Archive for February, 2013

Introducing Author Sarah Buchynski

Posted on February 25, 2013. Filed under: Author Interviews, L.Leander Book Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

sarah_1Please help me welcome a young up and coming author this week who I’m sure we’ll see more of.  Her name is Sarah Buchynski and her book reads like a video game – action, plot and characters that pop.  If you’d like to read my review of her book, The Awakening (Before True Light) click here.  And, be sure to scroll down to the bottom of the interview to see Sarah’s free offer!

Interview with Author Sarah Buchynski

by L.Leander

What is your favorite pastime (other than writing)? (you can only pick one) and why?

My favourite pastime, other than writing, would be playing video games.  More specifically RPGs such as games from the Final Fantasy series are really enjoyable to me.  I like them since they convey a story and you can really immerse yourself into the world through the visuals, music, and interactions.  Even though it is entertaining for me, sometimes the emotions that the music creates with the different scenarios gives me a burst of inspiration, which can lead me to go write or compose music.

Who are you as a writer?

My identity as a writer is simple.  I only try to create works that will entertain readers and make them laugh, cry, be angry, get excited, etc…

What are your thoughts on the Indie Publishing movement?

I think it is great.  However, it is still a small movement in comparison to other indie movements such as music.  Hopefully it will continue to grow, so truly talented authors can be more easily discovered.

Have you ever ghostwritten?  Would you?  Why?

I have not ghostwritten.  However, if I had the opportunity, I probably would.  If you are ghostwriting for certain people, it can lead to other writing opportunities since you are networking your writing skills.  Although, not getting a credit for the public to see is disheartening, but inside the industry can discover you through word of mouth.

What is your favorite book of all time?  Why? 

Probably The Horse and his Boy by CS Lewis.  That was the first book that I got so addicted to that I could not put it down.  Before I read that, I was not really into reading and now I read a variety of things like books, manga, articles, etc…

Do you believe writers need a degree to be successful?  Why or why not?

Absolutely not! For fiction, I believe that a degree cannot teach a person to be creative to create a captivating story.  In my opinion, a degree would only help to teach a person to have proper grammar skills so they can convey their story in a written format.  The story is the most important element of a book and an editor can help with the technical aspect for the writer if they lack the skill.  The grammar is not what captives an audience, it is the story.

You are camping in a tent in the woods.  A loud roar happens outside the flap to the tent.  What do you do?

I pinch myself and then I wake up from a terrifying dream.  In reality I am safe in my bed at home.

What is your greatest asset?  Why?

I suppose my greatest asset as an independent author would be the business skills/knowledge I’ve been learning in post secondary.  This knowledge helps me to find ways to market and promote myself as well as understand any contracts I need to so there is a lesser chance I get ripped off.

What do you treasure most on earth?

The human brain because it is an amazing thing that it can do so much and create so much.

What did you like to do as a child?  Favorite games, pasttimes, friends, etc.

To be honest, most of my childhood memories are of me doing homework.  However, I really enjoyed the traveling that I was able to do.

What is the single-most important thing that has happened to you thus-far on your writing journey?

Probably getting my book published and actually finding out complete strangers are reading my book.

How important is being successful as a writer to you?

It is not very important, however, it would be nice.  All I really want is for people to read and enjoy my book.

The genie is going to grant you three wishes.  What are they?

An isolated tropical island, a movie deal for my book where I get to work on the post production for it, and a wish for more wishes since at the time I could not come up with a last one.

You get one day to spend any way you want with whomever you want.  Describe the day (money is no object)

I’m not really sure what I would do.  Any day where I do not have to worry about anything school related is a great day.  I would probably end up going to a music store and getting new and high quality instruments, equipment and software for music production and post production so I can go out and record anything from field recordings to a full band.

Who or what were your main inspirations for choosing a writing career?

Writing is not really my career.  I do it because I enjoy it.  However, I put enough effort into that it could be my career.  I mainly got into writing because someone once told me that I was good at it.  From that I tried writing poetry and had some publishing success with that then moved into the world of writing novels.  People seemed to enjoy reading my work so that’s what makes me keep writing.

So when I’m not writing and promoting my work, I am a full time student of audio engineering (soon to be graduated).  I have already recorded a few indie bands.  In the near future I may be doing the audio for an indie film.  I also want to branch out to doing audio for book trailers plus create original music for them either contemporary, orchestrated or a combination of both.   My ultimate career goal with that is to be a foley artist and eventually get into composing music for film.  Writing is what keeps me sane trying to accomplish these goals.

People have told me that my book, Before True Light: The Awakening is very unique, but in a good way.  The system of abilities comes from the science of ancient alchemy, but also the fantasy side of it.  So it is not 100% magic and not 100% science.  The storyline is more than just a story too.  I want to entertain people, but also make them think about the world around us.  However, I would like to think that I’ve done this in a way that if a person does not understand the metaphors, it will not hinder the storyline in any way for them – it’s more like bonus material if you catch on to it.

Thanks for stopping by – leave a comment for Sarah and let her know you came.  Check below for her generous offer to five lucky readers.

Beforetruelight_1Points of Purchase:

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/269067

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/book/before-true-light/id591634024?mt=11

Kobo: http://www.kobobooks.com/search/search.html?q=Before+True+Light

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/before-true-light-sarah-buchynski/1114142585

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

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/FantasyFanatic7

Bio:

Sarah Buchynski is a young author that showed a passion for writing even as a child. In her grade school years, she placed second in an essay writing contest for the Royal Canadian Legion and has two poems published in a student anthology with Creative Communications and several works in school-based anthologies. Now she has expanded her writing ambitions with her first fantasy series, Before True Light.

As a writer, one of Sarah’s main techniques is to paint a vivid picture into the reader’s mind through carefully constructed imagery. In addition to the embedded metaphors which older audiences can enjoy along with the story.

Sarah’s other technique is research. Almost every name of places and characters have been carefully researched so that it is relevant to the storyline. Sarah believes that everything in a story should have a purpose to an extend,so that makes research even more important even for works of fiction.

Giveaway: the first 5 people to like Before True Light on facebook will receive a free copy of the ebook.

 

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Introducing Author Michael Cavallo

Posted on February 18, 2013. Filed under: Author Interviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWell, everyone.  You won’t want to miss this week’s zany interview with author Michael Cavallo, the author of Michael Did What?  You can read my review of the book here.  Mike is a funny guy and the great lengths his character goes to to prove to the world how wonderful he is makes for a light read.  I found myself laughing more than once.  You will too. (Be sure to check out the links at the end of the interview – Michael has a money-saving coupon for you!

Interview with Michael Cavallo

by L.Leander

What is your favorite pastime (other than writing)? (you can only pick one) and why?

I don’t really have one. Life just kinda gets in the way. I’m married, with two kids, a house, and that keeps be busy. Aside from writing and marketing, “Michael Did What?” I’ve been mentally kicking around a few ideas for my next book. For now, “Michael Did What?” takes most of my free time. That, and trying to keep those little cups on top of the NyQuil bottles. They’re always disappearing, and it’s up to me to restore order to the medicine cabinet. Can you consider that a pastime?

Who are you as a writer?

Simply put, I’m really just going for a laugh, and there are few rules to that. (One is to refer to bad 80’s TV shows a lot. What the heck was Hart to Hart about anyway?)  I’m trying to keep the reader a little off balance so they never really know what to expect. I like to use a variety of techniques, each in a different way, and without a discernible pattern. I like to hit the reader with a joke about F. Murray Abraham and two stalks of celery when they least expect it.

What are your thoughts on the Indie Publishing movement?

As a writer, I think it’s awesome. It gives every author an opportunity, which is all one can ask for. It’s also a ton of work, and full of scams. (The Ultra-Golden-Ruby-Premium Marketing package will help you to sell 3 million books in the first 3 days alone! By Thursday, Lindsay Lohan will be cast in the movie version, provided she posts bail! Just send $400 now, and an address where your groupies should loiter!)

I’m self-published on Amazon, so I’m more familiar with that than the others, but I did do my homework. It takes so much time and effort to get your book noticed, but if it’s good, it will be shared, and you’re on your way. Competition is tremendous, as even the most popular writers give their books away for free or 99 cents from time to time. It can be rewarding though, once you invest the time and effort into learning how to utilize the industry, and filter out the nonsense.

As a reader, it can be just as much work separating the good writing from the not so good. You can find some good work in whatever niche you’re into, and you may have to sift through a lot of titles. I’m not sure the world needs a 450 page tome dedicated to the proper storage of garden hoses, (and 67 ways to coil them!) but at least the choice is there. Worst case scenario, you’ve wasted a dollar.

Have you ever ghostwritten?  Would you?  Why?

It isn’t something that I’ve really considered, but I would love to do it. I think I’d have a great ability to help someone crystallize their thoughts, and inject some humor into their story. I understand Fidel Castro’s English isn’t so good, and, let’s face it, he isn’t known for his humor. I could help to soften his image in his golden years. This could be a win-win for both of us! Do his henchmen read this blog? Maybe then I’ll have henchmen too. That’s when you know you’ve made it.

What is your favorite book of all time?  Why?Little.Happy.Michael

I’m not sure I have an all-time favorite book. If I had to pick one, Our Dumb World from the Onion would probably be it. Who satirizes an atlas, anyway? Brilliant! Probably a million one-liners in that book. Also America, the Book, by John Stewart. Great sound bites, blurbs, ridiculous comments in a spoofed textbook. A textbook I can scribble in if I want to! I guess I see these as revenge from years of Catholic grammar school.

Do you believe writers need a degree to be successful?  Why or why not?

Of course not. A writer only needs a bunch of crap bouncing around inside of his head, a need to get it out, and the means to do so. See those people wandering around Manhattan muttering to themselves, oblivious to the world around them? Those are unwritten books, trying to get out.

You are camping in a tent in the woods.  A loud roar happens outside the flap to the tent.  What do you do?

First, I unzip the flap as patiently and gingerly as possible, sometimes taking upwards of six hours, so as not to draw undue attention upon myself. If the roaring still persists, I will then attempt to distract the roarmaker, usually by screaming like a little bitch. I do this as I make a bee-line for the cooler, and bravely attempt to liberate as many cans of beer as possible, while cursing myself for not finishing them the night before. I will then head towards the car, which, because of the Rules of Scary Movies, is wwwwaaaaaayyy off in the opposite direction. Immediately thereafter, I drop one of the cans, and am faced with a dilemma: Continue on, and enjoy the juice of my labor in the comfort of my ’72 Pinto? Or do I risk it all to go back for the lone ale, reminding myself that people are sober in China? Being as eco-conscious as I am, I make an about face to rescue the lone straggler. This is when, as the Rules of Scary Movies dictate, that the hideous beast emerges from the brush, and the race—full of close-ups, and in slow motion—begins for real. Realizing that if something works, you should stick with it, I then enter Phase II of my plan, namely, screaming like a BIG banshee. The higher pitch and frequency of this brilliant and manly plan usually works to perfection, and within moments I’m sipping a cold one from inside my car, while the defeated monster fogs my window with his rapid panting. All that’s left to do, as the camera pans back, is give that squirrel the finger. Fade to black, roll credits.*

*No squirrels were hurt during the answering of this question.

What is your greatest asset?  Why?

That’s easy. My sense of humor. I’ve learned to find the humor in almost any situation, including the most difficult ones. That’s not to say you can avoid your responsibilities, or neglect to do the tough things that need to be done, but I always try to find a way to laugh while doing them. Many people may feel that you can’t be serious about something and maintain a sense of humor about it at the same time. They feel it’s either/or. I’ve laughed in the dentist’s chair, emergency room, and funeral homes. If I can help other people to laugh while in those situations, that’s even better.

What do you treasure most on earth?

That’s a bit tougher. I’d have to say life itself. The process of life, of growing and evolving. Just watching life unfold, and taking from it what you can, and being thankful for it. Most people can look back on difficult times and see how it made them grow, and then appreciate it. If  I can accelerate that process, and experience gratitude during the difficult times, then I’ve taken a tremendous step. I have done that. The trick is to do it consistently. That, and pepper-jack cheese. The mild cheese is deliciously offset by the spiciness of the jalapenos. It’s like there’s a party in my mouth.

What did you like to do as a child?  Favorite games, pastimes, friends, etc.

I played hockey a lot, usually as a goalie. There’s was nothing like it. When I’m focused, nothing else exists except that puck. I wouldn’t feel cold, or tired, or worry my car insurance is due. Time would sometime slow down, and I’d see the play a few seconds before it unfolded. Other times, it would speed up, and I’d have no recollection of plays after the game. The outside world would just cease to exist.

What is the single-most important thing that has happened to you thus-far on your writing journey?

I’d have to say the confidence I’ve gained, just learning to open up a bit, and put myself out there. You immediately set yourself up for criticism, and need to understand it comes with the territory. And this is just from a simple joke book, it’s not like I’ve published my personal memoirs. Of course, the positive feedback  helps too.

How important is being successful as a writer to you?

I enjoy making people laugh, so that is my primarily goal. If I can do that, and  make a few bucks, even better. What I don’t enjoy is the constant work promoting, and marketing the book. In a perfect world, I’d have an army of minions to take care of that.

The genie is going to grant you three wishes.  What are they?

Well, the most obvious answer is for world peace, but I don’t want to sound like a desperate Miss America contestant.  Another would be for my kids to get along, but this would not be possible without supernatural intervention. They could rule the entire Earth, and they’d still fight. Stuff like:

One son: “This is MY ocean! Why don’t you go play in the Atlantic?!?”

Other son: “But I saw it first! I want to play here!”

Either son: “Moooommm!”

The other two wishes? I don’t know. Can I donate them to charity?

You get one day to spend any way you want with whomever you want.  Describe the day (money is no object)

Money is no object? What about resurrecting the dead? If that isn’t an object, then I’d go drinking with Jim Morrison. I would describe the day in great detail, but unfortunately I’d have no recollection of it. Trust me, we had a good time.

Who or what were your main inspirations for choosing a writing career?

I’d have to say Douglas Adams, and Dave Barry. Dave Barry could write an article about any topic, and take it in any direction within 3 paragraphs. No matter where he went with it, it was hilarious. Adams too, but he’d build a full novel around it. I also have a tiny (3 inch square, hardcover) book on my desk about the New York Mets. I don’t know the title, but it’s the crappiest book I have ever come across. About 30 pages, with one ‘fact’ on each page. The thing is, the facts aren’t even impressive. Stuff like, “Mike Piazza hit 2 doubles against L.A. on August 9, 2001.” From a major publisher, with a price of $7.99. An average fan could do better right of the top of their head. I’m not sure where I got it, but keep it as inspiration. If this book can be published and sold, I can challenge the Bible.

Readers, I hope you’ve enjoyed this interview as much as I have.  Please leave Michael a comment to let him know you stopped by!  If you’d like to find out more about Michael Cavallo (who wouldn’t?) check out his links below:

Michael.Did.What.eBook.03Amazon:
CreateSpace (Paperback) https://www.createspace.com/3991243
(Coupon for this paperback at CreateSpace, $1.00 off with code C75DXRC3)
Page a Day Calendar from Printed Owl:
Apps/Widgets from Printed Owl:
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Introducing Author K.R. Morrison

Posted on February 11, 2013. Filed under: Author Interviews, L.Leander Reviews and Interviews | Tags: , , , , , , |

DSC02259 It’s a new week and I have another very interesting author to introduce to you.  Please help me make welcome Kathy Ree, author of  Be Not Afraid.  You can read my review of the book here.  Oh, and before I forget – Ms. Morrison is giving away a signed copy of her book to one lucky commenter, so don’t miss out!

Interview with K.R. Morrison by L.Leander

What is your favorite pastime (other than writing)? (you can only pick one) and why?

Depends on the time of year.  Warmer weather will find me walking—a lot.  I have three half-marathons I participate in, ranging from May to June.  I also do 10k events when I can—about three a summer.  In August, I spend two days in a van with six other people in the walking part of the Portland-to-Coast, a 130-mile relay event.  I also garden and quilt.

Who are you as a writer?

That’s somewhat of an obscure question, but I’ll answer it the best I can.  I am a writer with a message, and I hope that my readers will understand what I am trying to convey.

What are your thoughts on the Indie Publishing movement?

I’m all for independent thought and ambition.

Have you ever ghostwritten?  Would you?  Why?

I have not.  It’s not a subject that has ever come up, so I don’t know if I would or not.  Depends on who and what.

What is your favorite book of all time?  Why? 

“A Child’s Garden of Verses” by Robert Louis Stevenson.  I generally run on a different plane from poetry, but his work has always struck a chord in my heart.  He was a sickly child, and his poetry reflects that in many ways.  I just feel so…loved…when I read it.

Do you believe writers need a degree to be successful?  Why or why not?

Interesting question.  No, absolutely not.  A surgeon needs one, yes.  But anyone can write.  It’s the last bastion of independence for those of us who like to put our thoughts down on paper—and maybe make some profits from them.

You are camping in a tent in the woods.  A loud roar happens outside the flap to the tent.  What do you do?

Go out and beat it to death, of course.

What is your greatest asset?  Why?

I’ve always been told that I write well.  People enjoy my writing.  I’ve only had one negative-ish review for my book, and that from someone who just didn’t get what I was doing.  I recently set up an editing page (Every Crooked Nanny Editing), and I’ve had one job so far.  I have an obsession for correct grammar, although when I do posts on Facebook, I write the way I talk.  I love to help others prep their work so that it looks sterling for publishers.

What do you treasure most on earth?

My faith in God.  Secondly, my family and friends.  Couldn’t get anywhere without either.

What did you like to do as a child?  Favorite games, pasttimes, friends, etc.

We played outside a lot.  I really just liked running around the neighborhood with my friends, pulling a wagon full of buddies or pushing someone up the street on an old engineless power mower.  My sister and I could spend an entire day just doing that—or hide and seek, Red Rover, freeze tag…those were the days!

What is the single-most important thing that has happened to you thus far on your writing journey?

I’d say it would be getting to know other authors.  I am so appreciative of the support and friendship others have shown.  I look forward to meeting more as time goes on.

How important is being successful as a writer to you?

I suppose it depends on how you define “success”.  Financially—that would be tremendous.  We have a mortgage and two college tuitions to pay off.  Getting the Message to others is more important, which is why I don’t mind giving my book away.  But I also deem the support and encouragement I can give others through my book reviews/author interviews as right up at the top.

The genie is going to grant you three wishes.  What are they?

1.  Three more wishes—ha!  2.  Free beer of my choosing for the rest of my life, no limits.  3.   Being able to go anywhere in the world any time I want.  With a son going off to live in Brasil for two years, guess where I would choose.

You get one day to spend any way you want with whomever you want.  Describe the day (money is no object)

Right now—ComicCon in San Diego.   I would go with my sister-in-law, Julie, and we would be able to go backstage and meet all of the celebrities who show up.  I am so wanting to go to that this year!  Or the Dark Shadows convention, and meet up with the stars from the recent movie.  Especially Johnny Depp and Eva Green.  Both such wonderful actors.  Eva was a very believable Angelique.

Who or what were your main inspirations for choosing a writing career?

I wonder how many authors will agree with this statement:  I didn’t choose to write—the muse chose me.  I can’t answer for anyone else, but for me it wasn’t really a choice.

One night in April a couple of years ago, I had a nightmare.  In it, I was attacked by a vampire.  It was one of the type where all of my senses were involved; I could feel the tug of my blood being pulled out, and my veins collapsing.  It was very horrifying.

But when I woke¸ the nightmare never went away.  Instead, I fell back into a semi-sleep, where I dreamed another part of the story.  And when I woke fully, the dream never went away.  Instead, it cycled over and over throughout my waking hours, getting longer and more detailed every time.  When it got to the point where the story was over an hour long, I finally started committing it to paper.  The weird thing is, once I started writing, the part I’d written left my mind.

I sent the manuscript off to various people to beta-read, and I got a lot of good feedback.  I was asked when I was going to do a sequel, and that has now been done.   Actually, a prequel and a sequel, since the book got so big.  I hope to have them published/launched in the spring, once I have, a) a publisher, and b) the cover illustrations.  My daughter and my cousin are furnishing those.  My daughter drew the front cover for my first book.

K.R. MORRISON BIO

K.R. Morrison is the pen name for Kathy Ree, who has lived in the Pacific Northwest for 22 years.  She came here from California, after the Loma Prieta earthquake caused her to rethink her stance on “never moving again”.  At her first sight of Oregon, she never looked back.

She wrote her first book, “Be Not Afraid”, after a nightmare she experienced would not leave her mind, even when awake.  Before this book, she had not written much of anything, outside of the annual Christmas letter.

A prequel to the first book, “Unholy Trinity”, and a sequel, “Resurgence:  The Rise of Judas”, have just been finished, and hopefully will see publication soon.  “Enoch’s Return”, the fourth book in the series, is just beginning to be written.

She has recently started doing book reviews and beta-reads/critiques.  Having put a toe into the world of editing, she finds she really enjoys it, and might make a business out of helping others polish their manuscripts.

When not writing or working, she quilts or works in the garden.

She lives with her husband of 26 years and a monster-sized cat, and is occasionally visited by her kids.

Thanks for stopping for this chat.  Readers, leave K.R. a comment and let her know your thoughts.  If you’d like to know where to find this author and her books here are some links.

K.R. Morrison Book Links:

Book cover (2) (220x316)http://www.amazon.com/Be-Not-Afraid-R-Morrison/dp/1462852211/ref=la_B009RBRJ0C_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1355461018&sr=1-1

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/be-not-afraid-k-r-morrison/1100084495?ean=9781462852222

K.R. Morrison Links:

http://www.amazon.com/K-R.-Morrison/e/B009RBRJ0C/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

https://www.facebook.com/pages/K-R-Morrison/316522281747349

https://www.facebook.com/KittyMuseBookReviews

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Every-Crooked-Nanny-Editing/587888887903846#!/pages/Every-Crooked-Nanny-Editing/587888887903846

http://www.wattpad.com/mystories

https://twitter.com/KRMorrison1

http://www.shelfari.com/krmorrison777

http://krmorrison777.posterous.com/

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4965766.K_R_Morrison

http://www.powells.com/biblio/61-9781462852215-1

http://bookstore.xlibris.com/Products/SKU-0096815003/Be-Not-Afraid.aspx

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Introducing Author Kate Benzin

Posted on February 4, 2013. Filed under: Author Interviews, L.Leander Reviews and Interviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |


Kate 2011 10I am very pleased to introduce you to Kate Benzin this week.  She’s an adventuress who shares her travel escapades with readers through her work.  I met Kate on a Facebook group and we became instant online friends.  If you haven’t read her books you’ve got to do it – you’ll be amazed, entertained and enlightened as you follow her on her journeys to different countries and cultures.  Now, so I don’t let the cat out of the bag, I’ll go on with my interview of Kate.  If you’d like to read my review of Kate’s book Transformative Travel In Nepal, you can check it out here.

Interview of Author, Kate Benzin

by L.Leander

What is your favorite pastime (other than writing)? (you can only pick one) and why?

Travel is my favorite pastime other than writing. Of course, this is a bit of a cheat because I use my travels as the basis for some of my books. For example, my book TRANSFORMATIVE TRAVEL IN NEPAL: FULFILLING A DREAM IN THE HIMALAYAS is the true story of my trekking experience in the Nepal Himalayas. I kept a very detailed journal every day and then used my journal to re-construct my experience. It’s written in a fiction style, but it’s definitely a true story.

I have another book in the works called TRANS-SIBERIA EXPRESS TRAIN: MOWCOW TO MONGOLIA – also about my travel experience on that iconic train ride. It’ll be a while before I publish that – just have too many books in the works.

Who are you as a writer?

I am a writer who like to delve into the emotions of how people react or why they act in certain ways. For me, plot is second to the emotional life of the characters.

What are your thoughts on the Indie Publishing movement?

The Indie Publishing movement is absolutely great. I’ve always written, but would have never bothered to actually publish a book without this movement.

Have you ever ghostwritten?  Would you?  Why?

I have not ghostwritten, but have actually considered it. I’m collaborating with a friend on a book that is a lot of rambling of a person who was sliding further and further into depression, paranoia, schizophrenia. If she had not been willing to have me as a co-author, I would have ghostwritten because I think her journey into that dark place and then back to recovery is very important and needs to be shared.

I doubt that I would do any ghostwriting for the money simply because I’ve got too much on my plate as it is. I have no objections to ghostwriting on principle – I guess if I ever ran out of my own stuff, then I’d do that.

What is your favorite book of all time?  Why? 

Do I have to pick just one??? Here are 3 – Crime & Punishment, Steppenwolf, Brothers Karamazov

Do you believe writers need a degree to be successful?  Why or why not?

A degree??? What’s that???

No, seriously, people need to have experiences in order to be successful. In my jaded opinion, a degree only shows that you had the discipline to do what needed to be done in order to get that piece of paper. Well, maybe it’s not the only thing that it shows, but it certainly is not a requirement for success. To be successful, a person needs to look inside, examine what he/she finds there, and figure out what to do with what is inside.

You are camping in a tent in the woods.  A loud roar happens outside the flap to the tent.  What do you do?

I run out to see what it is. And hopefully, I have my camera with me to get a photo.

What is your greatest asset?  Why?

My greatest asset – that implies that I have more than one! I guess I would say adaptability. It happens to be foremost in my mind right now because it was a very needed asset in something that I lived through a couple of years ago which is the topic of my next book – FIRE & DEATH: LIVING IN THE SHADOW OF JAVA’S MOST ACTIVE VOLCANO. This is another true story about my experience when the volcano that I live on erupted and I had to evacuate my home with my dogs. As I wrote this book, I certainly saw how my ability to adapt was so important.

What do you treasure most on earth?

My dogs – they are my loves.

What did you like to do as a child?  Favorite games, pasttimes, friends, etc.

Well, of course, I liked to read. I can remember not playing after school with friends because I wanted to go home and read. Is that crazy or what?

What is the single-most important thing that has happened to you thus-far on your writing journey?

I guess that the most important thing is that I am constantly learning how to see the world differently. If I’m in the process of writing, then I’m looking at everything through the eyes of who I was then in the case of a memoir and how much I learned or experienced  and seeing how that has affected me. If I’m writing fiction, then I’m looking at things through that person’s eyes and seeing a different point of view.

It reminds me of when I first started painting – I never looked at anything the same way again. I saw colors more vividly – I saw shapes and colors that I’d never seen before. Writing does the same thing for me, but in a different way.

How important is being successful as a writer to you?

Well, as far as I’m concerned, just having strangers buy something that I put my heart and soul into – and then reading it – this is success to me, and I guess that’s pretty important. I like selling more copies, but that isn’t the most important part. Getting emails from readers who were touched by what I wrote – that is success – and yes, it’s important.

The genie is going to grant you three wishes.  What are they?

My first 2 wishes are the time and money to build a house on the property that I bought a few years ago very close to where I’m living now. Then the 3rd wish would be for me and my dogs to live out our days in that home. But I have to say that if I never build that house, I’ve already got a little piece of paradise where I’m living with my doggies already.

You get one day to spend any way you want with whomever you want.  Describe the day (money is no object)

I hate to be terribly boring, but I’m already living the life that I dreamed of when I was younger. Later on, I’ll probably be sorry that I didn’t choose some place and someone really cool. I guess the only thing that I’d love would be if I could have a day 50 years from now to see what kind of technology has developed.

Who or what were your main inspirations for choosing a writing career?

I can’t say that I had any actual inspirations. I always wrote as therapy for myself. I went through some very difficult times emotionally and writing was what got me through those times. And little by little, writing came to mean more and more to me.

Thank you for being my guest this week, Kate.  Readers, leave Kate a comment to let her know you enjoyed our chat.  And be sure to check out her books (scroll to the bottom to see the cover of her soon-to-be-released book, Fire and Death.

TransTravTransformative Travel in Nepal: A Himalayan Journey by Kate Benzin

Kate Benzin’s Websites:

http://katebenzin.com

http://traveling-forever.com

Kate’s Facebook page: facebook.com/kategypsy

Kate’s Email: kate@katebenzin.com

Kate Benzin Bio:

Kate Benzin is a seasoned traveler and tour director who has lived in Indonesia for most of the past 30 years. Indonesia became her home when she took a 3-month work assignment to train Indonesians on word processing equipment, and she fell in love with the adventurous lifestyle that living in Indonesia gave her. After working as a tour director in many countries of the world for the past 15years, she now spends most of her time writing in her home/office which she shares with her three Dalmatians.

Other books by Kate Benzin:

CoverHow to Find the Heart of Bali

FD 6 smallComing soon!!! Fire and Death: Living in the Shadow of Java’s Most Active Volcano

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