Category Archives: Interviews

IndieView with Brynn Taylor, author of (You Broke Me) Open

I believed for a long time that I would eventually write a book, but when I saw how much this particular subject of toxic relationships was helping other people, I knew I had to create (You Broke Me) Open. 

Brynn Taylor – 15 July 2017 Continue reading

IndieView with Mark Boutros, author of Karl’s Kingdom

I’ve been writing for over ten years and won the PAGE International Screenwriting Awards in 2016, and I plan to write until I no longer have the body or mind to type.

Mark Boutros – 13 July 2017 Continue reading

IndieView with Momchil Yoskov, author of The Immortal Trinity: Inheritance

It was a bliss writing it, because I didn’t have any publishers or agents perched on my head and shoulders, bothering me when it’ll be finished and because it was something I had never done before. 

Momchil Yoskov – 11 July 2017

The Back Flap

Ronnie Mason is an undergraduate who doesn’t have a clear idea what to do with his life. As an introverted and quiet type, he is also unsurprisingly unpopular among his peers. Life at home with his parents is becoming tedious with each day and he seeks a way out of it. He craves for a change in his life, whatever it may be, so that he could rise above the misery looming over his mind and demonstrate to his parents and his peers that he can improve himself and take control over his life.

His wish is gradually granted. He meets two boys in a bar and they quickly form a bond. A few days later, when they hang out at a local football stadium, an alien container crashes into the field. The three decide to open it and inside, they find three crystals, which bond to their bodies and change them irreversibly.
The boys find themselves dragged in a universe-wide conflict, as an evil entity wants the valuable crystals for his own personal gain. The ultimate goal of this entity, known as The Overlord, is to use the crystals to achieve total dominion over the universe and enslave all life within it.

Now Ronnie has a new purpose in life. How will he cope with it? Will he remain the same? Or will he evolve and adapt?

Inspired by video games, metal and everything surrounding us in our reality. A sci-fi novel with socio-political elements, lots of violence and humour.

About the book

What is the book about?

The book is about an alien race, called The Immortals, which dies during the events of a civil war. The only surviving objects from that war are three crystals in a container, which crashes on Earth and is found by three boys. One of the allies of that race, called New Hope, finds them and after explaining the whole situation, the boys begin working with them against this almost omnipotent evil called The Overlord, who wants the technology and the immortality that the boys now possess for his domination of the entire Universe.

When did you start writing the book?

Now, this one is a bit ambiguous. If I recall correctly, it was the end of January 2014. My memory is a bit hazy.

How long did it take you to write it?

The whole process of research, writing, editing and finally publishing Inheritance took me 3 years and 2 months.

Where did you get the idea from?

Rock and heavy metal, along with the videogames I play and some science fiction and action films that I’ve watched. Those are my primary sources of inspiration.

Were there any parts of the book where you struggled?

Good question. I can’t quite remember. It may have been some minor events and bits in the dialogue, where I needed some more unorthodox words or expressions. Also – the editing. I didn’t have a professional editor helping me in that endeavour, because I didn’t have any money to pay them for their services, so I had to rely on myself and my own wits. I’d say the editing was the hardest. Even now I find some minor errors, which irritate me and I correct them, then re-upload the book before anyone notices. If Inheritance has a downfall, it will be the way it’s edited and I feel that reviewers, writers and readers writing the first reviews for it will slander me for that.

What came easily?

Almost everything. On the whole, it was easy. It was a bliss writing it, because I didn’t have any publishers or agents perched on my head and shoulders, bothering me when it’ll be finished and because it was something I had never done before. During the writing the ideas for the current book and the sequels came the easiest.

Are your characters entirely fictitious or have you borrowed from real world people you know?

All of them are entirely or partly influenced by real people. In the sequels there will be actual personalities, famous for one thing or another in the real world, but I won’t reveal who they are just yet and no, I’m not going to put them under any torture or humiliation.

We all know how important it is for writers to read. Are there any particular authors that have influenced how you write and, if so, how have they influenced you?

That’s the funny thing: I avoid reading as much as possible, because of the amount of sources of inspiration that I have and I feel that I might just plagiarise a particular event, dialogue or a whole idea that somebody else has used. For now I try to find my own style without copying too much. I might read non-fiction books, related to the creative process, how to improve said creative process, how to avoid bogging down in terms of writing, but fiction… mm, not really, not at this point.

Do you have a target reader?

Yes, I do – gamers, rock and metal fans, young adults and… well, anyone over the age of 18 who would be interested in violence, profanity and a variable pinch of humour.

About Writing

Do you have a writing process? If so can you please describe it?

I wouldn’t say it’s anything specific, or rather revolutionary, at this point. It’s not rocket science. First I brainstorm some ideas and/or do some research, then I write them down in my notes. If I write in the manuscript, usually I have something in mind, then something else pops up and I add it in. It’s like an avalanche.

Do you outline? If so, do you do so extensively or just chapter headings and a couple of sentences?

Err, I don’t know exactly how to answer this one (because I looked up the meaning of “outline”, as I’m not a native speaker) but I’ll do my best. In terms of outlines, I have some pre-written scenarios, sentences and events, which I feel would be perfectly suitable for the whole series or for specific events, be they for the currently written book or for one of the sequels. Once I reach a point where I have to add something that I’ve outlined, I cut the pre-written bit from my notes and paste it into the manuscript. In some cases I improvise on the spot, so I’d say it’s 50/50.

Do you edit as you go or wait until you’ve finished?

A little bit of both. Some editing on the spot and the rest is done, when the book is finished.

Did you hire a professional editor?

No, I did the editing myself, because I’m still broke and I can’t pay anything to anyone to do it for me.

Do you listen to music while you write? If yes, what gets the fingers tapping?

Some acid jazz, eurodance and some country… nah, just kidding! Rock and metal all the way!

About Publishing

Did you submit your work to Agents?

No, I didn’t use the services of any agents. So far I’ve only submitted my work to reviewers.

What made you decide to go Indie, whether self-publishing or with an indie publisher? Was it a particular event or a gradual process?

The idea of owning all of the rights to my own creations without clashing with a publisher’s interests and without them ripping me off of my profits.

Did you get your book cover professionally done or did you do it yourself?

I had it done for me, but it wasn’t professionally done. A friend of mine found an artist on some site and he sent all of the details regarding the cover. It took some time, because he did make some mistakes in the process, but in the end the result was, I think, fabulous.

Do you have a marketing plan for the book or are you just winging it?

The friend I mentioned earlier is also helping me with paid advertisement through Google Adwords, which is the more complicated side of the advertisement. I’m handling the unpaid portion – sending the book to reviewers. So far I’ve had some rejections, most notably by The Daily Mail and Guardian on the grounds of them being “too busy and full of books to review”. The best answer (aside from the few people at this point, who agreed to review it) was that of Cat Ellington, who didn’t accept my offer, but was impressed with the cover and the synopsis so much that she told me I’ll succeed and won’t be overlooked. In addition to that she redirected me to Derek Murphy, who happens to be a marketing guru and not a reviewer, as I found out. It’s not that I wouldn’t accept his help at all – it’s that I can’t pay him anything at this point.

Any advice that you would like to give to other newbies considering becoming Indie authors?

It’s a long road and at first you’ll have to rely mostly on yourself to do the heavy lifting, unless, of course, you’ve signed a contract with an independent publisher, a big publisher or a sponsor (hey, whatever you’ve chosen). If you have a sufficient amount of money (not necessarily an amount, which would allow you to light your cigars with 100 dollar bills), you’re luckier than most of us, so use it wisely. Now… most people firmly believe that earning mountains of money is a sin and I understand them entirely, especially if the end goal is to simply look rich in the eyes of the rest of us. But let’s be honest for a moment – everybody who decided to start writing has thought about the prospect of earning lots of money and maybe eventually making a living out of it. Unless they’ve published their books for free, of course. What I’m trying to say is: it’s not wrong to think about it and strive for financial safety, but you have to have a lot to offer, you have to be backed up by an immense amount of your own wits and people who believe in and enjoy what you do. If you can captivate them merely by speaking about something (not necessarily related to your books or your craft), you will go very far, I’m sure.

About You

Where did you grow up?

In my hometown Kozloduy, Bulgaria.

Where do you live now?

I live there.

What would you like readers to know about you?

Outside of the writing, I hope that one day I will front an extreme metal band. Also, if you really like the book, share it with friends, spread the word – it will help me and motivate me immensely.

What are you working on now?

Some metal material for my own band, whenever it becomes a reality, the Bulgarian translation of Inheritance and the sequel to Inheritance.

End of Interview:

Get your copy of Immortal Trinity: Inheritance from Amazon US or Amazon UK.

IndieView with Karen Botha, author of Naked Truths

I come into contact with so many different people of differing backgrounds being a massage therapist that it’s difficult to say where the idea came from specifically but I certainly have a wealth of stimulus.

The Back Flap

Easy going massage therapist, Lucy, ignores her strict policy on mixing business and pleasure when dapper widower, Giles Harrington saunters into her therapy room. Sparks fly; but is he as perfect as he appears?
Ignoring warnings from her best friend and ex murder detective, Paula, Lucy ploughs head on into a tumultuous romance with Giles. One with far-reaching consequences that neither could predict.

Paula enters a game of cat and mouse with the ultimate prize, will she unravel the tangled web before it’s too late?

A page turning psychological thriller that twists and turns towards its shocking conclusion.

About the book

What is the book about?

Lucy meets a dark handsome stranger, but her best friend and ex murder detective has a bad feeling about him. Trained to follow her gut, she starts looking into him discovering his first wife died. The circumstances surrounding her death become increasingly suspicious as the book progresses.

It’s set against a backdrop of a massage therapy business which is what I do for a ‘day job’ and what has provided many of the book’s happenings.

When did you start writing the book?

February 2016. I wrote a few chapters and then everyone told me it was great, but I didn’t want to be the BGT equivalent who says ‘well my Mum says I can sing.’ I put it down and booked to go to Swanwick Writers Summer School and had a one to one with Simon Hall, BBC news presenter and novelist. He said what I’d done was great so filled with confidence and new knowledge, I started in earnest at the end of August 2016. First draft was completed 12th December 2016 and it launched 21st May 2017 after the necessary editing process.

How long did it take you to write it?

9 months

Where did you get the idea from?

I come into contact with so many different people of differing backgrounds being a massage therapist that it’s difficult to say where the idea came from specifically but I certainly have a wealth of stimulus.

Were there any parts of the book where you struggled?

The first part before I attended Swanwick was more of a struggle of confidence than anything else. I loved the process of writing a book and am already on my second one, although this is non-fiction about natural fertility.

What came easily?

The story. I’m not much of an advance plotter. I had key markers where good and bad needed to happen to meet the story arc, but beyond that the characters took me where they needed to go. I didn’t know how the chapter would develop until it presented itself on the page. I think this is why I enjoyed the process so much, every day was like reading the book myself.

Are your characters entirely fictitious or have you borrowed from real world people you know?

Absolutely I’ve borrowed people I know, BUT there are probably twenty people within one character, plus all the fictional stuff as well.

We all know how important it is for writers to read. Are there any particular authors that have influenced how you write and, if so, how have they influenced you?

I’m not influenced by authors, I sit down and write in my own style, but I do love to read. I’m currently in the middle of two books; A Thread Unbroken by Kay Bratt and The Light of Fireflies by Paul Pen and Simon Bruni. My recent favourite was Good Me Bad Me by Ali Land and my favourite of all time was Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts.

Do you have a target reader?

Anyone who needs a bit of escapism from everyday life, more specifically females 18 – 45. This is not a heavy read. It’s light and humorous even though it’s a psychological thriller.

About Writing

Do you have a writing process? If so can you please describe it?

I write when I get time. Being a massage therapist (like Lucy) and reflexologist my clients make appointments at any time 7 days between 7am and 9pm for a 10pm finish. I prefer to write in the mornings, but if I have clients booked in then I write when I can.

Do you outline? If so, do you do so extensively or just chapter headings and a couple of sentences?

I’m lucky to get meaningful chapter headings.

Do you edit as you go or wait until you’ve finished?

Wait until I’ve finished. The story takes over first draft.

Did you hire a professional editor?

No, but I have had extensive editing experience myself when working as Head of Marketing before I retrained to be a therapist.

Do you listen to music while you write? If yes, what gets the fingers tapping?

I tried it as I heard it helps to write moods, but it was way too distracting. The idea lasted about two minutes.

About Publishing

Did you submit your work to Agents?

I tried two, but then I was fidgety before the decisions came back so decided to publish it myself. I wasn’t too bothered even when submitting if I’m honest as I had heard through the writer’s circles that if you’re successful you get multiple book deals. My problem is, this is fun for me, I didn’t want to be pushed in to writing because that’s what sells. I want to write for enjoyment. Hopefully my enthusiasm for my characters comes through in Naked Truths.

What made you decide to go Indie, whether self-publishing or with an indie publisher? Was it a particular event or a gradual process?

As above, I didn’t want to be pigeon holed. I’ve already started my second book, a non-fiction on natural fertility – a totally different style.

Did you get your book cover professionally done or did you do it yourself?

Professionally done by Chris Kudi.

Do you have a marketing plan for the book or are you just winging it?

I have a marketing plan, as this was my career for more years than I care to remember prior to retraining in massage and reflexology, I can’t help myself.

Any advice that you would like to give to other newbies considering becoming Indie authors?

Go for it, what have you got to lose? Forums are great sources of advice.

About You

Where did you grow up?

Yorkshire, near Leeds.

Where do you live now?

Essex, UK.

What would you like readers to know about you?

Lucy is based on me, and Giles started off being based on my husband, but please don’t believe everything you read!

What are you working on now?

Non-fiction on Natural Fertility covering nutrition, lifestyle, hormonal basics and self help tips at home such as reflexology pressure points. The idea being that by following this simple guide, (a lot are way more complicated than they need to be,) you will hopefully avoid expensive and invasive hospital appointments.

End of Interview:

For more from Karen visit her website, like her Facebook page, or follow her on Twitter.

Get you copy of Naked Truths from Amazon US or Amazon UK.

IndieView with E.Y. Laster, author of Of Captivity & Kings

I wrote a book I would love to read! I love period films and books and if I found a great action movie set it in the past, I was all over it. 

E.Y. Laster – 6 July 2017

The Back Flap

The laws are different in the Kushite ruled Kingdom of Nabara. The penalty for involvement in the slave trade is death, and if the King fails to provide justice and order under ma’at, the High Priests can order him to commit suicide. When a Roman slave ship wrecks off the coast of Nabara, peace is shattered. Ancient caravan routes and nomadic hunters are threatened by kidnappings, robbery, and murder, forcing Nabaran High King Amkar Kashta to invoke the power of the six-kingdom alliance that is Nudolla. Each member of the ruling families finds themselves thrust into the rising slave trade and the corruption of everything and everyone it touches. It is an adventure told from the secret sanctuaries of the desert fathers in the Scetes desert and the massive pyramids of Meroë to the Skeleton Coast and towards the Great Barrier Mountains of Apedemak. Here, kings and queens, princes and princesses, slave traders and gladiators, high priests and slaves, scribes and warriors, caravan robbers, and hermits collide under the thread that links them all – Captivity and Kings.

About the book

What is the book about?

Of Captivity & Kings is the first installment in a series about the Kushite Kingdom of Nabara ruled by King Amkar Kashta and Queen Samya Kashta. With increasing piracy on ancient trade routes, drought, and a rising slave trade threatening the land, Nabaran High King Amkar Kashta invokes the power of the six-kingdom alliance that is Nudolla. Each member of the ruling families finds themselves thrust into the rising slave trade and the corruption of everything and everyone it touches. It is an adventure told from the secret sanctuaries of the desert fathers in the Scetes Desert and the massive pyramids of Meroë to the Skeleton Coast and towards the Great Barrier Mountains of Apedemak. Here, kings and queens, princes and princesses, slave traders and gladiators, high priests and slaves, scribes and warriors, caravan robbers, and hermits collide under the thread that links them all – Captivity & Kings.

When did you start writing the book?

I started writing the book in March of 2013 until September 2013.

How long did it take you to write it?

It took me about seven months in total to write the book. In 2016 I decided to publish and began the editing process.

Where did you get the idea from?

I wrote a book I would love to read! I love period films and books and if I found a great action movie set it in the past, I was all over it. I loved learning the history behind things, partly because my Mom and Dad told me so many stories as a kid and were endless sources of history. It always started with “Did you know…?” and I was all ears! This period of history always interested me because of the richness of the number of languages, ancient writing like Meroitic and Nsibidi script, and the trade among various empires.

Were there any parts of the book where you struggled?

Definitely. One thing about Africa is that the continent, while rich in history, has always been subject to people wanting to mine its resources. Sculptures were destroyed, cities were burned, and history itself was denied despite (quite literally) the writing on the wall. It was not always easy to find books or information on kingdoms that existed prior to the 14th century. Much of my research involved creating timelines, mapping out various kingdoms, groups, and religions that were around so I could use the history in telling my story. Using the reliefs on pyramids as well as archaeological evidence helped immensely and the Smithsonian was an excellent tool. Librarians are a necessary and underutilized resource!

What came easily?

The characters. I knew exactly what type of characters I wanted in the book so the fiction of their storyline came easily. I wrote the book so fast I didn’t realize what I was getting myself into, but I could see the scenes happening in my head once I got an idea and ran with it. I’d wake up in the morning, jump on the train to commute to work, and be typing away on my phone! Sometimes I’d be on a run and I’d start thinking of an idea and stop the music on my phone to use the voice recorder so I wouldn’t forget. I’d usually start scenes not knowing how they would end, but being certain I had to include it.

Are your characters entirely fictitious or have you borrowed from real world people you know?

Both apply here! The majority of my characters are fictitious, but many of them originate from real kingdoms that existed in the fourth century. It also discusses and includes real people in history such as King Ezana of the Aksumite Empire, Abba Moses the Black, Constantius II and Ambrose the theologian.  You may see these as point of view characters in Book 2 – the epilogue will provide an answer there as well! Lastly, I definitely put traits of people I know into the book. Three characters in the book have the names of people I know in real life because the character was so well suited for the name. I did some research into the meanings of names while I wrote so it worked perfectly!

We all know how important it is for writers to read. Are there any particular authors that have influenced how you write and, if so, how have they influenced you?

It’s hard to name particular authors who influenced how I write because this is my first novel. I grew up writing very short, modern stories about my sister and I before college but I’ve always written poetry. Other than that, I would read anything my parents gave me and later anything that I could buy and get my hands on. What I love most about authors I read is their ability to create dynamic characters that are flawed. When I read their works, the words come alive and I can see a picture in my head of every detail. Everyone in this world has more than one side to them and that’s what makes stories compelling.

Do you have a target reader?

I don’t have a target reader. Hopefully anyone who loves a good story!

About Writing

Do you have a writing process? If so can you please describe it?

I don’t have a writing process, but for me it always starts with the characters and their place in the world. Once I decided their personality and can see them in my mind I run with it and make it up as I go.

Do you outline? If so, do you do so extensively or just chapter headings and a couple of sentences?

I definitely outlined for this book! Especially once I realized I would need an index of characters. One thing I started doing once I had at least one hundred pages was to jot down notes on my phone with the name of a character and one or two sentences about the scene I wanted to write or a character I felt should be included and what they were bringing to the story.

Do you edit as you go or wait until you’ve finished?

I wait until I’m finished.

Did you hire a professional editor?

I did! I used Writer’s Digest Critique services. The editors were extremely helpful in looking over my manuscript.

Do you listen to music while you write? If yes, what gets the fingers tapping?

No, I don’t listen to music while I write. I watch television while I write. All the time.  It’s probably a bad habit, but I don’t find it distracting.

About Publishing

Did you submit your work to Agents?

No, but eventually I would like to!

What made you decide to go Indie, whether self-publishing or with an indie publisher? Was it a particular event or a gradual process?

I liked the immediacy of self-publishing and the fact that it would allow me to continue working full time. Of course, once I got into it, I discovered the amount of work that went into getting a book ready. It was daunting, but also exciting to discover how much information was out there.

Did you get your book cover professionally done or did you do it yourself?

I used a professional.

Do you have a marketing plan for the book or are you just winging it?

I have a website that went live as soon as the book was available for pre-order. I’m not all over social media, but I do enjoy speaking with other indie authors about their work or resources they are using or just giving them advice even if it’s to tell them to not give up on their story! For my website I’ve created a mailing list and a blog to give resources to writers and respond to people who have questions, comments or just enjoy the book!

Any advice that you would like to give to other newbies considering becoming Indie authors?

Do what works for you, push away the doubt, and don’t give up. One of my favorite movies is Inception and I will always remember the lines spoken between Leonardo DiCaprio and Ken Watanabe. I ask this of my friends all the time when doubt pops up in their lives no matter what area it is. Do you want to take a leap of faith? Or become an old man, filled with regret, waiting to die alone?

About You

What do you want readers to know about you?

If readers have questions about the book, sign up for my mailing list or want to leave comments they can view more information and Frequently Asked Questions at www.ofcaptivityandkings.com. A random winner will be chosen from the first 100 people to sign up for the mailing list. They can also email me at info@ofcaptivityandkings.com.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on Book Two in the series!

End of Interview:

Get your copy of Of Captivity & Kings from Amazon US or Amazon UK.

IndieView with Paul A. Trinetti, author of The Complete Vexton Trilogy

First and foremost, for any work to resonate with others it must come from the heart. The writer must also be confident and not swayed by the fact that not everyone is going to appreciate their creation.

Paul Trinetti – 4 July 2017 Continue reading

Reviewer IndieView with Jessica of Forward Scribes

I like to be thrown right into the story. Drop me right into the action. Get my heart pounding right away. Scare the mess out of me. 

Jessica – 2 July 2017 Continue reading

IndieView with Bob Marsocci, author of You Exhaust Me – A Clueless Guy’s Guide to Marriage

While I am wholly unqualified to give professional marital advice, I honestly believe my book can help guys once they enter a whole new world after saying “I do.”

Bob Marsocci – 1 July 2017 Continue reading

IndieView with Aurora Thornton, author of Wildflowers, Part I: Allaha of the Mountain

I have to say Tamora Pierce is probably one of my biggest inspirations for being one of the earliest – I sometimes see people complaining about there not being enough high fantasy novels with female protagonists, and hers is still the first name I bring up. 

Aurora Thornton – 29 June 2017 Continue reading

Reviewer IndieView with Cat Ellington

I would never quit on a book, even if it’s awful. Once I start something, I believe in finishing it. The process of completing such a book will take me that much longer, but I wouldn’t abandon it altogether.

Cat Ellington – 27 June 2017 Continue reading