Interview with C Lee McKenzie

Lee20_250Tell us about your journey…

It’s hard to recall a journey after a few years, but I do remember finding an article in a newspaper that upset me. I wanted to write about it, and I intended to write an article. That article somehow morphed into a story, and then into a book that I titled Bad Ass Attitude, but became Sliding on the Edge. So you see journeys are complicated because they don’t go along a well-lighted and well-paved freeway. However, I sold that story. I sold a second one, and it was published. All was well, and then the publisher shut down its YA division. A year later I put both books out on their own. My last two young adult novels, Double Negative and Sudden Secrets, came out through Evernight Teen.

I have two others with an agent, so I’m kind of waiting right now to see what happens. The journey hasn’t ended; it has only slowed a bit.

What do you love about being an author?

I love to make the stories the way I want them. That’s huge for me.

I also love meeting writers and readers and talking about writing as if I knew what I was doing. I think those two things are what I love about this endeavor—notice I don’t say work. That implies something I don’t feel. Writing isn’t work. It’s agony, but not work.

If you could have dinner with any author, who would it be and what would you eat?suddensecrets_350

Hemingway. Fish. Lots of fish with tequila. Not because he was a great writer, but because he created a fantastic mystic. Of course, he was not a very nice man. . .most of the time. And so the mystic!

If your book was to be made into a movie, who would you cast as the leads?

Well, I have seven books out, so I’d have to think about which one and why before answering this question. So I’ll come back to this, or wait. . .maybe the best thing to say is I’d like Brant Daugherty (Pretty Little Liars) to play Hutchinson McQueen in Double Negative.

Vampires – do you prefer them as sexy leads or blood hungry monsters?

I steer clear of vampires unless they’re classical or super sexy.

If you had a time machine, which era would you go back to and why?

The WWI era always fascinates me. That could be because it was such a huge shift in the way the world connected. And it could also be because I love the the clothes. Very glam.


200X200What life advice do you wish you’d been given sooner?

Learn how to market. Pure an Simple.

If you were a supernatural creature, what would you be and why?

A Dragon, of course. Not a European one with nasty habits, but a Chinese one that has been man’s second best friend in the Eastern world for centuries. I’m a huge Chinese Dragon fan. My next middle grade book’s titled Sign of the Green Dragon. How could I not hug a dragon?

Where do you write best? 

I have no idea. I write where I am. Editing’s a whole different matter. That happens in my office at my desk with concentration.

What was the last book you read, and what were your thoughts on it?

Laurence Yep’s Dragon Gate. You see, I said I was a huge Dragon fan, so you should not be surprised. But Yep is a brilliant storyteller and I read all his books.

If you didn’t write in your genre, which other would you prefer and why?

I only write in two categories: YA and MG. I haven’t thought about other fiction categories. That’s a lie, BTW. I have thought about it, and actually, since I’m narcing on myself, I have written in other categories. I just haven’t put any of that out there. Not yet.

Where can fans find you online?

My website is http://cleemckenziebooks.com

I’m on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2809083.C_Lee_McKenzie

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cleemckenzie

Twitter: https://twitter.com/cleemckenzie

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cleemckenzie/

 

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Interview with Teresa Richards

EmeraldBoundevernightpublishing-jayAheer2015-finalcoverTell us about your publishing journey…

I started writing with the intent to be published several years ago when my youngest son turned one. My older kids were in school and I found I had more time during the day to dedicate to writing. My first book was a hot mess, but it had a lot of heart and I loved every minute spent writing it. I joined a writing group, got some much-needed feedback that improved my writing, and started again on Emerald Bound. I queried for about a year-and-a-half before finding Evernight Teen.

What do you love about being an author?

I love the fact that I can Tell create something out of nothing other than my imagination. (And, okay, some blood, sweat, tears, and most of my spare time). The creative process is so much fun for me, and the excitement of seeing my stories come to life on the page is what keeps me going.

If you could have dinner with any literary character, who would it be and what would you eat?

Becky Bloomwood, star of the Shopaholic series. I think meeting this character would be absolutely hilarious. If Becky were in charge of dinner, we’d probably go someplace fancy and eat something like lobster, but she’d end up either in the kitchen washing dishes to pay for the crystal glasses she broke when her lobster tail flew out of her grip, or crawling underneath the table to hide from an ex-boyfriend who sat down nearby. 

If your book was to be made into a movie, who would you cast as the leads?

Zooey Deschanel would be Maggie.

Amanda Seyfried would be Lindy, but she’d have to dye her hair brown.

Adrian Grenier would be Garon. Mmm… 

Vampires – do you prefer them as sexy leads or blood hungry monsters?

Definitely sexy leads. I’m not a fan of anything scary.

If you had a time machine, which era would you go back to and why?

England, a la Pride and Prejudice. Assuming, of course, that I could pick to be born into a family where I could spend my days reading, playing the pianoforte, and going for long walks instead of feeding chickens and mucking out the stables.

What life advice do you wish you’d been given sooner?

Don’t be in such a hurry to grow up. Being an adult has its perks, but there’s something really special about being a teenager and I wish I would have enjoyed that time in my life more. I spent a lot of time worrying about what my future would be like rather than just enjoying the now.

If you were a supernatural creature, what would you be and why?

I’d be a fairy. Does that count as a supernatural creature? I’d be a fairy because they’re mischievous and they can fly.

Where do you write best? 

I like being at home, but sometimes it’s hard to focus amidst all the other things I need to do (dishes, laundry, cooking, etc—did I mention I have five kids?). So for me, the library works really well. I need complete silence when I write, so I can’t go somewhere where other people are chatting. Another place I get a lot of work done is actually in the car while waiting to pick my kids up from their many activities. Someday I might have the luxury of settling down in my quiet office with a cup of hot cocoa to write all day in my pajamas, but that day has not yet come.

What was the last book you read, and what were your thoughts on it?

I’m currently reading Scarlet, the sequel to Cinder by Marissa Meyer. I know I’m very late to this party, but I’m loving this series (The Lunar Cronicles). So creative and well written!

If you didn’t write in your genre, which other would you prefer and why?

I really enjoy reading historical fiction and I think it would be fun to write, but I’m really bad at history so I don’t think I could ever pull it off. Steampunk would be fun to write as well.

Where can fans find you online?

My website is authorteresarichards.com. I’m on twitter @byutm33 and facebook.com/authorteresarichards/

Buy the book:

http://www.amazon.com/Emerald-Bound-Teresa-Richards/dp/177233524X/

http://www.evernightteen.com/emerald-bound-by-teresa-richards/

Interview with Peggy Rothschild

Author Photo - P RothschildTell us about your publishing journey…

I kind of took the long way ‘round. When I completed my very first manuscript – this is over ten years ago – I sent it off to a number of agents. Imagine my shock when I received an offer of representation from an agent I’d actually queried her in error. (Her one-agent shop was listed as not currently being open to queries.)

The book went on submission, but didn’t sell – which didn’t surprise me. (Which begs the question: Why on earth did I query it when I didn’t think the manuscript was ready?) Then the agent passed away. I didn’t bother to query the next couple manuscripts I completed. For my mystery, CLEMENTINE’S SHADOW, I sent out some queries, but ended up deciding to self-publish – in part to push myself to create a website and to get involved on social media (I LOVE twitter!). I also self-published my second adult mystery, ERASING RAMONA. With my next manuscript, I changed things up a bit and wrote a contemporary YA suspense, PUNISHMENT SUMMER. Then I took part in Pit2Pub, an online Twitter pitch contest where you pitch directly to publishers. Evernight Teen accepted the book and PUNISHMENT SUMMER was printed in October of 2015. A month later, as the result of another contest, Query Kombat, I connected with my new agent, the wonderful Melissa Jeglinski of The Knight Agency.

What do you love about being an author?

I love creating flawed, but relatable characters, and layering in some sort of puzzle or mystery in their story that hopefully engages the reader. When the words are rolling, it’s a rush.

If you could have dinner with any literary character, who would it be and what would you eat?

That’s tough. There are characters I’ve “known” for years like Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone. While I love reading about her, she’s rather prickly, so dining with her – especially when you consider her penchant for peanut butter and pickle sandwiches – probably wouldn’t make my list. I think hanging out with Robert Crais’ Elvis Cole might be fun – the character has a sense of humor and seems pretty easy going – at least when lives aren’t on the line! His character works in Hollywood near Musso and Frank Grill, so I imagine we’d eat there. Since I’m vegan, I’d order veggies while Elvis had a club sandwich.

If your book was to be made into a movie, who would you cast as the leads?

Nicki – Abigail Breslin

Grandpa – Keith Carradine

Wild Bill – Jeremy Renner

Todd – Logan Lerman

Cecilia – Jane Alexander

Since I don’t know the names of any German shepherd actors, I’ll leave finding a suitable dog to play Queenie to the casting director.

Vampires – do you prefer them as sexy leads or blood hungry monsters?

In books, I’m more a sexy lead fan, but in movies, give me the blood-hungry monsters!

If you had a time machine, which era would you go back to and why?Punishment Summer small image

I wouldn’t. I think each year and decade things get better for women. Going back in time would be enormously constricting!

What life advice do you wish you’d been given sooner?

Unclench and breathe!

If you were a supernatural creature, what would you be and why?

I’d  be Fae. They’re long-lived (which is nice) and seem a benign group. So many supernatural creatures seem to want/need to harm humans!

Where do you write best? 

For drafting, I do my best work at my desk. When I get to editing and rewrites, my favorite spot is the swing in our backyard.

What was the last book you read, and what were your thoughts on it?

A friend recommended Liane Moriarty’s books. I started with The Last Anniversary and, as soon as I finished it, downloaded Big Little Lies. Moriarty’s a wonderful story teller and there’s a mystery at the core of each tale.

If you didn’t write in your genre, which other would you prefer and why?

If I didn’t write mystery/suspense, perhaps historical fiction. I enjoy reading other genres – fantasy, magical realism, humor – but I also love doing research and historical fiction would certainly tap into that!

Where can fans find you online?

www.peggyrothschild.net

https://twitter.com/pegrothschild

https://www.facebook.com/peggyrothschildauthor

http://amzn.to/1VIgnLu

http://www.amazon.com/Peggy-Rothschild/e/B00CGCNGP6

http://www.evernightteen.com/punishment-summer-by-peggy-rothschild/

Interview with Laurisa White Reyes

P10 (2)Tell us about your publishing journey…
I started writing books about a decade ago and was fortunate to have my first two middle grade novels, The Rock of Ivanore & The Last Enchanter, published by Tanglewood Press. But I found that I loved reading young adult novels, so I decided to give that a try. The result was, CONTACT, a sci-fi thriller about a girl who can upload people’s psyches with a single touch, an ability that drives her to attempted suicide. The book was originally published by Hallowed Ink Press, but HIP went out of business a year later. I am very lucky that Evernight Teen liked the book and re-published it. They even made it an Editor’s Pick.
What do you love about being an author?
I love the way characters seem to take on a life of their own. When I get about half way through a project, it begins to feel like the story exists outside of me and that I’m just the one writing it all down. It’s the moment when a story and the characters break free, become independent of the creator. It’s kind of magical.
If you could have dinner with any literary character, who would it be and what would you eat?

Jo March from Little Women. When I was a young girl, I wanted to be Jo March. Jo is strong-willed, feisty, and a writer. I’d love to pick her brain and just spend a little creative face-to-face time with her. I would probably want to introduce her to sushi, since I don’t think would have ever tried that in the 19th century.

 Contact-evernightpublishing-JayAheer2016-finalcover
If your book was to be made into a movie, who would you cast as the leads?
That’s tough. I’m a bit older than my readers, and many of the actors I love are closer to my age and would naturally be too old for CONTACT. But maybe Daisy Ridley (Star Wars) or Selena Gomez (don’t laugh!) could play Mira. For her love interest, David, Diego Boneta (Pretty Little Liars) has the right look.
Vampires – do you prefer them as sexy leads or blood hungry monsters?
I recently read Bram Stoker’s Dracula for the first time, and I was stunned how scary it was. I imagine it was terrifying back in 1897 when it was first published. The best vampires remain true to Stoker’s original vision–suave, sophisticated, but also cruel and violent. They are the epitome of irresistible evil.
If you had a time machine, which era would you go back to and why?
There isn’t a time in history I wouldn’t want to see. I’m kind of an ancient history buff. But I suppose if I chose one era, I’d love to travel back 2100 years to the time of Jesus Christ, see some of those miracles first hand. Then again, I’m not so sure I’d want to face the Romans or live in a time prior to ibuprophen or antibiotics.
What life advice do you wish you’d been given sooner?
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To write books. To follow my dream. I wanted to become a novelist since I was a kid, but it took until I was forty-two before I actually did it. I wish I’d started pursuing my dream sooner.

If you were a supernatural creature, what would you be and why?
I’m really not into supernatural creatures. Ask me what super hero I’d want to be, and I’d say Kitty Pryde from the X-Men. I love how she can phase through walls. I’m a total Marvel Universe geek.
Where do you write best?
Anywhere where I am alone, which is no where. I have five children and a house full of people. So I quite literally never get any peace and quiet time, which makes it very difficult to write. I’ve tried going to the library, but you’d be surprised how noisy libraries can be. Normally, I write at my desk in my home office. At least I can close the door.
What was the last book you read, and what were your thoughts on it?
The Dogs by Allan Stratton. It’s a middle grade horror novel. It had just enough creep factor and mystery to give a kid chills. Perfect book for reluctant readers. I’m always on the look out for good horror novels for all ages. For adults, I recently read The Troop by Nick Cutter about these boy scouts on a island who get infected with genetically modified worms that make them really, really hungry. Some pretty disgusting things happen. Loved it.
Omnibus_Front (2)
If you didn’t write in your genre, which other would you prefer and why?
My secret dream is to be a horror novelist. CONTACT has some elements of horror, and I just finished writing a horror/sci-fi manuscript set on a distant planet with an invisible creature that rips the characters to shreds. Hoping to get that published in the near future.
Where can fans find you online?
The best way to keep up with me is via my e-newsletter. People can subscribe for free on my website:http://www.laurisawhitereyes.com/ or blog http://laurisareyes.blogspot.com./ I’m also on Facebook  and Twitter.

Interview with Medeia Sharif

my headshotTell us about your publishing journey…

It took me a long time to break in. I queried for thirteen years, for several manuscripts, until I found the agent who sold my first book. After that agent and I parted ways, I’ve had subsequent books and short stories published through small presses.

What do you love about being an author?

I love creating stories. I can’t imagine not writing. Then to have people tell me that they enjoy my work is uplifting.

If you could have dinner with any literary character, who would it be and what would you eat?

I’m a fan of Erica Jong’s Isadora books, so I’d have dinner with Isadora Wing. I’d go with Thai, since that’s my favorite restaurant food.

If your book was to be made into a movie, who would you cast as the leads?

I have no idea. I don’t watch many TV shows or movies, so I’m out of touch with today’s celebrities.

Vampires – do you prefer them as sexy leads or blood hungry monsters?

Since I lean towards horror, I’d say blood hungry monsters.

If you had a time machine, which era would you go back to and why?

I’d love to visit the 1960’s and 1970’s (although I was born in the latter part of the ’70s). I find the societal changes during those decades fascinating. I also like the music, fashion, and entertainment of that time.

What life advice do you wish you’d been given sooner?

To get involved. I did many things alone and in a bubble when I would’ve learned things faster by working with and receiving support from like-minded people.

If you were a supernatural creature, what would you be and why?

I’ve always been fascinated by vampires since an early age, so I would choose that creature. From shows to movies to books, they’ve always captured my imagination.

Where do you write best?

My home office space. Sometimes I write somewhere else in my home or at a public spot, but that space is where I write the most.

What was the last book you read, and what were your thoughts on it?

The last book I read was Kelly Hashway’s Out of the Ashes. It’s book 2 in a paranormal YA series. It has mystery, romance, and so many other wonderful elements.

If you didn’t write in your genre, which other would you prefer and why?

I’d love to try writing one of those sweeping speculative fiction series that run into 3 or more installments, either paranormal or sci-fi. I’ve had ideas for them, but never planned them out.

Where can fans find you online?

I have a website, Twitter, Instagram, and Goodreads page.

evernight covers

Interview with Christine Potter

me and elvisWhat do you love about being an author?

I love writing.  I love getting a scene down on paper, complete with everything: who’s fiddling with the focus ring on her camera, what it actually felt like to sit in a seat at the old Fillmore East (where the best rock and roll bands played in New York City in the 60’s), what it’s like to have your first sip of wine.  I love dissolving into writing.

If you could have dinner with any literary character, who would it be and what would you eat?

Hmmm…I’d gladly eat anything Meg Murry’s mother (from Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle In Time) felt like heating up over her bunsen burner.  I think I’d just like to sit at the Murry family’s dinner table, and have a little chat with Meg and Charles Wallace.

If your book was to be made into a movie, who would you cast as the leads?

The characters in Time Runs Away With Her are 16 years old in the year 1970.  Bean Donohue, the time traveler, is a green-eyed redhead, and her true love Zak has silvery blonde hair that reaches down his back—sort of a very young Johnny Winter, although not quite as pale! Assuming I had the funds to do it, I think I’d want to cast unknown actors, young folks who were in high school themselves.

Vampires – do you prefer them as sexy leads or blood hungry monsters?

Sexy leads, for sure!!  I have a sort of vampiric character (not a real vampire, though) in the sequel to Time Runs Away With Her.

If you had a time machine, which era would you go back to and why?

If I had a time machine, I’d be in it all the time. I write time travel! My books are set in the Hudson River Valley of New York State, and I’d love to see that in Colonial times—and also in the late 19th Century, when the one percent of that time built their huge mansions.  I love old houses!

What life advice do you wish you’d been given sooner?

I wish someone had told me to trust love more.  I don’t know whether I’d have believed the advice or taken it, but the older I get, the more I know that love is the strongest force in the world.

If you were a supernatural creature, what would you be and why?bookart

Perhaps I’d be a Hogwarts-educated wizard.  I always liked the way Molly Weasley does housework without working up too much of a sweat. A wand would be useful.  Also, I don’t love driving cars, and I have to do that all the time! Magical transportation sounds much nicer.

Where do you write best?

I am blessed with a really pretty office.  It’s on the bottom floor of our very old and haunted house.  Our place was built in 1740, and I think the room I’m in was added in the mid eighteen hundreds.  I have an old-school desktop computer that I write on, and a view of a creek and the woods.

What was the last book you read, and what were your thoughts on it?

I’m a big music fan. I DJ, sing classical and folk music, and I especially love to listen to and read about rock and roll.  Just finished Patti Smith’s second memoir,  M Train.  I love her spirit!  The woman rides her life like a pirate sailing a ship.

If you didn’t write in your genre, which other would you prefer and why?

I’m actually a poet, as well as a YA novelist.  I have two poetry collections: Zero Degrees at First Light, and Sheltering in Place.   I switch back and forth between the genres a fair amount.  I think I’d like to experiment a little with New Adult books; it’s an interesting genre with a little more freedom to be frank.

Where can fans find you online?

I’m very findable on Facebook personally (https://www.facebook.com/christine.potter.543), and there’s a page dedicated to Time Runs Away With Her: https://www.facebook.com/beanstravels/

My blog is called Time Travels, and it’s here: http://chrispygal.weebly.com/

Interview with Marcus Damanda

at the deskTell us about your publishing journey…

I have a box of rejection letters that I could use to wallpaper the Taj Mahal. I have been taught humility by several hundred agents and publishers that have psychologically flogged me for decades, all while wearing black hoods and going bare chested. In 1989, I got my first agent—and promptly refused a publication contract with Doubleday because they insisted I re-write the second half of the book. I figured I’d have another offer within weeks. My next offer came in 2007. A painful lesson, but I have learned it well.

What do you love about being an author?

The fancy cars, my house in the Catskills, my pet leopard—oh, wait. I have none of those things. I love starting with an idea and slowly watching it fill in. I write almost nothing in sequence, so for me, it really is like watching the picture in a jigsaw puzzle emerge from scattered pieces.

If you could have dinner with any literary character, who would it be and what would you eat?

Hannibal Lecter. No, wait. I withdraw that comment, too. Serious answer: Father Karras from The Exorcist. We’d have Italian with a nice red and talk about what it felt like to confront the Devil. Now, if you’re asking me about a DATE with a character, definitely Clarice Starling from The Silence of The Lambs. Hm—noticing a pattern here.

If your book was to be made into a movie, who would you cast as the leads?salvationstate1l__68237.1452817734.432.648

If THE SALVATION STATE was made into a movie, give me Willow Shields as Rebecca, the preacher’s daughter on the run, and Asa Butterfield as Daniel, the atheist outcast.

Vampires – do you prefer them as sexy leads or blood hungry monsters?

15% sexy leads, 85% bloodsucking monsters. That about sums up my vampires in THE FOREVER SHOW and TEETH. Bottom line, if they’re not scary, they’re not vampires.

If you had a time machine, which era would you go back to and why?

I’d set my time machine for “repeat” and stay in 1985 forever. Everybody have fun tonight, Everybody Wang Chung tonight. Seriously, the 80s were so freakin’ happy for me. I mean, like, totally.

Definitely not going back anywhere in time that does not have indoor plumbing, cable TV, and a 7-11 on the corner.

What life advice do you wish you’d been given sooner?

That’s tough for me, because I was given so much good advice that I totally ignored. Having said that, I do wish someone had advised me to do as I was told as a young writer—that it’s not the world’s responsibility to make you rich and famous, that your dream is no one else’s responsibility to realize for you.

If you were a supernatural creature, what would you be and why?

This is where I expect a lot of people would expect me to say “vampire.” They really are a lot of fun to write about. But if I could be a supernatural creature—say, one with immortality, good looks, superhuman reflexes, et cetera—make me a Tolkien elf every day. I’d be able to sing better, my hair would be awesome, I’d be able to drink without impairment to my permanent health, and I’d be one of the good guys—a wins-all-around type of situation.

51Yx2B16qTL._OU01_AC_UL320_SR214,320_Where do you write best?

The only place I write is at the modest little table-desk at the man cave by the sliding glass door with Shazam the cat on his perch to my left. Having said that, my favorite environment to write in is one with a good wrath-of-God thunderstorm flooding my downhill neighbors’ basement—I’m sorry, was that aloud?—or else the quiet of early morning before the sun comes up.

What was the last book you read, and what were your thoughts on it?

The last series I finished was the Unwind Dystology by Neal Shusterman, and the last individual book I finished was Time Runs Away with Her by Christine Potter. Very different types of books—pure dystopia on the one hand and paranormal teen romance on the other—but both completely blew my mind.

If you didn’t write in your genre, which other would you prefer and why?

I typically write horror and—these days—dystopian science fiction. One day I plan to go back to my roots and go full-on swords-and-sorcery again, like I did when I wrote for no one but myself and my pre-teen friends.

Where can fans find you online?

https://www.facebook.com/MarcusDamandaAuthor

https://twitter.com/MarcusDamanda

www.marcusdamanda.com

Buy links:

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=marcus+damanda

www.evernightteen.com

http://www.audible.com/search/ref=a_hp_tseft?advsearchKeywords=marcus+damanda&filterby=field-keywords&x=0&y=0

 

 

Interview with Amy Braun

61dUIvsTGwL._UX250_Amy Braun and Crimson Sky– MINOR SPOILERS BELOW

When you began writing Crimson Sky, did you know the direction the series would take?

Yes and no. I had an idea of what I wanted the characters to achieve, but I had no idea how they would get there. I didn’t really know what Claire’s key from her mother would be used for, and I was still working on the history between her parents and the Hellions. But the more I wrote, the better understanding I had of the series and how it should progress. Hopefully readers will want to continue reading into the second book, which will be just as exciting as the first.

What were the challenges in writing Crimson Sky?

To be honest, I don’t remember the story being that challenging as compared to some of my other work. Oh, there were times where I had to sit back and really think about what I was doing, and the research was bland as ever, but I knew I had to move past the roadblocks and just get the story done. The more I wrote, the more eager I was to reach the end, just to see how it ended.

What inspired the design of Westraven?HANDOVER Ebook Crimson Sky 6x9in

One of my favorite movies is The Lord of the Rings. They’re beautiful films and the set design is incredible. I loved the look of Gondor, and I actually based the setting of Westraven off that city. A flatter, less medieval version to be sure, but I liked the idea of a crumbling city of white stones. I have another steampunk series planned that follows the more traditional ideas of a derelict steampunk town, but I didn’t want to write the same setting for two very different series’. I also think that Westraven’s stony, broken look gives a certain, haunting echo to the story, and I think a lot of readers will like it. There are still places in and outside of Westraven that haven’t been seen yet, and I can’t wait for readers to see them.

Why did you choose vampires as the monsters?

It’s true that vampires are overused in fiction. It’s not something that’s lost on me. But the thing with vampires is that they’re such a changeable species, and when you stick to the tradition (more or less), they will always be terrifying. I modeled them after the vampires from Thirty Days of Night– they hide in the shadows, are super fast and savage, and have their own, animalistic language. I can’t read those books or watch that movie without getting chills when I see those vampires. Plus, I like the idea that even after its destruction, the Hellions continue to suck the life out of Westraven and its inhabitants. That definitely seems to raise the stakes.

What can we expect in future books in the series?

Dark Sky will be a collection of three full length novels and two prequel novellas when it’s all said and done. Right now, the sequel, Midnight Sky, is scheduled for release in August 2016, with the novellas to be released in October and December. The final novel is scheduled for February 2017. Midnight Sky will have a lot of surprise reveals and twists, and an ending I seriously doubt anyone will expect. There will also be a lot more chemistry and interactions between Claire and Sawyer, which I think will leave a lot of readers happy. The novellas will focus on the secondary characters, Gemma and Nash, and chronicle their adventures before they joined Sawyer’s crew. I won’t say anything about the third and final novel, because I don’t want to give anything away, but let’s just say that things are going to get dark for our heroes, and they’ll finbigd themselves in places they never expected. And that’s a good thing, because you can’t write a steampu
nk pirate story without some wild adventures.

What’s the one question you dread in interviews?

I’ve been forced to re-write a couple of my stories and push my deadlines back, and while the question hasn’t been asked yet, I dread the day someone asks “When can we expect Book Such And Such,” and I have to awkwardly answer that it needs to be delayed another year because I have to start from scratch again.


Which book do you wish you’d written and why?

All of my favourite books are ones that I’ve drawn inspiration from, and I know that I would never have been able to replicate all the ideas the author came up with. They’d have had some amazing idea that I would have completely glossed over. Having said that, I gotta go with the Elemental Assassin series by Jennifer Estep. Among my favourite books of all time, I love how Estep is always able to create an exciting new story with beloved characters. It’s the series that made her famous among urban fantasy lovers, her heroine is absolutely fantastic, and her fight scenes are always inventive. All of this has earned her legions of followers and fans. I won’t lie and say I’m not a little jealous, but she’s earned her success.

Who is your favorite villain and hero?

Oh man, this is tricky. As far as mythology goes, I’ve always loved Loki. He’s the ultimate trickster. No one can tell what’s going on in his head until they suffer because of it. Not to men10458353_710110392358355_3367924262463058476_ntion that he’s hot as hell with Tom Hiddelston playing him. As far as book/TV villains, I have to go with the villains from Game of Thrones. They’re exquisitely crafted, and even if it makes you sick, you understand them. Which makes their actions all the more horrifying.

What are you watching on TV at the moment?

I actually haven’t had the time to catch up on the many, many, many TV shows I’m behind on, but I’m going between the new seasons of Supernatural and The Walking Dead right now. I feel behind because I’m busy writing, but hopefully I can find the will to take a day and unwind to watch what Sam/Dean and Rick/Daryl get up to, hopefully before Facebook spoils me.

A genie pops out of a lamp, what’s the first thing you wish for?

A publisher to sign me on for a book deal that will let me quit my Real Job and allow me to write full time. Alternatively, more time so I can write all the books I want to write and turn my dream into a career. Outside of writing, I’d probably ask for an endless supply of money to travel the world and see all the cities and countries I’ve always wanted to see. Wait, that’s three wishes. Can genies still give out three wishes?

About Amy Braun

Amy’s current work includes the full length novels Demon’s Daughter, Dark Divinity, Crimson Sky, and Path of the Horseman, and the novella Needfire. She has short stories in various horror and urban fantasy anthologies such as Call From The Grave, Hotel Hell, Survivalism in The Dead Walk: Volume 2, Dismantle in The Steam Chronicles, Lost Sky in Avast, Ye Airships!, Secret Suicide in That Hoodoo, Voodoo, That You Do, Bring Back The Hound in Stomping Grounds, Charlatan Charade in Lost in the Witching Hour, and her award winning short Dark Intentions And Blood in AMOK! Amy can be found online through her frequently updated blog, Literary Braun (literarybraun.blogspot.ca), as well as on Twitter (@amybraunauthor) and Facebook (facebook.com/amybraunauthor).

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Interview with…Nicky Peacock

use1So, why do a self-interview?

Well, Nicky at the risk of appearing schizophrenic I thought perhaps I could use this opportunity to ask myself the questions that don’t tend to get asked in other interviews. And of course, be incredibly honest with my answers. You can’t lie to yourself, well you can, but it’s not healthy!

What advice would you give a new writer?

Honestly, only go into writing if you are passionate about it. I love writing, always have, but if you don’t have the time and energy to properly dedicate to it, it’s best to find another hobby/ career. People who are outside the publishing industry tend to not know the efforts that have to go in to getting published, sure they’ve probably read big time author stories romanced up to the point where it’s three steps away from reality, but they’ve not experienced it themselves. To be fair, until they do, they won’t understand. There are lots of friends and even family in my life that only see the end product of the book in their hand, they don’t see the nights I stayed up editing, the lunch times I worked on my blog, and all the spare hours I could get my hands on to actually write. Only other authors truly appreciate these efforts. So, finding other writers to talk to is paramount to keep your sanity!

What question do you dread in interviews?

How did you come up with the idea for your novel? I hate seeing this question as the answer is always awful sounding. There are so many ideas, characters and plots that go into writing a novel and they all spring from somewhere – some can be very personal. I always try to be honest in interviews, so I find it really hard to spin my answer in such a way that I don’t sound psychotic or condescending!

Your new book Bad Timing continues the Battle of the Undead series with Evernight bad-timingTeen. Was writing a second book harder?

Oddly, no. I have an overall plot for the series in my mind, so it kind of felt cathartic to get the story on paper. I love the character of Britannia and I feel a certain sense of duty to get her to her ending, whether it’s happy or not. The one thing I am worried about with it though, is that you have to read the books in order for them to make sense. I’d hate for a reader to start with Bad Timing as they’d have no idea what is going on!

How do you feel about promoting your own books?

I’ve worked in sales and marketing now for 16 years, so I really enjoy it. As the author, I’m passionate about my work so getting it out to the widest audience possible is as much my responsibility as my publishers. Some days I can’t write a coherent sentence to save my life, so it’s nice to have another job to get on with which is just as productive. I also really appreciate it when readers and bloggers help me to get the word out – makes me feel like I’ve done something right.

Tell us something about yourself that you wouldn’t normally reveal…

I’m highly competitive but incredibly lazy. This makes for an interesting combination. My inner self is pretty much always at war. A big part of me wants nothing more than to turn on Netflix and binge watch with a tub of mint choc chip ice cream. The other part of me wants to win, to push myself to my limits and get to the top with hard work and dedication. The latter tends to win more battles, but it’s an ongoing war!

What do you feel passionately about?

Helping other writers find their way. I have a writers’ group that’s really busy and I’m volunteering to do creative writing workshops for local schools and libraries. Writing can really help to focus you, exorcise demons and if all goes well give you an extra income. I’m currently striving to provide the support for wannabe authors that I didn’t get when I was younger. I also really enjoy inspiring other writers. I have quite a busy mind, so playing muse to others is a great way for me to focus too. If I could get a job as a muse, I’d be there like a shot!

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What was the best story you ever wrote?

I love all my stories, I wouldn’t put them out into the world if I didn’t. But there are three short stories that I put my whole heart into. For Audrey appears in the So Long and Thanks for all the Brains anthology – this story is about a zombie dog protecting his child owner in a zombie uprising. It never fails to make me cry! Bad Baby appears in the Bleeding Ink anthology. It was an idea based in science but marinated in emotion. The Red Fingers appears in Grotesquerie anthology, is probably the most ‘out of the box’ story I’ve written, it’s all from the point of view of a musical talent. The Battle of the Undead series published through Evernight Teen is my first sole author books, so these will always have a special place in my heart.

How do you deal with bad days?

Everyone has them, I try to remember this, but I have developed a trick that makes me feel so much better…the montage. Montages are mostly found in scripts but sometimes in prose; it’s where a character skips through a portion of their lives in short scenes; this leads them to their destiny, usually with uplifting music – think Rocky training to Eye of the Tiger. After a bad day, I sit down, close my eyes and imagine my day as a montage of events (usually to the song Nine to Five by Dolly Parton) Once finished I feel better, that I the protagonist of my own story is heading toward my destiny, one country song montage at a time!

What are you working on at the moment?

Well, it’s the last installment of Battle of the Undead, Bad Karma and also the 2nd installment of my new series, The Twisted and the Brave. I also have another story eating away at my brain, like a toothy worm – but I’ll update you all on this one when I know more.

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Interview with Earl Staggs

Justified_Action_Cover_for_Kindle (2)Tell us about your publishing journey…

The thought of being a writer first took seed when I won an essay contest in high school. The thought lay dormant for a long time in favor of other things.  Thing like earning a living and raising a family.  When our daughters were grown and on their own, my wife and I burned our snow shovels in Maryland and moved to Florida.  That’s when I decided to give writing a serious try.

My first effort was a short mystery story.  I thought it was the best story ever written, so I immediately submitted it to a magazine.  A few weeks later, I received a rejection letter. Okay, I thought, their loss.  I sent the story to another magazine, then another, and another, all with the same result.  After a string of rejection letters, I suffered, I cried, I moaned, and I filed that story away.  Daunted but not totally discouraged, I continued writing short stories and submitting them.

Eventually, I received my first acceptance letter from The Cozy Detective Mystery Magazine for a story titled “Room Six.”  It’s funny how one acceptance can wipe out the pain of a whole stack of rejections.

Over the next few years, we moved to Fort Worth, Texas, and I placed a number of short stories in magazines and anthologies.  One of my stories even brought home a Derringer Award for Best Short Story of the Year.

Then I decided to move to the next level – writing a novel.  Remember that first story, the one that picked up those rejection letters?  One day, I pulled it out, dusted it off, and read it.  Oh my gosh!  I saw why it had been rejected.  There were so many things wrong with it I suspected someone had sneaked into my file and sabotaged it.  Either that or I had learned a lot about writing since then.  Anyway, I rewrote it, and when I sent it out this time, two magazines wanted to publish it, one a print magazine and one an electronic one.  What to do?  Fortunately. I didn’t have to decide.  Both magazines agreed to publish it at the same time.  That’s the only time I know of that a story appeared in two magazines simultaneously.

A lot of readers liked the protagonist and the premise of the story.  The protagonist is Adam Kingston, a private eye with some psychic abilities. His psychic images didn’t solve cases for him, but sometimes they provided clues which led him in the right direction.  Sometimes, they only confused him because he had no idea what they meant.  Response and feedback on the story was so encouraging, I decided to take Adam into a novel.

The title of the novel turned out to be MEMORY OF A MURDER.  It’s still available in all the usual places online and off.  I’m currently working on a sequel.  The short story that led to it, that first story featuring Adam Kingston, is “The Missing Sniper,” and it’s available in ebook form at:  http://store.untreedreads.com

What do you love about being an author?

Everything except one.  I love it when an idea occurs, when the idea turns into words that make sense on my screen, when the idea becomes a finished story I’m happy with, and I especially love it when someone likes it enough to publish it.  The one thing I don’t like is rejections letters.  Yes, I added a few more to that first batch and no matter how many times I tell myself they’re inevitable even for famous writers, they’re still painful.

If your book was to be made into a movie, who would you cast as the leads?

George Clooney and Sandra Bullock would be perfect as the leads in MEMORY OF A MURDER.  There are other actors who would fit, but those two would be my first choice.  They could also star in my second novel, an action mystery called JUSTIFIED ACTION, if they wanted to.

Vampires – do you prefer them as sexy leads or blood hungry monsters?

I grew up watching old black and white movies with Bela Lugosi as Dracula. Because of that, I can only think of vampires, zombies, or any other monster as horrible, scary creatures.  I prefer characters, even the bad guys, who are human.

If you had a time machine, which era would you go back to and why?

Probably to the mid 1800’s when cowboys with fast horses and fast guns ruled the Old West.  There was adventure, romance, lots of action, and the bad guys were dispatched with a bullet or a rope instead of a long drawn out trial followed by years of appeals.

What life advice do you wish you’d been given sooner?Mem Cover

Find what you’re best-suited to do and enjoy doing and work hard to be the best at it.

If you were a supernatural creature, what would you be and why?

A winged unicorn.  They’re sleek and beautiful, they can fly above the ugly parts of life, and if someone gives them a hard time, they have that sharp horn on their foreheads.

Where do you write best? 

There are two places.  One is at home.  We turned a third bedroom into a computer room, and I write there. I also have a part-time job driving a school bus.  That takes two hours in the morning to get the kids to school and two hours in the afternoon to deliver them back home.  In between, there are about five hours all my own. I take my laptop to work and spend that time writing in the driver’s lounge. I’ve learned to shut out everything going on around me and go into a writing zone.

What was the last book you read, and what were your thoughts on it?

I recently read Harper Lee’s GO SET A WATCHMAN.  I wanted to see what all the hubbub was about.  While I found Miss Lee to be a smooth and talented writer, not much of anything resembling a plot happened until after midway through the book, and that plot didn’t draw me in as much as I like in a novel.  It’s easy to see why her editor made strong recommendations to rewrite it.  The rewrite, of course, became TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD.

If you didn’t write in your genre, which other would you prefer and why? 

If I didn’t write mysteries, I’d probably write westerns.  Actually, when you think about it, many westerns are nothing more than mysteries in a different time period. In a western, the bad guys rustle cattle and rob stage coaches and the good guy has to hunt them down and bring them to justice just like cops go after criminals in a modern mystery.  You only have to substitute fast cars for fast horses and Glock nine millimeters for Colt forty-fives and the genres are very similar.

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I have a blog site at http://earlwstaggs.wordpress.com where I showcase my novels and short stories.