Guest Author Interview – Shelley Young

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Title: The Blood Trail

Genre: Thriller/Suspense

Synopsis: Nine-year-old Kayla Ahmetaj is the only grandchild of a notorious mafia boss. The day she arrives in California is the day she truly begins to run for her life. Fearful of ending up like her parents, she calls the one man her grandfather trusts. Not sure of who her enemies are, she hopes the world-class contract killer, Padukshëm, can keep her alive.

Jacqueline Spencer is an ex-army ranger living off grid. According to newspapers, she’s hung up her military uniform to become a cold-blooded murderer. Having lived with the dark secrets of her family, it’s those secrets that prompt her out of hiding. She wants nothing more than to get her hands on Kayla, because the secret that Kayla is hiding can cost many their lives.

Dardian Dreshaj thought the job would be simple. Protect three women and a child for seventy-two hours. Before he can meet his youngest client, his family and a member of his organization suddenly are missing. The frantic call from Kayla provokes the killer inside him. On the streets he’s known as the contract killer, Padukshëm. When he discovers that his new enemy will sacrifice anyone, including the police, to get their hands on Kayla all rules fly out the window. From the beginning he senses things aren’t what they seem. Little did he know that agreeing to protect a child may very well cost him his life.

Shelley Young

Shelley Young, Author

CH: Today’s Guest Author is Shelley Young, who is a strict hearer of ‘the voices’ when she writes novels. Welcome to my blog, Shelley.

CH: Can you tell us in one sentence, why we should read your book?

SY: If you’re looking for adrenaline rushes, heartbreak, romance and suspense, I’m your gal.

CH: What inspired you to write a fast-paced novel?

SY: The storyline of The Blood Trail was the inspiration for me. Once it got rolling, it became unstoppable—a locomotive traveling in fast speed to its final destination.

CH: Did you find anything challenging while writing this book?

SY: I have many family members who are soldiers, and I know people who are police officers. LOL. I write the story as it comes to me. The entire time I wrote this novel, I kept thinking about family members and the police officers I know and if they thought of killing me.

CH: Your book has a lot of ups and downs and potholes and high rises, so do you prefer writing a book with a lot of twists and turns?

SY: It’s hard for me not to include a twist of some kind in my novels, because the best books I’ve ever read—the books that inspired me to become an author—included twists and high moments. I think its makes for a better read.

CH: How do you develop the characters—beforehand or as you write the story?

SY: I am definitely an author who listens to ‘the voices.’ Once the characters introduce themselves to me, I try and spend as much time as possible with them. Many times this happens while I’m writing a novel. The Blood Trail is part of a series, so some of the main characters I know quite well. Some of the other characters, I had to listen to what they had to say, as in who they are and the kind of person they are. I think this is necessary to make characters become real on the page.

CH: Is there a message in your novel that you want the readers to grasp?

SY: Yes, I hope the message readers get in The Blood Trail is many times there’s a reason why people do bad things, and this reason sometimes drives them almost to obsession. In the end it’s up to the reader to decide if these characters are bad or simply misunderstood.

CH: What is different and exciting that you bring to your readers through your unique and suspenseful writing?

SY: Life seen in a different perspective—in this case the characters’ perspective. In life you have moments that are heartbreaking and things happen that are out of your control. And the way someone responds to these things are different. For example, the lead character, Dardian Dreshaj, leans on his wife to provide light at moments when he feels surrounded by complete darkness. I also like to depict the intimate relationships of the characters, good and bad. I think it lets readers see more about the characters than just bad things and gives more insight into who they are.

CH: Where did you get the premise for this story?

SY: The young character, Kayla, came to me. I saw this young child running, and frightened, and wanted to know why, as well as help her. My way of helping was introducing her to a contract killer who can get her out of the situation with, hopefully, both of them surviving.

CH: Did you have to do any special research to write this book?

SY: I had to have several conversations with my police officer friends, as well as, friends and family in the military. Also, one of the locations used in the story needed some research, so I could depict it correctly.

CH: How long does it take you to write one of your books?

SY: Usually, it doesn’t take me too long once I devote time to writing it. I would say about three months from first page to last to achieve the rough draft. It’s the process after this that takes the longest. I tend to allow characters to run amuck while creating the rough draft and must rein them in during the rewrites. Total time, I would guess six months to complete the final draft.

CH: Was it hard creating believable situations and issues or did you take them from real life and elaborate?

SY: I see things in the news, a headline mostly, that captures my interest. It makes me wonder what happened and why did it happen. I don’t use the articles or the information in them, but something about the article usually sparks my creative juices. So, I create situations inspired from news reports or things I’ve seen and examine them from different angles: emotion, response, description, or consequence. For example, I saw Kayla running and fearful. Who was she running from? And then I saw a news article, and the story took off from there. Writing action, suspense and romance is in my comfort zone, so I didn’t find writing the book hard and found, more or less, that knowing the reason behind it was all the challenge.

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

SY: I’m a pantser who listens to the voices. For me, this makes characters easier to write. What I found hard in writing this novel was not knowing which of the voices (characters) was the actual bad guy. There were so many suspects, and although, I wrote the book, I allowed the characters to tell me the story. I got all the way toward the end of the novel before I figured out who the bad guys truly were. I literally gasped and thought, ‘It’s you!’ when I figured it out. I love writing, and I love when characters keep me and readers in suspense.

CH: What can we expect next, is there another book in this series?

SY: Oh, yes! So many readers tell me it takes only a day or two to read my novels, which is usually followed by when is the next book coming. I didn’t want to be caught off guard like I was after releasing Plain Dealing, so I have spent the last eight months writing, writing, and writing. I have book one of a historical series, book one of a psychological thriller series, as well as, the next book in the Dardian Dreshaj series coming out soon. I’m close to completing the rough draft in the fourth book in the Dardian series titled The Blood Sport.  I’m having so much fun writing it. Readers will get a chance to see the Dreshaj family interact in this one, while murder, mayhem and chaos happen around them, as usual. I have also started the storyboard on book five. I’m excited about it all.

CH: How long have you been writing? How did you start writing thriller/suspense novels?

SY: I have been writing approximately thirty years. I love writing about romance, and new relationships, but I didn’t like having to write in the formula necessary for romance novels. I like thriller/suspense, because bad people get to do whatever they do, and good people have a moment to shine and prove that everyone doesn’t collapse under pressure. The excitement of this genre pulled harder on me. It’s my love for romance that causes me to sneak a little of it into my suspense/thrillers. LOL.

CH: Can you give my audience your website address

SY: Sure. My website is www.shelley-fiction.com

CH: Can you tell my audience where they can purchase your book?

SY: It is available through Amazon and is listed on many eBook sites. Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1OHC5ww

CH: Any closing remarks?

SY:  First, Cheryl, thank you for this interview. It was lots of fun! To readers, I would like to say if you enjoy action, and sometimes complex characters, and romance, then give one of my books a try. But I warn that my books are for ages eighteen and over because of adult content. Thanks again for the interview!

CH: Thank you, Shelley Young, it has been a real pleasure discussing your writing journey and your book with my audience.  

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On this blog, I “Pay it Forward” to other authors by spotlighting them with a Guest Author Interview. I only ask that they too “Pay It Forward” to any other author.                                              ~ Cheryl Holloway

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Guest Author Interview – Thalia Lake

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Title: Pain Lived, Love Found 2

Genre: Multicultural/Interracial Romance

Synopsis: Sarah Paris never had an easy life, but she took those lemons that life gave her and turned them into her special brew of hard knocks liquor. It’s the kind of liquor that never goes down easy and always burns. It matched Sarah’s brash, selfish personality; a personality that didn’t think twice about sleeping with her sister’s boyfriends or using men to get what she wanted. Life was unkind to her, so why not dish it back? Distancing herself from her family, she embarked on a secret life that introduced her to a world that would ultimately crush her.

Sarah fought for her life and her sanity with the help of her best friend, Sandy, and her baby sister, Sloane. As she’s piecing her life back together, Sarah meets Roman Mancini, a man who awakened in her everything she’d hardened her heart to. He made her want things out of life that she always felt were unattainable, and he made her feel things that she never felt before – until someone from her past not only threatens her happiness, but her life and the lives of the ones she loves.

Roman Mancini has a past that he worked long and hard to leave behind him. He’s a successful business developer who moved from New York to Detroit to help rebuild the inner city hit hardest by the economic downfall. However, someone behind the scenes is hindering his plans, and when he uncovers who it is, he realizes that it goes deeper than he thought. In the meantime, in the unlikeliest of circumstances, Roman meets a beautiful woman who instantly fascinates, infuriates, and turns him on all at the same time – Sarah Paris. As they get to know each other, they find out that their pasts are intertwined and things become very dangerous for both of them. Roman vows to protect Sarah and her family and does everything in his power to do so.

Will Sarah be able to tackle the pain of her past so she can have a future with Roman? And will Roman be able to once and for all put his past behind him with the hopes of starting a new life with Sarah?

Thalia Lake

Thalia Lake, Author

CH: Today’s Guest Author is Thalia Lake, who loves well-written and well thought out books. Welcome to my blog, Thalia.

CH: Can you tell us in one sentence, why we should read your book?

TL: My books Pain Lived, Love Found 1 and 2 deal with real-life issues within the family and, as individuals, that are hardly discussed, but offers hope.

CH:  How did you come up with the premise for this series?

TL: Even though I’m a romantic at heart and love reading romantic novels, I always gravitate towards stories that deal with real-life issues. This series was born from that—bringing real life issues front and center in a very raw manner while offering hope at the same time.

CH:  Where do your ideas come from? Do you have a standard formula for plots or do stories come to you as a whole concept?

TL: No, I don’t have a standard formula. It’s basically whatever comes to my mind at any given moment. If that concept sticks with me over time and I keep visualizing scenes in my head, then I know I’m on to something that’s meant to be written.

CH:  Was it hard creating believable situations and issues or did you take them from real life and elaborate?

TL: It wasn’t hard at all. I always draw from my own life experiences and those of others and add a heavy dose of imagination. Life is always the best teacher.

CH:  What are some of the emotional intricacies that are part of an interracial relationship?

TL: Getting past your fears individually and as a couple, getting past personal insecurities, and learning how to deal with the ignorance of others when it comes to you as an interracial couple or when you have bi-racial children are some of the emotional intricacies that are part of interracial relationships. You can have the thickest skin in the world, but none of us are perfect, nor are we exempt from experiencing any or all of those things that I listed.

CH:  Which character was hardest to write?

TL: Sarah Paris.

CH:  What is different and exciting that you bring to your readers through your writing?

TL: They get more than just romance. They get thought-provoking stories and situations that they can hopefully relate to.

CH:  What makes you gravitate toward writing multicultural/interracial romance novels?

TL: As a teenager, there were so few interracial or multicultural romance novels around, let alone authors. Whenever I did come across one it was like finding a diamond in the rough! Now, the market is overflowing with interracial romance novels, and I think that’s great. I also feel that interracial romances are unique because there are so many layers to these stories and so many different ways that the story could be told. That’s what I want to explore and that’s why I’m so drawn to these stories.

CH:  Which book in the series was hardest to write?

TL: Pain Lived, Love Found 2.

CH:  How long does it take you to write one of your books?

TL: I wrote my very first book Choosey Lovers over 3-4 years. It started out as a pet project that was for my enjoyment only and it later turned into a published book. So, that book took the longest to write, but the rest of my books took 3 – 4 months to write tops. I do prefer taking my time with my stories, though.

CH:  Is there a message in your book that you want readers to grasp?

TL: Yes, the importance of seeking and getting help for any emotional issues or drug habits—no matter how ‘old’ your issues may be. Also remembering that love is a healer, and even if you never hear ‘I’m sorry’ from the person(s) who hurt you, you can still achieve closure by forgiving them in your heart and moving on with your life. Don’t stay trapped in the web of dysfunction.

CH:  You seem to have a lot of dedicated readers. What kind of feedback are you getting from readers of the book/series?

TL: My readers are great! I’ve heard many say that they laughed, cried, or were mortified, so, they were definitely invested in the characters and emotionally involved in the stories. I think that’s awesome! One of the main requests I receive is to continue the series with the Paris siblings. Some even want the parents to have their own stories, and the parents were the most hated characters!

CH:  Which multicultural/interracial romance writer do you admire most and why?

TL: That’s a hard one because I admire so many for different reasons. In no particular order, I admire Dez Burke, Latrivia Nelson, Vanessa Riley, and Melissa Blue, just to name a few.

CH:  Can you give my audience your website address?

TL: I don’t have an official website, yet (I know, I need to get it together!), but I’m always accessible on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ThaliaLakeWrites/

CH:  Can you tell my audience where they can purchase your book?

TL: All of my books can be found on Amazon.com. Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1TsGyoK

CH:  Any closing remarks?

TL: I have new stories on the horizon and I hope my readers enjoy these stories and appreciate how different they are. Thank you, Cheryl, for interviewing me!

CH: Thank you, Thalia Lake, it has been a real pleasure discussing your writing journey and your book with my audience.  

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On this blog, I “Pay it Forward” to other authors by spotlighting them with a Guest Author Interview. I only ask that they too “Pay It Forward” to any other author.                                              ~ Cheryl Holloway

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Guest Author Interview – Eddie Jose Morales

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Title: Fright Tales: A Collection of Short Horror Stories

Genre: Horror

Synopsis: In this, his first collection of thirteen short horror stories you will find everything from creatures, zombies, a sexy vampire, psychos and illogical fears, to ghosts and freaky ghouls:- The Hunched Monkey – Jennifer and Henry discover that lab experiments can be deadly. Bite of the Female Vampire – Whether dreaming or not, men cannot resist her striking appeal. Funeral Plans –Don learns that planning a funeral can be damaging to his mental health. The Burning Sorceress –The people of Willow Creek get more than they bargained for when Rebecca moves into town. Zombiefest –Bob and his son Joey get entangle in the middle of a zombie outbreak. A Shopaholic Killer –Linda loves to shop, but she is not your typical neighborhood mom. Haunted Cabin by the Cemetery – Jordan encounters a cabin’s ghostly past. The Lady is a Bug – A hybrid creature seeks revenge. East Coast Zombie Virus – A man-made virus quickly spreads and threatens the East Coast of the United States. Ghost in the House –A teenage boy and his mom are haunted by a ghost when they move to the suburbs. The House of Death –Finding shelter in an abandoned Victorian house has its disadvantages. The Last Camping Trip –A weekend trip turns into a nightmare as a psychotic killer is on the loose. The Wedding Dead – A newlywed couple battle with their wedding zombie guests to stay alive. This collection of Fright Tales are perfectly tailored for the enthusiastic horror fan, although not for the faint-hearted!

Author Eddie Jose Morales photo (2)

Eddie Jose Morales, Author

CH: Today’s Guest Author is Eddie Jose Morales, who writes blood curdling horror stories. Welcome to my blog, Eddie.

CH: Can you sum up your book in 20 words or less?

EJM: Fright Tales is a collection of short horror stories for the ultimate horror fan featuring zombies, paranormal, slasher, and more.

CH: Why did you decide to write this book about a collection of horror short stories?

EJM: I decided to write this book because ever since I was a teenager I’ve always been fascinated with the topic of horror, whether on television, going to the movies, and many spooky stories being told to me by family members. As time passed, the enthusiasm of writing stories involving horror followed, and I started to write as a hobby. Throughout the years, I dreamed one day of becoming a published author and as a result, I decided to put together a collection of horror short stories for horror fans to read and enjoy.

CH: Where do your ideas come from? Do you have a standard formula for plots or do stories come to you as a whole concept?

EJM: My ideas usually come from two ways. Some come from dreams, and others originate from actual life events, which I elaborate and make them more frightening for entertainment purposes.

CH: Where do you get your inspiration and ideas from when you write frightening horror stories?

EJM: My inspiration and ideas come from the love of the horror genre. I read scary books and watch many supernatural television shows and horror movies. I also have a creative mind, which is constantly thinking of concepts that I can turn into frightening stories.

CH: What do you think is the universal scare factor?

EJM: I think that the universal scare factor is bioterrorism in which society can be vulnerable in the hands of corrupt individuals releasing bacterial agents and disease into the general population.

CH: Who, in your opinion, is a great horror author and why?

EJM: A great horror author would be the incomparable Stephen King. He has an incredible talent for creating horror and scary supernatural situations that people can relate to in everyday life. Accordingly, Mr. King has the skill of haunting readers of all ages.

CH: What is different and exciting that you bring to your readers through your scary horror writing?

EJM: Through my scary horror writing, I bring the ability to create characters and stories that are easy to follow taking my readers on a journey that has a beginning, middle, and an end. My stories are vivid creating a visual image in the reader’s mind almost like they are watching a short story movie unfold in front of their eyes. I also like to incorporate humor in some of my stories as to not be entirely doom and gloom. Lastly, I tend to include the title of my stories within the manuscript to give the stories a sense of validity.

CH: Since this is your debut novel, what pitfalls have you run into as a new author?

EJM: The editing process of the short horror stories to be compiled for the book was a pitfall that I ran into as a new author. No matter how many times I read and edited the stories, there was always room for additional changes and enhancement.

CH: How long have you been writing? How did you start writing horror?

EJM: I started to write back in high school in 1977 when I wrote my first horror story for English class, which I still have the original manuscript called, The House of Death. My teacher enjoyed it so much that she asked me to read it in front of the class, and I received praise from my classmates. However, it wasn’t until 2004 when I became more serious about writing short horror stories as part of pursuing a college degree in English Creative Writing.

CH: When you start a new story, do you have a title for it? Or does the story trigger the title?

EJM: The titles of my stories come in two ways. Sometimes an idea for a title just comes to mind and then I develop a story around that particular title. Other times, as I am writing the story, the title jumps out at me at a certain point in the story.

CH: If you could work with any horror author, living or dead, who would that be and why?

EJM: I would love to work with author Dean Koontz. His style of writing horror fiction, suspense thrillers, and science fiction fascinate me as he creates stories that are not only believable but also frightening in nature.

CH: How long did it take you to write this book?

EJM: In actuality, the stories in this book range from 1977 to 2016. However, earlier stories were currently rewritten and extended with the purpose of being included in this collection. Accordingly, the writing and editing process to compile the collection of stories and complete this book took me approximately fourteen months.

CH: Was it hard creating believable situations and issues or did you take them from real life and elaborate?

EJM: It wasn’t hard creating believable situations and issues because most of the stories are loosely influenced by actual life events, which I elaborated and made them into horror fiction. Other ideas came from dreams, and as soon as I woke up, I wrote the outline recollecting the dreams. Regarding the subject matter of zombies, the stories were written as a result of my continued interest in the zombie phenomena on how people would react to a real life apocalypse situation.

CH: Which horror story was hardest to write?

EJM: The horror story which was the most challenging to write was Ghost in the House because it was based on actual life events that happened to my dearly departed Mom and me when I was a teenager. The story gave me chills as I wrote it and throughout the editing process. Thus, I experienced an eerie feeling during the entire journey of writing this particular story.

CH: What can we expect next, is there another book in the making?

EJM: I am currently writing brand new short horror stories to be included in a follow-up book to Fright Tales. I plan to have it completed by the end of next year.

CH: Can you give my audience your website address?

EJM: Currently, I am listed within the Woodrow Publishing website under

 http://www.woodrowpublishing.com/fiction-horror

CH: Can you tell my audience where your book is sold?

EJM: Fright Tales is currently available at your local Amazon website. Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/25ggNmu

CH: Any closing remarks?

EJM: Thank you so much for the opportunity to be interviewed and to discuss my book with you and your readers. I look forward to continuing my journey writing horror fiction with the purpose of entertaining the horror community.

CH: Thank you, Eddie Jose Morales, it has been a real pleasure discussing your writing journey and your book with my audience.  

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On this blog, I “Pay it Forward” to other authors by spotlighting them with a Guest Author Interview. I only ask that they too “Pay It Forward” to any other author.                                              ~ Cheryl Holloway

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Seven Sentence Sunday – A Memory

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I dedicate this seven sentence story to my daughter, Nichelle Lorraine.

Rest in Heaven

I miss my older daughter knowing that we would have celebrated her birthday…yesterday.

I cherish the memories of a life well lived, but cut way too short.

We were very close and people often envied our relationship.

However, no one really knows the pain of losing a child—but a mother.

I often think of the love, the laughter, the tears, the pain and the illness.

I know that God needed another angel to have by His side, so He called Shellie home.

But for me…Time heals and only God knows what is in our hearts.

Teddy Bear with Halo

I love you and I miss you so much…Mom.

Clip art compliments of the Internet and Cheryl Holloway.

Guest Author Interview – Cheryl M. Robinson

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Title: And, Not Only That

Genre: Christian/Inspirational

Synopsis: Three friends. Three incredible journeys. Janole, Jenn and Tam meet in college and forge a lifelong friendship. Janole makes a decision as a young adult that exposes the true character of her family and ignites a chain of unpredictable events. Later, her world is torn apart when her beloved husband of 24 years mysteriously disappears under scandalous circumstances. She questions everything that she believed in especially her husband and their marriage. Jenn, wealthy and privileged, witnesses a childhood tragedy that instantly changes her family and haunts her into adulthood. She, and everyone she loves, are being destroyed by events that occurred years ago. Unless something changes, she is on the brink of losing everything including her sobriety and her husband. Tam’s mother dies from a lengthy illness while Tam is in college. As a result, Tam decides to become a doctor and is committed to helping others. However, she must face her own medical crisis and a possible change in lifestyle that she finds difficult to accept. This is a gripping story of love, faith, family, marriage, pain, tragedy, triumph, restoration and spiritual growth that transcends time, age, race and gender. It contains a message of God’s unwavering and uncompromising love and how He reveals Himself in the most unusual and unexpected ways.

Cheryl M Robinson

Cheryl M. Robinson, Author

CH: Today’s Guest Author is Cheryl M. Robinson, a debut author with a unique writing style. Welcome to my blog, Cheryl.

CH: Can you tell us in one sentence, why we should read your book?

CMR: The reader will take an unforgettable and real journey, experience a wide range of emotions, applaud the experience, and long for more.

CH: Why did you decide to write a Christian novel covering so many topics?

CMR: My novel is a book about life–a multifaceted journey of many experiences—and my belief that God is the core of our existence.

CH: When you are coming up with a new idea for a book, do you look at the market for trends? Or do you just write your own story?

CMR: I do not look at the market for trends to generate ideas. I simply write what I hope will be an engaging, intriguing and inspiring story.

CH: What is different and exciting that you bring to your readers through your writing?

CMR: My goal is to make the characters so “real” that the reader identifies with them, perhaps even recognizes him or herself. Inspirational suspense is the genre that best describes And, Not Only That though—to my knowledge–no such genre exists. My intent is to captivate and surprise the reader throughout the reading experience just as life captivates and, at times, surprises us.

CH: Since this is your debut novel, what pitfalls or challenges have you run into as a new author?

CMR: The biggest challenge, by far, is marketing and publicizing the novel. Not only is this my debut novel, but it is also self-published. The challenge is how best to expose the book to a wider audience, nationally and internationally.

CH: What was the most exciting thing to happen on your self-publishing journey?

CMR: Many exciting things occurred. Writing a novel—especially the first time—is a unique and gratifying experience. As I review the entire writing and self-publishing journey, one of the most exciting things was the day my book arrived in the mail, when I actually held it in my hands for the first time, which was quite exciting and humbling. In my hand, I held the result of countless hours of writing, re-writing, editing, reviewing and praying. Ultimately, the writing journey was an incredible spiritual journey for me.

CH: In reference to the friendship of the women, is there a message in your novel that you want the readers to grasp?

CMR: Yes. Friends—true friends—are a gift. I believe God reveals Himself to us in many, many ways. One of the ways in which He reveals Himself and His love—and allows us to demonstrate that love—is through friendships. I’m so incredibly thankful for the “unique treasures” who have blessed my life.

CH: Who are some of your writing influences?

CMR: I am an avid reader and have been since I was very young. Surprisingly, I don’t have a specific writing influence. I am indebted, however, to all of the incredible published writers/authors.

CH: What is the hardest part of writing for you? (outline, draft, edit, write)

CMR: The hardest part for me is time, believe it or not. I enjoy writing and while I have an outline of the story, the characters sometimes refuse to follow the outline. The joys of writing fiction.

CH: Was it hard creating believable situations and issues or did you take them from real life and elaborate?

CMR: The situations and issues in And, Not Only That are real life occurrences: young love, abuse, marital and family discord, tough decisions, and other painful situations, such as death/loss and betrayal. All of which can be challenges to our faith. It was not difficult creating believable situations.

CH: Which one of the characters was hardest to write?

CMR: Tough question. Perhaps Tam, one of the main characters.

CH: Are any of your personal experiences reflected in your writing?

CMR: There are some parallels of my personal experiences in the book.

CH: Does this make you feel like you have accomplished your goal as an author?

CMR: Yes, the reviews are extremely gratifying. Those posted on Amazon, along with the many I’ve received via e-mail or in person, are encouraging and validating. I’m so thankful! One of the measures of a good book, in my opinion, is when the reader doesn’t want it to end. Many have expressed just that to me and that they are eagerly anticipating book #2.

CH: What kind of feedback are you getting from readers of the book?

CMR: The overwhelming consensus from most readers is that it is a “5-star” reading experience. Readers seem to love this book, because there are 24 out of 25 reviews that are five stars. The reviews have been astounding!

CH: What can we expect next, is there another book in the making?

CMR: And, Not Only That was my debut novel. I am currently working on my second novel, a sequel to And, Not Only That. So, yes, I am in the process of writing the sequel and excited about the direction of this book.  I’m targeting a release date of September/October 2016.

CH: Can you give my audience your website address?

CMR: www.cherylmrobinson.com  And my e-mail: cherylmrob@yahoo.com

CH: Can you tell my audience where your book is sold?

CMR: My book is available via Amazon, including Amazon Kindle. Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1qkWgKd

CH: Any closing remarks?

CMR: To Readers: I am able to write because God gave me a “measure of a gift” that was nurtured by many. I’m honored—and humbled—that God chose me as the vessel for this literary work. God has given to each of us a gift. Yes, each person is uniquely blessed with at least one gift. What is yours?

Cheryl, thank you for allowing me to share information about And, Not Only That. I am deeply appreciative. Best wishes for your continued success.

CH: Thank you, Cheryl M. Robinson, it has been a real pleasure discussing your writing journey and your book with my audience.  

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On this blog, I “Pay it Forward” to other authors by spotlighting them with a Guest Author Interview. I only ask that they too “Pay It Forward” to any other author.                                              ~ Cheryl Holloway

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Guest Author Interview – Peggy A. Edelheit

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Title: Saving Sindia (Samantha Jamison Mystery Series Book 10)

Genre: Thriller/Suspense/Detective

Synopsis: A handsome flirt, mysterious girl, devoted caregiver, trash collector, and lessons from my past lure me into Saving Sindia. Based on a true unsolved mystery in Ocean City, NJ.

Peggy Edelheit

Peggy A. Edelheit, Author

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CH: Today’s Guest Author is Peggy A Edelheit,  who loves to entertain readers with keep-you-guessing mysteries. Welcome to my blog, Peggy.

CH: Can you sum up your book in 20 words or less?

PAE: Sam’s good intentions weren’t turning out as planned and she finds herself entangled in a true historical mystery in Ocean City, NJ.

CH: How did you come up with the premise for this series?

PAE: I’ve been writing since I was a child. I kept a journal and was always writing down something. When I was older, the character, Samantha, began looking over my shoulder, advising me to seriously put down on paper some ideas I had taking shape for a few storylines that would make great mysteries. She began demanding, either I did that, or it could get ugly. After postponing the idea while raising three sons, I finally agreed and began to write it in earnest.

CH: Where do your ideas come from? Do you have a standard formula for plots or do stories come to you as a whole concept?

PAE: My locations and characters play a major role in my mysteries. I let my setting play into possible scenarios, then I add the characters one by one: some new, some old. I don’t like to throw a lot of characters at the reader too quickly unless it can’t be avoided in certain situations. As each book unfolds, the characters then develop further with their interplay and become an integral part of the books. Their personas tell me what they are going to say and how they are going to react in certain situations. I then let my fingers roll with their dialogue to see where they will take me next.

CH: What is different and exciting that you bring to your readers through your writing?

PAE: I write about how Sam gets caught up in unexpected mysteries with a touch of humor, while she constantly talks to her readers, who have the same disadvantage as Sam: they only see and hear what she does. It’s like they are peeking over her shoulder and try to solve or figure it all out with her. They are thrown by unexpected twists in the mystery, just like Sam is.

CH: When you wrote the first book in the series, did you realize it would be a series then?

PAE: I have to admit, that initially, The Puzzle, Book 1, was meant to be a standalone, but by the end of the mystery, I felt Sam’s story wasn’t finished yet. There was so much more to tell. So, Sam continued as a reluctant sleuth, while writing and solving her unexpected often humorous, thriller-whodunits.

CH: Although you can read each book in the series as a standalone, do you advise readers to read the series in order?

PAE: I have heard from readers who really enjoy the mysteries, it’s more enjoyable to read them in order to see with each book how Sam grows from an intimidated young widow, into someone much stronger, taking more risks and trusting her intuition and the group of women she has surrounded herself with. Some are her age (thirtyish) and the older, wiser trio (seventyish). Martha, a character in her seventies in the series, is a great counterpoint to Sam: an older influence for Sam as an example of what the aging process might be like. Martha pushes and challenges Sam to get out of her comfort zone. And so, the reader sees Sam blossom and transform from one book to the next. I always briefly bring the reader up to date at the beginning of each mystery, so it is up to them how they wish to read the series.

CH: Which book in the series was the hardest to write?

PAE: My latest, Saving Sindia, Book 10. It’s based on a true historical mystery that takes place in Ocean City, NJ. After walking by the historical marker on the boardwalk and stopping to read it, I became intrigued. I soon discovered what a great mystery it was and still unsolved to this day. I knew this was the perfect idea to weave Sam into it fictionally, while still leaving the mystery itself intact by the end of the book. It also gave me the opportunity to let the readers inside Sam’s head as she chronicles her life in personal journal entries to figure out how she developed into the woman she is today, and why her curiosity was always there inside her for solving mysteries. I show a parallel between the two to help her solve an underlying mystery in Saving Sindia: two mysteries with the same name.

CH: How long does it take to write one of your books?

PAE: Each one varied, some six months, others longer. I can never predict, because I’ve been known to wipe out whole chapters and swap dialogue unexpectedly to throw in multiple twists. I like to challenge myself, making the whole thing feel unexpected to both Sam and the reader, who is peeking over her shoulder throughout the mystery.

CH: Was it hard creating believable situations and issues or did you take them from real life and elaborate?

PAE: The Puzzle, Book 1, took place in Highlands, North Carolina. I owned a log home there; hence it was a picture-perfect location to write a mystery with the mountains as a backdrop. I often sat on my back porch of that log cabin, daydreaming what a great isolated place for a writer to get caught up in her own mystery. Many incidents happened, including that ice storm.

Being familiar with Ocean City, NJ, it was perfect for Without Any Warning, Book 2, and Saving Sindia, Book 10. The boardwalk and beach were an ideal setting for my characters and the underlying mysteries. Readers are always looking for authenticity. You have to be as accurate as possible or they will let you know when you’re not.

CH: Which character in this series is hardest to write?

PAE: I wouldn’t exactly say harder, but the most complex is Sam. There is a lot of Sam in me. We always give others credit, more so than ourselves. We are reluctant to take center stage in this regard. We both have a great sense of humor and get carried away on occasion, especially with things we are passionate about. We always learn from our mistakes—sometimes humorously.

CH: What can we expect next, is there another book in this series?

PAE: Truthfully? I’m not sure yet. I mulling over my options. The characters in this series have become so familiar to me that sometimes I can’t write their dialogue fast enough. (Yes, they often go on a rant, explaining what they should be saying is better, not what I had intended for them to say.)

CH: If you could work with any author, living or dead, who would that be and why?

PAE: There are so many talented authors out there that it would be, at least for me, a tough choice. How would I choose between them? As an author, I am honored and humbled just to work in the same field with them all.

CH: How long have you been writing? How did you start writing thriller/suspense novels?

PAE: I’m a lover of the written word and the worlds they create. So, it was a natural that I’ve been making up and writing stories since I first learned to write. Although I read every genre, mysteries were always my preference. Later on, after ignoring certain voices in my head, I finally let them have their say. Sam just sort of jumped out to the forefront of the group.

CH: Can you give my audience your website address?

PAE: It is: www.samanthajamison.com

CH: Can you tell my audience where your books are sold?

PAE: They are all on Amazon under The Samantha Jamison Mystery Series Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1Ysmp5J

CH: Any closing remarks?

PAE: I love being an author. I just wish my parents were still alive to see what their little girl has achieved. I feel they would be very proud of me and tell me not to let any of it go to my head. I don’t think that would happen. I am too humbled by all the talent around me.

It was an honor and a pleasure to be asked to do this interview. Thank you, Cheryl.

CH: Thank you, Peggy A. Edelheit, it has been a real pleasure discussing your writing journey and your book with my audience.  

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On this blog, I “Pay it Forward” to other authors by spotlighting them with a Guest Author Interview. I only ask that they too “Pay It Forward” to any other author.                                              ~ Cheryl Holloway

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Guest Author Interview – Ralph Thompson, Jr.

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Title: None of Our Hands Are Clean

Genre: Contemporary Romance/Christian

Synopsis: Juan Smith is a young man looking for love, in a world where the concept of romance has lost much of its luster. Darlene Brown is a young lady trying to understand God’s purpose for her future. Surrounded by a world that sees romance as old-fashioned, can these two make “it” work? How do people address the question “who’s the right one for you?” The wreckage of failed relationships is everywhere. Darlene and Juan face near-impossible odds. How do they get to know each other, and how will they learn whether or not they should be a couple?

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Ralph Thompson, Jr., Author

CH: Today’s Guest Author is Ralph Thompson, Jr., who is retired military and a debut author. Welcome to my blog, Ralph.

CH: Can you tell us in one sentence, why we should read your book?

RT: It’s an interesting take on the standard “boy meets girl” genre.

CH: Why did you decide to write a Christian romance novel?

RT: I wanted to write something hopeful for folks who’d had little success doing relationships—based on pop culture expectations. I wanted to express how God’s direction can make a profound difference in how men and women deal with one another.

CH: When you are coming up with a new idea for a book, do you look at the market for trends? Or do you just write your own story?

RT: I write my own stories, based on what interests me. It’s a bit of a risk, not knowing for sure if my work will resonate with others. I do hope others see something in my work that is familiar to their own experiences.

CH: Where did you get the premise for this story? 

RT: The sources are all around. Many folks in church and out of church express frustration in their searches for lasting love. I’ve had my own share of mishaps in dating and relationships. I’ve caused a few of those mishaps. To me, today it appears so many people base their desires on what they see on television, in movies, or others places in pop culture. Those unrealistic perspectives adversely impact how people interact in the real world.

CH: Very few men write romance novels. What made you decide to write in this genre?

RT: I wanted to share a man’s perspective, while also respecting what women seek to understand about men regarding relationships. To me, generally, we don’t communicate well enough to help relationships grow. Furthermore, men do have the capacity to understand and embrace romanticism. Acknowledging that could be another part of people understanding each other more deeply.

CH: What is different and exciting that you bring to your readers through your romance writing?

RT: I look to share a sense of men and women seeking God’s direction during the “get to know one another” stage. Rather than the Western standard of “let’s go to bed first, then, see if we get along.” I wanted to look at a couple trying the opposite.

I wanted my female and male leads to actually converse, even to the point of expressing differing views, as they try to figure out if they’re meant to be a couple. I wanted to also show how “listening” is so much more than waiting for the other person to stop talking. In addition, I wanted to show how listening was so much more than forming your response, while the other person spoke.

CH: Since this is your debut novel, what pitfalls have you run into as a new author?

RT: I have not run into any pitfalls, so far. My editor, Shelia Bell, has been an endless source of wisdom and support as I go forward. She shared frank constructive criticism, walked me through the publishing process and helped me manage my expectations. She’s an outstanding editor and a gifted writer in her own right.

CH: Where do your ideas come from? Do you have a standard formula for plots or do stories come to you as a whole concept?

RT: Generally, I start with a question. As I grow older, I realize more and more how little I actually know (chuckles). I seek understanding through these characters, and offer stories to see if others have similar questions in these scenarios.

I try to work with realistic characters, and let them walk through realistic situations. I imagine how they would react or respond, and let their characteristics drive their responses. In my head, I see and hear them as real people. I let them act as such.

CH: How long did it take you to write this book?

RT: I worked on the initial draft sporadically for two years. Going forward, I will strive to work faster.

CH: Was it hard creating believable situations and issues or did you take them from real life?

RT: I took these situations from real life. Whether it was my life, the lives of friends and acquaintances, or stories I saw in the media, I kept seeing and hearing about folks dissatisfied with their romantic lives. I wanted to offer a useful alternative.

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

RT: Grant’s daughter Grace. I struggled to capture the voice of a pre-teen girl. Shelia had to do some heavy coaching to guide me through that issue.

CH: If you could work with any author, living or dead, who would that be and why?

RT: Nelson Mandela. I read his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, and got a sense of the man’s depth. He admitted some of his flaws, described the challenges as he matured, and expressed uncommon strength and grace during his incarceration.

CH: Have you always wanted to write?

RT: In hindsight, I’d say yes. For a long time, I’ve appreciated the power of the written word. When wielded by someone with skill and passion, words have inspired nations.

For years, I’ve had the desire to express my feelings and concerns about what I see around me. So many of us see society’s ills and want to see changes. I want to be a part of the groups who want to effect positive change.

CH: What can we expect next, is there another book in the making?

RT: My next novel, Revenger, is drafted. It needs heavy editing. Hopefully, I can have that one out on the market this fall. After that, I have a third novel started. They’re all Christian fiction, but different sub-genres under that main banner.

CH: Can you give my audience your website address?

RT: Yes. It’s www.somerandomeolddude.blogspot.com

CH: Can you tell my audience where your book is sold?

RT: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books A Million. I also sell paperback copies. Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1YskpKK  

CH: Any closing remarks? 

RT: I’m honored to be a part of the Black Writers And Book Club Literary Festival (BWABC) this fall on September 16-17, here in downtown Memphis. I’m excited for the chance to talk with other writers and readers who share the love of literature. And Thank you, Cheryl Holloway for having me on your blog.

CH: Thank you, Ralph Thompson, Jr., it has been a real pleasure discussing your writing journey and your book with my audience.  

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On this blog, I “Pay it Forward” to other authors by spotlighting them with a Guest Author Interview. I only ask that they too “Pay It Forward” to any other author.                                              ~ Cheryl Holloway

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Celebrity Guest Author Interview – Mallory Monroe

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Title: Reno Gabrini: For His Lover

Genre: Romance/Multicultural

Synopsis: Reno Gabrini, the longtime owner of the PaLargio Hotel and Casino on the Vegas Strip, faces his toughest foes; yet when he has to face the ghosts of his past. Just when he thought life was sailing right along, and his family were all making their own dreams come true, the sins of his past come back with a vengeance and seek to dismantle all that he holds dear. First his son and daughter-in-law find themselves in a situation that almost destroys them both. Then, his children are targets. And then, his wife. But nobody should ever mistake Reno Gabrini as anything but tough on steroids, and nobody is going to harm his family and live to tell about it. Reno, and his beautiful African-American wife, Trina, fight for their survival. They pull out all of the stops to defend their family, their love, and their PaLargio. In the latest installment of the Mob Boss Series, Reno and Trina put it all on the line and discover, even then, that their everlasting love may not be enough to conquer their enemies’ unquenchable hate.

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Mallory Monroe, Author

CH: Today’s Celebrity Guest Author is Mallory Monroe, bestselling author of numerous books. Welcome to my blog, Mallory.

CH: Can you sum up your book in 20 words or less?

MM: Reno Gabrini: For His Lover is an interracial romance between a hot-tempered casino owner and a hot-blooded businesswoman.

CH: Where did you get the premise for this story?

MM: Via a very vivid imagination.

CH: When you are coming up with a new idea for a book, do you look at the market for trends? Or do you just write your own story?

MM: I never, ever, ever look at market trends.  Another word for failure is when a writer attempts to do what somebody else is doing, or what is fashionable at the time.  I write my own story.

CH: Where did you get the idea for the series?

MM: I thought it would be interesting to see what I could do with two people so different, not just racially, but morally and temperamentally, who manage to fall in love.

CH: Since this is book 14 in the series, when you wrote the first book in the series, did you realize it would be a series then?

MM: Not at all!  Just the opposite.  But after I wrote it, I decided that I enjoyed the characters, realized that the fans enjoyed the characters, so I kept writing.

CH: What is different and exciting that you bring to your readers through your romance writing?

MM: I think I try my best to keep it simple.  I do not attempt to write the great American novel.  I just try to write the best little romance that I can write.

CH: Where do your ideas come from? Do you have a standard formula for plots or do stories come to you as a whole concept?

MM: I believe writing is a God-given talent.  I began writing when I was nine years old, and never stopped.  The ideas come from that special, creative place that the good Lord allows me to visit.

CH: How long does it take you to write one of your books?

MM: From two weeks to two months.  It depends on the book.

CH: Was it hard creating believable situations and issues or did you take them from real life?

MM: A little of both. 

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

MM: Characters in my earliest romance novels.  My current series characters have not been difficult at all. They have been a pleasure to write.

CH: You have written several different books and series. What do you attribute your success to as an author?

MM: I have written over fifty novels.  I attribute all of my success to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Had it not been for the grace of God Almighty, His unmerited favor, there would be no success.

CH: As far as accolades or achievements, what would you say has been your greatest achievement?

MM: In terms of writing, my greatest achievement is when a reader loves the story—when a reader gets it.  When a reader finishes one of my novels and completely understands the vibe I was attempting to generate.  That’s an achievement.  The reverse is when I fail to make it clear what I am writing about.  For example, I was blown away when fans thought my novel, Big Daddy Sinatra: Carly’s Cry, would be all about Carly.  I was stunned.  I thought they understood that I was writing the latest Big Daddy book, which would primarily be about Big Daddy and Jenay, as all of his novels have been, and that Carly would be a part of the story.  I apparently did not make that clear enough.  That was the opposite of achievement, LOL.

CH: You seem to have a lot of dedicated readers. What kind of feedback are you getting from readers of the book?

MM: Excellent feedback!  They get it, and I love that.  I am very blessed to have the fan base God has allowed me to have.

CH: Which writer do you admire most and why?

MM: Toni Morrison.  Nobody can turn a phrase the way she can.  I read Song of Solomon and was hooked for life.

CH: Can you give my audience your website address?

MM: www.mallorymonroebooks.com 

CH: Can you tell my audience where your book is sold?

MM: Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1sbtWff

CH: Any closing remarks?

MM: God bless you all. Thanks!

CH: Thank you, Mallory Monroe, it has been a real pleasure discussing your writing journey and your book with my audience.  

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On this blog, I “Pay it Forward” to other authors by spotlighting them with a Guest Author Interview. I only ask that they too “Pay It Forward” to any other author.                                              ~ Cheryl Holloway

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Guest Author Interview – Charles Lee Robinson, Jr.

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Dezirable

Title: Dezirable: I’m Feeling Myself

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis: Desiree Miller, aka Dezirable, has been a widow for four long, lonely years. She hasn’t been touched by another man since her husband Michael passed. Suddenly she starts having sexual dreams and fantasies that put her body in the mood for making love. The more dreams she has, the more real they start to feel, until she’s finally ready to take the plunge with another man.

Dezirable has two friends she turns to for advice. Her best friend Saundra is funny and crazy, and is also looking for Mr. Right, though she wants a rich Mr. Right. Her friend Chassidy’s man has trouble keeping a job, but she sticks by her man anyway.

After all the lonely nights and intense dreams, Dezirable finally finds Tony, whom she thinks is her soul mate. He cares for her and adores her just as she does him. They seem made for each other from the start. Their desire becomes so strong that they can’t resist each other.

The two take a chance and bring their relationship to the next level, enjoying hot, steamy sex. Their chemistry is so strong that they can’t deny what they feel for each other.

Will their love story last?

Charles Robinson

Charles Lee Robinson, Jr., Author

CH: Today’s Guest Author is Charles Lee Robinson, Jr. , a romance author who believes that romance takes work. Welcome, Charles.

CH: Can you sum up your book in 20 words or less?

CLR: I describe my book, Dezirable, as a real life down to earth masterpiece.

CH: Where did you get the premise for this story? 

CLR: The premise from the story came purely from my imagination.

CH: Very few men write romance novels. What made you decide to write in this genre?

CLR: I write romance novels because I’ve always been a romantic person. I’ve searched for real and true love in my life.

CH: Was it difficult writing a story from a woman’s point of view?

CLR: No, it wasn’t difficult writing from a woman’s point of view because my talent of writing is very broad, a God giving talent.

CH: What is different and exciting that you bring to your readers through your romance writing?

CLR: I believe I bring real and true-life events and experiences along with excitement and life’s lessons learned.

CH: Since this is your second novel, what pitfalls have you run into as a new author?

CLR: The only pitfalls that I have run into are the publishers taking their time with my material.

CH: Where do your ideas come from? Do you have a standard formula for plots or do stories come to you as a whole concept?

CLR: Most of my ideas come from my head—all imagination—and then sometimes I just write off written guidelines.

CH: How long did it take you to write this book?

CLR: It took me 3 months to write Dezirable.

CH: Was it hard creating believable situations and issues or did you take them from real life and elaborate?

CLR: I took a lot of real events to create this book, but mostly imagination.

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

CLR: All of the characters were fairly easy to write.

CH: Are any of your personal experiences reflected in your writing?

CLR: Sometimes, a few personal experiences are reflected in my writing.

CH: What has been the best compliment you’ve received about your writing?

CLR: The best compliment I have gotten about my writing is that I am an awesome author and very unique because only one percent of African American authors write romance novels.

CH: If you could work with any author, living or dead, who would that be and why?

CLR: I would love to write with or for Tyler Perry, because he’s a brilliant writer. I never thought about writing with any other authors, but I would. I’ve written books with my deceased mother, which is the next book coming out and I also wrote a Christian poetry book with my grandmother.

CH: Have you always wanted to write?

CLR: Yes, I’ve been writing since the third grade. It’s my passion and my purpose.

CH: What can we expect next, is there another book in the making?

CLR: I have eight books already written and they are waiting to be published. My next book is a book with my mother and I am the co-author. It’s entitled Broken Child, Broken Woman.

CH: Can you give my audience your website address?

CLR: Yes, my website is http://sbprabooks.com/charlesleerobinsonjr/

CH: Can you tell my audience where your book is sold?

CLR: You can buy my books on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Amazon Link:  http://amzn.to/1TuQBZw

CH: Any closing remarks?

CLR: I love writing books and movies. My talent is broad, so I can write about almost anything, not just romance novels—those are my specialty. I have so many books done and more in the making. I want to use the talent that God has blessed me with—to help others through my writing. Without God none of this is possible.

CH: Thank you, Charles Lee Robinson, Jr., it has been a pleasure discussing your book with my audience.  

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On this blog, I “Pay it Forward” to other authors by spotlighting them with a Guest Author Interview. I only ask that they too “Pay It Forward” to any other author.                                              ~ Cheryl Holloway

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Guest Author Interview – Charmaine Pauls

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Title: Geomancist

Genre: Multicultural/Interracial/Romance

Synopsis: All is fair in love and war, especially when the enemy is a drug baron and the loot the woman you love. Sean Rivers lives with a dangerous secret. He possesses a forbidden art. As geomancist, it is in his power to destroy landscapes with earthquakes and volcanoes. Knowing his kind is hunted by forces of both good and evil, Sean’s job as mixologist in Cartagena, Colombia is the perfect cover. Until Asia, a zesty beautician walks into his life and wrecks the very laws of physics. When Sean and Asia compete for the premises where Sean intends to open his cocktail bar, he pulls out all the stops to win the challenge . . . to Asia’s detriment. Together they end up catering for the guests of a drug baron who rented Isla del Pirata for a week-long birthday celebration. The kingpin has no intention of letting Asia leave. Ever. If Sean is to rescue her, he’ll have to use his art, blow his cover, and maybe even his life.

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Charmaine Pauls, Author

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International Author on Cheryl Holloway’s Blog.

CH: Today’s Guest Author is Charmaine Pauls, an International author. Charmaine says, “If reading is like dancing, get ready to tango.” Welcome to my blog Charmaine.

CH: Congratulations, your book went live today! So, can you sum up your book in 20 words or less?

CP: All is fair in love and war when the loot is your woman.

CH: How did you come up with the premise for this series?

CP: While on holiday in Brittany, France, someone was committing arson in the village where we stayed. The idea to write a paranormal romance about a firestarter and a hunky Frenchman with a big title was born while I sat on the garden wall of our rented holiday house, watching the police helicopter circle the harbor in search of the culprit. During my research about supernatural fire abilities, I came across seven arts that were forbidden in the Middle Ages, namely divining by fire, water, clouds, stones, animal bones, palm reading and necromancy. This inspired the themes of each of the books in the contemporary Seven Forbidden Arts Series, as well as the overall series plot.

CH: Where do your ideas come from? Do you have a standard formula for plots or do stories come to you as a whole concept?

CP: I am greatly inspired by my travels and often use a setting or event that sparks an emotional reaction in me as the kernel from which to grow the plot. While the standard plot elements, such as conflict, growth, and resolution are always there, each plotline and the way it evolves is a unique process for me. I need to pen [write] down the complete outline before I start writing the story, but once the characters start dictating their dialogue, the narration sometimes takes me on surprising and unexpected twists.

CH: Where do you get your inspiration and ideas from when you write?

CP: Maybe we were gypsies in a previous life because everyone in my family loves to travel. We’d rather forego the new sofa to visit a different part of the world. I tap heavily into the wealth of culture and nature during our explorations. These experiences and the simple change of scenery never fail to fuel my inspiration and ideas. I love photography and also take plenty of photos that I keep in electronic folders to later use in specific story scenes.

CH: What is different and exciting that you bring to your readers through your writing?

CP: Being a hopeless romantic and a huge fan of dark and gothic literature, I use strong gothic and dark psychological elements in my novels. The emotional value of a story being the most important to me, I create romance books with the focus on the development of the relationship against the backdrop of an exotic or mystical environment.

CH: Do you find any challenges writing a multicultural and interracial novel?

CP: The biggest challenge for me in writing for an international market is writing my stories from my South African point of view with a South African voice. Some readers love it, while others find it harder to relate. We’re not called the rainbow nation for nothing. With more than twenty-six languages (eleven of those official) and ethnic groups including Zulu, Xhosa, Basotho, Bapedi, Venda, Tswana, Tsonga, Swazi, Ndebele, Afrikaans White, English White, Coloured, Indian, and Asian, diverse characters from a multicultural background are my frame of reference and norm. Having moved a lot and lived in different parts of the world, my cast always tends to be very mixed and international.

CH: What kind of feedback are you getting from your readers for this series?

CP: Readers say it is an action-packed, fast-paced series with a unique take on paranormal abilities and super-hot alpha males who set the pages on fire with scorching hot love scenes.

CH: Who are some of your writing influences and why?

CP: I started writing paranormal romance because of Lora Leigh. After falling in love with her breed series, I wanted to write what I liked to read best. Other modern-day writers include the Australian novelist, Tim Winton and the French historical fiction writer, Anne Golon. The books that set me on a path of writing are the classics I encountered in my first school library, such as Othello by William Shakespeare, Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë, and Dracula by Bram Stoker.

CH: How long have you been writing? How did you start writing?

CP: My earliest memories of writing are the poems and essays I crafted in primary school. Writing has always been a passion. After studying communication, I always wrote in a professional capacity, but turned to full-time creative writing in 2010 when we moved to Chile.

CH: Since you live in France and your publisher is in the U.S., can you tell us about your publishing journey? How did you find your publisher?

CP: After blindly submitting my first novel to countless publishers with rejection letters the only response, I did my homework before submitting my second book. I searched for publishers who were open to submissions in my genre and who shared my visions and goals. Narrowing it down to three houses, I submitted my second manuscript and was offered contracts with two of the houses. I chose the one with whom I had the best first contact and never looked back. Ten novels and six years later, I am still with Mélange Books.

CH: In this series, which book was hardest to write?

CP: Hydromancist was a tough book for me because I relate better to alpha males than alpha females, and Maya deserved a kick-ass story.

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

CP: I battled a bit with Lann Dréan, the mysterious and quiet Russian from Aeromancist. Lann is reserved and an introvert to the extreme. It was hard getting to know him, and showing him for the beauty and pure intent that lurk under his detached and cold exterior.

CH: Well, we know there are four more books in this series, but what is next after the series is complete?

CP: I would love to write a dark romance trilogy and a literary women’s fiction story that is brewing in the back of my mind.

CH: Can you give my audience your website address?

CP: You can find me on http://www.charmainepauls.com.

CH: Can you tell my audience where your book is sold?

CP: Geomancist (available in eBook and paperback) is sold at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, Lulu, Satin Romance and Smashwords. Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1TwuoL0

CH: Any closing remarks?

CP: I would like to mention that while each book in the series reads as a standalone, I do recommend that they are read in chronological order for best reading enjoyment and insight in character development and the overall series plot. Last but not least, thank you so much for inviting me to your blog, Cheryl. It was a pleasure to chat with you and I am looking forward to staying connected.

CH: Thank you, Charmaine Pauls, it has been a real pleasure discussing your writing journey and such a unique book with my audience.  

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On this blog, I “Pay it Forward” to other authors by spotlighting them with a Guest Author Interview. I only ask that they too “Pay It Forward” to any other author.                                              ~ Cheryl Holloway

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Cheryl Holloway Wishes You A Happy Mother’s Day

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Happy Mother’s Day to…all my family, friends and readers near and far!

Every year I try to do something different for each holiday. This year I’ve written a Mother’s Day short story based on a true event. I hope you enjoy it.

A Mother’s Day Gift     

An older couple in their forties, who desperately wanted children, had been trying to conceive for years. They had decided that this was their last time to try and if this didn’t work, they would adopt a child.  Finally, they were told that they were pregnant and the baby would be born around the middle of May. To their surprise, the couple was told they were having twins—a boy and a girl. The couple was elated.

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The doctor told them it was a delicate pregnancy and she may have to be bedridden for a portion of the time. The couple decided to follow the doctor’s orders, as much as possible. The wife was so excited to finally becoming a stay-at-home mom. They were excitedly looking forward to the twin’s arrival. Their doctor told them that they might arrive early. The soon-to-be parents were so excited and didn’t really care when the twins were born, just that they would be healthy.

Surprise—the twins came a little early. What a Blessing—they arrived on Mother’s Day!

The End

I thank God for the many Blessings in my life. May you have a Happy & Blessed Mother’s Day!  

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On this blog, I “Pay it Forward” to other authors by spotlighting them with a Guest Author Interview. I only ask that they too “Pay It Forward” to any other author.                                              ~ Cheryl Holloway

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Give Mom A Book for Mother’s Day!

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Tomorrow is Mother’s Day and it’s never too late to give Mom a book by Cheryl Holloway.

Give Cheryl Holloway’s  Books for Mother’s Day and Mom will be Happy.

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Note: Photos are compliments of the Internet and Cheryl Holloway.

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 If you find us deserving, please nominate us for Writer’s Digest “101 Best Sites for Writers.”  Email: writersdig@fwpubs.com with “101 Sites” in the subject line.  Type: “Cheryl Holloway Author Blog http://www.CherylHolloway.net/blog in the body of the email.  It’s that simple!  And “thank you” from all of us!

On this blog, I “Pay it Forward” to other authors by spotlighting them with a Guest Author Interview. I only ask that they too “Pay It Forward” to any other author.                                              ~ Cheryl Holloway

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Guest Author Interview – Nadine Nettmann

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Title: Decanting A Murder (A Sommelier Mystery)

Genre: Mystery/Women Sleuths

Synopsis: Can Katie Solve a Case of Chateau Murdeaux?

Katie Stillwell focuses on two things in her life: work and practicing for Sommelier Certification with her blind tasting group. The exam was sup- posed to be the hardest part of her week, but that was before a body was found at an exclusive Napa Valley winery party.

When all the evidence points to Katie’s best friend, the outspoken and independent Tessa, Katie drops everything to clear Tessa’s name. Using her deductive wine skills, she tries to track down the real killer. But when repeated attempts are made on her life, Katie discovers that everyone’s secrets must be uncovered—including her own.

NadineNettmann

Nadine Nettmann, Author

CH: Today’s Guest Author is Nadine Nettmann, a Certified Sommelier, who loves great wines and the mysteries around them. Welcome, Nadine.

CH: Can you sum up your book in 20 words or less?

NN: A wine themed murder mystery with a female sommelier, who uses her wine skills to solve a murder.

CH: Does your background in the winery business have a large influence on this book?

NN: Yes, definitely. It was a lot of fun to apply my wine knowledge, as well as my experiences with deductive tasting to the book.

CH: Where do your ideas come from? Do you have a standard formula for plots or do stories come to you as a whole concept?

NN: They come to me as an overall concept, but then I break them down to make sure I’m hitting plot points at the right moments.

CH: Your book has a lot of ups and downs and potholes and high rises, so do you prefer writing a book with a lot of twists and turns?

NN: I love the mystery genre and the twists and turns it brings.

CH: What inspired you to begin writing this sommelier series?

NN: I wanted to write a book that involved wine and I thought it would be fun to have a sommelier as a protagonist who applies her wine skills to her everyday life. I started playing with this idea and soon, Decanting A Murder, was born.

CH: What is different and exciting that you bring to your readers through your mystery writing?

NN: There’s a lot of wine knowledge to be learned in the book, but aside from that, I hope it’s just a fun read for everyone.

CH: Was it hard creating believable situations and issues or did you take them from real life and elaborate?

NN: The entire book is fiction, though I did take a little bit of the blind tasting group situations from my own experiences. That being said, the characters in the tasting group in the book are not based on the members of my actual tasting group.

CH: Did you find anything challenging while writing this book?

NN: I find every book to be challenging in some way. There’s something to be said for writing a minimum of 60,000 words and at some point, it’s going to be challenging. For Decanting A Murder, I was stopped at around 40,000 words for a while.

CH: Where do you get your inspiration and ideas from when you write?

NN: I’m always thinking of new ideas. They’re a constant flow and sometimes they only last a paragraph and sometimes they produce a whole book.

CH: Where did you get the idea for the series?

NN: I’m a huge fan of both wine and mysteries and I thought it would be a lot of fun to combine them together into a series.

CH: Since this is your debut novel, how did you decide it would be a series?

NN: Because there is so much information in the wine world, I liked the idea of following Katie on her sommelier journey and perhaps also through different wine regions.

CH: Is there an overall message in your book that you want the readers to grasp?

NN: Yes, if there is something you want to achieve, keep trying. Even if you don’t succeed at first, don’t give up. Keep going.

CH: What kind of feedback are you getting from readers of the book?

NN: The book is just about to be released, but I’ve heard from early readers that they’ve enjoyed learning more about wine from reading the book and that makes me very happy!

CH: Since this is a series, what is the theme for the next book?

NN: The next book, currently titled Uncorking a Lie, takes place in Sonoma and follows Katie on another mystery.

CH: Is there anything in particular that you would like to add about sommelier mysteries?

NN: Every chapter in the book is paired with a wine.

CH: Can you give my audience your website address?

NN: Yes. www.nadinenettmann.com

 CH: Can you tell my audience where your book is sold?

NN: Decanting a Murder is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Indie Bound. Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1Y5PzaE

CH: Any closing remarks?

NN: Thank you so much for inviting me on your blog and thank you to everyone who reads my book!

CH: You are quite welcome. Thank you, Nadine Nettmann, it has been a real pleasure discussing such a unique book with my audience.  

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On this blog, I “Pay it Forward” to other authors by spotlighting them with a Guest Author Interview. I only ask that they too “Pay It Forward” to any other author.                                              ~ Cheryl Holloway

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Guest Author Interview – Randall Reneau

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Title:  Legend of War Creek (Trace Brandon Series Book 4)

Genre: Mystery/Thriller/Suspense

Synopsis: On August 18, 1882, Joe La Fleur discovered a gold-bearing quartz vein near the headwaters of War Creek, high in the Cascade Range of Washington State. Later the same day . . . he lost it. One hundred and thirty years later, geologist Trace Brandon re-discovers the vein, guarded by a skeleton with a flint arrowhead imbedded in a femur, and a carved wooden owl—admonitions not to desecrate hallowed ground.

Ignoring the warnings, Brandon stakes a number of mining claims and begins drilling—only to see two of his men murdered in a grisly, ritualistic manner. The situation soon goes from bad to worse when Brandon’s old nemesis, Mafia don Peter Pantelli, learns of the discovery and devises a ruthless plan to eliminate Brandon and take control of the mining claims.

Brandon is caught between forces he can’t comprehend and treachery he understands all too well . . .

R. Reneau

Randall Reneau, Author

CH: Today’s Guest Author is Randall Reneau, who has received numerous awards for his books. Welcome, Randall.

CH: Can you tell us in one sentence, why we should read your book?

RR: If you like a fast-paced thriller, with subplots and a supernatural twist, Legend of War Creek is for you.

CH: Where did you get the premise for this story?

RR: Legend of War Creek is loosely based on historical events. Army guide, Joe La Fleur, (1882) did discover the gold vein and was never able to relocate it.  I used this as the basis for the story and then fictionalized the rest of the events.

CH: Why did you decide to write a book about the legend of a gold-bearing quartz vein near War Creek?

RR: Before I was a writer, I worked as a geologist for many years. And tucked deep in my files was an old newspaper article about a “lost ledge” (vein) along War Creek. I did some research (old US Army reports, etc.) and felt like this story would fit in well with my Trace Brandon series.

CH: Your book has a lot of ups and downs and potholes and high rises, so do you prefer writing a book with a lot of twists and turns?

RR: I do.  A very successful fiction writer once told me that the attention span of the average reader is pretty short.  He advised me to keep my stories moving, throw in some twists and turns, and keep them guessing!

CH: Where do you get your inspiration and ideas from when you write?

RR: I write two series; the Trace Brandon novels, and the Hardin Steel novels.  The protagonist in the Trace Brandon series is a geologist and is based on my experiences working around the world as a geologist.

The Hardin Steel novels (the second book is due out in late 2016) are based on characters and events I witnessed or read about, in S. Texas and N. Mexico.

CH: What is different and exciting that you bring to your readers through your thriller/suspense writing?

RR: I try to expose the reader to “real-life” situations, whether in the boardroom, the penny-stock market, or exploring for gold/diamonds in foreign countries. I usually throw in a few comments on subjects like arms proliferation, corruption, etc., without, I hope, being too “preachy.”

CH: What inspired you to write a fast-paced novel?

RR: Well, you have to hold the reader’s interest. A dull, slow-moving, story won’t cut it in today’s market!

CH: Did you have to do any special research to write this book?

RR: I always do a lot of research. For Legend of War Creek, I spent a good deal of time researching the geography – geology of the War Creek area. I reviewed old US Army reports, old newspaper accounts, and current geological maps and documents. I also researched Native Americans indigenous to the area. The same goes for any technical aspects mentioned in the story.

CH: Was it hard creating believable situations and issues or did you take them from real life and elaborate on them?

RR: A little of both. Some parts of the story come from my experience exploring gold, drilling in remote locations, and from owning/riding horses. Other parts, like the Dog Soldiers, and the hint of supernatural happenings…I made up.

CH: Is there an overall message in your book that you want the readers to grasp?

RR: Maybe, that somethings are better left undisturbed?  But mainly, I want the readers to enjoy the story and the characters. And if I did my job, be looking for the next installment in the series!

CH: Who is your favorite author? Why?

RR: James Lee Burke—a great story teller, with great characters, flawed as they may be.

CH: When you wrote the first book in the series, did you realize it would be a series then?

RR: Yes. I intended the Trace Brandon novels to be a series. I’m just getting ready to release the fifth book in the series, The Medinandi License, and have several more outlined. So, Trace will be around for a while (ha, ha).

CH: What kind of feedback are you getting from readers of the book/series?

RR: I’ve been very fortunate that reader reviews on Amazon (US/UK) have been very good. And reviews from Kirkus and Foreword Reviews have likewise been great.

CH: What can we expect next from you? Can you tell us a little about the next story in the series?

RR: The next installment, The Medinandi License, set in Mali, W. Africa and based on my two years in the country exploring for gold, will be out in May (2016).

CH: Can you give my audience your website address?

RR:  Yes. http://www.randall-reneau.com

CH: Can you tell my audience where your book is sold?

RR: All of my books are available at Amazon.com (paperback and Kindle). Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1Z8ayK3

CH: Any closing remarks?

RR: Thank you for allowing me to chat with you and your readers!

CH: You are quite welcome. Thank you so much, Randall Reneau, it has been a real pleasure discussing your book with my audience.  

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 If you find us deserving, please nominate us for Writer’s Digest “101 Best Sites for Writers.”  Email: writersdig@fwpubs.com with “101 Sites” in the subject line.  Type: “Cheryl Holloway Author Blog http://www.CherylHolloway.net/blog in the body of the email.  It’s that simple!  And “thank you” from all of us!

On this blog, I “Pay it Forward” to other authors by spotlighting them with a Guest Author Interview. I only ask that they too “Pay It Forward” to any other author.                                              ~ Cheryl Holloway

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Guest Author Interview – Rebel Miller

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Title: Promising: Book Two in Kira’s Story (The Realm Series 2)

Genre: Romance/Multicultural & Interracial

Synopsis: Faced with diverging loyalties—between those she loves and her responsibility to the Realm—Kira has to make heartrending and strategic decisions that threaten to jeopardize her future. As her connection to Tai deepens and turmoil in the Realm builds, so does Gannon’s frustration at being unable to call Kira his own.

While the Realm stands defiant amidst rising unrest, Kira is thrust into a role that puts her at the forefront of her system’s governance and law, and supporting a landmark position. Following a devastating turn of events, she turns to Tai for a shoulder to lean on after making a painful choice to ensure Gannon fulfils the role he was meant for.

As she becomes a reluctant, yet inspiring, voice for her caste, Kira learns about one of the Realm’s most well-kept secrets and how far leadership will go to prevent it from being revealed. What she doesn’t know is how much the decisions of her past have the power to bring enemies into her path, threatening to destroy everyone she holds close to her heart.

This novel is for mature audiences (18+).

Rebel Miller

Rebel Miller, Author

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International Author on Cheryl Holloway’s Blog

CH: Today’s Guest Author is Rebel Miller, a contemporary and futuristic romance author. Welcome to my blog, Rebel.

CH: Can you sum up your book in 20 words or less?

RM: Promising is the riveting second novel in my provocative coming-of-age romance trilogy that’s set hundreds of years in the future.

CH: Why did you decide to write this multicultural and interracial book?

RM: I’m glad you asked! I don’t actually view my novel as a multicultural or interracial book. It just happens to be a romance with a diverse cast of characters–whether displayed through their ethnicity, sexuality, family dynamics, class or culture. Diversity is commonplace in my life, so I think my novels simply reflect that reality. My goal is to write romances that will resonate with a broad range of readers, no matter where they come from or what they look like. Having said that, I understand that, for the purpose of categorization on eBook retailer sites and to improve my work’s discoverability, I will always have these descriptions attached to my work.

CH: Where do your ideas come from? Do you have a standard formula for plots or do stories come to you as a whole concept?

RM: The first idea I get for a novel is the opening sentence. That gets my creative juices going and tells me the mood and direction that I should go in. As for a standard formula—I wish I had one! I think it would make it a whole lot easier :).

CH: What is different and exciting that you bring to your readers through your romantic writing?

RM: I love the idea of going against the status quo. The truth is, despite my name, I’m probably one of the most diplomatic, practical and orderly people you would ever meet, so the chance to challenge systems and beliefs is very appealing to me, and is a recurring theme in my writing. In my trilogy, I take on the idea of being able to love more than one person and the idea of pre-determined social positions. I simply think of what’s considered mainstream and challenge myself to create a story that goes against it, but will still resonate with readers today.

CH: Was it hard creating believable situations and issues or did you take them from real life and elaborate?

RM: Good question! Because I tend to put my character in highly charged situations that increase the stakes. In order to maintain believability, I had to have a thorough understanding of the characters, and their motivations, so that they would react in a way that was believable for them, considering the world they live in.

I do think my novels include some of the issues in media and technology that we are confronting today—such as privacy and the fixation on (social media) followers; however, I refer to these matters to engage readers and help them understand the characters’ challenges and the world that they live in.

CH: Did you find anything challenging while writing this book?

RM: Since I love to layer my books with sub-plot, the most challenging aspect of writing Promising probably would have been streamlining the various plot points. As a result, my chapter outline and plot notes were never too far :).

CH: Where do you get your inspiration and ideas from when you write?

RM: As mentioned before, I tend to get the opening sentence of a novel and that gives me direction on where to go next. Where does that idea come from? Well, they come from everywhere, everyone and everything. It sounds vague, but it’s true!

When I’m working on a story, inspiration tends to come when I least expect it. Usually, ideas or strings of dialogue pop up when I am in my most relaxed mood¾when driving, while taking a shower or just before I fall asleep!

CH: Where are you from? Does your background have any influence on this book?

RM: I was born in Jamaica, but I moved to Canada when I was very young, and have lived here for the majority of my life. I definitely think my background influences this book. Living in both of these diverse and culturally-rich countries has given me a viewpoint and author voice that brings life to the many characters I’ve had running around in my head.

CH: Are there any writers that you consider your mentor?

RM: There are just too many to list! From John Wyndham to Sidney Sheldon to Sylvia Day—they’re all mentors in my mind!

CH: Since this is a riveting follow-up to your debut novel, which book was hardest to write? And how long did it take you to write each book?

This second novel, Promising, was definitely more challenging to write than the first! It took me two months to write the first and six months to write the second. The reason Promising took me longer, I believe, is because I thought I knew what the outcome of the lead character, Kira, would be, but found out halfway into my writing that I was dead wrong. Kira resisted the path I was laying out for her, so I had to pivot the plotline and go in a different direction. Once I did that, the story started to flow and come together much more easily, but there were certainly a few hair-pulling nights of writing before I got there!

CH: Where did you get the idea for the Realm Series?

RM: I was in the middle of binge-reading New Adult romances, the majority of which tend to be contemporary in setting. I loved the idea of creating a coming-of-age story, but one that was set hundreds of years in the future and would allow Kira to confront a number of dramatic and emotional challenges while hitting the right angst-filled romantic notes. Kira has to make difficult decisions with regards to the love triangle she finds herself in, as well as, her budding career, her family, peers and friends. Gannon and Tai, the two male leads in the aforementioned love triangle, are alpha-males who have their own emotional challenges and career ambitions that influence how their characters grow and how they demonstrate their love for Kira.

CH: When you wrote the first book in the series, did you realize it would be a series then?

RM: I knew I wanted to create the Realm Series, but I didn’t realize until half-way into book one that Kira’s story would turn into a trilogy.  My intention at the start was to write a series of standalones, but Kira’s story warranted more storyline and character development.

CH: Is there an overall message in your book that you want the readers to grasp?

RM: Another good question! I think Promising, and the entire Realm series, pretty much emphasizes that sometimes you have to take risks to be with the one or ones you love.

CH: What kind of feedback are you getting from readers of the book?

RM: It’s been incredible! As an independent author, it’s been incredibly exciting to have heard from readers who tell me that they they’ve fallen in love with my characters. Hearing that someone loves Kira, Tai and Gannon is thrilling, because it means I’ve truly breathed life into the characters, so much so, that a reader could feel such a strong emotion for them.

There have also been quite a few readers who say they’ve never read a futuristic romance before, but have now come on board because of my books.

All this positive feedback keeps me motivated and gets my creative juices going!

CH: What is next for you as an author?

RM: I’m writing the third and final installment in Kira’s story, then I will work on a contemporary romance suspense before returning to the Realm Series to write a standalone novel. My fingers are itching to get started on these new storylines!

CH: Can you give my audience your website address?

RM: Of course! www.rebelmillerbooks.com

CH: Can you tell my audience where your book is sold?

RM: My novels are available everywhere eBooks are sold: Amazon, Kobo, iBooks and many others. Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/24tvajx  Just Google ‘Rebel Miller books’ and you’re only a click away.

CH: Any closing remarks?

RM: Thank you, Cheryl, for having me as a guest on your blog!

CH: Thank you so much, Rebel Miller, it has been wonderful discussing your book with my audience.  

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