Good morning! Welcome to another Meet The Author Moment. Today we’re welcoming Linn B. Halton!
[AC] Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?
[LH]: At the moment, after having four new books launch in seven months, I’m afraid the only reading I do is proof checking! When I do get time to read, then chick lit/women’s contemporary is my favourite genre and as I mix with a lot of exciting new authors, my Kindle is packed with a long to-be-read list!
My all-time favourite ‘truly inspirational’ author would be Sergeanne Golon and the Angelique series – very hard to get hold of copies these days. As a young teen I read and re-read this series, falling in love with the setting, the history and the passionate romance. Very much ‘closed door’, but passionate all the same!
Ian Fleming, Wilkie Collins, Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë – all authors who dominated my reading list as an avid young adult reader. Then Marian Keyes, Sophie Kinsella, Cathy Kelly, Candace Bushnell – to name just a few.
[AC]: For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?
[LH]: I love my Kindle and it’s like a third arm. BUT if I love, love, love a book, then I buy it in paperback too, as I know I’ll read it again and again.
[AC]: What book(s) are you reading at present?
[LH]: I’m just proofing the paperback for my own Quintessentially Yours – if you can call that ‘reading’ ha! Ha! Seriously, my Kindle TBR list is calling, but reading time for me is in the evening and at the moment I’m using my ‘reading time’ to write. Launching a new book means a busy promotional programme and having launched four – well, you can imagine!! So although my day job is writing, most of that is taken up with the other things associated with being an author and I write into the wee hours, then start again between 6am-9am. Then it’s on the computer and the day flies doing guest posts, social media and emails.
[AC]: Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?
[LH]: I have books with four different publishers and that means four different editors. I also have two self-pubbed books that I proofed myself. Going forward I doubt I’ll have time to self-publish anything else, but it is fun to be in charge of the whole process, although I now prefer the input of an editor who can see the story from another perspective! It helps me to grow as a writer.
[AC]: Do you let the book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to it to edit?
[LH]: No and yes. I tend to edit as I go, writing maybe fifty pages and then going over them until I’m really happy and then moving on until the manuscript is complete. Then I have a spreadsheet of things I tend to say repetitively/my common errors, which I go through in detail. I record the number of times I use key words (favourites that can become annoying to the reader) and I do a word count on these. So I know on average how many times in say 85,000 I’m comfortable using a particular word. If I go over that count, then I tend to do a cutting-out exercise. At that point I then send it to my Kindle for a read-through and to correct errors I’ve missed – typos, or repeat words used too closely together eg ‘before’ might appear three times in a paragraph and I’d amend that. I make those corrections and then put it away for at least 3 months before reading it again with a fresh set of eyes. One more check for typos etc and the war with commas, then it’s ready to send to an editor!
Read on to learn about Linn’s books!
What To Read Next…
Looking for another new author?
Click HERE to meet LLm author Bonnie Trachtenberg!
It’s time for another Meet The Author Moment! This month Melanie Robertson King is up! Read on to learn more about her…
[MK]: I have to say yes and no. Some of my stories are based on fact or around an actual event, but not from my life or starring any one person I know but an amalgamation of a number of people.
My short story, Always a Home Girl, in my anthology The Consequences Collection is the story of a young girl sent to Canada from the UK during the child migration movement. My father was one of the roughly 100,000 children sent out to Canada. Although, he died when I was young, he never hid that fact like so many of these children did. I used some of his stories and others that I’d heard from descendants of other “Home Children” to come up with my main character, Elizabeth McIntosh.
[AC]: What books have most influenced your life most?
[MK]: I read such an eclectic range of books, it’s really hard to pinpoint a few that stand out above the others. Influenced my life? If you mean my writing life, I’ve always either spent my time writing or talking about being a writer so I’m going to blame that on the Nancy Drew series of books. I spent a lot of time at the local library growing up and that was one of the series of books I devoured.
[AC]: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
[MK]: Hands down, it would be Maggie Jagger from the Ottawa chapter of RWA. She’s been extremely helpful along the way and offers services to newbies like I was at the time.
[AC]: What book are you reading now?
[MK]: This will likely sound daft but I’m reading my own (the sequel to A Shadow in the Past) and summarizing it chapter by chapter so I can write the synopsis. I don’t outline or any of that organized stuff. I more or less fly by the seat of my pants although, I usually start by writing the end of the book. At least that way, I know where I have to end up and it’s an adventure getting there. Subject to the title being changed by my publisher, it’s currently known as Shadows from her Past.
[AC]: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
[MK]: Angela Marsons. I love to read crime set in the UK and her debut novel, Silent Scream did it for me. I’ve bought her second book and have pre-ordered number 3 in the series.
Fabulous! Read on to learn more about Melanie’s books!
What To Read Next…
Looking for another new author?
Click HERE to learn more about Janice Horton and her books.
Hello! Welcome to another Meet The Author Moment! Today we have the wonderful Patricia Sands with us. Read on for the full interview…
[PS]: I was inspired by the lifelong friendship I’ve shared with the women of my real-life Bridge Club and a crisis that occurred with someone I knew. The latter affected me profoundly and I felt it was an important and current issue to create a dramatic ending to the book.
[AC]: Do you have a specific writing style?
[PS]: I’m told by friends that I write just like I talk. I know that I write in order to tell a story in very clear terms. I would not call my novels literary fiction.
[AC]: How did you come up with the title?
[PS]: The title for The Bridge Club was a no-brainer. The Promise of Provence title emerged as I got further into the story. I had no idea what the title would be at first. As Katherine’s journey unfolded and her life changed, I began to have some ideas for a title. I narrowed it down to three and then finally knew which one was right.
[PS]: I write to an older demographic and all of my novels have the underlying theme of positive attitudes toward life and change. The Bridge Club highlights the importance of women’s friendships and how much we bring to each other’s life.
[AC]: How much of the book is realistic?
The Bridge Club is based on actual facts and I would say is 80% true to life. I received signed releases from my friends and they were very forthcoming in reminding me of details from the past. They’ve also been my biggest cheerleaders for all of the novels I’ve published. True friendship!
Patricia’s real-life bridge club sounds wonderful! Keep reading to learn more about her other books and for today’s giveaway!
What To Read Next…
Looking for another new author?
Click HERE to read more about Caroline James!
Hello everyone! Welcome to another Meet The Author Moment! Today we’re featuring Zara Stoneley. Read on to learn more about Zara.
[ZS]: Full length books, like the Tippermere series I’m writing at the moment, take me around 4 months. I did manage to complete one book in around 6 weeks, but my stories seem to have a lot more pages in them these days!
[AC]: Do you ever get writer’s block?
[ZS]: I certainly get to a stage in (nearly) every story I write where the words don’t flow as easily – sticky middles are not nice! If writing is a hobby then that’s fine, but if it’s your job, your career, on the line then you can’t afford to just stop working when you have deadlines to meet. That’s why I try and think of it as a sticky patch rather than an insurmountable block.
[AC]: Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?
[ZS]: Keep working is my main tip! A writer has to be a tough boss, once you stop writing and get out of the habit it can get progressively harder each day to get back into it. Writing is a job and you really can’t just lay down tools when the going gets tough.
If a particular aspect of a story is causing problems I’d advise you to skip it and move on to the next chapter, or even further on. My manuscripts are littered with comments in red saying things like ‘come back to this later’, or ‘what happens next?’ (and even more cryptic comments that make no sense to me at all when I revisit them!).
If the problem is bigger then going back to your plan can help – examining the goals, motivations and conflicts of the story as a whole, or of the main character can really focus your mind. If I do this I often get a ‘eureka moment’ when I realise where things have gone wrong, and even a simple tweak can set the ball rolling again. Understanding your characters really is the key factor to being able develop a story.
If all else fails then a change of scene (for you, not the characters) can help – whether it’s a long walk, a gym session or housework it’s surprising what can kick start the little grey cells. Food for a writer (apart from chocolate!) is observing what’s around us, listening, watching, reading; inspiration springs from the most unlikely sources.
[AC]: What are your thoughts on writing a book series.
[ZS]: I’ve written two series now, but I really believe you should only write linked books when the story demands it. There is nothing worse, to my mind, than turning what is essentially one good stand-alone book into a series purely as a marketing ploy.
I am currently part way through my ‘Tippermere’ series (the first being ‘Stable Mates’, the second ‘Country Affairs’, the third due out next Spring – and with a free bonus Christmas novella ‘A Very Country Christmas’, out now). By the time I’d planned the first book it was obvious that the story I wanted to develop was far too big to cover in one novel. The feedback from readers has been amazing, with people really wanting to know what happens next in the lives of the characters – and many getting to know the fictional setting of Tippermere so well they’ve been asking where it is so they can visit (I can understand what they mean – I don’t ever want to leave Tippermere)!
From a writing point of view a series involves a lot more planning, with continuity and timelines needing close attention, but it is well worth the effort. And sometimes the whole story just has to be told!
[AC]: Who is your favorite author and why?
[ZS]: It’s impossible for me to single out just one author. I’ve always read a wide variety of authors spanning different genres and it really does depend what mood I’m in to what I reach for. The wonderful thing about books is that there’s one out there to suit every occasion and stage of your life.
What To Read Next…
Looking for another new author?
Click HERE to learn more about Linn B. Halton!
Good morning! Today on our Meet The Author Moment, we’re featuring Bonnie Trachtenberg!
[BT]: I write because I’m a passionate person and it’s so important for me to express myself. Writing seems to be my main God-given gift—or at least the one that comes most naturally.
[AC]: What do you absolutely need at your desk while writing?
[BT]: A cold bottle of my favorite Zero Vitamin Water: acai-blueberry-pomegranate
[AC]: Do you have a special time to write, or how is your day structured?
[BT]: After a long hiatus due to chronic fatigue and marketing burnout, I’m back to working on my book. However, I do find it so easy to procrastinate (especially if I’m imprudent enough to sign on to Facebook!) Therefore, as of late, I’ve been doing only the chores I absolutely have to do first thing in the morning and then forcing myself to sit down in front of the computer (with my book draft open!) early in the day when my mind is still relatively fresh.
[AC]: What is the hardest thing about writing?
[BT]: For me, the hardest thing is just getting started on it each day. I suppose the thought of how difficult and sometimes overwhelming it can be to write a novel sometimes makes me want to avoid it entirely. Once I get past that and into the flow of the book, I’m usually somewhat productive.
[AC]: What is the easiest thing about writing?
[BT]: The easiest thing is that you can do it anywhere: at home, at Starbucks, at the library, or even at a hotel on vacation. My laptop is pleasantly mobile, but even when I don’t have it with me, I always carry a notebook and pen, or use the “notes” app on my iPhone for brainstorming.
Don’t forget to check out Bonnie’s books!
This month’s giveaway is sponsored by Melanie Robertson-King.
Click HERE to learn more about Melanie and her books!
Welcome to another edition of Meet The Author Moment! Today, we’re featuring Janice Horton.
[JH]: I’m about to start working on a new novel set in the Caribbean for summer 2016 release. I’ve been doing a bit of research and I’ve been waking up at night with plot inspiration, character insights and narrative. That’s how I know I’m ready to start!
[AC]: What draws you to this genre?
[JH]: I love to read adventure romance novels – and so that’s what I choose to write.
[AC]: Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?
[JH]: Castaway in the Caribbean is my most recent book and I could easily see Matthew McConaughey as Travis and – I think Kate Hudson as Janey – I loved them together in the movie ‘Fools Gold’.
[AC]: How much research do you do?
[JH]: Lots! I love the research as much as the writing and nowadays there is no limit to the research I will do. For my novel ‘Reaching for the Stars’ which was about a disgruntled celebrity chef, I interviewed celeb chefs in their kitchens and my research resulted in my debut TV appearance and the subject of a ITV news documentary. I shared the research I did in the Caribbean last year for ‘Castaway in the Caribbean’ with my friends and readers on my social networks and the novel became a #1 Kindle Bestseller. If peeps are interested I’ll do the same again this time around as I’m back in the Caribbean right now researching the islands.
[AC]: When did you decide to become a writer?
[JH]: I aspired to be a writer as a child because I was an avid reader for a young age and I thought being a writer and making up imaginary stories must be the best job in the world. I’ve had many other types of jobs over the years before and during the time I became a professional writer – but I was right – it is the best job in the world!
This month’s giveaway is sponsored by Patricia Sands
Click HERE to learn more about Patricia and her books!
Welcome to another Meet The Author Moment! Let’s catch up with Sheryl Browne!
[SB]: Shy! Really. I came from a large family and didn’t feel I really excelled at anything. It took a while for the teachers to prise me out of my shell, encouraging me to take part in team sport. Amazingly, I discovered I could catch and hit a mean Rounders ball and I was pretty good at getting the ball through the net in Netball too. As for academic work, I was definitely always the arty sort. I tended to draw in private though, until one of my teachers found my stash of drawings. Suddenly, I was really good at something and was promoted to class artist. That was a huge day for a seven year old, who came to school in hand-me-downs.
[AC]: Were you good at English?
[SB]: Apparently, yes. Chosen to attend at art school at age eleven, English, along with Art and Ceramics, soon became one of my favourite subjects. Again, I didn’t think I was particularly good at it though. And then the English tutor there, a tall, foreboding, quietly spoken man who commanded respect simply by walking in the room, gave me 22/20 for an essay. Now, he’d already stated he never, ever awarded a mark above 19. Still, I was too shy to put up my hand and say, Sir, I think you’ve made a mistake. He just looked at me, I remember, as my cheeks grew hotter and hotter. And then he smiled. Another huge day for me.
[AC]: What are your ambitions for your writing career?
[SB]: I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’d love a huge bestseller someday. Currently, though, having my recent book, The Rest of My Life, recommended to Choc Lit by the WH Smith Travel Fiction buyer and then reaching the dizzy heights of #2 on the Amazon Top 100 Paid Women’s Romance Fiction Best Seller List, is my dream come true. I now have another two contracts with Choc Lit, My ambition therefore is to keep writing, where I never thought I would be able to justify it, and to produce the best work that I can, hopefully providing the reader a wonderful reading experience.
[AC]: Which writers inspire you?
[SB]: I write in two genres, contemporary romance and psychological thriller. In regard to my romance writing, Marian Keyes is a huge inspiration for me. Water Melon was the first book I read by this author and I’ve been addicted ever since. I adore Marian’s writing. Her books tend to deal with modern ailments, but are always written with the compassion and humour I so admire. For my psychological thrills I turn to Martina Cole, whose ability to write gritty, believable characters I’m in awe of. For me, the magic of Martina Cole’s books is her fabulously unique way of leading us seamlessly into the heads of her characters: real flesh and blood people we can identify with and get to know. Fabulous stuff.
[AC]: Give us an insight into your favorite main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
[SB]: Hmm? A difficult one. If I’m choosing from my own characters, it would have to be PC Paul Davis from Warrant for Love. Disillusioned in life and love, Paul is moody, broody and not great relationship material. He comes from a broken home, his wife is divorcing him, he’s got no place to live, he’s losing custody of his son, and his sergeant, who’s sleeping with his wife, is a bully who constantly baits him. It’s a tough road with many potholes along the way, but Paul does eventually turn his life around, learning to trust and love again, above all to love himself a little. His biggest achievement, though, is in realising that if he truly loves his son and wants the best possible life for him, then he has to let him go.
Thanks so much for featuring me The LLm Author’s café!
And thanks so much for joining us, Sheryl! Check out more about Sheryl on her author page!
Today’s giveaway is brought to you by Zara Stonely! Click HERE to learn more about Zara and her books.
Good morning! Today we’re going to spice things up at the café with a new feature: Meet The Author Moment. Today, we’re introducing LLm’s own Caroline James. Welcome Caroline!
[AC]: What do you absolutely need to write?
[CJ]: I have a passion for food and the hospitality industry. When my fingers touch the keyboard and my head clicks into gear on this subject, the words start to flow and I’m off! I met so many fascinating characters in my years as an hotelier and latterly as a consultant and the hotel environment is a hot-bed of characters and gossip. The best piece of advice I ever had was to write what you know, so I work on that basis and adapt incidents and experiences that I’ve come across or been part of. I often think the stories seem far-fetched, but in truth I’ve generally toned them considerably!
[AC]: What inspired you to create the lead characters?
[CJ]: I’ve worked with chefs for many years and had a good insight into the machinations of what makes a so called ‘celebrity chef,’ seen constantly on our TV screens. I also appreciate how hard they work and wanted to weave a story around the industry from a different point of view – backstage and how it might work. The lead male character is loosely based on a chef who had a reckless lifestyle off-stage but was a completely loveable rogue.
[AC]: Was there an alternate ending?
[CJ]: I remember listening to crime writer Ian Rankin talk about his writing and he said that he never knew the ending of his novels until he wrote the last page. I felt like this with So, You Think You’re A Celebrity…Chef? It wasn’t until right at the end that I knew for sure what would happen and was then able to write it. So I guess the ending could have had many alternatives.
[AC]: Where were you when the idea for this book came to you?
[CJ]: Stonked off my face at a food festival in Ireland, enjoying Irish hospitality at it’s best! The festival was Kinsale’s Annual Gourmet Food Festival – a truly incredible event and for those that can stay the course, it is three days of total food and drink debauchery. Paradise for me! Wonderful people and fantastic entertainment; sadly the host of the festival, the enigmatic Derek Davies, died earlier this year but the show goes on and will ride successfully into its 40th year in 2016. It was blindingly obvious to me to base a book around this event because it is so colourful and interesting. Some of the plot came from an experience I’d had with a crazy chef in France but again, no one would believe me if I’d kept to the truth!J
[AC]: You’re in a café, like this one, and you go up to the counter. What would you order?
[CJ]: A large Americano, with hot skimmed milk on the side, then I’ll loiter around the glass dome that covers a tray of chocolate brownies and tell myself not to go there, but deciding that life is too short not to, I’ll order two to have with my coffee.
[AC]: What’s up next for you? Anything you can share that’s in the works?
[CJ]: I’m continuing the Coffee, Tea series. My debut book Coffee, Tea, the Gypsy & Me has a strong fan base and I am constantly asked what happens to the main characters, Jo and Hattie. So, Coffee, Tea, the Caribbean & Me is about to be born and we find Jo and Hattie have moved on in years and following life changes for both, go on holiday to Barbados. The book is a romantic comedy – a story about the friendship between two women who have both suffered loss. The story shows that there is hope in middle years, romance can happen and life really does begin again. I loved writing this book and enjoyed the research, especially the pina coladas which were compulsory throughout! Two more books will follow next year: Coffee, Tea, the Boomers & Me and Coffee, Tea, Christmas & Me. Can’t wait – 2016 is going to be busy!
Today’s Giveaway Is Sponsored By….
Anneli Purchase! You can read about Anneli and check out her books HERE.
There were no winners this month. What a shame! Join us next month for another chance to win.