Archive for November, 2014

Thanksgiving

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This holiday season is a perfect time to reflect on those people and things for which we are grateful.

Here are ten things I am grateful for:

  1. I’m alive
  2. I’m free
  3. I’m reasonably healthy
  4. I live indoors
  5. I eat on a regular basis
  6. I have clothes
  7. I am in a healthy, loving relationship
  8. I have great friends
  9. I have books to read
  10. I have the opportunity to write as much as I want

This list could go on and on. I bet that you can come up with at least as many things right off the top of your head.

If only we could maintain this attitude throughout the year, life would be so much better. This post is a commitment from me to try to do just that. Why not make a similar commitment?

Oh, and if you’re grateful for someone, why not tell them?

What are you grateful for? Do you have a gratitude list? Why not make one now and put it someplace where you will see it every day?

 

Happy Thanksgiving,

Matt

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Posted by Matthew Peters - November 26, 2014 at 9:08 am

Categories: General Thoughts   Tags: ,

My Interview with J.S. Graydon

Please welcome J.S. Graydon, author of The White Horseman.

JS Graydon

Tell us a bit about yourself and what you are currently working on or promoting.

Hi! My name is J.S. Graydon.  I am English, but I currently reside in SW Florida.   I am the author of The White Horseman.  I grew up deep within the English countryside where magic, folklore, and whimsical creatures were not considered fictional at all, but rather gateways to realms undiscovered!

 

What genre(s) do you write in?

I write young adult fiction.

 

What sets you apart from other authors in your genre?

I love to interweave stories around colorful, complex characters!  Luckily, the book has been published in a time when readers are interested in the ‘End of Days’ scenario.  Television is also touching on the subject with the FOX hit series, Sleepy Hollow and NBC’s Constantine.  My book is about a young boy’s quest to stop the first horseman of the apocalypse from rising and stopping a chain of events that if left unbroken would end humanity as we know it! Constantine touches on another part of the novel where celestial beings work together with humanity to avert a crisis.  So to answer the question, I believe the book is popular with current events and a growing trend towards the supernatural.

 

What advice would you give to an aspiring author?

To please not stop writing!  It is easy to quickly write an epic fight scene or fantastic story plot, but it’s harder to write the slower scenes that tie it together.  But there is where a lot of the magic can happen.  Secondly, try not to keep re-reading it because then the story becomes stale to you.  There is plenty of time at the end to tidy things up!

 

What are your three favorite books?

Well I’m a huge fan of series books: The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling.  I love anything Dean Koontz writes.  J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy was thrilling.  The Famous Five series by Enid Blyton was very clever.  I know that’s way more than three books – but who can choose?

 

Who is your favorite author and why?

J.K. Rowling – for the same reason most love her.  What an imagination! The world is lucky that someone published her books.  How many more potential ‘Rowlings’ are out there – just waiting for an opportunity?

 

What are you currently reading?

I am not currently reading anything.  I have started work on my second book, The Red Horseman.  It continues the saga of Ben Bellamy and his quest to stop the End of Days.  I would love to pick up a new book but the characters in my head drive me to write them down.

 

What makes good writing?

I believe good writing is good reading.  It has to flow well and doesn’t tangle the reader up with words that you need a dictionary to decipher.  Good writing makes a reader want one more chapter before bed.

 

Is there a theme/message underlying your book(s) that you hope comes across?

Not in sense that you are asking but the book draws from current events and trends.  Global problems within our world are brought into the book as a back-drop.  In the book, they are happening because a time of great darkness is at hand, and all the badness that the world is seeing right now is happening because of the rise of the horsemen of the apocalypse!

 

How do you keep sane as a writer?

I have many, many notes.  My first rule is to write it down.   I don’t care where but the fantastic idea that just popped into your head can disappear just as quickly.  The first book was written free-style.  The second had to be more structured and so I use an outline.

 

If you could be any character in literature, who would you choose to be?

The vampire Lestat de Lioncourt from the Anne Rice vampire series.

 

Has reading a book ever changed your life? If yes, which one and how?

Many books have changed my life.  I can’t think of one specifically, but I draw strength from the written word.  When they say words can never hurt you, I don’t believe that at all.  Words can build you up or tear you down.  They inspire me to grow and stay open-minded.  Reading has transported me through time and taken me on the ride of a lifetime!

 

If someone wrote a book about your life, what would it be called?

Something Magic This Way Comes.

 

Have you had to make sacrifices for your writing, and if so, what are they?

Writing takes time and sometimes you have to be a little selfish.  I try to carve time each day to do at least something that progresses my writing.  I have had to lessen my work day schedule in order to give my books the attention they need.

 

What obstacles, if any, have you encountered in being a writer?

One of the hardest obstacles has to be promoting yourself and your work.  I am an introvert and am naturally shy.  That is why I started writing and reading to begin with.  Becoming an author subjects you to people that are critical of what you have written.

 

What do you like best/least about writing?

I get nervous when I have to engage with a person the first time.  As a child I was painfully shy.  As an adult it is better but I am not a social butterfly.  The best thing about writing would be when an idea that was only inside your head becomes a reality on paper.  Then someone reads that idea and they are equally moved by it – it validates your work.

 

Did you learn anything from writing your book, and what was it?

Since The White Horseman was free-style I really only had a vague idea of how its character would play out.  I knew the ending of course, but the character’s motives and place within the book changed often throughout the writing process.  Not all the characters played out how I originally thought they would.  I learnt to allow each character to grow the way they needed to.

 

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I caught the writing bug in high school.  A group of friends and I wrote plays.  One would write an act and then we would pass it to another in the hallway between classes.  We did that for years and must have wrote dozens of plays.  Each person could (and often would) completely change the direction of the play during their scene.  It made for some very strange plays that would never end the way you planned them to.

 

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

Probably Dean Koontz because he can enrapt a reader.  I remember reading one of his novels and I got goosebumps from the terrifying descriptions he gave of a monster.  I was so impressed that a writer could literally cause terror in a reader with only the written word and no visual stimulation.

 

Do you have anything specific you want to say to your readers?

That I would love to get their thoughts on The White Horseman.   I am always open to new ideas and would love to hear from readers.

 

Would you rather have one giant bestseller or a long string of moderate sellers?

Well that’s tough.  If I had to pick I think perhaps one giant bestseller, but what about a giant bestseller of a long string of books?

 

Would you rather read a book that is poorly written but has an excellent story, or read one with weak content, but is well written?

Wow good question!  I think I would rather read a poorly written book but with excellent story.  I could look past the mistakes if it was a good read.

 

What is the hardest thing about writing a series?

It is hard sometimes to follow the thread of the story or character.  I love weaving stories together but as the characters grow it becomes hard to connect all the pieces.  Also, as the writer I need the reader to be able to follow the character connections even if they never read the book before it.  It makes sometimes for somewhat lengthy dialogue explanations.

 

Do you think a writer should write every day?

Ideally, I would love to write every day but realistically most writers can’t.  I need to completely immerse myself within the story to be at my best.  Some days I am not able to do that and so I pass on writing.

 

What five words would you use to describe yourself?

Imaginative, creative, happy, curious, and supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

 

Tell us something about yourself that few people know.

I have a legal English title! My father is a Lord.

 

If you could marry a fictional character, who would it be?

Professor Snape from Harry Potter.  I bet he has very interesting stories to tell!

 

Please share your social media links with us, including where the book(s) may be purchased.

Please visit my website: www.jsgraydon.com   The book can be purchased through the website also.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100005196499036

Twitter: @JSGraydonAuthor or https://twitter.com/JSGraydonAuthor

You can find me on Goodreads and my book is available through any major bookseller.

I’m an avid social media follower.

I would love to hear from you!

Thank you J.S. Graydon for sharing your time with us. I wish you all the best with your writing. Please keep us posted on the latest developments.

 

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Excerpt

“Tell me Gerhardt – what makes yer so sure this boy is Chosen?”

“I have spoken with Gentle Wolf, he assured me he is the one.  His dreams have spoken of it.”

“’e is not able… look at him,” Ronan stated flatly.  Ben had had enough.  Shaking with rage he stood.

“Will you stop talking as if I’m not here.   I don’t know what, what kind of nonsense this is, but if you don’t stop talking in riddles I’m leaving, “Ben glanced over his shoulder at Ronan.

“You’re not going to let me and my family leave are you?”  The warrior sat down beside him and sighed.

“Listen Ben, yer family is safe.  No ‘arm will come to them.  For now they are in the state of suspension.  They will be well looked after”.

Magus looked over at Gerhardt.  “Perhap the boy has fire in his guts yet!”

The sorcerer sighed. “Ben, it’s just not that easy.  Terrible things are happening – in both your realm and mine.  Why you didn’t feel the Calling I can’t tell you, but you’re here nonetheless.  Something drew you here, that doesn’t just happen”.  Ben didn’t respond.  He had no answer.

Gerhardt continued, “There’s just so little time so I’ll try to be succinct”.  Ronan settled himself down – this was going to take a while.

 

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Posted by Matthew Peters - November 25, 2014 at 7:13 am

Categories: Author Interviews   Tags: ,

My Interview with Joan Curtis

Please welcome Joan Curtis, author of The Clock Strikes Midnight.

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Tell us a bit about yourself and what you are currently working on or promoting.

Hi Matthew. I’m a communications specialist turned mystery writer. I published 4 nonfiction business books and then decided to try my hand at fiction. Actually, it wasn’t quite like that. I was writing fiction all along, but not really focusing on getting my fiction published. When I decided to really put my attention on fiction writing, I worked on my favorite manuscript and soon got a publisher. The Clock Strikes Midnight will be released on November 25. So far the reviews have been very positive.

 

What genre(s) do you write in?

I’m writing in the mystery, crime, suspense genre.

 

What sets you apart from other authors in your genre?

I’m not sure I’m “set apart” from other writers of crime fiction, but I strive to create strong characters in strong plots. My goal was to write a book I’d enjoy reading.

 

Do you have an agent and/or publisher, or are you self-published?

I have never self-published. My book will be released by MuseItUp Publishing.

 

What advice would you give to an aspiring author?

My advice would take up another blog post—there is so much to share. To make a long story short, I’d say, write and keep writing and don’t let rejections discourage you. As a caveat I’d add, pay attention to constructive criticism and re-write.

 

What are your three favorite books?

That’s like asking me which are my three favorite cats. I could never pick just three. I love so many. But, some I’ve adored are Fair and Tender Ladies by Lee Smith (a North Carolina writer), A Woman of Independent Means by Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey and Colette—everything she’s written.

 

Who is your favorite author and why?

Oops, here you go again trying to make me select a favorite cat. My mom has a great answer to this question: “Anyone who can write a good book.” Maybe Colette because she writes with such sensitivity. I can read and re-read every passage. I cried when I finished the Colette Omnibus because it was over.

 

If you could have a conversation with one person living or dead who would it be?

My dad. He died when I was 8. He was an artist—a very good painter. I’d love to talk to him about his art and the entire realm of creativity.

 

What are you currently reading?

Big Little Lies by Laine Moriarty (a new fav writer).

 

What makes good writing?

The ability to use words to paint pictures of characters, places and events. The ability to use words to evoke emotion.

 

Is there a theme/message underlying your book(s) that you hope comes across?

My books hold out hope. For example in The Clock Strikes Midnight when all seems lost, strength, courage and passion demonstrated by strong characters triumph in the end.

 

How do you keep sane as a writer?

How do you know I’m sane?

If you could be any character in literature, who would you choose to be?

Elizabeth Bennet in Pride a Prejudice only because she wins Mr. Darcy.

Has reading a book ever changed your life? If yes, which one and how?

All books change my life. But, when I was a kid, maybe 9 years old. I recall reading Old Yeller on my back porch and crying my eyes out. In that moment I learned the power of reading.

 

If someone wrote a book about your life, what would it be called?

Good grief, Matthew, where do these questions come from? Let’s see—“They Said She Couldn’t Do it.”

 

Have you had to make sacrifices for your writing, and if so, what are they?

I’m not sure I have.

What obstacles, if any, have you encountered in being a writer?

Trying to stay upbeat when all you get are rejections. The process of publishing is very hard, particularly for new writers.

 

What do you like best/least about writing?

Allowing your creativity to run away with you and seeing where it takes you or killing off your worst enemies.

 

Did you learn anything from writing your book, and what was it?

The characters, although completely fictional, taught me the value of being honest with people while they are alive. I guess as a communication consultant, I realize that we all have things hidden away. At some point, we need to express those things before it’s too late. Even if it means telling the persons closest to you that you love them.

 

What question didn’t I ask that you wish I had?

Good grief, I couldn’t imagine!!

 

Please share your social media links, including where the book may be purchased.

My blog is www.joancurtis.com/blog  My website is www.joancurtis.com
I’m having a Facebook Launch Party on 11/25 from 3-5pm ET Join at https://www.facebook.com/events/1521985578047411/

 

Thank you Joan Curtis for sharing your time with us. I wish you all the best with your writing. Please keep us posted on the latest developments.

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The Clock Strikes Midnight is a race against time in a quest for revenge and atonement. This is a story about hate, love, betrayal and forgiveness.

If you found out you had only 3 months to live, what would you do? That’s the question Janie Knox faces in this fast-paced mystery full of uncertainty and tension that will surprise you until the very last page.

Hiding behind the façade of a normal life, Janie keeps her family secrets tucked inside a broken heart. Everything changes on the day she learns she’s going to die. With the clock ticking and her time running out, she rushes to finish what she couldn’t do when she was 17—destroy her mother’s killer. But she can’t do it alone.

Janie returns to her childhood home to elicit help from her sister. She faces more than she bargained for when she discovers her sister’s life in shambles. Meanwhile her mother’s convicted killer, her stepfather, recently released from prison, blackmails the sisters and plots to extract millions from the state in retribution. New revelations challenge Janie’s resolve, but she refuses to allow either time or her enemies to her stop her from uncovering the truth she’s held captive for over 20 years.

 

Excerpt

          “Daddy, when I get my kitty, can I name him Davy?” she had asked, yanking Marlene’s Davy Crockett mug full of M&M’s from her grasp.

The colorful candy spilled all over the backseat of the car.

“Mama, tell Janie to—”

“Janie, behave,” Daddy said, admonishing her for an instant with his eyes from the rearview mirror.

“Malcolm, look out—!” Mom screamed.

Janie slammed into Marlene. Pain. The world tumbled topsy-turvy. The mug flew across the interior of the car, colors of the rainbow falling all around her.

Then, everything went black.

When she opened her eyes, Mom’s blood-streaked face rose in front of her out of the darkness.

“Wrap your arms around my neck, honey.” Mom lifted her from the wreckage.

Janie clutched her doll by the dress while the rain beat her curly hair flat.

Marlene stood on the side of the road.

“Try to walk,” Mom said, toppling her from her arms.

Her head pounded and blood trickled down her leg. She leaned on her good leg and limped in the direction of her sister.

“Mama, where’s Daddy?” Marlene asked between sobs.

Mom took Marlene’s hand and yanked her forward with Janie in tow.

Marlene lurched back toward the smashed Oldsmobile with smoke billowing from its hood and a big tree lying across the roof. The Davy Crockett mug lay shattered by the back tire.

“Daddy! We can’t leave Daddy!” Marlene yelled, picking up pieces of the broken glass.

They had left Daddy that day and piled into an old Chevy pick-up truck with a bashed in headlamp, belonging to a man with carrot-red hair. Mom pushed them inside the truck and ordered the man to get help. But by then it was too late for Daddy.

It was too late for all of them.

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Posted by Matthew Peters - November 18, 2014 at 7:07 am

Categories: Author Interviews   Tags: ,

My Interview with Susan Bernhardt

Please welcome Susan Bernhardt, author of Murder Under the Tree and The Ginseng Conspiracy.

Susan Book

Tell us your latest news.

I am thrilled to say that my second Kay Driscoll mystery, Murder Under the Tree, has just been released!

Kay Driscoll’s first Christmas in Sudbury Falls is an unforgettable one, with equal amounts of celebration and danger. During the season of  peace on earth, good will to men, Kay uncovers sinister plots of corruption at a retirement home, while investigating the suspicious death of a beloved caretaker.

 

What got you interested in writing mysteries?

My love of reading mysteries. I was reading a favorite author’s lastest cozy and I thought, I could write a mystery as good as this one. 😉 I made this into a challenge for myself. Not having written since college composition, I took several writing classes. My original goals were to be traditionally published, have my mystery on Amazon, and to sell a certain number of books. I have since accomplished all of these goals.

 

How do you come up with your ideas for mysteries?

All of my ideas for my mysteries are derived from personal experience and the people around me.

For The Ginseng Conspiracy, my husband, Bill and I were on a trip in Germany. We met a couple from Central Wisconsin who were ginseng farmers. Not having any knowledge of ginseng, I asked them a lot of questions about their farming, the product, sales, etc. In my research I discovered that 95% of all American cultivated ginseng was grown in Wisconsin. There weren’t any fiction novels out there on the topic, so I decided this would be the subject of my first mystery.

For Murder Under the Tree, I went to a Christmas tea with one of my friends and describe the tea in the first chapter of my novel almost exactly as it occurred. Having the mystery take place in a well to do retirement home, I involved a character from my previous Kay Driscoll mystery who had come to live at the home. From that idea, the story took off.

 

Tell us a little about your writing process.

The first draft is the most important part of my writing process, getting everything and anything, no matter how far-out it may be, down in writing. From there I expand my ideas and do many revisions. Eventually my story evolves to the final product.

 

What do you like best/least about writing?

I like everything about writing. I enjoy spending my day researching my story and working on revisions. I love creating a world that a reader becomes interested in and excited about. The only thing I can think of that would detract from being an author is the time it takes away from family and friends.

 

Did you learn anything from writing your first/second book, and what was it?

I learned that persistence and perseverance are the keys to success. I am still learning the art of writing and probably always will be.

 

What question didn’t I ask that you wish I had?

What hopes I had for my cozy mystery series. I have a dry sense of humor and I wanted my mysteries to be humorous and enjoyable, yet thrilling and suspenseful. My characters bring to the mysteries much comic relief in tense situations. I wanted my readers to have a feeling of satisfaction after they finished my novel,  that it was time well spent.

 

Please share your social media links with us, including where the book(s) may be purchased:

Murder Under the Tree and The Ginseng Conspiracy can be purchased on Amazon, iTunes/iBooks, MuseItUp Publishing, Barnes and Noble.

Website: www.susanbernhardt.com

Author FB page: https://www.facebook.com/TheGinsengConspiracyBySusanKBernhardt

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/skbernha/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7255617.Susan_Bernhardt

Twitter: @SusanBernhardt1

 

Thank you SUSAN BERNHARDT for sharing your time with us. I wish you all the best with your writing. Please keep us posted on the latest developments.

 

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Murder Under the Tree Book Blurb:

While Kay attends a Christmas tea at Hawthorne Hills Retirement Home, a beloved caretaker dies from an allergic reaction to peanuts. When the official coroner’s report rules the cause of death to be accidental, a small group of residents suspect foul play and call upon Kay to investigate.

Kay uncovers sinister plots of fraud, revenge, and corruption at the Home. During this season of peace on earth, good will to men, additional murders occur. Despite multiple attempts on her life, and with the support once again of her best friends, Elizabeth and Deirdre, Kay continues her quest for bringing justice for the victims.

Kay’s first Christmas in Sudbury Falls is an unforgettable one, with equal amounts of celebration and danger. ‘Tis the season to be sleuthing!

 

Murder Under the Tree Excerpt:  (Spoilers removed)

I heard Phil playing his guitar in the lower level just on the other side of the yew tree, and could even make out his shadow through the blinds. As I pushed in each light on the string, I thought of Les when he did the same thing, the afternoon of the tea. I continued testing each bulb, lost in my thoughts, when all of a sudden, I heard the crunching footsteps of someone approaching from behind me. I turned my head.

Two dark arms came from behind and grabbed the string of lights out from the tree, and strung them around my neck, pulling tight, squeezing my throat.

Intense fear overcame me, then panic. Couldn’t breathe! I was going to die at the hands of an assassin. A few seconds later, my movements seemed automatic, each linked to the next. I grabbed at the string around my neck and tried to loosen it with both hands. The person clawed at my fingers, then pulled all the tighter. I desperately sought to draw air into my tortured lungs, but I was denied by the decorative noose that strangled me.

Struggling, I I managed to twist my body around and saw a person dressed all in black, wearing a ski-mask. I wanted to reach for that mask and reveal the identity of this person who had twice assailed me, but I had both hands occupied, fighting the wire around my throat. The person pulled the string of lights even tighter. I kept hearing Phil’s guitar. Would this be the last thing I heard: Phil playing that damned guitar? Then he started singing. My strength began leaving me and so I steeled myself for one final push for freedom. I kneed my attacker in the groin. That seemed to work; the person loosened their grip and took a step back for a second, moaning.

Tears streamed down my face as I gasped for air. A fleeting feeling of hope came over me having bought myself a brief reprieve from the onslaught. And then, with everything I had left in me, I went for the eyes with my thumbs.

I heard a scream. I couldn’t tell if it was a man or a woman. The attacker let loose. Lightheaded, I fell to the ground acknowledging that not many moments lay ahead for me. Next, I heard footsteps retreating in the snow, towards the wooded area behind our home. Why hadn’t they finished me off? In the distance I heard another sound. Angels singing. The angels kept singing, coming nearer. Singing. Maybe I was dead. Whomever it was, must have finished me off. Why else would there be angels? The angels kept singing, then everything went black.

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Posted by Matthew Peters - November 14, 2014 at 7:04 am

Categories: Author Interviews   Tags: , ,

Book Launch

On November 11 I had my book launch for Conversations Among Ruins at Letters Bookshop in Durham, NC. It was an amazing experience because of the people there. I sensed a level of emotional connection with them that I haven’t experienced in a long time. Thank you so much to those who came, and to those who were there in spirit.

 

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Posted by Matthew Peters - November 13, 2014 at 8:03 am

Categories: Writing   Tags: ,

My Interview with Tania Donald

Please welcome TANIA DONALD, author of THE BOOK OF CALLING.

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First, I have to say that I’m only just emerging from the spell this book cast on me. I started reading it on Halloween. I couldn’t have made a better choice in terms of a scary story. The book grabbed me from the first page. I read it compulsively over the next couple of days, despite having several other things that needed tending to.

And here is the really great news. Tania is giving away a copy of The Book of Calling. All you have to do to be considered for the drawing is leave a comment below.

Don’t miss out on this beautifully written, superbly crafted Gothic tale of horror!

 

Tell us a bit about yourself and what you are currently working on or promoting.

I’m a Melbourne girl with a Ph.D in English Literature and a passion for writing and for the supernatural genre. Whether it be classic supernatural fiction, Universal and Hammer horror films, or writing my own supernatural/horror fiction, I just can’t get enough of creepy, atmospheric, psychological thrills and chills.

I’m currently promoting my latest novel, “The Book Of Calling.” Of the three novels I’ve written so far, it’s the work I am proudest of, as it is closest to the kind of writing I’ve been trying to achieve all along – proper horror! Weirdly, I was in the middle of planning a completely different novel (set during the Victorian gold-rush) when I had a very disturbing dream about an occult book that offered its owner the power to control others. I sat down at the computer that day and the whole first chapter of “The Book Of Calling” poured out, without my even thinking about it. The rest of the novel flowed the same way. It was thrilling but also slightly creepy. The story is about Nicolas, a naïve young composer in bohemian Paris of the 1890’s, whose unrequited love for a beautiful singer leads him to the bloodstained Book Of Calling that promises to win him his beloved. Of course it all goes horribly wrong. The real forces behind the book – and the real consequences of using it – are the mysteries Nicolas must unravel as he struggles to save his beloved from the deadly spell of The Book Of Calling.

 

What genre(s) do you write in?

I write historical supernatural and horror fiction. I love historical settings because I find it easier to accept horror that is set in an earlier time. Somehow it is more believable to have supernatural things occurring in a period before science had cast its light into so many areas of understanding. Horror needs shadows.

 

What sets you apart from other authors in your genre?

My favourite horror films and stories have a sense of style about them, and I try to bring this to my own stories. I aim to evoke for the reader the feeling of classic supernatural literature combined with a more modern, almost cinematic, sense of pace and style.

My experience in researching my doctoral thesis has also proved valuable as I do a lot of research into period details, real settings, and especially things like use of language in the 19th century.

 

Do you have an agent and/or publisher, or are you self-published?

“Haunted Heart” was published by Penguin and came out right after a lot of the major bookshop chains closed down. The rise of the ebook and the demise of the bookshop seem to have really thrown all the cards up into the air as far as traditional publishing goes. With “The Book Of Calling” I decided to try indie publishing as this seems to be the way the book world is now heading. Being a control freak, I enjoyed having total control over the final book and even the cover, which I designed and illustrated myself.

 

What advice would you give to an aspiring author?

When I was writing my doctoral thesis, the idea of writing something book-length was pretty overwhelming and I wasn’t sure if I could do it. But then I realised: if I just sit here at the desk working for long enough, I will get there. Persistence is the key. When I started writing my first novel, Haunted Heart, I felt similarly daunted, so I didn’t tell anyone what I was doing, and didn’t even admit to myself that I was trying to write a full length novel. I just challenged myself to see how long and how interesting I could make the story. No pressure. Soon enough it gathered its own momentum and it was so satisfying to prove to myself I could do it.

My other favourite quote is “make it work!” As the fashion designer Tim Gunn says on “Project Runway.” If you don’t like something in your story, find a way to change it and make it work.

 

What are your three favorite books?

My all-time favourite novel would have to be Iain Banks’ “The Wasp Factory.” I am also a huge fan of Nathaniel Philbrick’s “In The Heart of the Sea” and Robin Annear’s “The Man Who Lost Himself” – two of the most fantastic and completely enthralling non-fiction books you could ever read.

 

Who is your favorite author and why?

My favourite author is H P Lovecraft, whom I first really got into about ten years ago. Once you get accustomed to his style (long sentences and a wonderfully baroque vocabulary), the imaginative world he creates is startlingly original and utterly addictive. I so admire any artist who can give you the feeling that you are seeing into another dimension of reality – one that’s ordinarily just out of reach.

 

If you could have a conversation with one person living or dead who would it be?

I would love to meet Scott Walker, the singer/composer. He is such a fascinating artist and another of those rare creative people who can give you that feeling of glimpsing other dimensions of reality. His work at times touches on those same thrills of psychological darkness and beautiful horror that I find in Lovecraft, and I often play his more recent albums as I write, as his music can get me instantly into the mood I like to be in for writing about the supernatural.

 

What are you currently reading?

I am currently reading “The Hero With A Thousand Faces” by Joseph Campbell. I am really enthralled by his work on myth and symbolism and I would like to delve deeper into this field.

 

What makes good writing?

I suppose it’s a combination of a compelling idea and the style of the telling. Think of the way M R James would take his very creepy ghost story ideas and write them in such an understated and British style. The combination is perfect.

 

Is there a theme/message underlying your book(s) that you hope comes across?

A lot of what I write could be classified as “horror stories about relationships.” I think I’m fascinated by the shadow side of the fixation on love and relationships we see so much of in mainstream culture and advertising, etc. I’m exploring the intersection of states of emotional vulnerability and psychological horror, and playing on our fears around that. “The Book Of Calling” for instance, looks at what happens when you mistake fascination or infatuation for love, and what happens when you love someone that you don’t know. This is the shaky emotional ground that Nicolas is treading when he stumbles into The Book Of Calling’s labyrinth of horrors. His youth and emotional vulnerability leave him open to the attentions of some very sinister forces and he is initially too caught up in his feelings for his beloved to realise what is happening to both of them.

 

How do you keep sane as a writer?

Writing keeps me (more or less) sane … It’s an escape from reality into a reality of my own making.

 

If you could be any character in literature, who would you choose to be?

Maybe Willy Wonka, so I could have my own chocolate factory. That would be living the dream.

 

Has reading a book ever changed your life? If yes, which one and how?

Iain Banks’ “The Wasp Factory” was a book I stumbled across at a young age (around 13 or 14) and it had a huge affect on me and really got me thinking about interesting things like how society shapes gender roles, how a book can combine horror with humour, and how good writing can deal with substantive and complex issues like identity and psychological abuse in a way that was shocking and thought-provoking but still captivating and entertaining. The book’s main protagonist, Frank Cauldhame, remains for me one of literature’s most unforgettable characters.  “The Wasp Factory” would go on to form the basis of a lot of my later academic work.

 

Have you had to make sacrifices for your writing, and if so, what are they?

The creative life may be fulfilling in many ways, but seldom financially – so far.

 

What obstacles, if any, have you encountered in being a writer?

It can be difficult to combine one’s passion for writing with work and the other demands on one’s time and energy. That can be a real test of a person’s enthusiasm and determination. The changing nature of the publishing landscape is also a bit daunting. The old ideas we used to have about how authors got published and how they developed their careers no longer apply. There are a lot of new things to learn as we navigate into the world of independent publishing.  All that is fine, but it also takes time and energy away from the act of writing.

 

What do you like best/least about writing?

I like everything about writing. I love ideas and thinking up new plots and being able to create and control a whole imaginary world. There is nothing more satisfying.  What I like least is that I have way more ideas than time to realise them.

 

Did you learn anything from writing your book, and what was it?

Be careful what you wish for…

 

What question didn’t I ask that you wish I had?

“What is your next project?”

I’m working on a new novel in a slightly different vein – a story about a haunted house and about the people who live in it during three different time periods and how they are strangely connected by a tragedy from the house’s past and a love story that transcends time. The story touches on the idea of circular time and has some resonances with stories like “Picnic At Hanging Rock” and “Somewhere In Time.” I’m hoping it may be more of a crossover book that might appeal to non-genre readers as well.

 

Thank you TANIA DONALD for sharing your time with us. I wish you all the best with your writing. Please keep us posted on the latest developments.

 

*Please be sure to leave a comment to be entered into the drawing for a free copy of The Book of Calling. You really don’t want to miss this opportunity!*

 

Links:

Amazon Author page (with links to Haunted Heart and The Book Of Calling):

http://www.amazon.com/Tania-Donald/e/B00IMTYT08/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

 

Amazon US:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ITXLFR2

 

Amazon UK:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00ITXLFR2?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

 

Amazon AUS:

http://www.amazon.com.au/gp/product/B00ITXLFR2?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

 

Smashwords:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/406644

 

Paperback available through Createspace:

https://www.createspace.com/4713778

 

Social Media Links:

 

Goodreads Page:

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4891136.Tania_Donald

 

Facebook Page:

https://www.facebook.com/TaniaDonaldAuthor

 

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/tegby

 

 

 

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Blurb:

Paris, 1890: In an ancient and blood-stained book of black magic, The Book Of Calling, composer Nicolas de Bresson writes the name of the beautiful chanteuse he adores – a woman who doesn’t even know he exists. But what happens to a heart won through bewitchment? And what price does The Book of Calling demand in return for its favours?

Out of his depth and plunged into a labyrinth of unimagined horrors, Nicolas must unravel the dark mysteries of The Book of Calling. To save his spellbound lover from deathless damnation, Nicolas will have to pit himself against the demonic forces rising from the shadows to destroy them both.

 

Haunting, chilling and bloody, The Book of Calling is a gothic tale of buried secrets, immortal evil, and a love that reaches back from the grave.

 

“I am the Book of Calling.

My secrets are thine

And thy secrets mine.

Blood and silence are the price of our bargain.

Thy will shall be made flesh

Inscribed forever upon thee and me.”

 

 

Extract:

“If only the power of your longing could summon your love to you,” Monsieur Greene remarked wistfully. “If only you could find some way to touch her heart, as she has touched yours.”

“Yes, yes, but it is quite impossible. The Comte —”

“— But perhaps it is not … If I said there was a way – a secret, hidden way to achieve such a miracle – what would you say to that?”

“How? How could such a thing be done?”

“Not by any natural means. No. Nor by any means one might mention in polite society, or before one’s priest. Not by such means as one might ever disclose to another living soul, for indeed that is a strict condition of the … arrangement to which I allude. But would you scruple at such a caveat if it meant that you might gain your happiness?”

“No, Monsieur, I would not – for you see the pathetic state of misery that grips me. My love for her has become a torment. I would give a king’s ransom to free my heart from her chains – and I would give my life itself to win her.”

Monsieur Greene merely nodded. He paused a moment in grave meditation, then hobbled silently to a tall bookcase in a nook at the far end of the room, whose glass doors were framed with sinuously carved rosewood and secured with a small golden lock. He drew a key from his pocket and opened the doors, reaching for a book on the topmost shelf. For a moment he seemed to hesitate and drew back his hand, then his doubt resolved itself and he proceeded to take down the book and returned with it towards me.

“Very few men have ever seen this book,” he began. “Those who have possessed it have found their lives utterly transformed, as mine has been. I will show it to you now only if you will swear on your life never to disclose its secrets to any other – will you swear to that? This oath is no trivial matter, Monsieur,” he warned, his eyes burning with intensity and his face drawn as he loomed towards me.

“Yes, I – I give you my word,” I answered, taken aback but desperately curious to know his great secret …

 

 

 

 

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Posted by Matthew Peters - November 3, 2014 at 6:46 am

Categories: Author Interviews   Tags: ,

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