Tears of Heaven – an interview with the author, R. A. McCandless

Natashia Thewes

Tell us something unexpected about yourself!

 

Most people see something of a nerdy-guy, which I certainly am. They’re always shocked to find that I have tattoos.

 

How did you get into writing?

Tolkien’s The Hobbit was given to me as a gift and really opened the castle gates of fantasy to me. Suddenly, there was a whole world of swords, magic and fantastical creatures to meet. Immediately after I finished, I took all the money I had and biked down to the bookstore to buy everything else Tolkien had written. I had no idea I was getting the seminal fantasy series: The Lord of the Rings.
I’m compelled by any world where dragons can make an appearance. They don’t have to show up, but the idea that they can? Please and thank you. I also like any world where a woman is as strong or stronger that most of the men around. Personally, I prefer a woman who can go toe-to-toe and sword-to-sword with anyone else. So my preferred genre is fantasy, but I’ll take urban fantasy, science fiction and even historic fiction off the shelves for those reasons.

 

What are your top 3 books of all time?

The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien, A Different Light by Elizabeth Lynn, The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell.

 

Where did you get the inspiration for your current book?

Straight from the Bible. I was doing some research on demons for a demon-hunter series I was thinking about, when I stumbled on a passage from the Genesis that talked about Nephilim—the children of angels and humans. They were described as giants among the mortals, and there was quite a bit about them that I hadn’t realized was in the Bible, as well as a few of the non-canonical books, like Enoch. From there, it was a short run to a back history of an immortal, doomed from her birth, and forced to work for the highest power there is.

 

How long did it take you to write this book?

TEARS OF HEAVEN started all the way back in 2000. I finished it and had it ready for publishing in 2012.

 

Have you got any writing rituals?

Stephen King has a great quote, “’If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write.” I always have a book that I’m currently reading and I read almost all genres. If the writing is good, I’ll read it. I even “read” when I’m working out. I run between two and five miles every day, and I listen to the “Beneath Ceaseless Skies” audio-fiction podcast. They have some great stuff, and I’ll find myself riffing on a concept heard in one of their stories, and missing the entire conclusion. The upside is I get to listen to the story again on another run to find out what happens.

 

How important is marketing and social media for you?

So very important. The problem is most indie/small press authors don’t have the first clue when it comes to this kind of modern marketing. We’re at such a disadvantage to begin with, and then we fall further and further behind as we struggle to figure out the ins and outs of social media and marketing.

 

Do you read your book reviews?

Good or bad, a review means someone thought enough of your book that they had to express themselves to others. Even if it’s a single star review, that someone took the time to finish the book and post their thoughts is quite the compliment.

 

What advice would you have for other writers?

Research, research and more research. The internet has made research both easier and more dangerous. You can get a lot from just searching around your topic. But the best research still remains published books and articles on the subject, and if possible discussions with experts. I love doing this. I often find little tidbits or interesting anecdotes that really add depth and realism to my characters. A good expert can really help though. So long as they understand what you’re trying to do (create a fictional world) and don’t get too bogged down in the details of why it wouldn’t work like that, then they can help a great deal!

 

What are you reading now?

TRANSMUTE, book three of the HENCHMAN series by Eric Lahti. A Fire Upon the Deep, by Vernor Vinge. THE MOREAU QUARTET by S. Andrew Swann.

 

What’s your next step?

HELL BECOMES HER, book two in the Flames of Perdition series will release in September followed by the grand finale, COMPANY OF THE DAMNED. After that, a day or three to recuperate and then on to a steampunk series that’s been stewing for far, far too long.

 

 

Follow R.A. McCandless on Twitter @RobRoyMcCandles

Ultimate Success – an interview with the author, Chris Cebollero

Natashia Thewes

 

 

 

Tell us something unexpected about yourself!

I spent 30 years in the EMS field, and in 2014 my ambulances were at the center of the crisis in Ferguson MO.

 

How did you get into writing?

I started writing articles, and blog posts, and thought it was a natural progression.

 

What are your top 3 books of all time?

21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, The Last Gunfight, any Jack Reacher book.

 

Where did you get the inspiration for your current book?

When placed in a leadership position, it is vital that you have the skills necessary to lead your workforce. I wanted to share my experience in developing the skills needed be become an Ultimate Success as a leader.

 

How long did it take you to write this book?

It was close to a year.

 

Have you got any writing rituals?

Listening to music, that really motivates me.

 

How important is marketing and social media for you?

We are in the era of Social media and need to learn the science of marketing on social media. This is a key to success in any business.

 

Do you read your book reviews?

I do read my reviews, and try to learn and grow from them.

 

What advice would you have for other writers?

Stick with your dream, do not let your self doubt derail you, and sooner or later, you will have a finished product you can be proud of.

 

What are you reading now?

References on Employee Engagement, and Employee Satisfaction.

 

What’s your next step?

Preparing to write my next book.

 

 

Follow Chris Cebollero on Twitter @ChiefofEMS

 

Redemption – an interview with the author, Darren Darker

Natashia Thewes

 

Tell us something unexpected about yourself!

I used to be a volunteer fireman and then a Coxswain on a rescue boat for several years as part of the Civil Defense. During my time there I was given 2 special awards by the Minister for Defense for my service.

 

How did you get into writing?

Like most writers, it started out with a love for reading. Growing up I enjoyed both the escapism and the ability to travel to exotic places on amazing adventures without leaving my home. However over the years I have read some poor quality novels and thought that I can do better than that! After I while I challenged myself to write something better or shut up and that’s how it really started!

 

What are your top 3 books of all time?

That’s an incredibly hard question – I could give you my top 30 maybe??? I cant decide on individual books but the novelists that I find myself returning to over and over again would include Agatha Christy, Sven Hassell, Lee Child and John Connolly.

 

Where did you get the inspiration for your current book?

My uncle had a mobile home in a mobile home park in Wicklow that was owned by an Ex Luftwaffe pilot. As I had two uncles in WWII, I always had an interest in that period of history so I knew that I had to have a link to the war – or The Emergency as we called it. I deliberately made my hero – John Morgan – an every man. His character has a very strong sense of right and wrong and I wanted him to act accordingly but to make mistakes and to have to use his ingenuity and cunning to overcome the challenges he faces.

 

How long did it take you to write this book?

2 years on and off. However I finished it a few years ago and went on to write several more John Morgan novels before returning to it and editing it for publishing.

 

Have you got any writing rituals?

No, I just try and write as often as possible. I usually sit down around 9.30 pm to work. Unfortunately I’m not the fastest writer on the planet but I try and grind out the words. My writing has been described as quite visual and its always been my dream that I will see it at one point on the little screen!

 

How important is marketing and social media for you?

Incredibly important. The better the marketing and my social media presence, the more people will read about John Morgan, his adventures and the rebuilding that his personal life needs.

 

Do you read your book reviews?

I pretend not to but I do! I am always open to constructive criticism.

 

What advice would you have for other writers?

Keep writing and edit, edit, edit. Get someone who can give you an honest appraisal of both your story and the quality of your writing. We all like positive feedback but honest feedback is far more important.

 

What are you reading now?

Neil Gaiman – American Gods. I have an enormous To Be Read pile to work through but I keep buying new books!!

 

What’s your next step?

Working with Liz and Laurence on marketing ‘Redemption’ while working on the edits for the next novel!

 

Follow Darren Darker on Twitter @DarrenDarker

An Interview with Lieve Snellings, Our Top Voted Children’s Author 2017

Hannah Jenkins

 

Tell us something unexpected about yourself!

 

To answer this question I regret I don’t have a sound tool here to let you hear my witches laugh. In fact that laugh is very empowering when we do it together with more people. It is as getting all the strength deep down into yourself, finding a way to come out. I love my witches laugh because it is fun and because it makes me feel strong. My dream is to end every meeting: if it is a book conference, a peace action or a book reading for children, with a group’s witches laugh. Believe me, everyone would leave that place with tons of good energy.

 

 

 

How did you get into writing?

 

Well this is a special story. I think most (if not almost all) writers start their books with idea’s, fantasies which they turn into words and afterwards look for illustrations. For me it was the contrary.

 

I was a documental, social photographer. But once I visited Quebec where I live since 2008 about five months a year, my focus and passion came from nature photography. Nature is so beautiful in Quebec. In Belgium I was/am always busy, but when I am in Quebec, it seems I can take all the time in the world to observe and photograph. Watching all these little (and a bit bigger) creatures that visit our backyard and in parks is so relaxing, feed for imagination, fun and apparently I have a lot of patience for this nature observation.

 

So it wasn’t a surprise that after a while my photo library was growing and became really huge. And many people told me ‘you have to do something with these photos, you have to publish them.’ Yes I wanted to do that too, but how? The idea was planted as a seed in my mind. Regular it aroused, especially with the squirrels, chipmunks and groundhogs that visited us.

 

After spending some days with my godchild’s daughters in Belgium, I flew back to Quebec and suddenly it became clear to me. I can make a children’s book with these girls as main characters together with Eufrazie the squirrel. But sitting again in our backyard, I saw Margot the groundhog waking up after her hibernation. At some way she made it all clear, ‘not Eufrazie, it’s about me, Margot, that you have to tell your story. And so, probably totally different than any other writer, my books didn’t start with words. It started with my photos. The books were born page per page, image by image and with the photos came the story.

 

What are your top 3 books of all time?

 

– ‘Het meisje met het rode haar’ -The girl with the red hear- by Theun de Vries (1956). I don’t know if this book is translated into English. The story of the book is based on the life of Hannie Schaft. She was member of the armed resistance during WO II. There were not many women in the armed resistance and the book tells the story of how Hannie Schaft and her female comrade took care not to kill innocent people. They have killed some SS chiefs and I had somehow the idea (for however this could be possible) they killed out of love, to protect. But then at a certain moment Hannie Schaft’s lover was killed and as a reader I could feel this was a big shift, a break in her motivation and action. Hannie Schaft continued to do the same thing as she did before her partner died, but it wasn’t anymore out of love. What this book made so visible for me was that the line of using violence to get your goal is so very thin. When you do this for a start, where is the shifting point. It definitely was an important book that convinced me in my support of non violence.

 

– ‘Possessing the Secret of Joy’ by Alice Walker. It was a difficult choice which book of her to choose. In any case I can say that Alice Walker’s books have played an enormous role in my personal development. I don’t remember in which story she wrote it, but after reading I never forgot. It might that it are not the exact words, but it was about “A theory is fixed and the points are clear, while a fiction story goes on, it is always moving”.

How I would love that more ‘ideological’ people or organizations, could become more open and moving as a novel.

 

– ‘From where we stand – war, women’s activism & feminist analysis’ by Cynthia Cockburn. This is an enlightening book that shows global perspectives on women’s politics and activism for peace. Analysis build on ‘from where you stand’. And I think this is an important basic attitude, always to look ‘from where we stand’, I think this could help communicating in the world.

 

 

How long did it take you to write this book?

 

Well this took me quite some time, in fact I started my first book about 4 years ago. The book was born after many trials and errors, step by step. Fortunately I had good proofreaders who did not spare me their criticism. The original story was confusing. It was a 10 year old girl who gave me her thoughts “There are two parts in the book, one part is the story with the girls, which is interesting for children a bit younger then me. And then there is that other part, with all those fact on the groundhog, well this part certainly will also interest my sister who is 12.” And this I could understand well and after more than a year, I unraveled it in two different books.

The books are originally written in Dutch.

The English translation of ‘Margot gets an unexpected visit – the fanciful adventures of a groundhog’ was published in 2016.

The English translation of ‘Groundhog Secrets, everything you always wanted to know about woodchucks’ was published on June 1, 2017.

 

 

 

Have you got any writing rituals?

 

Yes, I started this book on an extraordinary way. As a photographer, I started selecting the photos I thought/felt I could use. Then sitting in the backyard with a cup of coffee and watching the pictures and the fauna around me, the story came image by image. That’s how Margot came up and claimed her role as leading character.

 

Outside I wrote a first draft of five to seven photos, depending on the story line. Then I went inside to my computer and worked in photoshop on the image pages. The other day, I went outside again with my coffee, and the ritual repeated itself.

 

I’m sure that being outside and a cup of coffee will be in the ritual for the next book. How the photos and the words will come in, that I am not sure, we’ll see.

 

 

How important is marketing and social media for you?

 

Yes marketing and social media is very important. Once my book is published, of course I want as many children and adults as possible to see and read it. But as a Self Publisher, you have to do all the marketing for your book yourself. If you don’t promote, well people just will not know that it exists.

 

But I came from far, didn’t know anything about marketing. So I started to read whatever I could find online, followed webinars and workshops on Facebook, Twitter, WordPress and marketing. First in my mother tongue Dutch. Then in English. I learned a lot, but there is still so much that I still need to learn.

 

You have to be active on so many different places that sometimes I just wanted to quit. In the meantime I learned that different authors regularly are dealing with this feeling. It’s important to find ways to take a break and keep going on.

I am so glad to be part of the BookGoSocial Children’s Author Group. To hear others recognize this sentiment but went on anyway too.

 

 

Do you read your book reviews?

 

Yes, I love to read them. Of course I hope to see positive notes. But I try to learn, to pick up these elements in the comments that help me forward, to improve.

 

 

What advice would you have for other writers?

 

I consider myself still as new in the writer’s world. But the advice I want to give is don’t give up! Use difficulties and critics to get better, keep going!

 

What are you reading now?

 

Lately I read a lot of children’s books in English. Now I want to read ‘Kom hier dat ik u kus’ by my favorite Belgian writer Griet Op De Beeck. I hope her books will be translated into English and you’ll be able to read her too because she is such a talented author, with such meaningful stories. When I read her, sometimes I put the book aside and hear myself say loud ‘this is so beautiful said’.

 

What’s your next step?

 

I dream to start a new book. Of course photos will stay very important in it. I only haven’t decided yet what it will be about. There are those ideas for another story on Margot the groundhog. Will she not be too lonely when she goes into hibernation…

 

But there also is this project on trees ‘Zij Zeggen Zoveel’ (They Say So Much) that pops up again and urge for my attention. It would be a book about the Spirit, Desire and Trouble, the Beauty and Harshness of Life…

 

 

Follow Lieve on Twitter @SnellingsLieve

After Midnight – an interview with the author, A. Martin

Natashia Thewes

 

Tell us something unexpected about yourself!

I’m normally meticulous, but when it comes to writing, the stories tell themselves. Whether I like it, or not!

 

How did you get into writing?
 

High School. Grade 11; but I always wrote little tales as a child. And it’s when I became a teen and found myself a little on the outside of any “click” or any interest at all; I delved into fiction head first like a meteorite cascading from the cosmos and plummeting back other worlds into the planets reading atmosphere. Bonzi!!!!!

 

What are your top 3 books of all time?

The Journey Home, by Michael J. McCarthy, Off Season by Jack Ketchum, Bones by Stephen King. Lawdy… there’s just a couple more than that. But… you said three, didn’t you…

 

Where did you get the inspiration for your current book?

Well, I’ve written and was able to publish a bunch of short stories here and there in at-the-time popular fiction magazines and ezins; some of them became republished more than three or four times; they seemed that popular. So I kept a bunch (over twenty-six) I’d written, and; were either firstly rejected by magazines, or I just couldn’t find the right fit for the endings for, and re-wrote them… but managing to keep the heart of them; their themes. I figured, if I was to give readers the very best of me, THIS collection, would be it. And it will either be liked or hated, or ignored. But… every review it’s gotten so far, anywhere, even with Kirkus, has been no less than four to five stars. Knock on wood… I still got it!

 

How long did it take you to write this book?

About a year. And that what mainly finding and gathering stories I’d forgotten about on my PC, which many of them were only half written; had no ending, titles, even. Gathering a slew of those was daunting enough; never mind the fresh ones I’d gotten published just a month before starting this collection!

 

Have you got any writing rituals?

If I had it my way; writing full time, I would start at eight in the morning and end at noon, have lunch, take a nap, and start editing whatever I was working on at night until one or two in the morning… I love the whole process. But, I don’t write full time; mainly on the fly, most of the time… so really anytime, anywhere, is the right time, and place, when a story corners you and you have to get it done!

 

How important is marketing and social media for you?

Very Important; as for any kind of platform, isn’t it’? Books, TV, Music… I know, even though I’m not traditionally published; if i don’t at least try to sell my work, getting out there in the world…. nobody would know my work really exists. And they SHOULD! I love this (bleep!), man… and if you do too, about your craft, you should give it the respect it deserves… Let people see it!

 

Do you read your book reviews?

Oh yeah… I think most writers do. If not every writer…It kinda lets you know where your strengths are, opposed to your weaknesses with your craft, and style of writing and storytelling. I even kept mental notes, and enjoyed the reviews from magazines about rejecting my short stories, or even a novel, for whatever reason… it didn’t matter why they had, it only mattered what I could learn from their advice, and where I could put my literary strengths into instead of just guessing all this time where should have been giving more attention on. Short stories? Or novels? Well… the Readers have voted. They always win, don’t they? But… together, we always do. Definitely a learning process.

 

What advice would you have for other writers?

What advice could I possibly give that would secure their future goals, one by one? Every writer is different, and each one has their own way of working on their craft… it really depends what you would like to do WITH your craft. I know a writer who’d published over thirty short stories over one hundred times, but WON’T try any big commercial success. Nope. No novels or advertising for him; just sending stories out to every fiction magazine on the planet. It depends on what you’re comfortable with, I guess… I’ve found, as long as what you’re doing keeps YOU very happy… everything else is just an option. You’re literally-chamber is loaded, and ready… rest is up to you.

 

What are you reading now?

My own stories, so far, as I’m always onto something else after I publish…but, if not too busy, I like to enjoy five or six books a year. Of any length. Last year, I read seven…and out of all seven, Sidney Sheldon and Walter Mosely was my most favorite. Can’t get away from the masters after the first page… totally immersed in suspenseful glory.

 

What’s your next step?

Working on something else; what else is there? As long as readers keep wanting more, I’ll try to keep feeding their hunger for my work. If they have any; it’ll show with any book I decide to publish out into the world. I’d always have a reason to strive further, push harder with my craft that way. Readers sure can keep you on your toes, and that’s what I really look for. It helps me keeping on.

 

Follow A. Martin on Twitter @AMartinPress

 

MC: Knight: Book One – an interview with the author, L. Ann Marie

Natashia Thewes

Tell us something unexpected about yourself!

I don’t read the genre I write in. I’m a horror, sci-fyish reader. King and Rice are favorites.

 

How did you get into writing?

I needed a job. At the time, I was a graphic designer for an ad agency. My bosses were crazy. Stories filling my head kept me busy while doing the mind numbing political propaganda art. I started writing the stories down and published them on Smashwords. Once I started, I couldn’t stop. I fell in love with the process, characters and job. And it is a job now.

 

What are your top 3 books of all time?

IT, Angela’s Ashes and Queen of the Damned

 

Where did you get the inspiration for your current book?

The news. My books are about people working together for a greater good. Overcoming horrific situations to make it to happy, then turn around and put their hands out for the person behind them. Whether it’s domestic abuse, homelessness or PTSD. We all have something; we all need a hand. The news shows us every day that there is a need. In my stories, I supply the hand.

 

How long did it take you to write this book?

I have written 25 books. Most take a month to a month and a half. The characters and stories connect making background easy.

 

Have you got any writing rituals?

The characters play in my head. I write until they stop. No rituals, no outlines.

 

How important is marketing and social media for you?

Very, that’s how I started. I was picked up by a publisher very early on, but they have since closed. I don’t know the ‘how’ to market so other people have that job.

 

Do you read your book reviews?

Yes. When I first started, I would write down their points like it was advice. Now I like them in Amazon, about once a month, for the rating.

 

What advice would you have for other writers?

Keep writing. Always move forward and accept help if it’s offered.

 

What are you reading now?

Mr. Mercedes by King

 

What’s your next step?

I’m finishing the Protectors Series and have a character that is trying to get some attention. I think I’ll give it to him. A new place, new characters to work with and new job to explore sounds fun.

 

 

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