Category Archives: interview

BOOK TOUR INTERVIEW & GIVEAWAY: The Magic Circle by Jenny Davidson

The Magic Circle

by Jenny Davidson

Literary Fiction/Thriller

Book Description

In the genre-bending literary thriller THE MAGIC CIRCLE, by Columbia University professor Jenny Davidson (Amazon Publishing/New Harvest, on sale March 26, 2013), three young women invent a live-action role-playing game that goes terribly awry. Lucy, Ruth, and Anna are academics who study the culture of gaming. With New York City as their playground, they design games based on the secret history of the neighborhood around Columbia University. From Grant’s Tomb to the insane asylum that once stood where the campus is now, the chilling past makes Morningside Heights the perfect setting for their daring games.

Roommates Ruth and Lucy join forces with their mysterious Swedish neighbor Anna to develop an immersive game based on The Bacchae. In Euripides’ classic play, a young man, Pentheus, denies the divinity of the god Dionysus and pays a high price for asserting the values of reason over passion. When Anna’s seductive brother Anders gets involved and introduces “LARP”ing (live-action role-playing), their ideas become reality and the game goes from thrilling to terrifying.

Davidson’s state-of-the-art narrative structure includes blog posts, text messages, and Gchats—mixing contemporary culture with the enduring drama of The Bacchae. THE MAGIC CIRCLE delves into the sociology of live-action role-playing and highlights the fine line between gaming and real life.

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1.  Tell us a little about yourself.

 I’ve been teaching in the English department at Columbia University in New York since 2000.  I live in an apartment with a black-and-white tuxedo cat called Mickey, lots of books and papers and a random slew of equipment for my favored hobby, triathlon.  I can often be found running in Riverside Park or attending a masters swim workout or a spin class at Chelsea Piers.
2.  Who or what gives you inspiration?
 Novels!  I love them more than anything, my life would be immeasurably poorer if there were no such thing and I have wanted to write them myself from earliest childhood.
3.  What’s the hardest part of being a writer?
 Revision.  I like researching and planning and drafting – but the need to revise always seems to fall when I’m trying to do a million other things as well, though it only goes well when it gets your full attention.
4.  What do you need around you to write (special drink, lucky items, etc)?
 I do write most happily when there is a cat around!  The main thing I need to write, though, is no internet – I still often draft with pen and paper, and I take my draft to a coffee shop (no computer) and sit and get a couple distraction-free hours.  I recently went so far as to install Freedom on my computer – it gives me nice chunks of internet-free time at my discretion.
5.  What are some of your favorite books?
 I’m just reading an amazing novel by Sarah Pinborough called A Matter of Blood – it’s  London police procedural, but it’s also an ambitious fantasy novel.  I like that combination.  Two of my favorite kinds of popular fiction: thrillers (exemplified by Lee Child and Dick Francis); young-adult fantasy (Diana Wynne Jones, Robin McKinley).  A writer whose books I’m in love with: Tana French, start anywhere but the most recent one is Broken Harbour.  Other favorite writers: Austen, Dickens, Anthony Burgess.
6.  Are your characters based on anyone you know?
 One of my three main characters is based half on me and half on an old friend of mine.  The other two in The Magic Circle aren’t at all based on anyone I know, though I thought of a group of former students of mine, graduate students, when I tried to capture the dynamic of life for young women at that stage of life.  I find it difficult not to have a main character who’s at least somewhat based on myself – you will see an earlier version of this in my YA alternate-history novel The Explosionist, triangulate between  Sophie and Lucy and you will have someone much like me!
7.  What, if anything, are you working on right now?
 Revisions for a little book on literary style, criticism rather than fiction, which will be published next year.
8.  Why do you love writing?
Because I love reading, and books are my favorite thing; because I have a compulsion to make things, and I don’t know how to make symphonies or sculptures or even, really, super-impressive cakes.  Really I don’t know why I do it, I’m not sure it improves my quality of life but it is a stronger compulsion than almost anything else I do.
About the Author
Jenny Davidson is a professor of comparative literature at Columbia University. She is the author of the novel Heredity (2003); two YA novels, The Explosionist (2008) and Invisible Things (2010); and several academic books. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and blogs at Light Reading .
PURCHASE THE BOOK:
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One commenter will win a copy of The Magic Circle!  US/Canada only for paperback, or Kindle copy for international readers.

BOOK TOUR INTERVIEW & GIVEAWAY: The Morning Star by Tania Penn

The Morning Star

by Tania Penn

The Morning Star Series, Book One

Book Description

Being the daughter of Lucifer keeps seventeen year old Dawn Belial busy. For almost her entire lifetime, she has been trying to think of a way to free her Archangel mother, Michaela, whom her father has held captive for centuries. She’s also attending high school – balancing trigonometry, history, and recruiting souls for her father along with her wicked half-sister, Venus.

There has been no time for love until she meets mysterious Gabriel, a British exchange student. As they fall in love against their will, she discovers a startling secret about him, and a shocking connection to her mother that changes everything.

 

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1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m a wife and mom to a deliciously adorable six year old spazmatic son. I live in the Pacific Northwest and am addicted to kayaking, snowboarding, hiking, travelling, watching The Walking Dead, fine wines and all-around merriment! I occasional, when hiking in the Olympics, search for Bigfoot, and still have yet to see that other elusive Washington creature known as the “Orca.” In my previous life I was a police and fire dispatcher, fitness trainer, singer/songwriter/musician and small business owner. I’m a Jackie of all trades, master of none! I’m also quite the shameless one and have no problem making a complete ass out of myself!
2. What made you become a writer?
I think I came out of the womb with a pen and pencil, because since I can remember, I have always created stories. It started out as picture books and cartoons, then by the time I was in eighth grade, I started writing novellas. That graduated to one full on Judy Blume-esque novel that is collecting dust somewhere safe and will never, ever, like ever, see the light of day. Like, ever. There’s a greater chance of finding Jimmy Hoffa’s body then ever seeing that novel! (Did I just date myself there a bit with the Jimmy Hoffa bit?) In college, I also wrote a couple of screenplays for a screenwriting class. And in my previous musician life, while fronting my band, I was the songwriter as well, something I still love to create and do in my spare (when I can find it!) time.
3. Who or what gives you inspiration?
It can be the most random, unrelated thing! I can be watching TV, or listening to the radio, and from just one word, one word, an entire novel idea will come to me! The other half come from my martini induced dreams. Those are usually the sci-fi and thriller ideas!
4. Tell us about The Morning Star.
It was a project that had been brewing in my mind since 2005. I wanted to write a story about Lucifer as a father, and someone who was misunderstood. Since he was created out of love, was the beautiful angel, I reckoned that there still had to be goodness inside of him still, and didn’t want to depict him as this wicked, evil, red and scaly horned demonic entity. I wanted to make it a little lighthearted, so I sat on it for a while. What was his motivation? Why is he so bitter and sad? My original concept was just about Lucifer and it being a love story with Michaela. Then I dwelled on it some more, and thought it to be more appropriate for it to be a love story involving one of his daughters.
I thought about the daughters, and originally the were named Venus and Serena — Venus being Dawn now, and Serena was Venus. Then it hit me, hmmm, wait that won’t work, those are the tennis playing sisters! It was originally a love story between Dawn and Ramiel the archangel, but I wanted to add some more depth with Ramiel being Michaela’s true love, hence the reason for Lucifer’s feelings of betrayal, compounding that with Dawn being in love with Ramiel’s son. Also, with Dawn being portrayed as a teenage girl, Ramiel just seemed a bit….older for her.
5. What is the hardest part of being a writer?
Even though I’m not ADD, I have ADD tendenc……squirrel! Oh, sorry, as I was saying, I sometimes have a hard time focusing on what is in front of me. I’ll really, truly want to write but just get distracted sometimes by irrelevant things!
6. What do you need around you to write (special drink, lucky items, etc.?)
Absolute and complete silence, with the exception of my “soundtrack”! Luckily we live in the woods, so I get plenty of that, with the occasional exception of yapping coyotes, the sound of a chainsaw (as I am currently listening to at this moment) and flying monkeys. (kidding.) A good
glass of wine never hurts!
7. What are some of your favorite books?
I am addicted to anything James Patterson, I love him! I also love all the Charlaine Harris Sookie Stackhouse books, but I am a True Blood addict as well. (Team Alcide!)
8. Are your characters based on anyone you know?
Oh yes. Definitely yes. I won’t divulge who or which character(s) , but I’ve said before – revenge from the pen is mightier then the sword, don’t mock me or tick me off, you will end up in my novel! Quite therapeutic, I may add. Immature? Possible, but nonetheless therapeutic.
9. What, if anything, are you working on right now?
The sequel for The Morning Star, titled “Equinox”. I’m also writing and shooting for an end of April deadline, chick-lit/rom-com/mildly sleazy with a twist book called “Catching Frogs.” I’m having a lot of fun with that one and can’t wait for people to read it! Also, I have on the back burner that keeps getting pushed back but is almost complete, a sci-fi aquatic thriller called, “The Thallasic Incident”. I have twelve other ideas with at least one chapter written as well, including a horror story, another young adult, a thriller and a dystopian political thriller.
10. Why do you love writing?
I just love make believe and creating, and it’s amazing the things our mind can come up with! It’s so rewarding to see it come to fruition, it’s like giving birth! (Not as painful and weight inducing though!)

About the Author

Author of debut young adult novel, The Morning Star. Currently working on the sequel, Equinox, as well as a chick-lit, rom-com, slightly sleazy and funny story with a twist, Catching Frogs. And, because I’m loco in the roco, I’ve got about 12 more on the back burner. When I’m not writing I can be found kayaking, hiking, ninja-training, traveling, and taking a ferry over to the San Juan Islands to search for the elusive creature known as the “Orca.” I also am constantly adding ridiculous wants, needs, must-see’s and do’s to my ever expanding bucket book.
I covet a delicious malbec with a rare steak and make a killer salsa.
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You could win copies of The Morning Star and other ebooks, or swag!
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BOOK TOUR INTERVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Eustice by Alex Gulczynski

Eustice

by Alex Gulczynski

The Reaper Corps, Book One

Book Description

Eustice P. Jennings awakens alone and confused on an ugly piece of office furniture in Purgatory. Being dead is the least of her problems as she is quickly drafted into the dangerous Reaper Corps and plunged headfirst into the endless conflict between Heaven and Hell. Friends and allies are few and far as Eustice struggles to find her place in a surreal world she never imagined could exist.

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1.  Tell us a little about yourself.
I train giant racing squirrels and gold plate lamp shades in my spare time. Other than that I am content to while away the hours plotting my eventual conquest of the online book market.
2.  What made you want to become a writer?
Every other job I’ve had drove me nuts in some way. Don’t get me wrong writing also drives me nuts, but at least I like where it takes me while driving. I also cannot do it. In the shower, in traffic, trying to ignore my wife, stories and ideas just come to me whether I want them to or not. It’s just the matter of dedicating time and effort to them that makes writing  feel like work.
3.  Who or what gives you inspiration?
Inspiration is a hard thing to bottle or dole out and to be honest I’m not sure what gives me inspiration. I can tell you what motivates me, though. Certainly finishing a good book or movie or TV show motivates me to make something just as good or better. Watching my son play with my wife motivates me to try harder and succeed for them. Inspiration is more fickle. Like the previous question it comes when I least expect it to.
4.  Tell us about Eustice.
Eustice is an exciting and engaging tale of a young woman struggling to find herself in the afterlife. She gets caught up in a plot between Angels and Demons eons in the making and finds herself a key figure in their war. She also has to come to grips with her own morality and stumbles into love in the process. It is perhaps the best book ever written…by me that is.
5.  What’s the hardest part of being a writer?
For me it is the initial push. Forcing yourself to actually sit down and write. Once I get the ball rolling I can usually hammer out a decent amount of text, but sometimes that ball is a boulder heavy and difficult to get rolling.
6.  What do you need around you to write (special drink, lucky items, etc)?
I don’t need much externally, just a computer or pad and pen. For me it’s more the internal I have to get in order. I need to shift myself into writing mode. But while this internal struggle is happening some tea and a quiet area don’t hurt.
7.  What are some of your favorite books?
On a Pale Horse and Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy are two books that had a large effect on me. I read them in my teen years and they opened me up to irreverent but witty and deep writing. Before reading those I always thought books had to be serious or only comedy or only drama, never mixing the two. I also read The Hobbit as a young kid and really enjoyed it (as a lot of people do) not just for the adventure but for the writing style too. That Tolkien wrote to the reader and broke the fourth a bit in that book opened up new styles and writing techniques to me. I realized you could play around with writing. Despite what some teachers told me, you could break the rules and still have a good end result.
8.  Are your characters based on anyone you know?
Oh yeah. Whether I wanted to or not some of family and friends crept in there. Eustice has elements of my wife and sister. Thayer is a tad myself and my brother. Schrandle is what my Dad was to my younger self when he was angry. I’m sure there are more too, I just can’t think of them. I think all authors throw in people from their lives into their characters. Some just know they are doing it.
9.  What, if anything, are you working on right now?
I’m finishing up the next part of The Reaper Corps series right now. The draft is nearly done and then I just have to edit and get it ready for publishing. It should be out in a month or so. The response from those that have read it are positive, which is encouraging.
10.  Why do you love writing?
Partly because I have to. I build up worlds and characters in my head whether I want to or not. Getting them in solid form on paper is laborious, trying, and daunting at times but is a great release. Finishing a story in physical form is perhaps one of the most satisfying things I can do.
About the Author
Eustice is Alex Gulczynski’s debut novel. He is currently living in Seattle and teaching science to elementary students. He and his wife had their first child in December. He is using these sleepless nights to work on the next book to further the story of Eustice and Thayer. He hopes to have it out by March 2013.
Twitter: @alexgulczynski
PURCHASE EUSTICE:
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The author is offering one print copy (for US only) or one ebook copy (international) to one commenter!  Giveaway ends March 21.

BOOK TOUR INTERVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Wanted by Annika James

Wanted

by Annika James

Young Adult Paranormal Romance

Book Description

Attacked as a young witch and left for dead, Ashlinn is deathly afraid of being bitten again. Having survived until she’s almost eighteen without donating blood to any of her vamp friends, Ashlinn figures she’ll continue to live bite-free.
After her crush reveals how powerful she is, however, the Vampire Council declares she be claimed as a familiar, which requires biting. Ashlinn doesn’t want to be owned, even by hot vamp, Conor.
Luckily, her best friend, Matt, volunteers for the job. She is given one week to choose her protector, and the list of willing biters keeps growing. Will she go with best friend Matt, hot vamp Conor, or someone else to protect her? Will she be able to get her power under control by then? Will she overcome her phobia of being bitten? And who says she needs to be protected, anyhow?
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1.  If you were an animal, what kind of animal would you be?
A Giant Panda. 🙂 I love them! Cute and cuddly, rare, and it’s okay if they’re a little chubby. 🙂

2.  What would I find in your refrigerator right now?
Lots of condiments – most importantly mayonnaise, butter, cheese, deli meat, milk, Brita pitcher, eggs, and beer.

3. You were just given a yacht. What would you name it?
Silver Moondancer. 🙂
4.  What was the last movie you went to see?
We don’t get to the theater often, I really had to think about this one. 🙂 Honestly, I’m pretty sure it was Breaking Dawn Part 2. We watch a lot of DVDs, though.

5.  If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be?
Telekinesis – I’m lazy, haha!! Moving things with my mind would be awesome! Think how easy it would be to clean the house!

6.  Describe yourself in three sentences.
I am a self-proclaimed dork, but I rock my dorkiness! I am fun loving, hard working, determined, and oftentimes weird. My passions include reading, writing, baseball, traveling, music, and movies.

7.  If you could travel in a Time Machine would you go back to the past or into the future?
Ooh, tough one! I’d love to see how they lived in Elizabethan times, but personal hygiene was not up to the high standards of today, so maybe go to the future and see what cool new things we come up with.

8.  If you had a million dollars how would you spend it?
I would have to pay off all our debt. Buy a new house, maybe a vacation home somewhere. Then I’d go shopping! Clothes, shoes, books, music, electronics. Then, we’d travel. And set some aside for the kids’ college as well as future vacations.

9.  What was the weirdest food you’ve ever eaten?
Haggis on Robert Burns night. A traditional Scottish dish of sheep’s organs mixed together with spices and served in the sheep’s stomach. I didn’t really like it.

10.  If you were to perform in the circus, what would you do?
I would love to try trapeze. Or the rope spinning – where the women hold onto a rope high up, spin and contort their bodies. Not sure what that’s called.

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About the Author:
 
Annika James lives in small-town Wisconsin with her husband and two beautiful kiddos. She spends her days working to pay the bills and her nights dreaming of more fun ways to do so. Her passions include writing, reading, music and traveling with her family. She dreams of a world where vampires and powerful witches really exist, because life would be so much more interesting.
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You can win an ebook copy of Wanted!

CLICK HERE TO ENTER!

BOOK TOUR INTERVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Exhale by Jennifer Snyder

Exhale

by Jennifer Snyder

New Adult Contemporary

Book Description

Inhaling in life is easy. It’s the exhaling—the letting go— that’s the hard part.

Katie Elliot has always known the Conner twins. For years she secretly pined after one, while playfully averting the advances of the other. Once upon a time, she was fine with that. Then came the moment when her twin of preference kissed her and changed everything.

As if realizing love can be complex—even when it’s reciprocated—isn’t hard enough, tragedy strikes, tearing Katie and the boy she’s always desired apart. Finding herself torn between love and guilt, Katie must learn when it’s acceptable to let go—when it’s finally okay to exhale.

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1.  If you were an animal, what kind of animal would you be?
 
I’ve said bird before, but I think this time I’ll go with Cat. Preferably a lazy house cat that is taken care of very well by some book loving person!
 
2.  What would I find in your refrigerator right now?
Loads of fruit. Cutie brand oranges are a favorite in my house!
 
3. You were just given a yacht. What would you name it?
 
Freedom. At least I think. I might change it to Devil if I end up being one of those people who get seasick! 
 
4.  What was the last movie you went to see?
 
The Hunger Games. Yeah, it’s been a while. But, in my defense, I am going this weekend with my husband and kids to see The Great and Powerful Oz! 
 

5.  If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be?

 
I’d love to move things with my mind. You can really have some fun with that one!
 

6.  Describe yourself in three sentences.

 
I am a green tea lover. A Post-it note enthusiast. And way more interesting online than I am in real life. (Not complete sentences, but they still count, right?)
 
7.  If you could travel in a Time Machine would you go back to the past or into the future?
Gah, such a good question! I honestly would love to go back to the Victorian days. I love the elegance of that time. The dresses and such. I would only want to go back for a little while, then I’d want to come back home!
 
 
8.  If you had a million dollars how would you spend it?
 
First there would be the standard buying a house and whatnot, then I think I’d go on some crazy long trip with my family to travel and blow a big chunk of it. Life is all about our experiences.
 
9.  What was the weirdest food you’ve ever eaten?
 
Rabbit.
 
10.  If you were to perform in the circus, what would you do?
 
Can’t say something cool like tight rope walker because I’m scared of heights.  Or clowns because they freak me out. I guess I’ll go with…announcer/ring master, whatever they are called. Then I can introduce all the crazies and enjoy the show too. 😉
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You can win a print or ebook copy of Exhale.

CLICK HERE TO ENTER!

 

About the Author

Jennifer Snyder lives in North Carolina where she spends most of her time writing young adult fiction, reading, and struggling to stay on top of housework. She is an instant coffee lover with an obsession for spiral bound notebooks and smooth writing pens. Jennifer lives with her husband and two children, who endure listening to songs that spur inspiration on repeat and tolerate her love for all paranormal, teenage-targeted TV shows.

Jennifer Snyder | Twitter | Goodreads

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BOOK TOUR INTERVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Beyond the Eyes by Rebekkah Ford

Beyond the Eyes

by Rebekkah Ford

Beyond the Eyes Series, Book One

Book Description

Paige knows evil exists in this world, but she never imagined it would want something from her.

After a ghostly voice whispers a haunting message to seventeen-year-old Paige Reed, Paige’s life takes a nightmarish turn. Unwilling to tell her friends about the supernatural occurrences happening in her life, Paige feels more alone than ever–until she meets Nathan Caswell.

Nathan is not only hot, but seems to peer into Paige’s soul, evoking a magnetic energy between them that cannot be denied. But he’s no ordinary guy. He tracks dark spirits, and becomes alarmed when they set their sights on Paige.

And then there are the two power-hungry dark spirits who believe Paige can find King Solomon’s magical ring for them, because when her father was alive, he was close to finding it. If Paige doesn’t comply with their demands, they’ll kill her.

Paige is forced to dig deep into her father’s past and unearths shocking secrets about him and his bloodline. With the past and present colliding, Paige is only sure about two things in her life: she needs to outwit the dark spirits to stay alive, and she’s completely and helplessly in love with Nathan.

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1.  If you were an animal, what kind of animal would you be?

I’d be a wolf because I love the woods, they mate for life, and they’re loyal.

2.  What would I find in your refrigerator right now?

A bowl of homemade chicken Fettuccine Alfredo, a jar of salsa, water, milk, yogurt, a bottle of Kahlua, half and half, bread, eggs, a bag of potatoes, onions, lunch meat, condiments, chipotle cheddar cheese, Hershey’s chocolate syrup, a jar of Prego, and a jar of green olives.

3. You were just given a yacht. What would you name it?

Morpheus. In Greek mythology it means the god of dreams.

4.  What was the last movie you went to see?

It’s been a very long time since I’ve seen a movie in the theater. I think it was Sex and the City

5.  If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be?

Teleportation. But I guess that’s not a superpower, huh? I’d say speed, strength, and the ability to control things with my mind.

6.  Describe yourself in three sentences.

I’m a very honest person who always seeks out the truth.

I’m loyal and would never betray those I love or what I believe in.

When I have something set in my mind that I’m going to do, I’ll do it, and will eventually accomplish it.

7.  If you could travel in a Time Machine would you go back to the past or into the future?

The past.

8.  If you had a million dollars how would you spend it?

I’d buy the house I want, fix up Kevin’s (hubby) 1964 Ford truck, get myself another car, have Kevin and me quit our day jobs, and put the rest in the bank. Kevin might open his own business with some of the money.

9.  What was the weirdest food you’ve ever eaten?

Fish eggs.

10.  If you were to perform in the circus, what would you do?

I’d help with the magic tricks and stay far away from the clowns. They’re evil. 🙂

About the Author

Rebekkah Ford grew up in a family that dealt with the paranormal. Her parents’ Charles and Geri Wilhelm were the Directors of the UFO Investigators League in Fairfield, Ohio, back in the 1970s. They also investigated ghost hauntings and Bigfoot sightings in addition to UFO’s. Growing up in this type of environment and having the passion for writing is what drove Rebekkah at an early age to write stories dealing with the paranormal. At one point in her life, she thought she wanted to be a journalist, and although she enjoyed writing articles, she quickly discovered her real passion was writing fiction. Her fascination with the paranormal is what led her to write the ‘Beyond the Eyes’ series. Visit her online and read her blog at  http://themusingwriter.blogspot.com.

Goodreads | Twitter

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BOOK TOUR INTERVIEW: Trinity by Clare Davidson

Trinity

by Clare Davidson

Young Adult Fantasy

Book Description

Kiana longs to walk through a forest and feel grass between her toes. But she is the living embodiment of a goddess and has enemies who wish to murder her. Her death will curse the whole of Gettryne. Locked away for protection, she dreams of freedom.

Her wish comes true in the worst possible way, when her home and defenders are destroyed.

Along with an inexperienced guard and a hunted outcast, Kiana flees the ravages of battle to search for a solution to the madness that has gripped Gettryne for a thousand years. Pursued by the vicious and unrelenting Wolves, their journey will take them far beyond their limits, to a secret that will shake the world.

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1.  Tell us a little about yourself.

 The boring version: I’m a thirty-something mum, wife, author and teacher from Lancaster, England.
 The (slightly) more entertaining version: I always have too much to do and too little time. Somehow (and I really don’t know how), I manage to juggle being a mum and a part-time teacher, writing and all my various hobbies. I have a LOT of hobbies–knitting, spinning, dyeing, sewing, photography and drawing. Yes, there’s a definite crafty theme going on in my life! I lived in the tropics when I was a kid, which has given bit of a travel bug, which is only sated once a year (if I’m lucky!). So yes, that’s me–a creative, travel hungry, work-a-holic.
 2.  What made you want to become a writer?
Believe it or not, this is a question that I always find hard to answer, namely because I’m not sure. As a child, I loved telling and writing stories. I remember once being very jealous, because one of my brother’s English teachers handed all of his class an exercise book and told them to “write a book”. His was called “Which Spaceship” (you can tell what he was interested in!) and I’m pretty sure he handed it to me to proofread. I never got that cool an assignment from any teacher, but I wish I had. Throughout high school, I was continually writing (often in lessons!) and once even got one of the really arty kids in the school to do some paintings for a collection of short stories I’d written. I guess it just carried on from there. I don’t think anything really made me want to become a writer, I just realised I wanted to be one.
 3.  Who or what gives you inspiration?
I generally get my inspiration from things that I watch, or read. Anime is a massive source of inspiration for me, especially stuff by Clamp. Also, when people tell me a funny, interesting or unusual story, I have a habit of saying, “there’s a story in there somewhere.” I’m constantly looking for anything that could be a spark of inspiration. The world is full of it, I just need to keep my eyes open and be on the look out for it.
 
4.  Tell us about Trinity.
At it’s heart, Trinity is about three young adults trying to right a pretty hideous wrong–not because they have to, or because what went wrong was their fault, but because they WANT to. They choose their own paths in life and overcome some massive odds in order to achieve their goal. It’s an ensemble piece, with three central characters, who band together despite their differences. It’s a story of hope.
 
5.  What’s the hardest part of being a writer?
Editing, hands down. No matter how much I enjoyed the initial writing, editing always ends up feeling like a hard slog, especially the fast pass, which I do myself before anyone else gets to read it at all. Later drafts get more fun, once I’m working with an editor.
 
6.  What do you need around you to write (special drink, lucky items, etc)?
 
My laptop! I don’t really have a special drink or a lucky item. Increasingly, I need my Moleskin beside me, as it has plotting and editing notes in it. I also tend to have the TV on as background noise, I’m hopeless at working in silence.
7.  What are some of your favorite books?
 
‘The Chronicles of Prydain’, by Lloyd Alexander were my favourite childhood books. I love ‘Regeneration’ and ‘The Ghost Road’ by Pat Barker and Holly Lisle’s ‘Secret Texts’ trilogy. Unsurprisingly, I’ve been reading a lot of indie books recently as well. I adore the first two books in the ‘Cornerstone’ trilogy by Misty Provencher. Other indie favourites include ‘Torched’, by Andrea Lynn Colt and ‘The Violet Fox’, by Clare Marshall.
8.  Are your characters based on anyone you know?
No, never. At least, not consciously and certainly not in any way I could recognise. I’d be wary of doing so, as I wouldn’t want to offend anyone!
 
9.  What, if anything, are you working on right now?
I’ve just handed the first book in an urban fantasy series over to my editor, leaving me free to finish writing the first draft of book two. I’m also working on a prequel to Trinity, which focuses on the cause of the troubles that form the basis for the plot of Trinity.
 
10.  Why do you love writing?
Creating new worlds and torturing unsuspecting characters? What’s not to love?
Thanks for having me over for a chat!
About the Author

Clare Davidson is a character driven fantasy writer, teacher and mother, from the UK. Clare was born in Northampton and lived in Malaysia for four and a half years as a child, before returning to the UK to settle in Leeds with her family. Whilst attending Lancaster University, Clare met her future husband and never left. They now share their lives with their young daughter and a cranky grey cat, called Ash. Clare juggles family life with writing, teaching and a variety of fibre craft hobbies.

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REVIEW & INTERVIEW: Girls Don’t Take Karate by Susan Sweenie

Girls Don’t Take Karate

by Susan Sweenie

Illustrated by Jillian Dister

Book Description

One little girl who is in love with the color PINK and all things “girly” discovers her love of karate and how fun it can be to try something new and different. With the help of her parents and karate instructor, she learns that if she tries her best, she can do anything!

5fleur

MY THOUGHTS: 5 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS

Girls Don’t Take Karate by Susan Sweenie

Chloe is a really girly girl. Everything she owns and wears is pink, and she won’t hear anything about wearing other colors. She loves being a girl so much, she is upset when her mom signs her up for karate classes–because girls don’t take karate!

What I particularly loved about this book is that it teaches kids an important life lesson in a way they can understand. The author did a really great job of portraying events from a child’s point of view.

I read this book to my four year old son and he thought it was funny. He understood what I read to him, but I paraphrased some things, as I found some of the vocabulary in the book may be for readers a bit older (around 5 or 6). We enjoyed the illustrations, and he laughed when he saw Chloe making funny faces. When we got to the line that read, “Who needs pink…?” he replied, “Not me, Mom!”. LOL. As we finished, he said, “That was a fun book.”

Such a cute book, with a really important lesson. It teaches kids that they shouldn’t be scared to try something new…you may be happy with the things you’re comfortable with, but you may love something new even more!

View all my reviews

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1. Tell us a little about yourself.
I am a mother of two girls, aged 6 and 9, and I live outside of Boston. I am a freelance writer and also a PR Consultant, working out of my home office. 
 
2. What made you want to become a writer?
I remember a teacher in my history class telling my mother that I was meant to be a writer. At the time, I thought she was crazy, but my first college internship was at a TV station in Boston and it was there that I learned a bit more about journalism and my passion grew from there.  As  PR person, I write on a regular basis, but the topics are usually relating to software or apps and not quite as fun as writing a children’s book.
3. Who or what gives you inspiration?
My family absolutely gives me my inspiration. My daughters inspire me with their questions. They ask about things that I was not even aware of at their age. It blows my mind sometimes.
4. Why do you choose to write children’s books?
Someone once told me to write about something you know well….and I know children well, so I thought about what type of book my children would benefit from and what was missing. The best part of our day is bedtime, reading books from our “library” and telling stories. I thought long and hard about what types of books would inspire my children and the topic of a girl trying something new (that normally only boys do) seemed like a good fit. I was right!
5. What’s the hardest part of being a writer?
The hardest part is finding the time to really sit down and get thoughts on paper. There are always distractions and being able to really concentrate and be effective, takes a lot.
6. What do you need around you to write (special drink, lucky items, etc)?
Lots of coffee and a comfy chair.
7. What are some of your favorite books?
There is one series that really sticks out in my mind. It was given as a gift to my daughter when she was a baby and I just loved it.  The series is authored by Amy Hest and all about a bear named Sam.
8. Are your characters based on anyone you know?
Somewhat. When deciding what Chloe would look like, I tried to make her a combination of my 2 daughters, one is blonde and one has curly hair.
9. What, if anything, are you working on right now?
Next up will be a book that will bring some awareness to autism. I haven’t nailed down all the details and been playing around with something for a while, but I do feel that a big problem right now is that more and more children are being diagnosed but their peers do not really understand what autism is. Many of these children are integrated into classrooms with children who do not have autism and I think that if we give our children a better understanding into the disease, it would help.
10. Why do you love writing?
I love writing because it gives me a chance to express myself non-verbally. As a shy person, you will rarely see me speak up about something or be a “story teller in person, but a book gives me the opportunity to get my thoughts on paper. It is very therapeutic.
About the Author
Susan Sweenie is a public relations consultant and freelance writer who resides just outside of Boston, Massachusetts. She is the mother of 2 girls and has been writing for over 15 years. She has always envisioned bringing the stories she has told to her children, to life. She is a graduate of Stonehill College and this is her first book.

BOOK TOUR INTERVIEW: Legends of Darkness by Georgia L. Jones

 

Legends of Darkness

by Georgia L. Jones

Remnants of Life Series, Book One

Book Description

Dangerous Saviors…

What would you do if your life rested in the hands of something that really wanted to eat you? Come journey through the realms of the next world where everything you know about Good and Evil are put to the test.

Samantha Garrett lives and dies a good life in the human world. She awakens a new creature, Samoda, a vampire-like warrior in the army of Nuem. She is forced to realize that she has become a part of a world that humans believe to be only “Legends of Darkness.” Samoda finds her new life is entwined with the age old story of greed, love, betrayal, and vengeance.

Join our heroine as she battles not just for her own existence, but for the entire human race’s future.

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Thank you for the opportunity to have an interview on your blog. I always appreciate opportunities to reach fans and talk about my writing.

1. Tell us a little about yourself.

I live in Southwest Missouri with my wonderful husband, my five year old, and our English Mastiff. I have owned Aphrodite’s Hair & Nails, a salon, since 1999. I attended MSU, back then it was known as SMSU, in Springfield, MO, where I majored in Psychology with a minor in Criminal Justice. I have always loved to read but while in college I found an unquenchable thirst for Greek Mythology. I have always harbored a dream to become a published author. This year I have seen that dream come true with two novels and one short story released.

2. What made you want to become a writer?

Reading made me want to write. It has always been magical for me when I read. It’s like being transported from one place to another, a vacation of the mind so to speak. I wanted to create that. Who doesn’t read a Dr. Seuss book and become inspired by imagination? I have always written little stories, it is a part of who I am and like therapy for me.

3. Who or what gives you inspiration?

My inspiration comes in many forms. I like human behavior and draw from that many times. However, at times I can just see a picture, look at the moon, or just take a drive and I find inspiration for my writing.

4. Tell us about Remnants of Life.

The Remnants of Life series started with Legends of Darkness, which is the first book in the series. I had been thinking of the book idea for about a year before I put anything on paper. I had a really hard time coming up with my beginning. As I wrote Legends, I realized there was so much more to the story. I began to map out a series by keeping notes on future events, creatures, people, and even scenes to use later. By the time I had completed Legends, which took me six months, I had a very rough outline of a five book series.
I have always been a big fantasy fan and had been reading all of the Sookie Stackhouse and Twilight novels. I wanted to create something different, totally different. So I began thinking of these new creatures that weren’t really vampires, but had some of their qualities. Then I began to do the whole “what if” scenario. Vampires are traditional known to come from humans that have died. What if they existed before humans? What if they were really Warriors? That is what they are labeled as in the book. They are at the top of the hierarchy for Nuem, their God. They are like archangels, good, but they have a job to do. In my series, they are in charge of keeping the demons who come to take over the human race, at bay. Book one, Legends, launched on March 17, 2012 and is the story of Samoda. She dies a tragic human death and is reborn into this world where everything she thought was legend, is real.
The second book in the series, Witches, launched December 1, 2012 and is the about a set of seemingly human twins, Kali and Seline. Kali learned that they have a heritage rich in the blood of the Strega, or witches. It has much more human interaction and world building going on in it. I really enjoy the world building part. I like the idea of writing without restriction where my imagination can run completely wild.
I’m currently working on the third book which has a working title of Thorn. It is from the demon perspective and is apt to create Samoda’s arch nemesis for the coming fourth and fifth books.
When I first began thinking about the concept of Remnants of Life, I wanted to create something totally different from anything out there. I wanted a fresh look at an old idea. I incorporated some legends, myths, and historical events into the whole mix and continue to keep that the concept for the whole series.

5. What’s the hardest part of being a writer?

For me the hardest part of being a writer is balancing everything else in life. I have a day job, like most other authors that I know and it is sometimes a challenge to work my schedule around everything.

6. What do you need around you to write (special drink, lucky items, etc)?

Really all I need is a pencil and something to write on. I once wrote a little story on a paper plate at a family gathering. I often times write sitting in “my” chair at home with cartoons on. I can easily block everything else out and just write.

7. What are some of your favorite books?

I have so many favorite books; I really don’t know where to start. I like fantasy and really have enjoyed the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. I also really enjoy Stephen King. One of my favorites of his is Thinner under his pen name, Richard Bachman. I also like Greek Mythology, my favorite in that genre is really a college level book that I have had since college called Classical Myth by Barry B. Powell. It is the best reference book in that field that I have found. I have recently found some new books that I really like as well. One of my recent favorites is Vine an Urban Legend by Michael Williams. I am currently reading Crown of Vengeance by Stephen Zimmer and I really like it so far.

8. Are your characters based on anyone you know?

I do have a button on my station at work that says, “Watch you say, you could end up in my next novel,” but really I don’t use people I know as much as behaviors that I see. Although I have a special place in my books for people who are really mean and it is called Vicus, which is a barren land that would be similar to hell.

9. What, if anything, are you working on right now?

Right now I’m working on the third book in the series as well as two anthology projects.

10. Why do you love writing?

I’m a very creative person. I enjoy the creation aspect. I am not a particularly good artist when it comes to drawing so I like to paint pictures with words. I like to create new things from old ideas. I guess I’m a bit of a recycler in that respect. Then there is the fact that it doesn’t matter what I’m feeling, I can write about it. I can create a story out of an emotion. It is like therapy. I also get the opportunity to meet many people in the process of promoting and that is a wonderful feeling and it spawns more stories. I guess I love every aspect of the writing process and the feeling of accomplishment that it gives me. It is really an honor for me to have people read what I write whether they love it or not, they took the time to offer me a piece of their time and imagination and I appreciate it.

About the Author

Georgia L. Jones was born in Columbia, Missouri on September 21st, 1968. In 1992 she settled in the beautiful Ozarks town of Lebanon, Missouri, where she met and married the love of her life. Together they have raised 7 children and have the 8th still in their home.

At a young age Georgia learned the value of getting lost in a good book. She has always enjoyed reading and letting her imagination run wild. In her early teenage years she began to put her own stories down on paper as she plunked out the words on an old manual typewriter.

In 1996 Georgia enrolled at Missouri State University where she majored in Psychology. While there she found an untamable thirst for Philosophy and Greek Mythology. Many evenings she can still be found curled up with one of the great Greek Tragedy’s or reading about personal continuity by Rene Descarte.

Over the years Georgia has harbored the dream of being a published author and written many short stories. On January 10, 2010 she embarked on the dream as she began to bring the characters from her first novel, “Legends of Darkness”, to life. Upon completion in June 2010 she realized that it was not a single book but a series and created the concept of the series “Remnants of Life”. She is currently working diligently on the “Remnants of Life” series.

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BOOK TOUR INTERVIEW: Altered by Aubrey Coletti

Altered

by Aubrey Coletti

The Academy Series, Book One

Book Description

When Toni, Joseph and Charlie arrive at their new boarding school, they are glad to leave their families – and respective problems – behind. Isolated as boarders, they meet a handsome senior with a personality like iced snake’s blood, teachers with a penchant for physical punishment, and four other outcasts who reveal that their being brought to the Academy wasn’t random at all. When the arrivals discover that their new school is engaged in “behavior modification” through electric shocks, isolation, restraints, and an ever-evolving set of methods to “fix” them, they declare war on their Academy. During their campaign of sabotage, they fight, hate, scorn, love, and begin to uncover the reasons why they were brought to the school. But as their war against the school escalates beyond their control, will they become the very things the Academy believes they are: dangerous, delinquent – and mad?

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1.  Tell us a little about yourself.

Well, I’m a twenty year old author, singer-songwriter-producer, dancer, and life-long Tamora Pierce fan! I love X-Men, Christina Aguilera and Emilie Autumn, and am a devout Whedonite!

2.  What made you want to become a writer?

The book “Bird By Bird” by Anne Lamott did more than anything to make me not only want to write, but able to write. Before that, like so many would-be writers, I had lots of ideas and stories, but was frustrated by my inability to stick to one idea, and my dissatisfaction with my writing not being perfect on the first try. Anne Lamott was able to pinpoint how to deal with all of these problems and more – things like focusing on letting your characters propel the story and keep your engaged, shitty first drafts, accepting the severe mental breakdowns and paranoia which are part of the job – and all with incredible humor. Once I read that book, I was able to sit down and actually enjoy writing.
3.  Who or what gives you inspiration?

I know writers should cite books, but for me a lot of shows and movies and comics are what gives me the drive to keep going. I re-watch Firefly, Serenity and Dollhouse while writing, and I am constantly reading and looking up the latest X-Men comics and fan fiction. But ultimately, it’s fans: I was only able to write “Altered” after I found a fan via a writing website who loves the characters and the story. For me, writing is all about creating characters and a world that others can join in and interact with. My writing is only alive to me when others can ‘see’ and love my characters too.

4.  Tell us about Altered.

“Altered” is the story of seven teens who are trapped in J. Alter Academy, a boarding school inspired by various behavior modification schools, centers, and camps throughout the United States and the world where drastic, controversial methods of ‘helping’ those with behavioral, mental and emotional problems are used, such as skin shock, isolation, food deprivation, extreme restraints, etc. Most of the characters in “Altered” are suffering from mental and behavioral disorders – but they object to the extreme, draconian methods used to ‘fix’ them, and band together to fight back.

On top of this, many of them have different…abilities, as a result of their bodies attempting to combat or adapt to their disadvantages. “Altered” is basically a story of escalation, where the harder the teachers come down on the characters, the harder they fight back, and the question is whether they end up proving the school right through their behavior. At the same time, it’s about what it means to suffer and live with different kinds of mental illness and traumas, and what it takes to be whole. And, ultimately, it’s about a family: the family we build out of people we love and choose, and how that family copes and sticks together and fights to survive.

5.  What’s the hardest part of being a writer?

Oh boy. I think the doubt that can hit with writers block. When you’re whistling along and everything is coming out fast and furious, you feel great: but when you hit a snag, it can feel like your whole world is crumbling, and make you doubt your story and your talent. Editing is also hard, because it’s never easy to kill your darlings, and can be so hard to see where your story needs changes when you are so close to it.

6.  What do you need around you to write (special drink, lucky items, etc)?

Music, definitely music. Not always while I’m actively typing, but when wool-gathering, music really helps. Like many writers, I see the scenes like movies in my head, and finding fitting music can really help you to ‘color’ the scene and heighten the emotion as you bring it to life. Soundtracks and film scores are especially helpful, because you don’t have to worry about the words sneaking in, and it can become great background noise as you work.

7.  What are some of your favorite books?

My favorite series of all time is Tamora Pierce’s “The Song of the Lioness” series. I read it when I was in elementary school, and it has remained one of the best series’ I’ve ever had the joy of discovering. The characters are so vivid and complex and subtle and real, and Pierce manages to paint them clearly in just a few pages. Each of the four books is short, yet when you reach the end of the series you feel like you’ve read an epic because of how much everyone has grown, how complex and involved the world is, and how many very serious issues she deals with in a way that is both accessible to young adults and children, and also utterly honest and unflinching. “The Trickster’s Queen” is another of her books I adore, and actually, I read it a lot while writing “Altered”!

“The Mists of Avalon” is one of the most important books I’ve ever read. It’s another book that has such realistic characters, and takes you through their whole lives, and deals with thorny issues like spirituality, love, hatred, prejudice, and fanaticism so well that when I reach the end I cry, every time. It’s just that powerful. “Bird By Bird” is important of course, and “The Asylum For Wayward Victorian Girls” by Emilie Autumn is incredible as well: another look into living with mental illness that takes you on a wild thrill ride.
8.  Are your characters based on anyone you know?

Oh yes! All of the characters in “Altered” are based on and inspired by friends, family, etc. Some more than others: one of my best friends knows the character of Toni is largely based on her, but they are dissimilar enough that she doesn’t have to worry about suing me!

9.  What, if anything, are you working on right now?

The sequel to “Altered”! I’m busy at work at it, so wish me luck!

10.  Why do you love writing?

Some of us have stories and characters that build up inside of us and start banging around and making a mess of things until they are let out. They want to speak to other people, to tell other people their story, and once you let them, and find fans who get them, who can step into that world, and find it as powerful as you do? It’s the best feeling in the world.

 

About the Author

Aubrey is a twenty year old author, singer-songwriter, dancer and choreographer who attends Sarah Lawrence College. In love with reading since she was young, her favorite writers include Tamora Pierce, Joss Whedon, and Chris Claremont. A passionate fan of those artists and writers she enjoys, she may be found answering questions for fans on her own website any day of the week. Ms. Coletti is currently working on the sequel to “Altered.”

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