Interview with Holly Ducarte!

Hi everyone! Today, I’m wishing Holly Ducarte a happy book birthday as her debut novel The Light Over Broken Tide releases today! I had the privilege of reading an ARC of Holly’s debut and today I’m treating you to an interview with the lady herself!

27576569_114507042704445_7996779267457286144_n

 

Hi Holly, thanks so much for agreeing to this interview! I loved The Light Over Broken Tide and it’s a pleasure to have you on my blog today.

Thank you so much for inviting me! I feel truly honoured you loved my book.

 

First of all, could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Sure! I’ve lived in a small town most of my life in Alberta, Canada. I’ve got two sisters, one of which is my identical twin. I grew up around creative people and so it isn’t surprising that I am pursuing something within the creative arts. I enjoy travelling and being outside. I find my peace in nature. I’m a big family person. They’ve supported me in this endeavour to write and I really want to make them proud. I’ve been married for ten years to my best friend. I’m a mother of an amazing little girl, who is turning three soon. I collect books, antiques, and funko pops. Music and movies inspire me all the time. Coffee and tea are my writing fuel. I have a thing for birds. And last but not least, my Hogwarts House is Gryffindor.

 

Gryffindors unite! Great to find out more about you 🙂 When did you decide to start writing The Light Over Broken Tide? Was it a natural progression from your poetry?

I began writing it five and a half years ago. But writing, in general, has been a part of my life since I knew how to do it. Poetry seems to come to me immediately when inspiration hits. It’s concise, and yet one can say a lot with so few words. Novel writing is more complex in that it isn’t concise, and an idea doesn’t just fully form. You’ve got to plot-plan, do character sketches, research etc. I’m not sure it was a natural progression so much as poetry fused with my novel-writing style. It’s just a part of me. I hope that answers your question.

 

That fusion was something about your novel that I loved. How would you describe your writing process?

In a word: sporadic. I’m not one to hunker down and write every day. It’s not feasible. Besides, I have to feel the muse in the room. When it comes, though, I’m all in. I can stay at the computer for hours and write scene after scene. I’m quite the night owl, working best late. The house is quiet then and I can think and plan better. Sometimes I have music playing, depending on where I’m at with the novel. Lately, I’ve been at my kitchen table typing away on my laptop.

 

The setting in The Light Over Broken Tide was one of my favourite aspects of the book. Was it inspired by a real place?

Yes. Lunenburg, Nova Scotia exists, and a lot of the names of the stores and shops within the book aren’t fictional. It’s truly a gorgeous town with that quintessential sea-side appeal. I recommend looking it up online and viewing the pictures. It’ll be like stepping into my novel, I’m sure of it.

(I took the liberty of doing a Google search and Holly is not wrong. Look at the pretty!)

 

The Peter Pan connections in the novel were also lovely. Did you always intend to include these or did they sneak in as you were writing?

As Shawn developed as a character, they kind of snuck in. Peter Pan is one of my favourite classics, and while writing, I just felt the two shared similarities. Both had big dreams and weren’t in a hurry to grow up. When you consider “doesn’t want to grow up”, Peter Pan automatically springs to mind.

 

That’s true. So, who are some authors that inspire you?

I always find this a tough one to answer, because I’m an eclectic reader and there are so many great authors that I love for different reasons. The ones that I thought of first, and in no particular order, are JK Rowling, JRR Tolkien, CS Lewis, JM Barrie, William Shakespeare, Gaston Leroux, Arthur Conan Doyle, Oscar Wilde, Bram Stoker, Mitch Albom, Harper Lee, Kim Edwards, Erin Morgenstern, Jeannette Walls, Emma Donoghue, and recently Leigh Bardugo, Lang Leav, and John Green. Honestly…I could go on and on.

 

That’s a fantastic list! We share a lot of favourites. Do you have any hobbies (besides writing) that help you to unwind?

Probably too many to be honest. Is reading books considered a hobby? I do lots of that. I also like to write music, sing, and strum a guitar. It’s very meditative. I paint or draw from time to time. I do crafts here and there, like rustic, wooden sign boards or sewing. I recently purchased a paddle-board and am looking forward to using it a lot this later Spring and in Summer. I’m not one to sit idle for too long.

 

Do you have any current projects in the works? Can you give us any teasers?!

I do. It’s quite the jump from contemporary fiction, which is The LOBT. I am working on a historical suspense. I don’t want to give away too much, but I can say it takes place during the Victorian Era. The main character is a precocious young woman of eighteen named Deidre Pryor who becomes a woman scorned by her fiancé. She seeks out the spirits in the woods the children around town are calling Di Inferi, and she means to request their counsel on the perfect revenge.

It’s riddled with drama, suspicion, and thrill. Its theme is: “Vengeance is like a rose. Appealing until we are pricked by its thorn.” It also has another theme underlying about “the masks we wear”.

I will share the excerpt I’ve put on Instagram, but of course in the process of editing, it is subject to change: “Miss Pryor, we cannot simply allow you to leave and take your word alone that you will not tell a soul about us. As I said, assurance must be made. Now, do not become too alarmed at this…but I am going to cut you. Nothing big, mind, about Twopence in size. It is a sharp knife and I am very skilled.”

 

Well, that sounds amazing! I’m looking forward to it already. How can readers find out more about you and your work?

All of my social media links can be found on my website www.hollyducarte.com under the Contact section, and they can read further info on me, my work, author visits, and press.

 

Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule for this interview!

It’s me who is thankful for your support.

 

IMG_9051

 

Well, I hope you all enjoyed that! It was a pleasure to interview Holly; I find her so inspiring. If you’re interested in reading my review of The Light Over Broken Tide, you can find it here. And the book is available now! 

Advertisements

Interview with Dana Fraedrich!

I recently read Out of the Shadows by Dana Fraedrich (which incidentally turned out to be my 100th book of the year!) It is a steampunk adventure following feisty heroine Lenore and a fantastic cast of characters. You can check out my spoiler-free review here.

Dana was kind enough to agree to an interview which I’m delighted to be presenting to you now! Make sure you read right to the end for an exclusive reveal… 😉

 

Hi Dana, thanks so much for agreeing to this interview! I really enjoyed Out of the Shadows and it’s a pleasure to have you on my blog.

Thank you so much for having me, Alex.  It’s an absolute pleasure. 🙂

For readers who don’t know you from the ‘bookstagram’ community, could you tell us a little about yourself?

Sure thing! I grew up in Virginia but live in Nashville, TN now, which is a little funny because I have no musical talent whatsoever.  Not that it stops me from singing very loudly (and very badly) in the shower, car, grocery store, etc.  I’ve always written.  Pretty much as soon as I could read, I started writing down whatever little stories came into my head, and writing assignments were always my favorite in school.  I still have a lot of my old pieces too, though I think only one will ever see the light of day…after I do a lot of work on it.  I wrote it over ten years ago, so it’ll need a lot of editing.  Besides that, I enjoy video games (Skyrim and Dragon Age FTW!), cooking, and reading.

When did you decide to start writing Out of the Shadows and why?

I actually started writing Out of the Shadows as a lark. I wanted to see if I could write a steampunk story.  I never imagined it would grab me like it did.  I adore that world and the characters now!  I finished the first draft in under a year.  Given that I wasn’t writing regularly back then and only did it whenever the mood struck, that was pretty impressive for me.

How would you describe your writing process?

I think I write in layers, if that makes sense.  The first draft is always a rough skeleton of what I really want to end up with.  Then I go through and start refining details and setting scenes—I always think of action and dialogue before settings.  I plump this or pare that down.  When I get to about the third or fourth draft (it’s hard to keep track), I do all the fiddly work of searching for problem words like “very” and “that” and trying to refine it.  Only after that do I send it to my editor.

The steampunk elements in Out of the Shadows are particularly detailed and fascinating to read about. Did you have to do a lot of research?

Sort of? See, my dad is an engineer, so I grew up learning about how things fit together and work.  If I had a question about how a machine functions, I’d ask him first.  Anything that had to do with chemical reactions, though, I had to research those.  That made for a really unsettling browser history, especially when it came to gunpowder and poisons.

If you absolutely HAD to choose, which of your characters would you say is your favourite and why?

Ugh, this is like choosing between children.  Haha.  My answer would probably change day to day, but right now I have to say Lowell Thorne.  He has such a beautiful heart, and he’s so clever and fun to write.  He’s featured more in Into the Fire and the new forthcoming novella, so I’m excited for people to get to know him better.

25008302_1929329060429046_3822298646062301184_n

Who are some of your favourite authors?

Oh my gosh, there are so many amazing ones. Okay, Robin McKinley is my all time favorite.  If I ever met her, I’d probably just giggle uncontrollably.  Also, JK Rowling for her world building and Chris Wooding for action scenes.

Do you have any hobbies that you use to switch off and unwind when you’re not writing?

Playing video games always helps me. Everything I play is pretty immersive, so I can’t think about writing or problems or whatever when I’m busy talking to NPCs and fighting baddies.

Are there any aspects of your work that you find particularly difficult or challenging?

This might sound kind of unbelievable, but I never really dealt with proper insecurity before I started pursuing my career as a writer. I’ve always been pretty confident and good at adapting to general life stuff, but publishing my writing introduced me to a whole new world of self-doubt.  You go into these spirals of “Actually, I don’t know if I’m any good at this…like, at all” and “Is this entire story terrible?  Because I really can’t tell anymore.”  Because I’ve never had to develop coping mechanisms for the kind of deep, soul-wrenching insecurity that comes from putting your passion out there for the world to see, it feels like I’m flailing at the bottom of a pit when it hits me.  I still struggle with regaining objectivity when I start slipping down that path, but I’ve never been good at sitting still.  Thankfully, so far in this journey, when I’ve fallen prey to dark thoughts, the urge to move and do something—whether it’s going to someone I trust for encouragement or just pushing forward even if I’m not certain what I’m doing—has outweighed my fear.

I’m especially eager to read your second book, Into the Fire. For those readers who might not know what it’s about, can you tantalise us with anything specific (but non-spoilery!)?

I’d be happy to! In Into the Fire, readers get to explore a part of Invarnis we haven’t seen before.  Of course, all the loose ends from Out of the Shadows cause trouble for everyone.  I found myself really challenging my characters in this second book.  They’re in unfamiliar, disadvantageous, painful, and/or dangerous situations wherein they have to make difficult choices.  Not gonna lie, my heart hurt for my characters as I was writing this book.

Can you give us any hints about projects you currently have in the works?

My current WIP is a standalone story set in the Broken Gears universe. In it, readers will see the history of Invarnis and how we got to the current point in its history.  A lot of secrets will be revealed in the book, and some familiar side characters will get spotlight roles.  I plan on releasing it during the first half of 2018.

Is there anything you’d like to add that I haven’t included?

I do a lot of live events like book festivals and author signings because I love meeting people and geeking out about books. If any organizers/bookstore owners/etc. out there would like to have me attend their event, drop me a line on my website.  And speaking of book festivals…Alex, I didn’t tell you this was coming.  I haven’t announced this anywhere just yet, so what better place than here?  I am very excited to let you all know I will have at table at BookCon in New York City this June.  I’ll be at booth #1140, so feel free to come by and say hi.  I met some amazing people there last year and cannot wait to go back!

 

Well, I absolutely loved finding out more about Dana! It’s great to remember that those authors are real people 😉 If you are interested in finding out even more or following any of Dana’s social media accounts, I have included some handy links below.

Dana Fraedrich Author Pic.jpg

Website and Blog: http://www.wordsbydana.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/danafraedrich/

Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/Dana-Fraedrich/e/B008QB3QXI

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6494889.Dana_Fraedrich

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DanaFraedrich

 

And there you have it! I hope you all enjoyed reading this interview – huge thanks to Dana for giving up her time for it! If anyone goes on to read Out of the Shadows, be sure to let me know so we can chat about it!

Interview with Becky Wright!

Today, I’m thrilled to bring you an interview with the lovely Becky Wright, author of Remember to Love Me and The Manningtree Account. I read Remember to Love Me in May and thought it was a beautiful and original story. You can read my spoiler-free review here. Read on for the interview!

18645942_299201850535429_5787886774059532288_n

 

Hi Becky, thanks so much for agreeing to this interview! I really enjoyed Remember to Love Me and it’s a pleasure to have you on my blog.

 

1. Many readers will know you from the ‘bookstagram’ community but, for those who don’t, could you tell us a little about yourself?

Thank you so much for allowing me to share a little about my writing.

I’m an independent author, an ‘Indie’ as we’re affectionately known, maybe a rather cooler title than the demanding work that’s involved, but it’s my dream job. I’m blessed to live in the heart of the Suffolk countryside, rolling green fields, picturesque timber-framed villages, country pubs and rural churches. I’m married to my soul mate, with a young son and a crazy puppy, I also have four remarkable grown up children, two grandchildren and another on the way. As you can imagine, my family are very important, and although I always state, I’m a full-time writer, first and last, I’m Mum.

 

2. When did you decide to start writing Remember to Love Me and why?

It’s almost fourteen years ago, that I started writing Remember to Love Me. I hadn’t penned anything in the form of a story since I was a child. And although, I know it sounds utterly bizarre, I literally woke up and thought, today I’m going to write a book. Within the next day or so, I had pretty much sketched out the whole plot and characters. I’d say it was a simple as that, but it’s never that simple, it took another four years to complete, as I was writing in spurts around a career and four children. I can honestly say, it was never meant for anyone else’s eyes, it was therapy for my busy brain, I just had an inner need to put this story to paper, as if the characters themselves just needed to be heard.

 

3. Are there any aspects of Remember to Love Me that were inspired by real-life experiences?

That’s a good question, and one that I’ve never been asked before. It’s also a hard one. Although the story line itself is true to my own beliefs, it is completely fictitious. The characters however, in part, are incredibly real. I sit at the heart of all the girls, Annabelle, Emily and April, they each possess a different accept of my own personality. And, of course the location is my hometown of Bury St Edmunds. I feel my love for the town makes the book rather intimate, with references to specific locations, such as Nan’s house and the graveyard beyond, vividly painted. But, I think above all the story is about love, in all guises, and that is very real, and very true to my heart.

 

4. How would you describe your writing process?

My work time is split into zones. It’s nigh impossible to write with a three-year-old tearing around; playdoh and a laptop do not bode well, so when he’s home it’s research, promoting and social media. My most valuable time is those precious school hours. I can’t afford to waste them so I’ll write continuously until he’s home. As for writing itself, a new story always starts with a spark. The idea could come from anywhere, quite often it’s a conversation. My husband is incredible at both listening to my ramblings, and prompting ideas. The initial spark may roll around gathering momentum for days or weeks, until I have enough to do some research, and then it starts. The first draft is always a little awkward, with a few miss-starts. And, I hate to admit, I tend to edit as I go – not fully, I know it’s ‘against the normal rules’ – it will take three drafts to get to a place where I’m happy, then it’s off to my editor. I have a type of word blindness, the most obvious things will elude me; I’m extremely lucky to have an editor who understands and knows how I work.

 

5. Are there any authors who particularly inspire you?

I’m finding new authors all the time. You know yourself, with social media and our fantastic bookstagram community, new authors appear and we are reading a lot of independent books that we would never have found before. I’ve read some incredible books, by talented writers who I’m now lucky enough to call friends. Whilst writing Remember to Love Me, I was reading Kate Morton; she has a terrific way of creating a clear defined timeslip story, she certainly aided my own process. I’m also a lover of historical fiction, which sits at the heart of all my books. I adore Elizabeth Chadwick. She has an in-depth knowledge of her subject time and era, with great research ethics and strategies.

 

6. The time-slip scenes in Remember to Love Me are particularly beautiful. Did you find it easier/more enjoyable to write about the past?

I belong to another era. I have nostalgia coursing through my veins. Most certainly, I feel more at home writing the past, but of course, the contemporary scenes were a must to tell the story. Although, if you look closely, there is an old-fashioned feel, a timeless quality to even the modern scenes. I made a conscious decision that the main essence of the book be historical, about the family, their lives and emotions. I tried not to give too much weight or credence to modern luxuries, with the locations in Remember to Love Me remaining the same in both eras.

 

7. How do you switch off and unwind when you’re not writing?

I’m not sure I do switch off; I suffer terribly from bouts of insomnia, mostly as my brain is always on the go. I do find it hard to unwind, those pesky characters tend to ramble on as much as I do. The evening is my reading time, although I’m not a fast reader; it can take me quite a while to get through a book. I like to digest and let the story seep through my skin. My husband works very long hours, comes home late; for him to unwind we tend to watch tv, mostly boxsets – normal tv doesn’t interest me, I hate soaps, reality and quiz shows. It’s a historical series that will spark interest, maybe with a little supernatural thrown in. I love a good British made historical drama.

 

8. Are there any aspects of your work that you find particularly difficult or challenging?

Yes, lack of writing time and concentration when I’m doing housework or playing Lego.

But most of all, marketing and promoting my books. Being an independent author has lots of advantages, I work to my own deadlines, I write what I love, I am my own boss. But the flip side of that is, it’s all down to me, I’ve no one to hand it over to, no marketing team, or sales promoter. Advertising is so difficult; there is a very fine line between effectively marketing your new book to your readers and just plain bombarding them ’til they are sick of the sight of it. I come from a background of sales and marketing, and although it has its advantages, it can be challenging.

 

9. Your latest book The Manningtree Account is quite different from Remember to Love Me in terms of style/topic. What inspired you to go dark and did you enjoy the change of direction?

They are very different indeed. Where Remember to Love Me has a very gentle pace, soft, romantic, although very emotional, The Manningtree Account, is a dark thriller. I loved writing it. I must be honest, I wrote Remember to Love Me so long ago, that it would be hard to write that again now. My life was very different, it was my form of escape. I think we all grow as authors; the more we live, challenges life throws at us, the books we read, the people we meet, we are constantly carving our creative selves, we are forever evolving characters. As for my dark side, it’s always been there, lingering in the shadows. The Manningtree Account, itself, started as a short story for a writing course I attended a decade ago. It lay dormant for ten years, until I stumbled across it again last year. I had been reading some darker fictions, and it grabbed. I am leaning toward the dark side; it’s far more fun to write, I must be a little wicked myself.

 

10. Can you give us any hints about the second book in the Legacy series, Rose de Mai?

This is where my challenge starts. I always intended to write a trilogy; the story was carefully mapped out to span three books. Though, for those who have read Remember to Love Me, it is a standalone; the story is complete, all the little loose ends are tied neatly with a pretty bow. Therefore, at the moment, and foreseeable future, the book will remain so, a standalone. Rose de Mai has been put aside for now; I can’t say I will or that I won’t write it, but at this time I just can’t do the characters justice. I feel the dark side has captured my heart and soul and I’ve unfinished business there. The Manningtree Account sparked a fierce flame and there are so many more dark tales I’m longing to tell. I had no idea that The Manningtree Account would be received with such admirations. As it was only ever released as a kindle download, I’ve been working towards an extended edition for release as hardcopy and download. This is almost ready, in its new guise, with new title and cover. No release date yet but sometime this August.

 

11. Is there anything you’d like to add that I haven’t included?

My next project it even darker. The cogs are still whirring with this one; it’s almost ready for research, I need a little more in-depth investigation. I’m reluctant to give too much away, though I’m hoping it will live up to the title of a Gothic Horror.

 

Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule for this interview!

 

I loved finding out more about Becky and her writing process, and I hope you did too! Below are some useful links to Becky’s social media accounts if you would like to find out more about her and her books.

Website / Blog: http://www.beckywrightauthor.com/

Amazon author page:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Becky-Wright/e/B01MDTW47Y/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/beckywrightauthor

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

Litsy: BeckyWrightAuthor

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16048432.Becky_Wright

Twitter:   https://www.twitter.com/beckywright1971

offical photo

 

What a beautiful lady! Thanks again Becky, I really appreciate you taking the time to do this interview. Best of luck with your continued writing career!