Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

My Book News & Advocate for the Writing Community ©

Author Interview – Jack Strange

July 20, 2018
mandyevebarnett


Author-Interview-Button

Jack Strange

 

  1. Does writing energize or exhaust you?

It energizes me the same way climbing a small mountain might energize you.

You’re exhausted by the effort but feel good about what you’ve done, so you have enough left in the tank to climb down – and do it over again the next day!

  1. What is your writing Kryptonite?

The mid-point of any novel. I always begin novels in a fever of excitement but half-way through I get bogged down and have to work really hard to keep going to the end. I suspect a lot of authors feel the same way.

Man Vice

  1. What’s the best thing you’ve written?

That would have to be my latest novel Manchester Vice.

I’m very proud of the positive reviews it’s had, including a great video review in “Words on Words” (The Eclectic Storm radio).

  1. What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

Robert Bose and Axel Howerton of Coffin Hop Press have become good friends of mine. Rob edited my novel Manchester Vice and in the process taught me a lot about tightening up a narrative; Axel told me he liked my novel and because he’s a literature graduate that boosted my confidence no end!

I have a writer friend called Martin Mulligan who has a great way with words – he’s helped me get my sentences flowing better, just by being a good influence.

Confessions of an English Psychopath

  1. Do you want each book to stand alone, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?

I’d like to build a body of work, but the books aren’t interconnected. There are probably common themes, though. My future critics and reviewers may one day work out what those themes are!

  1. What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

Oh, such a good question! Probably the money I spent on the novel It Happened in Boston? By Russell H Greenan. That was the book most responsible for my decision to write novels myself. It was – is – a great read.

THATCHENSTEIN

  1. What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

My parents telling me off when I was little; my Dad in particular knew how to scare the hell out of me!

Later I began reading books by the likes of Harlan Ellison and began to get a feel for language from them.

  1. What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?

It Happened in Boston? By Russell H Greenan. It’s well-written, well-plotted, has a compelling central character and a cast of wonderful secondary characters.

Zomcats

  1. As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

As a cat-lover it’d have to be a cat. That said, there’s a cat in my novel Manchester Vice which is drugged by its owner. I got a rap on the knuckles from a couple of reviewers for that part of the story!

  1. How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

I always have a few on the go.

Right now I have a finished novella that’s looking for a publisher: I also have a novel that’s about two-thirds written; and two or three half-finished manuscripts I’ll be bringing to completion some time in the future.

  1. What does literary success look like to you?

I’ll know it when I see it!

But seriously, I want the full enchilada: a substantial body of work, great reviews, and great sales figures.

  1. What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

I seldom do much research because my books are about personal relations so it’s a matter of drawing on experience, twisting it around, and using my imagination to transform it into something new, and, hopefully, entertaining.

  1. How many hours a day/week do you write?

I can’t put a figure on it. All I can say is as many as I can, other commitments permitting.

  1. How do you select the names of your characters?

With difficulty!

Names are important to me and I try hard to get them right. The old adage about a rose smelling just as sweet by any other name doesn’t seem to apply in fiction. People get a handle on a character through his name – at least in my view – so the name has to be right.

Chef Zombie

  1. What was your hardest scene to write?

I wrote an attempted rape scene in one book.

I didn’t want it to be pornographic, or gratuitous, and I didn’t want to make the woman on the receiving and appear to be a victim.

Most difficult of all, I wanted women to be able to read it and feel comfortable with it, not see it as some kind of sexploitation scene.

For those reasons, that was the most difficult scene I’ve ever had to write.

  1. Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?  If you write more than one, how do you balance them?

I started out by reading sci-fi and horror when I was young. This pretty much doomed me to become a genre-writer with an emphasis on speculative fiction.

I write more than one genre (so far I’ve tried my hand at comedy horror and crime) but all my books could be classed as pulp fiction – or pulp with literary pretensions.

I like to grab the reader’s attention from the opening sentence and keep him or her hooked with cliff-hanger chapter endings and twisting plots right up to the final sentence.

As for how I balance them – pass. It’s instinctive, I guess – just like it was for the pulp writers of old.

  1. How long have you been writing?

As a serious fiction author – about 5 years now.

  1. What inspires you?  

Anything and everything, particularly people and anecdotes friends tell me. I often think, when somebody tells me a story about themselves, that with the right development it could become a written piece.

  1. How do you find or make time to write?

I have to be ruthless, mainly with myself, and stop myself from goofing off doing other stuff. That’s my only secret. I think it’s every writer’s secret.

  1. What projects are you working on at the present?

I’m very excited about the novel I’m two-thirds through, which I jokingly refer to as my bestseller. That’s because I’ve researched what kinds of book sell well, and I’m aiming to write one which falls squarely into a bestselling category.

That category is Domestic Noir – ie, a thriller in a domestic setting.

Everything else is taking a back seat at present.

  1. What do your plans for future projects include?

More domestic noir if the current project sells; and a sequel to my psychopath novel.

  1. Share a link to your author website.

https://jackdmclean.blogspot.com/

Thank you Mandy, I will. It’s been great talking to you!

Bio:

Jack is an English author, who loves genre fiction, particularly thrillers and horror, although he can find just about any genre fun, as long as the story grabs him and doesn’t let his attention go. Jack is not so big on literary fiction but has read the occasional classic.

Jack’s own writing tends to be dark and funny – or so he is told.

His interests are:
Reading (unsurprisingly), Writing (naturally), My own books (sorry!), 
Self-promotion (ok, I admit it, I can be a bit of a bore sometimes).
Walking, Strength training with body weight, Strength training with barbells, Fitness,
Judo, Boxing.  Jack’s home town is Huddersfield, which is in West Yorkshire, England.

 

 

 

 

Author Interview – P.S.Winn…

November 16, 2016
mandyevebarnett


Please welcome Pamela – I asked her to participate mainly due to her book entitled Obligations, to tie into my near death topic, however as a prolific author it was soon clear I needed to highlight her other books too. Enjoy.

biopic

What inspired you to write your first book?

I think I began writing more to just preserve my ideas in book form. My husband was told he may not live much longer back in 2012. That was scary and we moved back to my hometown so I could be by my family. I almost threw out my poems and short stories due to the quick nature of the move. I decided then I needed to keep those writings and began then to actually write a novel. My husband has since stabilized, not improved, but is hanging in there and we are taking each day as it comes and cherishing the moments.

How did you come up with the title?

The first book is “Foretold” and is based on the last days found in the Bible and in the works of Edgar Cayce and Nostradamus. I never thought the world would just end, but I always felt it would never be the same and people may have to go back to the basics. The Bible has a quote about turning weapons to plow shares. I feel that means we won’t have the things we have now and we may all instead have small gardens and farms to support our families. Now, getting ready to write book #42 I still find that what I learned in the Bible, by reading Cayce, Nostradamus and others can be found in whatever I write.
Is this your first book? How many books have you written (published or unpublished)?

I have just finished book #41 entitled “Tidbits and Treasures” it is a collection of poetry.
I am having health issues of my own and having problems with my spine which in turn effects my hands, so I am slowing down in writing, but have finished the 41 in 4 years, with 42 being started and 3 more in my head.

tidbits-and-treasures

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

In almost all my books I like to combine a bit of spirituality in with the other genres. I think I have two that show this best “Obligations” and “Of Jeebies and Journeys”. I also a couple of collections of short stories that definitely do. “Visitations” and “Wings to Whispers”

How much of the book is realistic?

obligations

In “Obligations” a near death experience takes a young man to the other side and then he is sent back because evil followed him. The young man, Josh, is given the gifts of seeing spirits and auras to help him. I haven’t had a near death experience, but know people who have and tried to base the book on what they saw and felt. I think the curtain between our world and heaven is very thin and think if people open their minds they may see that loved ones who have passed away are trying to reach us, protect us and let us know they are not too far away. In “Jeebies and Journeys” Jed journeys from this world to the next in hopes of returning something precious that was stolen from his wife Ellie by the Jeebies. I hope I captured Heaven and the possibilities we’ll find in that novel.

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

I think all writing has to be based on what we know and have lived through. I also think characters have many things in common with people we know or even ourselves. Don’t tell my friends though, I am keeping identities secret.

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

I really love Josh in the book “Obligations” and Nikki in the book “Tunnels”. The latter combines a bit of supernatural with spiritual as wormhole like Tunnels take Nikki to other worlds and alternate realities.

2-pswinn-sfs

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

I wouldn’t change any books. I’ve had people say some books are too short, although I have “Tunnels” which is over 600 pages. I know I have been asked several times to write sequels to the books, especially “Obligations” and “Pacific Passage”, which is a novel where people live through a wreck of a cruise ship that heads through a vortex to an island where mysteries of ages are discovered..

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Thanks, without readers vivid imaginations the books wouldn’t be finished. I think each reader brings their own ideas and images to the books they read and make them better. As an avid reader, I know when I read a book I see it just a little differently than the next person. I am positive that is why the book is always better than the movie. We bring our own mind with a personal movie screen along with us and as we read the story unfolds to each of us differently.

What do you enjoy most about writing?

Just putting the words down on paper, I do this longhand. I think the best part is when I am not actually writing, but doing something else and an idea pops in my head, usually my characters taking to me, and they take the story in a route I never thought of.

1-pswinn-all-ages

What age did you start writing stories/poems?

I’d have to say at least by the first grade, or as soon as I learned to write. I loved to write poems and short stories, I just didn’t try to write a novel until October of 2012.

What is your favorite part/chapter of your book/project?

I think I love it all, but when the work is done and I try to add in a special note to family, friends and readers that I hope is more personal and can express the gratitude I feel for all the support in this crazy world I find myself in.

What is your favorite theme/genre to write?

I love supernatural. I think some may think supernatural is science fiction, but for me I like to think that supernatural is closer to what is possible.

Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?

I don’t write a whole lot of romance, although it is definitely in the books and I don’t write erotica. I think romance is good when we let our own imaginations fill in the gaps.

What book are you reading now?

Hard to say, I usually read between 4 and 6 books a day. I am a top ten reader on Goodreads and have done over two thousand reviews on Amazon since 2013.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

About a million. I’d have to say my favorite authors who have multitudes of books and genres would be John Dizon, Char Iverson and Angie Blake. I love Berkeley Rourke and John Putnam, especially for westerns. For books that touch the heart I love Phyllis McManus and Stephanie Parker McKean. For suspense Mark Tilbury is great and spiritual writer Doug Simpson is a must have. I know I have missed hundreds of people whose books I love and hope they will forgive me.

3-pswinn-short-and-spiritual

Do you see writing as a career?

That is what I do now. I used to work in customer services, but herniated discs, spine degeneration and my husband’s health problems make being an author with my own hours a much better choice. I am just thankful that I am able to do that. Being an author, unless you are a Stephen King or a J.K. Rowling doesn’t keep the lights on.

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

I nibble when I write and when I don’t! My favorite is chocolate, but I love a good bowl of buttered popcorn too. I also live on coffee, both with and without chocolate added.

Do you have any odd habits or childhood stories?

I don’t know if my habits are odd, but most of my stories are written in my mind in that place we go between being awake and asleep. Luckily for me, I remember the stories in the morning when I wake up. I think from childhood, the amazing thing and what I appreciate most are my parents giving me the love of reading, which led to the writing. My parents are gone now, but they still visit me once in a while and those moments are added into the short story collections “Visitations” and “Wings to Whispers.”

4-pswinn-ms

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

I have no idea, if I am lucky, I hope to have a few more books out and also be helping other authors to do the say. I try to help get other writers noticed by putting their books on my face book page and on twitter where I have almost 17000 followers.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Slowing down, sometimes if I know how I want a book to end, it is hard to force myself to slow down and get the whole story in before that ending.

What reward do you give yourself for making a deadline?

I have no deadlines, my reward is always that first review and I have to say my readers have been amazing. So many touch my heart with the reviews and many explain my book better than I can.

Have you ever hated something you wrote?

Not yet. I have found a couple of times I was almost ready to throw something out and start over when the story changed, usually with my characters input, and the story turned out better than I could have imagined.

What book do you wish you had written?

The Bible or something like that. A guide for people to follow that would bring them happiness and also a type of guideline for morals, love and understanding. I think our world needs that. I wrote a short story collection called “Life Bridges” with three stories of people who used love and understanding to overcome hatred, bullying and prejudice. That is what is important in this life. I am not a religious person who regularly attends church, but I am spiritual and believe we can make a difference with one good gesture if we all try.

What is your best marketing tip?

I think it is running a book on a 99 cent sale. I promote in Facebook groups and on Twitter. When I sell a book on sale instead of just giving it a way I get more reviews. Although as a reader I grab a lot of freebies and always leave a review. The only time don’t is if it would be under a three star. I can’t do that to an author and try to find them and personally send a message why.

What genre is your next project? What is it about?

The new book is about the paranormal, but it is also a mystery with some twists and turns as a spirit tries to share a tragedy in her past with people in the present.

Can you tell us about your upcoming book?

“Tidbits and Treasures” should be released in November and is a collection of my life through poems. I wanted to put a lot of the poems I have written through the years in book form. Mostly to preserve that writing, but also I hope to touch readers with what are treasures to me. The poems are on love, life and all that involves, including tragedies with the happy moments.

How do we find your books, blog and bio?

The books are on Amazon @ https://www.amazon.com/P.-S.-Winn/e/B00E6XAR82/

on Barnes and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/p.s.-winn

My Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/pswinnbooks/

On Twitter I am @ https://twitter.com/pswinnauthor

You can also find me on Goodreads where I am an author and an avid reader!

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6580862.P_S_Winn
Thanks so much for letting me spout my thoughts here and I hope that I have given you some good information and I hope you will join me on Facebook or Twitter, especially if you are a fellow author. I would love to share what others write on my pages.
Even though I have written 40 books, getting ready for 41, in 4 years I am still honored and amazed when asked if I would like to do an interview and am grateful for your asking me.

Summer Author Reading – My MC Experience…

August 29, 2016
mandyevebarnett


On Saturday I was MC for the Summer Author reading at our local coffeehouse, Social Grounds Coffeehouse. I had read the month before so was pleased to act as MC this time. It is always a pleasure to support my fellow writers and especially cool to hear them share their stories.

Aug 27th Author Reading

The three authors reading were Linda J Pedley – who thrilled us with excerpts from her ‘Journey’ trilogy, Journey of Brothers, Journey of Desires and  Journey of Truth. Beth Rowe reading from both of her YA adventure/mystery books, Bird of Barjay and Mischief, Mischief and J.E. McKnight from his intriguing sci-fi, The Arrival.

Having such a diverse selection of stories certainly made the evening a fun one and the audience loved the opportunity to ask the authors questions later. It is so important to support your local authors not only at readings but by purchasing and reviewing their books. There is months, if not years of work, in each book you read. Stories that are easy reading are hard writing!

Thank you to Dream Write Publishing (www.dreamwritepublishing.ca) and Social Grounds Coffeehouse for making this series of author readings possible. if you wish to purchase any of these books or indeed the 70+ others on the purchaser site please feel free to browse!

Have you attended any authors readings, whether reading or listening?

What was your experience like?

What did you learn?

Do you know your local authors? If not contact your library.

 

 

Author Interview – Joe McKnight…

August 8, 2016
mandyevebarnett


Joe McKnight

Please welcome Joe to my blog. He is a great writer, a talented artist as well as author and the President of the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County.

What inspired you to write your first book?

I have always had a love for storytelling. Even when I was young. When I was fourteen I saw a game called Time Soldiers and I basically took it from there. Many rewrites later the final draft looks nothing like the original; even the title – Time’s Hostage – is different.

Time's_Hostage

How did you come up with the title?

I needed a title that wasn’t already owned by a video game so during my last revision, I looked into my story to find a title that worked with the story. I knew I wanted to incorporate time into the title so that’s where I started. Then, because one of the characters is kidnapped and taken through time, I came up with Time’s Hostage.

Is this your first book? How many books have you written (published or un published)

Time’s Hostage was my first; it was published in 2013. Since then I have published two more with a fourth one coming out in fall of 2016. I am currently writing a fifth book and planning a sixth one to be started in November 2016.

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

Occasionally I throw in a message but mostly I just want the reader to have fun and enjoy the world I have created.

How much of the book is realistic?

I try to immerse my characters into the real world whether that be a world where they travel through time, exist on another planet or live in a world of enhanced humans. I try to create relatable characters no matter what environment put them in.

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

I don’t base my characters on real people usually but sometimes a steal memories from real life and insert them into my stories.

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

I am answering this one for Fly On The Wall as it is my newest one as of Summer 2016. I’m not so sure I would change anything. This book was different than anything I had written previously and that’s how I try to write all my books. Keep them different from each other; try new things. It was a lot of fun for me to write.

Fly on the Wall

Do you have anything specific you want to say to your readers?

Just that I hope everyone who reads my books gets as much, if not more, enjoyment from my stories as I did writing them.

What is your favorite part/chapter of your book/project?

I don’t know that I have a specific favorite part or chapter in my novels. What I really do enjoy is creating completely new worlds. In my novel The Arrival and my newest book, Powerless, due in fall, I got to create worlds far apart from our own – a distant planet and an alternate universe respectively.

What is your favorite theme/genre to write?

Sci-fi has to be my favorite genre. Four of my books are of a science fiction nature. Two of which happen to be time travel, which would be my favorite theme. Although I do try and change it up. Right now I am writing a suspense novel.

Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?

I’m sure there probably is a subject I wouldn’t write about but I haven’t been approached to write anything so I haven’t had the opportunity to weigh out whether or not I felt comfortable in writing it. I basically get inspired to write certain stories that both interest and excite me.

What book are you reading now?

I am reading Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader.

Do you see writing as a career?

I would love to have a career as a writer and to do this full time.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

By then I hope to be working full-time for a local publishing company, still writing, and possibly making the Comic Con circuit.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Research is always challenging. I have dealt with scenes involving medical, law enforcement, science professionals, and time travel. The trick is to make each scene believable and authentic.

Have you ever hated anything you have written?

Of course. If I really hate something I have written and editing cannot fix the issue, I would consider revising or just scrap it altogether.

Which book do you wish you had written?

This might come across as a pure money grubbing answer but I wish I had written the Harry Potter series. I title like that would make my wish as a full-time writer come true.

What is your best marketing tip?

Actually, I’m still working on my marketing. But from what I can tell, social media is a great way to go. Get your name out there. The more people who know who you are and what you’re writing, the better your chances are.

What genre is your next project? What is it about?

My current WIP is a suspense novel. It’s about a woman who has been keeping secrets from her husband, which could end up turning her life upside down when her husband vanishes.

Can you tell us about your upcoming book?

My newest book, Powerless – due out in fall of 2016 – is about an alternate world where everyone has enhanced abilities but someone is using a serum to rob people of their abilities; sending them to exile on Institutional Island. One man who has had his abilities taken away from him before he had the chance to gain them finds a way to stay on the mainland to protect the city from this threat.

How do we find your books, blog and bio?

You can find my books and bio on the Dream Write Publishing site – www.dreamwritepublishing.ca/j-e-mcknight. I don’t have a blog but you can also see me at various events around Strathcona County. As well, I will be at the Edmonton Comic and Entertainment Expo in September 2016. Booth 1101 – come and meet me.Joe at WITP 2014

Find Joe’s art here:

https://www.facebook.com/Art-by-Joe-23409481552/

wagon by Joe

 

 

A Blurring of Genres, Literary News and a Prompt…

May 16, 2014
mandyevebarnett


FunDayThere is a blending/blurring of genres taking place almost constantly. The latest is crime and fantasy – which by all accounts is not a new genre at all. See this link: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/may/15/crime-fantasy-literature-crimefest-bristol-literary-genres

Have you blended genres within your novels? Which ones?

Send your congratulations to the women who have been recognised in the Miles Franklin Prize – http://www.theguardian.com/books/australia-culture-blog/2014/may/15/women-dominate-shortlist-miles-franklin-prize

Quotes:

There is good and mediocre writing within every genre. Margaret Attwood

Genre might certainly increase some of your narrative freedoms, but it also diminishes others. That;s the nature of genre. Junot Diaz

Literary fiction, as a strict genre, is all but dead. Meanwhile, most genres flourish. Dean Koontz

Prompt:

Use opposing genres in a short story or poem to reflect how they can be blurred. Have fun with it. Romance and graphic novel, crime and sci-fi, horror and YA…find one to experiment with.

genre

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