Meeting the Author: Freedom of the Creed by NJ Coleridge

Today we travel to Nottingham to chat with Nick Coleridge about how corporate life, being a stay-at-home dad, pots of coffee, baking, Dungeons and Dragons, living room raves, a do-it-yourself painting disaster, and The Doctor come together as part of Nick’s writing life.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Nick Coleridge (my nomme de plume is NJ Coleridge as there is already a Nicholas Coleridge writing. We are definitely not the same person though might be related, apparently….). I am a father of two and have always had aspirations (read daydreams) of becoming a fully fledged writer.

A few years ago, I made the best decision of my life to become a stay-at-home dad to my lovely daughter. As a hobby and after some encouragement from my long-suffering wife, who I think might have suggested it as a way of making me put my money where my mouth is, I decided to focus on and write in the small windows of opportunity that “nap time” allowed.

Over time what was at best a dabbling evolved into a story and eventually a proper book! And so, Freedom of the Creed was published on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited last summer. After good reviews, even from those unafraid of hurting my feelings, I started writing the sequel in autumn of 2020, titled Better to Die, and I’m hoping to release it later this year.

I am based in Nottingham, UK.

In which genre do you write?

Freedom of the Creed, and its sequel, is a western, though not in the traditional sense. I have written it more like a thriller which just happens to be set in the old west, if that makes sense, taking cues from writers like Elmore Leonard and Lee Child.

I am also planning a thriller set in the British boarding school system as well as a fantasy series.

How many published books do you have?

One and one short story. For now!

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

I have had many careers but the only thing I ever really wanted to do is write. Stepping off the treadmill of corporate life to look after my daughter seemed like a perfect opportunity to scratch that itch.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

Our dining table with a pot of coffee close to hand, facing a window looking out onto any greenery I can find. Either that or a secluded corner of a coffee shop, don’t mind where as long as the coffee is good! Upon reflection it looks like an abundance of coffee is key as opposed to venue.

What are you currently reading?

The Name of the Wind. Book One of the Kingkiller Chronicles. By Patrick Dothfuss. It is amazing.

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

I have always loved westerns, having grown up on a steady diet of John Ford and Sergio Leone, but I was inspired to write about Saoirse and Wolfe after watching Godless. It’s a fantastic limited series on Netflix produced by Stephen Soderbergh and I highly recommend it.

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

I am a full-time/stay at home dad so when not writing you will find me tidying up my children’s toys, baking, singing songs, make things out of playdoh, and organising living room raves (we dance round the living room to disco or club classics……anything to exhaust a small child!) At the end of the day, I curl up on the sofa and collapse before remembering that I have words to write.

Have you ever had any Do It Yourself disasters?

Far too many to count, there is a reason I have been forbidden to ever pick up a paintbrush by my wife. For example –

When we were first married, it seems like an age ago, in our first ever flat. Ever the practical romantic I thought how lovely it would be for my wife to come home to find the decorating (that she had planned meticulously) to be finished, allowing her a well-deserved night off! It was a relatively simple job, essentially paint a part of the wall with very special iron filing paint to make a black board.

However, in spite of its simplicity, I essentially painted the entire kitchen wall black as the paint ran, and ran, and ran. My furious wife had to completely redecorate the wall and the skirting board of the kitchen. Needless to say I was not popular.

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

Two things –

a. Being able to lose yourself completely in a world of your own creation.

b. The problem-solving element of it. Particularly when you write your characters into a corner and then have to write them out of it.

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

Knights of Cydonia by Muse. A piece of pure prog-rock genius.

What actor or actress would you want to play you in the movie about your life, and why?

Probably Seth Rogen as I look a little like him and have always got the impression that he and I are quite similar in our general outlook on life. If my life was an action movie, Gerard Butler; because he’s awesome.

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

As a child of the 80s it would have to be Dungeons and Dragons. It was based on the classic role-playing game and is about a group of teenagers who find themselves in a fantasy world of magic, demons, and wizards. I have often fantasised about having magical powers, particularly those that meant I could bewitch brooms to do the cleaning for me; even if it only lasted a few minutes before I was barbecued by an irritable dragon.

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

Frozen 2 with my daughter, her choice not mine. Though I would be lying if I said I didn’t know all the words….

You can have anyone fictional as your imaginary friend, who do you choose and why?

The Doctor (from Doctor Who). Because he has a TARDIS, and there are days that I could really do with a time machine. Also, I think he/she would be very good company, just think of the adventures!

What are you currently working on?

I should be proofreading the sequel to Freedom of the Creed, but instead I am working on creating the world and rules for an as yet untitled fantasy project. That and staying sane during lockdown whilst trying to home school a four-and-a-half-year-old and sleep train a nine month old!

It was great learning more about you, and having you be a part of MTA, Nick! Wishing you all the best with the living room raves, and your writing! – Camilla

Where to find the book:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B0876SXTL8

Connect with Nick:

Twitter – https://twitter.com/npichol
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/npichol/?ref=page_internal

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

Book Shelf: The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

Shoot this book into my veins! I loved it so much. I completely invested in the story, the characters, and found it hard to put down. I took the story with me to sleep and into my dreams. Beautifully written and captivating!

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

Latest News: Contact Form is Open

The time has arrived to re-open the Contact form for authors! The form will only be open long enough for about 20 authors to apply. This could happen within an hour or up to one week. At that time, the Contact form will close once again. This is to avoid having a back log of wonderful authors who wish to be interviewed.

**Update on Wednesday, April 7, 2021 – Contact form is once again closed. Be sure to subscribe to the site so you receive notification when it re-opens. It is always posted on the blog FIRST, before any social media.**

If you have been interviewed on MTA in the past, and if it’s been longer than 6 months since your interview, you can complete the contact form for a “Friday with Friends” feature. Make sure to note that in the comments of the contact form. If you have already been featured on Friday with Friends, please note that I will add your name to a wait list, as those who have not been featured previously will take precedence.

In addition, I interview book bloggers once or twice per month. If you are a book blogger, and wish to be spotlighted, please complete the Book Blogger contact form.

Go here – Contact Form

Don’t miss out – Come on over! As a reminder, there is no charge to be interviewed on this site.

Thank you for your continued support of these authors and the interviews on this website. A great deal of work goes into these interviews by the authors and me. Deep gratitude! –Camilla, Founder & Host

Meet the Author: The Widow – A British Police Thriller by Will Patching

Today we travel to Koh Samui, in southern Thailand, to chat with Will Patching about how being a workaholic, playing the guitar, a tropical island, sewage treatment filter beds, a Hawk training jet, a sunken charter yacht, corporate life, sunsets, photography, and audio books come together as part of Will’s current and past life.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

​Although I’m a Brit, originally from ‘sarf Lunnon’ (south London!), my current location is on the tropical island I now consider home. Koh Samui, in southern Thailand, is a dream destination for many holidaymakers, and I am blessed to be able to spend most of time here.

Having semi-retired some years ago after baling out of my former workaholic corporate life, I decided to live somewhere most people only visit for a couple of weeks a year for some well-deserved downtime.

Writing from a tropical island sounds wonderful!

It is.

Having said that, compared to a ‘proper job’, writing thrillers anywhere is pure joy. I know this is true because I’ve had many roles in my time—from working as a teenage ‘gardener’ weeding sewage treatment filter beds (where I learned to hold my breath for minutes at a time), through flying a Hawk training jet very fast, very low and very dangerously before the RAF realised and booted me out, followed by years of hauling my reluctant body up the greasy management pole, eventually blagging my way onto a Harvard course for CEOs, largely thanks to the Peter Principle of promotion, to more recently building my dream, a charter yacht that sank in SE Asian waters.

These varied life experiences help me write my twisted tales.

In which genre do you write?

​I love reading thrillers so that’s what I write. More specifically: crime thrillers, conspiracy thrillers, serial killer thrillers, and police procedurals.

My novels reflect my keen interest in psychopathic behaviour and how such antisocial personality traits affect individuals and society as a whole.

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

The warped plots and complex characters in each story are the result of a whole host of ideas coming together, so I cannot point to a single idea for any of them. However, I always have an overarching concept and a theme for each tale as these help me maintain the direction of the novel and they create boundaries that keep my characters from wandering too far off the reservation.

For ‘The Widow’, my latest crime thriller, the overarching concept is:

Traumatic events come back to haunt us all.

The theme was originally just:

Trust.

Although the Deadly Sin of ‘Greed’ gets a look in too!

Lots of research goes on in the background and, to build a believable narrative, I always incorporate some aspects of real-life criminal misdeeds. ‘The Widow’ is no exception to that rule.

Can you play​ a musical instrument?

I play guitar, badly. I’d like to play much better than I do but a trapped nerve in my shoulder restricts the time I can spend practising so I will never be the aging rock god of my imagination!

What is your favorite time of day and why?

Sunset.

I love how the light changes and, especially here in the tropics. With such vivid colours painted on the horizon, offering a visual feast on so many days a year, I’ve amassed numerous photographs featuring sunsets. So many that I think I’m obsessed!

Is photography a hobby of yours?

I can’t claim to be a photographer, but living where I do offers incredible opportunities to create stunning images – even using a basic smartphone rather than a camera, as I do.

Being an ancient fellow, I remember the days when expensive rolls of film had to be sent away to be developed. Processing took weeks and was expensive, and my excited anticipation was usually followed by deflated disappointment. The prints often turned out to be a waste of money and, frankly, photography was a hobby I could not afford.

Back then, you could not see what you’d photographed until you received the prints from Kodak or similar outfit. Now, you can instantly view the result, framing shots perfectly before tweaking them yourself using sophisticated software. And so, I can’t help taking thousands of ‘snaps’ a year, mostly of the beautiful views in my locale, photographed at my favourite time of day.

There are more images in the Gallery on my website but you might like the one I took in early February as it gives an idea of what I mean.

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

​Being ‘god-like’ in the pages of my own novels.

The characters generally come to me out of thin air, fully formed, but develop a life of their own as I write, often refusing to do as their creator demands! I’ve had many plot ideas tossed out by such obstinate characters, determined to go off in their own direction, reluctant to be involved in my crazy plans for them. Off they trot, taking me with them – and that’s truly exciting for me as I never really know how things will turn out. I can always kill them if they get out of hand though…

Are you a ‘plotter’ or do you start writing without much prior preparation?

I’m not a detailed plotter, generally only having a vague outline when I first start typing the manuscript, and this ‘unknown’ aspect means I’m regularly surprised by the twists and turns that I hope will entertain my readers.

The only time I spent months preparing a detailed synopsis was for my first attempt at writing a novel. I created a detailed chapter-by-chapter outline, lengthy character bios, and reams of scribbled notes on plot points etc, with the whole story planned out to the ‘nth’ degree.

What happened?

It never saw the light of day. I soon became bored with writing the story, decided readers would feel the same, and abandoned the project. Live and learn, as they say. Spontaneity and that god’s eye view are the elements of writing that I need as much as enjoy.

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

​Thanks to my short-lived career in the RAF, I had quite a lot of experience flying in helicopters. I have used that knowledge in a few of my novels and received a wonderful response from a reader to a scene featuring a flight over London. Private pilot, Tony Jason, wrote to me, explained that he had access to a helicopter, and offered to take me on a trip following the route I had created in the novel.

Of course, I was delighted and we flew together the next time I was back in the UK. What a fantastic experience that was. Tony’s reward? A character named after him in my international thriller, ‘The Hunter’.

Many readers have contacted me over the years to tell me how much they’ve enjoyed my stories and I’ve met some keen fans on occasions too, but this is the only time I’ve been invited to ‘relive’ a fictional scene. Mind you, most of my writing is so dark and deadly, I really wouldn’t want to!

What are you currently working on?

​Too many things…

In addition to a few new writing projects at various stages of development, I’m working with a top-notch, award-winning narrator to convert my novels and short stories into audiobook format. In October last year, I published the audiobook editions of ‘The Hack Trilogy’, individually and as a compilation, and these are available from most online audiobook retailers. They can also be ordered from libraries too, so for anyone who can’t afford to buy, that is often a viable option.

Do you prefer to read or listen to novels?

I thoroughly enjoy audiobooks as well as reading in the traditional sense, so I have no preference. I believe more and more people are beginning to appreciate the flexibility the audio format delivers.

Unlike reading a book or ebook, an audio edition allows the listener to do other things simultaneously. Driving long distances is the most obvious one, but there are many people who enjoy pottering in the garden, for instance, while listening to gruesome murders and silently rooting for the fictional detectives or other protagonists.

I think this is an exciting time for authors, especially independents like myself, as a whole new world of opportunity is just opening up. Audiobooks represent a hefty investment but one for the long term and I believe it will prove well worthwhile. Hence, I’m aiming to publish my remaining four novels and three short stories in audio editions before May this year.

Tell us about your most recent book.

‘The Widow’ is a British police procedural with three strong female characters at its heart. There’s no romance in this one(!) but plenty of thrills, and many readers have described it as my ‘best yet’ and a proper ‘page-turner’.

The lead character, a female detective, played a relatively minor role in ‘Mutilated’, the second novel in ‘The Remorseless Trilogy’, but I felt she had unfinished business in that story, so this novel was born.

I mentioned above the concept and theme of this thriller, but for the opening, I had a simple idea, one that underpins the plot. The very first line of the novel is the dialogue from a phone call, spoken by a psychopath, informing the newly widowed character of the book’s title:

‘Your husband is dead.’

​To make the plot more intriguing, I asked myself:

What if the newly widowed listener wanted her husband dead?
How would the police react if they discovered that simple fact?
And what if the widow was not as innocent as she might first appear?’

From that starting point—via some 90,000 twisted words in between—our feisty female police detective eventually reaches a conclusion…

I can say no more without spoilers. Sorry! The opening pages can be read online as ‘The Widow’ is available from all the major retailers. The audiobook will be published in May.

What other publications do you have?

‘The Hack Trilogy’—three international crime thrillers. The first novel, ‘The Hack’, is free with most online retailers and has around over 500 reviews with Amazon for a rating of c4.4 stars. These dark conspiracy thrillers have plenty of action and—I am told—believable characters, with a gentle ongoing romance threaded through the three stories. Like all of my writing: ‘Not for the fainthearted!’

‘The Remorseless Trilogy’—three gritty British crime thrillers that take the reader deep into the disturbing minds of some vicious psychopaths. The characters are different in this miniseries, offering plenty of excitement and twists, but once again, there’s a touch of romance along the way.

All of these thriller novels can be read as standalones, including ‘The Widow’, but frankly, most readers will enjoy them more if they are read in order.

My two other publications are quirkier as both include some insights into the workings of my own demented brain:

‘Short Shots—Blood on their Hands’ consists of three short-form thrillers that relate to ‘The Remorseless Trilogy’ in some way. I’ve added author’s notes to explain how they fit together, and I encourage new readers who are unsure about my dark tales to read this publication to sample my writing before buying the full-length novels. A free copy can be downloaded at my author website.

‘Killer Inspiration’ is another alternative publication. Many people ask me where I get my ideas and what has inspired me to write the stories I have. This compendium offers some answers to those questions while exploring the misdeeds of real-life psychopaths, and puts into context how those individuals relate to my characters and plots.

Both publications include a little biographical information about yours truly too, once again offering additional context to my writing.

It was great fun learning more about you Will. Sounds like you’ve had some pretty wild adventures! Wishing you all the best! – Camilla

The Widow blurb:

A brutally murdered husband. An abused wife who wanted him gone for good… Did the wealthy widow arrange his death—and can a disgraced detective discover the truth?

‘Your husband is dead.’

Lorraine Rowe receives the news from an anonymous killer threatening her too—unless she pays an inflated fee for her estranged partner’s murder. Overwhelmed by fear and indecision, Lorraine struggles to survive as her carefully constructed life of lies begins to unravel.

Detective Sergeant Fiona ‘Fifi’ Fielding is fighting for her future after allowing her violent temper to jeopardise her career. Is it karma that dumps a man’s badly tortured corpse on her doorstep—or something more sinister? And will the ensuing investigation enable Fiona to redeem herself?

Both women have lived through traumatic events and have much in common, but when the truth-seeker meets the accomplished dissembler, events spiral inexorably towards a deadly climax.

This hard-hitting, twisted thriller weaves deception, misdirection and psychological torment into a page-turning tale of murder and mayhem that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Not for the faint of heart…

Where to find The Widow:

https://books2read.com/u/3npYvP

Connect with Will:

Website: https://www.willpatchingauthor.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/WillsNovels
Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/willpatchingauthor/

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Here are a few suggestions on how to further support this author:

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

Latest News: Taking a Vacation from Meeting the Authors

Hello everyone!

As a birthday present to myself, I’ll be taking a vacation from Meeting the Authors for the month of March. I turned 51 on February 26th, with it aligning perfectly with having made my way through the authors who wanted to be interviewed from the last time the Contact form was opened.

When I return around April 1st, the Contact form will re-open for authors and book bloggers who would like to be interviewed. If you have outstanding questions and answers, feel free to return them, and yours will be at the top of the list.


(Gorgeous new sun catcher – Lovely birthday gift from my mom)

I will continue to be active on facebook, twitter, instagram, my personal blog, and in facebook groups. If we aren’t connected on those platforms, I’m happy to connect there, too. I’m incredibly behind on responding to author interviews and guest posts for myself, personal matters, and creating an Etsy storefront for my daughter’s artwork. I’ll be busy!

While I’m at it, I haven’t properly introduced myself since I began this website in May 2019. To learn more about me, my MTA interview can be found here … https://meetingtheauthors.com/2020/03/07/meet-the-author-words-of-alchemy-by-camilla-downs/


(Returning from picking up my birthday lunch on February 26, 2021 – South Indian Cuisine)

I leave you with me dancing while cooking dinner in celebration of my 51st birthday! Hahaha! Hope everyone has a wonderful March! – Camilla

Meet the Author: Sisterhood of the Infamous by Jane Rosenberg LaForge

Today we travel to Los Angeles to chat with Jane Rosenberg LaForge about how the Amherst MFA program, creating a magazine, being an adjunct professor, radio, metaphors, physical problems, hospice, Felix the Cat, a great memory, and journalism come together as part of Jane’s past and current life.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I was born and raised in Los Angeles, and worked as a small town journalist after I graduated from college. I attended the University of Massachusetts, Amherst MFA program because I wanted to write a novel based on a court case I covered in upstate New York. After graduating, I got married to a New Yorker. We had a daughter, and I worked as an adjunct professor teaching composition, research writing, and African-American literature. I retired from teaching five years ago, and write full-time.

In which genre do you write?

Fiction, poetry, and essay.

How many published books do you have?

Besides the new novel, I have two books of prose (a memoir, “An Unsuitable Princess” from Jaded Ibis Press, and a novel, “The Hawkman” from Amberjack Publishing) and six of poetry (four chapbooks and two full-length collections; a third full-length collection, “Medusa’s Daughter,” from Animal Heart Press, was published Feb. 16, 2021).

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

In fourth grade, we created a magazine as a class project. I wrote something about talking to my stuffed animal, a tiny elephant I called “Conveinyent.” Notice the misspelling of “convenient.” The teacher was impressed, said I had some talent. I think he was talking about one sentence in particular, but I took it and ran with it, I guess.

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

I suppose it would be just how random my writing process is. I used to find a lot of inspiration in talk radio, hearing a particular word and liking the way it sounded, and wanting to build something around it. With my husband working at home now because of the pandemic, I can’t listen to the radio the way I used to, so I’m watching too much YouTube and television in general.

So it’s visuals that are fueling a lot of my speculation, or metaphors I pick up on that seem like they could be applied in my case. Plus I’m much less disciplined than I used to be, probably because I have all kinds of physical problems, repetitive strain injuries from typing. If I can find a way to avoid writing and justify it in terms of preserving my hands or my back, I’ll take it.

What would you choose as your mascot, and why?

See the answer to “If you were trapped in a cartoon world from your childhood, which one would you choose and why?”

What are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading “From Beirut to Jerusalem” by Thomas Friedman. It’s an “old” book (from 1989) and I’ve read it once before, but this time I’m reading it for research for possibly another novel.

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

While my sister was in hospice, it was pretty dramatic. How the nurses took care of her, what was happening with her finances, all the people coming to visit her. There were a lot of people in and out of the house, my friends included. We were only two years apart, so we had some friends in common, although she would say that I stole friends away from her. We had an awful relationship. We never got along. We never recognized it as such but it was a vicious sibling rivalry. Or perhaps we were too much alike.

I always knew this, but the novel gave me a chance to explore the issue, how it happened and what inspired some of the ridiculous ideas we had. I also knew that my sister once wanted a certain kind of life, and because she didn’t get it, she spent a lot of time punishing herself. But even if she had gotten a piece of that existence, it wouldn’t have been enough. It wouldn’t have solved her problems, or what she thought were her problems. I hope that’s what readers will take away from the book, once they’ve digested it.

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

I wish I could tell you. I waste so much time, I know I do. But what do I do with it? I don’t know.

What do you miss about being a kid?

I miss the people. I’m the only one left from my immediate family. I wouldn’t say I’m an orphan but I feel like all of my living points of reference in family life, of a shared family experience, are gone. My parents were together until I was 19 but I had better relationships with them after the divorce, for a million different reasons. I miss them, but I miss the relationships I had with them as an adult. As a kid, I lived around the corner from my uncle and grandparents. I really miss them. My other grandmother and aunt lived fairly close by and when my mother was sick for a while, I spent a lot of time with them. I don’t have any first cousins but my parents had cousins; my father’s are gone though my mother’s are still around. I miss all the great aunts and uncles and my father’s first cousins.

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

I am a fan, a collector, an acolyte, and devoted follower of Felix the Cat, so I would definitely want to be in his universe. The Felix the Cat of my childhood was the Joe Oriolo version. That cartoon was a kind of Cold War metaphor; Felix’s magic bag of tricks was like a nuclear secret. The Professor was always trying to get at it, and not for good purposes.

Except for the characters, it was pretty sparsely drawn. But if I could get in there, I would just want to hug Felix and follow him everywhere. I might prefer to be in the 1930’s Felix cartoons, which were very lush and Disney-like; they were done after Mickey Mouse became a big hit and Felix had to compete with him. The earliest Felix cartoons were very adult; Felix would get drunk, mess around with female cats, have children, and abandon them. I don’t think I could deal with that.

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

My memoir, “An Unsuitable Princess,” was experimental, with fictional characters based on real people. There was a novel, a fantasy I cooked up, and there were footnotes which explained how incidents in my life inspired the fantasy. So if I could be my alter-ego in the fantasy, that might be nice. She had magical powers, and was meant to be a far better, braver, and more physically beautiful person than I ever was, or am. But it would have to be in that sanitized, fantasy world, because if I really had to live like that—as an outcast, someone shunned by the community, homeless—I wouldn’t last a minute.

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

The last movie I watched was “The Trial of the Chicago 7.” It’s a reconstruction/drama of a historical event that took place in my childhood, so of course I have to watch it. I’m obsessed with that time just as I am obsessed with all the non-historical events of my childhood. I admit it.

Camilla: Wow! I’m adding this to my watch list. Thanks for mentioning it!

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

This isn’t really a personality trait, but I have a great memory. Or people used to tell me that. It’s probably not what it once was, but I remember a lot. Or I believe I do. This could mean that I carry a lot of grudges or negative feelings; that I’m obsessive (and compulsive: the compulsion is to get all of this stuff down).

The Buddhists might say I have a lot of bad or negative attachments. But if I didn’t remember all of this stuff—and it is stuff, random pop culture, the names of all the kids and parents in my neighborhood growing up, weird or funny things people said at one time or another—I wouldn’t have any material.

What are you currently working on?

I’m working on two things. The first is a poetry book or chapbook, about an illegal abortion my aunt had in the 1960s, and what it did to our family. I published an essay about it here: https://www.thesmartset.com/narrative-reproduction/ and I’ve written a bunch of stuff that needs some polishing. Maybe it will turn out to be something.

I’ve also started a novel about my experiences in journalism. I was a newspaper reporter for about 12 years before I enrolled in an MFA program. I enrolled in the MFA program to write a novel about one particular story I covered. The finished product was somewhat of a disaster.

This new project wouldn’t be anything like that, covering a different part of my experience and some of the people I met when I thought I was on my way up. Of course I wasn’t on my way up; it was quite the opposite. My career was imploding all around me and I didn’t even notice. That’s just the point. I’m working on it, and doing some research, but I don’t know whether I can pull it off.

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

My most recent book is “Sisterhood of the Infamous,” a Hollywood murder mystery on top of a story of two sisters growing up wanting to be artists, or famous. One wanted to be a punk rock star and came close. The other became a ballerina, but still thinks of herself as a failure. The sisters are somewhat estranged, until Barbara, the former punk rocker, is bedridden, dying of breast cancer.

Barbara’s sister arrives from New York to sit at her deathbed. Neither sister expects to be the center of attention until police begin investigating the murder of Barbara’s old girlfriend, the pop sensation Jasmine. Barbara’s sister is stuck dealing with the police, Barbara’s finances, and a parade of friends as they come by to either say farewell or possibly just to gawk. Barbara, meanwhile, relives the life she once had, and the relationship that broke her heart.

It was wonderful having you on MTA, and learning more about your current and past life. Wishing you all the best, Jane! – Camilla

Where to find the book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1734383534/

Connect with Jane:

Website: jane-rosenberg-laforge.com
Twitter: @JaneRLaForge
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Jane-Rosenberg-LaForge-Author-269805766510206
Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/Jane-Rosenberg-LaForge/e/B00MDFY2Z4%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share

Publisher’s page for the new novel, Sisterhood of the Infamous: newmeridianarts.com

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Meet the Author: God and Dragons – The War of the North Saga Book Seven by Kate Haley

Today we travel to Wellington, New Zealand to chat with Kate Haley about how different worlds, imaginary friends, fighting monsters, vivid dreams, Terry Pratchett, Gargoyles, steampunk fantasy, and endings come together as part of Kate’s writing life.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Kia ora! (‘Hello’ from Aotearoa/New Zealand) my name is Kate and I am an author from Wellington, New Zealand. Despite loving my hometown, I have never been able to stay in reality very long. I can’t stop wandering between different worlds, and I started putting them on paper so that I could share my imaginary friends with others. I’ve never looked back.

In which genre do you write?

I predominantly write fantasy, but dabble in horror and sci-fi. Which I guess means anything that will let me fight monsters.

How many published books do you have?

I currently have 7 books published – the complete War of the North saga, which is epic fantasy for young adults. I have another two stand alone books scheduled for release later in 2021.

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

Interestingly enough this answer is the same for pretty much every book I’ve ever written… they all started as dreams. I dream vividly, intensely, even lucidly. The War of the North Saga was born from a strange dream I had about a fantasy battlefield. I also had a weird dream last year about goo, which seems to be developing a page count…

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

Terry Pratchett. He’s been my favourite author for a very long time now. I don’t think there’s another sense of humour in the world that I admire as much as his. There’s no particular or pressing question I would want answered, but I would have loved to pick his brain and chat. I would have told him how much I loved his work and what it meant to me (even though we write very different things), because I think authors always need to hear that, no matter how often, and I’m sorry that I never got to let him know.

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

Gargoyles. If you haven’t seen it, you should. Watch from the beginning all the way through to the end of The Gathering, Part II. It is still some of the best writing I have ever seen, even as an adult. You can go to Avalon, sail the whole world, meet mythical figures and gods, and best of all – there are gargoyles.

If mars or another planet was livable, would you accept a one way ticket there? why or why not?

I would not. I love traveling, but part of that love is being able to come home. I have friends and family that I could never bring myself to leave behind forever. Besides, if I want to visit completely alien worlds, I can read a book – or even better, write one!

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

Why do you keep trying to eat plastic?
You know it’s wrong, why do you do it?
WHY DO YOU KEEP TRYING TO EAT PLASTIC?!?!
(My cat is still very young… and special. Thus life is new and full of wonderous things to chew.)

Camilla: Oh my gosh! My cat ate plastic, too. I could not have real plants because she ate them, so I switched to fake plants. She ate those, too! She would also chew on the fake Christmas tree. She was a strange one. We were a perfect match! HA!

What are you currently working on?

I am currently writing a steampunk fantasy book. I’m really excited about it. There’s magic and politics and romance and family drama. It’s delicious. I can’t get enough of it, which is such a wonderful place to be when you’re creating. It is for an older audience than The War of the North, but I’m hoping 2021’s releases will help me target new audiences anyway. I want to do more stand alone books because I prefer them to series. I like being able to sit down to a book and enjoy it without worrying about when and where I can get the next one.

My next releases will be Welcome to the Inbetween – a new fantasy adventure aimed at a 12+y/o audience. June 2021.

And Gateway to Dark Stars – an action horror novel in the vein of Cthulhu meets The Witcher. November 2021.

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

My most recent book is Gods & Dragons: The War of the North Saga Book Seven. The epic conclusion to my dramatic teen fantasy series. The entire series is available on Amazon, and free on Kindle Unlimited.

I have to say, it was a mission to get here. I would obviously recommend that anyone curious should start with book one Steel & Stone, but I am so proud of the end of this story. I have been told a few times that it is an unusual ending, and I know what they mean, but I love it and everyone who told me it was unusual said that they really enjoyed it. That was always what I wanted. Endings are everything to me. What comes first is important, but the real trick is nailing the last 15 minutes. I learnt that doing screenwriting.

It was wonderful learning more about you and your writing style. Wishing you all the best and much success! – Camilla

Blurb:

The end is here.

Satinka and her friends have finally made it to the Five Stars of the North. There is nothing left but to rescue Memnyir and face Sunne in a battle to the death.

In this thrilling conclusion, the team confront Sunne and Āni in a fight they know could cost their lives. The Age of Mankind is tested, and the battle of gods and dragons commences. One way or another, the War of the North will be won, and the fate of the world decided.

Where to find the series:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B089T4BH5F

Connect with Kate:

Website: https://www.katehaleyauthor.com/
FB: https://www.facebook.com/katehaleyauthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/KateHaleyAuthor
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/katehaleyauthor/

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

Book Shelf: Unicorns, Mermaids, and Magical Tales by Sarah Northwood and Julie E. Clements

Unicorns, Mermaids, and Magical Tales by Sarah Northwood and Julie E. Clements

Magical, fun, and sweet book. Overflowing with unicorns, mermaids, fairies, poems, and inviting adventures. My daughter loved this one too. The perfect book for reading when you only have small pockets of reading time. I also loved the illustrations throughout the book! Wonderful!

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

Meet the Author: Zahara by Joyce Yarrow

Today we travel to Seattle to chat with Joyce Yarrow about how a nomadic lifestyle, Spain, the Staten Island Ferry, mass transit, Ireland, an invisible horse, and Russia come together as part of Joyce’s writing life.

Where do you live?

I live in Seattle and write suspense fiction that Library Journal says “appeal to readers who enjoy unusual stories with an international setting.”

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

I wrote my first short story in my pre-teen years and although a copy did not survive the chaos of my nomadic lifestyle, one scene remains in my mind: A group of children riding on the Staten Island Ferry in a futile attempt to escape the gang-ridden Bronx. They were led by a little girl with a short haircut and the title of the story was The Children’s Friar. Since there were no religious overtones and I had recently read the original Robin Hood, Friar Tuck and his cohorts were the most obvious source of inspiration. It’s strange that I chose him over Maid Marian –perhaps I was precocious enough to choose healing powers over beauty and charm in my struggle to survive.

A year later I wrote The Subway Poems, an ode to my mass transit adventures that turned out to be my first published work. I learned I could play with words and not take them so seriously, that they had music inside them if only you listened.

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

Ah, where to begin.

I’ll start with the imaginary stallion who followed me through the old neighborhood and gave me confidence I could survive. I didn’t need words to confide in him. He knew exactly how I felt when we approached a hazard and I can still feel his warm breath on my neck telling me to slow down and walk slow. I’d become as invisible as he was and that’s how I’d make it to the safe side of the street. I’ve occasionally wondered why this horse, so well-remembered, has no name (this was way before the song came out). Perhaps he was a projection of the stronger side of myself? Let’s go with that.

How many published books do you have?

So far I have written five novels, four of which are published by different small presses, with a fifth book being brought to market by my agent. Throughout the writing process, my invisible horse has trotted beside me, gradually changing from an untamed Pinto ridden only by me into a domesticated mare with a pen instead of a bit in her mouth. After settling down in Seattle, I created a savvy New York City detective named Jo Epstein and through her was able to safely relive and embellish on the seamier side of life containing my roots. I traveled all the way to Russia to find the solution to one of Jo’s cases and co-authored a thriller/family saga with an Indian journalist exploring the detrimental effects of the caste system.

What are you currently working on?

Most recently, I set a novel –Zahara and the Lost Books of Light—in medieval and modern-day Spain. The protagonist, Alienor Crespo, ventures into the fray to discover her roots while extracting the truth about neo-fascism. I am not nearly so brave as Alienor Crespo but as my new imaginary friend she tackles my demons and has saved my sanity during these perilous and contentious times.

I’m currently working on Book II of the Zahara Trilogy.

What are you currently reading?

I love Adrian McKinty’s novels set during the troubles in Ireland.

Thanks so much for hosting me today, Camilla!

It was great learning more about you Joyce, and a pleasure having you on MTA. Wishing you much success! – Camilla

Book trailer:

Where to find the book:

Connect with Joyce:

https://www.joyceyarrow.com

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Book Shelf: Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin

**Throwback to 2016** – From the time Thomas and Lillian were born (2005 and 2001) I read to them nightly before going to bed; leading to some time in 2017 when we all decided to discontinue doing so. Their tastes in what interested each of them had solidified by this point. We all continue to be heavy readers, reading daily. We read some really great books! I miss those times.

Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin

We enjoyed this book to the moon and back! Awesome!

“The average dairy farmer gets up at dawn because he has to go to work in the cow yard. I get up at dawn, too. But it is because I want to find some leaf, hung with dew; or a spider web which the dew has made into the most delicate ropes of pearls ….

I take my camera with me, get down on my knees in the wet grass, and photograph these exquisite bits of nature. Because I do this I can show these lovely things to people who never would have seen them without my help.

They will get their daily quart of milk, all right. Other farmers will attend to that. But I think I am giving them something which is just as important.” -W.A. Bentley

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