Author Interview with Clark Casey

One of the best things about my job is the opportunity to read books I might otherwise never come across. Recently, I had the privilege of reading Clark Casey’s paranormal Western Dawn in Damnation. I enjoyed the book, so I furthered my goal of supporting indie authors by asking him for an interview!


Dawn in DamnationABOUT THE BOOK

WELCOME TO DAMNATION . . .
where every living soul is as dead as a doornail. Except one. 

Buddy Baker is a dead man. Literally. After gunning down more men than Billy the Kid—and being hung by a rope necktie for his crimes—the jolly, fast-drawing fugitive reckoned he’d earned himself a nonstop ticket to hell. Instead, he finds himself in Damnation: a gun-slinging ghost town located somewhere between heaven and hell.

There are no laws in Damnation. Only two simple rules: If you get shot, you go directly to hell. If you stay alive without shooting anyone for one year, you just might get into heaven.

Hardened outlaws pass the time in the saloon playing poker and wagering on who will get sent to hell next, while trying not to anger the town’s reclusive vampire or the quarrelsome werewolves. Buddy winds up in everyone’s crosshairs after swearing to protect a pretty gal who arrives in Damnation pregnant. Her child might end up a warm-blooded meal for the supernatural residents, or it could be a demon spawn on a mission to destroy them all.

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Westerns aren’t a genre that is considered “popular” these days. What inspired you to dive into it anyway?

As a boy from Queens, I was more likely to play cops and robbers than cowboys and Indians, but I became a big fan of the HBO series Deadwood. Then a friend introduced me to the Robert B. Parker Appaloosa books. I had been writing literary fiction, and I wanted to try my hand at something more fast-paced with a lot of dialogue and the occasional gunfight. After the popularity of True Blood and Twilight, I figured adding a vampire and some werewolves might be interesting. I set the story in the afterlife because of my preoccupation with death. Continue reading

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Love at the Edge of Seventeen Authors Interview Their Characters, Part One

I’m pleased to host a stop on the blog tour for a new YA romance anthology, Love at the Edge of Seventeen, from Stars and Stone Books! It features stories by authors M.T. DeSantis, A.E. Hayes, Serena Jayne, Cara McKinnon, Mary Rogers, and Kylie Weisenborn.


Love at the Edge of SeventeenABOUT THE BOOK

It’s never easy to go through the fraught transition into adulthood, but the teens in this anthology have more to deal with than most: super powers, magic, illness, prejudice against sexual orientation and gender identity, and even death. Fortunately, they all find love at the edge of seventeen.

Kindle | iBooks | Nook | Kobo | Google Play


For our blog tour, we asked our authors to interview their characters! This is part one of three.  Continue reading

Author Interview with Nicholas Conley

I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing two projects by Nicholas Conley, so I jumped at the chance to pick his brain about his latest novel. Intraterrestrial was a wild ride, and you can find my review of it here.

IntraterrestrialABOUT THE BOOK

Adam Helios is a bully magnet without many friends. When he starts hearing a voice that claims to come from the stars, he fears he’s losing his mind, so he withdraws even further. On the way home from a meeting at the school, he and his parents are involved in a horrible car crash. With his skull cracked open, Adam’s consciousness is abducted by the alien who has been speaking to him for months.

After surviving the wreck with only minor scratches, Camille Helios must deal with her guilt over the accident that left her husband badly injured and her son in a coma. When the doctor suggests letting Adam go, Camille refuses to stop fighting for her son’s life.

Lost among galaxies, Adam must use his imagination to forge a path home before his body dies on the operating table. But even if he does return to Earth, he may end up locked inside a damaged brain forever.

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The premise of this book revolves around traumatic brain injury (TBI). Can you tell us about your interest in this topic?

So as with my previous novel, Pale Highway, the inspiration for this book came from my years of working in the long-term care unit of a nursing and rehabilitation home, where I cared for people with many health conditions. When I started writing Intraterrestrial, probably my biggest goal was to always make sure that the main character — Adam — is in the driver’s seat from start to finish: he’s always the central protagonist, never just a supporting character in his own story. It was extremely important, I think, to show that Adam’s TBI doesn’t make him into a plot device. Both before and after the accident, he’s a real person, with the same sorts of hopes, dreams, fears, thoughts, and feelings of anyone else.

I also wanted to explore the painful family dynamics that are caused by accidents like this one, which I saw all too often when I was working in that field. When a kid gets thrust into the medical system, their parents have to be intimately involved in every step of the process, and those parents have an insane amount of pressure (and expectations) placed on their every decision. There are no easy answers, I think, so I felt like it was important to look deeply into the pained humanity behind every person in this narrative — Adam, his parents, the medical professionals — to see each person honestly, openly, as human beings instead of caricatures.  Continue reading

Interview with Ink to Film Podcast

Ink to Film logoI’m not much of a podcast person, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think some of them are awesome! The Ink to Film Podcast was co-founded a few months ago by a friend in my extended writers network. It seems that, these days, there’s a podcast for literally everything. This one, however, seems like it’s got some definite staying power. I can’t describe it better than they do:

Ink to Film is for readers and film aficionados alike. We read and discuss a novel in a granular way, then move to the film adaptation and talk about all the ways it relates to the book and how it stands on its own. Hosts Luke and James have studied writing and film respectively, and bring an insider’s insight into the show. Whether merely curious about the source material or an avid fan, Ink to Film should appeal to you.

Today, I’m happy to feature Luke and James as they discuss their awesome project. For those of you always on the lookout for new things to listen to, I hope you check them out!

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What inspired you to create this podcast?

James: I’m a consumer of a lot of podcasts, and many of them end up being film/production-related. It’s a community I always wanted to participate in because it seemed like so much fun. Luke and I separately had talked about how we wanted to start podcasting, and eventually because of our different backgrounds (film & writing) we realized we could bring an interesting perspective to the film/book podcasting niche if we collaborated.

Luke: I’d had a few ideas for a different podcast I wanted to start and taken steps with some others, but it just wasn’t coming together. James and I talked it over and it seemed like we were both committed to actually doing this thing. At that point, we figured out what we could bring to a show that would be unique to us and so the idea behind Ink to Film was born. We liked that it spans both books and film and is potentially of interest to either side of the spectrum of book-readers and non-book-readers (and those who like both). Also, James has the background in audio production he could lean on, so we realized the division of labor would work perfectly with me handling written material (show notes, social media, etc.) and him producing/editing the audio.  Continue reading

Author Interview with A.E. Hayes

shatteredFor something a little bit different today, I’m interviewing author A.E. Hayes about Shattered: Memories of an Amnesiac! I know, it sounds like science fiction, despite my own medical knowledge about traumatic brain injury gleaned from my years of editing a medical journal on rehabilitation. So I was instantly intrigued about, well, everything about this.


ABOUT THE BOOK 

“You’ve been captive far too long,” she whispered. “So I’m releasing you.”

The universe was bathed in white light, and as I touched the azure and ruby stars dancing above my head, the crack within me split and fractured into madness.

I felt the shatter. But I was powerless to stop it.

A.E. Hayes wakes up in a bright hospital room on the afternoon of August 24, 2010, with no idea of who she is or what has happened to her. When her doctors begin saying words such as “traumatic brain injury” and “retrograde amnesia,” she realizes that she cannot remember anything at all – including the man sitting beside her who claims to be her husband.

Guided by numerous doctors, hospitals, trauma units, her husband, a mysterious person known only as Starlight Boy, and an equally mysterious voice inside her head that tells her to seek the truth, Hayes sets out to uncover the answers about her rare condition. But is her amnesia truly all there is to her story? Through various sources, Hayes must learn about her startling and often traumatic past – and how that past may permanently alter the future.

Raw and riveting, Shattered: Memoirs of an Amnesiac leads readers down a path of darkness, mystery, and redemption – where heroes are often villains, fiction routinely gives way to fact, and how, ultimately, the truth can be both the disease and the cure.

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Though your academic degree is in writing fiction, I know from my own professional experience that writing nonfiction is another beast. How do you balance the difference in writing styles?

Writing nonfiction — especially a memoir — was absolutely a massive undertaking. I’m very used to writing fictional pieces, in which the characters come into my head, take over, and create a fantastical fictional playground. And I’m quite used to a distanced form of nonfiction, since I worked as a music magazine writer and as a newspaper editor. But writing a memoir — a story that is one-hundred percent true about my life and the events that have occurred — forced me into a different head space. But telling the truth was the key to balance. With fiction, I do have to tell the truth as my characters would tell it — if character X says she didn’t have an affair, but character Y says she did, those are their truths, and I must be honest to those characters and write out those events. But with nonfiction/memoir, I had to tell the truth as it actually occurred in this very human, real life. The only things that were not one-hundred percent factual were names, some locations, and some identifying characteristics (I’m really not a fan of lawsuits). But the events were all true, and I couldn’t have made them up if I tried. Since these things did occur to me, I could rely on my own experiences to guide me, and I think that made the process a little easier (despite the amnesia, which I will get to in the next question).  Continue reading

Author Interview with Rebecca Halsey

51g1zqIbhdL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Not every book gets two birthdays, but sometimes life happens. Since I’m a huge fan of authors who face adversity and come back swinging, I’m pleased to host an interview with author Rebecca Halsey on the occasion of her novel’s re-release. I previously read and reviewed Notes of Temptation last year, tearing through it while on vacation and loving every moment of this historical romance with a touch of magic.

I hope this interview with the author and the snippet below provide their own temptation for you to check out this awesome book.


ABOUT THE BOOK

When Carrie Cooper leaves her small gold-mining town to seek her fortune, it’s not until she arrives in L.A. that she learns her college certificate is a fraud. The only work available is in a less-than-respectable speakeasy. The job comes with the opportunity to take the stage with Oz Dean, the club’s captivating bandleader. But rivals out for her blood along with her place in the spotlight lurk behind the curtain. Oz Dean has the rare ability to “see” music as brilliant colors, but nothing has ever dazzled him like Carrie’s pure, choir-girl voice. With a mob debt hanging over his head like a guillotine, he organizes a revue that will launch them all to stardom. Unfortunately, his bold move attracts exactly the kind of criminal attention he would like to avoid. Mired in Hollywood’s underbelly, caught off-guard by their growing attraction, Carrie and Oz are forced to consider the cost of success. Or their one chance to make beautiful music together could be their last. Together they take the stage. Together they must defend it to the death.

Amazon


Writing an historical novel means a ton of research. What was the coolest thing you learned while gathering information to craft the world of this book?

I wanted to set this story at the end of Prohibition and the beginning of the Depression when things were starting to change. So I picked the year 1931. As I was investigating the time period, I discovered that demand for coins dropped off in these years. No quarters were minted in 1931, so if you find one, it’s surely counterfeit.  Continue reading

Author Interview with Brenda Cooper

silver ship and the seaTo celebrate the re-release of her first novel, The Silver Ship and the Sea, and promote the Kickstarter project for her connected short story collection, Stories of Fremont’s Children, author Brenda Cooper was kind enough to answer some questions I had about the world of these stories.


ABOUT THE BOOK

Prisoners of a war they barely remember, Fremont’s Children must find a way to survive in a world that abhors their very nature. Or they must discover a way to leave it…

Brenda Cooper’s Fremont’s Children series launches with her award-winning novel The Silver Ship and the Sea. Cooper explores what it means to be so different that others feel they must oppress you.

Six genetically enhanced children are stranded on the colony planet Fremont in a war between genetic purists and those that would tinker with the code. Orphaned, the children have few remnants of their heritage other than an old woman who was left for abandoned at the end of the war, and a mysterious silver ship that appears to have no doors.

To keep themselves alive, the children must leave the safety of the insular community and brave the beautiful but dangerous wilds of Fremont. Is it an echo of their own natures, or a proving ground of their genetic worth?

In this battle of wills and principles, what does the future hold for Fremont’s Children?

Amazon


What inspirations from Earth’s landscape did you use for the alien world of Fremont?

Fremont is more dangerous to humans than Earth. It’s a water world, with less landmass than we have, but with air that its inhabitants can breathe and land for them to walk on. So in some fundamental ways it is similar — frankly, more similar than any real alien worlds are likely to be. It’s younger than Earth, and less impacted by humans. For example, we’ve hunted the Earth down to smaller predators, but once there were sabre-toothed cats. On Fremont, there are pawcats, who are larger than our lions and more aggressive. There are demon dogs who hunt in packs and are larger than wolves and more dangerous to humans than wolves. The grass is sharp enough to draw blood. There are active volcanoes, many earthquakes, and periodic meteor strikes.  Continue reading