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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: author interviews, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. My Writing and Reading Life: Carole Estby Dagg, Author of Sweet Home Alaska

Sweet Home Alaska, by Carole Estby Dagg, is an exciting pioneering story, based on actual events, and introduces readers to a fascinating chapter in American history, when FDR set up a New Deal colony in Alaska to give loans and land to families struggling during the Great Depression.

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2. Interview With Michael Grant and a FRONT LINES Giveaway

Hey lovely readers! Today we have a VERY special guest visiting! We here at Reading Teen have been huge fans of Michael Grant since the day he sucked us into his GONE series. When Kit interviewed him about LIGHT, it was one of the highlights of her blogging "career". Today I get the privilege of interviewing him about his newest book, FRONT LINES. Check it out below, and don't forget about

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3. An Interview with Amazon Best-selling Author Bobbie Ann Cole

BookBuzzr author Bobbie Ann Cole‘s eBook She Does Not Fear the Snow recently hit #3 spot on the Amazon in Religion & Spirituality category. We reached out to Bobbie to learn more about her.

The screenshot below was taken on November 30, 2015.

She Does Not Fear the Snow - Amazon Rank

1. Hi Bobbie, thank you for joining us. Would you tell us a little about yourself?
Bobbie Ann Cole I’m very pleased to have been invited. Thank you. I am a writer, speaker and teacher of creative writing. My main genres are memoir and investigative journalism, although I also love to write fiction. My primary topics so far have been faith and Bible-based. However, I am currently working on a book about the Irish War of Independence in 1921. This is a true story that points up the emotions and feelings of people of both sides, the “rebels” and a pair of British newlyweds, who find themselves thrown together in a remote part of Ireland.

2. Your latest book, ‘Love Triangles, Discovering Jesus the Jew in Today’s Israel’, is a sequel. Would you share a gist of your first book and how it leads up to this one?
She Does Not Fear the Snow is my coming to faith story that echoes the story of Ruth in the Bible. She came into the Land of Israel broken, declared her faith and was blessed with a new husband of faith. Following cancer, the failure of my long-term marriage and of my business, I also came into Israel broken, looking for something—some meaning and purpose. As a Jew, I never expected to find this in a church. However, reluctantly attending a church service with my Christian travelling companion changed everything for me and led to my meeting and marrying my own Boaz, Butch, from Canada.
A year after our marriage we went to live in Israel. Love Triangles is the story of the joys and challenges of living as a Jew who believes in Jesus in the Jewish homeland.

                

3. What are some of the activities that you have done to promote and market your books?
One of the things that I find works best is to focus on an event such as a free Kindle giveaway weekend. It may seem counter-intuitive to encourage book sales by giving one’s book away but this can really create quite a buzz and certainly gives you something to say on social media as your book climbs the Amazon charts. There are many sites that will help promote your giveaway to avid Kindle readers and it’s important to list with as many of these as possible. Some are free but many require a donation of $5 or more.
Another very useful tool that I intend to exploit more thoroughly going forward is guest posting. Rather than linking to the book, it is helpful to link to a free opt-in incentive and try to grow your list of followers. My incentive is called The Israel Jesus Loved, a Pictorial Guide (www.jesus-ebook.com).

4. What is the most important lesson writing has taught you, professional & personal?
Becoming a really truly author is a long-haul plan. I would compare the vision that has sustained me to that I had of myself as a horse-rider. I really wanted to get good at that and I needed to keep the vision before me through fear and generally being useless at it, which wasn’t fun, but I was determined and I persevered.
The big difference with horse riding is that I knew when I was bad at it but I couldn’t, at the start, understand why my early masterpiece manuscripts were lambasted or rejected.
Irrespective of this, published or unpublished, you can totally lose yourself in writing and go to a wonderful place of complete immersion, so that, irrespective of the quality of what you turn out as you’re learning how to be a good writer, your experience can be profound.

5. When you are not writing, what do you do? What are some of your favourite ways to relax?
My favourites are walking and cooking. I enjoy cooking Mediterranean dishes and trying out what I call Bible recipes. I recently wrote a blog post speculating on the Bible food Jesus ate: http://testimonytrain.com/Biblefood.
I love to walk in the countryside and enjoy God’s Creation. You will find me out in most weathers.
I enjoy movies and, of course, I read a lot, too, currently about Ireland and the Troubles which is the subject of my next book. I also like to read about Jesus’ Jewish practice. Fiction books for me are a real treat but I am very picky.

6. Who are your 3 favourite authors? How have they influenced your writing?
My favourite author is definitely Daphne du Maurier. This is because of her tremendous sense of atmosphere and because she loves beauty and history, although her subjects are dark. Her economic yet graphic use of language is inspirational.
Beyond Daphne, I tend to have favourite books rather than favourite authors. Two great books that come to mind are Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand and The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean. Both of these skillfully turn investigative research into page-turning narrative.

7. What is your biggest challenge as an author?
My cup runneth over. I have so many book ideas in holding patterns. Also, today’s author being a marketer as much as a writer, I find that I never set aside enough time for promotion since I want to get on to the next thing. I am trying to train myself to pace myself better.

8. What is your next book about?
I am currently working on a book about the Irish War of Independence in 1921. This is a true story that points up the emotions and feelings of people of both sides, the “rebels” and a pair of British newlyweds, who find themselves thrown together in a remote part of Ireland.

Thank you Bobbie, for your interview responses!

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4. Sarah Dillard, Author of Mouse Scouts Makes a Difference | Speed Interview

Which five words best describe Mouse Scouts: Make a Difference? Friendship, Teamwork, Helpfulness, Perseverance, Altruism.

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5. My Journey To Publication by Emily Henry, Author of THE LOVE THAT SPLIT THE WORLD

Today we have a very special guest! Emily Henry, author of THE LOVE THAT SPLIT THE WORLD is here to talk to us about her journey to publication. Guys, I'm reading this book right now, and it is SO GOOD! The way Emily writes is just incredibly gorgeous and compelling. I'm loving it and can't wait to see how the rest of the story unfolds. I already know it's going to be a favorite for the year.

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6. My Writing and Reading Life: Kristen Kittscher, Author of The Tiara on the Terrace

The Tiara on the Terrace, by Kristen Kittschier, is a clever novel, perfect for fans of Pseudonymous Bosch and Gordon Korman and a companion to The Wig in the Window.

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7. Comics Squad: Lunch – Now With More Pearl Harbor! A Nathan Hale Interview

I like my comics like I like my men. Chock full of lunch and Pearl Harbor references.

Hm? That didn’t make sense? Maybe not, but if nonsense is pouring out of my mouth then I believe it may have something to do with the excitement I feel about today’s guest. If the term “Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales” means nothing to you then please be so good as to read this and this and then come back to me. As many of you know, he is the one-man genius factory behind some of the best history for kids out there today.

That’s in one corner.  In the other corner is the Comics Squad series put out by Penguin Random House.  The concept is simple.  The books are about the size of your average Babymouse or Lunch Lady comic book.  Inside, a bunch of different comic book creators riff on a theme.  Last time it was recess.  This time, lunch.  And our man, Nathan Hale, did a story for it involving . . . well . . .

HALEinterview1

So where did that come from?  He was kind enough to answer my questions on the subject.


ComicsSquadLunch

Betsy Bird: I don’t know about anyone else, but I was pretty psyched when I saw The Hangman standing on the cover of the latest Comics Squad release.  I think the reviewers are already mentioning that yours is a bit more serious than the other fare (Babymouse, kid Lunch Lady, Snoopy, etc.).  How’d the editors approach you for the job?

Nathan Hale: Thanks! It is fun to see the Hangman on the cover. He must have looked a little too monochrome for the cover, because someone turned his gloves blue. He looks like he’s working with industrial chemicals or something.

You’re right about the tone. I hope the readers are cool with it. Reading the stories is like: silly story, funny story, goofy story, haha story, PEARL HARBOR!?! I figure readers will either love my story, or skip it completely.

Jennifer Holm approached me for a story. I loved COMICS SQUAD 1, and of course, I’ve always loved BABYMOUSE (fun fact: BABYMOUSE is the reason the Hazardous Tales books are colored in one color. I even got coloring tips from Matthew Holm early on.)

BB: The tale marks the first time WWII has been mentioned in the Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales series.  Did you already know that lunch-related story, or did you have to hit the books to find it?

NH: I had to hit the books. I started researching for an essay about the different meals soldiers ate through history. While doing that, I stumbled across this WWII potato story, I knew I had to do it.

BB: Did you have a competing lunch story you thought about using, or was this always your #1 choice?

HALEinterview2NH: My first idea was to skip the history, and just do a goofy story about some chips. When I was a kid I didn’t have a TV. And there was a very popular show at the time called C.H.I.P.S.–California Highway/Interstate Patrol Squad. I never saw the show, so I thought I was missing an amazing show about walking talking tortilla chips who fought crime and had adventures. I drew my own version of CHIPS in my childhood notebooks. I was going to reboot that old idea for COMICS SQUAD. I’m really happy with how the WWII story turned out. But don’t count the CHIPS out just yet. They are still in development.

BB: How about yourself?  Do you have a lunch story about yourself that you’d care to tell me?

-baby-pullovers-for-children-girls-sweater-boys-red-blue-yellow-black-white-2015-winter-turtleneckNH: Once, when I was standing in the lunch line of my fifth grade school cafeteria, the cutest girl in the class, who was wearing a black turtle neck, sneezed and shot an unbelievable amount of snot all over herself. It was like she shot two barrels of silly string out of her nose. She was mortified, tried to wipe it all away, but, of course, she was in the black turtle neck, so it wasn’t going anywhere. She ended up just becoming entangled in it, like a Spiderman villain. The kids in line were so impressed by the biological display, that we didn’t even think about laughing until she had run from the cafeteria. It wasn’t “Ha-ha” it was “WOW!” As a kid, I thought, well, that must be a thing that happens to people. Yet, to this day, I’ve never seen it equalled.

Pretty gross. And, no, that was never a story I was tempted to do for COMICS SQUAD. Although, now that I think about it…

BB: Ew!  And . . . kinda awesome.  By the way, I don’t suppose you’d happen to be able to mention what the subject of the next Hazardous Tale will be, by any chance?

NH: Hazardous Tales #6 comes out in three months! It’s about the Alamo!

Right now I’m taking a one-book break from history comics to do a science fiction comic (not the CHIPS), then I’m going straight back into Hazardous Tales #7 and #8. I can hint that book #7 takes place in a VERY similar time to the COMICS SQUAD: LUNCH story.

BB: Fantastic.  Gonna go over to Abrams now and poke ’em, poke ’em, poke ’em until I get my hands on that Alamo comic.  Thanks go Nathan for chatting with me and to Cassie McGinty for setting the whole thing up.  The new Comics Squad issue comes out January 26th, so keep an eye peeled for that one as well.

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8. Giveaway & Exclusive Excerpt from TITANS! Read to You by Victoria Scott

Happy Christmas Eve to those of you who celebrate! Today we have a really special treat for you! Victoria Scott, the author of FIRE & FLOOD, and soon-to-be released TITANS (Scholastic, Feb. 2016), has stopped by to read us an excerpt from her book! TITANS is on of my most anticipated books of 2016, and I can't wait to share this excerpt with you. Don't miss the giveaway at the end!! TITANS by

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9. Steve Michael Reedy, Author of Tales for Your Monkey’s Mind | Speed Interview

Which five words best describe Tales for Your Monkey’s Mind? Whimsical, Inspirational, Imaginative, Entertaining, and Philosophical.

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10. Books & Christmas with Rosanne Hawke

Rosanne Hawke writes hard-hitting yet compassionate novels about young people in difficult, often dire, situations. Her most recent novel for young adults is The Truth About Peacock Blue (Allen & Unwin), about a young girl accused of blasphemy. It’s an inordinately powerful and topical story, which is also well balanced. Thanks for speaking with Boomerang […]

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11. My Writing and Reading Life: Laurel Gale, Author of Dead Boy

Fans of Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book will embrace this darkly funny debut novel from Laurel Gale about Crow, a dead boy, who has a chance at friendship—and a chance at getting his life back.

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12. An Interview with D.A. Squires

book bites for kidsAuthor D.A. Squires will talk about her new book, The Time Seekers, LIVE on Tuesday, December 15th at 2:30 central time on Book Bites for Kids.

Listen to that interview on the 15th by going to www.bookbitesforkids.com.

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13. Interview with Dicksy Wilson and D.B. Sanders

book bites for kidsListen to Book Bites for Kids on Tuesday, December 8th at 2:30 central time when authors Dicksy Wilson and D. B. Sanders will talk about their new book, A Caterpillar, a Bee, and a VERY Big Tree.

To listen to the live show on December 8th, at 2:30 central, just go to www.bookbitesforkids.com.

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14. Interview with Donna Maguire, Author of The Silly Willy Winston Series

BookBuzzr - Interview with Donna Maguire

In an effort to understand Children’s Book Authors, their inspirations, their writing process, their needs, their problems,… we reached out to Donna Maguire, author of the Silly Willy Winston series who after close to 40 years in the advertising business Donna left it behind to care for her grand niece and nephew in Nevada some years ago.

Donna believes that the love for reading is more nurture than nature and reads to her grand children often. It was this reading that led her to pursue her life-long passion of writing children’s books. A collection of 4 books and fifth in the making, Donna joined me for my first ever video interview. I’m so exited it turned out so well. :)

In the interview Donna answers my questions about -

  • her journey to becoming an author
  • her inspirations, her muse, her learnings
  • the challenges she has faced and what she did about them
  • marketing activities she has done and her learnings
  • why she has her own online store for her books & her favourite tools for book marketing
  • her plans for the next book launch and the Silly Willy Winston Review Club

You can see all of Donna’s books and read more about her at www.sillywillywinston.com. Also connect with her on Twitter at @DmmSilly and on her Facebook Page.

        

        

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15. Books & Christmas with James Moloney

Meet James Moloney, author of The Beauty is in the Walking (Angus&Robertson, HarperCollins) James Moloney is a statesman in the world of Australian YA and children’s books.  The hilarious Black Taxi and Kill the Possum for YA and Dougy, Swashbuckler and Buzzard Breath and Brains  for children are among my favourites of his books. I store his […]

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16. Crimson Cloak Publishing Author- Rosita Bird

Interview Rosita Bird

Hi all. Are you ready to meet another ‘Crimson Cloak Publishing’ author? Today, we meet Rosita Bird.

 1)    Do you write books as a career, or are you currently still juggling your author time with a full or part time job?

I am retired from Childminding and working at a nursery. I am hoping this will be a new career for me.

2)    Have you always wanted to be an author, or did some time or event in your life set you on the path?

No. I had a mental breakdown in 2005 and as part of the therapy I went to a writing group which was mainly poetry. I enjoyed this. I then wrote my first book ‘Vegetables Count.’

3)    Do you always write in the same genre, or do you sometimes like a change of theme? If you haven’t already, is there another genre you would like to write?

Yes. Most of my books are for young children aged between 3 – 7. I am hoping to write two in the future about my journey through mental health. Also a true story about my parents, how they met. This will need some research as it involves my grandfather who was taken to a camp by Nazi’s during the Second World War from occupied Holland.

4)    As a writer, what is the best thing that has happened to you, and what is that most exciting thing that could happen to you?

I think possibly meeting John L. D. Barnett was good as he helped me get in with his publisher. He was originally going to do illustrations for me but he had a lot on and we had different ideas on illustrations for children. I have been congratulated by Jamie Oliver’s team for my healthy eating books for children and on their Pinterest site. I have also been endorsed by Simon Weston OBE. I have done two books for charity one local Animal Rescue Centre and Care After Combat.

5)    How do you view the promotion, book signings etc. Is it something you enjoy, or do you prefer the writing stage?

I am quite shy and uncomfortable with that sort of thing. I have done it locally. Navigo (Mental Health in Lincolnshire) supported me on my first launch.

6)   Could you tell us something about your published books, and let us know what they are about and where they are available?

 The Rabbit Who Wore Glasses   Smashwords link

Emma Tate and The Magic Plate (series to follow)

Link to Smashwords

Vegetables Count

Link to Smashwords

Link to Amazon

Fruits Count

Link to Smashwords

Link to Amazon

Charlie the Crocodile Who Couldn’t Catch A Cold (The Ark Animal Rescue)

Mummy Still Loves Me (a gentle book for children on mental health)

All these are in process with Crimson Cloak and presently with North Wall Publishing.

 

Rosita’s books on Amazon.

Link to Rosita’s books on Amazon

Rosita’s Facebook page

Rosita on Facebook

Books in process of illustrations are:-

Bobby’s Magic Wheels (hopefully a series)

The Elf’s Secret

Witch Wobblyknees and the Wibbly Wobbly Wand

Emma Tate Learns to Skate

Emma Tate and the Wriggly Bait

Emma Tate Gets Up Late

Emma Tate Gets Lost at the Fete

Mummy Still Loves Me to be re-illustrated

 

Sounds like you never have a dull moment, Rosita! It’s wonderful to have a career that you love so much. Long may you continue to produce such a varied collection of books. Lynne North.

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17. Australian YA: Sue Lawson and Freedom Ride

Meet Sue Lawson, author of Freedom Ride Thanks for talking to Boomerang Books, Sue. It’s a pleasure, Joy, thanks so much for asking me. Where are you based and how involved are you in the world of children’s and YA lit? We moved to Geelong two years ago from a smaller regional town. Though we […]

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18. All You Ever Wanted to Know About Marie Lu, Author of Legend and The Young Elites

 (Penguin Books for Young Readers) The Inside Scoop on Marie Lu Ever since Legend came out, I was convinced author, Marie Lu, would be too cool to have anything in common with me. One of those got-it-together types that do not live in a swirling mental world of emotional fantasy, but instead are intelligent, decisive, logical, and rock their wardrobes like the hipsters they are (hot

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19. Dr. Urmila Pai, M.D. Discusses Nervous Nellie

Books are a great way to reach out to kids. I think that anxious children can really connect and relate to a character, such as Nellie.

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20. Dr. Urmila Pai, M.D. Discusses Nervous Nellie

Books are a great way to reach out to kids. I think that anxious children can really connect and relate to a character, such as Nellie.

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21. DOODLES AND DRAFTS – Carrying on with Sam Wheeler and Mister Cassowary

Australia is home to some exceptionally strange flora and fauna. The ubiquitous tropical heat of Far North Queensland seems to accentuate oddities and none typifies unique peculiarities more vividly than Australia’s heaviest flightless bird, the Cassowary. Beautiful yet deadly, the Cassowary is a natural magnet of mystery and misinterpretation so naturally is a prime candidate […]

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22. POET ANDERSON . . . of Nightmares {Blog Tour Giveaway & Excerpt}

This is actually a book that I hadn't heard of, for some strange reason, but when I was contacted about this blog tour, the cover totally grabbed me! Then when I saw the authors, I was sold. I'm really looking forward to checking this one out! Read the excerpt and see what you think, and make sure to enter the giveaway at the bottom! ~Andye Poet Anderson ...Of Nightmares by Tom DeLonge

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23. Crimson Cloak Publishing Author- Cynthia MacGregor

Interview Cynthia MacGregor

Hi all. Here we have another ‘Crimson Cloak Publishing’ author interview! Today, we meet Cynthia MacGregor.

1)    Do you write books as a career, or are you currently still juggling your author time with a full or part time job?

I have been a full-time freelance writer/editor for more years than I can count, but just this year I took on some pretty heavy if part-time responsibilities for a publisher of children’s books, including but not limited to editing, which led to my being named publisher of a new imprint of that company, which aims at an audience of adults.

That said, however, the writing portion of my freelance writing/editing was never just books. I have been hired by clients to write such diverse items as press releases, web copy, business letters, scripts for promotional videos, ads, a marriage proposal (!), poetry, and—logically enough—ghostwritten books. (Whew!) And that’s not a complete list, either.

My editing encompasses both books and other materials, and the book editing I do has been both for authors and for publishers. In spite of all this other work, though, I have managed to get over 100 books published (don’t ask me the exact number—I stopped counting at 100), and, like the Energizer Bunny (whom I’m often compared to), I’m still going.

2)    Have you always wanted to be an author, or did some time or event in your life set you on the path?

I have always loved writing, from the time I could spell C-A-T, but my childhood ambition, up through my junior year of high school, was to act on the Broadway stage. Unfortunately, I had Tourette Syndrome, which was totally misdiagnosed. It wasn’t till I was in my early 30s that I finally knew what my problem really was. So anyhow, in my junior year of high school, I tried out for the junior class play (the junior and senior classes put on plays for fund-raisers; the freshman and sophomore classes sold magazine subscriptions) and lost out on the lead (or any part at all) because of my mis-diagnosed medical problem. Tradition held that the morning the parts were announced, those selected would find a script on their homeroom desk. There was never, however, any recoourse if you were not selected, nor any explanation given. In a break with tradition, the faculty advisor to the play sought me out the morning the parts were given out and explained that although I had read best for the part, they were afraid to give me the part because of my “condition” and had instead awarded the lead to my arch-rival. I got no part at all.

It was a stunning blow. In that one instant I realized that if I couldn’t even get a part in the junior play in high school, I had no hope of making it on Broadway. I knew then that I had to re-think my career choice.

Writing had always been my second love, but resultant from the crush of being passed over for the play, and because I was made fun of by some of the kids in school, my self-confidence sagged. I wasn’t sure I had what it took to be a writer. It took a few years before I started to take my craft seriously and attempt to sell my work.

 3)    Do you always write in the same genre, or do you sometimes like a change of theme? If you haven’t already, is there another genre you would like to write?

Good grief—if you’ll check out my website at www.cynthiamacgregor.com, you’ll see that I’m all over the place in terms of genre. In the first place, I never wanted to be a one-trick pony. And in the second place, I can’t think of any subject on which I could have written over 100 books! I write for both adults and kids, and both nonfiction and fiction—and cookbooks, which are assuredly nonfiction but feel like they’re a separate category unto themselves.

Although my writing is diversified, I think that nonfiction for adults comprises the largest segment of my output.

There is a downside to such diversification, however: It’s harder to build a following when your work is all over the place like that. Just because someone likes my nonfiction for adults doesn’t mean they’re going to want to read my novels, or vice-versa, and just because a parent appreciates some of my books that his/her kids are enjoying doesn’t mean he or she is going to read my nonfic works for adults. Even strictly within adult nonfiction, someone inspired by one of my inspirational/motivational books (e.g. Don’t Quit While You’re Ahead or What’s Stopping You?!) isn’t necessarily going to want to read my humor (e.g. Life Behind the Office, Dust Bunnies Ate My Socks, or Betcha Didn’t Know). And so on.

4)    How do you view the promotion, book signings etc. Is it something you enjoy, or do you prefer the writing stage?

I enjoy meeting the reading public as well as fellow authors and emerging authors, but a lot of the aspects of promo, especially arranging for the promo, are a PITA. For example, I enjoy the book-signings, and public speaking, and talking to the attendees, but I loathe the endless hours spent trying to arrange the signings, readings, speaking engagements, radio/TV spots, and such, and the frequent turn-downs or simply no-responses.

I am on the board of an organization called 4 Authors by Authors (read the “4” as “For”), serving established, emerging, and hopeful authors in South Florida (my home territory), and I have been tapped as a speaker at both of the all-day events the organization has held so far. I enjoy addressing the attendees and giving them talks that are both informational and motivational. These appearances are more likely to land me ghosting gigs or editing gigs than to sell tons of books, but it’s all good.

I am comfortable doing public speaking. (Comfortable? Hell, I enjoy it!)

I guess I enjoy both the writing and the appearances, but not the time spent chasing all those people who might (but probably won’t, in most cases) give me a write-up, a broadcast interview, or a chance to promote my books in some other venue.

5)    Could you tell us something about your published books, and let us know what they are about and where they are available?

LOL—you really don’t want me to list ’em all, do you? Of course, some of my books are out of print by now, but some are in their second lives. Having gone out of print with the rights reverted to me, they have been repubbed in some cases. All the ones still in print or re-pubbed are available on Amazon.com, and you can read more about all of them on my website: www.cynthiamacgregor.com.

Three of my recently published books are:

Don’t Quit While You’re Ahead, motivational/inspirational. Crimson Cloak Publishing. Why stop just because you’re successful or have accomplished what you wanted to in life? There is more success to be had, more worlds to conquer, more satisfaction waiting for you. Grab it—it’s yours for the taking!

Don’t Quit While You’re Ahead

Everybody’s Little Book of Everyday Prayers, non-sectarian religious. MSI Press. Regardless of what your religious affiliation is, or if you have none at all, if you want to commune with your Creator and turn everyday occasions into special occasions and recognize special occasions through prayer, here are the words you are seeking—for both adults and their kids.

Everybody’s Little Book of Everyday Prayers

Heartfelt, the Special Reindeer, picturebook for kids who still believe in Santa. AcuteByDesign. Heartfelt is not only a “special” reindeer, with the power to see inside people’s hearts and know their most heartfelt wishes; she is also a “special needs” reindeer: Her rear legs are way shorter than her front legs, and her back slopes sharply downward. Heartfelt’s own most heartfelt wish is to be a regular member of Santa’s team and not just one of his “backup reindeer,” who join the team only if one of the regulars gets sick. Meanwhile, Santa is very troubled because of a sad little boy named James. Can Heartfelt solve Santa’s problem with her special talent? This heartwarming story introduces a new character, Heartfelt, to the Santa legend. Heartfelt is sure to win your heart.

Heartfelt, the Special Reindeer

 

All these books and many more are available on Amazon.com or through my website, www.cynthiamacgregor.com

 

Thanks so much for such an honest and interesting look into your life, Cynthia. You clearly have a great dedication to writing, and such a varied collection! Best of luck for continued success. Lynne North

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24. Crimson Cloak Publishing Author-Brian O’Hare

Hi all. Hope you’re enjoying the Crimson Cloak Publishing author interviews!

With the release of his great page turner, The Doom Murders, today we meet the author Brian O’Hare

1. Do you write books as a career, or are you currently still juggling your author time with a full or part time job?
No, I only started writing books after I retired from full-time employment as Assistant Director of the Southern Regional College in Northern Ireland. So, no juggling, no career. Oh, that’s not quite true. Some juggling. I have to fit in three days of golf per week around any writing I do.

2. Have you always wanted to be an author, or did some time of event in your life set you on the path?
I have never actually intended to be a writer. When I was writing articles and reports relating to my profession that were being professionally published, it never occurred to me that I could be deemed a writer. Even when, early in my retirement, I was commissioned by the Department of Education and The University of Ulster to write book length reports, I still didn’t think that I was being a writer. I thought of myself as a researcher. I suppose when I wrote an account of my liver transplant – A Spiritual Odyssey – Spiritual Odyssey and found a publisher in Dublin, I thought, “Well, I’ve written a book. Maybe I’m a writer.”
My writing, if it can be described as that, has followed a strangely circuitous path. From writing articles for academic journals, I progressed to writing book length academic reports. From there, after a serious illness, I wrote to two religious books, one an autobiographic memoir, (A Spiritual Odyssey, see above) the other, The Miracle Ship – The Miracle Ship … a strange and incredible biography of a most extraordinary man, a miracle worker. Retired by now, and fancying a move to writing fiction, I was prompted by the widely-reported shenanigans of corrupt clergy in Ireland to write a contemporary fiction novel, Fallen Men. Fallen Men
And then, because my favourite genre for reading over the past several years has been crime thrillers, I thought I’d have a go at writing one of my own, et voila, there appeared The Doom Murders.

And now, there’s something happening in my writing life. I have found a publisher who is willing to publish all my stuff. Crimson Cloak Publishers is owned by a lovely lady called Carly McCracken. Carly liked The Doom Murders with its introspective but perspicacious Detective Chief Inspector Sheehan. She suggested a series. A series? Yeah, a series, and my immediate reaction was, ‘No way that’s possible. I’ve only written one detective book in my life. Where would I start?’

But guess what? I have completed Book Two of the Inspector Sheehan series: The 11:05 Murders. I thought initially I might have enough of a plot for about 50000 words but the final tally was 104500 words. Go figure! I am not sure when Carly will be able to get it out but I am hoping it won’t be much longer than about six or seven months from now. Not a soul has read it, not my wife, not any family members, not even the beta readers who were reading and commenting upon The Doom Murders during the process of my writing it. This time I wanted to hug the new story to myself. Don’t ask me why. Was it because The Doom Murders won a couple of awards and garnered 38 very positive reviews on Amazon.com and I’m afraid to let anyone see the sequel in case it doesn’t measure up? Maybe. Or as it because the plot this time is much more complex and I just wanted to be able to drift back and forward making multiple changes without having to reference them to anyone? That would probably be true. Or did I just want the thing to be whole and complete before anyone came to it? Whatever the reason, I am now totally without feedback. Other writers will recognise that that’s a scary place. Do I want feedback? Of course I do…but I’ll deal simply with Veronica Castle, Crimson’s Cloak’s indefatigable editor, and go by what she says. Fingers dutifully crossed…but that doesn’t mean that I’m not panickin’!

3. Do you always write in the same genre, or do you sometimes like a change of theme? If you haven’t already, is there another genre you would like to write?
As you would have gleaned from the answer to the last question, I have been jumping all over the place in terms of genres. But now that Crimson Cloak have specifically requested that I write a series of mysteries featuring Inspector Sheehan, I would say that I am pretty much settled on the crime fiction genre.

4. As a writer, what is the best thing that has happened to you, and what is that most exciting thing that could happen to you?
I believe that I mentioned earlier that I write in retirement. In many ways, that is a time of life when excitement isn’t a major factor in life. Nonetheless, I find the whole process of writing exciting, the challenge of completing a book and trying to give it that little edge that will make my work palatable to any reader. I got the fist glimpse of the preliminary draft of the cover for The Doom Murders a couple of nights ago. I experienced more than a twinge of excitement from that. Perhaps the most exciting thing that happened in recent times was being taken on by Crimson Cloak and being asked to write a series around a character that I admit I find interesting (even if I still don’t know him all that well.) Oh, I almost forgot. Three of my books have won awards (I won’t go into detail about them here) and one, The Doom Murders, has won three awards. That was a wee bit exciting. Oh, another thing. (That’s what happens when you start approaching a certain age…you start forgetting things.) Carly McCracken of Crimson cloak has asked me to set up a little marketing campaign to coincide with the launch of The Doom Murders (probably within a month from now). Solve the Mystery; Win a Prize. This whole process is exciting and continues to be. I offer now a brief explanation of what it is.
I have sent Carly a scenario that sets up the scene, provides background information, introduces the characters/suspects, and, at the end of this introduction, a murder takes place. This information will be offered to the general public via FaceBook, twitter, and various blogs. Each day thereafter further clues will be provided through a series of interviews with each of the suspects conducted by Inspector Jim Sheehan, one interview per day for five days. At the end of the sixth day, readers will be asked to identify the murderer, explain what clues led them to this conclusion, and write in detail how they believe the murder was carried out. Answers will be sent to a specific email address rather than posted on FaceBook for others to see. The three best answers (along with a complete explanation of how Sheehan solved the crime) will be published a day or so after the competition ends, and winners will each receive a copy of the newly printed The Doom Murders.
I’m a writer now. The answer to the second part of the question is what you Americans call ‘a no brainer’. The most exciting thing that could happen to me is to see people buying my books in numbers. I have had a slight taste of that with one of my non-fiction books, The Miracle Ship. 3000 copies printed and sold in the year or so that it has been in print, and still selling steadily away. Not huge numbers, certainly, but round enough to be vaguely gratifying.

5. How do you view the promotion, book signings etc. Is it something you enjoy, or do you prefer the writing stage?
I have never actually done a book signing. I would be terrified that I’d be sitting there all day and no one would turn up. The stuff of nightmares. Marketing, promotion, and all that goes with it is a chore, often costly, and seldom produces the results that are hoped for. Entering competitions has turned but to be a better bargain than I thought. The books that I have entered have all won awards of some sort. Not Pulitzers by any means, but recognition of sorts. Tweeting (and I have paid for, or won, dozens and dozens of them each week for I don’t know how long now) seems to be much less effective in persuading people to buy books than the ‘professional tweeters’ would lead one to believe. Marketing is hard. I would just love only to write and leave the marketing to the publisher and have nothing to do with it. But that’s not how the game is played. And so we keep trying.

6. Could you tell us something about your published books, and let us know what they are about and where they are available?
I’ve probably jumped the gun a bit on this one in my answer to question two. There are two very detailed explanations that offer information about how I came to write Fallen Men and The Doom Murders. It would take too long to recount these stories here. If anyone is interested, they can read them at this link: Blog
Briefly, however, Fallen Men Fallen Men is the story of three priests, focusing on one in particular. He is a handsome young man whose life spirals out of control when long-submerged memories of childhood abuse begin to surface. He seeks solace in a friendship with a beautiful seventeen-year-old-choir girl but this leads to a doomed love affair that ends in disaster. Fallen Men is to be published by Crimson Cloak Publishing in paperback later in 2015. It can be read on kindle, however, right now.
In The Doom Murders The Doom Murders prominent figures in Belfast are being murdered. The bodies are left naked and posed in grotesquely distorted shapes. No clues are left at the forensically immaculate crime scenes except odd theatrical props and some random numbers and letters concealed at each scene by the killer. How are the victims linked? What is the connection between these killings, the bible, and a famous mediaeval painting of The Last Judgement? Chief Inspector Jim Sheehan is stretched to his limits in the quest to unmask and stop this killer. The Doom Murders is out now in paperback from Crimson Cloak for the run-up to Christmas, 2015.

Great answers, Brian! Thanks very much for taking the time to introduce us to your fantastic books. As the proud owner of a signed copy of The Doom Murders I am really enjoying reading it!   Lynne North.

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25. Dangerous Lies Q&A With TWO Becca's....

By Becca.... Dangerous Lies QUESTIONS with Becca Fitzpatrick! Today, I'm welcoming Becca Fitzpatrick to talk a little bit about Dangerous Lies, her new YA thriller that released yesterday (GO BUY IT!), and ask her some dangerous questions. They aren't really that dangerous, but they were super fun, and I adored reading Becca's answers! But brace yourselves, things may get a little

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