Meet the Author: Depression Hates a Moving Target by Nita Sweeney

Today we’re traveling to Ohio in the USA to chat with Nita Sweeney. She and I discuss how coaching, sloppy handwriting, law school, the number three, Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh, onions, and stubbornness come together as part of Nita’s past and present. Get your running shoes on, this one’s about movement …

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I write, coach writers, and teach classes. In May 2019, Mango Publishing released my first book, the running and mental health memoir, Depression Hates a Moving Target: How Running with My Dog Brought Me Back from the Brink. Tantor Media released the audiobook in September 2019. When I’m not writing or promoting the book, I run with my dog, and meditate.

Ohio, USA is home. I was born in Sandusky, raised in Licking County, and attended college in Athens and Columbus. I worked in central Ohio, and, except for three years in Taos, New Mexico, have lived in Ohio my entire life. I’m a third-generation Ohio State Buckeye.

My husband, Ed, and I currently live in Upper Arlington, a suburban neighborhood of Columbus, with Scarlet, our yellow Labrador retriever. She’s a two-year-old, adorable scamp, stealing whatever she can, then dashing away to shred it. This morning she got the newspaper . . . again.

In which genre do you write?

My magazine articles, news stories, poetry, and essays have been published in online and print outlets including Dog WorldDog FancyBuddhist America, and Country Living. One poem won the Dublin (Ohio) Arts Council Poet’s Choice Award. Three novels, four other memoirs, a book of daily meditations, more poetry, and several short stories sit in computer folders waiting for me to return to them.

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

As a child, I adored books so much that I wanted to write my own. I loved reading aloud and relished any chance to escape into a book. After a teacher gave me a failing grade on a paper because she couldn’t read my sloppy handwriting, my mother hauled her manual typewriter and typing lesson book into my bedroom where I typed and bound my first “published” book, Sheshak the Wild Stallion. I was 10 years old. I still have that first book.

But self-doubt is strong. Despite a degree in magazine journalism and a history of good marks on my paper, I feared I couldn’t make it as a writer. I went to law school. Ten years and a depressive episode later, I left the law firm and returned to writing.

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

I’m obsessed with the number three. I won’t set my alarm for 5AM, I’ll set it for 5:01AM or 4:59AM. The time must be divisible by three. The same is true of foods. If I can count them, I will take an amount of a snack that is divisible by three. Three pretzels. Three brazil nuts. Three chocolate squares. I’m currently in love with bacon and gruyere egg bites. I cut each egg bite in 12 “bites” before I eat it. Twelve, after all, is divisible by three.

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

A unicorn, a sloth or Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh come to mind, but I would choose Frederick the Mouse, from the children’s book by Leo Lionni. In the story, during autumn, while other mice gather food and build shelters, Frederick sits in the sunshine. He appears lazy and unmotivated. Then winter comes and food supplies dwindle. That’s when Frederick shines. He recites the poems he was “writing” and reminds the others of the sun’s warmth. He sustains them with his words. I have a small statue of Frederick in my office.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

Our spare bedroom is the ideal office with two large windows and enough room for my giant desk. And, I can’t write there. I hear Scarlet shredding (and eating) something she shouldn’t. I want to know what Ed is reading or who he is speaking with on the phone. Shouldn’t I unload the dishwasher, pay the bills, or take out the trash? Surely those things must be done before I can write.

And so, I flee the house. My two current haunts are Colin’s Coffee, a locally-owned shop where I can hog a table for hours. Colin’s founding of the decades-old band Watershed and his musician’s mindset floods the place with creative energy. It’s a true artist’s coffeeshop. My other “office” is a grocery story. The upstairs community room in Kingsdale Market District is a bit like study hall except no one will yell at you if you talk. Plus, there’s food. Retired women play gin rummy or Mahjong while head-phoned college students crouch over laptops. I’m there so often the staff knows me by name.

What are you currently reading?

I just picked up Mag Dimond’s Bowing to Elephants, a travel memoir written from a Buddhist perspective. I’ve followed her blog for several years and find her writing fluid, deep, and insightful.

Where did the title of your most recent book come from?

The phrase “depression hates a moving target” popped into my head while I was talking on the phone to a depressed friend. She was stuck in bed. I said, “You’re fighting inertia. Depression hates a moving target. Just sit up. Sit on the edge of the bed. Stand up. Anything. You just need to get moving.” We both laughed and she did get out of bed and it helped.

“Twenty-Six Point Freaking Two” was the working title, but few people outside of the running community know that a marathon is 26.2 miles long. Brenda Knight, my editor at Mango, wanted something with more universal appeal. “Depression hates a moving target” worked beautifully.

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

Ed, Scarlet, and I enjoy sitting down to a meal nearly every night at 5PM. Scarlet snarfs the kibble from her dish, Ed plates whatever amazing dish he’s whipped up, and I pick the onions out of whatever he cooked. Ed and I share observations and insights from our day and, once Scarlet has finished her food, she sniffs the table until I correct her then settles at our feet. It’s my favorite time of day.

When I’m not with them, I run! Running has proven to be as good as many of the mental health medicines I was on. At one time it took six mental health medications to keep me alive. Today I am on one. Now that Scarlet is two and her growth plates have closed, she joins me on the roads for a few miles. It only took one or two runs for her to recognize my running shoes. All I have to do is walk over to the show rack and she’s glued to my side.

What do you miss about being a kid?

Cantering around the front yard, pretending I was a horse. You can’t do that in the suburbs.

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

Brittany Runs a Marathon. Brittany’s story of overcoming a personal crisis through exercise is familiar and inspiring. It’s not a mental health story, and she doesn’t run with a dog, but the movie will appeal to many viewers whether they’re interested in running or not. We all need an uplifting story and that movie delivers.

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

1)      Which tasted best? The washcloth, the seats of my mother’s chairs, or the four, twenty-dollar bills?

2)      Is it necessary to stick your wet nose everywhere?

3)      Will you outgrow this phase?

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

I’m not sure if it is stubbornness or compulsion, or maybe passion, but whatever you call the part of me that refused to give up until I found a publisher for one of my books has served me well.

What are you currently working on?

In between podcast pitches, guest blog submissions, and phone calls to set up speaking gigs, I work on a proposal for that book of daily meditations I mentioned above. This surprises people. “You already have a publisher. Why do you need to write another proposal?” While I have a shoe firmly wedged in Mango’s door, each book is its own thing. I need to describe the book, explain the market and competition, and set out what I will do to help the book sell. Mango loves books and is happy with how hard I work, but publishing is a business. The proposal helps them decide if my next book will provide a good return on their investment.

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

Depression Hates a Moving Target is a couch to marathon story with anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder thrown in for good measure. It’s a bit memoir, some self-help, and, from what reviewers say, highly inspiring.

Readers can find Depression Hates a Moving Target wherever fine books are sold! I say this in jest, but folks can order it anywhere, worldwide, in paperback, ebook, and audiobook. My website, https://nitasweeney.com/about-the-book/, has a list of buy links.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

You’ve asked great questions. I appreciate every chance to share with readers. Thank you for so much including me in your interviews and for the work you do for authors.

It was wonderful to “meet” you, Nita. I also have a thing for the number three. How synchronous! Thanks for being a part of MTA. All the best to you! –Camilla

Depression Hates a Moving Target: How Running with My Dog Brought Me Back from the Brink

Can running save your life?

Nita Sweeney thinks so.

After decades of chronic depression from bipolar disorder, and a single year during which seven loved ones and a cat died, an overweight, sedentary, grief-stricken 49-year old Sweeney was willing to try anything. She picked up a digital kitchen timer, leashed up her yellow Labrador retriever, and walked to a secluded ravine near her central Ohio home to jog for 60 seconds.

She didn’t want to die.

In her running and mental health memoir, Depression Hates a Moving Target: How Running with My Dog Brought Me Back from the Brink, Sweeney recounts how, in the face of a debilitating mood disorder, and with a trusty canine companion by her side, she not only went from couch to marathon, but from a woman near suicide to one eager to thrive.

Connect with Nita:

Nita’s website: https://nitasweeney.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/nitasweeney/
Facebook: https://facebook.com/nitasweeneyauthor/
LinkedIn: https://linkedin.com/in/nitasweeney/
Pinterest: https://pinterest.com/nitasweeney/
Instagram: https://instagram.com/nitasweeney/

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Meet the Author: Walks: A Collection of Haiku by Cendrine Marrouat and See A Dream Within: Found ‘Poe’try Based On The Collected Poetry Works Of Edgar Allan Poe by David Ellis

Today we’re traveling to Winnipeg, Canada and to the UK to chat with Cendrine Marrouat and David Ellis. We chat about how sweet and savoury snacks, cuddly animals, movement, photography, being a French instructor, accepting praise, resourcefulness, uplifting others, trust, believing in yourself, and perfectionism come together as part of Cendrine and David’s writing life.

Tell us a bit about yourselves.

Cendrine Marrouat: Originally from Toulouse, France, I have called Winnipeg, Canada, my home for 16 years. I am a photographer, poet, author, French instructor, and the Head of marketing and communications at ConnexionFranco.Coop. I am also co-founder of two projects, FPoint Collective and Auroras & Blossoms Poetry Journal.

David Ellis: I am a UK based author of poetry, fiction and music lyrics. I have been writing poetry and music lyrics for years.

How many published books do you have?

Cendrine Marrouat: I have 13 published books in several genres — poetry, photography, social media, and theatre. I have a few more in the works.

David Ellis: I have published five books so far, with many more planned for the future! Three of them are poetry collections, the other two are short stories collections, one of which is a short story collection with stories written by myself and other writers. I aim to write and publish, in a variety of different mediums and genres.

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

Cendrine Marrouat: I have never been able to work on any idea without a title popping up in my mind first.

As such, the titles of all my books existed before a line was ever written. And only one or two have been changed slightly.

David Ellis: I like to be in my own creative environment when I write. It has to be supplied with sweet and savoury snacks, endless cups of tea, and most importantly of all – cuddly animals. I have Meerkats, a kangaroo and Gromit from the animation comedy series ‘Wallace & Gromit’, along with other ornamental animals nearby too. I’m building an ornamental collection of little elephants, plus I have a giraffe sent to me by one of my dearest friends. They keep me company, while I get down to the business at hand.

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

Cendrine Marrouat: Walks: A Collection of Haiku is a series of short books focusing on the idea of movement.

Movement is part of us. Even the shortest destination, such as going to our car or our kitchen, requires walking. Many people walk without thinking. As a result, they will miss many things that could have brightened their day.

As a photographer with a passion for details, I walk with intent. I pay attention to things around me and I want to help others do too.

David Ellis: ‘See A Dream Within: Found ‘Poe’try Based On The Collected Poetry Works Of Edgar Allan Poe’ is my most recent publication. It is a collection of inspirational and romantic poetry based on the entire collected poetic works of Edgar Allan Poe.

I’ve been dedicating myself to writing lots of found/blackout poetry recently and am thrilled at the results, as they can often be unpredictable, as well as being dependent on the source materials I am using. I chose to write a poetry book centred on Edgar Allan Poe’s works because of my love of his poem ‘The Raven’. I had previously written several found poems based on Edgar’s more popular poems and realised as I was drawn to writing even more of them, I could make an entire book of them, just in time for Halloween!

This poetry book gave me a good excuse to read every poem Poe has ever written or had attributed to him. I aim to do the same with all of his short stories for a sequel in the future. I feel like I am giving myself an excuse to educate and immerse myself in the world of a person I truly admire and am writing them a love letter that honours their memory, which I absolutely feel I have done with Poe. His spirit is still present after all this time, flowing in the words of my book.

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

Cendrine Marrouat: Many things! I am the Head of Marketing and Communications at ConnexionFranco.Coop. This platform seeks to bring together providers of services in French in Canada so that Francophone consumers can find them more easily, no matter where they are in the country.

I am also a photographer and French instructor to adults. Finally, I co-founded FPoint Collective, with Isabel Nolasco. David and I founded Auroras & Blossoms Poetry Journal earlier this year. We wanted to highlight and feature uplifting and inspirational poetry, no matter the topic. Our first issue was released on October 1. You can find it at http://abpoetryjournal.com/issues.

David Ellis: As Cendrine mentions above, we are both Co-Founders & Co-Editors of Auroras & Blossoms Poetry Journal. We have dedicated ourselves to providing an inspirational poetry journal that brings positivity to all those who read it.

I myself provide a variety of creative type interviews, primarily Author Interviews but I also conduct Comic Book/Graphic Novel Interviews, Photographer Interviews, Singer/Songwriter Interviews & Scriptwriting Interviews. My website is a creative resource hub, providing various comprehensive lists and tools to assist a variety of artists and writers.

My website can be found at www.toofulltowrite.com.

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

Cendrine Marrouat: That my voice matters because it is mine. You should never try and suppress your own story. It does not matter if it does not fit current social standards.

David Ellis: I think looking back, I doubted myself when it came to my writing when I first started out. I would look at other poets and admire their writing, wistfully thinking and wishing that I could write as well as they could. It was only when I started my own blog (after being encouraged to do so at my local Writers Circle) that I had a reason to fill up the blog with regular writing content from myself. I always had a keen interest in songwriting but I could not play any instruments, so I wrote poetry as a means to create music with words and was surprised to find that I had a knack for doing it. After I began writing and publishing, I noticed that my peers were taking notice of me, telling me how much they admired my work. This initially surprised and humbled me but I learned to accept their praise. It ended up giving me confidence in my abilities to keep striving to be a writer for my career.

I also constantly surprise myself with my resourcefulness, when it comes to my writing, finding inspiration in almost anything and everything out there, so what I feel I have learned through my own writing is what a resourceful person I am in many aspects of my life, especially when it comes to motivating others.

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

Cendrine Marrouat: The most inspiring thing that has ever happened to me was when one of my readers contacted me to let me know that one of my books (Short Poetry for Those Who Fear Death) had saved their life.

Real art is not meant to boost an artist’s ego. It is meant to help and uplift others, to launch important conversations. Otherwise, what’s the point?

David Ellis: Wow, a tough question! I can usually remember what I had for breakfast in the morning and quotable lines from films, books and songs but everything else in between is mostly a blur, punctuated with what I am going to eat for my next meal.

I think the most inspiring experiences I have had are ones where I’ve been approached by acquaintances who tell me what a positive impact I am having or have had on their lives in these troubled times. This can be from my writing or my constant sharing on Social Media of cute animals photos and videos. It costs nothing to give out positive love and kindness on a daily basis. To this day, I still maintain that I get the biggest thrill out of giving things to others, be it positive support, kindness, hope, love and inspiration. Also, if I know what your favourite animal is then I can’t help but end up giving you gifts based around that too 🙂

As for amusing or crazy things in my life, I always feel like I’m a few minutes away from something like that happening to me, I try to bring fun and a little craziness to the table wherever I may go!

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?

Cendrine Marrouat: I have done a lot of public speaking in my career. I will listen to any song from my list of favorites, Genesis’ Ripples being at the top.

I am a language instructor by profession. I always prepare myself in the same way, by considering all questions people may ask me. It is a lot of work initially, but the more experienced you are, the easier it gets.

David Ellis: For me, I have a go to band that I imagine will be obscure to virtually everybody out there but that is just the way I like it 😉 I listen to a band called The Gone Jackals and specifically their album called ‘Bone To Pick’. I became obsessed with this soundtrack after it was featured in a videogame called ‘Full Throttle’. The story in the game is excellent and cinematic (it follows the adventures of a futuristic biker gang) plus since it has elements of a hero doing cool, heroic things, whenever I hear the music, it is easy for my mind to feel confident with it playing in the background. It has a bluesy rock vibe to it, very mellow in places and empowering in others. Go check it out on Spotify, if you have time.

Before publicly speaking, I would personally recommend listening to something that relaxes you and makes you feel confident too. Any genre will do, if it makes your head and spine tingle with euphoria. Furthermore, If you’re an alcohol drinker then have one (and I stress only one to calm your nerves, don’t get drunk!). If you’re teetotal then have a tea, coffee, soda, flavoured water (again just one, any more might end up giving you too much sugar/caffeine and making your more anxious). This should help make you feel more relaxed and mellow before your performance.

I agree with what Cendrine said above, the more speaking you do, the easier it gets. Make sure you have done plenty of research into what you are speaking about. If you are reading your own material, learn as much of it as you can off by heart, as it will come out more naturally when you read it.

Start speaking in smaller groups to get yourself used to dealing with larger audiences and never be afraid to voice an idea that you have in any discussions. If anything, I feel it is better to volunteer as early as possible, so you do not make yourself nervous and feel picked on, if several other people are chosen before it gets to be your turn! I’ve found as I get older, I am less worried about what other people think of me and more concerned about getting across my messages in the best way that I possibly can. Age really does bring experience.

It is important when you are publicly speaking to constantly mentally remind yourself that what you say has value to the audience that you are speaking to, they have come to support you and are interested in what you have to say. If you fumble or falter your words, take a breath, pause and then carry on as normal, as if nothing happened. You are human, people will understand and they will respect you even more for having the courage to stand up there and deliver your speech, so have fun with it and be sure to party hard afterwards once it’s done as a reward!

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

Cendrine Marrouat: Trust the fact that life will be even better than it is right now. Continue taking advantage of every opportunity.

David Ellis: Believe in yourself and your creative talent. You are making a legacy that you can be very proud of for years to come. Keep publishing and know that you are making a difference in the lives of your readers all over the world.

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

Cendrine Marrouat: Ad Astra. In this movie, Brad Pitt is an astronaut whose mission is to travel  across the solar system to uncover the truth behind the doomed expedition headed by his missing father.

I have a soft spot for the dystopian genre and anything even remotely similar to Interstellar in its premise will have my attention.

Brad Pitt has always been a great actor. But it’s probably one of his best roles!

David Ellis: I watch tons of movies and a lot of TV shows. Since we are talking about books, I shall focus on the latest film that I saw that was a book adaption, the 2017 film remake of Stephen King’s book IT. For those who don’t know, IT focuses on the small town of Derry, where children are going missing and a group of geeky teenagers band together to discover who is taking the children, while aiming to put a stop to it.

I have seen the original film version of IT with Tim Curry (made in 1990), which is genuinely frightening in places but with a lot of humour too and I’m glad they remade the original, considering how dated the effects are. The 2017 version is welcomed by me (unlike a lot of film remakes, which seem totally pointless when the films were so perfectly made in the first place), along with the significantly different take on the clown character (a superb performance by Bill Skarsgård).

I was keen to watch IT because of my passion for the TV show Stranger Things. I’m pleased to say that Finn Wolfhard (I really wish I had that surname!) who plays Mike in Stranger Things crops up here and is extremely entertaining throughout the film. The whole cast does a brilliant job of making you care for this intrepid band of geeks and losers, who take on a malevolent force of evil.

With the longer run time, the remake had to be split into two different movies, with the first film following the children and the second film following the children as adults, so we get to see what kind of nostalgia they will bring to the story, as the adults deal with Pennywise the Dancing Clown again many years after their first terrifying encounter with him.

Story is very important to me in films, with a strong, clever story, I can enjoy films and TV shows in many different genres.

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

Cendrine Marrouat: I absolutely believe that things happen for a reason. Call it karma, if you want. I believe in reincarnation. So everything I do, try to remember that it will have an impact on my current life or the next ones.

After completing the first draft of The Little Big eBook on Social Media Audiences: Build Yours, Keep It, and Win, I found myself stuck. I knew there was something wrong with it, but I could not pinpoint exactly what it was. So, I asked some people to read through it and share their honest feedback.

One reader tore my draft apart. He only had nasty things to say. It took me a day or two to get over the harsh criticism. Then, after re-reading his comments, I realized that, even though he could have been nicer, he had uncovered the issue.

So, with his and other people’s comments in mind, I started working on the book again. And this time, everything went according to plan. The book ended up receiving wonderful reviews and won an award.

David Ellis: I believe that if you have an artistic talent or flair for being creative, you were given this gift for a reason and it is up to you to try to share that gift with the rest of the world, no matter what the cost. Don’t let anyone ever discourage you from making your art and sharing your beauty with the world.

My father is an artist who went blind and mostly deaf many years ago due to disease but he never let it stop him from creating art. He found a way to keep making art, in spite of his disabilities and still does so to this very day. The process of making art is healing for yourself and can bring such emotional joy to others. We all have to work day jobs to earn a living but we should never let that stop us from doing what we want to do creatively.

Find your passions, make good art from them and that will give your life both meaning and reason.

You can read more about my father and see his artwork at http://www.blindartist.co.uk.

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

Cendrine Marrouat: In North America, perfectionism is seen as a bad thing. Had I not been the perfectionist I am, I would have had a short, uneventful career.

Instead, my attention to details and desire to achieve the best results, despite limited means, have allowed me to dive into many different fields and acquire a varied, and solid experience. Most people cannot believe that I have done so many things in only 16 years.

David Ellis: I think of myself as a very empathetic, emotional person. I am sensitive to the needs of people, which makes what I do very endearing and relatable. This has helped me to write poetry that connects with people on a spellbinding level. I also have a very determined mindset, like to do extensive, thorough research and construct balanced arguments. My former financial and business career made me a decisive individual, which when channeled with my professionalism is a powerful package. As an artist, it is extremely beneficial to take an interest in marketing yourself well, if you want to be seen by more people and if this does not come naturally to you then you should seek out others who can help market you to larger audiences.

Be generous with your time and support, these qualities will be reciprocated back to you by other like-minded people, whatever activities you choose to do in your life.

What are you currently working on?

Cendrine Marrouat: Volumes 3 and 4 of Walks: A Collection of Haiku. I wanted to release them earlier, but my schedule has been so busy!

Volume 3 is ready. Volume 4 is almost complete.

David Ellis: I have several plans and ideas in the works. I have two more collections of written poetry that I can compile/edit into full length books (one specialising in found poetry, the other original poetry by myself). I aim to be prolific as possible with my poetry writing, emulating my classical poetry heroes from many years ago.

I also want to write a book on creativity giving people inspiration on where to look in their lives for writing inspiration. I’m going to be working on more found poetry collections dedicated to individual poets, just like my Poe poetry book. I’d like to compile some writing prompt books too, in order to help writers with their muses, particularly around the time of National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo) and National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo).

Thank you Cendrine and David for joining us on MTA! It was incredibly interesting learning more about each of you. All the best to both of you. – Camilla

Cendrine Marrouat:

Book blurb for Walks: A Collection of Haiku:

“Haiku are unrhymed poems consisting of about 17 syllables spread over three lines. This poetry form started in Japan and has been very popular in many countries around the world for decades.

Haiku force you to be concise. They teach you impactfulness. As such, they are the embodiment of the “Show don’t tell” technique. A technique that allows readers to experience stories in a more personal and meaningful manner.

Walks: A Collection of Haiku is not just a celebration of Cendrine Marrouat’s love for haiku. It is also an invitation to enjoy the flitting moments that make life beautiful…”

Walks: A Collection of Haiku (Volumes 1 and 2) can be purchased via all major outlets — Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc. For more information, visit https://www.cendrinemedia.com/Books.

Trailers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GVm_JUdAbdY / https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_PB5qAv-_SE

Bio:

Originally from Toulouse, France, Cendrine Marrouat has called Winnipeg, Canada, her home for 16 years. She is a photographer, poet, author, French instructor, and the Head of marketing and communications at ConnexionFranco.Coop. She has also co-founder two projects, FPoint Collective and Auroras & Blossoms Poetry Journal.

Cendrine specializes in nature, black-and-white and closeup images. Her photography seeks the mundane to capture the fleeting, but true beauty of life in its many forms.

Cendrine is passionate about haiku. She has studied the Japanese poetry form extensively and written many pieces since 2006.

In 2015, Cendrine was recognized as a Top 100 Business Blogger by BuzzHUMM. Social Media Slant, her former blog, also made Fit Small Business’ Best Small Business Blogs of 2015 & 2016 lists.

Walks: A Collection of Haiku (Volumes 1 & 2) are Cendrine’s 12th and 13th books. Other releases include five collections of poetry, three photography books, a play, two social media ebooks, and a spoken word CD.

Website: https://www.cendrinemedia.com

Email cendrine@cendrinemedia.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/cendrinemedia

Instagram: http://instagram.com/cendrinemedia

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

David Ellis:

Book blurb for ‘See A Dream Within’:

Decades after his poetry and short stories were published in the early to mid 1800’s, we still respect, revere and admire the writings of Edgar Allan Poe, celebrated master of the macabre, suspense and horror. Within this collection of found poems, David Ellis has examined the collected poetry works of Edgar Allan Poe and crafted new poetry that will move you and inspire you as much as the original works themselves. In this book, you will find many new ways to appreciate the words of Edgar and his distinguished poetic works, as he influences a passionate poet who is keen to breathe modern day life into his magnificent words. Poems like The Raven, Annabel Lee, Lenore, A Dream Within A Dream, Alone and many other literary gems are used as foundations that pave the way for a whole different kind of intimate poetic experience that will surprise you time and again. For Poe fans, this collection is an essential purchase. Edgar Allan Poe may be long gone but within these pieces, his spirit continues to shine and live on.

See A Dream Within: Found “Poe”try Based On The Collected Poetry Works Of Edgar Allan Poe can be purchased via all major outlets. It is available on Amazon Kindle and in print, along with being available on Lulu, Barnes & Noble and many other places.

The Amazon Kindle version has its own unique cover that is totally different to the equally gorgeous looking print version and is priced at about one dollar/one British Pound – a bargain in anybody’s book!

For more information on all of David’s published books visit https://toofulltowrite.com/my-books/.

Bio:

David Ellis is a UK based author of poetry, fiction and music lyrics. He has been writing poetry and music lyrics for years.

His debut poetry book ‘Life, Sex & Death – A Poetry Collection Vol 1’ is an International Award winning volume, having won an award in the Readers’ Favorite 2016 Book Award Contest for Inspirational Poetry Books.

Think of him like the thriller genre in that he is fast paced, relentless and impossible to put down!

Connect with him on Facebook:- TooFullToWrite (FB)

Like his Facebook Page:- Toofulltowrite – The Creative Palace For Artists & Author Resources

Follow him on Twitter:- @TooFullToWrite

For Creativity Resources, Writing Advice, Guides, Author Interviews and Poetry, visit his website/blog at:- www.toofulltowrite.com

For more information on Auroras & Blossoms Poetry Journal, visit https://abpoetryjournal.com.

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Book Shelf: Aunt Dimity’s Good Deed by Nancy Atherton

Aunt Dimity’s Good Deed by Nancy Atherton

It’s clear I’m in for the long haul with this series. I have much catching up to do as this was published in 1996 and Nancy Atherton is still writing this series! I’ll be reading them for a while! HA!

Since this is still near the beginning of the series, more characters were introduced and it was great getting to know them. I loved the mystery to be solved, yet, this has been my least favorite so far. I still very much enjoyed it and enjoyed learning about the history of Lori’s husbands family.

US Amazon: https://amzn.to/2OD0VXA

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To support this website and the author’s interviewed, visit Support MTA for suggestions. Thank you! – Camilla

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Meet the Author: Maternal Instinct by Rebecca Bowyer

 

Today we travel to Melbourne to chat with Rebecca Bowyer. She and I discuss how Alice in Wonderland, being a parenting blogger, the feeling of certainty, and Netflix sci-fi shows come together as part of Rebecca’s past and current life. 

Tell us a bit about yourself. 

I’m an Australian writer of speculative fiction with a parenting focus – think Margaret Atwood meets Liane Moriarty. I started out my writing career in 2013 as a parenting blogger and have moved into book blogging and fiction writing. 

I live in Melbourne with my husband and two gorgeous sons, aged 7 and 9.

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

Alice in Wonderland! I really enjoy the delightful nonsense which also seems somehow insightful and prophetic. As an adult I’ve loved Jasper Fforde’s books which make me feel like I’ve plunged back into a similar sort of world.

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

When I took time out from the professional workforce to be a stay-at-home mum I was disheartened by how invisible I’d become. It felt like the role of parenting wasn’t really valued by society. It was just a “break” until I could return and start earning money again. 

I wanted to see what our society would look like if we suddenly decided that parenting was a truly valuable role. In a capitalist society, that would mean that it was a highly paid, valued profession requiring a college degree. 

Of course, the darker side was that, in Maternal Instinct, you don’t get to raise your own child. At 6 months of age they’re handed over to the professional parents, the Maters and the Paters. 

My novel focuses on the story of 19-year-old Monica, who never wanted a baby but, now that she has one, doesn’t want to give him up. 

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

I’d turn into Monica. She’s 19 years old, she’s fearless and she knows exactly what she wants. I would enjoy moving in her skin and reliving the feeling of certainty. That feeling evaporates all too quickly with the knocks and bruises of adult life.

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

“Baby Mine,” as sung by Bette Midler in Beaches. It always makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, in a good way.

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

I think younger me would tell me to slow down, there’s plenty of time! As I get older time seems to speed up, especially since I had kids, so it’s easy to start thinking that time must be running out. However, Margaret Atwood has just released a novel at the age of 82 – I’m not even half that age, so I still have many decades left to write more books (I hope!).

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

I Am Mother, on Netflix. I didn’t actually choose it – I watched it because my husband turned it on (we share a mutual love of Netflix sci-fi). It was a really interesting movie and a great example of the rise in science fiction which focuses on women and reproduction.

What are you currently reading?

The Fragments, by Toni Jordan. It’s an historical fiction novel about a book, thought to be lost to fire apart from a few fragments, and the clues which may lead to its rediscovery.

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

We have a gorgeous fluffy black 4-year-old schnoodle (schnauzer/poodle cross) named George. I’d ask him: 

  1. Why do you bark at other dogs walking by but lick every single strange human that gets near you?

  2. Do you get lonely when nobody is home, or do you enjoy the peace and quiet?

  3. What bargain can we strike that would stop you chewing the tops off every watering can we’ve ever owned?

What do you miss about being a kid?

I spent most of my childhood waiting to grow up, so – not much! I enjoy the autonomy that comes with being an adult.

I do, however, miss the vast tracts of empty time I had as a kid. I remember glorious entire days spent in front of the heater in winter, just reading.

What are you currently working on? 

I’ve just finished the first draft of my next novel, working title Time Thief. It’s based on the premise of what if, as a parent, you could literally buy time? How nice would that be?!

I’ll let that sit in the digital drawer and simmer for a month or two before I return to it.

Tell us about your most recent book. 

Maternal Instinct is set in a near-future world where parenting is a highly valued, paid profession. Every child is safe and no child lives in poverty. From the age of 6 months, children are raised by professional parents – the Maters and the Paters. 

For some women this works really well. 19-year-old Monica, however, will do whatever it takes to stop her infant son being taken from her. When she turns to her biological mother, Alice, for help, Alice must face her own dark past and make impossible decisions.

It was great to learn more about you, your history and how your book came to be. Deeply interesting. Thank you for being a part of MTA, Rebecca. All the best to you! – Camilla

Book blurb:

Australia 2040. No child lives in poverty and every child is safe. But at what cost?

19-year-old Monica never wanted a baby but the laws require her to give birth twice before she can move on with her life.

Now that her first son, Oscar, has arrived she’s not so sure she wants to hand him over to be raised by professional parents: the Maters and Paters.

When Monica turns to her birth mother, Alice, for help, she triggers a series of events that force Alice to confront her own dark past. Alice must decide – help her daughter break the law, or persuade her to accept her fate and do what’s best for the nation’s children?

Where to find the book:

Maternal Instinct is available for purchase at bookstores in the U.S., Canada, U.K. and Australia. Head to Story Addict Publishing for a list of retailers near you.

Connect with Rebecca:

Website: https://www.storyaddict.com.au

Social media:

To support this website and the author’s interviewed, visit Support MTA for suggestions. Thank you! – Camilla, Founder and Host

Latest News: October 2019 – Meet the Author Interviews with Most Views

Meet the Author Interview with Most Views for October 2019:

#1: The Man in the Needlecord Jacket by Linda MacDonald

Meet the Author Interview with Second Most Views for October 2019:

#2: The Duke’s Regret by Catherine Kullman

#3 Soul Murmurs by Anita Neilson

Top Three Countries With the Most Traffic to Meeting the Authors in October 2019:

Thank you for taking the time to read more about these authors and sharing the interviews on this website. A great deal of work goes into these interviews by the authors and by me. Deep gratitude! –Camilla, Founder & Host

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Meet the Author: Stella’s Christmas Wish by Kate Blackadder

Today we travel to Edinburgh to chat with Kate Blackadder. Kate and I discuss how twins, sorting books in a charity shop, numbered index cards, red plaits, and a Viking expedition come together as part of Kate’s past and present life.

Tell us a bit about yourself. 

My name is Kate Blackadder. I was born in Inverness shire in the Scottish Highlands but now live in Edinburgh with a view of the Castle from my front window. I’ve always work with books in some capacity – firstly in the production department of a large London publisher, and then in various roles for publishers in Edinburgh and as a freelance editor.

In which genre do you write? 

I write mostly short stories (around 60 published) and magazine serials, one novel to date. Broadly speaking, these are in the women’s fiction genre but lately I have some success with short stories for a Scottish newspaper called The Weekly News which have to appeal to men as well as women. It was an interesting challenge.

How many published books do you have? 

My novel Stella’s Christmas Wish was published by Black & White in 2016. I have had three serials published in The People’s Friend (weekly readership of 400,000) and have released these myself on Amazon Kindle. They are also available in large print from libraries. I’ve produced on Kindle three collections of previously published/prize winning short stories.

Three other writers based in Edinburgh and I have formed a group called Capital Writers. We give readings around the city and have produced two e-anthologies of short stories (one from each of us) with another two in the pipeline.

So – nine so far!

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

I was always a reader so that was my inspiration. I first tried to write when I was about ten – books for girls, very (very) derivative of my favourite titles. Over the years I wrote poetry off and on but took up writing fiction (for grown-up girls) again sixteen years ago after joining a brilliant local creative writing class.

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

There are no twins/multiple births in my family but for some reason they crop up rather often in my stories. It took a writing friend to point that out to me; now I have to exercise family planning more carefully …

What does your ideal writing space look like? 

Luckily, exactly like the space I have! My son’s former bedroom, now my study, painted leaf green, lots of shelves. In the evening I like to shut the shutters so that the room is dark, and write under the pool of light from the angle poise lamp.

What are you currently reading? 

I usually have at least one novel and a non-fiction book on the go. Currently, it’s Clock Dance by Anne Tyler, one of my very favourite authors; and A Tunnel Through Time: A New Route for an Old London Journey by Gillian Tindall, an original way of looking at the history of London.

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

I work two days a week in a museum’s publishing department; volunteer a few hours a week sorting books in a charity shop (Shelter); read; bake; go to the cinema.

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

The mere thought of speaking up in a crowd used to make me nervous but gradually, through having to read aloud at writing classes etc, I got more confident and now even standing up and speaking/reading to a large audience doesn’t faze me at all (as long as I know in advance and have time to practise, see below!). So I suppose I’ve learned the only thing to fear is fear itself (now I must try and apply that to driving on the motorway … ).

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

Not particularly strange but – we have a car but I got the bus from Edinburgh down the coast to North Berwick in East Lothian (about 30 miles away) as that’s how one of my characters travelled. I wanted to see the journey through her eyes.

You are about to speak publicly to a group and read from your latest book. What do you do to prepare yourself? 

I type what I want to say in full and print it out then I pick out the salient points and put them on numbered index cards. I practise over and over giving the talk with only the cards as prompts. It means I can keep my head up and engage with the audience most of the time rather than looking down. I also read my chosen passage aloud several times at home so that I know where the pauses should come and which words to emphasise.

What do you miss about being a kid? 

My red plaits. And having been brought up in a rural location with no school friends nearby, I had weekends when I read from morning to night; I’d love to be able to do that again.

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

We didn’t have television until I was fifteen and were a hundred miles from the nearest cinema. Don’t regret any of that for a minute!

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

I’d be Cathryn Fenton in The Family at Farrshore ( myBook.to/Farrshore ) because she’s an archaeologist involved in a Viking excavation in the north of Scotland. Uncovering a long-ago settlement would be fascinating – plus there’s a handsome Canadian film director around the place …

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

The documentary Marianne and Leonard: Words of Love – because I’m a long-time Leonard Cohen fan. I was lucky enough to see him in concert many years ago in Edinburgh.

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

I don’t have a pet now but I used to have a cat I adored called McTavish. I would ask him:

Why do you sit on the cold wall rather than beside the warm fire?

Where did you go last night?

What are you thinking about when you stare, unblinking, at me with your big golden eyes?

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

I love the grandeur of the scenery of north-west Scotland. A few years ago I would have said I loved the loneliness of it too but it’s a wee bit crowded up there now thanks to the success of the North Coast 500 route.

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

I had a holiday in New Zealand last year and absolutely loved it. So, on a dry, 70F, day with no wind, I would explore Dunedin – mostly on foot but taking the bus up the steepest streets, visit the museums and the bookshops and stop for (excellent) coffee and a warm date scone at The Good Oil café in George Street.

Tell us about your most recent book. 

Stella’s Christmas Wish is a contemporary romance/family secrets story, published by Black & White Publishing.

Six days before Christmas a family crisis brings Stella back from London to the Scottish Borders – and to Ross, the man she left fifteen months earlier.

One reviewer said: ‘I fell in love with the characters and actually wished they were real.’

It was wonderful to learn more about you, Kate. Your writing group sounds brilliant! I visited Edinburgh in the year 2001 and found it to be incredibly breathtaking. Adored the bookshops! All the best to you! – Camilla

Where to find the book:

It’s available (digital only) on Amazon:

http://amzn.to/2dYQOrY

Connect with Kate:

Blog +website:

http://katewritesandreads.blogspot.com/

https://capitalwriterscouk.wordpress.com/

Social media links

https://www.facebook.com/KateBlackadderAuthor/

@k_blackadder

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Book Shelf: Painted Oxen by Thomas Lloyd Qualls

Painted Oxen by Thomas Lloyd Qualls

This book is unlike any other I’ve read. First of all, I love the cover and the title. That was enough to draw me to the book. A visionary fictional story following two men on separate pilgrimages.

One of my favorite passages from the book, “…. Thera are many guides on this path. There are the leaves and the birds, the wind and the stones, the sun and the moon, the stars and the soil. Each has its own language to teach …. “

This is one of those books to own so it can be read more than once, at different times, as I’m sure it’s meaning will shift as my path shifts.

I interviewed Thomas Lloyd Qualls on this website in August 2019. Follow the link below to learn more about Thomas.

Meet the Author: Painted Oxen by Thomas Lloyd Qualls

US Amazon: https://amzn.to/2pMnTC5

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To support this website and the author’s interviewed, visit Support MTA for suggestions. Thank you! – Camilla

(The above are amazon affiliate links.)

Meet the Author: The Magic Carpet by Jessica Norrie

Today we travel to NE London in the UK to chat with Jessica Norrie. She and I discuss how the Titanic, feeling like a completely different person, a sense of peace, giving up, The Magic Roundabout, being nosey, and a house in the hills come together to form the magic of Jessica’s past and present.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Hi! I’m a retired teacher from the bit of Essex that’s within the boundaries of NE London, UK but is also called Essex (conspiring like Val Portelli earlier in your series to confuse your lovely pin map). I have two adult “children” and since neither they nor any classes of thirty schoolkids take up my time now, I write novels.

In which genre do you write?

I call it contemporary fiction because both my published books and my work-in-progress are set in the present day. Some call it women’s fiction – but men have said they too enjoy my writing. Some call it literary – but traditional publishers say it’s too easy to read for that (the ones who don’t say it’s too difficult to be commercial). Some call it psychological, but I think all fiction must be psychological or the characters would be so boring they’d fall over. On Amazon it’s boring old general fiction. This is no criticism of the question which is a very common one, but I wish people didn’t care so much about genre.

How many published books do you have?

Two novels, The Magic Carpet (2019), featured here, The Infinity Pool (2015), which is about a “holistic” holiday community on a Greek island and how they fall out with the local villagers, and a primary school French textbook, Célébrons les Fêtes, that I co-authored (Scholastic, 2010)

List 3 interesting facts about yourself.

  1. If my grandfather had got the job he applied for on the Titanic, I wouldn’t be here.
  2. If my father hadn’t been whisked away just in time from the “tarantula” (?) they found on his bed when he was seven (they lived above a greengrocer’s shop and it had arrived in a crate of bananas), I wouldn’t be here.
  3. I speak fluent French and some Spanish and when I’m speaking another language I feel like a completely different person.

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

I soak in the bath dreaming about spending more time writing and less time marketing.

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

Usually, when I find something difficult, I give up. But when I’m writing or blogging I seem able to keep going, even after bad days and through poor feedback or self-doubt. Right up to and after publication I’m still surprised to get the positive feedback and reviews that I do get! And yet, unlike skiing, watercolours or Pilates, I don’t give up. That bestseller is just around the corner!

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

I’m not sure enjoyable is the right word, but the sense of peace when I’ve thoroughly explored a world in a novel – the strange holiday community in The Infinity Pool or the neighbouring families in The Magic Carpet. I’ve said everything I need to say, and cleared it all out of my system, ready for the next challenge. Writing makes sense of disordered ideas the same way therapy does, I think.

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

There was a French series adapted for UK TV in the 1960s called The Magic Roundabout. Adults saw hazy philosophy and drug references in it (there was a drawling rabbit called Dylan after Bob). Children just found it gentle and loving. When everything got too confusing, a peculiar creature called Zebedee, who was a talking jack-in-the-box with magical powers,would bounce onto the screen from who knew where. “’Time for bed’ said Zebedee,” the soft voiced narrator would tell us. It ended that same way after each daily five-minute episode and all seemed right with the world.

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

I’m quite nosey and rather judgemental. I suspect this has sometimes worked against me making and maintaining friendships, but it’s ideal for a writer creating characters and conflicts for a story.

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

My partner has a house in the hills near Malvern, where the composer Elgar came from. We have very close friends next door; there are rolling hills to gaze at and walk in when not writing and the small town has a range of theatre, film, music, art and literary opportunities all within walking distance (if you don’t mind steep walks that are also a bit of a work out). C S Lewis used to meet Tolkien in the Unicorn pub, and is supposed to have based the lamp posts in Narnia on the ones in Malvern.

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

I published The Magic Carpet in July 2019, available at http://getbook.at/TheMagicCarpet or any Amazon as an ebook or paperback. It’s about how families and communities can comfort their troubles and grow together through the magic of storytelling. It was my response to years of teaching in diverse communities, trying to nurture the imagination and value all the different cultures represented in my classrooms. People have said some lovely things about how it’s moved and entertained them – it’s had a better reception than I’d have dared hope and although it’s set in London, the relevance should resonate anywhere parents and children have to live together and get along.

How do you feel about self publishing as opposed to traditional publishing?

I’d love to be traditionally published as so called literary/general/contemporary fiction is harder to sell as an indie than crime, romance, horror etc. Both my novels had very good feedback from the mainstream publishers my agent submitted them to, but they said they couldn’t work out how to market them. However, once I published them independently, the readers’ feedback was so good it suggests the traditional publishers were mistaken! So far I’ve had relatively good sales in the UK and Australia, but I need to crack the US market – which is where I’m hoping blogs like this one will help. I’d like to thank Camilla here for giving me the opportunity to showcase my work on her excellent site, and I do hope to be able to repay her efforts by becoming so well known she can boast about once having interviewed me!

It was wonderful learning about you Jessica! I’ve added The Magic Carpet to my ‘to be read’ list and cannot wait! Sounds like a great story! All the best to you! – Camilla

Book Blurb

Outer London, September 2016, and neighbouring eight-year-olds have homework: prepare a traditional story to perform with their families at a school festival. But Nathan’s father thinks his son would be better off doing sums; Sky’s mother’s enthusiasm is as fleeting as her bank balance, and there’s a threatening shadow hanging over poor Alka’s family. Only Mandeep’s fragile grandmother and new girl Xoriyo really understand the magical powers of storytelling. As national events and individual challenges jostle for the adults’ attention, can these two bring everyone together to ensure the show will go on?

Where to buy:

The Magic Carpet: http://getbook.at/TheMagicCarpet (this link will take you worldwide to your nearest Amazon)

The Infinity Pool: http://getBook.at/TheInfinityPool

Connect with Jessica:

Jessica blogs about reading, writing and language at: https://jessicanorrie.wordpress.com

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

Twitter: @jessica_norrie

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To support this website and the author’s interviewed, visit Support MTA for suggestions. Thank you! – Camilla, Founder and Host

Meet the Author: Last Village by Audla English

Today we travel to the North East of England to chat with Audla English. She and I chat about how picture books, Tom and Jerry, England’s smallest train station, Roald Dahl, Marsden Bay,  and the special bond with her wonderful grandmother come together as part of Audla’s writings and her life.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Lovely to meet you Camilla and thank you again for the interview. I am Audla English- which is quite apt as I am English and live in the glorious North East of the country; a beautiful part which is steeped in history, greenery, sea, sand but perhaps not sun!

In which genre do you write?

I write love stories but with a historic angle so the genre which I fit into most easily is historic fiction: romance.

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

I have always wanted to be a writer and used to make picture books of stories when I was a child, some of which I still have. It took me 15 years of being a ‘grown up’ until I reminisced about those happy days and I was brave enough to write again.

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

The idea for ‘The Last Village’ came from two sources; my truly wonderful late gran and the North East coastline.

To start off I will talk about the coastline. The following things are all included in my novel and incredibly, at one time all actually existed in less than a one-mile long stretch of coastline in South Tyneside, North East England:

· the world’s first electric lighthouse

· the natural phenomenon of a proud coastal arch

· a hidden cave bar

· England’s smallest train station

· the site of a thriving mining village

To understand the area further, I will give a little bit of a history to it. Marsden was the name of this village which was placed precariously on an open clifftop and basked in the glow of Souter Lighthouse whilst looking out onto an uninterrupted blue sea. The village was built by the Whitburn Coal Company in the 1870’s and was a thriving mining community. However, by the 1960’s it had been completely demolished. This in turn also led to the demolition of ‘The Rattler’ which was the small hardworking train which carried the fresh coal linking the town of South Shields to the mine and was also host to England’s smallest train station.

The iconic Marsden Rock, with its arch in full display, was also only a stone’s throw away from the village. This was a naturally formed arch which succumbed to marine erosion in 1996 causing the arch to collapse and splitting the rock into two stacks. By 1997, the second stack was declared unsafe for the public and it was sadly demolished. The cave bar that hides in Marsden Bay and the shadow of the great rock still remains there to this day and is now also a boutique hotel. The remaining Marsden Rock and its surrounding area now holds the status of being the largest mainland breeding colony of seabirds between the Tweed and the Tees rivers.

Today, there is sadly no trace that a village and its thriving community existed in this open grassy space except for the odd piece of brick which may be found lurking in the long marram grasses and which hide a well of memories.

I was always fascinated that this open and sparse piece of land used to house a full community and it was this intrigue which led me to writing ‘The Last Village’. I would often imagine what it must have been like to live there. Despite the harsh Northern winters with no central heating and the hardship of those who lived there, it must have been such a wonderful place to wake up to and witness the impressive view of Souter Lighthouse and the powerful North Sea.

Secondly, I must mention my wonderful gran. I think most people would agree that there is a special bond between grandparent and grandchild and if they have sadly passed on, a grandparent will always hold a special place in their hearts. My gran was North East England born and bred, coming from a coal mining family, to others she will have just been another old lady but to me, she was exceptional. I wanted to convey the love between a grandmother and granddaughter and also love between families and how this love can span generations.


(Audla’s gran)

This is reflected in the novel which is a moving love story and is dual timeline between the 1940’s and present day, telling the story of Lily, the Gran, who lived in the village and Anna, the Granddaughter, who discovers her Grandmother’s past. The change in the area and the attitudes towards love can clearly be seen between the two different timelines, as well as some really nostalgic references. Nevertheless, the novel also highlights how some aspects of love have not changed at all, even across three generations.

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

I would without hesitation, have a cup of tea (English Breakfast Tea) with my absolutely favourite author Roald Dahl. I know that Roald Dahl would often draw on real life experiences in his writing and I would ask him which character he most enjoyed creating.

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

The most enjoyable thing is the escapism that writing brings. I love that writing can take you to places that you can only dream of and that you can fully unleash your mind and your feelings.

What do you miss about being a kid?

I miss the freedom of imagination and innocence of being a child. How brilliant was it when you could spend an entire day making tents (masquerading also as caves, royal ships or lion’s dens) out of old blankets, only emerging ravenous for lunch or for an often-desperate toilet break, to then fully submerge yourself back into that world.

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

I would tell myself to stop worrying about some of the small stuff; it really doesn’t matter!

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

I would choose Tom and Jerry. I would want to be a mouse and be friends with Jerry, he is hilarious and so clever how he outwits Tom. I also could sit and eat cheese all day (Brie please)!

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

I watched X Men: First Class. I know this might be quite surprising as a writer of romance but I absolutely love all things Marvel. I also think this film has an outstanding cast.

A giraffe knocks on your door and is wearing a bowler hat. What does he say and why is he there?

Mr Pomphrey, the gentleman giraffe, has of course arrived wearing his bowler hat, pinstripe suit and monocle, to take me out for afternoon tea. As I open the door, he says “Jolly good to see you, it has been too long, I am quite simply ravenous, shall we?” He then leads me to his open top vintage British racing green jaguar car and off we go!

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

My favorite place to visit is South Tyneside. As I mentioned previously, it is an area of natural beauty with its golden sandy beaches and coastal formations, it has a cave bar serving fresh seafood overlooking a bay which houses the incomparable Marsden Rock, Souter Lighthouse (the world’s first electric lighthouse) is always welcoming, as well as a rich history and it is not far from my home. I am very very lucky.

What are you currently working on?

I am currently working on a new novel which will also be a dual-time line historical fiction set in the North East of England around the milling and ship merchants’ industries. The genre will also be romance, focussing around the life of the best friend of the Gran of the modern-day character. The modern-day character will unearth a decades long secret…

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

‘The Last Village’, A Chill with a Book Premier Readers’ Award winner and 2019 American Fiction Awards Finalist, is available to purchase on Amazon in both Kindle and Paperback format. The cover photo depicts Souter Lighthouse today alongside the Leas, the former site of Marsden Village.

South Tyneside sounds like a wonderful place! Thank you for sharing about your writing and this amazing place! It was great to have you on MTA, Audla. All the best to you! – Camilla

The majestic Souter Lighthouse stands proudly at the edge of the cliff top surrounded by open grassy empty fields and overlooking a vast blue wilderness. Anna Charles knows nothing of the life that her grandmother once had here. It wasn’t until an unexpected engagement, that Anna discovered the past of her Gran and the truth behind an enduring love.

Seventy years earlier, Lillian Smith, had been part of the close-knit community that once thrived in the village that existed next to the lighthouse. A chance meeting with a sailor one day, would change the course of her life forever.

A moving novel set in the North East of England. The Last Village is an enduring love story which spans the 1940’s and modern day, binding the generations.

Where to buy the book:

Amazon UK:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/Last-Village-Audla-English-ebook/dp/B07JDS2SYC/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1EB3CBN6EICIX&keywords=the+last+village+by+audla+english&qid=1568055985&s=gateway&sprefix=the+last+village%2Caps%2C161&sr=8-1

Amazon USA: https://www.amazon.com/Last-Village-Audla-English-ebook/dp/B07JDS2SYC/ref=sr_1_2?crid=1XB2EVA92O3Q2&keywords=the+last+village&qid=1568056041&s=gateway&sprefix=the+last+village%2Caps%2C217&sr=8-2

Connect with Audla:

Facebook AudlaEnglishAuthor

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Meet the Author: Rogue’s Holiday by Regan Walker

Today we travel to San Diego, California in the United States to chat with Regan Walker. She and I discuss how a career as a lawyer, an Irish Wolfhound, reviewing historical romance books, Margaret Queen of Scots, Winston Churchill, a historical schooner, and the ocean come together as part of Regan’s writing life.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I live in San Diego near the coast and I love it. My career as a lawyer was pretty intense. I still practice law part time but, since 2011, I also am a writer of historical romance novels. For my stories set in the Georgian, Regency and Medieval eras, I do considerable research to make them authentic. Each of my novels includes real history and real historical figures.

In which genre do you write?

Historical romance: Georgian, Regency and Medieval eras.

How many published books do you have?

With this new one, it’s 15 (3 series and related books).

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

I have always been a writer, even as a child. As a lawyer, I wrote legal-related opinion pieces and articles. But I didn’t turn to writing fiction until 2011 when I did so at the suggestion of my best friend. That led to my first novel, Racing with the Wind.

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

I don’t plot for one thing. I let the history and the characters lead me. I like to see how the story unfolds and I’m often surprised. I recall a 5-star review that was effusive in its praise for my “complicated and wonderful plot”… Ha!

What would you choose as your mascot and why?

My constant companion is a Wirehaired Pointing Griffon named “Cody”. I’d choose him or possibly an Irish Wolfhound like “Magnus”, a character in my medieval story, Rogue Knight. It’s comforting to have a big dog alongside you and they are fun to hug, too.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

More room than I have now. I like a large rectangular table (say 5 x 7 feet) where I can set up all my stuff. However, when I moved into a small condo I had to give up that table. Sigh. Deep regrets.

What are you currently reading?

Likely a Victorian romance. I have a blog, Historical Romance Review
(https://reganromancereview.blogspot.com/), where I review books (a different subgenre each month). November is Victorian month and December is “Favorites” month. From my monthly reviews I prepare “best lists” from those I’ve rated 4 and 5 stars.

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

I practice law part time; I walk my dog on the beach in the early morning; I visit with friends (I make killer popcorn for “movie night”); I read every night; I attend weekly church services; and I watch period historical dramas.

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?

There are so many. I loved Margaret Queen of Scots who was married to Malcolm III, King of Scots (both characters in my novels Rebel Warrior and The Refuge). I would ask her about her faith and the Scotland in which she lived. I would also like to visit with William Wilberforce, the British statesman who led the anti-slavery movement in the Georgian era in England. He, too, was a great man of faith and, having read some of his writing, I would have to ask about his relationship with God. But, since I named my son after Winston Churchill, I have to include him. He was a visionary and a great leader who, more than any man, was responsible for defeating the Nazis in WWII. I’d ask his view on the world today. I’m certain nothing that has happened would surprise him.

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

How much I love the research and look forward to entering the world of my characters. When my legal work picks up, I miss my writing.

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

The most unusual was taking a ride on a historical schooner like those in my novels (many of my books have scenes set on a ship). I wanted to get the feel of the moving deck and the wind in the sails. I did a blog post on it:
https://reganromancereview.blogspot.com/2018/02/the-challenge-of-setting-story-on-ship.html

Do you journal write or keep a personal diary? 

No, but I do take notes when the muse alights and I keep a yellow pad and pen near my bed for late night inspirations.

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

If we are speaking of my writing, it would be when I was writing Rebel Warrior, set in 11th century Scotland. I stumbled across a real historic figure that could have been the hero in my story. He was an Anglo-Saxon who fled William the Conqueror to live in Scotland and rose to be a mormaer, the equivalent of an English earl. He even had a home in the area of Loch Lomond where my hero ends up! It was like falling back in time to realize my fictional character had been a real person.

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

I always write to music and sometimes for special scenes, I pick a certain song. For the battle scene on the English Channel in To Tame the Wind, I listened to “The Courier” from the soundtrack of Last of the Mohicans. That’s what inspired the scene and likely what I would listen to before reading it.

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

Lady Mary Campbell from Racing with the Wind. I’d go riding on her Friesian stallion and have tea in her grand estate with her good friend, Elizabeth.

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

Courage, determination and perseverance. All three have come in handy.

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

The ocean near where I live. I love the smell of the sea and the sand beneath my feet. I have traveled to over 40 countries but I always love coming home.

Tell us about your most recent book.

My newest release is Rogue’s Holiday, a Regency in which the bad boy of the Powell family and a spy for the Crown takes a holiday in Brighton as the guest of the new King George IV where he encounters a beautiful hellion and great danger.

It was wonderful learn more about you and your writing style, Regan. Thank you for being a part of MTA! – Camilla

Book Blurb:

Even a spy needs a holiday…

Robert Powell’s work as a spy saves the Cabinet ministers from a gruesome death and wins him accolades from George IV. As a reward, the king grants him a baronetcy and a much-deserved holiday at the Royal Pavilion in Brighton where he thinks to indulge in brandy, cards, good horseflesh and women.

But when Muriel, Dowager Countess of Claremont, learns of Sir Robert’s intended destination, she begs a favor…to watch over an “errant child” who is the grandniece of her good friend living in the resort town. Little does Robbie know that Miss Chastity Reynolds is no child but a beautiful hellion who is seemingly immune to his charms.

Chastity lives in the shadow of her mother and sisters, dark-haired beauties men admire. Her first Season was a failure but, as she will soon come into a family legacy, she has no need to wed. When she first encounters Sir Robert, she dubs him The Rogue, certain he indulges in a profligate lifestyle she wants no part in.

In Brighton, Robbie discovers he is being followed and senses the conspirators who had planned to murder the Cabinet have discovered his identity. Worse, they know the location of Chastity’s residence.

Where to buy the book:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07YQ55RNQ 

Connect with Regan:

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Regan-Walker/e/B008OUWC5Y

Author website: http://www.reganwalkerauthor.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/regan.walker.104

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6450403.Regan_Walker

Pinterest boards: https://www.pinterest.com/reganwalker123/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RegansReview

Regan’s Blog (Historical Romance Review): http://reganromancereview.blogspot.com/

Regan Walker’s Readers FB Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/ReganWalkersReaders/

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To support this website and the author’s interviewed, visit Support MTA for suggestions. Thank you! – Camilla, Founder and Host