Meet the Author: Hear Me Cry by Amanda J Evans

Today we welcome Amanda J Evans as we travel to Co. Meath and discover how a phoenix, Julia Cameron, He-Man, and the Grimm Brothers come together to inspire Amanda’s writing life. Grab your pen and paper. Let’s go ….

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m a 41 (nearly 42) year old Irish writer, living in Co. Meath with my husband, two children, and our dog Max.

In which genre do you write?

I write paranormal and fantasy romance for young adults and adult readers.

How many published books do you have?

I have three self-published books and a number of short stories. I also have some non-fiction and a middle-grade book of short spooky stories, Nightmare Realities, published by Handersen Publishing in the US. Nightmare Realities 2 is due to be published in the fall. I currently have my new novel, Winterland, out on submission with agents.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and what ignited your author’s flame?

I think I was probably about 7 or 8 when I discovered my passion for writing and spent my time filling copybooks with stories and new episodes for whatever cartoon or TV show I was watching at the time. I wrote my first book at 9, The Little Elf Fairy, complete with illustrations and my parents had it typed and printed out for me. I also have very fond memories of writing a book called Ghostbusters in Mar 🙂

What is an interesting writing quirk you have, that we wouldn’t know by reading your biography?

I like to do things old school with pen and paper and I never plan or even know what I’m going to write until I pick up my pen. I have a funny little thing I like to do before I start writing and that is to say to myself, “Okay, let’s go.”

What would you choose as your mascot, spirit animal, or avatar and why?

I think I’d choose a phoenix. Someone who rises from the ashes to continue to fight for another day.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

I currently write in my home office but if I could write anywhere in the world, I’d love to write on a wraparound porch in a rocking chair looking out over a lake with a forest and mountains in the background. It would have to be somewhere warm too. I love the idea of sitting in nature and allowing my stories to develop.

What are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading VE Schwab’s A Gathering of Shadows. I’m a little late getting to these as I spend a lot of time reading ARCs for other writers. At the moment I’m reading an advanced copy of The Witch Who Courted Death by Maria Lewis.

What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?

I love to watch crime series on Netflix with my husband, and if I’m watching alone it will be something like Shadowhunters, The Chronicles of Shannara, or some other fantasy or sci-fi series. I love to go out to eat and of course scroll through social media to see what’s happening in the world. I’m very much a family person so most of my free time is spent with my children and husband.

If you could have a fantasy tea or coffee date with an author or famous person from the past or present, who would it be and what would you ask them?

I’ve always loved the idea of sitting with Roald Dahl, L Frank Baum, Hans Christian Andersen, or the Grimm Brothers and talking about their stories and the inspiration behind them.

What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself through writing?

I love being surprised. I tend to let the story unfold by itself and there have been many times where I’ve literally dropped my pen and gasped at something I’ve written. A character has done something so unexpected and I’m shocked. I’ve also learned that regardless of whatever happens, I am at peace and happiest when I’m writing. It does something to me, destresses, relaxes, and makes me feel alive.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve done or experienced to help create a scene or plot or to help you remember something if writing a memoir?

I can’t think of anything off hand. I tend to write my books as if I’m watching a movie in my head. There have been times where I’ve talked out loud to myself, but nothing unusual.

Do you journal write or keep a personal diary? Has this helped with your published writings? If so, how?

I journal every morning to clear out my brain so as to speak. I developed the habit after reading The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. She talks about morning pages and I do this every morning. I usually tend to write about what I have planned for the day, what worked out well the day before, and quite boring stuff. Sometimes I will write about how I’m feeling. I think it helps to clear my mind and thoughts and leave me free to concentrate on writing.

What is the most amusing, crazy or inspiring thing that has ever happened to you?

I have to say, I’m a very boring person and I don’t tend to do a lot of crazy things. The most inspiring things for me are messages from readers and reviews for my books. I’ve received some wonderful messages from people and my mother loves to tell me about people who meet her on the street and remark about how great my books are. I tend to think I’m invisible, but little things like this make me smile and inspire me to keep going.

You are about to speak publicly to a group and read from your latest book. What song do you listen to before speaking? Or, what do you do to prepare yourself?

Song wise, I’d have to say, Christina Agulera’s Fighter. It’s motivating and would remind me how hard I’ve fought to get where I am. In other preparation, it would be deep breaths and telling myself I can do it.

What do you miss about being a kid?

I miss the sense of wonder, the belief in magic, and not being afraid of anything. I miss the naivety of childhood, of having my father as my hero and always knowing that I could do and be anything I wanted.

If you were trapped in a cartoon world from your childhood, which one would you choose and why?

I’d probably choose He-Man or The Gummie Bears because these remind me of times when I was happiest, carefree, and hadn’t experienced the torture and sorrow that death brings. I also loved how these cartoons were all about the power of good over evil something which tends to play out in my books.

If you could turn into one of your characters for a day, which one would it be and why, what would you do? If you write non-fiction or memories, what fictional character would you invite into your story and why?

This is a tough one. I’m torn between Kate or Drake from my novel Save Her Soul. Kate because she’s determined and strong and believes in seeking justice. If I were her for a day, I’d enjoy sneaking around gathering evidence, and generally being a bad ass. If I choose Drake, I’d enjoy moving between worlds, being able to hide in plain sight and snoop on everyone.

What’s the last movie you watched and why did you choose to watch it?

The last movie I watched was Avengers Endgame. My daughter was adamant we were going to see it in the cinema.

A penguin knocks on your door and is wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he there?

“Time to go, you’re needed.” A fantasy realm is under attack and they need their long lost hero (me) to come and save them.

Do you believe things happen for a reason? Do you have an example from your own life to share why you believe this?

I do. I believe everything has a reason, both the good and the bad things that happen to us. They often show us different aspects of ourselves and in many cases how strong we are. My father’s death destroyed me, but it has helped me to portray grief in my stories and share the emotions of my characters.

Which of your personality traits has been most useful and why?

I’m very stubborn and I don’t give up if I believe something is right. I’m also a big softy and a romantic and all of these traits help with my writing. My stubbornness has seen me learn new things because I have to know how something works and how to do everything.

What’s your favorite place to visit in your country and why?

I’ve always loved Glendalough in Co. Wicklow. It’s serene and beautiful with amazing walks. I also love going to the beaches in Co. Wexford.

Describe the perfect solo date you’d take yourself on … where, time of day, weather, place, etc.

A secluded beach with caves and sand dunes in the early morning with the sun just breaking the horizon. It would have to be summer and I’d have a notebook and pen and relish the quiet time to write, walk, and explore. Perhaps even spot a mermaid or two.

Tell us about your most recent book.

My most recent novel is titled Winterland and is currently out on submission with agents. My last published book is Hear Me Cry, published on the 16th May 2018. This is a fantasy romance retelling of the Irish legend of the Banshee and it won the Book of the Year Award at the Dublin Writers Conference 2018.

Thanks Amanda for stopping by MTA! It was wonderful to learn more about you and your style of writing. I’m a huge Julia Cameron fan and journal write (along with writing morning pages nearly every morning). I find it incredibly helpful! –Camilla

Hear Me Cry Blurb:

A forbidden love, a torturous curse, and a loss so great it destroys.

Isla is a warrior of the Summer Court. She has one mission, to keep humans out of Faery. Kill them on sight. When she inadvertently saves one and triggers the mating bond, her life changes forever.

On the run and hiding from her own people, Isla must protect the one thing she’s been trained to hate. With magic now flowing through her veins, she must learn to control it if she is to survive.

The faery are coming. Her once commander leads the charge. Will Isla be ready in time? Can she harness her magic and resist the darkness?

As both sides clash, Isla learns that her kind possesses a cruelty she could never have imagined. Her loyalty will be tested. To save the one she loves, she must give up everything, including her life as she knows it.

Find out how the banshee came to exist in this dark fantasy retelling of an old Irish myth.

Praise for Hear Me Cry

“A fabulous, mystical read with an unforgettable ending.” Claire Allan Author

Where to find the book.

Hear Me Cry is available in ebook and paperback on Amazon and is free to read with KindleUnlimited.

Hear Me Cry Universal Link: https://mybook.to/hear-me-cry

US Amazon: https://amzn.to/2SOdgZt

UK Amazon: https://amzn.to/2GyKE1K

Connect with Amanda: 

Website:http://www.amandajevans.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/amandajevanswriter

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/amandajevans

LinkedIn: http://ie.linkedin.com/in/amandajevans/

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

Books By Amanda J Evans

Hear Me Cry – A Fantasy Romance Novella
Winner of the Book of the Year – Dublin Writers Conference 2018
Amazon: https://mybook.to/hear-me-cry

Save Her Soul – A Paranormal/Urban Fantasy Romance
Virtual Fantasy Con Awards 2017 Silver Award for Best Paranormal Book
Amazon: http://myBook.to/SaveHerSoul

Finding Forever – A Romantic Suspense Novella
Summer Indie Book Awards 2017 Winner for Best Thriller
Amazon: http://myBook.to/Finding-Forever

Surviving Suicide – A Memoir From Those Death Left Behind
Amazon: https://myBook.to/survivingsuicide

Nightmare Realities – Spooky Short Stories for Ages 9-16
Amazon: https://myBook.to/nightmare-realities

If it feels right and you have the time (and you enjoy the interview) please like or comment or share it. The nature of the online world … the more eyes that see it the more it will spread and benefit the author and the website! Thank you!

And if it feels the thing to do and you are inspired to do so, I would be deeply grateful if you’d like to “Buy Me a Coffee” … Camilla – Host of Meeting the Authors …

Buy Me A Coffee

Book Shelf: Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change

Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change by Pema Chodron

Another great book! I always find such meaningful content in Pema Chodron’s books. – “Living Beautifully”

“Let the power of your emotions open you up … Take your seat in the middle of your home ground and rouse your confidence – your innate capacity to open to your experience.”

Book Information:

Is it possible to live well when the very ground we stand on is shaky? Yes, says everyone’s favorite Buddhist nun, it’s even possible to live beautifully, compassionately, and happily on shaky ground—and the secret is: the ground is always shaky. Pema shows how using a traditional Buddhist practice called the Three Vows or Three Commitments, offering us a way to relax into profound sanity in the midst of whatever non-sanity is happening around us. Just making these simple aspirations can change the way we look at the world and can provide us with a lifetime of material for spiritual practice.

US Amazon: https://amzn.to/2SRLL1q

UK Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Yoio7P

Meet the Author: Unschooled: Raising Curious, Well-Educated Children Outside the Conventional Classroom by Kerry McDonald

Today we welcome Kerry McDonald as we travel to Cambridge, Massachusetts and learn how Dale Carnegie, sipping local craft beer, and limitless human creativity inform the policies of Kerry’s writing life. Make sure the laptop is charged and let’s go …

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am a Senior Education Fellow at the Foundation for Economic Education and author of Unschooled: Raising Curious, Well-Educated Children Outside the Conventional Classroom (Chicago Review Press, 2019). My articles have appeared at Forbes, Newsweek, Reason, NPR, Education Next, City Journal, and Natural Mother Magazine, among others.

I’m a Board member at the Alliance for Self-Directed Education and a co-founder of AlternativesToSchool.com. I’ve got a B.A. in economics from Bowdoin College and an M.Ed. in education policy from Harvard University. I live in Cambridge, Massachusetts with my husband and four children.

In which genre do you write?

Education/parenting

How many published books do you have?

3

What is an interesting writing quirk you have, that we wouldn’t know by reading your biography?

I would love to say that I have a quiet spot and a special desk and a dedicated mug of coffee to trigger my creative writing, but the truth is that as a mom of four unschooled children who also does public policy work, I write whenever and wherever I can. I bring my laptop with me as often as possible and seize any quiet—or loud!—moment to write.

What are you currently reading?

I just finished reading Rich Karlgaard’s new book, Late Bloomers: The Power of Patience in a World Obsessed With Early Achievement. The longtime publisher of Forbes, Karlgaard offers a refreshing view on parenting, education, and career success, arguing that our societal push toward early achievement may be causing all of us unnecessary angst. He suggests that a longer, more personalized time horizon for learning and career may be preferable, as we gain perspective, skill, and wisdom.

What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?

I am cooking, cleaning, and connecting my children to the many community resources tied to their interests. I also enjoy reading, listening to podcasts, jogging, and sipping local craft beer on the front porch with my husband after the kids go to sleep.

If you could have a fantasy tea or coffee date with an author or famous person from the past or present, who would it be and what would you ask them?

The book that has probably had the most meaningful impact on my life is Dale Carnegie’s bestseller, How To Win Friends and Influence People, so I would definitely have coffee with him. I read it as a teenager and its timeless message of self-empowerment has stuck with me. I find that it informs much of my own writing and speaking, as I think of how to communicate my message persuasively to an audience, as well as help others to tap into their own sense of personal agency.

What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself through writing?

The most surprising things I’ve learned is that motherhood makes me a very efficient writer and that human creativity is limitless. Parenthood focuses us squarely on organization and output, which has helped my writing tremendously.

What is the most amusing, crazy or inspiring thing that has ever happened to you?

I recently had an article of mine at the policy think tank where I work, FEE.org, go viral, with over one million page views and counting. It was an incredible experience to know that my message—which in this article focused entirely on parental empowerment and parental choice in education—reached so many parents and educators around the globe. That was both inspiring and humbling.

Do you believe things happen for a reason? Do you have an example from your own life to share why you believe this?

I started working on my Unschooled book several years ago, and was frustrated that it was taking so long. In hindsight, I realize that the timing was perfect. During those years, I fine-tuned my writing skills by publishing frequent articles in both mainstream and niche media sites, built more relationships with individuals and organizations that are featured in the book, generated a much more robust platform on social media and elsewhere, and found an incredible literary agent who was able to sell my book to a great publisher in just a few weeks. Once everything came together, it was clear that this book was meant to arrive now and not a minute sooner.

Which of your personality traits has been most useful and why?

I’ve long thought that my best personality trait is execution, or the ability to get things done. That is very helpful as a writer, meeting multiple deadlines, and as a parent, managing the different needs of four lively children.

What’s your favorite place to visit in your country and why?

I spend a lot of my time in Atlanta where the think tank I work for is located and I have really fallen in love with the South. As a lifelong New Englander, there is something special about southern warmth—emanating both from its people and its climate.

Thank you Kerry for joining us on MTA. I am an unschooling mom of two, so I cannot wait to read your book! My oldest just graduated as an unschooler and the youngest is headed into the high school years. It was wonderful to learn more about you and your writer’s life. –Camilla

Where we can we find the book:

Unschooled: Raising Curious, Well-Educated Children Outside the Conventional Classroom is available wherever books are sold,

either at your local bookstore https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781641600637

or on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2JU8mWP

or directly through the publisher, Chicago Review Press https://www.chicagoreviewpress.com/unschooled-products-9781641600637.php?page_id=21

Connect with Kerry:

Follow her on Twitter @kerry_edu

Facebook and Instagram @wholefamilylearning

Her blog: WholeFamilyLearning.com

If it feels right and you have the time (and you enjoy the interview) please like or comment or share it. The nature of the online world … the more eyes that see it the more it will spread and benefit the author and the website! Thank you!

And if it feels the thing to do and you are inspired to do so, I would be deeply grateful if you’d like to “Buy Me a Coffee” … Camilla – Host of Meeting the Authors …

Buy Me A Coffee

Meet the Author: A Summer to Remember by Sue Moorcroft

Today we welcome Sue Moorcroft to Meeting the Authors as we travel to Kettering and learn how Malta, primary school, twitter, and writing retreats impact Sue’s writing life. Get ready, let’s board this helicopter …

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I live in Kettering, Northamptonshire, England but I was born in Germany because we were an army family and spent much of my childhood in Malta and Cyprus.

In which genre do you write?

Commercial fiction. A lot of readers call it chick lit or rom-com, although I think it’s more ‘the occasional witty line’ than ‘com’. Sometimes it’s called women’s commercial fiction but I hate to exclude men. Rude.

How many published books do you have?

A Summer to Remember is my fourteenth published full-length novel but it looks more as there are one novella and several stories that were magazine serials but are now novella-length ebooks. There’s also a writing guide.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and what ignited your author’s flame?

In infant school, I realised that someone had to create the stories that I loved and vaguely wanted to be that person. When I was eight or nine I used to create my own ‘books’ – about five pages long, with a badly drawn cover. I was in the final year of primary school when my teacher told me one day there would be novels on the shelf with ‘Sue Moorcroft’ on the spine. I set out to prove him right.

Where did the idea for your most recent book come from?

A Summer to Remember came from a tweet. It was about a guy who shared an intimate meeting with a woman and forgot to switch off his conferencing software. The image with the tweet wasn’t explicit but it was pretty obvious what was going on! I admit that my first reaction was to laugh. But then I began to think about it. The man was in a suit so was he at work? Was the woman a colleague? Were they cheating on partners? Did his employer get to know? Did it embarrass them? Did it affect his/her career? Answering these questions but making the situation backfire on the wrong person gave me the opening of the book.

What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?

I read a lot! I love Formula 1 and watch its TV coverage. I like Zumba, Dancefit, FitStep and yoga, hanging out with family and friends. And then there’s all that cooking and shopping stuff to get through.

What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself through writing?

That I will keep going through rejections and disappointment. That writing isn’t a job or a hobby – it’s a compulsion.

What is the most enjoyable thing you’ve found through writing?

Writing retreats! I used to think they were an excuse for a jolly until I was invited to work on one. I could not believe how much work I got done with no gym and no social or domestic responsibility. Now I regularly head up writing retreats for Arte Umbria in Italy and love the mixture of intensive work and other creative people to chat with over meals and in the evenings. I’ve been lucky enough to join friends on a retreat at the home of one of them and even taken myself off alone to Malta to enrich next year’s summer book by being in the country of which I’m writing.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve done or experienced to help create a scene or plot?

Been in a pretend helicopter crash. In Just for the Holidays Ronan is a helicopter pilot recovering from a broken collar bone after a forced landing. It’s called ‘autorotation’ and something helicopter pilots practice routinely, pitching the rotor blades so that they can get the craft down more-or-less in one piece, a bit like the way sycamore seeds whirl to earth. A helicopter pilot took me up and demonstrated the art. You come down from two thousand feet pretty quickly and it’s awesome.

You are about to speak publicly to a group and read from your latest book. What song do you listen to before speaking? Or, what do you do to prepare yourself?

I read the relevant pages to myself over a cup of tea. I remind myself about not speaking too quickly and about trying to make eye contact with the audience at intervals.

What do you miss about being a kid?

Living in Malta.

At this stage in your life, what advice would your young self give to your more mature self?

When an agent reaches out to you, there’s a reason. Follow it up.

Which of your personality traits has been most useful and why?

Stubbornness, because it took twenty years to be an overnight success but I didn’t give up. I wrote short stories, serials, columns and writing how-to alongside my novels. I taught creative writing, appraised manuscripts and judged fiction competitions. I did what it took to get where I wanted to be and I don’t regret it – but it was tough.

Tell us about your most recent book.

A Summer to Remember is set in a tiny seaside village with little access to the internet. Clancy escapes there when her life in London implodes without really considering what it will be like to live in a close community when her cousin Alice jilted one of its members six years ago. Lee is the brother of Aaron de Silva and the relationship of Aaron and Clancy consists of one hot kiss, one blazing row and six years of stilted emails. Lee’s just come back to the village in a fragile emotional and mental stage. Aaron’s feeling protective. The reunion of Clancy and Aaron doesn’t get off to a promising start.

Thank you Sue for joining us on MTA. It was incredibly interesting to learn more about your background and writer’s lifestyle. And, now I want to attend a writer’s retreat!! –Camilla

A Summer to Remember blurb:

COME AND SPEND SUMMER BY THE SEA!

WANTED! A caretaker for Roundhouse Row holiday cottages.

WHERE? Nelson’s Bar is the perfect little village. Nestled away on the Norfolk coast we can offer you no signal, no Wi-Fi and – most importantly – no problems!

WHO? The ideal candidate will be looking for an escape from their cheating scumbag ex-fiancé, a diversion from their entitled cousin, and a break from their traitorous friends.

WHAT YOU’LL GET! Accommodation in a chocolate-box cottage, plus a summer filled with blue skies and beachside walks. Oh, and a reunion with the man of your dreams.

PLEASE NOTE: We take no responsibility for any of the above scumbags, passengers and/or traitors walking back into your life…

GET IN TOUCH NOW TO MAKE THIS A SUMMER TO REMEMBER!

About Sue Moorcroft:

Sue Moorcroft is a Sunday Times and international bestselling author and has reached the coveted #1 spot on Amazon Kindle. She’s won the Readers’ Best Romantic Novel award and the Katie Fforde Bursary, and has been nominated for several other awards, including the Romantic Novel of the Year Awards.

Her short stories, serials, columns, writing ‘how to’ and courses have appeared all over the world.

Part of an army family, Sue was born in Germany and lived much of her childhood in Malta and Cyprus before setting in the UK.

Where to find the book:

Apple iBook: buy

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2lFEKEd

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2keeuQU

Kobo: buy

Twitter: @SueMoorcroft

Facebook: SueMoorcroftAuthor/

Instagram: @SueMoorcroftAuthor

If it feels right and you have the time (and you enjoy the interview) please like or comment or share it. The nature of the online world … the more eyes that see it the more it will spread and benefit the author and the website! Thank you!

And if it feels the thing to do and you are inspired to do so, I would be deeply grateful if you’d like to “Buy Me a Coffee” … Camilla – Host of Meeting the Authors …

Buy Me A Coffee

Meet the Author: Seacity Rising by Elika Ansari

Today we welcome Elika Ansari to Meeting the Authors as we travel to Dubai, and ten other countries, and learn what a turtle, yoga, Masters Degrees, and Dexter’s Laboratory have to do with Elika’s writing journey. Grab your yoga mat and get comfy ….

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am a writer, social scientist, and humanitarian professional. Other than writing my book, I have spent the past few years working in refugee camps across Greece, trying my best to lend a hand in bringing some semblance of normality to people whose lives have been turned upside down by international policies and politics. I love education and learning, and therefore have a small ‘collection’ of Masters degrees in the fields of International Relations, Anthropology, Development Studies and Cultural Narrative Studies from 4 different universities in Europe, and will soon be wanting to pursue my Ph.D. studies.

As to where I am from: I am of Iranian origin, born in Dubai, grew up in Europe, namely in Spain and the UK. I have lived in over 10 countries worldwide (so take your pick!), which is cool but at the same time perhaps a little overwhelming. At this point in time, I am spending the summer vacation with my family in Dubai.

My first book, Seacity Rising, was published by Black Rose Writing on June 6th, 2019 and is being distributed worldwide.

What would you choose as your mascot, spirit animal, or avatar and why?

A turtle, because they are such calm and spiritual creatures. I feel zen just by looking at one resting on a rock. But at the same time, I think they have a dimension of adventure that I feel only comes out when they are not being watched.

What are you currently reading?

‘Tuesdays at the Castle’ by Jessica Day George. It is an uplifting fantasy story about a castle that changes itself sporadically and three royal siblings trying to protect their kingdom from invaders. Enjoyable for both kids and adults alike.

What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?

I’ve been doing humanitarian work in refugee camps across Greece for the past two years. At the moment though, I am on a break, dedicating more time to writing, studying, and just being with my family.

List 3 interesting facts about yourself.

I have lived in over 10 countries worldwide.
Yoga gives me peace of mind.
I sing sometimes.

If you could have a fantasy tea or coffee date with an author or famous person from the past or present, who would it be and what would you ask them?

Tahereh Mafi, author of the Shatter Me series. I don’t really have any questions in mind, I just wanted a chance to tell her how inspiring and unrestrained I found her writing style to be. It’s commonplace to fall in love with a story, but falling in love with a style; that for me, is rare.

What do you miss about being a kid?

Summers, where my creativity was unleashed. I would create comic books, write up stories on my typewriter (yes, I had a typewriter XD), draw designs of theme parks, come up with songs and poems, ‘invent’ cleaning products, you name it. Every summer, I would undertake a different creative project, which made going back to school in September all the harder.

If you were trapped in a cartoon world from your childhood, which one would you choose and why?

Dexter’s Laboratory, because I immensely enjoyed both Dexter’s and Didi’s worlds. Dexter was always working on nifty inventions which I would have loved to witness from up close, and Didi (whenever she was not messing with Dexter), was in her pink haven, playing on her own or with her friends and just being Didi.

If you could turn into one of your characters for a day, which one would it be and why, what would you do?

I would want to be Lo the turtle because it would be so cool to be the princess of Seacity Pond for the day. As Princess of Seacity I would mark an Earth Day, where all Seacitians would be instructed to volunteer to help clean Dark End, the part of Seacity pond where garbage keeps piling up and everyone except for Babak the frog seems to avoid.

A penguin knocks on your door and is wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he there?

“Ms. Elika Ansari? Author of Seacity Rising?”
“Yes?”
“I came as fast as I could. The glaciers are melting, and the penguins are all drowning. The animals in your book were right. The black smog is consuming our world; it is real and it is happening right now. We need to do something. Can you help?”

Tell us about your most recent book.

‘Seacity Rising: A Tale of Unwatery Adventures’ is the first in a trilogy series, which touches on themes of friendship, self-development, trust, diversity, displacement, and climate change, as well as other important ideas that children (and adults!) should be familiar with.

Imagine your world is so incredibly small and sheltered, that you can only begin to fathom murmurs of adventures abroad in storybooks and legends of old. It may be a dull life, but it is certainly a familiar and comfortable one, and one that does not easily invite danger. That is, of course, until danger appears at your doorstep, and you are forced to leave your home behind searching for answers on how to save it.

Thank you Elika for joining us on MTA. It was incredibly interesting learning about your journey thus far. May our paths cross again at some point! –Camilla

Book Blurb:

When the underwater creatures of Seacity pond learn that their home is in danger, they decide to investigate further by doing something no one has ever done before – go up to land to seek the answers they need. An unlikely team of two royal turtles, a genius goldfish and a timorous frog are then assembled to embark on a series of adventures. Whether they are racing the fastest tortoise on earth, falling in love with native mice theatre, or bringing peace to warring ant colonies, each unique experience is taking the group
of friends closer to the heart of what is really going on. But will they make it back in time to save Seacity before the Winter’s Slumber?

Where to find the book:

Seacity Rising is available on Amazon, Waterstones, Blackwells, Foyles, Barnes and Noble, Thrift Books, and others!

US Amazon: https://amzn.to/2lnRpvt

UK Amazon: https://amzn.to/2jShBy3

Website / Social Media Links:

Website: http://www.elikaansari.com/

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/elikaansari/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19226072.Elika_Ansari

Instagram page: @elikaansari

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/maryam-elika-ansari-56b5685b/

If it feels right and you have the time (and you enjoy the interview) please like or comment or share it. The nature of the online world … the more eyes that see it the more it will spread and benefit the author and the website! Thank you!

And if it feels the thing to do and you are inspired to do so, I would be deeply grateful if you’d like to “Buy Me a Coffee” … Camilla – Host of Meeting the Authors …

Buy Me A Coffee

Meet the Author: Becoming One With The Universe by Al Duncan

Today we welcome Al Duncan to Meeting the Authors as we travel to Dunedin, New Zealand and learn how a wolf, an owl, John Lennon, and The Himalayas align to inspire the story of Al Duncan. Grab your travel gear and let’s go ….

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Life has been a very colorful experience to date. I’ve amazed myself by fulfilling a dream of becoming a self-published author of a book that resonates with so many. Even if they haven’t purchased it, the comments I receive on my author page are amazing. https://www.facebook.com/alduncanauthor1/ 

Looking back life has been an incredible, yet challenging journey which has given me the gift of not only believing in myself but also the ability to write from the heart. Even to the extent that many believe my writings are divinely guided.

I love the beach and am blessed to live directly opposite a beautiful beach in a quaint little beach house in Dunedin, New Zealand. I have worked in a myriad of positions from managing bars to Mentoring Youth, to saving the World with Greenpeace. All of it has lead to a purposeful point in life of creating a fulfilling lifestyle.

In which genre do you write?

Nonfiction. Inspiration. Spiritual.

How many published books do you have?

One at this stage. “Becoming One with the Universe – Inspirational Reminders, Signs and a Story”

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and what ignited your author’s flame?

I was blessed to cross paths with a very wise soul who truly taught of the magic of unconditional love. Unbeknown to me, my soul had enrolled me on a spiritual apprenticeship spanning 20 years. When my mentor tragically departed, a knowing spark eventually arose insisting the wisdom and knowledge be shared. It was like being handed a “baton of light”. It was up to me whether I chose or even had the courage to run with it.

What is an interesting writing quirk you have, that we wouldn’t know by reading your biography?

I tend to become obsessed with my writing. It becomes 24/7 and everything I do revolves around it. Hence why it’s has been nice to have a break. I’m blessed to be able to write at the drop of a pen. Inspiration may flash through my mind at any time; hence my belief that there is no such thing as writer’s block. The flow comes and goes. When it goes, it’s simply time to rest and enjoy life in other ways.

What would you choose as your mascot, spirit animal, or avatar and why?

The wolf and the owl. The owl for its wisdom and the wolf for its incredible survival instincts.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

My ideal working space is varied. A lot of my writing I have done in South East Asia and Western Australia. So anything from a beach setting with an iced coffee, or hidden away in a little guesthouse room typing, formatting and editing away to all hours.  Ideally, I’d like a cool comfy funky chair that I can spin around full circle in for fun. A desk would be handy. And a fantastic view of nature for inspiration or so I can happily procrastinate.

What are you currently reading?

Haha well, funny one. I’m reading my own book for the first time from the perspective of a reader. I want to check out what this Al Duncan dude has got to say!

What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?

In the last 5 years, I have traveled throughout South East Asia and Nepal. I love exploring new places and discovering and interacting with new cultures. Right now, I’m in recharge mode back in New Zealand. Deciding on my next move in life and trusting the process, as well as integrating all that I have experienced in the last few years. And lots of nature hits!

If you could have a fantasy tea or coffee date with an author or famous person from the past or present, who would it be and what would you ask them?

I would love to sit, laugh and chat with the Dalai Lama. Cups of tea and biscuits shooting the breeze. Ahhh yes! I would ask him what his innermost thoughts were on the state of the world. What his beliefs are around humanities ability to turn it all around, and live the ultimate purpose of living as One. John Lennon would pop in to sing “Imagine”. And Bob Marley would sing “One Love” to end our time together.

What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself through writing?

Hmmm, that’s a good one. Discipline. Wow yes, I’m a master of discipline now! Determination. Self-belief. And, how I overcame the many times I wanted to give up on it all. Also, as my numerology suggests I really do have inner gifts.

What is the most amusing, crazy or inspiring thing that has ever happened to you?

Inspiring …hmmm.  A 16-day expedition high into the Himalayas. 5100 meters. Stepping back in time to what the modern world has long forgotten. And the incredible experience of living one of the greatest analogies. The art of living life and fulfilling our dream one step at a time.

I experienced altitude sickness on the Larke Pass. The guide having observed our team for the last 9 days made the decision I had the inner strength to go the distance. I recall him taking a triumphant photo of me in front of Tibetan pray flags on the highest point. I was smiling; however, I was also well aware I had 9 hours of trekking through a snowy unforgiving wilderness. I could literally feel each step I took for the rest of that day. The insights were incredible in hindsight.

The absolutely amazing courage the human spirit has when faced with adversity is mind-blowing.  To the extent that when we recall these times, they are sometimes the greatest reminder that we are divine beings and capable of anything when we utilize our minds for its true purpose.

You are about to speak publicly to a group and read from your latest book. What song do you listen to before speaking? Or, what do you do to prepare yourself?

Well, firstly I get nervous, hehe Following this is a process of finding my mojo and being in the zone. I surprise myself as to how I come across. I was recently interviewed by Mike Dooley, live on Facebook. That was a first! Yes, one of the dudes that were featured in “The Secret”. I also woo-hoo and jump around a bit to get my energy levels up. And if possible, a stroll in nature works wonders.

What do you miss about being a kid?

Life was simpler. Yet being a grown-up is almost a blessing in that we become aware we are at choice in whatever we do with life. And, anyway, my inner kid is still alive. I was scuffing through autumn leaves the other day in the park and woohoo-ing on a swing. I’m still a big advocate of a simple life.

What’s the last movie you watched and why did you choose to watch it?

I can’t recall the name of the last one I watched. But a recent one was “A Dog’s Purpose”. The storyline was heart-warming, as well as tear evoking. I love inspiring movies. Put a dog in it, and it’s a must!

A penguin knocks on your door and is wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he there?

Yup Al, I chose you as I’ve learned not too many people would believe that penguins can talk. We in the penguin kingdom know you believe we can fly! Yes, one of our angelic penguins was the inspiration behind your children’s penguin book. The sombrero you ask Al? The Galapagos bro!

Tell us about your most recent book.

Becoming One with the Universe. Is just that. A process of becoming the most authentic version of ourselves. I would say for want of a better phrase it’s a self-development book with a difference. It has been referred to as what will become a reference book for years to come. My story of becoming is a part of the book. This is something I didn’t want to include, however, there was an intuitive insistence that this would offer the reader a more authentic and greater understanding of the content, concepts, insights, and inspiration shared.

A final word from Al …..

I am currently excitedly working on a new book. This book will have a different style but still packed full of inspiration, insights, fun, and intrigue. It’s an adventurous story of becoming, with an intriguing storyline based on a solo travelers insights with the intention to inspire people to go for their dreams. I also have a children’s book ready to go. I just need the right illustrator to cross paths with.

Thank you Al for joining us on MTA. It was beautiful learning more about your story and writing life. Al and I have known one another for more than a year and I’m so happy I was able to interview him. He is a deeply beautiful and kind human! Blessings to you Al! – Camilla

Extracts of a few key phrases from online reviews. (There are also many more on my author page.):

I found it a delightful read, thoughtful, entertaining, enlightening and REAL.

An amazing, amazing life transforming book. The best part of this book is the simplicity and ease with which Al ignites the readers’ minds. A must must read.

Within the pages of this beautifully written book, you will discover some of the most heart- warming and authentic words. Al will take you on a journey of self-discovery that is so comforting and puts your heart at peace.

This book has offered the best cognitive enlightenment I’ve received from the universe yet.

If you are on a spiritual journey, please read, re-read, reopen any page at any time and you will always find some very inspirational ideas, in such a depth, and with so much truth, that it all makes sense. This book, my bible, makes you think, question,realize, smile… and anything in between… such unique and beautiful writing!

Al’s humor shines in his writing, even with the darker subjects like death, I get a sense of peace.

Love it! It is one of the most inspirational books that I have read in a long time.

No matter what stage in life you are, this book will certainly be a keeper!

Beautiful and uplifting on so many levels. Comforting but at that same challenging. Familiar but giving depth and inviting the reader to ask the questions of oneself.

Where will you find “Becoming One with the Universe”?

Only a tap or seven away. Pretty much most online bookstores around the world. Shop around. Some have great discounts. Remember its 728 pages. Read it all or happily open any page for an answer to a question.

UK Amazon: https://amzn.to/2jUsGhP

US Amazon: https://amzn.to/2jVUfaH

Australia Amazon: https://amzn.to/2llsDMv

If it feels right and you have the time (and you enjoy the interview) please like or comment or share it. The nature of the online world … the more eyes that see it the more it will spread and benefit the author and the website! Thank you!

And if it feels the thing to do and you are inspired to do so, I would be deeply grateful if you’d like to “Buy Me a Coffee” … Camilla – Host of Meeting the Authors …

Buy Me A Coffee

Meet the Author: A Daughter’s Truth by Laura Bradford

Today we welcome Laura Bradford as we travel to New York and learn how candy corn, Multiple Sclerosis, Walt Disney, and sea lions play a key role in Laura’s writers life. Grab some paper, crayons and sharpened pencils and get comfortable …

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m what you might call a geographical mutt. I was born in New Jersey, but have also lived in Connecticut, Ohio, South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, Missouri, and now, New York.  I’m a mom (best job ever), a doorman for the family cat, a baking enthusiast (and fruits-of-my-labor eater), and a lover of all things chocolate. My “happy places” include Walt Disney World, the beach, and a small town called Tie Siding, Wyoming.

In which genre do you write?

I have written most extensively in cozy mysteries (amateur sleuth whodunits), but have found my way into Women’s Fiction, as well.

How many published books do you have?

To date? Thirty-three.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and what ignited your author’s flame?

Oh, I remember that day well. I was ten years old and playing at my friend’s house. It was raining outside and we’d exhausted all of our favorite go-to activities (Barbies, and back-up dancers–don’t ask). My friend pulled out a stack of paper, a box of Crayola Crayons, and some sharpened Number Two pencils in anticipation of the children’s books she suggested we make.  A few hours later, armed with my first self-written book in tow, I walked in my front door and told my mom I was going to be an author when I grew up.

What is an interesting writing quirk you have, that we wouldn’t know by reading your biography?

When I’m in the final push of a book, I crave a bowl of Brach’s Candy Corn and a tall glass of milk.  Not sure why, but if I don’t have those two things, the book isn’t going to get finished.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

It would be a big, bright, sunny room with long billowing curtains (billowing because of the ocean breeze coming through the window of my ocean front writing room). There would be built-in bookshelves on the non-window walls–stuffed with the books I’ve written, my favorite books to read, and pictures of the people who make me happy.

I’d have a big desk to accommodate my laptop, my notes, and my bowl of deadline candy corn. Next to–and facing–the big floor to ceiling windows would be a big, comfy oversized/overstuffed chair where I’d actually spend most my time writing, plotting, dreaming…

Now let’s contrast that to my actual writing space, shall we?  Me, jammed into the corner of my old, tired living room couch with a stack of notebooks beside me and the cat curled up on top of the notebook I’m trying to consult.

But hey, a gal can dream, can’t she?

List 3 interesting facts about yourself.

*I was one of 13 kids in my very small elementary school who had their appendix out within a 2 week time period.

*Thirty of my thirty-three books published to date, have been since I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.

*I can recite the old Big-Mac ingredient list (1970’s era commercial slogan for McDonald’s) backwards. Fast.

Where did the idea for your most recent book come from?

The nugget that grew into A Daughter’s Truth, came to me in a flash while driving around Amish Country in Pennsylvania. I passed a quiet cemetery and found myself picturing a young woman, standing over a family member’s grave, staring down at a locket someone had left beside the simple gravestone. Right away I had to know who was buried there…who the girl was….what was inside the locket…and who put it there.   I simply had to write this story to find out.

If you could have a fantasy tea or coffee date with an author or famous person from the past or present, who would it be and what would you ask them?

I would have a coffee date with Walt Disney. And more than actually ask him anything (although it would be fun to pick his brain), I’d like to show him (via pictures) how much joy he’s brought to families (including mine) by way of his imagination. I’m seriously in awe of everything that man set in motion.

What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself through writing?

That I’m not as much of an introvert as I once thought–or once was. I always thought the life of an author was just about writing. That’s it. How wrong I was … When my first book was published, I was asked to give a talk at a library. I was terrified and it felt like I had a bag of cotton in my mouth the whole time I was speaking.  But somehow, along the way, I’ve actually come to enjoy getting out and talking at libraries and other reader events.

If you could ask your pet three questions, what would they be?

Ha!  Where do I start? 1) Would you like a breath mint? 2) We have guests–can you lick your nether regions somewhere else, please? 3) Do you really not get the notion that if you trip and kill me on the way to get your food, there will be no one to feed you?

What’s your favorite place to visit in your country and why?

Wow. Tough question. If I’m craving fun, I’d say Walt Disney World (with the kids–who, by the way are now in their 20’s). If I’m in need of slowing things down a wee bit, I’d say Lancaster County (Amish Country) in Pennsylvania. In the late fall.   And if I’m in need of utter peace, I’m going with my friend’s home in Tie Siding, Wyoming. There’s something about standing on her back deck, looking at the mountains that makes you realize how really small you are and I think that’s a worthwhile reminder for us all sometimes. It’s very quieting.

Describe the perfect solo date you’d take yourself on …

This is an easy one as I do this, from time to time, when I need a break.  I head down to NYC (it’s about a 50 minute train ride along the Hudson River) in the morning. I have breakfast at a favorite haunt on West 72nd Street, and then I trek across Central Park to the zoo and watch the sea lions do tricks for their food.  I know the names (and can tell them apart) of each sea lion they have and I not-so-secretly dream about getting out on the rocks with the trainers and tossing a fish into a sea lion’s mouth (and trust me, that is the only thing that could ever make me hold a fish–alive or otherwise–in my bare hands).

Tell us about your most recent book.

 A Daughter’s Truth is my 2nd Women’s Fiction novel, and it’s the book I’ve been getting the most reader written letters about. People are telling me it’s making them “feel all the feels.”  I think a lot of that is because at some point in life, we all find ourselves at a crossroad. Maybe we’re there because of illness, or a big change in life, or via other people’s choices (like Emma is in the novel).  But no matter why we’re there, we all have the same choice in that instance: will the moment define me or will I define the moment.

Thank you Laura for stopping by Meeting the Authors. It was fun and interesting to learn more about your background. I look forward to adding A Daughter’s Truth to my to be read pile! –Camilla

Book Blurb for A Daughter’s Truth:

Emma Lapp tries to be the perfect daughter, to earn the loving embrace of her family and her Amish community in Pennsylvania. Yet she can’t quite win her mother’s smile—or her forgiveness for a transgression Emma can’t quite place . . .

Emma knows she’s a reminder of her mother’s greatest sorrow, having been born on the same day Mamm lost her beloved sister. The one bright spot has been the odd trinkets anonymously left at her aunt’s grave each year on Emma’s birthday—gifts Emma secretly hides because they upset her parents. But the day she turns 22, a locket bears a surprise that sends her on an unexpected journey . . .

Searching for answers, Emma travels to the English world and finds a kinship as intriguing as it is forbidden.  But is this newfound connection enough to leave behind the future she’d expected? The answers are as mysterious, and as devastating, as the truth that divides Emma from the only family, and the only life, she’s ever known . . .

Where we can find it:

A Daughter’s Truth is available in print, digital, and audio. It can be purchased via Indiebound.org, Barnes & Noble, KOBO, Apple Books, Amazon, and more.

Indiebound.org:  https://www.indiebound.org/search/book?keys=a+daughter%27s+truth

US Amazon: https://amzn.to/2G1VGfH

UK Amazon: https://amzn.to/2YI2Cpi

Kobo:  https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/a-daughter-s-truth-2

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41734713-a-daughter-s-truth?from_search=true

Connect with Laura:

Website:  https://www.laurabradford.com/

Facebook author page:  https://www.facebook.com/laurabradfordauthor/

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

Twitter:  @Bradfordauthor

BookBub:  https://www.bookbub.com/profile/laura-bradford

If it feels right and you have the time (and you enjoy the interview) please like or comment or share it. The nature of the online world … the more eyes that see it the more it will spread and benefit the author and the website! Thank you!

And if it feels the thing to do and you are inspired to do so, I would be deeply grateful if you’d like to “Buy Me a Coffee” … Camilla – Host of Meeting the Authors …

Buy Me A Coffee

Meet the Authors: He Walks in Dreams by Darcy Carson

Today we welcome Darcy Carson as we travel to Renton, Washington USA and  we learn how library books, Jerry Springer, and a dragon play a role in the writing life of Darcy. Put on your lipstick and let’s go …

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I live in rainy Renton, Washington. The weather gives me lots of time to stay indoors and write.

In which genre do you write?

The Dragons Return series is in fantasy romance. I love getting lost in a whole new world. Ohhhh, and I just signed a contract for an Irish historical romance. I get to create the past.

How many published books do you have?

I have three different books currently available. A romantic comedy written in the dark ages (The Trouble With Mother through Hardshell), a self-published paranormal about the magic police where a coven of witches track illegal magic users (Magic in the Air), and The Wild Rose Press fantasy romance (He Walks In Dreams), which is the first in a series about the return of dragons. Oh, and I used to publish a lot of fan fiction in KindleWorlds, but Amazon folded KindleWorlds. A shame.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and what ignited your author’s flame?

Does age 12 count? My mother was a librarian and she brought me any book I requested. Claimed she didn’t see my face until I was 18 and discovered boys.

What is an interesting writing quirk you have, that we wouldn’t know by reading your biography?

Hmmmm. Well, I used to write while listening to Jerry Springer shows. I know. I know. How could I do that? Believe me, I felt a whole lot better after listening to all the screaming.

What would you choose as your mascot, spirit animal, or avatar and why?

Probably a dragon. I had an invisible friend as a kid—Pepper-Piper. My very own dragon.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

A friggin’ mess. I moved by office downstairs and found dozens of old manuscripts that now need to be keyed into computer. One of my goals is to clear off my desk.

What are you currently reading?

I usually read several books at once. One of them is by an English author, Catherine Steadman—Something in the Water. Also, Nora Roberts—Year One. I heard there are three in the series and can hardly wait to get my hands on them. Oh, I also like James Rollins whenever he has a new book out.

What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?

I do a lot of retail therapy and trips to local casinos.

If you could have a fantasy tea or coffee date with an author or famous person from the past or present, who would it be and what would you ask them?

Don’t know. Too many to pick.

What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself through writing?

I’m Queen of Denial. Stubborn. I hate going deep into my characters. My critique group keeps me on the straight and narrow.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve done or experienced to help create a scene or plot or to help you remember something if writing a memoir?

Aren’t I strange enough?

Do you journal write or keep a personal diary? Has this helped with your published writings? If so, how?

No. And I’m a panser when it comes to writing. I go around in circles waaay too often.

What is the most amusing thing that has ever happened to you?

One time I took drugs (legal, of course) to knock me out on a late night flight. One didn’t work fast enough, so I took a second pill. I do remember riding the luggage cart into the hotel lobby. Does that count?

You are about to speak publicly to a group and read from your latest book. What song do you listen to before speaking? Or, what do you do to prepare yourself?

No hype needed. As a kid I took a public speaking class to beat my fear. Plus, I used to host a radio show called Romance Review back in those dark ages. Speaking out and speaking my mind aren’t a concern for me.

What do you miss about being a kid?

Not having wrinkles.

If you were trapped in a cartoon world from your childhood, which one would you choose and why?

Not my favorite place. Too flat and one dimensional. I’d escape.

If you could turn into one of your characters for a day, which one would it be and why, what would you do? If you write non-fiction or memories, what fictional character would you invite into your story and why?

The dragon, Naurd. Then I’d fly all over the world.

What’s the last movie you watched and why did you choose to watch it?

That super hero one—The Avengers, End Game. I didn’t like it. Should have watched the previous ones first. It wasn’t a stand alone, like it should have been.

A penguin knocks on your door and is wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he there?

Ole. Which way is South?

Do you believe things happen for a reason? Do you have an example from your own life to share why you believe this?

I just go with the flow. I’ve always had hunches and they have stood me in good stead.

If you could ask your pet three questions, what would they be?

Depends upon the individual.

Which of your personality traits has been most useful and why?

Being tenacious like a pit bull with lipstick. The answer is pretty self-explanatory.

What’s your favorite place to visit in your country and why?

Home… After a long trip. Nothing beats my own bed.

Describe the perfect solo date you’d take yourself on … where, time of day, weather, place, etc.

Lake Tahoe is one of my favorite places. Sunshine aplenty, cool nights, beautiful scenery and casinos.

Tell us about your most recent book and where we can find it.

He Walks In Dreams is a fantasy romance that takes place on an earth-like world. You’ll find an evil sorceress, a very arrogant dragon and two people desperately trying to deny their love…when that’s exactly what it will take to save them the fastest. It’s currently available on Amazon.

He Walks In Dreams went live on 5/22/19. The second in the series, A Woman in the Woods, is with my editor at the Wild Rose Press as I type.

Dragon by day, man by night. Prince Duran must break the evil spell or remain a dragon forevermore.

Princess Marina Hersher is on her way to marry the prince of Brenalin when her caravan is attacked. Dressed as her servant, she is knocked unconscious and is rescued by the dragon, Narud. He is a creature not seen on Feldsvelt for thousands of years. During the days that follow, Marina learns more about the dragon and finds companionship. Duran Abass is the high prince of Brenalin and is under a sorceress’ evil spell. Dragon by day, man night, he too keeps the princess company. He has a year and day to break the spell or remain a dragon forevermore. The princess knows nothing of this struggle, but learns to love them both. Together, Marina and Duran and even Narud, join forces to battle against the sorceress for their lives and love.

Thank you Darcy for stopping by Meeting the Authors. It was fun learning more about some of the things that come together as part of your writer’s life. –Camilla

Where to Buy:

UK Amazon: https://amzn.to/2FZJc81

US Amazon: https://amzn.to/2JhTgLU

If it feels right and you have the time (and you enjoy the interview) please like or comment or share it. The nature of the online world … the more eyes that see it the more it will spread and benefit the author and the website! Thank you!

And if it feels the thing to do and you are inspired to do so, I would be deeply grateful if you’d like to “Buy Me a Coffee” … Camilla – Host of Meeting the Authors …

Buy Me A Coffee

Meet the Author: The Reach of Shadows by Tony J. Forder

Today we welcome Tony J. Forder as we travel to Peterborough, UK and we learn how a slug, a guitar, patience, and a taxidermist  are all clues that come together to form Tony’s full time writer life. Grab your guitar and let’s get comfortably numb ….

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am married, live in Peterborough, UK, where my main series character DI Jimmy Bliss works and lives. I now write full time.

In which genre do you write?

Crime/Mystery/Action-Adventure Thrillers

How many published books do you have?

Seven to date – with number eight due in September. Four of the seven form the DI Bliss series, there are two from another series, and one stand-alone.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and what ignited your author’s flame?

When I was ten or so I read The Weirdstone of Brisingamen by Alan Garner. Although I had no idea at the time – because I’d never read Lord of the Rings – I guess it could be described as a fat free version of Tolkien’s masterpiece. A sort of LoTR-Lite, if you will. This journey into another world within my own made me realise that you could write about anything, and all it required was imagination.

What would you choose as your mascot, spirit animal, or avatar and why?

I’d love my spirit animal to be an eagle or a bear, possibly even a penguin, but you don’t get to choose them – they choose you – and I strongly suspect mine would end up being a slug.

What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?

Play music – I play guitar. Listen to music. Go for the occasional walk. I like a nice pint, enjoy some sports and like a TV show binge watch – especially Bosch. Somehow, though, I’m always writing, if only inside my head.

If you could have a fantasy tea or coffee date with an author or famous person from the past or present, who would it be and what would you ask them?

I would love to have a chat with James Herbert. He and I grew up in pretty much the same area of London, had similar interests – like me he played music and was a decent artist. I’d like to ask him when he realised that someone from our kind of background could become a writer, because I think it took me far too long to take my writing seriously.

What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself through writing?

That I am more patient than I could ever have imagined. I take a great deal of time with my characters and research, even though most of what you learn never reaches the page. My impatience is one of my worst traits, but even though I still don’t have enough of it to be a genuine plotter, there’s enough to allow me to do the things I need to do.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve done or experienced to help create a scene or plot?

I had to spend two hours on the phone with a taxidermist explaining to me how one might perform taxidermy on a human. His excitement over the subject increased so much I started to worry that he was going to hunt down a subject to practice on. It was fascinating hearing him expand his thought process to include the human form.

You are about to speak publicly to a group and read from your latest book. What song do you listen to before speaking? Or, what do you do to prepare yourself?

I’d love to say it was something like Eye of the Tiger by Survivor, Don’t Stop Believing by Journey, Search for a Hero by M People, or Lifted by the Lighthouse Family, but in reality it would probably be something more like Comfortably Numb, by Pink Floyd.

What do you miss about being a kid?

The lack of inhibition, the lack of fear, the absolute wonder with which I approached life, having just enough knowledge that I could enjoy what life has to offer, but not so much that it becomes a burden, the sense of adventure, and Spangles.

If you were trapped in a cartoon world from your childhood, which one would you choose and why?

Roadrunner and Wile E Coyote. I love the thought of having anvils from Acme dropped on my head (I actually referred to this in my book Cold Winter Sun), falling off cliffs, being blown up by Acme dynamite, and running into fake tunnels only to confront real trains, and surviving it to do it all again the next day.

If you could turn into one of your characters for a day, which one would it be and why, what would you do?

I would be DS Penny Chandler, because I would love to know what she really thinks of her boss, DI Bliss.

What’s the last movie you watched and why did you choose to watch it?

Sadly, it was John Wick 2 – on the advice of others whose opinions I will discount in the future.

A penguin knocks on your door and is wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he there?

He is there to canvas support for a brand new Lantern Fish-based Mexican cuisine restaurant opening up in the area, and is looking for my views on the subject and whether I’d be interested in a takeaway service.

Which of your personality traits has been most useful and why?

Probably my ability to bounce back – there are many difficulties to overcome in life, but writing tends to throw up a whole new set of them and you have to pick yourself up sometimes and move forward.

What’s your favorite place to visit in your country and why?

The Pure Land Meditation Centre and Japanese Garden is just about the most relaxing and beautiful place I’ve been to here in England. It’s a privately-owned house in Lincolnshire, whose owner has developed a stunning Zen garden which you never want to leave. That and Stamford Bridge, home of Chelsea Football Club.

Tell us about your most recent book.

My current book is The Reach of Shadows and is book #4 in my DI Bliss series.

The Reach of Shadows

Recovering from injuries sustained in a road collision, DI Bliss is taken directly from hospital to a fresh crime scene and ordered to investigate the vicious stabbing and murder of Jade Coleman.

When Bliss realises the victim had reported being stalked, and that two of his own team members had been drafted in to take her statement, he is then given the unenviable task of interviewing both of his detectives.

Increasingly it appears that the stalker may be their killer. However, several other people soon become part of the team’s suspect list.

Bliss also finds himself being questioned about his own past, and has to battle to defend himself whilst continuing to investigate the vicious murder.

Soon more questions arise.

Why would anybody target the victim, Jade Coleman?

Why are the team unable to identify her close female friend?

And why did Jade recently leave her job without any explanation?

With his work cut out, and his team under tremendous pressure, can Bliss solve the case before more victims show up? Or will the shadows of his own past reach out to drag him under before he can succeed?

Thanks Tony for stopping by Meeting the Authors. It was great to learn more about your writer’s life! –Camilla

Where can we find it?

It can be ordered from all online retailers, and can also be found in many branches of Waterstones. Book #5, The Death of Justice will be released in September. Thank you!

US Amazon: https://amzn.to/2LD1NdI

UK Amazon: https://amzn.to/2JsG9Xa

More About Tony and Where to Connect:

Tony J Forder is the author of the critically acclaimed, international best-selling crime thriller series featuring detectives Jimmy Bliss and Penny Chandler. The first three books, Bad to the Bone, The Scent of Guilt, and If Fear Wins, are now joined by The Reach of Shadows, published in January 2019. The fifth book in the series, The Death of Justice, has now been commissioned and will be published on 9 September.

Tony’s dark, psychological crime thriller, Degrees of Darkness, featuring ex-detective Frank Rogers, was also published by Bloodhound Books. This is a stand-alone serial-killer novel. Another book that was written as a stand-alone was Scream Blue Murder. This was published in November 2017, and received praise from many, including fellow authors Mason Cross, Matt Hilton and Anita Waller. Before it had even been published, Tony had decided to write a sequel, and Cold Winter Sun was published in November 2018.

Tony lives with his wife in Peterborough, UK, and is now a full-time author. He is currently editing a new novel, and has also started on Bliss #6.

Website: https://www.tonyjforder.com/

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TonyJForder @TonyJForder

Amazon Author: https://www.amazon.co.uk/l/B01N4BPT65

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16166122.Tony_J_Forder

Bloodhound Books: http://www.bloodhoundbooks.com/tony-forder

Tony can also be found on Instagram

If it feels right and you have the time (and you enjoy the interview) please like or comment or share it. The nature of the online world … the more eyes that see it the more it will spread and benefit the author and the website! Thank you!

And if it feels the thing to do and you are inspired to do so, I would be deeply grateful if you’d like to “Buy Me a Coffee” … Camilla – Host of Meeting the Authors …

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Meet the Author: Turning Japanese by Mark Arnold

Today we welcome Mark Arnold as we travel to the London area and learn how making music, Don Quixote, a bunny, and David Bowie come together to nourish the neurons of Mark’s writing life. Grab your humor, secure your sanity, and let’s go ….

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m a full-time writer who lives just outside London, having paid my dues as a software engineer for more years than I care to recall. I try to keep a healthy vein of humour running through my writing – without, hopefully, it ever being too overt. Flat-out jokes are a no-no. I have two new novels in the pipeline, as well as two books already published (of which more below).

In which genre do you write?

I’ve never felt that working in a single genre would be enough to nourish my neurons so to speak, so have tried to avoid the typical touchstones that genre writing demands. Of course publishers are desperate to crowbar writers into one or other for marketing purposes – and it concerns me that they lack the imagination to market in another way.

What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?

I make music that nobody listens to (which is worryingly similar to writing books that nobody reads) under the name Lovedust.

How many published books do you have?

Two: Turning Japanese, a literary comedy/adventure. And Tales Of The Forgotten, a collection of dark and humorous short stories, including some prize-winning ones.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and what ignited your author’s flame?

Reading Don Quixote helped a lot – realizing that a 500-year-old book could make me laugh out loud was a revelation. I still marvel at the wonderful, crazy sentences Cervantes cooked up. He was clearly pleasantly nutty, not unlike his main character.

What would you choose as your mascot, spirit animal, or avatar and why?

It would be a rabbit – well, more honestly a bunny. Still I try not to let my fluffy side stand out in my writing, as the result would be twee and sickly sweet! Good writing walks a thin line between brutal honestly and pathos/humanity.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

It’s compact, simple and not overly adorned. The phone does not ring – and the skateboarder who passes down my road daily sounding like a jumbo jet (I genuinely often think a plane is landing!) is eradicated by earplugs.

If you could have a fantasy tea or coffee date with an author or famous person from the past or present, who would it be and what would you ask them?

It would be David Bowie and I’d ask him if he’d like to work on an album with me. (Aim high, I say.) I was very upset when he died and it still saddens me to think of.

You are about to speak publicly to a group and read from your latest book. What song do you listen to before speaking? Or, what do you do to prepare yourself?

‘Eye of the Tiger’, whilst beating my chest – that’s a joke, lest there be any doubt! More likely ‘Julie With …’ by Brian Eno. It’s very ‘floaty’, like a boat bobbing on a deep sea (which is what it’s about).

If you were trapped in a cartoon world from your childhood, which one would you choose and why?

It would be trippy, with whirling pastel colours, like a dream I once had where I was flying over a weird and wonderful multicoloured cartoon world with spinning Tony Blairs (stylized like Andy Warhol portraits). Seriously, I’d like to go back there. It was truly psychedelic.

Tell us about your most recent book.

My latest novel is a modern-day Don Quixote, entitled Turning Japanese:

A nervous breakdown and the madness that ensues leads our hero on a crazed escapade in the Land of the Rising Sun. Convinced he’s possessed by the spirit of an ancient samurai warrior, he makes it his mission to rescue a remote Japanese village in peril – only to find himself embroiled in a conflict between Yakuza gangsters and a former POW bent on revenge for wartime atrocities.

Thanks Mark for joining us on Meeting the Authors! It was incredibly interesting to learn about the pieces that come together for your writer’s life. –Camilla

Where to find the books and connect with Mark:

Along with my short story collection, Tales Of The Forgotten, it’s available on Amazon –

US Amazon: https://amzn.to/30hW6pH

UK Amazon: https://amzn.to/2JjcSiv

or visit Mark’s website:  http://www.verito.co.uk/markarnold.html

If it feels right and you have the time (and you enjoy the interview) please like or comment or share it. The nature of the online world … the more eyes that see it the more it will spread and benefit the author and the website! Thank you!

And if it feels the thing to do and you are inspired to do so, I would be deeply grateful if you’d like to “Buy Me a Coffee” … Camilla – Host of Meeting the Authors …

Buy Me A Coffee