Meet The Author Monday – Tony J. Forder

This week we feature Tony J. Forder, author of crime thrillers, “Bad to the Bone” and “Degrees of Darkness”  Per our usual scheme around here. We will put Tony’s comments in GREEN while my questions will be in BLUE.

 

So Tony, tell us who you got your start in the literary world. What initially gave you that itch that only reading can scratch?
Whilst still at Primary school when my parents went to a parent-teacher evening, my teacher showed my parents the book I had in my desk. It was Thunderball, by Ian Fleming. I probably understood very little, but clearly I was an avid reader even then. Alan Garner’s book, The Weirdstone of Brisingamen, was the first book to spark my imagination enough for me to remember reading it. It was also one of the first books I bought my daughter. I’d also add A Christmas Carol as a book that influenced me.

Can’t argue with Fleming and Dickens. Great choices. I will have to check out Garner myself though. I have been reading more indies than traditional authors lately. What genre excites you the most? Having more than one is ok.
Crime thrillers, especially psychological thrillers, excite me. The thrill of the chase, the journey into evil minds, the trail of breadcrumb clues. I include espionage within the thriller genre. Thomas Harris and Michael Connelly are my favourite writers, though I also admire John Lecarre.

More great names. Most of my “crime thriller” comes via television, but I am sure the books are much more thrilling. When did you decide to cross that line and write your own stories?
I was still very young, but the magical world so finely linked with the normal world as portrayed in The Weirdstone of Brisingaman intrigued me enough to give it a go myself. All of my early writing stayed within the fantasy/dark fantasy vein, and then when Stephen King, James Herbert and Peter Straub entered my life, it was natural for my writing to expand to include horror.

King is one of my all time favorites. Do you consider yourself a writer of a specific genre? Or do you dabble in several?
I would mash myself up into a crime, psychological, mystery, suspense, espionage, thriller genre.

You have an interesting story as part of your publishing journey, why don’t you tell us how you got started.
As a child and teenager I wrote short stories all the time. Much later I decided to submit a story into a competition, and won it. It was judged by someone from Pan Books, and as part of my prize the story was published in Dark Voices 2 (the new Pan Book of Horror series).

I later had another story published by Pan, in Dark Voices 4, and a third in FEAR magazine.

After that I concentrated on novels. The first was a dark fantasy/horror blend which, whilst not awful, was not very good, either. But I was in a period where my reading habit were moving away from that genre and into the one I enjoy now, so it was natuarl for my writing to go that way as well.

Degrees of Darkness and Bad to the Bone were written, and then edited by someone I found on-line. Both came close to gaining either/or an agent and publisher, but not close enough.

Commitments to a new job plus a debilitating illness meant I stopped writing as much, little more than scraps of ideas or character sketches, etc. Then being made redundant seemed to re-open a door way for my imagination and inspiration, and suddenly I wanted to write again.

I established an on-line presence, made my books available on-line through Amazon, and am now well into another book.

Very exciting. What do you like to do in your spare time, aside from the day job?
I am now a part-time ICT consultant to education, and part-time writer. When not working, writing or reading I love music. I play guitar, and still practice quite a lot, and I listen to music as much as I can.

I’m a fan of both football and rugby union, and follow Chelsea FC and England.

I am married, with one daughter – who became my muse for Degrees, something we joke means I ought to be sending her to therapy for.

Perhaps she will write about her author father one day and you two can share the therapy bills. I know you have one last thing to share with my readers, a bit of inspiration I believe.
I attended a book signing for Dark Voices 2. I was surrounded by authors whose names were familiar to me. Early on I turned to Brian Lumley (the Necroscope series among others) and confessed that I felt out of place with all these proper writers. He said something I have never forgotten – that the moment you pluck a story from your imagination and set it to paper, you are a proper writer.

Quite inspiring, and so very true. Thank you for stopping by Tony and I wish you success with that next book. Anyone looking to find out more or catch up on what Tony is up to, can track him down at the below links.

Website
Facebook Page
Twitter @TonyJForder

 

If any authors out there would like to be featured on Meet The Author Monday, you can find the submission form HERE.

Meet the Author Monday – Zara Altair

Today on Meet the Author Monday we have Zara Altair here to tell us a little about herself and her books. As usual we will put my comments/questions in BLUE and our guest author will be GREEN.

I always like to start off with exploring out my guest authors entered the literary world. Is there a specific person or even that made you a reader?
Wow, Andrew, I’ve been reading since I could read at about the age of five. In our family, reading aloud was a daily tradition, so I could get more stories when I could read myself. Kipling was an early favorite. I loved the way he talked to you, O Best Beloved, as though he were telling the story just to you. Winnie the Pooh, Just So Stories, The Wind in the Willows, both Alice books, Albert Payson Terhune because I loved dogs. Those were early stories. When I was eight we moved to a small town with a local library. The limit was eight books out at any one time. Every Friday after school it was eight books out, eight books in.
Our family had an Encylopedia Britannica which also included a set of books about children in other lands. I read and reread those books.

What genre excites you the most these days?
I’m a reader omnivore. I like political thrillers, crime, mystery, history, the classics and read in English, French, Italian, and Spanish.

Four languages, that’s impressive. When did you decide that you didn’t want to just read stories, but make up your own?
When I was 5, yep, same time I was reading, I met an author of children’s books, Phyllis Ayer Sowers. (https://www.amazon.com/s?ie=UTF8&page=1&rh=n%3A283155%2Cp_27%3APhyllis%20Ayer%20Sowers) We visited her several times. Her books were stories about kids who lived in other lands. She was charming and gracious and did not talk down to me. That was the moment! In some form or another, I’ve been writing ever since. As a child I wrote stories that were set in foreign lands. As an adult I wrote science fiction.
I had years of short story rejections. When I look back at those stories now, I understand why.
I am a published poet with uncountable readings. I taught poetry to children and adults through the Poets-In-The-Schools program.
The stories I have out are short historical mysteries as part of an ongoing series.

That’s incredible that you were able to teach, a highly underrated profession. So what are you working on at the moment?
For the present, I am writing mysteries. They are fun to write. My longer work in progress is set in the same time period, early 6th Century Italy under the Ostrogoths, but is a thriller more than a mystery.
I started writing the mysteries, with the same protagonist, for fun while I work on the novel.

So a children’s author was a big catalyst for your desire to write. Where did your journey go from there?
Ah, the journey. That childhood dream was crushed by my father, who heavily criticized everything I wrote. Yeah, not fun. It took me a long time to recover from that “not good enough” feeling.
At one point I had an agent for a children’s book about a child who had a new sibling that come home from the hospital. There was a tussle with several publishers over including “umbilical cord” in the book. They felt it was too big for pre-schoolers to understand. My feeling was, Nonsense, every child knows Tyrannosaurus Rex. It didn’t get published. I still feel the same way. 🙂
I had ideas for more books, but was told that the agency would not represent me without an author platform and a marketing program in place. This was before the internet, the cost of PR managers and book tours seemed astronomical at the time.
More recently, I had a futuristic fantasy rejected several times.
Then I discovered the world of self-publishing! The world was wide open. I decided to share my short stories with no intention of making money. I have a tiny trickle of royalties each month.
The algorithms, and readers, like a minimum of three books. I’m working on the third story now.
Andrew, you are so right: it is a journey. Writing stories is just part of being an author. There’s setting up a website, writing articles/blogs, participating in social media, growing the fan base. And finding and working with a cover designer and editors…and writing more stories.
I have two editors, one content editor who catches those places where the story has a glitch like pacing and character development, and a copy editor who looks at sentence structure, wording, and the tiny elements of syntax. Each in their own way makes my stories better.

That’s great that you didn’t let rejection, either familiar or professional, get you down. The world of self-publishing is great for us “little guys” to get our stories out there. When you aren’t writing, how do you spend your time?
I live near Portland, Oregon among the tall trees by the side of a creek. It’s a peaceful environment, very conducive to writing time.
I work (day job) as a content writer focused on semantic writing for the web. I also have one current ghostwriting book project, a thriller. So when I’m not writing, I’m writing.
I consult with a select few writers on the writing process and their writing journey.
I’m a voracious reader. And I listen to audiobooks.
I love being outdoors and go on frequent trail walks.
My two grown children are two of my best friends. My son lives in Virginia with his wife and daughter (my granddaughter). My daughter lives with her husband in Hampshire County, England.

Clearly its difficult to keep your fingers off the keys or a pen out of your hands. I want to thank you for stopping by and introducing yourself Zara. Do you have any final thoughts or words of wisdom for my readers?
Thank you, Andrew, for the invitation to chat with you and your readers.
Someone asked me recently where I get my inspiration. Stories come to me and say, Tell me. It doesn’t stop until the story is told.
The idea for the Argolicus Mysteries came from a conversation with my daughter. She was telling me why I should go to Ravenna, Italy. As she chatted along, she said, “And he led his people across the frozen Danube and eventually came to Italy.” In my mind I wondered, what was it like to live then.
I did go to Ravenna and met with professors at Universitá di Bologna, Ravenna, who were amazed that some crazy woman from the West Coast of the United States wanted to write about Ravenna at the time of King Theodoric. I came home with 36 kilos of books which they generously gave me.
Fortunately, my daughter who had gone to school twice in Italy prepared me for Italian professors, you must prove your point before they answer a question. When I pointed to a mosaic of a ship and asked a professor if that was what ships looked like in 514 A.D. he answered: No, no, no. Then for forty minutes he rummaged around in his bookshelves showing me images of ships. For each one, I would answer something like: No, those were Visigoths in Spain and that was a few years later. I had a reason for why each illustration he showed me wasn’t right. At the end of 40 minutes, once again I held up the drawing of the ship and asked, So, in 514 the ships would look like this. He answered, Yes, yes, yes.
Research about the period is challenging because when the Emperor Justinian retook Italy, he had a major campaign to eliminate all evidence of the Ostrogoths.
Argolicus was a real person at the time of Theodoric’s reign in Italy. He is mentioned nine times in Cassiodorus’ Variae (iii 11, iii 12, iii 29, iii 30, iii 33, iv 22, iv 25, iv 29, iv 42) as praefectus urbis of Rome. His childhood and ongoing friendship with Cassiodorus come from my imagination as well as his retirement in the very southern tip of Italy, the setting for the mystery series.
His call to Ravenna and appointment as comitiacus officium in Felix Ravenna: A Mosaic also originated in an idea.
The mysteries are set far away from the capital in southern Italy in 512 A.D. Felix Ravenna: A Mosaic is set two years later in Ravenna during the year 514 A.D.
Your readers can find me on Amazon and just about anywhere ebooks are sold.
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I hope they will take the opportunity to look up your works. For those looking for Zara’s stories, here are the links you can use.

Website
Facebook Page
Twitter
You Tube
Google+
Amazon Author Page

And if any authors out there reading this want to be featured on Meet The Author Monday, You can CLICK HERE for more information.

MTAM- A.M. Rycroft 


For our first official Meet The Author Monday, my Gentle Readers, I have A.M. Rycroft, whose book “Into The Darkness” I recently reviewed. That book earned Rycroft a spot in the Horror Writers Association. In the style of my previous interviews, I will put my comments/questions in BLUE and she will be GREEN.

I always like to hear what introduced a writer to the literary world. Is there a specific person or event from your life that made you a reader?
My mother was a big reader, like her mother before her, so she was always buying me books and letting me pick out books as a child. So, I think it mostly comes from her.

What are you favorite genre(s) to read?
Typically, the same ones I write, so fantasy, horror, and sci-fi. I also delve into thrillers and some literary fiction from time to time.

Was there any particular person that inspired you to write?
I can’t say what got me going as a writer, other than reading a lot, but I started writing when I was little. I left it for art after high school, but when art school didn’t work out, I went back to writing. That’s worked out much better.
When you pick up that pen or tap those keys, what usually comes out?
Dark fantasy, mostly, with horror as my second love.

Let’s hear about your journey as a writer. How many works have you published, and what are your plans for the near future?
I have two books published in my dark fantasy series now. I decided to indie publish the first one last year and the second this year, because I like the control factor of indie publishing, as well as I wanted to get into publishing other people’s works. Right now, I’m wrapping up the first drafts to books 3 and 4 in the Cathell series and working towards publishing an anthology of other authors’works. They should all be on the shelves in early and mid 2017, which I’m very excited about.

I look forward to those new releases. I still need to get to the second Cathell book. Guess I have some catching up to do. When you are not writing, what consumes your time?
I do a little blogging, spend time with my spouse, and spend time at the gym. I’m a pretty big gym rat.

Healthy body helps the mind I think. Thanks for popping by A.M. And do keep us posted on those new releases. I’m sure my readers will enjoy the series as much as I did the first one.

If you want to find out more from this author you can find her at the following links.

Facebook

Twitter: @amrycroftwriter

Instagram: @mightyquillbooks

– Website: www.writinginadarkroom.com and www.mightyquillbooks.com

Amazon

Goodreads
And remember, if you are an author who wants to be featured on my Meet The Author Monday series, you can find more information by Clicking Here

Exciting News 1/13/2017

My Gentle Readers, this Friday the 13th, I do not bring you tales of horror to scare the bejeezus out of you. I bring you some exciting new things.

First off is a shiny new Submission Form to join my e-mailing list. Sadly I have a pathetic 10 subscribers at the time of this writing. When I reach 50, and for every 50 after that, I will randomly select one subscriber to get a free, signed copy of my novel, “Beginnings”. In the future this may change to include other items/books, but let’s start there shall we. You can also find the link at the top of this site.

Secondly, I am going to begin a new feature called, Meet the Author Mondays. This is to formalize the seemingly random interviews I have performed in the past and to introduce you, my lovely readers, to more small press, self published, and otherwise lesser known authors. I wouldn’t turn down an interview Stephen King, but it’s not likely he needs my help with publicity.

Don’t forget to check out those Book Reviews, collected neatly on one page located at the top of the site.

As always, Thank you for your support and Keep Reading.

Author Interview – David Pauly

Today my Gentle Readers, I have a fantasy author for you to meet. David Pauly has several books available on Amazon for your enjoyment. In the style of my previous interviews, I will put my comments/questions in BLUE and Lyons will be GREEN.

David 1.jpg

Thanks for stopping by, David. Let’s start with a good get to know you question. Since most writers are readers, can you tell my readers what brought you into the world of literature?

I learned to read initially due to my mother’s love for reading, which allowed her to ignore her children as much as possible. I then learned to escape from life as well through reading.

So what genre helps you escape?

My favorite genre is currently espionage thrillers or adventure style books.

Is there someone or something that inspired you to become a writer?

I was inspired to write due to wondering what would have come after the Lord of the Rings ended. Frankly I was highly disappointed that the books ended, and later during my divorce, I began to type a few lines about what I thought might happen. Soon, the lines became pages, which became chapters, which became a book. Then, once I did some research and found that the Tolkien estate adamantly refused to consider any writer’s attempt at a sequel, I began the really difficult task of re-writing the novel as my own work. The most challenging part was creating my own original world, and unique magical elements, so that my work was not simply a bad steal of other author’s material.

Fan Fiction can be difficult when it comes to copyrights. Glad you were able to repurpose your idea into something unique to you. Would fantasy then be the genre you prefer to write?
I prefer to write fantasy as my day job is solely based in reality, more about that later.

Let’s hear about your publishing journey. Any interesting stories there?
My original novel, was published as “Icarus Rising” in trade paperback by a really horrible publishing company called Black Rose Writing. I did not realize when I signed up with them, that they are a glorified self-publishing company where you have to fund a certain number of books. They have virtually no distribution networks, and their only promotions are tied into a continuous self-promotion by their owner Reagan Rothe and his books. But, that being said, Midwest reviewed Icarus and gave it 5/5 stars, so that was gratifying. Sending out query letters only resulted in silence or rejection slips, so I asked an agent in New York, Paul Witcover, to have a look at my QL. He did so, but then asked to read the first chapter of Icarus, which he tore to shreds in a good way. I engaged him as an editor and spent 2 years re-writing Icarus from the beginning. I kept the character names and much of the basic storyline, but edited ruthlessly and added chapters that Paul thought were necessary. Paul was absolutely instrumental in helping me craft a much better book. Now, as The Fourth Age, Shadow Wars, it is in my opinion a much better story, tighter, richer and stronger than Icraus was. I have sold about 100 copies of Shadow Wars, either as a complete novel, or in 3 smaller pieces that a local marketing guru said would be easier to sell.
Sounds like you had some bad luck and some really good luck. When you are not writing, what keeps you occupied?

My day job for the past 23 years is a trial lawyer, where I am paid to clean up other people’s mess. I have a culinary degree from Cordon Bleu–Paris and am a dedicated hobby chef. I collect Antique Japanese swords, and train in martial arts. I am re-married and we have a 4, soon to be 5 year old precocious daughter, named Melissa. We recently abandoned Albuquerque, New Mexico as too horrible to stand anymore, and Breaking Bad was literally filmed in front of my office and is much closer to the truth than people who live there like to admit. We have re-located to Australia.

A move to Australia sounds exciting. I hope it inspires some great stories for you. Thank you again for stopping by and chatting with me so I could introduce you to my readers.

If you want to find more about David or his work, please check out the links below.

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David Pauly’s Website

Find his work on Amazon

Author Interview- Adam Lynch

Today my Gentle Readers, I have another author to introduce you to. Adam Lynch is an author and musician I have recently met. In the style of my previous interviews, I will put my comments/questions in BLUE and Adam will be GREEN.

I always like to hear what brought someone to the literary world. What made you a reader?
I became a reader because I love learning new things. I love to be filled with new perspectives and have new insights. Wisdom and understanding in life is very important to me.

When you sit down with a book, what genre does it usually come from?
I read the bible mostly. But I enjoy Christian nonfiction as well. I also enjoy highly acclaimed self-help books such as Think and Grow Rich.

What inspired you to cross that line from reader to writer?
I wanted to bring my imagination to life. What better way to do that than to write stories?

I agree. There is no better way to share your imagination than through writing. What genre(s) do you prefer to write?
Fantasy, romance, and Christian fiction.

Tell me a little about your journey as a writer?
I’ve written 5 books and have self-published 4. My 5th book is currently in the hands of a literary agent, waiting to be considered for representation.


That sounds exciting, good luck with the agent. Hopefully it will work out. When you are not writing, what do you do with your time?

I exercise, spend time with friends and family, play guitar, go to concerts, anime conventions, dress up as my book characters, play video games, watch netflix, etc.

Dressing up as a character sounds like fun. Let’s share one of those pictures with my readers shall we?

 

You can find more information about Adam Lynch and his endeavors on his website, linked below. If you join his email list he is even giving away a copy of his first book free.

Adam Lynch’s Website – Leferia.com