Author Meet & Greet!

Welcome to Author Meet & Greet

Here, you will have an opportunity to meet authors and learn a little more about them.

You may connect through their social media links (if they choose to share them) and purchase their works.

The 4 most current interviews will be posted here. Older ones may be found under the Archive: Author Meet & Greet on the front page.

 

**Jack Ketchum’s Interview from December 2017 is PINNED at the bottom of this page**

 

So, without further ado, let’s get to know

Meet & Greet Author: #72

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

 

Thanks so much, Kevin!

 

**************************************

Irene Ceder Rogers

 

 

Name: Irene Ceder Rogers

Genre(s) of your work: Non Fiction

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

July 2016 “Finding Peace is my Revenge “Memoir

Bio:

I was born in Poland Warsaw. In 1939 the Nazi regime entered Warsaw. The family of five escaped to Soviet Union Ukraine Simferopol. From Ukraine, to Andijan Uzbekistan. Tragically, my parents and little sister died from diseases.

Thanks to my teenage sister, I survived. I entered 2 orphanages one in Uzbekistan and one Poland. After 52 years, I traveled on the Silk Road, Karakoram Highway through Pakistan, Kyrgyztan, and Kashgar China and eventually to Uzbekistan to find the burial place of my parents and sister.

I arrived from Israel to New York, through the Nurses Association on exchange visa as a registered surgical operating room nurse. She lived in Berea Ohio and currently lives in Northbrook Illinois.

She marks her debut in publishing with a new memoir; Finding Peace is my Revenge, published by Balboa Press.

This book not only narrates the remarkable life journey of a Holocaust survivor but also shares a true story of the indomitable human spirit. Finding peace is my Revenge “endeavors to achieve a better world without prejudice, educate people how to live in peace and truly respect diversity.”

 

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

Bring awareness to the people about survival during the Holocaust

 

How has writing changed/altered your life?

I was able to document and bring to the service the feeling that were deep inside me. I did not live by the past but it was a good feeling to document and write. I was influenced also by an organization World Federation of Jewish Child Survivors to write my biography.

Who are your favorite authors and why?

Philip Ross

Domestic stories some true-life.

 

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

In order to submit the book /books they demand an agent but do not except books from a layperson. This was my experience

 

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

How to survive in most troubling times, tolerance, and beauty of certain people, landscape and seeking peace for the world as I do.

 

How much does personal experience play in your written work?

I was able to share with the audience the sad and happy events of my life and maybe help someone in survival.

 

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

Once I set an important goal and purpose, it was easy to commit and persevere to the unique story. I had to let the world know about the cruel dictatorship and to expose anti-Semitism. You gain more strength to tell the story politically too.

 

What makes you NOT finish reading a book?

Maybe violence, improper language. Some values do not stick with me.

Certain responsibilities, reading other literature.

 

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

Sometimes I feel that way, but we have freedom of expression everything goes.

Where can people find you and your work?

Amazon page, Facebook, Barnes &Noble, Google, Balboa Press, Abe Press and many more.

 

 

 

Thank you for sharing your story, Irene.

****************************************

Michael A. Black

 

Name: Michael A. Black

Pseudonym (if you use one): Don Pendleton

Genre(s) of your work: Mystery, Thriller, Western, Sci-Fi, Nonfiction

 

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

I published my first short story in 1990 (“All the Players” in Hardboiled Magazine). Since then I’ve had 30 books an over 100 short stories and articles published. My latest novels under my own name are Blood Trails and Chimes at Midnight. I also write the Executioner series under Don Pendleton. The latest titles in that series are Missile Intercept, Fatal Prescription, and the forthcoming Dying Art. My most recent short stories have appeared in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine “Walking on Water” in the Mar/April 2018 issue and “Dress Blues” in Down and Out magazine #1.

 

Bio:

Michael A. Black is the author of 30 books, the majority of which are in the mystery and thriller genres, although he has written in sci-fi, western, horror, and sports genres as well. A retired police officer with over 30 years’ experience, he has done everything from patrol to investigating homicides to conducting numerous SWAT operations. Black was awarded the Cook County Medal of Merit in 2010. He is also the author of over 100 short stories and articles, and has written two novels with television star, Richard Belzer (Law & Order SVU). Black is currently writing the Executioner series (Fatal Prescription, Missile Intercept) under the name Don Pendleton. His latest novel under his own name is Blood Trails.

 

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

It’s always been my goal to be published in as many different genres as I can. I’ve cracked a lot of them, but I’m still working on a few, like romance. I have very eclectic reading tastes, consuming anything and everything. I’ve always felt that good writing is good writing regardless of the genre.

 

How has writing changed/altered your life?

It was my childhood dream to one day walk into a bookstore and see my book on the shelf. Luckily, I’ve been able to realize that dream.

 

Who are your favorite authors and why?

There are so many I’ be hard pressed to name them. Since a lot of them are personal friends, I’ll leave it at that, since I don’t want to miss mentioning someone.

 

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

I’ve always loved bookstores and libraries. Unfortunately, brick and mortar bookstores, especially those small, independent ones, have become something of an endangered species. Barnes & Noble is perhaps the last of the big, corporate bookstore chains. I try to support them, because I’d miss them if they go the way of Borders and a few others. I love to go to a bookstore, any sized bookstore, and browse and talk to people.

 

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

I always try to write the best book I can, and I hope that readers might take away the sense that I’ve told a good story and kept them entertained throughout the book.

 

How much does personal experience play in your written work?

My personal experience figures into my work a great deal. Since I often write mysteries and thrillers, I draw upon my experiences in the police work and the military to make things authentic.

 

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

For me the key to finishing is to write that first draft in my head. Once I know how it ends, I use that as motivation to keep going, in chronological order, so that I can get to that last scene and deliver a knockout.

 

What makes you NOT finish reading a book?

I used to feel compelled to finish every book I started. This was a hold-over from my college days when I made the effort to do all the reading and not cheat. As the years passed, however, the old saying, “So many books, so little time” became more prominent. Now, if I start a book and I don’t like it, I simply stop reading it and go to the next one. My “To Read” pile is always growing. I do try to give each book a fair chance, though.

 

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

While I’ve never been a fan of censorship, I do think that an author should be circumspect in his or her writing. Expressing certain opinions and writing about topics that are meant to hurt or destroy never appealed to me. Nor do I see the value in gratuitous scenes that are vulgar, cruel, or upsetting. Thus, I’d prefer that an author uses common sense and good taste when writing.

 

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

My only pet peeves are writers who write about something without thinking it through and doing the necessary amount of research.

 

Where can people find you and your work?

I have a website, but it’s in need of updating. (I’m working on that.) I’m on Amazon.com and Crossroad Books does my ebooks. And you can order my books at Barnes & Noble or your favorite bookstore.

www.MichaelABlack.com

Amazon writer’s page

 

Thanks very much, Michael!

**************************************

Mary T. Wagner

 

Name:  Mary T. Wagner

Genre(s) of your work: I’ve written essay collections for grownups, and now I’m working on the third and fourth “chapter books” for young readers based on the fictional adventures of Finnigan the Circus Cat (who was inspired by a real rescue kitten!).

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

Finnigan and the Lost Circus Wagon (2017)

Finnigan the Circus Cat (2016)

When the Shoe Fits: Essays of Love, Life and Second Chances (2014)

Fabulous in Flats: Putting My Best Foot Forward! (2011)

Heck on Heels: Still Balancing on Shoes, Love & Chocolate! (2009)

Heck on Heels, paperback edition with FULL COLOR nature photographs (2016)

Running with Stilettos: Living a Balanced Life in Dangerous Shoes (2008)

 

Bio:

Mary T. Wagner is a former newspaper and magazine journalist who changed careers at forty by going to law school and becoming a criminal prosecutor. However, she never could step away from the written word entirely, and inevitably the joy of writing drew her back to the keyboard.

A Chicago native, this mother of four and grandmother now lives in “coastal Wisconsin,” where she draws much inspiration for writing from frequent trips to the shore of Lake Michigan, watching the waves ebb and flow and make shifting mosaics of sunlight on the sandy lake floor. Wagner’s ongoing legal experience has ranged from handling speeding tickets to arguing and winning several cases before the Wisconsin Supreme Court…sometimes in the same week! She plans to retire from her job as a state prosecutor in late 2018, in order to devote more time to writing, hiking and visiting her adorable grandchildren!

Her first three essay collections—Running with Stilettos, Heck on Heelsand Fabulous in Flats—garnered numerous national and regional awards, including a Gold E-Lit Book Award, an Indie Excellence Award, and “Published Book of the Year” by the Florida Writers Association. Her latest essay collection, “When the Shoe Fits…Essays of Love, Life and Second Chances” rounds up her favorites—and reader favorites—into a “best of” collection available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats.  Her newest publishing venture is a series of children’s chapter books for young readers based on “Finnigan the Circus Cat.” The second book in the series was “Finnigan and the Lost Circus Wagon,” and the third, “Finnigan the Lionhearted,” is in the works. She also draws the pictures inside the books, which can take her just as much time as writing the stories.

Wagner’s life experiences includes the defining watershed of motherhood, and stints as a Girl Scout troop leader, truck stop waitress, office temp, judicial clerk, and radio talk show host. She counts both wearing spike heels and learning to use a cordless drill and chainsaw among her “late blooming” discoveries, and would be hard pressed to surrender either her favorite stilettos or her power tools.

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

I’m going to go with the Finnigan books, because they’re the most recent writing adventure! I had been writing essays for a number of years since I first started my signature blog, Running with Stilettos, just before New Year’s Eve in 2006. I had never, ever, ever imagined myself writing something for a very young audience (around age 7 to 10). But two things happened that put me on that course. One was that my younger daughter, Sarah Muehlbauer, had become a contemporary circus aerialist, and so the subject of “circus” and circus history were always part of our conversations. Plus, of course, we were just a few hours’ drive from Baraboo, Wisconsin, and we loved to visit the Circus World Museum.

The other thing was that a few years ago my younger son and his wife adopted a tiny rescue kitten that they named Finnigan, and Finnigan then got to spend several months at my house while they were in Ireland for a semester abroad. He had quite the exuberant personality! So somehow the idea of “circus + kitten” just naturally took hold. Now that I’ve published two of these books, I finally realized just why they are so much fun for me to work on. And that’s because the books’ narrator, a wise-ass circus mouse named Maximillian, is my alter ego. I swear, he’s really me as a ten year old, before I grew up and got domesticated and mature and all those things you’re supposed to be as an adult. When I start to write these Finnigan stories, all have to do is sit down with a keyboard or a notebook, open up a little door in my head, and that mouse steps out and says “OK, here’s where we’re driving today!” It make me feel like a kid again.

 

How has writing changed/altered your life?

Oh good Lord, where to even start! I actually wrote a longer essay about it a few years ago, but the short version is that I’ve had so much fun and amazing experiences since I first started blogging and then putting my essays into books. I’ve made friends around the country, done speaking engagements here and there, traveled several times to coastal Georgia which is my favorite place on Earth, ridden horseback on an Atlantic beach, done “live lit” in front of groups in places that have included bookstores, bars and a tattoo parlor, and now, with the Finnigan books, gained the confidence to actually draw the pictures inside the books. And I’ve had some truly humbling moments when people have reached out to tell me that something that I wrote resonated with them or helped them get through a tough time or a hard decision.

 

Who are your favorite authors and why?

I am drawn like a moth to a flame to suspenseful, well-written fiction. If I had to be shipwrecked on an island with a single book to read over and over, it would be “Rebecca,” by Daphne DuMaurier. And after that it would be William Kent Kruger and his “Cork O’Connor” series of novels set in “up north” Minnesota. He writes so beautifully about the natural world and has really amazing plotting in this series which weaves the experiences of the reservation-dwelling Native Americans and the white town residents into an intricate tapestry.

 

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

I wish more of them would carry my books on their shelves! It can be an uphill climb for indie authors to crack those brick and mortar markets.

 

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

Something that I think runs deep through the Finnigan books, though it’s under layers of slapstick and adventure, is the notion that the family you make can be just as important as the family you come from. The kitten in the book is a foundling, and forms a bond with these two mice at the museum who become his closest friends, despite their natural differences. I also hope that kids and the adults in their lives will share these stories and enjoy reading them together. I always loved reading to my children when they were small, and I’ve tried to write these books in a way that grownups will be drawn in by the wordplay and the humor at an entirely different level than the kids are.

 

How much does personal experience play in your written work?

Well all the essays that I’ve written are stream-of-consciousness truth, so in a word, “everything”! That goes for the power tools, spike heels, tragedy, joy, chocolate, nature, and the guy with the motorcycle and the black leather pants. And as for the Finnigan series, clearly I’ve never been either a cat or a mouse…but Finnigan was inspired by a real rescue kitten, and has the sass and the mannerisms of the real kitty.

 

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

Finding the motivation to write has never been a problem for me, it’s as necessary as breathing. However, finding the time to sit down and write has always a challenge!

 

What makes you NOT finish reading a book?

Bad writing, mostly. I have literally given up on some books before the end of the first chapter because the first few pages are so full of clichés, or they just plod from paragraph to paragraph. Gratuitous violence that’s just there for shock value is another reason. On the other hand, there are times when I start reading something—most recently “Blood on the Tracks” by Barbara Nickless, a suspense novel involving an Iraqi war vet with PTSD working railroad security, her marvelous canine partner, and winter in the Rockies—when the skill of language and imagery is so strong that I know I’m going to stay with it.

 

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

I haven’t given this much thought before, but I don’t think I’d have much of a problem with some of the horrible racist ranting and hate speech that encourages violence and worse these days to be shut down.

 

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

Ha! My “pet” peeves involve my pets! I live with a large and boisterous and affectionate dog, Lucky, who is constantly seeking validation, or just another walk. I also have two cats, who do their best to create distractions. So I often just pack up the laptop and head for my favorite library for some uninterrupted writing time.

 

Where can people find you and your work?

You can find all of my books on Amazon of course, in both paperback and Kindle editions. Or you can ask your local bookstore to order it for you. I won’t make as much, but it’ll be good for the bookstore! As for finding me for speaking engagements and library visits and the like, check out my website and then reach out by email at runwstilettos@yahoo.com  I love to talk about empowerment and how “it’s never too late to make mid-course corrections” for women’s and business groups, and I thoroughly enjoy talking to kids about Finnigan the Circus Cat and doing “draw Finnigan with me” exercises to show that trying new things is great even though you’re guaranteed to make mistakes.

Author website: http://www.marytwagner.com

Running with Stilettos blog: http://runningwithstilettos.blogspot.com/

Growing Bolder “team blogging”: https://marywagner.growingbolder.com/

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

Amazon author page

Twitter: https://twitter.com/runswstilettos

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

 

Thank you, Mary!

*******************************************

Jack Ketchum (PINNED – Interviewed in December 2017)

 

Name: Dallas Mayr

Pseudonym (if you use one): Jack Ketchum

Genre(s) of your work: Horror and Suspense (and the occasional Black Comedy.)

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):  Writing professionally since 1970, first fiction 1976, first novel, OFF SEASON, 1981.

Bio: see my website http://www.jackketchum.net/and add to that, Most Recent Novel, THE SECRET LIFE OF SOULS, written with Lucky McKee and Most Recent Collection, GORILLA IN MY ROOM.

Why do you write in the genre that you do?  

I grew up loving fantasy, and horror is the dark side of fantasy.

How has writing changed/altered your life? The usual perks of self-employment — no punching the time clock, no damn bosses hovering over your desk.  But in addition to that, writing mandates continual periods of self-examination.  You don’t easily get away with lying to yourself on the page.  It requires you to scour your history and your present for your deepest faults and pleasures, to reveal and revel in them, to find the strengths in your life and work from there, reaching outward.

Who are your favorite authors and why?

Far too many to list here.  I read all over the place and consequently my favorite writers come from all genres and backgrounds, from Henry Miller to Gabriel Garcia Marquez, from Raymond Chandler, Elmore Leonard and John D. MacDonald to Thomas Hardy, Philip Roth, Michael Chabon, Joyce Carol Oates, Peter Straub and Stephen King.  Why?  Because they’re smart, empathic, courageous.  Because they’re good!

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

I wish we had a lot more mom-and-pop, brick-and-mortar bookstores.  I seriously miss browsing.

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

The need for empathy and tenderness in the world, that the souls of beasts and humans matter.  And a few hours of just plain fun.

How much does personal experience play in your written work?

Depends on the piece.  Some, like THE GIRL NEXT DOOR and RED, are highly personal, others…?  I don’t know where the hell they came from!

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

Finishing a piece is almost always easy.  It’s getting started that’s hard.  Getting all your ducks in a row and then having the balls and suspension of disbelief  to say to yourself, this is really going to work.

What makes you NOT finish reading a book?

I give books a first paragraph test.  If it passes, then a first chapter test.  If it passes that, I’ll almost always finish the book — I can tell from there that I’m going to want to.   If it fails I scuttle it immediately.  Very occasionally, too much repetition will make me dump it.  I don’t want to waste reading-time.  Too much good stuff out there.

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

Nothing should ever be censored.  Everything is worth discussing.  How long a discussion is another matter entirely.

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

 Life’s short.  I don’t bother with peeves.  If I’m bored, I just close the book.

Where can people find you and your work?

Website, see above. I have a list of published works there.   Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/jackketchumofficial/ Twitter, https://twitter.com/jackketchum Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Ketchum

 

What can I say?

I am honored to have snagged a bit of Jack Ketchum’s time, for him to share his thoughts and words with me (and my readers), and for his participation in a blog such as this one. Thank you so much – for the interview as well as your writing. It has and continues to be an inspiration.

Readers, I implore you to look into Jack Ketchum’s work, especially if you are a horror/suspense fan. From the mouth of Stephen King – “Who’s the scariest guy in America? Probably Jack Ketchum.”

 

7 comments

  1. Hi Sue. Thank you for including me in this roundup of four writers. I read all the interviews with pleasure. The CWA includes so many interesting members. I enjoyed meeting my fellow interviewees via your blog.
    Susan Bass Marcus

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s nice to see Teri here — always good to know a little more about her. I had to laugh about her friends being more careful about what they say. 😀 It’s funny how many people worry they’ll be “in the book” when they learn you write. Hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

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