Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Going dark in July...

Hi, all. So. Here's the deal. I just accepted a new job as Youth Services Selector for the Sacramento Public Library. There are many good things about this decision, but the best part is that my blog content here will finally match up with my library job! Woo hoo!

Of course, this will translate to a lot of busy--resigning old position, moving from current house, finding a new place to live, etc. So, for my sanity (and yours too) I am going to unplug from this blog during the rest of July. But definitely stay tuned for more interviews in August--I met TONS of amazing people at BEA, UTopYAcon, and ALA, and I can't wait to share all their new and wonderful books with you.

So, adieu for now! See you in August.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

THE COWBOY ROCK STAR by K.C. Klein

I met K.C. Klein through Erin Kellison, who I featured last week. I've also featured K.C. here and here. She has a brand new book out, THE COWBOY ROCK STAR, first in the Somewhere, TX series. Have a look!

Everyone loves a rock star.
What country legend Brent Kane needs is a good old fashioned hook-up. With pressure to write his next album mounting and the sales from his latest album teetering, Brent needs to find his muse –hot sex with no commitment—fast. So when Brent holes up at his best friend’s ranch in Somewhere Texas to write his next single the last thing he expected was to find his muse in the form of his best friend’s little sister.

DJ Diaz, the nonsense part owner of the Double D Ranch, is not at all affected by Brent’s good looks and play boy charm. She’s fallen once before and learned firsthand the heartache of loving a rock star. But spending time with the man who let her down ten years ago shows her that something’s missing from her life—fun.

But will DJ be able to keep her heart from becoming involved in this “just for fun” relationship? And more importantly, will Brent?

K.C. also answered some follow-up interview questions!

Since our last interview, you've penned THE COWBOY ROCK STAR, part of the Texas Sunrise Box Set. How did the book come about, and what about it was the most fun to write? 

This book ended up being life changing for me. A little less than a year ago I connected with a great bunch of indie authors who were interested in doing a box set together. Fast forward numerous ups and downs and curve balls, five of us authors formed a company called the Chick Tales.

The THE ROCK STAR COWBOY has been my funniest book to date. I usually am pretty nervous about writing humor. I think it's one of the hardest things to get across on the page, but the hero in Rock Star, Brent Kane, could be written in no other way. He is pretty full of himself, and yet, at the same time doesn't take himself too seriously. It was really fun writing about some of the crazy situations Brent finds himself in. So even though there are times that the heroine, DJ, may want to choke him, I know the readers will still be rooting for them both to get their happy-ever-after.

I'm sure they will! How did the concept of Somewhere, TX come about, and how is it developing?

Chick Tales published our first box set called TEXAS SUNRISE, in which we created a central town called Somewhere TX. We created all the characters, maps, and timelines for this town and we hope to continue publishing in Somewhere for a long time to come. So yes, THE COWBOY ROCK STAR was life changing for me because from this book, not only did I get great company, but a wonderful group of authors that I now call my friends.

Sounds like lots of benefits all around! Your first book, DARK FUTURE, came out in 2011. What have you learned as a writer in the four years since publication, and is there anything you'd do differently?

Ha! I think the question should be would I do anything the same? I feel like I spent a good portion of the time at the beginning of my career muddled in self-doubt. There was so much time wasted in wondering if I was good enough or wanting to write for the approval of others. I remember thinking that I would live or die by a review left on Amazon or my editor's comments. Not anymore. If people don't like my writing, so be it. If people don't want to read my books, so be it. What I realized is that at the end of the day, I am writing for myself. Which may seem weird since I would love to have millions of fans around the world who love and support my work, but if I am not happy with my book/writing than it doesn't matter what anyone says...I'll never be satisfied. But the flip side of this is true. If I am happy with my work than it doesn't matter what people say because I know that I accomplished the goal of that book and I did it to the best of my ability. In the end, it is my name out there and I have to be proud of my work. Fortunately, when I am happy with a book, readers seem to agree.

I'm so glad you're writing what's true to you, and not caring what others think! What are some of your current projects? 

My latest space opera romance, THE SPACE CAPTAIN'S COURTESAN, is out and has gotten some great reviews. It is probably my favorite book to date. The next Somewhere, TX box set, TEXAS STRAIGHT UP, will be out this July and my book, THE BLACKHEARTED COWBOY, will be one of the five full length novels. I'm excited to see what readers think about the second installment in the Somewhere TX series. THE BALCKHEARTED COWBOY is very much in a different vein than ROCK STAR. It explores some darker themes and has some very emotional subject matter. I hope readers will enjoy it as much as they did my first installment.

To grab THE COWBOY ROCK STAR for yourself, feel free to click on the Amazon icon below:





Wednesday, June 24, 2015

TEMPTED BY FIRE by Erin Kellison (featured in the Dark and Damaged Box Set!)

I've featured Erin Kellison a few times in the past, namely here and here. Her newest book, TEMPTED BY FIRE, is featured in the new Dark and Damaged book set. Check out the excerpt included with description below:

Dark and Damaged: Eight Tortured Heroes of Paranormal Romance Boxed Set is now available worldwide for a special introductory price of only $0.99!

This ebook boxed set features all-new, never-before-published hot paranormal romances by eight New York Times and USA Today best-selling romance authors. Tortured alpha-male bad boys will ignite your darkest, most secret desires in these stories about vampires, shifters, dragons, fallen angels, werewolves, demons, psychic warriors and ghosts.

Here’s more about this fantastic eight book boxed set, including an excerpt from one of the stories.

Dark and Damaged: Eight Tortured Heroes of Paranormal Romance is available from Amazon Kindle, Kobo Books, Barnes and Noble Nook, Apple iBooks stores and other retailers. Find the links to your preferred retailer at: http://www.felicityheaton.co.uk/dark-and-damaged/

Dark and Dangerous
GoodReads
Dark and Damaged: Eight Tortured Heroes of Paranormal Romance By Jennifer Ashley, Caris Roane, Erin Kellison, Felicity Heaton, Erin Quinn, Laurie London, Bonnie Vanak and Colleen Gleason

LION EYES by Jennifer Ashley
Bree has just decided to give up trying to be a Shifter groupie when a lion Shifter slams into her truck and tells her to drive. Seamus is on the run from hunters, other Shifters, and who knows who else. All Bree knows is that he’s compelling, needs her help, and most intriguing of all, wears no Collar...

BLOOD FLAME by Caris Roane
Vampire Officer Connor of the Crescent Border Patrol tries to suppress his desire for the powerful witch, Iris Meldeere. Because the woman possesses the ability to kill him with the tips of her fingers, how can he possibly fall in love with her? When a double homicide throws them together, he soon finds his deepest fantasies fulfilled as Iris succumbs to his seductions. But as they battle together to stay alive, and love begins to consume them both, will the witch be able to forgive the dark secrets of his past …

HER SINFUL ANGEL by Felicity Heaton
Cast out of Heaven and now the king of Hell, Lucifer is a powerful fallen angel warrior with a heart as cold as ice and soul as black as the bottomless pit. For millennia, he has ruled his realm with an iron fist as he plots the demise of his ancient enemies. When one of those enemies dumps an unconscious mortal female in the courtyard of his fortress and leaves her there, Lucifer finds himself entranced by the beguiling beauty and tempted beyond all reason. But is the enchanting Nina an innocent pawn in the eternal game or part of a plot against him?

TEMPTED BY FIRE by Erin Kellison
A powerful dragon shifter has waited six hundred years to avenge the loss of his family, but the beautiful mediator sent to prevent violence among the Bloodkin doesn’t want to be his key to discovering the murderer—in fact, she wants nothing to do with dragons at all...

REBEL’S DESIRE by Laurie London
A jaded Iron Guild warrior cares about nothing except battling a ruthless enemy, but when a beautiful woman literally runs into his arms, he realizes she holds the key to his success. As passion ignites, he must decide whether to sacrifice the woman he’s falling for or dare to trust his heart again.

THE RESURRECTION OF SAM SLOAN by Erin Quinn
Trapped in the body of a human, the Reaper is about to fall in love with a woman he was never meant to have… When a reaper is trapped in Maggie’s estranged husband’s body, she knows only that the man with her husband’s eyes feels like a stranger… a compelling, seductive stranger who touches her in ways her treacherous husband never could. She wants to trust him, but what about the ghost who haunts their home, implicating him in a gruesome murder…

REDEMPTION by Bonnie Vanak
A cursed alpha wolf promises to free an enslaved Mage if she mates with him so he can sire an heir, not realizing she can destroy the dark secret keeping his pack alive.

RAGING DAWN by Colleen Gleason
After the vampires Max Denton hunts brutally murder his wife, he is nearly destroyed himself and spends the next ten years living a life of violence and revenge. But when sensitive information about his young daughter falls into the hands of the vampires, Max is forced to team up with the woman whose father ultimately caused the death of his wife. Savina Eleaisa has secrets of her own, and she’s determined to do whatever it takes to clear her father’s name: even if it involves seducing the most dangerous of vampires--with or without the help of the arrogant, brooding Max Denton.

Dark and Damaged: Eight Tortured Heroes of Paranormal Romance is available from Amazon Kindle, Kobo Books, Barnes and Noble Nook, Apple iBooks stores and other retailers. Find the links to your preferred retailer at: http://www.felicityheaton.co.uk/dark-and-damaged/

EXCERPT FROM TEMPTED BY FIRE BY ERIN KELLISON

The garage was labeled CARRIAGE HOUSE—Bloodkin sure liked fancy names and titles—and there seemed to be a small office inside. Emerson knocked on the door, and then tried the handle. Happy day, there was her driver with his feet up on a table watching television, a soda in hand.
“If we can be on the road in thirty seconds,” she said, “I’ll give you five hundred dollars.” Company money.
Her driver stood and grabbed his coat from the back of his chair.
“That won’t be necessary,” Thane said behind her. “I’ll drive.”
The driver looked crestfallen. Emerson felt the same way. How had Thane crept up so quietly?
“That’s very kind of you, Mr. Ealdian,” she said, jerking a nod at her driver to get him moving, “but I have a ride.”
Her driver took a step toward the garage door.
“It’s Thane,” he told her, then turned to the driver. “Five thousand dollars for you to sit back down again.”
Emerson scowled at the driver as he wavered a second, stepped back, and then traitorously lowered his butt back onto his seat.
She held out her hand to the driver. “Give me the keys.”
“Emerson, you have to come with me,” Thane said in that scary low tone of his.
No, she didn’t.
The driver put the keys in her hand. She might forgive him, after all.
Taking the side door into the garage—six cars were neatly situated side by side—she pressed the fob to locate hers.
“Can I help you?” came a voice from the back. Some Carriage House servant maybe?
“I just need my car, thanks,” she called.
“Emerson.” Thane took her arm. “Someone killed my wife and son.”
Like a slap, the truth of the statement hit her. His wife and son. If dragons were real, maybe he was directly related to remains that were six hundred years old.
She froze in place, suddenly uncertain.
Those remains had been his family. Someone had murdered them. Like her, Thane had been left alone in the world. He was in pain. She didn’t understand the Bloodkin, but that much she knew. Oh, God. She was such a pushover.
She turned to him, and for the first time, really looked at him. Thane Ealdian’s eyes were as full of feeling as a stormy sky. The indigo color flickered with firelight from within, the vertical pupils like upheld daggers. His expression was drawn tight over features that were rough in their beauty—that full, tensed mouth, high cheekbones defined by such strain, brows angled with tension. His was the face of a desperate, angry…well, dragon.
As close as he was, towering over her, broad shoulders blocking the door, she was acutely aware of him as a man. Had she actually laughed at him once?
She couldn’t help shaking. “Look, I don’t know how you think I can help you. I have no idea what’s going on.”
“And no idea where you came from, either.”
“Ignorance is bliss.” She was sure of it now.
He gave her a circumspect once-over, and his gaze felt like a scorching sun on exposed skin. “No, not for you. You’re Bloodkin through and through.”
“Look, I don’t even think I am Bloodkin. I think there was a mistake. I don’t feel like a dragon.” She mostly suppressed a hysterical laugh. “And I don’t want to. That shift was horrible.”
“It didn’t have to be,” Thane said. “The shift is usually…rapturous. Fast and hot. Freedom you can’t imagine until you’ve taken to the sky. You’ve got the Blood. I’ve seen the dragon in your eyes.” He paused. “No, don’t shake your head. I have.”
“I would know if I were a dragon.” She’d said the same thing to Bryan.
Thane pulled her even closer, and heat the likes of which she’d never known—velvet, caressing, sensual—moved over her skin. “And what will you do when the dragon grows stronger? When the Night Song touches you.”
So close. Too close. “Night Song?”
He leaned down, mouth to her ear. “My lady, the night will call to you. How will you fight it? When it’s time, how will you get to the safety of Havyn without the aid of the Bloodkin?”
She dropped her gaze to the concrete floor, still shaking her head. She didn’t believe it, couldn’t. Night Song? Havyn?
And damn, it was so hot in here. She tried to put a little space between them.
Thane allowed her an inch. “Hic sunt dracones,” he said. “Here be dragons. It’s on a few very old maps but is nevertheless difficult to find.”
She dared to look Thane in his extraordinary eyes. So what if it sent electric shocks along her nerves? “I was very graphically warned that I would die if I continued with the mediation.” Specifically, if she didn’t say the remains belonged to the Heolstors, which apparently, they didn’t. “A man killed himself in front of me.”
“You’re not a coward,” Thane said, his upper lip curling with satisfaction. Why did he keep saying that? “Nor easily bullied.”
Bullied. She hadn’t thought of it that way, but, yes, someone had tried to bully her, and in the worst way possible. How stupid of her not to realize it.
“I’m terrified,” she admitted
“Not the same thing as being a coward.”
“I saw a dragon today.” She wasn’t over it. Not nearly.
Thane smiled. “And wasn’t he magnificent? You should see one sky bound.”
Her heart lost its beat. “Are you going to kill me?”
His smile faded and he gave a reluctant shrug. “I hope not. I’m near my final shift, too. I can only promise I’ll keep my distance when the Night Song tempts me.”
It wasn’t much of an assurance, but she really did like how honest he was. Lots of crazy, but no bullshit.
“I still don’t know how I can help you,” she said.
“Think,” he told her. “You’re the keystone in the bridge between me and the one who murdered my family.”
That sounded ominous.
He leaned in again. “Who seems to know more about you than you know about yourself?”
Emerson thought back. There was no one in her life who knew… Wait. “Mr. Fraser.” He’d even admitted to being another messenger. And he’d called her, my lady. Which had been weird coming from him.
Thane pulled back a smile, fierce and feral, his lightning eyes flashing. “That’s where we’ll start.”

Grab the boxed set for just $0.99 to read this story and seven others…

Dark and Damaged: Eight Tortured Heroes of Paranormal Romance is available from Amazon Kindle, Kobo Books, Barnes and Noble Nook, Apple iBooks stores and other retailers. Find the links to your preferred retailer at: http://www.felicityheaton.co.uk/dark-and-damaged/

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

SHELTER US, by Laura Nicole Diamond

I met Laura at BEA (BookExpo America), and when I found out about her new book, SHELTER US, I had to feature it. Have a look:

Since the death of her newborn baby, lawyer-turned-stay-at-home mom Sarah Shaw has been struggling to keep it together for her law professor husband and two young sons. With her husband burying himself in his career and her friendships all having withered, she is lost in a private world of grief. Then one day, walking in LA, Sarah s heart catches at the sight of a young homeless woman pushing a baby in a stroller and saving them becomes her mission. An unlikely bond grows between Sarah and the mother, Josie, whose pride and strained relationship with her own mother prevent her from going home to Oakland. Through her friendship with Josie, Sarah slowly learns that those we love are never far, even in death and that sometimes it is the people we set out to save who save us.


Laura was also kind enough to answer some interview questions:

According to your website bio, your first career was as a civil rights lawyer. In what ways, if any, does this background inform your writing, and can you tell us more about your journey toward publication?

The same instinct toward social justice that motivated me to become a civil rights lawyer animates my writing. For example, I wanted to write about a young homeless mother and the series of circumstances that had led to her being homeless, because I had met young women in this situation and had been so moved by their strength and resilience, and by how different they were from the stereotype of homelessness. By writing about one young woman, I hoped to humanize all people in that situation, to build compassion and understanding, and to show that anyone could become homeless.

My journey to publication required patience and persistence. As a first time novelist, I asked people I knew in the book publishing world what they recommended. While they said, “there is no one path to publication,” the consensus seemed to be that an author should submit to agents, in the hopes that one will take you on as a client and find a publisher. I pursued that path for about two years on and off, submitting to agents, revising my manuscript, submitting again. At the same time, I began to see the growth of small independent publishers that accepted direct manuscript submissions, without an agent. So I followed that path as well, submitting to She Writes Press while continuing my agent search process. When She Writes Press accepted my manuscript and connected me with an editor, I decided to jump at that opportunity.

Sounds like a good assessment of the varying paths we can take. And I love the premise of SHELTER US. How did the idea develop as you wrote it, and what do you want readers to take away from the story?

Thank you. I started with a character, and no plot. The character of Sarah, mother of two boys, was lost in an emotional funk. As I wrote the first draft, the fact that she had suffered the death of an infant emerged, which became an important part of her character. That developed in part because as a mother myself, I learned that the fear that the worst could happen to your child is always beneath the surface. I have “visited” that emotional terrain often – it happens every time you warn them to look both ways before they cross the street, because you are always imagining what could happen if they don’t. I knew that I wanted to write about a homeless mother as well, so I decided that the two women would meet, and that their friendship over time would be the catalyst that helps each other return to a life they long for.

I think, as with any art, the audience will take away whatever they most need. For me, I hope readers will take away that reaching out to help another person can help heal our own wounds. Some readers have responded to different messages that were not as central to my mind, but are absolutely central to the story, like the importance of communication and that leaving things unsaid can be destructive to relationships. Others have said that they view homeless people differently now, which thrilled me.

Wonderful! You did a radio spot for Expressing Motherhood. What was that like, and what would you recommend to authors interested in doing radio spots?

Well, aside from the fact that it was uncomfortable because I was sitting on a pile of shoes in my closet to avoid the sound of tree trimmers in the neighbor’s yard, it was great fun. Lindsay Kavet, the Director of the play Expressing Motherhood and host of the radio show, is an inspiration and dedicated to supporting creativity in mothers. It was great to talk about how motherhood for me was a creative muse, as opposed to a hindrance to creativity. I do recommend radio spots to authors. It can be wild to hear an interviewer’s take on your work. My advice is to be ready for anything, and be yourself.

Sounds like a great idea (minus the tree trimmers of course!). What are some of your current projects?

I am working on a second novel, I am excited to say, which is set in a few different cities in the East Coast, and in two different centuries. (I wanted to stretch, after writing Shelter Us, which is set in the present in my hometown.) I am also playing with different storytelling formats of Shelter Us, such as film or a television series unfolding Sarah and Josie’s story. I have a written a draft of a travel memoir, also, but that has taken a back seat to fiction for now.

A travel memoir sounds fun! Thanks, Laura, for a great interview.

To snag SHELTER US for yourself, click on the Amazon icon below:


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Knowing Yourself Before Diving In

This week on Operation Awesome, I posted about the importance of knowing yourself before making life-changing decisions.

Here's the photo that inspired the post:

"Always know yourself before making a decision that may change your life"


For my other Operation Awesome posts, feel free to view them here. Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Book Review: WISH GIRL, by Nikki Loftin

Around a month ago, I was excited to feature Nikki Loftin's new book WISH GIRL. Since then, I read the ARC, and have included a review of the book below.

As a refresher, here's the book cover and blurb:

A dying girl gives a boy the strength to live in this lyrical novel that will break your heart and lift your spirit. 

Peter Stone’s parents and siblings are extroverts, musicians, and yellers—and the louder they get, the less Peter talks, or even moves, until he practically fits his last name. When his family moves to the Texas Hill Country, though, Peter finds a tranquil, natural valley where he can, at last, hear himself think.

There, he meets a girl his age: Annie Blythe. Annie tells Peter she’s a “wish girl.” But Annie isn’t just any wish girl; she’s a “Make-A-Wish Girl.” And in two weeks she will begin a dangerous treatment to try and stop her cancer from spreading. Left alone, the disease will kill her.

But the treatment may cause serious, lasting damage to her brain.

Annie and Peter hatch a plan to escape into the valley, which they begin to think is magical. But the pair soon discovers that the valley—and life—may have other plans for them. And sometimes wishes come true in ways they would never expect.

Book review: 

What really makes this book sing is the writing. Especially the first line: "The summer before I turned thirteen, I held so still it almost killed me." This, like other sentences in the book, are both poignant and straight-forward, which made this a very digestible read overall. And, the challenge the protagonist faces is one that many of us (especially introverts) can relate to--needing to get away from noise long enough to think. The fact that Peter's last name is Stone is no accident--and doesn't go past the notice of Annie, the "wish girl" he meets in the woods, who is also escaping something--a craft camp she's attending before a cancer treatment that will likely change her life--and who she is. Especially fascinating is how their meeting place affects those that encounter it. Throughout the story, Peter grows in unexpected ways that flawlessly intertwine with a seamless and well-paced plot. And Annie defies definition in ways that make her not only a compelling character, but one that readers will want to stick with for pages--especially when they find out what happens to her in the end. Overall, I really enjoyed this book--and have been recommending it to all the librarians I can find (including some at BEA last week). A great book for those seeking the unexpected, and wanting to explore the inbetween.


To grab a copy of WISH GIRL for yourself, feel free to click the Amazon icon below:



And here are Nikki's other books:


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

THE CLOUDED SKY by Megan Crewe

I'm a huge fan of sci-fi, especially in YA. So when I found out about Megan's books, I couldn't wait to feature them. Have a look for yourself:

When seventeen-year-old Skylar escapes the time-bending Enforcers who secretly control Earth, her troubles have just begun. She and her friend Win take refuge on Win’s home space station with his fellow rebels, but the fate of Skylar’s planet still spins out of her control.

To avoid detection, Skylar poses as the Earthling “pet” of Win’s rival, an arrogant boy named Jule. Homesick and faced with a cool reception from the other rebels, she throws herself into the group’s mission: assembling a weapon to disable Earth’s restrictive time field. Gradually, Skylar’s skill for detail gains respect—even from Jule, who is more vulnerable than he lets on.

Yet challenges spring from every side. Not only must Sky navigate the muddy waters of romance, but suspicions of betrayal grow among the rebels as their work narrowly misses sabotage.

In the latest in Megan Crewe’s Earth & Sky series, can Skylar expose the traitor before time runs out and Earth is destroyed?

Bio:

Like many authors, Megan Crewe finds writing about herself much more difficult than making things up. A few definite facts: she lives with her husband, son, and three cats in Toronto, Canada (and does on occasion say "eh"), she tutors children and teens with special needs, and she can't look at the night sky without speculating about who else might be out there. Her books for teens include the science fiction Earth & Sky trilogy, the post-apocalyptic Fallen World trilogy, and the paranormal Give Up the Ghost. You can find her online at www.MeganCrewe.com.

Megan was also kind enough to answer some interview questions:

Before publishing novels, you wrote short stories for ezines, print magazines, and anthologies. In what ways does the short story process differ from writing a novel, and what do you like about each?

To be honest, the main reason I wrote short stories was that I didn't always know I was going to be a YA writer, and publishing short fiction was considered the standard way to get your foot in the publishing door as an adult speculative fiction author. I'm very much a long form writer and struggled to keep my short stories at an appropriate length--I like to joke that I was usually trying to fit a novel-sized idea into a short story container, which is reasonably accurate.  ;)  But one thing I did enjoy about writing short stories is the feedback cycle is much shorter. You get to feel the accomplishment of finishing a story, or finishing a revision, much faster than with a novel, and you can share that story with readers and find out how it's coming across much sooner after you start. It can be a little unnerving working away at a novel for months not having any clue yet whether anyone's going to enjoy what you're writing! That trade-off is worth it because novels allow me to explore the characters and scenarios I've become invested in with much more depth and complexity.

And I love the scenarios you've established. THE CLOUDED SKY is the second in the Earth & Sky series. How did the idea come to you, and what do you want readers to take away when they're finished reading?

With THE CLOUDED SKY, I wanted to take the situation I'd set up in the first book of the series and push it farther. In this case, that meant sending the main character, Skylar, right off Earth to directly experience the alien society that's been experimenting with our history. I came up with the idea of making the story something of a spy thriller (in space!) while trying to figure out how Skylar could actively be helping the rebels' mission to free Earth at the same time as she had to keep her existence a secret. In the restricted atmosphere of the alien space station amid all the subterfuge, it felt like a natural fit.

With this story I mainly want to leave the readers shocked and eager for the final book. I decided how I wanted to end book 2 before I even started writing the first (with a glee that often came with an evil grin) and it's been great seeing how that twist has affected readers so far.


Sounds fantastic! The Fallen World trilogy involves a deadly virus on an isolated island. How did the story develop as you wrote it, and what advice, if any, do you have for people who want to write a series?

With the Fallen World trilogy, I started off just knowing I wanted to write a YA novel about an epidemic. The other details emerged by letting the story simmer as I worked on other things and noting down ideas as they came to me, through researching viruses and epidemics in history and the modern day, and through reading other novels involving epidemics to get an idea of what's already been done and what areas I might explore. I usually have a pretty good idea of all the important stuff in a book before I get down to the actual writing. One thing that did evolve as I wrote were the characters and their relationships. I find it's difficult to get a solid handle on my fictional people until I'm committing them to prose, and then I discover new things about them, their interests and motivations, which I adjust the story around.

For advice on writing a series, I think a lot of it depends on what sort of writer you are in general. As a plotter, my advice to fellow plotters is to figure out the most important points of the later books ahead of time. You don't need a full outline (and it's probably best not to have one, since the first book will evolve through edits and affect how the second book needs to be told), but it was really helpful to me to have a general idea of where I intended to take my characters, where I saw them ending up, and what their biggest struggles were going to be. It made me feel more confident when I started outlining and writing the later books, and reassured me that I did have that much more story to tell, and it also informed me on details I should make sure to include in the first book to set up later scenarios.

I think it's also a good idea of have what's often called a "series bible" where you note down all the details about the characters, the settings, etc., although I have to admit I'm not very good at keeping up on these myself and often end up just searching the earlier books to make sure I'm keeping proper continuity.

Great plotting advice! What are some of your current projects?

I don't have any I can talk about in much detail at the moment, but I can say I have a couple of standalones and the beginning of a new trilogy at various stages of completion, all YA, various types of speculative fiction. I hope to have more news to share soon!

We look forward to it! Thanks for such a great interview.

To grab THE CLOUDED SKY and the first book in the series, EARTH & SKY for yourself, feel free to click the Amazon icons below:



And here's the Fallen World trilogy too: