Author Meet & Greet!

Welcome to Author Meet & Greet

Here, you will have an opportunity to meet authors,  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:  #100

Carol M. Ford

 

Name: Carol M. Ford

Genre(s) of your work:

Non-Fiction: Biography, Pets

Fiction: Thriller/Mystery

 

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography (2015)

Golden Linings: Tiny Tales about Pets, for Pets (2018)

Vulture Mine over Matter (short story)

The Incident (short story)

 

 

Bio:

Carol M. Ford has more than twenty years of experience in the publishing industry. She earned her BA degree with Honors in English/Liberal Arts from Glassboro State College (now Rowan University) in Glassboro, New Jersey. She is the Director of Editorial Services, an editor, and a managing editor for Anthony J. Jannetti, Inc. (AJJ), a health care association management, marketing, and publishing firm located in Southern New Jersey near Philadelphia. Working with leaders in the nursing community, she oversees the production of several clinical peer-reviewed nursing journals, publications, and textbooks.

Carol has authored and published several articles on writing and publishing, has self-published two short stories, has written several novels on spec based on Hogan’s Heroes, and has co-authored a two-part teleplay on spec based on Dracula: The Series. Since 2011, she has owned and managed the Vote For Bob Crane National Radio Hall of Fame campaign.

Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography is Carol’s first major non-fiction work. In addition to her deep understanding of Bob Crane and her writing skills, her extensive knowledge of publishing for the health sciences has equipped her with keen investigative and research skills, ensuring the final publication of the book, which was thoroughly researched for twelve years, is evidence-based. A portion of the profits from Bob Crane’s biography is donated to various charities in Bob’s memory.

Carol is CEO and owner of Carol M Ford Productions, LLC, which provides individuals, organizations, and businesses with podcasting, voiceover, and video production services. She currently oversees the production of the Jannetti Publications, Inc., podcast series, which provides extended content of AJJ’s scholarly, peer-reviewed nursing journals (Nursing Economic$, MEDSURG Nursing, and Pediatric Nursing). She also provides podcast production services for AJJ’s clients. Throughout 2017, Carol co-produced and participated in a podcast based on Bob Crane’s biography, The Bob Crane Show: Reloaded (no longer in production).

In addition, Carol has experience in website design, development, and maintenance, and has constructed websites for various individuals, as well as for herself. She also co-developed, owns, and maintains the Bob Crane: Life & Legacy website.

In 2018, Carol published Golden Linings: Tiny Tales about Pets, for Pets, a book where a portion of profits will be donated to animal shelters to help abused/homeless animals. Her publisher has recently approved Golden Linings 2: More Tiny Tales about Pets, for Pets, which is scheduled to be published in Summer 2019. Carol is also working on a new book, a thriller/horror novel set in Arizona.

Her spare time is filled with writing, reading, photography, drawing, music, traveling, hiking and fitness, her pets (a cat, Charley, and a Golden Retriever, Copper), and spending time with family and friends.

When she finds time to read, Carol  reaches for historical fiction/thrillers/mysteries, and she lists Dean Koontz, Louise Penny, and Dan Brown among her favorite authors. An avid cook, she loves experimenting with new recipes and inviting friends over for dinner. Carol has traveled extensively across the United States and around the world, including to England, Ireland, Scotland, and Australia. She has tutored with Literacy Volunteers of America, teaching adults how to read and write, and has also assisted young children in developing their reading and writing skills.

 

 

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

I have written all of my life. I’m probably best known for my non-fiction work, specifically Bob Crane: The Definitive Biography. But my favorite genre to write in is fiction—mystery, thriller, and supernatural/horror.

I wrote my first stories were when I was a little girl, about five years old. I made up my own tales based on Snoopy and the Peanuts gang, and I’d draw pictures to accompany the stories. I’d then read the stories and show the drawings to my kindergarten classmates. As I grew older and throughout school, I continued writing—more for my entertainment than anything else. And I loved every word of it.

By the time I graduated from high school and entered college, one might think that I had my undergraduate curriculum all figured out. But no. I started out with a major in Elementary Education with a coordinate major in English at Glassboro State College (now Rowan University). One year in, I changed to English/Liberal Arts. And following college graduation, I ran right out and got a job at a publishing firm. Right?

Nope. I got a job with Lifetouch National School Studios, where I found my dream job. Right?

Nope. After three years, I became engaged and got married, and lived happily ever after. Right?

Nope. After three years, during which time I was going to school for mortuary science (my ex-husband and my uncle are funeral directors, didn’t you know), I was divorced. I settled into my lifelong career of writing. Right?

Nope. I got a job with an association management firm and found success. Right?

Nope. I left that job and went to another association management firm, this time Anthony J. Jannetti, Inc., where I’ve been employed since 1998. After a year working on the National Association of Orthopaedic Nurses account as the Education Coordinator, a position opened up in the company’s Editorial Department. I moved over to Editorial in the entry-level position of Editorial Coordinator, and it was here, under the mentorship of my boss and VP of Jannetti Publications, Inc., Ken Thomas, that I really learned publishing. Ken taught me everything I know in the publishing industry. Over time, I advanced to managing editor and then was promoted to Director of Editorial Services. Point being is that sometimes, you don’t always jump on the right road immediately after graduation. Sometimes, the right road needs a little time to find you.

Throughout my professional career, I kept writing. I wrote several articles on publishing techniques for AJJ. And while I loved working on my fiction and dreamed of being a published author, I one day found myself researching Bob Crane for a new, serious biography. I partnered with a radio journalist, Linda Groundwater (who is credited with officially starting the project), and Dee Young, a radio veteran who worked for WICC 600 AM Radio in Bridgeport, Connecticut, which was also where Bob had worked from 1951-1956.

Truth be told, I have been researching Bob Crane ever since I was about fourteen years old. When my parents would go to the local mall, they’d drop me off at the county library, located right across the street, and I’d spend all day in the microfilm/microfiche room. This was circa 1985. And in the 1980s, of course there was no Internet, no email, no eBay to find long lost items. In 2006, when I learned Linda had officially started researching Bob’s life, I reached out to her. She had already connected with Dee by that point, and the three of us bonded together to discover the real Bob Crane.

People ask me—why Bob Crane? Well, of course, I am a lifelong fan of Hogan’s Heroes. That almost goes without saying! But when I was just fourteen, I found out that Bob was murdered, and it really affected me. That kid who was me at that time was so sad. And then when I learned how he was murdered and that the crime was unsolved, I was angry. Little by little, I uncovered fragments of Bob’s life. I had to keep finding out more. And more. And more.

Bob Crane’s biography might be the only biography I have in me. Writing a biography is not something to take lightly. Facts must be checked. You’re dealing with a person’s life and legacy, and to get something wrong or to make an assumption or a sweeping statement alters the truth. Research is key. It’s exhausting, expensive, and time-consuming. Learning and telling Bob’s true story was and will always be a labor of love.

But my favorite genre to play in is fiction. You get to create these fantastic universes where your characters can do things that surprise you, and there’s nothing like getting lost in those pages as I’m writing them. I’m constantly writing or working on ideas. I have written several novel-length Hogan’s Heroes fan fiction (would love to get permission to publish them one day!), as well as two short stories I self-published.

I also love animals, and that’s how Golden Linings: Tiny Tales about Pets, for Pets came into existence. In early 2018, I started brainstorming ideas on how to raise money for animals in need. I love animals, and I’ve always had pets. Currently, I have a golden retriever, Copper, and a cat, Charley. I follow countless shelter/rescue sites on social media, and I always feel so helpless when I see these poor dogs and cats and bunnies and so on in the shelter—some high-kill shelters, giving the scared pets only days or hours to live. I can’t adopt them all, and I can only donate so much (in fact, much of my author profits from Bob Crane’s biography have gone to animal rescue groups). I spun some ideas past my publisher, and we settled on a book written by several contributors about their pets, including a photograph of each, with the sole purpose of raising money to help animals in need. Voorhees Animal Orphanage and S.N.O.R.T. Resuce (Short Noses Only Rescue Group) officially endorsed the book, which was published in July 2018. Golden Linings 2: More Tiny Tales about Pets, for Pets is now in production, with an anticipated publication date of Summer 2019. I’m hoping it continues to grow and raise lots of money to help these sweet furry souls!

 

How has writing changed/altered your life?

In a word: Profoundly.

Researching Bob Crane and writing his biography introduced me to some of the most amazing people I have ever had the honor and privilege to know. I wouldn’t trade one second of any of it for the world. These are/were some of the most beautiful and precious people, and I’m not just saying that because they knew or are related to Bob. Each has touched my life and made me a better person in ways I can’t even begin to explain.

I’ve also had to sharpen my public speaking skills. Nobody tells you that when you publish a book, especially a biography about a public figure, that you’ll have to give presentations about it, be interviewed on the radio about it, and even go on TV about it! Having written and published Bob’s biography has pushed me way outside my comfort zone to do things I normally would never have had the courage to do.

I have come to absolutely love giving presentations about Bob Crane, which I do annually at the MidAtlantic Nostalgia Convention (held each September in Hunt Valley, Maryland) and the Liberty Aviation Museum in Port Clinton, Ohio (home of the official Hogan’s Heroes prop and uniform display). I love watching my audience—and it doesn’t matter if it’s five people for fifty people or a hundred people—absorb what I tell them. Many often attend my presentations with preconceived notions about Bob based on incomplete or inaccurate information, and as I go through his life from birth to death, I can physically see their faces change. They realize how much they didn’t know about him, and they see him in a new light. My favorite story will always be about the first time I gave a presentation at the MidAtlantic Nostalgia Convention. One lady kept coming up to my table in the vendor hall, and she kept saying how much she used to love Hogan’s Heroes, but how she couldn’t watch it because of what she thought she knew of Bob Crane. I was scheduled to give the last presentation of the convention, and I urged her to attend. .She said she’d think about it. So the day came for my presentation (and I was terribly nervous!), and afterwards, she approached the podium to see me. I recognized her, and I said, “I’m so glad you decided to come!” And she said, and I’ll never forget it, “Thank you. You have changed my negative perception of Bob Crane and given me my show back.” That is when it hits you, that you’re doing more than just writing/publishing a book or going around giving talks. You are righting a wrong. That is why I keep going and will always keep going.

 

Who are your favorite authors and why?

There are so many. I really enjoy books by Dean Koontz and Dan Brown. Koontz I like because he can bring multiple characters who didn’t previously know each other together, and Brown because of his intricate plots and settings. I love a good mystery, too, and curling up with a Louise Penny novel is fun!

I like the protagonist to be set up against nearly impossible odds, get knocked down to near defeat, and then rise again, like a phoenix from the flames, stronger than before. We all go through challenging times. I like to see vulnerabilities in the protagonist, making him or her human, not infallible. And sometimes, not always nice. Because life is not perfect, and we as humans are not perfect. When our heroes fall short but bounce back, it gives us hope that we, too, can do the same. I think we are all too hard on ourselves. We try so hard to be perfect. But we aren’t. We stumble. We fall. We learn. We rise. And we are better in the end, not just to others, but to ourselves.

 

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

I love all bookstores! So I can’t knock the corporate booksellers, like Barnes & Noble. I’ve had very good experiences at Barnes & Noble during book signings, specifically in Deptford, New Jersey; Stamford, Connecticut; and Waterbury, Connecticut. Barnes & Noble has been tremendously supportive and friendly, especially when I was still a first-time author and getting my feet wet.

But independent bookstores offer a charm that the corporate stores often lack. They vary in size and many are owned by individuals just trying to make ends meet. I particularly enjoy The Book Asylum in Blackwood, New Jersey; Bogart’s Book Café in Millville, New Jersey; and the Doylestown Bookshop in Doylestown, Pennsylvania.

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

With Bob Crane’s biography, to discover the truth. Rediscover Bob Crane as a talented drummer, a genius in radio, a driven actor, who was simply a human being. Before judging him, learn his whole life story for proper perspective.

With Golden Linings, to help animals but also to take a step back and warm your heart and soul.

With my fiction, to be entertained, thrilled, and a little scared at times.

How much does personal experience play in your written work?

A lot. In the case of Bob’s biography, I visited nearly every single place of importance, walked in his footsteps, and immersed myself in his life.

As for fiction, it’s true that you need to write what you know, and if you don’t know it, you have to learn about it. And learn a lot about it. I read and research to death. You can’t be a writer if you don’t have an arsenal of information. That’s your foundation upon which you build your story.

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

Success. I am driven toward success, even if that success is just the completion of writing the book/story, even if it is never published, and I’m the only one who reads it!

What makes you NOT finish reading a book?

It bores me. I appreciate all writers and their hard work, but we all can’t like everything. If I become bored with a character or plotline, I’ll lose interest pretty quickly.

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

For the most part, no. Even if it makes us uncomfortable. As Rod Serling said during his KNX interview with Bob Crane in 1961, when he quotes the First Amendment, stating that there should be no abridging the freedom of speech or of the press. Regarding his hate mail, Serling says, “I’m delighted. Let them write anything they want. I don’t think we’re in trouble in this country if we let people say, talk, think, comment. This isn’t our problem. It’s when we start to abridge that.”

However, I do not believe in anything that could cause harm to or malign any person, place, or thing. In other words, if the intent is to injure or worse, then that is the exception to the censorship rule.

I’m open to constructive criticism (as much as we don’t like any kind of criticism!), but what I don’t like or allow on my social media sites (for myself or those that I run for Bob Crane) is the hate speech/bullying/vulgarity. I own those sites, so I censor what I feel is inappropriate and considered hateful.

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

I remember reading Gone with the Wind in high school, and when I was reading pages and pages that described the draperies at Tara, I couldn’t help but think, “Okay, I get it. They were luscious and pretty!” Do we need pages and pages of such descriptive text? Maybe. But I don’t care for it!

I’m also not a fan of when authors try and use big words to impress. Sometimes that “big word” is suitable and is the perfect word to use. But when it’s done repeatedly and as a way to make the author sound smart only seems to annoy me.

Where can people find you and your work?

Oh, I’m all over the place!

You can find everything at my website: https://www.carolmford.com/

Bob Crane: https://vote4bobcrane.org/

Golden Linings: http://www.goldenlinings.com/

Carol M Ford Productions, LLC: https://www.carolmfordproductions.com/

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Carol-M.-Ford/e/B005VEKSW0/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

Twitter: https://twitter.com/cmford714

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/carol.ford.378

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cmford714/

Linked In: https://www.linkedin.com/in/carol-ford-7414399/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCi8XaUxPitfYO2qzmdKQjFw

 

Thank you so much, Carol! And Congratulations for being #100!! 🙂

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

Levi

Name: Levi

Pseudonym: Irving Le Rosa

Genre(s) of your work:

Occult fiction, Horror, Modern Fantasy

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

The Committee : US Abattoir I (2017)

 

Bio:

I’m 39, I’m originally a Central Illinois native. I’ve been in the area for the majority of my life; I’ve been involved in artistic pursuits for pretty much that entire amount of time. I don’t have any single area of focus – I’ve written music, I sculpt, I make armor, weapons, lamps, furniture, I even do some graphic design. I have a technical certification in digital pre-press layout operations, not that I do it for a living mind you. I am an inordinately talented hack and a moderately well-read Philistine.

While I am technically the eldest of my blood relations, I’m somewhere in the top middle of my actual sibling group – I have three brothers, a sister, a step sister, and I’m sure I’m missing a couple of people here, my point being that my family tree looks like an octopus.

I’ve been around people that ‘do’ for my entire life; I’m not the son of intellectuals, per se. My father was a maintenance man and my mom worked in a factory for 20 years. I used to install furnaces for a living; I grew up in an upholstery shop run by my grandparents on my mother’s side, and my grandmother on my father’s side was a fifty-year veteran RN at one of the local hospitals. I’ve spent time on farms, breaking into abandoned buildings, and all sorts of other stuff.

In my personal time, I engage in wildly varied pursuits. I’m a very hands-on sort of individual. I’m also a bit of a nerd. I invented a device to convert a QWERTY keyboard into a functional four way joystick, which is kind of a waste in a postmodern era where a USB joystick costs 15 dollars, but I made it work well enough to play Street Fighter Versus X Men on an emulator, so there. I designed a proprietary bullwhip assembly pattern, I build my own furniture – I believe in doing things according to my own design.

 

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

I enjoy dark fiction; I think everyone likes horror, to some degree. It offers the opportunity to reinvent the known. Additionally, since there’s a lot of unexplored territory surrounding common but disconnected themes, it’s possible to create a very complex narrative. I don’t read a lot of conventional horror myself, so it was an interesting place to explore the process of writing because a lot of my own expectations weren’t very directionally biased.

 

 

How has writing changed/altered your life?

I would say the process has altered my life in a few different ways. Some are related to the process of writing itself, some are more related to the subject itself than the specifics of storytelling.

It’s been a challenge trying to organize something with this many moving parts. Musically, the longest thing I’ve ever written tops out at seven minutes and contains maybe 1 page of lyrical content. I’ve done other creative projects that include a lot of writing and description, and I do a lot of writing as a general course of my daily existence – but none of these were ever a long term sort of thing. Writing a book definitely requires a greater amount of directional momentum and oversight. You need to know where you’re going, if not necessarily how to get there.

That’s really only half of it. In the case of The Committee, I actually started a weightlifting regimen to get in the headspace of one of the main characters – I put on over 50 lbs. as a result of that particular practice alone. I’ve written a few short papers on differing occult hypotheses, including a functional method for improving mnemonic recall during your sleeping hours thus allowing you to remember your dreams. Which relates to two of the other characters (at minimum).

In both cases, it’s not like it was something that I wasn’t already moving towards, but the process of writing and trying to place yourself in the varied mindsets required by the perspectives presented within your work crystallizes a lot of what otherwise seems haphazard. Some of those ground floor things that put you into contact with the things you’re writing about will directly alter your life as a result of you doing them. Sometimes permanently. You’re opening doors that don’t close again after you walk through them.

 

Who are your favorite authors and why?

Neil Gaiman. Incredible, high-minded concepts related in a very direct, grounded manner. Impossible to argue with.

James Clavell. Merciless portrayal of the raw humanity of his characters. They’re flawed and messed up, it’s beautiful.

Frank Herbert. Scope of vision; incredible complexity and the expectations he had of humanity are simply awe-inspiring.

Douglas Adams. Beneath the absurdity of the man is a descriptive genius capable of creating the most vivid imagery.  Brilliant.

Margaret Weiss and Tracy Hickman. Excellent use of split-focus narrative style, great world building skills.

Alan Moore. Sledgehammer brutality wielded with incredible finesse.

 

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

I have nothing against the idea of a Barnes and Noble – if you can get people to read, I’m not too picky about how they’re getting it into their hands. I’m not really an elitist in that sense. I sell my books on Amazon, you know?

 

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

Don’t expect the obvious.

 

How much does personal experience play in your written work?

As stated, I wrote a lot of my characters from the lens of personal experience, and in some cases I go out of my way to develop a stronger connection to that experience in order to possess a more clarified perspective.

Secondarily, there was a lot of development that occurred in an intellectual sandbox as well. In the case of my first book, a lot of the world-building was something I participated in with my friend, J. Kennedy; the original concept of “a zombie that isn’t a zombie” came about while we were developing characters and world “lore” for a table-top strategy game he was designing. The game kind of stalled out, but we talked about it non-stop, twice a week for hours at a stretch for more than a year straight. I have dozens of pages of notes, concept art, all sorts of stuff.

 

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

Just keep coming back to it. It took six years to sort out the first book, though I wrote over half of it (roughly 75,000 words) in the last year of development alone; it adds up quickly. The second one already has more direction than the first did – now I just need to flesh out them bones.

 

What makes you NOT finish reading a book?

It has to be decently written; there is such a thing as a minimal visual appeal requirement, it’s hard to read something that’s just not well-crafted, but it also has to move. You can’t have terrible writing and a dithering pace.

Tolkien is my favorite example of effective minimalist visual appeal – he creates an image in short order, there are occasional departures into deep description as required, and some of the parts of his books are incredibly sophisticated. He wrote languages, you know? Awesome preparatory work.

But for the most part the descriptive narrative takes a consistent back seat to the action. He tells you what hobbits are, how they look, and then doesn’t labor on it afterwards, it’s all forward movement from there. And it’s super-effective – they’re here, then they’re there, holy snaps the BALROG, all these things, back to back to back.

If it was all heavily fleshed out, Lord of the Rings would be the thickness of an encyclopedia, but it isn’t. It does an excellent job of providing the details and then, boom, log drop, and now you’re five hundred miles away in the middle of a war.  There’s a reason why it’s a gold standard.

 

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

No. There’s a caveat to that – there are things that, as an author or a responsible human being, that you probably shouldn’t glorify. But there’s not a lot that you can just categorically exclude, assuming that it serves a valid purpose in furthering your narrative.

 

Where can people find you and your work?

I’m on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/IrvingLeRosa

I’m on Twitter –  https://twitter.com/IrvingLeRosa

Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/Committee-US-Abattoir-I/dp/173227410X

There will eventually be an actual site, but that’s where I’m at for now. Give it a read and let me know what you think.

 

 

Thank you for sharing with us, Levi!

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

Amanda L. Webster

 

Name: Amanda L. Webster

Pseudonym: Mandy

 

Genre(s) of your work: Young Adult, Rural Fantasy, Adult Fantasy, the occasional Instagram poem

 

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

Valley of the Bees, 2017

F-ing Freddy Fisher, 2017

Kindle short stories: Rain at Three, 2015 and Her Name was Amber, 2015

Loosely Collected: A Book of Poems, 2014

 

Bio:

Amanda L. Webster is an author and editor who lives and works in Central Illinois, USA. She obtained her Master of Arts in English with a concentration in creative writing from Mount Mary University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. When not writing and editing, she enjoys crocheting, hiking, camping, and spending time with her two sons and two cats.

 

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

I’m a bit of a genre hopper. I don’t pick the stories: they pick me! I often hear bits of dialog in my head, and then I listen in for a while to find out who the characters are. They often reveal themselves to me in unexpected ways, which I love.

My current project, which is in the final editing stages, is an adult fantasy novel called Demons of the Night. It is totally different from anything else I have published to date. The great thing about being an independent publisher is that I can continue to write the stories that are begging me to write them without having to worry about what some editor in New York City wants me to write next!

 

 

How has writing changed/altered your life?

I’m from a family of story tellers, and I’ve been writing stories since I learned to write. Writing is how I figure out how I feel about life. It helps me make sense of the world, and I use it try to help others make sense of the world as I see it.

 

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

I think they have their place. As an independent author, where would I be without Amazon? Besides that, I have often lived in places where the only independent book stores available were religious in nature. When I was growing up, I didn’t even have access to a public library! Scholastic book orders were my sole source for books. I wish every small town had its own library and thriving, independent book shop, but the sad fact is that most don’t. Corporate stores fill those gaps and serve the underserved.

 

 

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

First of all, I hope they enjoy my stories. I love it when someone tells me they meant to just read a few pages of my book but then stayed up all night trying to finish it. In my novels, I try to create an experience that the reader can immerse themselves in and forget the outside world exists.

At the same time, I use my writing to explore themes and issues that are important to me. Rather than lecturing the reader though, I try to show real people living real life in such a way as to help the reader understand and empathize with those whose lives may be different from theirs.

 

How much does personal experience play in your written work?

There are elements of truth in all of my fictional works. Sometimes, I feel like it’s easier to show the truth through fiction than it is to just tell someone about it. Writing fiction helps me reach people who might otherwise be unreachable.

 

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

It’s hard. I have to psych myself up for it and then push myself to write every single day until the first draft is done. I can bang out a first draft of a novel in about eight weeks, and then I have to put it away and work on something else while the dust settles. It’s really exhausting, but that kind of hard-core push is the only way I can finish a story.

 

What makes you NOT finish reading a book?

I won’t hesitate to stop reading a boring book. You have about two chapters to hold my attention, and then you’re done. There are too many great books in the world to waste time suffering through a boring book! I also won’t finish a book that isn’t believable. Even if it’s fantasy, the author needs to develop the story world for me in such a way that I can suspend disbelief and immerse myself in the story. Sometimes, something small and silly – for example, a character checking her Twitter account at an internet café in 1997 (true story, I actually read that in a traditionally published novel!) – is enough to make me slam a book shut and throw it across the room.

 

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

I don’t think anything should be censored ever. Adults should be allowed to read whatever they like. As far as children go, it’s the parent’s responsibility to monitor the child’s reading habits and make decisions regarding what is appropriate for the individual child. No one has the right to tell me what I or my children should or should not read.

 

Where can people find you and your work?

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

Twitter: @missmandy76

Instagram: mandy_raine

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Amanda-L.-Webster/e/B00MDAXQJM/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Blog: writeontheworld.wordpress.com

Also, I am running a book giveaway on Amazon right now if you would like to include the link: https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/7c62771b95d34663

 

 

Thank you so much, Amanda!

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

Zeke Jarvis

 

 

 

Name:   Zeke Jarvis

Genre(s) of your work:  Fiction and Creative Nonfiction

 

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

In A Family Way (short stories, Fomite Press), 2015

So Anyway… (creative nonfiction, Robocup Press), 2014

Lifelong Learning (short stories, About Editions) 2018

 

Bio:

Zeke Jarvis is a Professor of English at Eureka College. His work has appeared in Posit, KNOCK, and Moon City Review, among other places. His work has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

 

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

I feel like fiction lets you reflect on life, thinking about things in a new context in order to get a deeper understanding of them. For instance, in my short piece, “Breaking Point”, I imagine a person who gets hired to be a jerk until the client feels justified in yelling at him. While this job doesn’t exist, the story does give me a chance to think about the strange and arbitrary nature of when and how we’re polite, how we hold in anger, etc. So, by being weird on a literal level, we can be more honest and direct on a figurative level.

 

How has writing changed/altered your life?

It’s kept me from being handsome and popular (insert frowny face emoji here).

 

Who are your favorite authors and why?

I like both Aimee Bender and Kelly Link, because I feel like they have very distinctive visions. When I read their work, I think, “only this writer could have written this story”. That also makes the stories feel very personal. I also greatly admire Zadie Smith, because she’s able to take a lot of different elements and make them cohere. Cormac McCarthy shows a tremendous sense of discipline in his voice, understanding the “less is more” principle. Toni Morrison is bold, but her risks absolutely pay off.

 

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

They’re frustrating, for sure, because they limit the breadth of work that the public sees. They also sell a lot of crap. That said, they can also pull people in to reading, and that’s a very important role.

 

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

A few moments of happiness and a more complex understanding of the world. If they have those two things, then I’d be honored.

 

How much does personal experience play in your written work?

It impacts it a lot, just not in a very literal way. My work looks at my most active anxieties, but it does so in an indirect way. I use metaphor to cloak where a concern came from, but the concerns or interests expressed in any story are deeply personal. For instance, in “Displays”, I look at a couple who takes their kids around a neighborhood to look at Christmas lights, but, as they do so, they also case the houses that they’re looking at. I’ve never had this experience, but the idea of trying to talk with one’s spouse “above the heads” of one’s kids is part of my lived experience. So, I take what I’ve lived through or what is bothering me, and I situate it in a parallel experience to think about it in a new light.

 

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

Sheer terror. It keeps me from stopping.

 

What makes you NOT finish reading a book?

A lack of either energy or imagination. A reader has no obligation to a writer, and we all have many demands upon our time. Why waste it on uninspired fiction?

 

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

This is interesting, because I actually wrote an encyclopedia on banned books (Silenced in the Library). Books get challenged for absurd reasons (a Where’s Waldo book got challenged because one page featured a topless sunbather). I don’t think that they should be banned. I’m fine with labelling, giving readers a sense of the level of maturity that a reader should have, but outright banning is often the result of people who haven’t really thought about the context of a work, what it’s trying to examine or challenge.

 

Where can people find you and your work?

Zekedotjarvis.wordpress.com

@zekjar

https://www.facebook.com/zeke.jarvis.5

Also, just google my name!

Thanks very much, Zeke!

 

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

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.”

10 comments

    1. Hi Donna;
      My pleasure. As an independent author myself, I know that marketing is key and getting the word out by any means is crucial.
      Thanks!
      Sue

      Like

  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

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s