Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Interview With an Author - Number 9 - Julia Blake

Author Bio
I was born and raised in the lovely historic market town of Bury St Edmunds, where I live still with my daughter. I'm typical Cancer, in that although I like to visit new places and see new things, I'm always very pleased to get home again.

Author name: Julia Blake

Are you a traditionally publisdhe/indie/hybrid author? 
My first book was small press but I found that really wasn’t working for me, so the six books since then have been indie.

What was the last book you released?
The Forest, released on the 23rd of October 2018.
How long have you been writing? 
Ever since I was old enough to pick up a pencil really, but seriously writing novels since 2005. My first book was published in 2014.

What is the most challenging thing about writing for you? 
Finding time to write for a start. 
I have a very busy life and am a shocking procrastinator as well, so actually getting myself sat down in front of my laptop is a challenge. 
Once the book is published, promoting and marketing – I really struggle with these. Being naturally not a pushy person, I find it incredibly hard to put myself out there and promote my books.

And what is the best thing about writing?  
The beginning, when a whole world of possibility lies before you, full of characters and plot and twists and turns. I love that feeling, that anything, literally anything, could happen. 
Then after publication holding my book in my hands. There’s no greater feeling. 
I also love any feedback I get from readers, when someone takes the time to write a review or even contact me to say how much they enjoyed one of my books, that’s pretty special.

Where is your favourite writing spot?
My little desk in the corner of the lounge. It’s the only place in the house that’s truly “my spot” apart from my bed. No one else goes near it and all my writing tools are there. 
When I sit down at my desk, it’s as if I’m sending a signal to my imagination that it’s time to wake up and shake up.

What do you do during times of self-doubt or (goodness forbid) if “writer’s block” strikes? 
I don’t tend to suffer from writer’s block. 
Time to write is so rare that when I do finally sit down to create, the words have been building up in my mind to such an extent it’s like the floodgates opening and they pour from my imagination. 
As to self-doubt, I think we all suffer from that to some degree or other, I just try to block out the negative thoughts and concentrate on all the positive things people have said about my books.

What is the most frivolous thing you’ve purchased with your royalties?
Nothing, literally nothing. I haven’t spent a penny of my royalties in the four years I’ve been receiving them. They go into a separate bank account every month and I pretend that they’re not there. 
The plan is for them to be a little extra for when I retire. You never know, by the time that happens there may be enough saved up for a weekend away somewhere.

What is the best writing advice you’ve ever received?
Don’t take advice. No, only kidding, although sometimes I think it is easy to get bogged down in well-meaning and not so well-meaning advice. 
You should learn to listen to the knowledge that experienced authors pass on and turn a blind eye to those writers who are at the same stage of the journey as you, but think they have the right to tell you how it’s done. 
Every author is different, and we all write in different ways. For example, I never plan or plot out my books and I don’t have time to write every day, so according to some “experts” that means I’m not a proper writer, but with eight books out there I beg to differ on that score. 
Someone once told me to write from the heart and the gut and everything else can be fixed in the edits, and I think that’s probably the best thing you can do.

Do you prefer tea/coffee/hot chocolate?
Tea first thing in the morning, I like it strong and unsweetened to kick start my brain. 
If I’m writing that day, then a coffee mid-morning to reboot my flagging energy. 
Hot chocolate is only for treats or on the snowiest days in the middle of winter when I have time to make it properly and savour it.

Is there anything you’d like to add…?  
Being a writer is such a hard road to take, it’s thankless and soul destroying and can be incredibly lonely. 
You need to develop a hide like a rhino and tunnel vision tenacity to ignore the negatives and focus on the positive. 
It is so much easier if you’re not doing it alone. 
No matter what you feel about social media it can be a warm, supportive and helpful place, but it’s one of those situations where as you sow, so shall you reap. 
You can’t expect help and support unless you give it in return. Don’t be one of those authors who are all about themselves. Connect with others, interact with them, support them, and offer assistance where needed, and don’t just restrict it to other authors. 
Readers span all walks of life and you never know where your biggest potential fans could be.

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Interview With an Author - Numer 8 - Ysa Arcangel

Author Bio
Ysa Arcangel is the author of the Moments to Remember Series, Underneath It All and Love at First Sit. She has also written an urban fantasy novella, "Nexus Series Book 1: Anathema". She is based in Manila and is a loving partner to a very talented chef. She is also a fan of tattoos, a lover of giant dogs, and an enthusiast of extreme sports.

Author name: Ysa Arcangel

Are you a traditionally publisdhe/indie/hybrid author? 
I’m a hybrid author. Indie and published with Limitless Publishing. 

What was the last book you released?
I have a new book titled Love at First Kiss. It’s the second book under my Single Moms TribeCollection. It is now up for pre-order! 

Monday, 29 October 2018

Interview With an Author - Number 7 - Tamara Geraeds

Author Bio
I was born in 1981, in a small village in the south of The Netherlands.
I started writing books at the age of 15 and my first book was published in 2012. After 6 books in Dutch, I decided to start writing a young adult fantasy series in English: The Cards of Death.

The first book in this series will be published February 2019.
Updates on this series can be found on my Facebook page, and if you're also looking for tips, Q&As with other authors, and inside info on my writing process, please subscribe to my monthly newsletter.

Author name: Tamara Geraeds

Are you a traditionally published/indie/hybrid author?
My Dutch books are all traditionally published. I have switched publishers a couple of times, so my work is divided over 7 different publishers.

In February 2019 I’m publishing my first indie book, in English. It is the first in the YA supernatural fantasy series Cards of Death, of which the first three books will be released in 2019.

What was the last book you released?
That was the 3rd book in my Christopher Plum series, a Dutch fantasy book for 9- to 12-year-olds about the modern Knights of the Round Table. They are tasked with finding magical objects and beings and keeping them safe. Book 4 in the series will be released March 2019.
If you live in the Netherlands, you can buy it here 

The Cards of Death series will be available through Amazon.

How long have you been writing? 
I wrote my first poem just after I learned how to write, so at six. Later on, I wrote some short stories at school. 
At fifteen I wanted to try to write a whole book. It took me nine years to finish because of school, college and work, but after that I was hooked. My first book was published in 2012, so I have officially been a writer for almost seven years.

What is the most challenging thing about writing for you?
To create believable, lively characters. 
The hardest thing about that is imagining what people who are different than me feel, think and do. We all have a tendency to make all our characters behave the same way we do. But in real life everyone is different. In a book it should be that way too. So as a writer you have to try to really get into someone else’s head.

That was especially hard when I wrote Echo, a heart-breaking story about abuse, that was based on several true stories. To make the mother believable, I had to try to understand her, which was the hardest – but probably most interesting – thing I ever did as a writer.

And what is the best thing about writing?  
When characters decide to throw all your plans for their lives overboard and just do whatever they want to do. This behaviour started when I was writing the book that eventually became my debut, and thankfully it hasn’t stopped.

When I was writing my second book Jasper, I had planned the last ten chapters. This makes it a bit easier to write, because you have a basic idea of what is going to happen in each chapter.

But Jasper didn’t want to do the things I made up for him. Where I wanted him to go right, he turned left. I decided not to force it, but just go with him on his journey.

Since then, this is the way I always write. When characters want to do something else than what I planned for them, I just go along with it. I let them lead me. This way the characters behave according to their personalities, and I have more fun, because they keep surprising me.

Where is your favourite writing spot?
My favorite writing spot is in the mountains in Germany. Somehow they always inspire me.
I do however like to sit inside to write, with a cup of hot chocolate and a snack in front of me and a view of the mountains.

What do you do during times of self-doubt or (goodness forbid) if “writer’s block” strikes? 
Feel really bad mostly. When I get insecure, I remember everything that was traditionally published and all the great reviews I got.

A writer’s block can be broken by writing somewhere else or talking about the story with someone. If that doesn’t work, I probably need a break.

What is the most frivolous thing you’ve purchased with your royalties?
I really don’t remember.

What is the best writing advice you’ve ever received?
Keep going.

Most authors that make it, have been trying for years (to get published or to get more readers). You have to keep going and keep learning. Practise and never give up, if you really want to get published and/or be successful. 

Do you prefer tea/coffee/hot chocolate?
Well, I prefer hot chocolate, but I try to stay away from it as much as I can, because my tummy is already not so yummy anymore. ;-)

I don’t like coffee and I sometimes drink tea, but usually not at home. While writing I drink water, then milk and in the afternoon and evening diet coke.

Is there anything you’d like to add…?  
Thanks for having me and to the readers of this interview: thanks for reading this. J

If anyone wants to beta read book 2 in the Cards of Death series (in January) or the next one, please contact me through my website: 

Saturday, 27 October 2018

Interview With an Author - Number 5 - K.L. Montgomery

Author Bio

K.L. Montgomery grew up in Greencastle, Indiana, and studied psychology and library science at Indiana University. 

After a career as a librarian, she now writes novels and wrangles three sons and four cats at her home in rural Delaware, which she shares with her husband and the aforementioned creatures. 

She has an undying love of Broadway musicals, the beach, the color teal, IU basketball, paisleys, and dark chocolate.

Author name: K.L. Montgomery

Are you a traditionally published/indie/hybrid author?
Indie – I own Mountains Wanted Publishing 

What was the last book you released?
Badge Bunny - part of the Romance in Rehoboth Series, where the ladies are strong and independent and the men are actually nice guys. 

How long have you been writing?
Since I learned to read around age 3-4 😊 

What is the most challenging thing about writing for you?
Trying to balance my style with readers’ expectations. 

And what is the best thing about writing?  
Readers telling me that I’ve changed their mind about something, or I’ve affected them emotionally. 

Where is your favourite writing spot?
My office or my bed. 

What do you do during times of self-doubt or (goodness forbid) if “writer’s block” strikes? 
I don’t ever really doubt my writing, but I do get down when sales are waning. Then I usually just push through and focus on the writing part and try not to focus on sales. 

What is the most frivolous thing you’ve purchased with your royalties?
Oh, good question. I took my entire family to Disney World with royalties about six months ago (that I’d saved over several months LOL) 

What is the best writing advice you’ve ever received?
Just keep writing. The more you write, the better you are at it. 
So true! 

Do you prefer tea/coffee/hot chocolate?

Is there anything you’d like to add…?  
Thank you for giving me this opportunity! 

*You can follow K.L. Montgomery on:

Friday, 26 October 2018

Interview With an Author - Number 4 - J.S. Frankel

Author Bio
J.S. Frankel was born in Toronto, Canada and grew up there, receiving his tertiary education from the University of Toronto and graduating with a double major in English Literature and Political Science.

After working at Gray Coach Lines for a grand total of three years, he moved to Japan at the age of twenty-six and has been there ever since, teaching English to any and all students who enter his hallowed school of learning.

Thursday, 25 October 2018

Interview with an Author - Number 3 - Morgen Bailey

Author Bio
Morgen Bailey is a multi-genre author, freelance editor (for publishers and indie authors), writing tutor, Writers’ Forum magazine ‘Competitive Edge’ columnist, bloggerspeaker, and Northants Authors co-founder. 

The former Chair of three writing groups, she has judged the H.E. Bates, RONE, BeaconLit, BBC Radio 2 and Althorp Literary Festival short story competitions. She also runs her own free monthly 100-word competition.

Author name: Hello. I’m Morgen Bailey. 
Morgen with an E. Not to be confused with the handful of MorgAn Baileys (mostly American), including a rocket scientist, basketball player, Green politician, and transsexual porn star. I get some interesting Google Alerts!

Are you a traditionally published/indie/hybrid author?
I’m both. I self-published seven books between 2011 and early 2018, and my eighth, The Serial Dater’s Shopping List, was traditionally published, the first of a two-book deal, by Bombshell Books (part of Bloodhound Books) in July 2018. (Hello Betsy, Fred, team, and fellow Bombshells!) 
Self-publishing means the author has total control but not the support of a publisher or agent. I’ve been very lucky with Bombshell in that I got to choose the (fabulous) cover, and had a blog tour and review promotions upon release. These days it’s generally up to the author anyway to do most of the marketing and I’m hiring two marketeers to help with this.

I will probably still self-publish, especially my short stories (my first love). Many authors would love to have an agent to automatically get their books in bookshops… as if that route is a ‘given’!

Most bookshops won’t take self-published books and being published by Bombshell has meant my Waterstones has ordered it – the book is set in various locations around Northampton. It’s tough whichever way you go but it’s fabulous having the choice! I’ve learned that it’s all about marketing and the worst thing an author can do is say, “Please buy my book”. This is why interviews like this are so important. Readers get to know the author then hopefully be interested enough to explore further. 

What was the last book you released?
The Serial Dater’s ShoppingList aka ‘31 men in 31 days – what could possibly go wrong?’ 
Isobel MacFarlane is a recently-turned-forty journalist who usually writes a technology column for a newspaper based in Northampton, England, but her somewhat-intimidating boss, William, has set her the task of meeting thirty-one men, via a local internet dating site, all within a month. 

How long have you been writing? 
I’ve always been an avid reader and blame Stephen King for me wearing glasses; reading his books under the duvet with a torch as a teen because I was so hooked. 
I loved English at school then moved to Northamptonshire (indirectly through work) in 1999 and did various evening classes to meet people – because the company I was due to move with went to Surrey instead and I couldn’t afford to move there – the last of which was creative writing in 2005 and was immediately hooked. 
I’ve been to countless literary festivals, on one-day and weekend courses, and am now mostly teaching at them rather than as an attendee.

What is the most challenging thing about writing for you?
Finding enough time. I try to do 1,000 words a day but it’s not always possible so I have a binge write on a Sunday when I endeavour not to do any ‘work work’. 
I’m very fortunate that I live alone (other than my dog and two Monday to Friday lodgers) so no family distractions. I’ve also recently quit a writing group, two committees, and my teaching job (my evening classes had come full circle), and spaced out my freelance editing work (my ‘day job’) to free up more time.

And what is the best thing about writing?  
Not knowing what’s going to come out. 
I interviewed around 700 authors on my blog  and probably 95% are pantsers – as am I – where we get an idea and ‘fly by the seat of our pants’. 
I love the characters I create, and for most authors (and readers, agents, publishers) the characters are far more important than an interesting plot or stunning location.

Where is your favourite writing spot?
At my (organised chaos) desk on my laptop. 
I do write longhand but only when out with my dog. (Yes, I can walk and write at the same time and am very fortunate that I have a dog who prefers being off the lead than on.) 
I’m a much faster typist as I was a secretary for over twenty years. I wrote the 115,640-word first draft of The Serial Dater’s Shopping List in twenty-eight days! I then edited it several times over several years but it was having an array of weird and wonderful men that gave me the start I needed to create Izzy and send her on her way. 

Interview With an Author - Number 6 - Lindsey S. Frantz

Author Bio
Lindsey S. Frantz was born and raised in Appalachia and earned her MFA from Bluegrass Writers Studio at Eastern Kentucky University. 

Her stories and poems have previously appeared in numerous literary journals, including Main Street Rag's Villains Anthology, Ruminate Magazine, and Emerge Literary Journal.

Author name: My full name is Lindsey Stockton Frantz, so I publish under Lindsey S. Frantz. 
I had a few pieces published in literary journals before I got married, and those were published under the name Lindsey Stockton. 

Are you a traditionally published/indie/hybrid author?
My publications have been kind of all over, so I suppose I’m a hybrid author. 
I have one short story published in an indie anthology (From Now On: The Last Words Anthology), one novel published by a traditional small press (The Upworld by Line by Lion Publications), and a handful of short stories and poems published by literary journals. 
You can check out other books published by Line by Lion at!

What was the last book you released?
The Upworld is my debut novel! It was released by Line by Lion Publications in August of 2017, and holding it in my hands for the first time was most definitely the best moment of my writing career! 

The Upworld: It has been many generations since the Vitium War. In the ruins of what was once Appalachia, the population has split into three groups—upworlders who live in sparse, walled off cities, albino cave dwellers, and a group of savage nomads called the Wylden. Then there’s Erilyn—a telekinetic 17-year-old girl who can see auras and hear thoughts. For three years she’s lived a quiet, calm life in the woods with Luna, her albino serval cat, until the day Finn—an upworld boy from Sunnybrook—stumbles, injured, into her clearing, chased by Wylden hunters. Erilyn’s once calm life is turned upside down as she guardedly travels with Finn back to Sunnybrook. There she must confront both the secrets of her past—the cave dwellers she ran from as a child and the bittersweet memories she daily tries to forget—and Morrigan, the girl who broke Finn’s heart and who’s harboring her own a dangerous secret.

How long have you been writing? 
I remember “writing” my first story (dictating to my dad) when I was about five. Together, he and I made a little book about a golden pony that lived on top of a hill. 

I have loved books since I was a toddler, so my parents weren’t that surprised when I started coming up with stories. 

But I suppose I seriously started writing, really trying to put stories together, when I was maybe thirteen or so. My uncle let me borrow Dragonseye, a book by Anne McCaffrey, and I just fell in love with this world she’d created around telepathic dragons and deadly silver thread. So I sat at my family’s desktop and started writing a story that was heavily based on hers. It was terrible, but it’s where I started, and I haven’t stopped since! 

I’m 33 now, so I guess that means I’ve been writing for 20 years, which just seems unbelievable to me. 

What is the most challenging thing about writing for you?
I actually just had a conversation about this yesterday! 
My local library invited me to be a speaker at their Know-It-All Festival this past weekend and I talked about my writing process and gave some general advice to new writers. In that conversation I admitted that the hardest part about writing for me is actually making myself do the writing itself. 

I spend a lot of time thinking, brainstorming, planning, questioning, taking notes, and just figuring things out in my head, but when I sit down to write I start to get nervous that I won’t get it right! 

So, the hardest part for me is making myself just write straight through (without revising as I go). 
If I stop to revise, I’ll never finish, so I make myself write (with breaks, obviously) straight through a book or story or poem, and only when I’ve typed the last word do I let myself go back and revise, but I digress. 

It’s the act of writing—of putting all those ideas I’ve mulled over and shaped and reshaped in my head and in my notes 1,000 times on paper—that’s the most challenging for me.

And what is the best thing about writing?  
In retrospect, the best thing about writing is the writing process (but as I said above, it’s also the most challenging). 
Oddly enough, I really enjoy revision. I like to compare the writing process to baking a cake. You have to make sure all the ingredients are there, you have to make sure it’s baked for the proper time, and after it’s done, you have to let it sit for a while. 
But revision is like decorating the cake! If you mess up, you just scrape the icing off and try again. Revision is the fun part, because there’s so much less pressure. You can try things and sit with a single sentence or phrase or even word for hours if you want, because the bulk of the work, the hardest part (the writing), is done!

Where is your favourite writing spot?
It’s so important to have a space that’s all yours to write in. 

My favourite, right now, is in my kitchen (a space that I’ll no longer be able to use, because we are planning to move in the next few months). My kitchen has bright yellow walls and big windows that look out over our backyard, and a stream and field behind that. It’s just my calm writing space. 

And if I’m not home, there are two local coffee shops—Purdy’s Coffee Co. and Berea Coffee & Tea—that I love to go sit in, maybe with headphones, and some kind of hot drink to work. But honestly, I get the most done if I’m in my kitchen. Here’s hoping our new house, when we find one, has a spot like my lovely yellow kitchen.