#AuthorInterview #Spotlight : E. L. Croucher, author of Horned Winged Blessed

Hello Readers! Today I’m pleased to welcome E. L. Croucher for an interview on Books Teacup and Review.  Emi is an indie writer who has written The Butterfly on Fire and her next upcoming book is Horned Winged Blessed, an LGBTQ dystopian novel, set a few years from now in a post-apocalyptic world. Check out more about the book and author in this post.

Horned Winged Blessed by E.L. Croucher
Publication Date: 29th November 2019 (Pre-release as of 10th Nov)
Publisher: Amazon
Genre: LGBTQ / Dystopian Fiction
Editor: Jake Ratcliff
Cover Artist: Dawn M Larder

Synopsis:

Follow Joan on her adventure of discovery, as she learns the hard way that her post-apocalyptic utopia isn’t always full of rainbows and Merlot.

Yes, she lives on the nicer side of the settlement, as the daughter of the Mother Founder. But after a life-threatening attack on her home, she soon realises that many out there are against the Silver Party regime.

Horned Winged Blessed is the story of one girl fighting against a tyrannous government, elected to power amidst the unending chaos of World War III. Heavily enriched in their pagan values, the Silver Party are to thank for pulling Broken Britain up from the brink of a depression, but at what cost?

Will Joan decide to take down the Silver Party from the inside…

…or will she go on to fight alongside the rebel faction that allures her so intensely?

Excerpt:

“He said that you represent them… the enemy. There’s something about you, and I see it too.” She has no idea how right she is in this exact moment. It’s almost frightening.

“Maybe I don’t want all that though, did anyone ever consider that?”

“We don’t always get to choose what we stand for, Luna. I didn’t. I’m here, fighting this fight because I have to be.”

“You have to be?” I’m confused. What is she saying? “For Matthew?”

“No, not him. He means the world to me, that’s no secret. But no. Not him. Luna, look at me.” I submit and do as she says. We put our wine glasses to the side. “I didn’t go through what I did in the previous world to live as a stupid, suppressed ‘Blessed one’. No way. And neither did any of my other sisters. Do you understand me? I’m a woman. Not a trans woman. Not anything else. A woman. The minute I’m defined as a subcategory is the minute my identity stops being up to me. I haven’t fought to become who I am – and was always meant to be – just to have it dictated to me by a bunch of crazies.”

Suddenly she stands up, and walks over to my kitchen surface. One drawer after another, she searches for something. The wine is on the table, so it can’t be that. Then, she pauses when she finds whatever it is she’s looking for. A small dagger, given to me by a guy I could’ve fallen for, once upon a time. It stands for everything she stands for. For me, it’s a symbol of what could’ve been. A night’s warmth. A fleeting memory.

Buy Links:

Amazon UKAmazon US


E L Croucher is a young author, living in London. She started writing over two years, with her first novel The Butterfly on Fire, which she published on Amazon. Alongside her career as a writer, she works as a Japanese translator and interpreter for a well-known Japanese gaming company, after studying Japanese at university and living in Tokyo, Japan.

Her latest novel, Horned Winged Blessed is an ironic look into a world in which gender roles are swapped, and minorities are forced into labels that they did not choose. With a mix of feminist views and a pro-LGBTQ+ stance, E L Croucher writes to further her dream of a world free from prejudice, hate-crimes and bullying.

Follow her story on her website or find her on social media:

Website | Facebook | Instagram

ELCroucher.com | Emi Louise Croucher| @emi13230

Can you tell readers little about your book, Horned Winged Blessed? What they can expect from the book?

The world is built around a post-apocalyptic Broken Britain, and sees an all-female, all-wiccan government in power. The story follows the protagonist Joan, who is daughter to the leader of the above government, as she realises that the world her mother has built isn’t always rainbows and Merlot. There is a serious issue in how gender is “labelled” against the people’s will, and Joan is faced with the choice of either joining the rebels that plot against her mother’s government, or trying and take it down from the inside.

Horned Winged Blessed is my attempt at spinning the current patriarchal society on its head, as well as bringing to light the oppression that various minorities in our society goes through every day.

You can expect a dark, thought-provoking and empowering read, as you start to pick away at the paintwork of the world in Horned Winged Blessed.

How did you come up with the idea for your book?

I wanted to start in the realm of a dystopian-style gender swap, to bring an ironic light on what we are currently seeing in society today. The pay gap, abortion rights, the murder of transgender women of colour… there are so many issues that we cannot ignore. So I started by wanting to focus on a dystopian world that mirrors ours. That makes it a lot easier to show the successes and flaws within it.

What inspired you for dystopian setting of Horned Winged Blessed?

I knew I wanted to set Horned Winged Blessed around ten years from now, based on the age of my main characters. From there, I worked backwards until the present day and came up with a plausible chain of events until things get really dark, I.e. Brexit, the next election, nuclear threats. Eventually, without giving too much away, something triggers World War III in the novel. Luckily for the protagonist (and probably the reader!) the novel doesn’t started until WWIII is coming to an end and the government in charge is already paving the way to a new world…

What type of characters do you love and hate to write? What is your favorite quality in protagonists? Does anyone in real life inspired you to write them?

In Horned Winged Blessed, I really liked playing with the age of my characters. My generation have grown to be the middle-aged generation in the novel and I loved writing the characters in that way. That was exciting for me as a millennial. The protagonist, however, is of course a slightly younger generation, so writing her was a lot tougher. Would they speak differently? Would they think about the world differently? My generation has never known war, but for Joan’s generation it is all they know. Those elements were a challenge at times.

As far as real-life inspiration goes, there are of course people that I tend to channel when writing. The love interest in the novel was based on my boyfriend (at the time… we broke up three weeks ago!). However, as above, it’s a lot harder to base the characters on anyone from my real life as no-one I know has gone through a World War that they saw through their friend’s Instagram stories!

What was the most interesting aspect of writing Horned Winged Blessed?

The main theme is the daughter vs. mother, “my-generation-knows-best” divide. It was extremely interesting to write as a daughter that loathes her mother so intensely, when I am so close with mine. In fact, people may think that I based the Mother Founder on my mother, but they couldn’t be further from the truth! I actually based it on me, and everything I don’t want to be as a mum.

Tell us about your journey to publication.

I went down the self-published route, purely because I’m impatient and love having something to do. Marketing my own novel, creating a buzz and hosting a huge launch party are all things I wanted to do. I started writing this novel a year ago, finishing the first draft in around 7 months. It’s been ripped apart and edited since then. Last weekend I posted in on Amazon, and I ordered the hard copies for my launch party tonight. It’s all finally happening!

What are your most favorite and least favorite thing about being an author?

My favorite part about being an author is actually sitting down and writing, but unfortunately that is a shockingly small percentage of what I have found that being an author entails. My fondest memory was jetting off to Peterborough to a small hotel by the side of a river, all on my own. I just wrote and ate for an entire week. It was heaven. However, I of course love the organisation needed in self-publishing a novel. The ultimate reward is when people tell you that they laughed or cried whilst reading my book. It’s the most motivating feeling in the world.

My least favorite part has to be how it’s morphed what and how I read. I can’t just pick up a book and enjoy it now. It becomes research. Research becomes an effort. I start to think to myself “well if you have time to read that, why don’t you also read this”, “oh, that’s a good idea, jot that down”. The worst one is without a doubt “oh, why can’t I write like that!” Once Horned Winged Blessed is truly finished, I can’t wait to read for fun again!

Do you have any writing rituals?

It starts from the night before. I shower, pack my bag in advance and set out my clothes on my counter. Then, I sleep as early as I can. When the morning arrives – often on the weekend – I’m up and getting ready to go out within seconds.

I walk down my road, no further than a couple of streets away to the cutest little independent coffee shop in town. Headphones in, coffee steaming to my left and laptop out.

Heaven.

What is the next project you’re working on?

I wish I had a say in this, but my family have personally asked me to put anything else on hold for a while, so that I can enjoy Christmas with them. How cute!

In the new year I plan to re-write my first novel. It’s going to be a big task, but I’ve developed so much as a writer, than I really want to rework what I did when I first started in this industry. It will take a lot of time and energy, but unlike with Horned Winged Blessed I won’t tell a single soul about it until it’s done!

Can you describe Horned Winged Blessed in five words?

Relevant. Unapologetic. Dark. Empowering. Enlightening.

And the last one, top 3 tips for aspiring authors.

  1. Putting pressure on yourself to write does nothing. Like anything, we don’t want to do what we don’t want to do. Let it flow naturally.
  2. Writer’s block is a myth – it just takes dedications, focus and motivation. When you’re not in the mood, don’t force it and move past that feeling. I found drawing instead of writing helped!
  3. Plan. Plan. Plan. Spend 40% coming up with the world, the story and the characters. Then the other 60% spent actually writing the novel is a breeze.

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Website | Blog | Instagram | Facebook | Goodreads | Book Link

Let’s discuss!

What do you think about the book and interview? Have you read this book or any book by the same author? Are you going to add it to TBR?

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Author Interview: Peggy Lampman, Author of The Welcome Home Diner

Author Interview F

Hello everyone! Today I’m happy to share this author interview with Peggy Lampman, author of The Welcome Home Diner and The Promise Kitchen.

If you have missed my review on The Welcome Home Diner check it out here ⇒ The Welcome Home Diner: A Novel by Peggy Lampman

About book-

Welcome HomeBetting on the city of Detroit’s eventual comeback, cousins Addie and Samantha decide to risk it all on an affordable new house and a culinary career that starts with renovating a vintage diner in a depressed area of town. There’s just one little snag in their vision.

Angus, a weary, beloved local, is strongly opposed to his neighborhood’s gentrification—and his concerns reflect the suspicion of the community. Shocked by their reception, Addie and Samantha begin to have second thoughts.

As the long hours, problematic love interests, and underhanded pressures mount, the two women find themselves increasingly at odds, and soon their problems threaten everything they’ve worked for. If they are going to realize their dreams, Addie and Samantha must focus on rebuilding their relationship. But will the neighborhood open their hearts to welcome them home?

About author_edited

peggy-lampman-cooking-2My passion is writing novels, which use food-centric and romantic themes as a means for breaking down familial and cultural barriers. My debut novel, THE PROMISE KITCHEN, and her following book, THE WELCOME HOME DINER, reflect this fascination. I grew up in Alabama and planted roots in my college town of Ann Arbor, Michigan where I owned a specialty food store and wrote a food column. I love trotting the globe with her husband and two adult children while blogging about scratch-made folks and their feasts. You can find hundreds of my well-tested recipes on my blog: www.dinnerfeed.com.

Q&A_edited

Q. When and why did you begin writing?

No person or event inspired me, I started writing in my diary when I was nine years old. I still have all of my old diaries and chuckle when I read the impassioned prose of that angst-riddled little girl! Writing was as cathartic to me then as it is to me now; a way to dig into the pain and root it out.

Q. How did you come up with the idea for your book?

The Welcome Home Diner” was inspired by the intimacy developed with my former daughter-in-law who opened a diner in a rough section of Detroit. I also owned a specialty food store for twenty years and suffered through similar conflicts felt by my characters.  I write about what I know—the food and newspaper industry and mother-daughter relationships. There were experiences in life that changed me, and there was no closure for me until I wrote about them.

Q. What sort of research did you do to write this book?

Working in the food business and having a bi-line in the food section of our local paper was terrific research. Specifically, when writing the Welcome Home Diner, I spent hours in a diner in Detroit and got to know the patrons. Here is a collage of photos I snapped during my research period:

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Q. What have you written? (Books, novellas, short stories, poems, blogs, awards or anything of interest.)

My first book, THE PROMISE KITCHEN, was published by Lake Union in 2016. Winner, Best New Fiction, 2016: National Indie Excellence Awards

Winner, Silver Medal, 2016: IBPA Ben Franklin; Bill Fisher Award for Best First Book

Winner, First Place Fiction, 2015: Royal Dragonfly Awards 

All of my food writing can be found tied up into recipes on my blog: www.dinnerfeed.com

 Q. Where can readers buy or see them? (Include relevant link(s)) Buy from:

amazon.png    kindle     audible.png     indies.png     B&N.png

Q. Your books are in Women Fiction and Food & Drink genre. What draws you to this genre? Do you think your writing will stay in that particular genre?

Absolutely. I’ve always been fascinated by issues that are common to women’s fiction: romance, familial relationships and the complexities faced when negotiating contemporary social issues.

Q. What was your favorite chapter (or part) of writing this book and why?

I sobbed when writing the last chapter in THE WELCOME HOME DINER, esp. Samantha’s segment at the first of the chapter. It was cathartic to me and a way of tying up loose ends that was comforting. From reading early reviews, I see that many readers felt the same.

Q. What was the hardest part of writing the book? Was there anything that you deleted or altered?

When writing this book, I was walking a thin wobbly tightrope trying to give voice to the sentiments of a multi-racial cast with widely differing backgrounds. I’ve seen authors raked over coals after unintentionally offending a culture the writer didn’t fully understand. While writing this book I took authenticity seriously, which was most challenging.

That said, I also wanted this book to be a fun, romantic read and not come across as didactic. One of my main characters is Addie, a co-owner of the diner. A lovely, well-educated Caucasian, Addie was born with the proverbial silver spoon in her mouth. Albeit flighty and self-absorbed—particularly in her romantic life––she has a big heart and “Save the World” attitude.

And then there’s the equally beautiful LaQuisha, a black single mother coming from a vastly different background who works for Addie’s eatery. Addie learns much about the world through the eyes of LaQuisha and her child.

Q. What is the main thing you want readers to take away from your book?

As the world becomes smaller, and communities and ethnic groups homogenize, family traditions can be lost in the shuffle; yet sometimes all we have left of a culture is the food. So if food were personified in my books, food would be the wizened elder, the great-grandmother pointing her finger at you—dear reader––and saying “Don’t forget where you came from.”

Q. Who are some authors in your genre that inspire you? What types of books do you enjoy in your downtime?

I enjoy reading literary fiction, particularly fiction set in the American South, and this has inspired my writing. Think authors like Sue Monk Kidd, Pat Conroy and Rebecca Wells. I also love Ann Patchett and Donna Tart. My favorite memoir is Patti Smith’s, “Just Kids” and I’m currently reading her book “Woolgathers”. I loved Jonathan Franzen’s, “Purity”. It’s filled with psychotic twists and turns and I was intrigued with the quirky mother-daughter relationship. Daniel Woodrell’s work, particularly “Winter’s Bone” that was turned into a movie starring Jennifer Lawrence, is quite inspiring. Ree’s character reminds me of Shelby in “The Promise Kitchen”.

Q. If you could spend one day with character from your book/ any other book who would it be? And what would you do during that day?

I’d like to spend a day with Braydon and his dog on a long walk through Belle Isle. Perhaps we’d have a picnic together. Brayson is a quiet, reflective man and I’d like to understand better what makes him tick.

Q. Do you read book reviews? How do you deal with good or bad ones?

I love reading my book reviews as my readers have much to tell me. It is important, however, for me to not be hurt when a less than savory review makes it to Goodreads or Amazon—I’ve come to love my vulnerable characters that I’ve unleashed into the world.

But I’m mindful that, when picking up my book, some readers thought they were in for a “cozy cupcake” sort of a read based on the cover. When they discover that I write about characters that have flesh-and-blood flaws, and I explore the complexity of social issues through my character’s eyes, those readers feel let down.  I love my covers but I sometimes worry that they may attract the wrong reader.

BTW: If a reader enjoys a book, there is no better gift a reader can give to an author than a good review. Yesha, you did such a wonderful job reviewing THE WELCOME HOME DINER. You paid a great tribute to my small, vulnerable tribe of Detroiters trying to put one foot in front of the other in this crazy, complex world. 

I appreciate John Updike’s rule for book reviewers: “Try to understand what the author wished to do, and do not blame him for not achieving what he did not attempt.”

Q. What are your future project(s)? What’s it about? (*if relevant)

I’m currently writing a book, the project called, THE MAIDEN TOWER. It’s set in Key West Florida, another colorful landscape where I’ve spent a great deal of time. Centered around a historic family lighthouse that a family converted into a B&B, it’s a story of the love and complex bonding that entwines a mother and her daughters, and pulls them out of the most primal of despairs.

Q. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book?

When writing a character, it’s easy to fall into seemingly inoffensive cultural cliché. However, writing about a people and culture of which you’re not intimate—or at the very least, familiar with––has the potential of fostering hurtful and damaging stereotypes. While writing this book, I befriended people I’d never have met in my day-to-day, attended community activist meetings (which I’ve always been loathe to do in the past) and read journals to absorb as many perspectives as time allowed.

Of course in retrospect, the hours spent on active listening and reading were rewarding on a multitude of levels. THE WELCOME HOME DINER is a better read for it. I feel that the book paints an accurate depiction of sentiments felt by a diverse people living in today’s Detroit. And I have grown considerably by gaining a broader perspective about unfamiliar communities of which I previously could not attach a story.

Q. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Don’t get overwhelmed. A book is written word by word, sentence by sentence and chapter by chapter. Experience life—listen to what others have to tell you about their own experience. You must be disciplined and set goals for yourself. For instance, set a timer for 30 minutes each day, start writing and don’t stand up until the timer dings. In a few months, you may have the genesis of a masterpiece!

Q. What is your favorite motivational phrase?

That clichéd, tired Nike phrase always sticks in my mind: Just Do It.

Q. Favorite Book / foods / Colors/ Music / TV show / Film

My favorite book is a difficult question. There are so many books that I’ve loved. I adore fiction in a multitude of genres. But if fiction were “comfort food” I suppose you could say gravitate to women’s fiction that is set in the American South, as is my first novel, THE PROMISE KITCHEN. I’ve loved “The Help”, “Fried Green Tomatoes”, “Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood”, “To Kill a Mockingbird”, “The Secret Life of Bees”, “The Education of Dixie Dupree”, “The Invention of Wings”, “Saving Cee-Cee Honeycup”.

Q. Describe yourself in 5 words.

Empathetic, Passionate, Fun-loving, Sentimental, Impractical

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Website: https://peggylampmanbooks.pubsitepro.com

Food/Recipe/Story Blog: http://dinnerfeed.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dinnerfeed

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/dinnerfeed

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2yZM4jv

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/peggy-lampman-0a734716/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/peggylampman/

Amazon Book Links: THE WELCOME HOME DINER: http://amzn.to/2gXTqcz

THE PROMISE KITCHEN: http://amzn.to/2xf6y3m

Many thanks to author for taking the time out of busy schedule to take part in this interview.


I hope you all enjoyed reading this interview as much as I did. Do you have any question for author? Share your thoughts in the comment-box below.

Happy Reading! 🙂

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Author Interview: Michael Stott – Author of #TarehChronicle

Hey Bloggers! Today I’m happy to share with you interview with Michael Stott – Author of Tareh Chronicle. Read about this novel and experience of author in this interview.

You can also read my review on this book here ⇒⇒⇒ Tareh Chronicles: King’s Promise by Michael Stott.

About book~~~

 

TAREH chronicleThe planets Tareh and Earth, connected by a wormhole, share many similar plants, animals, and civilizations. However, just because something is extinct on one, does not mean it has disappeared on the other.

Sam, the King’s second son, after escaping into the wilds across the mighty White River, falls ill and is unable to fend for himself. Lal, a poor girl from the village, runs away from home to avoid an arranged marriage to an old man. Drawn by the smoke from Sam’s smoldering fire, she finds him weak and near death.

The two new friends set about surviving in the unforgiving wilderness. Unfortunately, young and inexperienced Human children are not equipped for life outside. Aid comes in the form of a family of Neanderthals, still in existence on Tareh, and well adapted to living in the forest.

Together they discover a shared history of a time long ago, when Neanderthals helped Humans, and a King made a promise to his Neanderthal friends. Can the two learn from each other now? And can Sam fulfill the ancient promise of his family line?


About author_edited

Michael scott.jpgMichael Stott, age 52, born Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada.

I currently reside in Barrie, Ontario, Canada.  I graduated from the University of Toronto with majors in Economics and Political Science, after which I joined a major Canadian Bank on the investment side of the business, and with a minor amount of time off, have basically done that ever since.  I met my wife, Lesley, through work, and we have been happily married for over twenty years.  Fourteen years ago, we adopted our son, Benjamin.  Working in the investment industry does not leave me a lot of room for creativity so I started writing (along with wood working and cabin building) as an outlet for my creative side. 

Q&A_edited

Q. This is your debut novel. How does it feel?

It felt great to finish. I had been working on trying to complete something (anything) for over 8 years. I have a full-time job, so it took me over 3 years from start to finish to finally say this book was done.  Then you feel scared to put it out there.  “What if people hate it?”  But since I didn’t write it to lock it in a drawer, I decided to be bold and advertise.  So far, I am happy with the response.

Q. When and why did you begin writing?

Like many people, I always thought I could write a book.  At first, I found it difficult to get started and stick with one idea, so I decided to focus on something my son Benjamin might like.  My first effort was basically an anti-war type book with a 12-year-old protagonist who was modelled after Ben.  He travels to a distant planet where there is an unnecessary war about to happen.  Unfortunately, I ended up losing interest in my own story and gave it up.  It wasn’t until I saw the Lascaux cave paintings in France, that I got inspired enough to write a story that I could see the whole way through.

Q. Some readers might not know much about your book. Would you like to tell them about it?

It was written as a young adult book, for the 11 to 15-year-old crowd, and was meant to teach something about science, survival, acceptance, and friendship.  My favourite book growing up was a story by Canadian author Farley Mowat, called Lost in the Barrens. I love the idea of survival in the wilderness, and put a lot of that in my story.  Also, I thought a lot about what Neanderthals might have been like.  Although I am no scientist, I felt sure that they were not so brutish and primitive as many popular conceptions would have us believe.  I would hope people think for themselves about how our primitive ancestors may have lived and behaved.

Q. How did you come up with the idea for your book, about a new planet, wormhole, and Neanderthal civilizations?

The idea for the planet came from my first story (the one I never finished).  I needed a place where people of different eras, with different technologies, could meet.  My brother and I are very interested in Theoretical Physics (but only on the popular level) and have often discussed wormholes and time travel.  Then one day it hit me.  If Earth could be connected to a different planet via a wormhole, all sorts of plants and animals, from all different points in time, could travel to the new world.

I started to think about Neanderthals when I was in France.  The cave paintings I saw were not done by Neanderthals – they were done by humans.  But these humans were primitive cavemen.  I was amazed at how complicated this artistic undertaking was.  Over a kilometer into the cave, there were would be no light, no food, no supplies.  All this would have to be brought to the artists by helpers.  It occurred to me that someone had to communicate this complicated idea of drawing all sorts of animals on the cave walls in the pitch black, and other people thought, yes – what a great idea, and agreed to help.   That just wasn’t how I pictured cave men. 

From there I got to thinking that if primitive humans were way more advanced than I thought, maybe other early hominoid species were also more complicated.  France and other parts of Europe were home to Neanderthals for over 250 thousand years, and there are many sites and caves to see.

Q. What sort of research did you do to write this book?

I would have to say my research is mainly a life time of camping and reading about the wild.  I read books and watched documentaries on Neanderthals, but ultimately just used as much of my imagination as I could.  My conception of them is based on my own belief that all living things are way more complicated than we give them credit for.  Once, in my neighbourhood, the car in front of me ran over a squirrel.  Another squirrel ran up to it and frantically tried to get it to move.  That animal was truly upset, panicked, and determined to help.  While many would just accuse me of anthropomorphizing, I know what I saw.  It made me feel that early humans had to be very advanced creatures.

Q. What draws you to this particular genre? Do you think your writing will stay in the same genre?

I have always liked fantasy because truly interesting things can happen when you don’t have to worry about whether or not it is actually possible.  I would like one day to write a comedy.  Another of my favourite books is Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.  I would love to try something like that.

Q. What types of books do you enjoy in your downtime? And what inspires you to write?

I must confess that these days I don’t read much. I seem to be more interested in what I think than what other people think.  In my youth I read all the time.  My favourite book as a teen was Lord of the Rings.  Then I went through a period of reading all the classics.  I must say, there is a reason they are classics, they are great books.  I loved Russian literature like War & Peace and The Idiot.  My next favourite book became “Of Human Bondage” by Somerset Maugham (British).  That book has a scene that still fills me with a certain amount of shock and horror (it is not a horror story, just the main character’s love life doesn’t always work out well and I felt terrible for him).  Then I started on more contemporary writers like Jeffery Archer and Ken Follet.  I would say a book that I recently truly enjoyed was Pillars of the Earth.

Q. What was your favorite chapter (or part) of writing this book and why?

In a way my favourite part of the book to write was the first few chapters. They seemed to flow relatively easily, I loved my characters, and I am very interested in survival.  However, my true favourite part comes later, when all the characters are afraid of the battle to come.  Sitting by the campfire, they discuss those fears – finding ways to overcome them.  Fear is something that I don’t feel we give enough credence to.  We all get afraid.  It is natural to want to protect ourselves and our families.  But nothing great ever comes from fear.  We must all learn to overcome it somehow.

Q. What was the hardest part of writing the book? Was there anything that you deleted or altered?

There was a lot that got deleted from the original manuscript.  At least 6 chapters were completely lost.  They had a lot of background description of the characters, who they were, and how their ancestors arrived on Tareh.  But people who know more than myself said it was too much describing, not enough doing.  There was more science in the first go around too, which disappeared when some beta readers said it took them out of their reverie.  I left in what I could because that is what interests me, but it is likely true that I still left in too much of that stuff.  I just always hoped some young kid would learn something.

The hardest part for me was keeping it all straight in my head.  How old were they now? How tall?  How did they get here?  How long did that take?  Those kinds of questions drove me nuts.

Q. What is the main thing you want readers to take away from your book?

This is a story about inclusiveness, friendship, and bravery.  Each character is different – different talents, backgrounds, skin colour, and even species.  But they all work together to achieve something, learn to respect each other’s talents, and love each other despite their differences.

Q. How many revisions did you go through before a book is published? Do you have beta readers or is it just your editing team and their suggestions?

I couldn’t count all the revisions I did before finishing, but there were at least 4 main ones after the story was done.  Once it was complete, I asked 10 beta readers to read it, but only 6 did.  Mostly they were encouraging so I took what they said, and did a revamp.  Then I had an editor friend look at it, and she had a friend of hers have a look.  They did some good editing and said I should cut out a lot of the early chapters.  I did that and finished a third revision. Then I had another editor friend (a friend of a friend really) do some editing.  She helped me realize that parts of the story did not make much sense, so I did some major revisions while she edited.  I published the result on Amazon, mainly because I could, but found that I had left a lot of mistakes in the copy and had to do a complete re-edit (thanks to my wife who removed most of the typos).

Q. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book?

First off, Amazon is an amazing company to deal with.  Their technology, the ease and speed with which they work are mind boggling.  I first uploaded a copy of my manuscript at 6:00 pm on a Saturday evening, and by 11:00am the next Wednesday I had five physical copies in my hand.  But the most surprising part for me was the fun I had in creating the cover and the map.    It is not easy describing what you have in your head to a stranger, but the people I ended up working with were surprisingly good at it.  I would anxiously look at my emails waiting for whatever was the latest version.

Q. Do you read book reviews? How do you deal with good or bad ones?

I read all the reviews.  Good ones make be happy, and bad ones make me mad, but only for a short while.  There are plenty of great books and movies that I didn’t like, and plenty of stories that I loved that never went anywhere.  Everyone’s tastes are their own.

Q. What are your future project(s)? What’s it about? (*if relevant)

I continue to work on Book 2 of the Tareh Chronicles.

Q. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Just start.  Don’t worry about whether or not you have a good idea or a complete story.  Just start.  You can change anything as you go.  Remember, there isn’t much difference between writing and daydreaming.  I would often think of my characters and how a certain scene should play out as I waited to pick up my son from school or swimming lessons.  It is a great escape.

Q. What is your favorite motivational phrase?

In high school, I had a physics teacher, Dr. Bacon.  One day, as we were struggling over how to start an experiment, he said to the class,

“If you don’t know what to do, do something. It is amazing what you will learn even if it goes wrong.”

I use that all the time. 

Q. Currently reading

As I said, I don’t read as much as I should, but I am currently reading Ken Follett’s “Fall of Giants”

Q. Favorite book / foods / Colors/ Music/ TV show/ Film

Book – Of Human Bondage by Somerset Maugham

Foods – I think curry is likely my favourite food.

Colours – Orange

Music – My all-time favourite album is “Graceland” by Paul Simon (partly because it is one of the few I can sing along with)

TV Show – I don’t watch too much current TV, but watched a lot in the past. I will always love the original Star Trek, and some of the subsequent shows, never missed the X-files when it was new, love The Simpsons, and my wife and I never missed Law & Order. Currently I like Gold Rush.

Film – I loved the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, but must admit, my favourite movies are ones most people think are silly, but I can never get enough of John Candy’s “Planes, Train, and Automobiles” and another by him “Summer Rental”.  Followed very closely by a crazy early Kevin Costner film “Fandango”.

Q. Describe yourself in 5 words.

An introspective, effective, progressive, reliable, introvert.

Q. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

I hope they enjoy the book, and take the time to think about how we as humans are all related to one another.

Q. Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?

Eventually we all must take a stand, even if it is to our own detriment.

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Website: tarehchronicles.com

Facebook: tarehchronicles

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34515776-tareh-chronicles

Book Links: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B06XVVH2T2

Many Thanks to author for taking the time out of your busy schedule to take part in this interview.

Thank you for reading everyone!


Did you enjoy reading this interview? Do you have questions for author? Share your thoughts in the comment-box below.

Happy Reading! 🙂

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Author Interview: Iain Reading- Author of Kitty Hawk series

Author Interview F

Hey Everyone! Today I’m happy to share with you interview with Iain Reading author of Kitty Hawk series and fantasy and middle grade books. Know more about author and books by him through this interview.

Read my review of Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold here ⇒⇒ Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold (Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency #1) by Iain Reading.

 

About author_edited

Iain ReadingIain Reading is passionate about Root Beer, music, and writing. He is Canadian, but currently resides in the Netherlands working for the United Nations.

Iain is the author of the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series, The Wizards of Waterfire Series, and the dragon of the month club. To learn more, go to http://www.amazon.com/Iain-Reading/e/B00B0NGI6Q/

Q&A_editedQ. When and why did you begin writing?

I started writing a few years ago, just before the first Kitty Hawk book came out.  I had this idea for those books, of a teenage female pilot named Kitty Hawk, and I just loved this idea so much that I had to write the books to find out what would happen.

Q. How did you come up with the idea for your book?

The ideas for the books generally just follow a logical order of “what if” Kitty Hawk was flying around the world, where would she go?  She lives on Vancouver Island, so going to Alaska made sense.  And while there of course the gold rush is a big thing, so then she ended up in the Yukon.  And so on….  (no spoilers)

Q. What sort of research did you do to write this book?

I had to do a lot of historical research for the book, obviously on the gold rush and on other aspects of Alaskan and Yukon history.  But the best kind of research is the kind where you get on a plane and visit the places that will appear in the book, and you try to do some of the things that Kitty Hawk herself will end up doing.  I love that and I am so grateful that I am able to do that kind of thing.

Q. What have you written? (Books, novellas, short stories, poems, blogs, awards or anything of interest.)

At this point I’ve basically only written books: five Kitty Hawk books so far plus one urban magic/fantasy book (The Wizards of Waterfire) plus a cool book for middle grade called The Dragon Of The Month Club, plus a couple other unpublished books.  No awards though.  Maybe later???

Q. Where can readers buy or see them? (Include relevant link(s)

Amazon.com is always the easiest place to find any of the books.  Check out my author page on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Iain-Reading/e/B00B0NGI6Q/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1505474519&sr=8-1

Q. What genre are your books? What draws you to that particular genre?

I think the one common aspect of all the books is the adventure genre.  Whether it’s magical or historical or whatever, there is always an element of adventure.  And I guess what draws me to that is my own sense of adventure.  Life is for adventure, right?

Q. Out of all the books you’ve written, do you have a favorite?

I have so many favourites!  Okay.  But I will pick two, okay?  That would be the first book of The Dragon Of The Month Club and the fourth book of the Kitty Hawk series: Kitty Hawk and the Tragedy of the RMS Titanic. 

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

Strangely enough, I am not sure whether I have ever read any books in my genre.  I read a lot of history and science books.  Maybe I SHOULD read some books in my own area????

Q. What types of books do you enjoy in your downtime?

Downtime?!??  Who has time for downtime?!???  Seriously though, I am all over the place chaotically busy the past couple of years that I am not sure I’ve had any downtime for a while.

Q. What was your favorite chapter (or part) of writing this book and why?

There are a lot of bits in the last half of the book that I really enjoyed writing: like when Kitty Hawk first figures the whole thing out, or when she reaches the summit of the Chilkoot, and when she flies over the Chilkoot later on, and on and on….  but there was actually a chapter EARLY in the book that I really liked, and that was when she was younger and built Angkor Wat in sand on the beach.  That chapter is very likely going to be cut sometime very soon when the second (shorter) edition of the book comes out, so I guess I should enjoy it while I can.

Q. What was the hardest part of writing the book? Was there anything that you deleted or altered?

I think the hardest part was just trying to figure out how to write a book in the first place.  It took some time to do that…  in fact, I could probably argue that it took the entire book to figure that out…  but once it clicked into place it was like “oh! I get it now!”

Q. What is the main thing you want readers to take away from your book?

I think the main thing would be for the reader to feel like they’ve visited a new place.  The places that Kitty Hawk visits are as much a character in the book as she is, and it would be great for readers to feel like they’d seen and experienced those places too.

Q. If you could spend one day with character from your book/ any other book who would it be? And what would you do during that day?

That’s easy: Kitty Hawk!  She could fly around with me all day and show me how her plane works!  I’d love to see that plane for real.

Q. Do you put yourself in your books/characters at all?

I think it’s difficult not to have some part of yourself in your books.  Somehow it just seeps in there without you realising it.

Q. Do you read book reviews? How do you deal with good or bad ones?

I definitely always read book reviews (when they get sent to me, anyway).  The good ones are always amazing and awesome to read.  And the bad ones are sometimes only “bad” because the reviewer didn’t like or agree with certain aspects of the book.  In those cases it’s quite often that I can understand or even agree with what they are saying, so that makes a bad review into a learning experience.  Really truly bad reviews are also okay as well because not everyone likes the same things.  The books I write will be loved by some, hated by others, and there’s nothing I can do about that, right?

Q. What are your future project(s)? What’s it about? (*if relevant)

Right now the second Dragon Of The Month Club book is halfway finished, as is the sixth Kitty Hawk book.  There are a lot of people waiting for the dragon one, I have to admit.  They keep coming to see me at comicons and asking if I’ve finished it yet (and I have to sadly say no).

Q. What is your favorite motivational phrase?

This one is engraved on the inside of my jacket:  Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid.

Q. Currently reading

A history of Icelandic magic, if you can believe that.

Q. Favorite foods / Colors/ Music/ TV show/ Film

Favourite Food: Perogies

Favourite Colour: Purple (Dragon of the Month Club Purple)

Favourite Music: Currently the song Wonders by The Script

Favourite Television Show: Lost

Favourite Movie: It must be Moneyball because for some reason I can watch that over and over and over.

Q. Describe yourself in 5 words.

I can actually do it in THREE words!

I am me!

Q. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Write the book you’re capable of writing.  Don’t try to write the next Harry Potter or Game Of Thrones or whatever. 

Q. Whom you will recommend your book?

My books are for anyone who craves adventure and knowledge and to be transported somewhere else for a while.

Q. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Yes.  Definitely.  And it is this….  I promise to finish the second Dragon Of The Month Club!

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Website:  www.kittyhawkworld.com and www.dragonofthemonthclub.com

Twitter: @kittyhawkworld

Many thanks author for taking the time out of busy schedule to take part in this interview and Kelsey Butts @BOOK PUBLICITY SERVICES for arranging the interview. 


I liked many things author said in this interview. I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I did.

Happy Reading! 🙂

BTNR_editedBTR signed F_edited


Author Interview: H.A. Leuschel – Author of Manipulated Lives

Author Interview F

Hello Everyone! I’m glad to have opportunity to interview H.A. Leuschel – Author of Manipulated Lives and even more happy to share it with you all. Know more about author and her book Manipulated Lives in this post.

You can also read my review on this book here ⇒⇒⇒ Manipulated Lives by H.A. Leuschel.

About author_edited

HeleneI was born in Brussels of German parents and grew up with two brothers and a twin sister. It was fun being exposed to many different languages and cultures from an early age because I now appreciate the fact that it is a great way to step outside the idea of a common national identity and its many restrictions. Brussels is a fascinating example for a multi-cultural society where I went to school and University and held a fascinating reporter’s job at the National Radio Station BRF. I also worked and lived in London and later in Edinburgh before moving back to Brussels.

I was lucky that my job as a reporter and producer allowed me to travel extensively worldwide … until I met the love of my life and thought it was time to settle down. We lived in Belgium for a few years, then decided to take our two children to live in Southern Portugal where life is so much simpler, healthier and laid back than in a big city. I learnt Portuguese and when both children started attending school, I found more time again to write, pick up the study of philosophy and eventually created my first work of fiction. I’ve loved the written word ever since I started reading as a child, devouring Enid Blyton’s books, writing poems, stories and filling many notebooks and diaries.

Q&A_edited

Tell readers about your book Manipulated Lives.

manipulated livesWhen I found out what a deceptive and narcissistic manipulator had done to someone I love, behind closed doors, I was determined to somehow make her voice heard. There are many excellent self-help books on the market giving advice on how to deal with controlling and manipulative individuals but I felt most comfortable taking the idea into fictional territory. By opening up to people about this topic during the initial stages of plotting my ideas, I was stunned about how many people have a story of their own. This was the reason why I decided to explore the impact of psychological manipulation on people of different ages and backgrounds. The five novellas can be read separately yet each aims to take the reader to question the fact that as an outsider, nothing is ever what it seems at first sight and that toxic manipulation happens in a wide variety of human interactions.

Q. When and why did you begin writing?

I was in my early forties, when my children were both in school and I had more time again to think about what to do with myself next. I always had a passion for philosophy and after some research found out about the MA in Philosophy course at the OU. Their distance learning programme was my best option and it was indeed a wonderful journey. It sparked my keen interest for psychology through research in the philosophy of mind and more specifically the human capacity for empathy.

Personal tragic circumstances (mentioned above) and the completion of a couple of creative writing courses with the OU and Oxford University have eventually made me pick up a pen and transfer my ideas into the writing of my first anthology of novellas.

Manipulators are everywhere and to some extent we all do use manipulative tools to reach our goals. It is a survival skill but one that if present in a narcissistic and perverted individual who lacks the capacity for empathy is dangerous for all those who get in contact with them.

I found that once I’d started writing, I couldn’t stop.

Q. What sort of research did you do to write this book?

I spoke extensively to victims of abuse, had discussions with a psychologist who is specialized in the field and also read books and scientific papers related to narcissistic personality disorder.

Q. What draws you to this genre? Do you think your writing will stay in particular genre?

I would say, for now anyway, that I’d like to stick with literary fiction. Maybe sometime in the future I’d like to venture into a PhD in Philosophy, because I also enjoy philosophical writing and the fascinating enquiry in the philosophy of mind!

Q. How many revisions did you go through before a book is published? Do you have beta readers or is it just your editing team and their suggestions?

I’m not sure exactly how many revisions my stories went through but I can say for sure that there were many! I had a long list of beta readers of varying backgrounds and ages, one of them also a pre-editor. For the final stage, I worked with Elaine Denning, a highly professional and experienced editor and her suggestions and corrections were invaluable, too.

Q. What was your favorite chapter (or I will say favorite story) of writing this book and why?

I don’t have a favourite story but I notice that my character Holly in Runaway Girl is still on my mind. I’d like to write a follow-up with her as a central character again, just to see what she ends up doing with her life and how she’ll cope with her independence as a young adult.

Q. What was the hardest part (or story) of writing the book? Was there anything that you deleted or altered?

The Narcissist was the hardest story to write. I had to imagine what it was like to be a deceiving, cunning and wicked manipulator and as much as it is uncomfortable reading, it was uncomfortable writing as well. Having said that, the process of writing this story opened my eyes further to the fact that people with narcissistic personality disorder are unable to see the harm they are doing or have done or if they do, it doesn’t affect them or, worse, they always find an excuse or explanation to justify it.

Q. Is there a message in your book that you hope readers will grasp?

Manipulation has many facets and there are differing degrees to it. Of course, ideally, we should all aim to be authentic and truthful, virtuous and kind. However, in real life, that is easier said than done. We do to some degree all mildly manipulate consciously or unconsciously.  What is essential though is to stay true to yourself, self-critical and that the right to being respected is mutual. When your emotions, feelings and opinions are consistently being trampled on, dismissed or laughed at, you can probably safely say that you are in the presence of a person lacking that basic duty to respect you as a person. I hope that this message is conveyed in my stories and that working on one’s self-esteem is vital in not becoming the victim of abuse.

Q. If you could spend one day with character from your book/ any other book who would it be? And what would you do during that day?

I would love to invite Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice for a day to chat, sit by the fire, drink a cup of tea and get to know a woman who defied the convention of her time, hear her talk about her favourite books then venture out into the country side and nearby town to discover the environment she lived in with my own eyes. 

Q. Do you read book reviews? How do you deal with good or bad ones?

I enjoy reading reviews on Goodreads, book blogs and Amazon. I hope that despite bad comments, I would still choose to read a book simply because I like the sound of it myself or because I’ve read work by the author before and enjoyed it. Personally, I don’t see the point in writing bad reviews, especially when they are scathing and disrespectful or so short that you could argue that they were possibly written by a troll.

Q. What are your future project(s)?

I have just finished editing my second book – a long novella which I’m planning to publish this autumn and I’ve finished the final draft for my first novel.

Q. What book(s) have most influenced your life?

Simone de Beauvoir has had a huge impact on me as a teenager and well into my twenties and thirties. She’s the only author whose books I can read again and again. I’ve read all of her writings – fiction and non-fiction alike but if there is one of them that I’d highly recommend to every reader, it is A very easy death. In this short book, the author tenderly and with shocking clarity recounts the last phase in her mother’s life. It’s so simple yet poignant, moving and very powerful in its message. Simone de Beauvoir shows with great honesty that when facing the death of a parent, emotions can not only take you by surprise but over-ride the urge to rationalize the process of dying.

Q. What is your favorite motivational phrase?

The Portuguese motto – “Vamos a ver! We’ll see!”

Q. Currently reading

I’m currently reading a collection of essays by Doris Lessing. These range from topics about Jane Austen, Sufism, Africa and many other diverse subjects that this fascinating woman has written about in an accessible and fluid manner.

Q. Favorite foods / Colors/ Music/ TV show/ Film

I was born in Belgium where food is a top priority and can be found in many coulours, flavours, forms and shapes. I love sushi, Italian, Thai and anything fresh and vibrant such as salads and soups with different seeds, grains and all types of vegetables.

My favourite colour is pink.

I enjoy any kind of music, from classic to Jazz and pop. It just depends on my mood! My daughter plays the violin, the drums, piano and also sings so our home is filled with wonderful music from all genres.

In terms of TV shows, I try not to miss Master Chef or the Great British Bake Off because it’s simply astounding what some people can produce with their bare hands and their imagination.

My favourite movie is ‘Bridges over Madison County’ – it’s poetic, human, tender and asks a few poignant questions about loyalty, family ties and love in its many guises.

Q. Describe yourself in 5 words.

I’ve asked my family to provide me with those words:

Diligent, sensitive, kind, funny & spontaneous.

Q. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

First, I’d suggest that you start writing about something you know, have experienced yourself or is at least familiar to you. The authenticity is important I think and that what is conveyed has plausibility and depth. Secondly, I’d say it’s important to set aside time to write, where you dedicate all your attention to the words you get onto paper or the computer screen! Once you find a routine, give yourself a word target, so that no matter what comes to your mind any given day, you end up with something to work on, build on and develop during your next writing session. Thirdly, don’t be scared to discard anything that doesn’t make sense when you re-read the text you have written or move the section into a different part of your narrative. Let go of what is superfluous no matter how hard it has been to write it in the first place. Be sensitive, kind but also ruthless with your own work!

Q. Whom you will recommend your book?

I would say young adults and adult readers are the main reader groups for my book. As such it is an exploration of the manipulative sides of the human minds seen from five different perspectives, so the varying plots, ages of charterers and diverse social circumstances appeal to a wide group of people.

Q. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

The creation of Manipulated Lives has taught me that, at the end of the day, you sometimes must let go if a situation feels wrong and claim your life back. It’s difficult but hugely rewarding.

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

I have written a series of g2uest posts and interviews for book blogs such as your lovely site. Other than that, readers can find articles on my website as well.

Website/Blog: www.heleneleuschel.com

Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads / LinkedIn / Pinterest / Kobo / Amazon.

Many thanks to H.A. Leuschel taking time for this interview.


Thank you for reading!!

Have you read ‘Manipulated Lives’? If so what did you think about it? What do you think about this interview? Do you have any questions for author? Share your thoughts in the comment-box below.

Happy Reading! 🙂

BTNR_edited

BTR signed F_edited