Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Interview with Karen Collum

Hello everyone! Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving weekend. Now that we're back in the swing of things, lets dive into our next interview. But be sure to check in tomorrow when I announce the winner of Aubrie Dionne's ebook.

Now on to a wonderful writer I know you'll be glad to meet. Her children's book SAMUEL'S KISSES is launching tomorrow! Say hello to Karen Collum.

Hi, Karen! Tell us a bit about yourself.

I'm a stay-at-home mum to three pre-school boys. My eldest son is 5 1/2 (that half is very important) and my identical twins are 2 1/2. I'm also in the last few weeks of my pregnancy with a baby girl. Prior to being at home with the kids I was a primary school teacher (equivalent to elementary school).

Wow! You've got your hands full. How long have you been writing?

I've always loved words and dreamed of being an author but it wasn't until four years ago I took myself and my craft seriously and decided to do something about it. I enrolled in a beginner's course in creative writing and began the long process of learning the ropes of what it means to be a writer.

Tell us about this great new picture book you've got coming out.

SAMUEL'S KISSES is my first picture book and will be released on December 1
in Australia, although the official launch won't be until February next year when the post-Christmas madness has settled. It's a warm and fuzzy story of how one little boy's kisses can make the world a better place.

Sounds great. How did the idea of the book come to you?

As a toddler my eldest son used to blow kisses to complete strangers when we were at the shops. I was always amazed at how the adults responded. They couldn't help but smile and engage with him in some way. I knew it would
make a great story one day, and it has!

What's the hardest part of writing for you?

Time! Life with three little children is exceptionally busy and I have to make time for me to write. When I'm not heavily pregnant and exhausted, I usually get up at 5am three or four days a week to have a couple of hours of writing time before the kids wake up. I'm not an early morning person but I look forward to that time that is just for me.

Let's get to know you on a deeper level. What do you absolutely have to have nearby when writing?

Good question! I don't need anything in particular to be honest, although silence is my best friend. I can't write with music in the background, for example. I often write my first draft of picture books in a notebook on the run somewhere, but when it comes to really working with them I use my laptop and need quiet to hear the words and make good decisions about the text.

If you could have any super power, what would it be?

It would be to read people's minds. I'm fascinated by what makes people tick and human behaviour and sometimes it would be great to be a mind reader, especially in conversations with my husband! LOL

Quick writing test! Use the following words in a sentence: hyper, mosquito, and megaphone.

As I am hyper-allergic to mosquitoes and end up with massive welts whenever I am bitten (which is often!), I don't need a megaphone to yell for the insect repellent - I'm quite loud enough as it is! (And that is a true story, by the way!)

Yikes! Here's the part where you thank the people who are supporting you. Let's hear your shout outs.

My husband is great and will help out with looking after the kids if I'm doing a writing course or have a deadline on a freelance article that I'm working towards. My parents have also been incredibly supportive, but I have to say that there's a group of Australia children's authors who have been absolutely wonderful in their support. In particular, Kathryn Apel, Susan Stephenson and Dee White have been sounding boards, confidantes and critique buddies of mine and I'm so very thankful that they are my writing buddies and friends. I've also got a great network of people on Twitter with whom I have regular contact. Twitter is an awesome place for me to find support while I'm limited in my capacity to leave the house without children in tow :)

And finally, where can people find you online?

I'd love people to come and visit me at my website, http://www.karencollum.com.au/. When life isn't quite so crazy, I blog about once a week and share my journey as a writer.

Karen, thank you so much for spending time with us. Good luck with your mini-launch tomorrow and especially the big launch in February!

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Interview with Aubrie Dionne

Is everyone ready for Thanksgiving weekend? I can't believe it's already here, and I can't believe it's the beginning of Advent already which means Christmas is practically around the corner. But before you all settle into turkey mode, I've got a wonderful treat for you. Namely, an interview with a very talented woman named Aubrie Dionne. And, one lucky commenter will win Audrie's book, Nebula's Music.

Welcome, Aubrie. Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am an author and a flutist in New England. I teach flute at the university level and own my own music business, where I play with my husband at weddings and other special events. My short stories have been featured in Mindflights, Niteblade, Silver Blade, Emerald Tales, Aurora Wolf, A Fly in Amer, Moon Drenched Fables and various anthologies.

How long have you been writing?

I've been writing all my life. My first known writing was a poem about a unicorn in elementary school, saved in my mom's scrapbook. But I started writing seriously in 2006. My first story idea was about Wishcasters, woman that could control the elements of earth, air, fire, and water.

What are you working on now?

I'm working on a young adult science fiction novel titled COLONIZATION: PARADISE 21. It's about a girl that has lived her whole life on a deep space transport vessel on route to colonize a paradise planet. She has to take aptitude tests to place her with a lifemate and a role on the new colony.

How did the idea of the story come to you?

I wondered what it would be like to live all of your life up in space, and also what would happen to everyone if we exhausted our resources on earth. I'd like to think we could live somewhere else and spread out over the galaxy.

Do you have a critique group/partner or beta readers, or do you self-edit?

I self edit the previous day's work the next day, but I also have critique partners and, of course, loyal beta readers like my mom and my sister!

What’s the hardest part of writing for you?

All of the rejection is tough. I get 95 percent rejections on stories and novels, but it's the 5 percent that keeps me going and gives me hope. You have to be persistent to be successful, and that's the hardest part.

Good advice. Let’s get to know you on a deeper level. If you could have any super power, what would it be?

I'd love to be able to stop and start time. Then I'd have all the time in the world to write and practice my flute!

Quick writing test! Use the following words in a sentence: cape, lecture, and Slip 'N Slide.

She threw herself onto the Slip 'N Slide, cape flying behind her as her brother lectured on about being more grown up!

Excellent visual there. Here’s the part where you thank the people who are supporting you. Let's hear your shout outs.

I'd like to thank all of my publishers: Wyvern Publications, Gypsy Shadow Publishing, Lyrical Press, and SynergEbooks for having faith in my writing. Also, my mom and my sister for being so supportive, and my husband for putting up with my crazy story ideas.

And finally, where can people find you online?

I have a website: www.authoraubrie.com and a blog: http://authoraubrie.blogspot.com

Thanks for chatting with us, Aubrie. I wish you much success with all your endeavors! 

Thank you for interviewing me! Remember one lucky commenter gets Nebula's Music!

Friday, 19 November 2010

Interview with Jesi Lea Ryan

Happy Friday, everyone! Excited about the weekend? I know, dumb question, right? Well I've got an interview to start up the good times. Help me in welcoming brilliant author Jesi Lea Ryan.

Welcome, Jesi! Tell us a bit about yourself.

I was born and raised in the Mississippi River town of Dubuque, Iowa. I moved to Madison, WI after college where I met and married my husband, Steve. Let’s see…I treat my cats as my children, I love Oscar Wilde quotes and I hate to organize anything!

How long have you been writing?

I started writing as a little kid—scribbled stories and such. I was never one for journals though—I would always end up lying to them in order to make my life seem more interesting. I guess you can see why I like to write fiction!

Writing as an adult was difficult. Even though I had majored in Literature and Creative Writing in school, I ended up taking the practical route and taking a job in the insurance industry. I didn’t have the time for writing then, but it was never far from my mind.

When the economy crashed in 2009, I lost my job. It was the best thing that ever happened to me! I was fortunate enough to be able to take time off to write. The result is Four Thousand Miles.

Let's hear about this recently released book. What’s the story about?
"When Natalie Spencer loses both her career and marriage in the same morning, the emotional shock sends her on a spontaneous journey to England. There, she is nearly mugged in a Tube station, but an introverted songwriter named Gavin Ashby scares off her attackers. Recognizing Natalie’s fragile state, Gavin offers help and invites her to recuperate from her trauma at his country home.
As she adjusts to her new role and surroundings, Natalie finds healing by helping others. Gavin and his family begin to accept Natalie into their hearts, leading her to a choice…abandon her old life in the States and trust in a new chance at love, or flee once again?"
Four Thousand Miles is a women’s fiction novel with strong romantic elements. It is almost fantasy in that I think all women dream of running away from their problems now and then.

Sounds intriguing. How did the idea of the story come to you?

I was staying at Elvey Farm in rural Kent (England), which is this 500 year old farm which has been converted into a modern bed & breakfast. This place and Leeds Castle, which is twenty minutes away from Elvey, are two of the most romantic settings I’ve ever been in. I really didn’t want to leave. I started thinking about what it would take to get someone to abandon their life in the US and just stay there permanently.

Both of these settings play important roles in Four Thousand Miles, although I did change the name on the farm. I worked very hard to capture the magical quality that both inspired in me.

What’s the hardest part of writing for you?

Coming up with a title! I could care less what a story is called, as long as people want to read it. I put off titling my work until the very last second, because I hate doing it so badly. I think I just have a hard time summarizing up a whole book into three or four words. I’m a novelist! I need room to move when I write!

I came up with the title Four Thousand Miles, because I mention it in the text as being the exact distance from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where Natalie’s journey began, and Pluckey, Kent, where she ended up. I fully expected my editor to hate it and ask me to change it, but she didn’t.

Let’s get to know you on a deeper level. What do you absolutely have to have nearby when writing?

Coffee! I don’t drink much or smoke, so coffee is my vice. I don’t know that it is even about the caffeine, really. I can drink it at any time of the day and it doesn’t seem to have an effect on me either way. I just really like the taste of strong, black coffee. It’s comforting.

If you could have any super power, what would it be?

Teleport. I love to travel, and I want to see so much before I die. If I could just will myself around the globe, that would be really cool!

Quick writing test! Use the following words in a sentence: humble, trapeze, and fireplace.

The humble trapeze artist huddled in front of the fireplace in an attempt to thaw his aching joints.

Here’s the part where you thank the people who are supporting you. Let's hear your shout outs.

First, thank you for taking the time to interview me! Seriously, it is hard to market a first novel, so anyone who will help me get my name out there is a god-send.

You're welcome! :)

I also want to thank my writing partner, Alexandria Darcy, for her ability to get me out of writer’s block. Thank you to my early readers, Steve Riggles, Victoria Grundle, Noelle Jennings and Jeanne Pluemer. This book wouldn’t have been half as good without their input.

Lastly, a BIG shout out to my Twitter followers! They have done so much to give me moral support and spread the word of my book. I might be biased, but I think I have the best followers on Twitter!

And finally, where can people find you and your book online?

Where to find Four Thousand Miles:


Where to find me:

Twitter - http://twitter.com/#!/Jesilea
Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jesi-Lea-Ryan/152086598147945
Blog - http://diaryofabibliophile-jesilea.blogspot.com/

Stop by and say hi! I love getting to know new people!

Jesi, thank you so much for letting us get to know you. Your book sounds amazing, and I wish you lots of success!

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Interview with DL King

Almost Wednesday, folks. Which means almost half-way through the week. Woohoo! Let's celebrate by partaking in an interview with a very interesting and fascinating writer, DL King.

Welcome to We Do Write! Tell us a bit about yourself.

I'm going to have to quote Alfred Lord Tennyson: "The words 'far, far away' had always a strange charm." Sometimes I wonder if I was born in the wrong era. I think if I had one wish, it would be to have a time machine. Nothing sounds more fabulous than visiting writers like Wilde, Poe, Austen, the Brontes, Stoker, Dickens...I could go on forever.

I'm also fascinated by the origin, meanings, and importance of fairy tales and mythology. I remember writing a paper in college on the significance of the Prometheus myth and how it’s been recycled throughout popular culture (Frankenstein, Jurassic Park, etc.) That was one of my favorite assignments. I think if I wasn't a writer I would be a mythologist or archeologist.

But for now, I am a proud YA and picture book writer currently querying literary agencies for representation.

How long have you been writing?

Since I was about five. I remember writing short stories in elementary school, and one of our homework assignments was to write a story, make a book, and read it to the kindergarteners during storytime. I was enthralled. I also kept a journal all throughout junior high and high school. However, I really started considering a writing career in college, but debated if that was what I really "should" do. When I finally got over that psychological hump, I took the plunge and got involved in SCBWI and a critique group and have been writing seriously for five years.

That's great. What is the name and genre of your manuscript?

The name of my novel is SCARLETTE HOOD and it's a dark, historical YA.

Love the title! Here’s the part where you pitch it. What’s your story about?

It is a retelling of LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD set in 18th century France against the historical Beast of Gévaudan "werewolf" attacks (1764-1767). Laced with horror, romance, and gothic undertones this novel explores the dark side of the fairy tale, yet it's grounded in historical reality. It answers the question: "What if Little Red Riding Hood had been a real person?"

I love it already! How did the idea of the story come to you?

Back in January of this year, I was very ill and knew I was going to be spending some hard time in bed and on the couch. I needed some type of artistic distraction besides writing to keep me sane, so I looked into finding cross-stitch patterns. After doing some research, I found some really hip designs and finally decided on the Japanese designer Gera's scene from Little Red Riding Hood.

As I was stitching away, some questions pulsed through my brain: What if LRRH was a real person? Where would she have lived? And if she was real, wouldn't that make an awesome YA premise? My fingers walked their way over to the keyboard, and before I knew it, I came up with a rough outline and notes for a story.

After reading Charles Perrault's version of LRRH, I was shocked to find that his original tale was much darker than the common story we've all grown up with. Told as a cautionary tale warning young women of men's wolfish sexual appetites, this early telling was very moralistic and resulted in a tragic ending for the heroine: The wolf "devoured" her.

I knew I wanted to make my story dark like Perrault's version and also thought the novel would be more interesting if the wolf in the fairy tale was a werewolf. Lo and behold, as I was reading all the different versions of the tale, I found another French version entitled The Grandmother were the wolf was in fact a bzou (werewolf).

So I had my werewolf, knew I wanted to use a dark angle, and set the story in France, but I still wanted to pin down a real setting to use as a backdrop. After a little more digging, I got lucky. After researching werewolf history and mythology, I found out that nearly 60 years after Perrault penned his version of LRRH, (1697) one of the most famous alleged werewolf attacks happened in the south of France.

An unidentified animal known as La Bete, The Beast of Gévaudan, killed almost one hundred people between from 1764-1767 in the Gévaudan province (now the department of Lozère and part of the Haute-Loire department). I knew this would be the perfect setting! So I made the wolf in the original fairy tale The Beast of Gévaudan and wrote the story as if Little Red Riding Hood might have really happened in history.

Holy researching, Batman! I'm blown away. So, do you have a critique group/partner or beta readers, or do you self-edit?

Just as it takes an army of stylists to glamorize a celebrity, so it takes a legion of literary artists to beautify a book.

I'm a firm believer in critique groups/partners and beta readers. Writing a novel is like tightrope walking blind folded. You can't trust yourself to see your project clearly and need help getting across and keeping on track.

That's an excellent analogy. What’s the hardest part of writing for you?

The hardest part of writing is preparing to write. I think most forms of writers block happen because we haven't prepared to come to the keyboard yet. Doing your outlining, plotting, daydreaming, and brainstorming before coming to the computer is key. Everytime I sit down I want to be lost in the process of raw creation of words, emotions, and images and not have to think about the "prep work."

Let’s get to know you on a deeper level. What do you absolutely have to have nearby when writing?

Music. And it's usually blasting. It is not uncommon that I will think of the scene I'm about to write, pick out a song to match its tone, and play it over and over until I've fleshed it out perfectly. And when I have my earbuds in, everyone knows that they are not to disturb me or they will suffer my werewolf bite. ;)

Quick writing test! Use the following words in a sentence: cartwheel, snoring, and electricity.

Melvin got zapped by a lightening bolt, and the shock of electricity made him do 500 back flips and a cartwheel, but now he's sound asleep and snoring after his trip to the hospital.

Excellent sentence! Here’s the part where you thank the people who are supporting you. Who would you like to give a shout out to?

Dennis Foley my writing instructor and mentor, my on-call-all-purpose historical advisor John Bladek, Kathy Dunnehoff my screenwriting instructor, my mom, and my beta readers: Logan, Wendy, Tessa. And Coley for your undying support! You all rock!

And finally, where can people find you online?

Feel free to stalk me and add me here:

Twitter: http://twitter.com/dlkingwriter
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/people/DL-King/100001612312924
Blogger: http://dlkingwriter.blogspot.com/
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/4349663-d-l-king

Thank you so much for chatting with us. I look forward to seeing your book on the book store shelves someday soon.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Interview with Donna Sirianni

I am totally having a relaxing Sunday. The sun is shining, and although there's a crisp breeze in the air, I find it very cozy. And what better to top off a perfectly cozy day than a cozy author interview. And guess what - I've got one for you! Today we're chatting with YA fantasy writer Donna Sirianni.

Welcome, Donna. Tell us a bit about yourself.

Well, I'm a Taurus, I like long walks on the beach yet fear getting eaten by giant squid. Really, I'm an insurance underwriter by day and a writer by night. I have to utilize my English degree somehow, plus I need to justify all those student loans I've accrued over the years that are really, REALLY painful to look at. I have a psychotic Miniature Pinscher that went through a vindictive peeing phase and when I'm not working, writing or enjoying some semblance of a personal life, I also have a young adult review blog wherein I read a lot of books and put forth my reviews into the world wide internets.

Sounds like you've got your hands full. How long have you been writing?

I started when I was 9 with a lovely piece of Saved by the Bell fanfiction I wrote for class. The rest is history.

Wow, Saved by the Bell. That brings me back, lol. What is the name and genre of the manuscript you're currently pitching?

My current manuscript out on submission is called Earth Shatterer and it's YA fantasy (snarky fantasy, I guess, although that's not a recognized genre).

I'd totally read snarky fantasy. Sounds great. Here’s the part where you pitch it. What’s your story about?

I'll just give you my blurb, otherwise I'll ramble -

Michael and Zana are being held captive in another world by a guy that used to be their dog. Instead of a yellow lab, he’s a jerk with a bid for multi-world domination and fully intends on using the siblings to get it.

With the gateway open, the former dog can release the Fey into Michael’s world and these things aren’t anywhere near sparkling little pixies. Separated, Zana gets poisoned by the used-to-be pet while Michael teams up with the creep’s enemies and the kingdom’s main mage to get the gateway closed. Lucky for Michael, he’s the only one that knows where the mutt’s constantly moving castle is so the task to rescue his sister and get the gateway closed falls squarely on his shoulders. And it feels like an elephant that’s just swallowed an anvil. Despite the fact that he has noodle arms in a fight and would sooner stab himself than his attacker, he has epic ground to cover if he wants to get him and his sister home in one piece. If there’s still a home to get to.

How did the idea of the story come to you?

I hate these kinds of questions! I never have really cool answers to them. Really, I was just sitting around one day dazing off into space when the image of a sequoia popped into my head. From there the sequoia cracked and a whole other world was on the other side. The rest of the story and the characters formed around that tree image in my brain.

Sounds cool to me. What else are you working on?

Right now I've just finished re-reading a trunk manuscript for which I loved the idea for but wanted to kill what I'd written dead. So I'm giving that one an enema and writing it over from scratch with hardly any remains from the corpse I'm leaving behind. That one's high fantasy, taking place in a world entirely of my own creation about kids that cry diamonds. That's the most immediate one I'm working on at the moment.

Manuscript enemas. Sounds like a very fitting term, lol. Do you have a critique group/partner or beta readers, or do you self-edit?

For the most part I self-edit but I dig for beta readers when the situation calls for it.

What’s the hardest part of writing for you?

BIC. I'm such a horrible procrastinator (well, I guess I'm a really good procrastinator as it were) so I'll make excuses not to write. It takes a lot of me to actually just sit my ass in the chair and write. Editing's a pain in the ass, too.

Let’s get to know you on a deeper level. Can you name three non-writerly things about yourself?

I would hope so! I'm afraid of the dark, I love California and I have a terrible fear of natural bodies of water.

Quick writing test! Use the following words in a sentence: swan, turbo engine, and stapler.

After picking all of the swan feathers out of my hair, I realize that maybe it wasn't such a good idea to jerry rig the turbo engine on the back of a row boat with a stapler.

Hehehe, awesome. Here’s the part where you thank the people who are supporting you. Let's hear your shout outs.

Because my memory sucks terribly and for fear of leaving anyone out, I'm just going to say thank you to everyone that supports me and my writing, past, present and future. You know who you are.

And finally, where can people find you online?

I can be found at my blog, Fantastical Imagination, http://www.imaginewrite.net/blog

Thank you so much for letting us get to know you, Donna. I look forward to seeing your work in the bookstores. Good luck!

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Interview with Pamela DuMond

Today we're chatting with a wonderful lady and excellent author. Her book CUPCAKES, LIES, AND DEAD GUYS is available now! Let's get to know her.

Welcome, Pamela. Tell us a bit about yourself.

I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago. As a kid I loved going to the pool in the summer, rolling in the leaves in the fall, (yes I was a dork,) and building snow forts in the winter. I did not enjoy eating liver that was cooked hard enough to be used as a weapon, or trying to figure out if the fruit-like thingies embedded in the jello du jour were edible.

One day when I was in college my Dad declared I had to stop dallying around with Spanish, Psychology, cute boys and pick a profession. Dad was old school, first person in his family to put himself through college and start his own business. Therefore, I wasn’t allowed to pick something namby-pamby like Artist, Musician, or Secret Spy as a career. My choices were limited to doctor, lawyer, or Indian Chief. I hated blood and guts, had never been on the debate team and certainly wasn’t cool enough to be an Indian Chief. So that left chiropractic.

How long have you been writing?

As a kid I stuttered badly, so I did a lot more reading and writing than talking. Any kid who is considered a little ‘different’ knows: the bullies zone in on you. By the time I could actually talk without stuttering, I was beyond shy and didn’t. When I turned 22 I started yakking. My brother commented that I haven’t shut up, since. Since it’s relatively boring talking to oneself all day long, I started writing a lot more then, as well.

Tell us about this fabulously-titled book Cupcakes, Lies, and Dead Guys.

Annie is a baker with a pinch of psychic ability. Her married life is perfect until a famous self-help author, Dr. Fuller, ruins everything. When Fuller ends up poisoned with one of Annie's cupcakes, she's a murder suspect. When Fuller doesn't pass to the After-Life, he recruits/haunts Annie to find his killer. Now Annie's stuck with the world's most irritating ghost while investigating the wackos who wanted him dead. Can she solve the crime before she is whacked by the real killer?

Sounds absolutely awesome. How did the idea of the story come to you?

I was working on scripts that were going nowhere. Three authors inspired me to try writing novels: Jacqueline Carey, Lisa Lutz, and Toni McGee Causey. Their characters are rich and their worlds are intriguing.

I’ve had enough experiences that convinced me it is possible to communicate with people who have passed on. I wrote several non-fiction articles about those moments that were published in Soul Moments: Marvelous Stories of Synchronicity – Meaningful Coincidences from a Seemingly Random World, edited by Phil Cousineau. I’ve always loved mysteries, as well as comedies. I started to think about the comedic possibilities of being stuck with the ghost of the person you hated most in the entire world. That situation seemed pretty funny.

Sounds hysterical. I can't wait to read it. What’s the hardest part of writing for you?

When I’m in the middle of writing a story, I’m hoping that there is a pony at the bottom of the heap, and praying that I can dig my way through to her. Then, I hope that my readers will love that pony as much as I do.

Let’s get to know you on a deeper level. What do you absolutely have to have nearby when writing?

A notepad, a pen, a highlighter, research materials, my super-duper abdominal belt that exercises my abs while I write, (weird, I know,) and sometimes a cat on my chair.

If you could have any super power, what would it be?

I already have the super-duper abdominal belt. Okay. My super power would be the ability to get to the pony more quickly.

Quick writing test! Use the following words in a sentence: jujitsu, summer house, and ambidextrous.

I discovered the only survivors of the summer house were ambidextrous middle aged women with jujitsu skills: just like me.

Love it! Here’s the part where you thank the people who are supporting you. Let's hear your shout outs.

Krill Press, Ramona DeFelice Long, my family, my friends, my furballs, writers, readers, bloggers like yourself, Dorothy. The list is endless. I am blessed.

And finally, where can people find you online?

Facebook at Cupcakes, Lies, and Dead Guys.

My website should be up this week: www.Pamela.DuMond.com

Thank you so much for chatting with us, Pamela. I just know your book will be a big hit.

Thank you Dorothy!

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Interview with Dan Hays

I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend, and I hope everyone who had to change their clocks back remembered to do so. Where I live, we changed them back last week, and I'm just now getting adjusted.

Today I've got an interview with a terrific writer to share with you. We're chatting with the author of FREEDOM'S JUST ANOTHER WORD, Dan Hays.

Welcome, Dan. Tell us a bit about yourself.

I live in Fort Worth, Texas. I've been in the oil and gas and real estate title insurance industries for about 30 years, and writing on the side. I've done project work for most of those years, and I have approached writing and publicity as a work project. I'm very methodical - a spreadsheet guy!

I love running, dancing, watching sports, and visiting with other people - I've especially enjoyed connecting with other writers through social networking.

How long have you been writing?

:) Well, I started my first novel when I was 14 - something about a plot to kidnap the President. Then the movie Seven Days In May came out and stole my plot, so I stopped that project. But I had 5 poems and a short story published in a literary magazine in junior high, so my writing days go back that far.

Tell us about "Freedom's Just Another Word."

It was a memoir I had known for a while I'd have to write. It's a book about healing and hope and forgiveness. It is set in Houston, Texas in 1987. At that time, my world was spinning alarmingly out of control, and I was mystified as to why. I was walking around with many of the symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, but I didn't have a traumatic event I could point to. I was like the man in the Bourne Identity - having flashbacks to a past I didn't know existed. It was terribly puzzling.

In the middle of that time, my Dad died. In the process of grieving his death, I remembered a violent incident from my teenage years that explained the events in my world and the PTSD, and led me down a path of healing my relationship with my Dad.

Do you find it difficult to pour your emotions into a memoir for the world to read, or do you find it more a way to express your feelings and maybe get closure?

Excellent question, Dorothy! It was very tough to write in ways. Although it had been 17 years since my Dad had died, it was the first time I'd ever gone through and chronicled the events of the week when my Dad died. That was tough to write, but immensely cathartic. And to write about remembering the violence helped make it all more real for me, and brought a closure, for sure. It helped heal my relationship with my Dad - notice that the book is dedicated to him.

I did the book mostly for those reasons, but have been very surprised by how much it impacts other people. The second half of the book is about the things I did to move beyond the abuse, and readers really connect with those parts. I've even had several people call it a "road map" for how to move beyond abuse. A completely unintended consequence of this book, but I'm very grateful that people are benefitting in that way from reading Freedom!

Sounds like you're helping people who need it, which is great. What's the hardest part of writing for you?

LOL! Since the next book I'm writing is about a writer's block that has plagued me for about 25 years, I would say every aspect of writing was tough for a while. Just sitting down to write was sometimes a stretch. Then when publishers were interested in my books, that was fearful, and I didn't know why. I had publishers interested in books I had written twice, and was totally perplexed to find myself walking away from the opportunity.

It is apparent that I've moved beyond that block now. I've had about 5 chapters of the next book flow out very easily over the last month or so, and I'm thrilled by that. I had to do therapy, and it was a second source of PTSD, so this was a writer's block with a very deep and specific origin. Yet with hard work, I've gotten past it! When I publish this next book, it will signal how much I've healed. That I can publish the book will be a big step forward, and the origins of the writer's block will be revealed.

Let's get to know you on a deeper level. What do you absolutely have to have nearby when writing?

I have to have an extra legal pad or a note pad. I may be typing on the computer, or even writing longhand. But sometimes I'll have a thought occur, and if I don't capture it right then, I lose it, so I take notes in the moment. I may be writing chapter 1, and have a scene in chapter 4 present itself, and I want to keep it! The way my creative process works is that I'll have scraps of ideas, thoughts or scenes appear any time or place, so having paper available is invaluable.

If you could have any super power, what would it be?

It would have to be flying! When I have flying dreams, those are the most breathtaking dreams I have, and I'd love to be able to do that live! :) My most recent flying dream I was soaring about 40 feet above a road, and it was clear I could fly as long and as far as I wanted. I took that as a very positive sign.

Sound's like a positive sign to me too.

Quick writing test! Use the following words in a sentence: jumping jacks, hurricane, and pudding.

As the windows of his house blew out from the wind of the horrible hurricane, Jim was astonished to watch his daughter's jumping jacks fly past him and stab into a bowl of pudding that had fallen onto the kitchen floor.

Oh my gosh, I cannot stop laughing. Heehee.

Anyone you'd like to give thanks to?

I'd like to thank my friend Joan, who started me writing in the first place. Thanks to my mentor, Bob Kizer, who taught me so many life lessons. Thank you Dad - you illuminated my path to healing by your example of perseverance in sobriety.

And finally, where can people find you online?

My website is http://www.danlhays.com. It has links to my blog, my Minute to Freedom radio spots, our Dialogues With Dignity radio show. Check out the latest big news - a review of Freedom's Just Another Word by the New York Journal of Books. That one is in big red letters on the front page - I was jazzed about receiving that review! :)

Excellent! Thank you so much for chatting with us, Dan. I look forward to reading your memoirs.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Interview with Henry Lyons

Today we're chatting with Henry Lyons, author of poetry book DEEP THOUGHTS. Henry's new work is a book called SUPERNATURE. Let's get to know him.

Welcome, Henry. Tell us a bit about yourself.

Well I’m a New York City Special Education Teacher. I also design websites and graphics for advertisements as well as edit short films and music videos. Of course I also write first poetry and now novels.

How long have you been writing?

Most of my poetry was written over a fifteen year period. During that time I did have some ideas for stories but I never wrote any of them down until last year when I started work on Supernature.

Tell us about SUPERNATURE. What’s the story about?

The story starts off as a simple police investigation which uncovers mass mutations that are caused by an unknown substance. As the mutations spread they begin to threaten the entire planet. A team of scientists and investigators work together to halt the spread of the mutated creatures.

Sounds intriguing. I bet it would make a cool movie too. How did the idea of the story come to you?

To be honest with you I got the idea for the story way back in the nineteen seventy’s. A disco song was popular at that time called believe it or not, “Supernature” by a French artist by the name of Cerrone. As I listened to the lyrics of the song I noticed that it talked about Man’s manipulation of nature and finally natures revolt against man. Here’s a few lines from the song:

Once upon a time
Science opened up the doors
We would feed the hungry fields
'till they couldn't eat no more

But the potions that we made
Touched the creatures down below
And they grew up in a way
That we've never seen before

supernature supernature
supernature supernature

They were angry with the man
cause he changed their way of life
And they take their sweet revenge
As they trample through the night

I started to think about how genetic engineering has become common place within our society and how if abused what impact the technology could have on our environment. I played with the idea for years and then in 2009 I finally decided to put pen to paper.

Do you have a critique group/partner or beta readers, or do you self-edit?

I had a number of friends that helped me edit the book and give me some critical feedback.

What’s the hardest part of writing for you?

I think one of the hardest things to do is to create believable characters that people can identify with.

Let’s get to know you on a deeper level. What do you absolutely have to have nearby when writing?

A photo of my beloved deceased daughter. Her memory gives me my drive.

Sorry for your loss. That's got to be the worst pain someone can endure. I'm glad she's giving you inspiration.

Here’s the part where you thank the people who are supporting you.

I would like to thank my wife Shanell who has supported me patiently while I write. I would also like to thank my father who has always been my ROCK and role model. He is also one of my most enthusiastic fans. I would also like to thank my buddy and business partner Alvin Grant.
Also LULU.com, and all of my family and friends

And finally, where can people find you online?

Henry, thank you so much for chatting with us. I wish you success with all your publication endeavors.

Thank you!