Monthly Archives: May 2020

Interview with Lily Lawrence, Author of Watching Jennifer

Hello,

Today’s interview is with Lily Lawrence, author of Watching Jennifer!

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 Lily Lawrence and I live in a small town in Indiana.
2) What is the title of your newest book and what is the genre? Watching Jennifer is categorized as clean romantic suspense.
3) What is the book about? Watching Jennifer is about a woman from a small town navigating relationships, both romantic and familial. However, a stalker is watching Jennifer’s every move and he may or may not be someone she already knows.
4) Where did you come up with the idea?  I have always loved a good romantic suspense novel that keeps you guessing until the end. This story just seemed to meld all the things I would enjoy reading about.
5) How long did it take you to write it? The book itself only took me about 4 months. The story was basically written in my head and had been for a while. It was just a matter of putting it into word. Now publishing took a bit longer, I actually wrote this book in 2015. I had shelved it while I began a new project.
6) Did you learn anything from the project?  The main takeaway is that forgiveness is possible. Along with that theme, family relationships can be very complicated.
7) Do you have an author website and/or blog? How about a book video? I do not currently have a website or a blog, but I do have a facebook page, an author page on good reads, and an author page on Amazon.
8) Do you have any success tips to pass on to fellow authors? How about any great editors/cover artists? The only tip that I have is to read your project aloud after you get it back from the editor and prepare to finalize. Sometimes reading aloud helps you discover things that you might not have noticed.
9) What genres do you like to read? Are you open to reading new authors and reviewing their work? I enjoy a wide variety of books including, but not limited to Romantic Suspense, True Crime, Paranormal, Family Dramas, and Cozy Mystery. I would absolutely love to read and review new authors work.
10) What is your favorite book of all time and why? Hmmm..I find it very difficult to pick just one.  I would say that my favorite book would be Don’t Tell by Karen Rose. I enjoy reading about strong female leads that overcome difficult circumstances to not only survive, but also thrive.
11) Fun Question: Do you have any pets? If so, what kind?  I have 4 dogs.  2 were rescues- a basset hound mix and a chihuahua. Then, I have 2 rat terriers that I inherited whey my mother passed.
12) Fun Question 2: Do you own an electronic reading device? If so, what kind and how do you like it?  I read on my tablet the most. I currently have the IPad 6 and I really like how it functions.
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Interview with A.D. Britten, Author of A Soul Unbroken

Good morning,

Today’s interview is with A.D. Britten, author of A Soul Unbroken – A Journey.

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 A.D. Britten, short for Ashley Dane Britten.  I live in Maryland.
2) What is the title of your newest book and what is the genre?
   The title of the book I just completed is A Soul Unbroken: A Journey.  It is modern, realistic GLBT fiction with inspirational themes.
3) What is the book about?
An extended synopsis is below:
Joey Christopher has never had an easy life. After being forced to leave home, he moves in with his best friend and later boyfriend, Allen.  Unbeknownst to him, Allen, who has had his own life difficulties, is a part-time sex worker.  Although initially reticent, Joey starts to do the same thing for financial reasons and out of a warped sense of loyalty to Allen.  Several years go by, and life has started to take a turn for the worse.  Being introduced to drugs by a client, Allen becomes a violent addict and ultimately starts selling drugs.  Even though he becomes unbearable at times, Joey remains loyal to him, but things change when Allen is arrested during a drug bust.  Then Joey finds himself homeless again.  Now with no friends to give him a place to stay this time, he turns to his last resort: entering a homeless shelter. It’s here where he meets Mrs. Winston, the kindly older woman who runs the shelter.  She takes a particular, almost maternal, interest in him and his well-being.  Although, Joey is not a very open person he does accept her friendship and realizes that just talking to her makes him feel better. She’s like the mother he never had. The seeds of hope she plants during their casual talks help give him what no one else ever has-a sense of importance.
As time goes by, Joey notices that Mrs. Winston seems to get tired easily during their walks.  He later learns that she has terminal cancer.  Before passing away, she tells him that she learned through one of their conversations, that one of Joey’s clients had been her late husband.  Joey is stunned to learn this and is upset that he had unknowingly hurt someone who has been so kind to him.  But Mrs. Winston insists that she has no ill-feelings toward him.  She understands that he hustled because he was poor, had no one else to rely on for money, and that he came from a very bad home.  In her will she leaves him some money (Mrs. Winston is wealthy), which shocks him and he initially does not do much of anything with it.  He has been saving his own money from hustling in order to buy a new apartment for him and Allen to live in after Allen is released from jail, which takes place after a year.  When Allen returns home, they initially have a happy reunion.  But soon it’s clear that Allen is still a violent addict.  After one of the worst fights they have ever had, Allen leaves and Joey is effectively on his own.  After learning that a close friend of his has just been diagnosed with HIV, he starts to seriously think about making some changes and leaving hustling behind him.  Joey has always liked to read, and so he puts in an application to a small, antique and religious book shop.  The owner is an older, conservative man but through the influence of his daughter who is openly gay, he hires Joey who stays there for several years as things gradually get much better with many new friends as well as a new boyfriend, later husband, and new life.
4) Where did you come up with the idea?
    It’s rather unusual how the story got started.  The story is set in central Indiana, which is where I am from. It was a good place to grow up, but it can be rather conservative.  Several years ago when there were some demographic changes taking place, some people claimed that male prostitution that had started to take place in the area.  Whatever was going on was probably only affecting a few neighborhoods in one section of the city, but some people spoke about the problem in the news.  Well around the same time, there was a local news story about a guy who engaged in that sort of thing.  I guess it was rather striking how people assumed that something was not taking place in the area, when it actually was.
    I should point out that this is not a biography of anyone. The story is completely fictitious.  But that was where the story got started.  Additionally, the story was a way for me to write about different issues.
5) How long did it take you to write it?
   I initially wrote it in about 6 months.  I updated the book last year and that took about another 4 months.
6) Did you learn anything from the project?
     Yes, there are some organizations that help homeless gay youth, but, several years ago when I initially wrote the story there did not seem to be many.
     I have also learned that many people have an issue with the main themes of the story, which is not a surprise.  Many people, especially more traditional Christians/religious people, are uncomfortable with GLBT issues so the story, although it is supposed to be inspirational, does not resonate with some people.
     Lastly, even though it has been over ten years since I initially wrote it, I have yet to see another fiction book like this.  I think that is a good and a bad thing.
7) Do you have an author website and/or blog? How about a book video?

     I have an author Facebook page.  A.D. Britten

A.D. Britten

A.D. Britten. 363 likes · 1 talking about this. A.D. Britten is a writer of creative fiction with multicultural …

8) Do you have any success tips to pass on to fellow authors? How about any great editors/cover artists?
    I would suggest that you should stay true to your vision, but also take constructive criticism in order to become a better writer. If possible, have multiple people read your story and provide feedback.
    Regarding editors, I used a website that had freelance editors.  There are several out there to choose from like Upwork and Indeed.  I had a positive experience posting an ad and getting responses and finally chose someone who quickly replied and also seemed to have a good professional background so that they could provide solid feedback.
    Regarding cover artists, I didn’t use one.  I just chose a free picture from an images site along with stock book design from Amazon publishing.
9) What genres do you like to read? Are you open to reading new authors and reviewing their work?
     I like to read biographies, historical fiction, and just anything that is an interesting, well-told story.
10) What is your favorite book of all time and why?
    It’s hard to name a favorite book of all time, but there are certain stories that I liked reading such as A Tale of Two Cities, Siddhartha by Herman Hesse, and Beowulf.  I know that’s a very eclectic mix. I guess I like reading stories set in the past.
11) Fun Question: Do you have any pets? If so, what kind?
     No, pets. They are expensive and unless it is a seeing-eye dog, a therapy animal, or an animal used on a farm, I think animals belong outside in their natural habitat.  I know that is not the most popular point of view, but there it is.
12) Fun Question 2: Do you own an electronic reading device? If so, what kind and how do you like it?
     Yes, a few years ago for Christmas I got a kindle. I like it and have been using it off and on ever since.
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Interview with Nancy Strom, Author of Scooter and Friends Take a Vacation

Hello!

Today’s interview is with Nancy Strom, author of Scooter and Friends Take a Vacation!

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 Nancy Strom and I live near Seattle, Wa – although I’m about to embark on a 6 month to a year journey in a motorhome with my husband and dog.  We’re going to try and see every state in the lower 48.

 

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

  • Scooter and Friends Take a Vacation is a children’s picture book, which is written in rhyme and beautifully illustrated

 

3. What is the book about?

  • The book is a story where four animal friends – a red fox pup, a hedgehog, a beaver, and a raccoon – go on their first vacation and find a bit more adventure and excitement than they originally anticipated. The story is a fun romp for the entire family, and contains some valuable life lessons.  It celebrates diversity, through the inclusion of a variety of animals, both female and male.  It shows children the importance of working together, and how teamwork is reworded.  It shows the value of listening, taking advice, and to not be afraid to try something new.

.

4. Where did you come up with the idea?

  • I have loved Kenneth Graham’s Wind in the Willows since I first read it as a young adult. I have read this book to my grandnieces and nephews over the years, and taken them on many mini-adventures, as well.  Also, over the years, I have written a lot of new lyrics to existing melodies for events like birthday and anniversary parties.  So once I retired I thought it would be fun to connect three things I have enjoyed for so long –  reading to children, taking them on adventures, and rhyming lyrics – by writing a children’s book that would be an animal adventure story written in rhyme.

 

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

  • Once I sat down and got started writing it went rather quickly. And then once I found the publisher with whom I wanted to work, I realized the work wasn’t finished but rather just beginning.  From writing the book, and then going through the publishing process, it took a little over a year. (obviously, as a 2200 word children’s book, my timing was much shorter than what many will experience 😊)

 

6. Did you learn anything from the project?

  • The entire publishing process was one huge learning experience: I found out about the evolution of the publishing industry, from 75 years ago when traditional publishing houses had a virtual monopoly on what got into print, to today- where 80% of fiction and non-fiction published is by one type of self-publishing or another.  I’ve learned what the publishing process itself entails: everything from  getting an appraisal to the editorial, illustration, and formatting processes.

And finally I’ve learned so very much about marketing my story – I’m taking a marketing class that I started in May of 2019, and I still have 2 sessions remaining!

 

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

  • My website is nancystrom.com    On the website is my Video Book Trailer, and a few blogs. There one can also find a celebrity endorsement, a Rotary president’s testimonial, beta reader reviews, etc. of Scooter and Friends Take a Vacation. 

 

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

 

  1. ALLi – the Alliance of Independent Authors – is a goldmine, in particular for the novice to the self-publishing world.  I found my publisher – Ocean Reeve Publishing – through ALLi.  On the ALLi  website there is a particularly valuable index where ALLi rates any publisher or individual associated with the independent publishing industry.  One can find full-service publishers, as well as individual editors, appraisers, proof-readers, publicists, illustrators, formatters, marketing specialists, agents, etc. etc.  I can’t say enough about how valuable this ALLi “find” was for me!
  2. Get an Appraisal done of your manuscript. The Appraisal I received was a systematic and objective study of the marketability of my book, as well as an assessment of the revisions, rewrites, updates, and changes that would be needed to ensure that my book would be of the highest quality.
  3. My illustrator, Carolyn Van Hosen, is a wonderful artist, who took a lot of time to find out what my vision was for my characters. She did my cover art, as well as my 16 full-color illustrations, and my animal portraits that appear on page 3 of my book.  Once Carolyn had the characters as I envisioned them and I signed off on the final versions,  I got the idea to have portraits done so that as we proceeded through the illustrations she could refer back to them as a guide.  And I decided to put them on page 3 so the reader and those to whom they were reading could see the animals “front and center” and know what each looked like –  like “meet the stars of our show”.
  4. The appraiser and the editors with Ocean Reeve Publishing are great. And an author can cherry pick what assistance he or she wants.  No contract to sign with Ocean, you pay only for the service(s) you need/want.

 

(Number 9 below is a continuation of the interview questions.)

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

Just for pleasure (as opposed to book club books) I love international intrigue – Tom Clancy, Vince Flynn, Brad Thor, David Baldaccci.  And historical fiction by W.E.B. Griffin.  He has several series, including two great ones on the OSS – one series takes place in the European theater and the other in South America.  I have enjoyed each of Griffin’s series – he has about 10 different ones.

I also love stories with animals – The Art of Racing in the Rain is a big favorite of mine.

I would be very open to reading new authors and would definitely be willing to give reviewing their work a try.

 

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

  • Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, because it is full of wit, wisdom, fun, and love. And when it comes to the movie version, there is none better than the A&E version with Colin Firth –  he will forever be Mr. Darcy to me.

 

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

  • I have a black lab named Molly. She is an absolute hoot, and a sweetheart, and we love her!   My favorite cat of all time was named Newt.  He was the son of a stray who adopted us (we live on a farm, which is a great place for cats and dogs), and Newt actually thought he was a dog.  He played fetch; he went on walks with me; he came whenever I called him.

 

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

  • I have a Kindle. It’s great for traveling, but I still love to hold a book in my hands when I’m at home.

 

*As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

 

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