chatting with us, Pamela. I just know your book will be a big hit.

Thank you Dorothy!

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Interview with Dan Hays

I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend, and I hope everyone who had to change their clocks back remembered to do so. Where I live, we changed them back last week, and I'm just now getting adjusted.

Today I've got an interview with a terrific writer to share with you. We're chatting with the author of FREEDOM'S JUST ANOTHER WORD, Dan Hays.

Welcome, Dan. Tell us a bit about yourself.

I live in Fort Worth, Texas. I've been in the oil and gas and real estate title insurance industries for about 30 years, and writing on the side. I've done project work for most of those years, and I have approached writing and publicity as a work project. I'm very methodical - a spreadsheet guy!


I love running, dancing, watching sports, and visiting with other people - I've especially enjoyed connecting with other writers through social networking.

How long have you been writing?

:) Well, I started my first novel when I was 14 - something about a plot to kidnap the President. Then the movie Seven Days In May came out and stole my plot, so I stopped that project. But I had 5 poems and a short story published in a literary magazine in junior high, so my writing days go back that far.

Tell us about "Freedom's Just Another Word."

It was a memoir I had known for a while I'd have to write. It's a book about healing and hope and forgiveness. It is set in Houston, Texas in 1987. At that time, my world was spinning alarmingly out of control, and I was mystified as to why. I was walking around with many of the symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, but I didn't have a traumatic event I could point to. I was like the man in the Bourne Identity - having flashbacks to a past I didn't know existed. It was terribly puzzling.


In the middle of that time, my Dad died. In the process of grieving his death, I remembered a violent incident from my teenage years that explained the events in my world and the PTSD, and led me down a path of healing my relationship with my Dad.

Do you find it difficult to pour your emotions into a memoir for the world to read, or do you find it more a way to express your feelings and maybe get closure?

Excellent question, Dorothy! It was very tough to write in ways. Although it had been 17 years since my Dad had died, it was the first time I'd ever gone through and chronicled the events of the week when my Dad died. That was tough to write, but immensely cathartic. And to write about remembering the violence helped make it all more real for me, and brought a closure, for sure. It helped heal my relationship with my Dad - notice that the book is dedicated to him.


I did the book mostly for those reasons, but have been very surprised by how much it impacts other people. The second half of the book is about the things I did to move beyond the abuse, and readers really connect with those parts. I've even had several people call it a "road map" for how to move beyond abuse. A completely unintended consequence of this book, but I'm very grateful that people are benefitting in that way from reading Freedom!

Sounds like you're helping people who need it, which is great. What's the hardest part of writing for you?

LOL! Since the next book I'm writing is about a writer's block that has plagued me for about 25 years, I would say every aspect of writing was tough for a while. Just sitting down to write was sometimes a stretch. Then when publishers were interested in my books, that was fearful, and I didn't know why. I had publishers interested in books I had written twice, and was totally perplexed to find myself walking away from the opportunity.


It is apparent that I've moved beyond that block now. I've had about 5 chapters of the next book flow out very easily over the last month or so, and I'm thrilled by that. I had to do therapy, and it was a second source of PTSD, so this was a writer's block with a very deep and specific origin. Yet with hard work, I've gotten past it! When I publish this next book, it will signal how much I've healed. That I can publish the book will be a big step forward, and the origins of the writer's block will be revealed.

Let's get to know you on a deeper level. What do you absolutely have to have nearby when writing?

I have to have an extra legal pad or a note pad. I may be typing on the computer, or even writing longhand. But sometimes I'll have a thought occur, and if I don't capture it right then, I lose it, so I take notes in the moment. I may be writing chapter 1, and have a scene in chapter 4 present itself, and I want to keep it! The way my creative process works is that I'll have scraps of ideas, thoughts or scenes appear any time or place, so having paper available is invaluable.

If you could have any super power, what would it be?

It would have to be flying! When I have flying dreams, those are the most breathtaking dreams I have, and I'd love to be able to do that live! :) My most recent flying dream I was soaring about 40 feet above a road, and it was clear I could fly as long and as far as I wanted. I took that as a very positive sign.

Sound's like a positive sign to me too.


Quick writing test! Use the following words in a sentence: jumping jacks, hurricane, and pudding.

As the windows of his house blew out from the wind of the horrible hurricane, Jim was astonished to watch his daughter's jumping jacks fly past him and stab into a bowl of pudding that had fallen onto the kitchen floor.

Oh my gosh, I cannot stop laughing. Heehee.


Anyone you'd like to give thanks to?

I'd like to thank my friend Joan, who started me writing in the first place. Thanks to my mentor, Bob Kizer, who taught me so many life lessons. Thank you Dad - you illuminated my path to healing by your example of perseverance in sobriety.

And finally, where can people find you online?

My website is http://www.danlhays.com. It has links to my blog, my Minute to Freedom radio spots, our Dialogues With Dignity radio show. Check out the latest big news - a review of Freedom's Just Another Word by the New York Journal of Books. That one is in big red letters on the front page - I was jazzed about receiving that review! :)

Excellent! Thank you so much for chatting with us, Dan. I look forward to reading your memoirs.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Interview with Henry Lyons

Today we're chatting with Henry Lyons, author of poetry book DEEP THOUGHTS. Henry's new work is a book called SUPERNATURE. Let's get to know him.


Welcome, Henry. Tell us a bit about yourself.

Well I’m a New York City Special Education Teacher. I also design websites and graphics for advertisements as well as edit short films and music videos. Of course I also write first poetry and now novels.

How long have you been writing?

Most of my poetry was written over a fifteen year period. During that time I did have some ideas for stories but I never wrote any of them down until last year when I started work on Supernature.

Tell us about SUPERNATURE. What’s the story about?

The story starts off as a simple police investigation which uncovers mass mutations that are caused by an unknown substance. As the mutations spread they begin to threaten the entire planet. A team of scientists and investigators work together to halt the spread of the mutated creatures.

Sounds intriguing. I bet it would make a cool movie too. How did the idea of the story come to you?

To be honest with you I got the idea for the story way back in the nineteen seventy’s. A disco song was popular at that time called believe it or not, “Supernature” by a French artist by the name of Cerrone. As I listened to the lyrics of the song I noticed that it talked about Man’s manipulation of nature and finally natures revolt against man. Here’s a few lines from the song:


Once upon a time
Science opened up the doors
We would feed the hungry fields
'till they couldn't eat no more

But the potions that we made
Touched the creatures down below
And they grew up in a way
That we've never seen before

supernature supernature
supernature supernature

They were angry with the man
cause he changed their way of life
And they take their sweet revenge
As they trample through the night


I started to think about how genetic engineering has become common place within our society and how if abused what impact the technology could have on our environment. I played with the idea for years and then in 2009 I finally decided to put pen to paper.

Do you have a critique group/partner or beta readers, or do you self-edit?

I had a number of friends that helped me edit the book and give me some critical feedback.

What’s the hardest part of writing for you?

I think one of the hardest things to do is to create believable characters that people can identify with.

Let’s get to know you on a deeper level. What do you absolutely have to have nearby when writing?

A photo of my beloved deceased daughter. Her memory gives me my drive.

Sorry for your loss. That's got to be the worst pain someone can endure. I'm glad she's giving you inspiration.


Here’s the part where you thank the people who are supporting you.

I would like to thank my wife Shanell who has supported me patiently while I write. I would also like to thank my father who has always been my ROCK and role model. He is also one of my most enthusiastic fans. I would also like to thank my buddy and business partner Alvin Grant.
Also LULU.com, and all of my family and friends

And finally, where can people find you online?
http://www.HVLYONS.com
http://stores.lulu.com/hvlyons
http://hvlyons.blogspot.com
twitter.com/Hvlyons

Henry, thank you so much for chatting with us. I wish you success with all your publication endeavors.

Thank you!