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 by the author’s last name.


**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:  #127

Chris Marchand



Your Name: Chris Marchand

Genre(s) of your work: Non-fiction, history, education, and church ministry.


Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

Celebrating the 12 Days of Christmas: a guide for churches and families (2019)




I grew up in Central Illinois and I suppose a Midwestern view on life informs a lot of what I do. I’ve always seen myself as an artist who makes things and for years I wanted be a professional musician and singer-songwriter. I’ve recorded a few albums (which are available on Bandcamp) but I was never able to figure out how to make a music career work. When I was in fifth grade I won my school’s young author competition, so I guess I should have stuck with writing, because I’ve found much more success with that over the years.

After graduating from Eureka College with a degree in literature and music, and then marrying my wife Elisa, I went to Garrett Seminary in Evanston, Illinois, where I studied theology and church music. It was there, after writing a Master’s thesis and doing a special project, that I really began to learn to write. After graduating we moved back down to Peoria and have been involved in church ministry and school work ever since. We have four kids ranging from 10 years old on down to 1, so life is full and crazy. I am willing to discuss anything related to film, music, literature, and art at a moment’s notice.

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

For the past few year I had been trying to figure out what my first book would look like. When I got the idea to write on the history and traditions of the 12 days of Christmas, my writing became more focused on research, education, and compacting a lot information into a format that would be enjoyable for a general audience. I’m interested in all kinds of writing, and am working on a realistic novel set in contemporary times, as well as a few books written for the church world and people of faith.



How has writing changed/altered your life?

I went and got two seminary degrees, both of which culminated in a thesis or special project. It was there that I learned how to endure revising my work through multiple drafts, a process that takes months. This taught me that writing is a slow and arduous journey, that involves longterm endurance. Since my degrees were primarily research-based, they also taught me how to pursue truth and not settle for an easy answer with my writing. Great writing is born of struggle! I suppose this lesson has helped me with my normal day-to-day life as well!


Who are your favorite authors and why?

I like authors who write “serious” literature, and who yet have humor injected into everything they do. My favorites would be C.S. Lewis, Umberto Eco, David Foster Wallace, Mark Twain, Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood, Chaim Potok, Jane Austen, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Cervantes, and Walter Miller.



What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

My wife and I were watching the film You’ve Got Mail recently, which is one of her favorite films. I observed that the film is out of date in so many ways, because the main premise, apart from the romance, is the giant behemoth bookstore puts the neighborhood boutique out of business. What was funny to me is that now even the giant bookstores are really struggling, whereas it might be more likely in today’s world for an innovative, locally owned store to find a way to thrive.

Generally speaking, I feel pretty conflicted about mainstream bookstores. I want authors and artists to have as much of an opportunity as possible to get their works out into the world, and I suppose in theory the big stores can help them do that (assuming they can get their books stocked there). I view Amazon similarly, in that they make it possible for an author’s work to be available everywhere. At the end of the day though, the best place for an author’s work is at a locally owned bookstore or a library, mainly because the people there are the most passionate about literature and will help authors to find their most faithful audience.



How much does personal experience play in your written work?

The novel I am writing is loosely based on my own life, though it will be a highly fictionalized version of me and my family. The book I’ve written about Christmas is highly personal as well, as I hope my family and those in my community will take my suggestions about the holiday serious enough to want to begin implementing them into their own lives. And even though it’s a general history and advice book on the holiday, every single page is essentially an answer to my own questions about Christmas.



What motivates you to complete your (writing) work?

My wife, children, and death. In 2008 I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, and though I was able to recover from it, it set about a course of events in my life, from having children, to moving back to our hometown Peoria, to starting a blog and podcast. I feel like there is a sense of urgency in what I create. I know I have been graced with only so many breaths in my lungs and I want to use each one of them well. I also want to leave a legacy for my children. I write based on my own interests, but I also believe I’m writing for a present and future community.



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

Basically no. I believe in moral writing and that our works both describe and end up shaping our culture and world. So, in some senses I believe an author should “censor” themselves according to their moral understanding of the world, but at the same time I believe they should always be able to write about what they want and it will be up to readers to determine if they want to ignore it, boycott it, or love it. Often the most challenging or “offensive” work has also been able to influence people in profound and even moral ways.



Where can people find you and your work?,,

Thanks so much, Chris!


Mitzy Krizek



Your Name: Mitzy Krizek

Pseudonym: Prometheus Susan. (Mitzy is a nickname that I have always gone by.)

Genre(s) of your work: Paranormal romance

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

Betrayed 2019

New Beginnings 2019





For years she has had stories floating around in her head, deciding to follow a dream to put those stories to paper. To bring to life the muses that have become a part of who she is. Prometheus is a wife and mother to two boys. Residing in northern Illinois with her family, two cats and Fred, her pet bunny. Besides her love for her family and friends, coffee is her biggest love and addiction. Summertime will find her at the beach or water park, soaking up those beautiful rays of sunshine. She finds cooking to be very relaxing and likes to try out new recipes. Pink and sparkly is her signature.


Why do you write in the genre that you do?

I love wolves, dragons, dolphins, and vampires. Collect dolphins and wolves for years. In fact, my bedroom is done in wolves, while the bathroom is dolphins. Also, I have tattoos of dolphins, wolves, and one that to me depicts vampires. Working on a dragon design. Having the ability to shift into something other than who you are intrigues me.


How has writing changed/altered your life?

Travel more now doing signing events. It has gotten me out of my comfort zone, be more social, talk to people that I do not know. Meeting other authors, learning more about the industry, meeting readers. That is one of the best parts. Watch a lot less TV.

Who are your favorite authors and why?

I have many. Lora Leigh, JR Ward, Gena Showalter, Eve Langis, Laurann Dohner, Stacey Rourke, Rue Volley, Michelle Pillow, Mandy Roth
Sherrilyn Kenyon. and many more. And why? So many reasons, but I think the biggest is to escape from everyday life for a time being. Get lost in the story.

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

I love them, Can get lost for hours in one. Not only romance books but cookbooks. I love cookbooks. My family has gotten used to experimenting with new recipes. Now romance books I do prefer e-books. For one, the husband does not know exactly how many I have, takes up less room. But do have my signed books that I have picked up at signing events. There is nothing like meeting the author and getting a signed book. I was a reader before I was an author.

How much does personal experience play in your written work?

It plays quite a bit. I have always been a people watcher. You can learn so much and get inspired by just watching others. Sometimes it’s just a word that I overhear and my mind twists it into something completely
different. In fact, Betrayed came about by reading something online, cannot remember exactly what now, but ‘hot wife’ was mentioned. Those two words twisted in my mind and became that story. My characters all have a love for coffee, which I am very much addicted to, they also favor pink as their favorite color which is mine.

What motivates you to complete your (writing) work?

The joy of bringing my muses to life, watching their journey as I write them. And having the cover sitting waiting is a great motivator.
But, I think the biggest motivator for me is the closer I get to completion, the anticipation of others reading my work, loving the characters as much as I do and hating those that deserve to be
hated. And hearing from readers who have read my books is the best motivator.



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

No, I do not. Some topics are sensitive but should still see the light of day. No matter the topic, there will always be someone who it offends regardless of how you approach the topic.

For instance, Betrayed is about a woman (wolf shifter) who has shunned her other side and falls for the illusion that the man she meets had led her to believe while in fact, he is a sex trafficker. She ends up imprisoned in that world.

New Beginnings, the main female character was in an abusive marriage. In fact, killed her late husband in self-defense. Some may find those topics taboo but I feel it shows the strength of the woman as she overcomes what she had to live through to survive. We all have an inner strength, it’s finding that and welcoming it. Would I ever write
about abortion? Probably not. But that is my personal choice. Each writer and reader needs to make that decision on their own. That is why we have freedom of speech.

Where can people find you and your work?




Thanks so much for sharing, Mitzy!


Trever Bierschbach



Name: Trever Bierschbach

Genre(s) of your work: Speculative fiction focusing on Dystopia and Fantasy.



Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

Embers of Liberty 2018

When Heroes Rise 2019



Trever has been writing since he was very young.  He is a fiction writer, poet, avid reader, gamer, and has countless hobbies with an amazing wife that tolerates all of it.  He writes because the stories and ideas have to go somewhere, even if no one else reads them.  Much of his writing can be found on,, and He is also a journalist covering various geek interests and fandoms.  He also has two shorts available on Amazon under the titles Wastelander, and Watelander: Not as they Appear, and the short story collection When Heroes Rise.

When he’s not writing he works for a software company in Peoria, helps keep house in Pekin.  He’s a member of the competitive air rifle club through the German American Society of Central Illinois, and helps his wife with her own jewelry business – Ravenwing Creations.

Most of Trever’s fiction interests lie in fantasy and science fiction, but some of his writing includes alternate history and dystopian speculative as well. His next novel will begin a trilogy of books following a young priestess devoted to saving her people enslaved by a powerful demonic deity.


Why do you write in the genre that you do?

I enjoy fantasy because there are few limits on what I can do as an author to tell the story I want to tell. The only real rules are those of the world I’ve built to tell those stories in. My first book is dystopian but it still follows the same principles as fantasy for me. I think, with fantasy, our options are wide open to explore almost any theme.


How has writing changed/altered your life?

Hard to say, since I’ve been writing for so long, but getting published sure has changed things. Marketing, writing, selling at shows, and looking for any opportunity to get books in the hands of readers has become a second full-time job for me. But, it’s the most fun I’ve had at work.


Who are your favorite authors and why?

Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman have had a huge influence on my writing and are, by far, my favorite authors. Their Dragonlance Saga taught me a lot about worldbuilding and handling a large cast of characters. They’ve written one of the few books that I regularly return to, and have read over half a dozen times.


What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

I think there’s a place for them for sure. It’s tough for small, new book stores to stay in business and I feel like it’s always been that way. Independent stores tend to do better carrying used books and some new stuff from local authors. There isn’t enough of a profit margin and from what I understand the distributors make it tough on smaller shops. To me, as long as we’re getting books to as many people as possible, and making them as easy to obtain as possible, then I’m all for it.


How much does personal experience play in your written work?

Quite a lot, in some of my work. I’ve tapped into a lot of my own personal experiences with grief and anger after the passing of my parents, for example. I’ve been able to use that and channel it into some of my current work and the characters in it.


What motivates you to complete your (writing) work?

This current work is the product of years of character development, to the point that I’ve come to care a lot about her and her story. Besides wanting to see that complete, I find that when I don’t write, I think constantly about the stories I want to tell. There are stories in my head that need to be told and that’s a lot of motivation.


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

Very few, if any. The world is an ugly place, always has been and always will be. It’s also a beautiful place, and one can’t exist without the other. It’s our job, as artists, to show both. We have to make people uncomfortable with the bad things that happen. When we avoid them, or ignore them, it doesn’t make them go away. I’ve heard people say that too much of a thing like violence desensitizes people to it but I would argue that lack of exposure to the dark is worse.


Where can people find you and your work?

Locally I’m in several small book stores listed on my website as well as a list of appearance I’ll be at for the next few months.


Twitter: @tjbierschbach

Facebook: treverbierschbachwrites

Embers of Liberty:

When Heroes Rise:

Thanks for stopping by, Trever!


Sean McDonough



Your Name: Sean McDonough

Genre(s) of your work: Horror


Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

Beverly Kills- 2014

The Terror at Turtleshell Mountain- 2015

Rock and Roll Death Trip-2017

The Class Reunion- 2019




Raised on Goosebumps, the horror section at Blockbuster, and other things he shouldn’t have been exposed to at eight years old, Sean McDonough is a fresh new voice in horror fiction. His books evoke a sense of gleeful gruesomeness and dark humor, perfect for keeping the Halloween spirit alive all year long.


Why do you write in the genre that you do?

It’s just the way I’m wired. I came out of the factory with a fondness for chicken parmesean, rock and roll, and savage monstrosities.  There’s nothing to be done about it.


How has writing changed/altered your life?

It’s really come to be the trait that defines me. Writing is what I do when I get up at 5 AM on a Saturday. It’s what’s in the back of my mind throughout the day. If there’s a TV show I’m not watching, or a video game I never get to, it’s because my time is limited and writing always takes priority.


Who are your favorite authors and why?

I’ll skip the Stephen King cliche, even though he’s deservedly an icon, and go with Robert R McCammon. I love writers who blend great character work with an unpretentious love for the classic horror tropes.


What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

I don’t think they’re where you want to go for a real deep dive into the alternative horror scene, but any place that sells books is fine by me.


How much does personal experience play in your written work?

Mostly in dialogue. I give all of my characters their own unique perspective (or I try at least), but everyone seems to come out talking with some variation of my own smart-ass way of speaking.


What motivates you to complete your (writing) work?

The investment into the characters and the story. If I feel like I’ve got something good brewing, then I’m motivated to push through and see how it ends.


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

The short answer is no. The long answer is that I think the conversation gets muddied by how many hacks try to substitute being outrageous for being a good writer.


Where can people find you and your work?

You can follow me on Facebook at

Instagram at

And you can peruse my works at

My latest, The Class Reunion, comes out October 29th. It’s a lean, mean, slasher novella- satisfaction guaranteed for fans of 80s style slice and dice flicks.

Thanks, Sean, and congrats on the new book!


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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