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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

 

 

An Interview with Gordon E Tolton…

January 22, 2015
mandyevebarnett


Please welcome Gordon E Tolton, an author with a fascination for history and an ability to bring it to life in his novels.

 

Gordon Tolton


What inspired you to write your first book?
 

My first book “The Rocky Mountain Rangers” actually began as research for a living history project or organization. I wanted to form a re-enactment group based on the historical military unit.  While I did manage to join such a group, and two groups did organize under that name to an extent, I found myself immersed in the research of the pure history. That research led me into the publication of a historical paper as a book, and led me into even more historical research.

How did you come up with the title? 

“The Rocky Mountain Rangers” was self-titled based upon the historical subject.

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 How many books have you written (published or unpublished)?

Eight Published:

Cowboy Cavalry

Rocky Mountain Rangers: Southern Alberta’s Cowboy Cavalry  (Lethbridge Historical Society, 1994)

The Buffalo Legacy  (Fort Whoop-Up Interpretive Society, 1996)

With The Mounties in the Boot and Saddle Days (editor/designer)  (Riders of the Plains, 2006)

Prairie Warships

Prairie Warships: River Operations in the North-West Rebellion  (Heritage House, 2007)

Deep Roots, Promising Future (Centennial History of United Farmers of Alberta) (UFA Co-op, 2009)

The Cowboy Cavalry: The Story of the Rocky Mountain Rangers  (Heritage House, 2011)

The Last Blast: The Fur Trade in Whoop-Up Country (editor/designer) (Fort Whoop-Up Interpretive Society, 2013)

Healy's West

Healy’s West: The Life & Times of John J. Healy (Heritage House, 2014/US edition: Mountain Press, 2014)

I have four more books in various stages of production.

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

Just to awaken the sense of relevance of history to people’s lives.

How much of the book is realistic? 

All of my books are highly researched, and only my conclusions are creative, though based on hypothesis.

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

The latest book, Healy’s West, I obviously could not have known personally. However, I have found myself close enough through the study of writings, character sketches and historical context, have come to know almost through a sense of channelling.

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

I would wish to make it a larger book, with more room to expand on subjects that I had to compress, and more room for photographs.

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

I just want people to be able to look at a location, or a place, an institution, or a piece of geography – and understand that there was a time before their lives.

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

The research, and the gathering of materials into a cohesive chronology and form.

What is your favourite theme/genre to write? 

Historical narrative.

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

Never say never, but I doubt I would ever write any fiction.

What book are you reading now? 

Getting through the very thick works of eastern American historian Allan Eckert, primarily working on That Dark and Bloody River.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? 

Peter Stark has a book called Astoria: Astoria: Astor and Jefferson’s Lost Pacific Empire: A Story of Wealth, Ambition, and Survival. He covers a historical tale in a very interesting and comprehensive way, with an engaging writing style.

Do you see writing as a career?

Yes, but it is very challenging. Unless sales take off unexpectedly, I will likely never support myself as a royalty author.  I will always have to look to outside employment, grants, and commissions in order to do what I want to do.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

Very likely, still doing what I am doing, but hopefully, with a slightly larger profile that will give me a certain level of safety in continuing the process of writing and researching. I may even get to the point where I have more research than I know what to do with, and can target book projects to specific markets.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? 

Distractions, and self-discipline; the volume of material to get through, maintaining travel and justifying the expenses in the research aspects of the process.

Have you ever hated something you wrote? 

No. That’s counter-productive.

What book do you wish you had written?

“Frontier Farewell: The 1870s and the End of the Old West” by Garrett Wilson

What is your best marketing tip?

No matter what your market is, no matter how good your representation is, the author is his/her own best sales person. People want to connect with the creator, and want to understand their process. The author needs to push their product as if it was any other, find their niche, and promote themselves to the media, libraries, book stores, and any other venue that can be related. In my case, I have also promoted my product to museums, historical societies, and even at local farmer’s markets and cowboy poetry events.

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

I am still working in history. The next is of a small railroad company that aided in developing the settlement of southern Alberta and northern Montana. I do not yet have a publishing contract for this.

Can you tell us about your upcoming book?

Other than the above, I have books on the go regarding the early buffalo fur trade on the prairies; a political history of Alberta, regarding the farmers movement in the post-World War I era into the depression; the impact of Lewis and Clark expedition on Canada; and a book on the defense of the north-west coast of Canada and the United States during the Second World War.

How do we find your books, blog and bio?

            Healy’s West: The Life and Times of John J. Healy

http://www.heritagehouse.ca/book_details.php?isbn_upc=9781927527658

http://mountain-press.com/item_detail.php?item_key=679

            The Cowboy Cavalry: The Story of the Rocky Mountain Rangers

http://www.heritagehouse.ca/book_details.php?isbn_upc=9781926936024

            Prairie Warships: River Navigation in the Northwest Rebellion

http://www.heritagehouse.ca/book_details.php?isbn_upc=9781894974301

Author Biography: http://www.heritagehouse.ca/author_details.php?contributor_id_1=1400

Blog: http://rangergordsroundup.wordpress.com/

Email: rmranger@telusplanet.net

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