Who’s That Indie Author? Richard Lyntton

Richard Lyntton

Name: Richard Lyntton

Books written: North Korea Deception, Book 1 in The Deception Series: Hyde Park Deception (Book 2); Leningrad Deception (Book 3 – April 2023)

Genre: Commercial thriller – spy thriller, political thriller

Books Published: From Cottage to Palace, This Was Our Malvern and Upton-Upon-Seven Recollections written by my aunt, Margaret Bramford.

Genre: non-fiction and local history royal memoir

When did you first decide you wanted to be a writer? I have always wanted to be a writer ever since a wrote a “cowboy epic” of about 40 pages, aged 8, in my primary school, London, UK.

I read a lot when I became a professional actor. I love John le Carré, Robert Ludlum, and Daniel Silva. In about 2005, I started writing North Korea Deception, which was based on real-life adventures as a Russian student in Moscow, serving as a captain in the British army, and working as a UNTV producer in Bosnia.

Do you write full-time? If not, do you have an outside job or other responsibilities? Between auditions, yes, I write every day, 2-3 hours in the morning after a 45 min walk along my local creek. I also spend 3-4 hours marketing and working on the other books I am publishing under Malchik Media (which means “Boy Media” in Russian. I have two sons, so I just made up the name.)

Where do you get your ideas for characters and plots? Probably 30-50% is autobiographical in terms of locations and experiences. But I also need a theme or topic I feel passionate about and use historical research to weave the above into a gripping story. I write thrillers, so there must be an exciting, nail-biting, and roller-coaster plot!

Have you ever written yourself into a story? Yes, Jack Steele, the hero in my series, is 30-50% autobiographical.

Tell me about your nonfiction projects. What subjects motivate you? I publish non-fiction (3 to date) in memory of my aunt Margaret Bramford. She wrote ten local history books about: a) my great aunt Florence who served as a ladies maid in the British royal household for thirty years, travelling the world with two Queen Elizabeths – The Queen Mother and Queen Elizabeth II, (think Downton Abbey and The Crown (Netflix), and, b) local social history and biography memoirs from the Worcestershire and Malvern area in UK.

What kind of research and preparation do you do before you write? I read non-fiction books and watch documentaries on the subject(s) I am interested in. e.g. Leningrad Deception is a story based on President Ronald Regan’s “Deception Committee” during the end of the Cold War during the Reagan-Gorbachev period in 1989. I had never heard about or read about the “Deception Committee,” and found it fascinating to weave a plot based around this little-known part of the Reagan-Gorbachev era. I draft an outline of each scene before I write the first draft: POV, Date/time, location, characters, plot and most importantly, the “kick” – what propels the story to the next chapter?

What is your editing process? Do you hire an outside editor? Two things any author or indie author must spend money on – hiring a professional editor and a professional book cover designer. I go back and forth one or two chapters at a time with my editor as I write each draft.

How do you decide on your book covers? Do you outsource? I hire a professional book cover designer. Before I published North Korea Deception, I spent the afternoon in Barnes and Noble screen-shooting thriller covers and the info inside the cover. Then I reached out to some cover designers on LinkedIn and found a great fit.

How did you come up with the title of your latest book? Great Question. My thriller series must have the word “Deception” in the title, so that’s 50% of the job. The rest of the title speaks to the story location, or one of the locations – e.g. North Korea, Hyde Park, Leningrad etc.

What route did you take to get published? Describe your experience. I watched tons of videos on YouTube. David Gaughran’s FREE course, Starting From Zero is fantastic. I also purchased a couple of on-line courses on Amazon ads and Facebook ads.

Have you ever tried to get an agent? If so, what steps did you take? I tried to get an agent for many years and gave up. It might take two years to get an agent because most of them take weeks, if not months to reply to a submission or query. Once they sign you, you might wait another year for them to find a publisher and publish. The process – if you are lucky – might take three years. However, if you do it yourself, once you have a polished, finished manuscript, you can self-publish in about 6 months.

What kinds of things do you do to promote your book? Amazon ads, Facebook ads, my website, “reader regiment” newsletter, and discount promo sites are the main ways I use to market.

Have you ever had a book-signing event? Tell us about your experience. Yes. Local indie bookstores and Barnes and Noble are very welcoming to local authors in my experience. They like to have “real” writers in the store, that bring foot traffic and the human touch to books. They don’t seem to care if you are traditionally or self-published. It’s always a very positive experience for me but you must be “high-energy” and know how to hook your potential readers.

Have you taken writing courses? I did take a writing course many years ago and read every writing book I could find on writing when I first began about fifteen years ago.

Do you belong to a writer’s group? I did try once, but I didn’t find it helpful or useful.

Are you in a book club? I do book signings and talks at local book clubs. People are always very eager and pleased to have a real author!

Do you ask friends/family to read your WIP? I did used to ask a couple of well-selected and carefully chosen writer friends to read my first draft of book 1. Now I rely mainly on my editor for the WIP.

Name three unread books on your bookshelf. The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson; The King’s Pawn by Lucy Hooft; Beyond the Cobblestones by Luisa Livorno Ramondo.

What is the last book you read? Portrait of an Unknown Woman by Daniel Silva

How many pages do you think a book of fiction/nonfiction should be? About 400pages – 90-100K words

What is the riskiest or wildest thing you’ve ever done? I once tried to secretly film General Ratko Mladic, and Dr. Radovan Karadzic, leaders of the Bosnian Serbs in Pale, Sarajevo, during the Bosnia war. I wasn’t a spy, I was filming a video diary for the BBC about life as a United Nations Military Observer in Bosnia. I got caught and my camera was confiscated but considered myself lucky not to be arrested or worse.

What is the hardest thing you’ve ever done? Writing, editing, narrating the audiobook, and marketing a book TO BE PROFITABLE!

What advice can you give to new writers entering the writing and publishing arena? Be very, very clear about your goals – do you just want to write one book and “be published” or do you want to write several books and make a business. Huge difference.

You gotta love the actual process of writing. You gotta START writing every day. You find a time that works for you, and you gotta do it every single day, or most days of the week. Find a great editor and a great book cover designer. That’s where you spend your money. Never pay a “publisher” to publish your book unless you really understand what is involved and what you are paying for. Writing is 35% writing and 65% marketing. Most so called “hybrid-publishers” do NOT do the most difficult part of marketing your book.

You gotta believe and know that people want to read your stuff! I told myself early in the process – I know there are people out there who will enjoy these stories – I just gotta find them.

Website and social media links:
Website: richardlynttonbooks.com
Twitter: @richardlyntton
Facebook: Richard Lyntton Books
Instagram: @richardlynttonbooks
YouTube: @richardlynttonAuthor Hour with Richard Lyntton – I interview other authors about writing and publishing.


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Who’s That Indie Author? Jaq D Hawkins

Jaq D Hawkins

Name: Jaq D Hawkins

Books: Dance of the Goblins, To Dance With Dragons, Power of the Dance, The Wake of the Dragon, The Chase For Choronzon

Genre: Fantasy

Background: Traditionally published author gone full indie. Publishes non-fiction occult and Fantasy fiction.

When did you first decide you wanted to be a writer? As a child, though my first book was published in 1996.

Do you write full-time? I juggle film editing with writing, but yes, my creative work is full time.

Where do you get your ideas for characters and plots? They plague me constantly. I have many partial projects on my computer, all vying for attention. Ideas are the easy part.

Have you ever written yourself into a story? I think all writers lend some of themselves to favourite characters.

Tell me about your nonfiction projects. What subjects motivate you? I’ve had an interest in occult subjects since an aunt first introduced me to astrology at age 8. My first published pieces were for specialist magazines in that subject matter and I’ve had a few books out since then, mainly about chaos witchcraft and nature spirits.

What kind of research and preparation do you do before you write? It depends on the project. For example, The Wake of the Dragon is set in an alternative Victorian England and apart from the airships, much of it is effectively historical fiction. The East India Company and their involvement in the opium trade was very interesting indeed!

What is your editing process? Do you hire an outside editor? Every writer should hire an editor. The first pass I do myself though. I make a PDF and put it on my Kindle, read one chapter a day and take notes on any typos I find and anything else that needs changing.

How do you decide on your book covers? Do you outsource? My Fantasy covers have art from very talented artists. I do my own titles and graphics as I’m an old Photoshop addict. The one exception was The Chase for Choronzon, as the whimsical nature of that one was given to a photo manipulation.

How did you come up with the title of your latest book? The latest release was The Chase For Choronzon. That reflects the plot of the book itself, as two magicians chase the demon Choronzon through time and space to return him to his duty, guarding the gates between the worlds.

What route did you take to get published? Describe your experience. The fiction was a lucky accident. I was deciding what route to go with that when someone starting a small publishing company ended up sitting at a table with me at a social event. He had a look, got some of his people to read my manuscript and decided to go with it.

Have you ever tried to get an agent? If so, what steps did you take?  In my early writing days I sent things to agents, usually to be told they didn’t handle genre fiction, even if their listings said they did.

What kinds of things do you do to promote your book? Not enough. I’ve got them on book sale lists and more recently have tried Bookfunnel while assessing the more costly options.

Have you ever had a book-signing event? Yes. I’ve done book signings for my non-fiction on occasion.

Have you taken writing courses? In school. I regularly read articles online about various aspects of writing.

Do you belong to a writer’s group? Tell us about your experience. A few groups on Facebook. I find them very friendly and supportive.

Are you in a book club? Not at the moment.

Do you ask friends/family to read your WIP? No. They’re the least likely to read it and if they do, they’ll tell you it’s wonderful no matter what.

Name three unread books on your bookshelf. The ones at the top of my tbr at present are The Other Magic by Derrick Smythe, Reign of Shadows by Angel Haze and A Thief in Farshore by Justin Pike. I do read other genres but there’s some awesome indie Fantasy out there and I’m trying to catch up.

What is the last book you read? Finished? Crucible of Shadows by Jon Cronshaw. It was third in a series well worth reading.

How many pages do you think a book of fiction/nonfiction should be? It depends. Non-fiction is totally down to how much information needs to be conveyed on the subject. Fiction is fairly subjective. I like books under 400 pages best. Some people like huge books and I will read them if they’re good enough to hold my attention that long.

What is the riskiest or wildest thing you’ve ever done? Either running away with the carnival at age 16 or initiating court proceedings on my own, using my writing ability to copy format on papers sent against me in a custody case. I won in the end.

What is the hardest thing you’ve ever done? Physical or mental? Mental, definitely the custody battle. Physical, was probably a printing job I had where I didn’t realise the first night I was doing the work of two men. I just threw myself into the work and didn’t think about the fact that it wasn’t really a lady’s job.

What advice can you give to new writers entering the writing and publishing arena? Learn to take criticism. Your first draft is never going to be perfect. Writing is hard work, not an easy buck.

Website and social media links:
Website: jaqdhawkins.com
WordPress: goblinsandsteampunk
Amazon: Jaq-D-Hawkins
Smashwords: jaqdhawkins
Facebook: GoblinSeries


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Who’s That Indie Author? W. L. Hawkin

W. L. Hawkin

Author Name: W. L. Hawkin (Wendy)

Genre: blended mystery/suspense/fantasy/romance

Books: Hollystone Mysteries—To Charm a Killer, To Sleep with Stones, To Render a Raven, To Kill a King, and Lure River Romances—Lure: Jesse & Hawk

Bio: W. L. Hawkin writes mysterious romantic adventures from her home on Vancouver Island, Canada. Wendy graduated from Trent University with a BA in Indigenous Studies, then went on to study English literature at SFU in British Columbia, and teach high school. She found her voice publishing poetry and Native Rights articles in Canadian news magazines and is now an Indie author/publisher at Blue Haven Press.

What got you started as a writer? I started writing poetry as a teenager to make sense of my world: “It’s a maze. It’s a haze. It’s a crazy place.” But when I saw Romancing the Stone in the 1980s, I wanted to be a romance novelist. Shortly after that, I wrote the first draft of what has become my latest romantic suspense release (Lure: Jesse & Hawk).

What is your writing routine? I write when the muse is with me and then for as long as my body holds out—some days six hours if I’m on, and other days not at all.

What routes did you take to get your books published? When I first wrote To Charm a Killer, I sent it to a few agents and publishers. I had some interest, but no one wanted to commit to a first-time author who wrote blended genres. It’s hard to sell.  So, I took a chance and published it myself. By that time, I’d finished my fourth book in the Hollystone Mysteries, I’d learned the ropes.

What things do you do to promote your books? I created a solid website and keep it updated. I enter contests and do readings/sales in my local community. Last year, I started working with a publicist who booked me on all kinds of media (TV, radio, podcasts, magazines) so I became comfortable talking about myself and my work (again, not easy for an introvert). I’m now able to approach people like you, Barb, and ask.

What is your favorite genre to read and why? Mystery/suspense is my favourite, no matter what century it’s set, and that’s what I write as well. Sometimes I venture into fantasy and action/adventure. I’m a regular reviewer with the Ottawa Review of Books so receive excellent ARCs from Canadian publishers.

Do you prefer to write dialogue or description? I don’t have a preference and you need to balance both in a scene to make it dynamic.

Have any of your characters ever surprised you? Did this change the plot of your book? Absolutely, and often. Once I connect with my characters, I meditate to get into an almost trance-like space where I can see and hear what’s happening. I’ve had reviewers say my writer is “cinematic” and I think that’s why. In To Sleep with Stones, one of the characters died in a very dramatic scene and I had no idea that was going to happen. I wrote that sequence in tears, and I think that raw emotion comes through to the reader.

What is the most difficult thing you have accomplished in your life? I quit high school in grade ten. In my mid-thirties, I was compelled to finish. One of the courses was Native Ancestry 11, and I had such an epiphany with that content, I wanted to go on and take university courses in Indigenous Studies. Coincidentally, I wrote the first draft of Lure: Jesse & Hawk, my latest release during that time. My ex-husband didn’t support me, so I left my marriage and completed my B.A. as a single mother going part-time to university courses for years. That was a challenging time, but also a healing time for me.

What three events or people have most influenced how you live your life? One: reading The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell in 1990 blew open my world and taught me to follow my “bliss.” Two: leaving my marriage and taking my young daughter taught me many things about living in this world. Three: graduating from university and getting my first paying gig as a teacher gave me financial independence and a sense of moral/ethical living in a community.

What would you tell your younger self? Borrowing from my mentor, Joseph Campbell, I’d say follow your passion, your bliss, and doors will open for you. Bundle up your problems and leave them outside, then walk through that door carrying a sense of curiosity, wonder, and hope.

Have you ever met up with a bear on a hike? If so, what did you do? If not, are you looking up what to do right now? I sure have! I live in the Pacific Northwest on bear territory so regularly see them. Remember that you’re a guest on their land, back up slowly, and give them the right of way. Hawk meets up with a bear in Lure, and unfortunately, he’s unable to back up and walk away, but that’s another story.

You’re locked in your local library for the night with no dinner. Thank goodness you have water, but you only have enough change to buy one item from the vending machine. Choices are limited to: Fudge Pop Tarts, Snickers or Doritos. Which would you choose and why? Doritos by default, despite the crumbs. I can’t eat gluten or cow dairy so until they start making junk food gluten free, and chocolate out of water buffalo milk and/or pure cocoa butter, I’ll stick to my corn chips.

What’s the largest number of people you’ve had in your kitchen at one time? In my whole lifetime? Probably a dozen at my parent’s wedding anniversary.

Website and social media links:
Website: Blue Haven Press
Linktree: https://linktr.ee/wlhawkin


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Who’s That Indie Author? Bjørn Larssen

Author Name: Bjørn Larssen

Genre: historical fiction, fantasy

Books: Storytellers (historical fiction set in Iceland), Children (a dark Norse myth retelling), Why Odin Drinks (humorous Norse myth retelling)

Bio: Bjørn Larssen is a Norse heathen made in Poland, but mostly located in a Dutch suburb, except for his heart which he lost in Iceland. He has a degree in mathematics and has worked as a graphic designer, a model, a bartender, and a blacksmith (not all at the same time). Winner of Queer Indie Lit award, Stabby nominee, Eric Hoffer Grand Prize Award finalist.

What got you started as a writer? In 2015 I tried to lift a massive Ikea kitchen unit and ended in a special profiled chair, only left to eat, sleep, and see doctors. I’ve always told people I’d totally write a book if I had time. Well, now I had all the time, a life I needed to escape, and a story demanding to be told…

What is your writing routine? I don’t really have one. There are days when I write for hours, followed by days when I just keep existing until I can go to bed and hope for a better tomorrow.

What route did you take to get your books published? During work on Storytellers, my debut, I was researching various forms of publishing. It turned out that traditional publishing had nothing to offer me except validation—after years of rejections from agents and editors, of course. I never received a single rejection, because I never sent a single query. I chose self-publishing and I have no regrets.

What things do you do to promote your books? I post silly stuff on Twitter and Facebook, I have a mailing list, a ko-fi page, a website in dire need of updating. I write guest posts or do interviews like this one 🙂 I’ve been just about to join TikTok for at least a year. Not that I’m afraid or anything…

What is your favorite genre to read and why? In 2019-2020 I went through lots of grimdark, then suddenly reality started doing whatever it is that it’s doing. I switched to romcoms and humour, and stayed there.

Do you prefer to write dialogue or description? Dialogue—once I find the character’s voice. Readers tell me my descriptions are great—the word “cinematic” gets used a lot. They have no idea what I see, hear, taste, smell, and fail to describe well enough.

Have any of your characters ever surprised you? Did this change the plot of your book? When I try to force a character to do something for the sake of the plot, they often cross their arms on their chest and announce “Nope, I wouldn’t do that.” Unfortunately they don’t tell me what they would do instead. It’s up to me to tweak the plot and hope they like the new one.

What is the most difficult thing you have accomplished in your life? Moving from Poland to the Netherlands. It was the best, the scariest, and the BIGGEST decision I have ever made. The only thing I ever regretted was not doing it earlier.

What three events or people have most influenced how you live your life? Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson and Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh are two books that literally saved my life. And… my therapist. After two years of c-PTSD therapy I’m such a different person that I need to get re-acquainted with myself. So far I seem quite nice.

What would you tell your younger self? Just because you are forced to do adult things, that doesn’t mean you’re an adult. Don’t be so hard on yourself. (Then I’d give him a long, warm hug.) And don’t lift kitchen units.

Have you ever met up with a bear on a hike? If so, what did you do? If not, are you looking up what to do right now? In the gay community, a “bear” is a big, hairy beast of a man. I have met up with a bear or two on hikes. 😉

You’re locked in your local library for the night with no dinner. Thank goodness you have water, but you only have enough change to buy one item from the vending machine. Choices are limited to: Fudge Pop Tarts, Snickers or Doritos. Which would you choose and why? Snickers. I don’t like Doritos (pauses for gasps to subside), I don’t know Fudge Pop Tarts, and I don’t like taking risks when I can only pick one.

What’s the largest number of people you’ve had in your kitchen at one time? Oh, ten or so? In a kitchen made for two if they really like each other? Every good party ends up moving to the kitchen, it’s a law.

Closing thoughts: I always blank at open questions… um… Sam Ryder is a human golden retriever. It’s a thought, right?

Thank you so much for having me!

Website and social media links:
Website: www.bjornlarssen.com
Twitter: @bjornlarssen
Instagram: bjorn_larssen


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Science fiction and fantasy – are these your genres?

I recently did a work book chat on science fiction and fantasy. I would never consider these my favorite genres because I have always preferred my fiction to be set in a familiar world. Like many, to me, science fiction and fantasy conjure up aliens, spaceships and other worlds, or animals that talk or strange creatures I’ve never even considered. For some reason, that has never excited me, or so I thought.

The more I got into preparing, however, the more I realized that I’ve read a good number of science fiction and fantasy and they were books I actually liked a lot! Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut is one of my favorite books.

So today I’m sharing those books. Some I read in high school, so I don’t have reviews for those. I’ve linked everything to either Goodreads or my blog. This list is by no means comprehensive. To find these, I referred to: Your Picks: Top 100 Science-Fiction, Fantasy Books on NPR.

1984 by George Orwell

Animal Farm by George Orwell

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

The Giver by Lois Lowry

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury


Here are a couple I’ve always wanted to read:

The Princess Bride by William Goldman

Watership Down by Richard Adams

This is proof that it’s always good to stretch yourself to different genres. You may already find some familiar books in there and more that you will enjoy! How do you feel about science fiction and fantasy? Leave a comment!

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

Who’s That Indie Author? Jonathan Pongratz

Author Name: Jonathan Pongratz

Genre: Horror/Scifi/ Fantasy

Books: Conscience, Reaper: A Horror Novella

Are you a full-time author? If not, what’s your side gig? I wish! During the week I do finance work for a legal firm. It may be a bit boring, but it certainly pays the bills!

Favorite author/books: Shutter by Courtney Alameda, Scythe by Neal Shusterman, and Battlecry by Emerald Dodge.

What experiences or people have influenced your writing the most? Hard to say exactly. My need to read has probably influenced me the most. Reading fuels my inspiration to write.

Do you keep a writing journal and if so, how do you use it? Nope.

Do you belong to a writers’ group? If so, describe your experience: Nope.

Are you up with the sun or do you burn the midnight oil? Definitely an early bird. During the week I sometimes get up as early as 4am! Do I like it? Not really, but it’s how I get things done.

How do you get over a writing slump? Honestly, I just keep writing. If I feel a writing slump coming, I write even more to try and beat it. It will pass eventually.

Do you prefer writing dialogue or descriptive passages? Both are intrinsically linked to a balanced story, so I would say both. Sometimes you need dialogue to move the story, other times you need the setting to do the work for you.

What are you working on now? I’m working on the sequel to Reaper: A Horror Novella. I’m chiseling out the first draft and hoping to get this baby published by end of year or early 2021.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about writing and publishing a book? Keep at it. Set aside time for writing and force yourself to commit to it.

Do you listen to podcasts? If so, which podcasts do you find the most interesting? Yes! I prefer true crime, anything paranormal, and a little bit of comedy.

Favorite escape: A book or somewhere rural and scenic.

Have you ever tried Kombucha tea? No, but a friend let me smell Kombucha once and that pretty much sealed my disdain for it.

Do you prefer a couch with pillows or no pillows? What is life without pillows, tons and tons of pillows?

Would you rather rake leaves, shovel snow or weed? I very much enjoy raking leaves. No idea why. Sign me up!

Favorite mask – disposable paper, plain fabric, colorful print or something else? Plain fabric. I have some black ones that are great.

Biggest writing challenge since Covid-19: Keeping up with life and wellness. Things have somehow gotten much busier than they were pre-Covid.

Website and social media links:
Website: www.jonathanpongratz.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/jonathanpongratz
GoodReads: www.goodreads.com/jonathanpongratz
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/jonathan-pongratz
Tumblr: https://jonathanpongratz.tumblr.com/


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Email bvitelli2009@gmail.com for a bio template and other details.

Who’s That Indie Author? Dorothy A. Winsor

Author name: Dorothy A. Winsor

Genre: Young Adult and Middle Grade fantasy

Books: The Wysman (Inspired Quill, June 2020), The Wind Reader (Inspired Quill, 2018), Deep as a Tomb (Loose Leaves, 2016), Finders Keepers (Zharmae, 2015)

What’s your story and how did you become a writer? I’m a former English professor who decided that writing YA and MG fantasy was more fun. My first ventures into writing fiction came in the form of Tolkien fanfiction. I didn’t want the story to end, so I wrote more of it myself. I’d read that writers produce a million words of bad stuff before they write well. One of the sites I posted on kept track of your word count and when I hit a million, I figured I was there! So I switched to writing my own stuff.

How do you balance your work with other demands?  I schedule my writing time and usually leave my house to do it so I’m not tempted to do something else.

Name one of the happiest moments in your life:  The birth of my son

What’s your approach to writing? Are you a “pantser” or a planner?  I’m a planner. Having a plan is reassuring, though I feel free to change it once I get to know my characters better and see if my plan will work.

Could you write in a café with people around?  That’s where I usually write. As long as the music isn’t too loud, I’m good.

Have you ever written dialogue in a second language? If so, how did you do it?  No. Sounds tricky.

What’s your favorite book and what are you reading now?  I’m currently reading Ann Patchett’s Bel Canto, which came highly recommended. My favorite book varies. Right now it’s probably Turner’s Queen’s Thief series.

What’s your favorite way to read a book: hardcover, paperback, eReader?  It really makes no difference to me. Whatever’s at hand.

Do you think print books will always be around?  Absolutely.

Would you ever read a book on your phone?  No. The screen is too small.

What’s your go-to device? iPhone, Android or something else?  Android

How long could you go without checking your phone?  An hour or two, probably.

Do you listen to audiobooks? If you do, what do you do while you’re listening?  I listen while I drive.

Do you like using social media to promote yourself and your book? If so, what’s your favorite platform?  I use both Facebook and Twitter. Facebook is mostly old friends and family. Twitter is where I make connections and meet new people.

Website and social media links:
Facebook: Dorothy Winsor
Twitter: @dorothywinsor
Blog: dawinsor.com


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Who’s That Indie Author? Jason R. Koivu

Author name:  Jason R. Koivu

Genre:  Fantasy

Books:  Beyond Barlow, The Rue of Hope (#2 in Beyond Barlow series)

What’s your story and how did you become a writer? I got the bug early on, but didn’t do much about it until I started self-publishing some travel journal stuff after my wife and I went to Oaxaca in 2014. It was a great trip to a wonderful place. I wanted to write about all the amazing things we did and saw, so I kept a daily diary and that eventually was turned into a book. A couple years after that I secured a contract with a publisher and since then I’ve mainly been working on my fantasy series.

How do you balance your work with other demands?  I run a photo booth operation, doing occasional party events in the evenings and on weekends, so I have an unusual schedule. It gives me plenty of free time for writing.

Name one of the happiest moments in your life:  Getting that first book contract was an incredibly happy moment. Not to bring down the mood but…Just minutes after receiving the news of the contract, I opened the email that informed me a friend of mine had taken his own life the night before. So, that day will be forever burned in my memory, the two events always entwined.

What’s your approach to writing? Are you a “pantser” or a planner?  Planner. I organize the crap out of the books I’m about to work on. I used to pants it as a kid, but after a couple unfinished manuscripts that went nowhere because I didn’t have an ending or I boxed myself into a bad idea, I decided any future work would include outlines. However, once I construct the skeleton, I allow myself the freedom to dress it in flesh and muscle of my choosing. Changes to my plans happen often and I embrace them.

Could you write in a café with people around?  Sure! My favorite brewpub down the street from my house has a nice corner spot at the bar where I can be out of the way while I type. Writing in public isn’t ideal, because of the distractions, but over the years I’ve developed a fair ability to block out extraneous noise.

What’s your favorite book and what are you reading now? The most meaningful book for me would be To Kill a Mockingbird. But for pure nostalgic enjoyment it’s The Fellowship of the Ring. Right now, I’m reading The Murder on the Links, Agatha Christie’s second book in her Poirot series.

What’s your favorite way to read a book: hardcover, paperback, eReader?  I love a paperback, but it doesn’t much matter, just as long as I’m reading.

Do you think print books will always be around?  No. Not in profusion, at any rate. But I hope to be dead by then. J

Would you ever read a book on your phone?  I have and it wasn’t fun. But it was on an early iPhone which had small screen, so…probably not the best conditions for a good reading experience.

Do you listen to audiobooks? If you do, what do you do while you’re listening?  Yes, I go through quite a few of them. I line up some household duties and knock them out while listening. The dishes, laundry and yard work don’t require concentration, so it’s a good time to listen to an audiobook. Plus, it makes it feel like the drudge work is going by faster. I actually look forward to weeding the garden or raking the lawn if I’ve got something good to listen to.  

Do you like using social media to promote yourself and your book? If so, what’s your favorite platform?  Probably Instagram, because I don’t have to talk about myself. I hate doing promotion. I don’t like selling myself or my work. It doesn’t feel right and I’m not good at it…. How’s this interview going? Lol

Website and social media links:
Blog: jasonrkoivu.blogspot.com
Instagram: jason_r_koivu
Facebook: @beyondbarlow
Twitter: @JKoivu


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Who’s That Indie Author? Berthold Gambrel

Author name:  Berthold Gambrel

Genre:  Science-Fiction, Horror, Fantasy

BooksThe Directorate, The House of Teufelvelt, 1NG4, Vespasian Moon’s Fabulous Autumn Carnival.

What’s your story and how did you become a writer? When I was in college, I read a lot of horror fiction while hanging out between classes, and at some point I started thinking, I could write something better than this. As it turned out, I really couldn’t—looking back, most of my early horror stories were pretty weak—but I got better at writing in other genres, in particular science fiction. More significantly, I discovered I really enjoyed doing it.

How do you balance your work with other demands? It’s a struggle. Sometimes, when I have an idea I really like, I’ll stay up late at night on weeknights writing to get it all down as fast as I can. Other times, I feel like I can’t write a word even when I have the whole day to myself. The main thing is forcing myself to refrain from time-wasting activities and focusing on writing whenever I have the free time.

Name one of the happiest moments in your life: Getting my first job. I was over the moon.

What’s your approach to writing? Are you a pantser” or a planner?  Some combination of both. I usually come up with a general outline of points I want to hit, but I take a very loose approach about getting to them. Sometimes as I’m “filling in” my outline, I’ll come up with a new idea that I want to work in to the story that changes the whole thing.

Could you write in a café with people around?  The people, I could ignore. The food and the coffee could be harder. 🙂

Have you ever written dialogue in a second language? If so, how did you do it?  I’ve never written in another language. I have written one (unpublished) novella that features a character who speaks entirely in Shakespearean iambic pentameter. At first, it was brutal and I wondered why I was even doing it. By the end, it felt incredibly natural, and unconsciously / I found my pen did lapse with greatest ease / into that arcane, forbidding style.

What’s your favorite book and what are you reading now?  My favorite book! Oh, that’s a hard question. The King in Yellow by Robert W. Chambers is certainly a contender, but it’s a collection of short stories. A Confederacy of Dunces is a great novel, as are most of Wodehouse’s Jeeves novels. Currently, I’m reading Hyperlink from Hell by Lindy Moone. It’s a very unique book; I can’t wait to write a review.

What’s your favorite way to read a book: hardcover, paperback, eReader?  eReader every day of the week!

Do you think print books will always be around?  Probably not—come the year 3000 they’ll likely have been replaced by something else.

Would you ever read a book on your phone?  I have a flip-phone, so it would be impractical. That said, if a book somehow could somehow be put on it, and I had nothing else to read, I’d probably try.

What’s your go-to device? iPhone, Android or something else?  My ancient iPad 2.

How long could you go without checking your phone?  An hour and a half. I know this because I don’t take my phone when I work out, and that’s how long it takes.

Do you listen to audiobooks? If you do, what do you do while you’re listening? I love audiobooks. I listen to them sometimes while playing video games or working on mindless computer tasks.

Do you like using social media to promote yourself and your book? If so, what’s your favorite platform?  I do use it for self-promotion, although I feel dirty whenever I do. More fun is using it to discover and promote other indie authors. I’ve met so many wonderful, talented people this way! Twitter is my favorite platform for discovering other authors, WordPress is my favorite for posting reviews and other writings.

Website and social media links:

Blog: https://ruinedchapel.com
Twitter: @BertholdGambrel


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From the archives: The Silver Crown by Robert C. O’Brien

the silver crown picThe Silver Crown
by
Robert C. O’Brien

Rating:

I really enjoyed this children’s book. My sixth-grader was reading it in school and I decided to read it too.

It’s a story of 10-year-old Ellen who, on her birthday, wakes up to find a jeweled crown on her pillow. Before her family wakes up, Ellen puts the crown in her purse and sneaks out of her house to walk to a nearby park. Soon after, she hears sirens and discovers that her house has burned to the ground and her family is nowhere to be found. And thus begins her journey to find her Aunt Sarah and escape the mysterious people who are chasing her.

Ellen meets many during her time on the run. Some are good and some are evil. Ellen develops a strong bond with 8-year-old Otto, a young boy living in a house in the woods with an old woman he calls his mother. This book has an edge to it that younger kids’ books don’t. There are frightening characters and scary situations and difficult good-byes between Ellen and the people she meets. Despite these losses, many are turned around at the end. I think this book is perfect for a middle school student. The fantasy element allows the reader to experience danger, fright, bravery and loss, with a comfortable ending.

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