An Interview with Gina Insinna Rice

Blurb of Finding Christ Through Chaos: A Mother’s Walk with Christ, Caring for Her Special Needs Son That Couldn’t

A JOURNEY AND TRIALS OF RAISING A SPECIAL NEEDS SON.

Over the years Gina has witnessed God’s hands in everything and some true miracles along the way. With her husband by her side they have walked a road many take for granted. A woman that has been blessed by her son but, still struggling to find balance of keeping her son alive.

 

Describe yourself in five words CARING, LOVING, SMART, SPIRITUAL, LOYAL

What fact about yourself would really surprise people? I AM A BLUE-EYED, BLONDE-HAIRED FULL BLOODED ITALIAN

How do you work through self-doubts and fear?  I PRAY CONSTANTLY. I TALK WITH THE LORD ALL DAY LONG , NO EXAGGERATION 
What scares you the most? ME NOT BEING ABLE TO CARE FOR MY SON

What makes you happiest? SEEING MY SON LAUGH AND SMILE THROUGH HIS PAIN

Why do you write? I NEVER REALLY HAVE LOL. THIS WAS MY 1st BOOK INSPIRED BY A WOMAN AT MY CHURCH.

Have you always enjoyed writing?  TO BE HONEST NO….HAHA. BUT, I REALLY ENJOYED WRITING ABOUT THIS BOOK !!!
What motivates you to write? MY SON !!! HE IS TRULY THE STRONGEST HUMAN I HAVE EVER MET.

What are you most proud of in your personal life? MY MARRIAGE. WE JUST CELEBRATED OUR 25th WEDDING ANNIVERSARY. ALMOST HAVE OF OUR MARRIAGE I HAVE SPENT WITH CHRIS IN THE HOSPITAL 

What do you hope your obituary will say about you? THAT I RAISED A GOOD DISABLED CHILD

Location and life experiences can really influence writing, tell us where you grew up and where you now live? I WAS BORN AND RAISED IN SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA. GREAT CHILDHOOD!!! MY DAD WAS TRANSFERRED WITH THE AIRLINES TO TEXAS…I MARRIED A TEXAN LOL!!!! I GAVE BIRTH TO A BLUE,STILLBORN BABY THAT I HAVE MANAGED TO KEEP ALIVE FOR 24yr.

What is hardest – getting published, writing or marketing? IT ALL CAME REALLY SIMPLE…I PRAYED OVER THIS FOR AWHILE AND I KNEW THE LORD WANTED ME TO SHARE OUR STORY TO HELP OTHER FAMILIES WALK WHERE WE HAVE WALKED. SO EVERYTHING JUST FELL INTO PLACE…HIS TIMING.

What marketing works for you? I DO ALOT OF SOCIAL MEDIA, AND IM A TALKER SO I BELIEVE WORD OF MOUTH IS THE BEST.

Do you find it hard to share your work? NO,I TALKED TO EVERYONE ABOUT OUR LIFE WITH NO PROBLEMS AT ALL.

Is your family supportive? Do your friends I support you? I HAVE THE BEST FAMILY AND THE BEST LIFELONG GIRLFRIENDS ANYONE COULD ASK FOR.

What else do you do, other than write? I TAKE OF MY SON!!! HE IS A FULL TIME JOB,WHEELCHAIR BOUND. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE TO FISH !!!

What other jobs have you had in your life? I AM A LICENSED COSMETOLOGIST AND WORKED IN SALONS FOR 8YRS PRIOR TO. HRIS BEING BORN.

If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be? I WOULD LIVE BY THE OCEAN. WATER IS SO HEALING.

Tell us about your family? I COME FROM A HUGE, LOUD MOUTH ITALIAN FAMILY LOL.

How much sleep do you need to be your best? .OMG… I LOVE SLEEP !!!!! MY BRAIN WILL FUNCTION ON 8 HRS BUT, IM REALLY ON MY GAME WITH 10. BUT, I AM LIGHT SLEEPER AS CHRIS HAS SEIZURES.

Is there anyone you’d like to acknowledge and thank for their support? MY HUSBAND!!! HE HAS MADE MY DREAM OME TRUE BY BELIEVING IN ME ENOUGH TO SHARE OUR STORY.

Every writer has their own idea of what a successful career in writing is, what does success in writing look like to you? A SUCCESSFUL WRITER IN MY EYES IS ONE THAT SHARES PASSION IN REAL LIFE EVENTS.

It is vital to get exposure and target the right readers for your writing, tell us about your marketing campaign? I HAVE A GREAT AUDIENCE . I TARGETED THEM AND SELL ME NOT ONLY MY BOOK.

Tell us about your new book? Why did you write it?  I WROTE THIS STORY ABOUT MY SON SO PEOPLE IN OUR SAME SHOES CAN HAVE HOPE THAT YOU CAN MAKE IT. YOU CAN KEEP A HUMAN ALIVE AND LIVE A NICE LIFE.

If you could have a dinner party and invite anyone dead or alive, who would you ask? DOLLY PARTON..LOL. SHE IS A WONDERFUL HUMAN BEING.

When you are not writing, how do you like to relax? I FISH AND PRAY ON MY DOCK.

What do you hope people will take away from your writing? How will your words make them feel? WITH GOD THINGS REALLY ARE POSSIBLE!!! I WANT THE BROKEN TO HAVE HOPE.

 

To learn more about Gina, visit her website and Amazon page

http://christthroughchaos.com/

http://amzn.to/2wyLSSx

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An Interview with Thomas Lowrie

Author Bio:

You just never know what you can do once you set your mind to something. Ray has been picking at my brain for years and I finally did something about it. My first thoughts were to write comedy but someone said I was too warped for that.
Ray was as real a person as I am and to this day I don’t quite understand how he and I became the same person. Book two is getting close to going to edit so please watch for it.
I don’t always write, I try to do other thing too. If I can fish it, fly it or fix it I will be doing that as well.
I want to take this time to thank all the English teachers from George West Texas and Boulder City Nevada who fought with me and never gave up, it was all of you that got me to this point.

 

Describe yourself in five words. Loyal to those who care.

What fact about yourself would really surprise people? My wife says I’m a big teddy bear.

How do you work through self-doubts and fear? Railroad through them and pick up the pieces later.

What scares you the most? Not being loved.

What makes you happiest? Simplifying my life.

Why do you write? At first it was Ray telling me to but now I write to share the things I have learned with others.

Have you always enjoyed writing? No, I was in my upper forties before I even thought about it. I didn’t think I could do it.

What motivates you to write? Thoughts get stuck in my head and won’t go away until I write them down.

What writing are you most proud of? All of them. The finished and the ones yet to come.

What are you most proud of in your personal life? I have some good people around me.

What books did you love growing up? Tom Sawyer, western or sports books.

What do you hope your obituary will say about you? Not a thing.

Location and life experiences can really influence writing, tell us where you grew up and where you now live? I grew up in south TX and now live in Southern NV.

How did you develop your writing? It is still slowly developing.

What is hardest – getting published, writing or marketing? Marketing.

What marketing works for you? Will let you know on that one.

Do you find it hard to share your work? Sometimes.

Is your family supportive? Do your friends support you? My wife is very supportive. Others are happy for me.

What else do you do, other than write? I love 2 things and do them whenever possible. BBQing and fishing.

What other jobs have you had in your life? Aircraft mechanic, RV tech, various other things.

If you could study any subject at university what would you pick? Culinary Arts.

If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be? Not sure but it will be right here in the USA.

Tell us about your family? They are a widely varied bunch.

How do you write – lap top, pen, paper, in bed, at a desk? All of them but it all gets to the desktop in the end.

How much sleep do you need to be your best? I can’t remember.

Is there anyone you’d like to acknowledge and thank for their support? Yes, My partner in silliness, Tina Lowrie

Every writer has their own idea of what a successful career in writing is, what does success in writing look like to you? If you can persevere and make it happen, you have succeeded.

It is vital to get exposure and target the right readers for your writing, tell us about your marketing campaign? I am actually learning from others as to how to market.

Tell us about your new book? Why did you write it?  Out of time is the second in the Ray Lafayette series. There is much more to write about him.

If you could have a dinner party and invite anyone dead or alive, who would you ask? All the great loved ones I have lost in my life.

When you are not writing, how do you like to relax? Movie night at home.

What do you hope people will take away from your writing? How will your words make them feel? The feeling that they were part of another time. Maybe another part of the world. Maybe anything their imagination wants to be.

Check out Lowrie’s work at:

www.thomaslowrie.com

http://amzn.to/2wyUgS9

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/he-was-thomas-william-lowrie/1119687508?ean=9780990362616

http://www.booksamillion.com/p/He-Was-Ray-Lafayette-Novel/Thomas-William-Lowrie/9780990362616?id=6025076222321

An Interview with KJ Blocker

Blurb of Treasure of the Magical Mine Moppets:

Enter a magical world where corn grows as high as the clouds and salt can be worth more than gold. A world where a mile beneath the earth live wondrous, iridescent little creatures, happily working and playing. Completely unaware that someone “upside” is plotting to take it all away from them!

In this magical world, you meet wonderful characters.

Tom, the farmer who hopes to feed the world with his Ubercorn.

Tom’s wife and son, who sometimes get left behind as he works.

Mr. Withers, the greedy town banker, who wants everything Tom has and will stop at nothing to get it.

Tom’s Dad, Pappy, who Tom has been angry with for years, but is more like him than he realizes!

Like the Magical Mine Moppets, Tom’s family will lose everything if they don’t find a way to defeat the evil Mr. Withers, but they must learn that family and love are the only things that can destroy evil. Join us in a breathtaking, wide-eyed adventure into a land that you’ll cherish.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review of Books:

The magical mine creatures will no doubt fascinate children. Older readers may well be reminded of the Munchkins from The Wizard Of Oz. Plus Jimmy’s bug pal may well have parents reliving their own moments with Walt Disney’s Jiminy Cricket … Morals are abound in Blocker’s book. The virtues of honesty, loyalty, friendship, and belief in one another take center stage with the all-encompassing value of love. His is a story meant to teach as well as entertain … For both the young and the young at heart, Treasure Of The Magical Mine Moppets is a fun and family-friendly adventure.

Author interview with KJ Blocker

1 Describe yourself in five words.  

Kind, compassionate fun and witty guy

2 What fact about yourself would really surprise people ?

When some people see my penmanship, there’s an amazement in their eyes ,when they discover I’m a writer . When treasure of the magical mine moppets, was released I had a boss look me dead in the eye . Wow! I’m shocked !you write?

3 How do you work through self doubt and fear ?

I learned long ago when I was a child  I was put down so many times, and yes I was bullied, and made fun of, because of our income status, or social status. I could never measure up to the kids in the community. I feared my peers so strongly as a kid. I had what I called running scared syndrome so much, now the self doubt, of what others will think, or the fear that I’m not good enough is no longer A hurdle for me .

4 What scares you the most?

Losing someone close to you you care about the most, and I’m not just talking about death, but a divorce or disagreement fall out, over something that means really nothing in the long run, for example, politics I need not say no more. Instead we need to care and love for each other more, and worry less about the things that are out of our control.

5 What makes you happiest?

Knowing that I’ve gave my all to help someone in need. Mainly food.. I like food, yep definitely food .

6 Why do you write?

It’s hard to answer that question. My oldest daughter inspired me because of her wisdom,, my kids seem to give me reality checks. Or keep me in reality as they refer to it. On treasure of the magical mine moppets, I got inspired after learning about my past,, where I came from, The mystery behind my last name, and the relationship ,,struggle between  my great-grandfather and grandfather, I was so overwhelmed by all kinds of emotions, happy, mad, sad. You name it. Until one day my daughter goes Dad you can’t change the past. After a little thought I said you know you’re right, but I can help somebody else in the future .

7 Have you always enjoyed writing?

Art to me comes in many forms, i’m the founder of the product, i’ve written songs, or even on my job… it’s an expression I believe to help others in need of whatever their individual or families case maybe.

8 What motivate you to write?

The story has to be real, relatable, and fun, sad, but most of all, the story has to make you feel like there’s hope, and my writing goal is that if there is a character that you can identify with, either good or bad, and that character can cause you to stop and go well my situation isn’t so bad after all. Then that character has done his or her job.

9 What writing are you most proud of ?

Treasure of the magical mine moppets series

The story was just so rich, and whether you are a child or adult you can relate between slapstick comedy,  a troubled family, with a wounded past, then all of a sudden the Band-Aid gets ripped off ouch that hurts. There’s a lot of deep meaning, adventure and fun. In both above and below ground. Magical I suppose but you want to relive your childhood through the pages .

10 What are you most proud of in your personal life ?

That even though I was told I was a poor, motherless child. Beaten down by society, I would not bow, instead I fought back and did not give up I faced my fear and though it’s been a hard Row to hoe I’m proud to have not given up on my dreams, or my purpose in life. Even though I don’t know the outcome, I was never afraid to try.

11 What books did you love growing up?

Alice in Wonderland, three little pigs, Lion witch and wardrobe, and Mary Poppins .

12 What do you hope you’re a bitch wary will say about you ?

He was not afraid to try.

13 Location and life experiences can really influence writing. Tell us where you grew up and where are you now live.

As a boy I  lived at 1212 E. 9th St. In Shawnee Oklahoma. My father was a loaner, after Mom left, he become distant, sad and alone . One day a boy came to play, after sweeping him off the porch with a broom The neighborhood kids become angry and took out there vengeance on me, I had impetigo on numerous occasions. I cried a lot, ran and jumped fences to get away from the kids, survive was the only option, it toughened me writing short poems and keeping a job restocking beer shelves, kept me from thinking about my situation well I guess it worked I’m still here.

14 How did you develop your writing?

Songs in short poems. I’ve done since I was a boy. But 10 years ago I started to write a song and just kept on writing and thanking and writing. And I thought oh wow I’m pretty good at this, so then I created a whole world. That would help this world. Lord knows we could use the help.

15 What is the hardest getting published writing or marketing?

Marketing by far I think is the hardest, and I made some pretty stupid marketing decisions, you know one thing for sure that is how do I reach my potential audience, but actually reaching that audience well now that’s a whole different story.

16 What marketing works for you?

Word of mouth, if you write something that touches people’s lives and the characters you create can make others feel better about themselves then they will share. I’ve learned you can never force your work on anybody or your ideas for that matter. It’s all about the characters and how the characters make you feel.

17 Do you find it hard to share your work?

I find it an absolute honor to be able to share what you’ve been given, when I see the smile on either a child’s  or adults face, and they tell me how much a character has help them, it’s an honor to have been able to share. Now to answer your question no it’s not hard to share what you’ve been blessed with.

18 Is your family supported do your friends support you?

I suppose when you’re an inventor/ writer and you do out of the norm things as my kids would say . About their dad, they just expect it, it’s normal to them. My wife on the other hand super supportive been from day one. I wouldn’t be the man I am today without the love and support from my wife . Friends they support you …as long as it’s free

19 What else do you do other than write?

I own an interactive entertainment business, Jaf industries LLC, I own a small HVAC company, I am founder and inventor of A roof product, and work full-time at OSUOKC . .

20 What other jobs have you had in your life?

Well let’s see. Chopping cotton, pulling radishes, pick blueberries in Arkansas Michigan cashier, Cook, sales representative, roofer, appliance installer, HVAC technician, owner of a novelty food Booth for fairs and festivals, songwriter, fast food cook, and that’s before breakfast.

21 If you could study any subject at University what would you pick ?

Business degree and marketing

22 If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be ?

I don’t know at this point, just depends on where the opportunity takes me right now Oklahoma’s doing fine by me.

23 Tell us about your family

My dad was the traveling Preacher, my mother drifted from pillar to post,, when I was growing up . Always promising to come home but she never did, my mother and father got divorced when I was five. Dad was never the same again . I have three sisters and two brothers, im the second to the oldest,, and I have more than that . . Well that’s a lot

24 How do you write laptop pen paper in bed and read it?

All the above when an idea comes you write it down no matter where you are. Because that idea may never come again, and you will forget, it or at least I do

25 How much sleep do you need to be your best ?

As little as possible I have a lot of energy, 4 to 6 hours on average.

26 Is there anyone you’d like to acknowledge and thank for their support?

My wife, she’s been there for me when nobody else would.

27 Every writer has their own idea of what a successful career in writing is. What does success in writing look like to you?

The very first novel I wrote, was falling apart, co wrote by my wife. We went to LA, to a book signing, and sold one copy.that was the happiest day of my life because the family who bought the book. A man his wife and a teenage daughter. The man said this book will save our family. We had traveled 1300 miles and it was  well worth it.. To me that’s the greatest success you could ever ask for.

28   It is vital to get exposure and target the right readers for your writing. Tell us about your marketing campaign ?

Billboards SCO, Book signings, OSU OKC funraiser, and schools, or 20% of the proceeds  goes back to the school, Tulsa state fair, September 28 through October 8, 2017.

29 Tell us about your new book why did you write it ?

I feel like just some degree we have gotten away from the basics, of telling a good moral story, we’re good  try umps  over evil, a story that’s direct to the point, and adventure that takes you away from the every day Norm . Treasure of the magical mine moppets is a three-part series. In part one, The concept came after learning the story of my great grand father and grandfather’s struggles . Then we mixed in the boy  and the bug, its my way of dealing with everything that happened bad in the family’s past creating a wonderful timeless story, of hope love and. Rekindling faith in mankind

Check out KJ Blocker’s book on the following sites:

www.kjblocker.com

http://amzn.to/2wyK1gx

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/treasure-of-the-magical-mine-moppets-kj-blocker/1126822686?ean=9780999150740

 

An Interview With Author Sandy Smith

Author bio:

Sandi Smith spent her time as a young girl combing the shelves of the public library. She has always enjoyed the magic that books have to offer and was inspired by her high school English teacher, Mr. Coolidge to embrace the arts. The author found her calling as a writer early one morning as her first story came to her in the form of a poem. Since then she has written more than 15 children’s books, with her most popular series about the adventures of an adorable spider in the A.R. Achnid series. Sandi is happily married to her inspiration and husband of 40 years, John. She continues to write for her two precious grandchildren. When she’s not penning a new story, Sandi and John like to camp, kayak and to enjoy the simple life in their home in Pembroke, NH. To learn more about Sandi go to: http://www.authorsandismith.com

Where are you from? New Hampshire

Why do you write?  I love words and books. I always have. When I was young, I spent a very good part of my time in the public library. About ten years ago, when I suddenly started getting words and sentences in my head, day after day, night after night, I actually thought that maybe I had better go visit a doctor. Once I put the words down on paper, though, I discovered that the words could be made into a story. My stories made my grandchildren laugh, and things took off from there. I write hoping that one of my stories can bring enjoyment to someone, or that maybe it can bring inspiration into someone’s life.  I have read so many books that made me smile, and I am hoping I can do the same for someone else.

What do you write about? I never know what words are going to come to me. It can be about anything. I have written about a spider, a grasshopper, and a special magical bakery, but mostly, though, I like to write about people. Most of my children’s stories have been about different characters and what is happening in their lives, and how they handle certain situations. In my first novel, I wrote about the loss of a woman’s husband, and how she handled her anger and depression. In my second novel, I wrote about a group of different people, and how they became connected to each other.

Do you have a specific writing style? For my children’s books, I always write in poetry.

What are obstacles that come in the way of writing? Sometimes trying to connect the beginning of the story to the end of the story was a bit of an obstacle. It took a lot of hot tea and cookies to help clear my mind and figure everything out.

What is the most memorable thing asked/said by a reader about your work? I had one reader say that my novel, Sitting at the Kitchen Table with God, should be on the Best Sellers’ List.  That was pretty awesome to hear.

How long have you been writing? It has been about ten years.

When did you first realize you wanted to become a writer? It was ten years ago.  Actually, it was by accident. I am very much afraid of spiders, and one night a spider fell onto our dark rug and I couldn’t find him anywhere. I didn’t want to stay in the living room, not knowing where the spider was, so I went to bed, but once I fell asleep, words and sentences kept running through my mind. I got out of bed and wrote everything down.  The next day, I put the words all together, and a story was born. I haven’t stopped writing since then.

What is your work schedule like when you are writing? In the beginning, I wrote most of my stories at night, because the words would come to me while I was sleeping. I would get up and write down all of the words. The next day, I would put the words together to make a story.  I always had a pad of paper by my bed so I could write the words down when they came through my mind. I didn’t want to lose any new sentences or phrases. Eventually, the words slowed down at night, and I started getting more words during the day. When this all started, I was on my computer seven days a week. Some days I would write for a few hours during the day, and then sometimes I would write all day and into the night. Over the past ten years, you could usually find me in the computer room typing away.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk? I love to write with loud music. It inspires me. I put music on, and before I know it, my fingers are flying. 

How long does it take to write a book? (if you’ve written one -published or non) Because the words come to me sporadically, it is a little difficult to put a time frame on my books, but I would say that my children’s books took anywhere from three months to four months. My novels took anywhere from four months to a year.

Do you have suggestions on how to become a better writer? I am still so new to writing that I really do not have any suggestions for anyone, except to enjoy the ride. Sometimes when I was writing, and I would get stuck at a certain point, I would get so frustrated. I couldn’t move on with the story, and that could be terrifying. I would just sit and sit at the computer waiting for words to come to me.  Then I changed my way of thinking. I learned from all of my writing, that the words would come through sooner or later, so I would just close the document and wait for the answer to hit me, and it always did.  Sometimes it would take a day, and sometimes it would take three months, but I stopped getting anxious over the block. No longer was I getting frustrated.  So, I would say relax if you feel you are not getting anywhere, because the words will come to you eventually.

What challenges do you come across when writing/creating your story? The biggest challenge I face with every story that I have ever written is that I am never happy with the book.  I am always changing it around, adding new paragraphs, etc. I have my sisters read the story over and over again to make sure it all makes sense, and then I make changes and ask them to read the book again. When I am writing, I can be a bit of a challenge to my family.

What do you think makes a good story? I love a lot of different characters. They add color to the story, and make it so interesting.

What does your family think of your writing? My grandchildren love my stories, and my children are very proud. My daughter-in-law has been very helpful, also. She is a teacher, so she has been of great help with my children’s stories. My husband is my biggest fan, and is so supportive. I could not do it without his support.

Do you see writing as a career? I love writing. Right now, I am working on two new novels, but self-publishing can be very expensive, so I am not sure if I will be able to publish any future books.

Do you have anything specific you’d like to tell the readers? I am just very grateful for the opportunity to write my stories, and I hope that when someone reads one of my books, they will get lots of enjoyment from reading the story.

When did you first consider yourself a writer? It was when a small boy asked me to sign his book, and when I did, he told me he loved my story. I was hooked from that moment on. His face was so sweet and happy, and I was overwhelmed that something I wrote could make someone that happy.

Visit Sandy’s website and Amazon page to learn more about her or to purchase her books.

http://www.authorsandismith.com

http://amzn.to/2fdd1YJ

Author Interview: Margaret Segal, Author of ‘The Adventures of Harry the Inside-Outside Cat’

It’s our pleasure to be interviewing Margaret, a children’s book author. Her book, ‘The Adventures of Harry the Inside-Outside Cat’ is currently ranked #2732 on Amazon.

#2732 in Books > Children’s Books > Animals > Cats

Check out her interview below.

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Margaret Segal

Margaret Segal, Author of “The Adventures of Harry the Inside-Outside Cat”

Blurb:

Harry the Inside/Outside Cat, who lives on the corner of a strip shopping center in a busy town, is beloved by virtually every business owner and customer who shops and strolls that corner.  Then, he disappears for 3 weeks. The community that loves him puts out flyers and phone alerts. When he comes back safe and sound, everyone is happy, but very curious and concerned: where did Harry go? And will he disappear again?

A portion of the proceeds from this book’s sales will be donated to the Jackson Galaxy Foundation, which supports the welfare and well-being of cats around the world.

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The Adventures of Harry the Inside-Outside Cat

 

  • Where are you from? Philadelphia, PA, but I currently live in Cary, NC.
  • Why do you write? To express myself and to respond to the real world in a way that I hope will engage, inspire, entertain, or move others.
  • What do you write about? Commentary on the state of the world, everyday experiences that touch, inspire, or even upset me, and now, fun, cute, sweet stories, one of which relates to a real-life cat named Harry.
  • Do you have a specific writing style? Actually, no – I’ve written in many different styles, as you can see from my response to the above question. 
  • What’s the most memorable thing asked/said by a reader about your work? A reader told me that my book about Harry touched her deeply, because she had recently lost her beloved cat, whose name was Timmy, and Harry’s looks and personality reminded her so much of him.  She shared that reading my book helped her to reach a sense of closure about her cat’s passing.
  • How long have you been writing? Off and on for 25 years.
  • When did you first realize you wanted to become a writer?  It’s hard to pinpoint a specific “when”, but it probably was when I entered an essay contest many years ago in a local paper where I was living, and it won first prize and was published.  I remember thinking, “gee, maybe writing is something I should really get into.”
  • How long does it take to write a book? (if you’ve written one -published or non) Harry’s book is my first published book (though I’ve had many other pieces published – essays, poetry, humor, commentary, etc.).  It didn’t take a long time, because the story was such a delight it sort of flowed.
  • Do you have suggestions on how to become a better writer? Find a balance between motivating yourself in a healthy way rather than putting undue pressure on yourself. Writing is like life – it ebbs and flows, and sometimes you just have to “go with it” and try not to drive yourself crazy about your motivation or productivity level when it comes to your writing. 
  • What do you think makes a good story? Appealing characters (including the non-human ones, like Harry!), good dialogue, enough action to keep the story going, but also enough quieter moments that can reveal something about the story or character(s).
  • What does your family think of your writing?  They love it, thank goodness.
  • Do you see writing as a career? No – I see writing as a special part of my life that I’m able to interweave with the other parts.

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Check out her website page at:

www.harrytheinsideoutsidecat.com

Link to Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/HarryTheInsideOutsideCat/

Link to Amazon:
http://amzn.to/2eTcAyV

An Interview with Constanza Mayer

Constanza Mayer

Constanza Mayer

Constanza Mayer is a Chilean author. Born in Santiago, she spent most of her childhood living in different cities across Chile, until she finally settled down for many years in a small town in the state of Illinois. There, she began her true journey into the realm of fantasy and all things magical—Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings and Star Wars, fed her imaginative mind. This is when she began to write her first fantasy novel, but it was sadly lost due to a computer virus.

After many years passed, having moved back to Santiago, Chile, she was finally able to write again. This is where “The Battle of the Erathiel” truly began to develop. After almost two years of hard work, and living for a time in the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina, she finishes the first novel of her series in Santiago on October 29th, 2016.

Constanza is an avid reader, a lover of the arts, and a devoted piano player and composer. Among her dreams, she hopes to continue traveling across the world to fill herself with more experiences to write from, as she typically says:

“Hay que vivir para poder escribir.”
“You must live so that you may write.”

The Battle of the Erathiel

The ancient elven race of the Erathiel embark on a journey across the Enchanted Sea to find a new home. With them travel the only remaining dwarves and humans from their land. They are struck by a terrible storm that leads them to a land they are not keen to call their own. Soon they will find that there is more to this new land than they had ever expected. Friends and foes, hope and loss will be their constant companions in this adventure where wizards and shape-shifting adversaries will cross their path.

It’s a pleasure for us to be interviewing Constanza and we hope that you’d enjoy reading this post while getting to know him better.

Describe yourself in five words

Determined, creative, stubborn, compassionate and a dreamer.

What fact about yourself would really surprise people?

Maybe that I’m the daughter of a pastor. I grew up in a Christian home and always being ‘the pastor’s daughter’, so it was interesting as I grew up. I also have two tattoos.

How do you work through self-doubts and fear?

To be honest, it’s a process. First, I feel it all caving in, I tend to give into the anxiety and frustration it generates but then I use all that negative energy and I transform it into something useful; for example, I end up composing a song or writing something with it. Sometimes I need a little reminder from my loved ones that things are not as hopeless as they seem.

What scares you the most?

Death. The idea of never being with my loved ones again.

What makes you happiest?

Love in all its forms: friendship, with a partner, self-love, moments that fill up your heart. Music, reading, art in general, in my opinion, are connected with this great and amazing emotion.

Why do you write?

I write because I can’t help myself. It’s funny sometimes when I find myself on a bus crossing the city, the subway, or anywhere at all and I just need to write. I’m pretty sure more than one writer has felt that it’s almost as if something ‘possesses’ you and you just need to write, to tell a story. I think that’s it, it’s about tell a story that’s more important than anything, in that moment.

Have you always enjoyed writing?

Oh, yes. Ever since I could write I’d write down my dreams, both from the night before or the ones I had awake. I think the written word, speech, being to express yourself, is one of the greatest gifts we have. I couldn’t live without being able to express myself, I think.

What motivates you to write?

The story, the characters, they become so real to me that I feel I need to share their stories. I just can’t help myself. I also write because I want to touch others with ideas, with ideas of changing the world and realizing there are so many options out there, that we can live in peace—for example—and that we are all not so different from each other. We are all human in the end.

What writing are you most proud of?

My first book “The Battle of the Erathiel: Across the Enchanted Sea”. It was a milestone for me and also what I’ve poured most of my soul into, although it is only the beginning because the story itself is huge, so there’s a lot left for all to read.

What are you most proud of in your personal life?

Listening to my heart and leaving fear aside. I think most of the times that I’ve given into fear, things have not gone well, but when I’ve listened to myself, to my heart, and have acted from this true feeling, things have gone well, at least in the end. Some experiences can be hard once you choose them, but you can always learn from them, which is what matters in the end, in my opinion.

What books did you love growing up?

Oh, so many! I loved Roald Dahl, his work is just so amazing. Also, the Harry Potter series was fun, The Lord of the Rings, Narnia (haven’t read them all yet!), the Animorphs series was fun as well, Wishbone, some Star Wars books here and there, and of course, Goosebumps!

 What do you hope your obituary will say about you?

“She loved, she lived, she did” or something like that, I hope.

Location and life experiences can really influence writing, tell us where you grew up and where you now live?

Wow, good question. It’s true. I mean, I was born in Santiago, Chile and from that moment I was inserted into a life similar to that of a nomad. Since my dad was, well is, a pastor, the church would send him and my family from one city or congregation to another so by the time I was 8, I had already lived in 5 cities in Chile, both north and south, and then we moved to the US. We lived for about a year in a small town in Illinois, waiting for my dad to get his church assigned and then we moved to a small town in the south of Illinois that I grew to consider, and still consider, my home.

It was a town of 500 people, so it was very small and everyone knew each other. To be honest, our first years were quite ‘interesting’. Although some people were very welcoming, there were some that clearly did not want us there. We were the only latinos in the town and there were and still are very racist and close-minded people there. So I must admit that the whole experience has marked my life forever. Maybe I’ll write a book about it. I’m sure there are many people who will be able to relate to all that hate, sadly. I think all these things have definitely influenced my writing. If you read “The Battle of the Erathiel”, you’ll find that we do talk about racism, we talk about immigration, about finding a new home and accepting it as your own and wanting to defend it, these are all feelings that I have grown up with, so in a way I do see myself reflected in my writing, at least my experiences and the things I’ve lived.

I now live in Santiago, Chile. It’s a long story but in summary, I never wanted to be here, I’m now here, but am happy to be independently building my home, making my nest, fighting my demons, and allowing myself to discover new things and write about it all.

How did you develop your writing?

I’m not sure how I’ve “developed” my writing but I usually write whatever I feel and if I wanna make it public, I check if it’s well-written. I guess I guide myself using the books I read as a reference. As far as “The Battle of the Erathiel” goes, I had two beta readers critique my work, so that helped me very much.

What is hardest – getting published, writing or marketing?

Oh wow, when you’re doing all of that by yourself, like I am, they’re all hard. I believe finding a literary agent is the hardest part. There are so many writers out there, talented and all that, especially in the Fantasy genre.

What marketing works for you?

I believe getting reviews is the best marketing tool I have so far, so I try to promote my book through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and ask to please review my work. I can only hope the reviews will be positive, which as has been the result to far, but I am always aware that my first book might not be for everyone. Either way, reviews help catch the eye of readers.

Do you find it hard to share your work?

At first, yes. Of course! You kind of stand naked before the world when you publish your writing. I firmly believe that when you share your art, whether it be music, paintings, poetry, etc., you expose part of your soul. So, yes, it is a bit scary but that’s when you’ve got to remember to be brave, you’ve got to remember what inspired you write in the first place and how the work of someone else who dared, inspired you, even changed you.

Is your family supportive? Do your friends support you?

Yes, very. My closest family (mom, dad, sister, brother) have been there for me. They haven’t really read my first entire book, just bits and pieces because they’re not into Fantasy, but they have pushed me and that’s a lot of help. My friends also, they are the best and some of them very good readers, good at critiquing, and that has helped me grow as an author. I think the biggest support has come from my friends, especially those that also write. We compare notes and give each other ideas, it’s the best. We’re actually considering making up a writer’s club.

What else do you do, other than write?

I like to play the piano, compose, and sing. I’ve recently started a band, Corvus, with a friend so I hope to be able to share our songs soon. I also enjoy travelling and discovering different cafes across the city, walking around Santiago late at night. I try to go to the theater as much as I can to the opera, piano concerts, ballet, I live for that. I’m also very sociable, so I love hanging out with friends and making new ones. Dancing is lots of fun, as well.

What other jobs have you had in your life?

I’m an English teacher, so I’m currently doing that, but I’ve also taught piano before, sold jewelry at the mall, and I’ve also sold cosmetics. All sorts of thing. Oh, and last year I moved to Buenos Aires for a while and worked at reception at a hostel, I loved it!

If you could study any subject at university what would you pick?

Probably something like Literature? Or perhaps Ancient History, but I love learning so much that I might even try to get into Astronomy or all sorts of things. I’m sorry, can’t choose!

If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?

That’s a tough one. I think I still need to visit more countries and cities to be able to answer truthfully but I’m guessing maybe… New Zealand or somewhere in the UK.

Tell us about your family?

I have an older sister and nephew, my little brother, mom and dad. Well, my parents are divorced and my dad lives in the US so I only see him for a few days during my summer vacations, he comes to visit. I get along really well with my siblings that live here, we’re close but we don’t always see each other. My brothers are also artistic, my sister sings and dances really well and my brother’s a musician and I would also dare to say quite a writer, even though he sometimes doesn’t dedicate much time to it, and my mom’s also a good singer and dancer, but she dedicates her life to education, we actually work together! I love my family, I couldn’t be luckier.

How do you write – lap top, pen, paper, in bed, at a desk?

All of the above! Also, sometimes on the floor of a subway train (when it doesn’t bother anyone), on a bus, on a bench, in the toilet, you name it! When it takes over, it takes over.

How much sleep do you need to be your best?

Oh, I don’t think I’ll ever truly know but at least 7 hours and hopefully no more than 9 ish. I am only guessing.

Is there anyone you’d like to acknowledge and thank for their support?

Well, my friends and family, really.

Every writer has their own idea of what a successful career in writing is, what does success in writing look like to you?

For me, success would be reflected on having many readers and to be able to publish about 7 books of “The Battle of the Erathiel” since the story is quite long and I would love that my book be turned into a TV series, a movie, maybe a board game or video game, a comic book, you name it. I would just love that.

It is vital to get exposure and target the right readers for your writing, tell us about your marketing campaign?

Well, so far, I’ve had some help marketing my book by having professionals share it with their social network, but I’ve also done my share through Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, just putting up pics or extracts, recommending they read it. Also, my friends and family have shared my posts, but everything else is far too expensive for me to afford.

Tell us about your new book? Why did you write it?

My new and first book is called “The Battle of the Erathiel: Across the Enchanted Sea”, it is an adventure, fantasy book where we find a group of elves, the Erathiel, dwarves and some humans, travelling across the sea to find a new home. At first, they encounter a terrible storm that results on one destroyed ship, one lost with the king’s daughter as captain, and the other one arrives at land. This story is about these survivors trying to find a new home as they enter Dôr Annon, the land that I’ve created for this story to take place. At first, they arrive at a desert so things don’t seem that promising but as they continue their journey things change. They face enemies, make friends, and love for this new land starts to grow in their hearts. We’ve also got some really dark villains and some good heroes starting to blossom, inside the story, and book one really leaves you with a cliffhanger at the end since there is still so much to tell in book two.

I wrote this story because it’s been inside me for quite some time, it’s just only about two years ago did I truly start to understand it and see what happened there. It’s a story about finding yourself, your home, about becoming a part of a new world and abandoning the old. I started this out way before all these conflicts in the Middle East started to appear everywhere on the news and I actually saw a connection with my story, with the story of immigrants as well, which is something that I’ve experience with. I guess, in a way, I am also telling my story, but mostly, the story of all those who have had to sacrifice to find peace, sacrifice to find safety and a future for themselves and their families. I also feel I’m writing this story for many other reasons, but you will have to find out what they are as you read the story, I’m sure you will.

If you could have a dinner party and invite anyone dead or alive, who would you ask?

Oh my goodness, J.R.R. Tolkien, of course! I would love to know what it’s like to talk with him, see what his mind was like. Wow. I’d also like to dine with Robin Williams, I believe he truly touched me as I grew up, his performances, his sweetness. Oh, this list could go on and on.

When you are not writing, how do you like to relax?

I like to relax by sleeping, playing the piano, reading, singing, composing, travelling, taking nice showers, walking, listening to music, travelling and cuddling.

What do you hope people will take away from your writing? How will your words make them feel?

I hope that through my writing people can get to know themselves better or better understand those around them. I don’t want them to read and just be like “Well, that was fun!”, which is not bad either, but I’d love for them to see the messages that I’m trying to share: peace, friendship, tolerance, equality, freedom, just to name a few. I would like to help people dream and have hope for a better world and, hopefully, motivate them to participate in changing it, as well.

Thank you so much for your time,  Constanza Mayer ! 

This is where you can buy her book on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Battle-Erathiel-Across-Enchanted-Sea/dp/1540328406

An Interview With Oliver Phipps

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Oliver Phipps

Oliver Phipps is an author, entrepreneur and adventurer. He served as a Paratrooper in the United States Army and studied at MSC.

In the late 1980’s through mid 90’s Oliver pursued his love of music. He enjoyed travelling, playing percussion and writing lyrics for popular bands. During this time Oliver also began writing short stories and articles.

After playing for thousands through the fall and winter of 1996 Oliver’s band abruptly disbanded. In early spring of 1997 Oliver, along with a good friend and guitarist got together with the intention to form a new group. But rather than form a new band the two put together an expedition plan for travelling to Northern Canada and Alaska in order to prospect for gold.

Leaving in April of 1997 Oliver and company travelled up the historic AL-CAN highway. After exploring the Yukon and Northwest territories of Canada as well as the Arctic Circle the team travelled over the Top of the World highway to Alaska.

1999-2000 Oliver travelled through Asia, visiting Indonesia, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia and Taiwan among other countries.

In 2004 Oliver published his first book and continues to write books, articles and short stories. Currently Oliver and family reside happily in the U.S.

It’s a pleasure for us to be interviewing Oliver and we hope that you’d enjoy reading this post while getting to know him better.

Describe yourself in five words.

Laid back, multi-tasking, adventurer.

How long have you been writing?

Well, my mother has a story that I wrote when I was around ten years old maybe, I’m not for certain on the age. Anyway, she tells me the story is great. I suspect it’s more of her being my mother than the story actually being that good. Nevertheless, it is a reference point for how long I’ve had an interest in writing and put forth an effort to do so.

As for the story, I’ve decided to take my mother’s word on it being great, rather than reading it again. I figure in this case, what I don’t know won’t hurt me.

Why do you write?

It’s a creative outlet for me. When I was younger I played drums and wrote lyrics in a number of bands. As I began to do that less and less, writing filled the void. I suspect we all have an artistic nature of some sort. For me, writing satisfies a need to be creative.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I suppose it was after The House on Cooper Lane hit the best-seller list. Even then it took a while to sink in. But, to see it as a best-seller gave me a sense of confidence that I could write and that people were interested in my work. Up to that point, I felt that I was a writer, but perhaps without any external justification to base it on. After my first best-seller, I knew it was for real.

How long does it take to write a book?

Generally, I would say a year to complete the first draft. I seldom work on one story at a time though. I’ll move back and forth from one project to another. A reason for this is that it helps me resolve plot issues or improve storylines. If I get to a point that I need to think about something for a while, I’ll put that story aside and work on another one. As I’m working on it, I’m also considering what to do on the previous one. It’s a system that works well for me. But it can also stretch things out. For example, the first novel to be released in 2017 has been three years in the making.

What writing are you most proud of?

At this time, the story I’m most fond or proud of would be A Tempest Soul. The story is not an overly complex plot. The main character doesn’t save the world or defeat a master villain. Yet, in her small universe, she overcomes almost impossible odds, and rises to impressive heights.

A Tempest Soul has been a number one best-seller in its category for almost a year now. Its not dropped below the top ten all year. So, I feel it’s special for a lot of other people as well. And, it is, as of yet, the most organic novel that I’ve produced.

Do you have a specific writing style?

Third person omniscient. It’s likely the only style I’ll ever use. I’ve tried several other techniques, such as first person POV. But there seems to be no other method that enables the freedom of third person omniscient. Though it has its drawbacks, it’s my style of choice and I’ll stay with it unless I absolutely have to change in order to relay a story properly.

How do you work through self-doubts and fear?

I try to review the positive things in my life rather than negatives. It could be the idea of taking a look at how far we’ve come every once in a while, rather than always looking at how far we need to go.

What does your family think of your writing?

My family has been great in regards to my writing. My younger brother has given me a lot of valuable feedback over the years. Everyone in my family has been supportive on some level. My mother has expressed some concern about content. But she’s not what you would call a science fiction or paranormal fan either, so that is to be expected I suppose.

How do you write – lap-top, pen, paper, in bed, at a desk?

Well, in the light of modern technology, I’m a little embarrassed to say that I wrote my first book by pen and paper. My wife then typed it up on the computer and began the editing process. I would also like to mention that was fourteen years ago. I could use a computer and word processor at the time, but the writing had more flow as I hand wrote it.

Since that first book, I’ve moved to a computer and would have difficulty considering any other way. I have several desktops as well as a laptop that I use to write. On occasions I will even use my tablet. I generally write at a desk or at times sitting at our dinning table with my laptop. I consider it a type of work so I don’t get too relaxed or I would end up falling asleep mid-sentence.

Every writer has their own idea of what a successful career in writing is, what does success in writing look like to you?

I’ve found a place in my writing that success means enriching other people’s lives in some small way. Certainly, as writers we must have some form of financial success in order to continue in our art. But, I feel that setting the first goal as producing a quality work of art, intended to enrich the lives of others, is a pure and respectable endeavor for any artist. If I can achieve that on a broad level then I’ll consider my writing career successful.

When you are not writing, how do you like to relax?

Some of my fans may not know this, but I’m a gamer. I do watch some movies and read, but I have a number of games that I play to help me relax. I’m telling ya, after killing a few dozen monsters in an alternate reality, I’m feeling pretty good! My oldest daughter is a gamer and we have a lot of fun watching each other play or discussing tactics for a certain game.

If you could have a dinner party and invite anyone, dead or alive, who would you ask?

Oh, I would certainly ask George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla would get an invite, though I would need to keep them in separate rooms…. 🙂 Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, J.R.R. Tolkien and Mark Twain without a doubt. And, to give it some class, I think Marilyn Monroe, Josephine Baker and Goldie Hawn.

Check out these links below to get to know more about Oliver or to buy his book.

Amazon author page:
https://www.amazon.com/Oliver-Phipps/e/B00IBF564G/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Author website:
www.oliverphipps.com

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/Oliver-Phipps-613242265417442/