Category Archives: Interview

Print Release Blitz & Giveaway | Inside Out by Lia Riley

Inside-Out-Print-Release-Blitz

The third book in Lia Riley’s Off the Map series is out in coming out in print! Inside Out is a great book and I would definitely recommend it and the rest of the series to those who enjoy New Adult novels. As part of the Print Release Blitz I had a chance to ask Lia a few questions.  I’m really happy I had this opportunity because she’s easily become one of my favorite authors.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Riley_InsideOut_ebook

TITLE: Inside Out (Off the Map #3)

AUTHOR: Lia Riley

GENRE: New Adult

PUBLICATION DATE: July 28, 2015

PUBLISHER: Forever (Grand Central Publishing)

BUY LINKS: AMAZON | B&N | IBOOKS | GOOGLEPLAY | KOBO | BAM

Talia Stolfi is deeply in love with the brooding Aussie surfer who stole her heart-but their infrequent letters only get her so far. While she fulfills her dream of being in the Peace Corps, a dangerous condition jeopardizes her life . . . and threatens to shatter her heart.

After nearly losing Talia forever, Bran Lockhart sailed to the stormy seas at the ends of the earth. Deep down, he knows that all roads worth traveling lead back to the beautiful California girl with the sunny smile. There’s no denying that he belongs with her, but to have her by his side means Bran must dare to do something he’s never done before: hope.  Everything they’ve fought for has come down to this moment. Can Talia and Bran discover the courage to claim their future and learn that sometimes, in order to earn true love, you need to venture off the map?

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

Q: Was it always your intention for Bran to propose to Talia?

Great question and No!  Nope! No way! In fact, the first draft had no proposal and for Talia and Bran to be happily living together in San Francisco but it was missing something. This is why a good editor is worth a million billion dollars. She challenged me to go bigger, dig deeper. I scoured the last few chapters and when I had them get lost backpacking, “off the map” all of a sudden I knew what I had to do. The characters were MUCH happier as a result.

Q: Did you have other proposal sites in mind or was it always going to be Yosemite?

Like I said, this was as much of a surprise to me as to the reader, but since I was married in Yosemite, I’m extra special happy that was the location.

Q: How did it feel to submit the final edits on Inside Out?

Surreal! I lived and breathed Talia and Bran for the better part of the year. and still miss them. They were a blast to write and I might have snuck Bran into my upcoming novella “Into You Arms” (out September 8th) because I wanted to see him again.

Q: How has the blogging community helped you get to the point of printing the series?

The blogging community has been so much fun to get to know and interact with! Writing is such a solitary activity and it’s so wonderful that there is this whole tribe of avid, supportive readers out there. I’m so grateful for these friendships.

GIVEAWAY

Enter here for your chance to win the either the Off the Map set or a copy of Inside Out.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | GOODREADS | TWITTER

Lia Riley_Photo Credit Kitti HommeAfter studying at the University of Montana-Missoula, Lia Riley scoured the world armed only with a backpack, overconfidence and a terrible sense of direction. When not torturing heroes (because c’mon, who doesn’t love a good tortured hero?), Lia herds unruly chickens, camps, beach combs, daydreams about as-of-yet unwritten books, wades through a mile-high TBR pile and schemes yet another trip. She and her family live mostly in Northern California.

Check out my reviews of each book in the Off the Map Series:

Upside Down Book Review

Sideswiped Book Review

Inside Out Book Review

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Print Release Blitz & Giveaway | Upside Down by Lia Riley

UpsideDown-Print-Release-Blitz

The first book in Lia Riley’s Off the Map series is coming out in print! Upside Down is a great book and I would definitely recommend it and the rest of the series to those who enjoy New Adult novels. As part of the Print Release Blitz I had a chance to ask Lia a few questions.  I’m really happy I had this opportunity because she’s easily become one of my favorite authors.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Riley_Upside Down_TPTITLE: Upside Down

AUTHOR: Lia Riley

GENRE: New Adult

PUBLICATION DATE: May 12, 2015

PUBLISHER: Forever Yours

“Twenty-one-year-old Natalia Stolfi is saying good-bye to the past-and turning her life upside down with a trip to the land down under. For the next six months, she’ll act like a carefree exchange student, not a girl sinking under the weight of painful memories. Everything is going according to plan until she meets a brooding surfer with hypnotic green eyes and the troubling ability to see straight through her act.

Bran Lockhart is having the worst year on record. After the girl of his dreams turned into a nightmare, he moved back home to Melbourne to piece his life together. Yet no amount of disappointment could blind him to the pretty California girl who gets past all his defenses. He’s never wanted anyone the way he wants Talia. But when Bran gets a stark reminder of why he stopped believing in love, he and Talia must decide if what they have is once in a lifetime . . . or if they were meant to live a world apart.”

AMAZON | B&N | KOBO | BAM! | IBOOKS | GOOGLEPLAY

*****

Without further ado here are my interview questions with author Lia Riley.

Q: What are you currently working on?

Lots! I’m wrapping up edits on my brand-new contemporary Adult Brightwater series (three sexy cowboy brothers), as well as edits for a stand alone New Adult, WITH EVERY BREATH, that releases in print on December 29th and stars a sexy, broody Scottish mountain climber.

Q: Where did the characters Bran and Talia come from?

They both sort of just waltzed into my brain…but Bran is a clear nod to my love of the Byronic hero…moody, broody, and imperfect with the ability to act heroically. Talia probably draws on my own sense of humor, struggles with mental illness and the fact I did study abroad in Australia at twenty-one.

Q: How has your life changed with the publication of the Off the Map series?

It’s a lot busier! I have actively chosen to make writing a career which means keeping work hours, sitting at the computer even during glorious weather days and basically living in yoga pants J Also…I couldn’t be happier!

Q: Do you have any writing superstitions or rituals?

Hmmm…good question. I often drink tea while writing so litter the house with forgotten cups. Also, I realized that I often fast-draft with my eyes closed or while intently staring in the distance. This is a little awkward in coffee shops.

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring authors?

Don’t wait for the muse, get words on page. There is no magic, only work. Okay, a little magic but you have to be working for it to come.

GIVEAWAY

Enter here for your chance to win a prize pack featuring a $10 Amazon gift card, a signed copy of Upside Down, and Off the Map themed goodies.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS

Lia Riley_Photo Credit Kitti Homme2After studying at the University of Montana-Missoula, Lia Riley scoured the world armed only with a backpack, overconfidence and a terrible sense of direction. When not torturing heroes (because c’mon, who doesn’t love a good tortured hero?), Lia herds unruly chickens, camps, beach combs, daydreams about as-of-yet unwritten books, wades through a mile-high TBR pile and schemes yet another trip. She and her family live mostly in Northern California.

Check out my reviews of each book in the Off the Map Series:

Upside Down Book Review

Sideswiped Book Review

Inside Out Book Review

Blogiversary | Interview with Author Amanda Gale

AUTHOR INTERVIEW | AMANDA GALE

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | PINTEREST | TWITTER | GOODREADS | INSTAGRAM

Photo Credit: Lisa Schaffer Photography

Photo Credit: Lisa Schaffer Photography

Q: Would you like to start by introducing yourself?

I’m a former English teacher, now a mother of three and a writer of women’s fiction. I also take on the occasional copy editing job. Like most writers, I’ve nurtured a lifelong love of literature. I enjoy history, art, politics, and food! I’m also an incurable night owl.

Q: Can you tell us a bit about your series and the inspiration behind it?

The Meredith books are about an idealistic 30-something woman who reinvents herself after she is forced to accept that life doesn’t always work out as planned. Each of the first three books focuses on a romantic relationship. The fourth book reveals which of the three men she settles down with and what happens to them as they go forth in their life together. It’s the culmination of her journey toward peace and self-awareness. More deeply, the series is about her personal growth, her quest for the “perfect” life and her realization that she must create her own perfection.

As for the inspiration, it sounds funny to say, but I really don’t know! I’ve created characters for as long as I can remember. They seem to come out of nowhere. These particular characters stood out to me as the most interesting and the most complex, which is why I chose to write about them. They first came to me when my oldest son was a baby. I was home with him, adjusting to my new life as a mother, spending a lot of time by myself. I began developing scenes of dialogue around them, and I would think about these scenes as I was pacing back and forth with him or folding laundry. The stories became a release for me, something all my own to keep my mind active, and I cared deeply about them.

Actually, my original idea focused on the three men. I thought I had three separate stories, but as I added details to their personalities and backgrounds, I realized that they had something in common—the woman in their lives—and that they were in fact merely part of a much larger story. Once I began connecting the three stories into one, it became clear that the woman would move from one to the next, always searching, and that the men would have their own baggage, as well. I think this concept, of people’s flaws and insecurities colliding and working either with or against each other, is something everyone can relate to. I loved focusing on the woman, chronicling her growth and creating a character who was flawed but lovable. It seemed very real to me.

Q: When did you first realize you wanted to be an author?

When I was little, I loved to write poetry, and I dreamed of being an author. This was before I was disillusioned by adulthood. When I grew up and had real responsibilities, being a writer seemed like a fantasy, something that I could never practically do. It was only when I began writing the series, during my second son’s first year, that I saw that it could become a reality. That’s when I became dedicated to educating myself and working as hard as I could to make it happen.

Q: What inspired you to start writing and what continues to inspire you to write now?

I started writing because I had these characters in my head that just wouldn’t go away. They were so vivid, and I felt compelled to bring them to life in some kind of tangible form. Discovering that I loved writing and that it would make me feel good about myself was actually a happy accident. It enabled me to grow as an individual with my own identity while I was home with my kids, something I wasn’t even aware I needed. And once I started, I liked the idea that my characters could be as much of an escape for other women as they were for me. That thought spurred me on, and I tried to write stories that were thoughtful and relatable but also sexy and romantic, to sweep readers away. Now that the characters are out there, on paper, in other people’s minds, they are even more real to me, and as valuable as they were to me then, they are so much more so. I continue to write about them because they continue to let me know what they’re up to. They’ve become part of who I am.

Q: What are you working on at the moment?

My big project is a novella, a spinoff of the series. It takes place in the 1960s and focuses on a character in his youth, one who in the series is approaching the end of his life. This story has been so much fun to work on. I researched 1960s culture and history and have learned so much by exploring how the Vietnam War and the feminist movement might have affected some people’s motives and decisions. Also, writing about an older character’s younger days is very satisfying to me. The novella can stand alone without the series, but readers of the series will recognize a lot of details. I think new readers, who start with the novella, will enjoy learning in the series what happens to the main character as he grows older.

Aside from the novella, I’m working on a couple of posts for a blog I hope to start this year. Also, I have a short story in the works, another Meredith spinoff. I like taking minor details from the books and placing a magnifying glass to them, to round them out and make them important in their own right. I think part of the attraction is the acknowledgment that every person we meet, no matter how small a role he or she plays in our lives, has his or her own story.

Q: Do you have any writing superstitions or rituals?

I don’t have any superstitions, but I do have a ritual. I like to go for long drives on the highway late at night and think about the characters and plot lines. These drives help me refocus after the rush of daily life. I’ve thought of a lot of my best ideas during these drives. If I’m having trouble figuring out a way to tie up a loose end or close a gap in the story, a long drive usually helps me come up with a solution. Non-writing days become thinking days, which to me are just as important.

Q: Where is your favorite place to read?

I’d have to say my living room. It’s dimly lit with red walls, and it feels cozy for reading.

Q: What are some of your favorite books to read?

I gravitate toward the classics, literary fiction, and sometimes toward poetry and non-fiction, but I love mysteries and women’s fiction, as well. In recent years, some of my favorite novels have been Pillars of the Earth, Atonement, and The Red Tent. I’ve also enjoyed “modern classics” like I Capture the Castle and Auntie Mame. Agatha Christie remains one of my favorite authors.

Q: How do you keep yourself motivated to write?

Many writers will tell you that you should write every day, whether you are inspired or not. I have not found this to be true. This is one of those rules that work for others but not for me, and I don’t try to force it. I am motivated when I feel inspired by the characters, and when I’m not, I use that time to think. After publishing the Meredith series, I spent months trying to write, but it was tedious, and I felt lukewarm about the results. Since I was struck by the inspiration for this novella, the words have been more forthcoming. I’m in love with my characters again, and it’s such a wonderful feeling. The presence of the characters, the pressure I feel to bring them to life, is what keeps me going.

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring authors out there?

I would advise aspiring authors to worry less and do more. Don’t worry that it won’t be good, because you’ll edit it. Don’t worry that no one will like it, because you are writing for yourself. Don’t worry that there will be obstacles and setbacks, because there absolutely will be. With hard work, you can overcome them—just don’t stop until it’s done, and learn as you go. Also important is to be able to navigate all the advice. Don’t feel pressured to follow any one writer’s process, because your process will be your own, depending on your goal and your project. Make your work the best it can be—develop a thick skin, solicit and accept feedback, and take constructive criticism seriously—but also recognize that you will never be able to satisfy everyone. Most importantly, trust your gut, and don’t be intimidated by the magnitude of the work. It’s a lot of work! But having done it, you’ll look back on where you started, and you’ll feel like you can accomplish anything.

AMANDA GALE GIVEAWAY

Amanda has generously provided an e-book copy of the entire series. Her giveaway is running from March 22nd-29th.

Enter here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

STORIES UNFOLDED BLOGIVERSARY GIVEAWAY

Don’t forget to enter the Stories Unfolded Blogiversary Giveaway that’s running from March 1st – March 31st.

(1) Grand Prize Winner

  • $25 Amazon Kindle Gift Card
  • (1) Signed physical copy of The End of Feeling by Cindy C Bennett
  • (1) Audiobook of The End of Feeling by Cindy C Bennett
  • (1) Signed physical copy of Family Inheritance by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) Signed physical copy of From a Grieving Mother’s Heart by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) Signed physical copy of For a Grieving Heart by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) Physical copy of Finding Zoe by Brandi Rarus and Gail Harris
  • (1) E-Book copy of the Off The Map Series by Lia Riley (Upside Down, Sideswiped, & Inside Out)
  • (1) E-Book copy of any Ginger Scott book
  • (1) E-Book copy of Cemetery Tours and Between Worlds by Jacqueline Smith
  • (1) E-Book copies of three children’s books by Alva Sachs (Circus Fever, I’m 5, & On Your Mark, Get Set,Go!)

(1) Prize Winner

  • $10 Amazon Kindle Gift Card
  • (1) E-Book copy of any Ginger Scott book
  • (1) E-Pub copy of Family Inheritance by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) E-Pub copy of From a Grieving Mother’s Heart by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) E-Pub copy of For a Grieving Heart by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) E-Book copy of Cemetery Tours and Between Worlds by Jacqueline Smith

(1) Prize Winner

  • $5 Amazon Kindle Gift Card
  • (1) E-Book copy of The End of Feeling by Cindy C. Bennett
  • (1) E-Book copy of any Ginger Scott book
  • (1) E-Book copy of Cemetery Tours and Between Worlds by Jacqueline Smith

(1) Prize Winner

  • $5 Amazon Kindle Gift Card

Enter here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Amanda Gale week continues tomorrow with her guest post.

Blogiversary | Interview with Author Carrie Cross

AUTHOR INTERVIEW | CARRIE CROSS

WEBSITE | TWITTER

51sdogQFl5L._UX250_Q: Would you like to start by introducing yourself?

My name is Carrie Cross, and I’m the author of the Skylar Robbins mystery series. My first book, Skylar Robbins: The Mystery of Shadow Hills, introduces thirteen-year-old sleuth Skylar Robbins. Stuck at her bullying cousin’s Malibu estate for the summer, Skylar faces the challenges of starting a new school, making new friends, and dealing with her mean cousin Gwendolyn while feeling abandoned by her parents.

When an interesting classmate introduces her to witchcraft, her summer takes an exciting turn. But is Kat a true friend, or is she more interested in Gwendolyn’s cute stable boy? When the spells Skylar and Kat perform in an abandoned garden actually begin to work, Skylar has a much more terrifying mystery to solve.

Q: Can you tell us a bit about your latest book and the inspiration behind it?

My latest novel is book two in the series. Skylar Robbins: The Mystery of the Hidden Jewels, is the sequel to Shadow Hills, and Skylar is a bit older, wiser, and more interested in boys.

As one reviewer wrote,The adventures of teen detective, Skylar Robbins are sure to entertain you in Carrie Cross’s new book. I loved her first novel, Skylar Robbins: The Mystery of Shadow Hills, but enjoyed this book even more! The risks are greater and the stakes are much higher. Clever and brave Skylar becomes involved in an intriguing new case while also dealing with the issues that face most girls in her age group. The story includes an awesomely creepy mansion with hidden rooms and clues to an exciting mystery. You’ll be rooting for Skylar as she battles bullies at school and dangerous outlaws who will stop at nothing to get those hidden jewels.

Q: When did you first realize you wanted to be an author?

I knew I wanted to be an author since I was four years old. My first “novel,” Blackie the Little Black Dog and the Flying Washing Machine, was written in crayon on huge sheets of paper, complete with illustrations. Blackie flew to exciting places in, yes, a washing machine, and had some exciting adventures once he landed. Fluffily.

Q: What inspired you to start writing and what continues to inspire you to write now?

Reading inspired me to be a writer. I’ve loved books since hearing Goodnight Moon at bedtime when I was little. My favorite reading memories are from my middle school years, reading Judy Blume and others as rain thundered down on the roof above me. Those coming-of-age novels spoke to me. This is why I decided to write for that age group.

When I was six years old, my parents decided we needed to buy a bigger house. We looked at a creepy two-story in Santa Monica Canyon, and I played hide-and-seek with the little girl who lived there. There were closets and secret hiding places with doors that opened into other rooms. Later, I wondered, “What if there was a clue hidden in one of those closets, or a secret message written on the wall in invisible ink?” I never forgot that house, and it inspired me to write a mystery series with a smart, funny teen detective. That quirky sleuth is Skylar Robbins, and that creepy house inspired the abandoned mansion in The Mystery of the Hidden Jewels.

Q: What are you working on at the moment?

I’m currently working on the third Skylar Robbins novel: The Mystery of the Missing Heiress. Each novel sets up the next mystery and provides the first clues for Skylar to figure out. At the end of Hidden Jewels, Skylar finds a note written in secret code, which is her first clue to decipher in mystery number three.

Q: Do you have any writing superstitions or rituals?

Nothing superstitious or ritualistic, but I have to be “in the zone.” If I’m not feeling creative, I don’t force it. When I’m in the mood to write, it can be anywhere from a comfy chair in my living room, to propped up in bed against pillows, to sitting in my car at a stop light. Once I got inspired in an airplane and was without paper, so I wrote a page and a half in tiny print on a barf bag!

Q: Where is your favorite place to read?

Anywhere and everywhere. I’m usually in the middle of three books at once: One in my car to be read in restaurants or anywhere I need to wait for more than a few minutes. Another for lunch hour reading, and one on my bedside stand. And that doesn’t count my Kindle!

Q: What are some of your favorite books to read?

I love YA, so some of my favorite authors include Deb Caletti, Sarah Dessen, and I recently discovered Jessi Kirby. I also love Lee Child’s Jack Reacher novels and Robert Crais’s Elvis Cole series. Judy Blume and Zilpha Keatly Snyder were my childhood faves. There are too many other good authors to mention.

Q: How do you keep yourself motivated to write?

There isn’t anything I need to do to keep myself motivated to write, as I love it. I just wish I had more time to devote to it. I have a full-time job and also own my own business, so writing hours are precious. I love to be able to close my eyes, picture Skylar in a precarious situation, and let my imagination run wild.

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring authors out there?

I write a column on my blog at www.carrie-cross.com: Advice for Aspiring Writers. My first post advised:

Enjoy the writing process and revise, revise, revise. Get as many people as possible to read your manuscript and give you constructive criticism. Don’t just rely on family and friends for feedback. They love you and will tell you your book is great, even if it isn’t.

Find beta readers in your target age group who you don’t know personally. For instance, I asked my account base at work if they had children who would be willing to read my book, Skylar Robbins: The Mystery of Shadow Hills, before publication, and emailed the manuscript to those kids. Their feedback was invaluable.

Finally, don’t let rejections from agents deter you from getting published. Self-publish if you don’t get a contract; you’re going to do most of your own marketing anyway. Calvin Coolidge said it best: Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent!

CARRIE CROSS GIVEAWAY

Carrie Cross has generously provided (1) e-book copy of Skylar Robbins: The Mystery of Shadow Hills. This giveaway will run until March 14th.

Enter here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

STORIES UNFOLDED BLOGIVERSARY GIVEAWAY

Don’t forget to enter the Stories Unfolded Blogiversary Giveaway that’s running from March 1st – March 31st.

(1) Grand Prize Winner

  • $25 Amazon Kindle Gift Card
  • (1) Signed physical copy of The End of Feeling by Cindy C Bennett
  • (1) Audiobook of The End of Feeling by Cindy C Bennett
  • (1) Signed physical copy of Family Inheritance by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) Signed physical copy of From a Grieving Mother’s Heart by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) Signed physical copy of For a Grieving Heart by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) Physical copy of Finding Zoe by Brandi Rarus and Gail Harris
  • (1) E-Book copy of the Off The Map Series by Lia Riley (Upside Down, Sideswiped, & Inside Out)
  • (1) E-Book copy of any Ginger Scott book
  • (1) E-Book copy of Cemetery Tours and Between Worlds by Jacqueline Smith
  • (1) E-Book copies of three children’s books by Alva Sachs (Circus Fever, I’m 5, & On Your Mark, Get Set,Go!)

(1) Prize Winner

  • $10 Amazon Kindle Gift Card
  • (1) E-Book copy of any Ginger Scott book
  • (1) E-Pub copy of Family Inheritance by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) E-Pub copy of From a Grieving Mother’s Heart by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) E-Pub copy of For a Grieving Heart by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) E-Book copy of Cemetery Tours and Between Worlds by Jacqueline Smith

(1) Prize Winner

  • $5 Amazon Kindle Gift Card
  • (1) E-Book copy of The End of Feeling by Cindy C. Bennett
  • (1) E-Book copy of any Ginger Scott book
  • (1) E-Book copy of Cemetery Tours and Between Worlds by Jacqueline Smith

(1) Prize Winner

  • $5 Amazon Kindle Gift Card

Enter here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Carrie Cross week continues tomorrow with her guest post.

Blogiversary | Interview with Author Jacqueline Smith

AUTHOR INTERVIEW | JACQUELINE SMITH

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | BLOG | TWITTER | GOODREADS

Smith_Jackie-1732

Photo Credit: Kaylynn Krieg

I’ve been working with Jacqueline Smith since mid February and she’s been so great through this whole process.  I wanted to get to know her author side a little bit more.  So, here’s her answers to my author interview questions.

Don’t forget to enter both the Jacqueline Smith Giveaway and the Stories Unfolded Blogiversary Giveaway at the end of this interview.

Q: Would you like to start by introducing yourself?

Hi! I’m Jacqueline. I’m 27 years old and I’m from Dallas, Texas. I love writing, photography, and nature. And I’m a YA Literature enthusiast.

Q: Can you tell us a bit about your latest book and the inspiration behind it?

My latest book is called Boy Band. It will be released April 21, 2015. It’s the first I’ve published that is not part of the Cemetery Tours series. It actually started out as a NaNoWriMo project. I wasn’t sure if I would publish it, or even finish it, to be honest. But I ended up really loving it. My sister and I are totally into boy bands, all boy bands, and so I started out writing it just for fun after binge-watching music videos on YouTube. It became a really fun story. I can’t wait for people to read it!

Q: When did you first realize you wanted to be an author?

I first realized I wanted to be an author in my junior year of college. It was spring break and I was sick as a dog, so I spent the entire week curled up on the couch with blankets, tissues, and a stack of guilty pleasure romance novels. In the middle of one, the author describes this bungalow on the beach, right next to a lighthouse. I remember thinking to myself, “Hey, I could do that.” And that was it.

Q: What inspired you to start writing and what continues to inspire you to write now?

I started writing when I was a little kid, actually, but back then, all I was doing was rewriting books and movies that I already loved. For example, every Disney movie I owned. It was kind of like a kid version of fanfiction. I wrote for fun all the way through high school, but I never thought it was something I’d actually end up doing.

Now, I have a million different things that inspire me to keep writing. For one thing, I have at least fifteen other stories in my head waiting to be written. Anything can inspire a story. Sometimes it’s a song. Sometimes it’s a cool picture. Sometimes, it’s a simple phrase. All I know is I need to tell these stories. And I love it.

Q: What are you working on at the moment?

I’m putting the finishing touches, revisions, and edits on Boy Band before its released next month. I’m also designing the cover, which is kind of exciting. I’ve never designed a cover before, so I hope it looks alright! I’m also in the process of finishing the third installment of the Cemetery Tours series.

Q: Do you have any writing superstitions or rituals?

When I first get an idea for a story, I do two things. First, I make a playlist on iTunes that serves as a writing soundtrack specifically for that story. And second, I make a secret Pinterest board to help me visualize what I’m writing. When I write, I’m usually at my desk, I have a giant glass of water, and I burn a candle. I love candles.

Q: Where is your favorite place to read?

Oh, I can read anywhere. My favorite place used to be on the living room couch, where my cat, Jasmine, would always sit next to me. Sadly, she passed away last year and I’ve found it difficult to go back to our spot to read.

Q: What are some of your favorite books to read?

I love anything by Meg Cabot or Nicholas Sparks. I’m a big fan of YA, which I’ve been binge-reading recently. I have a huge pile of books on my bedroom floor just waiting to be read. Oh and of course, I love Harry Potter and The Hunger Games.

Q: How do you keep yourself motivated to write?

I remind myself that I’m so lucky to have found something I love and that I’m passionate about. It’s something that never gets old for me. And perhaps, most importantly, I read. Reading reminds me of why I started writing in the first place. It also reminds me of what I want, which is for readers to enjoy my books as much as I enjoy the books of so many other authors out there.

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring authors out there?

Never give up. Write what you love, not what you think other people will love. There will be plenty of nay-sayers out there, but don’t let them get to you. Find an editor that you trust. Appreciate your readers. Support your fellow writers. And while it is very important to present yourself and your work professionally and with pride, it’s also important to have fun. Enjoy. You’ve earned it.

JACQUELINE SMITH GIVEAWAY

Jacqueline has generously provided (3) kindle copies of Cemetery Tours and (3) kindle copies of it’s sequel, Between Worlds. There will be (3) Winners who will receive one copy of each book. This giveaway will run until March 7th.

Enter here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

STORIES UNFOLDED BLOGIVERSARY GIVEAWAY

Don’t forget to enter the Stories Unfolded Blogiversary Giveaway that’s running from March 1st – March 31st.

(1) Grand Prize Winner

  • $25 Amazon Kindle Gift Card
  • (1) Signed physical copy of The End of Feeling by Cindy C Bennett
  • (1) Audiobook of The End of Feeling by Cindy C Bennett
  • (1) Signed physical copy of Family Inheritance by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) Signed physical copy of From a Grieving Mother’s Heart by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) Signed physical copy of For a Grieving Heart by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) Physical copy of Finding Zoe by Brandi Rarus and Gail Harris
  • (1) E-Book copy of the Off The Map Series by Lia Riley (Upside Down, Sideswiped, & Inside Out)
  • (1) E-Book copy of any Ginger Scott book
  • (1) E-Book copies of three children’s books by Alva Sachs (Circus Fever, I’m 5, & On Your Mark, Get Set,Go!)

(1) Prize Winner

  • $10 Amazon Kindle Gift Card
  • (1) E-Book copy of any Ginger Scott book
  • (1) E-Pub copy of Family Inheritance by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) E-Pub copy of From a Grieving Mother’s Heart by Terri Ann Leidich
  • (1) E-Pub copy of For a Grieving Heart by Terri Ann Leidich

(1) Prize Winner

  • $5 Amazon Kindle Gift Card
  • (1) E-Book copy of The End of Feeling by Cindy C. Bennett
  • (1) E-Book copy of any Ginger Scott book

(1) Prize Winner

  • $5 Amazon Kindle Gift Card

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Jacqueline Smith week continues tomorrow with her guest post.

Author Interview | Terri Ann Leidich – Part 2

I was very grateful that Terri Ann Leidich participated in an Author Interview.  Part 1 of the interview included her take on the writing process sprinkled with a few random questions.  Check it out here.

Part 2 consists of questions specific to her book Family Inheritance, that is set to be released on October 1, 2014.  I recently completed the book and wrote a book review on it.

I’m always curious about an author’s process of writing a book because they speak of the same struggles that I’m going through with mine.  You know what I’m talking about…finding time, motivation, and inspiration.  It’s also great to hear about books I enjoyed reading and what it took to get them published.

So, here are a few questions and answers…

Q: What was your motivation for starting Family Inheritance 30 years ago and what motivated you to finish after all these years?

I was in my early 30s and in a very difficult time in my life, and writing has always been a stress release for me.  I was working on some poetry and Helene’s character came into my mind, so I started an outline and the other two sisters appeared in my imagination.  Over the months, I began talking with friends, acquaintances, people I would meet on airplanes, etc. about their lives or the lives of women they knew.  It’s amazing what people are willing to share if they feel you are interested and truly care.

I began to realize that behind the facades of “perfect lives”, a lot of trauma could be hiding, and many times the difficulties women would talk about had some connection to their childhood.  That’s when the title of Family Inheritance took hold in my mind.  It probably took about ten years to finish the basic story, but the publishing environment at that time was tough for new writers and we didn’t get to have a lot of say in our stories.

After many rejections, I had a tentative offer from a large publisher about 20 years ago, but they wanted to eliminate Alice from the story, and I wasn’t willing to do that.  So, I put the manuscript in a file drawer.  I realized a few years ago that if I wanted to bring Helene, Alice, and Suzanne into the lives of other women who might be helped by them, I needed to do something about it, because I’m not getting any younger.

Q: Did you develop your characters based on where and how you grew up?

Each character has a small piece of either my experience of the life or experience of someone I know.  The rest is fiction.  My family, like most families, had its own level of dysfunction but nowhere to the degree that Helene, Alice, and Suzanne experienced.  For instance, my father was an alcoholic and my mother’s life when she was married to hims was difficult, but not to the degree of Anna’s life.

Q: How many drafts went into this book before it got published?

So many that I lost count over the years.  As with any writer, the more I wrote, the more I learned, and the more I learned, the more changing and honing I did with the book.  My sister Kathy read one of the first drafts over 25 years ago and she recently read an advance copy of the book.  She gave me the greatest compliments, “You’ve done good, girl!”  If you have sisters, you know that’s sister talk for “I liked it.”

Q: In what ways is Family Inheritance being marketed?

Through reviews, giveaways, through the distributor working directly with wholesalers, working with bookstores, strong social media campaigns, press releases, book signings, book club appearances, etc.

Q: What part of the book was the most difficult to write and why?

Alice’s story was the hardest to write.  When I wrote the scene where she was talking with Thelma about wanting better for herself and Thelma said, “There ain’t no better for you and me…Just put up with what you gotta put with and get on with life…Your father hit your mother. My father hit my mother.  Al hits me.  Jake hits you.  What’s that tell you, Alice?  Who do yu know that’s got different?”

When the scene was written, I sat down and cried because I know for many women, abuse is and has been a strong part of their lives.  That breaks my heart to this day.

Q: What part of the book did you enjoy writing the most?

When the sisters started really connecting and helping each other take good, long looks at themselves.  Whey they did, they all came out better because of it.  I totally enjoyed writing those scenes.

Thank you again to Terri Ann Leidich for being a part of an author interview.

Author Links: Website, Facebook, Twitter

Author Interview | Terri Ann Leidich – Part 1

After reading Family Inheritance, I wanted to know a bit more about the author, Terri Ann Leidich.  Thankfully through Net Galley, we can express interest in connecting with the authors of the books we review.  Terri contacted me and agreed to be a part of an “Author Interview”.  She is my first official interview! Yay!

This is Part of 1 of the interview which consists of questions on the process of writing a book and a few other book related ones.  Part 2 will be published later and will be specific to her book Family Inheritance, which I recently wrote a review on.  You can check it out here.

So, here we go…

Q: What genre do you like to write in?  What draws you to this genre?

I like Contemporary Women’s Fiction because the stories feel real and could be happening to women just like us. Many times, no matter who is reading the book, there is some aspect of one of the characters in the book to whom we can strongly relate.  And, that can be life changing.

Q: How much research goes into your books?

A lot! That’s why it took 30 years to bring Family Inheritance to the marketplace.  Most of my research is done by talking to people about their lives, their experiences, their feelings.

Q: How do you structure your day for writing?  Is there a special time of the day you write?

Because I still have a “day job”, my writing life doesn’t have the structure I would like it to have.  Most of my writing is done on the weekends.

Q: What is the hardest thing about writing?

Once the “creation” is done and it’s time to get into the nitty gritty of editing, honing, and bringing the story to the place where a publisher will accept it.  That’s hard work!

Q: Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?

What works for me is stepping away, taking a nice warm bath, going to Starbucks and sipping on a chai – something that will get me away from “creating the story” and giving my creative self or what I call “the space beyond the mind” an opportunity to let the story flow.  Writer’s block for me is often a time where I’m trying to fit my story or idea into a predetermined outline when in actuality, the story wants to be able to flow in another direction.

Q: What writers inspire you? 

One of my favorite authors is Jodi Picoult because she tells stories that are so real and sometimes so raw that by reading them, you come out changed.  My Sister’s Keeper is one of my all-time favorites.  At the end of the book, I just sobbed.  I really think the film makers did the movie a disservice when they changed the ending.  True, it was a tough ending, but it was so poignant.

Q: Where do you see your writing career 5 years from now?

 I intend to keep writing and/or pulling out manuscripts from my jammed file drawer and working on them.  How many books I will have written and published in five years, I’m not sure.  I’d rather craft a book and have a story unfold than be on a deadline where I have to “put out something” by a certain date.  I’ve been delighted to read that reviewers are interested in my writing and look forward to more books.  What a nice feeling to take into my writing.

Q: If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?

Gone with the Wind.  That is such a masterpiece!  The characters are so real, and they stay with you forever.  I still have moments when I think about Scarlett and how she would say something to the effect of, “I’ll think about that tomorrow.”  Sometimes, that’s good advice.

Q:  If you had one piece of advice for aspiring authors, what would that be?

Write because you love to write.  Only a small percentage of authors become rich and famous.  If that happens to you, fabulous, but if it doesn’t, make sure that you can say you thoroughly enjoyed the process.

Thank you to Terri Ann Leidich for taking the time to answer my questions.

Author Links: Website, Facebook, Twitter

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