Guest Author Interview – David Ahern

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Title: Madam Tulip And The Bones of Chance

Genre: Mystery/Thriller/Suspense

Synopsis: A surprise role in a movie takes actress Derry O’Donnell to a romantic castle in the Scottish Highlands.  But romance soon turns to fear and suspicion.  Someone means to kill, and Derry, moonlighting as celebrity fortune-teller Madam Tulip, is snared in a net of greed, conspiracy and betrayal.

A millionaire banker, a film producer with a mysterious past, a gun-loving wife, a PA with her eyes on Hollywood, a handsome and charming estate manager—each has a secret to share and a request for Madam Tulip. As Derry and her friend, Bruce, race to prevent a murder, she learns to her dismay that the one future Madam Tulip can’t predict is her own.

Madame Tulip: And The Bones of Chance is the third in a series of thrilling and hilarious Tulip adventures in which Derry O’Donnell, celebrity fortune-teller and reluctant amateur detective, plays the most exciting and perilous roles of her acting life, drinks borage tea, and fails to understand her parents.

David Ahern, Author

International Author on Cheryl Holloway’s Blog

CH: Today’s Guest International Author David Ahern. He writes mystery thrillers with some humor. Welcome to my blog, David.

CH: This book is the third book in the Madam Tulip Mystery series. It is about the out-of-work actress Derry O’Donnell. Why should we read this book?

DA: That depends on who you are.  If you’re bored with implausible action heroines, you’ll like that Derry O’Donnell is completely believable. If you’re tired of dark and gloomy crime, Madam Tulip has lots of laughs.  If you like cozy mysteries, but wish they were page turners as well, then…

CH: This time Derry is in a movie, instead of a play. How did you come up with the premise for this book?

DA: It would be a spoiler if I told you, but let’s say the movie business is about money and not much else. And where there’s money, there’s greed and there’s crime.

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

DA: Nothing so complicated. Scenes just play out for me, and the characters do whatever they do.

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

DA: I’ve had some experience with almost everything in the story (except the criminal parts, I’d better say.)

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

DA: I like a book that’s an easy read, but not dumbed down in any way.  All the best performances look easy.

CH: Which character was hardest to write? 

DA: I never have trouble with characters.  They just walk on and start talking.

CH: Which character was your favorite to write?

DA: Can’t say I have any favorites, but I love writing the scenes between Derry’s divorced parents—an Irish artist father and her wildly successful art dealer mother. They’re hilarious, and I really do laugh out loud writing them. Readers seem to agree with me; they love Jacko and Vanessa.

CH: Where did you get the inspiration for the characters?

DA: Like I said, they really do just walk on and start talking. I don’t plan them at all.

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

DA: Yes. I knew straight away that I’d want these characters around me for a long time.

CH: Will there be any more books in this series?

DA: Lots, I hope.  Book #4 is in the writing now.

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

DA: I’m not a message kind of person. But I do love my heroine Derry O’Donnell (aka Madam Tulip) and I like what she’s made of.

CH: This book was just released. What kind of feedback are you getting from ARC readers of this book?

DA: I never know what to think of a book when I’ve finished it, so I’m surprised that everyone is saying it’s even better than the last.  Nice if that’s true, but only readers can judge.

CH: What is your next writing project?

DA: Madam Tulip #4. I know what it’s called, but I’m not telling.

CH: How to Find David Ahern:

CH: Where is your book sold?

DA: The paperback and eBook were on Amazon presale from March 12th, and it was published yesterday, April 12th.  The book will be exclusive to Amazon for a little while, but then more widely available.

CH: Any additional comments?

DA: I hope people enjoy reading Madam Tulip stories, as much as I enjoy writing them.

CH: Any closing remarks?

DA: Thanks so much for the chat. Next time, I’ll bring the cake.

CH: Thank you so much, David Ahern, 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, David Ahern and Cheryl Holloway.

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Guest Author Interview – Paul Anthony

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Title: White Eagle

Genre: Organized Crime/Espionage

Synopsis: A Cumbrian detective is working with the Special Crime Unit and elements of British Intelligence.

When a desperate young man is forced out of his home in the mountains, he claims ‘Qisas’ and sets out on a bitter journey of revenge. As he terrorizes a continent with his wicked plan, the evil megalomaniac becomes an iconic figure synonymous with fear and dread. In a fast-moving, white knuckle ride, the unknown assassin leaves police and intelligence services reeling from the sheer pressure of relentless attacks.

What is White Eagle? Is it the name of a bird of prey? Or is it a mysterious individual who has no name? There are those who think White Eagle is a newly formed terrorist group working for the highest bidder. Whichever, it’s a mystery no-one can solve. Mouretti, the man from NATO, takes up the case and is determined to claim all the glory.

The plot explodes when Boyd and his team from the Special Crime Unit become involved. All hell breaks out as three single-minded individuals, each propelled and fuelled by revenge, fight for victory.

Who will win and who is doomed to failure? In the chaos that surrounds the investigation, does anyone walk away unscathed?

Paul Anthony, Author

International Author on Cheryl Holloway’s Blog

CH: Today’s Guest International Author is Paul Anthony.  He is the UK Crime Writer. Welcome to my blog, Paul.

CH: We don’t know who or what is ‘White Eagle’? So, please tell us in one sentence, why we should read this novel.

PA: This is a book that informs, engages, engrosses, and entertains the reader.

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

PA: The story begins in the isolated Quandril Mountains of the Middle East. Here, the white eagle is prominent unlike the rest of the world where it is a comparative rarity in its purest form. The book traces the life of an innocent youngster, who befriends an eagle after a catastrophic attack on the remote village in which they both live. It is a life-changing episode that underpins and explains the protagonist’s motive of revenge. But the Quandril Mountains are also the headquarters of the Kurdistan Workers Party (a terrorist organization that is proscribed—prohibited, denounced and banned—in the UK and elsewhere), and our young man’s father is an integral part of the organization. Also known as the PKK, Kadedk, or Kongra Gele, the organization is a separatist movement that seeks an independent Kurdish state in southeast Turkey. This tale follows the flight of the eagle and its Muslim handler, as they embark on a mission of global revenge.

CH: What made you decide to write a book about organized crime/espionage?

PA: I don’t know anything about flower arranging, cookery or gardening so I learnt long ago not to write about things that I am not familiar with. As a detective, I was in command of a counter-terrorist unit and worked extensively throughout the UK, with various agencies, on counter-terrorism at the national and international level. It is an area I am acquainted with.

CH: ‘Qisas’ is the right of a murder victim’s nearest relative to take the life of the killer. Most people have never heard of ‘Qisas’. Did you have to do a lot of research to write this book?

PA: My main area of research revolved around the geography and environment of the Quandril Mountains and various travel routes that the main character might take in his escape. The term ‘Qisas’ may not be recognizable to some but it is an Islamic term meaning retaliation in kind, revenge, an eye for an eye, or retributive justice. It is a category of crimes in Islamic jurisprudence where Sharia Law allows equal retaliation as the punishment. It’s available—against the accused—to the victim or victim’s heirs, when a Muslim is murdered, suffers bodily injury, or suffers property damage. In the case of murder, Qisas means the right of a murder victim’s nearest relative or legal guardian to, if the Sharia court approves, take the life of the killer. Qisas is one of several forms of punishment in Islamic Penal Law. In the world of counter-terrorism—or counter extremism—it will always be necessary to acknowledge how others live their lives irrespective of what religion, faith, race colour or creed they belong to. Since Islam is the second biggest religion in the world with over one and a half billion followers, I would suggest to you that ‘Qisas’ is a well-known term in some quarters, since it is part of Sharia Law. That law is present, to varying extents, in the criminal justice system of many Muslim-majority countries, such as Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Brunei, Qatar, Pakistan, United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Sudan, Mauritania, and some parts of Indonesia. In many places in the United States of America and Canada, however, Sharia Law is banned in the legal system and explains why some people from the ‘west’ will not be aware of the term ‘Qisas.’ With this in mind, I suggest to you that the novel, White Eagle, informs and entertains the reader as the work unravels. It is fast-moving fiction based inside a model of fact.

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

PA: My writing style has evolved over the years and has certainly improved since my first published work in 1996. It’s much crisper and innovative than those days. I enjoy writing and am always looking for ways to deliver a good-paced thriller that doesn’t confuse the reader.

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

PA: At the end of the day, this book is like many others. Who wins? Who loses? Or is it a draw? It’s good versus bad with explanations as to why, offered along the way. The writing is certainly believable, but there is obviously a lot of imagination in use too. Some of the action sequences are quite unique, whilst also being extremely credible.

CH: Can readers tell where the truth ends and fiction begins or did you write transparently?

PA: The whole work is entirely fictitious, but the narrative often explains where the truth—or fact—lies in the story and why it is written in the manner it is.

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

PA: Mouretti! Whilst the ‘baddie’ is a terrorist, Boyd and Mouretti are the good guys, trying to identify him and chase him down. Boyd is a Scotland Yard detective working out of a unit inside Counter Terrorist Command. Mouretti is a NATO investigator, who develops a ‘freelance’ interest in the inquiry when terrorism rips his life to pieces. Balancing and developing a ‘good guy’ and a ‘bad good guy,’ who have no relationship to each other is not as easy as it might seem. They have to work out, if they are looking for a terrorist, a terrorist organization, or a crime syndicate. And who is who? It’s not until the very end that all is revealed.

CH: Which character was your favorite to write?

PA: White Eagle is part of the Boyd detective series that I have written. It has proved extremely popular in the UK, where each of the books have reached bestseller status in the Kindle store. Boyd is a Cumbrian from the Lake District and he speaks his mind to the extent that he is often in trouble with his bosses. His team is formed from a mix of elite UK detectives and a selection of high-grade intelligence officers from MI5—the Security Service. His second in command, Anthea, is an intrepid member of the unit who does not suffer fools gladly. Intelligent and extremely competent, she is a crack shot. Alternatively, and of equal enjoyment, Antonia, of MI5, is a privileged daughter of parents who left her a financial legacy. She is of comfortable private means. In the City, in the country club, she has no enemies, save those who bitch at her pretentiousness. Antonia has connections in every corner of society that one might imagine: the good, the bad, and the ugly. As a senior Intelligence Officer, she is a leading member of the controversial team and she is falling in love with Phillip Nesbit, director general of the security service. So, my favourite characters are probably Boyd, Anthea and Antonia.

CH: Which character was hardest to develop?

PA: I’ve not actually found any of them difficult to develop as I have profiles of every character that I have written about.

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

PA: The message ‘Why?’ is posed in the first chapter and runs through the story. The book will interest those who like a good mystery, a murder, a fast-paced thriller, a police procedural with a twist of espionage, and even a political thriller, because it has all of those elements thrown in. It shows the problems a police and intelligence service have in identifying a terrorist, what steps are used to try and catch someone, why terrorism occurs, and how terrorism could have been avoided in the historical context. In relation to Kurdistan, the work shows an understanding of how the making of war and defining a peace process are bizarrely related.

CH: Since this book is full of suspense, action and intrigue, do you prefer writing books with a lot of twists and turns and ups and downs?

PA: My thrillers always carry some twists and turns, whether they lie in the plot or in the evolution of the character in the story. One of the problems for investigators, in this story, is that there is early evidence that White Eagle is a terrorist group. But how to find the group and identify it is the crux of an intriguing investigation that is guaranteed to keep the reader engrossed.

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

PA: Very good. I’ve never chased or harried people for reviews because that’s not my way. But some of the reviews on Amazon are as follows:  …another brilliant story about William Boyd and his colleagues; …the author has really put together another great story and taken us to a different part of the world to get the excitement going in the book;  …Written with a great knowledge of the subject, this is well-paced, engaging and difficult to put down; …The characters are well thought out and believable and the story weaves effortlessly between locations. Great stuff; …Couldn’t put it down from start to finish. You will not be disappointed with it.

CH: What is your next writing project?

PA: This month (February 2018), I shall be publishing, Septimus, the story of a man from Cumbria, who gets embroiled in the Roman invasion of the Lake District and the subsequent invasion of Scotland. It’s loosely based on the life story of my great uncle, who was a scout for the US cavalry and one of the first recorded white men to journey into Indian country. It’s a departure from crime thrillers and I have thoroughly enjoyed writing it. The next Boyd thriller is fully plotted, and I shall start writing that one soon.

CH: How to Find Paul Anthony:

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

PA: Amazon in Kindle and Lulu.com in print.

CH: Any closing remarks?

PA: Many thanks, Cheryl and best wishes from the UK.

CH: Thank you so much, Paul Anthony, 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, Paul Anthony 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 – Ashe Barker

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Blogger’s Note: Making the Rules includes spankings and sexual scenes. If such material offends you, please don’t read the interview or buy this book.

Title: Making the Rules

Genre: Mystery/Romantic Suspense

Synopsis: When twenty-five-year-old forensic sociology student Lily Jamison travels to a small town in West Yorkshire to investigate the mysterious disappearance of a young girl, she expects to be working alone. But then Ben Tyler offers his help, and before Lily knows it the handsome former Chicago police officer has taken charge and made it his business to keep her safe, even if that means baring her bottom for a painful, embarrassing spanking when she disobeys him.

Ben’s firm-handed dominance and strict correction leave Lily deeply aroused, and when he takes her in his arms and shows her how a man masters a woman properly, she cannot help begging for more. But as Lily gets closer to the truth, she becomes ever more reckless. When she pushes things too far with her impulsive behavior, will Ben be prepared to punish her as thoroughly and shamefully as necessary to convince her that he is the one making the rules?

Ashe Barker, Author

International Author on Cheryl Holloway’s Blog

CH: Today’s Guest International Author is Ashe Barker. She has been an avid reader of women’s fiction for many years and now realizes her dream of writing romance herself. Welcome to my blog, Ashe.

CH: Why should we read your romantic suspense book?

AB: I always try to write a book I’d enjoy reading. So, I love to read books with sassy, resourceful, independent heroines and a hero who is up to the challenge. Lily in Making the Rules has an agenda and she pursues it with single-minded determination. She meets challenges head on. Sometimes she acts foolishly or without thinking, but there’s always a method in her madness. She’s the sort of character I’d root for and I hope others will love her too.

The book spans a couple of decades, shows the ways in which people can change over the years, and for those who appreciate the suspense element it ends with a surprise I doubt most will see coming.

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

AB: The small town in the UK where the book is set—I call it Mytholm Bridge in the book—is based on a town I drive through two or three times a week. In real life it’s called Sowerby Bridge and it nestles in the hills on the edge of the Pennines. I used several places in Sowerby Bridge as inspirations for my story—the pub, the main street, the river running through the town centre. And some places I made up, of course.

As for the premise itself, the story is about a homecoming of sorts, and about long-lost relatives and old friends reunited.

CH: Did you have to do any special research to write this book or is it all imagination?

AB: No significant research, the location is one I know well. The characters and events are the product of my fevered imagination. However, the main male character is from Seattle and I did need a lot of advice from my beta reader in the U.S. to make sure he sounded American. So many Britishisms slip in unnoticed—talk about being divided by a common language! I also had to craft an authentic back-story for him, so that needed a bit of digging.

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

AB: I don’t tend to write about high-flying billionaires or set my stories in sumptuous locations. I prefer to write about places I know, the sort of people I encounter every day. My stories are real, often quite gritty, usually, but not exclusively set in the UK. My books are always sexy, erotic romance with a BDSM flavor, but I don’t let that take over the story. Plots need to be tight and fast-paced, with engaging dialogue to keep you turning the pages.

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

AB: I’ve never found it hard to dream up engaging stories from everyday life. The ordinary, the mundane, can be quite bizarre at times and there’s never any shortage of material to work with. People are fascinating, and full of surprises. Everyone has a story. I’m a people-watcher and find ample inspiration wherever I look.

When my daughter was younger, I used to play a game with her, if we were in the car together. We’d pick someone outside, anyone, it didn’t matter, and we’d make up their story. “That’s Bill. He’s an electrician. He‘s fifty four years old, married with three children and he likes to sky-dive most weekends. He loves country music and once got arrested for…, etc.”

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

AB: In Making the Rules, I think Ben was the hardest, just because he’s American and I wanted to get that right. He had to have a back-story that made sense, so I needed to research the Chicago Police Department to create his previous career.

CH: Which character was your favorite to write?

AB: I loved writing Lily, obviously. She’s riddled with curiosity and unfinished business, but wants to protect those she loves from the consequences of the stones she picks up to look underneath. Sadly, once the genie is out of the bottle there’s no going back.

At the same time, I enjoyed writing Harry Murgatroyd. He’s a secondary character, but completely reinvents himself over the course of the story and demonstrates some unexpected qualities.

CH: Which character was hardest to develop?

AB: There are a couple of characters in the story, who I seriously dislike and those never flow quite so easily. I find it much easier to get inside the heads of people who I empathize with, whose motives and responses I understand. I won’t give spoilers by saying who the villains are or why, but I’m sure readers will work them out.

CH: Where do you get inspiration for the passionate encounters in your writing and do you find them easier to write from the male or female perspective?

AB: Mmm, that’s a tricky one. I get a lot of inspiration from reading the work of other erotic authors and of course I have a seriously dirty mind myself. In my earlier writing career, I tended to only write from the female perspective and I suppose that does come more naturally, but the male viewpoint is fascinating, too and can be a whole lot sexier, if done well.

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

AB: I share Lily’s curiosity about people, and her obsession with finding out the truth; however, unpalatable. I think, she’s more forgiving than I am though, and more inclined to see the good in others. She has an adventurous streak and knows an opportunity when she sees it. Her plans are loosely formed. She probably can’t say what she’ll do next, but recognizes the next step when she sees it.

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

AB: At the heart of it is the certainty that people can and do change over time. And they are not always what they appear to be on the surface

CH: Who are some of your writing influences?

AB: I admire the story-telling expertise of Nora Roberts, and the fast-paced plotting of J. R. Ward.

CH: Who is your favorite author and why?

AB: I couldn’t pick out just one. There are so many I adore, but just a few that get my one-click finger twitching every time. I mentioned two already. I also enjoy the dark romances of Natasha Knight, and the rigorously researched, but endlessly entertaining historical novels of Philippa Gregory.

CH: What is your next writing project?

AB: I have three completed stories scheduled for release in the coming weeks—a short historical story in an anthology, a novella I am re-releasing, and a completely new contemporary BDSM ménage story. Currently, I’m writing another contemporary romantic suspense set on Capri, a place I visited last summer and which totally inspired me.

CH: How to Find Ashe Barker:

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

AB: It’s on Amazon, and free to read in Kindle Unlimited.

CH: Any closing remarks?

AB: Thank you so much for inviting me over to chat, Cheryl. I hope you’ll find something you like in my stories, and please feel free to let me know what you think. We authors thrive on feedback, especially reviews. If your followers want to keep in touch via social media I’m on Facebook and Twitter. Or they can sign-up for my newsletter to keep in touch with all my news and latest releases.

CH: Thank you so much, Ashe Barker, 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, Ashe Barker 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 – Tina-Marie Miller

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Title: The Curious Miss Fortune (The Hamptons)

Genre: Romance/Mystery

Synopsis: There’s great excitement as the Hampton Players gather to begin rehearsals on their annual am dram. However, it’s not long before the cast begin to make a connection between the fictional storylines and coincidental occurrences in their villages leaving them fearful that a murder is about to take place. Tiggy Lawrence is devastated to learn her father is terminally ill. As she returns to the family home after a nine year absence she’s fearful of a run in not just with step monster Bobbie but also ex fiancé Patrick. Aster Maxwell is a successful maxillofacial surgeon who is hungry for success. Desperate to maximise his specialisation by opening his own private clinic, will he stop at nothing to get what he wants? Diana Fortune’s forgotten past could be her strength when she auditions for the Hampton Players. Only it’s a dark and stormy night as she makes her entrance. Has Miss Fortune finally arrived? Drama finds itself back in the Hamptons as Poppy and Richard Hambly-Jones make an appearance as they prepare to host the Autumn Ball. Expect the unexpected!

Tina-Marie Miller, Author

International Author on Cheryl Holloway’s Blog

CH: Today’s Guest International Author is Tina-Marie Miller. She enjoys curling up with a good book and losing herself in tales of love. Welcome to my blog, Tina-Marie.

CH: Can you sum up this mystery thriller in 20 words or less?

TMM: A series of curious incidents that leave residents fearful a murder is about to take place.

CH: Your book deals with a Hampton play rehearsal and coincidental occurrences in their villages. So, how did you come up with the premise for this book?

TMM: It was whilst I was writing the play for the Hampton Players that I came upon the idea of mirroring the events within the drama alongside coincidental occurrences in the Hamptons.

CH: Did you have to do any special research to write this book or is it all imagination?

TMM: Whilst my work is written from my imagination, to make the story believable I undertake a lot of research. Specifically for this book I did a lot of medical research and considered a number of possible storylines before settling on the final scenes.

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

TMM: My writing offers a diverse perspective through a village environment.

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

TMM: I relish the challenge of creating believable situations and issues some of which I take from real life and elaborate and some are from my imagination.

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

TMM: I’ve been blessed with a diverse career and I’ve lived in a number of different areas and met a plethora of amazing people from all walks of life. This has fed my imagination and inspires my writing.

CH: Which character was your favorite to write?

TMM: The wonderful Reverend Peter Fisher! He’s based on several people, with a bit of added eccentricity! He also reminds me of the Vicar who baptised me.

CH: Which character was hardest to develop?

TMM: Aster Maxwell. It was important to build up the character sufficiently to ensure the reader understands his ruthlessness.

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

TMM: For me, each character I develop has to presented as believable to my readers. There isn’t any one character that stands out as being the hardest to write in this novel.

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

TMM: Yes, absolutely. It was always my intention and I took a long time planning it.

CH: Are there more books in this series?

TMM: Yes, I am hopeful that this series will continue for some time, yet.

When I began creating my debut novel, Everything Happens For A Reason, I undertook extensive research at that time. I carefully mapped out the villages of the Hamptons and created a number of characters. Therefore, when I moved onto writing book 2, The Curious Miss Fortune, most of the work had already been done.

This is the same for the next in the series, which I will commence writing shortly. I have created a number of characters that I have yet to use and several storylines yet to put in place.

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

TMM: I am absolutely thrilled with the feedback I have received so far. Almost everyone complimenting me on keeping them guessing until the very end, due to the many twists and turns within the storyline.

CH: Since this book is full of suspense, action and intrigue, do you prefer writing books with a lot of twists and turns and ups and downs?

TMM: Yes, I do! But they are not easy and I think this is why I prefer it—the challenge is greater. I am fortunate to have an office where I can carefully map everything out on the walls which enables me to keep a careful check on the plot twists and turns that I am trying to create.

CH: What is your next writing project?

TMM: I am planning on writing Book 3 in the Hamptons series.

CH: Can you give my audience your website address?

TMM: Of course. You can find out a lot more about me and my work by visiting www.tinamariemiller.co.uk

CH: How to Find Tina-Marie Miller:

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

TMM: My book is available to purchase through Amazon worldwide. Paperback copies can also be purchased directly from me via my website (above).

CH: Any closing remarks?

TMM: Thank you for giving me the opportunity to be featured on your blog. I much appreciate this. I would like to invite your readers to view my first vlog at http://tiny.cc/gs2wqy

With my best wishes and grateful thanks Cheryl to you and your readers, Tina-Marie xoxox

CH: Thank you so much, Tina-Marie Miller, 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, Tina-Marie Miller 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 – Margareth Stewart

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Title: Open – Pierre’s Journey after War

Genre: Psychological

Synopsis: Open – Pierre’s Journey after War is an intimate story of a man whose wife and children are killed during bombardments of France in WWII. Devastated and embittered, Pierre leaves everything behind and embarks on an odyssey to bury his past in the darkest recesses of his mind.

The journey, which lasts more than forty years, involves a sequence of events and coincidences that ultimately provide him new direction and a sense of purpose.

Pierre feels at home in moving from place to place. When his mission in a specific village or town is accomplished, he wanders once again, observing and savoring whatever life offers.

His activities are circumstantial and unpredictable. Intuitively, he remains on the move to reconcile his past while his future stands still.

He returns to France an old man. On a day on a walk past vineyards near his former home, Pierre is offered a lift by a couple whose absurd, whimsical presence vividly contrasts with whatever solemn tranquility he’d found through his consequential journey and search for redemption.

Pierre for the first time is inspired to speak of his past.

Margareth Stewart, Author

International Author on Cheryl Holloway’s Blog

CH: Today’s Guest International Author is Margareth Stewart. She holds a PhD in Social Psychology and teaches Social Projects through Literature and local stories. Welcome to my blog, Margareth.

CH: Please tell us in one sentence, why we should read Pierre’s story?

MS: Pierre is story about all of us. It’s a story about burying the past, making mends end with our last wishes. It’s about pain, healing, and the inner force to survive.

CH: Your book deals with the after effects of war. So, how did you come up with the premise for this book?

MS: When I was young, I heard a lot of stories about war from my grandfather, now I’m certain they had a great influence on me, more than I can ever think of. Besides that, I have a background in Social Psychology and Pierre reinforces all the post-traumatic narrative from someone who has faced war—someone who doesn’t sleep well, who can’t breathe properly, who avoids being too close to people, and who never speaks about his past!

CH: Did you have to do any special research to write this book or is it all imagination?

MS: Oh, yes, writing is a great combination of imagination, reality and research. I did check everything before launching the book—when I was in France, I talked to people about it, double checked dates, info and places—all to make sure it would be a well-crafted believable story. Even so, I have a feeling that I’ve already known Pierre.

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

MS: I guess the way I portray the characters. I don’t describe them. I guess I become them, and that’s an artefact that gets the story into very realistic grounds—and we (writer/reader) learn a lot this way. And there’s something else in the style I write, I just do not hand out the cheese, plate and knife to the reader—they have to work things out, too.

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

MS: No, not really—maybe because I’ve had so many years in the field of Social Psychology. So, I’m used to walking in other people’s shoes—maybe it’s because I have traveled and seen a lot, too.

CH: Which character was your favorite to write?

MS: Oh, all of them. Pierre, because he’s in my first novel, but then comes Mademoiselle-sur-Seine, and right now, I’m working with Lorraine in a thriller. I’ve learned so much with all of them, and I’m so grateful to having them and their stories.

CH: Which character was hardest to develop?

MS: The Book Shop Owner in Open,  he is a war fanatic, probably a general or war fugitive, he’s so bossy and arrogant, but even being so, he says many true things, and I wanted to point out that we can learn lots from people like him. It is hard because we usually despise such people, and that’s when we fall into traps and problems. It is what happened to Pierre, to know more about it just get the book (LOL).

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

MS: I guess from all the things I’ve lived and have seen, I’m also an avid reader and that helps a lot. On top of that, I’d rather say novel writing for months and Writer’s Residencies are also very precious.

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

MS: People like it. They also learn a lot with Pierre. The funny thing is that each person says a different thing on what was important to them—so it seems the novel has many layers—some people see pain, others healing, others are impacted mostly by the Book Shop Owner, others by Chiamaka or Manoj, and so on.

CH: Are there any authors that provide inspiration for your writing?

MS: Oh, yes, so many: from Steinbeck to Chekov, James Joyce to João Guimarães Rosa, or Gabriel García Márquez.

CH: Since this is your debut novel, can you tell us a little about your writing journey?

MS: I’ve always written papers, and articles for the university, but in the past like 3 or 4 years, I felt this urge to write fiction. The stories kept popping up—the voices, the plot and everything—so, I had no other option, but to sit down and write fiction.

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

MS: Oh, Sir Theodore Zeldin, professor and historian at the Oxford University. He does not write like a historian. He writes like a fiction storyteller—he tells the story from a very singular perspective, and then, he explains, historically, why that is happening. It’s amazing! Carlo Ginzburg also does this kind of writing. There are many others, too.

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

MS: Editing is extra, extra boring. All the rest is fine and flows like a river. But reading our own manuscript over and over again can be very exhausting.

CH: Yes, I agree with you on that. What is your next writing project?

MS: It is the one I’m taking now, Zero Chance, a thriller with best friends, a millionaire in Zurich, the upper-class watch industry, unauthorized fishery, corruption, and loads of unexplained issues.

CH: Can you give my audience your website address?

MS: For sure. Thanks so much for asking. It’s: www.Facebook.com/AuthorMargarthStewart

CH: How to Find Margareth Stewart:

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

MS: Open – Pierre’s Journey after War is available at web-e-books.com. Just look for Author Stewart, Margareth (it’s under my surname first), and for just US $4.95 you have an unforgettable novel. It’s easily readable on all devices, and they also accept paypal for payments.

CH: Any closing remarks?

MS: Follow your instincts in both livings. Thanks for the interview, Cheryl.

CH: Thank you so much, Margareth Stewart, 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, Margareth Stewart 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 – Ken Stark

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Title: Arcadia Falls

Genre: Horror

Synopsis: Something is wrong in Arcadia Falls. The first boy vanished without a trace and with just as little fanfare. Even the second disappearance amounted to little more than a few passing remarks and another name skipped over in the classroom roll call. As far as Riverside High and the rest of Arcadia Falls were concerned, it seemed, it was as if nothing had happened at all. Tyler John was no different. He had barely given the matter a second thought, but then a wrong turn sent him on a path straight into the dark heart of the mystery, and the deeper he peered into the shadows, the more he realized that something was looking back. Now, the hunter has become the hunted and time is running out. With nowhere else to turn, it’s up to Tyler and his handful of friends to stop the evil thing that’s been preying on Arcadia Falls, and if they fail, they might just be the next ones to vanish. Yes, something is desperately wrong in Arcadia Falls, and it’s like nothing anyone has ever seen before.

Ken Stark, Author

International Author on Cheryl Holloway’s Blog

CH: Today’s International Guest Author is Ken Stark. He writes stories to chill the blood. Welcome to my blog, Ken.

CH: Can you sum up this young adult horror in 20 words or less?

KS: Something is preying on Arcadia Falls, and a small group of friends have to either stop it, or die trying.

CH: Why did you decide to write this book on this topic?

KS: I asked my best friend’s teenaged daughter one day what kind of book she’d most like to read, and her answer was, “Something scary, with a monster, and some kind of mystery.” Well, scary was right up my alley, and a mystery could only add depth to the story, but it was her insistence that the monster be something entirely new that really hooked me. I mean, what horror writer doesn’t want to unleash a whole new monster on the world? I started hashing out a story that very night, and the more developed the ‘monster’ became, the more I knew I had to let it loose.

CH: Did you find anything challenging while writing about kids disappearing and the townspeople not seeming to care?

KS: I tend to get caught up in the details, so the logistics of this story were a bit of a challenge. Without giving too much away, the ‘thing’ that’s been preying on Arcadia Falls has a way of hiding in plain sight, so it was a constant balancing act with different characters knowing a little more than the others and with how long each one might retain those memories.

CH: Was it hard creating believable situations and issues?

KS: It isn’t easy to keep a story grounded in reality when it’s specifically designed to scare the snot out of the reader, but if it’s going to be scary, it has to be believable—and to be believable, it first has to be imaginable. I can create any kind of monster I want, but if the reader can’t imagine such a thing existing or if the characters don’t act the way real people would in those situations, then the whole thing falls apart. It’s like capturing that single moment where we’re just waking up from a nightmare and everything is familiar; yet, anything is possible. That moment is fleeting at best, but I have to make it last through an entire book, so it can be tricky at times.

CH: There are several characters in the group of teens. Which character was hardest to develop?

KS: Niki is by far the most complex character I’ve ever created, so she was a handful to say the least! She’s sweet and she’s snarky and she’s vulnerable and she’s strong, and I was never really sure which side of her was going to show up at any given moment, so she demanded a lot of attention. But it was important to me that I get her right, so all of that work really was a labor of love.

CH: Which characters experienced growth and change over the course of the story?

KS: Certainly, everyone was affected by the experience, but where most of them were changed more was in how they perceived one another and the world around them, than in any physical sense. I think Roly underwent a real metamorphosis along the way. He showed his true colors, he proved his courage, and he might just have become the hero no one ever thought he could be.

CH: Which character was your favorite to write?

KS: Niki was my favorite character, but Sarah was my favorite character to write. She’s sarcastic and she’s a smart-ass, so it was a sheer joy to me every time she opened her mouth. Plus, she has a heart of gold underneath that tough exterior, so it was great letting her reveal her gooey center to the others, if only in tiny little glimpses.

CH: You have captured your readers, teens and adults alike, when writing horror stories, and most of your readers come away from your books wanting to read more. How have you perfected this hook? 

KS: Honestly, I have no idea! I simply write what I write and hope that someone out there likes it. When I first started out, I figured my stuff would appeal to a fairly tight demographic, but the feedback I get is from everywhere across the spectrum.

The best I can figure, it’s because I write from the heart. I try to screw words together in a way that will scare the crap out of people, yes, but there’s always within it a glimmer of hope. The world may be crashing down around your ears and every nightmare you’ve ever had might be coming to life, but as bad as things get, there might just be a way out, and maybe, just maybe, you don’t have to go through the nightmare alone. I guess that kind of story just resonates with people. Tell you what, though…if you can figure out for sure what makes one book successful, while another gathers dust, you tell me and we’ll patent that sucker.

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

KS: Well, I don’t feel particularly compelled to adhere to rules of grammar set out by some bespectacled professor centuries ago, so I write in a very natural way. When you’re talking to a friend, you don’t worry about dangling participles or splitting infinitives, so why should it be any different just because it’s in print?

Arcadia Falls was written with a younger reader in mind, but I didn’t do anything different to fit the story into the ‘YA’ genre. In fact, I don’t think that there should even be a specific genre based on age. Young people are every bit as smart as their elders, and quite often smarter, so they are perfectly capable of deciding what they want to read.

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

KS: They can come from anywhere at all, and I mean that literally. Sitting in traffic? What if that kindly old gentleman one car over has a child’s body in the trunk. Or that sound that woke me up in the middle of the night? What if that was the last dying gasp of a neighbor? Literally anything and everything can be turned into a horror story if you look at it a certain way. A visit to an elderly aunt, a stray cat, a knock on the door, a siren in the night, sitting on a toilet, taking a shower…

Tell you what, the next time you’re about to pull back that shower curtain, take a second or two and let your mind wander. How many horrors can you imagine waiting for you on the other side?

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

KS: I admired so many authors growing up; Poe, Asimov, King, Conan Doyle, Wells… I’d love to meet them all, but I honestly don’t know if I’d want to work with any of them. Writers are a solitary bunch after all, and we all want the story to come out as we see it in our heads, so collaborations are tricky. If I worked with any one of those masters, I’m sure I’d be relegated to coffee-monkey, so I’d much rather just hang out and pick their brains and maybe steal a peek over their shoulder from time to time, as they went to work.

CH: What is your favorite horror book? And why?

KS: I have to go with a classic: Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Yes, scarier books have been written since, but for sheer creepiness, nothing beats the book that first introduced us to the modern vampire.

CH: From a feedback perspective, and without a spoiler, did most readers find the ending to be satisfying and met their expectations of the plot? 

KS: I’m happy to say that from what I’ve heard, the ending fits the story perfectly—scary, exciting, and with a surprise or two thrown in for good measure.

CH: What is your next writing project?

KS: I’m hard at work on the third book of the Stage 3 series, entitled Stage 3: Bravo, and I have a couple of short stories in the works as well, one of which will be part of an anthology due out for Halloween. Everything else is up in the air for now, right where I like to keep them.

CH: Can you give my audience your website address?

KS: Absolutely! I invite everyone to drop by and have a look. There’s no mailing list or newsletter to sign up for, so stop in, read a short story or two, and use the contact page to drop me a line. I can’t promise to answer every message, but I promise I’ll read them all.

CH: How to Find Ken Stark:

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

KS: Arcadia Falls is on Amazon right now, with a special release price of 99 cents, but the sale will only last until mid-February, so act fast!

CH: Any closing remarks?

KS: This was a lot of fun! Thank you, Cheryl! I’m always grateful for the opportunity to share a little bit about myself and my books and the writing process, and if anyone wants to know more, they can find me on my website or on social media. Just search for my name or PennilessScribe, and you’ll find me.

Happy reading to you all!

CH: Thank you so much, Ken Stark, 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, Ken Stark 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 – Khaled Talib

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Title: Gun Kiss

Genre: Mystery/Thriller/Suspense

Synopsis: A stolen piece of history, an abducted actress and International intrigue…

When the Deringer pistol that shot Abraham Lincoln is stolen and ends up in the hands of a Russian military general, covert agent Blake Deco is tasked by the FBI to head to the Balkans to recover the historical weapon. Meanwhile, the United States media is abuzz with news of the mysterious disappearance of Hollywood movie star, Goldie St. Helen.

After Blake’s return from overseas, he receives a tip from a Mexican friend that a drug lord, obsessed with the beautiful actress, is holding her captive in Tijuana. With the help of a reluctant army friend, Blake mounts a daring rescue. What he doesn’t expect is to have feelings for Goldie—or that a killer is hunting them.

Khaled Talib, Author

International Author on Cheryl Holloway’s Blog

CH: Today’s International Guest Author is Khaled Talib. He is a member of the Crime Writers Association and the International Thriller Writers Organization. Welcome to my blog, Khaled.

CH: Please tell us in one sentence why we should read this thriller?

KT: Both, reviewers and authors who have endorsed the novel suggested that readers take a deep breath before reading it.

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

KT: It’s hard to miss the bits and pieces of scandalous news about Hollywood.  From sexual harassment, pedophilia, to stalking fans. So, I decided to work on these themes to give more depth to what is often described as paperback novel.  While this thriller is exciting and light-reading, it features important and current issues affecting the movie industry.

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

KT: I drew real-life inspiration based on the stories I have read about the lives of celebrities. To check, if my story didn’t sound over the top after I had finished writing it, I interviewed a celebrity bodyguard, who had worked with famous names. He confirmed the things—everything that takes place behind the scenes. I dare say, it’s life imitating art. For example, I was told some celebrity stalkers don’t just invade a movie star’s privacy, but they also send strange things in the mail…like gruesome things—we’re talking body parts!

CH: Since this book is about a stolen piece of history, an abducted actress and International intrigue, did you run into any challenges while writing this book?

KT: It was difficult to bind the plot.  I mean, what has a stolen piece of history (in this case, being the Deringer that shot Abraham Lincoln) and an International intrigue, got to do with an actress being abducted? In fact, when I first submitted it to a literary agent, he told me that the story was unfocused. I panicked!  Then, after calming down, I began to rework it and managed to tie in everything by creating a subplot. Even that didn’t resolve the story flow. The pages had to be seamlessly connected. I’m proud to say I managed to do it without awkwardness.

CH: The plot involves the FBI, so did you have to do any special research to write this book?

KT: During my research period, I learned about the FBI’s Form 302, which they use to summarize an interview. The thing is, they write down your replies, which means that they can rewrite it, the way they want it, which can trap you. That’s dangerous. Caution: if the FBI ever wants to talk to you, make sure you have a lawyer present.

CH: Since this book is a mystery/thriller with lots of suspense, do you enjoy writing a plot with a lot of ups and downs?

KT: All my novels have been described as intense and fast.  I’m not writing literary fiction here, it’s supposed to make you bite your fingernails and send shivers down your spine. In Gun Kiss, you’ll find the story having its ups and downs moments, as my intention is to play with your mind and emotions.

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

KT: Expect the unexpected. I let you assume what you think is going to happen, before pulling the carpet from under you. You’ve been warned.

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

KT: Goldie St. Helen, the movie star and co-protagonist. In the story, she’s a big Hollywood name, so I couldn’t afford to let this A-list personality appear unimportant. Yet, at the same time, I couldn’t let her overshadow the protagonist, Blake Deco. Goldie had to stand out. She needed to appear shiny with a powerful personality. I feel, Gun Kiss is a story with two protagonists. There are many scenes in the novel where she stands alone. I think without her the story would have been flat. I’m fine with it.

CH: Which character was your favorite to write?

KT: Goldie St. Helen. In fact, if you go to my website, I hosted a Q & A interview with her.

CH: Which character was hardest to develop?

KT: Dai Lo, the drug lord. I tried imagining myself as evil. So, I indulged in method-writing, which is like method acting. I went into character. I think I should enter a decompression chamber because I keep saying ‘Amigo’ a lot nowadays.

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

KT: The novel is flamboyant and glittering, just like how Hollywood is. But there’s a dark side that one needs to know about. Not all that glitters is gold.

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

KT: So far, I’ve been enjoying raving reviews from readers, but I think one reviewer in the UK cursed the book for whatever her reasons. Personally, I’m happy with my work. The fact, I received praise from Jon Land, USA Today bestselling author of The Rising and Gayle Lynds, New York Times bestselling author of The Assassins is a solid endorsement. Even Midwest Book Review gave me high marks.

CH: Are there any authors that provide inspiration for your writing?

KT: I read all kinds of novels, so I would say there’s a bit of everyone in me. However, that said, many have described my previous novels like Robert Ludlum’s novels. In his blurb, Jon Land described Gun Kiss as a novel that reminded him of Don Winslow’s The Force.

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

KT: I’ve been writing since I was a kid. They used to call me a day dreamer in school. I wasn’t day dreaming—I was in the world built by Enid Blyton, the British author, who wrote fantastical books for children.

CH: What is your next writing project?

KT: I’m writing a murder mystery set at a winery in South Australia. I used to handle the public relations account of the South Australian tourism office, so I’m familiar with the State.

CH: How to Find Khaled Talib:

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

KT: Gun Kiss is available on Amazon and on Kindle Unlimited, Nook, Kobo and various other online stores in paperback, epub and kindle.

CH: Any closing remarks?

KT: Wishing everyone a Happy and Peaceful 2018!

CH: Thank you so much, Khaled Talib, 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, Khaled Talib and Cheryl Holloway.

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Subscribe to my blog because I share great books with wonderful readers all over the globe!

   

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 – Marissa Campbell

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Title: Hot in Aruba: An Unabashedly Sexy Contemporary Romance

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis: Vulnerability is Samantha Mackay’s kryptonite, and she keeps her emotions—and her men—at arm’s length. But when her good friend, Carlos Naldini, invites her on an all-expense-paid trip to Aruba, her resolve waivers.

Tired of being relegated to the friend zone, Carlos enacts his foolproof plan, inviting Samantha to join him in Aruba, hoping the trip to paradise will soften her reluctant heart.

Samantha agrees to Carlos’ proposal, giving him exactly ten days to prove he’s boyfriend material. After some wild Aruba nights and hot, sexy days, things appear to be progressing swimmingly, until Carlos’ ex-girlfriend arrives, exposing an intricate web of deception and betrayal. When news from home shatters Samantha’s hopes further, she leaves Aruba, giving up on her dreams of happily ever after. Devastated, Carlos is determined to do whatever it takes to bring Samantha back to Aruba and into his arms.

Secrets, lies, and heartbreak lurk in the shadows behind sunshiny days of sex on the beach, cocktails by the pool, laughter, and friends. It’s getting hot in Aruba—but the sparks might just consume them.

Marissa Campbell, Author

International Author on Cheryl Holloway’s Blog

CH: Today’s International Guest Author is Marissa Campbell. She is a proud member of the Historical Novel Society and Romance Writers of America. Welcome to my blog, Marissa.

CH: Please tell us in two sentences why we should read this book.

MC: I tend to blend genres together in my writing, so if you think you might enjoy an unabashedly sexy contemporary romance with the depth and resonance of a memorable women’s fiction, then Hot in Aruba might be for you. I even managed to say all that in one sentence, lol.

CH: Your sexy book deals with the realities of life and love. So, how did you come up with the premise for this book?

MC: Hot in Aruba was inspired by a short story I wrote, called Italian Delicacy. I fell in love with these two characters and decided they had a bigger story to tell. I had just finished writing the second book in my historical romance series and knew I wanted to try my hand at a contemporary novel. I also wanted a location I knew and loved. Aruba was a great fit. It gave me a timeline to work with and an exotic location to set the story in.

CH: Did you have to do any special research to write this hot and sexy novel?

MC: For the first time writing a book, I didn’t have to do any extensive research. That was the captivating draw of writing a contemporary romance. While I wrote Avelynn and Avelynn: The Edge of Faith, book one and two in my historical fiction series set in 869 England and Wales, I was immersed in research. For my next book, I wanted a refreshing change. Fortunately, I had been to Aruba, so I could give a reasonable account of some of its features. For parts where I wanted to branch out beyond what I had experienced, I interviewed friends who had also been to the island to get an idea of where they stayed and what they did while on holiday there.

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

MC: As mentioned, I like to blend genres, specifically looking to add or tweak elements I discover when reading. For example, I tend to gloss over some of the internal thoughts that are typical of the romance genre. Readers, of course, will know what Samantha and Carlos are thinking, but for me, in a typical romance there’s just too much repetition of why the two protagonists can’t be together. My style of writing doesn’t fit with that.

The other thing that I need when reading a book is some seriously sensuous heat. I love the depth of women’s fiction, or chick-lit if you will, but I find they typically shy away from sexy scenes. Most sex scenes are off the page, behind closed doors, or are short and sweet. I wanted to bring readers a truly memorable and emotionally resonant love story, with lots of character development, but I wanted to titillate with enough heat to satisfy the most discerning romance or erotica reader.

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

MC: I think emotions are universal. In order to write a compelling love story, an author needs to tap into the feelings we’ve all experienced and bring them to life on the page. Even if the situations I’m creating are new, I remember what it felt like to fall in love, to feel betrayed, to feel lost or alone. I bring that reflection to the scenes I create for my characters. Though, I will say the story of Catharine and Mr. Lewiston was based on my own grandparents and the love and life they shared together for 60 years.

CH: Which character was the hardest to write?

MC: I always find my lead protagonist, in this case, Samantha, the hardest to write. I tend to be a very deep methodical thinker, and my main characters are not prone to fantasy. They are practical, down to earth, and typically stubborn. This makes them a little closed when it comes to trying to understand what’s going on in their heads. They don’t make it easy for me. I have to remove a layer of insight one scene at a time until I know them like the back of my hand. Carlos and Mr. Lewiston for example were a breeze to write in comparison, lol.

CH: Which character was your favorite to write?

MC: I enjoyed spending time with Mr. Lewiston, Samantha’s mentor and only real father figure in her life. Because I based the love story of Mr. Lewiston and his wife, Catharine, on my own grandparents, it was like they were with me, as I wrote the novel. I cherished that.

CH: With secrets, lies, and heartbreak, is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

MC: They always say your personal style reflects themes and guiding principles. I never really thought about it until I finished writing Avelynn. It was only after reading a craft book about theme that I realized the novel had a strong theme, though I had interwoven it subconsciously. I’ve since come to realize that I do have key messages in my books and in a way, they guide my entire life: Follow your dreams; If you are passionate about something, it’s worth fighting for; Everyone deserves happiness; and Always know your worth.

CH: How long have you been writing? What attracted you to writing in the first place?

MC: According to my kindergarten reflection sheet, I was always going to grow up and be a writer. Who knew? Lol. I find it fascinating that at 5 years old, I had a sense of who I was. Of course, it took me another thirty years to truly embrace it, but I’ve spent my entire life writing in some capacity, whether penning articles for newspapers and local magazines, writing blog posts, or tinkering with stories that will never see the light of day. It took me a long time to own the title, Author, and to actually take a chance on writing novels.

As for what attracted me to writing in the first place, that’s a good question. I think I needed an outlet for a hyperactive mind. Most writers I know have minds that just won’t shut down, and at some point, you need to do something with all that clamor banging around in your head. I used to write poetry to help make sense of my emotions and feelings, but writing a novel allows you to experience someone else’s feelings, and someone else’s life. It lets you channel and focus your thoughts into something new, rather than constantly rehashing the same internal melodrama of your own life. It’s like an escape, like travelling to Aruba for a blissful vacation.

CH: What is your favorite romance book? And Why?

 MC: I’m a huge Outlander fan, an amazing historical romance series by Diana Gabaldon. I’m pretty sure everyone on the planet has read the books, but just in case you haven’t, you really should read the books. 😉  I fell in love with the main characters, Jamie and Claire, in the first book and continued to follow their adventures, savoring every moment they were on the page together. Not only does Diana do an incredible job of creating and then sustaining that romance through each book in the series, but she also writes wonderfully sensual love scenes. A trait I admire greatly.

In fact, I’d say Diana is my greatest inspiration as an author. It was because of my love for Outlander that I found the courage to write Avelynn, and I continue to be captivated by her words. I’ve had many authors move me with their stories, and each one has helped shape who I am as a writer. I learn something new with each book I read.

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

MC: When I was very young, I wrote wild tales of strange lands and knights and damsels. Then as a teenager, my thoughts turned dark and existential, and I explored my emotions and feelings through poetry. After that, I found myself starting a family, and in my spare time would write articles for parenting newspapers and local magazines. It wasn’t until I became a yoga instructor that I co-wrote my first book, exploring how to live life to the fullest. Life: Living in Fulfillment Every Day was a labor of love, taking five years to complete, but when it was done, I had something meaningful to give to the world, and the satisfaction I took away from that, as well as the knowledge that I could in fact complete a book, despite the countless false starts sitting on floppy disks (yes, I’m dating myself, lol), was intoxicating. I wanted to do it again. Then, after one cold Outlanderless night, having just finished reading An Echo in the Bone, I decided to write my own historical romance to fill the void. Thus, the Avelynn series was born. My debut novel, Avelynn was published by St. Martin’s Press in 2015. The sequel, Avelynn: The Edge of Faith, I indie published in 2016. And, this year, 2017, I tried my hand at contemporary romance with Hot in Aruba. It’s certainly been a journey.

CH: What is your next writing project?

MC: Fans of Avelynn would want me to say book three in the series, and while that’s somewhere on the horizon, I have been toying with an LGBTQ romance story, which may be my next venture. However, this past September I returned to college full-time. So, my writing has taken a bit of a hiatus, and studying has taken over.

CH: How to Find Marissa Campbell:

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

MC: Hot in Aruba is available through all the regular channels: Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Chapters, etc. The eBook will be available strictly through Amazon for the time being. I may expand the distribution down the road, but I’m giving Kindle exclusivity a try.

CH: Any Closing Remarks?

MC: I’m incredibly proud of Hot in Aruba. I took a chance and blurred the genre lines, but I think readers will appreciate the effort. I’m excited to see what everyone thinks! Thanks, Cheryl.

CH: Thank you so much, Marissa Campbell, 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, Marissa Campbell 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 – Elaine Everest

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Title: Christmas at Woolworths

Genre: Saga

Synopsis: Even though there was a war on, the Woolworths girls brought Christmas cheer to their customers.

Best friends Sarah, Maisie and Freda are brought together by their jobs at Woolworths. With their loved ones away on the front line, their bonds of friendship strengthen each day. Betty Billington is the manager at Woolworths, and a rock for the girls, having given up on love…until a mysterious stranger turns up one day—Could he reignite a spark in Betty?

As the year draws to a close, and Christmas approaches, the girls must rely on each other to navigate the dark days that lie ahead…with so much change, can their friendship survive the war?

Elaine Everest, Author

International Author on Cheryl Holloway’s Blog

CH: Today’s Guest is International Author, Elaine Everest. She also runs a writing school. Welcome to my blog, Elaine.

CH: Please tell us in one sentence, why we should read this World War II saga.

EE: A story of its time set in a real town, true history and honest characters.

CH: Your book deals with the realities of life during a war. So, how did you come up with the premise for this book?

EE: My sagas had to be set in a world that I knew—albeit later than WW2. I knew so much history of Erith as that is where I was born and grew up. I also knew the people of Erith to be hardworking and reliable. Knowing how loved Woolworths was, I was ready to write my stories.

CH: With that in mind, was it hard creating believable situations and issues or did you take them from real life and elaborate?

EE: I have four timelines for Christmas at Woolworths. The first is WW2 as what happened in my country at that time had to influence the story. Next, came the history of the town itself. I was putting my story into a place that many readers still remember, so I had to be true to my readers. Third, was Woolworths. I had to show the Erith store, as people remember it. An iconic company has to be treated with respect and the history of Woolworths has to weave through my story. Finally, comes the fictional timeline. My characters need to go on an adventure that fits in with the other three timelines.

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

EE: Saga writers always have to undertake research. At times I feel I would love ‘just to write a story’ but I have too much respect for the time period to do that without checking facts. For my research, I use national archives, reliable non-fiction books and local history experts. I couldn’t write my books without the excellent Woolworths cyber museum, where I gained inspiration and advice.

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

EE: I’m not sure about ‘different and exciting’ but I like to stay true to the people of the town and what life was like ‘back then.’ For example, Ruby Caselton lives on Alexandra Road in Erith. The street of Victorian houses is still there—I lived at number 13 for over twenty years, when first married. I absorbed the stories and the lives and I hope this comes through in my writing.

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

EE: That is a hard question. My three main characters Sarah, Maisie, and Freda are known to me, I have always known how they will live during the war and what will happen to them in the future. To me, they are real. However, there is one character, Ruby Caselton, Sarah’s Grandmother, who is the linchpin to the book, as she not only has her own hopes and fears and lives by the rule of being honest and helpful. How she advises and acts, can at times make for pivotal moments in my stories. If she gives the wrong advice to ‘the girls’ there can be life-changing effects.

CH: Which character was your favorite to write?

EE: I love writing Betty Billington’s story. Her life was set from the moment she lost her husband to be in WW1. A spinster and manager at Woolworth her future was set in stone. Or was until I decided to make some changes…

CH: Which character was hardest to develop?

EE: Sarah Caselton/Gilbert. She was the main character in the first of the Woolworths books and as my readers loved her so much I have to be very careful what happens to her in future books.

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

EE: I had no idea that my publisher would decide to carry on with the stories. Readers took The Woolworths Girls to their hearts and so the series began. It did cause a problem as anyone who has read The Butlins Girls would know. This book is set in 1946 and Freda plays an important part in the story. She mentions her mates at Woolies and so, when I came to write Carols at Woolworths, Christmas at Woolworths and the two following books, I’ve had to remember what was mentioned in that one other book.

CH: Are there any additional books in this series?

EE: Yes, Christmas at Woolworths is the third book in the series, Carols at Woolworths is an eBook, and there will be more books. Wartime at Woolworths will be published in May 2018 and I’m writing another book at the moment for the end of 2018.

CH: There is a lesson to learn and a reason to celebrate Christmas, especially during a war. Is there a message in your novel that you want the readers to grasp?

EE: I’m a storyteller. I’m not sure that I give messages in my books. However, I’ve found that younger readers learn from my books about how people lived through the war and that patriotism carried us through dark times. Celebrating weddings and Christmas gives normality to families at a time when no one knew what would happen next.

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

EE: Readers have been very generous with their feedback. I hear from people who worked at Woolworths in its heyday. They send memories of their working life and tell me that I have helped them remember happier times. It is an honour to hear from ex Woolworths workers from around the world and to know that for the time, they are reading my books, they are taken back to their youth.

CH: What is your favorite Christmas book? And why?

EE: My favourite book is The Christmas Carol. Charles Dickens is the best storyteller of the period and can carry me away to a time when Christmas really meant something.

CH: Are there any authors that provide inspiration for your writing?

EE: True saga writers, who write beautiful characters and strong storylines that stay with me are Harry Bowling, Dilly Court and Dee Williams, to name but three. It is an enjoyable part of my work as a saga writer to study those who have mastered the art and set their books in areas I recognize.

CH: What is your next writing project?

EE: At the moment, I am halfway through writing another Woolworths book due for publication in November 2018. This book brings the war to a close and sees my girls looking to the future and peace.

CH: How to Find Elaine Everest:  

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

EE: Christmas at Woolworths, along with most of my other books, can be found on Amazon, as well as in all good bookshops.

CH: Any closing remarks?

EE: Thank you so much for inviting me to your blog, Cheryl. It is an honour to be invited to talk about my books.

CH: Thank you so much, Elaine Everest, 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, Elaine Everest and Cheryl Holloway.

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

Subscribe to my blog because I share great books with wonderful readers all over the globe!

   

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 and Deborah MacGillivray

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Title: One Yuletide Knight (Box Set)

Genre: Historical Romance/Medieval/Holidays

Synopsis: Travel back to medieval times to celebrate Yuletide with these dashing knights and their spirited ladies in a wonderfully romantic boxed set of stories you won’t want to put down! Lose yourself in this collection of eight exciting stories of medieval days penned especially for this most joyful time of year.

With exciting tales by talented authors such as Deborah MacGillivray, Lindsay Townsend, Keena Kincaid, Cynthia Breeding, Angela Raines, Patti Sherry-Crews, Beverly Wells, and Dawn Thompson, you’ll find it hard to put this collection down until you’ve read to the very end! Don’t miss these adventures of holiday romance spiced with medieval danger in One Yuletide Knight!

Lindsay Townsend, Author

International Author on Cheryl Holloway’s Blog

 

 

 

 

CH: Today’s Guests are International Authors Lindsay Townsend and Deborah MacGillivray.  Both are English novelist with a passion for writing historical romance.  Welcome to my blog, Lindsay and Deborah.

Let’s discuss one of the novellas included in the box set, Sir Constantine and the Changeling by Lindsay Townsend.

CH: Please tell us in one sentence, why we should read this Christmas historical novel.

LT: If you are looking for passion, magic and adventure set in a  past when Christmas was also Yule and the darkness of the year and the Solstice were more than simple night, please read this collection of novellas.

CH: You seem to enjoy writing about dashing Knights, their spirited ladies and their romances.  How did you come up with the premise for this novella?

LT: I was re-reading Steven Runciman’s ‘History of the Crusades’ and was struck by how many Knights went abroad on crusade, sometimes for many years. What impact did such a long absence have on their families back home and on their relationships? That thought was the germ of the idea behind my novella, Sir Constantine and the Changeling, particularly when married to medieval beliefs concerning changelings. After a long time apart from his wife Kari, my knightly hero Constantine falls prey to the insinuations of his brother, and that trouble forms the backdrop to the story between Constantine and Kari.

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

LT: It was very satisfying to use real medieval beliefs to shape my story and to make it more realistic and compelling. I took the fear and distrust that some medieval churchmen had towards women and used that to drive a dangerous wedge between my main characters. In the middle ages, winter was a time of danger and hunger, so I could use that to add to the stakes, plus I took the figure of the Yule Goat and put that in as part of the climax of the novella.

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

LT: I needed to refresh my knowledge of medieval Christmas customs and also Yule-time food and drink.

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

LT: I hope that my readers enjoy my characters, who are not kings and queens, but more down-to-earth people, each struggling with situations and dilemmas that are timeless—love, betrayal, trust, and so on, very human problems. I try to write as vividly and with as much immediacy as possible, so readers feel as if they are part of the developing plot.

CH: Which character was hardest to develop?

LT: I found Constantine’s Templar brother Hadrian difficult to write because he is so certain and unyielding in his narrow faith. I found him almost impossible to develop since, unlike his younger brother Constantine or Kari, he does not want to change and consider anyone else. In the end, I was glad when he went away!

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

LT: That couples should talk to each other and to never let the sun go down on a quarrel without some kind of resolution, however grudging and hard to reach.

CH: This book is part of a Christmas box set.  What kind of feedback are you getting from readers of your novella?

LT: It’s only just out, so early days yet. I know the other Christmas box sets have been well-received. People seem to enjoy slipping back to the Middle Ages, especially over Christmas. I think the colour, chivalry and spectacle of that age is interesting to savour in the depth of winter, when outside can be gray, cold and dark.

CH: Is this your favorite genre to write?

LT: Yes! I love writing romance and historical romance, particularly romance set in the distant past.

CH: What is your favorite historical Christmas romance?

LT: I love Mistletoe Everywhere by Linda Banche. It’s a Regency romance, full of the magic of mistletoe, the plant of peace and reconciliation. I find it a perfect escape for Christmas.

CH: What is your next writing project?

LT: I plan to promote the upcoming re-issue of my medieval romance novel, A Knight’s Captive, and work on a new medieval story, Ugly Meg.

CH: Any closing remarks?

LT: Only a large ‘Thank you’ to you, Cheryl, for hosting me, today, and wishes for a happy, healthy and peaceful Yule for you, your readers and everyone!

 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. 

CH: How to Find Lindsay Townsend:

Next, let’s discuss another novella included in the box set, A Marriage Made in Hell by Deborah MacGillivray.

Deborah MacGillivray, Author

 

 

International Author on Cheryl Holloway’s Blog

 

 

 

 

 

CH: Can you sum up your historical Christmas novel in 20 words or less?

DM: Probably not…lol…but I shall try.  A woman, who lives in the shadows of her beautiful sister, finally gets the chance to find love and happiness.  Okay, I guess I can.  20 exactly.  Ta Da!

CH: You write historical romance novels. Can you tell us how you started writing historical romance novels?

DM: Originally, I began writing suspense and contemporary romance.  History was such a strong part of my life it’s not surprising that I was pulled in that direction.  I found a story about a distant part of my family, complete with an ancient medieval trust that remains a riddle to this day.  The intrigue took hold and wouldn’t let me go.

For many summers, I was a researcher to my grandfather, a retired historian.  During WWII family records were moved from southern England, fearful of the buzz bombs hitting, or that Hitler was going to invade.  The kids in the family were packed off to the States to keep them safe.  The extensive records, going back for centuries, were boxed up and sent to the Hebrides in Scotland, hoping to protect them.  Only, my great-great-grandfather and great-grandfather were not appreciative of the records, of history.  They were dumped in a seldom used thatched house.  Some papers were damaged when the roof leaked.  Thankfully, my grandfather set about the task to salvage, restore and record, as much of the papers as he could.

From childhood, I had a deep love for knights and their chargers, ladies in the beautiful costumes of the period, so naturally I loved reading old letters, diaries and writings from the various periods.  Later on, I was a trained typist, so I moved to helping my grandfather in his work.  I guess instead of dry facts from the distant past, I heard the voices of people.  Men and women, who had laughed, loved and fought to survive.

Old places call to me.  I always see a castle, or manor home and wonder who lived there, what were their lives like?  I supposed it was a natural extension to pick out some piece of the past and use that as a launching pad for my series, lending voices to the force of their love, what brought a man and woman together, wove their lives, and their destinies into one.  That power transcends dates and facts.  To my romantic heart that is pure magic.

CH: This book is about the adventures of a holiday romance spiced with medieval danger.  So, how did you come up with the premise for this book?

DM: This novella, A Marriage Made in Hell, launches a new series: Hell Knights: The Knights of Hellborne. It is a spin-off from the current medieval historical series I pen—the Dragons of Challon (Prairie Rose Publications now, originally Kensington Historical Books).  So, I already had a setting, and a period fixed.  After that I just needed to figure out the premise.  And what could be more dreamy, than a holiday romance where deepest wishes come true?  In a novella, you have such limited space to flesh out characters and plot.  You have to jump into the story and get things moving quickly.  Christmas being a wondrous time, when dreams could come true, I imagined a young woman wanting a marriage desperately; yet, it was beyond her reach.  In contrast, I saw a man, a fourth son, who didn’t ever expect to marry.  Suddenly, you have all sorts of room for amusing situations.

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

DM: I rarely take my characters anywhere.  They take me.  I create names, a setting, give them the seeds of the story, and then breathe life into them.  Once that conjuring is done, my characters awaken and tell me their tale.  I literally see the plot like a movie inside my head.  The scenes, and the emotions are there.

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

DM: I actually find I have to do more research for my contemporary novels.  Things are changing so quickly.  When I began the Sisters of Colford Hall series,  there were no cell phones.  Mobile phones were just coming into use.  Originally, I was writing the series by hand and on a word processor.  Nothing like laptops were about to help you.  Fortunately, they came along by the time I finally got to the point of seriously submitting.

I spent so many of my summers working with the family records, along with other historical projects, such as archaeological digs, so I often feel more comfortable with one foot in Medieval times.  When I was small, my grandfather used to read me history instead of fairytales—William Wallace, Robert the Bruce, and Sir James, the Black Douglas.  I think I was about nine before I understood that William Wallace wasn’t an ancestor!  Before I began my Dragons of Challon series, I created a massive ‘bible’ for the novels.  Extensive bios, maps, where were Wallace, Bruce and Edward Longshanks on any given day—several years worth of work.  Now, I will check details to make sure there are no conflicts, but I don’t research the Medievals.  I just have one foot firmly planted in the 13th Century these days.

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

DM: I bring hands on experience.  Besides learning about history, my grandfather thought we should experience it.  So, for summer projects, the grandkids would do unusual things like making lye soap, collecting honey, creating wax and dipping candles.  One summer when I was nearly fifteen, I was painted blue with woad from head to toe.  That was an experience!  When I was twelve I was clomping around in armour, thus I have dressed in plate and mail, and know how it feels on your body, what it does to your movements.  I learned to fight with claymores, throw knives, shoot bows and arrows, sew medieval gowns and weave baskets.  I have gone through secret passageways and prowled hidden rooms.  I messed up my knee in a bike accident when I was about ten, so I missed the lessons on looms, which I later regretted.  I tried to learn to spin wool.  While I wasn’t very good at it, I do understand the process.  I have sheered sheep, carded wool, cared for horses and cows.  I have cut and split wood, built fires using only a flint, and cooked on open fires.  I washed clothes outdoors in huge kettles.  Dried fruits.  I have shod horses, and even spent time in a real forge seeing how horseshoes and swords were made.  I loved the experience, though it was too hot for my comfort.  Thus, my medieval stories have a sense of how things were, a realness.

CH: Wow. You had an interesting childhood, full of the unusual. Which character was hardest to write?  Which character was your favorite to write?

DM: The character I am writing about at the moment is always my favorite.  I feared after creating Julian Challon that I might never love another hero as I loved him.  I soon learned I could fall for Des Mershan, Damian St. Giles, Redam Maignart…well, I love them all.  I have to bring that love for my hero to the story to make the reader love them, too.  Julian was also likely the most troublesome to write.  Originally, I plotted him in a much darker vein.  I am a BIG fan of Anne Stuart.  She writes Gamma rogue characters like no one else.  I wanted that dark edge she imbues in her bad boys to be the platform for Julian.  I quickly learned he truly didn’t appreciate that.  One night, after I fell asleep, I was ‘awoken’ by a man sitting on the edge of the bed.  He said, “My name is Julian…and we need to talk.”  LOL   That was the first time I realized characters were demanding and would permit me to tell their stories—if I listened to them.

In my novella,  I think the secondary character of Elspeth was most problematic.  Her complete naive selfishness was hard to maintain.  I feared her coming out two-dimensional.  I was setting her up to be the heroine in the second novella in the series, On The Road To Hell, where she finally grows up and gets past her childish, self-centered ways and becomes a caring woman.  She needed to be bitchy in the first novella, but not to the point readers won’t believe her transformation in the second story.

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

DM: I am not big on messages.  I write to give the reader an adventure they won’t find elsewhere—an escape to another world.  However, often the thread of being true to yourself, being who you really are, who you are meant to be, tends to be something I see again and again in my works.  It’s not conscious, but I think we start out believing we will be one type of person; as we grow, life experiences will reform those self-opinions and how we see life, and how we go through this world.  Also, for us to strive for our dreams.  If you stand back and wait for life to come for you, then you might miss something very special.  You have to reach out and try.  Even if you fail in trying, you change and grow.

CH: What kind of feedback are you getting from readers of this novella?

DM: Very positive.  I have a strong reader base.  I have been very lucky in the faithful readers that have been following me for over a decade now.  I think if I commit any sins, it’s in not getting the stories out quickly enough.  Christmas stories always are a magical way to enjoy the season by curling up with a cup of Earl Grey, by the fireside, and slipping away to a magical adventure.  The novellas at Christmas are perfect length.  You have less reading time, so these give you the heartwarming tales of a different time, of love and hope.

CH: You often review books by other authors, how important are reviews for books?

DM: I no longer review books.  I was on several review sites for nearly a decade, a member of  Reviewers International Organization (RIO), and a top reviewer on Amazon.  I am still on staff at Paranormal Romance Reviews, but I don’t think I have reviewed a book in several years.  I continue to run their promotional site.  Basically, I don’t have the time any more.

How important are they?  I think that has been the question for a long time.  Most reviews you see out there are not reviews anymore.  They are opinions.  Reviews cover the structure of the book, the craft, how special or original they are.  Maybe you address how this book compares to other books from the same author.  Most opinions posted on novels are just that.  They will overlook those things and post how they like a book.  Liking should come into play, but I don’t have to LIKE a book to think it’s a five star novel.  I might not care for it because it simply isn’t something I found fun to read.  However, the book could have thought-provoking purpose, or show me a great skill at wordsmithing to make me see others would find the book super.  I have often really liked books that had problems.  A book that comes from the heart and makes me enjoy my time spent with it can make me forgive problems in structure or plot.  I don’t see many postings showing that objective view of a book.  If you reviewed an erotica novella, but you don’t like erotica, your opinion of the book could be very bad.  However, maybe they penned such an amazingly original story, that you have to see the talent behind that and anticipate they will grow and sharpen that ability.

Also, Amazon now restricts authors from posting reviews.  Very odd, since Montlake (Amazon’s Romance publishing) keeps encouraging me to write them.  However, another branch seems to be going around warning authors not to post them.  They miss a balance, I think.  Author’s understand what it takes to make a good book, what is interesting voice or writing style.  Perhaps, they just need to label the review as such and let the readers decide if that review helps or not?  I have seen books getting horrible reviews go on to become bestsellers.  Some books with no reviews, do well.  Still, I think we all look to find feedback from readers.  What they enjoyed about our works.  Questions they might have.  So, I cannot really say if reviews help or not.  Bad reviews often provoke readers to buy the book just to see for themselves.  You simply don’t know.

CH: What is your next writing project?

DM: I am currently finishing up with redoing the third Dragons of Challon novel, One Snowy Knight.  Then, I will be finishing up and releasing the fourth in the series, Redemption.  It’s a book that has haunted me.  I finished it once:  the night my house burned down.  I had to rewrite the whole thing from scratch.  It’s been a bit of a bugbear for me, because of memories, but I am determined to move past that, now the historicals have a new home.  I will also do the novella On The Road To Hel,l which will be a sequel to the novella in One Yuletide Knight.

I will also be penning the fourth in the Sisters of Colford Hall series—Some Things Never Change.  Also, I am helping Candy Thompson get out a book that her late sister, Dawn Thompson was in the process of publishing when she died.  Dawn has a novella in this same anthology, A Wish Under a Yuletide Moon.  Candy and I made a promise to get her final novels and novellas out and keep them out, something we take to heart in seeing is done.

I am never without a cartload of projects waiting for completion…lol.

CH: Yes, you seem to be quite busy. Any closing remarks?

DM: I want to thank you for allowing me to visit with your readers.  I wish each the Happiest of Holidays and a very special Happy New Year.  May 2018 bring peace to us all, to the world.

CH: Thank you so much, Deborah MacGillivray, 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. 

CH: How to Find Deborah MacGillivray:

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

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Guest Author Interview – Melinda Hammond

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Title: The Duke’s Christmas Bride

Genre: Historical Fiction/Historical Romance/Regency

Synopsis: Waldo, the fifth Duke of Charingden, shows no inclination to marry. In desperation, his family invites a string of eligible beauties to the Christmas Ball at Birklands for him to choose from, but the only young lady to interest the Duke is little Clara Tillotson, who is herself desperate to avoid being forced into marriage…a sparkling Regency romance with just a touch of snow!

Melinda Hammond, Author

International Author on Cheryl Holloway’s Blog

CH: Today’s Guest Author is International Author, Melinda Hammond, who also writes as Sarah Mallory. She writes historical romance adventures. Welcome to my blog, Melinda.

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

MH: A reluctant bridegroom finds himself dancing in the snow with a beautiful stranger in this sweet Regency romance.

CH: Your Christmas book deals with a Duke who has no inclination of marriage. So, how did you come up with the premise for this book?

MH: I wanted to write a feel-good festive story, for pure escapist entertainment. I had an image in my mind for some time of a Regency couple dancing in the snow on a country house lawn. It is another take on the Cinderella story, but in this version I wanted both my hero and heroine to be reluctant to marry.

CH: Did you have to do any special research to write this historical fiction/regency novel?

MH: I have been writing novels set in the Regency period for decades now, but there is always something new to discover, little points of accuracy that I like to get right. Being set in a country house, and much of it at winter time, I had to pay attention to costume detail, to make sure my poor heroine did not get frostbite!

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

MH: The story is set in and around a fictional country house, Birklands Hall, one of the country seats of the Duke of Charingden, so the biggest challenge was to bring all the characters into that setting. It is not a long book, so it was important not to get too bogged down with back story or too many characters.

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

MH: That is a difficult one for any writer to answer! First of all, I want to keep the story moving, so the reader doesn’t get bored. I try to make my characters real and to set them and their story against a historically correct background. I also like to put in some adventure, too. Of course, I am writing fiction, and romantic fiction at that, so it must have a happy ending. We all know that real life can be pretty amazing, so although this is fiction, I like to think that it could have happened.

CH: Since this book is a historical Christmas novel, was it hard creating believable situations and issues during the Christmas season or did you take them from real life and elaborate?

MH: This story takes place over two winters, so it was important to check just how Christmas was celebrated in the Regency. Most of the traditions we associate with Christmas—carols, cards, and Christmas trees—are from the Victorian era (although decorated trees and Christmas hymns were known in the Regency, and presents, too were exchanged, but nothing on the scale that came later).

At this period, Christmas was mainly a religious occasion, but being in the depths of winter, it was a good excuse for some celebrations. Farmers and the gentry would prepare feasts and possibly make little gifts for one another. The aristocracy might hold a servants ball and give their staff little presents, but this varied a great deal. They might also give presents to one another, but it was not obligatory. The poor, of course, had little to celebrate at any time of the year.

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

MH: My heroine, Clara. She is a meek, gentle soul, but with a stubborn streak that will not give in to intimidation. She is fleeing from her father, a bully who is trying to force her into marriage with a man she loathes, but for all that, she is not about to marry a good man, just because he proposes to her, even if he is a Duke!

CH: Which character was your favorite to write?

MH: Will you allow me, two? It is the Misses Goodliffe—the elderly sisters, Hannah and Harriet. Researching the Regency, one is constantly aware of the plight that can befall women with no money and no one to protect them. The Misses Goodliffe are living on the Duke’s charity, making do with very little but content, for all that. They are the heart-warming core of this story and provide a refuge for Clara in her times of trouble.

CH: There is a lesson to learn and a reason to celebrate Christmas. Is there a message in your novel that you want the readers to grasp?

MH: Simply that people should be good to one another. I hope readers will find this is a Christmas story to warm the heart. A little bit of Christmas magic.

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

MH: The Duke’s Christmas Bride has only been out a short while as a single title eBook, so I am still waiting for fans to let me know!

CH: What is your favorite Christmas book? And why?

MH: It has to be A Christmas Carol. That sums up all the lessons we need to learn for Christmas, but is a darn good read, too!

CH: Is there a special knack that an author must have to write Christmas stories?

MH: The story must come first, and it must be something that draws the reader in. It doesn’t have to be particularly realistic, in fact, Christmas stories tend to work well with a little bit of magic.

CH: You also write under a pen name, Sarah Mallory. Can you tell us a little about writing under two names?

MH: I began writing many years ago as Melinda Hammond, writing mainly Regency and Georgian romantic adventures, but other historical periods, too, including a couple of dual time novels. When I began to write Regency and Georgian romance for Harlequin Mills & Boon I wanted to choose a different name, so that as Melinda Hammond I could continue to write stories that do not quite fit the romance genre. My Sarah Mallory novels are all fast-paced historical romances, but they tend to be hotter, with more sexual content than my Melinda Hammond books.  Not all readers enjoy that style, so I wanted to keep it as a separate “brand,” if you like.

CH: Are there any authors that provide inspiration for your writing?

MH: Too many to name, but I will give you a few: Mary Stewart, Jeffery Farnol and Georgette Heyer were my first inspiration, but since then I have found many more, including Louise Allen, who writes rip-roaring historicals.

CH: I enjoy Louise Allen also. She was recently interviewed on my blog.  What is your next writing project?

MH: I am writing a short story for an anthology of northern authors, to be published in the summer of 2018, plus I am working on another Sarah Mallory novel, and I have in mind another “sweet” Regency, so plenty to be going on with.

CH:  How to Find Melinda Hammond:

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

MH: The Duke’s Christmas Bride is available as an eBook via Amazon.

CH: Any closing remarks?

MH: Thank you, Cheryl, for setting some stimulating and thought-provoking questions. Christmas is a time for spreading happiness, and I hope your readers enjoy this interview, it has been great fun!

CH: Thank you so much, Melinda Hammond, 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, Melinda Hammond 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 – Louise Allen

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Title: A Candlelit Regency Christmas: His Housekeeper’s  Christmas Wish (Lords of Disgrace Book 1) A Candlelit Regency Christmas: His Christmas Countess (Lords of Disgrace Book 2)

Genre: Historical Romance/Regency/Christmas

Synopsis: His Housekeeper’s Christmas Wish – Resolute bachelor Alexander Tempest, Viscount Weybourn, accidentally collided with penniless, curvy Tess Ellery on the icy streets of Ghent but he did his indolent best to make amends. But Tess is left stranded, so Alex is honour-bound to take her home…as his housekeeper! And, despite his long-held rule of spending Christmas alone, Tess’s warmth soon has this brooding Lord determined to make all her wishes come true!

His Christmas Countess – Grant Rivers, Earl of Allundale, is desperate to get home to his son in time for Christmas. But when he stumbles upon a gentlewoman all alone in a tumbledown shack, having a baby, it’s his duty to help her. Grant knows all too well the risks of childbirth and, once he’s saved her life, he is determined to save Kate’s reputation too…if she will consent to marrying a stranger on Christmas Day!

Louise Allen, Author

International Author on Cheryl Holloway’s Blog

CH: Today’s Guest Author is International Author, Louise Allen.  Writing the Regency is her passion. She finds it an endlessly fascinating era full of contrast and change, danger and elegance, luxury and squalor.  Welcome to my blog, Louise.

CH: Please tell us in one sentence, why we should read these Christmas Regency novels.

LA: In very different ways these two novels have a message of warmth and hope that I think is very right for the Christmas season.

CH: Your scandalously witty regency romances deal with the realities of life and love. So, how did you come up with the premise for these Christmas stories?

LA: These are two of a series of four novels loosely linked by the four heroes, who are friends. The stories grew out of the heroes’ very different characters and needs.

CH: Since your specialty is regency romance, did you have to do any special research to write these romantic and passionate novels?

LA: I write almost exclusively in this period, so the general information was at my fingertips. But I did have to research the town of Bruges in Belgium and the landscape of the Scottish Borderlands.

CH: Since you write about England’s elite, was it hard creating believable situations and issues or did you take them from real life and elaborate?

LA: I try and make the situations and issues develop from the characters themselves and I hope that they are believable in the setting of the early 19th century.

CH: This Christmas book is unique in that it is two books in one. Why did you decide to put two books in one?

LA: This was the decision of my publishers, Harlequin Mills & Boon. The two novels are also available separately.

CH: Your books seem to offer much more than just romance. What else do they offer readers?

LA: I also aim to have an undercurrent of humour in all of my books—and also passion! I do try very hard to make certain that my historical details are correct.

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

LA: Alex Tempest, Viscount Weybourne, in His Housekeeper’s Christmas Wish, was a puzzle because he is commitment-shy and hides behind a façade of caring for nothing. Both the heroine and I had to dig deep to find the ‘real’ Alex.

CH: Which character was your favorite to write?

LA: Kate Harding in His Christmas Countess. Kate has been abandoned by her lover, is giving birth in a really dangerous situation and then finds her life turned upside down by her rescuer. I enjoyed writing such a strong, brave woman.

CH: Which character was hardest to develop?

LA: Grant Rivers, the man who rescues Kate. He has a dark secret in his past and it was challenging to explore how he was going to get past that—it took two Christmases for this story to work its way to a happy ending!

CH: Which book was easier to write?

LA: They both had challenges and places where I couldn’t see the way ahead and they both had parts that flowed easily, so I can’t say which was easier.

CH: Which book is your favorite?

LA: I don’t think I can choose one—they are very different stories and I enjoyed writing both very much—I hope that comes through to the reader. The book that one is writing at the moment is always an author’s favourite!

CH: Yes, that is so true. Is there a message in either novel that you want the readers to grasp?

LA: That however dark things seem, there is always hope if you give love a chance.

CH: What is your favorite Christmas romance book? And why?

LA: I honestly don’t think I can pick one! There are so many heart-warming seasonal stories.

CH: I must agree. There are several loveable Christmas stories. Can you tell us a little about your writing journey?

LA: I’ve been writing for a long time, it seems! I am working on my 58th novel for Harlequin Mills & Boon, but I have also written several historical non-fiction books based on my researches and I write historical romantic mysteries and Regency romantic time-slip novels independently. I would describe my journey as one of learning both my craft and what I enjoy writing and will find a challenge.

CH: You are a talented and experienced author. Are there any authors that provide inspiration for your writing?

LA: Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen gave me my love of the Regency period and I think almost any Regency romance author will tell you the same. There are several current authors whose work I admire, but I think we each have to find our own path and our own style.

CH: What is your next writing project?

LA: My current ‘work in progress’ is a novel for Harlequin Mills & Boon. The heroine owns a vineyard in Portugal making port wine and I researched that in the Douro Valley on a wonderful river trip. There is no title yet, but it should be out next year.

CH: Do you have a blog?

LA: Yes, I blog about the Regency period at http://janeaustenslondon.com

CH: How to find Louise Allen:

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

LA: The 2-in-1 volume, A Candlelit Regency Christmas is available as an ebook or a paperback in the UK only (Mills & Boon website www.millsandboon.co.uk)  or www.Amazon.co.uk

Both titles are available separately as ebooks on Amazon and www.amazon.co.uk. There are buy-links to all my books on my website.

CH: Any closing remarks?

LA: Cheryl, thank you very much for the opportunity to be a guest on your blog—and a very happy Christmas to you and all of your readers.

CH: Thank you so much, Louise Allen, 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, Louise Allen 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 – Janet Maile

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Title: Second Genesis

Genre: Sci-Fi

Synopsis: Gerald is frozen in the 20th century and wakes 2,000 years later to find himself a prisoner in a strange and violent world. He escapes, only to discover that the outside world is a far more horrific place than he could ever have imagined. He must find a way to work with the strange and distant Hagan, to save the world from the worst environmental disaster the planet has ever known.

Janet Maile, Author

International Author on Cheryl Holloway’s Blog

CH: Today’s Guest Author is International Author, Janet Maile.  She’s been writing since she was a child; however, this is her debut novel. Welcome to my blog, Janet.

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

JM: Environmental disaster. Solution goes wrong. Many disasters and struggles. Problem solved.

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

JM: I started writing it in 1986 and was inspired by three things:  climate change, cryonics (the freezing of dead bodies) and the setting up of the Norwegian Seed Bank. I thought—what if someone was frozen and awakened in 2,000 years.  What would it be like?

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

JM: I don’t really create the situations in that sense. I allow things to develop in their own way, but my writing is influenced by certain feelings and emotions:  a sense of isolation, the way people treat those they regard as different and how we have lost our sense of being connected—to each other, to nature, to the universe and beyond.

CH: Can you describe your writing style for this Sci-fi novel?

JM: I aim to make my books accessible to all. A lot of the action takes place through dialogue. I don’t go in for long descriptive passages.

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

JM: Some of the ideas behind the story are deep and profound, but the book is an easy read. It is entertaining and makes you think.

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?

JM: I do not have a standard formula, or any formula. I start off with one idea, such as being frozen and awakened in the future, and the book develops from there. My ideas come from being concerned about what we are doing to the planet and the extinction of species—for example, in 1986 when I started writing, the European Tree Frog became extinct.

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

JM: Yes, a great deal. Examples: what is the latest DNA research, what are the symptoms of radiation sickness, what does Art Deco furniture look like, which creatures are lethal to humans and which plants grow in Cheddar Gorge?

CH: Who was your favorite character to write?

JM: I enjoyed creating them all.

CH: This is the first book in the series, did you realize it would be a series when you wrote it?

JM: No.  It took me 30 years to complete the book, during which time I never thought about a second one. Once I had completed the book and found a publisher, I started thinking about what I would write next, and realised there was more of the story to tell.

CH: You’ve written two books in this series, which book was hardest to write?

JM: The first one.  I had had articles and short stories published, but found writing a book a daunting enterprise. I didn’t know how to go about writing a novel: how to develop the plot and the characters, or how to keep the reader hooked. There were other things that hampered my progress. Back in the 1980s, I was using a typewriter, so additions, deletions and moving paragraphs around was not simple. When the word processor was invented, my creativity began to flow. Also, there was no internet back then, so to do my research, I had to go to the library, or write to an organization.

CH: The first book in the series was released on September 4th and you released the next book on September 5th. Was there a reason for back-to-back release dates?

JM: Second Genesis was published at the beginning of January by an American publisher, who did not honor the terms of the contract, when it came to promoting the book, so I took my rights back and designed a new cover. I had finished Final Illusion by then and once my son had finished editing it, it made sense to put both books up on the internet.

CH: This book received the Readers’ Favorite Review. What type of overall feedback are you receiving about the book?

JM: Good.  Everyone who has read it, has enjoyed it and said that it is easy to read. My sister couldn’t put the book down and read it in six hours.

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

JM: After thirty years, seeing Second Genesis finally in print.

CH: Thirty years is definitely a long time to wait. What can we expect next from you?

JM: The Pretzel Affair, a romance inspired by meeting my soulmate late in life, is available as an eBook from Amazon and Smashwords.

The Druid’s Cup is currently being edited by my son and will be published in October. It is a mystery with a difference. It was a lot of fun to write. Many of the scenes are set in Glastonbury, Somerset, home of the famous music festival. The book includes many of the traditions and myths that surround the area, such as the thorn tree that flowers twice and is rumoured to have grown from the staff of Jesus’ uncle, Joseph of Aramathea.

Saving Grace is currently with a publisher and will be published in December.  It is a romance set against the gritty horror of World War II. It was inspired by my mother’s memories of that time. She was invited to join the local cycle club by the man who collected the insurance money each week and it was there that she met my father.

Moving On, the story of my difficult childhood experiences and the effect they had on my adult life, can be downloaded as a free pdf document from my website.

I have started a blog, Therapies That Work, and welcome stories from people who have found a therapy that works from them.

CH: How to Find Janet Maile:  

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

JM: It can be bought as an eBook or paperback from Amazon.

CH: Any closing remarks?

JM: I welcome hearing from my readers. The contact details are on the website. Thanks very much, Cheryl.

CH: Thank you so much, Janet Maile, 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, Janet Maile 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 – Louise Blackwick

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Title: Vivian Amberville: The Weaver of Odds

Genre: Teen/Young Adult/Dystopian Fantasy

Synopsis: Vivian Amberville is philosophical fantasy book series about a girl whose thoughts can control and reshape reality.

The main protagonist, Vivian is an orphaned child who uncovers her imagination can influence certain events, and even twist reality into impossible shapes – a mind-over-matter ability called “Weaving”

But Vivian’s powers prove hazardous to keeping the universal balance. Beyond the fabric of reality, she finds herself in the custody of the original Weavers, thrown head-first into the most dangerous competition the multiverse has ever known: The Weaver Trials.

Louise Blackwick, Author

International Author on Cheryl Holloway’s Blog

CH: Today’s Guest is International Author, Louise Blackwick. Louise says that she is a next generation fiction writer. Welcome to my blog, Louise.

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

LB: Vivian Amberville – The Weaver of Odds is a philosophical fantasy about a girl whose thoughts can control and reshape reality.

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

LB: I have always been a great believer in the power of imagination; that given enough effort, any great idea can be shaped into a waking reality. We wouldn’t have as much as a bridge in this world without a mind to imagine it. We have built and continue to build this world on the premise: thoughts become things.

Vivian’s story merely extrapolates on that idea. She is a 13-year old, who discovers she can reshape reality in her image. This fantasy book, thus becomes my way of telling the reader: we are responsible for the ideas we breed, and we are responsible for the world we create.

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

LB: My personal experience and real life played an important part in the book’s development. My anxiety disorder became Vivian’s, and as I conquered it, she did too. Vivian’s world—much like our own—is plagued by the same struggles we face: war, disease, poverty, hatemongering, injustice, and indifference. These parallels have helped me develop a living-breeding fictional world, as real as our own.

CH: Can you describe your writing style for this dystopian fiction novel?

LB: I mixed classic British humour and social satire with a simple narrative structure. Descriptions are short, but memorable, dialogues are lifelike, and I struggle to make any bit of narration, as immersive as possible. Language-wise, it’s very approachable. I wanted this to be a book everyone can enjoy, particularly younger audiences. As a dystopia, I wanted kids to know how a society should NOT be. Naturally, adults savour the book for its deeper, more philosophical traits. I do enjoy writing in layers.

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

LB: The story is set in two dystopian worlds: one is a futuristic Great Britain ruled by disease and poverty; another is a fantasy realm where people can imagine things true. The book is essentially a double dystopia, with two different universes that, despite their differences, correspond to one another. Since Vivian can walk both worlds, it is exciting to see the two worlds collide.

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?

LB: My ideas come from imagination. As for the plots, I cannot really say I follow a standard formula, but screenplay writing is a great influencer. I like to play with camera angles, and strive to make my fictional environments as interactive as possible. Pacing, lighting and angles play just as big a role as theme-building and characterization. I always assume my readers have picked up my book because they expect entertainment, and I deliver that entertainment by ‘projecting’ a movie into their mind.

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

LB: Can’t really recall any research, but I did use a skill. Not many people know this, but I have a degree in Norse linguistics. I found myself developing not just one, but 3 distinct fictional languages (and their dialects), fully-equipped with grammar, phonetics, semantics. It took me years, but alas! I had so much fun doing it! I’m sure my former linguistics professor feels proud my degree didn’t completely go to waste.

CH: Who was your favorite character to write?

LB: By far, Kaap (aka The-Hole-in-the-Wall) was the most difficult. He is a sentient shape-shifting non-human character—that’s a mouthful!—who follows Vivian on her journey. I’ve been told he is so realistic, readers expect him to spring up from the page. Kaap is a walking metaphor of everything Vivian is, and my absolute favourite!

CH: Which character was hardest to write?

LB: A character called Lady Saah, the Artisan. She has one of the most painful inner struggles in the Vivian Amberville series. A certain villain called ‘Ashlar’ was also difficult to write, as villains often are in such stories. Stories are only as strong as your weakest villain, I always say. There is a quote in the book that I believe resumes this quite well: As the Weaver, so is the Thread.

CH: Since this book is about Vivian’s power to reshape events, is there a message in your book that you want readers to grasp?

LB: I’d say quite a few messages, yet the most pivotal one would have to be this: your circumstances don’t define your life. No matter how terrible your circumstances, how dreadful your situation, you remain the creator of your own life; the master of your circumstances. A true Weaver of Odds. Your circumstances don’t define your life—your actions do.

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

LB: My Publisher recently told me the book has created quite the fanbase. I personally received thousands of messages from readers who felt inspired by Vivian’s journey; people whose appetite for reading was rekindled by the story; people who believe I offered something original and refreshing. I heard many readers are discussing the book’s deeper layers on literature forums. Since this is only the first book in a series of five, I guess only time will tell how this could develop.

CH: Who are some of your fantasy writing influences?

LB: Definitely Lewis Carroll’s quirky Through the Looking Glass is Vivian Amberville’s greatest influencer. I owe my dreamlike narrative style to the surrealist, André Breton, and the absurdist, Kafka. Edgar Allan Poe is again, a big influence, more strongly seen in the novel’s darker scenes. As for the philosophical aspects of the book, J.J. Rousseau, F. Nietzsche and S. Kierkegaard are my pillars.

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

LB: At one point, the book got so known, many of my neighbours had read it. Funny part is, I write under a pen-name, so they didn’t know it was me. I can never forget the look on their faces when they found out!

CH: What can we expect next from you? More books in this series?

LB: The Book of Chaos—Vivian’s sequel—is coming in 2018. In the meantime, I’m working on a humorous sci-fi novel entitled, God is a Robot. Set in a world where the humans are long extinct, 4 unlikely robots will embark on a journey to answer the question: Why have the humans created us?

CH: Can you tell me a little about your website?

LB: Absolutely! I’m continuously working on expanding the trivia page, thus visitors can expect new content every so often.

CH:  How to Find Louise Blackwick:

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

LB: Vivian’s official website is our main selling point. Visitors can purchase both the eBook and the paperback from: https://www.vivianamberville.com/the-book. They can also preview the book on the same address. Smaller selling points are Amazon and Kobo.

CH: Any closing remarks?

LB: Cheryl, Thank you so dearly for this interview! I applaud your amazing initiative and look forward to reading more author interviews on your page!

CH: Thank you so much, Louise Blackwick, 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, Louise Blackwick and Cheryl Holloway.

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Guest Author Interview – Lesley Hayes

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Title: The Other Twin

Genre: Teen/Young Adult/Contemporary Fiction

Synopsis: Since early childhood, Verity has been haunted by the dream of meeting her twin soul. Is such a thing even possible? She thinks she might have found him in Ned, but is he all that he seems? No one and nothing in this novel is as straightforward as it first appears, including Verity. Sometimes, it takes other people to help us discover who we truly are, and the lengths we will go to when pushed. A compelling psychological mystery with the notion of true love at its heart, The Other Twin explores the noxious legacy of suspicion, hatred, revenge, and duplicity—and asks of the reader: just who can you trust?

Lesley Hayes, Author

International Author on Cheryl Holloway’s Blog

CH: Today’s Guest is International Author, Lesley Hayes.  Lesley has noticed as she writes that she has grown wiser in her treatment of her characters.  Welcome to my blog, Lesley.

CH: Please tell us in one sentence, why we should read this psychological mystery about love.

LH: Anyone who has ever wondered whether there is such a thing as a soulmate or a twin flame will be beguiled by the story and learn a lot about obsession in the process.

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

LH: I have always been fascinated by twins, and by the notion that although apparently similar, there are also significant differences in their personalities. I’m not the first writer who has elaborated the narrative of ‘good twin’, ‘bad twin’, but I also wanted to explore our need to trust the people we love, and to pose the question: ‘But how can you really be sure when someone is telling you the whole truth?’ …Especially, when your future with that person hinges on the answer.

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

LH: Oh, that would be telling! All writers plunder ruthlessly their own life experience and steal narratives from situations and people they have met. It’s inevitable that in every book I write, there will be elements reminiscent of aspects of life I have lived or heard about. But I also have a fertile imagination and easily move into exploring the territory of ‘What ifs?’

CH: Since you are trying to define love, can you describe your writing style for this mystery/thriller?

LH: I’m told by readers that I have a unique and recognizable voice, whether I’m writing in the first or third person. For this novel, I chose to write the story in the third person, but from Verity’s perspective, so that the reader was kept in the dark as much as she was about what might be going on ‘behind the scenes.’ Writing in the third person gives me the freedom to delve into the history of the main characters, which inevitably brings increasing insight into their hidden motivations.

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

LH: I always write with a deep interest in the psychological makeup of my characters. Creating an expanding picture of them on the inside and revealing what makes them tick, brings a particular satisfaction to the reader. I’ve been told that people find themselves identifying with the characters, relating to them and their emotions and often feeling as though the story is telling them something new about themselves.

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?

LH: I definitely don’t have a formula, which is why all of my novels are so different. Stories come to me; I don’t go looking for them. They arrive almost fully formed in my mind, and then I just have to get on with the hard work of writing them! The structure, dialogue and characterization are all equally as important as the plot itself.

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

LH: Only in a few technical details regarding private aircraft, and the procedure in Oxford airport.

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

LH: Ah, that’s impossible to answer. I feel at the end of writing a novel as though I know every character so well, and they each have something special about them. I get so involved in the inner life of my characters that they are all equally enjoyable to write—even the ones who are intentionally dislikeable.

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

LH: That love is challenging, and trust is fragile, and the wounds of childhood go very deep and have a long memory…so be warned, dear reader, you can never be sure that what you see on the surface is even close to the truth of who a person is.

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

LH: Five stars all the way as far as the reviews go, which is very affirming. One of the reviewers wrote of The Other Twin: “It has particular emphasis on what has hurt and belittled so many of us in childhood and how that affects the way we interact with others as adults: especially the lies, the half-truths, the yearnings and the disappointments, the rivalries and jealousies that so affect our behaviour towards, and opinion of, others. It is about caring and needing, and living with suffering, about trying and failing to please and to win approval, about trust and betrayal: the endless, manoeuvring maze of human interactions through which we all do our best to find our way.” That review really summed up what I had hoped to achieve.

CH: Who are some of your mystery/thriller/suspense writing influences?

LH: I don’t think any other writers have actually influenced my writing—not consciously, anyway.

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

LH: If I go way back to the beginning, the first short story I had published in a magazine when I was seventeen, and was almost immediately head-hunted by an agent! That was many years ago, and a lot of water has passed under a number of bridges since then. This time around, taking what felt like the breathtakingly daring step of self-publishing my first book on kindle, followed by the first review…that amazing moment when I realised I actually had a following!

CH: What can we expect next from you?

LH: I have two more collections of short stories currently in the pipeline, hopefully to be published before Christmas. I’ve also recently completed my sixth novel, and am endeavouring to find an agent as I’d like this one to be published by the more traditional route. If I can’t get the support of an agent you’ll be seeing that one on kindle and in paperback via Amazon by the end of the year. No spoilers, though. I won’t even divulge the title!

CH: How to Find Lesley Hayes:

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

LH: On Amazon. If you go to my Author page there you’ll find links to The Other Twin and all my other books. There is also a universal link that should reach an Amazon near you anywhere in the world.

CH: Any closing remarks?

LH: Cheryl, I appreciate the opportunity you’ve given me to talk about my work. I’m not great at self publicity as I much prefer writing. When people who read my books ask me to tell them something about myself I usually say: ‘Read between the lines of my books. That’s where you’ll find me.’ Although, I do give quite a lot else away on my website.

CH: Thank you so much, Lesley Hayes, 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, Lesley Hayes and Cheryl Holloway.

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Subscribe to my blog because I share great books with wonderful readers all over the globe!

   

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 – 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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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 – 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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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 – 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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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 – 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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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 :

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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. 

Note: Photos/Clip art are compliments of the Internet and S. McPherson.

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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 – 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. 

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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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International Author on Cheryl Holloway’s Blog

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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. 

Note: Photos/Clip art are compliments of the Internet and Wayne Jordan.

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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 : AuthorCherylHolloway@gmail.com or Cheryl@CherylHolloway.net

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