Tag-Archive for » writing «

Poem Featured on Home Page of PoetrySoup.com

Dear Trisha,

Congratulations, this is just a quick notice to let you know that your poem The Farm is one of the poems being featured on the PoetrySoup.com home page this week. Poems are rotated each day in groups of 14-16 to give each poem an equal opportunity to be displayed.

Thanks again and congratulations.
Sincerely, PoetrySoup

The Farm ©
by Trisha Sugarek

Fields of mustard seed
as far and beyond the eye
the farm dogs return
dusted in yellow

The clapboard grey of the old
farm house stands in testimony of
generations of pea farmers,
hunters, fishermen, and cooks

Heady fragrance of a farm dinner
immerses the senses as the screen
door slaps open

The matriarchal voice sings out
‘tea party!’ A call to supper

the city folk sit around a battered
and scared wooden table laden with
baked chicken, fried steak, mashed potatoes,

green beans and corn that hung from the
vine just minutes ago

Her biscuits and corn bread are the stuff that
dreams are made of

Later they all sit on the warped porch steps
and listen as the geese honk their way in to
the fields and their nightly time of respite

Bats fly across the moon, frogs call out their
secrets, a loon wails its loneliness

For more poetry:  Click here
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

To receive my weekly posts, sign up for my Watch for more interviews with authors.  September: Culley Holderfield. October: Simon Gervais for ROBERT LUDLUM’S The Blackbriar Genesis

  On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks!

BOOKS BY TRISHA SUGAREK

More Interview with Culley Holderfield (Conclusion)

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

CH. I work at it until I can stand it no more. Then, I share the entire manuscript with readers I trust to give me honest feedback and step away from it while they read. If I’m lucky, it will take them a while, and I can gain some distance from the project. Once I have their comments, I’ll reread it myself, then revise it all over again. Sometimes it may take only a draft or two after that. Other times, as with Hemlock Hollow, it may take an entirely new draft and then eight more passes to get to the point where I feel the novel is where I want it. Then I start submitting it. If I’m lucky, it will get picked up by an agent or an editor, at which point I get to go through the process all over again.

Q. How have your life experiences influenced your writing?

CH. Tremendously. As I mentioned, my writing was influenced heavily by the cabin my parents bought right after I was born. Growing up, I learned to love storytelling on the front porch of that cabin when my grandmother would tell tales of her childhood and adults would share the goings on of their worlds. My fiction is often about the importance and

Anything that’s out-of-doors, Culley’s there

impermanence of place over time, how we can be nurtured and haunted by the places that make us who we are. And that comes directly from my own past of falling in love with places that change because all places change. Much of my writing is an effort to come to grips with that truth.

Q. What’s your downtime look like?

CH. What’s downtime? Just kidding. Sometimes it does feel like I don’t have much downtime. I have a demanding job that I love, and writing takes up most of what would otherwise be my free time. But I do manage to spend quite a bit of time in nature. I hike and paddle and camp when I can. Travel is one of my favorite things to do, and I read a lot and watch a lot of movies.

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

CH. That first novel I set aside was a spy thriller set in Ecuador, and at some point, hopefully not too far down the line, I have a pre-historical fantasy novel I’d like to write.

Cooking in Tuscany

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

CH. Step one, if you want to be a writer, is to read widely. Step two is to write often. Step three is to find your place in a community of writers and engage with them.

You don’t have to do it all yourself; in fact, you can’t. When I was just starting out as a young writer, I thought all it took was sitting down and writing. Writing a novel is hard work, but it turns out that just writing well is not enough to succeed in this business. In addition to grit and persistence, you really need to find community. That’s hard for writers. Most of us are introverts, after all. But for me, finding other writers with similar goals and similar levels of commitment has made all the difference in my writing life. My twenty-five year-old self wouldn’t believe me if I told him this.

Cabin that inspired book

He would shrug me off and shoulder on alone, but no writer has ever succeeded in that way. Take advantage of writers’ groups and associations. Go to conferences. Meet other writers. Be willing to share your work and to have others share their work with you. In North Carolina, we have the North Carolina Writers’ Network, which has really been important to my growth as a writer. Other states may have similar organizations, so seek them out.

 

Did you miss the start of this wonderful interview?
    Look for my review of this book December 2nd. 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

To receive my weekly posts, sign up for my  Watch for more interviews with authors.  September: Culley Holderfield. October: Simon Gervais for ROBERT LUDLUM’S The Blackbriar Genesis

  On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks!

BOOKS BY TRISHA SUGAREK

 

Interview with author, Culley Holderfield (part 3)

Q. Are you working on something now or have a new release coming up? If so tell us about it.

CH. My debut novel, Hemlock Hollow, is forthcoming from Regal House Publishing on December 6 of this year. It’s a historical, Appalachian novel about a college professor who inherits a cabin and with it the ghost who haunted her childhood. In the process of renovating the cabin, she uncovers a journal written by Carson Quinn a hundred years before, and she can’t square the boy’s voice in the journal with the murderer he became. 

One of Culley’s writing spaces. Albemarle Sound in eastern NC

My work in progress is a historical novel set in Western North Carolina during the Civil War. It involves the Red String Order, also called the Heroes of America, which was a secret organization in North Carolina that opposed secession.

Q. When did you begin to write seriously?

CH. I started to write seriously in college. I crafted my college career around becoming a novelist. I started at Wake Forest, then transferred to UNC-Chapel Hill. At UNC, I completed the undergraduate creative writing program, studying with Bland Simpson and Doris Betts. I finished my first novel shortly after graduating college. It was okay for a first novel, but it was a first novel, and needed a lot of work. I rewrote it seven times over fifteen years, all the while marketing it to agents. Despite some close calls, no one ever picked it up, so I set it aside. When that didn’t sell right off the bat, I realized that my path to success wasn’t going to be Garp’s path to success. I tried freelancing. Interestingly enough, freelancing wasn’t great for my fiction. I changed tactics and found a good, meaningful day job that has left enough time for me to continue to write. Five years or so ago, I was fortunate to find Writeaways, which is a unique writing workshop model run by Mimi Herman and John Yewell. They are great mentors and pals. Being immersed in a community of like-minded and supportive writers has made a huge difference in both the quality and volume of my work.

Carl Sandburg Home in Flat Rock, NC, ‘ a place that never fails to inspire me.”

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

CH. No. Not in our lifetime. I think we’ve seen and will continue to see a resurgence in paper books as people realize how much damage staring at screens does to our emotional and mental health, and how utterly addictive the virtual world is. Maybe this is wishful thinking on my part. I may be the only serious reader remaining who doesn’t own an e-reader.
I do think eventually, if we figure out how to survive climate change intact, we will eventually wind up reading entirely on Star Trek-like tablets. While we clearly have the technology to do that now, I think it won’t be ubiquitous until long after we’re gone.

Q. What makes a writer great?

CH. I think there are a lot of different ways for writers to be great. Ernest Hemingway is great differently than Margaret Atwood is great. But the kind of great writing that moves me and that I aspire to write is work that creates an authentic narrative experience for the reader. In The Art of Fiction, John Gardner describes the fictive dream that readers enter into when reading good fiction. The writer can get away with pretty much anything as long as she or he doesn’t wake the reader from that dream state. So, I think at a minimum, a great writer entrances the reader into this fictive dream state. There are writers who can do that by spinning a great yarn and others who do it by turn of phrase, but the best writers do both well without one overwhelming the other on the page.

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

CH. It starts with an inkling, a voice calling out, begging to enter this world, then a blank page that in its blankness contains infinite possibility. Each word inscribed on that page constrains those possibilities exponentially. Eventually, with enough words comprising enough sentences composing enough paragraphs, a story emerges. If I’m successful, that story holds me for the year or more it takes to build a first draft. Once the draft is complete, the work begins. Now I have the clay with which I can mold my novel into something coherent.

Watch for the conclusion to this wonderful interview next week.

Did you miss part of it? Click here
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

To receive my weekly posts, sign up for my  Watch for more interviews with authors.  September: Culley Holderfield. October: Simon Gervais for ROBERT LUDLUM’S The Blackbriar Genesis

  On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks!

BOOKS BY TRISHA SUGAREK

 

Interview with author, Culley Holderfield

Writing my next book

TS.   Culley Holderfield is a writer from Durham, NC. He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he completed the undergraduate creative writing program. He primarily writes fiction but has been known to dabble in poetry and essays. His work has appeared in a variety of publications, including Dime Show Review, Amarillo Bay, Yellow Mama, Scarlet Leaf, Kakalak 2016, Kakalak 2020, and Floyd County Moonshine. Hemlock Hollow, his debut novel, is forthcoming from Regal House Publishing in December 2022 in their Sour Mash Southern literature series.

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

CH. I have a really nice desk that my in-laws gave me that I often use, but I sometimes I write in my easy chair with my feet up. I’d love to have a writing shack or hut. A few years back, I visited George Bernard Shaw’s home in Hertfordshire, England. He had a writing hut in his garden where he produced the bulk of his work. It housed his writing desk and typewriter and a day bed. The best part is that it was built on a swivel so that he could rotate it throughout the day to follow the sun. If it’s good enough for George Bernard Shaw, it’s good enough for me!

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

CH. I try to steer clear of rituals when it comes to writing. I don’t want my creativity to become dependent on having to meet particular needs. That said, writing itself is its own ritual for me. For a while, I used to start my writing sessions by doing a few minutes of stream-of-consciousness writing to get my creative juices flowing. I don’t do that anymore, but I journal and meditate before I write, and those serve a similar purpose.

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

CH. My favorite bit of trivia about myself is that I’ve officially resided in nine different counties in North Carolina in my life, dispersed throughout the state, from the piedmont to the mountains to the coast.

Q. What tools do you begin with? Legal pad, spiral notebook, pencils, fountain pen, or do you go right to your keyboard?

CH. I tend to do all my work on a computer. I’ve tried notebooks and legal pads and index cards, but my organizational skills are subpar, and I tend to lose track of

Debut book

them. If I keep everything in the same folder in Word, there’s a chance I won’t lose them. When starting a project, I begin with research and characters, and those usually go hand in hand. When I was beginning my current work-in-progress, I knew that it would be set in North Carolina in the 1860s and I had a good sense of two of the main characters. I then immersed myself into the era and place, and gained a lot of ideas and insights for the arc of the book that I fleshed out in different documents on my computer.

Q. Do you enjoy writing in other forms (playwriting, poetry, short stories, etc.)? If yes, tell us about it.

CH. Yes. I often write short stories and poems in between my longer projects. I have an ideas document that contains a number of ideas for short stories or poems. When I have time, I’ll work on those. Short stories and poetry are harder for me to write than novels. I was a long distance runner in my younger days, and I think I’m just built for sustained pacing over time. A short story is like running the 400, and a poem is like a 100 yard sprint. I can do them if I force myself, but it induces a lot of pain and suffering to get them right, and I’m never going to be great at them. Just like it’s good to mix in high-intensity and low-intensity modalities of exercise, I figure it’s good for me to mix in different forms of writing every once in a while.

My writing partner

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

CH. There’s procrastination, and then there’s writer’s block. It’s probably good to figure which one you’re dealing with. If you know what you want to write and just aren’t able to make time for it, I think there are a number of strategies that can help. Most of them boil down to making it easy on yourself by setting small, attainable goals. My goal for any one writing session is to grow my manuscript by at least one page. Sometimes that means I don’t even have to write a full page. I can just edit my work until the manuscript grows by a page. So, if I have 35 total pages in the document when I start, I want to see that there are 36 pages when I finish. (Note: adding spaces between paragraphs doesn’t count!)

If I’m having trouble getting going, that’s more of a writer’s block issue. I may just tell myself that all I need to do is to write one word. If I can change or add a single word, I will have made progress. Also, it’s freeing to remember that whatever you write today, you’ll probably wind up changing during revision. All that really matters is that you make progress. This takes the pressure off. All of that said, once I get going it’s rare that I only add that one word. I usually wind up writing a page or so, and a page or so per day is a novel a year.

Join us next week for Part II of this wonderful interview with new author,  Culley Holderfield.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

To receive my weekly posts, sign up for my Watch for more interviews with authors.  September: Culley Holderfield. October: Simon Gervais for ROBERT LUDLUM’S The Blackbriar Genesis

  On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks!

BOOKS BY TRISHA SUGAREK

 

Book Review ~~ The Boardwalk Bookshop

4 out 0f five stars  ~~ Book Review

 

No surprise here. Susan Mallery dishes up another excellent contemporary fiction for women. A great story with lots of plot twists and romance. A real page-turner. 

This time three women who don’t know each other share a lease on a retail space none of them can afford by themselves. They set up shop, books, muffins, and gifts, right off the sand, on the boardwalk in Santa Monica, California. Each has been wounded by love in the past, romantic or familial; it all hurts the same. 

All three main characters are equally balanced with in-depth storylines, so the reader has the opportunity to care about each one of them. Will their particular shop succeed? Will true love win out?  How many nasty turns will life serve up before the women find happiness?

I highly recommend this as your next book. But it’s no secret (by now) that I’m a huge fan of Susan Mallery myself.

Did you miss my Interview with author, Susan Mallery?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

To receive my weekly posts, sign up for my Watch for more interviews with authors.  September: Culley Holderfield. October: Simon Gervais for ROBERT LUDLUM’S THE BLACKBRIAR GENESIS

  On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks!

BOOKS BY TRISHA SUGAREK

Interview with Writer, Jay Hartlove (part 2)

Jay.Rabbit.Cat

TS. While an entertaining interview, this one is also instructional, without being ‘preachy’.  Jay is a writer’s writer.  This is such a worthwhile read for other writers! 

Q. What tools do you begin with? Legal pad, spiral notebook, pencils, fountain pen, or do you go right to your keyboard?

JH. When I started writing in the 1980s before laptop computers, I hand wrote everything in spiral bound notebooks on commuter trains and lunch hours. Then I would edit as I typed the text into my computer at home. I wrote two novels that way. The first was an embarrassing lesson in how not to write a book. The second one eventually became my highly successful Goddess Chosen thriller. I still carry a small notebook whenever I think I might have downtime to jot ideas. I do most of my productive work at home late at night, so I just type directly.

Q. Do you enjoy writing in other forms (playwriting, poetry, short stories, etc.)?
If yes, tell us about it.

JH. I wrote, produced, and directed my original musical sequel to Snow White in 2018. The Mirror’s Revenge ran for three weeks in the San Francisco Bay Area and got rave reviews. I loved the collaboration with the composers, the musicians, and mostly the actors. When they occupied the characters, they started seeing things I had missed, even though I had worked on the script for ten years. I try to write from inside the characters’ heads, but myactors brought a whole new level of insight. They really brought the story to life. I loved that so much, I am working on another show. I learned my lesson of not trying to do everything myself, but I will definitely be putting on another show.

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

JH. Remember what got you excited about writing your story in the first place. Try to write a sentence that captures that spark, that thing that makes this story different and special. Such a phrase often makes an excellent cover blurb. Blurbs should not tell the plot, but rather tell why this story is exceptional. Your original inspiration was strong enough to make you drop everything else and write this story. Keep that inspiration at hand throughout the writing.

Q. Where/when do you first discover your characters? What comes first to you? The Characters or the Situation?

JH. I write largely in science fiction and fantasy, so I almost always start with the “What if?” proposition. That means I know what will happen in the story first. As soon as I see that much, I move to ask who would be the best person to tell this story, or for this story to happen to. I do a lot of reverse engineering to design characters who have the right background, the right opinions, the right fears and motivations to tell this story. No matter what you do with a character, their actions and reactions must seem completely in character to the reader. Otherwise the reader sees the heavy hand of the author moving things into place. The only way to ensure that believability is to engineer the characters to have all the qualities they will need as the story unfolds.

Q. What first inspired you to write?

JH. I was lucky enough to have grade school teachers who fed my imagination. I grew up on books like “A Wrinkle in Time” and the Danny Dunn mysteries. Star Trek was just coming on the air when I was nine years old. Middle school was Frank Herbert and C.S. Lewis. High school was Heinlein and Clarke. I became a huge science fiction movie fan. I skipped my older brother’s high school graduation to see “The Andromeda Strain.” I scored off the charts for language aptitude. My parents pushed me into a science education, but as soon as I was out of college I started writing science fiction. In 1980 I self-produced Supergame, one of the first table-top role playing games to use comic book superheroes. By 1985 I had finished the first draft of a sword-and-sandal fantasy novel. And the rest is history.

Q. Do you ‘get lost’ in your writing?

JH. I joke that my muse is called “Eleven.” After I finish the evening’s affairs, and my family have all retreated to their own corners to wind down, I sit down to write, usually around eleven o’clock. If she doesn’t show up, and I can’t get into the flow, then I go to bed and get some sleep. If Eleven does show up, and I get into the zone, I will write obliviously until I pass out on the keyboard around 2 or 3 am. So if I have a good night writing, I have a bad day at work the next day.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Join us next week for part 3 of this wonderful Interview.

Did you miss the beginning? Click here

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

To receive my weekly posts sign up for my Watch for more interviews with authors. 

  On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks!

BOOKS BY TRISHA SUGAREK

 

 

 

Interview with Fantasy/Thriller author, Jay Hartlove

Jay Hartlove is the multiple award-winning author of the urban fantasy Goddess Rising Trilogy (Goddess Chosen, Goddess Daughter, Goddess Rising), the fantasy romance Mermaid Steel, and the science fiction thriller The Insane God. He is also the playwright, director and producer of The Mirror’s Revenge, the musical sequel to the Snow White fable, which had its theatrical run in the San Francisco Bay Area In August 2018 to rave reviews.
“I love to take stories where the reader does not expect, with sympathetic villains, heroes with very dark pasts, and lots of plot twists.  I turn victims into heroes.”

He is often compared by critics to Michael Crichton. Goddess Chosen (under its original title The Chosen) was endorsed by horror master John Shirley. The Insane God was endorsed by science fiction master David Brin. Jay was selected as one of the “50 Authors You Should Be Reading” by The Authors Show. He is a former competitive costumer, having won Best in Show at both San Diego ComicCon and WorldCon. You can read more about Jay’s creative adventures, including much of the research he put into his books, at www.jaywrites.com.

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.

JH. I do most of my writing in my home office, surrounded by my favorite bits of inspiration. There are awards, sculptures, paintings, and theatrical props. My window faces my back deck and garden, which is very green and calming. I collect ideas all the time, so I often have a notebook with me. I am a firm believer that thinking about your writing is writing. You write what you know, and any decisions you make about a story adds to the knowledge you will draw from to write the story.

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

JH. I don’t have any rituals other than getting back into my characters’ headspace. If I have done my job, I the writer disappear when the reader reads the words. It really is the characters’ story. It’s told through their eyes, their emotions, their reactions. I know where I want the story to go, but to put words to paper, I need to let the characters speak. I know I’m in the zone to keep building the story once I can hear them. In theatrical terms, I Method Act. I get inside their heads and let them speak.

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

JH. I was a big time coplayer thirty years ago, before it was called Cosplay. I spent most of my creativity in my twenties building costumes, mostly for shows at conventions. I was part of different teams that won Best in Show at both San Diego Comic Con, and at the World Science Fiction Convention. I taught myself sculpture and fabrication, with which I built a lot of costume armor. I still use those DIY skills to repair and build things. To promote my fantasy romance Mermaid Steel, I scratch built a life-sized model of my heroine mermaid Chielle Mmava (waist up) which I set up in a chair behind signing tables. The model is accurate to the description of her dolphin people in the book. She is my “booth babe” at shows now.

Q. What tools do you begin with? Legal pad, spiral notebook, pencils, fountain pen, or do you go right to your keyboard?

JH. When I started writing in the 1980s before laptop computers, I hand wrote everything in spiral bound notebooks on commuter trains and lunch hours…..

Join us next week for Part II of this fascinating Interview.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
To receive my weekly posts sign up for my

  On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks!

BOOKS BY TRISHA SUGAREK

 

 

 

Author, Donna Ashcroft shares with us (conclusion)

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

DA. No, I don’t think so. While digital books are usually cheaper and easier to store and buy, I think a lot of people still enjoy the way a paper book smells and feels. It’s more of an emotional experience. I receive a lot of messages from readers who want to know how to get hold of my books in physical form.

Daisy–the old lady

Q. What makes a writer great?

DA. For me anyone who can transport me from everyday life into a different world and make me lose myself is a great writer. Bringing people and situations to life on the page is a kind of magic.

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

One of this blogger’s favs

DA. I begin my novel by brainstorming the types of people I want in my story, what do they want, conflicts they might encounter and what do they need to learn?

Then I come up with a ‘hook’ or something that will draw readers in. I create ‘books’ of information about my stories which include pictures of my characters, location photographs (I find this helps me to really picture my setting and helps to make it real). I use a website call Pacemaker to plan my writing schedule ie when the deadline is, how many words I need to write each day to get the first draft completed on time. I generally write my first draft in three months, once I’m happy with it I deliver it to my editor.

Usually after a week I receive structural edits. These involve adding scenes/removing scenes/deepening conflict and addressing anything my editor things doesn’t work in the story. This tends to be the most major part of the editorial process. Sometimes my edits take a few days, but they can take up to a month. It all depends on how much work the book needs. After the structural edits are okay’d I work on line edits, then copy edits and then a proof read. The final stage of the process involves me reading through the final files before the book is created. Publication day is the end of the process – this involves promotion on social media, in newsletters and thanking people for support. I tend to end the day with a glass of something fizzy!

Q. How has your life experiences influenced your writing?

DA. Because my books are character driven, I think everyone I meet or speak to and everything that has happened to me influences my writing. I tap into

Dylan

experiences when I’m dealing with heartbreak or conflict in my novels. It’s not always the exact same experience, but the feelings are the same.

Q. Do you have children? If yes, how do you carve out ‘writing time’? 

DA. This is how I keep my two lovely teenagers from disturbing me mid flow (in truth: it doesn’t work and they still barge in). Seriously, I wouldn’t be without them. I can get a bit obsessive about my writing and end up stuck at my desk for hours so it does me good to have some company and distraction!

Q. What’s your down time look like?

DA. I read a lot, enjoy swimming, walking and classes at my local gym. I love networking with other writers and spending time with family and friends.

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

DA. I love romance and don’t plan to change to another genre.

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

DA. If you want something in life, behave as if you already have it.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Did you miss the beginning of this Interview?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Coming soon!  August: Author, Jay Hartlove

To receive my weekly posts sign up for my

  On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks!

BOOKS BY TRISHA SUGAREK

 

 

 

Interview with author, Donna Ashcroft

Donna Ashcroft declared she would be an author at the age of twelve and used to write voraciously. During her career, Donna worked in publishing, online retail and as a freelance copywriter until she started her family.  She had two children and finally decided she’d reached her “now or never” time. She joined the Romantic Novelists Association and started to write seriously in 2016. In 2018 (after penning a number of novels) she was offered a publishing contract by Bookouture and has been with them ever since. Her debut novel, Summer in the Castle Café was shortlisted for the RNA Debut Romantic Novel of the Year Award in 2019.

She says, “I love a happy ending and am never more content than when I’m escaping into a romance novel or movie. When I’m not reading or writing I’m probably swimming, or negotiating with my OH or teenagers about who is doing the washing up.”

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

DA. I work in my spare room. It’s a small space so we had to take the bed down and I have the headboards along one wall! I’ve tried to make it into a lovely space with a heart banner, plants and pictures of my novels. When the sun is shining though I love working outside in the garden. My ‘dream’ workspace would probably involve a pool and somewhere I can shelter from the sun but take a dip whenever I wanted to.

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.)

DA. In the mornings I have to have coffee (multiple) and can’t start work without a caffeine hit. I also always have water on the go and drink plenty as the day progresses. I have hand cream on my desk as it’s good to just take a little time out sometimes to have a mindful moment as I’m applying it.

My office

Other must haves include pens, pretty notebooks and post it notes which I make notes on all the time! I also have a ball instead of a chair for when I’m working in an attempt to look after my back.

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

DA. I’ve been training to do a 1.4km open water swim since March – the swim is this weekend and I’m terrified but I always think it’s important to try  new challenges. I’m a qualified life coach and NLP Practitioner. I don’t practice but I think the learning experience was useful to understanding behaviour in both myself and others.

Q. What tools do you begin with? Legal pad, spiral notebook, pencils, fountain pen, or do you go right to your keyboard?

A daily walk with my friend’s dog Tiggy

DA. I usually like to make notes on a pretty notepad when I’m brainstorming but I then hop straight onto the keyboard.

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

DA. I’m a full-time writer so I write between 8am and 6pm on weekdays and sometimes I work in the mornings on weekends. I take regular breaks to refresh my mind and body.

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

Heart banner in my office

DA. Treat writing like a profession. You can’t wait for your muse, you just have to get on with it. Often I’ve spent a day writing chapters I think are awful, but then I often discover a nugget in there that’s worth keeping. Writing is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration with a little talent thrown in.

 

Join us next week for Part 2 of this Interview
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Coming soon! July’s author interview with Donna Ashcroft.

To receive my weekly posts sign up for my

  On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks!

BOOKS BY TRISHA SUGAREK

 

Book Review ~~ Sugar and Salt by Susan Wiggs

        3 out of 5 stars  ~~  Book Review 

 

A charming story to be sure. Love finally conquers, maybe.  A breath-taking story of how the system fails sexual assault victims and the justice system turns those women into suspects when they are forced to defend themselves. Shocking, but true if you are poor, a woman, and NOT white.  Deftly told by Susan Wiggs. 

I rarely comment on book covers but this cover does the story such an injustice. The beautiful cake, on the cover, suggests that a bakery is the focal point of the story. A woman with blond hair (the only part they got right) with ugly hands and an even uglier manicure.  Sure, the love interest has a bakery, but it plays such a minor role that it doesn’t even deserve a mention. 
This story is about BBQ and I would have thought (if the cover designer had read even the first few pages), a big platter of BBQ ribs would have been on the front. Always, ALWAYS use a hand model if you’re going to stage a cover with ‘hands’.   Cooks don’t have manicures (gels), nail polish (very unsanitary). They have short clean, unpolished nails and knife-nicked hands.

But I digress.  The woman in this story is sympathetic, without being a typical ‘victim‘.  There are times when all she has in the world is her BBQ and the custom sauces she has invented.  The reader likes her.  If the reader is a woman, she can relate to Margot.  No one likes a happy ending more than me, but it’s touch-and-go. 

On sale: July 26th
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Did you miss my Interview with Susan Wiggs? 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Coming soon! July’s author interview with Donna Ashcroft.

To receive my weekly posts sign up for my

  On the home page, enter your email address.  Thanks!

BOOKS BY TRISHA SUGAREK