Tag Archives: Author Interview

Interview with A Wrighton – Author of The Dragonics & Runics

A Wrighton


Today I’m welcoming A.Wrighton to my blog. She has been imagining flights of wild fancy since before she could figure out how to tie her shoes. Her love of writing, creating, and imagination has led her through a life full of flights of fancy and amazing adventures. Following her creativity’s calling, she earned honours in a BA in English as well as honors in a MFA in Creative Writing.

A. Wrighton writes sci-fi/fantasy (her passion), historical fiction, character-driven fiction, romance, and suspense. She also writes feature screenplays, TV spec scripts, and the occasional short film. Residing somewhere in the beautiful Ventura County, she still claims and loves her native city of Los Angeles. She lives with her amazing family and two dogs and often finds herself writing in little neighborhood joints – a cup of coffee or tea at her side.

Thanks for joining us today. Can you tell us what genre you consider your book(s)?

My main genre is fantasy/sci-fi if you’re looking at the overall spectrum of all of my books. If we’re just talking the Dragonics & Runics Series – it’s a bit more complicated. I’ve never been one to colour inside the lines and that shows in my writing. Most of my work is actually a hodgepodge of genres – whatever it takes to best tell my story – so pinning down just one specific genre is hard. Yes, that can work against me but I have always put story ahead of all else. It’s why I write. The Dragonics & Runics Series novels are a mix of political fantasy, steampunk, high fantasy, adventure, and romance (who doesn’t love a good romantic intrigue, eh?)

Honestly, I think some of the genre lines are a bit artificial. Growing up, I always considered a good fantasy would naturally include adventure and romance. In fact, fantasy, to me, was always the playground where you got to play with elements of other genres.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
           
Jane Austen & Ernest Hemingway are tied. Jane has taught me to really get behind characters, make them as real as possible and to be brutally honest with my reader when I portray the characters in all facets, especially emotional ones. Hemingway taught me to put up or shut up and that the art of word-smithing – picking the right words concisely – is an amazing skill to have. I’m still learning, but I love when people can get a feel for Austen and Hemingway in my work. It definitely makes me smile and go – good, it’s working then.

My bad, I’ve not read either, which I know tends to be frowned on. Oops.

What are your current projects?
           
I have the rest of the novels in the Dragonics & Runics Series in various levels of completion as well as a Sci-Fi novel that is in development. I’m toying with turning another concept into a graphic novel with a few illustrator friends and I am a part of the creative team and lead writer on a soon-to-be-released web series called Things Left Unsaid. I also have a feature film screenplay that I am going to start putting out there soon.

Heavens, you’re one busy bee! Do you write an outline before every book or project you write?
           
In one fashion or another, yes. I write in segments – usually out of order – in clips or scenes. To help organize and streamline the plot, I have a general outline that I adhere to for ordering and flow. Is it rigid? Absolutely not. Does it look the same from before I started writing to when I’m in editing mode? Not even close. But I do outline in a combination of timelines and old-fashioned “OG” fluorescent note cards.

I don’t believe an outline should resemble the finished product, either. A good writer is flexible enough to follow new ideas as they arise, but I also find an outline helpful for continuity and ordering.

Can you tell us about your upcoming book?
           
Part II of the Dragonics & Runics Series (the title will be announced on my Facebook in April) picks up where Defiance: Dragonics & Runics Part I left off – you’re back with the Resistance struggling to put together the pieces of the Prophecy before the Council destroys you and everything you’ve worked towards. You’re going to see a lot of the same characters as in Defiance but get introduced to a few more – and learn quite a bit more about some characters who, in Defiance, might not have caught your full attention. Lots of surprises and, unfortunately, a bit more in-depth look into the struggle between the Rogue Dragonics and the Council. Bottom line – nothing is for certain – things and people can and will change, so you best be careful!

What was your favourite chapter (or part) to write and why?
           
Anything with the Dragons. I love, love, love, love dragons. I always have. Even back when I was an awkward little thing taking painting classes in 6thgrade, I painted dragons. My love of those mythical beasts shows in every Dragon I write – they are all unique with as different personalities as their human counterparts. Later in the series, I have even more fun with the Dragons… at the expense of the humans.

Ooh, a woman after my own heart. Remind me to tell you about my dragon coffee table one day, the centrepiece of my collection!

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author?

Toughest criticism was probably that I focus too much on developing my characters that it gets lost on the reader. It’s not necessarily a bad criticism but it helped bring into focus that I need to always remember to bring balance to character development and other aspects of writing. I was so grateful for the reminder at the time that I went back and re-evaluated my creative process. This was all during my MFA program and it made me such a better writer for it. Every writer needs to take those hard-to-swallow comments and squeeze the good out of them. The professor that had said it – an award-winning writer – came back at the end of my program and complimented me on my adjustments. I ended up taking the highest award in the program and a direct award from that professor. The head banging on the wall was worth it then. Even the stomach-wrenching choking moment I had for – oh, a few months.

I think it’s safe to say not all the character development (or worldbuilding, which is character development of another kind) that a writer does will show up in the book. Some of it we do so we can know our character better, or to draw upon if needed, but what we need to remember is just because we made it up doesn’t mean it has a place in the finished book.

What has been the best compliment?

My best compliment is that people can see where I take them. They can see my characters, their surroundings. They can hear their voices, smell the surroundings and taste the food. That they can really imagine themselves in the story. That’s a huge compliment because that’s how I want my reader to be when they read my work – I want them immersed in the story’s world so the plot and characters mean that much more to them.

Ah cinematic description! I remember getting that compliment from an editor. I even remember the scene she referred to. The compliments are so much nicer than the criticisms, but unfortunately we need the constructive feedback so we can improve.

Do you have a day job as well?
           
Don’t we all? I’m a mom and I work full time at a lovely company in the entertainment industry. It keeps me running and busy 80% of my day, and I fit writing in whenever and wherever I can. One day, hopefully, I’ll reach that level where writing can be my day job, but until then I’ll keep my nose to the grindstone (so to speak).

Oh yes, we’re all in that boat! For a bit of fun, if you were an animal, what kind of animal would you be?

Wolf. Hands down. And not a werewolf… I would hate the whole changing under the moon thing. There’s just something majestic and beautiful about the wolf – especially their loyalty and sense of duty.

You surprise me. I would have said dragon! What would I find in your refrigerator right now?
           
Blueberries, strawberries (I live in Ventura County, you can’t blame me!), yogurt, cilantro, chicken, mango, leftovers, homemade pizza, some of my pasta sauce, cheese, and pickles. Oh, and some turkey and egg whites. I also think there’s some mystery leftover in the back, but we’re going to ignore that for the moment…

Mmm, strawberries. I’m jealous. The season is about over here in Australia. If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fictional, with whom would it be?
           
Elizabeth Bennet. I’m a Darcy fan. I want to see him walk out of the fountain all wet and stuff. Am I right, ladies? That… and I’d also like to stick it to Lady Catherine de Bourgh and Mr. Collins.

You’ve lost me… I only have a vague notion that he’s from

Pride and Prejudice. Please don’t shoot me – I suspect there are many who would totally agree. Thank you for sharing your time with us today.

If you would like to know more about A. Wrighton, you can find her at:


You can find A. Wrighton’s books at:

Dragonics & Runics Series Website: www.defythecouncil.com

Defiance Book Trailer: http://bit.ly/dandrvideo
Defiance on Amazon: http://bit.ly/dr1amazon
Defiance on Kindle: http://bit.ly/dr1ebook (other ebook formats coming in June!)

Things Left Unsaid – a web series: www.facebook.com/thingleftunsaid

Interview with Sarah Kernochan – Author of Jane Was Here

Sarah Kernochan

Today we are welcoming Sarah Kernochan to Flight of the Dragon. Sarah has won two Academy Awards for her documentaries Marjoe and Thoth. As a screenwriter, she has written many films, among them Nine and ½ Weeks, Impromptu, and What Lies Beneath; she both wrote and directed the film All I Wanna Do as well. Jane Was Here is her second novel after 1977’s Dry Hustle. At present she is writing a memoir of her encounters with ghosts in serial form on her blog. She lives in New York with her husband, playwright James Lapine; daughter Phoebe Lapine is a food writer.

Well, that officially makes you the only person I know to have ever won an Academy Award for anything. You’re also the only person I know to have written a film that actually screened in a mainstream cinema. And you’ve done both! I am officially impressed. I am not easily impressed. Uh, so, on that note, welcome and thanks for joining us today! But we’re not here to talk about your screenwriting prowess, which is evidently considerable, but to talk about your latest book, Jane Was Here. Can you tell us what genre is your book?

I tend to read “literature” and not popular fiction. Incredibly, I had no awareness of subgenres like paranormal romance while I was writing Jane Was Here. I’m a believer in reincarnation, which I used as both a message and literary device in the story: someone committed a crime in 1853. Both the victim and the suspects have been reincarnated to the present day, with no memory of their connection, until the victim starts to remember… When it was due to be published, I had to figure out what family my child belonged to. It seemed she had multiple parentage and I would have to use a lot of hyphens. Finally, to simplify things, I decided Jane was a paranormal-suspense-horror-fantasy-thriller. You can see how good I am at this.

Not bad, just a typical creative type. They don’t like black and white answers. Unlike little lawyer me! Do you have a specific writing style?

Style was the first thing I developed before anything else, when I had just started writing in my teens. I was influenced by iconoclasts like Donald Barthelme, and by Faulkner’s rhapsodic sentences without punctuation. Consequently my early work was pretty pretentious. However, my approach has always remained the same: to maintain a musical flow of language. For example, if the moment is slow and deeply felt, I will bring in poetic language. If it’s frantic action, I’ll design a rush of words or staccato bursts. Through it all, a reader should be able to ride along without being aware of the current. Then look up and realize they’ve reached the open sea.

We are all a bit pretentious and pompous when we start out. It comes from trying too hard, I think, or our perceptions of what a writer should sound like – in those early days, before we start learning about things like ‘voice’. What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Writing is kind of easy for me, I hate to say it. Maybe because I’ve been doing it so long. It only gets hard when I’m unwittingly headed down the wrong path and I haven’t faced it yet – my bad choices gum up the works until the car breaks down entirely.

Writing is easy. Editing is hard! Well, at least, it is for me. Did you learn anything from writing your book and, if so, what was it?

I learned from readers’ feedback that a lot of people can’t go forward without a strongly sympathetic character. I tend to create edgier characters with their dark parts hanging out. In the future I think I’ll make more of a conscious attempt to giving them someone to love. I do want them to continue reading, after all.

Absolutely, if the reader can’t empathise with a character, you’re more likely to lose them. My protagonist is an assassin, so I sympathise – but I’ve tried very hard to make her likeable, up to and including a recent workshop on ‘dark heroes’. Or heroines in this case. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

I took up the big question “Why me?” that humans so often ask when suffering. Why did that have to happen? What did I ever do to deserve this? I designed a karmic puzzle in Jane Was Here that showed heaven’s design as perfect: you do deserve what happens to you because of what you did in another lifetime. You don’t understand your fate because you were born without any memory of your prior deeds. You aren’t meant to understand or to remember. Those studies take place in the realm between lives.  

Wow, way deeper than me. I’d just shrug and say ‘there is no why’. Yeah, don’t come to me if you want counselling! Hey, at least I’m honest… If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

My first and only mentor was Grace Paley. She was my first writing teacher (at Columbia General Studies in New York) and I was one of her first students. She taught me how to pay attention to people around me, listen, even pursue. Grace focused most of her stories on a specific neighborhood, which she rendered to the tiniest detail. My neighborhood wasn’t very interesting (Connecticut suburb – Cheever had already been there anyway) so I went further afield, scarfing up people’s stories and sometimes going along for the ride. I collected experiences instead of hiding indoors. Grace taught me that.

Hmmm…. So many writers are people watchers. It worries me sometimes, because I’m not. Maybe that’s OK, because I’m dragon-watching instead! Are you reading something now?

My great aunt Anna De Koven, who was a journalist, published a book called A Cloud of Witnesses in 1920. You can find it in Google books. She reports her conversations with her dead sister through a medium over the course of a year. The beginning’s pretty starchy but once the dialogue gets rolling between the two sisters it’s really fascinating. You learn a lot about the education and evolution of souls in the afterlife. And it matches so many other accounts related by people under hypnosis who remember that ethereal phase before they were reborn.

That must be very personal for you. And speaking of which, on to some more personal questions. In addition to writing, do you have a day job as well?

I’ve been a screenwriter since the early 80’s.

Well, that’s kind of still writing. Lucky you! If you were an animal what kind would you be?

Can I have three? Because I have three animal spirit guides: rabbit, snake, and crane. That about sums me up.

You can have as many as you like. I’ll settle for one big dragon. What is the last book you read?

Carry The One by Carol Anshaw.

I wasn’t familiar with that one, so I looked it up – the story of a group of friends after they hit and kill a girl on the way home from a wedding. It sounds intense!

Thanks so much for joining us today, Sarah, it’s been a pleasure. 

For anyone interested in Jane Was Here, here’s a bit about the book:

A mysterious young woman called Jane appears in a small New England town. She claims a fragmentary memory of growing up in this place, yet she has never been here before in her life. Searching for an explanation, she arrives at the unthinkable: that she is somehow connected to a beautiful girl who disappeared from the town in 1853. Is she recalling a past life? Jane becomes convinced of it. As she presses onward to find out what happened in this town over 150 years ago, strange and alarming things begin happening to some of the town’s inhabitants. A thunderhead of karmic justice gathers over the village as Jane’s memories reawaken piece by piece. They carry her back in time to a long-buried secret, while the townspeople hurtle forward to a horrific event when past and present fatally collide.

If you’d like to know more about Sarah or would like to buy Jane Was Hereyou can find them in a multitude of places:


If you enjoyed this post, please feel free to check out my previous posts if you haven’t already. If you’re finding yourself here often, you might like to join as a member, sign up to the blog through RSS or email, or subscribe to my newsletter.

Don’t forget to share the love and spread the word on Twitter, Facebook or StumbleUpon (or other social networking site of your choice) if you know other people who might also enjoy this.

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Interview with Shawn Wickersheim: Author of The Penitent Assassin

Shawn Wickersheim
Today we are welcoming Shawn Wickersheim to Flight of the Dragon, one of my very favourite Tweeps! Shawn lives in historic Woodstock, Illinois with his wife and children. You’ll have to excuse me if I gush a little (and I’m not usually prone to gushing) because Shawn’s book, The Penitent Assassin, is the best book I have read all year. Seriously.  

Thanks so much for joining us Shawn (long emphasis on the so – gushing, remember?). What genre do you consider your books? 

Fantasy. 

No, really?

Should I narrow that down a bit? I’ve been told The Penitent Assassin is ‘dark’ fantasy. Others have called it ‘high’, while still others have suggested ‘low’. Some have claimed it to be an ‘epic’. Eventually, it will become a part of a series, though it is a stand-alone book. Let me explain. I intend on writing a variety of fantasy novels all set in the same world and all connected to each other one way or another. Some will be “Mallor” books (Mallor is the main character in The Penitent Assassin), others will not, however when I’m finished there will be a completed story arc encompassing all of the books. I’m working on a series title right now and will likely reveal it when my next books are released.
Oh, I stumbled across the term ‘scoundrel’ fantasy last year after reading Joe Abercrombie’s The First Law trilogy. I like that term, but honestly, beyond ‘fantasy’, I don’t mind what people want to label my books, as long as they are reading them (and hopefully enjoying them!).

Oh, I’d just call it ‘high’ – or even ‘epic’ . I believe epic refers to the scale of the conflict and not, as is the common misconception, the number of books… oh wait, we’re here to talk about you, not my genre definitions. It looks like you have more than enough opinions already! (Psst! As for scoundrel lit, the Bloody-Nine wasn’t all that bad… No, really!).

Have you ever hated something you wrote? 

All the time. I am incredibly hard on myself when it comes to my writing. I often have to remind myself that it’s okay for first drafts to be crappy. In the past, I used to suffer from writer’s block after reading my horrible first drafts. I saw no way to make those early drafts better. But I pressed on. Now, I embrace the editing process. I love editing. I realize those crappy first drafts are just the means for me to get the basic story ideas out of my head so I have something to work on. I know, some people are probably reading this and thinking, “DUH!”, but I had to work past the idea of having to get it right the first time and just focus on getting it out. I truly love writing, but the real magic comes from the editing.

I’m not sure if we have the same problem or not. Possibly, but I think I take mine in a different direction – compulsive editing! 

What are your current projects? 

In The Rush of Betrayal, life should be good for foreign ambassador, Lord Ian Weatherall. He’s rich, he’s married to the local princess and their young son is heir to the throne. But all is not as it should be. Friends have mysteriously died, others have been financially ruined and his marriage is falling apart. There are rumors that many in the city are unhappy with the racial mix of their future king and some are calling for his removal. Suddenly, Lord Ian’s business ventures sour too. Is this all the work of one man bent on seeing him and his son destroyed, or is it a conspiracy by many to incite war against his native land? Will Lord Ian be able to uncover the truth in time, or will he fall victim to the worst kind of betrayal? Discover the answers when I release The Rush of Betrayal: Book One in June 2012 and Book Two later this year.
If you’ve read The Penitent Assassin, you’ll likely guess all is not as it seems and these books will also have quite a few twists and turns and surprises in them. (And if you haven’t read The Penitent Assassin yet, you still have a little time before the new books come out!) After these two books are released, I plan to begin work on a direct sequel to The Penitent Assassin. 

If you haven’t read The Penitent Assassin, you should go forth and read it immediately! Beg, borrow, or steal a copy (or even buy it, Shawn might prefer that), just read it! Say, where did this sword come from? Ahem *hides sword behind back*. 

You’re a tease, Shawn, waving the hint of two new books under my nose, like freshly-baked muffins recently gone from a room…. And I still find it ironic (or maybe it’s just convergent evolution) that my first book has betrayal in the title, and your second does, while your first has penitent and my second does! But Shawn’s are published and mine are not, so anyone reading this shouldn’t waste anytime looking for mine. Just go read The Penitent Assassin.  

What books are you reading now? 

I just finished Scott Lynch’s “The Lies of Locke Lamora”. I’ve been aware of this book for a while and it sat in my mental ‘to read’ pile for a good year and then in the span of a week, I had three or four people insist I read it. I’m glad they did. I truly enjoyed the world and characters Scott Lynch created and I just ordered the sequel from the bookstore where I work. I’m currently reading a couple of books right now, “The Sour Lemon Score” by Richard Stark and “The Fall of Billy Hitchings” by Kirkus MacGowan.

That’s right, I added it to my ‘to read’ list because of the discussion we had with Kirkus. And it’s still there… because I’m here, doing this interview, instead of reading. 
What do you do when you’re not writing? 

Think about writing . . . 

Hmm, is that better or worse than using one’s free time to interview people who think about writing?  

I am a stay-at-home dad with two young children and they keep me busy during the day. I work part time at a local independent bookstore most evenings and I drive for a bakery at night. In between, I write. That’s not to say I don’t have fun too. In my free time, I enjoy biking, reading, watching movies, fixing up my house and hanging out with my family. 

Oh gosh, is this how exhausted people feel when I tell them everything I do around writing? Oh, no, wait, that’s just sleep deprivation, never mind. Is there anything of you in any of your protagonists? I’ve read the Penitent Assassin and I’m kind of hoping maybe no… 

Mallor, from The Penitent Assassin, is a determined, stubborn and often single-minded man who hates to lose and refuses to quit until he gets what he wants and according to my wife . . . well . . . let’s just say when I set a goal for myself I can ‘sometimes’ get a little determined . . . and stubborn . . . and single-minded.

Also like Mallor, I’m fiercely loyal to my friends, very protective of my children and deeply in love with one woman. Fortunately for me, I’m married to the love of my life and she accepts me for who I am . . . even if I am ‘sometimes’ just a little determined . . . and stubborn . . . and single-minded. 

Thankfully you chose some of Mallor’s less violent qualities. I’m not sure if our protagonists would get along like a house on fire or try to kill each other.

Okay, how about a few fun questions and answers?What is your favorite color? 

It’s changed over the years, but lately, my favorite color is green. I find green to be a very relaxing and yet mentally stimulating color and since I’m remodeling my tiny home office this summer, I figure it’s time to paint it a color I like. 

I’m afraid to ask what the colour is that you don’t like that’s currently on the walls of your office. I’m thinking about some of the colours they always seem to paint hospitals… 

What is your favorite drink? 

Mt. Dew. Or milk. Wait, was I supposed to name something alcoholic? Some sort of cool mixed drink? Beer? Sorry, I work too often to really enjoy anything alcoholic anymore. 

Nope, non-alcoholic drinks are acceptable. It just means you’re not going to raid my liquor cabinet, which means more for me! 

If you were a car, what kind would you be? 

Probably some sort of sports utility vehicle or maybe a pick-up truck. I used to drive a big green Dodge Ram pick-up truck years ago, but gas got too expensive and I traded it in for something smaller. 

I always say a Lotus Elise. Don’t ask. I like the pick-up truck notion. We call them ‘utes’ here. We even have ‘ute musters’. 

Finally, do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers? 

Thank you!

Like any author, I need fans and while I already have some great supporters, I can always use more. A lot more! So if you enjoy my books, please tell all your friends. You can also connect with me on-line on Twitter. You’ll find me @STWick. Or you can send me a friend request over on Goodreads. I’d love for you to add my books to your ‘to read’ list (Okay, I’ll admit it – I’d much rather you actually read my books and then add them to your ‘read’ list).

But in all seriousness, I appreciate you reading my books and I promise, I’ll try my best to keep writing the best books I possibly can.

Happy Reading! 

Thanks for joining us, Shawn, it was a pleasure. You can find out more about Shawn and his books on his blog (which he occasionally updates!) The Ink-Competent Writer (God I love that name!). His books are for sale at many online ebook sources including: Amazon, Smashwords, and Barnes and Noble.
If you enjoyed this post, please feel free to check out my previous posts if you haven’t already. If you’re finding yourself here often, you might like to join as a member, sign up to the blog through RSS or email, or subscribe to my newsletter.

Don’t forget to share the love and spread the word on Twitter, Facebook or StumbleUpon (or other social networking site of your choice) if you know other people who might also enjoy this.

Thanks for stopping by and visiting with us!

Interview with Steve McHugh: Author of Crimes Against Magic

Steve McHugh
Today I’m welcoming Steve McHugh to Flight of the Dragon to tell us more about himself and his book, Crimes Against Magic. Steve’s been writing from an early age and his first completed story was done in an English lesson. Unfortunately, after the teacher read it, he had to have a chat with the head of the year about the violent content and bad language. The follow up ‘One boy and his frog’ was less concerning to his teachers and got him an A.
It wasn’t for another decade that he would start work on a full length novel, the results of which is Crimes Against Magic.
He was born in a small village called Mexbrough, South Yorkshire, but now lives with his wife and two young daughters in Southampton.
I love the title Crimes Against Magic so much so I wish I’d thought of it myself! How did you come up with it?
If I’m honest, I don’t know. I don’t know how I come up with any of my titles. They sort of pop into my head when I’m thinking about the story and if I like it, it sticks. I liked the idea of there being criminal acts using magic, things so bad that if you got caught, you’d be executed for it. It probably came from there.
Well, just the title has got ideas spinning in my head about where I could take this concept. I’d say that’s a pretty effective title! What genre do you consider the book?
Crimes Against Magic is Urban Fantasy, although I’ve heard people describe it as Action, Adventure with magic. Either of those work quite well.
I’m not a fan for strict classification of books, particularly when we start drilling down into subgenres. How did you choose the genre you write in?
It sort of chose me. I’ve always loved mythology and magic and history, so combining them meant Urban Fantasy was a natural fit.
I’m with you on that one. Some of us do just naturally gravitate towards something.  What was your part of Crimes Against Magic to write and why?
My favourite parts to write were probably one fight scene near the end of the book between Nate and a villain and a scene where you’re introduced to Nathan’s young neighbour, Dani. That was a lot of fun to write.
I always feel twisted and evil when I ask this question. Why am I the only one who enjoys writing things like the Black Moment? Anyway, back to Steve… Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?
A lot of the characters who make it to the end of the book will be back in future stories in one way or another.
As for themes, the second book is going to be much darker in tone. That was something I made a conscious decision to do, due to what the story is about.
Ahah, so there’s a sequel! Is it your current project?
Yes, I’m currently writing the second book, Born of Hatred, and outlining the third, With Silent Screams. Hopefully book two will be out within the next six months.
That’s not a bad timeframe. So do you ever experience writer’s block or that’s just not something you suffer from?
Not really, although I do experience writer’s procrastination, especially when I should be editing.
Don’t we all – I suffer from what I like to call writer’s knurd. What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
The toughest criticism would be something that was unfair. I’ve had a few, mostly when I went for the Amazon Breakthrough Award, but I tend to ignore it and move on. If someone wants to give constructive criticism, I’m all ears though.
The best compliment? I was told by someone that they don’t read a lot of books, but that they loved Crimes Against Magic. That made me feel superb.
I bet it does. The one thing I love to hear is people stayed up past their bedtime and into the wee hours of the morning reading! OK, so now a few unusual questions, just to give our readers a hint of the ‘real’ Steve McHugh. If you were a Star Trek® or Star Wars®  character, which one would it be?
I could probably be really geeky and come up with something obscure, but I’m going to go with Han Solo. I think everyone wants to be him though.
Yep, even me! So what if I’m a woman? Ahem. So what is your favourite drink?
Alcoholic – Scotch
Hot – Green tea
Cold – Apple juice
Never mix those three together in the same drink.
Dang! *hides apple juice behind back* The thought never even crossed my mind. To wrap up, tell us the last book you read.
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins. Probably not quite as good as The Hunger Games as it takes a while to get going, but still a very good book. I’ll read the third at some point too.

Haven’t read them, but they are on my TBR list – as is Crimes Against Magic! If you want your very own copy, you can get one here from Amazon or Amazon UK. For more on Steve, check out his blog or follow him on Twitter at @stevejmchugh! Thanks so much for joining us today, Steve, it was a pleasure to have you.

If you enjoyed this post, please feel free to check out my previous posts if you haven’t already. If you’re finding yourself here often, you might like to join as a member, sign up to the blog through RSS or email, or subscribe to my newsletter.

Don’t forget to share the love and spread the word on Twitter, Facebook or StumbleUpon (or other social networking site of your choice) if you know other people who might also enjoy this.

Thanks for stopping by and visiting with us!

Author Interview: Christina Ow, Author of Star Bright

Christina Ow

Today I am interviewing Rinah Lidonde, author of Star Bright under her pen name Christina Ow.

Rinah studies and resides in South Africa, but Kenya is her home country. She holds a Diploma in Law and is currently pursuing a BA in International Studies and Communications and Media Studies. Rinah is a last born child and a twin.

Rinah wrote her first manuscript in 2010. Besides writing, she is also passionate about singing, drawing and designing.

Rinah lives in her imagination and considers herself a very creative person.

Thanks for joining us today, Rinah. Can you tell us a bit about your books – what genre do you consider them to belong to?

All of them are romance, that’s the one thing they share. Then there are elements of thrill, suspense, crime, contemporary, fantasy and paranormal.

Wow, that’s a broad spectrum! I admit I’m not a fan of pure romance, but I do love a good romantic subplot. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
           
My love for reading novels started a very long time, about when I was 10 or 11. I was in awe of how a person’s imagination could just take form and fill up pages. I loved the fact that I would read the words and watch it play out in my mind. Some of the books became way more interesting than watching TV!
I’m a person who lives in her head more than the outside world because off all the stories in my head.  So I figured maybe I should put down all the stories I had in my head on paper, and share them, see if everyone else loved them as much as I did.

I hear you. I’ve been reading since about 9 and read way more than I watch TV. Have you ever hated something you wrote?

Yes. I hate killing characters, but for the book, Love Forever After, to have some deep emotions and for the other characters to grow, it had to be done.

For Star Bright, it was writing Maria’s abuse. But I wanted the readers to say her happily ever after was long overdue. That they were happy for her and her new life and the new strong person she’d become.

Now you’ve got me worried I’m the only writer who has no problems doing terrible things to her characters. Eek! Tell us, how did you come up with the title?

I try to sum up the entire book in a handful of words.  In the beginning of Star Bright, Maria sees herself as a teen mother betrayed by the men in her life, but in the end she becomes more than she ever thought possible – a mother, a daughter, a friend and a wife, and I wanted the title to reflect that. Behind all the clouds of hardships that covered her, she was an emerging bright star.

They do say you should be able to sum up your book in 25 words or less before you even put pen to paper and it’s a brilliant way to identify your core theme which, in my experience, lends itself to the title. Are you working on anything now?

I just finished Fatal Jealousy. The title speaks for itself but the intrigue comes in when sibling rivalry between twins takes a fatal turn.  And a valentine’s special, Love Forever After, that is completely out of the norm of what valentine’s books are supposed to be. All I’m going to say about it is, husband, dead wife and baby, you’ll just have to read the book when it’s out!
  
And there is the Fate series. It’s a fantasy paranormal love story between two emotionally scarred individuals. One just happens to be Ashat, a werewolf, a man filled with vengeance and hate because of the slaughter of his family, and the other is Lee, a girl who lost everything including her family because of Ashat. To stay together they are faced with many personal challenges and an enemy who wants them both dead. And then as the series progresses, Lee finds out an entire history about herself that her mother had buried when someone from her past pays her a visit. I’ve finished the first two and currently writing the third.

Wow, that’s a lot of books! And fantasy paranormal – now that’s a little more down my alley. Who designs the covers for your books?

Viola Estrella! She works with 5 Prince Publishing, I just love her! Describing a picture you see in your head with words is the most difficult thing ever. I didn’t think she’d make sense of it until I saw the cover. I love it! It’s beautiful and the entire story is also in the cover! It’s incredible!

Now that’s what you want in a cover artist. Many authors have day jobs as well as their writing – are you one of them?

Yes and no. I am currently a student at Monash University South Africa, pursuing a double major BA in International Studies and Communication and Media Studies and a minor in Literature.

I’m also a fashion designer. In the midst of all of this, I’m prepping my fashion label. Hopefully by next year it will be up and running

And I thought I was busy…. Do you have any advice for other writers?

Keep writing and keep querying. It was a long year of querying and about twenty five rejections before Connie Kline said yes.

Very sound advice. Now, for a few non-writing questions to give us a little insight into who you are, if you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fictional, whom would it be?

Delphine from Sherrilyn Kenyon’s book, Dream Warrior. She’s a bad ass and very crazy! Not every woman would take a heart from someone else to save the man they love!

Yikes! I haven’t read them but they are kind-of on my TBR list. She sounds like my kind of gal. If you were an animal what kind would you be?

A tiger. I don’t know why but since I was a kid I’ve always wanted to be a tiger!

Tigers are pretty cool, I don’t think anyone could argue with that. Thanks for joining us today, Rinah. If you’re interested in reading Star Bright, you can buy it here, or if you’d like to look Rinah up, you can find her at:


Twitter: @christina_ow


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