Introducing Author Shelley Workinger

Posted on May 13, 2013. Filed under: Fiction, L.Leander Reviews and Interviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

shelleyHi everyone.  Grab a cup of coffee, sit back and enjoy my latest interview.  Shelley Workinger, author of the SOLID series is my guest and her answers to my questions are thought-provoking and interesting.  Leave her a comment to let her know you stopped by!

Interview with Shelley Workinger

by L.Leander

What is the favorite character you have written and why?

I obviously care for all of them, because each has his or her own thing to offer like every person on the planet. I purposely built a large and diverse cast for the SOLID series so that every reader would be able to find her/himself and thus invest more fully in the story. But I have to admit that Garrett is my favorite. He’s the friend that Clio needs (that everyone needs) for some comic relief. And I love that so many of the readers I meet feel the same way about him!

Are you self-published or traditionally published and why?

In what has become a very DIY world, self-publishing now looks to be the way of the future. It’s a natural evolution of the American philosophy, at least – make things happen for yourself; build your own dream. That very much appeals to me because I’ve never had the patience to wait for everyone else to catch up with my bullet-train of ideas! Seriously, I wrote my series for today’s kids and I wanted to get the books into their hands today, so I made it happen and I think sharing that process with readers also serves the second purpose of showing them how they can bring their own ideas to fruition.

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

I wanted to be a judge right up until I learned that you have to practice as a lawyer first. I always knew I’d be great at hearing both sides of a case and bringing everyone to a fair and just conclusion, but I had no interest whatsoever in the arguing aspect of the process. I guess in a way I am realizing part of that dream in that I see every side to every character and figure out how to get them all to the finale in one piece!

Explain your creative process.  Pantser?  Outliner? 

Essentially, I let the characters write the story. I “launch” a scene in my head, then take notes as they run with it. It’s like planning a dream (which I also do); I imagine a setting, then close my eyes to watch as it develops on its own. The characters of “Solid” just exist so clearly in my imagination that for me to “direct” them would almost be unnatural. They may be fictional, but they are strong, distinct personalities who can really only react one way to the situations I’ve created for them in order to stay consistent and believable. So I may know where the story’s going and how to roll out the plot, but I have to let them talk amongst themselves to pick up their dialogue along the way. Then, of course, I have to back and add all the “filler” (descriptions, etc.); that’s one thing they don’t do for me. 😉

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

Ideas come to me at all hours in all places! That’s why I always have pens and paper somewhere on my person, and I also keep a digital recorder in the car, as well as in my pocket when I run. I find that a perfect phrase can be fleeting, and if I don’t capture it when it first appears, it may not return. This goes double for dream-spirations, which is why I stack notebooks and pens beside my bed, too!

Who is your biggest supporter?  Why?

I have a group of girls – my “circle of trust” – who are my go-to readers when I come out with anything new. They’re all quite invested in the story and the characters, so they don’t hesitate to tell me when anything sounds or feels disconnected. I adore these women, who are so willing to help and ask nothing in return…well, one did make me promise that I’ll take her with me when I go on the Ellen DeGeneres show. 😉

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

Currently, my days aren’t that structured, mainly because I’m completely focused on a project involving middle and high school libraries that needs to be completed before summer break. This means I’m essentially standing* at my computer for 6 hours a day, as well another 3 to 4 hours each night, researching, typing, and Skyping.
*Yes, I said standing – since I have to be logged in for such extensive hours and I
despise sitting down, I decided to wall-mount my whole system.

What is your wildest dream for your writing?

I would most love for SOLID to be made into a television series, because I get to see and hear the characters so clearly in my mind and it’d be wonderful if readers could fully experience that as well!

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

I’m a very random reader and often walk out of the library with more books than I can carry. 😉 I’ve been known to pick up a book because of its color (“The Toss of a Lemon” – Padma Viswanathan), a subject matter I know nothing about (“So, You Want To Join the Peace Corps: What To Know Before You Go”), or because the author’s name started with my two favorite letters: Q and X (Qui Xiaolong). I just like books! But I do have an all-time favorite book, which is “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak. (Putting together a top 10 list is virtually impossible since I love so many works for different reasons, but I never waver on that #1 pick!) If you’ve read it, you know what I’m talking about; if you haven’t, bookmark this page to read later and go get your hands on a copy! “The Book Thief” is technically YA for some publishing-related reason that I’ve forgotten, but it really should be classified as AA for All Ages. Or, better yet, RR for Required Reading. Are you starting to get a sense of how much I adore this book?

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

Oh, how I wish I had time to indulge in a hobby! When I need a mental break from writing and plotting, I tend to pick up a book or the TV remote. I also make monthly dates with my non-writing girlfriends to go out for dinner or drinks and not think about work for a few hours. I see how we’re all so “plugged in” technology-wise that we’re a bit in danger of staying connected in a real way.

Cover Trio Updated

Thank you so much for inviting me to your blog, Linda, and for asking such thoughtful questions!

And thank you, readers – I am so grateful for your consideration of my work! I know we all have wish lists and TBR piles in the triple digits, so every set of hands that picks up my book is such a gift. J

Author Bio:

Shelley Workinger grew up in Maine, graduated from Loyola University New Orleans, currently resides in New Jersey, and considers all of them home.
When she’s not working on the SOLID series, she’s chatting about FoodFic on her blog: But What Are They Eating? Stop by and let her know what you’re reading and what they’re eating!
Connect with the author here:
And find the SOLID series here:



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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:




Barnes & Noble:




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 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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