Meet the Author: Seacity Rising by Elika Ansari

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

Tell us a bit about yourself.

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

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

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

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

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

What are you currently reading?

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

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

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

List 3 interesting facts about yourself.

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

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

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

What do you miss about being a kid?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tell us about your most recent book.

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

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

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

Book Blurb:

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

Where to find the book:

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

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

UK Amazon: https://amzn.to/2jShBy3

Website / Social Media Links:

Website: https://www.elikaansari.com/

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

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

Instagram page: @elikaansari

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

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

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

Buy Me A Coffee

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

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

Tell us a bit about yourself.

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

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

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

In which genre do you write?

Nonfiction. Inspiration. Spiritual.

How many published books do you have?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What does your ideal writing space look like?

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

What are you currently reading?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What do you miss about being a kid?

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

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

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

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

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

Tell us about your most recent book.

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

A final word from Al …..

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buy Me A Coffee

Meet the Authors: The Girl in the Baker’s Van by Richard Savin

Today we welcome Richard Savin to Meeting the Authors as we travel to a village in the South of France and the seaside in the South of England. We’ll see how journalism, strong women, Bugs Bunny, and bears align to create the landmarks of Richard’s journey up to this moment in time. Slip on your driving gloves and let’s go …

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I started my working career in the City of London, training to be an underwriter; for me it turned out to be the world’s most tedious job. It was a compromise and after three years I quit.

From there I moved into journalism, my real love. Virtually the only channel available to most writers at the time was freelancing and so, as I was then involved in motorsport as an enthusiast club racing driver, naturally cut my teeth on articles for magazines like Autocar and Motorsport. From that stepping stone I landed a job as an agency journalist, working in the Middle East and Asia for a number of years before ending up as features editor on an education tabloid in Surrey.

In the 1980s I took a break from writing and threw myself into another of my passions: I opened and cheffed my first London restaurant, finally ending up with three.

I live with my wife in the South of France, where we have a house in a village midway between the cities of Narbonne and Carcassonne, and in the South of England where we have a seaside apartment. We commute as the fancy and commitments take us, driving the thousand miles between the two. Driving has always ranked among the great pleasures in life so we rarely do the journey by air.

In which genre do you write?

I write across genres but with a tendency towards recent historical mysteries. In particular I find the thirties and forties an interesting period for the world. Two world wars were shaping social thinking and women were beginning to emerge as an independent force; slowly but it was there. I watched my sisters kick over the boundaries of convention, and as such I write strong, competent women into my plots.

How many published books do you have?

Four with two more scheduled for later this year. My first (non-fiction) was published in 1980 by Canongate: it was autobiographical and recorded my time in Iran during the opening period of the Islamic revolution. It is now out of print but still extensively available in university and public libraries around the world. The other three are all novels and written since 2015.

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

Curiously as a child I used to fret over who would write the books after the grownups had died. I was at college when I first started to write. Things like short pieces for the college magazine. Occasionally these were controversial and I was not popular with my tutors. I had made up my mind that I wanted to be a journalist by the age of 17. I started out freelancing then later moved on to become an agency hack.

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

Not sure I have one.

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

No contest – a brown bear. Bears have such a sense of humour, especially when drunk. It’s not widely known but bears can get quite squiffy in the Autumn when fallen fruit begins to ferment into alcohol on the ground. I always include a reference to a bear somewhere in my novels. If it was good enough for Shakespeare then its good enough for me.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

A table, chair and a laptop.

What are you currently reading?

I’ve recently finished Sebastian Faulks’ ‘Where my heart used to beat.’

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

Cook, drive long distances and go for walks.

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

The US Secretary of State for War who wrote to Orville Wright telling him he could see no future either militarily or commercially for his new invention: the aeroplane. I’d like to ask him what he was smoking when he came up with that one!

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

That I can actually get the job done.

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

Not any longer; I did in my earlier life and it was certainly useful when writing the Iranian book.

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

Being alive.

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?

Nothing, I’m a natural blabbermouth.

What do you miss about being a kid?

I’ll let you know when I grow up.

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

Bugs Bunny – I’ve always wanted to be able to say ‘what’s up doc’.

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

Red Joan – I like Judy Dench as an actor.

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

You need treatment’; I’m hallucinating.

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

No, everything is random.

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

What the hell are you doing here, I don’t have a pet, maybe I need help.

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

Anywhere by the sea – I’m attracted to water.

Tell us about your most recent book.

The Girl in the Baker’s Van: set in France in 1941, Evangeline Pfeiffer is on the run; her brother has been arrested by the Gestapo and now they want her. Taking the van from the bakery where she works in Alsace, she heads south for the Pyrenees and escapes into Spain. In Lyon she meets Grainger an SOE agent and asks him to help her get over the mountains. Grainger is reluctant; he has his own mission. Evangeline will have persuade him…

Thanks for joining us on Meeting the Authors Richard. It was incredibly interesting visiting a few of the landmarks along your journey! –Camilla

Where to Buy:

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

UK Amazon: https://amzn.to/2xhSvM3

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

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

Buy Me A Coffee

Meet the Author: The Truth Waits by Susanna Beard

Today we are joined by Susanna Beard as we travel to Marlow in the UK where we learn how dogs, swimming, Margaret Atwood, and falling down a crevasse fit together in Susanna’s life. Grab your swimsuit and let’s go …

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Hello! I’m Susanna Beard, and I live and work in Marlow, a beautiful town on the river Thames, not far from London, UK. I have a background in PR and marketing and started writing fiction around five years ago – I’m now writing almost full time. I have two little dogs, who get me up and out in the morning and keep me company while I’m slogging away and two grown-up sons, one in London and one nearby in Henley-on-Thames. I love tennis, skiing, my family, my dogs and my garden. I once fell down a crevasse!

In which genre do you write?

I write psychological thrillers.

How many published books do you have?

To date I have two published: Dare to Remember (2017) and The Truth Waits (2018). There are two more in the offing! (Watch my space)

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

When I was seventeen, I told my father I wanted to write a novel. He said: “You can’t write a novel – it’s far too hard. You have to do tons of research, and it’s much more difficult than you think.” I wasn’t hurt, because I know he had great respect for novelists; he just thought people like us didn’t do that. But it stayed in my head, and throughout a successful career in PR, I always knew that one day I’d give it a go. I suppose I don’t like being told I can’t do something!

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

I swim regularly for fitness, and as long as I can get a lane on my own and get into a rhythm, I work out my plot issues as I plough up and down. I don’t know if that’s a quirk, but it works for me!

What does your ideal writing space look like?

It looks like where I’m sitting now – my office! It has loads of natural light, white walls, pictures of my boys, books and magazines, and two little dogs snoozing in their beds. My desktop is at exactly the right height, I have a proper back-supporting chair, a cup of tea always on the go and in the winter it’s warm as it’s right next to the airing cupboard.

I sometimes crave a beautiful view, like the sea, or a wonderful wild countryside scene, but then I think I’ll just sit and look at it and not get on with the writing. Though last summer, when the weather was beautiful for days on end, I took everything into the garden and wrote and wrote. Being outside (in good weather) is the best!

What are you currently reading?

I’m reading Days Without End by Sebastian Barry. Brilliant.

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

I walk my dogs, twice a day, by the river or on the common, or anywhere in the countryside. I swim, play tennis, socialise and have as many holidays as I can possibly afford! Oh, and I read lots of other people’s books, usually ones that are much better than mine, because they give me something to aspire to.

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 Margaret Atwood. I think she’s fascinating, and she has a lovely sense of humour. I’d love to hear what she thinks about what’s going on in the world today, and where she thinks it might take us. I think she’s very prescient.

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

I’ve learned that I can actually stand up in front of people and talk confidently – something I would have run miles from before I wrote my first book. I actually like it now! I would never, ever, have thought I would.

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

This weekend I’m going to an event called Crime Scene Live at the Natural History Museum. You become a detective for the night and work with actual forensic scientists to solve a murder mystery! I’m so nervous, and so looking forward to it! (I’m taking my son, who’s cleverer than me, and will undoubtedly show up my agedness). I’m hoping to get inspiration and some practical understanding too!

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

No – I do neither. I had a diary at school but was hopeless at putting interesting things into it (it was a good record of the weather in certain years though). I’m much better at writing novels!

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

Apart from falling down a crevasse? I went to Australia and swam with whale sharks (they’re humungous, bigger than my sitting room and the biggest fish in the world), and also with manta rays and wild dolphins. It was the most fantastic experience; I’ll never forget it.

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 listen to Moondance by Van Morrison. It always lifts my heart, and makes me dance around the kitchen.

What do you miss about being a kid?

Not much – I’m just a big kid myself!

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

Ooh Tom and Jerry – all that dashing about and finding ingenious ways to confound Tom.

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

I saw The Favourite with one of my favourite actors, Olivia Colman. I thought it was brilliant, and I loved her portrayal of the mercurial Queen Anne.

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

“Hola conchita! Would you like a fajita?” (He’s going door-to-door selling Mexican food).

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

What IS it about fox poo that you find attractive?

Why oh why do you scratch holes in my carpets?

Why do you have to roll in the dirtiest, smelliest places you can find?

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

Determination, without a doubt. I think there are many wonderful writers, better than me, who are deterred by the many unexpected challenges of writing and publishing. You need resilience and determination in spades.

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

Cornwall (a western county in the UK) – it’s so full of wonderful things: The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Fowey, St Ives, Pastow, Tintagel, Roseland, Philleigh, I could go on! (Don’t go in high summer though, go in spring or autumn when it’s quieter).

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

I would go and sit somewhere (safe) on an African reserve, in the shade by a waterhole a couple of hours before sunset, and watch as the animals come and go. It would be warm and sunny, with a light breeze, and I would have a hat, plenty of water, binoculars, mosquito spray, and a comfortable seat on a Land Rover (to make a quick escape if necessary). I would hope to see all sorts: lions, giraffes, hippos, warthogs, jackals…and…and…

Tell us about your most recent book.

The Truth Waits is a psychological thriller partly set in Lithuania. It follows Anna, a successful businesswoman who finds the body of a young girl on a deserted beach in Lithuania. She is compelled to uncover the story behind the tragedy, despite concern from her partner, Will. Everything points towards sex trafficking, but as she searches, her own deepest secrets start to surface.

Why Lithuania?

Because it has the most beautiful, unspoilt, mysterious beach on the Baltic coast (on the Kuronian Spit). It’s miles and miles of sand, swept into strange patterns by the wind, without cafes or bins or rubbish or people, with a dark, lowering sky and a horizon that goes on for ever. The perfect place to put a dead body!

Thanks Susan for joining us on Meeting the Authors. It was wonderful learning more about you. I’m a huge Van Morrison fan too! And, now I’m left wondering about this whole falling down a crevasse incident!! It seems as if it all turned out okay! –Camilla

Book Blurb:

Anna has everything worked out – a successful company, all the comforts she needs and no ties. But when she stumbles across the body of a young girl on a deserted beach in Lithuania, everything changes.

Anna is compelled to uncover the story behind the tragedy, despite concern from her partner, Will. Everything points towards sex trafficking, but as she searches, her own deepest secrets start to surface.

When Will disappears without a trace, Anna is pulled further into the murky world of organised crime. Time is running out for them all, and there’s a killer out there who will stop at nothing.

Where to buy:

The Truth Waits is in all good bookshops and on:

UK Amazon: https://amzn.to/2J0NnCH

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

Connect with Susanna:

Website: https://www.susannabeard.com

email: [email protected]

Twitter: @SusannaBeard25

FB: @susannabeardauthor

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

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

Buy Me A Coffee

Meet the Authors: Torn by Vengeance by Sally Brandle

Today we welcome Sally Brandle to Meeting the Authors as we travel to the Seattle, Washington area to learn how herd animals, Pink Panther, a lake view, and a twenty year sales career come together to create the prescription for Sally’s life as an author. Check your teeth in the mirror and let’s go …

Tell us a bit about yourself.

You’ll find me as the crow flies, or gelding trots (in deference to my 29 year old trail riding pal), about 25 miles south of Seattle—shackled to a laptop, pounding until the wee hours-or the crack of 2 PM ish. I’m one of those horribly unpopular early risers.

In which genre do you write?

Romance in the sweet heat, clean (without intimate scenes), double shot of suspense variety. Not quite a six-pack of Red Bull, but I’ve kept unsuspecting readers turning pages past their beddy bye time. No gratuitous violence, but the villains get their just desserts, and as a former pastry enabler, I’m not referring to palmiers.

How many published books do you have?

Two so far. The Hitman’s Mistake opens the six-book Love Thrives in Emma Springs series. Book 2, Torn by Vengeance, released May 22nd. Book 3, The Targeted Pawn, will release on March 18, 2020.

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

I’m definitely on the equine end of the spectrum. Totally a herd animal, which is odd for a writer. I collect friends (if you believe one of them). I’m happiest staying in touch with past coworkers, neighbors, crafters, and being the facilitator for a barn troll support group. A former boyfriend (heavy on the former, as I’ve been happily married for 31 years) once told me when I was angry he could see my ears pin. In all fairness, the dude tried my patience. My horse would’ve kicked him.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

Clean. Organized. Oh, wait, that would be a fantasy. I’m blessed to live on a lake and view flowers, cormorants, eagles, and osprey. Intersperse jet-skis and boats during summer days and you get the idea of my suburban oasis.

What are you currently reading?

The Invention of Wings

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

I trail ride my horsey buddy, Lance, work in my yard/garden battling shot weed, dandelions, and grass, and watch a bit of television. I grew up running home to catch episodes of “Dark Shadows”. My oldest son introduced us to “What We Do in the Shadows.” We’re enjoying the series, the movie I could’ve skipped. I’m not really a vampire type, but the werewolves vs. vampires scene on top of the building in the second or third episode had us snorting. The humor’s a bit dark-go figure.

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

I worked for several decades in sales. Part of my success came from asking questions before I struck, er, I mean suggested a product. Researching specific plot points required I phone a weather forecaster in Texas, a Duck’s Unlimited representative in Montana, a railroad engineer in Oregon, and a few more. They provided expert, quirky, and unique information. I’d like to officially thank them here. Thank you!

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

My real name’s on the wall at a local museum for volunteer recognition. The wonderful artists, volunteers, and wealthy supporters I met over a twenty year timespan appear in a book I’ve drafted. An interesting tidbit is that the people who had lots of money, but had to work for it, were down to earth. The ones born with bucks, or trying to infer they had (newly acquired) mega bucks, rated high on the arseometer scale. IMHO

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?

Spending twenty years in sales and as a museum volunteer prepped me for public speaking. I do check my teeth in the mirror. If there’s spinach within twenty feet, it’ll seek out my incisors.

What do you miss about being a kid?

Being able to jump onto the back of a horse without a mounting block. That’s about it. I live a charmed adult life and try to share our home and what I’ve got with friends. We’ve had 14 exchange students, along with raising our own two sons. I relived childhood through them umpteen times and I have a few scars as proof.

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

The Pink Panther. I want to tag along behind the cool, calm, feline. I lived in a sorority house in college. Saturday mornings my house mother would join me at 8 AM in a quiet living room to watch the show. We were the only ones awake.

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

We watched Castles in the Sky, about an Englishman inventing radar. Hubby and I like to be entertained while we learn. We need to see Endgame on the big screen soon, before we hear every freakin’ character’s final lines.

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

Curiosity pushes me to explore intricacies of settings, careers, and personalities, etc. Reviewers often note that my attention to detail drops them into the story. Hopefully they land on their feet, because there’s a bad guy lurking somewhere…

Tell us about your most recent book.

My second book, Torn by Vengeance, resonates with me personally, as I finally felt comfortable telling an uncomfortable episode I experienced in the 1970’s. At fourteen or fifteen years old, a friend and I jumped aboard a jet boat with some older guys we’d just met at the local cruising hot spot-an island in the middle of a wide, polluted river.

When they cut the engine far from shore, they had other plans beside a boat ride on a hot day. Our bad experience ended without us getting physically hurt, and I kept that tone when I wrote it into Vengeance. Decades later I can still recall the shock and then moments of fear. I upped the ramifications in the story when my heroine and the creepy boat driver she encountered in her past, meet again ten years later.

I’m seeing positive reactions by romantic suspense readers of clean romantic suspense stories, and I’m proud to publish in that genre. If you’re interested in a story with a tenacious heroine, sizzling attraction, and a shadowy villain with a grudge, then I hope you’ll enjoy Torn by Vengeance.

Thanks for joining us on Meeting the authors Sally! It was great learning about the chemistry that creates your writing life! – Camilla

Torn by Vengeance

Look over your shoulder, he’s watching.

Corrin Patten is solidly on a path to make partner in a prestigious Seattle law firm when an anonymous threat from her past turns deadly. She can handle circumstances necessitating a temporary move to the backwater town of Emma Springs, but its charming physician is another matter, as she’s issued a permanent moratorium on men.

Dr. Kyle Werner revels in trust from patients he regularly treats in a community he’s never wished to leave. Yet, Emma Springs lacks one thing, a woman to share his perfectly bucolic life. He’s read about pheromone attraction, but never experienced desire until meeting Corrin. They make an unbeatable team, but convincing her that his interest is sincere while they dissect layers of deceit requires the precision of a surgeon’s scalpel. Can they defeat the wealthy stalker bent on mistaken revenge against Corrin and destruction of the peaceful Montana setting? If you thrive on tenacious heroines, sizzling attraction, and a shadowy villain with a grudge, you’ll love this prescription for thrills.

Watch for The Targeted Pawn, Rane and Elon’s story of smoldering romance, calculating villains, and rescued animals featured in another escape to Emma Springs.

Where to Buy Torn by Vengeance:

Series title: Love Thrives in Emma Springs

Amazon USA: https://amzn.to/2WR6piF

Amazon AU: https://amzn.to/2InlynO

Amazon EU: https://amzn.to/2WLte7f

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100012840931763

Twitter: https://twitter.com/sallybrandle

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

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/sallybrandle/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18116238.Sally_Brandle

Sally’s Blog link: https://smpauthors.wordpress.com/author/sallygfrog/

Website: https://www.sallybrandle.com

Tome Tender 5 Star Review excerpt:

“From the start, feel the darkness of well-aged evil, as the suspense builds somewhere just out of our view. Then feel the lightness of that tentative dance of romance as two people find that special attraction, tiptoeing around the obvious …..” https://tometender.blogspot.com/2019/04/torn-by-vengeance-by-sally-brandle-love.html

Also available: The Hitman’s Mistake opens the six-book Love Thrives in Emma Springs series.

Book 1 The Hitman’s Mistake: https://amzn.to/2Koe1HA

Book 2 Torn by Vengeance: https://amzn.to/2IoRFU9

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: 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 …

Buy 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: https://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: https://www.zarinamacha.co.uk

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

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

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

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

Twitter: https://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!