Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

My Book News & Advocate for the Writing Community ©

Author Interview – Andrew Underwood and Cristal Sipple-Underwood

February 4, 2021
mandyevebarnett


1.         How did you meet?

We met in 2007 on an online writing group where you share short stories, poetry and life experiences. We became fast friends.

2.         When did you begin writing?

Cristal- I began writing in grade school. In 1976, in second grade, I won a writing contest. The prize was three silver dollars. I was hooked. I also published multiple special interest stories in the local newspaper. I typically wrote in journals growing up and started a couple novels, but they were never published.

Andy- I have always had a love for books and a vivid imagination. It wasn’t until later in life that I decided to put my imagination to work.

3.         Where did this quote come from? It’s not about tolerance, it’s about acceptance.

We were both bullied as children and always felt we were not accepted the way we were. Tolerance is only allowing someone to be themselves and not genuinely loving them and encouraging them to never change. We prefer the be accepted.

4.         How did this quote bring about your book series?

We created imperfect, quirky characters that are relatable to everyone. We threw them together because each one is unique, different or weird. It allowed us to show you can form friendships with all types and if you do, magical transformations can happen. We wanted to make readers think about their preconceptions of the deaf kid, the geek or even the bully. We want to show that digging deeper can produce an understanding and lifelong friendships by just being kind.

5.         What age range are your books aimed at?

We consider the books to be young adult/adult paranormal mystery genre. However, we have had ten-year-old advanced readers love them. There are some intense and scary moments plus a little gore that could affect younger readers, so we ask parents to use their own discretion.

6.         Can you give the readers an idea of the messages within Secret 8 and The Wandering?

We have found that our readers all relate differently to the books. What might resonate with one person may not with another. It might be easier if I give you key words to describe what our readers have experienced and relayed to us. Secret of 8- adventure, self-discovery, confidence, trust, courage and inclusion. The Wandering- grief, guilt, first love, teamwork, closure, second chances.

7.         How many books will be in the series?

 We are currently working on the third book in the series, “Freaks to the Left” which is to be released in the Fall 2021. We have plans for at least eight books.

8.         What is the fundamental message you wish your books to convey?

Whether you are being bullied, went along with it so as not to be bullied yourself, or maybe you ARE the bully, there is always a choice to change that behavior. No one is perfect and we all make mistakes. You have a choice to look at the behavior and get to the root of why. By simply being kind, you can influence others to do the same.

9        What are the subjects you will cover in your books?

Our books hit on many aspects of growing up. Awkwardness, low self- esteem, love, loss, social class, racism, disabilities, sexuality, prejudice and addiction to name a few. So many books for young adults only skim over sensitive subjects. Our books approach them head on but tactfully and through the eyes of our character’s first-hand knowledge.

10.     Has your own background contributed to the stories?

Yes, very much so. We both have life experiences that are sensitive and meaningful. By including these in our books, it makes our characters more realistic. They say to write about what you know. If you have never experienced it, how would you explain it? How would you capture the emotions? Sure, you can research it, but will it come off as authentic?

11.     Where do you prefer to write?

We wrote the first book entirely through email. Andy lived in Pittsburgh and I lived in Erie. Once we married in 2016, we published the first book and built an office in our home. The office has shelves filled with everything that inspires us. Andy likes to write on the laptop there, but I tend to write chapters in paper notebooks whenever the urge hits.

12.     Do you feel a writing group is an important tool for writers?

Absolutely! Chatting with fellow writers, reading their works, asking questions and encouraging one another is the best kind of support. Writers are unique in that they do not compete; they are fully supportive and celebrate with you.

13.     What is your writing process – punster or planner?

We have never used outlines with our books. They have evolved as we wrote. We often wondered where it all comes from, but it seems to flow freely and eventually make sense in the end. The last chapter takes the longest though, as we tie up loose ends and make sure the climax is exciting.

14.     Can you share your social media and book links 

Thebookpatch.com

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Spider-Gang-Mysteries-100321741923085

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/andrew_underwood_65/

Bio:
Cristal Underwood:
Born and Raised in Erie Pennsylvania, She is the mother of one Daughter Megan Grace, and an extra Mom to Andy’s for children.  She has always had a passion for writing and has been writing stories and poems since elementary school.  Writing books that encourage inclusion, anti-bullying and acceptance is her life long goal. She enjoy’s baking custom decorated cakes and delicious cupcakes. 


Andrew Underwood was born in Salem Utah, he is the father of four wonderful kids, and newly became a grandpa this last week.  He is an avid paranormal investigator, loves to read, build things in his woodshop and daydream.  He has always had an active imagination and a love for the outdoors.  He always considered himself a geek and a little different which fits in well with his message in the books they write. 

Author Interview – P.D. Workman

April 2, 2019
mandyevebarnett


AuthorInterview

headshot circle

What inspired your latest novel?

The first book in this new series, What the Cat Knew was actually inspired by a dream my husband had! I hadn’t written any paranormal before this, haven’t written any kind of fantasy for decades, and I decided to give it a try.

How did you come up with the title?

I brainstormed a number of ideas, checked to see how many were already in use, and tried them out on the cover to see how they looked. The “cat” themed title has carried through the first three books, I’m not sure whether it will carry through the rest of the series.

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

There are a number of messages in What the Cat Knew; that people should be what they are and pursue their natural talents; that things are not always as they appear; not to judge a book by its cover; that there are many different kinds of talents; and one that is fleshed out more in the next two books… the issue of consent.

cat knew new copy

How much of the book is realistic?

These books are paranormal mystery, so there are witches, spiritual messages, other psychic phenomena and magical races. But it is a balancing act between the concrete, “real” world that Reg has always tried to survive in, and the new magical world she is just getting to know.

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

In some of my books, yes. In What the Cat Knew, there is not much that is pulled from my own experience.

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

You can find me on most social media with the name pdworkmanauthor.

https://www.facebook.com/pdworkmanauthor

https://www.instagram.com/pdworkmanauthor/

My website and blog is at pdworkman.com.

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

I have three books written in the Reg Rawlins, Psychic Detective series so far, and you can expect more after that. You can find out my plans for the rest of the year at https://pdworkman.com/upcoming-in-2019

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

I created this spin-off series from the Auntie Clem’s Bakery series because I liked Reg Rawlins so much and saw that she had a lot of potential as a character, so she is at the top of the list. But I also really enjoyed the psychic cat, Starlight, and Sarah, the feisty old witch. The villainous Corvin is a lot of fun to write and really rounds out the story and adds intrigue. In books two and three, I started to explore some other magical races and have had a lot of fun with Callie and Ruan.

Of all of the stories/series that I am working on right now, the character I think I am enjoying the most is Zachary Goldman.

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

I write crime fiction, but that has turned out to be quite a wide umbrella, ranging from suspense/thriller to P.I. mystery, to cozy mystery, and now paranormal cozy mystery. I have both young adult and adult books and series. They all tend to focus on outcasts, underdogs, and social issues.

mockup-books 1-3

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

For thirty years I only wrote seat-of-the-pants. I have been writing using mind-maps and outlines the last few years, but I still occasionally pants a novel here and there. Because I am writing a lot in series right now, the books tend to develop a general shape that is reflected in each book in the series, so there is less planning to do in the later books, and I am settling into a sort of minimalist outline plan right now.

What is your best marketing tip?

I struggle with marketing. It doesn’t come nearly as naturally as the writing itself. Learn from others, try new things, and be willing to stick with what works.

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

While I am in a number of writing groups, I tend to answer other people’s questions more than to write mine. It can be good entertainment, but I find it best not to spend too much time on social media.

OPTIONAL QUESTIONS

What do you enjoy most about writing?

I like to work out the emotions I am feeling and get my thoughts down on paper, to produce something that both entertains and makes people think. I love the creative process and sitting down and rereading my characters’ stories again and again.

What age did you start writing stories/poems?

I wrote my first novel-length fiction at age 12. I have always loved writing and making books and have some of the little construction-paper books that I stapled together written in scribbles before I could even read or write.

What genre are you currently reading?

I am reading a murder mystery right now. I read a lot of crime, with some YA, literary, and nonfiction thrown in.

Do you read for pleasure or research or both?

I read mostly for pleasure. I do a lot of research, but generally rely on articles and short non-fiction rather than novels. I don’t generally analyze the writing of the fiction books I am reading, though I do take note if there are things I particularly like or don’t like.

Do you see writing as a career?

I am hoping to make it my full-time career in the next couple of years. I currently work full-time hours at my writing business as well as at my day job.

Bio:

P.D. Workman was born and raised in Alberta, Canada. She writes riveting young adult and mystery/suspense books dealing with mental illness, addiction, abuse, and other social issues. She has won several literary awards from Library Services for Youth in Custody for her young adult fiction. She currently has over 30 published titles and can be found at pdworkman.com. She has been married for 25 years and has one son.

 

 

 

Blog at WordPress.com.