Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

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Interview with Jennifer Eifrig…

January 21, 2013

Please welcome Jennifer Eifrig – a fantasy author with an eclectic mixture of inspirational resources hence the word link for today – Paradigm (pair-uh-dyme) Definition- 1) an example to showing how something is to be done : model : pattern: 2) a theoretical framework in a discipline of science within which theories, laws and experiments are formulated.


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

I’m very fond of all my characters, even (sometimes especially) the villains and the minor characters. Every one of them started from a real individual in mind, but grew beyond that person to become unique in his/her own right. I have to “become” each character in order to write him/her consistently and effectively.

Isadora is an inspiring heroine, in that she’s remarkably human. I love Max because of his suave snarkiness – when he’s got his game on; when he doesn’t, he’s also appealing in his vulnerability. Seth is terrific fun to write; I get to imagine being completely amoral and selfish. The ghost was really hard to write because I’m not normally a sociopathic homicidal maniac. Roger is a darling, and the ushabti are just terrific fun. They’re probably my favorite to write.

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

Well, right now I’m doing strictly urban fantasy, because I need to finish the series. However, I’m tossing around some ideas for a steampunk story, and I may try some romance.

c)      What do you enjoy most about writing?

Believe it or not, I like the camaraderie. I participate in a weekly writers’ group and it’s the highlight of my week, usually. I also love my publisher’s author community. We’re separated by hundreds of miles and an ocean or two, but we’re in daily contact and share ideas, tips, and stories. Of course, all this fun can be a huge distraction from the grunt work of knocking out a 100,000+ pp novel, so I have to be careful not to forget to write!

d)     Have you got a favorite place to write?

I usually work in two places: my tiny “office” (really a drop-leaf desk) in the dining room, and in bed. Frankly, I think I do my best creative writing in bed, and my best grant writing at my desk. If I’m doing creative work (which does include some grant writing!) I need absolute quiet. I can’t have anybody else in the room. It’s unnerving and distracting.

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

I wish I could say I have a really thorough chapter-by-chapter outline, but I don’t. However, I do know exactly where the story is going. I usually write in my head in large chunks either as I lie down at night or before I get up in the morning. I tell myself the story, and then it’s a matter of actually transcribing into text. I still discover things as I go along, however, and I really enjoy those moments when plot elements just fall magically into place and I realize, oh, that’s why I did such-and-such that way.

f)       What inspires your stories?

Right now, Egyptian mythology is the glue holding my stories together. I’ve been fascinated with Egyptology since second or third grade. However, because I love to see cross-cultural patterns, I’ve interrelated many belief systems into my fictional universe, and created what one of my critique partners called a Magical Theory of Everything. I’m even going to include theoretical physics in the third novel – things like dark matter and dark energy and the Higgs-Boson. To me, science, mythology, literature, history, and religion are all related aspects of one Big Truth. As one of my protagonists says, those of us who believe in Jesus have a big chunk of the puzzle figured out, but we’re all still looking for all of the pieces.

g)      What are you currently reading?

Right now I’m devouring A Discovery of Witches. It’s a giant geek fest of a book, and it’s reassuring to know that people can still write long novels and other people still read them. I’ve also been filling up on steampunk romance, for fun and because I hope to write some soon. In the non-fiction vein, I’m working my way through Feast of the Dead: New England’s Vampires and The Bible: A Bibliography. I’ll read anything to do with ethnography and archaeology as well.

h)      Do you have any odd habits or childhood stories?

Odd habits? Well, I suppose we all have them, but one weird thing is that I don’t need to look far for inspiration about magic in everyday life. I have this weird problem in that certain kinds of technology just freak out and refuse to work around me. Also, things on store shelves will just leap off when I walk past them. It’s really embarrassing. I can also go invisible when I’m in a restaurant or waiting in line. The waiters literally don’t see me. My husband won’t let me order the drinks in a bar, because we’d be waiting forever.

i)        Do you have any pets?

I have one elderly house rabbit, and my kids have a guinea pig and two frogs. We want a dog, but we have to wait until the rabbit passes. We can’t have cats because my husband is allergic.

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

I’ve belonged to a writing group since 2009, and I give the group complete credit for enabling me to finish and publish my novel. I probably would never have done it without them. We meet almost weekly, and we’ll critique chapters, synopses, and queries. We’re completely and occasionally painfully honest, but if you can make it past your ego you’ll end up with a better novel. Our members have come and gone, but we’ve completed at least five novels that I’m aware of, and published two.

k)      What age did you start writing stories/poems?

I think I’ve always written in my head, but I didn’t write novels until high school. There, I wrote stories by hand that featured my friends as characters. It was a geeky thing to do, but I was a minor celebrity at the lunch table. People couldn’t wait for the next installment. After that, I didn’t write creatively for a long, long time, although I write grants, reports, letters, and web copy for a living. I started thinking about my novels in 2004, but as I said, I didn’t get serious about it until 2009.

Discovering Ren

l)        Do you have a book published? If so what is it called & where can readers purchase it?

I do! (proud grin) It’s called Discovering Ren, and was released for Kindle in December 2012 by Cogwheel Press. I’m currently waiting for the paperback edition with bated breath. You can purchase it on Amazon.

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

Oh, it’s so hard to choose. I’m a huge fan of John Donne, and Will Shakespeare and their utterly brilliant use of language. I also love Boethius’s Consolation of Philosophy and would like to pick his brain. I thought Charles Palliser’s The Quincunx was the most enthralling novel I’ve ever read. I’d love to sit down with Jim Butcher and Joss Whedon over an endless supply of beer and talk shop.

The Quincunx of Time

The Quincunx of Time (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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

Again, so hard to answer because I’ve really not been to a lot of places. There’s a little village in the Swiss Alps that I visited a while back, and I’ve always said that if I were faced with something unspeakable, such as the loss of my entire family, I’d move there to get away. I’d love to see Egypt, and I should go to the UK to see all the places I learned about in college. Mostly, though, I just want to be wherever my husband and kids are.

  • o)      What’s your favorite movie of all time?

Ha! Good question. I think Casablanca is a Perfect Film, so maybe that one. However, I love the Brendan Frasier/Rachel Weisz The Mummy, and I’ll watch Bill Murray’s Groundhog Day whenever it’s on. By the way, Joss Whedon’s The Avengers is the best superhero movie ever made.

p)      Where can readers find you and your blog?

I’m available at You can also find me on Goodreads, Amazon Author Central, FB ( and Twitter @ eifrigjen. I love, love, love hearing from other authors & readers, so please contact me!

q)      Do you have plans or ideas for your next book?

Sure do! I’m currently 107,000 words into the sequel for Discovering Ren, and I’m guessing the first draft will top out at 120,000, so I’m almost there. In this book, the husband of my last protagonist is the main character and POV, but there are lots of other voices, including that of the villain. He’s a homicidal sociopathic ghost.

r)       Who is your best supporter/mentor/encourager?

Without a doubt, my husband. He’s the best. He’s never said, “You’re crazy.” Instead, he gives me ideas, and he’s the best reader/critic there is. All I have to do is watch him read a draft, and I can tell from his facial expressions whether something works. He’s absolutely brilliant and has a revoltingly accurate memory for details. Once he hauled me out of the shower to ask if I’d researched a particular bottle of wine that a character was drinking, to be sure it matched the description I gave.

What a fun interview, full of surprises and intriguing insights. Thank you Jennifer.

Interview with Joss Landry…

January 12, 2013

Please welcome Joss Landry, author of Mirror Deep.

I linked today’s post with the word – Tremulous – Definition: 1) marked by trembling or tremors : quivering  2) timorous, timid. Words used in romantic stories upon occasion.

Interview Questions


Joss Landry

Mirror Deep

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

This is a difficult question, Mandy. For some reason, the men characters I create seem to stay with me more. They are big, bold and very charismatic, I’m told. In Mirror Deep, this would be Pierce Bonner, Kat, my heroine’s, would-be hero. There is also a very flamboyant French older gentleman by the name of Charles… not to give too much of my story away. The reason I find this question a little difficult to answer is that these characters are like my children and, as you know, it’s hard to favor one child over another.

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

Yes. I love a good suspense story or a mystery with lots of twists and turns to the main plot. This means many subplots and tons of foreshadowing. This is the sort of book I like to read, which is why I love to write this, I guess. I also enjoy urban fantasy. I am writing one at the moment, and I’m almost finished. I like dreaming up all sorts of powers for my heroine. I also enjoy a good paranormal yarn. Yet in all my stories, you will always find some love connection between several characters. To me love is the seasoning that goes with all my recipes.

c)      What do you enjoy most about writing?

Great question, Mandy, and in case I forget to mention it later, I want to thank you for doing this thoughtful interview about me. What writer does not enjoy talking about his or her projects? I enjoy creating something that boils and spins. All my life, while in the home, I’ve spent most of my time in the kitchen, cooking, baking, and even catering for friends’ parties at times. Now, I’ve moved my creations to paper and to an office and a computer. Writing allows me to think outside the box, and creating people and their many life adventures is my favorite form of escapism.

d)     Have you got a favorite place to write?

Yes. I can’t just write any old place, although inspiration will come at the weirdest moments, and no matter what I’m doing or where I am. Usually inspiration comes when I’m doing something physical, like walking my dog, or swimming. To write, just give me an office with a window on one side and a TV on the other and I’ll be able to work. Oh, and I can’t write longhand. It has to be on a computer.

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

A story comes to me early morning, in that ephemeral state between sleep and awake. Full characters with names and personalities begin full conversations… Whenever this happens, I have to get up and write the moment down before it is gone completely.

From there comes a title, then the main plot and then sub plots. Most importantly, because the characters and their conversations come first, I have to hunt down the character pictures as I see them via photos on the Internet.

Then I proceed to write a detailed character sheet on all the main characters and even the secondary characters depending on their role. Then, the city of where this is going to take place is born, again depending on what I saw and heard. I locate it on a map and give the place a neighborhood, a house, every little detail that pops to mind. By the time I begin to write, it’s easy as everyone is clearly defined. The setting is established, and the fact that their character sheet is detailed and their pictures are real, dialogue is much easier to craft.

f)       What inspires your stories?

I can’t be sure, Mandy. Once I was going out early morning to walk my dog, and I saw a neighbor four houses down coming out of his front door with his two children by the hand, and a whole short story sprang from this picture. A short story I just blogged about Vi et Veritate. Don’t know where it came from. Mirror Deep came to me while I was actually working on another story and while I was watching a Grand Slam tennis match at the same time. When my mind is occupied in more than one area, I find I get these little electrical shorts that give me insight into what I’m supposed to write.

g)      What are you currently reading?

Several books at the same time. I like to review books and when I do, I like to read more than one at the time. If I can’t finish a book, I won’t review it. If I can get through it, I will rate it and review it. Finishing a story for me means I was captivated and able to get to the end. I must have bookmarks in 25 books at home that I have never finished. Thank God for Kindles. I like to read mystery, suspense, romance, and anything that will keep me hooked and far away—except horror and vividly described cruelty. If I have to close a book because of a horror passage, I will not open it again… same thing for cruelty.

h)     Do you have any odd habits or childhood stories?

I guess I’ve had the same odd habit since childhood. I sing from the time I wake up in the morning to the moment I fall asleep at night, in my head or aloud; and sometimes through the night, as I have woken while in the middle of a dream because of a song in my head, countless times. I couldn’t sleep for weeks when Bobby Vinton’s ‘Blue Velvet’ first came on the radio—Shakira’s songs do that to me also. I guess it didn’t help that I could read music before I could read words. I come from a long line of singers and when my mother heard me sing at 4 years old, she thought I sang off key. So she had me take piano lessons with nuns. By the time I was 5, I was competing and winning against children 3 times my age. The result: I learned how to sing.

i)        Do you have any pets?

I love all sorts of pets. I think they are soulful creatures that need our help and devotion in order to survive. Love horses, and dolphins, and dogs. I have a dog, always did, in fact. Chief is going on 13 and he is the best friend anyone could wish for. He sleeps for hours while I write. When I get up to get coffee, he follows, wags his tail, gets his ears rubbed and goes back to the same place to resume his sleep when I sit down again. We take our walks every morning and every night, even in below freezing temperatures. He wears a little coat and boots when it’s too cold, and in more clement weather, he can easily walk a mile every morning.

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

Too many to name. Romance Writers of America, The Canadian Author’s association, about 25 Facebook groups of writers, The Absolute Write Water Cooler, The Next Big and the list goes on and on. I read many people’s blogs and I am so inspired after I do. I am forever in awe of all the great bloggers and writers there are out there, stories written in so many forms and wearing so many different styles, all of them perfectly suited to what they say and do. So much creativity and downright smarts are propagated through the Internet… You know, Bill Gates may have started the movement of the personal PC, and the rush to the World Wide Web, but we are the ones who placed the order for it. All of us, we are co-creators.

k)     What age did you start writing stories/poems?

The eldest of 6 children, and having three siblings by the time I was six, my mother relied on me to tell my sisters and brother stories to help them fall asleep. I did. I invented many stories, unable to tell the same one twice as most of them were made up, of course. I guess this prompted me to read early. At 8 I was reading books without pictures and could summarize most stories for my little brood. By then, there were four younger than I was. Of course, this drove me … to write diaries, which I did until I was fifteen. Still have all of them, only no one can read them, not even me because the handwriting is illegible.

l)        Do you have a book published? If so what is it called & where can readers purchase it?

Yes, I have a book that was published on November 1, 2012. Mirror Deep. It is a suspenseful romance with the subplots and twists and turns that I like, and provides 456 pages of whodunit and romance. It’s available on, in print form and kindle. for the Kindle and for the print version. It’s also available on Barnes and Noble and other favorite sites. It will be available in Kobo and nook in early February.


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

Well, I’ve already met some of my favorite authors, Anthony Robbins, and Deepak Chopra. I’ve met Zig Ziglar, and Marylu Henner as she is a fabulous health writer.

In fiction I have met Pat Conroy, wonderful literary writer. I have two of his books and I love his fiction.  So that would leave me with a tossup between John Grisham and P.D. James. John Grisham is the best scribbler I’ve read in a long time. His prose is unique, vivid, real and so intense that I could read anything he writes, not caring about the story. P.D. James, of course is out of bounds to most of us. Her book Devices and Desires is absolutely phenomenal. I have read it more than once, just to revel in the turn of her phrases and the twisting of her plots and many subplots.

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

Easy. Anywhere there’s a beach. Preferably with palm trees. I am a beach bum who loves the ocean, and everything about it: the smell, the swell, the salt that lingers on me after a long swim. I love the blue look of it, the feel and the howling sound of waves during a wind storm. The only two cities that would have me rethink living near the ocean would be Paris, France… or Lyon, a close second, and New York City, both tied. Yep you’ve guessed it. I’m a city girl who needs the ocean. So Miami Beach and Maui come pretty close to heaven for me.

o)      What’s your favorite movie of all time?

I have tried but find it impossible to just have one. I am a movie aficionado and I love them all. I have favorites of course, but dozens and dozens of them. Anything with Julia Roberts, with Sandra Bullock, with Michael Douglas, with Gwyneth Paltrow, Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Anniston, Matthew Perry, Andie MacDowell … well, you get the picture.

p)     Where can readers find you and your blog?

You can find my blog on book reviews, and such stories, and interviews at: People are welcome to follow my blog and stay connected.

q)     Do you have plans or ideas for your next book?

I have already seven manuscripts penned that need tightening and professional editing. One is being edited right now. A romantic suspense of 75,000 words called Ava Moss. That will be the next one published.

r)       Who is your best supporter/mentor/encourager?

My husband is my best supporter. He has been there through thick and thin and is the best beta reader I know. My daughter, Mary, is another pro-active supporter. She is the voice in my head, the one always encouraging me to be positive. Since all of us practice the Hawaiian science of Ho’oponopono, I guess you could say that the best supporter we all have is of a spiritual nature.

Thank you Joss for such an enlightening and interesting interview.

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