Interview with Author Paula Lofting




1. Tell us about your book “Sons of the Wolf”.
Sons of the Wolf is the first in a planned series of books about the Norman Conquest of England. The first book shows what life was like in England in the 12 years leading up to the Battle of Hastings seen through the eyes of King’s thegn, Wulfhere and his family. Their lives interweave with those of historical characters such as Harold Godwinson and King Edward the Confessor. Wulfhere’s family is caught up in a blood feud with the neighbouring landowner, Helghi, and when his wilful daughter Freyda forms a relationship with Helghi’s son against her parent’s will, Harold, Wulfhere’s Lord, forces Wulfhere to agree to a betrothal between Freyda and the boy to end the feud between their families. Wulfhere reluctantly agrees but is unable to accept the idea that his daughter will be married to the son of his great enemy. He and Helghi’s hatred for one another has run deep for many years and he is determined to find a way to extricate himself from this alliance without compromising his honour and relationship with his Lord.

2. Who or What inspired you to become an author?

I have always wanted to write, as soon as I could hold a pen I think. I got most of my inspiration as a kid from great authors like Rosemary Sutcliffe who wrote The Eagle of The Ninth and Leon Garfield who wrote Smith and Black Jack. I loved those books. I loved the history concept and the fact that you could really get into another world, one so different from your own. Later I got side tracked in life and didn’t feel that I had what it takes to write a book. Then as I got older, I found the books by Sharon Penman so inspiring that I started imagining my own stories in my head.

3. What are your goals as a writer?

To finish my Sons of the Wolf series , the second book is completed but needs a good edit. Also I want to finish a book I have been working on , a thriller called Killing the Sandman and I’d love to write a book for my Grandad set in the first World War.

4. What dreams have been realised as a result of your writing?

When I first started writing Sons of the Wolf, I had never thought I would see it published until a couple of friends read the first chapters and suggested I go for it. It’s been my dream now for about 6 years to have it published which it will be in August. That would be a dream come true for me.

5. What books have most influenced your life?

I would probably say the books that made big impressions on me were: The Sun in Spleandour and The Reckoning by Penman. With the Reckoning, I was so moved by the story of the Welsh Princes and the oppression meted out to the Welsh people as a result of English domination. The story of Ellen de Montfort and Llywellyn touched me also very deeply.

6. What is your favourite Quote?  

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” Winston Churchill.

7. What advice would you give to an aspiring author?

Make sure as you write each chapter, you keep a record of what has happened and highlight salient points. Doing this really helped me with the flow and consistency and time frame. Also I kept a file on each character, documenting their descriptions and ages. Finally, ensure that you learn about Pont of View and not to Head Hop, a complete nono in the writing world.

A little about Paula: Lives inWest Sussex, United Kingdom .Mother of 3, psychiatric nurse, author of Sons of the Wolf and damn funny woman! Seek not evil Seek not to gain but Seek only to give and live just in the day.

Website: http://paulalofting-sonsofthewolf.blogspot.co.uk/2012/02/synopsis-to-sons-of-wolf.html

Paula, thank you so much for this lovely interview! It was an honor!


Stephanie

Interview with Author Steena Holmes

 
 
1. Please tell us about your book Finding Emma and what lead you to write about this subject?
 
I was sitting on my couch and watching my children play on our front lawn when my youngest disappeared from sight. I waited a few seconds for her to reappear … and it was during those seconds that Emma’s story played out in my head – literally. I knew I wanted to write a story that would touch every mother’s heart. I love tear-jerker, heart gripping type stories that I don’t want to put down – and I wanted Emma’s story to be like that as well.

 
2. Who or what inspired you to become an author?
 
My husband! He knew that there was this ‘deep’ longing inside of me to write, but I was too afraid to. I knew nothing about writing – but that didn’t matter. He encouraged me to face my fear of the unknown – and once I did – once I started to jot down ideas and then type them out on the computer, it was amazing. The words wouldn’t stop!

 
3. What is your next book project?
 
I am currently writing Emma’s Secret – I’ve had so much reader interaction, discussions and input for this story – I can’t wait till it’s released!

 
4. What are your goals as a writer?
 
To write full time! I have children and I want to show them that it is possible to listen to your heart, follow your dreams and see them be successful!

5. What books have most influenced your life?

 
Too many to count. I love the Secret Key – have you read it? You should! I cried so hard.

 
6. What is your favorite Quote?
 
In the end, all things succumb to the passions of your heart. It’s true!

 
7. What advice would you give to an aspiring author?
 
Write. Just write. Don’t worry about the ‘rules’ or the ‘techniques’ or even what other people are doing. Just write your heart story. Let it pour out of you until you can say it’s done. Then do your homework. Take courses on writing craft, read books in your genre, read writing books, find some beta readers who are not family/friends and who will be honest with you. But first – just write! Everything else will fall into place. It’s what I did with my first book – I just wrote – and then I won a publishing contest! If I can do it – so can you!
 

Author of the new heart wrenching story “Finding Emma”, Steena is a woman who believes that ‘in the end, everything succumbs…to the passions of your heart’. Steena’s life revolves around her family, friends and fiction.
She took those passions and made them a dream come true by pouring her heart into each of her stories.
Her newest release – FINDING EMMA is a heart-wrenching story of when devotion borders on obsession, a mother must choose between her family and finding her missing daughter.
Reviews for Steena Holmes:
“Finding Emma is a heartbreaking story of a mother’s journey of hope…captured by the emotion and depth of the characters from the beginning.”
“FINDING EMMA may be the most heart-wrenching and heart-warming book I have ever read…Tense, emotional and realistic it will ring your emotions dry.”

Steena Holmes
In the end all things succumb to the passions of your heart.
Please visit me at: www.steenaholmes.com
 
Come join the conversation on my Facebook Page:

Thank you so much for this interview Steena! I’m delighted!

 
Stephanie
 
 

Sugar Crash by Elena Aitken

This is a story of a women name Darci whose daughter Taylor is diagnosed with diabetes. Darci is a single mother who works hard to provide her daughter with a good life and the reality of her daughter’s illness is hard for her to come to grips with. Taylor is a soccer player and she and her mother struggle with a women-once a friend-not accepting Taylor’s illness and wants her to step down from the team.

It’s truly amazing the prejudices and fear people have over diabetes. This story gives you a clear picture of what a person and their family goes through living with this disease.

Stephanie

Interview with Author Nancy Bilyeau

1.    Who or What inspired you to become an author?

I’ve had wonderful teachers at different points in my life that encouraged me. First there was a third grade teacher who praised a report I wrote after a class field trip and mounted a sign on the wall: “Have You Heard of Nancy Bilyeau, the Famous Writer?” Then in high school my English teacher, Lorene Erickson, filled me with appreciation for good writing. After college I went on to work as a reporter and editor for various magazines, and although I’ve always been a total bookworm I didn’t think I was meant to write fiction. But then about seven years ago I was asked to join a novelist workshop run by an author named Rosemarie Santini. They had one person drop out and needed that fourth writer for the workshop to function properly. In the workshop I came up with my idea for my first novel, which became “The Crown.” I think the reason I wanted to switch over to fiction was a hungering to tell my own stories and create characters.

2.    Please tell us about your novel, The Crown.

It’s a historical thriller set in Tudor England, during the reign of King Henry VIII. My main character, Joanna Stafford, is a Dominican novice at Dartford Priory. She leaves her priory without permission to go to the execution of her cousin, a condemned rebel against the king. This decision triggers her arrest and puts her in the grasp of some of the most powerful and ruthless men of the kingdom, who force her to search for an object of mystical importance in her own priory, an object that they hope can halt the Reformation and destruction of the Catholic church.

3.    Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

I wanted to tell the story of a strong, intelligent, resourceful woman who overcomes a great many obstacles in a time when many readers assume it would be especially difficult for an unmarried female to do that. I did extensive research of the lives of nuns in the late medieval and early modern age, and their independence and intellectual growth within the structure of the priory was impressive.

4.    What is your greatest strength as a writer?

I think I am good at balancing description and action. I try to use just the right detail to evoke a different place and time. Readers say they feel submerged in 1537, I take that as the finest of compliments.

5.    What are your goals as a writer?

I want to tell stories that entertain and intrigue people. I’m always very grateful when readers say they were up late at night because they really wanted to know what would happen next. But I don’t want to create page turners just for the sake of that. I want to bring complicated characters to life.

6. What books have most influenced your life?
There are so many! I’d start with Daphne du Maurier’s “Rebecca” and Norah Lofts’s “The Concubine” and Antonia Fraser’s “Mary, Queen of Scots.”  My other most cherished novels are “Persuasion,” “Anna Karenina,” “The Sun Also Rises,” “The Great Gatsby,” “The Eight,” “Possession,” and “The Age of Innocence.”

7. What is your next book project?
I’ve finished a sequel to “The Crown” called “The Chalice.” It takes Joanna Stafford through 1538 and 1539 as she gets caught up in a frightening conspiracy while struggling to cope with life outside of the priory. Most of the main characters of “The Crown” are in it, along with a lot of new people, including historical figures such as TWO women who would marry Henry VIII.

8. What is your favorite quote?
 Sir Thomas More: “If any good thing shall go forward, something must be adventured.”

9. What advice would you give to an aspiring author?

Read very deeply in the type of writing you enjoy most and consider workshops where you can share your work with other authors and get constructive feedback. You don’t have to do everything they say but it will help you know if you’re on the right track!

http://nancybilyeau.com/

Bio:

Nancy Bilyeau is a writer and magazine editor who has worked on the staffs of “InStyle,” “Rolling Stone,” “Entertainment Weekly” and “Good Housekeeping.” She is a native of the Midwest, born in Chicago with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan. She now lives in New York City with her husband and two children. “The Crown” took five years to research and write. It was published by Simon&Schuster’s Touchstone in January 2012, by Orion Books in the U.K. in February 2012. It is also available in the Netherlands and Italy, and will appear in Germany, Brazil, Portugal and Poland by the end of the year.
Thank you Nancy for this lovely interview!
Stephanie

Interview with Author Kathleen Valentine

1. Please tell us about your book, “Ghost of a Beach Town in Winter.”

It is actually a novella about a woman, Layla, who grew up in very humble circumstances and married a man from a wealthy family who is a college professor. She loves him but she knows she is way out of her league. Joel, her husband, aspires to be a writer and he accepts his uncle’s offer to live at and run a motel and pub in a beach town through the off-season while he writes his book. Layla will run the pub, a job she is comfortable with, while Joel writes. But as the winter wears on strange things are happening. Layla is regaled with stories from the past by some old guys who hang out at the pub, Joel is struggling with writer’s block, and a sexy, mysterious stranger is hanging around. As the winter deepens Layla feels like she is losing her bearings.

I also have a new full length novel which is due out by the end of this month called “Depraved Heart.” It is romantic suspense set on an island off the coast of Massachusetts. A century ago a tycoon built a fabulous mansion called Hathor there but it has fallen into decline since a murder that happened there sixteen years ago. The dead man was Raven Silver, a magnificent ballet dancer who was quite the ladies man. Convicted of the depraved heart murder of his brother-in-law is Syd Jupiter, a former NFL running back and the husband of Raven’s sister Rachel. After fifteen years in prison Syd is paroled and has returned to Hathor as the executor of the estate which has just been inherited by his teenage daughter. Syd hires Tempest Hobbs, an art curator who is also an empath to spend the summer there evaluating the art and help prepare the estate for sale.

2. Who or what inspired you to become an author?

I grew up in a family of storytellers. From the time I was a little kid every time people got together they would start telling stories about things that happened when they were young, about the “Old Country”, hunting stories, it was just endless. Both of my parents were avid readers who encouraged all eight of us to read. For me writing was just a natural next step from telling stories and reading. I always thought writing was about the best profession there is.

3. What is your greatest strength as a writer?

I think my writing is very sensuous. People tell me all the time that they can smell, hear, taste, see the places and people I write about. I also think I’m good at creating characters you can relate to — or dream about.

4. What books have most influenced your life?

“To Kill A Mockingbird” by Harper Lee and “A Moveable Feast” by Ernest Hemingway, without a doubt. From Lee I leaned how to make endearing characters that you can root for. From Hemingway I learned how to create a sense of place and how tiny details make prose ring true.

5. Who is your favorite author and why?

Hemingway for the reasons stated above. Daphne DuMaurier for her versatility and her fabulous sense of suspense. I also love James Lee Burke because he can create characters like nobody else. Some of his characters seem to walk right off the page.

6. What is your next book project?

I’m currently working on a book I call “The Whiskey Bottle in the Wall.” I’ve never written anything like this before — it is a collection of 10 short stories and novellas all set in the same town and all featuring the same cast of characters so, even though each story stands alone, they read more like a novel. They are set in the fictional Pennsylvania Dutch community of Marienstadt. Some stories are funny, some sad, some romantic. Most of them involve a long kept secret. i am very, very much enjoying this book.

7. What is your favorite Quote?

I’ve had this tacked over my desk for decades: “If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” – Henry David Thoreau

8. What advice would you give to an aspiring author?

Read. Read, read, read, and read some more. Read different authors and genres. And pay attention. Observe details, listen to how people talk. Then start writing and don’t stop.

Bio:

 Kathleen Valentine was born and grew up in the Allegheny highlands of Pennsylvania. She graduated from Penn State with a degree in The Arts and worked for over twenty years in the art/marketing departments of high-tech corporations. Since 2003 she has run her own design business, Valentine-Design.com. She is the author of “Fry Bacon. Add Onions”, a cookbook/memoir of growing up Pennsylvania Dutch, as well as 3 novels, several novelettes and short story collections, and knitting instruction books. Her blog at KathleenValentine.com has been read by thousands of readers since its beginning in July 2005.

She currently lives in Gloucester, Massachusetts, America’s oldest seaport, and is writing every day.

Thank you Kathleen for this wonderful interview!

Stephanie