There are a couple things you should know about Carla Vonzale Lewis. She likes her martini’s shaken…never stirred and her debut novel, Lineage releases today!
They say a writer needs an elevator pitch. Give us the elevator pitch for your novel, Lineage?
Oh, boy, you went right for the jugular with this question! Okay, I will try.
A woman down on her luck and needing to find a job, takes a position at an insurance company only to learn her new employers are sacrificing people.
What inspired you to write Lineage?
I use to work in a call center. I don’t recommend this job for ANYONE! Once in a blue moon, the major players would come to our center for a center wide meeting. I use to wonder what they did all day. Like what exactly was their job. So in answer to that question, I wrote my first book based on a woman getting a job in a call center and learning her employers were sacrificing people. Morbid, I know. But I did warn you NOT to work in a call center.
If you had to choose 3 songs to be included in the Lineage soundtrack, what would they be? And Why?
Madness by Muze because yes, there is a healthy dose of madness in the story.
Keep the Streets Empty by Fever Ray, because it sets the right tone for the battle scenes. Nicole is discovering her power and the power of others and this song would be the slow motion version of her brain making those discoveries.
Change by Deftones because it has that sensual rhythm that is also present in the story.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Oh, it definitely energizes me! I love living in my story worlds. J
Finally, do you prefer coffee or tea?
I actually really enjoy both! Coffee in the morning to get me going and tea throughout the day.
Pick up a copy of her amazing new novel! Available on Amazon or wherever books are sold. Amazon
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Aislinn Honeycutt talks about her debut novel, Wandering in Wonderland…
1. Your debut novel, Wandering in Wonderland, is already getting great reviews and is on my tbr list. What is your favorite review and why?
In all aspects of my life, I try not to pick favorites and that feels true for the reviews. I’m really just happy that people are reading the novel and that most of them are hoping for a sequel. I like reading the two and three-star reviews I’ve gotten so far because they give me the realistic look at how my writing is and what opportunities I’m missing with those individuals as readers.
2. Do you have any writing quirks or rituals that help you write?
Back during NaNoWriMo I trained myself to write at night, usually starting around 9pm or so. I also got into the habit of wearing reading glasses and playing music over headphones.
3. Aside from Alice in Wonderland, what else inspired you to write this book?
6 years ago when I first started plotting the story, I just thought it’d be fun to see if I could write a whole book. Then, as the years went on and I had more and more life experiences, the concept of Wonderland really turned into what it secretly was all along: for me. The story became (what seemed like, anyway) the only thing in my life I could control so I poured everything I had into it. Finally, the promise of it becoming published came about and it morphed into the story it is today and it became just as much for my friends as it was for me all those years and drafts ago.
4. What character in your novel do you connect with/relate to most?
It might be a bit narcissistic but all the characters have some element of myself in their personality or quirks. Well, everyone but Horace. He was modeled after someone else who is no longer in my life. That all being said, Farren and Rorie will always have very special places in my heart. Rorie is the character who really started everything and there wouldn’t be a story without him and Farren wasn’t meant to have a strong presence in the story but like any good character, she grew on me until she became what she is today, which readers will experience the full force of their characters in the sequel.
Pick up your copy today!
Author interview with the lovely Bibiana Krall
I was lucky enough to connect with Bibiana Krall who is the author of numerous literary works. She gives insight into the short story, novella, and novel. I recently read Corvus Hall, a brilliant and suspenseful novella, you need to check out.
Thank you so much for interviewing me on your blog, R.J. I’m so excited to be here.
1. Bibiana tell us a little about your writing. How many pieces do you have available on Amazon?
I have fifteen titles on Amazon with two short story collections, three novels (one in French.) The remainder are short stories and lastly, a paranormal novella named Corvus Hall, which is book one in The Irish Phantom Series. I am hard at work on the second novella now, Loftus Hall.
They are multi-genre, from coming of age, thrillers, magical realism and paranormal or supernatural suspense. Suspense is the rocket fuel and all stories feature a female main character.
My goal will always be to show that females can not only carry a story, but in real life we are capable, intelligent, badasses and we have always been strong. That doesn’t always mean that we own a sword or know how to shoot straight either. It’s about depicting women or girls as complex, interesting people who face challenges unseen by some and perhaps my stories try to show the way out of the rabbit hole as well? No matter what I write, the number one thing is always to entertain, and escape––after all that’s why most people read and enjoy genre fiction.
2. What appeals to you about the short story as compared to writing a novel and vice versa?
The short story is a form I have both loved and detested as a writer, student and reader, until I discovered that not everyone who writes them understands that the majority of us yearn for a feeling of completion from a story, regardless of length. Edgar Allan Poe, Flannery O’Connor, Ray Bradbury and Joyce Carole Oates became my literary guides and forever changed my reading habits a few years ago. They are all masters at short story form for one reason or another.
When written properly, a short story will offer a beginning, middle and end, just like a novel, but it’s in hyper speed with no extra words. I liken writing a short story to a wild sprint and composing a novel to tackling an ironman. I have come to love creating both short stories and novels and I draft one or two novels a year and four or five short stories in-between, when I feel less than enthused about line revisions or need new something to push me over the hump.
The things I adore about writing is the time to develop an intricate plot, get to know my characters, to add detail and emotional layers using imagery. I luxuriate in these aspects of a novel when reading or writing one, so that’s the major and most important difference to me.
3. Who’s your childhood literary superhero? Who do you like to read today?
Charlotte Bronte. I don’t actually have a modern-day one, although I deeply admire Margaret Atwood for her unabashed look at what feminism means and how things still need to change. I am thrilled that a new generation has discovered her timely work.
Lately, I have been doing a lot of exploration, reading literary fiction, psychological suspense, contemporary, coming of age, and women’s fiction. I am fully aware that in order to be a successful writer, I must read what’s current (Indie and Traditional) and constantly explore what reader’s want. I am so ready for a writer crush, so please bring it on!
4. I love the covers of your works. Did you have a part in the design process?
I make my own covers and produce cinematic book trailers on YouTube as well. Luckily there are some incredibly talented photographers that allow their digital images to be used for other art forms. I travel often and use my photos whenever they work for a particular project. I used a cover artist once and it was beautiful, but I think it was too soon. After the project was done, the cover didn’t feel right anymore, so I’ve learned to wait until the story has found its depth for the visual and expensive part of the process.
5. Writer’s stories almost become like their children. Do you have a favorite?
That’s tough. I would say that my characters become my children, confidantes and friends. I love Gracie and Gus in my coming of age story, Carolina Spirit for their generous souls and incredible friendship and Sophia from Escape Into The Blue for never backing down and holding out for her happiness, regardless of the situation. The girl is a firecracker! Every character has a place in my heart, because mine are written so realistically, they come alive and we walk together.
Thank you so much for your interest R.J. I am excited about the future and look forward to knowing your work as well.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
“Immersive writing in search of the heroine.”
C.M. Turner Talks
I was recently gifted the novel, Not Flowers for Charlie and was both moved and impressed by this must-read, coming of age novel. The author, C.M. Turner, was kind enough to answer some questions for me.
1. What inspired your beautiful coming of age novel, Not Flowers for Charlie?
I was 30,000 feet in the air, returning to Kentucky from a trip to Southern California where I was born and raised. While listening to music on the plane, I became nostalgic—thinking about growing up in a blended family. Before the plane could touch down in Louisville, a story had been developing and brewing in my thoughts.
I had written poetry in the past but had never considered a deeper or lengthier project. It wasn’t even on my radar.
“Not Flowers For Charlie,” began as a short story, then like myself over the years, it grew. I finished what was to become a full-length novel while living on Bainbridge Island in the state of Washington.
2. What was the hardest part of finishing a book for you?
The hardest part of finishing a book for me has been knowing when to let go. With every edit, comes not only exclusions but also additions. I have never been able to simply read something I wrote and enjoy it. There is always that nagging desire to make it better.
3. What is your writing kryptonite?
I hope this will be an acceptable answer to your question, R.J. My kryptonite in regard to writing, is anything relating to the business end of our field. Marketing, promoting, submissions, writing summaries and descriptions, are all alien and unappealing to me. I’d rather write a brand-new book than have to do a blurb. I do, however, enjoy posting reviews on books I like and doing interviews with fellow authors like yourself.
4. What comes first in your imagination, the plot or characters?
The plot definitely comes first in my process and the characters are built around it. Often, I start with a minimal amount of characters and as the story grows, so do the number of characters. The first novel I published, started with two main characters and by the end of the book, there were over a hundred secondaries…some more important than others. The story revolves around a town, so in order to be credible, the reader needed to have a sense of ample inhabitants.
5. Do you any advice for a new writer?
I suppose the best advice I could share with a new writer, is to tell them there is a wealth of stories surrounding us at all times—whether it be old family tales passed down through the generations or gossip learned from the local hairdressers and barber shops.
I have personally found that incorporating old family stories into my work can lend an element of truth to it, as well as providing a little levity.
The point being, just living affords a writer plenty of material. All you need do is be attentive and listen, then choose the material that best suits your particular project.
In closing R.J., I would like to express my gratitude to you for inviting me to do this interview.
It’s been a great pleasure getting to know you.
C.M. Turner’s novels: Not Flowers for Charlie and Where the Ironweed Blooms are available on Amazon.
Check out author
1. They say we always remember our first love. What is the first book that you fell in love with and why?
The first book I remember falling in love with so much that it moved me to tears was Charlotte’s Web. I think I read it in 3rd or 4th grade, and I picked up the book because I loved the movie so much. I wanted to be a veterinarian when I was really little and I think that book was part of that reason.
2. Does writing energize or exhaust you?
It really depends on what step of the writing process we’re talking about! If I’m working on edits or marketing, I find that kind of work can exhaust me after a while. But writing itself? Oh my goodness, knowing I get to go write on a piece will sometimes get me out of bed at 5 AM. Knowing I get to squeeze in a few words over maybe ten minutes will make me excited to hop back in. I can plan out a book, but I love letting the story and characters take me places, so I’m eager to find out what happens next even though I have a good idea of where it’s going.
3. In your opinion, what qualities make a great protagonist?
They need to have some quality about them that makes them likable. This doesn’t have to be much, but the reader really needs to be sympathetic to them in order to be willing to join them on their journey. They also don’t have to make smart decisions all the time, but they need to be clever for me. I don’t mind occasionally ringing my hands at a protagonist, but I can’t handle a whole book doing that. It’s emotionally exhausting since I get so involved in the character and in the world.
4. What are you working on now?
Right now I’m finishing up my manuscript for Broken, the sequel to Stolen, to send off to my publisher. I’m really excited by the twists that have appeared throughout this book and I’m looking forward to seeing what my readers think of it. It’s definitely taking a darker path than Stolen did, but it’s necessary for the storyline.
5. If you could tell your younger writing self-anything, what would it be?
Please don’t give up on your dreams, even if it seems like it’ll never happen. You have the determination and the imagination to reach your goal, you just have to keep at it, even if those rejection letters are painful.
6. After publishing several books, what is your advice to aspiring writers about the querying process?
One of the things I’ve learned the most, and that a good writer friend of mine told me years ago, is that there are all sorts of paths to reaching that dream of being a published author. You can go the self-publishing route, which I tried for a while. You can aim for short stories, which I also tried. You can also go try to find an agent, which I’m still working on. Or you can find a small publisher that fits your dark little darlings to a tee.
I know it’s hard to hear right now, but perseverance is the best way to get to where you want to be. Keep writing, keep putting yourself out there. Toughen up your skin and realize that there’s always another story inside of you. Your mind is an endless fount of inspiration and even if you’re still learning the writing craft, you have to believe in yourself in order to ultimately succeed.
7. What was your inspiration for your latest novel, Stolen?
I wish this was a simple answer, one I could rattle off in a few words, but like most inspiration, it is more complex than that.
Years ago I used to take part in private little writing community on Livejournal called OfThePistol. Each week they would post up picture prompts and we would come up with stories. They could be any kind of story, so long as it was inspired by the picture. The photo they gave was a lovely little gif from Alice in Wonderland with Alice lying down in a field of daisies, with the words sprawled on top “When I’m lonely in a world of my own.” It made me think of springtime and of flowers, and what it might be like to live in a land that was forever in spring.
I came up with a short piece about a girl with a magical map who needed to find her way through a garden to reach her lessons. Unfortunately, as soon as she became late, the map went dark and she couldn’t find her way. So she asked a stone lion who was lazily lounging nearby to help her get to class, and they headed off together through the beautiful garden.
That story ultimately got changed around completely to be used in Stolen. The stone lion had several personality shifts and eventually became Mawr. The unnamed protagonist in the original piece became Shaleigh, an urban explorer with anger issues, in Stolen. Now I’m working on a trilogy featuring her adventures through and beyond the Garden, which ironically didn’t change too terribly much from that original piece.
Thank you for allowing me to be a guest on your blog! I’m so happy you reached out to have me.
Feel free to follow me or pick up a copy of Stolen:
Stolen on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37654241-stolen
Talking with Phillip D. Curwood about writing, ghosts and time travel.
I asked author, Phillip Curwood some questions and was definitely surprised by his answers. He is a writer of the intriguing paranormal novel, Arabella: A picture of Beauty which may have real-life inspiration.
1. What inspired your latest novel, Heather in May?
I was simply inspired to write this novel because of my love for the North York Moors. The surrounding moors that I love to tread hold such mystery, which in turn has always fired my imagination. The town of Helmsley sits on the edge of the lonely moors, and the Black Swan Inn is the hotel I stay when hiking. It’s the same black and white timber-framed hotel that became The Rivvis (Yorkshire slang for Rievaulx village and Abbey) in my book.
2. What advice do you have for new writers?
My advice would be to never give up and only listen to constructive criticism that would help you grow as a writer.
3. What is your favorite genre to write and why?
My favourite genre(s) has always been the Paranormal and Sci-fi. Living in a haunted house for 13-years lent weight to my curiosity of the Afterlife in my later years. Sci-fi, on the other hand, is my escape and refuge. It all began with a single book by James Blish entitled – Welcome to Mars.
4. What are you working on now?
I’m working on a fairly complex time travel novel entitled – Time Light. It involves alternate realities, time manipulation, a Jason Bourne-style feel and other paraphernalia I cannot divulge, at this moment in (time).
5. Arabella was a great ghost story. If you had to be haunted by another fictional character who would it be?
If I had to be haunted by another fictional character, it would have to be a lady as beautiful as Lady Arabella herself.
6. Have you ever had a paranormal encounter?
Referring back to question 3; I’ve had several encounters of the paranormal over 13-years of living in an extremely haunted house. The ghosts name in question was Mary Anne Belle, and she killed herself by throwing herself down a well 150-years ago, due to the abuse from her husband. I’ve witnessed balls of light, grey mist, a disembodied hand waving at me, faces peering through our windows.
7. You are a self-described history geek. If you had to leave in another century which one would you chose and why?
I’d love to live in the early nineteenth century, mostly because I loved the way they dressed back then. They prided themselves on good manners and etiquette, and I feel they had more freedom back then… no computers or Smartphones either.
Questions for Candace
I had the opportunity to ask Candace Robinson a few questions. She has published several books including Bacon Pie (Co-authored with Gerardo Delgadillo) from Evernight Teen, and Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault from the Parliament House Press, just to name a few. She writes romantic, dark and quirky tales that must be checked out. Her upcoming novel, Clouded by Envy will be available February 19th, is already creating a buzz.
1. What’s the elevator pitch for your upcoming novel, Clouded by Envy?
Dorian Gray meets Ferngully! A little yin to the yang!
2. Assign Marry, bury or date to the following superheroes: Thor, Batman, and the Black Panther.
That is a toughy! Marry Thor because, well, his costume is and hair is awesome! Date Black Panther because he has Panther in his name! And bury Batman because I don’t know which Batman we are talking about!
3. They say no tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. As a writer how many times have your own stories made you cry?
You know, I don’t think I’ve ever cried reading my stuff. But I will say that I’ve felt my heart crack a whole lot!
4. What’s your advice for writers trying to get published for the first time?
Do not give up! If your goal is to go with a bigger publisher, then you have to keep on querying. If it’s not working then, also look for fresh beta readers to see if maybe they can help improve some things.
5. You are such an amazing writer. If you had to choose one of your novels to become a major motion picture which one would it be and why? What actors would you cast in the leading roles?
I think Bacon Pie, only because I would love to see the super humorous parts! My preference for actors is always unknowns so I would really like it if they were some undiscovered awesome talent or something!
6. Since Valentine’s Day is here, a good question is what’s your favorite candy?
White chocolate Reeces! Someone buy me that huge one that comes out each year!
Want to learn more about Candace and her awesome books visit her website.