Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

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Author Interview – Alison Neuman – Children’s Series – Book Launch

May 10, 2020
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Alison Neuman

 

home

 

  1. Please tell us the story behind your new book, Home.

My new book is the bookend of the Friends and Family series about Fluffy the cat and Levi the mouse. This book in the series was more challenging to write than the others because the series was written for my mom, and she passed away two years ago. My mom was my hero, and my best friend. She always provided me with a sense of security and home. As a family, we shared a love of reading, and my mom made sure, whether I was staying in the hospital or at home, that the routine of reading to me before bed was a constant.

As an adult, my mom’s macular degeneration made reading a challenge so I would read out loud to her. Then as her dementia progressed, she found a renewed passion for children’s literature. This series was based on a childhood pet of my mom’s and has a diverse character, which I wish I had to identify with when I was a child. Despite dementia stealing my mom’s words, the smile on her face and her reaching out to grab and hold Don’t Eat Family communicated her love and appreciation.

Mom would’ve wanted me to finish the series despite the fact that during the writing process and now the launch of Home, she would not be here in person. My illustrator, Katherine Restouiex, who also knew my mom, made the human character a cartoon version of her. While writing this last book in the series, memories mom and I shared and the lessons that she taught me were reminders that she will always be with me.

  1. As the third in the series, does it complete the series?

Yes, Home completes the Friends and Family series.

  1. How did you come up with the idea for the series?

My inspiration for this series came from a childhood cat Mom had and the fact that cats and mice don’t usually get along. This series was an exploration into each character’s ability to make their own decisions based on who they want to be and not who they are told to be by society. I wanted my characters to travel through the world with kindness, respect, and a belief in the goodness of people.

  1. Can you tell us about the characters and how you created them?

The character of Fluffy is based on a grey Persian cat that my mom had as a child. The character Levi is based on some of the strong and independent individuals I have met who experience disability. Maybe even a little part of myself is in the character of Levi.

Dont Eat

  1. In Don’t Eat Family what is the message you wanted to convey?

The main messages that I was trying to convey in the book Don’t Eat Family were that, just like Fluffy and her decision to be friends with Levi versus be a mouser as some cats are, you could be who you are and not give in to peer pressure. Also, individuals experiencing a disability may experience challenges but have other abilities and should not be judged by the way they get around in the world.

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  1. In Help from Friends do the characters follow on from the first book?

Yes, the characters in Friends and Family continue along the journey to find their way home, a journey that started in the first book.

  1. Did you start out planning a series, or did the story and characters dictate more stories?

No, I didn’t start outlining a series, but the characters and the story dictated more books because their adventures required more pages than I wanted to squeeze into one book.

  1. Tell us about your writing life – what other books/plays have you written?

I have written the following

Books:

Ice Rose – A young Adult Spy Novel

Searching for Normal: A Memoir

Don’t Eat Family

On Ne Manage Pas La Famille

Help From Friends

Home

Plays:

Searching

The Sunset Syndrome

In Progress:

Book – Hindsight

  1. Do you only write fiction?

No, I also write creative nonfiction.

Alison’s website:

http://www.alisonneuman.ca/?fbclid=IwAR2_bjRPr3grdeLMeyR6Jv1JjZE0bLKB6nq7X0mOralPynATNr43q-M1YGo

Dream Write Publishing

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Wordsmith’s Collective Thursday – Dreams into Stories

May 7, 2020
mandyevebarnett


Inspiration can strike us at any time from a vast array of sources. An overheard conversation, a scenic view, an image or a news report – the list goes on and on. One of the most frustrating but rewarding is dreams. They are elusive a lot of the time but if we can capture them somehow, they can become the marvelous start to a story idea.

In my current steampunk novel, The Commodore’s Gift, the initial scene is actually a dream sequence I experienced. It is a cloaked figure propelling out of a high window. When I woke up, I immediately wrote down everything I could remember of the scene. It was an older mansion house, an older time period and the person falling was a young female wearing a cloak. 

Writer Tip: Always keep a notebook and pen beside your bed.

Upon reflection of the dream, I was able to ascertain that the ‘place’ was actually very similar to my old school in England. Which was an Elizabethan mansion. When I was at school many of the rooms still had the original wooden paneling, large stone fireplaces and leaded-light windows. It is now a historic site and open to visitors. https://www.historichouses.org/houses/house-listing/shaw-house.html (images above)

As with most dreams their fleeting quality can make solidifying them difficult but with practice you can train yourself to remember them. A notebook is useful to have on hand but also try to keep within the dream for as long as you can before you become fully awake and your day starts. 

Here are a few tips to try:

Write, “I can remember my dreams” on a sticky note, place it somewhere you’ll see it before you go to sleep, and read the note aloud.

Go to bed at a regular time.

Practice 20 minutes of mediation prior to sleep.

What dream(s) resulted in a story idea for you? Please share in the comments.

 

 

 

 

 

Bibliophiles Collective Tuesday – A Radio Interview, Editing and a Trip Out!

May 5, 2020
mandyevebarnett


Radio Interview – RadioYou

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I was thrilled to be part of a local radio’s evening broadcast recently. I talked about my books and also my local writing group. Without this group I would not be writing at all.

 Mandy’s Interview April 2 2020.mp3

I am continuing with the weekly virtual writing group on Sunday’s and it does help keep me on task. This past Sunday I created and scheduled two author interviews for my writing blog and one for my freelancer blog. Also a list of questions for another author interview and monthly Author Tool Box blog post.

I also have two fellow author’s manuscripts I am editing, apart from my own steampunk manuscript – The Commodore’s Gift.

Teaser:

I have created a new physical description for the Commodore and am in the process of making the heroine, Owena, a stronger personality. After a few suggestions I will be altering a segment near the end of the book.  

I am happy to answer any questions you have about my stories, books or writing life. Just comment below.

In other news, my friend and I did ‘leave the building’ on Saturday for a very pleasant afternoon drive. It was a glorious day and driving the back roads refreshed the body and soul. Here are a few photos I took. Unfortunately, the two moose we saw were too far away to get a good photo.

 

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An alternative world not too far from now. The story grips you from the beginning. There are many twists and turns to keep you turning the pages.

My current read:

18143977

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18143977-all-the-light-we-cannot-see

I am happy to connect with you on Goodreads – we can share our current read and our reviews over there.

My author profile is also there if you wish to follow me.

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6477059.Mandy_Eve_Barnett

Creative Edge – Author Interview – Miranda Oh

April 30, 2020
mandyevebarnett


oh

  1. When you wrote your first novel, Remember No Matter what, Chin Up Tits Out, did you know or plan the subsequent novels in the series?

I originally had a goal to ‘write a book’ but once I started to draft out ‘Remember No Matter What..’ I quickly came to realize I had much more to say than just one books worth.

chin

2. What was the inspiration for the stories?

Real Life is where the juiciest stories are picked from. I enjoy meeting new people and working on improving my connections. I tend to pick up the most interesting stories along the way, so why not share them.

3. How did you come up with the titles?

My parents used to coach us as kids to stand up tall, hold your shoulders back and stand confident, even if you don’t feel it. As the years passed on and teenager attitudes came along, so did the spicy one liners my folks used to keep us in line, focused on staying positive and always strive to move forward… in turn …Chin Up Tits Out was born, and to this day used in our household often.

4. Do you have a follow up in progress?

I am working on a second series, called Love My Lady Bits. It will be a trilogy jammed packed with real life stories from women around the world who have stubborn, unpredictable and often humorous reproductive systems.

up

5. Did you purposely choose chick lit?

No, let’s say it chose me! HA – I just wrote out my story and then we plunked it into a genre. Chick lit is so all-encompassing, which allows me to write about what ever. I want to write about relatable things us women go through, make it less taboo and totally spin it and make it entertaining to talk about all of it.

6. Are you a romantic?

Old soul to the nines – yes! I love old romantic music, candle light environment all while sipping on a vintage bottle of red, star gazing… alone. He-he! Regardless if I am alone or with someone special; taking those moments in time to spread a little old school romance will only bring one good in life. – In my opinion.

7. Who is your biggest supporter?

My mom! Gosh darnit – I have zero shame about it too! She is right there with me through it all thick and thin. The best part of it, is that we are best friends too, so I not only have the support and role model of a pretty awesome mom, but I also have the support of a good ol’ pal and bff. I lucked out in the family department. I count my blessing every dang day!

just

8. Are you a planner or a panster writer?

Plan, map, schedule – repeat. Although, once I am done planning, mapping and scheduling, when the writing starts it doesn’t stop. It is like a dam broke and all the water that floods out are the words. As I write more, this process evolves and becomes more streamlined. Just a wee spot OCD and type –A personality.

9. How did you being writing?

A big glass of wine, noise cancelling headphones and pure determination to get it out on paper. Simply put. I also had a story I desperately wanted to get out; so between the little liquid encouragement, and determination to share my story, the result was me writing my first series.

10. Where can readers find you and your books?

Readers can find my books on amazon worldwide. Type in Chin up Tits Out Miranda Oh and BAM my books will be right there. You can also visit my website at mirandaoh.com . Please give me a follow or a like on FB or IG (OhMirandaOh)

11. Can you share a funny story about the creation of your novels?

Oh yeah – I was writing a REALLY tough chapter during my 2nd book – When All Else Fails Chin Up Tits Out – I was sobbing – loud enough to disturb my roommates. So they banded together, pulled straws, and one poor sucker had to take me out for a drive and Starbucks run so I could calm down and refocus. Poor guys, by the time we got back home, I was way better. I had a smile on my face and whipped cream in my cup. Happy Girl!

Creative Edge

Bibliophiles Collective Tuesday – Character Interview – Lenni from Creature Hunt on Planet Toaria (YA novella)

April 28, 2020
mandyevebarnett


Chapter 5 Mandy 52_preview

Today I am ‘interviewing’ one of the main character’s from Creature Hunt on Planet Toaria, a YA novella. Lenni is the main instigator in persuading her three friends to seek out the invading alien monster on their planet.

Hi Lenni,

Can you tell us about why you live on another planet instead of Earth?

I can tell you what I know from history lessons. The human race suffered multiple pandemics over decades, which decimated the world population. In an effort to save the human species, one hundred generation ships were built and several space stations. These were built to offer a temporary home above the planet until the virus’ could be controlled or eliminated. 

So how did you get here?

The expected term for being on the ships was extended over and over for years until each generation ship struggled to sustain its population. As the remaining human population on Earth died, a decision was made to head out in as many different directions as possible. The hope was that one or more of the generation ships would find a suitable planet to populate. After many years my ancestors ship found Toaria. 

So then they landed and built all the domes?

It took another generation to build the domes and establish the growing pods. Several new technologies were created so that ‘soil’ was artificially grown from agar, molds and vermiculite and then seeds regenerated from capsules that had been frozen in transit. 

Can you describe Planet Toaria?

It is mainly rock and dust but there are frackist trees and whickety vines. We have two moons and when they align, the sky becomes magenta then burgundy before total darkness. That’s our curfew time – we must be home by then. All the other plants are from germination of seeds brought here and cultivated in the home dome’s central gardens or in the growth pods. We have metal paths in-between the home domes and the community domes. Apart from the living areas, there is a complex of industry domes restricted to only workers and the military. Most of the planet is uninhabited still but as our population grows we expand with more sections.

Can you describe frackist trees and whickety vines, they sound fascinating?

The trees have thick trunks, which are topped with branches that look like an upside-down scalene triangle. They have sticky buds, which you mustn’t touch as the sap causes instant numbing to anything it touches. Climbing them is discouraged because of that. The vines have a natural luminescence in the leaves and they are planted along the main paths to grow along them and climb the metal columns.

I noticed that you do not have ‘normal’ pets, like dogs and cats. What do you have instead?

No, we do not have animals as such on Toaria, they were not allowed on the first ships from Earth. We have robotic ‘pets’ or bots as we call them. Each child is assigned a bot when they are born. It is a protector as well as a companion. They are made up of a series of metal intersecting plates, have compartments for supplies and technology and power up overnight as we sleep.

Can you tell us a little about the alien invader?

Initially, no one knew there was an invader but then my bot, Bubble chased off something and did not return for a long time. This is unheard of as they are to stay with their owner no matter what. When Bubble was found, his recording data did not identify what the thing was and that’s when I began to wonder.

Why did you decide to find the alien with your friends?

At first I thought it would be a fun thing to do with Troon, Braze and Nevis. You know to explore a little further than we are allowed. There are sections to the habitat only open to the military. I didn’t really think we would find it! As our search continued it got more serious and we all thought it would be an excellent way to be considered for a position within the security force.

Thank you for being with us today, Lenni and telling us about your life on Planet Toaria.

If you want to know more of the story the e-book is available here, on Smashwords, Kindle, Kobo and Barnes & Noble. 

 

 

 

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