Archive for the ‘interview’ Tag

Monthly Round-up: February 2015

(Cross-posted on the WriteClub blog)

As we reach the end of February, we see signs of the end of winter. Or at least we do here in the UK. I believe over the pond they are still up to their ears in snow and temperatures way too low for any civilised society. Have I mentioned how much I don’t miss those Canadian winters?

Anyway, in my world this month has seen builders and other tradespeople come and go as we get some improvement work done to our house. I’m sure the end result will be worth it, but as a creature of habit I hate the disruption, and having everything in the wrong place for several weeks has put me in altogether the wrong frame of mind to do anything writing-related. However, there is some news to report this month, so I move on to my update for the end of February.

COMING SOON

I do have some news in this category. I have just signed a contract with MuseItUp Publishing to republish my horror novel, SUFFER THE CHILDREN. Those who have been with me a while will know that this was my first published novel, released by Lyrical Press in 2010 on a three-year contract. I have always had a special fondness for this novel, seeing as how it was my ‘firstborn’, as it were, and I am pleased that Muse are able to offer it a new home, and give it the promotion that it deserves.

‘Coming soon’ is a tad misleading, though, since the release is tentatively scheduled for Spring 2016, and that feels like some time away.

PROMOTIONAL STUFF

There are a couple of new online appearances to report for February.

8 February – I was interviewed by Robbi Perna

15 February – I talked about how to beat writer’s block on Iona Brodie’s blog.

WORK IN PROGRESS

Work continues, slowly but surely, on the third Shara Summers novel, SPOTLIGHT ON DEATH.

As for the new horror novel, well it’s sort of finished. I’ve started querying it again. Whether or not it is definitively finished rather depends on what kind of feedback I get on it. I will be sure to keep you posted.

That’s it for now. See you next month!

Monthly Round-Up: December 2014

(Cross-published on the WriteClub blog)

Well we’re not only at the end of the month, we’re at the end of the year, so this will be a more general overview of 2014.

OUT NOW

It’s been a rather good year for me with regard to publications. The first two Shara Summers novels were both published by MuseItUp this year, and in addition I had a story in the anthology THE DARK HEART OF PEEPING TOM.

And if you haven’t got around to buying DEATH SCENE and DEAD COOL yet, I’m including the links…

PROMOTIONAL STUFF

Two guest appearances for me this month.  I was on Conda’s Creative Centre blog talking about the complicated love life of Shara Summers – despite my constant denials that I write romance.  Then I was interviewed for Suzanne’s Thoughts for the Day.

I’ve been quite busy with guest appearances on the Internet this year, and the complete list can be found on my website.

WORK IN PROGRESS

Well, what can I say here?  I have several projects on the go at once.

The good news is, I have started writing the third Shara Summers book, which is currently titled ‘Spotlight on Death’.  But I’m in a very early stage of the first draft, so there’s a long way to go.  My aim is to get it to final draft stage by this time next year, but that might be being a tad ambitious.  We shall see.

The horror novel in progress, THE WHISPERING DEATH I was busy rewriting and then I got a bit tangled up when I realised the changes I had made to the draft meant the ending now made no sense.  However, since then I’ve worked out how I can fix it.  I am hoping that by the end of January I will have this novel in a fit state to start submitting.  I’m also not going back to the day job until Monday, so I’ve got the rest of this week to work on it.  Hopfully I can make significant progress in the next five days.

I will be back next year with more information about goals for 2015.  In the meantime, I wish everyone a Happy New Year, however you choose to celebrate the end of the old year and the dawn of the new.

Monthly Round-up: July 2014

(Cross-posted on the WriteClub blog)

And I’m back for a look at what’s been going on writing-wise in my world for the past month.

COMING SOON:

Edits continue apace on both DEATH SCENE and DEAD COOL – in fact these have been keeping me extremely busy for the last few weeks. DEAD COOL is currently at a more advanced stage than DEATH SCENE.

It is looking likely at this stage that DEATH SCENE will have a mid-September release, and DEAD COOL will follow a month later. The good news is, pre-orders will be able to be placed and logged ahead of release date. The bad news is, I think this facility is only available to people in the US & Canada. My British fans are going to have to hold off until Autumn.

PROMOTIONAL NEWS:

I’ve been rather busy making guest appearances over the Internet over the past month. Here is a list of where you can find me, along with the links.

16 June – Susan A Royal (interview & blog swap)
17 June – Heather Fraser Brainerd & David Fraser (interview)
24 June – Heather Greenis (guest post)
25 June – The Poet’s Fire (interview)
8 July – Helena Fairfax (guest post)
10 July – Mary Waibel (interview)

Convention-wise, I went to the Theakstons Old Peculier crime writing festival in Harrogate earlier this month. I met up with a lot of other crime writers, and handed out postcards with the cover image of DEATH SCENE on. I also left a pile of them on the book swap table, where everyone seemed to be leaving their promotional cards, and I was happy to note that they all disappeared. Whether or not this interest will manifest into sales I don’t know, but I am happy that the cover is attracting people’s interest. That’s the first step, anyway.

Next up is the Nineworlds Geekfest convention in London in August, where the writing group is running a workshop of writing exercises designed to beat writers’ block, and I will be participating in a panel on ‘Noir’ fiction in all its forms.

WORK IN PROGRESS:

I’ve actually got three, and they are all at a bit of an impasse.

1) The Collaboration:

This is the 1960s crime thriller I am working on with hubby. We worked on the plotting together, and I have finished the first draft, which I have since passed to him to read. He is presently working on plot holes that we need to work out how to fix.

2) The horror novel:

I believed this one to be finished, and earlier in the year I was sending it out. But identical comments were coming back with the rejections, which made me realise it needs another polish. I have yet to sit down and redraft it.

3) The third Shara book:

This began life a number of years ago as the second Shara book, and lurched to a halt because I had not plotted it properly. I abandoned it and started writing the novel that would eventually become DEAD COOL. Recently I’ve hauled it out in an attempt to dust it off and give it another go. But I need to fix the plot problems first, and take into account the fact that Shara starts this novel in a different place than she original did, after the events of DEAD COOL. It has been calling out to me to get back to it. But I know that if I start writing it again without working out the plot problems first, I’m going to stall in the same place I did the first time around. I will say that it’s not that I don’t know who the murderer is, because I do. It’s the middle bit that’s giving me problems with this one, and the logistics behind how Shara solves the murder.

I am ashamed to say that in spite of having three works on the go, I haven’t done much work on any of them for nearly three weeks. My excuse is that having two books to edit has been keeping me busy. But that’s not a very good excuse.

I am setting a pledge to myself. By the time I come to you with August’s update, I must have made progress on at least one of these WIPs.

Till next time, then…

Monthly Round-Up: June 2014

(Cross-posted on the WriteClub blog)

In an attempt to try and be more diligent in my writerly blogs – which are technically supposed to happen once a week, on Wednesdays (sorry, I’m a day late) – I am endeavouring to make the round-up post a monthly feature.  This will be a regular update on forthcoming releases, works in progress and promotional appearances.  Without further ado, here is the news for this month.

COMING SOON:

The MUI re-release of DEATH SCENE is at line edit stage so progressing well. Still no confirmed release date, but likely to be end of June.  Watch this space for more news.

Edits on DEAD COOL are also progressing.  This is scheduled for release in the Autumn, so it’s likely to be September/October time.  My editor has been enthusing about what a good read it is, so I am feeling encouraged.

PROMOTIONAL NEWS:

I’ve been busy with the publicity train this month, with two guest appearances in the first half of June, and I’m talking about DEATH SCENE and my writing process in both.  Marsha West features me as her Tuesday author chat and I’m also chatting to fellow crime writer Joan C Curtis this week on her Joan Says blog.  Joan and I are clearly on the same wavelength – not only do we both write crime, but we have both got the same idea for blog names (since mine began life as Sara Says).

Next month I will also be attending the Theakstons Crime & Mystery Conference at Harrogate, Yorkshire, to hang out with other crime writers.

WORK IN PROGRESS:

I am nearing the end of the first draft of the 1960s crime thriller.  As this is a collaboration with my husband, I will be handing it to him once the first draft is done, for him to do some work on it.  We’ve never collaborated on a project before and this one is in an early stage, so it will be a bit of a learning curve for both of us.

And the third Shara Summers book is currently demanding quite loudly to be written.  So I would like to get started on that soon.

That’s about it for this month.  Further updates to come in July!

Another Promotional Roundup

(Cross-posted on the WriteClub blog)

This blog has been a bit quiet of late, and for that I apologise.  We had an unexpected burst of Spring here in London last weekend, and we all went rushing outside to make the most of it.  Sadly it seemed to have been a blip, with normal UK weather restored in time for the working week.  After basking in the garden in a t-shirt on Sunday, I was obliged to get back into my coat and scarf on Monday.  Still, at least the rain has been holding off of late.

And in the meantime I’ve been very busy in cyberspace, with two more guest appearances in the last week or so.

First up, I was interviewed by Pete Sutton for his BRSBKBLOG blog, which is described as ‘Adventures in Publishing’.  We talked a lot about the creation of my amateur sleuth Shara Summers, and the forthcoming re-release of DEATH SCENE, and you can find the interview here.

This week, I’ve been visiting ‘Waibel’s World‘, blog of fellow MuseItUp author Mary Waibel, and talking about how being a writer is both a curse and a blessing.

And finally, it’s just over two weeks until the Sci Fi Weekender in Wales, my first Con of 2014.  This year, not only am I going, I’m on the programme.  I’m very excited to have received preliminary details this week about the panels I’ll be on.  All will be revealed soon!

In the meantime, if you’ll be at the Con, do stop by and say hello.

Commercial Break

(Cross-posted on the WriteClub blog)

As we settle into 2014 I’ve been rather busy with promotional stuff, so I thought it was appropriate for a general update on what I’ve been up to of late.

Firstly, a round-up of guest appearances on the Internet for 2014. At the end of January, I featured on Chris Weigand’s Palace of Twelve Pillars blog, talking about how I was inspired to create my amateur sleuth Shara Summers. Earlier this month I visited Janie Franz’s blog Anasazi Dreams, talking about ambition and discipline being the tools of a writer. And most recently I’ve visited Helena Fairfax’s blog, where we’ve been reminiscing about childhood holidays in Blackpool.

All of this is an endeavour to drum up interest in the Shara Summers series, as the first two books are being released by MuseItUp this year. The first, DEATH SCENE, is a re-release. The previous version is no longer available, but the re-release will be out in the summer. If you haven’t been introduced to Shara yet, this is the one to start with. And if you’ve already read DEATH SCENE, a new publisher means new round of edits, so this version will be slightly different than the first.

If you enjoy meeting Shara in the first book, the second book in the series, DEAD COOL, will be released in Autumn so you won’t have to wait too long to catch up with her again.

Thus far, I don’t have definitive release dates or covers for either book. But you’ll be the first to know when I do, so watch this space.  In the meantime, if you want a sneak peek, there’s a blurb about each on the ‘Coming Soon’ page on my website.

And finally, if your tastes run to darker fiction, I’ve got some back listed horror titles that might be to your liking. SUFFER THE CHILDREN – available on the Kindle (US and UK) – is a supernatural horror novel with its roots based in mythology. And SOUL SCREAMS – available in print and ebook – is a collection of short horror stories about “that inner scream no one can hear but you”. It’s recently received some rather positive reviews on Goodreads, and if creepy stories are your thing, it might be right up your alley.

All this is why I’ve not had much time for the blog recently.  But of course that’s a poor excuse, and I hope that from now on I can improve on this year’s track record.

If you’ve recently discovered this blog, I bid you welcome and I hope you’ll stick around for a while.  If you’ve been following from the beginning, I’d like to say thank you for bearing with me – your support means a lot.  It’s going to be a busy year for me, writing-wise, and I hope you’ll join me for the ride.

Monday’s Friend: Sonya Clark

Today I am interviewing once more the uber-talented Sonya Clark, following the release of her latest novel TRANCEHACK.  Welcome, Sonya!

SJT:  TRANCEHACK is a bit more sci-fi and romance than your previous works have been.  What was the inspiration behind it?

SC:  For starters, I wanted to do something different. I’ve always been as big a fan of sci-fi as I am of paranormal, but I’d never gotten close to writing it before. I had the idea to blend cyberpunk and magic, which is there the book’s title comes from. Trancehacking refers to the particular magical skill in the book of using astral projection to enter cyberspace. I drew inspiration from Neuromancer by William Gibson, and also the classic sci-fi noir film Blade Runner. I wanted to blend magic and technology in a futuristic noirish dystopia.

I also wanted the Magic Born trilogy to be more romance-oriented than the urban fantasy I’d written before. I love reading romance, and loved writing the romantic elements in my urban fantasy. It wasn’t a stretch to put the romance on an equal footing with the rest of the plot.

SJT:  Do you have any little rituals that are part of your writing routine?

SC:  The closest thing I have to a writing ritual is putting together a playlist for the world and characters. Music is my way into a story. Once I know what a story “sounds” like, I can start writing. Figuring out what a story set in the future sounded like was a bit daunting at first, but I found music that worked for me. I listened to a lot of Depeche Mode and a lot of house music while writing this.

SJT:  If you were going away for a year and could only take one book, what would it be?

SC:  This question makes me all panicky. Can I take my Kindle instead? 🙂 I have no idea. Some of my favourite books are part of a series, so if I could only take one series, I might choose The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. I’d due for a re-read of that one, anyway.

SJT:  All your books feature magic in some form.  What do you think attracts you to writing about magic?

SC:  I find it inspiring. There’s a possibility for endless creativity there, and so much to explore. As much as I know, I could not name *all* of the magical systems practiced in the world. In writing about magic, you’re never going to run out of things to learn and explore.

SJT:  When you set up the magical rules of your world, do you draw from the magic of myths and legend, or do you set up your own system, with your own rules?

SC:  Usually I start with established rules, then make my own to suit the story and my own curiosity. That’s where the combination of magic and technology in the Magic Born series came from. I wanted to explore these ideas and possibilities. For this I didn’t really do any research. I just sat down and made a list of things in city life that might correspond with the traditional magical elements. For example: Fire = neon and streetlight. Earth = concrete and steel. Air = cyberspace and computers. Water = music and crowds. Then I just went from there and figured out how to develop spells and things as needed.

SJT:  Because I know you’re as big a Buffy fan as I am, and that you are re-watching the series, I have to ask this question.  How would you explain Buffy to those people who have never seen it and say, “isn’t it like Twilight?  Girl in love with vampire?” (let’s assume we can’t hit them over the head…)

SC:  Are you sure we can’t hit them over the head?

SJT:  Let’s pretend we can’t!

SC:  Ha ha. I would start by saying, Buffy is actually more like “vampire in love with a girl.” This is very much her story, she is the central character and the character with the most strength. She is the one pursued by her vampire lovers Angel and Spike. She is the one in both of those relationships with the power. I know it doesn’t always seem that way, but I’ve thought this for a while and now that I’m rewatching the series from the beginning, I still think this.

There are lots of other differences, too. Buffy never lets her romantic life rule her like Bella did. She still has her friends and family. Of course the biggest difference is that Buffy has purpose to her life. I could understand how the first couple of Twilight books could be found compelling, but the fact that Bella didn’t seem to want anything out of life, that she seemed directionless and purposeless without a boyfriend – at first blush I found that weird, and then the more I thought about it, I found it disturbing. Buffy always struggles for normalcy in her life, but she never shies away from her calling as a slayer, either. She knows that this is the greatest purpose in her life, for better or worse.

SJT:  It’s been a rather busy year for you.  What’s next for you, writing-wise?

SC:  The second Magic Born book is in edits right now and scheduled for release next summer, and I’ll soon be starting the last book in the trilogy. I’ve got some other irons in the fire, as well. Mostly my goal is to just keep telling stories. 🙂

TRANCEHACK BLURB

trancehackIt’s 2065. Those born with magic abilities live in government-run zones, without rights or freedoms. Fear of magic created this segregated world and fear keeps it intact.

A high-profile murder brings Detective Nathan Perez to Magic Born Zone 13. He’s had little experience with the Magic Born and isn’t sure what to expect during his first encounter with a witch, but he never thought he’d be so drawn to her.

Trancehacker Calla Vesper uses magic to break into computers and aid the Magic Born underground. She has no interest in helping a cop, even if he is smoking-hot, but money’s tight and Nate offers a tidy amount for help navigating the Zone. Calla’s determined to keep it all business, but sparks start flying before the investigation even gets started.

When Calla’s trancehacking and Nathan’s investigation uncover a conspiracy, Calla becomes a target. Nate can protect her by keeping her role a secret—but then who will protect Nate?

Available in digital format from Carina Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online book retailers.

About Sonya Clark:

Sonya Clark grew up a military brat and now lives in Tennessee with her husband and daughter. She writes urban fantasy and paranormal romance with a heavy helping of magic and lots of music for inspiration. Learn more at http://www.sonyaclark.net. Find her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

Monday’s Friend: Rie Warren

Today I’m interviewing romance writer Rie Warren. Welcome, Rie!

SJT:  When did you realise you were destined to be a writer?

RW:  I started dabbling with erotic poetry in college—which came as quite a surprise to my college professor, lol! I became more serious about writing in the mid-nineties when I was living in England and on a visa restriction that didn’t allow me to work for six months. After buying my first computer—a ridiculously huge Apple Mac—I spent the next four months writing my first novel. It’s around here somewhere…

 SJT:  You have a degree in Fine Art, but now you write instead of paint.  What do you think are the differences and similarities in these two forms of artistic expression?

 RW:  I believe the similarities stretch to all of the arts and include the ability to visualize a scene and to create that vision so others may view it no matter what medium you use. The difference for me is in the medium. I stopped painting and took up writing because I was no longer able to create the picture I wanted with brushstrokes and paint. The end product stopped matching what I had in my head. Words became easier to manipulate, and even when they took on a life of their own, they inspired awesome new events or plot twists.

 SJT:  Are you a meticulous plotter or a seat-of-the-pantser?

RW:  I’m a meticulous combination of both *wink*. I loosely plot all the chapters first, and I usually already have quite a few snippets of dialogue, scene placement, important events scribbled down that I slot into specific chapters. Now, once I start writing, I do stick basically to my script but as I mentioned above, there’s always a shocking surprise or two that happens during writing! I love those moments. I’d say there’s always a structure to my stories and amid that, there’s an organic flow of creative juices.

 SJT:  Who would you cite as your influences?

RW:  This is a tough one. I don’t aspire to be the next ‘such-and-such’ author, but I do pay very close attention when I read a book, studying plot and pacing, world building, hero vs. heroine characterization, and I’m a sucker for kick-ass verbs! I read across a lot of genres…as a writer I think that brings a layer of richness to my own work.

in his comman revise--COVER FINAL FINALSJT:  Tell us about your new release, IN HIS COMMAND.  What’s the story behind this story?

RW:  IN HIS COMMAND is the ultimate forbidden love story! In the dystopian future where homosexuality and deviant sexual behaviors are outlawed, two men are thrown together when a revolution rips through their city. They are forced on a month-long trek to a secure outpost, fighting sabotage, secrecy, and intense attraction for one another along the way.

The story behind the story is pretty simple (you know, once I pare it down, shave it back, and pretend I didn’t angst for months and months over it *grins*). I’ve always been in love with the dystopian genre…and m/m stories. After my year-long phase reading The Hunger Games, etc., I decided to write my futuristic series, but make it for adults. The oppressive regime I created was a direct offshoot of this being a m/m novel, and once I had that in the bag, the characters, the worlds, the intense scenes and high stakes love story all started speaking to me. In fact, they wouldn’t shut up!

The second book—ON HER WATCH–is already complete, with my editor at Forever Yours, and will be released in April, 2014.

 SJT:  As an American girl with a British husband, it seems you’ve got a bit of an international household.  What cultural differences have stood out for you in your travels?

RW:  Easy things to point out are: Americans like it bigger ;). We like our huge appliances, cars, and meals. True story. One difference I really loved about living abroad was the ease of travel without having to own a car. I walked everywhere (part of that was sheer terror at the idea of driving on the wrong side of the vehicle on the wrong side of the road, not gonna lie). And when I wanted to travel, I just hopped a bus or train!

I read a recent update from a friend traveling in Europe, saying, ‘Why don’t they have ice? Why do they drink everything lukewarm?’ Ha, ha, ha, I thought that was really funny. But, of course, if you live anywhere long enough, these little quirks become entirely normal. Except for the weather. I’m sorry, I just couldn’t handle the rain after several non-stop years of it. I need the sun to function.

 SJT:  We don’t like it much either – there is a reason why it is a British tradition to complain about the weather!  What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

RW:  Sleep! Sleep, sleep, and more zzzzzz…… I love to read, and I really love getting hooked into a fantastic series. Newest guilty pleasure: I can’t stop watching Hell on Wheels on amc. Just do yourself a favor and go Google Anson Mount/Cullen Bohannon, then come talk to me about him.

Thanks so much for having me today, Sara-Jayne! I had a blast and I’ll be around to reply to any comments.

BUY LINKS FOR ‘IN HIS COMMAND:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AG0VN32
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/in-his-command-rie-warren/1113852021?ean=9781455574148

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/in-his-command/id582157368?mt=11

 Find Rie on SOCIAL MEDIA:

 https://www.riewarren.com

https://www.facebook.com/RieWarrenRomance

https://twitter.com/RieWrites

 

Monday’s Friend: Luke Walker (interview)

Today I am pleased to welcome Luke Walker back to my blog, to tell us all about his new novel ‘SET.

Luke WalkerSJT:  Welcome, Luke. It’s Women In Horror Month!  Tell us about your favourite women in horror?

LW:  So many to choose from. I love Beverly from Stephen King’s IT. Same with Rose from King’s Rose Madder. Cass from Alison Littlewood’s A Cold Season was a great character. You really get into her head and heart while she’s trying to work out what’s happening with her son. Going back a while, Mina Harker from Dracula was much more interesting than any film adaptation of her character. And obviously Geri Paulson from my first book. J

SJT:  You write about your own women in horror.  The main character of your new book, ’SET, is a woman who’s lost a child.  Tell us more about the book.

LW: ’Set (short for Sunset) is the name of the world between life and death. The book is more of a dark fantasy than straight horror. My first book, The Red Girl, was out and out horror so it’s nice to have something a little less dark for this one. Anyway, it’s about a woman named Emma who’s contacted by an angel and demon to help them sort out a blockage in death. An old guy, recently dead, is leading a rebellion against what he sees as unfair death. This means that while people are dying, they’re not moving on to Heaven or Hell. And that means the halfway place between our world and the afterlife, ’Set, is growing in an effort to reach the dead. Eventually, it’ll reach the living world. The soul of Emma’s stillborn daughter is somewhere in ’Set and she has to work with Heaven and Hell if she wants to save her daughter and everybody else.

SJT:  The death of a child is a very emotive topic.  How did you come to write about this?

LW:  I wanted a female character who’s strong and determined for the most part, but who’s dealing with a terrible grief and anger. Obviously they’re negative emotions, but they’re also powerful. I wanted someone who’s trying to do some good even though she’s motivated by that strong negativity.

Emma has been through a bad relationship and then a horrible experience. Once she learns what’s happening, her thinking is more how can I help my daughter’s soul than anything bigger. As the plot progresses and the stakes get higher, she has to develop that idea.

SJT:  Do you think it’s harder for men to write about women and vice versa?

LW:  I’m not sure. I like writing about either. As long as the character fits the story, I’m happy. I’ve read fiction from men with a female POV that I’ve felt was lacking just as I’ve read women writing about men that didn’t work. With one of my books (not ’Set), a female friend told me, generally speaking, women tend to think their way around problems while men think through them. At the same time, a person’s actions also depend on the situation as well as gender. For example, the scene my friend referred to featured a woman trapped in a house with a potential threat at the front of the house and no keys to the back door. She briefly considers breaking a window but knows there’s no furniture she can move by herself that would be big enough to break a window. While a man might smash the window without much more thought, the woman knows she has to find the key.

Like I say, I’m happy and comfortable with writing about either gender and from either POV as long it’s the right one for that story. Whether or not I get it right is up to the reader.

SJT:  In order to scare one’s readers, the horror writer must deal with things that they themselves fear.  Do you agree with this?  Do you write about things that scare you?

LW:  Fear can be one of our most personal emotions. One person’s terror is another person’s indifferent shrug just like one person’s offensive joke is another’s harmless giggle. Some people would rather chew off their own hand than be anywhere near a snake. And some people are probably scared of the person scared of snakes chewing off their hand.

It’s a personal thing. For example, I HATE going to the dentist. Teeth give me the creeps. Plenty of people reading that will think it’s stupid to feel that way, but it doesn’t change a thing for me any more than it would change another’s feelings if they were scared of clowns.

At the same time, there are universal fears. We’re all scared of something happening to a loved one. Everybody’s imagination kicks in when it’s late and your child or spouse is still out and you can’t get hold of them, when the phone rings in the middle of the night, when you’re in bed and there’s a noise outside. Whatever your background, things like scare everyone. And it’s interesting to note none of those examples are supernatural. They’re all real-world fears, and that’s the stuff that works on everyone. So while I love using the supernatural as a springboard for plots and events, I like to contrast it with real life issues. Probably why my characters are always in a pub.

SJT:  What’s the scariest story you’ve ever read?

LW:  If we’re talking novel, Stephen King’s Pet Sematary is up there. King nails the whole something happening to your family thing and puts it with a creepy, desolate feel that comes from the story’s location. And for short fiction, Poe’s The Cask of Amontillado, which I read when I was about ten, is creepy as hell. The thought of being bricked up like that. . . in the dark. . .alive. . .brr.

SJT:  Yes, that concept scares me, too. If you had the opportunity to start your writing career over again, would you do anything different?

LW:  It took me a long time to understand that while writing is an art (or at least, it can be), publishing is a business. Publishing doesn’t care if you feel that you’re a writer or you could be one if only you weren’t spending all your time watching TV or on Facebook. Publishing cares about how well you write and how focused you are. While I never had the problem of talking about writing while not actually writing, I wasn’t focused on the business side of it until a few years ago. With that in mind, I should have been more focused on what I was writing instead of just thinking selling my fiction would take care of itself. So writing a long sequel to a book I hadn’t sold wasn’t my best idea in terms of business. Nor was writing a too short sequel to another book I hadn’t sold. While all my earlier writing helped me improve to the point I’m at now, I wish I’d been more aware of the professional side of writing.

SJT:  Apart from the release of ’SET, what else have you got lined up this year?

LW:  One of my short stories will be published in Vol 4 of Postscripts To Darkness which is out near the end of the year. The story is called Echidna (and funnily enough, also features a female MC). I wrote the original story a few years back and it was a little ropey, to be honest. Amateurish is probably the kindest thing you could call it. The crime/thriller author Jennifer Hillier read that version and really liked it. I had her in mind when I went back to it to see if I could improve it. As it turned out, I could.

I’m hoping a horror novella I finished recently finds a home. It owes a bit to HP Lovecraft and was a lot of fun to write. Other than that, planning and writing another book, and maybe the odd short story.

SJT:  So with your name, are you a Star Wars fan, or do you get annoyed when people call you Luke Skywalker?

LW:  I’m 35 so I’ve heard that joke approximately nine billion times. For what it’s worth, I came out before the film. Also for what it’s worth, my dad named me after Paul Newman. And no, I can’t eat that many boiled eggs.

BIO

Luke Walker began writing stories as a child and hasn’t stopped since. His fiction now is a little darker than it was back then. The flying teddy bears are out; horror, fantasy, death, suffering, pain and more horror are in. He is currently working on a horror novella and a full-length horror/mystery.

Luke is in his thirties and lives in England with his wife, two cats and what his wife thinks are too many zombie films. The cats are fairly blasé about the quantity.

To learn more about Luke and his writing, check out his blog, Die Laughing.

Monday’s Friend: Calisa Rhose

Today I’m interviewing romance writer Calisa Rhose on my blog. Welcome, Calisa.

Hi! I’m Calisa Rhose. What a thrill to be here today. Thank you for inviting me to your lovely blog, Sara Jayne.

SJT: When did you first know you were destined to be a writer?

CR:  I’ve been writing since I was around twelve years old. I started with poems and by the time I was fifteen I had begun writing love stories. I’ve dreamed of getting published since I was twelve or so and discovered my gramma’s Harlequin medicals.

 SJT:  Who would you cite as your influences?

Risk Factors300dpiCR:  Hm That’s a hard question because I don’t think I really have any influences as far as writing goes. But I took a lot of years off writing to raise my girls and when I came back I discovered authors like Nora Roberts and some lesser known romance authors at the time, Bronwyn Jameson and Emily Rose to name a couple, who gave me the courage to finally jump in with both feet and submit my first book in 2005.

 SJT:  What advice would you pass on to beginner writers that you wish someone had told you when you were first starting out?

CR:  It’s a long hard road but if you keep writing, reading and most of, for me, learning the craft it helps get over those rough spots. One thing I can say (slipping on my editor’s hat here) is if a writer–no matter where you are in your journey–will work hard to really edit and polish a manuscript (bleed all over it if necessary) BEFORE you submit, the less you’ll find in edits when you do send your baby in.

 SJT:  Are you at meticulous planner or a seat-of-the-pantser?

CR:  I’m a pantser for the most part, though there are times when planning out helps too. I rarely plot and when I do, I rarely follow the plan–but there are those times when it does help. J

SJT:  What is it about romance that draws you to write it?

CR:  Love, romance, the happy ever after. We know in real life a HEA is not always the case, but in my books I KNOW it will come. The journey is the best part. The trials, learning curves and growth of my characters is something I enjoy crafting and watching develop.

 SJT:  What was the inspiration behind your forthcoming release RISK FACTOR?

CR:  Haha That’s a funny story. My critique partner, Melinda Pierce challenged the whole group to write something, anything, for HQN/M&B’s Medical Fast Track Initiative in 2010. I don’t write medical but decided to accept her challenge, sure they would reject me on chapter one. I made it through to requested revisions, 8 months of them, before I decided in August 2011 that maybe M&B wasn’t the place for this particular story, and I should submit it somewhere else. That new place was Lyrical Press in Feb. 2012 when Editor In Chief Piper Denna did a blog pitch. She requested the full and then offered a contract in June that same year.

 SJT:  Are you ever inspired to put people you know in real life in your books?

Andee_Austin Taylor-5-24-12_resizeCR:  There is this one pediatric orthopedic specialist who treated my granddaughter, Andee’s arm when she broke it last year whom I would love to put in a book. I might change his profession, but his name and looks are what romance heroes are made of; Austin Taylor–I even warned him it could happen. LOL Other than that, I haven’t been tempted to put real people in my books as such. All people I meet inspire every character in some way though.

 SJT:  What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

CR:  I have an old horse and we’ll go riding in warmer weather. Year round I love to spend time with family. I also read when I can. I like to sew and craft too.

Thanks again for having me, Sara Jayne!

I’d like to ask your readers what they would like to see in a book? Who knows, if someone gives me a great and unusual idea it might turn up in a plotline sometime soon. 🙂

BIO

Calisa Rhose is an Okie, born and bred, through and through, and proud of it. While growing up, when she wasn’t on the back of a horse, she could be found with pen and paper in hand. Her writing career began with poetry in her younger days. Then she discovered Rock-n-Roll and cute musicians. Poetry turned into stories of romance and dreams. These days she lives with the same man who convinced her to take a romantic journey with him almost 30 years ago. After raising three strong daughters she spends her days loving their granddaughters, hoping for a boy someday, and writing. When she’s not writing, you can find Calisa putting on her editor hat and working to help other published and aspiring writers.

She is working on more projects with her favored contemporary cowboys, first responders  and firemen. She plans to have some paranormal stories on the way to publication soon, as well (under a pen name tba).

Find out more about Calisa at her website, and you can also find her on Goodreads, Amazon, Facebook and on Twitter (@CalisaRhose)