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Interview with Author, Playwright, Alretha Thomas (part 2)

Part 2: 

Q. What comes first? The situation or the characters.

AT. The situation comes first.

Q. Do you ‘get lost’ in your writing?

AT. I become completely immersed in my writing. I get so lost in the world I’ve created, I forget where I am, and hours fly by. It’s really a high!

Q. Do you have a new book coming out soon? If so tell us about it.

AT.My latest work was released August 7, 2018. It’s the first book in my new Dancing Hills Mystery Series. It’s called “The Women on Retford Drive.” It’s about a mother and stepdaughter who have endured abuse at the hands of their husband and father respectively. The day they shape plans to leave him, he goes missing. The women, afraid the police are going to name them as suspects, try to find out what happened to him. Did one of them kill him or is there another agenda at play unbeknownst to the women and the police far more sinister?

Q. When did you begin to write seriously?

AT. I began my first serious work in 1999. I wrote a novel loosely based on my dysfunctional childhood called “Daughter Denied.” I had no idea what I was doing. However, readers fell in love with the ten-year-old protagonist Renee.

Q. How long after that were you published?

AT. It was fifteen years later before I received a publishing deal. Thank goodness we can’t see the future. If I had known it would have taken over a decade, I might have given up. Lol!

Q. Do you think we will see, in our lifetime, the total demise of paper books?

AT. Yes!!!! There was a time when I couldn’t imagine reading a book on a computer, but now my Kindle library is filled with books. I do, however, still enjoy reading a paper book. I like seeing them on the bookshelves in my library. However, electronic books are so easy to manage, especially at the gym.

Q. What makes a writer great?

AT. Someone who has studied their craft and that has a passion for storytelling. You must be open and free to write what you know and what’s in your heart, not the latest trend.

Q. and the all-important: What does the process of going from “no book” to “finished book” look like for you?

AT. It starts with an idea. I turn that idea into an outline. I determine the end of the story. I decide what my plot twists will be. Then I get into the characters. I create bios for all my characters. I determine what the main characters want, what their obstacles will be. I complete a first draft. I have beta readers go over my work. I complete more drafts. Then when I have the final draft, I send it to my developmental editor. After she goes through it, and I address all her concerns, I complete another draft. Once that is final, I send it to my editor who also proofs the book. Then I’m good to go! It’s about a six-month process.

Q. How has your life experiences influenced your writing?

AT. I’ve had an interesting life. My childhood at times was harrowing. I lost my mother when I was 14 and she was only 36. God got me through. My twenties were crazy, due to my childhood and my own bad choices. I began to grow up in my thirties and from there, my life has been fabulous. Not perfect, but amazing. Nineteen years ago, I met the love of my life. We had a beautiful wedding. In 2000 we went to Africa together. In 2001 we bought a home. In 2012 my husband retired and in 2016 I retired and am writing and acting full time. Because of all my experiences, I feel deeply. I’m passionate. I can relate to pain, disappointment, hurt, exhilaration, joy, all the things you’ll find in a good book. I believe my life enables me to write books that move and inspire readers.

Q. Have you or do you want to write in another genre`?

AT. I started writing women’s fiction. In my Cass and Nick series, it dawned on me that in all four books someone dies and that there is an element of suspense in each book. In 2015, I made a foray into writing murder mysteries and I’ve never looked back.

Q. Note to Self: (a life lesson you’ve learned.)

AT. Don’t ever cry too hard over the person, job or material object you wanted and couldn’t have, because God has something so much better in store for you.

Did you miss Part I of this wonderful Interview? Click here
To see more of Alretha’s books: click here
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Interview with Writer, Jonathan Rabb

TS. I stumbled upon Jonathan Rabb, a local, fellow author and transplant, quite by accident. I found his take on writing fascinating and asked that he share it with my readers.

 Q. Where do you write? Do you have a special room, shed, barn, special space for your writing?  Or tell us about your ‘dream’ work space.

JR. I have a study in the house, which many of my old friends say uncannily resembles my old one-room apartment back in New York before I got married. It’s bookcases everywhere, maps, and an entire shelf devoted to my kids’ artwork. When the writing is going well, it’s hard to find a path from the door to the desk. I like to keep the blinds drawn, with a single overhead soft light. And the desk is an architect’s desk – a flat space with no drawers.

As it turns out, it is my dream workspace.

Q. Do you have any special rituals or quirks when you sit down to write? (a neat work space, sharpened #2 pencils, legal pad, cup of tea, glass of brandy, favorite pajamas, etc.)

JR. My ritual (now) starts with the kids getting up, breakfast, the dog out for walk, carpool (on my days), and then a mug of hot water at the side of my computer, which I refill throughout the day. I usually dive in at about 8:30 and, if I remember to eat lunch, a break at 1, then on again until about 3. And then the kids come home. If I’m deep into a book, then I’m in the study at all hours. Those last three weeks are tough on everyone.

Q. Could you tell us something about yourself that we might not already know?

The Whiffenpoofs

JR. I sang in a group called the Whiffenpoofs in college (the oldest cappella singing group in the country). I also soloed with the NY Pops at Carnegie Hall.

Q. Do you have a set time each day (or night) to write?

JR.  As I said, usually in at 8:30, out at around 3. But that shifts the closer I get to the end of a book. That’s when I need to be with the characters, and I need to know how the whole thing will find its way to a conclusion. Not necessarily a resolution but a stopping point. I can’t step away from it for too long when I’m at that point.

Q. What’s your best advice to other writers for overcoming procrastination?

JR. Writing is all about making choices. They don’t have to be big ones (or at least appear to be big ones at the moment), so make one. Writer’s block and procrastination are really just about being overwhelmed by the infinite number of choices you could make. That can freeze you. So choose. It might be the wrong choice, but at least you’ll be writing. And nothing is ever completely wrong.

It’s the old NY Lottery motto: you have to be in it to win it.

Q. Where/when do you first discover your characters?

JR. For me, place is always a central character, so I usually start there. Then I have to find the people to interact with that character, and that’s when idiosyncrasies and cadences begin to make themselves known. But the best part of creating characters is when they surprise you. That’s when you know you’ve created someone real.

Q. What first inspired you to write?

JR. I was an academic at Columbia in political theory, and I needed an escape. So I came up with an idea for a thriller, in which the main character is a young academic at Columbia in political theory….who saves the world. That was great for my ego and sent me to the computer every day to see how the character would make good on that promise. It turned out to be my first novel, The Overseer.

Q. What comes first to you? The Characters or the Situation?

JR. Hard to say. I think both are crucial – at least according to Stephen King – but I’m not sure I can distinguish them from one another as completely as I’d need to in order to prioritize one over the other. The characters reflect the demands of their situation; the situation shifts to meet the needs of the characters. I suppose the answer shifts from situation to situation and character to character.

Q. Do you ‘get lost’ in your writing?

JR. Yes. My wife often has to call me to remind me to have lunch. Those are the great days.

 

My interview with Jonathan continues September 21st. Don’t miss it! 
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MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   August: Mega best selling author, Susan Mallery. September: Jonathan Rabb.  October: Alretha Thomas. November: Joe English. December: Molly Gloss. Coming this winter: Jayne Ann Krentz (Amanda Quick)

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Interview with Thriller Mystery Writer, Manning Wolfe

      TS. I met Manning after discovering her exciting new release, Green Fees. Manning Wolfe is an author and attorney, with one foot in the business world and one foot in the creative realm. Manning writes cinematic-style, intelligent, fast-paced action-packed legal thrillers with a salting of Texas bullshit. She is writing a series of Texas Lady Lawyer novels based on her main character, Austin attorney Merit Bridges. Manning’s background as an attorney has given her a voyeur’s peak into some shady character’s lives and a front row seat to watch the good people who stand against them.

Q. Where do you write? Do you have a special room, shed, barn, special space for your writing? Or tell us about your ‘dream’ work space. 

Writing Space on Houseboat

MW. Since I travel a lot, my writing space often changes depending on the city, state or country I may be visiting. One of my memorable writing spots was on a houseboat in Berkley Marina near San Francisco, California. I could watch the sailboats come and go, sea lions visited while I drank my morning tea, and the sunsets reflecting on the Golden Gate Bridge were breathtaking.

View from my NYC desk

 

 

Q. Do you have any special rituals when you sit down to write? (a neat work space, sharpened #2 pencils, legal pad, cup of tea, glass of brandy, favorite pajamas, etc.)

MW. I have a ceramic wolf that I purchased in Alpine Texas. I set up my travelling space and face the wolf toward the window. Then, I know it’s time to write.

Q. Could you tell us something about yourself that we might not already know?

MW. I raised a dyslexic son, Aaron. It was heartbreaking to watch him struggle to read – the very thing that means so much to me. I always include something about literacy in my books. Aaron was enrolled in a school for dyslexic students and not has a complete command of his reading and writing skills.

Q. Do you have a set time each day (or night) to write?

Sand Sculptures – Port Aransas

MW. No. I am not a good sleeper, so I may write in the middle of the night, or any time during the day that the story comes to me. I tend to think things through at odd times, i.e. while sleeping, cooking, walking, etc. Mindless tasks allow my mind to wander around in the story and I usually come up with my best ideas at those times.

Q. What’s your best advice to other writers for overcoming procrastination?

MW. My self-diagnosed periods of procrastination turned out to be times when the story was not clear in my mind or I was needed elsewhere. I’m not sure procrastination exists.

Q. Where/when do you first discover your characters?

MW. In my series, the next story comes to me when Merit Bridges starts to feel caught up in something. She “calls” to me and I start solving the problem mentally. When I feel there’s something of substance story-wise, I begin to write.

Q. What first inspired you to write your stories?

MW. I told my mother stories when I was very young. I grew up in my small-town library. By the time I was in junior high, I had read every book in the building. I loved Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, Thomas Hardy, on and on. I always thought I’d write a book someday.

Q. What comes first to you? The Characters or the Situation?

MW.  As above, my main character, Merit Bridges talks to me about a situation. That said, all my stories are based on real life legal dilemmas that happened in my law firm. Of course, I take the facts only so far and then explode them into a thriller.

Tune in for Part II of this Interview  June 22nd.

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MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   March: Mystery (and Western) writer, Larry D. Sweazy.  April: International adventurer, writer, Tal Gur.  June: Manning Wolfe

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Guest Blogger, Best selling Author, Jodi Thomas

Author, Jodi Thomas

Free Falling 

I have been in the writing game for thirty years. Forty-eight novels and fourteen short story collections. From my third book, most have been national bestsellers and over half were on the New York Times bestseller list. I have five RITAs, the highest award in women’s fiction from RWA as well as many other awards.

In interviews, I’m often asked what one thing I would tell a beginning writer if I got the chance. Study your markets? Read everything? Learn your craft? Write? All came up as possibilities, but one lesson kept whispering in the back of my mind. Maybe it’s not the most important tool a writer needs, but it can be vital to your success.

Learn to Fall!

There will be times, thousands of them if you stay in the game as long as I have, when this business doesn’t go your way. You have to stop holding on to the safety strap and learn to jump out into the unknown.

The first time I remember taking a tumble was before I sold. I was frantically writing, sending off to every contest, agent, and editor I could find. One day, I opened the mailbox to discover three rejections. I felt like I’d faced a firing squad and all twelve bullets hit true. I walked back to the house, sat down and started crying. My four-year-old son, Matt, came up to me, leaned on the arm of the chair and asked what was wrong. Through tears I told him about my total failure. He smiled and said simply, “Mom, like you say when I play t-ball: sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, and sometimes you get rained-out.

I stopped crying and realized it wasn’t me. I was a good writer doing the best I could. I just kept getting rained-out by editors who didn’t read the slush pile and agents who already had full client lists.

From that day on I developed a plan for falling. Whenever I stumbled and fell flat on my face, I let go of the corpse I was dragging around trying to sell, celebrated what I’d learned from the work and moved on with my career.

I have to be honest. There for a while quite a few bodies of old manuscripts lay around the house just in case they got a second life, but it never happened. I had to learn that the next thing I wrote would be stronger than the last. I was growing, getting better, getting stronger.

My Plan for Falling:

1. Burying the corpse. I know writers who wrote a book back in the ‘90s and are determined not to go on to another until they sell their first one. They keep painting a

Available Now!

new face on the body and shoving it into a new casket. Beginning writers probably don’t want to hear that you may write your first book, or even your second or third, for practice. We need to believe that first book will make millions or we’d never go through the work of learning to write. But sometimes you have to kiss the well-traveled manuscript good-bye and bury it under the bed.

2. Celebrating. I hope all beginning writers party at each success: a contest win or even an honorable mention. A letter asking for more or a book deal. All are worth a party. But, maybe more important is the party you have when you let go of one dream and open up to another. So win or lose you finish the race. You’re a success simply because you wrote a book. You’ve won when you mail it off to an agent or editor or self-publish.

3. Moving on If what you’re doing isn’t getting you where you want to go, maybe you are on the wrong road. Take the tools and knowledge you have learned and start carving out a different work of art. Take a lane you’ve never tried. Who knows, it might be the fast lane.

You might be surprised, you might just find a place where you and your work belong. You might grow and love writing more. So, try changing genres. Move from adult fiction to young adult. Jump from historical to contemporary. Don’t try to write what everyone else is writing. Twist it a little. Change times. Change audience. Change direction.

When I turned loose and thought of myself sky diving and not falling, my world began to change. I wrote deeper. I discovered a new love of writing.

Phil Price, an accomplished playwright, once said, “I’ve often wondered why sky divers yell for joy and people who fall off cliffs scream. After all, they’re both seeing the same view. It’s only the last foot that changes.” So, I decided, whether I’m falling or sky diving through life, I might as well decide to enjoy the view.

This year my editor at HQN suggested I step into a more mainstream story and I jumped. I read her e-mail on Friday and by Monday I had an idea I was excited about. MORNINGS ON MAIN just came out April 10, and I think my fans will follow me into this shift as they have for the past 30 years.

And if they don’t? Then I’ll stand up, dust myself off and get back in the game. Because I’m a writer, that’s what I do, I write.

On Sale September 25, 2018

Mark Twain once said that compared to writing, horseracing is a stable occupation. Maybe he was right, but the gamble is worth the try. When we’re all done and sitting around the home which would you rather say, ‘I played as hard and fast as I could,’ or ‘I never ran into the game because I was afraid of falling.’

The winners are not the ones who grab the prize. The winners are the ones who play the game, rainy days and all.

TS.  Thanks, Jodi, for these words of wisdom and comfort!

Jodi Thomas
www.jodithomas.com
www.facebook.com/JodiThomasAuthor ;

Be sure to go to http://www.jodithomas.com and sign up for my e-mail newsletter for all the latest news about book signings and new releases!
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MY features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months? March: Mystery (and Western) writer, Larry D. Sweazy.  April: World Traveler, Tal Gur. June: mystery author, Manning Wolfe.
                                                                                   
                                         Check out more Motivational Moments…for Writers!

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Interview with Visionary and Author, Tal Gur (part 2)

Q. When did you begin to write seriously?  (continued)

TG. It was my mom who first told me I should write seriously 🙂 That was almost 20 years ago when I still wrote in Hebrew. I just arrived to Australia and I was lonely, so for a few months I wrote a series of emails about life in a new country. Writing was my refuge, my way to rip all the loneliness out of me. The topic was Australia, but underneath all that it was just a way to make sense of the world inside of me. My second “serious” attempt with writing was in English. Same as my first attempt, I used writing as a way to share and reflect upon life’s journeys. Whether it be a trip overseas, my Ironman journey, or simply a random weekend escape, I played with the words like a new toy.

Q. How long after that were you published?

TG: I published my first book 20 years later. In between I blogged at http://fullylived.com/blog

Estonia

Q. What makes a writer great?

TG: Skills + Passion + Dedication. I think it’s a winning formula.

Q. and the all-important: What does the process of going from “no book” to “finished book” look like for you?

TG.  mmm… I wish I had a linear step-by-step process… In my case, the process looked more like me sitting at my desk and letting inspiration take over. Whatever felt right at the moment.

Q. How has your life experiences influenced your writing?

TG. I’d say A LOT. My life experiences as well as my challenges provided me with valuable lessons that I couldn’t learn otherwise.

Somehow, in our society, we’ve decided that struggling is the enemy.But if you’ve ever or embarked on a big and meaningful journey, you know that discomfort and pain are simply part of our growth.Struggling is not the enemy. Hopelessness is;When we feel hopeful about our journey ahead, when we move in a meaningful direction, then struggling is not the problem.On the contrary, it can be part of our joy. Because the struggle is for our dream. And we know that we are giving it our all.

Trek in the Himalayan mountains

Q. Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know?

TG. Consistent action in the direction of your dreams. It may take a month, it might take a year, it might take a decade. but you will eventually make it if you take consistent action.

To purchase: The Art of Fully Living

Did you miss part I yesterday? Click here 

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MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   March: Mystery (and Western) writer, Larry D. Sweazy.  April: International adventurer, writer, Tal Gur.  
To receive my posts sign up for my blog, blogs, blogger, writer, author, playwright, books, plays,fiction  On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks! 

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Interview with World Traveler & Adventurer, Tal Gur

I first met Tal when he requested a review of his new work, The Art of Fully Living. His back story intrigued me so much that I asked and he consented to an interview. A person buys a one-way ticket to Napal, India? Who does that? Tal did.

 

Q. Where do you write? Do you have a special room, shed, barn, special space for your writing? (please provide a photo/s of your shed, room, closet, barn….)  Or tell us about your ‘dream’ work space.

TG: I usually write at coffee places. Also, I wear earphones when I’m at my computer. Otherwise I can be easily distracted.

Gulf of Finland

Q. Do you have any special rituals when you sit down to write? (a neat work space, sharpened #2 pencils, legal pad, cup of tea, glass of brandy, favorite pajamas, etc.)

TG. Yes, I usually put my favorite music and almost instantly feel at ease.

Q. Could you tell us something about yourself that we might not already know?

A pathway in Nepal

TG: A few years back, I sold everything I had, packed a small backpack, and left on a one way ticket to Nepal. I thought I’ll spend 3-4 months but that trip turned to be a fateful encounter, eventually leading me to become a blogger, an entrepreneur, and travel and live abroad in various countries for more than than five years. In a nutshell, after a few months I felt the urge to experience freedom on a whole new level. I purposefully did not set an ending date and traveled on one-way tickets, which meant that I stayed in places as long as I wanted and moved to wherever I felt like going. The wealth of time and the richness of places provided me with a unique opportunity to look deeper and gain broader insights into life. 

Q. Do you have a set time each day (or night) to write?

TG: Usually first thing in the morning.

Q. What’s your best advice to other writers for overcoming procrastination?

TG. Do it first thing in the morning, before you get distracted by life 🙂

Q. Do you ‘get lost’ in your writing?

TG. Rarely. My writing is pretty slow. Mainly because I think about it while doing it.

Q. When did you begin to write seriously?

Tune in tomorrow for Part II of this wonderful visit with Tal. 

To purchase: The Art of Fully Living

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MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   March: Mystery (and Western) writer, Larry D. Sweazy.  April: International adventurer, writer, Tal Gur.  
To receive my posts sign up for my blog, blogs, blogger, writer, author, playwright, books, plays,fiction  On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks! 

To Purchase

 

 

 

 

 

Sue Grafton ~ Interview ~ In Memory

           writers, best selling authors, best sellers, fiction for women  ~~   In Memory ~~      An Interview with Mystery Writer, Sue Grafton  (Part 1)

                      Author,  John D. McDonald died suddenly back in 1986 and took Travis McGee with him.  I owned and had read every book of McDonald’s…..Now what was I supposed to do??  I didn’t read many mysteries (back then) but I was especially fond of Travis and his bear-of-a-man friend, Meyer.   So back in the eighties, (when you shopped at a real bookstore), I looked through the aisles for someone worthy of replacing John McDonald.   There I found “A is for Alibi” with the formidable and quirky, Kinsey Milhone.  I’ve been reading Sue Grafton ever since. 

Now, with Sue’s passing, we have to say goodbye to another great writer who gave us Kinsey Milhone and so many hours of entertainment in reading. In August, 2013, Sue gave me an interview and I thought, as a way of sharing it with my readers, I would post it again in loving memory.  We will miss you, Sue!  TS
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this entry from Sue’s journals;

Dear Shadow . . . Self . . . and Right Brain, Doing everything I can here to make life possible. I’ve abandoned the old story . . . cleaned out my computer . . . sorted and tossed and filed away old notes and articles. Now I need help in launching myself again. Please speak to me. Please let me know where the new book is coming from. I really need your assistance and I’m hoping you’ll spark something so I can get to work.

Look forward to hearing from you.

Love & kisses,

Sue

Response from Shadow Self:   How about an old-fashioned unsolved murder case?  Parents are angry because nothing’s been done.    Case is old & cold, with no new leads coming in.
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Q. Where do you write? Do you have a special room, shed, barn, special space for your writing?

best sellers, Sue Grafton,

Sue Grafton’s work space

SG. I have an office in both my homes; Montecito, California and Louisville Kentucky.  The two are different in terms of size and style but I can’t tell you that I’m more productive in one than in the other.  I like lots of light.  I like tidiness.  I like space.  I like quiet.  When I’m working my desk is usually a mess, but I do make an effort from time to time to restore order. The creative process is messy enough. I don’t need to look at chaos as well.

Q. Do you have any special rituals when you sit down to write? (sharpened #2 pencils, legal pad, cup of tea, glass of brandy, favorite pajamas, etc.)

SG.  Often I do a short stint of self-hypnosis which helps quiet the chatter in my head and helps me focus and concentrate.  I learned the technique from a book on the subject that I got at a book store and it’s been a wonderful way to keep ‘centered’ if you’ll forgive the term.

Q. What is your mode of writing? (long hand? Pencil? Computer? Etc.)

SG. A computer, of course. Which I claim has greatly improved my skills.  In the ‘olden’ days of white out and cutting and pasting, I got hung up on whether the page ‘looked right’. I hated adding anything that forced me to repaginate because I didn’t like all the extra work.  If I deleted 11 lines, I got so I could exactly replace the missing lines with something that would work as well so that I didn’t have to retype everything.  To my way of thinking, this is not the key to writing well. On a computer I can and do write every line over and over until it suits me.  The tinkering is infinite.  I when a line is right and when it’s not, I revise and refine and cut and amend until it sounds right to my inner ear.

Q. Do you have a set time each day to write or do you write only when you are feeling creative?

SG. I’m usually at my desk at 8:00.  I check emails and make a brief visit to my Face Book page where I chat with readers.  I never feel truly creative.  I work until lunch time when I take a short break.  go back until mid-afternoon when I usually take a walk with one of a number of friends.  I work seven days a week because it’s easier to stay connected to the writing.  In completing “W” I worked double-sessions, returning to my desk after dinner.  I cut out our social life.  I nixed all the walks which I found interrupted the work too often.  I didn’t run errands.  I didn’t stop to get my hair cut.

Part 2 of this Interview  Click here

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MY BLOG features INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?    December: British writer, J.G. Dow.  January: In Memory, Sue Grafton.
                                                                                   
                                         Check out more Motivational Moments…for Writers!

To receive my posts sign up for my blog, blogs, blogger, writer, author, playwright, books, plays,fiction  On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks! 
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This Author/Blogger has tried her hand at true crime mysteries with great success. There are now eight in the series

Book #7

Interview with author, Donna Kauffman

TS. Fairly recently I discovered Donna.  I ordered one book (Blue Hollow Falls) and quickly ordered the rest of her books. That’s always a good sign from this Blogger!  Beautifully crafted stories!

 

Q. Where do you write? Do you have a special room, shed, barn, special space for your writing? (please provide a photo/s of your shed, room, closet, barn….)  Or tell us about your ‘dream’ work space.

DK. I work any and everywhere. Have laptop, will travel! And I often do. I live in the Blue Ridge Mountains in southern Virginia, and though I do have dedicated office space in my house, I don’t think I’ve ever actually gone in there to write. Working where you live can, at times, provide a wealth of distractions to help procrastinate getting any writing done. At least a few times a week, I hop in my car and head up to the Blue Ridge Parkway, which is minutes from where I live, and find a quiet overlook, trail, picnic area, and work there. It’s inspiring and has the added benefit of no internet/cell/email/other distractions. I’ve written large portions of many books up there.

Q. Do you have any special rituals when you sit down to write? (a neat work space, sharpened #2 pencils, legal pad, cup of tea, glass of brandy, favorite pajamas, etc.)

DK.  No rituals for me. I prefer it quiet (no tv, music, chatter) but I’ve written sitting in busy airport terminals and during my kids sports practices. I think sometimes you can get bogged down by placing too many “I have to have this in order to write” requirements. I’ve always been a “plant your backside somewhere and fall into the story already” type, mostly because I know if I started down the “I must have” path, I’d never get another book written.

Fox kits at Rescue Center

Q. Could you tell us something about yourself that we might not already know?

DK. I volunteer for a local wildlife center and a local wildlife sanctuary. I’m a dedicated hiker/outdoors person and photographer who loves animals, so it’s been a fascinating adjunct to that and I’ve learned so much about all the critters I’ve lived amongst for years. If I had the time, I’d love to get my wildlife rehabilitators’ license. Someday!

Q. Do you have a set time each day (or night) to write?

DK. No set time. My schedule and other obligations often create the blocks of time I write. Given a whole day with nothing else on the docket, I tend to get up and dive in before the world wakes up and gets in the way, and often times write all day until dinner. Then I’d likely sink back in again after the world goes to sleep. I’m both morning person and night owl, so that comes in handy!

Q. What’s your best advice to other writers for overcoming procrastination?  

DK. That’s the single biggest obstacle to all writers. I think I can safely say we all do it. (And if you don’t, please share your trick with me!) I guess I’ve learned how to remove temptation from my immediate surroundings (hence the my mobile office pod, as I call it, aka my car.) If I can’t stop myself from getting up and doing laundry instead of tackling the next scene, or from scrolling through social media, then I take myself off somewhere where I can’t do either of those things. It’s an ongoing battle. Deadlines and knowing you’ve got bills to pay also help immensely.

Q. Where/when do you first discover your characters?

DK. I don’t know if I can pinpoint that. Story evolution is such an ephemeral thing for me. It comes at me from all sides, in all manners of unfolding. Some characters are part of the initial, ooh, this is a story I want to tell! And some come along as the story develops.

Q. What first inspired you to write your stories?

DK. Wanting there to be more books in the world that I wanted to read. I have broad interests in fiction and I’m very picky all at the same time. I like what I like. I have my favorite authors and am always on the prowl for new ones. (The library is a wonderful treasure trove for finding new authors. No investment risk other than a little time to see if they can pull you into their worlds…) I was having a hard time finding more of what I loved and kept imagining what story I would want to read, and one thing led to another, and I started putting thoughts to paper. I’d always been a writer of some kind or other, so it was a natural combination of putting my thoughts down in writing, then steering those thoughts into the fictional realm. When I got serious about it, I joined a local writer’s organization and immersed myself in learning more about the craft of writing as well as the business of writing. I knew immediately I’d found my people. (Fictional and non.)

Q. What comes first to you? The Characters or the Situation?

DK. Could be either one. It really depends on the story. The trigger could be location, occupation, setting, conflict, or any combination of those. I’ve been writing small town fiction for a while now and so location is often the first thing that intrigues me. I want to set my fictional world in this place or that, and then occupations, conflicts, plot ideas start to percolate, and along with them the perfect people to tell that story, both main characters and secondary. Research begins, story begins, and folks just up and introduce themselves in the process.

Q. Do you ‘get lost’ in your writing?

Join us for Part II, October 27th of this fascinating Interview                  

To purchase Donna Kauffman’s books ~ Click here 
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MY BLOGS feature INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?    September: Dylan Callens.  October’s author is Donna Kauffman. In November we say hello to Rita Avaud a Najm. 
                                                                                   
                                         Check out more Motivational Moments…for Writers!

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Cast Iron by Peter May ~~ A Review

 

reviews, authors, writing

reviews, authors, writing

reviews, authors, writing

reviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writing

5 out of 5 quills  A Review 

Flawless writing!  Some writers have simply got IT!  Peter May is one of those. 

Cast Iron is proclaimed to be the final episode in the Enzo Files. Years ago Enzo Macleod was challenged/dared to solve seven cold case murders. This one was the toughest of them all because the original evidence (which there was damn little to begin with) was flawed. Macleod must unravel what happened years before in the long dead dynamic of the victim’s family and friends.  Powerful people want to thwart this detective’s efforts at all costs and it gets very personal.

Peter in Spain

Another aspect that this reader really enjoyed was getting to know Macleod’s personal life without it intruding into the murder plot.  The subplot is masterfully accomplished.  

Let’s hope it isn’t the acclaimed finale to the Enzo Files! 
 

Did you miss my Interview with Peter May?
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MY BLOGS feature INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?    September: Dylan Callens.  October’s author is Donna Kauffman. In November we say hello to Rita Avaud a Najm. 
                                                                                   
                                         Check out more Motivational Moments…for Writers!

To receive my posts sign up for my blog, blogs, blogger, writer, author, playwright, books, plays,fiction  On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks!   
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Purchase here

The Fallen by Ace Adkins ~~ A Review

A Review reviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writing 5 quills out of 5

One of my favorite authors, Ace Atkins, takes us once again to the backwaters of ole’ Miss.  Village names like Sugar Ditch, Jericho and Choctaw intrigue the reader and you want to turn to the next page. The series is replete with characters like the ex-Army Ranger, Quinn Colson, his sister Caddy, Boom, Lillie Virgil, Fannie Hatchcock, the villainess,  and her sidekick, Mungo. All wrap the reader in the swampy hand of the deep south.

I could write another review praising this writer to the heavens: ‘Adkins delivers another scintillating mystery’, ‘Quinn Colson takes us on another riveting search for the murdering bank robbers’, ‘you won’t be able to put it down’, blah, blah, blah.  And I refuse to write a spoiler,  like some reviewers do, just to fill the page.

That’s why I mentioned the underpinnings: Ace’s stories are neck deep in the flavor of small town life in the old south.  His fans already know they’re in for another great read. So I’m going a little off the oyster-shell road of a typical review by quoting Ace here in the Oxford Magazine:

Atkins. ‘The inspiration came together quick. I won’t tell you how quick, but something so personal comes from a long gestation and a brief pen to paper with a little whiskey. I scribbled out my families. The Colsons, with Quinn and sister Caddy as a nod to the master. But these two were solely my own, with Quinn taking shape from my love of 1970s drive-in heroes like Billy Jack and Buford Pusser from Walking Tall. Quinn is an Army vet, a seasoned Ranger who soon becomes sheriff. Caddy wasn’t altogether different from Faulkner’s, only walking straight out of gritty strip clubs in South Memphis to discover a serious and real faith. The other families—the Varners, the Bundrens—would be new and unique folks, descended from people in nearby Yoknapatawpha.’  More

I am a die-hard fan of John MacDonald and Robert B. Parker and mourn their passing; no more Travis McGee and Meyer, no more Spenser and Hawk.  I looked, literally, for years to find a writer of their caliber.  Finally!!  Ace Adkins.  Serendipitously for me, I found him writing for the Robert B. Parker series and wanted to read some of his own work.   The Fallen (Release date July 19th)  is highly recommended and while it stands on its own, I suggest that my readers start with book #1 of the Quinn Colson series.  To order click here.

Did you miss my Interview with Ace Atkins??
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MY BLOGS feature INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!     June: Mehreen Ahmed.  July: Janet Macleod Trotter, author of Tea Planter’s Daughter and in August we say ‘hello’ to Cheryl Hollon.
                                                                                   
                                         Check out more Motivational Moments…for Writers!

To receive my posts sign up for my blog, blogs, blogger, writer, author, playwright, books, plays,fiction  On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks!