An interview with Maria Grazia Swan

Maria Grazia SwanBestselling author Maria Grazia Swan was born in Italy, but this rolling stone has definitely gathered no moss. She lived in Belgium, France, Germany, in beautiful Orange County, California where she raised her family, and is currently at home in Phoenix, Arizona.

As a young girl, her vivid imagination predestined her to be a writer. She won her first literary award at the age of fourteen while living in Belgium. As a young woman Maria returned to Italy to design for–ooh-la-la–haute couture. Once in the U.S. and after years of concentrating on family, she tackled real estate. These days her time is devoted to her deepest passions: writing and helping people and pets find the perfect home.

Maria loves travel, opera, good books, hiking, and intelligent movies (if she can find one, that is). When asked about her idea of a perfect evening, she favors stimulating conversation, Northern Italian food and perfectly chilled Prosecco–but then, who doesn’t?

www.mariagraziaswan.com

Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/MariaGraziaSwan?ref=hl

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What’s the most memorable thing (good or bad) that’s happened to you while promoting your work?

OMG!! I still blush after all the years. Barnes and Noble. One of my first booksigning. The event was covered by the local media. I quickly had to use the restroom before walking to the podium and unfortunately my beautiful flirty chiffon skirt got stuck in my panties, in the back…made for a Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 10.03.23 PMmemorable event..

 

What would you like to share with writers who haven’t reached the point of publication yet?

Never, ever give up. Follow your dream. You never know when lighting will strike.

 

What do you feel is your most effective tool for promoting your published work?

I will have to say word of mouth???

 

Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 10.04.12 PMWhat area of book promotion is the most challenging to you?

Anything connected to the digital world.

 

Which genres do you prefer to read?

I read mystery because I’m a sucker for a good plot. However, I like anything that’s well written. If the writing catches my fancy, I’m in.

 

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

Honestly, I have a very hard time keeping up with my usual suspects, I only buy a new author if a trusted friend recommends it.Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 10.04.55 PM

 

What book is currently on your nightstand?

Marked Masters, Ritter Ames

 

How many books do you read/month?

Two or three, it depends on my schedule.

 

What is the one book that you think everyone should read?Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 10.05.19 PM

Bird by Bird. By Annie Lamott it’s my go to bible.

 

Do you have an all time favorite book?

Not really, it changes like everything in life. Maybe I should say that my needs and preferences evolve.

 

How important do you find the communication between you and your readers?

Do you reply to their messages or read their reviews? I do, I do. And I often seek their input. I’ll be nothing without them.

 

Do you prefer Twitter or Facebook?

Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 10.11.31 PMFacebook, of course. Doesn’t everybody?

 

Where can your fans find you?

Not sure about the question. I send out a newsletter, I have a website, Facebook and twitter and Goodreads presence and if all fails, I have a page on Amazon with my e-mail address. I’m easily accessible.

 

Give us a list of your published titles in chronological or series order:

Mina’s series (6 books to date)

Love thy Sister

Bosom Bodies

Italian SummerScreen Shot 2016-04-13 at 10.10.58 PM

Ashes of Autumn

A Cat to Die For

Best in Show

 

Non fiction

Stories my Grandfather told me

Mating Dance-Rituals for singles who weren’t born yesterday

 

Share with us an elevator pitch (no more than 30 seconds) of your latest title:

This is not my latest, but it is the one on sale next two weeks. A Cat to die For

Two Calico cats, almost alike except for one detail. The love of Mina’s life, Diego Moran shows up with a Greek heiress wanting Houdini although she has a look-a- like cat named Zeus.The cat caretaker is found dead. Now the adventure begins…

 

Where can we buy it?

Amazon.com

An interview with Nancy Cole Silverman

Nancy speakingNancy Cole Silverman credits her twenty-five years in radio for helping her to develop an ear for storytelling. In 2001, Silverman retired from news and copywriting to write fiction full time. In 2014, Silverman signed with Henery Press for her new mystery series, The Carol Childs’ Mysteries. The first of the series, Shadow of Doubt, debuted in December 2014 and the second, Beyond a Doubt, debuted July 2015. Coming soon, in 2016, is the third in the series, Without A Doubt. Silverman also has written a number of short stories, many of them influenced by her experiences growing up in the Arizona desert. For more information visit www.nancycolesilverman.com

 

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How would my friends describe me in 20 words or less?

Okay, I asked some friends and here it what they said, a few more than twenty words, but you’ll get the idea. Creative. Energetic. Positive. Go Getter.  Loyal. Stubborn. Determined. Won’t take no for an answer. Gregarious. Smart, fun. Blonde. Tall. Thin. Center Stage Personality. Outspoken. Team player. Ambitious. Stylish. Practical. Warm. People person. Entrepreneur.

 

Tell me a little about yourself.

I think my friends really nailed it.  Of course, nobody knows the inner most workings or an individual and writers probably more than any others are hard judges on themselves. I fall into that category.  I’m not really a perfectionist, but I am ambitious and determined to see things through to the finish.

 

Where would you live if you could live anywhere in the world?

Santa Barbara.  My husband and I visit there regularly and love the area.

 

What’s your current guilty pleasure?

Only one?  Travel. Wine. Chocolate. Coffee and the rest is saved the confessional.

 

If you weren’t a writer, what you would be? SHADOW OF DOUBS

I was in broadcasting for 25 years and loved working as journalist and on the business side of radio.  With that under my belt, I suppose if I had to do it again, and I might like to have been an English teacher.  I enjoy reading and teaching the craft of writing.

 

When did you begin writing?

I started writing when I was a child.  I remember penning, or penciling, my first story when I was seven years old. I think that the age kids start to get an idea about who they are and what they’d like to do in life.

 

Who is you mentor? Who do you look up to?

Nora Ephron.  Joyce Carol Oats.

 

Who are your cheerleaders?

My mother and my husband.

 

Aside from writing, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

Cook, entertain and travel and theater. I love the theater.  Growing up I was very active in theater and love to go to plays, particularly musicals.

 

Do you keep track or write reviews for books you read?

Yes.  I try to read as much as I can and I sometimes do reviews on Goodreads.com

 

Do you read reviews written about your book?

Yes.  I know it’s not advised but I think if a review is well written, there is much to be gained by reading it.

 

BEYOND A DOUBT (1)Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Yes.

 

What started you on your journey to be a writer?

When I left radio after twenty-five years I founded and published an equestrian newspaper.  For about eight years I covered a lot of equestrian events and between writing about them, I was riding in some of them.  It was great fun, until I had an accident and needed to hang up my stirrups.  It was then I decided to sell the newspaper and start writing fiction.  I’ve never looked back.

 

Do you listen to music while writing?

Yes.  Usually jazz.

 

What are your favorite hobbies?

Reading. Movies. Theater. Music. Hiking. Cooking.

 

With more books being released each month now than ever before, what do you believe sets your work apart from the others?

I’m very passionate about The Carol Childs Mysteries and hear back from readers how authentic the work sounds.  I think it comes from having really worked in the business.  Somehow or other it just radiates onto the page.  Authenticity makes for real character and believable situations.  Those are both memorable and touching to readers.

 

What would you like to share with writers who haven’t reached the point of publication yet?BOOKED IN BURBANK READ

Write.  Write. Write.  You can’t be a musician without practice.  Writing is no different.

 

What do you feel is your most effective tool for promoting your published work?

Myself.  I’m good public speaker and my experience with radio has taught me a lot about working a crowd.  I enjoy it and getting before a group of people and answering questions.

 

What area of book promotion is the most challenging to you?

Online blogs.  There are so many of them and I fear they are not read by as many readers as they are writers looking for answers.

 

Your favorite books and author?

Let’s restate this question with favorite authors.  Titles I sometimes forget, but authors, never:  Stephen King, Sue Grafton, Nora Ephron, Leon Uris, Michael Connelly, John Grisham, Janet Evonovich, Harlan Coben…the list goes on.

 

Which genres do you prefer to read?

Mystery, historical fiction.

 

What book is currently on your nightstand?

Missing Mark by Julie Kramer.  I recently heard her speak at a conference and picked up her first book, Killing Sarah and found her both entertaining and as a journalist believable.

 

How many books do you read/month?

If I’m writing, not as many as I’d like.  Maybe only 3 or 4.

 

Do you reply to their messages or read their reviews?

I reply to any messages any reader has ever sent.  I think it someone has read my book and takes the time to email me they deserve a reply.

 

Do you prefer Twitter or Facebook?

Facebook.

 

Where can your fans find you?

Facebook.

 

Give us a list of your published titles in chronological or series order:WITHOUT A DOUBT front SM

 Shadow of Doubt

Beyond a Doubt

Without a Doubt

 

Are you working on anything new and if so when can we expect to see it?

I’m currently working on book 4 of the Carol Childs mysteries and I’ve recently finished a couple of short stories.

 

What last thing would you like to share with us that nobody knows about you and your work?

I also write short stories, and I’m currently working an anthology.

An interview with Lesley Diehl

3523Meet author Lesley Diehl:

  What’s your current guilty pleasure?

I love, love, love dark chocolate. One Christmas season I found dark chocolate seasoned with pepper and that became my favorite dark chocolate. Unfortunately, I never found it again. So instead, I now have a passion for dark chocolate and caramel with salt. My second guilty pleasure? Wine, but not red wine which does go with chocolate very well, but white wine, especially sauvignon blancs from New Zealand.

  If you weren’t a writer, what you would be?

A comedian.

When did you decide to become a writer?

I don’t think I made that decision. I think I just have so many stories in my head that I’ve finally found the time to get them out.

When did you begin writing?

I’ve always played around with writing. When I was in junior high, I decided to write a novel. I think I wrote about five pages before I forgot about it. I don’t remember what it was about, but I’m certain it must have been about young love. In high school I wrote several short stories and a few humorous essays in college. Then my creative writing was replaced by the need to write in my field. I think scientific writing killed my creative energies. I took up writing poems just before I retired and decided to write mysteries after I left academe. It was the best decision I ever made. For over ten years I’ve been writing and publishing cozy mysteries, traditional mysteries and short stories. These have been the most rewarding years of my life.

Who are your cheerleaders?

My husband is one and a small group of friends.

Did you have support at the beginning and/or during your writing?

I first wrote in secret not telling anyone what I was doing. When I finally identified myself as a writer I had to go through that inevitable, “Have you had anything published?” Once I was published, there was the “Is this a selfpub (makes bad face) or a real publisher.” Then there was “I’ve never heard of this publisher.”

Did you always have in mind to be a writer or did it just happen?

I think I just fell into it and before I knew what I was doing, I had several books published.

Aside from writing, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I spend my spare time going to yard sales, consignment shops, secondhand stores, looking for items I can use to furnish my 1874 cottage. Used items are my passion and find their way into one of my mystery series, the Eve Appel Mysteries. Eve is the owner of a consignment shop in Florida.

I also garden. I have a vegetable garden and a perennial flower garden in Upstate New York. My husband and I like to hike and work on refurbishing our cottage. And, of course, I read, read, read.

Do you keep track or write reviews for books you read?

I write very few reviews because I don’t want to get into the quid pro quo of having to review a really bad book.

Do you read reviews written about your book?

Unfortunately I can’t help myself.

Do you listen to music while writing?

I prefer to listen to the sounds of the birds on my canal in Florida and the babbling of our trout stream up north.

What are your favorite hobbies?

Reading and going to yard sales, of course. My grandmother never bought anything new. She always reused and repurposed, so I think it’s genetic with me to never buy new.

 

What’s the most memorable thing (good or bad) that’s happened to you while promoting your work?

One of the first book events I did was at a library in Florida. I was promoting a book I wrote several years ago. The protagonist in the book was called Emily Rhodes. After my presentation, a girl about 12 years old ran up to me. She was so excited because her name was Emily Rhodes. She brought her birth certificate to me to prove that was her name. We had our picture taken together. I’m not sure which of us was proudest.

 

With more books being released each month now than ever before, what do you believe sets your work apart from the others?

 

I write mostly cozy mysteries with humor in them, but I always incorporate serious themes into my work so that the read is more than just a simple “beach read”. I’ve used such issues as sexual abuse, racism, mistreatment of indigenous people, sexual harassment, and family issues.

 

What would you like to share with writers who haven’t reached the point of publication yet?

 

Join a professional writing group. I recommend Sisters in Crime. Learn from them by taking advantage of their prepublication group, the Guppies where you can find manuscript exchanges, online classes on writing and recommendations for books. Go to a writers’ conference such as Sleuthfest, Killer Nashville, and Malice Domestic to meet other writers and learn from their workshops. Then write, write, write.

 

What do you feel is your most effective tool for promoting your published work?

 

Library programs where I can meet people face to face or book festivals where the same is true.

 

What area of book promotion is the most challenging to you?

I’m not crazy about social media, but I do it because other authors use it, yet no one can say what social media platform works or if any does.

 

Your favorite books and author?

 

I loved Elizabeth Peters’ series on archaeologists in Egypt during the early 1900s. And Elizabeth George is my favorite for her ability to develop her characters’ angst and make it sympathetic. I miss Robert Parker, especially the Jesse Stone books, and I loved the character of Hawk in the Spenser series.

 

Which genres do you prefer to read?

 

I read mysteries and prefer the traditional mystery.

 

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

I like Cindy Sample’s Dying For books. Funny stuff.

 

What book is currently on your nightstand?

 

I just finished Wild  by Cheryl Strayed.

 

How many books do you read/month?

 

Probably 12 or more.

 

How important do you find the communication between you and your readers? Do you reply to their messages or read their reviews?

 

I think if a reader takes the time to contact me, I owe that person a personal reply. I always respond to their messages and read their reviews, understanding that not everyone will like what I write. I try not to cry over a bad review.

 

Do you prefer Twitter or Facebook?

 

Twitter is a fun challenge for me. Can I be brief? As a retired college professor, I always wrote sentence that were pages long!

 

Where can your fans find you?

 

My website and blog: www.lesleyadiehl.com

Twitter: lesleydiehl@twitter.com

Facebook: Lesley.Diehl.1@facebook.com

 

 

Do you have a local independent bookseller you’d like to mention?

 

The Green Toad Bookstore, Main Street, Oneonta, NY 13820

 

Give us a list of your published titles in chronological or series order:

 

Hera Knightsbridge Microbrewing Mysteries: A Deadly Draught, Poisoned Pairings

Big Lake Murder Mysteries: Dumpster Dying, Grilled, Chilled and Killed

Angel Sleuth

Eve Appel Mysteries: A Secondhand Mystery, Dead in the Water, A Sporting Murder, Mud Bog Murder (due out Summer, 2016)

The Killer Wore Cranberry, Thanksgiving Anthologies from UJntreed Reads

 

Share with us an elevator pitch (no more than 30 seconds) of your latest title:

 

Fatal_final_ebook_1Professor Laura Murphy is at it again, snooping into a murder of a coed and finding that some faculty and a few students take advantage of innocent, young women, but the worst offenders may resort to murder for reasons that emerge from the past.

Elevator pitch for Failure Is Fatal

 

Where can we buy it?

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01AYNXO64

 

 

 

Are you working on anything new and if so when can we expect to see it?

 

I have two manuscripts that have been sitting on my computer for the past few years. They are both mysteries (of course), but not cozy mysteries, but rather noir cozies. I’d love to complete them, but haven’t yet found the time.

 

 

What last thing would you like to share with us that nobody knows about you and your work?

 

I laugh out loud when I write something I think is funny.

An interview with D.V. Berkom

DVatStirrettsmWhat started you on your journey to be a writer?

I wrote my first book (an illustrated tome about the joys of housework—very tongue in cheek) at the age of seven. I flirted with writing throughout my life—mainly short stories—but never took it seriously. In 2005 I found myself with some spare time on my hands, so decided to try writing a book. It was a satire/fantasy and it took me about a year to finish. Not knowing anything about the publishing business, I submitted it to an agent. Needless to say, I figured out pretty quickly that the writing was awful. Since I love a challenge, I decided to learn the craft to see if I could write something worth reading. The next book took me six months for a first draft, and a year and a half of editing. I’m now working on my twelfth book, have two thriller series, and am constantly trying to improve. I love writing (most of the time) and would feel as though my left foot was missing were I to quit.

 

 

Do you listen to music while writing?

I’m one of those writers who need quiet to be able to concentrate. Believe me, I’d love to be able to listen to music while I write, especially for those times when there’s stuff going on in the house, but I’ve tried and it just throws me off my game.

 

What are your favorite hobbies?

Other than writing and research, cooking, gardening, hiking, traveling, photography, and wine are the top hobbies that spring to mind. I’m especially happy when I can combine all of them together J

 

What’s the most memorable thing (good or bad) that’s happened to you while promoting your work?booksigning 10_2 Boat shed

Once, when I first started doing signings, I was at a local library and a woman with a seeing-eye dog came up to me and asked me if I was the author of a blog post about creating an accessible web site. I said I was, and she said she’d come to the signing especially so she could thank me in person for spreading the word about how to accommodate non-traditional web users such as herself. I’ve never forgotten her words and continue to try to make my work as accessible as possible to all kinds of readers.

 

With more books being released each month now than ever before, what do you believe sets your work apart from the others?

 

Several readers have thanked me for creating realistic female characters who know how to take care of themselves. Kate Jones is more of an every-woman while my other character, Leine Basso, is a former assassin. Both are approachable and I think most women can empathize with them. I’ve heard from male readers as well, who have told me they enjoy them both—I’ve even had several confide in me that they’re a little in love with one or the otherJ. A lot of times in fiction, female characters are portrayed as either superhuman or manly (what I like to call putting lipstick on a dude and calling it good). I prefer reading and writing about someone with whom I can identify—someone who has some depth and lots of flaws. Apparently, so do a lot of other people.

 

What would you like to share with writers who haven’t reached the point of publication yet?

My biggest piece of advice is to wait until you’ve had several people read your work before even thinking of submitting it to anyone or publishing it yourself (and no, I don’t mean your family or best friend). If the feedback is less than stellar, write another book. And then another. Then send it to a professional editor before uploading/submitting. You don’t want a reader’s first impression of you to be that you don’t know what you’re doing. Many won’t give you a second chance and then you’ve lost a potential reader.

 

 

How important do you find the communication between you and your readers? Do you reply to their messages or read their reviews?

It’s hugely important. Not only is it rewarding to hear from readers who enjoy my work, but being a writer is often isolating, and communicating with other people is key to staying semi-sane! I try hard to reply to everyone who contacts me. Sometimes it takes a while, but I usually can get back to folks within 48 hours or so. As for reading reviews, sure, I occasionally check to see how a book is being received. I think most writers do, whether they admit it or not. It’s interesting to see what people think of my work. And, if there’s a problem with a book I’d like to know in case it’s something I can fix, like grammar or typos.

 

 

Where can your fans find you?

Website: http://www.dvberkom.com

 

Blog: http://dvberkom.blogspot.com

 

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

 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/dvberkom

 

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/dvberkom/

 

Google+: google.com/+DVBerkom

Instagram: https://instagram.com/dvberkom/

 

Amazon Author Page:

US: http://amzn.to/oMUb1Z

 

UK: http://amzn.to/pBwClD

 

Smashwords Profile: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/dvberkom

 

 

Give us a list of your published titles in chronological or series order:

The Kate Jones Thriller Series:

Bad Spirits

Dead of Winter

Death Rites

Touring for Death

Cruising for Death

Yucatán Dead

A One Way Ticket to Dead

 

The Leine Basso Crime Thriller Series:

Serial Date

Bad Traffick

The Body Market

Cargo

 

 

Share with us an elevator pitch (no more than 30 seconds) of your latest title:eBook Cargo 1563x2500

For Cargo:

Money—the universal merchant. Anyone can be bought, anyone can be sold.

Anyone.

Haunted by memories of an op gone bad, former assassin Leine Basso travels to Bangkok in search of a missing backpacker. With help from an old contact, she discovers the man responsible for the girl’s disappearance is connected to a violent Hong Kong triad and is the linchpin of an extensive trafficking network—both animal and human.

Making enemies isn’t new for Leine, but making one in the triad is—she soon finds herself a prisoner onboard a cargo ship headed for sub-Saharan Africa. To ensure her survival and to continue her hunt for the missing girl, she must join forces with Derek, an ivory poacher who promises to help her.

 

For a price.

 

 

Where can we buy it?

Amazon (global link): http://bit.ly/cargoAMZ

 

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/cargo-a-leine-basso-thriller/id1018759891

 

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/cargo-dv-berkom/1122295857

 

KOBO: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/cargo-a-leine-basso-thriller

 

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/559351

 

 

Are you working on anything new and if so when can we expect to see it?

I’m currently working on a prequel to Serial Date, as yet untitled, where we learn some of Leine’s secrets and meet people I mention in later books. I hope to have it available by March of this year. Then I’m going to start work on the next Kate Jones. I’m very excited to get back inside her head and am looking forward to writing the story.

 

Bio:

 

DV Berkom is a slave to the voices in her head. As the bestselling author of two award-winning thriller series (Leine Basso and Kate Jones), her love of creating resilient, kick-ass women characters stems from a lifelong addiction to reading spy novels, mysteries, and thrillers, and longing to find the female equivalent within those pages.

Raised in the Midwest, she earned a BA in political science from the University of Minnesota and promptly moved to Mexico to live on a sailboat. Several cross-country moves later, she now lives just outside of Seattle, Washington with the love of her life, Mark, a chef-turned-contractor, and several imaginary characters who like to tell her what to do. Her most recent books include Cargo, The Body Market, Bad Traffick, A One Way Ticket to Dead, and Yucatán Dead.

 

An interview with Cheryl Hollon

CherylHollonCheryl and her husband design, create, and produce fused glass, stained glass and painted glass artworks. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, the Florida Chapter of Mystery Writers of America and the Tampa Chapter of the Romance Writers of America. A mystery conference addict, she regularly attends SleuthFest in Florida, Malice Domestic in Washington, D.C., and New England Crime Bake in Dedham, MA. Cheryl and her husband live in St. Petersburg, FL in a 1920’s Craftsman Bungalow. Learn more at www.cherylhollon.com.

 

Facebook URL:     https://www.facebook.com/cheryl.hollon (profile)

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cheryl-Hollon-Writer/357992230995844  (fan)

Twitter: @CherylHollon

Buy links:

 

Pane & Suffering http://www.amazon.com/Pane-Suffering-Webbs-Glass-Mystery/dp/1617737607/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1439334392&sr=8-1&keywords=pane+and+suffering

 

How would your friends describe you in 20 words or less?

Cheryl is cheerful, levelheaded and funny. She loves good friends, good books and good beer – in that order.

 

Tell me a little about yourself

I was born in a small town in Eastern Kentucky and have inherited the oral tradition of my Scots-Irish ancestors for story telling. I grew up in Dayton, Ohio and could read before I went to school, which seriously annoyed my teacher. Science and math were my favorite subjects and led me to a career in digital communication software programming followed by flight simulation engineering and program management – neither easy but immensely rewarding.

 

Where would you live if you could live anywhere in the world?

I would live right here in Saint Petersburg, FL. During my engineering adventures, I had a chance to live and work in amazing countries, but I was always happy to come back to St. Pete.

 

State a random fact about yourself that would surprise your readers.

I was a Boy Scout Leader.

 

What’s your current guilty pleasure?

The discworld novels by Sir Terry Pratchett. I reward myself with one after I finish the first draft of a new manuscript.

 

If you weren’t a writer, what you would be?

I would still be an engineer. It took me a long time to scrabble myself up the technical and professional ladder, but I would do it again.

 

When did you decide to become a writer?

It got serious for me when I attended my first Malice Domestic Convention in 2005. I had been dabbling with photography when a particularly haunting image spoke to me to tell her story. The image is of a homeless woman dressed completely in white moving slowly through the flower market in Boston. I titled it ‘Wishing for Daffodils.’ That was my first attempt at a full-length manuscript.

 

When did you begin writing?

I began writing poems in the sixth grade instead of submitting essays on my English weekly exams.

 

How long have you been writing?

I started writing seriously about eight years ago with a series based on a crime scene specialist who quit her job to make a fresh start as a black & white photojournalist. At her first wedding, she discovers the wealthy Indian bride collapsed and cold. The working title was ‘Shooting Brides.’

 

Who are your cheerleaders?

My husband George is my staunchest promoter who is ordinarily quite reserved, but he will tell complete strangers that I am a mystery writer. My friend for life, Joye, has weathered the anxiety, tears, frustration and terror of getting published. She continued to feed me a steady diet of positive praise and constructive critiques to make my writing better and better.

 

Did you have support at the beginning and/or during your writing?

In the very beginning, I didn’t tell anyone I was writing. It was my secret. That was a happy time.

 

Did you always have in mind to be a writer or did it just happen?

I didn’t always want to be a writer, but on the long-haul flights to overseas projects, my writing took on a more structured form and I began studying the craft of writing. After a few years, I began to get serious about it as a business.

 

Aside from writing, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

My husband and I have been working in glass for a long time. He is colorblind in the green/blue range, so I have always picked out the glass and helped with the design of our projects. Our current project is making glass jewelry.

 

Do you keep track or write reviews for books you read?

After I discovered Goodreads, I enter what I’m reading now in my account and I like to use the ‘would like to read’ shelf to keep track of new books. I have been slowly entering all the books I’ve enjoyed in the past. I write short reviews to help other readers choose the books I’ve loved, but I don’t really read long ones – I could have finished the first chapter by then.

 

Do you read reviews written about your book?

Of course I read them, I can resist anything but temptation! I want to know what readers think.

 

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

No, as a child I always wanted to be an artist. After I figured out how exciting an engineering career could be, I headed that direction. I was right.

 

What started you on your journey to be a writer?

It was a gradual awakening to how powerful stories can be to the reader and also to the writer. I love it when a reader comes into my story world and enjoys the visit.

 

When you made your first sale, how did you celebrate and with whom?

When my agent called to tell me that my series had been sold to Kensington, I was home alone. I danced around the room like Snoopy and had champagne waiting when my husband returned from his errands. On that Saturday night, the whole family went to our favorite restaurant. We were a noisy group!

 

Do you listen to music while writing?

When I’m creating new material, I need complete silence. In revisions, however, I can listen to soft classical music.

 

What are your favorite hobbies?

Reading, glass art, oil painting and impossibly hard jigsaw puzzles. I prefer the wooden ones with the little whimsy figures.

 

What’s the most memorable thing (good or bad) that’s happened to you while promoting your work?

Nothing yet, I’ve only been on one panel at the SleuthFest Conference in Deerfield Beach, FL. I am a conference-junkie and will travel far and wide to meet with readers and fellow writers.

 

With more books being released each month now than ever before, what do you believe sets your work apart from the others?

Every writer is unique and that is what sets each one apart. I think my mystery fantasy world is inviting and the people are interesting and some even adorable. I’ll work hard to ensure that readers know about my books – they can read them if they don’t know that they exist.

 

What would you like to share with writers who haven’t reached the point of publication yet?

The fascinating thing about writing is that it is a skill you teach yourself. As a result, all input has to be filtered by what it means to you and where you are on the writing path. I’ve attended some workshops that went completely over my head – I wasn’t ready for that information. The jazz is when that one tidbit bounced along that gives you an ‘aha moment’ and vaults your work to the next level. Bliss!

 

What do you feel is your most effective tool for promoting your published work?

My mailing list and newsletter is where I have the most direct contact with readers. Every news event or promotional activity is announced to my subscribers first.

 

Your favorite books and author?

Louise Penny and her Inspector Gamache series. I love the small village setting of Three Pines. The first book in the series is STILL LIFE.

 

Which genres do you prefer to read?

I enjoy the entire wide range of mystery/thriller/suspense as well as Science Fiction/Fantasy and adventurous Young Adult.

 

What book is currently on your nightstand?

THE ANGEL COURT AFFAIR (A Charlotte and Thomas Pitt Novel) by Anne Perry.

 

Are there any particular books and/or authors that inspired you and continue to do so?

The first book that planted the seed that I might be able to write mysteries was WRITE AWAY by Elizabeth George. Her writing process is similar to mine and it awakened the desire to prove that I could finish a novel. After that I found DON’T MURDER YOUR MYSTERY by Chris Roerden. It helped me overcome newbie mistakes and improved my plotting as well and characterization. I am always reading a non-fiction book to sharpen my writing skills.

 

How many books do you read/month?

I normally read five or six more a month. I usually have two novels and one non-fiction writing book going at all times. This is a drastic reduction from before I started writing. I’m resigned to that now, but it still disappoints me that I can’t read as much as I want.

 

What is the one book that you think everyone should read?

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee. I read it every year to remind me what Olympic class storytelling is like.

 

Do you have an all time favorite book?

The first book I received as a Christmas gift from my Aunt Thelma was Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I read that book to shredded tatters. Aunt Thelma was a kind, thoughtful soul who took special time to encourage me and my sister to spread our wings into untraditional career territory.

 

How important do you find the communication between you and your readers? Do you reply to their messages or read their reviews?

Hearing from my readers inspires me to dig deeper and reach down to those emotional depths that make a story compelling.

 

Do you prefer Twitter or Facebook?

I like tweeting on Twitter a little more than posting on Facebook, but I prefer reading my Facebook feed.

 

Where can your fans find you?

 

My Website: www.cherylhollon.com

On Twitter: www.twitter.com/cherylhollon

On Facebook: like my Author page:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cheryl-Hollon-Writer/357992230995844

 

Do you have a local independent bookseller you’d like to mention?

My local book seller is Haslam’s Bookstore at 2025 Central Avenue, St. Petersburg, Florida 33713. My first ever book signing is scheduled for October 3, 2015 at 3PM. Although around the store, I’m known as ‘Eric’s Mom’ because the owner’s son and my son went to high school together. St. Petersburg is a small town. Their website is www.haslams.com for news of upcoming events.

 

Give us a list of your published titles in chronological or series order:Pane&SufferingCover

PANE AND SUFFERING (Webb’s Glass Shop Mysteries Book #1) October 2015

SHARDS OF MURDER (Webb’s Glass Shop Mysteries Book #2) March 2016

CRACKED TO DEATH (Webb’s Glass Shop Mysteries Book #3) October 2016

 

Share with us an elevator pitch (no more than 30 seconds) of your latest title:

 

Pane and Suffering, releases October 2015

 

When Charlotte Webb loses her father to an unexpected heart attack, she drops everything to return home and handle his affairs—particularly the beloved, family-owned stained glass shop. When she finds her glass expert dead of an apparent heart attack on her first day at the store—and the foreboding note her father left behind—she realizes their deaths were anything but natural and sets off to catch a killer.

 

With a rival glass shop in town and a visiting entrepreneur looking to replace her store with a supermarket, she has a couple of good suspects right off the bat, but things start to get colorful—and a lot more dangerous—when she realizes the stained glass orders from one particular patron are suspicious, and his explanations crack under scrutiny. When she isn’t teaching the crafty locals how to make stained glass turtles, she investigates, and with help from some of her students, the bar-owning British hottie next door, and a boy and his dog, she tries to shatter the killer’s plan before someone else ends up dead.

 

Where can we buy it?

 

Amazon, Barnes &Noble, Bookish.com, Books A Million, IndieBound, Target, and Walmart

 

If you could ask your readers one question, what would it be?

Who’s your favorite character in the Webb’s Glass Shop Mysteries?

 

Are you working on anything new and if so when can we expect to see it?

The Webb’s Glass Shop Mysteries is a series and I’m currently working on the rough draft of Book #3, Cracked to Death. I’ve only just started it so it won’t be out until October 2016.

 

Is there anything else you’d like to share to your followers and readers?

The most helpful thing you can do for an author you love is write a review. Now a review is not like the dreaded book report you inflicted on your teacher ages ago. It can be three sentences explaining what you liked or didn’t like. That’s all. Really. Seriously it makes a huge difference to the author’s visibility and may make the difference when a publisher is deciding whether or not to continue publishing her books.

 

What last thing would you like to share with us that nobody knows about you and your work?

Keep reading – that’s all, just keep reading.

Meet Maggie Kast

  1. Maggie KastWhat’s your current guilty pleasure?

Stuffing myself with food press. I receive and read Bon Appetit, Food and Wine, and Saveur, recently added the hip, charming and irreverent Lucky Peach. I couldn’t resist one issue of the woman-centered Cherry Bomb. Every Wednesday I buy the New York Times for its Food section, and I bemoan the “spoiler” effect of emails from cooking.nytimes.com (but I still get them). I was thrilled to have excerpts of my essay, “Sugar, Sex and the Andalusian Cadence” published in the spring issue of Cook’s Gazette, available at www.cooksgazette.com. The death of Gourmet is a loss I still mourn.

 

  1. When did you begin writing?

I began writing in the early nineties, shortly after my husband died. I think my first writing impulse was to find someone to talk to. Then my sister gave me a copy of Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, with its suggestion of morning pages (3 a day, don’t stop and don’t look back for a couple of weeks). About page 2, each day, a poem broke into the middle of the text, and I began to cultivate them. I took a poetry class but eventually realized that stories were what I liked best. My first career was in modern dance, and at that time I was doing liturgical dance (dance in churches and temples). I wrote about what I knew best: religion and dance, and my first publications were in Image Journal (about the sacred in contemporary choreography) and Religion and the Arts (about dancing in sacred space).

 

  1. Did you have support at the beginning or during your writing?

I have been very fortunate with support all along the way. As soon as I found myself writing 3-4 hours a day, I considered applying to an M.F.A. program, and was very happy to be accepted to the low-residency program of Vermont College of Fine Arts. My mentors there were supremely helpful: David Jauss, Ellen Lesser and Abby Frucht. After graduation it took a long time to find an enduring writing group, but now I’ve been in one that meets regularly (well, most of the time) for about ten years. The writers are excellent and the critique is intense, as it should be. In addition I spent about 15 months in Fred Schafer’s novel group, where both his lectures and his manuscript critique taught me much about everything from sentences to emotional continuity. A weekend novel workout with Kevin McIlvoy shaped and honed my novel, encouraging me to reach for greater tragedy and greater comedy.

 

 

 

  1. What the best thing that’s happened to you while promoting your work?

The best reading is a conversation. When I was doing readings of my memoir, The Crack between the Worlds, I learned to start by announcing that Crack cover artinterruptions were contributions, and comments would be welcome at any point. I broke into the reading myself to ask if anyone had similar experiences. I found this made for a much livelier experience for all then simply reading from my published text. It also involved the audience much sooner that the traditional reading plus Q & A. I value communication with readers highly and will always respond to messages and read reviews. Readers can find me on Facebook, on Twitter @tweenworlds, on Goodreads, on my blog, http://ritualandrhubarbpie.blogspot.com, and soon on a new website at maggiekast.com.

 

  1. Are there any particular books or authors that inspired you?

For a historical novel with broad sweep and portrayal of a distant place and time, there is nothing like Naguib Mahfouz’ three-volume Palace Walk. Though this is a work of fiction, it also satisfies today’s “reality hunger” with its evocation of turn-of-the-20th-century Egypt, where women were confined behind shutters while their men caroused. The same element of reality can be found in David Grossman’s To the End of the Land, for which the author made the same dangerous hike through Israel that his protagonist makes in the book. I also admired the latter for its use of two rapidly shifting points of view. Bravery in terms of form and style always inspires me, so the sudden intrusion of the author into J.M. Coetzee’s Slow Man is one of my favorite literary moments. Coetzee also shares with Milan Kundera the ability to integrate philosophic reflection into fiction without losing sight of humor. All these continue to inspire me.

 

  1. How many books do you read per month?

I read 2-3 books per month, and I do keep an annotated bibliography to help me remember what I read and how I reacted. I’ve started adding some of these to Goodreads (in less personal form). My notes vary from a few sentences, mainly to spur memory, to more lengthy analyses of structures I strongly admire (Richard Yates’ Revolutionary Road, for example), to drafts of review essays I am writing for publication.

 

  1. Here is the elevator pitch for my forthcoming novel, A Free, Unsullied Land:

A young woman of the Depression years seeks escape from her abusive home through immersion in jazz, political protest, and love for an anthropologist whose work she is adopting as her own, when a funeral ritual tempts her to violate an Apache taboo and risk both her love and her life.

An interview with Rebecca Jaycox

Rebecca in GreeceRebecca Jaycox grew up in the tiny town of Berryman, which borders the Mark Twain National Forest and the Courtois River about 70 miles south of St. Louis. The beautiful landscape fed her imagination, and she began writing stories at age 10 and never stopped. Always seeking adventure, Rebecca moved to France after she graduated college with a journalism degree to teach English at a French high school. Bitten by the travel bug, she has recently visited Italy, Greece, Austria, Spain, and finally made it to her bucket-list destination of Istanbul last summer. Rebecca now lives in New York City with her husband, Gregory. She is the curator and program director of the YA Lit Series at the 92nd Street Y—one of New York’s premier cultural centers. She enjoys reading and writing fantasy, urban fantasy, steampunk, and science fiction. The Other Inheritance is her first novel. 

www.rebeccajaycox.com

Blog URL: www.rebeccajaycox.com

Facebook URL: https://www.facebook.com/RebeccaLJaycox

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RebeccaJaycox

PJ: Tell me a little about yourself 

Rebecca: I grew up in the tiny town of Berryman, Missouri. Basically, my house was in the Mark Twain National Forest. As an only child growing up in the country, I had to find ways to entertain myself. My cats became generals in my armies, and the green acorns in my yard became priceless emeralds on my treasure hunts. My desire for adventure just matured as I got older, and I went to live in France after I graduated college. From there I migrated to NYC, and I’ve been there for 10 years.

 

PJ: What’s your current guilty pleasure? 

Rebecca: Binge watching TV shows! Netflix has really ruined me. I’m impatiently waiting for the final season of Sons of Anarchy, and I’m going to start House of Cards soon.  

 

PJ: Aside from writing, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time? 

Rebecca: Travel! I travel as much as I can. Last year I went to Greece, Italy, and France. This year I’m hoping to go to Prague. The places I visit really help inspire my writing. I think visiting other places and experiencing new cultures is one of the best things you can do for yourself. 

 

PJ: What’s the most memorable thing (good or bad) that’s happened to you while promoting your work? 

Rebecca: Before my book was released, I went back to my hometown and met with three 7th and 8th grade classes. My former teacher is still teaching and invited me to talk to the kids about following their dreams. I had such a great time, and the students were wonderful. When I had a signing in my hometown, one of the kids I’d met, Hunter, had created a sandwich board with my book cover on it and marched in front of the signing venue I was at inviting people in. It was one of the coolest things anyone has done for me.

 

PJ: With more books being released each month now than ever before, what do you believe sets your work apart from the others?

Rebecca: Hmm, that’s a tough question. My YA fantasy is definitely on the mature end of the spectrum. And I think my work is unique in the way my heroine Reggie deals with her mother who is an alcoholic. A lot of parents are absent in YA fiction, but Reggie’s parents are always present in some way. Her family life has really affected who she is and what she’s capable of.

 

PJ: What would you like to share with writers who haven’t reached the point of publication yet? 

Rebecca: Be persistent. It will happen for you. It takes time, a lot of rejection, and a thick skin, but it will happen.  And make sure to keep editing your manuscript. “The Other Inheritance” went through six drafts before I shopped it around. Your manuscript must be as polished as humanly possible.

 

PJ: What do you feel is your most effective tool for promoting your published work? 

Rebecca: Social media is a great tool. I’m very active on FB and Twitter and will soon be moving into the world of Instagram. I also think it’s incredibly helpful to advertise with book services who have a wide reach, like the Fussy Librarian.

 

PJ: What area of book promotion is the most challenging to you? 

Rebecca: Finding a way to keep my FB posts and tweets fresh and clever. I want to draw in new readers, and you almost need a degree in marketing to keep the copy fresh.

 

PJ: Your favorite books and author? 

Rebecca: I have several! I have so many series to keep up with, it’s bordering on crazy. For urban fantasy, I go right to Ilona Andrews and Patricia Briggs. I also love Anne Bishop’s new “Courtyard” series. Maggie Stiefvator, Susan Ee, Marissa Meyer, Laini Taylor, and Sarah J. Maas are auto buy for YA for me. I can’t forget Neil Gaiman or Robin McKinley. There are more, many more, but I’ll stop for now.

 

PJ: Which genres do you prefer to read?

Rebecca: I read a lot of what I write: YA, fantasy, science fictions, urban fantasy, and steampunk.

 

PJ: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? 

Rebecca: I love Marissa Meyer’s “Lunar Chronicle” series along with Sarah J. Maas’ “Throne of Glass” series.

 

PJ: What book is currently on your nightstand? 

Rebecca: My Nook is currently on my nightstand, so no actual book, but I am reading “The Coldest Girl in Coldtown” by Holly Black.

 

PJ: Are there any particular books and/or authors that inspired you and continue to do so?

Rebecca: Strangely enough, Colleen McCullough and Catherine Cookson. They taught me that when it comes to what you put your characters through, why go for the kill when you can go for the pain. I also loved the Gothic novel, “Rebecca.” It taught me how to set a mood.

 

PJ: How many books do you read/month? 

Rebecca: I really try for four a month. That’s my goal. Reading helps me write.

 

PJ: What is the one book that you think everyone should read? 

Rebecca: “A Tale of Two Cities.”

 

PJ: Do you have an all time favorite book? 

Rebecca: I really don’t. I know it’s lame, but it’s the truth.

 

PJ: How important do you find the communication between you and your readers? Do you reply to their messages or read their reviews?

Rebecca: I do reply to their messages. I think it’s important to let your readers know that you appreciate them.

 

PJ: Do you prefer Twitter or Facebook?

Rebecca: Depends on my mood. Tweeting is sometimes the easier way to get maximum impact. 

 

PJ: Where can your fans find you? 

Rebecca: Fans can find me at: www.rebeccajaycox.comhttps://www.facebook.com/RebeccaLJaycox, and at https://twitter.com/RebeccaJaycox.

 

PJ: Do you have a local independent bookseller you’d like to mention? 

Rebecca: I have two! Books of Wonder in NYC and The Book House in St. Louis

 

PJ: Share with us an elevator pitch (no more than 30 seconds) of your latest title:

 

Rebecca: Seventeen-year-old Reggie has been having a tougher time than usual. As if dealing with her alcoholic mother and fighting school bullies isn’t enough, this biker dude shows up in her dreams, babbling about magic and a world called the Other.

Then, in biology class, her finger brushes a dead frog set out for dissection and it leaps off the table, scaring everyone, including her.

Reggie’s life is changing, and she has no idea why. Or whether she should believe the man in her dreams, who claims she’s in danger and that someone is coming to take her to a safer reality. But if there’s one thing she’s learned, nowhere is safe.

 

PJ: Where can we buy it? TheOtherInheritance-FrontCover

Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

 

 

PJ: Are you working on anything new and if so when can we expect to see it?

Rebecca: I’m currently working on the sequel to “The Other Inheritance.” I hope to release it next year. Fingers crossed!

 

PJ: Is there anything else you’d like to share to your followers and readers? 

Rebecca: First, I’d like to thank them for their support and secondly, I’d like to encourage them to leave a review. Reviews help out authors so much!