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’ll also have a chance to 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 #57:

Lisa M. Lilly

Name:   Lisa M. Lilly

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

Genre(s) of your work:

Fiction: Supernatural Thrillers, Occult, Suspense/Mystery

Nonfiction: Books On Writing Craft



Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

The Awakening (Book 1) 2011

The Unbelievers (Book 2 in The Awakening Series) 2014

The Conflagration (Book 3 in The Awakening Series) 2016

The Illumination (Book 4 in The Awakening Series) 2017

The Complete Awakening Series Box Set/Omnibus Edition 2017

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

When Darkness Falls 2016

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

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

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



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

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

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

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


Why do you write in the genre that you do?

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

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

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


How has writing changed/altered your life?

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


What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

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

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


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

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

I also use visualization.

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


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

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

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


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

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


Where can people find you and your work?






Thanks very much for sharing with us, Lisa!



Rebecca Howie

Name: Rebecca Howie

Genre(s) of your work: YA, Mystery


Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

2016- The Game Begins

2017- A Woman Scorned



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

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


Why do you write in the genre that you do?

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



How has writing changed/altered your life?

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



Who are your favorite authors and why?

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


How much does personal experience play in your written work?

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

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



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

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



What makes you NOT finish reading a book?

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

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


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

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



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

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

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

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



Where can people find you and your work?

Amazon (.

My blog. (


Thanks very much for visiting with us, Rebecca!


Olivia Esther

Pen name: Olivia Esther

Genres: I currently have one science fiction book and one poetry book published, but I’m still finding my voice.

Titles/year of publication:

In 2016 I published ‘Briobands’ and in 2017 I published ‘The Things I Never Said’. Both self published through Amazon!


Why do you write in the genre that you do?

I’m still trying to find my voice, so I’m writing anything and everything. It really is just a game of ‘hmmm what do I feel like writing today?’


Who are your favorite authors and why?

My favorite author is Jamie McGuire because her raw talent is so inspiring. I have to give a shout out to Stephenie Meyer because the Twilight series is what got me into reading. I also enjoy Poe quite a bit. A good dark story is always fun!


What is your opinion of mainstream bookstores?

I actually enjoy mainstream book stores. Going to big bookstores is something me and my mom do a lot, and it is always something I love doing.


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

With my most recent poetry novel, ‘The Things I Never Said’, I want readers to understand they are not alone. People, especially young girls, all go through heartbreak that seems like the end of the world. But ultimately you are stronger and can conquer anything.


How much does personal experience play in your written work?

My most recent novel is all personal experience. It is my feelings and thoughts just thrown on paper. ‘Briobands’, however, is science fiction and made up. But I will say the characters are based on people I know. Never mess with an author, you might end up in a book!


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

My mom is always pushing me to be the best I can be. She is always telling me to go the extra mile and finish whatever I put my heart and mind to. She is my motivation.


What makes you NOT finish reading a book?

Okay so I’m a terrible reader because if I don’t like a book I will just stop reading it. Then maybe a week later I will pick it up again and realize it is actually a great book and I just didn’t get far enough into it! Really it’s a curse.


Any Pet Peeves in other’s work?

Exclamation! Points! Lose! Their! Emphasis! When! You! Use! Them! All! The! Time!


Where can people find your work?

All my work is available on Amazon. Go check it out!! Follow my author twitter to get updates and find out where I’ll be for book signings.

Twitter: Olivia_Esther24 Email:

Thanks so much, Olivia! Keep at it!


Frederick H. Crook



Name: Frederick H. Crook

Genre(s) of your work: Most works are Dystopian Science Fiction. I have one Paranormal/Historical Fiction novel.

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

*All titles are dystopian science fiction with the exception of The Summer of ’47, which is my paranormal historical fiction.

The Dregs of Exodus, 2010. (Self-published through Authorhouse but recently discontinued. I am in the process of re-editing it for self-publishing.)

The Pirates of Exodus, 2012. (Also self-published through Authorhouse and was discontinued. I’ll be re-issuing it in 2020.)

Runt Pulse, 2012. E-book only. Self-published.

Lunar Troll, 2012. E-book only. Self-published.

Campanelli: The Ping Tom Affair, 2013. E-book, Audiobook (2016), and now in print through CreateSpace (2017). Self-published.

The Fortress of Albion, 2013. E-book, now in print through CreateSpace (2017). Self-published.

Campanelli: Sentinel, 2014. E-book and paperback. Solstice Publishing.

Minuteman Merlin, 2015. E-book. Solstice Publishing.

Of Knight & Devil, 2015. E-book and paperback. Solstice Publishing.

Campanelli: Siege of the Nighthunter, 2016. E-book and paperback. Solstice Publishing.

Comfort in a Man Named Jakc, 2016. E-book. Solstice Publishing. (Jakc is misspelled intentionally and is explained in the story.)

Adrift, 2016. E-book. Solstice Publishing.

The Summer of ’47, 2016. E-book and paperback. Solstice Publishing.

The Interceptor’s Song, 2017. E-book and paperback. Self-published.



I was born in Chicago in 1970 and wrote short stories through high school. I now live in a suburb of Chicago with my wife, Rae and our three dachshunds. I published my first book in 2010 and was picked up by Solstice Publishing in 2014. I continue to write for them as well as self-publish some titles. I was an editor for Solstice for two years and now freelance edit with the Indie author as my target market.

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

I love the idea of humans finding another planet to live on, so I decided that was the way to go. Too many dystopian works feature an apocalypse or Armageddon happening, where my works feature a slow migration to Alethea, a fictitious planet, over the course of many decades. I focus on the people, not so much the technology of the future time.

How has writing changed/altered your life?

It’s everything to me. It’s all I do or ever want to do. I am constantly thinking about the next few storylines while working on the current one. There’s not a waking moment that goes by when I’m not writing that I’m not thinking of writing.

Who are your favorite authors and why?

I like the giants of classic science fiction. Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, Arthur C. Clarke, George Orwell, etc. I’m also a big fan of Stephen King and Dean Koontz.

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

I like them, but I prefer to cruise through used book stores. They are more fun to shop through and the owners are more likely to be welcoming to indie authors. The big chain bookstores, at least those here in the Chicagoland area, tend to be closed to anyone beyond the big publishers.


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

I’d like people to be entertained. I want them to be immersed in the time and situations of my characters, and I hope that their imagination is sparked by my stories. It would be a triumph to hear from someone in a few decades that tells me they went into a particular line of work because they read one of my books.

How much does personal experience play in your written work?

I think it really comes out in a character’s dialogue. I can really put myself in their place while writing scenes where they are interacting and conversing with other characters. Humor comes out, and it mixes well with whatever is churning in the storyline.

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

I like to finish what I start. I’ve only bailed on two works in my life, and it was because I didn’t follow my usual process, which is to think the book through from beginning to end and making sure there’s a complete story there. It’s like building a railroad. You have to have a point of origin, a route, and a destination. I don’t start typing without these being worked out.

What makes you NOT finish reading a book?

That’s extremely rare, even if the book is not of a preferred genre. Usually something has to be really terrible, and there’s no shortage of the really terrible out there. I can usually spot it before I even start, which is helpful. Talented writers, whether they are indies or backed by the big publishers, have to really do something special to stand out.

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

I don’t believe in censorship. Not at all, but I do recall reading a book for a now defunct review site that was so mean in spirit and deeply, pointlessly vulgar that I thought it was a joke. I remember emailing the persons that ran the review site and asked that very question, but was told it was legitimate. I hated every page of it and even stated in my review that to have written such a tale made me question the author’s sincerity. It seemed to have been written for the sole purpose of disgusting the reader, rather than entertaining them.

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

Poor grammar and typos that could have been caught by an editor, copyeditor, proofreader, etc., really is an annoyance. Indies are not the only ones that fall victim to that. For instance, I’m reading one of Isaac Asimov’s books of the Foundation Series and a character’s name is misspelled at least twice, there are a couple of sentences that make zero sense, and in some places, there are too many details. That being said, there is no such thing as a perfect book, it’s just a matter of keeping the errors to a minimum to allow the reader to move through the story smoothly.

Where can people find you and your work?


Amazon Author Page:

Twitter: @FrederickHCrook

Facebook Author Page:


Thanks very much, Frederick!


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 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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