Author Suzanne Redfearn On Outlining and Indexing Scenes And Doing Research For Novels

suzanne redfearnName: Suzanne Redfearn
Author’s Website,
Hometown: Laguna Beach, CA
Based In: Laguna Beach, CA
Education: BS Marketing, California State University, Long Beach Masters of Architecture, California Polytechnic University, Pomona
Introduce Yourself: Hi, I’m Suzanne. Thank you for inviting me to give an interview. Like my protagonist, I am an architect who lives in Laguna Beach, California. I have two kids, and my husband and I own a restaurant called Lumberyard.
Favorite Read: The Power of One, Bryce Courtenay
Author Crush: Richard Castle of course. Who wouldn’t be in love with a dashing, creative, heroic author who fights crime using the creative process and reference to literature, who plays poker with James Patterson, and who, like McIver, can escape any danger with only a paper clip and a cell phone.
Pet Peeves: It’s not so much a pet peeve as an amusing observation. Men cannot resist directing traffic at four-way stops. Check it out. At least half the time, a man will waggle his fingers, giving you permission to proceed.
If You Weren’t a Writer You’d Be…The Amazing Race host – travel the world at a breakneck pace, staying in first-class accommodations, and have crazy pairs racing to find me.
What You Have Lined Up Next: I’m halfway through my next novel, and though it’s an utter mess at the moment, I love the concept and can’t wait to finish it and send it into the world.

When you were little, were you the type of child who preferred books to candy?

I liked both. [Smiles]

Prior to writing Hush Little Baby, did you complete any other novels?

Hush Little Baby is my fifth novel, but the only one yet to be published.

Domestic violence and escaping an abuser is the very crux of Hush Little Baby. As you wrote the novel, did you visit shelters to get a grasp on this social issue?

I did Continue reading

Lisa O’Donnell On The Importance Of Giving Characters Unique Voices + Authenticity in Dialogue Writing

lisa odonell

Name: Lisa O’Donnell
Author’s Website
Hometown: Rothesay, Isle of Bute
Based In: Scotland.
Education: Diploma in Publishing from The Robert Gordon University, BA Communication and Media Studies Glasgow Caledonian University.
Introduce Yourself: My name is Lisa O’Donnell. I have two gorgeous children. Max and Christie. They’re my world and I write books to impress them.
Favorite Read: Last year I read a great book called These Things Happen by Richard Kramer. I highly recommend it. I also loved Tony Hogan Bought me an Ice Cream Float Before She Stole My Ma by Kerry Hudson. Both books are coming of age tales and written with strong insightful voices. I love these authors.
Author Crush: Kerry Hudson’s Tony Hogan Bought me an Ice Cream Float Before She Stole My Ma. This author is going to do great things. I’m sure of it.
Pet Peeves: Those people who say things like “Look, I’m just someone who says what they think, okay?” like it’s a virtue. I mean seriously. Who wants to know everything a person thinks. Sometimes it’s best to keep your thoughts in your head.
Fiction How-To-Book You’d Recommend: I haven’t read any. I should though. Do you recommend any?
If You Weren’t a Writer You’d Be…miserable.
What You Have Lined Up Next: Top secret.

How did you celebrate the announcement that you were the Regional winner of The Commonwealth Book Prize 2013?

A trip to Paris with my children.

Do you remember where you were when you heard the news?

I was in LA at the time and Continue reading

Maggie Shayne On The Joys of Using a Pen Name + Writing The Suspense Novel

maggie shayne photoName: Maggie Shayne
Author’s Website, Facebook Page, Twitter
Hometown: Many, many places. My family were like Gypsies, always wandering.
Current Residence: Rural Cortland County NY, mountains and state forests, dairy farms and wineries.
Education: Life is my greatest educator.
Briefly: 54 novels with 5 major publishers, Rita Award, Career Achievement Awards (several), Golden Leaf Award, Readers Choice Award, Daphne du Maurier Award, NY Times Bestseller List, USA Today Bestseller List, former soap writer for “Guiding Light” and “As the World Turns”.
Favorite Read: Too many to name, but most recently Dr. Wayne Dyer’s Wishes Fulfilled.
Author Crush: Do I have a crush on any author? No. I’m madly in love with my fiance and life partner, Lance.
Fiction How-To Book You’d Recommend: Oh, such a great question! “SHUT UP!” He Explained It’s the best dialogue book ever written, by Writer’s Digest books. Also, Screenwriting Tricks For Authors by Alexandra Sokoloff. This book is hugely helpful for plotting page turners. I can’t tell you how wonderful it is.
Pet Peeves: I don’t think I have any. Getting rid of them as they show up is part of the process of growing spiritually, I think. So when I find a pet peeve, I realize it’s telling me something important about myself, highlighting some area I need to work on. And then I work on it.
If You Weren’t a Writer You’d Be…A singer, a life coach, and a personal trainer because then I’d have no choice but to work out every day. [Smiles]
What You Have Lined Up Next: Thanks for asking! My romantic thriller Sleep with the Light On, was just released and given RT Book Review’s Seal of Excellence Award for October. The follow up novella Dream of Anger will be free in e on 11/1 -11/30 and then book 2, Wake to Darkness releases Thanksgiving week. In addition, Gingerbread Man a romantic suspense is burning up the charts, still on sale for 99¢ with more than a half million copies downloaded and closing in on 800 reviews at Amazon, 300 at BN, 300+ at iTunes—all avg 4.5 stars.

So, it turns out that Maggie Shayne is a pen name. How did you settle upon it?

Maggie is my real first name. Margaret. It was Continue reading

Autor Pamela Morsi On Deciding on a Book’s Title + What Every Author Should Know Before Publishing Their First Novel

pamela morsiName: Pamela Morsi
Author’s Website , Goodreads
Hometown: Oilton, OK
Current Residence: San Antonio, TX
Education: Masters of Arts in Library Science
Briefly: 2 Rita awards, USAToday Bestseller, Starred review in Publisher’s Weekly. Author of Courting Miss Hattie (1992) and Something Shady (1996), Heaven Sent.
Author Crush: I grew up loving Louisa May Alcott. I think she is the reason why I am a writer. But she doesn’t seem to be putting out a lot of new stuff. So I console myself with Billie Letts and Barbara Kingsolver. But my total crush is Mary Balogh. I can’t tell you why I prefer Mary over all other living authors—so many fabulous writers to choose from—but Blue Monday or Christmas Day, I always choose Mary.
Pet Peeves: The whole respect loop. So many writers feel as if they don’t get enough respect and sometimes this results in disrespecting other writers. Ugh. Any writing, whether it is soup cans or the Great American Novel involves putting yourself out there. Very scary stuff. I respect everyone who is willing to do that.
Fiction How-To-Book You’d Recommend: Bird By Bird by Anne Lamont. I’m not much on how-tos because I think all of us find our way on our own. But Anne gives us the courage and the support to move forward when we might doubt ourselves.
If You Weren’t a Writer You’d Be…Sad? Well, probably not really. I am such an upbeat person and I have enjoyed every job I’ve done. But being a writer is pretty cool.
What You Have Lined Up Next: Mr. Right Goes Wrong is scheduled for September 2014

What’s your earliest book-related memory from your childhood?

I’m the youngest of three girls, so there Continue reading

Author Ellie Ann On Fighting Feelings Of Inferiority + Writing Strong Female Characters

Ellie AnnName: Ellie Ann
Author’s Website
Hometown: Grinnell, IA
Currently Based In: Joplin, MO
Education: I was homeschooled, which gives me major nerd points. I’m a licensed nurse practitioner, and I attended a couple semesters of Bible college. That’s right, I can totally name all the Judges in the Old Testament.
Briefly: I’ve published three books, with three more coming out this year. I write comics for Motionworks Entertainment—the first series I worked on, Tale of Frida, is coming out late this year. I’m the Director of Publishing for Noble Beast, an interactive book publisher, because I’m totally crazy about this new storytelling format.
Favorite Read: The Wonder Clock by Howard Pyle
Pet Peeves: Lame excuses. Just…don’t say anything at all if you don’t have an excellent excuse. Suggestions for excellent excuses: getting attacked by jaguars, a rock slide blocking the road, it’s your Grandma’s 120th birthday, you got lost in a cave, you just had a baby yesterday, or you have to finish defeating a Temple in Legend of Zelda.
If You Weren’t In the Book Industry, You’d Be…I’d probably be a cowgirl.
What You Have Lined Up Next: Editing my next book, Girls and Boys: A Post Apocalyptic Fairy Tale. Finishing the comic series, Tale of Frida.

Were you a huge fan of urban fantasy when you were little?

Yes! Any fantasy, really. I adore Tamora Pierce, CS Lewis, Francis Hodgsen Burnett…I lived for those books.

Did the inspiration for The Silver Sickle come easily?

Nope, not at all. I went through Continue reading

Jillian Medoff on How To Get Your Book In Foreign Markets + Why She’s Not a Fan of Outlines

jillian medoff-photoName: Jillian Medoff
Author’s Website , Facebook
Hometown: Atlanta, GA
Based In: Brooklyn, NY
Education: BA, Barnard College, MFA, New York University
Briefly: I’ve published three novels: I Couldn’t Love You More, 2012; Good Girls Gone Bad, 2002; Hunger Point, 1997.
Favorite Read: Ever? Too many to name. Favorite reads include Song of Solomon (Toni Morrison), the Rabbit series (John Updike), American Pastoral and Patrimony (Philip Roth), Anywhere But Here (Mona Simpson), anything by Richard Ford, May We Be Forgiven (A.M. Homes).
Author Crush: Richard Ford—and vice versa, I believe.
Fiction How-To Book You’d Recommend: The Art of Fiction, On Becoming a Novelist, both by John Gardener.
Pet Peeves: People who scream into their cellphones, actually cellphones in general are beyond annoying.
If You Weren’t a Writer You’d Be…A homicide detective or an FBI agent a la Clarice Starling from Silence of the Lambs.
What You Have Lined Up Next: working on the last 100 pages of my fourth novel.

At which point in your life did you realize that, “Wow, I’m a pretty talented writer?”

I have yet to have this realization but hope for it every time I sit down to work.

Critics marveled over you characterization of Frannie Hunter in Hunger Point. Did you base her on a real person?

No, Frannie was a complete construction, although I did take liberties with my and my sisters’ personality quirks.

If you were writing your first book now, what would you have done differently?

Hmmm, that’s a great question. I think I would have streamlined it, excised all the baggy scenes and tightened the plotting.

Do you have to be in a certain mood and in a certain place to write?

No. Well, yes, I prefer to be inspired and comfortable but if I’m uninspired and wearing tight pants, I still force myself to sit down and do my work. I have such limited time and I’m on such a regimented schedule, I can’t indulge myself at all.

Was “I Couldn’t Love You More” inspired by the singer Sade’s song?

No, I didn’t realize there was a song by Sade. Oh! I wonder if her song was inspired by my novel. Probably not, right?

In an interview you did with She Writes, you stated that you’re not exactly a fan of outlines! Some authors swear by them.

I prefer to let the chips fall where they may. In general, I just sit down and start writing and eventually—after many long miserable sessions—a novel starts to unfurl. I do recognize that it’s probably easier and less stressful to have some idea of where the novel is going, but I enjoy the discovery process. I guess “enjoy” isn’t the best word. I actually “hate it beyond all reality” but “endure it” because some of my best work has come from meandering. Over the years, I’ve started listing events that will happen, but I rarely adhere to them. I write the way I like to read; that is, I like to see the story reveal itself as I get to know the characters.

jillian medoff books

You’ve stated that you did not necessarily agree with how Good Girls Gone Bad was positioned?

The novel is a dark satire that was positioned as a funny romp, so it was jarring for readers to stumble upon suicide, addiction, clinical depression and other not-so-funny issues. Ultimately, funny ha-ha sells better than funny dark, so I certainly understood why my publisher did it, but I don’t think readers were prepared for the blistering turns the novel took.

Now, Good Girls Gone Bad has been translated into French, Spanish, Hebrew, Turkish, Hungarian, Polish and German. What advice do you have to offer to other authors about getting their books translated and getting them into those markets?

Actually, Good Girls has been translated into Hungarian, Turkish, Polish and Japanese. Hunger Point was translated into French, Spanish and Hebrew and I Couldn’t Love You More was translated into German. I have literary agents that oversee the subsidiary rights for all my novels, so my advice to other authors is to ensure that your representation is well-versed in translation rights and has a presence overseas, either via the agency or foreign sub-agents.

What do you do when you’re writing a manuscript and the plot is not going anywhere?

Normally I start to cry and start over, but now I’m thinking maybe I should write an outline! Continue reading

Emma Jane Holloway On Tackling Creative Blocks + On Writing The Baskerville Series

emma jane holloway-authorName: Emma Jane Holloway
Author’s Website, Facebook, Twitter
Education: Ye Olde English Literature Baccalaureate
Track Record/Accomplishments Summary: I’m particularly proud of surviving the creation of The Baskerville Affair trilogy. I started out thinking the occasion warranted a full body tattoo, but as I calm down I’m willing to settle for a coffee mug. Seriously, I’ve had some fun moments as a writer—I’ve won a few awards, including the RITA, and had some great opportunities, like getting an invite to the New York Comicon.
Favorite Read: My current favorite is Joe Abercrombie. He has a wicked sense of the absurd.
Pet Peeves: Oh, no, no—the moment I make a resounding statement about how much I hate this or that is the moment some helpful soul emails me to point out five instances where I did that exact same thing.
If You Weren’t In the Book Industry, You’d Be…At my day job, which I am anyhow! People keep telling me not to quit.
What You Have Lined Up Next: Several cups of tea, and perhaps an episode of “Sleepy Hollow”. I do have story ideas from the Baskerville universe, but I haven’t figured out which one to chase yet.

When did you first realize that you had a bunch of books in you, ready to come out on the page?

I was diagnosed at an early age by a concerned Continue reading

Priscille Sibley On Writer’s Block And How Writing Is Like Nursing

priscille sibley-portraitName: Priscille Sibley
Author’s Website
Hometown: Maine – I’ll always be a Mainer at heart. You can take a girl away from the rocky Maine coast, but you can’t take it out her soul.
Currently Based In: New Jersey—which isn’t all the NJ Turnpike or the Garden State Parkway or the Jersey Shore.
Education: Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Briefly: Gee, I’m not sure where to start; there are so many… kidding. In publishing – The Promise of Stardust is my first novel. It was published by William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins and it will be translated into eight foreign languages. It was an IndieNext Pick and Target’s Book Club pick for February 2013.
Favorite Read: This time I’m serious; there are too many favorite books to list. My first book love was Les Miserables – the book, not the musical, but I love everything from The Great Gatsby to Harry Potter to The Kite Runner.
Author Crush: Again, it’s hard to narrow this down. I adore Barbara Kingsolver and did you see Ann Patchett on Steven Colbert? It takes her shade of brilliant to make that funny guy speechless.
Pet Peeves: I believe aunt is not pronounced like the insect ant.
Fiction How-To-Book You’d Recommend: I have a full bookcase full of how-tos. Early on someone recommended Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. I wasn’t ready for it then, but these days, her wisdom makes a lot of sense to me. I think what you need is probably out there, but it depends on where you are in your process. Sometimes it just takes studying books you like and really analyzing them. How to Read Literature Like a Professor is insightful.
If You Weren’t a Writer You’d Be…I would be a nurse. I am a nurse. It colors how I see the world, but I’ve always needed a creative outlet as well.
What You Have Lined Up Next: I can’t give you a tagline yet. I’m still writing. I don’t mean to be glib; it’s just I’ve had a few false starts and I’m still figuring it out.

Growing up, did you ever wish your name was Priscilla?

I embrace Priscille. I was named after a beloved relative of my father’s. Still, I wish I didn’t have to explain my name to everyone.

The Promise of Stardust. Now, that’s poetic. What inspired the book’s title?

Stardust is a metaphor for the story. Nothing in the tangible universe is more enduring than stars. The other constant in the book is love. Matt, the protagonist says, “My faith was in her, in the love we shared, that it was as durable as the light coming from a distant star, crossing space, enduring through the void expanses of time.” Everyone is trying to do the right thing on behalf of Elle. They’ve each made her a promise, but they interpret what she’d want done differently.

The book has such an interesting premise. A girl and a guy in love. The girl goes into a coma. The guy wants to take her off life support until he finds out that she’s with child.

I probably wouldn’t characterize the story quite that way. It is, in many ways, a love story, albeit a tragic one. But these kinds of end-of-life decisions are, for the ones left behind, about honoring the love a family shared. Matt and Elle have loved each other since they were children. They were friends, then lovers, then friends again, and finally they have committed their lives to each other. They are family in every sense of the word. The Promise of Stardust is about a family grappling with a medical crisis. The narrator, Matt, can’t fathom how he can survive in a world without Elle, and yet he is willing to let her go after she suffers a devastating brain injury – even if it kills him – until he realizes that she is carrying their baby. Suddenly—it seems—he believes this one thing he knows terrified his intrepid wife, the idea of a slow death, is something she would bear for the sake of a child. Through his eyes, the reader comes to understand his point of view except his conviction may be colored by his own inability to let go.

Has the reception that the book has received so far put a little anxiety in you about what your fans are expecting for your next novel?

Yes. People talk about branding. Readers want the same – as long as it’s new.

A reviewer for The Kirkus Review compared you to romance novelist Nicholas Sparks.

The quote was: “A literate and incandescent Nicholas Sparks-like love story complicated by intense moral and ethical
questions.” I really loved the words literate and incandescent. Particularly incandescent. I can die happy now. I’m not Nicholas Sparks. I have seen a couple of the movies based on his books, but I honestly haven’t read any of his works.

As a first time author, what do you wish you had known before you released your novel?

I wish I knew how to control the weather. A blizzard hit the day I was supposed to have my book launch.
priscille sibley-book cover

What do you feel is the most effective way to deal with writer’s block?

If I truly figure it out, I’ll let you know, but I do think Anne Lamott is one smart cookie; write one scene at a time – Bird by Bird.

How can an aspiring author get better at writing?

Write. Write. Write. Read. Read. Read. And don’t be afraid of killing off your little darlings.

So you are an intensive care nurse! How is writing a little bit like nursing?

Empathy is key. What I do as a nurse is both very technical and very human. It is a highly skilled profession. We see people at their best and at their worst and at everything in between. People carry a huge burden when they are dealing with a crisis. As nurses, empathy allows us to help with whatever the outcome is, survival or loss. As writers, we must understand our characters in order to make them real to our readers. They must have souls. If we can’t understand and empathize with what brings our characters to life, our readers won’t be able to either.

Do you think an author’s mailing list should be an essential part of her—or his—marketing initiatives?

I have a mailing list started, but honestly I have not sent out a single newsletter yet. At some point I will, probably not until my next project is about to birth. If you enjoy The Promise of Stardust and would like to read my next book, sign up! I’ll let you know. Continue reading

Ruta Sepethys On Doing Novel Research, Critique Groups And Loving Roald Dahl

ruta sepethysName: Ruta Sepetys
Author’s Website
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Current Residence: Nashville, TN
Education: BS in International Finance from Hillsdale College
Briefly: Author
Favorite Read: Anything by Truman Capote
Author Crush: Roald Dahl but since he’s inconveniently dead, Jack Gantos.
Fiction How-To Book You’d Recommend: Old Friend From Far Away by Natalie Goldberg contains some excellent writing exercises.
Pet Peeves: People with no sense of humor. I love to laugh.
If You Weren’t a Writer You’d Be…Very depressed.
What You Have Lined Up Next: I’m currently finishing a 3 month book tour. Early next year I will tour Japan and Thailand and I’m very much looking forward to that. I just finished a rough draft of my third book. Historical fiction, of course!

Most young girls growing dream of being married to pop stars. You wanted to grow up and marry Roald Dahl!

Aim high, I say! Roald Dahl would get me into a chocolate factory or a giant peach. Pop stars would get me into jail.

You’re a big collector of eccentric art. Has anything in your collection ever sparked a book idea?

I have a collection of odd photographs – settings or Continue reading

T.J. Loveless Amazon Gift Card + Going Thru Hell #BookGiveaway

Step right up everyone! Step right up and claim your $25 Amazon Gift Card and FREE copy of T.J. Loveless’ new release Going Thru Hell.

What’s This Book About

TJ Loveless book cover3

The journey through hell begins with one step.

KYLIE RIPPONS is a SpongeBob pajama bottom wearing, Dodge Ram 1500 4×4 driving, USDA certified klutz, coffee-addicted mortal, seeking a normal life despite the constant harassment of gods and the ability to braid Kylie sees actions and consequences as bright, shining timelines in her head. Born with the power to gather the strings and braid them into a new chain of events, she is the weapon of choice for many pantheons in their never ending wars. But using the ability requires fuel, and for a mortal, it means a piece of her soul.

One Mesopotamian goddess, the only forsaken Valkyrie, and a rogue, immortal, Berserker ally with Kylie. Constant harassment forces the group to take drastic action, and go on the offensive. She must braid time to save friends, and herself, as the gods drive them into situations in which she must choose: braid time, save her friends, and lose pieces of her mortal soul, or become slave to the pantheon of her choice.

Deception by an old friend sends Kylie fleeing to her parents’ home, where she hid her son, Riot. She’s too late,
the gods found Riot and hold him hostage. Searching for him, Kylie experiences the most devastating betrayal
Kylie faces her worst nightmare: kill a friend and permanently hide Riot, leaving him motherless, or become a
slave in exchange for his safety, leaving her soulless and insane. If only the gods allowed for personal choice.

How to participate in this contest:

1) Retweet this blog post on Twitter
2) Share on Facebook
3) Leave a comment below (Mention your Twitter user name and share your Facebook link)

Three winners will be randomly chosen! Thank you in advance for participating! The contest ends on November 25th.

Update: All three commentators below will receive a copy of the book. Commentator #1 has been selected by Random.org as the winner of the $25 Amazon giftcard. Yay! Congratulations everyone!