Interview with Award Winning Author Kandi M. Siegel

Kandie S BRAG

I’d like to welcome multi award winning author Kandi M. Siegel today. Kandi graduated from University of Central Florida is 2006 earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and was also certified in Special Education.  She received the Editor’s Choice Award for outstanding achievement in poetry by the National Library of Poetry in 1997.  She has been a member of the Space Coast Writer’s Guild since 2012. In 2008, Ms. Siegel was hurt on the job while working with special education and was unable to continue her job.  Her love for children brought her back to her earlier career of storytelling.  She finds writing books for children and meeting people at book signings a very rewarding experience.

Hello, Kandi! Please tell me how you discovered indieBRAG.

Hello Stephanie, My editor of My Summer Triumph was actually the one who suggested I submit my book to IndieBrag and I was so honored when I found out that the book won the BRAG Medallion Award.

Tell me a little about your book, My Summer Triumph.

My Summer Triumph is based on a true life experience from when I first went to overnight camp.  All of the actual events in the story really did happen to me, though some of them were exaggerated a bit to make for a better story.

My Summer Triumph

What are Kalia’s strengths?

Kaila is a good person with a huge caring heart, which may have been one of her biggest downfalls as she was an easy target for being bullied.  She knew right from wrong, however, she wanted so much to fit in with everyone that she was easily lured into bad situations.  Her true strengths really didn’t come into play until the end of the story when Kaila’s dancing lessons gave her the encouragement she needed to be the center of attention, in a positive way.

What is an example of how Shayna helps her?

Shayna was always very positive towards Kaila.  She would encourage her to stand up to the bully, Mean Michelle.  Shayna even came up with a way for Kaila to get even with Mean Michelle, but unfortunately it backfired and on Kaila.  Shayna’s biggest plus was when she loaned Kaila some of her clothes to wear to the camp social, which made Kaila feel a whole lot better as her clothes were not exactly the most stylish in comparison to everyone else’s.

Your premise has a strong message, what would you say to encourage readers to read your book?

My Summer Triumph is a book that should encourage all young adults to be proud of who they  are and to stand strong and never give up.  The reader should learn from Kaila’s mistakes such as she knew it was wrong to smoke yet instead of walking away, she let the girls talk her into trying a cigarette.  Bullying is unfortunately a big part of today’s society, but if everyone joined forces to stand up to these bullies, rather than watching someone get made fun of, maybe we could wipe out bullying once and for all.

How did you get into writing young adult books?

I have been writing children stories since I was in elementary school.  My teachers all told me I had a very creative imagination and that I would make a good story teller someday.  I started keeping all my stories in a box and little by little, I am building on each story to turn them into actual books.

What is your writing process?

When I am about to write a story, first I jot notes.  I make an outline of the different chapters and what I want to write about in each one.  I list all the characters I am going to use in the book and I decide how each one is going to look and what their names will be. I keep the outline close by to use as a guide.

What advice would you give to inspiring writers to write in this genre?

Advice I would give to inspiring writers is to create a story where the reader can actually imagine him or herself in the book.  Make the sounds, scenes and characters come alive by the way you describe them.  For example, if you are writing about a cherry pie, don’t just say cherry pie, but rather exclaim that it is a sweet, juicy cherry pie.  By describing the pie in depth, it makes the reader able to actually taste it.

What is next for you?

I am currently working on a series of books, something I actually started writing in the third grade but never really did anything with the stories until now.  The main character is the same in all the books with a lesson to be learned from each story.

Where can readers buy your book?

My Summer Triumph is sold on Amazon in paperback form and on kindle.  Here is the link:  Amazon

Be sure to stay tune for my next interview with Kandi about her latest B.R.A.G. Medallion coming soon!  

Author Website

A message from indieBRAG:

We are delighted that Stephanie has chosen to interview Kandi M. Siegel who is the author of, My Summer Triumph, our medallion honoree at indieBRAG. To be awarded a B.R.A.G. Medallion ®, a book must receive unanimous approval by a group of our readers. It is a daunting hurdle and it serves to reaffirm that a book such as, My Summer Triumph, merits the investment of a reader’s time and money.

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Interview with B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree J.M. Aucoin

jmaucoin-author-photo-1-bragI’d like to welcome B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree J.M. Aucoin to Layered Pages today to talk with me about his book, Honor Among Thieves. J.M. Aucoin is the product of when a five-year-old boy who fell in love with reruns of Guy William’s ‘Zorro’ grows into a mostly functional adult. He now spends his time writing swashbucklers and historical adventure stories, and has an (un)healthy obsession with ‘The Three Musketeers.’

When not writing, J.M. Aucoin practices historical fencing and covers the Boston Bruins for the award-winning blog, Days of Y’Orr. He lives in Heraldwolf’s Stone with his fiancee Kate and their dire-beagle, Rex.

Hi, Justin! Thank you for chatting with me today and congrats o the B.R.A.G. Medallion! What is the premise of your story?

Thanks, Stephanie!

Honor Among Thieves is a historical adventure novel set in the early 1600s, during the Henri IV’s reign in France. We follow Darion Delerue, a former soldier turned highwayman, who has only two things of value in life—the hope in his heart and the steel at his side. After a heist on a royal ambassador goes wrong, he’s is thrown into a political plot to undermine the crown, pitting his old life as an honorable soldier against his new life as a thief and bandit. His actions could send France back into civil war.

There’s plenty of swordplay for folks who love a little action and adventure, but wrapped in real historical events for those who want to learn some history in the process.

honore-among-thieves-bragWhy Historical Fiction and how did you chose you setting and period?

I’ve been a fan of swashbucklers since I was a little kid. Every week I’d watch reruns of Guy William’s Zorro on Disney. I also fell in love with Disney’s The Three Musketeers as a child. Both stories captivated me. The idea that you could right wrongs and fight injustice with little more than a sharp blade and your wits was a powerful message that resonated with me as a kid – and has followed me into my adulthood.

I chose the early 17th Century France as an homage to Alexander Dumas’s The Three Musketeers. But since he took a sizable portion of France’s 17th Century historical events, I decided to turn back the clock to a time before the Mousquetaires du Roi were formed. By 1609, the French Wars of Religion had come to a close and France was on the rebound. It was a transitional time, free of war but with the threat of it around every corner. It seemed like an untouched setting and era, and a fun playground to work in.

Tell me a little about Darion Delerue strengths and weaknesses?

Sure. Darion is a complicated fellow – like most of us, I’d imagine. He’s an exceptional swordsman. Prudent and courageous, and with a relatively strong moral compass despite his life as a highwayman.

But he’s also stubborn and proud, and a bit raw around the edges when it comes to more diplomatic measures. He’s lived a rough life and it shows in his demeanor, but deep down he wants to evolve into something greater than he is – he’s just not sure if he’s capable of it.

What is an example of political intrigue in your story?

In 1609, Spain was struggling with its war with the United Providences, and France was working hard on an alliance with Dutch against Spain. In a desperate effort to keep the alliance from happening, they sent an ambassador to France to secure a double marriage between the two countries. Of course, Henri IV’s goal in life was to humble the Spanish Hapsburgs, so you can imagine how well that went.

So readers will get to see the interactions between Henri IV and Don Pedro de Toledo. But next to that is a fictional plot line that twists and wraps itself around some of these historical events. And not to give too much away, but an old enemy of Henry IV rears its head because of it all.

How much research went in to writing your story?

A decent amount, but finding good resources was actually difficult. I was surprised to find so little information at my local library (*shakes fist at Boston Public Library*), so I had to get creative. I found some nice (albeit older) research books online via Google Books that were free to download.

I must’ve spent a year and a half or so just researching to give myself a base level of knowledge of the times. I still research while I write, mostly detail stuff to give the story that authentic feel, but I feel pretty comfortable to power ahead as need be.

Who designed your book cover?

A good friend of mine – Graham Sternberg. We know each other via our love for practicing historical swordsmanship. Just so happens that he’s a professional artist. So I tapped him to be the artist for the Hope & Steel series. It was a lot of fun to work with him on the cover – collaborating ideas and seeing it come to life. The book cover creation process is one of my favorite parts of self-publishing.

Where can readers buy your book?

Like 99.9% of self-publishers, you can find Honor Among Thieves on Amazon for Kindle and in paperback. For people who hate to give their cash to Amazon, they can buy an autograph copy via my Facebook store for the same price.

What are you working on next?

I’m about half way through the sequel to Honor Among Thieves (currently untitled). I’m also plotting some short fantasy adventures, too. Always seems to be more ideas than there is time to work on. Can I buy a few extra hours in the day? I’d really love to write all the things.

Thank you, Justin!

Thank you!

Justin’s social media links

Website

Facebook

Twitter

instagram

A message from indieBRAG:

We are delighted that Stephanie has chosen to interview J.M. Aucoin who is the author of, Honore Among Thieves, our medallion honoree at indieBRAG. To be awarded a B.R.A.G. Medallion ®, a book must receive unanimous approval by a group of our readers. It is a daunting hurdle and it serves to reaffirm that a book such as, Honor Among Thieves, merits the investment of a reader’s time and money.

indiebrag-team-member