Who’s That Indie Author? Tabitha Forney

Author Name: Tabitha (Tobey) Forney

Genre: Upmarket Fiction

Book: Paper Airplanes (9/7/21)

Brief bio: Tabitha (Tobey) Forney writes books to appease the voices in her head. She’s a mom, attorney, and yoga devotee who lives in Houston with her three kids and a husband who was on the 85th floor of the North Tower on 9/11 and lived to tell about it.

What got you started as a writer? As a child, I inhaled books. But when I was ten, my mother married the austere son of a Pentecostal preacher who disapproved of my reading. He dismissed books and higher education as useless endeavors and tried to teach the six of us (half his, half hers) that manual labor and the ruthless pursuit of money were the only worthwhile endeavors. I spent hours in the reading nook of my elderly neighbors, who provided me with lemonade and cookies while I would read to my heart’s content.

Even though I processed the world through books as a child, I never thought I could write one. I started to explore writing in my twenties, just before having children. I’m also a practicing attorney, though, and once I had kids I had little time for anything else.

I did finally start writing in 2007, and in 2009 I met my best friend who is also a writer. At the time, she was further down the road than I, and we instantly bonded over our love for writing. She was a huge inspiration to me, and showed me that with enough effort and determination, I could be a writer too.

What difficult experience has helped you as a writer? Ironically, getting an agent in 2017 and then parting ways with her in 2018 was not only one of the most heartbreaking experiences of my life, but it showed me that when something doesn’t feel right, it’s not, and to follow my gut rather than conventional wisdom. With my agent’s direction, I spent over a year gutting and re-writing my novel to introduce a new character. We were about to go out on submission when she left her agency and told me she couldn’t take me with her due. In the end, I unraveled everything I did, restored the book as it was meant to be (Paper Airplanes), and rewrote the story of the new character, Rosie, into a book that is better than before. So now instead of one book written with somebody else’s vision, I have two books that I am happy to launch into the world. Ultimately, parting with her was the best thing to happen to me.

Have you ever participated in the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)? If so, how many times and what was your experience? I have! Paper Airplanes was actually birthed during NaNoWriMo 2015. I am planning to participate in 2021 with a new project I’m very excited about. While the book that you write in a month may not be even close to the final project, NaNoWriMo gives writers momentum and propels books into being.

What advice would you give a new indie author hoping to publish a book? Never. Give. Up. Keep writing until you’re happy with your work. And make sure you surround yourself with people who will be honest with you. It might hurt, but it teaches you how to fix the problem.

What has been the biggest challenge for you during Covid? Learning how to work and manage three kids’ school schedules and still have time to write was tough. I developed new respect for teachers. Not being able to see my elderly mother was also really hard. And confronting an existential threat every single day was no joke, as we all know!

What are you reading right now? I am listening to the audiobook of Blow Your House Down by Gina Frangello. It’s gripping. I’m impressed with and inspired by her bravery and honesty, and her writing is crisp and original.

Would you rather laugh or cry over a book? Both! I think a good book will have me doing both in the course of an hour. I strive to bring humor into my books, which is more difficult to achieve than one would think.

Have you ever climbed a tree to read a book? Yes, definitely.When I was child, it was another way I escaped from my abusive stepfather. He wore boots all the time and never looked up.

Have you ever dropped a book in the tub, in a pool or in the ocean? Not in the ocean, but many times on the sandy beach, and once in the toilet. Oops!

Could you live in a tiny house? For about a week, yes. Maybe.

What are the small things that make you happy? Yoga, French fries, dark chocolate, good coffee, The Lumineers, comfortable shoes, happy people, and staring at the sky, whether cloudy or starry.

Website and social media links:
Website: tabithaforney.com
Facebook: tobey.forney
Instagram: tabithawritesbooks
Twitter: @TobeyWrites


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Who’s That Indie Author? Tammy Pasterick

Author Name: Tammy Pasterick

Genre: Historical Fiction

Book: Beneath the Veil of Smoke and Ash

Brief bio: I began my career as an investigator with the National Labor Relations Board after graduating from Penn State and later studied German language and literature at the University of Delaware. When I decided to stay at home full-time with my children, I began writing fiction.

What got you started as a writer? I wrote constantly when I was on my high school’s yearbook staff and also while I was a student of German. When my youngest went to kindergarten, I started a genealogy project that took on a life of its own and became a novel.

What difficult experience has helped you as a writer? Parenting two very different children has helped me become a more empathetic person and has taught me many valuable lessons about human nature. Understanding people is the key to creating complex, believable characters. 

Have you ever participated in the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)? If so, how many times and what was your experience? I haven’t yet. It’s on my bucket list.

What advice would you give a new indie author hoping to publish a book? Query agents for at least a year before you approach an indie press or self-publish. I received so much helpful feedback while querying and ended up making major revisions to my novel. All those rejections helped me grow as a writer.

What has been the biggest challenge for you during Covid? The biggest challenge was having my husband and kids at home. I’m used to writing in a very quiet house with my dog at my feet, so I got very little accomplished during quarantine.

What are you reading right now? I’m reading The Woman with the Blue Star by Pam Jenoff and listening to The Dutch House by Ann Patchett.

Would you rather laugh or cry over a book?  I’m always up for a good cry.

Have you ever climbed a tree to read a book? Yes! When I was in elementary and middle school, I used to read in trees all the time, but only on the low branches. I have a fear of heights.

Have you ever dropped a book in the tub, in a pool or in the ocean? I have never dropped a book in the water, but the wind blew my favorite bookmark into the pool just a few weeks ago. It’s a drawing of Jabba the Hut and Salacious Crumb that my son made for me when he was ten and thoroughy obsessed with Star Wars. Luckily, I fished the bookmark out with a skimmer before it sustained any real damage.

Could you live in a tiny house? I could probably live in a tiny house if I only had to share it with my dog.

What are the small things that make you happy? Snow, cherry blossoms, pumpkins, and dogs always put a smile on my face, but nothing beats watching my kids play baseball and soccer.

Website and social media links:
Website: www.tammypasterick.com
Facebook: @authortammypasterick
Twitter: @TammyPasterick
Instagram: @authortammypasterick


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Who’s That Indie Author? Leora Krygier

Author Name: Leora Krygier

Genre: Memoir, Fiction and Non-Fiction

Books: Do Not Disclose (8/24/21), Keep Her, When She Sleeps, Juvenile Court

Brief bio: Leora Krygier is a former Los Angeles Superior Court, Juvenile Division judge. She’s the author of When She Sleeps, praised by Newsweek, Booklist, Library Journal, and Kirkus. When She Sleeps was also a New York Public Library Selection for “Best Books for the Teen Age.” She’s also the author of Juvenile Court: A Judges Guide for Young Adults and their Parents and Keep Her, a young adult novel. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, David.

What got you started as a writer? I started writing little stories, poems and micro-autobiographies when I was in third grade. I loved going to my local public library and sitting on the floor in between the stacks. It was there that I started dreaming of seeing my name one day on a bookshelf. It felt like something magical and permanent to write a book, something that would outlast me.

What difficult experience has helped you as a writer? As writers, we absorb and observe everything around us – people, places, events, along with all our good and bad experiences. I started writing fiction so I could make up the stories I wanted to read. Much harder was to write a memoir, my current book, with real people and real events that happened to me and my family. Knowing the truth about my family, learning that my best friend from childhood was actually my sister, was a difficult but freeing experience and writing about it was hard but also cathartic.

Have you ever participated in the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)? If so, how many times and what was your experience? I haven’t participated in this.

What advice would you give a new indie author hoping to publish a book? Publishing used to be a sort of “old boys club” where few writers were chosen by a small, select group of New York City publishers. We are luckier today with the advent of self, hybrid and boutique publishers. New voices can now be heard and this democratization of books is good for everyone. That said, because of the new (and large) influx of books on the market, it’s not easy to be found or heard, even once a book is published. You have to be prepared to work as hard or maybe even harder at marketing your book than writing it and you have to have realistic expectations. Also, it’s a good idea to contribute to the general conversation out there – pitch articles, personal essays or your own expertise. Every article you write, every IG or Facebook post you make is a piece of the publishing puzzle.

What has been the biggest challenge for you during Covid? Hardest for me, like many others, was not to be able to see and hug the people I loved. Also, not to be out and about to plan, look for and find new experiences. Yet, Covid was certainly a time for reflection and gratitude and an understanding of what is important. Time seemed to stand still and melt away quickly, both at the same time. Covid gave me more time to read, walk and think. I think we will all incorporate some of the lessons we learned about ourselves and the world post-Covid.

What are you reading right now? I’m actually rereading a classic – Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Every once in a while, I go back to the classics I read in high school, especially the ones with female protagonists and female writers. I’m blown away by the fact that despite the fact that Jane Eyre was written in the late 1800’s, the novel has not only stood the test of time but continues to be relevant, beloved and appreciated today.

Would you rather laugh or cry over a book? I think I’d rather have a good cry, even though I always hope there are some lighter moments in a book.

Have you ever climbed a tree to read a book? Not exactly “climbed,” but my parents had a large tree in front of their house that had a little half-wall around it where I would sit, play “imaginary kitchen” and read until dark.

Have you ever dropped a book in the tub, in a pool or in the ocean? Well, almost. Does spilling an entire large cup of coffee count? I’ve got a few older, but treasured books with coffee stains that I don’t have the heart to throw away. A few stuck-together pages don’t seem to bother me.

Could you live in a tiny house? Hmmm, a tiny house. I’ve lived in tiny apartments in Paris and Saint Tropez, so the thought of living in a tiny house is both challenging and intriguing. I do love the notion of paring down and living only with what is absolutely necessary. But my tiny house would have to be on a piece of land that included a creek, a forest or a mountain within sight.

What are the small things that make you happy? Reading, starting to think about and writing a new book, taking photographs, shopping, (especially after a year of Covid) traveling, hiking, and chocolate.

Website and social media links:
Website: leorakrygier.net
Instagram: @leorakrygierauthor
Facebook: @LeoraKrygierAuthor


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Who’s That Indie Author? Kim Fairley

Author Name: Kim Fairley

Genre: Nonfiction; memoir

Books: Shooting Out the Lights: A Memoir, She Writes Press, July 27, 2021; Photographs and Two Diaries of the 1901 Peary Relief Expedition, University of New Mexico Press, 2002    

Brief bio: As a writer, I focus on my quirky family, my experience as a competitive swimmer, and my age-gap marriage (my husband was 32 years older). I grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, attended the University of Southern California on a swimming scholarship and eventually my interest in art led me to Michigan where I attended grad school, raised my kids, and have lived ever since.

What got you started as a writer? With a great grandfather who in 1901 was an early Arctic tourist, I’ve always been fascinated by polar exploration. At the University of Michigan, I created monumental collages about the Arctic, and discovered I enjoyed crafting family stories more than creating art about them. And that’s when I began to write.

What difficult experience has helped you as a writer? Starting when I was twelve, my parents left my four younger siblings and me to manage on our own for a week or two every month while they traveled on business. My siblings were ages four, six, eight, and ten. We kids prepared meals, cleaned the laundry, deposited checks, and answered sales calls. We learned early how to manage everything by ourselves, and if we wanted something, we needed to go after it. I developed self-reliance and resilience. I became a fighter. I also learned the importance of consistency.

Have you ever participated in the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)? If so, how many times and what was your experience? Not yet.

What advice would you give a new indie author hoping to publish a book? My best advice for any new author is to write the stories that they find themselves repeating. When we wrestle with the words on the page, we discover truths about ourselves. These discoveries connect with readers.

What has been the biggest challenge for you during Covid? During Covid, I found myself craving human contact and sometimes feeling paralyzed by anxiety. The pandemic has been a reminder to pay attention to my body and my spirit.

What are you reading right now? I saved a book that my husband had read the year before his death. It was called Growing Young by Ashley Montagu. The book focuses on the evolution of human behavior which didn’t appeal to me in my twenties. Recently, I discovered he had marked some of the passages, so I began reading it. I see these marks now as clues into how he was thinking decades ago.

Would you rather laugh or cry over a book? I prefer books that make me cry like When Breath becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi or Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy. These books stay with me.

Have you ever climbed a tree to read a book? Never. I’ve hidden in a closet to read a book though.

Have you ever dropped a book in the tub, in a pool or in the ocean? No, but it’s a miracle because I spent half of my childhood in a swimming pool. From age twelve to twenty, I swam nine to eleven miles a day.

Could you live in a tiny house? If I had to, sure. After college I slept on a twin mattress on the floor of my apartment. The only other furniture were milk crates where I stored my books.

What are the small things that make you happy? I love waking to the sound of songbirds at my window, the smell of strong coffee, and the company of my sweet foxhound, Harley.

Website and social media links:
Website: kimfairley.com
Facebook: @kimfairley11
Twitter: @kimfairley1
Instagram: kimfairleywrites


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Who’s That Indie Author? Laurie James

Photo by Bradford Rogne Photography

Author Name: Laurie James

Genre: Memoir

Book: Sandwiched: A Memoir of Holding On and Letting Go

Brief bio: I am a mother, caregiver, divorcée, turned author and transformative coach. I have successfully launched four daughters into adulthood and have been the primary caretaker for my elderly parents for thirteen years. I have learned through therapy and other healing programs that I have everything I need within me to create the life I desire, and I want to share that knowledge with other women through writing and my coaching practice. I live in Manhattan Beach with my adopted husky, Lu. When I’m not walking my dog, volunteering, promoting my book or coaching, I can be found skiing, sailing, hiking, doing yoga, spending time with my girlfriends or planning my next adventure.

What got you started as a writer? It all started when my mother had a heart attack and fell ill. The tables quickly turned from her helping me with my teen and pre-teen daughters to my needing to oversee her care, the care of my dad, and hiring caregivers for both of them. Over the next several years, I’d laugh and cry with my friends and then husband about the antics my caregivers were pulling. They encouraged me to start writing down these stories, because I couldn’t have made these things up if I’d tried. I called them The Caregiver Chronicles. After writing for several years, I realized my story was bigger. Not only was I caring for my parents and managing unruly caregivers, I was also raising four teenage daughters, and my marriage was crumbling. That’s when I changed the title to Sandwiched for the sandwich generation.

What difficult experience has helped you as a writer? When I was going through the difficult challenges above, I took that opportunity to ask myself, “What’s my part in this and what am I suppose to learn from these experiences?” Writing with reflection about my difficulties has given me a deeper insight to who I am and how I can learn and grow when challenges arise. Hopefully my readers will also see a part of them in my character and learn to grow along with me.

Have you ever participated in the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)? If so, how many times and what was your experience? I haven’t participated in NaNoWriMo, but know other people who have. I have heard it’s a very productive experience. I will consider doing it if another book surfaces within me.

What advice would you give a new indie author hoping to publish a book? If writing a book has been a dream of yours or it keeps nudging you, just start. We all have to begin somewhere.

What has been the biggest challenge for you during Covid?  My biggest challenge during Covid was when my daughters left to go back to school in the fall. Even though their classes were virtual, they had previously committed to housing. I was sad and worried about being alone during the upcoming winter, but they came home at Thanksgiving and Christmas and we all made it through.

What are you reading right now? I’m reading the The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett and loving it.

Would you rather laugh or cry over a book? The best is when I can do both. I love putting a book down and feeling all the emotions it has stirred within me.

Have you ever climbed a tree to read a book? No, I haven’t climbed a tree to read a book, but as a child, I loved to climb the tree in my front yard.

Have you ever dropped a book in the tub, in a pool or in the ocean? I’ve dropped a book in my bathtub while in it, then dried it off and kept reading it.

Could you live in a tiny house? No, I have 4 adult children and they have significant others, so I need more space for when they visit.

What are the small things that make you happy? The small things that make me happy are laughter, my four daughters, friends, nature and love.

Website and social media links:

Website: laurieejames.com
Facebook: @Lauriejamesauthor
Instagram: laurie.james


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Who’s That Indie Author? Joe Wells

Author Name: Joe Wells

Genre: Murder mystery

Book: The Case of the Grease Monkey’s Uncle

Bio: I worked in the family bakers business and became a professional actor through amateur theatre. Following my father’s death and my mother’s decline into dementia, I became her full-time caregiver, which necessitated my retirement from acting, but sparked my desire to write more as a means of stimulating my creative side.

What got you started as a writer? I have always written since school just for fun, but my wife suggested I should write a children’s book which led to a collection of eight.

What difficult experience has helped you as a writer? Looking after my mother who had dementia as her full-time caregiver meant I could escape in my head by creating a story which I could later use for a story or a book, but they certainly weren’t the easiest years of my life by any means.

Have you ever participated in the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)? If so, how many times and what was your experience? I have never participated in the National Novel Writing Month. I will have to look into it.

What advice would you give a new indie author hoping to publish a book? Don’t give up, it’s a long road, but well with it in the long run.

What has been the biggest challenge for you during Covid? As I am retired, I have to say I have had an easy time during Covid except when I contracted it at Christmas, but luckily it was like a very bad dose of flu and left me with no long-term symptoms. During the first lockdown, I wrote my book The Case of the Grease Monkey’s Uncle, which was relatively easy as there were no distractions as all we could do was stay indoors, so I very much enjoyed writing the book. However, I am writing a second book called The Case of the Punch and Judy Man which continues the story of my detective characters, James Arbuthnott and Archie Cluff. But there are many more distractions. I am assisting my wife with her health and beauty clinic, making it somewhat slower progress this time round.

What are you reading right now? I am reading A Fighter Command Station at War by Mark Hillier. It is about RAF Westhampnett, which is research for my next book set in the 1940s.

Would you rather laugh or cry over a book? I think I would prefer to laugh, but I’m quite happy with any book that stirs any of my emotions.

Have you ever climbed a tree to read a book? I have never climbed a tree to read a book. I have, however, climbed a tree to build a treehouse when I was a child. It was not too far from the ground, though, as my mother was very protective of my brother and me, probably because we were adopted which made us a tad more precious to her.

Have you ever dropped a book in the tub, in a pool or in the ocean? I have never had a book in close enough proximity to any of these things to drop one in.

Could you live in a tiny house? We currently live in a large house but I have lived in a small house and I think I am sufficiently adaptable that I could cope wherever I might live.

What are the small things that make you happy? I love my wife and my classic cars although if I was forced to make a choice my wife would just edge it!

Website and social media links:
Blog: https://thediaryofacountrybumpkin.com/
Website: https://lordjoewells.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/joe.wells.7921/


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Who’s That Indie Author? Faith Wilcox

Faith Wilcox

Author Name: Faith Fuller Wilcox

Genre: Memoir

Book: Hope is a Bright Star: A Mother’s Memoir of Love, Loss, and Learning to Live Again

Are you a full-time author? If not, what’s your side gig? Full-time author

Favorite author/books: Anthony Doerr…All the Light You Cannot See and Four Seasons in Rome

What experiences or people have influenced your writing the most? My interest in writing started in college and grew when I began a daily practice of writing in a journal twenty years ago. I started journal writing after my daughter Elizabeth was diagnosed with a rare bone cancer. I wrote to release feelings of anxiety, loss, and fear, and I wrote to record what happened during the day and night during my daughter’s cancer treatments. After Elizabeth died, I wrote of my maelstrom of grief and the depression I struggled with. In time, I wrote of my flickers of hope for healing and eventually, I wrote about where I found places and times of comfort and peace.

Do you keep a writing journal and if so, how do you use it? Yes. I continue to write in a journal. The journal entries that I’ve written over the past twenty years are the fiber of my memoir, Hope Is a Bright Star.

Do you belong to a writers’ group? If so, describe your experience: I don’t belong to a writing group but I studied poetry with Mark Doty and memoir with Paul Lisicky at the Juniper Institute which is part of the University of Massachusetts MFA Program in Creative Writing. I also take writing courses at Grub Street in Boston, MA.

Are you up with the sun or do you burn the midnight oil? Up with the sun!

How do you get over a writing slump? I take a break from writing and spend time in nature.

Do you prefer writing dialogue or descriptive passages? Descriptive passages

What are you working on now? I’ve been writing Hope is a Bright Star for several years and am working on early publicity prior to my pub date of June 8, 2021.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about writing and publishing a book? Write about a topic that you know well and you feel passionate about sharing. As far as publishing goes, be prepared! Work with an editor and make your manuscript as good as it can be before you send it to an agent or publisher. Write a strong book proposal too. Lastly, keep on trying to make contact with the publisher or agent in your genre. Never give up!

Do you listen to podcasts? If so, which podcasts do you find the most interesting? Podcasts that focus of grieving and healing, finding meaning after loss, discovering healing after trauma.

Favorite escape: Walking along the shoreline of the sea or a lake.

Have you ever tried Kombucha tea?:  No, I haven’t but I might. I like tea much more than coffee.

Do you prefer a couch with pillows or no pillows? A couch with pillows.

Would you rather rake leaves, shovel snow or weed? Weed! For some reason I find weeding cathartic.

Favorite mask – disposable paper, plain fabric, colorful print or something else? Colorful print of various blues.

Biggest writing challenge since Covid-19: Feeling more isolated. Writing is always a singular exercise but I like to gather with others and share my writings. I’ve not been able to share my writing with friends like I used to do prior to Covid-19.

Website and social media links:
Website: faithwilcoxnarratives.com
Facebook: @FaithFWilcox
Twitter: @FaithFWilcox
LinkedIn: Faith Wilcox linkedin.com/in/faithfwilcox

Awards: Hope is a Bright Star: A Mother’s Memoir of Love, Loss, and Learning to Live Again was a GOLD winner in the Nonfiction Book Awards program. Faith’s publisher, She Writes Press, is an award-winning hybrid indie press. See info below:


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Who’s That Indie Author? Jill Culiner

Jill Culiner

Author Name: Thank you so much, Barb, for having me here on your blog. My author name is Jill Culiner but I also write romance as J. Arlene Culiner

Genre: I write non-fiction, mysteries, as well as romance, and romantic suspense.

Books: My non-fiction book is: Finding Home in the Footsteps of the Jewish Fusgeyers.

My mysteries are: Death by Slanderous Tongue and Sad Summer in Biarritz.

My romances are: All About Charming Alice, Desert Rose, A Swan’s Sweet Song, Felicity’s Power and A Turkish Affair.

Are you a full-time author? If not, what’s your side gig? I am also a social critical artist, a cartoonist, a photographer, and very occasionally I work as an actress.

Favorite authors/books: At the moment I love Kapka Kassabova, Charles King, Robert A. Rosenstone, Stephen Morris, W.G. Sebald and Anita Brookner.

What experiences or people have influenced your writing the most? Wonderful books like those of the above authors.

Do you keep a writing journal and if so, how do you use it? I kept a journal for most of my life and I’m glad I did because much of my writing is the result of what I wrote down. However, unless I’m travelling and working on a project, I no longer keep one. Everything I write is for my books or my podcast. That’s enough writing for me.

Do you belong to a writers’ group? If so, describe your experience: No, I don’t. I live in a French-speaking country and I write in English. I do have the feeling I write in isolation, but that’s just fine.

Are you up with the sun or do you burn the midnight oil? Usually, I’m an early riser. My brain turns itself off at around 9:00 pm and I become lazy and dull-witted.

How do you get over a writing slump? I go do something else. If it is a temporary slump—being at war with a paragraph, for example—I’ll go for a walk. If it is a long slump, I’ll just stop writing for a few months. I know the world won’t come to an end if I take a big pause and let my subconscious get to work.

Do you prefer writing dialogue or descriptive passages? I love both. I love writing down cynical, satirical, tongue-in-cheek descriptions, and conversations.

What are you working on now? I’m editing my two most recent manuscripts. One is a non-fiction about a rebellious poet I fell madly in love with. Unfortunately, he died 130 years ago, but I tracked him down in Ukraine, Romania, Austria, and Turkey. The book, A Contrary Journey: with Velvel Zbarzher, Bard, will be published by Claret Press in October.

The other manuscript, The Room in Blake’s Folly, is a romance that starts in 1889 in a Nevada saloon and ends in 2020. I was inspired by the idea that we’ll never know the sort of mischief our ancestors got up to.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about writing and publishing a book? Read, read some more, read in other genres, read non-fiction, read history, read excellent poetry, read wonderful writers like Anita Brookner or the other authors mentioned above.

Do you listen to podcasts? If so, which podcasts do you find the most interesting? I have my own storytelling podcast: https://soundcloud.com/j-arlene-culiner. But I love old the Podcasts on France Culture (history, analysis, stimulating stuff).

Favorite escape: Cooking, experimenting with food, inventing dishes and eating

Have you ever tried Kombucha tea? No. What is it?

Do you prefer a couch with pillows or no pillows? Don’t own one so I can’t answer.

Would you rather rake leaves, shovel snow or weed? I never weed because weeds are simply wild flowers that insects need: we desperately need insects. Ditto for raking, because they provide ground cover for the beasties we need and because leaves are also wonderful mulch. As for snow, I live in such a temperate part of the world (France) that snow only comes around for a day or two each year. It’s so lovely, why shovel it away?

Favorite mask – disposable paper, plain fabric, colorful print or something else? Definitely a reusable mask. We don’t need more throw-away items in the world.

Biggest writing challenge since Covid-19 I haven’t really noticed a difference in my life other than not being able to sit in cafés and restaurants for long lunches with friends.

Website and social media links:
For romances:
Website: j-arleneculiner.com
Blog: j-arleneculiner.over-blog.com
Amazon Author: J. Arlene Culiner
Goodreads Author: J. Arlene Culiner
Facebook: J Arlene Culiner (J Arlene Culiner Romances)

For other books: 
Website: jill-culiner.com
Amazon Author: Jill Culiner
Blog: jewish-histories.over-blog.com


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Who’s That Indie Author? Margaret Rodenberg

Margaret Rodenberg

Author Name: Margaret Rodenberg

Genre: Historical Fiction

Book: Finding Napoleon – it’s based partly on Napoleon Bonaparte’s own attempt to write a novel and costars his little-known last love, Albine de Montholon.

Are you a full-time author? If not, what’s your side gig? I’m an escapee from the business world who’s thrilled to be a full-time author.

Favorite author/books: A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy and The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald are three perfect novels that I reread every few years. For more recent releases, I loved Stephanie Dray’s The Women of Chateau Lafayette, Louis Bayard’s Courting Mr. Lincoln, and Emily St John Mandel’s The Glass Hotel.

What experiences or people have influenced your writing the most? I lived in France as a young teen, which sparked my passion for travel, history, and language. Plus, I come from a bookish family and took it for granted that I’d write novels.

Do you keep a writing journal and if so, how do you use it? No, but during my travels, I jot down notes, collect mementos, and take a ton of photos.

Do you belong to a writers’ group? If so, describe your experience: When I was starting out, I lucked into a supportive circle of talented women writers. We met in person every three weeks for ten years. I still have a weekly check-in with one of them, and others read drafts for me. I also have a remote group of insightful writers whose monthly critiques are invaluable.

Are you up with the sun or do you burn the midnight oil? I prefer a leisurely awakening so midmorning coffee to midnight oil are best for me.

How do you get over a writing slump? I don’t have “slumps” so much as distractions. When I do get frustrated with a project, I switch to a different aspect of the work—marketing, researching, or organizing—or to a different section of the manuscript.

Do you prefer writing dialogue or descriptive passages? Oh, I love dialogue—that’s where the drama happens. Plus, I’m a theatre buff, so I like the talky stuff.

What are you working on now? A French Revolution-era dystopian novel about social justice that speaks to our time.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about writing and publishing a book? Do it! But make the writing itself—the immense intellectual gratification—your primary reward. Be realistic about the publishing industry and the financial rewards.

Do you listen to podcasts? If so, which podcasts do you find the most interesting? I listen to reruns of the day’s cable news shows, book podcasts such as write-minded, The NYT Book Review or Book Riot, and French and Spanish language lessons. Mostly, I listen to audio books.

Favorite escape: Going anywhere with my husband. We’re as happy in a Paris art museum as we are kayaking in British Columbia or hiking in our local national park.

Have you ever tried Kombucha tea? Yes, but I’m not an enthusiast.

Do you prefer a couch with pillows or no pillows? If the couch is deep, I want a pillow for support, but, please, don’t surround me with  them.

Would you rather rake leaves, shovel snow or weed? Shoveling snow on a clear, crisp day. Love the invigorating workout!

Favorite mask – disposable paper, plain fabric, colorful print or something else? I recently bought an adjustable gaiter with a slot for disposable filters (double ‘em up!) that I really like.

Biggest writing challenge since Covid-19: Initially, I had difficulty focusing, because I was anxious about the future. Now, I burrow into my writing and try to forget the outside world.

Website and social media links:
Website: margaretrodenberg.com
Facebook Author Page: @MargaretRodenberg.author
Instagram: margaretrodenberg
Twitter: @MargaretRodenberg
Email: margaret@mrodenberg.com


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Who’s That Indie Author? Lorelei Brush

Lorelei Brush

Author Name: Lorelei Brush

Genre: I write both Upmarket Women’s Fiction and Historical Fiction.

Books: Uncovering is my debut novel. Its story: When the head of her Pakistani family slips from fundamentalism to terrorism, young nurse Shahnaz struggles between her religion, which prizes obedience, and her passion to help pregnant women deliver healthy babies. Her saga uncovers the power of women in a society ordered by men.

My second novel, Chasing the American Dream, is set in 1955 Cleveland. David’s gaze catches the martial stride of a brutal ex-S.S. Major he’d sent to Nuremberg. David reverts to habits he mastered in the Office of Strategic Services in a quest for justice yet finds himself in a fight with the U.S. government which threatens his own American dream.

Are you a full-time author? If not, what’s your side gig? I’m retired from international development work and embrace the pleasures of writing fiction.

Favorite author/books: I love Kristin Hannah, Susan Meissner, and Kate Quinn and inhale their novels as they are released. I regularly return to Georgette Heyer and Dick Francis.

What experiences or people have influenced your writing the most? My professional editor Holly and a diverse writers’ group.

Do you keep a writing journal and if so, how do you use it? I write down ideas, critiques from my writers group meetings, and research findings.

Do you belong to a writers’ group? If so, describe your experience: I started with 8 others who had taken a year-long course to draft a novel. We pushed each another to decide if the book was worth finishing or not. Three of us are now published. Currently, I work with one other writer to perfect new work and create publicity for the published novels.

Are you up with the sun or do you burn the midnight oil? Up with the sun!

How do you get over a writing slump? I take myself to task: What’s stopping me? Often, it’s an issue I can’t resolve but research can.

Do you prefer writing dialogue or descriptive passages? Dialogue. I can see the scene in my head, shift from the persona on one character into another, and play out the action.

What are you working on now? Dancing in the Moonlight, a story of a young family struggling with their child’s disabilities.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about writing and publishing a book? (1) Spend time on learning your craft. Writing fiction is different from your day job. (2) Find a writers’ group.

Do you listen to podcasts? Only rarely.

Favorite escape: Hiking in Colorado!

Have you ever tried Kombucha tea? No.

Do you prefer a couch with pillows or no pillows? None.

Would you rather rake leaves, shovel snow or weed?  Shovel snow. Love the cold.

Favorite mask? Paper. It’s OK if I lose it.

Biggest writing challenge since Covid-19: Being stuck at home!

Website and social media links:
Website: www.LoreleiBrush.com
Facebook: Author – Lorelei Brush


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