Author Interview with Fiona Tarr

I have the pleasure of doing a promotion with the lovely Fiona Tarr! We’re both giving away FREE e-books. Right now you can get a FREE copy of her book Destiny of Kings.

Blurb:

The King is going slowly mad, bewitched by the dark magic and seductive powers of the Egyptian Princess.

As war breaks out, his trusted General seeks to raise an army and will find a young shepherd boy, bound for greatness.

But when the Priestess and the strange little Holy man share a prophecy the General will be left with a choice; the life of a young boy or his life long friend.

Death is inevitable and when it comes, pain will follow…..

 Fiona was nice enough to answer a few of my questions as well.

Q:       First of all, let’s have you introduce yourself, tell us a little bit about you and your books, what genre do you write in, how many books have you written and when did you get started writing?

A:      I am a wife, mum & business woman. I wrote poetry in my teens and my English teacher encouraged me to write in high school but I never really considered becoming an author until after our move and as our kids got a little older and more independent. When I am not working or writing, I will likely be on the water.

I write fantasy with mystical/spiritual themes and rewrite Old Testament ‘history’ into epic fantasy adventures. I love ancient history and the turmoil of this era lends itself to fantastical re-imaginings.  I have recently released the 4th and final book in my current series, but there is a prequel novella coming out later in the year.

Q:   What made you decide to start writing? 

A: When we moved and purchased our business is was quite run down and took time to reinvigorate. During that period I had a lot of free time on my hands and decided it was time. I considered self help books about raising boys and all sorts of other concepts but decided I really wanted to explore culture, faith and philosophy through fantasy.

Q:       Where do you get inspiration for your novels?

A:        I am a student of theology and philosophy so the Old Testament stories seemed a great place to start exploring fantasy concepts. My first series begins with the rise of King David but my true inspiration comes from my deep search for ‘the meaning of life’ not in the Monty Python vain though.

Q:       What are you reading currently, and what genres do you usually read?

 A:     Ha ha, that’s funny. I’m actually reading The Priestess and the Dragon by Nicolette Andrews. Great book by the way 😛 I nearly always read fantasy, although I don’t mind the occasional thriller along with loads and loads of non-fiction.

Q:    If you had to pick an all time favorite novel, which would be your favorite?

A: That’s hard but my all time favourite author would still be David Gemmell. He wrote fast paced epic/heroic fantasy that explored the human struggle between good and evil. I have to admit I drew some of my style from his many books, but my favourite is Waylander.

Q:      What are you working on currently, and what was the inspiration for it?

A: I have started my next book/series. Not sure it will be more than a stand alone at this stage but it is called Fall of Jericho and once again it draws on an Old Testament story but with a more modern cultural twist. Rahab was considered a prostitute after all, but her line is the line of David and if you believe the old bible stories, the line of Jesus 🙂 Such a sordid past!! My inspiration for writing is always to create a fast paced adventure story with a deeper philosophical meaning for those who seek it.

Connect with Fiona Tarr 

Twitter * Facebook * Website 

 

Interview with Kara Jorgensen

As you may have noticed from my reviews of the Earl of Brass and the Winter Garden, I’m a fan of Kara Jorgensen’s work. She was gracious enough to talk to me about her books, and I managed to reign in my fangirling. We talked about lots of topics from strong women to inspiration and research. This is a great interview, read more below.

N: I’m gonna dive right in, as you know I’m in love with your characters. Was there any real life inspiration for your characters, if not what is your character creating process?

 

K: For a lot of my characters, there is a “real life” inspiration for that character even if it’s only physically. Eilian, for example, is a combination of a lot of characters. He was inspired by Indiana Jones, Lawrence of Arabia, Edward from Full Metal Alchemist, and a little Nathan Fillion thrown in for good measure. Adam physically is modeled after Errol Flynn if he was a Victorian dandy. Other characters, like Hadley or Immanuel gelled as I wrote. I had a vague understanding of who they are (usually beginning with their occupation and a bit of back story), and from there, they begin to grow as I write. I typically don’t know my characters inside and out when I start writing but feel them out as new situations bring out different aspects of their characters.

N: So I have to say, I love your strong female characters. All of your women characters are smart, and passionate and just plain badass. Do you have any strong female characters in fiction that you look up to?

 

K: I must admit that strong women in fiction has been lacking in my reading. Hermione Granger, Luna Lovegood, and Mrs. Weasley will always be leading my pack of strong women, especially from my early reading, but thinking on it now, I’m pretty surprised to find that I don’t remember reading about many strong women. Medea from Euripides’ play is another badass woman I definitely love from literature, but I think most of my inspiration actually comes from real women. Often my characters come from independent, rebellious women from the past like Mary Shelley and her mother Mary Wollstonecraft, cross-dressing women who went to war, subversive women, suffragettes who threw bricks through windows and fought police during protests. I think we’ve come a long way in fiction, but there’s more work to do in terms of the representation of strong characters who are women, different ethnicities and cultures, and different sexualities and genders.

N: I have to commend you on your realistic portrayal of falling in love in your novels. From Hadley to Eilian and Immanuel and Adam your characters fall in love in such a realistic way. Have you written a lot of romance or are you just naturally talented?

 

K: I have to say thank you for thinking my romances are realistic! That is one aspect of my writing that I am always worried about. Most of my stories have a romance element as part of a subplot, but I have never written a strictly romance story. I have been in a relationship with the same person for ten years, so my romances tend to be less fire and burning passion and more of a slow-burn with a bit of build-up, though every relationship is different. I don’t know if being in a long-term relationship helps with writing characters who end up in stable relationships, but it’s where I draw my experience from.

N: I love how you tackle LGBT issues in your books. For those that are new to the genre, do you have any recommendations? (Other than your books of course)

 

K: Oh yes. My current reading list has a lot of LGBT fiction in it. For readers who like historical or literary fiction, I would recommend Sarah Waters’s Tipping the Velvet or Fingersmith, E. M. Forester’s Maurice, The Portrait of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, and Cry to Heaven by Anne Rice. Most of Anne Rice’s works contain LGBT characters, and they were probably my first exposure to the genre. Some modern fantasy authors I’m currently enjoying are: Laura Lam (Pantomime and Shadow Play), Jordan L. Hawk (Widdershins), K. J. Charles (The Magpie Lord), and Sam Farren (Dragonoak, which I admit I haven’t gotten to yet)

 

N: So what made you decide to write steampunk? Have you always been a fan of the genre?

 

K: I have always been a fan of Victorian fiction and historical fantasy, so steampunk seemed to be a natural progression. As I began reading more steampunk fiction (primarily anthologies and short stories), I found that, while I enjoyed the stories, what I wanted to read wasn’t there. I loved the combination of the Victorian aesthetic with lace and corsets and the complex contraptions that featured in the stories. The genre is wide-open to interpretation, which I love and is probably why I chose to write in it.

N: In addition to above, the detail in your books is amazing from the way Eilian’s bionic arm works to the way society runs. Was there a lot of research involved for your novels?

 

K: Yes, lots and lots of research. It’s one of the best and worst parts of writing historical-fantasy. I tend to lean toward historical realism, so I have quite a few websites and books that I use to look up details about the late-Victorian era that I don’t know off the top of my head. Both of my books also have quite a bit of science in them. Eilian’s bionic arm took A LOT of research and is actually pretty sound scientifically. One of the odd perks of research is knowing way too much about weird subjects, like seals or Christmas crackers.

N: I have to ask, have you seen Full Metal Alchemist? Because I almost swooned when I realized Eilian had a metal arm that moved! (You don’t have to include this in the interview, I’m just curious.)

 

K: Yes! Edward’s mechanical arm was definitely part of the inspiration behind Eilian’s arm. It was that arm combined with modern bionic prostheses and Victorian ones that were operated with springs and looked more like torture devices than limbs.

N: What was the inspiration for the Earl of Brass?

 

K: The original idea for the story began with a daydream I had where I imagined a dirigible crash and what it would be like to go through it, and what if you were injured during it? This led to the opening scenes of The Earl of Brass, but as I started fleshing out the idea, I thought it would be interesting if he lost a limb or some important organ that had to be replaced with a mechanical one. I wanted to stay on the side of realism, and after a bit of research, I eliminated the organ idea and instead came up with the missing arm. This would be how he would become entangled with Hadley, who was a craftswoman and the love-interest. Halfway through writing the story, I really had no idea where it was going. Then, I started reading The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the lost civilization of Billawra formed.

N: The Winter Garden was amazing, the tone is brooding and it kept me on the edge of my seat. Do you have any particular writing method to keep up the tension and danger? Like do you listen to scary music while you write?

 

K: The Winter Garden was my first real attempt at creating a horror-esque work, and one of the things that I think helped a lot was knowing what I covered already and what everyone knew. I had charts and outlines delineating the aforementioned issues, and it helped a lot to figure out where the slack was and where to tighten it. For the mood, I had a Pinterest board filled with dark images that I referenced a lot while writing. I’m a very visual person, so seeing the darkness and using it to build my own visuals helped immensely. I don’t know if it added to the atmosphere, but I also have a Youtube video of thunder and rain, which got me into that dark and stormy night mood.

N: What was the inspiration for your current work in progress?

 

K: My current project, The Earl and the Artificer, which should be out late 2015 or early 2016 was partially inspired by Downton Abbey in the sense that the story revolves around an old manor, but unlike Downton, it’s not your typical Georgian manor. The house has a huge greenhouse attached to it and a mysterious and rather combative uninvited house guest who likes to pop in unannounced and cause chaos. Some of the major themes in the story are: inheritance and what comes with being part of a lineage, freedom, individuality and how to reconcile that with responsibility, and rebirth. Another major piece of inspiration was Ancient Rome’s influence on Britain. There are a lot of Roman tidbits thrown into this book.

 

N: What can we expect to see from you in the future?

 

K: Hopefully lots more stories with Adam, Immanuel, and Emmeline, so more paranormal stories that will probably be filled with libraries, museums, ghosts, revived villains, cults, and mythical creatures. There may be more Eilian and Hadley stories in the future, but for now, I see more with my little trio. Book four, which should be out sometime in 2016, will feature the three of them fighting the forces of darkness again. In between projects, I also hope to post more short stories set in this universe.

 

 About Kara:

Kara Jorgensen is an author of fiction and professional student from New Jersey who will probably die slumped over a Victorian novel. An anachronistic oddball from birth, she has always had an obsession with the Victorian era, especially the 1890s. Midway through a dissection in a college anatomy class, Kara realized her true passion was writing and decided to marry her love of literature and science through science fiction or, more specifically, steampunk. When she is not writing, she is watching period dramas, going to museums, or babying her beloved dogs. Her poems have been featured in Selfish and Literary Orphans.

 

Connect with Kara: 

WebsiteNewsletterFacebookPinterestGoodreadsTwitterAmazon Author Page

 

Author Interview with Christy Santo

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I had the pleasure of interviewing Christy as part of her tour for Between Two Worlds. We talked a bit about time travel and what it would like to go back to the eighties, where Between Two Worlds is set. Enjoy the interview!

NA: First just to break the ice, do you have any writing rituals? For example only in the morning while wearing bunny slippers and sipping a coffee.

CS: I have to listen to music while I write otherwise I am in a rut.

NA: Who was your favorite author as a child and why?

CS: My favorite author as a child was from the comics- Bill Waterson.  He literally captured the joys and tripulations of being a kid and he sure could capture everything we could imagine.

NA: What are you reading right now?

CS: I have just started reading Broadchurch by Erin Kelly based on the story by series creator Chris Chibnall.

NA: Is there an author(s) who inspire you?

CS: Yes, Peter Robinson and Jonathan Kellerman.

NA: What was the inspiration for Between Two Worlds?

CS: I got my inspiration for Between Two Worlds from watching the 2006 UK series Life on Mars on DVD last summer. I couldn’t get the series out of my head once I finished watching it. The series was flawless and yet I felt I had to write a story based on elements of the show but instead using parts of my life growing up in Fanwood, NJ to write it. I think I succeeded.

NA: Between Two Worlds is your second novel (correct?) but your first novel was a dark fantasy, what made you choose Time Travel for your next book?

CS: I feel more comfortable with time travel than dark fantasy.  I tend to watch a lot of time travel themed shows or movies like the Back to the Future series ,Stargate, Fringe, Quantem  Leap (yes when it aired and in reruns)  Heroes,  Smallville,  Star Trek Deep Space Nine and I could keep going and going.  However, I do not read much in the way of time travel books though I have read A Wrinkle in Time and Terry Pratchet’s Night Watch.

NA: Between Two Worlds is about time travel. So I have to ask, if you could travel back in time any time where would you want to go?

CS: I would go back to November 19, 1863 to hear Lincoln give his Gettysburg address.

NA: Rebecca travels to 1983 in your book. I love the 80’s. So tell me what was your favorite fashion trend or fad from that decade?

CS:  My favorite fashion trend were the Capezio Shoes.  You could wear those wether you were wearing dressy clothes or not.

Between Two Worlds Kindle

About the Book

 Title: Beween Two Worlds

Author: Christy Santo

Genre: Time Travel

Rebecca dreams her present time and lives her past.

It is 2006 and Indiana University graduate student Rebecca Harrison attends a Halloween party. Unknown to her she will have her world turned upside down when she leaves it. An unexpected accident rips her from 2006 Indiana and abandons her in 1983 Fanwood, New Jersey her hometown. She struggles to relive the past and exist as another woman with the same name and birthday as her. Can she find a way to return to her present time or will her past become her future?

 

Author Bio

Christy Santo was born and raised in Fanwood, New Jersey.  She has lived in Bloomington, IN since 2002 and runs her family’s Internet retail business. Between Two Worlds, is her second book and she is currently working on a third book.

 

 

 

Linkshttps

Website: www.statictvblog.com

Twitter: @CJSTheWrite

Amazon Author Central at this link:http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00J8ULVO2 (US)

Amazon Author Central http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B00J8ULVO2 (UK)

Goodreads:https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8183263.Christy_Santo

Watch the Trailer: ://youtu.be/hqtuZl3PEbU

 

Giveaway
The author is giving away 25 eBook copies during the tour!
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Author Interview with Alec John Belle

forbiddendarknessbanner (1)I’m excited to share this interview I did for a young author, Alec John Belle. His new book has just come out and I got to chat with him about young adult fiction, paranormal fantasy, and dark issues that effect teens nowadays.  Check it out here:

 

Nicolette: First just to break the ice, I’d like to ask you something different. Tell me a fun fact about yourself that your readers might not already know.

Alec: Besides being a high school student?  I’d say the fact that I used to do magic when I was a kid.  I used to be really into it, and my parents even bought me a few magic kits as well.  I gave it up after a while.

N: Who was your favorite author as a child and why?

A: My favorite author as a child was R.L. Stine.  I loved his Goosebumps and Fear Street books.  He was the author who actually got me interested in writing

N: Who is your favorite author right now and what do you like about their novels?

A: That’s a very tough question.  My favorite paranormal YA author right now is probably Julie Kagawa.  She is an amazing world builder.  My favorite paranormal adult author is probably Kim Harrison.  I like her series, The Hollows, because while it was 13 books, it never got boring.  The structure follows mine in the sense that there’s a series-long plot, but each book has its own story (meaning a beginning, middle, and end).  It was done so perfectly, I just had to use it for The Forbidden Darkness Chronicles.  Hopefully I can pull it off as well as her.

N:What are you reading right now?

A:I’m currently reading Prey by Rachel Vincent.  Its the fourth book in her Shifters series.  After that I’ll probably start reading The Mortal Instruments series.

N: Is there an author(s) who inspires you?

A: Kim Harrison, Julie Kagawa, and Ellen Hopkins all inspire me.  In fact, every author I read a book by, even if I don’t like it, inspires me.  If you have the courage to get your book published, you’re an inspiration to me.

N: What was the inspiration for Forbidden Darkness?

A: The inspiration for the story changed over time.  When I first conceived the idea, I was on a hayride at Boone Hall Plantation for their annual Halloween festival.  While I was on the ride, I got this idea of Monster Hunters, and originally the first scene in the book was on a hayride.  The funny thing is, the story has evolved so much.  When I first wrote the book it was called A Dark Discovery and had a completely different character as a narrator, and Heather was a minor character.  I ended up liking her story more, so I changed it to her.  After the third book comes out, I can tell you where the series was originally going to start and who was going to tell it, because the third book now was supposed to be the first book.

I eventually put the series aside for a while, and the story grew.  It grew so much that its going to take 8 books.  I developed more complex and deeper subjects to talk about (like suicide, self-harm, struggles with gay teens, etc.) instead of just a Monster Hunting world.

N: It looks like you’re not afraid to take on challenging subjects (Like Kristen’s attempted suicide in Forbidden Darkness) as a writer, do you enjoy working with some darker subject matter that others might be afraid to touch?

A: Like I said, the deeper, darker subjects weren’t going to be in there at first.  I struggled with my own issues for quite a few years, so eventually I decided to weave it in.  Even though it’s a fictional world, I wanted my characters to have real world issues.

I’m definitely not afraid to tackle these issues.  I don’t fear them in any way.  In the coming years, I will definitely be covering more because I don’t believe in censorship.  If it’s something people deal with, it should be able to be written about.  My upcoming realistic fiction novel, Before I Break, which re-releases this summer, also covers similar issues in a contemporary setting.  One thing I tell my readers to always expect is that if it’s a book by me, there will probably be some darker subjects woven in.

N: What was the hardest part of writing this book?

A: The hardest part was trying to blend the real issues and the paranormal issues.  The whole time I had to tell myself I couldn’t make suicide or self-harm seem “cool” to do.  Because it’s not.  It was also difficult because Heather, the main character, doesn’t really deal with emotional issues like that.  She’s stronger than the secondary characters, but she also needed to have her own problems.  It was difficult to balance.  If she’s too strong and has no weakness, she’s unrealistic.  If she’s too weak, no one will care.  Having her best friend deal with depression (I think a lot of teens do these days) gave a bit of realism to Heather, and how she handles the trauma of her best friend trying to kill herself.

N: Which character is your favorite? (I promise I won’t tell the others)

A: Heather is my favorite character currently. Because I have the whole series planned, I know a little something you don’t, so I actually can’t spoil who my favorite character is of the entire series. Their story is so intertwined with Heather and so in depth.  The two of them are the best characters for sure.  You’ll know who that character is by the second or third book.

N: What’s next for you?

Right now my realistic fiction LGBT novel, Before I Break, is being re-published by Booktrope this summer.  That will be going into proofreading soon, and when that happens, I can get back to writing the second Forbidden Darkness Chronicles book.  I’m about 1/3 of the way through.  The plan is to get the second book out before the year is over, and the third book early next year.  I do have a planned sequel for Before I Break that will also most likely come between the end of this year and early next year, depending on how much time I have.  Right now my main focus is The Forbidden Darkness Chronicles.

 

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The Book:

Being a sixteen year old Monster Hunter sucks. That’s what Heather Hawkins learns just days before her sixteenth birthday. After dealing with her best friend, Kristen’s, attempted suicide, the last thing Heather wants is any more drama. When the realistic dreams of Heather being haunted by a guy named Kadin begin, she learns the truth. She is a Monster Hunter, and on her birthday, she will undergo a change that will make her stronger, more powerful, and nearly invincible to Monsters. Along with having a hot new trainer named Philip, she believes that this will be a new beginning for herself. Unfortunately, Monsters aren’t the only thing Heather needs to worry about. With someone stalking her dreams, she realizes there may be more than just Monsters in the world, and that Kadin will do anything to stop her from helping the Monster Hunters. Even if that means unleashing an entity that was locked away by his people thousands of years ago. In this all-new paranormal young adult series, romances will be formed, evil becomes unleashed, and everyone Heather loves will soon be at risk. Because in a world where Monsters walk the earth, anything is possible.

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Author Bio:

Student that resides in the state of Massachusetts. At the age of 16 he wrote his first novel, Before I Break. His hobbies include reading, writing, and obsessing over Pretty Little Liars. He writes about tough topics that many are too afraid to talk about like suicide, homosexuality, self harm, cyberbullying, anxiety disorders, addiction, among other teenage issues, and he often blends these ideas with the paranormal.

Find him at his Website and on Facebook