Meet The Author Monday – K.C. Dreisbach

Welcome to another edition of Meet The Author Monday. This week we are going to talk a little bit with K.C. Dreisbach, author of Trials of The Working Parent. This Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist tackles the tough topic of balancing parenthood with a career. Per usual, my comments/questions will be in BLUE and K.C. will be in GREEN.

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Thanks for stopping by K.C. The issues you tackle in your book are near and dear to my heart, being a working parent myself. Before we get into that, let’s talk about some of your earliest experiences with reading.
Although reading is one of my absolute favorite hobbies now, it wasn’t always. As a child, I struggled to read. I’m not sure if it was because I was learning to speak two different languages at once, or if it was due to an undiagnosed learning disability, but my kindergarten teacher at that time didn’t make things any easier. It’s a long story, but I experienced significant amounts of emotional and psychological abuse from that teacher…. And I never said anything about it. I grew to hate school, lying desperately to avoid having to go. Eventually, my parents switched me to a new school, and there, my 1st Grade teacher was able to detect that I had been abused.

Sounds like someone who shouldn’t be teaching. But I am glad that things got better for you. With the abuse uncovered, where did things go from there?
Reading was an uphill battle, and even though my reading skills improved, my hate for it didn’t change. It didn’t matter what my parents did, I hated reading and writing with a deep, loathing passion. Things didn’t change until my father gave me a gift that would be a game-changer for me. That gift was a copy of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” I didn’t even look at it until a year later when the series became hugely popular. All my friends were reading it, so I decided to give it a try. I was hooked! And after that, I became an avid reader.

Rowling definitely knows how to put together a story. She is one of my favorite current authors. Have you stuck with fantasy or do you have other favorites now?
Definitely fantasy, especially epic fantasy. But I’m open to pretty much all fiction. I struggle a little more with non-fiction, but I’ve read some stuff I enjoy in that category too.

With the earlier struggles you faced with reading and writing, what made you decide to cross the line from reader to writer?
Truthfully, I wrote my first short story when I was in 3rd Grade as part of a class assignment. My teacher was so impressed by it, she passed it on to my principal to read. This was the first time, but it wasn’t the last. In each grade, there was always an assignment that revolved around writing a story. I think the next one that I received attention for my writing was in 7th Grade, where I had to write an alternate ending to a short story.

Eventually, I started writing regularly in my spare time, and I completed my first novel when I was about 20 years old, after working on it for 5 years. I never attempted publishing it, but it was truly a wonderful feeling to complete it, and it inspired me to work on my next project.

So, to answer your question, I don’t think there was a “moment” really. I think it was more of a gradual transition, slowly evolving from non-reader to writer.

An incredible journey given your literary beginnings. I’m glad you saw your way through the initial difficulties. What is your preferred genre when you put fingers to keys, or pen to paper?
I definitely dabble in many. My current published work is a non-fiction book on parenting while maintaining a career. I am a licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, so I’m currently writing about parenting and family relationships. But, I also write fiction, though I haven’t attempted to publish any of it. I hope to break into publishing my works of fiction within the next few years, however.

I hope you will as well. There is always room for a fresh voice, especially in fantasy, at least in my humble opinion. Tell us about your journey from writer to “published writer”.
I think the biggest journey for me has been the writing. Trying to find an opportunity to write with two young kids and a full-time job has proven to be quite challenging. I’ve written a few fiction novels, but none that I have felt ready to share with the larger world yet. The first book I truly felt ready to publish was “Trials of the Working Parent.” It was scary though because it was a very personal book in many ways. I pulled back the curtain on so many topics surrounding parenting, and I disclosed so much about my own journey as a parent, that publishing “Trials…” left me feeling a little naked. So, you can imagine my relief when it was pretty well received by readers.

It looks like a book I need to pick up myself. I’m guessing based on your topic for your book that you have more experience than just as a therapist. How do you spend your non-writing time?
I’m a pretty busy person. By day, I am a Clinical Supervisor for a group home for boys. I also provide training opportunities in my community to universities and local school districts on different topics in mental health. Most importantly, I’m a mom of two kids, my five-year-old daughter and 18-month-old son. They keep me pretty busy when I’m not working.

You truly are ‘working parent’ just like you wrote about. Do you have anything else you would like to share before we direct readers to your website?
When “Trials…” was first released, I was asked by a blogger why I wrote “Trials…” in the first place. It didn’t take me long to respond. I wrote “Trials of the Working Parent,” so that other moms and dads could see they were not in this struggle alone. Being a working parent is very difficult, the amount of guilt you feel all the time is very real and overbearing. “Trials…” was meant to help parents realize that it’s “ok” to not be perfect, it’s “ok” to have a job you love, and it’s “ok” to feel overwhelmed by parenthood.

Thank you for sharing your story with us K.C. and I hope you will come visit us again when you have those fantasy works ready for other eyes. I’d love to share them with my readers.

If you would like to keep tabs on K.C. you can find her at the following links. Give her a follow and encourage her to share her fiction works with us as well.

Website(NonFacebook if applicable): http://www.kcdreisbach.com

Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/kcdreisbach

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/kcdreisbach

 

If you are thinking you would like to be featured on Meet the Author Monday, please check out the page and fill out the form to get started.

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Meet The Author Monday – Reid Templer

This week’s Meet The Author Monday is Reid Templer, who has his debut novel available on Amazon now. Per usual, my questions/comments will be in BLUE and Reid will be in GREEN.

Thank you for stopping by, Reid. It’s always a pleasure to get to meet a new author and find out about the origins of their forays into the literary world. What was your introduction?
At the age of thirteen, my father gave me two books which were dear to him: The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane and the Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis. Both bored me. The symbolism, theology, and meaning of each went over my head, naturally, and, for a time, I was convinced that books simply didn’t suit me. This changed about two years later, when I happened on a copy of Inkheart by Cornelia Funke. I became enthralled in her trilogy, and haven’t stopped reading since.

I agree that Crane might be a bit of heavy reading for the average 13-year-old. From Inkheart, you began delving into what genre(s)?
I predominantly read fantasy, although Horror and Science Fiction do interest me a great deal.

Sounds like we have similar tastes. We might have to compare reading lists sometime. What made you decide to cross over from reading stories to writing your own?
When I was fourteen, I experienced a dream which would inspire my first (and thankfully unpublished) novel. A year later, when I had finished Christopher Paolini’s Eragon, I learned that the author had published the book at eighteen years old. I don’t know exactly what drove me to it, but from that day onward, I strove to publish a story before I turned eighteen. In this regard, I failed, but it did motivate me to write every day.

Paolini did have an advantage in that his parents were involved in the publishing industry. Can’t be too hard on yourself over that. What is your chosen genre to write?
Right now I would consider myself a fantasy writer, although, within time, I hope to develop a story in every major genre.

Ambitious goals. I wish you the best of luck with your goal. How has your publishing journey gone for you so far?
For the past three years, I’ve been writing, editing, and rewriting my newest novel, Storytellers. It was a hard journey, fraught with doubt, but I’m proud of the completed work.

Congratulations. It’s an incredible feeling to hold that published work in your hands. Outside of writing, what are you currently working on?
I’m currently pursuing a Sign Language Interpreting degree.

Interesting career path. Tell us a little bit about your book.
Thank you for taking interest in my interview. The book I’m promoting is Storytellers, which is available in paperback at any major book distributor and on Kindle for ebook. Here’s a short blurb:
After the gods and goddesses known as Storytellers conceive children who threaten their immortality, Pokeetle and his allies must fight to keep their offspring from being sacrificed for power.
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Thank you for coming by and talking with me today. Your book looks interesting and I wish you the best with it and your future works.

If anyone would like to keep up on Reid’s work, you can follow him on Twitter @ReidTempler

Anyone interested in being featured on Meet the Author Monday, please check out the form and let us know all about you.

Meet The Author Monday – Matt Drzymala

This week on Meet The Author Monday I get to introduce you to a copywriter and award winning creative writing author, Matthew Drzymala. His latest work, “The Fantastical Gregory Shortbread” is available on Amazon now. Usual arrangement here, my questions/comments are in BLUE and Matt will be in GREEN.

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Thank you for stopping by and sharing your story, Matt. How would you describe your reading habits and how has it impacted your decision to be a writer?
I’m an avid reader, but the biggest influences on me as a writer are Roald Dahl and Terry Pratchett.

Their way with words, how they made up names and places and generally had fun and made you feel comfortable is how I approach my writing.

I want my readers to laugh, love and enjoy my characters and stories – just like two of my favourite authors.

Pratchett is one of my favorites as well. I have to agree the way he created his world is masterful. Aside from those two, what else do you like to read?
I read a lot of thrillers, you just end up gripped by them.

Although I don’t actually write them.

Is there a moment, or person, most responsible for you crossing the line from just an avid reader to crafting your own stories?
My fiancee, Elaine, is who encouraged me to write. Although I could say it was authors, it was my partner who gave me the confidence to write.

She backs me at all times, even when I don’t feel I can write. If it wasn’t for her I would never have written a single story.

She encouraged me to study creative writing and is my number one supporter at all times.

As writing is such a solitary thing, it helps to have that support.

Such a beautiful thing to have that kind of support because, as you said, writing is usually a solitary activity. Venturing outside that writing cave can be scary without that kind of support. So since you do not write thrillers, what do you consider your genre of choice?
I would say my genre is humour.

Is that its own genre?

I think so, but it includes so many other genres. I’ve written mysteries and romances, all with a lot of humour thrown in.

Many people aren’t sure what to expect when I say I write humour because humour could be a joke book.

I write all sorts of stories, but they always include funny scenarios. I want to make people laugh. I don’t want it to be just about jokes, far from it, it has to have a story that intrigues and touches people, but I always want them to have a good time too.

The world definitely needs more laughter, so yes, I agree. I think humor is, and should be, its own genre. One we sorely need. You have the support system, you crossed that threshold to writing stories. Where did you go from there?
I’m solely a self-published author.

I’ve never approached a publisher because humor is such a difficult genre to sell. It’s not a genre that publishers want to sell so much.

Thrillers. Erotic. Romance etc. I’d stand a chance.

But for me, it’s about writing what I enjoy. Maybe one day I’ll approach a publisher, but I haven’t so far.

Being an author has expanded into me joining a community where I’ve attended book signings, run my own creative writing workshops in schools and colleges as well as be part of an author panel for local authors.

And I’m now a copywriter, writing web pages and advertising for businesses – something that would never have happened had I not been an author.

I see your point about humor being a hard sell for traditional publishers. Is copywriting your day job then?
My day job is payroll, but I also run my own freelance copywriting business.

I somehow manage to fit in a lot of TV and film in-between all this.

Sometimes I end up completely drained, but if it means working for myself as a writer in the future, it’ll all be worth it.

You must have some impressive time management skills to accomplish all of that. I wish you the best with making writing a full-time job in the future. Did you have anything else you would like to share before we get everyone the links to find you and your work?
Writing is something I have loved for a long time. It is a huge part of my life.

I’m a national award winner in creative writing and I have a diploma in Copywriting.

There’s such a huge world of writing out there.

Being an author is vastly different to copywriting. They are two different disciplines and being an author doesn’t mean you’ll make a good copywriter.

Odd, but true.

Thank you for sharing your insights and your journey with us, Matt. I hope you will stop by in the future when you have any new humorous stories to share and update us on your progress towards writing full time. For anyone looking to follow Matt, you can find him at the links included below.

Website: http://www.matthewdrzymala.com

Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/mattdrzymalaauthor

Twitter: @mattdauthor

Instagram: mattdrzymala

If you are an author interested in being a part of Meet The Author Monday, just check out the page for all the details.

Meet The Author Monday – Jonathan Gravenor

Welcome to another edition of Meet The Author Monday. This week we have journalist turned writer, Jonathan Gravenor. Per our usual arrangement, my comments/questions will be in BLUE, and Jonathan will be GREEN.

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Let me start by thanking you for stopping by Jonathan. What I enjoy most about these brief interviews is learning about other authors and the struggles they have faced on their writing journey. What are your earliest memories of your forays into the literary world?
As a young boy in Canada, the first book I remember was an autobiography on “Gordie Howe” maybe 100 pages. But to a young Canadian boy 100 pages of gold. Over the years I explored far deeper into the literature of the time – from Vonnegut to Heller. I looked back and became swallowed by Hemingway and Dickens. But the Gordie Howe book stuck with me and still does. It made me feel like I was there when he was a 10-year-old lacing up old skates and stuffing copies of readers digest magazines down the front of his hockey socks to work like pads. Or how his hands got so cold he couldn’t feel his fingers as he practiced, yet he kept going. Words allow us to breathe, film and sound offer a replication of events and things, but words, words allow us to think for ourselves and feel like we are part of the story.

Fitting words and an apt description of just what books bring to those willing to embrace them. What genre, or genres, give you the most pleasure to read?
Biographies, but the classics still hold me. Stories of redemption and struggle, but real struggle. Anything is great if it is greatly written.

I admit biographies, except in school, are not my normal choice of reading material. That’s the beauty of reading though, we can each find our own pathways. What sent you across the divide between just reading these stories, to penning your own?
Two years after being diagnosed with cancer I was in India searching for something. One night after an all-day healing session (spiritual) I went to sleep easily. But then 3 hours in I woke up and sat straight up in bed. I climbed out of bed and went to the window of my hotel room and looked out over the Bay of Bengal – to one side the water shimmering with the light of the moon, to the other a huge slum with fires burning as people worked around the clock to make a living.
I sat at the room desk and wrote on my laptop for 8 hours, I had no idea what was coming out, it just did.
It was not that single moment that started me, that I think was just the trigger.

Amazing imagery, and best wishes for continued success in your battle with cancer. Have you given thought to what genre you are going to write? or Do you have plans for more than one? 
Several .. maybe I write about the human condition or emotions. I finished my first book, a memoir. I am currently working on a new book which is about a fantasy adventure between me and a young friend.

Now the fantasy adventure sounds more up my alley and I hope you will stop by to let us know when it is scheduled for release. So you started writing during your fateful trip to India, where did you go from there to become a published author?
I worked for 30 years as a Journalist, but never considered myself a writer.
Then as I wrote above I started writing about my journey through cancer .. not the health struggle – more the struggle of a man who wondered what in the hell he had done.
My first book self-published in Oct/2017 “The Other Side of Ego”.
The year prior I was asked to give a TED Talk and was approached by agents and publishers but decided to go alone for the first one.

Many people would think you crazy for not taking the agents and publishers up on their offer. I admire your courage to do this alone. Aside from writing, and battling cancer, how do you like to spend your time?
After taking time off for to deal with my disease I am back working in journalism.

Returned back to the job you are so passionate about. Clearly you know where you want to go. Do you have anything else you would like to share?
What is it all about?

It is the question I have asked myself for the past few years – sometimes I ask every few weeks, sometimes daily and on occasion when I decide I need to struggle I ask myself constantly. For the past two weeks, it has been a constant barrage, as the suicide of my daughter’s young friend has caused me to reflect deeply about his death and about mine, the one I cannot avoid eventually.

While his death has given me a push to keep moving forward – to exhaust what I have started on this leg on my journey, it has also caused me to pause and wonder – what is next?

Gone are the days when I feared the nothingness of death, the imminent end to it all with the eternity of endless silence. I now have faith that there is something beyond all of this.

As I walked today I contemplated “what it is all about” the question of life or existence after death. I have begun to understand that there is a soul within me and I started to think about this soul and what will I do when I am released from this body? As I walked I looked at others and wondered about their souls too – then as I do when I leave my ego unchecked (even for a moment) I started a comparison.

“He looks angry,” I thought – his soul cannot be as evolved as mine. I began to think of people who have dementia like my friend Mary and wonder as her mind goes has her soul left her body already? I began to believe even if just for a moment surely my soul will do better because “I think great thoughts” and then suddenly the hubris that is in me became evident – and I thought what a fool am I.

Walking I think is like life and eventually, I worked my way to a beautiful spot – it is below Sydney’s Harbor Bridge – there I meditate. Recently I have been using a form of meditation – not where I shut everything out, but where I let everything in. With eyes closed, I listen to it all, every sound, from the clatter of traffic above on the bridge, to boats as they cut fine lines through the water – and the magic of wind, that unseen force that whispers at me as it runs its fingers through trees. I do not describe it inside my busy mind, I just hear it.

Suddenly a shriek woke me from my peace and I looked frantically from where the sound came – there just 20 meters away was a young boy bent down crying, so instinctively I ran too him. As I approached I saw him cradling a tiny Lorikeet in his hands on the ground. Lorikeets are in abundance here – the tiny bird like a miniature Parrot is so beautiful with its bright blue, green and orange markings. They are cheeky little buggers who will land on an outdoor table you sit at and expect sugar and or sweet things.

But this Lorikeet that was being protected by this young boy lay motionless and I felt it was dead. I looked at him and stumbled through some words I thought would explain it when I noticed that this boy was a downs syndrome child, and my words faded.

I immediately wondered if he understood what I said, if he could grasp life and death and as the rush of thoughts transpired in me to steal the moment I wondered if this downs syndrome child had a soul. I was lucky as his mother approached and broke the dialogue of arrogance in my head.

“He has always been like this,” she said, adding “he is always so worried when he sees something that is gone”.

At first not much registered of what she said – I was watching him as he brought twigs and leaves to lay upon the poor little bird that was motionless on the ground before us. As my mind finally calmed I began to hear her and see her, and noticed the admiration she had of this poor boy I had wondered who was maybe less than I.

We sat and watched as young Lachie ran about after his burial of the bird. After a few moments, he ran to me holding a new twig, bent half way up he said to me “see” as he held it next to his arm. The comparison was obvious the branch was shaped just like a human arm. I smiled at him and said yes I see that, so he sat between us with pride of accomplishment on his face. He then wrapped his tiny arm around mine, and his mother explained he loves closeness and compassion.

After a few moments of gentle banter, the small grave rustled and we watched as the tiny bird poked his face out among the twigs and leaves, took a look at us as if to say “what is all the fuss about” and broke into flight. Lachie leaped up and raised his tiny arms to the sky and laughed, running in circles as he tried to keep his eyes on his feathered friend that was now riding along those whispers in the wind.

We all smiled, and sometimes there are no words so we sat his mother and I as we watched joy, pure unbridled joy unleashed from the confines of a busy mind that dares to compare souls.

As I walked home I realized I still don’t know what a soul is – but I knew what it was not. It was not the thing that dares to measure or compete. Perhaps it is what was contained in Lachie’s gentle hands as he cradled the little Lorikeet or the joy he lived as the bird flew one more time. Maybe it’s none of that or all of that. But what is evident is Lachie has a soul every bit as rich as anyone’s, and obviously much less confused than mine.

So – What is it all about? – perhaps today it’s about a bird flying free, a young boy laughing for joy and me discovering that I am not all that evolved – and that’s all the way it’s supposed to be – perfect for the moment.

What a beautiful story. I am grateful you shared it. Thank you again for coming by Jonathan and I wish you continued success both in your literary pursuits, and your pursuit of life’s truths.

If anyone would like to check out Jonathan’s work, you can find some links below.

Website: http://jonathangravenor.com

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/jonathan.gravenor

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g72SmMdFBpk

 

If you are thinking you would like to be featured on Meet The Author Monday, you can get all the details on our Page.

Meet The Author Monday – Claire Buss Returns

Happy Monday morning my Gentle Readers. Today we have a returning author, Claire Buss, here to talk about the last year and how her book, The Gaia Effect, is doing since she last joined us. As per the usual, my comments/questions will be in BLUE and Claire will be in GREEN.

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Thank you for stopping back by, Claire. I’m excited to hear how this past year has been for you, so let’s dive in. How have things been going with “The Gaia Effect”?

Hi Andrew. Well – what a year it has been! The Gaia Effect has been received well by readers, it won the Raven Award for favourite sci-fi novel last year from Uncaged Book Reviews. I am currently working on the sequel, still in first draft at the moment but feeling good about it.
 

I released a collection of short stories, blog posts and plays in the summer called Tales from Suburbia.

I wrote two short stories that were accepted for two anthologies – ‘Patient Data’ in The Quantum Soul and ‘Underground Scratchings’ in Tales from the Underground.

Then I released a humorous fantasy novel called The Rose Thief in November which was a complete joy to write and readers seem to be enjoying it as well.

I have big plans for this year – another collection of short stories, the sequel to The Gaia Effect and two novellas from The Rose Thief world but I had a baby girl in December so we’ll see what happens.

I’ve been working on trying to establish an author platform and grow my presence on social media, all important things for an indie author – as you know.

That I do. What a busy year you have had. I’m glad to hear that things are working pretty well for you. Looks like you have big plans for the year. How do you find time to write with the newborn?
Haha. Not much time at all! I get little snatches here and there where I try to keep on top of my social media bits and bobs. I get a couple of hours in the evening to cram in everything else, I’m trying to edit at the moment but it’s proving difficult to get properly into it. I need my head in the right space to edit. Of course, that could just be the procrastination talking, that is something I am very good at.
 
My little girl is nearly 3 months old so we are beginning to get into a routine and with my little boy at school now, in theory, I should be able to get a bit more writing/editing done in the daytime. I hope so because I really don’t want to lose the momentum I had last year.
I can completely understand the routine part. My two year old still takes a lot of time away from my pursuits, but I try to get some time in when she’s napping or not up yet. I won’t keep you any longer as I know you are a very busy woman. Thank you again for stopping by.
 
Anyone who wants to check out what Claire has been up to can find links to her books here.

 

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The Gaia Effect

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Tales from Suburbia

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The Quantum Soul

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Tales from the Underground

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The Rose Thief

If you are an author and would like to be features on Meet the Author Monday, just go to the form and drop us a note.

Meet The Author Monday – E.C. Fisher

Today my Gentle Readers I want to introduce you to a fellow fantasy and science fiction fan, as well as author, E.C. Fisher. E.C. has a couple stories published that you can check out and I am loving the covers. Per our usual format, I will be BLUE and E.C. will be in GREEN.

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Welcome to the blog E.C. Glad that you came by. Let’s start by diving into your reading habits. What are you reading currently and who influenced your reading in the beginning?
At the moment I haven’t been reading much due to my own writing schedule and a full-time job. My father got me interested, I used to read from his library of books. Mostly Clive Cussler and Tom Clancy. I like Jim Butcher, Dan Brown, and J.K. Rowling.

Great authors across the board. Butcher is one of my favorites. Love his Dresden character. That would make your favorite genres…
Fantasy and Science Fiction. I like to imagine the world the author creates. While I try to mimic that style of writing I still find myself missing the elements that those authors are able to pull from.

World building can be a tricky business. There are many pieces to make a believable world. So, other than trying to mimic those writing styles, what made you want to cross the line from reader to writer?
It happened because of a dream that my mind wouldn’t let go of. I had a terrible week of barely any sleep and as the weekend approached I decided to write out my dream. This became my first book, Re: Camelot. While not my debut novel, Re:Camelot had to be broken into four parts so that I could release it.

Do you feel fantasy is your calling or do you have other genres swirling in your creative mind?
I find myself staying more in the fantasy realm but I am trying to work in different genres some that I can make sure I don’t miss a chance at creating something great just because I didn’t think I could write in that particular genre.

It is a good thing to not limit yourself with any preconcieved notions about what you can and cannot write. If the story is inside you, tell it, regardless of whether it is fantasy, science fiction, horror, or romance. How has publishing your first works gone for you?
I decided to go the self-published route. While I may be wishing to have gone traditionally at the moment I think not having to deal with agents has been a blessing. I have used different editors with each new release, many to try different people, but I’ve found each of them has an aspect that one maybe lacking. It is hard to find the perfect editor.

Once you find that editor that you connect with and can work with successfully, hold onto them. Although, different types of editors have different talents. They aren’t all meant to do everything. How do you like to spend your time when not writing?
I work in the afternoon to evening time so I try to get my writing in before then. Once I get home from work I am mostly fielding emails or finding more chances to market myself.

Marketing, the bane of self-published and small-press authors. Although I hear the traditionally published ones still have to handle most of their own marketing. Thank you for stopping by E.C. If anyone would like to check out E.C.’s work, jump on the links below.

Website: http://www.ecfisherauthor.com
Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/ecfisherauthor
Twitter: www.twitter.com/ecfisherauthor

If you would like to be featured on Meet The Author Monday, you can find all the details on our MTAM Page.

Meet The Author Monday – Tracee De Hahn

Hello my Gentle Readers. Today we are going to catch up with Tracee De Hahn, who has a new mystery coming out on February 6th called “A Well-Timed Murder”. You can see my previous interview with her HERE. As usual my questions/comments will be BLUE and Tracee will be GREEN.

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Welcome back, Tracee. It’s been almost a year since we talked last. How has your book, Swiss Vendetta been doing?

It’s doing well, and I’ve enjoyed seeing the various editions come out. I didn’t give them much – or any – thought so the arrival of each one felt like a delightful surprise. I confess that listening to the audiobook was a surreal experience. Cat Gould is an amazing narrator, but hearing my words coming from someone else was… unsettling? Maybe that’s the right word. I didn’t expect that at all. Although perhaps I should have, since one of my sister’s said she had a hard time reading the book since my name flung itself at her every time she turned a page! And a close friend from college said he could hear my voice in every word he read and it took him a few pages to not hear ‘me’ and hear the book instead. That’s how I felt with the audio version. Large print and now the paperback have rounded out my year. And there’s been a nice uptick in sales with the paperback out! Always a good feeling.

I can imagine that you’ve read those words so many times you had your own cadence that no one else would match. And now you’re back with a new book. Does this one pick up where the last left off or is it a complete standalone?

This is where I have flashbacks to days of nail-biting uncertainty. When you begin a series this is a big decision. I’m not saying that the time between books is set in stone, but most writers establish a tradition within their books. After the nail-biting was over, I chose to begin A Well-Timed Murder a few weeks after the end of Swiss Vendetta. The new book works as a stand-alone – however, if you read the first one, you would know why Agnes is limping, and why she is returning to work from medical leave. I want a returning reader (and perhaps a new to the series binge reader) to feel the continuity in Agnes’s life. I also want to develop the personal connections in her life – specifically with Julien Vallotton – and not pick them up months or a year later. Let’s see how Agnes and Julien handle the start of a relationship – maybe they don’t make it through book two! On the professional front, going forward I plan to have a case from Agnes’s former role in in financial crimes stay with her. The elusive criminal who will continue to cross paths with her current work. 

Nail biting uncertainty. I like that imagery for the feeling I think all of us writers feel. For those who haven’t read your first book, can you give us a little spoiler-free short biography on Agnes?

Agnes is in her mid-30s, recently widowed (before the first book), with three sons. She was born in Switzerland to American parents, which gives her the advantage of seeing Swiss customs through the lens of both an insider and an outsider. This has influenced her desire to embrace all things Swiss and was partly what attracted her to her husband – his family’s perfect traditional Swiss chalet. Although the mother-in-law that came with the chalet was probably not exactly what she hoped for. Agnes was a successful member of the cantonal (state) police in the Financial Crimes division, but after her husband’s death decided a change of situation would ease her return to work. She started Book One new to the Violent Crimes division and let’s just say that it was quick immersion. 

That had to be quite a shock going from more sophisticated criminals to the more brutal. How does Julien enter her life and where does he come from?

Julien Vallotton came into Agnes’s life in Swiss Vendetta when a woman was found murdered on the grounds of his family home, Chateau Vallotton. He is completely Swiss – his family have been there longer than it’s been a country, beginning construction on their stronghold in the 11th century. At the same time, his wealth and personality make him a cosmopolitan figure. He was part of the complicated situation Agnes found herself in during her first murder case. You’re right, it is a disturbing event to come up against your first killer. Add to that the nature of the crime scene – Agnes and her colleagues were trapped by a snowstorm, forced to sleep in the very chateau where the murder occurred. With the power out and cold descending it would be a difficult situation for any police officer, more difficult for Agnes heading up her first murder investigation. Julien Vallotton wasn’t a suspect in the crime due to the timing of his arrival, therefore he was a logical ally. That’s where their story starts.
Sounds like a great recipe for a relationship to start. Now Agnes has one case under her belt. What can we expect from her return to action?
Agnes delves into the world of luxury watches after a renowned watchmaker, Guy Chavanon, dies under suspicious circumstances while attending a reception at his son’s boarding school. Watchmaking is a precise business but nothing about this case seems precise and when strange things happen at the boarding school Agnes has to wonder if Chavanon was the intended victim. Ultimately, timing is the key to catching the killer, and perhaps toward finding love.
I guess we’ll have to watch and see how her case goes this time. Run down the details for us. When can we get our hands on your new book?
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You can pre-order now anywhere books are sold: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indie Bound, Apple and Books-A-Million. A Well-Timed Murder releases in stores and electronically February 6th, when I also visit stores in Little Rock, AR, Madisonville, Louisville and Lexington, KY, Chattanooga and Knoxville, TN, Atlanta (Woodstock), GA, Houston, TX, and Christiansburg and Roanoke, VA. The details are on my website. One of the great pleasures of writing a book is meeting the people who read it!  
Thanks so much for stopping by and keeping us informed about your progress. I wish you all the best with your new adventure and hope we will hear back from you with your next one.

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