Friday, May 24, 2024

Sneaky peek at interview with author Chris Clarke

My next author interview is with Chris Clarke and it goes live on the 1st June. He has 4 books to his name, but only started publishing 2 years ago - and he works in the film business full-time! I don't know how he does it!

I asked Chris about common traps for aspiring writers and he replied:
'I hate to say it, but there are many to negotiate. There are an awful lot of people and companies out there, aware that there are many (like me) who dream of being published and seeing their names in print. They're quick to appear to be a conduit to fulfilling that dream.'

He has some great advice, and you can read more when our interview goes live. In the meantime, if you'd like to find out more about Chris, please click onto his links below:

Website: crclarkethrillers.com
Twitter: @CRClarkeAuthor
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/chris.clarke.7315/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/crclarkethrillers/

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Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Author interview with AJ Ashton

My next author interview is with AJ Ashton who writes High Fantasy Romance and was first published in 2023. She has 3 indie titles to her name just now, but has another 8 unfinished manuscripts. It takes Amanda about 3 months to finish the first draft of a novel, but it takes about a year until she feels it's ready for release or betas. So let's meet her:

'I have been writing stories since I was a child. I always wrote as a hobby, then as I reached my 50th birthday I realised I needed to just take the plunge and put my stories out there. So at the start of 2023 I released my debut novel. 

I am also a gamer and love open world games. I'm obsessed with Baldurs Gate at the moment. I am a big Linkin Park fan too. Also love to read mainly fantasy books with a bit of Sci-Fi as well.'

OMG, she's fifty? I need a better face cream! Does she have a tweetable for us (tweet here)
'AJ Ashton is a high fantasy romantic adventure author. The world of Zentos books are full of adventure, magic and romance with strong FMC* and Alpha Roll MMC*.*Female/ Male Main Character

What inspired her to become a writer?
'I watched Star Wars when I was 7 and I loved the idea of a kick ass princess and my imagination just went wild with ideas. Also being an only child it was my escape for adventure.'

Does she have a daily writing routine?
'Most days I try to do at least an hour of writing. I mainly write on the weekends, where I can be writing for several hours.'

What has she found the hardest part of writing / publishing process?
'Getting myself known. It's a slow process but this year I'm trying to connect with my readers and hopefully find some new fans for my books. Being an indie author you don’t realise how much you have to do that isn’t writing.'

Very true, and it is so time consuming. What's been the best money she's spent as a writer so far?
'The artist I found for my bestiary, he was amazing. Also finding software to help me make my books look professional.'

I'm no expert but this sounds money wisely spent! Indie authors have such a battle to get their work noticed and one thing that puts readers off is an unprofessional finish, so anything that helps on that front has to be a sound investment. 

What does she find the most difficult about writing characters very different from herself?
'I haven't had much difficulty so far. My characters are alive in my head and yes the first draft they can be a bit one dimensional but they grow as I edit the novel.'

How wonderful! How about reviews - has she read them?
'Yes, I read the reviews. Some can hurt but I look at them and if I see something that I think, yeah I could have done that better, I take it on board for the next book.'

Brilliant answer, and as I keep saying (sorry, worn out record here!), we really need to keep writing reviews to help authors get seen. If you find this daunting, just take a look at my post here as it's really not difficult and they will thank you!

Moving onto her books now, which should readers try first?
'I have my Outcast series which Outcast Origins was my debut, followed by Outcast New Beginnings. 

I then have Quest of the Stone, which is book one of a duology. 

So readers can start with Outcast or Quest. But for timeline order it is Outcast 1, then 2 and then Quest.'

Great! Could she give us an extract from one of them?
'The Tarrenfall family are pure-blood lycans. They fought against evil to protect the innocent. Then evil won, leaving Lara and Derwyn, the two remaining of the family line - Outcast Origins.'

Having published three books, what have been her writing highs and lows so far?
'I am still getting my bearings with my writing, but for me the high was when I received my first proof. To see my work as a paperback was just amazing. My low, I think, was my first review that was negative.'

That is a tough one. So, if she could go back in time and talk to herself at the start of her career, what would she say?
'I’d tell myself to take the leap earlier and not to worry.'

Aww, love that! What plans does she have for future books?
'I have big plans.' (I suspected she might!) 'I am already working on Quest of the Stone 2 which will be out later this year. Also the beginning of 2025 will be the release of Outcast book 3 where Lara returns home. 

But I also have another novel in draft for Lara and Evie. Also I have a stand alone Dragon novel coming out in 2025.'

My goodness, I'm exhausted just hearing about this! I do love Amanda's energy though. To finish, I asked if there was anything she would like to share? 

'Just that I hope anyone that reads my books enjoy them as much as when I wrote them.'

Great words indeed! If you'd like to find out more about her, please click onto her links below:

Website: www.ajashton.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ajashtonauthor
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/aashtonwriter/
Threads: https://www.threads.net/@aashtonwriter

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Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Sneaky peek at interview with AJ Ashton

My next author interview is with AJ Ashton who writes High Fantasy Romance and was first published in 2023. I asked what inspired her to become a writer and she replied,

'I watched Star Wars when I was 7 and I loved the idea of a kick ass princess and my imagination just went wild with ideas. Also being an only child it was my escape for adventure.'

She had me laughing! If you'd like to find out more about Amanda, please click onto her links below:

Website: www.ajashton.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ajashtonauthor
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/aashtonwriter/
Threads: https://www.threads.net/@aashtonwriter

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Wednesday, May 1, 2024

Author interview with Jyothsna Raju


My next author interview is with the award-winning Jyothsna Raju, who writes fantasy and literary realism aimed at middle grade children. She has also produced a picture book. She first indie published in 2021, so let's meet her.

'I'm an early childhood educator. I live in India with my mom, dad and brother. I love pets and kids. 

Before writing books I worked in several places, in corporate and the private sector, but my mom is my greatest inspiration for me to write books. Watching kids whilst working in a preschool pushed me more into writing. That is when I penned my first book SHE IS MY MOM. It has won several awards like Sahityakosh award and Tagore Commemorative award (2022 and 2023).

HOW I SAVED THE ANTS! has won the golden wizard award and has over 100+ reviews in AMAZON. It has also gained the BESTSELLER BANNER in AMAZON site.'

Wow, this sounds very impressive for a new author! Does she have a tweetable for us (tweet here):

'I write for kids who can relate to my characters. I want to tell them they are not alone.
I have seen kids struggle to express  their feelings and I write topics which relate  to them, such as values, grief and sorrow.'

She's already touched on this, but what inspired her to take that leap and become a writer?
'My mom is my greatest inspiration. I have watched her narrate stories to our neighbourhood kids. They absolutely loved it and used to insist her to tell stories everyday running to our home.

Since then, I've become an early childhood educator. I have worked in a preschool for 2 years and love interacting with kids. They are my source of my joy. Watching kids and their innocence inspires me.'

How lovely! What does she enjoy the most about writing?
'Writing is a therapy for me. I get lost in the fantasy world whilst writing and forget everything around me - my pain, stress, even my depression almost gets healed during this time.'

Gosh, that's powerful. What has she found the hardest part?
'It's getting the words onto paper. I'll have everything in my head but during writing I space out and start thinking about what to write. I also suffer from writers block. 

The hardest part of getting it published is marketing. It's one of the hardest thing I have faced.'

That's probably one of the most common comments from indie authors. It's such a shame. What does she consider the best money she's spent as a writer?
'Paying for an illustrator, and finding the best one for my book after completing a lot of research.'

How does she get around writing characters very different from herself?
'The most difficult thing is imagining myself as these characters. I complete research first and then put it onto paper when I feel I've mastered them.'

Does Jyothsna read reviews of her books and how does she deal with them?
'Yes, I read my reviews, but believe me it's not a good thing. Most of the time I cried and felt depressed and questioned whether I'm a good author. I have 1* to 5* reviews on my recent book. As authors, we can't please everyone. They all have their tastes.

Recently I was feeling low after reading a review. That's when I heard in a podcast which was hosted by Booksend literary agents telling authors not to read reviews because they are not for authors, they're for readers to decide whether it's for them.
After listening to them, I stopped taking reviews seriously!

I've used it to help with my next book, applying some of the constructive criticism to improve my work. I ignore reviews which don't make sense, or those which are there just to shame you or the book.' 

So now onto her book, How I Saved the Ants! Can she give us a synopsis?
'Meet Cheeku, a seven-year-old boy who lives in the enchanting forest of Cheekupur. One day, on his quest to place the tiny objects as ordered by his granny, he falls into a vast tunnel and meets tiny ants. 

After observing how the ants treat him, their queen gets furious and gives him a blessing, which changes his life.

This will be a delight for all the little ones filled with curiosity and ant lovers. Kids will love following a little boy as he goes on a magical adventure and meets tiny ants, where he learns about their qualities such as hard work, persistence and bravery.'

Can she give us an extract?  
'The ant queen sprinted in the direction of cheeku and instructed the ants to fix him back.

“I'm sorry, my child, we are good ants we don't harm others unnecessarily”

“Ants are cool!
  Ants are brave!
  If they can do it,
  I can too!”


She added,
'Join the adventures of Cheeku as he saved the ants while learning what is teamwork, hardwork, bravery and resilience.'

Which was the hardest scene to write? 
'Where Cheeku falls inside the anthill. It was the hardest because I had to put myself inside Cheeku’s shoes and imagine on what he feels - as an ant!'
 
Did she need to complete research then?
'Yes. I read encyclopaedia about ants and watched many movies about ants too. I also asked my friends for their opinions.
Ants have always amazed me. I used to chase them and run behind them and that inspired me to write this story - this is from the book but it sums up how I feel:
 
“Up and down!
 Big and small!
 If they can do it!
 I can too!!”

This is so charming!
To finish, I asked if there was anything else she’d like to share?
'I would like to tell everyone not to give up on your dreams. There is a writer's soul inside all of you. I know to a certain point you all have felt an urge to write. Don't let anything hinder you, no matter what. Don't stop writing. Take out your pen and unleash your creativity. Who knows you can be our next bestseller. So what are you waiting for?'

I adore that! If you'd like to find out more about this inspirational author, please visit Jyothsna's links below:

Linktree : https://lnk.bio/authorjyothsna
Twitter: @JyothsnaF
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jyo09julie
Instagram: www.instagram.com/authorjulietfernandis
Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/stores/Jyothsna-Mary-Raju/author/B09KRYGFPT

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Friday, April 26, 2024

Sneaky peek at interview with Jyothsna Raju

 My next author interview is with the award-winning Jyothsna Raju, who writes fantasy and literary realism aimed at middle grade children. 

 When asked what she enjoys the most about writing, she told me,
'Writing is a therapy for me. I get lost in the fantasy world whilst writing and forget everything around me - my pain, stress, even my depression almost gets healed during this time.'

Powerful stuff!  If you'd like to find out more about this inspirational author, please visit Jyothsna's links below:

Linktree : https://lnk.bio/authorjyothsna
Twitter: @JyothsnaF
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jyo09julie
Instagram: www.instagram.com/authorjulietfernandis
Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/stores/Jyothsna-Mary-Raju/author/B09KRYGFPT

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Sunday, April 21, 2024

Author interview with Marie Reed

I'm delighted to introduce my third and final author from the anthology 'Third name's a Charm' which was released on April 14th 2024. Marie Reed writes Fantasy/scifi and was first published in 2022, so let's meet her:
 
'I'm just a 30-something working retail in the Midwest who dreams of someday working in a library or museum. I have two kids in school so free time is limited. I spend most of it reading.'
 
And a tweetable version (tweet here):
'Reader turned writer and learning the basics while having fun and helping to raise money for charities supporting reading and literacy.'

What inspired her to become a writer?
'I’ve always loved reading and wrote some as a child, and then had a poetry phase as a teen. A group of us got together to write an anthology after a fun game in a Facebook group takeover, and now here we are!'

Does she have a daily writing routine?
'No, I don’t write daily. I really should, because that novel isn’t going to write itself! But when I am seriously working on a project, I usually write in the evenings sitting on the couch with a mug of hot tea after the kids have gone to bed.'

What does she enjoy the most about writing?
'I like being able to make my ideas come alive on paper and to make the things that I would want to read myself.'
 
And what has Marie found the hardest part of writing?
'Making a routine. There isn’t enough time in the day to do all the things I want to get done, and I have so many books on my TBR!'

I can sympathise there!  What's the best money she's ever spent as a writer?
'A good laptop. I wrote my stories for the first two anthologies on my phone, and started my novel there. Things are so much easier on the laptop!'

For me too! What does she find the most difficult thing about writing characters very different from herself?
'Second guessing myself about their actions and behaviours.'

Does she read reviews of her work and how does she deal with them?
'Yes, obsessively. I really need to stop because the bad ones make me mad or sad. I’ll never respond to one though.'
 
So let's find out about her story in the anthology. Can she give us a synopsis?
'Callie Azuresmith's path to the Impassable Sorcerers is looking clearer now that she's enrolled at a school that is teaching her all she'll need to know about magic. She loves it---even if the resident mean girl is still going out of her way to be a jerk three years into school. 

When one of Callie's favorite teachers partners her with that same girl for the most important project for the class, she's not sure what to think. What did she ever do to Professor Torune to deserve this, and is this going to be the end of her success in class?'


That sounds like fun! Can she give us a tweetable (tweet here):
'Callie Azuresmith's enrolled at a school that is teaching her about magic. She loves it, even if the resident mean girl is still going out of her way to be a jerk three years later.'
 
What did she find the hardest scene to write and why?
'There's a cafeteria scene where Callie meets up with her friends and they’re talking, and I got stuck in the scene and couldn’t figure out how to end the conversation and get her out of there! I ended up cutting multiple characters so there wouldn’t be so many people to talk to.'
 
These are things you just don't think about as a reader! Did she need to do any research?
'I didn’t do much for this one, but did spend an afternoon looking up different types of magic to have as the classes.'

Now that sounds like fun research! It sounds a fascinating short story in a wonderful charity book, so please take a look and help this cause if you can. You can find out more about the author on her links below:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authormariereed
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authormariereed/

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Thursday, April 18, 2024

Author interview with Sky Sommers

I'm delighted to introduce my second author from the anthology 'Third name's a Charm' which was released on April 14th 2024. Sky Sommers writes fairytales, paranormal romantasy and sci-fi and was first published in 2012. So, let's meet her:

'I love anything fairytaley, which is why I look for holes and update those kids stories for suspicious adults, peeling secrets back like onions. I’ve co-authored several charity anthologies that collect funds in support of our oceans, rainforests and communities plagued by wildfires or hurricanes. Sometimes I like to make my readers choose the ending - depending on their disposition (optimists vs pessimists). I live in Tallinn, in a small house with my hubby and 2 kids and am a mood & life coach by day.'

Can she give us a tweetable (tweet here):
'Sky Sommers updates fairytales for suspicious adults with quirky humour and loves to make you choose the ending (optimistic or pessimistic).'

She has published 12 books plus 7 anthologies, so what inspired her to become a writer? 
'Re-reading beloved fairytales as an adult and wanting to plug the gaping holes in them.'

That's such a great idea! What does her daily writing routine look like?
'Get into a good mood and then write for 1 hour or however long I have until I pick up my son from school. Or rewrite, depending what’s most pressing.'

What does she enjoy the most about writing?
'Getting an idea to explain away something I weaved into a story a few books/years ago – and that this new tidbit makes the older information appear as totally making sense in hindsight.'

Clever! What does she find hardest part of writing?
'Rewrites and marketing.'
 
What's the best money Sky's ever spent as a writer?
'Scrivener – love that tool!'

What's the most difficult thing about writing characters who are very different from her?
'Getting into the mood and into the headspace of the character and being there while I write, then switching back to being me as I go about my day. It’s like method acting, you really need to stay in character for most of the time and that means I might not be very nice for days or weeks on end, e.g. when I’m writing selfish villains.'

Oh dear, I'm laughing whilst also feeling sorry for her family! Does Sky read reviews of her books and how does she deal with bad and good ones?
'Yes, always. Good ones I re-read when I’m low on motivation. Bad ones – I look out for honest feedback and try to improve, but the 0 and 1 stars – they’re just not my audience, I guess.'
 
Aww! So moving onto the anthology, can she give us a synopsis?
'Once upon a time, a group of authors accepted the challenge from a fairy tale name generator. Not just once or twice, but thrice! Volume three of these quirky stories features trios and triple threats. 
 
In this clean YA collection, follow the fates of three begotten triplet princesses, be enlisted as the third lucky bodyguard to stave off monsters, see if the third wand works wonders for an unlucky mage, try to discover the true name of a unicorn prince, discover why magical artifacts come in threes, and climb towers with thieves to abduct well-known fairytale characters.
 
Venture into this collection of adventurous stories by award-winning and up-and-coming authors, and maybe you’ll be thrice enchanted. All proceeds donated to a charity in support of reading and literacy.'
 
Wonderful! Would she have a tweetable (tweet here):
'Third Name’s a Charm: Tales of Trios & Triple Threats. Third chances, three attempts, three guesses and three-headed dragons - discover new & beloved fairytales in this set of quirky stories.'

What did she find the hardest part to write?
'Since this is a charity anthology co-authored by 20 authors, the hardest part was actually writing the blurb BEFORE anyone wrote their story. After all the stories were in beta, we adjusted the blurb, but I think inspiration went both ways.'
 
What kind of research did you do?
'Every one of the 20 authors researched fairytales and the rule of three and based on that came up with specific retellings that we then made sure didn’t overlap. Sometimes research and ideation stage takes the longest and actually some beta versions had to be enhanced and researched more to fit the theme of the anthology and it’s only better for it.'
 
It sounds fabulous collaboration between the authors. If you'd like to buy the book or find out more about this wonderful author and their cause, click onto her links below:

Website: skysommers.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sky.sommers.9/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sommers_sky/

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