Book Reviews

Introducing Author Winslow Eliot

Posted on June 3, 2013. Filed under: Author Interviews, Book Reviews, L.Leander Book Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Winslow EliotIt’s my great pleasure to introduce author Winslow Eliot this week.  I stumbled across this author’s site as I was doing research and  I was very interested in what she offers.   Ms. Eliot runs a series of workshops for writers called WriteSpa-An Oasis for Writers: Writing Through the Year based on faith and daily exercises.  I joined and have thoroughly enjoyed the process.  Immediately I contacted Ms. Eliot and asked if she would like to be featured on this blog and she agreed.  I’m glad I could interview her and share her work with my readers.  If you’d like to read my review of her book The Happiness Cure click here.  Please leave a comment and let us know you visited!

Interview with Winslow Eliot

by L.Leander

What is the favorite character you have written and why? Probably Tess HeavenFallsCoverDuncan – she was my heroine in Heaven Falls. I just loved how she entered into an entirely new situation with such grace and humor, and I found her as lovable and interesting as the hero did!

Are you self-published or traditionally published and why? I’ve been published traditionally (NAL/Signet and St. Martin’s Press) in the past, but since 2010 I’ve been self-published. I MUCH prefer the freedom, adventure, thrill of investing in my creative projects. I love owning 100% of my work, and receiving 100% of my profits. In addition to being able to thoroughly enjoy writing my stories the way I want to, I also love the covers that my designers have created.

What did you want to be when you grew up?  Did you realize that dream? I always wanted to be a writer. Even before I knew how to write I’d fill up notebooks with arcane scribbles, pretending that I was writing a book. So, yes, writing has been my dream, and I HAVE realized it. Dreams do continue, though, so it’s not over… there’s always more to realize within the dream of writing. We’ll see what unfolds.

Explain your creative process.  Pantser?  Outliner? Hmm. It’s hard to say. A story sweeps me away, scenes sweep me away, and I follow my beloved characters through those events. My stories are very twisty-turny, unexpected, so once the first draft is completed I do find I spend many months—sometimes years—making sure that all the twists, turns, and unexpected surprises are 100% explained and tied up by the end.

How do you come up with ideas for your writing projects? That’s just one of those things. They pour out—I can’t really keep up with them, because I do like to take my time with my stories.

Who is your biggest supporter?  Why? I’d have to say my mother has always been my biggest supporter. She was a fantastic editor of every single one of my first drafts of every book I wrote. She was one of the most enthusiastic fans. She admired my talent, my determination, my courage in pursuing my dream. She died recently and I sometimes don’t know how I’ll write and get my next book to press without her editorial skills and her unstinting encouragement.

Explain a day in the life of a writer (you). I wake up around six a.m. and lean over the edge of my bed, pick up and turn on my laptop, and begin to write. I start with writing down my dreams and some other things, and then always write my “daily happinesses” which I then share on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc. During this time, my handsome husband has brought me coffee in bed, without interrupting my flow. Once my happinesses are posted, I check mail, but unless it’s really important I don’t respond until later in the morning. I devote the rest of the morning to working on my writing project—whichever book is currently absorbing me. In the afternoon, we’ll walk, or I’ll do yoga, answer emails, or indulge in various other hobbies I have: like meditative sufi dance and tarot. Then in the evening I’ll join my husband for a glass of wine and some light entertainment—currently our favorite is watching old Perry Mason mysteries. I do teach high school students twice a week during the school year, and have other things I do. But basically that’s my ideal “day in the life.”

What is your wildest dream for your writing? To be a beloved household name—and the income to show for it LOL.

What types of books do you like to read/authors that have inspired you? So many! I love the classics like Jane Austen; love Graham Greene and Anne Douglas Sedwick. Contemporary novelists…I just read Karen Engelmann’s The Stockholm Octavo which is fabulous. I also recently discovered Robert MacLean, who’s a sort of modern-day P.G.Wodehouse. I love an author (like him) who can make me laugh out loud. Most of all I love my grandmother’s books. Her grown-up novels are all out of print, but they definitely inspired me growing up. Her name is Ethel Cook Eliot.
belly dancing 2
What is your favorite hobby?  Does it enhance your writing? As I mentioned earlier, I love dancing. I used to do a lot of belly dancing, and that has morphed into a sufi dance meditation practice. I also enjoy using the tarot—those cards are like my friends. We sit around telling each other stories! Also, I sing and play guitar, and we have friends who come over and play with us on occasion. My husband is a musician too. Yes, I think singing and dancing definitely enhances my writing! It keeps me light-hearted. I can get much too serious otherwise.

Happiness-cover-ebookSHORT AUTHOR BIO: Winslow Eliot is the award-winning author of the novels Heaven Falls, Bright Face of Danger, A Perfect Gem, and Pursued, as well as the inspirational books: What Would You Do If There Was Nothing You Had To Do and WriteSpa-An Oasis for Writers: Writing Through the Year. Every morning she writes and shares her daily happinesses before turning to her work of the day: writing more books and mentoring writers.

LINKS:

Author site: http://winsloweliot.com/

The Happiness Cure on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/The-Happiness-Cure-ebook/dp/B00CGMJZWY/ref=sr_1_10?ie=UTF8&qid=1366637415&sr=8-10&keywords=the+happiness+cure

Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/winsloweliot.author?ref=hl

On Twitter: https://twitter.com/winsloweliot

On Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winslow_Eliot

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Introducing Author Rebecca Jane Lynch

Posted on May 20, 2013. Filed under: Author Interviews, Book Reviews, Fiction, L.Leander Reviews and Interviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

This week I’m delighted to introduce an up and coming author who has written the young adult fantasy series Satu Country.  You’ll see by her answers to the questions below that she is dedicated to her work.  You can read my review of Coming Tides here.

Interview of Author Rebecca Jane Lynch

By L.Leander

What is the favorite character you have written and why?

Kano Shadow is my favorite so far. He’s cool, strong, dark, and a real mystery. He’s the type of person I love to follow in a story, but I’d probably be afraid of him if he were real.

Are you self-published or traditionally published and why?

I am actually both. I have been published in the anthology Swimming Blind by Athanatos Ministries, which was traditionally published by the Athanatos Publishing Group. I’ve also published two books through Publish America. More recently though, I’ve settled on self-publishing through Lulu.com, and I really enjoy it. I enjoy that I have full control over the formatting and cover design of my book. Best of all, Lulu is free–which is great for a new author.

What did you want to be when you grew up?  Did you realize that dream?

Well, when I was little I always wanted to be three things simultaneously: an author, movie director, and an actress. So far I’m only one of those.

Explain your creative process.  Pantser?  Outliner?

I am definitely an outliner. I have dozens of documents on my computer storing plot ideas and extremely detailed character information. I always have a general idea of what I want to happen in a story before I begin writing. Usually as I go along though, random ideas come to me and I add them to the story. That’s especially true with a lot of the humor in my books–that is rarely planned.

How do you come up with ideas for your writing projects?

Sometimes ideas just come to me when I least expect it; other times I get ideas from dreams or real-life experiences. When it comes to Satu Country, the idea just came to me one day and I started writing. With other books, such as my children’s mystery story Hamster Heroes, I based the characters on real-life people and animals, but the stories themselves are entirely imaginary.

Who is your biggest supporter?  Why?

My biggest supporter is probably my friend Michelle. She’s one of my beta readers and has been encouraging me to write before I ever published my first book.

Explain a day in the life of a writer (you)

Since I only write as a hobby and my real “job” is being a full-time college student, I just grab a few moments here and there to write when I can. Usually I get my best writing done late at night after everyone else is in bed. When I’m not in classes however, I like to sit down, turn on some Skillet or Relient K music, and write.

What is your wildest dream for your writing?

To have my Satu Country books made into movies, or an anime-styled cartoon series. If I had the skills and people necessary, I’d love to make it an animated series and direct it myself.

What types of books do you like to read/authors that have inspired you?

Even though I read manga the most, I really enjoy reading fantasy books and some Christian fiction. My favorite authors are Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker. I’ve really been inspired by Ted Dekker’s writing style/tone.

What is your favorite hobby?  Does it enhance your writing?

Writing really is my favorite hobby. Besides reading and sketching, it’s my favorite thing to do. As for the second half of that question, I think it does. Practice makes perfect (or, at least, makes things better). The more I write, the more I understand myself, my writing style, and my direction for future projects.

There will be seven books total in the Satu Country series, and the first two have already been published.  This year I’m working on book three, In the Heights.  Each year I plan to self-publish one of the Satu books, which shouldn’t be too difficult since I have already written them on paper and just need to transcribe them to digital copies and edit them.

Satu Country has really been my life’s dream.  I started working on handwriting them when I was in high school.  I’d like to encourage people to read the Satu books, especially if they like young adult fiction.  The first book, Coming Tides, was the roughest one I wrote, plot-wise, because it is mostly just introducing all of the characters to the readers while trying to add enough plot to keep the story going.  The second book, Saving the Valley, is smoother.  I think the books will get better the further along the series goes.

I’m also working on my first adult fiction novel, which will be titled Thethe perceptionalist front vs 4 Perceptionalist.  It probably won’t be published until 2014 because it’s taken a backseat to the Satu books.  More information about my other books can be found on my website.

~Rebecca Jane Lynch

stcLinks where my book can be purchased: My Author Spotlight, and Amazon.

Other links: My website and the Satu Country website

Author bio: Rebecca Jane has been writing books since she was eleven years old. She first became published after winning a Christian writing contest in 2010 and had her short story “The Dissenters” published in an anthology. Since then, she has published seven books and is best known for her young adult fantasy series Satu Country

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Introducing Author Michael Murphy

Posted on May 6, 2013. Filed under: Author Interviews, Book Reviews, L.Leander Book Reviews, L.Leander Reviews and Interviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

005 What a treat we have in store for us this week.  My guest is Michael Murphy, author of Goodbye Emily.  This is a sometimes nostalgic, sometimes sad and downright funny book about returning to Woodstock and reliving the days of youth.  If you’d like to read my review click here.

Interview with Michael Murphy

By L.Leander

Where do you write?  What’s your creative space like?  

I used to write glued to my home office computer, but in the past year I’ve added a wireless keyboard to my tablet and now write in the backyard with my chickens, Michael bonds with the girls 005around the pool or patio. Freedom via technology!

What is your favorite writing tool?

As I mentioned, my tablet is a fabulous tool. In addition to writing, I can pause and check something on the internet and since my current work in process is historical fiction, that comes in handy when checking slang words in the 1930s for example.

What movie star would you pick as one of the characters in your book and why? I’ve been asked this more for my return to Woodstock novel, Goodbye Emily, than any of my previous books. I think it’s because readers often comment that it would make a great movie. Since it focuses on three baby boomers reliving their roadtrip to Woodstock, I envision Tom Hanks as Sparky, Billy Bob Thornton or Sam Elliott as Buck and William H. Macy as Josh.

006 (2)

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I always wanted to be an author. I read Gone with the Wind when I was nine. I was a geek even then, still am.

Did you realize that dream?

Just about.

Explain your creative process.  Pantser?  Outliner?

I’ve always been a seat of the pants author, but I’ve become more formalized as I’ve become more experienced. For example. I write details biographical histories for my main characters so I know how they’ll act or what they might say in a given situation or scene.

If you could only have one mode of transportation what would it be, a horse or a bicycle?  Why?

I’m not much for either, but my wife and I have a tandem bike that we dust off now and then. She still looks sweet, upon the seat of a bicycle built for two.

Do you dream about your stories?

Absolutely. Ever written about a dream? Dreaming is the most important part of my creative process. I use it as a tool. If I envision a character or scene before falling asleep, I often wake up with a vivid dream. I also tap into my subconscious on a treadmill.

What’s your favorite theme park?

Definitely Disneyland.

Why?

It’s the happiest place on earth!

Are you a reader?  I’m an avid reader.

I write the type of books I love reading, mostly (but not limited to) mystery/suspense with a lot of humor. The master being Nelson DeMille.

Michael says:

My goal in writing Goodbye Emily was to portray sixty-somethings in a realistic manner instead of “get off my lawn” clichés. By realistic, I mean, funny, talented, sexually active and optimistic about the future. From the reviews so far, I think I’ve succeeded.

IMG_0http://www.amazon.com/Goodbye-Emily-ebook/dp/B00A8IYL2C

www.mjmurphy.com

www.goodbyeemily.com

http://blog.mjmurphy.com/

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Introducing Author Thomas M Sullivan

Posted on April 29, 2013. Filed under: Author Interviews, Book Reviews, L.Leander Book Reviews, L.Leander Reviews and Interviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

ThomasSullivanPhotoA few months ago a fellow Facebook author asked for reviews on a site we both belong to.  I had some time so sent him a message and agreed to give the book an unbiased review.  I’m glad I did.  The story was so heartwarming and so funny that I couldn’t put it down until I had finished it.  It’s a look into the life of a Driver’s Education teacher and the trials and tribulations he faces while trying to teach an important subject to those who need or want to learn.  If you’d like to read my review of Life In The Slow Lane click here.

Interview with Author Thomas M. Sullivan

by L.Leander

Where do you write?  What’s your creative space like?

I seem to write all over the place – at home, in coffee shops, the library. Whenever something comes to me, I start jotting things down. So I always carry a pen and pad. My creative space is pretty wide open and includes anywhere someone isn’t yapping on a cell phone. I can’t concentrate around those one-sided calls.

What is your favorite writing tool?

I’m still a pen and paper guy, at least for initial drafts.

What movie star would you pick as one of the characters in your book and why?

Definitely Steve Buscemi. He’s got those bad teeth and awkward mannerisms, which make him so loveable. My characters are goofy and flailing through life, which is their charm. Just like Steve Buscemi.

What did you want to be when you grew up?  Did you realize that dream?

I never had any clear interest in a particular field. I seemed to fall into things, and for much of the last two decades I was a teacher. I worked for a series of schools that got shut down or blew themselves up. It was all quite funny. But now I’m doing what I really think is right – writing humor essays.

Explain your creative process.  Pantser?  Outliner? 

Since I write essays I don’t really plan or outline things. An idea arrives and I just start writing. And I go until it’s “out of me”. It’s kind of like attacking a buffet when you’re starving. Then I sit back and refine things.

If you could only have one mode of transportation what would it be, a horse or a bicycle?  Why?

A bicycle. You don’t have to feed a bike and it never throws you. You throw yourself.

Do you dream about your stories?  Ever written about a dream?

Not really. I’m a forgetter of my sleeping dreams.

What were you like in high school?  Class clown?  Nerd?  Cheerleader type?

I was a clown/jock hybrid, leaning more toward clown. I could never be a cheerleader because I’m very inflexible physically. One high kick and I’d be done.

What’s your favorite theme park?  Why?  (If you’ve never been, which one would you like to visit and why?)

It’s not really a theme park, but there’s a velvet painting museum in Portland, Oregon that I adore. They’ve got paintings of unicorns with comb-over hair a portrait of Jesus surfing atop a tractor-trailer. Pure magic.

Are you a reader?  What types of books do you like best?  What author(s)?

I like fiction with believable humor that comes from lesser-known authors. I just read Keith Lee Morris’s The Dart League King. Currently I’m reading Salty by Mark Haskell Smith. Great books from authors who should be getting far more attention.

Thomas Sullivan is a humor writer from Seattle. He is a former teacher whose first book (Life In The Slow Lane) recounted his experience teaching driver education.

If you’d like to find out more about author Thomas M Sullivan here are links his websites.

http://www.thomassullivanhumor.com

http://humoroutcasts.com/author/thomassullivan/

Books by Thomas M. Sullivan

lifeLife in the Slow Lane

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

somuchcoverSo Much Time So Little Change

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INZARED, The Fortune Teller (Book Two) by L.Leander

Posted on April 22, 2013. Filed under: Book Reviews, Fiction, New Book Premiere | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

It’s here!  After almost a year of editing, the second book of the INZARED, Queen of the Elephant Riders series continues where the first book left off.  Here is a brief description and links to both books.  I hope you enjoy them!

coverWe meet Bertha Maude Anderson, a girl of sixteen from the hills of Appalachia in INZARED, Queen of the Elephant Riders (Book One).  Bertha is misunderstood by her parents and yearns to escape her mountain home and see the world.  She craves excitement, and when a Gypsy circus comes to the village of Brower’s Gap she seizes the opportunity and runs away from home.  Life is not exactly as she imagines, but she definitely lives a colorful life among the Gypsies who make up the performers and roustabouts of the small circus that tours the eastern part of the United States.  The year is 1843.  Bertha hates her name and is delighted when the circus owners give her the glamorous stage name of Inzared.  Introduced to Cecil the elephant, and his handler Paytre, Inzared falls in love with both of them and her life changes dramatically.  Although she endures many hardships she is steadfast and becomes the main attraction for the small circus.  She learns the Gypsy culture and superstitions and helps solve a mystery.  But how will she deal with the guilt that plagues her?  Will the Gypsies accept her?  And what of the old fortune-teller Vadoma’s warnings?  Part mystery, part romance and full of quirky characters the book is sure to delight readers of every age!

Inzared_1563x2500_MediumSizeIt is now 1849 and life in the circus continues.  INZARED, The Fortune Teller (Book Two) picks up the story where Book One left off.  Inzared feels the strong pull of home and knows she must face her demons.  A series of nightmares cause her to rethink her life.  When she left Brower’s Gap, North Carolina she didn’t say goodbye and now fears her family will no longer want her to be part of their lives.  But things are different now and she feels she must try to make amends.  After she writes a poignant letter home she makes the decision to return.  She goes back to find things not much different from what she remembered.  She learns the skills of healing from her Ma and with the fortune-telling she has studied from the Gypsies she journeys back to Home Run and the circus she loves.  But what will she encounter along the way?  Will she be strong enough to handle the problems that arise?  What of the man from her past  – will he be part of her future?  Filled with new adventures, paranormal romance and danger, INZARED,The Fortune Teller will make you laugh, make you cry, and you won’t want to put it down until it’s finished!

Stay Tuned for the third book in the Inzared series to be published in 2014.  The Civil War has broken out and Inzared and her son must make some heartbreaking sacrifices.  Will they survive this terrible time in American History?  What of the circus and Inzared’s beloved elephant Cecil?  Will Inzared support the North or the South?  These questions and more will be asked and answered in this adventurous tale of love, loss and human fortitude.

Bio:

L.Leander is an e-book author, freelancer and songwriter.  She writes for Yahoo! Content and does guest posts on author blogs and groups.  As a child Ms. Leander dreamed of running away to join the circus.  Instead, she grew up to write about it, bringing the magic alive for all who read her work.

Ms. Leander currently resides between Wisconsin and Mexico.  INZARED, Queen of the Elephant Riders is the first book in a series about a Gypsy wagon circus in pre-Civil War America.

Books by L.Leander:

 

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Introducing Author Lizak Strahm

Posted on April 15, 2013. Filed under: Book Reviews, L.Leander Book Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

simonChildren’s authors hold a special place in my heart.  I loved reading to my son and daughter as they were growing up and was always on the lookout for good material to share with them.  There are few authors who are able to entertain the adults who read and the children who listen to the books and stories designed for them.  Lizak Strahm is a writer who pleases both in his children’s book Charlie Learns to Fly.  If you’d like to read my review of the book click here.

 The illustrations in this book and his upcoming book, Danny and the Dinosaurs, are not to be missed.  Look throughout this interview for awesome illustrations from the new book Danny and the Dinosaurs, available very soon on Amazon.

Interview of Author Lizak Strahm

by L.Leander

Where do you write?  Whats your creative space like?

I write in a small office surrounded by books, notes, scraps of paper, more notes and packets of cookies.

My computer monitor is facing the window, so when I need a bit of creative inspiration I just gaze out into the sky. That always seems to get the creative juices flowing

If it doesn’t, I just have another cookie!dino1

What is your favorite writing tool?

Hmm… that’s a difficult question to answer. I don’t really use any tools apart from my imagination and my keyboard. I don’t use software for ideas or to organize my writing. I guess I’m a bit old-fashioned. Once I have the plot outlined then I just sit down and write.

What movie star would you pick as one of the characters in your book and why?

I’d choose Jack Nicholson because he can portray villains really well. In my latest children’s book, Danny and the Dinosaurs there is a villainous character called Professor Ceratops who is completely mad and who wants to imprison all the dinosaurs in a zoo. He’s the archetypal villain, and I think Jack Nicholson would be able to pull him off to a tee.

dino2What did you want to be when you grew up?  Did you realize that dream?

I always wanted to be a writer. I was writing short stories in my spare time ever since I was about eight or nine. Then life kinda got in the way and writing was put on the back burner. I only really returned to it when I had more spare time.

I suppose the real ‘dream’ would be to actually earn enough money from writing to make it a full-time job. But I’m no where near that point yet. But I live in hope!

Explain your creative process.  Pantser?  Outliner? 

Like I said, I don’t use software. I just outline the plot of the story on a piece of paper, then write it. I’m a very simple writer. Software often makes things more difficult than it needs to be.

I had a writer friend who always used to plan out everything in some writing application. He made important notes in it, organized his plots in it and then wrote his novel in it. Then, half way through the process the software application crashed and he couldn’t open it again! It took him several weeks of anxiety and despair before he found some tech wizard to rescue all his data for him.dino3

If you could only have one mode of transportation what would it be, a horse or a bicycle?  Why?

A bicycle, for the very simple logistical reason that there is no room in my apartment for a horse. Plus, the lifts don’t often work.

From a purely transportational perspective, I’d choose the bicycle because it keeps you fit and isn’t in the habit of eject foul-smelling substances behind it when you’re out and about.

Do you dream about your stories?  Ever written about a dream

No. My dreams are far too boring to turn into stories.

dino4What were you like in high school?  Class clown?  Nerd?  Cheerleader type?

I suppose a bit of a class clown.

Whats your favorite theme park?  Why?  (If youve never been, which one would you like to visit and why?)

I live in England and probably the best theme park is in a place called Blackpool, which is a sea-side resort in the North of the country. It has a theme park called The Pleasure Beach and I love it. It has the UK’s tallest and fastest roller coaster called The Big One. I could spend all day on it!

Are you a reader?  What types of books do you like best?  What author(s)?dino5

Of course. If I had to pick one genre as my favorite, I’d choose horror. I love the books by Peter James, James Herbert and, of course, Stephen King.But I also like comic science fiction. The Hichhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy is my all time favorite. Genius, sheer genius…

Readers, be sure to leave Lizak a comment below.  And be sure to check out his delightful children’s books!

charlieThe Day Charlie Learned to Fly

Coming Soon!  Danny and the Dinosaurs – look for it on Amazon soon!dinocover

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Introducing Author Brian Beam

Posted on November 5, 2012. Filed under: Author Interviews, Book Reviews, L.Leander Book Reviews, L.Leander Reviews and Interviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

This week it’s my pleasure to introduce an exciting author, Brian Beam.  Brian and I met on a Facebook group.  I offered to read and review his manuscript.  Am I ever glad I did!

From the very first paragraph of The Dragon Gem I was hooked.  Mr. Beam has a style that keeps readers on their toes, craning their necks to get a peek at what’s coming up next.  The fantasy world he creates is well-developed and the characters are delightful.  You can read my review of The Dragon Gem here.

One of the things that interested me about Brian Beam was his comment about being a dad.  He takes his role very seriously and is proud of his son.  That is something that endears him to readers, I think.  His compassion and fun-loving spirit shine through the pages of his writing.

I sincerely believe that Mr. Beam is an author who will make a name for himself.  His first book was great and I’ve been privileged to read the manuscript of the second.  (I promised not to relay any secrets – sorry!)  Brian has a definite way with words and plot.  His characters jump from the pages right into your heart and you find yourself falling in love with them.  I was sad to see the first book end.  Oh, and I forgot – for you adventure lovers – Brian writes lots of action and adventure in his series.  You won’t be disappointed!

Here is my interview with Brian – his personality shines through!

Interview with Brian Beam

by L.Leander

L.Leander:  What makes you stand out as a writer?

Brian Beam:  I write for the sheer pleasure of writing and telling a story, not to sell the most books I can.  When I have a story in mind, I don’t really think much about how universally appealing it will be.  I hope that readers will love it, and I hope that it will sell, but I don’t sacrifice vision solely for increased readership.  Of course, that doesn’t mean I’m going to shovel out poor work just because I think it’s good, but it does mean that there will be no vampires or erotica in my books any time soon.  I think that dedication to my vision comes out in my work.

L.Leander:  What is your favorite type of reading material?

Brian Beam:  I’m a big fantasy nerd, so just about anything fantasy.  I tend to read more epic fantasy, though.

L.Leander:  If you could only pick one, who is your greatest influence?

Brian Beam:  Even though I just started reading his work about three or four years ago, Brandon Sanderson.  He is not the author who made me want to strive to write fantasy; he’s the one who made we want to strive to write good fantasy.  His books have taught me so much about effective world-building and thinking outside of the box when crafting stories.  I would say that if not for his work, I probably never would have completely finished my first novel.

L.Leander:  Where do you get your ideas for writing?

Brian Beam:  They just pop in my head.  I know that sounds simple, but there’s not much more to it.  I am a jogger, and sometimes I get some great(to me at least) ideas then, but there’s no particular process.

L.Leander:  Are you a pantser or an outliner?

Brian Beam:  Mostly a pantser.  I say mostly because I do come up with the generalities of the story in my head.  I know where the characters will start and finish.  I know most of the big events that occur in between.  I know my characters’ personalities.  I never put all this to paper except for the occasional note or two.  Once I start writing, I let the story lead me from the beginning to the end.  Sometimes I find myself on the general path that was plotted in my mind.  Other times, I go off-roading and have a great time doing so.

L.Leander:  Finish this sentence:  One thing very few people know about me is…

Brian Beam:  That I love to write and record music.  I haven’t done so in quite a while, but I love it!

L.Leander:  If I had a choice, every day would include..

Brian Beam:  Four hours of dedicated writing time followed by 12 straight hours of playing with my wife and son.  And chocolate.  And cake.

L.Leander:  If you were stranded on a deserted island and could have Internet and a computer or a supply of paper and pens which would you choose?

Brian Beam:  Depends…do I get electricity?  If so, internet hands down.  There’s plenty of programs where I could write.  Besides, I type much faster than I write and I have horrible handwriting/drawing skills.  Plus, it’d be much easier to send letters through email than in a bottle J.

L.Leander:  Do you hear voices?  What do they tell you?  What do you tell them?

Brian Beam:  They tell me to write their stories.  I tell them to sit down, shut up, and wait their turn.  I’m starting to wonder if this is an interview or a psychological screening questionnaire…

L.Leander:  What is your very favorite part of being an author?  Your least favorite?

Brian Beam:  Having someone say they enjoyed my book is my favorite.  When I first published The Dragon Gem, I told my wife that if just one person who was a complete stranger said they liked my book, it would all be worth it.  Just reaching even one person truly validates what an author does.  My least favorite is having so many ideas in my head and not having the time to dedicate to them.

L.Leander:  Where did you grow up?

Brian Beam:  I was born and raised in Bardstown, Kentucky (bourbon capital of the world as well as Rand McNally’s Most Beautiful Small Town in America 2012).  It was one of those quaint towns that you hate growing up in as a kid and miss the minute you move away.  My father still lives there, so I get to visit my hometown still.  It’s just one of those friendly, historic towns.

L.Leander:  Describe your ideal vacation (the sky’s the limit)

Brian Beam:  All I want is a beach and no responsibilities.  I’m not too hard to please J

L.Leander:  If you could be either, which would you choose – a dog or a cat?  Why?

Brian Beam:  Definitely a cat.  Cats are (usually) very independent.  Plus, as a cat, I could look at everyone like they’re idiots or have an incredibly eclectic personality and people would be okay with it because I was a cat.

L.Leander:  You are the co-host of CBS This Morning – who would you like to snag an interview with?

Brian Beam:  Brandon Sanderson.  He has some amazing thoughts on what it takes to be a good writer and write a good book.  He teaches a creative writing class at BYU and one of his students taped a series of his lectures.  I watched several of them and took so much away from them.  I’d love the chance to pick his brain a bit.  Maybe some of his creativity would rub off on me too.

L.Leander:  Tell us a little about your most recent protagonist?

Brian Beam:  Korin is sarcastic, good-natured, slightly flawed, and willing to put his life on the line for those he cares about.  He’s not the perfect hero.  He’s brave, but only to an extent.  He’s smart, but not a genius.  He’s a capable fighter, but still gets his butt handed to him.  He is generous, yet not selfless.  Basically, he’s real.  Too often in books we get these cookie-cutter good guys and villains.  I wanted to try to steer from that a bit.

Korin’s best friend is a magic talking wizard cat named Max, who is partially to blame for his sarcastic wit.  Max is there to keep Korin grounded…and alive.

The Korin’s Journal trilogy will follow him on a journey that starts as a quest to find his parents that turns out to be much much more.

L.Leander:  Thank you Brian for allowing me to interview you.  Readers, you’ll definitely want to read Brian’s fantasy novel, The Dragon Gem.  It’s available on Amazon.  Click on the book cover below to purchase.  You’ll be glad you did!

Brian Beam Facebook Author Page

Brian Beam Website

Brian Beam on Twitter

Brian Beam Amazon Author Page

Be sure to grab a copy of The Dragon Gem – you’ll be glad you did!  Click on the book cover to take you to the Amazon sale page.  Be sure to give Brian some love in the comments section – he’d love to hear from you!

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