01/4/13

Interview: Christopher Smith

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Today I am thrilled to share with readers an interview with Christopher Smith!  I have to say that this is an author who truly puts himself out there for his readers and fans, allowing them to connect with him on a more personal level that truly bodes well for a long lasting fan base/friendship.  I want to thank Christopher for taking the time to answer my questions and for doing so with enthusiasm and quickness!  I hope you enjoy our little chat and please feel free to ask any questions that you may have yourself!

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Christopher, would you please tell readers a bit about yourself? What you like to do for fun, types of things you like to read, your favorite “hide outs”, etc.

Mostly, I work, because there can be no success without it. But when it comes to fun, it all comes down to travel. I’ll be visiting London for 10 days in March with a side trip to Paris, and I frequently go to New York City for research since most of my books take place there. One trip involved watching an autopsy. It was unsettling and humbling, but you can’t fake a scene like that in a book (in this case, “Running of the Bulls”), so I needed to witness it–from how it happens to what a Stryker saw sounds like when it bites down into bone to how the room–and thus the body–smells. In this case, for instance, when the person’s lungs were removed, the room suddenly stank of nicotine. So, I’m glad that’s behind me.

What is your biggest pet peeve?

Finding typos after I’ve paid Kirkus Editorial a significant sum of money for a “clean” copy edit….

Do you have any “have to haves” while writing? A “good luck charm”, a certain place to write, certain drink, music, etc?

I’m fortunate to have a really great office space in which to work. It’s a very large, bright room, one corner of which is devoted to writing on an iMac (the new model, just out, is fantastic), and the other side of which has a seating area for reading and for watching movies, from which I draw inspiration. I was a movie critic for print and television for 14 years before turning to writing thrillers, and movies especially help to inform my writing style, which is cinematic. When I write, it’s literally like watching a movie play out in my head, which I hope translates to the page. I watch the action unfold, and my fingers fly across the keyboard in an effort to catch up with the pace of that action. I write in silence. For me, music is a distraction. After all, it competes with the “movie.”

What is the title of your latest book? If you had to sell readers on a reason to read your book in 5 words, what would they be?

My latest book is not part of my “Fifth Avenue series,” which comprises “Fifth Avenue,” “Running of the Bulls,” “From Manhattan with Love,” “A Rush to Violence,” “From Manhattan with Revenge” and soon, “Park Avenue.” It’s called “You Only Die Twice,” a book that’s both about a woman’s attempt to survive two serial killers, and also about Biblical interpretation. Or Biblical misinterpretation, in this case, since the serial killers use psalms and verses from the Bible to justify their killings.

Five words? “Sit, hold on, blast off.”

Would you please tell us a bit about your road to writing and getting published?

I’ve been writing for 28 years. I started when I was 18. “Fifth Avenue” was finished when I was 24, I was signed by a major literary agency in New York after many, many rejections, and the book nearly sold to Bantam. They wanted a significant change I wouldn’t agree to give them, so the deal fell through. I was fine with that because they wanted a cliched happy ending, which my books tend to eschew. You never know who is going to die in my novels–including the main characters. I like that kind of unpredictability as I feel that it gives the novel real tension and weight when the villains succeed–only to be challenged by other characters. After that novel and with my MA in English behind me, I began writing movie reviews for print and television. Writing to a limited word count was invaluable to my education as a writer–it forced me to be lean in my writing. Word choice, I learned, is everything. There is no room for fluff when writing for a newspaper and especially for TV. As such, there is zero fluff or padding in my books, which generally start with a bang and don’t stop until the bloody end. Finally, after moving to a new house in 2010, I came upon the manuscript for “Fifth Avenue” in one of the many boxes I was unpacking. I sat down to read it, and decided that with a rewrite, I should try this new service offered to writers by Amazon. Within eight days of publication on Kindle, the book shot to #4 on best-seller lists in the States, and then it quickly hit lists in the UK. It remained an Amazon overall Top 100 best-selling novel both here and in the UK for seven consecutive months, selling hundreds of thousands of copies. Each book I’ve written since also has hit Amazon’s overall Top 100 list. It’s been a crazy, surprising and very rewarding two years.

What is a book that you have read and loved so much that you wish everyone would take the time to read it?

Anything by Dominick Dunne. If I had to choose just one, it would have to be “An Inconvenient Woman.” But all of his novels I’d encourage people to read. I read them all again this past summer. What a treat that was. His wit and his observations are something to savor.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?

The ability to morph into Jeff Bezos. I think all of us deserve a billion or two in pocket money at some point in our lives.

What does the future hold for Christopher Smith?

Three novels in 2013: “Park Avenue,” “A Rush to Murder” and “A Rush to Vengeance.” The “Fifth Avenue” series has been very popular and it will go on and on, as will other books that aren’t part of the series. Audio books and foreign rights are selling strongly, and a production company in L.A. now has “Fifth Avenue” and is considering it for a television series. It’s a long shot–it always is with Hollywood–but they did approach me and my agent first, so it’s fun to think about the possibilities, regardless of how remote they are.

04/13/12

Valerie Stocking ~ Author Interview

Valerie Stocking booksigning

Valerie Stocking was born in Waterbury, Connecticut, and wrote her first short story when she was five. When she was eight, she won a short story contest in Jack and Jill Magazine. She wrote her first play at the age of ten. In 1966, when she was twelve, she and her mother moved to a small town in Florida where they lived for a year. During this time, Valerie experienced difficulties with the public school system, tried a Seventh Day Adventist school briefly, and then dropped out altogether. It was her experiences during this year that inspired The Promised Land. Later, she would finish high school, graduate from college and earn a Master’s degree in Cinema Studies from NYU.

For nearly 30 years, she wrote and edited in various capacities, including copywriting, newspaper articles, and short stories. She wrote nearly 20 full-length and one act plays over a ten year period, which have been performed throughout the U.S. and Canada. She edited books for audio, abridging over 100 novels in a 6-year period. In 2010, she published her first novel, A Touch of Murder, which is the first of what will become the Samantha Kern mystery series. It was nominated for a Global eBook Award in 2011 for Best Mystery.

Valerie lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico with her dog and cat, and is working on her next novel.

You can visit her website at www.valeriestocking.com.

Please tell us a bit about your upcoming book: The Promised Land – characters, plot, etc.

The Promised Land is the story of a 12-year-old girl’s coming of age in the deep South in 1966-67. It is based in part on that year in my life when my mother and I moved from a Connecticut suburb to a small, Podunk town on the Gulf coast of Florida. The girl, Joy, befriends a biracial boy in her junior high school. Her mother befriends (as in more than just friends!) her divorce lawyer, who is the leader of the local Klan chapter. Added to that, the boy’s father, an African-American businessman, is determined to open a store in the white section of downtown. As you might imagine, the results of all this are explosive.

If you could meet, in person, any of your characters, who would it be and why?

That’s tough to pick just one. Many of the characters in The Promised Land are based on real people that I knew. As for the fictitious ones, I’d like to meet Thaddeus Simms, the sheriff of the town, and also Clytus Dooley, the African- American businessman who is the father of Joy’s biracial friend.

If you could fictionalize yourself and put yourself in any situation, how would it play out? Could you give us a scene/scenario of such an occurrence?

I fictionalized myself for part of this book, but I put myself into certain fictitious situations that I wouldn’t care to be in, in real life! Aside from the book, I have a fantasy about herding cattle on horseback. Not for a long drive, or anything, maybe just for an afternoon. I love to ride, and I think it may be fun.

Do you have any particular habits that you do while writing? Places you write the best, foods, drinks, etc that help set your “writing mood”?

I write with a cup of hot herbal or green tea, and a glass of homemade lemonade (iced) beside my computer. I now write at my dining room table, which has a southern exposure and lots of light and space around it. As far as habits go, I mutter to myself constantly while I’m writing. That’s why I don’t write in public places on my laptop, although that’s been suggested. I’m afraid people might think I’m nuts. (Gee, do you think I am??)

Do you have any works-in-progress at the present time? Could you please share a bit about that with us?

Sure! I have a completed draft of Seen of the Crime, which is the sequel to my first novel, A Touch of Murder. It features 25-year-old private eye Samantha Kern. I have to go over it one last time and probably do a major rewrite of it before I turn it over to an editor. Of course, after it is returned to me, I’ll no doubt have to do another major rewrite, but that’s the way it goes. In addition to that, I am doing the preliminary research and notes/overview of Jasmine, which is going to be a paranormal thriller.

Who are some of your favorite authors and/or books?

I love Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment. One of my favorite books of all time is Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh. I enjoy reading Lee Child, Lisa Jackson, and John Hart. I just finished taking a class in 19th century Russian literature, and got to read Gogol, Tolstoy and Pushkin for the first time. I really enjoyed them, and plan on reading more of them.

If you could meet any author, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

Again, does it have to be only one?? I can think of three right off the bat: Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde, and Agatha Christie.

Okay, here are a few “get to know you better” questions:

Please share with us a favorite memory?

I went out on Lake Quassapaug with my dad in a pump boat when I was 10. I really loved that.

Please describe a perfect meal – including menu and those present?

I am vegetarian, but not vegan. I also eat fish. So I guess I’d love poached salmon with hollandaise sauce, a medley of al dente green vegetables, baked potato, salad, and German chocolate cake for dessert. As for those present, I would love to have my first babysitter, Addie Sumler, Agatha Christie, my paternal grandfather (whom I never met), Oscar Wilde, my next door neighbor as a child, Eddie Keenan, my partner Connor, my friend Diane, and of course, my service dog, Jesse.

What are some of your favorite ways to relax?

I love taking long walks with my dog. I also enjoy going over chess games of titled players. One of these days I’ll either take lessons, or try to play some on my own. Of course, I also veg out in front of the TV.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

There are so many places! St. Thomas, New York City (Greenwich Village), Middlebury Vermont, Cimarron or Taos, New Mexico. I’ve been to all these places except Middlebury. Actually, there was a delightful town in Massachusetts I traveled through once years ago that has stayed with me. Norman Rockwell lived there, I believe. It was like stepping into the middle of a picture postcard. Stockton, or Stockbridge, I think.

If you could only read books by one author, who would it be? *I know, this is an inconceivable thought, lol

If I had the complete works of William Shakespeare, I guess I’d be happy.

Share with us a few of your dreams. Also whether they have been fulfilled or are still a work in progress.

I wanted to be in a satisfying relationship with a partner who is supportive and loving, and I’ve found that. I want to ride horses again, on a regular basis. Ideally, I’d like to have my own horse again. I wanted to be a published author, and that dream has happened. I wanted to have a service dog, and I’ve got that. My biggest unfulfilled dream is that all the ideas I have in my head for books have not yet been written. My dream is that they will be, and that they will all be published.

If you could leave the world with one piece of advice, what would it be?

Be kind.

What are some of your guilty pleasures?

I can’t tell you all of them – this is a family blog! LOL Seriously, I love chocolate. My guilty pleasures lately have been eating a hot fudge sundae, and also a large piece of cheesecake with gobs of cherry topping. I have a real strong sweet tooth! I also love to sleep in, and wake up without an alarm blaring in my ear. I don’t get to do that much. I like to kick back and relax and watch TV in bed – again, something I rarely do. I love wrestling! I mean, watching it on TV, not doing it myself, LOL!! And I adore reading in bed – something I do every night.

Is there anything that you would like to add, Valerie? Where can readers find you in cyberspace?

I’ve enjoyed this interview very much; thank you! Readers can learn more about me, my plays and my books at http://www.valeriestocking.com. I have a blog on there as well that I hope people check out. On Mondays, it’s all nonfiction, dealing with the paranormal, writing/publishing/marketing, and 1960’s memories. On Thursdays, it’s a serialized mystery called Color Me Dead. You can read it from the beginning and catch up on it there as well. Hope to see you there!

The Promised LandAbout The Promised Land

It’s 1966, just two years after President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law, and twelve-year-old Joy Bradford’s life is changing dramatically. Born and raised in the white suburbs of Connecticut, Joy is moving to Willets Point, Florida, to live with her mother Jessica because her parents are divorcing. Hoping it really is the Promised Land that her mother describes, she joins in Jessica’s enthusiasm only to find out how horribly wrong that vision is.

Unfortunately for Joy, the move does nothing to change her mother’s emotional and mental instability, resulting in a continuation of the physical and verbal abuse she is all too used to receiving. Her new school is years behind her old one, the kids dress and act differently, and on just the second day, Joy has a run-in with her geography teacher. Things are going from bad to worse until Clay Dooley, a mixed-race boy from that same geography class, offers his friendship. The two become close, sending shockwaves that dovetail with a growing sense of tension and unease in the community as a whole. Clay’s father Clytus, a well-educated black man, attempts to open his own clothing store in the white section of downtown Willets Point. This causes Jessica’s new lawyer cum boyfriend and leader of the local Klan chapter, Bill McKendrick, to join with other white citizens in using great force to block Clytus’ dreams. Tempers flare and emotions run high when Clytus refuses the Klan’s subsequent demand that he and his family move out of the white neighborhood they live in, setting off an explosive confrontation that will change them all forever.

An absorbing and suspenseful coming of age story set against the tumultuous backdrop of racial tensions in mid-1960’s America, Stocking’s blend of historical fact and fiction is as relevant today as it was during the explosive Civil Rights era. Probing the human psyche for the deep-seated fears that fuel the fires of racism and bigotry, she expertly builds characters who feel their very lives are at stake by the changing times. Full of insight and intensity, The Promised Land is a spellbinding journey you won’t want to miss.

The Promised Land
05/25/11

Interview: Ian Alexander, Author of Once We Were Kings + Giveaway!!

Wonderful!  Here's a photo of Ian

As many of you know, I posted my review for Once We Were Kings by Ian Alexander, yesterday.  A perfect 5 stars!  If you missed it, please be sure to check it out!  Also, one lucky winner will receive their very own copy of this fabulous book!  Read until the end to find out how to enter!

Now, I am thrilled to death to share with readers, an interview that I did with Mr. Alexander, about his book, as well as a few other questions to allow readers to get to know the man behind the work!

Please help me in welcoming….. Ian Alexander!

Thank you, so much, Ian, for taking the time out of your crazy life to answer a few (or, truthfully several, lol) questions that I have.  Let’s begin, shall we?

What do you hope readers will take away from reading Once We Were Kings?

Really, what I’m hoping is that readers young and old will capture a sense of grandeur, that there is so much more to existence than what we perceive superficially.  Your external appearance doesn’t matter, whether you’re a slave, peasant, or even someone born in a manger; you could be royalty and not even know it.  Humans looks to the outside, but the creator of all things looks into the heart.  No one defines you except your creator.

While reading Once We Were Kings, I kept thinking to myself “There had to have been a ton of research that went into creating such a detailed and epic story and characters.” Can you tell us a bit about the research that you did and where you discovered much of your information and background story information?

Yes, I did quite a bit of research into the time period.  But most of it flowed from my own internalization of classics and fantasy books such as those of C.S. Lewis. 

The dialog, particularly of Greifer, is incredible poetic and incredibly time-period appropriate. It truly lent a smooth and dynamic aspect to the story. How difficult was that to accomplish?

Not quite as difficult as you might imagine.  But, you see, my father was a minister and he taught me and my brothers to read using the Bible.  And we read from a very young age from the King James Version.  So, I had a distinct advantage when I got to high school and had to read Shakespeare.  While my classmates were tripping over all the “thees and thous” I quite knew what it all meant without having to learn it then for the first time.  So a lot of it this type of “voice” was already ingrained my mind.
What was the most difficult part about writing Once We Were Kings?

I don’t think there were really any inherent difficulties.  Probably the hardest thing about it was to have confidence that my particular style of fantasy would be enjoyed by a wide array of readers (youth, adults, fantasy fans, non-fantasy fans, etc.)
The character names are very unique. How and where did you come up with them?

Right, well you see, the Tianese names and culture are inspired by ancient Chinese lore and society.  The western kingdom of Valdshire Tor is an amalgam of English and German.
How many books do you have planned for this epic journey?

Originally it was meant to be a trilogy.  It shall be that, at the very least.  But depending on how things go in the future, a series could stretch indefinitely because when an author creates a universe, past, present, and future are completely in his hands to do with as he sees fit.
If you were to write yourself into Once We Were Kings, what would your character be? Can you write and share a scene that would occur with us?

Well, of course I would write myself in as the court jester!  But seriously, I think every writer inserts a bit of themselves in every scene and every character, even when in real life they are completely different from the latter.
I can easily perceive this book appealing to young adults through adults. What age group is Once We Were Kings aimed at?
This book is written for ladies and gentlemen, and children of all ages!  I honestly didn’t think too much about who the target audience was after I got started.  But the truth is, my six year old son was the one who asked me to write him a book.  And that was several years ago.  He is now old enough to enjoy it, but I’m sure as he grows into an adult, he’ll uncover more layers of the subtext and themes.

I loved that at the closing of the book, you mentioned that your son asked you to write a story for him. This is where Once We Were Kings was born. Have you read the story to him? What was his reaction?

When I first started writing the book, for a bedtime story each night, I’d tell him the synopsis of the chapters I’d written each day.  He even gave me some ideas and made some requests.  Specifically, for the “spirit potential” manifested by the most unlikely of characters in this book, i.e., the frog spirit.  That was completely his idea.  I just had to find the right place to apply it.
Shape-shifting plays a rather important role in Once We Were Kings. Do you see conflict between this idea and the biblical undertones of the story?
Not any more that one would find a conflict in centaurs, fauns, river gods, white witches, wizards, etc., in the works of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, who were both Christian, and scholars.

What are you reading right now?

Wizard’s First Rule by Terry Goodkind.  And my son is reading it with me!

Who are some of your favorite authors and/or books?

The Bible is my favorite book.  Besides the power and inspiration one receives from reading it, the stories are epic and timeless.  There is transformative power in them.  Obviously, I adore all seven books in the Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis, I also enjoy reading the works of Dean Koontz, Stephen King, Amy Tan, and Daniel Silva.
If you could invite 5 authors, living or dead, to supper, who would they be and what would you serve?

Well!  I don’t know that they’d particularly enjoy my company, but I would love to dine with C.S. Lewis, Dean Koontz, Jesus Christ, Mark Twain, and perhaps Charles Dickens.  As for what I’d serve?  Barbeque!
What are 5 rarely known facts about you?

          1. I have a multiple personality talent (Just ask my evil twin Joshua Graham)
          2. I play the cello
          3. I spent 12 years in college after 12 years of primary, middle and high school.
          4. My evil twin loves Snickers bars
          5. I read the Bible and pray every day (almost) before I start work.
What is the best advice that you have heard for life or writing?
Know the source of your calling and gifts.  Be humble and recognize your strengths and weakness with honesty.  And above all, if have faith!

I just want to mention how much I adore the cover of Once We Were Kings. It is absolutely gorgeous and truly represents the story. Who came up with the concept and design of the cover and how much were you able to lend to it?

Isn’t the cover beautiful?  It was created by Anna Steinbauer from Austria.  The concept and vision came from me, but she executed it perfectly and went way beyond my expectations.

Thank you so much, Ian, for taking the time to answer my questions. Where can readers find you on the web?

Thank you!  It’s been an honor to be here.  And yes, I love connecting with readers!  They can reach me here:
www.IanAlex.com

Facebook

   
Twitter: @IanAlex77

Purchase Once We Were Kings on Nook/Nook Color and Kindle!

Once We Were Kings will soon be made available in hardcover, paperback, as well as additional ereaders, so keep your eyes out!

Okay, now, who is ready to win a copy of Once We Were Kings?!?!??! 

Entering is very easy – simply leave a comment below, along with your email address so that I may contact you in case you are the lucky winner! That’s all you have to do!  I would LOVE if you would share this contest via twitter, facebook, website, etc. Since this is ebook format, contest is open Internationally!


Contest open until June 13th, midnight, with winner being drawn shortly thereafter. 


*winner will be able to choose the reader format that works the best for them – Nook, Kindle, PDF, Sony, etc.

ONCE WE WERE KINGS About Once We Were Kings:

In a world where the Sojourners, a nearly extinct race with preternatural abilities struggle to preserve their faith and heritage, destiny thrusts two youths from opposing nations into the heart of a centuries-old conflict.

Render, an orphan from the outskirts of the culturally enlightened Kingdom of Valdshire Tor, escapes slavery and seeks the truth about his true identity only to discover a web of conspiracies. This quest leads to the revelation of his uncanny ability to wield the destructive forces of nature.

Ahndien, sole survivor of a heinous raid on her peaceful village in the Eastern Kingdom of Tian Kuo, embarks on a journey to find her father, now a captive of Torian troops. What she uncovers surpasses anything she can imagine as she masters the ability to manipulate fire.

Guided by shape-shifting spirits, Render and Ahndien’s fates collide when first they meet as mortal enemies. However, to save their people from annihilation, they must unite both kingdoms against a terrifying enemy that threatens to destroy both realms.
But how can a young slave and a peasant bring sworn enemies of half a millennium together?

ONCE WE WERE KINGS: The first book in a saga of destiny and redemption, in a world of dying hope.

About Ian Alexander:

You may know me by my good twin (what does that make me?) Joshua Graham, to whom I bear a striking resemblance though I’d contend that by far, I am the more handsome.  Though we exist in different realms, our lives, accomplishments and sojourns have run parallel courses throughout time.

For expediency’s sake, here is my twin’s bio.  In the future, as the roads of our travels diverge, I shall update this page with more Ian Alexander-specific information.

JOSHUA GRAHAM
(Ian Alexander’s good twin)

Award winning writer Joshua Graham’s #1 bestselling novel (Barnes & Noble ebooks) BEYOND JUSTICE is taking the world by storm, one reader at a time. Many of his readers blame him for sleepless nights, arriving to work late, neglected dishes and family members, and not allowing them to put the book down.

BEYOND JUSTICE, THE ACCIDENTAL EXORCIST, THE ACCIDENTAL HERO, THE ACCIDENTAL HEALER, and DEATH AND TAXES, have reached the top of multiple bestseller list on Barnes & Noble topping titles by John Grisham, Linda Fairstein, Scott Turrow and James Lee Burke, Ted Dekker and Steven James. Soaring to the top of the Barnes & Noble lists, BEYOND JUSTICE recently hit #1 in the Legal Thriller and Christian Thriller categories, topping by John Grisham, Joel C. Rosenberg, and Michael Connelly.  It has also remained on the Amazon.com top 100 bestselling Kindle bestseller list months after its release.

Suspense Magazine listed BEYOND JUSTICE in its BEST OF 2010, alongside titles by Scott Turrow, Ted Dekker, Steven James and Brad Thor.

Publishers Weekly described BEYOND JUSTICE as:

“…A riveting legal thriller…. breaking new ground with a vengeance… demonically entertaining and surprisingly inspiring.”

Under a different pen name, Joshua has been published in three Simon & Schuster anthologies. He’s a graduate of the Oregon Professional Writers Masterclass run by Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch.

Joshua Graham grew up in Brooklyn, NY where he lived for the better part of 30 years. He holds a Bachelor and Master’s Degree and went on to earn his doctorate from Johns Hopkins University.   During his time in Maryland, he taught as a professor at Shepherd College (WV), Western Maryland College, and Columbia Union College (MD).

Today he lives with his beautiful wife and children in Southern California.  Several of Graham’s short fiction works have been published by Pocket Books and Dawn Treader Press.

BEYOND JUSTICE is now available in Trade Paperback through Amazon.com as well as Barnes and Noble.  It’s available at the Kindle store for $2.99 for a limited time, and can be purchased for other ebook readers at Smashwords.  It is also available for the iPad, SONY E-Reader and Nook.

A member of the Oregon Writers Network, Graham is a graduate of the Master Classes and professional writing workshops held by Dean W. Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch.  Dean and Kris and the entire OWN, have been a major influence in his career.

08/13/10

Interview: Get to Know Joselyn Vaughn!

Joselyn Vaughn

Welcome to another edition of “Get to Know…” I don’t know about you, but I am having a blast with these interviews, getting to know people better and reading everyone’s delightful answers! 

This week’s special guest is Joselyn Vaughn, author of CEOs Don’t Cry and her upcoming December release, Courting Sparks.  Joselyn is an author who is new to me, but after learning a bit about her and her work, I anxiously await reading her works.  I do want to insert a personal thought on Joselyn’s interview answers.  As a mother of two young children, I can completely relate to her answers and feel quite a connection to her because of her answers.  I also found her advice to be highly inspirational.


Please settle back, get comfortable and enjoy getting to know Joselyn Vaughn a bit better – then please be sure to check out her work!


Please share with us a favorite memory?
Everyone always asks what you were doing when you received the call from the publisher wanting to buy your book. I was in the middle of changing my daughter’s diaper, an especially messy one but let’s not get too graphic. The phone rang.  I looked down at the diaper.  There was no way I could leave her on the table and grab the phone.  There was no way I could hurry through the diaper and catch the call.  I had to let it go to the answering machine.  That was good anyway because I could replay it over and over. 
Please describe a perfect meal – including menu and those present?
Being as I have small children in the throwing food, refusing to eat, tantrum stage and mealtime too often comes right before naptime and bedtime so they are in especially ‘good’ moods and my daughter refuses to go through an evening meal without sitting on my lap no matter how many Cheerios I put on her high chair tray, an ideal meal would be eating by myself with warm food that I didn’t have to cook, being able to stay in my seat the entire meal without having to pick up silverware, cups or food from the floor, and enjoying a good book. Okay, that’s probably too much of a fantasy. 
The menu for a fun meal would be prime rib, sauted mushrooms, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob and chocolate cheesecake for dessert. The friends and heroes around the table would be my husband, Julia Quinn, Julia London, Leslie Kelly, Carrie Bebris, Jane Austen, my critique group including W.S. Gager, and for some eye candy, Hugh Jackman.
What are some of your favorite ways to relax?
I try to get out and exercise every day.  Some days it’s pushing the kids in the stroller – which tends to be the only quiet time of the day. Other days I get to go for a run by myself.  It’s a great way to recharge my thoughts and my attitude. And after three kids, it keeps my pants fitting. LOL.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

There are so many places I would love to visit, and maybe if I had seen some of them I would have a different answer.  Right now I think a cottage on the east coast of Lake Michigan around Grand Haven or Holland would be awesome. The lake is absolutely beautiful and West Michigan has some of the nicest beaches I have been to.
If you could only read books by one author, who would it be? *I know, this is an inconceivable thought, lol.
That is a horrible question!  How do you choose just one? If I to choose one—really, only one?—It would have to be Jane Austen. I love the humor and romance of her books. When I read them I laugh out loud.  It’s great when a book makes you do that.  (Especially ones so often assigned in school.) My favorite line is from Pride and Prejudice: “Perhaps Mr. Collins has a cousin.” I crack up just thinking about it.
I also love her characters, especially the secondary ones: Mr. Collins, Mrs. Bennett, Mr. Woodhouse, Miss Bates, Lady Bertram.  They are a hoot.

Share with us a few of your dreams. Also whether they have been fulfilled or are still a work in progress.

I have been blessed to have a lot of my dreams fulfilled.  I have three adorable children (I can say that truthfully right now; they are sleeping.  The twins are 2.5 and the baby is 7 months. When they are awake, it’s a bit crazy.) I have a wonderful husband who puts up with my writing in the hope that he will someday be a cover model. (Sorry, he doesn’t look like Hugh Jackman.) I’ve had a book published–which is still unbelievable even a year later—and a second one coming out.  I guess I would like to do well enough with writing to not have to work outside the home when my kids go to school. As of right now, I am going to have to work a lot harder to do that.  In non-writing dreams, I would like to visit Italy and run a race with my sisters.  My oldest sister recently had a heart defect corrected and hopes to train for a 5k.  It would be the first race we could all do together.
 
What are some of your guilty pleasures?
I’m a mom; everything I do that doesn’t involve my children is guilt-filled. My special treats are ignoring the laundry and the dishes and just sitting and reading a book.  It doesn’t happen often, but it feels absolutely wonderful.
If you could leave the world with one piece of advice, what would it be?
Don’t be afraid to give your dreams a chance.  I always wanted to write a book, but didn’t take the time to try it. It was something I thought I would do sometime in the vague future. When I finally did start writing, I thought I would see where the story went and then shove it in a desk drawer. And that would be that.  My critique partner, W.S. Gager, said, “If you are going to write it, you should try to publish it.”
So I did revisions and sent it out. After over a year of rejection letters, someone wanted to publish it! All the hard work and revisions paid off.
Pursuing a dream involves hard work and setbacks and wanting to give up, but when you achieve it, it’s all worth it.
You can get in touch with my at my website JoselynVaughn.com or on Facebook.
About Joselyn Vaughn: 

Joselyn Vaughn lives in the Great Lakes State with her adoring husband, the world’s most inventive toddlers and the laziest beagles.
She believes there is nothing better than a warm hug, a good romance novel and chocolate.

When not changing diapers or removing a toddler from a precarious situation,  Joselyn enjoys sewing, running, shopping at thrift stores and reading books longer than thirty pages.

CEOs Don't Cry (Avalon Romance)About CEOs Don’t Cry:

After being passed over for a junior partnership and getting relegated to a branch office in the middle of nowhere, Leslie Knotts vows that she won’t let budget cuts, corporate upheaval or meddlesome ladies distract her from turning the branch around and showing she has the savvy for the upper echelons of the company.  

Organizing and advertising his new construction business has been harder than Mark Schultz expected.  Having his Aunt Minnie and her friends from the Ladies Night Out group throwing women in his path isn’t helping matters. 

When his aunt’s outrageous schemes spell trouble, Leslie and Mark team up to outsmart the Ladies.  Mark introduces Leslie to his friends and she discovers genuine friendships as well as a love with Mark like she has never known.  When a competing company offers her the big city partnership she has always dreamed of, will Leslie risk her future as a top executive to stay where her heart has found a home?

Excerpt:
Mark found several of the things on Minnie’s list. The eBay auctions had a couple days
to go, so he added them to his watch list.

“I heard you have a new boss at the tax place,” Bryce said, tracing the broken edge of his
fingernail along the wood grain on the table. “Is she pretty?”

This was it. This was why Bryce was badgering him. Why he thought Mark might need
an extra ticket to the race.

Mark made some notes on his list before answering. “Yeah, some uptight career woman
from the big city. She spends all day tapping away on her laptop.”

“A woman, huh? Is she hot?” That would be the only thing that concerned Bryce.

Mark sighed. Like Bryce hadn’t known the new manager was a woman. Leslie had been
in town less than twenty-four hours. Enough time for Bryce to learn her measurements in
Carterville. “She has brown hair she wears all twisted up and I’ve seen more curves in plank of
wood. I’m not asking her out.”

“I wasn’t suggesting it.” Bryce shook his head; then he rocked his chair forward and
leaned toward Mark. “You could use a date to the race.”

Mark considered elbowing Bryce in the nose. “She wouldn’t be interested. In me or the
race. I don’t think her shoes have even touched dirt.”

“How long do you think she’ll last here?”

Mark shook his head. “I think she wants to get back to headquarters as soon as possible.
She won’t be in town one minute longer than she’s required to be.”

“If the Ladies know that maybe they’ll leave her alone,” Bryce said.

“I’d be happy if they left me alone,” Mark mumbled, closing the window on the screen
and tossing the golf pencil back into the scrap paper basket.

“There’s only one way to make that happen,” Bryce reminded him.
 
“I’m not dating anyone just for their sake.” Mark stood and pushed his chair in.

“At least you don’t have to worry about them setting you up with your boss. If she’s
leaving town, they won’t be interested.”

Mark wasn’t sure anything short of death would dissuade the Ladies, but it did give him
hope.

About Courting Sparks:

Daphne Morrow’s ready to date again and her friends’ upcoming weddings are the perfect opportunity to meet Mr. Tall-Dark-and-Handsome.  Instead scorched photos of her prom are the ignition point for a small forest fire, making her the prime suspect for the arson, but the only spark she discovers is for her long time friend, Noah Banks, a physical double for her ex-boyfriend Aaron.

 Daphne tries to explain away her attraction to Noah:  The atmosphere of the wedding, his resemblance to her ex, his heroic efforts as a volunteer firefighter. The desire just won’t sputter out.

When the arsonist strikes much closer to home, Daphne must decide whether she can risk Noah’s friendship for a chance to court sparks.

*Due to release December 2010

*If you would like to participate in this series, please send an email to me at cafeofdreamsbookreviews@yahoo.com and I will send the questions to you. This is open for authors and bloggers! I’m hoping to make this an extended event and have several great responses so far!! I hope everyone enjoys, has fun and if you have a question for the person being interviewed, please feel free to ask away!
 
*Please note: if you have sent a request and have not heard back from me, please resend. My email likes to eat mail before I get a chance to read it. Or I just received the request at an insane time and it got buried in the email jungle. Either way, I apologize and would love to hear from you!
 

07/23/10

Interview: Get to Know Lauren Carr!

Welcome to another edition of “Get to Know…” I don’t know about you, but I am having a blast with these interviews, getting to know people better and reading everyone’s delightful answers!  This week’s special guest is Lauren Carr, author of the new release, It’s Murder, My Son!  I have not yet read Lauren’s work, however she was amazingly kind enough to send me a copy of her latest, so be on the look out for my review of that soon!  For right now, please settle back and help me in welcoming the kind, generous and lovely Lauren Carr!

Please share with us a favorite memory.

When I was very young, at night I would crawl into bed with my mother. She reads at night before going to sleep, something she still does today. Mom is an ardent mystery fan. That is where I get it. So from the time I was very little, before I could even read, I remember her reading Perry Mason to me. That was when I fell in love with mysteries. Later on, after I learned how to read, I would climb into bed with her at night and we would read together. She would read Perry Mason, Agatha Christie, any mystery she could get her hands on, while I read Nancy Drew or the Hardy Boys. Ah, such wonderful memories.

Please describe a perfect meal – including menu and those present?

Lobster or crab legs, baked potato, Caesar salad, chocolate mousse pie, and raspberry iced tea. I pick this menu because it is what my family and I enjoyed for my fiftieth birthday this year. I don’t cook shellfish at home because it does smell up the house. So going out to eat it is a treat. My son and I ordered the lobster and crab legs while my husband ate a steak. He likes the taste of lobster and crab legs, but doesn’t’ like the work. For Tristan and me, breaking apart lobster or crab legs is an experience. Who would be present? I would have to say my husband, son, and a few close friends.
What are some of your favorite ways to relax?  
Fire in the fireplace on a snowy afternoon with my laptop and a free afternoon to write away with no one to disturb me.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why? 

Right here in the Blue Ridge Mountains. I have been fortunate enough to have been many other places and have seen how others live. Yet, I have to confess that I sometimes yearn to be at the beach on the ocean. That usually happens when I want a change of scenery. Living on a mountain, what could be a bigger change than the ocean?

If you could only read books by one author, who would it be? *I know, this is an inconceivable thought, lol: 

Oh, gosh! That is such a hard question. There are so many that I like and each for different reasons. Of course, Earl Stanley Gardner was my first favorite author since before I could read. But I would have to say Elizabeth George would be the author that I would chose if I could only chose one. I have been following Thomas Lynley for so long.

Share with us a few of your dreams. Also whether they have been fulfilled or are still a work in progress. 

When I first dreamed of being a writer, my dream had me living in a New York penthouse with quirky characters coming in and out of my life while I sat at my typewriter writing best sellers. (Notice I said typewriter. That’s how long I’ve been at this.) Well, thinking about it, the important parts of that dream have been fulfilled. I am a writer. I am surrounded by quirky friends and family. (That’s another interview.) I may not be on any best sellers list or living in a penthouse, but the core of my dream was my writing, having friends, and being happy. That’s what I got. I guess getting onto a best sellers list is the dream that is still in progress.

What are some of your guilty pleasures
A whole bag of chocolate kisses that I hide in my underwear drawer under my panties. Nothing makes them taste as good as knowing that they’re all mine because no one knows about them…I guess that’s not the case anymore
    
If you could leave the world with one piece of advice, what would it be?  
It took me years to realize this, but I have found it to be true: The Rolling Stone’s song said it best in “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”
You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometimes you might find
You get what you need

About Lauren Carr:

Lauren Carr fell in love with mysteries when her mother read Perry Mason to her at bedtime. From murderous bedtime tales, she grew up to write mysteries for television and the stage. She wrote her first book after giving up her writing career to be a stay-at-home mom.

The first installment in the Joshua Thornton mysteries, A Small Case of Murder was named a finalist for the Independent Publisher Book Award 2005. Her second full-length book, A Reunion to Die For was released nationally in hardback in June 2007 by Five Star First Edition Mysteries. Both A Small Case of Murder and A Reunion to Die For are now available in audio, Kindle, and print.

Her new series, The Mac Faraday Mysteries, set in Deep Creek Lake, Maryland, where she and her family often vacation. The first book in this series, It’s Murder, My Son, will be released Summer 2010 in audio, Kindle, and print.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made speaking appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She is also an active member of Sisters in Crime. She lives with her husband and son on a mountaintop in West Virginia.

Visit Lauren at her blog: http://writerlaurencarr.blogspot.com/, or her website: http://laurencarr.webs.com/
You can also find Lauren on Facebook!

It's Murder, My Son (A Mac Faraday Mystery) (Volume 1)About It’s Murder, My Son:

What started out as the worst day of Mac Faraday’s life would end up being a new beginning.  After a messy divorce hearing, the last person that Mac wanted to see was another lawyer. Yet, this lawyer wore the expression of a child bursting to tell his secret. This covert would reveal Mac as heir to undreamed of fortunes, and lead him to the birthplace of America’s Queen of Mystery and an investigation that will unfold like one of her famous mystery novels.
 

Soon after she moves to her new lakefront home in Spencer, Maryland, multi-millionaire Katrina Singleton learns that life in an exclusive community is not all good. For some unknown reason, a strange man calling himself “Pay Back” begins stalking her.  When Katrina is found strangled all evidence points to her terrorist, who is nowhere to be found. 

Three months later the file on her murder is still open with only vague speculations from the local police department when Mac Faraday, sole heir to his unknown birth mother’s home and fortune, moves into the estate next door. Little does he know as he drives up to Spencer Manor that he is driving into a closed gate community that is hiding more suspicious deaths than his DC workload as a homicide detective. With the help of his late mother’s journal, this retired cop puts all his detective skills to work to pick up where the local investigators have left off to follow the clues to Katrina’s killer.


A Small Case of MurderA Small Case of Murder:

A Small Case of Murder is a Grand Case of Murder!Chester is a quaint, small town in West Virginia where everyone knows everyone, and there is never a secret that someone doesn’t know. In such an intimate town, how many disappearances can be left unquestioned?

Following the death of his wife, Joshua Thornton leaves a promising career in the United States Navy’s JAG division to move across country with his five children into his ancestral home. While clearing out the attic the children find a thirty year old letter written to their grandmother.
In the letter Lulu Jefferson wrote “…Remember that dead body we found in the Bosley barn?…I saw him today…I went to talk to the reverend and there was his picture on the wall.” What dead body? His interest piqued, Joshua asks about Lulu and finds that in 1970 she died of a drug overdose on the same day that she wrote the letter to his parents.
Today, a double homicide has the whole town under a microscope. The granddaughter of the reverend Lulu implicates in her letter is one of the victims. The state attorney general appoints Joshua special prosecutor to solve the crimes.
In a small town where gossip flies as swiftly as a spring breeze, it is impossible to know who to trust. After his children dig up the body lost decades earlier, Joshua is then able to unravel the truth behind the series of murders to reveal a web of deception spun half a century ago on the other side of the globe. 

Returning Home For A High School Reunion Could Prove Deadly!
In A Reunion to Die For, author Lauren Carr continues to follow Joshua Thornton while he brings justice to the small West Virginia town of his youth that he returned to with his five children after the death of his wife. Chester is a quaint, but far from quiet, town.  Here, everyone knows everyone and nearly everyone has a secret.  Some are dying, while others are killing to keep their secrets undercover.  
As a naïve teenager, Joshua Thornton had no reason to question the authorities who had concluded that his dear friend Tricia Wheeler, after breaking up with her boyfriend, had committed suicide.  However, 21 years later, as Hancock County’s Prosecuting Attorney, Joshua is forced to examine the closed case when former schoolmate and current adversary, Gail Reynolds, returns to town to pen an investigative book on Tricia’s “murder”.  Joshua reluctantly agrees that the pieces of Tricia’s suicide don’t add up, and an investigation is warranted.
When Grace Henderson, another seemingly innocent teenage girl, is murdered by a close gun shot to the chest, it is impossible for Joshua to ignore the similarities the girls and their deaths share. Surely the murders of two teenage cheerleaders 21 years apart couldn’t be any more than coincidental… could they? As the investigations into the two deaths unfold, Joshua finds more questions than answers, more enemies than friends, and more victims than clues. Thornton must use every ounce of his integrity, ingenuity, and tight circle of close friends while he scrambles to solve the two murders that has nearly everyone around him becoming either suspect or victim… including himself! 

*If you would like to participate in this series, please send an email to me at cafeofdreamsbookreviews@yahoo.com and I will send the questions to you. This is open for authors and bloggers! I’m hoping to make this an extended event and have several great responses so far!! I hope everyone enjoys, has fun and if you have a question for the person being interviewed, please feel free to ask away!
*Please note: if you have sent a request and have not heard back from me, please resend. My email likes to eat mail before I get a chance to read it. Or I just received the request at an insane time and it got buried in the email jungle. Either way, I apologize and would love to hear from you!