Saturday, 24 June 2017

An interview with Joan Fallon


Welcome to the blogsite, Joan. Thank you for joining us.
Q. Can you tell us a little about yourself?

A. Yes, my name is Joan Fallon. I have spent my life moving south—I was born in Scotland, grew up in England and now live in Spain. I used to be a teacher and then a management training consultant but I gave all that up when I moved to Málaga nearly twenty years ago. Since living there I have dedicated my time to doing what I have wanted to do since I was a young girl - writing fiction, both historical and contemporary.

Q. When you’re not writing, what leisure time activities or hobbies do you enjoy?
A. I used to play a lot of golf, especially at weekends but now my hobbies include walking my two dogs on the beach and reading. I also enjoy films and drama and going to concerts. My husband and I also travel a lot, exploring Spain. As most of my books are set in Spain this comes in useful when I’m writing.

Q. Do you like to read or do you prefer to listen to audio books?
A. I love reading and I still prefer to read paperbacks rather than ebooks. I don’t have any audio books but I’m sure I would enjoy them. The only drawback I could see for me is that I would be doing things while I listened to them instead of just sitting down and letting myself become immersed in the story, as you do when you are reading a book.

Q. Do you have a kindle, nook, or reading device yourself, or do you prefer to read from printed versions of a book?
A Although I prefer to read from a printed book I do have a Kindle and I have the Kindle app on my iPad. It’s very useful for travelling and also when you want a book for research rather than pleasure.

Q. Who are your favourite authors?
A. This could be a long list. Andrew Greig is currently at the top of my list but I also like Stevie Davies, Hilary Mantel, Ian McEwan, Niall Williamson, Roddy Doyle, Beryl Bainbridge, Mavis Cheek, Margaret Atwood, Graham Greene. I could go on.

Q. Which ‘genres’ do you prefer to read – and write? Is there a difference?
A. Yes, there is a difference in that I like to write historical fiction but I don’t read much of it, except for Hilary Mantel and Ken Follett. My favourite genre for reading is contemporary fiction, sometimes crime but mostly human drama. I also like international fiction.

Q. What do you feel are the greatest challenges facing any writer at the present time?
A. The greatest challenge facing writers is how to get your book noticed - first by an agent or a publisher and then by the public. It is so much easier these days to produce and self-publish your book and then sell it on-line. Consequently there are millions of books out there and there is a real danger of your book sinking beneath a sea of other self-published books. It is important to find ways of making your book stand out so that people can read it and judge for themselves.

Q. What inspires you – or has inspired you – to write a particular book?
A.   I am normally inspired by the location or by some historical event that took place. For example when I began writing the al-Andalus series, it was because I had visited the ruined city of Madinat al-Zahra near Córdoba in southern Spain. This led to the first book, The Shining City, the story of a family of artisans living in the city, whose lives are turned upside down when the youngest son falls in love with the Caliph’s favourite concubine. I then stayed in Córdoba for Books two and three.
Similarly I was inspired by living in Málaga, to write a love story set in the Spanish Civil War where the action is in Málaga. This book is called Spanish Lavender and tells of the exodus of thousands of people from the city, who were gunned down by enemy cruisers as they tried to flee to Almeria.

Q. Do you write from imagination, personal experience, or a mixture?
A. I write from a mixture of imagination, personal experience and research. None of my characters are based on people I know, but many personality traits are taken from them

Q. I’ve always argued that to be a good writer you need to be a good reader first. Do you think that is true or false?
A. I absolutely agree. Part of the preparation (or training, if you like) for writing is to spend a lot of time reading and not necessarily in the same genre that you intend to write in.

Q. Do you have a current ‘work in progress’? Can you tell us anything about it?
A. Yes, I have just finished the third book in the al-Andalus series, The Ring of Flames. Once again it is set in Córdoba and the action takes place during the fall of the city and the demise of the Omayyad dynasty. The next generation of the family of artisans that the reader originally met in book one, battles to survive pestilence, floods and invading forces. When the city is besieged they know they must find a way to escape.

Q. When you have finished writing the book – what do you do next? By that I mean, do you edit the book yourself? Do you design your own book cover? Do you prepare a project plan to market your book?
A.   It would be wonderful if I could just get started writing the next book, but before that can happen there is a long list of things to do. The first is to have it professionally edited and then to get a good cover. I used to design my own covers but now I use a company called Lawston Design and I think the quality is much improved. When the book is free of typos and spelling mistakes then I have it printed. I have a marketing plan which includes using social media, local press, book signings and some advertising. One of the best ways to interact with your readers is to offer to attend book clubs, either to talk about the book or to sign copies.

Q. Do you have another book in mind?
A. Yes, I have an idea for a book set in Spain  about a woman whose mother escaped into exile during the Civil War. Brought up in Mexico, when she hears that Franco has died she returns to try to discover the graves of her family but uncovers something much more sinister.

Thanks, Joan.... Readers, You can connect with Joan Fallon at the following links:
And click into her amazon pages listed below to check out her books - a small selection of which are included below.

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





Sunday, 28 May 2017

Independent authors #kindle of the week



K I N D L E S 
for you


When the caliph of al-Andalus, al-Hakim II, dies leaving an eleven-year-old boy as his heir, Queen Subh knows that her son is in danger—other members of the Omayyad court have their eyes on the throne.  Captured by slavers and brought to Córdoba as a child, Subh has risen to become the most powerful woman in the realm. A woman of great intelligence, beauty and ambition, she does not intend to let her enemies win. Now she must use those wits and beauty to ensure that her son comes to no harm and that she remains Queen Mother. She sets up a Regency to rule in his place until the child comes of age. But she has underestimated the ruthlessness and ambition of their enemies. Keeping the seat of power under her control is not as simple as she thought. In the end she has to chose between her own ambitions and her son’s safety.

‘Based around real events, this book magically and effectively brings a story rich in intrigue, to life.’ Historical Novel Review Society

‘…immerses the reader in the gritty world of court intrigue wonderfully.’


CLICK HERE for the KINDLE LINK





England, 1942. After three years of WWII, Britain is showing the scars. But in this darkest of days, three lives intertwine, changing their destinies and those of many more. Dr Archibald McIndoe, a New Zealand plastic surgeon with unorthodox methods, is on a mission to treat and rehabilitate badly burned airmen – their bodies and souls. With the camaraderie and support of the Guinea Pig Club, his boys battle to overcome disfigurement, pain, and prejudice to learn to live again.

John ‘Mac’ Mackenzie of the US Air Force is aware of the odds. He has one chance in five of surviving the war. Flying bombing missions through hell and back, he’s fighting more than the Luftwaffe. Fear and doubt stalk him on the ground and in the air, and he’s torn between his duty and his conscience.
Shy, decent and sensible Stella Charlton’s future seems certain until war breaks out. As a new recruit to the WAAF, she meets an American pilot on New Year’s Eve. After just one dance, she falls head over heels for the handsome airman. But when he survives a crash, she realises her own battle has only just begun.

Based on a true story, "The Beauty Shop" is a moving tale of love, compassion, and determination against a backdrop of wartime tragedy.


CLICK HERE for the KINDLE LINK


You build relationships to betray relationships.
That is the motto for the FBI's undercover program, and special agent Lexie Montgomery is just beginning to understand what that means. Lexie's first assignment is infiltrating a radical cell of the Animal Liberation Front. Underground and operating in splinter groups throughout Los Angeles, the only way in is through Savannah Riley, a new recruit.
Savannah left the safety of her small southern town for the bright lights of the city. Pulled into the animal rights movement by her college roommate and a gorgeous anarchist, she sinks deeper and deeper into the dark, paranoid world of ALF extremists.
As the actions of her cell escalate beyond simple demonstrations and graffiti, Savannah turns to Lexie to keep her grounded. But as the two women grow closer and the FBI's case builds, Lexie is forced to decide what betrayal really means.


CLICK here for the KINDLE LINK


This is a true story.
Abuse lasts forever. I was abused and still have the mental scars.
It was hard to forgive, but even harder to forget.
It is true: There is no such thing as a life without regrets.
We cannot change the past, but we can ruin the present by worrying about the future. Life is too short and time is too precious to dwell on what might have been.
By the time your life is finished, you will have learned just enough to begin it well.
Is it not better to forgive than to remember and regret?


CLICK HERE for the KINDLE LINK


Ed Carter, an ageing career astronaut, is put out to pasture and dubbed a failure. Retiring to a quiet pub in rural Cumbria, he spends his time studying the stars in between pulling pints of beer for his thirsty locals. Envious of modern day space exploration, Ed can only watch from afar as his colleagues strive to reach further into the unknown. Then, unexpectedly, everything goes wrong and Earth is plunged into an alarming series of natural, and unnatural, disasters. Only Ed seems to know the answer to the problem the world is facing, but no-one is listening to yesterday’s man. Eventually, Sam, an astrophysicist, teams up with him and, together, they realise why the Earth is in danger. As the two race to save the world, a series of natural disasters shake mankind to its very core. In the final days of the planet, people still fall in and out of love, tears are shed, and hearts are broken. People are rescued to live again whilst others die in a sea of catastrophic despair. Personalities evolve, develop, and meet success and tragedy head on. This is a chilling tale of human misery, heroism, love, hate, jealousy, cowardice, ignorance, disaster and scientific discovery. You see, out there, lurking in Space, is a run-of-the-mill everyday danger threatening human survival. There are those born to lead, and those born to follow. It’s time for someone to step up to the plate as the suspense reaches a climax, but is it too late?

CLICK HERE for the KINDLE LINK



When an unexpected earthquake in the English Channel unwittingly presents the secrets of the past, a trail of bribery, corruption, kidnap and murder entangle the south coast detective, Davies King. As the mystery deepens, Davies investigates the connection between the escape of a handful of petty criminals from a prison van; a vicious murder, the unidentified treasures of a sunken ship in the English Channel, a corrupt American politician, and ‘organised crime’.
Will Britain’s most annoying petty criminals outwit the stressed-out detective? Faced with overwhelming odds, the exhausted Davies King must come to terms with failure and re-ignite ‘loyalty’. On the doorstep of failure, the detective enlists the help of 'Special Forces' when he recognises an emerging catastrophe which is likely to destroy the foundations of an Anglo-American agreement, The so-called special relationship is in danger of collapsing. But loyalty is the last stand and it’s beyond his control.

Review: Another excellent page turner from the pen of Paul Anthony. He grips the reader on page one and never lets you go until the end. Brilliant crime writing that ranks with the best of them.
Pauline Livingstone, Editor and Book Critic


CLICK HERE for the KINDLE LINK



Wednesday, 17 May 2017

The Paul Hollis Interview



Welcome to the blogsite, Paul. Thank you for joining us.

Q. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
A. I was born in a small town east of Birmingham in the US. My family moved to Chicago when I was five and I came of age in California. I entered university at the end of 1967 and fell into a blossoming subculture that reshaped my reality, figuratively and perhaps a little too literally.
I worked for IBM and had worldwide responsibility for several emerging business opportunities for the company, one being intelligent video surveillance. After 9/11, as you can imagine, security and safety became of paramount important to corporations, police departments, governments, casinos, banks, retailers, and a host of others. As a result, I was almost constantly traveling on my way to somewhere else.
I’ve lived in some exotic places such as London, Brussels, Paris, Madrid, Rome, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Sao Paulo, Anchorage, and more. I’ve been fortunate enough to work in all fifty states and almost as many countries. If you’re thinking of your dream vacation spot right now, I’ve probably been there.
These experiences have allowed me to interact with people within their own cultures, experience their spiritual and political environments, and understand their hopes and dreams. Consumed with an overwhelming fascination to learn something from every person encountered along my journey, I was able to understand the world through their eyes; its animosities, ambitions, and motivations. As a result, the books in The Hollow Man Series have a ring of realism that pulls the reader into the scene with the characters, whether it’s entering a dark alley in Madrid or sitting in a café on the Champs Elysees.

Q. When you’re not writing, what leisure time activities or hobbies do you enjoy?
A. I’ve been taking guitar lessons for ten years and I’m still the “world’s okayest player”, as the saying goes. I would love to be able to play really well and I would also love to blame my lack of skill on the fact I’m left-handed playing in a right-handed world. But the truth is, playing the guitar well requires a huge level of practice. Strangely, that’s very similar to writing.

Q. Who are your favourite authors?
A. More than any author I can read over and over, I continue to be drawn back to my favourite twentieth-century poets. The poetry of T.S. Elliot, W.H. Auden, and Dylan Thomas has done more to shape who I am as a writer than any other. An American, an Englishman, and a Welshman have taught me in my writing to search for the exact word needed by its sound, its meaning, its shape, and its feel to create my own form of poetry in my prose. At the very least, their words never fail to lift me above whatever sea bottom I may be roaming at the moment.

Q. What drove you to begin a writing career?
A. After retiring early from my day job, I used to sit with friends on the porch of my country home to reminisce. We spat tobacco juice into the yard as we took turns telling old stories. Okay, it was the local pub and none of us dipped or smoked. Curiously though, the group was always interested in my stories. One encouraged me to write a book about a few of my early exploits. She asked, “Do you have something better to do?” Apparently, I didn’t.
It was more fun than I imagined. The manuscript took a year to draft, rewrite several times, professionally edit, and publish.  But I didn’t feel like a real author until I held a copy of the paperback in my hand.

Q. What do you feel are the greatest challenges facing any writer at the present time?
A. There are many difficult challenges facing today’s writers, from creating an outline to finding a publisher so let me focus on the challenge most critical to me: that is, maintaining consistency across books in a series.
 There are three important challenges I encounter in writing a series.
First, sustaining a character arc can create difficulties. A character begins a series with certain viewpoints that change through events in the initial narrative. As the second narrative begins, the character should reflect the impact of the first novel and the third instalment needs to show continued growth.
It’s also not easy to maintain the story arc across multiple books while ending each with a resolution that leaves the reader satisfied. Try to plan a high level view of your series then plot convenient ending points. 
Lastly, the tone of each book should reflect the series but not serve as a rerun. There should be something that surprises but at the same time, the reader is re-entering the same world left at the end of the last book. If it is too different, the reader may feel betrayed and stop reading.

Q. Do you write from imagination, personal experience, or a mixture?
A. The Hollow Man Series is based on true events during the early 1970’s. The Hollow Man traces some of my experiences as a young man traveling in Europe. At the time, terrorism was on the rise and I had been assigned to learn as much as I could about it. Most early acts of terror were specific, personal and damage was focused on a distinct, definable enemy. But terrorism was beginning to change its strategy to the familiar, senseless chaos we recognize today. The death of political figures no longer seemed to bother us as much as these new, random attacks against our children. Targets of innocence became preferable because they hit closer to our hearts and the fear inside us grew larger with each incident.
The sequel to The Hollow Man, is called London Bridge is Falling Down.  During the same timeframe as The Hollow Man, animosities between England and Ireland had become razor sharp. Mass bombings and cross border clashes were constant reminders of Ireland’s struggle to be united and free. The media had dubbed these conflicts “The Troubles” which had already claimed almost a thousand lives and there was no end in sight. Militant activities were spiking amid rumours the IRA had developed a list of targets designed to bring England to her knees. Like The Hollow Man, London Bridge is Falling Down is based on true events and includes some of the same, unforgettable characters.

Q. Do you have a current ‘work in progress’? Can you tell us anything about it?
A. My work in progress is Surviving Prague, the third installment of the series. A British MI6 agent and an American field analyst are running for their lives after being implicated in the murder of a high ranking government official. Trapped in a Communist country with no way out, the two are forced to find the killer to save their own lives. But the treacherous trail leading through the dark underworld of terrorism takes them right to the center of a plot to dominate Western Europe.

Q. When you have finished writing the book – what do you do next? By that I mean, do you edit the book yourself? Do you design your own book cover? Do you prepare a project plan to market your book?
A. I edit the first drafts myself to get a feel for the plot sequencing and character development ensure consistence. When I think my draft is perfect I turn it over to a professional editor to get an initial perspective. I highly recommend the price of a professional; she will be worth every penny.
I believe creating the perfect book cover is both an art the most critical first step in a book’s marketing strategy. If a reader’s interest is not peaked enough by the cover image for her to pick up the book, it will never be read. Consequently, I do design my own covers to give my books the best chance of initial success possible but I left the remainder of my marketing plan to the professionals to avoid missteps from inexperience. When I originally began marketing my first novel, I quickly watched it turn into a full time endeavour. Now, as with an editor, I leave marketing activities to the professionals.

Q. What is the best piece of advice you could give to someone starting out on a writing career?
A. First-time authors may be overwhelmed by the amount of conflicting information that’s going to be flying at them. Try to tune the noise out and write. Write the story you need to write with your own style and voice, not the one you think agents, publishers, and readers want. Find the time to write on a schedule, every day and write until your story is drafted.
Proof it, edit it, stylize it, or whatever until you’re satisfied with the result. Then hire a professional editor. An editor will raise your work to the next level. You will hate her, disagree with her, and argue with her but listen to your editor and make the suggested changes. In the end your book will be much better for it.
During the writing process, join social media and make friends, not followers. Ask questions on your social networks and I guarantee we will answer from personal viewpoints of experience, knowledge, and strength. Avoid most of the Googled ‘how to’ articles which ask your same questions but never seen to get to the ‘how to’ part.

Q. If you were gifted an air ticket to ‘anywhere’, which destination would you choose above all others and why?
A. I have travelled extensively over the years and I’ve had an opportunity to see many of the most wonderful places on earth. If I had to move now, two immediate choices come to mind. I’ve always felt comfortable in the English countryside with its rolling hills, friendly small towns, and of course its history.
My other choice is the southern coast of France. With the growing Alps behind, the Côte d'Azur offers a shoreline to suit all wants. Everyone finds what he needs on the Riviera, whether it’s strolling on a stony beach or soaking up gentle sunrays, dining with locals or simply people-watching from the comfort of an outdoor café, shopping with supermodels or partying with rock stars.

Q. If you could invite three people from history to a dinner party. Who would you invite and why?
A.  Christopher Marlowe was a brilliant playwright but like so many of his profession, he died young.  He was often described as a spy, a brawler, a heretic, a magician, a duellist, a counterfeiter, and an old fashioned hell raiser. Oh, the stories he could tell me! I suspect we would get along famously. But I’m curious about how he died. Given the inconsistencies concerning his death, some theorize that Marlowe may have faked his death and then continued to write under the assumed name of William Shakespeare. And then, another anonymous writer asked in an August 1819 copy of The Monthly Review, "Can Christopher Marlowe be a nom de guerre assumed for a time by Shakespeare?" Perhaps I should invite both and see which one attends?
Thomas Edison was a prolific inventor, there’s no doubt about it. But to me, more significant than the number of his patents, were the many impacts his inventions had on the world. They helped establish a number of major new industries worldwide like power utilities, sound recording, motion pictures, and others. He not only created practical ground-breaking designs, but also everything necessary to mass produce his inventions  and get them into the hands of the public. These were amazing accomplishments. I would be very interested to discuss with Edison whether he had set out to simply create a product to support some new industry or had he really intended to create an industry to support his new product.
Amelia Earhart was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Along with many aviation records, she wrote best-selling books about her flying experiences and was instrumental in the formation of the Ninety-Nines, an organization for female pilots. A brave and adventurous free spirit, Earhart was at once a modern Magellan and a founding astronaut exploring the vast unknown of her time. Anyone would be mesmerized by her life. And the most spellbinding part of all would certainly be what happened after she and Noonan took off from New Guinea in her heavily loaded Lockheed Electra 10E.

Q. Do you have website or social media page you would like to invite us to visit?

Q. Do you have links on twitter or any other social media sites?
A Twitter Handle: @HollowManSeries






--Booktrailer links:
London Bridge is Falling Down:
https://youtu.be/CdHpdwFLIE0

You can check out Paul's Amazon page by CLICKING HERE 















Sunday, 30 April 2017

Chatting with Ken Stark





Welcome to the blogsite, Ken. Thank you for joining us.
Q. Can you tell us a little about yourself?

A. Thanks for having me, Paul. It's an honour being here, but you started out with toughest question for an introvert to answer! Between a a desire for privacy and a sneaking suspicion that no one could possibly be interested in my life story, my usual response is about as exciting as dry toast. But I've been working through it, so let's see….. I grew up in the suburbs of Vancouver; home of Terry Fox, Rick Hansen, the 2010 Olympics, Yvonne DeCarlo and, as it happens, two of the most notorious mass-murderers in Canadian history. I worked in the armoured car industry for 30 years, only recently started to call myself a writer out loud, and when I'm not writing, I like to paint. There, see? Toast. Well, okay, the Yvonne DeCarlo thing is pretty cool…..

Q. Do you like to read or do you prefer to listen to audio books?
A. It's a close call, actually. I prefer to do my own reading, but audiobooks come a very close second. I've always loved listening to old-time radio shows, so I guess the transition came naturally. My Ipod is stuffed with audiobooks, and I'm more than happy to let someone else read to me if I'm too busy to sit.

Q. Do you have a kindle, nook, or reading device yourself, or do you prefer to read from printed versions of a book?
A. Given a choice, I'm sure I will always opt to hold an actual book in my hands, but there are massive advantages to ebooks. First and foremost is the cost. I can take a chance on an unknown author for the price of a cup of coffee, and I've come across some great books that I probably would never have heard of if I stuck to brick and mortar bookstores. Secondly, and I know this will be considered sacrilegious by most of your readers, I don't keep a lot of books. Unless there is a sentimental connection or it's something I'm likely to read over and over again, most books I buy end up in the collection box of the local library. But with an ebook, I can keep it forever and not have to add more bookshelves.

Q. What drove you to begin a writing career?
A. I've been writing for as long as I can remember, but after a few rejection slips in my teens, I wrote only for myself. It was only in the last few years that I had a change of heart. I'm not sure if it's advancing years, or just too many stories in my head that had to get out, but I decided that it was finally time to take another crack at a publisher. If I had known about self-publishing years ago, I probably would have given it a go, but I'm glad I didn't. When I look back on what I wrote even ten years ago, I don't see much that I'd want anyone to read.

Q. Do you write to a target – word count – every day, or do you have another writing discipline that you could share with us?
A. I am probably the least disciplined writer on the planet! I know I should have a self-imposed daily word count, but I just can't do it. It makes it seem too much like work, and after too many years holding down a job, the last thing I want is for writing to feel like work. I do write every day, though. Sometimes it amounts to little more than editing a few paragraphs, but other times I'll spend ten or twelve hours at the keyboard. And honestly, those days when I can shut out the world and spend an eternity in a universe of my own creation are the best days.

Q. Do you write from imagination, personal experience, or a mixture?
A.  It would be nice to think that everything I write is drawn directly from the well of my imagination, but that simply isn't true. Certainly, the storyline itself is born of imagination, but just like every other human being on the planet, I am a product of my environment, and I encounter a hundred things a day that might eventually find their way into my scribblings. The line-up at the grocery store, the traffic jam on the highway, the homeless guy on the street corner..… The trick is knowing when, where and how to combine those experiences, and to what outlandish proportions each of them might be blown to make the story work.

Q. When choosing a geographical location for a plot, or storyline, do you select places you know well or just pick them at random?
A. It all depends on what the story needs. If it's set in a microcosm, i.e. in a single house, or even in a single room in that house, then naming a location might actually take away from the story. Small town? Anywhere will do, just as long as it's in keeping with the storyline. After all, you wouldn't set a Voodoo priestess loose in ancient Athens, right? Wait a minute….that's not a bad idea……hmmm….. But if the story requires a cityscape as a backdrop, I'll look at what works best for the story and plunk my characters down wherever that place may be. In the case of Stage 3, I needed a big city, high-rise buildings and limited avenues of escape. San Francisco fit the bill perfectly, and it just so happened that I'd spent quite a bit of time there as a younger man, so it was a no-brainer.

Q. I’ve always argued that to be a good writer you need to be a good reader first. Do you think that is true or false?
A.  I agree for the most part, but I do get hung up on the word 'need'. Certainly, everything a writer reads adds a little more paint to the palette, but actual life-experience can add subtle nuances of shade that we otherwise wouldn't have even known existed. Consider me as a child, writing my stories as best I could. What did I know of love and sorrow and the emotional rollercoaster of a failing relationship? I could have read about such things 'til the cows came home, and my words would still have rung hollow. Now, I'm not saying that we have to experience every little thing about which we write, but I think every experience we do have tends to add more to the story than whatever we might have picked up from reading another author's words.

Q. Would you describe yourself as an avid reader?
A.  Despite my previous comment, absolutely. Whether writers need to read or not, every single writer I've ever met is an avid reader, and I've often wondered about this literary 'chicken and egg'. Do writers start writing because they loved reading, or did they always love reading because they had some innate desire to write? I lean toward the former, but the jury is still out.

Q. Do you have a current ‘work in progress’? Can you tell us anything about it?
A. Now that Book 2 of the Stage 3 story is with my publisher, I am working diligently on the long-promised Arcadia Falls. It's a YA horror novel that I've been forced to relegate to the back burner for far too long. I don't want to give anything away, so I will just say this; I asked my best friend's teenaged daughter what she wanted to read, and she replied, "Something scary, with a monster, and some kind of mystery." And so, Arcadia Falls.

Q. Which gender and age group are your books targeted at?
A. With the exception of Arcadia Falls, I've never tried writing to a target audience. It's far too much work!  Besides, I don't think I'm clever enough to be able to target a book to a specific reader. When I wrote Stage 3, I naturally assumed that a book about zombies would appeal to a mostly male audience, but what did I know? As it turns out, at least half of the readers I've heard back from were women, and they loved it!  Now, I'm sure that a wiser man than I could figure out what aspect of the book each demographic liked and disliked, but to what end? Ultimately, I write for myself, so the best I can hope for is that a few others might enjoy coming along for the ride.

Q. What is the best piece of advice you could give to someone starting out on a writing career?
A. To paraphrase Harper Lee, the first thing a writer has to develop is a thick skin. 95% of publishers will drop your hard work in the trash before reading a line, and most won't even bother to send a rejection letter. Even if you get published, a certain percentage of people will hate every word you ever wrote, so you can have a ton of great reviews, and you'll still get one stinker that makes you question everything you do. But even as you contemplate failure and the crushing of all of your hopes and dreams, keep at it! Keep writing, because that's what your heart tells you to do. You might end up with a best seller, or you might wind up giving your stories away, but someone somewhere is sure to be moved by the words you wrote, and that's the whole point, isn't it?

Q. Do you have links on twitter or any other social media sites?
A.  Yes, and I invite everyone to stop by! No need to 'follow' or 'like', and I don't have a mailing list, so no pressure. There are a couple of short stories and a blog on my website, and a contact page if anyone wants to send me a message. I can't guarantee a response, but I promise I'll see it.



Twitter: @PennilessScribe