Indie Authors Network – Author Interview

Why write Fantasy? How about Science Fiction? Autor Michael Taylor shares his reasons.

http://www.indieauthornetwork.com/4/post/2014/03/author-interview-michael-taylor.html

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Blog Blizzard – Ann Swann – Author Interview

Ann Swann, author of ALL FOR LOVE

What is your favorite thing about being a writer?

Making up characters and bringing them to life while still dressed in my pajamas and nursing a cup of coffee.

What genre(s) do you write?

Adult contemporary romance, romantic suspense, young adult ghost stories and paranormal short stories.  I’m also writing a cop story set in small-town West Texas.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

I tend to rush to the finish.  I have to slow down and plump up.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I have to know the ending, then it’s strictly seat of the pants!

Why do you think people should choose your books over another author?

I like to make people cry.

What do you hope readers take with them after reading one of your stories?

Unforgettable characters.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

In All For Love, I hope the reader gets the message that decisions made in haste often have life-long consequences.

How long have you been a writer?

Since I was old enough to string sentences together in a spiral notebook.

How much time did it take from writing your first book to having it published?

Well, my first book was never published.  It died a slow and painful death at the hands of zombie-dust-bunnies in the bottom drawer of my old desk.

Twenty years later, I got serious and published a novella.  However, I was writing and publishing short stories all along.

What other careers have you had?

Elementary school teacher, 911 operator, waitress, radio-station secretary, freight office supervisor, newspaper delivery girl—don’t laugh—I was able to take my kids with me when they were small.

Do you write under more than one name? Why?

No, I have thought about it though.  Especially since I write in more than one genre.

Are any of your characters based on real people or events?

Oh, I always use an amalgamation of real people and real events.  I’ve killed off my “enemies” a few times.

How would you describe yourself if you were “speed dating” your readers?

I strive for action and deep emotion in all my stories.

What’s something fans would find fascinating about you?

I believe in spirits—I’ve been visited on three separate occasions.  Plus, I can wiggle my ears.

What else would you like readers to know about you or your work?

My work is heartfelt.  It comes from the pain and joy of living.  I always try to convey that via my characters.

What books or authors have most influenced your life?

Everything from Black Beauty and Call of the Wild, right up through The Crystal Cave, and on into Stephen King’s work (especially works like The Woman in the Room); books have taught me everything I need to know about life.

How do your family and/or friends feel about your book or writing venture in general?

My family is very supportive.  They have no choice.  I know where they live.

Where are you from?

Lamesa, Texas

It’s a small town surrounded by cotton fields and pumpjacks.

How do you come up with the titles?

The Muses supply them—then the editors change them.

Has your life changed significantly since becoming a published writer?

Yes, I have become a slave to Internet marketing.

Do you work on one project at a time? Or do you multi-task?

I work on several at once.  I also read several books at the same time.  I think I may have undiagnosed Attention Deficit Disorder.  Either that or I just got such a late start in publishing that I’m constantly trying to catch up . . .

When not writing, how do you relax?

I like to read, walk two or three miles a day, go to the drive-in movies with my handsome hubby, Dude, swim, and try out new restaurants.  We also love live music and are fortunate to be able to attend concerts frequently.  ZZ Top, Craig Chaquico, Pat Benatar, Reckless Kelly, Bruce Springsteen, Charley Pride, Bill Cosby (okay, he’s not a musician, but boy can he tell it like it is) those are some of the most recent . . . I want to see George Jones; he is coming to town soon, but I will be in Austin at the Texas Book Festival.

Please tell us 5 miscellaneous facts about yourself.

I love roasted jalapenos.

My favorite drinks are coffee, chocolate milk, and Diet Coke (not usually all together).

My daughter, Sara Barnard, is also an author published by 5 Prince Publishing.

I have five grandchildren.

I once met Andre the Giant (from The Princess Bride).  He was very nice and very, very large.

Please share with us your future projects and upcoming releases.

My next book is The Phantom Student; book two in The Phantom Series, which will be released in October 2012.  I am also at work on Book Three, The Phantom of Crybaby Bridge.

I have two stories included in Campfire Tales, an anthology of spooky stories, which will be released in September 2012.

I am finished with my Romantic Suspense novel, Stutter Creek.  It’s fermenting.

Please share any links you would like.

Website: www.annswann.com

Blog: www.annswann.blogspot.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/annswann.author

Email: Swannann76@yahoo.com

Twitter: @ann_swann

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/annswann/

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5420711.Ann_Swann

Blog Blizzard Presents – Rebekah Roberts – Author

What genre(s) do you write?

Christian Teen Romance, but every now and then I have to take a break and write a little horror.

What genres and authors would we find you reading? 

I love romance, Meg Cabot, Stephanie Meyer, Gail Carson Levine. I’ve always had a thing for classic as well, Jane Austen, Daphne du Maurier,

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Getting up the courage to send it out to a publisher.  Writing it was pretty easy, editing it was harder but still fun, but after it was finished it sat in my computer collecting digital dust for over a year.  Finally a very wise woman asked me, why not?  I’m so glad I listened to her and sent it out into the world.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

A little of both.  I hate to have everything plotted out and I never plot on paper, but I can’t get things done if I don’t have at least most of the major scenes figured out in my head.  So, I guess I am a plottser?

 Why do you think people should choose your books over another author?

Because even though fairy-tales are big and there are a lot of choices out there right now, my stories are different because they deal with real life.  They don’t have magic so in the end my characters have to deal with the messes that they have made without a magical spell to set them free.  I’d like to think this is a fresher take on the old tales.

What do you hope readers take with them after reading one of your stories? 

That there is hope and love in the world.  And that they might feel a better sense of the fact that there is a purpose for their lives.  That’s what I want my characters to learn, so that’s what I am hoping to show the reader through my characters.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

That everything has beauty in it and that God uses that beauty to do great things.  I want every girl, (or guy) that reads my book to feel like they too are beautiful and that they are important.

How long have you been a writer? 

Since I was about 9.  I started my first novel, The Mystery of the International Twins.  It is a completed work that I hope will never see the light of day!

How much time did it take from writing your first book to having it published?

About three years.  A year and a half to write and edited; and the same amount of time in procrastination.

What other careers have you had?

Wow, I have been everything from a receptionist at a funeral home to a full time nanny.  I’ve been a homeschool teacher, a personal assistant, a waitress, a dog/cat sitter, a sales person and I’ve worked at a dry cleaners.  I feel like there are far too many interesting things to do out there to just pick one, but throughout it all I have been a writer.  I think all of those jobs have helped me not only be a better person, (ie. I try to tip better now) but a better writer.

Do you write under more than one name? Why?

Nope.  My parents gave me a superhero name, (double initials, like Peter Parker, or Lois Lane), and because of this I think it’s kind of catchy.

Are any of your characters based on real people or events?

Yes and no.  My characters all seem to have a little bit of me in them.  It’s hard not to write in first person and not give them a little of yourself.  Also, the character Sammie, (Petals), is based on a lot of different people that I know.  He’s a mixture of my brothers and other teenage boys I grew up with.  Some of the things he says are direct quotes from those guys and it makes me happy to see them alive in Sam.

How would you describe yourself if you were “speed dating” your readers? 

I’m a very loving, girly, loud laughing, deep feeling person.  I’m a true romantic and I try to find the beauty in everyday life.  Mostly, my relationship with my Jesus is the centerfold of my life.  As I learn to fall more deeply in love with Him, I hope that I am becoming a better person along the way.

What’s something fans would find fascinating about you?

Oh, that’s so hard.  When you live in your own skin, your life seems sort of boring, but I guess, the fact that I played drums in a rock band from the ages of nine to twenty, is pretty cool.  I grew up in this exclusive world of local independent (or indie) bands.  It’s a very close knit community and I learned a lot from those years.  I never wanted to be a professional musician and i am glad I chose writing over the band, but I still miss those days.  There is nothing that compares getting all the beats just right.  It’s a thrill like no other.

What else would you like readers to know about you or your work?

That it’s fun.  I write about hard topics, but in the end I really want to write a good story.

What books or authors have most influenced your life?

Meg Cabot’s All American Girl had a big impact on me as a teenager.  It’s all about a girl wanting to be anyone but herself, but in the end she realizes that being herself is the best person to be.  I wanted to write books that made girls think about themselves in a better light.  Also, Gail Carson Levine’s Ella Enchanted.  It was the first novelized retelling of a fairy-tale that I ever read.  It made me want to write a new version of a fairy-tale for myself.

How do your family and/or friends feel about your book or writing venture in general?

They have all been so excited and supportive.  It’s been really wonderful seeing how many of them have stepped up and not only bought a copy but are being little foot soldiers and getting the word out there.  I couldn’t have gotten this far without them.

Where are you from?

I am Texas born but Oklahoma bred.  I guess you might say that I have red dirt in my veins.

How do you come up with the titles?

Petals was originally called, Calla and Griffin: A Modern Day Version of Beauty and the Beast.  I laugh now, when I think about how long that would have been.  After I came to my senses and realized I didn’t need the whole storyline on the cover, I changed it to simply Petals because roses are such an important theme in Beauty and the Beast as well as my novel.

Has your life changed significantly since becoming a published writer?

I think my writing finally has some weight behind it.  When you have spent years just typing on a laptop pr scribbling in a notebook and claim to be a writer no one really takes you seriously, but after you are published suddenly they are asking you to edit things for them.  It’s funny how that works.  In a lot of ways I feel like I just graduated.

Do you work on one project at a time? Or do you multi-task?

I can’t multi-task well.  I try to keep up blogs and facebook, maybe a short story, while writing a novel, but I can’t get my brain around more than one novel at a time.  I get distracted too easily, and that is how projects go unfinished.

When not writing, how do you relax?

I love to go to the movies.  I try to see anything that even looks halfway good.  When I was a little girl, my dad and I would watch a movie at home every night and we would go out to the theater at least once a week.  I still love to watch a good movie, but I am much more apt to fall asleep these days.

Please tell us 5 miscellaneous facts about yourself.

I am 24 years old.

I’m an avid walker, I take the twins that I nanny out on a walk every morning and I love to go walking by myself or with a friend.

I played the Scarecrow of Oz in my church’s huge interactive play and I just got the cast list, so I am excited to be playing it again this year.

Before I went gluten-free my favorite snack was cold egg-rolls, now I love to chop up a banana and put a little salt on it.

What Projects are you working on now?

I am working on the sequel to Petals, a novel called Sheltering Snow.   It will be a modern version of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which in my mind translates into: A teen runaway, with a secret, is befriended by a family of quirky siblings who have a few secrets of their own.

 Links:

http://www.facebook.com/RebekahRobertsWriter

https://twitter.com/RebekahFRoberts

www.RebekahRoberts.net

Blog Blizzard – Meet Melynda Price

Author Bio:

Melynda Price:

An avid lover of paranormal romance, Melynda was inspired to write her own series after reading the Book of Enoch. She’s always had a fascination with stories about angels, and the role they’ve played in the history of our multi-dimensional world.

She attended Bethel University in Minnesota and graduated in 2003, holding AA, ASN and BSN degrees.

She lives in Northern Minnesota where she has plenty of snow-filled days to curl up in front of the fireplace with her Chihuahua, and a hot cup of coffee, to write. She’s blessed with two amazing children, and a wonderful husband of seventeen years.

Until Darkness Comes:

 “Writing Until Darkness Comes has been a fantastic adventure, culminating a world of mystery, suspense, love and deception. Have you ever wondered what it might be like if we could see beyond our dimension? Step into Olivia Norton’s world, where nothing is quite as it seems, and evil lurks where she least expects it.”

Visit Melynda at www.MelyndaPrice.com

 

Book Blurb:

A guardian angel… A forbidden love… Eternal consequences…

Olivia Norton was born with a gift—a gift heaven has sworn to protect, and hell is bound to destroy. Her perfect world is turned upside-down when two handsome strangers, Max and Liam, step into her life. Olivia soon discovers that her ‘Mr. Perfect’ is actually a perfect nightmare.

The rules of engagement have changed and Liam, Olivia’s guardian angel, is forced to cross dimensional borders or risk losing the woman he’s sworn to protect. Suddenly, thrust into a world unlike anything he’s ever known, Liam isn’t prepared to come face to face with the young woman whose life he holds in his hands.

But nothing is as it seems, and secrets abound that will ultimately force him to choose between two impossibilities. Max will stop at nothing to finish what he’s started, and Olivia is soon plunged into a battle between good and evil. Her very life hangs in the balance as two forces fight to win her heart.

                       

Until Darkness Comes Excerpt ~ First kiss…

Olivia took a brave step closer to Liam and cupped the side of his cheek, forcing him to look at her. “Then who are you? Surely you can tell me that. And don’t you dare lie to me, because I know you’re not normal. I’ve never met anyone like you before. Normal guys don’t act like you. Normal guys don’t look like you, and if they do, they’re usually more like…”

“More like what?” His eyebrow arched curiously.

“More like Max, I guess.”

“Well, I can promise you that I am nothing like Max. More like the exact opposite, to tell you the truth.”

“Why do you hate him so much? At first, I thought it was because he was my boyfriend, and that you were just jealous or something. But it’s more than that, isn’t it?”

“There’s a darkness in him, Olivia. Can’t you feel it?”

“I’m not sure how I feel when I’m with Max anymore. I used to feel…carefree—wild and reckless, you know? But lately, I’m starting to just feel…afraid. Like I’m walking on a tightrope and I’m about ready to fall.”

“I’ll catch you,” he whispered, slowly trailing his fingers down the side of her neck.

Her pulse beat erratically beneath his touch; she opened her mouth to say something, but stopped. Instead, she moistened her bottom lip with the tip of her tongue. His heated gaze fell to her lips and she felt Liam’s resolve snap. A wave of desire blasted into her and a soft groan of defeat rumbled in his chest as he lowered his head, capturing her lips in a tender embrace. His kiss tore through her like fire. What started out as tentative and sweet, quickly escalated to urgent and demanding as a rush of adrenaline flooded her veins. She melted into his arms, her lips fitting perfectly against his, like she was made just for him.

He tasted exactly like he smelled—faintly of cloves, delicious. She parted her lips, aching for more and instinctively he responded to her request as if she’d spoken it. Drawing the kiss deeper, his tongue brushed against hers. The more he kissed her, the hungrier she became, fueling an insatiable fire deep in her core.

Olivia wound her arms around his neck and pulled him closer. She’d never felt more starved and yet completely satisfied as she did at that very moment. He tightened his arms around her waist and pulled her against him, as if he couldn’t get close enough. Her feet left the ground as he molded her to his lean, powerful body.

Time momentarily ceased. She had no idea how long they stood there in each other’s arms as the floor of the boat rocked beneath his feet. The captain’s voice crackled over the speaker, announcing the end of their tour. A reluctant groan escaped Liam’s lips as he broke their kiss and slowly released her. Olivia stumbled when her feet touched ground and his hand shot out to steady her…

 

GUEST BLOG:

 I’ve been doing several interviews lately, and would like to take the time today to talk a little about my journey from unpublished to published author. Everyone has their own story to tell and I love hearing about other author’s success, but even more, I also want to hear about their failures. No, I’m not sadistic, lol, but I believe there’s a lot to be learned in these failures—my own and others.

Patience, perseverance, and gratitude are a few qualities that have grown in me through rejection. So, today’s stop, I want to pay special attention to the unpublished authors and to those who are struggling in their career. I’d like to share something I’ve learned through my journey.

It only takes one “yes.”—five simple words, yet so profound. This little bit of advice and encouragement was given to me by my good friend and author, Laura Breck, and it will stay with me forever. It only takes one “yes” for your dreams to come true, so try to take each “no” as a learning and growing experience. Easier said than done, I know, I’ve been there and I still have those days.

But this is what I’ve learned and truly believe: Often, the rejection to contract Until Darkness Comes was based solely on the query letter alone. When you have a project you’ve loved, nurtured and cherished, it’s hard not to take that rejection personally, but you can’t. A query letter isn’t your novel, and if it’s rejected, they’re not rejecting you or your work per say, but the query itself.

I rewrote my query letter numerous times, and by far I found it more difficult than writing the book itself. I knew I’d finally gotten it right when I started getting requests to submit my manuscript. At the time I signed Until Darkness Comes with 5Prince Publishing, I’d gotten two offers to contract this book. I took me a year of submitting, getting rejected, tweaking my query letter and re-submitting, before it all started coming together. I’ve talked to other authors who have said it took them as long as five years to get their first book contracted. In researching the dreaded query letter, I found a few helpful examples and included them on my website under “Writing Tips.” Feel free to check them out. I hope it helps. Thanks for stopping by today, and I wish you all the best in your literary journey.

Melynda Price

www.melyndaprice.com

 

Blog Blizzard – Mylnda Price – Author Interview

What is your favorite thing about being a writer?

I love creating and world building. Being an author of paranormal romance, I get to create characters that are larger than life and stretch beyond the borders of our world as we know it. My only challenge is to make the unbelievable believable. I love it when someone asks me, “Is that really a place, or did that really happen?” Then I know I’ve done my job well.

What genre(s) do you write?

Paranormal Romance.

 What genres and authors would we find you reading?

I only read Paranormal Romance and I prefer series. It’s so sad when a good book ends, I like series because it keeps the characters alive. The bigger the book the better, I don’t like investing my time into a shooting star story. I want development, strong plotting and believable world building—that takes time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Writing the ending. It’s hard for me to say goodbye to the characters I’ve fallen in love with. I also find it the most challenging to wrap up a story that brings good closure and a conclusion that doesn’t leave that reader feeling cheated or rushed.

 Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I’m a pantser by nature. Most of the time I don’t know what’s going to happen in the story until I’m writing it. But, I have been doing some plotting when it comes to the endings. I just don’t have the patience to plot out an entire storyline before I start writing it. I like being surprised by my characters, lol. J

 Why do you think people should choose your books over another author?

I wouldn’t necessarily say that a reader should choose me over other people. I don’t believe in putting others down to build yourself up. All I can say is that I believe I have a very original storyline and a good “voice” in my writing, that I hope people enjoy.

 What do you hope readers take with them after reading one of your stories?

I hope that my characters become so real to them that they find themselves thinking about them for days after the book is finished. I want them to be as sad as I am that the book has ended and excited to read the next one. J

 Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

There are a few messages in my Redemption Series that I hope come through strong. First, true love often requires sacrifice. Second, we all make mistakes. Third, it’s never too late for second chances.

 How long have you been a writer? 

I’ve always enjoyed writing and did quite a bit of it in college. After that, I needed and outlet for my creativity, so I picked up writing again. I’ve been doing it now full-time for the past three years.

 How much time did it take from writing your first book to having it published?

It took me a year to find the right home for Until Darkness Comes. During that time, I probably rewrote it six times. When the offer came through to contract with 5PP, I also had another offer for the book. It was very flattering because so much of this industry is rejection. You really have to have perseverance and thick skin in this business.

 What other careers have you had?

Well, I was a rocket scientist and a brain surgeon at Mayo Hospital, but, ultimately, I’ve found that writing is my true calling. 🙂

 Do you write under more than one name?

I only write as Melynda Price.

 Are any of your characters based on real people or events?

My characters are all my imagination. Inspiration to write a fallen angel series came from the Book of Enoch. However, this story is its own and does not replicate any specific angels or events. I just found it a fascinating read.

 How would you describe yourself if you were “speed dating” your readers?

I write fast-paced, voice-driven novels without a lot of filler. They’re believable, high-stakes stories, with good vs. evil conflicts and eternal consequences. Also, I like cheap wine and expensive chocolate J

 What else would you like readers to know about you or your work?

I wasn’t really a rocket scientist or a brain surgeon. I just made that up, because I’m rather good at making sh!t up. (:

 What books or authors have most influenced your career?

I would have to say that I most enjoy works by Lara Adrian and J.R. Ward.

 How do your family and/or friends feel about your book or writing venture in general?

For the most part my family and friends are extremely supportive. I have a few that beta read for me and that’s really fun. It’s hard to find balance with writing and family sometimes because my characters aren’t always willing to punch a clock. (:

 Where are you from?

Originally, I lived in Clear Lake, IA. Now I live in northern Minnesota, though I’d prefer sunny California.

 How do you come up with the titles?

I make a list of ones I like and then research them to see if there are other books with the same titles. I narrow them down and take a poll if I can’t decide.

 Has your life changed significantly since becoming a published writer?

No, not really. I’m the same I always was, except I’m busier with marketing now and have less time to write sometimes. Some days it’s hard to fit it all in.

 Do you work on one project at a time? Or do you multi-task?

I was writing one project at a time. I think I work faster and more efficiently that way, but now I’m multi-tasking with another series I’m writing and sometimes those characters don’t want to wait their turn, lol.

 When not writing, how do you relax?

To me, writing is relaxing, but when I’m not doing that, I’m spending time with my husband and two children. We sit down almost every night together and watch a movie, though some of them are pretty terrible. They tease me that I’m a horrible movie picker. Other than that, I really just enjoy sitting down with a glass of wine, a good book, and my Chihuahua, Ren.

 Please tell us 5 miscellaneous facts about yourself.

  1. I have a very  sick sense of humor. My daughter even has a facebook page called “Things  Mother’s Should Never Say To Their Daughters.”
  2. My Chihuahua is  named Ren. Yes, from Ren and Stimpy.
  3. I’ve been on  seven wine tasting events in California with my brother and sisters, and an $8 bottle of Arbor Mist Blackberry Merlot is still my favorite. J
  4. I love slapstick comedy and laugh inappropriately when people get injured, especially my  kids. They don’t find it nearly as amusing as I do. They’ve stopped getting mad at me for being so insensitive and usually join in after they’ve finished crying, lol.
  5. I have horrible  fashion sense. My favorite outfit is sweatpants and a t-shit. My daughter dresses me when I have to go out in public.

I’m currently finishing Shades of Darkness, Book 2 Redemption Series. The third book, Courting Darkness is completed in first draft. I’ll start getting that one ready for submission as soon as Shades of Darkness has been sent to my editor.

Facebook : http://www.facebook.com/melynda.price.9

Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/MelyndaPrice1

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13829312-until-darkness-comes

Blog: http://melyndaprice.wordpress.com/

Website: www.melyndaprice.com

Blog Blizzard – M.O. Kenyan – Author Interview

What is your favorite thing about being a writer?

I love the fact that I can create different worlds, characters and be a direct influence to a character’s life.

What genre(s) do you write?

I write Romance and Fantasy. It’s easier to make two people from different worlds and with different personalities fall in love. And creating a beautiful guy who suddenly turns green is awesome too.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

The hardest part would be keeping in touch with reality. Even in writing fantsy I want to keep cloe to reality. The last thing I want is a reader to go like, “oh Please, are you serious!”

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I plot, I think it’s important to know where you want to go at a certain point in the story. But apart from the basic skeleton I let the story and the character’s lead me. I could never force an independent character to suddenly rely on someone else.

Why do you think people should choose your books over another author?

I think every author drums their own beat and everyone should dance to it. You can’t possibly say choose mine cause I am better. We all have our audiences.

What do you hope readers take with them after reading one of your stories?

That I put in my 100% into the story. Hoepfully they can find a little piece of themselves in the story and maybe and Oh! Moment.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

I try to push the neccesity of love and family and truth to oneself ij everything I write. At the end of it all when we are stripped bare all we have are the self, love and family.

How long have you been a writer? 

I would like to say all my life, but the first novel I ever wrote was a fantasy trilogy (not yet published) back in 2010.

How much time did it take from writing your first book to having it published?

My first book forever. My first published book (shades of spring 1964) took about a month to write and four to publish. In total it took about six months before it became and E-Book.

 What other careers have you had?

 I’m still a student, so I wouldn’t call anything else I have done a career. But from being a receptionist I learnt a lesson in human interaction, an intern at BBC I learnt the importance of truth in a story and from being a legal aid I learnt the importance of work.

Do you write under more than one name? Why?

 I write fictional romance under M.O Kenyan, although my fantasy books are yet to be published, I write under M.O Knight. I think it’s important for their to be separate names for separate genres. It helps your audience distiguish which genre the book is written in without having to read the back cover.

Are any of your characters based on real people or events?

Most of my writing if not all have a piece of me in it. And if I have interacted with you in the past twenty three years you are probably in it too. But I try not to make it so obvious.

 How would you describe yourself if you were “speed dating” your readers?

Loyal, honest and a contradiction. Happily ever after is not my thing, yet I make sure all my characters get to that point.

What’s something fans would find fascinating about you?

I honestly don’t know. Most people think I’m crazy but considering all the voices and people in my head maybe I am.

What else would you like readers to know about you or your work?

Besides the 100% I do my best to please myself first before anyone else. Being tru to myself and my characters is important.

What books or authors have most influenced your life?

Nora Roberts, Stephanie Meyers, Nicki Charles, Brenda K. davies, Stephanie Meyers, Ruth Ann Nordin and the list goes on.

How do your family and/or friends feel about your book or writing venture in general?

One word, interesting.

Where are you from?

Born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya.

 How do you come up with the titles?

I come up with title before writing some of my books. And sometimes a sentence or a word just jumps at me. No real thought process I am led by instinct.

Has your life changed significantly since becoming a published writer?

Honestly no, maybe. Having my work out there does make me nervous on how people receive it. But I am yet to have my Oh my God moment. I don’t know why.

Do you work on one project at a time? Or do you multi-task?

I write books one at a time. But plots and ideas may come to me at the same time. I may say multitask because if I think of a story and a scene seems very crucial to me I will start with that, then be done with it before I start working on another scene.

When not writing, how do you relax?

I sleep.

Please tell us 5 miscellaneous facts about yourself.

I am impatient, and when someone gives me a bad impression that’s what sticks with me. I like getting somone commited to my work as much as I am. If I don’t I loose interest.

Please share with us your future projects and upcoming releases.

I have a number of books that I am now comfortable with quering. ( THE MARA SONG- valentine themed) Right now I am writng a book called ONE PERCENT.  It’s about a woman who only knows how to interact with life by measuring her odds.

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Erika M Szabo – Author Interview

 

 What is your favorite thing about being a writer?

When it comes to writing Alternative Healing books, my favorite thing is to bring easy to understand information to my readers. Most educational books are filled with statistics, explanations and sophisticated jargon. People have to skim through pages before they can get the answer they’re looking for. I try to make my books precise, logical and easy to read. Writing magical/realism novels gives me the opportunity to share my thoughts, feelings and dreams with my readers as well as lets my fertile imagination play with characters, events and create magical worlds where anything is possible.

Who or what inspired you to become an author?

To write Alternative Healing related books:  after I received my PhD I thought about doing one on one consultation. Then I thought I can help more people by writing educational books and self-publish them with an affordable price. The use of herbs and supplements became very popular; however there are many dangers in using them without careful consideration. There are many side effects, interactions with prescription medications and contraindications in certain medical conditions which I try to point out in my books. As to writing a magical/realism fantasy novels, the inspiration first came from my daughter Eszter. Her paintings inspired me to form the characters in Ilona the Hun’s story and the story line was inspired by Hun history.

What was the turning point in your life when you decided to start writing?

 I started writing health related books when I realized how much misinformation is out there about herbs, healthy diet, vitamins and supplement. The majority of the educational books are written in a language that a person without medical background couldn’t possibly follow and understand. I decided to write books that are written in simple, everyday language without long pages filled with statistics and scientific explanations. To write a fantasy story, the idea came to me after my daughter got annoyed with me because I couldn’t find a book to read and said “Mom, stop whining, if you haven’t a book to read then write one!”

Do you write about your personal life experiences in your stories?

 Yes, often. If you don’t know love, sorrow, hate, regret, forgiveness and other emotions and experiences, you cannot really write about them. In my personal life I try to balance negative experiences with something positive right away, and it reflects in my writing. When my characters experience something tragic or shocking, I relax it with a little humor or have my characters analyze and deal with their feelings.

 What genre(s) do you write?

I write educational books regarding Alternative Medicine, true stories and magical-realism, alternative history novels.

What genres and authors would we find you?

I write under my real name Erika M Szabo, my tags are health and healing, alternative medicine, fantasy, fiction and alternative history.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Writing comes natural to me and I don’t find it hard to write either educational books or novels. When I choose the topic I want to write about and have a vague outline of the story, I just start writing and the story develops on its own as I progress and new ideas start surfacing.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I am a plotter when I write medical books, I plan what I want to say and put it in clear and logical order. When I write a fantasy story I am definitely a pantser. I enjoy tremendously playing with the characters, let them develop as the story progresses and go back to change a romantic and lovable character into a villain if a new idea pops into mind as I write. When I started writing Ilona’s story, I only had a sketchy outline in my head. I played with some ideas in my spare time at first, but soon the events and characters came alive and kind of developed on their own as the story progressed. Elza surprised me the most; originally I planned her character to be an older, wise, steady and reliable aunt. I guess she didn’t like her assigned role; she became a little younger and more alive. Zoltan will change the most in book three, which I wasn’t really planning. It still amazes me, how much one accidental sentence can change the whole character, his values and personality…

Why do you think people should choose your books over another author?

That is a hard question. I think every reader will find the author they can connect with and enjoy their books because of their similar interest, thinking process, feelings, dreams and hopes. People who are not interested in alternative medicine, disease prevention, healthy diet and lifestyle or herbal remedies are not going to value my books. The same applies to my novels, if the reader likes crime stories, horror, fuzzy vampires or sticky romance, they will not find my fantasy trilogy enjoyable. But, if they like deep characters, coming of age struggle, lots of twists and turns, historical facts wrapped into a fantasy story, they will choose and enjoy my books.

What makes for a good hook in your stories? Where does your inspiration come from?

 I can talk about my only novel trilogy so far, although I have some ideas for my next one. The inspiration came from ancient Hungarian history. In my fantasy world, I blended the past and present into a fantasy tale with intriguing tribal secrets, magical heritage and the exciting and dangerous life in a secret society.

Who is your favorite character in your book? Why?

 In my novel, Ilona is my favorite. She grows as a person throughout the story from a naïve and insecure girl to a confident woman. She’s not afraid to make sacrifices and to accept her life calling.

Who would be your first choice to play Ilona from your book Birthright Bestowed?

 I can imagine, Natalie Portman playing Ilona. I think she could portray her quiet charm, vulnerability, loneliness, self-doubts and great inner strength well.

What do you hope readers take with them after reading one of your stories?

After reading my medical books, I hope the reader will start thinking about developing healthier diet and lifestyle to prevent illness and perhaps decide to use alternative methods with much less side effects when it’s possible. Also, I hope after reading my Ilona the Hun trilogy the reader will have a better understanding of their own struggles coming into adulthood, accepting responsibilities as well as heritage and live up to expectations without losing themselves. I hope they will take with them deep and honest feelings, human values as well as the feeling of freedom to use their imagination.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

In my Ilona the Hun novels there are many messages. First of all, anything is possible if we have reasonable expectations and we are willing to put work into it. Understanding our own positive traits, flaws and limitations help us to create our own future.

Are any of your characters based on real people or events?

I include some historical events in my novels. However, the real events are incorporated into a fantasy story. I can’t really say my characters are based on real people although some of my characters slightly resemble people I know, either in appearance or bits and pieces of their personality. In Ilona’s story, there are some personal experiences. I am ambidextrous and I can’t cook just like Ilona. Elza’s character resembles my favorite sister-in-law, and I worked little stories into the book about my cat Miss Mirci Catchmousky as well as my gentle giant dog, Gypsy. I wrote about some personal experiences as well, from my years working as an ER nurse.

How long have you been a writer?

I’ve been writing medical articles for a long time, but I started seriously writing in 2008.

How much time did it take from writing your first book to having it published?

It took me about six months to write my first alternative healing book in Hungarian and I sent it to a publishing company. I braced myself for a lot of rejection before I hoped to see my book published, but surprisingly I received the accepting letter within a week. I played with Ilona’s story for about a year and finished the first two books when I discovered self-publishing in late 2011. I got many positive reviews and feedbacks from readers which made me decide to rewrite the books and continue with the third book in the series. I sent the first book Birthright to the Best Indie books of 2012 award contest, to my delight, it was chosen as semifinalist. The finalist books will be announced in September and the winner of the award in October. The editor at 5 Prince Publishing read my story recently and they offered to publish the trilogy.

What other careers have you had?

I worked in the medical field all my life as a registered nurse and ten years ago I received my PhD in Alternative Medicine.

Do you write under more than one name? Why?

I write under my real name.

How would you describe yourself if you were “speed dating” your readers?

I can honestly say I’ve never been bored in my life, I’m busy doing something every moment while I’m awake. I love the mountains, but because I’m not really an outdoor person, I enjoy the scenery from the comfort of my car. Bike ride is my favorite exercise, but I ride my bike that goes nowhere in my living room, because I don’t like to swallow bugs and rather walk miles in a museum or art gallery than in the tick infested woods. For fun I read, write, go out with friends. To relax I do crossword puzzles, gobelin or paint. My day is not complete until I made a difference in at least one person’s life with either a medical advice or just a caring word, touch or a smile.

What’s something fans would find fascinating about you?

People I meet the first time find me a pleasant, average looking and positive thinking person. Usually they put me in a “mental box” where they store people who are nice, but there is nothing special about them. Later the things I do or I’m interested in come up in conversation, or they find out from others and then they put me in the mental box labeled “fascinating people”. What fascinates people about me most is that English is my second language and I have the courage to write and compete with writers who grew up speaking the language and were educated in English. I wasn’t, I thought myself watching Rambo movies and cartoons for a month and then slowly graduated reading teenage books with the help of a dictionary and after one year reading and understanding Shakespeare. I also notice that people find fascinating the fact that I find the time to do all the things I want to do.

What else would you like readers to know about you or your work?

I worked in many areas of the medical field and found my calling in the Emergency Room setup. I always loved the dynamic and fast paced environment, the unpredictability and demand for acting and making decisions fast. In my personal life, I love and respect animals, and somehow they know it. Abused and runaway dogs and cats in the neighborhood always end up on my doorsteps and they always find love and care. Wild animals feel safe in my backyard as well, chipmunks, crows, groundhogs, bunnies, you name it, they live in my backyard. The orphaned baby foxes we raised – I put together a picture book about the experience – still visit sometimes.

What books or authors have most influenced your life?

It wasn’t any particular author or book; it was my father who loved to read and introduced me to the wonderful worlds locked in books at a very early age. I have many favorites, I cannot choose. I love to read about our past, but not only the dry facts and events. I love to read from authors who can make the past more real and bring our ancestors alive and closer to us in their stories.

How do your family and/or friends feel about your book or writing venture in general?

My family and friends are supportive and read my medical books, however very few of them like fantasy stories. I think most will read my Ilona the Hun novels only when by a miracle or rather with the help of fantasy book lovers becomes a best seller novel.

Where are you from?

I was born and raised in Hungary and came to the US twenty years ago. I live in the beautiful Catskill Mountains in NY.

How do you come up with the titles?

I think that is the hardest part of writing, at least to me. I keep changing the titles throughout the writing process and I’m still not satisfied when the book is finished. It must be a glitch in my brain preventing me from coming up with the perfect title. I have fun writing three hundred pages and I struggle to create a word or sentence for a title. Figures!

Has your life changed significantly since becoming a published writer?

Not really. I interact with hundreds of people in my work on a daily bases, and when I started writing it became just one more thing I did and enjoyed. I don’t have a schedule either, sometimes I write an hour, but there are times when I can sit by the computer and write for ten hours straight. I only write when I really feel up to it, otherwise I think it would quickly turn into a job.

Do you work on one project at a time? Or do you multi-task?

I am definitely a multi-tasker, working on one project at the time bores me.

When not writing, how do you relax?

I catch up on medical related articles; watch fantasy and sci-fi movies, go out to a nice dinner with friends or take long rides in the mountains.

Please tell us 5 miscellaneous facts about yourself.

I love to meet new people and I “don’t judge a book by its cover” before I get to know them.

I love animals and I provide environment for them around me where they can live as their nature intended them to live. I won’t put a bird in a cage or keep a cat inside watching nature through a window. I won’t try to teach them tricks or perform unnatural tasks.

Makes me happy and accomplished when I can help one person a day in some way.

I stop and smell the roses, in other words I notice and appreciate beauty in life.

I’m not a gatherer of material wealth, but I love life’s small luxuries such as a comfy bed to read, a delicious dinner with friends, soft and comfortable clothes or a beautiful new painting in my living room from an unknown artist.

Please share with us your future projects and upcoming releases.

Currently I’m writing the third book “Destiny Altered” in Ilona the Hun series as well as “Grandma’s herbal remedies” which I will self-publish soon. The history of Hungary goes way back and there are lots of fascinating and heroic events to write about. My next project is going to be another historical based novel combined with fantasy.

Please share any links you would like listed in the Interview. Website, Myspace, blog, facebook, yahoo group etc.

AMAZON: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_2_13?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=erika+m+szabo&sprefix=erika+m+szabo

AMAZON>UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_13?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=erika+m+szabo&sprefix=erika+m+szabo%2Caps%2C378

BARNES & NOBLE: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/erika-m-szabo

SMASHWORDS: https://www.smashwords.com/books/search?query=erika+m+szabo

WEBSITES:

http://www.allyoucanreadclub.com

http://www.try-alternative-healing.com

http://www.doktorszaboerika.com

FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/Erika.M.Szabo.ND.Author

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/#!/erikamszabo

Description of “Birthright-Bestowed” book one of Ilona the Hun series.

Ilona is an emergency room doctor, born into an ancient Hun tribe which still exists hidden amongst us with its strict and fiercely enforced rules. She doesn’t know much about her Hun heritage besides legends, customs and rituals that she continues out of respect for her parents whose sudden death ten years before devastated her. She plays her tune on her birthday given to her by her grandmother.

Elza – Ilona’s housekeeper – explains, the purpose of the tune is to let the elders know she had come to age. Her mother didn’t have a chance to explain her inherited powers, but after her 29th birthday when she is considered as an adult by Hun standards, she begins to remember the forgotten instructions concealed as rhymes her mother was teaching her since she was a small child.

Ilona discovers she can heal with her bare hands; she can rearrange the human body to its healthy state. This ability is exciting as well as frightening. She is conflicted between having confidence in her intelligence and inherited abilities while having no confidence as a woman. Her insecurity created barriers which keep others out, and I also keep her caged in.

She’s been in love with her unsuspecting best friend Bela, when a dashing stranger explodes into her life. The sudden magnetic feeling frightens her and discovering evil in him doesn’t help either. A sinister dark man appears, Ilona connects his presence with the series of mysterious deaths around her. Zoltan saves her life by jeopardizing his, which prompts Ilona to start fitting the puzzle pieces together and discovering the ancient tribal secrets that not only can change her future but the future existence of the Huns as well.

Excerpt

I found my housekeeper Elza in the kitchen, busy making breakfast. Her long auburn hair was pulled into a tight bun. She was wearing a gray uniform with the crisp white apron pressed and wrinkle free. I had always hated that darned uniform, yet she insists on wearing it and she ends our countless arguments over it every time by saying, ‘I am your housekeeper. I like who I am, and that’s that!’ It makes no difference to her that I am the boss – she always does as she pleases.

I tried to force my disapproval and nagging thoughts to subside. Elza seemed preoccupied; she turned away quickly when I reached for her hand. She knew I could read her feelings by touching her. She surprised me, but I respected her wish. Yet it bugged me that she was trying to hide something from me. To feel that strong yearning inside, and then be emotionally rejected by my own housekeeper, started affecting me more than I could tolerate. I just hoped that after prayer and breakfast everything would return to normal.

Ema, Elza’s daughter and Rua, my groundskeeper, joined us in the living room to begin our usual Morning Prayer. The role of leading the ceremony had fallen on my shoulders ever since my mother had died. I never fully understood why I had to do it. After my mother was gone, Elza insisted that I continue the True Hun tradition, so I obeyed to please her. When I had pressured her to give me an explanation, she always clammed up. She said I would find out when the time was right. There goes nothing, again. I don’t understand all the secrecy about being a Hun. What the big fuss is about is beyond me. I hoped the awful feeling would stop so that I could enjoy the day. Hopefully, concentrating on the ceremony will help me to calm down, I thought.

I lit the sacred candles infused with herbs, and I placed it in silver candleholders on the small round table. The ancient wooden figurines of male and female holding hands stood between the candles, with our delicately carved Turul bird. The statues were small; they had a deep, warm brown color. My family had owned them for who knows how long. The rich shiny brown color came from the hot herbal tea poured over them every morning by Elza, and many before her, for generations. The bird held widely stretched wings over the male and female figurines. Beside the statues was an ancient, dark leather-bound book. It contained the names and life stories of my ancestors.