Guest Author Interview – Lachlan Walter

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Title: The Rain Never Came

Genre: Sci-Fi/Dystopian/Post Apocalyptic

Synopsis: In a thirsty, drought-stricken Australia, the country is well and truly sunburnt. As the Eastern states are evacuated to more appealing climates, a stubborn few resist the forced removal. They hide out in small country towns – where no one would ever bother looking.

Bill Cook and Tobe Cousins are united in their disregard of the law. Aussie larrikins, they pass their hot, monotonous existence drinking at the barely standing pub.

When strange lights appear across the Western sky, it seems that those embittered by the drought are seeking revenge. And Bill and Tobe are in their path. In the heat of the moment secrets will be revealed, and survival can’t be guaranteed.

Lachlan Walter, Author

International Author on Cheryl Holloway’s Blog

CH: Today’s Guest is International Author, Lachlan Walter. He has completed a PhD that critically and creatively explored the relationship between Australian post-apocalyptic fiction and Australian notions of national identity. Welcome to my blog, Lachlan.

CH: Please tell us in one sentence, why we should read your book.

LW: Told in an unmistakably and undeniably Australian voice, The Rain Never Came will show you a different end of the world, one of thirst and drought and baked earth, of mateship and laconicism and black humor.

CH: Since this book is about a drought in Australia, was it hard creating believable situations and issues or did you take them from real life and elaborate?

LW: A great deal of The Rain Never Came is extrapolated from real life. Almost a decade ago, I moved back to my hometown at the tail end of a ten-year drought that devastated much of Australia’s south-east. My hometown is a tiny country town, deep in the bush—at that time, it was suffering from the effects of this drought. Life was strange: communities were fraying; some people who depended on water for their livelihood began abandoning the land and moving to the city; and water theft had become common.

It seemed as if the past had returned—a world of hard work, dust and thirst. And yet, we were surrounded by the trappings of 21st Century life. More than anything else, this world of old and new seemed like the beginning of some post-apocalyptic world you would find in science fiction. From there, based on my own experience, it was easy to imagine the parched land only a handful of years hence. And so The Rain Never Came was born.

CH: What made you decide to write this book?

LW: I returned to university in my late twenties, to finish a Bachelor’s Degree that life had interrupted. I’d already had the idea for The Rain Never Came, but turning it into a book seemed like a fantasy. However, during my degree and my honors year, I took quite a few writing classes, and rediscovered a passion and enthusiasm for writing that I thought had disappeared.

I practiced a lot, trying to find a voice and point-of-view all my own. I finished my studies and returned to real life, writing as much as I could, whenever I could. And then one day, the opportunity arose to do a PhD, which would involve writing both a novel and a piece of literary criticism. I seized it, realizing that it would be the perfect environment to bring The Rain Never Came to life.

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?

LW: Like most writers of science fiction/speculative fiction, the big ideas at the heart of my stories are really just frameworks upon which I can hang explorations of the ways in which people might react to their new situations and new worlds. After all, an idea isn’t a story—it’s more like a spark—a spark that ignites a fire. As I want my fires to contain what-ifs and maybes (that nonetheless still connect to the world we live in), I’m always on the lookout for real-life stories that seem to point towards our future—changes in technology, politics, culture, the environment, medical science, communication devices, interpersonal relationships, infrastructure systems, and organizational, learning and teaching methods.

And then it’s just a matter of extrapolating a new idea from any particular real-life stories that grab me, and working out how this new idea might affect everyday people. To do this, I rely on every writer’s trick: observing and eavesdropping, creating characters and situations by recombining the people I know and see and the minutiae of life around me. Once I’ve got the first inklings of my characters and a plot, I then tend to just spend time with them and let them reveal themselves through the process of writing—their formation should be a bottom-up process, based on attempts at realistic actions and reactions, rather than a top-down process, whereby the stricture of a predetermined plot guides them with an unwavering hand.

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

LW: Most of the way of life portrayed in The Rain Never Came was based on observation, guesswork and my own prior knowledge—the only real research that was necessary was on the effects of dehydration. And even then, we’ve all been thirsty at some time. 

CH: Who was your favorite character to write? And which character was hardest to write?

LW: I didn’t have a favorite character to write, or a least favorite. Likewise I didn’t find any one particular character harder to write than any other. What I did find was that there were some character moments I thoroughly enjoyed, and some that I didn’t enjoy much at all. Funnily enough, these two disparate moments both involved the same characters: Bill and Tobe.

Even though Bill and Tobe are almost entirely fictional creations, there is one part of their relationship that is steeped in reality: the shit-stirring, knockabout sense of mateship that they share. Here, I drew upon the same kind of Australian-style trash-talk that exists between some of my own friends and I, and thoroughly enjoyed the process – the roughness and dismissiveness that they show towards each other, which masks genuine concern and compassion, never failed to make me smile. And so, without giving things away, I found writing the flip-side of their relationship to be a difficult and sometimes enjoyment-free process, so invested was I in the light-hearted and affectionately derogatory vibe that exists between them.

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

LW: I don’t really like highlighting particular messages that I want readers to take from my work—I feel that the beauty and the joy of literature is that the act of reading is all about the reader, rather than the writer. I might want people to find specific messages in The Rain Never Came, but I can’t force them to do so. Reading is the most individual of individual acts; whatever messages we take away apply only to ourselves, as they’re solely dependent on our own points of view and personal philosophies.

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

LW: First and foremost, I want people to be excited by an Australian voice that is steeped in Australian-isms—this is something that I’ve tried hard to achieve, as we have some fascinating terms and colloquialisms that are as interesting as those of anywhere else, and what might be called our stereotypically ‘Australian’ way of looking at the world can provide a refreshing perspective.

As well, I hope that readers will find my style both straightforward enough to avoid affectation, and literary enough to avoid being boring or seen as riding the coattails of the bare-bone sparseness common to so-called literary science fiction/speculative fiction. I’ve always been an admirer of both types: the straightforward science fiction voice that simply gets the job done, and the literary voice that flaunts a love of words, language and story. But above all, I’ve always preferred those writers who can walk the fine line between the two.

That’s not to say that I want my ‘voice’ to sound like any of theirs. What I do want, though, is for mine to affect people in the same way as theirs do, and to straddle the same kind of line as they do. And lastly, I hope that readers find it to be unique without being precious, earthy without being coarse, learned without being pretentious.

CH: What can non-Australians understand by reading this book?

LW: I hope that The Rain Never Came will open the eyes of non-Australian readers to the uniqueness of Australian science fiction/speculative fiction, and I hope that these readers see The Rain Never Came as a deliberate addition to this subgenre/offshoot/micro-genre/call-it-what-you-will. Of course, every nationality has a different way of telling stories, both in general and about themselves; no two national perspectives are the same, nor are any two senses of national identity or foundational myths. But being Australian, in my book I want Australian-ness to shine through.

As well, I hope that in The Rain Never Came readers will see how the inherent potential and unreal nature of science fiction/speculative fiction allows for a creative exploration of what it means to be ‘Australian,’ a device used by many other Australian authors operating in the same genre. I also hope that after reading it, readers will imagine the Australian bush in much the same way as they imagined the Australian desert after seeing Mad Max—as a place of desolate beauty and ancient stillness, that doesn’t need dressing up to resemble a world after the apocalypse.

CH: What type of feedback are you receiving from readers?

LW: Most of the feedback I’ve received so far has been positive, or at least encouraging. I’m more than ready for anything negative, though nothing creative is ever perfect, and nor should it be. Luckily, I’ve got pretty thick skin. The writer’s lot has given me this ‘you can’t let rejection letter after rejection letter stop you from persevering,’ you just have to have confidence, determination and an honest eye, and realize that you can always get better.

Remembering that taste is in the eye of the beholder also helps. Even better is doing the best job that you can, and resisting the urge to grow complacent or lazy with your work. We write because we love writing and literature, books and stories. There’s no point in phoning that love in.

 CH: Who are some of your writing influences?

LW: I like those writers who have a singular ‘voice’ and focus on the emotional states of their characters, and on their characters’ psychological development. Within science fiction/speculative fiction, these kinds of writers normally use their science fiction ideas as a framework to support an exploration of these states and developments, rather than as an end unto themselves: people like J. G. Ballard, Kurt Vonnegut, Debra Biancotti, Steven Amsterdam and Margaret Atwood. Their work, while full of ideas, is truly memorable for the way it makes us feel, rather than the way they make us think.

Outside the umbrella of science fiction, I like writers who do the same kind of thing, and possess a similarly singular voice and focus on the emotional and psychological states of their characters: Charles Bukowski, William Kotzwinkle, Katherine Dunn, Franz Kafka and Peter Carey.

CH: What has been the most exciting thing to happen on your publishing journey?

LW: The Rain Never Came hasn’t been out for that long, so I’m only really taking my first steps as a published author. But I don’t think that many writing accomplishments will ever feel as good as the first time I saw my book as an actual book, something I’m sure most published writers will agree with.

CH: How to Find Lachlan Walter:

CH: What is your next writing project?

LW: I like to have a lot of projects on the go at once—the trick is knowing which one to focus on first, something I’m not that good at. And so right now, I have a decent second draft of a book-length story cycle, which looks at giant monsters with serious eyes, and have also made a start on two other books: a post-apocalyptic western, and an offbeat piece of metafictional science fiction. Did I really just use the word offbeat?

CH: For my audience, where is your book sold?

LW: You can find The Rain Never Came at all the usual places: Amazon, the Book Depository, Booktopia, iTunes, Barnes and Noble, and Odyssey Books’ website.

CH: Any closing remarks?

LW: I’ve banged this drum previously, but I’m going to beat it some more: as fans of science fiction/speculative fiction, we must ensure that we make an effort to explore beyond the boundaries of those countries that produce the majority of it: Europe, the UK, the US and Japan.

From South-East Asia to the Antipodes, from the Indian Subcontinent to Eastern Europe, and from Africa to South America, science fiction/speculative fiction allows all of us to express our hopes for the future and our fears of it, regardless of our nationality or background. All we need to do is look a little further and dig a little deeper. Cheryl, thanks for the opportunity to be on your blog.

CH: Thank you so much, Lachlan Walter, for taking time out of your very busy writing schedule to join me and my blog followers.  It has been a real pleasure discussing your book with my audience.  And readers, if you’re like me and would enjoy this book.  I suggest you pick up a copy at your earliest convenience. 

Note: Photos/Clip art are compliments of the Internet, Lachlan Walter and Cheryl Holloway.

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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 – Tim Adler

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Title: Slow Bleed

Genre: Mystery/Suspense/Medical Thriller

 Synopsis: A missing son; a kidnapper who’s dead; nobody believes her; and nothing will stop her.

When Doctor Jemma Sands’ five-year-old son goes missing, only she believes that a vengeful patient has stolen her child.

How do you convince police to search for a dead woman? As her world falls apart, Jemma realizes she is the only one who can save her son. If somebody took your only child, how far would you go to get him back?

Tim Adler, Author

International Author on Cheryl Holloway’s Blog

CH: Today’s Guest is International Author Tim Adler. His debut novel was #1 eThriller on Amazon. Welcome to my blog, Tim.

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

TA: A female doctor hunts down a supposedly dead patient, who she believes has kidnapped her five-year-old son out of revenge.

CH: Since the doctor’s child is kidnapped by a vengeful patient, what made you decide to write this book?

TA: My background is as an entertainment journalist and I used to be the London editor of the Hollywood news website, Deadline Hollywood. Slow Bleed is my tribute to a genre I enjoy very much, the woman-in-jeopardy thriller, the kind of movies which used to star Ashley Judd and/or Jodie Foster.

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

TA: Every author’s book is autobiographical, often in the incidentals and settings rather than the thrust of the main plot. For example, the island of Port Croix, which Jemma travels to, is based on a trip to the French island of Porquerolles. And being a single parent at the time having brought up two small children, it was easy for me to transpose my feelings of fierce protectiveness onto Jemma.

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

TA: Hollywood uses a ‘shorthand,’ it calls ‘high concept’ where you boil down the thrust of a book into a single sentence. I think it’s important to nail the concept down—almost like a tip of a spear, which the rest of the book will follow. With my second book, Surrogate, it was ‘What if a husband and wife invited their surrogate to come and live with them in their home, and the surrogate kidnaps their baby? According to the police, no law has been broken—the baby belongs to the surrogate.’ With Hold Still, my third book, it was the idea of a woman photographing the moment of her husband’s death—but the closer she looks at the photograph, the more she suspects her husband was murdered.

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

TA: Being a journalist, I try to get the facts as accurate as possible. I interviewed a doctor and psychologist for Slow Bleed, and also drew on my own experience, working as a hospital porter in university vacations. The highest compliment I received for Slow Bleed was when a book editor asked me how long I had been working in ER?

CH: Who was your favorite character to write?

TA: Jemma-I drew on my own experience as a single parent for Jemma’s fierce protectiveness as a lioness protecting her cub.

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

TA: Toppy Mrazek, the antagonist, I wanted to create someone who’s sociopathic and as believable as possible—to make the reader feel pathos for them. Everyone is the hero of their own story. Toppy feels entirely justified in taking revenge on what she thinks was a literal miscarriage of justice.

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

TA: The importance of letting go of the past, rather than carrying it around with you.

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

TA: Well, I would like to think that I’m getting better with each book. Being a ‘jouno,’ I have a lean and muscular writing style anyway, but it’s still evolving. Certainly, I think that the structure of each book is getting better.

CH: Do you enjoy writing books with lots of twists and turns in the plot?

TA: Of course. What you really want are twists that are both unexpected and inevitable. It’s about giving the reader a surprise, and making the story an accelerating roller coaster read.

CH: What type of feedback have you received so far?

TA: The majority of reviews on Amazon have been 5* — not that I think they’re justified. Slow Bleed was my first effort with all the faults that implies; I do think its follow-ups, Surrogate and Hold Still, are stronger. I’m still learning my craft.

CH: Are there any books that influenced you while writing this book?

TA: With Slow Bleed, it was more movies than books, which influenced me. My original pitch for the book was Flightplan (a 2005 thriller starring Jodie Foster), which was set in a hospital.

CH: Who are some of your suspense writing influences? 

TA: My paragons as writers have been Ernest Hemingway, Joan Didion and Graham Greene. I’ve been told that my writing style is very American, and I do find writers in the States much more exciting, than their British counterparts. There’s a whole new wave of American thriller writers, such as Blake Crouch, whose Dark Matter was the best book that I read last year. And Dennis Lehane is a new discovery (for me).

CH: What can we expect next from you?

TA: I have spent the last year writing a new book, Dead Already, about a man, who wakes up in hospital and sees a get-well card from his five-year-old daughter—the only problem is that his daughter died 27 years ago. Having finished the first draft, I then completely restructured the book and it’s now lying in pieces around my feet—a bit like a kit for a car that you’re rebuilding by hand.

CH: How to Find Tim Adler:

CH: For my audience, where is your book sold?

TA: You can download Slow Bleed for free either through my website or through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iBooks and Kobo. All I would ask is that you either sign up for my mailing list or leave a review—for good or ill. Reviews help Indie authors, such as myself with discoverability (I’m told).

CH: Any closing remarks?

TA: My third book Hold Still, came out last year in England through Urbane Publications, what you in America would call a small press. Despite this, I am still without representation, which puzzles me. So, if there are any agents out there reading Cheryl Holloway’s Blog, please holler! Thanks for having me on your blog, Cheryl.

CH: Thank you so much, Tim Adler, for taking time out of your very busy writing schedule to join me and my blog followers.  It has been a real pleasure discussing your book with my audience.  And readers, if you’re like me and would enjoy this book.  I suggest you pick up a copy at your earliest convenience. 

Note: Photos/Clip art are compliments of the Internet, Tim Adler and Cheryl Holloway.

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Don’t Keep this Blog a Secret…Tell Your Friends about it!

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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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Questions? Comments? Interviews? Contact :

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Guest Author Interview – Lindsay Townsend

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Title: A Knight’s Vow (Re-Issue)

Genre: Historical Romance/Medieval

Synopsis: A crusader, haunted by grief and guilt. A bride-to-be, struggling with old yearnings and desires. Can Sir Guillelm de la Rochelle and Lady Alyson of Olverton rediscover the innocent love they once had for each other? When Guillelm makes a fearful vow on their wedding night, is all lost forever between him and Alyson? And will the secret enemy, who hates their marriage, destroy them both?

Lindsay Townsend, Author

International Author on Cheryl Holloway’s Blog

CH: Today’s Guest is International Author Lindsay Townsend.  She is an English novelist with a passion for writing historical romance. Welcome to my blog, Lindsay.

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

LT: A troubled knight makes a terrible vow on his wedding night. Will their love win through for Guillelm and Alyson?

CH: This book is a re-issue. Can you explain to my audience why you re-issued it?

 LT: This story was first published as A Knight’s Vow by Kensington Zebra back in 2008. Since then, eBook publishing has really taken off. I wanted new readers to have a chance to discover the novel in that format.

CH: It has a new cover and new price. What made you decide on this?

LT: I loved my first cover of A Knight’s Vow, but felt it didn’t quite capture my hero. This new design, by Melody Simmons, brings together Guillelm and Alyson in a vivid, striking way that suggests their tenderness and feelings for each other. As to the price, seeing it was a re-issue I felt it only fair to set it at a reasonable cost for readers.

CH: Since this is a tale of romance and chivalry, was it hard creating believable situations and issues or did you take them from real life and elaborate?

 LT: The crusades as a backdrop were real. The civil war between the followers of King Stephen and the Empress Matildia was real. Both these gave me lots of opportunities for conflict, threat and issues. I have one character plainly suffering from a version of post-traumatic stress, brought on from serving in battle overseas, and having to be “talked-down” and also retrained by the hero. Also, the medieval sexist attitudes of the church to women and magic gave me lots of areas to exploit. For example, in one scene I have Alyson’s old nurse offering a loving cup to Guillelm and Alyson, an action for which she is violently berated by one of Guillelm’s crusader knights and accused of witchcraft through a love potion, a charge which later returns to make trouble for Alyson.

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?

LT: My stories tend to come from a single mental image, or from a “What if?” question that develops along with the main plot. I write romance, so I love a happily ever after (HEA) ending, but how that ending is reached and the way my hero and heroine meet, get to know each other and begin to fall in love is something I enjoy writing about. Within the romance genre, I try to be as vibrant as possible, to give twists to favourite tropes. I have an overall idea of the story arc when I begin, and where I want the story to finish, but don’t over-plan, so that I can retain freshness.

CH: Why did you decide to write this book originally?

LT: I wanted to write about a hero and heroine who fell in love for each other at a young age, but then were forced by others and by circumstances to separate. When they come together again, will they re-discover their feelings? That idea intrigued me very much, so I wrote A Knight’s Vow.

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

LT: I strive to show the full scope of the medieval period and to give my readers a feel of the time—its sounds, scents, tastes and sights. I hope to transport people through my writing, so they can see and share what my hero and heroine experience, before their HEA.

CH: Did you have to do a lot of research on romance during this time period for this book?

LT: I read about medieval courtly romance, and customs, plus the giving of favours at jousts, and details of things like clothing, castles, houses, landscape, animals and what people liked to grow in their gardens.

CH: Who was your favorite character to write?

LT: My hero, Guillelm and the battered crusader knight, Sir Tom.

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

LT: I enjoyed writing all my characters, even those I considered to be the baddies. I admit that showing intolerance and cruelty was very hard, but such forces were present in the Middle Ages and at times, I needed to express it.

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

LT: People and feelings have not changed much, since the first humans and the cave paintings. We love now, as others did in the past.

CH: What type of feedback are you receiving from “new” readers?

LT: People enjoy the splendour of the medieval times; its gallantry; and also the adventure and danger.

CH: Do you have any historical writing mentors? If so, what is the experience like?

LT: I love to read and I read a lot of historical romances when I was growing up. I love the sweep of epic romances and J. R. R. Tolkien remains a favourite, and also Mary Stewart and her Merlin Trilogy.

CH: How to Find Lindsay Townsend:

CH: What is your next writing project?

LT: I’m working on a Christmas story at the moment.

CH: For my audience, where is your book sold?

LT: A Knight’s Vow is available on Amazon. Readers can also read an excerpt at http://bit.ly/2vQXkMI

CH: Any closing remarks?

LT: Thanks again for hosting me, Cheryl. I love the whole romance genre, with its scope and variety, and its willingness to tackle difficult issues. I find all of its writers and readers truly amazing and inspiring. Best wishes, Lindsay

CH: Thank you so much, Lindsay Townsend, for taking time out of your very busy writing schedule to join me and my blog followers.  It has been a real pleasure discussing your book with my audience.  And readers, if you’re like me and would enjoy this book.  I suggest you pick up a copy at your earliest convenience. 

Note: Photos/Clip art are compliments of the Internet, Lindsay Townsend and Cheryl Holloway.

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Don’t Keep this Blog a Secret…Tell Your Friends about it!

Readers and followers, please share this post with your friends.

   

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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Questions? Comments? Interviews? Contact :

AuthorCherylHolloway@gmail.com or Cheryl@CherylHolloway.net

Guest Author Interview – Mary Grand

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Title: Catching the Light: Four Women, Four Compelling Short Stories

Genre: Fiction/Short Stories

Synopsis: Four Short Stories-

The New Arrival
Rachel has moved to the Isle of Wight determined to become invisible. Hiding a shameful secret, she cultivates a ‘cold polite smile as effective as an electric fence.’ However, unexpectedly, into her life comes a loving, crazy, individual: Lottie the cocker spaniel. Everything is about to change.
Language of love
Megan works in a Theatre for the Deaf. She is Deaf. Her language is British Sign Language. One evening she meets John, who is hearing, and two worlds collide. This is the story of the struggles, joys and tears of their remarkable relationship.
Catching the Light
Erin thinks she has found her fairytale prince. However, the honeymoon in a remote cottage in Wales shatters the dream. For the first time in her life Erin discovers the mystical world of fairies.
The Outing
This was to be the most important day of Kay’s life. However her mission to be free from years of guilt reveals so much more than she could possibly imagine.

Mary Grand, Author

International Author on Cheryl Holloway’s Blog

CH: Today’s Guest Author is International Author, Mary Grand. Mary writes women’s fiction and the main character is usually a woman at a decisive point in her life. Welcome to my blog, Mary.

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

MG: Four women at a crisis point in their lives; four compelling short stories.

CH: Since this is a book of short stories, how did you decide which stories would blend and complement each other to be included in this book?

MG: Each story stands alone, but in each a woman is at a decisive point in their lives. The title of the book, Catching the Light, captures the theme of all the stories, that the light of love, of belief in yourself can conquer darkness, guilt and past hurt.

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?

MG: The exciting thing about short stories is the freedom to explore a range of story types. In Catching the Light, a modern fairy tale sits next to a story about a woman trying to escape her past. I tend to start with a character in a particular dilemma and the stories grow from there.

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

MG: The issues I write about tend to be those that I have experienced or I care deeply about. They say that when taking on a new character as an actor you start with the shoes. Well in writing I take an aspect of the issue that I can relate to and build on that by talking to people, researching the subject matter extensively and then creating a character and setting in which to explore that subject matter.

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

MG: When I started writing I wanted to see if it was possible to write about difficult issues within the context of a story that had other elements of mystery and romance. Although not unique, I do think it is a slightly unusual way to write.

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

MG: Kay in The Outing was a difficult character to write because she is a character trapped in her past. She is far more complex than she initially appears and it took me a lot of writing and re-writing to really get to know her.

CH:  Which character was your favorite to write?

MG: I loved the character Rachel in The New Arrival. She is not a particularly glamorous person; in fact, she has gone out of her way not to be noticed. She has escaped to the Isle of Wight and hiding a shameful secret, she cultivates a ‘cold polite smile as effective as an electric fence.’ I love the way her life is turned about by a loving, crazy, individual: Lottie, the cocker spaniel. I have a dog named Pepper and through this story and particularly through Rachel, I was able to write about the wonderful things he has brought to my life.

CH: Since you received great reviews for Free to Be Tegan, how has this molded your publishing journey?

MG: Free to Be Tegan is the story of a woman recovering from her upbringing in a psychologically abusive cult was my debut novel. It was partly based on my experience being raised in a strict religious sect.

To be honest, when I wrote Free to Be Tegan, I wasn’t sure if anyone would want to read it!  Well, fortunately they did and I have got to know so many people since. I feel very fortunate to be a writer in the age of self publishing, and have learned so much through the process. In particular, I have had the opportunity to get to know a number of my readers and other writers on social media, an extraordinarily generous and supportive group of people.

CH: Which short story in this book was hardest to write?

MG: I think that would be Catching the Light. I am fascinated by the stories around the Welsh fairies, the Twyleth Teg, who are not the Tinkerbelle image of a fairy, but something a lot more complex and sometimes sinister.  I wanted to write a kind of modern fairy tale using them and this developed into a story about domestic violence. While a difficult story to write, I think it probably is the darkest of the stories and became very important to me.

CH: Which short story was your favorite to write?

 MG: This would be Belonging. Before writing full-time I was a teacher of Deaf children. There are many difficult and complex issues facing the Deaf community and in my novel Hidden Chapters, I had the space to explore them more widely. In this short story, I focus on the meeting of two worlds through the relationship between a Deaf woman, Megan, and a hearing man, John. The real crisis point in their relationship comes when Megan is pregnant, and their expectations of whether their baby will be hearing or Deaf.  I found the story very emotional to write and it is probably the one I have had the most feedback on.

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

MG: I think for me, some of the most profound lessons can be learned through nature: there is a circle of life, there is suffering and there is growth.  Life can be very hard, and my characters go through a lot of heartache and stress. However, ultimately, the stories resolve and bring hope. They aim to show that we can all find the courage within ourselves to heal in some way from our past and take control of the next chapter of our lives.

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

MG: I am fortunate through social media, as well as family and friends, to have a lot of support and positive feedback. On Amazon, I have received a lot of reviews, most of them enthusiastic. I read all the comments, appreciate the time people take to leave them and always try to take something constructive from them.

CH: Do you have any author that you consider to be your mentor and if so, why?

MG: I love the work of Joanna Trollope, Maeve Binchy, Adele Parks, Jodi Picoult. They have a way of showing that life and people are complex, funny, sad, make mistakes, and are capable of making good and bad choices. I also love Agatha Christie, which I think is the reason I always have elements of mystery in my stories.

CH: Can you tell us a little about your writing journey?

MG: I came to writing late and only started seriously about six years ago. After attending a writing course, I started to write daily. Initially, I was very nervous and worried about what people would think. It was finding something I was passionate about that was the turning point. I wanted to write a novel that explored the effects of psychological abuse on children.

I published my first novel, Free to Be Tegan, on Amazon in March 2015.  It has been a very steep learning curve, but I was fortunate to have great support from family, friends and a whole community of readers and writers.

CH: What can we expect next from you?

MG: I am very excited that Catching the Light has just been released as an audiobook, professionally narrated by Petrina Kingham.

I am just completing the final draft of my next novel. The working title is ‘The Image of You.’ The central character is Lowri, who has been badly scarred in an accident, and moves to the Isle of Wight with her husband to start a new life. The village superficially seems idyllic, but she soon finds that appearances can be deceptive and things are far from what they seem.

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

MG: Amazon, Amazon.UK, iTunes, Nook, Kobo, and Audiobook.

CH: How to Find Mary Grand:

CH: Any closing remarks?

MG: Thank you very much for the opportunity to share these thoughts about my writing, Cheryl. I wish you and all of your readers well.

CH: Thank you so much, Mary Grand, for taking time out of your very busy writing schedule to join me and my blog followers.  It has been a real pleasure discussing your book with my audience.  And readers, if you’re like me and would enjoy this book.  I suggest you pick up a copy at your earliest convenience. 

Note: Photos/Clip art are compliments of the Internet, Mary Grand and Cheryl Holloway.

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Guest Author Interview – Dr. Bob Rich

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Title: Guardian Angel

Genre: Historical/Inspirational/Christian

Synopsis: In 1850, a small town in Australia: Glindi, an Aboriginal woman, gives birth to a daughter, the result of a rape by a white man. She names her Maraglindi, meaning “Glindi’s sorrow,” but the girl is a joy to all those around her. She has the gift of love. During her short life, she encounters everything intolerant, cruel Victorian society can throw at people it considers to be animals. She surmounts the savagery of the white invader by conquering hate with love. Even beyond death, she spreads compassion, then she returns a second time, with an ending that will touch your heart.

Dr. Bob Rich, Author

International Author on Cheryl Holloway’s Blog

CH: Today’s Guest Author is Dr. Bob Rich, an International author from Australia. When a publisher rejects his work…he writes. Welcome to my blog, Dr. Bob.

BR: Cheryl, before I start answering your questions, I’d like to thank you for the honor of having me here on your blog. I am very impressed with your achievements, and I am sure there is a fascinating story to tell there.

CH: Can you sum up your book for us?

BR: She was sent to Earth to guide us, but first needed to experience human suffering, so chose to be Maraglindi—child of the land, fruit of an evil deed, and an instrument of Love. During her short life, she repaid white people’s hate and disdain with the gift of unconditional love.

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?

BR: Your readers may be amused by a little essay I’ve written on ‘How I Write.’ Here’s the link:  http://wp.me/p3Xihq-Lx

When I was new to fiction writing, I meticulously plotted even a short story. I got every detail right, then wrote. This is like being an inexperienced cook, who follows a recipe, while a master chef, just cooks. If you inspect the process, you see the recipe, implicit in it, but even if there is a written guide, it’s only something to be improvised on.

So, I have a plot that’s kept secret from me. The real writing is done by ‘Little Bob’ somewhere within my mind. Then, when I have the time, all I need to do is to record what he tells me.

Always, even before I knew I was a writer, I started with people in a scene. For Guardian Angel, the scene was little, six-year-old Maraglindi rescuing another girl from a snake. The other girl is twelve, and has terrorized Maraglindi for months. On the first day of school, she’d hit and kicked her, and threatened to kill her, if she told.

Also, all writing has a message. Even your shopping list says a lot about its author. Your story tells me all about your philosophy of life, and your idea of what the world is and should be like. ‘A story is a vehicle for creating the reality of choice the author would like to see.’

The difference between me and many other writers is that I’ve thought deeply about such things, since the 1970s, and rather than have this an unconscious, intuitive process, I use my writing as a tool to help people to see a new way of looking at the world. We live in an insane global culture that encourages and rewards greed, aggression, hate, and territoriality. I want to change this to a global culture that focuses on the best in human nature—compassion, cooperation, and decency. It’s no good lecturing at people. So, I tell a story. As I said, I have people in a scene. Those people come alive, and after that THEY run the show.

CH: Since this is a historical book, did you have to do a lot of research for the story?

BR: I did. Research is fun and gathering information is an addiction for me. I’ve long had a fascination with Australian Aboriginal culture. When Europeans were still primitive cave dwellers, the people of Australia already had a sophisticated way of living in harmony with their land. If we want to survive on Planet Earth, we could do a lot worse than to create a modern, technological version of the traditional Aboriginal lifestyle.

For some years, I worked as a counselor at an Aboriginal health service, because today’s Aboriginals are almost all severely traumatized by over 200 years of genocide, discrimination, deliberate suppression of culture, and then blaming the victim for the symptoms of trauma.

Also, I’ve studied the Victorian era in other contexts. The English, and generally Europeans, were arrogant to the point of idiocy. They invaded lands with ancient, wise cultures like India and China, and considered the locals to be savages. Actually, the savagery was done by the Europeans, and to a psychologist, the ways of thinking to enable this are very interesting.

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

BR: Cheryl, this is the hardest of your questions for me. I don’t know! What’s more, the same is true for everyone. There is no divide between memory and imagination. When you remember something, you actually create it. This is why six reliable witnesses to a car smash will have six different stories. I could tell you about many ingenious experiments psychologists have used to show the creativity of memory. So, everything anyone writes or says is a fruit of their past experience, with many events in many contexts blended into something new.

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

BR: I don’t get ideas. They get me. Winston Churchill once said, “The problem is not to find a solution, but to choose between the dozen possibilities.” That’s how my mind works too. I need to fight off ideas, so I can concentrate on my several current projects. Still, your question made me think. Where did the idea for Guardian Angel come from?

It was many years ago, when I learned about the history of Coranderrk. In 1978, I moved to a community near Healesville, a small town to the east of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. This was the location of a settlement the local Aborigines of the Kulin nation managed to establish. They had the wisdom to see that, with all their land stolen, they needed to change, so succeeded in getting a government grant of land. With the help of a few sympathetic white people, they built houses, grew crops, raised cattle, had a school for the children, and would have done really well…except that neighboring white landowners refused them access, buildings were burnt down, cattle killed, and similar acts of civilization were inflicted on the savages, who were aping their betters.

Reading about this made me look for a time machine, so I could go back and be of service to the victims. Perhaps, writing about the times and its attitudes can enable me to be of service to their descendants.

CH: Since the book describes the racial discords of earlier times and today, where did you get inspiration for your characters?

BR: As I’ve said, I’ve had the honor of being a counselor for several years at an Aboriginal health center. This was very rewarding work, particularly being accepted as ‘Uncle Bob’ by the younger people.

Also, my past life recalls have told me that I’ve had close and loving connections to Australian Aborigines when I was an Irishman transported to New South Wales for the term of my natural life, and when I was a woman whose karma was marriage to a monster of a husband. This story is told in Ascending Spiral.

The people in my stories are just…my children. I need someone to do something. A person comes, and we gradually get acquainted. In Guardian Angel, Maraglindi needed a family to be born into. When I sat down to write her birth, I didn’t know who they were, but they did. As they did things, and thought, and talked with each other, I found out all about them, eventually knowing more than they did themselves.

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

BR: The man who murdered my little girl. It’s OK, death is not the end; it is only a change of state, a liberation, and the start of the next phase of existence. And she was born again. But she did have to die, and someone needed to be responsible. I then needed to get into the reality of the perpetrator. I feel the disgust even as I am writing my answer to you, right now. But again, it’s all right—Maraglindi helped him the very next day. And if that doesn’t make sense to you, you’ll need to read the book.

CH: Which character was your favorite to write?

BR: You’re trying to make me choose among my beloved children? Can’t be done.

My little girl Maraglindi is always physically awkward, and self-effacing. She dislikes it when people praise her for what seems to be just natural. But she is the instrument of Love. I’d like to be more like her.

Her father, Mick, is an amalgam of several Aboriginal men I’ve known. He is intelligent, physically powerful, has a lovely connection to animals, is gentle with people but when provoked, he has a cold fury that destroys what’s in his path. He sees the injustice about him, but controls his anger, and his attitudes are far more civilized than that of the invaders, who despise him.

Glindi, Maraglindi’s mother, is a delightful young woman with a deep laugh, and a generosity of spirit.

Gerald is wonderful. He and his friends did something terrible that resulted in the death of a little child. Retribution from the magic man killed his six friends, and he also almost died, taking months to recover. This changed him into the kind of person I wish to be, and indeed he is the main hero of the story, after Maraglindi’s death.

Alice was the lady who saw Maraglindi’s high intelligence, and spent her money to send the little Aboriginal girl to a Ladies’ College. Actually, apart from being a wealthy landowner’s wife, she reminds me of my wife and daughters.

But if I have to choose one, it’s Kirsten. We meet her when she hits and kicks Maraglindi, and then leads her friends in a campaign of discrimination almost till the end of the first school term. All the same, when it is time for Maraglindi to be born again, she chooses Kirsten as her mother. Why? I’m not going to tell you.

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

BR: All prose is poetry. For me, what I say is important, and how I say it is equally so. My writing may be challenging, amusing, informative, or annoying…but never boring.

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

BR: Always. My writing is me and I am my writing.

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

BR: Isaac Asimov. When I was a student, I read his textbook on chemistry. It’s the only scholarly work that’s actually fun to read, and it explains the basic concepts, approximately better than possible. His science fiction writing has the same characteristics. Although, his characterization is not as good as that of many other writers, the flight of his imagination is delightful. I’ve read everything he’s written (but then, the same is true for many other writers).

CH: Which writer do you admire most and why?

BR: J. K. Rowling. She has revolutionized children’s writing. Thanks to her, millions of kids are now keen readers. She survived rejection after rejection, but persevered until a then, a small publisher took a chance on her, and they both succeeded beyond any possible dreams. Mind you, I have never been able to finish reading any of the Harry Potter books.

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

BR: One friend couldn’t get into it, because he doesn’t believe there are angels, or that anyone can read minds, or put the grace of God into people by touching them. To my great delight, everyone else has been most complimentary. People have told me Guardian Angel draws them in, so they have to keep reading. After they’ve finished, it stays with them, and makes them see events around them in a different light.

It’s a very new release, but already the 5 and 4 star reviews are accumulating. No one has had the temerity to give it less than 4 stars.

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

BR: Always. What, only one? Actually, Guardian Angel skipped ahead. Last year, my novel, Hit and Run, was accepted by a publisher, but we have been struck by severe front cover-itis. The publisher is still struggling with getting an artist to design the right cover. Right now, when time permits, I am working on Depression: You Can Gain Contentment in A Crazy World, which is a user’s guide to living with depression, and I am also working on The Protector, which is the sequel to Guardian Angel.

 CH: How to Find Dr. Bob Rich:

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

BR: Guardian Angel is a new experiment for me and I self-published it on all Amazon sites.

CH: Any closing remarks?

BR: Full circle. Cheryl, thank you for the honor of inviting me along. If your schedule allows it, I’d be delighted to reverse roles, and interview you at Bobbing Around.

CH: Thank you so much, Dr. Bob Rich, for taking time out of your very busy writing schedule to join me and my blog followers.  It has been a real pleasure discussing your book with my audience.  And readers, if you’re like me and would enjoy this book.  I suggest you pick up a copy at your earliest convenience. 

Note: Photos/Clip art are compliments of the Internet, Dr. Bob Rich and Cheryl Holloway.

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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 – Malcolm Colley

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Title: Gideon: Boer Blood

Genre: Adventure/Historic Fiction

Synopsis: By 1902 the war was over. It has taken three years and 330,000 soldiers to hammer 30,000 Boer men and boys into submission. The British employed a scorched earth policy and removed the women and children on the farms to stop the Boer Commandoes from obtaining supplies. Also with ammunition in short supply the Boers signed the Treaty of Peace of Vereeniging on May31 1902. The Boers were forced to surrender their arms and sign a declaration of allegiance to the Queen. Paul Kruger, the Boer leader, left the country, but prior to him leaving, he attempted to negotiate a deal with Holland and Germany for arms and ammunition in exchange for gold. The arms and ammunition reached the port of Lorenco Marques, but the gold, sent by Kruger, went missing. It never reached the port, so the ships sailed for home.

Into this chaos of the aftermath of the war with men, woman and children trying to make it back to the farms, Gideon Barron, an Irishman born in South Africa is accused of helping to steal the gold and hunted by his fellow Boers for treason. With the help of what becomes his friends, he attempts to prove his innocence. Travelling across, what was then, the Transvaal Republic they follow the path of the robbers. Meanwhile, the true robbers manage to get away with most of the gold, some travelling into the Portuguese Protectorate of Mozambique and some beyond, but some gold is left behind due to a misunderstanding.

This is just one of the many stories about the disappearance of the gold. According to many stories, the gold never left South Africa. Some say the gold was worth £500,000 in the value of that time. Some say that there was no gold, and that the boxes were filled with ammunition destined for the Boer Commandoes fighting on the front.

Malcolm Colley, Author

International Author on Cheryl Holloway’s Blog

CH: Today’s Guest Author is International Author Malcolm Colley. Malcolm’s love of his native South Africa is apparent in the descriptive writing of his fifth book, Gideon: Boer Blood. Welcome to my blog, Malcolm.

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

MC: Gideon Barron is accused of being involved in the robbery of Kruger’s gold. Wounded, but he finally proves his innocence.

CH: Since this book is about history, how much is fact and how much is fiction?

MC: The fiction is interwoven with fact, so approximately 30 percent fact.

CH: Where did you get the inspiration for this book?

MC: The disappearance of Kruger’s gold has always intrigued me. There are many stories, myths and legends about the whereabouts of this treasure. In this work of fiction adventure, I have put forward one possibility. I grew up in this area amongst these people, whose stories to their grandchildren in the lamplight around the kitchen table, tell of the gold that may have changed the course of the war, told with the bitterness against the English.

CH: Did you have to do a lot of research for this book?

MC: All the locations were revisited by the author together with Google and book searches.

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

 MC: The whole concept of the story is thought of and the detail is filled in as the story unfolds.

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

MC: I try to keep the story fast flowing with not too much fine detail and short enough to hold attention from start to finish.

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

MC: Having grown up with the type of characters in the story and having spent my teenage years in the bush, the situations were taken from real life and elaborated.

CH: Where did you get inspiration for your characters?

MC: Inspiration of the characters came from memories of people that I knew and from my own experiences.

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

MC: It was most difficult to write about the females, to try to think as a young lady. I was helped by my female editor.

CH: Which character was your favorite to write?

 MC: My favorite character is the main character.

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

MC: I would like to work with any historian because of my interest in most history.

CH: Which writer do you admire most and why?

MC: It is difficult to say which writer I admire the most. For style, I would say Louis L’Amour, and for pure pleasure I would say Lee Child.

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

MC: There is no intended message in the story.

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

MC: My website is not yet set up, so I am not receiving much feedback, except from friends and family, which has been positive.

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

MC: I have started two new stories. The first one has the Battle of Blood River as the background. The second one, which seems to be progressing, has the South African history of the 1980’s about a young man struggling to save his marriage by choosing between his occupation and family life.

CH: Can you give my audience your website address?

MC: I am in the process of setting up my website.

CH: How to Find Malcolm Colley:

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

MC: The book is available on all the Amazon sites in paperback and kindle.

CH: Any closing remarks?

MC: My writing comes from my love of history and adventure, at present of the South African bush, but could take place anywhere. Cheryl, thank you for the interview.

CH: Thank you so much, Malcolm Colley, for taking time out of your very busy writing schedule to join me and my blog followers.  It has been a real pleasure discussing your book with my audience.  And readers, if you’re like me and would enjoy this book, I suggest you pick up a copy at your earliest convenience. 

Note: Photos/Clip art are compliments of the Internet, Malcolm Colley and Cheryl Holloway.

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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 – Robert Skuce

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Title: Kiss of Death

Genre: Suspense/Thriller

Synopsis: Homicide detective, Bruno Norcross, is called to investigate the brutal murder of a college call girl. This isn’t just any other crime scene. Bruno has seen this scene before, only the last time, the killer got away leaving Bruno feeling as though his career is incomplete. Nobody escapes Bruno’s grasp twice and when his nemesis arises again, it’s time to bring him in. A serial killer, only known as the Kiss of Death, is back, only this time he made a mistake. A witness, like no other, was left behind and this witness knows the victim better than anyone.

Rosie’s stalker, Ashley Truelove knows everything about her, from what she wears to who she sees. The question isn’t can Ashley help Bruno catch the killer, but will he? With meager and confusing clues, two known victims and time running out, Bruno realizes that the cost of bringing the murderer to justice will be paid in blood. With the police Sergeant on his back to catch this killer and provide justice for the death of his daughter, Bruno is racing against time. Kiss of Death only hunts occasionally and time is running out before he vanishes again. Can Bruno find the evidence to stop him or will he escape his clutches once again?

Robert Skuce, Author

International Author on Cheryl Holloway’s Blog

CH: Today’s Guest Author is Canadian writer, Robert Skuce. After dabbling in different genres, he found himself at home as a thriller/crime writer. Welcome to my blog, Robert.

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

RS: It’s a great mystery that has me challenging anyone to figure out who did it in the end.

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

RS: Honestly, it was just a discussion I was having with my wife. She mentioned I would be good at this kind of story and in the end, I wrote Kiss of Death from an idea that I had that would stump people.

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?

RS: No standard formula or any real structure to my writing. I get an idea in my head, either watching television or in a dream and it develops as I start putting the idea on paper.

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

RS: It was tough to make it realistic. Mainly because of the research that came with it. It was a difficult process, but eventually the story just came together.

CH: Where did you get inspiration for your characters?

RS: I get inspiration from the people around me. I take those I meet in real life or see on television and it helps me to put my characters together. I get an idea of what I want and I add real people to the mix and this is the result.

CH: Which character was hardest to write? 

RS: Bruno was the hardest to write. I needed him to be very knowledgeable, very deceptive and he was a difficult character to write. He turned out exactly like I wanted.

CH: Which character was your favorite to write?

RS: I loved writing Ashley. He is the stalker with true love fantasies and quirky ideals. I really enjoyed developing him.

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

RS: I try to create stories that are believable with endings that are unpredictable. It’s like taking a roller coaster ride and I try to keep that thrill going from beginning to end.

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?

RS: Absolutely. I love taking my readers on a ride that will keep them wanting to turn the pages. I watch my wife read and when she is hooked on a book, she can’t put it down. It was my desire to do that for my readers.

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

RS: A lot actually. Not in the sense that you can read something and say that it’s me, but more like the concept of things. I like to take things that I have either experienced personally, or experienced through others and put it into my books. It helps make the book more personal and relatable.

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

RS: Stephen King, for sure. I love how twisted his mind must be to write the books he does and to me that is a mind I would love to pick. It would be a fantastic opportunity to work with him. I have a lot to learn and I know he can teach it to me.

CH: Which writer do you admire most and why?

RS: Once again, Stephen King. I love how detailed his books are and his style. It is what I hope to strive to be or at least come close to.

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

RS: Many are telling me how they didn’t guess what would happen at the end. I like that as it was what I was aiming for.

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

RS: Yes, I am currently working on another book.

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

RS: You can find my book online in most online retail stores, such as Amazon and Smashwords, etc.

CH: How to Find Robert Skuce:

CH: Any closing remarks?

RS: Cheryl, Thank you very much for this opportunity. I hope those who read my books will enjoy them and I look forward to future projects.

CH: Thank you so much, Robert Skuce, for taking time out of your very busy writing schedule to join me and my blog followers.  It has been a real pleasure discussing your book with my audience.  And readers, if you’re like me and would enjoy this book.  I suggest you pick up a copy at your earliest convenience. 

Note: Photos/Clip art are compliments of the Internet, Robert Skuce and Cheryl Holloway.

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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 – S. McPherson

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Title: At Water’s Edge: An Epic Fantasy (The Water Rushes Book 1)

Genre: YA Fantasy/Romance

Synopsis: When 17-year-old, Dezaray Storm drunkenly stumbles across a portal one night, her abused and broken life begins to change, mainly because she starts living someone else’s life.

Accidently trading places with the most powerful sorceress of the realm, Coldivor, Dezaray finds herself assuming the identity of her magical lookalike, having to convince everyone in the realm that she’s the real deal.

Aside from a few minor hiccups along the way, like the fact that she is not magical nor does she know even the simplest cards trick; Dezaray soon finds herself settling in, particularly in the arms of Milo; a blue-eyed jokester with the ability to teleport.

However, it doesn’t take long for Dezaray to realize that life on the other side is far from glitz and glamour and that creatures unimaginable are hunting her. A war is brewing between the seven empires of Coldivor and those that long to take over. Dezaray’s enchanted double is their only hope; their secret weapon, set to be unleashed on her eighteenth birthday when she is gifted the powers of her forefathers.

But for the enchantress to return, Dezaray has to leave, and the thought of going back to Islon fills Dezaray with dread, for more reasons than one. Torn between a reality she can’t stand and a fantasy she can’t keep, Dezaray is struggling to see how any choice she makes will lead to a happy ending.

S. McPherson, Author

International Author on Cheryl Holloway’s Blog

CH: Today’s Guest Author is S. McPherson. The proclaimed globetrotter turned writer is one of our International authors. Welcome to my blog, S. McPherson.

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

SM: Sure. I think you should read At Water’s Edge because it will introduce you to new worlds, new experiences and take you on a thrilling adventure of love, magic and turmoil.

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

SM: I got the opening scene in my head and wrote it down, years before I started working on the series. The opening scene left me with questions as to why certain things were happening and who was this girl. I think over the years my subconscious started concocting answers until I finally had a fully formed idea.

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

SM: Stories generally come to me as a whole concept. I get the bare bones and as I go along, I add in the meat, the brain and most importantly, the heart.

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

SM: Umm, some things I took from real life and elaborated on, but with most, especially since At Water’s Edge is a fantasy, I had to put myself in that character’s shoes and try to imagine how I would react if that situation ever occurred.

CH: Where do you get inspiration for your characters?

SM: Most things for me start with an image in my head. I will hear a character say a line and that line will stick with me. Latching onto the way they say it—the tone, and the intent—will help me to devise a character around them. Are they witty, sarcastic, pessimistic, or timid? From there, I wonder how they spend their spare time, what job they might have, what music they like. The last thing, I usually decide is the name, depending on what suits their character.

CH: Which character was hardest to write? Which character was your favorite to write?

SM: I can’t really say any of the characters were easy, each one having some attribute that I really wanted to shine through; whether physical or emotional, and I was always aware of what I made them do or how they did it in this book, would cement their character for the future books they appear in.

I think my hardest characters to write were Dezaray, Jude, Milo and Lexovia. More so the getting to know them and how they interact with one another and how differently each are affected by situations.

My favourite character to write was Jude. He is so quirky and odd and a bit of a dark horse.

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

SM: I try to keep the tone believable and edgy. I like to hook readers with fast- paced action, then, slow it down with lyrical thoughts and heart-wrenching scenes. I try to keep a flow of highs and lows that always keep the reader wondering what will happen next. That’s what I most love about the reading process—always guessing.

CH: This is the first book in the series; however, other books in the series have been published. So, when you wrote the first book in the series, did you realize it would be a series then?

SM: Yes, as soon as I sat down to write the first book, I had a planned trilogy in my mind. As the stories progressed and the characters evolved, my trilogy expanded to a five book series. 🙂

CH: Since you have lived all over the world, was this helpful in creating various countries in your book?

SM: It has certainly helped give me a greater insight into various cultures and people’s ways of life. Primarily, my book takes place in England and a fantasy world, but meeting such an array of people and being exposed to variations in countries has certainly helped me create my realms.

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

SM: There is, but I feel, the more the story develops, the more clear the message becomes throughout the series. The hook for book one, At Water’s Edge, is ‘They say love can cross oceans but can it cross worlds?’ As you dive further into the series, you will see how my message applies to the literal divide between the worlds in my book, but also the metaphorical worlds, like race, gender, religion and preference. Can love cross those worlds, too?

CH: Did you run into any challenges while writing this book?

SM: Dezaray comes from an abusive home, and one challenge I found was trying to put myself in that situation. It was hard speaking to others who have come from a similar background and difficult to hear about their experiences and what made them stay, but it was extremely enlightening and definitely helped me to understand Dezaray a bit more.

CH: Since you are a debut author, is there a famous or not-so-famous author that you would aspire to be like?

SM: There are so many wonderfully talented authors out there that I would aspire to be like. I suppose the dream of most authors is to be as grand as the Queen of fantasy—JK Rowling! But I would be humbled and touched to have success on a similar scale to Sarah J. Maas and Veronica Roth.

CH: Do you write full-time or part-time?

SM: Part-time. I write whenever I can, daytime, night time, whilst cooking. (haha) I do teach during the day, as well, but it finishes early enough for me to dedicate most of my time to my writing.

CH: What type of feedback are you receiving from readers?

SM: So far, it’s been overall very positive and constructive. They’ve really helped give me an insight into my readers’ minds and what they would like to see in future books. I wouldn’t have come this far, without the support of my wonderful readers. 🙂

CH:  How to Find S. McPherson:

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

SM: My book is currently sold on Amazon, although I may expand this to other retailers before the end of the year.

CH: Any closing remarks?

SM: Thank you so much to your fans for taking the time to read this interview and I hope I have given you a better insight into myself and my books. I truly appreciate all of your support on this long and soul-searching journey! I would love if you would join me on my Facebook page where I blog and give book updates, and I am about to host a contest called the Artist of Dreams with fantastic prizes! (Running from January 29th until March 1st)  Cheryl, thanks for having me on your blog.

CH: Thank you so much, S. McPherson, for taking time out of your very busy writing schedule to join me and my blog followers.  It has been a real pleasure discussing your book with my audience.  And readers, if you’re like me and would enjoy this book.  I suggest you pick up a copy at your earliest convenience. 

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Guest Author Interview – Kevin T. Craig

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 Title: Burn Baby, Burn Baby

Genre: Young Adult/Contemporary Romance

Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Francis Fripp’s confidence is practically non-existent, since his abusive father drenched him in accelerant and threw a match at him eight years ago. Now badly scarred, Francis relies on his best friend Trig to protect him from the constant bullying doled out at the hands of his nemesis, Brandon Hayley—the unrelenting boy who gave him the dreaded nickname of Burn Baby. The new girl at school, Rachel Higgins, is the first to see past Francis’s pariah-inducing scars. If Brandon’s bullying doesn’t destroy him, Francis might experience life as a normal teenager for the first time in his life. He just has to avoid Brandon and convince himself he’s worthy of Rachel’s attentions. Sounds easy enough, but Francis himself has a hard time seeing past his scars. And Brandon is getting violently frustrated, as his attempts to bully Francis are constantly thwarted. Francis is in turmoil, as he simultaneously rushes toward his first kiss and a possible violent end.

Kevin T. Craig, Author

International Author on Cheryl Holloway’s Blog

CH: Today’s Guest Author is Kevin T. Craig, a Canadian author, poet and playwright. Welcome to my blog, Kevin.

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

KTC: Sure, I’ll give it a shot. Francis Fripp is badly scarred by fire. He attempts to navigate school life, while being bullied and falling in love.

CH: The topic is unique. Where did you get the idea for this book? 

KTC: I often write about abuse and bullying. For this book, I wanted to give the main character a noticeable, undeniable physical scar. I often have characters flawed on the inside, with no noticeable scars but plenty of unseen ones in their souls. The idea just took off from there. I knew that if Francis had to deal with heavy scarring from an abusive incident (his father set him on fire in his childhood), he would be set up for the less sympathetic kids in high school to make fun of him and cast him aside. I have this thing with flawed characters scraping their way through life attempting to survive. This story, with a visibly scarred hero, was just a natural progression.

CH: Why did you decide to write this book?

KTC: I am always attempting to write young adult books that would have somehow saved me, were the teen me to pick them up. Teen-life is a struggle at the best of times. When you’re struggling with not fitting in, feeling like a freak or a cast out, it feels like it will never get better. I like to put characters into the thick of horrendous circumstances and give them a glimmer of hope, either in a love interest, a friend, or their own perseverance. I want to show readers that challenges, destruction and despair can be overcome, if they just hold on to that one shining glimmer of hope. I decided to write this book, in particular, because I wanted to see if I could give one of the most marginalized people—the deformed, scarred cast-out—a good life. I wanted to try to write my main character into happiness.

CH: A few of your books are about fires. Is there a reason this topic is high priority on your writing list?

KTC: This is actually the only one with an actual burn victim, but fire played a huge role in my first novel, Summer on Fire. A barn fire was the impetus to the whole novel, but the kids escaped burning…although, one of them ended up with an awful leg break. I do, however, tend to discover themes in my novels. Usually, at times like this, when they are pointed out to me. Most of my novels have twins. Something, I didn’t even realize.

CH: The main character had low self-esteem due to burn scars and was being bullied at school. Was it hard creating believable situations and issues or did you take them from real life and elaborate?

KTC: I was bullied my entire school life. The bully just has to see one thing out of place on his victim in order to zone in on them and choose them as the object of their scorn. It was easy writing about bullying, coming from the place I came from. What I worried about was people thinking the bully would consider someone like Francis off-limits because his deformity was so horrendous that the reader couldn’t imagine a bully choosing Francis as his victim. But I knew, a bully would declare open season on such a deformity…because they are often incapable of empathy. Making Francis a target was both difficult and easy.

CH: Where do you get inspiration for your characters?

KTC: They kind of just appear. Whoever speaks the loudest is heard. They are probably all amalgamations of people I have known. I think most writers do that, borrow from real life. My supporting character, Trig, was modeled after one of my own childhood friends. He was a guy who could move between the hierarchy of school cliques with ease. I always admired the magic of people like that. I wanted to honor that by creating a character with the same trait. The cliques, camaraderie and detestable behavior of high school figures inspire my characters. High school is like a microcosm of the people you will meet in life.

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

KTC: In this novel, the bully—Brandon. I sometimes think, I could have explored him more, explained the impetus surrounding his anger. But I held back from doing that on purpose. I found it difficult to hold back, but I was afraid in doing so, that I would put him in too much of a position to be empathized with. I didn’t want the reader to feel empathy towards him. I wanted it all to take place from Francis’s viewpoint. He wasn’t getting insight into Brandon’s anger and hateful behavior, so I felt the reader shouldn’t get insight either. But it was difficult for me not to elaborate on Brandon’s character.

CH: Which character was your favorite to write?

KTC: Trig was my favorite to write. Basically, because of what I said earlier about him. He was one of those magical beings who either don’t see the constructs of the high school hierarchy or don’t care about them. He was heroic, but oblivious. He was there for Francis at every turn and managed to be the one person in his life, who shined and refused to acknowledge his deformity in a negative way. I just loved Trig for being able to accept people for who they were. There ARE people in the world like him.

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

KTC: That seems like it could be a loaded question, where are you from? Geographically, I am from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I’m also ‘from’ the 80s. Being born in the mid-60s, my coming-of-age occurred in the 80s. Those were times of blatant bullying and ostracizing anything and everything that was different, whether that be intentionally different, or different in ways like Francis, who had to carry the burden of his scars for everyone to see. I suppose growing up struggling to fit in and then, later, being okay with not fitting in, has given me a context from which to write the books I write. So, I write for the young adult who struggles in the miasma of their own blistering zeitgeist. I tend to believe that, although, on the surface, things seem to change, but they don’t really. Teens still struggle with the hierarchy that existed 10, 20, 30, or 40 years ago. The Breakfast Club…it’s as relevant today, as it was when it came out. The nerd, the punk, the jock, the cast-out, the beauty queen…these groups still exist. They still influence my writing. I like to explore the belief that LIFE GETS BETTER after high school.

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

KTC: Actually, I wrote it over the course of a three-day weekend. Every year I take part in the Muskoka Novel Marathon. It’s a three day novel writing marathon. 40 writers are put into the same room for 72-hours. We each attempt to write a novel in that time. We break bread together, we laugh, we talk, we cry, we write frantically into the night, into the morning, and into the night…We also collect money in the form of sponsorships for literacy programs in the community in Northern Ontario, Canada, in which it takes place. This year, we collected $36,000.00. Of course, I tweak my books after the weekend, expand upon what I come out with, edit, edit, edit…but the most of the novel is written in the 72-hours. I finished Burn Baby, Burn Baby at the marathon, actually. I didn’t add to it after the weekend…it was edited, but it came out completed.

CH: This book is a couple of years old. What kind of feedback are you getting from readers?

 KTC: For the most part, the reviews have been incredible! I’ve received a lot of positive feedback. I’m thrilled with most of what I’ve heard. It actually was awarded a place of honor on the American Library Services for Youth in Custody’s 2016 In The Margins Book Award List. Titles are chosen for this list that are by, for, and about kids living in the margins.

CH: Wow, that is a nice award/honor. This book starts with him making a movie of his life. What is different and exciting that you bring to your readers through your writing style?

KTC: I started the book that way because I wanted to show that Francis dreams of being a director. He sort of held the camera and took us through the opening scenes that way. I wanted my writing style for this particular book to be as close to the POV character, as possible. I wanted the reader to slip into Francis’s body and feel his pain. The fade-out at the end of the book is written in this same style, as Francis imagines the end of the movie of his life. I wanted that style to frame the story, and I wanted to attempt to remain tight in the camera’s eye throughout…without depending too much on the movie metaphor. I suppose I was attempting a cinematic viewpoint for the reader. I hope it worked!

CH: You have won several awards for your writing and briefly told us about one award. Can you tell us a little about your writing journey?

KTC: I wrote when I was a child. But somewhere along the road, I came to believe that I didn’t deserve to write, that I wasn’t a ‘writer.’ I didn’t have the schooling to be a writer, or the wherewithal. I put myself into this box of Not-Writer and disallowed myself the joy. But I kept writing lines of poetry on cash register receipts, slips of paper, notepads. It bled through and eventually I couldn’t contain it any longer. In 2003, I began to write things. I found a local writing group and I joined it and then I feared attending their meetings for several months, knowing that they would discover I was a fraud…that I was not a card-carrying member of the writing elite. When I finally cracked and attended a meeting, my real writing journey took off. The first real piece I wrote, a memoir, was accepted for Canada’s National newspaper, the Globe & Mail. That gave me confidence to chase the dream of writing. I have since had 10 short plays produced for the stage, poetry published internationally, 5 novels published, articles, and the memoir published. The passion stuck.

CH: How to find Kevin T. Craig:

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

KTC: Burn Baby, Burn Baby can be found at Amazon, both as a paperback and as a Kindle. It’s also at Barnes & Noble, and Chapters here in Canada. It’s basically found wherever books are sold…but they might have to order in the paperback.

CH: Any closing remarks?

KTC: I just want to thank you so much for inviting me to blather on about my book and my writing. I really appreciate it! If any of your readers happen to pick up a copy of Burn Baby, Burn Baby, or any other of my books, I certainly hope they enjoy it! Thank you!

CH: Thank you so much, Kevin T. Craig, for taking time out of your very busy writing schedule to join me and my blog followers.  It has been a real pleasure discussing your book with my audience.  And readers, if you’re like me and would enjoy this book.  I suggest you pick up a copy at your earliest convenience. 

Note: Photos/Clip art are compliments of the Internet and Kevin T. Craig.

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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 – Wayne Jordan

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Title: Uncover Me

Genre: Contemporary Romance/African American Fiction

Synopsis: When Trey Martin meets Shannon Robinson, it’s instant attraction and she is totally on board with being seduced.  There is, however, one complication.  Trey is about to become Shannon’s boss and she doesn’t know it.  Trey is torn between telling Shannon the truth or making sure that she’s the right person

to take care of his sons. And when Shannon does uncover the truth, will it be too late for happily-ever-after.

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Wayne Jordan, Author

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Cheryl Holloway has provided interviews with authors from over fifty countries!

CH: Today’s Guest Author is Wayne Jordan. He’s a teacher who has always dreamed of being a published author. In 2003 he won the Heart & Soul Aspiring Authors’ Contest and the rest is history. Wayne is also an International Author who resides on the island of Barbados. Welcome to my blog Wayne.

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

WJ: Shannon is the perfect nanny for Trey’s sons, but Shannon doesn’t know Trey is her boss.  Of course, complications arise!

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

WJ: I was actually invited to take part in a box set with 11 other authors. Each story had to fit into the theme Undercover Boss.  Either the hero or heroine had to be the other’s boss, but only one person knew the other’s status as boss.

CH: What are some of the emotional intricacies that are part of dating and falling in love with someone who works for you?

WJ: Both the hero and heroine definitely had to deal with the emotion that came with falling in love.  Of course, the biggest was the conflict of interest.  Shannon wanted to focus on the job; and Trey didn’t want to feel as if he was taking advantage of his employee.  Of course, the initial issue of not telling her, his identity caused problems, at first.

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

WJ: I actually took part of the story from a real life situation.  The hero’s twin sons are inspired by the twins of a former student of mine. She’s always posting their ‘misadventures’ on her FB page.  I find them hilarious—typical, mischievous boys.

CH: Not many men write romance novels. What is different and exciting that you bring to your readers through your writing style?

WJ: I write strong, but vulnerable, male heroes.  I get into the psyche of the male hero and understand him, because of my personal insight. I’ve read stories by female authors, when I know immediately that a man would never act a specific way or say something that he’s given to say.

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

WJ: I didn’t find any of them difficult which was really interesting, since usually one or the other is.  The story flowed so well, it was a really magical feeling.

CH: Which character was your favorite to write?

WJ: I actually enjoyed writing about the boys.  Coming up with their scenes, especially, their dialogue, was exciting.

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

WJ: Keith Thomas Walker is the best there is.  He writes wonderful, realistic romance novels and he’s a relatively new author. I find his work fascinating.

CH: You’ve won various awards and it’s been 10 years since you won the EMMA Award for Favorite New Author. How did this award chance or enhance your writing opportunities?

WJ: A lot of authors discovered who I am and my readership definitely increased. I think, it also made me realize that every story I wrote had to be my best.

CH: You are the author of 10+ Harlequin romance novels. Do you ever run into a writing slump?

WJ: I did.  My last book, a novella, was out in July 2016. It was my first indie book and the first book I’d written since my previous book in December 2013.  I really thought my tenth book was the beginning of my ‘grown up’ phase and then, I just couldn’t write.  My muse had literally left me. I couldn’t write because I was dealing with so much stuff in my personal life.  I had the last book in my contract for Harlequin, which was due out in 2014. I really have to thank my editor, Shannon Criss, for her patience.  In early 2016, I wrote the synopsis, submitted it and started working on the book, Promise Me Forever, and just couldn’t get it done.  When the opportunity to write the novella arose, I almost turned it down, but decided to do it.  The book flowed and as soon as it was done, I turned to Promise Me Forever and that flowed, too.  I finished it in a few months and submitted.  I was back!

CH: What has been the most exciting thing to happen on your publishing journey?

WJ: Winning the Emma Award.  I was thrilled.  It was confirmation that I was not only accepted by readers, but my colleagues.

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

WJ: That love is real and awesome.  I see so many relationships on television and in real life, which are nothing like what I envision true love to be. I hope, I write the kind of stories that make readers know that true love is possible.

CH: You seem to have quite a following for your books. So, what kind of feedback are you getting from readers of this book? 

WJ: Most of the feedback I get is very positive.  Readers seem to love and enjoy my writing.  I think that most are surprised that my books are actually very good romance novels.

CH: Will you continue to write in the romance genre?

WJ: Definitely, I will, but I do want to write romantic suspense and mystery. That’s my dream and my five-year plan.

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

WJ: All of the online books stores—Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and  ibooks.

CH: How to find Wayne Jordan:

CH: Any closing remarks?

WJ: I love to thank my readers for their support. To aspiring authors, “Never Give Up.” Cheryl, Thanks so much for your kindness and support.

CH: Thank you so much, Wayne Jordan, for taking time out of your very busy writing schedule to join me and my blog followers.  It has been a real pleasure discussing your book with my audience.  And readers, if you’re like me and would enjoy this book.  I suggest you pick up a copy at your earliest convenience to enjoy. 

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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 – Fiona Ingram

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Title: The Secret of the Sacred Scarab

Genre: Children

Synopsis: In this exciting Middle Grade adventure set in Egypt, a 5000-year-old mystery comes to life. A scruffy peddler gives Adam and Justin Sinclair an old Egyptian scarab on their very first day in Egypt. Only when the evil Dr. Faisal Khalid shows a particular interest in the cousins and their scarab, do the boys realize they are in terrible danger. Dr. Khalid wants the relic at all costs. Justin and Adam embark upon the adventure of a lifetime, taking them down the Nile and across the harsh desert in their search for the legendary tomb of the Scarab King, an ancient Egyptian ruler. They are plunged into a whirlpool of hazardous and mysterious events when Dr. Khalid kidnaps them. They learn more about the ancient Seven Stones of Power and the mysterious Shemsu-Hor. They must translate the hieroglyphic clues on the underside of the scarab, as well as rescue the missing archaeologist James Kinnaird, and their friend, the Egyptologist Ebrahim Faza, before time runs out!

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Allyson R. Abbott, Author

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

FI: A thrilling adventure for two young cousins, whose family trip to Egypt turns into a dangerous quest to uncover an ancient secret.

CH: What inspired you to write this educational children’s book?

FI: Interestingly enough, I went to Egypt with my mom and my two young nephews (aged 10 and 12 at the time). We had the most incredible and fascinating time, and when we got back home, I thought I’d write a short story for the boys, with them as the heroes, as a different kind of memento. The short story turned into a multi award-wining book; the book turned into a 7-adventure book series!

CH: How did you find an illustrator?

FI: I found someone to design my book website and happened to mention I was looking for someone to do some maps and inside illustrations. He said, “My sister can draw.” He then pointed to the most amazing poster of Clint Eastwood as the outlaw Josey Wales. It was hanging on the wall in his office. I said, “Can you give me her number?” The rest is history.

CH: Does being an adult give you a different perspective on writing children’s literature? If so, how?

FI: As an adult writer, one is able to do the research required and structure a children’s story well. However, I think it is very important to remember how one felt at the age group one is writing for. I remember the magical Middle Grade years very, very well. That sense of adventure, jumping into anything exciting because who knew where it would end up. I hope I have conveyed that in my adventures when Adam and Justin hurtle headlong into an exciting quest.

CH: What do you find is the hardest part of writing for children?

FI: I don’t have any hard parts in writing for children. I just love the action and adventure so much, the sense of uncovering amazing mysteries and solving puzzles. I think, I am fortunate in just really enjoying myself writing in this genre.

CH: Adults and children like this book. Do you write books for different age levels of children or just the young at heart?

FI: I have stuck with Middle Grade because that is where my heart is and I think, it’s the same for so many adult readers, the ones who are young at heart and still have memories of wanting to save the world.

CH: This book has a little bit of everything—history, geography, action, adventure—for the older child. What inspired you to begin writing for children?

FI: As a child, I had three younger brothers and in those days all the technological gadgetry kids now have to entertain them was just a twinkle in some inventors’ eyes. We had to entertain ourselves. I started writing stories for my brothers and their friends, and then we’d act out the tales (always dangerous and involving near death, close shaves and usually a few monsters) for my very long suffering and patient parents—they were a very supportive and enthusiastic audience.

CH: Which character was your favorite to write?

FI: My beloved mother, my greatest fan and the mainstay of my career, has a character based on her. Mom has passed away now, but her spirit lives on in Gran, the young heroes’ grandmother, who manages to enlist the aid of the Egyptian army to save her daughter and her grandsons from the clutches of the evil Dr. Khalid. Gran has some memorable and hilarious lines and kind of gets away with things, because she is so quirky and charming.

CH: Can you tell us a little about some of the other characters in the book?

FI: The young cousins, Adam and Justin, are based almost entirely on my nephews and some of the lines of dialogue come straight from them. Their enthusiasm and excitement at being in Egypt rubbed off on me and really inspired me. Several other characters are based on people we met on our trip: Laila, our tour guide; Rita and her mum, Elsie; the brigadier and his bossy wife …the list goes on. Dr. Khalid is quite an uber-baddy, but one whose character changes over the book series. In fact, he surprises me and I’m the writer!

CH: This book was written a few years ago, but has stood the test of time. What kind of feedback are you getting from readers of the book?

FI: This book never seems to date itself. People are fascinated with Egypt, for a start, and it’s on just about every school syllabus, as a great ancient civilization to be studied, so I hope it never becomes dated. I get lots of feedback from kids, who write me the most hilarious letters, and pick up on some interesting angles. Adults just love being taken back to when they could have maybe saved the world…

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

FI: I think, I am able to reach kids through my young characters and their adventures and the exciting discoveries they make, and I reach adults because there is always a bit of sly humor that parents will appreciate, or as a scene plays out and parents can have a good laugh, as well. Somehow, I am also able to incorporate facts seamlessly, so kids learn while enjoying the adventure.

CH: What inspired you to begin writing?

FI: From the telling of the stories to my brothers and their pals, to writing these into plays for my parents to watch, I think that’s when the writing bug bit me. I went to university and travelled overseas a lot, but only later, did I start to write for fun, and the trip to Egypt was definitely the jump start for my writing career.

CH: Which writer do you admire most and why?

FI: There’s quite a long list, but I could say that the late Terry Pratchett is my favourite writer. His Discworld books are quirky, full of dry wit and fun; and he reaches all levels of readers. He takes risks, he says a lot of what we all think deep down inside about life, he has a wonderful way of expressing philosophical ideas quite simply, and I often reread his books to have a good laugh.

CH: What’s next for you as an author? Can we expect another children’s book?

FI: Absolutely! Book 2: The Search for the Stone of Excalibur is available already. Young heroes Adam and Justin are joined on their quest for King Arthur’s sword, Excalibur, by a young African girl and she shakes things up a lot. They are a bit annoyed that she has such good ideas. Book 3: The Temple of the Crystal Timekeeper is nearly ready for publication and in it the quest takes the trio to the jungles of Mexico, where they encounter an uncontacted tribe. Very exciting!

CH: Can you give my audience your website address?

FI: Please visit www.chroniclesofthestone.com for loads of information about the books, plus a free read of the first chapter in each book, so far. There is also a lovely free Young Readers’ Companion Guide to download for kids to learn more about the history, geography, and mythology surrounding each book.

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

FI: Amazon and all book sites. You can find them under my author name or the book titles.

CH: How to find Fiona Ingram:

CH: Any closing remarks?

FI: I will shortly be releasing a great free eBook for parents, teachers and librarians on getting kids to love reading, so keep an eye out for it. Thanks, Cheryl, for this opportunity.

CH: Thank you so much, Fiona Ingram, for taking time out of your very busy writing schedule to join me and my blog followers.  It has been a real pleasure discussing your book with my audience.  And readers, if you’re like me and would enjoy this book.  I suggest you pick up a copy at your earliest convenience. 

Note: Photos/Clip art are compliments of the Internet and Fiona Ingram.

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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 – Allyson R. Abbott

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Title: An English Rose: A Mother’s Love, A Love Inspired

Genre: Contemporary ChickLit/Hen Lit

Synopsis: A compelling and humorous insight of past years and present dilemma’s as Rose reflects on her usefulness in later life. Just as she acknowledges and accepts her sell-by-date is approaching, life suddenly becomes interesting again, in more ways than one.

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Allyson R. Abbott, Author

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CH: Today’s Guest Author is Allyson R. Abbott, one of our International authors. She writes stories about mature relationships with mature people. Welcome to my blog, Allyson.

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

ARA: Rose, a quintessential retired English woman, rediscovers her family role and that there’s life left in the old girl, yet.

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?

ARA: I am a punster, when it comes to writing, and I develop the stories and the characters as I write. An English Rose was written for an anthology to celebrate mothers, so who better to base my story on but my own mother. So, while the story is complete fiction, a lot of the traits and quirks of Rose come from my observations of my mum (spelled the British way).

Sometimes, if I know I am writing a short story, I try to write a brief outline for each chapter to keep the story short, as I am prone to waffling.

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

ARA: The title usually comes to me when I am writing the story. An English Rose was an easy pick as my mums name is Rose.

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

ARA: After deciding that my short story for the anthology was going to be about my mother, I just had to sit and think about her life. She is a great inspiration for me, her energy and love of life. She is also very quirky and stuck in her ways, especially as she was brought up during the war, with a ‘waste-not-want-not’ and ‘make do’ attitude.

CH: The main character is an 85-year old woman. Did you model this character after a real person?

ARA: My Mum loves to cook and her whole day is built on what she is going to have for her next meal. Plus she really does love a ‘tipple’ of brandy or whisky in her tea or coffee, and Baileys is a regular in her morning coffee and in the evenings there will always be a little glass of something sitting next to her chair.   As in the story, she also is losing her eye sight and hearing, which makes her the fun person she is. Laughing about it and accepts her fate in life.

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

ARA: I try to bring reality. I look for everyday situations that hopefully readers can relate to and I tell the story, as if I am talking to a friend. Most of my tales are written in the first person, which helps the reader to see life from a personal point-of-view and creates a connection with the main character.

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

ARA: When I write I put myself into that person’s situation and think, what would I say? How would I cope? What would I do next? And then depending on the situation or if it is something that has actually happened, then I decide whether I will elaborate or not. In An English Rose, I was aware that it was a depressing situation, so I added a little humour to lift the tale.

CH: Who was your favorite character to write?

ARA: In An English Rose, I really like Bill. He suddenly appeared. I had no idea what would happen when Rose stepped off the step. Bill arrived and he was so jolly and cheerful, that I enjoyed developing his character and he helped Rose to lift her spirits.

CH: Who was the hardest character to write?

ARA: Rose has two daughters and Debbie is the out-spoken, snarky one. I didn’t like the way she spoke to her mother, but I needed a contrast between the daughters, so, Debbie drew the short straw. I generally like to keep my characters nice.  Although, I did enjoy being very bitchy about one of Ed’s ex-girlfriends in Touching Ed, I could feel my claws sharpening, as I wrote.

CH: What makes a great book with humor?

ARA: I love natural humor—funny things every day. I am not sure about everyone else, but I am sure I laugh at something each day. My mum loves to laugh, and laughs at stuff that I do not find at all funny, so I know humour and laughter is an individual trait. I do not like forced humour, jokes or situations that are written with the aim of trying to be funny. So, for me, ‘humor’ (spelled the American way) are things that happen that I can relate to, or see how it can happen. In An English Rose a lot of the humor was developed from situations I have observed from my mum. She laughs at herself all the time and very often tells of situations that she gets herself into.

CH: What different skills does it take to write a book with some humor?

ARA: I have no idea. I try to be funny and add humor, but I am not writing a funny book and I have not had a lot of feedback on the humor in my books, so I would hate to comment. I am writing a Christmas book for release in November and that is written with the aim of making readers laugh. So, fingers crossed on that one. There is nothing I like more than to laugh out loud, when I am reading a book, or at least chuckle.

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

ARA: Yes. Love your mother and make her feel important, until the day she dies. The book was written to help celebrate the strength of mothers. My mum at 86-years old, is still a great inspiration to me, she is full of life and laughter and never gives up.

We all have a history that molds us into the person we are today and I think everyone should just take some time out and listen to the tales of the older generation. Once, they are gone, we are the older generation and we can only pass on the history that we know.

CH: What can we expect next from you?

ARA: I am writing a sweet/funny (hopefully)/magical Christmas tale, which is actually aimed at a younger audience than my normal 45 yr+ group.  The story entitled, The Prickly Christmas Kiss, will be published in a dual box set along with Tamara Ferguson’s new Christmas Book, Two Hearts’ Christmas Wish. I am very excited about this collaboration. Tamara is an awarding-winning best-selling author and also a great friend; even though we have never met. We hit it off immediately when we both were writing our stories for the Mother’s Day Magic Anthology. She is such a hard worker and deserves all the accolades she gets.

I also have another Christmas book being published. This book I wrote last year it is called Slaving Over Christmas, and although, classed as erotica, it tells the tale of Jill and Tom, who after twenty years of marriage are struggling with their sex life. After a very lean streak, due to redundancy, they find themselves swapping small $5 Christmas presents. These small insignificant gifts to each other, help to rekindle their love life and bond; and sets them on a new path of discovery.

I have to admit that I much prefer to write sweet, than sexy. It is a drain on my emotions to write in-depth love scenes, especially, as I try to be the characters. Luckily, I wrote Slaving Over Christmas in the third person, so I did feel so involved.

CH: Can you give my audience your website address?

ARA: I certainly can. My website is http://www.AllysonRAbbott.com.  If any of your audience is interested in learning how to write a review for a book, I have written a nonfiction book called How to Write a Simple Book Review and if they contact me through my webpage I will send them a free copy in a format of their choice.  Or if they prefer an ARC of one of my Christmas books for a possible review opportunities, then please feel free to contact me the same way.

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

ARA: I am actually in the process of recovering all my books. I have been told that they are old-fashioned and do not attract people to read them. Once all the new covers are completed, then I will only be selling them through Amazon and CreateSpace. On saying that, I am always happy to send out direct copies in other formats to very nice people, if they do not have a kindle or a kindle app.

CH: How to find Allyson R. Abbott:

CH: Any closing remarks?

ARA: Thank you, Cheryl, for the invitation to waffle and talk about An English Rose, my other books and writing. I very much appreciate your time.

CH: Thank you so much, Allyson R. Abbott, for taking time out of your very busy writing schedule to join me and my blog followers.  It has been a real pleasure discussing your book with my audience.  And readers, if you’re like me and would enjoy this book.  I suggest you pick up a copy at your earliest convenience. 

Note: Photos/Clip art are compliments of the Internet and Allyson R. Abbott.  If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to my blog.

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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 – Dane Cobain

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Title: No Rest for The Wicked

Genre: Supernatural Thriller

Synopsis: When the Angels attack, there’s No Rest For The Wicked. Father Montgomery, an elderly priest with a secret past, begins to investigate after his parishioners come under attack. With the help of Jones, a young businessman with an estranged child, Montgomery begins to track down the origin of the Angels.

The Angels are naked and androgynous. They speak in a dreadful harmony with no clear leader. These aren’t biblical cherubs tasked with the protection of the righteous – these are deadly creatures of light that have the power to completely eradicate.

When Jones himself is attacked, Father Montgomery knows he has to act fast. Will the final showdown force him to make the ultimate sacrifice?

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Dane Cobain, Author

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CH: Today’s Guest Author is Dane Cobain. He is a storyteller and author from the UK. Welcome to my blog, Dane.

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

DC: It’s a fun, addictive read, and reviewers often praise it for being ‘different,’ but in a good way.

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

DC: The overall concept of the evil Angels that go around judging sin and destroying the unworthy was based on a nightmare that I had. I jotted a few notes down when I first woke up, and then continued to develop them over time.

CH: Why did you decide to write this book?

DC: I never stop writing! I liked the idea and wanted to play on it, and so I wrote it up and started to approach publishers. There was actually a gap of five years between when I wrote it and when it was eventually accepted by Booktrope Publishers (now, unfortunately, defunct).

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?

DC: I just write my own story, but that said, everything is influenced by the time that I live in. I suppose my fiction is a reflection of the way that I see the world. When No Rest for the Wicked was first conceived, CERN’s Large Hadron Collider was in the news a lot and so, it was incorporated into the story. My second novel, Former.ly, is about the rise and fall of a fictitious social network, and social networking is becoming more and more ingrained in our daily lives.

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?

DC: I usually start with a concept (in this case, the evil Angels) and then develop it chapter-by-chapter until I have a full outline.

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

DC: My work has been described as ‘quirky’ by a few reviewers, and I take that as a compliment. It’s fun, but it’s also different.

CH: Since this genre is dark fantasy, did you have to do any special research to write this book?

DC: I usually describe it as a supernatural thriller. I didn’t have to do too much research; although, I had to put some time into looking up information on the Large Hadron Collider.

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

DC: Tough one! I suppose that it’s mostly from real life, and the ones that I did create were ironed out during the editing stage.

CH: Who was your favorite character to write?

DC: Father Montgomery, for sure. He was my favourite character in general, and lots of fun to write about.

CH: Who was the hardest character to write?

DC: I’m not sure whether any of them were particularly difficult. I guess the bits with Klaus Boerman, the scientist, were more difficult than most of the others, though.

CH: Since you’ve told us about the main characters, do you have anything to share about the supporting characters?

DC: Nothing that I can think of. Although, I do quite like the idea of giving my characters cameos in other books, and so, I’ve been thinking about bringing a minor character and working it into a minor role in another release. That way, it’s like all of the books are interlinked and set in the same world.

CH: You seem to have quite a group of followers. So, what kind of feedback are you getting from readers of the book?

DC: I try! It’s hard with social networking because there’s so much noise to cut through, but I try to keep them entertained. With No Rest for the Wicked, there have been around a hundred reviews, and so there’s been plenty of feedback for me to feast on. Overall, the feedback has been pretty good, and any criticism that it’s received has been constructive. A few people have even read it in one sitting!

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

DC: I don’t know if there’s a message, as such, but I do hope it makes people think.

CH: What can we expect next from you?

DC: I’m working on a number of projects at the moment! Right now, the next thing is Come On Up to the House, a horror novella and screenplay. I made an announcement about that on Halloween. After that, it’ll be the anthology project that I’m working on, due out in early 2017. I’m also writing a detective novel.

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

DC: You can order it in at most bookstores and it’s available online as a paperback or an eBook from all major retailers, including Amazon.

CH: How to find Dane Cobain:

CH: Any closing remarks?

DC: Thanks for having me!

CH: Thank you so much, Dane Cobain, for taking time out of your very busy writing schedule to join me and my blog followers.  It has been a real pleasure discussing your book with my audience.  And readers, if you’re like me and would enjoy this book.  I suggest you pick up a copy at your earliest convenience. 

Note: Photos/Clip art are compliments of the Internet and Dane Cobain.

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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 – Margot Finke

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Title: The Revenge of Thelma Hill

Genre: Children/Spine-chilling Horror

Synopsis: When Frannie’s dad transferred to Oregon, all she worried about was going to a new school, and why she and her twin, Jeff, weren’t close. Frannie also dreamed about her missing Mom, and why she had never returned. Ghosts, a long ago murder, and helping to trap a killer was not on her “worry” list. Yet, a late night visit from a scary apparition, trailing long gray veils and begging for Frannie’s help, changed everything. Twin Jeff and her dad thought ghosts were rubbish. So, Frannie and the ghost, who was amazingly kind and friendly, put their heads together and planned revenge. A chilling encounter in the basement, and the appearance of the ghost’s familiar, an arachnid of gargantuan size, persuaded Jeff to help them trap Thelma Hill’s killer. The panicked and treacherous killer pays a midnight visit. After the hoo-hah dies down, Dad meets a reporter he can’t say no to, and Thelma Hill returns with news of Frannie’s mom.

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Margot Finke, Author

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CH: Today’s Guest Author is Margot Finke. She is an Aussie transplant who writes mid-grade adventure fiction and rhyming picture books. Welcome to my blog Margot. Margot is here with an early Halloween Treat!

CH: Can you sum up your book for us?

MF: A recipe for The Revenge of Thelma Hill-a ghost mystery: Combine twins, an old house, a desperate ghost, plus a crafty killer and a scary basement. Mix with missing Mom. Stir well.

CH: What inspired you to write this Halloween children’s book?

MF: It is based on a story told to me many years ago in Australia. Once I began, the plot simply unfolded with a mind of its own. As I wrote on, the character of the ghost became more and more familiar. What the heck?  Then it hit me—I was channeling my dear departed mom. Mom had flawlessly taken over the ghost’s interaction with Frannie. Yet, when I thought about this, it made complete sense. And I knew Mom would be thrilled at being a main character in one of my books. So, I went with it, even naming the finished book after her. Thelma Hill was Mom’s maiden name. The Revenge of Thelma Hill—it made perfect sense!

CH: How did you find an illustrator?

MF: Aha, that was easy. Agy Wilson was a friend of mine. I knew her work. We shared cover ideas, and then I went ahead with her as the cover artist.

CH: Does being an adult give you a different perspective on writing children’s literature? If so, how?

MF: It is not a matter of being an adult. It is a matter of the mindset. Children’s writers are usually kids at heart. We never grow up!  My husband used to tell friends, “Our three kids have more chance of growing up than Margot has.” You have to “Think Kid!”

CH: What do you find to be the hardest part of writing for older children?

MF: Writing for older children is no problem for me. I usually find the best story ideas late at night, the moment my head hits the pillow. I tip-toe into the bathroom, so as not to wake my husband, close the door, and write those marvelous ideas into a notebook I keep there. Next morning, some are scrapped (Really dumb! Never work!), but others are kept for possible use. Once a great idea takes root in my brain, it is a matter of writing it down. I need to capture a fast pace, lots of action, and great characters—all are folded into the mix—like a recipe for a wonderfully tasting cake. The right amount of each ingredient, blended in at the right moment, then left to simmer alone for a while, to mature.

CH: Adults and children like this book for Halloween. Do you write books for different age levels of children or just the young at heart?

MF: I write picture books for various grade school ages and for mid-grade students. Some have Aussie themes and are in rhyme.  Others are multicultural, or about animals from the US or Australia. All are fun and educational. Where appropriate, I add Parent/Teacher guides and links to extra information. One or two, like Down Under Calling, are crossover reads.

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

MF: Jeff, Frannie’s twin brother was the hardest to write—at least at the beginning. Later, as the story began to fall into place and flow well, Jeff kinda joined in and stopped being a difficult twin. The ghost brought him around—quick smart! There’s nothing like being confronted by a real ghost, in a dim and creepy basement, to make you a believer.

CH: Which character was your favorite to write?

MF:Well, as you might guess, the ghost of Thelma Hill simply wrote herself. But Adolpha, the ghost’s arachnid familiar, was a lot of scary fun to write. Not a big part, but one mid-grade readers won’t forget in a hurry.

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CH: This book has a kind and friendly ghost. Can you tell us a little about some of the other characters in the book, including the ghost?

MF: Thelma is friendly toward Frannie—they bond. But she is rabid about tracking her killer and making him pay. The twin’s missing Mom is another thread that comes up often, and helps cement the growing relationship between Frannie and the ghost. Frannie and her twin, Jeff, have sibling rivalry issues. This is a minor theme throughout the story. Their dad tries to referee, but being overworked at his new bank job in Oregon, he is not too successful. The giant arachnid, Adolpha, is just plain jealous of the attention Thelma gives Frannie. And the killer feels very safe. So far, he has got away with his dastardly crime for 40 years, and he is determined not to get caught by two stupid young teens.

CH: This book was written a few years ago, but has stood the test of time. What kind of feedback are you getting from readers of the book?

MF: The Revenge of Thelma Hill is a page turner of a ghost mystery for any month. The emails from readers tell me that they got goosebumps, and they read it more than once. It is a favorite for me to read when I do Skype Author Visits in classrooms. But for lovers of scary Halloween stories, it is the perfect Halloween-ish read—either in Kindle or paper. NOTE: Best read in a dark closet with trusted friends. Check for spiders (arachnids). Bring a flashlight . . . just in case!

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

MF: My son was a reluctant reader, so I was determined to write books that boys especially would love. As a teacher’s aide, I discovered kids WOULD read if the book is fun, exciting, fast paced, and with lots of action. Kid readers want to root for, and identify with, your main characters. I set out to do just that. The right books will HOOK kids on reading. It also helps if parents read to their children daily, and also have their child read to them or younger siblings.

My many Skype Author Visits to schools allows kids to meet a real life author, ask questions, and get to know what it takes to write a book—from the birth of a cool idea, to the story they read on paper or on Kindle. It puts books and those who write them on a really personal level.

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

MF: Family, and pulling together to overcome all odds is my main theme. That sibling rivalry can be overcome, and keeping promises cements friendships.

CH: Who are some of your writing influences?

MF: Alice in WonderlandThe Lovely Bones, and Holes are three of my favorite books. Lewis Carroll, Alice Sebold, Lewis Carroll, and Louis Sachar are three authors who know how to make a fantasy scenario achingly real. They showed me how much to add and how much to cut—without spoiling the story. A Thousand Splendid Suns and The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini, are two of the most enthralling books I have ever read. Hosseini’s evocative descriptions take you there, and his plots make sure you never leave. I also devoured a lot of Charles Dickens in my youth.

CH: What’s next for you as an author?

MF: With 16 books to promote, finding time to write becomes harder and harder. There’s also a long list of teachers who want me do Skype Author Visits in their classrooms, and bring my Magic Carpet of Books. So, while I wait for an idea to hit home late one night, I will be using Skype to visit schools globally, and HOOK Kids on Reading.

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

MF: Barnes and Noble, Amazon and my website.

CH: How to find Margot Finke:

CH: Any closing remarks?

MF: I want to thank you, Cheryl, for this opportunity to chat with your readers about The Revenge of Thelma Hill and my Magic Carpet of Books, the fun I have writing them, and visiting schools via Skype.

CH: Thank you so much, Margot Finke, for taking time out of your very busy writing schedule to join me and my blog followers.  It has been a real pleasure discussing your book for Halloween with my audience.  And readers, if you’re like me and would enjoy this book.  I suggest you pick up a copy at your earliest convenience, preferably before Halloween. 

Note: Photos/Clip art are compliments of the Internet and Margot Finke.

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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 – Fredrik Nath

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Title: The Promise:  A Brutal Outsider with A Grudge in Wartime France (World War 2 Adventure Series Book 6)

Genre: War & Military

Synopsis:  Jean and Rebecca, whose parents have died, journey back to France from Brazil – desolate. Rebecca has an on-board romance with an older right-wing Frenchman, Philippe Darnand. Despite Jean’s reservations, Rebecca marries Philippe but Philippe, who is viciously right-wing, wants to further his career in the Milice. He gives up Rebecca and her baby to the Nazis. Now Jean, taught to kill by S.O.E. and disdaining restrictions set by the French resistance, is compelled to exact his revenge as an outsider. A ravening grudge bearer, Jean rescues the beautiful Nicole from the Sicherheitspolitzei’s clutches in Bergerac and they travel to Paris – a little stop over to bring his plans to fruition. He returns to England under a cloud but his promise to always protect Rebecca eats away at him and in the end, he risks all to keep that promise in an impossible mission deep into enemy-occupied Poland.

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Fredrik Nath, Author

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International Author on Cheryl Holloway’s Blog

CH: Today’s Guest Author is Fredrik Nath, an International Author and a full-time Neurosurgeon, who gets up earlier and goes to bed later, so he can , who write.  Welcome to my blog, Fredrik.

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

FN: I think any readers interested in people would be interested in my books, because they are character-based and they are books about people like you and me, but in bad situations.

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

FN: The premise of The Promise (almost rhymes – doesn’t it?) is that some men will do anything to keep a promise to someone they love. It’s a noble aspiration and one I hope we will all have. As for where it came from, maybe I would have to rummage somewhere deep in my subconscious to search for an answer to its origins.

CH: Why did you decide to write a series on World War II?

FN: My six book journey of French resistance dramas began in 2010 in the market square of Bergerac in the Dordogne. I remember looking at the monument dedicated to the brave partisans who gave their lives during the Second World War. There were quotes from local people, as well as from Charles de Gaulle. I found it inspiring and felt sure there was a story somewhere there, if only I could write it.

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

FN: No, I had no initial aspirations of writing six books. The Cyclist, whilst I was writing it, could well have been the first and last. I wrote the sequel, Farewell Bergerac, because it is always interested me how two people can witness the same event and come up with two different versions. In my first three books and also in The Promise, there are chapters which overlap the other books. An example would be the scene in the train station, which is the start of the book Francesca Pascal.  The same scene is described in The Promise, but from a different character’s point of view.

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

FN: What’s different about my books in the World War II Series, is that each story takes characters in different occupations and spheres of life and examines what might have happened to such people in both the physical and emotional sense. I do include action and strong emotion. As far as being different, it depends on whose writing you are comparing my books to. They are certainly not about warfare. The pace of the books, however, makes them different from most historical dramatic writing these days. They are all quick, easy reads.

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?

FN: Where indeed do an author’s ideas come from? The basic story obviously comes from a writer’s imagination tinged by a tiny bit of experience and the writer’s own view of other people’s psychology. I don’t have a standard formula for a plot, but I usually start with a short synopsis which I split into bullet points and then enlarge on each of those until I have probable chapters, bearing in mind, as Lajos Egri (The Art of Dramatic Writing: Its Basis in The Creative Interpretation of Human Motives) might have suggested, that one has to have rising tension before a final resolution. So the answer is no, I don’t have a basic formula, I let character develop the plot.

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

FN: My first published book, The Cyclist, took three months because I was obsessed with it. The Promise took around six months to produce a first draft. This was just because of the pressure of work. If my free time was truly freem, I could have rattled it off as quickly as The Cyclist.

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

FN: Each situation that the main character finds himself in, is a natural consequence of how the character behaves. Don’t they say “character” is plot? I think the trick with historical fiction is to pick a real background arc and fit the characters into it. I used some real names of people in that historical period, but fitted them around the issues and situations my main character found himself in.

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

FN: Funny really, I can’t say I found any of the characters difficult to write; they just jumped out of the page at me!

CH: Which character was your favorite to write?

FN: I think my favourite character was probably Bruno the codename for the lady who did costumes and make up to hide the resistance characters from Nazi scrutiny. She has a sense of humour.

CH: You said that you ran out of novels to read and felt you should write your own. So, have you always wanted to write?

FN: At odd times during my life I’ve attempted writing, even as a kid. The main trouble was whenever I read what I had written it would make me cringe. With my very first book, I obtained a critique from a very good writer and I suspect my writing made him cringe too, but he was very kind and very tactful and guided me through the possibilities.

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

FN: I try not to bog down the plot and the story by putting too much historical detail into the book. For me, writing historical fiction is all about making characters behave in a certain way, but make the environment just part of the backdrop. Only your readers can say whether my books are over or under-researched. The Fat Chef is based on a head chef in a very posh hotel in Paris but I couldn’t afford to stay there ($1,200 per night), so I settled for online research!

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

FN: Well, I guess we’re back to the premise of the story. One should be true to one’s word, especially when one gives it to someone one loves.

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

FN: The Cyclist sold 30,000 copies on Kindle and the reviews ranged from vitriolic to excessively kind. It was Editor’s choice in the Historical Novels review 2011. Currently, it is rated at 3.9 stars. All the others are rated between 4.2 and 4.4 stars on Amazon. I guess any writing is a bit like Marmite (a British product)—some people love it and some just hate it, man!

CH: Can you give my audience your website address?

FN: Sure: http://www.frednath.com

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

FN: The Promise is available both in paperback and on the Kindle platform from Amazon. Amazon link: http://amzn.to/29SY7l8

CH: Any closing remarks?

FN: All I would say is that I’m publishing books to entertain and if in some measure I achieve that, then I’m delighted. Many thanks for the interview.

CH: You are quite welcome and thank you, Fredrik Nath, for taking time out of your very busy schedule to join me and my blog followers.  It has been a real pleasure discussing your writing journey and your book with my audience.  

Note: Photos are compliments of the Internet and Fredrik Nath.

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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 – Sarah Stuart

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Title: Illicit Passion: Royal Command Volume 2

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Synopsis: Showbiz superstar, Lisette, flees a blackmailer threatening to reveal to the scandal-hungry media that she bore a child of incest. Michael, her father and ex-lover, initiates an audacious plan to set her free that leaves the whole family hovering on the brink of emotional and financial disaster. Their adult daughter, Harriet, learns the truth and vows vengeance on all who conspired to hide her birth by registering her as the twin of the man she loves. “The night will end in death.” The story, the scene set with a meeting between Lisette and her rejected, blackmailing, would-be lover in the prologue, goes on to show Harriet growing up and the sibling rivalries between Michael’s, and his wife Lizzie’s, five offspring. Lisette, knowing she is guilty of seducing her father, keeps the secret of blackmail, which has progressed from the extortion of money to a life of torture and perverted sex for sixteen years. She joins Michael for a European concert tour to promote the music of Kit Marsh, due to open at the Opéra Bastille in Paris. A scream in the night alerts Michael to Lisette’s distress and guilt drives him to risk his career, and his liberty, to defeat his old enemy. The Book of Hours that belonged to Margaret, James IV of Scotland’s queen, which she used as a diary and carries the secret royal command to her heiresses “find love where ye may” is given to Harriet. She plots to follow the dangerously immoral example of the queen’s great-granddaughter, Lady Harriet Allanach, who falls in love with her own brother, until Harriet herself discovers that she is the child of incest and love for her whole family turns to hate.

Sarah Stuart

Sarah Stuart, Author

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CH: Today’s Guest Author is Sarah Stuart, an International Author who has a lifetime ambition to embrace the freedom of creating characters in depth. Welcome to my blog, Sarah.

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

SS: Against a backdrop of showbiz glitz, the story plays out with racy elements of betrayal, blackmail, forbidden love, kidnapping, paparazzi hounding, and revenge, which rock the foundations of a family empire.

CH: Tell us a little bit about your book. Where did you get the premise for this story? 

SS: I’ve worked backstage in the theatre and attended closed rehearsals front-of-house, so the showbiz aspect comes from genuine insider knowledge, of how musicals and concerts are produced and staged, and the lifestyles of real-life performers from wannabes to superstars.

CH: This book has blackmail, sex, family secrets and death. Was it hard creating believable situations and issues or did you take them from real life and elaborate?

SS: Only one thing is taken from real life and that is the key to everything; Michael’s showbiz lifestyle, where he’s parted from Lizzie and their first two children for long periods, is based on a true story told to me by a superstar of stage and screen, though in his case it ended in divorce.

I thought “what if” and took it from there with an incestuous affair in Dangerous Liaisons. But “what if” the past came back to haunt them? In Illicit Passion, it does, and that’s what leads to blackmail, and the whole rollercoaster journey, with danger and death along for the ride.

CH: Who was your favorite character to write?

SS: Michael. I’m as crazy about the platinum superstar as the rest of his fans. There’s a point in Illicit Passion where I didn’t know if he was going to live or die. It took me days to pluck up courage to carry on writing and find out.

CH: How much of your leading lady is based on you?

SS: Not very much, though I guess there’s a little bit of me in all of them. I sure have to “get inside the head” of every character. It’s the best way to get them to live for my readers.

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

SS: Greta. She’s a strange child and I had no idea why she’d been born until I was two-thirds of the way through the book!

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

SS: The insider showbiz stories, the link back to Margaret Tudor, one of the less written-about queens, the wildlife theme, and American fans just love to read about Europe, so this time there’s a tour of twelve cities…Paris, Rome, Madrid, Berlin, Kraków…plus London’s West End and the Scottish Highlands

CH: This is book 2 in a family saga series, which book was hardest to write?

SS: The first, Dangerous Liaisons. I wrote several drafts and published three editions before I was satisfied with it.

CH: How many books will be in this series?

SS: Three. I’m working on Dynasty of Deceit right now. I hope to publish it later this year.

CH: Take us through your writing process. You get an idea, do you map out the book beforehand, or do you allow the characters to write their own story?

SS: They’re all very strong characters, who do exactly as they please. I just make sure the plot stays on track, even when it’s their track, not mine. When I was writing Illicit Passion, I needed notes to remind me who had whose cell phone, and I do a lot of research. I check everything as I go, chapter by chapter, and again after the final edit; even airport names can change, though nobody has suggested renaming Times Square or London’s Green Park, yet!

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

SS: Amazon Reviews: the fact that people take the time to tell me they enjoy reading my books and an author can’t ask for a greater accolade.

CH: That is so true. What are some of your awards?

SS: Both books have five star reviews from Readers’ Favorite. Dangerous Liaisons was a Romance Finalist in the Independent Author Network Awards for 2015.

CH: What do you want readers to grasp from this novel?

SS: “To err is human, to forgive divine.” That, with God, anything that is truly regretted can be forgiven: we shouldn’t be so quick to condemn.

CH: What type of feedback are you receiving?

SS: Very favourable, and I’m grateful for all of it. Readers leave messages on the website, with email addresses. That is very useful; I can let fans know about special offers and how the third book in the trilogy is going. Illicit Passion has 30+ reviews on Amazon with an average rating of 4.8. Individually, they are very interesting; readers hone in on so many different threads. The historical link to Margaret Tudor is popular. They are also a guide as to which characters interest people most. A family saga has a large cast and sometimes quite minor characters are mentioned; so, if possible, I increase their importance in the next book. The saddest thing is losing characters in old age, but death is part of life and we’ve all experienced loss.

CH: You seem to have fans all over the world, so tell us a little about your fans?

SS: They constantly surprise me; roughly, a third of them are men. Snow (weather) in Canada wins me fans; they stay home and read my books. I have many in the UK, some of whom know London’s West End and/or the Scottish Highlands. The biggest group is in the USA and they love Illicit Passion. Many of them haven’t visited Europe and it takes them on a tour of twelve cities.

CH: Can you give my audience your website address?

SS: www.rebeccabrynandsarahstuart-novels.co.uk  I can also be contacted on Facebook and Twitter. https://www.facebook.com/Sarah-Stuart-1640446799559640/ and https://twitter.com/sasspip.

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

SS: Both books are available as eBooks or in print from Amazon. Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/2a8gsg1 

CH: Any closing remarks?

SS: A big thank you, Cheryl, for inviting me to do an interview. It’s been a pleasure to share my thoughts with you, and your audience won’t be mystified by my accent! I’ve done blog spots on American radio and a Texan fan says they’re great, except for the comments that she doesn’t understand because my English voice defeated her. 🙂

CH: You are quite welcome and thank you, Sarah Stuart, for taking time out of your busy schedule to join me and my blog followers.  It has been a real pleasure discussing your writing journey and your book with my audience.  

Note: Photos are compliments of the Internet and Sarah Stuart.

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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 – Eileen Thornton

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Title: A Surprise for Christine: And Other Lighthearted Short Stories

Genre: Anthology/Short Stories

Synopsis: One woman sits on a city bus, reflecting on her life—do both need change in direction? Is it possible that a single pea left on plate can change one’s future? What dark secrets will be revealed by an old suitcase? And will the surprise for Christine go according to plan?

Playing upon a myriad of sentiments and emotions, Eileen Thornton’s A Surprise for Christine is a collection of twelve sweet, lighthearted, and romantic stories sure to brighten even the darkest of days.

Eileen Thorton

Eileen Thornton, Author

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CH:  Today’s Guest Author is Eileen Thornton. Eileen has a vivid imagination which she says enhances her writing. Welcome to my blog, Eileen.

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

ET: The stories are both cheerful and uplifting, and will brighten your day.

CH: Where did you get the premise for this collection of twelve short stories? 

ET: The stories in this collection have all been previously published in women’s magazines here in the UK. I simply thought it would be a good idea to put a few of them together as an anthology. Incidentally, I still have many more previously published short stories which I could use in other anthologies.

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

ET: I make up all my stories as I write them, whether they are novels or short stories.

In the case of the short stories in question, I always dreamed up a last line before I started to write. I then went on to construct and develop the story, so that it ended with that very line. Another little quirk of mine was that invariably that last line became the title of the short story. Therefore, I had a title and a punchline before I even started.

Does that sound weird? 🙂

CH: No, Not at all. So, was it hard creating believable situations and issues or did you take them from real life and elaborate?

ET: Most of the stories are based on the sort of things that happen in the world around us. Though, I should add that none of the issues were based on any specific person or situation. The only exception is where I have used something that involves my own thoughts on a matter. Does that make sense?

Hopefully, my answer to one of the questions later will make it clearer.

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

ET: I simply like to think that these stories are fun and will brighten the day of the reader. They are all very short. Therefore, they can be read during a coffee break at work or at home. Also, because the stories were written for women’s magazines, they do not contain erotica or anything that might offend anyone.

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

ET: I was born in North East England – Gateshead to be exact. However, I have lived in and around London and now live in the Scottish Borders. To be honest, I don’t think my background has influenced the way I write, either in my short stories or novels. But there might be some people out there, who have read my work and disagree. They might see something in my writing, which I am missing.

CH: Who was your favorite character to write? Which story is your favorite in this book?

ET: As we are talking about very short stories, I don’t really have a favorite character. However, I do have a few favorite stories. The one that always springs to mind is called The Last Pea on the Plate. Then there is, The Number 57 Bus, and, Same Time on Friday? In the case of the first two, the ideas came from the way my mind works. I seem to have it in my head that things, as well as people have feelings. Therefore, in my world, such things as peas and buses must have feelings. I told you I was weird. J

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

ET: I began writing in 2001 when I started a correspondence course with The Writers’ Bureau. It was meant to be a hobby. Something I could drop in and out of now and again. But then, with The Writers’ Bureau’s encouragement, I began to submit articles and short stories to various magazines in the UK. I was absolutely delighted when my work was accepted for publication.

CH: So what’s next for you as an author?

ET: At the moment, I am working on a new novel. It is called Murder on Tyneside. There is still a long way to go, as I am still writing the first draft, and yes, in case anyone is wondering, I am making the whole thing up as I go along. I do hope my publisher likes it when I have finished.

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

ET: I suppose the fact that my work has been published is a great achievement for me. Something I never thought would happen.

CH: You seem to have quite a few reviews on your first two books, So, what kind of feedback are you getting from readers of this book?

ET: Feedback for A Surprise for Christine has been very slow. I’m not sure why. Perhaps those who have read it forgot to go back and leave a review.

CH: Are there any books or authors that influence you as an author?

ET: I think, when I started writing my first novel, I was influenced by Stephen King. In some of his novels, I found that he tended to plunge straight to the point of the story. Therefore, I did that with The Trojan Project. The How’s, Why’s and wherefores all unfold later.

CH: Last but not least, why do you write, and what do you want readers to take from your novels?

ET: I write simply because I enjoy doing so. I don’t know how I managed all the years before I took up writing. I like creating characters, and then discovering what they all get up to as the story moves on. As I said earlier, I make up stories as I go along and that includes novels. Therefore, my characters have a free rein. There are times when I think they carry on with the story when I have closed down my computer for the night! It certainly seemed that way with my characters in Divorcees.Biz. Those four ladies seemed have a great time when my back was turned.

CH: Can you give my audience your website address?

ET: My website address is http://www.eileenthornton.com I would be delighted if anyone stopped by to take a look.

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

ET: All my books can be found on Amazon. Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/28MQKve

CH: Any closing remarks?

ET: Firstly, I would like to give Cheryl a big thank you, for allowing me this opportunity to meet up and chat with her and her readers.

I would certainly love to hear from you all either on my website, my blog http://www.lifeshard-winehelps.blogspot.com where you will find I write about everything and nothing or through twitter @eileenmaud2.

I hope you all have a great day!

CH: Thank you, Eileen Thornton, for taking time out of your busy schedule to join me and my blog followers.  It has been a real pleasure discussing your writing journey and your book with my audience.  

Note: Photos are compliments of the Internet and Eileen Thornton.

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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 – C. L. Ryan

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Title: Secret Demon

Genre: Biography/Memoir/Occult

Synopsis: Based on a true story, Secret Demon relates the astonishing, and often harrowing, childhood of a girl whose life is beset by abuse and demonic activity.

We follow Megan as her idyllic early years in rural Ireland are abruptly ended when she is taken from her grandmother’s care to live with her parents in England. While struggling to adapt to a new culture and being bullied at school, Megan’s life is dominated by the unpredictable behavior of her troubled mother, Patsy. When her much loved father moved away to work, Megan is left to look after her siblings, as Patsy’s life becomes engulfed by demonic possession and alcohol abuse.

Well-meaning social workers place Megan in an outwardly respectable home, only for her and her brother, to suffer horrific abuse at the hands of their foster caregiver.

Upon returning to Patsy, Megan becomes increasingly aware of the demonic presence in her home, which seems to be particularly focused on her. She learns to cope with the demon and embraces her true nature – finally harnessing it to take on her playground tormentors.

Secret Demon is a supernatural story of one little girl’s battle against abuse and neglect. It is the first of a series which follows Megan as her physical and spiritual lives unfold. 

C L Ryan

C. L. Ryan, Author

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CH: Today’s Guest Author is C. L. Ryan, who has written her memoir in her debut novel. Welcome to my blog, C. L.

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

CLR: My dealings with my beautiful angelical friends, and the dark side of either, which I can never escape from.

CH: Why did you decide to write this book about abuse and demonic activity?

CLR: I have been trying to write this book for the last 20 years, it only came apparent to me when I cleared out a cupboard 3 years ago. I had saved all the A4-size writing pads.

I usually take them with me on holiday to scribble in when I get bored, there was one book dated 20th February 1996, again and again, everything I had been writing all pointed to a book, I knew then that I had to write it.

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: I am actually writing other books at the moment, but Secret Demon, although written about a fictional family, is based on true-life experiences.

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

CLR: At the beginning of the book, it’s written through the eyes of a child, as she gets older, the writing gets stronger. My mentor and editor, Ben Smith, is telling me that it’s quite noticeable.

CH: Was it hard creating believable situations and issues with this topic of abuse and demons?

CLR: No, not at all, I have had to get used to these issues and situations. I write what I have experienced, what I see, and what I know. I know, I will have to deal with all this for the rest of my life.

CH: Was it painful to revisit some of the situations that changed your life?

CLR: VERY MUCH SO! At times, I was crying and laughing—at the same time—whilst I was writing.  Memories can be funny, and also very painful.

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

CLR: Arthur was a very evil character, and absolutely like that in real life. He will come back in book 4. I think, he was really even more evil than I have portrayed him—you’ll know in book 4.

CH: Who was your favorite character to write?

CLR: Daisy, the Donkey!  Our very much beloved pet—her and Margaret are having a book all of their own!

CH: Your book has a lot of ups and downs and potholes and high rises, so was it difficult to remain on course or do you credit it to your guardian angels?

CLR: The angels have most definitely kept me on track, keeping me focused, and constantly reminding me of things I had forgotten. This book would never have happened without them. Thank you, Angels!

CH: Do you think your near death experience provided additional insight to write this book?

CLR: Yes, absolutely, it let me see into a world where we go, when we pass. I don’t worry about death now! My beautiful friends are there, I miss them so much.  One day, we will all be back together.

CH: Since this is the first book in the series, how did you realize it would be a series of six books?

CLR: When I sat down with my editor and talked about my book, I showed him everything I had written, over 3 years, I had amassed about 300,000 words—books and books of writing.  So, we decided, then and there, that this should be a series. There will also be off shoots, as well, I am just finishing writing books 4, 5 and 6. They just have to be put together and polished.

CH: Is there anything in particular that you would like to add about your story of abuse?

CLR: I tried to blot it out for years, but it just would not go away, and definitely caused me mental and physical pain and anguish.  By writing it down on paper, I can actually deal with it now. I will never forget it—it’s part of my past! I would like to help others who have suffered like me, but I know my experiences have probably helped make me the person I am today! Eventually, there will be a cook book to accompany the series. I am working on that now.

CH: Since this book is based on real-life events, is there an overall message in your book that you want the readers to grasp?

CLR: Yes, the book is a message. Already people are contacting me that have suffered abuse in their early years, and are actually finding comfort by reading Secret Demon. They realize they are not alone, and it didn’t only happen to them. Actually talking about it helps. If I can get through it and survive; honestly, anyone can.

CH: Since this book is part of a series, what is the premise for the next book?

CLR: Book 2, Bad Demon, is a continuation. We follow Megan and the Murphy family through more mayhem, emotional and demonic challenges, through to a near house eviction, a rogue demon, a cooking exam, and the constant abuse of the family by the church and a nasty police officer, who knows the families secret. I loved writing this book. I hope my readers will love it, as well.

CH: Can you give my audience your website address?

CLR: www.angelicalskies.co.uk/

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

CLR: Amazon in paperback and Kindle. It will soon also be available as an audio book. Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1S3Osto

CH: Any closing remarks?

CLR: Thank you for your interest in Secret Demon. It’s been a hard and harrowing story to tell, but I have loved every minute of it, and there is so much more going on in the rest of the books in the series.

CH: Thank you so much, C. L. Ryan, for bringing this topic to my audience. It has been a real 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 – Robert Kingsley

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Robert Kingsley

Robert Kingsley, Author

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International Author on Cheryl Holloway’s Blog

Title: The Odyssey (The Java Gold Book 1)

Genre: Historical Fiction

Synopsis: 1941: South East Asia is in flames. The Japanese war machine rolls relentlessly southwards towards the Dutch East Indies. At the last possible moment, with the Japanese invaders on Java’s doorstep, a planeload of pure gold is hurriedly sent off to safety in Australia.
A malignant twist of fate intervenes and the gold is lost. For years, the hidden treasure casts its spell on the surviving crew members. Misfortune, violence and death follow in their wake when they try to retrieve the gold after the end of the war.

Their bloody treasure hunt plays out in the Dutch East Indies, a restive place despite the war’s end. As the story continues, their expedition takes them across continents, spanning India, Australia, Europe and North Africa. Their exciting exploits and sizzling romances are juxtaposed with historical developments of places scarred by war and colonialism, the racism of corrupt societies and the emerging threat of terrorism. The tale is replete with danger and treachery as the pursuit of “The Java Gold” shows the treasure hunters that human life is the price of greed.

CH: Today’s Guest Author is Robert Kingsley, a Dutch/Canadian author, who writes historical fiction novels.  Welcome to my blog Robert.

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

RK: It is packed with action, drama and suspense and will keep you turning pages.

CH: Why did you decide to write this historical fiction book about the pursuit of the “Java Gold”?

RK: Doing some (totally unrelated) research, I stumbled across a number of almost incredible facts that happened in early 1942, during the Japanese assault on Java and its aftermath. I mentioned them to a good friend during a steak-and-beer dinner in a California microbrewery and added that I could write a thriller based on them. He dared me to do so.

CH: Since this book is part historical fact and part pulp fiction, did you have to do any special research to write this book?

RK: Yes, quite a lot actually. When I read a historical fiction novel in which the author does not have his or her facts right, I become annoyed. Not only does it spoil the story, but it also distorts the truth.

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?

RK: I have no standard formula for plots—I don’t like “production line” type novels, as some authors are turning out, apparently to fulfil their contracts.
The story comes to me as a global concept, based upon a number of fundamental points. I build the framework around it and divide it into ‘blocks.’  Then I start to write. And while I write, new ideas and information comes along and the story gradually expands into its final shape.

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

RK: As one of my reviewers said, “… the story takes you to out of the way places and into unknown and unexpected situations, all backed up by meticulous research…”

CH: Was it hard creating believable situations and issues?

RK: Yes and no. The advantage of writing historical fiction is that you can take your pick from the often dramatic circumstances of the period, if you describe. The hard part is to blend the story into that background without violating the situation. And another problem is to make the interaction of the cast you’re describing with historical characters as natural as possible, again without violating what really happened.  

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

RK: I spent a number of years on the fundamental research. Bear in mind that I did not have too much spare time, while I was working internationally. I started the first draft about six years ago, only to lose it all when a colleague was kind enough to infect my laptop with a virus. After that I decided to make a daily backup; and to start writing in earnest. That part took about two years. I published the first version of The Odyssey in September 2014.

CH: This bloody treasure hunt plays out in the Dutch East Indies.  Does your Dutch background enhance the writing of this book?

RK: It certainly does. For starters, it is a great advantage during the research phase to be able to read source material in the original language. And because there’s still a sizeable former Dutch East Indies population, it is not so difficult to meet them and learn about their mind-set, their experiences and their memories.

CH: Where did you get inspiration for your characters?

RK: Basically, from real life.  I have met many persons in my travels and some of them are portrayed in my books. And during my research, I was inspired by some fascinating stories about people battling and surviving incredible odds.

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

RK: It was difficult to fit in Willie, “the lost flight engineer.” But he comes back and plays a major role in Book Two.

CH: Your book has a lot of action and adventure, so do you prefer writing a book with plenty of suspense?

RK: Yes I do.  I see (and read) too many mealy-mouthed, self-pitying stories and novels that make the reader yawn after page 10.

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

RK: I started out with the idea to write a short, snappy action/adventure novel. But when I progressed, I found it was too “shallow” and needed more depth—romance, drama, misfortune, and disillusion. And not wanting to hit my readers with a Tolstoy length novel, I decided on a multipart story.

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

RK: Generally speaking: very good. Some early reviews indicated Book One should start in a different way and should contain a map of the Dutch East-Indies. I carried out these changes and re-published Book One. Now, I am getting very positive reactions, including signals to hurry up with Book Two,  which is ready for publication by the way…

CH: Is there anything else you would like to share about the book?

RK: The book starts off when the Pacific War is two months old and the Allied forces are driven back, while being decimated by the Japanese. This dramatic period is sometimes called “The Forgotten Campaign,” during which thousands of British, American, Australian and Dutch soldiers, sailors and airmen gave their lives. And yet, little has been said or written about them.  I, therefore, intend my book as a tribute, to the millions of military and civilian victims of that war, the long years of occupation and the violent aftermath of that dramatic time.

CH: Can you give my audience your website address?

RK: For those interested,  I have a blog on which I publish background information on the situations I describe in my books. You are cordially invited to visit https://thejavagoldblog.wordpress.com

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

RK: Book One, The Odyssey, is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, KOBO in Kindle and ePUB formats. Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/21TiSQl
Book Two, Winds of Fortune, will be published soon.

CH: Any closing remarks?

RK: First of all, my sincere thanks for this opportunity to tell something about my writing. And secondly, to those of you who will read or have read, The Odyssey, I trust you will find it enjoyable.

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

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Note: Photos are compliments of the Internet and Robert Kingsley.

Readers and followers, please share this post with your friends.

 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 – Teresa Clyne

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Title: Cypathia: The Secret Princess

Genre: Fantasy & Magic

Synopsis: A children’s fantasy story that has it all, endurance through adversity, dragons, sorcery and magic, with inter realm portal travel and victory against evil.

Join Kaia on a magical journey of endurance through adversity, dragons, sorcery and magic, with inter realm portal travel and victory against evil.

Part One:  In the midst of a siege by the enemy King Mordor, Queen Theodora and King Alexander, make a heart-breaking decision. Their two children, Kaia and her brother Kolby, must leave Cypathia through a portal.

Catherine and Isadora, two magic guardians, have created it especially. Once through, the portal must be sealed and the children cannot return until they come of age on their thirteenth birthday.

As Isadora and Catherine take the babies through, they become separated. Whilst Catherine makes it through to Kaleseth with Kolby, Isadora ends up in a new world.

Landing among the dinner of a family, it quickly becomes clear that Isadora and Kaia are stuck in the realm of Herecia.

For thirteen years, Kaia and her guardian are slaves to the horrible Endora, her husband and their nasty children. Tormented and subjected to menial labor, Kaia grows up oblivious to her own roots.

In time, she discovers a tiny bundle in the forest which quickly is discovered to be a dragon who she names Billow.

On her thirteenth birthday, she discovers the shimmering portal which has re-opened. When Isadora reveals all, they are overheard and are held for ransom.

Teresa Clyne

Teresa Clyne, Author

CH: Today’s Guest Author is Teresa Clyne, a debut author from Ireland. She has written the ultimate children’s fantasy novel. Welcome to my blog Teresa.

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

TC: My book is a fiction/fantasy stemming from a Medieval Realm called Cypathia—Cypathia is a beautiful and magical place where dragons and sorcery are in every town and village.

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

TC: The concept of Kaia comes from imagination.  Cypathia was borne when I was only 10 years old, and had a rambling imagination.

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

TC: Kaia starts life as royalty, she, however, is unaware of this. She lives a life of relative poverty until she is 13 and told of her true identity.  She returns to her Kingdom to claim victory over the evil King Mordor and crowned Queen of Cypathia.

CH: Since you have created a magical world with magical characters, what inspired you to write Cypathia: The Secret Princess?

TC: So many children love to revert to the imagination, victory over evil and the underdog coming up on top, I felt that Kaia and her situation was a perfect reference to this.

CH: Does it excite you that adults and children enjoy your book?

TC: Yes, I think many adults had a similar traumatic childhood as Kaia and how she endured so much and still came out a winner helps adults to find strength to face the things they need to in order to succeed.

CH: Was it hard creating believable situations and issues?

TC: No, it was so easy. I had a whole lifetime to perfect all of the characters, as I’ve known them all since I was 10.

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

TC: It takes approximately one year to write each one, but editing takes the majority of this time.

CH: Who was your favorite character to write?

TC: Isadora, such a kind hearted and pure friend, so protective and caring, even though she was not related to Kaia.

CH: Where did you get inspiration for your characters?

TC: I wanted strong beautiful characters to contract the evil or weak ones, so that there was balance.

CH: What inspired you to write this charming children’s book?

TC: I had this story in my head for years and decided to get it all down, to make the stories in my head more realistic and others could also enjoy them.

CH: What inspired you to begin writing for children? 

TC: The simplicity and pure goodness of the characters meant that I really wanted children to find strength from the strength of Kaia.

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

TC: I write as part of my job, this is all academic writing, so it is a great break to write about fantasy characters in Kingdoms where dragons, magic and princesses all live together. I have been writing academically since 2009 and I have been writing poems and articles since childhood.

CH: Are there any books that influence you as an author?

TC: Ulysses, the flow of characters and personalities was so influential on my own stories.

CH: Does being an adult give you a different perspective on writing children’s literature? If so, how?

TC: It did give a different perspective, mainly on how the characters behaviours are logical and also politically correct.

CH: You are currently writing Part 2, Reunited, did you know this would be a series when you started writing Part 1?

TC: It was only meant to be one part, then it got bigger by the day and part two was born, part three is now in the pipeline as is Billows Journey to Cypathia.  This short story tells Billows story, from being thrown from the nest to saving Kaia and Isadora to the coronation of Kaia in Cypathia.

CH: Can you give my audience your website address?

TC: Yes, it is http://cypathia.com

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

TC: My book is available in kindle on Amazon. Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1QpKtWr Amazon.uk Link: http://amzn.to/1O60r7C

CH: Any closing remarks?

TC: I would like to thank the amazing support I have received from readers and reviewers. One small tidbit about me…I wear odd socks!!

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

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Don’t Keep this Blog a Secret…Tell Your Friends about it!

Note: Photos are compliments of the Internet and Teresa Clyne.

Readers and followers, please share this post with your friends.

 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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Questions? Comments? Interviews? Contact : AuthorCherylHolloway@gmail.com or Cheryl@CherylHolloway.net