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Interview with Courtney Moore, Author of Moonlight Walkers – Forbidden Lands

Hello,

Today’s interview is with Courtney Moore, author of Moonlight Walkers – Forbidden Lands.

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)?
Courtney Moore, Texas.
 
2) What is the title of your newest book and what is the genre?
MOONLIGHT WALKERS: FORBIDDEN LANDS, Middle Grade Fiction/Fantasy.
 
3) What is the book about? 
Short summary: It’s about a young, unique wolf name Sakura, her hidden ancestral history, and the dragons that will do anything to control it. 
 
Full summary (blurb): Young Sakura has always wondered why her family kept a tight leash on her and her younger brother, never allowing them to leave the pack boundaries. Deep inside, she knows that she’s meant for more than the comforting shelter of her secluded forest.
Her belief is put to the test when a group of ruthless, powerful dragons invade her home and kidnap her pack. The dragon’s king desperately wants to find the Wolves Amulet, a sacred item of the wolves that he believes will grant him freedom from his enchanted prison. After escaping the claws of capture, Sakura, her brother, and a childhood friend set out on a treacherous search for their family, abandoning the familiar boundaries of their home for the first time.
When Sakura learns of her ancestral background – being a descendant from a supernatural wolf and the only one capable of unlocking the power within the amulet, the stakes become greater. With her true identity now revealed, she becomes the wolf king’s greatest asset and the dragon king’s main target, forcing Sakura to decide on the fate of her life and the world as she knows it.
 
4) Where did you come up with the idea?
This all started back in High School, over fifteen years ago. I love reading fantasy books that take the reader to far off worlds. So, I decided to create my own. 
 
5) How long did it take you to write it?
The rough draft was written over fifteen years ago, but most of the story was compiled recently and took me about a year and a half to finish (between adding more plot, character development, and editor reviewing).
 
6) Did you learn anything from the project?
Yes a lot! Especially from my editors. I learned to keep an eye out for the small things that can be overlooked, sometimes making a big difference in the story.
 
7) Do you have an author website and/or blog? How about a book video?
Author website: Courtneymooreauthor.com
Twitter: @Cmooreauthor
 
8) Do you have any success tips to pass on to fellow authors? How about any great editors/cover artists? 
Tips for future writers that want to be authors: Never give up. Don’t take no from an agent or publisher. Keep reviewing and editing your manuscript, eventually you will shine to the right person and/or publisher. Everyone has different tastes for what they are looking for (and that is why it’s a good idea to research the agent and/or publisher to make sure they are the right fit for your manuscript’s audience). Also, it’s a good idea to invest in an editor. They will find things that you never thought to look for. They are a huge eye opener and great knowledge source. A great editor I recommend is Raven Eckman. 
 
9) What genres do you like to read? Are you open to reading new authors and reviewing their work?
My favorite genres are fantasy and adventure. I would love to review other authors work and give my feedback.
 
10) What is your favorite book of all time and why? 
Hmm, a very hard question! I have so many books, especially from when I was younger, that I adore! One that was my first novel series is the WARRIORS series by Erin Hunter. This series was also an inspiration to me in creating my own world, but with my favorite animal – wolves! 
 
11) Fun Question: Do you have any pets? If so, what kind?
Yes, my husband and I love animals. We currently have two Quaker parrots and two lizards.
 
12) Fun Question 2: Do you own an electronic reading device? If so, what kind and how do you like it?
I unfortunately don’t own a reading device.
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Interview with Julian Adorney, Author of The Dragon’s Curse

Hello,

Today’s interview is with Julian Adorney, author of The Dragon’s Curse.

I hope you enjoy it!

Thanks,

-Vincent Lowry

 

Interview:

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

I write under my real name–Julian Adorney.

 

I live in Colorado but I want to travel the world 🙂

 

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

The Dragon’s Curse is a stand-alone fantasy romance novel.

 

3) What is the book about?

Here’s the synopsis:

 

When Princess Esmerelda stumbles onto a secret buried in the depths of her floating city, the God of Fate curses her. Within seventy days, she will die and her beloved kingdom will fall.

 

If Esmerelda is to survive, she’ll have to unravel the secret of why she was cursed and learn to beat a spiteful God at its own game.

 

Complicating her struggle is Parius, a dashing stranger with a mysterious past. He’s brave and noble and unpredictable, and she finds herself falling for him. But he has dark secrets all his own, secrets their budding relationship may not survive.

 

Their quest takes the pair to forgotten magics, beautiful witches in sleepy villages, and the ancient caverns of the dragons. But time is running out. Can the lovers defeat the God of Fate, or will they lose everything they hold dear?

4) Where did you come up with the idea?

It took me awhile to figure out what the book was about honestly, because writing is so much an exploration for me. It’s not like I decide what the book is about and then set pen to paper to write it…it’s more like I’m exploring the story as I go! So first I thought the story was about a princess who learned to fight, and I played around with a few different ideas before I realized it was about a woman who fought against a brutal destiny.

 

At the time I was struggling a lot with the idea of fate and free will, so it makes sense that I was called to write this story.

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

A little over two and a half years from start to publication. And it was an absolute blast the whole time 🙂

6) Did you learn anything from the project?

Tons! This is the first novel that I’ve published, and I’d never worked on a story this complex before.

 

I learned to trust my Muse–my Muse knows the story a whole lot better than my left-brain logical “Me” does. I also learned to not try to predict where the story was going to go–a lot of the really fun moments came because I was discovering this story right along with the characters, and when Esmerelda got herself into a tight spot I didn’t know how she would get out again!

 

Finally I learned that writing fiction is weird–and that’s okay! Amazing, actually. I remember one time I was trying to get a handle on the character of a talking tiger. And it just hit me one moment–I’m walking down the street in broad daylight, having a vivid (but silent) conversation with a talking tiger and asking him why he’s mad at a sorcerer. It was fun!

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

Here’s my author website: https://julianadorney.com/, although I don’t blog a ton. No book video at the moment.

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

My main piece of advice, like I said above, is to trust your Muse. It knows the story, so sit back and let it tell it.

 

I used Amygdala Designs for my cover art, and Ida was fabulous! I don’t get anything if you use her, but I highly recommend checking her out.

 

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

I’m very open to reading new authors! I can’t promise a review unless I like the story, just because I know that different folks have different tastes and I don’t want to leave a negative review of a good book just because it wasn’t my cup of tea 🙂

 

I love reading fantasy stories and romance stories. I love any stories with a good romance in them. I also read some sci-fi!

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

The Harry Potter series, because it’s just so magical. If I had to choose a favorite book, I would say Prisoner of Azkaban–I love the big reveal about Sirius!

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

I really want to get a cat! But no pets right now.

 

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

I don’t honestly, I just use my laptop or physical books. I really love physical books.

*As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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Interview with Roland Sato Page, Author of Eating the Forbidden Fruit

Hello,

We have another interview today, this time with Roland Sato Page, author of Eating the Forbidden Fruit.

Please enjoy!

Best,

-Vince

 

Interview:

1) What is your author name and in what state do you live (or country if not in the US)? Roland Sato Page and I reside in St. Louis Mo.
2) What is the title of your newest book and what is the genre?
Eating the Forbidden Fruit and it’s a urban crime fiction. Even though the novel is based on true events I chose fiction to protect the privacy of friends and family.
3) What is the book about? It’s loosely based on previous events in my past life including my rise and demise as a St. Louis police officer convicted of federal crimes. My charges stem from my affiliation to childhood associates. Also a person I considered somewhat family.
4) Where did you come up with the idea? I battle depression from time to time therefore I write to maintain my sanity. Something my wife and kids encouraged me to do so i don’t spiral out of control. Effectiveness requires passion so I wrote about situations I have knowledge on. A journey of life is the best topic for me. A story of karma, confession, and redemption. A man’s legacy is important. I want to leave my family with the truth so they don’t make the mistakes I have. Eating the Forbidden Fruit is my true testimony.
5) How long did it take you to write it? Actually only six months and that’s because I wrote journals during my trial. It was a distraction from my woes.
6) Did you learn anything from the project? Definitely we all fall from grace sometimes more than once. How we rebound is what define us. I lost my mother last year I needed to honor her with the completion of my book. Doing the book helped archive all the great memories from my past.
7) Do you have an author website and/or blog? How about a book video? Yes all available on my website www.authorrolandpage.com
8) Do you have any success tips to pass on to fellow authors? How about any great editors/cover artists? I’m not ready to call myself a author not quite yet. I have to earn that title. I’m a artist and former tattooist. I created my own cover art with the help of Korner Ent.
9) What genres do you like to read? Are you open to reading new authors and reviewing their work? I read all genres. One need to expand their mind. What I said I only like soul food without trying other ethnic dishes. That’s not right. I love to support new authors because they may be the stars of tomorrow.
10) What is your favorite book of all time and why? The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. It’s a story of bullying, being a outcast, a hero, and the underdog became the hero. I was young so it was the first novel that keep my attention. Besides comics.
11) Fun Question: Do you have any pets? If so, what kind? Yes a French Mastiff name Hachi.
12) Fun Question 2: Do you own an electronic reading device? If so, what kind and how do you like it? No I don’t have on.

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Interview with Marie Lavender, Author of Chasing Ginger (The Misfits Series)

Hello,

Today’s interview is with Marie Lavender, author of Chasing Ginger.

Please enjoy!

Thanks,

-Vincent Lowry

 

Interview

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

 

My name is Marie Lavender. I live in Indiana, actually.

 

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

 

Chasing Ginger is my latest book release. This novel is a steamy romantic comedy – adult contemporary/chick lit/BBW romance/billionaire romance.

 

3)      What is the book about? 

 

The book is about Ginger’s journey, which includes meeting a new man she likes, and deciding what she wants for her life – dreams and all. But it starts with her getting involved in a drug trial. What happens next is just chaos, and it triggers the rest of the story.

 

4)      Where did you come up with the idea?

 

Well, I was inspired by a conversation I had with a reader on social media. I’d posted some random meme about wishing the side effects of medications were cooler instead of unfortunate. In this case, the desired side effect was ‘extreme sexiness’. I just took it from there and added a plus-sized main character.

 

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

 

A year to a year and a half, but only because I was struggling with random bouts of depression from a loss in the family.

 

6)      Did you learn anything from the project?

 

(Laughs.) Yeah, for future reference, I probably shouldn’t approach a rom com project in that kind of mental state.

 

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

 

Of course!

Official Website: http://marielavender.com/

Blogs: http://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/  – I Love Romance Blog
http://marielavender.blogspot.com/ – Writing in the Modern Age

http://marielavenderbooks.blogspot.com/ – Marie Lavender’s Books and Other Things

This is the book trailer for Chasing Ginger:  https://bit.ly/2vyy1Bc

 

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

 

I would say ‘patience and perseverance’. Both of these traits will get you through a lot of hurdles and headaches. The writer’s journey is never easy, but knowing you can achieve a goal despite the odds will help considerably.

Some great cover artists I’ve had are Kayden McLeod, Dawné Dominique, Select-O-Graphix, Deborah Melanie, SwoonWorthy Book Covers, Spellbinding Designs, Avdal Designs, and LDM Graphics.

The editors/proofreaders I liked include Shawna Williams, Kathi Sprayberry, Cynthia Ley, Kathy Collier, Anthony Kohler, Fred Crook, Tracy Guzzardo, Melissa Manes, Jennifer B. Gaubert, and Belinda Y. Hughes.

 

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

 

I’ll read anything, I guess, but I prefer any subgenre of romance. I don’t like nonfiction all that much (unless it’s motivational or I’m reading it for research purposes). It’s difficult for me to get into hard science fiction, and erotic horror is just too weird for me (I don’t mind the two genres separated). My top likes would be paranormal romance, historical romance, and contemporary romance.

I was doing reviews for a while on my romance blog, but my TBR list got too big and I had to shut down requests until I can get caught up. So, right now, it would be a hard NO. It’s not because I want to, though (I am a major bibliophile), yet it’s just necessary so I’ll be able to fulfill the promises I made to review those other books. This is my latest book review.

 

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

 

I still have a weakness for J.R. Ward’s Dark Lover. Wrath is a total book boyfriend to me.

 

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

 

Yep! I have two cats, one calico and the other is almost all black with a few white spots. Emma and Katerina are my babies.

 

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

 

Sort of. I have a Samsung tablet which I use to read my Kindle books and the ebooks I’ve gotten through contests and newsletter sign-ups. I do like it. My problem, however, is that I’m still a bit old school, and I prefer to read a paperback or hardcover. Not to mention that being an epileptic as well as a migraine sufferer, it will always be easier for me to focus on reading an actual page rather than an electronic screen.

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Interview with Boluwatife Oriowo, Author of Letters from Midia

Hello,

Today’s interview is with Boluwatife Oriowo, author of Letters from Midia.

Please enjoy!

Best,

-Vince

 

Interview:

1) What is your author name and in what state do you live (or country if not in the US)?
My name is Boluwatife Oriowo, however in internet circles I can often be found going by the moniker, aesthetic-derelict. I’m a New Jersey based sequential artist, though if you’re curious about where my name is from, I’m Nigerian by birth.
2) What is the title of your newest book and what is the genre?
 
The title of my book is Letters from Midia. It is an all-ages fantasy/adventure graphic novel.
3) What is the book about? 
 
Letters from Midia follows Jason, a young knight of few words and many actions, as he traverses a land of magic and monsters in search of his kingdom’s missing princess, Midia. The two had fallen in love shortly before Midia’s wicked duke uncle and a traitorous court mage kidnapped her in hopes of harvesting her latent magical abilities.

With nothing but a sword, a shield and his trusty steed to help him, the newly knighted Jason fights his way across a myriad of strange environments, savage beasts and magical foes in order to rescue his one true love.

Guiding Jason on his journey are the letters Princess Midia leaves along his path, brief notes left behind as her captors take her across the country side, each one meant to form a trail that may one day reunite the pair.

I’ve heard it be described as the story of the world’s most dangerous long-distance relationship, and I think that’s fairly apt. It is a tale of love, perseverance and the pain of isolation over a period of time.

Letters from Midia is a spin on the age-old tale of the traveling knight, bringing a fresh, new perspective to a familiar plot structure.

4) Where did you come up with the idea?
I have always been a big fan of video games, especially fantasy or role-playing games. One of my favorite franchises happens to be Nintendo’s Legend of Zelda, which also offers unique spins on familiar fantasy tropes. Letters from Midia’s genesis initially came from me wanting to capture the feeling of my experience playing these games in comic form. The thrill of adventure, the peril of facing a new enemy, the joys of seeing your character get new weapons and the excitement of getting more story progression after conquering a difficult boss battle, are all elements of that experience that I worked to boil into the narrative.

In many ways, Letters from Midia is a bit of a video-game book, though it never outright says it. Attentive readers can and have pointed out the many different ways that I have alluded to this video-game inspiration throughout the story.

As I began to develop the story, I was also heavily invested in the works of French illustrator Moebius and Genndy Tartakovsky’s Samurai Jack cartoon. These creations often featured vast, interesting worlds with larger than life characters, and it was in emulating those artists that I was able to give the world of Letters from Midia a quirky charm.

 
5) How long did it take you to write it?
I initially came up with the idea in January of 2018, but I didn’t have the courage to fully dive into making it until that November. From concept to complete illustration, the book took nine months to complete.

Much of it was made in my free time, in-between jobs and freelance assignments.

 
6) Did you learn anything from the project?
It would be a bit of an understatement to say that I had learned a thing or two making my first graphic novel. Letters from Midia is by far the longest story that I have ever made, clocking in at twice the size of my previous long project.

In making it, I not only handled the writing duties, I penciled, inked, colored and lettered the whole thing too. As a result, I had to do a lot of learning along the way, picking up things on characterization, action choreography, cinematic lighting and coloring as I went on.

It’s also the first story that I have ever colored, and the jump from greyscale to full color was a whole new beast for me. Developing appealing palettes for print was a major challenge.

I feel that, as an author, it is important to have a hand in all aspects of the creation of a book, especially so that you understand all the different parts that go into making the finished product.

 
7) Do you have an author website and/or blog? How about a book video?
My main website is https://boluoriowo.wixsite.com/oriowoportfolio. I also have a Twitter profile where I share my art and updates on upcoming projects. That can be found @aesderelict.
 
 
8) Do you have any success tips to pass on to fellow authors? How about any great editors/cover artists? 
I’m a fairly new author myself, so it might be a bit much to claim any of these are “success” tips. I do have a few main ideas that helped me along the way, though.

My main one is that you should always have an idea about what your story is about. I don’t mean having a basic idea of what the story is, or a list of all the events that happen, but rather what your story is trying to say. What is the feeling that you want your readers to leave the story feeling? What questions do you want to have raised, explored and answered for them throughout your tale? When you think of this, your stories tend to have a grander feel of connectivity and avoid feeling like nothing more than a series of loosely connected events. It makes you think of themes, character actions, scenes and can only lead to a better final product.

As far as cover art, there are two ways to go about it. You either pick a big, marquee moment to place on the front of your book to reel people in. If your protagonist fights a dragon, find a way to put that dragon on the front. If someone is dangling from a cliff, you put that cliff on the front. It’s a nice, simple way to get attention, which is often the only way to ensure that a reader gets invested enough to follow through and read on.

The other way to go about it is to try to create a scene or image that communicates the major themes and characters of your story, without outright spoiling a key scene. I took this approach for Letters from Midia, opting to showcase the central characters of the story while posting a smattering of the different lands Jason explores throughout his quest. A good amount of the excitement from the book comes from the dramatic reveal of new threats, so I didn’t want to spoil anything plot crucial on the front.

Additionally, never go with the first idea for a visual. Writing requires plenty of drafts and creating compelling imagery is no different. It is important to take an iterative, multi-layered approach to developing your book’s visual identity, as this is almost always going to be what potential readers see first.

 
9) What genres do you like to read? Are you open to reading new authors and reviewing their work?
I usually like to read some form of fantasy, science fiction, mystery or horror story. If it has an element of adventure, I’m all the more interested. I’m always open to reading new authors and giving my own two cents on how I feel, but I’d argue that any review I give would be heavily on the subjective side.
 
10) What is your favorite book of all time and why? 
Tough question. I’ve read a lot, so I can’t quite narrow it down to one. Growing up, I was always a big fan of Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events series. They had a sort of dark humor to balance out the creepy atmosphere of the adventures that the main characters went on, and I believe that it was these stories that really made me want to write.

Picking my favorite graphic novel of all time is an even harder choice, often depending on what’s really connected to me recently.

 
11) Fun Question: Do you have any pets? If so, what kind?
 
No pets right now. As a kid, I had two pet lovebirds named Crash and Coco. They were very loud and drove my siblings up the wall. Later on, my family would get two dogs named Max and Roxie.

Max was a very shy Chihuahua/ Dachshund/ Yorkshire terrier mix and Roxie was an all-too-energetic Jack Russel. The two sadly passed on while I was working on the book, but I definitely tried to capture their behavior in how I wrote Jason’s horse, Argo.

Why a horse would act like a dog is anyone’s guess, but I thought it added a light-hearted nature to the young knight’s loyal steed.

 
12) Fun Question 2: Do you own an electronic reading device? If so, what kind and how do you like it?
I don’t have a dedicated electronic reading device, but I do tend to read books through my iPhone. I commute a lot for work, so having something small to read through is often the way to go, for me.
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Interview with Jayne Martin, author of Tender Cuts

Hello,

We have another interview today, this time with Jayne Martin author of Tender Cuts.

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)?
Jayne Martin and I live in California.
2) What is the title of your newest book and what is the genre?
The book is titled “Tender Cuts.” It’s a collection of literary microfiction, 38 stories each under 300 words.
3) What is the book about?
In these 38 real and surreal tales, everyday people do their best to manage the wounds life inflicts on all of us: A six-year-old beauty pageant contestant strives to please her demanding mother; a woman marries a 1985 Buick LeSabre; in a laundromat bored wives fall under the romantic spell of a lobster; a grown woman is still being fat-shamed by her deceased mother via a Ouija board; a widow carries her husband’s ashes around in Baggies. With pathos and humor, these and all of the characters in this collection speak to the reader’s own wounded heart.
4) Where did you come up with the idea?
I’ve been writing and publishing flash and microfiction in literary journals since 2010. Several had been nominated for Best Small Fictions and Pushcarts. In 2017, I began to see a thread weaving them together emotionally as a collection. I brought on illustrators to do simple line drawings to accompany the stories and somewhere in each you will find a tiny heart to carry on the theme of wounded hearts.
5) How long did it take you to write it?
I wrote these stories over several years. The title story is about a character named “Julie-Sue,” a Jon-Benet Ramsey type child forced into beauty pageants by her mother. When I put the book together I realized I need a structure, a thread, to hang all the other stories onto, so I wrote three more stories about this character taking her to a tween, then to 16, and the final story which is told by Julie-Sue’s grown daughter after Julie-Sue has died. The voices in all the stories follow that arc from young to old.
6) Did you learn anything from the project?
As a writer, every time you inhabit a character you learn something about the human condition. As for the construction of the collection, I had never realized how difficult it would be to determine the order of the stories. After several attempts, it felt like trying to “herd cats,” but I finally figured it out.
7) Do you have an author website and/or blog? How about a book video?
Yes. It’s www.jaynemartin-writer.com. There is a book video on the site and also as my pinned Tweet on Twitter. On the home page, I have a slide show of inspirational sayings from the likes of Toni Morrison to Tiny Fey that I hope will encourage and lift the spirits of those who visit. There are also links to all the book’s reviews and my interviews. On the blog page, I written several craft essays on how to write flash/microfiction. And, of course, you can order the book. I recommend ordering from the Powell’s link to support indie bookstores, but it’s available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble, as well.
8) Do you have any success tips to pass on to fellow authors? How about any great editors/cover artists?
Nothing succeeds like persistence. Rejections feel personal, but they’re not. What one editor may decline, another will eagerly accept. Keep sending out those submissions. It’s largely a numbers game. I like to say if you fling enough spaghetti at a wall, some of it will stick, so fling away!
9) What genres do you like to read? Are you open to reading new authors and reviewing their work?
I read literary fiction mostly as I’m a lover of beautiful language. That, more than anything, will draw me in. I read all the online lit journals and it’s always exciting to me to discover a new voice. Reviews are not my thing, only because I’m not a “critical thinker.” I respond to something or I don’t, and I’m not very good at articulating my reasons.
10) What is your favorite book of all time and why?
I absolutely fell in love with “H is for Hawk,” by Helen MacDonald. It’s a memoir about her relationship with a goshawk named Mable that she trained to deal with her grief after her father’s death and it’s absolutely exquisite. Helen is also a poet so, much like Ocean Vuong, author of “On Earth We Are Briefly Gorgeous,” the language is gorgeous. I’ve read it twice and listened to the audio read by Helen. I’m certain I will do so again.
11) Fun Question: Do you have any pets? If so, what kind?
I have two dogs and a horse. The dogs are Dixie, a 13 year old Chihuahua, and Miss Pickles, a 5 years old Yorkie mix. They are my heart and soul. My horse is a 28 year old Thoroughbred named Levi. He used to be my jumper when we competed over fences. Now we just hack around.
12) Fun Question 2: Do you own an electronic reading device? If so, what kind and how do you like it?
I have a 10 year old Nook — one of the very first — that is still going strong. I also have a Kindle app on my phone. I like them because I live in a very small house without much room for books (although they are stacked everywhere). When I can get a book on digital, I do, but many of the small indie presses don’t offer it.
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Interview with Greg Hickey, Author of The Friar’s Lantern!

Hello,

We have a another interview today, this one with Greg Hickey, Author of The Friar’s Lantern.

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 name is Greg Hickey. I live in Chicago, Illinois.
2) What is the title of your newest book and what is the genre?
My most recent novel is The Friar’s Lantern. It’s a choose-your-own-adventure-style novel for grown-ups that features elements of science fiction, crime fiction and literary fiction.
3) What is the book about?
The structure of The Friar’s Lantern mimics the choose-your-own-adventure format enjoyed by many young readers during the 1980s and 90s. At various points in the novel, readers have the opportunity to choose how the story continues. Based on their choice, they flip to a certain page in the book and see how their decision affects the outcome of the story.
There are two main storylines that run throughout the novel. In the first, a university scientist tells you he can use an MRI brain scan to read your mind and offers to prove it in a wager that could net you over $1,000,000 in winnings. In the second, you serve on the jury for the trial of a college professor accused of killing his wife’s murderer. Several other plot threads that present different choices weave throughout these two storylines. You’ll take a Turing test with a twist, discover how your future choices might influence the past, and try your luck at Three Card Monte. And ultimately, you’ll have to decide whether or not you are responsible for your actions at all.
4) Where did you come up with the idea?
The idea for the MRI brain scan experiment is based on a philosophical dilemma called
Newcomb’s Problem. It’s a fascinating question that looks like a mathematics or logic problem on the surface but quickly opens up into questions about how we make choices and the existence of free will. In The Friar’s Lantern, I updated the Newcomb’s Problem scenario to make it more plausible and connect it to recent neuroscience research.
I also wanted to go beyond the questions of whether and how we make choices and look at how these issues impact responsibility, justice and morality. That’s where the murder trial comes in.
That storyline runs parallel to the brain scan experiment and helps ground the ideas of
Newcomb’s Problem in a real-world, life-and-death situation.

5) How long did it take you to write it?
I had the thought that it would be interesting to write an adult choose-your-own-adventure novel almost fifteen years ago and discovered Newcomb’s Problem soon after that. I started writing The Friar’s Lantern around 2010, and it was published in 2017.

6) Did you learn anything from the project?
A lot! I did a ton of research on neuroscience, philosophy and technology. The degree to which technology like MRI and artificial intelligence can predict and model how our brains work is incredible. But for all this scientific explanation, there is still a great deal of debate about what exactly is happening when it comes to consciousness and decision-making.

Even as some scientists are better able to measure, predict and stimulate brain activity, others are looking at their research and previous studies and pointing out that many of their conclusions have been overstated. There’s still a long way to go before we fully understand how our minds work, and that mystery is part of what makes Newcomb’s Problem and the issues in The Friar’s Lantern so intriguing.
7) Do you have an author website and/or blog? How about a book video?
Yes, my website is greghickeywrites.com. There, readers can learn more about me and download the first chapter of The Friar’s Lantern for free.
I don’t have a book trailer, but I did have a video created that replicates the video you would see in the MRI brain scan in The Friar’s Lantern. I think it’s a perfect bonus feature to accompany the novel. If you read this interview and purchase a copy of The Friar’s Lantern, email me at greg[at]greghickeywrites[dot]com, and I’ll send you the video.
8) Do you have any success tips to pass on to fellow authors? How about any great
editors/cover artists?
Just be patient and keep writing and putting your work out there. The Friar’s Lantern is my second novel. I conceived my first, Our Dried Voices, in 2005, started writing it in 2008 and saw it published in 2014. As I mentioned earlier, The Friar’s Lantern took over a decade from beginning to end and was published in 2017. So that’s over twenty combined years to produce two novels which were published three years apart. And my third novel is on track to come out this year.
The point is that for many authors, it won’t be as simple as writing and editing a book and seeing it published within a few years. Every writer gets rejections (J.K. Rowling is one famous example). I like to imagine that I need to go through a certain number of rejections before a piece gets accepted. So each rejection gets my closer to my ultimate goal of putting my work in front of readers.
But you can’t just write one piece and spend years and years submitting it and waiting until that piece is published to begin the next one. Write something, submit it, tweak it, but start something new in the meantime. If you keep producing and submitting new work, you’ll soon have a backlist you can feel proud of.

9) What genres do you like to read? Are you open to reading new authors and reviewing
their work?
I try to write entertaining stories for smart readers, and those are the books I like to read. I want a compelling story that gets me engaged with the journey of the characters but also pushes me to examine ideas beyond the text. Those books span a variety of genres. I like science fiction, historical fiction, mystery and literary fiction. And I read a variety of non-fiction books as well: history, biography, philosophy, science and sports.
I am open to reading and reviewing new authors. It’s always exciting to discover a great book by an author I’ve never read before. And as an author who knows how important reviews are, I’ve made it a point to write a brief review of ever book I read.

10) What is your favorite book of all time and why?
The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand I know her philosophy and political ideas are divisive. But I still find this book to be a convincing argument that each individual person deserves to be happy, deserves to do what makes them happy, and shouldn’t feel burdened by others or society at large to act otherwise.

11) Fun Question: Do you have any pets? If so, what kind?
I don’t currently own any pets. Growing up, my family had dogs, and I owned a ferret for several years.

12) Fun Question 2: Do you own an electronic reading device? If so, what kind and how do you like it?
I own an iPad, on which I occasionally read ebooks. But I prefer to read print books.

 

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