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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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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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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 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