Monthly Archives: October 2019

Interview with Andy Douglas, Author of Redemption Songs

Hello,

Today’s interview is with Andy Douglas, author of Redemption Songs.

Please enjoy!

Best,

-Vincent Lowry

Interview:

1) What is your author name and in what state do you live (or country if not in the US)? Andy Douglas, Iowa.
2) What is the title of your newest book and what is the genre? My latest book is “Redemption Songs: A Year in the Life of a Community Prison Choir.”
3) What is the book about? The book chronicles the six years I spent volunteering in a medium security prison as part of a choir that  combines incarcerated men and community volunteers. Its main narrative thrust details the experience of entering the prison each week, getting to know the men, overcoming preconceptions about these folks, and forging a strong community through shared creative undertaking. The book also has a research-based component, and focuses on some of the issues facing the penal system. Thirdly, the book tells the stories of several of the men I got to know, exploring their early lives, their crimes, their efforts to rehabilitate.
4) Where did you come up with the idea? In conversation with a writing mentor, who saw the inherent drama and value of the idea.
5) How long did it take you to write it? Six years.
6) Did you learn anything from the project? Ha. I learned a great deal. Certainly I learned much about criminal justice and restorative justice, for example, the fact that as a nation we compose five percent of the the world’s population but have 25 percent of the world’s prisoners. I interrogated my own biases about people in prison and came away with new understanding. Intellectually, I had acknowledged that people in prison were simply people who had gone down a wrong path, but to learn in an intimate way about the challenges and struggles and, yes, often selfish behavior, of people and put it into a larger context of, well, racism, economic hardship, unfair sentencing practices, was all eye-opening. On a writing level, this book combines several different types of writing, narrative, more research-based expository writing, interview-based retelling of the men’s stories, as well as direct quotes from the men. It also, in places, leans toward a more lyrical essayistic style. How in the world were those very different types of writing going to coalesce into an integral whole? This was the challenge for me, which I think I met, shaping the narrative and the various styles in a way that ultimately created a seamless narrative.
7) Do you have an author website and/or blog? How about a book video? My website is andydouglas.net
8) Do you have any success tips to pass on to fellow authors? How about any great editors/cover artists? Cultivate some good readers whose opinions you trust. At the same time, trust your own vision. Finally, revise more than you think you need to. Revise and put the work away for a while. Then reread it with fresh eyes. Revise until every sentence is sparklingly clear, until every niggling doubt is resolved, until every chapter ends in a way that propels the reader on to the next one. Revise.
9) What genres do you like to read? Are you open to reading new authors and reviewing their work? I read a lot of literary fiction. Also some nonfiction, often related to environmental or social justice issues.
10) What is your favorite book of all time and why? That’s a tough one. One of my favorite is Tracy Kidder’s Mountains Beyond Mountains. Kidder does what I’d like to do better: sinks deeply into a world until he can write about it with ease and comprehension, then pulls us into that world with beautiful prose.
11) Fun Question: Do you have any pets? If so, what kind? nope.
12) Fun Question 2: Do you own an electronic reading device? If so, what kind and how do you like it? Also nope.

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Interview with Cole Bruce, Author of Ruler and the Gods and the Athanatos Stone

 

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Hello,

Today’s interview is with Cole Bruce, author of Ruler and the Gods and the Athanatos Stone.

Please enjoy!

Best,

Vincent Lowry

Interview:

1) What is your author name and in what state do you live (or country if not in the US)?Cole Bruce. Tennessee.
2) What is the title of your newest book and what is the genre? Well, I have tons of books out already. So, if this for the book to show up, it’s ‘Ruler and the Gods and the Athanatos Stone‘; oldest book out of them.
3) What is the book about? Jesse Talley is chosen to go into the Greek World to face against Hades. On his adventure, he meets Athena and Ares; he’ll also meet Gods and Goddesses, fight Greek Mythology Monsters and see creatures. But, what makes this book series unique is my very own Fantasy characters, creatures and worlds.
4) Where did you come up with the idea? Back in 2009, I had a notebook plan called ‘Ruler’s Ring’, but in 9th Grade at my High School, my English Teacher showed us ‘The Odysee’ and that’s when ‘Ruler’s Ring’ turned into ‘Ruler of the Gods’. The ring turned into the Magical Timeline Transporter and the magical world combined into Greek Mythology. In 2012, ‘Ruler of the Gods’ changed to ‘Ruler and the Gods’.
5) How long did it take you to write it? 9 years on Notebook and a few attempts on computer, but on Oct.2017, I finished it.
6) Did you learn anything from the project? It really helped me love History, create more stories, come up with more imagination.
7) Do you have an author website and/or blog? How about a book video? ‘Ruler’s Greek World Crossovers and Others’ Facebook Page shows it all! Books, Links, Videos, etc
8) Do you have any success tips to pass on to fellow authors? How about any great editors/cover artists? Right now, I’m still trying to get my work out. I’m the Editor and Book Cover artist (in a way. I went on Canva.com, but zoomed it in to make it something else)
9) What genres do you like to read? Are you open to reading new authors and reviewing their work? I love mostly Fantasy, Adventure and Sci-fi, but also Classic Literature, Mystery, Thriller, Comedy, etc. I do like to see new Arthors and connect with them.
10) What is your favorite book of all time and why? Even though, I’m a Potterhead (Harry Potter Lover), my favorite book is ‘Of Mice and Men’
11) Fun Question: Do you have any pets? If so, what kind? 3 Cats, 2 Dogs, 2 Guini Pigs and a Hampster (My sisters)
12) Fun Question 2: Do you own an electronic reading device? If so, what kind and how do you like it? Amazon Kindle and only care about the music. I don’t care about Ebooks and Digital Books. Only way I would use them as a sample of my books.

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Interview with Stephanie Ross, Author of Tears of the Unicorns

 

Good morning,

Today’s interview is with Stephanie Ross, author of Tears of the Unicorns.

Please enjoy.

Best,

-Vincent Lowry

Interview:

1) What is your author name and in what state do you live (or country if not in the US)?

My author name is Stephanie Rose, it is my maiden’s name. I thought of keeping it as my pen name since I already published under this name before my marriage. Would have been weird to change my author name. I am located in South Germany near Stuttgart.

2) What is the title of your newest book and what is the genre?

My newest book is called “The Tears of the Unicorns”. It is a Fantasy trilogy and the final volume will be released on November 15th 2019.

3) What is the book about? 

“The Tears of the Unicorns” is about the angel Caylen, who gets lost in his despair about the injustice of the world. He strives to destroy everything in order to create a better, more just world for all beings, especially those that are different. His sister Miriel has to find a way to stop the destruction her brother caused and safe the world.

4) Where did you come up with the idea?

The first ideas for this series came to me at the spur of the moment during a little project – a role play – I did with my best friend. It was a love story between the elements of Water and Fire. This story finally inspired me to pick up the idea of elemental magic and create a mystic new world of my own.

5) How long did it take you to write it?

If I remember correctly, it took me about 2 or 3 years to finish it – with looooots of disruptions.

6) Did you learn anything from the project?

I’d say it cleared my mind and helped me realize what I want to do with my life. It inspires me to go on.

7) Do you have an author website and/or blog? How about a book video?

I do have an author website which is bilingual (German and English) – www.searose-fantasy.de

I’ve always dreamed of a book video, but I haven’t found the right inspiration for one so far.

8) Do you have any success tips to pass on to fellow authors? How about any great editors/cover artists? 

First, I’d say never give up on your dream. If you want to be a writer be a writer, with all your heart, and for the main part write for yourself, not to please others. Write what you want to write and not what others want you to. Put all your heart in it.

Since I had to find out the hard way that all that glitters is not gold, I decided to do the cover work for my books myself – and I think I am doing a pretty good job with it. It is – somehow – part of my real job (advertisement design).

9) What genres do you like to read? Are you open to reading new authors and reviewing their work?

I LOVE Fantasy stories! It is my favorite genre and I am always open to reading new and unknown authors if I like their story idea. There are so many good books out there that need to be discovered. I am no big fan of mainsteam literature though.

10) What is your favorite book of all time and why? 

I don’t think I have an all time favorite book. There are a few books I enjoy reading over and over again though.

11) Fun Question: Do you have any pets? If so, what kind?

Does my husband count? 😀

12) Fun Question 2: Do you own an electronic reading device? If so, what kind and how do you like it?

I do have an eBook reader – a Kindle HD Fire – but I am not really into reading eBooks. I prefer the touch and smell of a real book.

 

*As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

 

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Interview with George Stratford, Author of I Spy Bletchley Park

Hello,

Today’s interview is with George Stratford, author of I Spy Bletchley Park.

Please enjoy!

Best,

-Vincent Lowry

Interview:

1) What is your author name and in what state do you live (or country if not in the US)?

I publish novels under my own name of George Stratford, and I live in the south coast holiday resort of Bournemouth, England.

 

2) What is the title of your newest book and what is the genre?

Currently, I am more than halfway through writing a new murder thriller set in the popular music world of 1970s London, but my most recently published novel is an historical adventure/thriller titled, I Spy Bletchley Park. This has been excellently received and reviewed here in the UK.

 

3) What is the book about?
This story is set in the years leading up to and during WWII. Embittered by the government’s seizure of her father’s large estate, Lady Margaret Pugh is recruited as a spy by Hermann Goering during the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games. With her former estate bordering the town of Bletchley, once war is declared, the strange comings and goings at the nearby Park mansion gradually attract her attention. In an attempt to discover more, she deliberately befriends a young working-class WAAF (Women’s Auxiliary Air Force) who is stationed at BP as a Morse Code Receiver.
The girl is Betty Hall, especially chosen for her ability to receive and accurately type high-speed messages. Before joining the WAAFs, she was also a budding child prodigy as a classical pianist. Her friendship with Lady Margaret is noted by Naval Intelligence, who are already beginning to suspect the aristocrat of spying on the country’s most secret establishment. A shocked and apprehensive Betty is recruited to assist them. Completely untrained for this kind of counter-espionage work, she can only do her best and hope.

Before long, the two women inevitably clash, and a desperate Betty finds herself as the only person in a position to save Bletchley Park from complete destruction.

 

4) Where did you come up with the idea?

My late mother was a WAAF stationed at BP for two years during WWII, and subsequently at one of the vital Y listening stations. Like so many others, she never breathed a single word of this until the 1980s when the secret had already become common public knowledge.

I wanted to write a fictional tribute to Mum. The codebreakers themselves have (rightly so) had volumes of both fictional and factual stuff written about them, but how about an adventure story featuring one of the less acknowledged workers in a heroic role? That was my reasoning at the start of things. After that, it was quite a logical move to create a spy who would place Bletchley Park in great danger. And better still, a female one with an aristocratic background in complete contrast to Betty’s south London working-class upbringing. Once Lady Margaret had been created, all the other pieces began to fall naturally into place.

 

5) How long did it take you to write it?

The amount of research required for this story was enormous, so if you include that, the whole process took me just about a year.

Spending time at the current Bletchley Park site was of course a mandatory requirement, and whilst there I was fortunate enough to become friends with one of the dedicated volunteer workers who do so much to enhance the centre’s visitor experience. John Bladen was a mine of invaluable information. Numerous times throughout the course of that year I needed to get back to him with some question or other on historical or technical detail, and he was always only to happy to help. I owe John a lot. So here’s another great big thank you, mate.

 

6) Did you learn anything from the project?

I suspect that you mean aside from the obvious mass of information during research that amongst many other things took in: the 1929 Stock Market crash; British politics of that era; the1936 Berlin Olympics, especially the equestrian events; and a host of personal details concerning Hermann Goering.

What I did learn was to totally rubbish the theory that females can’t keep a secret. At one time or another during the course of WWII, approximately eight thousand women (mostly WAAFs and WRENs) worked at Bletchley Park. Just like my own mother, not a single one of them ever sought to break the Official Secrets Act that they had all signed. Forty years were to pass before they were free to talk about their part in something that was truly amazing. How’s that for keeping Mum?

 

7) Do you have an author website and/or blog? How about a book video?

Please do come and visit my website at georgestratford.com . Amongst other stuff, you can read an extract from I Spy Bletchley Park in which Lady Margaret is first introduced to Hermann Goering by a Nazi loving former boyfriend. This extract is not available to read anywhere else. There is also lots of info here about my other novels, together with a middle grade children’s story set in the Philippines, and a memoir of my time when I went from being an out of work no-hoper to an award-winning copywriter at the world’s most famous advertising agency, Saatchi & Saatchi. Mad Men? More of a Mad Ride, I’d say.

 

8) Do you have any success tips to pass on to fellow authors? How about any great editors/cover artists?

The best tip I can pass on is always use the ‘Read Aloud’ function to check your manuscript. With anything that you have written yourself, the eye so very often will read what it is anticipating seeing rather than what it actually there on the page.

Being an editor myself who has worked very closely with best-selling fantasy author Brian D Anderson on fourteen of his novels, including all of The Godling Chronicles and the Dragonvein series, I know how well this simple trick can work.

 As for cover designers, I’ve always found Lou Harper to be efficient, speedy, and very reasonably priced.

 

9) What genres do you like to read? Are you open to reading new authors and reviewing their work?

 Adventure stories and thrillers, sometimes with an historical background in the way Ken Follett does them, are my most preferred reads. I’ve also thoroughly enjoyed quite a bit of Stephen King’s work, especially the Mr Mercedes (Finders Keepers) trilogy.

Thanks to my work with Brian, I am now also rather more open to some kinds of fantasy work as well.

I always try to set aside at least half an hour a day (usually just before hitting the pillow) to read a new book. Of course I am open to new authors, and am very happy to post a positive review when I feel it is deserved. The only problem is, if I find that I can’t get on with a book, I would rather not post anything at all than be destructive. Why stamp on something when others might genuinely enjoy it?

 

10) What is your favorite book of all time and why?

 My thesaurus: Without it, where would I be when I’m stuck for the right word?

 

11) Fun Question: Do you have any pets? If so, what kind?

No pets as such, although I do have a make-believe Dobermann posted outside my door to keep away unwanted visitors when I’m on a writing roll.

 

12) Fun Question 2: Do you own an electronic reading device? If so, what kind and how do you like it?

Yup, I’ve got what might be termed as a pretty ancient kindle that still gets used a fair bit. The truth is though, I honestly prefer the feel of a proper book in my hand. It’s also so much easier to flip quickly back to check on something with physical pages. You know, when a character who we haven’t seen for several chapters suddenly appears again and you need reminding of who exactly they are. This is especially true if you find you only have time to read in small daily bites the way I tend to do.

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Interview with Clifford Browder, Author of The Eye That Never Sleeps

Hello,

Today’s interview is with Clifford Browder, author of The Eye That Never Sleeps.

Please enjoy.

Best,

-Vincent Lowry

1) What is your author name and in what state do you live (or
country if not in the US)?
Clifford Browder New York
2) What is the title of your newest book and what is the genre?
The Eye That Never Sleeps historical novel
3) What is the book about?
The ambiguous friendship of a dapper young bank robber with the
sober, churchgoing private detective hired by the banks to
apprehend him.
4) Where did you come up with the idea?
I read about a real bank robber in nineteenth-century New York
City who made his way into high social circles, until he was
exposed and arrested.
5) How long did it take you to write it?
No idea. But once I started, it just flowed out.
6) Did you learn anything from the project?
The intriguing ambiguities of opposites attract. These two
opposites, who have to be enemies, really develop a friendship.
7) Do you have an author website and/or blog? How about a book
video?
My blog: No Place for Normal: New York. Weekly posts about
anything and everything New York, past and present. It has given
me two nonfiction titles, with a third on the way. No website,
though I may create one. No book video. Tech-wise, I’m an
ignoramus.

 

8) Do you have any success tips to pass on to fellow authors?
How about any great editors/cover artists?
For first-time authors: Brace yourself for an inevitable bad review
or two; we all get them. Also, don’t expect your friends to buy your
book; some will, some won’t. Remember: they haven’t sign a
contract to do so.
9) What genres do you like to read? Are you open to reading new
authors and reviewing their work?

I read more nonfiction than fiction, and especially like history. Not
much time for new authors, though occasionally I review them.

10) What is your favorite book of all time and why?
A tough question. Can’t cite just one. The King James version of
the Bible is a runner up; the poetry overwhelms me. Maybe
Joyce’s Ulysses, which I can reread endlessly; its mastery of style
and character are brilliant. In poetry, Ginsberg’s Howl and
Rimbaud’s Bateau Ivre (not in translation) are favorites, plus the
first two books of Milton’s Paradise Lost. Early Wordsworth holds
up well, as does T.S. Eliot’s Hollow Men. I’m all over the place,
aren’t I? Apologies.

11) Fun Question: Do you have any pets? If so, what kind?
Sorry, no pets.
12) Fun Question 2: Do you own an electronic reading
device? If so, what kind and how do you like it?
Sorry, no such device. I keep free of gadgets as much as I can.

 

*As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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Interview with Ann Gadd, Author of Sex and the Enneagram

Hello,

Please find the interview with Ann Gadd below, author of Sex and the Enneagram.

Best,

-Vincent Lowry

Interview:

What is your author name and in what state do you live (or country if not in the US)?

My name is Ann Gadd and I live in Cape Town, South Africa.

 

What is the title of your newest book and what is the genre?

Sex and the Enneagram – A Guide to the Passionate Relationships for the Nine Personality Types. Genres: Sacred Sexuality/ Self-help. Psychology.

 

What is the book about?

The book examines the Nine Enneagram Personality Types and how they engage in intimate relationships in their healthiest emotional states and less so. Most importantly, it guides readers as to how to become more sexually present, as well as questions to journal. Also included is how to identify Types from dating adverts, what happens in divorce, what each Type brings to a relationship and why you’d be attracted to each Type amongst other topics.

 

Where did you come up with the idea?

How we engage sexually mirrors much of how we engage with life. Understanding what blocks our full sexual expression, helps understand what is blocking us from the full enjoyment of life. Sex is such a powerful influence – where we can experience the greatest joy and the biggest trauma. I felt that it would make for a powerful book if I combined what I know about the Enneagram Types and merged that with sex. The growth that comes with “getting” ourselves at a deep level could potentially be enhanced by examining our sexuality. I’d had the idea for a while, but was busy with The Enneagram of Eating, once that book was off to print, I started on Sex and the Enneagrams almost straight away.

 

How long did it take you to write it?

I had the idea many years ago, so started observing, researching and reading in preparation. My big stumbling block was the thought “Who am I to tackle something so profound?” It nearly stopped me, but I persevered. Once I started actually writing, it took just over a year to complete.

 

Did you learn anything from the project?

I believe we write about what we most need to learn. So yes, I learnt a huge amount about human sexuality and I must add, healed a few of my own wounds at the time. The book was initially about 30 000 words longer – way more than agreed with the publishers, so I had to tighten it up before handing it over to the editor who did the same. I really got involved in the subject and  was constantly in awe of what I discovered.

 

https://enneagrams9paths.com/blog-by-ann-gadd/

https://enneagrams9paths.com/

https://www.anngadd.co.za/

 

Do you have any success tips to pass on to fellow authors? How about any great editors/cover artists? I love working with Nicola Rijsdijk (editor). She really questioned me over certain issues and having an interest in the Enneagrams herself, was a good sounding board. The cover I designed myself (I was a graphic designer for many years).

 

What genres do you like to read? Are you open to reading new authors and reviewing their work?

For 20+ years I seldom read anything but non-fiction. Then I joined a bookclub and started reading fiction which I now enjoy. I’ve always been adverse to crime and sci-fi, but that being said, have just completed The Silent Patient, which I did enjoy. Don’t have a huge amount of free time to read because I’m into writing another book, but happy to help where I can.

 

What is your favorite book of all time and why? It’s hard to pin it down to a single book. For years I loved The French Lieutenant’s Woman by John Fowles and The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. Both favourite authors of mine. More recently I’d hand the prize to Educated, The Great Alone and Where the Crawdads Sing. All three had great stories to tell and captivating prose.

 

11) Fun Question: Do you have any pets? If so, what kind? Two over-indulged cats (Enneagram Seven – always on the go and Type Eight – built of solid stuff and rules supreme) and a Type Nine retriever (merges with me and is very keen to please).

 

Fun Question 2: Do you own an electronic reading device? If so, what kind and how do you like it? Kindle yes, and like it, no. I like books, the smell of the newly printed paper, the feel of them, turning pages… I know it’s not great for the planet, but my books are printed on certified sustainable sourced paper.

 

*As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

 

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Interview with Elaine Bosvik Ciarnau, Author of The Adventures of Cardigan

Hello,

Today’s interview is with Elaine Bosvik Ciarnau, author of The Adventures of Cardigan.

Please enjoy!

Best,

-Vincent Lowry

Interview:

1) What is your author name and in what state do you live (or country if not in the US)?
Elaine Bosvik Ciarnau    Canada
2) What is the title of your newest book and what is the genre?
The Adventures of Cardigan.  Children’s Fiction
3) What is the book about?
  A six year old boy and his dog, a Cardigan Welsh Corgi, experience several adventures with majestic wild life in the wilderness of Northern, Ontario. They are picking blueberries with a bear. They raise a crow that fell out of its best, have a bear and Cardigan having dinner at a cookhouse.
4) Where did you come up with the idea?
 The stories are from my own adventures while growing up in the Bush Camps
5) How long did it take you to write it?
 I started writing them over twenty years ago. As my son was growing up, I used to tell him the stories of my childhood. He would want to her more so I decided to share them in a book.
6) Did you learn anything from the project?
  I learned kids  are curious about wildlife.
7) Do you have an author website and/or blog? How about a book video?
No
8) Do you have any success tips to pass on to fellow authors? How about any great editors/cover artists?
 Write about what you know. Let others read and give you advice on what they read.
9) What genres do you like to read? Are you open to reading new authors and reviewing their work?
 I like to read anything except history. I have been reviewing books for other authors.
10) What is your favorite book of all time and why?
 The Moon child by Kenneth McKenney.  The book scared me so much I would have to put it down so often but,I had to keep picking it up to find out what was going to happen next.
11) Fun Question: Do you have any pets? If so, what kind?
 2 Russian Blue cats. Had a rabbit named Piggy and a cat Tiger that passed. Always had pets, wild and domestic.
12) Fun Question 2: Do you own an electronic reading device? If so, what kind and how do you like it?

No. Just use my tablet.

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