Interview with Christopher Godsoe, Author of pre://d.o.mai.n

Christopher Godsoe is an author and computer graphics artist residing in central Maine, with his son. He is a maker, a futurist, and a child at heart. pre://d.o.mai.n is HEADSHOTthe first novel in his d.o.mai.n science fiction series. In his free time, he enjoys golf, video games, and customizing automobiles.

In your opinion, what are some of the factors that distinguish novels that sell well from novels that flop?

It’s such a crapshoot, commercial success. I’m a big believer in removing roadblocks between your work and each potential reader. Each step of the purchasing process for people has such a small margin of error nowadays, because there are so many options out there for people entertainment dollar. Certainly an attractive cover comes first. You have to both capture the readers attention and accurately represent the content and quality of the story within. Second, the reader looks at price. While established authors can get ten dollars or more for an ebook, and fifteen or more for a paperback, the rest of us need to lower the bar a little to give a reader an incentive to give us a chance.

In their eyes, a new author is unproven, and while you may look at it as just a couple of dollars, the truth is that there are thousands of other options in the same column for people, and if a reader has decided to check out something new between releases of their favorite authors, then you need to remove every source of objection that you can from their path. Third-The book has to be great. Not just superficially great, but having layers of nuance and meaning that cause it to live on in your readers mind moving forward. And fourth? Dumb Luck. This one might be the most important of all.

I have to say one thing that can turn me off to a book is a horrible cover and/or horrible synopsis.  What other aspects do authors overlook that can ultimately make or break a sale?

A cover is your first impression. We get the luxury as writers/artists to take all the time we want to craft a good first impression. For all those times that you met someone for the first time, made a poor showing of yourself, and wished you could have it back, you owe it to your book to not let it go out like that, and the same goes for your synopsis. You know how good your book is. Write your synopsis like you’re writing to impress a beautiful member of the opposite sex.

The publishing/book world has changed dramatically over the past five years, and is still changing. How have these changes impacted the way we market?

It’s driven more of it online. I have this wacky vision of a writer able to create this amazing career, using a pen name, voice changing technology, and the like. They do all that, become one of the richest people in the world, and nobody knows who they are. It’s possible now. It’s also completely pointless, because I can count on my hand the number of authors that would even be recognized by a substantial portion of the population, lol. The point of all that being that there is no reason to not be accessible to your fans. Even if you make it big, you have to make it REALLY big to have any kind of measurable impact on your life are essentially zero. The changes in the industry have forced authors out of the shadows, to make themselves accessible to their fans.

It’s a scary thing for many of them, but I think most have realized that it’s rewarding. I mean, they’re your fans. These people like your work. So long as you aren’t a raging lunatic (or more often than not, even if you are), your fans are going to love you. We need to give of ourselves, realize that there aren’t finite resources of our intellect or wit, and engage our readers on a social level. In the age of social media, there’s no reason not to.

As authors, our main objective is to find readers. What has been the biggest resource to you in finding your readers?

This is going to sound like the mother of all cop-out answers, but the internet. I don’t specify social media, because I think if you just stick to social media, you’re making a mistake. Sure, it’s a great tool to interact with fans, but social media does not an internet make. The internet is a delivery medium, a way for an author to deliver whatever content they want, however they want.  Want to send a video message directly to your fans? You can do that. Want to create a 3D world from one of your books, and post it online for your fans to explore/enjoy? You can do that. Want to live broadcast a book release party, inviting millions of fans the chance to virtually “hang out” with you? You can do that. Actually, scratch that. You NEED to do that. Hugh Howey, author of WOOL and the Silo series, broadcasts his book signing/mailings. It’s cool to see the interaction when people can see him sign their book that they will receive in the mail a few days later.

What is the biggest mistake you see authors make when marketing?

They spam the hell out everyone with “OMG, Buy my book!” links. Seriously? That’s just lazy. You need to put yourself out there, but you also have to let people discover you. That car salesman that really wants you to buy one specific car is an apt analogy. If he’s pushing you to buy one specific car, the first question that pops into my head is usually, “What’s wrong with it?” If someone is pimping the hell out of their book mainly through direct request of purchase links, I would ask the same question. It just wreaks of desperation, and a desperate author is commonly thought to have a reason for being desperate.

What has been the most successful part of your own marketing campaign?

My marketing campaign is (as of this writing) just getting underway, but I anticipate that the giveaway will be the most effective. People like free stuff, and if you can make it easy and simple for them to enter, it makes them more likely to do so. I have a lot of prizes that I am giving away, several that I’ve never seen done before. I have actual “props” from the book, )(objects described in the book) to give away, as well as beta reader copies of the book. The beta reader copies are three paperback copies that I circulated around to my beta readers earl on in editing, inviting them to write notes directly in the book for me to use later. So three lucky winners will get those, actual paperbacks used in the editing process of the novel, with handwritten notes from beta readers pointing out all of the mistakes I made up to that point in the process. It’s a cool idea (I think), and I hope it’s something people will consider spreading the word on twitter or their blog for a chance at winning.

Traditional vs. Indie – Do you think indies have to market differently than traditionally published authors do, or is the game the same for everyone?

I think they do. Traditional authors get invited to do book tours and the like via their publisher, and there are a few other limited resources that publishers still do for their authors, though the gap is narrowing between the two worlds. Some of the options that were traditionally only available to….traditionally published authors are now accessible to all, and some that weren’t possible before when working with a publisher have become available on the other side as well. Even book placement in stores is becoming less of an issue, with expanded distribution and the general decline in the number of book stores rendering the divide less each year.

How important is blogging to an author’s platform?

To me, blogging is a bit like phone calls during summer vacation. (Stay with me on this, I make a lot of absurd analogies and they usually end up working out in one way or another.) Novel releases are like the school year, it’s easy to maintain relationships as a kid when you are all gathered together. During summer vacation, however, everyone is doing their own thing with their families. New friendships are formed while others fade away, as new people are introduced into your life and you no longer have time for the old ones. Unless, that is, you do a good job of staying touch via phone (this is all pre-smartphone, I grew up in the 90’s, just take my word for all of this if you’re under 25). That’s like blogging, it’s a way to stay in touch with people in prose, to post excerpts from your book, to share your thoughts in longer form than you can on twitter or facebook. It’s just good for keeping people from making new friends (forgetting how much they enjoyed your writing).

Social media – worth the time or not?

Worth it, but you need to forget about using it as a selling tactic and just have fun with it. People want to get to know you a little bit, they want to see what makes you tick, so to speak. Share pictures, share ideas, funny anecdotes, and they might even come to like you as a person, which makes their decision on whether or not to buy your next book a no-brainer. It also encourages them to talk about you to their friends, if you say something they particularly like, they might share it or tell someone, which is the word of mouth advertising people pay huge sums of money to generate otherwise. So I say have fun with it, don’t be afraid to look foolish (any of my facebook friends can tell you I don’t have this problem), and people will respect you for “keepin’ it real.”

Any other words of wisdom?

Writing is a long, discouraging slog. It can be months and months between book releases, and you never know if your months of work are going to be well received, or if people will just ignore it and move on. There is a lot of advice about there that says, “Write to your demographic”, or, “Know your audience.” Most of it is crap. Certainly, it helps to know who will read your book from a ratings perspective. I mean, nobody wants explicit sex scenes in a YA book, but a lot of the advice sounds a lot like, “write something you can sell to the maximum number of people.” That’s the part that I think is crap. Write what you love. If you want to put a sex scene in your book, write the sex scene, just don’t write the rest of the book like it should be on the shelf somewhere along Sesame Street.

Own your story. Accept it for what it is, and don’t try to water it down because you think someone will get offended or not buy it. I worry about that, people watering down their work for commercial gain. Where would we be now as a societyme kn if Orwell, Steinbeck, Rand, and Stowe decided that they couldn’t risk taking chances in their work because it might not sell? There are parts of this book that I could have removed to make the content more appropriate for a larger audience, but I’m not even sure I like those people, why would I want to spend months out of my life trying to please them? If someone reads this book and enjoys it, I can safely say that they would be someone I could share a drink with, and we would have plenty to talk about. We’d have similar interests, I think, and I say that because I made it a point to write a book I would enjoy reading if I found it on a shelf somewhere. That’s my biggest piece of advice-write a book you would want to read. Don’t compromise, write something you can put your soul into, and it will be better for it.

Connect with Chris on his website, Facebook, and follow him on Twitter.

51LsiyOwAhL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_22 year old Miles Torvalds doesn’t need to cure cancer to save his mother’s life, he just needs to find a way to steal one and a half million dollars to pay for it.

In 2037, cancer isn’t an automatic death sentence if you can come up with the cash, but what is certain is that Miles will spend the rest of his life in prison if he’s caught. A chance encounter with an old flame introduces him to an enigmatic man named Atlas, and he just may be the answer to Miles’ prayers. Out of options, Miles accepts his offer of assistance, and Atlas promptly delivers a powerful tool; DJINN, an artificial intelligence crafted by the hacker collective Anonymous before the turn of the millennium.

To a sexually frustrated loner like Miles, the fact that they designed her as a flirtatious twentysomething only complicates matters. Together they will weave their way through the augmented reality darknet while eluding Tobin Maldovan, a former Black Ops operative and the FBI’s newest agent in the war on cyber crime, to save his mother.

Miles will learn that in a future where appearances are often misleading, trusting yourself is the only hope you have.

pre://d.o.mai.n is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Interview with Joshua Lisec, Author of The Phoenix Reich

JL1b_RSPJoshua Lisec is an adventure-thriller novelist and author of The Phoenix Reich, first installment of the Max Meyers Adventure saga.

Joshua’s storytelling takes readers on extraordinary quests into the conspiracies and underworlds that haunt history. Told through the perspectives of relatable characters and interspersed with wit and insight, his epic novels illuminate the forgotten forces that lurk amongst us, forces that can only be confronted by those who struggle to rise from mediocre lives and embrace destinies that are nothing less than terribly wonderful.

Where were you born and where do you call home?

Dayton, Ohio, is the land from which I have come.

What is the name of your most recent book and if you had to sum it up in 30 or less words, what would you say?

The Phoenix Reich is the first installment of the Max Meyers Adventure series, an adventure-thriller saga featuring the emergence of a new kind of adventure hero. The Phoenix Reich is slated for release on March 30th by DonnaInk Publications. For the scoop on the book, check this out…

When underachieving college student Max Meyers learns that the death of his father, a popular United States Senator, has been prematurely ruled a suicide, he sets out on a mission to learn the truth—a mission that leads him to uncover an international conspiracy dating back to the final days of Nazi Germany.

If you gave one of your characters an opportunity to speak for themselves, what would they say?

Great question! One of the characters does, in fact, get a chance to speak for himself. I don’t want to give away the ending of the book, but let’s just say that Max Meyers has the opportunity to set the record straight…and give credit where credit is due. No more spoilers for now…

What books have influenced your writing?

In my teenage years, I experienced an obsession with the classic fantasy works of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. The thought of writing stories that would inspire and enlighten millions of people drove me to madness. In that case, the madness took the form of having a go at novel-writing. Epic fail. Fortunately, I discovered thriller author James Rollins while working at a library in 2009. After devouring his novelization of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, I was hooked. I’d found my niche, and I’ve never looked back.

What book are you currently reading and in what format (ebook/paperback/hardcover)?

I am reading the eBook version of Timothy Ferriss’ The Four Hour Work Week to foster my passion for creative enterprise. I’ve also just started the paperback of Charles Brokaw’s The Temple Mount Code. Only recently has his work made its way across my radar, and I like what I see so far.

Are there any Authors that have grasped your interest recently and why?

Dan Brown. His next novel comes out May 14th. Enough said.

Any advice for other writers?

Write what you love, and never stop writing. Writing the wrong thing is better than writing nothing. Eventually, you will find the path you are created to take. Sometimes, you have to exhaust all the wrong avenues before the right one makes itself clear to you.

Favorite toy as a child?

Anything and everything from the Toy Story franchise.

An early childhood memory –

I chucked chocolate cake onto the floor on my first birthday. Why I did that, I do not know. I just remember it was fun to be messy. Friends of mine who’ve seen my office say that I haven’t changed a bit.

What do you normally eat for breakfast, of do you skip it and get straight to work?

I enjoy savoring the world’s best breakfast—Weetabix with whole milk. Throw some eggs on the side and dump a nice, juicy glob of Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce on those babies, and you’re ready to conquer everything writer’s block can throw at you.

What are 4 things you never leave home without (apart from keys, money and phone)?

Accoutrements I find indispensable on a day out are my navy blue pea coat, newsboy cap, and gold-rimmed aviators. That’s only three, but it works for me. J

Sleep in or get up early?

My most productive hours are between 9:00 AM and 1:00 PM, so regardless of sleep schedule, I respect that time slot.

Laptop, desktop or old fashioned pen and paper for writing?

Laptop and desk, definitely. Every novel I never finished is written on scratch paper. The screen and keyboard are my friends.

Your thoughts on receiving book reviews – the good and the bad –

I heard a marketing guru once say that any publicity is good publicity. Nobody wants to read a book that has only perfect reviews. What’s the fun in that? Sucky reviews serve their purpose. Keep it real, peeps. Remember that bad reviews can be good reviews, and good reviews can be bad reviews. Balance is the key. So be balanced.

Where is one place in the world that you would really love to visit someday?

I have my eye on Jerusalem at the moment for certain “literary” reasons…

One of your favorite quotes –

“I wrote my first novel because I wanted to read it.” ― Toni Morrison

An actor or a book character you have a crush on -

I wouldn’t use the term “crush,” but let’s just say I consider the following actors to be unbelievably awesome… John Krasinski, Martin Freeman, and Benedict Cumberbatch.

Is your book in Print, ebook or both?

The Phoenix Reich is available for pre-order in print format exclusively from DonnaInk Publications. Here’s the product page: http://www.donnaink.org/#!product/zoom1bxf/211078321/the-phoenix-reich

Where can your readers stalk you?

My blog: www.joshualisec.wordpress.com
My facebook page:
www.facebook.com/JoshuaLisec
My Goodreads author page:
www.goodreads.com/JoshuaLisec
Twitter:
www.twitter.com/ThePhoenixReich

 

Interview with Author Alan Nayes

AlansRanch_dec_2012_003_36503912_stdNayes lives in Southern California but still considers himself part Texan by birthright. He was born in Houston and grew up in Dallas. His resided in California since the mid 1980’s but gets back to Texas as much as possible. His first two published novels–GARGOYLES and THE UNNATURAL.  When he’s not working on his next project, he enjoys relaxing and fishing at his family vacation home in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

Where were you born and where do you call home?
Lisa, I was born in Houston, Texas, but call Southern California home—for now.

What is the name of your most recent book and if you had to sum it up in 30 or less words, what would you say?
My next release is THE LEARNER. THE LEARNER is about an alien from the dark side of the universe who visits Earth and falls in love with a human.

If you gave one of your characters an opportunity to speak for themselves, what would they say?
NayéLi, the main character in THE LEARNER would probably ask me to get her rulers off her back so she can go about her business on Earth peacefully and secretively. She would also tell me she’s sorry the Green Bay Packers didn’t make the Superbowl—lol. (actually that’s me speaking)

What books have influenced your writing?
Lisa, I’m not influenced by any authors or books in particular—I read many authors in many different genres.

What book are you currently reading and in what format (ebook/paperback/hardcover)?
11/23/63—Stephen King. Ebook.  I’m also reading a talented indie author, Heather Marie Adkins—THE HOUSE. ebook

Are there any Authors that have grasped your interest recently and why?
Like I said I read a lot so don’t have any specific names—some are indie and others are traditionally pubbed.

Any advice for other writers?
If you truly believe in your project, finish it, no matter the feedback from other readers. Also—persistence, persistence, oh, did I say persistence.

Favorite toy as a child?
Probably not a politically correct answer but I loved my Daisey BB gun.

An early childhood memory –
Fishing on Lake Winnebago in Wisconsin with my father.

What do you normally eat for breakfast, of do you skip it and get straight to work?
Couldn’t go without breakfast.  Cereal, toast, or eggs, juice or milk.

What are 4 things you never leave home without (apart from keys, money and phone)?
Purse—no, just kidding.  Let me see—credit cards, clothes (can’t go out naked), sense of humor, and sunscreen.

Sleep in or get up early?
Depends—I can’t sleep I real late, but unless I have to, I don’t relish getting up when it’s still dark out either.

Laptop, desktop or old fashioned pen and paper for writing?
I write my initial drafts with pen and paper, then once the draft is typed by a transcriber I edit the manuscript on my computer.

Your thoughts on receiving book reviews – the good and the bad – A necessary part of the business.
I enjoy reading my good reviews and the bad ones—well, I try to convince myself reading is very subjective. Right?

Where is one place in the world that you would really love to visit someday?
Antarctica.

One of your favorite quotes –
“Mr. Townes, you behave as if stupidity were a virtue.” From Flight of the Phoenix, the Jimmy Stewart version.

An actor or a book character you have a crush on –
There are plenty of intelligent sexy female actresses I could easily develop a crush on. Instead I just see their movies.

Is your book in Print, ebook or both?
Ebook

And last, but not least, where can readers stalk you?
My blog
My facebook page
My Goodreads author page 
Twitter
Amazon
Smashwords
Barnesandnoble.com 
Website

 

Interview with Scott Dominic Carpenter, Author of This Jealous Earth

df2c88a301320ac1d18809_L__V400353433_SX200_A Pushcart Prize nominee and a semi-finalist for the MVP competition at New Rivers Press, Scott Dominic Carpenter has published fiction in a broad array of journals, some if it included in the anthology, Best Indie Lit New England. This Jealous Earth (2013) is his first collection of short stories. His debut novel, Theory of Remainders, will appear in May 2013. He teaches French literature at Carleton College (MN), and his website is located at www.sdcarpenter.com.

Follow him on Twitter

***

When did you first realize you needed to put pen to paper?

I’ve always been a writer of one sort of another. Creative writing started in high school and college, but then came many years of more academic prose. I returned to creative writing only five or six years ago, taking to it with the appetite of one long starved: I gorged on it. Writing is the way I make sense of my world, so I spend a lot of time doing it.

One of the most important aspects of any story, in my opinion, is description. Often either overdone or underdone, what is your best advice to writers on how to strike the perfect balance?

It’s tricky, isn’t it? I can’t claim to have mastered all the aspects of description, but I do try to follow a few principles. One is: let the verbs and nouns do the work. Whenever I see adjectives and adverbs gathering like mold, I try to scrub them out. With bleach and stiff bristles.

Another principle is to grant powerful descriptions only to worthy subjects. Not everything is of equal value, and one should reserve great images for important items. Otherwise the reader loses focus.

I find much of my inspiration in coffee shops, and many of the conversations and interactions I have witnessed there have proved to be influential in my tales. Has anyone you’ve ever witnessed become the inspiration for a character, or at least a particular part of a character?

Oh, yes. Most of my characters are composites of people I’ve met. A particular example is in the short piece, “Thrift,” which tells of a well-to-do woman who shoplifts. I was in a shop once when the manager confronted a woman. He’d caught her thefts on video and was going to call the police. The woman—snappily dressed, maybe forty-five—was unflappable and admitted nothing, but she offered (“of course,” she said) to pay for what they accused her of taking. I was fascinated by this encounter, and my imaginings evolved into this story.

Finding your voice in writing is one of the most important aspects of it. Some writers, myself included, wrote in a myriad of genres before discovering where our style was best suited. Is there a particular genre that speaks the most to you? Why? And how did you find it?

I’m a bit torn. I love wry humor, but I can also go for the lyrical, and often these two come together. I guess they create a special flavor that is my prose. That said, it’s excellent practice for writers to attempt different styles and voices; it trains you to write in the voices of characters and narrators. Often the style of an entire story is really the bouquet of different styles contained within.

Speaking of voice, when you write, do you find that you become the characters, or are you more of a guest at their dinner party where they share their story with you?

That’s a tough question. I’ve never been one of those people for whom characters take on a life of their own, for which I serve as their secretary. But I do feel that I adopt a different point of view—that is, that I see the world through the eyes of an eight-year-old boy, or a fifty-eight-year-old woman, or a forty-year-old man. It’s a kind of transmigration of souls. I find myself sympathizing deeply with my characters. It’s embarrassing, really. In the title story, “This Jealous Earth,” the character Cat is one of my favorites. I tear up every time I read those damn pages.

Tell us a little about your editing process.

It’s painful. It’s endless. It’s necessary.

Whenever I finish a story, I’m astonished: for once I have written something so good that it hardly needs a lick of revision! The next day, I’m tearing it apart and rebuilding it. I think revision is the most important part of the process, and I feel that one of my greatest strengths as a writer is that I’m stubborn and have stamina. I can force myself to revise. Thank God.

What is the worst writing advice you’ve ever received?

There was one guy who obsessed over opening lines. It was kind of a Wallace Stegner approach, which says that you can’t write anything until you make that first line perfect, and afterwards, the whole story/novel/play/poem will flow effortlessly. In the trade, we have a technical term for that kind of advice: “bullshit.” If you’re waiting for perfection, you’ll never write a single page.

The best?

Though I hate to say it, the best advice I get (on a regular basis) is: “Do it again. Make it better.” It’s nice to hear praise, but praise doesn’t move me forward very much.

Another thing that it took me a long time to understand was the crucial nature of beginnings. Now, I don’t mean to contradict what I said above about the Stegner approach (I’m not talking about perfection here), but one does eventually need to lay out the premise and problem of a story set in the opening lines, in a way that asks important questions. That’s what hooks the reader.

I’m especially grateful to the friend who pounded that lesson into my head (after many failed attempts).

For those writers who have not yet completed their first novel, what advice would you give them?

You mean, other than, “Run away!”?

Seriously, though, my advice would be simple. Be diligent. Yes, you need imagination, but the rare thing is craft, and craft takes time to develop. Read other books while you write, and see how other authors solve the problems you are encountering.

What is one book (besides one of your own) that you think everyone should read?

Tough call. But how about Paul Auster’s, The Book of Illusions?

If you could be interviewed by one famous person (besides me… ha!), who would that be and why?

How about an evening talk show host? In some countries (France, I’m thinking of you) there are whole television shows dedicated to conversations about literature. What if someone tried that? All right, maybe not during the fall sweeps, but still, sometime?

Can readers expect more from you in the not too distant future?

You bet. I have a novel called Theory of Remainders that is slated to come out in May, 2013. It’s the gripping story of a psychiatrist wrestling with trauma his own past. You can learn about it here: http://wintergoosepublishing.com/products/theory-of-remainders/.

And there are plenty of other projects in the pipeline. Readers who want to keep abreast of developments can check on http://www.sdcarpenter.com.

I’m a Kindle girl, myself. E-readers – love them or hate them?

Because I don’t want to be chained to Amazon, I prefer the iPad. No, it doesn’t have the feel of an old-fashioned book—and I miss having current titles lying around the house where I encounter them again and again. However, I do value having an entire library with me when I travel, which I do a lot.

Biggest problem in the publishing industry you see?

I feel the industry is narrowing its focus, seeking books that fall into a narrow band of tastes. They’re looking for economies of scale at precisely the time that electronic publishing and print-on-demand should make it easier to offer a vast array of niche titles. Pretty soon all we’ll have are best-sellers—which are often pretty formulaic.

Weirdest unknown fact about you (that you are brave enough to share)?

I once worked in a uranium mine. That was a little unusual.

Any other updates?

I’ll be doing readings from This Jealous Earth in a few cities in January, February and March. If readers would like to learn more about these events—or if they’d like to inquire about the my availability for book groups (sometimes I do Skyped visits), they can find all the relevant information under “events” at www.sdcarpenter.com.

***

Excerpt from the story “Field Notes” in This Jealous Earth:TJE_cover_300px

One evening near the end of our vacation Mom placed in the center of the table a vat of macaroni and cheese with little frankfurters mixed in, the size and color of pinkie
fingers. Dad greeted this dish with a minced oath, and she shot back with how, if he didn’t like it, maybe we should go out for a meal. Well, maybe he would go to a restaurant, he allowed, if that’s what it took to get a decent meal around here. Conversation lulled after that. Forks clinked against the bowls, accompanied by the sound of five jaws laboring at undercooked pasta.

Above my bed that night I made out the dark outline of the ribbon of flypaper as it twisted slowly on its string. Several black dots showed dimly, one of them still budging. I imagined myself in the fly’s situation—only able to raise one foot by pushing down and sticking the other. There was no way out of glue like that. He was a goner, fully exposed on the strip of tan paper, not even able to turn invisible.

An animal crooned in the distance outside, and a flap of metal creaked in the wind. Willy wheezed in the bed to my left, and Neil’s deep breaths rumbled in the dark to my right. Something was different, a hint of atmospheric disturbance, as though the barometric pressure had plummeted and a storm was brewing.

This Jealous Earth
Available in print and eBook formats from MG Press
Shop now

Interview with Author Mariam Kobras

Born in Frankfurt, Germany, Mariam lived in Brazil and Saudi Arabia with her parents as a child before they decided to settle in Germany. She attended school there and studied American Literature and Psychology at Justus-Liebig-University in Giessen, where she met her husband. She lives in Hamburg, Germany, with her husband, two sons and two cats.

When did you first realize you needed to put pen to paper?

I don’t think there was one specific moment. It’s something that grows in you, something like a melody you hear in the background for a long time, until one morning you open your eyes and there it is, loud and clear, and you know what needs to be done. When that moment comes it’s like the crest of a huge ocean wave, and the urge to sit down and write is overpowering, inundating, and you just have to do it. I remember quite clearly how I started to write The Distant Shore—my first real attempt at writing—and nothing else mattered anymore. It was much the same when I started the sequel, Under the Same Sun. That actually surprised me a little, and pleased me. I had thought it was a one-time thing. But the urge doesn’t go away.

One of the most important aspects of any story, in my opinion, is description. Often either overdone or underdone, what is your best advice to writers on how to strike the perfect balance?

Close your eyes and picture the scene. Then describe what you think makes the image perfect. Often the atmosphere is more important than, say, the color of the couch.

It’s like looking at a stage: what makes the scene work, how will its mood influence the action that’s going to happen there? Is the place you’re about to describe an echo of one of the characters?

Personally, I like to describe settings as seen through the eyes of one of the persons involved in that scene. This gives it a subjective feel and makes it more intimate.

Let’s take, for example, the chapter of “Under The Same Sun” when Jon first sees Positano, where they go to visit Naomi’s maternal family. They drive across the mountains, and suddenly he sees the ocean, and the green hillsides, and the little town plastered to the cliffs. You can write just that: he saw the town on the shore, and the ocean was blue. Or you write what he really sees: serenity, Mediterranean beauty, a place where he knows he’ll find a few days of peace from his busy life. There are layers to a setting. And it’s our job, as an author, to find them.

I find much of my inspiration in coffee shops, and many of the conversations and interactions I have witnessed there have proved to be influential in my tales. Has anyone you’ve ever witnessed become the inspiration for a character, or at least a particular part of a character?

There is one character who is based on a photo of a real person, and that would be Sal. He is based on the one picture I’ve seen of Tom Catalano, a music producer who has worked with Neil Diamond, Helen Reddy, and others. I always thought he did a really great job, and he is kind of cute . But my Sal is totally invented. He’s more homage to Tom Catalano

Finding your voice in writing is one of the most important aspects of it. Some writers, myself included, wrote in a myriad of genres before discovering where our style was best suited. Is there a particular genre that speaks the most to you? Why? And how did you find it?

Well, The Distant Shore was my first attempt at writing a novel. I didn’t feel like I was done with the characters from that book and my publisher wanted a series, so that novel has evolved into a trilogy.

I have no idea why I’m writing what my publisher calls “contemporary fiction / romance”. They labeled it after I’d written and submitted it. I didn’t find it. It found me. The story was there, and I wrote it. End of story.

Speaking of voice, when you write, do you find that you become the characters, or are you more of a guest at their dinner party where they share their story with you?

I’m one of the characters—most of the time. He is pivotal, and the other characters react to him. Why I prefer seeing the world as Jon Stone, and not his wife, Naomi, I don’t know. It’s funny because I made him a musician and her a writer, and one would think I’d feel a greater affinity to the writer-character.

I think the secret is that I really don’t know anything about writing. It just happens. And that’s the way Naomi writes, too. She shrugs her shoulders at people who ask her how she does what she does, and just goes on. Jon, on the other hand, is the person who struggles with his creative processes, who dissects and prods and pokes.

I used to teach theater and musicals, so I know something of that.

Jon is the one with the doubts and fear. He’s my alter-ego. I see his world through his eyes, most of the time.

Tell us a little about your editing process.

Editing? What’s editing?

No, seriously. The first draft of The Distant Shore had an epic 400K words. I KNOW! I had to edit it down to 136K, which eventually ended up in the printed version. That was a major editing effort, and it had to be done with lighting speed, too, because I had this publisher waiting for the manuscript, literally drumming their fingers on their desk. I think I did it in less than three weeks, and after that I sort of collapsed.

Now, I edit while I write. It’s not something I really love to do, but the innocence of that first novel is gone, and the little editing devil sitting on my shoulder watches every word I write really, really closely. As a result, I don’t really have to do a whole lot anymore when I type “The End”. Well, at least not until the real editing and polishing begins once my publisher gets the manuscript.

What is the worst writing advice you’ve ever received?

Oh gosh… I don’t listen to writing advice aside from my editor’s. I have no idea!

The best?

There really is only one, and it comes, again, from my editor: “Butt in chair, write!”

I would add, “Read a lot!” Seriously, you can only learn writing by writing. By doing it. There are so many “writers” on Twitter who talk about writing all the time but don’t DO it. That’s like reading cookbooks but never trying to cook. You’ll not get a meal by reading recipes! You’ll have to use those pots and cook.

For those writers who have not yet completed their first novel, what advice would you give them?

Be patient with yourself. It takes a long, long time to write a novel, you might not finish it in a month, or even a year. Just keep plugging along until it’s done.

Finish one project before you start the next. And I mean that literally: END the story. Find an ending! This is not as easy as it may sound. I know people who have thirty, forty projects lying around, all of them started, none of them finished.

Sometimes I think there’s a fear of finishing something, because that’s the point when you have to start submitting it if you’re serious about it. And submitting might end in rejection.

What is one book (besides one of your own) that you think everyone should read?

Everyone? I don’t think there’s ONE book for everyone. I don’t know.

I can tell you, though, which books are my favorites, the ones I consider masterpieces:

Vikram Seth’s A Suitable Boy, John Galsworthy’s Forsyte Saga, Sigrid Undset’s Kristin Lavransdottir, Naguib Mahfus’ Cairo Trilogy, and AlanGurganus’ Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells It All. I also love Sean Jeter Naslund’s Ahab’s Wife a lot.

If you could be interviewed by one famous person (besides me… ha!), who would that be and why?

Oy, what a difficult question! I really don’t know…I don’t think I know any famous people?

Besides you, of course!

On second thought, I’d really like a chat with a music star, like Bruce Springsteen, or Neil Diamond. I’d ask them about how they see the mix of fame, creativity and a private life. Oh wait, then I’d be interviewing them.

Can readers expect more from you in the not too distant future?

We’re celebrating the launch of my second book, Under the Same Sun, with this blog hop. It’s the sequel to The Distant Shore, and is book two in the Stone Trilogy. The third book is written and with the publisher, and the planned release is next summer. The working title of that book is Song of the Storm.

Right now I’m working on a new trilogy. It’s based in the same world as the Stone Trilogy but highlights other members of the extended family. The first one deals primarily with Naomi’s parents and how they suffer from the aftermath of 9/11. But you’ll also get to see Jon and Naomi again!

I’m a Kindle girl, myself. E-readers – love them or hate them?

Both.

When I’m traveling, I really love ebooks—so much more room in your bags for new things!

As an author, though, I have to say I really, really love print books. I’m not sure I’d really feel like an “author” if I couldn’t hold my own books in my hands. It’s a feeling that’s very, very hard to top!

My publisher tells me, though, that I’m selling more of the ebook versions of my novels than the paper books.

I guess there’s room for both.

Biggest problem in the publishing industry you see?

I have NO idea. For me, getting published was a breeze. See, I never submitted my first book to any publisher. My publisher found me on Twitter. One morning I woke up to find that black cat following me. That in itself was exciting enough, a REAL publisher, following me, a writing nobody! A short while later I posted page 99 of The Distant Shore on my blog. Moments later I got a message from Buddhapuss Ink, asking for the manuscript. It was so not ready to send, so I told them they would have to wait a few weeks. (Yes, I can hear your laughter! Now I know what a total no-no that is, but back then, who knew? They replied that they would wait, and patiently, but they didn’t, and kept asking. So I packed the entire, unformatted thing into an attachment and sent it off. I think there was no real synopsis either, and my idea of marketing my book was to “do anything but dance naked on tables”. Yes, that’s really what I wrote! A couple of weeks later I had my first book deal.

So, you see, I really don’t know about problems in publishing. I have no agent. I work directly with my publisher, and I adore my editor.

Weirdest unknown fact about you (that you are brave enough to share)?

I collect Starbucks City mugs. Is that weird enough?

Any other updates?

Not really. I’m waiting for the new Doctor Who season to come to Germany, hoping to be able to travel to the US again next year. And I’m writing, writing, writing. It’s basically all I do.

Oh! I’ve discovered a liking for Baroque opera! And it’s definitely time to turn on the furnace.

This was the second stop in Mariam’s Blog Hop celebrating the launch of her latest book, Under the Same Sun (Book II in the Stone Trilogy) which hit the Amazon.com bestseller list on its first day on sale and then sold out!

It will be back in stock soon, but while you’re waiting you can go to our blog and click the link to read the first two chapters, or you can leave a comment below about this blog post for a chance to win one of three copies of Under the Same Sun! You can get additional chances by following Mariam on every stop on her hop 

and leaving comments after each post. And hey, while you’re here, why not follow this blog. You won’t regret it.

Tomorrow, Wednesday, 10/17, Mariam will be visiting Amberr Meadows’ blog. Join us there!

Check our blog for the full calendar and more details!

From the award-winning author of the bestseller, The Distant Shore, comes Under the Same Sun, Book II of the Stone Trilogy.
Jon and Naomi’s marriage is strained as she struggles with the aftermath of her near fatal shooting at the Oscars, a growing desire for a baby, and the realization that her father will never give up his plans for the family s hotel business. Alone with her fears, she falls right into the trap of a stalker…

Available on Amazon

Land of Hope Blog Tour – Interview with Junying Kirk

When did you first realize you needed to put pen to paper?

I started writing in earnest in 1997, although I had been writing prior to that. I wrote short stories in Chinese, regular diaries in both Chinese and English, and a number of research papers and never-ending dissertations. But one day in the spring of 1997, after I handed in that awfully long PhD thesis, I sat down and started typing The Same Moon, the book had been brewing in my head for as long as I could remember but didn’t have time for till then.

One of the most important aspects of any story, in my opinion, is description. Often either overdone or underdone, what is your best advice to writers on how to strike the perfect balance?

In my humble view, balance is relative. It all depends on which kind of books authors write and the kind of stories they want to tell. Every author has his or her own style, and if you have established a unique style, stick with it. There is no perfect formula to writing, and if there were, the books we read would be so boring, wouldn’t it?

I find much of my inspiration in coffee shops, and many of the conversations and interactions I have witnessed there have proved to be influential in my tales. Has anyone you’ve ever witnessed become the inspiration for a character, or at least a particular part of a character?

Oh yes, people I meet become characters, unwittingly, both to them and to me at the time. When I start writing, characters form in my head and it is then I know what kind of characters I want to build, and their characteristics become crystal clear – they are taken from people I know, whether it’s the way they look, they talk, they walk or even how they think, if I know them well. It helps me to create characters which are authentic and credible – it’s funny that often the characters I’ve created become more real than the people I based them upon, because I spend so much time inside those characters that I feel that I know them inside out, they are more than simply characters to me, not unlike a mother giving birth to a baby. When you think about it, authors often carry their ‘babies’ for nine months, or longer.

Finding your voice in writing is one of the most important aspects of it. Some writers, myself included, wrote in a myriad of genres before discovering where our style was best suited. Is there a particular genre that speaks the most to you? Why? And how did you find it?

Lisa, I am totally with you on this point. From what I have read from your writing, we are similar in a way that our books are, as you said, a myriad of genres. When I set out in writing my first book, it never occurred to me to write in a certain genre, as stories just poured out of my mind like a broken dam. There was no stopping till it was done and dusted. I had trouble when I was asked to categorize my book. In the end, I put it down as contemporary, literary fiction, but some readers commented that it read like a memoir, and others said that it could be called historical fiction, because it dealt with issues of particulars times in our recent history.

When I began the final installment of my Journey to the West trilogy, Land of Hope, again I allowed the stories and characters took over and did not set to write in a particular genre. I just had a compulsion to tell the stories of the people I have met in my current line of work, as a professional interpreter. I was a little surprised when one of my first reviews described my book as “a totally, captivating, and powerfully potent suspense thriller” (Amazon) – There is certainly an element of crime fiction in Land of Hope, and I’m thrilled to bits with the positive response I have received so far. My love for Scandinavian Nordic crime thrillers must have got under my skin – I’ve produced a suspense thriller without even realizing it :) How awesome is that!

Speaking of voice, when you write, do you find that you become the characters, or are you more of a guest at their dinner party where they share their story with you?

I became the characters, absolutely. I put on my ‘thinking hats’ for different characters, men, women, good, bad and evil, I imagine myself in their shoes – what would be my motivation? why did I have to do that? I LOVE entering the minds of different characters and ‘acted’ like them, so to speak.

For the life of me, I can’t act, far too shy to be an actor :) However, I remember one comment which I’ll never forget. During one of my many occasions an an interpreter in a police station, a guy from FACT (Federation Against Copyright Theft) said to me: “You’re the best interpreter I’ve ever worked with. Not only you interpreted quickly and fluently, you even sounded like the person you were interpreting for” – I was interpreting for a male, illegal immigrant who was selling counterfeit DVDs and got caught!

Tell us a little about your editing process.

Apart from it being boring ;)? After I finish my first draft – I try not to do much editing when I was writing, I go back to MS.  I guess I am quite lucky, in the sense that I already have the basic structure in my head before I put thoughts into words, so my final draft is often not too different from the one I started with. For Land of Hope, I used beta-readers, and I found that extremely useful – I did make quite a few changes due to their constructive comments. I also use an editor who tidy up my MS, ridding it off typos, and other errors. It pays to get my work to look as professionally as possible, even as an Indie author.

What is the worst writing advice you’ve ever received?

Never had any. If I had, I ignored it and forgot about it :)

The best?

Just over a couple of weeks ago, I sent out a round robin to some on-line friends, asking if any of them would like to help me with promoting my new book. Shortly after, I received a reply from my friend Sandra Valente and she said: “You should create a badge and do a blog tour”. Not only that, she immediately created a fabulous badge for me and offered me a space on her blog. I think that’s the kind of advice I really needed and the practical help I could not do without! Thank you, Sandra, and you Lisa, for having me here talking to you :).

For those writers who have not yet completed their first novel, what advice would you give them?

Keep writing and finish it the best you can.

What is one book (besides one of your own) that you think everyone should read?

Can I recommend three at once? It’s Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy – Modern literature at its very best!

If you could be interviewed by one famous person (besides me… ha!), who would that be and why?

Kevin Spacey, and I won’t tell you why, so keep guessing :)!

Can readers expect more from you in the not too distant future?

Most definitely – for those who have not read any of my books, go and get a copy of Land of Hope now :) It is my hope to turn my stories into screen plays for the small or big screens either here in the UK or in China. There are more stories in the pipeline, but my priority is to prefect my trilogy, so I’ll revisit The Same Moon and Trials of Life, with a view to bring out paperbacks in the near future.

I’m a Kindle girl, myself. E-readers – love them or hate them?

Love Kindle, and now my iPad. No going back!My paperbacks on my shelves are craning their necks in a very long queue at this moment in time :). My recent orders from Amazon are all e-books :).

Biggest problem in the publishing industry you see?

Too many authors and too many books, and I must admit that some books are just not good enough!

Weirdest unknown fact about you (that you are brave enough to share)?

One of the most exciting, also weird experiences I have had was to raid a Brothel with the Police in the UK – well, it was an unknown fact about me until you read Land of Hope- I did write about it in my most recent book, but not many people know about it, as I do not go around boasting about seeking a naked girl with her equally naked punter :).

Any other updates?

Come and find me at http://www.junyingkirk.com/, where I regularly blog about my travels, fabulous food and books, and future projects.

Finally, I would love to see some of you the day after tomorrow, on the 18th of October when I will be spending time with the author of School of the Ages Matt Posner, where I’ll introduce to you a special character from Land of Hope.

Book Blurb: Junying Kirk completes her ‘Journey to the West’ trilogy with this inter-racial saga. A complex love story is interwoven through a tale of international crime, broken dreams, human trafficking and sexual exploitation. ‘Journey’ is just that, a merciless trek from the coast of Southern China to the drug farms in the heart of England, exposing worlds you never would have imagined exist.

Available on Amazon.UKAmazon.Com, and on Smashwords

 

 

Interview with Wyatt McIntyre, Author of The Last Dance

Born in Valleyview Alberta and currently residing in Woodridge Illinois, as an amateur woodworker, Wyatt McIntyre sees crafting a story in the same way he carves. Starting with a blank and rough surface, each word, each sentence and line is meant to express a vision that slowly turns the original material into a finished work of beauty. Along with The Last Dance, his first novel, Wyatt is also the author of the theological work, Coping Through Christianity: Strengthening the Wounded Heart and Broken Spirit through God’s Love.

When did you first realize you needed to put pen to paper?

I was young, very young, and the truth was I was an awkward and odd kid who used to spend a lot of his time lost in books and stories. By first or second grade Mom had to put a limit on the number I could bring home from the library or I’d just end up taking out the entire thing. I think that was when I really started to write. I always had an imagination and I lived in it a lot, especially as time wore on and we moved a lot. I discovered that I had a hard time connecting with people my own age or making friends. Later I was told that I write so I can have the story that I want and the ending to it that I need, and in a very real way that’s what I had always done. I wrote to re-imagine myself, to re-imagine situations and circumstances. It was my way of feeling normal and that everything could and would be alright. Over time this has evolved, but in some of my stories, even in some of them that don’t have the ending I would have wanted, there’s a lot of me there.

One of the most important aspects of any story, in my opinion, is description. Often either overdone or underdone, what is your best advice to writers on how to strike the perfect balance?

You know, overdone has always been my fault. I’m a serial over-describer in my books and stories and the balance has always been a difficult one for me to overcome and I have to battle with my inner Steinbeck (that is if I were anywhere near the writer he was that is). Usually I have to cut a lot to really make it work and not drown someone in the details of it all. I guess the best advice I can give is that writing is meant to be organic and natural. Think about life, think about yourself in the situations, the places and the thoughts you are writing about, and put yourself right there. Then, when you do, think about how you would describe it to yourself and to someone else to make them understand. Imagination is such an important part of writing, but it has to have an element of reality in it. We tend to over describe when we just don’t have a way of relating it, and under describe when we don’t necessarily know how to. Find what’s real for you and put it to paper, and be willing to adapt it later. That’s about the only way I know how to strike that balance.

Your writing has a trait that I personally love to find in books – a certain honesty and realness in characters. For me, I find much of my inspiration in coffee shops, and many of the conversations and interactions I have witnessed there have proved to be influential in my tales. Has anyone you’ve ever witnessed become the inspiration for a character, or at least a particular part of a character?

The short answer is yes. The long answer is I actually go out looking for inspiration for some of them. In The Last Dance, for example, I struggled a little with Alejandra because I knew who I wanted her to be, I knew the kind of person that I wanted her to be, but I struggled a bit with making her real. She was very one-dimensional and rough in my early sketches of her. James, on the other hand, was easy because I could wrap my head around him, his hopes, his fears, what drove him to make the decisions he made — her though, not so much. So I went back and I found inspiration where I could, I took pieces I could find, read interviews with women, and found inspiration. I leaned on that to try and make her more than just a character, but a real person as well, taking these bits and pieces, adding them to what I knew I wanted her to be like and just put together a puzzle. I have one source of inspiration that’s perhaps more apparent than others, especially for female characters, but I suppose that’s a different story for a different time.

Finding your voice in writing is one of the most important aspects of it. Some writers, myself included, wrote in a myriad of genres before discovering where our style was best suited. Is there a particular genre that speaks the most to you? Why? And how did you find it?

I never really tried other genres. I mean, yes, I write Non-Fiction as well as Fiction, and I will continue to in the future, sticking to the areas I am comfortable writing in. For Fiction, even my short stories, tend to lean heavily on the emotional experience. Yes, some are darker than others, but that’s mostly because I tend towards the wide range of the human experience and loss and pain is part of it. That being said, I love a good love story, and have ever since the first time I saw Roman Holiday as a kid. A part of me always wants to believe that through whatever losses and pain life may bring there is faith, hope and love. Perhaps it doesn’t happen the way you thought it would happen, and perhaps the story is different than the way you thought it would be written, with more struggles than originally anticipated. But, in the end, you find that sense, that feeling, that love that encompasses you, that takes hold of you and never lets go. I write them so that I can give a story that’s perhaps familiar to me, and hopefully the reader, except with a different angle or two that’s thrown in, and give it the ending that, in my heart of hearts, I want it to have.

Speaking of voice, when you write, do you find that you become the characters, or are you more of a guest at their dinner party where they share their story with you?

I findthat, in some cases, it’s not so much that I become the characters, it’s more that they are, in some ways, an extension of who I am. Obviously, that’s not always the case. In a short story I wrote a while back, The Execution, I was definitely more removed than I am otherwise because I had no personal experience of the situation that I wrote about, and it made it harder for me to write it. That being said, most of the time, I pour a lot of myself into my characters, and, if I don’t, I close my eyes and yes, let myself become the character. I find that, especially in the stories I’m drawn to write, you can’t be a casual observer, you need to put yourself there, you need to feel like they feel, you need to see the world like they do if you’re going to craft it right. You need to have this vision in your head, understanding who they are because, if you can’t do that, they aren’t going to seem real and you’re going to leave people wanting something more that you just weren’t able to provide, namely that ability to connect with them on even a very basic level. In that sense, I only ever write a story I can on some level know, because the characters either are an extension of me or are capable of making me an extension of them.

Does the The Last Dance readers are enjoying today differ greatly from your first draft or do you find that your stories evolve more in the plotting stage before even beginning to write them?

Plotting? Ummmm…. Oh… that sort of plotting… Sorry, thought you knew too much for a moment…

The first draft was actually vastly different. First because I went back and I had to re-write Alejandra in a lot of ways. I didn’t have a firm enough understanding of her as a person the first go around. She just wasn’t as strong as she needed to be to contrast well enough with James in the ways that she needed to, and, in that sense she was more of a girl than she was a woman. For her to be who she needed to be, she deserved a lot better than that. Second, it was just too much of a fairy tale, and, let’s face it, that isn’t what a love story is, especially not theirs, not if it was going to be real. So I went back and I took chunks of the story out, and re-wrote other parts, still staying true to the original concept but trying to make it stronger, trying to make it more relatable to. For as much as they loved each other, or as much as they longed for each other, there were other feelings, other emotions that needed to be there, hurt, pain, a sense of loss, and they needed to come out a little more than I had originally let them feel. I had to embrace the fact that it wasn’t the same as when they had first met, they weren’t the same and, over those years, a lot in them had changed. Finally, and probably the most notably, it’s a much more linear story. Though it is told with different moments of their future together, flashing back, it doesn’t jump around nearly as much as it once did. It follows a specific track from beginning to end to answer the question of how they ended up together rather than if they would.

What is the worst writing advice you’ve ever received?

I don’t know if I can say to be perfectly honest. I take any advice I get in stride, and try to find the good in it all, realizing that there is something that can be taken from it, even if it doesn’t seem like it at the time. In a sense it’s a matter of how you end up looking at it. If it can help you then it can, if it doesn’t then store it for later because, who knows, there may come a time when you need it. That’s why I actually keep all the advice given to me, and I go back every now and then to look it over again, seeing what I can take away from it at any given time, realizing not every story is going to be written in the same way, and so there is something I may be able to derive from that advice at that moment.

For those writers who have not yet completed their first novel, what advice would you give them?

Make certain you’re writing the story that you want to write and it’s true to the vision that you have for it. Writing isn’t about selling a book, though it always feels good when you do. Writing is about telling a story that you believe needs to be told, for whatever reason it may be. In that sense, you write because it’s not only what you love to do but because it’s what you see yourself doing and you see your hopes and dreams for that story in it. It’s not just a matter of getting the book out, it’s a matter of putting something out there that you are proud of, that you believe in. In the end it’s about who you are and the kind of writer you want to be more than anything else. If you can do that then you have done something, created something that is worthwhile, and that’s what ultimately matters.

What is one book (besides one of your own) that you think everyone should read?

Hmmm… A Thirty-Something Girl? Oh wait, you’re already interviewing me, I guess I don’t need to suck up.

Seriously, actually it was a terrific book, and I really did love it. That being said, I would probably say Absalom, Absalom by William Faulkner. I love that book, it’s the kind that transcends time, telling a story that is so real and palpable. Thomas Supten, in his rise and his fall, is the best and the worst of us in the most basic of ways, establishing his own eventual tragic fate, living by a warped code of honor that he justifies in his own mind but that is nothing more than a betrayal of himself. Though we perhaps aren’t necessarily as blatant or apparent as he is, and the situations are different, written in a different time and place, it’s one of those books that force us to look at our priorities, our morality and the levels we are willing to go to in search of something. His own sense of right and wrong, his own sense of responsibility is limited by his own arrogance and pride, and it’s what ultimately creates the circumstances and the situations for him, and, in that sense, it sort of is a cautionary tale for all of us, told only in the way that Faulkner can. Every time I read it I always seem to draw something new from it.

If you could be interviewed by one famous person (besides me… ha!), who would that be and why?

Honestly? Never gave it much thought. I guess maybe Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert. Those two guys just crack me up. I think I could have fun.

Can readers expect more from Wyatt McIntyre in the not too distant future? (Please say yes!)

I certainly hope so. I have a book I am currently finishing, another non-fiction one called, Into the Arena: A Beginners Guide to Political Campaigns, the area where most of my professional experience lies as a former Political Staffer. It will be my second non-fiction work, though, obviously covering vastly different topics than Coping Through Christianity. Outside of that I am in the process of writing my next novel, another love story, this time from a different angle of The Last Dance, telling a story of a man who is suddenly cast between two choices, the life he thought he once wanted, and that pushed him down the road towards the path he is on now when it came crumbling down, or the life that he has at that moment. It’s actually a re-working and a re-writing of a project I had started some time ago, but I am hoping that, as I sit down and do it again time and perspective have given me the opportunity to write something better and more meaningful. Those are the big projects I have going on but there are other ones that are twirling, and swirling through my head all the time, it’s just a matter of actually having the hours in the day to do them.

Where do you see the publishing world 10 years from now?

Well, I’m hoping that, if it doesn’t work out between me and it, that we can still be friends, you know…

Actually I see it more moving towards the Indie market if it keeps going the way that it’s going. One of the misconceptions of Indie writers is that they do it because they can’t make the cut or are just doing it because they have been rejected so many times. The truth is that it’s less about that, and more about believing in the story you’ve written. Don’t get me wrong, I have been rejected by agents, but every rejection I have ever received came with the qualifier that this is just a subjective opinion of one person and another agent may see the project a different way, but they just don’t see the market demand for my book at this moment. Maybe they’re right, maybe there isn’t at that moment, but I am the kind of person who believes in actually letting the market itself decide that, and I think most other Indies are like me. The problem is you need the subjective opinion to get into the door of a major publishing company. I think, with time, more and more aspiring writers, especially those who see how many are only taking new authors by referral of their current clients only, are going to get more and more frustrated by it and utilize the tools at their disposal to put their own work out. Just a bit of a gut feeling but it’s sort of the way things are trending towards even now as major publishers seem to be taking a hit as are traditional book stores and agents. If they don’t evolve the way they need to there is going to be the threat that they will take an even larger one in the future.

Weirdest unknown fact about you (that you are brave enough to share)?

Weirdest fact? Hmmm… Way to make me feel boring with that question, I honestly have to think about it for a minute or two. I don’t know, it’s me so it seems, at least quasi-normal for me, after all. How about this? When I was a kid I was terrified of the MacDonald’s Moon Man, Mac Tonight. I had this reoccurring nightmare that the moon would become his head and he would float down with his piano and try to kill me.

Any other updates from the wonderful world of Wyatt?

Well I’m putting out the actual paperback copy of The Last Dance out in the next week or so, just putting the final touches on it to make sure that it is just right, so you can watch for that. If you check out my website or follow me on Twitter I usually update pretty often, especially when I am excited about a new project, or have something new out, including poems or short stories you can find on my page. Usually my followers there know before me about what’s going on with me, something, you know, about posting before I am fully caffeinated. At any rate that’s about it, but a lot of exciting stuff on the horizon. So I hope you keep watching!

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Connect with Wyatt on his websiteFacebook, and follow him on Twitter.

Read my review of The Last Dance HERE

Interview with Author, Kristine M. Smith

When did you first realize you needed to put pen to paper?

It was waaaay before pen.  I fell in love with writing the moment a teacher showed me how to string words into sentences…third or fourth grade, while I was still writing with what Bill Cosby called “pencils the size of a horse’s leg”.  I’ve been hooked ever since!

One of the most important aspects of any story, in my opinion, is description. Often either overdone or underdone, what is your best advice to writers on how to strike the perfect balance?

Since I’m 99.999% a non-fiction writer, I usually write conversationally, as though sitting across the table from my readers one-on-one. I suppose I might be accused of under-writing description (by your lights) since I’m not sure I could describe my sister or my mother well enough to enable a reader to pick them out of a line-up of other females. That said, no one has ever mentioned to me that I under-describe or over-describe. Being a full-time copywriter has made me a better, more compelling writer, I think. My copy is usually active, present tense, and immediate in nature.

I find much of my inspiration in coffee shops, and many of the conversations and interactions I have witnessed there have proved to be influential in my tales.Has anyone you’ve ever witnessed become the inspiration for a character, or at least a particular part of a character?

My inspiration for most of my life has been either Attorney General/Senator Robert F. Kennedy or actor DeForest Kelley. DeForest Kelley was my mentor; in fact, he launched my writing career in 1969 by sending a story I had written about meeting him to a New York magazine whose publisher chose to publish it as a special holiday piece that year. I have written several STAR TREK novels where Dr. McCoy is the main character but they remain in large, unruly envelopes, waiting for me to finalize them or consign them to eternal obscurity. I wrote them years before I had a computer, so it would be quite the undertaking to resurrect them…but they’re good so I’m thinking about resurrecting a couple of them in time for STAR TREK’s 50TH anniversary in 2016.

Finding your voice in writing is one of the most important aspects of it. Some writers, myself included, wrote in a myriad of genres before discovering where our style was best suited. Is there a particular genre that speaks the most to you? Why? And how did you find it?

Non-fiction—anecdotal memoir—is my genre of choice. I’ve written seven different books; they’re on such different topics you’d swear I’m schizophrenic, but they are all a part of my life and my heart. They are (in chronological order) DeForest Kelley: A Harvest of Memories (memoir about my association with DeForest and Carolyn Kelley); Floating Around Hollywood and Other Totally-True Tales of Triumph (book of humor about being a floating secretary in Hollywood for 13 years); Let No Day Dawn that the Animals Cannot Share (a book of prose and poetry about the animals, tame and wild, I’ve worked with or advocated for); Purposeful Christianity: Sharing the Verve and Value of the Prince of Peace;The Enduring Legacy of DeForest Kelley: Actor, Healer, Friend (an e-book in which I compiled the reminiscences of other Kelley fans whose lives were changed for the better by the actor; I wrote intros for all four sections of the book, too); Serval Son: Spots and Stripes Forever (a cautionary true story about what it’s like to own—and be owned by—a wild cat for seventeen years; it reached #2 and #4 in two niche categories when it debuted at Amazon in Sept 2011); and my most recent title, SETTLE FOR BEST: Satisfy the Winner You Were Born to Be is a departure from the others, though: it’s only a little about my doings. It’s mostly a book of encouragement and action steps for people who feel they’ve placed their career ladders against the wrong walls, or for unemployed folks who still have a passion they haven’t pursued that can bless the world, and for entrepreneurs looking to learn what they need to know to get ahead and succeed in their field. It reached #1 in the Motivational Self-Help category when it debuted on July 7 this year and stayed there for three days at Amazon. The two most recent books were accepted by a publisher, Futureword. She wants me to bring my other books over to her publishing house now, too. The titles are all available at Amazon except for Enduring Legacy; you can find it at Payloadz.com.

Speaking of voice, when you write, do you find that you become the characters, or are you more of a guest at their dinner party where they share their story with you?

Since I usually write about my own inner thoughts and feelings, I’m definitely inside my own character. But I must confess I’m probably at my best when I’m writing—at my most idealistic, noble and hopeful.  Writing gives my heart and spirit wings.  I can fly when I’m writing. There are no obstacles. 

Tell us a little about your editing process. 

When I write—and I teach other writers to write this way, too—I exile my editor to Outer Mongolia until I finish the first draft. Writing should be pure joy; you should be fearless; you should act like a child in a sandbox. There is no right or wrong when young kids play; they’re full on, carried away by their imaginations.

Of course, as writers we all know the rules, but they shouldn’t be regarded the way scowling schoolmarms with long rulers are; they shouldn’t taunt or threaten.  When the first draft is complete, I will let it sit for a day or two (if I have the luxury of time: as a copywriter who writes for businesses, I usually don’t) and then go back to it wearing my Discernment (Editorial) cap to see if I still love it as much as I did while writing it or if I can find ways to make it better: more powerful, more concise or succinct, more relational and compelling. I usually find something I can change, even after decades of writing almost non-stop.

What is the worst writing advice you’ve ever received? 

This is a funny story. In high school we got a new English teacher; he wasn’t just new to us, he was new to teaching, period. By this time I’d been writing for six or seven years non-stop and my abilities were well known.  The teacher wrote a jumbled up name and address across the blackboard and asked, “Can anyone figure out what this is all about?”  I pondered the mishmash for a moment, putting it together properly in my mind, and then raised my hand.  He saw me raise my hand and quickly said (to dissuade me, I’m sure), “I’m glad you’re all having a problem. Anyone who can make sense out of this gibberish will never be a writer.”  The classmates who had seen me raise my hand ROARED; one of them (Gayle Danko) leaped to my defense, saying, “Kris is the best writer in our entire school!”  Needless to say, I was embarrassed and my teacher was embarrassed. The best part of this story is that this teacher became my biggest fan. In fact, it was he who insisted that I send the story about meeting DeForest Kelley to Mr. Kelley so he could read it!  Had he not done that, I never would have sent it, and Mr. Kelley would never have launched my writing career!

The best?

“Don’t use a ten-dollar word where a two-dollar word will work.” Translation: Save your extensive vocabulary for quizzes and trivia contests. If your reader has to sit with a dictionary in his or her hand to understand what you’re saying, you’re not communicatingWrite to express, not to impress.

I took a community college course in creative writing and was told, “Kris, you have an amazing vocabulary. But unless you plan to write to college-educated graduates and professors for the rest of your life, put it on the back burner. To make a living as a writer, you want to engage with the widest audience possible.”  As soon as I took this advice to heart, my writing became better and much more widely enjoyed.

For those writers who have not yet completed their first book, what advice would you give them?

Look for a universal-type of theme. Write about what you know. Love the journey. Have trusted book-lovers of your genre read it and take their comments to heart.  (It’s best to ask someone who will tell you the unvarnished truth. Most friends and family members won’t or can’t.) If you can get another published writer or a professional editor to read and critique what you consider your final draft, so much the better. Don’t let discouragement stop you. If you feel passionate enough to pen it in the first place, it’s worth all the time and trouble it will take you to make it the best it can be.

What is one book (besides one of your own) that you think everyone should read?

Oh…  my … gosh, Lisa!  Are you serious?! I have read literally hundreds of books.  Sheesh! Let me pick a few. The Help by Katherine Stockett.  Tom Sawyer, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, or anything else by Mark Twain.

If you could be interviewed by one famous person (besides me… ha!), who would that be and why?

Oprah Winfrey, Dr Oz or Dr Phil… for obvious reasons: book sales in abundance!

Can readers expect more from you in the not too distant future? 

Not immediately. Two books within ten months are plenty for me right now. You can follow my blog at http://almostfamousbydesfault.blogspot.com, befriend me on Facebook (Kristine M Smith, Tacoma WA) and LIKE and SHARE my copywriter page there; and see my book and business website at kristinemsmith.biz.  Of course, if you’re a business owner and would like a Command Performance (some copywriting done), I’ll write something new for you as soon as my schedule allows.  How’s that for responsive?  J

I’m a Kindle girl, myself. E-readers – love them or hate them?

Love ‘em. My two newest books are available on Kindle (Serval Son and Settle for Best.)  Er… that is… they’re supposed to be!  I know Serval Son is; I’m still waiting for Amazon to enable the Kindle version. I did all the necessary work at this end a few days ago…)

 Biggest problem in the publishing industry you see?

The big publishers only want to publish mega-stars to get megabucks reliably. I say go with a boutique publisher like I did (Futureword Publishing). If they accept your manuscript, you’ll get higher royalties and keep all the rights so that IF a motion picture studio or big publisher sees and likes what you do, they’ll have to give you a better deal than they would otherwise, and you can stay in the mix and help choose the actors, directors, producers, etc unless they pay you megabucks to relinquish total control.  IF you get interest from a mainstream publisher, get a reputable agent to negotiate the best deal he or she can get for you.

Weirdest unknown fact about you?  

I was askedtoapply to become a copywriter for the Obama-Biden campaign in 2008 and again in 2011 but I didn’t want to have to move to Washington DC or Chicago. I’m not sure I would have been hired, but I was asked to apply, which was quite the honor! Had they allowed telecommuting, I would have jumped on it on a heartbeat.  (Hey, at least you know I’m not a celebrity stalker!) Other than that … I’m pretty much an open book, with seven books and an extensive blog. Seek and ye shall find! There’s plenty of weirdness to explore!

Any other updates?

If you’re in Tacoma, WA or nearby, I’ll have a table at two upcoming Ignite-U events: Sept 13th 2012 at the Emerald Queen Casino in Fife from 3:00 to 9:00 PM; October 6th 2012 from 9 AM to 6 PM at the Tacoma Convention and Trade Center in downtown Tacoma.

Kristine is a freelance copywriter, author, and former assistant to actor DeForest Kelley.

Connect with her on her website and Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.

Her books can be purchased on Amazon.

Interview with Marni Mann, Author of Scars from a Memoir

Today, it is with nothing but pleasure that I feature a beautiful woman, friend, and fellow writer, Marni Mann, who recently released the follow-up novel to her excellent debut. Marni wrote her way into my heart with her stunning and raw portrayal of the life of an addict in Memoirs Aren’t Fairytales. And to say that I am excited to dive into Scars from a Memoir, would be quite the understatement. Congrats, Marni!!

A New Englander at heart, Marni Mann, now a Floridian is inspired by the sandy beaches and hot pink sunsets of Sarasota. A writer of literary fiction, she taps a mainstream appeal and shakes worldwide taboos, taking her readers on a dark, harrowing, and gritty journey. When she’s not nose deep in her laptop, she’s scouring for chocolate, traveling, reading, or walking her four-legged children. Scars from a Memoir is her second book, a sequel to the highly regarded Memoirs Aren’t Fairytales: A Story of Addiction.

Your depiction of addiction is eerily accurate. When you write, do you find that you become the characters, or are you more of a guest at their dinner party where they share with you their story?

Nicole’s ¾ my protagonist ¾ breath mixes with mine. I hear her words over my own, her stories fill my dreams, her thoughts consume my brain. In order for me to really immerse myself in a project, I have to become the main character. That, and for a few other reasons, is why I write in first person. My stories are personal, emotional, and dark. And because I become the character, in a sense, I’m really writing their memoir.

One of the most powerful things I took away from Memoirs was that addicts are normal people. Normal people who just turned down a bad road. Normal people that could have been you and me. What do you hope the follow up novel, Scars of a Memoir, will teach readers (without giving away any big spoilers, of course)? :)

Addiction haunts and lingers. An addict doesn’t just get clean and then they’re suddenly cured and all thoughts of using are completely wiped from their brains. Sobriety is a daily struggle. This novel will expose Nicole’s battle wounds, her strength, fight, determination, but will it be enough?

You and I have discussed how we both prefer darker writing. When I write dark scenes, I literally hurl myself into the pits of despair with my characters. And, often times, doing so can be overwhelming for me as a writer and a person, because the emotions with which I then write are very real. So real that those feelings linger with me for days on end. Am I a complete weirdo (you can admit it if I am!), or do you find that in order to write about such darkness that you, too, have to submerge yourself fully into it?

From my answers above, you know you’re not alone. :) I find that when a writer completely plunges into their writing it’s a much more genuine piece. A good writer doesn’t have to actually experience the subject in which they’re writing about, they just have to make us believe that they have.

When going back to edit and re-read Scars, was there any particular verse which really surprised you and made you say, “Wow, I wrote that?” If so, share it with us?

I hadn’t heard his voice in a while. The dragon was back, loud and begging, clogging my mind. He missed the old Nicole, the one who sacrificed her body and morals to be with him. I rolled to my side and pulled a pillow over my open ear. It didn’t help. His screaming was on the inside, and he demanded I go downstairs, take one of the pills, crush it with a hammer, and sniff every speck. He lived inside that powder, and his touch could rub all my spots at once. He could show me the beauty behind the sun, the depth of water, the soft petals of a flower tickling up my arms. His words would be my lullaby.

What is the worst writing advice you’ve ever received?

An agent once told me that dark fiction wasn’t selling ¾ and it never would again ¾ so I was wasting my time with a novel like Memoirs Aren’t Fairytales. She said I should focus on trending topics/themes and write with the current. Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, I just don’t agree with hers.

Will there be more about Nicole or is this the finale of her story?

I don’t have a third book planned as of right now. I could be persuaded, though, if my readers demand a trilogy.

Where do you see the publishing world 10 years from now?

I think a lot of the changes are going to be seen in traditional publishing. Their process and methods are antiquated and their prices are really high. I think it’s going to take more than ten years for print to disappear completely, but eBooks will definitely dominate the market. With eBooks, tablets, and devices, I think that opens the possibility of having interactive reading, allowing the authors and their team to get really creative with the whole reading experience.

Any last updates for readers? Exciting new projects you are working on that you’d care to share?

This fall I’m going to be releasing YA versions of Memoirs Aren’t Fairytales and Scars from a Memoir. I think young adults could really benefit from Nicole’s story. I’m also working on my next novel, which is another dark literary piece that follows a young woman and how she copes after a horrific tragedy.

Connect with Marni on her website, Facebook, Goodreads, and follow her on Twitter.

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“I could make up a story to cover the last eight years, but the scars on my arms told the truth. So did my ankles, the skin between my toes, even the veins that had burst on my breasts. Did my battle wounds really prove I was a survivor? Or was I too damaged to be glued back together?” Nicole had only one skyline to remind her of the freedom she’d lost–a tattoo of inked buildings dotting the skies of Boston, crisscrossed by scars. Heroin had owned her, replaced everyone and everything she’d once loved. The past was supposed to be behind her. It wasn’t, but that was the price of addiction. Two men love her; one fills a void, and the other gives her hope of a future. Will love find a way to help her sing a lullaby to addiction, or will her scars be her final good-bye?
Scars from a Memoir is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
Didn’t read Memoirs Aren’t Fairytales? Grab your copy on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Interview with Author of Sea of Trees, Robert James Russell

Robert James Russell, a proud Midwesterner, has known he wanted to be a writer since he was ten years old. A fan of well-placed stream of consciousness and stories that feature everyday characters and dialogue, Robert has a penchant for stories focusing on relationships in all their many forms.

In 2010, he co-founded the literary journal Midwestern Gothic, which aims to catalog the very best fiction of the Midwestern United States. It’s an area he believes is ripe with its own mythologies and tall tales, yet often overlooked. He currently lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

The setting in Sea of Trees is definitely unique. Where did you learn about the Aokigahara Forest? Stumbled on an article by chance, actually, and just found myself obsessed with the place—why go here to kill yourself? Why these woods? Turns out these woods have a long, sordid history, and I thought it would be the perfect setting to a story. I mean, how could I not write about this place!

Do you have a desire to one day go there? (As a visitor, of course, not on a suicidal mission!) Absolutely! I’ve only been to Japan once, briefly, but I’m in the process of planning a trip in the next year-ish and Aokigahara is at the top of the list. And let me assure you: I absolutely do not plan on, and will avoid at all costs, finding bodies! Can’t handle it!

One of the most important aspects of any story, in my opinion, is description. Often either overdone or underdone, your writing has (and continues to be) an excellent example of how it should be done. What is your best advice to writers on how to strike the perfect balance? I think it just takes time…practice. But more importantly, I think it’s a matter of style. I think when most people start out writing (myself included), you want to just detail everything under the sun in order to make this world believable. Some people keep up this mode of thinking, and there are well-known authors who have a similar style that absolutely works (Haruki Murakami, for example). But, personally, I’ve come to learn that less is more (not TOO little, you need some substance)—I want people to be able to imagine a place, but not have it be so specific that it’s jarring if you’ve never been there. I think that can be detrimental to the reading experience. Again, just a matter of taste, I think.

Another trait I personally love in your writing is the honesty and realness in your characters. You’ve mentioned that you write at coffee shops, has anyone you’ve ever witnessed become the inspiration for a character, or at least a particular part of a character? Ha! Many times! Well, more specifically, I tend to glob onto conversations more than the actual people. I may watch body language, study how people are interacting, and, perhaps every so often, turn the physicality of someone at the coffee shop into a character, but more often than not it’s the conversations that I absorb from this environment. I think that’s where the realness of my characters come from—when I was learning how to hone and develop my voice, this is how I practiced writing dialog: I would go to coffee shops and literally transcribe conversations I overheard (obviously I deleted these afterward, since I didn’t want to share any personal secrets, ha). It’s probably while I still find these settings so invigorating.

I found the voice with which you wrote Sea of Trees to be intoxicating and darkly palpable. When you write, do you find that you become the characters, or are you more of a guest at their dinner party where they share with you their story? I think it’s a mix, really. I think for every character I initially insert a part of myself—ticks, idiosyncrasies—to make them believable, make it easier for me to glob on to as I start developing them, but I also include other factors that that may be unique to their person, such as culture, upbringing, that sort of thing. All of those will create very different characters, very different types of reactions, etc., which I think is important. If everyone was me, it’d be a very boring read, I promise you that. And once I get the skeleton of who these characters are in place, I just sit back and watch, listen as the rest of them form around that base, each different, distinctive.

Does the Sea of Trees readers are enjoying today differ greatly from your first draft or do you find that your stories evolve more in the plotting stage before even beginning to write them? Not too different, I’m happy to say! I had a plan in place initially, and I stuck to that best I could. I think it’s a simple tale, so it was easy for me to stay on target, not stray too far from that. I think I’m lucky (or not, who knows?), that when I initially conceive of an idea, it tends to be fairly finalized. Sure, dialog, some details may change here and there, but the bulk of it remains the same.

What is the worst writing advice you’ve ever received? “Write for your audience.” I think that’s just plain ludicrous. Write for yourself first, write what makes you happy. Sure, you may not write something seen by everyone in the world, you may not be famous and rich, but you will be much happier than forcing yourself to write to the whims of people you’ll never meet. I think it’s a disservice to the writer to forcibly pen something they have no investment in.

If you could be interviewed by one famous person (besides me… ha!), who would that be and why? Probably Cormac McCarthy—I’m a huge fan of his work (arguably one of the best American writers of the 20th Century), so it would be amazing to be in his presence (plus he’s notoriously reclusive, so I’d feel honored he ventured outside to talk to me). Also, his early work closely resembled William Faulkner’s (whom I admire greatly), and this may be the closest thing to Faulkner I’ll ever get.

Runner-up: Bret Easton Ellis. Another of my favorite authors. Plus I think the interview would just be crazy fun.

Can readers expect more from Robert James Russell in the not too distant future? (Please say yes!) Yes! I’m currently seeking representation/publication for a new novel, and working on the first draft of a new new novel which I hope to have completed later this summer.

Where do you see the publishing world 10 years from now? I think just more in the direction it’s already going—digital first. Here’s my prediction: Ultimately—no matter how you feel about it—digital will replace hardcopy books, and most people will have eReaders or the like and to their reading that way. I think the entire publishing model will change drastically. I still think there will be big publishing houses, but I think it will be less “dastardly” to be self-pubbed—as is seen by segments of the general public. I think it’s a great alternative, and I hope it becomes less of a “thing” than it is now. I mean, really…who cares where something comes from? If it’s good, it’s good, right?

Any last updates for readers? Exciting new projects you are working on that you’d care to share? Besides what I mentioned already, I’m still actively involved with the journal I co-founded, Midwestern Gothic. We just announced our first theme issue, which we’re so excited about, and we have some big announcements coming up later this year—so stay tuned!

Connect with Rob on his website and follow him on Twitter.

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Swirling mystery permeates Sea of Trees as Bill, an American college student, and his Japanese girlfriend Junko traverse the Aokigahara Forest in Japan–infamous as one of the world’s top suicide destinations–in search of evidence of Junko’s sister Izumi who disappeared there a year previous. As the two follow clues and journey deeper into the woods amid the eerily quiet and hauntingly beautiful landscape–bypassing tokens and remains of the departed, suicide notes tacked to trees and shrines put up by forlorn loved ones–they’ll depend on one another in ways they never had to before, testing the very fabric of their relationship. And, as daylight quickly escapes them and they find themselves lost in the dark veil of night, Bill discovers a truth Junko has hidden deep within her-a truth that will change them both forever.

SEA OF TREES, available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.