She Receives the Night – an Interview with the Author Robert Earle

Hannah Jenkins

 

Tell us something unexpected about yourself!

 

I was a diplomat for twenty-five years and lived in Latin America, Europe, and the Middle East. Most of that time I kept the fiction I wrote to myself, publishing a handful of stories and one nonfiction book about North America. The work was demanding, but it enabled me to retire at 50, which was my plan. Since then I’ve been free to write as much as I wanted, publishing another nonfiction book, over 100 short stories, and a novel.

 

How did you get into writing?

 

I realized I was a writer when I was fifteen. The urge to write emerged out of voracious reading, I’m sure. The books I read were “better than life.” The characters were more vivid than the people I knew; the descriptions made me see better with my mind than with my eyes; the stories went somewhere and took me with them.

 

What are your top 3 books of all time?

 

This is a very difficult question. The truth is that I don’t have 3 top books of all time. Some authors mean more to me than others. I’m thinking of Flannery O’Connor, Dostoevsky, Joyce, Chekhov, Updike, James. My real fantasy is to be able to read many different books at once somehow…be a river into which many streams feed. Too bad I have to take books one by one. Light in August by Faulkner thrilled me when I was younger. Flannery O’Connor’s stories sizzle. Ulysses made anything possible; there weren’t any rules anymore. I loved that. Writers who somehow fabricate entire worlds are the writers I value most.

 

Where did you get the inspiration for your current book?

 

She Receives the Night is a collection of short stories about women all over the world, of all stations, and all ages. The key idea is that women bear the burdens of life’s darkness so that everyone (themselves included) can enjoy life’s light. That idea took hold of me when I was very young, observing and being cared for by my mother, a nurse. She was the family’s strength, and I see that strength in women all the time, so naturally I wanted to explore it in my writing.

 

How long did it take you to write this book?

 

The story called “Birth” was written and published in 1997, so the answer is twenty years. One day I simply realized I had a cache of stories about women that would fill an entire book, so I picked and chose, and She Receives the Night emerged.

 

Have you got any writing rituals?

 

My writing ritual is straightforward. I write first thing in the morning and block out the world for three or four hours. Then I go to the gym, have some lunch, and go back to writing. I do this six or seven days a week. Part of my strategy is to be totally consistent and thereby avoid self-recrimination when I take a few days off to travel or for the holidays. People say I’m disciplined, but really, I’m just being me.

 

How important is marketing and social media for you?

 

It seems marketing and social media represent the keys to the kingdom.

 

Do you read your book reviews?

 

I do, sure. It’s interesting to see what other people think of my work. The reviews that really excite me are the ones demonstrating a clear understanding of what I am trying to do. That creates a connection of particular value to me.

 

What advice would you have for other writers?

 

You have to observe the world and yourself in equal measure and find ways to put your findings into writing…not talking about writing, not wishing you were writing…actually writing. Move the pen. Then move it again. Then revise and revise again. Writing isn’t easy. You have to have a thick skin and be your own most severe critic.

 

What are you reading now?

 

I’m reading The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford. On one level it’s a conventional story about rich people enduring bad marriages; on another level, it’s a daring literary experiment driven by a totally unreliable narrator.

 

What’s your next step?

 

My next step is to get on with revising a long short story I’ve been working on. I think I’m going to include it in my next collection.

 

Follow Robert on Twitter: @RobertLeeEarle

 

An Interview with D.S. Hodges, Author of ‘The Barlow Bridge Machine’

Hannah Jenkins

Tell us something unexpected about yourself!

I am dyslexic. Not too unusual but enough to really cause me pain. Got to love a spell checker and a good editor!

 

How did you get into writing?

The usual story. Boy meets pen. Ditches pen for keyboard, flirted with voice to text but it was too moody for me so I took up the keyboard again. We now live happily together in Cairns, Australia.

 

Where did you get the inspiration for your current book?

Good question. It’s set in WW II. A group of scientists develop time travel. It deals with some pretty important events during that period. Some stories I want to tell – like the demise of HMS Glorious, The rise of fascism in England and the Battle of Cable St. As with all my books, it’s fiction based on actual events. Mmmm.

 

How long did it take you to write this book?

My last book took about 4 months of writing. It was away for two and a half months being reviewed, copy edited, etc. So that makes it over 6 months. But I wrote another whilst it was away.

 

Have you got any writing rituals?

Yes, I suppose I have. I like to write in the morning. Have a nap then do house work type stuff in the afternoon. My wife is away working, so I’m Mr Mop!

 

How important is marketing and social media for you?

Very. Without it Indi writers are silent.

 

What advice would you have for other writers?

Write. If it doesn’t work, rewrite it. Don’t ponder too much. I find as I start to write, the story unfolds.

The other thing is not to be afraid to use an editor.

 

What are you reading now?

I’m reading some research material about two things. The rise of fascism in Germany for my fourth book, Miriam, and also stories about HMS Pandora, a 28 gun naval frigate sent to capture the mutineers from The Bounty. That story will be book No. 5!

 

What’s your next step?

Finish book four, Miriam. I’m 24,000 words in, so I’m getting there. Also going to do some promotion at local markets of my 2nd book ‘Little Miss Muffet’ A historical fiction about the 1921 Mt. Mulligan mining disaster. Wish me luck!

 

What are your top 3 books of all time?

Besides mine? Oh. 1) Treasure Island. I said I was dyslexic and it was the first book I read. I was 11. 2) David Copperfield. Yes, I know. It’s old but pure gold. 3) Patrick O’Brian – The Golden Ocean. I love all Patrick O’Brian’s books. That one in particular.

 

Do you read your book reviews?

Usually.

 

Follow David on Twitter: @dshodges1

A Consternation of Monsters

Hannah Jenkins

We met with author Eric Fritzius to learn about where he got the ideas for his stories and what he plans to do next.

 

Tell us something unexpected about yourself!

Invented the Oxford Comma. (Or maybe it was the Oxford Coma. I forget. I drank a lot in England….  Or was it Oxford, Mississippi?  Lemme check my diploma.)

 

How did you get into writing?

I started writing plays from an early age. Eventually, I realized that many of my ideas could not be easily staged and really needed the breathing room that prose offers. Once in a while, some of those stories have found their way back to the stage, as is the case for my story “…to a Flame,” which is also a short play with several productions to its credit. It will appear as a future episode of my podcast The Consternation of Monsters Podcast found here or on iTunes.

 

Where did you get the inspiration for your current book?

Many different places, as it’s a collection of short fiction; some stories spawned from my travels, childhood memories, random sentences involving cutlery, a typing test, legendary Appalachian monsters, the tenacity of criminals and wolves.

 

How long did it take you to write this book?

Technically two decades, but that’s just counting when the earliest of the stories was written. Most of the rest were far more recent.

 

Have you got any writing rituals?

I’ve tried a number of things, but I find that having a deadline with embarrassment on the line helps a great deal.

 

How important is marketing and social media for you?

Purty darn.

 

What advice would you have for other writers?

Read your stories aloud. I find it’s the fastest way to copy edit. While you’re at it, turn them into audiobooks.

 

What are you reading now?

I’m super late to the Kingkiller Saga party, so I’m reading The Name of the Wind. I’m also reading Eliot Parker’s Appalachian detective novel Fragile Brilliance.

 

What’s your next step?

Finishing up the next two collections, one of which contains further adventures with the characters from A Consternation of Monsters, and the other which will feature more earth-bound, non-genre stories. Those will also be the next two audiobooks.

 

What are your top 3 books of all time?

Martian Chronicles. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. American Gods.

 

Do you read your book reviews?

Occasionally. Trouble is, while the majority are quite positive, there are always a handful that can be complete bummers. Sometimes even those are entertaining, though. Like the recent review of my audiobook that described it as “Bubba Lovecraft,” which made me laugh out loud, and is not entirely inaccurate.  

 

Follow Eric on Twitter: @thingsyouforgot

 

An Interview with ‘Beverly’ Author Fiona Pearse

Hannah Jenkins

 

 

Tell us something unexpected about yourself!

I don’t consider myself a writer

 

How did you get into writing?

I had a story to tell on a topic that has rarely been written about and I realised I could contribute something original and authentic to the writing world. Having only done a small amount of experimenting with writing in the past, I had no idea how to start or whether or not I could actually do it. My short novel took seventeen drafts! So many re-writes, as I learned from my mistakes, and embellishments, moved around, taken out. But eventually it came together. After many submissions, it was accepted by an independent publisher, looking to branch into the novella / short novel category. It was a fantastic feeling, to get that acceptance from the literary world. They published The I.T. Girl in ebook format. It was a great experience, but six months in, we realised we had very different ideas on marketing – I just didn’t see a story about a woman holding her own in the IT world, essentially a story about being the odd-one-out, as a romance – so we decided to go our separate ways. I self-published using its working title, Orla’s Code, and it was eventually nominated for an award – another great feeling.

 

Where did you get the inspiration for your current book?

Beverly is a story about a woman with a stutter who shuts herself away from the world. When the people she relies on let her down, she has to face her worst fears, and it’s really a story about self-acceptance as much as it is about the nature of friendship. I have a stutter, and so wanted to show what it’s like inside that world. Again, having a story to tell about a topic which isn’t often written about gave me the writing bug.

 

How long did it take you to write this book?

About two years of weekend writing. But this time it only took me four drafts. Having written Orla’s Code, I planned a lot better, with a sense of knowing where I was going.

 

Have you got any writing rituals?

I don’t. I find once I start writing, I can’t stop. But I don’t write regularly. When in the editing phase, I used to print out a chapter a week and edit it with a pencil on the way to work. Writers with a full-time job really learn to improvise.

 

How important is marketing and social media for you?

The most important thing for me is the quality of the book – both inside and out. I want to contribute something worth the reader’s time and money, and I want it to be as polished as a professionally published book. Once you have that product, it would be a shame to leave it sitting on an Amazon shelf. So promoting it to give it the best chance of reaching its audience is really important.

 

What advice would you have for other writers?

Join a writing group. Get involved in the online community. There’s so much support and advice out there. Set yourself goals. Be as open-minded as possible when receiving feedback.

 

What are you reading now?

Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien

 

What’s your next step?

In terms of writing, I am promoting Beverly and I am always writing poetry. I would love to publish a book of poems some day. As for another novel, we’ll have to see what life brings.

 

What are your top 3 books of all time?

What a difficult question. I recently loved The Bees by laline paull. I’ve read The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood twice – give me a decade or so, I’ll read it again. I loved A Star Called Henry by Roddy Doyle. It’s one of those books where the characters stay with you.

 

Do you read your book reviews?

Of course. And I really appreciate them.

 

Follow Fiona on Twitter: @fionapearse

 

Mineran Influence – An interview with the author P.N. Burrows

Hannah Jenkins

Tell us something unexpected about yourself!

I have a wizards staff in my bedroom… I made it for a Halloween dance (Jive

& Lindy Hop), I invested a lot of time sanding it down, burning in the runes and finding a orb for the crooked end. It was so nice that Cath my partner wouldn’t let me get rid of it.

 

How did you get into writing?

I don’t think I really had a choice, the ideas had been battling to get out of my head for a long time. On the third attempt I confessed my closet past time to Cath and after reading it she encourage me to finish.

 

Where did you get the inspiration for your current book?

I have no idea, I know the over-arching story line for the book / series, but what I write surprises even me.

 

How long did it take you to write this book?

six months

 

Have you got any writing rituals?

I have a lot of inspiration at night and write in the morning.

 

How important is marketing and social media for you?

Facebook has been productive, Twitter less so

 

What advice would you have for other writers?

Join your local writing community as writing is a solitary pastime

 

What are you reading now?

The Haunting of Hill House

 

What’s your next step?

Finish book 3 in the Mineran Series

 

What are your top 3 books of all time?

Without Remorse – Tom Clancy, Odd Thomas – Dean Koontz and The Magic Cottage – James Herbert

 

Do you read your book reviews?

Yes, and I reply to them.

 

Follow Phil on Twitter: @pnburrows

‘Gentlemen Robbers’ Make for Great Characters’ – an Interview with Vanessa Liebe – Author of The Highwayman’s Proposal

Hannah Jenkins

 

Tell us something unexpected about yourself! 

I have Otosclerosis and have two hearing aids.

 

How did you get into writing?

I genuinely did write stories all the time as a child and I think it’s always been a dream of mine to write and publish a book. Sadly, I only started doing something to achieve it three years ago. I wish I had believed in myself sooner.

 

Where did you get the inspiration for your current book?

I have always wanted to write about a highwayman. I’m sure the reality of being held up by one was far from romantic, but the fact remains ‘gentlemen robbers’ make for great characters.

 

How long did it take you to write this book?

Two months actually sitting down researching and writing it. Then there was typing it up, editing etc.

 

Have you got any writing rituals?

Not a strict one. I do the research and plan the chapters for a novel, but write whenever I can – mostly while the kids are at school. For an anthology I go where each story takes me. There isn’t so much planning involved.

 

How important is marketing and social media for you?

Very important. However, I’m still finding my way and like most authors I have a budget. I’m always finding new and interesting ways to promote though.

 

What advice would you have for other writers?

Research the genre you want to write in thoroughly and what publishers are actually looking for, not what you think they are. Develop a marketing plan. Build your brand long before you release your first book.

 

What are you reading now?

A trilogy by Christie Kelly about wise women.

 

What’s your next step?

Finish my quartet of the ‘Blakeney Brothers’, release an anthology of erotic short stories and finish the two series I have out.

 

What are your top 3 books of all time?

For me, all three books are the Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson. They are truly amazing and I recommend them to absolutely everyone.

 

Do you read your book reviews?

Yes and I’m grateful for all of them, although I have a long way to go in developing a thick skin 🙂

 

Follow Vanessa on Twitter: @author_vanessa

 

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