Archive: Meet & Greet Authors (G-L)

 

Welcome to the Archive Section of

Meet & Greet Authors

All of the writers on THIS page are listed alphabetically by LAST names G through L.

 

*All the information/websites/links were current AT THE TIME OF INITIAL POSTING. As time passes, please be aware that the links provided might not be active anymore.

 

Jennifer L. Gadd

 

Name: Jennifer L. Gadd

Genre(s) of your work: YA paranormal, YA fantasy, YA science fiction, picture books, hi-lo books (high-interest, low-readability for reluctant and challenged readers)

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

Were-Children Series

Cat Moon (2016 republished from 2013)

Finn the Hero Series

Finn and the Boys (2016)

Finn and the Fish (2017)

The Second Battle (2017)

Space Cadets Series

Space Bugs (coming in early 2018)

 

Bio:

Jennifer L. Gadd is a life-long reader and writer who holds a deep interest in writing books that children and young adults will want to read with joy. She writes mostly fantasy and science fiction, as well as hi-lo books for struggling readers.

She has lived in Texas, Illinois, and Alaska, and currently resides in Kansas City, Kansas, where she is a reading interventionist at an urban middle school.

 

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

The genres of my published works are, pure and simple, some of the types of things I enjoy reading and that I hope YA readers will read with pleasure.

 

How has writing changed/altered your life?

I don’t know that it has. I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t a writer, to be honest.

 

Who are your favorite authors and why?

My favorite author is F. Scott Fitzgerald (with a shout-out to Zelda, from whom he took a lot of stuff.) What I like about Fitzgerald is the juxtaposition of both the beauty of his prosody and the conciseness of his language. My other favorites are Agatha Christie, Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Anne Perry, and Sharyn McCrumb.

 

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

I have nothing against mainstream bookstores, although I prefer to shop at locally-owned shops when possible. What I really lament is the lack of any bookstores of any kind in so many areas.

 

What do you hope your readers will take away from your work?

My day job is everyone’s worst nightmare—their middle school English teacher! I know English teachers are supposed to really big on the True Meaning of Literature, but I’m not. Specifically, I’m a reading interventionist, and I just want kids to enjoy reading. Once non-readers start to enjoy it, then their reading issues start to resolve—because they’re reading. All I want is for readers to enjoy reading my books.

 

How much does personal experience play in your written work?

Given the genres of what I have published so far, it’s obvious that I have never personally experienced most of the plot points about which I write. But I do know people. I think that’s where personal experience plays a big part—in knowing life and people, how they speak, how they interact, what makes them tick. Those things certainly play a part in my work.

 

How do you find the motivation to complete a book/story?

If you mean a book I’m writing, how do you not do that? In fact, I usually have the ending written, or at least thought of, before I begin writing. I might not leave it that way once I get to that point, but it’s there to work towards. If you mean a book I’m reading, motivation doesn’t really come into it. I am a super-fast reader, so getting to the end isn’t a problem.

 

What makes you NOT finish reading a book?

There have been barely a handful of books I’ve started and made an intentional decision not to finish. Very, very few. Two of them, though, are wildly popular right now, and I don’t want people to hate me forever, so I’m not going to name them.

 

Do you believe writing should be censored – that some topics should remain taboo?

Unless it involves hate speech, absolutely not. And this is something I’m passionate about in terms of YA literature. Folks who think kids shouldn’t be reading things about racism, rape, drug use, poverty, suicide, child abuse, or whatever their hot-button issue is, really underestimate them and do them a disservice. What they’re really saying is that they themselves don’t want to deal with it. It’s too uncomfortable for them. The kids can experience all these issues, can live through them, but gosh and golly, they sure shouldn’t be reading about them. What a crock.

 

Any pet peeves in writing? In reading others’ work?

In my own writing, it’s the formatting that turns me into a big ball of stress. I positively despise it, but whatcha gonna do? You have to get everything all book-shaped to make it work.

I do have some peeves regarding things I read, though. First and foremost, I would list anachronisms. An aforeUNmentioned work that is massively popular right now has the major conflict resolution centered around an anachronism. The big, emotional, climactic scene in the historical fiction book could not possibly have ever happened in real life. Man, that crawls up my nose, because it wouldn’t take more than a five-minute Google-whack to find that out. A major author with a major publisher shouldn’t be having those issues. I think a well-written book requires solid, correct research before the writing can begin.

This question kind of end the interview on a griping, whiny down-note, doesn’t it? Sorry about that!

 

Where can people find you and your work?

Amazon Author Page:

https://www.amazon.com/Jennifer-L.-Gadd/e/B012GMWTPI

SmashWords:

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/fionnabhar

Website:

http://jennifergadd.wixsite.com/jenniferlgadd

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/jlgadd/

WordPress:

https://jenniferlgadd.wordpress.com/

WattPad:

https://www.wattpad.com/user/JenniferGadd

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R. Gadd

Name: R. Gadd

Genre(s) of your work: Romance, contemporary romance

 Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

Twelve Months – 2016

Twelve Months: Reprieve – 2017

Twelve Months: Broken Chord – 2018

 

Bio:

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a fascination with words; how they sound, the definition of each one, the reaction certain words have on others. Some people sing, some dance, some paint. For me, words are my creative outlet. I live in Wales in the U.K. I devour books… I’m a self-confessed romance novel junkie. I love music and going to concerts. I adore the process of writing,  creating new worlds, and new characters. It’s a strange thing playing God with fictitious people, but I love it. In factual life, I’m a mother, daughter, fiancée, sister, mean dancer, and strawberry laces enthusiast.

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

The romance genre was something I fell into. It was Brontë and Austin that set my allegiance with romance in stone. There’s something quite wonderful about the eras that they wrote about. Some aspects of those eras (especially Brontë) are dark and suppressing, but there’s something desirable in their romantic prose that is missing from the new age. I like the respect, the manners; it’s all very polished and refined. That being said, I love how the quintessential hero in books these days have evolved.

Nowadays, we’re more often than not faced with rude, arrogant, bad boy persona leading males. It’s such a turnaround, and they also have a place in my heart, along with the likes of Captain Wentworth and Rochester. I like writing about these leading men’s flaws, their human sides, which I don’t think we got to see a lot of in classic romance. It’s built within us as human beings to value love, and that’s why I like writing in this genre so much. It has such an overwhelming effect on the human spirit, and if I can generate that feeling in others, I will continue to write romance.

 

How has writing changed/altered your life?

Writing can be a very solitary process. I feel locked into my own head most of the time. The more books I write, the harder I find it to socialize and have fun when I’m not supposed to be working. I’m more obsessed with words and grammar now than I’ve ever been. I’ve always loved literature, but the past five years has proved just how much I love it.

The major thing I’ve noticed since writing is that I’m no longer capable of switching off from the world around me. It’s like my off button is defunct. Even when I’m not writing, I’m continually thinking of plots, new characters, watching people’s mannerisms, and storing new words and phrases that I hear into my grey matter. I read articles, books, even other people’s social media statuses, and I begin to think of ways I could have improved it if I’d been the one to write it. My friends and family have learned to tolerate how easily distracted I’ve become, even though I know it annoys them that I can’t tune out the world and focus on a single conversation.

Who are your favorite authors and why?

I love T.M Frazier. Her writing is so dark and gritty, and I love how she writes romance in such a nonconformist way. I really like Penelope Douglas; she really knows how to write an amazing story with plenty of twists and turns. Cora Brent is another favourite of mine. She writes in a very human, very earthy way. When I’m reading a Brent novel, I always feel like I’m right there between the pages with her characters.

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

I’m not about to wax lyrical over the reasons why I dislike them. However, there is something lacking, something sterile and clinical about mainstream bookstores. Books are magical resources that can transform a person’s mood in the mere turn of a page. That seems to lessen somewhat when the major names come into play. That being said, everything has its place in the world, and so do corporate bookstores. What we have to remember is that if it wasn’t for the online versions of these corporations, then it would be incredibly difficult for indie writers to share their work.

What do you hope your readers will take away from your work?

That everyone is human, and forgiveness is something each of us needs to learn in our own time. Life, love, and the path it takes us on is a skewed one. Certain elements in someone’s existence can bruise senseless and sometimes cause them to make terrible decisions. I think there’s a real message of how resilient we are as people. One reviewer summed it up quite eloquently. They said: ‘Love can hurt and be awesome.’ That short sentence resonated deeply within me. Whoever wrote that about my book, thank you so much.

How much does personal experience play in your written work?

I don’t use myself, my friends and family, or anyone I know as material for my books. My life is just that — mine. I don’t want to write about me, and I find it a little intrusive to write about people I know. However, I love people watching; I like seeing how others interact, their mannerisms, facial expressions etc. I’m surrounded by a network of incredibly sharp tongues, so it was inevitable that some of the jokes and one-liners I’d heard over the years would make it into the books.

How do you find the motivation to complete a book/story?

The readers —  it’s as simple as that. I’m a hardcore procrastinator, so getting messages from my readers puts a spring in my step to finish a chapter. Somedays, it’s easy to forget that there are people out there that want to read my stories. On the days where I feel like throwing in the towel, I look at my reviews, and remember the good, constructive criticism that I’ve received from fans of the book.

 

 

What makes you NOT finish reading a book?

When there’s no depth in the characters. I dislike books that are lacking in personality. I need to feel endeared to a character to really be able to enjoy a story.

Do you believe writing should be censored – that some topics should remain taboo?

Writing is an art form, I find no censorship in art. So, no, I don’t think writing should be censored.

Any pet peeves in writing? In reading others’ work?

Again, I hate undeveloped characters and storylines, and reading dialogue that sounds stunted or robotic. If something doesn’t flow or if I can’t imagine a particular character saying a particular sentence, then I can’t immerse myself in the story.

 

Where can people find you and your work?

You can find the ‘Twelve Months’ book series on Amazon:

USA: https://www.amazon.com/Twelve-Months-R-Gadd-ebook/dp/B01LWVYGL3/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1519820500&sr=8-6&keywords=twelve+months

U.K: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Twelve-Months-R-Gadd-ebook/dp/B01LWVYGL3/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1519820610&sr=8-2&keywords=twelve+months&dpID=5135%252BKke83L&preST=_SY445_QL70_&dpSrc=srch

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Robert I. Girardi

 

Name: Robert I. Girardi

Genre(s) of your work: History, Military History, American Civil War

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

Remembering the Grand Army of the Republic, Chicago History Magazine, 2015

“’Prince John’ Magruder in Texas,” in Confederate Generals in the Trans-Mississippi, vol. 2,

2015

The Civil War Generals: Comrades, Peers, Rivals, in Their Own Words, 2013

The  U.S. Army at the Outbreak of the Civil War, in Desperta Ferro, 2013

The First Battle of Bull Run, in Desperta Ferro, 2013

“Leonidas Polk and the Fate of Kentucky in 1861,” in Confederate Generals in the Western

Theater, vol. 3, 2011

Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, Sesquicentennial of the Civil War Issues,

2011-2014

Gettysburg in Art and Artifacts, 2010

The Civil War Art of Keith Rocco, 2009

Campaigning with Uncle Billy: The Civil War Memoirs of Sgt. Lyman S. Widney, 34th Illinois

Volunteer Infantry, 2008

Kentuckians in Gray, 2008

The Soldier’s View, 2004

The New Annals of the Civil War, 2004

Brigadier General William Passmore Carlin, U.S.A., 1999

The Military Memoirs of General John Pope, 1998

Captain H.W. Chester, Recollections of the War of the Rebellion, A Story of the 2nd Ohio

Volunteer Cavalry, 1996

Bio:

Robert earned his M.A. in Public History at Loyola University of Chicago in 1991. He is a past president of the Civil War Round Table of Chicago, a fellow of the Company of Military Historians and is an associate member of the Sons of Union Veterans. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Illinois State Historical Society and has been on the editorial review board of the Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society since 2009. He has consulted for the Chicago Historical Society and the Bureau County Historical Society.

In 2013 he joined the Board of Directors for the Camp Douglas Restoration Foundation, He was the keynote speaker at the re-dedication of the Illinois Monument in the National Cemetery at Andersonville National Historic Site and was awarded a research grant by the Friends of Andersonville. He was the 2010 recipient of the Chicago CWRT’s Nevins-Freeman Award for service and scholarship. In 2014 he was awarded the Iron Brigade Association Award for Civil War Scholarship by the Milwaukee CWRT.

Robert has a lifelong interest in the Civil War and has studied all facets of the conflict.

He speaks to groups of all ages and levels of expertise on multiple aspects of the Civil War, especially the experience of the common soldier, and the role of Illinois in the war. He has written numerous essays and book reviews and was the guest editor for the 2011- 2014 Sesquicentennial of the Civil War issues of the Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society. His most recent essay appeared in the Winter 2015 issue of Chicago History magazine.

He has recently retired after 31 years from the Chicago Police Department, 25 of which he spent in homicide.

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

I love American History and the Civil War was the greatest crisis of our national existence. The divided nature of life in both the North and South led to untold suffering. The nation that exited the war was stronger in its identity and purpose and led the U.S onto the world stage as a major power. The scars and emotions of the 1860s have never fully healed and continue to provoke controversy today.

.

How has writing changed/altered your life?

Writing has always been my passion. It allows me to express thoughts and exchange ideas with a vast audience

Who are your favorite authors and why?

I have always enjoyed William Shakespeare, Mark Twain, Edgar Allan Poe, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I enjoy the way these writers play with words, evoke mood, present dialect and tell a story.

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

Unfortunately, these stores often overlook many authors and instead have morphed into coffee shops that sell books, instead of bookstores that sell coffee.

What do you hope your readers will take away from your work?

I hope my readers will gain a different insight into many of my subjects. I have gone against the grain of many writers in the field by closely examining the facts and hitherto ignored evidence, thereby coming at times to a different understanding of the facts. I also like to present the subject from the point of view of those engaged in it, rather than from a 21st Century assessment.

How much does personal experience play in your written work?

My writing is the culmination of a lifelong passion of studying and reading about the events and personalities involved. My education provided the skills and my years of professional writing has given me some craftsmanship.

How do you find the motivation to complete a book/story?

I have a passion for the subject, but a hard deadline under contract is a good motivator too.

What makes you NOT finish reading a book?

Sloppy research, misspelled words, misrepresentation of facts.

Do you believe writing should be censored – that some topics should remain taboo?

Not at all.

Any pet peeves in writing? In reading others’ work?

I abhor political correctness in every form. I also do not appreciate an author who does not present a fair account of all sides of a story.

Where can people find you and your work?

My books are available in major bookstores, specialty stores and on Amazon. I speak regularly in the Chicago area and have given presentations all across the U.S.to Civil War round tables, libraries, historical societies, Rotary Clubs, schools at all levels and senior facilities.

I have a website at www.Robertgirardi.com, an author’s page on Amazon.com

I also have a Facebook page.

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Darran M. Handshaw

 

 

Name: Darran M. Handshaw

Genre(s) of your work: Science Fiction/Fantasy

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

The Engineer/2017,

The Quantum Soul (short story: The Machine in the Mountain)/2017

 

Bio:

Darran M. Handshaw is the author of The Engineer, his debut novel. In addition to writing , Darran works as an R&D Engineer at a technology company. There he designs and invents new products; he holds more than 15 patents in firefighting and data capture. Darran also volunteers as a firefighter and EMT with his local fire department, where he recently completed a two-year term as Fire Captain. Darran hails from Long Island, NY, where he lives with his wife, Stefanie, and son, Corwin, who fill his life with love, wisdom, and endless adventures.

 Tell us a bit about your new release, The Engineer.

            The Engineer is a story that follows the adventures of (you guessed it!) an engineer named Actaeon in the ruined, futuristic city of Redemption.  When you think of Redemption, you could imagine what a city like Manhattan would look like six hundred years into the future.  Then imagine it devastated by some cataclysmic event that also causes all the people (the Ancients) living there to disappear.  The events that ruined Redemption are a mystery to the characters in The Engineer, who are part of a society that has established itself in the fallen city one hundred years before the story begins.  The people that live in the city have quite varied opinions on the city and the artifacts left behind.  Some fear the artifacts and seek to destroy them, others horde them to gain power, and others worship them as a god-like magic.

            The people living in the bones of the ancient city have formed Dominions, which are like city-states – each with different beliefs, methods of governance, and distinct cultures.  Much of life in Redemption is rooted in survival, politics of power, and battle for resources.  Actaeon is a bit of an oddball though, because he’s more interested in how things work and how he can invent things that will help improve the world around him.  His skills end up becoming quite valuable to many of the Dominion leaders and that draws him into all sorts of interesting situations that he needs to solve.

            People that have read the story tell me that fans of Horizon: Zero Dawn, Stargate: Atlantis, MacGyver, Numenera, and Mad Max would enjoy the story.

 

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

The great thing about science fiction and fantasy is that the possibilities are endless.  The normal boundaries of setting, technological feasibility, or character capability are gone.  The result is limitless creativity where the only boundaries are the ones written into a story.  With science fiction, things can be more challenging, because technology used should be either rooted in fact, theory, or presented in a believable way to a reader.  With fantasy, you have even more freedom, but it must be presented in a consistent and believable way to the reader, which can also be difficult.

 

How has writing changed/altered your life?

I’ve always written for fun, ever since I was a child.  Only a few years ago did I decide that I was going to finish and publish a book.  Writing changed my entire life, because, through writing in a text-based roleplaying game called Redemption MUSH, I met another player who would eventually be my wife and give me a wonderful son.  My debut novel, The Engineer, tells that story.  You could probably imagine why it was so important for me to write that story!  It also happened to be quite the epic, and unanticipated, adventure.  It is something that I think others will enjoy reading.

 

Who are your favorite authors and why?

My favorite authors of all time are always those whose stories and characters stay with me after I read them.  There are a few that really stand out for me.  When Prince Corwin rediscovers who he is in Roger Zelazny’s Chronicles of Amber.  The gritty, but good-humored, war veterans Fiddler and Hedge in Steven Erikson’s Malazan Books.  The epic, generational-spanning story of The Forever War by Joe Haldeman.  Or the way Joseph Heller’s Catch-22 effortlessly moved between inept hilarity and shocking trauma.

All those authors and their works made me into the author I am today.

 

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

Mainstream bookstores help to bring more books to people.  Big book bookstores can afford to carry more books and open stores in areas where a small, local bookstore might not attract customers.  Services like Amazon’s Createspace and KDP even allow indie authors to self-publish without dealing with a traditional publishing process that might change their work drastically.  Benefits like this are great!  However, there is still a big place for local mom-and-pop bookstores that carry a tailored selection, local authors or books that are no longer in print.  I don’t think those big corporate bookstores will ever completely replace smaller bookstores.

 

What do you hope your readers will take away from your work?

Most of all, I hope they enjoy a good story.  It has been great to hear when readers enjoy scenes in The Engineer or in my short story.  Comments like that make it worthwhile for me to have spent all that time writing the story.  A big takeaway in The Engineer (without giving too much away) is how life can take you in the most unexpected directions.  The main character, Actaeon, ends up going down some paths that are not at all clear at the start of the story.  It is a surprise to him and he has to make some major decisions in his life because of it.

 

How much does personal experience play in your written work?

As an R&D engineer that designs products, my experience came into play many times during The Engineer, since Actaeon needs to be creative in how he tackles the various problems that are thrown at him during the book.  There are artifacts left behind in the ruined city of Redemption that seem like magic to many of the characters in the world, but they are workable pieces of technology that are so advanced that most characters couldn’t begin to comprehend how they work.  It was important to me that these things weren’t just fantastical elements in the plot, and so I put a lot of thought into how they would actually work.

As a firefighter, past fire captain, and EMT, I’ve also employed my experiences in The Engineer.  In emergency services, we are required to make quick decisions based on our experiences in a process called Recognition-Primed Decision Making.  It allows us to make correct, intuition-based decisions to choose the best outcome in a life or death situation.  In The Engineer, Actaeon frequently ends up in situations where he needs to make quick decisions in order to save his life or others.  It was quite fun to write about his reactions in those situations, and the way he dealt with the dangers reminded me of one of my favorite characters of all time: MacGyver.

How do you find the motivation to complete a book/story?

In the case of The Engineer, it was how important the story was to me that helped me finish the book.  I also realized that if I set aside some time every week to write, I’d eventually finish a project that seemed impossibly large at its inception.

What makes you NOT finish reading a book?

A lack of action or progression for too long.  Scenes where characters hem and haw for chapter after chapter, or sit around discussing things to death while forgetting that they have something extremely important to accomplish – you know, the things I don’t have patience for in real life!

I’ve noticed that these issues tend to arise when authors (and yes, even very popular traditionally published authors) try to write scenes without outlining to see where the characters decide to go.  This is a method called Discovery writing, and is pretty exciting to write (since the author has no idea what will happen), while allowing a more organic, natural progression to take place in the story.  The problem arises though, when authors that use this technique and fail to edit out or parse down the boring scenes that their characters needed to go through for the writer to discover their motivations or feelings.

I prefer to write with a flexible outline myself.  I like to see where the story is going and only write the essential scenes to get there, but I’m always open to characters surprising me, which could change the outline of my story.

 

Do you believe writing should be censored – that some topics should remain taboo?

No way.  Writing is an art that should be allowed as a freedom of speech.  There are definitely things I don’t wish to read about, but I have eyes and a brain – I can avoid them!

 

Any pet peeves in writing? In reading others’ work?

My wife is my best editor, and she taught me how to avoid using present progressives too often in writing.  It tends to be jarring for some readers, and without them, the story is much smoother.  Now, when I read works rife with those present progressives, it irks me.

Where can people find you and your work?

Thank you for the interview!  (you’re welcome! 🙂 )

The Engineer is available in both Paperback and e-Book on Amazon, and in e-Book on Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and iBooks.  You can find it here: https://books2read.com/Engineer

The Quantum Soul, which has my short story The Machine in the Mountain, is also available on Amazon in e-Book and Paperback.  You can find that here: http://getbook.at/quantum

If you’re interested in what I’m working on now, you can follow me at the sites below:

Facebook: fb.me/ActaeonRellios/

Twitter: twitter.com/Engineer7601

Amazon: amazon.com/author/engineer

Goodreads: goodreads.com/TheEngineer

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Heidi Herman

Name: Heidi Herman

Genre(s) of your work: Newly published novel women’s lit/chick lit, previous works in children’s and Icelandic folklore

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

Her Viking Heart, 2018

Images of Iceland [Adult Coloring Book], 2018

The Icelandic Yule Lads: Mayhem at the North Pole, 2017

Happiness in Living Color [Adult Coloring Book], 2017

The Guardians of Iceland and other Icelandic Folklore, 2016

Homestyle Icelandic Cooking for American Kitchens, 2016

Yule Lads & Other Legends Activity Book, 2015

The Legend of the Icelandic Yule Lads, 2015

 

 

Bio:

I was born in Illinois. My mother is from Iceland, and she met and married a US serviceman who was stationed in Reykjavik during WWII. I grew up with stories of trolls, sea creatures, and brave fishermen. I  once insisted to an elementary teacher that Leif Ericsson, not Christopher Columbus discovered America and that the history books were wrong. After a 30-year career in business, where I authored numerous magazine articles, white papers and technical assessment reports, I retired from corporate life and began writing full-time.

In the winter of 2012, my mom published her childhood memoirs, which some of Iceland’s folklore. I was again immersed in childhood memories of legend, lore and imaginative stories. The troll-like Christmas characters sparked the imagination of many and led to my writing my first book, “The Legend of the Icelandic Yule Lads”, in 2015, followed by two more books on Icelandic folklore and an Icelandic cookbook. I worked on my craft and expanded my writing into full-length novels, incorporating an Icelandic element to women’s literature and contemporary romance. I continue to work on more novels as well as new stories of the Yule Lads and other Icelandic mythological characters. I still live in Illinois with my two Schnoodles, Dusty and Thor.

 

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

I cross several genres. The children’s stories are to share my Icelandic heritage and my newest novel, as well as future novels in progress are more focused on a character’s emotional journey and overcoming life’s obstacles.

 

 

How has writing changed/altered your life?

Writing has always been a part of everything I do. I find I communicate best in written form and truly enjoy writing full time now.

 

Who are your favorite authors and why?

There are so many authors whose work I enjoy and I seem to add more all the time, but I have a few all-time favorites. For romance novels, I really like Jude Deveraux. She has such great character development, fast-paced action, and does a lot of research for her historical novels to really give the reader a sense of the environment. Dean Koontz also is a favorite because he has such imaginative storylines and does a great job of executing the storyline with great tension and action.

 

What do you hope your readers will take away from your work?

A new perspective, a new way of looking at things and appreciation for things around them. I want to write about things we all experience – life challenges, loss, emotional turmoil – and present different ways of dealing and overcoming the challenges through my character’s actions and choices. I believe happiness is a choice no matter what and sometimes people just need to see some examples of how to do that in order to apply it to their own lives. I think reading stories is part of how we learn, like parables or fables.

One of my favorite expressions early in by business career was “learn from the mistakes of others because you can’t live long enough to make them all yourself”. I think that’s great advice, but not only from the mistakes, but also the successes. We can copy the good behavior or smart choices of others to attain positive outcomes in our own lives and we can identify those things through the stories in books and movies.

 

How much does personal experience play in your written work?

I would say it plays a lot. The Icelandic aspect is from my mother and much of it is inspired by her memories. In the novels, I think for any writer, your own personal experiences and life lesson are part of what you want to share and different elements are imbued into characters.

 

How do you find the motivation to complete a book/story?

For me, most of the storylines are complete before I start writing. I’m more putting the story on paper and filling in the details. The motivation comes from the next story demanding its turn in the spotlight.

 

What makes you NOT finish reading a book?

I love to read and really want to become immersed in the story. Anything that prevents that can make me stop reading. I might be bad dialogue, dull storylines, or underdeveloped characters that I have difficulty connecting with.

 

Any pet peeves in writing? In reading others’ work?

It does drive me crazy when there are historical inaccuracies or time travel books where the author establishes rules and then breaks them in the storyline.

 

Where can people find you and your work?

My work is available on Amazon, Apple iTunes, Barnes & Noble, and other ebook online retailers, as well as directly from the publisher.

http://www.heidihermanauthor.com

http://www.heklapublishing.com

http://www.twitter.com/storiesbyheidi

http://www.facebook.com/heidihermanauthor

https://www.amazon.com/Heidi-Herman/e/B00VRZPZGG/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

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Rebecca Howie

Name: Rebecca Howie

Genre(s) of your work: YA, Mystery

 

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

2016- The Game Begins

2017- A Woman Scorned

 

Bio:

Rebecca Howie is a procrastinating writer from Scotland who prefers spending her time in fictional worlds rather than the real one.

Her first book, The Game Begins, was released in February 2016, and reached 16th in the Teen and Young Adult Detectives category on Amazon within a month of its publication.

 

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

I love mystery novels, and I’ve loved the YA genre since reading The Hunger Games, so there wasn’t really a decision to be made about what genre The Game Begins would be.

 

 

How has writing changed/altered your life?

Writing the first draft of The Game Begins made me realize that I hadn’t dealt with a lot of the things I’d been going through at the time, and since I’ve started using writing as an outlet, my whole opinion on art and creativity has shifted completely.

 

 

Who are your favorite authors and why?

J.K. Rowling, because although she was unemployed and couldn’t afford heating and had every publisher she wrote to rejecting her, she kept writing, and now has another four films based on her books being released soon; Agatha Christie also needs to be on this list because she’s awesome, and her writing stands up even after all this time, and Ian Rankin, because he’s one of the few authors I’ve read recently whose work has had a lot of hype and actually been deserving of it.

 

How much does personal experience play in your written work?

A lot. I wrote The Game Begins just a few months after school, so everything was still fresh in my mind and I was trying to get used to having graduated and not having to get up for eight o’clock every morning to catch the bus.

Some of my ideas for future books are based on things I’ve gone through or just fictionalized versions of them, and I like being able to see those events from another perspective and writing a different ending.

 

 

How do you find the motivation to complete a book/story?

With my first book, I wanted to finish writing it because I’d never written a full length novel before and I wanted to know that I could, so that kept me pushing on until I had it finished. Writing the sequel was a lot more difficult because it was a sequel and I had so many boxes I wanted it to tick, so a lot of that motivation was just me refusing to give up.

 

 

What makes you NOT finish reading a book?

Sometimes it doesn’t take much, like if it’s had loads of hype and I’m three chapters in and don’t see what all the fuss is about, or if I’ve had to put the book down to do something else and start finding ways to avoid going back to it.

If it doesn’t interest me and I’m not particularly bothered about the characters, I probably won’t finish reading it.

 

Do you believe writing should be censored – that some topics should remain taboo?

I don’t have a problem with people writing about whatever they want. Obviously there are some subjects that would be uncomfortable to read, but if someone wants to write about something, let them write about it.

 

 

Any pet peeves in writing? In reading others’ work?

My biggest pet peeve is when the first chapter is basically just the character introducing themself, and giving us their whole life story up until the point the story takes place.

I recently started a novel which had hundreds of 4 star reviews on Amazon and it had a really interesting premise and the first chapter promised it’d be a good read. Until I got to the second chapter which involved the main character telling us their name, where they worked, and every single thing that I’d just read about in chapter one.

Needless to say, I put the book down and walked away with a migraine, but I still can’t physically make myself keep reading books that do that.

 

 

Where can people find you and your work?

Amazon (.https://www.amazon.co.uk/Game-Begins-Beckett-Mysteries-Book-ebook/dp/B01BYMDHMK/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1519151555&sr=8-2&keywords=the+game+begins)

My blog. (https://rebeccahowiebooks.wordpress.com/blog/)

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rebeccah2016/

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Jalyn Isley

Name: Jalyn Isley

Genre(s) of your work: Spirituality and Self-Help

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):
The Fruit of Your Spirit
Nine Keys to Achieving Purpose and Enjoying Life (2017)

Bio:
Jalyn Isley is a Human Resources Manager with ten years of experience in employee relations and talent development. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University in 2008 and her Master’s Degree in Human Resources from Rollins College 2014.

Jalyn relocated to Florida in 2011 to continue her HR career where she is currently responsible for managing the talent and development of the company’s leadership team. Outside of PepsiCo, Jalyn spends her time in the community by volunteering with the Boys and Girls Club.

In 2015, Jalyn founded her own company which teaches her clients how to become the CEO of their lives so they can turn their personal and professional goals into realities As a motivational speaker, author and success coach, Jalyn empowers people to drive for results and reach their full potential in every area of their lives including their careers, finances, relationships and health.

 

 

Why do you write in the genre that you do?
I am a firm believer that self-discovery and awareness help people grow into better versions of themselves each day. I try to encourage people through my writing.

How has writing changed/altered your life?
I feel most alive when I write. And when I share my writing with others, it brings out the best in me.

Who are your favorite authors and why?
Deepak Chopra – he knows how to simplify a message for any audience.

 

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?
I used to love the atmosphere of bookstores but I would like to see the customer experience evolve. It would be great for bookstores to advertise workshops, social gatherings and interactive experiences on social media.

 

What do you hope your readers will take away from your work?
I hope readers will feel encouraged to celebrate themselves and share their gifts with this world.

How much does personal experience play in your written work?
My best work comes out when I share my personal experiences. They also help me to stay grounded and authentic, which is important since I give a lot of advice!

How do you find the motivation to complete a book/story?
I remind myself that someone needs to hear what I have to say. It forces me to stay engaged and finish my project.

What makes you NOT finish reading a book?
If I feel like there is some form of social injustice, prejudice or stereotyping, I will stop reading the book.

 

 

Do you believe writing should be censored – that some topics should remain taboo?
I don’t believe in censorship.

Any pet peeves in writing? In reading others’ work?
No pet peeves other than writer’s block!!

Where can people find you and your work?
Instagram: @JalynIsley
YouTube: Jalyn Isley
Website: http://www.JalynIsley.com

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Renee James

 Name: Renee James*

Pseudonym : Renee James*

*Renee James is my female identity and my pen name.

Genre(s) of your work:

Mystery/thriller

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

Coming Out Can Be Murder (2012, Windy City Publishing)

Transition to Murder (2014, Magnus Books)

A Kind of Justice (2016, Oceanview Publishing)

Seven Suspects (October 2017, Oceanview Publishing)

Bio:

Renee James is the author of three mystery/thriller novels featuring Bobbi Logan, a transsexual woman with body issues and a penchant for stirring up trouble with bad people. She self-published her first novel, Coming Out Can Be Murder, in 2012 following a long career in magazine publishing. The book won book-of-the-year honors from the Chicago Writers Association and a bronze medal from ForeWord Reviews. She republished it with a plot change in 2014 as Transition to Murder.

Her second book, A Kind of Justice, was released by Oceanview Publishing in October 2016, and Oceanview will release her next book, Seven Suspects, in October 2017.

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

I like books with plots, so that led me to genre writing, and I favor the Mystery/Thriller genre because it lets me write about characters dealing with moral and ethical issues at times they are under severe stress. Because I emphasize character more than plot, I’m not exactly in the mainstream of either genre, but hopefully, I add some dimension to both.

How has writing changed/altered your life?

I’ve always been a writer, but the switch to fiction, circa 2010, was life changing in many ways. It gave me a huge new challenge to pursue—learning a new craft, and a difficult one at that. It gave me license to more fully explore my transgender identity—Renee James isn’t just a pen name, she is part of my identity. And maybe most of all, writing novels has brought me into the company of book people—other authors, agents, editors, reviewers, educators, and many others—and they are, collectively, the most welcoming and supportive people I’ve ever known.

Who are your favorite authors and why?

I grew up on John Steinbeck. I love emerging authors like Lori Radar-Day (The Day I Died is the best mystery I’ve read in years) and Rebecca Makkai (The Borrowers is wonderful literary fiction that dares to have a plot). I worship John Grisham’s story-telling genius, and I’m a fan of the big names in the Thriller and Mystery genres, though I tend to fade away after three or four books with the same hero.

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

Writers aren’t supposed to admit such things, but my heart was broken when Borders shut down. My local store was a great place to browse, read, sip coffee, meet friends, and just inhale the aroma of books. Barnes & Noble is okay—corporate, not interested in authors like me, but less intimidating than Amazon. Amazon scares me, because of its overwhelming size, and because it already dictates pricing and seems destined to own the book market.

What do you hope your readers will take away from your work?

First and foremost, I hope they enjoy the read and find their time and money well spent with my book. After that, my great hope is, people come away from my books prepared to receive transgender people in their lives the way they would anyone else.

How much does personal experience play in your written work?

My first novel was an extension of a fictional diary I wrote when I was contemplating gender transition. I was imagining what my life would have been like if I had transitioned when I was in my thirties. The diary was fictional, but the conflicts, characters and scenes were mostly based on my personal experiences and those of my friends. Even in the subsequent books, my best characters and conflicts are drawn from what I’ve seen and heard in my own life.

How do you find the motivation to complete a book/story?

Actually, I don’t always complete a story. I have opening chapters for three or four books in my computer right now, waiting for me to feel like those characters would be good company for a year, give or take. Once I start, though, the story is mostly about the heroine, and I’m motivated to finish the book because that’s how I find out how things turn out for her.

What makes you NOT finish reading a book?

I need to be interested in at least one character and to have a sense of plot or conflict in the first forty pages or so. A lot of the books I put down fail in that regard, though I’ll add quickly that many of them are probably good books, they just didn’t ring my bell. The other thing that has started to offend me is over-the-top violence, especially in thrillers. It seems like the excesses of Hollywood have spilled over into print, and I sometimes get the feeling the author is using blood and gore to titillate an audience because it’s easier than developing a plot with at least one foot in reality.

Do you believe writing should be censored – that some topics should remain taboo?

We’ve tried censorship and it just doesn’t work. As a college student, I did a paper on Catcher in the Rye, which was widely censored because Holden Caulfield swore a lot. It was stupid to censor the book that defined an entire generation of readers, but that’s the thing with censorship—the people arrogant enough to think they know what the rest of us should read are people with no boundaries. I think the movie people have a reasonable compromise with the G-R-X rating system, but I don’t think that’s practical for books, given that we give birth to more than a million titles a year in the U.S. alone.

Any pet peeves in writing? In reading others’ work?

I’m old and crabby, so I have lots of peeves: the introduction of a blizzard of characters in a chapter, especially the first chapter; backstory dumps (we all do it—tell you more about what happened before the story started than we’re telling you about the story); naming frenzies (even the most minor, single-mention characters get names); meaningless description (if you’re going to tell me what someone is wearing, it should define their character or build mood or make me laugh or cry, but if you’re telling me because you just came from a class on description, I’ll scream!). Most of all, I hate reading my own work a year later, after everything has cooled off, and I can see all the things I should have done instead of what I did.

Where can people find you and your work?

My books are on all the comprehensive on-line bookselling sites like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Indie Bound, and I have a very humble, home-made web page: reneejames-author.com.  The email contact form on my page comes directly to me, and I answer all non-junk emails. The best brick-and-mortar store to find my books—and hundreds of other great mysteries and thrillers—is Centuries and Sleuths in Forest Park, IL. If you’re in the area, you owe it to yourself to stop in there anyway—it’s a great store with a great staff.

 

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Brian R. Johnston

Name: Brian R. Johnston

Genre(s) of your work: Nonfiction

 

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

The Art of Being a Baseball Fan (2016)

 

Bio:  Brian R. Johnston lives in St. Joseph, MI with his wife and two children. He is the author of the book, The Art of Being a Baseball Fan, and is also a contributor to the Wrigleyville Nation website, Public Libraries Online, Windy City Reviews, and the Herald Palladium newspaper in Southwest Michigan. In addition, Brian has over a decade of experience working in public libraries.

 

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

I write nonfiction because I like to observe the world around me, reflect on it, and express what I am thinking. I’ve identified that as my niche in the big sea of writing that is out there. There are far more new authors trying to write fiction than those trying to write nonfiction, and while I think it’s great that so many people write fiction, I see a need for nonfiction that I want to fulfill. I once heard a speaker at a conference say that the key to writing a good book is to identify the book that you want to read but that nobody has written yet. It’s one of the best pieces of advice for aspiring authors that I have ever heard. Just writing a book doesn’t automatically create demand for it. You have to find a demand for something, then write the book.

How has writing changed/altered your life?

Writing is my way of expressing myself. I always score on the far introvert part of the scale on any personality test I take. I’m not a talker. I need to write because I need to think and reflect before saying what I want. Some people do that through speaking, and that’s great. We need those people. I’m just not one of them.

One unexpected benefit of all the writing I’ve done over the past few years is that it has allowed me to capture a specific moment in my life. Some people do that through photography, including my wife. I do it through writing. I can go back later and read what I was thinking and to see how far I’ve come since then. I recently was reading through parts of my book (written in 2015) and identified several things I’d change about it. But I’m not going to edit or re-release it, because the point of the book was to capture my feelings at that time in my life. To go back and change it now would defeat the point of writing it.

Who are your favorite authors and why?

I don’t have a favorite author, but I like reading mostly nonfiction. History and sports are my favorite topics, but I’m open to others. I like reading books that both are entertaining and from which I can learn something valuable.

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

When you go to one of those big bookstores, you’ll find the shelves mostly filled with the same authors that everyone knows about. It’s the same with publishing houses. They go with what’s familiar because they know that’s what will sell. A couple years ago, I heard a speaker at a conference say that change comes from the fringes, not the mainstream. New voices have a hard time breaking through in the writing industry, which is a shame because for our society to evolve, we need to give as many new authors as possible a chance. Instead, we keep giving all the same types of authors our room on the shelves. It is a mission of mine to help new authors get their start, because I’ve been in that position (and still am in a way) and know how difficult it is. Thankfully, there are more ways than ever today for writers to make their own break through self-publishing. But it’s still an uphill battle.

What do you hope your readers will take away from your work?

My goal is always for the reader to think about the world in a new way, whether it’s through a short Facebook post or through reading my book. For me, writing is not just about entertainment. It’s my way of contributing to the world and prompting others to think. Even though my book is about baseball, I believe that fans and non-fans alike can take something from it.

How much does personal experience play in your written work?

For me, it’s critical. When I’m about to write something, I ask myself, “What can I say about this topic that no one else has said? How does my point of view offer a new perspective, even on a topic that we already know a lot about?” If I can’t answer either of those questions, then why should I expect anyone to read what I wrote?

How do you find the motivation to complete a book/story?

In both writing and in reading someone else’s work, it’s a sense of accomplishment. I like knowing that I started something and saw it through, even when obstacles emerged. Two years after releasing my first book, I’m still proud of myself. It took ten months and a lot of effort to finish it, and now that I’ve proved to myself that I can do it, I have motivation to do more writing and to start a second book, which I hope to do this year.

What makes you NOT finish reading a book?

It’s not often that I don’t finish a book. When I don’t, it’s because I’m not learning what I was expecting or the writing doesn’t bring the subject to life in the way it should. Whenever I’m considering reading something, I always check out the reviews, paying particular attention to the quality of writing and whether the author gave the subject a fair treatment before starting to read. It takes a little time, but I know I’ve made up for it many times over by not reading something that I wouldn’t enjoy or that wouldn’t be beneficial.

Do you believe writing should be censored – that some topics should remain taboo?

There’s far too much to be said about this topic to adequately address it here, but for now let me say this: We all need to have respect for each other’s writing. Unless the publication of a writing causes a direct and immediate threat to people’s lives – which is often hard to prove – then it should not be censored by any government body. If you don’t like what someone else is writing, then don’t read it! You can even take the time to counter it with a work of your own. But don’t try to use the force of law to tell someone else that they can’t read something. The more we share our ideas with each other, the better off that all of us are.

But respecting others’ views is a two-way street. If someone does not want to read or see something that goes against their moral, political, religious, or other views, don’t try to force your views on them, either. Just as I have the right to read whatever I want, I have just as much right to not have to see it. Having an open mind doesn’t mean that we all have to embrace everyone’s point of view. Instead, it means that we should give each person a chance to express themselves and let everyone else make their own decision of whether to accept it or not. There is far too much intolerance from all sides today, and it’s a shame.

Any pet peeves in writing? In reading others’ work?

There are a lot of things to which I pay attention in writing, but I will mention two here. One is tightening up language. It drives me crazy when someone uses twenty words to say what could easily be said in ten. Adverbs, in particular, are overused even by professionals. More words don’t always make the author’s point clearer. In fact, too many words can bog down an otherwise great piece of work and make it less memorable to the reader.

The other thing I’ll mention is closed-minded writing. If you’re making an argument, and you either intentionally leave out facts that harm your case or otherwise fail to address them, you’re doing a disservice to yourself and your readers. A lot of authors do this, especially when writing about controversial issues, but I suppose that’s the purpose of living in a free society. We give everyone a chance to express their point of view and to hold each other accountable.

 

Where can people find you and your work?

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Rysheem Jones

 

Name: Rysheem Jones

Genre(s) of your work: Autobiography, Drama & Romance

 

Titles/Years of Published Works:

My Life of Love and Pain (2016)

What Is Love (2016)

Blood Will Always Be Thicker Than Water (2016)

 

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

I enjoyed writing my third book in a drama setting, because drama sells.

 

How has writing changed/altered you life?

Honestly, after publishing my first autobiography, my parents disowned me. I am not welcome over in their home. Writing that autobiography allowed me to express and release a lot of built up tension.

 

What do you hope your readers will take away from your work?

I love to inspire others through my writing and speaking. I hope to continue to inspire others to live out their dreams and goals.

 

How much does personal experience play in your written work?

A lot. Whatever I am feeling, I like to write about it. For example, my second book, What Is Love, was produced to due romance questions that people have asked me several times throughout the years. I took those questions and formatted them into a short love guide.

 

How do you find the motivation to complete a book/story?

I am passionate about writing and that motivated me to express my words in order to tell my tale.

 

What makes you NOT finish reading a book?

If within the first 15 minutes if a book does not catch my attention, I tend to become bored with the material.

 

Do you believe writing should be censored – that some topics should remain taboo?

No, I believe writing should be used as a tool to teach while your reach your audience.

 

Any pet peeves in writing? In reading others’ work?

No.

 

Where can people find you and your work?

You can via email at Sheem82@gmail.com OR Facebook Sheem Jones

 

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Kevin A. Kuhn

 

 

Name: Kevin A. Kuhn

Genre(s) of your work: Speculative Fiction

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

“Do You Realize?” Published – 2017

Bio:

Kevin lives in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, with his wife Melinda, three children, and two fierce schnoodles. He is a technology executive who enjoys sipping cheap bourbon, avoiding yard work, and living vicariously through his children’s sports. While Kevin has no musical skill whatsoever, he appreciates a broad spectrum of artists from Pink Floyd to Prince and Radiohead to the Rolling Stones. His golf game is horrific with flashes of mediocrity.

 

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

I prefer to write speculative fiction / science fiction because there are no limits. In my first novel my character gets to travel back to ten days in his past. This provides a rich plot line that allows the character to grow in ways that would be difficult with a more traditional book. In my current work-in-progress, I follow a character that appears to be immortal. This creates suspense and allows me to explore the past while maintaining a connection throughout the novel.

 

How has writing changed/altered your life?

I began my first novel when I hit fifty with an accompanying mild mid-life crisis. The writing was a fantastic outlet and really helped me get my head around what mattered in my past and where I was headed. My writing gave me the clarity and courage to make a career change that has been incredibly rewarding. I shifted from a corporate executive role to a University teacher and it has been both refreshing and fulfilling.

 

Who are your favorite authors and why?

I love to read and have many, many favorite authors. I enjoy Isaac Asimov and J.R.R. Tolkien for their world building and sweeping timeframes. They both created unique fantastic settings but somehow manage to make their characters feel very much at home inside those worlds. I’m also a huge fan of Stephen King for his ability to make the supernatural feel believable, create intriguing and very human characters, and his fascinating insights on everyday life and everyday people.

 

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

Well, independent bookstores are my favorite. They tend to have more character and passion about books. But I’m also a fan of all bookstores as I think reading is a very healthy, positive activity. So, anything that gets books into the hands of readers is okay by me. I do wish the major chains would support more variety, instead of so much focus on a relatively small number of established authors.

 

What do you hope your readers will take away from your work?

My goal in my first novel was to make my readers laugh, cry, and learn something new. My hope is that my readers will find some small inspiration in my novel that will stay with them. One Amazon Reviewer said, “Read this. A midlife crisis turned into a self-awareness project and appreciation of the life we are given and living. I actually laughed and cried here. This has not happened in 30 odd years.” As an author, this is the fuel that gets me though what I find to be a very isolated, lonely journey.

 

How much does personal experience play in your written work?

A great deal. “Write what you know” is great advice. I believe pulling creatively from your own experiences adds realism and depth. Readers will really connect if you’re honest and open about your own insights, fears, and dreams.

 

How do you find the motivation to complete a book/story?

Great question, I believe it’s very easy to start a novel, but very difficult to finish it. They seem to pick up weight the further you go. It’s both due to the necessity of tracking and resolving plot and character details, but it’s also due to the weight of decisions over time. You become so invested in the characters and the story, it becomes difficult to narrow down the growing set of possibilities. But the motivation comes from releasing the book to others. Getting to hear all the different ways that readers interpret the work is extremely rewarding.

 

 

Do you believe writing should be censored – that some topics should remain taboo?

I just read, “All the Ugly and Wonderful Things” by Bryn Greenwood, which tells the story of a very young girl, in a very difficult environment who falls in love with a much older man. Greenwood takes a very difficult topic and simply tells a fascinating story, passing no judgement. It’s up to the reader to come to their own conclusion on the ethics and morals of this complex story. That what great writing does, it makes us think and question our beliefs.

 

Any pet peeves in writing? In reading others’ work?

The same challenge that I struggle with in my writing – to show and not tell. When you write, it’s much easier to have the narrator explain a character’s thoughts and feelings, but it completely pulls you out of the book. It reminds your sub-conscious that the story is not real. Great authors show emotion and motivation through the dialog and action of the character. When that is done well, you get this movie in your head that is just a pure joy to experience.

 

Where can people find you and your work?

Amazon – http://a.co/5UTDNDA

Author Website – kevkuhn45.wixsite.com/bigkuhna

Twitter – https://twitter.com/Big_Kuhna

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/BigKuhna/

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/KevinKuhn

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 Desiree Lafawn

 

Name: Desiree Lafawn

Genre(s) of your work:Romance – Fantasy & PNR

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

Northwoods Magic, Northwoods Fairy Tales Book One

The Descent of Eve, A Glass Traveler Novella

Bio:

Desiree lives in Northwest Ohio with her husband, two children, and two rowdy cats. She is a craft addicted, roller derby skating amateur foody who loves to enjoy a glass of chardonnay with a side of whatever snack the kids left untouched in the pantry, most likely goldfish crackers.

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

I love writing in fantasy and PNR because there are really no restrictions. I am not limited to reality and the boundaries of “this world.” Anything can happen if I create it.

How has writing changed/altered your life?

I have met so many amazing people and some of the current best friends. They encourage me every day to do and be better, and if I had not started this journey I would not have met them. I am pretty grateful for the entire experience.

Who are your favorite authors and why?

I have so many I don’t know how to even pick one or two! I love Laurell K Hamilton because she really pushes the boundaries of sexuality in her books without being gross or tacky. I love P Jameson because she is so versatile. Her characters are gritty, flawed and loveable, and she isn’t restricted by her genre. She writes shifter romance, but she makes her own rules. She also writes contemporary romance as well and I am excited to follow her journey and see what else she can do. I read a lot of Lynn Kurland and Nora Roberts as well. Ugh. I read A LOT. I could go on and on about this for sure.

What do you hope your readers will take away from your work?

I hope that they enjoy my books! I also hope that for a little while, they enjoyed the world I created and want to visit it again. As someone who reads and rereads my favorites many times over, a reader who wants to reread my work would be the greatest compliment.

How much does personal experience play in your written work?

We tend to write about what we know, so while my stories are purely fiction of course there are going to be elements of experience thrown in. The locations are places I have been and enjoyed, some characters share my hobbies and some have characteristics of people I have met in my life – even in passing. I think that is probably true of every writer – we are little sponges, we absorb a lot.

How do you find the motivation to complete a book/story?

I am lucky to have a very good group of author friends and we motivate each other constantly. I am very easily distracted and can get derailed from a project at any given moment. We are always giving each other a hard time and there are a lot of chats that end with “aren’t you supposed to be writing? Get off the internet!” It’s great to have that kind of motivation, ha ha. I also have my best friend as a beta reader and if I take too long she verbally abuses me until I give her something to read 🙂

What makes you NOT finish reading a book?

In general I always try to finish something I started reading, but I think the biggest issue would be bad editing. There are ALWAYS going to be errors and I like to think I am pretty tolerant but if tense changes repeatedly to the point that I don’t know what is going on them I am not likely to keep reading.

Do you believe writing should be censored – that some topics should remain taboo?

I know what I will and won’t read, but I am not a huge fan of censorship – especially for grown adults. Look at the banned and challenged classics book list!  I am all for proper classification, but censorship? Everyone has a different idea of what is appropriate for them, I think we can all decide for ourselves what we will expose ourselves to.

Where can people find you and your work?

Amazon author page –  https://www.amazon.com/author/desireelafawn

Facebook –  https://www.facebook.com/DesireeLafawnAuthor/

Facebook Reader Group, Lafawnduh’s Lounge – https://www.facebook.com/groups/273210479824847/

Website- https://www.desireelafawn.com

 

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Savy Leiser

 

Name: Savy Leiser

Genre(s) of your work: picture books, contemporary young-adult, contemporary new-adult, music journalism

 

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

The Furever Home Friends series:

            Book 1: Princess Allee, released August 2017

            Book 2: Smile, Chewie!, released August 2017

            Book 3: Just Me, Wrigley, will release August 2018 (available for preorder)

            Book 4: Character not announced publicly yet, but will release fall 2018

            Future books will be announced soon! We will be releasing about 2 new books per year.

 The Making of a Small-Town Beauty King (young adult), released February 2016

 Sculpt Yourself (new adult), will release November 2018

 

Bio:

Savy Leiser is a Chicago author, editor, journalist, filmmaker, and teacher. In 2017, she founded The Furever Home Friends, a startup that shares real dogs’ stories through a series of picture books that teach kids about social issues. The Furever Home Friends has since won multiple Chicago startup awards. Savy also works as a music journalist for Halftime Magazine and Yamaha SupportED, and she teaches creative writing workshops at Open Books. In 2015, Savy graduated from Northwestern University with a B.A. in Communication, and she is currently working on her Master’s in Writing & Publishing at DePaul University. You can visit Savy at savyleiser.com, her blog and website, where she also offers freelance copyediting services.

 

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

I write in a variety of genres because I have a variety of passions! From the outside, it might seem like I do a lot of different things, some of which may not seem connected at first glance. However, I have defined my overall mission as a writer: to use the power of storytelling to change the world for the better. When I write kids’ books, my goal is to bring awareness to rescue dogs and shelter adoption, and to inspire social empathy in young readers. When I write young-adult and new-adult novels, I use storytelling to depict the world I’d like to see: one without sexism, where LGBT+ relationships are normalized. I think each of these genres gives me the freedom to explore different angles of tackling these issues. For example, when I write for kids, I get to tell a story through a dog’s eyes. When I write YA fiction, I get to have fun creating snarky voices for each character. Each genre has its own benefits, and I like keeping my options open to exploring.

 

How has writing changed/altered your life?

It’s more that I can’t imagine a life without writing. Every other passion or interest I’ve ever had has contributed to my writing in some way. For example, I played a variety of musical instruments throughout my life, from piano to violin to bassoon to saxophone. While I loved performing, I knew that I was a mediocre musician and would never make a career out of that. However, I COULD make a career out of writing about music. Shortly after I graduated from college, I started working in music journalism. In a way, everything always comes back to my passion for putting stories together, whatever form that may take.

 

Who are your favorite authors and why?

My favorite authors tend to be those who I see as influences in my own work. Every once in a while, I’ll read a piece of work that inspires me to step up my game big time. John Green was always one of those authors for me. I’ve read An Abundance of Katherines multiple times, and every time I’m more in awe of how well he tied so many threads together.

More recently, I’ve also become a big fan of Rainbow Rowell because of how strongly she creates memorable characters. After I read Carry On, I was inspired to try writing a book in alternating first-person POV, because she did it so well in that book. The next novel I wrote was Sculpt Yourself, which is told in alternating first person, and is releasing this fall. In terms of children’s books, my favorite author has always been Barbara Park. Junie B. Jones was one of the first characters who showed me that kids’ voices could have intelligence and sass as well. Those books were a big influence when I started figuring out each dog’s voice for the Furever Home Friends series.

 

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

Like almost everything in life, I have mixed feelings. I don’t necessarily think there is one right way to get books or stories out into the world. As a small business owner, however, I often struggle with the concept of big business. A lot of bookstores have deals with certain big-name publishers, which have created a sort of oligopoly on the market. Many bookstores also require all sales to go through Ingram, which has led to Ingram having a near monopoly on the book distribution market, and that’s caused all kinds of problems.

I don’t want to say anything bad about any of these companies, however, because they’re all necessary in their own ways. I love small bookstores, especially those local to me in Chicago. I know what it’s like to run a small business, since that’s what I do with the Furever Home Friends. I know how hard it is to take a risk on a new business. I know a lot of bookstores would rather sell books from a small business like mine on consignment, rather than purchasing inventory outright, because the risk is lower; but for me as a small business as well, that’s not beneficial. So that’s a really loaded question…I love all bookstores, but I also love Amazon, and I also love the independent authors starting up their own businesses. I don’t think there’s one answer.

 

What do you hope your readers will take away from your work?

From the Furever Home Friends books, I want readers to feel like they’ve made a strong emotional and empathetic connection with the dog in the story. Hopefully it inspires them to think more about the ways we can help animals, and how those same ideas can translate to how we can help other people. From my novels, I’d like readers to be entertained. I want them to laugh, because I often aim to be funny. In a lot of these books, though, I’ll often present multiple sides to a social issue through the perspectives of different characters. I’d love for readers to think about the multiple perspectives and how each one has its own validity. We often hear the phrase, “There are two sides to every story,” but that’s not true. I think there are infinite sides to every story, and we should consider as many as we can.

 

How much does personal experience play in your written work?

SO much! Whenever I have friends or family read my writing, they’ll often point to a certain line or sentence and say, “Oh hey, I remember that!” For example, in Beauty King, there’s this scene where one of the main characters, Stephanie, builds a giant trebuchet and uses projectile motion equations she learned in AP Physics to calculate how far she can fling water balloons.

In high school, my friends and I built a giant trebuchet in AP Physics and would fling stuff all around the school parking lot. We were only supposed to make it a foot tall, but we ignored that, haha. Anyway, I dedicated that book to those friends. Beyond specific instances like that, a lot of the emotions and internal conflicts my characters feel are things I’ve also dealt with. Like Amber from Sculpt Yourself, I’ve also been that edgy, judgmental feminist. But I’ve also been like Kelly, the practical, career-driven artist. So I put them in a relationship with each other and saw what happened.

For the Furever Home Friends, the books are all based on real dogs, so I guess each dog’s experience creates the story!

 

How do you find the motivation to complete a book/story?

Coffee!

Also playlists! I love making lists of songs that fit with the tone of each story.

Also nachos! Often, if you have a ton to get done, make it an excuse to eat a ton of snacks.

 

What makes you NOT finish reading a book?

Usually, confusion. If I’m struggling to visualize the setting, or if I’m struggling to understand what the characters are doing and why they’re doing that. If a story isn’t clear to me, I’ll get frustrated and give up.

 

Do you believe writing should be censored – that some topics should remain taboo?

Never.

That’s one of the few things I DON’T have mixed feelings about. If we stifle each other’s ability to express our thoughts, we essentially shut down conversation on some of the most important topics. If a book offends you, leave it a bad review. Start a conversation; start a debate. Don’t try to get rid of it.

I’m a big supporter of Banned Books Week!

Where can people find you and your work?

My website: http://www.savyleiser.com

The Furever Home Friends website: http://www.fureverhomefriends.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15144435.Savy_Leiser

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

Furever Home Friends Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/fureverhomefriends/

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/savyleiser

 Instagram: @savyleiser

 Furever Home Friends Instagram: @fureverhomefriends

 

Amazon links to my books:

https://www.amazon.com/Making-Small-Town-Beauty-King/dp/1523866934

https://www.amazon.com/Princess-Allee-Furever-Home-Friends/dp/0999161415

https://www.amazon.com/Smile-Chewie-Furever-Home-Friends/dp/0999161423

 

 

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 Lisa J. Lickel

Name: Lisa J. Lickel

Genre(s) of your work: Romance, suspense, children’s cozy mystery, literary

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

Lots, between 2009 and 2018

 

Bio:

Lisa Lickel lives in the rolling hills of western Wisconsin. A multi-published, award-winning novelist, she also writes short stories, creative non-fiction, and radio theater. She is an avid reader, a top Goodreads book reviewer, a blogger, and a freelance editor. Lickel is also a mentor and instructor with Novel-in-Progress Bookcamp and Writing Retreat, Inc., http://www.novelbookcamp.com, working with writers from across the US. Visit http://www.LisaLickel.com.

 

 

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

Honestly, I started writing cozy mysteries after I learned what they were purely for mercenary reasons. A publisher was starting a mystery book club much like its popular romance book club, and I figured it was a good start. It was. Then I went to writing books I was interested in, subjects that were a little grittier and meatier. I actually signed with three agents based on one of those novels that I eventually published myself last year when none of the four agents I’ve been with were able to move the book.

 

How has writing changed/altered your life?

Being able to write and work with authors as my regular part time day job has really been a blessing to me. I found it hard to work in the public sector for a lot of reasons, and I wanted to be able to take time off in the summer when my teacher husband was at home, and my parents or kids needed me. The work is also portable and I’ve taken it with me when we moved across state.

 

Who are your favorite authors and why?

I am a big Anne McCaffrey fan. Her characters are so memorable. Ray Bradbury was the best writer of the twentieth century. Anyone who can make me feel like a twelve-year-old on the cusp of life every summer has a gift. Steven James is just brilliant. His amazing Patrick Bowers detective story arc is blinding. I’m reading Andy Weir right now, or I will be soon. I got interested in his work after watching The Martian, so I’m steeling up for a technical story. My buddy Nicolette Pierce makes me laugh out loud with her kitschy girl sleuth and angry romantic men, and Fredrik Backman makes me weep with culture clashes and clusters of people who need each other and just don’t know it until the end. I should stop now.

 

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

Somebody has to have a brick and mortar bookstore. I wish more indies would be able to make it, but if big boxes commit to supporting authors in a locality, it’s okay with me. It’s impersonal, but it’s a bookstore. I don’t like the premise that a big box will come in and wipe out all the indies and then belly down and leave, but that happens in all kinds of businesses.

 

What do you hope your readers will take away from your work?

I hope for thoughtful discussion, mindful exchange with others, sharing of experience. I enjoy book clubs, and how bibliophiles talk about stories they’ve read and hope to spark the same kind of conversation. The subjects I explore in my work are often around painful decisions the characters are faced with, prejudices, family, faith, conscientiousness, and love.

 

How much does personal experience play in your written work?

The write-what-you-know thing is more important and inherent to authors than readers, and even us authors, think. What we are, how we’ve been raised, where we live, what we do all weave its way into our stories. While I haven’t had cancer, I’ve had scares, family and very close friends who’ve dealt with the disease. Another family member has been lost in the woods. I know people of mixed race and people who have been unfairly targeted at work. I love to quilt and farming. However, my neighbors are Amish and I’d just never write about them. It just wouldn’t be right.

 

How do you find the motivation to complete a book/story?

Contracts and deadlines help a lot.

 

What makes you NOT finish reading a book?

Oh boy, that’s a hot one. I was raised with a strict rule of finishing what I start—no matter what it was. That said, there is a certain freedom in putting down something that just doesn’t move me. It makes more sense to spend time on something I think I’ll like. All those nasty reviewers who are too moronic to read the back of the book and then find some perverse pleasure in letting others know how idiotic they are when they write that they didn’t like the book move me in a different way. But I also do a lot of book reviews and even if I don’t care for what I’m reading, I feel obligated to read enough of a book to review it. Sometimes I don’t have time to finish something and try to get back to it later.

 

Do you believe writing should be censored – that some topics should remain taboo?

There are things I don’t like and won’t promote, but I also want the same right to ask you to read and respond to my work as I give to your right to write and read what you want. There is plenty of material out there with no redeeming value, but marketing campaigns make people think they need it. I draw the line at denigrating material that has the sole purpose of promoting harmful behavior.

 

Any pet peeves in writing? In reading others’ work?

I’m a professional editor. I find it hard to read strictly for pleasure anymore because I’m always checking for errors—grammar, syntax. The apostrophe misuse makes me nuts. If I put something down it’s because there are stupid fixable errors that a good proofread should have caught. By the same token I can’t and don’t dare to solely edit my own work.

 

Where can people find you and your work?

In cyberworld, find information about me on my website and Facebook, occasionally Twitter and Pinterest and Goodreads—links below. I do some regular workshops in the Midwest. I’ll be teaching again at Novel in Progress Bookcamp in May in Wisconsin. My books are available on all the usual internet sites including Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, iTunes; a few are available on Audible, and of course can be ordered wherever books are sold.

www.LisaLickel.com

www.facebook.com/lisalickelauthor

www.goodreads.com/lisalickel

https://www.amazon.com/Lisa-J.-Lickel/e/B002D66ECC

www.twitter.com/lisajlickel

http://authorculture.blogspot.com

http://wisconsinauthorreview.blogspot.com

http://livingourfaithoutloud.blogspot.com

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Lisa M. Lilly

Name:   Lisa M. Lilly

Pseudonym (if you use one): L.M. Lilly for non-fiction

Genre(s) of your work:

Fiction: Supernatural Thrillers, Occult, Suspense/Mystery

Nonfiction: Books On Writing Craft

 

 

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

The Awakening (Book 1) 2011

The Unbelievers (Book 2 in The Awakening Series) 2014

The Conflagration (Book 3 in The Awakening Series) 2016

The Illumination (Book 4 in The Awakening Series) 2017

The Complete Awakening Series Box Set/Omnibus Edition 2017

The Tower Formerly Known As Sears And Two Other Tales Of Urban Horror 2011

When Darkness Falls 2016

Super Simple Story Structure: A Quick Guide To Plotting And Writing Your Novel (Writing As A Second Career Book 1) 2017

Creating Compelling Characters From The Inside Out (Writing As A Second Career Book 2) 2017

The One-Year Novelist: A Week-By-Week Guide To Writing Your Novel In One Year (Writing As A Second Career Book 3)

 

Bio:

Lisa M. Lilly is the author of the four-book Awakening supernatural thriller series, which includes The Awakening, The Unbelievers, The Conflagration, and The Illumination. The Complete Awakening Series is also available in a Box Set/Omnibus edition.

A member of the Horror Writers Association, Lilly also wrote When Darkness Falls, a standalone gothic horror novel set in downtown Chicago. She is currently working on a new mystery/suspense series featuring lawyer and former child stage actress Q.C. Davis.

Under L.M. Lilly, she writes non-fiction, including Super Simple Story Structure: A Quick Guide To Plotting And Writing Your Novel; Creating Compelling Characters From The Inside Out; and The One-Year Novelist: A Week-By-Week Guide To Writing Your Novel In One Year.

Lilly lives in Chicago, where she practices law and is a past officer of the Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists. She joined AAIM after an intoxicated driver caused the death of her parents in 2007.

 

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

I started reading Stephen King novels when I was in fourth grade, and I love books like Rosemary’s Baby and The Stepford Wives. I’m also a huge mystery fan, particularly of books starring female private eyes like V.I. Warshawski. So, basically, for fiction I write what I love to read.

My nonfiction books on writing craft and time management cover what I wish I had learned when I majored in Writing/English in college.

I learned a lot in my writing classes but it was mainly about how to write vivid scenes rather than how to construct a good plot or create well developed characters. I feel like I learned all of that the hard way by trial and lots of error. I’m hoping my books can save other writers a little bit of time and effort.

 

How has writing changed/altered your life?

I’ve loved to write for as long as I can remember, and it was always something I was struggling to carve out time for. Over the last year or two I’ve been able to make writing the centerpiece of my work life which is wonderful. I’m much more relaxed and happier than when I was working 50 to 70 hours a week practicing law.

 

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

When Borders first opened, I loved going to the stores because they had plenty of seating areas and it was such a novelty to be able to get a book and sit right in the café to read it, which is something I still love to do. I also really liked meandering among all the books and discovering ones I hadn’t heard of before. Mainstream bookstores now, though, seem to only carry the most popular books so browsing is not nearly as fun.

I’d much rather go to a small, independent bookstore for that. It’s a much better place to make discoveries.

 

How do you find the motivation to complete a book/story?

It helps me to sit down with my calendar and figure out how long it should take me to finish a book. So if I’m expecting it to be 80,000 words and I write about 2,500 words in a writing session, I schedule 32 writing sessions. I leave room to take breaks, but mostly I stick to the schedule and check off each 2,500 word session as I go.

I also use visualization.

I picture the complete finished manuscript being printed out my printer or the final book sale page on my website. I also write about how great I’ll feel when I get the project finished. Finally, I tell people when I’m aiming to have the book done. Sometimes I have to revise my estimate but it does help me push forward when I know that friends and readers will be asking me if I’m done yet.

 

Do you believe writing should be censored – that some topics should remain taboo?

I’m not sure about this. Certainly there are topics I don’t want to write about or read about. It also concerns me that stories influence people, particularly as to what they consider to be normal behavior. For instance, the proliferation of books and films showing women as victims and treating them as objects can’t help but influence how both women and men see women as a whole. For that reason, I try to choose carefully what I read and write.

The idea of the government telling people what they can or can’t write bothers me, however. I think I’d rather see everyone able to write what they choose and leave it to readers to decide how they want to spend their time.

 

Any pet peeves in writing? In reading others’ work?

It drives me crazy when the main character of a book is a writer. It feels lazy, like the author couldn’t make the effort to create a fictional profession. That being said, Stephen King does this a lot and it has never bothered me in his work, so maybe it depends on how the character is otherwise portrayed.

 

Where can people find you and your work?

www.LisaLilly.com

www.WritingAsASecondCareer.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/lisamlilly

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

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Lisa-M.-Lilly/e/B005EO80OK

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5126606.Lisa_M_Lilly