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Category: Author Interviews (Page 2 of 7)

Author Interview: Stefanie Nici

Check out this author spotlight for Stefanie Nici!

You can find all her links furthest down the page, and don’t forget to check out her books!

1. Hi! Welcome to my humble blog of all things bookish! I would like for us to start by getting to know you. Give us a short bio, please!

Hello! My name is Stefanie Nici and I have been writing since childhood. While other kids dreamed about becoming a movie star, a fireman, etc. I longed to become a writer (and yes, sometimes a movie star too). The dream became a real-life possibility once I learned about self–publishing, as that left me with no excuses anymore.

2. To get to know you just a little bit better, I’d like to ask you some this or that questions. Answer 5 (or more!) of these and explain why you chose this or that, or maybe an entirely different alternative!

Winter, spring, summer or autumn?
While I enjoy all the seasons for different reasons, I love the breezy, sometimes chilly, sweater weather of Autumn. For me, there is a stir of magic in the air as the leaves begin to change color, the amazing autumn equinox takes place, and it is Halloween season. Anyone can dress up in costume if they like, listen to scary stories, and everything is pumpkin flavored!

Cat or dog?
I love the beauty and independence of cats, but a dog will play catch.

Tea or coffee?
Coffee in the morning, tea after that.

Morning or evening?
Lately I have been an early bird. So early, it is still dark outside.

Library or museums?
A library for the books, a museum for the art and culture.

Mountains or beaches?
I live in New York, so I have access to both. Hudson Valley has beautiful mountain views along the Hudson River. Your imagination can really run wild wondering what lies within them. Then we have the hazy, lazy beach days on Long Island to get some sun and read a book. It feels like being on vacation.

Plotter or pantser?
Panster. I fly by the seat of my pants!

Pen and paper or computer/phone?
It took a while to get comfortable understanding writing wasn’t just pen and paper, so now my laptop and phone are my new best friends.

Standalone or series?
Standalone for books. Series for television. I look forward to the brilliant writing that connects episodes together, along with watching the actors play those returning characters with troublesome lives.

Book or ebook?
There is nothing like the feel of a book in hand, shopping for them, and bringing them home to place on the shelf. Some covers give inspiration, they can also make me feel happy, sad, or simply look like art.

Hero or anti-hero?
Depending on the character – anti-hero.

3. When you look for books to read, what trope or type of story will always catch your attention?

Second chances with love, family, or with themselves are my favorites.

4. What do you write? Tell us about your current projects and the latest happenings!

I write Contemporary Women’s Fiction, stories about the trouble life can throw our way. While that genre may sound like it is for women readers only, I am thrilled to see reviews from male readers as well.

5. What is your most recent release? Give us a short presentation, cover, and a link for where to buy it!

My second book, The Smoke Tree: Broken Branches is a follow up to my first book, The Smoke Tree. I wrote it as a stand-alone for those who may not have read the first book yet. It tells the story of Tora, who is now estranged from her husband and on the road to happiness. But her road is bumpy and filled with detours. She may never get to her desired destination.

6. What real-life inspiration do you draw from, and what are your primary fictional sources of inspiration (books, authors, films, music, etc.)? Name a few!

Real life inspiration for me goes back to when I was an only child. My mother was always reading so we always had books and magazines to keep me busy. I watched a lot of television which may seem mindless, but for me it was the opposite. It taught me the science and patterns of storytelling from a visual standpoint. I plan to create a television series or movie one day. I also must credit my dolls – as funny as that may seem. I feel they played the biggest part in exercising my imagination. I would create scenes, plot, and dialogue off the top of my head. My primary source of inspiration now is that I read to get into writing mode; I watch television for visual stimulation; and music, while I use that less, can evoke the emotion that may be needed for a scene I am writing.

7. What is your writing routine? If you have one, give us the run-down!

Time-wise, I am on a new routine. I get up at 5 a.m. have coffee, catch up with social media and then begin my writing. When I need a break, I make breakfast, do some exercise, clean, while keeping the story and the characters in my mind.

8. If you could go back and give yourself one piece of advice as you started out on the path to becoming an author, what would it be?

The one piece of advice I would give is this: Don’t just dream about becoming an author, make it happen!

9. Last but not least: where can we find you? Drop those links!

Thanks for asking! You can find me here:

https://www.facebook.com/stefanieniciwriter/

http://Www.instagram.com/stefanienici

https://Www.twitter.com/nicistefanie

https://youtube.com/channel/UCbm62_USgVnFPjKzjWtcLOA

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B07YF7N1DH

https://www.amazon.com/Smoke-Tree-Broken-Branches-ebook/dp/B08QSMY8S3

Author Interview: Jeffrey Bardwell

Check out this author spotlight for Jeffrey Bardwell!

You can find all his links furthest down the page, and don’t forget to check out his books!

1. Hi! Welcome to my humble blog of all things bookish! I would like for us to start by getting to know you. Give us a short bio, please!

Jeffrey Bardwell writes epic fantasy with elements of darkness, steampunk, and romance set in the Metal vs. Magic Universe. His character-driven books are guaranteed to include gritty realism, political intrigue, lurid entanglements, dry wit, and dragons in differing proportions. He devours fantasy and science fiction novels and is most comfortable basking near a warm wood stove. When not writing, Jeffrey enjoys cooking, gardening, and shooing baby dragons from the compost bin. The author lives on a farm and in a prior life worked as a community ecologist. He is overfond of puns and alliterations. He is also an unabashed history and mythology enthusiast.

2. To get to know you just a little bit better, I’d like to ask you some this or that questions. Answer 5 of these and explain why you chose this or that, or maybe an entirely different alternative!

Winter, spring, summer or autumn?
I enjoy autumn most of all. The crunch of the leaves underfoot. The sweet tang of fresh apple cider. The gentle nip in the air. These are all harbingers of my favorite season.

Cat or dog?
I have a small calico cat named Scraps who acts like an eternal kitten. She keeps me sane and uses me as a hot water bottle when the house gets cold.

Tea or coffee?
I prefer loose leaf black tea or herbal tisane. There is an amazing variety out there, and I want to try them all!


Plotter or pantser?

I land somewhere in the middle. My outlines are very basic and I fill in the gaps as I write.

Standalone or series?
I enjoy writing series. My stories are far too big to fit into a single book.

3. When you look for books to read, what trope or type of story will always catch your attention?

I enjoy all forms of epic fantasy of course, but am a sucker for military sci fi. I like characters that are three dimensional.

4. What do you write? Tell us about your current projects and the latest happenings!

I am currently writing three dark epic fantasy series: a coming of age steampunk set during a revolution and subsequent imperial civil war (3/7 books published), a court intrigue set during an oppressive pogrom against mages (4/6 books published), and a military adventure about the unit who hunts dragons (1/6 books published).  I also have ideas for a fantasy romance I want to write next, but have sworn to complete two of the other series first. All my stories take place in the same Metal vs Magic Universe at different points in history.

5. What is your most recent release? Give us a short presentation, cover, and a link for where to buy it!

I am currently working on completing the Mage Conspiracy series, an epic fantasy intrigue where love and lies cut deeper than any sword. You can download the first book for free here: https://dl.bookfunnel.com/tpd6gj468b

6. What real-life inspiration do you draw from, and what are your primary fictional sources of inspiration (books, authors, films, music, etc.)? Name a few!

That’s a tough one. I draw most of my real life inspiration from experiences I’ve had or folks I’ve met, historical figures, and different mythologies. The evil empire that pervades my series definitely has a strong medieval steampunk Roman feel to them. My fictional inspiration includes authors like Heinlein, McCaffrey, Doyle, Flint … oh, a long list. I think I subconsciously draw from movies as well. I’ve been told my characters chat far too much whilst fleeing for their lives.

7. What is your writing routine? If you have one, give us the run-down!

I try to maintain a schedule and when I’m whirring along hit at least 5,000 words per day. However, recent health issues and the pandemic have thrown me for a loop.

8. If you could go back and give yourself one piece of advice as you started out on the path to become an author, what would it be?

Don’t waste time querying literary fiction short stories. Start writing and publishing fantasy novels!

9. Last but not least: where can we find you? Drop those links!

Website:  https://jeffreybardwell.com/

Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/Jeffrey-Bardwell/e/B071RXS994

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16676565.Jeffrey_Bardwell

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/jeffrey-bardwell

Author Interview: Deston Munden

Check out this author spotlight for Deston Munden!

You can find all his links furthest down the page, and don’t forget to check out his books!

1. Hi! Welcome to my humble blog of all things bookish! I would like for us to start by getting to know you. Give us a short bio, please!

Hello, I’m Deston J. Munden, author of Dusk Mountain Blues and Tavern. I’m an African American fantasy and science fiction author from the rural swamps of North Carolina. I’m a huge fan of Dungeons and Dragons, video games, and cooking. I also like to dress up as fictional characters and sometimes just dress in weird clothes like tie dye shirts, kilts and ninja shoes. I’m a weird fella.

2. To get to know you just a little bit better, I’d like to ask you some this or that questions. Answer 5 of these and explain why you chose this or that, or maybe an entirely different alternative!

Winter, spring, summer or autumn?
Summer, it’s a fun, it’s warm, I get to wear tank tops. Overall a good time. Also it’s my birthday season.

Cat or dog?
Both. Both are good. Cats are good because they don’t care about you much until they want to cuddle. Dogs are just loyal and good bois and girls.

Tea or coffee?
Tea, because my heart can’t take coffee.

Morning or evening?
Morning person! I like getting up in the morning, getting all I need to get done, and then going to bed.

Library or museums?
Library! How else am I gonna be a writer?

Hunter or gatherer?
Gatherer. I can’t see myself killing an animal and besides there are thousands and thousands of edible plants and resources.

Witches or wizards?
Wizards. Witches, at least typical witches, are terrifying.

Ninjas or pirates?
Ninjas! I dress like a ninja, I want to be a ninja, they are deadly and silent. Pirates are loud and full of scurvy.

Mountains or beaches?
Beaches. There’s something tranquil about the water of a beach against the sand.

Plotter or pantser?
Panster. I’m a kinda on the l fly type of person.
Pen and paper or computer/phone? Computer, I can’t read my own handwriting on a good day.

Standalone or series?
Series, I like seeing how characters develop over several books.

Book or ebook?
Book. For some reason, I have an easier time reading paperbacks and hardcovers than ebooks.

Hero or anti-hero?
Hero! I feel like the world needs more heroes that are complex and just want to do the right thing.

3. When you look for books to read, what trope or type of story will always catch your attention?

For me, it’s fantasy races. If a book has dungeons and dragons like races, I will legit eat it up. I feel like with the popularity of fantasies like Game of Thrones, we have been stepping away from stuff like this and it makes me really sad. I’ve always enjoyed the books where the dragons weren’t always the bad guys and there were elves and dwarves and other fantasy races living their best lives. In the same vein, if you have an old wizard mentor character, sign me up. That’s my jam.

4. What do you write? Tell us about your current projects and the latest happenings!

I write science fiction and fantasy. I’m currently working on the third book of my fantasy series named Undergrove (the name might change). It continues the story of the first two books, touching base with some old characters and new. It has much more of a dungeons and dragons vibe than the first book with a cast of powerful characters fighting off a potential start of an all-out war. I hope to catch your interest.

5. What is your most recent release? Give us a short presentation, cover, and a link for where to buy it!

My most recent release is my science fiction book, Dusk Mountain Blues. It’s a mixture of a science fiction meets space western that follows three generations of protagonists: the grandfather, the father, and the daughter. It’s basically space mutant hillbillies in space.  Don’t let that fool you. It’s an emotional story about family but has a lot of fun that you would expect from a bunch of hillbillies on a planet fighting colonizers.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B085LQJH3K/

6. What real-life inspiration do you draw from, and what are your primary fictional sources of inspiration (books, authors, films, music, etc.)? Name a few!

There’s quite a few sources of my crazy muse. Books are the biggest. I’m a huge fan of Robert Jordan, Patrick Rothfuss, George RR Martin, Brandon Sanderson, Nicholas Eames, etc. But I feel like a lot of it comes from films and anime. I’m a huge fan of the isekai genre in manga/anime and I have over hundreds of recommendations for that alone. When it comes to music, sometimes, I feel drawn to a certain genre that I feel that character would listen to. I remember when I was writing Blues, I was huge into bluegrass and country. I feel like an author’s purpose is to learn and get as much media within them as possible.

7. What is your writing routine? If you have one, give us the run-down!

Wake up, get my breakfast/water, sit down, and write as much as I can from 9-4 (with mental breaks in between to do what I want). Before, I didn’t really have a schedule. But I taught myself to keep to a schedule.

8. If you could go back and give yourself one piece of advice as you started out on the path to becoming an author, what would it be?

I think the biggest piece of advice would be to let yourself make mistakes. Before, I was so hard on myself when it came to writing. If it wasn’t perfect, it was in the trash. That was not a way to live my life. Once I got rid of that feeling, I learned to let my first draft be first drafts Nothing is going to be perfect and something is going to be wrong, even in the final draft. Let yourself make those mistakes and learn from them.

9. Last but not least: where can we find you? Drop those links!

Remember that the books are available on audible too!

Website: www.djmunden.com

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Deston-J-Munden/e/B07Q2D6948/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SrBuffaloKnight

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authordjmunden/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/D.J.Munden/

Author Interview: M. H. Woodscourt

Check out this author spotlight for M. H. Woodscourt!

You can find all her links furthest down the page, and don’t forget to check out her books!

1. Hi! Welcome to my humble blog of all things bookish! I would like for us to start by getting to know you. Give us a short bio, please!

Writer of fantasy, magic weaver, dragon rider! Having spent the past 20 years devotedly writing fantasy, it’s safe to say M. H. Woodscourt is now more fae than human.

Her published titles include the completed YA/high fantasy Wintervale duology, ongoing teen/portal fantasy Paradise series, as well as October Cove, a teen/urban fantasy novella. Crownless, a stand-alone high fantasy novel will be released June 2021. All of her fantasy worlds connect with each other in a broad Universe, forged with great love and no small measure of blood, sweat, and tears. When she’s not writing, she’s napping or reading a book with a mug of hot cocoa close at hand while her quirky cat Wynter nibbles her toes.

2. To get to know you just a little bit better, I’d like to ask you some this or that questions. Answer 5 of these and explain why you chose this or that, or maybe an entirely different alternative!

Winter, spring, summer or autumn?
Spring is my absolute favorite, as I come alive after a long and dreary winter. It’s also my least productive writing time, since I’d rather be outside digging in the dirt than anything else.

Ninjas or pirates?
They’re both too epic to pick one over the other. How about a ninja pirate? <3

Mountains or beaches?
Mountains, easily. Less crowded by far and usually forested, it’s nearly heaven. Haha!

Plotter or pantser?
I’m a planster. I plot out bullet point style goals to reach throughout my books, but usually the plot takes a different track. I love the surprises along the way!

Hero or anti-hero?
Hero, definitely! I love reading about a main character I can admire and try to emulate.

3. When you look for books to read, what trope or type of story will always catch your attention?

I’m a huge fan of medieval settings in fantasy, so I definitely gravitate to high fantasy books, especially with dragons and graceful magic systems. Not really D&D, mind you. I’m not a fan of orcs, wizards, and complicated magic systems. I adore Tolkien-esque elves.

4. What do you write? Tell us about your current projects and the latest happenings!

I write several fantasy subgenres within Young Adult, New Adult, and Adult demographics. Some of the subgenres include High Fantasy, Science-Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, and Portal Fantasy.

My upcoming novel is a stand-alone high fantasy for YA audiences. Crownless releases on June 19th. It’s about a storyteller on the run and a spoiled prince who has to travel with him against his will

You can preorder it here: http://books2read.com/Crownless

I’m also working on the final edits for Book 1 of my upcoming Science-Fantasy series, hopefully launching toward the end of this Summer, so it’s coming up fast. I also have two other projects in the works. I like to juggle lots of stories at once. Haha!

5. What is your most recent release? Give us a short presentation, cover, and a link for where to buy it!

My latest release is the second half of my YA/High Fantasy Wintervale Duology. Magic is against the Crow King’s law, but Gwyn seeks it out to save his elder brother from a fatal illness–even if it means facing execution.

You can buy the complete duology on Amazon or grab it in Kindle Unlimited!

Book 1: The Crow King: http://getbook.at/TheCrowKing
Book 2: The Winter King: http://getbook.at/TheWinterKing

6. What real-life inspiration do you draw from, and what are your primary fictional sources of inspiration (books, authors, films, music, etc.)? Name a few!

A friend once said, “No wonder you write fantasy. Your life is less believable than your fiction!”

I take that to mean I’ve got a wealth of pain, heartache, and precious moments to draw on for inspiration, including a house fire, flood, earthquake, and far more personal struggles. I sincerely hope those experiences help flesh out and deepen the relationships and circumstances of my characters throughout my novels.

I’m also deeply influenced by Lloyd Alexander, J. R. R. Tolkien, Ursula K. LeGuin, and Lorna Freeman in particular. Their complex worlds, fluid writing, and heartfelt tales bring me back to Prydain, Middle Earth, Earthsea, and Iversterre over and over.

7. What is your writing routine? If you have one, give us the run-down!

I write 2,000 words per day, six days a week. Sundays are my day to rest and recharge. This is my minimum and it’s how I’ve managed to draft 18 novels. I always keep water close to stay hydrated, and if I hit my goal, I reward myself with a treat; usually a Lindor truffle. Yum! Once I hit that daily/weekly goal, I spent whatever free time I have remaining to edit a different novel or read a good book. I love that reading is part of my “job” as a writer!

8. If you could go back and give yourself one piece of advice as you started out on the path to becoming an author, what would it be?

Build better habits sooner. I think of all the days and months I didn’t write between stories. So much wasted time! Haha. Better now than never though, right? I’d also teach me the in’s and out’s of Show, Don’t Tell a lot earlier, as that would’ve spared me a lot of grief.

9. Last but not least: where can we find you? Drop those links!

Sure thing! Here you go:

http://mhwoodscourt.com
http://instagram.com/woodscourtbooks
http://facebook.com/mhwoodscourt
http://twitter.com/woodscourtbooks
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14623134.M_H_Woodscourt
https://www.bookbub.com/authors/m-h-woodscourt

Author Interview: Madilynn Dale

Check out this author spotlight for Madilynn Dale!

You can find all her links furthest down the page, and don’t forget to check out her books!

1. Hi! Welcome to my humble blog of all things bookish! I would like for us to start by getting to know you. Give us a short bio, please! Hi, thanks for having me!

My name is Madilynn Dale, and I am a mixed genre author. I write mostly in fantasy, paranormal, and romance. I live in Oklahoma USA and I love to be outdoors. I am married and have one little boy. On top of my writing work, I hold a bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology and an associate of science degree in Physical Therapy Assistant sciences. I am a licensed Physical Therapy Assistant in the state of Oklahoma, but I am a stay-at-home mom right now.

2. To get to know you just a little bit better, I’d like to ask you some this or that questions. Answer 5 of these and explain why you chose this or that, or maybe an entirely different alternative!

Winter, spring, summer or autumn?
My favorite season is spring when all of the plants burst into new life. It’s always felt like a time of new beginnings and change. Even though we occasionally have bad tornados here in Oklahoma during the spring it’s the start of warmer days filled with more time outdoors.

Tea or coffee?
Coffee. I love coffee and may be a bit of an addict. I will occasionally drink hot tea or sweet tea but my go to is coffee. I can’t start my day without having coffee first.

Library or museums?
Museums. I have all kinds of books at home and on my kindle but going into a museum is like stepping back in time. I love looking at artifacts from the past and reading about their story. My father actually works for The Red River Museum in my hometown, and I have been fortunate to see some behind the scenes things. One of the few dinosaurs found in Oklahoma is on display there.

Ninjas or pirates?
Pirates. I love pirate movies and books with pirates in them. The Pirates of the Caribbean is still to this day one of my favorite movies.

Mountains or beaches?
Mountains. I love walking on the beach at the ocean on occasion, but I love to hike and explore the mountains even more. I love the different colors and shades of the various landscape and discovering fossils hidden in the rocks.

3. When you look for books to read, what trope or type of story will always catch your attention?

Anything with magic, adventure, or shifters will always catch my eye. I love escaping into fantasy worlds. If it has a bit of romance or is a little on the spicy side, it’s even better.

4. What do you write? Tell us about your current projects and the latest happenings!

I write a mix of fantasy, romance, adventure, and paranormal. I love mixing it up and having strong female characters as my main characters. I have a series following main character Liz called the Fae Shifters series and a standalone paranormal romance following a college shifter named Natalie. Some of the projects I am working on include a book with a strong female who discovers she’s a hellhound and then a fantasy adventure following a set of twins.

5. What is your most recent release? Give us a short presentation, cover, and a link for where to buy it!

An ancient evil has surfaced. New life and bonds are forged. Will Liz fight or remain on the sidelines? Who will win and rule the realms?

Liz’s family and friends are at risk once again, but sacrifices must be made for their freedom. Can she bring new life into the world but stop an evil that has plagued the realms since the beginning of time? What will be her ultimate sacrifice to conquer The Blood King finally?

Book 4, The Blood King: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08YKL5Q42/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i0

Apple:  https://books.apple.com/us/book/x/id1564761460

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/2940164887674

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/Search?Query=9781005284848

6. What real-life inspiration do you draw from, and what are your primary fictional sources of inspiration (books, authors, films, music, etc.)? Name a few!

I draw inspiration from a lot of places. I get scenery ideas from places I have visited or even some of my favorite places growing up. Characters come from friends, random passer-by, and movie characters. Lucifer the tv show on Netflix has given me a lot of ideas for characters as well as several other such as The Originals, The Irregulars, and more. I am always playing music and several songs by Fall Out Boy and Imagine Dragons inspire some of my characters often or even events.

7. What is your writing routine? If you have one, give us the run-down!

My routine is not much of a routine. Being a mom, I have to write in sprints when my son is sleeping or late at night. I have a little more free time now that he is in an early preschool program, but life is hectic. When I do write I sit down, review my notes and previous writing and go.

8. If you could go back and give yourself one piece of advice as you started out on the path to becoming an author, what would it be?

I would tell myself to be strong and keep writing. Don’t doubt yourself.

9. Last but not least: where can we find you? Drop those links!

You can find me on social media or at these links!

Website: www.thechaptergoddess.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Madi_Dale_Write

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/madilynndalewrites/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MadilynnDaleAuthor

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/mratdegraff91/_created/

TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@mdwriter?lang=en

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/madilynn-dale

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/20150515.Madilynn_Dale

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Madilynn-Dale/e/B0868CGSLC?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_2&qid=1616000125&sr=8-2

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCG8uZRvQC4o_dqwkqJy9Wgg

Author Interview: Sonia Marta

Check out this author spotlight for Sonia Marta!

You can find all her links furthest down the page, and don’t forget to check out her books!

1. Hi! Welcome to my humble blog of all things bookish! I would like for us to start by getting to know you. Give us a short bio, please!

Hi there! My name is Sonia and I am one of the youngest authors in Romania, with three books published at just 13 years old. My first book was published 3 years ago, back when I was 10 – on the 1st of June 2018 (for children’s day). A book which I started writing a decade ago if you can believe it when I was 3 (along with my mother), ended up being the key to unlocking the achievement of inspiring more than 1,500 aspiring authors in kindergartens, schools, and, more recently in universities.

My first book in English, The Rapping Astronaut, was published last year, during the pandemic to be honest! So I am very grateful to my publishing house for supporting me as I embarked on this journey! And, my latest release: Bucharest City Tour, a Trip with Sonia is a story about my hometown.

Photo: Village Museum, Bucharest, June 2020. Book: Bucharest City Tour, a Trip with Sonia

2. To get to know you just a little bit better, I’d like to ask you some this or that questions. Answer 5 (or more!) of these and explain why you chose this or that, or maybe an entirely different alternative!

Winter, spring, summer or autumn?
Oh, definitely winter, because I love cold weather and snow, plus it’s the season with the Christmas spirit… plus it’s my birthday too!

Cats or dogs?
Dogs. I don’t really have a reason as to why, I just always was a dog person.

Tea or coffee?
Tea, but to be honest I am somewhere in between because sometimes you just need coffee as a booster in one of those days. I love tea because it comes in all types of flavors and you can drink it at any time of the day, whether it’s iced or not.

Morning or evening?
I can’t decide because I love both for their own reasons. I would say morning, though I do feel like I am more of a night-walker, haha. I simply love the morning because you wake up knowing you have a fresh day, and you’re prepared to take on the day feeling good. But then I love the sunset and I am more inspired towards the second half of the day.

Library or museums?
Library. Every time I go on a trip with my family, I absolutely detest museums. At least some, not all, but I love being surrounded by the latest titles and authors I haven’t heard of before.

Hunter or gatherer?
Hunter! I absolutely love new opportunities, new locations, and meeting new people. I enjoy getting to know other techniques from other points of view.

Mountains or beaches?
This is another tough one because it all depends on the season and weather. If it were to choose one if it were to live there, it would be mountains, as there’s nothing compared to the fresh air and amazing nature. As a holiday, however, I would definitely pick beaches as the sound of waves and sunbathing is very unique; the amazing time when you’re skating on the seafront, with the smell of sand and salty water.

Pen and paper or computer/phone?
I’d definitely go with the electronics, since (well for starters) they don’t kill your arms! And there’s nothing like losing your work, or your dog eating it, haha! Plus, I feel like I can get much more work done when I type rather than when I write.

Standalone or series?
Standalones overall usually have a much stronger plot, whilst trilogies are less intense than the thriller you would read if it was a lone wolf.

Book or ebook?
There is nothing compared to the smell of the ink on the pages of a book, or nothing more annoying than creasing the spine, haha! So I would pick book over the electronic version.

Hero or anti-hero?
Heroes, as everyone loves a good ‘almost died’ scene, especially watching your main character go through all the adventures.

Photo: Herastrau Park, Bucharest, June 2020. Book: The Rapping Astronaut

3. When you look for books to read, what trope or type of story will always catch your attention?

Thriller books will always catch my attention. Action/adventure books will always hook me into wanting to read the blurb, finding out more about it. I love books that whenever you turn the page another branch of the adventure unveils, making it unputdownable.

Sometimes I like to just wander in a bookshop and discover which book will pick me. I like to spend even 2 hours looking at various book covers from time to time, reading the blurbs, without being specific about what book I want to buy.

And on the other side, I have some authors I love, and I succeeded in having their full collection like David Walliams, Roal Dahl, Lucia Muntean

4. What do you write? Tell us about your current projects and the latest happenings!

Alright! At the moment, I am working on several projects which we hope to publish in the next few years. I am very glad that my latest book was self published as this gives me more freedom, meaning that I can donate books. This means that I can still continue my partnership with WorldVision Romania, where l can do so (donating books) every month to a school in the country along with an author session with the children. For a lot of them, this is their first book in English, and for some it might even be their first author session! I think this is very rewarding, and I hope to inspire them to fulfill their dreams, as a saying of mine is that age is not important, your voice can still be heard whether you are 10 years old or 100 years old.

I also write for our school’s magazine, The International Voice, working as well on 3 other editorial projects. For one of the projects, I am planning to launch a Kickstarter campaign soon, something which is entirely new to me and my team, but we still want to do everything professionally to impress this community of great people supporting creative projects. You can say that this is my top priority at the moment.

And of course I work a little bit to create content for my social media accounts every afternoon when I come home from school, which is very important for me and the community I gather around me and around my stories. I cherish every review, every comment, every message! My readers are the world to me, and literally they come from every corner of the world, from the USA to Australia and from China to Trinidad and Tobago, from Ireland to Tokyo.

Photo: Village Museum, Bucharest, June 2020. Book: Bucharest City Tour, a Trip with Sonia

5. What is your most recent release? Give us a short presentation, cover, and a link for where to buy it!

My latest release is actually Bucharest City Tour, a Trip with Sonia, but I’ll have to mention the one before, as they were almost printed in the same month! Read on!

The Rapping Astronaut is a story filled with entertainment, action and friendship. Follow Austro throughout his journey, from being kicked off his own planet to a place where he sings, has many friends and where he falls in love with the opportunity to make a change. This is a book for children aged  5-11 years and it was launched in April 2020.

Bucharest City Tour, a Trip with Sonia, is where you can follow the journey of three friends going on a school trip with a Bucharest City Tour Bus, discovering many monuments along the way, learning facts and figures about some of the wonderful landmarks Bucharest has to offer. This is a book for 5-11 year olds as well, and jf was launched in June 2020, right on the very first day.

Both books are available in Romania as the physical copy and on Emag.ro, the largest online retailer from our country. I am happy that Bucharest City Tour, a Trip is also available in one of the most beautiful bookshops in Romania, Carturesti Carusel. This place is also featured in my book being one of the landmarks in the city loved by families and book lovers.

And now for the international readers, don’t worry, I’ve got you covered! The Rapping Astronaut is available on Amazon as an ebook, free with the Kindle Unlimited Subscription and the Audiobook is available on Audible, narrated by Shane G Casey.

Bucharest City Tour a Trip with Sonia is available as an ebook on Google Play Books.

6. What real-life inspiration do you draw from, and what are your primary fictional sources of inspiration (books, authors, films, music, etc.)? Name a few!

My first book was inspired by everyday activities like playing the piano, reading, painting, going to kindergarten, by animals I like such as squirrels, bears, horses, or by the beauty of every season, and of course by the Romanian poets like George Topîrceanu or Lucia Munteanu. My mother used to read to me every night and I memorized many of their poems; they actually played a big part in why I loved poetry, so I came up with the idea to write about these activities, which after 3 years became a sort of my journal through rhymes with more than 300 poems.

My second book, “The Rapping Astronaut” was inspired by a movie followed by a dream.

My third book, “Bucharest City Tour, a Trip with Sonia” was inspired rather by a disappointment. I wanted to offer someone a children book about Bucharest, and as I found none on this topic, I decided to write it. I had books in my library about cities like London, New York, Madrid, Rome, Moscow, Paris, but none were about Bucharest. You could have found only books with photos, nothing for children. Also, being in an international school I got many questions regarding which places to visit in Bucharest, from new families in town. I thought that it is a great initiative, I proposed it when candidating for Student Council in Year 5 and a couple years later it is on bookshops shelves 😊

But in general, I get inspired by the environment around me, and the more new places I go to, the more inspiration I have – I absolutely adore taking my laptop to restaurants and taking a sip of water, writing a paragraph, then a bite of food, and back to writing, and repeating that.

INSPIRATION IS EVERYWHERE AROUND US

“Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it.” – Dennis P. Kimbro

7. What is your writing routine? If you have one, give us the run-down!

I typically write in the afternoon     , usually just before the sunset in winter, which is around about five pm, and that’s because I feel like when it’s night time my imagination is stronger, and I feel more productive; that may also be because I am not much of a morning person. 

I feel like at night every sound is emphasized, like a crow cawing, for example, and this is inspirational for me. The house is silent, the street, but my thoughts are rushing through my brain and my veins to be spitted out on the paper. It’s kind of magic when this happens.

When I am writing during the holiday, my preferred time of the year, my work schedule is basically to wake up, get dressed, go to my mother’s office and start writing the whole day from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. I love it because I can immerse myself in the story and work all day in an environment where everybody else work.

8. If you could go back and give yourself one piece of advice as you started out on the path to becoming an author, what would it be?

Well, if I would have known how hard it was to publish a book from the beginning, I suppose I wouldn’t have stressed so much (and by that I mean 4 years – the amount it took us to figure out what steps we had to ‘tick off the list’ in order to publish my book) about getting rejected from publishing and printing houses when they said they couldn’t print our book, or it wasn’t fitting in their line of published titles. So if it’s anything that I have learned, it’s that the first book will always be the hardest if you’ve got no clue about this field, and for absolutely every book you want to get into the hands of somebody else, out of all those query emails you send, 90% or more will reject it. But that isn’t always because it’s not fantastic – some publishing houses reject it because it doesn’t fit in with their category of topics. So never, ever, ever give up! It’s a rocky start, but once you get to know it better, you’ll see how easy and smooth it turns out to be!

9. Last but not least: where can we find you? Drop those links!

(Amazon author page, Goodreads page, Bookbub, Facebook page, Instagram, Twitter, website, mailing list sign-up, etc)

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsIhy7SjN7RrYTvOv7dVXRA

Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/SoniaMartaAuthor 

Facebook  book page: https://www.facebook.com/TheRappingAstronaut 

Instagram author page: https://www.instagram.com/sonia_marta_author/ 

Instagram book page: https://www.instagram.com/the_rapping_astronaut/ 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorMarta 

Spotify Storywise Podcast: https://open.spotify.com/show/6ZbofTpujdJO2wDT1VJ0UL?si=5nd4mL7QRrakYNpd791Kfw 

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/user/v4zao2rupuroky45xjj9rqtdc

Author Interview: Jonathan Pembroke

Check out this author spotlight for Jonathan Pembroke!

You can find all his links furthest down the page, and don’t forget to check out his books!

1. Hi! Welcome to my humble blog of all things bookish! I would like for us to start by getting to know you. Give us a short bio, please! 

Sure thing! I’m a former-meteorologist-turned-fantasy-author who’s been writing for the last fifteen years. I spent twenty years in the US military and am now semi-retired, and live in the southwestern United States with my wife Lisa and bunch of unruly dogs. When not writing, I read, work in my garden, and play an odd video game or two. I spend too much time on social media too.

2. To get to know you just a little bit better, I’d like to ask you some this or that questions. Answer 5 (or more!) of these and explain why you chose this or that, or maybe an entirely different alternative!

Tea or coffee?
Coffee over tea, every time—which is odd, because twenty years ago, it was the other way around. I’m still not sure what drove the switch but I like my coffee now.

Morning or evening?
Morning person. All that time in the service got me used to being up early. I’m usually in bed by 10PM and wake up between 3 and 5AM. I get my best writing done before the sun comes up.

Ninjas or pirates?
Pirates. They’re more fun, though I could never be one (see below).

Mountains or beaches?
Mountains, for sure. I have a shark phobia and I don’t go in the ocean over my ankles. Not many sharks in the mountains.

Standalone or series?
If I’m loving a series, I never want it to end. A good series is hard to argue with and I argue it’s hard to have multiple good character development arcs in a standalone. Not impossible, but it seems less common.

3. When you look for books to read, what trope or type of story will always catch your attention?

I like a little of everything but I’m a sucker for a classic “hero” story. Not necessarily the “Chosen One” but someone who overcomes their own shortcomings, self-doubt, or baggage to make a difference. Characters like Elric of Melnibone or Jon Shannow will always appeal to me. I love me some damaged protagonists.

4. What do you write? Tell us about your current projects and the latest happenings!

Dovetailing from the previous question, I like to write about protagonists who had trauma or even just a lot of angst, and have to overcome it. To me, character development is the real quest journey in fantasy. I’m working on a series now (tentatively titled The Sentinel) about a middle-aged woman is who part of a specialized military force, and who has some crippling issues from her past. This will be the biggest epic thing I’ve written but I’m trying hard to make it primarily about her journey.

5. What is your most recent release? Give us a short presentation, cover, and a link for where to buy it!

My most recent release was from 31 March of this year; it’s the third book in my trilogy The Holly Sisters, titled Sylvan Valley Aflame. The trilogy (Rumble in Woodhollow, The Mauler, and Valley) concern two faeries of the Holly Clan, Sydney and Marla. Marla, the older sister, runs away to the semi-industrial slum of Woodhollow, where she rises to lead a drug-dealing street gang of faeries, who brawl with gangs of leprechauns, brownies, and other mystical races.

Years later Sydney (the series POV protagonist) joins her sister and it goes from there. A big part of the story is Sydney trying to find her place in the world but it’s also a journey of the two sisters. I see so few good sister relationships in fantasy writing and I wanted to depict them starting a little stand-offish and developing a close relationship over the course of the trilogy. Sylvan Valley Aflame, along with the other two volumes, is available on Amazon for Kindle and paperback, and is also on Kindle Unlimited:

Rumble in Woodhollow (Book 1):  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07XCB5TGH

The Mauler (Book 2): https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08CZTZYWSSylvan Valley Aflame (Book 3): https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08X2VNPM9

6. What real-life inspiration do you draw from, and what are your primary fictional sources of inspiration (books, authors, films, music, etc.)? Name a few!

I’ve read a ton of spec fiction (fantasy, sci-fi, and horror) over the years, so I’m sure a lot of those trickled in. Stephen King and Michael Moorcock have definitely been influences—the former for his turn of phrase and sheer productivity, the latter for his amazing world-building and character development.  Music is a big influence on my short story development; I tend to pluck lines as titles, though most of those have been outside fantasy. Funny enough that you mentioned film. Rumble in Woodhollow was a result of me watching the movie Gangs of New York, and imagining what it would have been like with mystical races fighting for control of the streets instead of immigrant gangs. I think influences and potential ideas are everywhere. One just has to be open to listening to the voices whispering in one’s ear.

7. What is your writing routine? If you have one, give us the run-down!

I typically get up early, make some coffee, check email, and get to it. I have a few uninterrupted hours before anyone else is stirring. Then in the evening, I usually have another window. Neither time is set in stone but I always try to get in a little writing every day.

8. If you could go back and give yourself one piece of advice as you started out on the path to becoming an author, what would it be?

Get. Started. Sooner. I spent a lot of time—almost a decade—exclusively writing short stories. I had very little focus and careened from project to project. That might have been fine when I was sixteen but it meant that I didn’t publish my first book until I was forty-four. Now I have a massive number of book ideas and plots in my head and am feeling the crunch to get a few of them done. I wish I’d started sooner. So if you’re thinking about writing a book, don’t put it off … because ten years later, you might still be saying, “Maybe next year.”

9. Last but not least: where can we find you? Drop those links!

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009256903028

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15560461.Jonathan_Pembroke

Blog:   https://flinthatchet.wordpress.com/

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