Author Interview with Shanice L. McLeish

Shanice L. McLeish

Shanice L. McLeish is a writer of her own stature. She specializes in conversations proving that children, too, have feelings. Shanice brings extensive experience and effective leadership in grieving. She first learned her lesson on grief at the age of 8 years old when her father suddenly passed away in a car accident. Ever since then, she has been a trailblazer in lending her voice to grieving children everywhere.

Shanice has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Sports Management, with concentrations both in youth recreation and sport event management, from Kennesaw State University and a Master of Science Degree in Sports Administration from Georgia State University. In her free time, Shanice likes to hike, cook, spend time with her loved ones, and volunteer alongside her other Kate’s Club buddies. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her dog, Rocky.

What is your personal grief story?

I learned about grief early in my life. At the age of eight years old, my father suddenly passed away from a car
accident. Fast forward 13 years later, my paternal grandfather past away, and it felt as if I was experiencing
the death of my late dad all over again. 2017 offered a turning point in my grief story and I knew my journey
would never be the same.

https://www.grievingit.com/shop/p/griefontheplayground

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Grief on the Playground

How did you get into the grief community?

I started volunteering with an amazing grief organization that supports children and their families in Atlanta,
Georgia called Kate’s Club. Since then, I have met the most amazing people, who I now consider friends and
family that constantly remind me I am not alone on this journey. Creating my own space to share that feeling
with others led me into starting Grieving It – a unique voice in the grief community.

Why is Grieving It important to you?

Grieving It is important to me because it allows me to serve people everywhere. I feel blessed to have a
platform that support and meet people where they are.

What sets your company apart from others?

Grieving It is a brand that supports grieving people everywhere. We serve as a safe place for people to share
their mourning and lean into their grief journey. We’ve trademarked #normalizegrief to encourage a
movement where talking about death and sad feelings is ordinary. We offer free grief resources for both kids
and adults alike, to include: worksheets, coloring pages, journaling topics, and grief activities. Our children’s
book Grief on the Playground is a fun and adventurous tale that illustrates the grief roller coaster in action.

What was your inspiration for Grief on the Playground?

This story was birthed from my very own experiences. Through my dedicated service, I have connected with
kids and teenagers and their own grief journey. I wanted to give them something physical that made a lasting
impression on their grief. From there the story came together and wrote itself. Children all over the world
who has experienced a profound loss in their life are my inspiration. This book is my way to sit with them in
their broken place to let them know I am with them.

Why do you end your exchanges with “I look forward to grieving with you”?

To me this is a great ending to a conversation. It highlights that you are not alone on your grief journey. In
addition, I would like it lets others know that I am here sharing the tough space with them. Opens the space
for conversation to take place.

Any advice for those grieving hard right now?

It’s going to be hard and uneasy. Know that you are not alone and your feelings are valid. Remember this, it’s
not going to get easier but each day you wake up, you get a little stronger to handle it. Do all that you can to normalize grief.

How can people connect with you?

The best way to stay connected with Grieving It is to sign up for our newsletter at grievingit.com. You can also
connect with us on Instagram and Facebook.

An Interview with Author Laura Schaumer

Describe yourself in five words:

eclectic, creative, spontaneous, multitasker, silly 

What fact about yourself would really surprise people? 

I love 50s and 60s movies.

How do you work through self-doubts and fear? 

My support team! My family and friends, as well as some incredible people who I have met on the self publishing journey.

Why do you write?

I write to express myself. That is the beauty of literature, we can translate our perspective into words and hope that it resonates with others and how they are feeling.

Have you always enjoyed writing? 

Yes. I love to write. It doesn’t matter what it’s for.

What motivates you to write? 

Anything that captures my imagination, thoughts or views. Something I have seen on a walk. A conversation I had with my daughter or family. A conversation I overheard on the bus.

What books did you love growing up?

I LOVED Barentstein Bear books growing up! 

What is hardest – getting published, writing or marketing? 

Marketing is a skill I am still trying to learn. It’s a continued learning experience that you always need to keep developing. 

Is your family supportive? Do your friends support you? 

My family and friends are extremely supportive! They are always there motivating me to achieve all my literary dreams. 

What else do you do, other than write? 

I like gardening, making fun arts and crafts with my daughter. BBQing with my fantastic husband and going for late night walks with my friends.

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

In hindsight formatting and photoshop! 100%

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

I would want to live in an RV and have the ability to travel and visit places all around the world. 

Tell us about your family? 

I have an incredible husband, Daniel. He always makes me smile and thereby help me focus. My daughter is hilarious and will be turning 5 in September. I have a puppy, Kita, named after my main character in my first book. And lastly Athena our cat. She is basically in charge of everything. Hahah.

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

I like starting all ideas with pen and paper. Then to develop them onto my lap top. I love writing in the early mornings or late nights with a big cup of coffee and a noiseless atmosphere.

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

My new book was inspired by the spontaneous road trips my dad use to take my siblings and I on. We called it the Magic Van Rides. We never knew where we would end up! 

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

I love going for walks, being outside with my family and watching a good TV show or movie with lots of snacks! 

www.lauraschaumerbooks.com

https://www.facebook.com/lauraschaumerbooks

Author interview with Ana Radeboldti

Ana has degrees in education and teaches in public schools in New York City. She has combined this passion with her love of traveling by teaching in Kuwait, South Korea, and Mexico City. She has traveled the world over—her visits to Morocco, Italy, Croatia, Spain, Guatemala, Puerto Rico, and Israel have given her the opportunity to walk the paths of the characters she writes about.

Ana also enjoys life at home in the beautiful Hudson Valley area of Upstate New York. She’s a proud mother of a son serving in the United States Navy and the grandmother of three adorable grandchildren.

She has written three fiction books: Drawing Near to Paradise, Giving Entirely to Live, and The Passed Over Dinner: A Passover Tale.

  • Where are you from? I am from the United States
  • Why do you write? I write because it is cathartic, and I enjoy stepping into a new world with my characters.
  • What do you write about? I write about everyday ordinary events in the life of familiar people. And I have learned that sometimes these ordinary people lead extraordinary lives.
  • Do you have a specific writing style? I think I write like a talk. I am always telling stories, so I struggle with the show not tell style.
  • What are obstacles that come in the way of writing? My full-time teaching job can be an obstacle because when I come home from school, I am too tired to write, and I only have Sundays.
  • What’s the most memorable thing asked/said by a reader about your work? I like that one of the teachers in my school came to my classroom door and said, “I’m not hating your book.”
  • How long have you been writing? Since I was nine so about fifty-five years!
  •  When did you first realize you wanted to become a writer? In the fourth grade I wrote stories to entertain my classmates that became like a class soap opera.
  • What is your work schedule like when you are writing? I do my best writing at night and since I’ve been home with the Pandemic, I write from 11:00 p.m. to 12:00 p.m.
  • What would you say is your interesting writing quirk? I think my most interesting quirk is I can’t write with an outline
  • How long does it take to write a book? My first self-published book took 6 months because I was working with a hybrid publisher, my second, third and fourth books took about two months each.
  • Do you have suggestions on how to become a better writer? Write, write, and write some more and get good feedback. Don’t pay for editing and then revise. It’s a waste of money.
  • What challenges do you come across when writing/creating your story? My characters sometimes choose their own destiny and I must go where they lead me.
  • What do you think makes a good story? A good story is when there is an element of surprise. A character flaw you didn’t expect or the character steps out of the stereotype.
  • What does your family think of your writing? It’s a hobby to them and they’ll say, “Oh so and so’s daughter/son wrote a book too.”
  • Do you see writing as a career? Writing for me will be a second career because my first love is teaching. Although honestly teaching is losing its luster.
  • Do you have anything specific you’d like to tell the readers? I think the takeaway from my books is that they should not try to force their story to be something It’s not, nor should they try to follow the formulas many self-writing books offer. They need to write in their own unique style and stop writing to impress. They’re not going to get rich by writing in these days. Unless Oprah endorses their book for her book club!
  • When did you first consider yourself a writer? I considered myself a writer when I attended a Writer ‘s Retreat in South Carolina. Everyone there was a published author, and I came with my notebooks. When I shared the draft of my first novel with the group they loved it and I remember thinking. Heh I am a writer I can do this.

Author Interview with Benjamin Fassbinder

I am is an office drone from the Pacific Northwest who loves writing and storytelling. I have a lifelong love of anime, manga, video games, science fiction and fantasy, and I love blending genres in my works.

Where are you from?

  • I am from Washington State, near Seattle.

Why do you write? 

  • I like to entertain people, and I love coming up with characters and scenarios. Sharing stories and ideas with other people also a great way to get to know people online.

What do you write about? 

  • I write genre fiction, usually with a comedic or satiric bent. My Confessions of the Magpie Wizard series is like a more adult Harry Potter with an unreliable, misanthropic, half-demon narrator, for example. I’m in love with redemption story arcs, in particular.

Do you have a specific writing style?

  • I like first person narration best. It lets me really explore a character’s personality, and it makes writing descriptions more fun, since you can see what they think of others around them. I’ll probably write something in third person someday, since some types of stories really don’t lend themselves to first person, but for now, it’s comfortable.

What are obstacles that come in the way of writing? 

  • Time and energy are the big ones. I have a day job, so it can be a challenge sometimes to block out enough time to keep on my writing schedule. 

What’s the most memorable thing asked/said by a reader about your work?

  • It was one of my readers on Patreon. I had been posting the first draft of my third Magpie Wizard book for a year while I posted it a few chapters at a time. Somebody who had rarely commented before described it as “This series has absolutely lived up to and exceeded expectations!” It really made the hard work seem worthwhile, since that draft is going to be two books on Kindle once I’m done revising, so that was nearly a year of constant work!

How long have you been writing?

  • I’ve written on and off since high school, but I never really finished anything. I finished my first full book in 2017, and have been obsessed ever since.

  When did you first realize you wanted to become a writer?

  • I won a poetry contest in elementary school, but I don’t think it sank in until I started writing fanfiction in high school. I loved talking with people about my ideas and getting them down for others to read.

What is your work schedule like when you are writing?

  • I use a process called sprinting. You write with distractions turned off (I still listen to music, some say you don’t have anything on at all) for 15-20 minutes on a timer, take 5 minutes off, then repeat. I usually aim for 1,000 words on days when I’m able to write.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

  • I’ve read a lot of older British authors, like G. K. Chesterton, C. S. Lewis (you can see The Screwtape Letters all over how the devils work in my books) and George MacDonald Frasier. It means I have I commonly use a few older turns of phrase that can throw off my beta readers sometimes.

How long does it take to write a book?

  • I write pretty long books (around 100,000 words), so the first draft can take me about 4-6 months. I usually write around 15,000-20,000 words a month, depending on how busy I am in real life. Keeping my Patrons reading keeps me working at a steady pace.

Do you have suggestions on how to become a better writer?

  • Keep writing, even if you end up tossing most of it out (I’m sure I’ve discarded 300,000 words of Magpie Wizard material over the years, at least). Think of your writing skill like any other muscle. You don’t lift a 50 pound weight over and over again at the gym because it’s accomplishing anything, it’s so you’re ready when you have to lift something heavy in real life. 

Also, read more published books and less webfiction if you want to work on your style. Fanfiction and other online-only writers can have bad habits, since they don’t go through as much editorial control. I had to unlearn some quirks that were just grammatical and punctuation no-nos.

What challenges do you come across when writing/creating your story?

  • The planning can get away from me sometimes. I know points A and C, but sometimes B can elude me. The characters can take on a life of their own and do the driving sometimes, which can make me have to rework C. One time, I had one character pat another’s head in a sort of patronizing matter, and I swear I heard her voice scream “NO” in my head, which completely changed how the scene went.

What do you think makes a good story?

  • Well developed, engaging characters in well constructed, plausible scenarios. I don’t mean realistic, since I’m writing about a half-demon at a wizard school. I mean settings and characters that keep to the rules established for them. Once you have that, you’re most of the way there.

What does your family think of your writing?

  • Since my Magpie Wizard books are about a sarcastic, womanizing half-devil learning how to be human, I tried to hide it from them for a while. I think I made them worried, since they thought I was just sitting alone in my apartment all the time doing nothing. They were extremely encouraging when I finally told them what was going on, which was a relief. 

Do you see writing as a career?

  • For right now it’s a side hustle, but I’d love to eventually make it my only job.

Do you have anything specific you’d like to tell the readers?

  • I write under a pseudonym that’s an inside joke to me, a leftover from when I thought I’d never tell my family about my books. Hint: look up what a Fassbinder is in German.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

  • When I finished my very first book draft to completion. I had always thought I was just dabbling, and that I’d dabble forever, but I finally found a project that inspired me to see it through to the end, and then keep going with sequels. I ended up having to revise and toss most of it out, but it ended up being the basis of my main Magpie Wizard series.

Here are my main pages: 

I have a Substack, which functions as my newsletter: https://dbfassbinder.substack.com/ 

My Patreon, where patrons can read stories earlier than anyone else: https://www.patreon.com/dbfassbinder 

My WordPress page, where I announce when stories are launched on the free sites or published on Amazon: https://dbfassbinder.wordpress.com/ 

My Amazon Author Page: 

https://www.amazon.com/D-Benjamin-Fassbinder/e/B08CJZ4GKC/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_1 My Twitter: https://twitter.com/dbfassbinder

An interview with Author Bolivar T. Caceres

Bolivar T. Caceres is a New York City artist who writes poetry and fiction. He is the author of the chapbook Outside my Garret Window. It is available on AmazonHe writes for and edits the film blog, Film Studies 401, which analyzes a classic film every month. His poem, Rain in the Streets, appears on ShortEdition. Connect with him on social media @BolivarTCaceres.

1. Tell us about you and where are you from?

Hey! Before we start, I want to thank you, Jasveena, for this interview, and for giving artists like myself a place to share themselves and their work.

My name is Bolivar T. Caceres, and I live in the Bronx, New York. On my good days, I consider myself an artist. Although I dabble in all forms of creation — drawing, illustration, music, video making, etc. — my focus is composition, literature, and film history. My passion is storytelling. 

In 2019, Short Edition published my first poem, “Rain in the Streets.” You can read the poem on ShortEdition, and you can also watch the “Rain in the Streets” Poetry Video on my youtube channel. In 2020, I had the pleasure to release my first chapbook, “Outside My Garret Window.” It is a collection of poems written by a poet who searches for a way to connect with their world, using poetry as a tool for discovery. It is available on Amazon. One of the poems in this collection, “Untitled,” about identity, has an animation video you can watch. I create all my media, including the “Untitled” animation. 

I studied creative writing and filmmaking in college, and with that knowledge, I created my first blog, “Film Studies.” It is where we dissect sight and sound for pre-80s classic films. I work on this project with my good pal and editor, Mike Gates.

2. Is your family supportive? Do your friends support you? 

In my mind, yes, but maybe this is something we should ask them. Haha. Facades being as they are and all. 

3. Why do you choose to write more above your other forms of creations?

It’s not that I choose it; it is that I have to do it. It’s like you have to eat or… or like you have to go to work to have food, a home, the amenities, right? Well, I have to write to be non compos mentis. Haha.

4. What writing are you most proud of?

Although I love all my babies, those that I published, that I shared with readers, hold the joy of a bird seeing its fledgling soar alone for the first time. 

5. Congratulations on releasing your first chapbook, “Outside my Garret Window.” What is it about?

“Outside my Garret Window” is a collection of poems nominally written from the perspective of the Garret Poet — an aspiring poet who lives in a poor and narrow attic. The chapbook is about discovery, love, hope, and independence; these themes glue the poems together. It’s also about paying respects to the bards and artists that wrote and created before me, which I try to do so with the language and allusions to classical literature and mythology. 

In his space, the Garret Poet desires to be a bard, but he aims to connect and understand the world around him — past, present, and future. In a way, I think we all want this. So, when the reader closes “Outside my Garret Window,” I hope they know what the Garret Poet learned, that one can be part of this world as themselves, may it be as a poet or… whatever you want.

6. Why did you write “Outside my Garret Window”?

Although there have been many poems written and many attempts at compiling a manuscript, I didn’t go out and initially plan to write a chapbook called “Outside my Garret Window.” — But I guess it’s been a long time coming. 

However, I ultimately wanted my first book to be a homage to classic literature and art. I also wanted to show how poetry can embody one’s spirit, voice, and passions. And how that spirit can connect us to everything in life — people, places, and things. I think Emily Dickinson’s poetry did this beautifully. From these thinkings, I guess “Outside my Garret Window” developed.

“Outside My Garret Window” Book Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CfYf3zCBGOY&t=29s

7. What do you think makes a good story?

You. Readers are smart, and they know all the stories already. They see the twist, the turns, and although many remarkable writers keep readers on their toes, they know that no story is new. So, why do they continue to buy books? Why do they read? They come for you, your thoughts, your voice, your way with words. They come to see how you morph the old into something fresh. 

8. What motivates you to write? 

Not writing. 

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

When one closes “Outside My Garret Window,” I hope that a word, a phrase, a thought, lingers with them and grows like vines within them. I hope they are obsessed with these thoughts and feelings; So much so, they have to write to be free themselves. But the above is all is idealistic, right? All you should hope for is that the person who reads your books to be well. All one can do is to continue spreading positivity. For me, I try to do this with my creations, and I guess I hope my creations radiate it. 

10. Okay, last one, If you could have a dinner party and invite anyone dead or alive, who would you ask?

It can be me, you, Dickinson, O’Hara, Dick, Shakespeare, God, Ummm…Ummm. This is a hard question. I don’t want to exclude anyone. There are so many people. Can it be just everyone dead and alive? We can have a huge banquet, feast like how we imagine Viking gods did after a battle. Yeah! Everyone dead and alive at the banquet. Final answer. 

11. Do you have any closing thoughts that you would like to share with the world and our readers?

Bless. Yes. Thank you all for your time and for reading this interview. I hope you’ll go out and read my chapbook “Outside my Garret” and connect with me on social media. And lastly, continue being beautiful.

Website: BtcArt.Co

Social Media: Instagram/Twitter/Facebook/Youtube

An Interview with Author Dulee Paranavitana

Dulee Paranavitana
Dulee Paranavitana

Dulee Paranavitana, who also writes under the name D.R. Carmel, is the author of a poetry book, ‘My Musings’ and a novel ‘Jungle Jaunts’. Her books can be read and enjoyed by adults and children alike. Her next novel, titled ‘Midwood Magic’, will be coming out soon. Currently, she is working on her next book of poems ‘Ripples and Echoes’. She also writes on Wattpad as a hobby.

Describe yourself in five words:

Hardworking, dedicated, passionate, creative, and innovative

What fact about yourself would really surprise people?

I’m into marketing

How do you work through self-doubts and fear? 

I step out of my comfort zone

What scares you the most?

Butterflies

What makes you happiest?

My mother

Why do you write?

Because I enjoy writing

What motivates you to write?

I want to write a bestseller!

What writing are you most proud of?

My book Midwood Magic

What are you most proud of in your personal life?

Obtaining a degree

What books did you love growing up?

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s stone

What do you hope your obituary will say about you?

She did the best and worked hard!

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

I live in Negombo, Sri Lanka! I still live there!

How did you develop your writing?

I watched online courses and I kept on writing!

What is hardest – getting published, writing or marketing?

Marketing!

What marketing works for you?

Social media marketing

What else do you do, other than write?

I work as a digital marketing executive

What other jobs have you had in your life?

Musician

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

English

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

England

Tell us about your family?

My parents are doctors and my brother is a med student

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

Laptop

How much sleep do you need to be your best?

8 hours

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

People liking my book

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

Yes! I don’t have one as of now!

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

Midwood Magic, It’s a fantasy book!

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

J.K. Rowling

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

Listen to music

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

Feel entertained and inspired!

An Interview with author Greg Haynes

Greg Haynes

Greg Haynes (born Nov. 2nd, 1982) is the author of the “New World” book series, fanfiction writer and youtuber under the name max acorn. Born in Houston, TX, Haynes graduated from Forest Brook high school where he made a small comic book with his best friend title “Dragonball Xtreme”, named after the famous anime “Dragonball Z”. It was in his senior year that he began his small career as a fanfiction author and gained a following both in the Digimon and Pokemon fandoms.

In 2009, he started his youtube channel where he did weekly reviews of professional wrestling under the name “Shintigercurl”. He would appear as a frequent guest on the “Wrestle-cast” weekly podcast and in 2017, was offered a co-host spot on the weekly wrestling comedy show “Riffdown live”.

In the summer of 2017, Haynes gained minor fame when gaming YouTubers “The Game Grumps” read one of his fanfics, “Zelda and Sonic’s Day-out” during on of their playthroughs, gaining a new following among gaming fans.

These days, his channel is more focused on videos about the lore of the table-top board game “Warmachine”, which “New World” takes some inspiration from.

  • Where are you from?

I’m from Houston, Tx. Born and Raised.

  • Why do you write?

I write because I’ve got a million stories to tell and two hands to tell it.

  • What do you write about? 

Mostly fanfiction. But professionally, science fiction and fantasy.

  • Do you have a specific writing style?

Hmmm hard to say. When I’m working on my “new world” series, I’d say my style is quirkier. Some have said it reminds them of Doug Adams or Terry Pratchett.

  • What are obstacles that come in the way of writing? 

Getting started and finding time to actually work.

  • What’s the most memorable thing asked/said by a reader about your work?

Two things that I loved. One was a reviewer who said reading my work got him laid with his girlfriend. The second was when the game grumps read my fanfic on their channel. Got me a lot of fans from it.

New World on Amazon
  • How long have you been writing?

Since about 2000, when I was junior in high school.

  • When did you first realize you wanted to become a writer?

When I was a kid. Not sure when but I know I had a lot to get out of my head.

  • What is your work schedule like when you are writing?

If I’m really into a project, I do it like this: wake up, eat, do some chores, write for a few hours, listen to music, eat lunch, write some more, eat, write one more time and then sleep.

  • What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

Hmmm probably how I work in unique swears. Like in “new world”, I worked in the word “hells”, since in the book, there are many faiths and thus many hells. 7, in total.

  • How long does it take to write a book?

Took me about 3 years to write my first book.

  • Do you have suggestions on how to become a better writer?

Just keep writing and keep getting honest feedback from fellow writers.

  • What challenges do you come across when writing/creating your story?

Mostly getting how the flow of a story goes. How to get from point A to Point B. I have scenes in my head, and I have to find a way to connect them.

  • What do you think makes a good story?

A good balance between interesting characters and a solid story. A story can be bad on a technical level but still have great character and story.

  • What does your family think of your writing? 

They are very proud. My nephew loves my book and shares it with his friends at school.

  • Do you see writing as a career?

I would like to if I can earn a bit of cash.

  • Do you have anything specific you’d like to tell the readers?

If you have a story, write. And when you start writing, don’t stop.

  • When did you first consider yourself a writer?

In high school. I wrote a comic book with my best friend. He did the drawings and I wrote the story. I think that was the first time I seriously started writing.

Author Interview with Christian Espinosa

Christian Espinosa

Christian Espinosa is the Founder and CEO of Alpine Security, a cybersecurity engineer, certified high-performance coach, professor, and lover of heavy metal music and spicy food. He’s also an Air Force veteran and Ironman triathlete. He used to value being the “smartest guy in the room,” only to realize that his greatest contribution to the fight against cybercrime is his ability to bring awareness to the issue through effective communication. Christian is a speaker, coach, and trainer in the Secure methodology, helping to make the smartest people in the room the best leaders in the field. For more information, visit http://www.christianespinosa.com.

Describe yourself in five words

Authentic. Disruptor. Seeker. Adventurer. Restless.

What fact about yourself would really surprise people? 

I have over 300 skydives and have jumped out of hot air balloons, helicopters, jets, and inverted biplanes.

How do you work through self-doubts and fear? 

I visualize what is the worst that can happen and make sure I’m okay with it. I also look at a future version of myself and think about the regret I would feel by not getting over the self-doubt and fear.

What scares you the most?

Losing freedom and being caged, constrained, or “locked down”.

What makes you happiest? 

Freedom to do what I want, when I want, where I want, and with who I want. I also feel happy knowing I’m helping make the world a better place, one person at a time, through my interactions, books, and example.

Why do you write? 

I feel compelled to share what I’ve learned with others. I’ve made a lot of mistakes, paid a lot of “dumb tax”, and learned some key concepts. I want to help others avoid the pitfalls I made, improve their lives, and improve society.

Have you always enjoyed writing? 

Yes, I’ve always enjoyed writing, but haven’t always made the time for it. It’s difficult for me to write if I don’t schedule it into my day. Just trying to fit it in my schedule or doing it when I feel like it doesn’t work for me.

What motivates you to write?

I’m motivated to get my message out to help others. I want to affect positive change. Like with my book “The Smartest Person in the Room”, I want to help technical leaders, help the cybersecurity industry, and improve our chances of stopping cybercriminals.

What writing are you most proud of?

The Secure Methodology I created for “The Smartest Person in the Room: The Root Cause and New Solution for Cybersecurity”.

What are you most proud of in your personal life? 

Finishing 22 Ironman triathlons.

What books did you love growing up? 

Growing up I read a lot of Stephen King and science fiction. As I got older, I shifted to nonfiction books that I felt would help me in my life, such as Unlimited Power by Tony Robbins and Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.

What do you hope your obituary will say about you? 

3 things. 1) that I lived an authentic life, wasn’t afraid to take risks, and “went for it”, 2) that I left everyone I interacted with in a better place, 3) that I worked hard to become a better person each day.

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

I grew up in Riverside, California until I was 12, then moved to Clarksville, Arkansas. These days I travel quite a bit. I wrote “The Smartest Person in the Room: The Root Cause and New Solution for Cybersecurity” in numerous places – Missouri, Arizona, Ireland, and Portugal.

How did you develop your writing?

I’m a fan of putting things on paper, then revising it. Sometimes just getting started is the hardest part. I’m an avid reader and have studied many books on writing.

What is hardest – getting published, writing or marketing? 

Marketing is the hardest. I used to think it was writing though. Writing is creative and inspirational. Marketing can be frustrating because you want your book to get noticed, but there’s a ton of noise out there and competition.

What marketing works for you?

I’m not sure I’ve found the magic formula for marketing. The best thing is to know your target audience and market to them – speak in terms they understand.

Do you find it hard to share your work? 

No. I know my book has massive value, so I want to share it.

What else do you do, other than write? 

I founded and run a cybersecurity company, Alpine Security. I sold Alpine Security to Cerberus Sentinel in December 2020. I’m now a Managing Director for Cerberus Sentinel, a cybersecurity services provider.

Christian’s book on Amazon

What other jobs have you had in your life? 

I’ve had many jobs, such as the following:

  • Grass mower
  • Grape planter
  • Chicken Eviscerator
  • US Air Force Officer
  • Cybersecurity Trainer
  • University Professor
  • Cybersecurity Executive
  • Business Owner
  • CEO

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

Human psychology.

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

Kona (the Big Island), Hawaii.

How much sleep do you need to be your best?

I aim for 7.5 hours.

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

Success to me is when my writing has made a positive impact on others. When someone’s life has improved because they read my book.

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

My marketing campaign is aggressive. My target audience is technical leaders, ideally in cybersecurity. My campaign consists of media outreach, podcasts, social media, blog posts, Amazon ads, emails, interviews, etc.

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

My new book is “The Smartest Person in the Room: The Root Cause and New Solution for Cybersecurity”. I wrote this book because I went through a lot of pain and difficult struggles with my cybersecurity business. I figured a lot of things out though and wanted to share these lessons learned with others. As a cybersecurity business founder, owner, and CEO, my perspective shifted because necessity was much higher…if I didn’t figure the issues out in my organization and industry, I could lose everything. There was more at stake. I recall one of my team members telling me once that one of our clients “just didn’t get it” – meaning, the client didn’t understand the severity of the cybersecurity issues we discovered and didn’t know how to remedy the issues. I’d heard this phrase “they just don’t get it” or “they don’t understand” many times throughout my career. It hit me differently though this time and I realized that it is our role to make sure they get it. This made me realize the underlying issues in my industry – the general idea that a lot of highly technical people feel intellectually superior to others, so they posture, talk over people’s heads, etc. This is the real reason we are losing the cyberwar.

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

I would invite Hitler. I find it intriguing how one man can influence so many to do such atrocious things. I’d love to gain some insight into his way of thinking, personality, what trauma he was struggling with, how he justified his actions, etc.

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

I hope my 7 Step Secure Methodology will give people the awareness and tools needed to improve their lives. I want people to feel great about themselves and realize they are capable of more than they think they are.

Do you have links that you’d like to share for others to read?

My website: https://christianespinosa.com/

Check out Christian’s website

My book on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08T6QK6FN

An interview with Ujjwall Uppuluri

I am an International Economist who enjoys reading in his spare time historical fiction, fantasy, and science fiction novels. I studied economic history at the London School of Economics and the University of Edinburgh. I was fascinated by the history of the Byzantine Empire written by Treadgold and Ostrogorsky and I wished for this empire that once spanned two continents and was known for its diversity and wealth to once more be exposed to modern literary circles. To be added to my mailing list please send a message to ujjwalluppuluri@hotmail.com. To learn more about the novel and the characters in it, visit the following website: https://www.byzantinechronicles.com/

Tell your readers a little about yourself, where you grew up, where you live now, where you went to school etc.

I was born in India and grew up in the United States, and studied in the United Kingdom. Currently, I live in Washington D.C. and attended to the University of Edinburgh and the London School of Economics for my undergraduate and graduate studies.

What inspired you to author your book?

I had always been interested in fictional literature—more specifically historical fiction, science fiction, and fantasy novels—and as a kid, I grew up reading Steven Erickson, Isaac Asimov, and Harry Turtledove. I was also quite interested in counterfactual historiography and what-if scenarios, and I thought why not create a novel that combines my interest in an alternate history with my interest in fantasy. As strange as it sounds, in middle school, I had a dream, and it left such an impression on me that I decided I had to put what I had dreamt about on paper. Of course, that was back in middle school, and as my writing ability matured, the current plot is quite different from what it was back then, though the essence of what I had dreamt is still present in this novel.

Where did you get the inspiration for your book’s cover?

The inspiration for the book’s cover came from a graphic designer who I had hired to help design it. I felt that the sword and the crown best represented the nature of war and politics in the medieval period.

Who has been the most significant influence on you personally and as a writer?

A Japanese author known by the pen name Ryukishi 07. He wrote a horror-mystery novel called Umineko When They Cry, and his writing style is one that focuses on the idea of the world being a chessboard and the actors in it pieces. These pieces follow a set of rules and interact with each other, but they don’t know that they are pieces. In the meta world, there is the player, and there is the game-master. The player is the reader. While the game-master is the author, his books emphasize that the story is a game played by the reader and the author where the author creates an illusion around the true meaning that he is conveying with the story, and the reader tries to break through that illusion to understand the truth.

What were your struggles or obstacles you had to overcome to get this book written?

The biggest challenge I found was that I would have times where the ideas would just flow, and I would make lots of progress, but at other times I would be stuck and not know how to proceed. Furthermore having to go back and edit a 100,000-word storyline by line was also challenging, but I overcame both challenges through perseverance.

Tell your readers about your book.

It’s the year 1071, and the Roman Empire is on the verge of collapse. Romanos IV Diogenes, the emperor, is overthrown by his military general Michael Ducas as nobles rise against the state. Smelling blood, and encouraged by the chaotic state of affairs in Constantinople, foreign powers vie to crush the once-mighty Empire. But not all is lost, yet. The Sword of Emperors, home to an ancient spirit, transports itself to another time and place hoping to find a worthy champion. Ending up in modern-day New York, it lands at the feet of the most unlikely candidate. Anil is a homeless, ex-operations commando making a living on the streets. Feeling the weight of his failures, all he wants is a chance at redemption. When Providentia, the spirit of the sword, appears to him, it shakes his world. Eager to redeem himself and to make his mark, he accepts the spirit’s request for help. Transported to 1071, he is the Roman Empire’s only hope. Will Anil survive long enough to prove himself and restore glory to the Empire or die trying? Through the lens of Anil and various historical figures, we are taken on a journey entwined with Imperial Constantinople, Hungary, Italy, the Near East, Persia and the Levant.

Who is your target audience, and why?

My target audience is fans of historical fiction and alternate history. The book has been written in a style to appeal to all ages, because I wish to share to the wider world the world medieval byzantine society. If you were going to give one reason for anyone looking at your book to read, why should they buy it? The reason why you should buy my book is that it is able to strike a balance between historical facts, adventure, and story, and war, leaving an impression in your mind about a once-great empire and the colorful historical figures who led it, fought against it, and who lived in it.

What do you consider your greatest success in life?

My greatest success in life was when I successfully completed my undergraduate thesis at the University of Edinburgh. The effort I put into that thesis from collecting data to writing the final paper, I not only a learned much about the period I was writing, but I was able to hone my skills as a writer and thanks to the marks i received in this thesis, I was able to enter the graduate program of my dream university.

What one unique thing sets you apart from other writers in your genre?

One thing that sets me apart from other writers in historical fiction is that I am someone who tries to balance cultural diversity with character development and plot to create a book that not only tries to capture the state of a society in the past but does so with a focus on ensuring that the main and secondary characters grow as the story develops.

How do you overcome writer’s block?

I leave the book for a bit and do other activities such as going for a walk. I also listen to upbeat music and try to think about where the story should go next.

What one piece of advice do you have for new authors?

One piece of advice I give to new authors is. In this modern world we focus a lot on character identity and diversity. While this is important, make sure that the plot does not suffer as a result and make sure that what defines your book is not the external features of your character but who they are internally. This is because people connect far better to a well developed character than to a caricature. That does not mean you should have character diversity, but don’t make that be the focus at the expense of character development. After all, I am sure no author wants Mary Sue’s or Gary Stu’s in their novel. Tell your readers anything else you want to share. Thank you for taking the time to learn more about me. I look forward to you’re thoughts on the novel and this being my first novel I ever published, I would love it if you do purchase the book to leave feedback.

Author interview with Daniel Mainwaring

Thirty years ago I cut my teeth in writing fiction and enjoyed both sci-fi and historical fiction. A strange combination right? I agree. As time went on I found myself drawn away from fiction and spent many years working on factual matters related to travel and business. It kept me very busy and I enjoyed the research and the writing. But in recent years, I’ve slowed down on the steady work of “fact” and slowly returned to my first love: fiction.

I must confess that I have a certain devilish very dry sense of humor. This manifests itself in my books. I don’t strive to write comedy — far from it — but if you’re seeking something absolutely dry and heavy on science then you’re looking in the wrong place. If you’re looking for something with an actual scientific basis, careful research and just a dash of dry humor then I may be your man.

I’m interested in concepts but fundamentally I am far more interested in people. If a volcano erupts, that is interesting. But I’m more interested in how people react to it. I’m fortunate in that I have travelled the world and seen the proverbial good, bad and ugly. That is what drives my stories.

Describe yourself in five words

Tall, funny, eccentric, irreverent, nutty

What fact about yourself would really surprise people? 

I am a licensed soccer coach and referee

How do you work through self-doubts and fear? 

Meditation, long walks, going to the gym

What scares you the most? 

Spiders

What makes you happiest? 

Spending fun times with friends and family

When Babel Floods

Why do you write? 

Fiction that draws heavily one people and places I have experienced

Have you always enjoyed writing? 

Always, since I was a very young kid I’ve had an active imagination

What motivates you to write? 

The idea of escaping from the monotony of life.

What writing are you most proud of? .

I have made a lot of money with finance publications but I much more enjoy writing fiction and that’s the work I am proud of.

What are you most proud of in your personal life? 

My daughter

What books did you love growing up? 

Science fiction books, and Charles Dickens classics.

What do you hope your obituary will say about you? 

We made a mistake, he’s actually just sleeping

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

I grew up in London, but I live in Texas now. Same language but different worlds in so many ways.

Is your family supportive? Do your friends support you? 

Mostly they are supportive but you always get that one cantankerous “friendly” reviewer.

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

In a Bure in Tahiti

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

It’s been in the works for many years and I started it, stopped it, changed it over and over again while I finished many other projects. I finally got to the point in my life where I felt I could relate to each of the evolving characters and satisfactorily bring this book to a conclusion.

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

Charles Dickens, maybe someone like Stalin just to beat the crap out of him.

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

Hopefully it’s real enough to connect with but unpredictable enough to offer them some joy.