Author Interview with Patrice M. Foster

Info about the author:

Patrice Foster’s life is just simple nothing much.  I am just enjoying myself getting to know my kids more each day.

Follow: https://patricemfoster.com

https://www.facebook.com/patricemfoster

https://twitter.com/patricemfoster

Patrice Foster is the author of Molding my Own Destiny. It’s a memoir that talks about her life in Jamaica, moving to the United States, and fighting her way to the top. Her journey was a long, dark path, but by the end she was able to make something of herself. You can read the review of her inspiration story here. I highly recommend it to people looking for inspirational stories, but be warned, the book contains mentions of things like abandonment and rape.

Questions:

You’ve mentioned that you’ve had many jobs over the years and I was curious, what’s your current job? Are you still working with nurses or are you taking a break from everything?

A nurse

It seems like you’ve been working on Molding my Own Destiny, but just how long have you worked on this book?

For a long time since I was a teenager. IN 2009 I resign from my government job with a small pension $10,000 I decided this was the time to write my book. Found a ghostwriter who I taught would help. Send my entire old journal, tape; notes written on paper towels to the person won’t disclose name.  My only request for the lady was for her to interview my mother before she died.  Two week in the project she made a major move to another state bought a house, then it was not having babysitter to watch the kids. I was nice and patient pause the job because frankly I did not have any more money. But it was bothering me how come we have not make progress we still on chapter one of the book. 2010 kept in contact when ask to restart the project was haunting me in my gut I felt that her interest was not to finish the story. Spend another year asking her to release me from the contract after several years the box OF ALL MY LIFE was SEND BACK with a few chapters done. By now my mother was fighting breast cancer she was in remission.  It took me a couple more years to decide what to do. Getting another ghostwriter was not an option. Thoughts of given up did cross my mind. In the end I decided to write my story myself. Years passed and watch my mother health going down   I decided to write my story …I was racing against time. Long story short she died 2 days before the book came out.

I’ve mentioned this before in the review, but your life has been rather dark and depressing, and I find it remarkable that you’ve been able to do so much with your life. Reading your memoir has really opened my eyes and allowed me to see that no matter what, I can persevere if I put my mind to it. Is that why you decided to tell the story of your life, to inspire young people to continue fighting even if they’re in terrible situations?

Yes my life was dark as you say; I want young people or anyone who is struggling, who may have giving up on life.  Life is not going to be easy and they have to believe, have a little faith. Going through hardship won’t be easy how I survive is keep moving forward, never look back, Laugh more and hold no grudges. This made me a better person now I can say that.

You’ve mentioned a lot of dark memories including false imprisonment, abandonment, and rape. Was it difficult for you to write about those dark moments in your life? What was your biggest motivator for this book, something that helped you get passed the dark memories?

This book is so painful for me to read. I wanted to do audiobook but I was too emotional in the end I chose someone else coming soon.  I want the people to know I am still working on healing from with in. I have a great tolerant for pain, rejection but I am better able to ignore certain things.  The motivation was for my kids. I did not feel I was a good mother.  I was not capable of love giving it.  I was unavailable, a work alcoholic, trying to fill that empty void…Running away from myself.

I really liked the cover of your book; it was unique and appeared to be symbolic. Would you like to explain the cover?  

The dirty shoes represent my days on the street, feeling soil. Also symbolic of a person who felt scorn, abuse, dirty, rejected, depressed (darkness), ugly, lonely, unloved, bitter, angry empty, just feeling loss. The flower is symbolic of faith, hope, and being positive, my little light of happiness.   

What was it like trying to get your book published? Did you try finding a publisher first or did you decide to just publish it yourself from the beginning?

I just self-publish because I was racing against time wanted my mother to read the book. She saw the cover that’s about it. I did not want to look for a publisher they would change a lot and take forever to publish.

While your memoir can be dark, there were some moments that seemed genuinely happy to you. Which memory was your favorite? What was your favorite part about writing Molding my Own Destiny?

When my brothers, sisters and I was together playing cricket in Jamaica.

Most authors have an acknowledgements page dictating who helped and what not. I was curious if anyone helped you during this whole process, during writing and publishing. Is there anyone you want to thank, anyone that should you the most support?

I want to thank Clarissa Yeo in Singapore my book cover designer  @yocladesigns.com who I can always count on to bring my idea to live just the way I want it to be. 

Are you thinking about being a full time author? Or maybe writing any other books, nonfiction or fiction? If so, got any ideas you want to share with readers?

I am thinking about continuing writing short story. The books I have written are on amazon. Short but the message is the same.  New book “Everything I Never told you: A Mother’s confession” dedicate to my kids all mothers can relate.

Do you have any suggestions for anyone wanting to get into writing?

I am still learning, making mistakes, I would say keep writing in your journal and don’t forget to always use a professional editor.

If you had to give one piece of advice, to anyone, what would it be? Or better yet, what was the one thing you wanted someone to tell you when you were younger, or a young mother, going through school, etc.?

Believe in yourself I would say. But as I thought more about this question the adult in my life I wish they new I wanted unconditional love.  Maybe then I would have learned earlier to love myself than trying to find love in all the wrong places.

This question is more about fun and I’ve heard many people ask it of guest authors and actors at conventions everywhere. So I’m curious as to what you have to say. If you could choose any time in history, past or present, where would you go and why? You can be as detailed as you want or sweet and simple!

My dream is to learn to ride a bike so lol, I guess the year a kid gets her first tricycle …but now they have them for the big girls.

Author Interview: Marilla Mulwane

Info about the author:

There isn’t much to say about Marilla Mulwane. She comes from a small town in upstate New York where she writes, reads, plays video games, and makes crafts. She just wants to be a writer and for folks to read her work. Nothing fancy. Of course, if it leads to fame, fortune, and world domination, she won’t complain.

Website: marillamulwane.weebly.com

Twitter: @RillaMulwane

Facebook: marillamulwane.author

Questions:

Are you a full time author? Or do you have another job between writing? When did you start writing professionally? Sadly I am not a full time author but I plan to be someday! I do write for a living as a freelance content writer. I write about anything the client asks of me which is pretty cool because I learn so much new stuff on a daily basis.

Is Zucchini’s Zany Life the first book you’ve ever written? Nope. I’ve written two novellas (Halos and Brimstone and A Story About Heroes) as well as an entire fantasy series (first book to hit shelves in 2018!) and two prequels (free to read!) for the Ilmarinen series.

My cousin had a pair of ducks when he was growing up. They were the meanest birds I had ever run into; they were farm ducks that chased the dogs and even the donkeys! They ended up giving the ducks away to another farm because they were just too much to handle, though I bet my cousin would have benefitted from reading your guide. What inspired you to write basically a guide to owning a duck for children? My family had ducks when I was younger. They were small bantams and cute as babies. As adults the males were a bit nasty and would attack our shoes. I loved them but didn’t realize how much you could actually bond with ducks until I got Zucchini. I kept seeing videos and pictures online of other people with pet ducks or kids with ducks as service companions and thanks to Zucchini I understand how wonderful ducks are to have as pets like that. I did a Google and Amazon search and found zero…absolutely zero…books on raising ducks indoors. I decided to be the first.

For anyone interested in getting a pet duck, what additional resources would you recommend? Any basic duck care book will at least help you learn about duck behavior, but the care information isn’t very useful. The best thing is to just find all those videos and photos of people with their pet ducks to see how special it can be. There is a great one out there of a duck helping a little boy take a bath! J

What was your favorite part about writing Zucchini’s Zany Life? Any fun memories you want to share, especially with Zucchini? My favorite part of writing the book was remembering the zany things she has done over time. I would ask family and friends about things they remember so there was a lot of “remember that time she ate the green eraser?” or “how about that time she smacked her head on the floor while bathing in the dog dish and we all freaked out that she cracked her skull?”

What was the hardest part about writing your book? Or were there any challenges that you had to overcome either writing the book or getting it published? Honestly, my biggest fear writing this book was getting blasted by animal rights people who might try to say my care for Zucchini was somehow bad for her. Clipping her wings, for example, or that she was in an environment so different from tradition and how it might be bad for her health. I wanted to make sure what I wrote could also protect me which is why I said to go to the vet for the first clipping because then nobody could follow my own steps, hurt their duck, and then blame me. And keeping your duck indoors actually eliminates many of the health issues she would face when outdoors, but also creates some new problems. So, yeah, fear of being told I was a horrible duck parent was the hardest part.

Do you have any advice for new duck owners or those thinking of owning ducks? If you can’t keep your house clean, don’t do it. I stress this so much in the book because it really is the hardest part of duck care. Otherwise, my advice is to just go get a duck. You will be so happy with your feathered companion.

I ask this of a lot of authors, but I like to see what they say and get their own views. If you had any advice to give any upcoming authors, what would it be? Never give up. I have always wanted to have books published by traditional publishers but that is so difficult today. That doesn’t mean you can’t try. Self-pub smaller works to get your name out there and prove that you are worth it. Even if you keep getting rejections, you are still worth it in the eyes of the readers and fans you’ve made. It’s the readers that matter, not the publishing house name on the inside of the book. Honestly, how many times do you pick up a book to read because it came from a certain publisher? I know I don’t. The hardest part will be finding those readers but there are so many resources out there to help you get started.

What made you decide to add illustrations to your guide? Is this a pretty normal procedure, especially if the target audience is kids? As you can tell, neither Jill nor I have much experience with reading nonfiction, especially pet guides! I’ve never written a children’s book or pet guide before. I just wanted to add illustrations to give the book some more life and make readers smile. I thought they would be a great way to separate the lessons and the memories. I also felt it made the book look better than just tossing in my badly taken pictures. I still added those pictures, but at the end away from the main book.

Was it hard finding an illustrator for Zucchini’s Zany Life? Do you have any advice for authors looking for an illustrator? It was very easy to find an illustrator because Elisa is my bestie. J We have known each other since we were kids. I am the writer and she is the artist and together we both tackled social media and publishing our work and getting our names out there. It seemed natural that I would ask her to do the illustrations for this book. She did an awesome job, too! Her work is much more colorful and anime style but she did an amazing job with this simpler style I wanted for Zucchini. As for advice, I did go to Fiverr and found a newbie artist who was just starting out and asked him to draw some art for my Ilmarinen series once. He helped me and I helped him. That might be a good way to find someone when you are on a tight budget.

Now let’s ask the illustrator of Zucchini’s Zani Life, Ms. Elisa Ferguson, some questions! I’ve never had the opportunity to ask an illustrator any questions so please bear with me.

Ms. Ferguson, when did you first start illustrating for authors? Was Zucchini’s Zany Life your first or are there others?  This was actually the very first time I illustrated anything past a cover of a book, believe it or not. I have always thought about making a book of my own, but I never went forward with it. Although this was my first actual book, I will actually be releasing adult coloring books in the near future. I have, however, illustrated a few different covers for the author for her self-published books “Halos and Brimstone,” “Edin: An Ilmarinen Prequel” and “Serenity: An Ilmarinen Prequel.”

How did you meet the author? I befriended the author’s sister, Erin, when I was a young child and moved into the same school district. It was almost 5 years after I met her sister that I got involved with Rilla. She is now my best friend, and we have been that way for almost 20 years now.

I’ve always been curious about how being an illustrator for a book works. Does the author give you a list of ideas that the want drawn? Do you read the manuscript and draw pictures for the sections that inspire you? The best thing about working with an author that you already know so well is that you have the opportunity to discuss the different points of the book and be able to produce ideas with one another. I was able to read the points of the book, and having seen the precious star of the book in all her feathered glory I knew how she would settle, react and her personality. I was very lucky to have the opportunity to illustrate such a glorious creature. Rilla was clear on the points of the book she wanted pictures for, we came up with the chapter ideas and I worked from that point.

I used to draw when I was bored in school, took a couple of art classes too to give me a break between science classes. When did you start drawing? Did you always want to be an illustrator? As corny as it sounds, as with many artists I was drawing from the beginning point that I could pick up a pencil. I used to doodle to take the stress of the world around me and mute it. I took many art classes in school, because I just plain enjoyed it. I got more serious however when I had heart surgery at 16, and was stuck out of doing all the fun things everyone else was doing around me. I actually at the very beginning wanted to be an animator.

What’s your favorite part about being an illustrator? It’s definitely being able to put ideas down on paper to share it with the world around me. I always have so many ideas floating around in my head, so being able to put them down on paper for others to enjoy with me is a huge favorite pass time.

What’s your favorite medium to work with? What do you like to use for fun? Without a doubt I love to use markers and inking pens. My main medium is Spectrum markers, sharpies and Fabre-Castell pens to ink. I always use a mixed medium paper to make it clean. I occasionally will go about and try watercolor paints and acrylic paints, but markers are my go to.

Do you have any advice for aspiring artists/illustrators? PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE. I go out to different markets, and when I find that aspiring 10 year old I always tell them the same thing. Draw something every day, whether it’s a full piece or just a small, sloppy sketch. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just putting the pen/pencil to paper is a huge step in the right direction. Don’t get discouraged, we are our own worst critics and even if you compare yourself to someone better you KEEP DRAWING. You will not get better if you don’t try, that idea will never see the light of day if you don’t put it out into the world. Find someone who believes in you. I have befriended a great many artists, and like minded people always help bounce ideas and teach you new things. Experiment, you may not do well with colored pencils, but maybe watercolors or markers will be more to your choosing. I believe that Bob Ross said it best, “It’s so important to do something every day that will make you happy.” If you aspire, you can create.

For any authors lurking this blog, don’t forget to check out Inkett’s writing contest

Author Interview: Robert Eggleton

rarity of the hollowBack in September 2016 I read and reviewed Mr. Eggleton’s book Rarity from the Hollow (you can read the review here). The following is an interview that I sent him after I had reviewed his work. Due to both parties being busy, I’m happy to publish this interview for him!

Questions:

  1. Mr. Eggleton, are you a full time author? Or do you have another job between writing? When did you start writing professionally?

 

I began writing nonfiction in 1978, shortly after having been awarded a Master’s Degree. Dozens of my works have been published and many are now archived by the West Virginia Division of Culture and History. They cover elements in the field of child welfare: investigative reports, service manuals that were nationally distributed, research…. In May of 2015, I retired from my job as a children’s psychotherapist after forty years in the field. I started writing fiction after work in 1996. Three short stories were published by magazines before my debut novel, Rarity from the Hollow. But most of my writing since its release has been self-promotional, such as guest posts book blogs. I would love to say that I’m “professional.” If that term implies profiting from writing, I guess that I would fall into the aspiring category. Half of author proceeds have been and will continue to be donated to child abuse prevention.

 

  1. When did you start writing, not for money but for fun? How old were you, and not just when you started writing for school?

 

Perhaps dissociative of a dysfunctional childhood, I began writing short stories when I was eight or nine years old for escapist purpose. I would share them with neighbors, store clerks, gas station attendants….

 

  1. What format did you start out with? Did you write poetry, short stories, long stories, plays, etc.

 

As I mentioned, I started with short stories. I won my school’s eighth grade short story competition and that fueled my motivation to write. A couple of weeks ago, I found an old box in my basement filled with them – written on a manual typewriter. Of course, none had ever been submitted for consideration by publishers. I also found a bunch of poems in that box. Especially during the tumultuous time of the late ‘60s and ‘70s, I got into a poetry writing mode, probably influenced by early rock music, including Bob Dylan. One of my poems was accepted and published in the 1971 West Virginia Student Anthology. Last year, one of my poems won first place in an international poetry competition. http://wildcat.wsc.edu/clubs/willycon/zine/

 

  1. Did you start out writing satire, or did you write in a different genre? Is satire or science fiction you’re preferred genre, if so, why? Have you written in other genres before?

 

I’ve written in most genres…Like a rough-cut lumber doorframe surrounding a highly polished door, I love to write in contrasts. “Satire” can be easily misrepresented as a concept. I love puns and humor, but do not want my writing to come off as condescending of any values.

 

  1. Where do you normally write? When do you find that you are the most creative?

 

In 1988, my wife and I bought a small house in a low income neighborhood a few notches about the housing project where I grew up. It’s not ideal, but since I don’t have an office, my desktop is located in the living room. A while back, my son bought me a laptop and I have used it, such as in a park, but I can’t seem to move as fast using it. Maybe my fingers are too fat. lol

 

  1. When did you become published? And were you self published or did someone publish for you? What was your first published work?

 

My stories were published in magazines, two of them print-only, and for which I received small payments. The very first edition of Rarity from the Hollow was published in 2006 by a new traditional eBook company that when down within a couple weeks of its release. I did receive royalties. Dog Horn Publishing, a traditional small press, picked up the project and just released its new edition of the novel. I’ve never been self-published. But, I’ve always been responsible for almost all of the marketing. As the costs of self-publishing seem to continue to go down, I may consider that option in the future.

 

  1. What gave you the idea to write Rarity from the Hollow? And why did you write it like a children’s story but for adults?

 

In 2002, I accepted a job as a children’s psychotherapist for our local mental health center. It was an intensive day program that served kids with mental health problems, many of them having been abused, some sexually. Part of my job was to facilitate group therapy sessions. One day in 2006 during a session, I was sitting around a table used for written therapeutic exercises and a little girl with stringy, brown hair sat a few feet away. Instead of just disclosing the horrors of her abuse at the hands of the meanest daddy on Earth, she also spoke of her hopes and dreams for the future: finding a loving family who would protect her.

 

1-rarity-front-cover-web-2This girl was inspiring. She exemplified resilience. She got me thinking again about my own childhood hopes and dreams of writing fiction. My protagonist was born that day – an empowered victim who takes on the evils of the universe: Lacy Dawn. I began to write fiction in the evenings and sometimes went to work the next day without enough sleep. Every time that I would feel discouraged, when I felt like giving up, I would imagine Lacy Dawn speaking honestly about the barriers that she faced in pursuit of her dream of finding a permanent and loving home. This girl inspired the creation of Rarity from the Hollow.

 

On of my all-time favorite songs is “Changes” by David Bowie: “…and these children as you spit on as they try to change their worlds, are immune to your consultations, they’re quite aware of what they’re going through….” At the point in my career that I decided to write a novel, I had become disheartened by adults telling kids how to view the world, what was best for them, and the kids saying, “No, that’s not what I meant!” For my first full-length story, I wanted to come as close to the child’s voice as possible.

 

  1. Where did you get inspiration for your characters? Were they based on real people, completely your own imagination, or maybe a combination of both? Why did you want to write about misfits?

 

Most of the characters in Rarity from the Hollow are more real than not. I envisioned composites and enhanced attributes of people that I’ve met during over forty years of working as a children’s advocate. The Mr. Prump character came from me watching Donald Trump on The Apprentice and by enhancing attributes. Mr. Rump is a similar character based on my view of democratic socialism, such as exemplified by Bernie Sanders. The android, DotCom, came from me having received so much spam in my personal email and by reversing its personality as a fictional solution.   

 

  1. I’ve heard some authors talk about how hard it was to write about a main character of the opposite gender. Did you have any trouble writing from Lacy Dawn’s perspective?

 

I’ve met so many Lacy Dawns that I felt competent to write her story.

 

 

  1. How long did it take you to write the book? Did you run into any problems while writing/publishing?

 

Writing the book was the easy part – it just flowed for about six months after work. Yes, everything after finishing the story has been filled with challenges, including self promotion and when editing the new edition just released. Based on reviews of the ARC that circulated for a couple of years, the editor and I toned down some of the strongest language and scenes without diminishing the essences of the story. It was very hard. Of course, self-promotion is the hardest part about being an author.

 

  1. What was your inspiration for the outer space you created in Rarity of the Hollow?

 

Planet Shptiludrp (Shop Until You Drop) is a giant shopping mall and the center of universal governance. There are two living areas: the surface filled with one shop after another and primarily occupied by shopkeepers and stringently vetted visitors of diverse origins, except that all visitors are wealthy and prominent; and, the sewers occupied by workers who live under a socialist regime and perform the essential function of discharging the planet’s waste into the atmosphere. In many respects, outer space in Rarity from the Hollow is similar to any upscale shopping area on Earth.

 

  1. What was your favorite part in the book or while writing the book? Any fun memories to share?

 

I loved writing Rarity from the Hollow in its entirety.

 

  1. What was the hardest part about writing this book? Or just writing in general?

 

Scene three was hard to write. It’s a scene of domestic violence and the only scene that actually comes close to being graphic. When you think about it, there were no serious physical injuries experienced by characters. Nevertheless, my eyes would tear up and my vision would blur every time that I reworked that scene. 

 

  1. If you had any advice about writing, what would it be?

 

My best advice to writers would be to stay determined. There are so many stories and books produced now with the advent of technology and self-publishing, that rejection no longer necessarily reflects on the quality of your work. Sure, some of the stuff that has been published probably should have been better edited, but to a lesser extent that’s true of works that are accept for publication by traditional magazines and publishers as well. Rejection may very well be that the slush pile is simply too huge or that the first read editors are overwhelmed. Keep on keeping on.

 

  1. You mentioned that the next edition of this book will have more references to the current politics going on in America, specifically about Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. What made you decide to add this? And what were the original inspirations of Mr. Prump and Mr. Rump?

 

You may be interested in this press release:  http://www.pr4us.com/pr-2618-trump-presidency-predicted-in.html. Only a couple of lines were needed in the new edition to make the political allegory more obvious now that Donald Trump has become a household name: Mr. Rump apologizes for calling Mr. Trump a “capitalistic pig” and Mr. Prump later apologized to Mr. Rump for calling him a “socialist.” People would have to read the novel to find out how Lacy Dawn, the protagonist, convinced them to join to save the universe. The political allegory includes pressing issues that America is fighting about today, including illegal immigration and the refuge crisis, extreme capitalism / consumerism…. However, there is no political advocacy in the story, other than sensitizing readers to the huge social problem of child maltreatment, but the allegory is simply more obvious now. A similar press release: http://www.pr.com/press-release/695122 . Some readers are still not going to “get it” but, with respect to political allegory, I’m very proud of the first review of the new edition. It was published by a book review who is also an Engineer and has twenty-one years working for NASA.

 

  1. Can readers expect any more stories about Lacy Dawn and her ragtag crew? Or is this the only story we’ll get from her?

 

roberteggletonGod willing, yes, you can expect more Lacy Dawn Adventures. I’m going to give the new edition a little more time on self-promotions and then concentrate on the next. Its title is Ivy and applies satire to the very serious social problem of drug addition.

Author Interview with E.H. Nolan

e-h-nolan-headshotLet’s get to know you a little bit first, Ms. Nolan!

Are you a career author or do you have another job, and if so what?

Goodness, no! Writing is a hobby. When people ask me, “What do you do?” I usually answer, “I’m a secretary,” completely forgetting to add anything about writing to my answer. I am a secretary, and I’m fortunate enough to have enjoyed my steady job for five years—I just celebrated my work anniversary this week!

How long have you been a writer? When did you start writing for yourself?

I started writing my first book five years ago, when the characters suddenly appeared in my head and begged me to write down the events of their lives. But I’ve always enjoyed writing in school: term papers, book reports for extra credit, etc. My senior research paper on The Great Gatsby was so much fun to write, and it is one of the pieces I’m most proud of having written, even to this day.

Where do you like to write? Is there a special place that fires up your creativity and your fingers?

Sorry, a boring answer on this one. . . I can write anywhere. I’ve written alone in the house or on the couch with the television blaring, and there have been countless times when I’ve come up with a song in the car—I have to keep singing it over and over until I get home and can write it down!

What was your first story, published or unpublished?

I’ve never met a writer who hasn’t trashed his or her first story, myself included. I wrote my first book in college, and I remember as soon as I finished it, I read it once and promptly deleted it from my hard drive. The title was Dawn in Seattle but I barely even remember what it was about.

Have you always written Contemporary literature, or do you dabble in other genres? What was the first genre you wrote in? Which is the most fun?

No, this is actually my first foray in the contemporary world, and it’s been a blast! My other books are historical fiction, early 20th century England. You know, I don’t know if I’ll be able to choose which genre is more fun to write in, but surprisingly they’re similar. No matter what I’m writing, the element that’s most important to me are my characters. Characters have to be real and relatable for a reader to care about your story. You want the reader to say either, “That’s totally me!” or “I know that person!” so that he or she cares about the character and wants to read more of the journey. Historical or modern, the people have to be three-dimensional, flawed, and struggling. Granted, a big difference is the writing and language style, but another similarity is research. I did a lot of research for the battle scenes in my historical novels, but I also did research for certain medical details in my contemporary novel. It’s kind of like buying a car. You pick different details, but in the end you get a box on wheels. Keep driving ‘til you’re home.

Now, let’s talk about your upcoming novel Like a Closed Fist.

Where did you get the idea for this story, to talk about love, sex, and tragedy?

I like to write stories in which the characters stand in their own way. I find it to be a very realistic and tragic conflict when the reader sees a solution the character does not. In Like a Closed Fist, the protagonist has been hiding from life for four years, hoping to avoid pain. But, just like in real life, no matter how hard you try to hide out, love and tragedy will find you. That’s one of the main lessons of my book. My novel is also a classic cautionary tale, so I’m assuming lots of readers will be shouting at the protagonist from time to time, begging her to stop what she’s doing. What are the classic elements of a cautionary tale? Love, sex, and tragedy.

How about this love hexagon? I’ve heard about love triangles and even love squares, but nobody calls it that, but a love hexagon-that’s new! Where did you get the idea to fit so many loves into just 400 pages?

I know, isn’t it funny! I wanted to bombard my main character with love interests for several reasons. When it rains, it pours. She’s been hiding from love for years, and when she finally dips her toe in the water, she’s overwhelmed by male attention. If there was only one or two men in the picture, she wouldn’t be as overwhelmed, and she wouldn’t make as many mistakes. Second, I didn’t want one male love interest to become a sacrificial lamb to the entire male species. All six of my men are different, so the readers are free to choose who they like, who they don’t like, and most importantly, to wonder about their different motivations. Also, if I only gave my main character one shot with one guy and it didn’t work out, the readers would be left thinking, “If only she got a second chance!” This way, given six chances with six guys, the readers are able to see her patterns, what she learns, and what she doesn’t.

How would you describe your heroine, Phoebe? What’s she like?

Phoebe is twenty-four, but many times she doesn’t act her age. When she was twenty, she endured terrible tragedies, and she reacted by hiding from life for four years. So, sometimes she acts like she’s still a teenager. But other times, she surprises herself and the readers with unexpected wisdom, showing that she is trying to mature, even though that plan doesn’t always work out.

Given one word to describe her, I’d choose “fragile”. Many times in the book, Phoebe will meet a character and say “he adopted me like a niece” or “she took me under her wing”. She emits a “take care of me” vibe that is enticing, endearing, and dangerous all at the same time.

How would you describe Phoebe’s multiple love interests? Were any of them based off of people that you knew?

Ah, the question everyone asks! Who is the real Mason? Who is the real Mitch? I actually had one reader approach me and tell me that Danny was her favorite of the love interests. They’re all real, because all the characters I’ve ever written are real, to me and to my readers. Okay, here is the truth: If they are real, the only people who know are the men themselves.

For a brief, and hopefully not confusing, description of the six men in Phoebe’s life in order of appearance:
Mitch—older and wiser, sympathetic to Phoebe’s youth and understands the consequences of his actions
Mason—mysterious but sensitive, has the capacity and patience to talk Phoebe through her problems
Frankie—playful, carefree, funny, and filthy!
Justin—classy, like a gentleman from a bygone era, and has a way with words
Danny—a star-struck young kid who remembers Phoebe from her golden years
Kennedy—a ghost from Phoebe’s past who uses escapism to cope with the tragedies of adulthood

Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but your story sounds a little bit like a Coming of Age story. Phoebe is no longer an adolescent youth and it seems like she has some pretty hard lessons to learn as she makes her first strides as an adult. Could you tell us some of the broader things that she’ll have to learn by the end of the book?

Absolutely. I like to call it a coming-of-late-age story, which I think is just as important as a coming-of-age story. People grow up at their own pace, and while Phoebe is a little young for her age, it makes her story all the more tragic. If she’s supposed to have learned her lesson by now and she hasn’t, she feels embarrassed, alone, and without a support system to help her out of her mess. I wanted my readers to know they are not alone, no matter what age they are or what situation they’re going through. This book sheds light on women’s secret thoughts when they’re frightened and hurt, thoughts that most books or films don’t like to expose. For one example, it’s commonly portrayed that twenty-somethings are completely satisfied having one-night-stands. This perpetuates an expectation that young girls are supposed to act that way, even when they feel differently. Maybe they’re frightened, maybe they want to go home, maybe it starts to feel good but a fleeting thought distracts them, maybe they’re cold or have a pulled muscle—these are the realities of a bedroom encounter. These are the realities that aren’t talked about, and I wanted my readers to know they aren’t the only ones who’ve experienced them.

But in answer to your question, readers will hope Phoebe learns the difference between sex and love, and using sex in order to get love. Hopefully she learns that doubts are healthy, but not to let them consume her, and that her all-time goal of “growing up” is really just finding a balance between wisdom and hope.

What audience do you suggest read Like a Closed Fist? Who do you believe would gain the most by reading your story and who do you think will enjoy it most?

I think women will enjoy it the most, but men will get the most out of it. I’ve spoken with male and female readers. The men have been surprised by how realistic it is, and the women have had more of an emotional reaction. One women told me she cried in five different chapters. Another woman told me she couldn’t stop laughing at the internal monologue. For some it will be like reading their diary; for others it will be like stepping back in time twenty years.

This question is like the previous one, but since Christmas is around the corner I have to ask, do you think this book would make a good gift? If so, who do you recommend to give it to?

I’m totally giving it as a Christmas present—to all my men! Just kidding, we’ve already been over that. Books are always great gifts, because when you’re done reading, you can talk about them. Like a Closed Fist would be a good gift to anyone who’s just had a heartbreak, is drifting, has a close relationship with a parent, or remembers the humor and sadness in the journey to find true love.

If you could persuade my readers to buy your book with just one sentence, what would you say?

If you’re looking for something realistic, like an old diary shoved under the bed, that will make you laugh, cry, and cringe, give Like a Closed Fist a try.

Finally, I’m going to close with a few more questions, ones that will hopefully allow you to impart some wisdom or advise to my readers.

What was the hardest part about writing this story and why?

The ending. I wrote and re-wrote it, and wrote versions that ended up on the cutting room floor. Since Phoebe became so dear to me, I wanted to give her a perfect ending. I wrote about eight different endings to the novel. I even went so far as to include half of them and have the readers choose which ending they wanted! But, after reading the manuscript over and over, and giving it months of thought and analysis, I finally settled on one ending. The other endings will remain unread, but it ends very realistically and where it needs to for Phoebe’s journey.

What was the most enjoyable part about writing this story? Is there a favorite scene that you wish to share with us?

The characters are the most important part of a story, because if you don’t care about the characters, you’ll care even less what happens to them. I love my characters. They’re real and flawed and lovable. Since Like a Closed Fist is written in first person, there are some characters the readers don’t get to know as well as others, and that is realistic. People only show us what they want us to see. So, in answer to your question, the most enjoyable part of writing my book was developing, or keeping the mystery of, my characters and falling in love with them in the process.

Every time I read it, I have a different favorite scene. Hopefully my readers will feel the same way, that each time they’ll glean something new or choose a different character as their favorite. There are a couple of great scenes with Phoebe and her dad, and of course some wonderful scenes with Mitch and Mason. This last time I read it, my favorite scene was when Phoebe and Kennedy are talking about how they’ve changed and grown up. It is a very sad scene, since they knew each other when they were kids, and they both know they can’t return to that youthful bliss.

What is the greatest piece of advise, when it comes to writing, that you can give?

Read your work aloud to check for typos or to make sure everything’s the way you like it, and pay attention to the alarm bells ringing in your head. If you’re reading to yourself and something sticks in your head, whether it’s just a single word, or an entire sentence or section, chances are it’s because you need to change it. I know that sounds harsh, but it’s really your brain’s way of trying to be helpful. Every time I’ve actually remembered something I’ve written, it was something I wish I’d changed. I don’t remember the beautiful prose or eloquent first sentence—I remember the one I wish I’d changed or cut out entirely.

If you’re interested to learn more about Ms. Nolan or her newest book Like a Closed Fist, you can check out the following links:

Here is the Amazon link to the book:

Author Interview: David Normoyle

Hello! Below is an interview with David Normoyle, the author of The Silver Portal. He so kindly gave me his eBook to read for a review, and I decided to do an interview with him as well. I hope you all get to understand more about him as you read along, and for those curious of the review you can find it here!

Are you a full time author? Or do you have another job between writing? When did you start writing professionally?

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I am not making full time money (not even close); however I have some savings from a previous career and since about December of last year, I have been putting full time hours into my writing career. For several years before that I had been selfpublishing part time, so I have some backlist titles, but none have taken off, so in one sense I’m starting from scratch. However, the experience of writing and selfpublishing I’d had so far gives me a great launching pad. I think that the ebook revolution and selfpublishing has given a great opportunity for writers to find readers and build a career, but that opportunity might not last forever, hence this risk I’m taking by writing full time without the (present) income to support it. The Silver Portal is the start of my first new series since I went full time.

 

When did you start writing, not for money but for fun? How old were you, and not just when you started writing for school?

Back in 2004 just before I hit 30, I backpacked around South America and had some great adventures, and I found myself compelled to email accounts of these adventures to friends and family back home. As time went on, these accounts became more and more elaborate, and I found myself spending several hours in an internet cafe writing and re-writing a single story. I still wouldn’t be satisfied, so I’d email it to myself so I could work on it the next day before I could be satisfied to send it to my list. That was when I knew I had caught the bug. Toward the end of my trip, I practiced some touch-typing and started my first forays into researching writing. It wasn’t until 2008 that I completed the first novel though. Quite a journey from catching the bug to my first novel, and an equally interesting journey from there to deciding to write full time. Hopefully this new leg of the trip will be where all the hard work pays off.

Did you start out writing fantasy, or did you write in a different genre? Is fantasy you’re preferred genre, if so, why? Have you written in other genres before?

My main reading interest has always been fantasy and science fiction novels, so I can’t imagine writing anything else for more than a short story. However, those genres are broad and I find my ideas spanning from epic fantasy through urban fantasy to science fiction, though mainly with young protagonists and coming of age themes (for now). I may focus more on a single sub-genre if I find an audience.

Where do you normally write? When do you find that you are the most creative?

Since starting writing fulltime, I needed I routine where I had at least 3/4 hours day with me and the blank page and no distractions. So I go to various coffee shops around Dublin (I live in Dublin, Ireland) most mornings, don’t turn on wi-fi and write on my tablet (with an add-on keyboard). Editing, research, miscellaneous publishing stuff all require me to work on my desktop in the home office, but the few hours away make sure that I am continually producing new writing.

When did you become published? And were you self published or did someone publish for you? What was your first published work?

I was published by a small e-press back in 2010. It was a book called Crimson Dream, a medieval coming-of-age fantasy. It didn’t take off with the small press, and I later republished it, but didn’t have much more success selfpublished. Although all my novels have had good reviews, I have recently unpublished Crimson Dream and several other early novels, so I can focus my efforts on my latest works.

What gave you the idea to write The Silver Portal?

I liked the concept of of group of young people gaining magical weapons of different types, and I decided to separate these weaponbearers across the land. From those basic ideas the world of Mageles and the Weapons of Power story formed. By the time I finished a first draft three years ago, I realized how terrible of an idea it was. Five different heroes spread across the land. What kind of idiot starts their book like that?

Needless to say, the draft was a mess. But I was too stubborn to give up on it completely. About two years ago, I gave the story another attempt, and wrote another draft. Some parts improved but overall, it was still a mess. The problem is that at the start, when the reader isn’t fully invested, their attention gets sliced up five ways. My solution was to make each of the five characters uniquely compelling in a different way. This year, writing full time, I tackled it once again and the novel finally came together.

Now that I’m finished I’m delighted that I was too stubborn to give up because the problems forced me to come up with five unique main characters who I’m immensely proud of. Of course, readers will ultimately decide whether I succeeded or failed with this story, but I really hope that readers will love Twig, Lukin, Mortlebee, Suma, and Simeon as much as I do.

You mentioned that this series will be a trilogy and that the next book will be out soon. Is there any information that you could give about the second book, possibly a title or a synopsis?

The title of the next installment is The Black Bearer. I’ll share a key plot point. It’s not really a spoiler for the first book, since it doesn’t come up (though the main characters aren’t aware of this at the end of The Silver Portal), but one of the weapons of power has a flaw, whereby the Lord Protector can gain magical control that weaponbearer. The bearers will have to figure out which weapon is flawed and how to deal with the problem.

You also mentioned something about writing some prequels later, is there any information you can give readers about those as well?

Mageles is a land with a barrier to keep magic out, and I am sure that readers are interested in what’s on the other side so wrote a prequel novelette, The Desert Palace, which takes place before the barrier is formed in a world full of magic and magical creatures. Tagline: Zedane, sick of magical duels abroad, is determined to achieve high status in his father’s court when a fatal misstep threatens a devastating war.

The prequel story is available to fans who sign up to my mailing list (see my website, or end of my books for details). Those who sign up also receive prequels to my other series.

Website: www.davidjnormoyle.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/DavidJNormoyle

Author Interview: Yolanda De Iuliis

The following is an interview with the author of The Memoirs of ‘I’, Yolanda De Iuliis. You can find my review of the book here.

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Questions:

Ms. Yolanda where do you live?

I live in a small town outside of Glasgow in Scotland.

You’ve mentioned in The Memoirs of ‘I’ that you’ve never felt at home in your homeland. If you had to pick a place, where do you feel the most at home? Or are you still searching for the land that calls to you and the wind that sings you welcome?

I still search for my true home but I believe wherever I find love then I find my home therefore home is not a fixed place for me.  It changes through time and with certain people I surround myself with.

Are you a full time author? Or do you have another job between writing? When did you start writing professionally?

I started writing professionally very recently, around the beginning of 2014.  I am not a full time author as I am also a student.  I am currently studying Classical Studies at University.

When did you start writing, not for money but for fun? How old were you, and not just when you started writing for school?

I do not remember an exact age of when I started writing but it I must have been around 8 or 9.  As I wrote, it took me away from the life I was living at that time and was a child’s escape which lead to a real love in my life.

Can you recall your first time writing for yourself, not just for school, but because you absolutely wanted to? If so, could you describe it to us?

Yes, I remember!:) I used to play in my local street with my neighbours, whilst always carrying paper and pencil.  This one day I sat near the curb area by myself and started to write a song, I don’t remember why I chose to do that but I used to love singing even though I couldn’t sing which led me trying to write lyrics and songs.

What format did you start out with?

I began with writing lyrics, poetry, songs and this lead to my personal thoughts, memoirs, diaries.  All my writings helped me at different stages of my life.  Writing for me is therapeutic and gets me through the tuff times therefore my own thoughts became my best friend.

In The Memoirs of ‘I’ I noticed that you sometimes wrote poetry, which I adored, and that you mentioned writing song lyrics. Which do prefer: poetry, lyrics, or normal writing?

I like writing both, it depends of what I want to get out of the words on that day.  My state of mind whilst writing and what will develop from it but I do adore writing poetry.

What do you do with your song lyrics? Do you share them or keep them mostly to yourself? What instruments do you normally use when constructing songs?

I play guitar but only moderately and compose them through this means but I don’t show people my songs as I do it only for me, to relax and unwind.

Where do you normally write? When do you find that you are the most creative?

I can write anywhere, I don’t need a specific place.  I just have to be in a certain state of mind.  I am most creative when I think of certain subjects or have specific and intense emotions due to an event in my life.

When did you become published? And were you self published or did someone publish for you? What was your first published work?

I am a self published author and always wanted to keep control of this aspect of my writing.  My first published work was my autobiographical poetry collection ‘Underneath my Soul’ released in 2015.

What gave you the idea to write The Memoirs of ‘I’?

The Memoirs of ‘I’ came to me very naturally and at first it was for my own personal thoughts but I began to write very differently, as if I was speaking to someone.  I wanted to help myself through a difficult time in my life.  Then to learn and help another in some way.  It was all a very natural process.

How long did it take you to write the book? Did you run into any problems while writing/publishing?

It took one year to write the book as it was a one year project and the only problem which occurred was at the beginning.  Writing daily is difficult and it took some time to get used to and then to look at myself and thoughts in a certain way but I learned when to switch myself on and off.

What was your favourite part in the book or while writing the book? Any fun memories to share?

I love writing when I was traveling.  I enjoyed my own days and was excited to share my memories with readers.  I could also write on the beach everyday which was different for me.

What was the hardest part about writing The Memoirs of ‘I’? Or just writing in general?

It was very hard to self reflect everyday.  I faced many demons head on and this was on purpose.  I had to challenge myself and learn from my own self in the most honest way possible.  Everyday I had questions to answer and I struggled to answer them at times because my questions only led to even more difficult questions, It was an annoying process whenI couldn’t find the answers to my own mind.

While reading your book, I noticed that you mentioned often your love of travel. When did you realize that traveling was one of your passions?

Yes, traveling is the love of my life!:) I left Scotland at the age of 20 and ever since then, I have been traveling, exploring, learning and exploring the world.  Each new place in which I discover only leads me to want to discover more.  Traveling gives me something that no materialistic thing or person can ever present to me

How many places have you travelled to? Would you mind naming them all or just a few?

Wow, that would be a long list:) I travelled Australia for one year (working & traveling), I then moved to Brazil for 2 years which led me to travel many parts of South America such as Peru, Argentina, Chile, Easter Island & of course Brazil.  Then I did the west coast of America and onto Vancouver, Toronto & Niagara Falls in Canada.  For one month I travelled around Europe with the Eurorail. I also took 3 weeks out to travel Northern Africa & some parts of the middle east.  Lastly, 3 months in China, Hong Kong, Thailand, Cambodia & Japan.

While travelling did you ever find something that struck your imagination, that acted as a muse? If so, what was it?

When traveling you meet all sorts of life with different souls and learn how others live.  This is inspirational, not only for writing but in general on how to live, be a better person and live more humble.  Your imagination grows in ways that I cannot explain to you until you find an adventure for yourself as it is different for every traveller.

If you had any advice about writing, what would it be?

Write from your heart, with passion and write with your gut.

Are you working on any other pieces at the moment, or are you taking a break?

Currently I am not working on anything at the moment as I am still promoting The Memoirs of ‘I’ but once my studies and travels have settled then I am sure I will work on something new when the time is right:)

One last question. In your novel, you mentioned how much studying helped your mental well being, I find myself to be the same way. What are you currently studying in university and do you think you’ll continue studying the subject, or would you hop around some more before your brain is truly satisfied?

I am currently Classical Studies, Modern Greek & Dutch and I believe I will continue with these subjects as I have always loved the history of Greek & Roman worlds.  I believe I can learn a lot from past cultures and histories which will teach me in turn about our modern world.  Studying gives me a sense of worth, a meaning to live. Far more than working and earning money for a large company which makes me feel worthless therefore one day I wish to pass my degree and become a lecturer or find work that is giving to others.  A mind of a thinker is never truly satisfied therefore that is hard to answer, we always strive to think outside of the box and learn more.

Author’s Info: 

Official Website: http://www.yolandadeiuliis.com/

Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B015OL5HRU/ref=dp_byline_sr_ebooks_1?ie=UTF8&text=Yolanda+De+Iuliis&search-alias=digital-text&field-author=Yolanda+De+Iuliis&sort=relevancerank

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/YolandaDeIuliis/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15113064.Yolanda_De_Iuliis