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Author Interview – Craig DiLouie

August 13, 2019
mandyevebarnett


AuthorInterview

craig dilouie Headshot

What inspired your latest novel?

Published in hardcover, eBook, and audio book by Orbit and released August 20, 2019, OUR WAR is about the consequences of political tribalism as told in a story about a second American civil war. This story is about a brother and sister forced to fight as child soldiers on opposite sides, and the people whose lives they touch: a UN worker who wants to stop the use of child soldiers, a journalist seeking to expose it, and a rebel militia sergeant who begins to see the humanity in those he hates.

The novel has several influences. The first is the rise of violence and polarization in American politics. Another is the Bosnian War of the 1990s; if a second civil war occurred in America, it would far more likely be between city and country than between states. And the last is American exceptionalism, the idea America is superior to broken countries like Syria, but should war ever break out inside our borders, the country will suffer like any other, producing refugees, atrocities, and even child soldiers. This brutal world provides the backdrop for a story about love, sacrifice, and the meaning of patriotism.

OUR WAR final cover                                                                                                                  

How did you come up with the title?

The title speaks to the personal nature of a war that divides communities and even families.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

The message is simple. If Americans cannot agree on a common set of unifying ideas, then it is just another multi-ethnic empire. Aside from that, there are many minor themes.

How much of the book is realistic?

All of it—that’s the intent, anyway! As I said, I took a great deal of inspiration for what a war in America would look like from the Bosnian War of the 1990s. This was a war between conservative and liberal, between ethnicities, between urban and rural. Most of the combatants were average people motivated to fight either out of resentment and demonization of their countrymen, or out of desperate self defense. In a war like this, everybody fights, and nobody wins.

Where can readers find you on social media and do you have a blog?

I’m on Facebook and Twitter, and I have a blog at www.CraigDiLouie.com. At my blog, I review a lot of interesting books, movies, and TV shows.

Do you have plans or ideas for your next book? Is it a sequel or a stand alone?

OUR WAR is a standalone novel, though of course there is potential to continue the story, if enough readers want to read it.

My next novel is about a group of people who grew up in an apocalyptic cult and survived its horrific last days, and who reunite to confront the past and the entity that appeared on the final night. This novel is about trauma, memory, belonging, and faith.

Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?

I grew to love all the characters in OUR WAR, but my favorite is Hannah, a girl who joins a local militia after everything has been taken from her. Forced to grow up fast, she accepts her new cause and family and fights for them. In the end, she must learn to fight for herself if she wants to survive the war’s aftermath. Her story is heart-wrenching, relatable, and hopeful.

Do you favor one type of genre or do you dabble in more than one?

For me, genre is what the story needs, not what I need. My job as the author is to tell a good story. That being said, some genres allow you to do more interesting things. OUR WAR is a straight-up literary thriller. Otherwise, I’ve written sci-fi, fantasy, and horror, which allow me to play with a fantastic element. Horror is particularly fun because you can really push boundaries and entice the reader to consider uncomfortable truths.

Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants style writer?

Both, in that I outline the major plot points so I always know where I’m going. During writing, there is a process of discovery between the plot points, where the story and characters tell me what they want to do.

What is your best marketing tip?

Write the absolute best book you can write. Nothing sells a book better than a good book that resonates.

Do you find social media a great tool or a hindrance?

I use social media primarily to network with other writers. It’s been invaluable for that. I also connect with fans. I think it’s very hard to get new readers on social media these days unless you dedicate a lot of time and energy to developing a certain persona and flogging it. I’d rather my books speak for themselves, while remaining accessible and responsive as an author.

Bio:

Craig DiLouie is an acclaimed American-Canadian author of literary dark fantasy and other fiction. Formerly a magazine editor and advertising executive, he also works as a journalist and educator covering the North American lighting industry. His fiction has been nominated for major awards, optioned for screen, and published in multiple languages. He is a member of the Imaginative Fiction Writers Association, International Thriller Writers, and the Horror Writers Association. He lives in Calgary, Canada with his two wonderful children.

Please check out Craig’s Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/Craig-DiLouie/e/B001JS1SCQ

Author Interview – Catherine Saykaly-Stevens

August 6, 2019
mandyevebarnett


AuthorInterview

CatherineSaykalyStevens_ProfilePic

What inspired your latest novel?

This time around, I’m writing a screenplay. I see a new space opening up in Transformation/ Transformation thrillers. The inciting idea was watching a young man open his 23ANDme results and discovering that he was not related to either parent or his siblings.

How did you come up with the title?            

Serf, in early Christian times ignorant and powerless French peasants worked the land, handing most of their hard earned labours to the local Lord. 

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

When change happens slowly people don’t necessarily notice it until it’s happened. Politicians are corrupt, and groups of young adults attempt to publically prove the consequence of a bad political decision can be overturned. They captures the unwanted government attention, just as they are about to graduate.

  • Anyone can capture anyone’s attention.
  • Absolute power corrupts absolutely.
  • It only takes one action to start a movement.

How much of the book is realistic?

It’s based on our normal North American history, but where one political decision made 4 years earlier launched a new direction, and how one privileged young man searches for answer to a personal dilemma in this new political environment.

Are your characters based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

They are completely fictitious and living in my head.

Where can readers find you on social media and do you have a blog?

I have a digital marketing Blog on my Website: TheNetworkingWeb.com
Connect with me: LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook1 | Facebook2 | Instagram | YouTube (launching April)

Do you have plans or ideas for your next book? Is it a sequel or a stand alone?

This one is written specifically for the Netflix 5-year Series.  No other sequel, but the books will spawn 2 more from the same Story World.
So far, I have over 200 story outlines. My biggest problem isn’t coming up with ideas; it’s finding the time to write and to STICK TO and FINISH 1 story.

Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?

Honestly, I don’t have favorites. Each has their uniqueness, secrets, and quirks. I just jump from brain to brain when the moment calls.

Do you favor one type of genre or do you dabble in more than one?

Mystery, missing persons, and thrillers have always been my favourites.  Today I see the transformational writing space opening up and am interested in producing transformational thrillers.
Curious? The Matrix is one.

Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants style writer?

I used to be a seat of the pants style writer. Now I outline EVERYTHING to develop intriguing layers first, to ensure that it works. (Fiction) In business writing, you plan everything.

What is your best marketing tip?

It takes MONTH’s to launch a book properly.
Use your book as a tool to get interviews, lots of them!

Do you find social media a great tool or a hindrance?

Good question, as a digital marketing expert, social media could very well be the most disruptive tool ever seen, or when used effective, they greatest tool to grow your audience and sell more books, attend more conferences, and to maybe get a movie deal.

OPTIONAL QUESTIONS

What do you enjoy most about writing?

It’s cathartic. It’s my outlet. It lets me release the ideas in my head.

What age did you start writing stories/poems?

Maybe 6. I may have rewritten my cartoon to run stories the way I wanted them to turn out. Fan Fiction circa @1983

Has your genre changed or stayed the same?

I’ve always writing the mysteries/missing person thrillers in fiction.
For work, because social media and digital marking is ALWAYS changing, I’ve had to rewrite old books and keep putting out new ones. That’s why they are never in print.

What genre are you currently reading?

Thrillers, mystery, crime, Psychological drama’s in fiction – business and marketing books and biographies in non-fiction and biz.

Do you read for pleasure or research or both?

I use to read far more for pleasure, not I read mostly for work.

Who is your best supporter/mentor/encourager?

My brother from another mother. We are each other’s biggest content creation supporters.

Where is your favorite writing space?

Comfortable bustling coffee shops where I don’t know anyone.

Do you belong to a writing group? If so which one?

I used to belong to Inklings until a few years back, most crime writing, but not for a few years.
I belong to one of the many #12WeekYear now, for HIGH productivity

If you could meet one favorite author, who would it, be and why?

Two come to mind: For science and for decades I’ve always wanted to meet James Burke. These days, I’d love to interview Malcolm Gladwell.

If you could live anywhere in the world – where would it be?

I am partially connected to many cities. I’d like to live a winter to WRITE in Prague, Florence, or Seville, or most other locations where old cobble stone roads are the norm, little watering holes has people speaking English as a second language and the locals LOVE to share their stories, history, and folklore.

Do you see writing as a career?

Absolutely. For work, I regularly produce technical writing, copy writing, blogs, articles, even copy for explainer videos. For myself, I write Novels, Outlines and Screenplays.

Do you nibble as you write? If so what’s your favorite snack food?

I drink as I write all day; coffee mostly, then water, a specialty soda is a treat.

What reward do you give yourself for making a deadline?

Start the next project. No rest for the wicked

BookCover_SMS4W_final_3D.jpg

TITLE:  Online Research Paths: Fake or Real?

Once the internet became available to the masses, new opportunities to collect and post data fueled new research.

However, not all information online is true. Still, there are many rich information resources to collect information, post queries to request information, and apply listening tools to seek information not yet posted. There is truly no limit.

How can you use this great online resource to your advantage yet not waste value time?

This interactive class explores online search methods, queries, and untapped resources.
Catherine invites you to bring your search queries, mobile devices, and questions.

Ask A Question Thursday

July 25, 2019
mandyevebarnett


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This week’s question:  Do you incorporate politics and/or religion into your stories? What is the reason?

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I have used a matriarchal society in my novel, Life in Slake Patch as the background to a young man’s life in that regime. It was interesting to write about the influences and attitudes of a different society. In contrast my novel, The Twesome Loop, which covers two time periods, shows the patriarchal suppression in the 1800’s.

Last week’s question:  How did you find your particular writing style? A creative writing class, a teacher, a format or something else? Do you write differently for different genres?

  pamelaallegretto

Well, your recent research is certainly more unique and interesting than mine. I think my writing style, whatever that may be,remains the same no matter what I write. However, my “voice” changes with each work, depending on the era, location, and age of my characters. The personality of my twenty-something Italian protagonist in my WW2 novel is a far cry from the thirty-something American artist in my current WIP.

Mandy Eve-Barnett

I have researched medieval physician’s healing techniques, the circumstances of how a body can dry out and become a husk, natural substances that prevent pregnancy or induce sterility.

 

Author Interview – Shirani Rajapakse

June 25, 2019
mandyevebarnett


AuthorInterview

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What inspired your latest book?

My latest book is a collection of short stories inspired by the time I spent in India. It’s about women and the issues faced by women living in contemporary India.                         

How did you come up with the title?              

The title of the book, I Exist. Therefore I Am is also the title of one of the short stories in the collection. Each of my other previous books also uses one of the stories/poems as the title. I’ve done this as I wanted to have a title that exemplified what was in the whole collection.

(ebook) I Exist. Therefore I Am - Shirani Rajapakse

Is there a message in your book that you want readers to grasp?

The message is that women need to be treated as equals and with dignity and the respect that is their due.

How much of the book is realistic?

Although fictionalized the stories are about real people and real lives. I’ve used examples of incidents that I came across to create my stories. The characters aren’t real but the issues these women face and the treatment they receive at the hands of society and of other women are very real.

Are your characters based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

They are based on people I read or heard about from others or from newspapers. I’ve come across women who have either gone through similar experiences that my characters undergo or have known women who have.

Where can readers find you on social media and do you have a blog?

https://shiranirajapakse.wordpress.com

https://www.facebook.com/shiranirajapakseauthor

https://twitter.com/shiraniraj

https://www.pinterest.com/shiraniraj/

https://www.instagram.com/shiranirajapakse/

https://lk.linkedin.com/in/shiranirajapakse

https://www.goodreads.com/shiranirajapakse

My Book links are,

https://www.books2read.com/shiranirajapakse

https://www.books2read.com/iexist

https://www.books2read.com/breakingnews

https://www.amazon.com/author/shiranirajapakse

Do you have plans or ideas for your next book? Is it a sequel or a stand alone?

Yes. I’m planning on publishing a poetry collection this year. It is about the effects of conflict on people and how they live through it. As a people,  we in Sri Lanka have gone through 30 years of bloody conflict that left no real winners. People from all sides lost. The poems look at what happened and speak in many voices. They discuss a variety of issues and viewpoints. I wrote it because I wanted to create a collection of voices for those in the future to understand, as well as anyone else to realize the futility of war. It’s like a documentation of what happened in verse form.

Chant of a Million Women - Shirani Rajapakse

Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?

I don’t have particular favorites because I think all the characters are special and they serve a purpose in helping me tell my story.

Do you favor one type of genre or do you dabble in more than one?

I write both poetry and short stories. My poetry is free verse and the short stories are mostly literary fiction. I’ve also written a few stories that are fantasy or magic realism as well as a couple of children’s stories. Apart from the children’s stories the others are published in literary journals and anthologies but I don’t have enough to have a complete collection. I think it would be nice to have a complete collection of fantasy stories and also of children’s stories, but for this I need to write.

Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants style writer?

I’m mostly a seat of the pants writer, but I do plan a little. When I get an idea to write something I make a rough draft in my head. I let the sequence of the story or poem play in my mind like a movie and when I feel it is possible to sustain the story I start writing it down. But I don’t plan how the story evolves. That happens while writing.

What is your best marketing tip?

Marketing is the hardest aspect of writing and publishing. Moreover poetry and short stories are not easy to sell as there is a limited market compared to some of the popular genres. I prefer to get exposure for the book through reviews, interviews and word of mouth. 

Do you find social media a great tool or a hindrance? 

I think it’s a huge benefit because it connects us to writers and readers around the world not merely to promote our writing but also to discuss writing get help and advice and find like- minded people. I decided to self-publish because I found many writers doing this and I felt encouraged. I also learnt everything about self-publishing through other writers who were on the same journey as I am and it’s amazing how many people I’ve come to know through social media.

OPTIONAL QUESTIONS 

What do you enjoy most about writing?

I don’t know if there’s any particular aspect about writing that I like more than others. I just like to write. It’s like being able to direct my thoughts onto a blank canvas and create something beautiful out of the jumble of ideas and words that are there. Writing poetry or fiction is hugely liberating as I can express what I want or write about something that may not be possible to do as a fact.  It’s like painting, but with words.

Breaking News - Shirani Rajapakse

What age did you start writing stories/poems?

I wrote my first poems and short stories when I was in university as an undergraduate student. These were experimental works and I never planned on publishing them.  There was a short period after my post grad study in India where I was doing nothing and I wrote some stories and poem that were better than the ones I wrote earlier. But it was really much later that I started to write seriously and this is where the bulk of my work is from.

Has your genre changed or stayed the same?

It has stayed the same for the most part, but I’ve dabbled in other genre, like fantasy. I’ve also written a couple of short stories for children but these aren’t published.

What genre are you currently reading?

Right now I’m reading contemporary romance. Sometimes reading outside the genre I write can be more relaxing.

Do you read for pleasure or research or both?

Both. Right now I’m reading for pleasure.

Who is your best supporter/mentor/encourager?

My lecturer from undergrad study Dr. Lakshmi de Silva was someone who encouraged me to write even when I didn’t know I wanted to write. Through the years she has been a huge supporter of my writing and I tend to discuss my work with her. She is also the only person who first sees my writing before I send it to anyone else.

Where is your favorite writing space?

In front of my computer. It’s a mess with papers and books all over the table but that’s where I write.

Do you belong to a writing group? If so which one?

I belong to several writing groups on Facebook where we help each other with advice about writing and publishing.

If you could meet one favorite author, who would it be and why?

Alice Munro and Carolyn Forche. I like the way they write and it would be nice to just talk to them about writing.

If you could live anywhere in the world – where would it be?

Right here where I am as this is the place I’m most comfortable. But if I could travel to anywhere in the world then the list would be endless. I think travel opens up your mind and give you opportunities to learn and experience diversity in all forms and this is good not just for writing but in general too. I’d like to visit several places, like Russia, China and some parts of the US like Colorado or Alaska and spend some time there, maybe a few weeks just taking in everything. But I wouldn’t want to move anywhere.

Do you see writing as a career?

Yes. It already is.

Bio

Shirani Rajapakse is an internationally published, award winning poet and short story writer. She won the Cha “Betrayal” Poetry Contest 2013 and was a finalist in the Anna Davidson Rosenberg Poetry Awards 2013. Her collection of short stories Breaking News (Vijitha Yapa 2011) was shortlisted for the Gratiaen Award. Her critically acclaimed poetry collection Chant of a Million Women (2017) won the 2018 Kindle Book Awards. It was chosen as an “Official Selection” in the 2018 New Apple Summer eBook Awards for Excellence in Independent Publishing and received an Honorable Mention in the 2018 Readers’ Favorite Awards. Her second collection of short stories, I Exist. Therefore I Am (2018) is about women in modern India. Rajapakse’s work appears in many literary journals and anthologies worldwide. Rajapakse read for a BA in English Literature from the University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka and has a MA in International Relations from JNU, India.

shiranirajapakse.wordpress.com

 

Author Interview – Marlo Lanz

June 4, 2019
mandyevebarnett


AuthorInterview

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What inspired your latest novel?

I had an idea for a scene and it grew from there.                                                                           

How did you come up with the title?

It’s the name of one of the rock bands in the book.                                                                       

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Don’t judge a book by its’ cover. 

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How much of the book is realistic?

It’s completely fictional. 

Are your characters based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

The main male character is loosely based on the singer in the band Theory of a Deadman. 

Where can readers find you on social media and do you have a blog?

Instagram = marlo_lanz

Facebook = http://www.facebook.com/marlolanz.author

www.marlolanz.com

Do you have plans or ideas for your next book? Is it a sequel or a stand alone?

I’m just editing my second book. It features Piper, one of the secondary characters in Raincheck but can be read as a stand alone.

Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?

Laina is my favorite. She’s the best friend and is funny, fiery and not afraid to speak her mind.

Do you favor one type of genre or do you dabble in more than one?

So far I’ve only writing romance. I would like to branch out eventually.

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Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants style writer?

I’m a total pantser! I ended up rewriting half of Raincheck and am doing the same for my new novel. Something to be said for planning but I like to see where the story takes me.

What is your best marketing tip?

Good question. I would say network with other authors, bloggers and reviewers. Word of mouth goes a long way and is free.

Do you find social media a great tool or a hindrance?

I like social media for connecting with other authors, bloggers, reviewers and readers but find that it can be time consuming. I think the trick is to set a time limit for how long you spend on social media each week.

OPTIONAL QUESTIONS 

What do you enjoy most about writing?

The ability to create something amazing from absolutely nothing.

What genre are you currently reading?

Paranormal romance.

Who is your best supporter/mentor/encourager?

My friend and fellow author Laura M. Baird. I met her through our shared publisher and we’ve become fast friends and cheerleaders for each other.

Do you belong to a writing group? If so which one?

I belong to CaRWA, the Calgary chapter of Romance Writers Association and to RWA.

If you could meet one favorite author, who would it be and why?

Margaret Atwood. I love her stories and the way she crafts them. I discovered her when I was in University and love her ever since. Plus she’s a fellow Canadian.

If you could live anywhere in the world – where would it be?

Either in the mountains in British Columbia or on a beach somewhere.

Do you see writing as a career?

That would be lovely, but I’m not expecting it.

Bio:

Marlo is a Canadian girl, fond of the rolling prairies and majestic mountains close to her city home. And, of course, hockey, maple syrup and saying ‘eh.’ Working in healthcare for over a decade, Marlo believes that laughter is the best medicine and tries to put it to good use in her writing and at work.

 

 

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