Interview with Debra Doxer, Author of Where Butterflies Go

What can you tell us about your new release, Where Butterflies Go?

This book is based on the life of my great aunt, a Holocaust survivor. I’ve always known my extended family was smaller than most. I didn’t have any aunts and uncles and cousins spread out all over the place like most of my friends seemed to have. When I was older, I learned that my father’s side of the family was almost wiped out in the Holocaust. I knew the Holocaust was a terrible thing, but it seemed so removed from my world. It stayed that way until my great aunt came to visit when I was in junior high, and she showed us a scar she had on her arm. She also had a story about how she got that scar. It was when she was in a concentration camp during World War II. As she proceeded to elaborate, tears sprang to my eyes. After that, the Holocaust was no longer a nebulous thing to me. It was real and stark and terrible. Her story stayed with me, and as I grew older and heard about groups of Holocaust deniers or others who believed the death toll was exaggerated, I knew it was important for my great aunt’s story and stories like hers to be told.

What or who inspired you to become an author?

Reading is what inspired me. I’ve always been a voracious reader, and it was my love of reading that made me want to write.

What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?

My all time favorite book is The Secret History by Donna Tartt. I’ve probably read it four or five times now. Other favorites are A Simple Plan by Scott Smith, Story of My Life by Jay McInerney, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, A Piece of Cake by Cupcake Brown, and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie.

Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?

Since she wrote my favorite book, I’d love to interview Donna Tartt. I’d probably be terrified and intimidated, but I’d want to know about her process. She is a true artist, and I believe it takes her about ten years to write a book. I’m such an impatient writer, I’d want to know how she finds the patience to stay with a book for such a long time.

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

Writing is hard. I have a love/hate relationship with it. My favorite part is finishing the book. Then I miss it, and my least favorite part is that it’s finished.

What is a typical day like for you?

I work full-time as a technical writer for computer software. I’m also a single mom to a ten year old. My days are pretty busy, especially now in the pandemic. I work remotely all day while my daughter attends school in a hybrid schedule. The weeks she’s at home, it’s pretty hectic. These days, all my fiction writing is relegated to a few hours in the evening before my eyes finally shut.

What scene from Where Butterflies Go was your favorite to write?

I enjoyed writing one of the lighter scenes when Meira meets Max in New York City for the first time. It shows her spunk and her humor. I really enjoy writing scenes with romantic chemistry and underlying tension.

Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?

My general philosophy is that if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing well. This is something I try to live by, and I’ve tried to instill this philosophy in my daughter.

Debra Doxer is the author of the new book Where Butterflies Go.

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Interview with Amanda Uhl, Author of Cross Waves

What can you tell us about your new release, Cross Waves?

Cross Waves is a labor of love. From start to finish, it took me four years to perfect the storyline. Early reviewers are using phrases like, “a non-stop reading experience,” “fast-paced,” “heart-pounding,” and (my personal favorite), “I couldn’t put the book down.” The characters are fun, unexpected, and likable. The heroine possesses a dangerous talent. The hero guards a dark secret. The hero’s grandmother plays a pivotal role. And one character, who readers meet towards the end of the book, surprised even me, seeming to appear on his own without conscious thought on my part and setting the series up nicely for the yet unwritten book three, Dream Waves.

What or who inspired you to become an author?

I never intended to be a writer. Writing meant forced school assignments and seemed a lonely profession. I wanted to be an actress. Who wouldn’t want to see themselves on a big screen, travel the world and be seen by millions of fans? I have fourteen siblings and as a child, there was little money for acting, singing or dance lessons. Instead, I read books, dozens at a time, wrote large volumes of poetry and dreamed up stories in my head. One day I’ll write them down, I thought. It would be many years before I did. I made up lots of excuses over the years—I was too tired, too old, too busy, too afraid. All the while, I fought the urge to write fiction—and not just any fiction, but romance, where a happy ending is guaranteed. One day in 2015, the desire to write romance grew so big and wide, I couldn’t hold it inside any longer. I tossed aside my fears, dug deep for courage, and began writing. I haven’t stopped since. My books have won awards—you can read about them on my website: https://amandauhl.com/awards-honors/.

What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?

Just five? Oh boy, it’s hard to choose, but I managed:

Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery

Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen

Natural Born Charmer by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Amaryllis by Jayne Anne Krentz

A Matter of Class by Mary Balough

Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?

This is hard because I’ve been fortunate to meet a lot of my favorite writers and ask them questions. However, if I had to choose, I might like to speak with Nora Roberts, who I’ve yet to meet. I’d probably ask her what she sees as the biggest challenge in the industry or a similar question to get her talking about the business. Then I’d sit back and listen and absorb whatever gems she might offer.

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

I love stories. When I was little, I used to spend hours making them up in my head. I still to do this today—it’s what makes the writing process so much fun. I also love the act of writing itself, and there’s a bit of myself in every novel. Working out the feelings of characters means I have to put myself in a wide variety of emotional situations. It’s cathartic.

What is a typical day like for you?

I work full-time managing a team for a large corporation. A typical day involves sitting at my desk for eight hours developing and implementing communication and training strategies. I do all my creative writing at night. I love it when the house is quiet and I can think and dream to my heart’s content.

What scene from Cross Waves was your favorite to write?

There is a scene towards the end of Cross Waves, when a new character magically appeared and came to life. He is mysterious and troubled, the perfect combination of hero, and will be the subject of the next book in the series, Dream Waves.

Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?

I do—I wear it on a bracelet around my wrist to remind myself: “Creativity takes courage. Don’t give up.”

Amanda Uhl is the author of the new book Cross Waves.

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Interview with Jared K Chapman, Author of 2HVØRHVNØT: To Have Or Have Not

What can you tell us about your new release, 2HVØRHVNØT: To Have Or Have Not?

The numeronym title 2HVØRHVNØTcame to me in a serendipitous moment while driving with my family. I remember thinking about To Be or Not To Be, while pondering the idea of the Haves and Have Nots. Seeing the numeronym appear in my head, I envisioned it as a defaced identification tattoo on a wrist of someone oppressed by the government. The whole story developed from trying to figure out how that would have happened.

2HVØRHVNØT: To Have or Have Notis a fast-paced, genre-bending murder thriller set in a dystopian future where the superpowered Mighty oppress the powerless Citizens. Mario’s identity tag is 24VØR4VNØ, but he defaced it when he was a kid to spell out the numeronym To Have or Have Not, after the Mighty took away his parents and left him to raise his younger sister Zelda. The whole story takes place from 5:46am to 8pm in a single day, starting with Mario waking up late for work.

As he waits in line, he has no idea his boss is dead, and an adjudicator named Tanalia, who is one of the telepath-seer monks that police Fellowship City, is on her way to arrest him for the undetected, grisly murder.

The book is split into three parts with Mario being the primary protagonist of part I. However, in part II, his sister’s adventure begins as she searches for her brother in a city besieged by a monstrous killer.

This book combines some of my favorite things to read: science fiction, fantasy, superpowers, post-apocalypse, dystopia, and horror. There’s also elements of romance and suspense, and it is littered with subtle pop cultural references and social commentary throughout. I write what I want to read (or watch). My hope is that others like what I like, because I’ve got a whole world I’m building, and I’m ready to entertain.

What or who inspired you to become an author?

In third or fourth grade, I wrote and drew a short little story that our school published for books to sell to parents. I remember seeing my work in print and thinking it was the best thing ever. From then on, I knew I wanted to be published again someday. I wrote my first novel in sixth grade, which was some sci-fi fantasy Star Wars/Star Trek mishmash that I have no idea if it was any good or not, as it was never returned to me from a classmate reading it. I’m not exactly sure what or who inspired me to become an author. I just remember those two moments vividly in my memories.

That being said, I read a lot of Stephen King from the age of 10 on, as well as Ray Bradbury, Kurt Vonnegut, and others throughout high school. I think they inspired me to continue my dream. However, one of my biggest supporters was my adopted grandmother Bibby (we adopted each other, as she was my cousins’ grandmother). She always encouraged my writing and was so proud when I won awards for a poem in high school and short story in junior college. I wish she could be here today to see that I’ve finally become a published author, something she always knew I had in me, even when I didn’t.

What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?

My tastes change with the seasons, so my top 5 today may not be the same the next time I’m asked. So, with that caveat in mind, here are today’s top 5 in no particular order: Kurt Vonnegut’s Slapstick, Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide series, and Claudia Gray’s Star Wars: Lost Stars. By the way, this is really hard to limit myself to 5 books. I chose these, because I could read them over and over again.

Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?

If I could have any guest to be on my show, I’d want my first guest to be Stephen King. However, I would love to have both Stephen King and George R. R. Martin on the same show talking about their writing styles, but that’s not what was asked, so I’ll get back to the question at hand.

The first thing I would ask Stephen King is how. How is able to produce so much? What does an average day look like for him? How can I become more like him?

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

I love world-building. I’ll formulate the world I want to write in, creating its rules, customs, and history. I strive to produce vibrant, colorful worlds filled with interesting characters. I’ll spend weeks planning the world out and mapping it, so I know where everything happens, before I even put pen to paper to write one story. I believe that a fully fleshed out and compelling world is not restricted to only one kind of story. While my first story is technically a murder thriller, I could just as easily write a political espionage or a hard science fiction technothriller in the world I created. Seeing the endless possibilities in something I thought of and how others respond to what I’ve created are my favorite things about writing.

What is a typical day like for you?

I’d like to say, “I wake up before morning and watch the sunrise, have a light breakfast and begin to write,” but that would be very far from the truth. I work better at night, so I tend to stay up late and sleep in later than I should. My wife goes to work and leaves me with our three-year-old, who sometimes falls asleep with me and other times makes me get up to make him breakfast. I have an 18-year-old and 16-year-old also living at home, so sometimes I can get them to watch their little brother, so I can do some writing or other book-related function. I can usually get some things done while the 3-year-old is having quiet-time after lunch, and then it’s much more difficult until he goes to bed. Then, depending on my wife’s work schedule, we may watch a little TV before she goes to bed and I go to work on my laptop trying to write before falling asleep and starting it all over again. Although I can’t wait for COVID to be over, so I can go back to having more time to write without distraction, I truly enjoy this time I’ve been able to spend with my family.

What scene from 2HVØRHVNØT: To Have Or Have Not was your favorite to write?

There are so many favorites, but I cannot say anything about them, or they would spoil one of the twists. I loved writing the twists. They seem to just come out of nowhere and I hope that’s the experience the reader gets.

So, my favorite scene I can safely not spoil is the very beginning and its reprise. I love the interaction between Mario and Zelda. It’s short and sweet, and really shows who they are with one another. The first time we see it from Mario’s perspective, but in the second part of the book when Zelda becomes a primary protagonist, we get her take and it spins it a little bit. I like how Mario thinks about her and she thinks about him, and neither realize truly what the other is thinking.

Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?

When I became a dad I said, “You can’t be a dad without getting a little snot on your shoulders.” I think I live my life by that philosophy. There are always consequences to our actions, and if we don’t act, there is no possibility of a positive consequence. I think Yoda’s “Do or do not. There is no Try,” is also something that influences me in the same way. It encourages me to push and make it happen, being positive about who I am and what I can do. I have a little sculpture of that on my desk, so I can look at it and be inspired. This is the way.

Jared K Chapman is the author of the new book 2HVØRHVNØT: To Have Or Have Not.

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Tis the Season to be Spooky by Molly Fitz

Tis the season to be spooky!

We over at the Black Cat Crossing Collective love cats. We love them so much that we collected 11 stories of spooky black felines and threw them together in one awesome mix of Halloween stories. But to really enjoy Black Cat Crossing, we need to take a few moments to appreciate all the adorable and terrifying murder mittens that came before. Let’s take a look at our very subjective list of the top 11 spook cats!

11) Furguson Michael Jordan Bishop – New Girl

Nick and Jess might be the main will they won’t they couple, but Winston and his life partner, Furguson Michael Jordon Bishop, was the true love story! Winston always had a rough time, but when he adopted this furry partner in crime it gave his character, and the show, a whole new dimension. As for the spooky factor, it’s scary how much Winston loves his feline companion!

10) White Cat – The Mummy

For such a pretty kitty that isn’t even named in the movie, this girl sure is memorable! When the mummy Imhotep sneaks into Evelyn’s room, the only way to save Evelyn is to barge into the room holding up the kitty like a weapon. Though the scene-stealer isn’t named in the film, the novelization of the movie names her Cleo. Spook Factor: Any kitty that can send the Mummy running off with his tail between his legs is a force to be reckoned with!

9) Mr. Bigglesworth – Austin Powers

Proving you don’t need a full coat to be terrifying, Dr. Evil’s companion has laser sharks at the ready and isn’t afraid to use them! Although Mr. Bigglesworth was originally a long-haired Persian, his hair fell out during the freezing process in the sixties, giving him the iconic and intimidating look he’s known for.  Spook factor: “That makes me angry. And when Dr. Evil gets angry, Mr. Bigglesworth gets upset. (Meow) And when Mr. Bigglesworth gets upset, people die!” Need we say more?

8) Jonsey – Alien

Ripley is undoubtedly one of the original strong female characters portrayed on film and her pet cat, Jonsey, was the perfect companion. He provides softness to her strength and isn’t afraid to hiss and claw at that inconvenient alien whenever he gets too close! Spook Factor: He’s one of the only creatures to survive the horrifying and acid bleeding Alien. You have to be tough to survive that!

7) Miss Kitty Fantastico – Buffy the Vampire Slayer

With a name like that, you know Miss Kitty Fantastico is a force to be reckoned with. And you for sure don’t want to get on her mammas’ bad side. When Tara and Willow snuck their new kitten onto campus, you best believe all of Sunnydale was straight up SHOOK by the cuteness factor. Spook Factor: Does it get spookier than a kitten with not one, but TWO witch mommies?

6) Orion – Men in Black

This orange and white kitty seems like a small side character at first, but he ends up tying the entire movie together. A true sign that animals are universal, this little guy made such a big impact on his alien owner that the big guy trusted the entire galaxy to his pet kitty, Orion. Spook Factor: He has the entire galaxy on his belt! That’s pretty spooky.

5) Mrs. Norris – The Harry Potter Films

There might be a lot of terrifying occurrences at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, but nothing struck fear into the hearts of the students like seeing Mrs. Norris skulking around. The caretaker’s pet cat spent her time looking for troublemakers and wasn’t afraid to tattle. Spook Factor: If even Hermione Granger is scared of Mrs. Norris, what chance do us mere mortals have?

4) Church – Pet Sematary

This might be the saddest and most terrifying entry on this list! Winston Church was so beloved by his family that when he was suddenly struck down by a car his family just couldn’t let go. He was laid to rest in the titular Pet Sematary but didn’t stay resting. However, when he did come back to the family, he came back… A little different. Spook Factor: Two words – Zombie Cat.

3) Goose – Captain Marvel

Is it cheating if this kitty isn’t a cat at all? Captain Marvel’s orange feline companion isn’t of this planet. Goose is actually a Flerken, a very dangerous alien creature that has a bite MUCH bigger than their meow. Spook Factor: Goose is so scary that she’s the reason Nick Fury wears an eye patch. She has claws (and tentacles) and isn’t afraid to use them!

2) Salem – Sabrina the Teenage Witch

This kitty might not be the most physically imposing, but his sarcastic barbs and sharp wit could leave even the best of us wounded. But his need for power is only matched by his loyalty and this little guy is a friend we could all use. Much better than having him as an enemy at least. Spook Factor: Considering Salem was cursed to live as a cat because he tried to take over the world, we wouldn’t turn our backs on this one…

1) Thackery Binx – Hocus Pocus

Be still our twelve-year-old hearts! Thackery Binx was every little girl’s dream. With a sweet English accent and a caring, brave, and determined personality, he becomes Dani’s number one ally in taking down the Sanderson Sisters. Spook Factor: He’s immortal and won’t stop until he’s reunited with his sister. Don’t mess with this murder mittens with a heart of gold!

If you can’t get enough spooky kitties, be sure to check out Black Cat Crossing! This anthology features 11 heartwarming and spine-tingling Halloween stories featuring our favorite noir felines.

Have a happy, and cuddly, spook-tober from all of us at Black Cat Crossing Collective!

Molly Fitz is the author of the new book Black Cat Crossing.

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Interview with Brittni Chenelle, One of the Authors of Eternal Bite

What can you tell us about your new release, Eternal Bite?

The Eternal Bite set is a sizzling 9 book, never-before-seen set of steamy vampire novels. We have a reverse harem Academy book, a mystery, we have vampire lovers, foes, royals, we have werewolves and shifters, and fae. It’s a treasure trove of vampire stories that are told from a variety of authors and points of view. I’m contributing a novel called Chaste Blood, which is a Dark PNR multicultural romance, that deals with immortal royalty.

What or who inspired you to become an author?

I struggled to learn to read or write when I was young and I had some really amazing teachers who praised my storytelling ability and overlooked the skills I was lacking. Eventually, I caught up but my love of storytelling was encouraged by their positivity and allowed me to dive into the addicting world of publishing.

What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?

You might laugh because many of these are technically middle grade, but these books captivated me like nothing else can.
The School For Good and Evil: 1, 2, and 3 by Soman Chainani
The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?

I’d probably want to interview Tomi Adeyemi. I would ask her why she feels multicultural representation is important and essential in literature as it’s a cause I very deeply care about.

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

My favorite part of writing is solving puzzles. Each book comes with certain logistical puzzles you have to solve to make a story work. You discover characters and worlds and then influence them, pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. It’s as close to magic as you can get in real life because readers can experience anything you create.

What is a typical day like for you?

I’m not sure there’s such thing as a typical day, but usually, I can’t wait to run and check on all of my projects first thing in the morning. I always have something going on besides the main book that I’m writing. Right now I’m making a USA Today run, I’m also working with a literary agent to become a hybrid author, and I’m pitching books to Netflix as well.

What scene from Eternal Bite was your favorite to write?

In my book Chaste Blood, I have a very shocking twist right at the end. There are plenty of clues woven into the story but when the ending lands and it all comes together, I always get the reaction I want from readers. It’s very exciting to watch the lightbulbs go on and the subsequent reactions.

Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?

Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten. – Neil Gaiman

Brittni Chenelle is the author of the new book Eternal Bite.

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Interview with Ivy Smoak, author of Empire High Untouchables

What can you tell us about your new release, Empire High Untouchables?

Empire High Untouchables is a high school bully romance between a small-town girl and Manhattan’s most elite son. Even though the characters are a little younger than my normal books, it’s still packed with angst and a rollercoaster of emotions. I don’t want to say too much because I don’t want to spoil anything. All you really need to know – Matthew freaking Caldwell is about to be your new book boyfriend!

What or who inspired you to become an author?

I’ve always loved reading. But I never dreamed it would be possible to become an author. My husband encouraged me to follow my dreams. I don’t think I ever could have done this without his support. He believes in me so much that it was impossible not to believe in myself too. And it’s easy for me to write romance when every day it feels like I’m living in one. I’m so lucky to have him and so lucky that I get to wake up every day and do what I love!

What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?

This is such a hard question! A few of the books that stuck with me the most are ones that I read as a kid. And there are a few that really motivated me to start writing when I was an adult.

1) Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Of course! What kid doesn’t want to believe that magic actually exists? Adults too. Anything is possible. Really the first five books all made me so happy. Before it gets kind of dark and they leave school in books 6 and 7. So technically the first 5 books are all on my list. But I think that’s cheating. So I came up with some more:

2) The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Really all four of those books are amazing. But I’ve read the first one so many times that the pages are worn. This series inspired me the most to start writing. And it definitely inspired my first high school series – Empire High.

3) Harlan Coben – The Woods. I love thrillers. And Harlan Coben is definitely my favorite thriller author! That’s why every now and then I like to surprise my readers and release a psychological thriller when they’re expecting a romance. Nothing like keeping readers on their toes!

4) Twilight. I think this was technically the first romance I ever read. And I was seriously obsessed. I read the first book when I first started dating my now husband. And I lump the experiences of dating him into the experience of reading about Edward and Bella. My life is basically a vampire novel now in my mind.

5) Empire High Untouchables! It’s the best book ever! Haha okay, that sounded really conceited. But I’ve never been more in love with characters than I am with these. I’ve laughed and cried with them. And I think you’ll love them just as much.

Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?

I’d 100% have to talk to EL James. She writes in the same genre as me and she’s been able to create virality around her books, which is so hard to do. I want all her secrets. There’s so much speculation on which things contributed to her success. And getting the inside scoop would be amazing. Also then we could be best friends and she could hook me up with an amazing producer for The Hunted series. Seeing The Hunted series on the big screen is a dream of mine. Or Netflix. Or Hulu. Or whoever is out there reading this. You!

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

Writing just makes me happy. Or at least, it does when I’m not crying over my keyboard at whatever scene I’m writing. But my husband can tell whether I’ve written or not yet by my mood. He swears I’m grumpy when I haven’t gotten any words in. I’m so lucky to be able to do what I truly love every day. And that I’m able to spread that joy to others too. Because all the emails and messages I get is my other favorite thing. My fans are the best and I love them. <3

What is a typical day like for you?

Working from home is super weird and amazing at the same time. Some days I work pretty much all day long. And then there are days where I’m completely burned out and have what I like to call “mush brain” – where I can barely form a sentence and if I wrote anything, none of the words would make any sense. On those days you can find me binge watching Love Island UK. But when I balance my time better, my normal day involves going on a walk with my husband, eating brunch (we weirdly only eat two meals a day at my house), writing for a few hours, hanging out in my FB group The Ivy Smoaksters, catching up on emails, working out, eating dinner, and then either writing more or again…binge watching Love Island UK. Can you tell that I’m a little obsessed with Love Island right now?

What scene in Empire High Untouchables was your favorite to write?

100% my favorite scene to write was Brooklyn and Matt’s first kiss. I don’t want to say too much more because I don’t want to spoil the scene. But Matthew Caldwell is a kiss thief!

Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?

I think Taylor Swift said it best. Shake it off! This business is so subjective and if I had listened to the no’s years ago and never taken a chance and self-published my first book, I wouldn’t be one of the biggest self-published authors today. Shake it off and show everyone what you’re truly made of!

Ivy Smoak is the author of the new book Empire High Untouchables.

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Interview with Thomas Scott, Author of State of Justice

What can you tell us about your new release, State of Justice?

State of Justice is the tenth Virgil Jones Mystery-Thriller novel, and like all the other books in the series, it is but a chapter of a much larger over-arching storyline. The main protagonists, Detective Virgil Jones (along with his adopted brother, Murton Wheeler) are special investigators for the Major Crimes Unit, working for, and answering to, the governor of the state. Each book in the series is a stand-alone novel, of course, with a complete and satisfying ending. In other words, there are never any cliffhangers. While the books can be read in any order, most readers tell me they prefer to start at the beginning of the series to better witness the character growth. All of my novels, including State of Justice, are very character driven. There’s plot, obviously, but it is used mainly to demonstrate the complexities and nuances of the individual characters…both the good guys and the bad guys. State of Justice, and the entire series is described as mystery—thrillers, but at their core, they are really love stories in their own unique way, which I find very fitting because love is at once mysterious and thrilling.

What or who inspired you to become an author?

My father was a writer, and to his credit, an avid reader of stories to me as a young child. In addition, my uncle (Dad’s brother) is a writer who attended the Iowa School of Writing and received his MFA along side his classmate, John Irving. So I’ve been around writing and writers all my life. I can’t imagine doing anything else, and I feel very fortunate to be counted among those who are able to do it for a living.

What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?

At the top of the list would be James Lee Burke’s The Jealous Kind. It is without question the single most beautiful book I have ever read. Following that would be The Siege, by Stephen White, Hearts In Atlantis, by Stephen King, Dean Koontz’s Watchers makes the list, as does The Gatehouse, by Nelson DeMille. And if I can sneak one more in, it would be John Sanford’s Mortal Prey, as that’s a great, tight story as well.

Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?

James Lee Burke. The questions I’d have for him are far too numerous to list here, but I’d really like to know what kept him going, way back when he was trying to get The Lost Get-Back Boogie published. As I understand it, that novel stayed under submission for over nine years and was rejected more than 111 times before finally being published. And when it was, it was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. That’s an amazing story…fairly well known by most fiction writers, but I’d like to know what it actually felt like…going from all the rejection to a Pulitzer nomination. Clearly the man doesn’t have much quit in him.

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

I love this question. It’s the magic of it all…the mysticism. When I sit down to write, I don’t try to come up with a grand idea for any given novel. I simply let the characters speak to me. They tell me what the story is about, and more importantly, who the story is about. I don’t outline in advance or try to steer the story along in any certain direction. I’ve long held the belief that the stories themselves don’t come from me, they come through me, and I’m just the lucky guy who gets to type them out. Admittedly, I don’t talk about that last part very often…at least not to people other than my wife, because whenever I do, they usually give me a funny sort of look, along with a polite little chuckle before changing the subject to something much more palatable…like the weather.

What is a typical day like for you?

Spoiler Alert: I’m a regular guy, just like anyone else. I have coffee in the morning with my wife, then I’ll usually read for an hour or so, do my share of the household chores, then go into my office and get to work. I try to make it to my desk by nine (although that rarely happens) and usually finish up around four in the afternoon, then I’ll read and relax until dinner. Like that…seven days a week. I work every day, almost without exception.

What scene from State of Justice was your favorite to write?

Good question. I don’t think I could limit myself to a single scene without giving something away, but I will say this: I have two very favorite parts of any novel I’m writing. One is the very beginning. There’s nothing more satisfying (and sometimes horrifying) to sit down, type Chapter One, and then watch and wait to see what happens. The blank canvas is always fun, even if it is sometimes a little scary, sort of like a haunted house at the amusement park. But once I get rolling and the characters begin driving the story, it is an absolute joy. Of course the only thing better than all of that is the end…to be able to say I’ve done it once more. After that, I start the process all over again.

Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?

Yeah, there are a couple. Ram Dass wrote: The whole trip occurs in an unfolding process of which we have no control. He was obviously speaking of our lives here on earth, and I’ve found that statement to be very true. The other comes from Dean Koontz’s novel Life Expectancy. He opened a chapter with this: No one’s life should be rooted in fear. We are born for wonder, for joy, for hope, for love, to marvel at the mystery of existence, to be ravished by the beauty of the world, to seek truth and meaning, to acquire wisdom, and by our treatment of others, brighten the corner where we are. No one can grant you happiness. Happiness is a choice we all have the power to make. I absolutely love that passage. The power of words amazes me. It’s why I read. It’s why I write. It’s why I’ll never quit. Thanks for listening.

Thomas Scott is the author of the new book State of Justice.

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The post Interview with Thomas Scott, Author of State of Justice appeared first on NewInBooks.

New Mystery and Thriller Books to Read | October 20

Hold on to the edge of your seat as we hunt for clues and solve the case with these exciting new mystery and thriller books for the week! There are so many bestselling authors with new novels for you to dive into this week including Molly Fitz, Thomas Scott, Daco, Auffenorde, Agatha Christie, and many more. Enjoy your new mystery, thriller, and suspense novels. Happy reading!



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New Romance Books to Read | October 20

Looking to fall in love with some new romance reads? You’ll adore these exciting new novels! This week you can get your hands on books by bestselling authors Willow Winters, Lauren Blakely, Nana Malone, Ivy Smoak, Amanda Uhl, and more. Enjoy your new romance books and happy reading!



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New Books to Read in Literary Fiction | October 20

Literary fiction readers are in for a treat. This week’s latest releases list is full of intriguing reads you won’t want to miss! The new releases list includes so many bestselling authors like Debra Doxer, Don DeLillo, Christopher Cosmos, and many more. Enjoy your new literary fiction books. Happy reading!



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