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Author Interview – Pauline Holyoak

February 26, 2019
mandyevebarnett


AuthorInterview

pauline

What inspired your latest novel? – I have written a trilogy and two children’s books. My trilogy, Merryweather Lodge, was inspired by my own experiences in a remote and mysterious little cottage near Stonehenge. This cottage was called Scotland Lodge and belonged to my aunt and uncle. We would spend our summer holidays there when I was a child. It was my fairy tale kingdom but it had a sinister twist. The memories of my summers at Scotland Lodge stayed with me, as a sort of nagging unsolved mystery all my life. A few years ago I revisited my childhood wonderland and was led to concocting this story and writing this trilogy. This wonderland and my childhood fantasies were the catalyst for my writing career and the inspiration for my trilogy. My published children’s book, Melanie Gets A Nanny, comes from my experiences as a professional Nanny. My soon-to-be published, children’s book, Carly’s Incredible Dream, comes from my childhood fantasies.                                                                        

How did you come up with the title? The real name of the cottage in my trilogy was Scotland Lodge. I didn’t want to use that name so I changed it to Merryweather Lodge. I thought it sounded cozy and quaint and a tad mysterious.   

lodge    2011_silver                                         

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? My protagonist, Emily Fletcher, has a message. She is an attractive, strong-willed young woman, who struggles with her self-image, volatile temper and bad habits. She’s a vegetarian and a progressive thinker. Like me, she likes her own space and often wanders into the country to ponder and seek solace from Mother Nature. She has always dreamt of living a simple life, in her aunts enchanting little cottage, with her gorgeous prince charming. Slowly, she learns how to conquer her fears, get in touch with her intuition, overcome her struggles, tame her temper and enhance her self-esteem.

How much of the book is realistic? My books are fiction, with an element of truth.

Are your characters based on someone you know, or events in your own life? My characters are bits and pieces of the personalities and characteristics of myself, friends, relatives, acquaintances, the woman behind the counter, etc. And yes, they are based on events in my own life.

Where can readers find you on social media and do you have a blog? I do not have a blog anymore. Here is my website paulineholyoak.com You will find links to my social media sites on there.

merry

Do you have plans or ideas for your next book? Is it a sequel or a standalone? I am working on a standalone, paranormal, suspense novel. And, I have a middle grade book, Carly’s Incredible Dream, due to be released this spring.

Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why? My reader’s favorite Merryweather Lodge character was my protagonist’s aunt, Auntie Em. She was, not only in her appearance but in her personality and idiosyncrasies, a mixture of my mother and grandmother. All their good parts blended into one.

Do you favor one type of genre or do you dabble in more than one? Actually, I write in a lot of different genres. My short stories range from, political lit to romance. My trilogy is paranormal suspense. I am now in the process of writing a paranormal romance. My children’s books cover a wide range of genres.

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

sacrfice

What is your best marketing tip? Keep a consistent online presence. And, hand out as many bookmarks, promo cards etc. as you can afford.

Do you find social media a great tool or a hindrance? I think the internet, is the most powerful tool an author has. There are literally hundreds of sites that will promote ones book, some are free and some are very costly.  I blog, tweet, do online interviews, reviews, facebook and try to keep a consistent online presence. It can be extremely time consuming but I know it’s an important element in establishing my writing career.

OPTIONAL QUESTIONS 

What age did you start writing stories/poems? As far back as I can remember the pen and paper have been my faithful companions and story telling my forte. As a child I was shy and reclusive. I lived in my inner world of fantasy and make-believe, preferring the company of Mother Nature and my imaginary friend, than that of other children. Often, I would sneak away from the mundane adult world, find a private retreat (usually behind the garden shed) and imagine. There in my own little sanctuary with tools in hand, I’d conjure up all kinds of intriguing tales and colorful characters, then I’d read them to my imaginary friend. She was always ‘so’ attentive. LOL

Has your genre changed or stayed the same? I have always like to cover a wide range of genres.

What genre are you currently reading? Suspense.

Do you read for pleasure or research or both? Pleasure.

Who is your best supporter/mentor/encourager? My muse.

Where is your favorite writing space? My office. It is my private domain, my retreat, with my favorite quotes, family pics and art work, created by my granddaughters, on the walls. No one is allowed in there but me! LOL

melanie

Do you belong to a writing group? If so which one? No, but I’m thinking of starting one.

If you could meet one favorite author, who would it be and why? Probably Steven King. I love his books and he always has such great advice. There are so many…

If you could live anywhere in the world – where would it be? I would love to live part of the year in England. I was born and grew up there. I adore the English countryside. It is a smorgasbord for the artistically inclined.. I would have moved back there years ago, if it weren’t for my children and now, grandchildren.

Do you nibble as you write? If so what’s your favorite snack food? Oh yes. Dark chocolate and red wine. Yummy!!!

What reward do you give yourself for making a deadline? Dark chocolate and red wine..LOL

Bio: 

About me – I grew in Southeast England, in a coal mining village lovingly nicknamed, “The place that time forgot.” Go to my website, click on ‘Articles’ and find out why.  I immigrated to Canada when I was 21 in search of adventure and a new life.  I currently live in Alberta with my adorable sheltie dog. I am the proud mother of two grown children and three adorable granddaughters’.

As far back as I can remember the pen and paper have been my faithful companions and story telling my forte. As a child I was shy and reclusive. I lived in my inner world of fantasy and make-believe, preferring the company of Mother Nature and my imaginary friend, than that of other children. Often, I would sneak away from the mundane adult world, find a private retreat (usually behind the garden shed) and imagine. There in my own little sanctuary with tools in hand, I’d conjure up all kinds of intriguing tales and colorful characters, then I’d read them to my imaginary friend. She was always ‘so’ attentive.  I remember writing a story in school; I must have been about 8 years old, at the time. It was about a rabbit and a hare, cousins I think, running away from home and getting into all kinds of mischief. I still remember my teacher’s reaction after she read it. She looked at me with a stern faced and asked, “Did you copy this?” “No, Miss Finn, I pleaded, “It just, came right out of my head.” “Hmmmm” she scoffed suspiciously. I was devastated but it never stopped me, I kept writing whatever, just, came out of my head. In my teen years my journal became my confident, revealing all my hidden secrets, private fantasies and wild, wild, notions within its pages. Later I started to write poems, articles and short stories, and pondered the thought of becoming a writer.

After I settled in Canada, I buried my dreams under layers of real life clutter. I chose a safe and practical career in child care, married and raised a family. But my creative spirit kept trying to dig its way out. I was asked to write articles and editorials for our local church. I taught a story time class at our local school, which lead me to writing a children’s book. I wrote an article about my husbands’ prestigious grandfather and sent it to our local newspaper. They printed it. I kept sending them articles, they kept printing them. I was surprised at the compliments I received from the editor and readers. It was evident to me then, that I had excavated my creative spirit.

I decided to take a comprehensive writing course to improve my technique. With help from a proficient and supportive tutor, who told me I had a gift, I began to cultivate my skill. My articles started to sell and I received an assignment from a major Canadian magazine. I have spent the past 25 years writing, articles, short stories and books. 

About my trilogy – Merryweather Lodge, was inspired by my own experiences in a remote and mysterious little cottage near Stonehenge. This cottage was called Scotland Lodge and belonged to my aunt and uncle. We would spend our summer holidays there when I was a child. It was my fairytale kingdom but it had a sinister twist. The memories of my summers at Scotland Lodge stayed with me, as a sort of nagging unsolved mystery all my life. A few years ago I revisited my childhood wonderland and was led to concocting this story and writing this trilogy. This wonderland and my childhood fantasies were the catalyst for my writing career and the inspiration for my trilogy.

The first book in my Merryweather Lodge trilogy Merryweather Lodge – Ancient Revenge, was the Readers Favorite 2011 Silver Award Winner for paranormal fiction. Book two, Merryweather Lodge – Malevolent Spirit, was a Readers Favorite finalist. My first children’s book, Melanie Gets A Nanny, is about a strong willed young girl with a wild and wacky imagination. It is published by, Wee Creek Press.  I have just sighed a publishing contract for my second children’s book, Carly’s Incredible Dream.. Yay! Twenty five of my articles have been published.

Come visit me at my website. Check out my articles, bio, videos and links. www.paulineholyoak.com

 

 

Ask A Question Thursday

February 21, 2019
mandyevebarnett


ask-a-question-logo-300x150

This weeks question is:  Have any of your past loves inspired characters in your books? 

Did you tell them?

What aspect of the relationship did you use?

 

 

Answers from last week’s question:

What is your take on the importance of a good cover and title?

Does a cover image play a vital role in attracting a reader? Should it reflect the genre and characters in the story?

Have you changed a cover? If so why? Was the new cover more successful?

I think a cover is extremely important and should reflect the mood/ genre of the book.

Verna McKinnonVery important. It can interest and draw in a reader. A bad cover can be doom.
Jennifer M Eaton

Covers are extremely important. If a cover does not speak to me, I will not stop to see what a book is about.

Feel free to put your reply in the comment section. Let’s get this conversation started.

Author Interview – Scarlet Holloway

February 12, 2019
mandyevebarnett


AuthorInterview

Scarlett

What inspired your latest novel?

I got tired of the same ol’ same ol when it came to this particular trope. I ran my own club, so why not write it? It’s fresh and unique and it also portrays strong women who empower one another.                

How did you come up with the title?

It was written after the song Policy of Truth, by Depeche Mode. Music is huge in my life, as well as in everything I write, so why not?   

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

That sometimes blood is not thicker than water. That is it okay to rely on your tribe because they’ll always have your back. And no matter how bad things get? It’s always one down-five up.

PoT-Ebook-front

How much of the book is realistic?

I would say about 80% of it. I do not like writing without providing as much realism as I can.

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

Yes, several characters have elements of me in them. It’s difficult NOT to put a piece of yourself in your characters. One is specifically after me though.

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

I do not blog, the concept eludes me. I give props to those who can. I can be found on FB, Twitter and IG, even Snapchat and YouTube!

https://facebook.com/thescarlettholloway

https://twitter.com/scarlettssong

https://instagram.com/ascarlettssong

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

I am currently working on my family saga: The Double J Saga ‘Texas Heat’ releases May 24, 2019, the book two in the DAMC series ‘Hush’ is set for October 26, 2019. I am also working on a cozy cupcake mystery and a cozy PNR right now.

TEXAS-HEAT

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

Raven, from my paranormal romance ‘A Raven’s Faery Tale’ series. She insane and so unpredictable.

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

I dabble in everything but erotica.

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

I am a plotter. My stories are too complex to try and pants them. I use 3×5 cards and plot out the basic outline chapter by chapter, and then I have a plot wall covered in sticky notes for timelines.

What is your best marketing tip?

Make friends and build your tribe. It will help you in the end with marketing.

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

I find it a hindrance. Too much drama on it.

OPTIONAL QUESTIONS

Where is your favorite writing space?

I have this spot on my couch that has been nicknamed the ‘Bunny Hole’. It’s a space that it overrun by stuffed animals, fluffy blankets and pillows.

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

OMG yes, and my waistline is telling me all about it. What don’t I nibble/scarf on?? Popcorn, cupcakes, pecans .. coffee… ugh

 

 

Ask A Question Thursday

January 31, 2019
mandyevebarnett


ask-a-question-logo-300x150

One of my characters in The Twesome Loop is an abuser. Readers have commented that they really hated him, which, of course was the idea. However, during the editing/revision process, I was asked to give some sort of an empathetic side to his character (a reason for his behavior). This I did and it ‘explained’ his motivation to some extent.

When I recently watched the Ted Bundy tapes (which are truly terrifying due to his charm & ‘normalcy’ to those who knew him) it made me think that in fiction we ‘explain’ character motives but in reality there may never be one that makes sense.

Today’s question is: Have you been asked to ‘explain’ a character trait?

Were you happy to explain it or do/did you feel it took something away from the narrative?

Click on the post heading and then scroll to the comments. Looking forward to everyone’s opinion and experiences.

 

Author Interview – Verna McKinnon

January 29, 2019
mandyevebarnett


AuthorInterview

verna

What inspired your latest novel?

The Bardess of Rhulon began with the idea of a female Dwarf heroine. There are very few Dwarven heroines in fantasy tales, which makes my story unique. Usually, fantasy dwarf stories are all about manly, dwarves, armored with battle-axes, downing buckets of ale as they braid their long beards. I wanted to expand on a fantasy story where Dwarven culture was more developed and rounded. Then when I had her name, Rose Greenleaf, the story began to unfold.            

bardness

How did you come up with the title?

That was tough, because for the few years as I drafted my novel and made changes, I just called it Rose Greenleaf. When Prince Culain Ironheart, who employs her as his official bard, he calls her Bardess. In my Dwarven society, this was an ancient title for female bards, which is rare now. Her Rose’s world, a proper young girl marries, has babies, bakes pies, and stays home. Rose is incapable of this. This drives her mother nuts. Her nature is wild and her talent as a bard is impressive. Since Rose is from the country of Rhulon, I finally titled my novel, The Bardess of Rhulon.     

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

Love your children, but let them grow and become the person they want to be. For women everywhere, you must also rise to become the person you want to be. I love creating tales with interesting heroines. That is my brand and my purpose as an author…to create tales where heroines rule. We need heroines now, more than ever.

 

How much of the book is realistic?

Well, this is a fantasy set in a secondary world. There is magic and magical creatures. What is realistic is the viewpoint of my society structures, customs, and everyday issues. I incorporated themes that people of this world can relate to-arranged marriages, family problems, slavers who kidnap innocents and the law (my rangers) who infiltrate and save people, prejudice, mother and daughter conflict, political issues, and religious strife when faith becomes fanatical. The list goes on. That is what makes my tale realistic-when you add in the real things every society experiences. It is also about learning who you are and who you should try to be.

bards

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

I wish I knew these people, but they spring from my imagination in full bloom. If I could escape to a world with magic, I would already be there!

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

Website: http://vernamckinnon.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/verna.mckinnon

Twitter: https://twitter.com/VernaBard2015

Blog: http://vernamckinnon.blogspot.com/

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

This will be a trilogy. I know how Rose Greenleaf’s adventures and how her tale ends. The tentative titles for the next two books are The Rhapsodé Curse and The Sun Blade.

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

So hard, so hard….I love them all. Rose Greenleaf, Belenus Ayecroft, her old bard teacher, Red Meg Sparrow, Skullcap Axton, and Prince Culain Ironheart. I even have a fondness for the sly changeling, Crimson, and Beleth, the Goblin Queen.

I must admit Rose Greenleaf is my favorite. She is everything we should be! She is brave, honest, determined, and talented. She takes risks to achieve her dreams. It brings her some regret, but also maturity. She is not a princess in a tower awaiting rescue. Rose fought for everything based on her own merits and talent against all odds. A Dwarven maiden with an old lute and singing skill braved a journey of adventure and danger.

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

I’m a fantasy girl. I do some science fiction, and have a novel planned (with a heroine lead of course). As a reader, I love reading fantasy of all kinds, science fiction, and even mystery. My writing talent is for fantasy.

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

I plan a lot for my novels. From creating basic story, characters, world, races, politics, and religion. All of my novels have a compendium. It is very detailed. Rose’s compendium is 40 pages long, with details on world, cultures, characters, everything. I do not do chapter outlines. I just know where I want to go.

What is your best marketing tip?

I wish I had more knowledge to share. I am still stumbling, finding ways to make it work. Use social media wisely. Make sure you research any media promotions, but it can help a little. Use Canvas to create your own ads for Twitter and FB. Pray a lot.

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

It can be both, but it is a long learning process.

OPTIONAL QUESTIONS

What do you enjoy most about writing?

Creating new characters and stories!

Who is your best supporter/mentor/encourager?

My husband, Rick Hipps, is my best mentor/supporter.

Where is your favorite writing space?

My writing desk at home with all my inspirational images and books.

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

Some of my favorites are sadly gone. David Eddings, Tanith Lee, Ray Bradbury, Robert E. Howard. They created fantastic images and rich characters in their tales. I am reading new talents now, so I hope to have new ones to look up to soon.

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

Ireland. I am of Irish heritage and drawn there.

Do you see writing as a career?

If I ever make enough money at it, I’ll let you know.

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

Chocolate!!! Cookies are good writing companions. Which is why I have to do extra cardio. And lots of coffee or tea.

What reward do you give yourself for making a deadline?

Shopping and adding to my book collection.

Bio:

Verna McKinnon is a writer of fantasy and lover of all things joyous and geeky. She writes obsessively and drinks coffee. Fantasy author of heroines. She is the author of fantasy novels The Bardess of Rhulon, Gate of Souls & Tree of Bones. Fantasy is her genre of choice. You can read her blog and updates, plus some of her previously published short stories at her website http://vernamckinnon.com. Follow Verna on Twitter & Facebook for the latest on her life as a poor, published, but proud indie fantasy author.  

 

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