Category Archives: Author Interviews

Interview with Lisa Tillinger Johansen, author of ‘Stop the Diet, I Want to Get Off!’

Lisa Tillinger JohansenOur guest today is Lisa Tillinger Johansen, author of the nonfiction book Stop The Diet, I Want To Get Off!  Lisa is a Registered Dietitian who counsels clients on a wide range of health issues. Her debut nutrition book, Fast Food Vindication, received the Discovery Award (sponsored by USA Today, Kirkus and The Huffington Post). She lives in Southern California.

Her latest book is the nonfiction/nutrition/health book, Stop the Diet, I Want To Get Off!

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Stop the Diet A

What made you decide to become a published author?

I’m a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in nutritional science. I work as a health educator and teach and counsel clients on a variety of topics including weight management, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, kidney disease and more. In my practice, I see so many people who have questions about diets, weight loss, healthy eating and overall nutrition. I help them and wanted to help people outside of my client base. So I wrote my first book, Fast Food Vindication, which was a success and won several awards. And I followed that with my now bestselling book Stop The Diet, I Want To Get Off!

Would you consider your latest book, Stop The Diet, I Want To Get Off!, to be a one of a kind? How so?

I do. There really isn’t a book quite like mine that looks at the pros and cons of dozens of good, fad and bad diets and ultimately provides the reader with a healthy eating plan for life. It’s a one-stop reading experience for all those who are looking for the right diet, weight-loss and management plan with tips and resources to adhere to it for life.

Where is your writing sanctuary?

I like to write on the couch in my family room with the TV on and my dogs cuddling next to me. I use a laptop computer and have my research in bins on the floor by my feet. It’s perfect.

What do you believe a writer should not do as far as getting his or her book published?

A writer shouldn’t give up. Keep at it, don’t get discouraged and figure out a way around any obstacles in your path. I also think it’s very important to have an editor take a pass at your book. No matter how good a writer we may be, there’s always a way to make it better and objective eyes will help us do that.

What inspires you?

My clients inspire me. I’ve worked with a lot of them for many years and it’s great to see them lose weight (if needed), lower cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar and more. There’s nothing more gratifying than helping people.

What is one thing you learned about your book after it was published?

The power of social media in getting the word out. So thank you for giving me this opportunity.

Did any real life experiences find their way into your book?

Real life experiences abound in my books. And stories about my less healthy-eating husband are sprinkled throughout.

Aside from writing, what’s your passion?

I love to travel and take every opportunity to do so. I just got back from a trip to Spain and Portugal which was fantastic. Next I’m off to Iceland and Norway. I can’t wait!

What’s next for you?

I’m working on my outline and research for my next book. I don’t take too much time off between books.

About the Book:

Stop the Diet 2Title: Stop the Diet, I Want To Get Off!
Author: Lisa Tillinger Johansen
Publisher: J. Murray Press
Pages: 350
Genre: Nonfiction/Nutrition/Health

The Paleo. The Zone. The Gluten-free. Another day, another diet. We’re caught in a never-ending merry-go-round of weight loss plans, fueled by celebrity endorsers, TV doctors and companies angling for a piece of a $60 billion industry. But do these diets really work? And how healthy are they?

Registered Dietitian Lisa Tillinger Johansen examines dozens of the most wildly popular diets based on medical facts, not hype. And along the way, she reveals tried-and-true weight loss strategies, relying on her years of hospital experience, weight-loss seminars and community outreach efforts. With insight and humor, Stop The Diet, I Want To Get Off shows that the best answer is often not a trendy celebrity-endorsed diet, but easy-to-follow guidelines that are best for our health and our waistlines.

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  • Stop the Diet, I Want to Get Off! is available at Amazon.
  • Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

 

 

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Talking Books with Political Author Patrick Andendall

Patrick AndendallPatrick Andendall has always had an interest in politics and, being multicultural, he views issues from a more international perspective. In 2004, five days before the election, he flew to Cleveland and pitched in to help with the political process. What he discovered was the dissolution of the American Dream, which he writes about in his book, Stupidparty.

Educated at English boarding schools from the age of seven, Andendall went on to graduate from Lancing College. He started by sometimes working three jobs at once, trainee Underwriter/claim broker at Lloyd’s of London, his own one man cleaning Company (cleaning the very offices of a Reinsurance Company he would transact business at) plus doing seasonal work on various farms.

Having made some windfall profits by borrowing money in order to be a “Stag” to take advantage of opportunities created by Margaret Thatcher’s de nationalization policies of the mid 1980’s, Andendall evolved into an entrepreneur with a core specialty in Reinsurance in London and New York where he looks for patterns in numbers. Self-employed in a field not normally conducive to self-employment, he is able remain in control, juggle different jobs, travel and pursue his various interests.

Ending up in New York via romance in the African bush, Andendall now lives on Long Island with his wife, two children and two dogs.

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What made you decide to become a published author?

A book is a package of ideas that can be marketed to niche audiences. When done right, you can reach many more people than you can with Tweeting or using Facebook. I actually started out as a volunteer going door-to-door to talk to voters but realized my Stupidparty 2message had no chance competing with the money behind radio and TV pundits.

Would you consider your latest book, to be a one of a kind? How so?

Some political narratives are depressing, but I think my effort to highlight some of the outrageous elements of the Republican Party come with humor. As one reviewer put it, “It is possibly the funniest book with an agenda ever published.” The book uses analytical and quantitative precision to eviscerate some of the fallacious myths held by certain leaders of the Republican Party.

Where is your writing sanctuary?

My writing sanctuary is located in my hometown on Long Island. I like coffee shops with character: lots of seating options, a good view, and not too big.

What do you believe a writer should not do as far as getting his or her book published?

They should not be stubborn about the editing process. Hire a great editor, one who asks the right questions, and listen to him or her.

What inspires you?

My immediate family inspired me through the writing process. They are the set of ears that I use to keep myself honest about my writing.

What is one thing you learned about your book after it was published?

How hard it is finding book promotion tools that work for a specific book. There are lots of services, tools and strategies but not all of them work for every book. We’ve been experimenting with different ideas looking for the right combination. Once we find that I have no problem doing even more marketing.

Why do you love to write about politics?

For what I write about there is no shortage of stupid ideas, stupid statements or obvious pandering. The Internet also makes it easy to disprove and discredit these public statements. Politics is all around us and as such the success of political policies and initiatives has a profound impact on our lives and wellbeing. Unfortunately not everyone recognizes the importance of this.

Youre concocting a recipe for a best selling book. Whats the first ingredient?

The first ingredient is time. Time is important because the rest of the ingredients—the various types of content and design elements—need to marinate and become stirred in the right way before it is truly ready to be published.

Whats one fun fact about your book people should know?

The book is like The Daily Show with Jon Stewart….but in print. More than 1,500 hyperlinks take readers to the facts that substantiate or refute statements made in the book. It also has 1,055 full-color images and 121 graphs and charts.

Did any real life experiences find their way into your book?

The genesis of the book was my volunteer work for the 2004 Presidential campaign. I flew to Cleveland, camped in some motel, and pitched in to help in the poorer urban neighborhoods. That experience demonstrated that that one very real myth about our democracy is that everyone has equal access to voting. Poorer communities had fewer voting machines and had to wait in line longer. After that election, I started to become more active online so that I could get the word out to the public about how important it is to vote.

Whats next for you?

More blogging, more advertising, more tweeting and perhaps another book for the 2016 election. I hope your readers follow along at stupidpartyMathvMyth.com by joining our mailing list.

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Interview with Gary Rodriguez, author of Escape Through the Wilderness

Gary RodriguezWe welcome today Gary Rodriguez, author of the teens/children’s book, Escape Through the Wilderness.  Gary talks about becoming a published author, what he’s learned along the way, and his new book.

What made you decide to become a published author?

When it comes to sharing my thoughts and ideas with a general audience, public speaking has always been my preferred method of communication. But when more and more of my friends and business associates started to ask me questions about public speaking, I decide to answer their questions in book form. Specifically, they wanted to know how to develop and deliver more effective talks and presentations. So my writing career was launched with three self-published books on public speaking. My journey as a writer then took a sharp turn a little over a year ago when I decided to write my first novel.

After writing and self-publishing three books, I decided to use a publisher to produce and market my first novel – escape through the wilderness.

Would you consider your latest book, escape through the wilderness, to be a one of a kind?

Yes

Escape Through the Wilderness 2How so?

Well without tooting my own horn, here’s what a reviewer recently wrote about my book:

“Masterfully crafted by Gary Rodriguez, ‘Escape Through the Wilderness’ tells the gripping story of four teenagers whose rafting accident forces them to fight for their survival and defy all odds to come out alive. Taking the book’s premise directly from his own military experiences, Rodriguez constructed the narrative to turn young readers into admirable leaders and explore issues related to faith, abuse and forgiveness.”

Frankly, I’m not aware of other adventure novels targeting young readers that teach important leadership principles in a wilderness setting. Students who read the book find it exciting, inspirational and instructive. It’s gratifying to share leadership principles in a way that’s easy and fun for students to absorb.

Where is your writing sanctuary?

Much of escape through the wilderness was written at Starbucks. I like the environment and the coffee nearby. Unlike some writers, I don’t need a quiet setting to write. I have the ability to stay focused even in, what some might call, a noisy setting.

What is one thing you learned about your book after it was published?

I learned there was a mistake on page 9 that I had to pay to get corrected (my error). After what seemed like a thousand proofreads by multiple people we all still missed one. The lesson is this. You can’t proof your script too many times.

Why do you love to write adventure novels?

Writing an adventure novel is exciting and a lot of fun. I love dreaming up and developing the characters and inserting them into a thrilling story. Adventures are exhilarating and it’s a blast to come up with various twists and turns that readers are not expecting. When I wrote escape through the wilderness, I was always considering the following questions:

What’s the worst thing that could happen right now? What could be the biggest twist, or the most unexpected event right now?

Then I’d insert that into the script to keep readers on their toes and to keep the story from becoming too predictable.

What’s next for you?

I just finished chapter ten of the sequel to Escape through the Wilderness. I’m hoping for a release date in the summer 2015. I’m having so much fun writing again after a short break to focus on other responsibilities.

About the Author:

My name is Gary Rodriguez, and I live in California. I’m the president of LeaderMetrix Inc., a consulting company that specializes in senior-level executive coaching, organizational development, and conflict resolution.

Previously, I worked for eighteen years in the radio business as an executive where I spent several years as one of the original managers of Infinity Broadcasting.

Following a successful radio career I became the president of a non-profit organization for a season.

As a young man, I spent a tour of duty in the U.S. Army where I was recognized as the youngest Drill Instructor in the Army’s history at age 18 years. I was also awarded the Silver Star (the nation’s third highest award for valor) while serving in a combat zone.

Over the past few years, I’ve written three non-fiction books and then I decided to write a novel.

My first book, Purpose-Centered Public Speaking, was published in 2009 and was re-published this summer (2014). Then I wrote a companion workbook designed to help people implement the principles taught in my first book. Next, I wrote Overcoming The Fear Of Public Speaking. And this past year, I wrote my first novel, Escape Through The Wilderness.

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About the Book:

Title: Escape Through the Wilderness
Author: Gary Rodriguez
Publisher: Tate Publishing
Pages: 254
Genre: Teens/Children
Format: Paperback/Kindle

Sixteen-year-old Savannah Evans walks with a slight limp thanks to a gymnastics’ accident that dashed her Olympic dreams, but didn’t stop her from attending an adventure camp in Idaho. At Camp Arrowhead, she quickly befriends Jade Chang and Rico Cruz, but Conner Swift taunts Savi because of her injury.

When the four are teamed together for an overnight white-water river rafting adventure, Savi refuses to get in the same raft with Conner. Unfortunately, the director will not reassign her.

A fun expedition down the river turns into a nightmare when their raft slams into a huge rock and their adult guide disappears down the river.

Without their guide and desperately trying to steer an out-of-control raft, they pass the “last chance” marker and enter the larger rapids. With Jade pinned between the raft and a rock, and Rico clinging to a lifeline, Savi must cut the raft free.

When the four drag themselves out of the river, they’re bruised, beaten, lost, and twenty-five miles from camp. Because of late-night campfire tales of Vexel, a vicious animal that roams the nearby woods, Savi and the others are terrified.

Savi becomes the unlikely leader who tries to guide the group back to Camp Arrowhead. Limited supplies, injuries, and the constant threat of Vexel—who Savi fears is stalking them, complicate the harrowing return trip.

Readers will enjoy dramatic survival scenes and the group working together, solving problems, and learning to overcome adversity.

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Interview with ‘Daughter of the Fallen’ Madeline Wynn & Win $50 Amazon Gift Card!

Madeline WynnMadeline Wynn holds a master’s degree in procrastination. When she’s not writing, she can be found ghost hunting, gardening and parading around her home state of Connecticut with her husband, dog and two kids.

Her latest book is the YA paranormal, Daughter of the Fallen.

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About the Book:

Daughter of the Fallen 2Most sixteen-year olds aren’t worried about the fate of their immortal souls. May Krieg should be.

Typically, honor student May’s biggest problems have revolved around her super-hot arch-rival, Jack. But when a school project takes them ghost-hunting in a local cemetery, she discovers that an ominous force roams in the darkness around her.

And it follows her home.

It claws its way into her life, burning messages into her wall and imprinting them onto her body. Even worse, she can’t tell if it’s trying to possess her… or protect her.

May’s thoughts soon become actions, causing the target of her anger severe physical pain and giving her a rush the likes of which she has never experienced. She quickly realizes that she needs to find a way to reign in this power before she kills someone. May hates the pleasure it gives her, hates herself for hurting others, but she can’t stop.

As her entire world shatters around her, she is forced to ask what her soul is worth– and who would she risk losing her soul to save?

(For readers who enjoy: teen paranormal romance, teen horror, teen romance, nephilim, demons, YA, YA horror, YA paranormal, YA romance, ghost stories)

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Thanks for joining us today, Madeline. Can we begin by having you tell us how you got into the YA paranormal genre?

Madeline: I’ve always loved a good ghost story, so when I moved to New England I decided that I’d go ahead and take a ghost hunting class. I was obsessed with all of those shows on TV, so I figured it would be fun. As it turned out, it scared the hell out of me. Not so much the whole, dead Aunt Mary hanging out on the staircase part, but the demons in the attic part.

By the last week of class, sleep and I were no longer on speaking terms. So I decided to go ahead and try and write a novel about all of my worst fears and the book was born.

Is writing what you’ve wanted to do all your life?

Madeline: Yes and no. I originally wanted to grow up and be the ruler of a small country, but that hasn’t really worked out.

I’ve been writing all of my life, so it’s become a part of me more than a profession, per se.

I would love to know more about your character, May Krieg. Would you like to tell us about her?

Madeline: She’s a teen who feels a bit like an outsider. She lives in a wealthy suburb and she’s the girl who has to shop at second-hand stores and doesn’t have the money to drop on weekly manicures and things, but she’s quirky and always the first to volunteer to work at a soup kitchen or make lunch for the homeless.

She’s also a bit naïve and can be a bit too quick about drawing up assumptions about people. That being said, even though she’s not in with the popular kids, she’s extremely devoted to the friends that she does have and would walk through fire for the people she cares about.

Who is Jack?

Madeline: He’s the “it” boy. He’s got the money and the looks and the charm to rule the world.

But on the inside he’s broken. His mother has passed away and his dad is never around, and throws money at him in the hopes that it will replace any actual parenting that he should be doing. He’s left to his own devices all the time, so he has become very self-sufficient but also a bit cold on the outside. He’s slow to warm up to people because on the inside he’s worried that they’ll just abandon him the way his parents have.

What are you working on now?

Madeline: The sequel to DAUGHTER OF THE FALLEN. The book ends on a hook so I have to make sure readers aren’t left in the dark for too long!

Is there anything you’d like to say to your fans and readers?

Madeline: Thank you so much for reading! I love hearing from readers, so please feel free to reach out!

GIVEAWAY

Madeline Wynn is giving away a $50 Amazon Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:

  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter.
  • This giveaway begins November 3 and ends January 31.
  • Winner will be contacted via email on Monday, February 2.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.

Good luck everyone!

 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Author Interview: Mary-Lou Stephens, author of ‘How To Stay Married’

Mary-Lou StephensMary-Lou Stephens studied acting and played in bands before she got a proper job -in radio. She writes whenever she’s not behind the microphone or heading off to a meditation retreat.

Mary-Lou has garnered rave reviews for her memoir Sex, Drugs and Meditation, the true story of how she changed her life, saved her job and found a husband, all with the help of meditation. She lives in Australia with that very same husband, their dog and a hive of killer native bees.

How To Stay Married is the sequel to Sex, Drugs and Meditation and is the truth behind the happy ending.

Mary-Lou is a blogger for The Huffington Post, a columnist for Holistic Bliss and a regular at writing festivals and events.

Visit Mary-Lou’s website at http://maryloustephens.com.au

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MissyMaryLou

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/maryloustephenswrites

About the Book

How to Stay Married 2Title: How to Stay Married
Author: Mary-Lou Stephens
Publisher: Nelson Bay
Pages: 203
Genre: Self-Help/Relationships/Love and Romance
Format: Paperback/Kindle

Purchase at AMAZON

Do you dream of finding the right person to spend your life with? Are you in a strong relationship already and want to keep it that way? Or perhaps your marriage is a little tarnished and you hope to make it shine again?

You’ve come to the right place. While How to Stay Married isn’t your regular ‘how-to’ book, it is about creating the kind of relationship you want.

This is the story of a marriage; a journey from fear, resentment and financial devastation, to a place of love, joy and trust.

Mary-Lou Stephen’s first book Sex, Drugs and Meditation chronicled how meditation changed her life, saved her job and helped her find a husband. How To Stay Married, is the truth behind the happy ending.

How to Stay Married takes us around the world; from the glitter and glare of Las Vegas to the sub-zero temperatures of the French Alps and the tropical heat of Thailand, all with cabin luggage only.

The discoveries Mary-Lou makes regarding herself and her marriage are a modern day parable about learning to travel light in life, love and relationships.

What made you decide to become a published author?

I never thought I’d be an author. I wrote songs for years when I used to play in bands. I didn’t think about writing prose until about 12 years ago when I went on an overseas holiday and came back with a few out of focus photos taken on a disposable camera. A friend said “Clearly photography’s not your thing. Why don’t you write about your holiday instead?” So I did and I’ve been writing ever since.

I wrote newspaper columns and short stories but never anything longer. I saved up my money and took six moths leave without pay. I wanted to find out whether I could write an entire book and then having done so if I ever wanted to do it again. The answer to both questions was yes.

When I read self-help books I turn straight to the case studies, the stories. I think human beings are hard-wired for stories, we love them. When I realised my life read like one of those case studies I wondered if other people would be interested in my story. The answer again was yes. How To Stay Married is the sequel.

Would you consider your latest book, How To Stay Married, to be a one of a kind? How so?

How To Stay Married, is a brave and personal book. It touches on areas in a relationship that not many people have the courage to expose. My husband has been my biggest supporter. He gave me permission to write anything I needed to, even though some of it was very tough on him. I’ve been toughest on myself though, often not painting myself in a very good light, but that’s what being honest is about.

Where is your writing sanctuary?

The couch! I love writing on my laptop on the couch when The Hubby isn’t home. It’s such a comforting hug of a couch filled with feathers. I do have a writing room with a desk but that feels more like work – and I do enough desk time at my day job. So the couch it is.

What do you believe a writer should not do as far as getting his or her book published?

Never send first draft material to anyone. I did and it was a big mistake. I had some interest early of for my first book Sex, Drugs and Meditation. A literary agent got hold of the first chapter and asked to see everything I’d written. I was naive and did just that. Big mistake and I blew my chance to be signed to a major literary agency. She did give me some great feedback though and many years later I finally finished the book and landed a publishing deal with a major publisher. As Stephen King says, “Write the first draft with the door closed and the second draft with the door open.”

You’re concocting a recipe for a best selling book. What’s the first ingredient?

Love. Love for your readers, love for your characters, love of words, love of writing. And most of all love of a good story, no matter what genre you write in.

Aside from writing, what’s your passion?

I’m a radio presenter for the ABC on the beautiful Sunshine Coast, the Australian one not the Canadian one. Radio is a great job. I get to meet fascinating people every day and ask them questions. I’m very curious so it’s perfect for me. I also love to cook, except for the times when I have to. My husband is my greatest love and we both adore our funny old rescue dog.

What’s next for you?

Fiction. I’ve written a novel that I’ve been told doesn’t work but I may revisit at some stage. If not it was a good practice book. I have plans for three other novels; one set in Scotland, one in New York City and the other in the wilderness of south west Tasmania. Plus a YA series or two. Watch this space 🙂

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Interview with William R. Leibowitz, author of Miracle Man

William LeibowitzWilliam R. Leibowitz has been practicing entertainment/media law in New York City for a number of years. He has represented numerous renowned recording artists, songwriters, producers and many of the leading record companies, talent managers, merchandisers and other notable entertainment businesses. At one point, he was the Chief Operating Officer/General Counsel for the Sanctuary Group of Companies, a U.K. public company that was the largest ‘indie’ music company in the world (prior to its acquisition by the Universal Music Group).

William has a Bachelor of Science degree from New York University (magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) and a law degree from Columbia University. He lives in the village of Quogue, New York with his wife, Alexandria, and dog, George.

William wrote Miracle Man because of its humanistic and spiritual messages and because he feels that in our current times – when meritless celebrity has eclipsed accomplishment and the only heroes are those based on comic books, the world needs a real hero –and that, of course, is Robert James Austin, the protagonist in Miracle Man. Miracle Man won Best Thriller in the National Pacific Book Awards.

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About the Book:

Miracle Man 7REVERED   REVILED   REMARKABLE

The victim of an unspeakable crime, an infant rises to become a new type of superhero.

Unlike any that have come before him, he is not a fanciful creation of animators, he is real.

So begins the saga of Robert James Austin, the greatest genius in human history. But where did his extraordinary intelligence come from?

As agents of corporate greed vie with rabid anti-Western radicals to destroy him, an obsessive government leader launches a bizarre covert mission to exploit his intellect. Yet Austin’s greatest fear is not of this world.

Aided by two exceptional women, one of whom will become his unlikely lover, Austin struggles against abandonment and betrayal. But the forces that oppose him are more powerful than even he can understand.

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Q: What made you decide to become a published author?

A:   I had a story to tell that was very important to me for a variety of reasons. Miracle Man chronicles the saga of Robert James Austin, the greatest genius in human history, from the time of his birth and tragic childhood through his extraordinary Miracle Man Pacific Book Awardsaccomplishments in curing diseases. The book is a psychological thriller with a fast paced twisting plot that’s full of surprises and drama, as Austin battles abandonment and betrayal and the myriad powerful forces (external and internal) that seek to destroy him.   In writing Miracle Man, I wanted to create a modern day believable ‘super hero’ who is an ‘anti-celebrity’. I thought that such a person could be inspirational when contrasted with the meritless celebrities that dominate media today (e.g., the reality TV stars who are famous for being famous, but have no real talent). I also wanted Miracle Man to be the vehicle within which I could convey, in an entertainment context, certain spiritual and humanistic messages that mean a great deal to me.

Q: Would you consider Miracle Man to be a one of a kind? How so?

A:   The plot in Miracle Man has never been written before and I also believe that my protagonist, Robert James Austin, is truly unique.

Q: What inspires you?

A:   One of the underlying themes in Miracle Man is the sanctity of each and every human life and that inspires me. As the story of the protagonist, Robert James Austin, unfolds throughout the novel, I think the reader will come to appreciate that one can never predict the ramifications of one person’s death. Robert Austin should have died as a new born, but he was saved in the most unlikely of manners; he then went on to change the world in extraordinary ways. His life was not expendable. We all are bombarded every day by statistics of death –how many people died in the latest war, or from famine, or epidemic or other manmade or natural cataclysm. People’s lives are jumbled together by the media as meaningless numbers. But what I want the reader of Miracle Man to think about —is the individual. Has anyone ever thought how likely it is that the person who would have cured cancer was killed in a Concentration Camp? That’s why Miracle Man begins with the quotation from Scriptures – “To destroy one life is to destroy an entire world, and to save one life is to save an entire world.”

Q: What is one thing you learned about your book after it was published?

A: I learned how difficult it is to break through to the mass market and to create mass visibility for a book.

Q: Why do you love to write thrillers?

A: The thriller genre allows me to tell a fast paced surprise packed story that offers the reader plenty of twists and turns, but also supports psychological tension and complex character development.

Q: You’re concocting a recipe for a best selling book. What’s the first ingredient?

A:   A premise that is original and really interesting.

Q: Did any real life experiences find their way into your book?

A:   Yes. In writing Miracle Man, I wanted to get readers thinking about a real-life problem that affects us all. One of the powerful forces fighting my protagonist, Robert James Austin, is “Big Pharma” which views Austin as their enemy since he cures diseases and thereby makes many of their “cash-cow” drugs obsolete. In short, Austin is bad for their business. Like Austin, I find it incomprehensible that virtually no major disease has been cured in over 50 years. How can that be the case when so much money has been spent over the decades on research? Simply put, there’s a lot more money in treating symptoms than there is in curing diseases. Austin realized that Big Pharma has no interest in curing diseases. It just wants to keep on selling expensive symptom treatments –and as we know, many people are on ‘medication maintenance programs’ for years, sometimes for life. Austin wanted to change that. Worth thinking about I believe.

Q: Aside from writing, what’s your passion?

A: Art, architecture and music.

Q: What’s next for you?

A:   Readers have been calling on me to write a sequel to Miracle Man and the ending of the book does hint at one. I’ve begun to sketch out the plot line. The sequel will definitely have lots of surprises as the saga of Robert James Austin continues.

 

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Interview with C.H. MacLean, author of ‘Two Empty Thrones’

C.H. MacLeanTo young C. H. MacLean, books were everything: mind-food, friends, and fun. They gave the shy middle child’s life color and energy. Amazingly, not everyone saw them that way. Seeing a laundry hamper full of books approach her, the librarian scolded C. H. for trying to check them all out. “You’ll never read that many before they expire!” C. H. was surprised, having shown great restraint only by keeping a list of books to check out next time. Thoroughly abashed, C. H. waited three whole days after finishing that lot before going back for more.

With an internal world more vivid than the real one, C. H. was chastised for reading in the library instead of going to class. “Neurotic, needs medical help,” the teacher diagnosed. C. H.’s father, a psychologist, just laughed when he heard. “She’s just upset because those books are more challenging than her class.” C. H. realized making up stories was just as fun as reading, and harder to get caught doing. So for a while, C. H. crafted stories and characters out of wisps and trinkets, with every toy growing an elaborate personality.

But toys were not mature, and stories weren’t respectable for a family of doctors. So C. H. grew up and learned to read serious books and study hard, shelving foolish fantasies for serious work.

Years passed in a black and white blur. Then, unpredictably falling in love all the way to a magical marriage rattled C. H.’s orderly world. A crazy idea slipped in a resulting crack and wouldn’t leave. “Write the book you want to read,” it said. “Write? As in, a fantasy novel? But I’m not creative,” C. H. protested. The idea, and C. H.’s spouse, rolled their eyes.

So one day, C. H. started writing. Just to try it, not that it would go anywhere. Big mistake. Decades of pent-up passion started pouring out, making a mess of an orderly life. It only got worse. Soon, stories popped up everywhere- in dreams, while exercising, or out of spite, in the middle of a work meeting. “But it’s not important work,” C. H. pleaded weakly. “They are not food, or friends, or…” But it was too late. C. H. had re-discovered that, like books, life should be fun too. Now, writing is a compulsion, and a calling.

C.H. lives in a Pacific Northwest forest with five cats, two kids, one spouse, and absolutely no dragons or elves, faeries, or demons… that are willing to be named, at least.

His latest book is the YA fantasy, Two Empty Thrones.

For More Information

What made you decide to become a published author?

I don’t know if I really decided; it was more like I just realized who I was. I sat down, just to consider if I could write something real, you know, something I would want to read. I didn’t think I had an idea at all. All at once, like a pop-up window, an image replaced the Two Empty Thrones 2page in front of me. Words flowed onto the page. Hours flew by until I snapped out of it.

Later, I went back to read it. It sounded nothing like the boring or sloppy stuff I have to push through to read, but engaging and dynamic.

Then came the choice part: work hard and give something to the world, or not?

Would you consider your latest book, Two Empty Thrones to be a one of a kind? How so?

Combining ancient elements in new-age application and emotions driving a fast-paced plot, Two Empty Thrones is unlike anything I’ve read. It sounds familiar, with words like prophecy and magic. But the sound of a horse’s whinny you heard turns out to be a zebra-pegasus with a hidden agenda. (That character isn’t in this book, but could be.)

Where is your writing sanctuary?

I live in the forest, down a tree-hugged drive. At the end, it curves like a smile, giving shade and shelter from the rain. Noise of the ordinary muted by distance, imagination can frolic in magic and wonder.

What do you believe a writer should not do as far as getting his or her book published?

Two things are key. One, know publishing is a long process that involves more work than you think. I am sure everyone is familiar with that story. Two, trust yourself. I hear stories of good writers trodden down by watching their creative work be dissected, sterilized and jammed into a glass jar in an attempt to be published. Editing and the process are important and we can all improve, but you should be happier on the other side.

What inspires you?

I have no idea where the actual need or urge to write comes from. I’m sure there is some biochemical or psychological explanation, but saying it’s a calling works for me. But the actual inspiration to do all the hard work comes from hearing how other people enjoy it. To think I can be part of what makes life fun and interesting for people is such an honor.

What is one thing you learned about your book after it was published?

How much other people liked it. Until you hear from people you don’t know, it doesn’t seem real. Finding out that people think it’s great brings my childhood love of books full circle, and inspires me to do more and provide a better experience for others.

Why do you love to write YA fantasy?

Fantasy allows a unique exploration of an unlimited set of potential conflicts. In fantasy, reality is bound only by imagination. In the same way, young adults face life-changing decisions for the first time, on the edge of first discovering who they really are. They create themselves, only limited by their own minds.

But that’s more why I love to read fantasy and YA. I don’t set out to write in a particular category and just write the stories as they come to me.

You’re concocting a recipe for a best selling book. What’s the first ingredient?

Love of reading. It’s like water to life—it’s not living, but it lets everything else mix together. Without that, you have a dry and lifeless book. If the book can reignite that love for the reader, almost anything else can work. Title, plot, character, even language might be completely different from one best-seller to another, but the love will always be there.

What’s one fun fact about your book people should know?

While I intentionally didn’t include dry explanations, I found out a good deal of its magic aligns with in-this-world fact. I keep finding things in other research and say, “Hey, that’s in there!”

Aside from writing, what’s your passion?

I have many passions, with reading and writing as obvious ones. Being active in mental, physical and metaphysical arenas is what fuels all my fires. Trekking through the woods or cleaning up the forest, working to realign natural energies with my own, that’s what recharges me.

What’s next for you?

The third book in the series, We the Three, keeps me up at night begging to be finished, it’s so close to done. I am hoping to release it in the spring/summer of 2015.

I also just finished writing an intense book entitled Fire Above, a story about a young man who dared to dream and started the first human-dragon war. It is currently going through the first round of edits.

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Interview with C.H. MacLean, author of ‘Two Empty Thrones’

C.H. MacLeanTo young C. H. MacLean, books were everything: mind-food, friends, and fun. They gave the shy middle child’s life color and energy. Amazingly, not everyone saw them that way. Seeing a laundry hamper full of books approach her, the librarian scolded C. H. for trying to check them all out. “You’ll never read that many before they expire!” C. H. was surprised, having shown great restraint only by keeping a list of books to check out next time. Thoroughly abashed, C. H. waited three whole days after finishing that lot before going back for more.

With an internal world more vivid than the real one, C. H. was chastised for reading in the library instead of going to class. “Neurotic, needs medical help,” the teacher diagnosed. C. H.’s father, a psychologist, just laughed when he heard. “She’s just upset because those books are more challenging than her class.” C. H. realized making up stories was just as fun as reading, and harder to get caught doing. So for a while, C. H. crafted stories and characters out of wisps and trinkets, with every toy growing an elaborate personality.

But toys were not mature, and stories weren’t respectable for a family of doctors. So C. H. grew up and learned to read serious books and study hard, shelving foolish fantasies for serious work.

Years passed in a black and white blur. Then, unpredictably falling in love all the way to a magical marriage rattled C. H.’s orderly world. A crazy idea slipped in a resulting crack and wouldn’t leave. “Write the book you want to read,” it said. “Write? As in, a fantasy novel? But I’m not creative,” C. H. protested. The idea, and C. H.’s spouse, rolled their eyes.

So one day, C. H. started writing. Just to try it, not that it would go anywhere. Big mistake. Decades of pent-up passion started pouring out, making a mess of an orderly life. It only got worse. Soon, stories popped up everywhere- in dreams, while exercising, or out of spite, in the middle of a work meeting. “But it’s not important work,” C. H. pleaded weakly. “They are not food, or friends, or…” But it was too late. C. H. had re-discovered that, like books, life should be fun too. Now, writing is a compulsion, and a calling.

C.H. lives in a Pacific Northwest forest with five cats, two kids, one spouse, and absolutely no dragons or elves, faeries, or demons… that are willing to be named, at least.

His latest book is the YA fantasy, Two Empty Thrones.

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About the Book:

Two Empty Thrones 2With her powers growing every day, fourteen-year-old Haylwen Rightad thinks she’s safe in the magical forest. And now that she finally has the friends she always wanted, what is there to be afraid of?

But she’s not out of the woods yet. Old enemies rip through her beloved forest, threatening to haul Haylwen and her newfound friends away. Their safety shattered, Haylwen and her friends are suddenly at each other’s throats. Is the friendship she worked so hard for already ruined, or is there another, unseen enemy at work?

Haylwen and her brother must unmask this mysterious enemy before they can fight it off. But even if all their enemies are destroyed, the King of the magic users will stop at nothing to ensure he’s still in power when the dragons take over the world. And he’s hidden an enemy where Haylwen would never think to look.

If no one is what they seem, who can she trust?

For More Information

What made you decide to become a published author?

I don’t know if I really decided; it was more like I just realized who I was. I sat down, just to consider if I could write something real, you know, something I would want to read. I didn’t think I had an idea at all. All at once, like a pop-up window, an image replaced the page in front of me. Words flowed onto the page. Hours flew by until I snapped out of it.

Later, I went back to read it. It sounded nothing like the boring or sloppy stuff I have to push through to read, but engaging and dynamic.

Then came the choice part: work hard and give something to the world, or not?

Would you consider your latest book, Two Empty Thrones to be a one of a kind? How so?

Combining ancient elements in new-age application and emotions driving a fast-paced plot, Two Empty Thrones is unlike anything I’ve read. It sounds familiar, with words like prophecy and magic. But the sound of a horse’s whinny you heard turns out to be a zebra-pegasus with a hidden agenda. (That character isn’t in this book, but could be.)

Where is your writing sanctuary?

I live in the forest, down a tree-hugged drive. At the end, it curves like a smile, giving shade and shelter from the rain. Noise of the ordinary muted by distance, imagination can frolic in magic and wonder.

What do you believe a writer should not do as far as getting his or her book published?

Two things are key. One, know publishing is a long process that involves more work than you think. I am sure everyone is familiar with that story. Two, trust yourself. I hear stories of good writers trodden down by watching their creative work be dissected, sterilized and jammed into a glass jar in an attempt to be published. Editing and the process are important and we can all improve, but you should be happier on the other side.

What inspires you?

I have no idea where the actual need or urge to write comes from. I’m sure there is some biochemical or psychological explanation, but saying it’s a calling works for me. But the actual inspiration to do all the hard work comes from hearing how other people enjoy it. To think I can be part of what makes life fun and interesting for people is such an honor.

What is one thing you learned about your book after it was published?

How much other people liked it. Until you hear from people you don’t know, it doesn’t seem real. Finding out that people think it’s great brings my childhood love of books full circle, and inspires me to do more and provide a better experience for others.

Why do you love to write YA fantasy?

Fantasy allows a unique exploration of an unlimited set of potential conflicts. In fantasy, reality is bound only by imagination. In the same way, young adults face life-changing decisions for the first time, on the edge of first discovering who they really are. They create themselves, only limited by their own minds.

But that’s more why I love to read fantasy and YA. I don’t set out to write in a particular category and just write the stories as they come to me.

You’re concocting a recipe for a best selling book. What’s the first ingredient?

Love of reading. It’s like water to life—it’s not living, but it lets everything else mix together. Without that, you have a dry and lifeless book. If the book can reignite that love for the reader, almost anything else can work. Title, plot, character, even language might be completely different from one best-seller to another, but the love will always be there.

What’s one fun fact about your book people should know?

While I intentionally didn’t include dry explanations, I found out a good deal of its magic aligns with in-this-world fact. I keep finding things in other research and say, “Hey, that’s in there!”

Aside from writing, what’s your passion?

I have many passions, with reading and writing as obvious ones. Being active in mental, physical and metaphysical arenas is what fuels all my fires. Trekking through the woods or cleaning up the forest, working to realign natural energies with my own, that’s what recharges me.

What’s next for you?

The third book in the series, We the Three, keeps me up at night begging to be finished, it’s so close to done. I am hoping to release it in the spring/summer of 2015.

I also just finished writing an intense book entitled Fire Above, a story about a young man who dared to dream and started the first human-dragon war. It is currently going through the first round of edits.

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Interview with Kim Boykin, author of southern women’s fiction ‘Palmetto Moon’

Kim BoykinKim Boykin was raised in her South Carolina home with two girly sisters and great parents. She had a happy, boring childhood, which sucks if you’re a writer because you have to create your own crazy. PLUS after you’re published and you’re being interviewed, it’s very appealing when the author actually lived in Crazy Town or somewhere in the general vicinity.

Almost everything she learned about writing, she learned from her grandpa, an oral storyteller, who was a master teacher of pacing and sensory detail. He held court under an old mimosa tree on the family farm, and people used to come from all around to hear him tell stories about growing up in rural Georgia and share his unique take on the world.

As a stay-at-home mom, Kim started writing, grabbing snip-its of time in the car rider line or on the bleachers at swim practice. After her kids left the nest, she started submitting her work, sold her first novel at 53, and has been writing like crazy ever since.

Thanks to the lessons she learned under that mimosa tree, her books are well reviewed and, according to RT Book Reviews, feel like they’re being told across a kitchen table. She is the author of The Wisdom of Hair from Berkley, Steal Me, Cowboy and Sweet Home Carolina from Tule, and Palmetto Moon, also from Berkley 8/5/14. While her heart is always in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, she lives in Charlotte and has a heart for hairstylist, librarians, and book junkies like herself.

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What made you decide to become a published author?

I’d written several manuscripts I used as doorstops. I got better with every one and wanted to see my story in print.

Palmetto Moon 2Would you consider your latest book, Palmetto Moon, to be a one of a kind?

Yes.

How so?

Palmetto Moon is a quirky Southern story that involves two love stories, one conventional and one extremely unconventional in its time.

Where is your writing sanctuary?

My home office looks out on the woods and a garden.

What do you believe a writer should not do as far as getting his or her book published?

Work in a vacuum. You need good honest critique to get better.

What inspires you?

Kitchen table stories. It’s a place of honesty, of love, laughter, and tears. Get a bunch of women around the table, better yet, sisters, and the stories just pour out.

What is one thing you learned about your book after it was published?

I’m not sure.

Why do you love to write women’s fiction?

I love women. I love that we’re genetically programed to love and nurture. My stories are about women helping women find their happily every after. And while I’m all for a hero with great abs riding in on a white horse to save the day, women are just better at it.

You’re concocting a recipe for a best selling book. What’s the first ingredient?

Great dialogue.

What’s one fun fact about your book people should know?

There’s a famous restaurant in Charleston called SNOB. The executive chef at SNOB, Frank Lee was kind enough to contribute five recipes that are in the back of the book in lieu of reader questions. And the hero in Palmetto Moon’s name is Frank Darling.

Did any real life experiences find their way into your book?

No

What’s next for you?

My next book is A Peach of A Pair. It’s the story of Nettie, a young college girl who is betrayed by her sister, who stole Nettie’s fiancé when she was away at college, is pregnant and marrying said fiancé. To avoid going home for the wedding, Nettie takes a job working for two fussy old maid sisters, who had their own falling out over a man when they were young. It’s a story of love and forgiveness.

 

 

 

 

 

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Interview with Mary Carter, author of ‘Meet Me in Barcelona’

Mary CarterMary Carter is a freelance writer and novelist. Meet Me in Barcelona is her eighth novel. Her other works include: Three Months in Florence, The Things I Do For You, The Pub Across the Pond, My Sister’s Voice, Sunnyside Blues, She’ll Take It, and Accidentally Engaged. In addition to her novels she has written six novellas: Return to Hampton Beach in the anthology, Summer Days, A Southern Christmas in the upcoming 2014 anthology Our First Christmas, A Kiss Before Midnight in the anthology, You’re Still the One, A Very Maui Christmas in the New York Times best selling anthology Holiday Magic, and The Honeymoon House in the New York Times best selling anthology Almost Home. Mary currently lives in Chicago, IL with a demanding labradoodle. She wishes she could thank her gorgeous husband, but she doesn’t have one. In addition to writing she leads writing workshops.

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What made you decide to become a published author?

I decided to write a novel in 2004 (SHE’LL TAKE IT). It was a new year’s goal and I wasn’t even thinking I could ever get it published. I just thought it was enough to say I did it in my lifetime. Needless to say I was pleasantly shocked in 2005 Meet Me in Barcelona 2when I got an agent and then found out that they had sold my first novel to Kensington Books. Since then I have written a novel a year.

Would you consider your latest book, MEET ME IN BARCELONA, to be a one of a kind? How so?

This one is a bit of a departure from my previous novels. Although I often have some elements of a mystery or surprises in a lot of my earlier works, this one gets closer than any of them to playing with psychological suspense. Although Grace is in a romantic relationship, it’s not the central focus of the novel. Instead it’s her explosive past with Carrie Ann and how the past seems to be following her through Spain.

Where is your writing sanctuary?

Would you like to start a fund so that I can build one? I’d probably be happiest with my laptop and constant flights to new and exotic places. I write in my apartment which is the 5th apartment I’ve had since being a published author. I also write in coffee shops when I have the luxury. It’s good to shake it up.

What do you believe a writer should not do as far as getting his or her book published?

Finish it. That’s a big one. And then rewrite until it’s absolutely the best you can get it. Show it to trusted friends and people who love to read for feedback. Rewrite if enough people have the same issue with your manuscript. Then query agents and keep the faith.

What inspires you?

I wish more inspired me. It’s honestly more hard work than inspiration. That said I do pick topics that I hope will hold my attention for the year it’s going to take to write them.

You’re concocting a recipe for a best selling book. What’s the first ingredient?

A character who is absolutely driven to achieve her goal.

What’s one fun fact about your book people should know?

I didn’t have the best time on my first trip to Barcelona, but I ended up enjoying it a lot more in retrospect and would love to go again.

Did any real life experiences find their way into your book?

Reading my mind from the previous question. Just the atmosphere and descriptions of Barcelona. I visited 99% of the places the characters visit.

Aside from writing, what’s your passion?

Travel. And like most people, I don’t do enough of it.

What’s next for you?

I’m currently working on my next novel, LONDON FROM MY WINDOWS. It’s about an agoraphobic woman who inherits a flat in London. But in order to claim the flat she has to live there for one year and complete a list of tourism “tasks”— that people without agoraphobia could do in a weekend. There’s some romance and competition for the flat, and a lot of fun cultural “awakenings”.

 

 

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