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Interview: Andrew J. Peters, Author of “Werecat: The Rearing”

WerecatTheRearingCover2Description: For Jacks Dowd, a college senior who feels ungrounded from his family and life in general, an alcohol and sex-infused weekend in Montréal sounds like a pretty good escape. His Spring Break binge takes a detour when he meets Benoit, an admiring drifter with startling green eyes. A hook-up turns into a day, two days, and then a full week in Benoit’s hostel, making love and scarfing down take-out food. But at the end of the week, Benoit demands that Jacks make an impossible choice: stay with him forever or never see him again.

The night before Jacks is supposed to return to college, he meets Benoit in Mont Royal Park to try to work things out. Benoit springs on Jacks an unfathomable secret: he’s a werecat. He traps Jacks in an abandoned cabin and performs an occult rite so they will be mated forever.

With his dual nature, Jacks can shape-shift at will, and he has amazing new senses and physical abilities. But how will he live as an unfathomable hybrid creature? When Benoit shows Jacks the violence he’s capable of, Jacks may need to find a way to destroy the one person who can help him survive.

“Werecat: The Rearing” is the first book in a paranormal romance series published by Vagabondage Press.

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

 

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

I write mainly fantasy and some young adult and contemporary fiction. First and foremost, I write to entertain. For me, fantasy is the best outlet for that. Fighting for social justice is also a big part of who I am, and it comes up in my writing. I worked for eighteen years as an advocate and social worker for LGBT youth. So I think I’m drawn to fantasy because it gives me the opportunity to show the world the way it “ought” to be. One aspect of that is reclaiming traditional stories, or myths and legends, for LGBT audiences.

In “Werecat,” I wanted to tell a dark story in the vampire/werewolf vein that centered on a gay man’s journey through danger and romance. Homoeroticism is touched on a lot in that genre. But as a gay reader, I tend to find the mainstream portrayals unsatisfying to the extent that essentially they’re about non-gay people navigating a terrifying and erotic world, with some minor queer characters or dalliances thrown in. I like my stories with queer characters front-and-center. That doesn’t mean that I treat them with kit gloves, but they’re usually the heroes driving my stories.

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

I was a shy, introverted kid so writing came pretty naturally to me as an escape. When I was in sixth grade, my elementary school principal let me read from a murder mystery I wrote, using the school’s P.A. system during lunchtime. I don’t even know if they use P.A. systems in American schools anymore; it stands for public address, and every classroom used to have speakers for listening to the principal read off the cafeteria’s lunch specials at the start of the day. Anyway, I didn’t actually take up writing professional until my 30s, since it didn’t seem to be a practical career, but it’s always been part of who I am.

Who are your favorite authors and why?

Gregory Maguire is my all-time favorite author. I especially loved his Wicked series. There’s a lot that I admire about his work – the incredible settings he creates, the humor, the flawed, embattled characters that I find so endearing.

More broadly, I’m drawn to the idea of retelling stories from an unexpected point of view, whether that’s vindicating a character who has previously been portrayed as a villain or taking a familiar story from a minor character’s perspective. I think Maguire’s books are really appealing for those of us who have felt like outsiders and didn’t see our experience of living in the world reflected in traditional fairytales or legends.

Where are you from originally?

I grew up in Amherst, New York, which is a suburb of Buffalo.

Do you listen to music or have another form of inspiration when you are writing?

I actually need complete silence when I’m deeply involved in writing a story. But when I take a break or I’m getting warmed up to write, I sometimes listen to an epically dramatic movie-musical soundtrack like Phantom of the Opera or Les Misérables.

 

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

In 2011, I was accepted as a Lambda Literary Foundation Fellow and participated in LLF’s annual LGBT writers retreat. Being immersed in a community of talented, outspoken queer writers and poets was hugely inspirational. I talk about it in the Acknowledgements of each of my books. The LLF retreat   bolstered my belief that queer stories, in their infinite varieties, are the beautiful, subversive stuff that dreams are made of.  

What can readers look forward to in the upcoming months?

My début novel “The Seventh Pleiade” comes out in November from Bold Strokes Books. It’s the story of a young gay prince who becomes a hero during the last days of Atlantis. The book is the launching point for a series of adventures based on that legend.

I also have Books 2 and 3 of “Werecat” coming out in 2014.

 

What was your first published work and when was it published?

My short story “The Vain Prince” was picked up in 2009 by a great, gay American journal called Ganymede that sadly went out of print when its editor John Stahle died. “The Vain Prince” is a retold fairytale that’s sort of a mash-up of “The Frog Prince” and “Beauty and the Beast.” I’m incredibly grateful to John Stahle for giving me the break that helped launch my career.

 

Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?

I tend to believe that all characters are an extension of the author. So while I veer away from memoir, there’s a bit of me, and the people from my day-to-day life, in the stories I write, even if those characters transform into cats or live in ancient places or whatever.

In “Werecat,” I think my main character Jacks is a somewhat jagged reflection of me as a college student. Jacks is more impulsive and self-destructive than I was, but we both wanted the same things: to find a place to belong and to fall in love. What’s real for him was more a fantasy for me. I never ran away with an older man to escape from the world. But the fantasy of finding someone who would provide me with emotional safety when I was confronted by—what felt like—a frighteningly uncertain future, was definitely appealing.

 

Where do you get your daily dose of news?

For better or for worse, I find myself informed the most by Twitter. That’s skewed information for sure based on who I follow. But if there’s national or world news coverage from a leftist bent or breaking stories regarding LGBT entertainment or politics, I’m in the know pretty promptly.

Author Profile

andrewjpeters

Andrew J. Peters likes retold stories with a subversive twist. He is the author of the paranormal romance series “Werecat” (Vagabondage Books, May 28, 2013). His début novel “The Seventh Pleiade” (upcoming in November 2013 from Bold Strokes Books) is the story of a young gay prince who becomes a hero during the last days of Atlantis. A 2011 Lambda Literary Foundation Fellow, Andrew has written short stories for many publications. He lives in New York City with his partner and their cat Chloë. For more information, visit: http://andrewjpeterswrites.com.

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Filed under Books, Fantasy, Gay Fiction, Gay Romance, M/M Fiction, Romance, Writers and Writing

#Interview: Jordana Lizama, #Author of “Sophia: Within”

Sophia Within

Description: “Only time will tell if Sophia, Alec and the world are ready to accept the mission that has been passed down for many generations. This is more than a story of reincarnation. This is a story that never ended following the reign of the Greek gods.

What has been hidden for thousands of years is about to surface in a small New England town. The impact on this rural village is ageless, but only the chosen time travelers know what is happening, the reason it is happening and how to control the outcome.

The Men of Ages have walked the Earth unnoticed since the time of Greek mythology and have kept their ancient war alive by transporting the lead warrior in a most unusual time machine. There is only one way to stop the cataclysmic demise of the human race and Sophia is the answer. But, Sophia is a teenage girl faced with many human and nonhuman desires that create a tortuous path from antiquity to the present day. Love conquers all; or, so it seems.”

Available at Amazon.

Author website: http://jordylizama.com/

About the Author

What genre(s) do you write? Why do you write the stories that you write?
I write fiction. I think I am more inclined to fantasy stories. I love the idea of having an adventure through someone else´s eyes.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
When I realized that I had to write, it wasn´t a choice, it was just something I had to do.

Who or what was your inspiration for writing?
Jane Austen of course. I don´t think there is a female author out there that doesn´t owe her something. I owe her my passion for the written word.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I like to listen to music. Sometimes when I know exactly how the scene is going to go I put it on low volume, but when I just want to get into the mood and let the creative juices flow I crank up the volume  and see what happens.

What books are currently on your nightstand?
I am currently reading Ana Karenina and the Game of Thrones Saga.

Do you remember the first novel you read?
Yes, the first novel I ever read was “El Naranjo” by Carlos Fuentes. Though the first novel I ever chose to read was “Little Women.”

Your Writing Process

What excites you about writing?
The idea of starting a phrase and not knowing how it’s going to end up. When I first started writing Sophia:Within all I had was the first scene, I didn´t know what it meant, how it would evolve or end, I just knew there was a story there, and I had been the one lucky enough to write it down.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
When I finished writing Sophia I was recently married, so I had a lot of time on my hands, I didn´t have a schedule per se, I just wrote whenever I felt like it. Sometimes I would be at work, so I always took a notebook with me and wrote things down.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
I think I have said this before, write write, and then write some more.

What would you consider is your favorite part of a book to write? The beginning, the middle or the ending?
The beginning, because the characters are just developing and you don´t feel the pressure to finish the story.

Is there any other genre you have considered writing in?
Horror. I don’t think I would be good at it, I have always been a sucker for happy endings.

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?
I have changed a lot of diapers.

How long does it take you to finish a book from start to submission?
Since this is the first one, I don’t think I have a clear reference, but this one at least took about eight years or so. A long, long time.

Do you track work count or write a certain number of hours per day?
No way, I think a writer´s work, at least in my case has to be organic, so I would just write when I felt like it. You get the story out first, you worry about the editing later.

What was the most uplifting moment you’ve experienced during your writing career?
When the book was finally out I felt like I could finally utter the sacred words: “I am a writer”. I still only whisper them, I guess I´ll be more sure when people start reading Sophia:Within more.

Your Characters

Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?
One of my characters, which is Sophia’s brother Dennis, is based on all of my brothers. There are a lot.

Is it hard coming up with names for your characters?
Yes, I think I might have changed Sophia’s name at least five times.

Have any of your characters ever haunted your dreams or woken you up during the night demanding attention?
Alec and Sophia did many times. I had to wake up early in the morning and write like a mad person.

What in your opinion makes good chemistry between your leading characters?
They are both uncertain about a lot of things, even the feelings they have for each other. Sophia is not sure if Alec is in love with her, and Alec is so sure of it he is afraid to scare her away.

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Human Population Academy: Laws of Human Nature by Kate Bazilevsky

2940015771367_p0_v1_s260x420Review:  Whether its a theory, belief system, or science: there are many schools of thought, which may have similarities or basic premises that are common enough to be believable, reasonable and/or acceptable in some way. I can completely agree that humans need to live in harmony with Nature, and also that there are similarities between some people/populations based on a variety of factors, though there are no hard or fast rules regarding that.

“We people have mysteries. Things we cannot explain. Things we don’t know how they came to be or how they stay alive but it’s all part of life. For some things we have legends and tales passed down from our ancestors, and they’re enough though now we have science and all kinds of stuff which explain how things work inside. Or they try to anyway. There are still mysteries and will always be. There are some things you don’t need answers to in order to have a happy life or just get by even.

Every body should just be how they are and be allowed to. I can be happy with very little because their definition does not apply to me. They might be unhappy with what I had. I think that’s why they are so unhappy and so far from the earth. They’re always looking at someone else and trying to change them when they don’t really know themselves in the first place.” M.G., Lakota Elder, from a speech   I recorded during an Indian Education gathering. This is my perspective.

Living in Germany as I do, and using its modern society as an example, there are so many people who are searching for some meaning to life and they look to this or this or that belief system, philosophy, ancient teachings or people, trying to find explanations on the “whys” of life and living, their failures in relationships, career, and so forth. They can fasten onto some particular belief or explanation that more suits their needs or what they know of themselves, things gleaned from their experiences and observations, and say, “Aha!” That belief system or philosophy can then explain everything to them they need, and they begin to work their lives around it and advocate it to others. That is what I felt this work delivered, but for me, I simply believe there can be too much overthinking, too much overstatement and all inclusiveness in terms.

All in all, it is somehow more of a distraction from simply coming to know yourself through yourself, whatever that takes, though some people clearly would feel Catalogs, manipulation modes, things advocated by this system, are tools to help an individual do so. I think the philosophy based on Shan Hai Jing manuscript is something you have to personally accept and believe in, and its a model among thousands or millions of others, and simply one interpretation of what the “human psyche” is, encompasses and needs. It was certainly a readable, well put together work that an individual should try for themselves, and see what it means to them.

Description: “Have you ever considered that the root or cause of many problems and misunderstandings are fundamental differences between people? The solution to problems is in knowing these differences and living in harmony with Nature, because laws of Nature apply to everything and everyone!

Power gained through the knowledge about Nature and programs implanted by Nature guarantees the survival of the fittest, and enables anyone to organize things around them to their own benefit. Education increases one’s cultural level and, as a result, one’s survival rate in the environment.

The results of this research include detailed recipes on how to develop, solve any problems, improve sex life, and more. Now any human being can achieve their goals and dreams, become stronger, healthier, wiser, sexier, more powerful, and get to such heights, of which many do not even know. The journey is worth it! By learning how to live in harmony with Nature itself, together we can advance this civilization as a whole. Begin your journey right now!”

  • Genre: Non-fiction, Philosophy, Self-Help
  • Publisher: HPA Press
  • Publication date:  Nov. 18, 2012
  • Available at Amazon
  • ASIN B00A7E1D78
  • Source: Author

Author Profile:

Kate Bazilevsky was born in Moscow, Russia and grew up in Boston, MA, USA. She holds a degree in MIS and Psychology. In 2008, she began her studies in the field of Non-traditional Psychoanalysis, based on research by Andrey Davydov and Olga Skorbatyuk.

In 2011, Kate founded the Human Population Academy, and opened a publishing company called HPA Press in 2012. HPA Press publishes works that further Human Population Academy’s mission: to educate people around the world about the laws of human Nature, the Catalog of Human Population (Catalog of Human Souls) and scientific research of its source Shan Hai Jing based on discoveries by A. Davydov and O. Skorbatyuk.

Website http://www.humanpopulationacademy.org/

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Filed under Books, Lifestyles & Health, Non-Fiction, Philosophy, Psychology, Reviews

Interview: Mark Brisby, Author of “Untoward”

markbAbout Mark Brisby:

“A self published author looking to expand my audience.  I am from Fairfax, Virginia and published my book through Amazon in January, and it’s called Untoward.  This book is the first of a forthcoming series (as yet unfinished).  The ISBN is 978-0615750118 and it is 488 pages long.

Description: Daumis always knew that turning thirteen was unlucky, but when he sees Denizens (evil magicians who kidnap children) he decides to stop them from abducting someone else.  When he stumbles into a botched rescue of Cewyn, the son of the local duke, he is also captured, starved, and tortured for his pluck.

Enter hero Tadrec, a graduate of a prestigious magical university, recently the only member of his party to survive a cursed artifact.  He is stoned on witchreed and morning his friends with absolutely nothing to do.  When he’s asked by the president of his alma mater to rescue Daumis and Cewyn because they’re the most powerful magicians to be born in a century, he agrees.  For a price.

Tadrec, Daumis, and Cewyn must encounter golems, insane monks, cannibals, giant badgers, an undead army, and a demigod all just before they can reach the magical, floating city of Horizon.  Not to mention the fact that they are in company that they do not necessarily like, trust, or can even stand in the form of a pompous Citizen who used to pick on Tadrec, an old, blind seer who likes to spit on people, a drunken minstrel, a homicidal metal shard, the sickeningly-perfect teacher and student combo, and a royal vizier who just doesn’t want to go bald.  With the forces of evil gaining ground from behind them, no matter what all the three of them go through, it always seems to Tadrec and the boys that their destination moves ever-farther away from them…In fact, it flies.

 

INTERVIEW:

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

I choose to write fantasy and science fiction genres.  I like my entertainments usually to have some sort of other-worldly aspect to it, so I find it’s easiest to write in those genres because I find them to be the most stimulating to my imagination as well as just plain fun.

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

I was very young, in elementary school.  Probably the fifth or sixth grade.  I still have original works that I’d done, but looking at them now, I’m glad I’ve improved my vocabulary.

Who or what was your inspiration for writing?

I have always been creative.  In my youth I used to draw and I would try to emulate my favorite artist, M.C. Escher, but I hated the math involved with tessellations.  But reading books when I was young was probably the main reason. I’ve always wanted to inspire the same fears, loves, anguished, and well the rest of the range of human emotions in others.

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

When I’m not writing I work at my full time job as an admin assistant.  In my free time I usually love to read and/or become lost in bookstores for hours, bowling, cooking, watching TV and movies, listening to a variety of music, and spending time with friends.

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

If I go online at all it’s usually to check the sites update:

FaceBook (http://www.facebook.com/mark.brisby.5)

Twitter (https://twitter.com/MarkBrisby13)

And my blog (http://markbrisby13.wordpress.com/)

What books are currently on your nightstand?

The Birth of Classical Europe (A History from Troy to Augustine) by Simon Price and Peter Thonemann and Conan the Barbarian (a collection of original, unabridged stories) by Robert E. Howard.

Do you remember the first novel you read?

The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis.

Who are your favorite authors and why?

Colleen McCoullough for her First Man in Rome Series, so thorough and sharp, steeped in details and tidbits of forgotten information. I envy her research skills.

Agatha Christie for her Hercule Poirot Mysteries, completely, captivatingly genius.

Your Writing Process

Do you listen to music or have another form of inspiration when you are writing? 

Music is a major component to my writing process.  Headphones in, iPod usually playing something that I like but is soft enough to fade into the background.  If it’s too loud or jarring, I end up concentrating on the music or lyrics and less and less on what I’m supposed to be doing (say, getting a character out of a sticky situation).

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?

Scooped the cat boxes.  Yes, two of them.

How long does it take you to finish a book from start to submission?

I’ve never finished a project until now, usually losing faith in it/myself.  But this time I pushed through.  It took four years to write it and about two more for the editing process.

Do you prefer writing series books over non series or does it matter?

I actually prefer to write the books (and in general think of them) as a series.  I have big plans for each major character I’ve written for, and I plan on carrying those machination out.

Your Books

What is your novel about?

It is a fantasy novel in which two boys are kidnapped by evil magicians only to be rescued by someone they don’t necessarily trust or even like.  They must journey with this rival magician to the magical, floating city of Horizon where the boys will learn how to protect themselves from other evil magicians.  Basically the entire book covers the journey to safety through savage lands and must encounter cannibals, giant badgers, insane monks, an undead army, and a demigod.

Do deadlines help or hinder your muse?

I need deadlines or else I usually end up putting writing off for some mundane activity/vice.  A time table by which I have everything read is key to motivating me.

Do you outline your books or just start writing?

I just start writing.  I begin with one sentence and then see where it takes me.  If I ever do make an outline, it’s usually several chapters in when most of the characters have been established.  It’s mostly just so I can keep track of what’s coming up so I know how to transition between the two.

If your book is available in print, how does it feel to hold a book that has your name on the cover?

It feels like a life-fulfilling moment.  I was shaking with adrenaline so much that I almost dropped it.

Your Characters

Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?

I tend to make up a persona for someone, but I might some comprise it of different pieces of people (either in my life or just that I’ve encountered).  I take the good and the bad and place them inside each character, because I want them to be likable and humanly fallible.

Is it hard coming up with names for your characters?

I’m a wiz when it comes to naming characters, pets, vehicles, inanimate objects.  Names just jump out at me, but sometimes it does take a mixture of several different choices until I’m happy with it.  Also, I feel the names should fit the characters, even if the character themselves do not feel their designations match.

Have any of your characters ever haunted your dreams or woken you up during the night demanding attention?

Yes, a particularly vain and arrogant magician taunted in me in my dreams, offerinf suggestions about how I could get him out of the mess I had thought up for him in the first place.

What in your opinion makes good chemistry between your leading characters?

Good chemistry is always nourished by conflict.  If characters start off hating each other, they will usually grow to like/love/respect them by the end of it…at least just a little.  The reverse can happen too of course.  Conflicts and arguments between the main characters not only let the readers become engaged in the debate so that they might also choose sides, but also makes for amusing dialog.

Is there a character from one of your books that resonates deeply with you?

The main four characters in Untoward have pieces of me and a few other people too.  Speaking for myself: Tadrec has my wit, Daumis has my interest in studying human interactions, Cewyn has my logic, and Rilliam has my scheming nature.

Random Questions

Name one website you visit every single day.

Twitter

Where do you get your daily dose of news?

I usually get it from either CNN (because it’s on at work), FaceBook or from word of mouth.

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Filed under Announcements, Books, Fantasy, Interviews, Writers and Writing

Interview: Kathy Steineman, Author of “Vanguard of Hope”

kathy-2012-01-225x225Kathy Steinemann won provincial public speaking and writing awards during
her school years, wrote the school news column for the community paper, and
was a regular contributor to her high school newspaper.

Her career has taken varying directions, including positions as editor of a
community weekly, computer-network administrator, and webmaster. She has
also worked on projects in commercial art and cartooning.

“Vanguard of Hope” is Kathy’s tenth book.

 

Cover251x334compressedDescription: LISETVILLE, 1890 — Murders are committed; homes are burned; family secrets
are buried; an unexpected romance complicates lives. Amid the mystery and
violence, a vigilante brigade emerges to administer justice.

Flowing through the intrigue and drama is a dark undercurrent that will
touch your heart as you empathize with the victims.

What Readers Are Saying:

“I am hooked. I do hope that I will be able to get all your novels.” –
Lorene Charlton

“It’s not chick lit.”A Male Reader

“This book keeps you in suspense right to the end. The dark underlying theme
is tackled in a sensitive manner.” – S.L. Banks

“I started reading this novel to help quiet my mind at a late hour, but
found myself still awake in the morning. Its intense read was much more than
I expected. It has ‘all’ the elements from love, betrayal, suspense, and
romance, to murder. ‘Vanguard of Hope’ will touch everyone who reads it. If
you’re a young adult or older, this excellent novel will awaken you deep
within your soul.”Toni Gee

“The book was excellent! I really enjoyed reading it. I could not stop.
Every chance I got, I was trying to sneak in just a couple more diary
entries! I look forward to reading the next book in the series. And I will
most certainly be recommending this to others to read!”Brandy Mayan-Rooks

http://kathysteinemann.com/reviewers.html
http://www.facebook.com/KathySteinemann.Author
http://twitter.com/KathySteinemann

INTERVIEW

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I realized when I was in elementary school that I enjoyed weaving pictures with words.

Who or what was your inspiration for writing?
There wasn’t any one person or event that inspired me; however I enjoyed immersing myself in books and wanted to be able to provide that experience to others someday.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Playing with my two macaws, DJ and Balboa, is a good distraction. Sometimes my best ideas stem from something I think about while I’m cleaning a bird cage.

Where do you hang out online? Website URL, author groups, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc?
Website: http://kathysteinemann.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/KathySteinemann
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/KathySteinemann.Author

Do you remember the first novel you read?
No; however, I was always impressed by novels in the Black Stallion series and anything written by Ray Bradbury or Pearl S. Buck.

What would you like readers to know about you the individual?
I can never find enough time to read.

Where are you from originally?
British Columbia, Canada.

Is there anything unique about your upbringing that you’d like to share with readers?  
Coming from a large blended family of nine children, I learned to cope with noise and distractions. That has helped me immeasurably as a writer.

Your Writing Process

Why do you write?
I write to let the stories in my head escape. It’s an invigorating process at times.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
I used to leave my writing until late in the day. That meant some days if I was tired or there was an unexpected distraction, I wouldn’t accomplish anything. Now, I make writing my priority. I determine a target for a certain number of words. Some days the ideas flow so quickly that I triple or quadruple my target. I also set a digital timer for one hour if I think I might lose track of time. When it beeps, I get up and do something else for a few minutes before I return to my computer.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Pay attention to what reviewers say. They are people with opinions that are shared by many others. Think of them as the Simon Cowell of writing. You might not like what you hear, but you can learn from criticism.

What would you consider is your favorite part of a book to write? The beginning, the middle or the ending?
My favorite part of writing a book is always the ending. It leaves me with a sense of accomplishment.

Is there any other genre you have considered writing in?
I wouldn’t mind trying science fiction someday. I have always enjoyed reading sci-fi.

Do you listen to music or have another form of inspiration when you are writing?
No; I prefer to work without extraneous noises to distract me. My macaws are distracting enough.

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?
Do you really want to know the answer to that question? (She laughs.) Cleaning a poopy birdcage would have to be right at the top of the list.

How long does it take you to finish a book from start to submission?
That’s a loaded question. It depends on the size of the book, how much research I need to do, and how long I have to wait for things like cover art and beta readers. If I were to work full time as an author, I could probably write a 65,000-word novel in three months.

Do you prefer writing series books over non series or does it matter?
The problem with series books is paying attention to detail and a timeline as you progress. I don’t think I could state a preference either way, however.

What is the best and worst writing advice you have ever received?
Best: Write about something familiar to you. Worst: You can’t use “and” or “but” at the beginning of a sentence.

Do you have a system for writing?  
Partially; in my house there are 4×4 sticky notes everywhere: on the kitchen table, next to where I watch TV, in the bathroom, in the basement, next to my computer, next to the bed. As soon as an idea comes to mind, I jot it down so that I don’t forget it.

Do you track word count or write a certain number of hours per day?
I track word count to keep on a regular schedule. Some days, I can do 4000 words without any effort; others, it is a struggle to write 1000 words.

What was the most uplifting moment you’ve experienced during your writing career?
Receiving praise from my daughter for my most recent book is the most uplifting moment any mother-turned-author could ask for.

Your Books

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

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
To date, I have written ten books. “Vanguard of Hope” is my favorite by far.

When a new book comes out, are you nervous about how readers will react to it?
I wasn’t really nervous with any of my previous books. However, “Vanguard of Hope” broaches a controversial subject and I had concerns about reader reaction. The vast majority of readers say that they love it. That imparts a huge feeling of satisfaction.

What can we look forward to in the upcoming months?
Installment two of the Sapphire Brigade series, “Retribution of Owen”, will be released in about three months.

What kind of research do you do for your books? Do you enjoy the research process?
There is a huge amount of research behind most of my books. Although the process is very time-consuming, I don’t really mind it. I learn some interesting facts as I progress, and end up being a more knowledgeable person. There is a lot of information available on the Internet, including out-of-print books from over a century ago. When necessary, I will buy a textbook.

Do deadlines help or hinder your muse?
I hate deadlines. ‘Nuff said.

Do you outline your books or just start writing?
I tried an outline once, and by the time the book was finished, it was nothing like the outline. Nowadays I just write down the ideas as quickly as I can. With word-processing software, it’s easy to go back and change details or dates if necessary.

Is there something special you do to celebrate when one of your books is released?
I take a day off to think about the next one. My mind never stops working.

Your Characters

Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?
I use a combination of both. When developing a character, I like to go to Google Images or IMDB to look at photos of specific people. Sometimes, my characters will even display some of the mannerisms used by actors in specific television shows or movies.

Is it hard coming up with names for your characters?
No; it takes time when you’re writing something based in the 19th century, but the Internet is filled with helpful resources.

Have any of your characters ever haunted your dreams or woken you up during the night demanding attention?
No; but I think I developed a tiny crush one of the characters in the book I’m currently writing.

Which of your stories would make a great movie?  Who’d play the lead roles.
I’m glad you asked that question. That would be “Vanguard of Hope”.

– Reese Witherspoon as Hope/Ruth
– Roger Cross as Solomon
– David McCallum as Peter
– Yannick Bisson as Seth
– Thomas Craig as Hope/Ruth’s father
– Tony Danza as Owen
– Cheech Marin as Papa
– Katherine Zeta Jones as Mama

All of the actors or lookalikes would be cast at the appropriate ages, of course.

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 occupation comes first, followed by character development.

What in your opinion makes good chemistry between your leading characters?
Tension and uncertainty add to the chemistry and plot development.

Is there a character from one of your books that resonates deeply with you?
Hope’s situation makes me incredibly sad. Although she deals with multiple tragedies in her life, she copes with them and becomes a stronger woman in the end. I liked watching her develop as the plot progressed.

Random Questions

Name one website you visit every single day.
Google.

Where do you get your daily dose of news?
I watch a news channel on television. Hours spent in front of the computer require a break once in a while.

Purchase Links:

http://kathysteinemann.com/Books/Vanguard_of_Hope/
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00BEB77R8
http://www.amazon.ca/dp/B00BEB77R8
http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00BEB77R8
https://itunes.apple.com/ca/book/vanguard-hope-sapphire-brigade/id602917970
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/vanguard-of-hope-kathy-steinemann/1114587526
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/284410

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