Author Meet & Greet!

Author Meet & Greet

All are welcome here.

Connect with authors through their social media links (if they choose to share them), learn about their writing process, and purchase their works.

The 4 most current interviews are posted here. Older ones may be found under the Archive: Author Meet & Greet on the main page of this blog 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:  #157

Christina Consolino

Your Name: Christina Consolino

Genre(s) of your work: Women’s Fiction

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

HISTORIC PHOTOS OF UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN (2007)

REWRITE THE STARS (2021)

Bio:

Christina Consolino is an editor and writer whose work has appeared in multiple online and print outlets. She is the author of Historic Photos of University of Michigan, and her debut novel, Rewrite the Stars, was named one of ten finalists for the Ohio Writers’ Association Great Novel Contest 2020. She serves as senior editor at the online journal Literary Mama, freelance edits both fiction and nonfiction, and teaches writing classes for Word’s Worth Writing Connections. Christina lives in Kettering, Ohio, with her family and pets.

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

While I love researching topics I do not know, it’s easier for me to write what I know and live. And for me, that’s women’s fiction. According to the Women’s Fiction Writers Association (of which I am a member), the genre involves stories whose “plot is driven by the main character’s emotional journey.” And I’m all about emotion, at least in terms of writing. I like to get at the heart of what’s happening in a character’s head and heart and how that affects their external lives. I also enjoy writing about relationships and connection and family, and the women’s fiction genre seems to fill all those slots.

Having said that, I really enjoy the teenage mind, and I have three drafted manuscripts that fall into the YA genre. I can envision finishing those and seeking a publisher at some point in the future. But the core of the story—involving relationships, connection, family—is still prevalent.

How has writing changed/altered your life?

Despite having a penchant for writing and editing since I was a little girl, I chose to pursue a doctorate degree in science. I thought for a while that I’d establish my own lab, but as soon as I stepped into the classroom to teach, I knew I’d found my calling. So for close to twenty years, I taught anatomy and physiology at the college level. On the side, I’d write blog posts or short stories or novel drafts or edit a friend’s paper. Eventually, I put my passion to the forefront, became an editor at the online literary journal Literary Mama, and took the dive into freelance editing. In fact, in 2019, I stepped away from teaching science altogether, and at this time, I have no plans to go back (though I still love to look at bones and hearts and think about the inner workings of the human body). And in March, one of the many manuscripts I wrote on the side is finally (!) being published.

Am I where I thought I’d be when I first began graduate school? Not even close. Am I where I think I’m supposed to be? Absolutely. Sometimes it takes us a bit of time to find the courage to step onto a path we weren’t willing to admit was the best one for us.

Who are your favorite authors and why?

I have so many favorite authors for very different reasons, so I might as well just list a few. Stephen King for his quirkiness and dedication to the odd. Crystal Wilkinson for beautiful language and getting to the heart of a character. Anne Valente for making me stop and think. Toni Morrison for her ability to make me view life from a different perspective. John Green because he nails the minds of teenagers so well. Jennifer Nivens for her willingness to write raw and honest depictions of life in general. James Balwin for his eloquence. I could go on, but I won’t. We might be here all day.

Do you believe that audiobooks are the wave of the future, more of a passing fad, or somewhere in between and why?

Audiobooks serve multiple wonderful purposes, and I wish they weren’t so expensive to buy. Personally, I don’t use them much, as my mind tends to wander unless I have words to focus on. But I hope they (or something like them) are here to stay!

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

Pre-pandemic, my answer might have leaned more toward the side of independent bookstores and away from mainstream/corporate bookstores. But I see the benefits of both. Of course, given a choice, I’ll support the small, independent bookstore over the larger corporate one, but I really try very hard not to denigrate either set because I have shopped (and probably will continue to shop) at both. I think part of that stems from having once lived in an area where the only bookstore in town belonged to a larger umbrella company. My feeling is this: the debate between independent bookstores and larger conglomerates will still be here in a decade, so let’s just worry about getting books into the hands of consumers! The more people reading, the better off our world will be.

What have you found to be a good marketing tool? A bad one?

Marketing is my weakest area of expertise. And I use that term “expertise” loosely because I really am no expert at all! I find Facebook easy to use; Twitter maddens me; Instagram—well, I don’t know enough about it. But I’m learning, so I hope people are patient with me! I think the best marketing tool for me, though, is good old-fashioned word of mouth. And sorry—I don’t know enough to say anything about bad marketing tools.

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

Two thoughts jump to mind right away. 1. I believe in free speech, and 2. I believe that writing can help heal the person writing it and the person reading it. So, it’s probably clear that I don’t think any topic should be taboo. However, that doesn’t mean I need to choose to read something that will make me uncomfortable or something I find unpalatable. Everyone has a choice to read or not.

Where can people find you and your work?

My website (https://christinaconsolino.com/) has links to my books and a blog. I’ve also provided direct links below to the books and my social media handles. Feel free to connect!

Rewrite the Stars at Amazon: https://amzn.to/3rYbiXW

Rewrite the Stars at Bookshop: https://bit.ly/BookshopRTS

Rewrite the Stars at Black Rose Writing: https://bit.ly/BRWRewritetheStars

Rewrite the Stars at Barnes & Noble: https://bit.ly/BNRewritetheStars

Twitter: https://twitter.com/cmconsolino

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

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

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/~/e/B00IVYAA9I

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Rebecca Flynn

Your Name:  Rebecca Flynn

Genre(s) of your work:  urban/paranormal fantasy

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

The Wild Hunted 2019

Iron Will 2021

Bio:

Rebecca has been writing since she was 10. She has written poetry and short stories in addition to several novels. She currently teaches creative writing classes online to help young kids bring their ideas to life. Her husband has been muse, research partner, idea springboard, and personal critic. Currently, she lives in the mountains of Tennessee with her husband, four children, and horde of dogs.

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

 I was told once to write what you enjoy. Fantasy has been my favorite genre for a long time. I love the escape from reality.

How has writing changed/altered your life?  

It helps me sleep better at night, believe it or not! There is so much going on in my head. When I write, it goes on the paper and I don’t have to worry about remembering it anymore. I can sleep in peace!

Who are your favorite authors and why?

 I have so many authors that I really enjoy reading, too many to list. So, I will share my favorite book instead. My husband introduced me to Faerie Tale by Raymond Feist. It’s just such an amazing story. The characters are well thought out, the story truly pulls you in, and the premise for the book is intriguing. I could read this book over and over and still enjoy it every time.

Do you believe that audiobooks are the wave of the future, more of a passing fad, or somewhere in between and why?

 I can see the appeal of audiobooks. You can have so many more, you don’t run out of space, and it’s easy to bookmark. However, there will always be people like me who like to curl up and hold a book in their hands to read. I actually have both, but I will always enjoy the feel of the real book. I love the way they look sitting on the shelf, waiting to see which one I will pick next.

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

I’ve worked for one before and I don’t really have any negative feelings about them. I’ve been a part of signings for both famous and self-published authors. Big chains have more money to throw around for that kind of thing.

What have you found to be a good marketing tool? A bad one?  

Signings are a good marketing tool. If you can find a local business willing to set up a table for you, have a signing. Bring a supply of your own books and make friends! I brought a box of books and sold half my supply in a couple hours. Plus, I made friends with the owner of the store and they welcomed me back to do it again!

Not really sure about bad marketing tools because I haven’t really come across anything that’s really bad yet.

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

I don’t believe in censoring. Just because you don’t agree with something doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be written about or discussed. Once we start censoring, where do we stop? And who decides what is acceptable and not acceptable? I don’t use certain words or situations because I’m not comfortable talking about them. That’s my personal choice. Other people are fine saying anything or talking about any situation. Readers will tell you by purchasing or not purchasing your book.

 Where can people find you and your work?

I am on Facebook and Twitter. My books can be purchased directly from the publisher (Black Rose Writing) or online at Barnes & Noble, Booksamillion, Amazon.

I’m currently working on my personal website, but I can be found on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/RebeccaFlynnAuthor), Twitter (@rebeccaflynn79), and my books can be purchased from Black Rose Writing (https://www.blackrosewriting.com/fantasy-paranormal/thewildhunted?rq=the%20wild%20hunted) and (https://www.blackrosewriting.com/fantasy-paranormal/ironwill?rq=iron%20will).

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Cary Lowe

Your Name: Cary Lowe

Genre(s) of your work:  Memoir

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

Becoming American: A Political Memoir, 2020 – winner of the Discover Award for best writing on politics and current affairs from an independent publisher

50+ essays published in the Los Angeles Times, San Diego Union-Tribune, and other major newspapers, 1978 – present

Bio:

I am the author of the award-winning book Becoming American. I previously published over fifty essays on civic, political, and environmental issues in major newspapers, as well as reports and articles in professional journals. Born in post-war Europe to parents who were Holocaust survivors, I immigrated to the United States and became a citizen in my teens. Much of my writing has focused on those experiences.

Apart from my writing, I am a retired land use lawyer with 45 years of experience representing public agencies, developers, Indian tribes, and non-profit organizations, and continue to work as a mediator affiliated with the National Conflict Resolution Center. I hold a law degree and a Ph.D. from the University of Southern California, and taught at USC, UCLA, and UC San Diego. I also have served in several appointed government positions and on the boards of non-profit civic and environmental organizations.

 

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

I always have preferred to write about things I know or have experienced first-hand. For many years, that took the form of essays on public issues. My book takes that in a more personal direction.

How has writing changed/altered your life?

Writing has required me to tell stories or present positions in ways that are simultaneously concise and interesting. Having my writing published has enabled me to influence public thinking about issues of interest to me. Publication of my book, in particular, has given my readers a deeper view into my personal history, to the surprise of many (including ones who have known me a long time).

Who are your favorite authors and why?

Edith Eger, because her memoir of her wartime experiences relates vividly to my own family’s experiences.

James Michener, because his historical fiction writing stimulated my interest from a young age in being a writer.

Tom Hayden, because his analyses of contemporary political events are so sharp and comprehensive.

Do you believe that audiobooks are the wave of the future, more of a passing fad, or somewhere in between and why?

I believe audiobooks will remain a useful and important way for some people to consume literature, but I think most readers will prefer to see the printed (or digital) words.

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

Mainstream/corporate bookstores have the virtue of being able to stock large volumes of books in one place, allowing readers to conveniently peruse a variety of books at one time. On the other hand, with most print books available on order, local bookstores can compete effectively by offering more personal service and more intimate knowledge of the literature.

What have you found to be a good marketing tool? A bad one?

I have found direct outreach to vetted contact lists to be the most effective marketing tool, followed by online interviews and Zoom presentations to groups. The least effective tool for me was a virtual marketing tour.

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

I don’t believe that any topics should be entirely taboo, but I do believe that publishers (print or digital) have a responsibility to exercise some discretion in not distributing certain kinds of material, e.g., works that are defamatory, racist, or likely to incite violence.

What was the motivation behind writing your book?

My memoir entitled Becoming American chronicles my experience of being transformed from a child of Holocaust survivors in post-war Europe to an American lawyer, academic, and activist associated with many prominent political causes and campaigns of our time. The book began as a stand-alone story I wrote for relatives and friends about a trip with my daughter to Eastern Europe to visit our family’s places of origin, and particularly to find a hidden cemetery outside Prague containing the graves of my paternal great-grandparents. I subsequently wrote more stories about my life growing up in Europe in the years following World War II, with parents who were Holocaust survivors. After writing a half dozen stories, I realized they were forming a narrative that could become the basis for a book, covering not only my youth in Europe but also our immigration to the United States and my professional and political careers here. That first story became the opening chapter and portions of subsequent chapters.

My other motivation was a desire to contribute positively to the national discussion around immigration and American identity. I wanted my book to provide an inspiring tale of how much an immigrant can contribute to the social, political, and economic culture of America while still retaining ties to one’s ancestral roots.

Where can people find you and your work?

My book is available on order through all bookstores, as well as through Amazon and other online book sales sites. My essays may be found on the websites of major newspapers, particularly the Los Angeles Times and San Diego Union-Tribune.

Website Address:  https://carylowewriter.com/

Facebook Page:  https://www.facebook.com/carylowewriter

LinkedIn Page:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/cary-lowe-phd-aicp-43505718/

Publisher Page:  https://www.blackrosewriting.com/biographymemoir/becomingamerican?rq=cary%20lowe

Amazon Link:  https://www.amazon.com/Becoming-American-Political-Cary-Lowe/dp/1684334624/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=cary+lowe&qid=1583350009&s=books&sr=1-1

Barnes & Noble Link:  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/becoming-american-cary-d-lowe/1136141814;jsessionid=B460B63F6AC19E9668C3A28F29D72F64.prodny_store01-atgap10?ean=9781684334629

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Brendan Walsh

Your Name: Brendan Walsh

Genre(s) of your work: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Thriller, YA, New Adult, LGBT, High Fantasy

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

The Raven Gang (2017)

Immortale (2018)

The Serpent League (2019)

The Century’s Scribe (2020)

The Century’s Last Word (July 2021)

Bio:

Originally from Glendale, CA, Brendan Walsh earned his B.A. from the College of Wooster in 2017. He’s worked a few different jobs, currently a Barnes and Noble bookseller, to help put himself through a Cal State Northridge Masters program. When he’s not writing or studying, you can find him reading, drinking coffee, or thinking about what to write next. He is also a Dodger fan, philosopher, and recreational madman.

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

I’ve always loved SciFi and Fantasy. Of course I grew up with Star Wars, like everyone I know. As much as I enjoy classics and literary fiction, I get a unique satisfaction when worldbuilding. The most important thing for me in a story is my feelings about the characters. I enjoy the challenge of creating characters (human or not) and figuring out how to fit them into the worlds I’ve made.

How has writing changed/altered your life?

Before fully committing myself to writing, I was a Chemistry major in college. However, writing started to eat up more and more of my time, and it showed in my grades. I think my choosing to read Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy that one day before my first Organic Chemistry test was pretty telling as to what I valued more. Inevitably, in the years that followed, I have made all kinds of friends and read all kinds of books that I certainly wouldn’t have had I still been mixing acids and bases instead of writing about magic and humanoid birds.

Who are your favorite authors and why?

I wasn’t much of a reader as a kid. I discovered James Rollins when I was 16 and have loved him since then. His SciFi thriller Sigma Force series is one of the coolest things ever, and its Indiana Jones vibes make it exactly the kind of fiction I was looking for at the time. Neil Gaiman is another one of my favorites. When I first came to fantasy literature, I mainly stuck to urban fantasy, as big elaborate world-building didn’t interest me that much. Eventually I read Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson and my view completely changed. I wouldn’t have written The Century’s Scribe if not for that book. Ray Bradbury is my favorite author of all time, and The Martian Chronicles is my favorite book.

Do you believe that audiobooks are the wave of the future, more of a passing fad, or somewhere in between and why?

I would say in between. Many people I know don’t have much time to sit down and read, and when they try, they fall victim to a bunch of distractions. Audiobooks help solve that problem. You can exercise or commute to work and be able to get some reading done. Personally I prefer holding a book in my hands, but I can see the market for audiobooks continue to stay for a long time to come.

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

As I wrote earlier, I currently work at a Barnes and Noble, so I’m not going to say anything bad about them (lol). Even back when I was just a customer, walking in a BN was a joy in itself. Being surrounded by so many books while unsure what I would buy gave me a feeling that would help sate me even in one of my worst moods. However, there’s nothing quite like walking into an independent bookstore. I’ve been to so many BNs in my life that I usually know what to expect from their selections, but at an indie one, I never know what I’m going to find, and that’s more enjoyable.

What have you found to be a good marketing tool? A bad one?

I feel Facebook ads haven’t helped me. I think fewer and fewer people my age are using it. Instagram and Twitter are probably better for my target audience. So far, I think I’ve had some surprising success on Instagram.

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

I do not. As a writer, I find the idea of having my work tampered with to be very off-putting. However, that doesn’t mean that all takes on certain sensitive issues are all equal. I believe that most readers are capable of telling the awful things from the better ones.

Where can people find you and your work?

They can find my first three books, The Raven Gang, Immortale, The Serpent League, on Amazon, and my latest book, The Century’s Scribe, online everywhere books are sold. The audio version of it came out a couple days ago, and that can be found on Audible and iTunes as well. Also, we have copies of The Century’s Scribe at my Barnes and Noble in Glendale, CA, so come grab one if you’re in the area!

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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.”

28 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

  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! 🙂

      Like

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