What inspired your latest novel? It was the film Lord of The Rings that inspired me to write Illusional Reality duology. By the time the ride from the cinema was over I had the initial story and characters. The Quest is the concluding part Illusional Reality and was written after watching Two Towers.
How did you come up with the title? If you suddenly woke up and found you were in a magical land; wouldn’t you think you were dreaming. That it was an illusion? But you see, when Becky learns who she really is, Thya, her previous life becomes the Illusion and her life in Tsinia is now her reality. The Quest was named as such, because Thya is forced to travel to locate a crystal called the Darkeye.
I’m normally pretty good with word play and don’t have a problem coming up with suitable titles.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? Gosh, there are messages running all the way through the two books, but it’s been my readers that have found them. I didn’t deliberately add these messages. Each reader can take something different from it.
How much of the book is realistic? The Quest which is the second book of the duology is fantasy. When you write fantasy everything and anything can be believable. That’s why I had so much fun writing the books.
Are your characters based on someone you know, or events in your own life? No. Total fabrication of my warped mind.
Where can readers find you on social media and do you have a blog? http://bit.ly/PKKFB FB personal http://bit.ly/FBFPKK FB fanpage http://bit.ly/INSTKK INSTAGRAM http://bit.ly/TwittKK TWITTER http://bit.ly/BLOGKK BLOG http://bit.ly/KKGRE Goodreads Do you have plans or ideas for your next book? Is it a sequel or a stand alone? The Quest is the concluding part of Illusional Reality duology. My next book is a collection of flash horror stories. Called A Flash of Horror. I also have a MI5 thriller, Broken Chains, to finish and an erotic horror called Predator. So, plenty to keep me going for a while.
Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why? It would have to be the MC, Thya. I have lived in her shoes and mind for many years and we’ve been through a lot together. Thya is head strong, selfish and argumentative, proving she’s more human than a Bora.
Do you favor one type of genre or do you dabble in more than one?
I do. I’m a prolific author and write in most genres. I do have a passion for the MC thriller genre, because of my past and I had so much fun writing the fantasy duology, Illusional Reality.
Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants style writer?
Both. I start with an initial plot and then once the story takes off, I let the characters takeover.
What is your best marketing tip? Market yourself as an author before you market your books.
Do you find social media a great tool or a hindrance? Can you imagine where we authors would be without SMP(Social Media Platforms) Even if we are taken advantage of, that’s where most of our readers are and where we get our sales. Readers want to get to know you before they part with their cash, and SMPs help with that.
What do you enjoy most about writing? Being creative and using my imagination and allowing my warped mind free reign.
Where is your favorite writing space?
I love sitting outside a coffee shop watching the world go by while I’m listening to rock music through some earphones. That’s where I love to write.
If you could meet one favorite author, who would it be and why?
S.E.Hinton, author of The Outsiders is my favourite author. Her books Rumble Fish, That Was Then This Is Now, Tex and Taming of The Star Runner, just sparked such a feeling in me that I had to pick up a pen and write my story. My first publication, In Times of Violence has been labelled as The Outsiders on motorbikes. What an honour that is. In Times of Violence was my first novel and still remains my bestseller to date. I would love to meet, thank her and let her know how much her books mean to me.
If you could live anywhere in the world – where would it be? I live in Greece and I’m sure many would love to swap with me. Lol I would love to have a small cottage in the Cotswold UK. I have roots in Canada and Ireland so it would be nice to visit.
Do you see writing as a career? It started off that way. I think we all dream of becoming best selling authors with a nice fat monthly royalty check and an agent who has just signed a deal for the book to be made into a movie for the big screen… after a while that dream fades. I’m happy to know my books are being read and people are enjoying them. That’s why I write. I also run Author Assist, offering an Ala Carte menu of affordable author services. So, I spend most of my time helping authors with their book promotion and making sure their name and book/s are known around social media.
Actually, I have two recently published novels, one of the novels, “Mrs. Murray’s Ghost”, is actually the first in a series.
“Queen Mary’s Daughter” was released in March 2018. This novel is an historical fiction/fantasy novel, inspired by a shared interest with my grandmother and spurred to fruition by the ongoing debate about Scottish independence. I like to ponder the many ‘what if’ scenarios in life and there are so many that could have changed the course of Scottish history. For example, what if King James VI of Scotland didn’t succeed in amalgamating Scotland with England? What if there had been another heir to the throne of Scotland? One who would secure its independence? Would Scotland have remained free and independent and a nation of its own well into the twenty-first century? And would Scotland, this independent version, make its own decision to join the European Union when its southern neighbor was choosing to pull away?
My grandmother was my muse in so many of my writing ideas. She and I had a special relationship. When I was old enough, we traveled together. One special trip took us to Scotland where we traced her childhood memories (she was born in Scotland) as well as followed the trail of Mary Queen of Scots. We had been enjoying a number of novels and biographies about the ill-fated queen and my grandmother ignited my interest by telling me about ancestors who helped in her escape from Loch Leven Castle. I always wanted to write about Queen Mary, but it wasn’t until the Brexit debacle and the ongoing desire of the Scottish people to separate from England, that I started looking more closely at the stories around Queen Mary. I knew she had given birth, prematurely, to twins while imprisoned at Loch Leven. History records that the babies died at birth and were buried on the island where the castle sat. An interesting footnote states that the location of the burial and the babies’ remains have never been found. So, I started thinking, ‘what if?’. What if there had been another heir to the Scottish throne and Scotland never did amalgamate with England and Ireland? And my story unfolded. There is a sequel to “Queen Mary’s Daughter”, written at the request of my growing fan club. “King Henry’s Choice” continues the story started in “Queen Mary’s Daughter”. Release date yet to be determined.
My pride and joy is the first book in the 4-part “Piccadilly Street Series”. So much of these stories evolved from my childhood experiences and what my grandmother always called my vivid imagination. “Mrs. Murray’s Ghost”, like “Queen Mary’s Daughter”, also explores the ‘what if’, the fantastical possibilities of my vivid imagination and a ghost that haunted my childhood home. And, yes, there is another Scottish connection in this story, as well as another connection with my grandmother. In fact, she plays a significant role in the story – the role of Granny. My memories played a significant role in inspiring me to write “The Piccadilly Street Series”, this being the first book. Fond memories of the haunted house where I grew up: the ghost, the bats, the uniqueness of the house itself. I have been writing family stories and memoirs for years and I wanted to try something a little different, something for younger readers. I have taught many young, aspiring writers, so I decided it was time I wrote a story they would enjoy reading. And they do. In fact, I gifted a copy of the book to the 10-year-old girl who lives in the same room in the same house that I called my own when I was 10, the same room and the same house as the main character, Mary, in “Mrs. Murray’s Ghost”.
How did you come up with the title?
As I’m writing my stories, I usually have fun playing around with ideas for titles. I usually have quite a list by the time my novel is finished and ready to send off. With “Queen Mary’s Daughter”, there really wasn’t much of a list. The story is, after all, about the daughter of Mary Queen of Scots. Or, I should say, it’s about the daughter that might have been.
For “Mrs. Murray’s Ghost”, there wasn’t a list. It was “Mrs. Murray’s Ghost” right from the first line. When I was growing up, we always called our ghost by her name. And, since this story evolved from memories of my ghost, it was only fitting to call the first book in “The Piccadilly Street Series”, “Mrs. Murray’s Ghost”.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I like to write about strong women (and girls), those who strive to be the best they can be, no matter what obstacles are placed in their path. Both novels have strong female characters, though Mary, the 10-year-old girl in “Mrs. Murray’s Ghost”, is still developing her strong female character. She grows (evolves) through the book, in fact, she becomes stronger with each book in the series. “Mrs. Murray’s Ghost” also deals with the issue of bullying. The bully who bothers Mary was modeled after the bully who bothered me throughout my early school days. I don’t think we’ll ever get rid of bullying, but it’s good that we’re starting to recognize and address the debilitating effects of bullying. Mary has her own means to stand up to her bully.
How much of the book is realistic?
“Queen Mary’s Daughter” has been thoroughly researched for historical accuracy. However, as the timeline changes through the ‘what if’ scenarios, the historical accuracy as we know it changes significantly.
“Mrs. Murray’s Ghost” is part memories of my childhood and part fantasies I conjured in my head using my ‘vivid imagination’. The first few chapters are almost exactly as it happened when we first moved into the haunted Victorian mansion.
Are your characters based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
The grandmother in both books are modeled after my grandmother. Gran (as we called her) always claimed we would soon forget her once she was dead and gone. She was too important to me to forget and I’ve proved her wrong in so much of my writing. Mary in “Mrs. Murray’s Ghost” is me as a 10-year-old.
Where can readers find you on social media and do you have a blog?
Do you have plans or ideas for your next book? Is it a sequel or a stand alone?
There is a sequel to “Queen Mary’s Daughter” – “King Henry’s Choice”.
“Mrs. Murray’s Ghost” is the first of 4 books in the “Piccadilly Street Series”.
Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?
The grandmother in both books. Why? Because Gran was so important in my life and I’ve made her character in my novels just as important in the lives of the main characters of each book.
Do you favor one type of genre or do you dabble in more than one?
I dabble in more than one. I enjoy writing memoirs and creative nonfiction: family stories and stories about people I knew. I also enjoy writing historical fiction, fantasy, and stories for young people.
Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants style writer?
A bit of both. I tend to be a planner at heart, but somehow the inspiration of the moment usually pushed me down an alternate tangent.
What is your best marketing tip?
Don’t give up. Keep trying everything. I use Facebook a lot to frequently post a plug for my books. I actively seek book reviews and I encourage blog interviews (like this one) and blog tours to promote.
Do you find social media a great tool or a hindrance?
Both. It’s time-consuming to constantly post promos about one’s books. And, after awhile, people get tired of seeing yet another plug for my books and they stop paying attention to my posts. However, one must get the word out there somehow. And social media is the best way in this era of high tech everything.
What do you enjoy most about writing?
The solitude and the thrill of letting my ‘vivid imagination’ take flight.
What age did you start writing stories/poems?
As soon as I could hold a pencil in my hand (probably about 5), I was writing stories. As the youngest in a family of storytellers, I couldn’t get a word in edgewise, so I wrote my stories.
What genre are you currently reading?
Do you read for pleasure or research or both?
Both. I also write a lot of book reviews, mostly for readersfavorite.com
Where is your favorite writing space?
I have an antique spinet desk that is positioned to look out onto my wooded front yard. I can write, like Jane Austen (only I write on a laptop), with the view of birds and wildlife as my inspiration.
Do you belong to a writing group? If so which one?
Yes. Canadian Authors Association, the Writers Union of Canada, and Ottawa Independent Writers.
An avid gardener, artist, musician and writer, Emily-Jane Hills Orford has fond memories and lots of stories that evolved from a childhood growing up in a haunted Victorian mansion. Told she had a ‘vivid imagination’, the author used this talent to create stories in her head to pass tedious hours while sick, waiting in a doctor’s office, listening to a teacher drone on about something she already knew, or enduring the long, stuffy family car rides. The author lived her stories in her head, allowing her imagination to lead her into a different world, one of her own making. As the author grew up, these stories, imaginings and fantasies took to the written form and, over the years, she developed a reputation for telling a good story. Emily-Jane can now boast that she is an award-winning author of several books, including Mrs. Murray’s Ghost (Telltale Publishing 2018), Queen Mary’s Daughter (Clean Reads 2018), Gerlinda (CFA 2016) which received an Honorable Mention in the 2016 Readers’ Favorite Book Awards, To Be a Duke (CFA 2014) which was named Finalist and Silver Medalist in the 2015 Next Generation Indie Book Awards and received an Honorable Mention in the 2015 Readers’ Favorite Book Awards and several other books. A retired teacher of music and creative writing, she writes about the extra-ordinary in life and the fantasies of dreams combined with memories. For more information on the author, check out her website at: http://emilyjanebooks.ca
Here is the first question for my new monthly blog topic for writers and authors. Please join in the discussion.
Should you pick the genre before beginning your story or figure out what genre it is after you have written it?
We can ask, answer and give our opinions in the comments on this post or subsequent Thursdays in January. Let’s make it as interactive as possible.
What is your genre preference?
How do you decide on the genre?
Would picking the genre first make it more difficult to write the story or not?
Do you merge genres to match your story?
Now-a-days there are many merged genres so it is easy to combined a couple (or more) to make your narrative ‘fit’ but is that okay or not?
More discussion on Thursday 10th, 17th, 24th and 31st January. We may go off topic slightly, reveal writing styles, publishing house experiences, agent advice or …
Let each other know about you!
I have always written free flow so never think what the genre might be as I write the narrative. That comes later once the story has completed the first draft and I read it through, making revisions and getting to know the theme of the narrative. Sometimes the characters define the genre and other times it is the story structure and theme.
I have children’s books, YA novellas and several adult novels, so am a multi-genre author. I am led by the story initially, which can be sparked from an overheard conversation, a life event, a prompt/photo or an experience on a road trip.
Does writing energize or exhaust you? Depends on more easy the ideas and writing is flowing. If everything is flowing nicely and i’m forming an idea that makes me proud, writing gives me a powerful high that makes me super bubbly. If I’m having a hard time, like when you’re trying so hard just to write ANYTHING because you’re trying to power through a block. That digs at my soul.
What is your writing Kryptonite? Getting distracted by TV or movies.
Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym? Not at the moment.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer? I’ve connected with a lot of authors online but I haven’t connected to any of them outside of that. The ones I’ve met online have helped in so many ways. They have given me a like-minded community to bounce ideas off of and give feedback. Some of them were my beta readers for Beyond the Code.
Do you want each book to stand alone, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book? I have some book ideas that are going to develop into expansive series but for the most part they stand on their own.
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer? I am still very new on the writer scene so I haven’t made much of any money yet. Fingers crossed.
What was an early experience where you learned that language had power? From an early age, language and writing always gave me an outlet for my crazy imagination. It was a great way to bring my thoughts into the world and helped me sort out a lot of my feelings.
What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel? To Kill a Mockingbird. A lot of people I talk to don’t like it but I thought it was a very thought provoking read.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal? A fox. I love foxes
10. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have? I have a bunch of story ideas and a couple of them I have started writing but Beyond the Code was actually the first book I wrote fully.
11. What does literary success look like to you? Seeing my book on the shelf at a bookstore.
12. What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book? I am a thorough planner when it comes to my books. I plan out all the events in order for the book, do all the research necessary, and start writing. I try my best to make it as authentic as possible.
13. How many hours a day/week do you write? As much as I can but life gets in the way a bit more than I would prefer.
14. How do you select the names of your characters? Sometimes the name just comes to me when I’m making the character but most of the time I use a baby naming book.
15. What was your hardest scene to write? Emotionally, there’s a scene in the book I’m writing now that deals with a character letting go of a future that she can’t have. But there was another scene in Beyond the Code where there was a lot of characters involved in a fight scene and keeping track of all of them was pretty difficult.
16. Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? If you write more than one, how do you balance them? So far, I’ve just been writing urban fantasy. I chose it because I love the idea of putting extraordinary things in the mundane world.
17. How long have you been writing? I started writing short stories when I was around 10 and have been doing that off and on throughout my teen years and started seriously putting myself into it when I move out.
18. What inspires you? Anime, comic books, and movies.
19. How do you find or make time to write? Sometimes you just have to put aside things you enjoy to get the words out. It can be hard but sometimes I have to be my own hard ass boss.
20. What projects are you working on at the present? Right now, I am working on a sequel to Beyond the Code.
21. What do your plans for future projects include? Trying to make Beyond the Code successful and get the sequel published.
Kelsey Rae Barthel grew up in the quiet town of Hay Lakes in Alberta, a sleepy place of only 500 people. Living in such a calm setting gave her a lot of spare time to imagine grand adventures of magic and danger, inspired by the comic books and anime she enjoyed. Upon graduating high school, Kelsey moved to Edmonton and eventually began working in the business of airline cargo, but she never stopped imagining those adventures. Beyond the Code is her first novel.