Archive for the ‘The Writing Life’ Category

Another 5 Minutes… With Jessica Brody

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

One of AuthorScoop’s more lauded and prolific friends is back again with her newest venture into YA/mainstream literature, UNREMEMBERED. It’s been wonderful to host interviews with Jessica here, here, and here, and also to get her thoughts on whether or not her books are her babies. Now we get an update on what’s new in the Brody Brand.

We’d like to thank her for returning again to be part of our “5 Minutes Alone” interview series.

AuthorScoop: You have been busy! UNREMEMBERED has garnered great buzz. Will you tell us a bit about it?

Jessica: Of course! UNREMEMBERED is the first in a new sci-fi/romance trilogy. It’s the story of a sixteen year old girl who wakes up among unrememberedthe wreckage of a devastating plane crash with no memories and no identity. She’s forced to piece together her forgotten past with only one clue— a mysterious boy who claims he helped her escape from a top-secret science experiment.

AuthorScoop: You’ve tested the waters of both adult fiction and YA. Where do you feel the two fields of reading interest overlap?

Jessica: I think the two genres overlap in a lot of ways. All of my books have love stories in them and I don’t think you’re ever too old to read a good love story! Also I think fast-paced stories will attract readers of all ages. I try to keep my pages moving quickly!

AuthorScoop: Sometimes adult readers send feedback in the form of online reviews or even correspondence. Do you get that kind of feedback from the younger readers?

Jessica: I LOVE hearing from my readers! My teen readers contact me often through email, regular mail, and social media. It’s the best feeling in the world when a reader takes the time to tell you that they enjoyed your book!

AuthorScoop: You’ve had some exciting developments in screen adaptations for your work. Can you give us a scoop on what’s happening, Brody-wise, in development?

Jessica Brody - Author PhotoJessica: I wish I had some more updates but at this point, sadly, I don’t. Several of my books have been optioned for film and each one is moving along (at a snail’s pace, I might add!) but any kind of forward momentum is good! I hope to have some more news soon!

AuthorScoop: Finally, what’s next for Jessica Brody?

Jessica: Phew! So much fun stuff! I can’t wait for book in the UNREMEMBERED trilogy to release. It’s called UNFORGOTTEN and it will hit bookstores in February 2014. The stakes are ratcheted up in this book and lots of new stuff will be revealed about the world. I’m about to start writing book 3 plus I’m also writing an eBook novella which will release in the fall. It’s technically Unremembered 1.5, but it will most likely be a prequel to the first book. I think it’ll be fun for fans of the trilogy. A little something to tide you over between books 1 and 2.

Thanks for hosting me again, Jamie!

***

Look for UNREMEMBERED wherever books are sold, or of course, if you need it right now, click here. And find Jessica on the web at Facebook and Twitter and, of course, at JessicaBrody.com.

5 Minutes Alone… With Jamie Mason

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

I refuse to write about myself in the third person. I’ve done it when they’ve made me, but I ain’t doing it here. 5 Minutes Alone has always been one my favorite features here on AuthorScoop, so I’m just thrilled to be here in both the Q and A aspects of the post for the first time. As for my debut novel, THREE GRAVES FULL, it’s gotten starred reviews at Library Journal, Booklist, and Publisher’s Weekly. Last Sunday, Marilyn Stasio called it “a ripping good novel” in the New York Times.

It’s a dream come true to be part of our “5 Minutes Alone” interview series.

AuthorScoop: What was your very first publication credit?

Jamie: In the legend that is memory, when I was nine or ten years old a teacher loved a poem I’d written in class. She submitted it to Highlights Magazine on my behalf and it was accepted. I remember it was called White, and I seem to remember seeing the magazine itself with my poem on the page. We didn’t have a subscription, so I never had a copy to keep. Of course, this was all a very long time ago. It’s a fuzzy recollection and I can’t prove any of it, so I’ll just go with my novel, THREE GRAVES FULL, as the First-Publishing-Credit-For-Certain.

AuthorScoop: Tell us about your latest release.

Jamie: THREE GRAVES FULL is the story of mild-mannered Jason Getty, a guy who, when under pressure, has a propensity for doing smallerversionthe wrong thing. Case in point: when a confrontation goes too far and a man lies dead on the living room rug, Jason buries the guy in the backyard instead of explaining himself to the police. In fine non-psychopathic form, this bothers Jason quite a lot – all the way to the extent that he can’t bring himself to do any yard work. He just can’t be out there.

The seasons have their way with Jason’s lawn until his paranoia drives him to hire landscapers to fix the front yard so that his neighbors don’t file a complaint. Jason’s best effort to keep an eye on the work crew fails to prevent disaster, and when the landscapers, horrified, call him out to show him what they’ve unearthed on his property, Jason’s sure the jig is up. But what they’ve found is a dry-bones skeleton in the mulch bed at the side of the house, not the newer, riper body of the guy Jason planted at the back woods a year and some earlier. And he has no idea who it is.

Jason has about 300 pages of problems after that, as you can imagine.

AuthorScoop: Aside from your own hard work, who (or what) else do you feel has contributed to your success?

Jamie: It’s hard to know where even to begin. I’ve been so fortunate to have an incredibly supportive network of family and friends. No one laughed at me when I said I wanted to do this. Not to my face, at least. And when I’d said it and said it and said for years while I learned how to write (but never had anything to show for it) they fed and watered my dreams and because of them, despite periods of wanting to give up, those dreams didn’t wither. My husband and children have been patient and enthusiastic in measures I can hardly believe. My mother and sisters, my in-laws, my incredible friends, they’ve all been terrific. That’s a lie. They’ve been everything.

On the business of making a book, my husband is a tremendous first-pass editor. Then my work always goes through the blistering sieve of wit and talent that is my writing-pal’s brain. His name is Graeme Cameron. You don’t know him yet, but you will. Writer extraordinaire, Tana French, gave friendship and encouragment in resolve-saving doses. And my agent, Amy Moore-Benson, is one of the best things that’s ever happened to me. Not in any way least, the entire team at Gallery Books has been, to a one, a joy to work with.

And poet and editor, William Haskins here at AuthorScoop, has been a friend, inspiration, and the angel on my shoulder for years. I’m very lucky.

AuthorScoop: At what time of day or night do you do your best writing?

Jamie_Mason_color-smJamie: It doesn’t really matter. Writing is such an effort of concentration for me that my body conspires with my to-do list to keep me away from the keyboard. It’s a stupid fight I have with my reluctance, because when I do turn the inertia my way, writing is a joy, day or night.

AuthorScoop: Finally, what advice would you give to new or unpublished writers?

Jamie: Read a lot. Sometimes force yourself to finish books you don’t care for. I think I’ve found that knowing what I don’t want to do has been nearly as beneficial as dissecting the books I love. Also, to save your head, I’d say to keep your hopes and expectations in separate boxes. Unpack them both often. Catalog the contents. Cherish them. But always try to remember what goes in which box.

***

Jamie Mason is easy enough to find on the web (crap, I’ve slipped into third person.) There’s a website, a blog, Twitter, and Facebook. THREE GRAVES FULL is available in bookstores now, but if you’re impatient or forgetful, there’s always Indiebound and  Amazon.

All these years, and now… Tuesday

Saturday, February 9th, 2013

Jamie_Mason_color-smSo it’s Saturday and I have my coffee and a few minutes and I’m a fluttery mess. I’ve had twelve years (with a three year hiatus tucked in there for other bits of life that pulled me away, both literally and figuratively) to write and learn and fail and learn and write a little more, fail a little more, learn and write and… holy hell, it came together. The tumblers fell (some being wrestled and hammered; it was ungainly, trust me) into their places and the lock was un-ed.

All these years. And now… Tuesday.

I’m under the impression that I might be quite busy over the next few weeks with the launch business of Three Graves Full. Maybe it won’t be smallerversionthat hectic. I don’t know. I’ve never done this before. But just in case, I wanted to have a place to add links to online milestones for anyone who might wander by and be interested.

And for any who fit that description, thank you and all the best to you.

And special thanks to everyone who hosted an interview, giveaway, or took their time to post a review. Thank you, thank you.

***

(Reprinted from Because I Love To Hear Myself Type. For updates beyond 2-9-13, click here)

Firstly, and thrillingly, Three Graves Full gets a terrific little write-up in Marilyn Stasio’s Crime Books column in The New York Times. Eeeeep!

There are still a few hours left for the giveaway (ends 2-9-13) but the interview will remain at (My Bookish Ways)

Next, there’s an interview and signed book giveaway at Free Book Friday (ends 2-14-13).

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Another 5 Minutes… With Mark Pryor

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

If author, Mark Pryor, seems recently familiar here at AuthorScoop, that’s because we saw him just a few weeks ago to discuss his debut novel, THE BOOKSELLER. Hot on its heels, Mark employs his other calling – the law – bringing to the non-fiction shelves a cold case story more than twenty years in the making. We’re as pleased as we can be to have him back to tell us a bit about AS SHE LAY SLEEPING.

We’d like to thank him for coming back once again to be part of our “5 Minutes Alone” interview series.

AuthorScoop: Twice in a (thus far, very short) year, we get the scoop on a new book by Mark Pryor. You’ve been a busy boy. Tell us about your latest, AS SHE LAY SLEEPING.

Mark: This is my first non-fiction book, it’s part memoir and part true crime. It begins with the murder of a beautiful young woman in Austin As She Lay Sleeping (2)Texas, Natalie Antonetti, who is found battered and bleeding by her teenage son on their downstairs couch. She tries to talk, but can’t, and eventually sinks into a coma and dies. Police never have a good suspect and the case goes cold.

Twenty years later, police get an anonymous call that points them to Dennis Davis, Natalie’s former boyfriend and a respected music producer. That anonymous tip comes from Davis’s wife, of all people, and soon after making it she stops cooperating with police. Davis also has an alibi and when the detective checks with the woman he claims to have been with, she can’t remember (unsurprisingly). However, she used to keep a detailed diary and goes to look for the one covering the 1985 murder date. Sure enough, she wasn’t with him. Witnesses slowly come forward, including one who said Davis admitted to her that he killed Natalie.

I was the lead prosecutor handling the case, my first ever murder case, which went to trial in April 2011. We had no DNA, no eye-witnesses, and a lot of uncooperative witnesses. The book aims to be a detailed look at a fascinating case, as well as giving the reader an inside look at how the case was worked up and presented to a jury.

AuthorScoop: With fiction you have to craft a narrative around something that never happened, while with non-fiction, you have to choose just the right words to do justice to something that actually has. How has the contrast between these two disciplines felt from atop the hotseat?

Mark: You’re right. With fiction you can just make up people, and places, events to suit the narrative, to help the story along. But with non-fiction you are chained to a set of events that you have to make interesting, while sticking to the truth. Sometimes, and this will shock your readers, but the practice of law (even in a murder case) can be a little slow and boring. Then again, when an editor is waiting for your next book, that’s a lot of pressure on the creative engines whereas with non-fiction the story is all laid out.

Perhaps the hardest part, as you suggest, is doing justice to the people in the book. You don’t have to worry about that with fiction, your imaginary detective isn’t going to feel slighted by the way you describe him or what he does. But I had to work hard to represent people as they are, or appeared to me anyway, and not sell them short. With so many players in a murder case, that was hard!

AuthorScoop: In your career as a prosecutor, your head has to have been filled with many fascinating stories. Would you do it again, write it up in a book?

Mark: If I had the right case, I might. Maybe. It’s exhausting to live through a case like that and then recreate it on the page, it’s like living through it a second time almost. I don’t think I’ll have that concern, though, I have a lot of fiction rattling around in my head so I will busy myself with that for now.

That said, there’s nothing to stop me from taking snippets from the case and things I’ve seen and slipping them into my fiction, I’ve not done too much of that but one of the books I want to write will definitely include a few carefully disguised tidbits.

AuthorScoop: With two books (and probably most-if-not-all of a third, by now) under your belt, do you find that the experience of reading has changed for you?

MarkPryor2Mark: That’s a great question because actually, it has. For one thing, with so much going on I don’t get to read as much as I used to. People have started asking me for blurbs, too, which is very flattering but also time consuming. On top of that, when I read for pleasure, and even though I try to stop myself, I find I’m very analytical, looking at word choice, plot structure, the mechanics of the book. I have to take a breath and get back to being a reader and not a writer.

Of course, the downside of that is when I’m reading a book by someone like Tana French, which makes me wonder if I can ever be that good!

AuthorScoop: Finally, what’s next for Mark Pryor?

MarkA few days off?!  Well, I suppose I’ll be gearing up for the release of my second mystery, THE CRYPT THIEF, in May, and I’m neck deep in the third book so I need to finish that up soon. If there’s a number four, I’ll have to think about where to set that and I do have a couple of stand-alone books in mind that I’d like to get to. In other words, not much slowing down in my future, as far as I can tell. I don’t mind though, this is a fun ride and I feel very lucky to be on it.

***


D.A. Confidential is Mark Pryor’s hub of up-to-date information on what he’s up to, but you can also find him on his website and Facebook. And do look for AS SHE LAY SLEEPING. In fact, why don’t you start right here.

.Autho

5 Minutes Alone… With Greg Bardsley

Friday, November 23rd, 2012

Author, Greg Bardsley, debuts his sense of adventure (and sense of humor) with his crime caper, CASH OUT, released last month from Harper Perennial. A former reporter and speechwriter, he’s taken what he knows and strapped it to some high intensity wheels for quite a ride for the intrepid reader. He’s a busy man, but fortunately, we caught him on his way out the door…

We’d like to thank him for taking the time to be part of our “5 Minutes Alone” interview series.

AuthorScoop: What was your very first publication credit?

Greg: In eighth–grade, I wrote for the school “newspaper” and pitched to do a feature on the head custodian, a cool guy named Ralph. So I came up with a feature called The Ralph Report. All I recall is writing something like, “Ralph has a Z28 from ’78.” I also recall there being a showdown between Ralph, who was a low-rider, and another young custodian at the school, who was a high-rider (with a Chevy, I think) and trying to write about the rivalry. But that piece never ran.

AuthorScoop: Tell us about your latest release.

Greg: Harper Perennial has just released my debut novel, Cash Out. It’s about a working stiff who’s found himself at a white-hot startup in Silicon Valley. He only has three days left until his stock options vest to the tune of $1.1 million. He thinks it will be an easy three days–so easy, in fact, that he gets a vasectomy during that time. But then things go awry, starting with a pack of elfin IT geeks who try to blackmail him into a series of ill-advised activities. If he fails to keep the geeks happy, they will release some of his online activity to his employer, which will get him fired just days before he can cash out. …Oh, the novel also involves spry older men in skin-colored Speedos, toilet sabotage, irresponsible use of canine pressure collars and small men getting shaved against their will. From what I understand, this would not be categorized as a “cozy.”

AuthorScoop: Aside from your own hard work, who (or what) else do you feel has contributed to your success?

Greg: I think getting out of my “ecosystem” helped a ton. There was a time when all I did as an aspiring author was focus on novels. That worked out okay. With my second unpublished manuscript, I found an agent, who suggested that I should try getting some short stories published. I really hadn’t given that any thought, as I was so focused on writing a successful novel and hadn’t seen a lot of fun and interesting crime shorts. But I gave it a try and found that I loved it. Getting shorts out there allowed me to experiment with different characters, voices and stories, and do so without the massive upfront time and emotional investment of writing a novel. And the payoff was far more immediate—you could write a short, share with friends, revise the short, submit to journals and ’zines, and sometimes see it published in a matter of months.

The shorts also helped me develop Cash Out. Some of my more popular short-story characters (Crazy Larry, Calhoun, Janice from Finance, Stephen Fitzroy) ended up playing important roles in the novel.

But most importantly, the shorts allowed me to meet an amazing group of likeminded writers who were eager to help one another. Over the course of years, our community grew and strengthened, and one day at a conference one such author introduced me to David Hale Smith, the agent who would sell Cash Out to Harper Perennial nearly two years later.

So if I look back at how Cash Out came to be on the shelves, it all started with getting out of my regular ecosystem.

AuthorScoop: At what time of day or night do you do your best writing?

Greg: I have a day job and a family. So I’m busy and have little time. That means I usually write my fiction late at night, after my wife and kids had fallen asleep. With Cash Out, some days I wrote at lunch, or when the family was out for an hour. Some nights I couldn’t stop, and I’d write into the very early morning. The first draft of Cash Out was written during a thousand stolen moments over the course of a few years.

AuthorScoop: Finally, what advice would you give to new or unpublished writers?

Greg: Write. Write a lot. Then write some more. Ask for feedback from people you trust. Listen to the feedback. Write some more. Have fun. Keep writing. Try different types of writing. Solicit more feedback. Have more fun with your writing, and with the process. Create a writing life that is rewarding no matter how much (or little) external success you realize. Diversify your emotional investments with writing (i.e., pursue shorts and novels, for instance). Celebrate your milestones, whether it is completing a story, getting a nibble or a nice comment. Then write some more. And have fun.

***

Find CASH OUT wherever books are sold, but since you’re right here at your computer, you could always click here for it. And you can find Greg himself on his website and blog, and also on Facebook.

The Business of Fiction Is Stranger Than Fiction

Monday, November 5th, 2012

The months leading up to the launch of THREE GRAVES FULL were always going to be a course of firsts, thrills, and practical hurdles. But sometimes seconds are pretty good, too. As such, unveiling the second cover is new fun. The powers-that-be changed course for a more atmospheric feel and have set the new mood for at least the outside of THREE GRAVES FULL:

5 Minutes Alone… With Linda Joffe Hull

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

Linda Joffe Hull hits the shelves twice in quick succession, debuting in November with a send-up of tangled suburban anxieties, and then on to a bit of mystery. As such, Ms. Hull is apt to be more than a little busy in the coming weeks and months, so we’re fortunate to get her here in our little corner of the internet for a bit of background before she goes into the spotlight.

We’d like to thank her for taking the time to be part of our “5 Minutes Alone” interview series.

AuthorScoop: What was your very first publication credit?

Linda: Technically, the first thing I ever published was an article on incarcerated teens and their lawyer mentors for California Lawyer magazine in the early 90’s, but The Big Bang, which officially releases in November is my debut novel. Eternally 21, the first in my Mrs. Frugalicious mystery series, comes out in June 2013, from Midnight Ink.

AuthorScoop: Tell us about your latest release.

Linda: I like to describe The Big Bang as a suburban satire/pregnancy whodunit. The novel is set in Melody Mountain Ranch, an upscale, covenant-controlled community in suburban Denver where secret affairs, home shopping parties, religious fundamentalism and a power hungry homeowner’s board keep the local residents distracted from the fact that their homes are literally rotting beneath them. Secret affairs, teen witchcraft and a power-hungry homeowner’s board have their personal lives deconstructing even faster. On Wonderland Valley Way, blonde, beautiful, interior decorator Hope Jordan is desperate for a baby. As Hope struggles through unsuccessful fertility treatments, her neighbors Will Pierce-Cohn, a stay-at-home dad and community activist, Frank Griffin, a minister-cum-homeowner’s board president, and Tim Trautman, a soon-to-be father of five, jockey for her attentions. When Hope inadvertently eats hash brownies at the playground ribbon-cutting gala/Memorial Weekend poolside potluck she falls into the arms of one of her three wanna-be paramours. Maybe all three—she wakes up with only fleeting memories of the evening and soon discovers she’s pregnant. While she tries to piece together what happened, with whom and what to do about it, the homes on her cul-de-sac begin to crack and leak. Hope and her neighbors are forced to work together to dig out of a hell of their own making.

AuthorScoop: Aside from your own hard work, who (or what) else do you feel has contributed to your success?

Linda: I feel really lucky to have an incredibly supportive spouse who has played everything from proofreader to cheerleader over the years. I also have two of the best editors around in Ben LeRoy at Tyrus Books and Terri Bischoff at Midnight Ink. There is no way I could have gotten my first (as yet unpublished) novel finished, much less navigated my way through the ever-changing and always confusing world of publishing without the support of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. I literally learned how to write by showing up and participating in one of their local critique groups. They also offer monthly programs, a great annual conference and an overall commitment to helping novel length fiction writers become published authors.

AuthorScoop: At what time of day or night do you do your best writing?

Linda: I have three children, one of whom is in first grade, so I work from 8:30-3:15 when they are in school. I also work in the evening after everyone’s in bed. I’ve noticed my very best writing somehow seems to happen between 2 and 3 in the afternoon when I’m rushing to wrap things up before pick-up time.

AuthorScoop: Finally, what advice would you give to new or unpublished writers?

Linda: If you want to be published, don’t give up. It took me eleven years to get that first publishing deal on my three book mystery series. Six months later, I signed a contract with Tyrus Books for The Big Bang, my standalone mainstream debut. When I say, don’t give up, I know of what I speak. I should qualify that statement, though. If you are compelled to write, are willing to put the time and effort in to hone your craft, and not only listen, but hear what others say to improve your work, stick with it. Oh, and attend as many writer’s conferences as you can. It’s very difficult to get that foot in the door with agents and editors. Your very best chance is to go to a conference and get to know the agents and editors there. You will have a much better sense if your work may be a fit for their agency or publishing house and they will be much more likely to look at your work because of the personal connection you’ve established.

***

Find Linda Joffe Hull on the internet at her website, on Facebook, and 140 characters at a time on Twitter.

5 Minutes Alone… With Joanna Campbell Slan

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

Brontë’s classic heroine, Jane Eyre, gets another outing with Joanna Campbell Slan‘s DEATH OF A SCHOOLGIRL. Classics-meets-historical-fiction-meets-mystery in an endeavor of broad appeal, so we’re very pleased to snag ’5 Minutes’ with a very busy writer.

We’d like to thank her for taking the time to be part of our “5 Minutes Alone” interview series.

AuthorScoop: What was your very first publication credit?

Joanna: A story I wrote in high school about wolves and a sleigh ride gone wrong.

AuthorScoop: Tell us about your latest release.

Joanna: The year is 1820, and Jane Eyre has married her beloved Edward Rochester, but their domestic tranquility is interrupted when a cryptic letter from Adéle Varens, Jane’s former student and Edward’s ward, warns that the girl is in danger. Jane races to London to the girls’ school that Adéle is attending and arrives in time to see a schoolgirl’s body being removed. Because Jane has been mistaken for an errant German teacher, she decides to continue the subterfuge long enough to investigate what’s really happening. The girls are in mortal danger—and so is Jane as she tracks down a killer.

AuthorScoop: Aside from your own hard work, who (or what) else do you feel has contributed to your success?

Joanna: When I decided to write full-time, my husband and I realized that this was a business, and that like every other business, there are investments that need to be made before you realize any real success. So that decision has informed all my choices. A lot of new writers think that a contract is all that’s necessary, but that’s just one step along the way.

AuthorScoop: At what time of day or night do you do your best writing?

Joanna: It doesn’t matter. I write every day, often into the evening, and even if it isn’t my best writing, it’s writing that I can edit and improve.

AuthorScoop: Finally, what advice would you give to new or unpublished writers?

Joanna: 1) Learn everything you can about the business. Most new or unpublished writers have totally unrealistic expectations about publishing.

2) Be ready to promote yourself. It’s your responsibility to sell your books, not the publisher’s.

3) Be professional. When an editor asks you to do something, don’t whine about it.

4) Keep improving. An editor told me the other day that most authors turn in their work and think, “That’s it. I’m done,” instead of wondering how they can improve as writers.

5) Make friends with other authors…before you need them. They’ll give you great advice and send opportunities your way. But don’t ever assume that you are entitled to their help.

6) Go to conferences before your book is published. You’ll learn a lot by watching other authors as they appear on panels. You’ll also have a better idea of the opportunities available at specific conferences because they all are different.

7) Read, read, read. There aren’t many other businesses where people display their end products to their competition. Therefore, by reading and paying attention, you’ll see what’s working and what’s not.

***

DEATH OF A SCHOOLGIRL is available now, and its author, Joanna Campbell Slan, can be found on the web at her homepage and blog (or blogs, rather) not to mention Facebook and Twitter.

5 Minutes Alone… With FT Bradley

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

There have been some recent and wonderful literary entrances for children: to mysteries, science fiction, paranormal, and even horror. Now FT Bradley carves the path for mid-grade readers into the world of the spy-thriller with her debut novel, DOUBLE VISION. Codes, secret agencies, historical intrigue, and international travel aren’t just for grownups anymore.

We’d like to thank her for taking the time to be part of our “5 Minutes Alone” interview series.

AuthorScoop: What was your very first publication credit?

FT: My first mystery short story was published by The Storyteller, a small press mystery magazine. It was such a huge affirmation (I almost kissed the mailbox when the acceptance letter came in… ). After that, I spent a few years learning to write short crime fiction, gathering publishing credits. These small press publications really only exist because of the devotion of those people who run them. I’m pretty sure I would’ve given up without their encouragement.

AuthorScoop: Tell us about your latest release.

FT: Double Vision is a middle-grade mystery/thriller. It’s Linc Baker’s story: a kid who gets into trouble one too many times, and to get his family out of a lawsuit that followed one of his antics (a long story that involves chickens and a cranky farmer…), Linc ends up taking the place of a kid secret agent who looks just like him.

The mission takes him to Paris, where he has to decipher codes and outrun bad guys to track down a mysterious and dangerous painting.

Double Vision is the perfect book for reluctant readers age eight to twelve–those kids who’d rather play videogames than read. It’s a fun, fast-paced adventure in Paris. What’s not to love?

AuthorScoop: Aside from your own hard work, who (or what) else do you feel has contributed to your success?

FT: My agent (Stephen Barbara with Foundry Literary and Media) and my editors at Harper Children’s (Barbara Lalicki and Andrew Harwell) were instrumental in making Double Vision the fun adventure it is today. They allowed me to learn (and still do), and have my back as I work on books two and three in the series.

My husband is great when I’m stuck on a plot point. We have a football that we toss in the living room while I brainstorm and he gives me ideas. It sounds weird, but it’s the best way for me to get unstuck. Not that I’m athletic or anything…

AuthorScoop: At what time of day or night do you do your best writing?

FT: When I’m working on a first draft, I try to get up at five a.m. or sometimes earlier. It’s nice and quiet, no one is awake yet (including my inner critic), no noise or distraction–it’s just me, the story and my cat. I get a few thousand words in before the day even starts. It does mean I have to go to bed early, though.

AuthorScoop: Finally, what advice would you give to new or unpublished writers?

FT: Keep an open mind. Writing is a craft–that means you’re always learning, no matter where you are in the game. Don’t give up. Don’t listen to bitter, rejected writers. Keep a positive attitude, and you’ll get where you want to be. Even if it takes a box of rejections. Positivity rules, really.

***

You can find FT Bradley and the Linc Baker novels on the web. Catch her on Facebook and Twitter, and check out her blog for junior detectives and young readers, YA Sleuth.

5 Minutes Alone… With Mark Pryor

Friday, October 12th, 2012

Mark Pryor enters the literary ranks on the mystery shelf with a hell of a good resume. A journalist-turned-Texas-prosecuter, his boots belie the accent – he’s English. But the tangles only give gravitas to his work. THE BOOKSELLER released this week to tremendous buzz, including a starred Debut of the Month review from Library Journal. As such, we were fortunate to snag him at the start of his book business. He may simply be too busy for us later.

We’d like to thank him for taking the time to be part of our “5 Minutes Alone” interview series.

AuthorScoop: What was your very first publication credit?

Mark: That was as a newspaper reporter in England, oh so long ago.  The very first thing I ever had published, and of the hundreds of newspaper stories and features I remember this, was a story for the Hitchen Gazette about a new line of public transport.  I think it was called “the Hoppenstopper” because it’d stop and you could hop on…. the picture on the side of the bus was a rabbit, unsurprisingly.  Anyway, I wrote a short article about it, as an intern, and when it was published I was thrilled.  No by-line, of course, it was only about four paragraphs long.  I think I still have a copy somewhere…

As far as fiction, I really count THE BOOKSELLER as my first publication.  I’ve had a couple of pieces published in non-paying journals, but this is the first story someone was willing to pay for!

AuthorScoop: Tell us about your latest release.

Mark: THE BOOKSELLER is a mystery novel set in Paris.  The main character is Hugo Marston, who is a former FBI profiler and now the head of security at the US Embassy.  He has a friend called Max, a grumpy old fellow who works as a bouquiniste, which is one of those booksellers you see alongside the River Seine.  Hugo is buying a book from Max when a man appears out of nowhere and forces the old man onto a boat, at gun point and right under Hugo’s nose.

For some reason (and I’m not saying why) the Paris police are only mildly interested and Hugo is devastated that he let this happen, so he goes after Max himself.  But to do so, he has to find out more about his friend and what he uncovers is… surprising.  Suffice to say, that Hugo has a number of avenues he can go down, relating to 19th century homosexual love poetry, Nazi hunting, and east European drug gangs.

He does have help though, from his best friend Tom who is somewhat uncouth but who is also effective: he now works for the CIA and doesn’t have the investigative scruples Hugo has. On his journey to find Max, Hugo also meets a beautiful journalist who has a secret or two of her own…

I think the book will appeal to people who like a traditional, almost gentlemanly hero and a couple of very kind reviewers (who I didn’t bribe, but would have) made mention of Eric Ambler and Alan Furst, though there’s no way in the world I’d put myself in either category.  In terms of setting being important, I get what they mean because I love Paris and hope very much I bring it to life for the reader.

AuthorScoop: Aside from your own hard work, who (or what) else do you feel has contributed to your success?

Mark: So many people.  I think first and foremost, my wife.  I don’t think I realized, when I first embarked on this journey to publication, quite how demanding it is in terms of time and emotional energy.  My wife, Sarah, has helped me on both of those fronts.  She encourages me when things are going well, consoled and supported me after the (many, many) rejections, and happily takes the lead with the house and kids while I take off to the library to write.  It’s so rewarding to be able to share in the good moments, to have someone like that beside me who has been there through thick and thin.

I will add, too, that the level of interest and support from people around me, people who have no idea how tough this road is and who have no real interest in the process other than being readers, have also been so encouraging and happy for me when things have gone well.  Likewise, I’ve been amazed at how willing established (in same cases pretty famous) writers have been to share their time and wisdom.

AuthorScoop: At what time of day or night do you do your best writing?

Mark: I’m afraid I’m not one of those writers who has a best time, much as I’d like to be one of those pipe-smoking, whiskey-swilling chaps who labors over his manuscript until four in the morning. I usually end up writing at the local library for a few hours in the afternoon on Fridays and Saturdays, maybe grabbing an hour or two at some coffee shop somewhere at other times.  With a full-time job and three kids, I have to stay pretty flexible and be ready to write when the moment presents.

AuthorScoop: Finally, what advice would you give to new or unpublished writers?

Mark: A couple of things.  First, keep reading and writing.  I tried selling two novels before an agent bit on THE BOOKSELLER.  Why?  Because I thought they were good enough.  Thing is, they weren’t and it was only through writing a second and then a third that I improved, and that I realized my shortcomings.

Second, if you have written a good book, keep at it.  Work hard to find an agent, exhaust every resource but if it doesn’t happen, don’t give up.  It took me ten years to get to this point, and I’m at the beginning of my writing career (I hope!).  I never got completely used to the rejections, and they never really stop coming, from publishers and then readers who don’t like your book.  But if you become good enough, and you keep at it, the rewards (and I don’t mean financial) easily outweigh those few irritations.

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Find Mark Pryor and THE BOOKSELLER here on the net at his website, markpryorbooks.com, and on his delightful and informative blog, D.A. Confidential.

Another 5 Minutes… With Tasha Alexander

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

Tasha Alexander becomes our first guest to return for a third time, and that is great news. Her work ethic, flyaway research, and flowing ink has produced the next Lady Emily novel, DEATH IN THE FLOATING CITY, which has opened to glowing reviews. Our chat stands alone, but if you’d like to catch up on all we’ve talked about, you can zip through Tasha’s first appearance in October of 2010 and her triumphant return in September of 2011. I’m sensing a pattern, I hope.

We’d like to thank her for coming back once again to be part of our “5 Minutes Alone” interview series.

AuthorScoop: DEATH IN THE FLOATING CITY is intriguing both for its title and its vanguard of great reviews. Will you tell us a little about it?

Tasha: I had wanted—hoped, really—to send Emily to Venice from the very beginning. Because of this, I planted a reference to the city in my first book, having Emily’s nemesis elope there. I have always adored books that weave together stories from more than one time period, and had long wanted to write one. Venice proved the perfect location for it. The city is magical; you feel as if you’ve somehow been transported into the Renaissance when you arrive. The history is so strong there that including a 15th century narrative in the book was a natural decision. To solve the 19th century murder, Emily must first uncover the secrets of a 15th century affair.

AuthorScoop: I’ve read some about the on-site research you did for this book. How did you find Venice for taking you back in time in your writer’s mind?

Tasha: I can’t think of any city less altered over the centuries, and this makes it a dream for anyone writing historical fiction. People say that you could drop a 15th century Venetian into St. Mark’s Square today and he would easily find his way home, and this is true. Venice remains the city it was in the Renaissance. The absence of cars (ok, so there are motorboats, but they are easily ignored) and the lack of modern buildings make you feel like you’ve stepped into the past. When I was living in the city to write the book, I would wander around whenever I needed to find a location for a scene and then could sit down and describe what I saw around me without having to imagine what it would have looked like in the past. This is very different than, say, London, where the Victorian city has disappeared in many places.

AuthorScoop: Is there a secret formula to finding the next location crucible for Lady Emily or do you throw darts at a map of Europe and then book an airline ticket?

Tasha: Ha! That sounds like a pretty good idea. I’ll have to get a dartboard…

Actually, I choose my locations as part of an overall plan to bring Emily from sheltered society girl to enlightened woman. For example, Vienna exposed her to people outside her class (who weren’t her servants) for the first time. Constantinople showed her an entirely different culture where women had very different rights from their English counterparts. To broaden her world, she needs to travel, but she also needs to go home so that she can apply what she’s learned to her own environment. As a result, I try to find a balance between having her in England and having her abroad.

I’m now at the stage of kicking around ideas for the setting for my 2014 book. At the moment, Paris and St. Petersburg are my top choices.

AuthorScoop: Your husband is also a novelist. How is it having two plot-and-word-obsessed people under the same roof?

Tasha: It is fantastic. He understands the process so very well—never suggests I’m not working when I’m lying on the couch looking half-asleep. He knows I’m figuring out plot ideas. Before I met him, I assumed two writers would mean too much neurosis in one household, but instead it turns out that we are very good at deflating for each other the stresses that inevitably come when writing books. We both approach our work very differently, and it’s always helpful to get his perspective on what I’m doing. He’s a great sounding board and an even better first reader.

AuthorScoop: What’s next for Tasha Alexander?

Tasha: Once I’m back from touring for FLOATING CITY, I will revise next year’s book, which is set in Anglemore Park, Emily’s country estate. And then it will be time to start writing again. Which means I’ll have to choose Paris or St. Petersburg…

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For more information on Tasha and her books, have a look at all the goodies on her website www.tashaalexander.com. If you don’t see DEATH IN THE FLOATING CITY in your bookstore, you’ve probably got a blindfold on.

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5 Minutes Alone… With Addie King

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

Author, Addie J. King, breaks onto the contemporary mythology scene with, THE GRIMM LEGACY, a romp through some new applications of what we thought we knew about storybook legends. Lawyer by day, and storyteller by night (and day, and dusk, and dawn) we’re fortunate to snag the sleeve of a very busy lady.

We’d like to thank Addie for taking the time to be part of our “5 Minutes Alone” interview series.

AuthorScoop: What was your very first publication credit?

Addie: My first credit was a short story, “Poltergeist on Aisle Fourteen”, which appeared in the anthology MYSTERY TIMES TEN 2011. It was a story about a cheerleader who solved a ghost’s murder in a grocery store…after he hit her in the back of the head with a strawberry to get her attention.

AuthorScoop: Tell us about your latest release.

Addie: THE GRIMM LEGACY was so incredibly fun to write! It’s about Janie Grimm, a first year law student, who learns that her father was murdered, her stepmother has an agenda, her professors think she’s crazy, and the talking frog who shows up at her apartment isn’t helping…he’d like to watch some NASCAR and would like some imported beer. And don’t forget the unexpected romantic attraction to the man who tries to help her solve her father’s murder…and the Foundation for Ancestry, Biography, Legends, Epics and Stories (F.A.B.L.E.S.), who help her piece it all together.

AuthorScoop: Aside from your own hard work, who (or what) else do you feel has contributed to your success?

Addie: I have awesome friends and family. They are incredibly supportive, even when they don’t quite get the writer crazy. The publisher has been nothing but wonderful even through the editing process, and I’ve belonged to some very cool writer critique groups.

AuthorScoop: At what time of day or night do you do your best writing?

Addie: I’m not sure how to answer that, because I write in fits and starts, squeezed in between a million and one different things. The best time is probably when I actually block out time and force myself to sit down and concentrate, not really any particular time of day.

I’m used to writing in the hallway of the courthouse between hearings (I’m a lawyer in my day job), with the television blasting, while waiting in line at the bank, and pretty much in the middle of mass chaos. Day or night doesn’t matter so much. It also depends on whether I’m plotting, writing a first draft, or editing. Plotting and editing are easier in bits and drabs, writing a first draft takes more concentrated blocks of time.

AuthorScoop: Finally, what advice would you give to new or unpublished writers?

Addie: There’s a word for a writer that never gives up, never quits, and keeps learning and submitting. Published.

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THE GRIMM LEGACY is available now, and you can start right here on your quest for your own copy. Find Addie on the web at her own site, and also on Facebook and Twitter.

5 Minutes Alone… With MJ Rose

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

Before there was 50 SHADES OF GREY, there was MJ ROSE and her daring and insightful, LIP SERVICE. Re-released by Simon & Schuster’s Atria books, LIP SERVICE has been praised by Playboy Magazine as “Smart, erotic… risky, unpredictable, emotional.” While the Bookreporter proclaims “If seduction is an art, Rose is one of the masters.” The book’s reception applauds the merger of erotic theme with deft craft, which can only herald good things for the genre.

We’d like to thank MJ Rose for taking the time to be part of our “5 Minutes Alone” interview series.

AuthorScoop: What was your very first publication credit?

MJ: In third grade my poem, The Seagulls, was chosen to be in the poetry magazine – the magazine was for 7th to 12th grade so it was a huge honor to be there.

AuthorScoop: Tell us about your latest release.

MJ: My latest release is a re release of my first novel.  LIP SERVICE made history in 1999 as a self published  erotic book (electronic and print versions)  sold only online  – Shades of Grey!  It was discovered online by Erica Tsang who was working at the Doubleday Bookclub and Literary Guild and she bought it for the clubs. Then it was sold to a division of Simon & Schuster. The first self pubbed novel discovered online then debuted on The Today Show where Katie Couric blushed talking about it.  Back then erotic fiction wasn’t something readers talked about. Now they can’t seem to talk about it enough! LIP SERVICE probes the secret world of phone sex and one woman who becomes empowered by what she discovers there. It examines the relationship between sexuality and identity and blushing is allowed while reading.

AuthorScoop: Aside from your own hard work, who (or what) else do you feel has contributed to your success?

MJ: So many people! But I’d have to say of everyone – really my mom who encouraged my love of reading and nurtured my creative instincts. She always had my back and truly made me believe I could do anything I set out to do – and then my husband who I met the year before my mom died and took over for her in keeping me believing in myself.

AuthorScoop: At what time of day or night do you do your best writing?

MJ: Early morning for first drafts, late at night for rewrites.

AuthorScoop: Finally, what advice would you give to new or unpublished writers?

MJ: Don’t rush. And don’t settle. Write the best book you can and then make it better. Go after the best agent you can find. Write because you love writing, not because you want to get rich or famous. It’s a big lottery so focusing on the winning ticket means you’ll lose the magical journey that writing can be.

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MJRose.com features all of her work, and here’s the link for LIP SERVICE, in particular, which you’ll be wanting to click. Find MJ Rose on Facebook and Twitter, too!

Another 5 Minutes… With Jaden Terrell

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

AuthorScoop hosted a chat with Jaden Terrell in February in celebration of her debut novel, RACING THE DEVIL. Jaden’s back with its follow-up, A CUP FULL OF MIDNIGHT, out this month from The Permanent Press. Today we get to preview the new book and snag a bit more insight into the clockworks of the Jared McKean Mysteries series.

We’d like to thank Jaden Terrell for being here once again to take part in our “5 Minutes Alone” interview series.

AuthorScoop: Booklist had nice things to say about your latest, A CUP FULL OF MIDNIGHT. Tell us a bit about the book.

Jaden: It’s the second book in the Jared McKean series. Jared is thirty-six, a private detective coming to terms with his unjust dismissal from the Nashville murder squad and an unwanted divorce from a woman he still loves. His teenaged nephew, Josh, has fallen under the influence of a dangerous fringe of the Goth subculture, giving the family lots of reasons to worry. When the fringe group’s leader—a mind-manipulating sociopath who considers himself a vampire—is found butchered and posed across a pentagram, Josh is the number one suspect. He asks Jared to investigate the murder, and in the course of the investigation, he learns that his nephew, whom he loves like a son, is next on the killer’s list.

AuthorScoop: Are the books coming easier now that you’ve got a couple behind you, or is the writing experience the same rollercoaster it’s been from the start?

Jaden: I keep thinking it’s going to get easier, but it never does. Every book seems just a little bit beyond me and I have to grow into it. A CUP FULL OF MIDNIGHT is more complex than RACING THE DEVIL, and the third book is even more challenging.

AuthorScoop: Has writing and publishing changed the way you read?

Jaden: I don’t think so. I’ve always read like a writer. I remember reading books when I was seven or eight, and one level, I was enjoying the story and falling in love with the characters, and on another level, I was trying to figure out how the writer did it. I still do. Often, I’ll read a book once for pleasure, then go back and read parts over again to see how it’s put together or how the writer achieved a certain effect.

AuthorScoop: Has your advice for new writers evolved the farther you get from being a new writer yourself?

Jaden: Everybody’s specific path is different, but I don’t think the core principles ever change. Learn everything you can. Read everything you can. Write every chance you get. Always look at what you can do better. It’s easy to get caught up in marketing and platforms and forget that the important thing is the writing.

AuthorScoop: What’s next for Jaden Terrell?

Jaden: I’m working on the third book in the Jared McKean series, along with a standalone thriller that’s, like always, a little bit too hard for me. I’m really excited about it.

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A CUP FULL OF MIDNIGHT is available now. Read a sample and then quick click to your favorite retailer to get your own copy. Visit her webpage and you’re on your way. Jaden Terrell is also at home on the web at her blog, Murderous Musings. Like her Facebook page to keep current with news and events.

5 Minutes Alone… With Alex Adams

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

Alex AdamsWHITE HORSE is one of the most highly anticipated releases for 2012. And now it’s here. Hailed as post-apocalyptic fiction at its finest, readers hungry for pulse-pounding what-if scenarios are getting their dose of handsomely-worded poison (and antidote) from the genre’s newest star. The first in a trilogy of of stories on what happens after a biological Armageddon, WHITE HORSE is one to watch for on the bestseller lists.

We’d like to thank Alex for taking the time to be part of our “5 Minutes Alone” interview series.

AuthorScoop: What was your very first publication credit?

Alex: Does my high school theater class retelling of The Wizard of Oz count? No? Rats! In that case, White Horse is my very first publication credit.

AuthorScoop: Tell us about your latest release.

Alex: White Horse is an apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic thriller for the adult market, though it definitely dips several toes into the Horror genre, too. Zoe, my protagonist, flees to Europe in search of her lost love as the world’s population is dying of a horrifying disease. Her journey is complicated by her unexpected pregnancy and the companions she collects along the way. You won’t find zombies in White Horse’s pages, but those who contract the virus and survive are definitely…different.

AuthorScoop: Aside from your own hard work, who (or what) else do you feel has contributed to your success?

Alex: If I was at the Academy Awards right now, making an acceptance speech, I’d probably say something along the lines of: “I’d like to thank my whole life.” Every experience I’ve ever had–good and bad–and every person I’ve ever known has brought me to this place and time. Most notably, though, my agent Alexandra Machinist and my editor Emily Bestler get a lion’s share of the credit. Every piece of their input made my story stronger.

And my fiance, Bill, of course. He’s the reason Lisa is blind (sorry, Lisa, he was right!) His insight, support, and astounding talent at ordering pizza has been invaluable.

AuthorScoop: At what time of day or night do you do your best writing?

Alex: I’m most definitely a morning person–the earlier the better. By mid-afternoon my attention is waning and all I want to do is look at cats with funny captions.

AuthorScoop: Finally, what advice would you give to new or unpublished writers?

Alex: Don’t be in such a huge hurry. Writing is a craft, and it takes time to learn–and successfully conceal–all the underpinnings. A “no” now isn’t necessarily a “no” forever. All it means is that you’re not ready yet. Everything can change with the next manuscript.

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WHITE HORSE is available, well, everywhere. You can (and should) get your copy at your favorite bookstore, or even when you go pick up vitamins and deck cushions at Target. For all things WHITE HORSE and Alex Adams, including convenient links to online retailers for the book’s hardcover and electronic editions, check out www.alexadamsbooks.com.

Another 5 Minutes… With P.M. Terrell

Friday, March 9th, 2012

Last summer, we had the pleasure of P.M. Terrell’s company for the launch of her novel, THE BANKER’S GREED. She’s come back to us with more new fiction, but this time it’s something quite a bit different…

We’d like to thank her for being here once again to take part in our “5 Minutes Alone” interview series.

AuthorScoop: VICKI’S KEY is a step outside your more conventional thrillers. Tell us a bit about it.

PM Terrell: VICKI’S KEY is the beginning of the Black Swamp Mysteries series, inspired by the success of Exit 22, which was released in 2008. Because it’s a series, I found I could spend more time developing the characters, making them so multi-faceted that it will take the whole series to explore all the various aspects.

The book begins with CIA psychic spy Vicki Boyd and a mission that went so terribly awry that it sets the scene for her leaving the agency and embarking on a new life in a new town. She takes a summer job assisting an elderly woman, but when she arrives she finds Aunt Laurel has suffered a stroke and is confined to her bedroom and her nephew Dylan Maguire has arrived from Ireland to care for her. Vicki very quickly falls in love with the charming, handsome man. But all is not what it seems to be in the old, rambling home. And when the CIA comes calling for Vicki to complete one last mission, she finds her past and her future on a collision course—to murder.

AuthorScoop: What did you find out about yourself as a writer in slipping the shackles of the strictly of-this-world?

PM Terrell: I knew when I made the commitment to a series that I did not want to become a formula writer where every book was exactly the same. How many murders could one person be pulled into, anyway? By making Vicki a psychic spy based on a real psychic spy initiative that crosses several U.S. intelligence agencies, the possibilities are limitless. She could go to the most remote regions of the world, into areas where a physical presence would be impossible. And because of that twist, she could participate in CIA missions that could be incredibly diverse with each book.

AuthorScoop: Tell us more about your advocacy work in the fight against illiteracy.

PM Terrell: About ten years ago, I was having a conversation with Police Officer Mark Kearney of the Waynesboro, VA Police Department about the direct correlation between high illiteracy rates and high crime rates. We decided to start The Book ‘Em Foundation, a non-profit organization whose mission is to raise public awareness of that link and to combat high crime rates while increasing literacy rates. Each year we hold at least one Book ‘Em event where we bring together around 75 authors who sign and sell their books and participate in panel discussions. The events are free and open to the public. But when people purchase books, the authors or publishers have pledged a percentage of the sale to literacy efforts in the community.

We just completed our first Book ‘Em North Carolina in Lumberton (www.bookemnc.org) and the money raised will go to raising literacy levels from the age of 1 to the oldest adult.

AuthorScoop: Has writing and publishing changed the way you read?

PM Terrell: Most definitely. I am now the slowest reader on the planet. If any scene evokes an emotion, I will go back and dissect the scene carefully to find out how they elicited that response—how they frightened me, angered me, moved me… Mistakes will leap off the page but good, tight writing will, also. I will even read genres I am not particularly interested in otherwise, if I like the way an author writes.

I do a lot of research for my books so I have to force myself to read for pleasure. And when I am immersed in my own writing, I find I can’t get too involved in another’s work or the characters will begin to blend in my mind. So I tend to use pleasure reading as a reward where I can kick back and thoroughly enjoy a good book!

AuthorScoop: What’s next for P.M. Terrell?

PM Terrell: I am currently completing SECRETS OF A DANGEROUS WOMAN, which will be released this fall. It brings Dylan Maguire of VICKI’S KEY head-to-head with Brenda Carnegie of Exit 22. And each has met their match! It is a lot of fun to write because of the strength of those two characters. Then I will be traveling to Ireland to research the next book in the series, DYLAN’S SONG, which is due be to be released in the spring of 2013. My ancestors were from Ireland so I am looking forward to visiting the country and incorporating Ireland’s history during World War II into the series—where decisions that were made then affect the characters in the present day.

I am also working on Book ‘Em North Carolina 2013 already and looking forward to impacting the community through literacy campaigns.

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VICKI’S KEY is just a few keystrokes away, and here’s a handy link to get you started. Learn more about PM Terrell at her website, and find her on Facebook and Twitter, as well.

5 Minutes Alone… With Diane Diekman

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

Writer and biographer, Diane Diekman, opens the door on the life of one of country music’s legendary performers, and we get to go beyond the page to get a glimpse of how it all came to be.

We’d like to thank Diane for taking the time to be part of our “5 Minutes Alone” interview series.

AuthorScoop: What was your very first publication credit?

Diane: My first publication credit was a commentary on sexual harassment in the military. As a U.S. Navy commander, I felt senior enough to have a voice and the experience to speak for other women. I mailed my unsolicited opinion to The Navy Times and it crossed in the mail with the latest issue, which carried a headline about sexual harassment. I knew my submission was timely!  It was published as “Learning sex’s painful lessons in the military” on February 6, 1995.

AuthorScoop: Tell us about your latest release.

Diane: TWENTIETH CENTURY DRIFTER: THE LIFE OF MARTY ROBBINS is the first biography of the legendary country music artist, a man who could jump into a race car and compete in NASCAR races. He scored sixteen number one hits and two Grammy awards. Yet even with fame and fortune, Marty Robbins always yearned for more. He saw himself as a drifter, a man searching for security and inner peace. I tried to provide a portrait of this well-loved, restless entertainer, a private man who kept those who loved him at a distance. The biography, with 320 pages and 25 photographs, has just been released by the University of Illinois Press.

AuthorScoop: Aside from your own hard work, who (or what) else do you feel has contributed to your success?

Diane: Everything I write (including speeches) I submit to the Internet Writing Workshop online critique group for comment. My writing is much improved by the suggestions received from other members. During research trips, my greatest assistant has been my sister, Lorraine “Kayo” Paver. Every person I’ve interviewed and everyone who provides me with documents and electronic media contributes to my success.

AuthorScoop: At what time of day or night do you do your best writing?

Diane: My most productive time is in the morning, from when I make coffee and turn on the computer until my lunchtime run or whatever on my calendar takes me away from writing. I concentrate best during that period.

AuthorScoop: Finally, what advice would you give to new or unpublished writers?

Diane: Write it down. Your thoughts must get from your head onto paper (or the computer) before you can do anything with them. You must work to improve your skills. We never get past the point of learning from others.  I highly recommend joining a critique group, either online or one that meets regularly. I’ve participated in both, and the sharing of advice is invaluable to me. Reading books on writing, as well as subscribing to magazines such as Writer’s Digest, will broaden your knowledge and keep you up to date on the writing industry.

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Diane Diekman can be found on the web at dianediekman.com and with this convenient link, TWENTIETH CENTURY DRIFTER: THE LIFE OF MARTY ROBBINS and her other books are available at the click of a few buttons.

5 Minutes Alone… With Laura Caldwell

Monday, February 27th, 2012

If there could be a pill-form extract of the energy Laura Caldwell generates in her work as a novelist, as an attorney, and as an advocate for the wrongly imprisoned, well, let’s just say the stocks would run quite pricey. Known most widely for her well-received Izzy McNeil novels, Ms. Caldwell is the also author of the riveting LONG WAY HOME, which profiles her involvement in the exoneration of Jovan Mosley in 2005.

But today, it’s all fun with fiction, as Izzy McNeil returns to the New Releases shelf.

We’d like to thank Laura for taking the time to be part of our “5 Minutes Alone” interview series.

AuthorScoop: What was your very first publication credit?

Laura: BURNING THE MAP, about a trip to Rome and Greece that changes a woman’s life.

AuthorScoop: Tell us about your latest release.

Laura: QUESTION OF TRUST is the 5th Izzy McNeil novel. Izzy is a sassy, redhead Chicago lawyer who moonlights as a private detective. In this case, her hot boyfriend is accused of being a young Madoff, arrested for white collar crime, leading her to wonder if she’s sleeping with the enemy. The best thing about the Izzy McNeil books, both to write and I hope to read, is the zipping around Chicago that Izzy does. This city is limitless in its character potential.

AuthorScoop: Aside from your own hard work, who (or what) else do you feel has contributed to your success?

Laura: I’m the director of Life After Innocence, an organization that works with innocent people who were wrongfully convicted in order to start their lives over. The emotional tenacity and grace that the exonerees possess has inspired me to work harder.

AuthorScoop: At what time of day or night do you do your best writing?

Laura: Morning, morning, morning. Now that I have a new puppy, Shafer, (pic attached, I can’t resist), I like having her on my lap or at my feet.

AuthorScoop: Finally, what advice would you give to new or unpublished writers?

Laura: Set short term goals. Don’t think about writing a whole book, except to know, generally where you’re going. In the short term, look at your week and ask yourself honestly, ‘What can I legitimately get done this week if I try?’ The answer might be writing one page, writing for a half an hour, doing research on a particular issue. Tell a friend who will check in with you and then get it done. If you don’t, no shame. Just look at your next week and make your next goal.

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Hit a bookstore while you’re out today for QUESTION OF TRUST, or you can always tap and click to get your copy underway right now. Laura Caldwell is on the web at her own site and, of course, on Facebook and Twitter. So, stay sharp and find your next favorite writer at one or all of her links. You’ll be glad you did.

5 Minutes Alone… With Jaden Terrell

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

Jaden Terrell is the author of the Jared McKean mysteries and a contributor to the new Now Write! Mysteries, a collection of writing exercises published by Tarcher/Penguin for writers of crime fiction. Terrell is also the executive director of the Killer Nashville Thriller, Mystery, and Crime Literature Conference and a recipient of the 2009 Magnolia Award for service to the Southeastern Chapter of Mystery Writers of America.

We’d like to thank her for taking the time to be part of our “5 Minutes Alone” interview series.

AuthorScoop: What was your very first publication credit?

Jaden: My first published work was the self-published version of RACING THE DEVIL, published under another title. My second published work was the second version, released by Nightshadows Press. This is the third incarnation of my first publication. I guess it took me awhile to get it right! Other than RACING THE DEVIL, my first publication credit was a chapter in Now Write! Mysteries, a collection of writing exercises published by Tarcher/Penguin for writers of crime fiction.

AuthorScoop: Tell us about your latest release.

Jaden: My latest release is a reissue of the first book in my Jared McKean private detective series. It’s evolved quite a bit since its first incarnation, but the essence is the same. Nashville-based PI Jared McKean is 36 years old, coming to grips with the loss of his job as a homicide detective, and divorced from a woman he still loves. He has a son with Down syndrome, a best friend with AIDS, and a troubled nephew who comes out of the closet and runs away from home. Jared also has a weakness for women in jeopardy—until one frames him for murder. He’s a good man trying to juggle personal and family commitments while keeping himself out of prison and protecting the people he loves from danger and sometimes from themselves.

AuthorScoop: Aside from your own hard work, who (or what) else do you feel has contributed to your success?

Jaden: There are so many! My practically perfect husband, Mike. My beautiful and supportive mom. Clay Stafford, for letting me help put on Killer Nashville, which led to getting my terrific agent, Jill Marr. My current publishers, Martin and Judith Shepard of The Permanent Press, and the Quill & Dagger Writer’s Guild, who have been helping me hone my craft for more years than I care to say. Not to mention a host of supportive, encouraging friends, co-workers, and fellow writers. When I think of all the people who have helped and encouraged me, I feel like I must be the most blessed person on earth.

AuthorScoop: At what time of day or night do you do your best writing?

Jaden: In an ideal world, 9 pm to 2 am. I’m something of a night owl, but I have a day job, so writing until 2 am is not really feasible these days. When I get that 6 million dollar movie deal, though…

AuthorScoop: Finally, what advice would you give to new or unpublished writers?

Jaden: Never stop learning. Never stop trying to be better at what you do. Persevere, but while you’re persevering, take workshops, read books on writing, study the work of writers you love. Do everything you can to make your writing shine and to make yourself the best writer you can possibly be. There is always room to grow.

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RACING THE DEVIL is available now and you can read a sample and then quick click to your favorite retailer to get your own copy. Visit her webpage and you’re on your way. Jaden Terrell is also at home on the web at her blog, Murderous Musings. Like her Facebook page to keep current with news and events.

Another 5 Minutes… With S.R. Johannes

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

AuthorScoop first met with SR Johannes this past December and we are delighted to have her back so soon, and with great news what’s more! She’s got a new book for the tween set, ON THE BRIGHT SIDE, just newly released and it looks terrific.

We’d like to thank her for coming back once again to take part in our “5 Minutes Alone” interview series.

AuthorScoop: Tell us a little about your new release, ON THE BRIGHT SIDE.

S.R. Johannes (Shelli): Gabby is a disgruntled tween angel who has just been assigned to protect her school nemesis and ex-beffie. Problem is her ex-beffie is dating Gabby’s longtime crush. Instead of protecting Angela, Gabby pranks her (since when is sticking toilet paper to her shoe or spinach in her teeth a sin?) Soon, Gabby gets out of control and is put on probation by her SKYAgent, who has anger management issues of his own. Determined to right her wrongs, Gabby steals an ancient artifact that allows her to return to Earth for just one day. Without knowing, she kicks off a series of events and learns what can happen when you hate someone to death.

AuthorScoop: Was it hard to kill off your main character right from the start and get her playing in the hereafter?

Shelli: Nope. An angel book doesn’t really work unless I kill at least one person off.

The hardest part was 1) making death funny and 2) creating a brand new world from scratch. I wanted to explore the light side of death and to do that I needed to get away from the religious aspects of Heaven. I could only do that by creating a fresh place called Cirrus.

AuthorScoop: Have the rigors of writing back-to-back books changed the way you read?

Shelli: Uh – yeah. I don’t have time to. I don’t get enough time to write as it is so if I read I want to be writing and vice versa. But I will say, these two books have both been written for several years so it’s not like I just wrote them in the last 2 months. It was just a matter of putting them out right. Which was exhausting and gave me very little time to read the last few months.

AuthorScoop: And with the hindsight of a serial YA novelist, what new advice would you offer to aspiring writers?

Shelli: Go with your gut. I’ve realized if I stick to my gut – I never go wrong for me. I find this comes with confidence though. If you are not confident – you are more easily persuaded by feedback. Don’t get me wrong, I get feedback and criticism, but if I am confident, I can tell what I need to change and what needs to stay – no matter what people say.

AuthorScoop: What’s next for S.R. Johannes?

Shelli: I am in an Anthology called IN HIS EYES coming Feb. 14th with me and about 15 other indie authors. The stories included come form our male protags and are written from his perspective about love and loss. I also plan to get the sequel to UNTRACEABLE (called UNCONTROLLABLE) out in the summer. I can’t really see beyond that right now

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ON THE BRIGHT SIDE is available now and S.R. Johannes runs a lovely website that will get you where you need to go for ordering and information. Just make a wish and click. She offers plenty of access via her social media page, and for more up-to-the-minute updates on Shelli and her work, be sure to check out her blog.