Archive for the ‘ Author Interviews ’ Category


It’s rare today to find an author who does nothing but write for a living. Do you have a ‘real’ job other than writing, and if so, what is it? What are some other jobs you’ve had in your life?
Karen Quinn: I started out as a lawyer and absolutely hated that. After I dozed off in front of my client during an SEC hearing, I quit that. Luckily, the client died that year so he never sued me for malpractice. Then I moved into marketing and advertising. I worked for American Express for fifteen years until they downsized me. At that point, I came up with the idea of starting a small business helping NYC families get their children into the best private schools. The company was called Smart City Kids – it still exists today. But after two-and-a-half years, I got out. There were too many tears – not from the children, from their parents.


What compelled you to write your first book?

Karen Quinn: After leaving Smart City Kids, my husband wanted me to get a job. We really needed the money. But I had always had a dream about being a writer. I’d never done anything about it – it was like one of those fantasies we have about becoming a movie star. Wait, I take that back. I did always write a holiday letter that everyone said made them laugh. Anyway, I realized that after leaving my company, I had lots of funny stories about my experiences helping these neurotic parents and their adorable kids. So I told my husband that instead of getting a job, I wanted to write a bestseller like The Nanny Diaries about getting kids into private school. Mark asked me how long that would take. I had no idea so I told him three months. He let me go ahead as long as I promised to get a job after three months. I wrote like crazy after that and had a first draft of The Ivy Chronicles done before my deadline. The threat of having to get a real job is a powerful motivator when it comes to writing.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Karen Quinn: No, I have always wanted to be a painter. That’s something I love to do and I’m good at it (in a Grandma Moses kind of way). My home is filled with paintings I’ve done. But I discovered when I wrote The Ivy Chronicles that I genuinely love to write. It’s very exciting to discover something new about yourself when you’re in your mid-forties.

Tell us a little bit about your book/s.

Karen Quinn: The Ivy Chronicles is the first book. It is about a woman who reinvents herself after losing everything that is dear to her – her husband, her upper-east-side lifestyle, her job. She starts a business helping families get their children into private school. Through this, she discovers a new life for herself that is better than the old one. I wrote Ivy at a time when I had lost my corporate job and I reinvented myself by becoming an author. So that book is particularly close to my heart.

Wife in the Fast Lane is about a mid-western girl, a track star turned businesswoman, who marries a powerful mogul and moves to the upper-east-side. It is about how she juggles the demands of work, love, and motherhood in the most exclusive zip code in Manhattan.

Finally, Holly Would Dream is about a woman named Holly who wishes her life was like an Audrey Hepburn-Cary Grant movie, but of course it isn’t, until it is. This one is really a modern day fairy tale that is about all the things I adore – fashion, travel, and old, romantic movies from the 1950’s. Holly Would Dream is my favorite of the three I’ve written. My books tend to be women’s fiction, page-turners, and funny.

Are you currently working on any writing projects our readers should watch for release soon?

Karen Quinn: Just this week it was announced that Sarah Jessica Parker is going to star in The Ivy Chronicles movie. So readers should look out for that. I am also working on a fourth book about three sisters in Manhattan, but I’m not sure when it will be done. I’m also doing a non-fiction book about what parents can do at home to be sure their children are ready for kindergarten.

Have you ever won any writing awards? If so, what?

Karen Quinn: No, I haven’t. My books are perfect for the beach, long airplane rides, or to take you to another world after a long hard day. I don’t think they give awards for books like that. But they really should, don’t you think? Call me shallow (and I’m sure someone will), but I’d rather read the latest Bushnell than Dostoevsky any day.

How did you feel the day you held the copy of your first book in your hands?

Karen Quinn: It felt like I had accomplished something wonderful. I was so proud of it. No one was home when it arrived so I ran downstairs and showed my doormen. Now they treat me like a movie star and they always buy my books for their mothers and wives.

What type of music, if any, do you listen to while you write?

Karen Quinn: I’m very ADD so I don’t listen to music while I write. When I do listen, it tends to be songs written in the eighties or earlier.

What inspires you and motivates you to write the very most?

Karen Quinn: When I am really into a good story, I can’t wait to get to the computer. What will my characters do today? I often have plans for them and then they surprise me. When I sit down to write, I can go for a good eight hours.

What one thing are you the most proud of in your life?

Karen Quinn: Professionally, I’m most proud of the fact that I became a published writer – I did something that other people can experience and enjoy. So many people write to me and tell me how much they loved reading my books. That never gets old. I always write people back and thank them because their good words mean so much to me.

What about your family? Do you have children, married, siblings, parents? Has your family been supportive of your writing?

Karen Quinn: In life, I’m most proud of the fact that I have been married to the same wonderful guy for 27 years. We met in law school, so at least I got something out of becoming a lawyer. We have a girl and a boy, Schuyler, seventeen, and Sam, fifteen. I have two brothers and my mom. Dad died a few years ago. It makes me sad that he never got to see me become a writer because he would have loved that. But my whole family is supportive of my writing. Mark and Schuyler come to all my New York readings. Sam doesn’t because he’s a teenage boy so he is pretty much sequestered in his room most of the time. Whenever a new book comes out, I always go to Denver (where my mother lives) and she drives me to all my appearances, helps me sell books, and brags about me to anyone who will listen. It’s a family affair.

The main characters of your stories – do you find that you put a little of yourself into each of them or do you create them to be completely different from you?

Karen Quinn: In each of my books, one of my characters is always based on myself. I am Ivy in The Ivy Chronicles. I am Renata (the ten-year-old little girl) in Wife in the Fast Lane, and I am Holly in Holly Would Dream. The other thing about my books is that they are full of real stories from my life. Anything fun and interesting that happens to me or one of my friends invariably ends up in one of the books.

Is there an established writer you admire and emulate in your own writing? Do you have a writing mentor?

Karen Quinn: There are many writers I admire, but I don’t try to emulate anyone. My formula is to write a book that I would want to read. That drives everything in my work.

When growing up, did you have a favorite author, book series, or book?

Karen Quinn: I was a huge reader growing up and I think that is why I’m able to write. As a girl, I devoured books. My mother used to take me to the library and I’d come home with an armful that I would read in a day. I especially loved Nancy Drew.

What about now: who is your favorite author and what is your favorite genre to read?

Karen Quinn: I read many different kinds of books. Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett, is one of my favorites. I also love Time and Again by Jack Finney. The time travel genre appeals to me very much, as does historical fiction. I read lots of humor writers to see how they do it. My books are always funny so I like to see the tricks other writers have to make people laugh.

Hey, let’s get morbid. When they write your obituary, what do you hope they will say about your book/s and writing? What do you hope they will say about you?

Karen Quinn: I hope they say I sold more books than Danielle Steele and Stephen King combined and that I entertained millions of readers worldwide. If they don’t say that, then I hope I at least get my own unpaid obit in the New York Times. You have to really special to get that, and I probably don’t qualify yet. If I got married today, I could probably make the New York Times Wedding page. The obit page is way more selective than the Wedding page.

Location and life experience can sprinkle their influence in your writing. Tell us about where you grew up and a little about where you live now – city? Suburb? Country? Farm? If you could live anywhere you want to live, where would that be?

Karen Quinn: I grew up in suburban Texas and Colorado and moved to New York City about twenty years ago. For me, New York City is the best place I could ever live. I love the pace, the people, and the culture here. Also, as an observer from the west, I find the customs here fascinating, which is why I always write about them. New Yorkers are such generous and interesting people (contrary to popular belief). The downside of New York City is that it is so expensive, especially when you’re trying to raise a family. We are moving to Miami in about month, so hopefully I’ll like that just as well. I’ve always wanted to live near the beach and now I’ll get to.

Do you have any pets? What are they? Tell us about them.

Karen Quinn: We have two older cats – Smokey (a Russian blue) and Cookie (a Berman). My daughter just got an adorable pound-and-a-half Pomeranian named Olive. The cats are very upset about this. Cookie has gone into hiding and Smokey just walks by the puppy and hisses at her. I’m praying things will improve.

Bring us into your home and set the scene for us when you are writing. What does it look like? On the couch, laptop, desk? Music? Lighting, handwriting?

Karen Quinn: I have a big office in my apartment. Two walls are entirely filled with books. In front of the books facing the door (very Feng Shui) is an antique desk that is very messy. Next to it (making an “L” shape) is my computer desk, which faces the window. My cats are sleeping at my feet.

Do you watch television? If so, what are your favorite shows? Does television influence of inspire your writing?

Karen Quinn: I am addicted to Law and Order. I love how they get so much story into so little time. If I’m flipping through channels and I see that, I’ll always stop. I also love Sex and the City.

What about movies? Same as above.

Karen Quinn: Like my character Holly, I love old romantic comedies from the 1950’s – Sabrina, Roman Holiday, An Affair to Remember, Charade, To Catch a Thief. All these movies were muses for Holly Would Dream.

Focusing on your most recent (or first) book, tell our readers what genre your book is and what popular author you think your writing style in this book is most like.

Karen Quinn: My books are women’s fiction in the tradition of Sex and the City, The Nanny Diaries, The Devil Wears Prada, and The Starter Wife. The difference is, my books are funnier. I don’t mean that in a braggy way. I just mean that I inject more humor into my work, either situational or one-liners.

How long did it take you to write your most recent (or first) book? When you started writing, did you think it would take that long (or short)?

Karen Quinn: As I mentioned earlier, I wrote the first draft of The Ivy Chronicles in three months. That’s because it was that or face having to get a real job. My next books have taken a year or so to complete.

Is there anyone you’d like to specifically acknowledge who has inspired, motivated, encouraged or supported your writing?

Karen Quinn: There are so many people. If you look at my acknowledgements, they are always very long. But there is one person I should mention who really helped me – my friend, Judy Levy. When I was writing The Ivy Chronicles, I would send her my chapters and she would read them, call me back, laughing hysterically, and telling me how much she was loving the book. It was that daily encouragement that kept me going with the first book.

Is there any one particular book that when you read it, you thought to yourself, “Man, I wish I’d written that one!”?

Karen Quinn: When I read David Sedaris, Wendy Wasserstein, and Laurie Notaro, I think that I wish I could do humor as well as they do.

Thinking about your writing career, is there anything you’d go back and do differently now that you have been published?

Karen Quinn: No, it has been a journey and I have learned so much from everything I did right and from all my mistakes. I never look back with regret because I think every experience has made me who I am today and I love that woman, warts, tummy, wrinkles and all.

What is your main goal or purpose you would like to see accomplished by your writing?

Karen Quinn: I would love to be discovered by a very broad audience of women and to bring them joy and make them laugh when they read my work. My books are always about strong women who face adversity, but who persevere and end up in a better place. They are hopeful. I want women to read them and know that no matter what they are facing, they should press on and they will be fine. Every woman is the heroine in her own story.

How has having a book published changed your life?

Karen Quinn: I am making a lot less money than I made in the corporate world, but I am living my passion. As Mastercard says, being able to do work you love is priceless. This is ironic since being downsized by American Express is what led me to becoming a published author. By the way (and I know this isn’t what you’re asking), when Amex fired me, I was devastated, but it turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me. Now, when “bad” things happen, I realize that I don’t have the perspective of time and I look for the wonderful gift this seeming disaster will this bring me.

Many authors have said that naming their characters is a difficult process, almost like choosing a name for their own child. How did you select the names of some of your lead characters in your book/s?

Karen Quinn: I choose names that relate somehow to the story or the character’s personality. Ivy was named Ivy because the book was about getting into the Baby Ivy’s in New York City. Holly was named after Holly Golightly, and like her namesake, she was a single woman trying to make it in the big city.

Have you ever had a character take over a story and move it in a different direction than you had originally intended? How did you handle it?

Karen Quinn: This happens all the time. I remember when I wrote The Ivy Chronicles, the story opens when Ivy’s husband is caught in the bathtub with Sassy, the wife of the man who just got Ivy fired. I had intended for Sassy to have a bit part, but she was so interesting that she became a fairly big player in the story. I tend to loosely outline where I think the book should go, but if something better strikes me as I’m writing, I’ll go with it.

Is there any lesson or moral you hope your story might reveal to those who read it?

Karen Quinn: Yes, keep going no matter how many obstacles are thrown in your path. You are the heroine of your own journey.

Do you have any book signings, tours or special events planned to promote your book that readers might be interested in attending? If so, when and where?

Karen Quinn: I just did a reading for Holly Would Dream in New York City. It was so much fun. Women came in their favorite little black dresses and pearls. When I toured Denver, they did the same thing. I’m going to Wilmington, NC July 10. Check out my website at www.karenquinn.net for the location and time.

It’s said that the editing process of publishing a novel with a publisher is can be grueling and often more difficult than actually writing the story. Do you think this is true for you? How did you feel about editing your masterpiece?

Karen Quinn: I have always found that a good editor will help me make my novel much better. When I first get the editorial letter, I read it, then put it away for a day because it feels so daunting. Then I’ll read it again and see what I agree with and what I don’t. But I usually listen to a good editor’s advice and this has always led to a better story.

Now that you are a published author, does it feel differently than you had imagined?

Karen Quinn: I suppose I thought I would feel different if I became a well-known author. But I feel like the same woman, and my family treats me like they always did. My children could care less about my professional success. They keep me grounded. This is my fourth career, so I feel like the same working mother, only in a different job.

Now, use this space to tell us more about who you. Anything you want your readers to know?

My three books – The Ivy Chronicles, Wife in the Fast Lane, and Holly Would Dream – can be purchased at Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com, or at a local bookstore. If they don’t have a copy, they can order if for you. I do have a website and I send out a very funny newsletter whenever something funny happens to me (which seems to be about once a month). If you’ll go to www.karenquinn.net, you can sign up for the newsletter and read more about my books. There is a blog there as well. You can also email me at Hollywoulddream@aol.com. I am the author who always writes back. I might even meet you for coffee.

Publisher:
http://www.simonsays.com/content/destination.cfm?tab=3&pid=517067

.

You never know which personality might arise from this author who writes under several pseudonyms to keep the genres separate in the hearts and minds of her readers. In particular, she chose to separate her genres with pseudonyms to add a level of parental control so that the young readers of her Reggie & Ryssa series won’t go browsing through the more mature content of her other various titles.

Bo Savino is also the author of the spiritual fiction book, Sacred Steps, published in 2003 by TGS, Ltd, under Dr. Kim Savino. Reggie & Ryssa and the Summer Camp of Faery is her first journey into the realm of books for young adults, under the name Bo Savino.

Under the pseudonym of A. J. Rand, the first book in her Broken Wings series, Broken Wings: Genesis, was released through Aisling Press in 2007. The second book to the series, Broken Wings: Alpha, is expected to be released later in 2008, along with another contemporary sci-fi, Sky Gold, in early 2008. The upcoming Grigori/Fallen Angel series will intertwine with the characters fans are coming to love in her Broken Wings series.

Her fantasy series is written under the pseudonym of Catherine Chase. Keeper of the Flame is the first book in the series, while the second book, Initiates of Light is soon to come.

Savino/Rand/Chase currently resides in Florida with her husband, 2 of her sons, her mother, and a few dear friends—a full support team.

Interview with Author Bo Savino:

It’s rare today to find an author who does nothing but write for a living. Do you have a ‘real’ job other than writing, and if so, what is it? What are some other jobs you’ve had in your life?

Bo Savino: Nope. No “Real” job. Actually, I run a media company that covers all aspect of media including books, graphic arts, website design, audio, etc. The parent company is Oculus Media Group, and we bill ourselves as the “ABC’s of Publishing,” although “publishing” extends to all aspects of the media with which we work.

What compelled you to write your first book?

Bo Savino: Dreams. I wrote my first book when I was 18, and it was based off a series of recurring dreams that I had. Ironically, a lot of my books still come from dreams…and when you consider some of the content, I think it gives the readers a clue as to how truly disturbed my mind really is.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Bo Savino: Yes—pretty much since I was in high school. I always loved the writing aspect of English and Language Arts.

Tell us a little bit about your book/s.

Bo Savino: Well, there are a lot to list! My first published book was Sacred Steps. It is a spiritual fiction that can best be explained as the Celestine Prophecy meets Native America. From there I went on to publish Reggie & Ryssa and the Summer Camp of Faery. It is the first in my young adult fantasy series, published under Bo Savino. Next up came Keeper of the Flame, which honestly was a self-published title that I wanted to experiment with for the self-publishing division of our media company. I never expected it to go anywhere, and wanted to provide a title for sample of the quality of our books.

Once people started reading it, I have been getting multiple requests for me to continue on with the series, which is a paranormal fantasy romance. After that came Broken Wings: Genesis, which is a fun, sassy & totally irreverent contemporary fantasy about the beginnings of the second war of the angels and Armageddon. I love my Reggie & Ryssa series, but I think the Broken Wings series is right up there at the top of my favorites list.

Are you currently working on any writing projects our readers should watch for release soon?

Bo Savino: Always! At the end of April, beginning of May, I have a sci-fi title coming out: Sky Gold. Sometime in August, the second book to the Broken Wings series, Broken Wings: Alpha, is scheduled for release. If all goes right, the Second book in the Reggie & Ryssa series, Reggie & Ryssa and the Scavenger Hunt, will also be released by the end of the year. The fun part with that one is that there was a contest held for kids to do the artwork that goes at the top of each chapter. The sales of the book will produce a percentage of royalties for the winners, which will go into a scholarship account for college. The second book in the Keeper of the Flame series, Initiates of Light, is currently in the production stage, as well as a spin-off series from Broken Wings, which will be a paranormal romance series involving the Grigori, a specific faction of Fallen Angels.

Have you ever won any writing awards? If so, what?

Bo Savino: Reggie & Ryssa and the Summer Camp of Faery took 1st Runner-Up in the AllBooks Review Editor Choice Awards for 2007.

How did you feel the day you held the copy of your first book in your hands?

Bo Savino: That’s a funny story. It was pretty cool with Sacred Steps, but Reggie & Ryssa takes the prize. I heard the UPS guy honking, announcing the delivery of what I knew was the first galley copy of Reggie & Ryssa and the Summer Camp of Faery. I ran out, signed for it, and ran back in the house, tearing open the package on the way. When I finally opened it and looked down, I burst into happy tears. I felt overwhelmed, awed, and stupid at the same time. A few minutes later, while I am still in tears, my mom called me from work. She instantly asked what was wrong, and she laughed when I told her. Her comment to me was :”Of course you’re crying…you’ve been in labor for over a year and just gave birth to twins!” (Referring to the twins in the book, Reggie & Ryssa). I’ve never gotten over that feeling.

What type of music, if any, do you listen to while you write?

Bo Savino: Ugh. None. I love music, but it distracts my mind to the point where I can’t write. It’s either throw myself into the words of the book or escape into the words of a song. My brain doesn’t allow me to do both at the same time!

What inspires you and motivates you to write the very most?

Bo Savino: Dreams, as I said, or little fragments that come to me here and there in the wired thoughts that constantly run through my mind. I think my biggest motivator is when fans come up to see me and ask: “When is the next book in ‘such and such’ coming out”? The fact that they love my writing enough to ask about the next book in whichever series also seems to kick start me into writing, no matter how much of a block I may have at the time.

What one thing are you the most proud of in your life?

Bo Savino: My kids. I have three sons, Joshua, Aaron, and Random. They are part of my heart and soul. I am so proud of the young men they have grown into, and it humbles me to even think that I had any small part in it.

What about your family? Do you have children, married, siblings, parents? Has your family been supportive of your writing?

Bo Savino: I have a wonderful husband, Tom, who is very supportive of me in my writing. He is also the first round of my edits. When I am in the middle of a project, I read out loud to him, chapter by chapter, before bed each night. It’s the “reading out loud” part, and his questions about the story that helps me work through the first round of edits and storyline stuff. Like I said, I have three sons, and a stepdaughter, Amanda, who is a good kid. Although I guess I have to laugh at thinking of any of them as kids, since the youngest, Amanda, has just turned 18. Not so much kids anymore as young adults starting to make their own way into the world. I also have two grandchildren by my oldest son, Josh—Chase and Catherine. My Mom is an awesome supporter, and sometimes I think she is my biggest fan. She not only has a copy of all of my books (a given), but she also has a scrapbook of any and all artwork, business tuff, etc. that I have done over the years. Sometimes I think she has a bigger portfolio of my stuff than I do! I have two younger brothers and two younger sisters who are also very supportive of what I do. I guess I am very blessed to have been born into the family that I was!

The main characters of your stories – do you find that you put a little of yourself into each of them or do you create them to be completely different from you?

Bo Savino: With Reggie & Ryssa, the main characters are pretty much based on my youngest son, and my stepdaughter. There are a lot of their personality traits found in the first book. For Broken Wings, I never thought of the character being close to me, but those who know me well say that it is like reading a book about me when they here the attitudes of Yeshua Star. I never considered myself to be *that* sassy, but I guess we never view ourselves in the same ways as others do!

Is there an established writer you admire and emulate in your own writing? Do you have a writing mentor?

Bo Savino: I don’t have a writing mentor, but I have a great group of readers (prior to publication) who keep me in line. I think a few of my favorite authors are Sherrilyn Kenyon, Laurell K. Hamilton, Kim Harrison, P. C. Cast, Robert Jordan, Geroge R. R. Martin, and of course, J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. I think I was totally tickled by Laurell K.’s sassy writing style, because it reflected the way I liked to write. I developed the Grigori/Fallen Angel series long before I had even touched any of Sherrilyn Kenyon’s books (I discovered her Dark Hunter series just this past year), but fell in love with her similar storyline development. So I guess maybe I don’t emulate them as much as I love them because of some of the similarities I see.

When growing up, did you have a favorite author, book series, or book?

Bo Savino: Of curse, I was head over heels in love with the Nancy Drew series while growing up!

What about now: who is your favorite author and what is your favorite genre to read?

Bo Savino: Sherrilyn Kenyon. I discovered her only this past year, and quickly collected the 13 novels she had out in her Dark-Hunter and Dream-Hunter series. My favorite genre is contemporary sci-fi/fantasy, especially those that have romantic elements to them!

Hey, let’s get morbid. When they write your obituary, what do you hope they will say about your book/s and writing? What do you hope they will say about you?

Bo Savino: Bo Savino/A. J. Rand made a fun contribution to contemporary fantasy literature! I don’t take myself seriously enough to think that I will make a huge impact on the literary world, but I would like to think that those who find my books will at least have fun for a brief moment in time while they escape into them for a while. As far as for me, I hope they’ll say I was fun and down to earth, always easy to talk to—someone who cares about others. Those are the personality traits I think will stay with me for life.

Location and life experience can sprinkle their influence in your writing. Tell us about where you grew up and a little about where you live now. If you could live anywhere you want to live, where would that be?

Bo Savino: Yes—I grew up and lived in all of the above at some point in my life. We moved around a lot, but my residences were usually confined to the upper Midwest—Minnesota and Wisconsin. Now I live north of Tampa, in what could currently be considered a “bedroom” community. Small, not quite rural, but not quite city. There are suburbs around me, but I’m not necessarily part of one. Our home is back from the main road, and because of being surrounded by trees, I can’t really see any of my neighbors, so it’s easy to feel a little more isolated, but we’re only a hop, skip, and a jump from anywhere we want to go in the Tampa Bay area. I can’t imagine, at least at this time, living anywhere else, although I wouldn’t mind a getaway retreat in the mountains for when the summers heat up a little down here.

Do you have any pets? What are they? Tell us about them.

Bo Savino: We recently had our “tribe” pet, Diamond pass away from cancer. We have a new German Shepherd, Sage, who has come into our lives. He is quickly working his way into our hearts. We also have a porch kitty, Tommy Cat, who was at one time a feral cat that we started taking care of, but now comes around and hangs with the rest of us to get the loving he has figured out he needs.

Bring us into your home and set the scene for us when you are writing. What does it look like?

Bo Savino: Well, to do that, we wouldn’t be going *into* my home. I do the majority of my writing out on my porch, in the early morning hours as the sun is coming up, and before I have enough coffee in me to wake up. Everyone else is still usually asleep, or getting ready to go to work, so it is very quiet and private, except for what nocturnal critters might still be hanging around in the wee hours of the morning.

Do you watch television? If so, what are your favorite shows? Does television influence of inspire your writing?

Bo Savino: I am almost exclusively a Sci-Fi Channel kind of girl. I catch a few shows off channel, but I think I use shows more to escape the whirlwind of writing stuff in my head.

What about movies? Same as above.

Bo Savino: I rarely have enough time in the day to watch movies. I usually catch up on shows taped to DVR, so I can actually keep up with the storylines. I guess my favorite movies are Action/Adventure, better yet if they have a paranormal or Sci-fi twist to them. This past week my husband and I sat down finally to watch Resident Evil 3, which is right up my alley.

Focusing on your most recent (or first) book, tell our readers what genre your book is and what popular author you think your writing style in this book is most like.

Bo Savino: Sky Gold is the one that will be coming out next, but I am in the final stages of writing Broken Wings: Alpha. Who do I think the writing style is most like? I guess Laurell K. Well, except for the intense sex stuff…and there’s no vampires or werewolves, or…Maybe they are both only similar in the way that they are first person, sassy, irreverent, tough chick perspective. That would be as close as it gets, really.

How long did it take you to write your most recent (or first) book? When you started writing, did you think it would take that long (or short)?

Bo Savino: It all varies, I guess. The first book to Reggie & Ryssa took me 3 months from start to finish. The first one in the Broken Wings Series took me 6 weeks. Some books have been in various stages of writing for years, but I think really, when I sit down to actually pound through it, it can take me 3-6 months, depending on my mood and the space-time continuum.

Is there anyone you’d like to specifically acknowledge who has inspired, motivated, encouraged or supported your writing?

Bo Savino: Wow…I have so many people in my life that have been encouraging and supportive. I wouldn’t want to forget anyone. But I guess the biggest would be both my mother and my husband. The coolest part is that most of the stuff I write really isn’t their style, but they are still my biggest supporters and encouragers anyway.

Is there any one particular book that when you read it, you thought to yourself, “Man, I wish I’d written that one!”?

Bo Savino: George R. R. Martin’s series, another that I only found in this past year or so. They are incredibly detailed, and very cool.

Thinking about your writing career, is there anything you’d go back and do differently now that you have been published?

Bo Savino: Yes. I would have worked a lot harder in my earlier years to refine my craft, instead of thinking…wow…I’m really good, and sending it off to a publisher. When I look back now at some of my earlier writing, before I really “found my voice”, I cringe and say…“I can’t believe I actually thought that was good enough to send out.” Seriously. I have my own publishing company, and *I* wouldn’t take a second glance at some of my earlier stuff.

What is your main goal or purpose you would like to see accomplished by your writing?

Bo Savino: For people to be able to have fun, for the most part. But the biggest goal I would like to accomplish has more to do with the Reggie & Ryssa series. Making money as an author is tough, no matter what people think. For me, Reggie & Ryssa especially is not about making money. I am, and always have been, a voracious reader. It is hard for me to fathom people who can’t find fun and escapism within the pages of a book. I think this is even more true nowadays than ever before—especially when it comes to kids. J. K. Rowling accomplished one very amazing thing as far as I was concerned. Kids who would never even think to pick up a book before were reading! If I could accomplish one thing, it would be to keep going what Rowling started—keep kids enthused about reading.

How has having a book published changed your life?

Bo Savino: What life was that again? Wow…it has kept me busy. I have had to learn to restructure my time and actually keep a calendar/appointment book with me at all times. I have also learned that, no matter how important and way cool it would be to be invited to sit on a panel at a conference, say with Larry Niven, my family is still a priority. It broke my heart to turn that offer down, but my youngest son was graduating the same weekend, and would be heading off to Marine Boot Camp. So I guess the biggest thing was learning not only how to prioritize, but also the realization of what really was top priority in my life. It sometimes surprises you.

Many authors have said that naming their characters is a difficult process, almost like choosing a name for their own child. How did you select the names of some of your lead characters in your book/s?

Bo Savino: Reggie & Ryssa was probably the most difficult. I literally have spreadsheets full of all of the characters from the story, broken into houses, ages, magic, Teams, etc. In some ways it was easy. Since each was affiliated with a house/element, quite a few of the names fell along the same lines: “Pyro Flamebringer”, “Daisy Landstrider”, “Whisper Windcall”. But the other names, even Reggie and Ryssa? They literally named themselves. The same with Broken Wings. A lot of the characters are angelic, or mythological in nature, so it was easy to find a name. But again…the others named themselves. My characters are very much like my own children. No matter how good or bad, whatever quirks or faults, I still love them all. But it always seems to surprise me, once I start remotely thinking about their personality, their names just jump in my head. They seem to tell me who they are.

Have you ever had a character take over a story and move it in a different direction than you had originally intended? How did you handle it?

Bo Savino: That happens to me a lot. For the most part, I roll with it. Those scenes and ideas usually turn out to be some of the best ones/ideas as a whole. When the characters in Broken Wings: Alpha started doing that to me, I was actually upset about it and put the manuscript away for over a year. It wasn’t until I recognized how the series needed to tie in with the Grigori series that I discovered, once again, my characters were right and I was wrong. They must get frustrated with me being so slow on the uptake at times.

Is there any lesson or moral you hope your story might reveal to those who read it?

Bo Savino: I guess the one sort of common thing that runs through all of my books is that we’re all different, each with our strengths, weaknesses, and differences in opinions and the way we handle things. No one person is better than anyone else, and a lot of times we can accomplish more with the help of others than we can be trying to do everything ourselves.

Do you have any book signings, tours or special events planned to promote your book that readers might be interested in attending? If so, when and where?

Bo Savino: You can find most of where I am going to be on my events page at: www.BoSavino.com. I think one of the most fun upcoming events I am looking forward to (other than sci-fi/fantasy conventions, which I love!) is my launch party for Sky Gold on June 21 at the Barnes & Noble in Carrollwood, Tampa. I am doing it as a “featured” author in an event we put together: “Fantasize your way through the summer with local authors in science fiction, fantasy, and horror!” There are seven authors currently signed up to participate, although we have space for up to eleven.

It’s said that the editing process of publishing a novel with a publisher is can be grueling and often more difficult than actually writing the story. Do you think this is true for you? How did you feel about editing your masterpiece?

Bo Savino: Honestly? Don’t let me put it out the door without editing. Some of the crap the editors catch makes me scratch my head and say, “What was I thinking?” Is it easy to go through the editing process? No…not at all. It is difficult to cut out some of what you think is great stuff, only to have your editor raise a questioning eyebrow at your sanity. It is also difficult to realize that even though *you* might understand what you have written, people who are reading it may have no clue, because you didn’t explain it well enough. It is a tough process to work through, but that I think the fans are grateful for when they get to see the final product.

Now that you are a published author, does it feel differently than you had imagined?

Bo Savino: Absolutely. I think early on, I made the mistaken thought that most writers do, in that the hard part is done when you’ve finished the manuscript and get the book to print. It was a rude awakening to find out that the true work is only beginning! Promoting yourself, and your books, is not easy, and takes a lot of time, dedication, and perseverance. I think that’s where the really benefit comes in having a strong and caring group of people who support your efforts, and help you keep believing in yourself. Without them, I would have probably given up a long time ago.

Now, use this space to tell us more about who you. Anything you want your readers to know?

You can catch up with me at any of the various events I’ll be at, which you can usually find listed on my personal web page at: www.BoSavino.com. Reggie & Ryssa is also coming out with a set of character cards, with the wonderful artwork of Chad Jenkins, which you can also find samples of on my site. Check out my publisher’s site at: www.AislingPress.com as book releases get close—it’s the best way to get advance copies at a cheaper price than you’ll find when it actually hits the streets!

.


I’m a full-time writer with one book of nonfiction and one novel under my belt. I live in northern Utah with my husband and our two dogs, and we have recently become grandparents.

Interview with Author Janet Kay Jensen

It’s rare today to find an author who does nothing but write for a living. Do you have a ‘real’ job other than writing, and if so, what is it? What are some other jobs you’ve had in your life?

Janet Jensen: My first career was in Speech-Language Pathology and I worked in public school and university settings for more than 20 years. It was rewarding and challenging but at a certain point I found myself, surprisingly, ready to make a change in occupation. Fortunately, my husband is employed full-time so I am able to be a full-time writer.

What compelled you to write your first book?

Janet Jensen: A fellow writer approached me at a monthly meeting of our writers group and proposed a project, which eventually turned into The Book Lover’s Cookbook, Recipes Inspired by Celebrated Works of Literature and thee Passages that Feature Them (Wenger & Jensen, Ballantine Books, 2003). That project (researching literature and creating original recipes to match the literary references to food) dominated the next three years and put most of my other writing on hold. The resulting book was beautifully done and certainly taught us a great deal about the publishing world.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Janet Jensen: Academically, writing was always a strong suit for me. Actually writing a book and getting it published, however, was a goal that developed later in life.

Tell us a little bit about your book/s.

Janet Jensen: My most recent book is Don’t You Marry the Mormon Boys, a novel published by Bonneville Books, an imprint of Cedar Fort Press, released November 1, 2007 .

Gather ’round, girls, and listen to my noise, Don’t you marry the Mormon boys; If you do your fortune it will be, Johnnycake and babies is all you’ll see. -old western folksong

The prospect of one wife is more than enough for Mormon bachelor Andy McBride, a medical student at the University of Utah. Then he falls for Louisa Martin, a fellow student. There is only one obstacle to planning a life together: polygamy – a lifestyle that Louisa cannot escape and Andy cannot embrace.

Can a mainstream Mormon and a woman raised in polygamy overcome the cultural barriers between them? Both realize that their choices will not only affect their own lives, but will also have an impact on families, friends, and even their communities. Fearing that the sacrifices required of them would be too great, they go their separate ways.

Yet for Andy in Kentucky and Louisa in Utah, life does not go as they’d planned. While Andy is serving as a country doctor and trying to bury his pain, Louisa is coming to terms with the fact that all is not as perfect in her tight-knit community as she had believed.

As doctors, each will have to choose between keeping the peace in their communities or doing what they know is right. And someday, both will have to face their past and decide if they can make the sacrifice to be together.

Set in the red hills of southern Utah, the cosmopolitan center of Salt Lake City, the Smoky Mountains of Kentucky, and the lake-studded country of Finland, Don’t You Marry the Mormon Boys is the heartfelt and engaging story about the power of love and acceptance in an ever-changing and often surprising world. The Book Lover’s Cookbook (see question #2 for more details) Narrative unit developed for children’s book Stellaluna in The Magic of Stories (Strong and Hoggan, Thinking Publications) Contributing author, LDS Writing Secrets (LDStorymakers)

Are you currently working on any writing projects our readers should watch for release soon?

Janet Jensen: Yes. I’m writing a sequel to Don’t You Marry the Mormon Boys, a children’s book, and another novel.

Have you ever won any writing awards? If so, what?

Janet Jensen: League of Utah Writers: First place in humorous poetry, personal essay, short story, short-short story.
  • Don’t You Marry the Mormon Boys has won the following awards:
  • First runner-up, Best New Writing: The Eric Hoffer Award, commercial fiction
  • Finalist, USA Best Book 2007, religious fiction
  • Finalist, ForeWord Magazine’s Book of the Year, religious fiction
  • Semi-Finalist, Reader Views Critics Awards, religion/spirituality
  • Nominee, Whitney Award for LDS Fiction Writers
  • Honorable Mention, Marilyn Brown Unpublished Novel Award, Association for Mormon Letters

How did you feel the day you held the copy of your first book in your hands?

Janet Jensen: It’s an astonishing experience, next to seeing your newborn child for the first time.

What type of music, if any, do you listen to while you write?

Janet Jensen: I’m eclectic in my musical tastes and listen to whatever suits my mood at the time. I like classical, Broadway soundtracks, oldies, new-age, Celtic, folk and bluegrass.

What inspires you and motivates you to write the very most?

Janet Jensen: I’ll read a book and think: I could do that. And then sometimes a little germ of a story lives in my mind and gradually grows into a little kernel and I’m ready to begin writing the skeleton of a story. Reading other books, the newspaper, and attending writing critiques and workshops can also plant ideas in my mind.

What one thing are you the most proud of in your life?

Janet Jensen: I would say that my children are my greatest accomplishments. My husband and I have raised three sons, all of whom are attending universities, and we recently became grandparents.

What about your family? Do you have children, married, siblings, parents? Has your family been supportive of your writing?

Janet Jensen: My writing career has been a surprise to my family. It has taken a while for them to digest the fact that I am a published author as well as an educator, wife and mother. I love loved the fact that they’ve had to adjust to this new facet of me.

While they are proud and supportive, they have not been part of the creative process. They haven’t “jumped in” to give me feedback or ideas for stories. For that I have turned to other writers.

My two older sisters have been marvelous assistants and supporters. They have proofed and given me feedback and helped me format my manuscripts into professional documents. They’ve shared every step with me and been my sounding board when I’ve needed one.

My husband makes appearances at book signings, advises me on business questions, and listens to my angst. I would have to say he has the patience of a saint when it comes to my writing career.

The main characters of your stories – do you find that you put a little of yourself into each of them or do you create them to be completely different from you?

Janet Jensen: I think it’s easy to inject some of your own qualities into characters. It’s a challenge to create unique, believable characters who come from another place entirely. As I continue to write, I’m sure more of my characters will reflect less of me.

Is there an established writer you admire and emulate in your own writing? Do you have a writing mentor?

Janet Jensen: I would love to write with the grace of Ann Patchett or the clarity of Barbara Kingsolver or Anna Quindlen. Jodi Picoult is a master weaver of plot. Anne Tyler’s wonderfully flawed characters are a treat to know, and her humor is delightful. Joanne Harris is a pleasure to read as well. I love the books written by Australian author Neville Shute. And then there are the icons: Steinbeck, Dickens, Hugo, Faulkner, Wharton, Twain, Shakespeare . . . I’m sure I’ve left a few of them out.

I have colleagues who are honest and helpful and give continual feedback as we meet regularly and share our manuscripts. I have also recently become acquainted with Carolyn Howard-Johnson, and her books and websites are a treasure box of inspiration for writers.

I would love to have a mentor who is a master at seeing the whole plot of a book and helping me analyze it. That’s where I feel I need the most support.

When growing up, did you have a favorite author, book series, or book?

Janet Jensen: Like most other girls of my generation I read the Bobbsey Twins, The Five Little Peppers, Ginger Beverly Cleary books, Pippi Longstocking, Cherry Ames . . . My parents gave me the Golden Book Treasury of Poetry edited by Louis Untermeyer and illustrated by Joan Walsh Anglund when I was 8, and it was a marvelous introduction to appreciating poetry. It’s out of print, but I was able to find three copies on eBay and give them to each of my sons.

What about now: who is your favorite author and what is your favorite genre to read?

Janet Jensen: Fiction is my first choice. Biography is second. I plan to read all of Anne Tyler’s 17 novels. At the moment I’d say Edith Wharton is at the top of my list.

Hey, let’s get morbid. When they write your obituary, what do you hope they will say about your book/s and writing? What do you hope they will say about you?

Janet Jensen: I have already written my obituary. First, it was a practical consideration and it’s filed with the will and power of attorney. I’m the only one who could accurately write the facts: where I was born, the spelling of my parents’ names, where I attended school, etc. And when the time comes, my family will only have to fill in a few details. I’ve even listed some of my favorite music and poetry for whatever type of memorial they choose to have.

I belong to several book clubs, and the discussion of the book always begins with a brief bio of the author, and I think it’s helpful to give some background information on myself when I present about my own book. Working on that introduction, it began to sound like an obituary, so I continued in that vein, adding some humor and little-known facts, such as my penchant for practical jokes and membership in the nonexistent “Organization for Directionally Impaired People.” In lieu of flowers I suggest donations earmarked for our sons’ ongoing university tuition and frequent flier miles. It’s actually been well-received; someone even asked for a copy of it. Now that was a strange request.

In a more serious vein, I’d like to be remembered as a loving wife and mother, a dedicated Speech-Language Pathologist, someone who gave service to the community, and a successful author of numerous books.

Location and life experience can sprinkle their influence in your writing. Tell us about where you grew up and a little about where you live now.

Janet Jensen: I was born in Berkeley, California and we lived in Walnut Creek until I was seven, so I don’t have many memories of the Bay Area. We moved to Phoenix and lived there for five years. Then we moved to Utah, where I attended junior high and high school. I graduated from Utah State University and then married my college sweetheart. We honeymooned in Chicago where we both obtained graduate degrees at Northwestern University. We love Chicago and try to visit every few years. After grad school we were able to return to northern Utah where we have lived for more than 35 years.

I have always been a city girl, though the community where I live is surrounded by farmland and there is a definite rural influence in the valley. Our local university is a land-grant university, so there is a strong emphasis on programs focused on irrigation, animal husbandry, poisonous plants, forestry, agriculture, etc. We also have a living historical farm museum in our valley, which is a marvelous place for children to get hands-on experiences in the farming life circa 1914.

Most of the time, I would say that I am living where I want to live right now. When a blizzard hits and makes driving treacherous and downright dangerous, or it’s so cold that the electric blanket remains on high all night, I think longingly of a place with a more temperate climate. But I live in a strong and healthy community and the university and local arts organizations offer many opportunities to meet my interests. I felt it was a safe place to raise our children. Since I moved around a lot as a child, it was particularly important to me that my children attended the same schools and even had some of the same teachers, and all three graduated from the high school their father attended. I feel rooted in my adopted hometown.

Do you have any pets? What are they? Tell us about them.

Janet Jensen: When our second son’s friend called, thrilled that his family had adopted a new baby, my son turned to me and said, “Couldn’t we do that, Mom?” and my reply was “You know that puppy we’ve been promising you? We’ll get it.” And we did. Chevy, a cocker mix, is now 14 and has shared many ups and downs with me. She is a loyal and understanding friend. We have also had several other dogs who have passed away, and that is pure heartache. Lita, a border collie mix, attended college with our middle son but now lives with us as he now lives in Finland. Lita is an intelligent and affectionate dog who likes us, but she’s ecstatic when our son comes to visit. We don’t mention his name in her presence, or she looks for him.

Bring us into your home and set the scene for us when you are writing. What does it look like?

Janet Jensen: When the nest emptied, so to speak, I turned a bedroom into my office. I have three large bookcases, a desktop computer, a scanner and two printers, and lots of unorganized papers in stacks. I also have notebooks of clippings and tote bags filled with items I need when I give a presentation on my book. I have a laptop that I use when traveling, and also when I speak to book groups. I show a 60-second movie trailer made of my book, and I also play a recording of the song that inspired the title of my book, as many have never heard it. It’s a tongue-in-cheek folksong and sets the tone for the presentation.

Do you watch television? If so, what are your favorite shows? Does television influence of inspire your writing?

Janet Jensen: I’m hooked on Lost. It’s great storytelling. I think they use flashbacks brilliantly. Of course, each episode presents more questions than it asks, and there are “Easter eggs” or other hints that I miss completely until I read about them on the web. And the number of references to other books, movies, great scientists, etc. is overwhelming, but it’s fun to read about those, too.

I was also a fan of Boston Legal in its earlier seasons and loved the mixture of serious issues with humor, and of course it has a very strong cast.

I also like Grey’s Anatomy and Without a Trace.

When I was recuperating from surgery a friend brought me the DVDs of Alias and I became hooked on it. It was better than becoming hooked on painkillers. And I’m also an unabashed fan of Dancing With the Stars. I can’t dance, but I love to watch it. What the pros accomplish with their celebrity partners is remarkable. It’s just fun viewing. And Masterpiece Theater on PBS.

What about movies?

Janet Jensen: To Kill a Mockingbird, Harvey, Arsenic and Old Lace, Dear Frankie, Chariots of Fire, The Englishman Who Went up a Hill and Came Down a Mountain, the A&E production of Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, The River Wild, The Sting, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, the Shawshank Redemption, The Full Monty.

Focusing on your most recent (or first) book, tell our readers what genre your book is and what popular author you think your writing style in this book is most like.

Janet Jensen: One reviewer wrote that a particular section of Don’t You Marry the Mormon Boys took on an O’Henry feel, and I took that as a compliment. I love to inject humor when I can, and I suppose you could say that I am more the “Gentle Reader” type of author who wants to tell a good story without resorting to vulgarity and gratuitous sex. I’m stumped when asked whose style I emulate. A writing friend said that my humorous columns reminded him of Robert Kirby, a very funny columnist for the Salt Lake Tribune. I wish I could be that amusing all the time. Other than the mention of author Jan Karon, no one I’ve queried has come up with an author for comparison. Basically, they say “you have your own unique style.”

How long did it take you to write your first book?

Janet Jensen: I started it in 2000, but then The Book Lover’s Cookbook took over for a few years. I had some major health issues that seriously impaired my creativity for about a year and a half after that, and then it took at least a year (and 75 rejections) to find a publisher. So technically, it took seven years. I did not write it quickly, either. I made many, many revisions and edits before I was satisfied, and during that time I was learning a lot, which I then applied to my work-in-progress.

Is there anyone you’d like to specifically acknowledge who has inspired, motivated, encouraged or supported your writing?

Janet Jensen: My parents always encouraged us to read great books, and they read to us. My mother was a librarian. My parents read to us when we were small. I would say that early influence was critical. Ken Rand, who is an author, editor and teacher, came into my career early when I took one of his workshops. He was so clear on the basics of writing and self-editing, that I came home with an entirely different mindset. I would say he was very influential in helping me develop as a writer. I have attended Writers@Work in Salt Lake City for four week-long workshops, and I attend other workshops when I can. They are always valuable and provide me with new ideas and inspiration. My local writing group nurtured me when I was new and inexperienced in creative writing, and that was key to developing confidence and learning the craft.

Is there any one particular book that when you read it, you thought to yourself, “Man, I wish I’d written that one!”?

Janet Jensen: To Kill a Mockingbird, Ethan Frome, A Separate Peace, Cannery Row, Bel Canto. . . those books are seamless and powerful.

Thinking about your writing career, is there anything you’d go back and do differently now that you have been published?

Janet Jensen: I would have started earlier when the “what am I doing with my creativity?” question began to nag me.

What is your main goal or purpose you would like to see accomplished by your writing?

Janet Jensen: I would like to tell good stories and tell them well. I would like my audience to appreciate my use of language, but I would never want the language to interfere with the story. I’d like my readers to feel satisfied, entertained, informed and uplifted when they close the book.

How has having a book published changed your life?

Janet Jensen: It’s brought a little fame and a lot of stress to my life. Certainly, I haven’t become rich and I rather doubt I will. I have worked tirelessly at promoting my novel, as I believe in it and its message. Small publishers aren’t known for extensive promotions or marketing strategies. Ironically, it took some national recognition that I was able to obtain before for my publisher began to promote my book more energetically in the regional market. Fortunately, the two major LDS bookstores (stores catering to the interests of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, or Mormons) carry my book and it I understand it is doing well in their stores. Without that exposure, and my efforts at national publicity, I don’t know where my little book would be . . . there would probably be a few dusty boxes in the warehouse.

There is also the matter of timing. My book deals with modern polygamy, and of course it’s in the news every day and probably will remain a big media item for quite a while due to recent events in Texas, where law enforcement have taken FLDS women and children into custody and parental rights are at stake. But when I started the book the FLDS compound that was recently raided by law enforcement for suspected child abuse didn’t even exist in Eldorado, Texas, Mitt Romney wasn’t running for president, Big Love wasn’t being produced by HBO, and Warren Jeffs wasn’t on the FBI’s Most Wanted List. Oprah, Dr. Phil and Dateline and other television journalists weren’t interviewing and investigating polygamy.

My story, when I began to write it, had very little to do with current news. I had known about polygamy all of my life; there was polygamy in my father’s line, as he was descended from Mormon pioneers. I went to school with the son of a polygamist leader, a man who was later killed by a member of a rival clan, and when the son was interviewed on television, I was stunned to see him. I never knew about his background at all when we were in school. He was an excellent student, a quiet well-behaved young man and a member of the debate team. He and his family have been in the news locally on occasion, and I have followed their story as they eventually left the polygamous lifestyle.

My high school classmate’s sister, Dorothy Allred Solomon, also wrote a compelling book, Daughter of the Saints, which gave fascinating insights into the polygamous lifestyle and the tremendous challenges faced by those who live it. Jessie Embrey’s scholarly work and other books provided more background, as well as in-depth newspaper stories in the Salt Lake Tribune, Los Angeles Times and the Deseret Morning News. Recently, several books have been published by women who have left the polygamous life, and I have read them as well. I had seen polygamous families on occasion and observed their unique (old-fashioned appearance) and apparent mistrust of the outside world.

We drove through Colorado City and that was an eye-opener. I had expected to see a well-organized old-fashioned farming community, but what we found were unpaved red dirt roads, unfinished haphazardly-built homes (until the homes are finished, property taxes can’t be assessed), houses with very few or very high windows, rusting trailers that surely would not meet any existing codes, a graveyard consisting of homemade red cement mounds with names and dates scratched on them that told in some cases a very sad history, and, saddest of all, a school with no playground – not a basketball hoop, hopscotch grid, swing or slide in sight. It looked like a warehouse, had high windows, and was surrounded by a tall fence topped with barbed wire. One small neighborhood at the edge of the community looked like any American suburb, with brick homes, sidewalks, and landscaping. These belonged to the leaders. The appearance of a strange car caused residents to go inside their homes; we saw a few children scatter as we entered town.

Promoting my book has taken a lot of energy I would normally be applying to other areas of my life, including my works in progress. It’s a choice I have made. At some point I must immerse myself back into the craft and let the publicity continue based on the momentum my publisher and I have been able to create so far.

Many authors have said that naming their characters is a difficult process, almost like choosing a name for their own child. How did you select the names of some of your lead characters in your book/s?

Janet Jensen: Naming my characters was much easier than naming our own children. In one of our baby books is a long list of names, each one eventually crossed out until only one remained. It was a long labor, and even the nurses offered suggestions.

It wasn’t difficult to name my characters at all, partly because this time it was not done by committee. I used some names from my own family history, as a tribute to them, and also chose some old-fashioned Biblical names as appropriate. It took a little longer to name my fictional communities. I named the dog after a famous Utah poet, Eliza R. Snow, and that provokes chuckles among readers who know who she was.

Have you ever had a character take over a story and move it in a different direction than you had originally intended? How did you handle it?

Janet Jensen: Oh, yes. Zina, Louisa’s younger sister disappears one night. Later, her father realizes she must have overheard him give an older man with several wives permission to court and therefore marry her. Zina loves her father but she cannot face him and tell him about her strong aversion to the idea of plural marriage. Instead, she leaves. I tried to tell Zina’s story at the same time I was developing Louisa’s, but the timeline was very problematic and the canvas became quite cluttered with new characters wandering around as Zina’s story began to take over. I finally had to remove her story from the book and promise her that she would have her own book. I love Zina and I owe it to her. So in the first book, Don’t You Marry the Mormon Boys, all we know is that she is missing and has been for years. Zina’s story is the sequel in progress.

Miss Carolina, the eccentric Healer Andy meets in Kentucky, was a minor character in the beginning. But I liked her so much I began to give her more to do. And then I researched natural remedies and Appalachian sayings and introduced each of the Kentucky chapters with them, crediting “Miss Carolina’s Remedies and Advice.” Some readers have asked me if the cures really work! So, in the preface to Zina’s book, I will ask Miss Carolina to address my readers on that issue.

Is there any lesson or moral you hope your story might reveal to those who read it?

Janet Jensen: I was very pleased to see my book listed as Christian Fiction, as some denominations do not consider Mormons to be Christian. That acceptance meant a great deal. Carolyn Howard-Johnson lists my title on her website as a book promoting tolerance and fair treatment of women.

It was very important to clarify to the reader that Mormons aren’t polygamists and polygamists aren’t Mormons. This concept is still unclear to many people, and if they read the book they will understand this distinction.

It’s also an ageless story about two people from antagonistic cultures who fall in love and want to marry, and all the trouble and heartbreak that can cause to both groups, who have such strong feelings about their religion and way of life. In my story, we see the development of tolerance and acceptance begin to develop among people within these two cultures, and that’s really where our interactions with others should begin, with individual respect and acceptance of differences.

Do you have any book signings, tours or special events planned to promote your book that readers might be interested in attending? If so, when and where?

Janet Jensen: I’ll be signing at the USA Best Books booth at the Los Angeles USA Book Expo at 9:00-9:30 on May 30.

Other upcoming events: I’ll be attending the Fife Folklore Workshop at Utah State University June 2-6, and I’m looking forward to that. I will present at a writers workshop in Springville, Utah on June 7, attend the LDS Booksellers Association Convention August 6-8, and may present on family literacy at Brigham Young University’s annual Education Week Aug 18-22 (that hasn’t been finalized). I am scheduled for presentations at book clubs in Logan, Utah on August 26 and in Hyrum, Utah on October 2. And I’ll be attending the League of Utah Writers Roundup September 12-14. I imagine other opportunities will be extended when local book clubs resume in the fall and plan their yearly agendas. It’s been my experiences that book clubs enjoy hearing from published authors, and people in my area have been very supportive.

It’s said that the editing process of publishing a novel with a publisher is can be grueling and often more difficult than actually writing the story. Do you think this is true for you? How did you feel about editing your masterpiece?

Janet Jensen: The revisions and edits were minor and I’ve always been a team player. I would estimate that 95% of the edits proposed by my editor were excellent and appropriate and made the book better. To the remaining 5% I responded with something like, “No, the character would really say that,” and there was no further discussion. 95% agreement was awfully pleasant and my editor and the proofer were very thorough.

Now that you are a published author, does it feel differently than you had imagined?

Janet Jensen: Well, I would say that it garners a little more attention in public when people approach me and tell me they’ve heard about my book or better yet, they’ve read it. Most people have been very gracious and complimentary about my book. My neighbor bought 11 copies for her large family because there were historical references to both her husband’s ancestors and to hers in the first section. I had no idea, of course, that I was writing about their people, but was glad I had done my homework. I was thrilled to feel validated in that way.

Polygamy is a very touchy and complicated subject but most readers feel I handled it with sensitivity and that was certainly my goal.

Now, use this space to tell us more about who you. Anything you want your readers to know?

Oh, goodness, I feel as if I’ve written my autobiography already! I had no idea I was so fascinating. These questions were great and very thought-provoking. I welcome visitors to my website and blogs, where they’ll find pictures and essays and humor and regular columns.

My webpage is http://www.janetjensen.com and I blog at three locations:

www.janetkayjensen.blogspot.com
www.janetkayjensen2.blogspot.com

And my newest blog is here, at Xanga,

http://www.xanga.com/janetkayjensen

Visitors to the Xanga site can listen to the song, Don’t You Marry the Mormon Boys, an old folksong that inspired the title of my book. A video preview can be seen at all of the above locations.

.

Victoria Wells is a Philadelphia native. She has been an avid reader since childhood. Wells’ interest in writing took root while taking a creative writing course in college. Her most memorable assignment was the rewriting of the last chapter of The Color Purple. Though she did very well in this course it would be years before she would pen a novel.

Professionally, Wells earned a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in Nursing from La Salle University. Over her seventeen-year career as a nurse, Wells has written, lectured, and presented at national conferences extensively on sickle cell disease. Her dedication to caring for patients with this disease earned her the Regional and National 2005 Nursing Spectrum’s Nurse of the Year Nursing Excellence Award in Clinical Care.

Wells’ dedication to the nursing profession and work in the African American community organizing and running a free Hypertension Clinic at her church in 2006 earned her the Movers and Shakers Award and a Citation from the City Council of Philadelphia.

Using writing as a tool to escape the hassles of everyday life, Wells decided to pen a novel. In November 2006 self-published debut romance novel, A Special Summer was released. After receiving positive feedback Wells decided to submit her manuscript for traditional publishing. In August 2007, Xpress Yourself Publishing made an offer to re-release A Special Summer, March 4, 2008.

Wells works as an adult nurse practitioner. She is married and the proud mom of three children.

Victoria Wells — Author Interview:

What compelled you to write your first book?

Victoria Wells: I would have to say my love for romance. Whenever I read a really good book I would always imagine what would have happened if the characters’ actions had been different. I thought it would really be cool creating a world where I can have people address real life issues with a bit of controversy.

Tell us a little bit about your book/s.

Victoria Wells: A Special Summer although a romance is truly a story of redemption and forgiveness. It’s about a young woman (Summer) who’s experiencing her first encounter of being in love with an older man (Nick). Because of demons and unresolved family issues from Nick’s past life, Summer is literally flung into a world of pandemonium when he believes she betrayed him in the worst way. When he finally sees things as they really are, Nick is in jeopardy of losing the only woman that ever truly loved him unconditionally.

Are you currently working on any writing projects our readers should watch for release soon?

Victoria Wells: I’m currently working on my second novel, When Love Comes Around. It’s a spin off novel of two of the secondary characters in A Special Summer. In this book the no nonsense heroine somehow gets hooked up with the womanizing hero. Definitely not a match made in heaven.

How did you feel the day you held the copy of your first book in your hands?

Victoria Wells: Wow, I can’t even give you a description for what I felt. All I know is I would stare at the cover, running my fingers across it and then hold the book to my chest like a newborn baby. As a new writer in so many ways it was like holding my first-born.

What inspires you and motivates you to write the very most?

Victoria Wells: Now that my first novel is out and getting wonderful feedback and reviews from readers, has been inspiring and motivating. Knowing that folks want to know, ‘So when is the next one coming?” Or “I can’t wait for the next one” encourages me to write. It also makes me want to give my best to those readers who have been so very supportive. Also, just being able to retreat into a world of my own creating characters that will deliver a message of love to others is motivating.

When growing up, did you have a favorite author, book series, or book?

Victoria Wells: As a little girl I used to love the Nancy Drew series. As a teenager I began to read Harlequin romance novels. From that point on I was hooked on romance novels.

What about now: who is your favorite author and what is your favorite genre to read?

Victoria Wells: This is an unfair question…I have so many favorite authors. I would have to say that Francis Ray is one of my top 10 authors. Romance hands down is my favorite genre. A close second would be autobiographies.

Do you have any pets? What are they? Tell us about them.

Victoria Wells: I have an adorable two-year-old Blu Torti cat name Misty Blu. I love Misty she is the sweetest thing. When I’m in bed writing she curiously watches my fingers move across the keyboard and ever so slowly walks over and sniffs it. After a couple minutes of this she plops down beside me, curls up into a ball and drifts off to sleep.

Is there anyone you’d like to specifically acknowledge who has inspired, motivated, encouraged or supported your writing?

Victoria Wells: My family and friends are my biggest supporters, especially my husband. He has been so wonderful in my literary journey. I can’t even begin to express how much of a blessing he has been to me. I know I could not have done any of this without his love and encouragement.

Now, tell us more about who you. Anything you want your readers to know?

I’ve been an avid reader since childhood. I love romance and recently have dabbled in reading some paranormal romance.

My book can be purchased on amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, borders.com and at bookstores everywhere.

My blog is http://blog.victoria-wells.com (Please be patient I haven’t been able to put any up to date post)

To learn more about me visit my website at: www.victoria-wells.com.

.

Chris Vaughn is a lifetime resident of the Puget Sound and lives with his wife and son in the Sky Valley, an area nestled in the foot hills of the Cascade Mountains. At the age of 17 Chris earned the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America and then joined the US Army Reserves as a Combat Engineer. He has made a career out of public service through the Security Industry and is currently employed by the Bellevue School District where he provides security for 5 high schools, 6 middle schools, 17 elementary schools, and several administrative properties.

Chris has several manuscripts underway in the action adventure genre, and several children’s book manuscripts finished, as well as several self published short stories that are sold on Lulu.com and Amazon.com. He is a contributor to the online magazine Americanchronicle.com and 21 other affiliated online magazines, a member of the Pacific Northwest Writers Association, and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

Author Interview Chris Vaughn:

It’s rare today to find an author who does nothing but write for a living. Do you have a ‘real’ job other than writing, and if so, what is it? What are some other jobs you’ve had in your life?

Chris Vaughn: My real job is with the Bellevue School District. I’m their sole fulltime security officer and provide after hours security for the entire district, which covers all of Bellevue, Clyde Hill, and Medina (about 100 square miles). When I’m not responding to burglary alarms, fire alarms, or crimes in progress I’m randomly patrolling the schools looking for trouble. Working security for a school district is great, one of the best things about it is knowing that even though my work is “behind the scenes”, I’m an important part to the education and safety of hundreds of children. I actually have over nine years of experience in the Security Industry and have worked everything from residential and commercial alarm response, high crime areas, and school districts, to being a bouncer. But like most people, I’ve also held more than just one type of job. I’ve also held positions that range from scuba diving shops to manufacturing neon signs.

What compelled you to write your first book?

Chris Vaughn: I’ve always been interested in writing, but I never pursued it seriously until I was well into my twenties. I actually owe finding my writer’s voice to Clive Cussler and his son Dirk. I had spotted the cover of a novel they’d written together, Treasure of Khan, and mentioned it to my wife as a Christmas present idea. She bought it for me and I quickly found myself hooked on Dirk Pitt. Up to then I had only read two other novels from cover to cover, I now read none stop and have even had more than one book going at a time; it’s become a major part of my life. Experiencing so many other worlds and imaginary lives sparked my desire to write a book. At first it was just for myself, but then I visited my Great Aunt Louise Shadduck, who at the age of 89 had four books published and was working on two more. I thought to myself, heck, if she can sell a book at 89 years old, I can too! And my journey in literature was launched.

Tell us a little bit about your book/s.

Chris Vaughn: Most of my self-published literature has been in the form of short stories. Yes, I’m self-published…Run! But seriously, I’ve sold several through Amazon’s Kindle program and even a few as paper backs. By far the most successful of my short stories is “Garbage Vortex”, which was actually an essay I did for an oceanography class. In it I talk about the effects of the large floating garbage patch in the Pacific Ocean, but I do it in the form of a fictional story. You follow Captain Jack Regal of the Greenpeace ship Sea-angel as he’s interviewed by a reporter from the Hawaiian Gazette. It’s short and to the point, but has some great detail and a touch of irony for the reporter…and I make a guest appearance in the story! I have a couple that fall into the most fun to write category, “The Mole” and “I See Aliens”. The Mole is a short comical story about a retired man named George and his battle with a mole whose intent on destroying his prized lawn. It’s a family favorite and I hope to one day find someone interested in turning it into a four to five minute cartoon. I See Aliens is a children’s styled picture book parody. Using rhyme and cartoons I poke a little fun at the UFO and alien abduction phenomena, the rhyming isn’t the best but the pictures and story are fun to read. But as far as my favorite book? That hands down goes to the Owen Ruger adventure series. I’m so exited about this series and the stories that I’m working on for it. In the series you’ll be following the adventures of Owen Ruger, an ex-Marine, and his friend Rafael Sernansa, a former Cuban smuggler. Working together as Security Specialists, they find themselves in all kinds of trouble in the Pacific Northwest. Each issue of the series is purposely kept between 50 to 100 pages and fairly clean from gore, sex, and language. My goal with this is to keep the series acceptable and less intimidating than a 200 to 400 page novel for the younger readers, and yet with enough action and humor to keep the adult readers interested. A lot of the first issue’s readers have expressed their liking of the 50 to 100 pages, because they can read the entire story in one sitting and easily get into the story since they’re following it without stopping. In the first issue “The Man Beneath Lake Union” a rash of Ecoterrorism strikes the Seattle waterfront. Owen Ruger and Sernansa are hired to investigate the crimes and protect the assets of a large fishing company. But during the rescue of a beautiful woman they see what can only be described as a merman swimming away from the scene, soon they find themselves in the middle of a strange and unusual mystery. Driven by what they saw, Owen and Sernansa race to solve the mystery and stop the destruction before fear grips the city, but they soon learn that everything isn’t what it seems and the mystery swimmer maybe just another victim.

Are you currently working on any writing projects our readers should watch for release soon?

Chris Vaughn: I have several other projects underway, including the second Owen Ruger issue titled “A Dish Served Cold” were a villain from Owen’s past returns to seek a little revenge. I also have a full length Owen Ruger novel that is almost finished titled “The Baltazara Plateau”. There’s going to be a ton of action and jungle adventure. Visit my website and watch the book trailer! I also have a list on my site that shows and describes all of my current writing projects.

How did you feel the day you held the copy of your first book in your hands?

Chris Vaughn: I was impressed with how well the cover turned out. I read the book from cover to cover three times, and then showed my wife.

What inspires you and motivates you to write the very most?

Chris Vaughn: For me it’s the feeling of completing the story, taking the main character from the very first sentence and living his adventure to the last period.

What one thing are you the most proud of in your life?

Chris Vaughn: Other than my son, I’d have to say that I’m proud of earning my Eagle Scout rank while I was in the Boy Scouts. I learned so many valuable life lessons from scouting and I highly recommend it to anyone with a little boy. I’m also proud of my reading. I used to be intimidated by larger novels, but now I see a finished book as a trophy and mark each book I finish with a sticker. When ever I get discouraged I glance at my book shelf and see all of the stickers telling me “look at what you’ve accomplished.”

The main characters of your stories – do you find that you put a little of yourself into each of them or do you create them to be completely different from you?

Chris Vaughn: The main characters, Owen Ruger and Rafael Sernansa, are definitely a mix of me. But there are also several traits from my best friends and my childhood heroes. I guess I’m living vicariously through Owen and Sernansa… after all, Owen does drive my dream car.

Is there an established writer you admire and emulate in your own writing? Do you have a writing mentor?

Chris Vaughn: I think you tend to write a lot like the authors you read. I’m a huge Clive Cussler and Steve Alten fan, so I think my writing style is similar to theirs.

When growing up, did you have a favorite author, book series, or book?

Chris Vaughn: Growing up I collected Punisher comics, does that count? Honestly I didn’t enjoy reading until my mid-twenties.

What about now; who is your favorite author and what is your favorite genre to read?

Chris Vaughn: I’m a big action-adventure fan and a sucker for story involving treasure, ocean environments, or a paranormal twist (but not scifi paranormal). My two favorite authors so far are Clive Cussler and Steve Alten; Clive for his phenomenal Dirk Pitt and Kurt Austin series, and Steve Alten for two reasons, his writing style/plots and how personal he is with his fans.

Location and life experience can sprinkle their influence in your writing. Tell us about where you grew up and a little about where you live now. If you could live anywhere, where would you want to live?

Chris Vaughn: I’m born and raised in the Puget Sound area, and spent most of my childhood in the city of Kent (a little south of Seattle). Being in the Security Industry has help a lot with the Owen Ruger series since I’ve gain a lot of experience with the “behind the scenes” of Seattle and other parts of the region. Hmmm… if I could live anywhere? I would own my own island in the San Juans here in Washington with a large cabin styled house, and I’d have a winter condo in Maui on the volcano with a view.

Do you have any pets? What are they? Tell us about them.

Chris Vaughn: Yes, my wife and I are the humble servants of a spoiled long haired dauschound named Baxter, but Baxter doesn’t like to be call spoiled, he prefers “Environmentally Privileged.”

Bring us into your home and set the scene for us when you are writing. What does it look like? On the couch, laptop, desk? Music? Lighting, handwriting?

Chris Vaughn: I tend to write where ever the story hits me. I find myself writing on notebooks, napkins, mail, you name it. It then gets typed up on the computer, usually at work during my lunch or after I’ve clocked out. I’m not a huge fan of music playing while I’m writing unless it’s turned way down.

Do you watch television? If so, what are your favorite shows? Does television influence of inspire your writing?

Chris Vaughn: I grew up with a family that watched a lot of TV and movies so it definitely influences my writing. Some of my favorite TV shows are Ghost Hunters, MacGyver, SeaQuest, Animiniacs, Talespin (yep, still watch cartoons).

What about movies? Same as above.

Chris Vaughn: Love the James Bond series, Indiana Jones series, and I’m a sucker for a good war flick.

Focusing on your most recent (or first) book, tell our readers what genre your book is and what popular author you think your writing style in this book is most like.

Chris Vaughn: The Man Beneath Lake Union is in the action/adventure genre and could probably fit in the Young Adult Novel genre as well. I think the book reads similar to Clive’s writing style since I tend to write like him… hey, he’s doing something right why not write like him?

How long did it take you to write your most recent (or first) book? When you started writing, did you think it would take that long (or short)?

Chris Vaughn: The first issue of the series actually started as fan fiction which gave me a jump. So, The Man Beneath Lake Union took about four months to finish and send to the editor. But the full length Owen Ruger novel has been under the pen for almost three years now. But, I’m only a few chapters away from the first draft. It didn’t surprise me all that much about the time differences between the full length novel and the micro-adventures. When you’re writing a full length novel there is a lot of room to fill and the possibilities for details and subplots is huge. But with my micro-adventures I only have 50 to 100 pages to complete the story with, so it takes a lot less time to fill in.

Is there anyone you’d like to specifically acknowledge who has inspired, motivated, encouraged or supported your writing?

Chris Vaughn: That would have to go my Great Aunt Louise Shadduck who recently passed away at 92. She was an amazing person, on the go until the end. She’s been quoted as being a legend in Idaho and has touch thousands of lives during her life. We all miss her.

What is your main goal or purpose you would like to see accomplished by your writing?

Chris Vaughn: Total world domination! (insert evil laugh here)

Many authors have said that naming their characters is a difficult process, almost like choosing a name for their own child. How did you select the names of some of your lead characters in your book/s?

Chris Vaughn: Owen Ruger is named after my son Owen. When I looked for a last name I decided to try and make it unique and strong, the idea of a gun as the last name surfaced and since Owen Colt didn’t sound right, Ruger was chosen. As for Rafael Sernansa? His name started with the last name, Sernansa is the off shoot from a Mexican General I found during a google search of Hispanic names.

Have you ever had a character take over a story and move it in a different direction than you had originally intended? How did you handle it?

Chris Vaughn: The Owen Ruger character really came to life for me. Before I had decided on a series he was first the main character of the full length novel. As I wrote the story I found that the story would drift in its own direction taking him with it. Soon I found myself with a secondary character name Rafael Sernansa who was increasingly starting to steal Owen’s thunder. This resulted in several rewrites and the decision to make Sernansa Owen’s sidekick. With Owen and Sernansa now a team, other adventures began popping into my head. A series was born.

Now, anything else you want your readers to know?
First, thank you for the opportunity to be interviewed. I’d like to finish up by mentioning that I really love hearing from my readers. So please email me and say hi. Visit my Myspace page www.myspace.com/alleywolf and add me as a friend. Visit my main page www.Alleywolf.com and check out all of my other writing projects.

Also, if you buy a copy of the book take your picture with it and I’ll gladly post it on my websites.

Happy Reading!

.

Author Interview: R. Leigh

Author Mini-Bio: R. Leigh

Author R. Leigh is a mystery to local neighbors, appearing enigmatic and ageless, and wearing an ever present red crystal pendant. Some have guessed this author’s secret other-worldly origin, speculating that the tales of Asharra might somehow be true. Outskirts Press does not confirm this and will not comment on rumors that the manuscript for this novel appeared in their offices out of nowhere.

Author Interview:

To start, why not tell us a little bit about your book/s?

R. Leigh: My first novel (now out of print) was a Science Fiction story, called 3 Passports to Paradise. It was brief (only 178 pages) and was a double murder mystery set against interstellar terraforming corporations and multiple genetically enhanced societies. Perhaps it was just as memorable to me because it was illustrated by Lance W. Card, a relative of the famous Science Fiction author, Orson Scott Card. My current novel (after a ten year gap) is called The Winds of Asharra and is 600+ pages of fantasy, adventure and romance. In short, it is a crossover work, appealing to fans of multiple genres. In addition to being a great adventure story, set in an alien world, and having quite a bit of sensuality, it also explores the complex mystical culture and philosophy of the Asharrans in great detail. So, in short, it’s something for the head and the heart. It’s difficult to classify but The WInds of Asharra. If hard pressed, we would call it an “epic fantasy romance adventure”. There’s a lot packed into those 600 pages.. and we have alread decided that this will just be the first volume of a larger series, so there will be more Asharran style adventure and romance for quite some time to come.

What type of music, if any, do you listen to while you write?

R. Leigh: I am one of those writers who definitely enjoys being inspired by music when it is “writing time”. Given the other worldly and fantastic setting of the Winds of Asharra, the tone of the music in the background has to match. I like the ethereal sounds of Cusco, Himekami, Enya, Arkenstone and Yanni so my “writing music” is new age and moody.

What inspires you and motivates you to write the very most?

R. Leigh: During the ten year gap between novels, I went on a personal search for meaning in my life and found myself reading alot about world cultures and religions, as well as becoming quite interested in political events in the U.S. and around the globe. While the WInds of Asharra is labeled Fantasy/Romance by my publisher, (and is seen by the story of the main characters) it contains enough Asharran culture and philosophy to be a vehicle for me to share hopeful dreams of a better world for us all. Given the troubled times we live in now, with the hectic fast pace of life and brutal attrocities being committed by people of all persuasions, I yearn for a “better nature” and the world of Asharra provides me with that.

The main characters of your stories – do you find that you put a little of yourself into each of them or do you create them to be completely different from you?

R. Leigh: All of the characters is The Winds of Asharra contain some specific slices of me, whether I would care to admit it or not. That would include my optimism, mystical nature, odd quirky sense of humor, sensuality and adventurous side. Naturally, they diverge from that starting point and become unique creations in themselves but I can identify with all of them. (That gets interesting when the more exotic characters include telepathic trees, evolved felines and musical dragons but I confess I’m in there too!)

When growing up, did you have a favorite author, book series, or book?

R. Leigh: Growing up. I read anything and everything so favorites were changed as frequently as socks, making it difficult to answer. My favorite authors were more like a variety of appetizers before a meal. My preferences for them would shift depending on my appetite or mood. One day, it might be the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs if my pulp adventure sweet tooth was calling me. The next day, I might be craving something inspiring like Lost Horizon by James Hilton. In general though, even with such a smorgasbord, my tastes ran toward the hopeful, the noble or the larger than life in the fantasy or science fiction genres.

Hey, let’s get morbid. When they write your obituary, what do you hope they will say about your book/s and writing? What do you hope they will say about you?

R. Leigh: That is the most unusual question I have ever heard. Thanks for the opportunity to answer it. Years from now (hopefully MANY years from now, if I have something to say about it), after I am gone I hope the writers of my obit will say something like this: “R. Leigh, author of the Winds of Asharra series of Novels, known not only for their imaginative characters, plot and setting but for the optimistic mystical philosophy of the Asharrans… This fantasy series proved to be the inspiration for many people to turn to a life with a focus on natural, environmental, non-violent international cooperation.” Hey, it’s my obituary! (grins)

Do you have any pets? What are they? Tell us about them.

R. Leigh: I have a huge buff colored cat named Leo and a white and brown hamster named Yoshi. They are actually great friends (though the hamster does not have the run of the house). Leo is enormous in size but is the poster child for the “fraidy-cat” cliche. Paraaz, the great gerh in the Winds of Asharra, would be Leo’s idol. The friznaggles, strange creatures in the novel, too unique to describe briefly, might amuse Yoshi as they both like to scurry about.

Anything else you want your readers to know?
Thanks again for this wonderful opportunity. I would just like to make a few brief points to your readership regarding the Winds of Asharra, if I could.

Many authors loudly proclaim that their latest book is for everyone. We would like to add a caveat to that. While WOA (as the readers call it) is indeed designed for fantasy fans, romance fans and even New Age philosophy fans, it is definitely not for everyone. It’s not often you hear an author admit that. While we are very proud of the adventure and the humor we injected into the 600 page opus, (centering on the journey of Victor and Ionera, two earth teenagers, who arrive on this world of the purple sky) we must make one point clear. Since Asharra is a very natural and sensual place, The Winds of Asharra is definitely not for a pre-teen audience.

We certainly hope that any Hogworts graduate of the Harry Potter books will explore the world of Asharra, but they must be of legal age. The excitement in WOA comes not only from the adventures but also from the sizzle between some of the characters. The joy of creating a crossover product is that it can include a much wider audience than just a single genre. However, we feel it is our responsibility to also point out the proverbial flip side, when an audience segment (in this case pre-teens) should be excluded. If you are old enough though, you might want to experience the world of the purple sky and be carried along by the Winds of Asharra.

Available from Amazon.com (and other online retailers)

http://www.thewindsofasharra.com/

.


Award winning author Bonnie Cuzzolino and her family live in New Jersey. Bonnie and her husband Ray are the parents to a beautiful daughter adopted from Hubei, China in November of 2001 at 12 months old. She and her husband are now waiting for a referral for their second daughter from China through Holt International Children’s Services. Bonnie has had a lifelong passion to write children’s books. This book is her first and is dedicated to her daughter, Jillian Mei.

Bonnie is a 48 year old stay at home mom who enjoys writing, reading, the arts, crafts and traveling.

Bonnie has been to China, England and various US states. She found both countries fascinating and plans more trips in the future. To see this beautiful world that God made is a privilege one should not take for granted.

Bonnie’s daughter is very talented in the arts. She enjoys acting, singing, drawing and playing the piano. Jillian has made an Indie movie, a commercial and has done photo shoots for children’s magazines. One day she might just win an Oscar. Who knows what the future holds for any of us. Bonnie believes that our dreams can come true if they are meant to be.

Author Interview: Bonnie Cuzzolino

It’s rare today to find an author who does nothing but write for a living. Do you have a ‘real’ job other than writing, and if so, what is it? What are some other jobs you’ve had in your life?

I am presently a stay at home mom however I worked many years in the corporate world as a receptionist/clerical worker.bI have also worked in retail. Writing has been a part time job for me.

What compelled you to write your first book?

The adoption of my daughter from China and the need to tell her story to her about her birth mother and why she could not keep her.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Yes, I have always wanted to be a writer since childhood but did not make it a reality until midlife.

Tell us a little bit about your book/s. What are their titles; which is your favorite if you have more than one, and briefly let us know what they are about. Pay particular attention to your most recent book and/or your first book:

My first and only book to date is “Letter Of Love From China”, a children’s book about a Chinese birth mother who has to give up her daughter for adoption. She writes her daughter a letter to explain her love for her and the reasons surrounding her birth that lead to her relinguishment and her hopes that her daughter is adopted. She will never forget her and wants her daughter to have knowledge and respect for the country of her birth.

Are you currently working on any writing projects our readers should watch for release soon?

Yes, this summer I will start a children’s book that my 7 year old daughter will illustrate and I will write called, “Forever Mom Forever Daughter”. A story of all the reasons an adoptive child and her forever mom love each other and what makes their relationship unique and special.

Have you ever won any writing awards? If so, what?

Yes, I have won the 2007 Power Of The Pen Award for Best Children’s book.

The 2008 Silver Recipient of the Mom’s Choice Award for the Best Children’s Book in the Family Life category. A very prestigious award that I am very proud of. I will be at the La BEA Book Expo the end of May with my illustrator to promote the book and be interviewed.

How did you feel the day you held the copy of your first book in your hands ?

Marvelous! I self published so this felt like the a dream come true.

What type of music, if any, do you listen to while you write?

None, I like quiet when I write.

What inspires you and motivates you to write the very most?

I am most inspired to write for children and animals because I am a born humanitarian for both. Those in need of extra love and care, the homeless and abandoned. The poor and helpless.

What one thing are you the most proud of in your life?

I am most proud that I am an adoptive Mom to a beautiful seven year old daughter from China. I am a loving Mom and my daughter is the love of my life!

What about your family? Do you have children, married, siblings, parents? Has your family been supportive of your writing?

I have two step daughters now grown and my daughter. My husband and I are in process of adopting our second daughter from China. Our siblings, parents and our extended family have been very supportive as well as our friends of my writing.

The main characters of your stories – do you find that you put a little of yourself into each of them or do you create them to be completely different from you?

My book is about my daughter. She is the main character. My own feelings for her birth Mom in China come through loud and clear.

Who is your favorite author and what is your favorite genre to read?

I like Sylvia Browne. I enjoy spiritual books and new age.

Hey, let’s get morbid. When they write your obituary, what do you hope they will say about your book/s and writing? What do you hope they will say about you?

That I was a talented award winning children’s book author and contributed to the education of children. Plain and simple. That I was a humanitarian, funny, caring, loving, spiritual and strong in times of suffering. A loving mom, wife, daughter and friend.

Location and life experience can sprinkle their influence in your writing. Tell us about where you grew up and a little about where you live now. If you could live anywhere you want to live, where would that be?

We live in the New Jersey suburbs about 30 minutes from New York City. We love to visit the city I was born and raised in New Jersey however someday I would love to live in a warm climate year round. Southern California would be wonderful!

Do you have any pets? What are they? Tell us about them.

Yes, we have two cats Gabriel and Gizmo. Gabriel is ten and a tabby. Gizmo is a
two year old kitten an all black Siamese/short haired mix, full of life and gets into lots of trouble. Both are adorable and loveable boys. I have had many pets in life including dogs and various wildlife that I have rescued. I adore animals of all kinds. They have given me great happiness in life.

Do you watch television? If so, what are your favorite shows? Does television influence of inspire your writing?

When I get time to watch TV it is usually Fox News or CNN.

Of course the harsh realities of today’s world influence one’s writing.

What about movies? Same as above.

I love Tilda Swinton, George Clooney and Johnny Depp.

Any move they have made I have seen. My daughter does a little acting. She loves it and had a small part in a movie with Oscar winning actress Tilda Swinton.

How long did it take you to write your most recent (or first) book? When you started writing, did you think it would take that long (or short)?

My book took only a month to write because it is written in simple text for Children ages 4-9. The illustrations took two years for my illustrator to complete because she was in college while working on this project. I expected the project to take this long.

Is there anyone you’d like to specifically acknowledge who has inspired, motivated, encouraged or supported your writing?

My daughter, Jillian Mei and her unknown birth mother in China .All the orphaned children of the world have inspired me.

Now, use this space to tell us more about who you. Anything you want your readers to know?

I invite all readers to visit my website which at this time is the only place my book is available. There is alot of info on my site about myself , my illustrator, Jax Bennett, my book, my daughter, a lovely poem about Adoptive Moms, author visits, music and a Chinese jewelry Gift shop.

My book is for all children to learn about adoption.

Plum Blossom Books
http://www.plumblossombooks.com

To learn about my Mom’s Choice Award, please visit http://www.momschoiceawards.com
Click on Learn, Testimonials and 2008 Winners.

Thank you.

Author Mini-Bio Tristi Pinkston:

I’m a stay-at-home mom, homeschooler, media reviewer, Cub Scout volunteer, editor, and LDS historical fiction author. My house isn’t clean and we only have real meals about once a day, but there are some things that must be sacrificed in order to accommodate others, and my kids make themselves a pretty mean sandwich. As long as they all have clean underwear, I’m good with that.

I love to read, watch good movies, and take long naps. I’m a regular presenter at the LDStorymakers Writers Conference and have also presented for the League of Utah Writers and the American Night Writers Association. I do most of my writing late at night, which means I have peace and quiet, but not a lot of sleep. It’s a crazy life, but it’s mine and I love it.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Tristi Pinkston: I’ve wanted to be a writer since I wrote my first really terrible story at the age of five, which was about a dog named Sue. I illustrated it as well. It was very enthralling – Sue decides to become a ballerina.

Tell us a little bit about your book/s.

Tristi Pinkston: My first book is called “Nothing to Regret” and is about the Japanese internment camps during World War II, particularly the one here in Utah, called Topaz. My second book is “Strength to Endure” and also covers World War II, but this time from the German perspective. These books are both LDS historical fiction. My recent release is called “Season of Sacrifice” and is the true story of my great-great-grandfather, who was a noted Mormon pioneer who created the famous Utah landmark, “The Hole in the Rock.” I took most of the details in the book from his life history, but added fictional elements to it as well. I classify it as an LDS historical novel, as opposed to historical fiction, meaning it contains more elements of history than a regular historical fiction. This book is my most personal and my most favorite.

Are you currently working on any writing projects our readers should watch for release soon?

Tristi Pinkston: I’m working on a contemporary mystery/comedy right now, and loving every minute of it. I’m letting the characters just take over the story, and I don’t know when I’ve had so much fun. The working title is “Secret Sisters,” but I don’t know if I’ll get to keep that title or not. I don’t know when it will be released.

Have you ever won any writing awards? If so, what?

Tristi Pinkston: I received a certificate from the League of Utah Writers for “Strength to Endure,” but to be honest, I haven’t entered my books in other competitions. I need to think about that, huh?

How did you feel the day you held the copy of your first book in your hands?

Tristi Pinkston: The day “Nothing to Regret” came out, I was scheduled to have my first signing at a nearby high school fair. I walked in, saw the book, had a nervous breakdown (in a good way) and carried a copy of the book around with me all night. It’s safe to say, I was very pleased.

What type of music, if any, do you listen to while you write?

Tristi Pinkston: I can’t listen to music while I write. I don’t like music unless I can sing along to it, and I can’t sing and type at the same time, so therefore, I don’t listen to music while I write. The quieter, the better, which is part of why I write in the middle of the night.

What about your family? Do you have children, married, siblings, parents? Has your family been supportive of your writing?

Tristi Pinkston: I’m married and have four children. They’re all supportive, but I’ve been doing this long enough and they’re young enough that I’m not sure they’d know any other way to react. I’ve sort of brainwashed it into them, I guess. My parents have been very supportive, and so have my sisters. My biggest family supporter has been my husband.

The main characters of your stories – do you find that you put a little of yourself into each of them or do you create them to be completely different from you?

Tristi Pinkston: All of my main characters have a little bit of me. I’ve tried to make them different, but have found that I can’t. I’m not sure if that’s a huge writing flaw or what, but in order for me to really write that character, they’ve got to have some Tristi in there, otherwise, I can’t get along with them. I tried to make my main character in “Strength to Endure” very different from me, and she was flat and uninteresting until I let her take her head. Sure enough, there’s a little Tristi in there now.

When growing up, did you have a favorite author, book series, or book?

Tristi Pinkston: I grew up on L.M. Montgomery, Louisa May Alcott, Gene Stratton Porter, Lewis Caroll, Johanna Sypri – the greats. Some of my favorite memories ever are reading “Little Women” and “Heidi.” That was literature, folks. That was when books were good.

What about now: who is your favorite author and what is your favorite genre to read?

Tristi Pinkston: Today I enjoy cozy mysteries. I love Elizabeth Peters, for example. I enjoy the Mitford Books, the Elm Creek Quilts series, and the like. My favorite recent reads are “I Capture the Castle” by Dodie Smith and “Wildwood Dancing” by Juliet Marillier. I also loved “Peace Like a River” by Leif Enger. I enjoy gentle stories. As a media reviewer, I tend to read a lot of books, and these are the types I naturally gravitate towards.

Hey, let’s get morbid. When they write your obituary, what do you hope they will say about your book/s and writing? What do you hope they will say about you?

Tristi Pinkston: I like morbid – morbid is fun. The most beautiful statement I ever read in an obituary was, “She was a woman without guile.” I loved that, but I’m afraid I’m not that good. Let’s see. I want to be known as a teller of truth. I want them to say that I never sold out.

Bring us into your home and set the scene for us when you are writing. What does it look like? On the couch, laptop, desk? Music? Lighting, handwriting?

Tristi Pinkston: I used to have my desk set up in my bedroom, where I had a quiet corner, and it was great. But then I noticed that my children tended to try to kill each other when I was out of the room, so now I’m in the corner of my living room. It’s not nearly as conducive to the writing process, but if I still have four living, breathing children at the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about. I’m at a desk, sitting on my Gaiam yoga ball chair, using my ergonomic keyboard (which, by the way, they will have to pry from my cold, dead fingers). No music. Overhead light, except for when my three-year-old decides to turn it off. I actually did write my first book longhand and then transcribed it, but ever since then, I do everything on the computer. As far as what the rest of the house looks like, you don’t get to see it – it’s a mess.

Do you watch television? If so, what are your favorite shows? Does television influence inspire your writing?

Tristi Pinkston: I do not watch a whole lot of television. My kids have their favorite shows, so if it’s on, it’s on for them. I’m writing while they’re watching. However . . . I do have a few weaknesses. The first would be “American Idol.” I can’t help it, I’m a total addict. The second is “Dancing with the Stars.” Same there, and I’m still trying to recover from Mario Lopez’s loss, which was unfair, people! Unfair! Did you not see that tango? I also really like “What Not to Wear.” None of these shows have really influenced my writing, but I do have to say, because of watching “What Not to Wear,” I’m lookin’ a lot cuter when I go out to promote. I’m finally learning what looks good on me and what doesn’t. When I go clothes shopping, I can hear Stacey and Clinton in my head, and that helps me bring my appearance up a notch.

How long did it take you to write your most recent (or first) book? When you started writing, did you think it would take that long (or short)?

Tristi Pinkston: It took me eighty hours of research and eighty hours of writing to complete “Season of Sacrifice.” That’s a record for me. My other historicals have taken me much, much longer, but with “Season of Sacrifice,” I was using family histories and journals and I had immediate access to those, and didn’t have to hunt them down. I didn’t keep track of writing the other books, but I know it had to have been over six hundred hours.

Many authors have said that naming their characters is a difficult process, almost like choosing a name for their own child. How did you select the names of some of your lead characters in your book/s?

Tristi Pinkston: I love naming characters in my books! I like to check out baby name books from the library or hit the baby name sites on the Internet. I make a list of all the names I like, and then whenever I need to name a character, I go over the list until I find a name that “fits” that character. You can also find great names in the credits of movies or television shows. If you’re naming a character who lived in the 1940s, you can hit the Internet and find out what names were popular back then, too. It’s a lot of fun. I’d say it was much harder to name my own children.

Have you ever had a character take over a story and move it in a different direction than you had originally intended? How did you handle it?

Tristi Pinkston: Like, every minute of every day! I deal with it by letting them have their way. If you’re fighting with a character, the story won’t flow. And in the end, the story will turn out better if you let the character do what they want. It’s just not worth the battle.

Now, use this space to tell us more about who you. Anything you want your readers to know?

The best place to find my books is my website, www.tristipinkston.com In fact, it’s the only place to find “Season of Sacrifice.” I self-published that one and don’t have it in with a distributor yet. The coolest thing about getting the books through my site is that I can sign them for you.

You can read my blog at http://www.tristipinkston.blogspot.com I spend time squawking about the unfairness of judging on my favorite reality shows, sharing writing tips, talking about my different appearances, and basically just sharing my life.

I’m also a media reviewer for Families.com. http://members.families.com/tristipie/blog If you come visit me here, you’ll see my book reviews, author interviews, and you’ll also see articles I’ve written that are of interest to Latter-day Saints, of which I am one.

Thanks for this interview – it’s been a lot of fun!

Joel Richardson Mini-biography:

I am the author of Antichrist: Islam’s Awaited Messiah, a bestselling comparative analysis of Biblical and Islamic Eschatology. In the early 90’s, I lived and worked in the Middle East. I’ve also been involved in Christian-Muslim interfaith dialogue for several years. Due to death threats to my life and the life of my family, I use a pen-name whenever I write or speak on the themes of radical Islam. I also travel, giving lectures and seminars on issues such as the threat of radical Islam, Islamic apocalyptic belief and human rights.

It’s rare today to find an author who does nothing but write for a living. Do you have a ‘real’ job other than writing, and if so, what is it? What are some other jobs you’ve had in your life?

Joel Richardson: I work full time. I am primarily a self-employed artist. I have co-managed a small business that specializes in decorative and fine arts for the past twelve years. I also travel and conduct several full day public seminars each year.

What compelled you to write your first book?

Joel Richardson: In September of 2005, President Ahmadinejad of Iran, while standing before the General Assembly of United Nations publicly prayed for the soon emergence of the Muslim Messiah figure known as Al-Mahdi Al-Muntazhar. Few westerners had a clue as to what he was talking about. This was about five months after I had completed my book on this very subject. When devotees to the Mahdi such as Ahmadinejad speak publicly to Western audiences regarding the mission of the Mahdi, they often speak about his role in promoting justice and world peace. However, when one actually reads the writings of the clerics, imams and Muslim scholars, this Islamic messiah figure is always portrayed more as an Islamic war-lord who will force the entire world to submit to Islam and abolish all other religions and forms of government. The traditions and implications are both fascinating and very disturbing. Having studied Islamic apocalyptic traditions quiet intensively, in 2004, I decided to put together a book that very carefully documented what I had learned. It was primarily through a desire to make the western world more aware of these very dangerous apocalyptic beliefs that permeate so much of the Muslim world that I finally decided to write my first book.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Joel Richardson: No. Actually before writing my first book, I had never had any desire to write at all. And I still do not consider myself a writer so much as an activist with a passion for the subjects that I write about. I am now completing my fifth book and still would say that I have a love/hate relationship with writing.

Are you currently working on any writing projects our readers should watch for release soon?

Joel Richardson: Susan Crimp and I have also co-authored a book about one of the twentieth century’s greatest Catholic mystics, a polish nun named Faustina Kowlaska. The book documents Faustina’s life story and her deep connections with the late Pope John Paul II as well as the possible connections between her mystical experiences and many of today’s world events. Susan authored the portions of the book about Faustina and I offered my expertise on Islamic apocalyptic beliefs. I also recently co-authored a very large volume with Walid Shoebat, a former Palestinian Terrorist turned peace-activist and pro-Israel speaeker. This book is geared toward a Christian audience and also discusses Biblical and Islamic apocalyptic beliefs and includes many of Walid’s life experiences. It promises to be a very engaging and controversial work.

How did you feel the day you held the copy of your first book in your hands?

Joel Richardson: In a word, relieved. Similar I suppose, to a women who has just given birth. Writing for me is not entirely enjoyable. I enjoy my painting immensely, but creating a book is a very tedious and slow process. Every time I think I am done, there are another round of edits or some further delay. And like someone who has just completed the ordeal of having a child, I didn’t want to even think about ever writing another book. However, in time as the memories of the late night deadlines and pushing through the twelve layers of burn-out fade, I began to become more open to further writing.

What type of music, if any, do you listen to while you write?

Joel Richardson: That is called multi-functioning, and as a man I’m not supposed to be able to do that. However, sometimes I will listen to some quiet Byzantine or Gregorian chant or Classical music—anything that doesn’t have any recognizable words to distract my thoughts. Because I paint during the day however, I listen to talk radio. Having grown up very liberal but becoming much more conservative as an adult, I enjoy listening to a wide range of talk shows while I work: From NPR and Democracy Now to Rush Limbaugh or Michael Savage, I enjoy the ongoing free-flow of debate, which I believe is an essential aspect of any truly “progressive” society.

What inspires you and motivates you to write the very most?

Joel Richardson: When I was in the third grade, I distinctly remember learning about slavery for the first time. Even as a small child, I remember asking myself how people could have allowed this to take place and why more people didn’t stand up against this obviously evil practice.

Later, when I learned about the Holocaust, these thoughts were again stirred up. How can so many remain so passive in the face of such blatant evil? I remember vowing that if any such evil reared its head while I was alive, I would be among those who stand up and stand firmly against the darkness, despite popular opinion or popular passivity. I have come to believe that turning the other way and ignoring even the most horrendous atrocities is a far more common practice among the human race than we would like to admit. People are often more concerned with their public image and comfort than they are with the suffering or abuse of others.

I believe that we are now living in a very crucial time when the need to stand firm in the midst of tremendous evils, despite the pressures is becoming increasingly important. This is true regardless as to which side of the political spectrum ones stands on. Because I write about current events that have deep implications for human rights and justice related issues, it is for me a moral obligation. This is why I write. If I were blind to what is happening, then perhaps I would have an excuse to remain silent. But when I look at the rising tide of Islam throughout the world, being intimately acquainted with the full reality of all that this means, I cannot remain passive. I refuse to stand by and quietly watch as the world is once again overshadowed by the next “never again.” And so I am compelled to write, though I admittedly dislike the process. Unless I am writing about something that I feel passionately about, I don’t believe that I could do it.

What one thing are you the most proud of in your life?

Joel Richardson: My beautiful wife and children.

What about your family? Do you have children, married, siblings, parents? Has your family been supportive of your writing?

Joel Richardson: Writing is very taxing on my wife as she bears the brunt of watching the kids when I work late or overtime. But she is very supportative and deserves numerous awards.

Is there an established writer you admire and emulate in your own writing? Do you have a writing mentor?

Joel Richardson: Although I write non-fiction I have been the most impressed by Fyodor Dostoevsky as a novelist. This man’s ability to portray such a sweeping range of characters with seemingly such ease is unparalleled. I liken Dostoevsky to a Russian and masculine version of Jane Austin. If I were a novelist, I would secretly try to emulate Dostoevsky. From a non-fiction perspective, I simply write as I try to speak—as clearly, thoughtful and as fluidly as possible. My efforts have been to write books that are strike that perfect balance between popular and respectably intelligent. I try to produce works that are researched enough to be well received by scholars but simple enough to be understood by my father, who is a fisherman by trade.

Hey, let’s get morbid. When they write your obituary, what do you hope they will say about your book/s and writing? What do you hope they will say about you?

Joel Richardson: Apart from the date, I’m not all that concerned with what my obituary will read like. It will be the least of my concerns at that point. I am simply aiming for a “good job” from my creator and from my family. If it reads: “A loving and devoted husband and father” then I will have accomplished precisely what I set out to do.

Is there anyone you’d like to specifically acknowledge who has inspired, motivated, encouraged or supported your writing?

Joel Richardson: I am particularly inspired by individuals such as those who share their stories in this book: Why We Left Islam. According to every orthodox school of Islamic law, any Muslim who leaves Islam is to be punished by death. That is not to say that the death penalty is always carried out, but it is also far from a rarity. In Iran right now, they are in the process of passing a law that punishes “apostates” with the death penalty. Can you imagine how deeply it would hurt to have your own Mother or Father literally trying to o kill you because you made a decision of conscience? Yet this is very common throughout the Muslim world.

Even recently in the United States, an Egyptian man shot and killed his two daughters Amina and Sarah Said. On my blog at (www.joels-trumpet.com) we have some regular readers whose families have completely rejected them because they converted to Christianity from Islam. When I read about individuals like these, I am always inspired. What I do seems to be small compared to the sacrifices that these have made. Again, I want to reiterate that these issues should deeply concern all who love freedom and care about human rights.

Whether one is on the left or right end of the political spectrum, we can all agree that the right to change ones religion should be a right that is afforded to all people. Because every school of Islamic law agrees that death for apostasy is a legitimate application of Islamic law, we who value freedom and human rights need to unify and stand firm together. On this issue, there must simply be zero room for tolerance. Period. The blood of a million Sarah and Amina Saids demand it.

Anything you want your readers to know?
My personal blog may be found at www.Joels-trumpet.com

Also watch for the soon-coming God’s War Against Terror, by Walid Shoebat and Joel Richardson

.

Michaela Riley was born in 1960 and grew up in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia in a town that borders the Ohio River and is surrounded by beautiful rolling hills.

As a child Riley would spend most of her time reading every book she could carry home from the school library. She admits, “Being a writer was a fairytale for some else’s life. Then I found a story that needed to be told.”

During her college years and after completion of her active duty tour during the Gulf War, she supported herself in a variety of healthcare positions. She plans on retiring from the Army Reserves this year and smiles as she says, “It was the best job and career I have ever had. I love my country.”

Nearly twenty six years later Riley has completed a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing and a Master of Business Administration degree. She has been practicing as a Registered Nurse for almost twenty years and is the CEO of her own Professional Development Company.

Riley began to pursue writing when she was had the misfortune of spending time in a local court room. Research revealed increasing rates of plea bargaining and malicious prosecution. “I have always been an advocate for people in need. When your right to speak for yourself is prevented, something has to be done. The story must be told, everyone has a story. Writing has become something I am passionate about and I am working on two other fiction novels.”

AUTHOR INTERVIEW:

It’s rare today to find an author who does nothing but write for a living. Do you have a ‘real’ job other than writing, and if so, what is it? What are some other jobs you’ve had in your life?

Michaela Riley: Currently have my own personal development company and plan on retiring from the Army Reserves this year.

What compelled you to write your first book?

Michaela Riley: First book was written because of a desire to tell a story about an innocent woman’s fight against a corrupt judicial system. Research of malicious prosecution revealed that there is little that can be done to overturn a conviction or wrongful prosecution.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Michaela Riley: I have always wanted to be a writer but never thought I would actually get the opportunity. As a child I would read anything I could get from the library.

Tell us a little bit about your book/s.

Michaela Riley: Embittered Justice the first book is about a woman’s fight against spiritual warfare and the fight of her life to prove her innocence against wrongful prosecution. Her belief in herself and her country are changed because of her inability to speak about the horrific challenges she encounters when attempting to fight for her freedom.

Are you currently working on any writing projects our readers should watch for release soon?

Michaela Riley: Yes, the sequel to Embittered Justice should be ready for release by fall of 2008. The unanswered questions in Embittered Justice will be revealed.

How did you feel the day you held the copy of your first book in your hands?

Michaela Riley: It was surreal, I felt like I was living someone else’s life. Getting the opportunity to write about things that matter to me is a blessing.

What type of music, if any, do you listen to while you write?

Michaela Riley: Depending upon what is happening in the story, I may listen to alternative music or something loud. Other times I may listen to classical or Christian music.

What about your family? Do you have children, married, siblings, parents? Has your family been supportive of your writing?

Michaela Riley: I am single and have an adult son who lives near me in Virginia. My parents and sisters are very supportive of my writing. My little sister has read every draft and the final version of Embittered Justice and given positive feed back. She encourages me to continue writing and loves introducing me to her friends as an author.

The main characters of your stories – do you find that you put a little of yourself into each of them or do you create them to be completely different from you?

Michaela Riley: I definitely have many of the same qualities of the main character of Embittered Justice. Other characters in my books have strengths and weaknesses of friends and family members. I guess we ultimately write about our own experiences and things that change us.

Is there an established writer you admire and emulate in your own writing? Do you have a writing mentor?

Michaela Riley: I love James Patterson and Nicholas Sparks.

Location and life experience can sprinkle their influence in your writing. Tell us about where you grew up and a little about where you live now – city? Suburb? Country? Farm? If you could live anywhere you want to live, where would that be?

Michaela Riley: I grew up in a small town in West Virginia that borders the Ohio River and the mountains. I now live in Virginia near the Eastern Shore with my black Labrador, Princess. If I could live anywhere it would be two places, one that is close to my family and the other would be a beach house in Costa Rica. I love living near the water and walking on the beach.

Do you watch television? If so, what are your favorite shows? Does television influence of inspire your writing?

Michaela Riley: CSI and Lifetime for Women. When I watch CSI, I sit with pen and paper to write down ideas about crime scene investigations that I may add to other books.

What about movies? Same as above.

Michaela Riley: I love inspirational movies, love stories and of course anything that has to do with the military.

Focusing on your most recent (or first) book, tell our readers what genre your book is and what popular author you think your writing style in this book is most like.

Michaela Riley: I would like to think the love story in Embittered Justice is similar to a Nicholas Sparks book and the suspense and story line is similar to James Patterson.

How long did it take you to write your most recent (or first) book? When you started writing, did you think it would take that long (or short)?

Michaela Riley: I started keeping notes and journal entries about a year before I actually started writing Embittered Justice. When I started writing the book it was actually non-fiction, filled with graphs, charts and statistics about the corrupt judicial system and malicious prosecution. Some where during the process it became a love story and novel filled with suspense and intrigue. I am used to writing technical papers, business plans etc. This was something very different for me to write. It became infused with emotion and a desire to tell a story about the effects of wrongful prosecution. Lives are changes forever!

Is there anyone you’d like to specifically acknowledge who has inspired, motivated, encouraged or supported your writing?

Michaela Riley: I would like to thank my sister Cheryl for her love and support and God for giving me the inspiration to tell the story.

Is there any one particular book that when you read it, you thought to yourself, “Man, I wish I’d written that one!”?

Michaela Riley: Dear John, from Nicholas Sparks.

Thinking about your writing career, is there anything you’d go back and do differently now that you have been published?

Michaela Riley: Yes, definitely I would have researched other publishers and made sure my book was edited before being printed.

What is your main goal or purpose you would like to see accomplished by your writing?

Michaela Riley: I would love to inspire others to be able to dream and believe in themselves and the possibility of other things they may not see, but feel.

Many authors have said that naming their characters is a difficult process, almost like choosing a name for their own child. How did you select the names of some of your lead characters in your book/s?

Michaela Riley: I loved naming my characters though admit that sometimes it has not been easy. I associate a name I don’t like with a character in the book I don’t like and names I like with characters I like.

Is there any lesson or moral you hope your story might reveal to those who read it?

Michaela Riley: Yes definitely, fear makes us make decisions that may not be correct. If we believe in and trust God, our lives would be so much easier. God will fight for us if we let him.

It’s said that the editing process of publishing a novel with a publisher is can be grueling and often more difficult than actually writing the story. Do you think this is true for you? How did you feel about editing your masterpiece?

Michaela Riley: This was the worst part of the process. I had read the book so many times, I couldn’t be objective. I loved getting to work with a knowledgeable editor that could help make the book a masterpiece. This part of the process was not completed by the publisher and the first print of Embittered Justice needed some editing. Fortunately this has been corrected and the reprint is great!

Now that you are a published author, does it feel differently than you had imagined?

Michaela Riley: Yes! It is very time consuming to market and promote a book with a small budget. I have learned many valuable lessons through the process and will do a better job with this when my second book is released.

Now, use this space to tell us more about who you. Anything you want your readers to know?

http://authormichaelariley.blogspot.com

http://www.michaelariley.com

http:///www.amazon.com

http://barnesandnoble.com/

http://www.youtube.com/michaelariley

.

Copyright Accentuate (c) 1994-2011 ~ All Rights Reserved.