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#1 NY Times Bestselling Author Barbara Freethy Interview & Blog Tour from Novel Publicity


#1 NY Times Bestselling Author Barbara Freethy talks inspiration, romance, and research, plus tells us about the Callaways and how their lives resemble her own… Check out what she has to say and then read on for more information about this blog tour and all its great prizes!

All Callaway Book Covers

 

What do you love most about being an author?

Being able to tell stories! I’ve been a voracious reader since I was a child, and having a job that allows me to create my own worlds, characters and plots is a dream come true.

What first inspired you to write the Callaways? Where did you get the initial idea for the series?

I had wanted to write a family series for a while, and I wanted the family to be blended, just to make the dynamics a little more interesting. Jack Callaway was a widower with four small boys when he met Lynda Kane, a divorcee with two small girls. They fell in love, got married and had twins. The eight siblings are now adults and range in age between 35 and 25. I also wanted the Callaways to stand for something. So there’s a family tradition of “serve and protect”. All the kids are raised with the idea that they need to serve the community, to help others and to always protect the family as well as anyone else in trouble. And the Callaways always seem to find trouble, even when they’re not looking for it.

Which of the Callaway siblings is the most like you? How are the two of you similar?

There is a piece of me in every character that I write, which makes it impossible for me to ever pick a favorite. I do like Emma a lot, because she’s the one person in the family who has a close relationship with every sibling. She’s also independent, brave and loving, which are all great traits.

Your characters all have such fascinating jobs, and, in reading your novels, it feels like I’m right there with them. How do you perform your research in order to make careers such as a smoke jumper, homicide detective, or Coast Guard rescue pilot so authentic?

I’ve read quite a few nonfiction books and articles written by smoke jumpers, firefighters, cops, etc. And I have a writer friend who is also a police detective, so I often ask her for help with the more technical aspects. But what’s really fun about writing is discovering new things—so I love to write about people in careers I don’t know that much about. In THAT SUMMER NIGHT, one of the characters is tied into the pharmaceutical industry, and I had never written a book that delved into that area. I found some of the true whistleblower stories that I read in preparation for writing that book to be fascinating. I think enjoying research is probably a big part of being a successful writer. I was born with a curiosity and an imagination. Writing is a great outlet!

The Callaways all have such beautiful, unique love stories. How do you get in the mindset for writing them? Are any of their stories inspired, at least in part, by your own real-life love story?

I have a wonderful husband who always takes credit for being my inspiration. And while that’s true, as a writer I do love to explore stories beyond my own personal experience. I like to bring together couples who complement each other but also drive each other a little crazy. I think love is about finding that one person who pushes you to be better, who challenges the way you think, supports you no matter what and gives you that heady, dizzy, wonderful feeling that comes when you fall in love.

I love that your novels are not only awesome romances but also have gripping suspense as a central part of the story line. How do you start planning your novels with the romance or with the suspense—or with something else altogether?

I enjoy writing romance that brings a little extra in terms of a plot. So every Callaway novel features a great love story, a puzzling mystery, some family drama and a little nerve-tingling suspense. I don’t outline in great detail, but I always have a general idea of the suspense plot points before I begin. The story takes shape and changes as I put myself into the characters’ heads. That’s part of the fun of writing!

Congrats on your groundbreaking, new partnership with Ingram to get the paperback editions of the Callaways out to the world. What about this opportunity has you most excited?

Since I formed my own publishing company and began independently publishing my books outside of the traditional New York publishing industry, it’s been a challenge to get my books into print and into physical bookstores across the country. Late last year, I entered into a groundbreaking partnership with Ingram Publisher Services to sell and distribute my books into retail outlets like Target, Barnes and Noble, airport bookstores and supermarkets, as well as other bookstore chains. I know there are lots of readers who still prefer to read in print, and I’m thrilled that they’ll now be able to read my bestselling digital series in their favorite format!

About the Callaway Blog Tour & All Its Great Prizes!

Callaway Tour Badge

This is the week you finally meet the Callaways! Not only are they all over the web as part of their extraordinary blog tour, but they are also out and about in your neighborhood. That’s right; we’re celebrating the print launch with Ingram by throwing a party all over the world! Make sure to follow this tour closely for your chance to win gift cards, swag, autographed books, and other incredible prizes.

All the info you need to join the fun and enter to win amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment—easy to enter; easy to win!

To Win the Prizes:

  1. Purchase any of the Callaway novels by Barbara Freethy (optional)
  2. Enter the Rafflecopter contest on Novel Publicity (go here)
  3. Visit today’s featured social media event (that’s where the HUGE prizes are)

About The Callaways: The Callaways were born to serve and protect! In Barbara’s new connected family series, each of the eight siblings in this blended Irish-American family find love, mystery and adventure, often where they least expect it! Each book stands alone, but for the full enjoyment of the series, you might want to start at the beginning with On A Night Like This! Get the eBooks via AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooks, or Kobo.

About the Author: Barbara Freethy has been making up stories most of her life. Growing up in a neighborhood with only boys and a big brother who was usually trying to ditch her, she spent a lot of time reading. When she wasn’t reading, she was imagining her own books. After college and several years in the P.R. field, she decided to try her hand at a novel. Now Barbara is a #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author loved by readers all over the world. Her novels range from contemporary romance to romantic suspense and women’s fiction. Learn more on her websiteFacebook page, or in her Street Team.

 

 

 

 

Interview with Joel Ohman (YA Dystopia)


In Meritropolis, everyone is assigned a numerical Score that decides their worth to society and whether they live or die. After a young boy is killed because of a low Score, his brother plots to take down the System.

Sounds good, right? Well, this exciting YA Dystopia is on sale for just 99 cents Thursday, November 27 through Monday, December 1. You can pick up your copy on Amazon.

Meritropolis

To celebrate, we are offering a giveaway for an autographed copy and a $100 Amazon gift card—hooray!

Check out this interview with Joel Ohman, the author of the book critics are calling, “The Hunger Games meets The Village with a young Jack Reacher as a protagonist”, then scroll to the end of this post to learn more about the giveaway. Happy reading, and good luck!

 

Joel OhmanReader Interview with Joel Ohman

 

Who or what was your inspiration to write about post-apocalyptic, dystopian sci-fi?

I’ve read a lot in this genre, so I would say it’s a mix of a lot of different things. I really just wanted to explore this question of, “What gives a person worth?” Is it their usefulness to society? Is it because someone loves them? Is it because of how they look? Is it because of their health or ability? As a Christian, I believe that all people have worth, because they are made in the image of God. I wanted to explore some different takes on this question. I think that the post-apocalyptic/dystopian/sci-fi genre was the best vehicle to tackle some of those deep philosophical questions in a fun and interesting way.

Why do you write? Is it for fun, or because you have something you need to say in your writing?

Some writers are loath to say their writing has a message, because maybe they think doing so diminishes their art (not true, in my opinion), but I think that everyone has a message in their writing, even if they aren’t as consciously focused on it—and that’s a good thing. My message is in my epigraph: “Because everyone matters – Psalm 139”.

Why the title Meritropolis?

I wanted a short one word title that was a clever—or at least semi-clever—play on two different words. I like “Meritropolis” because it combines “Merit” and “Metropolis,” two words that are great for describing a city where each resident’s worth is measured by a score given to them.

 

Illustration, FestrelIllustration, Rama

In Meritropolis, how were the animal combinations decided upon? For example, I know you chose to write about a bion (bull-lion), as well as many other freaks of nature. So what I want to know is how did you decided which animals to meld together and why.

I have a big list of animal combinations that I came up with before I began writing the book, and I tried to work in as many as I could. Sometimes the only criteria was that I liked the way the name sounded. Look for many more in the following books!

 

 

Can you tells us about your characters and who/what inspired them?

I am a big believer in John Truby’s approach to building a “character web”, because this deepens the relationships between characters and helps to make each of the characters more complex. Absent building a good character web, it can be all too easy to fall into the not-very-true-to-real-life good-person/bad-person false dichotomy where your protagonist devolves into this I-can-do-no-wrong character and your antagonist is just pure evil. I was very much aiming to show the imperfections and brokenness in each of the characters. My thinking as a Christian influences this to some degree, given that the Bible teaches that we are all essentially the same; we are all sinners—only God is perfect.

Do you have a favorite genre that you like to read?

I read pretty much everything! Fiction, non-fiction, you name it! I am of the opinion that, as an author, I can learn something from almost every kind of writing. Sometimes, it most definitely is a matter of learning what not to do—but, on the whole, I love to read a wide variety of writing styles, genres, etc.

Are there any books that have inspired your own writing?

I read A LOT so there are many different things that have shaped my writing over the years, but I wouldn’t say there was any particular book, or books, that I was consciously looking to for inspiration while writing Meritropolis. Looking back though I can definitely see different threads of influence in almost everything I have read over the years that contribute toward making Meritropolis what it is: the strong protagonist of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series, the philosophical bent of C.S. Lewis’ fiction, the dystopian setting of Hugh Howey’s WOOL series, and many more.

Are there any authors that have emerged in the last three years that have caught your interest?

Hugh Howey is an author that I really like that has caught my attention lately. I would highly recommend his WOOL series!

 

Don’t forget!

Meritropolis is marked down from its regular price of $5.99, but only for a limited time. Feed your Kindle by picking up a discounted copy for just 99 cents, but make sure you do it before December 2!

 

Now enter the giveaway

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The Heartless by James Ticknor


The Heartless by James Ticknor

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Eighteen-year-old Menar Redfield, a gifted Healer apprentice, plans to settle in the city of Cajoi with his pregnant fiancée. However, his unexplained visions show him a secret war masked by the king’s political regime, placing them both in danger. When his visions come true, his fiancée is killed in the attack on Cajoi by the Heartless, a malicious raider cult.

In his body-strewn path of vengeance, Menar intercepts intelligence revealing the location of Crual, the Heartless’ sadistic combat commander and the one responsible for the death of his fiancée and unborn child. Menar vows to slaughter Crual and sabotage the Heartless’ insurrection. Yet the more blood he spills, the more a dark power grows within him.

If he can use this power to overcome Crual, end the war, and disband the Heartless, their increasing control over the debilitated country will be stopped. But he must hurry, because the dark power Menar possesses threatens to consume him.




Interview

Will Green: Tell us about your books that you have available.

James Ticknor: The Heartless is my debut novel, and it is the first in a trilogy. It is about a young man preparing to begin his life with his fiancée, but she is killed by a malicious raider cult. This atrocity makes him catapult himself into a clandestine war hidden by a political regime. As the story progresses through the book and the trilogy, his internal struggle fans the flames surrounding a corrupt political hierarchy and incites chaos among factions vying for control of the country. In this trilogy, I kept the action/pace intrigue of Game of Thrones in mind, and I also drew inspiration from the Eragon Cycle in the sense of magic. (Though, there are no dragons in this trilogy. It is light fantasy.)

Will Green: What can you tell us about your next project?

James Ticknor: Quite simply, my next project is going to be working on the second installment of this trilogy. This second novel should come much faster than The Heartless. For my audience, I promise that I will write it in six months. For myself, I promise to write it in three months. That way, I can surprise my readers if I finish early, but I can give myself some slack if I need to. In this second book, the political spectrum and factions are given a bigger spotlight, but I really wanted the first book to be focused on introducing and developing the characters. I know how to execute intrigue while still taking my time, something I admire George RR Martin for very much, and he’s played quite an influence in this trilogy.

Will Green: Where do you get the information for your book(s)?

James Ticknor: Well, at first it was Wikipedia. Then I realized researching was turning into an excuse. It also kind of sucked because I would read something about the era I’m writing in that I found astounding (such as impressing seals as signatures), and I would want to write all about how it’s done. Now, I only research on the edits, and skimp over what I don’t fully know in the first draft.

Will Green: What was the most surprising thing you’ve learned since you started writing?

James Ticknor: Without any shadow of uncertainty, I was immensely surprised that writing something could make me gasp and sting my eyes with tears. I am not an emotional man. I didn’t cry at The Notebook, Titanic, or even Forrest Gump. What I find amazing is that for most things, I kinda already knew what was going to happen. However, I remember when I was writing one part of the story and a character said something totally shocking and out-of-character for himself, and I didn’t gasp until after I had typed it- after he said it. I hold that as proof that characters act for themselves, and they can surprise you.

Will Green: How long does it take you to write a book?

James Ticknor: Oh, God. You know, Stephen King once said that writing a book should never take more than three months. This book took me…oh….nearly 5 years to write. I was writing on and off, because I joined the military and for about 2 years my writing suffered immensely with deployments overseas and training. During that time (before the military) I also experienced homeless and extreme poverty (I’m talking $5 a week to eat off of and nothing else). There were several other personal issues that I would never discuss, but the 5 years it took me to write this is poured with every emotion and influence of going through all this. I will never take so long to write a book again. 3-6 months is ideal, 1 year max. The thing that made it take so long aside from these is I was 16 at the time, and I’m 21 now. My writing style changed very much during that time, and the book was written by a different person in the beginning, middle, and end.

Will Green: Who or What inspires you to write?

James Ticknor: Sad songs inspire me. Seeing a couple kiss. Seeing a leaf fall. Squashing a spider in my house. Anything inspires me to write, because I will craft the craziest shit from the dumbest stuff. It’s easy to be inspired to write, but it’s practically impossible to maintain that inspiration. Inspiration is like an adrenaline shot, but it takes an Olympian writer to keep working after that boost.

Will Green: What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

James Ticknor: You know, I had to think for a second before I answered this, and I actually have a good one for you. I’ve always treated my characters as if they were real. Occasionally, I will have them randomly engage in erotic behavior with one another, kill each other for no good reason, etc. Of course, I know I am going to delete this, but the characters are real, and I think they need a little release sometimes. If you’ve ever seen Monster In Law, you know what I mean.

Will Green: What book are you reading right now?

James Ticknor: I am reading two, actually. I am reading Under the Dome by Stephen King, and I am also reading A Song of Ice and Fire by George RR Martin.

Will Green: Who is your favorite author and why?

James Ticknor: Stephen King! Oh God Stephen King! The guy is a freaking literary master, and he has proven it over and over again. He takes the most ordinary things and makes them outrageous, yet still believable. I love hearing how he comes up with stories. However, the main reason I am so enthusiastic about him is because of his interviews. A multi-million dollar entrepreneur, he walks into TV spotlight with blue jeans and a pocket T shirt that only my grandfather would wear. He cusses and engages with the population vocally in the same style of his writing. If I find out he voiced an audiobook of one of his books, I’d buy it and ask him to autograph it. I know it makes no sense, but I’m using “shut up and take my money” logic here.

Will Green: What kind of music do you listen to and why?

James Ticknor: Quite frequently, Evanescence. Although she said in an interview she doesn’t consider herself dark, I think she is. Nearly everything that I write is dark. I’ll otherwise listen to classical music. Songs can sometimes distract me.

Will Green: What do you watch on TV and why?

James Ticknor: I watch Netflix, not cable. On Netflix, I watch Futurama, Family Guy, American Dad, and American Horror Story. I love Disney movies too. I watch these comedy shows because comedy, in my firm belief, is the element of surprise, to get you to look at something in a new way that sparks sudden emotion and physical reaction. For American Horror Story, it’s because I like a long story, but still want to move on to other things at one point. For Disney, it’s just a good story. Also I like understanding the fucked up plots I didn’t understand before. My favorite Disney movie is The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and I love looking back at it because I didn’t understand the religious intolerance, lust, and ethnic persecution when I watched it at 5 years old.

Will Green: What kind of advice could you give an aspiring writer?

James Ticknor: Get the fuck off the internet. That doesn’t mean go and watch TV or check your phone for “just one more text”. Electronic recreational devices or social media is the death of inspiration and writing. How many times have you been inspired from something you read on Facebook? Exactly. No, I’m serious. Don’t argue with me. Get. Off. It.

On another note, live in doubt, but don’t let it cage you. Doubt makes us question all aspects of our writing, which is good. There’s going to be people who hate your writing. Listen to criticism, but be aware of who is speaking (Stephen King quote). I remember when I was in high school I wrote the worst, most profane literary piece to no one in particular. However, it got to the principal somehow. There was no violence, no threats or anything- just cuss words. In this public school where assault warranted 1-2 day suspension, I was initially suspended 10 days with recommendation for expulsion based on that writing piece. That is when the biggest critic of my life made me believe (from the amount of controversy and trouble it caused) that I was damned good writer. The message from that is even if someone hates your work, it can be because you are a very powerful writer.

Connect with James Ticknor

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(Novel Publicity) Interview with Stephanie Fleshman (Render)


Please enjoy this interview with Stephanie Fleshman, author of the enticing Paranormal YA, Render. Then read on to learn how you can win huge prizes as part of this blog tour, including a Kindle Fire, $550 in Amazon gift cards, and 5 autographed copies of the book.

An Interview with Stephanie Fleshman

Author of YA Paranormal Novel, Render

1. How do your experiences traveling and growing up in a rural town help you to write?

Traveling has always stimulated the passion I have for learning other cultures. Render definitely depicts that, since I bring so many other cultures into the story.

2. You are among many new authors who went to a post-secondary school for something completely different from writing. How does your degree in psychology play a role in your writing?

Psychology is the study of human behavior, so that has definitely helped to create multi-dimensional characters.

3. Do you have any advice for others who have stuck to a career path, but find that writing is their true calling?

I don’t believe you have to choose. Experience and knowledge of different fields can benefit a writing career, depending on what you want to write.

4. Who are two of your favorite authors, and why do those authors speak to you?

Cormac McCarthy. I think he is a literary genius.

J.K. Rowling. She is a true storyteller, which I believe is different than telling a story.

5. You use some really unique names in Render like Koldan, Raya Whitney and “The Russian.” Where did you get the inspiration for the names? Secondly, when in the writing process do you name characters?

I start with names, but those names have a tendency to change throughout the story. For Render, most of the names had to do with origin.

6. “Koldan Holdt knows what he wants.” He knows, but his fate has been determined since before his birth. Can you discuss how people find their way around the obstacles of life as well as any suggestions you might have?

Recognizing there is no such thing as complete control–the control you do have is determined by different variables, one being the choices you make.

Render Tour BadgeAs part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, Render, the debut YA Paranormal novel by Stephanie Fleshman, is on sale for just 99 cents! What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes.

The prizes include a Kindle Fire, $550 in Amazon gift cards, and 5 autographed copies of the book.

All the info you need to win one of these amazing prizes is RIGHT HERE. Remember, winning is as easy as clicking a button or leaving a blog comment–easy to enter; easy to win!

To win the prizes:

  1. Get Render at its discounted price of 99 cents
  2. Enter the Rafflecopter contest below
  3. Visit the featured social media events
  4. Leave a comment on my blog for a chance at a $100 prize.

About Render: A betrayal born of blood. A curse for a gift. A love worth saving… Seventeen-year-old Raya Whitney thought she knew Koldan–until a sudden turn of events threatens both their lives. Get it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or iTunes.

Stephanie Fleshman graduated with a degree in psychology and has family throughout the United States as well as in Thessaloniki and Athens, Greece. Visit Stephanie on her website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads.

Sliding Beneath the Surface Blog Tour: Interview with Doug Dillon


Sliding Beneath the Surface Banner copy 

Interview of Doug Dillon: author of Sliding Beneath the Surface

1. Doug Dillon publicity

Book I in The St. Augustine Trilogy

 1.  What do you like about writing in the paranormal genre?

First of all, it is just so much fun. I get to play with the spooky things that have haunted humankind for millennia and the possibilities are endless. Second of all I get to use my own paranormal experiences as a basis for everything I write in that arena. It just flows so naturally because I’ve been there. And last of all, I get to actually educate some folks about the paranormal in the process. Sure, I present all that stuff as scary, but in the end, I show it as a very natural and positive part of who we are as human beings.

2.   How long did it take to write your book?

To be perfectly honest, I started playing with the Sliding book during a trip to St. Augustine back in 2004. But actual writing/editing time would be about a year and a half.

3.   Do you create an outline first?

Yup, I’m an outliner from hell. Well, not in the usual outline format but I do pre-construct each chapter with its own story arcs and write a synopsis. I also have a checklist of items I need to include with regard to things such as location, physical environment and whatever Jeff, the main character, is physically sensing.

In fact, I have an actual form I used to outline Book II of the trilogy so I wouldn’t forget anything. BUT–once I get into the writing, my characters and I often veer in unexpected directions and new chapters sometimes get written in the process.

4.   Do you ever get writer’s block and if so how do you overcome it?

Only in the sense that I struggle with how to express something complex in the fewest words possible. Even then, I’m a meditator so I know how to gently back away from the problem, stay centered and look at it in a new light.

5.   If you couldn’t be an author, what would your ideal career be?

If I had the professional credentials, I would love to be an investigator for the University of Virginia’s Division of Perceptual Studies. For decades, they have been investigating cases of reincarnation in children worldwide.

6.   List 3 books you just recently read and would recommend?

Nonfiction – Life Before Life: Children’s Memories of Previous Lives by Dr. Jim Tucker

Mystery – The Sanibel Sunset Detective by Canadian journalist Ron Base

YA – Divergent by Veronica Roth

6. Book I cover

Trilogy Graphic

Where can everyone find your books? What social media sites are you on?

 

Buy Links:

 

Click to Buy E-book:

 

Click to Buy Print Book:

 

Author Links:

 

Blog:http://dougdillon.com/news/

Web Page:http://dougdillon.com

Twitter:https://twitter.com/Doug__Dillon

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

Central:http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005ZEJTJ4

Goodreads’ Author page:http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/580090.Doug_Dillon

Amazon Book: http://www.amazon.com/SlidingBeneathSurfaceAugustineebook

 

 

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INTERVIEW WITH ELLE CASEY: INDIE AUTHOR


Here it is Ladies and Gentlemen, the much anticipated interview with Elle Casey. She is the author of so many great books and has many more coming out this year. She is responsible for the awesomeness (I think Jason is rubbing off on me lol) of the ‘War of the Fae’ series, ‘Vampire Seasons’, ‘Desperate Measures’, ‘Apocalypsis’, and ‘Wrecked’. She is also cranking out books left and right for the rest of the year. I am so looking forward to the spin-off series of ‘The War of the Fae’, which is called ‘Clash of the Otherworlds’. I will quit being a fan girl though, and let Elle Casey speak for herself. I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did. Please share it everywhere it can be shared, you can reblog it, facebook it, tweet it…whatever floats your boat. Also, please like this page at the bottom if you liked this interview. I am also sure Elle would LOVE reader comments. Lets show some support for the Indie authors we ♥

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Elle, I love your books. What made you decide you wanted to write? Why YA novels?

I read an article about Amanda Hocking last December and the success she had being an indie (self-published author).  It inspired me to finish the novel Wrecked, which I’d been working on for years, on and off.  I never finished it before because I’m a very impatient person by nature, and the idea of hounding agents to represent me and waiting for an agent to find a publisher just seemed like it could never happen – like winning the lottery.  I had a life, a family, work … better things to do with my time, essentially.  But when I found out I could publish the book myself, that changed the whole deal for me.  I finished the book in about 6 weeks or so, had it edited, and published it. (And the rest, as they say, is history. lol)  — I write YA simply because it’s my favorite genre to read.  I’ve written one adult novel so far and enjoyed the process, and I will write more of it, but my heart is still with YA.

What made you move to France? How is life different living in a foreign country?

I needed more adventure in my life, and France was perfect for that.  I crave what I call “controlled adventure”.  Safe but awesome stuff.  You won’t find me in the Amazonian jungle, but a country with wine that flows like water and over 4,000 cheeses?  Sign me up.  I also wanted my kids to experience another culture and become bi-lingual.  I feared that as Americans who had never lived anywhere else, they were getting a somewhat skewed view of the world.  France’s language, culture, and people have been near to my heart since I was young.  My mom majored in French in college and was always throwing French phrases around at our house.  Then I took French in high school.  As an adult I visited a few times.  I guess I could never get it out of my system.  We were originally only going to stay here for a year – but we’ve decided to stay indefinitely because we love it so much.  And now that I write for a living, it’s possible for me to live anywhere in the world that I have an internet connection.

The first book I read of yours was ‘Wrecked’. I loved the characters. It reminded me of the dynamics of high school. Do you have a hard time writing from a teenagers point of view?

No, I think I find it easy for two reasons: First, I have two of them at home; and second, because I’m very immature – practically still a teenager myself sometimes.  🙂

What do you think of sex in YA novels?

I think if an author is writing for older YA audiences (teens 15+) it’s perfectly okay.  Why?  Because that’s when most teens become sexually active (or their friends do), so it’s real; it’s a realistic world the author creates when it reflects the realities of a teen’s life.  I wouldn’t use it in Middle-Grade YA, though.  And I do have a middle-grade YA series coming out next year, so my 8-year-old can have something of mine to read.  I have one chapter done, just because I had to get it out of my head, and it has the word poop in it a lot (I did mention earlier that I’m immature, right?) —  I know some readers don’t agree that YA should ever have sex, violence, drugs, or any of the things some find “inappropriate” for teens who aren’t yet married adults.  But those people, in my opinion, want authors to create unrealistic fantasy worlds; and even in fantasy worlds, I like to keep it real, if you know what I mean.  I manage reader expectations by warning them there is foul language or sex or whatever in the books – then they can make an informed decision about whether to read it or not.  And if I forget to warn about it in the blurb, my readers mention it in reviews, so it’s not a secret what’s in my books.

Most of your books have bad language in them. I, for one, think it makes them hilarious and more realistic. Teenagers have bad mouths lol, and that is just a fact. What do you say to people that do not approve of bad language in YA books? Where do you come up with some of the stuff your characters say?

I tell anyone who doesn’t like the swearing in my books to go to H.E. double hockey sticks.  JUST KIDDING!!  Seriously.  I never say that to reader.  I adore my readers, even the ones like my Uncle Doug who think cussing is the devil’s work.  When a reader complains (which has happened twice in an email to me, and has been negatively mentioned in a handful of reviews) I tell them that I write in what I consider to be a realistic style and suggest they seek out middle-grade YA for more tame language or even traditionally published YA, because publishers tend to eliminate most cuss words from their books  — Everything my characters say comes from the voices in my head, so I guess that tells you a lot about me, doesn’t it?  🙂

I absolutely loved Jayne in the ‘War of the Fae’ series. Is her character based on anyone you know?

Hell yes.  Me.

Which do you like better: writing fantasy books like the ‘War of the Fae’ series or more realistic books such as ‘Wrecked’? I also know that you have written a chick lit book. I still need to read it! How was that different from writing YA?

I prefer fantasy and science fiction because believe it or not, it’s easier for me to write.  I don’t have the same boundaries – if I can dream it and find a way to make is seem ‘possible’, it works in the story.  Readers of realistic work (like Action/Adventure) have a problem when you portray things unrealistically; and of course, if you portray it too realistically, you get accused of writing things that are too cliché.  Makes me crazy.  I like the freedom of writing fantasy where readers are mentally prepared to play in my world, and I can build it how I want.  — Chick lit is different in that I have to move out of the teen realm and move into grown-up realm.  Everything’s different from clothes, to language, to habits, to behaviors …  I have to make a big shift mentally to go into chick lit, but since I enjoy reading in that genre too, it’s not too big a stretch for me.  Plus sometimes I actually have to act like an adult, so I know how to write it realistically, I think.

Why did you write your chick/lit book under the Kat Lee pen name, but immediately out yourself as Elle Casey?

The reason for using the different pen name was twofold: First, I am doing that project and any chick lit books I write with my mom.  We’re business partners, I guess you could say.  She’s handling the promotion for me and giving me lots of beta reading along the way as I write.  Second, it’s not young adult, and the sex is a lot more grown-up and explicit, so I didn’t want to risk a young adult reader who actually is a young adult (I have mostly adult readers, even for the YA books) to pick it up thinking it’s young adult and have their parents get all up in my grill over it (I already get enough grief over the very vanilla sex scene in Wrecked).  So a different name made it easier to say, “Hey!  This is a sexy book!  Maybe not for your fourteen-year-old!”  But, on the other hand, I wanted readers who enjoy my writing style – many of whom ask me on a regular basis when I’m going to have new stuff to read – to have access to it without having to hunt for it too hard.  The majority of my readers are adults, so I figured if they read chick lit and liked my YA stuff, maybe they’d enjoy that too.

Who is your favorite character, besides Jayne, in the ‘War of the Fae’ and why?

Tim the pixie.  He’s hilarious and has lots of secrets I’m dying to know.  Plus, I’m a sucker for a misunderstood guy.

Which book is your favorite out of all the books you wrote?

I honestly like them all.  Wrecked was my first, and I think as I continued to write, each book got better.  So if you want to know which one I think is the best from a technical standpoint, I’d say whatever the most recent one is.  I become more skilled with each attempt.  But my favorite world so far is the War of the Fae world.  And that series is my most popular with readers, too.

If you could be any type of paranormal creature/person, what would you be?

And elemental of course.  Mother Fucking Nature, baby.  [Quote from War of the Fae, people.  Don’t email me that you’re offended by my language.  It wasn’t me!  I swear!]

I just finished your new book, Apocalypsis. Where did the idea from that book come from?

I have been intrigued by the idea of kids living without parents since I was very young.  I was always dreaming up scenarios like that and read books with those themes whenever I could find them.  I even left home when I was 17, frustrated with the adults in my life.  All of my books in the YA world have an element of teens surviving without adults or living more independently.  I guess I just love the concept.  As a teen I was depressed a lot and felt very lost and misunderstood, which caused me to want to live away from the adult influences in my life. The memories of those times have never left me and I want to write for people who also might have felt that way before.  In my stories, you can escape for a little while and live that “what if” fantasy.

Do you really think that teenagers could survive without adults in a post-apocalyptic world?

Of course.  Kids can be very resourceful when left to their own devices.  Plus we’re hard-wired to survive.

What is one piece of advice you would give your kids if they were in the situation the characters of Apocalypsis are in?

Stick together, don’t give up, kick ass when you need to, and don’t forget to be kind to each other.

I also have to know because it was just a few days ago that you posted that the first draft of Apocalypsis was finished, and yet the second book comes out in a month…how do you write books so fast? What is your secret?

I’m a cyborg.  Shhh.  Don’t tell.

What is coming up for you after the Apocalypsis books?

Here’s my schedule for the rest of 2012: Apocalypsis 2 (July), Apocalypsis 3 (August), Clash of the Otherworlds [COTOW] 1 (September), COTOW 2 (October), COTOW 3 (November), Vampire Seasons 2 (November), Reckless, [sequel to Wrecked] (December), Desperate Measures 2 (December).  And in 2013:  Desperate Measures 3 (January), joint project with Jason “Dead Muskrat on His Head” Brant (February), and then, who knows?  More YA series, including a middle-grade one starring an 8-year-old girl named Goo and her 2-year-old brother Looshie. I might also take a vacation for a couple weeks at some point.

Jason Brant told me to ask you why you were such a douche and how do you deal with his awesomeness lol, but you don’t have to answer that, if you don’t want to

Well.  You can tell Jason from me that … no.  Wait.  Let me start over.  A-hem.  The reason why Jason calls me a douche is because the word douche means ‘shower’ in French (and I live in France, so he’s always being cute and using French words with me), so it’s his sneaky way of ‘showering’ me with affection.  It’s a cute little thing he does while guzzling cheap beer and huffing glue over his keyboard.  I deal with Jason’s awesomeness by writing ten times as many books as he does in a year.  BOOYAH, JASON!  Why don’t you spread that on your toast and eat it, Muskrat Head!  … wait … did I actually just write that?

Thank you so much for answering my questions! I cannot wait to read whatever is coming next from you. I am also so excited by the prospect of a Elle/Jason book. It is going to be one wild ride!

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I hope you enjoyed that interview. Please do not forget to share this anyway you like, facebook, twitter, blog…anywhere you can. I am also sure Elle would enjoy reader comments/questions. Elle is also on facebook and Twitter, as well as has her own website. I am sure that she would love to connect with you on these. Please also ‘like’ my facebook page and/or follow my blog for more great reviews and interviews that will be coming soon.

(Elle’s website) http://ellecasey.com/ 

(Elle’s Facebook) http://www.facebook.com/ellecaseytheauthor 

(My Facebook) http://www.facebook.com/cynthiashepp 

Links to some of Elle’s Books! I hope you give them all a chance.

Apocalypsis: Book 1 (Kahayatle)

Wrecked

The Changelings (War of the Fae: Book 1)

Call to Arms (War of the Fae: Book 2)

Darkness & Light (War of the Fae: Book 3)

New World Order (War of the Fae: Book 4)

My Vampire Summer (Vampire Seasons)

Full Measure (Desperate Measures Trilogy: Book 1)

INTERVIEW with ELLE CASEY, author of the ‘WAR OF THE FAE’ series TOMORROW! 6/27/12


I am so excited to be announcing this! Tomorrow I will post an interview with Elle Casey. You will not want to miss this. She is the Indie author of the ‘War of the Fae’ series, ‘Wrecked’, ‘Vampire Seasons’, ‘Desperate Measures’ (pen name Kat Lee), and most recently ‘Apocalypsis Book 1-Kahayatle’. She has a boatload of new books coming out this year. I do not know how she does it! She is a wonderful and hilarious author and person. I hope you tune in for this event. You will learn so much about her and her writing. Something will be revealed that I think is just SO cool!!

I also have reviews up for the ‘War of the Fae’ series and for ‘Apocalypsis’ here on my blog. I would love for you to check those out!

I hope that if you do tune in that you will share the interview everywhere that you can think of…Facebook, your blog…everywhere. I would also love it if you would ‘like’ my Facebook page and follow my blog. I have so much more great stuff coming up soon. I know that Elle Casey would love for you to check out her website and Facebook page as well!

http://www.ellecasey.com

http://www.facebook.com/ellecaseytheauthor

http://www.facebook.com/cynthiashepp

Let’s show some support for the Indie Authors we l♥ve by tuning in and sharing this news and the interview tomorrow!

I am going to post a few links to some of her books here and tomorrow at the interview. I hope you check them out if you have not already! They are mostly YA and oh so good!


Apocalypsis: Book 1 (Kahayatle)


The Changelings (War of the Fae: Book 1)

 


My Vampire Summer (Vampire Seasons)

Interview with Jason Brant, author of Echoes and Gehenna


For the last week I have been talking about this great interview with Jason Brant that I am going to post today. Today is finally here and it was worth the wait! Jason Brant is the self-published author of two wonderful books, Echoes and Gehenna. I have had the pleasure of reading and reviewing them both, and I cannot wait for the next book of his to come out. I have gotten to know Jason a little bit in this interview process and I hope that you enjoy his wit and sense of humor as much as I do. I will post links to his books after the interview and I hope that you all will take a chance on at least one of his books today. You cannot go wrong with either one! Please leave your comments below for Jason, or the interview, or my bad questions lol. Show some support for Indie authors and make him feel welcomed on this page.  I will stop my blathering now and let Jason take the stage. This was Jason’s first EVER interview and I am so excited that I am the one that got to do it. =)

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Jason, I love your books but I know you just recently started writing. What did you do before you decided to become an author?

I did contract work as a Digital Forensic Analyst for the Department of Defense.  It sounds more important than it actually is.  Basically I broke into computers and looked for naughty things.  I’ve also done IT work, and home theater installations.  I tried to become a porn star after I quit, but for whatever reason my wife didn’t like that idea.

I asked around to a few different authors for interview advice and Elle Casey suggested asking “Why do you write?” So Jason, why do you write?

After the porn career idea was shot down I had to come up with something else.  Writing seemed like a natural transition from pornography, so here I am.  Actually, I have a degree in film and television production and was all set to move to L.A. (not for porn, really!), but I met my wife a few months before graduation.  I decided to forgo that career to stay back East with her.  Though I didn’t go into the business, I have a serious passion for movies and books that never went away.  Writing novels isn’t too far from writing screenplays, and with the digital book revolution ongoing, I decided to throw my hat on the pile.

I read on an advice for interviews blog that most authors hate to be asked how they get their ideas…why do you think that is?

If I had to guess, it’s probably because most authors are turds, e.g. Elle Casey.  Writers are like anyone else, and most people happen to be turds.  Look at me – I’m an author, and I’m a turd.  That question might bother some people, because they don’t know how to answer it.  Sometimes ideas just pop in there, which is usually the case with me.

Lol…where do you get your ideas?

I have no clue.  I wish I could say it was from all the cocaine I do, but I typically just blackout after a few lines.  Honestly, I’m not sure.  I’ve had ideas hit me while sitting in traffic, from dreams, people watching, and pretty much any other random thing you can think of.

The first book I read of yours was Echoes. My favorite character in that book was Nami. Is her character based on anyone you know? How about Ash and Sammy?

Yup.  Nami is based on a friend and former co-worker of mine.  If you can imagine hanging out with Nami for a day, then you know what my life was like for several years.  My friend isn’t a secret agent, and doesn’t shoot Desert Eagle’s, but everything else is very close.  She’s a blast to have around, and was gracious enough to allow me to use her likeness in Echoes. The back and forth relationship that Ash and Nami have is very similar to our friendship.  And yes, she swears that goddamn much.

Ash is an amalgamation (I’m smrt!) of the experiences of several people.  My brother has a purple heart from one of his tours in Iraq, and I used quite a bit of the shit he went through to form Ash’s personality, angst, and opinions.  My own experiences working with the government were also thrown in there.  Because you read my blog, you’ve probably figured out that his smart ass attitude is from me.

Sammy isn’t really based on anyone in particular.  A few of the ridiculous things she said are based on conversations I had with people, but that’s about it.

I have to know because I just died laughing during Echoes: Where did you come up with some of the sayings in the book, such as ‘Holy F*** Balls’ and ‘Kicked in the fart box’?

I say ludicrous crap all the time.  Taking two unrelated vulgarities and combing them into one is something I do quite a bit.  And balls works with just about anything.  Add that to a character like Nami, and hilarity ensues.  I’m sure that I picked up on some of the crazy things that the real life “Nami” says too.

The paranormal twist in Echoes was unique in a sea of all the paranormal out there, especially as this book is listed as an action/thriller. Do you consider Echoes in the paranormal genre? What made you want to write a book (Gehenna) in the paranormal genre? Are your following books going to stay in that genre or are you planning to branch out?

I struggled with how to categorize Echoes when I released it.  Ultimately, I decided not to list it in any paranormal genres because it just didn’t seem to fit.  Ash does have a special ability, but that doesn’t really define the book.  I was also concerned that people tend to link the paranormal with ghosts and vampires more than something like telepathy.  Most of the story is Ash being confused, and getting his ass kicked, so I went with the Action and Thriller categories.

Having said that, most of my books will have a paranormal angle to them, because that’s what I enjoy to read.  I’ve said many times that Stephen King could wipe his ass with some paper, and I’d read it.  The Twilight Zone, Tales From the Crypt, and MonsterVision with Joe Bob Briggs are all shows I grew up with, and I still love to watch them.

Do you relate more with the hero of a book or the villain?

In general I probably relate to the hero more.  However, if the villain isn’t stronger, or more interesting, than the hero, then what’s the point?  I love watching people overcome adversity.

Let’s move on to a question I am dying to ask. In Echoes, the lead female character, Sammy, was portrayed as dumb with big boobs and yet the lead female in Gehenna, Karen, is strong-willed and kicks ass. Which one are you fonder of? (and yes, this is a trick question lol)

I’m a huge fan of tough women.  All too often they’re underplayed in books and movies, or they’re taken too far over the top and it almost becomes self-mockery.  I’ll take Sigourney Weaver in Aliens any day of the week over Angelina Jolie in, well, anything.  Having said that, who doesn’t like big boobs?  Come on, what’s more American than giant boobs?

Let’s talk about Gehenna. This book is about cowboys, prostitutes and zombies, or as you call them, Moaners, in the old west. This is certainly a unique storyline. I know I have never read a book anything like it. Where did you come up with an old west setting for a zombie book?

I was talking to a friend of mine on the phone a couple of months ago, right after I finished Echoes, and he asked me what I planned on writing next.  Somewhere in that conversation, the initial idea for Gehenna popped in.  Originally it was going to be called Zomboys, and it would be strictly a comedy.  After about five pages, the tone shifted and it ended up being much more serious than I had planned.  Of course a lot of the humor remained, because that’s my style, but it definitely morphed into a wild zombie ride.

The old west setting added a different layer of danger to the survivors.  Their crude weapons and lifestyles made it much more difficult for them to prevail.  Placing the story in the 1800’s also explained why they had no idea what a zombie was, and I’m not sure if you noticed this, but the word ‘zombie’ is never used throughout the entire book.  If the dead were to rise today, we would all know what they were, but the zombie mythology hadn’t been created yet for the characters in Gehenna.

I tried to eat while reading Gehenna and found I could not do it. You write insanely (in a good way!) descriptive scenes about munching on flesh. Some places in the book, my skin actually crawled. Does writing scenes like that bother you or are you just sitting back, grinning and waiting for audience reaction?

After the first zombie scene I actually sat back and asked myself what the hell I was doing.  Then I figured, it’s a zombie/western, if that doesn’t necessitate going full bore, nothing does.  So I let it rip, and when I finished I felt that it fit the story.  Outside of another book about zombies, nothing else I write will have this level of violence.

Did you do any research on Zombies before writing Gehenna, maybe watch a few zombie movies? If so, which ones would you call inspirations?

I didn’t, but being a massive zombie fan I already have all of the greats memorized by heart.  It was a very conscious decision to make the zombies of Gehenna the old school, meandering variety as opposed to the Olympic sprinters used today.  If I had to pick the two movies that most influenced my book, I would probably pick Night of the Living Dead, and Return of the Living Dead.  Night because of the claustrophobic atmosphere of being trapped in a house while surrounded by the dead, and Return for the quirky characters.

I just realized I’ve been entirely too serious over my last few answers.  Balls.

I noticed that there was a lot of God talk in Gehenna. The main character, McCall, says he relies more on guns than God. What is your stance on God and however did you find that bible verse you included in Gehenna, Leviticus 26:28, that makes it sound like God is going to make zombies of us all?

And now we’re talking about religion.  Shit just got real.  Despite the biblical overtones of Gehenna, I’m not a religious man.  I was raised a Christian, but no longer follow any kind of belief system.

I’d heard about the various Bible verses discussing the dead rising for a couple of years now.  When I started writing Gehenna I hit up Google and was shocked at what I found.  There are even more in there than the ones I used.  And the zombie Jesus jokes go without saying.

As an avid reader of your blog, I am curious. Why do you call your wife ‘The Tall One’?

She’s six feet tall, which constitutes being huge in my book.  When she wears heels she’s actually taller than I am, which just isn’t cool.  I never called her The Tall One before a couple of weeks when I blogged about her.  It kind of stuck after that, so I use it when referring to her on the blog now.

(Reader Questions) What about your writing environment? Any must have items on hand while you write? What are your top favorite books?

I just bought a laptop, so right now I’m writing on my couch and deck.  We have an office upstairs, which is where I spent the winter and spring, but it gets too hot there in the summer.  I don’t really have any staples with me when I write, like coffee or energy drinks, I just go with the flow.

My favorite books:  IT, The Stand, Hell House, The Shining, The Hellbound Heart, At the Mountains of Madness, Dracula, The Mist, Lord of the Flies, Harry Potter (yeah, that doesn’t fit with the rest, but whatever, it’s my list!), Ender’s Game, Fahrenheit 451, A Wrinkle In Time, and so on.

What do you do after you finish a book? Any ritual or celebration?

There is a microbrewery about a mile from us that I always go to when I finish a book.  Granted, I’d go there anyway, but it does give me a convenient excuse to start drinking at 3 in the afternoon.

I am not going to take anymore of your time, but I have to know, what are you working on now? Maybe a sequel to Echoes?

My current work in progress is about two college students who win a contest to be interns on a “Ghost Hunters” type of TV show.  When they arrive at a church in Appalachia to shoot a new episode, they end up finding more than they ever thought possible.

After that I’m hoping to start sequels to both Echoes and Gehenna.  I’m kicking around ideas for both, and should settle on them soon.  After that, I have some interesting stuff coming on the horizon, particularly next year.

Thank you, Jason, for taking the time to answer my interview questions. I cannot wait to read your next book! I hope you enjoyed yourself as much as I did through this whole process.

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I hope you enjoyed the interview. Please leave comments or questions below for Jason or for me. I am sure Jason will be checking this throughout the day. Everyone knows authors are a little vain lol, but of course they have great reason to be =) I am also placing links for his books below.
Kindle Version Links:

Echoes

Gehenna

Paperback Links:
Gehenna
Echoes

Upcoming Events!


Now that I have Gehenna’s review posted, there is more to look forward too! My interview with Jason Brant will be posted on 6/18 and I am super excited for everyone to read that. Jason is a great author and a funny guy. The interview went so well and Jason’s answers are a must read! I don’t think I did too bad on the interview questions myself =)
My next book up for review is: Willow Pond by Carol Tibaldi. I am planning on starting that book today. Willow Pond review will be posted on or before 6/19. The fun doesn’t stop there though. Coming up for review is Fayth Devlin’s Blood Lust, Shalini Boland’s Outside, Silvano William’s Spoon Fed Addiction, E.G. Gaddess’s Dhampyr Heritage, a book by Joanne Clancy (Haven’t decided which one yet), D.S. Hellen’s Chasing Evil’s Shadow, a stop at my blog by The Waiting for Daybreak Blog Tour (guest post), and much, much more. I hope everyone stops by often to check out these great authors!

Thanks for stopping by =)

Interview Opinions and a Chance to…


I am sitting here trying to work on interview questions for when I interview author Jason Brant. This is the first time I have ever done anything like this. I am a little nervous so I would love some reader and author responses. Let me ask everyone a few questions. If you could interview Jason Brant, what would you ask him? I will pick my favorite to include in the interview! Please have questions in by Wed at 9:00 am Central Time to be included in this chance.

Authors, when you are being interviewed what are some questions you would want to be asked? What are your least favorite questions to be asked? I am curious to know!

Please let me know your opinions and questions! Comment and Share =)

I would also love it if you would “like” my facebook page!
http://www.facebook.com/cynthiashepp