Thursday, 30 August 2012

Interview with Sean Joyce

Today we're chatting with author Sean Joyce about his book, PROJECT HOPE.

Welcome, Sean. Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m originally from Preston in the North West of England, though I’ve been living in Toronto for some time, and will shortly be moving to Shanghai. I’m an English teacher by day and a writer by evenings and weekends. Literature is my greatest love, but I also have a passion for music and film, and spend much of my time hopping from one country to another.

How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing since the age of five or six. For some unknown reason (I certainly didn’t inherit any of my writing ability from my parents – they will tell you this themselves) I started writing stories in small notebooks, and continued to do so until my early teens when I laid down the pen for a while in favour of a music obsession. I mostly plagiarised in those first years, writing my own versions of established stories such as Treasure Island and Peter Pan. I also drew my own book covers and illustrations, though this drawing ability seems to have deserted me in adulthood.

After I realised I probably wasn’t going to become the next Noel Gallagher, I hung up my music ambitions and dove headlong into a poetry obsession that lasted quite a few years, until I realised my original love i.e. writing prose, was the way forward.

Tell us about PROJECT HOPE. What’s the story about?

It’s a contemporary dystopian story set in the Zones, a troubled neighbourhood walled off from the outside world. The reasons for this exclusion are hinted at, though I wanted the reader to also draw their own conclusions. The story focuses mainly on Dylan, a nineteen-year-old artist, and his little sister, Lil. Left to take care of her after their parents die at the hands of an epidemic, Dylan does his best to protect her from the harsh realities of life in the Zones. In addition to the rampaging gangs known as hoods, who terrorise the residents, he also has to contend with the guards, the government-assigned security force led by the tyrannical warden.

By night he feeds his burning need for expression, as well as his anger at the world, by secretly painting subversive artworks on the wall. But as the hoods and the warden begin to single Dylan out and tighten their grip on the Zones, he realises he must do whatever it takes to protect his sister, and is forced to move out of the shadows and unite the downtrodden residents.

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

I’m pretty sure the story is a convergence of many different sources, only some of which I’m aware of. I know for sure that I was inspired in some way by Cormac McCarthy’s novel ‘The Road’, and the central relationship in Project Hope is certainly a reflection of the relationship between the boy and the man in McCarthy’s story. I was fascinated by the strength of their bond, and the lengths to which they go to in order to survive and to maintain their faith. I’m not yet a father, but I do have a little sister. And so on some unconscious level, I think I might have decided to write a version that reflected my own life experience and homeland.

I believe my time as a Library Assistant in some of North Manchester’s toughest areas also informed parts of the story. The Zones might be a distorted and exaggerated setting, but it was definitely informed by inner city problems that I see all over the country.

But for the most part, I have no real idea where the story came from. I’m just glad it did, and that it came to me first.

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

I employ a combination of the above. I do as much self-editing as I can at all stages of the writing process. At some point I’ll deem it ready enough for my very smart and trusted girlfriend to read it, along with another close friend who knows his stuff. After that, I’ll do as much as I can before handing it to a professional editor.

For Project Hope, I had an excellent editor who made a very significant contribution to both the story and the writing style. Without his help, it certainly wouldn’t be half as good.

Are you a planner or a pantser?

I start with a very basic situation or idea and go from there. I’ve never planned a book at the starting point. I think you have to let it breathe and gain its own momentum before you start fiddling with a plan. With Project Hope, I had Dylan and Lil and The Zones; that was it. The story followed from these two characters and the setting. However, once you’re past the halfway mark, it might be acceptable to start mapping a route to the finish, but even then there are bound to be plenty of unexpected turns, as well as a few dead ends.

What’s the hardest part of writing for you?

The writing itself is rarely hard. The hard part for me is keeping out external distractions i.e. the internet, TV, people, life.

What do you absolutely have to have nearby when writing?

A coffee. Or else an empty cup, which signifies the promise of future coffee. Headphones, in case I’m in a public place and need to block out terrible music and/or unnecessarily loud conversations. For some reason, I tend to work well in cafes, so perhaps a few strangers chatting at tables nearby is a pretty good writing prop.

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

Most people say flying, because let’s face it, flying would be incredible. But if I had to give an original answer, I’d say that the ability to speak any language would be a fairly useful super power.

What's the weirdest thing you've googled?

Mahatma Gandhi’s moustache.

LOL, okay. Quick writing test! Use the following words in a sentence: gratitude, embargo, and manipulate.

The Italians were overcome with gratitude when the worldwide pizza embargo was finally lifted after some cunning political manipulation at the hands of their Prime Minister.

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

I’m obviously grateful to my girlfriend and all the other friends/family members who’ve always helped me with my writing. I’m also very grateful to my editor Harry Dewulf of Densewords, as well as to all the bloggers and book reviewers who are currently helping me bring Project Hope out into the world.

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

You can find me at:

And you can find Project Hope at:

Amazon US:
Amazon Uk:
Barnes & Noble:

Thanks for chatting with us, Sean. And good luck with your book!

Thanks a million to Dorothy for giving me the excuse to talk about myself freely!

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Winner of the Three-Two-One Pitch Contest!

Yes, it's time to announce the winner of this month's Three-Two-One Pitch contest.

Our judging agent, Bree Ogden, seemed really impressed with the entries. In fact, she said, "Wow, those were some amazing pitches! So hard to choose one." So without further ado, here's our winning entry:

•Megan Orsini 

•Fall of a Sparrow

•YA contemporary


•Set within the confines of a traveling freak show, in this modern retelling of Shakespeare's classic tragedy Hamlet, Ben McPherson, son of the proprietor of McPherson's Traveling Carnival of Wonders, must avenge his father's untimely death. Narrated by Ben's best friend Liam, Fall of a Sparrow explores the monsters and madness that hide in the shadows and the secrets that can eventually become our downfalls.

Congrats, Megan! Bree would like to see your full manuscript and, as a bonus, would like to critique your query! How cool is that! (Please send your full in an attachment, the query in the body of the email, use the subject line "Requested Material: FALL OF SPARROW" and mention this contest as a reminder of where she found you, to - and good luck!)

Thanks to everyone who participated, especially our awesome agent judge. You rock, Bree!

Keep writing and polishing, everyone. Our next pitch contest takes place September 21st and 22nd! Details to come.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Interview with Jerome Charyn

Jerome Charyn (born May 13, 1937) is an award-winning American author. With nearly 50 published works, Charyn has earned a long-standing reputation as an inventive and prolific chronicler of real and imagined American life. Michael Chabon calls him “one of the most important writers in American literature.”

New York Newsday hailed Charyn as “a contemporary American Balzac,” and the Los Angeles Times described him as “absolutely unique among American writers.”

Since 1964, he has published 30 novels, three memoirs, eight graphic novels, two books about film, short stories, plays and works of non-fiction. Two of his memoirs were named New York Times Book of the Year. Charyn has been a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. He received the Rosenthal Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and has been named Commander of Arts and Letters by the French Minister of Culture.

Charyn lives in Paris and New York City.

What are your thoughts on the explosion of popularity concerning the YA genre?

I think it might very well be that it started with Harry Potter, that young adult writers are trying to tell good stories and adults have moved into that kind of dream.

You are the master of writing across a realm of different genres, what excites you about connecting with different audiences?

I’m not so sure that these are different audiences, I think we all love stories, whether we’re children or great-grandfathers, and when you move from genre to genre you are still telling a story like Scheherazade - and the king is always waiting for the next tale.

Your writing is so precise, yet evocative - how do you work at crafting your unique style of prose?

Everything begins and ends with the word, with the music of the sentence and as Tolstoy once said, “I’m always composing.”
Being a published author for nearly 50 years, what do you think of eBooks?
I think that this is a kind of logical step as we move from the internet into eBooks.  

Publishing is changing even as we speak. I think there now will be a more complicated dance between the eBook and the printed book, and as we’ve seen recently, successes in eBooks allow the author to move into print.

What would be your advice to young people who aspire to a literary career?

It’s not worth the money – only write if you’re absolutely in love with it.

How much of your life is in Back to Bataan? How did you personally experience New York during World War II?

I think so much of the source of my writing comes from my childhood, I grew up during the War  - so many of the terrors and the magic of certain films have remained with me.  And all of this appears in the character of Jack.

Your older brother was a detective. Did your experiences with him influence the plot?

Not really, I think all writing is crime writing. And Back to Bataan is a crime novel with a very original twist.
Why did you decide to include the fascination with the famous as a theme - Gary Cooper, Eleanor Roosevelt, etc.?

These people were heroes to me as a child, particularly Eleanor Roosevelt, who was one of the most extraordinary women who ever lived, and of course as a child I fell in love with Gary Cooper’s face and with his very slow drawl, that seemed so exotic to me.

Jack finds acclaim through his writing, yet feels guilty for exploiting other people (Mrs. Fink). How does a writer starting out work to bridge this gap?

You’re always cannibalizing other people and writers when you start to write, so it’s natural that Jack should be a young cannibal.

How important is the New York Times in your own life? Why did you decide to make it a form of connection between Jack and the Leader?

As a child, I didn’t even know that the Times existed – I grew up in a neighborhood without newspapers and books, so that when I first fell upon the New York Times, I was very very greedy, and wanted to include it in Jack’s middle-class life.

Back to Bataan 

New York City, 1943. War is raging in Europe and the Pacific, while Jack Dalton is stuck attending Dutch Masters Day School. What Jack really wants is to enlist in the army, to fight...

Everything changes when Coco, Jack's "fiancee," throws him over for one of his classmates. Jack sees red and does something drastic. Then he runs away. Hiding out in a nearby park, Jack joins ranks with a group of vagrants and is soon under the sway of a man called the Leader, an ex-convict who is as articulate and charismatic as he is dangerous. The Leader turns Jack's world upside down. To put things right, Jack must prove himself a braver soldier than he ever imagined.

Kindle buy link - $2.99
Nook buy link - $4.95

iBookstore buy link - $4.99
Google buy link - $3.79
Smashwords buy link - $4.99

PDF buy link - $4.95

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Interview with J Anderson

Today we're chatting with author J. Anderson about her book, AT WHAT COST.

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

I'm a wife and mother of three who tries to write between loads of laundry and kids' activities. I live in the same small town in which I grew up. Most of my days are spent writing in the few minutes I have while the baby is napping. :)
How long have you been writing?
I used to write short stories in high school, but I really got serious about writing  about six years ago. That's when I started this story. I had been teaching English at the middle school level (Grade 7-8) and was reading what the kids were reading. That's where I fell in love with YA. I knew I had to join the ranks of the awesome authors who write YA. It took me six years from concept to publication. 

Tell us about AT WHAT COSTWhat’s the story about?
At What Cost is the story of a teenage girl who finds herself with an unwanted pregnancy. She feels scared and alone and is terrified to tell her parents, especially because her mother is constantly reminding her not to taint the family name. So when her boyfriend suggests she get an abortion, it seems like the perfect plan. She wouldn't even have to tell her parents that she's pregnant. But as with all perfect plans, it doesn't end up being as perfect as she thinks. No matter what she chooses, there are severe consequences she'll have to deal with. Once she does make a choice (I won't say what she chooses.), the story follows her through dealing with those ramifications. 

How did the idea of the story come to you?

Honestly, I prayed about it. The abortion issue has always been on my heart. I can remember back in high school doing debates in government class about the issue. So, when I started praying about what the topic should be, abortion was the answer. 

Are you a planner or a pantser?

I'm a planner, but I leave room for a little pantsing. I even create these elaborate plot charts with rising action, climax, falling action and all that. It keeps me on target and helps me make sure I stick with the conflict. But there's always a little room for change. 

What’s the hardest part of writing for you?

The first draft is the hardest. Just getting that plot line down is horrible. I procrastinate as much as possible, usually by doing promotional stuff on Facebook. But once I have the basic draft, I can edit it into what I want. Editing rocks!

I agree! What do you absolutely have to have nearby when writing?


Me too. ;) If you could have any super power, what would it be?

Hmmm, good question. Maybe super speed. That way I could clean my house in minutes an spend the rest of the time writing. Maybe if I had super speed, my house wouldn't look like a tornado hit it. (Three kids, remember.)

What's the weirdest thing you've googled?

Dang, these questions are hard! I don't even remember what I googled yesterday! Maybe folding an origami Star Wars X-wing fighter. It was for my son.

LOL, sounds creative. Quick writing test! Use the following words in a sentence: ambiguous, sanctuary, and mutter.

The ambiguous figure crouched in the back row of the sanctuary, muttering something I couldn't understand; something about "the body" and "forgiveness". 

Finish this sentence: If I'm not writing, I'm probably ...

Feeding/changing the baby or doing crafts with my daughter.

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

I have to start with my family, especially my hubby, Todd, who believed from the beginning that I would be published, even when I had my doubts. And to my parents, who still post anything they find about me (the latest being an article in the local paper on my publishing accomplishment) on their refrigerator like they did when I was in grade school. A special thanks goes to my awesome betas, Wendy, Bri, Jeanine, and Tracy, and to the women who shared their stories with me. To my editor, Kay, and the rest of the crew at Astraea Press, you are awesome, and to Steve, my agent, who totally rocks, thank you!

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

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Interview with JK Hogan

Today we're chatting with author JK Hogan about her novel, FIRE ON THE ISLAND.

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

I'm a country girl and I provide my husband with endless amusement with what I'll call my “dialectal idiosyncrasies.” I'm an avid reader and an artist in addition to being an author, and I also enjoy dog sports such as agility and dock diving. My husband and I are also expecting our first child.

That's awesome news! Congratulations! How long have you been writing?

I've been making up stories probably since the time I learned to talk, but I only started writing them down in the last 10 years or so. (That makes me sound old, doesn't it? I'm only 30, I promise!) It was only in the last year that I actually completed something that I thought was worth publishing.

Tell us about FIRE ON THE ISLAND. What’s the story about?

It's about a young Scottish woman who finds herself mixed up in a battle with demons trying to take over the human world. Along the way she meets a parapsychologist who comes to Scotland to investigate rumors of her being a witch. Much to both of their surprise, the rumors turn out to be true! Together they must find a way to defeat Alastore, the demon king, and close the gate between the worlds before Samhain, when he is the strongest. You'll have to read to find out how they do it!

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

Would you believe it just popped into my head? Memories from a recent trip to Scotland—specifically the Isle of Arran where the story takes place—gave me Isla, my heroine, and the setting. Blues concerts with my friend, especially New Orleans' own Tab Benoit, gave me Jeremiah and his love of blues guitar. The rest just happened. My husband took me out to dinner one night and I told him I planned to write a book. I then spent the next two hours blurting out the entire story. He was so sweet about it—even as his eyes glazed over.

Are you a planner or a pantser?

Definitely a panster. I'll have a concept or a general idea of a plot (see above) but I'm definitely the 'sit down and write' type. Occasionally I'll have to storyboard a bit if I write myself into a corner, but that doesn't happen often.

What’s the hardest part of writing for you?

Contrary to what many may believe, a lot of it is hard, but rewarding as well. Right now, I'm finding the hardest part to be actually being able to sit down and focus when I have the opportunity to write. Scenes tend to come to me at the most inopportune times, but when I have a block of time with no interruptions, I struggle to get it out. When that happens, I generally just let it stew until it has to come out, no matter what I'm doing!

What do you absolutely have to have nearby when writing?

Definitely my iPod. And coffee. Lots of coffee.

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

I'd be able to fly. Kind of cliché I know, but I used to have these wonderful dreams as a kid where if I just ran fast enough and jumped high enough, I could take off!

What's the weirdest thing you've googled?

Oh boy, I have a disturbingly curious nature so I've probably googled just about everything under the sun—some not fit for polite company. To make it easier, I'll keep it in the context of my book. The funniest thing I googled while researching for FIRE ON THE ISLAND was a variety of Cajun and French Cajun slang, curses and insults. It was pretty entertaining.

Quick writing test! Use the following words in a sentence: rigorous, satin, and vacuum.

“She rigorously vacuumed the satin sheets after her lover shed all over them.” Shapeshifters, anyone?

LOL! That was great. Finish this sentence: If I'm not writing, I'm probably...

Reading! I know, *snore*. But it's true! I'm so addicted to reading, I sometimes have to force myself to put down my Kindle so I can write my own books. If not reading, than I can be found practicing or competing in dog agility. Google it, it's really fun!

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

My husband James, and my family have been super supportive. Also my group of friends from the place we train for agility, Dog Haven, has been amazing. They were always encouraging me in the process of writing and publishing this book. Lastly, I have to give a shout out to my favorite musicians, Jonny Lang and Tab Benoit for providing the soundtrack to the story in my head.

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

I love talking to readers. You can find me here:

And my book:

Amazon Kindle:

Barnes & Noble:

Thank you so much for chatting with us today, JK! Your book sounds amazing!

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Interview with Ioana Visan

Today we're chatting with author Ioana Visan about her latest novella, HUMAN INSTINCTS.

Welcome, Ioana! Tell us a bit about yourself.

I'm a web designer, and I live in Iasi, Romania. Ever since I was a little kid I dreamed about reaching the stars, but since I can't, I write about it.

How long have you been writing?

I was just doing the math the other day and I realized I've been writing in English for ten whole years. I've been writing in Romanian for way longer than that.

Tell us about HUMAN INSTINCTS. What’s the story about?

Human Instincts is an apocalyptic novella. We find out from the start that there was a war and a virus and then a vaccine whose side effect was putting an end to humans' ability to evolve intellectually. The story focuses on Dr. Deanna Nichols efforts to get unaffected DNA samples from a group of dangerous criminals held in a prison inside the arctic desert. Without giving away too much of the plot, I can tell you there's a lot of tension and drama, but there's also hope.

How did the idea of the story come to you?

I wanted to write an apocalyptic story, but I didn't want it to focus on the causes or the technical side of the event. I was more interested in the solution of the problem and the way it psychologically affected the people involved.

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

All of the above. My writing usually goes through four stages. First, I write the story and revise it once to get to the second draft. Then I let my friends read it for nitpicks on the plot and characterization. I fix the problems and then it's off to editors, people who don't know me and are not familiar with my writing. It works for me.

Are you a planner or a pantser?

A planner as in I know from the start how a story begins and how it ends. Everything in between is the pantser's fault… mostly.

What’s the hardest part of writing for you?

Waiting for editors to return their drafts.

What do you absolutely have to have nearby when writing?

If it's winter, the cat so I can keep my hands warm. Otherwise, silence would be nice.

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

From a selfish point of view, I think I'd choose teleportation. I like to travel, but I'm not so keen on the whole getting from one point to the next part.

What's the weirdest thing you've googled?

Nothing weird comes to mind, but being a science fiction writer, I did google lots of technical terms and procedures.

Quick writing test! Use the following words in a sentence: cryptic, devastate, and kangaroo.

The kangaroo mob had devastated the crop field, leaving behind cryptic infinity signs.

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

I'm grateful to everyone who ever read my stories and asked for more. My editors must have a place reserved in heaven already, I demand so! And my family who is amazing and deserves all the best things in the world.

And finally, where can people find you online?

All the information regarding my writing is available on my website. My blog is my personal playground and I'm also happy to connect with readers on Facebook and Twitter. Here are some links.

Human Instints is available through Amazon
And Smashwords:

Ioana, thanks so much for chatting with us today. It was great having you on the blog and learning about your book!

Monday, 20 August 2012

Three-Two-One Pitch Contest Official Entry Post

This contest is now closed to entries. Our judging agent will review all pitches, and I'll announce the winner once a decision is made. Stay tuned!

Yes! It's here! Are you all ready to enter the Three-Two-One Pitch Contest? That's awesome! But first, before you post, look over the rules once more.

To remind you all what the contest entails, it goes something like this:

THREE - Pitch your story in only three sentences. 

TWO - Two days to enter: August  20th and 21st.

ONE - Literary agent Bree Ogden  of D4EO Lit will judge and pick a winner.

You have today,  August 20th, and tomorrow, August 21st, to post your three-sentence pitches (no run-on sentences!) in the comments section of this post. At midnight on August 21st, I will turn off comments and no other entries will be accepted. You are allowed two entries per person. Bree Ogden, our judging agent, will then read all the entries and pick a winner, who will get a full manuscript request!

This contest is open to unagented, completed and polished manuscripts in the genres of:
  • MG
  • YA (no paranormal, urban fantasy, romance [ unless there is a superb dark, psychotic element ], or magical realism)
  • New Adult
  • Graphic Novels
  • select adult genres: transgressive fiction, genre horror, genre noir, and nonfiction

To be eligible, you must:

  • Follow this blog - go ahead and click "Join this Site" on the right if you haven't already
  • Follow me on Twitter
  • Spread the word! Tweet, Blog, or mention on Facebook about the contest linking back to this post

Not necessary, but in the spirit of paying it forward:


Please format your entries in the following manner:

  • Name and email
  • Title of your manuscript
  • Genre of your manuscript
  • Word count
  • Three-sentence pitch (No more than three sentences or you'll be disqualified.)

Good luck, everyone. Can't wait to read all your pitches. On your mark, get set, GO!

Friday, 17 August 2012

Introducing Our Judging Agent

I know you've been anxious to find out who will be judging our Three-Two-One pitch contest next week. Well, the wait is finally over.

The amazing literary agent judging our contest is Bree Ogden of the D4EO Literary Agency!

Bree Ogden joined D4EO in November 2011, after having been an associate literary agent at Martin Literary Management for nearly 2 years representing children’s, YA, and graphic novels.

Seeking: Middle grade, Young Adult, New Adult fiction (readership: ages 18-30), Graphic Novels, Nonfiction, and Art books. *Now accepting queries for select ADULT GENRES: transgressive fiction, genre horror, genre noir, and nonfiction*

Bree’s wish list:

• Dark (not angst-ridden)
• Realistic
• Psychological horror (with no paranormal elements)
• Hard sci fi. Meaning no fantasy, or magical realism at all
• A Dexter-ish type YA black comedy
• A Roaring Twenties historical for YA
• A manuscript written in the era of Mad Men with panache and style
• A unique and theme-driven art book
• Any book dealing with Anne Boleyn
• Historical fiction (crime-driven)

Manuscripts Bree will not look at:

• Paranormal or fantasy (that includes urban fantasy)
• Romance (unless there is a superb dark, psychotic element)
• Magical realism
• World building

We're very excited to have Bree judge our contest. So come back on Monday and/or Tuesday to take part. Good luck to everyone entering. I can't wait to see the hidden gems out there!

Contest details can be found here.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Interview with Alan Tucker

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Thanks for having me here! I'm a writer, a graphic designer, a dad, and a soccer coach — not necessarily in that order! I've been writing off and on since I was little. Plays, short stories, poems, you name it. I started a handful of novels but never completed one until 2010.
When I'm not writing or performing other tasks to keep a roof over my head, I like to spend time with my two daughters (21 and 16 now — holy cow I'm old!) and our family pets: Penny, the dog in my bio picture, and cat Goldielocks. I've also coached soccer for many years.

How long have you been writing?

I’ve always written, ever since I was little, but in most cases I would start something but not have an ending, or vice versa. My graphic design business was a little slow a few summers ago, so I thought I’d give this story a shot. About four months later, I had a complete first draft finished. Then, I sent it out to a few friends and relatives who encouraged me to take it farther. I haven’t really looked back since.

Tell us about A MEASURE OF DISORDER. What's the story about?

This book begins the tales of an eighth grade science class that is sent to another world while on a field trip. Once they discover what's happened, they try to find a way home, only to have the world begin to reshape each of them according to its vision of their inner being, or soul if you will. I had one reviewer describe the concept as "completely insane," but in a good way!

How did the idea of the story come to you?

My younger daughter was about the age of the characters when they start out as eighth graders and I wanted to write a story featuring that age group. Most books I found were either younger or older aged characters. As far as the story goes, I’ve never been a fan of the “everything goes back to normal” formula of a lot of stories. Change is an integral part of life and I wanted to portray that in the stories. Growing up is hard. Growing up and becoming something else entirely would present a whole new set of problems.

Are you a planner or a pantser?

A little bit of both, but if I had to pick one I'd say pantser. I usually have a pretty good idea of where I want the story to go when I'm writing it, but how I get there is rather unscripted a lot of the time.

What’s the hardest part of writing for you?

Lately finding the time! I just finished up a ghostwriting project and I've also been busy with graphic design projects, but I'm definitely itching to get back to my current work in progress. As far as the process itself, the little unexpected details can take more time than anything else. You come to a point in a story where your character does something that, on the surface, seems like an ordinary activity, like fly fishing. But, when you start writing about it, you realize that you want to describe the flies he's using or just more about the activity. So, you have to start doing some research about something that has very little to do with the grand scheme of things in the story, but it's those little details that are so important to creating a rich environment.

What do you absolutely have to have nearby when writing?

The only thing I can think of is my computer, but even that isn't entirely true because I often work on plot points or particular passages in my books while I'm walking the dog or running errands. My stories are never far from my thoughts.

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

The Flash was one of my favorites as a kid. I always thought it would be the coolest thing to be able to run fast enough to be invisible, or even time travel! Flash had a special treadmill he used a few times to do that and those stories really fired my imagination.

What's the weirdest thing you've googled?

Mustard gas. I needed to research it for my last project.

Quick writing test! Use the following words in a sentence: liquidate, liquid, and date.

The delicious, syrupy liquid from the last date dribbled down my chin as I frantically searched the house for something valuable to liquidate in order to purchase more of the magical fruit from the vendor across the street.

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

Thanks again to you for having me here today! And many thanks for Megan for putting this tour together. I never knew so much work would go into a book after I typed "The End"! Most of all, though, I'd like to thank all the readers who've given my work a chance and took the time to write reviews saying how much they've enjoyed the stories. No book will ever be universally liked, but I've had a tremendous amount of positive response thus far. I will do my utmost to continue to live up to the high expectations that have been set.

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

The ebook is free everywhere:

The website for the series is:

Thanks so much for chatting with us today, Alan. I wish you lots of luck with your book!

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Interview with AL Jackson

Today we're talking with author AL Jackson about two of her novels: PULLED and TAKE THIS REGRET.

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

Hi everyone! I'm A. L. Jackson, author of Pulled and Take This Regret. I live in Southern Arizona with my amazing husband and three kids. I'm also the co-owner of a small publishing house, Sapphire Star Publishing.

How long have you been writing?

I really found a love for writing when I was in college. I was a young mother, and I spent a lot of time between classes jotting my thoughts in the journals I carried. I wrote a lot about love and life and the difficulties I faced.  At that time, my writing looked a whole lot more like poetry than stories. As life went on and I got married, had a full-time job, and added two more children to my family, writing became something that I just didn't do anymore.  But I missed it.  About five years ago I had a story that had been rolling around in my head, and I finally sat down and began putting it to paper. It later became my first published novel, PULLED.

Tell us about PULLED. I love the cover. What's the story about?

PULLED is a contemporary romance that has a bit of a supernatural twist. I've always believed in fate, and I wanted to explore the idea of an unseen "hand" leading us where we were supposed to be. 

Melanie and Daniel shared a love most only dream of, a love they believed bonded them together for life.  When their world is shattered by an unexpected tradegy, overwhelming grief and misguided guilt distorts the truth, and their relationship ends in uncertainty and unanswered questions. 

For nine years, they drift through life, each unable to forget the one who holds the strings to their heart.  In an attempt to escape the pain of her past, Melanie finds herself trapped in a loveless marriage, while Daniel loses himself in a career that means nothing without Melanie by his side.  

Now, when their lives again intersect, neither can deny the connection they felt so long ago.  

But will the power that drew them together be enough to heal the wounds from their past, and will they have the courage to overcome the insecurities and fears that threaten to keep them apart? 

Pulled is a story of attraction and separation, of destiny and duty, of a love so strong it refuses to give up even when all others have. 

How did the idea of the story come to you?

The ending scene of PULLED just came to me one day.  I could clearly see the happily ever after and had a vague image of the characters and their circumstances.  For several weeks that scene was there and ideas kept coming on how their lives had led up to that moment.  It was when everything clicked into place that I finally sat down and began writing again. 

What is TAKE THIS REGRET about, and what inspired you for this story?

TAKE THIS REGRET is more of a mainstream contemporary romance, although in all of my books, my characters have a "higher connection". 

There are some mistakes we make that we will regret for the rest of our lives.  For Christian, it was the day he betrayed Elizabeth. 

Christian Davison has a plan for his life.  He is determined to become an attorney and to one day take his place as partner in his father’s law firm.  Nothing will stand in his way, not even Elizabeth Ayers and their unborn child.

After Christian cuts her from his life, Elizabeth spends the next five years struggling to provide for her daughter and willing to sacrifice anything to give her child a safe, comfortable life.  

For five years, Christian has regretted the day he walked away from his family and will do anything to win them back just as Elizabeth will do anything to protect her daughter from the certain heartache she believes Christian will bring upon them.

When Christian wrestles his way into their lives, Elizabeth is faced with asking herself if it is possible to forgive someone when they’ve committed the unforgiveable and if it is possible to find a love after it has been buried in years of hate.  Or are there some wounds that go so deep they can never heal?

They say everyone deserves a second chance.

Are you a planner or a pantser?

I'm definitely a planner.  I write out an entire outline for my books before I start, chapter by chapter.  I do leave myself open to changes as I get to know my characters better and different ideas come to mind, but I usually know exactly where my story begins and where it ends. 

What’s the hardest part of writing for you?

I'm a slow writer, so I often will get frustrated when I've written an entire day and have only put down 500 or 1000 words.  In the end, I find it's worth it because I don't have to typically do as much editing since so much time and thought has already been devoted to each section.  

What do you absolutely have to have nearby when writing?

A notebook and pen.  I tend to scribble my thoughts down and then switch to typing .  I'll often have half-written sentences in my notepad that help to get my ideas flowing, and then I can begin typing again. 

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

I think I'd like to fly.  Practical and I'm scared of planes ;) 

What's the weirdest thing you've googled?

Haha...I'm not going to answer that ;) 

Quick writing test! Use the following words in a sentence: razor blades, daisies, and intervals.

The smell of daisies seeped into her senses, the candle flickering as water lapped at her skin as she dragged the razor blade up her legs at precise intervals. 

LOL, so all I got was bath or suicide...had to go with bath. 

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

First off I have to thank all of my family at Sapphire Star Publishing. My author family is just amazing and my office is filled with some of my most favorite people in the world. It's truly a blessing.  I also want to say thank you to the incredibly supportive book bloggers and book lovers who have reviewed my books. 

And finally, where can people find you online?

I just want to say thank you to Dorothy for asking me to share with you all!

You're welcome! Good luck with your books!