Interview with John Righten, Author of Heartbreak

What can you tell us about your new release, Heartbreak?

Heartbreak is set in the 1990s and tells the story of Lenka Brett, a smart but unworldly, young, Irish teacher, who volunteers to deliver medical aid when she learns of the horrifying plight of children in Romanian orphanages. An English naval officer, Captain Simon Trevelyan, volunteers to be her co-driver. Together, they join a convoy of humanitarian aid drivers known as the Rogues, the last hope for those in areas where official charities cannot enter. Lenka falls in love with one of the drivers, but when the Rogues become the target of mercenaries, tragedy follows, and she discovers her lover is not who he appeared to be.

Heartbreak is a fast-paced thriller, but delves into subjects that are relevant today, such as the role of the individual in a world of superpower politics, and the plight of refugees caught in wars not of their making.

What or who inspired you to become an author?

Sadly, I lost several friends that I worked with during my days delivering medical aid across the globe, and this inspired me to tell their stories in my first novel, my autobiography, The Benevolence of Rogues.

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

A Place of Greater Safety by Hilary Mantel
The Crow Road by Iain Banks
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera

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

Howard Jacobson. I would ask him why comedy is so important when he writes about love and loss.

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

When I’m finally happy with the first line of a novel, and can invite readers to join me on the path to a new world that until then was only in my imagination.

What is a typical day like for you?

7 to 8.30am, the chaos of a family breakfast. 8.30am to 6pm the intrigues that come with the day job. 6 to 7pm, family dinner together. 7.30 to 8.30pm (sometimes 10pm) reading bedtime stories to my son. 10pm to whenever, time with my wife. Getting up between 2 and 4 am to write.

What scene in Heartbreak was your favorite to write?

The opening paragraph, where a radar operator on a battleship monitoring a caravan of fleeing refugees, spots a lone truck going in the opposite direction into the war-zone. The challenge was to build the tension from the first sentence, without giving away the identity, or even the gender of the driver.

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

Fight for what you believe.

John Righten is the author of the new book Heartbreak.

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Heartbreak: The Lenka Trilogy Part 1

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Interview with Joseph Hansen, Author of Cataclysm: An Age of Legend

What can you tell us about your new release, Cataclysm: An Age of Legend?

Cataclysm – An Age of Legend is a post apocalyptic tale many Millennia after the fact. Tectonics plates have shifted, races have split as evolution takes many diverse yet familiar paths.

What or who inspired you to become an author?

Michael Moorcock, Louise L’amour, James Clavell Jean Auel.

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

The Valley of Wild Horses. The Stand, The Lord of the Rings, Lucifer’s Hammer, and that book I can’t remember right now… get back to me.

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

William Forstchen, did you intend for the Lost Regiment to be steam punk or it just happened and you didn’t realize there was such a category.

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

Telling the stories that I want to read.

What is a typical day like for you?

I work a lot running a route for Bayer Built, then I write, sleep, eat and spend time with my wife and dogs unless I have time to go fishing.

What scene in Cataclysm: An Age of Legend was your favorite to write?

When the elven Princess meets the Aerial or anytime Tic is setting up his business.

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

Where Fairytales Get Real.

Cataclysm: An Age of legend (Rebirth Book 1)

 

Joseph Hansen is the author of the new book Cataclysm: An Age of Legend.

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Interview with Rysa Walker & Caleb Amsel, Authors of As the Crow Flies

What can you tell us about your new release, As the Crow Flies?

Rysa: As the Crow Flies is the first book in the Enter Haddonwood trilogy, and my first co-authored book. As with my previous series, it sits at the nexus of several genres–mystery, thriller, horror, and even a touch of science fiction. Caleb and I are both huge fans of supernatural and psychological thrillers, and one of the things I enjoyed most about writing this novel was weaving in the various “Easter eggs” in tribute to our favorite scary movies and books.

Caleb: As the Crow Flies is basically a love letter to the house that built me. I’ve always loved horror, mysteries, thrillers, tales of the supernatural, and I knew I had to do something that encompassed as much of that as I could. A small town, an even smaller group of characters that start to realize that something isn’t quite right and yet no one else in Haddonwood seems to notice anything. Why?

What or who inspired you to become an author?

Caleb: I grew up reading authors like Shirley Jackson, Stephen King, Lois Duncan, and Mary Higgins Clark. I loved the way each author took me somewhere different, scared me, made me laugh, and made me forget what was going on in my own life. Stories are truly a gift and I’ve wanted to be part of that since I can remember. Telling stories, to me, is probably the most fun a person can have. Every day isn’t perfect but it’s always worth it.

Rysa: I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be a writer. I was banging out short stories on my grandmother’s old manual typewriter when I was in kindergarten. For many years, I told myself that writing fiction wasn’t a practical use of my time, and I focused on an academic career, teaching and writing journal articles. As much as I loved teaching, however, it didn’t satisfy my desire to do something creative. At Christmas about ten years ago, I started thinking back to when I was twenty and someone very dear to me who is now gone gave me a copy of the Writer’s Market, back when it was still only available in print format. He believed in me back then, and I decided it was time to start believing in myself. I finished Timebound later that year, and thanks to a stroke of incredible good fortune, was able to begin writing full-time about nine months later.

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

Rysa: These are in no particular order and could easily be different tomorrow.
• Stephen King’s The Stand, although as Caleb notes below, many of King’s books would be in the running.
• Kindred, by Octavia Butler.
• The Princess Bride, by William Golden.
• Watership Down, by Richard Adams.
• To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee.
If we included short stories, Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” and Ray Bradbury’s “I Sing the Body Electric” would definitely make the list as well.

Caleb: I had to think about this one for a minute. There are so many I love for a multitude of different reasons. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, The Little Friend from Donna Tartt, The Gargoyle by the brilliant Andrew Davidson, ANYTHING by Stephen King, and We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson.

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

Caleb: I would definitely want to talk to Shirley Jackson. She was the master of tension, sudden understated violence, and overall dread that something really terrible could happen at any moment in the most ordinary of places. That’s what I would want to talk to her about. How do you convey so many feelings and emotions only to pull the rug out from underneath the reader when they least expect it? I suppose I would take that opportunity to simply thank her as well. Knowing me, I would probably be so star struck that I wouldn’t be able to say much of anything.

Rysa: Caleb and I need to host our show together. Shirley Jackson would definitely be at the top of my list, especially given the social pressure that she endured after publishing “The Lottery,” which was too dark (and far too honest) for many people.

But I’d also love to interview Mary Shelley. Her novel Frankenstein was the genesis of one of my favorite genres, science fiction, and also has elements of mystery and gothic horror. I’d love to ask her not just about that book, but about the ways in which politics and society shaped her life and her work, and how that was affected by being the daughter of Mary Wollstonecraft, who is generally considered the first feminist philosopher.

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

Rysa: The moment when all of the random threads come together in my mind and begin to form a tapestry. I am not a writer who plots things out. I start with characters and a vague sense of the general direction in which the plot will go. (This made collaboration very interesting, as Caleb can attest!) A lot of the creative process happens in my subconscious and that moment when everything dovetails, usually during the mad dash to finish by my publisher’s deadline, is exhilarating and the very best kind of magic.

Caleb: The ability to spend hours a day sitting in one place but being somewhere else completely different. Figuratively, when you’re writing, you can go anywhere you want and even though it might not fit into the overall narrative of the novel, that’s what the delete key is for. Sometimes you have to take the long way around to get to where you need to be but that’s all part of the fun. It’s like putting a huge puzzle together.

What is a typical day like for you?

Caleb: A typical writing day for me usually starts fairly early. I work better in the morning, so I try to wake up around five or five-thirty. Copious amounts of coffee are involved. I usually start with my notebook, writing huge chunks in longhand. A lot of times I’ll leave the house, get in my car and head to a park or overlook. Most people don’t know this, but Crow was about 90% written in a little red notebook on the property of an old mental hospital in Raleigh that they turned into a park. It’s beautiful there and I would sit for hours, drink coffee, and just write. Later in the evening, usually after dinner, I’ll go back and type up what I captured in the notebook. A lot of my friends can’t believe I write so much in longhand, but it seems less daunting to me than just sitting in front of a plain white computer screen. Less pressure, I think.

Rysa: Caleb and I are mirror opposites in terms of our preferred schedule. My brain does not function in the morning and I tend toward insomnia. Now that my kids are older and fairly self-sufficient, I’ve shifted to being mostly nocturnal. There were several instances during our collaboration when Caleb and I were messaging just after he woke up, which was just before I was headed off to bed. Generally speaking, I do admin chores like editing and answering emails during the afternoon and early evening, and then start writing around eleven p.m.. I usually take a break around two or three, and then dive back in until I’m tired enough to sleep. Sometimes that’s six in the morning, sometimes it’s much later.

What scene in As the Crow Flies was your favorite to write?

Rysa: The scene in the projection booth as Daisy, Chase, and Tucker are watching all hell breaking loose in the theater below them is probably my favorite. Tucker and Daisy’s scenes were always fun, especially the ones in which they were together. As soon as I wrap up my current project, I’m looking forward to diving back into the second Enter Haddonwood book, When the Cat’s Away, to see where their story goes.

Caleb: Oh, no! There were so many! If I had to pick *just* one… I’d say the scene where Ben and Marybeth go to the Grimshaw house with their Halloween offering. That scene went through so many changes, but my favorite parts remained. The last of it was the most fun. I remember finishing it and just sitting there smiling from ear to ear for a good five or ten minutes. I couldn’t wait for people to read it.

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

Rysa: “Loyalty to petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul.” ~ Mark Twain.

Caleb: “In every day, there are 1,440 minutes. That means we have 1,440 daily opportunities to make a positive impact.” – Les Brown

Rysa Walker and Caleb Amsel are the authors of the new book As the Crow Flies.

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As the Crow Flies: Enter Haddonwood Book One

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Interview with Angelina J. Steffort, Author of Two Worlds of Redemption

What can you tell us about your new release, Two Worlds of Redemption?

Two Worlds of Redemption is the third book in the Two Worlds Saga, a fantasy romance for young adult–but not exclusively young adult–readers. It follows the story of Maray as she has to decide between what her heart demands and what Allinan court expects. Set in contemporary Vienna, Austria, and a parallel world called Allinan, where intrigue and betrayal run deeper than Maray could ever have imagined, Maray is confronted with magic, shifters, and even demons.

After the success of Two Worlds of Provenance and Two Worlds of Oblivion, I was nervous about the release of Two Worlds of Redemption, but first resonance from my readers has been overwhelming. The series has been such a wonderful experience for me as an author and I can’t wait to finish the Saga with Two Worlds of Dominion with a release in March 2020.

What books are currently on your nightstand?

Dr. Seuss “The Cat In The Hat” for my son, the score for Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, and the first chapters of my first draft of Two Worlds of Dominion (Two Worlds Book 4).

What advice would you give your teenage self?

Patience! Everything will work out better than you could ever imagine. Trust me. I know, I am you.

If you had an extra hour each day, how would you spend it?

Is that what they call the magic-hour between 12pm and 0am?!

Seven extra hours a week, 365 a year… I would use them partly to spend more time with my family, and partly to get down more words–there is always another story that wants to be told.

What makes your world go round? Why does it bring you joy?

My family, music, writing, meaningful conversations with people of all kinds.

My family is my safe haven. Music is part of who I am, I grew up with it and I can’t do without it. Whether it’s reading a score or singing, playing piano, or simply listening to music. Music is like this externalized emotional cloud which extends my capacity for joy, but also to endure sadness or stress. Writing is the one thing that never tires me, it takes me to fabulous worlds, introduces me to fascinating characters, and allows me to experience incredible adventures–all from the safety of my living room couch. Meaningful conversations with people of all kinds are something I deliberately make room for in my everyday life. You never know what may come of a conversation–any conversation. Whether it is with the local baker, the train conductor, someone who is having a coffee at the table next to you. People are as diverse as life, and their stories never cease to surprise me and inspire me.

What scene in Two Worlds of Redemption was your favorite to write?

The scene I enjoyed most while writing was the fight on the frozen lake (and everything that came after). The fight happened unplanned and therefore it was a great surprise for me when Jemin all of a sudden faced his opponent on frozen water, especially that he did it in a place that reminded me of the place where I grew up.

The second scene I loved writing was the intro to the final chapter. I was able to give my choir a cameo and I can’t wait to share that scene with them.

Basically, all of Two Worlds of Redemption was super intense. I wrote most of it during NaNoWriMo which forced me to stay in the story more or less day and night. That made a big difference, staying immersed in the story, compared to books I’ve written before, where I took breaks for weeks before continuing with the plot. It was an amazing experience and I want to do the same for Two Worlds of Dominion which is due for my editor by the beginning of February.

Angelina J. Steffort is the author of the new book Two Worlds of Redemption.

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Two Worlds of Redemption

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New Mystery and Thriller Books to Read | December 31

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 Rysa Walker, Caleb Amsel, John Righten, J.T. Ellison, Jane Shemilt, and many more. Enjoy your new mystery, thriller, and suspense novels. Happy reading!



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New Romance Books to Read | December 31

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 Amelie S. Duncan, Sharon Sala, Collette Cameron, and more. Enjoy your new romance books and happy reading!



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New Romance Books to Read | December 31

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 Amelie S. Duncan, Sharon Sala, Collette Cameron, and more. Enjoy your new romance books and happy reading!



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The post New Romance Books to Read | December 31 appeared first on NewInBooks.

New Books to Read in Literary Fiction | December 31

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 Kiley Reid, Karma Brown, Kate Clayborn, Carolyn Thorman, and many more. Enjoy your new literary fiction books. Happy reading!



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The post New Books to Read in Literary Fiction | December 31 appeared first on NewInBooks.

New Books to Read in Literary Fiction | December 31

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 Kiley Reid, Karma Brown, Kate Clayborn, Carolyn Thorman, and many more. Enjoy your new literary fiction books. Happy reading!



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The post New Books to Read in Literary Fiction | December 31 appeared first on NewInBooks.

New Science Fiction and Fantasy Books | December 31

Set off on an adventure to new worlds this week! This selection of new science fiction and fantasy books will surely please! Science Fiction fans should be excited about the latest from bestselling authors Michael Anderle, Haley Cavanagh, Paul Teague, and more. If Fantasy is what your library needs, you’ll be able to pick up the latest from Angelina J. Steffort, Joseph Hansen, John Patrick Kennedy, and more. Enjoy your new science fiction and fantasy books. Happy reading!


Fantasy


Science Fiction


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