woensdag 25 april 2012

Interview with author Jamie Bastedo – Nature Writer for All Ages


This time I am talking to author Jamie Bastedo who is an Arctic naturalist and award winning author living in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada. He has written 12 books celebrating the natural world, including two climate change thrillers, On Thin Ice, and its sequel, Sila’s Revenge. His latest work of non-fiction is the Trans Canada Trail Guide to the Northwest Territories. Jamie’s passion for popularizing natural science brought him national honour in 2002 when he won Canada’s Michael Smith Award for Science Promotion and Queen Elizabeth’s Golden Jubilee Medal.

Books & Writing: Do you remember the first story you wrote?

Jamie Bastedo: My first kids book was hatched in the back of a helicopter while I worked as a biologist for Canada’s first diamond mine. We were looking for a satellite-collared grizzly bear on the Arctic tundra. All our fancy instruments told us the bear was somewhere below us but nobody could actually spot it. Finally, after a lot of zooming around, we saw a huge grizzly bear come out from behind a big boulder, stand up on its hind legs, and wave its front claws at us like it was shaking its fist! In that split second I was hit with the inspiration to write Tracking Triple Seven, a novel about a city slicker boy who becomes a defender of the grizzly and its wild tundra world.

Books & Writing: Were you inspired by someone or something?

Jamie Bastedo: As a graduate biology student I had a professor, John Theberge, who was very passionate about both good science and good writing. He did all he could to communicate his discoveries and concerns about wolves to the public through newspaper articles, books, interviews, etc. I adopted his approach, using every fun kind of media I can get my hands on to “take science to the streets.”

Books & Writing: What do you love about writing a story?

Jamie Bastedo: My writing career began with several adult non-fiction books about geology, snow, birds, forest fires, even mosquitos. My favorite parts of these books explored more than just nature’s wonders but the story of people’s relationships with it. This led me to writing what I call “lyrical non-fiction”, and ultimately to fiction. It was my daughters who, at 10 and 12, said, “No more books, Daddy, until you write a kids book!” Little did I know how much fun that would be!

Books & Writing: I understand you have written several young adult and children’s books.

Jamie Bastedo: Yes. They are as follows.

• Tracking Triple Seven - An adventure story about grizzly bears and diamond mines in the arctic tundra (middle school).

 • On Thin Ice - Climate change thriller set in the high Arctic (teens and adults)


• Sila's Revenge - Sequel to On Thin Ice takes an arctic teen climate change crusader into the wider world (teens and adults).

• Free as the Wind – Picture book about how one kid saves hundreds of wild horses on Sable Island, Nova Scotia. Based on a true story (pre & primary school)

Books & Writing: What attracts you in writing those kinds of books?

Jamie Bastedo: What amazes me about writing fiction is that you can be anyone, doing anything, anywhere, at anytime. A city boy seeing the tundra for the first time. A girl looking down the mouth of a volcano. A grizzly bear nursing her cubs. A wallaby dancing in the desert. Nature provides an infinite palette of colors for a writer to draw on. I love to use that inspiration to create fun adventures for readers while giving them an extremely intimate connection with the natural world.

Books & Writing: The last book, you have written, as far as I know, is “Free as the Wind: Saving the Horses of Sable Island”. Can you tell us a bit about the book and main characters?

Jamie Bastedo: This is the story of how one boy, moved by the impending removal and slaughter of wild horses on Sable Island, started a letter-writing campaign that saved them all. These horses have since become a national treasure, not only because their history dates back to the settlement of Canada, but also because their continued survival shows the world that children can indeed make a big difference.

Books & Writing: How did you come up with the story for the book?

Jamie Bastedo: History provided the wonderful premise on which my story is based. I sign each book, “Believe in the Power of One!” because that’s what it’s really all about.

Books & Writing: Could you also tell us something about “Trans Canada Trail: Northwest Territories”. What made you decide to write this guide?

Jamie Bastedo: As much as I love writing fiction, I knew I could not turn down this non-fiction writing gig when it came knocking at my door. I was offered the “job” of paddling, biking, and hiking almost 3,000 kilometers of traditional water and land routes through the wilds of the Northwest Territories, taking photographs, collecting nuts and bolts information about each community, and gathering local stories along the way. As I say in the book, a job like this comes along about once every 50 years!

Books & Writing: Are you working on something new?

Jamie Bastedo: I’m writing a novel about a bird that migrates from the Amazon to the Arctic. The whole narrative is told through the first person experience of the bird itself. To be released in Fall 2012. I can’t wait for it!

Books & Writing: Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?

Jamie Bastedo: Some wise editor once declared that creative writing is as challenging a job as engineering. After writing a dozen or so books I have to agree. Writing is serious business and can’t be taken frivolously if you want to get it right. On the other hand I can’t think of a more magical process than creating entire worlds with the sweep of a pen. Stephen King says that “a story is a found thing.” I agree with him too. Our stories exist in some form already. All we have to do is carefully dig them out. Now that’s magic!

Books & Writing: Which author inspires you?

Jamie Bastedo: Besides scores of field guides on rocks, birds, plants, bugs, weather, stars, bears, etc., I reserve a special corner of my shelves for biographies about fellow naturalists or nature writers who have inspired me deeply: Henry David Thoreau, John Muir, Aldo Leopold, and Edward Abbey. I have another bookshelf reserved for kids books, my favorite kind of fiction, which includes titles by Kenneth Oppel, Alexander McCall Smith and Philip Pullman to name a few.

Books & Writing: Where can people go and read your work?

Jamie Bastedo: My books are available in major bookstores in North America and around the world through online book sellers.

Books & Writing: Where can people find you on internet?

Jamie Bastedo: You can find my books at: http://www.fitzhenry.ca/SearchResult.aspx?KeyWords=bastedo

You can find me on Twitter: @JamieBastedo.

Below is an excerpt from 'On Thin Ice'!

…When I'd woken up I could still feel that burning ache in my chest ignited by the bear-man's song. I knew right away it wasn't my asthma. This ache went deeper, like a stab wound that turned my insides out. I lay with my eyes closed, rubbing my chest, but the ache wouldn't go away. Floating in that limbo-land between sleeping and waking, I sensed that the only way to heal this wound was to get back into my dream girl's head and find whatever she was looking for.

After two hours of white-knuckle sketching, I had a sudden urge to look up from my drafting table to the full-length mirror on my door. I studied my reflection. I held my chin at different angles. I raised my arm above my head as if to spear something. I wanted to see past my red hair and pale complexion to the black-haired, harpoon-slinging girl who seemed to hide just under my skin. I tried to sketch her face from the dim memory of my dream-fingers touching her cheeks, her nose, her brow. But it was all a blur and my pencil froze on the page...

maandag 23 april 2012

Interview with author Christy Parks

Today I had the pleasure of interviewing author Christy Parks about her writing and her book  'She Who Hunts (Hunters)'.

Books & Writing: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself.

Christy Parks: This has always been one of those strange questions, because I never know just how much people want to know. I can tell you I'm the proud mother of three awesome kids, and married to a real rock star. Seriously. He plays in a very popular local band, Johnny Rock-Itt and The Double Wide Symphony. Besides chasing after my kids and rocking out to 80s hair metal, I'm constantly dealing with my small zoo. We share our home with two large dogs, two cats, five chickens, and a very large Iguana. Our home is never boring.
Books & Writing: Do you remember the first story you wrote?

Christy Parks: I've been writing as long as I can remember. When I first learned to read I would constantly rewrite the stories to how I wanted them to end. Even Charlotte's Web got an alternate ending.

Books & Writing: Were you inspired by someone or something?

Christy Parks: I've always loved to read, but Anne Rice's vampire books really introduced me to the world of paranormal in my early teens. I've been addicted ever since.

Books & Writing: What do you love about writing a story?

Christy Parks: Escaping to another world. While I'm writing I feel like I'm watching a movie play out before my eyes. I get to know all these really cool characters, and walk with them through their lives and live in their world. I heard another author refer to it as playing God, but sometimes I feel more like a spectator than a creator.

Books & Writing: Can you tell us a bit about your book 'She Who Hunts (Hunters)' and the main characters Tena Massey, and Jason?

Christy Parks: Tenna has been shoved into a world she turned her back on after her parents were murdered. Jason, a Skinwalker, is helping her through her training, protecting her, and falling in love with her spirit. Between the two of them, they are quire a force to reckoned with!

Books & Writing: I understand this is part of a trilogy. Why did you decide to turn this into a trilogy?

Christy Parks: I originally planned on it being a trilogy, but now it's spinning further in my head. There's just so much of Tenna's story I don't think I could contain it all in one book. Besides the novels, there will be short stories I'll be releasing for free with a little insight into the various characters' lives.

Books & Writing: Are you working on the second and third book at the moment?

Christy Parks: Yeah, I'm working on the second book, and two of the short stories as we speak. But, with the realease of the first, I've been spending a lot of time getting it out I haven't had as much time to write as I would like.

Books & Writing: Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?

Christy Parks: Never give up. Read. Write. I read every single day, sometimes genres I love, other times books on writing, marketing, etc.

Books & Writing: Which author inspires you?

Christy Parks: Wow, there are quite a few, actually. I can say one of my favorites of Rachel Vincent, and I really love JR Ward.

Books & Writing: Where can people go and read your work?

Christy Parks: At the moment the book is only available on Amazon for your Kindle, but will be available on all other ereaders within the next few weeks. 

Books & Writing: Where can people find you on internet?

Christy Parks: The stalking possibilities are endless. I'm active on Facebook (authorchristy.parks), Twitter (@clparks05) and Goodreads (www.goodreads.com)

Below is an excerpt from the book She Who Hunts (Hunters)! 

Part of Chapter 1

“Tena.” I glanced up at my attorney. “We’ll wait another ten minutes and I’ll see if the judge will let us proceed without Paul,” Claire said. She flipped through my file on her lap.

A coppery taste of blood distracted me. Pulling my thumb from my mouth I inspected the skin around my nail - it was raw, bloody from the chewing I’d done on it since the moment we’d climbed into her car for our trip to the courthouse. With a quick swipe on my pants I wiped my thumb clean. By the end of the day I will be officially divorced. My heart ached at the thought. I did not want this to happen. I wanted Paul to return to the man I fell in love with. But he wasn’t. He would never be the same man again. In fact, saying he was a man at all was a stretch.

My vision blurred, my eyes stung a little. I blinked rapidly, trying to clear the moisture away, and took a couple of deep breaths. Claire’s hand landed on my knee. I glanced down at her bony fingers; she held my knee down, keeping it from bouncing. A quick glance up to her face showed her lips turned up at the corners. Thank God my attorney just happened to be my best friend.

Claire winked, then turned her attention back to the files on her lap. “Do you want me to see if we can get it continued? Maybe reschedule it?”

I shook my head, a red curl came loose, the hair flopping into my face. Pushing the curl behind my ear, I turned my gaze to Claire. “I’d rather just get this done. Just see if I can sign some papers or something and go.”

My hand moved to the center of my chest, and I began to rub in little circles. I seemed to constantly be trying to massage the heartache away to no avail. Claire peeled my hand from my chest, squeezed it between her own hands, then dropped it before getting up. She disappeared through a door to the left of the judge’s desk.

I focused my attention on my poor mangled thumb while waiting for Claire to reappear through the door. That is until the skin on the back of my neck began to tingle. First it was nothing more than the little hairs standing on end; then came the sensation of insects crawling around under my skin. “Oh shit,” I breathed.

Fear kept me from turning my head, or even opening my mouth to warn everyone. A demon was in the room. And the energy coming from the back of the room was extremely familiar to me. It was Paul. I inhaled deeply, focused on the energy around me, tried to sense his mood.

A bailiff walked toward the aisle between the wooden benches, his hand sliding under his suit jacket. I followed the bailiff with my eyes, watched as he headed past me, then turned only my upper body to look behind me. Paul stood in the doorway, a pistol in his hand hanging down by his thigh. I had never seen a pistol like this one, nor did I plan on asking him about it.

Paul’s hand raised.

The bailiff yelled, “Get down!”

I froze in place. I figured this day would eventually come. The fact I knew about the demon inside of Paul earned me a death sentence. Yeah, I was fully aware of what was possessing the man I married, and unfortunately, it was well aware of me, too.

Paul’s hand pointed in my direction, that strange looking pistol in his grip. Everything had slowed, my brain accepted my time had come. Whatever demon had taken over my husband’s body was going to kill me. Only one clear thought rang through my head: I knew that prophecy wasn’t about me. The muscles in Paul’s forearm twitched, his finger pulled on the trigger, and a loud pop echoed.

Someone slammed into my side, knocking me to the ground. My breath whooshed from my lungs with the impact. A heavy, warm weight held me down as a series of thunderous pops echoed throughout the room. Everyone began to panic, screams erupted from every direction, and a second series of booms erupted. A second shooter? Is the bailiff shooting at Paul?

Then…silence. My own labored breathing rasped in my ears. My heart thundered behind my rib cage, the heavy beats blurred my vision with each pump of blood. The weight on top of me shifted, the body moving to the left of my hip, yet still pinning my upper body down. I stared at the grimy, musty carpet, my nose only inches from the cheap nap. The harder I tried to suck in a breath, the harder it seemed. The weight on top of me pressed my ribs into the ground, my lungs weren’t able to expand to take in a full gasp of oxygen.

zaterdag 21 april 2012

Interview with author Stacy Eaton


This time I had the pleasure of interviewing author Stacy Eaton about her books and writing.

Books & Writing: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself.

Stacy Eaton: I laugh when someone asks me this question because I never know where to start.  So, let’s start with the fact that I am a full time police officer and I spend a lot of time investigating crimes and helping others.  I have my own business. I’m a wife and mother of two.  I volunteer with the World Literary Café and I write when I have time. 

I love music, martial arts, cars and photography.  I always have music playing, if I am trying to do paperwork or write, music is always playing. I need the little bit of distraction to keep my focused.  I am a classic type A person and it is very rare for me to just sit still and do nothing, except when I am reading.
Books & Writing: Do you remember the first story you wrote?

Stacy Eaton: Sure do.  I never inspired to be a writer.  In October of 2010, I got an idea, I sat down and I wrote it. My Blood Runs Blue, the first book in the series was born, and since that day the creativity runs fast and continuous through me.

Books & Writing: Were you inspired by someone or something?

Stacey Eaton: I can’t say that someone inspired me.  I was working, out patrolling the township I work in and the idea was born.  As I drove around the dark streets, the plot thickened and I just went with it.

Books & Writing: What do you love about writing a story?

Stacy Eaton: I love to put twists and turns into a story.  There is not a person alive that does not have curve balls thrown at them from time to time. So adding those to the stories is like adding pieces of life. I love being able to use my creative nature to help others enjoy themselves.  It humbles me to hear someone say they really liked my story.

Books & Writing: Can you tell us something about your upcoming book “Whether I'll Live or Die...” and the main characters?

Stacy Eaton: “Whether I’ll Live or Die” is a very intense and emotional story about a girl Amanda who goes from one abusive relationship to another. It is not a light and fluffy book, but a very intense novel and digs into the harsh realities of domestic violence. Officer Nicole Nolan will deal with domestic abuse in her job with the legal aspects of it. So far I have had just a few beta readers look over it and they have all enjoyed it.  I am hoping to have it released by July 2012.

Books & Writing: How did you come up with the story for the book?

Stacy Eaton: Being as I am a police officer, I see a lot of domestic violence in my job.  It is serious problem that many people do not know how to deal with.  I am hoping that if a victim or a family member reads this, they might find the strength to get out of the situation. 

Books & Writing: How long have you been working on the book?

Stacy Eaton: I started writing WILoD last summer. I have quite a few things works in progress so I was shifting between voices for a while until Amanda and Nicole demanded my attention so they could finish their story. Currently it is with my editor, I should have it back soon and I will begin some re-writes before a final edit and publishing.

Books & Writing: I understand you also wrote a series of books called “My Blood Runs Blue”. Can you tell us a bit about that?

Stacy Eaton: Currently 2 of the 4 books have been published. “My Blood Runs Blue” is the first one and it was published April 2011.  “Blue Blood for Life” is the second in the series and it was released in September of 2011. I am currently working on book 3 and I have not decided on the title as of yet.

This series is a Paranormal-Suspense-Romance novel.  It brings vampires and law enforcement together.  Using my knowledge of law enforcement, I brought the vampires in to give them more humanity.  It is an adult series with sexual content and adult situations and language. I have found that this series is widely received by both male and female readers. 

Books & Writing: Are you working on something new?

Stacy Eaton: Yes, quite a few things actually.  Besides finishing up WILoD and book 3 of the series, I am in the process of writing a new series entitled “Garda” about guardian angels.  I also have a novel called “Liveon” that is a contemporary romance, and a very gritty intense series about addiction that I am working on with another author.  I have thoughts on another paranormal series someday in the future and a few other plotlines for stories in my mind, but they need to stay there for a little while. I don’t have enough time to work on anything else! Lol…

Books & Writing: Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?

Stacy Eaton: Find other authors who are willing to help you promote.  The World Literary Café is a great place for new authors to come for all kinds of help.  We have tweet teams, authors hosting other authors for interviews, promotions and help for authors just getting started!

Books & Writing: Which author inspires you?

Stacy Eaton: One of my biggest fans is Melissa Foster.  While I love her writing, it is what she does for others that inspire me the most. She gives all that she can to help other writes succeed.

Books & Writing: Where can people go and read your work?

Stacy Eaton: My Blood Runs Blue: http://amzn.to/zMPYeX

Blue Blood for Life: http://amzn.to/yqDbZz

Website: http://stacyseatoncom.fatcow.com/

Books & Writing: Where can people find you on internet?

Stacy Eaton: Facebook Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Stacy-Eaton/191880767522183

Twitter: @StacySEaton & @WLCDrillSgt

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4826711.Stacy_Eaton

Blog: http://stacyeatonauthor.blogspot.com/

World Literary Cafe: Where Authors, Readers, Bloggers & Reviewers Unite: http://www.worldliterarycafe.com/

Video Trailers:

My Blood Runs Blue: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQb5HS5n8zg&feature=channel

Blue Blood for Life: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNJa9S5W2iU&feature=channel&list=UL

Books & Writing: Is there anything else you want to share with the readers?

Stacy Eaton: Thank you so very much for hosting me today! I am always excited to hear from readers and authors so I look forward to any comments that they might have. 

Below is an excerpt from the book "My Blood Runs Blue"! 

Chapter 4 - Julian's Memory

We turned to look at one another meaning to only say a polite goodbye.  We were eye to eye, almost exactly the same height, so close I could smell her without trying.  The current was soaring through me and she parted her lips, staring into my eyes.

“Jewels,” she said so quietly I could barely hear her over the noise of the bar.  She looked at my lips and I wanted to move closer to her and touch mine to hers.  She looked back up into my eyes then and said, “The two stones that are within my soul, sapphires for the dark of the sky and aquamarines for my dreams of the beautiful blue oceans in the heat of the summer.”

I started into her eyes; they were a liquid blue, bright and warm.  I couldn’t keep myself from saying, “Calista… you don’t know how much I want to take you in my arms right now and run away with you.” 

Her eyes widened then, and a smile crept along her face. “Then let’s run,” she said…


Chapter 15 – Kristin’s Dinner

Before I could change my mind, Julian was standing up and pulling my chair back so I could stand.  He put his hand on my back and led me out of the restaurant.  Currents of heat were running up and down my spine from where he gently touched me.

When we got out to the parking lot, he started walking me over to his car.  His 1968 midnight-blue Mustang sat under a large parking light.  I was in awe of this vehicle.  It was a vehicle I had dreamed of over and over again, and as I walked up to it, I wanted to replay the dream right then, right there.

When we got to the vehicle, he unlocked the door and pulled it open, setting the take-out bag in the back.  I was standing beside him watching him, not really breathing.  When he looked up at me, our eyes locked again and he took a step closer to me.  I emptied my lungs slowly, staring into his jeweled eyes. My knees were shaking and I wondered if they would hold me up.

Over his shoulder I could see a man watching us, but right this second I didn’t want to think about any other man.  I only wanted to think about this man, this incredible man with eyes like jewels who was stepping closer to me, looking down at my lips.

When he got close enough that I could smell his breath, I finally stopped breathing.  My eyes half closed, waiting in anticipation.  In the back of my mind, I heard footsteps, but they didn’t really matter to me.

As Julian put his lips to mine, my life seemed to flash before my eyes.  Bits and pieces of things that had happened to me, and things that I thought had happened, but I couldn’t really remember, were flying through my mind.

The kiss was gentle at first, but after only a few second, our bodies fell against each other and we were holding on for dear life.  Oh God…I thought…Oh God…

When we finally separated from the kiss, I felt him kiss my cheek and my jaw.  I felt him kiss the side of my neck and nuzzle it slightly, lips teasing on the veins of my neck.  My eyes were barely open; I was in heaven.

But just then two things happened. Two small sentences were said that would forever change my life.

donderdag 19 april 2012

Interview with author Carson V. Heady

Hello again!

Today I had the pleasure of interviewing author Carson V. Heady about his books and writing and he was kind enough to answer my questions :) 

Books & Writing: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself.

Carson V. Heady: Absolutely, and thank you so much for your time and interest; I’m honored.  For starters, I am a single Dad to the most amazing little girl.  My entire career has been in sales and sales leadership, and I am very passionate about working hard, supporting those who work for me and doing everything I can to show others how they can find the success they crave.  I love sports, films and music.  Finally, I love to write.  I’ve been doing it for as long as I can remember.  It is very therapeutic.

Books & Writing: Do you remember the first story you wrote?

Carson V. Heady: Wow.  Yes; I wrote short stories that featured my friends and I in different fantastical situations.  For instance, in one, we were all officers on a spaceship traveling through space and kind of doing a Star Trek-type thing.  In another, we were time travelers.  It was funny because the kids in my class loved it and were thrilled to be featured, and I was my own worst critic.

Books & Writing: Were you inspired by someone or something?

Carson V. Heady: Inspiration has always come to me through films and stories.  If I had to pinpoint my biggest inspirations, they were probably films of the 1980’s and the books I grew up reading: Sherlock Holmes, The Hardy Boys, James Bond.  People doing fantastic things in a realistic world.

Books & Writing: What do you love about writing a story?

Carson V. Heady: It’s my therapy.  There is really very little it cannot cure.  Writing through a problem allows you to analyze and attack it from all angles.  There is also the self-discovery; you learn so much about yourself and the world you are writing about when you are putting pen to paper, or fingers to keys.  I love embarking on a journey and not knowing exactly where it will end.  The journey, not the destination, is the most rewarding part.

Books & Writing: Can you tell us something about your upcoming book “While the Salesman is Away, And Other Stories” and the main character Vincent Scott?

Carson V. Heady: Absolutely!  “While the Salesman Is Away, And Other Stories” is my second book and the sequel to “Birth of a Salesman.”  BOAS was really my passion project; I look back on it and it feels so long ago but it was such a part of me.  Vincent Scott is the protagonist and the sequel more or less focuses on other players from the first book.  I won’t give any real spoilers because if you have not read the first one, the second picks up right where it left off…literally minutes after, however it does it from a different vantage point.  I took a page from Ian Fleming’s James Bond novel “The Spy Who Loved Me” and decided to focus on the other, very interesting characters in this world.  Nevertheless, this, like its predecessor, will be a how-to or self help book within a novel.  This time around, though, there are a few different stories included rather than just one about one central character.  As for Vincent Scott, he is a leader, a Type-A and a visionary.  He also has a lot of trouble falling in line and playing the “corporate game.”  Much of the first story deals with his decisions surrounding whether or not to get involved in an investigation of his unethical supervisor who is committing dozens of corporate crimes.  The fallout from the first book bleeds directly into the second.  But Vincent is what a lot of us are: a flawed protagonist dealing with real decisions, real heartache, real betrayal and real ramifications of his sometimes emotion-fueled actions.

Books & Writing: How did you come up with the story for the book?

Carson V. Heady: A few years back, I found myself writing a lot of articles for a work newsletter that were about sales.  I led conference calls, wrote scripts and had so much material on sales and sales leadership.  I remember thinking, “I would love to write a book.”  That’s just it, I had always wanted to write a book.  The problem was, I did not want to write just another sales book.  It has been done to death.  There are a billion different ways to sell and a billion sales books; I wanted to do something unique.  That is where I came up with the idea to do a sales book within a novel about a character who “wrote” the book within the book.  Over my career, I’ve seen so much and experienced so much, I knew I could write something that anyone anywhere who has had a job could relate to.  The point of the story was just to show others, “Hey, you’re not alone.  Other people deal with these crazy situations and decisions.”  And “Birth of a Salesman” was born.

Books & Writing: How long have you been working on the book?

Carson V. Heady: Officially, I started in August of 2009 and finished in the spring of 2010.  Unofficially, I would have to say I’ve always been working on it.  I utilized stuff I had written more than ten years ago as influence in putting this book together.  That is why it was so personal and is so personal.  I really put everything I had into it.  It’s funny, because I was really touched by inspiration and I just seized it.  I was a man on a mission.  The first draft was over 600 pages.  The hard part was cutting it down to 338.

Books & Writing: I understand the book is a sequel to “Birth of a Salesman”. Can you tell us a bit about that?

Carson V. Heady: Absolutely.  The thing with “Birth of a Salesman” is that it was a statement on 10 years in this character’s life; the decisions that led him to make a very defining decision at the climax of the story.  But, like life, there is no happy ending or sad ending, there’s just life.  The journey continues, and I wanted to explore what happens next in this world.  “While the Salesman Is Away” jumps right back in while the water is warm; many other characters factor into the story, and I felt it important to look at that.  I envision a third entitled, “The Salesman Against The World” to at least wrap up this character’s arc.  In addition, as I alluded to before, there is also a book within a book format this time around.  In “Birth of a Salesman” it was “The Selling Game.”  This time around, it’s “The Surviving Game”; how to survive and adapt in our challenging world and workforce.

Books & Writing: Are you working on something new?

Carson V. Heady: You know, I’m always working on something.  I think we all are.  But nearest and dearest to my heart right now are “While the Salesman Is Away, And Other Stories” and trying to hammer out a screenplay for “Birth of a Salesman.”  There have been very few really touching sales stories translated to screen.  The “Birth of a Salesman” message is powerful and I think it could make a difference in people’s lives.  That’s why I write.

Books & Writing: Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?

Carson V. Heady: Don’t throw anything away!  You never know when you may recreate something or it may come in handy.  I utilized a lot of past writing to put my book together, and still get a kick out of the short stories I find in boxes in my closet.  Also, like any goal in life, just keep moving towards it, a step at a time.  Seize inspiration when you have it, because it will not always be there.  And remember that other people out there can learn and be inspired from your journey.  We are all very similar in that vein.  When you wake up in the middle of the night with an idea, write it down somewhere.  You may not get that thought back.

Books & Writing: Which author inspires you?

Carson V. Heady: That’s tough to say, because I read such a broad spectrum of things.  Nothing is off limits.  To prepare for “While the Salesman is Away,” I read several stories gravitating on a comeback theme.  I’m inspired by any profound commentaries on life that make me realize that other people wonder the same things I wonder, fear the same things I fear and face the same tough moments and decisions that I face.  Knowing we’re not alone in the world makes all the difference in the world when we are making the decision to either be a bystander or take the flying cannonball leap into the deep end of the swimming pool of life.  But my favorite author of all time is Ian Fleming, of the James Bond novels fame.

Books & Writing: Where can people go and read your work?

Carson V. Heady: “Birth of a Salesman” is available at Barnes & Noble and on Amazon.  There is also an audio version on Amazon.  I write articles for several online publications and keep up a blog.  You can find links to these at http://www.carsonvheady.com

Books & Writing: Where can people find you on internet?

Carson V. Heady: My website is http://www.carsonvheady.com and I have social media accounts on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.  At last count, I have 33 videos I have recorded around the sales and sales leadership themes.  Some of them are just me having fun.  I think we all need to let loose every once in a while.  Finally, I have a blog as well.

Blog: http://carsonvheady.wordpress.com/

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/cvheady007

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/CARSONVHEADY.BIRTHOFASALESMAN

Twitter: http://twitter.com/cvheady007

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=66422588

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4341649.Carson_V_Heady

Books & Writing: Is there anything else you want to share with the readers?

Carson V. Heady: Readers are why we write.  While “Birth of a Salesman” has statistically sold more copies than 95% of books, I haven’t sold enough to retire.  I did not write it for the money.  I did it for the fact that every week I meet a reader online from another country and get to have a dialogue with that person.  We write because we want to make a difference, leave a legacy and touch someone.  If someone was positively impacted by my work, I made a difference.  That is what this enabled me to do, and I pray we all get that feeling in our lives.  So, all I can say is thank you to the readers, because they are why I am so passionate about doing this.  And I pray all their goals become reality.

Below is an excerpt from the book Birth of a Salesman!


Light slowly began to encroach the darkness that enveloped the apartment room. Asleep on the couch, covered in a blanket lay Vincent Thomas Scott, III. For that moment, and that moment alone, there was calm.
Vincent is a man whose astounding attributes vastly overshadow his glaring weaknesses. He is a showstopper; a game-changer. His bloodstream flows with the perfectly balanced cocktail of adrenaline, vodka and caffeine, each taking turns running his engine. He is exceedingly intelligent, witty, boyishly handsome, occasionally arrogant, and yet sentimental. Jaded and cynical from his experiences, yet so full of love for his 2-year old princess of a daughter. A bachelor by trade, Vincent is scarred from a few that mattered of the many women that had crossed his path. Numbed by numerous letdowns of life and the antidepressants his chaotic existence had driven him to years ago, he seldom let himself feel much of anything anymore.
Vincent is a man; flawed yet redeemable in many ways. He is not indestructible, not bulletproof, yet puts up a front of both.
His greatest joys: the smell of his daughter’s hair, her hand in his, the way she calls his name and runs to him when he arrives to pick her up at the sitter’s and the way she would just come up to him for no reason and hug him or declare her love.
There were the cheering crowds and ovations. A basketball player in his youth, Vincent chose work over pursuit of that dream and has had to settle for the adoration of his workforce.
He took pride in the fact he was able to touch so many people in a positive fashion on a daily basis. He truly made a difference and changed lives for the better, even if it was on a small scale – for now.
His greatest weaknesses: vast insecurities that are deeply buried – a fear of not being loved, wanted or of being abandoned or taken advantage of – and he masks them with the guise of an inflated ego. He regularly uses alcohol to supply antiseptic to his incurable pain; it is the ache of a man who had spent the sum of his 31 years attempting to find solace in a world he was coming to realize was cold and brutal. The measure of this man is that the things that have not killed him have made his ambitions stronger.


zondag 15 april 2012

Interview with author Tammy Merkison

Hi all!

Today I am talking to Tammy Merkison who is a native Floridian and the Authoress of Miami Reign and the sequel, Unfinished Business. She is also a skilled professional in the aviation industry.

A former model and actress, she has appeared in numerous hair and fashion shows in and around the Central Florida area in addition to television and radio commercials, promoting health and wellness.

She currently lives in Atlanta and enjoys traveling and live jazz in addition to writing fiction.

Books & Writing: Do you remember the first story you wrote?

Tammy Merkison: The first story I wrote was in elementary school.  The title was The Adventures of Super Cat.  We had a creative writing exercise where the writer gets an idea or inspiration from a picture in a magazine.  I remember the picture was a man and a young child walking through a wooded area.  From there I just let my imagination flow.  It was so out of the box that it impressed my teacher, entertained my classmates and sparked my love for writing.

Books & Writing: Were you inspired by someone or something?

Tammy Merkison: I was inspired by the anticipation of my peers for the next story I would create.  I found early on that I loved to entertain and writing was another way I could do that.

Books & Writing: What attracts you in thrillers?

Tammy Merkison: The unpredictability of the story is what attracts me in thrillers.  There is nothing like a storyline that you can’t predict.  That makes the work extremely exciting.

Books & Writing: Can you tell us a bit about your book “Unfinished Business” which I Understand is a sequel to your book Miami Reign?

Tammy Merkison: Unfinished Business takes place twenty years after Miami Reign and gives my fans closure to their beloved characters.  From Miami to Mexico the fast paced roller coaster of life I write leaves you breathless.

Books & Writing: How did you come up with the story for the book?

Tammy Merkison: I had an intense interest in the era of the mid eighties and specifically the underworld of illegal drug activity.  I researched archived newspaper articles from the Miami Herald for approximately five years and interviewed residents that lived during this time period.  The results were absolutely astounding.

Books & Writing: Can you tell us something about the main characters James “Blue” Jackson and Fran?

Tammy Merkison: Blue is multi-racial having been born of Cuban and African American decent.  He is fluent in both Spanish and English and is Ivy League educated.  The beauty of his character is his success at making it out of an inner city despite his upbringing.

Fran is African American and is a product of street life.  Her education is limited.  However through the help of others she is cultivated into a lady of class and skill as an assassin.

Books & Writing: Is he based on someone you know?

Tammy Merkison: Blue’s character is a culmination of my research.  He is not one person or anyone that I know.

Books & Writing: Are you working on something new at the moment?

Tammy Merkison: I’m currently working on a flight series, detailing life’s experiences for airline flight crews.  In addition to being an Author I am also a Flight Attendant.  The marriage of the two careers and my wild imagination should be entertaining as well enlightening.

Books & Writing: Where do you see yourself in a couple of years in relation to writing?

Tammy Merkison: I see myself as having grown.  As a writer I not only want to grow I want my audience to grow with me. 

Books & Writing: Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?

Tammy Merkison: My tips are simple…everyday read, research or write something.

Books & Writing: Which author inspires you?

Tammy Merkison: Harper Lee…her book To Kill a Mockingbird is classic.

Books & Writing: What is the last book you read?

Tammy Merkison: Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer.

Books & Writing: Where can people go and read your work?

Tammy Merkison: You can read the preface for Miami Reign on my website at www.tammymerkison.com, excerpts from the book at www.amazon.com or follow me on twitter at www.twitter.com/TMerkison for sneak tweets of my newest release Unfinished Business.

Books & Writing: Where can people find you on internet?

Tammy Merkison: www.tammymerkison.com, www.facebook.com/TMerkison, Twitter @TMerkison

Books & Writing: Is there anything else you want to share with the readers?

Tammy Merkison: I would like to thank the readers for taking time to get to know me through this article and for their consideration of my books.  My goal is to entertain as well as educate through all of my works.

Below is an excerpt from the book “Unfinished Business”!

“Don’t do it, don’t do it, please don’t do it!” shrieked this woman that looked to be a carbon copy of Pam Grier ala Jackie Brown.  It was Fran all right, sexy as ever, just older.  Her hair was straight now with a little bit of gray around the temples and her body was tanned and shapely.  Her breasts were round like two grapefruits and full and her hips curvier than I remembered.

I aimed my weapon straight for the heart of the young man that had his piece pointed at me.  I didn’t know who in the hell this young blood was, but he was standing in the way of justice and me and didn’t even know it.

“Move, motherfucker, or you will just be another unnecessary casualty!” I said with firmness in my voice.

“Fuck you, old man!  You got to go through me to get to my mama!”

The next sounds heard were of gunfire and crackling glass.  Smoke filled the room and screams and commands were shouted.  The sound of a police radio was transmitting codes to unseen law enforcement officers.

“Hold your fire, hold your fire!  Drop your weapons and put your hands up!”

The unidentified voices grew louder and clearer, signaling that they were closing in on me, Fran and this lil dude she was with.  I was not going back into custody, at least not before I had my revenge.  If I was caught with a weapon, it would be back to the federal penitentiary for me and I’d never see the light of day again.

I pulled my shirt up out of the front of my jeans and over my face to shield it from the gas emitted from a canister and ran out of the building and into the night, but not before I yelled, “Next time, bitch, next time!”

Tammy Merkison

maandag 9 april 2012

Interview with author Eric Kobb Miller


Today's interview is with Eric Kobb Miller, a retired dentist, who has stopped swimming upstream in saliva, gotten out of the mouth and into the world, and traded his drill for a quill to be a literary humorist.

Books & Writing: Do you remember the first story you wrote?

Eric Kobb Miller: I've conveniently forgotten the first few. The first one I do remember is the one I titled: “The Great American Novel.” The premise was that when anyone asked who wrote the great American novel, my name would pop up, even though I only wrote a short story by that name — not the real thing. 

Books & Writing: Were you inspired by someone or something?

Eric Kobb Miller: Absolutely. My 11th grade high school English teacher had each student in my class select a different American author to read during the school year. We were to read the author's major works, present book reports to the class, and impersonate the author in group discussions. I was F. Scott Fitzgerald, and to be perfectly honest, the best part of the experience was searching for my Zelda, finding her, and coming to the “author party” on the last day of school dressed as Scott, with Zelda on one arm, and a martini glass in hand. I entered my senior year knowing that, someday, I too would be an author.

Books & Writing: What do you love about writing a story?

Eric Kobb Miller: Mining for the right words, pairing them like food and wine, roasting my failures and toasting my success.

Books & Writing: Can you tell us something about your book “Spit Toon's Saloon” and the main character Salvatore Spittell Toon?

Eric Kobb Miller: The complete title of the book is Spit Toon's Saloon — Rinnce and Spit Toon, Proprietors — Sad Songs and Funny Tales on Tap. It is a collection of humorous and sad, prose and poetry vignettes, linked in a memoir styled format. Salvatore Spittell Toon is my alter ego. Everyone calls him Spit, though, except his mother who always called him Salvatore.

Books & Writing: How did you come up with the story for the book?

Eric Kobb Miller: The bookshelves of time are filled with great books of fiction by many physicians. But alas, books by a dentist are pretty much represented by one lone cowboy: Zane Grey. Eric Kobb Miller and Salvatore Spittell Toon decided it was not only time for dentists to start playing catch up, but that there was a story to be told about a dentist wanting to write the great American novel — as funny as that may seem. So, we each looked back on our lives, came up with similar stories, and decided it was a wrap. 

Books & Writing: Are you working on something new?

Eric Kobb Miller: My second book, “Overheard at the Bar at Spit Toon's Saloon,” will be  available soon. 

Books & Writing: Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?

Eric Kobb Miller: Find your voice, create your niche, build your platform, and keep your day job.

Books & Writing: How did you find your voice?

Eric Kobb Miller: To tell you the truth, and I'm embarrassed to admit it, I never knew it was lost. But when I first heard Holden Caulfield speaking in J.D. Salinger's “Catcher in the Rye,” I recognized how similar his voice was to mine. Over the years, I realized that although our vocal chords were a match, our toons were not quite the same. And ever since, to just make sure I haven't lost my voice, I go back and listen to his. Some have told me that finding a voice is like pornography: you'll know one when you hear it and the other when you see it.

Books and Writing: Where can people find you on the internet?

Eric Kobb Miller: I spend most of my time hanging out at the saloon: www.spittoonssaloon.blogspot.combut I also wander around Amazon and Barnes and Noble quite a bit, just to give the book some cover.

An excerpt from "Spit Toon's Saloon."


For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to write “the great American novel” and to be inducted into the pantheon of American writers alongside Melville, Twain, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, and Salinger. An invitation to the literary pantheon not forthcoming, I battled with the demons of low self-esteem. My wife, Rinnce, my dental assistant Saliva Godiva, and my dental hygienist Bidday O’Shea all suggested that I try my hand at “flashing.” I recoiled in revulsion at the thought of running stark naked through life, in very public places, flashing very private parts. They assured me that the flashing to which they referred was writing very short, short stories which could be entered in writing contests. Doing this would get me focused, disciplined, tournament tough, and hopefully published someday.

Alas, the acceptance letters never came, although the rejection slips inundated my mailbox. It disappointed me, to be sure, but the comments about my punctuation just outright enraged me. Editors constantly criticized how I used my colon, as if that were any of their concern. Moreover, they claimed that my semicolons were acting like squatters in places they didn’t belong. As for my commas, they described them as looking like insects randomly stuck between the teeth of a motorcyclist without a face shield — even going so far as to label me a “comma splicer.”

One especially unhappy editor, who thought she was Portia in “The Merchant of Venice,” told me that my quotation marks “droppeth not as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath, but as sleet wrapped irritatingly around the wrong words.” My penchant for not italicizing the French words I liked to sprinkle about in my text really drove some editors crazy, especially because I italicized my poems which were in English. But more than anything, the endless discussions about hyphens, en dashes, and em dashes felt like acupuncture with dull needles. To this day, I still try to crawl into the spaces which are not supposed to be surrounding my em dashes.

However, I kept tap, tap, tapping away at my keyboard to get even in my own personal and special way. Each time my middle finger, that ubiquitous devil, was to hit a key, I did it with just a tad more emphasis: a flourish which never failed to give me the faintest hint of a smile, even though it inserted more colons, semicolons, commas, and quotation marks in all the wrong places, as well as the wrong sized dashes — with inappropriate spaces — between the wrong words.

zaterdag 7 april 2012

Interview with author Ed Benjamin


This time I am talking to Ed Benjamin who grew up in Alabama and North Carolina and entered the United States Air Force after graduating from college.  He never flew airplanes but spent much of his 27 year Air force career supervising and training people who worked on airplanes.  After he retired from the Air Force, he became a proposal writer.  Ed writes proposals to help people get business with federal, state and local governments.

He lives with his wife in the Texas Hill country north of San Antonio, Texas in a community called Bulverde, Texas.  They live in a rural area with assorted cats, raccoons, squirrels, birds and other creatures. They have five grandchildren and his son is a fighter pilot in the Air Force.

Books & WritingDo you remember the first story you wrote?

Ed Benjamin: The first thing I remember writing was a chapbook about some artists whose portraits lined the walls of one of the buildings where I went to college as a freshman.  Since then, I have written short stories mainly for my own enjoyment.

Books & WritingWere you inspired by someone or something?

Ed Benjamin: I have always been inspired by good writing.  I don’ like to pick people out because then I* am afraid I would leave someone out.  I have always been a bad reader.  I flunked speed reading.  Actually I didn’t.  I went from 300 words per minutes to around 1500 words per minute but soon regressed back to 300 words per minute because I like to stop and marvel at the way the author has phrased a sentience or an adjective or adverb he or she has used.  You can have your speed reading.  I like to stop and “smell the roses” when I read.

Books & WritingWhat do you love about writing a story?

Ed Benjamin: I love the characters.  For me, they take over and tell their own story.  I may start out thinking I will want a character to act in a certain way but more often than not, they take on a life of their own and push me out of the way.  All I have to do then is to stay at the keyboard and help them tell their story.  They get ahead of me sometimes and I can hardly keep up and I think I lose some things they want to say but I hope they forgive me.  I am going to keep trying to help them tell their stories.   I have a lot of demands in my life but now have been giving more and more time to my characters.

Books & WritingCan you tell us something about your book “Harry's War” and the main character Harry Miles?

Ed Benjamin: Harry Miles is a flawed “fighter pilot”. Harry enlisted the United States Air Force from humble beginnings.   He enlisted in the Air Force before he finished his High School education because of a family tragedy.  One in the Air Force, he realized he needed to better himself so the first thing he did was to take a test and get his High School Equivalent degree.  Then he applied for entrance into the Air Force Academy, graduates, receives his commission and then attends flying training and becomes a fighter pilot.  Fighter pilots are the front line warriors in the Air force and they have developed a macho ethos all their own.  When the story opens, Harry is flying Combat Air Patrol in an F-15C Eagle fighter over Iraq when his wingman is shot down by an Iranian fighter.  Harry finds himself alone facing eight Iranian SU-27 fighters.  After the battle, harry finds he must face the ral war – the war inside himself.  The war each of us must face and win, the life lessons we need to overcome, to survive as a human is the war Harry must face again.  The question is “Will Harry win this war?”

There are some other factors in the story but I will leave them for the reader to find.  I do not want to be the spoiler.

Books & WritingHow did you come up with the story for the book?

Ed Benjamin: My son had a temporary assignment flying Combat Air Patrol to enforce the “no-fly” zone over Iraq between the First Gulf War and the Second Gulf War.  After the second Gulf War, I read some accounts of Iraqi pilots who flew their fighters to Iran rather than face the US fighter pilots.  One day recently, as tensions mounted between Iran and the rest of the world, I speculated that some Iranian fighters might want to take on some US and/or coalition fighters to let the world know they didn’t like all the sanctions.  I really just wanted to see if I could research and write in fighter pilot language since I had never flown a plane.  It was only going to be a very short story about an air battle but then Harry took over.

Books & WritingAre you working on something new?

Ed Benjamin: I currently have three projects in work. 

One project is take some information from a nonfiction book I published in 2009 and add some information and write a book focused on preparing proposals for the federal government.  My original book, which sold very well, was more of a secondary school primer to help people get business with federal; and state governments and to get grants.

My second project is to develop and update a novella I wrote in 1998 about an UFO abduction gone wrong from the visiting aliens point of view.  It was and will remain a black comedy.

My third project is to continue my research for a full length Harry Miles novel.  I have the start in my had and am doing some research so that when harry takes over the story, he will have a base of information to ue if he decides to use it.  I don’t want to give up any details at this time but it will be exciting and fraught with drama as Harry continues to battle within himself (but a lot of that is up to Harry).

Books & WritingDo you have any tips for aspiring writers?

Ed Benjamin: Write.



Books & WritingWhich author inspires you?

Ed Benjamin: I have said that many inspire me but if I had to name one, I would name three.  They are: Thomas Wolfe who wote “Look Homeward Angel” and “Of Time and the River”; Ernest Hemingway who wrote in his clipped, declarative style; and William Faulkner, who obviously lived through his characters.  Plus, I like what William Faulkner said when he accepted the Nobel Prize.

Books & WritingWhere can people go and read your work?

Ed Benjamin: They can find “Harry’s War” for 99 cents wherever eBooks are sold. Here are a few links. 

Amazon Kindle 

Barnes and Noble Nook

Sony Reader

Apple iBookstore


My nonfiction book “Cash In on the Obama $3 Trillion spending Plan” at Amazon and Barnes and Noble online.

My original novella, “The Mission” (electronic only)  at http://flowingwaterpress .com

Books & WritingWhere can people find you on internet?

Ed Benjamin: Linked IN as “Ed Benjamin”

FaceBook as “Ed Benjamin”

Twitter as “@colbenjamin”

Books & WritingIs there anything else you want to share with the readers?

Ed Benjamin: No.  Harry is calling.

Below is an excerpt from his book Harry's War!

Harry Miles, F-15 fighter pilot in the mother of all air-to-air battles against 8 Iranian fighters. . .

He saw 3 air-to-air missiles headed his way.  Both of the remaining Flankers had gotten within launch range.

Holy shit!

Harry jammed his stick forward and pulled his airplane down and to the right as he began evasive maneuvers to get away from the danger.  He managed to evade two of them but he didn't know if he was going to lose the third.

He had pushed the stick forward again and started to climb but it didn't seem to do any good.  His throat constricted and tightened.  Harry had tunnel vision and things were going black.  It felt like his consciousness was jammed into a cone with the exterior sides at 45 degrees angles and some giant force was pushing the sides together closing the gap of consciousness.  It seemed there were these two giant hands pushing at the edges of his mind pinching it and closing it.  The fear crept in.  His world spun.  Normally, he could handle the g-forces that all the F-15 pilots dealt with on a daily basis.  Lack of oxygen caused everything to turn gray.

Damn. Everything's spinning. Everything is going black. Did I get hit?

His body jerked in a convulsive spasm and when he did so, his hands pulled back on the throttle.  With the lack of thrust, his plane hit that combination of forces that all pilots dreaded. His airplane began to spin and gyrate in a 360-degree circle on a horizontal axis while careening down as gravity worked its inexorable force.  Known as a "flat spin," most pilots considered it the kiss of death.  The textbook answer requires the pilot to eject as soon as possible for there was no recovery.

vrijdag 6 april 2012

Interview with author Hardit Singh

Hey all!

Todays interview is with author Hardit Singh who was born in Bristol. He studied Information Technology and quickly realised he wanted to write after starting to read more and more. He has been writing for several year now and is currently working on his third novel called Safe Have.

Books & WritingDo you remember the first story you wrote?

Hardit Singh: Unfortunately I don't remember the first story. I do however remember enjoying writing stories in English class, when we were given the task to.

Books & WritingWho inspired your writing?

Hardit Singh: The biggest influence of my writing and a large part to why I'm writing now is American Crime Author Michael Connelly.

Books & WritingWhat do you love about writing a story?

Hardit Singh: Just creating a new exciting world and watching how characters react and make decisions and take actions you didn't see coming. Most of all I love creating escapism for the reader and myself.

Books & WritingCan you tell us something about your book “Traffic” and the main character Melanie Swift?

Hardit Singh: Traffic is a story about the world of sex trafficking. It follows the ordeal of a young girl who is forced into this world.

Books & WritingIs Melanie Swift based on someone you know?

Hardit Singh: Not really. She's probably came from a whole host of people that I've come into contact with, read about or seen on TV.

Books & WritingHow did you come up with the story for the book?

Hardit Singh: I came across an article about the alarming statistics of trafficking and how this was not particularly highlighted in the media. I really wanted to create some sort of awareness.

Books & WritingI understand you also wrote a few short stories. What attracts you in those?

Hardit Singh: Short stories gives you lots of freedom, as you can experiment and write freely knowing that there won't be a lot invested in it. Before I begin a novel I have to be very careful in the story I decide to write, to ensure there is enough there for a novel to be written. I see short stories as a speeding bullet and I love the compact format and challenge.

Books & WritingCan you also tell us a bit about the book Driver?

Hardit Singh: Driver is about a young man who gets tempted back into the criminal world and joins a crew, that take down scores. However, he soon realises that this lifestyle has now changed and things aren't what they used to be.

Books & WritingAre you working on something new?

Hardit Singh: I am working on my third novel called Safe Haven. This story is more of a drama, that follows the journey of a young man who leaves home in the pursuit of becoming a writer.

Books & WritingDo you have any tips for aspiring writers?

Hardit Singh: Find a story your passionate about writing, as it can take up to a year to complete. Ensure that you read and write everyday.

Books & WritingWhich author inspires you?

Hardit Singh: Michael Connelly, Georege Pelecanos, Richard Price, Thomas Harris, Robert Crais.

Books & WritingWhere can people go and read your work and find you?

Hardit Singh: My blog: http://hardit-singh.blogspot.co.uk/

My facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/HarditSinghAuthor

My Goodreads author page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5325808.Hardit_Singh


Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Hardit-Singh/e/B005WU4EXC/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1


Other: www.wix.com/harditsingh340/author

Below is an excerpt from his book Traffic!

Melanie Swift analysed her face in the mirror of the ladies toilets. She could see a partial red handprint on her cheek, where her last client got slaphappy. Her hand quivered as she touched the sore spot.

She closed her eyes and squeezed out tears, quickly wiping them away in anger. She had cried enough today, and not only that, she stole a bottle of vodka from the storage room and managed to get blind drunk. Now she was tired of feeling sorry for herself, and she couldn’t take any more self-pity.

“Just get through today,” she said. “Just a few more hours and you’ll be ok.” Her eyes betrayed her words. They were fatigued and her gaze was long. She balled her hand into a fist and held it tight.

Her mind drifted to the last evening she spent with her family. After tucking in her younger sisters, she joined her parents for dinner. She imagined for a moment that she was there. She found a way out of this slavery and was now in the only place she wanted to be: home. An inner voice told her that this would soon be a reality, and before she could continue with her fantasy, a protruding thought pulled her out of it.

A couple weeks after Melanie met Diego, her boyfriend up until the day she was taken, she remembered how he brought her a designer coat.

She never mentioned her love for fashion to him, which only a few close people knew. At the time the gift overwhelmed her, and it immediately slipped out of her mind. But even in a drunken haze, she had clarity on this odd circumstance.

 The door suddenly swung open – which interrupted her thoughts. A girl walked in and stood beside Melanie, as she peered into the mirror. She was here for the same purpose — she placed her makeup bag on the counter and then unzipped. It was a welcomed distraction, as she didn’t want to even spend another moment thinking about Diego. The thought of him now made her sick. Melanie quickly applied her foundation, mascara, eyeliner, and lipstick. When she was done, she stared back at herself in the mirror. Her face was now relaxed and her hands were steady. Her eyes were no longer filled with sorrow; they were wide and alert, but vacant. She played with her blonde bangs until she liked how they framed her face.

Melanie glanced at the girl next to her and immediately knew that she hadn’t been trafficked for long. She wasn’t using waterproof mascara, which was essential here, in case you gagged on the client’s penis or your own spit ran into your eyes.

“What’s your name?” asked Melanie.


“Take this.” She handed her a bottle of mascara from her own bag and told her she could keep it before walking out.

zondag 1 april 2012

Interview with author Keith Houghton


Today's interview is with author Keith Houghton who lives in a small town in north west England. He shares a home with his long-term partner Lynn, and a psycho Cairn Terrier called Jake. Their kids are all grown up and flown the nest, but the grandkids come home to roost regularly. He is a bit of a computer geek (he runs an online game community for the Battlefield Series) and Keith loves spending time with his family and eating good food (preferably both at the same time).

Books & WritingDo you remember the first story you wrote?

Keith Houghton: From the age of 11, I remember writing lots of science fiction short stories whenever we had a story assignment in English class at school. I used to really infuriate my English Teacher (who didn’t like science fiction or me for that matter!) – so much so that one day she was so fed up with my churning out these far-flung escapades that she kindly wrote in red ink at the end of one of my stories: ‘Please write something else. You will never make it as a science fiction writer’. Not the pearls of wisdom a 13-year-old wants to hear, but enough to make me determined to prove her wrong – which I did once I put my science fiction novel ‘Uth’ onto Amazon at the end of 2011. So far it has been downloaded around 2000 times. Nothing major, but enough to validate.

Books & WritingWere you inspired by someone or something?

Keith Houghton: I am inspired by the world around me. I know it sounds clichéd, but I really do live in awe at the wonders of this planet. I’m also a people-watcher – which helps me pick up idiosyncrasies for new characters.

Books & WritingCan you tell us a bit about your book “Killing Hope”.

Keith Houghton:  ‘Killing Hope’ is my debut crime thriller. It follows a worn-down LAPD detective as he investigates a series of seemingly unconnected homicides, learning as much about himself in the process as he does about the killer. So far, ‘Hope’ has been downloaded to over 48,000 Kindles worldwide and has attracted some very pleasing feedback.

Books & WritingWhat inspired you to write the book?

Keith Houghton: By pure chance, I picked up a copy of ‘Along Came A Spider’ by James Patterson. I normally read science fiction, so it was a bit of a detour for me. But I stuck with it, read it, then thought to myself ‘I can do something like this’, so I did. I sat down one evening with Lynn and together we hatched out the basic outline for ‘Hope’. In those days it was called ‘The Undertaker’ and was a completely different piece of work than it ended up being.

Books & WritingWhat attracts you in thrillers?

Keith Houghton: I love storyline twists and turns. Thrillers allow you to build suspense, keep your reader guessing, introduce lots of colourful characters, and take your reader on a psychological journey.

Books & WritingCan you tell us a bit about your earlier work?

Keith Houghton: As I mentioned, I’m a sci-fi nerd at heart. I have written several science fiction novels over the years, but at the moment only ‘Uth’ is available to the public via Amazon. I’ve also written comedy stage plays, TV spec scripts and even a movie script – some of which are also downloadable to the Kindle.

Books & WritingAre you working on something new at the moment?

Keith Houghton: The sequel to my Kindle Bestselling thriller ‘Killing Hope’. The new novel follows on in the aftermath of the first book’s shell-shocking events, and sees our dogged detective hero facing his arch enemy as well as a few personal demons.

Books & WritingDo you have any tips for aspiring writers?

Keith Houghton: Befriend other authors writing similar stuff. Network with them. Build relationships. They will help spread the word about your work. Most of all, keep plugging away even through a hundred rejections. If your writing is good enough you’ll get there in the end.

Books & WritingWhich author inspires you?

Keith Houghton: Mainly the old Grand Masters of Science Fiction such as Robert Heinlein, Larry Niven, Harry Harrison, Arthur C Clarke and Ben Bova.

Books & WritingWhat is the last book you read?

Keith Houghton: I think it was ‘Tell No One’ by Harlan Coben. It was a long time ago. Maybe two years. Book promoting and writing keeps me away from reading!

Books & WritingWhere can people go and read your work?

Keith Houghton: You can see all of my Kindle Books on Amazon.

On the US site at http://www.amazon.com/Keith-Houghton/e/B005UMEUJA/

On the UK site at http://www.amazon.co.uk/Keith-Houghton/e/B005UMEUJA/

Books & WritingWhere can people find you on internet?

Keith Houghton: I have a dedicated web site at http://keithhoughton.com which I encourage readers to subscribe to so that they can keep updated on my releases.

I’m also on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/KeithHoughtonAuthor

And Twitter at https://twitter.com/#!/KeithHoughton

Books & WritingIs there anything else you want to share with the readers?

Keith Houghton: My favourite movie is ‘Same Time, Next Year’ starring Alan Alda and Ellen Burstyn.

Below is an excerpt from his book Killing Hope!

Rochelle Lewis lives twenty miles south-east of Las Vegas. On an edge-of-town circular in a newish housing development in Boulder City. I’d never been to Rochelle’s place. Never quite gotten around to it. I didn’t even know if she’d be home. Or even if she still lived there. Listings had no telephone number registered to the property.

I commandeered a cab heading south. Watched the eye-watering Strip sail past. With its Christmas tree hotels and its flashing neon billboards blazing away the night.

Up until ten months ago, Rochelle Lewis had lived in LA. She’d lived there all her forty-five years. No reason to change that. An elementary school teacher with a good pension to look forward to. Not much in the way of family. But enough to keep her rooted. Then something had happened to make her up sticks and seek solitude in another State. I had no idea if she was still teaching. Or if she was still alive. Last time I’d spoken with Rochelle she’d tried to claw out my eyes.

We passed McCarran airport. Took the cloverleaf interchange onto Interstate 215. Headed east through the darkened desert towards Henderson at a breezy fifty-five.

Two years ago, Rochelle Lewis had made three mistakes. The first mistake was she’d met a man one night. It had been an ordinary meeting in an ordinary bar. A chance encounter. Just a few drinks. A few expertly-aimed compliments. The second mistake was she’d moved him in the very next day. He’d led her to believe he was a traveling salesman. Working for a company supplying piano accessories to outlets along the West Coast. He’d even had a van full of piano parts and pedals to prove it. He’d used Rochelle’s place as somewhere to crash for a few weeks whenever he was in LA. Used Rochelle in more ways than that. The third mistake had ruined her life.

Rochelle had known her part-time boyfriend as Travis Kimball.

But I knew him by another name.

The cab rubbed against the curb and came to a quiet stop five or six houses down the street from Rochelle’s place. I gave the driver a fifty and asked him to stay put. Walked the rest of the way on my toes. If Rochelle was home I didn’t want her spooked and out the back door before I’d rung the bell.

It was a clear, crisp night in Nevada. The kind that causes Californian coats to let the cold in. I ignored it. Walked beneath a vast black velvet heaven sprinkled with diamonds. The breath smoking from my lips. I could hear the wound on my scalp complaining with each step. I ignored that too. Kept my gaze locked on Rochelle’s place as I moved in and out of shadows. The house looked exactly like its neighbors: single-floor, side awnings, shingle and shrubbery out front. Nothing special. Good place to stay hidden, I thought.

There was a pick-up parked underneath the sunshade, I saw. Down the side of the house. A dark-painted Ford with Alabama plates. In good condition. But not even last year’s model.

I stopped at the threshold. Suddenly wary about speaking with Rochelle again, face to face. Our last get-together hadn’t gone down well. I looked up and down the quiet street. Took a deep breath. Then ventured through the open gates.

There were lights on inside the house. The muffled sounds of a TV coming from within. Sounded like somebody was watching a sports game. I peered through the glass in the front door. Looking for signs of Rochelle. Nothing. Just coats on hooks and scatterings of shoes. I grabbed a peek through the large front window. Saw a small untidy living room with blue upholstery and green carpeting. Magazine skyscrapers. Hillsides of clothes. There was a TV set in one corner. Showing a rerun of Wednesday’s game between the Cowboys and the Colts. Nobody watching. An opened bottle of Coors standing look-out on the arm of a chair.

The side gate wasn’t locked. I popped the latch and snuck through. It creaked but no one noticed.

The back yard was dark; I went slowly, letting eyes adjust. The area was mostly rough-cut gravel and Yuccas – worn-down bristles on a balding brush. There was a large plastic hopper pushed up against the rear wall, probably for housing outdoor stuff. I could taste gasoline. An old rotary clothes dryer was stooped in one corner, looking like a broken satellite antenna. An uncoiled hose snaking across the yard. Random pots of paint and a pair of workman’s boots near the back door.

I realized I was holding my breath. Slowly let it out.

What was I expecting from Rochelle? She hadn’t been co-operative the first time round. In fact, she’d gone out of her way to be obstructive and dumb. Was I hoping she’d mellowed during the last twelve months – that she’d help fill in the gaping holes in a case I wasn’t supposed to be working? Why should she? I’d helped ruin her life. Sent the man she loved into hiding.