Category Archives: Interviews

#Author #Interview: Robert Eggleton on “Rarity from the Hollow” #Scifi #Books

indexWinner of two awards as a readers’ & Awesome Indies favorite: “A children’s story for adults”.
Genre: Sci-fi, Literary
Available: Amazon & Doghorn Publishing

Synopsis: “Lacy Dawn’s father relives the Gulf War, her mother’s teeth are rotting out, and her best friend is murdered by the meanest daddy on Earth. Life in The Hollow isn’t great. But Lacy has one advantage — she’s been befriended by a semi-organic, semi-robot who works with her to cure her parents. He wants something in exchange, though. It’s up to her to save the Universe.

To prepare Lacy for her coming task, she is being schooled daily via direct downloads into her brain. Some of these courses tell her how to apply magic to resolve everyday problems much more pressing to her than a universe in big trouble, like those at home and at school. She doesn’t mind saving the universe, but her own family and friends come first.

Will Lacy Dawn’s predisposition, education, and magic be enough for her to save the Universe, Earth, and, most importantly, protect her own family?”

Rarity from the Hollow is adult literary science fiction filled with tragedy, comedy and satire. It is a children’s story for adults, not for the prudish, faint of heart, or easily offended.

 

Interview

 

  • What genre(s) do you write? Why do you write the stories that you write?

Rarity from the Hollow is adult literary science fiction, but I’m not stuck in that genre. I read and dabble in most genres. I do intend to continue to write stories that prompt reflection about life and its issues, rather than pure escapist entertainment. Personally, I most enjoy reading material that I digest, sometimes for years afterward, and I hope to produce the same.

 

  • When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

Before winning the eighth grade short story competition in 1964, I didn’t dare admit to myself that I wanted to become a published author. Afterward, I became so consumed with school and working for a living that writing took a back seat. While I’ve always wanted to be a writer, it wasn’t until 2006 that I acted upon my ambition.

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Filed under Interviews, Science Fiction, Writers and Writing

#Interview: Deborah Valentine, #Author of “The Knightmare”, Time-Traveling Fiction

Knightmare_ThumbnailAuthor Bio: Deborah Valentine is a British author, editor and screenwriter who once lived in California but far preferred the British weather and fled to London, where she has resided for many years.

She is the author of three books published by Victor Gollancz Ltd in the UK, and Bantam and Avon in the US. Unorthodox Methods was the first in the series, followed by A Collector of Photographs and the Ireland-based Fine Distinctions. A Collector of Photographs was short-listed for an Edgar Allan Poe, a Shamus, a Macavity and an Anthony Boucher award. Fine Distinctions was also short-listed for an Edgar. They featured the characters of former California sheriff Kevin Bryce and artist Katharine Craig, charting their turbulent romance amid murder and mayhem. They are soon to be available as eBooks on the Orion imprint The Murder Room.

With the publication of The Knightmare she has embarked on a new series of books with a supernatural edge. For more visit her website http://www.deborahvalentine.co.uk/ or The Knightmare Facebook page. She is a Goodreads author.

Description: “France, 1209: A Knight Templar riding through an eerie forest is suddenly attacked by an assassin as a man and woman watch from a distant hillside. When his death seems certain, the woman takes up a sword…

Present, Formula 1 race, Magny Cours: Observed by the very same couple, Conor Westfield, a career-obsessed Scottish driver, is in a horrible racing accident. Miraculously, he survives what seemed to be certain death.

As he is recovering from his injuries Conor’s childhood nightmare recurs, a strange jumble of terrifying images that feel more like memories than dreams. Can it be mere coincidence that the very next morning he is informed a mysterious woman with whom he had very brief affair has died and left him as her heir? But this was no ordinary woman and no ordinary affair.

Dogged by a niggling feeling of déjà vu, Conor travels to Amsterdam to identify the body. At her home he finds an illuminated book that transports him back in time, to a woman he left behind and a life lived in the shadow of a tragedy that cries out across 800 years for resolution.

Weaving history with the present, fact with fantasy, The Knightmare is a story of angels and alchemy, betrayal and sacrifice, and truly extraordinary love.”

Available for purchase at Amazon.

INTERVIEW

About the Author

What genre(s) do you write? Why do you write the stories that you write?
The first three books were crime fiction but each story was slightly different. Unorthodox Methods was more straight-forward, A Collector of Photographs very noir and Fine Distinctions a thriller. The Knightmare is historical time travel with a supernatural twist. Though I sometimes call it a fantasy that risks being misleading as the term comes with a set of expectations the book doesn’t fit. Most of what I write from now on is going to have a supernatural twist because it’s great fun and also because the supernatural gives good dramatic insight into the human psyche. But I’m a great believer in cross-genre because life is rather cross-genre.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I must have been about 12. I had a fantastic English teacher, Miss Coulter, who, I kid you not, had to have been about 80. A teacher of such great age wouldn’t be allowed these days, but I was in private school then and anything went. She was the best. She looked like Miss Marple! I was in the library one day and she said, “Deborah, you should be a librarian, you spend so much time here.” And my immediate thought was: let someone else take care of MY books. It was the first inkling of what was to come. I suppose after that writing was just the natural course (with a bit of a push by fate here and there).

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Read (naturally). Study history. Go to outdoor markets — antiques, food, books, bric a brac and plain old every day junk. Give me an outdoor market and I’m in seventh heaven. I like objects (and people) with a bit of history behind them! A bit soiled by life. I also like spending time with animals.

Where do you hang out online? Website URL, author groups, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc?
Facebook, LinkedIn, Goodreads, The London Book Fair Group and I have a website (www.deborahvalentine.co.uk), which I’m ashamed to say, is in desperate need of updating! I’m still wary of tweeting — God only knows what I’d tweet off the cuff and regret later.

What books are currently on your nightstand?
Hilary Mantel’s Bring Up The Bodies, all set for its second reading. Speculum Duorum (or A Mirror of Two Men) by Giraldus Cambrensis. The Sports and Pastimes of the People of England by Joseph Strutt — a very interesting study of the codes of chivalry. And Terry Pratchett’s Thief of Time. A rather mixed bag…

Do you remember the first novel you read?
I don’t remember the very first novel; I started reading very, very young. But I remember the first book I fell madly in love with. Like a lot of young girls, it was Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre.

What would you like readers to know about you the individual?
I was once asked to describe myself in 140 characters and this was my answer: “Battered by life, but reasonably cheerful about it. A typical Gemini, running two courses at the same time. Obsessive about writing.” I think that pretty much sums me up.

Who are your favorite authors and why?
Neil Gaiman, I love the fantastical turn of his imagination. Andrew Miller, so elegant in his prose! Hilary Mantel, I love the way she makes history come alive. Carlos Ruis Zafon, fantastical and elegant. The Brontës because, well, because they are the Brontës. Dark, mysterious and in an enclosed world that seduces you in. David Mitchell for the scope of his imagination.

Where are you from originally?
I was born in California but I hated the weather (no, not joking) and fled to Britain as soon as I could. I am a British citizen.

Your Writing Process

Why do you write?
Because I’m not fit for anything else. I was definitely created ‘fit for purpose’.

What excites you about writing?
Everything. Sentence construction, finding just the right word. The characters, seeing them go off and do their own thing, being surprised by someone that is (supposedly) your own creation. I don’t outline — I know the first line, I know the last — so each approach to the computer holds a sense of anticipation, of discovery. I love the editing process, finding things in the story you hadn’t realised were there but were lurking in your subconscious. Every day is an adventure. Every day is a risk.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
It’s 9 to 5 (or so). Like an office job, but a lot more fun. And really, with writing you never stop. Every holiday, everything you see and do, everything you read feeds into being a writer so you’re never off-duty.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Read voraciously. Write obsessively. Learn all you can about the business of writing and what it means to be a professional. Leave your ego behind and develop a thick skin and a very strong sense of humour. And if you don’t love it, if you don’t feel that unless you write you can’t breathe, don’t bother.

What would you consider is your favorite part of a book to write? The beginning, the middle or the ending?
Pressed for an answer, I think my very favourite part is editing the full draft. I love going over and over it again, the whole process of revision and refinement.

Do you listen to music or have another form of inspiration when you are writing?
Music is essential! I feed off it, it keeps me focused. Usually it’s some kind of medieval chant. Each book has its own playlist, so I do vary it to a degree. I listen to Ludovico Einaudi sometimes or Nitin Sawhney. But I listen to the same CD all day, day after day. It would drive a sane person mad. I’m sure the cat must get annoyed. That’s another thing I need — an animal to hand, a connection with a creature that is instinctual and doesn’t require words.

Most people envision an author’s life as being really glamorous. What’s the most unglamorous thing that you’ve done in the past week?
Laid on the sofa with a packet of frozen peas on my knee. I’ve had surgery on it recently with more coming in the future. I’m supposed to do this three times a day. You feel like an idiot. I try to use the time productively by reading, but there’s no getting round the fact you’ve got your leg hoisted up compromising your modesty and a melting lump of veg on your swollen discoloured flesh. Not attractive.

Do you prefer writing series books over non series or does it matter?
Series. The first three used the same main characters. The series that is starting with The Knightmare is more a group of interconnected stories with characters dipping in and out. For example, ‘Who Is Huggermugger Jones?’ is the next book and we will follow the next segment of Conor and Mercedes’ complex entanglement but we will also be introducing the character of Whit Rhys Barry and seeing things from his point of view. In a lot of ways, it’s his book. He will also be a part of the book following it, The Cruel Humour of Women, where it’s unlikely we see Conor and Mercedes much, if at all. They will come back in another book elsewhere. I aim to create a whole world where each character has its day within a broader social environment.

What would you like readers to know about you the writer?
That I truly want to entertain them and also give them something to think about, something they can relate to, no matter how fantastical the story may be. An alternate world to live in from time to time.

What is the best and worst writing advice you have ever received?
The best: just keep writing. The worst: just write anything to get it on the page. No. Think about what you put down.

Do you track work count or write a certain number of hours per day?
I do write a certain number of hours per day, but I find there are some days I get a lot down on the page and others I don’t. That’s not a worry. The time you spend thinking, letting the well fill up so to speak, is time well spent. Without it you wouldn’t have the big bonanza days.

Have you ever had one of those profound “AH-HA!” moments while you were writing?  Would you be willing to share it?
Halfway through the first draft of Unorthodox Methods I thought “AH-HA!”, yes indeed, this is what I do. I am home.

What was the most uplifting moment you’ve experienced during your writing career?
I think seeing the reviews for Unorthodox Methods. It was the first thing I’d ever written, so I was notably concerned. But the reviewers said such nice things I felt it justified everything I’d gone through to get into print. It WAS uplifting. The Edgar nominations for A Collector of Photographs and Fine Distinctions were also very nice.

Your Books

Your book is about to be sent into the reader world, what is one word that describes how you feel?
Good.

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I’ve had four published, another that was never intended for publication, and yet another that was commissioned but due to oddball circumstances beyond my control was never published, so six altogether. Fine Distinctions used to be my favourite until The Knightmare. Now The Knightmare is my definite favourite. There is a huge chunk of my soul in that book. I also have two books in the first draft stage.

When a new book comes out, are you nervous about how readers will react to it?
You do want people to like it, you do want them to be entertained. But you also have to realise not everyone is going to love you — and that’s okay. C’est la vie.

What can we look forward to in the upcoming months?
I’m hoping to finish the sequel to The Knightmare, Who Is Huggermugger Jones?, and after that a ghost story called The Cruel Humour of Women. We may be looking at more than a few months, though!

Of all the books you have written, which would you consider your easiest to write? The hardest to write? The most fun to write?
I don’t know that I would consider any of them easy… but perhaps A Matter of Luck, the one I never intended for publication was the least stressful. It was an experiment in comedy that just kind of flowed out. The hardest would be A Collector of Photographs, because I had to spend a lot of time in the head of one terribly unpleasant character. The Knightmare was the most fun because I really let my imagination rip and the whole story was so close to my heart — it was GREAT fun!

What kind of research do you do for your books? Do you enjoy the research process?
When it comes to the history sections, I do a lot of factual research reading. I also visit museums, both history and art. I get a lot of inspiration by looking at art. I visit locations. And yes, I really enjoy the research process and playing with ideas.

Do you outline your books or just start writing?
I make a lot of notes while researching and write down snippets of dialogue, or thoughts and descriptions that come to me, but I don’t outline. If I knew everything ahead of time, I wouldn’t bother writing it. Writing should always carry with it a sense of discovery. Or perhaps I’m just too scatty to plan!

If your book is available in print, how does it feel to hold a book that has your name on the cover?  What is your favorite cover of all your paperbacks?
It’s lovely to hold a book you’ve written in your hand, but weirdly I find I feel like it doesn’t belong to me anymore, that somehow I’ve let it go. There’s a strange sense of distance that comes with it. My favourite cover for the paperbacks is the Bantam version of A Collector of Photographs, it’s very noir and captures the essence of the story. A very good representation, I feel.

Is there something special you do to celebrate when one of your books is released?
Crack open a bottle with friends. Not very imaginative perhaps, but great fun.

Your Characters

Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?
I don’t know that anyone comes up with characters totally from the imagination. Someone always inspires them, but by the time they have their life on the page they are totally unrecognisable. They’ve taken on a life of their own, separate from whoever inspired them. I also think the writer is like a petri dish, that if you isolate certain of your own character traits, someone else entirely grows out of it. Many, perhaps most, of my characters crawl out of a hidden corner of my psyche.

Is it hard coming up with names for your characters?
It can take a certain amount of research. I like the names to mean something, if only to me, to keep me on track of a character trait or simply an important association. Occasionally a character will name itself!

Have any of your characters ever haunted your dreams or woken you up during the night demanding attention?
Oh, yes. Many times. I think the most dramatic was the day I had to kill the Knight Templar in The Knightmare. It’s a book with idea of reincarnation at its centre, so of course he had to die in medieval times. But when the day I had to do it actually arrived, I woke up at 4am quite upset. It was going to be a horrible death. I didn’t want to do it, didn’t want to confront it. I had to ring a friend to get me settled down before I could get on with it to any sensible degree. Fortunately, I had the wit to wait until a more reasonable hour to ring him or perhaps our friendship would have died a death as well!

Which of your stories would make a great movie?  Who’d play the lead roles?
The Knightmare would make a great movie but very expensive. I’ve actually written a screenplay for it that has received very good feedback but, oh, the expense! There has been talk of A Collector Photographs being made into a film and that may yet come to something. I don’t like speculating on actors to play them though. I’ve noticed in films that sometimes an actor you’d think perfect for a role, doesn’t turn out to be; while someone you’d never consider stretches themselves to do a remarkable job. There was a read-through for the screenplay of A Collector of Photographs and someone who I’d never have thought of in a million years did such wonderful things with one of the roles it was difficult to imagine anyone else doing it.

Do you make a conscious decision to write a certain type of character with a certain occupation, or do the characters decide for themselves what they want to be?
Well, sometimes story-wise you need someone to have a particular occupation, but I find the characters themselves decide exactly who they’re going to be and what flaws or plus points they’re going to have. It’s out of your hands.

What in your opinion makes good chemistry between your leading characters?
Sharp dialogue, conflict and humour.

Is there a character from one of your books that resonates deeply with you?
Conor in The Knightmare. It took several drafts in before I realised how much we had in common! More the unattractive than the attractive qualities as well!

Random Questions

Name one website you visit every single day.
The BBC every day except Sunday. Sunday is a non-computer day.

Where do you get your daily dose of news?
The BBC online and ITV’s London Tonight.

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Filed under Books, Fantasy, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Interviews, Writers and Writing

Interview: Jennifer Cie, Author of “Burn It”, A Memoir Publishing July 29th!

Burn It Cover

Description: “I am the ring-less, “I don’t know what I want to do with my life, drinking too hard to be anyone’s role model, not going to judge you when you order a Diet Coke to go with two days worth of food, let me console you with my embarrassing attempts at love” friend sitting on the third row at weddings.’

Today, Jennifer Cie is being honest. There is no politically correct rhetoric slipping off her tongue as she admits to being an “underemployed, twenty-something-looking-for-

answers mess”. With wit wrapped in pockets of sarcasm, gripping honesty, and unabridged memories, the reader is taken on a ride through her trials in youth, love, and death in a quest to find out the answer to the root of one question:I wonder what happens after I get too old for people to accept my half-hearted apologies and “I’m doing the best I can” tears. What happens after I’ve been defeated by my first handful of woeful post-grad experiences and move back into my parent’s house indefinitely? What happens when I get tired of sitting in the state unemployment office from eight-thirty to eleven, reading rejection letters from noon to five, and writing depressing blog posts that no one will ever read from seven to two in the morning?”

Jennifer Cie

INTERVIEW

What genre(s) do you write? Why do you write the stories that you write?

Currently, I go back and forth between creative non-fiction and fiction, but I would say fiction is my passion… I think the stories I write are  reflections of  how I feel about the world in a social sense, and, sometimes (in the case of Memphis Rain) that leads to a bit of socio-economic commentary. In all honesty, I love creating characters. I love being able to throw my imagination on the page.

Do you listen to music or have any forms of inspiration when writing?

I definitely listen to music when I’m writing non-fiction, it clashes with my thought process and helps me to take things lightly. I try to keep myself balanced when I’m wading in non-fiction; it’s easy to forget that your not writing in a diary. Fiction is a whole other thing. Sometimes there is  music, but normally I go to coffee shops and libraries to soak up the background noises.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I think it just happened on accident. I always wanted to be a poet, and, as I got older and learned different techniques creative writing really spoke to me. The way you can use a comma to twist the mood of situation or evoke the feeling of drowning–I saw that and thought , “yeah, that’s what I want to do”. Now, here I am.

Who or what was your inspiration for writing?

My mum was always pushing us to figure out what we wanted and to work to be great at it. Writing has always made me happy. The journey to get better, and one day be great is definitely my inspiration to write.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I am actually quite the mediocre tennis player haha. I love going to the courts and trying to take people on. The intensity of working to get a winning angle on a shot, and learning someones style of play is thrilling for me.  It’s also great for stress when you’re playing with someone that challenges you to hit them with the ball…

Where are from originally?

I am from South. I was born and aside from some time in Germany and Missouri, raised in Memphis, TN.

Where do you hang out online? Website URL, author groups, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc?

You can catch me ranting about things and going through the writing process on my blog: journeytopaperback.blogspot. com. I’m not interesting enoguh for twitter but feel free to shoot me an email at journeytopaperback@gmail.com

What books are currently on your nightstand?

Right now? I actually just picked up Waiting by Ha Jin.

What would you like readers to know about you the individual?

Truthfully, I’m just like you. I’m still trying to figure out who Jennifer Cie is. I like what I’ve seen so far though.

Name one thing that your readers would be surprised to know about you.

Most of work is written by hand before it ever hits the keyboard. I’m not sure why, but I love writing things out first. It was a real killer in school when I was writing research papers.

What was the most uplifting moment you’ve experienced in your writing career.

Honestly, I have quite a few of those every year, but I think after printed of my first book for editing at a FedEx Kinkos I felt complete. I knew I had done something no one could take away, that day was honestly a top moment in my life.

Your book is about to be sent into the reader world, what is one word that describes how you feel?

 Exhausted. I am so nervous that I am exhausted.

Are you nervous about how readers will react to it?

Absolutely! Anytime I’ve written creative non-fiction I’ve had fluttering bear claws in my stomach. I am always afraid that who I am won’t come across the page. With Burn It being a memoir everything is twice as intense.  It’s exciting though.

So, what can we expect in the coming months?

Expect the release of Burn It in print and digital form on July 29th! Expect me to blow out a sigh of relief on the 29th and to get to work on a historical fiction piece I’m excited to dive into writing. I hope you guys are around to see it! Thank you so much for having me today!

Blurb: “With the rest of her life ahead of her, Jennifer Cie, is taking a step back. As she reflects on what was once next, Jennifer dives into the past, finding mortality in no longer remembering how magical the world felt as a child, apologizing for the moment she realized she could not be her Prince Charming’s Cinderella, and lamenting the idea that in death people forget “there doesn’t have to be a dead boy in the room.” A collection of “what I wish someone would’ve told me” narratives exploring youth, love, and death, the reader is taken on a riveting ride through Jennifer Cie’s past as she accepts the present.”

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Filed under Announcements, Books, Interviews, Memoir, Non-Fiction, Writers and Writing

Interview: Kat Micari, Author of “Penumbra”

LARGE-penumbra-cover (2) Kat Micari is an author and artist living in the northeast of the United States with her husband, son, and two cats. She enjoys reading a clever turn of phrase, walking in nature, and dancing to the music of the universe. Above all, she loves creating and encouraging others to create.

Description: “Fed up with the dirty city and a disenchanting life as a fashion model, Beauty’s world is at least safe. But the illusion of safety shatters the night that she frees herself from her self-imposed fears only to be thrust into the magical underbelly of the city, where forces that want to save humanity and evil beings that want to feed off humanity’s despair fight for balance and power.

Forced from both the comforts and the trappings of her old life, now hunted by a cadre of sinister, rat-faced business men, Beauty’s only hope is to join with a strange magical ally. Together, with the help of fae creatures in unlikely guises, they must seek out an enchanted, improbable artifact that can heal the city before evil tips the balance, once and for all.

This powerful coming-of-age fairy tale follows the path of a young heroine who chooses to take fate into her own hands for the first time in her life, and of the consequences that her choice has on the magical beings of the city. ”

  • Available at Smashwords.
  • Published: April 10, 2013
  • Words: 12,522 (approximate)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN: 9781301418626

INTERVIEW

What genre(s) do you write? Why do you write the stories that you write?
I write science fiction and fantasy primarily, but one of the joys of being an indie author is not being trapped by specific labels.  The stories that I write tend to feature women who have strong convictions and inner strength, even if they don’t realize it at the beginning.  I also write poetry and music that can be cutting but allows me to tell my version of Truth.  And I write because I have to.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I was very young when I started writing.  It was always on my list of things I wanted to be when I grew up.  I wrote my first play and novel by the time I was done with 8th grade, and I had a wonderful 9th grade English teacher who read and edited all my angsty, violent short stories.

Who or what was your inspiration for writing?
I have always had very eclectic tastes in authors.  I grew up on L.M. Montgomery and Laura Ingalls Wilder and Lynne Reid Banks.  My older brother worked in the public library so would bring me home all kinds of books that were going to be thrown away or put in the used book sale – so I read Orwell’s Animal Farm in 6th grade, tackled my first Shakespeare plays around the same time, and was obsessed with the Star Wars novels in high school.  I began reading more fantasy and sci fi in high school, alongside historical fiction, and while in graduate school, I became a fan of Julie Cameron’s The Artist’s Way and Deena Metzger’s poems and stories.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Creating works of art and handicrafts, making music, spending time with my son and my husband, being out in nature, cooking and baking – I like to keep myself busy.

Where do you hang out online? Website URL, author groups, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc?
Author Blog: http://katmicari.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kat.micari?ref=ts&fref=ts
Twitter: https://twitter.com/katmicari
Tumblr: http://katmicari.tumblr.com/
I am also on Goodreads and Library Thing, but I haven’t done much with them yet.  You’re welcome to come and find me there, if you’d like.

What books are currently on your nightstand?
I recently finished the ARC for Madeliene Claire Franklin’s The Heirophant which is excellent!  And I’m not just saying that because she’s a friend.  And I’m currently working my way through Thomas Jefferson’s Memoirs on my Kindle.  I’m reading this VERY slowly as it’s a four part collection of his letters as well, and I break up the reading with other works.  Right now, it’s the letters that he’s writing from Paris leading up to the revolution, and he’s communicating with several of the framers of the constitution.  And it’s just fascinating to get a first-hand account about the development of the Bill of Rights and the foundation of the United States, especially with the political climate we’re currently in.  I got that book (and many books) off of Project Gutenberg, and I hope to someday be able to donate a lot of money to them.

Do you remember the first novel you read?
Offhand, no, but it was very likely an American Girl novel.  My grandfather’s best friends would get each of us children a bag of books for Christmas every year, so I had entire collections of the American Girl books, and it was through them that I was introduced to many great books, including gorgeous picture books, early classics, etc.

What would you like readers to know about you the individual?
I think the most revolutionary thing you can do as an American is to question everything, eat real food and be as healthy of body and mind as can be, and avoid the consumer-mob mentality as much as possible.  Creation over consumption.  That being said, buy my book!  No, seriously, I wish that everyone would find their purpose in life and then find the courage to follow that purpose, even if it means living outside of societal norms.

Where are you from originally?  Family?
I am from upstate NY, which means that I feel very strongly the turn of each season.  My husband and I spent four years in southern CA, which we enjoyed, but we moved back to the northeast because we missed our family and a real fall and winter.

Is there anything unique about your upbringing that you’d like to share with readers?
I was fortunate to have parents that encouraged me to think for myself.  My father taught me the fine art of debate.  My mother taught us to stand up for ourselves.  This helped me eventually overcome issues from bullying in 5th to 8th grade.

Your Writing Process

Why do you write?
I write because I must.

What excites you about writing?
I love asking “what if” and “why”, and writing allows me to fully explore these questions.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
For the past couple of years, it’s been carving out bits of time here and there.  I only had the goal of writing 100 words per day (about 20 minutes) and often didn’t even make that goal.  But starting next week, after we settle in from our move, I should be able to dedicate at least an hour a day solely to writing.

As I have several creative pots on the stove, in addition to caring for a two year old, my work days will involve sneaking in social networking, advertising, responding to emails, and blogging during the day while my son plays.  As he gets older and activities hold his attention longer, I hope to be able to set up my drawing/painting/sketching alongside his art projects and we can create together.

I will write or edit during his nap time (1 to 1 ½ hours), and when my husband is home to split caregiving or in the evenings after my son is asleep, I will be writing or painting or making music or working on freelance creative work.  We are going to try to go on one family outing a week, preferably out in nature to restore our overworked selves.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Write.  Just do it.  Don’t make excuses.  Don’t keep putting it off.  If you have the burning desire in you to create, shut out everything else.  I have to sometimes talk myself into beginning – I say I’m too tired, or I want to just sit and relax, but once I begin to create, the time melts away and there is such immense satisfaction.  If you have a story burning within you, let it out.  Life’s too short to keep putting off your dreams.

Is there any other genre you have considered writing in?
I love historical fiction, and while getting my BA in history, I took an independent study and began a novel on Mary, Queen of Scots.  I never went further with it because I realized there are two or three other novels out there on her and worried that I had nothing new to bring to it, but the research and notes are all saved.

Do you listen to music or have another form of inspiration when you are writing?
I do have a writing playlist.  It is an eclectic mix of classical, New Age, jazz, electronica/trance, and movie scores.  I don’t like anything with words.  I used to create a specific playlist for each new work I was writing, but I realized that I was using the creation of the playlist as a way to block myself from actually writing, so I stopped.

Most people envision an author’s life as being really glamorous. What’s the most unglamorous thing that you’ve done in the past week?
Changing poopy diapers?  Packing to move?  Leaving my day job?  Okay, that last one was super satisfying, even if it wasn’t glamorous.

How long does it take you to finish a book from start to submission?
I haven’t been able to time myself, so I don’t know!

Do you prefer writing series books over non series or does it matter?
So far, I’ve only been working on one-offs, or books that might loosely be part of the same series.  But I love to read series, so if the opportunity comes for a storyline that takes place over many books, then I will explore it!

Do you track work count or write a certain number of hours per day?
I try not to as it would get way too depressing!  I do check my word count when I’ve finished a round of writing, just to satisfy my own curiosity.  I just snatch my moments when and where I can.

Your Books

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
Penumbra is my first completed work of any length.  So I guess that makes it my favorite at the moment?

When a new book comes out, are you nervous about how readers will react to it?
Of course!  Any time someone puts something they created out in the world, whether a work of fiction or a painting or a meal they’ve spent hours making, there’s that fear about what the response will be.

What can we look forward to in the upcoming months?
I will be releasing a free short story entitled “The Cephalopod Maid” in the next few weeks, and an illustrated collection of political and social poetry by the end of July.

What kind of research do you do for your books? Do you enjoy the research process?
It’s tailored depending on the story.  For example, “The Cephalopod Maid” draws on some Luvcraftian references, so my research involved reading some of his works and doing online research into that world, as well as finding visual images of various squid and octopi.  Penumbra had very little research as it was set in modern times and the creatures are my own imagining.

Do deadlines help or hinder your muse?
Loose deadlines help, but I really just try to schedule each week. I find a daily to-do list INCREDIBLY helpful, but realize that I tend to assign too much for myself to accomplish in one day.  So I try to remain flexible.

Do you outline your books or just start writing?
Again, this depends on the story – the length of story, the depth that I am creating a new world or using reality, etc.  I keep a working outline with important details (the name of an artifact, character descriptions) but I keep it flexible, and I know I’m going to be making changes as the story goes.  Generally, I try to outline the major plot points and then let the characters decide how they’re going to get there.

What was your first published work and when was it published?
Penumbra is my first and only thus far, and it was published this past April.

Your Characters

Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?
My characters are from my imagination, but my imagination is fed by my experiences in life.  I adore people-watching, but I do it because I find it fascinating and interesting, not because I’m deliberately filing things away for later use.  But I’m sure some of the character traits I notice spill over.

Is it hard coming up with names for your characters?
Not generally, no.

Have any of your characters ever haunted your dreams or woken you up during the night demanding attention?
I’ve had insomnia due to characters and scenes playing out in my subconscious in a kind of lucid dreaming state, but I don’t know that I’ve ever woken up because of them.

Which of your stories would make a great movie?  Who’d play the lead roles?
The pacing of Penumbra lends itself well to a visual medium.  I’m talking with my husband about eventually turning it into a graphic novel or webcomic, and I think it could make a great film as well.  And I’d want relative unknowns to play the leads.

Do you make a conscious decision to write a certain type of character with a certain occupation, or do the characters decide for themselves what they want to be?
The characters decide for themselves, generally.  Usually a plot is born out of my characters, which includes their occupation.  I don’t ever start out with a generic person thrown into a situation.  To me, the story is about the characters, so they have to live for me before I know where the plot is going.

What in your opinion makes good chemistry between your leading characters?
Dialogue.  It always comes down to dialogue.  In the editing process, I do at least one line edit where I take each sentence and examine how it stands on its own.  With dialogue, I scrutinize it even more closely, looking at whether it’s something that particular character would actually say and how it plays against the other character.  The difficult thing in Penumbra is that one of my main characters hardly talks at all!

Random Questions

Name one website you visit every single day.
I read the Foglio’s Girl Genius every time it updates.  It is my addiction.  The story, the artwork, and the characters are all amazing. It has a great mix of comedy and drama.  I’ve been hooked 2005.  Other than that, I try to alternate where I spend my time online so I’m not spending too much time on the internet instead of being active with my family or creating.

Where do you get your daily dose of news?
If I’m looking for updates on my own, I go to NPR.  I will click on links via Facebook and Tumblr to other news sources, if an article interests or outrages me.  And I’ve learned to try to avoid the comments sections of any article because they always suck me in and leave me with a headache.  I’ve learned that in order to write and create, I sometimes need to shield myself from the media.  I stay aware but try not to get sucked into the sensationalism of the media.

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Interview: Danielle Uidam, Author of “The Malthus Conspiracy”

Book Cover7Description: “In 2011 the world population hit seven billion. Fourteen thousand babies are born every hour. By 2045 the population is predicted to hit nine billion. Can our planet cope?

In 1798 Economist Reverend Thomas Malthus thought not. His work ‘An Essay on the Principal of Population’ predicted that population growth would outpace our ability to obtain resources, resulting in a global epidemic of famine that would destroy society unless curbed.

Fast forward to 2012. College students Dean Adams and his best friend Felix Pye, unwittingly stumble across the greatest conspiracy in history, and by doing so sign a death warrant. They are forced to run as powerful, high society members of a 200 year old secret Malthusian League attempt to silence them.

The league will stop at nothing to continue its Malthusian cause. Their purpose? To curb population growth and ensure Malthus’ predictions for economic ruin do not come true.

With the aide of detective Isabella Mercena, Dean and Felix go head to head against the evil forces as they attempt to expose the league’s sinister plans to control population. Will they survive to tell the tale and tell it before the next wave of disaster is unleashed on mankind?”

Genre: General Fiction /  Conspiracy
ISBN: 9780987468901

INTERVIEW

What genre(s) do you write? Why do you write the stories that you write?At the moment I am published as a Fiction writer, in the Thriller / Mystery catergory, although I would love to also branch out into the romance category, as I am a big ‘happily ever after’ type person.My debut Novel, The Malthus Conspiracy, also has some factual research, compiled together in the back of the book as an essay, further reading, and reference section.I wrote this type of novel, as I found the basic premise and topic fascinating. The book is based on a real theory formulated in 1798, by Robert Malthus, so I found it fascinating that his theory is still discussed today, and the topic of population growth and population control is still so heavily debated.

I also love reading Dan Brown and Clive Cussler, so my writing naturally developed into a similar story type.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?I have always loved reading books, and in 9th grade I had to write a short fiction piece for my English class. I absoutely loved the whole process, and ever since I have wanted to become a published author.What do you like to do when you’re not writing?I am an avid sports lover. I have played Soccer at a high level, and I am a swimming coach, I will pretty much play and watch pretty much any sport. I also love reading and doing puzzles.

Where do you hang out online? Website URL, author groups, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc?

I have just started a Twitter page @duidam, and I have set up a Facebook authors page: https://www.facebook.com/DanielleUidam and I have a blog at http://duidam.wordpress.com

What books are currently on your nightstand?

I am currently in the middle of reading a Clive Cussler novel Devil’s Gate

Do you remember the first novel you read?

Tough one, I used to read a lot when I was a kid, I even got a special library card, so I could borrow more books as I read through them so quickly, I loved reading Enid Blyton and The Hardy Boys. My first ‘adult’ novel I can remember is John Grisham’s The Street Lawyer

Is there anything unique about your upbringing that you’d like to share with readers? 

My upbringing was different to a so called ‘normal’ upbringing, I was an expatriate kid. I graduated from High School in Singapore, from the Singapore American School, and I have since lived in Shanghai for 5 years and I am currently living in the Netherlands. You can say I have the travelling bug. However, no matter where I go, I always know where home is, and I feel very lucky to be Australian.

What was the most uplifting moment you’ve experienced during your writing career?

When I first hit the publish button it was a pretty special moment, as was the first sale, and I always get uplifted by a positive review, everytime one comes through I think, ‘ok I can do this. I am a good writer, people do like my work’ as an Indie publisher it comes with a lot of doubt, you wonder if people will like your work, and it can be a hard slog sometimes, so when that reviw comes through, it makes all the hard hours worthwhile.

Your Books

Your book is about to be sent into the reader world, what is one word that describes how you feel?NervousHow many books have you written? Which is your favorite?I have just recently released my first Novel: The Malthus Conspiracy

What can we look forward to in the upcoming months?
My head is trying to work out a great sequel to The Malthus Conspiracy, I hope to release it by the end of this year. So stay tuned, or follow me on twitter for more info @duidamWhat story haven’t you written yet but would like to?  Is there anything holding you back from writing it?I have thought about potentially writing a non-fiction story about life as an expatriate. It can be a rocky but rewarding life.What kind of research do you do for your books? Do you enjoy the research process?

For my novel The Malthus Conspiracy, I did a lot of research, most of which is included in the back of the book. The book, although fictional, is based on a real theory that Malthus created in 1798 in his essay ‘A Principle of Population’. The basic premise is that he predicted population growth would outstip our ability to get resources, and would result in huge global problems.

Throughout my research I was fascinated to learn that Malthus’ theories were so far reaching, that Charles Darwin even credited Malthus for his work. There were real leagues created after him, and he inspired a lot people and events. Check out the back of my book for more information!

Population growth is a massive issue and heavily debated around the world 14,000 babies are born every hour, so to put the major issues discussed into a fictional novel, may help to bring them more closely to the light.

Do you outline your books or just start writing?

I outlined my entire book, although I must say during writing the outline did change quite a bit as I got hooked on a different direction.

Which of your stories would make a great movie?  Who’d play the lead roles?

Some of my reviews have actually stated that my book would make a great movie, it is fast paced and topical two things I think make a great action movie. I would love to see it turn into a movie! Characters… that is a hard one, maybe Tom Welling or Jared Padalecki as Dean and Jessica Alba as Isabella

Name one website you visit every single day.

I visit the Sydney Morning Herald every day, important to keep on top of the news!

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY

c1fec952ce720ac1d188d4.L._V376450992_Danielle Uidam was born in Sydney, Australia in 1988. As child she was told to stop reading novels in class so instead she decided to write them.She graduated high school from the Singapore American School at the age of 16. She has a degree from the University of Newcastle Australia, and is a young entrepreneur running her own sports coaching company. As it is not a 9 to 5 career it allows her the time to write. She has lived in a number of countries including Australia, Singapore, China and the Netherlands.

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Filed under Books, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Interviews, Suspense/Mystery, Thriller, Writers and Writing