Author Meet & Greet!

Welcome to Author Meet & Greet

Here, you will have an opportunity to meet authors,  connect with them 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:  #113

Martin Altman

Name: Martin Altman

Genre(s) of your work: POETRY

Martin Altman was born and raised in The Bronx, graduated from Lehman College (CUNY) with a B.A. in English, and worked in New York’s Garment District for 40 years. He lives in Chicago with his wife Joyce. He was Featured Reader at The Café and at TallGrass Writers
Guild in Chicago. He has been published in Outrider Press, Red Ochre, Blue Minaret, Adelaide Poetry Journal, Aethlon: Journal of Sport, Light: A Journal of Photography, Penwood Review, The Passage Between, and an LGBT magazine Off the Rocks. Being a stutterer from childhood,
a major concern of his poetry is speaking and hearing, breathing and cessation, connection and isolation, and silence.



Why do you write in the genre that you do?
For the most part, I am not interested in plot or character (though in the past few years my poems have told little stories), but in the essence of what makes us human. Imagery has always been the most important element in my poetry.

How has writing changed/altered your life?
Writing though very difficult gives me great pleasure. And to think of myself as a writer is important to my identity.

Who are your favorite authors and why?
Joseph Conrad, the novelist. His use of language and his explorations of human nature attracted me since I was 17. Anyone who tries to break the language in order to escape its traps and limitations is doing a great service to humanity. To open it up, to keep it fresh (e.g., Wallace Stevens, Virginia Woolf, Allen Ginsburg)….

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?
I have gotten many good books at Barnes & Nobles. But I have also gotten many good books at independent bookstores, even at Goodwill. Both kinds of stores have value, and both need to exist and prosper.

What do you hope your readers will take away from your work?
That there is another point of view, that reality is deeper and more complex than they thought, that human nature is almost beyond our comprehension.

How much does personal experience play in your written work?
As I get older personal experience is less and less important. The ability to imagine what another person is going through is much more important.

What makes you NOT finish reading a book?
I almost never not finish reading something I start.

Do you believe writing should be censored – that some topics should remain taboo?
The short answer is that nothing should be censored. But it is a difficult question. To censor writing is to censor thought. Should thought be censored? If some thoughts are bad, how can we stop the production of bad thoughts? Who is to say they are bad? Is their claim they are bad bad?


Thanks so much, Martin!


Debbie Young


Name: Debbie Young (I write under my real name)

Genre: Cosy mystery and romantic comedy – a bit of a mashup!

Titles/year of published work:

Sophie Sayers Village Mystery Series

1st five of planned series of seven published so far:

Best Murder in Show 2017

Trick or Murder? 2017

Murder in the Manger 2017

Murder by the Book 2018

Springtime for Murder 2018

Still to come:

Murder Your Darlings 2019

Murder Lost and Found 2020

Plus 1st in new series, Secrets at St Bride’s, will be published later 2019

Also three collections of short stories:

Quick Change (2014), Stocking Fillers (2014), Marry in Haste (2015)


After a busy career in journalism, PR, marketing and charity administration, Debbie Young writes full-time in her Victorian cottage in the heart of the English Cotswolds region, where she has lived for most of her adult life. Her warm, witty novels are inspired by the rural community around her, where she plays an active part in village life, including running the annual Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival. She is also UK ambassador for the Alliance of Independent Authors for which she also co-writes guidebooks for authors, including How to Get Your Selfpublished Book into Bookstores. She also enjoys travel in the family camper van with her Scottish husband and their teenage daughter.

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

I wanted to write the kind of books I like to read – warm, witty upbeat stories with a healthy mix of mystery, gentle romance and comedy, all set in appealing communities such as an English village or a girls’ boarding school.


How has writing changed/altered your life?

I’ve always written fiction for pleasure and my love of writing just about anything enabled me to find jobs that included a strong writing element e.g. marketing and PR. I’m now very much enjoying writing fiction full-time as my career – something that I don’t think would have been possible when I was a new graduate. Modern technology – digital publishing, print-on-demand and online retailing – have made writing fiction now a viable career for many people, and that is absolutely life-changing!


Who are your favourite authors and why?

I love Dorothy L Sayers for her intelligent approach to crimewriting, combining compelling characters, vivid sense of place and meticulous use of language with clever plot ideas.

George Orwell has been a huge influence on me because of his earnest political focus, his precise language and his sincerity.

I admire P G Wodehouse for his comic genius and inventive language – he makes it seem so effortless!

MC Beaton’s humour, wit and prolific output have made her a key role model for me.


What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

Bookstore chains are hidebound by the profit motive and need to please shareholders and others remote from the storefront. Small indie stores, where the proprietor is usually hands-on and dealing with customers and authors on a daily basis, are much more fun to visit, and I think they are more futureproof too, because they tend to make themselves more a pillar of the local community, adapting to local markets and needs and interests.


How much does personal experience play in your written work?

All my stories are triggered by real-life observations, whether a single short story sparked by overhearing a snippet of conversation between strangers, or a series of novels inspired by a community in which I have lived or worked. I am careful always to fictionalise everything though – real life is only the starting point!

What motivates you to complete your writing work?

A deadline to get an ms to a beta reader/editor/retail site.

Eagerness to have the current WIP out of the way so I can get on to the next one.

Readers asking me when the next book will be out!


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

I think censorship is the thin end of a dangerous wedge of excessive state control. Instead, I prefer there to be clear guidelines for labeling so that people can make an informed choice about what they want to read.


Where can people find you and your work:

Author website:


Facebook page:


Amazon US:

Amazon UK:


Thanks very much, Debbie!


Lesley Tither



Name: Lesley Tither

Pseudonym : L M Krier (crime fiction)

                         Tottie Limejuice (travel memoirs)

                         L M Kay (children’s fiction)

Genre(s) of your work:  as above



Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

Ted Darling Crime Series (currently 12 books, first published 2015 – no 13 out Autumn 2019)

Sell the Pig Travel Memoirs Series – (6 books – first published 2012)

The Dog with the Golden Eyes – children’s illustrated fiction, published 2017.




Retired journalist, freelance copywriter and copy editor. Born in Britain, now living in France as a French citizen. Enjoys walking and camping with her two rescued border collies, Fleur and Rosie, gardening, reading and writing.

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

Travel memoirs because a lot of people are interested in hearing about starting a new life in a new country. And I did it with an 89-year-old mother who had dementia.

Crime fiction because it’s long been my favourite genre to read and watch on television.

Children’s fiction because something I saw about true crime cases made me wonder about children involved.



How has writing changed/altered your life?

I’ve written for a living for a large part of my life. Now I wrote for a living doing something I very much enjoy.



Who are your favorite authors and why?

I enjoy Ian Rankin and Val McDermid for crime fiction. As I live in France I now read mostly in French and have enjoyed discovering new authors through the local library, and being lucky enough to meet some, including Ghislain Gilberti, Ian Manook, and Olivier Norek.



What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

Anything which helps/encourages more people to read gets my vote.



How much does personal experience play in your written work?

Quite a bit, with the crime. I was a court and coroner’s court reporter for ten years.



What motivates you to complete your (writing) work?

I love doing it. The day I no longer do, I’ll stop.



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

Tricky! I do think there is a modern trend to overwrite, not to leave anything at all to the readers’ imaginations. I think that knowing when to draw a veil is a good thing, a skill many writers should consider developing.



Where can people find you and your work?


New website coming soon

Amazon author pages:





Thanks so much, Tots! 🙂



Chris Gerrib


Your Name: Chris Gerrib

Genre(s) of your work: Science fiction

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

The Mars Run (re-released May 2018)

Pirates of Mars (re-released May 2018)

The Night Watch (re-released May 2018)


Chris Gerrib admits to being a bit obsessed with Mars, but in a healthy way – all three books of his Pirate Series are set on Mars. Chris lives in the Chicago suburbs and still has a day job in IT.  He holds degrees in history and business from the University of Illinois and Southern Illinois University.  He also served in the US Navy during the First Gulf War, and can proudly report that not one Iraqi MiG bombed Jacksonville, Florida while he was in the service.  In his copious free time, Chris is a past President of and currently active in his local Rotary club.  His website is

Why do you write in the genre that you do? 

I’ve been a space nut for as long as I can remember, going back to when I would ride my bicycle to the small library in the small town I grew up in (Westville, Illinois).  When I started writing in the early 2000s, I wasn’t seeing a lot of fiction set in our Solar System.  Having grown up on that and missing it, I decided to write what I wanted to read.

How has writing changed/altered your life?

I don’t sell a lot of books, but I do have a few fans who’ve become friends.  That was nice. Also, I’ve met a lot of fellow writers that I’ve become friends with and fans of.  Finally, writing has become something that I miss if I can’t find the time to do it.

Who are your favorite authors and why?

That’s a very long list. I’ve developed a reading list that’s mostly of authors that I met when their first book came out.  I’ve watched them grow and become better writers.  So here’s a probably incomplete list, and I apologize to all the writers I miss!

John Scalzi – he’s the king of great opening lines

Mary Robinette Kowal – brilliant characters

Jim C. Hines – consistently funny

Tim Akers – he’s a tough read but his religious fantasy is stellar.

Kate Atkinson – she’s not an SF writer, rather a British author of literary mysteries.  Her books are so immersive.

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

I really think this is two questions.  I define “mainstream” bookstores as those that have a brick-and-mortar presence.  I love those.  They are an author and a reader’s best friend.  I define “corporate” as Barnes and Noble.  I still like them, and the people who work there are great fans of books.  Sometimes they get handcuffed by their bosses, which is sad.

How much does personal experience play in your written work?

A little.  I was in the US Navy many years and many pounds ago, so that influences my military.  But since I’ve never been to Mars and never fought pirates, I end up making up a lot of stuff!

What motivates you to complete your (writing) work?

I have the luxury of not writing to deadline, so what motivates me is just the desire to get done.

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

I’m not a big believer in censorship.  I think writing a book with detailed instructions on building a nuclear bomb or designing a killer plague should be stopped, but that’s about it.

Where can people find you and your work?

Right now, I’m strictly on Amazon.  The Kindle Direct program was just too appealing for somebody with limited marketing dollars and time.  You can see everything at my author’s page (




Amazon page:



Thanks for the visit, Chris!



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 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, Twitter, Wikipedia,


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.”


    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.


  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

  3. I definitely have some new books to order (Zombie turkeys – still chuckling). I just finished my fifth book and I’m taking a year off to just read and read and read. Thanks for the great interviews.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, LB! That’s the point of the interviews – to give everyone a chance to find out about each other. Thanks for reading and feel free to spread the word! 🙂


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