Inside A Beautiful Mind – Shirani Rajapakse

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Good Morning Everyone and happy Friday

Welcome to Inside A Beautiful Mind.

For those of you who have been here before, go grab your coffee, tea or beverage of choice and come sit with me as we get comfy and have a chat with the wonderfully talented Shirani Rajapakse.

Good Morning Shirani, thank you for hanging out with me this morning and being a part of Inside A Beautiful Mind.

So now let’s get to it and tell our readers a little bit about yourself. 

 

Hi and thank you for having me over for a chat.

I’m a poet and short story writer from Sri Lanka. I live in the suburbs of the capital, Colombo. I have worked in journalism, research and management. About 15 years ago I became a full time creative writer. It wasn’t something I had planned. It just happened. I was in between jobs and had planned to take a year off to do several things I wanted andSANYO DIGITAL CAMERA just relax before getting back to the rat race. I also thought this would be the ideal time to edit several stories as well as put down ideas I had scribbled in note books. But it didn’t seem to end as the ideas tumbled out one after the other and I kept writing short stories and poems, adding to what I already had. I realized how much I enjoyed writing and decided this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, not as a hobby, but full time.

I’ve published two books – a short story collection and a poetry book. I have also published a lot of individual pieces in literary journals and anthologies around the world.

I’m a vegetarian and a chocoholic. I love dogs and have an eight year old dog named Bambi who has become rather dependent on me since her mother died last year.

I enjoy reading anything that is well written. The genres I read these days are literary fiction, women’s fiction, contemporary romance, light mystery, fantasy and of course quite a bit of poetry.

Can you tell us about your books?

My first publication was a collection of short stories. It was called Breaking News and it was shortlisted for the Gratiaen Award in 2010 and published by a small traditional publisher the following year.

This year I self published my poetry book Chant of a Million Women. I worked on it the whole of last putting together the poems that would make up the collection, deciding on what to use and the order of the poems and also getting it edited. I spent the better half of this year learning about self publishing – how to format books, do covers (although I didn’t do the cover for this one), and also market and promote the book. I published it last month, and although it’s taken longer than I thought it would to get published it was fully worth it.

What inspired you to write your first book?

I have been writing since the late 1990s. My first book is an unpublished novel and was inspired by a rather disturbing incident that took place involving a young woman. After writing this I began writing short stories and poems. I think it was like a chill out period from writing the novel. I found that I liked writing short stories and poems; the brevity of words was refreshing and I felt intrigued with the shorter forms of writing. Since there were many stories and poems piling up I felt it was time to start publishing them as collections. I decided to go with a short story collection first because I was more serious about fiction than poetry. Breaking News was publishing in 2011. I didn’t think I would write many poems or that it would become a form of writing I preferred over stories until much later. It was only after Breaking News was published and I started looking through my unpublished work that I found enough poems to make up loosely themed collections.

Chant of a Million Women is the first collection to be self published. Each of the poems were written at different times, and although I had a collection ready by the end of last year, I found myself adding three more poems a few months before I signed off on my final draft. The poems are about women in different circumstances and situations. TheyChant of a Million Women - Shirani Rajapakse are influenced by what has been happening to women down the ages and across the world, the treatment of women and children and the responses of society. They cover a gamut of topics and emotions and I hope these poems open up a dialogue to discuss issues about the treatment of women.

Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

Everything I write about is influenced by what I see around me. The stories or poems are not all based on real life experiences but most are. Breaking News is based on incidents that took place in Sri Lanka and consists of stories written about living under the threat of war that a lot of us experienced. Getting attacked by Tamil terrorists, losing family and friends, not knowing if we would return home when we left for work or school, was normal life for us for many years. Yet despite the terror and fear we lived under there was also room to poke fun at our situation and enjoy whatever bursts of sunshine we could have. It also made us realize how transient life was and that gave us a sense of awareness about how precious it was.

Chant of a Million Women has a lot of ‘stories’ told in verse about incidents that I’ve read or heard about. It is more global in outlook than Breaking News, but there are many poems that have Sri Lanka, South Asian and even the Middle East as a backdrop. Everything is not factual but most of it is based on fact. Imagination takes over to create something that is uniquely mine.

What was your favorite parts to write and why?

In Breaking News, it was the way the stories developed. My first lines were important to me and these were the lines that started the stories for me. If I couldn’t find the right words to start the story I couldn’t write it and that became a challenge. In Chant of a Million Women all the lines mattered, not just the first lines and this meant I had to work harder at developing every poem. I had to give a lot of thought and make a bigger effort to create the poems, more than the stories. Every line had to work; every line had to be a thought or idea, or even part of an idea. There was no room for fillers or excess words. I already had many poems but I needed to add more to make up a collection. There were sometimes ‘stories’ that I wanted to write about again, with a different angle and it was interesting to see how I could do this without making it seem similar to the one already included. The challenge was to create poems that were different yet addressed the issues I wanted.

How did you come up with the titles?

Both books take the titles from a story/ poem included in the collections. I selected Breaking News as the title of the book because I thought it would be a good title since it was the first book I was publishing and it was like a news item calling emphasis to the book. Also the subject matter being such – attacks on civil society, the disruption of life and destruction of property by terrorist attack – anything happening during that time was ‘news’ and would be splashed across the newspapers. With the poetry book the obvious choice was Chant of a Million Women since the book is all about women. It details the experiences and situations women the world over face and it is also something almost all women can identify with.

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

I haven’t got much harsh criticism for my writing, but I’ve been told the stories in Breaking News are difficult to read because of the subject matter. I do realize it is not easy to talk about some things, but I don’t believe in shying away from issues just because it is hard to come to terms with. I think that if we can live through horror and come out of it, then it’s also important to talk about it and as a writer I know I will continue to do that, even though it may not be appreciated by many people.

Since publishing Breaking News I’ve been submitting work, mostly poetry to literary journals and anthologies and except for three instances when the editors suggested very minor changes to the work submitted, like changing a word or two or delete a couple of lines, I’ve never had to re-write or alter anything I submitted. I consider this a huge compliment as it means I have been able to create something that is near perfect. Another compliment would be the acceptance of my work by editors of literary journals the world over, as it means they like and value my work enough to include it in their publications that are read by many different people.

Do you have any unique or quirky writing habits?

I don’t know if this qualifies as quirky or unique, but I tend to do my first draft in my mind. I have to see everything in my mind, like a movie. I can’t write it if it doesn’t unfold in a particular sequence and even if the desire to write it is strong, the story won’t sound good and it won’t be a success. I’ve tried that and have realized it just doesn’t work. So now I let it play inside my head before I take it down and put it in words. Although I love writing I’m a lazy writer. It takes me ages to write what’s in my mind. I’ve lost many ideas because I was lazy to put them down.

Do you work with an outline, or just write?

I mostly just write, although there are some times when I outline my stories in my mind. When I get inspired by either reading or seeing something I immediately see a story happening in my mind. Sometimes the story I have is not at all related to what I’ve seen or read but is merely influenced or inspired by just reading or seeing whatever it was I saw or read. I let the story flow through my mind like a short movie for a few seconds until I am comfortable with it, then I quickly write it down. It doesn’t have to be the full story or poem, but I have to write whatever comes to mind. Later I add and change things around, but that first line or idea has to be there. It’s the same with poems, although I have to write down the complete poem when I am inspired. The editing later takes care of any discrepancies etc.

 

Can you tell us about your experiences in getting your first book published?

I’ll talk about my second book Chant of a Million Women because it is the first book that is self published and this means a lot to me. The collection was put together in 2015 from poems I had written at various times. I started working on it seriously in 2016 when I began selecting the poems that I wanted from what was there, adding new poems, creating an order and getting it all edited and ready for publishing. Then I left it to learn about how to self publish. I spent the first six months of this year talking to people online and in writers groups, asking questions which later I realized were so silly but at that time felt like they were the most important, learning to format a book, design covers, making decisions about where to publish and how to market the book etc. This was probably the most intense six months of work I’d done for a long time and it felt harder than writing. I was very fortunate to meet some very nice and helpful people and I’ve made friends with quite a lot of people along the way. Writing was the easy part, publishing was hard and I think marketing and promoting the book is going to be the hardest.

When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?

I had been collecting poems for a long time and in 2015 I started separating them into themed collections. The strongest to come out was the theme on women. But I didn’t have enough and I started adding more. Then in 2016 I had a rough draft of about 85 poems. That got edited down to 80 and then to 70 by the end of 2016. I decided to publish this and left it to start learning about self publishing. A couple of months before I started to format the book I included three more poems that I had written with the objective of submit to a journal.

How did you choose the genre you write in?

I think the genre chose me. I’m more interested in literary fiction probably because that has been the genre I’ve read the most. As for writing, I never thought I’d write short stories or poems since I didn’t much like short stories and I had no idea how to write poetry. I always thought I’d be a novelist. The short stories and poems were written during breaks in writing the two full length novels that are yet unpublished. When it came to publishing I submitted the short stories and one of the novels. The publisher selected the short stories. After publishing I continued to write short stories as I felt some of the stories I had worked better as short stories than as a novel. I also began submitting poetry to journals and this resulted in turning towards writing more poems. I realized that the more I read and wrote poetry the more interested I was in writing verse and also that I was getting better at it.

Where do you get your ideas?

The ideas are all around me. They are to be found in the garden listening to the squirrels chirping in the trees, watching the sun walk across the sky every day and the conversations I have with people around the world and the news happening everywhere.

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing

I grew up reading Enid Blytons and the classics like Jane Austen, the Brontes and others. I devoured books. Anything that was interesting was read and re-read. Books were like a lifeline of sorts and I preferred reading to homework. I can’t say a particular book or author influenced me, because there were many authors that I followed and many books that influenced me at the various stages of my life. I also found that a particular author or book I liked at one time in my life didn’t bring me as much joy in another time. I used to think it strange but realize that we outgrow our interests and what we find pleasure in at one time can be boring and uninteresting at another time based purely on our experiences and where we have been in life.

Growing up I read mostly white writers and it was only when I was in my twenties in University, reading for my degree in Literature that I found myself having to read non white writers or writers using Africa and Asia as their background for stories. At first I didn’t want to read them as I had got so accustomed to reading and being familiar with the type of writing of white writers. Then when I started reading I was amazed to find how much I liked the stories I read and could finally identify with the characters and the worlds they inhabited. It was like reading my own experiences and narrative.

Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

Write whatever you want to write because you alone know the stories you want to tell. When you sit down to write let the words flow the way they want. Later, when you have finished your story or chapter go through it and make any changes. Then put it away and go do something else. Write another story, read a book, travel somewhere, do anything to forget the story you wrote. Come back and look at it objectively. Edit it as if it was someone else’s story and not yours. Be as merciless as you can, cutting down unnecessary words, adding new words to make the story stand out. Polish the lines, re construct sentences left hanging. Tighten them like you would tune a stringed instrument to get just the right notes. Put it aside again for another month or two. Let your eyes go over it again and send it to someone to read, maybe a beta reader. Edit based on the feedback you get. Keep editing until you are happy with it and know that there is nothing you can do for it anymore. But of course, writing and editing is never finished and you will always have something you want to add or change even minutes before you hit publish.

What is your favorite quote or saying?

Write with your heart. Edit with your head. Not my words but they work for me.

 Tea or coffee?

Love them both. Sometimes I’m a coffee drinker and at other times I’m a hopeless tea drinker.

Sweet or salty?

As long as it is chocolate then it’s sweet.

Would you like to share with us a passage that will give us a glimpse into the world you built?

Here are two very different poems from Chant of a Million Women.

Loneliness

 

Because I crossed over

no man’s land one day, a few steps

of nothingness between two countries

that drew borders to fence us in.

A sliver of territory

just enough for a road to run through,

a few kiosks that might make it

livable, but not

sufficient for homes

to make you feel loved, or

to put down roots.

 

No one feels

at home in no man’s land.

 

No one stops there. Not for long.

Only lonely birds swooping down infrequently

to rest awhile, taking wing as they sense

all is not quite right. Or

the occasional curious cow that wonders

if the grass is really greener

yet doesn’t venture further.

A feeling of unease she can’t quite understand;

fear of death by slaughter, slow and painful,

cold breeze carrying messages of anguish

and terror waiting on

the other side.

 

Because sometimes words

are not required to make one understand or

experience joy and grief

at the same time.

 

Because of this you left, unable

to comprehend, refused to accompany me.

Stood for an hour at the threshold until

the gates closed behind me.

You gazed as I went over

to the other country.

Past the entrance,

the men in uniform, the plumed hats,

the paperwork, the stamp of finality,

to get lost in the rest of what makes it theirs.

 

Not yours anymore.

 

Because it happened so long ago you

don’t remember the words spoken

as you watched people

stride away. Like me.

 

But I remembered your face that day

and the words you

wanted to speak,

but couldn’t,

so you let your eyes converse instead.

Because it sounded so good,

like a violin crying in an abandoned house,

like a dog howling in the lonely ruins,

like a peacock singing in a desert dream,

and I remembered.Chant of a Million Women - Shirani Rajapakse

 

Somewhere in the Middle East After One War Ended

 

Child in the classroom unable

to speak. Staring at the space in front

silent to the teachers urging.

 

Mouth refusing to shape

words that don’t come out, they died,

crumbled to dust and got lost

in the sands swirling not so very long ago.

 

What thoughts hold her back afraid

to open lips that might howl out secrets

best left hidden amidst the ruins

piled up like garbage?

 

Numb to the people, deaf

to the voices moving around, she hears

strange noises in her mind

deafening the songs

trying to rise up from a corner where

she stored them for safe keeping,

to make her smile.

 

Gunshots in the street,

 

the heavy fire of machine guns in

the dark of the night, a river

roaring through

nonstop taking with it the trees

uprooted, buildings collapsed.

 

Flares lighting up the

sky as she hid under

the bed seeing neon signs flash across

the sky through a hole in the roof

that brought in the sun during the day,

hot and burning, like the sting of the bullet

in her mother’s chest.

 

The guns are silenced for the moment,

only the distant low hum of

sporadic fire in some other town

not so far away.

 

People walk the streets unafraid, go about

their work like

nothing ever happened.

The past erased.

 

Yet the guns inside

her head continue to fire volley after volley

as she struggles to live each day.

 

Would you mind sharing with us the best way to stay in touch with you and where to learn more about your books?

Website: https://shiranirajapakse.wordpress.com

Facebook page: www.facebook.com/shiranirajapakseauthor

Goodreads author page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13850404.Shirani_Rajapakse

Amazon: www.amazon.com/author/ShiraniRajapakse

Universal ebook link: https://www.books2read.com/shiranirajapakse

Twitter: https://twitter.com/shiraniraj

LinkdIN: https://www.linkedin.com/in/shiranirajapakse/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/shiranirajapakse/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/shiraniraj/

 

Alright folks, it is that time again but I would like to say a heart felt thank you to Shirani for sharing with us and spending some time in her world today. Also, I would like to say a big thank you to the lovely readers out there for joining in and taking a moment to support your Authors.
If you or any of you know of someone who would like to be a part of Inside A Beautiful Mind, please send me a message or email me, kadecook.author@gmail.com.
Enjoy your Friday folks, you are awesome and please remember to be kind to your Authors, leave a review. See you in a couple of weeks, Peace.
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Inside A Beautiful Mind – Jeanne Blasberg

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Good Morning Everyone and happy Friday

Welcome to Inside A Beautiful Mind.

For those of you who have been here before, go grab your coffee, tea or beverage of choice and come sit with me as we get comfy and have a chat with the amazing Jeanne Blasberg.

Good Morning Jeanne, thank you for hanging out with me this morning and being a part of Inside A Beautiful Mind.

So now let’s get to it and tell our readers a little bit about yourself.

I’ve been a writer all my life although EDEN is my debut novel. After graduating fromJeanne Blasberg_-12 Smith College in 1987, I surprised everyone who knew me by accepting a job on Wall Street and embarking on a career in finance.   I’m a firm believer that you are never too old to change course and began studying the art of memoir and the craft of the novel at Grub Street, a wonderful creative writing center in Boston. I am an avid squash player and skier and my husband of 27 years and our grown children all enjoy playing and being active.   We split our time between Boston, MA and Westerly, RI.

 Can you tell us about your books?

 A sweeping family saga, Eden chronicles four generations of Meister Fitzpatrick women from 1915 to 2000. The book centers on an extraordinary family home aptly named after the Biblical paradise. As the novel opens, the family matriarch, Becca, is faced with the loss of this beloved home due to her late husband’s financial missteps. She is also planning to disclose a long-held secret to her extended family over a Fourth of July weekend. Fireworks result from both as family love and loyalties are tested and resentments emerge.

Eden is both a marvelous page turner and a fascinating look at the changing roles and choices available to women throughout the 20th century—and how these choices, or lack of choice, reverberate through generations. Redbook states, “This beautifully written family saga firmly establishes Jeanne McWilliams Blasberg as a rising writer to watch – and it will likely have you liking your family a whole lot more.”

 What inspired you to write your first book?

 I guess you can say the core of this story has been inside me all my life. I am the product of a hasty marriage when my mother got pregnant in college. Later, I met someone who talked openly about his feelings around being adopted. That meeting sparked a lot of “what if’s” for me. What if my mother had chosen not to have me? What if she gave me up? I dwelt on these issues during my early writing life where I wrote personal narrative and memoir.

But being an avid reader, I was driven to emulate the kinds of books I like to read: family sagas, works of fiction, especially those that span big time periods. I like multiple points of view and multiple chronologies. My thought was, if I only write one book in my life, why not write a big one?

 Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

Yes there are many anecdotes in the book that are from real life experiences (see above). Several of my matriachs are characters inspired by women in my family.

What was your favorite parts to write and why?

I love to write setting. My scenes are cinematic and the sense of place in EDEN is very poignant. EDEN is a quintessential, New England, shingle-style beach home where four generations summered together over the span of eighty years. After reading my novel, you’ll have picked out your favorite bedroom and may feel you’ve spent every summerEDEN Cover of your life there as well.

How did you come up with the titles?

My original title was “A Garden”, then “Her Father’s Garden”. It was my publisher who convinced me to go with the very profound title : “EDEN.”

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

The best compliment is that my book is a page turner. I do not view criticism as tough or as negative. It is all important feedback as I am developing as a writer.

Do you have any unique or quirky writing habits?

The thing about quirky people is that they don’t realize when they are being quirky J

What’s the strangest thing you have ever had to research online for your book?

Hmmm…. I researched a lot about train travel in the early part of the 20th C, the velveteen of the seats the names of the linens – that’s not very strange, though!

Give us an interesting fun fact about your book.

Everything in my book is fictional, however the setting is based on the town where I live in Rhode Island. The large stone home where the residents of Long Harbor weather the 1938 hurricane is actually my father’s home and all of the events that took place there are based on oral histories. The large Italianate villa is named Sunset Hill and the original owner was indeed, Mary Thaw Thompson.

 Do you work with an outline, or just write?

For my first draft I just write and write and then at some point later on, I need to organize everything and I create an outline.

Can you tell us about your experiences in getting your first book published?

It was a long, drawn out, difficult process. The book was re-written and revised many time after a long series of rejections from agents. I worked very hard on learning the craft of the novel and improving my book. I thought about giving up on several occasions.   I finally found an agent at a writing conference called the Muse and the Marketplace in Boston. We really hit it off and had a great discussion about my goals as an author. April Eberhardt, my agent, helped me sift through the different publishing options and I ended up publishing my book with She Writes Press which is an independent, hybrid model in Berkeley, CA.

When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?

I started writing in 2008 and finished in 2015. Yikes!!

How did you choose the genre you write in?

I love reading fiction, historical fiction most specifically. I wanted to emulate the type of books I am a fan of reading.

Where do you get your ideas?

My ideas and characters are based on my life experiences and then I extrapolate from there!

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way

The Big House by George Howe Colt was an enormous influence to me in the way that the house was a character in his work of non-fiction. I try to achieve the same thing in EDEN. Barbara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible was written in multiple points of view and reading that made we want to attempt the same thing. I was influenced by John Steinbeck’s East of Eden in terms of creating a biblical allegory.

Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

It is really easy to get discouraged. Don’t let other people get you down, and don’t give up. Make a regular practice of writing and stick with it. Your writing will improve, just put in the hours and read as much as you can!

What is your favorite quote or saying?

It is a little corny, but my niece reminded me of this favorite recently: “The past is history, the future is a mystery, but the present is a gift, that’s why it’s called a present.”

 Tea or coffee? Mint Tea!!

Sweet or salty? Salty!

Would you like to share with us a passage that will give us a glimpse into the world you built?

Even though Becca could be accustomed to life without her husband, a life without EdenEDEN Cover was an entirely different story. Even during the winter, the sheer notion of this place had buoyed her as much as the physical house did during the summer. Eden transcended time as the receptacle of the family’s legends and most vivid memories. She associated Eden with love and tradition, a link between the generations, and it made her sad to think that Sarah’s baby would miss the opportunity to run through its cool grass.

Would you mind sharing with us the best way to stay in touch with you and where to learn more about your books?

Website:  www.jeanneblasberg.com

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/jeanneblasbergauthor/

Goodreads author page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15746550.Jeanne_McWilliams_Blasberg

Twitter: @JeanneBlasberg

LinkdIN: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jeanne-blasberg-10942a13/

Instagram: @JeanneBlasbergauthor

Alright folks, it is that time again but I would like to say a heart felt thank you to Jeanne for sharing with us and spending some time in her world today.  Also, I would like to say a big thank you to the lovely readers out there for joining in and taking a moment to support your Authors.

If you or any of you know of someone who would like to be a part of Inside A Beautiful Mind, please send me a message or email me, kadecook.author@gmail.com.
Enjoy your Friday folks, you are awesome and please remember to be kind to your Authors, leave a review. See you in a couple of weeks, Peace.

 

 

 

 

Inside A Beautiful Mind – Dee Wilson

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Good Morning Everyone and happy Friday

Welcome to Inside A Beautiful Mind.

For those of you who have been here before, go grab your coffee, tea or beverage of choice and come sit with me as we get comfy and have a visit with my new friend Dee Wilson.

Good Morning Dee, thank you for hanging out with me this morning and being a part of Inside A Beautiful Mind.
For those of you who don’t know, Dee and I were recently contenders in the 2017 Kobo Emerging Writers competition and Dee was awarded the winners prize. Just want to take this moment to say a HUGE Congrats to you on winning. Amazing accomplishment, so proud of you.

So now let’s get to it and tell our readers a little bit about yourself.

Me, in numbers… I’m a redhead, and meet all the requirements of such. I run two Dee Willson Photo 3, Color, Web Sizebusinesses. I have two beautiful daughters. Hubby and I are celebrating twenty years. I love to read and write. I am the author of two books, with another two on the way.

Can you tell us about your books?

I am the author of A Keeper’s Truth, and GOT (Gift of Travel). I am currently working on the second installment of A Keeper’s Truth, titled The Truth Enslaved, and a quirky coming-of-age identy struggle titled No Apology For Being.

What inspired you to write your first book, A Keeper’s Truth?

A Keeper’s Truth came to me in a dream, and wouldn’t let go. The urge to note what I’d seen and heard in my sleep was strong, and I found myself writing a novel before the concept really entered my mind. I guess you can say I was compelled, versus inspired.

Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
There are scenes inspired by events in my life, but the characters and situations are not details I’ve experienced personally. One of my favorite scenes (in the book) describes a moment I shared with a stranger in a mall, when my daughter was a baby. A woman approached me insisting my daughter was an old soul, that she’d lived many lives. She claimed my daughter “knows things.” Quite freaky at the time, but has meaning in hindsight. Or could have meaning, should one attempt to interpret the concept.

What was your favorite parts to write and why?
Hmm… I think my favorite scenes to write were between Bryce and Thomas, the two leading men. They have a complicated history, so there is all this tension, and hidden subtleties that could only come through during dialogue. They are also very strong personalities, making their dialogue fun to write.

How did you come up with the titles?
I never seem to struggle with titles. Or character names. They are just there, like they are part of the story waiting to be told. Sometimes, as is the case with No Apology For Being, the title comes to me on a whim, and then I hear all or parts mentioned in conversations, or on television, or on the radio, and I sort of feel like the universe is trying to tell me I’m onto something. LOL.

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
We live in a world where money, success, and acclaim are tightly entwined. I think the toughest criticism to take as an author, is to see how little money your work is (sometimes) worth. To others, anyway. And I am, hands down, my worst critic. The best KOBO Awards Ceremony, 2017compliment was winning the Kobo Best Canadian Emerging Writer Award. I would like to say the pat on the back isn’t necessary, but it really does feel good.

Do you have any unique or quirky writing habits?
My worst habit is not writing at all. I live a busy life, and I wish writing could always take the front seat, but it doesn’t always work out that way. I can’t write with noise or chaos happening around me. I’m not good at staying focused. I have to write in a different room than where I work, so I don’t get distracted by email and paperwork calling my name. LOL.

What’s the strangest thing you have ever had to research online for your book?
What it feels like to die. Like the actual feel of it. How would this ever really be documented, anyway? LOL.

Give us an interesting fun fact about your book.

The original draft of A Keeper’s Truth was twenty thousand words over the published version, and took me less than ten weeks to write. Learning what I’d done wrong, however, and how to edit those overwritten words, took me almost four years, and countless more words as notes. Writing is one thing. Learning to write well is another altogether.

Do you work with an outline, or just write?

A Keeper’s Truth was written on a whim. The first draft, anyway. I learned my lesson, however, and wrote GOT (Gift of Travel) with a clear outline. No Apology For Being is outlined as well, to the point where the story is written before it’s written. I find this allows me to focus on the words, the sentence structure, the characters, without getting caught up in the plot or loose ends.

Can you tell us about your experiences in getting your first book published?
I signed with an agent of a reputable firm, but her personal struggles overtook her career and I found myself unrepresented within a year. A Keeper’s Truth was sold to Driven Press. They are a small imprint with big dreams. I love what they aim for, what they represent, and how they support me and my writing. They listened to my opinion regarding the publishing details of A Keeper’s Truth, and I’m not convinced I would have felt the same love from a bigger publisher. That said, their size makes distribution and marketing difficult. Every author should do their homework, and decide what route is best for them. This even changes with future works, as our writing career isn’t stagnant.

When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?

I have my first rejection letter from Berkley Publishing. I keep it framed, to remind me of the long path I’ve taken. I was fifteen. I didn’t finish the first draft of A Keeper’s Truth until I was in my thirties. I often say that writing took the slowly marinated route to me.AKT e-book cover final 1400x2100

How did you choose the genre you write in?
I write genre? LOL. I write the story that comes to me. Genre is for marketing teams and retailers. That said, I tend to write similar to what I like to read, which is fast pace books that cross genre lines and blur rules. I like to think outside the box, and stuff formula under the carpet.

Where do you get your ideas?
They come to me on a breeze. Anytime. Anywhere. Usually they start with some silly notion or curiosity. GOT (Gift of Travel), for example, was brought to me by roadkill. Yep, you read that right, roadkill. I was on a road trip with the kids and couldn’t believe the number of poor dead animals on the side of the road. Here I was, this selfish human being, driving my car through mountains and forests, while they had their lives brutally stripped by passing death-mobiles, just so we could get from point A to point B on a tight schedule. I found myself apologizing to each and every one. And GOT was born.

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way?
The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. Hands down, the best book ever written, in my mind. I have at least four copies, each battered from use, and refuse to admit how many times I’ve read and reread the book in its entirety, never mind specific pages. Every author could learn A LOT reading this book.

Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
Write because you love to, because a story calls to you. Write because you can’t imagine doing anything else with your time. Not only will your future readers feel the love that you feel, but you’ll have gained something more valuable than money or praise. The craft in itself is a gift. Enjoy every moment.

What is your favorite quote or saying?
“Fear is just excitement in need of an attitude adjustment.”

Tea or coffee?
Tea. No caffeine.

Sweet or salty?
Both. Ideally, together.

Would you like to share with us a passage that will give us a glimpse into the world you built?
Every one of us has a soul. Some are new, some old, and a few, the dangerous, are lost. But only twelve know why we have a soul at all. Only twelve remember mankind’s forbidden past.

Would you mind sharing with us the best way to stay in touch with you and where to learn more about your books?
Absolutely!
Website: www.deewillson.com
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/dee.willson.52
Goodreads author page: https://www.goodreads.com/DeeWillson
Twitter: @denisewillson

Alright folks, it is that time again but I would like to say a heart felt thank you to Dee Wilson for sharing with us and spending some time in her world today. Once again Congrats to you on a job well done. Keep your eyes on her.

Also, I would like to say a big thank you to the lovely readers out there for joining in and taking a moment to support your Authors.

If you or any of you know of someone who would like to be a part of Inside A Beautiful Mind, please send me a message.
Enjoy your Friday folks, you are awesome and please remember to be kind to your Authors, leave a review. See you in a couple of weeks, Peace.

Inside A Beautiful Mind – Crystal MM Burton

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Good Morning Everyone and happy Friday

Welcome to Inside A Beautiful Mind.
For those of you who have been here before, go grab your coffee, tea or beverage of choice and come sit with me as we get comfy and have a most enchanting chat with my friend Crystal MM Burton.
Good Morning Crystal, thank you for hanging out with me this morning and being a part of Inside A Beautiful Mind.
So let’s get right to it, can you tell me a little bit about yourself.
Thank you for having me today! My name is Crystal, and I write under my real name, Crystal MM Burton. I live in the small, rural town of Lott, Texas, with my husband, our three children, and my Yorkie. If you were to 19911682_10154681459586475_1379521768_oask anyone about me, they’d probably tell you I’m a fangirl. I find it very easy to slip into fictional worlds and I often lose myself wishing they were real. I don’t have the time or space to list them all, but my main fandom is Doctor Who. It stands to reason that I was destined to create my own fictional worlds, too. I’ve self-published a children’s book (Mommy, What Is the Moon?) and I’ve been published in multiple anthologies and collaborative novels, but my first solo novel is in the works now.
Can you tell us about your current projects?
I’m one of those authors who has a whole folder dedicated to project ideas and starter chapters. But my main project, The World Soul, is a high fantasy series following a forest-dwelling exile on her quest to find the four elemental heartsouls and replenish the life energy of the world. My series is full of two unique breeds of mermaids, stone giants, a winged race, forest-dwellers, and of course, humans.
How hard was it to sit down and actually start writing something?
Harder than it should have been, to be honest. I don’t usually have an issue with sitting down and at least knocking out a rough draft. But with my novel series, my passion held me back. I was so worried about writing it wrong that I spent more time fussing over the outline than actually writing the story. I wanted it to be perfect. That still holds me back sometimes.
Do you set a plot or prefer going wherever an idea takes you?
Both, depending on the story. If I’m using a writing prompt, I just get a base idea in my head and let the prompt guide me. It’s a creative exercise for me. But if I have a real, solid idea for a story, I’ll sit down and do an eight-point plot outline to make sure my story has all the dramatic arcs and emotional elements it needs.
Over the years, what would you say has improved significantly in your writing?
I’m much more open with my thoughts. More confident in my ideas. When I first started writing, I was terrified of what people would think and how they would judge me. Nowadays, I take pride in my ideas and the way I portray them. This is my future and my legacy. I don’t want to lead readers around their own back yards, I want to lead them through jungles and under the oceans and to new, exciting places that only exist in my books.
What is the most important thing about a book, in your opinion?
Being relatable. When I read a book, I want to know that if I took the place of the main character, a lot of the events in the story wouldn’t change, because I’d do the same things, make the same mistakes, fall in love with the same people. I want secondary characters that I love to hate because I can understand them. Characters I’d want to be friends with. Characters I’d want to strangle because they remind me of someone I know. When we as readers can compare our lives to a book in some way, no matter how small, it gives us a connection. That’s so important.
Do your novels carry a message?
They do. Many messages, though not all of them are obvious.
Never lose hope; it’s the greatest motivator of all time. Be yourself. Find your balance and your world will have meaning. Dedicate your life to something greater than yourself. And never judge someone without knowing their side of the story.
How much of yourself do you put into your books?
All of me. Each character has something in common with me, even if it’s just a quirk or habit or hobby. A shared opinion or belief. A lot of authors do this without realizing it; I do it on purpose. It all goes back to relatability.
How realistic are your books?
They’re not as realistic as other genres (I do write about mermaids and stone giants, after all). However, I’m a firm believer that if something exists in a fantasy world, it should at least follow the same laws of physics that our world adheres to. If it’s too “out there,” it loses a big part of what keeps the reader comfortable. Yes, they want to escape, but they also want a world they can make sense of.
What is that one thing you think readers generally don’t know about your specific genre?
I don’t think many fantasy readers realize just how similar their fantasy worlds are to our own. I’ve mentioned before that readers tend toward fantasy to escape the real world, but nearly every successful fantasy story still has human elements and traits. Realistic notions and events. Political drama, domestic drama, rivalries, hopelessness. We escape it at home only to dive into it in a book, just because it’s not ours. It’s sugar-coated in magical creatures, spells, and far-off lands, but it’s the same thing.
How liberal are you in term of expressing ideas in your books?
If my characters require it, I’ll write it. There are many differing ideals, opinions, personalities, and cultures in my books. I have no problem writing any of them because they aren’t “me.” I would hope that anyone who knows of me would be able to differentiate between my personal ideals and those of my fictional characters.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Getting it right. For some reason, I always seem to forget that I can always go back and add things in and rearrange. I get so caught up in not forgetting to include anything and in finding the right words that I get stuck. It’s part of my OCD, I think. Being a perfectionist is a huge challenge as a writer.
Writers are often believed to have a muse; what are your thoughts on that?
I think we all call it something different. Some people call it a muse, some call it their dreams, others just call it what it is: their imagination. The thing is, no one really knows where our ideas come from, so it’s almost comforting to imagine a magical deity whispering in our ears. I often make comments about my muse, treating her like a close friend. Many of my ideas stem from my dreams, so I tend to call my muse “the girl of my dreams.” Do I honestly believe there’s an otherworldy being feeding me all my ideas? No. Does it help me to personify the creative side of my brain? Definitely.
What is your view on co-authoring books; have you done any?
I have, actually. Quite often. The first collaborative work I participated in was a zombie fiction novel called Bit. I worked alongside five other authors, and that story turned out fantastically science-fiction-y. It will be published next year (2018).
I’ve also participated in what is called the Collaborative Writing Challenge, a program that brings masses of writers together under the guide of a story coordinator to collaborate on a novel. I’ve had chapters selected for four CWC projects to date, each one a different genre: sci-fi, drama/mystery, fantasy, and steampunk.
I think all authors should try at least once to collaborate on a writing project. The point of it doesn’t have to be something publishable, nor does it even need to be entirely coherent. Ultimately, it just makes a great writing exercise and helps you grow as a writer. The challenge to it is that you don’t have full control. Your characters take on a life of their own, because they’re being manipulated by multiple writers. I wouldn’t be the writer I am today without my experience in collaborative writing.
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Do you plan on owning a publishing house?
Yes and no. I am the creator and co-founder of Imagine House, an indie publishing imprint. I teamed up with my friend and fellow author Jae Dawn to create this company, but we’re not a traditional publisher. As we like to say, we’re more of a club. We can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and our website, imaginehouse.co. We focus on fantasy, but we encourage reading and writing in all genres. If you can dream it, you can write it. It’s like I always say… “As I imagine, so shall it be.”
Do you have a day job other than being a writer? And do you like it?
For the past eight years, I’ve been a stay-at-home mom. I have three kids—two boys and a girl—and raising them is a full-time job in itself. However, being a mother is not a career path. Which is why, in August 2016, I officially became a freelance fiction editor, and I love it. I had spent seven months as the Editing Director for a small press, so I had the skill and experience, and working for myself gives me the ability to set my own hours. The only downside I can think of is that I spend more time working on other people’s stories than my own, but that’s still pretty great.
Do you proofread and edit your work on your own or pay someone to do it for you?
For each of my stories, I first write it, revise it, pass it to beta readers, revise it once more, then toss it to a professional editor for the final pass. Even though I’m an editor myself, my work always needs to go to someone else for edits. No matter how great you think you might be, everyone needs an editor. As the creators, we’re just too close to our own work. We’ll miss things. I know editors can be expensive, but I strongly urge all writers to save up for a real editor. Trust me—self-publishing has the sad reputation it does because of self-publishers who thought they could do it themselves.
What do you do in your free time?
Ha! Free time! You’re funny. Everyone knows that’s just a myth.
If I did have any free time, though, I’d be tending to my garden, spending time with the animals, crocheting, having endless Netflix binges, gaming, or learning. I’m always learning. If it could be said that I have a single passion, it’s for knowledge.
What is the dream goal you want to achieve before you die?
My dream goal is to be published by one of the Big Five. I want to be a household name, like Tolkien, Rowling, Martin, or Jordan; I want people to hear “Burton” or “World Soul” and know that it’s me. I have a very strong feeling—hope, I think—that the Big Five can get me there. I’ve had my eye on Tor Fantasy since the day I decided to be a writer.
What advice would you like to pass on to young writers of today that is unconventional but true?
The best rule of writing is that there are no real rules. Yes, you will always have grammar rules. You can’t get around those. But most writing “rules” are just guidelines for beginners. Things like “no prologues,” or “don’t open with a dream,” or “don’t kill the dog.” They’re not hard laws, just strong suggestions. The trick is to figure out why someone says not to kill the dog, then determine if you have a solid reason for doing it. Anything can work in a story if done well. So, learn all the “rules” and why they exist before determining which rules you want to break.
How about sharing some of your book with us? Maybe a passage that will give us a glimpse into the world you built.
I’m still in a heavy outlining stage, and I’ve only written a few small sections that aren’t ready for the world just yet. But I’d love to tell you more about my books.
My series is based on one idea: the eyes are the windows to the soul. Except, that window doesn’t always lead to your own. Tarenya is an exile whose eyes lead directly to the world soul itself. When the stars begin to go out, she is set on a quest to find the heartsouls of the elements and restore the life energy of the world. Her traveling companions throughout the story include a dashing human pirate, First Mate Tennison, a young stone giant, Mmrmr, and the Salcean princess, Breann.
There are seven races in my world. The first one you’ll meet is the forest-dwelling Avendii. They are a bit shorter than the average human, have emerald-green eyes, and have a cat-like resemblance and antlers. They guard the Heart of Forest.
The second is the Elvik. They live in the mountains and their dark skin is as tough as diamond. They have fiery orange eyes and are said to have descended from the stone giants themselves. They guard the Heart of Stone.
The stone giants, the third race, are born of the mountain and named for the sounds rocks make when they collide. The only three still known to exist are young brothers, Mmrmr, Tktk, and Drrg. The landmass of the world was rumored to have been created when the great stone father died.
The fourth is the Salceans—the merfolk. They are nothing like traditional mermaids, though; they aren’t part fish. Their lower halves are similar to a dugong, and their upper halves resemble thick humans with golden hair and deep blue eyes. They were bred as a cross between humans and the deadly Zimwahar, the original merfolk (the fifth race). We see the Zimwahar in book two, but they’re not pretty. Their teeth alone would give you nightmares. The Salceans are said to guard the Heart of Sea.
The sixth race is the Tl’ys. These exotic, birdlike people are thin and pale with wide feathered wings and light-purple eyes. Their hair is either pure white or the deepest black, with no other shades between. They used to guard the Heart of Wind until the queen depleted its energy to maintain her and her son’s immortality. The Dark Prince is the ultimate antagonist in my story, hunting down the other heartsouls to keep himself alive.
The seventh is, of course, the humans. They couldn’t be trusted to guard a heartsoul, and for good reason. They are spread across the land, each village unique unto itself, and not all of them placing their belief in the world soul’s existence. They don’t even all believe in magic. The fate of the world soul depends on them, though, because it was a human witch who set everything in motion over two hundred years ago.
Anyway, that’s a crash-course on the worldbuilding of The World Soul. I wish I could give you a planned release date, but to be honest, when the first book is finished, I’ll be submitting it to agents and publishers in my quest for Tor.
But if you’d like to stay updated on my progress and my journey as a writer, you can follow me on Facebook at facebook.com/crystalmmburton and subscribe to my website at crystalmmburton.com. 
Thank you so much for having me today!
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Alright folks, it is that time again but I would like to say a heart felt thank you to Crystal MM Burton for sharing with us and spend some time in her world today. Keep your eyes on her.
Also, I would like to say a big thank you to the lovely readers out there for joining in and taking a moment to support your Authors.
If you or any of you know of someone who would like to be a part of Inside A Beautiful Mind, please send me a message.
Enjoy your Friday folks, you are awesome and please remember to be kind to your Authors, leave a review. See you in a couple of weeks, Peace.

Inside A Beautiful Mind – Rose Montague

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Good Morning Everyone and happy Friday

Welcome to Inside A Beautiful Mind.

Go grab your coffee, tea or beverage of choice and come sit with me as we get comfy and have a chat with the marvelous Rose Montague.

Good Morning Rose, thank you for agreeing to hang out with me this morning and being a part of Inside A Beautiful Mind.

So let’s get right to it, can you tell me a little bit about yourself.
My Goal: To have fun writing fun books to read.

My Writing Style: Not much pretty prose or flowery fluffiness, pretty much non-stop action and fun.

My Dream: To be able to write full time.

Reading Order: The chronological order is Jade, Jane, & Jill followed by the Norma Jean’sImage may contain: text School of Witchery series, Jewel and Ghost School. Jill bridges the gap between the Three J’Amigos and Norma Jean’s School of Witchery. The way I have written these books you can however, start with Jewel & Ghost School and then read the Three J’amigos series to get the back story on Jewel’s adoptive parents, Jade & Jane as well as her Godmother, Jill.

Tea or coffee?

Starting with the most important question! I start my day with hot coffee with cream and just a hint of chocolate. I end my day with iced tea and I prefer unsweetened green tea with lemon.

Through your writing career, what has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

The toughest criticism has also been the best compliment! My main character has been called a Mary Sue. I have responded with a blog post called Embracing my Mary Sue. It’s who I am. It’s how I write. They are the characters I love.
http://fantasyfunreads.blogspot.com/…/embracing-my-mary-sue…

When you sit down to write, do you have any unique or quirky habits?

I have a bad back and it’s normal for me to wake up in the middle of the night. I find that quiet time to be the best time to write. My first book, Jade, was almost entirely written in the wee hours of the night.
Can you give us an interesting fun fact about your book?

The book I am working on now is a blend of urban fantasy and science fiction. It has magic and is also futuristic. I’m hoping for a summer release. Here’s the blurb:

“Hello. My name is Wiznewski James. I’m a real person but that’s not my real
name. My real name is GEM (Genetically Engineered Modification) Set 231
Batch 31,390. My sister is called Kate and she’s not a real person but that is the
real name I gave her. She’s an AI (Artificial Intelligence). She rides around with me
in my brain. Together we are on the run and hiding in plain sight. It was only a
matter of time before we ran into ConGlom again.

I’ve got the Genesis Egg and ComGlom wants it. I’m going to make sure they
don’t get their greedy hands on it. When they find out who I really am, they will want
me almost as bad as they want the device. I’ve decided to take a stand. It’s going
to be a real fight and they have no idea what they are getting into. They made me
and I will make them regret it. “

Would you mind telling us about your experiences in getting your first book published?

My first two books were published through a small press by the name of Eternal Press. They gave me my start and I will be forever grateful for that. Eventually they sold out to Image may contain: 2 people, texta new publisher and I eventually got the rights back to those two books. By that time I had self-published two other books so I ended up publishing new versions of the two originally traditional published books.

As an experienced writer, do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

Be prepared to sell and market your book. Make connections before publishing. Grow your base of friends and followers and be ready to sell right out the gate. Getting a few people to buy your book is a lot harder than you think, even if you go with a publisher.

How about sharing some of your book with us. Maybe a passage that will give us a glimpse into the world you built.

Excerpt from Norma jean’s School of Witchery, Book One: Jewel
“This a friend of yours, Wyatt?” his Mom shouted, looking like she was about to lose it.
“Yes, Mom,” he said, but he didn’t sound too happy about it. Nothing I could do, things were about to get worse.
I reached the house and went around the side of it, still flying, with the truck bouncing up and down and hit the edge of the woods, turning the lights off at the same time as I jerked the truck left, right, and left again, weaving between the trees I knew were there only from my gift. It was pitch-black dark in the woods. The only lights came from the dashboard. Limbs were slapping against the truck on both sides and the sound of small bushes we were running over scraped against the bottom of the truck. A loud snap and a crack appeared in the front window on the passenger side.
“Trust me, Wyatt,” I shouted above the noise and his Mom’s now also sobbing, pleading demands for me to stop.
“Her eyes are closed,” screamed his Mom. “We’re going to die!”

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Teaser

A presidential election. A witch with a target on her back and a magical arrow. A shadowy government agency made up of witches with unusual abilities. A game called Witch Pong. The Mighty Thor?

See how it all comes together in a school you will never forget.

When did it dawn upon you that you wanted to be a writer?

I got my love of reading from my mother. I read what she read which was mostly suspense and romance. I discovered science fiction and fantasy on my own and fell in love with those genres. When I was young I wrote a few short stories and I had wanted to be a writer for a long time. Life interrupted and it would be four decades later when I wrote my first novel.

If any of you want to see what Rose is up to just follow these links:

https://www.amazon.com/Rose-Montague/e/B00GL9UPH2
https://twitter.com/RoseMontague/status/872000707439755266
https://books.pronoun.com/norma-jeans-school-of-witchery/
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000712227923Image may contain: 1 person, text

 

Alright folks, it is that time again but I would like to say a heart felt thank you to Rose Montague for allowing us to see what she does and spend some time in her world today.

Also, I would like to say a big thank you to the lovely readers out there for joining in and taking a moment to support your Authors.
If you or any of you know of someone who would like to be a part of Inside A Beautiful Mind, please send me a message.
Enjoy your Friday folks, you are awesome and please remember to be kind to your Authors, leave a review. See you in a couple of weeks, Peace!!

Inside A Beautiful Mind – Christina Hoag

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Good Morning Everyone and happy Friday
Welcome to Inside A Beautiful Mind.
Go grab your coffee, tea or beverage of choice and come sit with me as we get comfy and have a chat with the marvelous Christina Hoag.
Good Morning Christina, thank you for agreeing to hang out with me and wanting to be a part of Inside A Beautiful Mind.
So let’s get right to it, can you tell me a little bit about yourself.
I won a prize for writing interesting stories when I was six years old and that’s what I’ve been doing ever since as a journalist and novelist. I’m the author of two novels Girl on the Brink, a YA romantic thriller (Fire and Ice YA/Melange Books, 2016) and Skin of 15555071_10211475936482132_1667084592_nTattoos, a gangland thriller (Martin Brown, 2016), and co-authored Peace in the Hood: Working with Gang Members to End the Violence (Turner Publishing, 2014), which is about gang intervention. I live in Los Angeles currently, but I’ve lived in numerous countries as a child and adult.
Can you tell us about your books?
One is a literary thriller called “Skin of Tattoos,” in which the main character, Mags, comes out of prison wanting to get out of gang life but finds himself trapped in it by various circumstances. It’s a story of revenge and rivalry, but there are also other layers: Mags’s quest for his father’s approval, the hardships faced by a poor immigrant family, and the larger picture of the factors that drive gangs in our society.
“Girl on the Brink is a YA romantic thriller about a 17-year-old girl who gets involved with the wrong guy. At first, she thinks Kieran’s the one. He sweeps her off her feet, to use an old cliché. Slowly, however, he reveals a dark side of his character – he’s manipulative, abusive, violent, possessive. Chloe wants to help him, but Kieran’s not that keen on being helped. He pulls a huge move to harm her, and Chloe must use all her smarts, strength and courage to defeat him.
What inspired you to write your first book “Skin of Tattoos”?
I was sent to El Salvador back in 2000 to do a magazine story on gang members deported from Los Angeles to San Salvador, which most of them really didn’t know because their families had emigrated when they were infants. It was a classic “fish out of water” story. They neither belonged in El Salvador or in the United States. Some barely spoke Spanish. It’s really a strange take on the immigrant experience. Their story resonated with me. I could relate to them because I had moved around the world as a child, so I also feel I 15608771_10211475939282202_462019073_odon’t really belong anywhere. Although my novel is not about deported gang members; it’s the tale of rival homeboys in L.A., the book was inspired by those interviews in El Salvador.
Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
“Skin of Tattoos” is basically from my imagination although I did a lot of research for it, including interviews with former gang members. “Girl on the Brink” was inspired by a personal experience and I felt strongly that I wanted to write about it to show girls the red flags of an abusive relationship. I’ve had very good feedback from it so I’m glad I wrote it.
What was your favorite parts to write and why?
In “Skin of Tattoos,” I really liked writing Mags’s resolution of his rocky relationship with his dad and of his betrayal of his homie, Blueboy. Those bits come near the end but I felt very satisfied that he had grown enough to confront those issues in his life. In “Girl on the Brink,” I liked writing Chloe and Kieran’s fun relationship, when Kieran was still quirky before turning abusive. The abusive bits were hard to write.
How did you come up with the titles?
Basically brainstorming. I needed strong edgy titles for both books. Tattoos were a big symbol in the gang novel—Mags is haunted by his tattoos, which signify his gang membership that he cannot get out from under, while books with “girl” in the title seem to do well so I decided the YA book needed a “girl.” I think both have worked well.
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
The toughest criticism I got was from agents who rejected “Girl on the Brink” because they said I didn’t have the teen voice right. It was tough because I didn’t quite know how to remedy it, although eventually I gave up trying and just wrote from my heart. It seemed to work. It’s interesting to note that no reader has mentioned any problem with “voice.” The best compliment is from readers who really like my lyrical, literary style of writing and from those who say my characters are well formed and deep.
Do you have any unique or quirky writing habits?
I sit in this weird way with one leg folded to the side and the other leg crossed over it, angled to the other side so basically my legs are going in opposite directions. It looks odd and I’m sure an ergonomic specialist would have a heart attack but I find it very comfortable!
What’s the strangest thing you have ever had to research online for your book?
Murder methods. I won’t give anything away about my forthcoming thriller, tentatively called “Jungle,” but I came up with a cool way to kill someone. Eek, that sounds so creepy!
Give us an interesting fun fact about your book.
“Skin of Tattoos” started life as a YA novel, but that genre proved too limiting for the character and story. I upped Mags’s age a couple years and voila, I had an adult book that granted me full rein over story without having to think of teenager-ish things like parental control, school, etc. It was far better.
Do you work with an outline, or just write?
A bit of both. I like to know where I’m going so I have a loose outline. I’ve found knowing your ending from the getgo really helps to avoid writing yourself into corners, or into a wall. That said, I change stuff as I go all the time. Some of it works, some of it doesn’t. Sometimes I do detailed mini-outlines covering just the next chapter or two. It also helps to get you started when you sit down at the computer every day so you avoid wasting time wondering what comes next.
Can you tell us about your experiences in getting your first book published?
It was a long and rocky road to publication that took years, even after I finished writing the books, which took years in of itself. I eventually got an agent after sending out about 90 queries, but frankly, she was a lousy agent who gave up quickly. I did not. I rewrote and rewrote and got another agent, who was a real pro. She did not, however, succeed in selling my book (this was “Skin of Tattoos”). I kept at it. I knew it was good, and I knew “Girl on the Brink” was good, too. I kept rewriting, but I switched from seeking agents to 15556451_10211475940602235_574194989_oseeking publishers who took unagented subs. I kept searching the Internet for publishers and submitting. My persistence paid off in the end.
When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
I won a prize for “writing interesting stories” when I was six years old so I think writing was something I was born with. I always wanted to write books. I discovered journalism in high school – a career that would pay me to write! I wrote short stories on and off until I really focused on my childhood goal of writing novels about a dozen years ago. I wrote an outline for ‘Skin of Tattoos” in 2006, started writing it in 2008, finished it in 2013.
How did you choose the genre you write in?
It really chose me. I naturally gravitated toward dark crime stuff, particularly thrillers. I’ve always liked reading about the seedy side of life and human nature, ever since I was a teenager.
Where do you get your ideas?
Really anywhere. Some have come from my own experience, some from people I’ve interviewed and things I’ve written about as a journalist, things I read about or that people just tell me about their own lives. It kind of all gets poured into a funnel in my brain and mashed up.
Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
I have a list of must-read books, but I’ve always been partial to Graham Greene. Many of his books are about the concept of being a foreigner, an outsider, which I relate to since I’ve lived in many countries both as a child and as an adult. That influence comes through in my novel “Skin of Tattoos,” where the protagonist Mags was born in El Salvador but left with his family fleeing the civil war when he was a child so he doesn’t really feel Salvadoran, doesn’t remember anything about the place, yet that is his identity. He’s an outsider to El Salvador, yet as an immigrant an outsider to mainstream American society, as well. He finds his home in a gang with others from similar backgrounds. As a reader, I love immersing myself in foreign cultures and settings because you always learn something new. As a writer, Greene’s work made me see how key setting can be. It can almost become almost like another character with a personality all of its own.
Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
Believe in yourself and that you have something to say. That’s the greatest gift you can give yourself. Just keep going no matter what anyone tells you, no matter how many rejections you get.
What is your favorite quote or saying?
Never, never, never give up—Winston Churchill. I think it underscores the fact that a lot of success in this game is simply perseverance. Plus, the more you write, the better you get at it.
Tea or coffee?
Two cups of Cuban café con leche in the morning and tea (PG Tips from Britain always!) thereafter if I need a pickmeup. Herbal tea at night.
Sweet or salty?
I definitely have a sweet tooth, but I don’t like things really sweet. I prefer European-style sweet, which is sort of medium on the sweetness scale.
Would you like to share with us a passage that will give us a glimpse into the world you built?
Here’s a passage from “Skin of Tattoos.”
“Ay yo, homes!” A familiar voice sliced through the bustle. “Mags!”
I twirled faster than a ballet dancer, my stomach clenching. It was him. Rico. Slashing across the street aiming the shopping bag in his hand at me. His baggy shorts slung so low the waistband of his boxers showed. Socks, white as fluorescent light, pulled neatly to his knees. Ink flowing out of the arms and neck of his plaid shirt. Exactly how he looked the last time I saw him.
The memory of that day bore down on me. We were kicking it at a street corner, and Rico was bragging about how he shot a trey-eight into the ceiling of a liquor store he was jacking, and the storeowner pissed his pants. As he was talking, he took the .38 out of his waistband in a live re-enactment, and I just had to take the piece, feeling its cold weight in my hand for just a second or two before handing it back to Rico. That second or two cost me twenty-six months of my freedom.
Would you mind sharing with us the best way to stay in touch with you and where to learn more about your books?
Alright folks, it is that time again but I would like to say a heart felt thank you to Christina Hoag for allowing us to see what she does and spend some time in her world today.
Also, I would like to say a big thank you to the lovely readers out there for joining in and taking a moment to support your Authors.
If you or any of you know of someone who would like to be a part of Inside A Beautiful Mind, please send me a message.
Enjoy your Friday folks, you are awesome and please remember to be kind to your Authors, leave a review. See you in a couple of weeks, Peace!!

 

Inside A Beautiful Mind – Paul J. Coggins

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Good Morning Everyone and happy Friday

Welcome to Inside A Beautiful Mind.

Go grab your coffee, tea or beverage of choice and come sit with me as we take a moment to chat with the talented Paul J. Coggins.

Good Morning Paul, thank you for agreeing to hang out with me and wanting to be a part of Inside A Beautiful Mind.

So let’s get right to it, can you tell me a little bit about yourself.

Hi, my name is Paul John Coggins, I write under the name Paul J Coggins. I live in Gloucester England, been here all my life. I’m a hydraulic engineer by day and an AuthorPCoggins1[8375].jpg by night.

Can you give us an interesting fun fact about your book?

This was more luck than intent, but my book is about a government agency hacking into the public’s electrical devices to spy on people. In the news at the moment there is a scandal where it is actually happening in real life. So it actually came true. I am not saying it is a good thing, it was just funny that it happened at the same time as my book coming out.

Would you mind telling us about your experiences in getting your first book published?

This is my debut novel coming out at the moment. I knew I wanted to go self-publishing for my first novel, as it is easier to get a book out there on the market. The whole thing has been a bigger challenge than I first thought. Most people think it ends when you have written the story, but that is only the beginning. I had to a lot of advertising, even website designing when I first set up pauljcoggins.com.
Once I chose my publisher, I had to format my files and choose the front cover and get a copyright to it. Create a US dollar trading account and set up my taxes and get an accountant. Its been more involving than I first thought.

When did it dawn upon you that you wanted to be a writer?

It was at an early age, maybe 13 years old. I remember at school, writing stories as homework and finishing entire text books. The teacher even extended the time i had to hand it in to allow me to finish. That’s when I knew I wanted to write. To create adventures from my imagination.

Do you set a plot or prefer going wherever an idea takes you?

I did try the plot everything out to the last detail on one of my projects, but once i started to write I got bored as i knew the story already. I prefer to see where the idea takes me. At the start of Vengeance i just had the simple idea, two people meeting on the internet and going on the run. The rest i made up as i went.

What is your take on the importance of a good cover and title?

This is VERY important. It is the first thing people see when searching for a book. You must have something that stops someone walking or scrolling passed and thinks, wow i want to read that. Something simple yet eye catching.

Have you ever designed your own book cover?

Ever since i finished my first draft of Vengeance, I had an idea of what book cover i wanted. So i had to copyright an image of my own and passed it onto my publisher. Telling them what I wanted on the cover and spine. I think it does give it a more personal feel.

Any advice you would like to give to aspiring writers?

One word, advertisement. When I knew I had an intent to get published, I started to collect followers on social media as early as I could. You need to get your name out there before your book it out, not afterwards. Also use as many social media sites as you can. If you are going self-publishing, this is a must as you are the one that controls your media exposure. You could have the best story in the world, but no one would know it. Also do not be scared to ask other Authors and writers for help of advice.

Tell us about your writing style, how is it different from other writers?

I know people throw around the phrase action-packed a lot in films and other novels. I tried to make it as action orientated as I could, without losing the story to mindless violence. Keeping descriptions short so the reader can make the images themselves, rather than spend two pages on what a room looks like (as an example) rather than the story of what is going to happen in that room.

How much of yourself do you put into your books?

I do this a lot with my novels. For example, with Rylan Jones, one of the main Characters in Vengeance. I put that he has depression and social anxiety. Both of which I suffer from and could at least write from some experience. I also did study a little martial arts and Ninjutsu when I was younger and put that in for Rylan as well.

Is it true that anyone can be a writer?

I think anyone can be a writer as long as you work hard at it. I have had no training in writing and here I am about to release my published novel. The main thing is that the person has to believe in themselves and have a great passion to tell a story, whatever that might be.

Have you ever marketed your own books yourself?

I have been doing this ever since I finished the second or third chapter of my book, when I knew I wanted to go all the way and get it published. Back near the start though, it was more just my Authors name. As I never had a definitive book title. I think, no matter what route you go down, traditional or self published. Marketing is of huge importance and an Author/Writer has to take responsibility for this.

Have you ever taken any help from other writers?

I have reached out and asked other writers and Authors for help and advice. They have been in the business and know some of the things to avoid or can offer advice on many things. Everyone I have talked too have been kind and helpful. Some people think its a dog eat dog world in the publishing world. That maybe true for the publishing houses or the shops selling the books, but not for the Authors and writers, who are always happy to help each other.

Is writing book series more challenging?

For my style of writing it is very challenging. I write as I go with little to no forward planning. I did originally start with the idea to only write a single book, but as the story progressed and I developed as a writer it will become three. I think some planning is necessary when you write a series. That I will do in my next series of novels after the Dark Agents.

It is often said that in order to write something, you must believe in what you are writing. Do you agree with that?

I totally agree with that. Even if it is fiction or sci-fi, you still have to believe what you are writing. The world you create with words has to be so real to the reader that they can picture it. If you do not believe your own world you create, how can the reader?

Does it get frustrating if you are unable to recall an idea you had in your mind some time earlier?

This happens a lot to me, sometimes I am at my normal job or even out shopping, sometimes in bed as I am about to fall asleep and I get an idea for a great scene and as I get distracted or fall to sleep, its gone. Very frustrating indeed. Which leads to the question below.

Do you pen down revelations and ideas as you get them, right then and there?

I try to if I can, I do not always have a pen and paper handy when I am out. So I got an app on my phone that takes notes. Admittedly I do have notepads all around the house that I use and try to find one if an idea hits me.

Have you ever written a character based on the real you in some part?

I said before about Rylan Jones in Vengeance in some part as me with the depression and 60023185_High Resolution Front Cover_6889733such. But what I tried to do is not just make a few things the same. As he went through these action-packed scenes, I tried to think how would I react if it was me. So in a strange way, Rylan is very much how I perceive myself. Even though I do not know if I could be as brave in reality.

Have you ever turned a dream or a nightmare into a written piece?

I will do just that in the third instalment of the series of Dark Agents. I had a dream of me running in a field and a passenger plane flew close over my head as it got struck by a missile. Very odd dream, but true. So when I woke up I quickly wrote down the dream on paper and thought it was so massive that I wanted to write it in the Dark Agents series.

How active are you on social media? And how do you think it affects the way you write?

I try and use social media daily. I never used it much before becoming a writer, now I use it as a great publicity tool. I found other writers and sent bits of my work off to them and got feedback. As an example, another Writer had a great idea for a plot twist in Vengeance, can’t say what for obvious reasons. But it was good enough for me to alter bits to put that plot twist in.

Are you working on something new at the moment?

I have already written the second instalment of the Dark Agents series, it’s going to be called, Sovereignty. I am currently editing it at the moment and once that is done, I still have to write the third and final book. So its all go at the moment. Even after the Dark Agents series is completed I already have my next project in mind, one that will span more than three books.

Here is a little bit about Paul’s book:

Every day, computers increasingly control our personal and professional lives. But what if someone began using them against us?

This is precisely the Dark Agents’ plan. This shadowy organization is scheming to take control of humanity through advanced technology and artificial intelligence. Only one person can stop them.

Rylan would never believe he could take down a government conspiracy. He spends his days struggling with depression and mental trauma stemming from childhood abuse. To ward off his loneliness, he tries to connect with others over the Internet.

Then Rylan meets Sophie. Sophie is a hacker who tried to access government secrets from across the globe, prompting the Dark Agents and their AI to try and stop her. She needs his help to save her life. Rylan agrees, and suddenly, he finds himself an international fugitive on the run from the Agents. He and Sophie agree to meet up in Japan. When he arrives, Rylan discover that Sophie has a secret of her own.

In this fast-paced thriller about the dangers of modern technology, Rylan and Sophie team up to take down the conspiracy and reclaim their autonomy. pauljcoggins.com

Alright folks, it is that time again but I would like to say a heart felt thank you to Paul J. Coggins for letting us spend some time with him today and see inside his creative process. And a big thank you to all you readers out there for taking a moment to support your Authors.

If you or any of you know of someone who would like to be a part of Inside A Beautiful Mind, please send me a message.

Enjoy your Friday folks, you are awesome and please remember to be kind to your Authors, leave a review. See you in a couple of weeks, Peace!!

 

 

Inside A Beautiful Mind – Alison Morton

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Good Morning Everyone and happy Friday

Welcome to Inside A Beautiful Mind.

Go grab your coffee, tea or beverage of choice and come sit with me as we take a moment to chat with wonderful Alison Morton.

Good Morning Alison., thank you for wanting to be a part of Inside A Beautiful Mind.and agreeing to hang out with me.15817888_10154348529324007_1642748717_o

So let’s get right to it, can you tell me a little bit about yourself.

First of all, thank you so much for inviting me onto your blog!
My name’s Alison Morton – my real name – and I’m a British writer living in France. I’ve written six thrillers set in an alternative reality in the imaginary country of Roma Nova.
All my life I’ve been fascinated by Rome, the civilization, and have clambered over many of its remnants! So, of course, I wanted to write a novel with a strong Roman flavour. But in my mind the protagonist was always going to be a woman. This was a problem; women in Ancient Rome didn’t live a public, military or political life. The solution? Bring it up to the 21st century, where a tiny piece of the Roman Empire has survived and its people live with Roman values and culture – Roma Nova. Oh, it’s governed by women.

Can you tell us about your upcoming book?

RETALIO will be out in Spring 2017. It’s the sixth in the overall series and concludes the second trilogy in the series (AURELIA, INSURRECTIO and RETALIO). Aurelia has fought Caius all her life. Even as children he bullied and attacked her. Now Aurelia is a Praetorian officer and (later) senior councillor to the ruler of Roma Nova while Caius pursues a criminal life with twin aims: to gain power and defeat Aurelia personally. RETALIO is the endgame. But I’ve written each book as a standalone – I can’t bear stories that don’t finish properly!

What inspired you to write your first book?

A bad movie! Although the cinematography was excellent, the dialogue was all chopped up and the story lacked any continuity. I whispered to my husband that I could do better. He replied, “Then why don’t you?”
I’d had the Roma Nova idea bubbling around in the back of my mind for some time but it had stayed there, hiding, until that trip to the movies.

Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

Ah, yes. I served six years in the UK land forces in a special communications regiment, so I have the experience of the military life that my Roma Nova heroines lead.

What was your favourite chapter (or part) to write and why?

Such a difficult question, if I take all six books into account. I love writing dialogue, especially when the characters are arguing or deducing something. Dialogue reveals aspects of the character, their thought process and attitudes. What they say to each other should drive the story forward as well as reveal motivation. And dialogue makes characters like real, relatable people.

How did you come up with the title?

Like the other titles in the series, RETALIO which means “retaliation” is a single Latin word that reflects the main theme of the book but that resonates with readers today. It’s not easy condensing over 100,000 words into one! But this is the “brand” for the whole series. INCEPTIO means “the beginning”, PERFIDITAS “betrayal”, SUCCESSIO means both “what happened next” and “the next generation”, AURELIA is the heroine’s name, INSURRECTIO means “rebellion”. Some titles have emerged naturally, others have involved hours spent poring over Latin dictionaries. Much more here: http://alison-morton.com/…/how-i-developed-the-roma-nova-t…/

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

My first manuscript assessor gave me “brutal love”, but she was right. The core problem was that I couldn’t decide whether INCEPTIO was going to be a romance or a thriller. I had to rework the whole book and I veered towards thriller. That’s what I market the books as today, but I always mention the love story running through all of them.
The best? Of course, the lovely endorsements from people like Conn Iggulden, Elizabeth Chadwick, Douglas Jackson, Sue Cook, Simon Scarrow, Helen Hollick, Ruth Downie are fantastic, but it’s readers who say the loveliest things: “Carried away by possibly the most dazzling story-telling this author has unleashed to date.” (INSURRECTIO)

Do you have any unique or quirky writing habits?

Not that I’m aware of. Others may disagree… 😉

What’s the strangest thing you have ever had to research online for your book?

My research ranges from late fourth century transport to modern sniper weapons and old telephone systems to central European field crops like spelt. And then there’s how to mount a coup d’état and cause a run on the silver and metal markets. It’s all strange! Goodness knows what intelligence monitoring agencies would make of my online searches!

Give us an interesting fun fact about your book.15785570_10154348532369007_1565302034_o

Well, for these books set in the past – AURELIA late 1960s, INSURRECTIO and RETALIO early 1980s – I had great fun learning about early technology like fax machines, video link (no Skype!) and early CCTV using tape, and of course, there were no cell phones!

Do you work with an outline, or just write?

I draft an outline of 30 points with the inciting incident, the main turning points, usually three, the “black moment” when everything’s falling apart, the climax, then the resolution. Then I write! More here: http://alisonmortonauthor.com/…/how-to-write-a-novel-in-30…/

Can you tell us about your experiences in getting your first book published?

It took three years of learning; ¬going to conferences, courses, study weeks and classes to learn the ‘trade’ of writing novels and all the time I was writing.
I had many rejections and a good number of full reads. They all praised my writing, but couldn’t place my work in the market, they thought. In the end, I took the assisted publishing route using one of the best, most ethical services, SilverWood Books in the UK.

Now I have a top London agency representing my foreign and ancillary rights who have already sold my first four books to Audible UK (released December 2016). So I’m an independent author with an agent.

When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?

Although I’ve written and translated all my life, I started novel writing in September 2009 and finished the first draft of my first book 90 days later. It was 90,000 words and I didn’t have a clue what to do next!

How did you choose the genre you write in?

I wrote my first story because it was the story I wanted to write; I didn’t know what genre it was. It had a similar structure to Robert Harris’s Fatherland – a thriller set in an alternate reality – but I only discovered later there was a whole genre of it. Now we know all about such alternatives with The Man in the High Castle! However, Roma Nova stories are not dystopian. I place my books first as thrillers (I love action adventure stories, historical thrillers and spy stories), then as alternate history, but with a dash of romance.

Where do you get your ideas?

I wish I knew! I think about my characters and their personalities, then drop them in dreadful situations and watch how they struggle to get out of it. Then I throw them into something worse.

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

I read so much as a child. Rosemary Sutcliffe’s The Eagle of the Ninth was the first Roman novel I read. I grew up on Jean Plaidy for historicals and Georgette Heyer for romance. Leslie Charteris and Rebecca West for crime and mysteries. Later, John Grisham and Tom Clancy fascinated me. But I veered more and more towards epic authors such as Robert Graves, Frank Yerby and Robert Mitchum.

Currently, I read anything Roman and still enjoy a good spy story.

Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

Bash out your first draft and don’t stop – you can do all the editing later.

What is your favourite quote or saying?

“There’s no such thing as a free lunch.”

Tea or coffee?

8r% tea (good and strong), 15% coffee (Colombian or arabica)

Sweet or salty?

85% salty and 15 % sweet as long as it’s chocolate.

Would you like to share with us a passage that will give us a glimpse into the world you built?

Thank you! This is from INCEPTIO, the first book, when our heroine first sees her new home in Roma Nova:
“Travelling from the airport to the house, I was fascinated by the buildings – cream stone with terracotta roof tiles mixed in with tall, much grander blocks. Modern stood alongside older, but somehow it all fit together. I couldn’t tell what most roads signs meant; how 15822144_10154348531569007_1461997233_ncould they be so different? Cars looked more stylish and compact than in New York, and surrounded by clouds of bicycles. Shops with wide sidewalks in front, colourful awnings stretching over chairs and tables outside restaurants. People strolled along; some stood in groups talking animatedly; some were buying papers and small stuff from kiosks. They looked pretty much like people anywhere, but darker, neater, more self-contained.
In the centre of the city, we drove past one side of a huge open square, surrounded on the other three sides by a forest of stone columns and grand buildings. My grandmother told me this was the forum, the buildings containing various public offices, including the Senate. The smaller ones were mostly temples. My sense of unreality grew – it was like a movie set from Gladiator with extras going up and down the steps, but in normal twenty- first century clothes.
I shut my eyes for a few moments to attempt processing this.”

Would you mind sharing with us the best way to stay in touch with you and where to learn more about your books?

Roma Nova blogsite: http://alison-morton.com
Alison’s writing blog: http://alisonmortonauthor.com
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/AlisonMortonAuthor/
Twitter: @alison_morton https://twitter.com/alison_morton
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5783095.Alison_Morton
Buying link for Alison’s books: (multiple retailers/formats): http://alison-morton.com/books-2/buying-links/
INCEPTIO (Roma Nova 1) book trailer : https://youtu.be/CxOZzf_DA7g

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Alright folks, it is that time again but I would like to say a heart felt thank you to Alison Morton for letting us spend some time with her today and see inside her creative process. And a big thank you to all you readers out there for taking a moment to support your Authors.

If you or any of you know of someone who would like a few minutes of limelight on Inside A Beautiful Mind with me, please send me a message.
Enjoy your Friday folks, you are awesome and please remember to be kind to your Authors, leave a review. See you in a couple of weeks, Peace!!

Inside A Beautiful Mind – K.A. Linde

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Good Morning Everyone and happy Friday

Welcome to Inside A Beautiful Mind.

Go grab your coffee, tea or beverage of choice and come sit with me as we look inside the wonderfully creative mind of K.A. Linde.

Good Morning K.A., thank you for taking time away from your busy schedule to hang out with me.

So let’s get right to it, can you tell me a little bit about yourself.kalinde-copy

I write under a pen name, K.A. Linde, but it’s just initials so not really that crazy. I just moved to Lubbock, TX all the way from Chapel Hill, NC. I’m the USA Today bestselling author of over fifteen novels in contemporary romance and new adult.

Can you tell us about your upcoming book?

My next release will be Silver, which is the 5th and final book in the All That Glitters series, which is about 3 Vegas gold diggers. Silver centers around Stacia, whose life goal is to marry an NFL quarterback and all of her crazy adventures as she discovers herself along the way. Not to mention…sexy football players.

What inspired you to write your first book?

I wrote my first book when I was a freshman in high school. It’s almost a hundred thousand words long and it reads like Gossip Girl comes to the west coast. I’d been writing short stories all my life, but I think the idea came actually when we were supposed to write a short story for my honors geography class. I wrote about a surfer in Australia, but I ended up moving it to Malibu and one of the two main girls is that surfer.

Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

Every story always has something real in it. There’s too much of me and my crazy life experiences to not have some of me in it.

What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

I don’t know if I have a favorite chapter ever. But I think usually my favorite scenes to write are arguments. I love when the characters just tear into each other and don’t hold back. It usually leads to them fixing things. 

How did you come up with the title?

Most of the time, I have the title for a book before I even really know what it’s about. Titles have to come to me first before I can write the book. I like to do a lot of idioms for my books like Off the Record and On the Record or Take Me for Granted and Take Me with You. But they usually just come to me.

Do you have any unique or quirky writing habits?

I think the only real quirky habit is that I always write at night. I do my best creative thinking from like 11pm-3am.

What’s the strangest thing you have ever had to research online for your book?

Oh man, I don’t know. I’ve had to do a lot of weird research. Either stuff about crimes or figuring out how to get a minor out of the country without anyone looking at her passport.

Give us an interesting fun fact about your book.

When I first started writing the All That Glitters series, I knew it was about three girls, Bryna, Trihn, and Stacia, who would each get their own story. And I knew from the beginning that Stacia, who I’m writing now in Silver, changed her name when she turned 18 and went to college. So the whole time that all of her friends are calling her Stacia, through four books, they don’t know her real name yet.

Do you work with an outline, or just write?

Both. I usually start with an outline of the story and then the story writes itself as I go. I deviate a lot from the outline and readjust as I go.

Can you tell us about your experiences in getting your first book published?

Avoiding Commitment was my first book published back in July 2012. I’d had it up online for free on FictionPress.com for almost two years. S.C. Stephens had been telling me to publish, but I randomly got an email from Colleen Hoover telling me to publish. And I was like, “Who the hell is Colleen Hoover?” She turned out to be pretty awesome and gave me the push to do it.

How did you choose the genre you write in?

I don’t feel like the genre so much as it chose me. I just started writing and then people told me later it was romance and new adult and a love triangle. And I was like huh…really?

Where do you get your ideas?

Everywhere. Dreams. Travel. Randomly walking down the street. Conversations with people. My experiences.

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

Tons! But my favorite books are Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card and Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. They taught me to look at the world in a different way.

Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

Write a good book. Worry about all the other headache-y marketing, branding, publishing side of things after you have a book you love. You only have one shot at a debut.

What is your favorite quote or saying?

For writing: Keep your head down and write.
Otherwise: Well behaved women rarely make history.

Tea or coffee?

Neither.

Sweet or salty?

Sweet

Would you mind sharing with us the best way to stay in touch with you and where to learn more about your books?

mailing list https://app.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/i1x5e2

facebook www.facebook.com/authorkalinde
facebook group www.facebook.com/groups/kalindebooks
ascension series group www.facebook.com/groups/theaffiliate
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Alright folks, it is that time again but I would like to say a heart felt thank you to K.A. Linde for letting us spend some time with her today and see inside her creative process. And a big thank you to all you readers out there for taking a moment to support your Authors.

If you or any of you know of someone who would like a few minutes of limelight on Inside A Beautiful Mind with me, please send me a message.

Enjoy your Friday folks, you are awesome and please remember to be kind to your Authors, leave a review. See you in a couple of weeks, Peace!!

INSIDE A BEAUTIFUL MIND – GRACE HUDSON

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Good Morning Everyone and happy Friday 13TH.
I know that it has been a few weeks since we have shared a coffee together but life and the holidays have a way of changing your plans. It is 2017, a brand new year and I am back, ready to see what this year has in store for us all.
This week on Inside A Beautiful Mind we have the lovely Grace Hudson who will be chatting about her book.
KADE: Good morning Grace, Thank you for being here today. I am so excited to share with everyone a little peek inside your mind. Let’s jump right in to it and tell the readers a little bit about you and your book?safe_image
GRACE: Hi, I’m Grace Hudson from Melbourne, Australia. I write under a pen name and I’m a night owl (insomniac). I love coffee, horror and anything ghost-related. I live near the beach, I love hot weather, pugs, cats and native Australian animals.
KADE: Can you tell us about your upcoming book?
GRACE: I have two books in the works at the moment with a dystopian theme. I’m also writing some short horror stories.
KADE: What inspired you to write your first book?
GRACE: I can’t pinpoint the exact moment I decided to write FERTS but it all came out in a massive deluge. I was a bit surprised at all the technical details coming out of my head. Sometimes I think my brain’s smarter than I am, which makes no sense. I guess I wanted to take an attitude that already exists in the world and expand on it.
KADE: Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
GRACE: FERTS is purely imagination. I guess some of the ideas probably came from my experiences. There’s a lot of emphasis on looks, without bothering to see past that. That was definitely a theme with FERTS.
KADE: What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
GRACE: The whole thing was a bit of a rollercoaster. I think I enjoyed writing the fighting/action scenes more than anything. I loved the adrenaline rush, it was exciting to watch it all play out.
KADE: How did you come up with the title?
GRACE: The initials came first, then came “Fertility Emigration Resource and Training Supply”. I toyed with the idea of putting dots in between the letters then left them out, like NASA.
KADE: What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
GRACE: The toughest criticism. Hmm. I think someone said I should have ordered the book differently. I get what they were saying but I was going for a circular Tarantino-esque thing. The best compliment? When people said how much they empathized with 201.
KADE: Do you have any unique or quirky writing habits?
GRACE: Yes. Lots. I write at strange hours (3am is a good time) and I don’t have a formal writing space. Laptop, couch, TV on with heaps of distractions. I like to multi-task.
KADE: What’s the strangest thing you have ever had to research online for your book?
GRACE: I did a lot of research on wild foods, chip implants and theta meditation frequencies. I also researched ways to kill and how blood flows from certain parts of the body. My Google history is quite gruesome, actually.
KADE: Give us an interesting fun fact about your book.
GRACE: Okay, a lot of the science fiction is actually science fact. Brainwaves can be manipulated by sound frequencies. The Implant stuff is old technology and body scanners are nothing new. People might be surprised to find out that FERTS is not set in the future. It’s on an alternate timeline to ours, where technology was pursued differently. No nuclear, but solar technology and medical science were a little more developed. Fun fact: FERTS is set in the mid twentieth century.
KADE: Do you work with an outline, or just write?
GRACE: I just write. No outline. I’m a pantser. I write down details as I go to keep track of everything so I don’t have to keep it all in my head. Can you tell us about your experiences in getting your first book published? I went the DIY route so I could have complete control over the creative process. Call me a megalomaniac if you will. It’s probably true.
KADE: When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
GRACE: I started writing very early on. I think I wrote my first complete story at 12. I finished my first book in late 2014.
KADE: How did you choose the genre you write in?
GRACE: I didn’t choose the genre, it chose me. I would say my preferred genre is horror, and that sneaks into everything I do. But dystopian? That was a surprise to me. An even bigger surprise was Open Doors, an urban fantasy/romance. However, there is a bit of horror in there as well. It’s not just a cute story about fairies, it’s much grittier than that.
KADE: Where do you get your ideas?
GRACE: I get my ideas from music, news articles, dreams, conversations with people, general observations and people-watching. Everywhere, really.
KADE: Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
GRACE: Yes. Stephen King, Sylvia Plath, Shakespeare, some classics, probably Grimm’s fairy tales as well. Tolkien would have been a big influence as well.
KADE: Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
GRACE: Write lots, read lots and keep getting better. You can always get better.
KADE: What is your favorite quote or saying?
GRACE: “I’d rather be hated for who I am than loved for who I am not.” Kurt Cobain
KADE: Tea or coffee?
GRACE: Coffee! I love coffee. You can never have too much coffee. Well, you can, but who’s counting?
KADE: Sweet or salty?
GRACE: Pickly. I love pickles, feta, olives etc. so I guess that’s more salty than anything.
KADE: Would you like to share with us a passage that will give us a glimpse into the world you built?
GRACE: The siren hummed through the surrounding forests, a rumbling whine that grew gracein volume as the minutes passed. Many could say they knew how to resist the pull of the ward beacon, but they were in the minority. An Internee had once attempted to remove her own eardrums in a vicious effort to get free of the perimeter zone. She was recaptured within hours, patched up and left to recover in Zeta circuit. Zeta housed the defective, the damaged, it was the station for the used. Once admitted to Zeta, there was no means of promotion, no advancement opportunities. Zeta was the end of the heap, the end of hope.
KADE: Would you mind sharing with us the best way to stay in touch with you and where to learn more about your books?
GRACE:
KADE: All fun thing must come to an end but I would like to say a heart felt thank you to Grace Hudson for letting us spend some time with her today and see inside her creative process. And a big thank you to all you readers out there for taking a moment to support your Authors.
If you or any of you know of someone who would like a few minutes of limelight on Inside A Beautiful Mind with me, please email me at kadecook.author@gmail.com and place Author Interview in the topic space.
Enjoy your Friday folks, you are awesome and please remember to be kind to your Authors, leave a review. See you next week, Peace!