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Ten Plus One Questions with Author Jessica A. Scott

Jessica ScottI have to say that it is always a bit humbling when an author reaches out to you for a book review. This is what Jessica A Scott did and I have to say I’ve enjoyed working with her when it came to her book and the questions below. I got a sense of the author through the may post it notes behind her in the author photo on the page. Those notes combined with the honest answers below make me hope there will be a lot more coming from the author. So please enjoy the answers to those Ten Plus One Questions.

Question 1: When did you realize first wanted to be a writer?

I think I have always wanted to be a writer. I’d been making up stories since I was old enough to think, and as soon as my mom taught me to read and write when I was three years old, I knew that’s how I wanted to spend my time. My stories got better and more complex over time, of course, but I’ve always known that writing was what I wanted to do with my life.

Question 2:  How did your friends/family take the loss of your time as you wrote the book?

Honestly, I don’t think they minded too much. I’m sure that my parents would have preferred that I do something that paid more (haha), but they were/are still very supportive of me and my pursuit of my dream, so I don’t think the loss of my time was much of an issue for anyone, especially since I’m able to balance writing with friends and family time fairly well.

Question 3: What inspired you to write Chase and Charlie?

I know this is a cliché in the writing business, but for this book, the idea came to me in a dream I had years ago. The dream itself was really strange (like most of my dreams are), but it gave me a general idea and the main character, who I instantly fell in love with and just HAD to write about. I think when a story idea comes to me in a dream, it makes me want to write it more, since it feels more real to me. It makes me feel like I myself have lived at least a part of it, or have met the characters before!

Question 4: During the initial writing process where did you get the idea for the book and its characters? 

Well, like I mentioned, I got the idea for the plot and the characters Chase and Charlie from a dream, but the story itself really began to develop on its own once I started writing it. Charlie, the main character/narrator, is a little bit like me, and a little bit better and more courageous and funny than me, and I feel like she just sort of wrote her own story. I just held the pen!

Question 5: Who were some of the authors that inspired you as a child growing up and their books? 

I’m not sure if her books really inspired mine, since they are so different, but J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series was always my favorite as a kid, because I was always amazed by how she had created an entire world for her and her characters, complete with different languages, names, and ideas that no one else had really put together before. I wanted to be able to do that, and do that in a way that seemed real to the reader, and to me.

I also read a lot of Dean Koontz books, even as a child, and I was (and still am) inspired by the way he took somewhat unbelievable or fantastical events and made them seem like something that could really happen. I am a huge fan of realistic fiction, and that is what I strive to write.

Question 6: What was the feeling like when you saw the first completed version of your book?

This is a good question! Honestly, I was kind of in shock when I first held the printed, paper copy of my book in my hand. It seemed so bizarre to me to read my own words, that I’d only seen on notebook paper and on my computer screen, inside of a real, honest-to-goodness, published book! (Which looks pretty great, thanks to my best friend and cover artist Sarah Hance.) I still don’t know if I quite believe it really happened… haha!

Question 7: Do you continue to write and in what genre? 

Of course I continue to write! Even if I never had anything published, or never have any commercial success, I will still continue to write, because that is my passion. My main genre focus is still thriller/romantic suspense, but I am experimenting with some different genres lately, such as the mystery and crime genres. I think it is a good thing to try different genres from time to time—it is a good exercise for your creativity!

Question 8: Who do you imagine being the people reading your book?

The characters in Chase and Charlie are sort of a “young twenty-something,” so I think that people in that age group would enjoy it, as would teenagers. There really isn’t anything too offensive in it, so I think that it could be read by anyone who likes suspense, regardless of age. I think young women especially would enjoy it, because it is always good for us to read a book about a strong, self-possessed, relatable female character who really gets things done.

Question 9: Any good suggestions for those who want to try writing their own book?

Yes, I have two suggestions, actually. First: NEVER GIVE UP!! Writing a book is hard, and it takes a lot of work, but mostly it takes perseverance. There will be days when you feel like you don’t connect with your characters, or days when you feel like you just don’t want to write anymore, but you can’t give up. Writing is something you have to do for you, not for anyone else, so you have to keep at it until you make yourself proud.

Secondly, I would suggest reading a book called On Writing by Stephen King. This is the best book about writing I have ever read, and it helped me a lot when I was experiencing writer’s block on a recent book. On Writing not only gives you a lot of great tips and advice about writing and how to improve your process, it also lets you see how a successful author like Stephen King became a successful author like Stephen King. Most importantly, though, it gives writers hope. As King himself says, “writing is a lonely job,” and it is really great to hear stories and advice from someone (a surprisingly relatable someone!) who has been there before, and who understands what being an author is really like.

Question 10: When not writing how do you like to spend your time?

When I’m not writing, I like to read, which actually helps a lot with the writing, so I’m not sure that counts. I also like to watch old movies and tv shows, like Chase and Charlie do in my novel (Maybe that’s where they get it from!). Writing is always my favorite thing to do though, so usually when I’m not writing, I’m thinking about writing!

The + 1 Question

If your book got turned into a movie do you have any actors/actresses you’d like to see play your characters?

Hmm… that’s a tough one. I’m not sure who I’d like to play Chase or Hoagie, but I could definitely see Jennifer Lawrence playing Charlie. They both have a lot of spunk and a great sense of humor toward life, and I feel like Lawrence would really capture Charlie’s lighthearted, “never say die” attitude.

Where to find Jessica online

 

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Posted by on September 14, 2015 in Interview

 

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Ten Plus One Questions with Author Andy Peloquin

Author AnAndy Peloquindy Peloquin is one of those men that seems to have been writing his entire life. You will get a sense in that just from the first answer to the questions below. He is the man who brought us the great book Blade of the Destroyer and has written about 8,000 articles. To think he’s only in his 20’s says a lot about his dedication. So see how he answers the questions below.

 

Question 1: When did you realize first wanted to be a writer?

I discovered my talent for writing around the age of 10 or 11. I had a teacher who was passionate about science and literature. His love of reading and writing rubbed off on me, and I have been writing ever since.

I write off and on until the age of 19 or 20, when I took a five-year hiatus. I published my very first book in March 2014, and I’ve been addicted to creating ever since!

Question 2:  How did your friends/family take the loss of your time as you wrote the book?

My wife was very supportive–and still is to this day. I spent a lot of my Christmas/New Year holiday writing, and seeing as she was working (from home, thank the gods!), it wasn’t a big problem. As for how my kids take it, you’ll have to ask them. I know there are times when they wish I wasn’t working (so I could drive them places), but so far it hasn’t been a huge problem.

Question 3: What inspired you to write Blade of the Destroyer?

After reading books by Joe Abercrombie, Brent Weeks, and Scott Lynch, I fell in love with anti-heroes and the darker underbelly of fantasy societies. I’ve always loved stories about assassins, thieves, and rogues, and it just felt natural to write one myself. There just aren’t enough good fantasy assassin stories!

Question 4: During the initial writing process where did you get the idea for the book and its characters?

The idea came to me in stages:

The creation of the “legendary assassin” started out as a short piece of prose I wrote years ago. In the piece, a terrified man tries to escape a monster hunting him. It’s this inexorable, implacable creature that kills him in the end.

When I started writing in 2013, I read over some of my older works and found that piece. The story just kind of grew from there–with the monster becoming a half-demon assassin. He is still implacable and inexorable, but more man and less monster.

Question 5: Who were some of the authors that inspired you as a child growing up and their books?

My favorite birthday gift to this day is still “The Complete Works of Sherlock Holmes”. I read that book so many times before I had to give it away. Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter series got me hooked on science fiction and fantasy.

Question 6: What was the feeling like when you saw the first completed version of your book?

It was such a dream come true. To feel the pages turn in my hands, to see the AMAZING cover (done by my ultra-talented sister), and to inhale that “new book” smell–it was awesome. Even now, days later, I can’t stop smiling every time I see it on my desk or see my kids reading it.

Question 7: Do you continue to write and in what genre?

I’m going to stick with dark fantasy for now. I love to explore the darker depths of human nature, so my books will be more focused on what monsters people are, rather than real monsters.

Question 8: Who do you imagine being the people reading your book?

Anyone who is interested in a gripping character, an intriguing story, and a bit of darkness. Epic fantasy readers may not like my less-than-happy endings, but I think they’ll be satisfied with them. The story is a rich, vivid, and graphic one that will paint a VERY clear picture in the readers’ heads. Definitely worth picking up!

Question 9: Any good suggestions for those who want to try writing their own book?

Be prepared for A LOT of hard work. It’s amazingly fun to write that story, but that’s all the fun you get. From there, it’s hard work re-drafting, editing, implementing critiques and feedback from beta readers, and more. But it will all be worth it when you have a finished product you can be proud of.

Question 10: When not writing how do you like to spend your time?

I’m a HUGE comic book geek, and I stay pretty up to date with the latest from the Marvel Universe. I also watch TV, hit the gym, read, spend time with my kids, and play video games. I’m a down to earth kind of guy!

The + 1 Question

If you had any one place in the world you could travel to for a book tour, where would that place be, and why?

I would LOVE to go back to Japan on a book tour. I was born and raised there, leaving at the age of 14, and it would be wonderful to visit. I plan to do so at some point in my life, but being able to have an all-expenses-paid trip for a book tour would be twice the AWESOME.

 

Where to find him online:

Andy Peloquin

LinkedIn

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Twitter

 
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Posted by on September 2, 2015 in Interview

 

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Ten Plus One Questions with Author James M Jackson

james-m-jacksonJames M Jackson is the man behind Cabin Fever and the Seamus McCree mystery books. He has also written a book that bridge players may find useful as well. So without much further discussion lets get on to the questions as his words do a much better job of telling you his process and who he is.

Question 1: When did you realize you first wanted to be a writer?

Creative juices bubbled below the surface for a long time before I became a serious writer. The first short story I wrote was “The Case of the Red and Green Striped Zebra.” I was in fourth or fifth grade. In high school I wrote poems and took a creative writing elective. I had a few poems published in college as well, and then I poured all of my energy into work.

At retirement, I gave myself six months to decide what I wanted to do next. I bought books on finding your life’s work and took their quizzes and filled out their worksheets. What kept coming up was that I wanted to write. Since my favorite fiction is crime novels, that’s what I decided to concentrate on. (As it turned out, my first published manuscript was actually a nonfiction book for intermediate players of the game of bridge: One Trick at a Time: How to start winning at bridge.)

Question 2: How did your friends/family take the loss of your time as you wrote the book?

Friends fall into two camps: those who fully support me spending time doing something I enjoy, and those who think I have a marble loose. To the second group I would be more productive spending the time I devote to writing instead working at McDonalds, since I would be financially ahead.

In our family we have always had together time and apart time. Writing is a combination of both. The writing itself is a solo activity. But Jan, my better half who reads more books than I, and I enjoy attending writers conferences together. We’ll often use them as excuses for extended driving vacations.

Question 3: What inspired you to write Cabin Fever?

Soon after I retired I became a resident of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. I love the land and very much appreciate its residents, who are, in the truest sense of the word, characters. It made sense to write about an area I knew and cared about. Because I write about financial crimes, I tailored the exact crimes to something that fit with the darker side of the U.P.

Question 4: During the initial writing process where did you get the idea for the book and its characters?

Cabin Fever is part of the Seamus McCree series (Ant Farm, Bad Policy, Cabin Fever and my current work-in-process, Doubtful Relations). Seamus arrives at the end of Bad Policy physically and mentally beaten up. I decided to allow Seamus to retreat to his remote camp in the U.P. to spend the winter and recover.

But characters don’t get to do what they want to do or there is no story. So I provided him with new challenges and “opportunities to grow.”

When I first started writing the series, I knew I wanted to write about financial crimes. I had worked in the finance industry and knew it was a fertile ground for nefarious deeds. I wanted a protagonist who was a basically nice guy, someone who could fight evil primarily with his brain, not his brawn. But I also wanted the stories to be more than simply rip-roaring stories. I wanted depth to the characters, so Seamus has a broken marriage and a son in college (who has since graduated).

Because I write a series, once I develop a cast of continuing characters, I am stuck with my choices. I can’t, for example, undo Seamus’s marriage. However, each book allows me to invent a set of one-time characters. For Cabin Fever that included all the Yoopers (what residents of the Upper Peninsula are called). I am delighted when lifetime Yoopers tell me they know “exactly” who I used for this character or that. It means my creations are realistic because I never met the individuals they have in mind as my “models.”

Question 5: Who were some of the authors that inspired you as a child growing up and their books? 

Most writers when asked this question come up with great literary names. When I think back to high school, three authors stand out, none of whom I learned about in my English classes. John Le Carre introduced me to the world of espionage; Leon Uris wrote historical fiction with heart; James Michener combined multigenerational family sagas with place as a major character. Each of them transported me from my basement bedroom in Greece, New York to their story’s location.

Question 6: What was the feeling like when you saw the first completed version of your book?

I am a pantser rather than a plotter. That means I begin writing with an idea, and when I finish the first draft I finally understand what I really wanted to write about. It’s always a celebration to write THE END. It means I can embark on the real writing process, which is rewriting.

Question 7: Do you continue to write and in what genre? 

I continue to write the Seamus McCree series. Doubtful Relations is with my beta readers to get outside feedback. I know the basic premises for the next two books in that series, Empty Promises and False Bottom. I continue to noodle on an idea for a YA trilogy set 100+ years from now, taking place in a country where corporations and governments have merged.

Question 8: Who do you imagine being the people reading your book?

My books appeal to readers who enjoy nuanced suspense and thriller novels with reasonably realistic characters, locations, and crimes. Because women read more fiction than men, more of my readers are female than male. Because the protagonist is old enough to have a young adult son, my readers tend to be middle aged or older.

Question 9: Any good suggestions for those who want to try writing their own book?

I’ve found there are two requirements for writing a book. You must read and you must write. If you don’t read, you’ll have no idea how to write. If you don’t sit butt in chair (or stand at a desk) and actually write a first draft all the way to the end, you’ll never have a book.

Question 10: When not writing how does you like to spend your time?

I enjoy being outside wandering through woods, binoculars in hand to check out the birds. We are currently without pets and are catching up on traveling all over the United States and Canada by car and train. I’ve always liked playing games. My current favorite is tournament bridge. I average reading about seventy-five books a year.

The + 1 Question

If you had any one place in the world you could travel to for a book tour, where would that place be, and why?

Seamus McCree grew up in Boston, but his ancestral roots are Ireland. I’ve never been, so I think it would be a hoot to bring him back to the Emerald Isle via a book tour.

 

Where to find James on the web:

 
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Posted by on August 21, 2015 in Interview

 

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Ten +1 Questions with Author Raymond Lee

Crystal

This is Raymond Lee? Answer in the questions.

Below you are going to find  bit of a “shock” when it comes to author Raymond Lee. I say this as the answers are presented you will find out that he is actually a she if the profile image did not already make that clear. So take a look at the answers below and find out not just about “Raymond Lee” but who he actually is.  Enjoy!

Question 1: When did you realize first wanted to be a writer?  

Around 4th grade. I was the school librarian’s pet, and had a thing for the really big books. I remember thinking it would be cool to make my own stories and I wrote my first book then, a story about a girl who got an adopted sister and suddenly feared not being loved anymore. The librarian read it, loved it, and that kind of started the bug.

Question 2:  How did your friends/family take the loss of your time as you wrote the book?  

Hahaha. They don’t notice any loss. They still bug me. 🙂

Question 3: What inspired you to write Mail Horror Bride?  

I was inspired by The Walking Dead. I was sick in bed New Year’s Weekend of 2014 and caught a marathon of it. I was instantly hooked and what I missed during the marathon, I  watched on Netflix and AMC’s website. I would dream of zombies every night so finally I just decided to write my own zombie apocalypse series. The one thing I find annoying about TWD is that they never said what caused the outbreak so I made sure I did that right in the beginning of my series. I chose mail order brides as the “virus delivery system ”  because it just seemed the easiest way another country could infiltrate us.

Question 4: During the initial writing process where did you get the idea for the book and its characters?  

The book was inspired by The Walking Dead. The characters were inspired by different people I know and some of them have characteristics of my own. This was a really fun book to write because there are so many inside jokes that the readers won’t pick up on, but my close friends will.

Question 5: Who were some of the authors that inspired you as a child growing up and their books?  

Stephen King. It is one of my all time favorite books. Misery was also great. I read a lot of Mark Twain, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and C.S. Lewis as well. Edgar Allan Poe is a master, of course.

Question 6: What was the feeling like when you saw the first completed version of your book?  

Mail Horror Bride is one of many books I have written so it wasn’t that exciting. LOL! I did love how awesome it looked though. The cover designer did an amazing job. Honestly, I always feel a sense of relief when I get a finished book in my hand, like I just went through birth but without the physical pain.

Question 7: Do you continue to write and in what genre?  

I write paranormal and contemporary romance under my real name, Crystal-Rain Love, and horror/thriller books under the Raymond Lee pen name.

Question 8: Who do you imagine being the people reading your book?  

I imagine a variety of people. I’ve gotten wonderful messages from people of all ages, genders, races, and backgrounds.

Question 9: Any good suggestions for those who want to try writing their own book?  

Read a lot, write from the heart, and please make sure you edit. Get editing help if needed!

Question 10: When not writing how does you like to spend your time?  

I have three kids and two huge dogs so when I’m not writing or working my full-time job I’m pretty much taking care of them or running errands.

The + 1 Question If you had any one place in the world you could travel to for a book tour, where would that place be, and why?

I’d love to do a tour that included every state in the U.S. because one of my major life dreams is to visit every state. I have a lot of states to go!

 

Where to find:

Mail Horror Bride

Raymond Lee Page

Crystal Rain-Love

 
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Posted by on July 8, 2015 in Interview

 

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Ten +1 Questions with Author John Hazen

John HazenJohn Hazen is the author behind the book Dear Dad. He took time to answer the new set of Ten +1 Questions that I have put together. So without more comment please check out John’s answers to the questions.

Question 1: When did you realize first wanted to be a writer? 

I can’t remember when I didn’t want to write novels, but it was always one of those things I “never got around to do”. I put forward a couple of efforts earlier in my life but they never went anywhere. Every time I did it all seemed so daunting and overwhelming, but it still didn’t dampen my dream of writing a book, someday. It wasn’t until I got myself my first laptop that I started to get serious about it and began to put my ideas down and fashion them into stories. The result is that I’ve now written four novels, one of which I self-published (Dear Dad) and two that have been published by a small independent publisher, Black Rose Writing (Fava and Journey of an American Son).

Question 2: How did your friends/family take the loss of your time as you wrote the book?

Most of my writing is done on the train back and forth from work or early in the morning hours so there hasn’t been a lot of lost time away from friends and family.

Question 3: What inspired you to write Dear Dad? 

I’ve always been a bit of a history buff and have especially been fascinated by the Civil War. Many people at the time viewed the Civil War as a just war that needed to be fought. Juxtaposed with this is the fact that I grew up in the Vietnam War era with the nightly televised antiwar protest images being pumped into my brain. I thought it would make for a great novel to somehow contrast the two wars (with a nod being given to World War II in the process), but I’m a novelist and I didn’t want it to come off as a dry history lesson. That’s when it occurred to me that what better way to compare the wars than to have to same person participate in both wars?

Question 4: During the initial writing process where did you get the idea for the book and its characters?

When I get an initial idea for a book, I can’t say that there is very much in the way of specifics. I have a general concept of what the book is about (e.g., comparing two very dissimilar wars or what would happen if a person who lost someone on 9/11 was suddenly able to extract ultimate revenge), where I ultimately want to end up and perhaps the lead characters but beyond that, the rest comes to me as I write. I have great admiration for those authors who can outline their books ahead of time. Me, I make it up as I go along. I always tell people that some of my favorite characters are minor characters that I originally introduce to help move the plot along but then as I’m writing they grow in importance and become pivotal characters in the book. In Dear Dad, Doc and Jon were that way. I just love the way these characters develop before my very eyes.

Question 5: Who were some of the authors that inspired you as a child growing up and their books? 

Would it be going back a little too far to cite Virginia Lee Burton who wrote Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel as a profound influence? It’s the first book I recall reading. Seriously, my favorite all-time book is To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I read it first in either Junior High or High School and I’ve re-read it a number of times since then. In high school and for years afterward I would latch onto an author and read everything I could by him or her one after the other. I did that with John Steinbeck, James Mitchener and Robert Ludlum. As you can see, my tastes are rather eclectic.

Question 6: What was the feeling like when you saw the first completed version of your book? 

It was quite a rush, I must say; quite a feeling of accomplishment and pride. I must say that even now I look back at my books and say to myself: ‘Wow, I did that?’

Question 7: Do you continue to write and in what genre? 

Oh yes, I’m still writing. I write in the suspense/thriller genre. All my books have some sort of historical component but I like to have some sort of twist. Dear Dad, for example, has a time travel component to it. Presently, I’m working on revamping the first novel I ever wrote but was never released. It’s called Aceldama and has a fantasy aspect to it, asking the question: What if someone were to stumble across one of the thirty pieces of silver given to Judas to betray Christ?

Question 8: Who do you imagine being the people reading your book? 

I’m hoping that Dear Dad has an appeal to a broad spectrum of people. I could see history buffs liking it. I could see the time travel crowd having an interest. I can the family-values set taking a look at it because of the father-son bond you mention in your review. Most importantly (and I want this to apply to all my books), I see people being attracted to the book because they just plain like to read a good story.

Question 9: Any good suggestions for those who want to try writing their own book? 

Perseverance. You can’t let yourself be overwhelmed at the outset but construct it as you would if you’re building a house. Just like you wouldn’t start doing your interior decorating until you got the structure and plumbing and electrical in place, neither should you rush the building of your story. Don’t get ahead of yourself but put the book together bit by bit and scene by scene. You also need to have a thick skin and accept constructive criticism gracefully. In Dear Dad, for example, an early draft had a whole family that one of my readers said really did not add much to the story and in fact distracted the reader from the main plotline. I really liked the family and I miss those kids, but I had to agree and they were expunged from the final version of the book. Lastly there’s an old writer adage that I think writers should always keep in mind: ‘Show, don’t tell’. The example I remember is instead of saying ‘Ted was filthy rich’ say ‘Ted glanced at his Rolex’. It gets the same point across but in a more descriptive way that helps the reader paint a picture in his mind

Question 10: When not writing how does you like to spend your time? 

I just like spending time with my wife of 35 years, my best friend, Lynn. We love to travel and play tennis but more likely than not we’ll just enjoy each other’s company doing about anything.

The + 1 Question

If you had any one place in the world you could travel to for a book tour, where would that place be, and why?

I’d love to retrace the trip my grandfather made in 1920 when he was sent on a business trip from Boston to Calcutta, India. He wrote a diary of that trip which I subsequently used as the setting into which I wrote my most recent novel, Journey of an American Son (how’s that for a shameless plug for one of my other books?) As you can imagine, a trip that today would take less than a day at that time took months as he took a train across Canada, then steamers to Tokyo, Singapore and ultimately Calcutta. Along the way he also rode on rickshaws, dinghies and Model Ts. After he concluded his business, he got back on trains and steamers but headed west to go through the Suez Canal up through Europe and then across the Atlantic back to Boston. Now that would be a book tour!

Connect witih John Hazen:

 
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Posted by on July 1, 2015 in Interview

 

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Ten Plus One Questions with Robert Reynolds

Robert ReynoldsRobert Reynolds is the mind behind Thunder Bay. He is one of those few authors who do not have a major web presence at this time so it is not easy to provide you with an author link. I did find a story from the Alpena News talking about the book. Just click the link here to take you to that article.  Just a note it is possible that you may have to login/create an account to read but it’s worth a shot. As you read his answers to the questions you will find that he has a love for Michigan and the areas he talks about in the book.   You will also get a sense that his writing can have an impact on his readers as he has other books that are available.  Now here are those questions and Robert’s answers.

Question 1: What inspired you to write Thunder Bay?

The name Thunder Bay had intrigued me for many years. I researched the area a little and I was fascinated about the number of shipwrecks in the bay and across the Great Lakes. I kept Thunder Bay in the back of my mind knowing someday I wanted to use it as a title. I simply had to come up with a plot.

Question 2: Is there any significance to the name/names of your main characters?

I wanted simple, common names for my characters. I’ve never gotten into the “Daphne and Lance” types of names. I want my characters to be believable and their names to be believable also. As I’m writing, I picture certain characters in my mind and try to find a suitable name. I try to use names common to a particular area. For example, if I’m writing a Texas book I might use Mahan because it’s fairly common in Texas. I doubt if I’d use it in a Michigan story because it’s not common to Michigan. Polish names, are however. Beyond that, there’s no real significance.

Question 3: During the writing process did you find yourself thinking about any of your own memories?

Yes, quite often, but mostly in regard to the Michigan countryside and the Great Lakes, themselves. I want readers to “see” and experience these things as they read my books. In Thunder Bay there’s a scene where the main character drives up to the straits one evening. While they are dining they look out and see the lights on the Mackinac Bridge. I want the reader to experience the awe of this engineering masterpiece. Likewise, during the storm on Lake Huron, I want the reader to feel the fury of the lake. Other than a crossing the straits on a car ferry back in the 50s, I’ve not been in a storm on the lake, but my memory from that dark, rainy, rough night was certainly a part of what I put into the stormy lake in my book.

Question 4: What were some of your favorite books growing up?

The Yearling; Bambi: (as a small child)

Willard Price adventure books: Amazon Adventure; South Seas Adventure; Underwater Adventure and Hardy Boys mysteries (early school years)

Mila 18; Islands In the Stream; The Source; The Quiet American; various sports, music, and biographical works (adult)

Question 5: Do you hear from fans of the book, and if you do what do they say?

It depends on the book. For Thunder Bay, people tell me they enjoy recognizing places they know within the state of Michigan and around the Alpena area. Others liked the book’s theme of current events. About my other books (not published by Black Rose, however), veterans enjoy the military aspect and local color of my Vietnam books. On one of my earlier Michigan locale books, one reader told me a particularly touching scene caused him to cry. Still another (Vietnam locale with a romance angle) several have told me they were caught completely by surprise at the twist to the ending. I guess taking all this into consideration, readers seem to enjoy how I try to set the mood and describe the surroundings.

Question 6: What was the feeling like when you saw the very first printed version of your book?

 I was very pleased! I had sent along a brief plot summary and my thoughts on a suggested cover. The cover designer nailed it on the first attempt and had added a few things to make it even better than I had imagined it. I was up home (central Michigan area) and drove up to Alpena to get a fresh look at Thunder Bay. When the cover design was sent to me for my review, I was truly amazed at how well he had captured it. Black Rose presents an excellent product.

Question 7: Do you continue to write?

Oh yes. I’m constantly writing. Since Thunder Bay’s release, Black Rose has published my latest. It’s an old time western called Sorrowful. I have other projects in various stages and recently, after meeting up with a coworker who I worked with in the Philippines at the time of the Mt. Pinatubo eruption in ‘91, I’ve started writing about that event. I also have finished a manuscript for another Michigan locale book that has a western feel to it. This one takes place in the Upper Peninsula around the turn-of-the-century. I have far more ideas for books than I have time to write them.

Question 8: What is the message you want people to take away from the book?

I mostly want them to simply enjoy what they read. It’s like a movie a person goes to see just for the fun of it. Thunder Bay is not preachy, although it has a present day theme. I wrote it for entertainment. I suppose there is one more thing. Main characters often seem to be young, handsome, athletic and even wealthy. The main characters in Thunder Bay are older. I wanted a story that would allow for a romance to develop on an older level and where the career experience of the main character would allow the plot to develop. Basically it’s ordinary people being involved in less than ordinary circumstances. Why not have an “old hero” for a change?

Question 9: If you could envision a future for your main character, what would it be?

If there were to be a sequel, considering the main character’s age, the story would have to allow for his personal life and romantic involvement to develop. Thunder Bay implied there is more to it, but left that angle open. Any sequel must consider that and if there’s to be an exciting plot, it must be believable and recognize the main character’s limits for addressing the problems within the plot. This question has got me thinking about that….
Question 10: Who are those in the dedication of the book, and their importance to you?

To be honest, (I don’t have a copy of Thunder Bay in front of me…have given them out) and I don’t recall my dedication in this book. I’ve dedicated other books to family members, people I served with in the military, members of the Civilian Conservation Corps, etc. But with Thunder Bay, I’d have to see how I dedicated it to comment on that.

The + 1 Question: If you had any one place in the world you could travel to for a book tour, where would that place be, and why?

Tough question! Most logically for this book, the Thunder Bay area would probably be the place. However, for exposure, perhaps New York, San Francisco, or Los Angeles in hope of the book being “discovered”. The words “Travel to”, Rio or Southeast Asia first come to mind, but I doubt it that would do much for book sales and exposure. Fun, yes! This book, no. Perhaps Detroit or Chicago because they are large cities within the Great Lakes area. Tough question….

 

 
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Posted by on February 21, 2015 in Interview

 

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Ten Plus One Questions with Author Mark Love

GE DIGITAL CAMERAMark Love and I have Detroit in common and after reading a blog post it seems we both had fun with typewriters at some point. I can still remember my high school days when that was the first piece of technology I saw and I’ve jumped on the band wagon since in some way. If you take the time to follow the link to his blog you will see his post, “Still a Dinosaur”, which is quite interesting. The answers to the Ten plus One Questions will also bring more insight into Mark so please enjoy.

Question 1: What inspired you to write Why 319?

I’ve always been intrigued with mysteries and wanted to do one about a complex police investigation. The idea of a killer taunting the cops was appealing.  I’m a native of the Detroit area. When I worked as a reporter, I had a crime beat for a while and would visit police stations in different suburban cities. I know that the suburbs don’t often work together unless it’s part of a joint task force, so nobody would immediately pick up on the idea of a serial killer. These weren’t random killings but orchestrated crimes. Once the idea took shape, I couldn’t walk away from it. I knew I was on to something good.

Question 2: Is there any significance to the name/names of your main characters? 

Jefferson Chene is the protagonist of the story and it’s told from his point of view.  Chene was abandoned at birth and his name comes from the intersection near downtown Detroit where he was found.  Questions about his own heritage are always close to the surface. This also impacts his personal relationships.  ‘Pappy’ Cantrell was the nickname of an old timer I knew as a kid. He acted like a laid back country boy, but he was very sharp.

Question 3: During the writing process did you find yourself thinking about any of your own memories? 

Yes, some of the locations that I use in the story are places I’ve been. Certain nightspots like the Tokken Lounge and the Magic Bag Café are authentic Detroit venues.  I always try to include real locations in my work, so the readers may relate with them.

Question 4: What were some of your favorite books growing up? 

I was hooked on the Travis McGee series by John D. MacDonald and always enjoyed the crime novels of Elmore Leonard. I think he created the genre.

Question 5: Do you hear from fans of the book, and if you do what do they say?

Yes, I have heard from some. Several have said this is my best book to date and there were enough twists and surprises that kept them guessing right to the end. One told me she got shivers reading the beginning. Later she cut short a visit with an old friend because she was close to the end of the book and couldn’t wait to finish it. That’s high praise to me.

Question 6: What was the feeling like when you saw the very first printed version of your book?  

It’s the achievement of a goal to be able to hold a copy of your own book in your hands. This is something I’ve spent a great deal of time and energy on, creating the characters, crafting a story that could hold your interest and putting it all together. It may not be as fantastic as holding one of your children for the first time, but it’s pretty close. And that ain’t all bad.

Question 7: Do you continue to write? 

Absolutely. I’m working on a sequel now that utilizes many of the same primary characters from “Why 319?” and introduces some new detectives.  Chene is just too good to say good-bye to. He’s got a lot more stories to tell.

Question 8: What is the message you want people to take away from the book? 

Come escape with me into a good story. Get caught up in the crime and corruption and the dark secrets that inhabit so many lives. Follow Chene and his team as they try and figure out who is behind these murders and stop the killer before they strike again.

Question 9: If you could envision a future for your main character, what would it be?

As a detective, Chene is good at his job. But he struggles with personal relationships, so I can see him having difficulty trying to find a balance. He’s persistent. Someday, he just might achieve it.

Question 10: Who are those in the dedication of the book, and their importance to you?   

The book is dedicated to my wife, Kim, who has always supported my efforts at writing and life in general. I also acknowledge my son Travis and authors Meredith Ellsworth and Cory York. All three read earlier drafts of the book and provided me with great feedback.

The + 1 Question: If you had any one place in the world you could travel to for a book tour, where would that place be, and why? 

I’d go with California. That would give me a chance to meet a new audience and maybe connect with someone from Hollywood who would look at the story and say: ‘this would make a great movie!’  Of course, it would give me the chance to tour wine country too!

Links:

Mark Love Blog

Mark Love on Facebook

Amazon Author Page

 
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Posted by on February 13, 2015 in Interview

 

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