Interview with J. Beckett, Author of Island of Secrets

What can you tell us about your new release, Island of Secrets?

I’ve always loved the pulpy action adventure thrillers. As a kid I devoured David Goleman’s Event Group Thrillers. I also really loved a very short lived Canadian show called Adventure Inc. (short like 1 season iirc) that featured a team of folks that were treasure hunters. It was fun to watch them explore the depths finding previously hidden things. I wanted to tap into a bit of that excitement.

What or who inspired you to become an author?

I think there are two major factors. As a kid I wasn’t a huge reader, but my parents bribed me to read and write book reports with GI Joe figures. Once I got started I never stopped reading. The other factor was much later when I discovered David Eddings and Terry Brooks’ work. While I don’t write fantasy, my early reading was predominantly fantasy and really kindled my imagination.

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

Oh wow, tough one. I’ll cheat a little with series 🙂
1. The Shannara Chronicles – Terry Brooks
2. Omega Force – Joshua Dalzelle
3. Spinward Fringe – Randolph Lalonde
4. Wool – Hugh Howey
5. The Event group Thrillers – David Coleman

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

I think maybe Hugh Howey. I’d ask if he was surprised at the success of Wool. It was one of the first (that I recall) self-published things I read and I remember falling in love with his world. He was/is one of those ‘breakout’ success stories, but there’s always more to that, I’d love to talk to him about it.

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

I love telling stories. I have since I was a kid. I always looked at assignments in school and if possible made them into stories even if that wasn’t the project.

What is a typical day like for you?

I try to write every day. My current day job is running my own indie conference company, so some days it’s all about that, but most I try to get a few words down. Much of my writing tends to be in the evening, often as I’m re-watching old sci-fi like Stargate SG1, Dark Matter, or Firefly.

What scene from Island of Secrets was your favorite to write?

I think the (Spoilers ahead) base. Exploring that and then subsequently destroying it. Creating a bit of history around it so it (at least to me) felt kind of plausible.

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

Not a John Wilker Original but I love “the race is long, and in the end, it’s only with yourself”

It’s so easy these days to measure yourself against someone else regardless of if they’ve been on their path longer than you or if their path even similar to yours, etc. I try to keep my eye on the prize and not worry what other writers are doing.

J. Beckett is the author of the new book Island of Secrets.

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Interview with Rimmy London, Author of Stranded at Poppyridge Cove

What can you tell us about your new release, Stranded at Poppyridge Cove?

Stranded at Poppyridge Cove is book 3 in my Seaside Inn Mysteries, taking place at an incredible remodeled Inn along the Northern California coast. With shoreline on one side and redwood forests on the other, the setting is one of my absolute favorites! In this book, we follow Taylor and Jessie as they both try to find some peace and quiet at the Inn. But Jessie, a renowned surgeon, has some secrets to uncover, and Taylor, a stressed out corporate lawyer, just wants to find a way to relax. When they come together the goofy, creepy, and intense moments start rolling! It’s a lot of fun.

What or who inspired you to become an author?

In 2009 I started writing, but never with the idea that someone like me could actually publish. I’d always written stories and loved reading, but I wasn’t a scholar or a celebrity and in my mind, that’s what you needed to be. I was just me. But I couldn’t put it off anymore. So, I would sit and type out a story as fast as possible and when I was finished… I’d push delete! LOL. When I reached a story I couldn’t delete, I kept going and finished three books that are now the “Pulled Under” series, my most action packed romance.

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

I’ve loved so many different books! I have to mention Harry Potter first, because that world is genius and one of the best places for adventures and fun. My birthday is in July, and the last two books were released very close to my birthday. It was so much fun curling up and reading about Harry, Ron, and Hermione. My old friends. Aside from Harry Potter, I’ve LOVED Edenbrook by Julianne Donaldson. I’d never read strictly romance, craving more of an adventurous plot than drama. But this book is the best romance ever written, you can’t convince me otherwise. It is pure gold! I’m rambling… other books I’ve loved are The Selection series by Kiera Cass and of course the Twilight Saga. I was completely enraptured by that story, setting everything else in my life aside to read it. It’s the only series I’ve ever gotten to the end of only to immediately grab the first book and start again. Yeah. It’s that good.

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

My first guest? Oh boy, this is hard. I’d have to say Shannon Hale, and I can’t believe I didn’t mention her in the last question! Her book The Goose Girl is so perfect and satisfying, and her prose is incredible! Of all the books I’ve read, her prose is the only kind that made me stop and just sit, thinking about the way she’d uniquely and beautifully strung the words together. She has such exceptional talent, I’d love to chat with her.

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

My favorite thing about writing is that I get to choose what the characters do! There are the rare occasions when reading that I find myself disappointed in which direction the story went, and I imagine what I would have like to see instead. Writing my own book means no more disappointment! I get to choose the direction. Of course, sometimes I have no idea where my characters are going, but they eventually figure it out. 😉

What is a typical day like for you?

Covid-19 has completely changed what a typical day looks like for me. Sigh. Last school year was the first time all my kids were going to be in school full time. So I was set to dedicate myself to a regular writing and publishing schedule. Fast forward and… a lot of my goals changed. My children will always be my number one priority, as I feel it’s a sacred duty and honor for me to teach and raise them. They are my gems. But I am still finding a little time each day to set aside for my career. My kids are very supportive and understand when I need a little time to myself, so it’s working out… just not quite like I’d expected. But that’s life for you. 🙂

What scene from Stranded at Poppyridge Cove was your favorite to write?

My favorite scene to write in Stranded at Poppyridge Cove was definitely the end. I love a happy ending that has you sighing with contentment. Ahhh, so good.

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

I’ve learned that I’m on a journey, and every step I take is important and can teach me lessons. Even the mistakes. I appreciate them and move ahead with more experience than before. I’m so grateful to have this opportunity!

Rimmy London is the author of the new book Stranded at Poppyridge Cove.

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Interview with Ava Ryan, Author of The Billionaire’s Beauty

What can you tell us about your new release, The Billionaire’s Beauty?

The Billionaire’s Beauty is a modern and sexy take on Beauty and the Beast, with gruff alpha boss Griffin “The Beast” Black unwillingly falling for his feisty executive assistant Bellamy Forest. Office romance. One night stand. Enemies-ish to lovers. Emotional ups and downs. Happy ending. It’s got all the feels!

What books are currently on your nightstand?

I’m reading Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand’s Finding Freedom about Harry and Meghan. Very engaging. I feel like a fly on the wall!

What advice would you give your teenage self?

Easy. Don’t worry so much. Things usually work out.

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

Also easy. Reading or napping. I’d love to say eating, but that seems like a bad idea.

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

My family. Giving my dogs and cats ear scritches. Traveling (when possible). Anything that makes me smile.

What scene from The Billionaire’s Beauty was your favorite to write?

I’m laughing as I write this. There’s a scene where Bellamy makes manicotti for dinner but Griffin behaves like a jackass in his ongoing efforts to keep her at an emotional arm’s length and makes her angry. I call it Manicotti-gate. You’ll see. 😉

Ava Ryan is the author of the new book The Billionaire’s Beauty.

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Interview with Alisha Klapheke, Author of Queens of Steel and Starlight

What can you tell us about your new release, Queens of Steel and Starlight?

Late medieval and early Renaissance history around the Mediterranean inspired this series as well as my obsession with the ocean and water magic. I love using history as a springboard for fiction and lacing it with magic and romance. Fans of Leigh Bardugo and Sabaa Tahir will enjoy this fantasy series. Some say it’s Pirates of the Caribbean meets Lord of the Rings.

What or who inspired you to become an author?

I’ve always been a storyteller. I began by telling my young cousins tales during our summer vacations and it just grew from there! I have been inspired by Madeleine L’Engle and Kristin Cashore. I love their unique worlds and the realistic feel of their characters’ relationships.

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

What a tough question! If forced at swordpoint, I’d say Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater, Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, Fire by Kristin Cashore, and The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkowski.

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

My first guest would be Elizabeth Vaughn because I recently read her Warprize and am currently writing my own fantasy romance. It was remarkable.

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

Dreaming up new worlds and listening to my characters’ banter in my head.

What is a typical day like for you?

I don’t have a regular schedule because I run two small businesses. No schedule is my schedule! 🙂 I do try to write in the mornings generally and take a brain break for a moment in the afternoon along with a nice cup of tea.

What scene from Queens of Steel and Starlight was your favorite to write?

Oh wow. Hmm. Another toughie. The first that comes to mind is a spoiler from the last book where all the four books’ characters come together, but I’ll save that for the readers. The second is a simple scene. Kinneret, the main character from book one, dives into the sea with her best friend and secret love, Calev, as they search for an ancient treasure map. It has the beauty of the ocean, the thrill of the hunt, and subtle romantic tension. Really fun.

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

“The only thing that is constant is change.” ~Heraclitus

Alisha Klapheke is the author of the new book Queens of Steel and Starlight.

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Interview with Andrew Rivas, Author of The Daughters of Depair

What can you tell us about your new release, The Daughters of Despair?

The Daughters of Despair is a subversion of the damsel in distress trope told as an oral history. Princess Ruby is kidnapped, but as the rescue party sent after her encounters trouble on the road, she finds that sometimes a princess can only rely on herself. The world of Ember-I is a blend of fantasy and science-fiction, one that contains swords and bows and arrows but also machine-human hybrids from space. I had a lot of fun writing it and I think people will have a lot of fun reading it.

What or who inspired you to become an author?

My mom and Stephen King. Growing up, my mom was always reading, and she’s a big fan of Stephen King and had every one of his books. I always wondered why she was such a huge fan and at a certain age she let me go through her collection and I devoured his whole bibliography. I liked reading before that but after reading so much of his work I knew I wanted to be an author, and that’s all I’ve wanted ever since.

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

The Drawing of the Three, by Stephen King

Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, by David Foster Wallace

Hyperbole and a Half, by Allie Brosh

The Road, by Cormac McCarthy

Rant, by Chuck Palahniuk

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

If the person can be living or dead, then I’d want to interview Hunter S. Thompson. I’d love to hear what he has to say about the current state of … everything. His takedowns of politicians are some of the funniest and most insightful things I’ve ever read.

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

Seeing something that was previously only in my head on the page. It’s like magic. And knowing that the world and characters I’ve created are being read by others, and now they exist in others’ minds as well … I still can’t believe it.

What is a typical day like for you?

Unfortunately, it isn’t very interesting. Self-publishing is a grind. I spend most of the morning alternating between working on new work and editing manuscripts I’ve finished but haven’t published yet. The afternoons are about soliciting reviews, planning promotions, trying (and failing) to establish a social media presence, and obsessively refreshing the pages that monitor my sales and reviews. Then whatever media I’m currently consuming at night to decompress.

What scene from The Daughters of Despair was your favorite to write?

The meeting of the Crown and the Five Families that occurs early in the book. It’s not the most action-packed scene but the whole thing is dripping with subtext and full of hints as to the future of the series. The people involved have decades of history with one another and it was fun to have to create a whole history for them that’s not necessarily shown in full during the scene. This is the only time in the series that they’re all in the same room, and I wanted readers to be able to look back at the scene two, three, four books down the line and say “Oh, so that’s why they said that.”

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

“Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind.” I always thought that it was Mr. Rogers who said this, but apparently he was quoting an author named Henry James.

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Andrew Rivas is the author of the new book The Daughters of Despair.

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Interview with Mary E. Twomey, Author of Sins of the Father

What can you tell us about your new release, Sins of the Father?

It was inspired by watching Ava DuVernay’s “Thirteenth” documentary, which explored the loophole in the Thirteenth amendment, which allows for legalized slavery in the prison system.

What or who inspired you to become an author?

I live mostly in my head, so fiction is a perfect fit for me.

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

I mean, all the Harry Potter books, obviously. I re-read “The Art of War” every year. “The Essential Confucius”. Simon Sinek’s “Infinite Game”. I’m in the middle of reading “Midnight Sun”, because of course I am.

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

If JK Rowling and I were in the same room together, it would be the most boring interview ever, because I would just sit there and sob like the fangirl I am, and she would awkwardly look at the camera and wonder if she was being pranked.

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

Creating new worlds. Solving real world problems with fiction.

What is a typical day like for you?

My three littles are doing virtual learning right now, so my day is filled with e-learning chaos. I write before they get up, then whenever I snatch a few minutes throughout the day. Then I write again at night, after they go to sleep. But mostly, my days are filled with my children.

What scene from Sins of the Father was your favorite to write?

When Adeline is in prison and has to sew the bras she modeled while she was a free woman, that scene is particularly powerful to me. When she realizes the slavery and strife that goes into the brand she promoted, that was a scene I’m most proud of.

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

All I can do is all I can do.” It’s simple, but in the middle of a pandemic, it holds true.

Mary E. Twomey is the author of the new book Sins of the Father.

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Interview with C.C. Wood, Author of Wild For You

What can you tell us about your new release, Wild For You?

Wild for You is the second book in my latest small town romcom trilogy. The books can be read separately but they are even more fun when read in order.

What books are currently on your nightstand?

Swing and Mishap by Tara Sivec, Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews, and The Adventures and the Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes.

What advice would you give your teenage self?

Don’t compare yourself to others. It’s the thief of joy. And stop worrying so much about what other people think. They don’t have to live your life and what makes them happy probably won’t make you happy.

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

Either sleeping or playing with my daughter. Or reading.

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

My family, especially my daughter. She’s seven and one of the funniest, kindest, and smartest people I know.

What scene from Wild For You was your favorite to write?

Oh, definitely the scene between Sierra, Ben, and Gary. See, Gary is a raccoon that Sierra’s best friend, Cam, has been feeding since he was small, so he’s practically tame. However, he and Sierra love to hate each other. Ben thought she was exaggerating how much Gary the Evil Raccoon hates Sierra until they happen to see him in the backyard one afternoon. After that encounter, Ben is definitely a believer in Gary’s evil ways.

C.C. Wood is the author of the new book Wild For You.

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Interview with Michael Rabasco, Author of The Secret of Grimsey

What can you tell us about your new release, The Secret of Grimsey?

I am a first-time author and am excited about the release of The Secret of Grimsey. This novel is the first of three–the second installment will be titled, “The Long Road.” The story revolves around three small town teenagers who are thrust into the middle of the Viking end-of-times myth, called Ragnarok (the twilight of the gods). The teens must contend with powerful forces as they come to terms with an otherworldly inheritance. There’s a heavy dose of magic, but this magic comes in a realistic, almost scientific context. The book also explores the good and bad in human nature and exemplifies the old adage that “even the smallest among us can change the course of the world.”

What or who inspired you to become an author?

Ever since I discovered Greek and Roman mythology as a young boy, I was fascinated by the genre and all that myth and fantasy had to offer. When my 5th grade teacher in Maine, Mr. Fournier, read The Hobbit to our class over the course of the school year -with a spot on Smeagol accent- I was hooked. From that point, I scribbled bits and pieces of stories from time to time, but it took me about 35 years to get serious about it.

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

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien (I know I’m bending the parameters of the question, but I’m counting this trilogy as one book). And what can I say, other than it’s simply the best.

The Silmarillion, also by J.R.R. Tolkien. It’s the most sublime, deep, and complex world and myth building I’ve come across.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. It’s a wonderful and moving display of the manifestation of hubris, identity, basic human needs, and the meaning of humanity itself.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brone. Heathcliff, the quasi-villain, is perfectly conceived and executed, and is such a classic and enduring character.

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. I recently read this novel and was completely enthralled. The author provided a master class in different characters’ perspectives.

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

You’re probably going to identify a pattern in my answers, but it would have to be J.R.R. Tolkien. I would want to talk with him about his creative process and how he approached and was inspired by the Norse myths. I’d love to know how the Runic alphabet influenced his creations, particularly the language of the Dwarves, called Cirth, which was one of the many languages that underpinned his world. In terms of a specific question, I would want to know the secret behind his most enigmatic character– Tom Bombadil.

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

There are two things I enjoy. First, the research that goes into writing. For this novel, the research revolved around learning more about the history, origin, and different cultural traditions of the Norse myths. Second, I love the “ah hah” moments when discovering something new about my characters. They really do take on a life of their own.

What is a typical day like for you?

I work full-time and write part-time as a hobby whenever I can. Most of The Secret of Grimsey was written at a local coffee shop in Washington, D.C. near my home and also in Boston, where I recently lived. I tend to work several hours at a time and then break until the next session, but the characters and storylines stay with me and evolve even when I’m not actively thinking through what will come next.

What scene from The Secret of Grimsey was your favorite to write?

I loved writing anything to do with Alrick because of his mixture of seriousness and joviality. I also share his love of good food. In terms of a specific scene, I would say either the events at the Temple or Meddybemps Lake.

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

Again, you might see a pattern in my answers…

“Someone else always has to carry on the story.” –Bilbo Baggins

This quote conveys the idea that every person has inherent value and a unique contribution to make to our communities, society, and the world. Each of us plays a part in the “story” passed down from generation to generation.

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Michael Rabasco is the author of the new book The Secret of Grimsey.

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Interview with Michelle G Stradford, Author of Rise Unstoppable

What can you tell us about your new release, Rise Unstoppable?

“Rise Unstoppable” is book three in my “Rising” poetry series, written to celebrate the tenacity and the capacity we all possess to transform and rise to be an unstoppable force. The themes in this collection focus on the self-created barriers we place on ourselves, as well as the trauma of unhealthy relationships. It also touches on the social and racial injustices that many of us face, as well as the challenges and biases we often address in navigating our work lives.

What or who inspired you to become an author?

I have always loved that we can experience so many other existences, live alternate lives through the stories told my others. From childhood I was intrigued by the art of story telling and started writing short stories and poetry in elementary school. However, I was encouraged by my high school English teacher who recognized my passion for the written word.

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

  1. And Still I Rise – Maya Angelou (Tall on talent and grace, there are too many to choose from)
  2. The Fire Next Time – James Baldwin (or any of his books)
  3. A Long Walk to Freedom – Nelson Mandela (the epitome of strength, wisdom, servant leadership)
  4. The Pillars of the Earth – Ken Follet ( the longest book I have ever read that remained enchanting throughout)
  5. Becoming – Michelle Obama (inspirational, relatable and uplifting)

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

Maya Angelou.
What would you want to ask?
With a life so full of adventure, experiences, and a fearless thirst for life, what is her one regret.

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

Discovery. Writing requires a hunger for knowledge, exploration of the world we inhabit, the people who surround us, and our thoughts, fears, and emotions. I love going wherever a thought takes me and often discovering something I had not noticed or contemplated before.

What is a typical day like for you?

My most productive efforts are on weekends when I have more time to devote to either painting, crafting or writing. However, during the week I awake early morning and meditate, stretch, then partake of my requisite cup of coffee before I begin writing. I typically spend a few hours on a work in progress or final edits, then get dressed for the day. I spend the better part of the day focused on my full-time role. After dinner and family time, I get caught up on social media and marketing. I finish my evening unwinding with music, and a great read from some of my favorite authors.

What scene from Rise Unstoppable was your favorite to write?

The ‘Guilt-Free’ poem. The wordplay of mixed metaphors, the mood-setting imagery while elevating the message of empowerment was just a delightful writing experience.

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

My favorite quote is an excerpt of two verses of the Invictus poem by William Ernest Henley:
“Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.”

Michelle G Stradford is the author of the new book Rise Unstoppable.

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Interview with Roderick Donald, Author of Retribution of the Damned

What can you tell us about your new release, Retribution of the Damned?

• As with my other books, Retribution of the Damned crosses boundaries. It’s difficult to pidgeon-hole it into a specific genre. I like to think of it as contemporary urban fiction with a paranormal twist.

• I really think the story can be fairly succinctly summed up by quoting the words of one of my early reviewers – “Fast paced story . . . lots of action, adventure, mystery”. That sort of says it all.

• The story is an adrenalin rush from page one. It explodes off the page with two amazing action scenes in in the first thirty-four pages. It’s initially set in Australia, then quickly moves to California.

• Now, without giving too much away, as to be expected, Cait—and for those of you who aren’t familiar with the series yet, she’s my femme fatale heroine—well, she finds herself in the thick of things. She’s a bit of a trouble magnet.

• Anyway, Cait’s now a full-on criminal profiler. She ends up going undercover to help out a friend of her fathers who unknowingly has become involved with a ruthless international mafia cartel.

• Heaps of action and suspense builds as Cait goes head to head with a vindictive mafia heiress. And you simply have to hang in there to the final 15 pages. There’s a huge, unexpected twist at the end that will shock the socks off you!

• And by the way. This might be book #4 in the Cait Lennox: femme fatale series, but it’s a standalone book, so it can easily be read on its own.

What or who inspired you to become an author?

• No single person or event directed me down the writing path. I’ve always been a bit of a scribbler, right from when I was a kid. Words just came easy to me and had a habit of unexpectantly popping out of my mouth.

• But there was a cathartic event about twenty five years ago that literally shoved me down the writing path with the force of a locomotive on a full head of steam. I had an unfortunate business dealing that went totally pear-shaped and it forced me to rethink my life and my priorities. As an almost therapeutic way of dealing with the fallout I took a writing course, and that was it. I became hooked.

• And the rest is history. For the first few years I started writing freelance news and magazine articles and toyed with a few ideas for a novel. That was until one day, fifteen years later, my femme fatale character Cait started screaming at me – “Let me out. I’ve got a story to tell”. And then the books started flowing. My first book took 3-years to write, then I pumped out four in the last eighteen months.

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

• That one’s hard to answer because I often read a novel, vividly remember the plot and storyline, but totally forget the title. I know it sounds weird, but it’s true.

• So books that immediately come to mind? They’re are usually ones that I’ve become engrossed in when I have been travelling. And as I’ve travelled to and lived in over 70 countries now, that’s a lot of books.

• Straight off the top of my head? Dune, by Frank Herbert. Just loved the world he created. I read this while back packing through Europe; Lord of the Rings. A masterpiece of pure fantasy and escapism. It brings back memories of hitch hiking around Ireland; Caravans, by James A. Michiner. This one reminds me of travelling the Silk Road from Istanbul through Iran and Afghanistan, then down the Kyber Pass and into Pakistan and India; the Conqueror Series by Conn Iggulden sucked me in a few years back, so much so that I immediately read the Emperor Series about the rise and decline of the Roman Empire and then War of Roses – medieval England at its decadent and violent best; I loved the historical detail in Nelson De Mille’s books like Cathedral. Read one this while driving around southern Europe for 6-months. So many countries, so many books . . .

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

• I think Mark Dawson. And why? Because he’s managed to achieve what every self-published author aspires to – success in the dog-eat-dog world of publishing, which he has done. But somehow he’s also managed to retain a totally down to earth perspective on life at the same time.

• #1 Question? With your obvious success, how have you managed to remain level headed and maintain what appears to be a sense of humanity?

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

• Well, I could say the expected—the creative process of course, or the way words play with each other, but I’d be wrong.

• If I really think about it, I’d have to say my favorite thing about writing a book is that moment in time when a story suddenly becomes alive. All I can say is that when this occurs, the storyline actually takes over. As a writer, the story is then in control and leads me where it wants to. When this occurs I may be steering the ship, but the story decides what ports we drop off in along the way.

• I find this usually occurs a few times in the life of writing a novel. For me, it always first seems to happen around page 50 or 60, which I suppose is understandable because by then the story is rolling. Then again around page 100 to 120, which is the half-way mark. By the time the story gets to page 150, the story is the boss and I’m just the scribe. Sometimes I really don’t know what’s going to happen next.

What is a typical day like for you?

• Days when I write? I’m an early riser, so I tend to fluff around for an hour or two with a coffee after a freshly squeezed orange juice (essential!!!) in the mornings, looking for an excuse not to start the writing process. Quite strange actually. I realize I’m consciously doing other things when I’ve ear-marked the time to write, but I do them regardless.

• When I start, I always re-read the last session’s work. Gives me a heads up on where I’m up to, and the editing puts me in the mood to put finger to keyboard.

• I aim to write about 10,000 words in a sitting. Sometimes more, sometimes less. Regardless, I try and put at least a few words down every day, 7 days a week.

• I always have my computer with me everywhere I go. Light bulb moments can occur anywhere, and they fade as quickly as they arrive, so I jot them down.

What scene from Retribution of the Damned was your favorite to write?

• Definitely the final scene, right at the end of the book. The last 15 pages in fact. The ending really surprised even me, because honestly I didn’t see it coming. It’s a totally unexpected twist that came out of left field.

• It’s actually where the title came from – Retribution of the Damned, with the emphasis on the word ‘retribution’. I’ll leave you to read the book to find out what happens!

• All I can say is, it certainly wasn’t the ending I’d initially factored in. But I’m glad it appeared out of nowhere like a beacon in the dark. Looking back, the original ending really was a bit vanilla and passe.

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

• Cream always rises to the top.

• I’m very pragmatic about life and do tend to let things roll as they play out. I find if I force things, more often than not the outcome is less than desirable.

• I’m a firm believer in Karma. You reap what you sow. I try to do the right thing by every living thing. Especially if they’re furry, walk on four legs and have a tail wag that will clear your coffee table in a heartbeat.

Roderick Donald is the author of the new book Retribution of the Damned.

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The post Interview with Roderick Donald, Author of Retribution of the Damned appeared first on NewInBooks.