Author Interview Tony Riches

Introduction

It is my pleasure to introduce Tony Riches—an author of both best-selling fiction and non-fiction books, a blogger, and a podcaster. He has published several historical fiction books set in the 15th and 16th centuries about one of the most fascinating dynasties in England—the Tudors. I was excited to learn that he lived near the Pembroke Castle which I visited in 2013 and found fascinating.

Below you will find a brief biography, interview, and contact information for Tony Riches.

Author Tony Riches

Biography

Tony Riches is a full-time UK author of best-selling historical fiction. He lives in Pembrokeshire, West Wales and is a specialist in the history of the Tudors. For more information about Tony’s books please visit his website tonyriches.com and his blog, The Writing Desk and find him on Facebook and Twitter @tonyriches

Author Interview Tony Riches

Would you provide an overview of the newest books or series that you have recently released?

My latest book is the conclusion to my Brandon trilogy, Katherine – Tudor Duchess.  This began as a ‘sequel’ to my best-selling Tudor trilogy, with the intriguing story of Henry VIII’s little sister Mary, who briefly became Queen of France. I visited her home at Westhorpe and became fascinated by the adventures her second husband, champion jouster and best friend of the king, Charles Brandon, so decided to tell the story from his point of view. After Mary died, Charles married a fourteen-year-old heiress, Katherine Willoughby, so her story was perfect for the third book of the trilogy. 

 

What inspired you to write historical fiction about the Tudors in the 15th and 16th centuries?

I was born in Pembroke, birthplace of King Henry VII, so have always been interested in finding out more about his story. I realised many visitors to Pembroke Castle had no idea he was born there, so my wife and I helped raise funding for the life-sized statue of Henry, now in front of the castle, so now he will always be remembered.

Statue of Henry Tudor at Pembroke Castle

How much research was involved in writing your books?

I usually spend at least a year visiting the actual locations, uncovering primary sources and planning each of my books. This has taken me to follow Henry and Jasper Tudor in exile to remote Brittany, although many of the locations are closer to home, as I live in Tudor Wales.

Is there any character that is your favorite in any of the books you have written? Explain why.

Owen Tudor, founder of the dynasty has to be my favourite, as although he came from modest beginnings, that didn’t stop him from secretly marrying the Queen of England and changing history. (Owen was also my first book to earn enough royalties to enable me to become a full-time author.)

Owen Book One of the Tudor Trilogy


How often do your characters surprise you by doing or saying something totally unexpected?

I like to stick to the historical facts, so they surprise me all the time. For example, Henry VII is thought of by many as ‘miserly’ but the records show he spent a fortune on his clothes and loved to gamble at cards (he often lost!) Mary Tudor didn’t complain when her brother married her off to the much older and sickly King Louis of France, and Katherine Willoughby risked everything for what she believed in.

Have you received reactions/feedback to your work that has surprised you? In what way?

I like hearing from readers, and one comment that I remember was from a mother in the US who said she’d bought all my books to help her son with his school work! Readers sometimes tell me they are descended from characters in my books, or that they are going to travel half way around the world to see the locations for themselves. 

If you could have one skill that you don’t currently have, what would it be?

I need to learn to read medieval French and Latin, as I often find primary sources where I have to rely on someone else’s interpretation.

What might we be surprised to learn about you?

I play the tenor sax and met my wife when we played in a group together – it was called ‘Black Knight’ – a clue to my future career?

What makes you laugh?

Tudor TV dramas, such as when they ‘merged’ Henry VIII’s sisters, Mary and Margaret in ‘The White Queen’. I had to stop watching but still wonder why. Did they not find either interesting enough? Could they not afford two actresses? I also cringed when they made Margaret Beaufort into a scheming villain… and I could never believe Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Henry VIII – although I was happy with Damian Lewis in ‘Wolf Hall’.

What simple pleasure makes you smile?

Talking to my two-year-old grandson on Facetime, as he takes video calling entirely for granted – but I’m still amazed that such a thing is possible for free.

Tony Riches, Pembrokeshire, West Wales

 

You can contact Tony Riches and learn more about him at:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Website

Writing blog

Twitter

Facebook

Podcasts

Goodreads

Author Interview Linnea Tanner ManyBooks

Author Interview Linnea Tanner on ManyBooks

I am pleased and honored to reblog “Linnea Tanner – Fascinated with Ancient Rome and Britannia,” posted 27th of March, 2020 by Naomi Bolton and featured on ManyBooks Author of the Day. The interview provides insight into what inspired me to write Dagger’s Destiny (Book 2 Curse of Clansmen and Kings). In conjunction with the interview, the price of Dagger’s Destiny has been reduced to 99 cents through March 31st.

For the original post, click Interview ManyBooks

 

tanner2
Award-winning Author Linnea Tanner weaves Celtic tales of love, magic, adventure, betrayal, and intrigue into historical fiction set in Ancient Rome and Britannia. Since childhood, she has passionately read about ancient civilizations and mythology which held women in higher esteem. Of particular interest are the enigmatic Celts who were reputed as fierce warriors and mystical Druids. Depending on the time of day and season of the year, you will find her exploring and researching ancient and medieval history, mythology and archaeology to support her writing. As the author of the Curse of Clansmen and Kings series, she has extensively researched and traveled to sites described within each book. A native of Colorado, Linnea attended the University of Colorado and earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemistry. She lives in Windsor with her husband and has two children and six grandchildren. As our Author of the Day, Tanner tells us all about her book, Dagger’s Destiny.

Please give us a short introduction to what Dagger’s Destiny is about.

Dagger’s Destiny continues the story of Catrin, a Celtic warrior princess, and Marcellus, the great-grandson of Mark Antony, that began with the first awarding-winning novel, Apollo’s Raven, in The Curse of Clansmen and Kings series. Book 2: Dagger’s Destiny sweeps you into an epic Celtic tale of forbidden love, mythological adventure, and political intrigue in Ancient Rome and Britannia.

When the story begins, war looms over 24 AD Britannia where rival tribal rulers fight each other for power and the Romans threaten to invade to settle their political differences. King Amren accuses his daughter, Catrin, of treason for aiding the Roman enemy and her lover, Marcellus. The ultimate punishment is death unless she can redeem herself and prove her loyalty by forsaking Marcellus and defending their kingdom. Yet, when Catrin again reunites with Marcellus, she is torn between her love for him and duty to her people.

What inspired you to write about a Celtic princess accused of treason?

The choice of love versus duty is a universal theme that has fascinated me in such stories as Mark Antony and Cleopatra and Juliet and Romeo. I explore this theme in Dagger’s Destiny in which both a king and his daughter struggle to balance love and duty. Beginning in Dagger’s Destiny, Catrin faces consequences for saving her enemy lover, Marcellus, in a prisoner exchange that erupted into a conflict between her people and the Romans.

King Amren, who was seriously wounded in the conflict, accuses Catrin of treason for betraying him and his people. It is his duty as king to administer the same punishment to his beloved daughter as he would exact on any traitor in his kingdom. Ultimately, King Amren also faces ramifications for his brutality as king to maintain power while his daughter sacrifices almost everything for love. The struggle to balance love and duty will continue to be a theme throughout the series.

Why Ancient Rome and Britannia? Where does your fascination with this time period come from?

Since childhood, I’ve been fascinated with Ancient Rome after watching 1960’s movies such as Ben Hur and Spartacus and reading ancient history. Although the Roman empire was often depicted as corrupt and debauched, its culture and language left a lasting impact on modern-day western civilization.

On a business trip to the United Kingdom, I was fascinated by the statue of Boudicca, a warrior queen, and her daughters in a chariot. I learned that this formidable Celtic queen united the tribes in ancient Britain to rebel against the Romans. And she almost succeeded!

I became intrigued by the Celts and discovered they also had a lasting impact. During their golden age in 200-300 BC, the Celts spread from Ireland, across Europe, and to Turkey. They were a tribal, warrior society with oral traditions and a common language.

How much research did this book require from you? What is the most interesting aspect of this research?

I extensively researched Roman and Celtic history and visited archaeological sites in the United Kingdom and France. The research on the Celts was the most challenging as they left limited written records. Their history was told through the eyes of their enemies: Julius Caesar and Greek and Roman historians. Monks in medieval monasteries wrote down stories from oral Celtic traditions in Wales and Ireland, but the stories often reflected their Christian values.

One of the most interesting aspect of my research is reading about archaeological evidence that puts a different spin on the Roman conquest of Britannia in 43 AD. Evidence suggests the Roman heavily influenced the politics of British kings after the military excursions of Julius Caesar in 55-54 BC. There was probably a Roman military presence in Britannia to protect their interests and pro-Roman kings prior to Claudius’s conquest in 43 AD. The political situation was not much different than Cleopatra’s Egypt.

This is Book 2 in the Curse of Clansmen and Kings series. Can it be read as a standalone?

Although there is sufficient background information so Dagger’s Destiny can be read as a standalone, it would be helpful to read Apollo’s Raven first for the background on how the story begins.

Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?

I am an avid gardener. Last year, I grew cantaloupes up to 10 pounds. I also have about 80 roses which I constantly prune and fertilize during the growing season.

Tell us more about the cover and how it came about.

The cover represents Catrin’s struggle to forsake Marcellus so she can accept her duty as a warrior to defend her kingdom. In the background, her homeland is ablaze and in conflict—a consequence of her forbidden love. A curse she tries to break is etched on the dagger in her hand.

Why did you find it important to weave mythological references and mystical experiences into the story?

In the beginning, the Curse of Clansmen and Kings series was intended to be a historical fiction with elements of Celtic religion sprinkled in. However, I couldn’t truly tell Catrin’s story without weaving in her mystical experiences to reflect her culture and pagan beliefs. One of the aspects I found most interesting about the Celts is their belief that the soul is immortal and, upon death, enters into a new body. Celtic artwork reflects how gods or semi-divine shapeshift to appear as animals, a recurring theme in Irish and Welsh mythology. Merlin’s mystical powers from King Arthur legends reflect this Celtic pagan belief. I freely use the concept of the soul to explain Catrin’s shapeshifting abilities and how she views the world.

Tell us more about Catrin. What makes her tick?

Catrin is a strong-minded adolescent fraught with conflicting emotions about her mystical powers that she can’t seem to control and her struggle to do her duty despite her overwhelming blind love for Marcellus. In the eyes of her people, she is a fool. Yet, despite her challenges, she rises above them, even when she is knocked down.

What is your favorite line from this book? Please explain why.

This was a difficult question to answer, but I finally chose a line near the ending: “Pull the dagger out of the stone and embrace my curse as your destiny.” This line is intended as a metaphor that a person’s character is tested by fire and cast into stone as a weapon to overcome life’s challenges and to fulfill his or her destiny.

The book contains quite a couple of twists. Did you plan them all out before you started writing?

Ideas for twists often bubbles up during periods of writer’s block. It is a signal that my plot is not working, and I need to do something different. It is as if the characters in my head are telling me to get out of the way and allow them to tell the story.

What are you working on right now?

I’m now working on Book 4: Skull’s Vengeance in the Curse of Clansmen and Kings series. Although this book has been drafted for a few years, I’m changing the storyline because of unexpected twists in Book 3: Amulet’s Rapture. The epic series continues to evolve as I edit and revise.

Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?

Readers can discover more of my work at the websites below:

Author website

Amazon author page

Goodreads author page

Readers can interact with me through social media provided below:

Bookbub

Twitter

Facebook

Linked-in

Message from LInnea Tanner

My heart extends out to everyone during this difficult time, particularly those directly impacted by COVID-19. The health professionals on the front lines are the true heroes during this crisis. Please keep well and practice social distancing to help defeat this pandemic. I am truly grateful to the readers who have supported me as an author.

Take care,
Linnea Tanner

 

Interview Brook Allen, Author of Antonius Trilogy

INTRODUCTION

 

It is my pleasure to introduce Brook Allen, author of the Antonius Trilogy, historical fiction about Marcus Antonius (Mark Antony). Her first book, Antonius: Son of Rome, caught my attention when it was awarded the must-deserved 2019 Book of the Year Award by The Coffee Pot Book Club. Mark Antony is one of the most fascinating historical figures from Ancient Rome. He is an enigma because most of the accounts about him were written by his enemies. Author Brook Allen realistically captures the essence of Mark Antony and Roman politics. The second book, Antonius: Second in Command), is also an engaging, must-read book for those who love historical fiction set in ancient Rome.

Below you will find a brief biography, interview, and contact information.


BIOGRAPHY

Brook Allen has a passion for ancient history—especially 1st century BC Rome. Her current work is a trilogy on the life of Marcus Antonius—Marc Antony. The first installment, Antonius: Son of Rome was published on March 15, 2019. It follows Antony as a young man, from the age of eleven, when his father died in disgrace, until he’s twenty-seven and meets Cleopatra for the first time. Brook’s newest book is Antonius: Second in Command, dealing with Antony’s tumultuous rise to power at Caesar’s side and culminating with the bloody civil war against Brutus and Cassius.

AUTHOR INTERVIEW QUESTIONS:

Would you provide an overview of the books you’ve published in the Antonius series about Marcus Antonius who is considered one of history’s most controversial men?

I guess I’ve always felt a little sorry for Marcus (Marc Antony). Octavian not only demanded his death, but in treating his memory with damnatio memoriae—the damning of one’s memory, his statues and busts were destroyed, his name chiseled off of inscriptions, and even his birth date was designated as a day of “bad omens”. All that is pretty heavy stuff. To this day, he gets Classicists rattled, and they always have opinions about him. Usually it’s either “love him or hate him”!

Certainly, Marcus Antonius had an agenda, but truthfully, nobody knows what it was. There had to be reasons he acted as he did. In approaching his life story, I decided to begin at his father’s death, since it must have been a humiliation for his family. As my book Son of Rome progresses, the Antonii deal with repeated misfortune and humiliation. And all of this was going on in the middle of so much political and social upheaval—the Spartacan Revolt, the Catiline Conspiracy… Patricia Southern, who wrote a fantastic biography on Antonius said it best, stating that he grew up never seeing the Roman Republic work properly. The death throes of the Republic provide a thrilling and breathtaking panorama of events on which to depict his story since not much of his early years is known.

In my second book, Second in Command, Marcus comes into his own. This is where writers like Plutarch especially, kick in and give a lot more details about what he was doing—especially once he joins Caesar in Gaul. Second in Command is one fast-paced read. There’s scandal, political intrigue, tragedy (Marcus’s life was marred by multiple tragedies, poor guy!), and war. Battle scenes have become a personal hobby now and I actually enjoy writing them. Thank you, Adrian Goldsworthy—a man who knows Roman legions and warfare like the back of his hand.

The final book in my trilogy should be out a little later this year. I’m hoping by early fall. It will be tragic and dark, as that’s the sort of life Antonius endured in his later years. However, to lighten that is one of history’s most celebrated love stories; that of Antonius and Cleopatra. I am doing my best to treat it with justice and empathy. There were kids involved, sadly, and life at its best in the 1st century BC could be brutal. Expect plenty of warfare and emotional torment, both physical and propaganda-driven.

What inspired you to write about the legendary historical enigma, Marcus Antonius?

Way back in high school is where it all began. I had a fabulous Sophomore English teacher and she had us read Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. By then, I’d already been bitten by the writing bug, but after studying it, I was hooked on Roman history. I knew I wanted to write on the 1st century BC/end of the Republic dilemma somehow.

Fast-forward now to 2005. I had just completed my Masters with an emphasis in Roman Studies and decided, “It’s time.” By then, I’d had enough life experiences and deep research into Roman culture that I felt as though I could manage the world-building aspect, which, to me—is possibly even more important to historical fiction writing than building character. Anyway, Robert Harris was in the midst of his Cicero trilogy, so Cicero was out. Several series had recently been done on Julius Caesar, who would have been a blast to write on. So, I skipped him. Honestly, I didn’t like Octavian enough to focus on him. I just kept coming back to Antonius. And I’m so glad I did. He’s been my close friend now for fifteen years and my husband even tolerates him well!

How much research was involved in writing your books?

If I was going to make this worthwhile… to succeed with this trilogy, then I had to build a world and character that was so believable and irresistible that people would have no choice but want to read it.

My parents were still alive when I began writing it, and they sent me to Egypt. It was the most incredible trip I’ve ever taken. I spent a week just in Alexandria, walking the beach, taking a boat out into the Great Harbor, exploring the foundations of the ancient Pharos Lighthouse inside Fort Qaitbay, and visiting helpful folks at the Center for Alexandrian Studies.

Naturally, Rome and Greece have been on my itinerary multiple times, and I even made a brief visit to Ephesus. For a guy who lived two-thousand years ago without jet service, Marcus got around! I have some incredible guide-friends now—two in Greece whom I depend on, and one in Rome. They have all been such integral resources for these books and walking ancient sites with them was an experience that I’ll never forget. Several times, either the Greek or Italian government had shut down sites I needed to see. However, with the help from my Classics professor, the Italian government, and even a humble security guard—I’ve been everyplace from Actium in western Greece to Taposiris Magna in Egypt, to the House of Livia in Rome!

Truthfully, I’m still researching, and even as I continue my drafting process, I sometimes take research breaks to fine-tune something I want to be sure of.

How did you go ABOUT researching the history, language, and culture of the 1st Century BC ancient Romans?

The Classics professor with whom I did my Masters thesis, Dr. Christina Salowey, provided me with a Latin book and I self-taught myself a few basics. Fortunately, I speak French, and that helped quite a bit. However, I’ll admit that I never got as far along with Latin as I wanted.

There is so much material out there and sometimes when writing you have to be careful not to “kitchen-sink”—stick in too much detail. Readers want to be immersed but not overwhelmed. When I did my Masters, I did it in order to write this trilogy. Everything I focused on had a place in my story. Once, while in Rome, I remember slipping on my sports sandals and jogging from the Palatine Hill in Rome all the way down to the Curia to determine how long it took to get there in a hurry! And I spent nearly a week in Pompeii, visiting that site multiple times with a friend, just to feel the pulse of ancient Rome. That was time very well-spent.

Were there any unexpected surprises about Marcus Antonius that you found in your research?

Indeed! Perhaps the very thing that is so surprising about him is that he’s still soooooo controversial. Classicists and historians either love him or hate him. After researching the guy for fifteen years, I see communication as having been his biggest issue. Poor Marcus lived in the wrong age. Today, he would’ve been on SKYPE in Greece, defending himself to the Senate in Rome, or on Twitter, tweeting about his REAL intentions regarding his plans in governing the East. Really, I think distance was one of the things that wound up defeating him in the end. Distance from Rome and not being able to be there to stand up for what he believed. Why didn’t he go back? Maybe it was due to Cleopatra… Who knows? I do know that he governed the East and that when Octavian finally took over, he didn’t make immediate changes. Something had to be going fairly well!

Is there any sub-character in the Antonius series that is your favorite? Explain why?

YES! I love Julia Antonia, Marcus Antonius’s mother. Granted, they don’t always see eye-to eye in Antonius: Son of Rome, but I think readers will come to love and respect her. She was one brassy lady, to say the least. During the proscriptions, she confronted a group of soldiers at her doorstep, hunting her brother down, opening her stola and challenging them to kill her first—the mother of their general—before forcing their way in to kill her brother. Needless to say, her brother was safe! Later, in the final book that I’m writing, she winds up on a pirate’s ship! This was a Roman matron—high-born! Ancient sources are chock-full of some pretty incredible stuff. Love it!

How often do your characters surprise you by doing or saying something totally unexpected?

When I have the time to really sit down and focus on a scene, that’s when it happens. And seldom during the first draft, either. It’s when I’m working on the second, third, fourth drafts that stuff just starts flowing and the characters just take total control. I start visualizing the scene and BOOM! For any author, that’s utter bliss. And in a way, when your characters speak to you and work through you like that, I guess it’s sort of creepy, too!

Have you received reactions/feedback to your work that surprise you? In what way?

This whole “being an author” thing has been mind-blowing in a lot of ways. I have a reader in Australia who has been so kind—so encouraging. She writes something positive to me almost weekly now. I don’t think there’s any way I could convey how much of a difference it makes when somebody believes in your work in that way. And here she is, literally on the other side of the world from me. And yet, we have this special connection. Then there’s a manager in my local Barnes & Noble who believes in hometown authors and completely supports my work. This guy has become a champion for me. When I walk in and see my books on his shelves, always facing out so that the cover shows… it seems like nothing to most people, but to an author? It means the world.

I think it’s these kindnesses that totally eclipse an agent’s rejection or overshadow negative reviews. Loyal readers truly have the power to make an author. I can see that now.

What are the most important traits you look for in a friend?

This one’s hard, as honestly, I’m pretty hard to pin-down and become really close to, friendship-wise. I suppose it would be somebody who has commonality with me in some way—like writing, perhaps. A person who’s forgiving and forbearing, for sure. I’m not always likable. That’s why my sweet husband it such a diamond.

 If you could have one skill that you don’t currently have, what would it be?

I’ve always thought it would be super-cool to be able to communicate with animals. I’m talking Dr. Doolittle, here. I would LOVE to be able to touch a grizzly bear’s head, stroke it gently, and tell the biologist, “His tummy hurts because he’s been hibernating for seven months and hasn’t pooped in all that time! That’s the reason he’s so lethargic!” Wow. If I could understand animals, I could quit my day-job!

What might we be surprised to learn about you?

All of the riding scenes and cavalry/horse-related scenarios in my trilogy are from personal experience. Long, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I was an equestrienne and did pre-training for the Olympics. But again… that was LONG, long ago. However, my memory of riding and how it felt, and the way I trained— it brought a lot of fine-tuned action into my scenes with young Marcus.

What makes you laugh?

My husband. He’s hilarious—even when he doesn’t mean to be funny.

What simple pleasure makes you smile?

Just being with my dogs. I’m a dog-person to the max and I’d prefer being in their company any day compared to the company of people. Not that I’m anti-social or anything, but we introverted folk are like that!


You can contact Brook Allen and learn more about her books at:

Amazon Author Page

Website/Blog

Twitter

Facebook

Goodreads

 

 

Author Interview TH Leatherman

TH Leatherman, Author, Science Fiction

Introduction

It is my pleasure to introduce TH Leatherman, author of the Burning Son series. I met TH at the 2018 Comic Con in Denver. He described the characters in his science fiction series as space pirates, which immediately drew my attention. He also showed me a picture of his cat that had vampire-like fangs. Intrigued, I read and reviewed his first book, The Burning Son, in his series which reminded me of the author—lots of kinetic energy and engaging.

Below is TH Leatherman’s biography, author interview, and contact information. Click on the book covers below for a direct purchase link to Amazon.

Biography

TH Leatherman is an author from Firestone, Colorado. He enjoys science fiction, fantasy, winemaking, and the Rocky Mountain lifestyle. When not busy writing his next book, he can be found hiking with his wife and two sons or walking his rescued dogs. He worked as a stock broker for twenty years before he started writing full time. He graduated Summa Cum Laude from Regis University with a degree in Business Management and a minor in Psychology. He has released four books, The Burning Son, Marque of the Son, Son Rise, and The Son Set (an omnibus edition of the first three books).

For more information, visit his website

Author Interview

Would you provide an overview of the books you’ve published in The Burning Son series?

The Burning Son – is about Mark losing everything, and has to leave his father behind. Mark is forced to start life over as part of a smuggler’s crew. A lot of the book has to do with him trying to find his place in that crew.

The Burning Son Book Cover

 

Marque of the Son – is about Mark building his new life. He starts the book on a foreign world with no ship and half a crew. His driving goal continues to be finding his father. That goal seems a long way off.

Marque of the Son Book Cover

Son Rise – Mark has a ship and crew, but his one safety net, the pirate port, is taken away from him. Worse, everyone that should be allies are fighting with each other. Mark must pull it all together and get all his allies moving in the same direction.

Son Rise Book Cover

Son Set – is an omnibus edition. Books 1-3 under one cover.

Son Set Books 1-3 Under One Cover


What inspired you to write the space pirate odyssey, The Burning Son?

I had been working and reworking the same novel for ten years: Cat’s Tale. I couldn’t get it quite right. It continues to be a work in progress. Frustrated, I pushed it aside and began a new project. I wanted something that felt like the action adventures of Clive Cussler married with a Star Wars like space opera. That grew into The Burning Son.

Are there any characters or sub-plots in The Burning Son that have modern-day parallels? Explain how. 

Like many sci-fi authors before me, I use fiction to address social problems we face today. I touch on a wide variety of issues important to me, but the biggest one in The Burning Son is religious extremism. The Erethizon are on a mission to unite the galaxy under their Theocracy. Most of the galaxy views them as religious fanatics, which the Erethizon encourage. If everyone focuses on the maniac in the middle of the room, no one will see the manipulation going on in the behind the scenes. Some of my readers mistakenly think that I’m anti-religion, but that isn’t the case. I only have a problem with people forcing their beliefs on others. Another big issue is artificial intelligence. What will it look like when it becomes a reality? Will it be a tool we control, or will it control us? What if it could rationalize or moralize?

Is there any sub-character in The Burning Son who is your favorite? Explain why.

Um, that’s like asking me to pick my favorite kid. Do I have characters I enjoy writing more than others, again I love them all. I love Racy’s big heart, War ‘n Pace’s mischievousness, Nephie’s awe and wonder as she explores who she is becoming, and Sophie’s sarcastic wit. There was one surprise, however. As I was writing The Burning Son, I decided I wanted more than just science to exist in this universe. I wanted some mysticism. So, I wrote in Pythia. OMG. What started out as an add-on character just took off. I think more than any other secondary character, she is the one that has grown the most throughout the series. My readers know that sometimes characters die. It’s war, and in war, bad things happen to good people. I receive more “you absolutely can’t kill Pithy!” emails than for any other character.

How often do your characters surprise you by doing or saying something totally unexpected?

Every day! I never know what insult is going to fly out of Sophie’s mouth, what creative cussing Ike will come up with, or what crazy stunt Racy is about to pull. That’s part of the fun of writing these characters. To me, they are the imaginary friends that live in my home office with me. They make me laugh, they make me cry, and I want my readers to live in their world, if only for a brief while.

Have you received reactions/feedback to your work that has surprised you? In what way?

As a writer, you come to expect a bad review from time to time. You develop a thick skin. You hope everyone who reads your work falls in love with the story as much as you have, but that’s just not the case. The longer you write, you learn what your strengths are and what you can improve upon. Every once in a while, you’ll run across haters who will say mean things, just to be mean. One time a reader berated the alien races I had created for The Burning Son. I put a lot into each race’s ideals, goals, mannerisms, language, societal norms, politics, food, and how each race’s biology and homeworld environment, plays into that. That one left me scratching my head.

Then there are the awesome surprises. Having been part of the writing community for the past twelve years, I’ve made several friends who are also writers. Whenever one of them writes a review for one of my books, I get butterflies. These are the people I most admire and respect. For them to tell me, in a public forum, how much they enjoyed reading my story, there’s nothing else like it.

If you could have one skill that you don’t currently have, what would it be?

Marketing. Like most writers, I struggle to reach new readers. You know that there are hundreds of thousands of people out there that would fall in love with your work, if only you can get in front of them. I know that if I can get most sci-fi readers to read the first three pages of my book, they’ll continue reading. It’s just getting in front of people and getting them to invest that first five minutes, that’s the struggle.

What might we be surprised to learn about you?

I’m a wine snob. I love fine wines. I make wine and mead for fun. There was a time before I became a published author that I thought I would open a winery. I went so far as to start an LLC and still have two winery business plans on file.

What simple pleasure makes you smile?

Having breakfast or dinner on the porch with my wife Stephanie. She’s the most awesome person I ever met, and I’m the luckiest man alive because she’s my best friend and I’m married to her.

You can contact TH Leatherman and learn more about his books at:

Amazon Author Page

Website/Blog

Twitter

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Facebook

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Author Interview Eric Schumacher

Introduction

It is my pleasure to introduce Eric Schumacher, author of the Hakon’s Saga. I became acquainted with Eric’s work when I voluntarily reviewed War King, Hakon’s Saga Book 3 for the Historical Novel Society.What makes Eric’s tale rise above others in this genre is his skill in vividly capturing the Viking culture, engaging the reader with the characterization of King Hakon Haroldsson, and showing the battle scenes and tactics with clarity.

Below is Eric Schumacher’s biography, author interview, and contact information. Click on the book covers below for a direct link to Amazon. Also check out his website and learn more about him as an author and his passion for Viking lore.

Eric Schumacher, Author, Hakon’s Saga

Biography

Eric Schumacher (1968 – ) is an American historical novelist who currently resides in Santa Barbara, California, with his wife and two children. He was born and raised in Los Angeles and attended college at the University of San Diego.

At a very early age, Schumacher discovered his love for writing and medieval European history, as well as authors like J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. Those discoveries continue to fuel his imagination and influence the stories he tells. His first novel, God’s Hammer, was published in 2005. His latest, War King, released in October of 2018.

For more information, visit his website: www.ericschumacher.net

Author Interview

Would you provide an overview of the books you’ve published about the Vikings in the Hakon’s Saga?

All of the books tell the story of Hakon Haraldsson, who is also known in the Norse sagas as Hakon the Good. He is the youngest son and bastard child of one of Viking Age Norway’s greatest kings, Harald Fairhair. Hakon eventually wins the throne of Norway for himself and rules the kingdom for decades. I have taken what little we know about this fascinating figure and woven it into what I hope is a rousing story of warfare, religious strife, and tested friendships.

Book 1 God’s Hammer by Eric Schumacher

Book 1: God’s Hammer

What inspired you to write about the legendary King Hakon Haraldsson in the series?

Actually, Hakon is far from legendary in modern times, and is often overshadowed by many of his contemporaries, such as Gorm the Old, Harald Fairhair, and Erik Bloodaxe. Yet his deeds are no less heroic than those others. He is, in many ways, an unsung hero, which is part of my fascination with him.

While we don’t know all of the facts of Hakon’s life, we do know that even if marginally true, Hakon’s story is not only incredible, but it takes many of the norms of Viking literature and turns them on their head. In many ways, Hakon is the anti-Viking. Rather than the Beowulf-like champion we think of when we think of a challenger to the throne of Norway, Hakon is young, inexperienced and reliant on his counselors, at least at first. He’s also a Christian in a “heathen” land. I wanted to understand how he could have risen to the High Seat of the North with so many cards stacked against him, which is why I chose to write about him in this trilogy.

Book 2 Raven’s Feast by Eric Schumacher

Book 2: Raven’s Feast

One of the most interesting aspects in Book 3: War King is Hakon Haraldsson is a Christian, but he leads Viking warriors who still hold pagan beliefs? Is there historical evidence that Hakon was a Christian and how did religious differences impact the history of the Vikings?   

The specifics of Hakon’s story are clouded by time and a lack of contemporary written sources. We know only from the sagas that Hakon was raised as a Christian in the Wessex court of Athelstan, and that when he returned to Norway, he continued to practice Christianity and shun Norse religious practices, such as sacrifices. We also know from the sagas that he invited Christian clergy to erect churches and preach in his realm, though many of the churches were burned and many of the clergy murdered. Hakon’s staunch beliefs led to strife with the men who helped him win the throne, most notably Sigurd, the earl (or jarl) of Lade. We have no reason to believe that these things were untrue, since similar missions and conversions were happening elsewhere in the Scandinavian realms in roughly the same time period. What is unclear is whether Hakon converted back to the Norse religion later in life or whether he died a Christian.

The second part of your question is difficult to answer. Some say that the Viking’s initial attack on Lindisfarne was religiously motivated, and that this is what began the Viking Age. Which would mean that the Viking Age might never have occurred if we hadn’t seen the clash of two religions. I have not seen any hard evidence to support that theory. There is stronger evidence, however, to suggest that the spread of a new religion into Scandinavia caused strife. Hakon’s religious convictions led to turmoil with his jarls, and, if the sources are accurate, almost led to warfare. In Denmark, Harald Bluetooth’s conversion helped broker peace between his realm and the Christian Saxons to his south. Had he not converted, we might have seen a more protracted war between the Danes and Saxons, and possibly a different border emerge. I could point to other instances, too, but that might get too lengthy for this answer. I would put forth, though, that the spread of Christianity and eventual conversion of the Scandinavian people did not bring about peace during the Viking Age. Converted Scandinavian kings still went a-viking or attacked other kingdoms, just as Christians fought Christians in other parts of Europe. It was a violent time.

Book 3 War King by Eric Schumacher

How much research was involved in writing your books? How did you go ABOUT researching the history, myths, language, and culture of the Vikings in the 10th Century?

The short answer is, a lot! With my first book, God’s Hammer, I spent five years researching. I read older works, such as the sagas, the Poetic Edda, Gesta Danorum, and Beowulf, but also many contemporary books about the Vikings. These were invaluable resources for piecing together things like possible events, chronologies, agricultural methods, living conditions, etc. Where many of them fell short, though, was in capturing the mindset of men and women who lived at that time because we simply don’t know. What did Scandinavians know about the events in others lands? What did they truly feel about other religions and people?  Those are the subjects I continue to research in order to get into the minds and thoughts of my characters.

Is there any sub-character in the Hakon’s Saga series who is your favorite? Explain why.

I love several, but two are my favorite to write, both of them mentors in their own unique way to Hakon. Sigurd, the jarl of Lade, is larger than life, loud, a tad unruly and uncouth, yet shrewd, capable, and not afraid to go against his king if he thinks he can profit from it. On the opposite end of the spectrum is Egil Woolsark, a man of war and honor and duty who knows battle and lives for the fight. He is dedicated to his king yet not afraid to knock him upset the head if he thinks it’s deserved. They are both fun characters to bring to life.

How often do your characters surprise you by doing or saying something totally unexpected?

While writing the first book, God’s Hammer, it happened more often, probably because I was still developing my characters and learning about them. I welcomed it, in truth, because it was such a fun surprise. The exercise of letting them do that taught me more about them and helped me hone them so that in subsequent scenes, it happened less often.

Have you received reactions/feedback to your work that has surprised you? In what way?

It takes courage to put your creative work out into the wild for others to read and hopefully enjoy, but also to pick apart. You think you have written something worth reading, but it still surprises me to get praises from other writers I respect. I did receive one review that said, “author didn’t do adequate research into the era.” That one made me laugh! 🙂

What are three things you think we can all do to make the world a better place?

Respect yourself. Respect the earth. Respect others.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?

Our children.

What are the most important traits you look for in a friend?

Mutual respect. Trust. Understanding.

If you could have one skill that you don’t currently have, what would it be?

Time travel, without a doubt (so long as I don’t have to stand in a shield wall).

What might we be surprised to learn about you?

I have epilepsy. I was diagnosed when I was 18.

What makes you laugh?

My daughter just sat next to me and answered this question for me. She said “You’re looking at her,” and I laughed.

What simple pleasure makes you smile?

Rubbing my dog’s belly.


You can contact Eric Schumacher and learn more about his books at:

Amazon Author Page

Website/Blog

Twitter

Facebook

Goodreads

 

AUTHOR INTERVIEW KAREN INGALLS

Introduction

It my pleasure to introduce Karen Ingalls, an award-winning author. I became interested in her as an author when her book, Davida, won the the 2017 New Apple Summer E-Book Awards: HISTORICAL FICTION. I was particularly intrigued with the image of Davida on the book cover and wanted to find out who she was. I further became acquainted with Karen when I was invited to join RWISA: Rave Writers – International Society of Authors, of which she is a distinguished member.

Karen Ingalls, Award-winning Author

Below is Karen Ingalls’ biography, author interview, and contact information. Be sure to check out her website and learn more about her as an author and her passion for health issues.

Biography

Karen Ingalls is an award-winning author of three published books, author of numerous articles on health, cancer, and wellness, and a public speaker. She is a retired RN, human behavior, and cancer survivor who writes about social issues, health topics, and historical topics. Her philosophy is to outshine any challenge; to grow and learn from it.

Author Interview

Would you provide an overview of books you have published?

My first published book, Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir is about my journey with ovarian cancer. It emphasizes how anyone can adopt healthy ways to deal with any serious health challenge with such things as good nutrition, relaxation/imagery, and meditation/deep prayer, positive thinking, humor to name just a few.

Novy’s Son: The Selfish Genius is a novel about my father who was very intelligent, but lacked the ability to socialize except with women he was attracted to. He challenged social mores, all religious beliefs, and most educational rules and regulations. He did not know how to be a good and faithful husband, nor father, or grandfather.

My second novel is titled Davida: Model & Mistress of Augustus Saint-Gaudens. He was America’s premier sculptor in the late 1800’s to early 1900’s and though married, he fell in love with his model, Davida. This is the story of their 25-year love affair, birth of one child, their unconditional love, and his art.

What inspired you to write the biography, Davida, of your great-grandmother, Albertina Hultgren, who was the mistress of the American sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens.

I was inspired to write Davida for the following reasons: one, they are my great-grandparents; two, no one ever talked about my grandfather’s heritage because of his shame of being a bastard; and three, after my grandfather died, I wanted to erase the bastard label and bring dignity and honor to his parent’s love affair.

Book Cover of Davida

How much research was involved in writing Davida? How did you go ABOUT researching the background for Davida?

There are many published books about Augustus Saint-Gaudens so it was relatively easy to do research about his art and who he was as a person. I have been to the Augustus Saint-Gaudens Historical Site two times in Cornish, New Hampshire. At one visit my father, sister, and I met with then the curator, John Dryfought. I have kept in correspondence with the current curator, Dr. Henry Duffy. We were also interviewed by Kathryn Greenthal, who was the curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Unfortunately, there is very little known about my great-grandmother, who changed her name to Davida Johnson Clark. She was born in Sweden and came to the U.S. as a young girl with her mother. Her birth name was either Albertina Hultgren or Hallgren. A cousin by marriage who lives in Sweden researched churches and official government sites in hopes of substantiating her birth name, date, and place. However, nothing definitive was found. Therefore, I created Davida’s childhood, her parents, beliefs, personality, and how she lived and died. I know she talked to me at times while I was asleep or deep in thought while writing. It was a spiritual experience.

Is there any sub-character in Davida that is your favorite? Explain why.

The sub-character is Uncle Louis Saint-Gaudens, who was an artist in his own right but struggled with depression and alcoholism. He was grateful for the financial, career, and health-wise help Augustus gave him. He loved my grandfather, who was named for him and he was more of a father to him than Augustus was. He had a sense of humor and a favorite story is him sitting on the top of the water tower causing quite a scandal.

How often do your characters surprise you by doing or saying something totally unexpected?

I was surprised, embarrassed, or shocked by some behaviors of the main character in Novy’s Son. I loved and knew my father about as well as anyone, but he said and did some outlandish things. He was a unique person I never understood until I read Robert Bly’s book Iron John. That is when I decided to write Novy’s Son knowing that there are many men who did not learn how to be fathers from their fathers, so the cycle continued. Perhaps all of these men have searched for happiness and self-worth through unhealthy and immoral actions.

Have you received reactions/feedback to your work that has surprised you? In what way?

I have received wonderful reviews on all three books, and I have been honored with several awards. Those people who have received support, reassurance, information, and hope from Outshine is the most meaningful award or recognition I could ever wish for.

Many women didn’t like the main character in Novy’s Son which is a normal reaction and means I accomplished what I intended. I was surprised by one review by an author who stated in a private message that he refused to finish this same book because the Kindle version was completely messed up. I offered to send a paperback copy, which he refused so his 3-star review remains though he wrote in his review: “Since my preferred genre is usually thrillers or suspense, the nature of this character portrait didn’t really grab me. However, the book is well written, and if this style of book is your cup of tea, you may find it to be a satisfying read.”

I have read many books that are not my preferred genre, but I gave a review based on how well it was written, edited, flowed, and the strength of the characters and plot.

What are the most important traits you look for in a friend?

I consider someone a friend who is honest, has a sense of humor, and is a good listener. I am blessed to have many friends who are always there for me.

What simple pleasure makes you smile?

One of my simple pleasures is playing games. I sometimes joke that I was born with a deck of cards in my hands. I find board and card games are great ways to socialize, keep your mind alert, and just have good old-fashioned fun.

What makes you laugh?

I love to laugh! When I am recovering from cancer surgeries or treatments, I surround myself with positive people and funny shows or movies. My favorite comedians are Carol Burnett, Lucille Ball, Laurel & Hardy, Ray Romano, Bill Murray, and Chevy Chase. Laughter lifts the most sorrowful mood, erases or eases fear, builds the immune system, and lowers blood pressure. Laughter is the best medicine. When I was a kid and went to the circus, the clowns were my favorite. My husband and sister make me laugh with their jokes or funny sayings.


You can contact Karen Ingalls and learn more about her books at:

Amazon Author Page

Website/Blog

Twitter

Facebook

LinkedIn

Goodreads

Smashwords

Instragram

YouTube for Davida

 

Book Review The Triplets by Nicole M. Davis

The TripletsThe Triplets by Nicole M. Davis

My rating: 4 of 5 starsThe Triplets by Nicole M. Davis is the debut young adult fantasy in the Six Sorcerers series. The story is about three teenage boys and three teenage girls who are whisked away from their safe, modern day world of Denver, Colorado into the realm of magic-filled Sarenia. They are typical of most teenagers who are struggling with self-doubts and must find the courage to overcome dangers in the fantastical world of sword and sorcery. The story begins when each of the boys receives a letter from Mr. Lee that warns something is about to happen to him. Each boy disappears through a portal into a fantastical world where the three girls have already been transported from Colorado. Each girl has already assumed a role, including: a captain of a pirate, a knight in the king’s guard, or a dragon rider. The girls also receive letters telling them that they must find each other and the boys. The story is primarily a quest for the young people to find each other and to discover their sorcery powers.Author Davis captures the unique voices of the teenagers in the story. The tale alternates between the perspective of each of the primary six characters. The reader is challenged to track the complex plot for each of the main protagonists. Each of them has a unique personality and handles challenges differently, adding fun to the story. The tale is primarily an introduction to each of the characters and their journeys of self-discovery of what their unique powers entail. Although the writing is smooth for the most part, dashes should have been used when action interrupts dialogue instead of commas to avoid confusion. An example of incorrect punctuation is: “… Don’t forget, Kaylor, that if your actions start to stray,” he brings his fingers up and snaps them in front of her face, and Kaylor flinches despite herself, “It will burst …”The coming of age fantasy is recommended for young adults who will readily relate to the characters. I look forward to reading the next book in the series to see how these young people use their powers in this fantastical world with mythic creatures.View all my reviews

AUTHOR INTERVIEW NICOLE DAVIS

Introduction

It is my pleasure to introduce Nicole M. Davis, an exciting Colorado author of YA fantasy. I met Nicole at a Christmas party that was sponsored by the Boulder County Independent Authors (BCIA). There, I learned about her debut book of teen sorcerers, The Triplets (Book 1 Six Sorcerers), and was quite intrigued with her volunteer job at a museum.

Nicole Davis, Author, YA Fantasy

Below you will find Nicole’s biography, author interview, and contact information. Be sure to check out Nicole’s website and learn more about her. She’s a lot of fun to get to know, as you will see in her interview.

Biography

Nicole Davis was born in Sunnyvale, California (one letter away from the vampire capital of the world), but she grew up in Boulder County in Colorado. She has a bachelor’s degree in Zoology with a minor in Creative Writing. At the moment she’s back in Boulder County living with her family and a small army of scaly pets. She probably started writing when she was about five years old, and hasn’t been able to stop since.

Author Interview:

 

Would you provide an overview of your debut book, The Triplets (Book 1: Six Sorcerers)?

The Triplets is the first book of the Six Sorcerers series, a young adult epic fantasy series about six teenagers who get sucked into a world full of sorcerers and dangerous mythical creatures and must find each other in order to find out who they are and why they were brought there. It’s also about a rebellion against a sorcerer-hating tyrant that’s on its last legs, a sinister and supernatural plot that involves the gods themselves, and a country that’s on the brink of starting a world war.

 

 

What inspired you to write the YA Fantasy, The Triplets, about three teenage boys and three teenage girl who are transported from modern-day Denver, Colorado to the fantastical world of Sarenia?

When I was around 16 or 17 years old, the main characters from The Triplets just kind of showed up in my head demanding to be written about. So I had these characters running around in my head, but I didn’t really have a place to put them.

I’ve always loved fantasy, and I think world-building is loads of fun, so I decided to make up a giant, complicated fantasy world (with an equally complicated plotline) just for these characters. I wanted to have them start out here on Earth though, because the original image I had of them was as high school students like myself. I also thought it would be cool to write about this new world from the perspective of outsiders, so that my readers could discover this fantastical place alongside my characters.

How do you balance your busy schedule work schedule with writing?

I have a full-time job in an Amazon warehouse and I volunteer at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science on a weekly basis in addition to writing, so yeah, I’m a very busy person right now. I don’t have nearly as much time as I used to, though, and it’s taking me much longer to write book 2 than I’d anticipated. I’ve also had some issues trying to keep up with my blog and marketing lately because I just don’t have the time or mental energy for it.

But writing is still my priority and I make time for it whenever I can. I set aside at least a few hours every weekend to write, and I try to do a full day if I can.

Is there any character in The Triplets who is your favorite? Explain why.

That’s like asking a parent to choose their favorite child. I refuse. I can’t do it.

But seriously, it varies from moment to moment. Sometimes Kaylor’s my favorite because she’s so fair and kind and kick-ass, but then sometimes I like Sarah better because of how complex her personality is and how much she grows as a leader. Then sometimes I think Tyler’s attitude and inner monologue make him the most interesting. But Anna’s so perceptive and delightfully mischievous, Alex is so kind and brave and resilient, Darn’s funny and sarcastic and so much fun to write.

They’re all interesting people with different flaws and strengths and character arcs, and I’m happy with how each and every one of them is changing and growing throughout the story.

How often do your characters surprise you by doing or saying something totally unexpected?

So I am definitely a plotter. My outlines have outlines, etc. And most of this is plot-based. But my characters do not like to listen to me, so I have to change and adjust things a lot. Mostly they decide to make a bigger deal out of things or integrate themselves further into the main story line than I’d originally planned. It’s kind of hard to talk about in detail without giving away any spoilers, but here are a few examples:

I did not expect Sarah to be so ambitious. She was originally supposed to be sort of a “reluctant leader” archetype, but by the end of the book she’d decided she wanted to take charge and do it now.

Mr. Lee was originally a throw-away character who only existed to fill out part of Tyler’s backstory, but he forced his way into the main plotline, developed his own complex backstory, and now he’s getting his own spin-off.

Also, Anna almost never reacts to people the way I expect her to: she decided she really did not like Darn at all as soon as she met him (I thought she’d be sort of aloof and indifferent towards him), took an instant and intense liking to Alex (who she wasn’t supposed to bond with until around the middle of book two), and decided she was going to push down and hide her hurt and jealousy over Kaylor choosing the Prince’s side over hers (I thought she’d be more outspoken and argumentative about this).

What advice would you give young writers whose goals are to publish their short stories or novels?

If you’ve just started writing, your writing is not going to be good. You are going to get rejections and criticism, and it’s not going to feel great. Just power through it all and keep writing. Listen to the advice that you get. And be patient with yourself. You might not be there yet, but you will get there. Keep writing, keep reading, and keep submitting stuff.

If you want to get good at editing your own work, start looking for flaws in everyone else’s work (especially your favorite books). BUT keep in mind that literally nothing is perfect, these books you’re finding flaws in are still good books even though they’re flawed. Everything you write is going to be the same way.

Are there any other books on the horizon that you anticipate to publish?

Yep. First there’s book two, then book three, and then I have plans for Mr. Lee’s spin-off book. I’m also working on a book of short stories set in this world that’s going to be called People of Sarenia. I also have plans for writing a Traveler’s Guide to arenia. Most of this is going to take me a while to get to.

What are three things you think we can all do to make the world a better place?

  1. Be kind and respectful to everyone: every single person alive has a life and a story, and you’re never going to know everything about what they’re going through.
  2. Be more considerate of the environment. There’s only one Earth, and if we don’t work to keep the air and water clean it’s going to become an inhospitable place pretty fast.
  3. Try to be more objective and open to learning new things. There’s a reason for every perspective anyone has, whether their opinions are right or wrong.

What are the most important traits you look for in a friend?

I usually like people who are just as weird as I am. This guarantees that they can’t judge me. Tying into that, I tend to like people who can handle my slightly off-kilter, dark sense of humor, because neither of us will have fun around each other if I’m cracking strange jokes that only freak them out.

But they also have to be patient and kind, because I can’t stand people who are mean to anyone for no good reason. And people I can trust, and who I know I can count on if I’m ever in trouble or need help or advice.

If you could have one skill that you don’t currently have, what would it be?

Time-travel, hands down. I want to go back and see the dinosaurs. I also wouldn’t mind having some extra time to write, ha.

But if we’re being boring and talking about real-life skills, I think I’d want to be a better salesperson. If I were, I’d probably be able to make more money selling my books, and then I wouldn’t have to have a full-time job too.

What might we be surprised to learn about you?

I’m an amateur taxidermist and I collect animal bones. This started because of my zoology degree, during which I decided to volunteer at my university’s Museum of Vertebrates. There, I helped prepare skeletons and alcohol specimens, and it was great. Museums keep specimens like these to aide researchers with conservation or other projects: it can be incredibly helpful to have morphological data on a species spanning years or decades.

I have a meager collection of my own, including the skeleton of one of my deceased pet geckos that my best friend prepared for me and a couple bird skulls from invasive species (killed by my cat before I could intervene and save them).

 

You can contact and learn more about Nicole Davis and her book:

Website

Twitter

Goodreads

Blog

Amazon author page

Author Interview Uvi Poznansky

Introduction

It my pleasure to introduce, Uvi Poznansky, a USA TODAY, award-winning author. I’ve known Uvi since 2017, at which time she graciously invited me to interview with her as a debut author. Not only is Uvi a multi-talented artist, she actively supports other authors and hosts events with them.

Below is Uvi Poznansky’s biography, author interview, and contact information. Be sure to check out Uvi’s website and learn more about her projects and her collaborative opportunities with other authors.

Uvi Poznansky, Award-winning Author

Biography

Uvi Poznansky is a USA TODAY bestselling, award-winning author, poet and artist. “I paint with my pen,” she says, “and write with my paintbrush.”  She writes across a variety of genres: literary fiction, historical fiction, romance, romantic suspense, spy thrillers, techno-thrillers, biblical fiction, poetry, horror, and children’s books.

Author Interview


Would you provide an overview of the Ash Suspense Thrillers with elements of suspense and romance? What was your inspiration for writing Book 2: Virtually Lace in the series? 

I wrote Virtually Lace some years back and set it aside, because at the time I was too busy working as a computer scientist, raising a family, and developing my art. Set in the breath-taking scenery of Laguna Beach, the story addressed a simple question that occurred to me: As I walk at the beach at sunset, what would happen if I stumble across a body? Could I reproduce the events leading up to the murder using software? Could I pinpoint who the killer might be? And so, I opened with the words of my protagonist:

Even before Michael spotted the body, the idea of creating a simulation of the scene occurred to him. At sunset, the panoramic view of Laguna Beach was awe-inspiring. He wondered if he could render it convincingly in his model, the virtual reality model which he had been developing in the back of his garage for months, until the recent acquisition of his software by a military ops company. 

Could beauty be taken apart without loss of emotional impact? Could its data be synthesized, somehow, into a lifelike experience? In short, could he apply his analytical skills to fool his own senses?

Virtually Lace Book Cover

Interestingly, book 1 in the series came later. In the process of updating the story for publication last year, i became very engaged with the character of Ash (Michael’s love interest) and she compelled me to explore what happened to her six months earlier. Hence, Coma Confidential.

Please provide an overview of your newest release?

Haunted by the memory of Lace, a beautiful dancer whose throat has been slit, Michael sets out to create a virtual reality simulation of her murder. Can he bring the mystery to life? Can he solve its clues in time, before the killer turns on the woman he loves, Ashley?

Suffering memory loss due to a horrific incident in her own past, Ash is unable to identify her attacker. Despite the persistent fear, she puts her life in danger. In a nail-biting twist, she draws out the man who killed Lace, so as to avenge her murder.

Meanwhile, the cops treat Michael as their prime suspect for the crime. The only reason they haven’t arrested him yet is an urgent call for their assistance in a rescue, as Laguna Beach is engulfed in flames. On his way back to the murder scene, will Michael manage to slip away from them and save his sweetheart, before it’s too late? And will he get the murderer?

What genres do you write?

As an artist create art in several mediums: I paint in ink, watercolor, and oil. I create sculptures in clay, paper, and bronze. So by the same token, as an author I write in several genres, always seeking to stretch the envelope. Even though my books can be categorized as different genres, I see all of them as literary fiction, because they are written through the eyes of the main character, and when you read them you will, in many ways, find a reflection of yourself.

Each of my three series is unique and different from the others: Still Life with Memories (the story of a family told in the 1980s and in WWII US, France, and London); The David Chronicles (about the youth, prime of life, and old age of one of the most fascinating characters in the history of ancient Israel); and Ash Suspense Thrillers with a Dash of Romance. I also wrote and illustrated children books, and created animations for them, one of which you can see HERE.

In addition to being an author, you have quite an interesting background in which you’ve been an architect, a software engineer, and an artist. How has your background influenced your writing?

Oh thank you Linnea for noticing! Like many of us, I have had a checkered past, so to speak… I earned my M.A. in Architecture at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and my M.S. degree in Computer Science from the University of Michigan, then worked at Philips Ultrasound developing software for medical devices. I think the diversity of my experiences allows me to derive ideas from a variety of sources and to view the world from many angles, which is important when I get into the skin of one of my characters and hop over to the skin of another one, finding the contrast between them and recording it in their dialogue.

How often do your characters surprise you by doing or saying something totally unexpected?

It happens quite often, because each character has a voice that I cannot control, and when they take over, watch out… Especially when they find themselves in dangerous situations and unfamiliar settings… I enjoy setting up an impossible obstacle and watch how my characters go through, under, or over it. For example, in Coma Confidential my protagonist Ash wakes up in the hospital. Diagnosed with coma and unable to move, how will she find a way to walk out of there?

What are the most important traits you look for in a friend?

Honesty on one hand, and support–especially in times of trouble–on the other.

If you could have one skill that you don’t currently have, what would it be?

Singing. Alas, I can’t sing to save my life… Which is why I so enjoy listening to voices, to the music and tenor of great voice actors.

What simple pleasure makes you smile?

Just the thought of chocolate… Dark one, at that!


You can contact Uvi Pozansky at and learn more about her books:

Amazon

Audible

Blog

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads

 

Author Interview Katherine Burlake

Katherine Burlake, Author

Introduction

It is my pleasure to introduce Katherine Burlake, a Colorado author who has travelled all over the world on behalf of the U.S. Embassy operations. Katherine’s valuable experience in Saudi Arabia is reflected in her debut international thriller, The Bystander.

Biography

For nineteen years, Katherine Burlake has traveled to over a hundred countries, many more than once, writing reports on U.S. Embassy operations. She lived in Thailand and England as an Air Force Intelligence Officer, in Peru with the UN, and in the Ivory Coast and Saudi Arabia for four years. Katherine often says, ” Many of the countries I visited were the world’s dangerous places.” From her experiences, she had a short story published in the Macguffin about buying a painting at the al Rashid Hotel in Baghdad.

Katherine Burlake in Kenya

Author Interview

Would you provide an overview of your debut international thriller, The Bystander: An Amy Prowers book?

The Bystander is a mystery thriller set in Saudi Arabia where rivalries in the royal family, religion, and oil money intersect. In a kingdom built on sand, an ambitious and devious prince uses terrorism to disrupt the line of succession and become king.

What was your inspiration for writing this book?

After living in Saudi Arabia for four years, I wanted others to understand the country.

How has your background in Intelligence and worldwide travel help you to write this book?

Everything we do in life, I believe is found in what we write.

Are there similarities between the character, Prince Rashid, in your book and the current Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman? If so, what are these similarities?

Both are royal princes in the House of Saudi. BS is the crown prince and presumed heir. Rashid acts to become the crown prince.

How often do your characters surprise you by doing or saying something totally unexpected?

Currently, I am working on a book on Nazi gold and found that I have to do a lot of research on Neo-Nazi, something in which I was never interested.

Have you received reactions/feedback to your work that has surprised you? In what way?

I am surprised that many readers don’t realize how events in the Middle East impact their life today and in the future.

What are three things you think we can all do to make the world a better place?

Read more books to understand the world around you. Support climate change.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?

A rag doll, Maudie May.

What are the most important traits you look for in a friend?

Honest, stability

If you could have one skill that you don’t currently have, what would it be?

To be a better self-editor

What might we be surprised to learn about you?

Having traveled all over the world, I will never cross the Atlantic Ocean in a ship.

What makes you laugh?

Political satire

What simple pleasure makes you smile?

Watching wildlife in the wild

You can contact Katherine Burlake at:

www.KatherineBurlake.com

kburlake@gmail.com  

You can purchase Katherine Burlake’s book at:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

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