Category: Author Inteviews


I cannot believe I have managed to corner this prolific author.  She is super well known in the Twitterverse and the author of many many titles dealing in paranormal, romance, and is more than prone to spicing things up a bit along the way.  I have been an avid follower of Charity Parkerson since I started on Twitter a few years ago.  Please take a few minutes to learn a bit more about this amazing award winning author.

Welcome Charity and thanks for being on my blog, I have done a little research into you and can’t help but notice you are a very, very busy person, 13 Amazon bestsellers is an impressive count.  Can you tell us where we can find you on the internet and give us a brief rundown of how to find your published works?

I’m everywhere. The easiest place to find me is on Twitter @CharityParkerso.  All of my books can be found online where most books are sold, but there is a full list of my work on my website http://www.charityparkerson.com

How many books are you working on at any one time?

I have five in the works right now, and that’s about the norm for me. When my list of WIPs gets low, I sometimes worry that I’ll run out of ideas but before I know it I have five new documents minimized.

Wow, that’s a lot of stuff going on, so how does your typical week pan out, how much time writing, blogging, tweeting and when do you have time for relaxing?

I’m guilty of paying for a tweet service to keep my feed busy, I suck at blogging and only have maybe one a week. My family comes first, of course, but writing is a clear second. I have set writing hours. I still write when the bug hits, but this is my full-time job so I have to treat it as such. From 10-1:30 every day, I turn off my internet and write even if it’s crap.

Why did you decide on this genre of writing?

Write what you know 😀

I liked your blog post on the various advertising methods you have used, do you think it is an absolute necessity for indie authors to pay for advertising like that?

I think that if you’re serious about writing as a career then you need to treat it that way. Writing is a small business and just like with any business you need to spend money in order to make money.

Any honest, forthright advice for any of us that are contemplating publishing our work?

The best advice I can give is this: learn how to watch silently as the world judges you loudly.

I see you have a podcast series too, busy lady.  Can you tell us a bit about that endeavor?

Sure! I’m working with one of my best friends and fellow writer Melissa Craig on The Melissa Craig and Charity Parkerson show.   We do author interviews and talk all things publishing. We both received recognition awards from International Women’s Day for our work with helping to promote artist. We use our free time to highlight
authors, musicians, and just about anyone who loves creativity.

Really interesting things you are doing Charity, and I encourage everyone to check out your books, website and of course the podcast.  Now its time to sit back, sip on a coffee and answer some more personal questions.

Name one person that you feel supported you outside of family members.

Can I name two? Lynn Hallbrooks reached out to me back when authors were still allowed on the Amazon forums and her friendship has meant a great deal to me. The Mistress of the Darkpath uses her popular blog to help support authors and I credit her with inspiring me to write when I felt as if I had nothing left to work with.

Big question for me, are you a middle child, only child, one of a huge brood?

I’m the baby. I have an older sister. She is amazing.

Where do you want to retire? and of course why?

I’d like to travel all over the world. I’d start with Australia as that is where quite a few of my friends live.

Your favorite room in the house and why?

I’m partial to the living room. I do all my writing in my ratty recliner. I dread the day it’s on its last leg.

If you won the lottery tomorrow, what would you change about your life, if anything?

I’d tell my husband to quit. He’s a hard worker.

Who was the most important person in your life? Can you tell me about him or her?

I’m afraid I’ll insult someone if I try to pick only one.

What are the most important lessons you’ve learned in life?

This may seem like a strange answer, but grace. It’s something that is truly underrated but when I see people lash out at reviewers or just be plain ugly online, I’m thankful that my mother taught me that you catch more flies with honey.

If you could change one event in history, what would it be?

That’s something I’m doomed to screw up. I’ll leave that someone else.

How would you like to be remembered?

As the only female author to ever surpass J.K. Rowling in popularity, lol

If you were an animal, what would you be? (This question is for Tammy Maas)

A cougar 😉

What were your high school years like?

Pretty normal, seriously, it was an average life.

How would your classmates remember you?

Everyone that I talk to now from high school says, “I’m not surprised you became a writer. You always did like to read.”

Are you still friends with anyone from that time in your life?

Not many people but that’s not surprising. I’m a bit of a recluse.

Have you ever been to a school or college reunion?

Nope.

If someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title should be?

Scandalous

Now some one or two word answers please:

Favorite color? Pink

Lucky Number 23

Most Money you have spent on a single Book? $30

What color are the sheets on your bed today? White

Short/Tall? short

Best book you ever read? The Count of Monte Cristo

Favorite Music/Artist? Hip Hop/too many to name

Movie that you watch every year or more often? Harry Potter

Favorite Season? Summer

Regular or Decaf? Regular

City Girl or Country Girl? A little of both

4 door sedan or sports car? Sports car

Take out or cook at home? Take out

How many books a year do you read? In the hundreds

Favorite Movie? Big Trouble in Little China

Skirts or jeans? jeans

Favorite Day of the Week? Friday

How many hats do you own? None

Not that I have visited a Therapist lately but let’s do some word association.  Give me the first word that comes to mind when I say:

Sex – Write

Coffee – Please?

Book- Release

Best Friend- Amazing

Vacation- Disney

Summer- Break

Convertible- Car

Loud- Talking

Vinyl- Record

Bird- Singing

Tree- Maple

Infant- New

Thank you Charity, I don’t know where you even found the time to answer all these questions.  I was happy to read that you are graceful, that is definitely a waning trait in our society nowadays.  Now as a way of “giving back” this is where I encourage my guests to name a favorite charity so that we can all get on board and make a difference.  Charity, your favorite one is?

I know that it is a bit early for it, but I love to do Holiday Mail for Heroes each year. I love sending Christmas cards to the troops.

Well its Interview #11 and to keep all of you on your toes I have invited a new Tweep of mine to sit down and face the music with an interview.  Although I have only known Marjorie McAtee for a couple of weeks now, I like to think that if I had a younger sister she would be just like Marjorie.  Her blog is a rollercoaster ride of writing that goes from the A to Z challenge to short stories to ghostwriting articles.  Truly a professional writer in all areas and I wanted to let all of you find out a little more about here, Without any more rambling by your host, cause I do that a lot, I would like you to meet Marjorie McAtee.

Welcome Marjorie, I am ecstatic about having such a prolific writer as you here on Ramblings, Reviews and Interviews.  For everyone’s enjoyment I have posted all your contact information right here in the front of the interview, sneaky of me isn’t it?

Blog: http://www.dontcallmemarge.com/

Writing Services Page: http://www.mcateewritingservices.com/

Facebook Fan Page (this is where I share blog posts and other articles, stories etc written under my own name): https://www.facebook.com/writer.marjorie.mcatee

Twitter https://twitter.com/marjoriemcatee

Approximately how many articles are you writing, or ghost writing a year nowadays?

Well, that really depends, but it’s usually in the neighborhood of several hundred.

What works have you published so far?

I’ve published short fiction and creative nonfiction pieces in The Blotter, Amarillo Bay, Center: A Journal of Literary Fiction, Attribute Magazine and Flashquake. Poetry appears in Western North Carolina Woman and Attribute Magazine.

 I love your blog how long have you been at it.

Since March, 2011. Don’t Call Me Marge is my third blog. The other two are now defunct and don’t bear discussing. I chose the name because I knew my friends would be able to remember it easily.

How often do you work on your blog in a typical week?

I’m not sure there is such a thing as a “typical week.” Before I started the A to Z Challenge this year, I only blogged once or twice a week. So, I probably spent four or five hours writing those posts and getting them up. Since I started blogging every day for the A to Z Challenge, it’s easily been two or three times that. I may keep blogging more often after the challenge ends. It’s been very rewarding in an emotional sense and it’s been great for my readership, obviously.

I love the confidence in the tag lines of your blog.  What can visitors expect to see there.

I’m not as offensive or vulgar as you might think. I try to keep things light and steer away from political topics, although I did blog the Presidential debates last year and I think my politics are pretty obvious. I normally do a weekly column, “Fun Friday Facts,” which is self-explanatory and pretty popular. Otherwise, I just try to say funny things.

Can you explain a bit for some of us lesser informed, what SEO is and how you help sites with that?

‘SEO’ stands for search engine optimization, and it’s the combination of factors that goes into getting your webpage to rank high in search returns. I help businesses by providing website content that copy that uses appropriate search keywords, images, and metadata so that when potential users search for relevant products or services, that business’s page comes up at the top of the list. I write copy for business websites and content for their blogs, and I also do press releases, newsletters, brochures, social media management, and things of that nature.

If someone wants to engage your services, what’s the best way to get in touch with you?

You can contact me through my email at marjorie@mcateewritingservices.com or call 304-983-2580.

I see you do a lot of reviews of places that you have been to.  How did that all come about?

A few years ago I took a European backpacking trip and I wrote a few travel articles immediately afterward. Those were some of my first professional writing gigs. I don’t do a lot of travel writing now, though, because for the most part they expect you to pay for your own trips.

You state on your blog that you used to travel extensively, has that slowed at all?

I don’t travel that often, I used to travel a lot more in the past. I think people get the impression that I travel a lot because I lived abroad for several years, but really I just lived in the same town for pretty much the whole time. In the past year I’ve been to Chicago twice, Berkeley Springs, and Virginia Beach. I’m planning to do some day-tripping this summer.

What have you learned about yourself with the writing that you have done?

I’m funny, even when I’m trying to be serious.

Where were you born Marjorie?

West Virginia.

Do you still live in that area?

Yes. I left the state when I turned 17, went to Hollins University in Roanoke, VA, studied in Paris, traveled the U.S., traveled Europe, lived in Asheville, NC for a few years, then lived in Chamonix Mont Blanc, France, for a few years before returning to WV. I was lured by the affordable property prices.

Are you married, have a partner?

Nope. Two cats. Don’t call me a cat lady, it makes me stabby. This might sound weird, but I have an anniversary with myself. It’s May 23. This year will be my fourth anniversary with me. The traditional gift is linen.

What would be your dream vacation?

I really want to go to India. I used to do yoga and meditate a lot (still do, just not as much), so I wanted to go to India a lot more in the past than I do now, but I still wanna go. Or, maybe somewhere else. I have a lot of friends in Australia. I’ve always wanted to go to Japan. I have a hard time settling on just one vacation. As you can see, I’m a very decisive person.

Favorite Musical Group/Artist

I have a new one every few years, but right now, The Descendents

What is your favorite room in the house and why?

Kitchen, cause that’s where the food is kept. Mmmmm food…

If you won the lottery tomorrow, what would you change about your life, if anything?

I’d take a trip around the world. I’m planning to do that anyway, I’d just do it sooner.

Where would you like to retire, and why?

France, BECAUSE IT’S AWESOME.

Who was the most important person in your life? Can you tell me about him or her?

My maternal grandfather, Silas Conolley, who stepped in after my father died and was always supportive, in a gruff old man kind of way. He passed on in 2006.

What are the most important lessons you’ve learned in life?

Never date anyone crazier or poorer than you. Your girlfriends are more important than your boyfriends. You’re not obligated to love your relatives if they’re assholes. No effort is ever wasted.

If you could change one event in history, what would it be?

You can’t just go around changing the past, you’ll create a paradox and become your own grandpa, or something.

How would you like to be remembered?

As a great humorist, I guess. I don’t like to think about how I’m going to be remembered. I’m only thirty, I don’t have one foot in the grave yet!

What were your summers like growing up?

My grandparents had an enormous patch of raspberries planted behind their house. When they came ripe I’d go burrow under the bushes and eat them right off the vine. My granddad would lean out the back door and bellow, “DON’T YOU BE EATIN’ MAH RASPBERRIES!!” and I’d holler back, “I’M NOT EATIN’ YOUR RASPBERRIES!!” Then he’d send my grandmother out to have me fill up a bowl.

Did you have a nickname? How’d you get it?

In Chamonix they called me “Mad Marge.” That’s mad as in the Mad Hatter, not mad as in angry. I think you can guess how I got it.

If you were an animal, what would you be?

A cat, probably. I’m aloof, I like to lick myself…joking. But a cat, for sure.

What is your biggest pet peeve?

I’m not sure there just one. Pet peeves are like potato chips, you know? Probably my biggest pet peeve is when people repeat whatever asinine B.S. they see on Facebook or Fox News, or hear their friends say, without taking the time to find out whether it’s true or not. Because it’s usually not.

If we looked in your refrigerator, what would we find?

Leftovers of at least two soups, half a cabbage that has seen better days (turns out I don’t like cabbage very much), some of the more standard vegetables, a lot of cheese, milk, beer, condiments – you know, food.

If you could have any super power, what would it be?

OMG, Go-Go-Gadget arms!

If someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title should be?

Ugh, I don’t know, I’m awful at titles. My editor will back me up on this.

Most of my novel writing friends have a hard time with this segment, but since you are an SEO giant, I think this should be really easy for you, so now some one or two words only answers please:

Favorite color?  Burgundy

Lucky Number Three

What color are the sheets on your bed today?  Pink

Favorite pet?  Tom

Fast dance or Slow Dance?  Fast!

Drapes or blinds  Drapes

House or apt/condo  House

Boxers/Briefs  Panties! I’m a woman!

Short/Tall? Tall

Favorite TV Show The Simpsons

Movie that you watch every year or more often? Back to the Future

Favorite Season? Autumn

Regular or Decaf? Regular

City Girl or Country Girl? Townie

Take out or cook at home? Cook at home

Favorite Movie? Danny Deckchair

Skirts or jeans? Skirts

Favorite Day of the Week? Saturday

How many Pairs of Shoes do you own? Ten

Wow, great stuff Marjorie, now here is where I give you a chance to plug your favorite charity, gives us a bit of a story about it and any links you may have for the readers to go visit and maybe help out.

I volunteer with Friends of the Four-Legged and Furry, a local no-kill cat rescue. They rescue cats and kittens from the Preston County Animal Shelter in WV, and try to find them responsible, loving homes. You can go to their website to learn more, donate funds, or offer other help. http://www.fotflaf.webs.com/

Super work Marjorie you nailed the one or two word answers, I have to attribute that to your SEO and keyword stuff that you do.  It has been a pleasure having you here with us and I hope that you continue to have great success in the writing world.

justin bog author photo

Wow, I am honored to have snagged this guy for an interview.  I don’t know when he found time to answer my questions, but I am sure thankful he did.  Justin Bog really needs no introduction but I will give it a stab anyway.  With works self-published and also published through a real bonafide publishing house, Justin is a well-respected author, editor and contributor to various outlets.  He has agreed to be grilled here and lucky for me it coincides with a new release for him.  Sit back, hang on, you are about to experience Justin Bog.

 

 

 

 

Justin has graciously allowed me to share the cover for his upcoming release The Conversationalist, an original literary suspense eNovella, due out late next month.

conversationalist

 

 

 

 

 

 

The previous work by Justin is Sandcastle and Other Stories; this is a fantastic collection that I think most of you have either read parts or all of.  Either way, run out and buy both of these.

sandcastlecover

I have read all the reviews on Amazon for your book Sandcastle and Other Stories and I am impressed by the readers’ response.  Can you tell us a bit about how this book came to be?

These ten stories, and more, I placed on my A Writer’s Life Blog over 2011, one a month. I decided to do this while editing my first novel, Wake Me Up. Something to keep me busy. The stories received early praise and critiques from some heavyweight writers, who encouraged me to collect them into a book. Sandcastle and Other Stories is the result. I still have two holiday-themed stories and other writing scenes up for free on my blog.

What is the origin of the title?

Sandcastle is the outlier tale, the one that received the most comments because it is shocking, a twist tale in the classic tradition of The Lottery, one of my favorite short stories of all time, written by Shirley Jackson.

Do you have another work in mind, and if so will it be in the same genre or are you going in a different direction?

My next book is a suspense eNovella, The Conversationalist. It centers on a single man in Anacortes, Washington, who hides his innermost thoughts from everyone, but so wants to reach out to people despite his introverted nature. He begins to date a series of women, and can’t help being closed off from them. He does something rude, and someone begins to stalk him for being a cad. I like dark tales filled with off-center characters. So, yes, the psychological interplay between the narrator and other characters is the same. After that I will do the early groundwork for my first novel’s release towards the end of the year.

How often do you work on your writing in a typical week?

I try to work every single day. Creating and editing old or new writing. It keeps the engines oiled, and the work piles up. Like anyone, I am easily distracted. Social Media has been a blessing and a curse hehe.

When might we expect to see your next work published?

I am about to release The Conversationalist near the end of May, possibly early June. And I’m debuting the book’s cover here. Take a look, and please tell Peter and I what you think. My dad was the artist for my first book of stories, and I used one of my mother’s paintings as the background for The Conversationalist. It fits the darkening chaos within the pages.

Do you self publish, or use a publisher? 

I self-published Sandcastle and Other Stories at Amazon in May of 2012, but three weeks before that date a publisher called me and wanted to read it to see if they wanted to publish the paperback version. Two weeks after I published, they sat down with me and we worked out a deal. They loved the stories and the cover art, and it has done well out in the reading world. I am grateful to everyone who has discovered my darker stories—love hearing that they shock people.

What has that experience been like?

Incredible. The book being published by Green Darner Press, a boutique publisher out of Seattle, has opened a few doors. I can approach bookstores with confidence. There’s a product I am offering that I am proud of. The official book launch for Green Darner Press will be held May 14th at University Book Store, the largest independent bookstore in Washington, in Seattle. If you’re around that date after 7pm, please stop by for some champagne, and a signed copy!

Can you tell everyone about your soon to be released book? Yes I kinda let the cat out of the bag earlier but I can’t contain myself sometimes.

An excerpt from The Conversationalist can be found on my A Writer’s Life Blog along with a parody cover that places my puppy Kipling at the center of the action. Here’s that link: http://justinbog.com/peek-original-suspense-enovella-the-conversationalist/

You can find the gorgeous Green Darner Press paperback version of Sandcastle and Other Stories at your local bookstore (that helps immeasurably to get the word out) or online by clicking here: http://www.amazon.com/Sandcastle-Other-Stories-Justin-Bog/dp/0988478412/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1366310402&sr=8-1&keywords=sandcastle+and+other+stories

Wow, you are a busy guy Justin, and congratulations on the new Novella release.  However now it is time for the stuff that everyone wants to know about you.

Where were you born and raised?

I was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, but immediately moved around the country with my artist parents, who then taught in Universities in Bowling Green, Ohio, Pullman, Washington, and finally settled in Granville, Ohio, home of DenisonUniversity. I lived there from 2nd grade to high school graduation. The red ‘D’ on the fellow’s shirt on the cover of Sandcastle stands for Denison.

How many Towns and Cities have you lived in during your life?

Counting all the moves as a child? Hmm . . . 12, including a few years in an RV traveling around the PacificCoast.

Normal old boring childhood or were you on a merchant marine ship growing up?

Mostly boring since I barely remember the places I haunted before settling in Ohio.

Do you have a day job?

Yes, I am the Editor for the eMagazine In Classic Style and I contribute pop culture content as well. I also take on editing jobs, freelance, and totally word of mouth, for other writers. Books I have edited found agents and release by traditional publishers, and several have found great success as indie publications. Love sharing and helping creatives.

Your favorite room in the house and why?

My writing office, especially when Kipling comes up and paws at me to go outside—take a break. It’s a soothing eggshell of a room that is just strong enough to keep the outside world outside.

Do you have a Spouse, Partner?

I have been in a committed relationship for 25 years this coming November. I live in WashingtonState where gay people will now be allowed to marry. Our Domestic Partnership will officially be changed into wedded bliss, after such a very long engagement, on June 30th, 2014. (Ed. Note  Congratulations Justin, that is fantastic news)

If Children how old?

We were not blessed with children, but so many pets, cats and dogs, have made our lives richer. Currently, I have two long coat German shepherds, Zippy & Kipling, and two barn cats, Ajax The Gray & Eartha Kitt’n.

How did you meet your Partner

We met in Ann Arbor, Michigan the year before I was accepted into the MFA program at BGSU, at a time I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to date anyone since I knew I would be leaving the following fall. But we met at a game night with pizza, and played the board game Balderdash with a group of friends. Then we bumped into each other on the University of Michigan campus a week later and keep bumping into each other as middle age has settled in and I’m always looking for my new glasses.

How has your life been different than what you’d imagined?

I’ve had some terrific opportunities in my long short life (sometimes I wasn’t able to see these opportunities and act on them), and traveled many places around the world, met very interesting people, but I have always wanted to be a writer, from day one, and now that this has happened, decades later, I cherish it all the more.

What is your best memory of childhood? Worst?

Best? Going to amusement parks with my family. Cedar Point is roller coaster paradise, and King’s Island had The Beast. We went to one each summer in Ohio.

Worst? In general, being closeted and not feeling like a good person for most of my teenage years. Granville, Ohio is a conservative town that didn’t make being a gay teenager easy—I thought I was the only one, and hid this side of my personality; it became my sole focus: hiding. But maybe that’s why I like writing about secretive characters. I own it now.

What is your biggest pet peeve?

Today? Egotistical, self-centered, passive-aggressive people. I do not have many people who act this way in my close circle of friends, but they are everywhere.

If you aren’t working or writing, what is your favorite thing to do for relaxation?

I love reading, and I’m reading all the time. I also play tennis, but not as much this past year.

If we looked in your refrigerator, what would we find?

Since I’m on a nutrition kick, from a long line of relations with heart problems, you would find bins of spinach, leaf lettuce, vegetables, chicken to grill, and some fine cheeses to nibble. Can’t give up everything bad.

If you found out today that you only had six months left to live, what would you do with the time?

I would probably keep doing what I do today: write, enjoy my family, the pets.

Good stuff Justin, I especially like the fact you have traveled, and I think that’s invaluable for a writer.  Now, drum roll, the Speed Round.  You know the drill, one or two word answers only.  Yeah, tough for a writer but give it a shot.

Fast dance or Slow Dance?  Don’t dance!

Best book you ever read?  The Count of Monte Cristo

Favorite Day of the Week?  Saturday

Cat or Dog?  Arrgh, sorry Eartha Kitt’n, but my answer is Dog.

Regular or Decaf?  Mix both.

Told you one or two word answers are tough for a writer, ok, let’s try the newest feature here in my interview, word association.  What is the first thing that comes to mind when you read these words, no cheating and thinking too much.

Red     My twin brother Alex’s favorite color

Vacation     Cannon Beach, Oregon

Summer     Tennis

Convertible     Freedom

Loud     barky dogs

Author     Accomplishment

Vinyl     Records

Book     My sister’s ex-husband just got booked into jail

Best Friend     someone who can stick with all the ups and downs

Great job Justin and I am so thankful for your time to do this interview.  I want to give everyone who helps me out with these interviews a chance to plug their favorite charity, so what is it Justin?

I love animals. Everyone should defend them, so my charity would have to be the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals (ASPCA) — www.aspca.org

The ASPCA, a nation-wide not-for-profit organization, is the oldest humane society in North America and is still one of the largest. The ASPCA‘s mission as an animal charity is to prevent animal cruelty and the organization has the legal authority to back it up. ASPCA agents can investigate and arrest people for crimes against animals.

They also have community outreach and adoption programs, and provide animal health services. Thanks to both donations and private funding, the ASPCA also offers grants to animal welfare organizations and agencies across the country to aid them in their individual efforts. Please make a contribution.

Want to talk to Justin, here is where.

A Writer’s Life Blog: www.justinbog.com

Twitter: @JustinBog

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5832178.Justin_Bog

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/JustinBog1

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/justinbog/boards/

eMagazine In Classic Style: www.inclassicstyle.com

Sandcastle and Other Stories is available to order from local independent bookstores (support your indies), Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and at the iTunes Bookstore. The Conversationalist will only be available as an ebook through the online bookstores.

Interview #9 – Tammy Maas

Hi again faithful followers and newcomers.  I have really been lucky with all of my interviews to have some great people share things with me.  This interview is no different; I met Tammy Maas when she accidentally stumbled into my blog months ago.  Tammy was one of the first ones to raiser her hand when I asked for more subjects to interview and what follows I think is some pretty interesting insights into Tammy and what makes her tick.

Tammy officially published her first book, A Complicated Life in A Small Town in February of this year, take a peek here http://tinyurl.com/9mlawk3   I have read some of the book, and more importantly the reviews on Amazon.  My favorite has to be “With clever prose, Maas layers her characters”   I encourage all of you to take a look at Tammy’s book and I’m sure you will be waiting for the next book as anxiously as I am.  Tammy can be found on Twitter as @aniMAASity and her super cool blog is at  aniMAASity.weebly.com

I loved the reviews on “A Complicated Life in a SmallTown” you seem to have hit a home run with this one.  How did this book come about?

I had a storyline in my head and went shopping online for a disease for one of the characters. There I stumbled upon Prader-Willi syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that causes people to eat themselves to death if it’s not monitored. It’s a fascinating illness that many people aren’t aware of.   I knew I wanted the book to be about a girl and her struggles with her sister so I created the main character Lydia. After I found Prader-Willi syndrome the rest came easy.

While writing, how many times did you change the storyline and final outcome?

I stuck to the same storyline and final outcome from the start. I knew how I wanted the story to end and I knew how I wanted the sequel to begin. Because this will be a trilogy, it was important that I had all the pieces in place. These books are novella’s so my goal is to have them be short, fast paced reads.

Are your characters and/or settings based on real life experiences, a version of people you have met or purely fictional?

I’ve been accused of being a character in my book and I’ve been accused of having life experiences in my book – the book is fiction. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it if you know what I mean.

Will there be more books like this coming from you soon?

Yes! I hope to have the sequel to my publisher by the end of the month and I’m already working on the third book. In addition I’m 50% complete with a novel on a different subject.

I understand this isn’t your first published work, what else have you had put out there?

Years ago I wrote for a newspaper, I also had a greeting card published, a piece in Reader’s Digest and a recent article in Military Money Magazine.

Who was your biggest supporter while writing you book?

My hubby’s main goal in life is to be married to a famous author. He is always the driving force behind my writing. In fact, he told me that if I don’t have book #2, the sequel to A Complicated Life in a SmallTown, completed by the end of this month, then I have to get a job! Like a real job. This could be the scariest Halloween of my life.

How often do you work on your novel in a typical week?

It depends on the time of year. Having young kid’s means they are home all summer or I should say it means we are running all summer! You see I transform into a Domestic Goddess when I’m not writing. That sounds so much better than a stay at home mom. I didn’t write much this past summer (but I had a lot of fun with my kids) and now I’ve been hitting it hard, especially considering the cruel deadline at hand. I often daydream about going to a secluded location to do nothing but write for a week straight but I don’t think I could do it. I do my best writing at the kitchen table when supper is burning and the kids are fighting. In addition to working on books I’m also a blogger so it’s a seven-day a week thing for me. I’ve had my laptop (the love of my life) for two years and have worn many of the letters off the keyboard already.

Are you self publishing? Or are you working with Publishing Company?

Rainstorm Press www.RainstormPress.com is my publishing company and I couldn’t be happier. I work with a great group of authors who are very supportive. Lyle Perez runs Rainstorm and he is a wicked cool guy who really makes you feel at home.

What advice do you have for unpublished Authors about finding a Publishing Company?

My advice to unpublished authors is to not believe everything you hear. I set out on this journey expecting at least a year’s worth of rejections. But that’s not what happened. At 10pm on a Saturday night from the comfort of my recliner I sent portions of my manuscript to eight publishers. At 10:30 I had a reply from Rainstorm. The email said, “Wow, please send me your full manuscript.” A week later I had a contract and four months later my book was published. I am living proof that you don’t have to be rejected a million times before you get published.

The other advice I would offer is that no situation is typical. People say you have to read in order to write well. This is breaking news here Peter…..I don’t like to read. I’ve never stated that publically and I’ve done a ton of interviews. The horror! I know it’s shocking but I think there are others out there, just like me who would rather write than read but saying it out loud doesn’t sound so good so we live in fear of telling that horrid truth. But I do read, don’t get me wrong, and I even enjoy what I read but I have to force myself to do it.

I have just one more thing to add. First time published writers are typically told not to expect to sell many books at their first book signing. I sold nearly 100 books at mine! Yes I had writer’s cramp but it was definitely worth it.

Wow, you have done really well Tammy, I know the readers will be rushing out to pick up a copy, but as you know, I like to dig a bit deeper and find out more about Tammy than you would see in a typical stuffed shirt interview.  So here we go with the inside scoop stuff.

Where were you born and raised?

Dubuque, Iowa. But I’ve lived in Texas, Minnesota, Tennessee and West   Virginia. I was one of those kids that couldn’t wait to get out of town and then I was one of those adults who couldn’t wait to move back home.

Where do you live now?

I live in a tiny town (4,000 people) called Monticello, Iowa. And it’s the location where my book takes place too.

Have you ever traveled internationally?

I’ve never had the opportunity to travel internationally and if I did have the opportunity I think I would pass. I like to watch “Monster’s Inside Me” and most of the awful things that happen to the people on the show come from them visiting other countries. I know I should get over that but it would be my luck to come home from a trip with a monster inside of me.

Describe your Dream Vacation?

Beach, sun, white sand, blue water and lots of interesting shells for me to pick up. A massage on the beach would be nice, waiters and a mansion to stay in with central air and people to fan me with palm branches and feed me grapes.

If you won the lottery tomorrow, what would you change about your life, if anything?

One of my favorite past times is going to casino’s so I definitely would do that more. I don’t think I would make any major changes but it sure would be nice to have everything paid off and not having to worry about college and stuff. I would also make sure my parents, in-laws and sister’s got a piece of the pie.

Tell us a little about your family.

I have a wonderful husband who I have been married to for 24 years. Our daughter McKenzie is nine going on twenty and our son William is six. We have a German shepherd mix named Charlie, two cats named Rose and Maddie and a Russian Box Turtle named Diamond.

How has your life been different than what you’d imagined?

I always wanted to be an author but I never thought it would happen. In the beginning I didn’t want kids and now I have two. I used to manage 200 people, now I have a difficult time managing myself. I think a person imagines what their life will be like in different stages. Right now I try to imagine what the next ten years will bring and I can’t even begin to guess. That’s what makes life so fun; you just never know how things will turn out.

What is the most adventurous thing you have ever done?

I’m really not into adventure. I wouldn’t jump out of an airplane or go zip-lining or bungee-jumping, heck I don’t even like roller-coasters. So I guess life in general has been my adventure. I’ve worked in many different occupations and have experienced many things. Writing a book has been the greatest adventure of all.

Where would you go in your Time Machine?

I would go back to the 50’s. Grease is one of my favorite movies and it appears that things were pretty simple back then. But of course while in the time machine I would push the “transform” button and I would pop out looking like Olivia Newton John, decked out in my black, skin tight, pop-your-eyes-right-out-of-your-head outfit.

How would you like to be remembered?

My father is a veteran (Viet-Nam) and recently initiated the Moving Wall coming to Dubuque. The moving wall is a reproduction of the wall in DC with over 58,000 names on it. Fifteen years ago I wrote my father a letter and he read that letter at the opening ceremony. He broke down but managed to finish reading it. The mayor of Dubuque, county supervisors, veterans and family members all cried. Vet’s shook my hand and thanked me for helping them heal. These guys are flippin heros and they’re shaking my hand! The newspaper even wrote about how moving my letter was. That’s how I want to be remembered, as a person who helped others through writing. Be it healing, laughing, helping or giving them something to think about, I want to be remembered for my words.

Super stuff Tammy, now here is where I like to catch everyone off guard with my one or two word answer segment.  I know it’s tough to limit yourself to that, but let’s go for it.

Favorite pet?     Dog

Fast dance or Slow Dance?   Fast

Boxers/Briefs?   Briefs

Short/Tall?   Short

Favorite food?   Lobster

Tattoo Yes or No?   Yes

Best book you ever read?   Oh, The Places You’ll Go, Dr. Seuss

Favorite TV Show?    Supernatural

Movie that makes you cry?   Steel Magnolia’s

Super, now for a new feature in my interviews, a bit of word association, no cheating now, what is the first thing that comes to mind when you read the following words.

Dog-Love

Coffee-Black

Book-Ends

Best Friend-Confidant

Red-Herring

Summer-Hot

Convertible-Topless

Loud-Music

Author-Word Nerd

Really good job Tammy, you have been a delight to interview and as is customary I give you the floor to finish off the interview and give us all a look at your favorite charity.

Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity, I’m so proud to be on your blog!

My favorite charity is The Veteran’s FreedomCenter. It’s located in Dubuque, Iowa and it’s the first of its kind. My Dad is the co-founder. It’ a facility for veterans of any war and inside you will find: exercise equipment, an arts and crafts room, a pool table, scroll saws, a big screen television and tables where you can sit down and chat with people who have had similar experiences in life. You can use computers, find answers to questions and just know that you have a place you can go where people care.

https://www.facebook.com/#!/vfc.dubuque?fref=ts

Oh and being a successful Author Tammy has a trailer for her book  which I can’t get to post, please look for it on her site .  Gotta love it.

Resuming My Interviews

Ok Tweeps and Bloggers, lets get the ball rolling again, I have some catching up to do.  If you are, or know, any published, or wanna be published Authors who would allow me to grill them, I would love to host them on my little page.  Email me or leave me a note here.  peterhobbs3@gmail.com

Thanks Friends

Hello again fellow Tweeps and welcome to my eighth interview.  I know I keep saying this but it is true, I am extremely lucky to have met some fantastic people on Twitter.  They are great supporters of my blog and my twitter ramblings and are always quick to help whenever I have a question about anything.  The subject of this interview is no different and has been a good Twitter buddy for months now. 

Her debut novel is finished and she is ready to head out on the daunting task of getting an agent.  Please read on and learn more about Isabel Costello who you should be following at @isabelcostello or on her blog at http://isabelcostello.wordpress.com

Hi and welcome Isabel, I notice on your blog that you are wrapping up your first novel and preparing to seek agent representation, can you tell us a bit about the novel?

Nothing Happens for a Reason is the story of a chance encounter in London between two women with nothing in common, leading to an unlikely and intense friendship.  Jackie finds family life tough with two adolescent sons and an ex-husband who can’t accept that it’s over.  Kath is a mysterious American who has no-one.  As their lives become entwined that summer, Kath’s reluctance to talk about her past is matched by Jackie’s sudden urge to reveal her own shocking secret.  And that’s when it gets complicated!

Your novel is partly set in 1970s Brooklyn.  Tell me how you came to be interested in writing about a city on the other side of an ocean from you?

I fell in love with Brooklyn the first time I went there and my character Kath came to me very vividly soon afterwards.  I am fascinated by its duality, the fact that it is both part of NYC and very much its own place.  It also has a very interesting history, and the people are wonderful.

Did you do on-site research for your novel?

Oh yes. Brooklyn/NYC is the last place on earth I would choose to write about if I wasn’t prepared to put in the legwork to get it right.  My research trip at Easter 2011 was one of the most enjoyable experiences ever and  I am greatly in debt to my fantastic network of contacts (now friends) in Brooklyn, especially as it is a very changed place to 1976 and there is no substitute for talking face to face with people who remember it back in the day.  Can’t wait to return!

Have you traveled much in the USA?

Yes, I have been many times and visited at least 20 states.  The first time was Oahu, Hawaii which must be unusual for a British person.  The USA is impossible to beat for its sheer beauty and variety – I have been to Colorado and Utah several times.  My favourite city is NYC (obviously) – I also like  Chicago and San Francisco.  Despite its cultural delights, Washington DC didn’t do it for me and I cannot cope with the climate in Florida. Texas and New Mexico are on my wish list.

How often did you work on your novel in a typical week?

Interesting one!  In theory I work during school hours as I don’t have a full time job, but I often waste huge amounts of time when I should be writing and then write like a demon in the evening, at weekends, etc.  If you’re really not in the mood it is pointless.

Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

My book (reading) group.  When I was in a rut a few years ago, they encouraged me to do something about my ambition to write by taking classes and that’s where it all took off for me.  They are about to read the novel in full before it goes out to agents, and only if they think it’s good enough!  They are very honest and demanding, but I’m not that nervous as some of them have read previous drafts.

What if anything did you learn about yourself while writing your book?

That I’m willing to listen to constructive criticism and push myself hard to write better.  Good novels (and I try to avoid bad ones) always appear effortless, but writing a decent book is infinitely harder than most people think.

Do you have another Novel in mind, and if so will it be in the same genre?

Yes, I have an outline.  I imagine it will appeal to the same readership but will have a slightly different feel as one of the main characters is male and it is partly set inFrance, a place I know well.

I notice that you have some actual formal education in writing, can you tell us a bit about that, and what drew you to it?

My formal education (university degree) was in French and German language and literature, hence my love of literary criticism.  I have taken, and learned a lot from, various informal adult education classes in Creative Writing. 

Your Blog at http://isabelcostello.wordpress.com is very well done, you do reviews and blog a lot about writing, how long have you been blogging?

It’s hard to believe I’ve only been doing it around 3 months.  I am absolutely loving it and the response has been very encouraging.

Your reviews are very good, how long does it take you to write one, typically?

Thank you, Peter! I would love to say I can dash them off in an hour or two but the truth is, it takes the best part of two days, one to study and analyse the book and one to write and polish the review itself. 

How often does your writing group meet, is it large?

We meet fortnightly.  There are 3 or 4 of us, plus our mentor.  The intimate size of the group is one of the reasons it works so well, as we are very familiar with each others’ work and aims.  If it weren’t for this group, I would still be sitting in large classes wondering if I could ever write a novel.

Ok, now for a little bit about the person that is Isabel.

You live in London, England but you weren’t born there, can you tell us geographically challenged people where you were born and raised?

I was born in Salisbury, Wiltshire which is in Southern England about 2 hours fromLondon.  It has a famous and very beautiful cathedral.

Normal old boring childhood or were you on a merchant marine ship growing up?

It’s about time someone said ‘yes’ to the second, isn’t it?  But it won’t be me.

How would you describe yourself as a child?

Solemn, nervy and introverted.  I read all the time.

Did you have a nickname? How’d you get it?

My family call me Izzey since childhood and my husband picked it up from them early on, but I dislike anyone else calling me that.

How has your life been different than what you’d imagined?

I don’t think I ever expected to be as happy as I am.  Having children transformed me.

Speaking of that, I read that you have two boys, lucky you LOL.  What is the zaniest thing that has happened in your household?

My husband made Shrek models, posters etc for our eldest son’s 5th birthday party.  They stayed up, visible from the street, for months and when we removed them tons of people complained and said they missed them!

If you won the lottery tomorrow, what would you change about your life, if anything?

I would tell my husband he could retire and buy a house with a pool in Provence (France)

 What is your biggest pet peeve?

I am quite old-fashioned about manners, and things like people taking disabled parking spaces they shouldn’t appalls me.

What are the most important lessons you’ve learned in life?

Don’t worry too much what people think of you, most of the time they are too busy thinking about themselves to care what you get up to.

Your favorite room in the house and why?

My office because nobody is allowed in to mess it up.  Sadly that doesn’t mean it’s tidy all the time.  Getting my own room was critical to being able to write my novel.

What is your favorite Musical Group or Artist

I love the Kings of Leon.  I’m sure they’ll be delighted about that.

What is one place in the world you would like to visit that you have not been to yet?

Tierra del Fuego,Patagonia

If you could change one event in history, what would it be?

The Holocaust

Where would you go in your Time Machine?

Americain the 1960s

If we looked in your refrigerator, what would we find?

Champagne and general signs of decadence

If someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title should be?

I’d settle for it not being ‘The Humiliations of a Failed Novelist’.

How would you like to be remembered?

As a loving wife and mother

For this part, as brief as you can LOL, some one or two word answers please:

Favorite color? Blue

Lucky Number 6

Most Money you have spent on a single Book? £60

Fast dance or Slow Dance?  Fast

Short/Tall?  Tall

Best book you ever read? Madame Bovary

Favorite Music?  Chopin

Movie that makes you cry?   I’ve Loved You So Long

Movie that you watch every year or more often?    Rocky Horror

Favorite Season?  Summer

Regular or Decaf?  Regular, strong

City Girl or Country Girl?  Urban convert

4 door sedan or sports car?  I wish!

Favorite food?  Fillet steak

Tattoo Yes or No? No way.

Take out or cook at home?  Keen cook

Favorite Movie?   American Beauty

Skirts or jeans?  Both

Favorite Day of the Week?  Sunday

How many Pairs of Shoes do you own?   A lot.

 Rings the bell, wow Isabel you are the first one to get through the speed round with just the minimal number of words ~applause~.

You have to keep all of us informed on the progress of getting your novel to press.  I know that you will be a huge success and we can all say that we knew you when.  Now is there any charity or group that you would like to promote?

Macmillan Cancer Support were incredibly important to my family in the last months of my Dad’s life and we will never forget it.

www.macmillan.org.uk

Thanks Isabel, you were a joy to interview.

 

Hello everyone, back again with Interview #7.  I have been really fortunate to have interviewed people from basically around the world, ok, at least from several different countries, Australia, Englandand across the pond in the USA.  However, this time, I am extremely excited about the opportunity to not only interview a published Author, but a Canadian Author on top of it, can it get any better?  I am not sure when I bumped into Stacia Carlton on Twitter @staciaEcarlton I think our mutual good (crazy) friend Zencherry (see Interview #1) suggested that we follow each other.  So as I do with everyone that I follow, I went and peeked at Stacia’s website http://www.staciacarlton.com and was pleasantly surprised at what I found.  One thing I did note was an interview that was recently posted on Zencherrys site http://zencherry.wordpress.com with Stacia.  She sounded like a really cool person and I wanted to find out more about her, and if you have read Interviews 1 through 6 you will know that I tend to quickly get off subject and start digging into the real person.

So, now that the long winded introduction is over please read on and find out more about a great Author, Canadian and Tweep, Stacia Carlton.

Hello Stacia, I couldn’t help but notice, since it is on your Twitter Profile, that you are from Toronto, (Ontario, Canada for those people who didn’t know).  Tell us Stacia were you born and raised in Toronto?

Hey Peter!  So happy to have a chance to speak with you!  So yeah, I am from Toronto, raised here and a real Torontonian at heart.  I wasn’t born in Toronto, but I guess I would say that I definitely grew up here…and hopefully continue to grow here!  It’s a brilliant city!

Ahh but not born there, so where were you born, in the forest north of the City?

I was born in a small Ontario town on the shores of the St. Lawrence, near the Quebec border. The region offers some of the most beautiful scenery you can imagine.

 Have you ever lived outside of Canada?

 Nope. In my heart I often think that I’d like to live in Paris, but in all honesty I’m not sure that I could ever leave Canada permanently…it’s really unbelievably beautiful.  And I love snow…so it works out well

 I notice you have already been published, what is your current total?

One published so far, working on number two but only one for now.  

Are you self published?

I am!  I chose self publishing after extensive (and really boring) research.  Basically what I discovered was that unless you’re a celebrity (maybe the flavour of the week reality star), an established name (think Stephen King), or offering them a great work of “literature” agents really don’t have the time of day for you. Some of the agents were very forthcoming with that very information too, which I thought quite nice of them in a odd sort of way! I suppose that my material isn’t heady enough for them to consider time worthy, which I completely understand. And so I chose to go it alone…I’m tough and extremely tenacious so I thought it a good fit. Did you know that ebooks recently outsold paperbacks?!  Pretty exciting news!

Again, I know the answer to this, but what genre do you write in primarily?

I’m not a huge fan of the word romance but it is the most accurate way to describe what I write. They are contemporary love stories.  Not necessarily what you might expect from a typical romance.  I try to make them very real, real people, real thought processes relatable situations, real conversations.  There’s lots of awesome sex, but I try to make it  more reality based than the typical bodice rippers.  Not to put those down, they’re great too, but I just want to tell stories that anyone can imagine themselves in…you know? My current work in progress however is more of a psychological examination of a sexual affair.  So I guess you might say that I like to write about men and women and what goes on not only behind closed doors, but also in the darker recesses of their minds.

And why did you choose that area to write in?

I don’t think I chose it so much as it chose me…Is that a terrible cliché?  I guess you write what you know ultimately…I’m not a vampire, nor have I ever met one (although I often think I might to, like right about now…I’m digging being this age!).  I’m not a cop nor a detective.  I’ve loved, I’ve lost…I’ve thought about those situations so now I write about them.

How often do you work on your novel in a typical week?

I try to write every day, but I have kids and a husband and I really like to get to the gym, so sometimes it gets a bit less time that it really deserves…I suppose I write about 10 or so hours a week…One day it’ll be more…once everyone figures out where the eggs/towels/windex/extra blankets/old CD collection/corkscrew (oh wait that’s me), what those big white machines in the basement do,  well anyway you get the point…once people start to figure out where stuff is and what stuff does around the house, I might have a little more time to write.  It’s fun and funny, and I do enjoy every minute of it in the meantime!

Oh people, enough of this, if you want to read all about her work, just go to Stacia’s website http://www.staciacarlton.com or stop by Zencherry’s site http://zencherry.wordpress.com for that great interview.  I want to get a bit more personal with Stacia, you know, find out what makes her tick or ticked off.

Have you ever been to Lion’s Head, Ontario? (snickers)

I so wish I got where you were going with that one, but sadly I’m fresh out of witty comebacks…sorry (I even googled it to see if there was anything I could go with…)

Big question for me, are you a middle child, only child, one of a huge brood?

Youngest of three…pretty great place to be…

Normal old boring childhood or were you on a merchant marine ship growing up?

Idyllic bordering on ridiculous!

What is your favorite sport, professional or amateur, and what team do you root for?

Tennis is without question my favourite professional sport…I could watch and discuss tennis almost endlessly…I have no favourites…I love them all… although I do love to watch the new up and comers…have you seen the new kid from Canada with the rocket serve?Milos Raonic…keep your eyes on that one!

Do you have a favorite musical group or Artist?

My musical taste is extremely varied.  Very few styles that I dislike…currently loving James Morrison (not Jim Morrison, although I really like his stuff too – time and place right!) and The Dave Matthews Band…I think if I had to choose one artist of all times though it would have to be Prince. What?  I was a teen in the early 80’s!!!!

 When you are writing, do you play music or prefer silence?

I can listen to some classical, but nothing with lyrics…I have an uncanny ability to recall song lyrics …I will sing along with ANYTHING! I’ve also found that what I listen to influences the storyline…I prefer to be in charge and not allow John Legend, for example, to dictate what happens during a particular scene. And he has been known to do that…usually the sex scenes too the little devil!

Do you have a day job?

Yes, I run a very small and exclusive hotel.  It’s a bit like a tiny all inclusive.  Meals prepared, open bar for those over age 19,  maid service (including laundry), shuttle service to varying offsite entertainment events, we even have a homework assistance mechanism in place for the VIP clientele and of course therapy when required, and as with most resorts, it’s always busier on the weekends…HAHAHAHAHA!  I kill me!

What is the favorite room in your house and why?

Probably my dining room…it’s in the centre of my mostly open concept main floor and it’s where I write.  The table is large and mid last century modern, which I adore. It’s big so I can spread out if I need to, but mostly I like it because I can see out to the front and back of the house, keeps anyone or anything from sneaking up on me. I startle easily!

Who was the most important person in your life? Can you tell me about him or her?

MOST important!?! That’s tough!  Different people fill different roles. My husband and kids obviously top the list…they are literally my everything but I would be remiss if I didn’t also include my sister.  She epitomizes everything not only a big sister should be, but also a best friend.  I could go on for pages…but how to sum her up in a short paragraph? She loves limitlessly, she listens endlessly, she understands depths that no one else ever can, she calls me out when I need it,ANDshe’s as funny as hell! What else can a girl ask for?

If you could change one event in history, what would it be?

If we change anything from the past then it automatically alters the future, and then we wouldn’t have the lessons from the past that we have now.  Wow! Did I watch one too many Quantum Leap episodes as a kid? (Editors note, I loved that show)

What is your earliest memory?

My memories are so extensive and varied that I couldn’t possibly recall one as being the definitive first.  Sorry, boring 😦

How would you describe yourself as a child? 

Funny, peculiar, tomboyish and maybe with a hint of sass.

How has your life been different than what you’d imagined?

I always thought that I would be a terribly succesful business woman, inexplicably married to a starving artist.  The irony is that I’m married to a successful business man who keeps me from being a starving artist. Lucky me!

If you were an animal, what would you be?

A cat…intelligent, elegant, lithe, graceful, beautiful, athletic, sleeps a TON…in a nutshell everything I aspire to be

What is your biggest pet peeve?

Probably people who park in handicapped spots who clearly have no impediment…or maybe people who crowd you in a line up. It’s not going to make the line go quicker people…no wait, people who chew with their mouths open…um can I have a minute with this one?

What is the most adventurous thing you have ever done?

I’m infinitely more adventurous in my mind, although I did jump off a 50’ cliff into a lake once…brown bottle courage and all that…and some other stuff, but I can’t discuss that in this type of forum 😉

Where would you go in your Time Machine?

Mid 18th century Scotland, to when Jamie and Claire met and I would TOTALLY steal Jamie from her. (You’ve gotta be an Outlander fan to get that one!)

Have you ever been to a school or college reunion?

I have not in fact!  Not my scene ATALL! The past is the past…let’s just leave it there shall we!

Phew, that was intense, now for some rapid fire questions, see if you can keep it to one or two word answers, but I know from past interviews that is hard for writer’s to do.

Favorite color? Chartreuse

Lucky Number? 3

Most Money you have spent on a single Book? $170

Fast dance or Slow Dance? Neither

Short/Tall? Tall

Best book you ever read? ToKillAMockingBirdOROfMiceandMen (see what I did there?!)

Favorite TV Show TV Meh~

Movie that makes you cry? The Pianist

Movie that you watch every year or more often? Rocky Horror Picture Show (OF COURSE!)

Favorite Season? Fall

Regular or Decaf? neither

City Girl or Country Girl? city

4 door sedan or sports car? Sports car

Favorite food? Charcuterie (Editors note, My turn to Google)

Take out or cook at home? Cook at home

Skirts or jeans? Both

Favorite Day of the Week? MONDAY!!!

Wow, you are good at this, but I know you have been interviewed before so it is likely getting to be old hat with you.  Ok, I will admit to you (but don’t tell anyone else) I lived in Lion’s Head, Ontario for 4 years, actually the last 4 years I lived at home (high school time).  I don’t like to tell many that, but if they don’t know where it is or that it has a population of 280 then its ok.

Well Stacia, you have been a great sport, I have asked everyone I interview lately if they have a charity they would like to plug and you gave me the link to Me to We http://www.metowe.com/ .  I encourage everyone to stop by there and check them out they have some fantastic ideas and do a great service.

Thanks again Stacia.

 

 

Interview #6 – Jack Urquhart

I can’t believe I am already at Interview #6, I have been lucky to meet a lot of great people on Twitter and the guest for today’s interview is no exception.  Jack Urquhart, whom you should follow at @JackAUrquhart, caught my attention tweeting about his experiences.  I went to his blog and found an intelligent, thoughtful individual who can write circles around me and a lot of others.  I liked his personal story, the struggle and the triumph, and I wanted to share that with you, and of course in my traditional style, find out a lot of cool stuff about Jack.  Jack’s blog is at http://www.jaurquhart.com and you should all run there right now and take a peek at Jack’s writing; it’s amazing.

Hello Jack, and right off the bat I will confess to snooping around your blog a bit, well no not a bit, a lot.  You have some fantastic stuff up there.  Tell the readers a bit about the two works you have published “So They Say” volumes 1 and 2.

Thank you for welcoming me to your blog, Peter—and for asking about “So They Say”.  The two volumes you mention are my take on a traditional bildungsroman—a coming of age novel—except that I’ve presented mine as a series of self-contained, interconnected stories.  There are twenty-one in all—stories, that is—spanning the early 1950s through 2007.  My protagonist, Rex Fordham, is what you’d call a late bloomer, or, perhaps more aptly, a slow learner.  A good old southern boy, it takes him a long time—a decade and more of marriage, fatherhood, and professional endeavors—to own that he’s no good at self-denial and that he ought rightly to be living as a gay man.  Which is the decision he eventually makes.

When were those written, Jack?

My recollection is that the earliest stories were written in Colorado between 1992-97.  I wrote most of the other stories between 1998 and 2009 while I was living in San Francisco—except for “Pas de Deux” and “Bread Pudding”, which were born here in Florida last year.  Although the stories weren’t written in a chronological order, I’ve presented them that way in the e-book volumes—i.e., 1950s to 2007—and more recently in the single volume paperback: https://www.createspace.com/3713625

Do you have other books in progress?

Yes, I have several stories completed or in progress.  Seems I’ve fallen in love with some of the supporting characters in “So They Say”—so much so that I’m contemplating a collection that follows one of those characters for a few decades.

What genre are they in?

Aside from my blog posts, I write fiction.  Usually short stories, though some of them exceed twenty thousand words, which I suppose makes them novellas.  Genre?  General or literary, I guess.  Although the latter moniker seems a bit pretentious.  I should add that my stories are never autobiographical, ‘though I’ll plead guilty to focusing on things about which I know a little something.  Write what you know, the saying goes.

What genre do you like to read for relaxation?

For relaxation?  Again, fiction.  Usually novels.  Though I’m not immune to a compelling biography, memoir, or even occasionally a great sci-fi or crime thriller.

Your reviews are very good, how long does it take you to write one, typically?

Oh lord.  It takes me forever—at least the better part of a day-and-a-half, which is why I’ve only posted a handful.  I figure if I like a book well enough to write about it, I should take my time, be thoughtful, bring in relevant, specific details.  It’s my way of showing respect for the author’s labors—which isn’t to say that I don’t admire reviewers who can do as much in twenty minutes and two hundred words or less.  It’s just that I can’t.

The introductory paragraph of your blog indicates you are a gay man.  I understand from reading further on your blog that you “came out” in middle age.  Can you tell us a bit about how that was, the reactions from your family.

Yes, as you may have read on my blog (www.jaurquhart.com), I came out at thirty-six after nearly twenty years of marriage, two kids, careers in banking and teaching.  It was no fun; in fact, for a while I wasn’t sure that I could do it—break with my past, that is; live true to myself.  My ex-wife, a wonderful woman whom I loved and still love and respect, took the worst of it—she and my children.  My parents had a terrible time with it, too.  But we got through the mess with much weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth—not to mention (laughing) long hours of therapy and the chemical assistance of Prozac.  These days, we all get on well enough and do our best to be mutually supportive.

I can imagine it was a surprise to them, how about close friends, what was their reaction?

My friends, the real ones, were unfailingly supportive.  That helped immensely.

Do you have a partner now?

Yes.  Raymond and I have been together since August 11, 1998 (around 3:30 p.m., I think it was).  We have similar backgrounds—formerly married, both fathers, both former teachers.  I’m so lucky to have found him—luckier still to have snared him (given my paltry charms and allurements).

Ok, enough of the snoopy personal stuff, but I do want to thank you for sharing that with us and I think the readers will appreciate it as well.  Let’s learn a bit more about what makes you tick and why.

Where were you born?

Orlando, Florida.

What places have you lived?

  • Apopka, Florida (‘Apopka’, I’m told, is a Seminole term meaning “potato eating people”; quaint, huh.)
  • Bloomsburg and Lime Ridge, Pennsylvania
  • Gainesville, Florida
  • Boulder and Nederland, Colorado
  • San Francisco, California
  • Brief stints in Paris and Bordeaux, France

What part of the Country do you live in now?

I’m back in Central Florida for the time being.  Mount Dora, to be exact.  Lovely town.

What or who is your Favorite Musical Group or Artist?

I don’t think I have any enduring favorites.  But I do appreciate music—all kinds.

I imagine your work is a huge success, so this may be a moot question; do you have a day job?

Oh boy, I wish I could confirm your assessment of my ‘success’ as an author; however, I can claim no particular triumphs for my writing—not in terms of sales (more’s the pity).  I’d love more readers, of course; but I do derive a great deal of satisfaction in the work itself, in completing and disseminating my writing, and most particularly, in those readers—however few or many—who do me the honor of reading my work.  That, I believe, constitutes ‘success’ of a sort, and it will do for now.

You asked if I have a day job.  No, I don’t have one.  My former employer, the Judicial Branch of California, where I worked as a technical writer and analyst until twenty months ago, granted me early retirement when the state went bust.  Still getting used to that!

What is a typical evening routine for you?

Dinner, the television news, Internet cruising, more reading and writing.

What is your favorite room in the house and why?

The study (laughing)—where all the computers reside!

Who was or is the most influencial person you have had in your life?

That’s easy.  Raymond, my partner—the man responsible for getting me into print, and for making me fortunate and happy in a thousand other ways.

If you could change one event in history, what would it be?

The Holocaust.  It would never have happened.

How would you like to be remembered?

As a loving father, spouse, friend.  And as a writer.

What is your best memory of childhood? Worst?

Best: My father planting a flower garden in the shape of the letters of my name “so the airplanes flying overhead will look down and see your name in a big-ole splash of color.”

Worst: Fourth grade, my teacher announcing in class that my achievement test stanines in math and science were the lowest in the class.

Did you have a nickname? How’d you get it?

Yes.  Andy, or sometimes Anda-Panda.  Since my father and I shared the same first name (Jack), family members used diminutives of my middle name, Andrew.  Lucky me!

What is the craziest thing you have done for your partner?

Seasoned an expensive steak with lavender potpourri.  I thought it was just another ‘spice’.  Oops!  Needless to say, he keeps me out of the kitchen as much as possible.

If we looked in your refrigerator, what would we find?

Whatever Raymond purchases at the market; he’s a terrific cook—plus my Gatorade.

If you could have any super power, what would it be?

I don’t know.  I can’t think of anything that wouldn’t ultimately be self-serving, so I’d rather remain ‘normal,’ as much as that applies to anyone.

Now some snappy fast questions, one or two word answers please:

Favorite color?  Red

Lucky Number  9

Most money you have spent on a single Book? $65.00

Best book you ever read?   Pride and Prejudice.  Never tire of Jane Austen.

Favorite TV Show (Laughing again) “Antiques Road Show”.  Us ‘antiques’ appreciate each other.

Movie that you watch every year or more often?  “To Kill a Mockingbird”.  Perfect movie.  Perfect novel.

Favorite Season?  Fall

Regular or Decaf? Regular

City Guy or Country Guy?  Depends on my mood.

4-door sedan or sports car?  4-door (Prius)

Favorite food?  Anything Raymond cooks—except sweet potatoes.

How many books a year do you read?  25 or 30

Favorite Day of the Week?  Saturday

Wow, you did great on the one or two words, mostly.  Jack I want to thank you for agreeing to my rank amateur interview.  Hopefully one day you will be a famous Author and when that happens I promise to destroy all copies of this interview.  Personally I will be watching your blog for future developments and checking out So They Say Volumes 1 and 2.

A new feature to my interviews, I am giving each subject a chance to promote his or her favorite charity or cause.  Jack if you have any please give us some links here.

-Jack- I’m a recent fan of Flattr http://www.Flattr.com—an Internet site that facilitates social micropayments that let you support bloggers, content developers, and other creators—as well as charities.

Interview #5 – @Karakazoo

I have once again had the opportunity to chat with another great Tweep on Twitter.  @Karakazoo is always fun to talk to, she has a very upbeat demeanor to her all the time.  Our conversations are always funny and she does make me smile.  I really wanted to get to know more about the lady with the Vampire profile picture so I asked if she would agree to this interview.  I am very fortunate she agreed so Ladies and Gentlemen, I bring your attention to Kara.

Hi Kara, right off the bat I have to ask what genre do you work in, or are most comfortable in?

I personally enjoy dark novels, horror/thrillers are my style.

Do you have any work published yet Kara, or something near ready for publication?

I do NOT have anything published yet but I do have 2 novels that are near ready. One is a Paranormal Romance called Hostage and the other is a Thriller calledTAG.

Oh those sound good, are you self publishing? Or are you working with a Publishing Company?

I will be self publishing.

What has been your biggest influence, or reason to write?

Writing has been my greatest release of emotions. I’ve had a ‘rough’ life, I guess you could say and the only real outlet I ever had for it all was writing. Fantasies kept my mind occupied and kept me out of trouble.

How often do you work on your writing in a typical week?

I am ashamed to say I only work on my writing as the fancy strikes me. Could be several weeks of nothing and then 10 straight days of constant writing. I work 6 days a week so that may explain my odd habits.

I notice you have two blogs, are they for different purposes?

Yes. One is personal. I write whatever I feel like it on there and anyone is welcome to see. The other is simply my professional work, samples to show anyone who cares to see.

About how long have you been blogging?

Oh wow, I honestly don’t remember. Less than a year I’m sure.

Tell us a little about  the hash tag #IHOW, what is it, how did you get involved?

Well, when I first got onto twitter I was graciously accepted with open arms by the Team Captain Paul Greany. He’s a witty Irish/English man who happily welcomed into his group of sarcastic, but kind followers (those we call the #IHOW family) after seeing his hash tag a couple hundred times I asked what it was. He then explained to me that it was a charity held at the hands of Wayne McCullough the ‘Pocket Rocket’ the boxing legend himself. I met the crew and they taught me that it takes a village to take care of the wounded.  Not just a Doctor. #IHOW stands for I Help Out Wayne.Waynecollects as much memorabilia as he can from celebs and sells it. The money he makes from this goes to helping people heal from injury, sickness and disease by way ofMMA, Boxing and Dance. Encouraging people to live a healthy life style of discipline, exercise and diet to help speed up the healing process as well as encourage self esteem. It’s stuck with me ever since. I happen to feel very strongly about health and fitness as its helped me heal many times over. So I do what I can to spread the word.

OK, time to get to know more about Kara the person, not the writer.

Yes, I Googled it, were you born and raised in Chicopee Massachestets

LOL!! Okay first off, no I wasn’t born in Massachestets. LMAO!! That’s not a real place. I was born in Springfield, MA. From there things get messy. I moved…a LOT. I moved to Mainewhen I was 5 and stayed for about a year. Then I moved back to MA. 5 years later I moved back to Maineand stayed in that state till I graduated high school.  (Editors Note:  I mistyped the State in my original questions and forgot to spell check and go figure, Kara noticed it, but to have her answer make sense I have left the name misspelled and will suffer the laughter of you readers for it no doubt)

Middle child, only child, one of a huge brood?

I’m the youngest of 3. I have an older sister and brother. We are all 3 years apart. Brother is 36, sister is 33 and I’m 30.

Normal old boring childhood or were you on a merchant marine ship growing up?

I grew up a foster child. Long story. To make it short I lived in many homes, went to many schools, seen many places and was lucky for the experience.

What were your summers like growing up?

Always uncertain, and short. You don’t get many warm days in Northern Maine.

Did you have a nickname growing up?

Nope. Nothing good rhymes with Kara.

Who was/is the most important person in your life?

That would have to be the only family I have left, my son Jake. I think that’s self explanatory.

What are the most important lessons you’ve learned in life so far?

Good question. That would have to be that kindness and love do exist in this world, you just have to learn to recognize them.

I know from your blog that you are a Personal Care Assistant; can you describe your typical weekday routine from wake up to sleep time?

Well, I’ll spare you the gory details but I basically do what nurses would do for patients in a hospital. I just do them at their homes.

How do you spend your weekends?

I work every weekend. I take my son with me too.

I really want to know this one, hopefully the readers do too, what is your favorite musical group or Artist?

Uh oh….Okay, I will admit I have 2 favorites. Alicein Chains and STP. (Stone TemplePilots) Now I’m curious as to why you were so curious! LOL! (Editors Note: Because of your Twitter Profile silly). I see. Then my answers should be completely understandable. LOL!

If you could change one event in history, what would it be?

I wouldn’t change a thing.

Have you ever been to a school or college reunion?

No way!

What is your biggest pet peeve, besides these questions?

I have aLOT, but I guess I’ll go with being interrupted when I speak. I’m normally a very quiet person so when I speak I expect people to listen.

What is the most adventurous thing you have ever done?

 Um….LOL….I’ve done lots. Climbed a section of the Appalachian, rock climbing, white water rafting, I ran away aLOT, I’ve committed a few crimes…and so on.

Where would you go in your Time Machine?

I would never trust a time machine!

Now some rapid fire questions, one or two word answers please:

Lucky Number? 7

If you were an animal, what would you be? Owl

Most Money you have spent on a single Book? $45

Favorite pet? DOGS

Fast dance or Slow Dance? Slow

Boxers/Briefs?  Boxers

Best book you ever read? No favorite.

Movie that makes you cry? Hope Floats

Movie that you watch every year or more often? Dracula ‘BramStokers’

Favorite Season? Summer

City Girl or Country Girl? Country girl

Favorite food? FRUIT

Tattoo Yes or No? No

Take out or cook at home? Cook at home

Skirts or jeans? Jeans

Favorite Day of the Week? My day off!

 Alright, you did great on those, you are the first one to keep them to two words, well except for a couple of them, but overall very good.  Kara, it has been a pleasure interviewing you and I want to encourage everyone to check out your blog at http://problogstefanowich.blogspot.com/ .  I think they will find that Kara is a pretty darn good writer and poet.

 Also, for those of you interested in the #IHOW blog please check it out at http://hughesihow.blog.co.uk/

 Thanks Kara for your time and open and honest answers to the questions.

Interview #4 – Sessha Batto

As with everyone in Twitter, I first encountered @SesshaBatto in a passing conversation.  I was intrigued by the nature of the web sites under the profile and my natural curiosity, ok my natural nosiness, wanted to learn more about this person.   With only 140 characters at a time that was no way near enough for me to get all the information I wanted.  I couldn’t help but notice the number of books written and available and had to find out what makes this Author tick.  So without much further rambling on my part, please read on and discover a bit more about Sessha Batto.

I must admit this is a first for me, interviewing someone that writes homoerotic novels; could you share with us what drew you to write in this genre?

Remember the old ads in the back of comic books for x-ray specs? For me, sex is my x-ray specs. It strips a character down to his core truth and spotlights who they are with far more accuracy than pages of exposition ever could. Sex is the ultimate act of trust. Who we trust, why, and to what extent reveals much of our psyche that we would normally keep hidden. Sex is the catalyst for revealing hidden baggage, all the events and experiences we think are safely buried but which bubble to the surface under pressure. Our kinks highlight our transgressive natures, throwing into clear definition the whys and hows of our alienation from society in general. In short, it’s the knife I wield to cut to the truth. My writing includes sex in all its permutations, from barely consensual sexual torture to tender lovemaking and the entire gamut in between. My only real boundaries are no children and no women. I write about men exclusively because of the wonderful shifts of power and control possible in a same sex relationship . . . and because I love men. No offense to the ladies, but I don’t think I could explore the same boundaries of pleasure and pain without seeming overly abusive, and that is at the core of everything I write. Beyond that, there is something wonderfully vulnerable and revealing about the decision to relinquish power, and the potent eroticism of two strong, powerful men being tender with each other.

Do you find the homoerotic writings have a good following?

A dedicated following, certainly. The readers are very loyal to the genre and to writers they like. It isn’t a huge community, but it’s growing all the time.

I see you have several books published, how long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing since I was four, but I only started writing longer works, and sharing them with others, in 2008.

As a published Author, can you tell us about that process, the first time you were published that is?

My first experience with publication I did everything wrong – I submitted to only one publisher, a new e-book start-up, and jumped on the contract they offered. Three complete location changes and some editorial changes I did not approve of later, I had a book out I was not happy with and was not willing to promote. Thankfully the rights are back in my hands now and I’m busily trying to turn it into the book it should be. The positive result, however, was I learned a lot. Now I’m lucky to be with a publisher (the Pfoxchase imprint of Pfoxmoor Publications) that is wonderful to work with and dedicated to bringing out the best possible books.

Is writing something you do full time, or do you have to work outside of writing too?

My time is split between writing and freelance graphic design and video work. Lately I’ve been getting a lot of commissions for book covers, which are always fun to work on. It’s nice because I can write when the words are flowing, and work on graphics when they aren’t. It takes some of the pressure away from having to produce words every day.

How often do you work on a novel in a typical week?

When I’m working on a novel I write everyday for at least four or five hours. During the editing process, however, I write mostly short fiction, it’s too hard to keep two complex casts of characters separate in my head.

Your work is up at several sites, does that keep you busy maintaining all of those postings?

It does take time, but, to me, it’s time well spent. After all, I write to be read, going where the readers are and cultivating them is the best way I know of to grow readership.

Your Web Site does not give much inside info into Sessha, would you like to share some with us?

Hmm, I’m a Buddhist and a vegetarian. I practice battojutso and tai chi.

Well that is very interesting, but I have to ask you Male or Female Sessha? 

Female

Where were you born? 

I was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Were you raised in that area, or were you a gypsy growing up? 

I spent my first six years in an orphanage in Belfast before being adopted by Americans. Since then I’ve lived in Detroit, New York and Baltimore.

Big question for me, are you a middle child, only child, one of a huge brood?

No clue, that’s the downside of being abandoned at birth, I’m afraid.

What is your earliest memory?

Nothing I want to dwell on – my early years were not particularly pleasant.

How has your life been different than what you’d imagined as a youth?

Day to day life is more tenuous and problematic than I expected, although I imagine that is always the case. I was never one for concocting elaborate fantasies of what could be, I’ve always concentrated more on the day to day of what is happening in my life. So far, at least, it seems to be working.

How would you like to be remembered?

I’d like to be remembered as someone who cared, who worked hard, who tried to be compassionate. I’d love to break new ground in my genre and open it up to a wider audience.

Single? Married? Divorced? Nun?

Married to an extremely patient man. Our thirtieth anniversary is coming up at the end of the year.

How many children?

One teenage son.

If you won the lottery tomorrow, what would you change about your life, if anything?

I wouldn’t constantly worry about making ends meet, which would be nice. Otherwise, not much would change. I’m already doing what I want, money won’t change that, just make it a bit less stressful.

What is your favorite musical group or artist?

I don’t think I could single out one artist as a favorite, my tastes are very eclectic. Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of Angela Aki. As far as composers, J.S. Bach, definitely.

What is your favorite room in the house and why? 

The library, because that’s where most of the books are.

If we looked in your refrigerator, what would is the first thing we would notice?

Boxes of tea – there must be twenty of them in the fridge right now.

If you could have any super power, what would it be?

Teleportation – no more wasting time getting from here to there, no traffic jams, no cancellations due to inclement weather.

Now for the fun, rapid fire part of the interview, one or two word answers please, but if you have read any of these interviews you will notice some have trouble sticking to that format, give it your best shot:

Favorite color? Green

Most Money you have spent on a single Book? Over $100

Fast dance or Slow Dance? Slow dance, definitely.

Short/Tall? Tall

Best book you ever read? Confessions of a Mask by Yukio Mishima

Movie that you watch every year or more often? A Home at the End of the World

Favorite Season? Spring

Regular or Decaf? Regular

4 door sedan or sports car? Sports car

Favorite food? Mushrooms

Take out or cook at home? Cook at home

How many books a year do you read? Around 200

Favorite Movie? Lawrence of Arabia

Favorite Day of the Week? Wednesday

Cats or Dogs? Cats

Wow Sessha, I am very impressed and you managed 1 and 2 word answers ~others take note~.  I am honored to have you participate in my interviews, you have provided us all with some very frank and honest answers, and I for one appreciate that. Based upon my poking around your various web sites and seeing some of your work I know you will continue to be very successful in your craft.  Thanks again Sessha.

 Below are some links that Sessha provided, please take a few minutes and check out her work.

 Her Website – http://www.sesshabattousai.com

Shinobi: Concealed in Shadows links

Smashwords http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/64681

 OmniLit/AIIRomance  http://www.omnilit.com//product-shinobibookoneconcealedinshadows-559910-144.html

 Amazon  http://www.amazon.com/Shinobi-Book-One-Concealed-ebook/dp/B0054M51TE/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=digital-text&qid=1307445641&sr=1-2

 Barns & Noble http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Shinobi-Book-One/Sessha-Batto/e/2940011321122/

 And in Paperback  http://www.amazon.com/Shinobi-Book-One-Concealed-Shadows/dp/1936827247/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1308585423&sr=1-2