*Interview with Ian Cawley, author of GNOSIS*

#technothriller #thriller #politicalthriller #futuristic #mysticism

Today we are thrilled to welcome Ian Cawley, author of Gnosis, a thriller which blends big business and politics with world events, climate change and ancient mysticism. I was fortunate to meet Ian (pictured above) when he visited Tamworth Literary Festival in March this year and I am very much looking forward to reading Gnosis.

Scroll down to read the interview Ian with and find out about Gnosis. 🙂 

Book Blurb

How far would your conscience take you?

In a world increasingly disturbed by the Climate Change Phenomenon, and with overwhelming economic refugee migration, Max Harrington’s conscience led him to create GNOSIS; a computerised management system to regulate energy and fuel consumption around the globe.

His vision was of a cleaner, fairer and healthier world. What he didn’t see, however, was that the big data created would become a far more valuable prize to those less bound by conscience.

This political thriller, set in the digital age, follows a trail of murderous clues, running from the academic fields of Cambridge, through the powerbrokers of Westminster and into the war-torn desolation of the Holy Lands.

Q & A

1. Tell us about yourself

Born in the Manchester area, I’ve worked in jobs that have ranged from loading fruit & veg vans to running a film school, but mainly in the graphics and the audio-visual industries. I wrote my first screenplay in 1989, shortly after graduating, which gained the attention of Channel 4, though the project was scuppered with all the others thanks to Lady Thatcher selling off the TV franchises at that time.

Since then, encouraged by a year’s MA of Scriptwriting at Film School, I have endeavoured to continue my writing of unique stories with some success through independent fiction films and documentaries.

Now living in the Midlands, I’m married with two children.

2. Tell us about GNOSIS.

I had become tired of trying to get writing and film projects up and going, so I decided on a different approach to getting my work out there.

The advent of Amazon’s self-publishing option came as an obvious outlet; a relatively easy way in which to get your work out to a wider public and see how it’s received. It was also a fresh challenge since I had never attempted to write in the novel format before.

The idea for GNOSIS came about, I think, after watching Tobias Churton’s documentary series on ‘The Gnostics’ whilst at the same time reading up on some of the ideas of two scientists – Fritjof Capra and James Lovelock. Capra was postulating theories of connectivity of all matter in the universe whilst Lovelock was expounding his Gaia Theory – the earth being a self-regulating organism.

I found myself intrigued by these philosophical ideas and pondered the prospect of weaving them into a fictional story using conventional narrative devices. These creative musings, however, have taken twenty-five years to come to fruition.

The story

Gnosis is the story of Max, a digital engineer who wants to save the world.

How far would your conscience take you? In a world increasingly disturbed by the Climate Change Phenomenon, and with overwhelming economic refugee migration, Max Harrington’s conscience led him to create GNOSIS; a computerised management system to regulate energy and fuel consumption around the globe. His vision was of a cleaner, fairer and healthier world. What he didn’t see, however, was that the big data created would become a far more valuable prize to those less bound by conscience. This political thriller, set in the digital age, follows a trail of murderous clues, running from the academic fields of Cambridge, through the powerbrokers of Westminster and into the war-torn desolation of the Holy Lands.

3. I understand that one reviewer has called it ‘The Da Vinci Code meets Big Data’?

Yes. I can see why that may have occurred to the reader since it is a traditional mystery plot involving the lust for power and control (information being the asset) whilst having undercurrents of possible supernatural forces at work, the use of codes and mysticism.

4. Lots of people have also said that they can see GNOSIS as a film

Absolutely. GNOSIS is really a movie script hiding in a novel. Given that my first love is cinema and all my previous writing has been for the screen, it was inevitable that that style would surface in the way it came off the page. It is also structured very much like a movie.

5. How long did it take you to write the novel?

The idea for GNOSIS had been kicking around for over 25 years, but I only really started writing it up in anger (as a novel) in 2011 and published it in the summer of 2016.

6. It’s extremely topical, and in that respect I am talking about the political, EU, terrorism, climate change, big data and hacking themes. Readers have called GNOSIS ‘an uncanny prediction”.

Are you psychic?

Well to quote Bob Dylan “You don’t need a weather man to know which way the wind blows.”

7. What kind of research did you do?

As I went through the story, the technical details were served purely though the internet. For example, YouTube showed me the drive from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.  The internet is a wonderful tool for the writer and it can allow you to do neg checks as well before releasing the story.

Characters

8, Which is your favourite character in GNOSIS, and why?

Oh gosh, that’s hard – like saying who is your favourite child. That’s a tough one. If I had a few I’d pick – Max of course, but I do have a soft spot for Brent McGregor. He’s an utter buffoon. I also like the character of Francois because he cares and doesn’t care in the same measure.

9. Are any characters like you?

Of course. Max. In my fantasies. 🙂

10. When you were writing it could you see certain actors as the characters?

It was only towards its completion that we began to fantasise about potential actors. Kevin Spacey I thought would be excellent for Joe Green. Emily Blunt for Georgina.

And for Max…? I never really came up with one for Max. My wife came up with several. 🙂

Clifford? Maybe Derek Jacobi as Clifford…

11. Are any of the characters real life people – politicians for example?

There are elements drawn from people who I have never met but know of, and there are elements of people I know and have known quite well.

12. Your favourite football team has made its way into GNOSIS. You support Manchester City. Tell us more.

It just seemed a fun thing to do for City fans. Some of the in-jokes are a bit obscure and you would have to be a City fan of some long standing to get all of them.  I’ve supported Man City since leaving primary school.

13. You have several films featured in GNOSIS (Night of the Demon etc.) – are they your favourites? Why were they included….

The 30’s horror films tend to be a motif for my childhood. The reference to Jacques Tourneur’s 1957 film ‘Night of the Demon’ has two significant elements to it – firstly, I saw it as a kid and it had me absolutely captivated. Secondly, I saw it when I was older with a group of mates; it being part of a BBC 2 double bill with The Ghoul starring John Hurt.

Night of the Demon is a bizarre collaboration of a European director using American money for a British production. Without going into all the politics behind the film, the mix of the American star Dana Andrews, the perverse American view of what “English countryfolk” are and the types of dwellings they live in, along with a stunning performance by Niall MacGinnis as the evil Dr Karswell, it’s an utter delight to watch. I would suggest the séance where they all sing “Cherry Ripe” together to be a moment of cinema legend.

Some of the motifs throughout the film seemed to marry so well with some of the elements and ideas in the story.  It just seemed fitting to put it in. Also, it might tempt readers to search out the film and watch it.

14. How do you pick character names? Do they have any special meaning to you?

Yes. Because they have need to suit the characters and there is always an opportunity to play an in-joke. For example, Colleen Bell – is one of the major characters to survive into the sequel. Those who can make the link with the other characters in the book will find the entire MCFC 1969 FA Cup winning side appearing here, there and everywhere.

Writing

15. Do you ever surprise yourself with what you’ve written?

Yes. When it’s a good gag and you are the first one to hear it.

16. What’s the best and the worst thing about being an author?

The hardest thing is filling white spaces with words. I don’t think it ever gets any easier. However, once you are through the process having produced what you believe to be a credible novel, there is a sense of achievement and legacy that stays with you. There’s also nothing better than to receive a glowing review from a complete stranger.

17. Where do you most like to do your writing?

In solitude and silence but that is very difficult with a growing family and several pets.

18. Do you ever get writer’s block? How do you tackle it?

No. I just get ‘lazy-itus’.

19 What is the best writing tip you have ever been given? How has it influenced you?

Alan Plater, acclaimed writer (who mentored me in the early 90s) corresponded with me frequently. To be honest, I learned more from Alan, in a few sentences amongst the paragraphs, than a whole year studying at film school.

Diana Hawkins, Film Producer. She advised me on the importance of structure. She encouraged me to get my stories into a proper structure and from that point on I understood how important it is to make your story really work.

20. How much of your own life experiences appear in your writing?

I think it’s inevitable that your own daily experience of living will find a way into some aspect of the stories, plots, characters, settings and dialogue. Writers often start writing from a point of something they already know or have an interest in.

21. What’s your usual writing routine?

My usual writing routine is to steal what time I can and promise myself that unless I write at least two paragraphs City will lose at the weekend.

Is that true? – Yes.

Self-publishing

20. You self-published GNOSIS. Why, and how easy did you find it – the process?

As I said earlier, I just wanted my work out there, read and enjoyed.

In retrospect it was fairly easy, but having my own design and computer skills helped the process immeasurably.  Someone who isn’t tech savvy might need to seek help or buy the service in. For example, I designed and created my own book cover using Photoshop and After Effects with some photography. I also handle my own Social Media accounts.

The sequel

21. You are presently writing a sequel. Care to tell us anything?

The sequel picks up the story where GNOSIS left off.  It is a time for justice to be meted out and certain individuals to get their comeuppance.  A lot of readers have already got in touch with me, and asked what’s going to happen to the ‘baddies’… Hopefully soon they will find out, and they might even get a happy ending. 🙂

*SHELLEY WILSON* ~ Author Interview and Spotlight on her new release Guardians of the Lost Lands (book 3 of The Guardians)

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Today we are delighted to welcome Shelley Wilson to our blog. Shelley is the author of young adult fiction and self-help non-fiction and she is also an active blogger. We are thrilled that she has agreed to provide us with an interview so that we can quiz her about her writing process, future plans and also her new release Guardians of the Lost Lands (book 3 of The Guardians). Scroll down to find out more. 🙂 

Interview with Shelley

1.Welcome to our blog Shelley, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what prompted you to start writing?

I was born in Leeds, West Yorkshire but moved to the West Midlands when I was just eight years old. Even though I have a Brummie accent, I still think of myself as a Yorkshire lass!

I’m a single mum to three amazing teenagers, one fat goldfish, and a black cat called Luna. My background is in holistic health, and I ran a successful ladies only spa for seven years before illness forced my hand, and I had to close. Writing always played an important part in my life from a young age, but it was only when I reached my thirties that I took it seriously – or should that be, took myself seriously as a writer.

2.Your books encompass young adult fiction and self-help non-fiction. Which genre did you write in first and to what extent do you think (if any) your writing in either  genre influences the other?

swi1I’ve written fiction for years but never did anything with it. I would submit work to magazines and receive positive feedback but then allow self-doubt to penetrate my thoughts. I never considered writing non-fiction until I started blogging. It was the self-help titles that hit the bookshelves first and in turn that success influenced me to complete my YA trilogy.

There is a fine line between both genres. It might seem strange saying that as one contains demons, faeries, and witches, and the other talks about meditation, goal setting, and achieving success, however, my protagonist in the Guardian trilogy requires all the skills from my self-help books to fulfill her quest.

I was also able to incorporate my energy healing and meditation techniques in my fantasy novels, giving my MC powers that accessed her chakra points (seven wheels of energy we have in our body). I enjoyed overlapping the two.

3.What role do you think that young adult novels can play in helping young people address issues around their own self-development, their relationship with others and the wider world?

Great question! As a YA author and a mum to three teens, helping young people is at the forefront of my mind. One of the things I love most about the YA genre is how no topic is taboo. The youngsters of today have more to deal with than my generation ever did, and the advancements in technology have a lot to do with that. They can’t switch off – ever! Life is 24/7 and with this speed, comes an increase in anxiety and mental health issues. Being able to cover these topics in YA novels is of great importance. Not only do you want to give your young reader a break from reality, but you want to answer their questions, or test their opinions and prepare them for an unknown future.

4.In terms of the world building in your fantasy series The Guardians, did you swi2carry out much research into or did you give your imagination free reign?

There was minimal research involved in the world building aspect, apart from spending a pleasant couple of hours scrolling through the fantasy art images on Pinterest and adding them to my book boards. Having said that, even though my demon and faerie realms are made-up, I still need to ensure they have a hierarchy. For example, in book one, Guardians of the Dead, the demon realm is ruled by a General, who commands his army and runs the stronghold. In the second book, Guardians of the Sky, there are some scenes set in a castle (of sorts), so I needed to research the terminology to make it easier for my readers to picture. It’s these details that I need to look into as I build my worlds.

5.What was your inspiration for the story and the characters in The Guardians series?

The rough idea behind the trilogy came from a photograph of a hooded statue in a cemetery that I saw in a magazine. I have a fascination with cemeteries and so kept flicking back to this particular image. I ended up cutting it out and fixing it to my notice board. The more I looked at it, the more the story details fell into place. My organisational side kicked in soon after, and I plotted the novel out chapter by chapter.

It might be worth noting that I used NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) to write the first draft of all three books in the trilogy. According to the rules, you are allowed to plan, plot and build character profiles, but you can’t begin writing until 1st November. Before I began writing the first book I immersed myself in the world I had created, collecting fantasy images and jotting down any scene ideas that came to mind. The characters evolved over time, but my MC, Amber, was fully formed from the moment I saw that image in the magazine. She’s everything I wished I’d been at sixteen!

6.What has been some of the most rewarding aspects of writing your self-help books?

sw5My non-fiction book, How I Changed My Life in a Year, was published in 2014 and I still receive tons of emails, tweets, and Facebook messages from readers thanking me for writing it. Hearing how people have started Open University courses, changed career, or turned their lives around after reading my book is incredible. I’ve cried at some of the marvelous letters I’ve had and made loads of new friends because of that single book. It still amazes me when I set up at a book fair, or Mind, Body, Spirit exhibition, and readers come rushing over to meet me and thank me. I’m just a single mum with grey hair and back fat! When I ran my holistic health business it was my main aim to help empower women to be the best they can be; I’m glad that I can continue to do this with my writing.

7.What is your writing process like? To what extent do you plan and how much do you just let the words flow? Does your approach vary depending on whether you are writing fiction or non-fiction?

There’s a writing process? Only kidding, I used to wing it, which is probably why I never got anything finished. Taking part in NaNo has forced me into being an OCD plotter.

As soon as I get an idea, I open a new notebook (any excuse to visit Paperchase!), and I start to jot down character bios and basic ideas. I tend to work with Christopher Vogler’s hero’s journey system to help me get my initial thoughts down. Even though I do a detailed plot outline, once I start writing the characters take over. In the Guardian series, Amber was supposed to be a witch – mid-scene she decided that wasn’t challenging enough and so now she’s the last Oracle!

With my non-fiction, I tend to set my chapter headings and go with the flow from there. As I’m writing about topics I know, it’s easy to churn out hundreds of words without a detailed plan.

8.Do you write every day? Also how do you cope if you experience writer’s block?

I try to ensure I write something every day, even if it’s just a few notes in my planner. Monday to Friday I concentrate on writing my books, editing, and preparing blog content including book reviews, and author interviews. At the weekend I’ll write if the kids are busy, but if they’re around, I’ll try to spend time with them. The older they get, the more time I spend at my computer on a Saturday! My middle son plays football every Sunday so at least I manage to get a couple of hours of fresh air!

I’ve never experienced writer’s block; I have the opposite problem of too many ideas whirling around and not knowing which one to work on first. If this happens, I’ll write a list of all my musings just to stop the brain chatter. I can then choose one to concentrate on. Writing for my two blogs means I always have something to say or do. I guess this is the perfect antidote to writer’s block.

9.If you could give an aspiring author one tip, what would it be?

Read. I’ve got a million other tips, but that’s the one that stands out as the most important one for me. I’ve discovered more about myself as a writer by reading other people’s work than any how-to-write book can show me. You learn to ‘hear’ the writer’s voice and can then find your own.

10.If you had one wish to change the world for the better what would it be?

Oh my, what a question! There is so much wrong with our world that I wouldn’t know where to start. Ending poverty and war needs to be top of the list. If we could also learn to embrace each other regardless of colour, class, culture, religion, sexual orientation, then that would go a small way towards healing the world.

11.What sort of books do you read in your spare time? Also when you are not writing or reading what do you like to do?

I adore reading YA fantasy novels, and love getting my teeth into a book series. My favourite YA authors are Cassandra Clare and Sarah J Maas. A few years ago, I joined Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team and had to expand my reading to encompass all sorts of genres. I’ve since developed a love of historical fiction (mostly Tudors), crime, murder/mystery, and horror/post-apocalyptic. I don’t do chick-lit or romance!

If I’m not writing or reading, then I’m leading an exceedingly boring existence. I enjoy going to the gym and running on the treadmill, I also love going to the cinema and can happily go on my own to watch a film (tub of popcorn all to yourself, need I say more!). I’m quite creative, so I love doing adult colouring books, spending far too long on Pinterest, and creating projects for my motivational blog. Other than that, you’ll find me curled up with a book.

12.Finally can you share with us about what your next release will be and what you are working on?

Guardians of the Lost Lands is the final book in my Guardians trilogy and releases on Friday 11th November.

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Here’s the blurb:

Amber’s final quest could claim her soul, but it’s a journey she must make.

The evil that lurks in the Lost Lands threatens to infest the realms unless Amber, Redka, and Connor can destroy it. But Amber is more concerned about her father’s safety as he is held captive by the wickedness that terrorises them all.

Amber faces isolation and mistrust from her friends as they travel across land and sea to meet their most dangerous foe.

Will she be able to stay true to her destiny as the last Oracle, or will she be tempted by the darkness? The fate of the realms is in her hands.

Amber’s final quest will be her most terrifying yet. This time, it will be deadly.

I’ve loved writing these books, but Guardians of the Lost Lands is slightly more special for me. During the writing process, I was diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety, a nasty side effect of the illness I had. The dark mood and black thoughts seeped into my writing and ended up taking Amber in a different direction. Book three is much darker than the others, but it all adds to the impact, and hopefully shows my teen readers that these feelings are perfectly normal.

I’ve got a couple of projects on the go at the moment, now that the Guardian trilogy is complete. I’m editing a standalone YA werewolf novel which I have thoroughly enjoyed writing, and this should be available early next year – my editor loved it too and wanted me to write a sequel!

On the non-fiction side, I have an Oracle Guide Book coming out in December which is a motivational tool for inspiring you every week of the year. I’m also working on a sequel to How I Changed My Life in a Year which will fit into the memoir/self-help/women’s biography category again.

It’s a busy time, but I’m loving my writer life and hope it continues for many years to come.

Thank you so much for allowing me to invade your beautiful blog, Tina. I hope your readers enjoyed  my interview.

If they want to connect with me then I can be found lurking around social media most days:

Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/ShelleyWilson72

Author Blog – http://www.shelleywilsonauthor.com

YA Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/FantasyAuthorSLWilson

Motivational Facebook Page: http://www.Facebook.com/resolutionchallenge

Website – http://www.shelleywilsonauthor.co.uk

Motivational Blog: http://myresolutionchallenge.blogspot.com

Pinterest: http://uk.pinterest.com/MotivateMeBlog

Instagram: http://www.instagram/authorslwilson

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7362789.Shelley_Wilson

Amazon Author Page: http://amazon.co.uk/Shelley-Wilson/e/B00G5KPMJI

Thank you for visiting us today Shelley and best of luck with your future releases. ❤

 

 

*RELEASE BLITZ, AUTHOR INTERVIEW & ARC REVIEW* ~ Honeymoon, by Samantha Macleod

#paranormal #erotic #romance 
Adult/18+ read

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Samantha Macleod’s novella Honeymoon releases today, which continues the romance between the uber sexy Norse god Loki and the mortal Caroline, which began in The Trickster’s Lover, published earlier this year.

I was super excited to receive an ARC of this book as not only do I adore the characters of Loki and Caroline but I love the worlds that the author has created which draw deeply on Norse mythology. I was also thrilled to be given the opportunity to quiz Samantha about her writing journey and her plans for the future! Scroll down to read my review of Honeymoon and to read the interview with Samantha. 🙂

Blurb for Honeymoon

Mythology expert Caroline Capello agreed to marry Loki, the Norse god of fire and lies.

She didn’t realize the most dangerous part of their marriage might be the honeymoon.

My Review ~ Five stars

Just wow – frantically fanning myself!

Samantha Macleod’s novella Honeymoon follows on from the events in her scorching erotic paranormal read, The Trickster’s Lover (click on the link for my review). This sexy story packs one helluva sizzle and is a fabulous addition to Caroline’s and Loki’s romance. It works well as a standalone, but for maximum reading pleasure I’d definitely recommend reading The Trickster’s Lover first.

In it, Loki whisks Caroline away on an impromptu honeymoon, a welcome distraction from her impending nuptials on earth. Transported to Alfheim, home of the Light-elves, Caroline is subjected to Loki’s carnal attentions in this beautiful land, whilst also becoming more embroiled in the politics of the Nine Realms and the part Loki plays in it.

The lovemaking scenes are off the Richter scale and you will need a copious supply of iced drinks! The picture painted of Alfheim and the Light-elves is a vivid one and adds to the author’s rich world building of the Nine Realms. There’s also a heavy dose of magic, danger and suspense which adds to the reading pleasure.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Please note, a copy of this book was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Purchase Links

Honeymoon

Amazon US   Amazon UK

The Trickster’s Lover

Amazon US  Amazon UK

Author Interview

1.Can you tell us a little about yourself and how long you have been writing?

Sure, and thank you so much for hosting this interview!

Like many writers, I’ve always wanted to write, and I wrote quite seriously in my early twenties (mostly short stories and personal essays). But I never got any publications, so I got discouraged, quit, and went to graduate school to study religion and mythology.

I started writing again in the spring of 2015, because of my children. I realized I was telling my kids to follow their dreams and never give up, but here I’d given up on my own childhood dream of being a writer. So I forced myself to sit down and write the sci-fi story I’d been kicking around for years. Once that was finished, I realized I had a few more stories in me. One year ago, in November of 2015, I started what I thought would be a sexy short story. It turned into The Trickster’s Lover, my first novel.

2.Do you base any elements of your heroes or heroines on anyone you know, either physically or in terms of their characters?

Hmmm, that could be a loaded question!

In The Trickster’s Lover, Loki and Caroline pretty much showed up on their own. But many of the supporting characters are based on people I’ve known, especially my friends, colleagues, and professors at the University of Chicago. All names have been changed to protect the innocent, I promise! 😉

3.What inspired you to write about the Norse god Loki (furiously fanning myself)?

Well, here’s a story I thought I’d never tell anyone: I had a dream about Loki showing up on the University of Chicago campus. That morning I sat down to turn the dream into a short story, which became the first scene between Caroline and Loki, which turned into a much longer story!

4. I loved The Trickster’s Lover and Honeymoon, your latest release which continues the story of Caroline and Loki. Do you have any plans to continue their story or to write any more books set in the world you have created? (Please say yes!)

Thank you so much! Since you asked so nicely, I’m happy to say the answer is yes!

I’m currently working on my next novel, and it does take place in the same world. This story focuses on Loki’s son Vali, who was turned into a wolf when Loki was imprisoned in the cave, and Karen McDonald, a wildlife biologist in Yellowstone National Park. It’s not exactly a sequel, although several characters from The Trickster’s Lover do show up.

I’m in the early stages of revising and, for me, that’s a painfully slow process, so I’m not going to make any promises yet. But I am hoping for a spring 2017 release…

5. What was the most challenging aspect of Caroline’s and Loki’s story to write and why?

What a great question!

Let’s see… Both Loki and Caroline are emotionally closed-off, private characters, which made them a real pain to write.

There’s a scene in the U. of C. library, after Charlie Trotter’s, that immediately comes to mind. I woke up in the middle of the night – more than once! – thinking about the dialogue in that scene. Actually, I woke up thinking about that scene even after the book was published.

And I probably re-wrote the “meet-cute” scene between Loki and Caroline about fifty times. That was my first attempt at writing a sex scene; I really struggled with pacing. It’s also the first time the reader meets Loki, so I wanted to make sure his character came across in a realistic, interesting way.

6. What do you think makes a good hero and heroine?

You know, I’ve just never been drawn to a hero or heroine who always does the right thing, the first time around. I’m much more interested in a flawed and struggling hero (or heroine), the kind of person who has to overcome their own dark side or face their insecurities in order to save the world.

7.Loki, the hero of The Trickster’s Lover and Honeymoon is a powerful and conflicted character. How much research did you have to carry out into the Norse legends before writing the novel?

I studied mythology for several years, so I’d already done quite a bit of research before I decided to put my hard-earned mythology chops to work writing a romance novel!

I tried to remain true to the original sources, with one major exception – I totally invented the Trial of Ӕsìlynd. Everything else, though, comes straight from the myths.

I did have to return to the texts quite a bit, especially once Caroline went to Asgard, and when Ragnarök began. My personal copy of the prose Edda is a dog-earned, scribbled mess at this point!

8.Why do you think that readers enjoy reading about ancient gods and goddesses and myths and legends?

Well, when I first started reading myths and legends as a kid, almost all the books included an explanation along these lines: “Ancient people didn’t understand how the world works, so they invented myths to explain these everyday phenomena.” So, as an example, the story of Hades and Persephone was merely their primitive way of explaining why the seasons change.

But I don’t buy that. I think myths are still popular today because they really speak to the human experience, which honestly hasn’t changed that much in several thousand years. To continue with Hades and Persephone, that myth is a lot more than an explanation for the seasons; it’s about the human, and especially the female, experience of leaving one family to start another, and trying to balance the call of romantic love against familial and other obligations.

Most gods and goddesses are complicated, flawed characters, and I believe that also helps to explain their persistence. Odin, for example, is pretty damn unpredictable. Sure, he’s a warrior, but he’s also someone who transforms himself into a snake and spend three nights sleeping with his enemy’s daughter to get what he wants. That kind of complexity is fascinating, as much so for modern readers as it must have been for the Vikings.

Finally, I think the persistence of myth also speaks to the universal power of a really excellent story. Spin a good yarn, and it lasts.

9.Have you any writing/publishing projects in the pipeline that you are able to share?

Why yes, I do have some projects to share!

First, I’ve got the Vali novel. I’m hoping to have that out this spring, and you can follow my website or subscribe to my newsletter for more updates.

Second, I’m really excited to announce that Less Than Three press is publishing a story of mine called The Night Watch. This is a bit of a departure for me; it’s a high fantasy romance between two male characters with nary a shred of mythology. This novella tells the story of Prince Liam, who returns to his kingdom after five years at the Academy to find an ailing king, an arranged marriage, and his closest childhood friend Cerdec, who is now his personal guard.

Finally, as usual, I’ve got a handful of projects I’m currently polishing, and another handful of projects out for submission.

10.Have you a message to readers?

Thank you!!! I’m so honored you’ve chosen to spend your precious time reading my stories. 🙂

Connect with the Author

https://sammacleod.wordpress.com/about-me/

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100012016893561

**Author Interviews** ~ Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross

Regular readers of this blog know that Caroline, my BFF and co-blogger, and I love to read a variety of genres. Both of us have a penchant for dark and psychological reads. Since reading The Ghosts of Ravencrest (an erotic Gothic horror par excellence), by Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross I have become a HUGE fan of their work.

Either writing alone or in partnership their work includes the paranormal, horror and dark, psychological thrillers such as their current collaboration Mother. Their writing, which can be downright S-C-A-R-Y, is often shocking and infused with dark humour, but is always a rollicking good read  and I love the devilish plot twists these authors inflict on their readers!

I was delighted at the chance of interviewing this writing duo and I hope that you find their candid responses to my questions as fascinating as I did. Tina ❤

Mother cover

1. Can you share with our readers a little about yourselves and your writing careers?

Tamara and Alistair both began writing around age eight  – both loved ghost stories most of all – and both wanted to be writers when they grew up. Tamara has been in print since 1991 and Alistair since 2012.

2. I understand that you have been collaborating since 2012, and have written, amongst other works, The Cliffhouse Haunting and The Ghosts of Ravencrest, the first book in The Ravenscrest Saga. How did you begin working together and what special elements do you each think the other brings to the partnership that distinguishes the works of Thorne and Cross?

Alistair became a fan of Tamara’s work in the 90s, and when social media sites like Facebook came along and made it easy to connect to others, he looked her up. Having just been published for the first time, Alistair was doing author interviews on his blog as a way of meeting other writers. Tamara was one of the first people he asked. We became fast friends and were brainstorming ideas for new books before we’d even conceived of the idea to officially write together. It flowed very naturally – it was simply meant to be. We soon found that our writing style – as well as our personal and professional ethics – was so remarkably similar that continuing on the path together was simply the instinctual thing to do. Alistair brings an intense work ethic to our virtual office while Tamara brings jolly good fun. We need each other for balance. And hard work. And fun

3. Why do you think there is such an appetite for horror and psychological thrillers amongst readers? TamaraWhat is it within the human psyche that craves such stories?

People crave (safe) danger. Danger fascinates us, but things like scary movies, horror novels, and roller coasters are a way of facing our fears without risking our lives. These things force us to explore those uncharted parts of ourselves which can teach us proper response in the face of real danger. It’s a survival mechanism. Avoidance of fear is fatal, and the human psyche understands this. Thus, it draws us toward the things that frighten us. Plus, scary books are just awesome. 

4. The flipside of this – why do you both enjoy writing in these genres?

Horror is a release from the everyday. Neither of us watches the news – real horror is too depressing. But fictional horror and suspense provides a rush akin to amusement park thrill rides. Fiction, by its very nature is escapist and, to us, there’s nothing better than a toe-curler to escape reality for a little while. We are especially partial to suspense and supernatural horror because ghosts, vampires, and assorted elementals are literary equivalents to a carnival where we can find lots of thrills and chills. In Mother, our heroine, Claire, starts with a turn on the merry-go-round, then soon ends up on a scary roller coaster and finally enters the dark ride, which is too frightening to be fun for her.

5. You must have both been asked this question in many forms before – but do you base any elements of your characters on anyone you know or are they purely fuelled by your imaginations?

AlistairEvery character is imaginary; it would be no fun for us to plunk down living people in our books! That said, we are the products of our lives and experiences. Everything around us, from sights, sounds, and tastes, to hoarders, psychopaths and ghosts are inspired by lifetimes of observation and experience.

  1. 6. Would you both like to tell us something about your latest release, Mother?

Mother is a psychological thriller in the vein of Psycho and Misery, with a pinch of Peyton Place and a dash of Gaslight. It concerns a young, expectant couple, Claire and Jason Holbrook, who’ve fallen on hard times, forcing them to move in with Claire’s estranged mother. Claire vowed to have no contact with the overbearing woman ever again, but Mother is thrilled at the prospect of a grandchild. At Mother’s, Claire and Jason begin experiencing things that make them determined to leave immediately … but when a cruel twist of fate makes leaving impossible, Claire becomes obsessed with her mother’s motives. Fantasy and fact blur together as her compulsion consumes her, and Jason wonders who the villain really is. When a cache of macabre family secrets is uncovered, Claire and Jason find the answers they’re looking for – answers that will change them forever … assuming anyone can get out of Mother’s house alive.

7.  Did you have to carry out any research into the issues explored in Mother, before writing the novel?

All books require research. Mother’s research was relatively easy compared to other books. It consisted primarily of a brush-up on sociopathic and narcissistic behaviors. We also researched topics like hoarding, epilepsy, flight schools, Catholic funerals, and ugly furniture from the 1970s and 80s. When we write books that include science or a good deal real history that must be woven into our fictional characters’ lives, as in our Ravencrest novels, the research is far more intensive. All fiction must have its roots in reality to keep it believable.

8.  I am delighted to learn that you host a horror themed internet radio show, Thorne and Cross Haunted Nights LIVE! What have been some of your favourite moments on the show to date?

There have been many great moments. We loved hearing The Walking Dead author Jay Bonansinga tell us his thoughts on why zombies are so popular, and Charlaine Harris’ stories about about being recognized in public were hilarious. We were laughing out loud when Christopher Rice told us what it was like for him to read his mom’s (Anne Rice) Sleeping Beauty series. Chet Williamson’s reading from his novel Psycho: Sanitarium gave us chills. Chatting about twisted family dynamics with Andrew Neiderman, who also authors the V.C. Andrews book series, was fascinating, and talking with Laurell K. Hamilton about vampires was a lot of fun. Those are just a few of our favorite moments. 

Mother teaser

9. Are there any collaborative projects in the pipeline that you are able to share?

As always, we’re working on the continuing Ravencrest Saga and have just released the second serialized installment titled, Dead of the Night. We are also working on a sequel to Tamara’s vampire novel, Candle Bay, which also serves as a continuation of Alistair’s The Crimson Corset. The Darling family of Candle Bay made appearances in Corset and that set the course for Candle Bay II – we decided we had to get our vamps together in a serious way. As soon as Candle Bay’s sequel is complete, we will begin work on the second book in our Trilogy of Terror. Mother was the first. The second is unrelated to Mother as far as characters are concerned, though we wouldn’t be surprised to see Father Andy show up, assuming we set the next book in Snapdragon, where Mother takes place. The Trilogy of Terror is made up of three psychological suspense novels that are more about human monsters than supernatural ones. On the side, we’re also both knee-deep in a pair of solo novels.

10. Have you a message to readers, or to writers who are thinking of branching out into penning horror/psychological thrillers?

We always say that the most important thing is to write what you love. If you love what you’ve written, others will too. Also, writing requires dedication and discipline. It’s easy to tell yourself you don’t have time to write, but if you want to be a serious writer, you have to create time.

 

**RELEASE BLITZ & ARC REVIEW** for Hold Me Until Forever and Author Interview with Christina Phillips

Erotic Contemporary Romance

Adult/18+ read

Today it’s a huge welcome to Christina Phillips from Down Under! Christina will be releasing Hold Me Until Forever, the third and final instalment in her sizzling contemporary erotic romance series, the Grayson Brothers on January 4th. I was fortunate to be offered an ARC of this book and if you’d like to read my review, scroll down after our interview with Christina in which we quiz her about the series and her writing process.

I have been a fan of Christina’s work for years, whether she is writing historical, paranormal or contemporary romances. For me what distinguishes her work from that of others are how she writes her deliciously dominant alpha males who are always a perfect fit for the women who are destined to be theirs. If you’d like to read my reviews of some of Christina’s other books, I’ve included the links at the end of the post. Tina ❤

HMF

Blurb

She’s the only one he wants…and the one he can never have

Ella Clark has been in love with Alex Grayson forever. She’s tired of being invisible—or worse, being treated like his kid sister. If she can just get him to drop his iron-fisted control for two seconds, she’ll prove she knows exactly how to blow his mind.

Alex has been fighting his attraction to Ella since her should-have-been-innocent sweet sixteen kiss burned down his world. He’s damaged, and there’s no way he’ll ever drag her into his screwed up life. Until she offers him something he’s always craved—steamy, no-strings sex inside his exclusive BDSM club. Where she’ll be safe from the darkness that haunts him.

Except there’s nothing safe about being with Ella, and the more she gives, the harder it is to let her go. If he stays, he risks everything, but how can he walk away from the only woman he’s ever needed?

Author Interview

1. What inspired you to write the Grayson Brothers series? 

I’d wanted to write a connected series about brothers for some time, but it wasn’t until mid 2014 that the Grayson brothers suddenly appeared in my mind. They were hot, tough and had survived a brutal childhood and I was instantly hooked and had to find out more about them!

2. Did you base any elements of your heroes or heroines on anyone you know?  

Well, it’s a closely guarded secret that I have a slight crush on Henry Cavill and I’ve based a few heroes on him in the past (not only is that man beautiful he’s so versatile when it comes to heroes!) However, strangely enough, he wasn’t the inspiration behind any of my Grayson brothers.

3. In the three novels which make up the series, Hold Me Until Midnight, Hold Me Until Morning and now Hold Me Forever, the three Grayson brothers and the women they are destined to love are all very different. Have you a favourite couple, brother or heroine? 

Oh this is a hard question because I love each couple for different reasons. But if you’re really going to push me for an answer, then I’ll have to say Alex and Ella, in Hold Me Until Forever. They’ve known each other all their lives and Ella is literally the girl next door, who’s been secretly in love with Alex for years. As for Alex, he’s so consumed with guilt at what happened in the past that he’s convinced he doesn’t deserve her. I just love these two and desperately wanted them to have their happily-ever-after.

4. Whose book was the most challenging to write and why? 

Each book had their own challenges, but I always knew Alex’s book would be hard, because of his past and the barriers he’d erected around his heart. Unfortunately I was right! It took a long time to unravel the layers and reach the core of the man, but when I did I fell in love with him all over again. 🙂

5. What do you think makes a good hero and heroine?

I like a heroine who isn’t afraid to go for what she wants, in her own way, and who is the hero’s match in every way that counts. As for the hero, I do love a man with a sense of humour. It doesn’t matter how powerful, wealthy or bad boy hot he is, I just love it when he has that moment of not taking himself seriously. And I have to admit I do like it when the hero needs to do a bit of a grovel at the end of the book!

6. Why do you think most romance readers have such an appetite for alpha males and are they fulfilling to write?  

There are several degrees of alpha male, but I think what makes them so fascinating is their air of danger, their conviction that they’ll never fall in love and then of course their utter devotion and loyalty to the woman who finally captures their heart. I love writing about them, and have a special sense of glee when their heroine ends up bringing them to their knees. 🙂

7. The hero in your latest Grayson novel, Alex, has a penchant for BDSM. Did you (cough, cough) have to carry out any research into this world before writing the novel? 😉 

Heh 🙂 Well, I do have a vivid imagination which helps, but I also did some online research. Also an author friend did a series of interviews with Doms on her blog last year, which was very enlightening.

8. Have you any writing/publishing projects in the pipeline that you are able to share? 

I have a few things in the pipeline that I’m very excited about! I’m in a second TAKEN boxed set with Cathleen Ross and Mel Teshco which will be out very soon, and I also have a release with Tule Publishing for their new erotic romance line, Eros, in January – Every Breath You Take. The hero is a tattooed bad boy, who after five years meets up again with the one girl he can never have. I also have a super-secret project in the works that I can’t wait to share!

9. Have you a message to readers? 

Thank you for reading and enjoying my books! And thank you for taking the time to let me know. It really does mean so much! Yes, authors are a needy bunch!!!

Forever 1

My Review ~ ***** FIVE stars

Steamy and Heartfelt!

Hold Me Until Forever is a combustible mix of one damaged alpha male with a penchant for BDSM and a long-time female friend he has forbidden himself to lust after but who desires him like no other! I just LOVED this read from the off and although all of the books in Christina Phillips’ Grayson Brothers series are fab reads this is my favourite: I like my heroes to be alpha, brooding and tortured and Alex fits the bill perfectly, and Ella is a perfect foil for him: understanding his dark past and being spunky enough to stand up to him.

Alex has had an unbelievably tragic childhood, fearing his emotional responses to situations and likes to keep people at a distance. This is especially so when it comes to relationships with the opposite sex, where he is careful to keep his emotional barriers well and truly up, lest he loses control. Excalibur, the BDSM club which he part owns, is where he goes to have his sexual needs fulfilled, knowing that he can, through a combination of control and safe words, ensure the safety of his submissives.

Despite his attraction to Ella he has treated her like a younger sister for years to protect her from his dark nature. Alex has been hoping that Ella, who works at his security firm, will hook up with his brother Cooper. However, when Cooper, as well as his brother Jackson show that they have found their own soulmates, things are about to change. Alex’s icy façade that he has maintained when it comes to Ella begins to crack and when she offers him total submission at his BDSM club, he cannot resist. Yet rather than this being a one off experience for them, both crave more.

I felt so much for both characters. Ella understands Alex’s issues, having witnessed his past, and is very giving emotionally. However, there is a limit to even what she can endure. Maybe Alex is just too broken to ever want a normal relationship? For his part Alex begins to unravel and is forced to face his demons from the past. It remains to be seen whether he will be able to cope with what Ella really wants, a relationship with all of him, not just the part confined to his club, however much she adores the ecstasy he brings her to (and the scenes between them are damn hot)!

The characters, plot, dialogue and the pacing in this book all came together perfectly for me and Christina Phillips once again excels in writing the most delightfully erotic and heartfelt love-making scenes. The book works very well as a standalone, but if you enjoy steamy contemporary romances why stop at one Grayson brother when you can enjoy reading about all three? You can find out about Cooper and Jackson’s romances in the first two novels in the series, Hold Me Until Midnight and Hold Me Until Morning.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

Please note that a copy of this book was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Purchase Links

Amazon UK   Amazon US

About the Author

Christina Phillips is an ex-pat Brit who now lives in sunny Western Australia with her high school sweetheart and their family. She enjoys writing paranormal, historical and contemporary romance where the stories sizzle and the heroine brings her hero to his knees.

She is a triple finalist in the 2013 ARRA Awards for Favorite Erotic Romance, and finalist in the 2012 ARRA Awards for Favorite Paranormal Romance. She is published by Entangled, Ellora’s Cave and Berkley Heat and has dipped her toe in the indie pubbed waters. She is a member of the Romance Writers of Australia, Romance Writers of America, the Dark Side Down Under Group blog and Historical Hearts Group blog. She helped establish the inaugural Professional Development for Authors program and has been a member of the editorial team for the RWA’s monthly newsletter, Hearts Talk. She loves hearing from her readers!

Christina is addicted to good coffee, expensive chocolate and bad boy heroes. She is also owned by three gorgeous cats who are convinced the universe revolves around their needs. They are not wrong.

Connect with Christina

Website

Facebook

Twitter

For our reviews of some of Christina’s other books click on the links:

Hold Me Until Midnight

Hold Me Until Morning

Bloodlust Denied

Willow (Secret Confessions: Sydney Housewives #9)

Taken by the Sheikh* (Boxed Set), by Christina Phillips, Mel Treshco and Cathleen Ross

Her Savage Scot, Highland Warrior Chronicles #1

Her Vengeful Scot (Highland Warrior Chronicles #2)

 

**AUTHOR INTERVIEW/COVER REVEAL** ~ Fire and SteeI Anthology (books 1-5 of The Soldier Chronicles), by David Cook

David Cook, Author of Historical Fiction

Fire and Steel Final eBook Cover Large (2)

Today we welcome historical novelist David Cook to our blog. David has just released the anthology Fire and Steel, which brings together books 1-5 of The Soldier Chronicles for the first time. I love to lose myself in a historical read and I therefore jumped at the opportunity to pose some searching questions on the anthology and find out more about David’s novels and his writing career. The e-book is now available to purchase on Amazon and we are delighted that David has permitted us to share the gorgeous cover of the the forthcomomg print version, which you can find below. The book will be available in print from December 1st.

The novellas take the reader from the 1798 Irish Rebellion to the British struggles on the continent against the French army under Napoleon, to his return from exile and the fateful battle of Waterloo. The content has been revised and the series and dialogue expanded. Indeed, David bills the collection as ‘one big book of non-stop action, adventure, intrigue, but all set against real historical events.’

Scroll down to find out more about David and the collection. Tina ❤

Author Interview

David cook

1. Welcome David and thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to tell us more about Fire and Steel and your love of the past and writing.You clearly have a passion for this tumultuous period of history. What inspired your love of this period and what is it about it and its military history in particular that appeals to you?

It all came from my father. He hand-painted his own model army and gave it to me. It’s wonderful and a testament to one man’s devotion to painting, military research and war gaming. My love of history all comes from him too.

2. I expect that you spent many hours devoted to research to enable you to write the books in the series. How do you carry out your research? Is it mainly internet and or archive based or do you also visit the places and battlefields portrayed in the stories?

I’d love to visit all the places I write about, some I have, some not so. I think it’s important to. I will attempt that when I have time and money. However, I search online for images of the place, use my reference books and visit museums and libraries to fill in the missing gaps.

3. I have to ask this as I love to watch historical re-enactors! Are you a member of a re-enactment society or have you considered joining one? Have re-enactors helped or inspired your writing? 

I’m not a member, but it’s always exciting to meet people who are. You feel their love of what they do and do learn from them. They are the best educators. I learned a lot of what happens on the battlefield from re-enactors, not films. The gun smoke, the noise, the commands, the visuals. It has been very inspiring to watch the bicentenary battles of Waterloo back in June. I have hours of cavalry and infantry manoeuvring and battling on video from then, it was a fantastic experience.

4. Your books are full of individuals who perform heroic deeds. Are any of the fictional characters in them based on real life historical figures you have come across in your research?

No, I’ve not based any of the characters on real people. But there are many people who I admire from history, Duke of Wellington, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Queen Elizabeth I, Shakespeare, Sir Winston Churchill, Marie Curie…

5. Have you got a favourite character out of the five books that comprise Fire and Steel? 

No, I haven’t a particular favourite. To me, they are all my beloved.

6. What is your writing process like? Do you plan your books and develop character profiles in detail before beginning a new book in earnest or do your stories and characters take on a life of their own?

Research is never-ending. I enjoy it, but writing is the best part. I sketch out a rough idea what the story will be and let the characters take over. Sounds chaotic? Well, I’ve known authors who plot everything down the smallest detail. I’ve never been able to. I just let the writing flow. It seems to work.

7. How long have you been writing and would you like to tell us about other books you have written or are working on?

I first started to write when I was 16, then through my twenties, but it was in 2006 that i sat down and started to write my first novel. It’s called The Desert Lion and is about the British liberation of Egypt, 1801. From there I wrote The Wolfshead, a story of Robin Hood. I have written two novella’s following the events of The Wolfshead, a Richard III story, but they are all unpublished. I am working my way through them as I type, hoping to try the traditional publishing route for The Desert Lion.

8. How do you fit writing in around everything else and do you write every day?

At the moment it’s a hobby. I’ve released 5 novella’s, a free collection of short-stories and now Fire and Steel as a novel, but my goal is to reach readers and get word of mouth. It’s not about money for me, it’s purely pleasure. My dream is to be published. One day…. 

9. What do you like most about being an author and what do you find the most challenging? 

The fact that I can just sit and write about my characters and history. The challenging part is the research and the marketing of the work, the exciting bit is the writing. I find it thoroughly relaxing. I love connecting to readers.

10. Social media – love it or loathe it, it appears to be here to stay. Do you view it as your friend or foe or a double-edged sword for today’s authors?

For me it’s a necessary tool. I don’t think I use it to its full potential though. It’s useful and I couldn’t live without it, but I don’t spend hours on it.

11. Have you a message for readers?

I hope you enjoy my work. As a fledging indie author I really do appreciate it when readers leave me a comment about my work or a review. Reviews on Amazon and Goodreads really do help. Thank you for investing your time reading something of mine.

Thank you David for taking time out to tell us about Fire and Steel and share your experiences with us. We wish you the very best with your writing career.

Fire and Steel Anthology

(books 1-5 of The Soldier Chronicles) 

Fire and Steel Print Book

Book Blurb

Fire and Steel is a compilation of the first 5 books of The Soldier Chronicles historical series. The stories; all novella’s, are snap-shots of life as a different soldier in the period of long war 1793-1815. All fiction, but very much based on actual events. The kindle version is out now, the paperback will be out 1st December from Amazon:

Liberty or Death
It is the height of the 1798 Irish Rebellion and someone is murdering Protestants and Catholics indiscriminately. As Ireland burns, Major Lorn Mullone must find out the truth and apprehend the killer before it’s too late.

Heart of Oak
Meet Captain of Marines Simon Gamble, once seen in battle, never forgotten. A professional soldier, daring and brave, but he is certainly no gentleman. He leads a fearsome company marines who have been tasked to capture a formidable fortress held in enemy hands.

Blood on the Snow
Holland, 1794, and all hope is lost. Disease, famine and a winter of unrivalled malice has punished the small retreating British Army as it follows the long road home. But freedom for the survivors doesn’t come easy, because between them and the ports, the enemy waits.

Marksman
Rifleman Arthur Cadoc, stranded in the chaos of war, now fights for the Spanish guerrilleros. With only his training, wits and his trusty Baker rifle, Cadoc proves that he is not only a daring and a deadly marksman, but a man born for fighting against the odds.

Death is a Duty
June 1815, and Napoleon Bonaparte has returned to plunge Europe into war once again. During the course of the campaign, Regimental-Sergeant Major Adam Bannerman of the 42nd Royal Highlanders uncovers a dark tale of murder, and must use his wits to survive not only the French assaults, but men on his own side who want him dead.

E-book Links:

Amazon US  Amazon UK

Connect with the Author

Goodreads

Facebook

Twitter

http://thewolfshead.tumblr.com

**Spotlight & Interview** ~ Roya Carmen, author of **The Ground Rules**

Steamy Romance with a Dash of Sass

Today we welcome author, Roya Carmen, whose strap line of Steamy Romance with a Dash of Sass really intrigued me! Roya is the author of The Ground Rules, a sizzling erotic romance series which is receiving rave reviews, and she has kindly offered to share some information on her latest releases and give us some insider information on her writing journey! Scroll down for the interview and find out more about The Ground Rules. Tina ❤

TheGroundRules_CoverSMALL

Two beautiful couples. Five simple rules. One hot mess.

Author Interview

1.Hi Roya, would you like to tell us something about yourself and what prompted you to become a writer?

I am mom of three who enjoys art, reading and writing. I wrote when I was younger, but kind of lost touch with my writing when I went to school to study Graphic Design. For years, my world was all about art. But in 2002, I took a creative writing class and it got the juices going again. And in 2008, I started to write romance, hoping to become a Harlequin writer.

2.What was your inspiration for your latest release and to what extent is it based on your own experiences or those of people you know?

I actually wrote a blog post about this very recently. The concept was inspired by a story a friend told me about his sister who was married and in an open relationship. What if? I thought. What if someone like me, an ordinary mom and wife who has been with her husband for years and who was still very much in love, just happened to meet the most enigmatic and beautiful man she’d ever seen and be thrown into such a situation? What kind of drama would ensue? How could she resist the temptation? How could she not fall in love?

3. Would you like to share anything about your publishing journey? I read on your webpage that you have novels on Wattpad, have self- published and are published with Omnific.

I self-published a short contemporary romance in 2014 entitled Back to You. I found my publisher for The Ground Rules Trilogy by sheer luck, when I was shopping at Wal-Mart and picked up a copy of Sylvain Reynard’s Gabriel’s Inferno. I also have two short erotic romances on Wattpad under @royastories.

4. What type of scenes do you like to write the most and what are the most challenging?

I enjoy writing scenes where the hero and heroine are fighting – I guess I enjoy drama! I also like writing sex scenes, I must admit. I like to carry the scene through, because I don’t like to be a tease. Lol! The hardest scenes are the sad scenes.

5. How much easier has the success of FSOG made it to publish in the erotic romance genre and what barriers do you think remain that need to be broken? Why do you think that this genre has proved so popular?

FSOG has introduced so many readers to erotic romance, myself included. It’s okay now to say you read erotic romance. I can talk to my sister-in-law or my friend about FGOG over dinner. The e-book market is great – so many indie authors like myself are among the top titles. But we need more new authors in traditionally published erotic romance.

6. What about research for your novels? You must have had a lot of fun with this!

The Ground Rules is set in Chicago. I’ve only been there briefly and I think it’s a very sexy city. I had to do lots of research online, and I hope I didn’t mess up too much, but I’m sure I did. There are a lot of references to actual locations in the book, and I also made up some fictional ones. Book 2 of the trilogy also takes us to Hawaii and New York. Yay! I like to write about places I’ve been. My other romances are set in Boston, Bar Harbour, Maine and Seattle… all place I’ve been.

7. I noticed on your webpage that you have a number of novels published on Wattpad. How useful is this publishing platform for new writers?

I like the interaction on Wattpad. It’s perfect for shorter stories you might not necessarily want to publish. It introduces me to new readers and writers as well.

8. What is your writing process like? To what extent do you plan the characters and plot and how much do you just let the words flow?

First, I have an idea… a concept. Then, I create the characters (for this I use extensive character profiles). Then, I create a thorough outline, consisting of scenes in bullet point form. Then I start writing each scene – each scene has its own outline in bullet form. And then, I put on my earphones, listen to my music, and let the words flow!! Sometimes the scene goes to places I hadn’t expected. And I’m like… wow! That was hot! There’s nothing better than being in the zone. I save all editing until the end. Needless to say, the first draft is a dog’s breakfast.

9. Is there a method to your writing schedule? Do you write when your muse calls or more regularly?

I write morning time, or occasionally when the muse hits.

10. Have you any useful tips for any wannabe writers who are teetering on the edge but have yet to take the plunge?

Go for it!! But only do it if you really love it! Because if you don’t, it will show in your writing. You should always be passionate about your writing.

11. Who are your favourite authors?

I read mostly commercial women’s/chick lit and contemporary romance. Some of my fave authors are Sophie Kinsella, Jane Green, Helen Fielding, Jodi Picoult, Anita Shreve, Nicholas Sparks. And when I’m feeling a little naughty, I read erotic romance. Some of my faves are Christina Lauren, Sylvain Reynard, EL James, Bella Andre, Harlequin Blaze and at the moment, I’m discovering lots of new indie authors and reading more books on my Kindle.

12. If you have a WIP, is there anything that you’d like to share with us about it, pretty please?

Right now, I’m working on final edits to Book 3 of The Ground Rules. But I also have a notebook of ideas for upcoming trilogy series. I’m debating between two concepts: One centres around three sibling and the country side, and the other is set in Paris. And who knows, I might end up tackling something completely different… whatever gets my blood flowing the most.

13. Have you a message for readers?

Keep reading!! And thanks so much to all those who have read my stories! ❤

Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule. We wish you the best of luck with the release, your career as a writer and life in general. ❤

Book Blurb for The Ground Rules

TheGroundRules_CoverSMALL

1. Don’t sleep around.

2. Don’t kiss and tell.

3. Be nice.

4. Don’t text or call.

5. Don’t fall in love.

The rules were simple…until they weren’t.

I have everything I ever thought I could want: a nice home, a job I love, two beautiful girls, and my husband, Gabe – my high school sweetheart who still rocks my world. If you ask anyone to describe me they would say, “Oh, Mirella? She’s such a nice girl.” And that’s true…until a mysterious, peculiar man and his beautiful wife enter our lives.

Weston and Bridget Hanson are no ordinary couple—they’re stunning, enigmatic, and sexy as hell. During the course of one unexpected evening, my ordinary world is turned upside down. How could it not be when Weston and Bridget propose the unthinkable? And when the unthinkable is so very tempting, giving in becomes inevitable.

It sounds so logical and simple. Just five rules and we can all have what we desire. But the heart doesn’t follow rules, and now passion, jealousy, and confusion threaten to tear everything apart.

Two beautiful couples. Five simple rules. One hot mess.

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https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25521134-the-ground-rules