Archive for the ‘horror’ Tag

Interview with Ellie Douglas   Leave a comment

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

 

Douglas Author PicMy name is Ellie Douglas, I live in Auckland, New Zealand, and have a wonderful hubby who earns enough so I can stay at home with the kids and write my novels 🙂 I have four ankle-biting horrors, twin girls and two boys, I scored the lottery with them 🙂

 

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

I knew I wanted to be a writer from a young, very young age. I wrote my first story when I was 15 but I didn’t do anything with it. Then many years later I picked writing back up and haven’t put it down since. No intentions of stopping at all.

 

I don’t think real writers can ever turn off the tap. Tell us about your writing process.

My writing process is a little, well, lets just say eccentric. I write when I want, and when the mood strikes. I could be laying in bed struggling to sleep. So I get up and write. I could be at the beach and the mood strikes so I start writing. I have no outlines or plots that I work from, I start at the beginning and build from there, even I don’t know what the ending will be until I finish the novel.

 

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

Horror for both reading it and writing it.

 

What are you passionate about?

My family are what I am most passionate about.

 

What is something you cannot live without?

My kids

 

When you are not writing, what do you do?

Douglas hounded1smaller.pngI like to read, a lot. I also love watching TV shows. I’m a also a big fan of movies. I also create book covers, professionally. So when not writing I can be found doing those other things and, of course, spending time with my kids 🙂

 

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

No

 

Where do you get the inspiration for your novels?

A few places, sometimes I get them from the book covers I create, sometimes I get them from movies and/or other books. Mostly I get them from just ideas that rush through my head like a steam train out of control.

 

What sort of research do you do for your novels?

I do a lot of research, location — weapons, clothing, interior design, exterior …. Every novel I have ever written has been thoroughly researched. I even had to research psychology and doctors, phobias and other mental illnesses.

 

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

I’d say be afraid, of being grossed out and scared. It is my aim to do just that 🙂

 

Do you have a special place where you write?

Not really, I do tend to sway more towards, writing in my lounge. Kicking back on my lazy-boy, extending my legs and using my laptop.

 

Douglas Zombie Dogs

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

I guess if you call Zombies a theme as I have a tendency to write more about them than other themes.

 

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

Douglas Coloring BookCharacter driven, because I believe building the ultimate character to give the reader the joy of knowing someone that isn’t real yet feels very real and realistic at the same time is gold.

 

 

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

I am a discovery writer, why? It is just how I prefer to write, no real explanation to why, sorry. It is what it is 🙂

 

 

I totally understand. What’s the fun of knowing what’s coming next … even if you are the writer. 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?

First, thank God, it is summer. I’d have my laptop. I’d have movies and books, far too many to list specific titles, but they are all horrors.

 

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

I want readers to be scared. I want them to be grossed out. I want them to feel excitement and to fall in love with the characters. To travel with the characters both good and evil, to experience what my characters do through the eyes of the readers.

 

What influenced your decision to self-publish?

Mostly impatience and the flexibility of being self-published. That need to get my story out now, instead of a year after it has been finished.

 

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

Neither, because neither of those are true. Traditional publishing will always be there, and self-publishing will as well. That is what I believe, hey I could be totally wrong, ignorant to believe what I do, it is what it is though 🙂

 

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

The greatest advantage is to have what you worked hard on, to be on the market for sale straight after it is finished.

 

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

 

Not a great deal really. If you sell the rights to your book you could be underselling yourself. Keeping the rights to your book and nominating the prices you wish to sell, are the things you can’t get if you are traditionally published. But being traditionally published has its perks too. It would be nice to experience both so I could answer this properly.

 

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?

Yes, it is increasingly difficult to be seen. The only way I know how to increase visibility is to constantly advertise. Promotion is the best advice I could give to any author, both self-published and traditionally. Word of mouth is top of course. But overall it is pumping out the links to the books you have on a continuous basis. Remember you are competing with millions of other authors. So it is even harder to be seen. Don’t be discouraged. Keep on going 🙂

 

 

Who designed your book cover/s?

I designed my own book covers. I do it professional as my regular job.

 

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 they can, provided you have a good editor and beta readers, not family members and not friends. But professionally paid services that will polish your book to it’s highest. They don’t come cheap, so save before you even finish writing a book. Save hard. But, it is vital that you hire a professional editor. And a proof reader.

 

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

 

No I don’t. Not yet, but one day soon I will.

 

 

Where do readers find you and your books?

http://bit.ly/zomDog1   Hounded (Amazon)

http://bit.ly/EllieTube YouTube Channel

http://bit.ly/FB-ELLIE Facebook

http://bit.ly/LinkedIn-Ellie LinkedIn

http://bit.ly/Ellie-Pin Pinterest

http://bit.ly/Ellie-Instagram Instagram

https://twitter.com/AuthorEllie Twitter

www.authorellie.com

Interview with KC Sprayberry   3 comments

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

Sprayberry EyesI currently live in Northwest Georgia, but that will be changing soon. We’re in the process of selling our home and relocating to Alabama. Not only am I an author, I’m also the editor-in-chief of Summer Solstice Publishing, an imprint of Solstice Publishing. My significant other is my husband of nearly twenty-two years and the only child remaining in our almost empty nest is our youngest, who will be returning to college in a year.

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

As far back as I can remember, I have loved reading. I think that came from my mom, who in an effort to control six unruly children over school holidays, was wont to sit us down with a book in our hands and order us to read. We all developed a deep-seated passion for those books and many others that continues to this day. Sometime during this process, I began to create stories in my head. At first, I put these tales into my diary, until one of my brothers discovered it and blabbed. After that, I kept the stories in my head, until high school, where a very good creative writing teacher pulled that magical string and let them loose. Since then, I’ve been jotting down stories on pieces of paper, napkins, even my hand when I was without a piece of paper. It’s like the faucet will never close, and I aim to make the most of this journey.

Sprayberry callchronicleskindlecoverThat’s a common history for many of us writers … that tap that cannot be turned off.  Tell us about your writing process.

My writing process generally consists of me yelling at the characters demanding to be heard while I attempt to do those normal things—prepare meals, tote the child here and there, and clean the house. They won’t shut up, so I’ll plop down and pound out their stories, until the dust bunnies are of Jurassic size, and then do the normal things until the characters are too loud again. It’s a vicious circle I can’t, and don’t want to escape.

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

It might be easier to ask what is my least favorite genre. I will read a book as long as it’s good. It’s that simple. Be it fantasy, contemporary, romance, sci-fi, or any of the other genres, as long as the author has created a wonderful, consuming story that I can’t walk away from. There are exceptions though. I don’t read porn, have no use for it, and literary fiction leaves me cold. Most literary fiction I’ve attempted to read bored me to tears within the first ten pages.

Sprayberry lost and scared cover artWhat are you passionate about?

Writing, reading, photography, nature, honesty in politics. Yes, I know the last one is a bit of a laugh, but I feel that politicians should be honest with those who have elected them. That’s probably why I’m not too popular with that group.

What is something you cannot live without?

A quiet place to write… my books (we have close to 3,000 print and ebooks)… my kitchen—cooking is my way of relaxing. As one of my children recently described it, “I don’t know how much she puts of what into the pot. She just tosses this and that, and it all comes out great.”

Sprayberry Softly Say GoodbyeWhen you are not writing, what do you do?

Visit the library… a park… smell the flowers outside… meet up with people I like. I’m a simple person. There’s no need for a fancy meal, or an elite gathering. Give me down home folks and good food, and I’m enjoying myself.

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

My most recent novel, Lost & Scared, and my latest collection, Soar High 1 Standing Strong.

The novel, Lost & Scared, is about non-custodial parental abduction told from the viewpoint of twins, a brother and sister, with an almost mystical connection. One of them is left behind, while the other is taken in the abduction with three of their younger siblings. It’s intense, explores a lot of emotions and actions I’ve avoided in my other teen novels, and as my editor put it, is a darned good book.

Soar High 1 Standing Strong is a series of stories about abuse. It’s about overcoming abuse more than about the actions themselves. Freeing those being abused from their situation is more than mouthing words, it’s about action, doing what others may say is wrong, but still taking that step to walk away from the pattern so it doesn’t hold onto you forever.

Sprayberry Where U @Where do you get the inspiration for your novels?

Things happening around me, news stories, situations I experienced growing up and as an adult. Sometimes a character will appear in my head and demand that I tell a story I’ve never considered. Those are harder to write, but far more satisfying, especially the research I do to find out more about the situation I’m crafting.

What sort of research do you do for your novels?

Newspapers, the internet, talking to people who have experienced what I’m writing about, or who know someone who has gone through it. Sometimes, to craft a great story, you have to step away from the characters and envision things how their friends see them. That’s why it’s important to get the opinion of bystanders.

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

I’m intense and approach subjects that aren’t comfortable. Things like underage drinking, school violence, texting and driving, non-custodial parental abduction, and bullying to name a few. Some say those are hot subjects, but I try to look at them from a viewpoint that hasn’t been done before.

Do you have a special place where you write?

I have a writing cave. It’s a private place, where those in the house know they can’t wander into at will. I’ll also write in a notebook at the park, or sitting in the bleachers before a game, or even at the grocery store if the muse strikes.

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

Currently, I’m returning to the non-custodial parental abduction theme. Lost & Scared 2 is in the early planning stages. There are a couple of chapters written, but I’m still researching a few elements that I don’t really know well, so those characters are well rounded. I have to say this book will portray the original twins in a completely different way as the first book, which is why I’m having so much trouble getting it to work. They’ve matured, are getting ready for college, and still dealing with the near past. And that’s all I can say about that book at the moment.

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

Character driven, definitely. My characters are very much a part of my life. They feel the same as my kids. I care about them. I cry when they do, laugh with them, and fight for the same things they believe in. Well-developed characters can move a plot so well, and I strive hard to do that with mine.

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

I’m a panster through and through. I’ve tried writing from an outline, but it never works. Before I reach chapter eight, I’m tossing everything out the window and listening to my characters, switching up situations, letting the plot take off on its own.

Sprayberry Take Chances (683x1024)What point of view do you prefer to write, and why?

For my teen books, I prefer first person, present tense. It’s more alive, contains more a feeling of immediacy. Romance, military fiction, and westerns are all third person, past tense. That’s how the story wants to be told, and I learned long ago not to ignore the story.

Do you head-hop?

I try not to. Some of my stories have that happen accidentally, but mostly I stick to the point of view I’m working with at the moment. Do I have multiple POV stories? Yes. Two of my teen books, my romantic suspense novel, and my western are all multiple POV, but I work hard to ensure the reader isn’t confused about whose story they’re reading.

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?

Better be some really good mosquito spray. I’m a magnet for those critters, and I hear the ones in Alaska are huge!

The huge ones are easy. They’ve very slow, so you can smack them before they get to you. It’s the smaller ones that attack with ferocity and by the millions. But we have great bug spray.

You’ll supply the food too? Will it be food I don’t have to prepare? Because if so, I’ll be spending that whole month doing a NaNoWriMo type writing marathon with one major difference. I won’t have to stop to grocery shop, or make meals, or clean the house. You might have to use a shoehorn to boot me out after a month.

Tell us about your books.

We’ll start with the first. Softly Say Goodbye was inspired by a Breaking Benjamin song, Here We Are. The moment I heard that song, the characters came alive in my head. The plot and theme were a lot slower, until I settled on underage drinking and one girl’s passion to stop teens in her school from going down that road.

Take Chances is probably the second most emotional book for me. This idea began right after Columbine. That really hit home for my family. We knew people there, people I’d worked with before we moved to Georgia. Watching the news stories, seeing the terror drove home just how awful this is. The main character, Julie, is a military brat, and proud of it. She has her secrets, one of which is revealed the day before horror visits her at a school a second time.

Sprayberry The Wrong One 2 (427x640)The Wrong One is my first multiple viewpoint story. Two children are ripped apart in a night of terror when they are four. Fourteen years later, the boy, Kyle, stands by his vow to bring Lyssa home. Lyssa doesn’t even know who she really is, due to a threat made in the early hours after she was taken from her home. This book is my first psychological thriller, but not my last. The Wrong One placed #7 in the 2013 Preditors & Editors Readers Poll.

Inits—it’s all in a name, or as Alex puts it in this book, the inits, initials, of your name. And his are a curse word. He’s tried for years to stop punching people who use his inits, but now that he’s starting high school, he knows he has to find a peaceful way to stop the teasing. Only one person stands in his way, the school bully, who is determined to make Alex get over his inits and let people use them.

Texting and driving is the theme for Where U @, but the book is much more than that. It also explores some racism, where the main character, Trea, must put up with harassment because she’s one quarter Cherokee. As she discovers, it’s easy to say don’t text and drive, but the temptation might prove too strong at certain moments.

Canoples Investigations Tackles Space Pirates is the first in a planned 6 book series about a group of teens living on a space station. It’s irreverent, funny, and full of all kinds of dangerous situations—the perfect book for adventuresome boys and girls. Oh, and there are space pirates, with one big surprise for BD Bradford, the main character.

Canoples Investigations Versus Spacers Rule, there’s a new gang making trouble on Canoples Station, along with a lot of hatred for the Canoples Investigations crew. Can they overcome all of that to protect the station from dangerous animals and… gasp!… gas?

Paradox Lost: Their Path is a time travel fantasy novel. What starts out as a prophecy that will happen sometime in the future, turns into a fight for their lives for triplets DJ, Matt, and Elisa. To compound the problems, each of them must make the choice to save their father, trapped in the debris of 1906 San Francisco after the earthquake, thereby changing history and causing more problems. Or will they put their personal concerns aside and work for the more important issue, stopping Rogues from destroying the world? Paradox Lost: Their Path placed #3 in the 2014 Preditors & Editors Readers Poll.

The Curse of Grungy Gulley, a tale that has been with me for a long time. It originally started out as another “dead mother” book, but evolved into a good versus evil fight spanning 144 years, with four viewpoints. Three teens must overcome a Bewitcher who has been harrying their families since the time of The Black Plague in fourteenth century Europe.

How do you stop a stalker who is determined to possess you? That’s what Lisa faces in Evil Eyes. This book is also about teens experiencing new feelings of closeness with their significant other once they’re off in college, away from a protective home environment.

Lost & Scared is my most recent YA novel, and the most intense writing experience I’ve ever had. The theme is non-custodial parental abduction from the viewpoint of twins, a boy and a girl. Each of them originally has the same reason to exhibit disgust for their dad, but they find themselves being tested beyond what they thought were their limits as the story unfolds. This book isn’t for the faint of heart.

What if you had a chance to ride in the Pony Express? What if you were a girl and this was your dream? That’s the theme of Pony Dreams, a book set in mid-nineteenth century Nevada. Abby will do anything to get near the ponies, even thinks about sneaking away from home to join the new mail venture.

Westerns have always had a special place in my heart. The Call Chronicles 1: The Griswold Gang was an experiment that I suggested to The Western Online. This book was actually first published on their website as a serialized novel, much like the penny dreadfuls of the nineteenth century. It’s about a family who has a duty to find and bring to the justice the men who burned their home and murdered their parents.

What would you do if your daughter allegedly committed suicide but you are certain she didn’t? That’s what Jayme and Brad face in Starlight, a romantic suspense novel about corruption.

*** I do have short stories, collections, and anthologies along with my novels, but in the interest of space, I didn’t include them. ***

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

It never starts out that way, but the subject matter I deal with usually ends with a message. Honestly, I really try hard to avoid being preachy about those messages.

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

I want them to get mad, to cry, to laugh, to think of my characters as they would their family or friends. I would love my readers to be so involved in the book that they are screaming for a win during a game, beating the armrest of their chair when things go wrong, or hiccupping from sobbing at a very intense moment.

Social Media Links:

Amazon Author Central: http://www.amazon.com/KC-Sprayberry/e/B005DI1YOU

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kcsowriter

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/KC-Sprayberry/331150236901202

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5011219.K_C_Sprayberry

Website: http://www.kcsprayberry.com/

Blog: http://outofcontrolcharacters.blogspot.com/

Google +: https://plus.google.com/u/0/

Authorgraph: https://www.authorgraph.com/authors/kcsowriter

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/kcsprayberry/

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=18984155&trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile

Manic Readers: http://www.manicreaders.com/KCSprayberry/

AUTHORSdb: http://authorsdb.com/authors-directory/5230-k-c-sprayberry

Amazon Book List: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=k.c.%20sprayberry&sprefix=k.c.+%2Cdigital-text

Book Links:

Softly Say Goodbye: getBook.at/B00I10UNY4

Take Chances: getBook.at/B00FIOX1MW

The Wrong One: getBook.at/B00GSSW5T2

Inits: getBook.at/B00M4RQ74K

Where U @ myBook.to/B00HZTT4LK

Canoples Investigations Tackles Space Pirates: myBook.to/B00HZTT4LK

Canoples Investigations Versus Spacers Rule: getBook.at/B00RBVDC4C

Paradox Lost: Their Path: getBook.at/B00PB735LI

The Curse of Grungy Gulley: getBook.at/B00O29F6AE

Evil Eyes: getBook.at/B00J1QC3V8

Lost & Scared: getBook.at/B00TXJ48FC

Pony Dreams: getBook.at/B00HTQNE7Y

The Call Chronicles 1: The Griswold Gang: getBook.at/B00NAA7GXG

Starlight: viewBook.at/B00K2IMHOM

Interview with Alan Place   1 comment

Alan PlaceToday’s interview is with Alan Place, extremely prolific author from the United Kingdom.

Before I start, I would like to thank Lela for this opportunity to tell you about my work.
On viewing my various pages on book selling sites, you would get the impression that I’m prolific – I was. I was more prolific than it appears at first glance, many of my books are collections of stories; the award winning Chronicles of Mark Johnson is a good example. The first book in the series, is eight short stories combined. I haven’t done much recently. It is isn’t writer’s block – I never get that – I have lots of stories to write. My problem is more personal, depression.
Tell us about yourself, Alan.
I was born in North Yorkshire – the county has changed its name since – to me it will always be North Yorkshire. My mother’s family are fishermen in the North Sea. I dedicated my last novella – A Sailor’s Love – to the people who live/ work on the coasts, and in the fishing industry. One of my uncles was in the lifeboat service, and was involved in a big rescue of the mouth of the river Tees. I put a fictional account of this rescue in my book Lifeboat Heroes. The accident at the beginning happened to another of my late uncles.
After leaving college I joined the Royal Air Force, during my six-year term I was posted to Germany, and Ireland. I was in Ireland at the time of the Maze Prison hunger strikes. When I left the RAF, I got a job in the Bristol Museums service for 14 years, before I was laid off with depression after my father passed away; since then (20 years ago) I have been unemployed. Owing to an inherited illness I am now classed as legally disabled, and will soon be housebound as my illness progresses.
I’ve lived in the Bristol area since I was 7 – we moved when my father got a job down here – and I’ve lived in Bristol since I got married in 1985. Our family consists of me, my wife, Linda, our five children, and my stepson. We are a cat family, and have several rescued furry family members, as well as four dogs.
Before my injury, I used to be an avid gardener, and for many years grew Fuchsias. I do miss my gardening, but as I can’t stand for long, gardening is a thing of the past. I used to be a reasonable amateur photographer for many years, and rarely went anywhere with a camera close. Many of my friends will tell you that I don’t boast about my successes as a writer, which is true, I rarely sing my own praises. I think it is better to have someone else tell people who good you are  http://hereiamattheedge.blogspot.co.uk/2015/04/bristols-award-winning-writer.html#.VUTPdhz3-iw
What was the first story you wrote and how old were you?
I had my first published story when I was in my teens, it was printed in a UK men’s magazine called Knave. The story was about a young couple making love on a bus on their way home. I’ve had many articles printed, in various types of magazine from motor sports to country music. Four years ago I had what was to become my most popular ghost story published on line –The Old Church ghosts – was published in a special Halloween edition of Vintage Script magazine.
When did you decide you wanted to be a published author?
I think I got my first thought of being a writer when I was about 6. The first book I read – The Silver Sword – made a huge impact on me. In the time in between life took over until my injury four years ago, when I became disabled with a torn tendon; it was then I started to rethink my approach to writing.
I couldn’t pin down a genre in your books. Do you have a preferred genre?
I gained a rep for writing ghost stories four years ago http://hereiamattheedge.blogspot.co.uk/2015/04/why-did-i-do-it.html#.VUTMxhz3-iw. I prefer to think of my stories as spiritual stories, they are more about lost souls trying to come to peace, than scaring people. My big success is in the Sci-Fi genre, where the Forgestriker series is a huge hit on Barnes & Noble http://hereiamattheedge.blogspot.co.uk/2015/04/forgestriker-collection.html#.VUTNyxz3-iw Nobody is more surprised than me, I hadn’t written Sci-Fi until last year.
I don’t have a preferred genre, I see myself as a writer, and I can change my style to suit what I feel like writing at the time. One of my current stories is a wartime romance/mystery spanning the 1930’s. I also wrote a series of PI stories which were praised by a former Queensland police sergeant, and my short Medieval story To Elfenmere was praised by a lady with a BA in medieval studies.
What are you passionate about?
I love nature in all its forms, when I thought I was going to die – Christmas 2013 – my view on life changed. Little things people take for granted, wind on your face, rain, and listening to birds talking came to mean a lot more to me. I am not against any religion, but I am against people who try to force their views on me. I am not racist, but I believe jobs should go to people who have lived, and worked in the area; not to any foreigner who can undercut the wage structure the unions fought for. I am an advocate for natural healing, and using herbs in cooking.
What is something you cannot live without?
Books come top of my list. I am an avid reader/ collector of signed copies. TV doesn’t bother me, I haven’t had a TV for over four years, and apart from a few series, I haven’t missed it.
So tell me about the books?
My hit series of seven books – Forgestriker – is about the struggles of a group of soldiers sent on what was to be an easy journey. The aim was to set up a radar station on a distant planet to track a rogue ship. Nobody told the men that the planet had became a fortress for their enemy – did the elite know/ care? The story starts in Sons of Baal with the men fighting a rear guard action, and boarding Forgestriker, to find out her controls have been so badly damaged in the fighting, they cannot be altered from a course set for dead space. As the men fight to gain control control of the ship, they are contacted by a deserted space station, who/ what is hailing them?
What’s been your best seller so far? (Tell us about it … or even the top 3).
The best seller by a long way is the second book in the series – Forgestriker (129) – probably because it bears the same name as the series. My second best seller is the opening book in the series – Sons of Baal with 69 sales, and the third best seller is the third book in the series Return of the Lost with 24 sales. All these are sales on Barnes & Noble, as a series, apart from the last in the series – Caldera Awakens – every book has out sold my Amazon best seller Holding Richmond (12 sales).
I’m going to drop you off at a remote Alaska cabin for a month. It’s summer, so you don’t need to worry about freezing to death. I’m providing the bug spray (a necessity in the north) and the food. All you have to do is enjoy the month. How do you spend it? What do you bring? If you bring books, what are they?
Top of the list is my Ipad, and camera, so I can record the wonders of nature. I would probably use the information gained for a story, as I did when I went to Canada to see a friend – who has since left this world – when I returned I wrote Nerja. I would spend the time walking in the woods, finding peace away from the pressure of the modern world. I found that solace helped my writing. I would take some history books with me, I am interested in the history of any area I visit, I would be interested to find out if there were any unsolved mysteries in the area; I often use these for development into stories.
What are your literary plans for the future?
I have a number of ideas I wish to expand over the coming months. From expanding the hit series to writing a new romance mystery, and I intend to write a third book in the award winning stories of Mark Johnson – hoping for a few sales. I recently joined Google books, and I hope this will entice a few sales, it has already produced sales for my PI stories of Pat Canella, something Amazon hasn’t done in four years.
Anything else you would like to say.
I would like to thank you, Lela, for having me on your site. I would also like to thank two special friends, my good friend/ editor Julia Petrakis, who puts up with my ups & downs, and never fails to be there for me; and my friend Ruth Slattery, who is my biggest fan, and a constant support.
Links — books, websites, author pic, cover images
  http://hereiamattheedge.blogspot.co.uk/      http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/alan-place
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Interview with Sarah Wathen   2 comments

My interview today is with Sarah Wathen, author of The Tramp, which combines elements of psychological thriller with horror and back country myth.

Welcome, Sarah. Tell us something about yourself. 

I live in Orlando, Florida, with my husband Bill and six-year-old son Liam. I’m a stay-at-home mom, and the lucky wife of a man that is extremely supportive, not only financially but also with all aspects of writing and art making. Bill actually reformed his band, Her Last Boyfriend, to produce a full musical soundtrack for The Tramp. The theme song, “Bound Hearts,” is so perfect for my book that I get chills every time I listen to it. Now we’re parents and forced to play the responsible roles, but Bill and I have had so much fun working on this project together—the rockstar and crazy artist that first met ten years ago are back with a vengeance.

He sounds like a wonderful man. What led you to become a writer?

When I was twenty-six, I was in a terrible car accident that left a lot of residual damage—physical and emotional. As a way of working through my issues, a few years ago I decided to write a memoire about the experience of healing. I wrote in first person, present tense, and I revisited every second that I could remember from the moments before and after the actual crash (I was unconscious for hours). It was important that my story be accurate, so I described every sensation, fear, and pain in detail, from all the hospitals, surgeries, and drug-laden months of recovery. When Bill read it, he told me, “You know your art is pretty good, but you’re ten times a better writer than you are a painter.” I was freaked out at first—artist was how I had thought of myself for so many years. That’s who I was. That’s what I did. But when Bill asked me if making art really made me happy anymore (he suspected it didn’t and he was right), he asked the question that changed my life: “Well, why not just decide to do something else?” Why not indeed.

What was the first story you ever wrote and how old were you?

From about the age of five to eight, I was deeply involved in elaborate social networks of imaginary friends and enemies, which I invented with my sister. We lived in New Orleans at the time, and Rachel and I would hide out under the stairs in our backyard, constantly refining and embellishing the fantasy. We drew pictures and wrote character profiles of our favorites, like Violet and Afisha and Pekins. We formed warring clubs, the Tutu Group and the Plant Club, and wrote illustrated stories about their activities and exploits. My mom keeps the precious manuscripts safe, pasted into archival books.

TheTrampYou have a background in fine art. Are you the illustrator for the book?

Yes, the cover for The Tramp is based on a mixed-media painting of mine: watercolor, acrylic, ink, and gold leaf on paper. The painting was from a large body of work called “40 Paintings,” which I started for an instructional painting blog in 2008. The course was intended to help beginning artists find the inspiration that can be so elusive when facing a blank white page. The first stages of the paintings were loose and free, basically letting the paint do as it would. Next, I would find interesting forms and start to flesh them out of the composition. Finally, I’d decide what the imagery was and use ink or oil paint to finish out the environments or characters that had taken shape. The painting for The Tramp was completed years before I wrote the book, but it ended up being perfect for the story—the crumbling shack is a prominent stage in the book, and the odd little instruments relate to the music and art featured throughout the story. The way my painting and my book came together like that was more than serendipitous; it makes me wonder about all the stories floating around in our subconscious, pieces and parts of our dreams and passions, waiting to take shape at the right moment.

I’m going to drop you off at a remote Alaskan cabin for a month. It’s summer so you don’t have to worry about freezing to death, I’m providing the food and the bug spray. You can bring three books.What three books are they and do you actually read them or spend the time hiking the Alaskan wilderness?

Oh, thank you for the bug spray! I went to Alaska in the summer once to watch my sister run the Midnight Sun Marathon in Anchorage. The local joke was that the mosquito was the national bird—they were huge and plentiful!

They are! (Lela laughs).

On long, sleepless, sun drenched nights, I would definitely read books. I do love to hike, but I’m not much of an explorer, so a few hours during the day would be more than enough for me. I would bring a new book that I’ve never before read, probably something by an indie author who I’m planning to review. I’d also want to have a comfort book that I know I can lose myself in, and that has a heart-warning, thought-provoking ending. That would be A Prayer For Owen Meany, by John Irving. And since I’ll be there alone for a whole month, I’d have to add some good erotic fiction. My favorite lately almost makes me blush to admit because it’s quite exotic, but I’m gonna do it anyway: Tristan, by S. Legend.

What is something you cannot live without?

I can’t live without my splurge day. I try to be a healthy person, good mom, and upright citizen most of the time. But by Friday night I’m over it and all rules must go. I eat whatever I want, drink whatever I want, smoke a bunch of cigarettes, and the boy child spends the night at Grandma’s house. By Saturday night, I’m ready to be a good girl again.

The_Tramp_BannerTell us about The Tramp.

The Tramp is a modern love story, with an ancient haunting buried underneath. It’s the first book in a series of four, comprising the epic paranormal mystery “The Bound Heart Chronicles”, and a reader can expect to have at least one piece of the puzzle solved in each book. If the mystery of why the heart wants what the heart wants can ever truly be solved, that is…

At first glance, Candy was a pretty little seven-year-old girl like any other in Shirley County. She was prone to singing and dancing and splashing in the rain, in her yellow polka dot bikini and her favorite red galoshes. John was a normal little boy and he loved playing with his best friend, Candy. But their bond drew a darkness that had long stayed hidden in a small, southern mountain town. Sometimes the truth is in the things you can’t see.

Something happened all those many years ago, and it can never be forgotten.

But our story begins long after that, when Candy and John are teenagers.  John, caught up in the business of life, stops spending his summers in Shirley County. And Candy, hurt and lonely at first, moves on as well. She meets Sam, the new boy in town.  Even though she has never ventured more than a hundred miles from her home, she has never felt at ease there. Always at odds with her high school friends, her church, her family—and bored with her small town existence—she finds the adventure she needs in Sam. He is cool, confident, independent, and Candy likes that. He lives on the fringes of society, and perhaps she likes that, too. But even with Sam in her life, she is sometimes overcome with a sense of dread, like a shadow has passed, just on the edge of vision. And sometimes the truth is in the things you won’t see.

Something was awakened all those many years ago, that can never be undone.

When John finally does find his way back, it’s to a Shirley County that is much more disturbing than he remembers. He’s accosted by strange dreams and preoccupied with his grandfather’s visions—the evidence scrawled so frantically that the paper is ragged and torn. Howling animal masks and flailing human figures.Teeth sharp as razors. Wherever John tries to find reason in the madness, he’s blocked by evasion and dead ends. He doesn’t miss his old friend Candy’s new secrets, either. And John’s once comforting presence becomes unwelcome, when he uses the brilliant mind Candy has always trusted to turn up troubling information on Sam’s past. Despite the confusion of strained friendships, new romance, and high school intrigues, John and Candy begin to suspect something more sinister lurking amidst the days of football glory and the nights of clandestine rendezvous. And then there is a murder.

Sometimes the truth is what you must see to survive. There are dark spirits in the mountains of Shirley County, and one of them is bent on revenge.

What inspired this book?

When I decided to write full-time, I knew I wanted to write fiction. I put my memoire on the back burner. But, I had been writing non-fiction for so long (tons of art theory and criticism in grad school, plus design tutorials while I was teaching), and I didn’t know where to start. Bill, who I call “the idea guy,” came up with a handful of story possibilities that he had always thought would make a great book. The one I liked best was partly taken from real life; one of his co-workers was hosting an Italian foreign exchange student, and she lived in a small mountain town in Tennessee. That, together with Bill’s own imagination formed “the situation” that is the climax scene of The Tramp. So, Bill provided that one, key scene, and then I built the fictitious town of Shirley and all the people that live there, to make that scene happen.

Is the community represented based on a real place?

Shirley County is fictitious, but it is definitely based on a real place. It’s located in the Appalachian Mountains, vaguely in the Tennessee area. Before I even started my first draft, I researched the political and geographic history of this area—first, back to initial colonial settlers, and finally back to the ancient, indigenous “mound builder,” hunter-gatherer peoples that roamed Eastern North America as far back as 3500 BCE. Since my readers needed to “see” Shirley as they moved through the story, I also researched the flora and fauna of the area. I found images of the trees, plants and flowers, with descriptions of their smells and blooming cycles. I listened to recordings of an American Robin’s birdcall, the growl of a bobcat, and the strange yip-howl of a coywolf.

As soon as I really got into building the story, I realized I needed more information, in order to make the day-to-day life of Shirley County citizens seem authentic and meaningful. So, I researched local music, crafts, food, and legends. That was the best part! My favorite piece of new education is Old-time music; it’s different than Bluegrass, but played with some of the same instruments like fiddles, banjos and dulcimers. The dance that accompanies Old-time, buckdancing, is similar to clogging, but so uniquely American and absolutely joyful. You just have to hear it and see it, and I tried my best to create the experience through words in my book.

Tell us about Catchpenny.

Well, I have really fallen in love with Shirley County and all the people that live there. But, there just isn’t enough room in one book—or even in one long, epic story—to tell it all. Too many characters create too many tangents to make sense, and I even had to cut several from The Tramp to tighten it up. I also felt constrained to my genre, to streamline the intricate plot lines, interwoven histories and character relationships.

After working through several drafts of The Tramp (and while I was waiting on my editor again), I just wanted to write a simple romance. That’s where Catchpenny came in. One of the characters in The Tramp is pissed off at her son, Tristan (in no way related to the exotic erotic fiction I mentioned earlier): he dumps his long-term girlfriend and asks Meg Shannon, the town “sure thing,” to the Homecoming dance. Rumor has it, he just wants to get laid. Although the Homecoming dance is an important event in The Tramp, Tristan and Meg are side characters. Meg is only mentioned and never actually makes an appearance. But I thought, “Well, what is Meg really like and what about Tristan, who seems like a total jerk in The Tramp? What happens between them? What if all the nasty rumors are totally wrong?”

Catchpenny is the story of Tristan and Meg. It started out as a short little romance, but it has blossomed into a full-length coming of age novel. It will be released serially, in six parts (one part each month), in between book one and book two of “The Bound Chronicles”.

What are your literary plans for the future?

I adore writing. It’s what I want to do until I drop. I’ve got my hands full with this series, and that will keep me busy for a few years. Book Two of the Bound Chronicles, The Glamour, is already underway. I plan to extract a couple minor characters from The Glamour to create another serial offshoot novel, just as I did with Catchpenny. Also, there is a villain in The Tramp that I love to hate—she’s modeled after a friend-turned-enemy in real life and I think her story would be a fascinating one to tell. She’s actually a sociopath, and will make for an excellent anti-heroine, possibly in a new series, after I’m finished with Bound.

Anything else you would like to add?

Art and music is such a huge part of all my stories. I encourage readers to listen to The Tramp Soundtrack when it’s released in April. It’s more than just music—it’s a concept album that follows the story from beginning to end, with lyrics and instrumentation specifically designed for the characters. Also, look for my video trailer for The Bound Chronicles later this year—there will be plenty of art to see!

Make sure to follow my blog on WordPress, www.sarahwathen.com, because I’ll be posting artwork that is featured in The Tramp, as well as music links, playlists, and YouTube links to videos I used in my research.

Links, websites/social media, cover art, author pic

My blog: www.sarahwathen.com

Twitter: @SWathen_Author

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SarahLWathen

Her Last Boyfriend: http://herlastboyfriend.com/albums/2014-the-tramp-soundtrack/

 

Sarah’s interview with me is part of her Elite Book Promotions Tour. Follow the link for more details.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/d4201899110/

Stay Tuned for Writing Wednesday   Leave a comment

This week’s interview is with horror author, Patrick Burdine.baa10-bluetypewriter-whitepinkflowers

Stay Tuned for Writing Wednesday   Leave a comment

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