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Around the Web #6

Written by Erin Eymard

Well, my “AWESOME/GREAT/SHARE” folder is HUGE because I haven’t done a highlight post in a while.  So let me break down some of the awesomesauce (yes, I did make up that word) that is floating around the internet!

41 Flavors of Body Language for Writers6a00e54ed05fc2883301761639e6c1970c-800wi

I’m not sure that I know where to start with how great this article is!  As a reviewer, this article from Amazon’s Omnivoracious Blog started my girl crush on Susan J. Morris.

I’ve run across more than my fair share of authors who just can’t grasp the concept of body language.  And of course throughout the whole of my educational career I had teachers who would mark up our papers with the phrase “Show, don’t tell” but never really explain it.  Susan J. Morris explains it perfectly!

She tackles all the nitty-gritties in a fun, easy to understand way.  I especially love the list of emotions and how to portray them through body language.  Here’s a taste:

Shame
-Slumped shoulders (Don’t look at me.)
-Trouble meeting your gaze, looking down and away
-Burying her face in her hands or bowing her head (I can’t face the world right now.)

Shocked
-Hands covering her mouth, or mouth hanging open, sometimes with a gasp (If I had words, I would be saying them.)
-Freezing and staring with wide eyes and eyebrows raised (Diverting all resources toward staring.)
-Smacking a palm into his forehead (Clearly, my head isn’t working right, or I wouldn’t have seen that)

Shy
-Avoids eye contact, or has only fleeting eye contact (Eye contact means you might speak to me.)
-Keeps a fair distance from everyone, and will back away if someone steps closer (Space invaders!)
-Folded arms, head down, and other defensive body language (If I make myself small, they can’t see me.)

Check out the rest of the list at Omnivoracious and also check out Susan J. Morris’s Blog!


a-game-of-proofPaving the Road with Books

Ever wonder what happens to print books that don’t sell?  Author Tim Vicary shares his experiences with his first book “A Game of Proof“.

Tim talks about writing under his female pen name and finding an advertisement offering a signed copy of one his books which it listed as rare.

It is entirely possible that this is only an urban legend or maybe only something they do in the UK but it definitely is interesting.  And it does open up the question as to what are the options for book pulp.

Perhaps the road to hell isn’t paved with good intentions but instead with the hopes, dreams, blood, sweat, and passion of writers.


Interview with Barbara Kyle

blood-between-queensWho doesn’t love a good historical fiction?  I certainly do!

Especially if it set in England pre-1700’s!

Barbara Kyle is the author of the “Thornleigh” series of historical fiction novels set during the Tudor era.  In this interview by Mary Tod of A Writer of History blog, she covers everything from research to series writing.

Her advice to writers of historical fiction?

“I’d say don’t be a slave to academic facts. Readers want characters who feel alive, and that life comes from you giving breath to the characters through your individual and vivid worldview, your distinct vision. That’s priceless.”

For the full interview visit the A Writer of History blog, which has tons of useful information on researching and writing your historical fiction.  You can also visit Barbara Kyle’s website .

 


I hope you enjoyed this entry of Around the Web!

As always you can follow the Bookworm on twitter @ErinEymard and Google+.

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Interview – Robert Evert (Follow-up)

Written by Erin Eymard

Happy Monday, Bibliophiles!  Today, I have for you the special treat of a follow-up interview with Robert Evert, author of “Riddle in Stone.  For those of you not familiar with Robert or RIS, please check out my past interview and review.  For everyone else, please enjoy!

Welcome, Robert!  And once again thank you for giving us a little insight into your publishing experiences! At the end of the “Riddle in Stone”, you gave us a little peek into the sequel.  How is the writing process coming along?

Author of  Riddle in Stone

Author of Riddle in Stone

It’s going very well, thank you for asking!

The second manuscript, Betrayal in the Highlands, is basically finished. It’s just needs to be edited.  The current projection is that it’ll be released as an e-book in August and then as an audio book sometime after that.

My publisher and I are currently discussing a third book, tentatively entitled Blood in Snow. The first draft of that manuscript is finished.  I’m just letting it sit a bit before working on it again.

We’re also waiting to see how many people buy Riddle in Stone. If enough people buy it, Diversion Books will be interested in releasing the third book in the series.  If nobody buys Riddle in Stone…well, then Edmund and his dog are dead.

No pressure there, people. Hint! Hint! Hint!

Any sneak peeks or tidbits you could share with us?

Hmmm.  What should I say???

In Betrayal in the Highlands, Edmund continues to be relentlessly pursued by the goblins, Kravel and Gurding. While hiding in a picture perfect coastal town, he falls in love with a wonderful character named, Abby—an unabashed snoop who wants to adventure. The problem is Edmund’s best friend, Pond Scum, has also fallen in love with Abby. Further, she’s now in mortal danger because of Edmund. He has to try to save her while saving himself and Pond Scum.

I really enjoy Abby. It’s nice to meet a female lead character who is as tough and smart as the male leads.  I’d like to eventually write a series just for her; but again, I need Riddle in Stone to sell well enough to keep writing.

Am I being too subtle?

Not in the least bit, Robert.  But it’s alright.  I didn’t invite you back to be subtle.  Over three months since the release of Riddle in Stone, what are some of the lessons you will take away from this experience?

Holy crap! Boy, that’d fill a book in and of itself!

I’ve learned a great deal about the writing and publishing processes.

First, writing is far more of a team endeavor than I originally thought.  

I really have to rely on the feedback of readers to see what works in my writing and what doesn’t. I’m constantly reading reviews and asking readers how certain aspects of the story could have been different and so forth. Then I have to force myself to adjust my writing style accordingly.

I’ve also learned about marketing books. Honestly, I spend more time begging people to read “Riddle in Stone” that I ever did writing it. But that’s the nature of being a small-time writer.

Every sale, every review counts.  

Seriously, a couple dozen sales could separate me from publishing another book or spending my life daydreaming about my characters. Marketing and promotion are THAT important to new writers, which is why I appreciate you letting me come here and say, “Riddle in Stone” over and over again. By the way, “Riddle in Stone” is available where most e-books are sold for $2.99.

In a recent blog post, you mentioned sitting next to a famous author on a flight and he/she gave you marketing advice.  Can you share some of that with our readers who may not have read your blog? (Readers you can visit Robert’s blog here for a more in depth answer)

She was really helpful, not just by entertaining me on a very long flight from Oslo to New York, but also by telling me about what publishers want from new writers. We talked for several hours about the need for writers to have a marketing plan and a well-established presence on social media.  It was a real eye-opener.  I thought I just had to write a decent story. Evidently, I have to be social as well. Go figure!

Speaking of marketing, when will you get that twitter account?

Ugh! You know, I have a website that I rarely update, a blog that I post on every so often, facebook, G+.   I can’t take anymore social media.  I can’t!!!  What can I possibly say on a minute by minute basis that anybody would remotely care about?

Buy Riddle in Stone! Buy Riddle in Stone! Buy Riddle in Stone!

Buy Riddle in Stone or Edmund and his dog die!!!!

I think I’ll draw the line at twitter.

What are you currently reading?

In print, I’m reading Christine Green’s Deadly Errand, Simon Brett’s The Poisoning in the Pub, and Jasper Kent’s Thirteen Years Later. On audio, I’m listening to a book on ancient history. I can’t recall the title. On my computer, I’m reading a bunch of manuscripts other new and aspiring writers have been sending me.

So much to read, so little time…

The cover for Riddle in Stone was one of my favorite covers ever.  Any cover ideas for the sequel?

RIS

Robert Evert’s Riddle in Stone

Well, thanks!  I’ll pass that along to the art department at Diversion Books. I’m sure I owe much of the success I’ve had to them and their wonderful cover.

I always have ideas for covers, but the problem is when you’re a nobody writer, you don’t really get to design your cover. You can’t say, “I want a painting of this and that and these colors.”

I tried with Riddle in Stone; but they basically laughed at me.  Instead, you get covers created from existing pictures.

Don’t get me wrong, the art people are wonderful at putting things together. However, you can only do something with the pictures that are available.  That creates some problems for my books.

You see, my characters aren’t really typical.  Edmund is middle aged, balding man who has one-eye. Most of the available artwork involves burly men with tattoos and their shirts torn off.

And, oh, they also seem to all wear really tight trousers!  

Don’t know why.

None of that fits my books. So we are limited in what covers we can make. But I’m sure the art people will do something wonderful for the second book. Fingers crossed!

By the way, if any of you are members of Goodreads, please visit the site for my book, Riddle in Stone. Riddle in Stone was put on several lists—including “best cover” and “books you want other people to know about.”  If you have time, please “vote” for Riddle in Stone.

Riddle in Stone. Riddle in Stone. Riddle in Stone.  Geez! How many times can I say that without losing all respect for myself?  I feel like such a whore.

What character/scene/book do you wish you had written?

Hmmm.  There’s so much that I could talk about here. I have tons of ideas for future books.

I suppose if my book, which I refuse to utter it’s name again, doesn’t sell enough to warrant another sequel… I think my next project will be a satire about higher education. I’m a faculty member at a major university.  It’d be interesting to write something about my odd coworkers and insane administration.  I’m tenured.  I can do what I want now!

Jason Bourne, James Bond, or Ethan Hunt?

To sleep with or just cuddle?

Personally, I think James Bond is overdone. But I suppose that’s the purpose of those books. He’s almost like a cartoon or a superhero.

I enjoyed the Jason Bourne series and Mission Impossible. So they’re both possibilities.

The issue I have is that they are both good-looking guys with incredible skills.  I just don’t relate to those kinds of characters. I like the under-achieving losers who don’t fit in.

However, if I have to answer, I’ll go with Ethan Hunt—but only because I keep getting mistaken for Tom Cruise.  But that’s a story for a different blog post!

Just a closing plea!

If you like somewhat dark fantasies and need something to read this summer, please consider my book. You can read the first chapter on Amazon.

If you’ve already read it, please write a review wherever you can—even if you think it sucks. Every review helps, especially on Amazon.com, Goodreads.com, and BarnesandNoble.com!

If you’ve already reviewed it, please mention your review to your friends on Facebook, G+, Goodreads, and so forth.

The life you save maybe Edmund’s!

Thanks for having me, Erin!  It’s always a pleasure!

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Author Interview – J Leigh

j leigh

J Leigh, author of “Way Walkers: University”, was kind enough to grant me an interview after I reviewed her “Choose Your Own Adventure” type book/game for Examiner.com.

So Leigh, for those who may not have yet played “Way Walkers: University” or who have not read my review, can you give us a short synopsis?

In a metaphysics driven society where freewill is law, your choices are your own as you attend the most prestigious of magical schools. Learn to master psychic Ability, fight monsters, argue with an Angel, cut classes, befriend unusual races, chase ghosts, and navigate through an exciting city full of in depth characters in an exquisitely detailed world.

Are you planning a sequel?

I have several novels in the works, as well as the “Way Walkers University: II”. The first traditional novel in the Way Walkers world has been signed by Red Adept Publishing, and should come out sometime early 2014.

What inspires you to write?

Life? I know that’s the cliche answer, but it really is true. I’m a very character-driven writer, and I love just looking at the people around me, and wondering how they would react if their world was different. I love the mysteries of life, and love conjuring-up unconventional answers for my characters to discover.

What are you currently reading?

Artifical Absolutes” by Mary Fan.

How long did it take you from concept to print to publish “Way Walkers: University”?

Fifteen years.

Do you have any advice for new authors?

Find balance between taking constructive criticism and becoming too critical of your own work. Learn to recognize what’s solid and good about your style and what to let go of to make your writing better. It’s hard to learn, but it will help you sleep better at night.

Just for Fun

Dark Secret? I’m dyslexic. This makes spell check the single greatest invention in the universe for me.

Favorite Jell-O Flavor? Butterscotch pudding.

Midnight Craving?  Salted caramel peanut butter truffles.  OMG they are good. (The Bookworm agrees.  *nom* *nom* *nom*)

If you were stranded on a desert island and could have one book, what would it be?  Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey

You can also check out J Leigh’s blog for the most up to date Way Walkers information!

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Author Interview – Anne Marie

Happy Monday, Bibliophiles!  Before I get into today’s author interview, let me give you a little recap on what to expect in the immediate future.  I’m currently working on three reads/review:  The Sanctuary (for the New Podler Review), Simon Hay’s The Disciple, and ATH Webber’s Erasure (this will be a double review with Mr. Bookworm).  I’ve also started to write for Examiner.com in an effort to boost the Bookworm audience (I don’t expect to make a whole lot of money in the process).  So I will be cross-posting articles.

But the biggest news is that we will be making the move over to our own site:   http://www.bookwormsfancy.com.  I am in the process of transferring over everything here to the new site.  It is taking longer than anticipated but that is because I tend to be a perfectionists on stupid little things.  When the move is final, we will be having a couple of giveaways of books and gift cards to celebrate!  So stay tuned for that!

Now onto the interview!

The Lady and the Unicorn

Anne Marie, author of the short story La Dame à la Licorne

Anne Marie, author of the short story La Dame à la Licorne

Anne Marie is a writer of short stories who grew up in Denver, Colorado and happens to love the same Jell-O that I do.  She contributes to a blog of short stories called The Cimmerian Tales as well as writing on her own blog.  You can also follow her on twitter @annemariewrites.

Bookworm:  Anne Marie give the readers the elevator pitch for your story.

Anne Marie:  “Danger hides in the darkest of places

Always obey your father. That’s what Katherine’s done her entire life. She studies dead languages and practices knife-throwing. Now Pappa’s listening to a virtual stranger, and she’s convinced the stranger cares more about killing monsters than her own safety. Pappa won’t even tell her what they’re going after. He says it’s because if she knows too much, then she’s tainted by that knowledge and it will spoil the hunt.

Can she trust Pappa’s judgment or leave her future in the hands of the stranger? With only her wits to protect her, she joins them in the most terrifying night of the year.”

Bookworm:  What inspired La Dame à La Licorne?

Anne Marie:  I was fortunate enough to see the set of amazing tapestries — La Dame à la licorne — in the Musée national du Moyan Âge. If you haven’t gone, put it on your bucket list! They are amazing. So, it was those tapestries plus an inherent desire to bend a myth. I’ll have to tackle the other side of those tapestries, that of the lady and the lion, someday.

Bookworm:  So are you the Lady or the Unicorn?

Anne Marie:  Neither. I’m more the doctor than any other character in this particular short story. Kathrine’s much more trusting than I’ll ever be, and her Pappa does what he does out of a sense of duty, not because he enjoys it. Dr. Aiguille genuinely enjoys the science and recording his findings. I adore research!

Bookworm:  What inspires you to write?

Anne Marie:  Anything that makes me feel in my cold, dead heart meats. >:D But, I believe it’s really important to fill the creative well. Travel. Try new foods. Drive down a road to find the end. Kiss someone in the rain, but not like Spider-Man or you’ll get water up your nose.

Bookworm:  What are some of your other works?

Anne Marie:  I have a short story, “A Heart Full of Love,” in the anthology Spirit Legends: of Ghosts and Gods.

Bookworm:  Favorite book by an indie/small press author?

Anne Marie:  Persephone by Kaitlin Bevis

Bookworm:  What are you currently reading?

Anne Marie:  The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

Bookworm:  What advice do you have for new authors?

Anne Marie:  Read everything you can get your hands on. In your genre. Out of your genre. Then turn yourself about and go out and live!

Just for Fun

Favorite Literary Character:  Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights

Which character/book/scene do you wish you had written:  Chapter Ten in “The Replacement” by Brenna Yovanoff. It’s powerful and, for me, it’s the core of the entire book.

James Bond, Ethan Hunt, or Jason Bourne:  Julie D’Aubigny

Dark Secret:  I really really really really want a pet velociraptor.

Favorite Jell-O flavor:  The ones made with vodka

Midnight craving:  Dark chocolate and ginger

If you were stranded on a desert island and could have one book with you, which one would it be:  The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Favorite literary Terry:  Terri Clark

Thanks so much to Anne Marie for granting us this interview!  All of you should definitely check out her blog.  You can also follow her on twitter @annemariewrites.

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Author Interview – A.T.H. Webber

Greetings, Bibliophiles!

Today I have the pleasure of sharing with you my interview with Andrew Webber, author of Erasure.  After doing the review of Automaton and interview of Cheryl Davies, she recommended A.T.H. Webber to get in contact with me.  It just so happened that when he did, I was testing out Google Forms as a basis for the start of interviews.  He kindly offered to test it out with me.  Here is the interview that spawned from it.

ATHWEBBERRGBLargeWebBookworm:  Thank you so much for helping me out with the Google form!  So you were first brought to my attention thanks so Cheryl’s recommendation of your book, Erasure.  Can you give us a brief synopsis?

Andrew Webber:  What if we are fundamentally supposed to be forgotten? In this time of hyper-connectedness and society’s love of all things online,  what if we are leaving a data picture for future archaeologists far more detailed and intimate than any mosaic adorning a Roman wall?

What if that data and the details of a life keep the individual from moving on to an after life, trapped in a middle ground until the last shred of existence erodes from history?

What if there was a group of people who believed the above to be true, and spent their lives driven only by the desire to expedite the middle ground – erasing everything that might save their memory?

The book follows the Narrator as he/she is faced with the dealings of a data-driven underworld bent on removing people from history, by any means. The Narrator’s partner is dead, and helped by the mysterious and slightly broken “Bammer”, the Narrator embarks on a quest to find the reasons why She was killed.

Erasure is by no means a geek-fest, nor is it even close to sci-fi.

It is a work of fiction, to be sure, but ALL of the concepts introduced to the story are real, and involve anyone with an internet connection and a credit card.

Bookworm:  What inspired you to write Erasure?

Webber:  It was an idea that had been bouncing around in my head for a while – but the catalyst for actually getting it down was:

 A friend of mine died a couple of years ago. Melanie died of a heart attack – she was thirty years old.

 She is STILL on facebook though, and people regularly tag her in photo’s, as a result Melanie continues to pop up in my time line.

 Around the time I started writing the book, her death was still a recent thing – and relationships being what they are on FaceBook (particularly for me as an expat, peeping in at the lives of friends and family all over the world in one convenient blue and white place) I found myself consistently thinking as Mel popped up on my feed: “Oh, haven’t heard from her in a while, I wonder what she has been up to… wait..”.

 Then the crushing realisation that she hadn’t actually been up to anything would invariably come steaming into my thoughts.

 It got me thinking about whether being so intimately remembered after death might affect ones transition – keep us tethered here, as it were.

 I am a fiction writer, and part of my job is to ask such questions in order to see where answers take me. While I don’t BELIEVE that the whole afterlife thing might be an issue, I do believe that the resulting questions created an interesting concept for a book.

 Bookworm:  From idea to print, how long did it take you to publish?

Webber:  12 Months

Bookworm:  Does you have any other works? If so, what are they?

Webber:  I have a library of yet to be released work, mostly shorts and poetry. I have written short prose for almost as long as I can remember.

My current focus is on the next book in the Erasure series – working title is “Broken”. I can’t discuss the guts of it – not due to any sensitivity to revealing the work, but to describe it would involve spoilers that would ruin the Erasure experience for those that are yet to read it.

What I can say is that currently it is a prequel to Erasure. I say “currently” because I suspect it is going to overlap the first book to some degree. I’ll have to wait and see how much.

Bookworm:  What inspires you to write?

Webber:  I spent a lot of time with my Grandfather when I was growing up, and learned much from him. He was the finest storyteller I have ever known, and I spent hours sitting in his workshop while he worked just listening to him.

My Grandfather was my hero, and my constant safe-harbour in a childhood that by any measure would be considered hard. (A story on it’s own) Unfortunately he died when I was 10, and there was no-one to fend of the demons that descended afterward, so I turned to writing and reading as much as I could so I could escape.

All of the above sounds a little melodramatic, and I hope that you aren’t now picturing me as some unwashed hermit writer secreted away in a dingy hovel bemoaning a truly awful childhood. I’m NOT!  Things just are what they are, I’ve dealt with it all – and for the most part it seems like a childhood that someone else had.

I’m just truly grateful that I had my grandfather, even if only for a short while.  The “H” in “A.T.H.” I added a couple of years ago to honour him, his name was Halsey.  Without him, among so many other possible outcomes, I am not sure that writing would be part of me now.

Bookworm:  What is your favorite book by a small press/indie author?

Webber:  There are many, and I don’t know if it qualifies but “The Dog Stars”by Peter Heller is a standout.

Bookworm:  What are you currently reading?

Webber:  Hemingway’s collected short stories.  And yes I know how that sounds.

Bookworm:  What advice do you have for new authors?

Webber:  Write. Grow a thick skin – not everyone wants to see you succeed, many of whom have never met you.

Write. Believe. Write.

Get it all out of you first, then go back to see how awful your technique is. If there is worth to the work, you’ll be able to dig it out in ensuing drafts.

Write.

Bookworm:  Which book/character/scene do you wish you had written?

Webber:  There are so many things that I wish I had written. To narrow them down to just one is a hard thing, so I’ll narrow it down to my favourite two moments.

Cormac McCarthy’s “Border Trilogy” is a triumph on so many levels. Each book (All the pretty horses, The Crossing, and Cities of the Plain) is amazing on its own, but the three culminate in one conversation in the Epilogue.  No more than a paragraph or two, it is one of the most moving moments I have experienced in literature. It is almost as if all of the previous pages were designed only to frame the scene, a moment between an old man and a stranger. I remember having to stop for a moment, overcome with the enormity of such a simple thing. I have a lump in my throat just writing about it now.

The other: I am a huge fan of Charles Bukowski’s writing. I’m not sure I like him as a person, but amidst all of the detritus of a life spent below the fringe, and writing that is raw and confronting, there is (for me) one striking moment: His great love elected to drink herself to death, and the piece he wrote about standing in her bedroom holding a dress that she loved so much, and would now be her burial attire, is heartbreaking. It is a moment of clarity, emotion, and perfect poetry.

Just for fun

Favorite Literary Terry?

Terry Pratchett

If you were stranded on a desert island and had one book with you, which one would it be?

Robinson Crusoe OR “How to build a raft out of coconuts” .  If it isn’t a book yet, it ought to be.

Midnight Craving?

I am not one for midnight cravings, BUT if I know there is an open block of chocolate somewhere nearby, I become fixated by it.

Favorite Jell-O Flavor?

Anything with a chocolate frog in it.

Chocolate Frog?

I think it is an Australian (ahem) delicacy.

Usually it’s lime jello with a chocolate frog stuck in it, a mainstay of pub desserts – “Frog in the pond” .

Think it’s been around since the seventies.

(Stop judging my people :-p )

Dark Secret?

I seem to be pretty articulate, and have no problem expressing myself in a manner that would suggest that I had spent at least a little time in the hallowed halls of a university. Friends (many of whom have been educated in the best schools in the world) often take it for granted that, when speaking to me, they are sharing a moment with one of their well educated peers.

It surprises them no end when they find out that I walked out of the front gate of my high school at 15 years and 3 weeks old and never went back.

Favorite Literary Character?

John Grady Cole

James Bond, Ethan Hunt, or Jason Bourne?

Aragon

Once again, thanks so much for all your help!  I can’t wait to read Erasure.  Now if you excuse me, I’m going look up frog in a pond!

You should all check out Andrew’s website as well as pick up a copy of Erasure if it strikes your fancy!

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Author Interview – Marian Allen

Greetings, Bibliophiles!

MarianAllen20112

Marian Allen, author of Force of Habit

Today I have the pleasure of sharing with you my interview with Marian Allen, author of Force of Habit, which I recently reviewed.

Bookworm:  Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions!  So I read an interview where you stated that Force of Habit first started off as a Star Trek fan fiction. Tell me about the early drafts.

Marian Allen:  I was a “pantser” when I wrote fan fiction, and they’re pretty loopy. They can be found here. So, to all intents and purposes, the early draft was a story, published in Devra Langsam’s Masiform-D fanzine.

When I decided to expand the story and make it an original, I knew I wanted to change the ST characters so they weren’t the ST characters anymore. Bel was mine and Tetra was created by my pal Jane Peyton, author of the Callie London’s Vampire Adventures series (she graciously and generously gave me the right to use the character). The more I tweaked the ST characters, the more they became themselves.

Bookworm:  What inspires you to write?

Allen:  What doesn’t? No, really, EVERYTHING is about writing!

Bookworm:  What was it like working for the Red Cross?

Allen:  Very gratifying. I loved working for an organization that existed to help people. My fellow employees were among the most selfless people I’ve ever known. We also worked with far more volunteers than paid staff, and that was a beautiful thing.

I worked in Accounting (detective work with numbers!) and Youth Services (kids doing things for retirement homes and shelters). Before that, I was a temp in Emergency Response and then in Service to Military Families. I met my husband through a presentation I did for Red Cross at a school. When I was expecting, I said if I had a girl I was going to name her Clara Barton Allen. (Luckily for her, I didn’t.)

Bookworm:  What are some of your other works?

Allen:  The SAGE trilogy: Book 1 – THE FALL OF ONAGROS, Book 2 – BARGAIN WITH FATE, Book 3 – SILVER AND IRON. Book 1 is already out and the other two will be out soon.

I’ll have a science fiction novel out soon, and I’m doing pre-submission edits on a New Adult Paranormal and edits for a new edition of EEL’S REVERENCE, a fantasy.

I self-published four collections of short stories: LONNIE, ME AND THE HOUND OF HELL; TURTLE FEATHERS; THE KING OF CHEROKEE CREEK; and MA’S MONTHLY HOT FLASHES: 2002-2007.

Bookworm:  Your list of awards is longer than my sister-in-law’s police record! What award meant the most to you?

Allen:  The “award” that meant the most to me wasn’t anything official. I wrote a short-short character study of my mother-in-law. When she read it, she said, “How do you know? How do you KNOW how I feel and what I do before anybody gets here on Sunday?” I said, “You told me, a little bit at a time over the years.” She dropped a tear or two and said, “I didn’t think anybody listened.” I’ll never have an award that means more to me than that.

Bookworm:  What do you read for leisure?

Allen:  Anything except erotica. I read mostly mystery, fantasy, science fiction, humor, classics, literary, and non-fiction.

Bookworm:  What is your current work in progress?

Allen:  I told you what I’m editing. As for new writing, I’ve signed up to do Story A Day in May, so I’m not starting anything.

Bookworm:  Favorite book by an indie/small press author?

Allen:  TROLL OR DERBY by Red Tash is certainly one of my favorites. PACKAGED by Leslie R. Lee is another. In non-fiction, there’s Joanna Foreman’s wonderful memoir, THE KNOW-IT-ALL GIRL. Jane Peyton’s Callie London, of course. There are just too many excellent books being published by indies and small presses to list them all!

Bookworm:  What are you reading now?

Allen:  WHEN PUSH COMES TO SHOVE, the first of Jane Peyton’s Callie London books.

Bookworm:  What advice do you have for new authors?

Allen:  I always give the same advice whenever I’m asked: Never give up! Never surrender!

Bookworm:  How has the publishing world changed since you started writing?

Allen:  When I started, there was no internet. Yes, there was electricity. “Publishing” for a genre writer meant getting a contract on a book from an agent and/or a Big Name Publisher. There were small presses, too, but they usually specialized in non-fiction, poetry, or literary fiction. Now…. THE WORLD IS OURS!!!! Bwa-ha-ha-ha-haaaaaaaa!!!!!

Just for fun

Midnight craving?

Peanut butter and banana sammiches.

Dark secret?

Regency Romances.

James Bond, Ethan Hunt, or Jason Bourne?

Very Special Agent Tony DiNozzo of NCIS.

Favorite Jell-O?

Lime.

Favorite literary character?

George MacDonald Fraser’s Harry Flashman. Of course, that’s today. Another day, it’ll be somebody else.

Bibliophiles!  I command you by Grabthar’s hammer, by the suns of Warvan, check out Marian Allen’s Blog!  Also feel free to check out our review of Marian Allen’s Force of Habit!

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Author Interview – Cheryl Davies

The Mark 2 fibreglass (Tom Yardley-Jones) Tard...

The Mark 2 fibreglass (Tom Yardley-Jones) Tardis as used in the 1980s – photo taken by me Zir 23:49, 18 May 2007 (UTC) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Greetings, Bookworms!

Today, I’m happy to share with you all my interview with Cheryl Davies, author of Automaton!  And since Cheryl has yet to provide me with a picture of herself, I’m inserting a picture of the TARDIS. I’m using the TARDIS because she is from the U.K. and because WHO DOESN’T LOVE DR.WHO?!

Now onto the interview!

The Bookworm:  So tell me where the inspiration for this story came from?

Cheryl Davies:  It came from my own obsession with reality TV – fascinated as I was by a certain summer show, I found myself happily watching the participants even as they sleep! It really got me thinking about our TV and gaming society, and just how far an obsession with either might go. In the book, Amelia takes the baton of such obsession, and really runs with it.

The Bookworm:  Some authors model characters after people they know.  Is anybody you know lurking as a character in your book?

Davies:  Funnily enough, all the characters within the pages are the namesakes of my family and friends – I didn’t want to spend time agonising over name choices, so I just went with names I knew. I had every intention of going back over the work and changing the names, but, er, didn’t really get round to it. But are any of them based on the personalities of my family and friends? No, not really. With the one exception of Cameron, who was based on a lovely guy I dated at University.

The Bookworm:  In my opinion the innate bond between Dean and Lily is the heart of the book. Was there ever a draft or time when this relationship was fundamentally different?

Davies:  I always intended them to be a happy, committed couple. Although (spoiler alert) I did have a different ending for them in my initial draft – I wanted Dean and Lily to escape GameWorld, to live happily ever after in the real world, but when I was trying to write it, it became obvious that it just wasn’t realistic. I couldn’t find a way out for poor Dean, and actually cried when I wrote his final chapter.

The Bookworm:  The relationship between Luke and Amelia is in a way an inverted mirror of Dean and Lily’s relationship with Dean and Lily’s being the more sane/rational one.  Was this a way of showing the reader how modern society is losing control to the entertainment aspect of our lives?

Davies:  Well, I would love to sound super intelligent, and say ‘yes,’ when in actual fact I was just trying to portray the possible insanity of obsession via Luke and Amelia, but I love your take on it! It’s fascinating and brilliant how we all take different things from a book.

The Bookworm:  Well don’t worry about sounding super intelligent, because now I feel like one of those snotty English majors that I went to school with!  Snotty English majors aside, What do you read for pleasure?

Davies:  Anything by Dean Koontz, so long as he’s not being too long-winded, when sadly I skim-read to get to the action. But most of the time his writing is simply scrumptious. Holidaying a few years ago, I got so into Demon Seed that I didn’t leave the hotel room for an entire day, and my despairing partner had to go exploring on his lonesome! Steven King is a favourite too.

Since I started reviewing for Indie authors last summer, I’ve discovered a whole new world of totally amazing authors, many of whom have blown me away with epic debuts!

I love anything sci-fi, set in sparkly Space, or in an imaginative, speculative future. I also love anything that makes me tingle with trepidation, although I scare easily, so can’t manage real horror.

The Bookworm:  What book/character/scene do you wish you had written?

Davies:  Recently I read and reviewed the amazing story Erasure, by A.T.H Webber – about the thrall of the Internet and the effect of it upon our spiritual afterlife, I read it and literally thought, ‘Damn, I wish I’d thought of that!’

Just for Fun

The Bookworm:  Favorite literary character?

Davies:  ‘quIRK,’ the quantum super-computer in T. Gregory’s The ABACUS Protocol: Sanity Vacuum. With a humble wish to see a tree, ordering kittens off the Galactic equivalent of the Internet, he made me cry, made me laugh, and made me think.

The Bookworm:  Favorite Jell-O flavor?

Davies:  Orange, preferably in my mum’s homemade trifle at Christmas. (hehe, had to check on the Net that Jell-O is what we call ‘jelly,’ or that might have been one weird answer!)

The Bookworm:  James Bond, Jason Bourne, or Ethan Hunt?

Davies:  Perhaps shockingly, I don’t know who the last two are, so it’d be Bond. But if it were a no-bounds choice, it would be Nicolas Cage every time!

The Bookworm:  Guilty pleasure?

Davies:  Can I say Nicholas Cage again? No? OK, reality TV. I’m a Celebrity, Big Brother, X-Factor.

The Bookworm:  If you could live in any period of time in any part of the world, where would you live and why?

Davies:  I’ve had to spend a couple of days thinking about this one. Right, I would live in the present, because when I think about the past, it’s always in black and white (does anyone else do that?), like a newspaper world. Strange, I know. And when I think about the future, it’s too bizarre, with disembodied heads ‘living’ in tanks, the sky blackened from some chemical incident or whatever, and it’s too unfamiliar. So where would I live? I love my little IOM, but would like to move nearer to the sea – with hermit aspirations, I dream about looking out the window and seeing nothing but a blue expanse. Doesn’t that sound nice?

I just want to add my thanks, Erin, for taking the time to support debut novelists like me. Your interest really means a lot. And thanks for coming up with the best questions ever!

The Bookworm:  Thank you for the kind words, Cheryl.  Readers!  Be sure to check out Cheryl Davies’ Blog as well as our review of Automaton!

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