Saturday, September 29, 2012

Interview with the lovely Bella Harte

Deirdra: What are your favorite kind of books to read and why?
Bella Harte: I like to read a lot of different genres, but at the moment my favourite is Young Adult or YA PN. The Young Adult books are a nice bit of escapism and lots of fun, nothing too serious, and yet still complex enough to keep you turning those pages until the very last word.

Deirdra: How many books on average would you say you read a year?
Bella Harte: I would say that on average I read a book a week, but if I go on holiday I can read a book a day.  So a two week vacation is another 14 books,

Deirdra: What is the most recent book you read? Can you tell us a little about it?
Bella Harte: I’ve just read ‘Rapture’ from the Fallen Series by Lauren Kate.  It is the fourth and final book in the series, where after a long wait we find out everything we’ve wanted to know since book one ~ No Spoilers from me though, but has this to say:

RAPTURE, the fourth & final FALLEN novel, is the Lauren Kate book the world has been waiting for.

The sky is dark with wings. . . .
Like sand through an hourglass, time is running out for Luce and Daniel. To stop Lucifer from erasing the past, they must find the place where the angels fell to earth.
Dark forces are after them, and Daniel doesn’t know if he can do this—live only to lose Luce again and again. Yet together they face an epic battle that will end with lifeless bodies . . . and angel dust. Great sacrifices are made. Hearts are destroyed.
And suddenly Luce knows what must happen. For she was meant to be with someone other than Daniel. The curse they’ve borne has always and only been about her—and the love she cast aside. The choice she makes now is the only one that truly matters. In the fight for Luce, who will win?
The astonishing conclusion to the FALLEN series. Heaven can’t wait any longer.

Deirdra: What is the most disappointing thing authors do?
Bella Harte: I really wouldn’t like to comment, as being an author I don’t think answering that would be appropriate! LOL

Deirdra: Who are your top five favorite authors?
Bella Harte: Top 5 at the present moment, well let’s see, I like in no particular order:  Becca Fitzpatrick, Shannon Delany, Jennifer Lynn Barnes, Kimberly Derting & Jana G. Oliver and there are many more besides.

Deirdra: How do you feel about e-books?
Bella Harte: I don’t mind them, as my bookcases are filled to overflowing and then some, so at least I can indulge my passion for books without having to get a bigger house now!

Deirdra: If you could give a message to authors what would it be?
Bella Harte: My message to authors would be: You Rock ~ Keep on Writing!

Deirdra: Have you ever thought about writing a book?
Bella Harte: Yes, I have written several.  The first soon to be released.

Deirdra: What other talents and hobbies to you have?
Bella Harte: Apart from writing, I love animals, I like hiking, I paint, I also do a little interior design and furniture restoration. I like gardening but only if it’s not raining, however here in England, it rains a lot, so the gardening is the last thing that ever gets done.

Deirdra: Where is your favorite place to read?
Bella Harte: At home in bed, before sleep.  On holiday, on a sun-lounger under a big umbrella, with a nice cool drink with a little umbrella in it and a straw too, placed on the table next to me!

Deirdra: Do you have a favorite reading snack?
Bella Harte: No, I find it impossible to hold a book and snack at the same time, with me it’s either one of the other, not concurrently.

Deirdra: What books have made you cry?
Bella Harte: Black Beauty by Anna Sewell, The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Color Purple by Alice Walker, Watership Down by Richard Adams, A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett, just to name a few.

Deirdra: What books have made you laugh?
Bella Harte: The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (the entire series) Anything by Terry Pratchett, Barking by Tom Holt, The Portable Door by Tom Holt, All Creatures Great & Small by James Herriot, The Mad Weirdo's Watchers Guide by Tom Koch.
There are so many more, but that’s just a little taster.

Deirdra: What kind of books are you looking to read next? What is on your reading list?
Bella Harte: I’m looking to read more YA PN and my reading list looks like this:

Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
The Savage by Bree Despain
Hades  by Alexandra Adornetto
Foretold by Jana Oliver
Dark Heart Surrender by Lee Munroe
Hallowed by Cynthia Hand
Until I Die by Amy Plum
Dreamless by Josephine Angelini

Plus about 10 more right now, I have a tall stack on my nightstand, so I just keep working my way down the heap and once they are all read its Kindle time.

Deirdra: Is there any other message you would like to give the literary community?
Bella Harte: Only this: Keep on reading, keep supporting all the authors out there, new and old and just enjoy every book for what it is.

If you want to know more about me, my writing and my books, you can find out further information at my website and blog.  I’m also on GoodReads, Twitter, Google+ & Book Blogs details can be found on my website.

My Links are:

Thank you so much Deirdra!

Bella Harte

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Interview with Stephanie Zia

Stephanie Zia joined the BBC at 16 and trained and worked as a production assistant, researcher and director on BBC TV arts documentaries. She began writing when she left the BBC to become a full-time mum. She took a beginner’s course in creative writing at Richmond Adult Community College where she later became a guest tutor. Author of 2 Piatkus commercial fiction novels and 2 Hamlyn non-fiction books, Stephanie has written for a variety of British publications. From 2005–11 she was the cleaning guru for The Guardian newspaper’s popular Space Solves column. Embracing the independent publishing revolution, Stephanie started Blackbird Digital Books in January 2010 to produce her first ebook Done & Dusted – The Organic Home On A Budget, her collected Guardian columns. Other titles include  Ten Good Reasons To Lie About Your Age, a contemporary novel about a widow torn between ageing gracefully or disgracefully, Babe On Board a comedy about a single 40-year-old first-time mum, and her short story collection Made in China – A Fairy Tale For The Internet Age. She lives in London with her partner and teenage daughter.
Huffington Post Books recommends Stephanie’s novel  Ten Good Reasons To Lie About Your Age  as an ideal book for reading and book clubs, calling it insightful and delightful, full of thoughtful dialogue and exceptional clarity.

Deirdra:  What is your writing and educational background?
I left school at 15 and joined the BBC at 16 as a junior secretary. They used to promote all their staff in-house so over the years I gradually moved through the system to the place I wanted to be at: TV arts documentaries. I was very lucky and I loved my job, travelling the world helping directors make films about artists and writers. Though an avid reader, I didn’t think for a moment I would ever write or do anything creative myself. Then I worked on a film about new music in California and met a host of extraordinary artists including Frank Zappa, Terry Riley and John Cage. They showed me that creativity didn’t have a box round it with Not For You written on the outside. Having worked alongside creatives all my life I began to explore my own creativity for the very first time and, to my amazement, ended up directing BBC films instead of assisting. The films were fine but my lack of academic qualifications and my natural shyness didn’t get me very far. I was very frustrated for a while but then my partner bought me a beginner’s creative writing course as a birthday gift and that was it.  

Deirdra: What was the pathway like for you to get your first book published?
 I loved my beginner’s creative writing course so much I took it again the following year. Then I moved on to an advanced course. After writing short stories for 2 years, my first novel Babe on Board was started in that final third year class. I perfected the first 3 chapters and sent them, with a short synopsis, to 2 agents. One of those took me on, helping me shape and craft the whole novel. She then got me a 2 book deal at Piatkus, now part of Little, Brown.

Deirdra: Were you ever discouraged along the way? If so, how did you deal with it?
Discouragement goes with the territory. My own came in the shape of my 2nd novel not being liked by either my agent or the publisher. I was dropped by both and went back down the snake to Square One! I began a blog about my experiences: Confessions Of An Author, which was mainly about failure as I desperately tried to get my feet back in the stirrups again. I came very close, found a second agent and a publisher, but then it went belly-up again. The tone of the blog changed considerably when ebooks came along and I began to self-publish and sell my own work.

Deirdra: Do you need absolute quiet to write? Do you listen to music when you are writing?
Author: No music. No. But absolute quiet isn’t necessary, can ‘tune out’ of everyday sounds.

Deirdra:  What’s your secret to making the characters in your books come to life?
Author: Getting the characters to come to life on the page is the biggest joy of it all. On a first draft I will do nothing but give them speech. Get them talking to each other and each voice and personality develops in its own way. That was an early lesson in my beginner’s creative writing class, getting the characters talking straight away. I then study the speech patterns as they develop and look for unusual speech ticks that can be repeated elsewhere to enhance the individuality of the person. In looks, eyes and light are important, the light in the eye. Plus air and wind, the way it plays on the hair, breathing – literally breathing – brings life to the page.

Deirdra:  What are you working on now?
 I’m working on a novel about a film continuity girl who leaves the industry to go and live with a man she met whilst on location in Brazil. When she arrives she doesn’t find quite what she expected. I filmed in Brazil and continuity was one of my jobs. I loved Brazil so much and I nearly did go and live there. The news that Amazon Kindle is opening in Brazil later this year has inspired me to finish this novel I started many years ago when filming and the work that you have to do as a production assistant and continuity girl was still fresh in my mind.

Deirdra:  What do you hope readers will get from your books? 
 That they will be entertained but also moved by the extremes of the emotional journey that the main characters go through.

Deirdra:  What is the most difficult thing about being an author?
Author: The extremes of the highs and lows. No matter what stage you’re at, once your books are published they go on a journey of ups and downs and you have to find a balance between the despair when things don’t go as you’d hoped and the excitement when they exceed all expectations. It’s a rollercoaster ride.

Deirdra:  What is the best thing about being an author?
Author: The rollercoaster ride. And being able to work anywhere at any time, even when you’re asleep the subconscious takes over in sorting storylines out. I find that side fascinating.

Deirdra:  What are your goals as an author for the next three years?
Author: I’m now publishing other author’s books as well as my own at Blackbird Digital Books so have turned from an author into an author/editor/businesswoman. I’m enjoying it hugely. I  have several commissions in the pipeline by new authors as well as more books on the way by the wonderful travel writer Susie Kelly. My goal is to get my books selling as well as Susie’s! As a writer I hope to return to my children’s fantasy novel which I spent about a year writing between agents and before ebooks arrived. The idea is solid but it needs a complete restructure. I’m looking forward to going back to that and reading it again with fresh eyes after so many years.

Deirdra:  How do you come up with your character’s names?
From a variety of places. Sally Lightfoot the heroine of my latest novel  Ten Good Reasons To Lie About Your Age  - about a widow unsure whether to age gracefully or disgracefully – was named after a crab! They are mentioned quite often in one of my favorite books of all time, John Steinbecks The Log From The Sea Of Cortez . There’s a picture of the crab in that Wikipedia link about the book there. I gave her certain crab characteristics and a Cancer star-sign home-loving personality.

Deirdra: What words of advice do you have for other writers who desire to have their manuscripts become books in print?
 Don’t look back. Don’t dwell on rejection or failure but learn from it and move on. Keep writing is the best advice I was ever given. That’s where the biggest joys will come from.

Deirdra:  What is the best complement you could receive from a reader?
 It has to be the laugh out loud in public one. If I see someone on the train or subway who is looking at a book with a smile on their face I immediately want to know what that book is. I’ve never actually seen anybody laughing out loud though. My books have moved people to laugh out loud, they tell me, but also cry - which is an added bonus. So yes, laughing and crying, definitely.

Deirdra: Where can readers go to find your books and order them?

Thank you so much. It’s a real honor to get your insights.

Thank YOU. It’s been a pleasure. 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Interview with Ellen Feld

Deirdra: What was the pathway like for you to get your first book published?
Ellen Feld:  Although I’d been writing for national magazines for over ten years, I was still considered an unpublished author.  I couldn’t get any agents or publishers to look at my work.  Not one to easily get discouraged I decided to self-publish.  That was about ten years ago, when self-publishing was just starting to get easier for those with little background in publishing.  My first book took off and it’s been a great ride.

Deirdra: Were you ever discouraged along the way? If so, how did you deal with it?
Ellen Feld: It’s easy to get discouraged, particularly because writing is such a lonely profession.  There are times when I get down, and then I go to a book signing and a mom comes up to me and tells me her daughter is dyslexic and the teachers couldn’t get her to read.  Then she discovered my books and now reads them over and over.  I can’t tell you how good that makes me feel.

Deirdra:  What is your writing schedule like?
Ellen Feld: I have a full-time “desk job,” so my writing is done at night.  I never force myself to write.  If I’m not in the mood, I don’t write.  I’ve found that when I do force myself, as some authors do, I don’t like the end result.  But when I get on a roll, my family knows enough to leave me alone because I’m not stopping!

Deirdra:  Where do your ideas come from?  How do you know the idea is good enough to write a book about it?
Ellen Feld : I write about horses for children and pre-teens.  My real horses (I have ten) are my inspiration and they give me enough ideas to keep me writing for years!  The silly, funny, unusual things they do are enough to fill a book – and they do!

Deirdra:  Can you tell us a little about your book, (name of book here)
Ellen Feld: I have seven published books, plus three more in the works.  Most of my books are for preteens (ages 9 – 13) and are part of my ‘Morgan Horse’ series.  The first two in the series, Blackjack and Frosty both won the ‘Children’s Choices’ award from the International Reading Association and Blackjack was picked up by a major toy company and sold with a model of the horse.  I love to write fun adventure stories but it is also important to me that the action be realistic and the horses act like horses.  The series takes place in New England, in a barn full of horses and follow a young girl who is learning about all facets of horses/horse care.  Each book revolves around a different horse and riding discipline.

Deirdra: Do you ever experience a snag in a story, a form of writer's block? If so, how do you deal with it?
Ellen Feld : Oh, yes, absolutely!  What author doesn’t get stuck?  If I hit a snag, I step back and stop writing.  Then I just wait…I know the answer will come to me.  Sometimes it may take a month or more.  Then suddenly it pops into my mind - usually while I’m at the barn playing with the horses.

Deirdra: Do you need absolute quiet to write? Do you listen to music when you are writing?
Ellen Feld : I’m probably unusual in that I need noise to write.  I think that comes from my college experience where it was always noisy where/when I studied.  I keep the television on in the background at all times. 

Deirdra:  What are you working on now?
Ellen Feld: Putting the final touches on the seventh book in my ‘Morgan Horse’ series, The Further Adventures of Blackjack.  It just came back from the editor and I hope to get it to the designer next week.  My illustrator should be finished with the interior pictures in a week or so too.  I have the cover art, which I really love.

Deirdra:  Are you planning on self-publishing, finding and agent, going with a small press or other? And why?
Ellen Feld: I self-publish all my books.  I’ve been really successful, have been picked up by national companies, sell my books through organizations such as The American Morgan Horse Association, and have a regular fan base so I don’t see any reason to stop what I’m doing.  I love the freedom of self-publishing, having total control over my “product,” so I plan on continuing.

Deirdra:  What is the best complement you could receive from a reader?
Ellen Feld: “I couldn’t get my child to read until she discovered your books.  Why can’t you write them faster so she can read more?”  J

Deirdra: Where can readers go to find your books and order them?
Ellen Feld: and for signed copies,

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Interview with Avid Reader LunaMoth

Deirdra: What are your favorite kind of books to read and why?

LunaMoth - My favorite type of books are Fantasy. I love to get swept up in fictional lands, fight Trolls and Orcs and hang out with Elves. Magic and swordsmanship are so different from todays world and I enjoy something that is not the norm. I also enjoy other genres like Anthropomorphic, Historical fiction (Egypt and China being my favorites) and Ya/dystopian/Urban Paranormal.

Deirdra: How many books on average would you say you read a year?

LunaMoth – I am actually doing a contest right now, from the start of Feburary I have read 36 book so far, so I would have to guess around 50 – 80. It all depends on how much time I have and how long the books are or how much I get into it.

Deirdra: What is the most recent book you read? Can you tell us a little about it?

LunaMoth – I am currently Reading “On The Edge” by Ilona Andrews, It is very good! It is about a girl named Rose who lives in the Edge, the space between The Broken (our human world) and The Weird (the fantasy-magical world) Its got plenty of action and wit and I am really enjoying it.

Deirdra: What is the most disappointing thing authors do?

LunaMoth – That definatly has to be when the author introduces a love interest and the main character instantly feels a bond or connection. I mean it can happen but when its so intense and they would die for them after 20g minutes of meeting it just becomes unreal and ruins the love story for me.

Deirdra: Who are your top five favorite authors?

LunaMoth – I would definatly have to say R. A. Salvatore as my first! My others? Ilona Andrews, Rachel Caine, P. C. Cast, and Paul Kidd for his anthro books.

Deirdra: How do you feel about e-books?

LunaMoth – I love them! I know there are people who like the traditional paper and hardbacks and I do like them as well and I still get them from time to time but for me since I have bad eyes I needed the kindles text size and non-glare screen. Plus I have over 400 books on it, there is absolutely NO room in my house for that many books!

Deirdra: If you could give a message to authors what would it be?

LunaMoth – Oh wow! I really don’t have one, I guess I could say: Keep on writing, there will always be bloggers and readers ready to devour your stories!

Deirdra: Have you ever thought about writing a book?

LunaMoth – Many times, however I am purely more of a reader, I do not have the literary prowess as most authors so I will stick to others works of art.

Deirdra: What other talents and hobbies to you have?

LunaMoth – I draw, mostly anime style. Its not the greatest but I enjoy doing it.

Deirdra: Where is your favorite place to read?

LunaMoth- My room snuggled up on my bed with my dog and a cup of tea or coffee. I also sometimes read outside in our gazebo when its not too hot.

Deirdra: Do you have a favorite reading snack?

LunaMoth – I do not, usually I just eat whatever is laying around.

Deirdra: What books have made you cry?

LunaMoth – The one that made me cry the most was “A Whisper of Wings” by Paul Kidd. I also cried for “The Iron Queen” by Julie Kagawa and a few other books.

Deirdra: What books have made you laugh?
LunaMoth – Many, it is hard to pinpoint a few, I think most have been YA books and urban paranormal. But beyond that I can not say.

Deirdra: What kind of books are you looking to read next? What is on your reading list?

LunaMoth – Oh dear! I have over 400 books on my reading list but I really want to read more of the Song of fire and ice series and I really want to read the newest from Laini Taylor. I’m getting more into fantasy and out of YA right now.

Deirdra: Is there any other message you would like to give the literary community?

LunaMoth – Keep reading and enjoying books!
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