woensdag 30 mei 2012

Interview with author Jay Hollister


Today I am talking to author Jay Hollister about himself, his writing and his book!

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

Jay Hollister: This is always a tough question because I live a pretty normal life and I’m afraid I might bore people to death.  I live in California with my wife and three young daughters.  I attended college at the University of San Diego where I graduated with honors.  After college, I entered into the construction business with my family, building schools and gas stations and homes.  Then, about ten years later I started writing for the fun of it and now I’m doing my first interview.  It has all kind of snowballed.                

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

Jay Hollister: Yes, I do.  In high school, I wrote a romantic poem about a field and the beauty found in nature.  It’s kind of cheesy I know, but it must have been pretty good because the teacher had trouble believing that I had written it.  I remember there was a phone call to my parents and a meeting and in the end; she found out that the poem was indeed my own.  It was the first time I realized that I may have a talent for writing.                                               

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

Jay Hollister: Well, I guess what I love most about writing is the ability to manipulate and play with both words and sentence structure.  I am defiantly not a conventional writer, finding myself far more concerned with the rhythm and/or tone of the story rather than whether each line is grammatically correct.             

Books & Writing: Can you tell us a bit about the novel, “The Journal of Liv Theed”?

Jay Hollister: Sure.  The novel is about a young girl who has been diagnosed with a mental illness.  Written in the form of a journal, the reader is provided with a daily account of her struggles.  The good days followed by the bad, her heart being emptied out on paper.  Throughout the story her parents loving stand by her side, doing anything to help their young daughter.  But there is only one problem- she doesn’t believe she is sick.  She writes about seeing them in the shadows- the creatures.  All charred and scaled, like demons.  She finds herself plagued by questions and doubts about the truth and God and the nature of her mind.  It is truly an emotional piece of literature.                       

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

Jay Hollister: The idea for Liv Theed came out of nowhere.  I was in the middle of writing a completely different story, when the thought of writing a journal just popped in my head.  I immediately flipped to the back of my notepad and wrote a couple paragraphs about a young girl suffering from hallucinations.  Then a few months later, I stumbled across the paragraphs and I realized it would make a very interesting story.              

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

Jay Hollister: Yes, I think I’m always in the middle of writing something.  In fact, I am almost finished with a story I had started writing over two years ago.  It is a suspense/thriller type tail that is told through the eyes of a murderer.  I’m hoping to have it out early next year.                  

Books & Writing: Which author inspires you?

Jay Hollister: There are so many.  Throughout the years I have enjoyed reading a myriad of authors, Stephen King, C.S. Lewis, and William Faulkner to name a few.  But the one author who has inspired both me and my career is Cormac McCarthy.  When I was in college, I was introduced to his works and I have been hooked ever since.          

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

Jay Hollister: Currently, I am in the middle of getting published.  If someone is interested in finding out more about me and my work they can go to my Facebook page, J. Hollister.  I am also on Twitter under the hashtag, @Hollisteriii. 

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

Jay Hollister: Don’t give up.  You are going to get stuck and you are going to get frustrated, but don’t ever quit trying.  Everyone has a story to tell, so tell yours.

Below is an excerpt from his book The Journal of Liv Theed!

April 13

Entry One

They tell me I’m sick.  I was sitting in the middle of a room in a hospital when they told me this.  The shaking felt in my limbs, my lips.  I reached down and placed my hands on my knees and tried to steady them, but it didn’t work.  Circled around me were four old men dressed in white.  A few diplomas set in frames, the names of doctors.  On the side wall I could see there was a bookcase standing from floor to ceiling and the shelves filled with volumes set thickest to thinnest and the bookends of a wolf and a dragon.  The fire breathed out from its mouth and its wings colored of black.  I didn’t want to be there.  I didn’t want the stench in my nose and the taste in my mouth, the sounds of this place in my head.  The elevator and the intercom and the gurneys pushed up and down the hallways.  The elderly woman I could hear crying out from her room.  Nurse, she called.  Nurse.  I don’t think anybody came to help her.  I can’t imagine hell being much worse. 

Question:  What is hell?  Is it a place in the middle of the earth made of fire and ash?  A place where the Devil sits on his thrown and tortures and torments the damned?  I think not.  I think hell is in your mind, an unwanted voice that stays and tells its story without end.  The black thoughts of things not of your making, the creatures that speak until heard. 

It was there in the room that they stood in their white coats, telling me I needed help.  Using words like delusional and depressed.  Could be schizophrenia, they said.  The latter seems to trouble those closest to me, my parents and my friends.  I started to cry.  I reached out and held the hand of my father and my mother and told them I was sorry.  Sorry for the things I had said.  The things I did.  The dishes I threw in the empty corner of the empty kitchen and the yelling and the screaming at the shadows.  The dark places where the Devil hides.  I don’t understand it, I said.  It all seemed so real. 

Later on in the day, they released me under the care of my parents, laying out a plan for my treatment.  My recovery, they called it.  A sheet of paper filled with the names of therapists.  A letter recommending home school, the pills I should take.  Little green circles with numbers etched on the sides.  A prescription handwritten on a piece of paper and the words scribbled in a mass.  One of the doctors said I needed to be monitored while adjusting to the medication.  Watch for severe changes in mood.  You might experience a little weight gain, he said, but don’t worry.  It’s completely normal.  My father laughed and told me I could use a few pounds and I sat there and tried not to think about it, but I couldn’t.  The thought was already there in my head and it wouldn’t go away.  Like a plague.  Maybe the pills will help with all that?  I thought.  Help with the obsessions and the things of the world?  It seems the world is too much.  I guess I am unable to live as others do.

woensdag 23 mei 2012

Interview with author RR Gordon

Hey again :)

Today's interview is with author RR Gordon who is a UK-based author who wrote the popular Gull Rock, a fast-paced thriller with a touch of humour and love interest.
RR Gordon lives with his wife and four children in the beautiful Cotswolds region of south-west England. Before becoming an author he ran a market-leading software business.

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

RR Gordon: I don't know whether to cringe or be proud of the fact that I wrote my first book at the age of 11. It was a kind of homage to James Bond with myself as the hero, the sort of story that every young boy makes up. Or was it just me?

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

RR Gordon: I think I like books because my father used to tell me Big Ted & Little Ted stories when I was very young. Big Ted is a teddy bear my father received on his first birthday - and he is now in his seventies. Little Ted is a Steiff teddy bear that I was given when I was a baby.
My father used to make up these stories about two bears who could speak and went on crazy adventures. He told the stories from when I was a baby and I remember sitting on the bed with him and my two younger sisters listening to him with rapt attention.

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

RR Gordon: It takes me away from the stresses and strains of everyday life. It’s similar to when you are reading a story, but more so. You disappear into the world of the story for an hour or two – and, if it’s a fast-moving part of the story where the hero is in trouble, then I finish the chapter slightly out of breath with my heart beating fast. It’s a form of temporary madness perhaps!

Books & Writing: I understand you have written two books for a book series called “Wish You Were Here’. Can you tell us a bit about the series and the main characters?

RR Gordon: The series follows the main character, Dan, who is on the run and the story focusses on the relationship between him and the man who is hunting him, Andrew Muir. In the first book, Gull Rock, Dan has stolen a large sum of money from the bank where he used to work and Muir follows him to Cornwall in south-west England where he is working in a small seaside village.

The book also looks at the relationship between Andrew Muir and his young assistant, Vinod, who is just out of university. Andrew is annoyed at having to look after the younger man, but Vinod is always trying to persuade Andrew to use the latest ideas and technologies.

Meanwhile Dan makes the mistake of falling for a girl he is working with, when he should be moving on in order to keep ahead of his pursuer.

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

RR Gordon: Cornwall is a beautiful part of England which is popular with tourists in the summer months and, one day when we were holidaying down there, I thought it would be a good place to hide if you were on the run. Nobody would notice a newcomer in the tourist season and there are many pubs, cafes, campsites where you can work for a few days.

Behind the main story, the books touch on how we have all been affected by the current global economic problems. Dan steals money from the bank where he works and I thought many people would sympathise with his resentment of these large financial institutions that have been gambling with our money over recent years.

Books & Writing: I believe you are working on the third book of the series called “Rydal Water”. When will it be released?

RR Gordon: Rydal Water will be published in the autumn of this year. This book takes the story to a new level, with a greater emphasis on the economic back-story.

Books & Writing: You have also written a Science Fiction Thriller called “Leap”. Can you tell us a bit about that please.

RR Gordon: I like Science Fiction books, but some of them focus too much on the technological aspects and lose sight of the story. I think Star Wars was so successful because of the storyline – it could almost have been sent in the Middle Ages, with brave knights rescuing a princess from an evil lord.

I wanted to write something similar: a thriller which just happens to be set in the future. Leap tells the story of Ben Smith who starts an exciting new job but uncovers a conspiracy within his firm. The book is set fifty years in the future, with the human race about to start reaching out to other planets again, but this is simply the backdrop to an age-old story of good guys against bad guys.

Books & Writing: You have even written some children’s short stories combined in the book “Fun In The Snow & Other Stories”. Why did you decide to write short stories for children?

RR Gordon: I wrote a number of short stories for my children over the years and this book brings them together in one collection. One of the stories in this book is called The One Who Sees and I wrote this for my daughter when she was nine years old. It was intended to inspire her to great things in her life, not that she has really needed anything like that. My daughter is now in the early stages of studying to be a doctor and only a few weeks ago she mentioned that she wants to do volunteer work in Africa when she has qualified. I said, “why do you want to do that?” She replied, with a perfect balance of self-deprecating humour and seriousness, “Because I want to change the world, Dad.” Perhaps it was my story that motivated her after all!

A couple of the other stories in the book have been likened to Roald Dahl by reviewers which I find very flattering. I just tried to write some short stories that my children might enjoy.

Books & Writing: Which author inspires you?

RR Gordon: I love the pace of John Grisham books. They have great plots and plenty of dialogue. I also enjoy reading George Pelecanos, who has come to fame in recent years due to his work on The Wire, and also Cormac McCarthy – his stories don’t have the pace of John Grisham, but I really like the gritty dialogue.
I would also like to add that one of my favourite films is Heat starring Robert De Niro and Al Pacino. The two big stars dominated the screen alternately but then came together in a quiet yet powerful scene towards the end. I hoped to emulate some of this power with one of the final scenes in my book, Gull Rock.

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

RR Gordon: My books are all published on Amazon Kindle and, for example, you can get Gull Rock from http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B006KWAL2O (in the UK) or http://www.amazon.com/dp/B006KWAL2O (in the US) - or in other countries just go to Amazon and search for “RR Gordon Gull Rock”.

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

RR Gordon: My website is www.rrgordon.com

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

RR Gordon: They say that you should write about what you know, but I would say you should also write about what interests you. Most authors don’t make much money from their books and therefore you should make sure it’s fun for you as well. Also, I wouldn’t plan the book out too much – a high-level plan is ok, but you want to make sure the process of writing the book is interesting for you all the way to the end. Sometimes I don’t know the ending myself until I get there!

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

RR Gordon: I just want to say that people can email me at rod@rrgordon.com if they have any questions about my books – or anything at all!

The following extract is taken from midway through Gull Rock. Andrew Muir and his young assistant Vinod have been hunting all day for a sign of the man they are tracking. Andrew decides to take a short break overlooking the picturesque harbour of Port Isaac in order to consider his next steps. He wants a few moments of quiet, but his young colleague keeps chattering to him …

“Hey I’ve got signal,” Vinod beamed childishly and Andrew shook his head. “Shall I tell you about Port Isaac?”


“’Port Isaac was a small but busy harbour from the Middle Ages to the mid 19th. century where cargoes like stone, coal, timber and pottery were loaded and unloaded. A number of fishermen still trade out of this beautiful Cornish harbour today.’ And this is interesting: ‘Port Isaac has been used as a location in many films and television series including Saving Grace with Brenda Blethyn, Poldark and more recently Doc Martin starring Martin Clunes.’ Hey I’ve seen that! Have you seen it?”

“No, I don’t watch television.”

“What? What do you mean, you don’t watch television?”

“Exactly what I said.”

“You must watch things occasionally?”

“No, I don’t own a television.”

“What? You don’t own a television,” Vinod repeated disbelievingly. “Are you a caveman or something? What do you do in the evenings?”

“I read a book, but I don’t suppose you’ve heard of such old-fashioned things.”

“I thought it was bad enough that you didn’t use satnavs but not to have a television is amazing.”

Andrew didn’t say anything.

Vinod went back to looking at his phone. “Shall I tell you a bit more about Port Isaac?”


“Hang on, I thought Port Isaac was a funny name. Apparently the old Cornish word for corn was yzick and it’s possible the name came from that as it was one of the main exports from the area.”


“Stop what?”


“You want me to stop talking?”


“And just sit here in silence?”

“The serenity of a quiet day is gold to a thoughtful man.”

“Who said that?”

“I did.”

“It sounds like Shakespeare or – “

“Vinod, shut up.”

Vinod finally acceded and Andrew sat back to enjoy the view of Port Isaac harbour, the sunlight glistening off the rippling water.



maandag 21 mei 2012

Interview with author Sadie Brown


Today I am talking to author Sadie Brown who is a London based Author and Comedy writer. She moved to London from Sussex eight years ago when she was singer and song writer in search for a record deal. But after nearly 13 years in the business she decided to take a break. Sadie never stopped writing and she was itching to get back into her creative life but she knew she didn't want to sing so she started to write short stories, dipped her toe into acting as well, but quickly started to write short scripts and comedy sketches. Her love for writing was stronger than ever and it was then that she decided to write her first book inspired by a real life relationship.

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

Sadie Brown: Actually when I was at primary school I used to write short stories to entertain my class mates! I seem to remember something about a toothbrush getting lost – What can I say : I was so innocent!

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

Sadie Brown: I wasn't a popular child and I detested school altogether! I used to spend most of my classes day dreaming out of a window imaginary I was performing to millions like Madonna. I was a chubby kid with frizzy hair and I quickly discovered that if I was funny the other children would laugh with me not at me and I would hold there attention with what I was saying rather than my three chins. As a teenager I had a pretty dark time too so I started to write poetry to escape and along with my songs I was in my own world where I was loved for my talents and it didn't matter what I looked like.

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

Sadie Brown: For me the feeling I get when I write is my all time high. I empty my head completely and only think about what I want to write. I tend to have a subject in mind for a little while, maybe a week and then I pounce on it when the moments right and it pours out. I never think about whether people will like it or not I just focus on getting down what I want to say and boom – I'm done. I love love love! writing comedy and scripts as it is complete fantasy and you can take it wherever you want to where as a book takes a lot more discipline and structure. Also if something pisses me off I just let it go as I know I can write about it later!

Books & Writing: What do you love about comedy?

Sadie Brown: I think it comes naturally to me to be funny, right back to when I was at primary school, I think that's my calling in life! Plus I'm a happy positive person and laughing makes you feel good so it's joyful to write. I wouldn't want to write about heavy topics, It's not me. Even when I write about depression or heartbreak it's always with a comical twist as I want the reader to feel uplifted and inspired to get over these things that can bring us down. Women always comment that they find my writing and tales inspiring and that is really important to me too.

Books & Writing: I understand you are in the final editing stages of your book “ALL THESE THINGS’. Can you tell us a bit about the book and the main characters, and how did you come up with the story for the book?

Sadie Brown: All these things” is a story inspired by a past relationship with an ex boyfriend of mine *Daniel. The book is based solely around the two of us from the day we first met to our eventual and messy break up.The book follows the slow breakdown of my character, from confident and extrovert at the beginning of the relationship, to a shadow of my former self as a result of Daniel's emotional bullying, cheating, and constant battering of my self esteem.

I share my internal battles with the reader - not only as if they were in my shoes, but also in my head and heart. They feel the anguish that I did of enjoying the ride of hot sex and the high of travelling, whilst masking doubts and watching myself being slowly turned inside out. As the relationship deteriorates, the good times become extinct and Daniel shows his true colours leaving my character in a constant state of worry and stress while Daniel takes full advantage in every way he can.

An emotional read as well as incredibly humorous, there is of course a happy ending! It's not sugarcoated by any means but it does complete the cycle, and has the reader witness my glorious return back to my former self - only a more improved, more vibrant and wiser version!

Books & Writing: When will it be published?

Sadie Brown: I'm meeting with publishers at the moment without having an agent which is pretty rare!But I believe in the book so much so I've pretty much worked myself into the ground networking it I am blessed to have support from some media figures that have been fans of my other writing for a while including my on line journal and comedy sketches. I've shown how serious and dedicated I am to writing and publishers need to see your not a one hit wonder in today's competitive market I think.

Books & Writing: Are you planning a release party for the book? 

Sadie Brown: I plan to have a party for everything! I'm equally passionate about all of the projects so whatever my first breakthrough is be it my book or my journal being published - I will have a celebrate each deal. I live my life by the law of attraction so I've already written my guest lists :) 

Books & Writing: You have also written a diary styled book and are woring on the second one. Why did you decide to write a diary styled book?

Sadie Brown: I love to write short punchy pieces and it was at the suggestion of a well respected agent and also publisher that I think about writing in a diary style for my second book due to the nature of the story. This book 'The London Years' Is a diary of my time from when I first moved to the city as a struggling singer and songwriter right up until the point that the story 'All these things' is based around. This book is packed from the beginning with tales from the music business, the first time I fell in love, and got my heart broken, to over coming depression, illness and making it out alive! I've wanted to cover this period of my life for a long time and I have the skeleton ready to get going which I plan to later on this year as my priority for summer is too see one or more of my projects published and a pay cheuqe!

Books & Writing: Can you tell us a bit about the writing you have done for tv?

Sadie Brown: While I was acting a few years ago, within a few months I started to write my own scenes and show my tutor who advised me I was more of a writer/director than an actor. I quickly started write a handful of short films which I acted in as well, but for me creating a script was more me. I put together a number of characters for a sketch show idea then one day a had a massive light bulb moment and the idea for a sitcom was born. I have to say writing the sitcom feels nothing like work it's pure fun! While I''ve put the sketches on the back burner for now I'm pitching the sitcom and it the feedback is good – I can't wait to out in into production one day and I would love to developed the sketch show too, I want to to it all!

Books & Writing: How is the script coming along for the movie?

Sadie Brown: This is again something I dream of shooting one day. I have friends that are features writers and fully understand the level of commitment needed to write a successful script, so for now this is a personal extra project for me that I want to work on in the side lines.

I have my characters and storyline all written out and scenes too so in true me style – I'm saying it's a personal project but I know I'll go all out at some point! It's actually the first serious work I have written and it's a love story set in New York in the 1940s. I love the idea of doing something visually rich where I can mix in my love of fashion ; see- carried away already!

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

Sadie Brown: If you passionately believe in your writing you won't give up just because you got a pile of rejection letters. If you really feel with all of your heart that you will succeed - then you will. One of my favourite saying is 'Whether you believe you can or you can't – you're right'

I would also say stay true to yourself but flexible. Two years ago I just had the book to promote and I naively thought I would land an agent just like that and get my big deal. But when that didn't happen I tried to think of others ways to write so with the suggestion of a friend I started my on line journal which grew and grew in a short space of time and got the interest of publishers so you never where something may take you. I wrote the sitcom while I waiting to hear from various agents on the book so that took my mind off the wait, and even though I didn't sign with them I was so happy I'd created something new I took the rejection and brushed it off, keep writing always!

Books & Writing: Which author inspires you?

Sadie Brown: As I write in different disciplines I'm inspired by different types of writers. I grew up watching The Young Ones, Monty Pyton, Fawlty Towers and Bottom so those writers I love, I would love to work with David Walliams, and I think Julia Davies is a genius. I love Caitlin Moran, Bret Easton Ellis and Alain DeBotton's 'Essay's in love' was recently recommend to me by a friend and I found it so refreshing and not something I would have chosen myself.

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

Sadie Brown: My on line journal is where readers can get to know me and my writing style. I write about my life in London and experiences, I like to keep to keep it light and fun! My aim is always to make people smile and feel good about themselves : I'm light entertainment I have interest in getting heavy on line.

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

Sadie Brown: My twitter is @sadiewriter and my journal is sadiebrown.wordpress.com

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

Sadie Brown: Just to keep writing and remember that if something doesn't turn out the way you planned or you didn't get the agent or deal you wanted – that's because something better is coming up for you. I never thought I would give up singing and write a book! But I wouldn't change a thing and I've never felt happier – stay open and love all that you can and it will come back to you!

vrijdag 18 mei 2012

Interview with author Faiyaz Kiddi


Today I am talking to author Faiyaz Kiddi who was born in Leicester, United Kingdom, to parents of Indian origin, who had emigrated from Malawi to the UK, during the early 1980's, in search of a better future for their children. Faiyaz was bought up in Leicester for twenty-three years during which he earned a Bachelors Degree in Psychology. Although a man of science, Faiyaz took a keen interest in writing at a very early age. While at school, Faiyaz wrote several short stories for his personal enjoyment. Through the years, Faiyaz developed a writing style which lead to the birth of his d├ębut novel, It Takes Two.

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

Faiyaz Kiddi: I had wrote my first ever story when I was six years old. As you can guess, it wasn’t a professional piece of work, but none-the-less, it was my first attempt to write. I can’t exactly remember what the story was about, but I know it was some sort of fairy tale. However, my first published novel is It Takes Two. 

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

Faiyaz Kiddi: Experience. Like many novelists out there, both established and newcomers, it is experience which inspires me to write. For me it was the experiences in my own life that lead to the creation of "It Takes Two".

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

Faiyaz Kiddi: That’s a good question. I love the possibilities. I can do almost anything and everything I want in my stories, by simply typing a few words together. When I was beginning to write my debut novel, I was first very inhibited in my writing, but as I carried on, the characters jumped out of the page and started writing the novel for me. 

Books & Writing: Can you tell us a bit about your just released book 'It Takes Two’ and the main character Adam Samar?

Faiyaz Kiddi: Sure! ‘It Takes Two’ is a story of human emotion. The story is told from the perspective of the protagonist, Adam Samar, who decides to turn a new chapter in his life. What Adam didn’t know, was that his perfect world was about to shatter into pieces. It Takes Two is the story of how Adam battles between life and love. But soon Adam discovers that in this battle, the winners get hurt most of all.

Books & Writing: Are you working on something new?

Faiyaz Kiddi: I thought I would leave writing to a minimum after I released ‘It Takes Two’, but I couldn’t help myself and started writing something which was brewing in my mind for a while. I haven’t got a title for the story as of yet, but I can tell you that it is very different from my previous novel. It is set in 1988 Shinjuku, Tokyo. The story revolves around the life of a vice cop named Mamoru Mishima. 

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

Faiyaz Kiddi: When you’re writing, write with passion. There is nothing worse than a story which doesn’t move the reader. Take yourself on a journey and your readers will follow. When you’ve finished your hard work get your work out there. The truth is that you will get tons of rejection letters, but don’t let that demotivate you. 

Books & Writing: Which author inspires you?

Faiyaz Kiddi: There are many authors, whose works have contributed to my writing experience. But in my novel I mention one particular author, who is the biggest influence in my writing style. And that's Haruki Murakami. I remember reading his work for the first time and being blown away by his style. At the time I couldn't believe that a novel could be so creatively descriptive. I kept reading one novel after another.

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

Faiyaz Kiddi: My novel is available on the Amazon website from the following links:



I am in the process of publishing my novel as an audiobook, and I will release the details about that when I get more information about it.

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

Faiyaz Kiddi: My readers can stay up-to-date with my work from my: 

Blog - http://faiyazkiddi.blogspot.co.uk/

Twitter - https://twitter.com/faiyazkiddi

Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/FaiyazKiddi.ItTakesTwo

Below is an excerpt from "It Takes Two"!

The gentle beams of the morning sun sidled through a slit between the thin lilac curtains. A small streak gleamed on to my brow and tenderly called upon my eyes to open. As the morning blur cleared from my eyes, I saw the sparkling eyes of Cai. She was lying beside me, wearing nothing but a winsome smile that could melt any heart. Sharing the scattered bed sheet, our eyes painted a picture of this beautiful moment. 

“You’re here with me.” I whispered in my coarse dawning voice. Cai smiled and shook her head. 
“I can’t explain how hard it was... for me to spend all this time without you,”  I whispered, as I cherished this tranquil moment. 
“We’ll never be apart again.” I spoke these words with all of my faith. “Sometimes it feels like this is a dream.” She reached her comforting hand to the side of my face and whispered into my ear. “It is a dream.” The reflection of her restful face slowly faded away from my eyes and I was lying in my bed once again, all alone.  

Below is the trailer for the book!

donderdag 17 mei 2012

Writing Plan

Hello all!

Before you start writing on a novel or story, its always good to create a writing plan in advance. What's a writing plan you may ask? Well a writing plan is a plan where you write down all the important stuff you want in the story. So you could start by lining out what characters you want to implement in the story(good guy versus bad guy). Most importantly is of course to make the main character come to life for the reader, so make sure you write down how he or she looks, what his or her perks are, if he/she is sportive or not, stuff like that. You could even write down if the person is married or not, has children or not, or has pets or not. Its all up to you how far you want to add detail to the story, as long as it fits in with the story.

You will also need a setting to put your characters in, so for example you want to write about someone living in San Francisco, or New York. You could then write this down in your writing plan, and add more detail, so where exactly does the main character live, like in what street, or which neighborhood. It could also be, that you want to write about someone living in a totally different universe, so make sure you write down, what the planet looks like, what kind of village, town or city the character lives in, or if the character lives in a forest. Like before, the detail is all up to you.

Conflict is the most important thing of course for a story, so make sure you write down all the conflicts you want in your story. So for example, you want two brothers to fight over something, or two men fighting over a woman, good versus bad, two colleagues fighting over a job, whatever. Just write ti down in your writing plan, so you can check the plan later when you are writing your story.  

So as you can see, a writing plan can be very usefull as preperation for your story. 

Good luck with the writing!

zaterdag 12 mei 2012

Interview with author Christina Moss


This time I am talking to author Christina Moss who was born in New England — close to Boston. She was raised and educated there.  She was a teacher and guidance counselor at a private school in Cambridge, Massachusetts for ten years.  Then she moved to Los Angeles in 1992. Currently she is a life coach for young adults and she writes novels — mainly Science Fiction.

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

Christina Moss: Yes, I do.  It was a dramatic poem about a handsome male who committed suicide by drowning himself in the ocean. Funny you should ask because I will never forget that poem.  I might even still have it stashed away somewhere.

I’ve always been involved in writing but never really considered myself a serious writer until three years ago this month.  That’s  when I began writing my first novel, INTWINE.  It was a very exhilarating experience for me and when I finished it in two month I had to admit to myself that I was an author.  I didn't know any authors and had no idea that two months for a full length novel was actually pretty darn good.  It wasn’t until later when I made friends with other authors that I realized most writers take a much longer time to churn out a novel, and a long time spent on a story does not necessarily mean it’s good. 

I wrote three more after that first story.  All four are published and I’m working on my fifth now.

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

Christina Moss: Well, naturally, it’s the things that I find interesting that inspire me.  For me interest equals inspiration.  When I get excited about anything, I want to write about it.  I figure there will be other people who find it equally fascinating too, and I imagine them reading it.  Every artist needs an audience and that’s how I envision mine.

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

Christina Moss: EVERYTHING!  I love dreaming up characters, I love action, I love inventing new things and describing them.  I love the point where my characters become well developed, and the story begins to write itself.  Those things are the best kind of fun for me.  It’s a little weird that I’m so emotionally impacted by my characters.  I’ll literally cry my eyes out, or laugh hysterically while I write.  I think that’s unusual for a writer, but I don’t really know.  I read somewhere that Steven King doesn’t get frightened when he writes his own stories.  I do not understand that, and someday I hope to meet him and ask him about that.  I’ve written things that scared me so much it made me uncomfortable and I found myself squirming and nervous.  But I’ve only written four books and Steven King has written —.I don’t know how many.  So many he probably doesn’t even know. In time maybe my personal emotional impact will wear off, or maybe it’s just part of my process as a writer.  It doesn’t bother me or anything.  It just is what it is. 

Books & Writing: I understand you have written a saga called “Intwine”. Can you tell us a bit about the books and main characters Juliette Greenmoss and Seth?

Christina Moss: Yes, the INTWINE Saga consists of four books:  INTWINE, INSIGHT, INCIRCLE and I’m currently writing the fourth one called, INSPIRE.  It’s about a high school girl, Juliette, who meets and falls in love with Seth who she discovers to be an alien from a planet on the other side of the Milky Way Galaxy.  Juliette, because of her love for Seth, is forced to confront a lot of shocking realities in a short period of time.  There are lots of twists and turns in this story and because of that, it is not predictable.  I don’t like predictable stories.  My characters are so unpredictable they surprise even me.

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

Christina Moss: Three years ago, in May, I woke up and had an idea for a story.  I told my son about it, he thought it was awesome, and he told me I had to write it.  So I started that night.

Books & Writing: Are the characters based on people you know?

Christina Moss: Not really.  Each character is a composite of several different people.  Only the dog is based on a real living being.  He’s my dog, Remy.

Books & Writing: You have also written a book called “Vampire of my Dreams,” can you tell us a bit about that?

Christina Moss: Yes!  It’s a novella.  It’s my mini masterpiece.  Everyone should read it, even if they don’t like to read.  I wrote it for the non-reader, that’s why it’s short.  It’s a free download on my website.  Here’s the link: http://www.christinamoss.com/FREE-STUFF.html

Books & Writing: What do you love about writing Sci-Fi and fantasy?

Christina Moss: With Sci-Fi and Fantasy, it is not that I get to write and create “out of the box,” it is simply this:  there is no box.  It’s a blank canvas with no lines and I can write whatever I want. 

Science Fiction and Fantasy readers tend to be intelligent.  To read these genres, and appreciate them, requires a certain ability in the reader.  They must be able to experience a “suspension of disbelief.”  Not everyone is able to do that.  It makes some people very uncomfortable. 

There is something very special about Sci-fi in particular (which these days is better known as speculative fiction, but I happen to like the old-fashioned label).  Science fiction doesn’t mean “impossible fiction.”  Fantasy is impossible.  But Sci-fi stories project ideas into the realm of future possibility.  I write what I totally believe COULD happen. 

My series, the INTWINE Saga is a perfect example.  Very possibly there is a planet on the other side of the galaxy that is just like Earth and it might be populated by humans.  We don’t know yet.  Even the Hubble space craft can’t see beyond the nuclear bulge, so we’re talking about a scientific unknown. 

For a creative writer, that’s a wonderful thing.  Because I can make it all up as I go along.  And I get to create spaceships and decide how they should be powered, and space guns that operate in interesting ways and strange creatures and a galactic government called UTOPIA and the Earth is deliberately being kept in the dark. 

For all I know, it could be factual.  And if it isn’t, it sure is fun imagining it and I think my fans will tell you the same.

It’s interesting with early Sci-fi.  Years have now passed and some of the projected speculative views of earlier authors have been proven to be non-factual.  For example, there do not appear to be any green men on Mars.  So what.  Those stories now fall into the fantasy category.  That’s the way I see it.

On the other hand look at the old Star Trek shows.  Do you remember Captain Kirk’s little hand-held comm link?  Looks a lot like a cell phone to me.  Back then, Sci-fi fans thought it was the coolest thing in the world.  There were no cell phones in that decade.  But these days people literally do business, have relationships and do their banking via cell phone.  Our present culture factually LIVES and BREATHES through cell phones.

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

Christina Moss: Yes, I am!  A multi-award winning musician and recording artist has written a music soundtrack for my first book, INTWINE.  The release of his CD is June 3rd.  The red carpet event will be broadcast live and world-wide through StageIt, an online venue.  Tickets are selling fast but the last time I checked there were still some left.

Here’s the link:  http://www.stageit.com/christina_moss_author/magnificent_intwine_project_cd_release_party/9187

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

Christina Moss: If you want to write a book, you should!  Don’t worry about what happens next.  Finish your book first and then call yourself an author, because when the book is done, you will be.  Then find out how to present it and to whom it should be presented.  That’s my advice. 

Books & Writing: Which author inspires you?

Christina Moss: Ernest Hemingway, Isaac Asimov, Jane Austin and Shakespeare.  Shakespeare was a funny guy.  Of all the writers in history, I’d most like to interview him. He had an exquisite understanding of human nature.

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

Christina Moss: All of my books can be found on my website listed below.  The books are on Amazon.  They’re also available for Kindle, and in various online bookstores.  Readers can check out some sample pages on my website and request a free download of Vampire of my Dreams:  http://www.christinamoss.com/FREE-STUFF.html

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

Christina Moss: Website:  www.christinamoss.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Christina-Moss-Author-of-Science-Fiction-Fantasy/434887660141

Twitter:  http://twitter.com/#!/christinaauthor

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4296074.Christina_Moss

Wordpress: http://christinamoss.wordpress.com/

YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/ChristinaMoss2012

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

Christina Moss: Yes.  Thank you!  It is an honor to be interviewed for your website and I want you to know that I respect your project and your support of authors. 

donderdag 3 mei 2012

Interview with author Chris Achillea

Hello again :)

This time i am talking to author Chris Achillea who was kind enough to answer the questions for this interview!

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

Chris Achillea: That’s always a difficult question to answer. Well, I'm closer to 30 than I am 20, which is a very daunting thought. I play the drums, which allows me to vent my frustrations, if you're an angry person you should try it! I like gardening, which for a bloke in their mid-twenties is pretty lame I know. My best friend (not counting the missus of course) is my cat Stella, bit sad really. I have a degree in Philosophy and Psychoanalysis, which didn't really give me much in terms of career prospects, rather, it gave me a title for a book to write about. I drink loads of tea, smoke loads of roll-ups, and generally do that whilst sitting in a 3 foot by 4 foot 'cave' in my house that smells of Greek man and stale smoke, with the loud whirr of a 1KW computer that packs out 40 degree heat, wonderful eh? The missus thinks so too, that's why she's never been in there.
Books & Writing: Do you remember the first story you wrote?

Chris Achillea: Ah yes, I was 10 years old using a pencil and paper, and remember writing a story about witches. It was 12 pages long, with bad grammar and contextually incorrect words. The story itself was terrible, and from what I remember, the world had been invaded by shrieking witches and it was up to me and my friends to save everyone. Standard for a 10 year boy, imagining himself as a superhero.

Given that I was using a pencil and paper, and I’m left handed, I ended up with a grey patch on my hand and most of the writing had been smudged as I was writing. Luckily the story was that bad, that others couldn't read it due to my awful handwriting and pencil smudging. Thank goodness for the modern era!

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

Chris Achillea: After my childhood attempts at writing stories about witches and Star Trek, I started reading about religion and became fascinated by ancient scriptures, when I was about 16. I think that was the key thing that inspired me to write, as I started writing a long, seemingly endless essay which conglomerated all of my research from hundreds of different texts. That seemed to spark my passion for writing when I realized that I could read back through it all and it made some sort of sense.

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

Chris Achillea: It has to be when I make myself laugh at some of the lines I write. With the exception of my long essay on religion, the books I have published are in the humour genre. So when I laugh at my own jokes and one liners, it generally motivates me to keep going, and enjoy the whole process a lot more. Although that's not a testament to how funny my books are, it's probably just that I have a weird, disgusting and dry sense of humour, so I find myself to be funny.

Books & Writing: I understand you have written two books called 'Memoirs of an Angry Man', and 'Memoirs of an Angry Man: At Work'. Can you tell us a bit about the books and main characters?

Chris Achillea: Right, how to put this… The Memoirs of an Angry Man series is effectively male observational humour, based on my personal experiences. The scenarios are dictated in the first person, and are things that I’m pretty certain the majority of men have experienced. For example, when you’re out for dinner with your girlfriend/wife/mistress and they say they don’t want a dessert but end up eating half of yours.

A lot of the scenarios are based on women, and is very much tongue in cheek. The aim is to laugh/chuckle/smile while you’re reading, as you recognize similarities to my own experiences. Though I’d recommend against reading them if you’re not thick skinned!

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

Chris Achillea: If I remember correctly, it was when I was in the pub with some mates a few years ago, and whilst talking about women and work, it came to me to write a book about it all, because our experiences were all so similar. From there, most of the events in each story were inspired by my own experiences, but there were a fair few that came about through talking with some mates in the pub on a Friday night about women. The second book, which holds a similar context to the first is predominantly about work, and mostly fictional, with a hint of truth in there as inspired by comments made by friends from their work places.

There was also an instance that had a friend of mine (Adam S), that I often shared many laughs with about stupid sayings like 'I laughed my head off' and 'My blood was boiling'. I think that helped me develop the story for the first book.

Books & Writing: Are the characters based on people you know?

Chris Achillea: Tricky to answer. Most of the ‘characters’ are based on several different people, so one character in the book(s) would actually be an amalgamation of 3-5 different personalities that I had encountered. That way, if anyone that I used to know happened to come across my book, then they wouldn’t be able to recognize themselves in it.

Books & Writing: What do you love about writing adult humor?

Chris Achillea: Knowing that I made someone laugh, definitely. If 100 people read my book and only 1 of them found it funny, then I would consider that an achievement. Being the person I am, I generally laugh at my own jokes, so I find that I’m laughing to myself when I’m writing, that I suppose is also a contributing factor.

Books & Writing: Are you working on the next part of the series, and could you tell us something about it?

Chris Achillea: I’m actually working on numbers 3 and 4 of the series. Memoirs of an Angry Man: The Holidays and Memoirs of an Angry Man: At University. The former is a chronological journey through various holidays and events throughout the year that ‘annoy’ me, such as Valentine’s Day, Easter, Summer, Christmas, New Year, etc. It follows a similar format to the first two books, picking various aspects of it apart, like buying cheap flowers at Valentine’s Day, but your partner knowing they’re cheap and so punishes you by throwing them back at you.

The University one, is essentially my experiences during my degree, like drinking games and how ridiculous they are, cheerleaders, how there are 9 million societies – most of which obscure like the Rodent Appreciation Society, lecturers that are so clever that they come across as mental, etc.

I'm hoping to have them released before the end of 2012.

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

Chris Achillea: Persevere. Writing can be frustrating, you’ll have periods of low inspiration and even lower motivation. Just don’t give up, keep writing, every writer has gone through it. Then, before you even consider deeming your work as finished you must check, re-check, check again, get someone else to check, check, and repeat until insane.

Books & Writing: Which author inspires you?

Chris Achillea: To be honest, most of the authors who’s work I’ve read are dead, (I read a lot of Greek, Roman, medieval and renaissance literature). So I couldn’t say that there’s an author that inspires me as such, but I am a fan of J.K. Rowling’s rise to success, so I suppose she would count.

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

Chris Achillea: There’s loooooooooooooooads of places, but mainly the Amazons (.co.uk, .com, etc), and Barnes and Noble. Available as an ebook and on paperback. Or they can just ask me, I frequent a pub in Upminster (The Windmill) on a Friday night, with my cup of tea, roll-ups, and alluring conversation about quantum mechanics.

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

Chris Achillea: On my website www.chrisachillea.com
On Facebook ‘Memoirs of an Angry Man’
Twitter: @ChrisAchillea

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

Chris Achillea: For anyone who has read my books, I hope you enjoyed them and had a good laugh. There's more to come, as long as I keep getting angry, I can keep writing!

Below is an excerpt from The Memoirs of an Angry Man series.

Are you indecisive? Let me guess… you don’t mind.

This leads me to my next scenario, which illustrates indecisiveness and potentially one of the things that will cause a man to grit his teeth so hard in frustration that he may require a visit to the dentist shortly after.

It starts with the weekend, everyone enjoys the weekend. You’re off work for two days, you can sit at home and relax, you can go and have a pub lunch with friends, or you could even make arrangements to meet up with your girlfriend. Realistically, if you’re off work and your girlfriend is off work, you haven’t really got an excuse on why you don’t want to see her that day. This isn’t meant in a malicious way, but if you want to sit at home in your pants, watching Top Gear, smoking roll-ups, then you want to do that on your own. Sadly, your girlfriend cannot understand this and makes it about them. Asking why you don’t want to see them, and what have they done wrong, and they knew you’d get bored of them. The same stuff we’ve all heard before, which at first had you reassuring them that this is not the case, you just want to sit and do nothing on your own. Obviously, their ego-centric nature does not allow them to see this perspective and they say the one thing that has every man sigh the biggest sigh known to mankind and has you looking up at the sky asking why you have been damned. Yes, she said it ‘Ok fine’. Now a man saying that same thing means exactly what it’s supposed to mean. A woman however means it in a completely different way. It actually means:

No it’s not fine, I’m saying it because I never want to be clear or rational about anything, I simply want you to acknowledge that I am the most important thing to ever happen in the entire cosmos and want you to show some appreciation for this.

You may as well give up now and just settle for porn. It doesn’t whine at you, it shows you everything you want to see, it’s always there when you want/need it, it never moans (well, not in a bad way), you can mute it whenever you want, when you’ve had enough you can turn it off, and you don’t have to stay awake talking to it after you’ve got your fix.

Should you take the safer route of committing to a weekend spent with your girlfriend, then you’re in for a real treat. The nice bloke you probably are will have you searching the depths of the internet to find a day trip that will keep her happy and not bore you to tears. Go Karting? No, she’s bad enough on a real road let alone a race track. The two flashing red lights and loud sounding sirens at a train level crossing are just pretty lights and weird sounds to her. They don’t indicate that a 200 tonne train travelling at 100MPH is approaching and will annihilate anything it comes into contact with. You would also think that the descending barriers would give a bit of a clue that something is happening. Alas no, not to her, remaining oblivious to this she will continue to drive onwards toward what can be described as certain death. Once she has got onto the track and the barriers have boxed her in she will then panic as realisation kicks in and the vibrations from the track pulsate through the car. Hysterical, she will then try and reverse. Yes, that’s the right thing to do, try and go backwards. Just when you don’t think the situation could get any worse, she stalls the car. Looking out of your window you see the train rapidly approaching and issue the order to go forward and smash through the barrier. She obeys. Well done, you have just saved your lives from her stupidity. As this memory dominates your mind you decide against Go Karting, it will undoubtedly result in tragedy.