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:

Twitter: @CRClarkeAuthor

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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:


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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:


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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 :
Twitter: @JyothsnaF
Amazon author page:

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