Author Interviews

Guest Post – Milana Marsenich

Copper Sky

Copper SkyI have a strong affection for my hometown of Butte, Montana, a mining town with a rich history. As a natural listener and a therapist, I’ve witnessed amazing generosity and courage in others. I first witnessed this in the people of Butte. As a child, teen, and young adult I also witnessed multiple tragedies and incredible resilience in overcoming these tragedies. It made me think about how a town affects us, especially a town as diverse and wild as Butte, Montana. In writing Copper Sky I attempted to capture the town’s kindness, bold spirit, heartbreak, and amazing courage and compassion.



Milana Marsenich dogThe White Dog

I have always loved dogs. Huskies are my breed. Every dog I’ve had as adult has either been a husky, malamute, or a stray who lived with a husky or malamute. Consequently, writing the four small parts from the dog’s point of view was easy for me. Both the white dog and the wolf dog in Copper Sky are attempts to give the reader a view of the town. I thought of both dogs as “the town’s dog”, and as a sort of enduring spirit of the town. As it turns out, there was actually a town’s dog that the people of Butte took care of and memorialized with a sculpture. You can read about Auditor here:
I didn’t know about Auditor when I wrote Copper Sky. I learned about him after he died. I was at my father’s house in Butte and noticed an article about him in the Montana Standard, the Butte paper. Granted, he’s not a wolf dog, or any version of husky, but he definitely represents the town’s spirit: lovable, resilient, and bold.


The Accidents

Butte has had multiple mining accidents as well as frequent fires. People died all the time. Mining is a dangerous occupation. Copper Camp, a book compiled by Workers of the Writers’ Program in the State of Montana and published in 1943, states that the accidents probably created 50-100 widows a year. In 1889 fire broke out in the Anaconda Mine shaft killing 6 men. A fire in the Silver Bow mine in 1893 killed 9 men. In 1911 the mine cage dropped from the surface to the sump in the Leonard mine, some 1500 feet, killing five men. Later that year, before the introduction of child-labor laws, 6 boys were killed in a tragic accident in the Black Rock Mine. In 1917, the year that Copper Sky primarily takes place in, fire broke out in the shaft of the Speculator Mine, killing 168 men. The people of Butte of learned to grieve, comfort, and understand. They have learned to be strong, to fight for justice, to carry on. It is this strength that I hoped to portray in Copper Sky.


The Orphans

Men were not the only ones to die. Women also fell prey to misfortune. They were victims of violence, oppression, and sickness. In 1918 the Spanish Flu killed 1000 people in Butte. As I wrote Copper Sky I wondered about the motherless children. How did the people of town manage so many orphans? And what was the effect of such loss on the children? As a therapist I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the many ways trauma affects our lives. In Copper Sky I explore, not just the effects of our own traumas, but effects of the traumas of our parents, the traumas of a town, traumas that happened before we were even born. I couldn’t help but wonder if the people of Butte had absorbed this ability to deal compassionately with tragedy simply by growing up in a town like Butte.


Continue reading “Guest Post – Milana Marsenich”

Author Interviews

Author Interview: Susan Sage

Good morning everyone – I hope you are all having a lovely day!

Some of you may know that I shared my review of A Mentor and Her Muse, written by Susan Sage yesterday. Thank you to those that have had the opportunity to read the review. If you haven’t checked that out already and want to take a look, you can find that post (HERE)!

As always, I like to give authors a chance to have their own time to talk about their book; I think it is only fair, in fact. Susan has kindly dedicated some time to just that purpose, so thank you very much!

So, without further ado, I’ll hand over to Susan, and what her thoughts are in reply to some questions I had after reading A Mentor and Her Muse:-


What or who was your greatest influence in terms of inspiration for the book?

Somewhere I read that a good way to write a book is to ask yourself a question of the ‘what if’ variety. Ever since seeing Thelma & Louise, I’ve enjoyed imagining various road trips. What if I wrote about one? Who would I select for the journey? I thought of a student at a school where I once worked. She was the impetus for Taezha. I didn’t know the student well, but she used to tell me about how she loved writing and wanted nothing more than to become an author when she grew up. Her future was a promising one. I’ve always wondered what became of her and can’t help but think that books and writing are still an important part of her life. That I was able to help foster her interest in literature helped me get up every morning and go to a stressful job in a public school in a poverty-stricken district. Also, my oldest sister was a teacher in the inner city of Detroit back in the late 1960s. I was very impressed by her caring and compassionate nature. She was the sort who went above and beyond with students. However, I don’t think she ever took a student on a road trip – at least not of the sort that Maggie took Tae on. More than half the fun of writing fiction is in taking biographical bits of those you know and transforming them into your own creations.


What is your Ideal time and place to write? Do you have a routine?

An ideal time and place would be to write in a large, book-lined home library/office while seated at a large mahogany desk. My ideal time would be after midnight. However, I’m a morning person, so in actuality, that’s when I get my best writing done. I do write in my home office, but it’s a small one. Lately, I only seem to be able to write in my somewhat broken down reclining chair. It overlooks a lovely, large Maple tree. Seems like I’ve always needed to be near a window when I write… I wish I had a better writing routine! Four days a week during the 9-month school year, I try to write in the evenings – usually for an hour or so. Doesn’t always happen…On my mornings off work, I spend the mornings writing and afternoons revising (that’s always my plan, anyway). I’ve always been the most productive in the summer.


Which character do I relate to the most and why?

It would have to be Maggie. Like me, she longs to spend most of her time writing, doesn’t like driving in traffic, and has insomnia. But she’s got way more issues than I do: she is haunted by her past. She doesn’t mind her life so much when she is mentoring and maybe imagining herself as a muse. While I enjoy mentoring, I don’t consciously think about becoming anyone’s muse! Also, her relationships with family and others are way different from my own. She felt way more judged by her parents and older sister than I ever did. She tries to lead a quiet life, but it doesn’t work out for her. What I like about my life right now is that it is a quiet one…Still, like Maggie, I need the stimulation of travel, of fully embracing life, even if that means having to feel all the bumps and potholes! The most autobiographical parts in the book are depicted in Maggie’s journals from her years growing up in Detroit.


Both Maggie and Tae are complex characters. What do you think is Maggie’s main motivation for taking Tae under her wing?

Maggie wants to rescue Tae from a life which she’s certain will not allow Tae to develop as a writer. She meets Tae at an incredibly lonely, difficult time in her life. Relationships with men haven’t worked out, she doesn’t have children, plus she’s going through menopause. Tae makes her feel alive like few others are able to, so Maggie is hardly an altruistic mentor. Still, she truly enjoys taking Tae places, especially to Tae’s first poetry reading or an art gallery. She doesn’t have any children, and as you find out later in the book, she discovers the pros and cons that go along with the role of parenting. At times I felt like Maggie had more to learn from Tae than Tae did from her. Hard to say who the real mentor was – who the real muse!


There are sensitive issues touched upon in the book, in particular the racial inequality and discrimination experienced in the not-too-distant past. What impact do you think this subject has on the book and on the characters within?

While Maggie was raised in Detroit, she went to a school where integration was forced: black students were bussed to the all-white school she attended. As a girl, she didn’t understand why blacks didn’t frequent an upscale department store. She lived a mile away from the Detroit riots. Although Maggie always lived near blacks, she was never a part of their world. She saw through the particular lens of white privilege. Decades pass and she finds herself trying to immerse herself in a world she thinks she understands. She is saddened by the poverty of the segregated area where she works in Flint. Maggie would like nothing better than to rescue Tae from feeling the slightest hint of discrimination, and of course, she can’t. She struggles with being a privileged, liberal white woman. Her journal entries show not only her awareness of racial inequality but her attempt to deal with white guilt which carries over into Flint in 2012: she has naïve hopes that by taking Tae on a summer road trip she’ll be able to release herself from the burden. She is surprised by the looks she and Tae get in restaurants; she hasn’t thought through how Tae will feel in the all-white lodge in Hocking Hills. She doesn’t understand Quintana very well, nor Quintana’s reaction to her. Early on, Tae has little regard for Quintana or her ‘sisters’ (except the sickly Tamala). She wants to be free of the difficulties of living in poverty, of being bi-racial. When she realizes the cost of being controlled by Maggie, both on the road and even once they are living with Tyler, Tae re-evaluates her relationship with Quintana and realizes some of the positives. Quintana wants to place her trust in Maggie, but Maggie betrays her by absconding with Tae. You wonder when or if she’ll ever open her door again to a white woman!


A Mentor and Her Muse is an enjoyable journey with an array of complex, but equally relatable characters.

For anyone interested in obtaining a copy of the book, you can find the required links below:-

A Mentor and Her Muse


Open Books



Author Interviews

Author Interview: Steve Campitelli

Hi everyone!!!

As you may know, I recently undertook reading The Fall as a part of my January TBR, and I am excited to be bringing you my thoughts and review of the book tomorrow!

I always like to give authors a chance to talk about their own books, and today is no exception. Steve has very kindly taken the time to answer some questions I had after reading The Fall:-

Firstly, can you tell us a little about yourself.

I was born and raised in Melbourne, Australia, the setting for the book. I’ve lived most of my life here, apart from a 6-year stint living and working in Japan. I’ve been involved in education for 30-odd years in a few forms, and have also been working with text and editing work for about 15 of those years. I’ve always been a movie and reading junkie – the sort of idiot who likes catching the train to work as it gives me reading time. I am open to most genres but reserve a special place for post-apocalyptic, and I always knew that when it came to writing a book, it was going to be post-apoc!


What inspired you to write The Fall?

What inspired me to write The Fall? I grew up in the 70s and that era gave us some classics in post-apocalyptic, sci-fi and disaster movies like Planet of the Apes, The Omega Man, The Poseidon Adventure, Rollerball, Logan’s Run, Soylent Green – these movies influenced me hugely. Later on, came George Miller’s Mad Max 1 and the second instalment in that series, Mad Max 2 The Road Warrior, was a pivotal movie for me, a real turning point. I found it visually stunning with a classic storyline, and it was significant as it was also an Australian movie – it showed we could make these types of stories too and, perhaps subconsciously, I took something out of that. I thought then, as I do now, it is almost the perfect movie, and it planted a seed around post-apoc stories that influenced The Fall some 30 years later. That notion of the last people standing, island of calm in a sea of danger that Mad Max 2 portrayed so beautifully, I tried to echo in The Fall with Kulin Wallcom, an oasis of safety in the nightmare wasteland. The Omega Man remake I am Legend was another influence. I’ve always been drawn to the faster and for me more terrifying quick infected beings, such as those found in I am Legend and 28 Days/Weeks Later, as opposed to slow, shuffling zombies. I wanted to write something which combined those elements. I hope I got it right!


Do you think it’s possible that some of the technology available becomes a reality?

This is great question and the answer is yes, absolutely, some of the tech in the story will be a reality and in fact, already is. I wanted to write a close-future story that contained elements of the recognisable and known to us, plus future tech, but I didn’t want it to be ‘magical’ and to dominate the story. I wanted it to be grounded in reality, to just be there and almost taken for granted, like we do the tech we have now, so I needed it to be very believable and logical and used in an everyday way. The BACC suit body armour and the ultra-strong materials it’s made of already exist and are being used, not quite as presented in the book. Other things such as coagulant spray, the tech portrayed by the ‘medeval’ (early ID of illness, remote diagnosis), driverless transports, virtual keyboards all exist and are being used now. The highlight tech piece in The Fall is the 360, featuring the virtual wrap-around screen in front of the face, which doesn’t exist as yet, but the technological basis for it does. I had this notion that future communications technology would transition from the hand-held phone to wearable tech positioned around the head and activated in front of the face. I drew on the tactile-virtual objects featured in movies such as Minority Report and Ironman, and essentially fused that with app technology of mobile phones. The technology for ultrasound-based tactile or touchable virtual objects exists now, so it seems a logical step for communications tech to go in that direction – it’s augmented/virtual reality. Another one which exists now is nano technology – the future of that is very exciting and real.


In terms of the infected and the mutations, was any research required before you wrote the book? If so, what did you look into?

In terms of the infected and what the virus might do, yes, I did quite a fair bit of research. I was presenting an unreal viral agent (the Jackson Virus) but I wanted to write things supporting it which would hold up and be believable as part of the world I was trying to establish. So I did a fair bit of reading on science, tech and medical websites and government CDC-type sites, on viruses, contagion, pandemics, procedures, nomenclature, physiology, emotional contagion, aggression, addictive drugs, ‘turning’ off infection at the cellular level – the types of things I have written about in the book are grounded in the things I have read and then taken up a few levels with a few liberties, health, tech and reality-wise. It was also important for me to write at least partially from the infected ‘perspective’ – to explain them and to make them more real as opposed to just being targets for the non-infected. I wanted them and the discussion around them to be more nuanced, so it was important to really ground the whole thing in believability.


The setting of the book is a post-apocalyptic Australia – why did you choose this setting?

Why did I choose post-apocalyptic Australia? I’ve probably already partially answered this in question 2 with the influence and appeal of Mad Max 2; I just love that dusty, wasteland setting. The Prologue of the book is set in The Mallee, a dry, hot wheat farming area hundreds of kilometres from Melbourne in north-west Victoria, much like the setting for MM2 in many respects. It’s a place I visited a few times as a child as my mother had good friends who had a farm there, and to get there we had to take an overnight train – it just felt like the end of the world; an appropriate place to start the apocalypse! When I first started writing the book, the Prologue was set in China at the base of a shale mountain and I was doing all this reading on it and I suddenly stopped and asked myself why was I setting the story in a place I knew nothing about? I then resolved to stick to what I know, so the Prologue transferred to rural Victoria, and the main part of the book, which was always going to be Australia not China, I set in an area familiar to me, south-east Melbourne. That notion of using familiarity also explains the Japanese angle: my wife is Japanese, I lived there, and the language peppered through the book is a reflection of that. There’s a lot you can do with research, but there’s also a lot to be gained from who you are and your experiences.


I get the distinct impression that The Fall is to be a part of a series. Any news on a next book?

Yes, The Fall Conversion is the first in what I intend to be a three part series. I am working on book 2 now, Reversion, which rewinds back to 2050 at ground zero with the virus’ namesake Dr Riley Jackson, before coming back to 2052 in the second half with John Bradley again as the feature. I hope to get it out mid-2018, but realistically, it’s probably going to be later in the second half of the year. The third part, Redemption, will be the resolution of the story. I hope you can be there for the ride.

The Fall

S.T. Campitelli



A huge thank you to Steve for his time with the interview! If you’d like to find out more about the book, then please keep an eye out for my review, which is being posted tomorrow! I hope to see you there!

Author Interviews

Author Interview: David Noe & Laura Loolaid

Hi all!!

Today’s is a quick post! As promised – I am sharing the link with you for the recent interview / discussion Laura and David kindly videoed for us about Seeker and the ChaosNova universe.

Within they discuss the creation of the Universe, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of their collaboration process.

So, here’s the link!!


Author Interviews

Author Interview – David Meredith

Hi everyone!!

Yesterday I shared with you all my review of Aaru, written by David Meredith. Today, I am pleased to be bringing you an interview with the author about the book:-

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First and foremost, please tell us a little about yourself

I’m a writer and educator originally from Knoxville, Tennessee. I received both my Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts from East Tennessee State University, in Johnson City, Tennessee. I also recently received my Doctorate in Educational Leadership (Ed.D.) from Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, Tennessee. On and off, I spent nearly a decade, from 1999-2010 teaching English in Northern Japan, but I currently live with my wife and three children in the Nashville Area where I continue to write and teach English.


What inspired you to create Aaru?

A lot of my own personal questions about faith, life, and death actually. Aaru is first and foremost an entertaining and emotional YA/NA SyFy/Fantasy novel. It is at its core a story about the love of two sisters, and how they struggle to cope as the paradigms of what they’ve always been taught is true and good is challenged and shifted in a monumental way. However, Aaru also explores a number of what I think are fundamentally human questions: What happens when religion and faith conflict with technology and science? Is there a way to reconcile the two? What constitutes a human being or human soul? What would happen to religion and faith if the fear of death was removed from society? How would that change the way individuals choose to live their lives? In a world where people in power can essentially choose who is and is not saved, how should that determination be made? Who should be saved? Is the act of choosing winners and losers, judging who is righteous and worthy vs. who is not in and of itself even moral at all? I suspected that the answers would be a lot messier and more complicated than the utopian realization of John Lennon’s Imagine lyrics and lead to a great deal of conflict as people try to hash it all out. In the end, Aaru doesn’t really answer any of these questions, nor is it intended to, but it does speculate on what the answers of different people from different circumstances and indeed society at large might be. What I want people to get out of Aaru is an intensely emotional experience that stimulates some productive introspection even as they enjoy it as a compelling story about the fierce love of two sisters that transcends even death.


Given the issues brought up in the book, do you think a system like Aaru would be a benefit or a hindrance to society?

That is the question, isn’t it? And I don’t think it really gets answered – At least not in the first book. This is to a certain extent intentional. By not tacking out a particular attitude about whether Aaru is the savior of mankind or its destroyer, I try to invite the reader to think a little more deeply about the idea and make their own determination.


What has been the most difficult part of publishing the book?

The fact that there are only 24 hours in a day mostly. But seriously, promotion takes A LOT of time. I would much rather be working on volume two than hunting book review blogs and sending out hundreds of book review requests, but it has to be done if you ever want anyone to read your work. The trick I think, is striking a balance among creating new material, promotion, and the hundreds of other things that also have to get done for work and family.


What other books have you written? Can you tell us a bit about them?

I have one other book currently available on Amazon: The Reflections of Queen Snow White

What happens when “happily ever after” has come and gone?

On the eve of her only daughter, Princess Raven’s wedding, an aging Snow White finds it impossible to share in the joyous spirit of the occasion. The ceremony itself promises to be the most glamorous social event of the decade. Snow White’s castle has been meticulously scrubbed, polished and opulently decorated for the celebration. It is already nearly bursting with jubilant guests and merry well-wishers. Prince Edel, Raven’s fiancé, is a fine man from a neighboring kingdom and Snow White’s own domain is prosperous and at peace. Things could not be better, in fact, except for one thing:

The king is dead.

The queen has been in a moribund state of hopeless depression for over a year with no end in sight. It is only when, in a fit of bitter despair, she seeks solitude in the vastness of her own sprawling castle and climbs a long disused and forgotten tower stair that she comes face to face with herself in the very same magic mirror used by her stepmother of old.

It promises her respite in its shimmering depths, but can Snow White trust a device that was so precious to a woman who sought to cause her such irreparable harm? Can she confront the demons of her own difficult past to discover a better future for herself and her family? And finally, can she release her soul-crushing grief and suffocating loneliness to once again discover what “happily ever after” really means?

Only time will tell as she wrestles with her past and is forced to confront The Reflections of Queen Snow White.

I also have a mostly finished series I hope to start releasing soon based upon Japanese myth and legend called The Sankei Chronicles:

On the happiest day of the year, Taro’s world ends. His people and his family are slaughtered. His lands are brutally laid to waste by merciless, imperial forces. Taro is certain that neither he nor the ghosts of his lost loved ones can rest until he has visited the same devastation tenfold upon the heads of the vile collaborators. Consumed with grief for the fallen and guilt at his own survival, he gathers his scattered people and solemnly vows bloody revenge on the allies of the Tenshuu in the neighboring barony.

At the same time, young Naomi, cherished daughter of the doting Lord of Numanodai, is blissfully unaware of the chaotic world spinning out of control all around her. She fervently studies the arts of dance, music, and poetry as she dreams of being accepted into the distant imperial court. However, when disaster visits her very doorstep and she loses everything that she holds dear, Naomi must learn what it truly means to be a woman and a ruler. She must come to grips with her own gnawing grief and paralyzing doubt if she is to have any chance of saving her beaten and bedraggled people from Taro’s unreasoning fury.

In the process, both she and her pursuer discover a magical world of vengeful akuma demons, fierce kitsune fox-people, droll tanuki badger-folk, and the mysterious, arcane power of the ikioi. Taro and Naomi must decide whether to use this power for healing or destruction, revenge or redemption. They must choose whether to react to their pain and loss with wrath or with love. In the end, both must come to understand that the only thing that really makes them different is the choices they make and what they are willing to sacrifice in attaining that which they desire.

Finally, of course, I’m about 95,000 words into the Aaru sequal – Aaru: Halls of Hel. I hope to release it some time in 2018.

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Thank you to David for his time! If you haven’t checked out my review of the book and would like to do so, you can find it here!

Rebecca mono

Author Interviews

Author Interview: Zach Baynes

Today, I am pleased to introduce you to Zach Baynes. He very kindly approached me with a request to review his book, My Life As Steve Keller, in exchange for a free copy. You too could get your hands on a copy – tune in to tomorrow’s review for details!!

My Life as Steve Keller


Ahead of my review of his book,  Zach took the time to answer a few questions about what inspired him to write about the life of Steve, a man finding his place in an ever-changing and advancing world:-

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First and foremost, could you tell us a little about yourself?

Thank you for having me Rebecca, appreciate the offer and taking the time to have a conversation with me.

I studied Political Science for 5 years, founded a think-tank with some colleagues and had some fun with that for a few years. I then started working with technology and that’s where I am now. I work in Digital Transformation, working with companies to assess the state of their IT Infrastructure, or Digitization maturity level, and how they can improve it to gain competitive advantages.

I love reading books, in almost any genres, although for the past years I focused a lot more on non-fiction books. In particular, non-fiction novels – books that have a storytelling side to them. Besides that, I’m passionate about geopolitics, I like to stay on top of what is happening in the world. This also helps when building stories that are grounded in reality, driven by a chronic curiosity about anything. I love travelling, getting in touch with other cultures and people.


Just who is Steve Keller, and what inspired you to write about his life?

The book is written from his perspective, so I had to imagine how his life would be, while taking into account my own experiences. I guess it makes him an alter ego of sorts. But in many ways Steve Keller is a placeholder.

He lives his life in very similar ways to most of the people in the Western world. The book focuses on his view on the world and his relationships with the people around him. I love stories with morally gray areas, I’m not a big fan of clear cut storytelling with a hero and anti-hero. I feel that the reader should decide for himself if some questions are worth asking and if the answers that comes along are important. I don’t think it’s up to the writer to tell the reader what to think. Steve sometimes is morally ambiguous because he is supposed to be a normal person, most importantly, he reflects and doubts his own actions. The infamous “What if?” that keeps people awake at night.


Steve travels to a number of countries throughout the book, including HK, Paris, Argentina. Are Steve’s experiences linked to your own? If so, how?

Many of those locations are places I enjoyed in the past. I wanted the scenes to have a unique identity of their own and giving them a different setting helps with that.

Sometimes they add a lot in terms of world building; sometimes they tie pieces of Steve’s stories together. They aren’t different for the sake of being different. They are part of the scenes, they either build the dialogue or they bring into focus some other topics that might have felt random without a specific setting. As a literary device, it shaped the future into a coherent timeline, while providing the reader with a positive escape from some of the world building elements that might be overwhelming.

The locations change in each chapter because I like travelling and exploring new places. It was also a chance to imagine how those places might be different in the future – it was too irresistible of an opportunity.

I am a generally a visual person, I enjoy colors, art, nature and looking at things. Writing a specific location made it easier to imagine how certain elements of technology and climate change will blend together.


One of the intriguing things about the book is the time frame. Did you have any particular purpose in setting a larger portion of this book in the future?

I think when looking at the past century, each generation had its own self-induced paranoia about particular topics – most of them shaped by world events that people in those decades felt were tremendously impactful on them.

Our generation has its own challenges that shape the dialogue for this particular period. Climate change, with all the perils it might have; employment and its relation to automation; robotics and so on. We have CEOs telling us they will let go of 20%, 30% or even 50% of their employees in the next decade or so. And last, but not least, our relationship with the environment, which at times feels very impersonal. Specifically to ecosystems — animals and plants that are in a fragile state with each year.

I always enjoyed books or movies that have an element of time within them – how it impacts the relationships between people, how people change, the missed encounters, how people adapt to different stress factors in their life and so on.

I wanted to imagine what a person today would look like in 2025. Then in 2030 and 2040. We know how the world would look like, more or less. We have projections on how the weather will change, what cities will be impacted. We know when elephants will become extinct in the wild based on analysis of changes in their numbers; we know when the ice caps will melt. We know that we will be out of a job in 15 years. Soon we’ll have driverless cars, maybe robots walking around.

But what will my life be in that scenario? I would still have the same family around me, the same friends. Hopefully I will be able to fulfill my dreams, my dreams will surely change over time, but will I be happy? What challenges will I face on a personal level, while at the same time trying to cope with the ever changing nature of the world around me.

This feeling of inevitability, time marches forward kind of vibe, and everything that comes with it makes it in a way a character in itself. Time doesn’t care about the characters in the book, about the drama they go through, about what keeps them awake at night.

This quote always stayed with me while writing the book: “It’s funny how day by day, nothing changes, but when you look back everything is different.” I think the book has a similar feel to it.


What is the most important thing you would like a reader to take away from reading “My Life as Steve Keller”?

I think the book is a neutral journey into the future, a “what if” introspection and invitation for the reader to feel free to think about whatever he/she wants. It offers the possibility of drawing whichever conclusion fits the reader’s values, without forcing any explanation or justification onto them. Reading a book is a personal journey. So are our impressions of the story. I wanted the book to be exactly like this.


Having spoken with you I know that you continue to write. What can we expect the next book; can you give us any hints?

I have more ideas than I have time to write them. But given that I’m a pretty methodical person usually, I have a pipeline of books and plan to get with them one at a time.

The next book I plan to write is The Mermaid from Bastille. It is about an unexpected duo that stumble upon an industry-wide cover up in the fishing business. I want it to be a bit tongue in cheek, it’s a mystery book, and like any other of the kind, the pacing, characters and setting are sometimes more important than the actual mystery itself.

I also enjoy reading about the environment, it wasn’t until recently that I found out there isn’t any wild salmon left in Europe, only farmed. Then I wondered – what else did we lose? The world that I know is now is much different to even my parents’ generation. So I read some books around the topic, about how people are working to revolutionize cuisine in the Old Continent, farm to table kind of stuff. They experiment with cheese, with free-range animals, self-sufficient fish farms and so on. I feel the topic can be dry, but I also know it is extremely important.

Who wants to wake up one day and all you can find on the shelves of a supermarket is powder? I still care about having healthy, fresh ingredients available. So the book is a mystery book, but the overall theme is – there’s a lot more to this industry than we know, a lot of amazing things happening and it’s good if we take a break sometime and entertain the thought of having everything on our plate coming from sustainable, waste free, healthy sources. It will be a humorous and exciting read, while at a same time having a serious undertone about a pretty interesting topic.

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Thank you to Zach for taking the time to talk to us about his book!

If you’re interested in my view of the book, please check out my review, being posted tomorrow. As I mentioned above, there will be a chance to get your hands on a copy… so stay tuned for the details and maybe you could be a winner!

Rebecca mono


Author Interviews

Author Interview: J. M. Robison

As announced in my Sunday Summary post yesterday, today I am sharing with you an interview with J. M. Robison about her first traditionally published book, The War Queen. I was kindly approached by her with a free ARC copy of her book in exchange for an honest review.

The War Queen

GoodReads       Amazon

Before we get to that review, I was given the opportunity to ask our author a few questions about both herself and The War Queen:-

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Tell us all a little about yourself

I’ve been an avid writer and reader (after all, you should never trust a writer who does not also read) of the fantasy genre since I was 15. To date I’ve completed 8 novels with one traditionally published with Tirgearr. I hold a full-time job as a deputy sheriff in my local county jail. I’m also a reservist in the army which has caused me to travel Afghanistan, Romania, Bulgaria, Kuwait, and too many U.S. states to list. Having had so much experience with people and cultures, I’ve used this in my world building for all my stories which adds unique flavor which I am proud of. My dream is to stay home and make money writing books. I also home make my shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, deodorant, laundry soap, and lotion.


For anyone who is yet to read The War Queen please can you give a brief summary of the book.

Altarn is used to tolerating the biases of men. It comes with being the first female to secure the political State Head of Blindvar. But Kaelin, the State Head of Ruidenthall, crosses the line when he proposes a merger of their two states. Altarn has reason to believe this is Kaelin’s attempt to make himself king of both. Believing it’s her responsibility to “dethrone” him, she rides to her last ally to ask for aid.

While on the road, she’s kidnapped and taken to Ruidenthall. She wakes from a drug-induced sleep to hear about a foreign army marching upon Blindvar, and Kaelin capitalizing on her kidnap to make himself king. He threatens her life if she tells anyone, but she will suffer tyranny under a king if she does not.

When the final battle forces her hand, she has but one choice: to save Kaelin’s life or let him die. She never expected to dethrone his heart instead.


What inspired you to write the book?

I had just finished writing a 5 book fantasy series, and I was hankering for something else to write. I was living in Pocatello, ID at the time, right above ISU campus. In the mood for a midnight walk, I walked up the hill right above campus, to the 4 Grecian pillars at the top. 3 of the 4 pillars are connected, while the 4th is not. In my mind, I saw this as being “broken” and I started devising up a story about how it came to be broken. Eventually that idea developed into a god falling on them and breaking them, and the story about why he fell.

This idea actually is only 10% of The War Queen but, because I’m a pantster, it spawned into much more. (Author confession: I was only 20 pages into the story when I stopped writing, out of ideas. I sat on it for 7 years before a simple prompt kick-started me to complete it and publish it.)


What was the most challenging thing, writing the book, getting published etc?

This book came easy to me. After that 7 year hiatus, ideas flowed through my brain so within the space of 3 hours I had exact dialogue, scenes, and characters fleshed out in my head. And I love editing because I get to experience the story all over again. The hardest was publishing, and fighting through the grind of “is my query good enough? Is the first 3 chapters good enough? Was my beta reader honest enough?” because after 47 rejections you start to doubt.


Do you have any fellow authors you look up to? If so, why?

Megan Spooner and Amy Kaufman for convincing me to re-write a book in 1st POV present tense (best thing I ever did for a story). Margret Weis and Tracy Hickman for teaching me how to write fantasy and for giving me my love of fantasy. Susan D. Kalior because Warriors In The Mist is the best book I’ve ever read.


Any plans for another book?

Yes. I always must be writing something. Next planned is a religious fantasy about a demon and angel who switch places and then collude to overturn the religion that corrupted them both. No title yet.


What’s the next book you plan to publish?

It’s in the hands of my publisher now for consideration. It’s an historical fantasy based on Victorian Era England, called The Last Wizard. I already have a book trailer for it: 

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One of my favourite parts of doing these interviews is learning about the people behind the books. It’s easy to idolise authors for their works but very often not appreciate their backgrounds (and ultimately their inspirations).

This also happens to be a very special week, as there is a live event which has been set up especially on Facebook to celebrate the books first birthday! During the event, you will be able to ask any questions and interact with JM. If you would like to join in on the Facebook Event I have provided the link to do so. I hope to see you there!

If you would like to find out more about The War Queen, please see the below links:-

Website    Facebook     Twitter     Amazon     Goodreads     Pinterest

I look forward to writing my review tomorrow and hope you take the time to check it out!

A huge thank you to JM for taking the time to contribute to this post!


Author Interviews

Author Interview: Daniel Curry

I am very excited to be bringing a special post to you today! Anyone who checked out my reading list for this month will have seen that my first read of the month was The Kitsune in the Lantern, written by Daniel Curry. Daniel has very kindly offered me a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.


Amazon      GoodReads

I read this book on the 1st October and my review is being published tomorrow, so please stay tuned for that! In the meantime though, here is an opportunity to get to know a little bit about Daniel and his debut book:-

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First of all Daniel, could you tell us all a little bit about yourself?

I’m 29 years old (almost 30, yikes!) and live in the North East of England in a town called Billingham. I am a Scientist in my day job, and write in my spare time. I enjoy writing a variety of genres and styles, including Children’s Fiction, Teen (Middle Grade in the US I suppose) and YA. I have also wrote a number of stories for adults. The Kitsune in the Lantern is my first experiment with Kindle Publishing, and I have a number of Rhyming, and story picture books out to secure an agent.

For anyone who is yet to read The Kitsune in the Lantern, please can you give a brief summary of the book.

The Kitsune in the Lantern is the story of Argus Todd and his friends, who find an old lamp in an abandoned building. Released from the lamp, an age old being named Yako grants powers to Argus, but is not the mentor that he needs when it falls to Argus and his friends to save our world from the darkness.

What inspired you to write?

I have always written, since being a child. I love to tell stories, and to create characters and worlds for people to lose themselves in. Since having my first child (Jacob, who has just turned 1) I have been inspired to work towards a better life for all of us. I would love to be able to take up a career with my writing, that would allow me more time with my family. He also inspires me to write, so that I have something personal, created by me to pass on to him. One of my children’s picture books, “Doggy Daisies” is all about him and his dog Ollie. I just love the thought of giving him something that he can treasure, and pass along to his own children.

If you could go back in time to the point where you were writing the book, is there anything you would tell your past self to change?

The book is the first in a trilogy, and originally started out as one book. I realised that the story felt too rushed, and the characters didn’t have the time to come to life. I suppose going back, I would do this split from the start, and save myself from the struggle of cutting, and re-adding. Writing is the fun part, editing is the work!

Do you have any authors you look up to? If so, why?

I love Robert Westall. His stories are the books I remember from my childhood. My favourite of his is The Machine Gunners. I love that it is simply a group of kids, having their own adventure. The backdrop to this is World War 2, and he stark contrast between the innocence of the children, and the horrors of war really struck me as a young boy. I think Stephen King is the greatest story teller, and his book 11.22.63 is probably my favourite book (if I had to pick one!) I think that it is massively underrated, and more people should read it so that I can talk about it with them!

Any plans for another book?

There will be two sequels in the Kitsune series, the second of which is well underway. The Fallen Kitsune will again be available via Kindle Direct Publishing, aiming to release in Spring 2018. Hopefully I hear back from an agent or publisher regarding my picture books, so watch this space. I am also working on an exciting YA project, which is around 80% complete. This is the story of a girl called Kavi, who lives in a post apocalyptic world. Kavi is excited from her tribe, with a group of boys and left to explore and survive the Deadlands. In Kavi’s world, women are superior to men in the tribe hierarchy, but this will be challenged. I can’t say too much, as I am hoping to approach traditional publishers with this one so keep an eye on my Twitter for more information.

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If you wish to find out more or purchase a copy of the book I have provided links above to the GoodReads and Amazon sites. If you would also like to follow Daniel and keep up to date with future releases, (as I am), you can follow him at @DCurryAuthor.

As stated above, my review will be available tomorrow!