Meet the Author: The Inheritance by Anne Allen

Today we welcome Anne Allen as we travel to Devon, with a long stop in Guernsey beforehand, as we uncover how psychotherapy, a wise old owl, and fey intertwine with history to form the drama of Anne’s writings. Grab your flashlight and magnifying glass. Let’s investigate …

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m a late-comer to writing, having spent most of my working life as a psychotherapist. I see it as my ‘third-age career’ and one I wish I had come to a lot sooner! Although my current home is in Devon, I have moved around quite a bit, much to the annoyance of my three children, I suspect.

The longest and happiest stay was in Guernsey, which became the focus of my novels when I started writing thirteen years ago. The first, Dangerous Waters, was published in 2005 although I did not realise this was the start of a series.

In which genre do you write?

The genre is a mix of family drama, romance, mystery and an element of historical, particularly in my last three books which are dual-time.

How many published books do you have?

Seven

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

Ah! I’d love a wise old owl which would use his wonderfully expressive eyes to let me know if he approved of what I was doing – or not. I could spill out my thoughts and wait for the blink!

What does your ideal writing space look like?

It would be a lot bigger than the one I have now! I’m using a small single bedroom overlooking the street of Victorian terrace houses and ideally I would love a proper study cum library, with book lined walls, a huge desk, lots of storage for all my files and a gorgeous sea view. Near enough to hear the sound of the waves breaking on the shore. Bliss!

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 coffee with one of my favourite authors, Barbara Erskine, who has written so many time-slip books, beginning with Lady of Hay 30 years ago. I would ask her if she is ‘fey’, able to sense spirits or ghosts as they form a large part of her stories and I’m beginning to include them in my own books. I would also ask her if she would mind reading one of my books and give me an honest opinion.

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

That I can finish things I start!

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

The most inspiring thing that has ever happened to me was winning a 500 word True-Life story competition in Prima magazine which encouraged me to write my first novel. The prize was £500 worth of M & S vouchers with a two-page spread in the magazine. I realised then that writing could put food on the table!

What do you miss about being a kid?

The freedom to just ’be’: not having adult responsibilities like the need to earn money; the long school holidays to enjoy as I wished with my friends – going out on our bikes for the day or going to others’ houses to chat or play; the pleasure of going to the library each week and bringing home 3 or 4 new books knowing I had plenty of time to read them.

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

It would be Jeanne Le Page, my heroine from Dangerous Waters, who returns rather reluctantly to her birthplace of Guernsey. Further on in the story, her life picks up and she becomes close to a man, Nick, who I, for one, fell in love with! I would like to spend the day with him on his boat, cruising round the island.

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. Some years ago I was on course in Glastonbury, trying to make sense of my life after my husband had died suddenly, leaving me with three small children. Most of the others on the course were women from Guernsey and we hit it off instantly.

Over the weeks we became good friends and two sisters invited me and the children over for a holiday and I fell in love with the beautiful island. A year later we moved there, in spite of a restrictive housing policy. A few years later I met a local man and we were together for about 10 years. I returned, reluctantly, to England after our breakup, but the memories were still strong and led eventually to The Guernsey Novels.

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

Stubbornness. After receiving rejections from agents, I decided to publish under my own imprint, Sarnia Press, and haven’t looked back.

Tell us about your most recent book.

‘The Inheritance’, a dual-time story set partly around Victor Hugo when he lived in Guernsey, and partly in the modern time. The connection between the two is Eugénie, a young widow who comes to the attention of Hugo and begins work as his copyist, and her great- great- great-granddaughter, Tess, a young doctor who inherits her house. The story handed down through the generations is that Eugénie and Hugo were extremely close and perhaps he was the father of her child, born after her re-marriage. Eugénie’s story is told through her diaries and interwoven with Tess’s life 150 years later.

The book is available as an ebook through all retailers and as a paperback from Amazon and bookstores.

Thank you Anne for joining us at Meeting the Authors. It was incredibly interesting and wonderful to learn the clues that come together as part of your writer’s life. –Camilla

BookTrailer:

The Inheritance

To Buy: https://books2read.com/GuernseyNovels

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

US Amazon: https://amzn.to/2F1q4Gg

UK Kindle: https://amzn.to/2Wzz0h1

US Kindle: https://amzn.to/2K9jUbd

The Inheritance Website: https://www.anneallen.co.uk

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AnneAllen21

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Anne-Allen-Author-176883759173475/

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 coffeeBuy me a coffee

 

Meet the Author: There She Goes by Lynne Shelby

Today we welcome Lynne Shelby as we travel to London, England and discover how a garden, Jane Austen, a wolf, and the Trojan War act together to create the show of Lynne’s life as a writer. Grab the popcorn and let’s go …

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m Lynne Shelby and I write contemporary women’s fiction/romance. I was first published when my novel French Kissing won the Accent Press and Woman magazine Writing Competition. I’ve done a variety of jobs from stable-girl to legal administrator, but now I’m lucky enough to write full time, which I think is the best job ever!

I enjoy traveling, especially exploring a foreign city with my writer’s notebook, camera and sketchbook in hand – among my favourites are Paris, New York, Rome, Venice, and Seattle. I live in London, England, with my husband, and I have three adult children who live nearby.

How many published books do you have?

I have three published books: French Kissing, The One That I Want and There She Goes (published 6 June 2019).

The One That I Want and There She Goes are both part of my Theatreland series of stand-alone novels set in the world of film and theatre. The books can be read in any order.

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

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be a writer! I still remember the thrill of seeing a story I’d written in my school magazine when I was nine. When I was fourteen I submitted a manuscript (an adventure story about four teenagers discovering a mysterious island) to a publisher. They didn’t publish it, but a kind editor wrote me a lovely letter encouraging me to keep writing – I’m so glad I took her advice!

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

That would have to be a wolf. I find these beautiful and intelligent creatures fascinating, and have been lucky enough to visit a wolf sanctuary several times. I love the fact that they live in family groups and work together as a team. Hearing a whole pack howling at twilight was an experience I’ll never forget.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

My ideal writing space is my writing room – also known by my family as the spare bedroom (It does have a bed in it, but this is disguised as a sofa with lots of cushions!). My writing desk is by a window which overlooks my garden, so that even although I live in a town, I have a view of trees and flowers. The walls are lined with bookshelves containing my favourite novels.

What are you currently reading?

At the moment I’m reading a book about the Trojan War. My current WIP has an archaeologist hero who is an expert in the ancient Greeks, and I’m doing a lot of research into that era of history. Most of my research won’t make it into my book, but it’ll help me get to know my character.

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

When I’m not writing or marketing my books, I can usually be found reading – especially women’s contemporary fiction – or in the audience at the theatre. My favourite night out is to watch a show, either a play or a musical, and I visit London’s West End as often as I can.

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’d love to chat to Jane Austen over a cup of tea. I’d ask her which of all the actors who have played Mr. Darcy would be her choice to play her hero.

What do you miss about being a kid?

I remember believing in magic as a kid – I miss that!

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

If I could turn into one of my characters for a day, it would be Julie Farrell from my latest novel, There She Goes. Julie is an exceptionally talented singer and dancer, while I can’t sing in tune and have two left feet! I’d use my day as a good singer to enter an open mic singing competition.

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

It’s hard to choose one favourite place to visit in England, but I’d recommend anyone who is interested in history to visit Hadrian’s Wall. A couple of years ago, my husband and I drove the length of the Wall, stopping off at the ruins of the various forts along the way. Standing on the remains of the Wall and gazing north, it was very easy to imagine what it would have been like for a Roman soldier stationed there nearly two thousand years ago.

Thank you Lynne for being a part of Meeting the Authors. I had a wonderful time learning about the acts that come together to create your writer’s life. Very interesting and inspiring! –Camilla

Lynne’s most recent book is There She Goes

Book Blurb:

When aspiring actress Julie Farrell meets actor Zac Diaz, she is instantly attracted to him, but he shows no interest in her. Julie, who has yet to land her first professional acting role, can’t help wishing that her life was more like a musical, and that she could meet a handsome man who’d sweep her into his arms and tap-dance her along the street…

After early success on the stage, Zac has spent the last three years in Hollywood, but has failed to forge a film career. Now back in London, he is determined to re-establish himself as a theatre actor. Focused solely on his work, he has no time for distractions, and certainly no intention of getting entangled in a committed relationship…

Auditioning for a new West End show, Julie and Zac act out a love scene, but will they ever share more than a stage kiss?

Find out more about Lynne Shelby and her books:

UK Kindle: https://amzn.to/31norwk

US Kindle: https://amzn.to/2F0jTm3

UK Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Wr7221

US Amazon: https://amzn.to/2XB0wHp

Website and Blog: www.lynneshelby.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/LynneShelbyWriter

Twitter: @LynneB1

Instagram: lynneshelbywriter

There She Goes Book Trailer:

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: Epona by Michelle Dalton

Today we welcome Michelle Dalton as we travel to Brisbane Australia and learn how horses, trolls, being dyslexic, and She-Ra come together to form the romantic herd of Michelle’s life. Grab your saddle ….

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am originally from Pretoria, South Africa. My family and I fled the rising violence taking over my beloved country and I now live near Brisbane, Australia with my husband and triplet sons. While also juggling a nursing career and teenage sons, I love to escape into my fictional world.

I have a deep love of horses and enjoy weaving them into dramatic stories with honourable men and strong women.  My other hobbies are gardening (usually trying to save my precious herbs and bulbs from an overactive miniature Jack Russell), painting, and reading.  I’m also a huge Star Trek and Marvel Comics fan, and as of recently a wee fan of DC too.

In which genre do you write?

Hmmm… *sigh* Not sure, well there’s always romance involved but I tend to dabble in a little paranormal/fantasy and probs a lot more women’s fiction and always African, no matter where the book plays out, there is a lot of South Africa involved. And Steampunk!

How many published books do you have?

As of today one – Epona. But there’ll be a second coming out in August this year – Simple Truths, oh yes and then a third under another pen name in November.

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

I didn’t realize it. I’ve always loved story telling – it’s in my blood but after I read Fifty Shades (Yes yes I did and I loved it, okay! You know these days confessing to having read Fifty Shades is like confessing to having had sex before marriage twenty years ago) I sat back and thought to myself. I can do better than this – and so I did. 😊

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

I’m boring love. I save all the interesting for my books. 😉

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

A horse – read Epona. 😉

What does your ideal writing space look like?

A bloody mess! Nothing like all those awesome bookstagram posts on Insta – gosh I wish! See I live with four philistines – that’s my triplet teenage boys and the hubster. Nothing is ever in it’s place! Drives me nuts but I love them so I just go with the smelly boy flow.

What are you currently reading?

The Three Musketeers – an old fave, and, Jasmine Sea by Phillipa Nefri Clark.

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

Picking up after teenagers and threatening them with the apocalypse if they don’t start acting like human beings instead of trolls. I paint/draw. Play with my mini Jack Russell chat with the hubster, and garden and do the washing and remind the hubster that he’ll have no clean clothes if he doesn’t hang it up and the usual suburban bliss kinda stuff… oh I also nurse. 😉

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?

Diana Gabaldon. I’ve already sat down with T M Clark. 😉

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

That I can. I’m dyslexic and was always told by teachers I’d never amount to much – showed them eh!

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

Nup and Nup. I don’t like the idea of my thoughts being in a place where people can easily access them. I’m cheeky enough in my writing. 😉

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

I had triplet boys – nuff said. 😊

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?

Drink wine. The soundtrack from my book trailer or Linkinpark. Drink Wine.

What do you miss about being a kid?

The freedom to simply be……..

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

She-Ra!

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

I can’t choose one. Basically it would be a mish mash of Sadie Munro (Epona) and Rochelle Le Roux (Simple Truths due for pub in August) Both these chicks rock. They are trend setters with balls of vibranium. They have seen the worst the world has to offer but still manage to beat the odds.

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

Shazaam (DC) and End Game (Marvel) – love me my comics and DC is getting better at it wouldn’t you say?

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

Trying to take over the world – “Smile and wave boys, smile and wave.”

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

Yes! Epona got shot down by 3 big publishers. I was heartbroken until I got picked up by a friend who self pubs. I have loads of success and 2 of the 3 trad publishers who shot me down came back and made an offer – was SO fudging cool to say “No thank you!”

PS Epona has hit the bestseller list on Zon.

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

Why my shoes? Why the socks? Why the undies?

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

My internal BS detector. Need I say more???

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

The beach! It’s Oz, no explanation needed.

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

Backyard. Sunset. Kids and hubster away. Bottle of wine. Dark chocolate. Bliss 😊

Thank you Michelle for stopping by Meeting the Authors. It was incredibly interesting (and cheeky fun … heehee) chatting with you about the things that come together to create your life. – Camilla

Epona

After a horrendous attack on her family farm in South Africa takes the lives of her loved ones and leaves her wounded, her only escape is to leave the country of her birth for the highlands of Scotland and her last living relatives.

But Sadie’s life may still be in danger.

Blane Buchan is an Englishmen living in the small highland town of Lairg, seeking a life away from the emptiness of London society and a past he’d rather forget.

When Sadie finds a mysterious blue roan mare, she must use the gift given to her from Epona; Protector of horses. But the mare just might be the one who saves her.

From the mountains of South Africa to the wintry Highland Moors this is a story of redemption, love and the powerful connection between humans and horses.

Find out more about Michelle and her books:

Book Trailer: https://www.facebook.com/MichelleDaltonAuthor/videos/771981623172852/

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

Websitehttps://michelledaltonauthor.com

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

bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/michelle-dalton-53ea0323-296f-4400-93d3-dd88b4150295

News Letter sign up: https://mcdalton76.us16.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=aa0ac495c7bfb8fb3314e252a&id=f975bfe782

US Kindle: https://amzn.to/2X3SgCU

US Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Wvk97f

UK Kindle: https://amzn.to/2XJsEIc

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

And NOW available on…

KOBO: https://www.kobo.com/au/en/ebook/epona-2#ratings-and-reviews

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Michelle_Dalton_Epona?id=XQuZDwAAQBAJ&hl=en_US&fbclid=IwAR1efpPoKvoOpSntrjzUUwK98LoKbwcXaL_WM_rz0t6Zh7pHk7SQQvAA6UE

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/epona-michelle-dalton/1130369180?ean=9780648046349&fbclid=IwAR1CrTCHjd-b05TT7VJOnyEr5KGblijGOP3PPljBWRd6BcnD_0dgksW0s4w

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!

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

Buy me a coffeeBuy me a coffee

Meet the Author: Back Home by Tom Williams

Today we welcome Tom Williams to Meet the Author. We’re headed to Richmond in south west London to learn how dancing, the Andes and Buenos Aires come together with the Argentine tango to the beat of Tom Williams life.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I live in Richmond, in south west London. I street skate and ski and can dance a mean Argentine tango. I’ve spent a lot of my life writing very boring things for money (unless you’re in Customer Care, in which case ‘Dealing With Customer Complaints’ is really, really interesting). Now I’m writing for fun. I blog regularly, mainly about history, but quite a bit of random stuff as well (link below for my website).

In which genre do you write?

Historical fiction, although I’ve been experimenting with something contemporary.

How many published books do you have?

Six – three about a spy in the age of Napoleon and three set in the mid-19th century.

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

I’ve always wanted to write, but I found it very difficult to write fiction around other stuff, especially when I did a lot of non-fiction writing for my work. As I got older, I found that I could afford to work less and write more, so that’s what I did.

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

I’m a spectacularly lazy writer. I spend far too long staring out of the window. I aim for a thousand words in a day, which really isn’t very many.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

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

I dance a lot of tango and do a little bit of dance teaching.

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

I have a very dark sense of humour.

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

In ‘Burke in the Land of Silver’ my hero rides across the Andes rather too late in the year and is nearly caught in the snow. This is based on something that really happened but I just couldn’t visualise it so I went to Argentina and rode up into the Andes at a stupid time of year when there would be snow around. I spent three nights in an unheated stone hut at 3,000 metres and I have never been so cold in my life. In the end it contributed less than a page to the book but I wouldn’t have missed it for worlds.

Do you journal write or keep a personal diary?

Not regularly. I take a lot of photographs and use these instead of a diary.

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

I went to what I suppose you could call an immersive theatre performance in Buenos Aires. It was set in a famous bar and various people came in and recreated life in a famous tango bar during the Golden Age of tango. There were quite a lot of people in the bar but it slowly became clear to my wife and me that we were the only actual audience and everybody else was actors. It went on for hours and was most surreal experience of my life.

What do you miss about being a kid?

Nothing. Anybody who thinks that their childhood was the best days of their lives has done remarkably little since.

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

‘Blind Date’. (Un peu, beaucoup, aveuglément.) I like watching rom coms with my wife and French rom coms can be very good. We both loved this one.

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

“You really need to cut down on the drugs.” Because you really need to cut down on the drugs.

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

Some things happen for a reason. You work to make something happen and then it happens. Other things are completely random. A few friends have died over the years. In many cases it was totally unexpected and at a time when they were full of life and plans for the future. Stuff just happens. Life is not fair.

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

My pet ferret has been dead for years and I still can’t face owning another. So in the unlikely event of ever being able to talk to him, I’d have to ask him about the after-life.

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

Mid-Wales (if you could call that my country because I live in England). My wife lived there when she was a girl and we often go back. Where we stay is almost totally off grid (no main water, no landline phone, very limited Internet access, no TV). It’s beautiful and peaceful and I always feel better for being there. There are some photos on my website at (link for my website below).

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

The last book I had published was ‘Back Home’ which completes my cycle of three books about a mid-Victorian character whose adventures take him into the real-life worlds of the white ruler of Borneo (in ‘The White Rajah’) and the Indian Mutiny (‘Cawnpore’). It completes the trilogy but it stands alone if you just want to read a book set in London in 1859 – a world which had astonishing parallels with the England of today.

There are a couple more books about James Burke which are awaiting publication.

Thank you Tom for being a part of Meeting the Authors. It was a whirlwind dance doing the interview tango with you. – Camilla

Learn more about Tom Williams and where to purchase to the book:

Tom Williams website: http://tomwilliamsauthor.co.uk

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

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

In America it’s distributed through Simon & Schuster: https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Back-Home/Tom-Williams/9781682994146

Tom on Twitter: @TomCW99

Tom on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorTomWilliams/

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!

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

Buy me a coffeeBuy me a coffee

Meet the Author: Saints and Curses by Alexis Lantgen

Today we welcome Alexis Lantgen and travel to the state of Texas in the United States. Here we’ll learn how Renaissance Faires, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Redwood National Forest and Captain Marvel come together to create the symphony of Alexis Lantgen. Grab your cape and let’s go …

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m a writer, teacher, and classical musician (I play violin and viola in a local symphony orchestra). I love Renaissance Faires and all things science fiction and fantasy.

My short stories have appeared in the Gallery of Curiosities, Phantaxis, Red Sun Magazine, and Swords and Sorcery Magazine, and I have one coming out in the May 2019 issue of Kzine as well. I’ve also written nonfiction articles for Renaissance Magazine.

I’m married and I have two children, a beautiful and spirited five-year-old daughter and a toddler son. I live in the United States, inTexas.

How many published books do you have?

I have two published books right now. My first book, Sapience, is a collection of science fiction short stories. It’s pretty dark in tone, something you might enjoy if you like Black Mirror or EdgarAllen Poe.

My second book, Saints and Curses, is a collection of fantasy short stories. While some of these stories are pretty dark, there are a few that are much more lighthearted and funny. Think elves and magic coffee

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

I would meet Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and I’d ask him to improvise at the piano. Or ask if he could finally finish his Requiem Mass!

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

Yes, although I don’t write in it everyday. I think it helps to jot down ideas as often as they come to me, even if I’m not sure I’ll ever develop it into anything. I also think it can help me vent–I write in my journals when I’m angry or sad sometimes, and I don’t want to take it out on anyone else. It’s very cathartic, because just writing down my feelings or my problems can help me see solutions or ideas I didn’t have before. It clears my mind.

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

The last movie I watched was Captain Marvel. I took my daughter to see it so we could spend some time together, just the two of us. I loved the movie! I thought it was a powerful story, and I enjoyed all the little twists and watching Carol Danvers discover who she really is. Also, the kitty!

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

Probably my stubborn determination. I’m not someone that stops once I’ve got something I want to achieve, at least not until I’ve beaten myself bloody trying to see it through. I’ll admit it can be a problematic trait sometimes–I think I have a touch of the martyr in me, so I probably hold on to things long after I should have let it go. But I think it also means I tend to succeed where lots of other people would have given up (though those people may very well be happier and more sane than me).

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

My family went on an incredible trip to the Redwoods National Park in California. Seeing the redwood forest–they’re the tallest trees on Earth, and it’s impossible to convey their majesty. It was the most magical place I’ve ever been, and I loved it. I want to go back again someday, and show the redwoods to my children.

Blurb for my newest book, Saints and Curses:

Explore worlds of light and dark, where magical whimsy and grim tidings alike are painted across the tapestry of human experience.Indulge in tales of the fantastical where enchantments are bought and sold at the local corner store,your morning latte gives you special abilities, and you might just adopt a murderous, vampiric cat. Your child might be stolen away in the night and replaced with an ancient, evil creature of the fae, waves of plague-ridden vermin consume everything, and only a saint could hope to turn the tide. These stories and more await you, if you dare to turn the page…

Thank you Alexis Lantgen for stopping by Meeting the Authors. It was great fun to learn about a portion of the symphony of your life.

Find out more about Alexis and her books:

US Kindle: https://amzn.to/2EzNIcF

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

Website: https://www.lunarianpress.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/alexislantgen

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

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!

Meet the Author: Anne by Zarina Macha

Today we welcome Zarina Macha as we travel to North London to learn how cats, swimming and empathy come together to form the beat of Zarina’s life. Grab your dancin’ shoes … Let’s go …

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Hey there! I am a musician, author and blogger born and raised in North London, UK. Studied Songwriting and Creative Artistry at uni and front a funk-rock trio band called ‘Zarina and The Elements’ with an EP titled ‘Fire’ out on digital music platforms. I’m currently focusing on my writing: have published two books and have a third just out yesterday – “Anne”!

In which genre do you write?

Contemporary YA and poetry.

My first book, ‘Every Last Psycho: A Collection of Two Novellas’ is dark upper-young-adult fiction.

My second, ‘Art is a Waste of Time’ is a collection of poems I published as a nice subsidiary to my fiction (turned out to be a good investment as I didn’t pay to get my poems edited unlike my fiction, and sell them a lot at poetry events!)

The third, ‘Anne’, is coming-of-age YA.

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

God, I can’t remember. My parents say I always loved to write little notes and stories from when I could use a pen. My mum bought me a diary at the age of six, and my dad is a writer and columnist for a major newspaper in Tanzania, so it runs in the blood.

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

Cats have always been my favourite animal, and I feel very similar to them: I love to sleep, tend to stare and drift off into space a lot, fuss a lot over grooming and personal hygiene, and I’m a natural ‘loner’, flitting in-and-out of social groups. So yeah, cats are now and always my spirit animal.

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

I love to swim. Try and go at least once a week in my local outdoor swimming pool; is very refreshing and always makes me feel great. I read a lot of course; I’m not a super-fast reader; my yearly average is 20-30 books per year. Also watch a lot of movies and TV shows, they give me inspiration. And playing my guitar and listening to music, naturally – great way to unwind.

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?

Stephen King is a massive literary inspiration for me, and just seems like an overall cool and funny guy. Would be nice to just chat to him about the writing process and the overwhelming desire to push out loads of stories. He’s super prolific and very experienced so I think I would gain a lot from talking to him.

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

Probably ‘Rock the Boat’ by Aaliyah; it’s very soothing and mellow and always takes me to a place of tranquillity. It’s a simple song but has a nice consistent beat; it’s not a ‘great’ song by any means, it’s not musically complex or even that interesting, which is exactly why it helps to calm me down.

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

Totally Spies was one of my favourite shows as a kid and I still love it now and occasionally watch episodes on YouTube. I would love to join Clover, Sam and Alexas a fourth spy and go have crazy adventures with them donning glamorous gadgets. I love that they’re badass but also pretty and girly at the same time; shows you can be feminine and powerful!

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

Not a movie but THE LAST EPISODE OF GAME OF THRONES; you’ve probably seen the stuff circulating online about it. I loved it and it’s had an enormous impact on me as a writer and as a person, the way it’s shaped my worldview and strengthened my love for stories even more. I adored the episode and cried; thought it the perfect end to the series.

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

Yes. I think things happen as a way either to test us, challenge us or highlight the best of ourselves. I had a drinking problem a few years ago and having come out of it, I’ve gained lots of resilience and emotional strength since dealing with it and learned I’m a lot stronger and more level-headed than I give myself credit for. I’ve learned to handle myself better through my recovery program and accept that we’re all part of a greater sense of oneness and being, and that everything that happens in our lives teaches us something.

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

Regarding my creative work, the fact that I have a strong work ethic and determination has been very useful. When I’m passionate about a project I see it through and give it all my attention, which has helped me to achieve a lot in a short space of time.

Having a lot of empathy for others is also important; when I was at uni we were told that the most important trait in the music/arts business is to be a good person and get along well with people. No one does everything alone and how you treat those you work with does make a big difference. If you’re reliable, straightforward and polite, it makes doing business that much easier. I firmly believe in mutual support; you help me, I’ll help you.

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

My coming-of-age novel ‘Anne’ came out on June 3rd .

It’s available in ebook and paperback format.

Thanks for stopping by Meeting the Authors Zarina! It was wonderful to learn more about you and your world.

Learn more about Zarina and where to purchase the book:

UK Kindle: https://amzn.to/2Mb4YeR

US Kindle: https://amzn.to/2YNiwOT

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

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

Website: http://www.zarinamacha.co.uk

Goodreads profile: http://www.goodreads.com/zarinamacha

Fiverr profile: http://www.fiverr.com/zarinamacha

Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/zarinawriter

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/zarinamacha

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

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!

Meet the Author: Spirits of Vengeance: The Stone of Spirits by Andrew John Rainnie

Today we welcome Andrew John Rainnie as we travel to Glasgow, Scotland to learn how traveling the world, a red panda and Thundercats have come together as part of Andrew’s life. Grab your boomerang and let’s go …

Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Andrew John Rainnie, and I’m from Glasgow, Scotland. I’m a writer, filmmaker, dreamer and gamer. I’m a strong advocate for animal rights and an independent Scotland.

In which genre do you write?

My first attempt at publishing a novel was actually a non-fiction travel blog I kept when I was traveling round the world. My fiction has so far been epic fantasy, but I’m hoping try different genres in the future. I have been jotting down ideas for a stream of consciousness drama story for a few years, and also have loose plans for an urban fantasy book series.

I also write screenplays, usually in the horror/thriller genre. I like the challenge of looking at a genre and working out how to write a story within the conventions of what an audience/reader expects, but also subverting those to better the story.

How many published books do you have?

Technically two! I self-published my travel blog, My Right Leg Is Tastier Than My Left, back in 2013, I think (it’s not on sale now as I’m planning on doing something different with it). I was just curious as to how the whole self-publishing process worked and had a wealth of material from traveling for a year.

I then self-published Spirits of Vengeance: The Stone of Spirits in 2014. It was the first book in a planned trilogy.

After that I also made a book of short stories available based in that world called Tales of Vengeance. Then while working on the sequel, the first book got picked up by a publisher along with the second book. It was due out last year but I was making a short film, getting married and moving house, while also trying to do significant redrafts. It is almost in a state I am happy with, so hopefully it will be published this year.

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

From a very young age. I used to write short stories all the time as a child, and not just a page or two, but like 10 page epic tales. My school teachers used to hate me because when we were given a writing task, I would hand in several pages more than anyone else.

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

I struggle to write at a computer sometimes. I find sometimes there’s a bit of a fug, although IU have since acquired a mechanical keyboard which makes it sound like you are using a typewriter.

But if I find there is a problem with the flow of ideas, I’ll just sit down with a pad of paper and a pen and write freeform for an hour. It does mean I then have to type those notes up, but I find switching between the two keeps my ideas fresh. I also like to drop my friends’ names in as minor characters. There are at least four in the new book!

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

Good question! I am very tempted to say a dog (because I love dogs and yet live with two cats) but I think probably a red panda. They are very playful and creative.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

Well we just moved home and I claimed one of the smaller rooms as my own personal office, so I have a big wide desk populated by toys and notes and pens. I have a boomerang and a Frisbee and a toy space gun all hanging on the wall, all mementos from my travels. Hopefully I’ll get more artwork up on the bare walls soon.

What are you currently reading?

I am currently working my way through Chuck Wendig’s Star Wars: Aftermath trilogy. I’m a few chapters from the end of the first book, so will move on to Life Debt afterwards. I’m hoping to finish them before The Rise of Skywalker hits in December(I don’t get a lot of reading time).

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

I don’t have much of a life anymore. I work full time, I have another job writing copy, I have a couple of screenwriting commissions. I also make films and promo videos. My wife rarely sees me.

When I get a spare five minutes, I love nothing more than playing video games. I just love disappearing into these rich worlds filled with colourful characters and stories. I was halfway through the new God of War before we moved house, but I’m on a bit of a video games ban until I finish the new book. My pile of unplayed video games almost rivals my pile of unread books!

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?

Terry Pratchett. I renamed a character in the second book as a small tribute to him. He managed to create several series of books, especially the Discworld, that told very human stories dealing with contemporary issues, while based in this absurd fantasy world. And it’s a credit to his storytelling and world building that it works so well over 40 books.

I read an interview with him where he told a story about someone asking him what was the first thing he figured out when creating a city like Anhk-Morpork, and they were disappointed when he answered that he works out where the water comes in and the sh** flows out. But that’s how you build worlds. You make sure they work within the logic of the world.

I learned a lot from my decades wandering the Discworld, but I would have loved to have had the opportunity to sit down with him over a beer and pick that fantastic brain of his.

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

That I am my own worst enemy. My background is in screenwriting, so I try and plot or structure as much of the books as I can before starting to actually write it. But sometimes I’ll get bogged down in the detail, or conversely leave a very vague plot point because I haven’t quite worked it out, and when I come to write that chapter it’s like hitting a road bump on a skateboard going at 50 miles an hour.

I am completely thrown off and have to sit and rework it based on my characters and how I think they would act or react to the situation. Yet, if you plot too much, it can sometimes kill the creativity, so it’s about finding that balance.

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

I do all sorts. I like trying different writing techniques, so for one story I recorded me speaking in the character’s voice, like a stream of conscious narrative. For Spirits ofVengeance, I remember there was a fight scene across a battlefield, so I had to work it out using Lego toys (I collect Lego) because it was just so confusing.

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

Apart from when I was traveling, no. I try and write a minimum of 3000 words a day. Keeping a diary would just add to that.

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

I have been very lucky in my life, and could answer this question a million different ways. I was inspired a lot when I traveled the world, seeing the Earth, this planet that we live on, all of us, together. I loved meeting new people, experiencing new cultures. I think if everyone traveled, the world would be a much better place. I was traveling on my own, and so many people showed me so much kindness (I think maybe everyone thought I was having a mid-life crisis) but it makes me well with tears just thinking about it.

Anyway, you’re looking for a specific example. I’ve already mentioned how I adored Terry Pratchett, so here’s a cool story. I was in a Japanese restaurant in Glasgow with several of my friends. One of my friends Steve was visiting from Japan where he was teaching English, so obviously we took him and his Japanese girlfriend to a Scottish Japanese restaurant. It’s one of these restaurants with long tables and benches.

So our party sits down, there’s maybe 10 of us, and just as I sit I look at the next table, and there is a guy sitting there that looks the double of Terry Pratchett, so much so I do a double take. I mentioned his to my friends who glanced over and they were said no, it’s not him, he’s not got his signature hat on.

So we continue with our meal, while this man who may or may not be my favourite author gets up and leaves with the two people he was sitting with. They pay for their meal and then he goes to the coat stand in the corner and picks up his hat, and it was Terry Pratchett! There had been a sci-fi convention in Glasgow that weekend and he was one of the guests.I thought that was cool.

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 hire an impersonator! In the party we had for the first book launch, I had someone shout a page number and read that page, which was unfortunately as it had a lot of difficult character names, so maybe next time I choose the page beforehand.

What do you miss about being a kid?

The sheer lack of stress, or worry. I mean, when you are a kid, you are fearless. I mean I was quite timid as a child (my parents would probably argue otherwise) but I think there’s an innocence and naivety that allows you to go do stupid things regardless of the consequences. As an adult, you’re like “I would love to have this cake but I also have bills to pay.” I guess I miss the freedom of it, or perhaps the sense of adventure, of the unknown, because everything is unknown.

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

I instinctively want to say Thundercats, but I have actually re-watched them recently and they have not aged well at all. But what has I guess? I think I like the mythology of it rather than the show itself. Your brain remembers the sweeping arcs and major plot points, but forgets there was an episode where everyone was tripping on some psychotropic plant or fighting robot-pirates.

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 probably turn into Innes Vangar. He’s a former soldier turned marauder. He’s sharp tongued, loves a drink, and runs towards danger. He’d have an amazing night out in Glasgow!

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

The last move I saw was Detective Pikachu, and pretty much because I love Ryan Reynolds. For my sins, I have never played a Pokemon game (I probably will soon as there is a new one coming out for the Nintendo Switch), but yeah, it was enjoyable fun.

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

“Hey gringo.” I then go get my sombrero (I genuinely have one) and we go the nearest Mexican restaurant to play in our animal-themed mariachi band with an alpaca and a chameleon.

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

Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. I’m not religious (not in the way I think there’s a big beardy guy planning or lives), but I think things do sometimes happen for a reason, and it is up to us to take those opportunities when presented. Other times I think things happen because you put in the hard work. But still, I’ve had my fair share of coincidences to believe there is a pattern within the chaos.

An example – I was traveling in New Zealand on a bus tour, and you kind of get to know everyone straight away. I met these two lovely Welsh girls and must have been in their company for a couple of weeks when they were looking through their old photos, and spotted me. We’d been sitting next to one another on a flight from Singapore to Australia two months beforehand.

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

1. What the f*** do you want?
2. Why do you get pissing on the carpet?
3. Why don’t you love me?

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

Perseverance. There’s a certain stereotype that Scottish people are hard-working, and I’m the perfect example of it. I just don’t know how to stop doing something until it is done. I rarely quit.

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

In my country? So many places! I live in Glasgow, which is to me one of the most amazing cities in the world. We just have a great culture and we’re a very artistic city. But other than Glasgow, I’d say the Highlands. Scotland has a lot of mountain ranges, but the Cairngorms are just amazing. If you visit the town of Aviemore, there is a road that takes you to the visitor centre, going past Glenmore Forest and Loch Morlich which has a lovely sandy beach. It’s beautiful.

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

Sunny day. Brunch at Brewdog Berlin.

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

I’m just finishing off the second book in the Spirits of Vengeance saga, called The Assassin of Araneque, and plotting the final book, The Rise of Rakkatoa.

However, the first book in the series, Spirits of Vengeance: The Stone of Spirits, is available online at sites listed below.

About the book:

It tells the story of Kamina Elloeth, a young tree elf who is thrust from the safety of her forest home on an epic adventure with a mysterious ranger and her ghostly brother.

I really hope you enjoy reading it and the sequels!

Thank you Andrew for being a part of Meeting the Authors and sharing a bit about you and your writing life. –Camilla

Where to purchase the book:

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

US Amazon: https://amzn.to/2YIl4hk

Blackwells: https://blackwells.co.uk/bookshop/product/Spirits-of-Vengeance-by-Rainnie-Andrew/9781911424307

Waterstones: https://www.waterstones.com/book/spirits-of-vengeance/andrew-rainnie/9781911424307

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/spirits-of-vengeance-andrew-john-rainnie/1120792102

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!

 

Meet the Author: The Hunt by Deidre-Ann Anderson

Today we welcome Deidre-Ann Anderson and travel to Jamaica to learn how culinary school, a jaguar, and Sydney Sheldon come together to create life’s romantic recipe for Deidre-Ann. Let’s get cookin’ …

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am a Jamaican author, who loves to write, read, cook, play video games, and fantasize about exciting stories. I am also a proud culinary school graduate who ghost writes cookbooks and nutritional content.

In which genre do you write?

I currently write Romance and Cookbooks.

How many published books do you have?

I have 1 Romance novel currently, along with a few small cookbooks that I published a long time ago.

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

I knew I wanted to write from a very young age. I was a natural storyteller, telling fairytales and extreme stories to the detriment of my friends and parents. Haha, what can I say? They were always entertained.

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

When I write, I become a whole different person, so much so that my husband has to do a temperature check, before saying anything to me.

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

A jaguar, they are beautiful on the outside and seems calm from a far but completely transforms if disturbed when they are focused.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

A small enclosed room with a vision board, workstation, and computer.

What are you currently reading?

I am currently reading “The Mister” by E.L. James.

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

I play video games, hang with my husband, chat with friends, check in with my family, and 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?

I would love love love to have a sit down with Sidney Sheldon. He was an amazing writer, who had the ability to hook you into a story from the very first page and keep you glued to the end. It would have been amaze-beans to be able to pick his brain. May his soul rest in peace.

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

I have learned that I am a potty mouth when I write, which is the complete opposite of who I am in real life.

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

My debut Romance novel, The Hunt: An Interracial Love Story was released onMay 9th , 2019, and it is currently available in both eBook and Paperback onAmazon.

The book is a Bwwm Romance that follows a sassy Jamaican woman and a drug dealer from New York. It is the first installation of the Consumed by Heat Series that promises a delicious mix of crime, love, sex, and murder.

Thank you for allowing me to share my crazy mind with you!

************************************

Deidre-Ann Anderson is a Jamaican author, and full-time freelance writer, who firmly believes that with hard work and dedication, anyone can make a living from what they enjoy. She has been a storyteller for most her life; she currently specializes in Romance (in the fictional realm) and Culinary/Nutritional content (in Non-Fiction).

The Consumed by Heat Trilogy is her debut Romance series, and she is excited to share the rigorous love story of Alex and Kris.

Book Blurb:

She was a Jamaican firecracker. He was the head of the largest drug-dealing ring in New York. Neither of them was prepared for what would happen when both worlds collide. A gripping tale of romance, sex, and murder, from the Enthusiastic Romance Author of The Consumed by Heat Series, Deidre – Ann Anderson.

When Alexander Heat meets sexy, sassy Kristine, he is confident his hunt to make her his would be an easy one. But as the two of them embark on an intense affair, Alexander quickly realizes that this hunt will uproot his life. A loved one dies. A ghost appears from the past. And as a vicious cyclone of love threatens to disband everything they have built; Kristine and Alexander are forced to decide …Is the hunt going to lead to a life of bliss – or will it end in a bed of misery?

Thank you to Deidra-Ann Anderson for stopping by and sharing a few of the ingredients of her life recipe! –Camilla

Learn more about Deidra-Ann Anderson and where to purchase the book:

US Kindle and Amazon paperback: https://amzn.to/2wlIuNm

Note from Deidra-Ann: Be sure to leave an honest review, as your feedback really helps me perfect my craft.

To find out more about books, news and more, and to sign up to Dee’s Writing Corner, visit my Author Website: https://www.deidreannanderson.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorDeidreAnn

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

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

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Deidre-Ann-Anderson/e/B00Q3YA8VS

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/authordeidreannanderson

Meet the Author: In Bloom Not Broken by Katie Maylea

Today we welcome author Katie Maylea. We travel to Birmingham in the United Kingdom to learn about what The Mad Hatter, Alice in Wonderland, and an 8 month old puppy have to do with road blocks as stepping stones. We’re all mad here, come join us …

Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Katie and I am from Birmingham, UK.

I am a mental health campaigner, author and ETSY shop owner (www.etsy.com/uk/shop/katiescabinhandmade). I am also a Mommy of a six year old little princess and a doggy Mommy of 2 chorkie’s.

I am passionate about mental health awareness and a lover of handmade.

In which genre do you write?

My current book is a non fiction memoir but I also have a fiction children’s book coming soon too!

How many published books do you have?

I have one mental health memoir which is my journey through mental illness.

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

I am technically not a “writer” in the sense of the word. I have always loved writing poetry from a very young age but as far as my book goes my goal was never to be a writer. It was more that I had a story that I wanted to share to raise awareness on mental health.

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

I am a huge Alice In Wonderland fan and love all the quotes from the film a huge amount. I have a tattoo “Do you suppose she’s a wildflower?” and a mad hatters hat on my forearm so I would probably choose the Mad Hatter.

As he said…. “We’re all mad here” and i feel a bit like him sometimes!

What does your ideal writing space look like?

Ideally a beautiful summer house surrounded by singing birds and summer sunshine. What it really looked like was anywhere i could get some peace from two dogs and a six year old 😉

What are you currently reading?

I am reading “The Girl Before” by JP Delaney and loving it! I keep vowing to make more time to read as I find it very relaxing.

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

You will usually find me busy making my ETSY orders or making new items to add to my ETSY shop.

Either that or working on something to do with mental health awareness, volunteering for SHOUT, a mental health crisis text line or in my spare time watching something on netflix.

I am a “busy” so I am always doing something. I find it very hard to sit still and just totally switch off. I get bored easily and like to be productive.

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?

Oooooohhh, that’s a tough one! I would say Channing Tatum and ask him if he wouldn’t mind acting a little bit of Magic Mike for me, but that is for selfish reasons 😉

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

That I can do it! I honestly thought when I started my book that I wouldn’t manage more than a few pages. 85,000 words later I had a book on my hands!

What’s the strangest thing you’ve done or experienced to help while writing your memoir?

There were a few songs I literally had on repeat a lot of the time. Mostly Beyonce’s “Listen” and Emeli Sande “Read All About It”.

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

I don’t anymore but i did for many years especially throughout struggling with anorexia. I have about 8 diaries spanning years and I remember about four years ago thinking about getting rid of them as they held so many painful memories but something inside me said, “Don’t do that in case you write a book”.

I am so glad I kept them as there are diary excerpts throughout my book that really give insight to the mind of mental illness in “real time” that was really important to me when writing my book as I wanted it to be as raw and honest as possible.

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

I think the thing I always think of is the night that I was sat planning to end my life, I had made the plans, written the notes and I had really made my final decision about that evening.

I was sat on the floor and my laptop was open. Within that moment a friend popped up on messenger who I had only every spoken to via text and on the phone as the internet wasn’t quite as huge then as it is now. I can’t even remember what I said but that one message resulted in him coming over.

I went to the hospital and that one message ultimately, potentially, saved my life. That one moment has gone on to inspire a lot of the projects that I do and the fact that I volunteer for a crisis tect line as I truly understand that sometimes the smallest things in one moment can save a life.

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 would come back to a song that I mentioned before Emeli Sande “Read All About It” I really resonate with this song and it’s a song that always makes me feel a bit stronger and more determined to share my story and be truthful about what I believe in.

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

Oh goodness, I loved Spot The Dog, Rosie and Jim but probably with what I do now if I was to get stuck in one it would probably be Art Attack!

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?

I would invite Alice from Alice In Wonderland in to my story. I have a feeling we would have got along well.

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

I watched “A Star is Born” for the second time. I watched it the first time at the cinema and love the soundtrack so really wanted to see it again. Plus I can’t deny, I have a bit of a thing for Bradley Cooper!…..It’s those eyes!!

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

He comes to tell me that he has come to take me away to somewhere hot and sunny because like him, I need some sunshine in my life.

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

Absolutely yes! The example I gave before about the night that I planned to end my life is a massive example of this, I generally believe this and while I often have people say to me that they are “Sorry” for what has happened to me or that they don’t know how I have remained so strong. I now look at it and think if it hadn’t I wouldn’t have the passions or goals and dreams that I now do.

I like to think that I experienced what I did to use it for something good and to fuel me with a fire that I now have, As the quote says

“Road Blocks can often prove to be stepping stones”

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

Haha! I have two dogs so my oldest Alfie who is ten I would ask ” Do you like Eddie?” (The new 8 month puppy) and “What do you want me to know?” The youngest Eddie who is 8 months I would ask ” Why do you refuse on doing a number 2 outside?!”

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

I would say my determination and drive, I think this has seen me through a lot not only with goals and ambitions but also through emotions and getting through difficult times.

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

I love Devon, I want to move to Devon one day. Anywhere quiet and ideally by the sea. Somewhere calming where I feel like I can switch off of have some wonderful scenery. I live in Birmingham and I definitely wasn’t built to live in a city.

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

Somewhere hot with sea. That is my happy place. I am such a sun lover. I have wondered if somewhere in my family tree there is some Spanish or similar. I always get asked and every holiday I go on at some point someone will talk to me in their own language. I love being in the sun by the sea with a book – pass me a vodka and diet coke while I’m there and that is perfect.

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

My book “In Bloom Not Broken” is my journey through mental illness. It covers my battle with self harm and depression starting from the age of 14 through to my battle with anorexia throughout my 20’s and lastly being diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder which included manic episodes with psychosis and delusions and suicidal depressions.

I wanted to write a book that was very raw, honest and that had no heirs and graces to really give insight in to the mind of someone struggling with mental illness to raise awareness and also to show others that they are not alone with these thoughts and feelings that can sometimes feel shameful and that things really can get better, even when that feels impossible.

It is available on Amazon in ebook and paperback formats as well as being part of Kindle Unlimited.

Thank you incredibly much Katie. Another I am adding to my list to be read. I truly enjoyed stepping into your world, even if only for a brief moment. And, I LOVE your Etsy shop!! Very cool!! –Camilla

UK Amazon: https://amzn.to/2HsOb2f
US Amazon: https://amzn.to/2WdSPcB

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: Dropzone by Stewart Giles

Today we welcome Stewart Giles to Meet the Author. We’re headed to Vaal Dam in South Africa to talk about what an armadillo, skydiving, and playing a guitar mean for author Stewart Giles! Let’s go!

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m a 46-year-old writer, guitar collector, sailor and skydiver, in that order. I’ve been living on the Vaal Dam in South Africa for 16 years now, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

In which genre do you write?

Crime Thrillers.

How many published books do you have?

Fifteen. Thirteen of which are self-published and two have been published through Joffe Books.

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

I always wrote when I was a kid, but one night my wife dropped a rather large speaker on my head, and when the feeling came back in my legs and the concussion subsided, I came up with the idea for my detective Smith books. Whether she dropped it on purpose still remains a mystery.

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

Initially, I write my books free-hand in block capitals. With whatever writing implement I can find.

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

An armadillo. My favourite animal – they’re tough as nails on the outside, and soft inside.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

My writing space is full of books, guitars and good old-fashioned CD’s.

What are you currently reading?

I’m doing the Jo Nesbo marathon for the tenth time. Harry Hole is one of the reasons I picked up a pen again and I haven’t put it down since. Very inspiring.

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

I’m lucky to stay a stone’s throw away from a huge expanse of water, so I race sailing boats at least once a month. I’m also lucky to have one of the best dropzones on my doorstep and I love to jump out of perfectly good planes. It really is quite addictive. When I’m on terra firma, I play one of my 45 guitars.

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 have to be Jo Nesbo. We’d have a jam (he plays the guitar too.) And we’d drink beer.

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

I’ve always considered myself to be very good at keeping my feelings hidden, yet I bare my heart and soul to all and sundry through writing.

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

For research on my latest book, my amazing friend at the skydiving club asked me if I wanted to co-pilot as they had a light load. Going up to thirteen-thousand feet and watching the guys jump was much worse than jumping myself, and the rapid descent in the empty single turbo-prop plane meant I couldn’t hear much for a while. All in the name of research.

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

I don’t keep a diary, no.

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

I’ve been struck by lightning, bitten by a snake and been bitten by a recluse spider. The latter resulting in a lovely weekend in hospital.

But the most inspiring, with regards to my latest book was when I did my first static-line sky dive. My instructor was on hand to guide me down, and his wife was in radio contact via a VHF in my helmet. It started off well, then my instructor experienced a one in a 1000 malfunction. His main failed and I watched as he spiraled down to earth.

His wife also spotted this, and her priorities suddenly changed from guiding a bloke safely down to the drop zone to praying her husband wasn’t going to hit the ground at 120 miles an hour. I landed in a field some distance from the drop zone, had to be rescued, and I couldn’t walk properly for a while. The instructor had activated the reserve parachute and later told me it was the most fun he’d had in ages.

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 listen to ‘Shine on you Crazy Diamond’ by Pink Floyd. Very inspiring.

What do you miss about being a kid?

Nothing. I don’t think I’ve actually grown up yet.

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

I used to love Mr. Benn – he could be a different person every day then return to his normal life. I think that’s why all of us write, isn’t it?

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

It would definitely be DS Jason Smith, and I doubt my wife would even notice the difference.

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

Mama Mia. Because my wife and 14 year-old daughter can be quite insistent. I read a book all the way through.

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

“Hey, Gringo. You wanna hear a joke?”

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

Everything happens for a reason. I owned a boat shop here in South Africa – in the quiet times I wrote, and the down turn in the economy meant there were plenty of quiet times.

I begged and pleaded agents and publishers and collected rejection letters by the bus-load. Then Jasper from Joffe Books contacted me. They wanted to publish my DS Smith series. I was over the moon, but of course it turned into another rejection. They told me the books had already had too much exposure, but would love to see something new.

I’d been in talks with an agent who told me something similar, so I wrote The Beekeeper. I sent it to Joffe Books, they published it and it hit the number 1 bestseller spot in Australia twice. Everything definitely happens for a reason.

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

Why do you dislike cats so much? Why do you turn into a hooligan when we leave the house? Can you actually see in colour?

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

Stubbornness. I never give up. It helps to have a thick skin in this industry.

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

The South Coast. 100 miles south of Durban. In the winter, it get’s rather chilly here on the Highveld, and the south coast is warm, the Indian Ocean air is invigorating and it’s just serene to hear the waves crashing at night.

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

A Blues festival. Outside during the Vaal dam spring. Great music, great beer and amazing people.

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

Dropzone” will be released 3 June 2019. It’ll be on Amazon.

Miranda“, my first standalone Thriller has been out since March 2019.

This was fun interview to host! I laughed more than once and genuinely loved learning more about Stewart’s world. And now I’m left wondering what type of pet he has! Thank you Stewart for stopping by! –Camilla

Where to purchase “Miranda“, with “Dropzone” to be available beginning June 3 2019:

UK Kindle: https://amzn.to/2Vy0n5G

US Kindle: https://amzn.to/2Wdia6K

UK Paperback: https://amzn.to/2VCrMTS

US Paperback: https://amzn.to/2w6Cvfg

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!