Author Interview – Coral McCallum

This week’s guest is Author Coral McCallum.

Coral is a contemporary romance author. She has published three books in her Silver Lake Series as well as a stand-alone novel.

I hope you enjoy reading a little more about Coral and her writing.

About Writing/Books/Being an Author

1. Do you remember the first book you read that had an impact on you – in what way and what was the name of that book?

I was lucky in that my mum always read to me when I was a little girl. Books have featured in my life for as long as I can remember. The first “big book” I remember reading on my own was Alice In Wonderland. My mum said it was too advanced for me but I’m kind of stubborn so was determined to read it. The copy of it was old, with no pictures, only the occasional drawing but I remember being fascinated by the way The Mouse’s Tail was laid out on the page. I was about 6 or 7 at the time but I finished it all by myself.

2. When did you first realize you wanted to write?

As soon as I could write a few words and string a sentence together.

3. Who is/are your favourite author(s)?

Oh, that’s a cruel question for a book lover! The answer I guess also depends on mood. I’ll try to narrow it down to five that I always go back to – Paolo Coehlo, John Irving, Barbara Erskine, Kate Mosse and Stephen King. Bit of a mixed bag!

4. What is your favourite thing about writing? What is your least favourite thing about writing?

I love creating the personalities of my characters and bring them to life. I try to give them real life habit sand mannerisms eg Jake Power in my Silver Lake series is always late and, when he’s nervous, runs his hand through his hair. My least favourite thing is formatting and editing. Commas are evil!!

5. Where do your ideas come from?

Everywhere and everything – a song lyric, a name, a daydream. A combination of all of those. If I hear a name that catches my attention, I’ll take note of it and then try to think of who could have a name like that, what would they be like etc.There’s a scene in the third book in the Silver Lake series, Bonded Souls, that was inspired by the lyrics of the Slash ft Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators song “Not For Me”. Ideas are all around us – you just need to look for them.

6. I’ve often found that creative people have more than one talent, what is yours?

Oh…good question. I guess photography. I love taking photos! I also write a music blog, The 525 to Glasgow, where I review the rock shows I attend and I take all my own photos for that.

7. If you could jump inside a book for one day (as an observer) what book would it be?

Lord of the Rings. I love that book!

8. When you create characters, are they completely made up or do they resemble or remind you of people you know?

A bit of both in reality. I’ve always said you can’t create a character that is based on a real-life person for risk of offending them. I’ve been told there is a lot of myself in Lori in the Silver Lake series but that was as much accidental as anything else. There are traits that remind me of friends and, I guess, myself. I have written a serialised short story that appears on my blog that is loosely based around a friend. They had playfully begged and begged to be in my book and I mischievously wrote them into my Silently Watching stories- a case of be careful what you wish for!

9. Have you ever created a character “out of thin air” only to run into someone in real life that reminds you of that character either in personality or their features?

Yes, to an extent. When I created Jake Power, I could hear him singing in my head. A year or so after I created him, I heard a song called “Ghost” by the Australian rock band, Massive. It was Jake’s voice in my head. Love that song.

10. How do you come up with titles for your books?

The titles of the books in the Silver Lake series are song titles of the fictitious songs the band play. They also reflect the story in some way too. My stand-alone spin-off novel was harder to name. I elected to go with the character’s name, Ellen, for simplicity’s sake. That also leaves me free rein to add to the spin-offs with other characters in future.

11. What are you working on now and can you tell us about it?

Currently I am finalising book four in the Silver Lake series, Shattered Hearts. This one is due out on 6 December via KDP and picks up the story of all things Silver Lake five years down the line from Bonded Souls. I’ve also started planning and writing the next and final book in that series but it is very early days there.

12. Have you won any awards for your writing/books and if so what?

Not yet but who knows what the future holds. Ever the optimist!

A Little More Personal

13. What is one thing you haven’t done but would like to do?

I have a lengthy list but I think “visit the Grand Canyon” is top.

14. Can you tell us about an embarrassing/funny moment?

I am sure there are several but I can’t think of one just now….sorry.

15. Have you ever experienced something weird you could not explain?

There have been a few, usually déjà vu type things or the odd spooky thing. I saw a “fortune teller” once, kind of by accident. I thought the lady was going to read Angel cards not necessarily be a medium. She caught me off guard and told me quite a few things that there was no way she could have known. Freaked me out a bit.

16. Are you superstitious? Do you have any rituals for good luck?

I am very superstitious and I’m a creature of habit – bad combination! I tend to wear the same jewellery if I’m going to certain places or the same Converse…that kind of thing.

17. What is the strangest thing you have ever eaten?

Probably Kangaroo meat a long time ago

18. Do you have a favourite vacation spot? Where?

Rehoboth Beach, DE and the surrounding area. Definitely a place close to my heart.

19. Can you tell us about one of your favourite childhood memories?

Probably sledging down the driveway of our house when I was about 9 or 10 with my friend Gill. I didn’t own a sledge so had borrowed my mum’s metal tea tray, waxed it with a candle and off we went! That driveway was steep! It’s a miracle neither of us got hurt. 20. What makes you happy?Walking along any beach or being at a rock show or simply a good cup of coffee with friends.

21. If you aren’t writing (or doing anything associated with writing), what are you doing?

Life is busy – I work full time as a team manager for a bank, I write a weekly blog, I run two social media fan sites for a real life rockstar plus I have a husband and kids and 4 cats. I could be doing anything associated with any of these or I could have escaped out to a rock show!

22. Have you ever met anyone famous – who?

Yes – several rock stars. The one I have met most often is Myles Kennedy from Alter Bridge. It’s two of his online fan pages that I run. He’s one of the most humble, talented, shy humans I have ever met. A really lovely guy. Very easy to talk to. I’ve met the rest of Alter Bridge too and they are all great guys. The first time I met Myles was when he was in Glasgow with Slash ft Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators. I got to meet the three Conspirators too that night – Todd Kerns, Bent Fitz and Frank Sidoris- all lovely guys. I go to a fair number of rock shows so I’ve met a few bands along the way.

Bio

I’ve kind of given most of it away in my answers above.

Ok, I’m Coral McCallum and I’m a wife, mother, bank manager, blogger, author and a rock chick at heart. I live in a town called Gourock on the banks of the River Clyde on the west coast of Scotland. I’ve always been a writer at heart. I’ve written stories and poems for as long as I can remember. About seven years ago I took a long hard look at myself and decided I needed to do something just for me…. like I do with everything I thought about it a while longer then on 8 May 2013 I sat down on my front doorstep in the early evening sunshine and began to write the story that eventually became Stronger Within, book 1 in the Silver Lake series. If you’d told me that night that by the end of 2019, I’d have published 5 books I wouldn’t have believed you. My mantra has become “Dreams get you started. Discipline keeps you going.” With a bit of self-discipline, the dreams come true.

Oh, and the secret fear – letting people read what I write.

Social Media Links

https://www.facebook.com/coralmccallumauthor/

https://coralmccallum.wordpress.com/

https://the525toglasgow.wordpress.com/


Book Links

Amazon.com links –

Stronger Within – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00VXDSC1M

Impossible Depths – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01C0GS30K

Bonded Souls – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XSQHG71

Ellen – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FYHKR44

Shattered Hearts can be pre-ordered here. It is due out on 6 Dec 2019Amazon.com link https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07ZY8ZSDM

Author Interview – Tyler Colins

I am happy to have Mystery Author, Tyler Colins, as my guest this week on Author Interviews.

Tyler has published four novels in the Triple Threat Mysteries Series with more to come.

Read the interview below to learn a little more about Tyler and her writing.

About Writing/Books/Being an Author

1. Do you remember the first book you read that had an impact on you – in what way and what was the name of that book?

I read a lot as an only child—I would walk home from the library every Friday with my arms full! The first book I recall reading and loving—the one that encouraged my love of mysteries and future mystery writing—was Nancy Drew’s The Haunted Showboat.

2. When did you first realize you wanted to write?

Not long after reading a few Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden books. Being an only child meant having to entertain myself. The wonderful world of [imaginative] writing inspired me to develop a few mysteries of my own.

3. Who is/are your favourite author(s)?

I have a few: Ray Bradbury, Harper Lee, Jonathan Kellerman, Janet Evanovich, Kathy Reichs, Shakespeare.

4. What is your favourite thing about writing? What is your least favourite thing about writing?

I love watching the story/scenes unfold and come together. My least favorite thing is not having enough time to pursue that [much desired] writing. <LOL>

5. Where do your ideas come from?

Most of my ideas simply pop into my head. The odd character is based on people I’ve met (names and traits changed to protect the innocent) while casual actions and dialogue are occasionally based on real ones. Notions related to a given mystery, mayhem and murder stem from my imagination.

6. I’ve often found that creative people have more than one talent, what is yours?

I used to be a very good drawer; in fact, at one time, I had considered attending art school. My other talent would have to be organization/coordination; I excel at putting things in order.

7. If you could jump inside a book for one day (as an observer) what book would it be?

What an awesome question! It would have to be something from Shakespeare—perhaps Macbeth. I’d enjoy going back in time and experiencing life in another era, particularly a turbulent one.

8. When you create characters, are they completely made up or do they resemble or remind you of people you know?

Occasionally, secondary and “transitory” characters are based on actual people, but my main characters are completely made up (and often possess traits/characteristics I wish I did).

9. Have you ever created a character “out of thin air” only to run into someone in real life that reminds you of that character either in personality or their features?

Hmmmm. Not that I recall, but that would be very cool.

10. How do you come up with titles for your books?

Like scenes and dialogue, they tend to pop into my head. I focus on one or two components of the book—“Connecticut” and “corpse”, as examples, re The Connecticut Corpse Caper—and then phrases begin to formulate.

11. What are you working on now and can you tell us about it?

“Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha” is the fifth book in the Triple Threat Investigation Agency series. In this one, the three private yes—JJ, Rey, and Linda—attempt to ensnare a serial killer. GrimReaperPeeper—or GRP, as the trio calls him for short—leaves a silken black rose on his victims . . . and a couple at their house. He likes games and wants the private eyes to play along.

12. Have you won any awards for your writing/books and if so what?

No . . . but, hopefully, one day I will. J

A Little More Personal

13. What is one thing you haven’t done but would like to do?

Become an American . . . live in Hawaii . . . be my own person.

14. Can you tell us about an embarrassing/funny moment?

Oh my goodness. There have been many, but the one I’ll never forget (I have the scars) is the time I fainted and tumbled through the biology class door; we were doing blood tests.

15. Have you ever experienced something weird you could not explain?

I can’t say I have per se—nothing super weird—but I’ve had many moments of déjà vu, which can prove somewhat unsettling.

16. Are you superstitious? Do you have any rituals for good luck?

I used to be superstitious, to a degree. If I spilled salt, I’d throw some over my shoulder. I no longer scurry away from black cats or avoid anything with the number 13. Hmm. Hold on. You know, I do still avoid walking under ladders. <LOL>

17. What is the strangest thing you have ever eaten?

I’m not sure what I’ve eaten is strange—perhaps for North America, but probably not elsewhere. I’ve had kangaroo, snake, turtle, chocolate-covered insects, brains, blood sausage, headcheese, eel, alligator.

18. Do you have a favourite vacation spot? Where?

Hawaii. Love it, for various reasons. Someday, I hope it will be my future home.

19. Can you tell us about one of your favourite childhood memories?

I can’t, quite frankly—and let’s leave it at that, please, if you don’t mind.

20. What makes you happy?

Cuteness! I love seeing darling animals, adorable children, and hearing of or viewing good deeds. It brings happy tears to my eyes when people go out of their way to do kind things for others. It warms my heart and instills hope.

21. If you aren’t writing (or doing anything associated with writing), what are you doing?

Currently, I edit when I’m not writing or at the 9-to-5, or taking care of my mother. My time is fairly limited, but I snatch the odd “me” moment whenever possible. J

22. Have you ever met anyone famous – who?

I’ve met a lot of famous people—back when. I used to work in the music industry, doing promotion, so I attended scores of concerts. Given I often worked backstage, I met a number of musicians.

Tyler’s Links

Facebook Triple Threat Investigation Agency page: https://www.facebook.com/OahuPIs/posts/

Twitter: Tyler Colins @USBound3

Blog: https://thewritersgrabbag.com/

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Tyler-Colins/e/B01KHOZAL2

Next Chapter: https://www.nextchapter.pub/authors/tyler-colins

Email: TylerUS3@gmail.com

Author Interview – John Broughton

Historical Fiction Novelist, John Broughton, is this week’s Author Interview guest.

John has published several novels.The most recent, Elfrid’s Hole, Book 1 of the Jake Conley series, just released at the end of October.

Thanks, John, for participating! And double-yuk for question # 17, you are a brave.

About Writing/Books/Being an Author

1. Do you remember the first book you read that had an impact on you – in what way and what was the name of that book?

I was too young. My granddad gave me an Illustrated history book and it was my constant bedtime companion from the age of four to about 9.

2. When did you first realize you wanted to write?

I didn’t really want to write at first. I did it because my children had consumed all the books in the children’s section of Glossop library. So, I started writing for them. Somewhere in that process, I began to acquire the enthusiasm.

3. Who is/are your favourite author(s)?

Crazy question. There are so many. I’d have to go by nationality and my own cultural preparation. If we’re talking British, I’d go for the poets: Keats, Byron, Wordsworth, Shelley and more up to date Seamus Healey. Italian: Pirandello, Italo Calvino. German: Hermann Hesse. Russian: Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Sholokov, Chekov. I’m still catching up with the classics and I’ve left out all the most modern writers, the French, the Americans – oh, how could I neglect Gore Vidal?

4. What is your favourite thing about writing? What is your least favourite thing about writing?

Favourite, that’s easy. I lose myself in another century and meet the people I choose to meet. Least favourite? Probably writing synopses.

5. Where do your ideas come from?

Either from research if it’s a pure historical fiction work or quite simply a moment’s flash of inspiration if it’s for my latest venture, the Jake Conley series.

6. I’ve often found that creative people have more than one talent, what is yours?

I enjoy photography but I wouldn’t say I’m talented. I can do great portraits of friends and fairly harmonious compositions. That’s the extent of it. I’d love to be more of a Renaissance man but sadly it’s not going to happen!

7. If you could jump inside a book for one day (as an observer) what book would it be?

It would be my own first historical novel, The Purple Thread because it covers the emergence of Christianity and its conflict with paganism in the eighth century in Western Europe. I’d love to observe those changes and meet and talk to the wonderful Leoba.

8. When you create characters, are they completely made up or do they resemble or remind you of people you know?

I don’t think you can escape from drawing on real life for authenticity. I’m lucky to have a wife I admire for her intelligence, sweetness and moral fibre. I drew heavily on her for Leoba but also for Cynethryth in my second novel.

9. Have you ever created a character “out of thin air” only to run into someone in real life that reminds you of that character either in personality or their features?

Oh dear, confession time! Jake Conley came out of thin air, but his psychic powers aside, I’m beginning to realise that he’s really me!

10. How do you come up with titles for your books?

With difficulty. Often, I don’t have a title until the end. My first title was obvious because it came from Leoba’s dream. Sometimes as with my work in progress, the working title threatens to become the actual one.

11. What are you working on now and can you tell us about it?

I’m working on Book 4 of my Jake Conley series. He’s a psychic investigator, which enables me to flit between the Anglo-Saxon period and today. It’s a load of fun to write, so I hope it’s fun to read. The first of the Jake Conley books, Elfrid’s Hole is due to be published at the end of October 2019 and the second, Red Horse Vale, at the beginning of January 2020.

12. Have you won any awards for your writing/books and if so what?

I’ve never entered my books for awards. That doesn’t help in winning them.

A Little More Personal

13. What is one thing you haven’t done but would like to do?

Visit Japan. I love their culture and enjoy reading Murakami.

14. Can you tell us about an embarrassing/funny moment?

Not really, I’m quite sensitive and tend to avoid embarrassment easily. Funny? Well, life is fun as well as us living in a vale of tears. There have been so many funny episodes but I’m not a comedy writer. I just try to enjoy life. Forgive me, I know a boring answer when I write one. You can see why Jake Conley is taciturn and meditative, can’t you?

15. Have you ever experienced something weird you could not explain?

Yes, I’ve seen a ghost and I’ve had premonitions. You can find some of them in my Jake Conley novels.

16. Are you superstitious? Do you have any rituals for good luck?

I have a little elephant under my computer and my name in Anglo-Saxon runes stuck on my monitor.

17. What is the strangest thing you have ever eaten?

Sliced cold sheep’s brain in Turkey – sorry Turks, but yuk!

18. Do you have a favourite vacation spot? Where?

I suppose it would be a little bay on the Isles of Scilly, specifically St Agnes, where I used to live. I wrote my only two poems there. So, not strictly a vacation spot. Vacation? OK, the whole of Tuscany.

19. Can you tell us about one of your favourite childhood memories?

Yes, my granddad converting his handcart into a Roman chariot for me. Sadly, he died when I was seven.

20. What makes you happy?

When my wife smiles at me.

21. If you aren’t writing (or doing anything associated with writing), what are you doing?

Reading – or is that cheating? Or else, listening to music.

22. Have you ever met anyone famous – who?

Yes, the wonderful, incredibly modest John Patitucci, arguably the greatest living jazz bass player and composer. His family originate and still live in my Calabrian village. I couldn’t believe he wanted to know about me over dinner. Ridiculous!

John Broughton

Author of The Purple Thread; Wyrd of the Wolf; Saints and Sinners; Mixed Blessings; Die for a Dove; Perfecta Saxonia; Ulf’s Tale; Angenga; In the Name of the Mother and Elfrid’s Hole (now on Pre-Order).

John’s Links

Website: saxonquill.com

Facebook: John Broughton- Historical Fiction Novelist

Email: jbroughton48@gmail.com

The Purple Thread; Wyrd of the Wolf; Saints and Sinners and Mixed Blessings are now available on Amazon, published by Endeavour Media, one of the UK’s leading independent publishers of digital books.

Perfecta Saxonia, Ulf’s Tale, Angenga; In the Name of the Mother and Elfrid’s Hole are available from Amazon and published by Creativia/Next Chapter independent publishers of digital books worldwide.

Author Interview – Daniel Maldonado

This week’s guest is Author Daniel Maldonado.

Daniel is an author of literary drama and is currently working on a legal thriller series.

I hope you enjoy learning a little more about Daniel and his writing.

About Writing/Books/Being an Author

1. Do you remember the first book you read that had an impact on you – in what way and what was the name of that book?

The first book that truly had an impact on me was Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. The sublime way that the main character struggles with his inner demons and eventually learns to forgive himself and fall in love inspired me to similarly address my own issues and those of the characters that I write about.

2. When did you first realize you wanted to write?

I started writing at an early age when I was waiting for school to start. It kept my mind busy and passed the time.

3. Where do your ideas come from?

My ideas come from real life struggles and character or an amalgamation of individuals. I like to write about things that all of us have to deal with in our lives.

4. I’ve often found that creative people have more than one talent, what is yours?

I’m an odd one in that my creativity is limited in the artistic realm, although some people enjoy my cooking which I try to mention in my books.

5. If you could jump inside a book for one day (as an observer) what book would it be?

If I could enjoy the wizarding world of Harry Potter for one day, I certainly would. Luckily, there is an amusement park but I presume it’s not the same as the real thing, magic and all.

6. How do you come up with titles for your books?

This has always been a struggle for me but in the end the titles come while I’m walking, daydreaming, or do something totalling different than thinking of a title.

7. What are you working on now and can you tell us about it?

I finished the fourth book in the Chambers Lane series which is a literary drama series centred on various spiritual struggles, disillusionment, family rivalries and quirky social interactions. Surprisingly, the fourth book, Butterflies Blue: An Interlude in San Juan, Puerto Rico is actually a romance novel surrounding the physical and emotional struggles of Layla Little. It takes place in various States including my native Puerto Rico. My next book series entitled The Daniel Mendoza Thriller series is focused on legal thrillers. I’m hoping to use my two decades worth of legal experience as a foundation for the series.

A Little More Personal

8. What is one thing you haven’t done but would like to do?

I love to travel and would like to see the Pyramids of Giza as well as Machu Picchu.

9. Can you tell us about an embarrassing/funny moment?

As a dare, I dressed up as a woman for Halloween and everyone thought I looked pretty. Of course, I didn’t.

10. Are you superstitious? Do you have any rituals for good luck?

Not at all. I may do things in a ritual way simply so that I don’t forget what stuff I need to do as I age. LOL

11. What is the strangest thing you have ever eaten?

I eat a variety of exotic meats including nutria, beaver, iguana, armadillo, and game meats. I typically cook them myself on my Traeger smoker.

12. Do you have a favourite vacation spot? Where?

Undeniably, my favorite spot is the Roman Forum. Being there is like walking into the past. I traveled there after taking the bar exam over twenty years ago. My plan is to go back to Rome for my 55th birthday in 2020.

13. Can you tell us about one of your favourite childhood memories?

My favorite childhood memory is seeing the King Tut exhibit at a Los Angeles museum. It inspired me to travel and do better in school.

14. What makes you happy?

I really enjoy eating exotic and ethnic foods and trying bizarre things that no one likes to eat.

15. Have you ever met anyone famous – who?

Living in Westwood when I attended UCLA, I met several famous/infamous people including Wilt Chamberlain, OJ Simpson, Bill Cosby, Dick Van Patten, Eddie Murphy, Lisa Whelchel, Ricky Schroeder, Magic Johnson, Loni Anderson (her daughter lived in the dorm room next to mine), Paul Michael Glasser (when his daughter was dying of AIDS at the UCLA hospital) and so many more countless stars. I even had class with former Cowboy quarterback Troy Aikman when he played football for the UCLA Bruins.

Daniel’s Links

Check out his Author Page: https://danielmaldonadoauthor.wordpress.com

Check out his Amazon Author Central page: https://www.amazon.com/Daniel-Maldonado/e/B004XW3DDM/

Like and Follow him on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DanielMaldonadoAuthorPage/

Follow him on Twitter: https://twitter.com/DanielMalAuthor

Follow him on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14367577.Daniel_Maldonado

Follow him on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/danielmaldonadoauthor/

Follow him on Pinterest: https://pin.it/5rjxa4rrq35igh

Book Links:

The Palace of Winds and Other Short Storieshttps://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004XMX332/

Through Thunder and Lighthttps://www.amazon.com/Through-Thunder-Light-Daniel-Maldonado-ebook/dp/B00TG8XJ3M/

From the Streets of Chambers Lanehttp://mybook.to/ChambersLane

When Dreams Abound: A Return to Chambers Lanehttp://mybook.to/DreamsAbound

The Prodigal Son From Chambers Lane http://mybook.to/ProdigalSon

Butterflies Blue: An Interlude in San Juan, Puerto Rico – forthcoming

Author Interview – Janet Kellough

Please welcome Historical Mystery Author, Janet Kellough.

I was fortunate to meet Janet at a book signing event in September and happy she agreed to participate in my interview.

Janet has written several historical mystery novels in the Thaddeus Lewis Mystery series. The most recent of this series, The Untoward Assassin, released in March of this year. The great cover is sure to draw your attention to this book.

I hope you enjoy learning about this Canadian author.

About Writing/Books/Being an Author

1. Do you remember the first book you read that had an impact on you – in what way and what was the name of that book?

It sounds so trite now, but I found Anne of Green Gables stunning because it was set in Canada. Everything I’d read prior to that was British or American. Canada was a place that nobody seemed to write about, but it was so refreshing to have a story set in a familiar geography.

2. When did you first realize you wanted to write?

I grew up in a time when little girls always got dolls for Christmas. I’d play “orphanage” with mine and make up stories about what happened to their families, so I think that was the beginning for me. I just had to learn how to write it all down. Interestingly enough, most dolls in those days were female, so it may well have been my first feminist work.

3. Who is/are your favourite author(s)?

This changes all the time. My current favourite author is Carlos Ruiz Zafon who writes these incredible gothic mystery sagas set in Barcelona during the Franco regime. Think Robert Louis Stevenson, but with a lot more sex and violence. He breaks any number of “rules” in his writing, but I can’t put his books down. But I’ll have a new favourite author any moment now.

4. What is your favourite thing about writing? What is your least favourite thing about writing?

I do a lot of research for my books, and I love doing it. I’m also unusual in that I quite enjoy editing and revising. The difficult part for me is to get it out of my head and down on paper as a first draft. I have to keep reminding myself that it’s a first draft and I can write the big scenes without worrying how to stitch it all together on the first go. I’ve now been writing long enough to know that at some point the story will start to take a shape, and from then on, I can relax and enjoy the process, but it was nerve-wracking at first.

5. Where do your ideas come from?

A huge amount of my stuff is historically-based, and historical incident has always served as a starting point. The question I ask is how the big, external events impacted average people – what did they think about it, how did they react, were there other things going on at the same time that influenced their attitudes? That puts you inside the story and makes the history real. In terms of other writing, oftentimes it’s a juxtaposition of two or three things that on the surface of it don’t seem to be related, but if you turn them around and inside out suddenly they fit together and you have the beginnings of a plot. There are times, though, when ideas just seem to drop down out of the sky. I thank the universe and run with those.

6. I’ve often found that creative people have more than one talent, what is yours?

I spent a lot of years as a performance storyteller and worked mostly with musicians. I was telling historically-based stories that were interwoven with related folk-based music. Sometimes I got to sing back-up. I was good at telling stories. Singing, not so much.

7. If you could jump inside a book for one day (as an observer) what book would it be?

One of my own LOL. I wrote the speculative fiction thriller The Bathwater Conspiracy because I wanted to write a book about women interacting with each other outside of the male gaze. The publisher billed it as “dystopian”, but it isn’t really. Neither is it utopian. It’s just really, really interesting and I’d love to spend some real time in it.

8. When you create characters, are they completely made up or do they resemble or remind you of people you know?

I think every author borrows from real life and tries to create characters that readers can identify with, so you take a mannerism from here, and an attitude from there and a physical trait from somewhere else, and combine them in a way that creates somebody new, but relatable. I know of only one author who openly admits that he based a character (the bad guy!) on a real person and I’m surprised that he hasn’t been sued yet.

9. Have you ever created a character “out of thin air” only to run into someone in real life that reminds you of that character either in personality or their features?

No, but a funny thing happened with the first novel I wrote. The Palace of the Moon revolved around a “bad boy” who grew up to be a successful but slightly unscrupulous businessman. A lot of people in Prince Edward County were convinced that I had written about a real person, but every time they hazarded a guess about who it might be, they’d offer up a different name. All that told me was that I got the characterization right, but there are still people who insist that someday I’ll have to fill them in on who it “really” was.

10. How do you come up with titles for your books?

Some of them are easy – the title is sitting right there in the body of the work. The Burying Ground plot involved the old Toronto Strangers’ Burying Ground, so it was a no-brainer. The Heart Balm Tort wove a story of murder that began as a suit for seduction, so that was straight- forward. Others are a lot more elusive, and I have to sit down with a piece of paper and a pen and just start spitballing. I’m still not sure about some of the titles I came up with, but my husband says he likes them all, and he’s smart, so I’ll take his word for it.

11. What are you working on now and can you tell us about it?

I currently have a manuscript out for consideration, so I may have to move that to the front burner soon, but at the moment I’m working on a story based on my own family history. It moves from restoration England to South Carolina to New York, and covers a very early period of colonial settlement. There’s lots of interesting stuff happening in that period, and a lot of it hasn’t been written about as extensively as other eras. It’s a huge project because the research is so intense. I may try to work on other things concurrently, including another Thaddeus Lewis, but it’s something I’d really like to see completed.

12. Have you won any awards for your writing/books and if so what?

I haven’t won, but I’ve been short-listed for a couple of fairly prestigious awards. The fifth Thaddeus Lewis book Wishful Seeing was nominated for a Crime Writers of Canada Arthur Ellis Award for Best Novel in 2017. And The Bathwater Conspiracy was recently short-listed for an Alberta Book Publishing Award. The Arthur Ellis was particularly sweet because it’s an award that’s juried by other writers in the field.

A Little More Personal

13. What is one thing you haven’t done but would like to do?

Go back in time. I’d love to be twenty years old again, but know what I know now.

14. Are you superstitious? Do you have any rituals for good luck?

I have two little elephants, one jade and one ivory, that came from my mother-in-law’s charm bracelet. I put them on a chain, and whenever I wear them as a necklace I seem to have good luck. I also have a bad luck ritual. If I wear something new and I have a crappy day, I have a great deal of difficulty with ever wearing that article of clothing again – and that’s a superstition I’ve had ever since I was a small child.

15. What is the strangest thing you have ever eaten?

Tripe. It’s considered a delicacy in Panama and is often on the menu. I tried it when we were there a few years ago. It’s actually kind of bland and needs a lot of garlicky something with it.

16. Do you have a favourite vacation spot? Where?

I don’t have one place that I keep returning to, but one of the best vacations I ever had was Northern Ireland. We carried everything in backpacks and bought unlimited transportation passes, so we could get everywhere by bus. We’d stand in a bus station, close our eyes and point at the map, then go wherever we happened to point. Awesomely friendly people – they’d strike up conversations with us while we were standing at bus stops. Also, great beer!

17. What makes you happy?

Writing, dogs and Blue Jays games.

18. If you aren’t writing (or doing anything associated with writing), what are you doing?

Walking dogs or watching Blue Jays baseball.

19. Have you ever met anyone famous – who?

I’ve met a lot of fairly high-profile writers – Maureen Jennings, Gail Bowen, Joy Fielding spring to mind. Best-selling author Vicki Delany is a good friend. I’ve known sci-fi/fantasy writer Tanya Huff for a long time. I may have met other famous people, but I’m so clueless I probably didn’t realize they were famous.

Bio

Janet Kellough is the author of seven books in the Thaddeus Lewis historical mystery series – On the Head of a Pin, Sowing Poison, 47 Sorrows, The Burying Ground, Wishful Seeing, The Heart Balm Tort, and The Untoward Assassin. She has also written two contemporary novels The Palace of the Moon and The Pear Shaped Woman, and the speculative fiction thriller The Bathwater Conspiracy. Also a storyteller, she has written and performed in stage works such as Fowke Tales, Exile: The United Empire Loyalist Story; Tales from the Wellington Dump; Survivors of War; and many more. Janet has released two CD’s – a compendium of favourite tales called Swear On My Mother’s Grave, and Fowke Tales: Live at Lang, recorded live at Lang Pioneer Village near Peterborough. She lives in an unfashionable part of Prince Edward County.

Janet’s Links

Website: www.janetkellough.com

Facebook: Thaddeus Lewis Mysteries Janet Kellough

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JanetKellough

Author Interview – Agnès de Savigny

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This week’s guest is Auhor Agnès de Savigny. I will have the opportunity to meet Agnès at Kalicon 2019. This will be her first book signing since publishing her debut novel, Tempt the Ocean.

I hope you find Agnès’ interview informative and interesting.

About Writing/Books/Being an Author

1. Do you remember the first book you read that had an impact on you ‐ in what way and what was the name of that book?

I’m not sure this is the very first, but it’s the first that comes to mind: Charlotte’s Web. It’s probably the first book I read that elicited an overwhelming emotional response from me—in that case, full-on sobs for the title character. I think it represented the moment I understood that a novel has the capacity to go beyond simply telling what happens—that emotional engagement has real power in telling a story.

2. When did you first realize you wanted to write?

Always, I’m pretty sure. At least since I learned to put two words together and understood the capacity of words to create meaning. If you are asking when I realized I wanted to write novels, that’s a different question with multi-stage answers. I think the conviction to follow through on writing in a published format is a process, whereas the desire to write itself is an instinct, a drive.

3. Who is/are your favourite author(s)?

My standing favourite is Kurt Vonnegut. He’s probably the only author whose entire catalogue I’ve consumed. Well, his and Ian Fleming’s, but I don’t think the James Bond books influenced me the way Vonnegut’s did. I love the easy sarcasm of Vonnegut’s prose, and that his hope for humanity seeps through his words, even though intellectually he doesn’t seem to expect much.

4. What is your favourite thing about writing? What is your least favourite thing about writing?

I love losing myself in where I am. It’s almost like watching a movie, and I’m dictating what the characters are doing and how they feel and where they are. I think that’s how the surprises happen!

I don’t like starting. I have horrible blank page syndrome. Then writing feels like work instead of the joy it can be.

5. Where do your ideas come from?

Life, I guess? I can’t point to any one thing, really. They just do—in certain states of mind, atcertain times of the year; sometimes they flood, sometimes they trickle, and sometimes they stop. I’ve gotten some story ideas from dreams I’ve had—the latent germs of a lost moment. Crafting an actual story from ideas is where the challenge begins—and by that, I mean a good challenge.

6. I’ve often found that creative people have more than one talent, what is yours?

My day job is as a set designer for film and television. I studied film and architecture in school. I also grew up playing piano, and I continue to play very rusty guitar and drums. Music and design are a big factor in my writing, I think, in terms of structure and setting.

7. If you could jump inside a book for one day (as an observer) what book would it be?

The Mists of Avalon. I know, given what came out about the author in recent years, that citing this novel might be controversial. But the work itself is so powerful, a tome of Arthurian legend told from the points of view of the women in the story, that it has always held a special place for me. I love the King Arthur legends—could easily say they are my favourite stories—and to have them told from the female perspective was life-changing, especially when reading the book as a young woman. I loved this book and think of it often. But I can’t bring myself to re-read it now, knowing.

8. When you create characters, are they completely made up or do they resemble or remind you of people you know?

They are usually mash-ups. Never specifically one person but based on people I know. Or I’llimagine certain actors playing the roles and go from there. This is particularly true of my leading men. People are so complicated and diverse; it helps to have a starting point.

9. Have you ever created a character “out of thin air” only to run into someone in real life that reminds you of that character either in personality or their features?

No, per above.

10. How do you come up with titles for your books?

Oh… it’s a struggle for me. For Tempt the Ocean I had a page and a half list of optional titles,before narrowing that down to a good pick. I find I use a one-word working title as I’m writing, which keeps me on track, but might trip me up when the time comes to call it something else. I wish I was better at it.

11. What are you working on now and can you tell us about it?

Yes, I can! I have two historical romances at either end of the editing process right now. The first one, out next year, takes place in the mid-1740’s in London and New York and is about two childhood sweethearts torn apart by family, social class, and geography. They hate each other, of course, when they are first reacquainted, but life has other plans for them. I’m really having fun with it, although I’ve made it too long and have to cut a bunch out before I can publish it.

The second, still an early draft, is also a historical romance. Set a bit later in time and in anunspecified country in Europe, it’s inspired by “The Prince and the Pauper,” but the characters who switch places are women. Neither is confident in their new settings, especially when the husband of the royal character falls in love with the woman who is only pretending to be royal. Also having fun with it, as no one is quite who they say they are.

12. Have you won any awards for your writing/books and if so what?

Not… yet? I’ve had good responses to what I’ve published but no awards. Tempt the Ocean is my first published novel.

A Little More Personal

13. What is one thing you haven’t done but would like to do?

Visit Antarctica—if that could be done without leaving an environmental footprint, which maynot be possible anymore. I dreamt I was there once, and the shore was populated not by penguins but by the sesame street alien puppets that say “Yip.” That was awesome.

14. Can you tell us about an embarrassing/funny moment?

Not really… can’t think of anything funny enough, or not too embarrassing to share.

15. Have you ever experienced something weird you could not explain?

I did live in a haunted house once. There were a bunch of people living there and weird stuff was going on—some were convinced the place was haunted, others brushed off the idea as nonsense. But I had experiences, involving moving objects, that were unexplainable. Nothing aggressive. I think the ghost was trying to tell me to quit smoking.

16. Are you superstitious? Do you have any rituals for good luck?

I’m extremely superstitious but have no rituals for good luck.

17. What is the strangest thing you have ever eaten?

I’ve been a vegetarian since I was twenty. I like fake meats, which some find odd. I love coconut bacon. But strangest? I accidentally ordered tripe when I was travelling in France as a kid. I don’t think I ate it. Nor did I eat the cow’s tongue on the same trip.

Basil ice cream—does that count? It was really good. Homemade at a friend’s cottage.

18. Do you have a favourite vacation spot? Where?

As someone who has travelled a lot and wants to keep doing so, that’s a tough one. I took myself on a writing vacation to Mexico one year, to a village on the Pacific coast only reachable by boat, and that had no electricity at that point. I lived in a palapa, watched the whales breach offshore while I brushed my teeth in the morning, and wrote by lantern at night. Just like you can’t go home again, that place is not the same as it once was.

19. Can you tell us about one of your favourite childhood memories?

My friend and I used to hide under the fronds of weeping blackberry bushes that lined theentrance to our neighbourhood park. We would stand inside unseen, picking and eating theberries until sated.

20. What makes you happy?

A lot of sun, apparently. And ice cream. And finishing stuff—which is often difficult. Eatingwith friends. And puppies.

21. If you aren’t writing (or doing anything associated with writing), what are you doing?

I wish I were rolling in a pile of puppies. Let’s leave it at that, knowing that’s probably not it.

22. Have you ever met anyone famous – who?

I met Stephen King while working on something he’d written for television, when he camearound to meet some of the film crew. My boss told him I’d read all his books, which wassomething I’d mentioned to my boss (with the caveat that I’d stopped reading his novels afterleaving high school). But while Stephen King was staring at me following this declaration,waiting for me to speak, I could only think of two things: one, I don’t want to insult the man bytelling him I grew out of his novels; and two: Misery. What I wish I’d said, after shrugging offmy embarrassment with a sheepish hello, was that I’d once read the advice he’d given tosomeone on how to become a writer, that his response was burned into my brain and that I was diligently following his directive. The advice he’d given was this: “Write, write, write.”

Agnès’ Links

Blogs: http://somatime.wordpress.com/agnes-de-savigny/#Agnes

http://somatime.wordpress.com/

Twitter: @AgnesDeSav

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AgnesDeSavigny/

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14693489.Agn_s_de_Savigny

Author Interview – Allen Stanfill

My guest this week is Horror Author Allen Stanfill.

Allen has a number of published horror books. His latest, Children of the Cursed, released in August of this year.

I hope you enjoy learning a little about Allen and his writing.

Thanks, Allen, for participating. Oh, and I am with you 100% on the editing.

About Writing/Books/Being an Author

1. Do you remember the first book you read that had an impact on you – in what way and what was the name of that book?

I do actually, couldn’t forget it. The book was Stephen King’s “IT” scared me to death. But it was in that instant I knew I wanted to be a writer. To bring out emotions in readers that was brought out in me when I read.

2. When did you first realize you wanted to write?

I would say I wanted to be writer at a very young age. My first short story was written at the age of thirteen.

3. Who is/are your favourite author(s)?

Stephen King, R.L. Stine, J. R. R. Tolkien, to name a few.

4. What is your favourite thing about writing? What is your least favourite thing about writing?

Sharing stories with others that I created is my favorite thing about writing. I’m sure you’ve heard this plenty of times, but I hate editing. It is the worst part about writing as far as I’m concerned.

5. Where do your ideas come from?

Everyday life. I can see something on TV or out walking my dogs and boom, there’s my next book idea.

6. I’ve often found that creative people have more than one talent, what is yours?

Cooking. What can I say, I love to cook, almost as much as I like to write.

7. If you could jump inside a book for one day (as an observer) what book would it be?

Lord of the Rings.

8. When you create characters, are they completely made up or do they resemble or remind you of people you know?

I would say, a little bit of both.

9. Have you ever created a character “out of thin air” only to run into someone in real life that reminds you of that character either in personality or their features?

More than once, which I found slightly strange.

10. How do you come up with titles for your books?

I just try and think about a title that fits the story.

11. What are you working on now and can you tell us about it?

I am working on the second book to the Children Of The Cursed series. It is called The Tomb Of Carnage, let’s just say the main characters learn more about themselves in this book.

12. Have you won any awards for your writing/books and if so what?

None yet, but keeping my fingers crossed.

A Little More Personal

13. What is one thing you haven’t done but would like to do?

Taking a sailboat out on the ocean, that seems like a lot of fun to me.

14. Can you tell us about an embarrassing/funny moment?

I will skip this one. Somethings are better off kept to ones self. Lol.

15. Have you ever experienced something weird you could not explain?

When I was a kid, there was this one creepy house I walked by on my way to school. It was supposed to be vacant, though I swear someone stood by the upstairs window every time I passed by. Never could figure that one out.

16. Are you superstitious? Do you have any rituals for good luck?

Most writers are as far as I know, but I can’t say that I am.

17. What is the strangest thing you have ever eaten?

Snake meat, I know it sounds gross but it wasn’t half bad.

18. Do you have a favourite vacation spot? Where?

I do. Yellowstone, is my favorite vacation spot.

19. Can you tell us about one of your favourite childhood memories?

Going fishing with my dad growing up has to be number one.

20. What makes you happy?

Spending time with my family and writing of course.

21. If you aren’t writing (or doing anything associated with writing), what are you doing?

Fishing, hiking, working out, things like that.

22. Have you ever met anyone famous – who?

Nope. Would make things interesting if I ever did.

Author Bio

My name is, Allen Stanfill. I’m the author of, The Midnight Killer. What can I say, I love to read and write books. In my spare time I enjoy working out with my wife. Also I like to go fishing, when my two kids aren’t trying to push me into the water.

Allen’s Links

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Allen-Stanfill/e/B01C10S8L4