Random Friday


Last November an excerpt was posted on Unusual Historicals. It was the start of a chapter of Kaylyn that promised an interview and a giveaway. Neither ever went live, so… here you have the interview that wasn’t posted on Unusual Historicals. And yes, the giveaway is still valid too… Leave a comment before Sunday 8 January 2017! 🙂

Tell us a bit about yourself

I was born in the boot-shaped country dripping into the Mediterranean sea, but having lived abroad at a young age, I currently feel international, a woman with no country that sometimes is quite sick of the whole crazy planet. I love history, especially the Middle Ages (11th to 13th century), and making up stuff, although I learned the value of research even for the craziest idea – be it fantasy or science fiction. I write mostly SFF these days, having exhausted any will to talk about current events and today’s people.

What is your story about? How did you come up with the idea?

I have this new series of Vampires Through the Centuries that I started last year with Rajveer the Vampire. I’m publishing one novel a year plus shorter related stories, thus I have four titles by now.

The very first idea came noticing how a few actors had pointed canines and my obsession with Bollywood took me to think about a Desi vampire. Combining researches on vampire lore and history, I came up with the series.

This year I even traveled to India to gather more material and now I have a pile of non-fiction books to study for the next installments!

What prompted you to write this one?

Kaylyn is Rajveer’s sister-in-darkness, meaning they have the same maker, Bran the Raven. She was seen through Rajveer’s eyes in the first novel and I looked forward to telling her story. Some events overlap, but her book expands on the mythology of European vampires, while in Rajveer it was mostly him against the slightly different Asian vampires.

Next book will see Rajveer’s fledgling, Shashank, and cover the five centuries neither could actually see for different reasons… no spoilers, though!

How much research was involved?

For Kaylyn only for the non-European parts. She travels quite a lot and even if I had studied 12th century Europe and the crusades for a shelved historical novel, I had to research the other centuries and countries, reading about Marco Polo’s travels, the Black Death, the first European explorers to cross the Atlantic… and I’ve only touched the surface!

What was the most fascinating thing you learned from this experience?

Traveling through the centuries is fun and I look forward to doing it more in the next books. The final vampires war will be in the present, but there’s still a lot of history to explore and write about before I reach the 21st century setting!

What other books have you written?

Three more Vampires Through the Centuries (with more to come next year), a science fantasy series called Star Minds and then there’s my fantasy world of Silvery Earth… lots of titles, but also lots of collections and mostly standalone! Full list here.

I shall use this space for a huge promo – over 100 books at 99cents – for a weekend that includes Rajveer the Vampire. After the release of Kaylyn the Sister-in-Darkness, the first novel of the series will be on sale for a few days. On Monday Nov.7 both titles will go up at 6.99$…

Go get this book now and choose among the many more available at Patty Jensen’s promo! (note: there’s no book from yours truly in the promo at this time, but check them anyway)

And I will give either a coupon for a free download of your preferred format from Smashwords or your preferred ebook format of Kaylyn the Sister-in-Darkness to one lucky winner… The giveaway is international.

 

Sunday Surprise


And it’s a guest! She’s Author of the Month at Smaswords Authors group on Goodreads, so feel free to drop by over there and ask more questions!And even if she doesn’t mention it in the interview, she has Some Brief Advice  for Indie Authors! Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Sharon E. Cathcart!

25908261Where do you live and write from?
San Jose, California

Why do you write?
Honestly, there are stories in my head that won’t shut up. I write because I have to.

When did you start writing?
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I made up stories and plays with one of my best friends starting in elementary school, and started writing short stories in junior high school. I’ve never really stopped.

What genre(s) do you write?
Primarily historical fiction, which is my favorite genre. I’ve also done a couple of steampunk tales that will be in an anthology next year, as well as one dark comedy.

What does your writing routine consist of?
I wish I had the discipline to call it a routine! One of the challenges I face is that I live with an autoimmune disorder called Hashimoto’s disease. The primary effect of it is utter exhaustion (the disease kills your thyroid). So, some days all of the energy I have goes to managing my day-to-day life (including the proverbial day job). I write when I can, and for as long as I can.
25357892Because my preferred genre is historical fiction, I also spend time doing research (primary sources whenever possible). I want to make sure the details are right, and I’ll halt production if I’m not happy with how things are going.

What do you feel are your strengths as a writer? How have you developed these qualities?
I think one of my greatest strengths is putting atypical characters into my stories. My protagonists are not perfect people. In my Seen Through the Phantom’s Eyes series, for example, my heroine is approaching 30 years of age and is not a virgin … which is not what you typically see in historical fiction. I have people in my books who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, physical deformities, etc. In the case of my newest work-in-progress, Bayou Fire, one person lives with Hashimoto’s disease.

31432511Where do you find your inspiration? Do you put yourself in your stories?
I have found inspiration in a variety of places. The inspiration for His Beloved Infidel came from reading a memoir by the first social worker in Iran, for example.
I don’t put myself in my books, but my characters sometimes know things I know. For example, Claire Delacroix (the aforementioned heroine) is an equestrian. At the time I wrote the book, I was still an equestrian athlete myself and so I was able to put my knowledge onto the page.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?
Improviser, for sure. I have a general idea of where I want the book to go, but I find that sometimes the characters have different plans. There is a character in the Seen Through the Phantom’s Eyes series, Gilbert Rochambeau, who made it very clear that he was not, in fact, going to be the minor character I had initially planned for him to be. His role became very important indeed.
I tend to be a slow writer just because of my preferred genre. I am meticulous about my research and that adds time to the process.

Tell us about your latest book
I’m currently working on my first historical paranormal. This is the blurb:

Diana Corbett’s childhood was plagued by unceasing dreams of smoke and flames. The nightmares went away, until the noted travel writer’s first night on assignment in Louisiana … when they returned with a vengeance. Could the handsome Cajun, Amos Boudreaux, be the key to unlocking the secret of BAYOU FIRE?
Award-winning author Sharon E. Cathcart presents her first full-length historical paranormal tale, set against the backdrops of modern-day and 1830s New Orleans.

What’s unusual about this book is that it contains elements of reincarnation. So, I had to study both modern-day and historic New Orleans, as well as the bayou country, Creole plantation life, and more. I just returned from my second research trip this year.

31432417Indie publishing or traditional publishing – and why?
I’m hybrid published these days. I have stories in three traditionally published anthologies. The rights to my three traditionally-published full-length works have reverted and I’ve released them again myself. I like having control over every aspect, from the interior design to the cover. I have even discovered some design talents I didn’t know I had!

Any other projects in the pipeline?
I am going to redesign, re-title, and re-issue my music business memoir. That will come out early in 2017.

What is your goal as a writer and what are you doing to achieve it?
For years, my goal was to publish a novel. Then, it was to win an award. I’ve accomplished both of those a few times over. So, I’m focusing on continuing to meet and greet my fans, get new work out, and hopefully delight my readers!

What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given?
It’s the same one I was given years ago: Even if it’s shit, get it on the page. Editing is for later.
author-head-shotThank you for the opportunity to participate on your blog! Readers may find me on social media here:

Blog: sharonecathcart.wordpress.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/sharon.e.cathcart

Twitter; @sharoncathcart

Website: http://sharonecathcart.weebly.com

Martin Rinehart part 1


Barb: I’m away, so I’m leaving the blog in good hands! I want you all to welcome Martin Rinehart, author of the forthcoming Explicitly Sexy books. Tell us about your books.

Martin: It’s really just one novel. The story of three married women who want to have honeymoon-strength marriages. They meet after aerobics, twice a week for cocktails and girl talk, usually about their relationships, often about their sex lives. It’s about 240,000 words. A trilogy in print, an heptalogy in ebooks.

Barb: You were telling me about your characters writing their own dialog. Care to elaborate?

Martin: My first try I realized my characters were all talking the same way. I had about a third of a full-length novel but I threw it out. Took each character out for a nice long lunch and really focused on the way she spoke. Tried again. It was better.

After they each started speaking in their own voices I began getting the strange feeling that my characters were writing their own dialog. They were talking to each other and not paying much attention to me. I posted about this in a writers’ forum. The response was overwhelmingly, “Me too!” Seems that some characters will openly revolt and spoil your plot. “No,” she said, “I’d never do that. I’m not that type.”

Barb: So could I interview your characters?

Martin: Sure. Why don’t you talk to them right after the end of the novel. That ends on Friday, June 17, 2005. They’ll probably want to get together again the following Tuesday.

Barb: Unfortunately I’m not the one who is able to jump around time and space and chat with characters. It’s Samantha who does the interviews for this blog. So I shall let her take over if you don’t mind. And since it’s a nice long chat, let’s spread it out throughout the week, shall we?

Coming next: interview with the Explicitly Sexy heroines part 1 and part 2.

Martin’s book if you’d like an ARC.

Sunday Surprise


And it’s a guest! One of my Goodreads friends, a very sweet author in need of new readers! Check her out! Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome J.Ellyne!

3e6c04fea2955a530a1c898107f455ae97056801Where do you live and write?

When I moved from North Carolina to Florida in 2008, I kept my North Carolina home and bought a second cheap home in Florida during the post-Madoff economic collapse. The Florida home became my primary residence. Both houses are very small, 2,500 square feet combing them both. I love Florida the most because my central Florida east coast hometown is in the subtropics where it hardly ever goes below freezing. There is no such thing as ice or snow here. Even in the winter, daily highs usually go above 70 Fahrenheit, (beach weather). The beach is only a five-minute drive from my house and I think it’s the most beautiful beach in the world. It has playful surf and pristine sand. Pelicans fly in formations of 20 to 40 low over the beach. Dolphins play in the trough between the coral reef and the beach. In the spring sea turtles waddle ashore to lay their eggs in the sand. Sometimes I find a baby having trouble figuring out which way to go to the water and I help it. The local chamber of commerce calls my town “Florida’s undiscovered paradise” because few tourists come here and there are no condos on the beach. Near my small city, there are five uncrowded county beaches on the Atlantic Ocean, each only a few miles from the next. I’m not telling the name of my town because I prefer it to stay undiscovered. However, if you do happen to discover it you will be welcomed by friendly natives unlike what happens farther south in the Miami area. I go to my North Carolina home reluctantly after it gets too hot to stand in the Florida summer. The house in North Carolina is under tall shade trees at 3,000 feet elevation in the Blue Ridge Smokey Mountains. It never gets to 80 degrees there and the mountains are beautiful. The closest neighbors are deer, wild turkeys, and bears. It’s very quiet and peaceful. Both places are good places to write.

And they both sound like heaven on Earth (even for someone like me who couldn’t care less about the seaside – might change my mind if I ever visit, LOL!). Why do you write?

I was born an entertainer. I have the talent for it. I’m an artist. I’m not bragging. I’m not getting rich from entertaining. My father was a poor music teacher and an orchestra conductor. My mother was a poor pianist with perfect pitch. My grandmother was a poor opera singer and a painter. I learned to read music before I learned to read words. I went to music school to follow the family tradition but, after graduation and a one-year experiment with teaching, I took a detour into computer programming. It paid more money and, unlike my father, I didn’t care for teaching or being poor. I sing with a local semi-professional group these days and often take the lead. One thing I believe strongly is, no matter how good you think you are as an artist, there is no art without an audience. The purpose of art is to entertain and enlighten the audience. Writing is the same as music to me. I know I have a talent for both. I write and sing to entertain and enlighten my audiences. I wish I had more readers, larger audiences, not for the money, but so the art would be more widely enjoyed.

I write and draw, hence the “creative barbwire” name… When did you start writing?

In high school, I was fortunate to have two superb English teachers, one as a sophomore and the other as a senior. As a sophomore, I wrote more than a dozen short stories. My teacher deemed all of them best in class. She made me stand in front of everyone and read my stories to the class. I loved it; it was a performance. As a senior, I took an honors class in English. The school only admitted students in the top 10% of grade point averages. The teacher was very tough. Here was this class of 20 college bound students and she never gave out As because she said an A meant perfection and no mortal could ever do anything perfectly. She gave Bs, Cs, Ds, and even Fs. I got Bs and was proud of them. I learned more from her about writing than from any other teacher or workshop coach. We wrote all kinds of things, not just fiction. In college, I also had a few good teachers. I always loved when a teacher based a course grade mostly on a long essay term paper, whether it was a history course a psychology course, or whatever. I think my psychology term papers were some of the best fiction I ever wrote – ha ha! I was a music teacher for one year and couldn’t stand facing that job every day. It seemed like a combination of babysitting and police work. As a computer programmer, music and writing were hobbies and I never seemed to have enough time for them. In 2004, I quit my programming job and began serious work on my first novel.

912d60a12787ded28f624e969c8a677fc367529bI’m still hoping to quit the dreaded DayJob… and I hate reading my stuff aloud! 😉 What genre(s) do you write?

I dislike the word genre. It seems like a classification mechanism to keep new authors in the backwaters of publishing. What genre are Stephen King’s novels? I can tell you they aren’t displayed on the horror, science fiction, or fantasy shelves of bookstores. You will find them in a section called literary fiction, or mainstream. In the same section, you will usually find J.R.R Tolkien and Tom Robbins. Stores only allow best-selling authors to have books in that section and yet it contains books that are clearly works of horror, science fiction, fantasy, romance, alternate history, epic adventure, paranormal, young adult, and more. Every one of my books contains elements of science fiction, fantasy, romance, alternate history, epic adventure and adult sexual scenes (which I don’t classify as erotica). I’m at a loss as to how to classify them. I don’t see the point of narrowing the list to a genre. To do so would only keep some potential readers away.

I know, but we need to put those tags and BISACs on the books, or we’d end up in the oblivion well… and I’m also one who has trouble putting labels on her books. SFF QUILTBAG friendly? There’s no such category anywhere… What is your writing routine?

I’ve recently changed my routine because I’ve learned the hard way that writing for long stretches at a time causes blood clots. I ended up in the emergency room followed by the OR, then the ICU for two days, then a week in a hospital bed. Now I get up at 5:30 AM and write for an hour and a half, no longer. Then I have breakfast, followed by another hour and a half writing. Much of this writing time is spent doing research, which often involves reading the works of other authors. Sometimes I read non-fiction for historical research. Other times I read fiction closely related to my own. After my early writing sessions, I do chores around the house until lunch. After lunch, I do another hour and a half of writing. Then I go to the beach if the weather is nice. If it’s not I will do some yoga and meditation. My final writing session is another hour and a half after dinner. I’m writing six hours a day now in four, one and a half hour sessions. Before my medical emergency, I was writing twelve hours a day in three four-hour sessions. The latter routine is dangerous to any author’s health, no matter their age. Writers of all ages are at risk for blood clots in their legs, in my case resulting in deep veined thrombosis and a pulmonary embolism, a life threatening condition. The emergency room doctor said I was about two days away from dying.

47690f62807fefb63c12207d99e5288378d038d9Ugh! I tend to write in small installments because my back can’t sit for long at the compyter (besieds, in the mornings I still have that DayJob…) What do you feel are your strengths as a writer? How have you developed these qualities?

The talent I am most proud of, as an author is my ability to tell an engaging and entertaining story. I’ve always been a dreamer and my day and night dreams are full of stories. I love to tell friends and people I meet stories. Sometimes I base my stories on my experiences but more often, they are things I’ve heard about and most often they are just pure imagination. My editors and reviewers tell me I also have skill in conveying the emotions of my characters and getting readers to identify with them. This is difficult to do. I work at it by rewriting until I get it to happen. Editors and reviewers also tell me I have the ability to make my plots exciting as they unfold, to make my books irresistible page-turners. I picked up some tips about this from Stephen King in his book On Writing and as he demonstrates in his best works such as The Dark Tower series, 11/22/63, and The Stand.

I also found On Writing very inspiring… Where do you find your inspiration?

My inspirations come to me in the form of dreams, lucid dreams. An example of a lucid dream is, I get up out of bed and go in the living room where my husband is still up watching television. I tell him about a dream I just had. It was a bad dream and I’m looking for some comforting but he just smiles. As I tell him about it, I find talking difficult. My words come out slurred. My tongue feels too thick. He tells me to go back to bed and I do but as soon as I lay down, I really do wake up to discover the part that seemed so real was actually just a dream. I have many lucid dreams, almost one every night. I talked to a therapist about them and he recommended a book about lucid dreams. It turns out many psychologists believe lucid dreams could actually be real in some alternate reality, perfect for fantasy inspiration! I even have my protagonist have lucid dreams sometimes in my books.

Yes, we live in other dimensions when we sleep in this one! Sometimes I wake up tired for all the things I’ve done “elsewhere” in my sleep! 😀 Do you put yourself in your stories?

I can always spot the author’s surrogate character in every work of fiction I read. It’s hard to avoid because experience is a big part of the material upon which authors draw. However, I make sure that I’m at least aware I have a surrogate and I limit the extent of me in her to no more than 25%. I feel if the protagonist’s personality is the same as my personality, I know the rest of the characters will suffer as a result. They will become cardboard props by comparison. Therefore, the other 75% of my protagonist’s character comes from traits I wish I had or from things I admire in some of the people I know. The same formula applies to villains. My main villain always has a small part of me in him or her, my dark side. The majority of the rest of his personality I base on bullies I know or knew and bad bosses I had. In other words, no, none of my characters is me but all contain a bit of me. I do work hard however to make every major character be real. They take on a life of their own, to the point where I let them tell the story in my dreams, from their point of view. Then all I have to do is transcribe them when I wake.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

I never outline and I never improvise. As I said above, I base my books on dreams. I don’t start writing until I have dreamed the whole book. I write the book entirely in my head before I sit down to type it into my computer. This means I could write very fast if not for the research. Sometimes my dreams motivate the research. Other times the research causes dreams. I did an immense amount of research for each of the first four novels in my fantasy series, The Fair and Fey, and I will do an enormous amount more for book 5 which is finished in my head as far as plot goes but which I have only barely started to type into my computer. The research for book two took twice as long as the research for book one and each of the following novels took increasing amounts of research. Each of my four novels took two years to write. I guess that means I’m getting faster because the second novel is almost twice as many words as the first and the third novel is almost twice as many words as the second. Books four and five were originally dreamed as a single story but somewhere around a third of the way through the fourth book (as dreamed), I could tell it was going to be too big for a single book, so I picked a place to give it an ending of its own and left the second half for book 5. The research for book four took five times as many hours as the research for book three did. It’s a research beast because Arthur Pendragon, aka King Arthur, is one of the main characters and it behooves an author to know what she’s talking about when it comes to Arthur, lest she be ridiculed. Steinbeck spent ten years doing the research for his proposed book about King Arthur, ultimately dying before he could finish even half of what he planned to write. There will be those who ridicule what I’ve written about Arthur anyway but at least now, I have facts on my side. I gave Arthur his personality from my dreams but historical material gave the facts of his deeds in broad terms. It also gave me enough material that book 4 is another 50% more words than book three and at over 186,000 words, it’s only half of my tale involving Arthur. Book 5 will be the other half.

0becb8ca3aa0ad405da1a7bf86bc26d44c39bba9Tell us about your latest book

The Elves of Avalon, Book 4 of The Fair and Fey, is finished now and the first edition will be available from my publisher Smashwords, and from Amazon and all other Ebook retailers soon. I’m using Smashwords Preorder option, setting final release date at March 22, 2016 to allow other retailers time to promote it to their customers. Smashwords customers can grab a copy of the first edition on that date and all the books of The Fair and Fey series are currently available from my Smashwords author page.

About book 4:

What if Arthur Pendragon did not want to be a king and for most of his military career was not a king but only the war leader of the united armies of the kings of Britannia? What if there was no such person as Lancelot? Romanticists added him to the legend as pure fiction almost a thousand years after Arthur’s last battle. What if Guinevere was not a nice person? She stole Arthur from his first wife Anna Pendragon, aka Morganna Le Fey. What if Arthur needed the help of a small band of Elves to accomplish his goals? What if Arthur had a Christian father (Uther Pendragon) but a Pagan, half-Elven mother (Igraine) and was neither Christian nor Pagan? All but one of the preceding things are true facts of historical record. The fantasy element is the story of the Elves. No one has provided proof that Elves exist but Tolkien convinced me they really did exist at some time in the past.

Some people in the Fantasy and Science Fiction group on Goodreads have stated that Tolkien invented the trope of Elves. This is not true. In the Silmarillion, a book Tolkien wrote about the time before the setting for his LOTR trilogy, he states that the first Elves migrated south from the North Country to Middle Earth. I know Tolkien did tons more research than did I or anyone else and I’m sure he got this idea of Elves from the North Country (the Noldor) from reading Finnish mythology. I know because, by coincidence I happened upon this same mythology in doing the research for book two, Maahilund.

Finnish mythology is full of tales about Elves called the Maahiset who live in an underground city in ancient Finland and have magical powers. I dreamed this first, and then I did the research revealing the truth in the dream. What if Middle Earth later became known as Germania after the Elves left Middle Earth and sailed into the West (Britannia)? These are the background bones for how the Elves and Arthur Pendragon crossed paths in my dreams. An Elf named Vilya is the main character in both books three and four. She helps Arthur’s father, Uther Pendragon, in book three and after his death, carries baby Arthur to Avalon at Merlin’s urging, to keep him safe. In book 4, many years later after many battles with Orcs, Demons and Saxons, the Elves return to Avalon but not Arthur, not yet anyway. He still has one more battle to fight in Britannia, the battle of Camlan. This is not a spoiler because everyone knows Arthur must fight again, at Camlan, after 25 years of peace. The Elves of Avalon, Book 4 of The Fair and Fey, is also a romantic and sensual love story between Vilya and another Elf named Narya. This love has spanned millennia, through death and reincarnation, from the time when they met in Maginaugh, Book 1 of the Fair and Fey. Each book from book two on contains enough back-story to stand on its own for the benefit readers who join the tale at that point.

Indie publishing or traditional publishing – and why?

I made a vow to myself pledging I would never indulge in vanity publishing. My definition of vanity publishing is where the author has to pay money to get his or her work published. I am very strict about this. I won’t even pay an editor or a graphic artist as many Indie publishers do. What’s the point in paying out thousands of dollars for publication of a book by a new author when statistics say I have about as much chance of recouping the money as I do of winning the lottery? I’m being honest. These are the facts of breaking into this business. Neither publishers nor readers are much interested in reading new authors, no matter how pretty the book cover, or how elegant the grammar. I spent six years getting rejections of my first novel from traditional print publishers and agents. I could paper the walls of my study with them. I wrote everyone and got back nothing but form letters saying, “Sorry but we are not taking new authors at this time.” Finally, one agent was kind enough to say, “Try Smashwords.” Smashwords is a brilliant publishing vehicle for Ebooks. They do a lot for the author, act as the publisher, and provide their services free of charge. The only downside is I have to do all the marketing myself and I suck at marketing. I would be happy to have a traditional print publisher take interest in my work and market it. A good thing about Smashwords is I am allowed to retain the intellectual property rights and can move to another publisher if I find one.

I started by making my own covers and then I hire my artist friends for “special projects”. And since I’m not a native, I do hire a proofreader! 😉 Any other projects in the pipeline?

I have many dreams and, to paraphrase Field of Dreams, if I dream it, the book will come. I can’t help it. Currently I have written the beginnings of the first two chapters of Book 5 of the Fair and Fey. I have dreamed the whole book. I don’t have a title yet but Arthur will still be a main character and Vilya will still be the protagonist. I have other dreams too, beyond the Arthurian epics. Some are even modernistic, so perhaps one day I will write an urban fantasy. Will there be modern day Elves in it? Yes, I think there will be.

What is your goal as a writer and what are you doing to achieve it?

I feel like I have achieved my main goal: to have published books and attracted actual readers (beyond my close friends) who say in reviews they enjoyed reading the books. Now it’s a matter of secondary goals: to continuously improve my writing, to attract a broader base of readers, to get my books in print for readers who prefer the printed word to the electronic word, and to make a living wage from my writing. I’m stumbling in the dark trying to figure out how to achieve this next set of goals.

Improve the writing: take online workshops; attract a broader base of readers: think long term – they will find you; books in print: Createspace and its expanded distribution. And follow Kris Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith! 🙂 What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given?

Kill your darlings. This is what Stephen King says in On Writing. Every author has a word or perhaps two or three words, they tend to overuse. King meant we should go through our manuscripts looking for these words and delete every instance. My word was that. When I went looking for my darlings, I found I had an embarrassing plethora of thats. I went overboard, finding painstaking ways to eliminate every last one of them, just to see if I could. I don’t go that far anymore but now I understand why King calls them darlings. I had grown attached to them as literary crutches and it hurt to kill them.

_____________________________________________________

Where to find J.Ellyne:

Author blog

Goodreads

Smashwords

Amazon Author Central

 

Sunday Surprise


And it’s another guest! A very sweet lady I found on Goodreads… who was kind enough to interview me on her blog! Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Coreena Mc Burnie!

Where do you live and write from?

I live in British Columbia, Canada.

Why do you write?

I write because I love it. I love the connections I make when writing and the tingly feeling I get when I write a good scene. It also feels good to create stories that entertain people and take them somewhere else for awhile.

When did you start writing?

I’ve written poetry off and on throughout my life, but I took the plunge into novel writing around 7 years ago when I discovered National Novel Writing Month (challenge to write 50,000 words in November).

What genre(s) do you write?

I write a variety of things, but mostly mythological retellings. My current project is a young adult series retelling of the ancient Greek myths of Oedipus and his daughter Antigone.

What does your writing routine consist of?

I would love to be one of those people who treat writing like a job and work all day taking coffee breaks, but I’m not. I’m very sporadic. I have three kids and a recently diagnosed mental health illness. I write copious amounts during Novembers (Nanowrimo), then I take some time off and look at a different project and edit it as needed. I usually have a couple of projects on the go at any one time and go back and forth as the mood takes me. I do try and do something towards my writing every day, even if it consists of baby steps. They all add up and keep me in the flow.

What do you feel are your strengths as a writer? How have you developed these qualities?

I feel my strengths are my ability to see baby steps as steps in the right direction. Even if I don’t spend hours a day writing, I still do something and don’t give myself a bad time for not doing more. I’m better off doing half an hour a day rather than giving up and doing nothing, right?

Also, I love writing and my stories have moments of complete synchronicity which are wonderful and exhilarating. I look for and appreciate those moments, even if I have to slog through pages of terrible things first.

Where do you find your inspiration? Do you put yourself in your stories?

For a long time I didn’t write because I was afraid and wasn’t sure what to write. Finally I thought about what I love, which is ancient myths and culture, especially Greek, so I went there. I looked to the myths and what I like to read — I absolutely love a strong heroine — and combined them. I tell these ancient stories from the female protagonist’s point of view.

And yes, I think I do put myself in these stories. Sometimes as I am, sometimes as I would like to be. In one way or another, much of what the characters are is a reaction to my experiences.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

I am essentially an improviser — I love giving my characters freedom to explore. However, one of the advantages of using established myths is that there are certain plot points to follow. How I get there is always an adventure, though.

I tend to write rather fast, but edit very, very slow. I’m working on this.

Prophecy low resolutionTell us about your latest book.

My latest book is called Prophecy, and is Book 1 in the Antigone: The True Story series. It is based on the ancient Greek play called Oedipus Rex by Sophocles, where King Oedipus discovers that he’s killed his father and marries his mother, all without knowing it. Antigone is his daughter. She is a strong young woman, conflicted by her duties to her family, the gods, and to herself. It turns out that she can speak to snakes and that the gods have an interest in her, but her family is cursed. Antigone has to re-evaluate who she is and what her values are in order to decide which path to follow.

Here is a link to the book on Amazon.

Indie publishing or traditional publishing – and why?

I decided to go the indie route. After doing a lot of research, it seemed like the best option for me. I like the flexibility of it and how it can connect authors and readers in a direct way. I also enjoy having control over my books and my publishing rights.

Any other projects in the pipeline?

I am working on Book 2 of the Antigone: The True Story series called Fate and also an adult novel that is the mythological retelling of Clyemnestra, who’s husband, Agamemnon, fought in the Trojan War.

What is your goal as a writer and what are you doing to achieve it?

My goal is to write books that I would enjoy reading, and, hopefully while doing that, I can entertain a few others as well. To achieve this, I am learning more about writing and publishing all the time and continuing to write books that speak to me.

What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given?

author photo with frameJust write. Turn off your inner editor when you are writing your rough copy. Bad rough copies are better than no rough copies because then you have something to edit. Also, take baby steps, if necessary. Even half an hour of writing every day adds up to something.

Also, if you are interested, here are my bio and author links.

I write mythological fiction — my passion for ancient cultures started many years ago and, after studying Classics in university and earning my Master’s degree, I am channeling this love into my writing. Prophecy, book 1 in Antigone, The True Story series, is my first published novel. I do most of my writing in Novembers during Nanowrimo and spend the rest of the year editing and reading. I live in BC, Canada with my husband, three kids, and our cat

Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Goodreads ~ Amazon

Sunday Surprise


And it’s a guest! He’s author of the month on Goodreads, so if you don’t have enough with these, go ask him questions on the Smashwords Authors group as well! He’s just completed NaNoWriMo! Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Albert Yates!

Where do you live and write from?
I live and write from Fredericton in New Brunswick, Canada. It’s the part of Canada attached to Maine. Not the one to the north of Maine, that’s Quebec. We’re over to the east. I grew up in a little fishing community on almost the furthest point east in Nova Scotia. I think I got a lot of my creative energy growing up there, some of the more famous Celtic musicians all grew up in the same area I did.
Why do you write?
I love to read and I want to create a story or series that I would want people to read and get excited about. I’ve come across so many book series that once I start I have to finish immediately. Those are the types books that I want to write.
When did you start writing?
I have always written stories, growing up I would write little stories as part of my homework assignments. I did not write anything of substantial size until after I finished university when I wrote a few short stories.
What genre(s) do you write?
I write traditionally horror. I’ve done a couple of suspense short stories when I was in university but I enjoy finding ways to terrify myself when I’m writing.
What does your writing routine consist of?
My routine is something like this:
  • turn on computer open up current manuscript
  • open web browser and click through a few pages of reddit
  • find playlist or band that I think will want to listen to
  • re-read the last couple of paragraphs that I wrote
  • go back to reddit and see if there’s anything new
  • type away on the keyboard
When I really want to get some writing done I have to turn off the WiFI on my computer so that I just stay off the internet altogether.
What do you feel are your strengths as a writer? How have you developed these qualities?
I would have to say that building the characters in my stories is one of my strengths, or finding creative ways for some one to meet their end.
Where do you find your inspiration? Do you put yourself in your stories?
I find inspiration in what scares or worries me. If I find something sending chills down my spine thinking about it then that’s going to have the same effect on someone else which is the ultimate goal.
I’ve never put myself in my stories, I might take something from my life and use that as the basis for something that I write, but I’ve never named a character after myself.
Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?
With my latest book, that I started the first of November to coincide with NaNoWriMo I tried to be an outliner. I had a grand plan that covered 31 chapters for my book. By the end of my 2nd week of writing I was so frustrated with writing that I couldn’t see past the next plot point that I had written down. I was constantly going back to the outline to see what I was supposed to be doing.  The last 3 days of November I abandonded my plan and managed to throw down 12,000 words with little problem.
When I’m in the mood to be writing I’m a fast writer. I take all of the thoughts in my head and splatter them all over my keyboard. I’m a programmer by trade so I’m a very skilled typist, which isn’t something you hear most programmers bragging about.
Tell us about your latest book (add link if published)
I have one book published currently about how one man’s life changes when the world starts to die around him. Everyone thinks that they’d be a survivor if something like this happened in real life, some would survive longer than others based on chance and circumstance more than anything.
Summary:
The world has become a different place since Henry woke up this morning and decided to go for a run on his treadmill. His neighbour seems to be acting strange, no one is working at the radio station, and the 911 operator rushed him off the phone when he called. What happened to his town while he was sleeping and will Henry be able to survive the dangers that lie outside of his house?
It could use a little polish since I’ve learned so much from working on my current story.
I’m currently writing the sequel to this book, there will likely be a few more after this as well, which follows Henry and his small group of survivors as they deal with their greatest challenge: other survivors. I want the book to show the real struggle that would happen if the dead rose from their graves, how people interact and treat one another. I think the struggle to deal with the freedom from rules, lack of oversight and fear from police really will play a big part in how the world deals with such an event.
Indie publishing or traditional publishing – and why?
Indie publishing. I like the freedom of setting my own deadlines, writing about topics that I enjoy without having to worry if the publisher even will print what I come up with. That might not be the case any more, but that is what I have in my mind what dealing with a publisher is like. I also wanted to make my book available for free. As a new author I wanted as many people as possible to access my book, I feel the exposure for it is the greatest reward.
Any other projects in the pipeline?
I always have a few stories and ideas floating around in the back of my mind. Once I finish this series I plan on expanding some of the stories I wrote a couple of years ago. One is an homage to 80s slasher movies which is probably where everyone gets their start in scary movies.
I would love to create a collection of short stories. There is more freedom to do something small and satisfying with a smaller story than when you have to keep the pace going in a longer work like a novel. Writing a story based on a thought that you had while driving down the road will get the creative juices going sooner and might allow you to expand it into something bigger later. Those have been some of my favourite books, whenever Stephen King puts out a new book it always ends up on my To-Read list, but when that book is a collection of stories, it goes right to the top of the list.
What is your goal as a writer and what are you doing to achieve it?
My goal as a writer, right now, is to create a world that people can get lost in. A world that they’ll want to come back to again and tell all of their friends about it.
What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given?
I don’t know that I was ever given any advice about writing other than the notes and commendations that my professors in university gave me from my essays when I turned them in. As a computer science student I took a number of history and sociology courses that did not have tests but essays for grading, my professors were always impressed with my papers and it did mean a lot to me at the time.
For my final assignment in my Computer Science degree I did have to do a research paper and presentation, my advisor at the time was the Dean of the faculty who gave me a great grade on my report.
______
Where to find him:

Random Friday


Plenty of guests this month, so I’m using even the random Fridays. This is just another Heroika author! Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Cas Peace!

HEROIKA1 New banner heroika_TChirezpromoWhere do you live and write from?

I’m from the UK, from Hampshire, a southern county with a coastline and lots of lovely countryside. I’m fortunate enough to live in a pretty 1900s flint and brick cottage on the outskirts of a typically English village. It’s one of those places where most people know each other, and it’s a vibrant village with a good community. There’s always something going on, whether it’s a fete, a barn dance, a charity concert, or sports events. It’s a beautiful and a fun place to live. Both me and my husband work from home, and I have two favorite places to write. In the winter I write in my study, which also doubles as a music room. In the summer, I write either in my conservatory overlooking my garden, or actually in the garden, where I can watch the birds. My two rescue dogs love it when I write in the garden!

Why do you write?

I just love it. I love creating new worlds and characters, which is why I mainly write fantasy. I also like the feeling of being in total control of the world I’ve created – that is, until my characters take over and start doing their own thing! I also love dabbling with experimental pieces and also poetry. You never know what you can do until you try, and with writing, you can literally try anything you like. It’s very freeing, very liberating. It’s the only time I ever feel truly myself.

When did you start writing?

I began at school, I guess, I really enjoyed my English assignments, especially essays and creative writing lessons. I also contributed a few poems to school magazines. I didn’t get much time for writing when I was first married, but I do remember starting a YA fantasy of sorts when I realized my marriage wasn’t going as I’d hoped. But my writing career really got underway after me and my second husband returned from living in Italy, in 1994. I didn’t go back to work and had time on my hands. That’s when the writing Muse struck in earnest, and she hasn’t left me yet!

What genre(s) do you write?

I mostly write what I love to read: Fantasy. But I’ve also written a non-fiction book entitled For the Love of Daisy, which was a cathartic experience after our beloved Dalmatian, Daisy, developed a spinal condition. Dealing with a disabled dog who didn’t want to die was very hard, and I decided to write about our experiences and the various therapies and aids we found to enable her to live as full a life as possible.

What does your writing routine consist of?

I’m a full-time writer, so my day consists of walking the dogs until around 9.30 am, and then sitting down to write. After lunch I write some more until it’s time for the dogs’ second walk, and then I write until around 5 pm. I’m also a freelance editor/proofreader, so if I’m not actively writing, I’m working for clients. I’m very fortunate to be able to work like this.

What do you feel are your strengths as a writer? How have you developed these qualities?

I’m what I’d call an instinctive, or maybe intuitive writer. I haven’t done any writing courses or anything like that, I simply write what comes into my head. I like to use my own emotional life experiences to inject realism and emotion into my writing, although I do have one author friend who thinks I use far too much emotion! I can only write if my ideas are flowing well – if I get stuck on anything, I have to walk away until I know where I’m going again. I like to feel I’m in tune with my spiritual side, as well. Sometimes I feel I’d like to be able to write in a more literary style, but my brain simply doesn’t work that way.

Where do you find your inspiration? Do you put yourself in your stories?

As I never actually set out to become an author, the whole thing came as a complete surprise to me. I was simply bored one day after we’d come back from Italy, and just started writing out a little scene I’d had in my mind since watching a kids’ TV show in the 70s. That seemed to open some sort of floodgate, and my entire Artesans of Albia series (nine novels in all!) just came pouring out. So I have no idea at all where that inspiration came from! But the short story I wrote for HEROIKA: Dragon Eaters is inspired by the English patron saint, St. George. I decided to retell his slaying of the dragon, and also drew on some research I undertook into the lives and rituals of druids in Britain. There is an entire wealth of inspiration to be found everywhere you look – a creative writer can use almost any situation as the basis for a story. And I believe that every writer has to put at least a little bit of themselves into everything they write, otherwise it will have no authenticity.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

Definitely improviser, as you’ve probably guessed! But these days I think I’m edging more toward outlining, at least in a basic sense. I don’t like too many guidelines, and as long as I can see a beginning, a middle, and an end, I’m fine. I’m also pretty quick, because I’m too scared of losing the ideas. I scribble as quickly as I can, and then fine-tune later.

Tell us about your latest book

I’m still in the middle of publishing my triple-trilogy Artesans on Albia fantasy series. Five books have been published so far: King’s Envoy; King’s Champion; King’s Artesan; The Challenge; and The Circle. The sixth book, Full Circle, is a little late, it should have been out in April, but it will be out soon. The series is doing really well and I was thrilled when Janet Morris agreed to endorse the series. Here’s the link to King’s Envoy: http://geni.us/1o97

Indie publishing or traditional publishing – and why?

I was originally published by a US indie company, Rhemalda Publishing, who released my entire first trilogy, but they were forced to close their doors in 2011. I took some time thinking about what to do next but eventually decided to go down the self-publishing route. I’m extremely grateful to Rhemalda because not only was it a blast working with them, but I learned so much about the publishing game that it enabled me to go it alone. Now, unless I was fortunate enough to be approached by one of the larger publishing houses, I doubt I’d go back to being traditionally published. I really like the freedom of having complete control over my work.

Any other projects in the pipeline?

As I already mentioned, I’m still working on the remaining books of my Artesans fantasy series. I will continue to edit, copy-edit and proofread for clients, and also to write for anthologies. Because I am also a singer/songwriter, I also write and record folk-style songs to go with my Artesans novels. There’s a song or piece of music for each book so far, and I’m working on a song for the sixth book, entitled Beyond the Veils.

What is your goal as a writer and what are you doing to achieve it?

My main goal as a writer is to write the sort of novels and stories that I love to read, and to learn how to improve my writing. I’m doing this by taking notice of any feedback I get, and by pushing myself as a writer. If along the way my writing gives pleasure and excitement to others, then that is a bonus I never expected to achieve. I am always humbled when complete strangers become friends, by taking the trouble to tell me how much they’ve liked my books. It’s an awesome feeling.

What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given?

Never Give Up. I think most writers have been told this in their career, but it really holds true. You can’t learn to write if you never write, and you can’t achieve publicaton if you give up trying. Oh – and if you’re going to self-publish, do find yourself a good editor! *winks*

1stTrilogyBannerWebsites and Social Media:

Cas Peace website: www.caspeace.com

Blog: http://peacewrites.blogspot.co.uk/

Amazon Author Profile: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B0098KMASI

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cas.peace

Twitter: @CasPeace1

Reverbnation: https://www.reverbnation.com/caspeacewithntn?profile_view_source=header_icon_nav

Sunday Surprise


And it’s another guest! Still author of the month! Yes, we have four together this month! This is the last of the four… Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Shannon M. Kirkland! 🙂

Where do you live and write from?

I live in Indiana and mostly I write at home in the evenings and on the weekends. I have a day job as a computer programmer specializing in Business Intelligence which can get hectic at times and spill over into my evenings and weekends. I do find myself daydreaming about my stories when I’m waiting for programs to complete and often find myself jotting down quick notes.

Why do you write?

I write because it makes me think and feel as well as learn and grow in many different ways. Putting myself into my character’s shoes really makes me think about how an individual’s experiences shape that person. Writing fiction has opened up a window in my mind and allowed me to discover many things about myself and others in addition to discovering more about the writing process itself. I’ve always had a great admiration for authors and now I have an even greater appreciation of the art.

When did you start writing?

I first started writing fiction last year. I’ve written a lot of technical documents for my job but besides journaling or short pieces here and there, I hadn’t written a complete fictional story until last year. I’ve been an avid reader since my first Dick and Jane book. When I was a child, I told my parents that one day I would write a story. However, as the years went by, I never attempted it, thinking that I simply did not have the talent to be a writer.

What genre(s) do you write?

I write fiction containing LGBT characters. Currently, my stories have been based on romantic relationships.

What does your writing routine consist of?

I have been lax in setting up a writing routine and to be honest, I think my output has suffered for it. Ideally, I would set aside at least two hours every morning or evening to do nothing but write.

What do you feel are your strengths as a writer? How have you developed these qualities?

As a fairly new fiction writer, I’m still working to develop strengths and am spending a lot of time reading about writing as well as just simply writing and ignoring the little critical voice inside my head that tells me I’m not good enough. Perhaps one of my strengths then is the determination to learn as much as I can about the art of writing and apply these insights to my own creative output.

Where do you find your inspiration? Do you put yourself in your stories?

I do put myself in my stories, probably more than I should. The inspiration for my stories has come from events in my life although with an entirely new spin put upon them.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?

I’m a bit of an outliner and an improviser. My outlines are fairly high level so that I keep myself open for creativity. I have the natural tendency to be an outliner and to be linear in my thinking, so it’s important for me to allow plenty of room to improvise and be creative. I’m a fairly slow writer although the more I write, the faster I’ve become. I attribute this to opening up the creative stream in my mind and much like a muscle, the more it’s exercised the stronger it becomes.

23212361Tell us about your latest book

My debut story is The Golf Widow. It’s a story about self-discovery and breaking free from the mould into which we’ve been placed – placed into by ourselves and/or by our circumstances. It’s about taking control and taking chances and in the process, finding happiness and love within ourselves and for others. Details about The Golf Widow and the major retailers where it can be obtained is here: http://carterseagrove.weebly.com/golfwidow.html

Indie publishing or traditional publishing – and why?

Indie publishing without a doubt! Indie publishing offers a freedom that was previously not available for writers. Many times I’ve read where authors have complained that their publisher has set the schedule, selected the cover, insisted on particular edits and even pressured them to stick to a formula. I do fully appreciate the support that traditional publishing gives to authors and that is why I was very excited to create The Carter Seagrove Project LLC with Alp and Chambers.

Any other projects in the pipeline?

I am currently writing a story for the Goodread’s Love is an Open Road event and still have yet to finish The Interior Designer, my next story to be published. I have a couple of other untitled works in progress, ideas for future stories and Alp and I have talked about collaboration on Gloriana, a contemporary family saga based on the lives of the Queens of England collectively referred to as the She-Wolves.

What is your goal as a writer and what are you doing to achieve it?

My goal is to keep writing and to continually improve my skills. To achieve this, I have taken a focused look at my day-to-day activities to see where I can eliminate unproductive tasks and use this time for writing. Additionally, I am investigating writing workshops and courses as well as continually reading articles and books on the art and skill of writing.

What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given?

When I was feeling very insecure about my writing abilities, Alp told me something to this effect: “You are never going to write a story that is liked by everyone but you are also never going to write a story that no one likes. There is no right or wrong, write your story and never doubt your ability to touch someone in an unexpected way with your words.”

ABOUT SHANNON

I have been an avid reader all of my life, primarily reading fiction in the mystery/suspense, fantasy and m/m romance genres. Having switched to predominantly reading eBooks, I’ve discovered many self-published writers. One of my favorites is Alp Mortal. I contacted him via his website to ask about one of his books and after exchanging a few emails with him, I mentioned how I always thought it would be fun to write fiction. He urged me to try it and even gave me an idea from which my first title, The Golf Widow, was born. It has been an exciting and rewarding experience. I encourage everyone to try it for themselves. I’ve always appreciated the skills and talent it takes to write fiction but never realized the extent of the challenges and how thought-provoking it is compared to business writing. This experience has definitely given me a new perspective and an even greater appreciation for the craft. It’s been so enlightening and exhilarating; now that I’ve started, I can’t stop.

Alp Mortal, Chambers Mars and Shannon M. Kirkland are The Carter Seagrove Project LLC – an independent book publisher. Find us at http://www.carterseagrove.weebly.com, on Twitter @carterseagrove and on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/thecarterseagroveproject.

Website – www.alpmortal.weebly.com

Project – www.carterseagrove.weebly.com

Email – alpmortal@hotmail.com

Project – thecarterseagroveproject@gmail.com

Twitter @carterseagrove

IMDb – http://www.imdb.com/company/co0518613/?ref_=tt_dt_co

Facebook www.facebook.com/thecarterseagroveproject.

Sunday Surprise


And it’s another guest! Still author of the month! Yes, this is number 3 – the pen name that names the Project! Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Carter Seagrove!

23310918Why do you write?
We started the partnership because we’d both always wanted to collaborate on a project – being involved in translating each other’s work was the bridge.

When did you start writing?
Dust Jacket appeared in May 2014; we started the Inspector Fenchurch Mysteries straightaway.

What genre(s) do you write?
LGBT-themed crime fiction.

What does your writing routine consist of?
We agree who is going to write which parts of the story – which has usually been thrashed out over a few skype calls if we’re not both in France. One of us will start and then hand over for the other to do their part and then hand back – we flip-flop between the segments. Alp has right of veto because one of us to have the final say.

23003385What do you feel are your strengths as a writer? How have you developed these qualities?
We blend well, that’s partly because we’re friends and partly because we read similar stuff and appreciate the same sorts of art. We have the same sense of humour. It’s important for Fenchurch that we compromise and we find it easy to agree on things. Fundamentally, we both share the same mindset – ‘Why not? We can do that …”. It helps tons that we both read John Donne and Edward S Aarons.

Where do you find your inspiration? Do you put yourself in your stories?
The characters of Alfred Fenchurch and Adam Cowley are inspired by Jeeves & Wooster and The Green Hornet & Kato.

Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?
Generally, quick and improvised. Flip-flopping makes the process relatively slow to execute, so even if the segments are written quickly, the project usually takes a lot longer than if either of us was writing it solo – to be expected.

22847384Tell us about your latest book
Storm Clouds (part 6 of The Inspector Fenchurch Mysteries and the end of series one) is being published on 3rd April.

Indie publishing or traditional publishing – and why?
Indie publishing without question – we both cherish our freedom and the desire to maintain complete control over the end to end process.

Any other projects in the pipeline?
A second series of The Inspector Fenchurch Mysteries is a virtual certainty, beginning in the late summer 2015.

What is your goal as a writer and what are you doing to achieve it?
We would love to write a third and fourth series, bringing Alfred and Adam into the 60s. As long as readers still tell us that they enjoy the stories, we’ll carry on.

22847371What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given?
Make the niche your own.

About Carter:

Born in 2014, a partnership which brought together two very different authors – Alp Mortal and Chambers Mars. The partnership began with a writing project but evolved into the idea of a collaborative space – then a formal company – the focus is still on collaboration.

Alp Mortal, Chambers Mars and Shannon M. Kirkland are The Carter Seagrove Project LLC – an independent book publisher. Find us at http://www.carterseagrove.weebly.com, on Twitter @carterseagrove and on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/thecarterseagroveproject.

 

22588163Website – www.alpmortal.weebly.com

Project – www.carterseagrove.weebly.com

Email – alpmortal@hotmail.com

Project – thecarterseagroveproject@gmail.com

Twitter @carterseagrove

IMDb – http://www.imdb.com/company/co0518613/?ref_=tt_dt_co

Facebook www.facebook.com/thecarterseagroveproject.

Sunday Surprise


And it’s another guest! Still author of the month! Yes, we have four together this month! Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Chamber Mars! Bonjour et bienvenu! 🙂

24265528Where do you live and write from?
I generally spend my time in Saint Tropez – I prefer the climate! I do spend time at the house in Saint Hilaire in Haute Saone, near to the spiritual retreat where Alp lives for part of the year. I generally only write when I am at home in Saint Tropez, on the balcony.

Why do you write?
It was something which I always wanted to try but never found the time to pursue. Once I began, I found that I couldn’t stop. I was always pretty certain that I would write crime fiction. There were no gay private investigators with the same humour – hence Zachary Tremble. I wanted to write it in English to reach a wider audience.

When did you start writing?
I began writing several years ago. My issue is that English is my second language – so it is more challenging – that is where Alp came into the picture.
I had contacted Alp through his website, to ask him if he was interested in a collaboration – I needed help with the translation of my first Zac Tremble Investigates case file. I had read his work and was really keen to work with him. I had the case file written but it needed an English feel. Fortunately, we share the same sense of humour. The Johnny series needed less of the English feel because Johnny is French – but Alp still translates. He finds it harder to translate Johnny because the style is very different – but I think we’ve achieved a good result.

23924755What genre(s) do you write?
I write LGBT-themed fiction – the Zac Tremble Investigates series – he’s the gay PI; and the Life & Times of Johnny Sante series – he’s the young bisexual Parisian con-artist.
And in 2014, I began writing with Alp. First we did Dust Jacket and then The Inspector Fenchurch Mysteries – the gay, crime fighting duo of Inspector Alfred Fenchurch and PC Adam Cowley. I would like to write something different – maybe Sci-fi but I am also keen to produce either Zac or Johnny as a graphic novel series.

What does your writing routine consist of?
Most days are not devoted to writing because I am working. When I have the idea for a new Zac case file or a Johnny instalment, I usually write it pretty quickly – within a couple of days. Because of the need to have my English checked, the process can get dis-jointed.

What do you feel are your strengths as a writer? How have you developed these qualities?
My friends and readers tell me that the strength of the stories is the humour in Zac – they tell me that they laugh out loud at his antics. Johnny is a character study and maybe the strength of the series is in the insight we get into Johnny’s character – I am usually much happier writing short stories.

Where do you find your inspiration? Do you put yourself in your stories?
There is very little of me in the stories – perhaps more of me in Johnny than Zac. The inspiration for the Zac series really came from the series of short novels which Le Monde publishes each summer – pocket-sized, fast-paced reads. Alp says James Bond meets Fawlty Towers – I love both. Johnny is partly inspired by John Cusack’s character in The Grifters; Zac partly by the film Renaissance (with Daniel Craig) and partly by the relationship between Lola and Manni in Run Lola Run.

21309823Outliner or improviser? Fast or slow writer?
Generally, quick and improvised. However, as the Zac series have stretched out (nearly 2 series completed), it gets harder because there are a lot of details – especially names – to keep checking. The plot is developed in a flash.

Tell us about your latest book
It’s been a while since I published the last Zac case file – Viva La Tremble – however, I have just delivered my part of Storm Clouds (part 6 of The Inspector Fenchurch Mysteries) I can now concentrate on finishing series 2 of Zac.
Here is a link to all of the books. Clicking the cover of the book will provide links to the major retailers where it can be obtained: http://carterseagrove.weebly.com/books-by-our-authors.html

Indie publishing or traditional publishing – and why?
Indie publishing without question – I write fast and I want to publish fast. I may be wrong but I never saw Zac being picked up by a traditional publisher – a gay PI is very niche; Johnny too.

Any other projects in the pipeline?
There is right now the completion of the second series of Zac Tremble Investigates and the first series of Johnny Sante to factor into this year and I have already spoken to Alp about doing a second series of The Inspector Fenchurch Mysteries. I would like to write another novel like Dust Jacket – at least, a long romance. I don’t think I will develop another character-led series unless something captures my imagination. A third series of Zac is a possibility but that gets harder. A second series of Johnny? Not sure. Maybe a gay superhero?

23718040What is your goal as a writer and what are you doing to achieve it?
My goal is to entertain my reader – all the time people laugh out loud, I’m happy. I don’t write full-time so it’s hard to have concrete goals when I am never sure how much time I’ll have.

What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever been given?
Write the story you want; not what you think the reader wants. Never shy away from writing something which is nothing like anything else around.

About Chambers
I am French, living in Saint Tropez. I travel widely, collecting and dealing in art. My childhood home is in a village not too far from the place where Alp Mortal lives in France.

I am vegan, a Buddhist and a dog owner – I have a Jack Russell/Italian Greyhound mix by the name of Pinocchio (Jack Russell with long legs and a superiority complex to match). Together with Alp Mortal, I am half of Carter Seagrove, author of Dust Jacket and The Inspector Fenchurch Mysteries.

Alp Mortal, Chambers Mars and Shannon M. Kirkland are The Carter Seagrove Project LLC – an independent book publisher. Find us at http://www.carterseagrove.weebly.com, on Twitter @carterseagrove and on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/thecarterseagroveproject.

Website – www.alpmortal.weebly.com

Project – www.carterseagrove.weebly.com

Email – alpmortal@hotmail.com

Project – thecarterseagroveproject@gmail.com

Twitter @carterseagrove

IMDb – http://www.imdb.com/company/co0518613/?ref_=tt_dt_co

Facebook www.facebook.com/thecarterseagroveproject.

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