Archive for the ‘#authorinterview’ Tag

Interview with Jane Bwye August 2018   4 comments

I suppose we could consider this a relaunch of my author interviews. And what better person to be the focus of that than Jane Bwye, who was my very first author interview about this time four years ago. Jane is here to tell us about her new book and what’s going on in her life. Welcome back, Jane.

Jane Bwye PortraitThank you for asking me round to your place again, Lela. I’ve just done some prodding in the past and discover that I’ve been here a few times. In 2014 I believe I was the first person you interviewed on your blog. Such a lot has happened in four years, and the questions and answers have changed.

I lost my husband last year. Despite misgivings about being able to make ends meet, I’m thankful that my needs are small, and I can get by with a mixture of pension and a revived business – comprising marking exam papers and judging dressage. The writing is a significant loss-leader!

I was sorry to hear about your loss. Dressage? This is the first I’ve heard of that interest.

I’ve been passionate about different things over the years. Horses are a main love, and I was lucky to have them as a major part of my life. I desperately wanted to be a ballerina when I was young and slim. I’d take a portable gramophone into the trees on the school boundary and play classical music as I danced and dreamed. But then my thighs grew too big. This passion rubbed off a bit onto my daughters.

My family is my life, and always will come first. I am blessed with six wonderful children, and seven grown-up grandchildren. I’ve been waiting to be a great-grandmother, but perhaps that will happen eventually.

Bwye House

I know I’ve asked this question before, but what is something you cannot live without.

I still cannot live without a book to read.

Absolutely! We must feed our souls before we can produce from them. So tell me about your books.

Writing Breath of Africa had a transformative effect on me. It served as an excellent catharsis after having to leave Kenya. The exercise of writing, learning how to craft a plot and edit, and trying to find a publisher, absorbed many years. Then I was finally ready to put the past behind me and make a go of life in the UK.

My books were written from the heart. They were written for me. I rejoice in the wonders of nature and wide-open spaces, and my descriptions sometimes take over from the characters. There is so much beauty around us. Perhaps I should have been a poet but trying to learn the technicalities put me off. The plots are secondary, and I try not to make them too contrived. I have juggled with different viewpoints and tried different techniques. I’ve written in the first and third person through the same character, as in I Lift Up My Eyes, where I’ve used italics to demarcate the switches of viewpoint. I guess my preference is projecting my feelings through the third person, which makes for a more varied and interesting approach.

Bwye DressageI prefer the larger universe of third-person perspective too. So, I always ask this question and I love the answers I get. The remote Alaska is still there. If I dropped you off for an extended stay – taking care of all the essentials, of course — what would you do there?

From your remote Alaska cabin I would now walk, and sit, contemplating the trees and taking in the beauty of the scenery. Especially I’d sit on a rock beside a stream letting the movement and the sound of the water take over my senses. I can watch moving water for hours on end, letting my mind wander and looking out for fish, insects and small animals. Like before, I’d bring my binoculars and a bird book and glory in every sighting. I’d make a list. And perhaps I’d bring my computer and develop a database of all the birds I’ve seen, written on bits of paper in the several bird books I’ve collected round the world. But perhaps not. I wouldn’t have time.

Every morning on waking, I’d read a few chapters of my bible. I’ve been doing this for years, and each time I revisit a chapter I learn something new. As the years go by, I have more people to pray about. I’d bring a notebook and pen to jot down happenings and thoughts.

I would not go near the internet or bring my mobile phone.

That’s good because there’s no cell service at our cabin site. That’s one of the things we love about it — enforced unplugging. Tell us about the latest book.

Grass Shoots has turned into a book with a message. Originally, it was written as a sequel to Breath of Africa, and it is still a story of Kenya in modern times. But it is also a standalone. It projects into the future. It addresses the motives of giving and receiving, and in matters of charity and foreign aid, faces the problems of mutual respect, and the necessity for people to take ownership of their destiny. After reading this book, I want to make people think, and to feel that there is hope in Africa. Giving is not a one-way exercise, and the rest of the world can learn much from the African people.

I love hearing about your faith. Like me, you don’t write for a specially Christian audience, but you don’t hide your faith either. How do you manage that in the world we’re in today?

Bwye Going It AloneI am an author who is a Christian. Apart from St. Wilfrid’s, A History, commemorating the 50th anniversary of my church, I haven’t written specifically for a Christian audience, although I make no secret of my faith. My voluntary work as a mentor in a Christian charity helps people regardless of their faith or lack thereof. I believe there are many people with good intentions who would shy away from reading if they thought I was trying to convert them. I Lift Up My Eyes contains many deeply personal cries to God from the main character. Even my latest – non-fiction – publication, Going It Alone, contains a true example of African business enterprises co-operating under the umbrella of the Christian faith, which demands integrity.

I love that idea! So where can readers find you and your books?


Amazon Author pages:





Interview with Sara O. Thompson   Leave a comment

Today’s interview is with Sara O. Thompson. Welcome to the blog.


Thank you so much for having me! I’m very happy to be here.


Tell us something about yourself. 


Sara Thompson author picI write, work, love, and play in Louisville, Kentucky. We ARE part of the South, so don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. I have a day job, as does my husband (he’s a critical care nurse). We have twin sons who are almost 4. When I’m not working, writing, or wrangling toddlers, I perform improv comedy with my troupe, Project Improv. I also love cooking and baking, crafts, and movies.



I know a lot of folks from Louisville … so many that I even know how to pronounce the name of your town correctly. It’s one of those places I have missed in my travels, but hope to visit someday. At what point did you know you wanted to be a writer?


I wrote the first twelve or so pages of a book when I was maybe eleven. It was a blatant rip off of Lord of the Flies and I spent most of those twelve pages talking about the various socio-economic classes and personalities of the school kids on board. I think I still have it up on my blog somewhere.



You put your first writing out on public display? Very brave! Tell us about your writing process.


I’m a hybrid plotter/pantser. This series is so big (10 books), I wrote a 70-something page outline. It gets vaguer and sparser the closer to the end, but it’s pretty much all there. I use a lot of improv techniques to outline and write.



Where did this myth come from that discovery writers can’t use an outline sort of as a roadmap that doesn’t constrain our creativity? I completely understand. What is your favorite genre … to read … to write?


I try to read as much as I can in my genre and books like mine, which are urban fantasy with a female protagonist. I love science fiction, historical fiction, and steam punk. I especially love books that are a mashup of other genres and ideas.



What is something you cannot live without?


My husband, my kids, my laptop, pretty notebooks and pens, dresses, wine (because of the kids), my Kindle full of books, undereye concealer (because of the kids), cheese, lipstick, and wi-fi.



I used to babysit my twin cousins. They gang up on you. When you are not writing, what do you do?


I’ve been performing improv for about 6 years. I love it so much. It has helped me so much as a writer that I have developed a workshop on using improv skills as a writer. I perform with a really great group and it’s been one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.



That sounds like an interesting project … a different way of approaching writing. Where do you get the inspiration for your novels?


I steal like a crow with a basket of baubles. I collect ideas, tidbits of dialogue, character sketches. Then I make a book out of them. You must cast you net wide, for in the pond where you least expect it, there will be fish.



Nice concept. What sort of research do you do for your novels?


I’m guilty of falling into the Wikipedia hole more than anything. I read, listen to podcasts, get newsletters. I’m just always on the lookout.


Do you find yourself returning to any recurring themes within your writing and, if so, are you any closer to finding an answer?


I had a professor in grad school who said every writer has a holy trinity: the three things you always write about, even if you try not to. For me, I’d say my holy trinity is religion, food, and possession (think Exorcist). I was raised Roman Catholic, but I enjoy exploring and challenging the ideas I was brought up with. I also like to point out similarities between religions and ask what would happen if…. For instance, I answer the question, “What would happen to world religions if we learned the stories about fairies and demons were not fantasy, but fact?” As far as food, my characters always eat on a regular basis.



You wouldn’t want them to get low blood sugar. Fainted characters just aren’t all that interesting. So, I’m going to drop you in a remote Alaska cabin for a month. It’s summer so you don’t have worry about freezing to death. I’ll supply the food and the mosquito spray. What do you do while you’re there and what do you bring with you? If you’re bringing books, what are they?


Does this cabin have wi-fi? That will make a difference. I’ll also have lots of notebooks, pens, markers, my laptop and power cord. Wine for the evenings. I’m bringing whatever book I’m reading at the time plus a Kindle full of others. Oh, and probably a gun, because…Alaska.



The gun and notebooks are practical ideas. Currently, the cabin doesn’t even have electricity. We’re way backwoods here … we even have a resident grizzly bear that saunters through occasionally.  But you are only 50 miles from the second largest city in the state. Talk about your books individually.


Sara Thompson Muddy WatersMy debut novel, Muddy Waters (Book 1 of Otherwhere series), came out in April. This was a book I wrote because it’s the kind of thing I want to read. It has a female protagonist who is smart, funny, and magic. It is not at all what I thought I would first publish with. I thought I’d write some big literary fiction book and, well, best laid plans and all that. This story came easily and I enjoy writing this world.



What do you want readers to think or feel after reading one of your books?


I’d like them to have been entertained, to maybe have had a laugh or two, and perhaps thought something they hadn’t thought before. Above all, I’d like to be unignorable.


Links to find Sara and her books.














Interview with Oyvind Jonas Jellestad   Leave a comment

Today’s interview is with Øyvind Jonas Jellestad.

This article will include a book cover that features a nude model. I don’t run nudes on my blog as a rule. I’ve maintained PG standards for the most part. I don’t do interviews with authors who feature sexual exploitation in their books. The reason I am making an exception here is that I don’t believe Oyvind means the photograph as sexual exploitation of women and I also recognize that his culture has different standards than mine. This does not mean I am generally relaxing the standards of my blog. I have the skills to conceal the model’s breasts, but I decided that was a rude thing to do to someone else’s book cover, so if you’re easily offended, you might want to stop reading right now, but you probably don’t need to worry about future blog posts because nudity is not going to become a “thing” for me. I just generally think sex and nudity belong in private, but I am making an exception because this book is an ode to an artist’s model and artist’s models often appear in the nude. Exceptions do not become the rule.

Welcome to the blog, Oyvind. Tell us something about yourself. 

Oyvind Author PicI am born in Bergen, Norway in 1953, but I have lived in several of the largest cities in Norway, mostly on the west coast of Norway.  It rains a lot but it is a good place to live.
Norway is maybe one of the most expensive countries to live in, so many wonder how I can live so well even if I am retired. I got injured during work as a lithographic printer and as well as an industrial painter. Because of that, I have a good pension. A pension which gives me the opportunity to do whatever I want, such as becoming an Indie publisher at age of 64.



I always love interviewing authors from other cultures besides America and the UK because it gives my readers … and myself … a different perspective on the world. My grandfather was born in Stockholm, Sweden, and I am in contact with cousins there, but I haven’t been able to afford a trip there … yet. At what point did you know you wanted to be a writer? 

Already as a child I liked to write and as a teenager I wrote a novel. Luckily I got refused!



We’re all lucky that our first novels are collecting dust somewhere dark and forgotten. Tell us about your writing process.

I always start with the pictures, when they are ready I write the text.



What is your favorite genre … to read … to write?




What are you passionate about?

Cooking. That’s my favourite (and my wife is lucky, she hasn’t been cooking for over 16 years).

My next big project is a real old fashion cook book. I already write a food blog but I like to write a really thick cook book!

Politics is one passion which I have had since I was very, very young. I am not active in politics anymore but still have very strong beliefs.



I would like to discuss that with you sometime because I am a nonpartisan who is passionate about political philosophy. What is something you cannot live without?

Love, music, reading and cooking!



When you are not writing, what do you do?

I am reading.


Do you have a special place where you write?

Yes, I have occupied our spare bedroom and use it as my office. When I write about food though I like to sit in the kitchen.
Since most of my writing incorporates photographs I am very dependent on my computers. When it comes to serious photography I cannot rely on laptops.



Do you find yourself returning to any recurring themes within your writing and, if so, are you any closer to finding an answer?






I’m going to drop you in a remote Alaska cabin for a month. It’s summer so you don’t have worry about freezing to death …. although being from Norway, you probably could handle it. I’ll supply the food and the mosquito spray. What do you do while you’re there and what do you bring with you? If you’re bringing books, what are they?

I would bring books written by Erich Maria Remarque and Haruki Murakami.


All’s Quiet on the Western Front? Stunning novel. I’m familiar with Murakami but admit I’m not a fan. 

They have both written a lot of outstanding novels, but “Arch of Triumph” by Erich Maria Remarque changed my life in many ways.

The same goes for “Dance, dance, dance” by Haruki Murakami.

I don’t know how many times I have read them but I still find new aspects in both of them …



I’ll have to give Murakami another chance. Tell me about your books. Was it your intention to write a story with a message or a moral?

Scanned from film negativeMy first book When the Crowd Cries was made as a tribute to one of my models AnneGrethe Fuller, who died all too young. Yes, the book has a message when it comes to morality.



What do you want readers to think or feel after reading one of your books?




What influenced your decision to self-publish?

As a young boy “I grew up” in a printer and a publishing company. I always wanted to run my own. Caused by the computers and internet it is possible to do that today.


There are people believe that traditional publishing is on the ropes, that self-publishing is the future. Do you agree? Why?

I honestly don’t know.



That is one of the more honest answers I’ve gotten from the question. What do you find to be the greatest advantage of self-publishng?

That I can publish whatever I want.


With the number of self-published books increasing by such a huge rate, it is really difficult for authors to make their books stand out. How do you go about this?

Honestly? I don’t care!


I like that. I’m sort of the same mind. I write for myself and I love the idea that I can put it out there for others to read, but I’m not interested in conforming to some standard other than my own. Who designed your book cover/s?

I do it myself.


 Where can readers find you and your books?

Amazon Author Page




Interview with Taylor Caley   Leave a comment

mToday’s interview is with Taylor Caley. Welcome to the blog. Tell us something about yourself. 


Taylor Caley Author PicI am from south central Pennsylvania in the United States. I am currently enrolled in creative arts at Full Sail University. Rising up the ladder in the creative industries is what I want to do with my life, as an author and a filmmaker. Until then, I pay my bills by working full time at my local ski resort and as an Uber driver in my free time. Despite full time work and college, I am always writing and continuing to expand the fictional tale I have to tell.


My current novels can be found on Amazon as well as my website,, where people can learn more about my works as they unfold.


At what point did you know you wanted to be a writer? 


Some people adopt writing as a hobby, others are adopted by it instead. That’s what I believe, and I’ve always believed myself to be among the latter. I’ve been telling stories on paper ever since I was six-years-old. I haven’t the faintest idea what it was about, but I remember everybody telling me I had talent for such a young child. When I was 13, my aunt urged me to take my talent to the next step, asking me to write for her a full length fictional story. This was what inspired me to step onto the road of professional writing, and after nine years of editing and evolving of the story, just after my 22nd birthday, I paid her a visit to personally give her a paperback copy of my first published book, Ice Cold – Part One: The Dark Zone.


That is really neat. What is your favorite genre … to read … to write?


My favorite genres to read have undoubtedly always been fantasy and science fiction. I read the Harry Potter series throughout middle school, and after that the Lord of the Rings, and just fell in love with the idea of such boundless limits in the worlds of fantasy. Ever since then, the vast fantasy genre has become my favorite to write as well. I wanted to create a great universe such as those I had read that I could call my own, but at the same time, I wanted to go beyond that. I wanted to create something that nobody had done before, and I’ll be spending the rest of my years bringing it to life. My first book, Ice Cold, is just the beginning of that.


What are you passionate about?


I am very passionate about the creative industries as a whole, in fact there is nothing I am more passionate about. I follow new films and television series very closely, and rarely ever watch them without a computer handy because I am constantly doing research on every aspect, story elements, people involved, anything I can learn from them in the interest of improving and advancing my own writing.



When you are not writing, what do you do?


Well, when I’m not writing it usually means I’m either working or at school. However, there is one activity I enjoy, my passion for which is right up there next to writing, and that is the game of paintball. My friends and I play most weekends throughout the summer, and I’ve always felt it was the best activity that could take my mind off writing for a while, considering it’s more or less the polar opposite.



Nice. I use hiking to fill that activity void myself. You have to vary your interests. Where do you get the inspiration for your novels?


Most of the inspiration for my writing comes from my dreams. J. R. R. Tolkien once said, “A single dream is more powerful than a thousand realities,” and he’s absolutely right. Perhaps the greatest inspiration I’ve had was when I was writing my first book, Ice Cold, the setting of which takes place in the Appalachian Mountains. I was greatly inspired by the beauty of the mountains after having lived in the Appalachians as a teenager, and one of the most common praises of my book has been my descriptive ability to make my readers vividly see the beautiful forests and mountains in my writing.



What sort of research do you do for your novels?

In developing a sci-fi/fantasy literary universe of my own, the bulk of my research has been in the areas of ancient legends and religions, in order to twist historical and mythological contexts and transform the world we all know into one of epic fantasy across all eras of time; chief among those being Plato’s concept of a hollow Earth and the curious but rather far-fetched multiverse theory.


If someone who hasn’t read any of your novels asked you to describe your writing, what would you say?


                Usually I’d say you’d be better off trying to learn quantum physics in five minutes. Joking aside, I like to call it a new generation of science fiction. I say this because the style of my writing can be compared to modern day stories and films such as the increasingly loved Marvel Cinematic Universe, in the sense that my writing is made up of many different stories and series along the same chronological tangents, all of which are meant to converge to bring about the ultimate climax of the story. To contrast it with said comparison, what makes my writing different is that it is completely original, therefore my biggest challenge is that, unlike Marvel which has been around for decades, I can’t just jump right into the middle of the series and expect my audiences to go along with it. Because of this, my writing has been expanded into an incredibly large, complex tangent of novels and series. In this way, I can slowly introduce characters that my readers can fall in love with, and sci-fi elements that they can eventually accept as if they’ve known it all along as they dive deeper and deeper into an ever-growing world of adventure and excitement. It all starts off easy; my first novel, Ice Cold, merely tells a simple tale of a native culture battling against foreign foes that seek to wipe them out, but as read into it you soon begin to discover that there are some unknown, outside elements that make you realize there’s a lot more going on, and a lot more to come.



That actually sounds like a really good start to a series. Do you have a special place where you write?


I don’t have any special place to write in particular. All I need is solitude as well as peace and quiet, of which any writer can certainly agree. I have found that the best time for me to write is at night, when the mind seems to be at its most active point. Often, I get so lost in my own worlds that I end up writing until dawn!



Are you a plot driven or character driven writer? Why?


                I would definitely say that I’m more character driven. I firmly believe that characters are born from certain traits and qualities of the writer, and understanding where our characters come from can help writers to better understand themselves. Being driven by my characters, and watching them suffer and rise above the obstacles in their paths, helps me to move the story along, and to take the plot to places beneficial to their further development.



Do you write from an outline or are you a discovery writer?  Why?


I create detailed outlines of my books before I begin writing, laid out by chapter with specific points to help me understand why each chapter is important and how it leads to the next part of the story. The personalities of my characters, however, is often something I tend to develop along the way as they’re faced with new challenges that could change them, much like obstacles in our own lives have the potential to change us as well.


What point of view do you prefer to write, and why?


I was never a huge fan of first-person narration mainly because I feel it sounds like a story that has already passed, as it’s being told from the point of view of one of the characters. Third-person on the other hand, despite also being written in past-tense style, I’ve always felt carries the feeling that it’s happening as you’re reading it, and in essence, it feels much more exciting. The thing about third-person narration is that it can be told with aspects of first-person as well. I often write certain parts of my stories as if you’re reading it straight out of the character’s mind, and it really makes you feel like you’re literally right there beside them.


I like that! So, I’m going to drop you in a remote Alaska cabin for a month. It’s summer so you don’t have worry about freezing to death. I’ll supply the food and the mosquito spray. What do you do while you’re there and what do you bring with you? If you’re bringing books, what are they?


                I’ve always wanted to see the mountains of Alaska, or to even have my own cabin. With food supplied to me, there’s not a lot of things I would wish to bring with me. Instead, I would find myself marveling at the beauty of the Alaskan environment, and remembering my days in the mountains that filled me with inspiration. Such solitude would be everything I’d need to immerse myself completely into my writing.



Tell us about your book.


              Taylor Caley Ice Cold  Ice Cold is part of a six-part series (more accurately the series is divided into three parts, each containing two of their own), and is where the grand tale begins. My first book, Ice Cold – Part One: The Dark Zone, tells the story of a small, hidden culture known as the Ravennites, descended from the mysterious Native American tribe, the Seluitah. The book pits the Ravennites against the oppression of Outside invaders, with the addition of a New York teen named Alex Lee, who finds himself accidentally caught in the middle of the conflict. After seeing the pain and suffering caused by the Outsiders, Alex’s journey begins when he sides with the Native culture and begins to fall in love with a young Ravennite woman.


                Ice Cold – Part Two: Winter’s Bane is nearly entering the publishing phase, and sees the climax of the war between the Ravennites and the Outsiders. At the same time, it explores more of the religious folklore of the Ravennites’ ancestors and deepens the bond between Alex and the woman he loves, but it is also here that key elements of the fantasy epic to come slowly begin to unfold.


                Between Ice Cold and the rest of this distinct series, I’m in the process of writing a short novella titled, Rowan. It’s a simple story taking place almost immediately after the end of Ice Cold, and centers around Rowan, the Ravennite girl whom Alex Lee had fallen in love with, and how she copes with life after her people’s war, all the while discovering secrets about herself that had been kept from her all her life. It’s designed to be a rather heart-rending story while leaving the reader anxiously wanting to see what her own future holds.



Was it your intention to write a story with a message or a moral?


                I did not necessarily have a message or moral in mind when I set out to write, not within the story at least. If anything, it’s my desire more than anything to set an inspiration for other young, aspiring writers to go above and beyond their limitations to create great universes the world has never seen before. That’s the message I truly hope to give.



What do you want readers to think or feel after reading one of your books?


                Feel is the key word here. So far, my readers have told me that they can vividly picture the story and the settings, and that they have started to grow attached to the characters already. What I want is for readers to feel exactly what I felt when creating the story; the sense of realism, beauty, and love for the characters they encounter. The way I see it, feeling the happiness and pain in such fictional characters that seem so real is all people need to understand the same feelings in the people around them.



What influenced your decision to self-publish?


                Despite the obvious disadvantages that come with self-publishing, I would say that my main influence to self-publish was simply to learn the process for myself, and what it takes to own and manage one’s work. It’s not an easy task, but it opens doors to possibilities with my future works, such as how I can better market my books, and who I can bring over to my side and collaborate with in the interest of expanding.


What do you find to be the greatest advantage of self-publishing?


The greatest advantage of self-publishing that I’ve seen so far is definitely being the one who makes the final decisions. That has its disadvantages, of course, but as I said before, the experience is what truly gives you the knowledge to make changes as you see fit and what you need to do in the future to avoid the obstacles you’ve run into the first time around if building upon your writing is what you wish to do with your life.


Conversely, what do you think self-published authors might be missing out on?


                Of course, the main disadvantage is bitter fact that, at least from the beginning, you’re on your own, and that your campaign is based solely around the gamble of spending money to make money.


Who designed your book cover?


The cover for my first book was designed by my publisher, Outskirts Press, per my instructions, and I could not have been happier with the result. They truly captured the beauty of setting in one detailed illustration. However, with the only downside being the amount of money I spent on the cover alone, I am currently having the cover of my second book done by a separate entity at for a much better price, and I have absolute confidence that they can produce the same astounding results as I’ve seen in my first book’s cover.





 Do you believe that self-published authors can produce books as high-quality as the traditional published? If so, how do you think we should go about that?


I believe self-published authors have more power to produce high-quality books than traditional publishers because these are the true creators. The only thing that really stands in the way of self-published authors is the means to make themselves known, which is why my hope is to collaborate and network with not traditional publishers, but other self-published authors to help give rise to the idea that self-publishing in the creative industries is, in fact, the future.


Where do readers find you and your books?





Interview with Stephany Tullis   1 comment

Today’s interview is with STEPHANY TULLIS. Welcome to the blog. Tell us something about yourself. 


Stephany Tullis Author PicHello, I refer to myself as a ‘A Native New Yorker’. Typically, when most people think of New York, they think of New York City—one of the biggest cities in the world. I’m from upstate New York about two hours north of NYC. However, I love The City—as it is also called and have visited it many times but would not like to live there-. New York, however, is a city known for its style, flare, theatre, shopping and so much more. It is a progressive city where its residents and often first-time visitors learn the importance of coping with their environment and circumstances with an attitude and perspective of succeeding with the hand life has dealt them. It is that seeming ability to cope and handle it all that I bring to my personality. My father and some family members continue to live in New York State. Other family members live in Georgia where I also reside about 30 minutes north of Atlanta.

I currently have small business management consulting company but write full time for the most part.



At what point did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I wrote my first book entitled The Master’s Plan, A Novel at the dare of my oldest son. I had unexpectedly left my management job in New York because of family reasons and relocated to the Atlanta area sooner than I expected. Upon relocation, I was extremely disappointed when I was not able to find a job. When I relocated, finding another job was the least of my worries. It was this New Yorker attitude that eventually led me to conclude that my sometimes brash, bold, fast talking, confident persona did not mesh well with the genteel southern sometimes-not-so-hospitable south.


Stephany Tullis Masters PlanAs I commiserated over my unemployment status, my son said quite cavalierly, ‘why don’t you do what you do best? Write! Write a book!’ I had never thought about writing fiction. Loved to read—always have and he was correct. I wrote but my expertise was in the areas of technical writing—contracts, proposals, speech-writing.

Needless to say, I took the dare and wrote my first book in 2013—a novel about a woman’s search for purpose.


What are you passionate about?

As I write in my bio, “In my world, there is no life without writing, traveling, family, music and my love of politics. My loves and interests are central to my writing.”

My world (my back-story) is guided by my faith and the inspiration I receive from God.

With this backdrop, regardless of the date or time of your visit, you will find family. Without exaggeration, family and relationships are the core of every book I write.

I love to travel and like me, my characters are always off and running and in so doing require me to research (and often visit) so many fascinating places.

I also love music—all kinds and I’m never surprised by what track finds its way to my personal playlists and a character’s ring tone, door chime, or car radio station.

People frown sometimes and don’t understand my love of politics, but I have a political administration background and thrived on it and in my past government career. For me, it’s the people, the process and what democracy offers. As with life, my fictional towns and cities include mayors, governors, school board members, etc.

If you haven’t guessed, I love my world that allows me the joy of living a life I love but most importantly, one where I can share it with others via my writing.



Are you a plot driven or character driven writer? Why?

Stephany Tullis Blue LadyFrom start to finish, my writing is driven by my characters. There are times when I have an idea or a plot and storyline but as I create my characters, the story line and plot usually changes. For example, recently, I had developed a very general outline of my intended story. When I began my search for images for my cover design, the entire theme of my story changed as well as the qualities, quirks and characteristics of my characters. In this respect, my cover is very important to me and has a motivating influence on the development of my characters and the ultimate storyline. Additionally, I use a lot of dialogue in my stories and have been told that I am a cinemagraphic writer…scene and dialogue driven.



Do you write from an outline or are you a discovery writer?

I am a pantster, i.e. discovery writer primarily as I describe above. My characters drive my story and as ‘they develop (along with the storyline), an initial plot outline will change drastically as my story evolves. I no longer spend time in developing outlines for this reason.



Was it your intention to write a story with a message or a moral?

Stephany Tullis Love's LegacyI intend to write ‘with purpose’ without moralizing or chastising. I write in several genres but my goal is to not only entertain and write a ‘good’ book but to also provide my readers something to think about. This was an important objective in writing my first novel, The Master’s Plan. My first book is ‘Inspirational’ and I tackle some important moral issues; e.g. fidelity, family, relationships, etc. My goal was to write a book that anyone could read and would want to read regardless of religious backgrounds and come away with a message that they could apply to their respective personal situations.


My favourite review of this first book is by a reader who describes himself as a ’63-year-old blond-haired, blue eyed male who rated the book with five stars.




What influenced your decision to self-publish?

I decided to self-publish after hearing the horror stories of so many writers who had signed writing contracts only to find themselves boxed into situations that limited their ability to write and did not provide them the financial advantages they expected.


If you have experience with both traditional and indie publishing, compare the two.

For a short period, I was under contract with a small publishing company. There were some distinct advantages such as the availability of editing, proofreading and cover design services. I’ve learned, however, that I prefer my independence and the ability to direct my writing according to my personal preferences. I had anticipated that I would receive much more support in promoting my books with a publishing company. I was extremely disappointed to discover that this was not the case.



Who designed your book cover/s?

As mentioned previously, my cover design is very important to me and I view the cover as a reflection of me, the overall quality of my book and writing. I have used several designers since publishing my first book. My primary objective in selecting a designer is their willingness to work with me to design a cover that meets my needs and personal taste. I’m proud and very happy to say that I have ongoing relationships with all my designers and that several of my covers have won ‘best cover’ awards in various competitions.



***Do you write specifically for a Christian audience? Why or why not?

I address this question above but would also like to reiterate that I write cross genre, always with a ‘purpose’ and do not write only for Christian audiences. I want my reading audience to understand that all people, regardless of their religious background, ethnicity or gender have problems, issues, and challenges. It’s the manner in which we handle those issues and challenges that makes the difference in our lives.


What are some of the special challenges of being a Christian writer?

The biggest challenge for me is reflected in how I view myself. I am a Christian who writes fiction and not a Christian writer. This may appear to be a minor point, but it isn’t. I’ll use a couple of examples to illustrate my point. As a Christian, I know that we all have issues and problems. We live in a world filled with horrific problems that impact us all and not just Christians. My goal as a writer is to share stories about how people live in view of and despite such problems. To illustrate a point, as a writer, I might have a character who swears. While I know most Christians will find swear words offensive in an inspirational book, I approach this area carefully. Usually by softening the presentation by using language such as, ‘he cursed’ but I have been known to use certain words such as ‘hell’ to illustrate a point.



Do you feel that Christian writers should focus on writing really great story or on presenting the gospel clearly in everything they write? Or is it possible to do both?


I think as a writer who is a Christian, my purpose is to tell a great story. In my first book, The Master’s Plan’, I use a lot of scriptural references (note the book is based around a woman in search of her purpose who happens to be the second wife of a pastor). My goal is not to present the gospel. My goal is to present a life style that reflects a character’s ability to face life challenges in a manner that would be pleasing to Christ.


Where can readers find you and your books?





Amazon Author Page

Book Bub

Readers Group

Interview with Suzanna J. Linton   3 comments

Today’s interview is with Suzanna J. Linton. Welcome to the blog. Tell us something about yourself. 

Suzanna J Linton headshotI live in South Carolina and have nearly my whole life. I’ve always loved books and telling stories. My mother likes to say I would scribble on anything I could get my hands on. I’m married. My husband has been very supportive in my desire to write, which has been a serious blessing. As well as writing fiction, I also do a little freelancing on the side.


At what point did you know you wanted to be a writer? 

I don’t know if there ever was any one point I knew I wanted to be a writer. Writing has always been something I’ve wanted to do; it’s as natural as breathing. I remember trying to write a story at around age 9 but I mostly wrote poetry until high school. That’s when I started writing novels.



Do you have a special place where you write?

I do have an office that I use. It has my reference books, my to-be-read pile, a white board, a board covered in notes and pictures, and other odds and ends. My desk is one of those you can readjust so that you’re standing at it. I don’t use it like that nearly as often as I should but it’s good for those days when I need to stretch.

However, I don’t always stay in that office. I love going to a café in my town. For some reason, when I’m surrounded by the bustle of life, it’s easier to write.


I’ve found that too. Do you find yourself returning to any recurring themes within your writing and, if so, are you any closer to finding an answer?

I’ve noticed that I keep writing about desire versus duty. Sometimes, what our heart wants and what we should do are two separate things. While there are times when our duty is wrong, I think there’s too much emphasis today on “do what feels right”. What feels right isn’t necessarily the right thing to do and our society has suffered for that philosophy. I don’t know if I’m looking for an answer so much as I’m trying to say what I think and work it out in myself at the same time. Yes, duty is important but it’s hard to say no to the heart.


Are you a plot driven or character driven writer? Why?

Suzanna Linton Clara-FJM_Low_Res_500x750I think I’m a bit of both. Character is really important but you can’t shape character if things don’t go terribly wrong. I try to balance the two.


I’m going to drop you in a remote Alaska cabin for a month. It’s summer so you don’t have worry about freezing to death. I’ll supply the food and the mosquito spray. What do you do while you’re there and what do you bring with you? If you’re bringing books, what are they?


I am such a practical person that my immediate thought was “a gun”! I have always wanted to go to Alaska, by the way, so this scenario might become something of a reality one day. Besides the necessary firearm (because bears and moose), I would bring plenty of notebooks, pens and pencils, my favorite coffee, a camera, good hiking boots, and books. The books I would bring would probably be from my “to be read” pile because this sounds like an excellent time to catch up. Also, religious books to help me meditate and pray.


Wow, you are the first person to come up with the primary Alaska hiker’s accessory. Very practical, since our cabin comes with a neighborhood grizzly bear who thinks humans might taste good with katsup! Talk about your books individually.


As of this interview, I have three novels published.


CLARA and CLARA’S RETURN belong to the Stories of Lorst Series. <a href=””>CLARA </a> follows the story of a young woman freed from slavery but burdened with the gift of Second Sight. A civil war grips her kingdom and, to survive, she must discover the horrifying truth behind the war.


Suzanna Linton ClarasReturn2_Final-FJM_Low_Res_500x750<a href=””>CLARA’S RETURN</a> picks up not long after the first book. Clara is on a quest to learn about her past when a new threat to the kingdom appears in the form a traitor who is closer to Clara than she could ever imagine.


<a href=”>WILLOWS OF FATE</a> is the first book of the Lands of Sun and Stone Series. Desdemona sees strange creatures and knights in armor, things no one else sees. She fears she’s crazy but when her mother dies, Des uncovers letters and journals that suggest what she has been seeing is real. That’s when the man in gold appears, telling her that if she doesn’t come with him to his world, then she and everyone she loves will be in grave danger.


Was it your intention to write a story with a message or a moral?

I try not to go into a story with a specific message or morality in mind. I know if I do that, then I’ll just “preach on it” and it won’t be a story any longer. The message develops as I tell the story, so it’s almost like my subconscious working quietly in the background as I consciously write the story. I never know what a story is really about until I’ve written it.


What do you want readers to think or feel after reading one of your books?

I want them — both women and men — to feel empowered and ready to face the challenges in their lives. I don’t really think about it beyond that. Each book is different and I would want them to feel different things. I definitely would want them to think, “Hey, I should buy more of her books!”


What influenced your decision to self-publish?

Suzanna Linton willowOfFateFinal-FJM_Low_Res_500x750 (1)I tried to get an agent or trad publisher interested in my first book, CLARA. When that didn’t happen, I self-published almost on a whim. I was tired of being told no one was excited about my work, but then not telling me why. I think it was frustration with the whole process that influenced me the most.



I represent that. There are people believe that traditional publishing is on the ropes, that self-publishing is the future. Do you agree? Why?

I think that traditional publishing has a lot to learn from self-publishing if it wants to survive. If trad publishers don’t recognize the niches and audiences they’ve been ignoring for years, then, yes, it will go the way of Blockbuster. However, as long as self-publishing doesn’t offer consistent quality, then traditional publishing will keep on going because, at the end of the day, that’s what readers want. They want to pick up a book they know is good and well edited. I’m sorry to say that with self-publishing, it can be a little like literary Russian roulette.


Very much so. What do you find to be the greatest advantage of self-publishing?

I think the greatest advantage is that no one tells you, “this isn’t salable”. Good stories aren’t always salable. I think writers should be willing to go against trends and fashion, but mainstream publishing is powered by that! If you don’t fit into the mold the Big Five says you should fit into, then you’re just out of luck. With self-publishing, you can just bypass all of that.


Conversely, what do you think self-published authors might be missing out on?

I think self-published authors miss out on a feeling of credibility. There’s still a stigma about self-publishing, as if only untalented hacks ever bother with it. Many writers already struggle with imposter syndrome. Being traditionally published helps to mitigate that. And, it’s easier for your books to be in brick-and-mortar stores if you’re traditionally published.


Wow, that is some deep insight about the credibility issue. I see it with quite a few of the people I interview. Your covers were what attracted me to your books when I saw them on Twitter. Who designed your covers?


My covers are designed by <a href=””>Fiona Jayde Media</a>. Fiona is a phenomenal person to work with. She wants to know as much about the books as she can and she wants to hear ideas from the writer. And she has this amazing ability to take ideas from someone not as artistically inclined and then interpret them in a beautiful way. I highly recommend her.


Do you believe that self-published authors can produce books as high-quality as the traditional published? If so, how do you think we should go about that?


I definitely think that we can. The first thing I think we should do is get away from the idea of quantity over quality. I see so many advice articles written saying that you have to put out as much content as you can as fast as you can because that’s the only way to get people to notice you. Enough people have done that to where the market is saturated by low-quality books that wouldn’t have gotten a B in a high school creative writing course. This helps keep alive that stereotype of “only bad writers self-publish”.


Once we’re away from that, then it feels safer to invest in good cover artists, good editors, and good proofreaders. It can take up to two years for a book to be traditionally published because of all the rounds of editing. If a trad writer goes through that much trouble, shouldn’t we? I think once those two things are done consistently, across the board, then more readers will come.


 How do readers find you and your books?
Looking for a good read?
Clara’s Return:
Willows of


Interview with Aduro   Leave a comment

Today’s interview is with Aduro. Welcome to the blog. Tell us something about yourself. 

AduroWell, I’m from the United States, Idaho in particular and well, let’s just say writing is otherwise my life. I live and breathe storytelling.


At what point did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Well, it was after I had gone through a number of possible career options in my younger years. Eventually though, I reached a point where school became a hassle, because just one of the teachers ruined the experience for me and she was outright horrible in her own way. Not saying she was a bad teacher, I’m just saying she was a bad teacher for me in particular and was kind of insufferable to deal with.


Tell us about your writing process.

I’m what you would call a really complicated author. I write in what can only be described as an “expanded universe” similar to that of DC or Marvel in its concept. As for direct writing, I simply start with a character of mine and build a story around them. If it works, I start writing the story and see how I can expand the story further until I reach a state where I can be satisfied with the work itself.


What is your favorite genre … to read … to write?

I mostly prefer works of fantasy, especially high fantasy. Though I also enjoy some mythology too, namely Greek Mythology.


What are you passionate about?

Writing and gaming of course.


Well, of course. What is something you cannot live without?

Writing. I couldn’t live without being able to write stories. Though I mostly use a computer. I’d probably have to use a typewriter if I couldn’t use a computer.


When you are not writing, what do you do?

Gaming. Playing video games.


Have you written any books that made a transformative effect on you? If so, in what way?

Not that I can think of.


Where do you get the inspiration for your novels?

Aduro Within Shadows CoverA variety of sources, but mostly I get them from the media I take in. Whether it’s a TV show or a video game. Though a huge chunk of my inspiration comes from a combination of J.R.R. Tolkien’s works and Avatar: The Last Airbender/Legend of Korra.


What sort of research do you do for your novels?

Well, given the subject of my novels are usually pretty fictional, I don’t really need to do as much research. The only time I need to do research is when I need to apply some scientific concept or medical knowledge, maybe even a bit of cooking knowledge, to a story.


If someone who hasn’t read any of your novels asked you to describe your writing, what would you say?

Hmm, that’s rather difficult. I would best describe them as something similar, though not as good as J.R.R. Tolkien’s works with some flavour of J.K. Rowling’s works sprinkled on top. Mind you, compared to them, I’m just a small time indie author, while they are among the biggest legends of the modern literature world. But I have modeled my style more after Tolkien’s.


At one time, they were small-time, unknown authors. Do you have a special place where you write?

Not really. Just my room.


Do you find yourself returning to any recurring themes within your writing and, if so, are you any closer to finding an answer?

Yes. One of the many recurring themes in my works usually involve balance. Finding it and bringing it to others. In some cases though I just write a story for the sake of writing it/simply because I want to write it.


Are you a plot driven or character driven writer? Why?

More character driven. Though they drive the plot more.


Do you write from an outline or are you a discovery writer?  Why?

I start as a discovery writer with a very rudimentary outline just to know where I’m going and so I don’t get lost. But once I finish the first draft, I create a more detailed outline for my second draft and beyond, that way I can return to it at any time. Even if I have to take a pause from the story and deal with other matters.


What point of view do you prefer to write, and why?

Third person, usually third person omniscient. Meaning I can get into all the characters’ minds if I need to, but I primarily focus on just ONE character at a time.



I’m going to drop you in a remote Alaska cabin for a month. It’s summer so you don’t have worry about freezing to death. I’ll supply the food and the mosquito spray. What do you do while you’re there and what do you bring with you? If you’re bringing books, what are they?

Computer, video games, a fair internet connection. That way I can do what I want in some peace and quiet. If I bring any books, they’re my own or Harry Potter/Lord of the Rings, so I can reread them and spot details I may have missed.


Tell us about your book.

Within Shadows is my first and presently only published novel. It is a simple story about the Head General of a kingdom waking up to find herself in pain with little memory of how she got there. It focuses primarily on her trying to find out why that is the way it is and getting everything back on track within the kingdom. Being a no-nonsense type of person.

Any future stories I wish to keep to myself for now.


Was it your intention to write a story with a message or a moral?

Sometimes, it depends on the story itself. I believe in leaving things up for the reader to interpret instead of intentionally planting moral messages in a story. If it happens, it might be unintentional.


What do you want readers to think or feel after reading one of your books?

That they just took a walk in the lives of these characters. That they entered a fantasy world and experienced something different. That they truly felt like they connected with some of the characters.


What influenced your decision to self-publish?

Well, considering the content of my work focuses on Non-human characters as the mains in most cases, where they are instead animal people or dragons, or something of the like. I don’t think I’m that good for the mainstream.


There are people believe that traditional publishing is on the ropes, that self-publishing is the future. Do you agree? Why?

I believe that traditional publishing will stand, but if they don’t make a change, they will fall. Self-publishing does have some future as it lets people get work out and become known as authors. People like myself that have ideas that are willing to push boundaries.


What do you find to be the greatest advantage of self-publishng?

The creative freedom. I can mostly do what I want in my works and I don’t have anyone putting deadlines on me. It’s the control I need.


Conversely, what do you think self-published authors might be missing out on?

Better pay and advertising. Their books will get out there faster and become known faster. As well, they’ll usually do better overall.


With the number of self-published books increasing by such a huge rate, it is really difficult for authors to make their books stand out. How do you go about this?

I haven’t exactly figured this one out yet. It’s just a matter of hammering it away as much as you can. Making unique characters and well crafted stories, while advertising as hard as you can.


Who designed your book cover/s?

A close friend. Skitty22 on deviantart, though her name is Cheyanne.



Do you believe that self-published authors can produce books as high-quality as the traditional published? If so, how do you think we should go about that?

Yes. We can, and it’s a relatively simple process. All you have to do is find a good editor, go through all the appropriate hoops and everything and you can have high quality stories. But you need a GOOD TEAM to help you.


Do you belong to a writer’s cooperative? Describe your experience with that.

No. I don’t.


How do readers find you and your book?

Link to the cover artist:

Link to my personal Deviantart account:

Link to Within Shadows:

Primary Twitter:

Dedicated Writing Only Twitter:

Inside My Mind

Words from my brain

Happiness Between Tails by da-AL

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A book enthusiast bringing you all things bookish


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A New Dimension to Explore!! Love for books and series is all we need. Life can be lonely without books. All I love is books, series, and talking about serious causes like bodyshaming. Do join me if you love to live your life to the fullest

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