Category Archives: Author interviews

Meet Author David A Wilson

On my blog today is children’s author, and dragon dreamer, David A Wilson. Like me, David lives in Coventry, UK, and is a member of the Coventry Writers’ Group.David Wilson

What is the title of your recent book? (In a nutshell what is it about?)

 Aaron Gray and the Dragon War is a book about an extremely bratty kid called Aaron who says “Crud” a lot. He lives in a children’s care home and has the same dream every night about dragons fighting each other around a castle. One day he gets sucked into the dragons’ world and is sent on a quest with another kid called Julia to try and stop a dragon war.  Julia’s generally quite thrilled about the whole thing. Aaron isn’t.

 What are the most challenging aspects of being a writer? And the most rewarding?

 It turns out that there are rules about when to use commas and exclamation marks. No matter how hard I try I never get it right and have to kill off all punctuation mistakes when editing. Sometimes I let a few stay in out of pity. The most rewarding part is that I have this whole world of characters and fantasy creatures that I get to explore. I’ve especially grown fond of Aaron and can’t wait to send him on more adventures in the future.

 Tell us a bit about everything you needed to do to get your book published – and launched. What worked? What you wouldn’t do again?

David Wilson 2Well Aaron Gray is self-published, rather than going through a publisher who already knows what they’re doing. The steps are all still the same, but it’s me doing them all rather than clever people in an office somewhere. I had to find my own editors to critique my book and find any errors, then find a printer and distributer, then find someone to design the cover because my art skills are shocking,  then format the book for printing and for e-books, then market the book myself and approach booksellers. Oh and before all that I had to write the book too.

My main piece of advice would be to give yourself plenty of time between your final book edit and publication. Getting books printed takes time, and every time you contact someone like Waterstones there’s a 30 working day (6 week) wait before you get a reply. You also need to take time to plan your book launch and contact your local media. I tried to do all of this in about 6 weeks, which as you can imagine posed some problems!

 What is your top tip for an aspiring writer?

 Decide what you want to write and write it. Don’t stop because it’s rubbish. First drafts are supposed to be rubbish. Don’t even stop and edit what you’ve written before. Just write whatever you need to write until your story’s finished. Then give yourself a week or so, go back to your story and start to craft it into something special.

 What are you working on at the moment?

 Book two! Aaron Gray and the <cough cough cough> is all plotted out and I’m hoping to have the first draft finished by the end of May.

 What do you like to read?

 I have a ridiculously  strict reading regimen, making sure that I’ve read one book in each of the following four genres before returning to the top of the list.

  • A children’s/YA book (because that’s my genre)
  • A christian/spritual book (good for the soul)
  • A book that is considered a classic (because there are so many amazing books I haven’t read)
  • A book recommended by a book club (to see what’s currently popular)

Where can readers find you (Amazon links etc)?

 The easiest thing to do is check out my website at www.breveny.co.uk, which has links to all the various bookstores and new content three times each week. You can also find me on facebook at www.facebook.com/breveny .

 

 

 

 

Meet author Nathaniel Danes

Today I am delighted to have the author, Nathaniel Danes, on my blog. Nathaniel’s latest military science fiction novel is due for release tomorrow (20th April). BattleMaster Cover Art (1)

So, Nathaniel, what is the  title of your latest book? 

My latest novel, BattleMaster, is the first in a new trilogy, BattleMaster Corps. The foundation of the story is a future where women’s naturally superior multi-tasking abilities allow them to become the masters of the modern battlefield and where they treat men kinda like the women on “Mad Men.”

 What are the most challenging aspects of being a writer? 

Getting your book noticed. The e-book revolution has been great for a small publishing company like mine. I’d likely never have been published under the old business models, but there isn’t much of a  marketing budget behind you.

And the most rewarding? The most rewarding is when you read a review from someone who enjoyed your story. That’s a great feeling.

What is your top tip for an aspiring writer?

I tell anyone that is interested in writing you have to do two things. LIVE and WRITE. Never stop with both and you will be amazed at the worlds you will be able to create with your imagination.

What are you working on at the moment?

On Chapter 15 of the next installment of the BattleMaster Corps Trilogy, BattleSwarm.

What do you like to read?

History and science fiction. I’ve just finished A Short History of Nearly Everything which is a non-fiction history of scientific discovery, and before that, Stranger in a Strange Land. I know…it has taken me awhile to get to that one.

Where can readers find you?

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Nathaniel-Danes/1528587637363979

Twitter: https://twitter.com/nathanieldanes

Blog: http://nathanieldanes.blogspot.com/

Website: www.nathanieldanesauthor.com

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/author/nathanieldanes

Book Link: https://www.amazon.com/BattleMaster-Corps-Book-1-ebook/dp/B06XNTTQPN

Thank you, Nathaniel. And for those who want to find out more about the author and his new book, I have included a short excerpt, blurb, and author bio.

Excerpt: His eyes shifted toward his own line. That’s when he saw her, saw the BattleMaster. The twin moons stood at her back, illuminating her presence with a mystical glow. She was alone on the ridge but not for long.

Eight machines-of-war, battle-drones, emerged along her side. Half were small tracked vehicles with twin fifty-calibers and rocket launchers on a turret. The rest looked like six-legged spiders with a ball-shaped laser cannon and mortar tube on top. She flung her arms forward and her minions erupted.

Blurb: It’s a women’s army, men are privileged to catch bullets in it. Private Michael Stanner is continuously reminded of that fact but he refuses to give up. He will fight for victory and the chance to become something more. That is, if he can avoid getting killed on New Calcutta.

Members of the all female BattleMaster  Corps are the elite warriors of the modern battlefield. Their naturally superior multitasking abilities allows them to control teams of drones in combat more effectively than any man through neural links.

The Corps is the cornerstone of the American colonists’ decades long struggle for dominance in the Eden System. As three powers fight for control of a terraformed world left vacant by the mysterious disappearance of the Indian colony ship, questions linger about the true motivation for the war.

Bio: Nathaniel Danes is a self-diagnosed sci-fi junkie and, according to his wife, has an over active imagination. Mostly blind, he writes to create universes where he has no limitations. He lives with his wife and daughter in the Washington, DC area.

 

Meet author, David Court

 

david-courtDavid Court is a well known writer in Coventry UK. I met him first through the Coventry Writers’ Group, which meets monthly in the lovely Big Comfy Bookshop. We write in different genres, so the friendship is cheerfully supportive rather than competitive!

What is the title of your latest book?

 Scenes of Mild Peril – It’s a collection of around two-and-a-half years’ worth of short stories, some of which have appeared in anthologies for other publishers, some of which are brand new to this collection.  It’s a collection of short tales and poems – some sci-fi, some horror, some satire. It’s with my publisher and a trusty editor now, so should see release later this year.

What are the most challenging aspects of being a writer? And the most rewarding?

 For me, the most challenging aspect is finding the time.  I have to fit writing around my full-time job which can be a struggle at times, because I’ve set myself the challenge of writing at least a thousand words per day – and that challenge seems impossible on certain days!

The most rewarding aspect has to be when complete strangers get in touch to say they’ve enjoyed your stuff – lots of people don’t realise how critical reviews are to the writer. It’s the reader feedback that keeps me going, and it’s that that makes it all worthwhile.

 What is your top tip for an aspiring writer?

Write, write, write and read, read, read!  It may seem obvious, but – as with anything – the more you write, the better you’ll get. Even over the space of a few years, I can see how my writing has improved when I look back at some of my earlier attempts.   Reading stuff by other people is critical too – mainly so you don’t stagnate, but also because you’ll learn to recognise various techniques and can adapt them into your own writing.

 What are you working on at the moment?

I’ve had an idea for a science-fiction series bouncing around in my head for the last decade, so finally took the plunge and put it to paper.  I finished the first draft of Recreant at the start of the year, and am currently going through the painful editing process. It’s a space opera – a mix of political intrigue and loads of old fashioned space battles. My elevator pitch for it is “Star Wars meets the Fourth Protocol”. I’m really pleased with it.

 What do you like to read?

My reading habits match my writing ones – I’m a sucker for a good short story (Ray Bradbury is the absolute master of them) and horror (in which the Borderlands series are top-notch).  I’m also a huge fan of comics – I grew up reading 2000ad whilst all my friends were into the Beano and Dandy – and am thoroughly enjoying Saga (Vaughan and Staples) and Michael Carroll’s run on Judge Dredd.

 Where can readers find you?david-2

 I’ve got a blog which you can find at www.davidjcourt.co.uk.  My Amazon author page is https://www.amazon.co.uk/David-Court/e/B00GMCNVRE which has a link to all the stuff I’ve released so far. If you’re tempted by my work, the best place to start is Forever and Ever, Armageddon – Super Alpha Turbo Extreme which is a collection of all my released short stories to date.  I hope you enjoy them!

 

 

 

 

 

New website for play reviews

barb-1-b-w-2-1Barbara Goulden is a well known reporter, theatre critic, novelist and aspiring playwright from Coventry UK. Earlier this year she and a few reporter friends and theatre enthusiasts launched a website where they could post reviews of plays being performed locally. Not just amateur performances, but those at professional theatres too, including the Royal Shakespeare Company’s performances in Stratford upon Avon.

Below Barbara talks about how the website came about, and what else she is involved in on the literary front.

“Our new website, Elementary What’s On, www.elementarywhatson.com started with me moaning about the fact thatelementary-whatson our local daily and weekly newspapers no longer have enough staff to review plays and shows being staged in Coventry and Warwickshire.

As a reporter for 40 years, I’ve had the privilege of being among first night audiences for some tremendous performances by both amateur and professional theatre companies.

I still remember Antony Sher making every word count while hanging upside down on a rope in the Swan Theatre at Stratford.

But these days there are hardly enough reporters to cover council meetings, let alone stage performances.

Recently the smaller studio at the Belgrade in Coventry had a terrific play called Ostrich Boys. It was full of life and humour but the play disappeared without trace because so few people knew how good it was.

I was saying how sad this was to the former deputy editor of Coventry Telegraph, where I used to work.  He promptly challenged me to start a website specifically dedicated to all our local theatres, both amateur and professional.

A month later, our site, Elementary What’s On, was born after much beating of heads against laptops and a good deal of arguing amongst what became a core group of four.

The most rewarding aspect so far has been the enthusiastic response we’ve received from all the theatres we aim to visit.

They are well aware that today they get nothing like the support they once did. As a result few people know what’s available to see locally or just how good a play might be.

Of course not all reviews will be good. Nor can we review everything ourselves. But between us we have enough theatre-loving friends who are willing to contribute 300 words or so in exchange for complimentary tickets for a play which they hope will be great but they’ll take a chance on it being boring, or a mixture of the two.

In one of my recent reviews I talked about sitting in an audience of 850 people and seeming to be the only one not laughing.  It was farce. And that carries its own cult following.

Right now I’m looking forward to La Strada at the Belgrade, a play that stands a good chance of touring nationally before winding up in the West End.

It won’t be an altogether happy tale – I know that already. But Les Miserables seems to be still doing rather well.

… Other stuff:

Since leaving full-time work as a reporter I’ve been able to write a couple of novels which were printed with the help of Chipmunka Publishing, a charity that’s happy to work with any author who tries to reduce the stigma of mental illness.

In my case I tried to inject some humour into the serious business of schizophrenia, a condition that  affects one in 100 of us at some stage in our lives, including my much-loved late sister.

People only see the shock-horror headlines about this condition which are far from reality for most sufferers, a third of whom do recover. I knew my sister was delusional, but  I also knew she would never hurt anyone, except herself.

At the moment I am trying, not too successfully, to write a play about all we have lost in the regional press and the inevitable consequences of fake news feeding on itself via the internet. I will persist.

My tips for other writers are simply stick at it – have a look at how many rejection slips most of today’s top authors receive – and really study the agents’ section of the Writers and Artists’ Yearbook.  If you can convince an agent with an example of your work then you stand a far better chance of being published.

Having said that, if you really need closure on a piece of writing you believe in, then consider self-publishing. It’s very therapeutic and lets you move on to the next book.”

Links: The website is   www.elementarywhatson.com

Barbara’s novels are:  Knock Knock, Who’s There? and Knocking on Haven’s Door. Both are available from Amazon Books.

 

Meet Author A. A. Schenna

 

a-a-schenna

Today I have the novelist and short story writer, A. A. Schenna, on my blog.

He writes for teens and adults in several genres, including action, adventure, and romance.

Many of his stories have been published by Solstice Publishing.

 

 

 

 

What is the title of your latest book? aa-schenna-fear-the-darkness-001

Fear the Darkness, a mystery short story about secrets and betrayal.

aa-schenna-fallen-angels-1

Young Adult readers might be interested in spending a few hours reading the Trapped in Timelessness series as well.

 

 

 

 

What are the most challenging aspects of being a writer? And the most rewarding?

Writing a story makes you feel free because there are no limits and, in my view, that is incredible.  Inviting readers coming into your world is challenging, but also exciting. When people say that they liked what they read, you run into amazing feelings.

 What is your top tip for an aspiring writer?

It takes a lot of time to come closer to your dream so be patient and don’t give up!

What are you working on at the moment?

 A romance novel and a short story about true love are coming very soon.

 What do you like to read?

 Everything and I mean it!

Where can readers find you? 

Readers will find me on Facebook and Twitter. Thank you so much for your time!

Website: www.aaschenna.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/AA-Schenna/701740166542505?ref=hl

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ASchenna

 https://www.amazon.com/A.-A.-Schenna/e/B00PY4Q4QQ

 https://www.amazon.co.uk/A.-A.-Schenna/e/B00PY4Q4QQ

 

 

 

 

 

Small Presses vs. the “Big Houses” – Something for Everybody

diane-libraryheadshotOn my blog today I am delighted to host the author Diana Rubino again (see  my author interview in September) . Here she talks about the pros and cons of the small presses, and encourages aspiring authors to have a go.

At the end of this blog is information on her New York Saga, and where to buy it.

Diana – Writing for a small press can be a stepping stone to a career leap—or it can be your entire career. Since no author can plan on a best-selling career with a big house, pitching to the small presses can be your ticket to publication.

The independent “indie” publishers are much more willing to take chances on new writers and cultivate their talents. Sure, their bottom line is important, as it is to any for-profit business, but they don’t have the time constraints the big houses have. This gives their editors the luxury of taking more time to work with authors, and spend much more one-on-one time with them on technical details such as point of view, character consistency, and basic grammatical and style issues. Small presses also accept unagented material, so authors can avoid the Catch-22 of not being able to land an agent because they’ve not yet established a track record.

Most likely, your small press book will be POD (print on demand) which means copies will be printed only when a customer orders one. It’s up to the author to visit his/her local bookstores, and some stores will order a few dozen copies, arrange for a signing, and give your books a valuable promotional push. But most small presses run on tight budgets, and the author must take the necessary time and funds to finance a promotion; i.e. costs of designing a website and keeping it current, ads on internet sites such as BTS Book Reviews http://btsemag.com/ and BookDaily, www.bookdaily.com, business cards, bookmarks and other giveaways, travel expenses to signings and conventions, etc.

I always like to inspire aspiring authors by telling my unique story: I received my first publishing contract 18 years after writing my first novel. I believe it was my ninth written novel that became my ‘first novel’ – the first that got published, with British publisher Domhan Books (a small press). At the time I signed my first contract, it was the fastest-growing publisher in the U.S. Unfortunately, the owner suffered health problems and could no longer actively run the company, but my five-year tenure there earned me many rave reviews and a Romantic Times Top Pick award. I never gave up on my dream of that ‘big house’ contract, but continued submitting to small presses, eventually landing contracts with Dreams Unlimited, Stardust Press, Eternal Press, The Wild Rose Press, Solstice Publishing, and Sarah Publishing. Although my agent is currently submitting my most recent works to the big houses, the small presses have been very good to me. I’ve had my backlist republished with Solstice Publishing and The Wild Rose Press, and I do promotional offers such as offering my Ebooks at discounted prices on significant dates, i.e., the anniversary of the Lincoln assassination or the end of Prohibition. The promo I do with Twitter, Goodreads and the author/reader groups on Yahoo have brought me reviews and sales that I’m happy with. My editors at The Wild Rose Press and Solstice Publishing are among the best editors I’ve ever worked with. They make my work sparkle. There’s a lot of talent out there in the small press world, and I advise any aspiring author to submit to them, because they offer great opportunities to start your writing career on the right path.

A few caveats to look out for are the vanity presses, which require that authors pay to have their books published. Some writers decide to go this route and self-publish. Of course some of these books have become best sellers. But make sure you choose a royalty-paying publisher if you don’t wish to go the self-published route.

Small presses have always been around, but with the miracle of the internet, many more are thriving, and authors have the choice of a great variety of outlets for their work. Some specialize in certain genres. You need to do your research to find the best fit for your work. But never before have authors had such a wide range of publishers; something for every taste. Now that the Kindle and other E-book readers have come down in price and their sales are increasing, E-book sales have exploded. E-books have been around since the 90s, but never before have they been so popular.

With the outlets that small presses have to offer, so many more writers than ever before can now share their talents with the world, which shrinks more and more every day!

THE NEW YORK SAGA by Diana Rubino diana-ny

Poverty, Prejudice and Murder Won’t Stand in the Way of True Love

The New York Saga spans three generations of the McGlory family, starting in 1894 amidst the poverty and crime on New York’s Lower East Side, through the wild, boozy years of Prohibition, and ending in 1963 as the country mourned President Kennedy’s assassination.

In Book One, FROM HERE TO FOURTEENTH STREET, it’s 1894 on New York’s Lower East Side. Irish cop Tom McGlory and Italian immigrant Vita Caputo fall in love despite their different upbringings. While Tom works undercover to help Ted Roosevelt purge police corruption, Vita’s father arranges a marriage between her and a man she despises. When Tom’s cousin is murdered, Vita’s father and brother languish in jail, charged with the crime. Can Vita and Tom’s love survive poverty, hatred, and corruption?

In Book Two, BOOTLEG BROADWAY, it’s 1932. Prohibition rages, the Depression ravages, and Billy McGlory comes of age whether he wants to or not. Musical and adventurous, Billy dreams of having his own ritzy supper club and big band. On the eve of his marriage to the pregnant Prudence, the shifty “businessman” Rosario Ingovito offers him all that and more: fame, fortune, his own Broadway musical.
Can anything go wrong for Billy? Only when he gets in way over his head does he stop to wonder how his business partner really makes his millions, but by then it’s far too late…

THE END OF CAMELOT begins on the day Camelot truly ended—November 22, 1963. The assassination of a president devastates America. But a phone call brings even more tragic news to Vikki Ward—her TV reporter husband was found dead in his Dallas hotel room that morning.

Finding his notes, Vikki realizes her husband was embroiled in the plot to kill JFK—but his mission was to prevent it. When the Dallas police rule his death accidental, Vikki sets out to find out who was behind the murders of JFK and her husband.
Vikki falls in love with Aldobrandi Po, the bodyguard her godfather hired to protect her. But he’s engaged to be married, and she’s still mourning her husband. Can they find happiness in the wake of all this tragedy?

Purchase THE NEW YORK SAGA:

http://amzn.to/2aOxGMp

The Wild Rose Press: http://bit.ly/2bf8bae

About Diana in her own words:

I’m a self-confessed history nut, my favorite eras being Medieval and Renaissance England, and all American history. I’ve written several novels set in England and the U.S., two time travel romances, a vampire romance, and an urban fantasy, FAKIN’ IT which received a Top Pick award from Romantic Times. I’m a longtime member of Romance Writers of America and the Richard III Society. In my spare time, I bicycle, golf, play my piano and devour books of any genre.

 

 

 

Meet Poet Emilie Lauren Jones

 

emilie-1

 

Today the young poet Emilie Lauren Jones features on my blog. If you live in or near Coventry UK, you can catch Emilie reading her poems and signing copies of her latest collection at the Big Comfy Bookshop on Saturday 15th October, 1-3pm.

 

 

 

What is the title of your latest poetry collection? Can you tell us a bit about it?emilie-4

It’s called ‘Sitting on the Pier’ and is a collection of poems which I wrote during and just after my time at Coventry University. Some of the poems have been published in other places or won competitions. Generally, I like to write poetry that people can relate to and firmly believe that poetry should be accessible for everyone to enjoy. This idea is at the core of the collection and is confirmed in the title poem with the repetition of the line ‘all are welcome here.’ There are also regular references to nature throughout the book due to my belief that, as humans, we have a deep connection with nature.

 

What are the most challenging aspects of being a poet? And the most rewarding?

The most challenging thing is that, sadly, not everyone likes poetry! It is not as ‘mainstream’ as other forms of writing so it can be quite a hard sell. As for the rewarding side of poetry, I love it when people come and talk to me at events and share their own passion for poetry or tell me that they have been touched by something I have written or performed. I have met many interesting people at events and workshops. I especially enjoy doing performances, although I do get pretty nervous beforehand, I like seeing people’s immediate reactions and I’ve always had very positive feedback, which I hope continues!

Do  you work in other literary genres?emilie-2

Yes, my first ever competition win was The Guardian’s Short Story competition and my story appeared in an anthology called ‘The Perfect Lie.’ I have had a number of non-fiction articles published as well as flash fiction and micro-fiction. I enjoy the challenge and variety that writing in different literary genres brings but poetry will always remain as one of my great passions.

 What is your top tip for an aspiring writer?

From my own experience it is absolutely crucial to read as much as you can and see what others are doing right. Next, I would highly recommend joining a writing group (I am a member of the Coventry Writers’ Group). There are many advantages to this; firstly, other people with experience give you quality feedback on your own writing, secondly, you will get to find out about and become involved in events and finally, I find it inspires me to write more so that I have something to bring to the meetings.

 What are you working on at the moment?

I have emilie-3quite a few events coming up in the next few weeks which I will be performing at; I am very excited to be doing an ‘author meet and greet’ as well as performing poems from ‘Sitting on the Pier’ in Coventry at Fargo Village’s ‘Big Comfy Book Shop’ on October 15th. I’m also booked in to do a couple of Christmas Fayres around The Midlands and some poetry workshops for some local groups. I also have a few non-fiction articles that need finishing, which have been accepted for magazines and ideas for a couple of short stories that I am hoping to get written down soon!

 

 

What do you like to read? I always have a poetry collection on the go whether it’s by a particular poet or anthology featuring various poets and I enjoy reading a mixture of classic and modern poetry.  Aside from this, I love novels with interesting characters and a strong plot. I like anything that’s unique and leaves you thinking about it long after you’ve finished reading it.

 Where can readers find you?