Interview | MG Author Chris Grabenstein

In the past few months I’ve discovered an author that’s been around awhile, but that I’ve only just discovered. Since then, I’ve read multiple books by this middle grade author and can honestly say that he is my new favorite author.

Chris Grabenstein is a funny, interesting, and intelligent author from Buffalo, New York. He co-writes the I FUNNY, HOUSE OF ROBOTS, TREASURE HUNTERS, and JACKY HA-HA books with James Patterson, as well as writing many of his own, fabulous, works. My current favorite is a three way tie between Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library, Mr. Lemoncello’s Library Olympics, and Dr. Libris Library. You can find Mr. Grabenstein at Goodreads and at chrisgrabenstein.com.

I caught up with Chris this past week and he very kindly answered a few questions for me to pass along to you. So, without further ado, here is Author Chris Grabensteins Interview.

1) I stalked your Goodreads page and saw that Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library was inspired by a library in New York and that a 5th grader made the comment that got the ball rolling for Mr. Lemoncello’s Library Olympics, which are both amazing, but who did you base the characters on? And are YOU MR. Lemoncello?
The characters come from various sources.  Kyle Keeley, who is the third son in his family, is based on my memories of being the third son in my family.  The only time I could ever beat my big brothers was when we played board games.  Sierra Russell is based on every bookworm I’ve met on my numerous school visits (and seems to be a character that resonates with a lot of young readers and older ones, too!)  Miguel Fernandez is based on (and named after) a fifth grader I tutored at my church’s Homework Help program.   And, yes, Mr. Lemoncello is sort of based on me and also the late Jim Henson, whom I worked for back in the 1980s.   The wackiness comes from me.  The unbridled creativity coupled with a bajillion dollars comes from Mr. Henson.
I, like many of us, adore the late Jim Henson. This makes me love Lemoncello even more (which I didn’t know was possible)
2) Welcome to Wonderland, Home Sweet Motel is coming out October of 2016 and (on your website) features Roadside Americana. Was it a piece of that roadside Americana that prompted and inspired this story? If so, what piece started the journey?
WONDERLAND is based on my memories of visiting my grandmother every summer in St. Petersburg, Florida.  We’d pack up the car and hit the road, stopping at places like South Of The Border and Weeki Wachee Springs (mermaid shows!).   While staying at an extended stay motel in Michigan, helping my wife take care of her father, I remembered how much I used to LOVE staying in a motel when I was a kid.  Swimming pools!  Snack vending machines!  Toilets sanitized for my protection.   So, I wondered, what if I was a kid who LIVED in a motel!
I feel a road trip coming on!
3) You’ve written books across the age levels, is there any difference in your writing process when those age levels and genres change?
When writing for ages 8-12, I have to watch my language.  No, not that way (even though I do).  I have to be more aware of the vocabulary I am using and, if I use a word that may not be in a fifth graders lexicon, put it into a context where the meaning can be understood.  I also write for short attention spans because I have one, too, and get bored easily in the long descriptive paragraphs that most readers tend to skip anyway.
4) What IS your writing process? (I, personally, tend to be a pantser. Do you outline, meticulously write note cards, or just let the words flow?)
When I was writing one, maybe two, books a year I was definitely a pantser.   Now, as I attempt to write or coauthor 5-6 books every twelve months, I craft a very tight outline with all the major beats, twists, turns, etc. planted.  I find that my working on the outline for a week or two, I save a month or two one the back end with rewrites.
Maybe I should start working on finding the right kind of outline again…I gave up that search awhile ago but…saves a month or two on rewrites!
5) Do you have any superstitions or traditions that help you get more writing done and, if so, do those change depending on the story, age level, or genre?
No real superstitions.  Just a very boring, self-disciplined work ethic.
6) I’ve seen you give the advice to ‘write, write, write…’ and ‘give yourself permission to write a bad first draft.’ Do you have any other advice you’d like to give to aspiring (or already there) authors?
Follow Elmore Leonard’s TEN RULES FOR GOOD WRITING
Especially the last bit of advice:  “My most important rule is one that sums up the 10.
If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.”
7) Do you read Indie and/or self-published authors? What advice would you give them?
I must admit that I don’t have much experience with self-published books.  I have self-published a few e-titles of my own and have great respect for those who can make it work for them.  I don’t have the marketing/promotional energy to do it correctly.
He’s not kidding! I am a totally indie author at the moment and I never have that energy!
8) What books are on your reading pile right now?
Edward Eager’s KNIGHT’S CASTLE, HAMILTON, and UNDERGROUND AIRLINES.
Look, even Chris Grabenstein is reading Hamilton, I need to jump on that bandwagon.
9) Finally, in Dr. Libris the protagonist(s) find an island on a lake where story characters come to life. What character(s) would you most like to have come to life to spend a day with you? (yours and/or someone else’s)
Mr. Lemoncello. So he can tell me what happens next.
a) that means we’ll possibly be getting a 4th Lemoncello book (the 3rd is coming soon!)
b) he’d be on the top of my list too, along with Gandalf. I want to see Gandalf, Dumbledore, and Lemoncello hanging out.
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Author Interview-Carol P. Roman

Hello Everyone! Welcome to another edition of Author Interview Fridays! Today we’ll be speaking with children’s book author Carol P. Roman. Welcome Carol. Let’s get right in to it and start with the questions:

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1)      Tell us about the first time you realized that you were an author or were going to be an author. 

My son’s dared me to write a book. I had always wanted to, but was afraid. They told me to write about what I knew, so I chose to use playtime with my oldest grandson as the subject, and Captain No Beard was born. I love to play imaginary games with my grandchildren, so putting our adventures to paper was an easy task.

Children’s imaginations are AMAZING. I love seeing what my daughter comes up with. She and my nephews have been the source of  more than one story 🙂 Besides, who can walk away from a dare?
2)      What genre(s) do you write in, and why?
I write in both fiction and non-fiction. Captain No Beard is an exciting adventure series involving a group of cousins who travel the seven seas in search of adventure. Each book has a gentle lesson and is based on events in my own life. If You Were Me and Lived in…is a non-fiction series that introduces culture to young children. I am a former social studies teacher and love to examine what makes the people of our world similar, so this series was a natural for me.
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As a former writing and science teacher,  I always love to read books like this and to see how people react to them! Isn’t it so much fun to follow your passion?
4)      Tell us about your two all-time favorite characters: 1 that you wrote and 1 that someone else wrote.
Captain No Beard’s crew are based on my four grandchildren, so they are by far, my favorite characters, ever. The stuffed animals are based on different family members. It fun to see if they can guess who is who, and sometimes a relief when they can’t figure it out!  My all time favorite fiction character is Scarlet O’Hara from Gone With the Wind. I adore reading her story over and over again, watching circumstances change her.
I always find pieces of myself or my friends/family in characters I write, to some extent. I am often happy when they don’t find themselves! Can I admit something here, just between the two of us? I’ve never read Gone with The Wind. I know the circumstances and I’ve seen bits of the movie, but that is one classic I’ve never even tried to pick up. 
  5) There is a lot of controversy among fandoms about allowing books to be made into movies (especially when they cut or change large portions of the plot). Would you be willing for your books/stories to become a movie? Why or why not?
I would love to see my books reach more people. I think they have a very important message. Captain No Beard teaches children they are never alone. The series touches on bullying, sharing, working well with other, stranger danger. If those messages are sent to a bigger audience, that would be great. The cultural series teaches tolerance through knowledge. I would hope Hollywood wouldn’t mess with those ideals.
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  6) How do you handle writer’s block?
Never had it. I always find subjects to write about. It’s fun, not pressured. My day job has pressure enough, so this is a labor of love.
That’s amazing. Even if I don’t have any pressure, I still sometimes find myself with writer’s block. I think it stems from the insanity of day to day life. 
7) What inspires you?
Success inspires me to do more. The reaction of my fans, the awards and reviews make me feel appreciated. This has given the second part of my life so much meaning.
8) How do you respond when people ask what you do, then make that face if you say “I’m an author”?
It is one of my jobs and I usually add it in last. I guess I am not that comfortable with it yet. It is just one of the things I do- I am a wife, mother, grandmother, businessperson, teacher, and an author.
 Finally, tell us where to go to find you (Twitter, Facebook, Blog, Online Bookstores, Physical Stores, Etc. List them all for us please!) 
Thank you Carol! 
Remember, if you or someone you know is an author, an illustrator, an artist, or a musician and would like to be interviewed for this blog please leave a comment down below or message me on Twitter @writerbaby13 or Facebook facebook.com/TyreeTomes

Author Interview – Latoya Brown

Welcome to the January 19th edition of Author Interview Friday! I’m so excited that we’ve been able to keep this segment of the blog and going so well. Thank you all for the support! This week we’re talking with the author of Wanted: Green Card  Latoya Brown. Latoya is a social media marketer with a lot to say on a topic that needs more attention. Let’s get to know her better!

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From her blog about page:

 

 

1) What name do you write under? Is this a pseudonym? Do you use 
more than one name when you write?
I am using my own name for this book.
So the name is Latoya Brown! Check it out
2) Tell us about the first time you realized that you were an author or 
were going to be an author.
I realized I was an author while in high school – advanced placement classes required a LOT of writing.
All of those huge essays and stories to write…they definitely want to make sure you know how to put sentences and paragraphs together!
3) What genre(s) do you write in, and why?
This is my first published book and it is a romantic saga…gone wrong.51NOec--+aL._SX384_BO1,204,203,200_
How intriguing! So this book is about being duped into marriage for a green card? Not something you hear about often but something we should warn about more. 
4) What genres are your favorites to read? Why?
Believe it or not, but I love reading and perusing knitting books. The creativity and what I could do to a possible project intrigue me.
I love it. I often find myself crocheting and watching movies while a plot line simmers! I have some fabulous hats so my brain keeps warm and the creativity required helps the stories to flow too.
5) Tell us about your two all-time favorite characters: 1 that you 
wrote and 1 that someone else wrote. 
My favorite thus far has been me – I get to rewrite myself everyday.
Another favorite character by someone else is …
She just couldn’t decide between them…that’s always my issue as well!
6) There is a lot of controversy about allowing books to be made into movies (especially when they cut or change large portions of the plot). Would you be willing for your books/stories to become a movie? Why or why not?
Yes, I would love for my book to become a movie. There are so many women afflicted by this issue, so why not get the message out to a bigger audience so that there are less victims.
7) How do you handle writer’s block?
I think I simply wait. Because of my blog, which accompanies the book, I simply wait for days to see if the words will reach me in a way to explain it all.
How interesting. This is a  topic we don’t usually hear much about and the idea of the waiting for the block to resolve is also one I don’t normally hear much. Way to go 🙂
8) What inspires you?
I am inspired by action and not giving myself a future promise. For example, people always say that they want to travel. I said the same and just set out to do it. If I wait then I won’t be able to enjoy traveling as much and why wait. Let’s go!
Movement can be very inspiring…but so can sleep! I often enjoy a good bout of inspiring naptimes. 
9) How do you respond when people ask what you do, then make that face if you say “I’m an author”?
I’ve actually never said that in an introduction thus far because my book is so new. Before being an author (look, I said it!) I work primarily in assisting companies and brands in social media marketing.
That resume would probably lend itself well to introducing the idea of yourself as an author! Good luck
10) Finally, tell us where to go to find you (Twitter, Facebook, Blog, Online Bookstores, Physical Stores, Etc. List them all for us please!)
The blog accompanies the book and is available for free right now – you should go check it out.
The book is available on Amazon – you should go buy it right now.

Author Interview – Becky Michael

Hello and welcome to another brand new edition of Author Interview Fridays! This week we are chatting with author and former teacher, Becky Michael. Let’s dive in:

 

  • Tell us about the first time you realized that you were an author or were going to be an author.

 

This has been a gradual process, so there wasn’t a specific moment of realization. Creative writing wasn’t as commonly cultivated for us who grew up during the 50s and 60s, and it was only after becoming a teacher that the idea of working toward publication began to come together for me as a realistic pursuit.

 

Sadly, it seems as though the schools are beginning to shy away from creative writing more and more now. Creativity doesn’t test well apparently, but those who love writing will find their ways eventually.

 

  • What genre(s) do you write in, and why?

 

Writing for children is a way for me to retell some of the fun events from my childhood. This way, I can better fashion the outcomes to my liking! My stories and books for adults tend to focus on complicated relationships and often contain an aspect of mystery.

 

Both sound like fun! I think I might start re-telling some events from my childhood and tweak a few things 😉

 

  • What genres are your favorites to read? Why?

 

I tend to read mysteries, but find myself drawn to the titles that delve deeply into the psyches of the characters and their relationships.

 

I love character studies, though I tend to read more fantasy than anything now.

 

  • Tell us about your two all-time favorite characters: 1 that you wrote and 1 that someone else wrote.

 

A favorite in my own writing would be Solveig Baumann. Sol is one of the main characters in my short story, “Romantivores” (although her name isn’t mentioned), and readers will share more of Sol’s life in my still-to-be-published book by the same title. The story first appeared in the Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine and introduced this woman and her lover cooking dinner under somewhat unusual circumstances. She’s a little “kinked”, but a good person. Sol is independent and accomplished in her field, yet craves that “other” who will always be there for her. At the time of this interview’s posting, my story is available free of charge through Amazon Kindle until January 12.

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It’s difficult to choose a favorite character by another author, since there are so many I enjoy! One of the first that comes to mind is “Ruth Galloway”, from the wonderful series by British mystery novelist Elly Griffiths. Ruth is well educated, successful and independent. She’s also a loving mother who holds a secret love close to her heart.

 

You seem to favor independent, well educated women. I think a lot of people still gravitate toward ‘traditional’ princess types of women instead and it is very refreshing to see two favorites like yours!

 

  • How do you handle writer’s block?

 

Since I also work as a contract writer for a company offering courses and other educational content online, I have another outlet. If I’m not making much progress in my personal writing, I may review and edit more of that freelance work, which also helps pay the bills. Eventually, my own writing pulls me back.

 

It sounds like you have it covered! I find that moving between projects helps me as well. I wonder if this is something all writers have done throughout the ages?

 

  • What inspires you?

 

Nature and beautiful surroundings, such as those found in the Upper Peninsula of my home state, Michigan, inspire me. Books and stories by great authors are also stimulating, so I try to read as much as possible.

 

Your home state sounds beautiful! I don’t think I’ve ever been there.

 

  • Finally, tell us where to go to find you (Twitter, Facebook, Blog, Online Bookstores, Physical Stores, Etc. List them all for us please!)

I blog about pursuing publication, the craft of writing, reading, and other favorite interests at Platform Number 4. Readers may also discover more at my about.me  and Pinterest pages, and my story is available for Kindle through Amazon. Don’t forget…it’s free, from now until January 12. I’d love some additional reviews!

 

Thank you for dropping by and answering some of our questions today Becky! I’m excited to read your story. Good luck!

Remember guys, if you want your very own Author Interview or Artist Spotlight, just let me know! Until next time, have a wonderful week!

Author Interview with M.J. Moores

Welcome! It’s Friday, Canadian author M.J. Moores stopped by, and I have questions…that must mean that it’s time for another rousing edition of Author Interview Friday! Let’s get started, I don’t know about you but I’m excited to see her answers!

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  • What name do you write under? Is this a pseudonym? Do you use more than one name when you write?

I made the careful decision to write under the name M.J. Moores. I say “careful” because as awful as it sounds, many readers are still biased toward female authors in my genre. M.J. is my initials and as I did go by that name all during high school it doesn’t feel like a complete ‘cop-out’ to me 😉

 

  • Tell us about the first time you realized that you were an author or were going to be an author.

The ‘big’ moment for me was getting my first set of comments back from my editor. I had paid an arm and a leg for legal counseling before signing on with a small publisher but that just hit the pocket book, not the heart strings 😉 The edit showed me that I had work to do in order to make my publishing date!

 

  • What genre(s) do you write in, and why?

I prefer Speculative Fiction. My first series of books is Sci-Fi/Fantasy with a hint of horror and my next series (for which I’ve already begun book 1) is an Urban/Supernatural Fantasy. I gravitate toward tales of the fantastic because I view reading as an important escape from reality. There’s a reason I don’t watch the news and that same reason applies to the kinds of books I read and write.

 Time's Tempest - Official Book Cover

Now, don’t get me wrong, knowing and understanding current events and the impact they have on daily life is extremely important – but it’s also very depressing. As human beings we thrive on hope. I don’t get that from the news or general fiction; I get that from allowing myself time to explore “what if” in another context and allowing myself to believe that not everything is doom and gloom – or at least it doesn’t have to be.

 

  • What genres are your favorites to read? Why?

 

I love YA and Fantasy (and if the two are combined then I’m in ecstasy). I also have a soft-spot for a well-written memoir. Again, these fall into the same reasoning as above – I don’t want to be depressed when I read, I want adventure, excitement, and more than a little bit of wonder. In my opinion, a good memoir is one that shows you how exciting someone else’s life really was/is, even if they only faced every-day challenges. It’s all about perspective and an author who knows how to tell a good story.

 

  • Tell us about your two all-time favorite characters: 1 that you wrote and 1 that someone else wrote.

Oooo… that’s a tough one! I guess I’d have to say Yelena from the Poison Study series written by Maria V. Snider. I gobble up almost anything Snider writes and became completely addicted to this series. Yelena is the epitome of a strong female character – she’s vulnerable and kick-ass. I know that may sound like a contradiction but her inner fire and resilience in the face of adversity, as well as the fact that she never loses her humanity, speaks volumes to me.

 

As for a favourite character that I’ve written… hmm… I might have gone with the main character, Taya, in my SFF series had you asked me last year, but I’ve discovered a new character – Dray. She’s the lead in my Urban Fantasy series. In some ways she’s like Taya and Yelena but I haven’t figured her out yet. There’s a mystery to her and a real sense of confusion that plays more prominently in Dray’s life than it does in the lives of those other characters (not that there isn’t a lot of confuse there too). She’s got me curious. The “what if’s” surrounding her are at the same time much closer to home and yet much farther away – boy, I do love a contradiction!

 

  • There is a lot of controversy about allowing books to be made into movies (especially when they cut or change large portions of the plot). Would you be willing for your books/stories to become a movie? Why or why not?

Oh, great question! I spent time studying film in university and it has brought me such an appreciation for this medium. Honestly, if any book lover is able to see past the blind love of their favourite book to the reality of what it takes to bring a story to the big screen, they will begin to realize that it’s not about re-creating the book but allowing the essence of it to blossom in a new light.

 

It’s impossible to sell 7 hr long movies on a regular basis and most books, to be done ‘true’, would take at least that long if not longer. I would totally support a major filming company buying the rights to my book(s) – so long as I got final say on the adaptation 😉

 

  • How do you handle writer’s block?

It is not an affliction that has ever plagued me. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not bragging here. I do get stumped sometimes, but that just means that I don’t yet know enough about what I’m writing to be able to write it. So, I either do more research or go for a walk/do some mundane house chores to let my mind wander and explore the possibilities. Then, when I feel like I’m going to burst for holding so much information in my mind, I write. It’s making use of my analytic and creative side – always asking myself “what if?”

 

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  • What inspires you?

Curiosity. The need to know and the need to be realistic – LOL! I know! I write SFF 😉 While I’m not what you’d call a “hard” SF writer, I do feel an intrinsic need to make things believable… even plausible based on the general construct of the world around us. That means a lot of research on my end. For my Urban Fantasy series I’ve done a ton of research on myth, fairy tale and creatures of the fantastic. There’s a clear knowledge base of the unknown and absurd that I cannot ignore. It’s not factual per-se but it brings a core understanding to what has come before. Now, I’m not trying to simply re-hash what someone else has done before me – no… I see how I can add a twist that won’t cause die-hard fantasy fans a heart attack but instead, make them cock their head like a dog with curiosity.

 

  • What was the most difficult scene you ever wrote? What made it so hard to write?

Wow. You know, I’d love to tell you it was a death or near-death sequence or the moment when Taya broke down at the fact that even her own mother didn’t recognize her, but the honest truth is that I live for those high-emotion scenes. No, for me I found with book one in The Chronicles of Xanna, the transition from “home” to “other” was a challenge to write. It was the manifestation of the “call to action” for Taya, my female heroine. You see, the important stuff was all in my head – the “implied” information that feels so natural to us as the writer. I had to find a way to bring the proper meaning and weight to this moment without being pedantic or leading. I was having trouble finding that balance between what I knew was right and what my editor was telling me should be happening. But I stuck with it, because I agreed with her – it wasn’t there yet. Luckily, by the final draft and with the addition of a new chapter I nailed it 😉

 

  • How do you respond when people ask what you do, then make that face if you say “I’m an author”?

Generally I don’t get “the face” until they ask me who my publisher is and I tell them I’m self-published… Even when I was with my small publisher (for a short stint) that happened. I don’t think the general public has quite embraced the idea that there are many Indie Authors who produce high-quality books; and so for me, “the face” equates to “so you’re not a serious writer then.” It really depends on the person asking as to which response I give back. If it’s a friend or colleague from another field then I’ll take the time to explain. If it’s someone I’ve only met recently then I won’t waste my time – clearly they’ve already made up their mind.

 

  • At what point would you consider yourself “a successful” author?

 

This is a tough one for me to answer but I think, ultimately, it’s when enough readers have discovered me, and buy my books, where I’m make a small profit from my labour (and when I say small, I mean small but better than breaking even). Then, in doing more than simply surviving as an author but actually living and breathing a workable reality.

 

  • Finally, tell us where to go to find you:

I would love to connect with you and your readers on any of the following platforms:

Author Website/Blog – http://mjmoores.com

Facebook – http://facebook.com/AuthorMJMoores

Twitter – https://twitter.com/AuthorMJMoores

Amazon – http://goo.gl/oUS3B9

Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/559531

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Thank you so much for inviting me to chat with you today!

Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by! Your answers are thought provoking and fun!

Now for a bit of housekeeping. Next Friday is the 25th and apparently there is some sort of huge holiday going on then?? 😀 As such, I’m not going to posting an Author Interview until the following week. Which means….This segment will return to you in 2016!!

Remember, if you would like to be featured in your own Author Interview then you should give me a shout! I can’t wait to hear from you.

Have a wonderful Holiday everyone!

Author Interview with Phillip T. Stephens

Welcome All! You’ve shown up on a perfect day, because today is Friday and that means (fanfare plays) AUTHOR INTERVIEWS! This week I’m discussing our ten questions with Phillip T. Stephens, who I don’t believe that I can sufficiently describe for you right here so…Let’s get started!

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Hello Phillip and thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions for us!

  • What name do you write under? Is this a pseudonym? Do you use more than one name when you write?

Phillip T. Stephens. This is my only name.

  • Tell us about the first time you realized that you were an author or were going to be an author.

I think I knew I was going to be an author in high school, when I was a freshman. That doesn’t mean I made a commitment to becoming one. I wrote my first pitiful attempt during my freshman and sophomore year, then got distracted by life and that was the story of my writing career for the next fifty years.

I wrote seven novels and the better half of three more, rewriting all of them several times over.

I made a commitment to becoming an author when I published my first novel Raising Hell in 2012. It’s about a clueless optimist sent to hell by accident, who decides to make hell to best place of eternal punishment possible. I wrote at least seven drafts of that and I’m still working on it.

  • What genre(s) do you write in, and why?

I write in the genre the novel demands, which, I admit, hurts marketing. But when I look back on the writers who influenced me the most— Walker Percy, Thomas Pynchon, Flannery O’Connor, Saul Bellow—genre didn’t exist for them. Sales only became genre driven in the last twenty or thirty years.

  • What genres are your favorites to read? Why?

I don’t have a favorite. I like global thrillers, mysteries, procedurals, some science fiction, horror. In the end, however, it’s the book that appeals to me, not the genre. If I read a blurb and a sample appeals to me, I’ll read the book. Right now I pretty much read indie authors to support their efforts to break the control of the publishing industry.

  • Tell us about your two all-time favorite characters: 1 that you wrote and 1 that someone else wrote.

My favorite character that I wrote is Lucifer. It’s hard to talk about him without spoilers, but he’s the second most powerful being in the universe and instead of shaping his will on a kingdom of his choosing, the All-Know-Better-Than-You put him in charge of the whiners, back-stabbers, ingrates, and squabbling politicians. He can’t seem to get past the slight.

I’m not sure about this guy….he’s either super excited to be there or that creepy smile has been burned onto his face. Either way, it certainly screams “Welcome to …well you know”

  • There is a lot of controversy about allowing books to be made into movies (especially when they cut or change large portions of the plot). Would you be willing for your books/stories to become a movie? Why or why not?

Sure. Movies are a different art form. You have to reduce what could be an expansive concept to ninety minutes or two hours. That’s 90 to 110 pages of which most of the page is white space. People don’t get that. One script page is one film minute. And I don’t care what they say, I couldn’t sit through Lord of the Rings in a theater. Or the Hobbit

I watched all of them in the theater…each LoftR movie was seen at least twice in theater (the third one I went to 3 or maybe 4 times). I was enthralled…and about the only one who sat still through the majority of the movies! During one of the movies someone kept trying to announce intermission. It has been suggested, more than once, by my dad, that they could have made that into a 6 part series or cut half the story. He prefers the cartoons. 

Writers make cuts. I wrote a script of my novel Cigerets, Guns & Beer and I’m glad I did because it made me go back and trim a lot of fat from the book. Once I visualized it for the screen I realized the book carried a lot of dead weight. And the script still cut half the book out and changes the ending entirely. Not the big ending (No spoilers) but the aftermath.

  • How do you handle writer’s block?

I don’t let it happen. I write through it. Any crap is better than nothing. I can fix bad writing, but I can’t use an empty page. I find that if you refuse to be blocked, you aren’t blocked.

I wish it worked like that for me! I refuse to be blocked, then I get frustrated, then I KNOW what needs written but it won’t come out. It’s like my refusal has sparked a stand off. 

I don’t believe in rules for writers. What works for me doesn’t necessarily work for Jessica Downthestreet. But this is one I would state as a rule. You can’t rewrite what you never wrote. And every writer I talked to who follows that principle is never blocked.

I write other things so I suppose it isn’t really writer’s block then? right? Or perhaps it is only partial blockage, like when those sadistic people block off half of the highway and make you follow the pilot vehicles…making a 10 minute trip into an hour and a half.

  • What inspires you?

A lot of things. Film, art, music, faith. A story I wrote in college that won an award came from the image of a dust mote dancing in the morning light through a window.

  • How do you respond when people ask what you do, then make that face if you say “I’m an author”?

You mean my family? All my life? It’s part of why I didn’t publish until I was almost 60. I had to teach college. I could write, but for ad agencies and non-profit clients. I could become visual designer (which I segued into in the eighties), but I couldn’t make art for love either, I had to work for agencies and clients.

Truthfully, I’m many things and author is only part of that. I’m also a philosopher, a free-range Christian, a poet who occasionally resurfaces, and most of all a wise ass. It’s that last title that is really shining through here, I think 😉

So I know that some people will think it’s cool, and some people will think I turned like the salmon they left in their refrigerator too long. I live with it and I still visit my family once a year at Christmas and smile when they tell me about all the suburban things they’re into.

  • Finally, tell us where to go to find you (Twitter, Facebook, Blog, Online Bookstores, Physical Stores, Etc. List them all for us please!)

@stephens_pt where I Tweet forty-five minutes to an hour’s worth of fresh material nightly (usually between 7 – 9 pm CST)

My blog Wind Eggs: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/583139.Phillip_T_Stephens/blog

And the fan site for my book Raising Hell, g.d.i. Mondays, which is Hell’s most popular (and only) fast food franchise.

http://www.gdimonday.com

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I’m using it to build a participatory fan base. I would really like young artists and writers to explore their inner imp with flash fiction, lymericks, sketches, cartoons. What a cool idea! I’ve seen participation based sites for books, like the Harry Potter (of course), but this sounds somehow fresh and different.

I will pull the best from the Goodreads forum and post them on the main site and if I get enough response, I’ll pull them together for an anthology and even pay out of pocket for my favorites. If worse comes to worse, I intend to release Raising Hell 2.0, the Director’s Cut which will include the best material in an addedendum.

So even if it’s not your thing, but you know someone with a little devil inside, pass the word.

And may I say, it’s been a real pleasure to chat with you Elizabeth. I hope we cross paths again.

Thank Phillip! I’ve enjoyed our chat as well. I’m sure there will be more to come, wicked senses of humor always seem to roll back around!

Remember, if you would like to have your own feature on an Author Interview Friday all you have to do is let me know! I can’t wait to get to know more of you and it seems like Phillip may be looking for some new books to read!

Until next time, Pick up a book or a pen and get some work done! And, as always…Be excellent to each other (!)

Author Interview – Ellison Blackburn

Hello everyone and welcome to this week’s fabulous Author Interview! It’s Friday, it’s December, and it’s time to talk to Ellison Blackburn! First, though, I would like to thank you all for your participation. When I started this segment,I was afraid we wouldn’t have enough authors participating to last through September. Now look at us, into December and more to come! I couldn’t be happier with it. I hope you feel the same! 

Now that I’ve gushed about you a bit, let’s see what Ms. Blackburn has to tell us!

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  • What name do you write under? Is this a pseudonym? Do you use more than one name when you write?

Ellison Blackburn, it is not a pen name—rather a variation of my real name and so far I have only used this one.

  • Tell us about the first time you realized that you were an author or were going to be an author.

Last year, my husband and I were just talking about our careers and this idea popped into my head, “In hindsight, …” and Regeneration X was born.

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At the very beginning when I started writing Regeneration X, I wasn’t even cognitive of it becoming a novel. The characters just took over and it evolved into a ninety-thousand-word story.

  • What genre(s) do you write in, and why?

Literary, Visionary, and Medical/Science fiction

Science Fiction allows me to be a part of a world of my own making, and one that incorporates the past, present, and future of my imagination—a skewed reality. Regeneration X, book 1, is rather on the soft science fiction side as the technology doesn’t exist but the advanced world is not as apparent through the protagonist’s viewpoint.

Regeneration Chronicles have/will have multi-generational characters and could be classified in a variety of ways—Literary / Medical / Visionary / Science / Contemporary / Psychological / Women’s / Young Adult Fiction. There is also a touch of urban fantasy. It’s complicated.

Cross-genre tomes are almost always more interesting (for me anyway). This sounds like a lot of fun!

  • What genres are your favorites to read? Why?

I often find myself leaning toward historical fiction and romance when looking for something to read, that or science fiction of the Harry Potter more so than the close encounters kind.

  • Tell us about your two all-time favorite characters: 1 that you wrote and 1 that someone else wrote.

Cassidy McCrae, from my upcoming second book in the Regeneration Chronicles, Progeny. Cassidy is my imaginary best friend, supportive with a realistic backbone, and complex herself, but has a way of simplifying things for everyone else.

I have loads of favorite characters. They vary as time passes and I discover/meet new favorites. Most recently I’ve discovered Diana Gabaldon’s Jamie Fraser from Outlander. Beyond his incredible sex appeal, he is a fantastically intriguing character.

Jamie Fraser is one of my favorite characters as well. His evolution over the series is amazing, but his charm and humor remain throughout it all. 

  • There is a lot of controversy about allowing books to be made into movies (especially when they cut or change large portions of the plot). Would you be willing for your books/stories to become a movie? Why or why not?

Yes, I’d be willing. Regeneration X requires the reader to delve into the concept of altering life choices already made and then dealing with the good and bad that comes with those new choices. A large part of the main character’s personality is internalized. It would be interesting to see this translated to film. I also think the current cinema offerings could use a mental film like Regeneration X. Psychological films do not always need to be thrillers do they?

Definitely not! In fact, some of the most intriguing (and down right mind-messing) movies I’ve seen were psychological non-thrillers…and scared me more than the thrillers.

  • How do you handle writer’s block?

I keep on keeping on at it. I try to write a little bit every day. Once that first sentence is down, my flow usually builds. I haven’t therefore experienced a block and I can’t really say it exists until I do. I have however boxed myself into a storyline and had to find my way out.

  • What inspires you?

In life, writing inspires me; in writing, travelling provokes fresh ideas.

Perfect!

  • How do you respond when people ask what you do, then make that face if you say, “I’m an author”?

I don’t say I’m an author when asked about my profession per se. I wish it were, but I’m not there yet. Authorship is something I fell into. For now it’s not a career insomuch as it is an act of personal fulfillment.

If it is what you love, then maybe it should be on the resume too? 😀 Sometimes the joy a hobby brings can help create your career in ways you could never have imagined.

  • Finally, tell us where to go to find you

Website: http://ellisonblackburn.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/ellisonblackburn

Author Central: http://amazon.com/author/ellisonblackburn/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ellis_blackburn

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ellisonblackburn

Google+: https://google.com/+EllisonBlackburn-Author

Thank you so much for sharing with us today Ellison! I think I can speak for our readers in saying we look forward to seeing more from you. 

Remember, if you would like to be featured in your own interview and are an author, illustrator, artist, photographer (yes that is an art, yes I’ve been asked specifically), agent, publisher, songwriter, etc. please let me know! We’ll get you set up with your very own feature.

Have a great Day!

Author Interview – Alli Marshall

Welcome to this week’s fabulous rendition of Author Interview Friday! I am proud to bring to you the insight of Alli Marshall, the author of How to Talk to Rock Stars. 

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  1. Tell us about the first time you realized that you were an author or were going to be an author.

I think I realized I actually could be a writer when I went to Goodard College for my MFA. I don’t believe that everyone who wants to write needs to get an MFA, but for me that focus cemented the idea. That, and paying back                                                                                                        the student loan!

2) What genre(s) do you write in, and why?

I write literary fiction that’s often inspired by real-life events and personal narrative. I kind of wish I wrote pithy mysteries, but that’s not what comes out when I write. I imagine it’s kind of like being a songwriter — you might want to be an Etta James but if, at the end of the day, you’re actually a Zooey Deschanel, you have to work with what you’ve got.

  • What genres are your favorites to read? Why?

I love literary fiction, some memoir, and the occasional mystery.

3) Tell us about your two all-time favorite characters: 1 that you wrote and 1 that someone else wrote.

I’m sort of fickle. I love a character until I discover a new one who I love even more. I recently read “The Paris Wife” and loved the voice of Hadley. Theo Decker from “The Goldfinch” stayed with me — I still think of him sometimes!

Among my own characters, I think my favorite is Tobias Bridge, a musician from my novel, “How to Talk to Rockstars.” He’s very in-the-moment and alive — kind of over-the-top but he has a good heart and a great sense of style. I’ve wished more than once that I could hang out with him in real life.

     4) There is a lot of controversy about allowing books to be made into movies (especially when they cut or change large portions of the plot). Would you be willing for your books/stories to become a movie? Why or why not?

I’d certainly consider it. I think that if that opportunity ever presented itself I’d follow in the footsteps of one of my favorite authors, Ron Rash, and be very hands-off about it. I don’t think I’d try to control the screenplay or view the film as an extension of the book. The two are usually very different projects.

         5) How do you handle writer’s block?

I’m a writer and editor for my day job, so I really don’t get writer’s block. Some days the ideas are better than other days, but I can always write something. The same is kind of true for working on fiction — I can’t always write a lot, and sometimes I get stuck on what should happen next or if the story is even working at all. But there are always other ideas to work on, essays to write, little sketches and, if nothing else, my journal to turn to.

I think that may be the key…always have more than one thing going on at a time!

 6) What inspires you?

Great books, antique stores, vintage clothing shops, travel, rainy days, old movies, small beach towns, weathered barns, skeleton keys, and pretty much any song by Gregory Alan Isakov.

I love this list! I want to do a very retro “RIGHT ON!” for you. 

 7) How do you respond when people ask what you do, then make that face if you say “I’m an author”?

I’ve never had anyone make the face! But I live in a very artistic town where everyone is involved in some kind of creative pursuit. If I was, say, an investment banker in my free time, people might give me a strange look.

I would look at anyone strangely if they told me they were an investment banker! 

8) Finally, tell us where to go to find you:

Web: http://alli-marshall.com

Facebook: http://facebooks.com/allimarshallauthor

Twitter/Instagram: @alli_marshall

Publisher: http://logosophiabooks.com

Distributor: http://www.spdbooks.org/Producte/9780981575780/how-to-talk-to-rockstars.aspx

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/How-Talk-Rockstars-Alli-Marshall/dp/0981575781/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1440534006&sr=1-1

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/how-to-talk-to-rockstars-alli-marshall/1121534517?ean=9780981575780

My favorite local bookstore, Malaprop’s: http://www.malaprops.com/book/9780981575780

Thank you Alli! We appreciate you taking the time out to talk with us today.

Remember, if you want to be featured in your own interview, let me know! I might just be able to make that happen…Happy weekend All!

Author Interview – Lisa Richesson

Welcome to another great week of Author Interviews! Today we have Non-Fiction author Lisa Richesson visiting with us to answer our 10 questions. Let’s get started!

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1)    What name do you write under? Is this a pseudonym?   Do you use more than one name when you write?

Lisa Richesson. (This is not a pseudonym, nor does she use any other names in her writing career)

2) Tell us about the first time you realized that you were an author or were going to be an author. 

I was fourteen and had just finished reading John Lennon’s In His Own Write.  I suddenly knew deep down to my bones that I was a writer deep in my soul.

3)  What genre(s) do you write in, and why? 

Non-fiction and memoir because, as Christopher Isherwood said, “Why invent when life is so prodigious?”  For me, the lives and memories of people are much more interesting than fiction.  You can’t make this stuff up, right?

4)    What genres are your favorites to read? Why? 

I enjoy reading memoirs, history, oral histories.   Because for me, reading memoirs and history helps to ground me in the present.  By knowing how the world has evolved and how historic events have shaped our lives today, everything makes a bit more sense.

5)  Tell us about your two all-time favorite characters: 1 that you wrote and 1 that someone else wrote. 

This a hard one to answer as any favorite character I have will be a real person or entity of some sort.  Given that train of thought, my favorite character/entity is London.  As far as a character that I’ve written, I’m still working on it!

6)  There is a lot of controversy about allowing books to be made into movies (especially when they cut or change large portions of the plot). Would you be willing for your books/stories to become a movie? Why or why not?

Sure.   A movie would get my work out to a lot of people who don’t necessarily look at books to buy on Amazon!

7)    How do you handle writer’s block? 

I set a goal of writing 1,000 words a day.  If the words just won’t materialize I either go for a walk or read or plop in front of the TV until I feel refreshed.

8)  What inspires you? 

Reading.  Movies.  Talking with folks.  Reading.  Art.  Museums.  Reading.  Travel.  Reading.

9) How do you respond when people ask what you do, then make that face if you say “I’m an author”? 

I’ve never gotten that face.  Rather I get, “Oh really?  What do you write?” or “Published yet?” or “How nice.”  “Or I’m (or my cousin, aunt, uncle, mother, father, best friend) is a writer too.”  “Oh wow!  Are you in a writer’s group?  Wanna start one?”  My response would be:  I write memoir and non-fiction.  I just published my first book on CreateSpace.  How nice you (or a relative/friend) is also a writer.  And thanks, but I’m not entirely interested in a writer’s group; however, I’d like to hear your ideas about one.”

10)  Finally, tell us where to go to find you:

My book, White Lady, Black Sons: a memoir of adoption, abuse and awakening is available on Amazon and Kindle. 

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Facebook https://www.facebook.com/LRichesson

Twitter @LisaRichesson

Blog at  www.lisarichesson@wordpress.com.

Thank you Lisa for those insightful answers, and thank you everyone for joining us today. If you would like to be featured in your own interview (author, illustrator, agent, publisher, etc) please contact me and we’ll get you set up! Have a fabulous weekend!

Author Interview – Angela J. Ford

Welcome Everyone to another fabulous edition of our Friday Author Interviews! This week we have the lovely Angela joining us with her answers to our standard  10 questions for authors. Let’s see what she has to say:

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  • What name do you write under? Is this a pseudonym? Do you use more than one name when you write?

I actually write under my own name, but first I did some research to see if there were any other authors or public figures with the same name. Turns out, there’s an Angela Ford who writes romance novels, so I branded myself as Angela J. Ford.

I wonder how many people find you because they’re looking for a little romantic tale? That would be an interesting statistic to check out!

  • Tell us about the first time you realized that you were an author or were going to be an author.

It just happened! Growing up with four sisters we were always telling stories with our toys, reading books, making up all kinds of entertaining tales. Then one day instead of saying those stories out loud, I started writing them down, and short stories turned into novels, and novels turned into series. When I was 12 I finished the first draft of “The Five Warriors” and after that, the books continued to pour out of me. I knew wanted to publish them, it was just a matter of when. 14 years later, now it’s finally happening!

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Way to stick to it! 

  • What genre(s) do you write in, and why?

I love fairy tales and knowing anything can happen, there’s a hopeful outlook on life when you know anything is possible. That’s one of the reasons I write fantasy, the other is because I enjoy creating worlds, peoples and creatures that are similar but not quite like earth and humans. It’s much easier for me to write when I can create histories of peoples groups instead of researching them.

  • What genres are your favorites to read? Why?

Ah, such a hard question! As of late thrillers and suspense are my favorite genres to read. I love the way they pull the reader in, twist the story and make you think, I always try to guess what happens before the end. It’s like paying a game of Clue but with a book. I also read a lot of inspirational self-help books as well to keep me thinking, learning and growing as I build my marketing business.

  • Tell us about your two all-time favorite characters: 1 that you wrote and 1 that someone else wrote.

Honestly, I like all of my characters but one of my favorites is in the final books of The Four Worlds Series is Eliesmore. He is a young, reluctant hero, a bit skeptical, and often feels like he’s been thrown in over his head. But he has a destiny which takes him on insane adventures, he runs into hilarious folk. It was quite fun creating the magical, mysterious world he lived in.

One of my favorite characters is Sybel from “The Forgotten Beasts of Eld” by Patricia A. McKillip. She is a chilling, powerful wizard unaccustomed to emotion until a child and a man cause her to step down from her mountain of security. It’s a wonderful, magical tale.

  • There is a lot of controversy about allowing books to be made into movies (especially when they cut or change large portions of the plot). Would you be willing for your books/stories to become a movie? Why or why not?

Absolutely, I’d love for my books to be turned into a movie or a television series. I’m a huge fan of the film industry and understand the different between the medium of film and writing. There are certain things a viewer expects from a movie that are different from what a reader expects in a book.

  • How do you handle writer’s block?

Oh the struggle, I just remind myself to write. Some days it could be 10 words, others 10 pages, but it’s the practice that makes perfect. Besides, one always have the option to come back, re-draft and fix your work. It’s the practice of writing, the repetition that helps me move past the writer’s block.

  • What inspires you?

Many moments in life inspire me, but mainly enjoying the beauty of nature. All of my books have some sort of journey theme because I adore traveling. Of course I’m inspired by the books and movies as well.

  • How do you respond when people ask what you do, then make that face if you say “I’m an author”?

To each their own, I already know not everyone likes authors, heck, not everyone enjoys reading! That’s fine by me, there are billions of people of the world and I’m not too worried about those who don’t “approve” of what I do. It’s just one of those things in life, you will always find the negative people, the downers, the realists, but that doesn’t mean you need to take their words to heart not change your course because one random stranger doesn’t believe in you.

What a great way to look at it!

  • Finally, tell us where to go to find you:

You can find me almost anywhere only, and please say hi, I love chatting.
Book Website: www.thefivewarriors.com
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Five-Warriors-Angela-J-Ford/dp/1512163619
Twitter: www.twitter.com/aford21
Facebook: www.facebook.com/thefourworldsseries
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4522765.Angela_J_Ford

Instagram: www.instagram.com/aford21
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/aford21
Blog: www.angelajford.com/blog

Thank you for sharing a bit of insight into your world with us Angela! It has been a joy to read your answers and have you with us at Here There Be Dragons!

Remember everyone, if you are enjoying this series and would like to be featured in your own interview please let me know! (You don’t have to let me know if you don’t enjoy or don’t want to be featured…I’ll figure it out from your lack of contact. However, if you just can’t hold it back, go ahead and leave me a comment telling me whats up!)

Happy Weekend Everyone! We’ll see you back here soon for another interview with another amazing author!