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 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:
http://amzn.com/e/B003VRNPCE

 

 

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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.

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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 LA Jones

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

lajones_1I love Mondays because I get to meet some intriguing authors each week.  This week my guest is LA Jones, author of Tales of Aradia The Last Witch.  You can read my review of the book here.  Be sure to leave a comment below for a chance to win an autographed copy of the book!

Interview with LA Jones

by L.Leander

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

Shopping. I love shopping. Going out and checking the new imaginative styles. Hanging out at the book stores and talking with the clerks. It’s my favorite pastime.

Who are you as a writer?

In all honesty, I am a person who has ASD (autism spectrum disorder) who is trying to become a role model and inspiration to people who also have this disorder.

What are your thoughts on the Indie Publishing movement?

My thought is like many new movements it takes to time to flower or flourish. I am actually happy about the indie author movement because it puts more power in to the author’s hands. Too long has the publisher held power in the relationship between writer and publisher. Publisher and their clients (writers) should be partners. This indie author movement is making sure of that.

Have you ever ghostwritten?  Would you?  Why?

No. I just wouldn’t feel comfortable with using someone else’s identity and idea to write a book.

What is your favorite book of all time?  Why? 

Matilda by Roald Dahl because the story of a little girl over coming such impossible odds has always been so inspiring.

Do you believe writers need a degree to be successful?  Why or why not? No. I believe degrees don’t guarantee or signify anything. In the end determination is what gets things done. I have always been a believer of self-education. What you learn on your own time is what you use in your life.  

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

I stay very still and try not to irritate whatever the hell it is that made that noise. I also try to hide a weapon under my pillow just in case.

What is your greatest asset?  Why?

My creativity and my ability to be so open-minded. I welcome criticism and suggestions because they help me to be a better writer. My creativity because it helps me think of new things to write and develop.

What do you treasure most on earth? My family and my friends.

What did you like to do as a child?  Favorite games, pasttimes, friends, etc. I like to make up games and watch TV. Most of all, I loved to read.

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

I think what has helped me most of all was meeting my editor Harrison R. Bradlow. He has helped my series reach its true potential and opened my eyes to all sorts of possibilities.

How important is being successful as a writer to you? Very. I want to be able to live off my writing and help entertain people with my stories. In addition to inspiring others.

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

One) my book series to become the next big franchise. Two) to be able to live off my writing. Three) to be able to become the next J.K. Rowling. Meaning an inspiration to my fellow authors and such.

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

Meeting some of the authors who helped inspire me to reach my potential. Namely, buying plane tickets to visit RJ Palmer and her husband and taking her family out to Disneyland or something. Traveling to Florida to meet L.A. Sherman another author who has inspired me. Most of all, traveling to Las Vegas and taking my editor and his family to Disney World.

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

My family mostly. They have always loved the fact that I am an author and are very proud of me for being able to publish my books. I don’t think I would have gotten this far without their help.

Editor and partner in my series: Harrison R. Bradlow.la_1

http://www.harrisonbradlow.com/index.html

Readers: Thanks for coming and don’t forget to leave a comment in the comments section for a chance to win an autographed copy of the first book in the series.  Winner will be notified on Monday, March 18.

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Introducing Author Cherley Grogg

Posted on January 14, 2013. Filed under: Author Interviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

cherleyphoto_1I really enjoyed interviewing author Cherley Grogg this week.  I found out about a Facebook group Cherley runs called Writing Wrangler and Warriors.  I joined and have had a grand time interacting with the talented authors there.  Cherley heads up the group, and it’s a great place for blogging and sharing about our books (and our lives).  I thoroughly enjoyed reading Cherley’s novel Stamp Out Murder.  You can read my review here.  Come along while I ask Cherley some off the wall questions so you can get to know what really makes her tick!

Interview with Cherley Grogg

by L.Leander

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

I do a lot of writing on the move since I’m a trucker girl. At home I live to pull my rocking loveseat close to my roaring fire in the fireplace. And in the summer on my front porch in the swing

2. What is your favorite writing tool?

My little laptop, except for poetry and outlines I like to write long hand.

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

The young man on suits. I think he had a charm about him.

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

I wanted to be a mother and later i wanted top be a school teacher. I an a mother and I taught Sunday School.

5. Explain your creative process.  Pantser?  Outliner?

Both, I like to do a loose outline and then write as I go.

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

Bicycle, because it costs lessee to maintain.

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

My stories are with me day and mighty for about a year before I put them on paper. I don’t remember my dreams.

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

I was a fighter, a defender of the weak and helpless. I’ve always loved top laugh and have fun. I made good grades, but I loved skipping school.

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

Dollywood, it’s geared more towards adults.

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

I read a lot. I like all kinds of genres. Westerns, history, cozies, suspense, mystery, true crime, children’s books, spiritual books and most of all the Bible. Jeffry Deavers, Sue Grafton, and we have some great writers on Writing Wranglers and Warriors, including you.

Thank you for a very interesting interview Cherley.  Readers, leave Cherley a comment to let her know you stopped by.  And be sure to pick up one of her books.  Here are other places you can find Cherley Grogg and her books.

stampoutmurder_1 Stamp Out Murder”.

The Secret in Grandma’s Trunk” This is an especially good book for your Tween Children and Grandchildren.

Fans of Cher'ley Grogg,AuthorAnd please join Cherley on her Facebook Fanpage, that’s managed by one of her most faithful fans: Cindy Ferrell

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Introducing Author J.T. Schaad

Posted on January 7, 2013. Filed under: Author Interviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

222743_10150558942720075_746485074_18225713_4275797_nThis week I am pleased to introduce a chilling writer, J.T. Schaad.  J.T.s books are not for the faint-hearted.  He writes in the style of Thomas Harris (whose work I absolutely love) and the scenes are graphic and scary.  I could not put down Black Rose from the moment I picked it up. You can read my review here.  I warn you, if you choose to read the book, it’ll leave a mark on you.  Evil can lurk anywhere – maybe even closer than you think?  On a lighter note, J.T. and I have something in common – we are both musicians and songwriters.  It’s always nice to connect with someone who is into the same things you are.

J.T. Schaad Interview

By L.Leander

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

I write in my office at home most of the time. In the office I have my desktop pc (I don’t do laptops, keep feeling like It’s gonna break lol) and it is also my music room. I”ve got my guitars, my bass guitars, amps and so forth. It’s my own little world in there.

What is your favorite writing tool?

For drafts I strongly prefer my pc, because I type fast and can usually keep up with my brain when I’m in hyperdrive plowing through a story. For outlines I use spiral notebook paper. For song lyrics I use yellow legal pads.

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

I think that Ed O’Neill from the early 90’s would be perfect as Frank Adams. He just has that sort of realism to him. Always been a big fan of his since I was a kid.

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

I’ve always wanted to be a writer and a musician. I realized my dream of writing when I was 9 years old. I had a story idea that came to mind out of the blue. I searched and searched to find this idea in a book so I could read it. Finally I just decided to do it on my own. I became hooked on it. I always say that beyond being an artist, I am a fan first. I write mostly so I can read the story. When I get an idea it’s like seeing a preview at the movies for something that looks awesome. I get an idea that grabs me and I realize I have to read this book. But I have to write it first lol

Explain your creative process.  Pantser?  Outliner? 

For my novels I start with an outline. I find it way easier to use an outline when you are tackling something as big as a novel. I outline the entire story chapter by chapter. Then when I write the prose I just have to fill in the blanks basically. If I didn’t do this I would go nuts because I would do nothing but rewrites. Nothing more frustrating then getting a great idea of where the story should go, but realizing that for this to happen you have to rewrite the past 100 pages.

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

I like bicycles. They are fun to ride and they almost become a part of your body. Plus you are in control. With a horse, you never have full control.

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

I don’t dream about them. At least I don’t think I do. I say that because my dreams never make any logical sense after I wake up.

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

In high school I was kind of a loner. I always felt more comfortable with my fictional characters then the real world. I hid in the back of the room and read. Then I went home and played guitar and wrote. That was high school for me.

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

I’ve never had a chance to go to one. It would have to be one with a horror theme. That would be like a huge crazy haunted house type of thing. I think that would be wicked sweet.

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

I love reading. Always have since I was 5. I read a variety, but horror/thrillers have always been my faves. I’ve always been a huge fan of Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Jack Ketchum, Richard Laymon, R L Stine, Poe,  James Patterson, right now I  love the Dexter novels by Jeff  Lindsay. Those are awesome.

Thank you, J.T. for being my guest this week.  Readers, you can connect with J.T. and his works at the links listed below.  How about leaving him a comment here to let him know you read his interview and support him?  Thanks for stopping by!

Here’s a little more information from J.T. regarding his current works in progress. 

I am currently working on a vampire series. The first book is entitled Blood Born. It should be finished soon.

I currently am working on a werewolf series, and a few paranormal series. One will focus on a town and the strange inhabitants and history. One series will focus on a paranormal investigative team.

So I have many many ideas running around in my head.

I also have many short stories I am working on also. These are great to relax with between novels.

J.T. Schaad Author Bio

I’ve been writing since I was 9 years old and I still feel as passionate about it today as I did then. It is an amazing feeling when you find something like this that you truly love. I’ve been lucky to find several passions in the arts. In addition to writing, I am a musician, songwriter, and a budding film maker.

I’m the author of the Black Rose series and The Blood Born series (coming soon)

Black Rose Cover 1440X2250 (2)CONTACT

http://www.jtschaad.com

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6571673.J_T_Schaad

https://twitter.com/wordsmithjts

http://www.facebook.com/feareternal?ref=hl

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Black-Rose/116396145196655?ref=hl#!/pages/Black-Rose/116396145196655

GET BLACK ROSE HERE!

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/267550

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Introducing Author Myra Johnson

Posted on December 24, 2012. Filed under: L.Leander Reviews and Interviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Myra Johnson 2012 smallIt’s Christmas Eve and what better way to celebrate the holidays than snuggling in with a good Christmas-themed novel.  My guest today is Myra Johnson, bestselling author of One Imperfect Christmas.  You can read my review here.

Myra has created a protagonist you either love or want to give a good swift kick in the seat of the pants.  She’s not all that different from most of us, really.  But that’s all I’ll say – you’ll have to read the book for yourself to find out more. Be sure to check out the book trailer for One Imperfect Christmas – the link is below – I’m sure you’ll enjoy it!

So, sit back and enjoy my interview with Myra and above all, Happy Holidays everyone!

Interview of Myra Johnson

by L.Leander

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

My office is a converted upstairs guest room, and it’s pretty much wall-to-wall desk, filing cabinets, bookshelves, and bulletin boards. Oh, and a treadmill, which has a makeshift desk for my laptop so I can walk while I check email (don’t ask how that’s working for me!). I do most of the busy work of writing in the mornings while sitting at my regular desk overlooking our woodsy backyard. Then after lunch I usually move to my comfy Ikea chair and ottoman, where I open up my work-in-progress and spend 4-5 hours in focused writing time.

What is your favorite writing tool?

Not counting my trusty MacBook Pro, I’d have to say Scrivener writing software. I love being able to keep the entire manuscript plus character photos, notes, and research material all in one place and easily accessible. Note card view allows me to see scenes and chapters at a glance, and there’s even a word count meter that lets me know whether I’m staying on track toward my deadline. Once the book is complete, I can compile the document as an RTF file and then convert to Word for sending to my agent or editor.

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

I recently watched a Christmas movie starring the perfect actors for One Imperfect Christmas. I’d cast Teri Polo as Natalie and Paul Essiembre as Daniel. They’re amazingly close in both looks and personality to how I pictured my characters as I wrote the book. (Hallmark folks, anytime you’d like to pick up the movie rights, just let me know, okay?)

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

As a child I always wanted to become an actress or a writer. So yes, I’d say I have fulfilled the best part of that dream. As a novelist, I live out the stories in my head as both “actor” and “director.” Not to mention I can go to work in my jammies if I want to!

Explain your creative process.  Pantser?  Outliner? 

Definitely pantser! Once I have the germ of an idea in mind, I start imagining the characters’ current situations and backstories. Finding representative photos always helps. Usually I get a visual of an opening scene, and that kicks off the story. I might have two or three major turning points in mind, along with a general idea of the ending. But how we get from point A to point B to point C is always a journey of discovery.

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

If I could have the means to feed and care for a horse, that would be my choice. I’ve always loved horses, though I didn’t get many chances to ride until my mid-40s. While volunteering at a therapeutic riding center, I met some wonderful “horsey friends” willing to share their horses so I could take dressage lessons—what a thrill! There’s nothing quite like the bond between a horse and rider. We moved from that area several years later, and since then I have really missed the opportunity to ride. Unfortunately, circumstances have never come together in a way that would allow me to have my own horse.

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

Actually, the idea for One Imperfect Christmas first came to me in a dream. We’d been watching a bunch of sappy Christmas movies on TV, and those were playing through my head all season. Then one night I awoke with dream images of a couple about to celebrate 50 Christmases together, only something stood in their way. It took a little imagining and playing the “what if” game to come up with the right characters and plot, and the story went through several incarnations before reaching its published form.

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

I’d have to say nerd. I was an A student (graduated 5th in my class), but I was certainly not popular—very much a loner, the last kid picked for teams, never had a real date, much less a boyfriend, didn’t go to prom. Very sad, yes. But that didn’t stop me from not only meeting the guy of my dreams (we’ve been married 40 years now) but landing the career of my dreams as a published novelist. I’m also blessed to have so many wonderful writer friendships now, tops among them the ladies of Seekerville.

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

I’m not much of a daredevil, so I don’t visit theme parks for the roller-coaster rides. Give me something fun and “gentle” like Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean river trip or the Haunted Mansion. I loved Epcot, too. We finally made it there a few years ago when RWA held their conference in Orlando. Visiting all the different “countries” was fascinating!

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

I love to read. My pleasure reading is usually during the last hour before bedtime, and my favorite books ever are The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy, by J.R.R. Tolkien. For the past several years I’ve mostly read inspirational fiction by favorite author acquaintances including Carla Stewart, Julie Lessman, Mary Connealy, Janet Dean, Cara Lynn James—too many to name! When I need a change of pace, I’ll try one of my husband’s techno-thrillers. Clive Cussler is always fun!

Myra’s bio: Award-winning author Myra Johnson is a Texan through and through, but she has no regrets about recently making the move to the more temperate climate of the Carolinas. She and her husband of over 40 years are the proud parents of two beautiful daughters who, along with their godly husbands, have huge hearts for ministry. Four rambunctious grandsons and two precious granddaughters take up another big chunk of Myra’s heart. The Johnsons also enjoy spoiling their very pampered oversized lapdogs. Myra’s first novel from Abingdon Press is One Imperfect Christmas (September 2009). She has also written contemporary romances for Heartsong Presents.

Thank you, Myra for a candid and interesting interview.  Readers, please leave comments for Myra – she’d love to chat with you!  Listed below are some places you can find Myra Johnson and check out her other books.

Find Myra on the Web:

www.MyraJohnson.com

www.seekerville.net

www.myra.typepad.com

www.facebook.com/MyraJohnsonAuthor

www.Twitter.com/MyraJohnson

www.Twitter.com/TheGrammarQueen

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1391761.Myra_Johnson

One Imperfect Christmas-coverOrder One Imperfect Christmas online at:

Amazon (print version)

Amazon (Kindle version)

Cokesbury

Christianbook.com

Watch the Book Trailer for

One Imperfect Christmas:

http://tinyurl.com/cec2fpj

 Want to see more books by Myra Johnson?  Her latest release, A Horseman’s Hope, is now available for preorder here:  Amazon

HorsemansHopeCover

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INTRODUCING AUTHOR LAURA SEEBER

Posted on December 10, 2012. Filed under: L.Leander Book Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

lauraThis week my author guest is Laura Seeber.  I have just finished reading her novel The Spring And Autumn Murders. You can read my review here. This was an interesting book and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Ms. Seeber has done a great job of making the story personal and relevant to today’s readers.

I love getting to know authors and Laura is definitely not an exception.  How I yearn to be like her!  Read question #5 below and in Laura’s answer you’ll see why.  I am a total pantser, but Laura’s explanation of how she writes puts me to shame.  I just have to get used to outlining.

Enjoy our conversation and don’t forget to comment and show Laura Seeber some author love.

Interview with Author Laura Seeber

by: L.Leander

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

I work primarily in my living room in a great big pink chair with my laptop perched either on my knees or on a nearby coffee table.  The area around me changes depending on how much other work I have going on- but it usually consists of a notebook, a sketchbook and a few wads of crumpled up paper tossed around the table and floor.  I am definitely not an organized person.

pENPAP_1What is your favorite writing tool?

My favorite writing tool is probably my notebook and pen.  I know, sounds weird when I spend so much time on the computer, but being able to draw out plot lines, etc. with pen and paper feels much more real to me.

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

I would probably cast Jackie Chan as Lord Nianzu if I had the chance.  I’m a genuine fan of him, and his acting ability which goes way beyond what is shown in a lot of the kung fu action movies that you see him in.  It would be great to see him in a role that would highlight his acting ability without type-casting him as a kung fu master.

What did you want to be when you grew up?  Did you realize that dream?scientist_1

Depends on when you would have asked me.  At one point I wanted to be a pilot, a tap dancer, a scientist, and a horse trainer.  To be honest, being a writer was never one of my dreams that I remember.  However, right now I also work as a geologist, so I guess I partially realized my dream of becoming a scientist.

Explain your creative process.  Pantser?  Outliner?

Oh I’m almost obsessive in my outlining.  I’ll start with a subject matter or area I want to write about.  Then I’ll spend the next few months researching the setting, the people, the eras, and the subject matter until I feel that I can truly internalize what I have researched.  Then for the next few months I’ll “write” the story in my head, reworking things, changing point of view, altering characters until I get to the point where I don’t think it can be changed anymore.  Then I break out the lap top and write it down.  After that I’ll revise it a few more times until feel it’s good enough to submit.

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

bike_1Unfortunately I would probably choose the bicycle.  Although I love riding horses, they can be quite expensive to fix and or replace when something goes wrong.  It’s much easier to fix a flat tire than it is to fix a broken leg.

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

Actually, dreaming of my stories is one of my steps in writing.  If I continuously dream of a story for a few nights I know that it’s near completion and it’s time to break out the computer.

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

Actually in high school I was the quiet kid who sat in the back and didn’t say much.  The only time I came out of my shell was when I was around my friends- then I became a smiling goofball who wanted to make sure everyone was having a good time.HIGH_1

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

Well, I guess my favorite theme park would be Kenny wood Park in Pennsylvania.  It’s the closest park to where I grew up, and it has a great nostalgia feel to it.

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

I’m a fairly avid reader, but I wouldn’t say that I read incessantly.  I prefer either mystery, non-fiction or the occasional romance if the heroine actually has half a brain on top of her shoulders.  Honestly if the story is well written, I’ll read just about anything.  As far as authors- Agatha Christie, P.D. James, Carl Sagan, Arthur C. Clarke, and Madeline L’Engle are a few that come to mind.

Thank you, Laura, for taking the time to join me today.  It’s been great chatting with you.  Readers, don’t forget to leave a comment and do check out my review of The Spring And Autumn Murders – I’m sure you’d love to read it!

You can learn more about Laura Seeber by visiting these links:

Where to purchase The Spring and Autumn Murders:


Spring and Autumn murders coverWriters Thread

Emerald Musings

Biography:

Laura Seeber has worked as a geologist, an environmental consultant, and a freelance writer.  She currently divides her time between her own environmental consulting business, handling various ghostwriting and freelance writing projects, and her own fiction writing.  Her interests include history, outdoor activities, martial arts, mysteries, and non-fiction material.  The Spring and Autumn Murders is her first novel.   She currently lives in Illinois with her husband, Michael.

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INTRODUCING AUTHOR AMY METZ

Posted on November 26, 2012. Filed under: Author Interviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

It is my pleasure to introduce you to author Amy Metz in this week’s interview.  Amy is a charming person and excellent writer who delights her readers with euphemisms of southern wit.  I thoroughly enjoyed her book Murder and Mayhem in Goose Pimple Junction and you can read my review here.  Amy also does reviews and interviews, so when you’re done reading about her here go on over and visit her website – it’s well done and very interesting!

Interview with Amy Metz

by L.Leander

1.  What makes you stand out as a writer?

Goose Pimple Junction is a wacky town with quirky residents. I think those unique qualities and the goosepimpleisms throughout the book make Murder & Mayhem In Goose Pimple Junction different from your average mystery.

2.  What is your favorite type of reading material?

Anything with a mystery, humor, or love story.  Combine all three and I’m there. I love mysteries, and I particularly love humorous mysteries. I also love romantic suspense or romantic mysteries.

3.  If you could only pick one, who is your greatest influence?

Yikes! I honestly have no idea!

4.  Where do you get your ideas for writing?

Everywhere. I’m always on the lookout for ideas, and sometimes reading, hearing, or seeing something sparks a new story. My imaginary friends also frequently give me ideas.

5.  Are you a pantser or an outliner?

Both, depending on the story.

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

I have fibromyalgia. It’s similar to chronic fatigue syndrome, and I have flares when I do too much or don’t get enough sleep. It’s another reason why writing is the ideal occupation for me.

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

Oh, so many things. The ocean. Cheesecake. Books. How about eating cheesecake on a beach, reading a book? But seriously, I’d have to say every day would include love.

8.  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?

Definitely the Internet and a computer. I would go into severe withdrawal without them.

9.  Do you hear voices?  What do they tell you?  What do you tell them?

Not really voices, but I do feel like I get strong suggestions about what to write from my characters. I tell them to have their way with me. I’m easy. But only with imaginary people.

10. What is your very favorite part of being an author?  Your least favorite?

I love to get lost in my story and spend time with my characters. I hate promoting and marketing.

11. Where did you grow up?

Louisville, Kentucky.  I moved away for college and lived in Lexington for a few years after that, but mostly, Louisville has been home.

12. Describe your ideal vacation (the sky’s the limit.)

I would go to Boston and wander the streets for days, photographing that totally cool city. Then I would drive to Kennebunkport and stay at The Colony Hotel, where I would walk on the beach, take more pictures, and I’d sit on the veranda overlooking the beach and read a good book. Then, because the sky’s the limit, I would go to Ireland, Scotland, and England. And take lots of pictures.

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

Definitely a dog.  To me, dogs are goofier, more loving, generally have a warmer, friendlier personality, and they’re more affectionate than most cats. Now, cat people, don’t yell at me. I know there are exceptions. But I would be a dog. I’d be a lab or a golden retriever or a mastiff.

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

John Sandford. In fact, John—if you’re reading this, call me. I’d love to feature you on my blog!

15.  Tell us a little about your most recent protagonist?

Tess Tremaine is a forty-something Yankee who moved to the southern town of Goose Pimple Junction to start a new chapter in her life after getting a divorce. Because of her unhappy marriage and contentious divorce, she’s sworn off men. Until she meets Jackson Wright. As much as she tries to deny an attraction, she’s smitten. And as much as she tries to avoid him, he keeps popping up. They team up to investigate a seventy-five-year-old cold case murder, and he becomes her translator for southern speak and her saving grace in more ways than one.

Thank you for being here, Amy, and sharing a little bit about yourself.  Readers, check out the links below to buy Murder and Mayhem in Goose Pimple Junction and visit Amy’s site where there are lots of featured Indie authors.  Leave a comment in the comments section below to give Amy some love.  Thanks!

Other places to find Amy Metz (click on the book cover to go to her Amazon book listing):

Amy Metz website

Amy Metz Blog

Amy Metz Amazon Author Page

Amy Metz Facebook Page

 

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INTRODUCING AUTHOR TOM HOBBS

Posted on November 19, 2012. Filed under: Author Interviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

In the spotlight this week is Author Tom Hobbs.  I am delighted that Tom agreed to stop by to chat and I think you’ll enjoy learning about him.  His answers to my interview questions are witty, honest and fun to read.   Almost immediately after I published my first novel this summer I contacted Tom about listing my book on his Kindle Mojo site.  I found him to be very helpful and eager to help a new author out.  I reviewed his book and loved it.  I was intrigued by his fast-paced, gritty style and I read Trauma Junkie in one sitting.  You can read my review here.  Tom Hobbs has qualities that exemplify the Indie Author.  He knows where he came from and is willing to help others gain success.  The link to his site is at the end of this interview.  Check it out if you haven’t had the opportunity.

Interview with Tom Hobbs

by L.Leander

1.  What makes you stand out as a writer?

I’ve been told it’s my dialogue.  I love to listen to people speak, and will sit in places with my iPod ear phones in, but nothing playing so I can listen to the conversations people are having.  I rely heavily on dialog to define my characters, rather than their actions in a given situation.  Some might consider this a flaw, but I find that it works well for me.

For me the secret of dialogue is the rhythm of the speech and not so much the words that they are speaking.  Listening to candid conversation has the same effect on me that classical music has for normal people.  I find it very relaxing and often find myself replaying various conversations in my head which I will adapt to my writing.

2.  What is your favorite type of reading material?

I love reading screenplays.  I’m more of a visual person with a background in photography and film.  I love to find original versions of various screenplays and compare them to the final product to see how they evolved.  I also like reading classical American Literature (Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Faulkner being my all time favorites.)

3.  If you could only pick one, who is your greatest influence?

If I had to pick one I suppose I’d have to say Fitzgerald.  I have probably read The Great Gatsby more than 100 times and have several versions on my iPod.  I find something new every time I do, and it is the quickest cure for writer’s block that I know.

4.  Where do you get your ideas for writing?

For my Trauma Junkie series I was a New York City paramedic for 7 years and I kept a journal.  The characters in those books are amalgams of people I knew and the situations are either firsthand accounts, or stories I was told by my friends.  Believe it or not, a lot of the situations are actually toned down due to the fact that they would not be believable.  Some of it is pure fiction, but probably could have happened.

My other books are based mostly on personal experience, though it’s highly fictionalized.

5.  Are you a pantser or an outliner?

A little of both; I do most of the outlining in my head and play a movie from start to finish on the big points and will often build chapters around a single scene I’ve played out.  I often have several stories going on in my head at the same time, and it can get very confusing, but also plays into the fact that I am writing a series.   Then when I sit down to write the story will often take on a life of its own and I have no idea where it’s going.  Most people would call me a very unorganized writer, but it works for me.

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

I am a lesbian trapped in a man’s body.  It’s true!

My wife is the strong personality in our marriage, I cry when we argue.  I like to cook – I love the fact that they have the Julia Child kitchen in the Smithsonian.  I sew and would rather watch the home shopping network than pro football.

7.  If I had a choice, every day would include…

Sandy beaches and clear water, I have a real fetish for Kauai, but wouldn’t want to move there because it would ruin it.  I used to have a New York fantasy and loved to visit.  When I finally moved here with my family all I can do is think about moving back to New Mexico.

8.  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?

Oh definitely the internet.  In fact that would be the ideal fantasy for me, to be stranded on a deserted island with a T-1 connection.  I write on a computer, I watch movies , TV and play online games.  I don’t even have cable because you can pretty much get everything they have to offer that’s worth having from the internet.

9.  Do you hear voices?  What do they tell you?  What do you tell them?

I don’t really hear voices, but I see lots of stuff in images.  I’m a very visual thinker.  The voices in my head take some effort on my part and I mostly talk through conversations I plan to write. 

10.  What is your very favorite part of being an author?  Your least favorite?

Finishing a project is my favorite part and starting on a blank page is my least favorite.

11.  Where did you grow up?

My father was a National Park Ranger so I grew up in places like The Grand Canyon, Kennesaw Mountain, Acadia, and Bryce Canyon.  As soon as I got out of the Air Force I moved to the big city (Albuquerque) and haven’t given country living a second thought.

12.  Describe your ideal vacation (the sky’s the limit)

Just sitting on the beach in Kauai with my wife and kids is what works for me.  It’s pretty simple, but it’s my dream vacation.

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

A cat.  Cats are free thinkers and don’t have to listen when they are told to do something.

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

Man, I would love a sit down with William Shatner.  Not because I’m a trekkie (which I am), but because he doesn’t seem to take himself so seriously. 

15.  Tell us a little about your most recent protagonist?

Brian Sheahan is a New York City paramedic who has had a rough time with his life.  He’s a compilation of several people I’ve know over the years in given situations.  At the beginning he is suicidal, a heavy drinker, and just generally no fun to be around.  He does have one redeeming quality and that is that he obsessed with saving lives.  He takes it very personally when a patient dies, especially a child.  He tends to personalize a lot of things he shouldn’t, and often rubs people the wrong way in the course of his job.

 I would hope that by the end the reader is in his corner.

 Tell us a little more about yourself:

I run the website www.kindlemojo.com that promotes indie authors.  The links to all of my books are on that page.  I do offer free advertising to anyone who will write an Amazon review of my first Trauma Junkie novel.

I plan on putting out at least six Trauma Junkie novels, (The Ghost of Bellevue Past is the next installment)  but am also working on a couple of other things – Zen and the Art of Narcolepsy- My year in the Lobby, a fictional memoir of a New York City doorman and Jonesin’ for Grey Matter a dark comedy about the end of the world as we know it via zombie apocalypse (yeah, I’m gonna jump on that hula hoop.)

I am also putting out a series of photo books designed especially for viewing on the new Kindle Fire and iPads.

Thank you for being my guest, Tom, and for all the great promotional work you do for Indie Authors.  Readers, please leave Tom a comment to let him know you enjoyed this interview.

Here are a few more places you can interact with Tom and find his other books.  Click on the cover of Trauma Junkie to be taken to the Amazon page.

Tom Hobbs Facebook Page

Kindle Mojo Website

Kindle Mojo Facebook Group

Tom Hobbs Amazon Author Page

Trauma Junkie Book Trailer

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