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:  #184

Dave Ramacitti

Your Name: Dave Ramacitti

Pseudonym (if you use one): Dave Lager

Genre(s) of your work: Crime, Mystery, Thriller (Police Procedural)

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

Ro’s Handle (2021)

Hear Evil (2021)

Losses (2021)

They are the first three books of a projected series recounting the adventures of female Deputy Sheriff Ro Delahanty. Books four and five have been drafted and are in the polishing stage:

Secrets Never End (projected for early 2022)

Secrets Never End: Revelations (projected for late 2022)

Bio:

Dave Lager is the pen name of Dave Ramacitti, who is supposedly retired, except Ro won’t leave him alone, demanding that her story be told.

Dave’s career includes newspaper reporter and magazine editor and publisher and free-lance marketing / public relations consultant. Under his own name he has previously published non-fiction books and manuals for the small business market.

He has been married to his best friend for almost 30 years and has three grown stepchildren and seven step-grandchildren. He lives next to the Mississippi River in Rock Island, Illinois.

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

I’ve wanted to write fiction since junior high school. Over the years I tried my hand at science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary fiction. A dozen or so chapters of a novel might be drafted, but then life would get in the way and the writing set aside.

When I retired, I decided to get serious about my writing. I wanted to focus on a female protagonist, as I’ve always liked strong female leads – Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games, Sarah Connor of Terminator fame, and Ellen Ripley from the Alien films. Ro Delahanty is in that tradition.

Next, I decided to make her a cop so she would have plenty of opportunity for action and danger. However, there are loads of female private eyes, FBI agents, and big city detectives, so I made her into an ordinary street cop (a deputy sheriff) in a semi-rural county in Iowa.

Never fear, though, Ro is very good at getting herself into all kinds of trouble!

In an upcoming book, Ro’s nemesis, a female captain with the sheriff’s department, calls her “a gunslinger,” it is not meant as a compliment.

How has writing changed/altered your life?

To have a novel published is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream, so there is a lot of personal pride involved.

The ideal for a fiction writer is to have their lead character “take over,” almost as if the character is dictating their story and the author is just writing it down for them. Ro has definitely “taken over” (my wife teases me that I’m having an affair with her). The next two novels in the series are drafted and I have notes and plot summaries for at least two or three more in the series, including one where she goes undercover.

Ro wakes me up at night with plot situations. When I am driving somewhere, or walking the dog, or tending to my outdoor plants, there is always a corner of my brain mulling over some aspect of Ro; a scene, a conversation, other characters she interacts with.

Who are your favorite authors and why?

Ernest Hemmingway. Partly because we are from the same hometown, Oak Park, Ill. But mostly because of he took the lean and spare journalistic style – packing as much information in as few words as possible – to a whole new level.

James Patterson because of his emphasis in police procedures.

Clive Cussler because he’s a master of action and adventure.

Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games) and Veronica Roth (The Divergent Series) because they know how to make their female leads both vulnerable and heroic.

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

Somewhere in between. They are definitely an important way for authors to reach their readers, yet I am regularly amazed at the number of people I see still reading physical books.

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

They are pretty much irrelevant for self-published, indie authors.

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

I am still a neophyte at the book marketing game. I do book fairs and book signings because I like the physical interaction with readers but have found them to be of mixed success at selling books. I have not tried advertising on Amazon, Facebook, Goodreads or Bookbub yet; those were all waiting until I got my third book out, so are definitely on my to-do list for later this year and next year. The same with starting to build my own email list, which is also on my agenda for next year.

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

Never! If for no other reason than bans of any kind don’t work, have never worked, can’t work.

Where can people find you and your work?

I am exclusive with Amazon for the time being: Kindle, Kindle Unlimited, and softcover.

https://www.amazon.com/Losses-Book-Three-Ro-Delahanty-ebook/dp/B09DT9SSXX/ref=sr_1_4?dchild=1&keywords=dave+lager&qid=1630250393&sr=8-4

https://davelagerbooks.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Davelagerbooks/

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Hollye Green

Your Name: Hollye Green

Genre(s) of your work: Children’s Fiction, Adult Supernatural Horror Fiction

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

FrankenSister, Three Sisters of the Sky. I Would Bring You Sun

Bio:

I’m an author, artist, singer, and lover of origin stories and myths. I also teach SEL and body safety to K-12 and adults with disabilities. Our stories make us who we are and connect us in the human experience. I live in Peoria, Illinois with my son Connor and two lovely dogs.

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

I have always loved a good supernatural story. The first novel I read was The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson (I was nine.) I devoured anything by Ray Bradbury. I also fell in love with Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume. The children’s books are informed by the work I do as a teacher. Three Sisters of the Sky is a lullaby book about nighttime not being so scary. I Would Bring You Sun is about showing caring and empathy to loved ones. The book I am working on now is “Oh. Snakey Snake”. It is about a snake, a skunk, and a bat who become friends because no one wants to play with them.

How has writing changed/altered your life?

It has given me other worlds to visit. It has allowed me a voice even when I am alone in my room.

Who are your favorite authors and why?

Neil Gaiman – his stories are rich, scary, funny and engaging. Amy Tan – because she effortlessly weaves research, biography and truth into a beautifully crafted work.

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

I believe they are here to stay. Having a story read to you is a tradition that some people never experience in childhood. It is a gift because you still get to use your imagination to make it come alive. I have horrible eyesight so it is a lot of effort to actively read for pleasure. Also, some people like to create while listening, crochet, tidy up, make art. Humans have a need for story and this is just another successful delivery system.

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

I think they miss the point sometimes. It used to be about a welcoming atmosphere and browsing and “smart” gifts instead of the real “meat” of literature. I prefer small, indie stores – we have one in Peoria “Lit. On Fire”. Dynamite little place with live events. The owner is a wonderful friend who really helps others.

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

Word of mouth – opportunities to read in person (libraries, events, etc.)  I feel like Amazon Kindle can take advantage of new authors through some of their programs. I took my books off for a while until it was requested that I put them back on – where I could control the price instead of having to accept their “free for 90 days” ebook program.

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

Edited for quality – yes. Not sure about censored. Clearly there is an audience in mind when someone writes. I have been told not to write about some dark things that happened in my childhood, but I do because they are important. Discussions and conversations about controversial issues can shed light on hidden problems and spark healthy solutions. Ultimately, the things that happened inform who I am today and allows me to help others.

Where can people find you and your work?

You can find everything at my website: HollyeBGreen.com, but books are available at Barnes & Noble.com and Amazon (including ebooks for Kindle).

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Mary R. Davidsaver

Your Name: Mary R. Davidsaver

Genre(s) of your work: Cozy Mysteries with regional interest.

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

Clouds Over Bishop Hill, 2016, published by MWC Press, an imprint of the Midwest Writing Center.

Winter Worlds: Three Stories, 2017, published by Bishop Hill Arts.

Shadows Over Bishop Hill, 2021, published by PSC Press, an imprint of Park Square Crafts.

Bio [from marydavidsaver.weebly.com]: 

Mary Davidsaver is a graduate of the University of Iowa who lived in Bishop Hill, an Illinois state historic site and a national historic landmark for twenty-four years. She wrote for local newspapers and won an Illinois Press Association first place feature photo award. Since returning to Iowa, she has won two Iron Pen first place awards, was the first local writer to win the Great River Writer’s Retreat contest and was honored as an Outstanding Literary Artist by the Midwest Writing Center.

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

For my first novel I decided to make my themes preservation, art, and place, specifically relating to the village of Bishop Hill. I was told the genre of mystery could teach plotting. Since I came to writing as a late bloomer, I took that advice and chose the cozy mystery genre because it suited my circumstances and temperament. I’ve not been disappointed.

How has writing changed/altered your life?

Two things come to mind. First, I was a crafter and a maker first and had to reinvent myself as a writer. There were enough similarities in the creative process to help me along the way. Building a sentence, constructing a scene, are tasks not unlike forming a three-dimensional object. It takes time, planning (or at least having a goal), and work. The second involves the people I’ve met along the way. Sharing time with fellow writers has always been rewarding.

Who are your favorite authors and why?

When anyone asks me who’s my favorite author, I’m at a loss to pick one person out of lifetime of reading. I’ve gone through a lot of phases: like reading the science fiction greats, focusing on animals of various kinds, and the searching out the books behind the movies I’ve seen. This amounts to an odd assortment of things for pleasure, school, and work. I’ve liked many books and found value in my reading, but I can’t say I found an all-time standout favorite among all those authors. I just keep on reading to discover new voices.

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

I’ve found audio books a relaxing way to share a novel or short story over a meal with family. I hope it’s not a fad. There’s too much acting talent out there not to use it for dramatic readings.

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

Mixed. Love shopping the large stores. However, I’ve had success and difficulty with selling my first book through one. I’m willing to try again. In the meantime, I’m placing my books in independent bookstores and shops.

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

Bishop Hill is a real place and I’ve chosen it as my brand. Is it limiting? Yes. Do I have to take care with how I portray people and the village? Yes. Is there a ready market? Yes. Is it worth it for me? Yes. Others have to make their own decisions. Bad? No, only what I haven’t tried.

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

Don’t like the idea of censorship. Who decides when the cultural wind changes direction? But I feel writers need to be sensitive to the degree of violence to children specifically and to the psychological effect of mass murder. Desensitization to acts of violence can’t be a good long-term trend.

Where can people find you and your work?

My Work: Amazon; Wordsmith Bookshoppe, Galesburg; The Brewed Book, Davenport, Prairie Arts Center, Bishop Hill; Colony Store, Bishop Hill.

Me: https://marydavidsaver.weebly.com/, https://marydavidsaver.blogspot.com/, https://www.facebook.com/MaryDavidsaverAuthor

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Reg Ankrom

Your Name:  Reg Ankrom

Genre(s) of your work:  Biography, history, fiction

Titles/Year of Published Work(s):

Stephen A. Douglas: The Political Apprenticeship, 1833-1843, 2015
The Quincy Miracle (contributor), 2017
Stephen A. Douglas, Western Man: The Early Years in Congress, 1844-1850, 2021

Bio:

Raised and educated in Jacksonville, Illinois; Vietnam-era U.S. Navy veteran; BA, Illinois College, 1971; MS, University of Kansas, 1972; retired electricity, natural gas utilities executive, 2000; energy industry consultant, present; developed interest, avocation in history, historical research, and writing; third of planned three-volume biography of Stephen A. Douglas underway; contributed more than 100 historical columns, essays, stories to journals, magazines, newspapers. Deliver 30 to 40 speeches annually on Douglas, Lincoln, American Revolution, slavery in U.S. and Illinois, antebellum history. Married 52 years (same gal), son Jud attorney, daughter Alice registered nurse.

Why do you write in the genre that you do?

Serendipity led me to an interest, then an avocation, in American history. A chance purchase and reading of Carl Sandburg’s six-volume biograph of Lincoln interested me in our nation’s true civil saint, who introduced me to Stephen A. Douglas.

How has writing changed/altered your life?

I find myself frequently in colloquies,  often with myself, about history, its subjects, its players, its reasons, and its lessons. I often manage to turn a conversation into a monologue on history. My wife will tell anyone who encourages me, “Don’t get him started.” (Smartest and most beautiful woman I have ever known. Every book has been and will be dedicated to her.)

Who are your favorite authors and why?

Ernest Hemingway, Theodore Dreiser, Ignazio Silone, William H. Herndon, David Donald, Douglas Egerton, Brian Dirck, Joseph R. Fornieri, Harry Jaffa, Robert Johannsen, synoptic Gospel writers. Early to mid-20th century novelists drew my interest into reading, learning the leanness of Hemingway and the street richness of Dreiser. Silone’s Bread and Wine caused my conversion to Catholicism (an action he certainly would not have advised).  Billy Herndon in my estimation wrote the most important of the 19,000 works on Lincoln. Robert Johannsen wrote the most important Douglas biography. And Harry Jaffa wrote the best interpretation of the two men, the two biographers, and their place in history. David Donald taught me the method I chose to write history. Dirck, Egerton, and Fornieri have given us great contemporary expositions on Lincoln. The Synoptic Gospel writers were in my view the first great modern historians.

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

They are here to stay, but so, too, are the printed volumes one can hold and caress as lovingly as a  young maiden and which can leave one with wonders of the work that someone did to create them.

What is your opinion of mainstream/corporate bookstores?

Love them.

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

My publisher, McFarland Publishing, has its own audience for books it issues and markets my books in it. Personally, I find talks a good way to market. Audiences make me happy.

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

I believe the First Amendment means exactly what it says: “Congress shall make no law. . .abridging. . .freedom of the press.” I refer you to John Milton’s “Areopagitica.”

Where can people find you and your work?    

www.stehenadouglas.com (Books ordered here are discounted 50 percent)
https://www.facebook.com/Stephen-A-Douglas-Western-Man-1844-1850-102707048147956 (Stephen A. Douglas, Western Man)
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100052131412509 (Stephen A. Douglas,  The  Political Apprenticeship, 1833-1843)
https://www.amazon.com/s?k=Ankrom+%26+Stephen+A.+Douglas&ref=nb_sb_noss (Amazon.com)
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/Ankrom%20&%20Stephen%20A%20Douglas (Barnes & Noble)
https://www.booksamillion.com/search?filter=&id=8292070751193&query=Ankrom+%26+Stephen+A.+Douglas (Books A Million)
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23875602-stephen-a-douglas?ac=1&from_ search=true&qid=VwWXoIP45q&rank=2

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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.”

38 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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