Interview with Hep Aldridge, Author of Sunken Treasure Lost Worlds

What can you tell us about your new release, Sunken Treasure Lost Worlds?

It’s an action/adventure that combines a number of my interests. Lost treasure, Diving, Pre-Columbian archaeology and legends of lost or advanced civilizations in pre-history. I know that’s quite a melding pot of area’s but I believe the reader will find the common or uncommon thread that ties them together. It’s a group of close friends who decide, some in retirement, to form a company called Risky Business Ltd and search for treasure from the 1715 Spanish fleet that sank in a hurricane off Florida’s east coast. What they find takes them on a mysterious and dangerous quest that crosses two continents, with implications of history and life changing discoveries. This is book one of a three book series.

What or who inspired you to become an author?

Wow, that’s a hard one. After completing my dissertation for my doctorate I pretty much swore I would never write anything again. But because of my varied interest and experiences over time this germ of an idea began growing in my head over the last 13 or 14 years. The more I saw or experienced the more the threads of the story became entwined and I could see a creative story forming. I actually wrote a major part of the story in my head before I ever sat down in front of my computer. About 4 years ago I had a back injury that pretty much halted any physical activity for 4 weeks. Starting to go stir crazy sitting around one day I thought why not begin putting that story idea on paper. And that’s how it started. I’ve been told I’m a pretty good storyteller but I really had no idea how to translate that into the written word, so I just jumped right in and started typing. Unencumbered by knowledge. I will say the last 4 years have been a monumental learning experience for me on so many different levels! I wish I had listened more in all my English classes! However I do have to thank Mrs. Brown, my 10th grade typing teacher and her wooden yardstick for making sure I learned how to type without looking at the keyboard. My knuckles still sometimes ache when I think of her!

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

That’s another tough one. Early on, 20,000 Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and War of the worlds got me interested in science fiction and that interest just grew. Northwest Passage and Last of the Mohicans really stirred my interest in indigenous cultures which grew into my interest in pre-Columbian cultures. J. Frank Dobie’s “Apache Gold and Yaqui Silver” kicked my treasure hunting fever into high gear. Hemingway’s “Old Man and the Sea” was a personal emotional experience for me. Finally I read Star Wars about 8 months before the movie came out. On the back cover it said soon to be a major motion picture and I laughed. I thought well this is probably going to be the worst B-rated Sci-Fi movie produced or The best one. We know how that turned out and that showed me that with the written word anything is possible. I know that’s more than 5 but those are the ones that were important to me.

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

I guess I would like to talk to Stephen King. I am not a big fan of horror but his writing usually involves good vs. evil in some fashion and his characters very often are what I would call ordinary people having to deal with or overcome extraordinary situations or antagonists. I would want to delve into his process for plot and character development. They vary so much yet are intricate and captivating.

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

I love the creative outlet it provides. I had no idea it would feel this way before I started this book. To see your ideas take shape in front of you and flesh out the characters and scenarios is very satisfying. Like I said earlier I’m a storyteller and to see the story in your mind come alive on paper is an unbelievable experience. I’m a self-taught musician, tried my hand at song writing, I’ve dabbled in oil painting and air brush. They all provided some creative satisfaction for me but nothing like writing has done. I have a lot to learn about writing but am ready and willing to do so. I always write to music, instrumental only and often late at night. Depending on my mood I will listen to classical but really prefer electronic music of all types. Epic soundtrack type music, soothing ambient space music or some of the classic artists like Tangerine Dream, Jean Michel Jarre, and David Arkenstone. There are more but no matter who it is I always write with music playing!

What is a typical day like for you?

No such thing. I don’t have a set writing schedule but as I said I usually write at night and if I’m on a roll into the wee hours of the morning.
That makes me a late riser, I don’t do early mornings very well. Got to have my two cups of coffee and then start by checking e mails and Facebook accounts. Respond to any requests I get and then try and get outside. I have a small collection of classic cars and motorcycles that I like to work on and sometimes take my boat out for a run. Being on the water is very relaxing for me. Then it’s just the normal errands and keeping up the property as I call it. In Florida during the summer it rains almost every afternoon and that’s when I sometimes start my writing for the day. I usually do my story research then. I take a break around dinner time and then 8 o’clock or so get back to the creative part of writing.

What scene in Sunken Treasure Lost Worlds was your favorite to write?

I’ve got two really. Chapter 1 I like a lot. It was fun to write and fun to tie into the story plot since it’s the first chapter but not really the beginning of the story. Another favorite is the bus rescue scene in the mountains and O’Reilly’s flight. That was a lot of fun and technically challenging to write.

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

The usual ones come to mind some with more significance than others: That which does not kill us strengthens us, De Oppresso Liber, Sua Sponte and the one I adopted for Risky Business: Aut viam inveniam aut facim (Hannibal’s quote, “I shall either find a way or make one.”

Hep Aldridge is the author of the new book Sunken Treasure Lost Worlds.

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Sunken Treasure  Lost Worlds: A Colten X. Burnett Novel (The Risky Business Chronicle Book 1)

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Interview with Kelly Curtis, Author of The Mars One Incident

What can you tell us about your new release, The Mars One Incident?

A question on a lot of people’s minds these days is: What are the negative effects of social media? In The Mars One Incident, I wanted to set up a future where social media and personal technology is banned. That all communication through any kind of technology is seen as rude, unhealthy and inauthentic to the humans in the 27th century. However, humans of the future still participate in the relevant goings-on in the galaxy so technology off planet is permitted, hence our captain and heroine’s plight to protect her government with her starship. On terra firma, no personal technology is allowed, the population is capped, all energy is green and the society is more or less organized by everyone’s occupation, into specific guilds around the world and the one government is a direct democracy. This is a world I will continue through subsequent books, however, The Mars One Incident is a short book, only 200 pages, that sets the scene and gives readers some background about humans of the future and specifically the competing opinions about whether or not this ban on social media and technology should continue. My writing style is a lot of dialogue with very little description, which is different for science fiction, but I want readers to feel like they themselves met these characters through the conversations, not long descriptions I provide.

What or who inspired you to become an author?

As James Baldwin said, “The terrible thing about being a writer is that you don’t decide to become one, you discover that you are one.”

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

1. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
2. Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë
3. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
4. The Master and Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov
5. Bleak House, Charles Dickens

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

Anne Rice, Why were your first books about male vampires?

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

Being able to create such fun characters. I purposely take characters, both men and women equally from many age groups and from across the planet. I am currently having The Mars One Incident made into an audiobook and I am having great fun working with a actor/narrator who is able to take on the many accents required for this book.

What is a typical day like for you?

I write and edit throughout the day, in waves.

What scene in The Mars One Incident was your favorite to write?

My favorite scene to write in The Mars One Incident was when our heroine is trying to explain to her boyfriend what it feels like to be out in the solar system and interacting with aliens. He, of course, does not get it and she compares him to a pile of wood you keep for winter. It is a scene most of us can relate to, we are in a relationship with someone who, on paper, should be perfect for us, but it just doesn’t click no matter how much we want it to.

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

“You get in life what you have the courage to ask for.” Oprah Winfrey

Kelly Curtis is the author of the new book The Mars One Incident.

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The Mars One Incident

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Interview with Jamie Zerndt, Author of Jerkwater

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

Back in the 1990’s there was a bar in this little Wisconsin town my parents retired in that had a wooden sign posted behind the bar that said “No Red Niggers.” They removed the sign long ago (I recently contacted someone who’s lived there a long while and asked if I’d imagined seeing that and, unfortunately, they said no) but I have no doubt the ugly sentiment behind it is still widely prevalent among many in our country (be it in a small town or big city). That always stuck with me and eventually Shawna (a character in the book) rose up out of it.

What or who inspired you to become an author?

When I was a kid I read a lot of comic books. What-If’s and The X-Men were my favorite. And I used to watch a soap opera after school (Days of Our Lives) with my mom because it was her favorite show. Then one day I put away the comic books and switched to reading Dostoevsky. I’m not sure how or why that happened, but it did. And I remember thinking that while some of the names were difficult to pronounce (I’d just make up my own), basically what was happening in the novels wasn’t all that different from a soap opera (no offense, Tolstoy). Obviously there was more to it than that, but I guess I found that reading these “big” novels wasn’t as intimidating as I thought it would be. Maybe that’s where I got the idea that someday I could give it a shot, although on a much smaller scale.

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

The Woman Who Walked Into Doors by Roddy Doyle
The Ballad of the Sad Cafe by Carson McCullers
Cannery Row by Steinbeck
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Stump by Niall Griffiths

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

Kafka: What do you think about modern medications for depression and anxiety?

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

I like it when things connect without intending them to connect. Like there’s a jar of peaches on the counter and then a few chapters later you realize why that jar of peaches is there or some way it ties into the story. Sort of like that Chekov thing about the gun eventually having to go off that’s in the first act. Only you don’t intentionally put the gun/peaches in. Hopefully that makes no sense at all.

What is a typical day like for you?

I’m not someone who writes every day. When I’m working on something, yes, but I like forgetting about writing completely and then coming back to it so it’s new again. The whole idea of treating it like a “job” has always seemed like horrible advice to me. I guess I like to think of writing as a vacation. The creative stage anyway. The re-writing (which is most of the writing for me) is definitely job-like.

What scene in Jerkwater was your favorite to write?

I really enjoyed writing pretty much all the scenes with Kay in them. I initially intended the book as a goodbye to my mom (Kay). I originally intended to give her a beautiful and noble death in the book (as opposed to the reality of dying from cancer) and had for a long time planned on her riding Seven (the horse) into the middle of the lake and drowning herself. For some reason I thought that would be poetic. At some point, though, I realized that wasn’t where the book wanted to go (not to sound too artsy) and gave up on the idea.

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

I used to have an index card over my desk that said “F*ck It”. To me that was a reminder not to think or worry about the writing for the time being but just to write. It helped me to at least get a rough draft down, but that’s probably as close to a motto as I’ve ever had. For better or worse.

Jamie Zerndt is the author of the new book Jerkwater.

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New Mystery and Thriller Books to Read | September 17

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 Hep Aldridge, Sam Cheever, Nevada Barr, Craig Johnson, Linwood Barclay, and many more. Enjoy your new mystery, thriller, and suspense novels. Happy reading!



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New Romance Books to Read | September 17

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 Nicole Snow, Lauren Layne, Christi Caldwell, Chelle Bliss, and more. Enjoy your new romance books and happy reading!



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New Books to Read in Literary Fiction | September 17

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 Jamie Zerndt, Jacqueline Woodson, Tracy Chevalier, and many more. Enjoy your new literary fiction books. Happy reading!



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New Science Fiction and Fantasy Books | September 17

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 Kelly Curtis, Glynn Stewart, and more. If Fantasy is what your library needs, you’ll be able to pick up the latest from Joshua Smith, Shami Stovall, Michael Anderle, and more. Enjoy your new science fiction and fantasy books. Happy reading!


Fantasy


Science Fiction


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New Young Adult Books to Read | September 17

Are you an avid reader of Young Adult books? This week you are in luck! With all of these new novels, you’re bound to find a new favorite book to add to your reading list. This week includes new novels from bestselling authors Charlie N. Holmberg, Scott Westerfiled, Natalie C. Parker, and many more. Enjoy your new young adult books. Happy reading!



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New Biography and Memoir Books to Read | September 17

Looking for some new biography and memoir books for your library? There are so many new releases this week that you’re bound to find a new favorite. You can pick up new novels from Edward Snowden, Rachel, Barry Zito, and more. Enjoy your new biography and memoir books. Happy reading!



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Interview with Shami Stovall, Author of Dread Pirate Arcanist

What can you tell us about your new release, Dread Pirate Arcanist?

Dread Pirate Arcanist is the sequel to my award-winning fantasy novel, Knightmare Arcanist! It follows a teenager by the name of Volke Savan, and he lives in a world where people can bond to mythological creatures to gain magic. People who bond to phoenixes get fire and healing, whereas people who bond to leviathans get wind and storms—and the possibilities are endless!

In the sequel, Volke faces off against a dread pirate who has bonded to a manticore. Volke’s adopted sister, Illia, actually has a grudge with the pirate—he’s the man who killed her parents and cut out her right eye. It’s definitely a confrontation that builds throughout the adventure, and I hope readers look forward to seeing how it concludes.

What books are currently on your nightstand?

The Institute, by Stephen King. I really liked the sound of the premise, and I’ve enjoyed a fair number of his works, so I’m looking forward to reading it! The last book I read before that was Without Remorse, by Tom Clancy. It’s a great Punisher-style revenge tale for people who like thrillers.

What advice would you give your teenage self?

Don’t practice until you get it right—practice until you can’t get it wrong.

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

Either writing or playing video games. Both are great loves, and each night I go to bed I lament the fact I couldn’t do more of both.

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

I assume you mean me personally and not the world in my book, but I’ll answer both regardless!

I love reading and playing video games. I do both in equal amounts. When I was younger, I had a rough life, and I escaped to worlds in books, or ran with Mario up green pipes—to places where heroes always won and villains were just the right amount of menacing.

In my book, Dread Pirate Arcanist, the world centers on bonding with magical creatures. It makes me happy to think there would be a world where everyone can bond with their favorite magical creature. If you like unicorns, for example, you could be a unicorn arcanist! I’ve always loved books that allowed the reader to think “what if” and then just insert whatever they wanted into the scenario.

What scene in Dread Pirate Arcanist was your favorite to write?

The best scene to write was when the main hero confronts the dread pirate on his ship, the Third Abyss. The pirate is actually very powerful, and the resulting fight is rather shocking (if I do say so myself). Those scenes are the best to write. I love great tension.

Shami Stovall is the author of the new book Dread Pirate Arcanist.

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Dread Pirate Arcanist (Frith Chronicles Book 2)

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