Monday, December 23, 2013

Interview: BJ Harvey

Author Interview of the Week

This week's interview is with BJ Harvey, author of Lost in Distraction.

All Rights Reserved to BJ Harvey

What made you want to be an author?

Honestly, it has never been something I've aspired to. But Brax and Elle came into my mind just after Christmas and I started writing down their story. And it has developed from there. Now, I find myself writing down scenes in the weirdest of situations and now have ideas for six more books!

Who has inspired you the most? 

The indie community is inspiring in itself. But particularly Michelle Leighton and Michelle Valentine have each inspired me in different ways.

Can you tell us about some of your earlier days of writing? 
I wrote Lost in Distraction in 20 days which is crazy when I look back at it now. I was averaging 5000 words a day and I was stuck to my laptop for most of that time. It was scary, exhilarating and amazing all at the same time.

How has your life considerably changed since you've been published?
 I wouldn't say my life has changed, but I definitely feel that publishing my first novel was a great personal achievement. And I have loved all the messages I've gotten from readers who have loved the book and have been begging for the sequel. Its humbling that they have taken time out of their day to send me a message.

What inspired you to write Lost in Distraction? 
It started with a song, Kiss Me by Ed Sheeran, then a dark haired, blue eyed man who's eyes haunted a girl, how everything changed in the blink of an eye. And from there, the story of Brax and Elle was born.

You're an Indie author from New Zealand. That's amazing! What kind of difficulties do you encounter being an Indie author and how difficult is it to market your books in different countries? 
At first I found it a lonely place, but I've since found a couple of other authors and bloggers in NZ and have made some awesome friends in the Australian indie author community. Kate McCarthy is one of them who has become a close friend and critique partner.

What has been the best experience so far on your journey as an author? 
Seeing Lost in Distraction break into the top 200 in the Kindle Store, that totally blew my mind. Another has been finishing writing my 3rd book just yesterday, I can't believe I've written 3 novels in 7 months.

Can you give us some insight on any upcoming projects?
The sequel to Lost in Distraction, called Lost For You, is released on 23rd July and I've just finished writing the first book in my new erotic romance series called Temporary Bliss which is about a 24 year old woman who has sworn off relationships and having her life dictated by men who has a number of 'friends with benefits' arrangements until she meets the one man who can give her everything. I'm really excited about it because its very empowering writing a book about a woman who has issues with commitment for once 

What advice can you give to any upcoming authors? 
Stay true to yourself. Write what you want to write and what you would want to read. And remember, different is good!

Thanks so much, BJ for interviewing with us! Don't forget to follow her outlets below!

Want to get your hands on a copy of Lost in Distraction? Click below!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Interview: Fiona Titchenell

Author Interview

Meet Fiona Titchenell, author of Confessions of the Very First Zombie Slayer (That I Know of).

Photo by Matt Carter

What made you want to be an author?

Stories have always been an essential part of my life. Experiencing them, creating them, they’re a basic, critical function of consciousness for me. I also love playing with words. I dabbled in a few ways of involving myself in storytelling, including acting and songwriting, but no matter what else I did, I could never escape the compulsion to write fiction. I don’t remember ever deciding that I wanted to be an author. I just had to accept that I was a writer of fiction and that it was the only work I could ever wholeheartedly pursue.

Who has inspired you most?

In terms of idols, J.K. Rowling has to top the list. Even though I didn’t turn out to be primarily a Fantasy writer, J.K. Rowling is in large part responsible for the number of hours I spent with my head in a book as a kid, and my passionate connection with the world and characters she created is what I will always be working to re-create for my own readers.

On a more personal level, my husband, Matt Carter, keeps the creative juices flowing for me better than anything else can. He introduced me to the Horror genre I love, and co-writing and co-critiquing with him has done more to expand and develop my abilities and ideas (his too, I’d like to think) than any classroom.

Can you tell us about some of your earlier days of writing?

The really early days? Well, my parents used to take me to a children’s reading circle at The Reader’s Edge (a bookstore now long out of business). The parents and some of the older kids would take turns reading children’s books out loud. In my three- or four-year-old mind, the next logical step was naturally to make up a story of my own to tell. Not yet having the patience or foresight to do the making-up part in advance, I stood up in front of the group and improvised a little tale I called “The Bear Who Sneezed.” I don’t remember much more about it than the title, the fact that it detailed hurricane levels of destruction, and how proud my parents were of my imagination and initiative. In retrospect, I’m sure those were the best parts to hang onto.

A few years later, as I started learning to type, I came up with a similarly nonsensical children’s narrative called “Nadia’s Adventures in the Jungle,” which my dad still probably has a few copies of for sentimental-slash-blackmail reasons, and as a teen in Dad’s English class, I seem to recall something about a 3am-produced not-so-short short story featuring aquatic badgers that one particular classmate will never let me live down.

I experimented a lot in my teens with longer form fiction, in, out of, and between genres, but didn’t come up with anything I felt was polished and developed enough to share until college, when I wrote what was meant to be the first book in a YA Fantasy series, The Accidental Changeling. I loved that series to death, and it earned me a lot of very polite rejection letters informing me that I showed great talent and potential but that I’d missed the bus; YA Fantasy was out with publishers. Luckily, by then, I’d started working and conferring with Matt, my love of Horror and dark Sci-Fi had blossomed, and I knew what I wanted to try next.

How has your life considerably changed since being published?

My first novel hasn’t hit the shelves yet, so not too much has changed. I still have a day job, I have yet to do my first book signing, and I have not faced the reactions of any readers of my novel-length work except for my family, critique buddies, agent, publicist, and editors. There have been a few changes since signing the publishing contract, though. I never reached out to the public much as an author before I felt I had something major to share, but now, as a soon-to-be-published novelist, the time I devote to pursuing my writing career has to be balanced between blogging and networking as well as writing and reading. I find myself hiding what I do less in my day-to-day life as well, because of the confidence that comes with having proof that it is in fact something I do, not something I idly fantasize about.

What made you pursue the Horror/Sci-Fi genre?

I took on the title of Sci-Fi author almost by accident. I’ve read, watched and enjoyed a lot of Sci-Fi in my life, everything from space operas to a few hard speculative medical thrillers, but writing Sci-Fi isn’t something I ever set out to do until I looked back and realized I’d started doing it. It’s the most general and vague of speculative fiction categories. It covers pretty much everything non-realist that doesn’t fit into Fantasy or Horror. It’s the space between the two, so it makes sense that, as a Horror author who’s played with Fantasy in the past, when I ease up the Horror a little and let the Fantasy elements back in, I find myself squarely in the Sci-Fi realm.

How I got into Horror on the other hand….

I respect guts in storytelling (literal and figurative), and I love working in the Horror genre, because “Horror” is often the term applied to stories that cross darker lines that other genres are willing to approach. That freedom to push things further is something I came to appreciate after I started writing Horror, though. What brought me in in the first place? Did I run blithely into Horror’s waiting arms because I already felt artistically stifled by the inappropriateness of dangling intestines from a ceiling fan in your average paranormal romance? Not exactly.

Like most Horror geeks I know, I was a pretty skittish kid. Not shy; I’m probably shier now than my crowd-working, spotlight-loving childhood self, but there were episodes of Winnie the PoohThe Little Mermaid, and Care Bears that could give me nightmares. Don’t even get me started on the mood music in the original Amazon Trail computer game and the cold, indifferent voice of the jaguar who informs you when you’re dying of malaria. When I was fourteen, some of my friends dragged me on two consecutive movie nights to The Butterfly Effect and The Punisher (neither of them even horror movies, I realize), and I thought I’d never set foot in a movie theater again.

At seventeen, when I found out just how seriously my new beloved was into this whole Horror thing, I was sure it was going to be one of those subjects, like my love for vegemite and Gilbert and Sullivan, on which we’d have to agree to disagree. Luckily, Matt knew exactly what it was like being that skittish kid and just how to desensitize me in slow, easy stages, the way he’d done for himself.

People say that word like it’s a bad thing, “desensitize,” but I fail to see the downside to dispelling fear of the mysterious and unknown through safe, harmless, pretend exploration. In a few short years, I grew from someone who panicked at the gate of Knott’s Scary Farm and sat out every maze to someone who goes into every Horror event, movie, and book thinking, “Scare me, I dare you” (and I have yet to take a chainsaw to any real life people as a result). That’s what really sucked me into Horror, the empowerment of dragging fears out into the light and taking a good, hard look at them.

There are still times when a work of Horror can scare me, though, when something unexpected can reach in and make me three years old again, and I hope that never goes away. Being afraid all the time is no fun, but having that skittish kid sleeping somewhere inside, always waiting to be woken up, allows Horror to do one of the most essential things art is for. It makes me feel. That’s what I hope to do for my readers with everything I write, Horror or not.

Your book, Confessions of the Very First Zombie Slayer (That I Know of), is set to release next year. Are you more excited or nervous?

Excited. This is what I’ve worked and waited my whole life for, after all. But I can’t deny the nerves are there too. This is where it gets real, where all my daydreams about all the different scenarios that could happen get boiled down to just the one that actually does. When that one little scenario involves one of the most important parts of your life, that’s inescapably scary.

What has been the best experience so far in your journey as an author?

Being offered representation by my agent, Jennifer Mishler, was one of the best, most exciting things that’s ever happened to me. Being told by someone in the industry who knows what she’s talking about that my work is good enough to bet on and support was a dream come true.

But – this is going to sound like such a stereotypical artist answer, but it’s true – the best experiences of all don’t involve the business. They’re those moments when I look back over something I’ve written, planning to give it one last polish, and I find myself amazed that it came from me.

Those are the moments that make up for the ones I spend staring at the screen or hammering at the keyboard, agonizing over why I can’t get what I’m working on just right. It’s those moments that give the business-y ones their power, because the promise of having time for more of them and the chance to share them with more people is what gives the business of writing its appeal.

Can you give us some insight on any upcoming projects?

Right now, Matt and I are working on our joint YA Horror/Sci-Fi series, The Prospero Chronicles. The first book,Splinters, will be released fall of next year. Imagine a teenage Mulder and Scully investigating an invasion by The Thing in a Stephen King-esque small town, and you’ve got a pretty good idea.

I don’t want to spoil too much about the rest of the series (five books in all), but we’re currently having a lot of fun with the first draft of book three and working out the finer details of the rest. Our unlikely alien-fighting partners, Ben and Mina, will gather a motley assortment of allies, the character drama will be intense, and the stakes will get epic.

What advice can you give to any upcoming authors?

This is hard. Really hard. It’s also wonderful. Do this only if you agree with me on the wonderful part vehemently to make any difficulty worth it. Then do it, all of it, as determinedly and fearlessly as you can. That means, as with most pursuits, practicing and studying. Read books in your genre, books out of your genre, books on grammar, storytelling, publishing, and book marketing. You will need them all. There’s no part of this you’ll get to skip. Write constantly, whether you’ve got that great idea yet or not, don’t skimp on the revising, send out your best work while observing the rules laid out by whoever you choose to send it to, don’t give up over a few dozen rejection letters, and if you run out of places to turn, keep writing new things and try again. In the meantime, get a head start building your online presence. You’re going to need that too.

Thanks so much, Fiona for interviewing with us! Don't forget to follow her on her outlets below!

While her novel hasn't hit shelves just yet, go check out her short stories and anthologies on her website and Amazon page!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Interview: Chantal Bellehumeur

Author Interview of the Week

Meet Chantal Bellehumeur, author of seven different novels!

Photograph by JSaunders Studio
What made you want to be an author?

 I just do this as a hobby, but essentially it is because I love to write.  It is like air to me and I just have to do it because it makes me feel alive.

Who has inspired you the most? 

 I mostly get inspired by life in general.  My son often played a role in that.

Can you tell us about some of your earlier days of writing?

 As a child, I used to make little books my stapling pieces of papers together.  My younger sister and I once started to write a movie script.  As an older teen I moved on to trying to write novels but never finished anything I started.  I wrote a few short stories as well.  I never thought about publishing anything until somebody told me I should. 

How has your life considerably changed since you've been published?

 I often find myself lost in my own little world and people have to bring me back to reality.  I go in and out of the fictional world I create and my real life.  lol  Also, sometimes people see me differently, like they should idolize me or something.  It is flattering, but weird at the same time.  The first time somebody asked for my autograph I thought they were kind of making fun of me.  Now I find myself telling people I could sign their books if they want and I sometimes give away signed copies of my novels as prizes.

Word on the street is you were an extra in some commercials. Sweet! Anything we've seen?  

 All the commercials I was in were filmed in Montreal but I never saw any of them.  I know that two of them were supposed to be aired in France, so people living there might have caught a glimpse of me.  I was also an extra in a few movies but mostly as well as a few television show episodes, but mostly as part of crowds.  In one show I thought it would be easy to spot me but my grandmother was a regular viewer and never found me. 

You write everything from horror to romance to fantasy. As an established author, are you going to choose one genre or meddle in multiple ones? 

I will continue to meddle with multiple genre.  I don't want to hold back on any idea that might spring into my head.

What has been the best experience so far on your journey as an author? 

Seeing my first novel, "Veronica's Soap Opera Life", in print was pretty amazing.  Having people give me positive feedback and getting 5 star reviews (mainly for my horror novel "Just.Another.Common.Killer") was a good experience too.  I like knowing that people enjoy reading what I write.

Can you give us some insight on any upcoming projects? 

I started writing short stories for the Suburban Online Magazine.  "A Mother's Love" was published in the April 26 issue followed by "A Father's Promise" in the June 7 issue.  "An Unplanned Wedding is scheduled to be published in the July 19 issue.  I am in the final stages of "Emily's Birthday Getaway" for August publication, and started working on a new story for the fall.

What advice can you give to any upcoming authors?  

Always have writing material with you.  Keep writing, even if it is not something you want to publish, like words in a journal or general notes on things;  they can always become useful later on.  I used the notes from my travel journal in a many of my work for example.  Also, listen to constructive criticism as it could help you improve but just ignore people who feel the need to bash your work and remember that you will never be able to please everyone.  

Thanks so much, Chantal for interviewing with us! Don't forget to follow Chantal on one of her outlets listed below!

Want to get your hands on one of her books? Click the links below!

Check out JSaunders Studio for more pictures of Chantal!

Interview: Melanie Corona

Author Interview

Meet Melanie Corona, author of The Settlers Series.

All Rights Reserved to Melanie Corona

What made you want to be an author?

I'm not sure really. I've just always written stuff. Poetry, songs, I kept a journal for years, and still do. I've written public speeches all my life and given them. I like to tell stories and have an active imagination. My kids would, and still do come to me and ask  me to "set the scene" for them. Every computer we've had I have a story started on there, and before that I used to type them out on a fancy type writer (I loved that thing, it even deleted!). So yeah I didn't really decide to be one, it just happened.

Who has inspired you the most?

My grandpa. He was an awesome story teller. I look back at when I was little, when I was excited to hear about the horses that lived across the road (they were plastic play horses in a park), or tales of the islands where we are from, and was so intrigued by it all. I regret rolling my eyes at him when I was a teenager when he started to tell me something about something, because now, as an adult, all I can do is remember that he was my biggest influence, and I'm grateful for him. 

Can you tell us about some of your earlier days of writing?

My earlier days of writing...hmm...I can't say that I really knew anymore back then about what I was doing than I do now! I loved poetry. I wrote it a lot, it was my outlet. But like I said, I've given a lot of speeches over the years, and for me to give those I have to write them first. :) 

How has your life considerably changed since you've been published?

Well I haven't formally published yet, but since I first started to publish on wattpad, yes I suppose it has. I remember sitting at the computer, and I don't remember what story it was that I was writing but the thought went through my head that it was up to me. I could take this further, or I could stop. I decided to take it further and this is what I do now. I'm hoping to entertain people for a while yet. So my life has changed because I actually made up my mind about what I want to do :)

What inspired you to write The Settlers Series? 

The truth? 
1- I was sick of the reading the same thing in the genre I love
2- this story about a girl who had to live through things beyond her control kept playing on my mind, and it was growing and growing until I had a movie repeating itself in my head!
3- too many people laughed at me when I said I wanted to do this. If you met me you would know why. And for some it wasn't an outward laugh, it was in their eyes that I read they thought I wasn't capable of it, and this drove me to bring these characters to life.

What can readers expect with A Settlers Love?

Well firstly, I'm very impressed you have done your homework for this. Only my, shall I say...true readers? Know about the settler series, so thanks. 
This book will be about the change a person has to make when they think they aren't capable of it. A change that you thought you would never go through and tried to escape. And a love that settles so deeply in you, you know there is nothing else to live for, or strive to keep. :) 

What has been the best experience so far on your journey as an author?

Finishing the stories. Yes, sure most people say it was "the journey" but when I finish a story I feel content. And...and there is always an and, gaining readers, and getting to know them. Knowing they have connected with me because of my writing, well part really rocks!!

Can you give us some insight on any upcoming projects?

Well, my plan is to finish Love and Freedom, the first book in the Capture My Heart series (btw all books in any of my series can be read on its own, as a stand alone). I want to finish The Blue Mountain Affair too, but I think I want to finish the Capture My heart Series. I've already done an out line for each story and have them named already
Love and Freedom (Avalyns story)
Freedom and Hope (Cassie's story)
Hope and Trust (Edans story)
Trust and Devotion (Hallies story)
All of course highlighting events which took place at the time it's set. And of course I will write the third book in the settler series. In November I want to write for NaNoWriMo again, and I have a story about the gold rush floating around in my head for that. I know that people want a second book to Desert Wondering, but I'm not sure yet. I originally wrote that one as a stand alone :)

What advice can you give to any upcoming authors?

Don't hesitate, do it. Learn about what your doing, and ask for advise. Be humble and teachable

Thanks so much, Melanie for interviewing with us! Don't forget to follow her outlets below!

All Rights Reserved to Melanie Corona

Payton Martin’s world was simple, filled with the dreams of youth, and surrounded by the love of her family and friends. When someone closest to her is cruelly betrayed and unjustly sent away, life afterwards proves never to be the same for everyone involved, beginning a series of events beyond her control. Somehow, through the years that follow, Payton manages to deal with the heartache of loss and rejection, all while balancing her new situation, and becoming her own woman.

Finally settled into a life that she could only once imagine, Payton is content, especially when the promise of love is presented by someone she admires and trusts. Nothing ever goes to plan though. Once again she is faced with surviving circumstances, and choices others make on her behalf. This time, they ultimately take her across the ocean, to settle in a harsh new land.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Interview: C. Michelle McCarty

Author Interview

Meet C. Michelle McCarty, author of The Jewel Box.

All Rights Reserved to C. Michelle McCarty

What made you want to be an author? 

I grew up poor and wanted to maintain that lifestyle.  Actually, I believe my skills are innate since my grandmother and mother were proficient note takers, and I often picked up their notepads and enhanced whatever they had written. Now I write much longer notes, accentuated with duplicity. In other words, I'm a natural born liar.
Who has inspired you the most? 

Professionally, I cut my eye teeth on Elmore Leonard and have remained his fan for decades.  Personally, my daily inspiration comes from my deaf and visually impaired granddaughter who rises to every challenge and refuses to quit.
Can you tell us about some of your earlier days of writing?
 My first rejection letter came from Jack And Jill Magazine, but I didn't pout too long. By my mid-forties, I was completely over that humiliation and almost ready to share my closet writings with the world. Then along came my position as an admin assistant to an "unusual" boss who refused any association with computers, therefore gave me carte blanche to write correspondence emails to his staff and other company VPs. After years of suppressing my creative side, it reared its crazy head and bit professional decorum in the arse.  Soon directors, managers and assorted employees who had received my forwarded emails from others, began complimenting my writing style.  And my bravery.  Some asked if I was drinking on the job.  A year or so after my ramblings became commonplace, a manager mentioned he had kept all my emails in a folder and shared his favorites with friends outside our company. It's possible he was under the care of a psychiatrist at the time. A few months later, said manager came to me and suggested I write a book. Silly me, I accepted the challenge. Ray Cloninger, you're still on my *hit list!
In my previous official business life, I wrote everything from instructional manuals, to ad copy and food articles, before spending three years as an editor for a New Age, metaphysical online newspaper. 
How has your life considerably changed since you've been published?

 My free time evaporated, but in exchange I get to wear comfy nighties during the day (reserve those Victoria's Secret thong things for date nights). Honestly the most wonderful thing is meeting lovely people who read my work and contact me via Facebook. This is humbling.  
What inspired you to write The Jewel Box?  

Albeit fiction, my novel began as a tribute to a man who died before I thanked him for being so instrumental in helping mold me into a better human being.
 A part of the proceeds from The Jewel Box goes to help children with hearing loss. Does this specific organization have a significance for you?  

Yes. I have a granddaughter who is deaf and this is just a tiny way I can try and "Pay it forward." This foundation is being set up to help those who cannot afford hearing related appliances. Cochlear devices are extremely expensive (over $9,000.00) and many insurances do not fully cover this expense, many people do not have insurance or funds set aside, and when equipment pieces malfunction or get lost, minimum replacement cost is $200.    
What has been the best experience so far on your journey as an author? 

1) I have met several amazing authors, some Indie and some published via smaller publishing houses, whose brilliant work I might not have ever discovered.  2) My novel received a nice review from Kirkus, but last month they recommended The Jewel Box alongside best-selling author Sandra Brown, and also highlighted it for "Best Jacket Cover by an Indie Author."  I took the photograph with an old camera at Leon's Lounge (Houston's oldest bar) so it felt incredibly special to be recognized by Kirkus. 3) I was recently nominated as Favorite Houston Author. 
Can you give us some insight on any upcoming projects? 

 I am currently working on my second novel, Beyond The Pale, a story about a wealthy girl who gets disowned and goes from mansion to mobile home. I wrote the twist ending to this novel before I wrote the beginning, and now a creature I'd intended for minor infusion and merely described as a hedonistic windbag, has sprung to life and is demanding a bigger role. I never could resist an alcohol fueled, air dancing, Casanova wannabe with gold chains tangled in his chest hair. Don't judge me.
What advice can you give to any upcoming authors?  

Listen to your heart. Stay true to yourself but also stay open to criticism because constructive feedback will help you hone your craft. Not everyone will like your work, so don't fret when someone writes a negative review. Dance. Laugh. Bake. Drink, Eat. Read. Write. Write. Write. Do whatever makes your heart happy!. 

Thanks so much, C. Michelle McCarty for interviewing with us! Don't forget to follow her outlets below!

A mouthy small town girl takes on big city life assisted by her "Spiritual guide through sin
city" who pulls a Professor Higgins on Cherie while offering advice on single parenting and

multiple affairs the heart

Filled with moments from the mystical, laid-back Age of Aquarius through the materialistic

 high-speed Internet era, The Jewel Box references to the times / political climate and music

flect the rocky terrain of the country (and subsequent growth) parallel with that of its main

character The Jewel Box is a romantic family sage that reminds us true love rarely runs

smooth, true friendship never wavers, occasionally everyone screws up, and sometimes

slipping off track makes the final destination even more satisfying.

Want to get your hands on a copy of The Jewel Box? Click below!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Interview: Kathy Reinhart

Author Interview of the Week

This week's author interview is with Kathy Reinhart, author of Lily White Lies.

All Rights Reserved to Kathy Reinhart
Kathy Reinhart is the author of the award-winning LILY WHITE LIES, and her debut novel, MISSOURI IN A SUITCASE, which was written under the pen name, Nova Scott.

Before venturing into the world of mainstream fiction, Kathy wrote articles of interest for online enthusiast magazines, most notably on the subjects of horses and eventing.

A firm believer in paying it forward, she created and maintains the popular, INK DROP INTERVIEWS, where she features one-on-one question and answer sessions with Indie authors, spotlighting their work and thoughts on the subjects of writing and the publishing industry.

Kathy is currently working on the novels, FIGHT LIKE A GIRL, and THE RED STROKES, due out late 2013 and mid 2014, respectively. She is also in the early stages of a forthcoming novel, THE SALESMAN, a collaborative project based on a true story.

A few of Kathy's other interests include horses, cooking, traveling, antiquing, also kayaking and paddle boarding the Pennsylvania lakes and rivers.

"Write to the ends of your imagination"  ~Kathy Reinhart

What made you want to be an author?

I’m not sure what made me become a writer (in general), I always wrote. For years it was freelance, for magazines and then later I wrote for online enthusiast publications. It was after a serious riding accident that I was unable to do much else but lay around and read that I read an author I had previously liked, a lot, and thought, ‘This is terrible, I can do better’. That’s where my writing career was born.

Who has inspired you the most?

I am inspired in some way by almost every writer I’ve ever read. I can’t think of a book I’ve ever read that didn’t provide me with knowledge or some idea that I found useful. But my favorites are many of the southern writers, Fannie Flagg, Harper Lee, Flannery O’Connor, Eudora Welty, Jill McCorkle Horton Foote…. (I love John Berendt’s ‘Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, although he is not a southern writer)

Can you tell us about some of your earlier days of writing?

As I said, my earlier days were spent writing mostly about horses and eventing, the kind of stuff that appealed to a much smaller audience. I enjoyed it, but you can only say so much on the subject before you’re repeating yourself!

How has your life considerably changed since you've been published?

My life hasn’t actually changed, but my work habits have. I take a more serious approach to my writing now that I have several novels out. I’ve come to realize that the level of dedication (for me) is much greater.

You were the winner of the 2009 Brighid's National Fiction Manuscript Contest. Congrats! What exactly was it and how has it helped shape your career?

The Brighid’s contest was a national manuscript contest open to everyone who had written a full-length novel. It was conducted in segments. First it called for the first three chapters of your work, then selected ‘X’ number of applicants to send their full manuscripts. The winner received a publishing contract and an advance.

It has helped shaped my career in a very unexpected way. I never saw a dime of my advance and I never received a nickel of any royalties earned. Once my book was published (June of 2010), my publisher disappeared. She will not reply to my emails, she does not take my calls, she has not been in contact with me at all. It took being cheated to make me realize that I only have myself to rely on. When I realized that she had no intention of paying me any of the money he owed me, I formatted my book for Kindle and put it into KDP (Amazon). Although sales have slowed down now, it’s been out a while, I enjoyed seeing many, many copies of my book sell through Amazon for Kindle. If my publisher had been honest and kept her end of the contract, I may not have pushed as hard as I have with the digital book.

What inspired you to write Lily White Lies?

I’m inspired to write in general, but I can’t say exactly where the idea for Lily White Lies came from. I see ideas in everything! I have more ideas for books than I could write in two lifetimes.

What has been the best experience so far on your journey as an author?

It’s the little things that are huge to me… The book club that sent me a package and in it was every members copy of Lily White Lies – they asked me to sign them and included a photo of each of them holding their copy during one of their club meetings. Fan mail… I certainly don’t receive it in J.K. Rowling volume, but I do get it and I enjoy reading each one. Things like that….

Can you give us some insight on any upcoming projects?

Actually, I am working one two novels now, ‘Fight Like A Girl’ and ‘The Red Strokes’. ‘Fight’ will fall into the women’s fiction category, with a twist you won’t see coming! ‘Strokes’ encompasses fifty years and a very diverse set of characters. It brings the north and the south into sharp focus and is told through the eyes of a ‘least likely’ character. I can’t wait to finish writing them so that I can read them!

What advice can you give to any upcoming authors?

Keep at it. Don’t get discouraged if your break doesn’t come as quickly as you think it should, it rarely does. Never stop reading! Write, write, write. Don’t rush the process, and by that I mean don’t rush to publication, self or digital. If you do and it wasn’t ready, it won’t sell. You’ll become discouraged and that will begin a  vicious cycle that will kill your creative process.

Thanks so much, Kathy for interviewing with us! Don't forget to follow her outlets below!

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Interview: Lauren Blakely

Author Interview of the Week

This week's interview is with Lauren Blakely, author of New York Times best seller Trophy Husband.

What made you want to be an author?

I hear voices in my head! No, seriously. But good voices! And they want their stories told! And because I love reading and being transported and I want to be able to do the same - to whisk readers away with a love story.

Who has inspired you the most?

Inspiration comes from so many places! When it comes to authors, I adore Danielle Steele, Sophie Kinsella, Simone Noelle, and I loved Sidney Sheldon growing up. Of course, I'm a Harry Potter fan too and Time Traveler's Wife is one of my favorite romances of all time. But I also find inspiration from movies, like Shakespeare in Love, from songs, like Joss Stone's Bruised But Not Broken, and from Broadway musicals like Rent. 

Can you tell us about some of your earlier days of writing?

When I started my first novel seven or eight years ago (not published), I didn't have a clue how to tell a story! It was slow and sluggish and overly detailed. But I've had great critique partners and have learned to fine tune the details and - I hope - to cut out the boring parts.

How has your life considerably changed since you've been published?

I'm busier! A lot busier! But I love what I do so I wouldn't change a thing.

What can readers expect from your books?

I aim to deliver sexy romance with HEAs. My books so far have been sexy, sweet and funny with lots of banter and steamy scenes. My next release, Playing With Her Heart (August 20), is a bit of divergence, but in a good way. It's longer, deeper, more emotional, more angst, and hotter sex scenes!

Trophy Husband was listed on the New York Times Best Seller list. Congratulations! How does that boost your career?

It's a dream come true! My first novel Caught Up In Us was also a NYT Bestseller, and when Trophy Husband hit, I was shocked and thrilled, and also had this wonderful feeling of perhaps the first time wasn't a fluke, since I had hit with two books!

What has been the best experience so far on your journey as an author?

The best part is hearing from readers. I adore my readers and I love their messages and knowing they enjoyed my stories.

Can you give us some insight on any upcoming projects?

Yes! Playing With Her Heart - - releases Aug 20 and is the 3rd book in the Caught Up In Us series, but each book centers on a different couple, so this can be read as a standalone. For fans of Caught Up In Us though, they'll get to enjoy scenes with some of the characters they've enjoyed from the other books. This book is also my first novel in first person dual POV so you'll hear from the hero and the heroine, and they have a very intense relationship!

What advice can you give to any upcoming authors?

Write every day. Don't give up. Study the market. Make friends. Be nice. Love your readers.

Thanks so much, Lauren for interviewing with us! Don't forget to follow her outlets listed below!

Want to get your hands on a copy of her books? Click below!