Adrienne Thompson | Interview With An Author

Adrienne Thompson pic

About The Author:

Adrienne Thompson has worn many titles in her lifetime–from teenage mother to teenage wife to divorcee to registered nurse to author.

This mother of two young adults and one teenager currently resides in Arkansas with her daughter where she writes and publishes her stories full time.

What’s your favourite book and why? The Color Purple is my favourite book. Up until reading that book, I had mostly read romances. The Color Purple changed my idea of what a book could be and exposed me to a side of life I knew nothing about.

Tea, or Coffee? Tea, with lemon and lots of sugar.

What got you into your particular genre of writing? I have a heart for broken women and their issues and I am a true believer in love, so it was only natural for me to write inspirational women’s fiction and romance. But I do write general inspirational fiction, as well.

Why do you love writing it? Because I love crafting storied about love, self-acceptance, and redemption.

How many books have you written and what are they? I’ve written several and published 17 books. They are:

The Bluesday Series:

  • Bluesday
  • Lovely Blues
  • Blues In The Key Of B
  • Locked out of Heaven

The Been So Long Series:

  • Rapture
  • If
  • Been So Long
  • Little Sister
  • Been So Long 2 (Body and Soul)
  • Been So Long III (Whatever It Takes)

The Your Love Is King Series:

  • Your Love Is King
  • Better

Stand-Alone Novels:

  • When You’ve Been Blessed (Feels Like Heaven)
  • See Me
  • Ain’t Nobody
  • Home

As a series author, do you find it hard to keep the story fresh? Not really. My series installations could be stories about anyone, but they just happen to follow the same characters. I try not to recycle stories.

What tips can you give aspiring authors about writing a series? Keep the story fresh and allow your characters to grow. Also, try to wrap-up some parts of each storyline. Cliff hangers are okay, but it’s important for the reader not to feel like they are being strung along on an endless journey.

 Is there anything controversial or different about your writing? My work is Christian-based, but my characters are not perfect. They are flawed, they make huge mistakes, and not all of them are likable.

How do you manage your time? Is it hard balancing your writing life with your working life? I quit my job two years ago and am now a full-time writer and independent publisher of my work. I do have to balance time between writing and marketing, and I use my Google calendar to schedule everything I do. I am able to manage my time better with a good schedule in place.

Are you self-published or with an agent? Was this an active choice? I am self-published and yes, it was an active choice. I am a bit of a control freak, so I enjoy having creative control, not to mention he monthly royalty checks. J

You’ve got a new book out! What’s it about?

HomecvrsmallMy new novel is titled, Home. It’s the first book I’ve written from a male’s perspective. Here’s the blurb:

For ladies’ man Ivan Spencer, there really is no place like HOME.

A family emergency brings former rapper and current real estate mogul, Ivan Spencer, back to his long-abandoned hometown. While there, he must deal with his confused mother, his elderly, philandering father, his flaky sister, an unreliable aunt, and a face from the past who makes him question some of his earlier decisions. All he wants to do is to get things squared away and return to his life, but as it turns out, he must deal with his own issues first.

Any links or websites you would like my readers to visit? Sure, readers can connect with me on the following sites:

Website: and 










Miranda Shanklin | Interview With An Author

Author picAbout the Author

Miranda Shanklin resides in Central Illinois with her husband and their two children. When she is not working at her day job as a paralegal, running her children to practices or supporting them at events she is writing. She has been an avid reader most of her life and has always dreamed of writing her own books someday. Now that her children are reaching their teenage years she is finding the time to sit down and chase her dream.

Miranda loves to hear your opinions and uses the feedback to improve. You can find her on Facebook at or email her at

– Let’s here from Miranda herself! –

What got you into writing?  I have always loved reading and dreamed of writing. One day I just decided to start writing.

What’s your favourite book and why? I don’t really have a favourite. I love all kinds of books.

What’s your writing routine? I sit down at the computer and start typing.

Tea, or Coffee? Coffee, lots and lots of coffee

What got you into your particular genre of writing? I love reading paranormal romance so it made sense for me to try writing it.

souldiscovery-shanklin-ebookWhy do you love writing it? I love to write what I would love to read.

As a first time author, how are you finding the publishing process? A little overwhelming.  I have had a lot of advice and tips from other authors as I try and find my way through it all.

How many books have you written and what are they? I have one full series out. The Soul Series consists of Soul Journey, Soul Redemption, Soul Knowledge, Soul Freedom and Soul Discovery.

As a series author, do you find it hard to keep the story fresh? It can be challenging. You have to find something new for each book but it still has to relate to what happened in the previous books.

What tips can you give aspiring authors about writing a series? Have an idea of how many books you want to include and a general idea where you want them to go. It will help to make it flow better.

Is there anything controversial or different about your writing? Not that I know of .

How do you manage your time? Is it hard balancing your writing life with your working life? My life is crazy busy. I am a mother first, then a wife, then a paralegal and then a writer. I have a very delicate balance that gets thrown off all the time LOL

soulfreedom-shanklin-ebookAre you self-published or with an agent? Was this an active choice? I am self-published. It was an active choice. I don’t have anything against agents or publishing companies I just wanted to show myself that I could do it on my own.

Do you have a writing space? Tell us what it’s like! Right now my laptop is set up on my dining room table. I hope to add a small office onto the house in the next couple of years but for now I am in the middle of the house.

How do you keep motivated? I have a whiteboard with my characters and other important facts about the story that is in the dining room. Every time I walk through the house I see it and it keeps it all alive for me. My kids and husband are also very supportive and do everything they can to help me.

soulknowledge-shanklin-ebookWhat did you struggle with the most when writing your new book? I had a little trouble at first getting it to come across on the page the same as it was in my head. It took me a little while to find my writing style.

Do you have any hints/tips for my readers about writing? If you can come up with a story that you would want to read then there is nothing stopping you from trying.

Is there anything you wish you had known BEFORE you started your latest book? A better way to market my books. I am still working on that LOL

You’ve got a new book out! What’s it about? My books are about a group of witches. There is a little twist to the witching world though. There are no new witches born. The souls of each witch go through life cycles and as they get older they remember their past lives. The main characters in the story are the exemption to most of the rules due to a punishment that they have been fighting against for many lifetimes. They break free from their punishment only to find that they have now created an even bigger problem.

soulredemption-shanklin-ebookHow did you decide on cover art? Did you consult with a designer or is it all you?

I asked a fellow author about cover art and what was the best option. I have zero ability in that field. I found the cover for my first book on Paper and Sage Designs in their pre-made section. I fell in love with it and bough it. I then worked with the cover artist to custom make the other covers so that they would all stay in one theme.

Any links or websites you would like my readers to visit? My author site is; my facebook is

Interview with an Author: KIRBY HOWELL

I’ve got a special #InterviewWithAnAuthor for you today… from a writing team! Check out the interview below:



Dana Melton and Jessica Alexander, who write under the name Kirby Howell, have been writing together since 2000 when they met as freshman in their first script writing class at the University of Alabama.  Dana, a native Southerner, quickly showed Jessica the ropes and the joys of living below the Mason Dixon Line.  Having lived in nearly every other part of the country, it didn’t take Jessica long to acclimate to sweet tea, grits and football.  Four years later, with a couple of film degrees under their belts, they moved to Los Angeles to pursue their professional writing careers.

What got you into writing?

Dana: I always used to write stories to entertain myself and friends growing up.  And when I got to college, I started doing Role Playing Games and Fan Fiction.  It never occurred to me that I could make a living doing it, until one day after I’d moved to Hollywood and started assisting in a TV show writing room.  I went to Jessica after that and said, “You wanna do this together?”  That was in 2003.

Jessica: I wanted to be a novelist for as long as I can remember.  I was a major bookworm in elementary school.  I have a distinct memory from 5th grade when each student had a construction paper ice cream cone on the classroom bulletin board.  After finishing a book, we could cut out a construction paper scoop of ice cream, write the book’s title on it, and staple it on top of our cone.  All too soon, my ice cream cone started to look like Carl’s house in the Pixar movie Up, except the balloons were scoops of ice cream in my case, and began to take over the entire board.  I wanted to have the same effect on readers that my favorite books had on me.

What’s your favourite book and why?

Dana: I have two favorite books, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Pride & Prejudice.  I was given an old copy of Hitchhiker’s Guide by my father during an epic snowstorm in 1993, and immediately fell in love with Douglas Adams.  His wit and sharp satire about the absurdity of life have always amazed and entertained me. And Pride & Prejudice… I mean come on… Mr. Darcy.  Nuff said.

Jessica: That’s an unfair question – it’s impossible to narrow down, let alone name a single book to represent your entire reading history as your favorite!  There are different reasons books can be named as a favorite – the book that made the biggest impression on you (White Oleander by Janet Fitch), the book that you’re able to read over and over again (11/22/63 by Stephen King), the most entertaining, mainstream book that you wish they’d get on with making the movie version of (Ready Player One by Ernest Cline), or the childhood book that you associate with wonderful memories (The Little House Series by Laura Ingalls Wilder).  It’s just too hard to decide on just one.

What’s your writing routine?

We try and meet every Sunday, either physically or digitally, and start the morning with eggs over easy and toast… then spend the majority of the day either writing or breaking story.  There’s just something about a greasy breakfast with your best friend to put you in a good, creative place.  We also meet Wednesdays after work.

Tea, or Coffee?

Dana: Coffee.  Hands down.

Jessica: I enjoy coffee, but my caffeinated drink of choice is a chai tea latte (and has been for the past 15 years or so).  On a side note, people get confused when I say that I love going to get ‘coffee’ but I rarely drink actual drip coffee.  The word “coffee” (for me) has become synonymous with ordering any beverage from a coffee house menu.  Kind of like saying “Kleenex” when a “tissue” is all you need, or ordering a “Coke” in the South when you want a “soda.”

What got you into your particular genre of writing?

Dana: I’ve always been into Scifi.  One of the first novels that my Mother used to help me learn how to read was the novelization of Star Wars.  I remember being about five when I first sounded out Chewbacca.  I was very proud.

Sometime in college, I convinced Jessica to join one of my Star Wars Role Playing Games, which was her foray into scifi.  We had so much fun, that we just kept at it!

Why do you love writing?

Dana: I have a love/hate relationship with writing.  I love it when it’s done, or when I have no personal deadlines and I’m free to just be totally creative.  But when I know there are scenes that need to be written, I tend to get lazy.  That’s when I have to force myself to be creative on a schedule to get things done.  And that can be torturous.  But to not do the work?  That would be even worse to me.  Because at the end of the day, seeing the final product… that feeling of pride, knowing that you gave those characters, that story, life… it’s a high that you have to keep chasing.  So you write more and the cycle perpetuates.

Jessica: I love writing because it’s a release for me.  It helps me to get out all of the images, characters, and situations that flit through my mind all day.  When I get really focused (obsessed) with a story we’re working on, it’s all I think about, even when we’re not working on it.  Even when I’m working hard on something else, it’s there, bubbling away on the back burner like a good stew.  The actual writing is the valve that releases some of the heat on that stew so it doesn’t boil over!

As a first time authors, how are you guys finding the publishing process?

Well, we started down the traditional publishing path, and got about three quarters of the way until we realized that it wasn’t for us.  We wanted total freedom to tell our stories.  So we broke ties and put out the Autumn Series on our own.  It’s given us the freedom we craved, not just as writers but as marketers and publishers – which are areas we never thought about getting into before we had to.  And to be honest, Jessica and I really enjoy that process.  We both have an entrepreneurial spirit, and a knack for learning new skills.

How many books have you written and what are they?

We’ve nearly completed three Autumn Series books, and have a rough draft of the first book in our next series, called The Wayfarer.


The Autumn Series follows a teenage girl named Autumn as she navigates the post-apocalyptic world following a plague that decimated 99% of the world’s population.  She meets a mysterious young man who seems to have all answers but holds an unearthly secret.  The series begins in Los Angeles, with Autumn in the City of Angels and travels to Las Vegas and the Hoover Dam area in Autumn in the Dark Meadows.  Both are available on Amazon.  Autumn in the City of Lights will complete the trilogy and is due out this spring.

The Wayfarer is the next project that we’ll be working on and dives more into the fantasy realm.  The main character is a teenage girl running away from a bad foster situation.  She stumbles into another world and sets out to find the one person who was always there for her.

As a series authors, do you find it hard to keep the story fresh?

Sometimes.  We tend to move locations a lot in the Autumn Series, and that really helps, because we’re always meeting new characters and exploring new locales.

What tips can you give aspiring authors about writing a series?

Write, write… and write some more.  Don’t just call yourself a writer and actually put pen to paper a couple times a month.  Flex that muscle.  Develop a writing schedule and stick to it.  And make sure you focus your energy on one project at a time and FINISH them.  No one ever sold four or five half-finished projects.

Is there anything controversial or different about your writing?

The Autumn Series crosses a lot of genres, and because of that has a scifi twist in the middle.  That can be off putting for some who aren’t expecting that.  We sell it as a scifi-lite story, and try to support the twist in the middle… but some people forget that there’s a bunny in the hat waiting to be pulled out.

How do you manage your time? Is it hard balancing your writing lives with your working lives?

Managing our writing time has always been difficult because there are two of us – two work schedules, two husbands, two social lives, two houses that need cleaned, etc.  But writing has always been (and hopefully will always be) extremely important to us, so we MAKE time for it.  We set aside the majority of Sunday and Wednesday evenings after our day jobs to work together.  It helps that we’re good friends as well as writing partners so it (almost!) never feels like work when when we meet to write.

We also share a calendar and make (and try to keep) deadlines that we set for ourselves.  Because we’re self published, we’re our own publisher, manager, and agent.  While it’s difficult managing two personal schedules into one writing schedule, it’s also helpful that there are two of us because we keep each other motivated and accountable.  And one never wants to let the other down.

Are you guys self-published or with an agent? Was this an active choice?

We originally wanted to traditionally publish and had a contract with a literary agent and a publisher, but ended up cutting ties when we realized we weren’t going to be happy with what they were offering.  We’ve never regretted the choice to independently publish – it’s given us carte blanche to do what we believe is best for our product.  Granted, we have to act as our own publisher, agent, marketing department, IT department, and art director… but we love making all of the decisions ourselves.  The learning curve is steep, but we love it!

Do you have a writing space? Tell us what it’s like!

Our writing space changes, but for a long time we had a booth at our local Starbucks.  The majority of the first Autumn book was broken and written there!

How do you both keep motivated?

We keep each other motivated!  That, and friendly competition with our other author friends.

What did you two struggle with the most when writing your new book?

The first two books in the Autumn Series were written, beta read, edited, and published with almost no pause in the schedule.  The third book (that we’re currently doing rewrites for) has taken a bit longer due to various life events that have made it difficult to stick to our original schedule.  Our day jobs have always been a hurdle for us to deal with, but throw in having a baby and you’ve got some delays!  It’s been frustrating not being able to publish this final installment in a timely manner, but it’s always been important to us to continue working on it so we can complete the trilogy and start work on our next series.

How did you decide on cover art? Did you consult with a designer or is it all you?

We had some ideas for the cover art for Autumn, but needed help pulling it off.  After some research, we knew the cover needed to be eye catching from a thumbnail size due to it being an online purchase, and we also wanted the romance and apocalyptic elements to be present.  We hired a cover artist to help us and do the heavy lifting in Photoshop.  Jessica’s husband offered to photograph a couple friends of ours and we sent those pictures to the cover artist.  After a few variations, we finalized the art for all three books in the series and couldn’t be happier with the way they turned out.

Any links or websites you would like my readers to visit? (You can read excerpts from all three books on our website!)

Twitter: @KirbyHowell

Interview With An Author: Cortina Jackson

What got you into writing?

I wrote my first book when I was in the 4th grade. I always loved storytelling time, and I developed quite an imagination in grade school. It led me to writing very interesting stories for my friends, and for fun.

What is your favorite book and why?

Honestly, I have not read in a really long time, I have been busy in school and work and do not find the time to read for pleasure.

Tea or coffee?

Definitely coffee, it is a comfort drink for me.

What got you into your particular genre of writing?

With fiction, I am allowed to be creative and use my imagination to paint the picture of what is in my mind as vivid as possible. I can see it clearly, and I want the reader to see what I see. Therefore, fiction thriller was an easy genre for me. I also, enjoy thriller and horror movies, so this also sparked my fascination for this genre.

Why do you love writing it?

It is a fun to create a twist in the plot that keeps people second -guessing. I enjoy the thrill of a great plot. I guess I love writing it, because I enjoy watching it.

How many books have you written and what are they?

I have actually written two, but have only published one.  The first one is an adult nonfiction about infidelity through my eyes. As I have worked with many married men, and learned what they did, how they thought, and how they behaved, when not in the presence of their wives. I did not publish it, because I did not know how it would be received. The next one, I poured my heart and soul into, and was most proud of. I thought that if this one did well, I could eventually introduce the unpublished one, after I established myself.

Is there anything controversial or different about your writing?

Yes, I think that my writing could be construed as controversial. Because, I want the reader to see what I see when I am writing my story, I write very candidly. If I am describing something sexual in nature, I want the reader to feel as if they were there. If I describe the details of a murder, I want it to be told as if they are standing right beside the murderer. I think that my writing can be described as “head turning graphic,” read at your own risk!

How do you manage your time? Is it hard balancing your writing life with your working life?

It is extremely hard to balance all of the elements in my life. I work a full time job that consists of 12-hour shifts, 10am-10pm, so my entire day is shot. I work at a juvenile detention center, so I must focus on my job, which can be very stressful at times. I also go to school full- time online, as I am working on my second Master’s degree. However, online is a lot more consuming than going to class, in my opinion. There are lengthy assignments every week. Then, I must market my book on my days off, and try to schedule speaking engagements, interviews, social media etc. I have two sons, who I must make time for; and somewhere in my 3 days off, I must find rest, which rarely happens. It has been this way for a year now. I just take small bites off a huge elephant. I get as much done as possible, and during any down time at work, I try to sneak a little homework in. It is very hard. I hope that my book will become a movie, and it will all change for me.

Do you have a writing space? Tell us what it’s like.

I set my space up with a small light that overlooks my computer keyboard. On a little table next to my computer, is a small table where I set one bottled water, and one cup of coffee. I have a small fountain that I plug in so that I can hear the trickling of water.  I burn essential oils, and I set the music channel on Spa Jazz. The scene must be set this way, in order for me to write productively, during my writing periods.

How do you keep motivated?

I pray a lot. There have been so many times that I wanted to cry and give up, but then I think to myself, if I give up, then who will carry me? No one, there is no one; so if I fail, then I have failed myself. I pray and get back in the game.

What did you struggle with the most when writing your new book?

I struggled with writer’s block. Things would go really great for a while, and then I would finish a chapter, and think to myself, “ok, now what?” I had to walk away from it, and gather inspiration from watching movies, doing a lot of people watching, and reading. Later, after a difficult period in my life, the rest of my book came to me in dreams. I would wake up and write about what I saw in the dreams, and I was able to finish.

Do you have any hints for my readers about writing?

Yes, begin to think about marketing your book. Begin to form networks before finishing. You will need help when it comes to getting the book in the hands of the masses, and networking will certainly help you. Take your time and develop a good story, if you struggle with writer’s block, it is ok, take your time, it will come to you, but don’t rush it or your readers will be able to tell.

Is there anything that you wish you had known before you started your latest book?

I wish that I had joined a writer’s forum, and began networking. I am in many writer’s groups and chatrooms now, and I learn a lot of information about great websites to go to, publishers, writer’s contests etc. It is so helpful getting insight from 50 other people who may struggle with the same issue that I do.

You have a new book out what is it about?

The book is entitled “On Earth As it is In Hell” The book starts out with a conversation that takes place in Hell. Satan gives orders to demons, imps, and all of the other inhabitants in Hell; directing them to go to Earth through portals that lead directly to homes, schools, police departments, record companies, everywhere; and wreak havoc in the lives of people on Earth. People are already experiencing disappointments, depression, suicide, abuse, job loss; all kinds of turmoil. The assignment, directed by Satan himself, is to go directly to people that can be influenced, so that their souls can be claimed for Hell!

It is a fictional thriller about three characters who experience such tragedies. Their lives are relatable, and their experiences are graphically told. With all of the Hell on earth occurring these days, the one place that one can expect to find refuge is the church. But what happens when the church is in direct correlation with Hell? What unfolds as the church is found to be built atop portals to Hell; as demons enter into the services, the pastors, and the people seeking solace? What happens as the inhabitants of Hell enter into unsuspecting people, places, and things? What happens when they enter marriages, jobs, record companies, police departments, and political offices? Is there an end in sight?

An agenda is about to be introduced, Satan is wringing his hands with delight as new world agendas are exposed. In great detail, the layers of the character’s lives are peeled away, revealing graphic circumstances that will change them forever; for there is a worst fate that could be faced.

However, the story does not end without the deep, dark, underworld being revealed. Does Hell exist? Who is worthy of its torment and destruction? In this tale, you may be surprised! The story will captivate you, encompass you, and almost consume you, before releasing you to your own thoughts; which may be scarier than fiction. Life is scarier than fiction; the fate of the world is scarier than this! Riveting, intriguing, controversial, terrifying? Hell…Yes!

How did you decide on cover art? Did you consult with a designer or is it all you?

I knew what I wanted the cover to look like; Earth on fire, or the world in some sort of peril. I looked through some images, and saw exactly what I wanted, it was perfect; because it was the image that I had on my mind.

Any links or websites that you would like my readers to visit?

Definitely visit my website, at

Also, my book trailer can be found on YouTube by typing,” On Earth As It Is In Hell” by Cortina Jackson,

Or it can also be found on my website.

Also, go to my link on Amazon at

I can be found on LinkedIn and Twitter @tinathewriter.

Interview With An Author: Matthew Drzymala *EXTENDED EDITION*

What got you into writing? Hmmm, that’s actually a tough one. I don’t remember when I started to write to be honest. I remember writing small stories when I was small. I also wrote a story about a haunted house in secondary school which was voted as the best story by the teacher.

After that I was a little more sporadic in my writing, mostly due to being an angst-y teenager. I do remember writing fan fiction on my Red Dwarf fan site. I suppose that was when my desire to write really started, if I had to pin point a time.

I knew I wanted to write but I never really knew what to do until a friend of mine told me to take part in NaNoWriMo in 2011. It was a wonderful experience and I managed to 50,000 word challenge three days ahead of the deadline. It left me with a huge feeling of accomplishment. True, the manuscript is still gathering dust after numerous attempts to tweak and fine-tune the novel, but hopefully one day I will get it finished and release it.


I then decided to look for a creative writing course which I did when I moved from Manchester to Liverpool in 2012. I loved every minute of that course, it was so challenging. I thrived on the deadlines to write our stories by the following week, each piece had to be different and I wrote a lot of dark stories. I have never thought myself as somebody who would write dark tales, but I did on that course. However, I also managed to write some lighter stuff too, comedy mainly. That is what I enjoy the most.

I was nominated by my tutor for an Adult Learner Award and although I did not reach the final, I still received a certificate which sits proudly in my living room at home.

What’s your favourite book and why? I’m not sure I have one, to be honest. I have favourite authors. If I had to say one book that I just couldn’t put down, I would say The Green Mile by Stephen King. Having already seen the film a million times I thought I’d finally give the book a go. It is virtually word for word the film yet I couldn’t put it down.

Even knowing what was coming, I couldn’t wait to pick it up the next day. A fabulous book. I’ve only read it once but that one has to be up there with one of the most enjoyable books I’ve ever read.

What’s your writing routine? I don’t get a lot of free time. At the moment writing is more of a hobby than a lifestyle. I have lots of interests but I try to write for 3-4 hours on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Having recently moved into a new flat, my writing routine is almost non-existent. However, I do try and write a little but after work.

I don’t tend to sleep very well if I write in the evenings, though when I do this tends to set my mind racing and it is when I come up with a lot of story ideas. I should try and write in the evening more, but I have to balance that out with also starting a new job and fitting in my other interests. I think as time goes on I will become more focused on my writing and I believe that it will be more prominent and take over some of my other interests.

I’ve only been writing a year and I like to write when I feel like it, but I do try to fix those hours down on weekends to make sure I at least write something at weekends.

Tea, or Coffee? Tea, all the way.

What got you into your particular genre of writing? I write mostly light-hearted fiction. I am a huge fan of Pratchett and Wodehouse so I like to think I take some of the silliness from Wodehouse’s’ Jeeves & Wooster with Pratchett’s Discworld humour. While I could never claim my work should be named alongside these two greats, they are two authors I admire greatly.

I ended up writing these as I was mentally tired on my course after all the darker stories and I just decided to write something light. It has grown from there, really.

Why do you love writing it? I suppose because I love writing them. I really love the characters I have created, even the ones that are nosy-parkers and busy-bodies who you deserve a slap. I have one character that I could write all day and still find more to say about them. I never meant them to be a main character when I wrote the small story in night school but they have become pivotal to the entire series.

As a first time author, how are you finding the publishing process? It can be difficult, at times. Learning how to format my word document to upload correctly to Kindle was difficult and at times baffling. Even now it doesn’t always space correctly and can take some time to fiddle around with to get it right.

I would say that promotion is the hardest thing. Humour is so subjective that it’s not always an easy seller. I have one of my darker stories available and that one has sold more than my series all together. That probably tells me I should be writing psychological stories, but I enjoy what I am doing for now. I have some plans in the pipeline but I have to get around to them yet.

How many books have you written and what are they? I have written five stories, four of them from my ‘Bumpkinton Tales’ series. They are Last Christmas, Bittersweet, The Bachelor and Albert’s Christmas. The Christmas tales are just short story tie-ins, especially Last Christmas. I wrote that in a week as a last-minute festive extra to Bittersweet which I was releasing at Christmas.


Bittersweet and The Bachelor and meatier novella’s and are the main stories in my Bumpkinton series. I tend to think of the Christmas shorts as extra’s rather than main stories from The Bumpkinton Tales.

Bumpkinton, as you will guess, is a fictional village and the stories are sometimes serious but they are littered with silliness, squabbling and a dash of pathos. There’s always laughs mixed in with a bit of sadness. There’s no swearing either. I want to make these stories available to all ages. They are very much something you can pick up after a tough, wordy novel and just relax for an hour or two of light reading before tackling another tough book again.

Last Christmas won the best short story in the Indie Book Bargain Awards 2013 while Bittersweet was voted as Runner-Up in the Best Novelette category. Something I am very proud of.


My other story is a short called ‘Brainstorm’. It’s set in New York and follows the day in the life of Clinical Psychologist, Michael Eriksson. He is pretty messed up. I am thinking of a more action-based sequel and have the beginnings of story, but I don’t quite have all the pieces yet. It proved very popular and during a free giveaway shot to Number #1 on Amazon in its Suspense and Thriller chart.


As a series author, do you find it hard to keep the story fresh? Not really. I have a whole village of characters to choose from. I do take time in picking a storyline. I have a number of characters who appear in every story. One especially is Father Whitworth O’Grady. He was meant to be a bit part player at the start but he has become the main character. I try and veer away from comparisons to Father Ted.

Some people have mentioned I have written him like him, I refute that completely. Father Ted is a selfish and unbelieving priest, while being utterly hilarious. I love that TV show. However, Whitworth, while being a bit impatient is a good priest who always tries to do his best. Okay, things don’t always go to plan but in essence he is a very caring character. He doesn’t poke fun at God and the Church like Father Ted does. To me they’re not even like each other other than that they are Catholic Priests.

I would also say not to worry, my Bumpkinton stories are not about religion. It’s touched upon now and again because Father O’Grady is a priest, but I don’t go into the daily routines of priesthood or anything like that. He’s the moral conscience of the village more than anything.

However, he does do something very Father Ted-ish in my next story, it’s something I’m wary of, but it’s a one off and I think it works well as a gag.

The stories are sedate and take place mainly in Bumpkinton and are about sweetshops and singles nights. Things like that. I have characters I am yet to use and have plans for them further down the line so I have ideas how to keep it fresh, including bringing in external characters. I can always bring in new people to freshen things up.

What tips can you give aspiring authors about writing a series? I would say to actually not worry if a character changes slightly. I think when you write a series people expect a character to be one way all the way through. However, when you start writing your characters change naturally as you write more stories in the series, either through circumstance or sometimes just because you think ‘Wouldn’t it be brilliant if they did or said this?’.

You do need to make sure you don’t contradict yourself though. Always make sure that you don’t mention a character did something in a previous story when it was a completely different character. I did that once but luckily I had a great set of proofreaders who pointed it out. It happens. You think a character said something and then you realise it was somebody else.

Above all else, enjoy them. You’ll find things out about your characters you didn’t expect, they’ll grow and some characters you thought would be peripheral figures suddenly take on more significance. Enjoy the ride. Oh, and never be afraid to kill anyone off!

How do you manage your time? Is it hard balancing your writing life with your working life? Yes, for me anyway. As previously mentioned, I have a lot of interests. I am a huge football fan. I love series and movies and watch things regularly. I read a lot as well as spend time with my fiancée. I would like to write more than I do, but I am happy with the time I do, for now.

Are you self-published or with an agent? Was this an active choice? I am self-published. Brainstorm I had a publisher for, but unfortunately they went under so it was pulled. However, self-publishing means I can get my writing out there. It’s unlikely I would ever have found one. Getting a novel published is so unlikely that self-publishing is only the real means for lots of writers to get their work out there.

I have proofreaders and an editor as well as cover artists (Or I purchase them) so I have a lot of help. It can be expensive and I haven’t made a profit from being an indie author. However, for me it’s not about how much money I can make and how quick. I don’t want to be famous. I’d love my stories to be read and loved by lots of people but it takes time to find the readers. I promote on Twitter and Facebook as much as I possibly can. I post on eBook pages where possible as well as my own website. It is very hard to get noticed but I’ve found some readers who have bought and enjoyed all of my stories (not just friends and family) which is lovely. I speak to them on Facebook and it’s nice to talk to these people who I never knew existed.

To receive a message about how much they loved my story is what I love. My writing tutor always told me to ‘Write for myself. It doesn’t matter if you never write a novel or become world renowned, as long as you write, that’s all that matters’. She was a great tutor. Completely bonkers, but a great tutor all the same.

Do you have a writing space? Tell us what it’s like! Not at the moment, we’ve just started renting a new flat so at the moment it’s all new. However, we have a spare room now with a little writing desk which I would love to write at with a cup of tea. However, there are suitcases and boxes in front and all over it at the moment. If I can get that cleared in the next few weeks it will be a nice quite haven for me.

How do you keep motivated? I just try and enjoy what I’m doing. If I’m not, I walk away. I ask my fiancée, Elaine, for ideas or tell her what I’m writing. She usually comes up with something to spark me back into life and I can get cracking on my writing again. Elaine always has faith in me so she keeps me motivated. All my stories are dedicated to her and always will be. She is my inspiration.

What did you struggle with the most when writing your new book? I think I’ll talk about what I’m currently writing rather than my last work. The last story I wrote was Albert’s Christmas and I found it quick easy to write. My next story in the Bumpkinton Tales series will be called ‘The Fantastical Gregory Shortbread’. I actually started it in the summer of 2013 and since then my ideas have grown.

Suddenly the title characters personality has changed so I have had to re-write him. I had some ideas about his past and the overall storyline in general and it just didn’t fit to how I had written him in that initial rough draft. He works much better now that I have started it from scratch. I’m keeping chunks of the original draft but I have to change vast swathes of his dialogue.

I think leaving it so long between the original start is the story has changed and it’s getting my head around how to make it work. Some aspects I really want to keep, but it’s making them fit the new story. Mostly it’s just a little tweak but some bits need a complete change around and I want to keep a certain one liner or scene without it jarring. I’ll get there. I was hoping to release it in October 2015 but I’ve left it open to a 2016 release. I set myself tight deadlines at times so this time I am taking it at a more relaxed pace until I am completely happy with the end product.

Do you have any hints for my readers about writing? Write. Nobody wrote a book by just wanting to write. Start writing. The first draft won’t be your final product. It can take a long time. It can be boring and frustrating, but when you’re done you’ll feel so happy you managed it all the days of not being able to figure out what to write next will be worth it.

That above will be enough for most people to decide not to bother, but if you want to write enough, you’ll get started, enjoy the days the words flow, get annoyed when you can barely string a sentence together the next and after months of editing be thrilled with the finished book.

Write. Write now!

Is there anything you wish you had known BEFORE you started your latest book? Yep, the change in story and title character! 😀

You’ve got a new book out! What’s it about?  My last book was called Albert’s Christmas and is a short story set in Bumpkinton. It’s the inaugural Christmas Market’s in Bumpkinton and all is going well, that is until General Lloyd-Barnes, the man playing Father Christmas calls in sick. Father’s Whitworth O’Grady and Harrison Stalker race around the markets.


Amidst protests, flirty florists and a vindictive journalist, the priests are losing hope that is until one man steps forward to fill some very, big black boots. Somebody they did not expect….

How did you decide on cover art? Did you consult with a designer or is it all you? Luckily on Albert’s Christmas I found a website with the perfect cover. It matched my description of the Christmas Market stalls. However, my covers for Bittersweet and The Bachelor were hand drawn by my artist friend, Becky Ryan. I tell her what I want and she just produces it. She’s a very talented lady indeed. I like the drawings to be quite sketchy and a bit down to earth and simple and she just comes up with what I was thinking of.

Any links or websites you would like my readers to visit?

If anybody is interested in finding out more about my work you can visit the links below:




Thank you for the interview, it has been a joy! J

Interview With An Author: Deidre Mapstone

What’s your favourite book and why? To Kill a Mockingbird is my favorite book. I think it’s my favorite because it was the first book I’d read as a child that really transported me to another place and time. It was also so well written, and I loved the characters.

 Tea, or Coffee? Tea. I just discovered a chocolate chai tea that is amazing.

 What got you into your particular genre of writing? For sure, my daughter got me into writing for young adults. She’s always loved reading and writing fantasy, and we talk about our stories together all the time. She encouraged me to write my story down.

As a first time author, how are you finding the publishing process? As a first time author, the publishing process has been a learning process all the way through. My learning continues even after releasing my book. It hasn’t been difficult, but there is a lot of information to process, so it takes time.

Are you self-published or with an agent? Was this an active choice? I self-published, and did a lot of research beforehand. The self-publishing field is so new, it is growing and changing all the time. I felt it was the best way for me to get my story out at this time.

You’ve got a new book out! What’s it about? Sigrun, The Bandamann Saga is my first novel about the Lundgren family. They own and operate Sigrun, their restaurant in Maine. The four Lundgren children soon find things out about themselves and each other that are amazing. They then discover a huge family secret that changes their lives forever.

Front Cover

How did you decide on cover art? Did you consult with a designer or is it all you?There is a scene in the book that has to do with a moonlit night on the beach. I’ve always loved the moon, and we were about to have a special full moon happening (I believe it was last June). I got the vision of what I wanted to see on my cover, and my family and I went out to Canandaigua lake and shot the scene! The girl on the cover is my daughter, and she did a perfect job.

Any links or websites you would like my readers to visit?

Yes! I would love to welcome your readers over to my website for Sigrun:

There you can find Sigrun, The Bandamann Saga on paperback or ebook for Kindle. You can also follow me from there on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and my blog, iDDeas.

Interview With An Author: Carol Golembiewski

Author Carol Golembiewski:

Carol Golembiewski was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; she earned her art education degree from Mt. Mary College. She is a high school and middle school art teacher with a background in computer graphics, ceramics, painting/drawing, and art history who has taught in both Wisconsin and Florida. Carol currently resides in Wisconsin with her Siamese cat – Simon, and her Morgan mare named Echo.

What got you into writing?

I actually wrote a stage play in fourth grade. It was based on the Aesop’s Fable, “The Boy who cried Wolf,” except it was about a group of children that cried “UFO.”  They ended up being abducted and disappearing when aliens finally did come. We were assigned to write a play and perform it. That’s when I also learned I wasn’t an actress because I kept laughing during our entire performance, but the writing process was something I enjoyed.

After that, I attempted to write Star Trek fanfic. I even wrote a Star Trek novel, but never attempted to get it published. And when Yahoo 360 opened, I felt compelled to write blogs at least two to four times a week. I’ve even developed of few of those blogs into screenplays.

What’s your favourite book and why?

This might be considered strange, but I find a lot of ideas and inspiration from the Bible. If you read my Projection Room books, you’ll see certain themes between the lines that are Biblical, even though my series is considered by some a sci-fi/paranormal thriller.  I’ve been deeply inspired by Stephen King as well. Loved “The Green Mile,” and “Shawshank Redemption,” which is one of his short stories. I actually prefer his non-horror works. And I loved “Fade,” by Robert Cormier as well.  However, I think one of my favourite authors was Ray Bradbury.

And I love the novels of P.G. Wodehouse. I went through a period where I couldn’t get enough of his comedy novels.  Perhaps that’s why I always try to incorporate some humour into my books as well.

What’s your writing routine?

I usually take my laptop with me when I substitute teach. I find being in the educational setting invigorating, so when I get a prep (that’s when teacher do their lesson planning or grading), I pop open my laptop and write sometimes. Keep in mind that substitutes don’t have the responsibility of lesson plans or grading.

And I try to write when I’m home in the evenings. I set my egg timer and try to get in an hour of writing or writing related business during that time.

Tea or Coffee?

I drink tea at home, and I drink coffee when I’m outside of my house. I rarely make coffee for myself at home for some reason.

What got you into your particular genre of writing?

As a kid I loved the Twilight Zone and Star Trek (the original) series. While I find myself less and less interested in the outer space, alien and other planet type sci-fi, I love the idea that I can create a story simply based on “What if ….”   And I think the sci-fi, paranormal thrillers are more likely to do that. They’re more likely to ask the deeper questions we ask as humans sometimes.

Why do you love writing it?

While I love to draw and paint, but I find writing a little more fulfilling in that I’m not just capturing just a moment on canvas. Instead, I’m able to capture whole people, lives, and worlds and events. That’s far more than just a moment in time.  It’s incredibly gratifying to start a drawing and watch it form, but it’s even more satisfying to having a story told from beginning to end. It’s satisfying to create characters that people tell me that they like, care about and can relate.

As a first time author, how are you finding the publishing process?

My publisher walked me through the self-publishing process pretty well.  But I learned I needed to be more proactive with the editing process with the second book. I think that is what’s making me a better writing ultimately.

How many books have you written and what are they?


I’m currently editing and doing the cover art for book 3 of the Projection Room series (The Projection Room: Our Brother‘s Keeper.” I started outlining and drafting the final book of the series right now. In addition, I’ve been writing several screenplays. I have “Zombie Day Care Apocalypse” listed on It’s a romantic comedy about a B minus filmmaker who is trying to reconcile with his wife. And I have another screenplay titled “Feeling for Home,” also a rom/com that was inspired by a blog I wrote a few years ago.  I’m considering whether to convert those two novels at the moment.

In addition, I’m working on a book (possibly a series of two books, not sure yet) about a conspiracy theory radio host that goes by the name of Deuteronomy Jones. It is sort of a prequel to another book I have started with the working title of “The Enoch Chronicles.”

Originally, The Projection Room was a screenplay. I had a gentleman that was attempting to serve as my agent at the time that recommended I rewrite the script as a novel, and the rest is history. That’s my process. A screenplay is an extensive outline; each scene easily becomes a chapter.

As a series author, do you find it hard to keep the story fresh?

Not really. While I was working on the first book, (spoiler alerts!!) I had intended to kill off Bruce Mallory, but then I got an idea for another book and realized that to tell that story, he needed to live. Ultimately, I think I got a much better story with The Projection Room: Two from the Cubist Mist as a result. Once the ideas started to crystallize while working on the first book, the course of the series was set. I knew by the time Book 1 was completed where the series would go.

What tips can you give aspiring authors about writing a series?

When an idea comes to you, write it down RIGHT AWAY, or as soon as possible. I remember reading an interview with Ray Bradbury. He said that when he gets an idea he would put it on an index card and file it into a box with the rest of his idea index cards. He claimed he never suffered from writer’s block because when he was at a loss as to what to write, he’d just go through index cards and something would jump out at him.  Doesn’t matter if its index cards or files you create on your desktop, I think if you want to write and continue to write, it’s a great habit to develop.  I think this applies to a standalone book or a series.

Is there anything controversial or different about your writing?

I think my Projection Room series is different in that I’ve been able to marry my interest in art and art history with the science fiction/paranormal genre. I know that’s not necessarily controversial, but I’ve been told it is different. Perhaps that’s why I made the Kirkus Reviews “Best Indie Books 2013 that we Found Difficult to Categorize in a good Way.”

How do you manage your time? Is it hard balancing your writing life with your working life?

Yes. That’s something I still struggle with. Time management is admittedly not one of my strengths.

Are you self-published or with an agent? Was this an active choice?

I’m decided to go the self-publish route. I figured life is short, and I’ve heard too many successful writers tell tales of having enough rejection letters to wall paper their living rooms, and having yet some to spare, including top sellers. I just wanted to get my work out there, and not spend the majority of my time crafting the perfect query letter.

But now I find I have to spend several hours a week on marketing myself, so it’s a trade off in many respects, still … it’s gratifying just having my books out there nonetheless.

Do you have a writing space? Tell us what it’s like!

Yes. I sit in front of my coffee table, and have my laptop in front of me while I’m on the sofa. And I confess that coffee table is not always neat and tidy.  Otherwise, I write during free time at work. Since I substitute teach, I don’t have a network of colleagues and friends to socialize with in the staff lounge, so I find that time often (but not always) to continue writing as well.

How do you keep motivated?

I’m not sure how or what you’d call it. I just know that the characters that show up in my head have a story they want told. They seem to bug me until I do that.  And once I give them a name, I know I’m sort of committed, much like having a pet. You know they’re staying once you name them.

What did you struggle with the most when writing your new book?

Do you have any hints for my readers about writing?

I heard about two other writers say this, and it’s true about me as well. I always cast my characters with actors. I see my stories as movies long before I see them as a book. For instance, I see Jeremy Piven as Bruce Mallory, Jim Caveziel as Agent Baker.

Piven is so able to do comedy and drama and the character of Bruce so needs that, so he’s who I imagine that character as.  However, I see describe Baker as having that expression that people are keeping him from a life changing nap. He keeps his emotions in check and plays his cards close to the vest, so Caveziel is the actor I’d love to see playing Baker. I think the vibes or energy of both those actors are a good juxtaposition and it helps me write those characters.

It helps me so much to be able to clearly see my characters as I’m writing them.

You’ve got a new book out! What’s it about?

Book 2 – The Projection Room: Green Eye Beneath continues about a year after book 1 ends. People had been asking me what happens with Bruce and Noelle. We know that Baker was able to get Bruce a gig in Chicago (where Noelle accepts a job after the Milwaukee debacle).

I got the idea when I had students on a field trip at the Art Institute of Chicago. I was listening to a docent talk about the Picasso painting “Old Guitarist,” and they pointed out that if you look closely, you can see the hint or whisper of another painting that lies under that painting. Immediately I knew there was a kernel of an idea for a cold case murder, and I was able to build the situation for the next book, “The Projection Room: Our Brother’s Keeper,” which deals more with the villain, Casper Layton and his quest of developing a brain/machine interface that would be incorporated into the projection room.  Book 2 builds that path for the reader.

How did you decide on cover art? Did you consult with a designer or is it all you?

It’s all me so far. I’m an art teacher and used to teach Adobe Photoshop at the high school level, so it made sense to make my own covers.

Any links or websites you would like my readers to visit?

The Projection Room series Facebook page.

The Projection Room: Two from the Cubist Mist page

The Projection Room: Green Eye Beneath page

And my WordPress blog site.