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All posts for the month July, 2012

New feature: Reader Interview

Published July 28, 2012 by jnaomiay

Due to the overwhelming popularity of my interactive author interviews, I’m going to start adding a new feature called “Reader Interviews.”  These interviews will be in the same interactive format as my author interviews and will feature ordinary readers not authors unless authors want to discuss a book by someone else.  This will allow readers to comment and chat about their favorite books while not actually having to write a book report for a review site.

First priority for interviews will go to anyone who wants to talk about MY BOOKS  of course.  After that, anyone who wants to chat about books and authors featured on my blog.  Third priority will go to anyone else.  Be advised, readers, I won’t publish your name unless you want it shown.  Leave me a comment below if you are interested or send an email to naomisweets at gmail dot com.

Author Interview: Natascha Scrivener

Published July 27, 2012 by jnaomiay

I’m over in the U.K. today having a bite of crumpet and a spot of tea with Natascha Scrivener who is telling me all about her book, The Wire: Searching for Reason.

Naomi: Let’s start with just a brief synopsis of your book.  In 20 words or less, tell me what it is about.

Natascha: The Wire: Searching for Reason is a sci-fi/fantasy novel in which dreams become reality.

Naomi:  You did an incredible job there, Natascha.  You only used 15 words.  You are now entitled to 5 more words.  Would you care to add anything?

Natascha: Buy it now?

Naomi:  Two more?

Natascha: Please?

Naomi: One more?

Natascha: Word?

Naomi:  Done.  Now…

Natascha:  What?  I didn’t mean “word” as my last word.  It was a question.

Naomi:  That’s alright.  It was close enough.  Now, can you please tell me who is your favorite character and why? You can use more than 20 words from here on out and I won’t count.

Natascha:  Reason Goodwin has to be one of my favourites, if she wasn’t I don’t suppose she would be my protagonist. But I also love Roux because essentially he is the ‘ideal man’ in an imperfect shell. I find this interesting.

Naomi:  I find your characters’ names very interesting.  What’s the hardest part about writing your book?

Natascha:  My characters names are very important to the story… ‘Reason Goodwin’ came from an 17th Century grave stone in a grave yard near where I live. As for what was the hardest part about writing my book – writing it. Or rather finding the time to write it. I have a 1 year old and I’m expecting our second baby at the end of August so time is not on my side! However I’m a strong believer in that if you WANT to do something you WILL find time to do it…

Naomi: Wow!  Congratulations!  What’s the easiest part of writing your book and when do you find time?

Natascha: I find the characters and the description the easiest part of writing anything. I love to study people and cram in as much detail as possible without it being too much, and without constantly ‘telling’ everything. I like everyone I create to be able to talk for themselves.

Naomi:  If you had to pick one object to represent your story and one color to paint it in, what would it be and why?  A purple octopus?  An orange hula hoop?  A disposable nappy filled with…never mind.

Natascha: A silver plum.

Naomi: Do you do anything else besides write and if so what is it?

Natascha: Besides writing I’m a full time Mummy and wife with a penchant for gardening (I grow my own vegetables etc.) and cooking.

Naomi:  Let me tell you, that full time mummy stuff never goes away, even when they are in their twenties.  What’s the ugliest thing in your closet?

Natascha: The majority of my maternity clothes!

Naomi:  Ha!  What’s in the bottom of your purse, backpack, attaché or whatever you carry?

Natascha:  Crumbs from various things that my daughter has eaten on car journeys, change, and probably a screwed up baby wipe.

Naomi:  I don’t want to be looking in there.  Name one character in your story that is based on a real person and tell us who it is and how they are similar.

Natascha: You certainly wouldn’t want to pick pocket me.  No one in my story is based on a real person. Although there are probably aspects of me and the people I know in there somewhere…probably more likely the people I dislike…

Naomi: What’s your favorite game and please don’t tell me Candy Land?  Would your favorite character play it and be any good at it?

Natascha:  : I have never heard of Candy Land?!  I love board games. Monopoly and Scrabble would be my top two. Reason would sit and play them with me. Roux would win effortlessly every time.

Naomi: It must be an American thing.  We know what’s going to be on this years Christmas list!  

Did you ever wonder if you were a little crazy for writing fantasy?  

Natascha:  I’ve never written it before! ‘The Wire’ was something that I wrote as a 500 word flash fiction piece for a competition that my Mum found in a magazine. It didn’t win. I never heard anything back from them but it planted the seed, and after thinking about it for five years I’ve actually done something with it!

I think you do have to have a very strong imagination to be able to write in general though, and maybe some people would think that was a little bit crazy?

Naomi:  Perhaps it’s just hormonal.  Did your friends ever wonder the same thing?

Natascha:  I have two groups of friends, the supportive ones  who ask about what I’m doing, read what I’ve written and generally enjoy it! Then I have the ones who don’t ask about what I’m doing, don’t read it and think what I do ‘isn’t really a proper job’. (The latter group I don’t see anymore…)

Naomi: Good for you!  Love me, love my book!  When you wrote your book, who was the first person you told and how did they respond?

Natascha:  The first person I told was my husband, and he was incredibly supportive and loved the idea. He was the one that wrote my blurb for me (my original was FAR too long, I’m not very good at being concise!)

Naomi:  That’s excellent.  I wish I could find someone to write my blurbs.  Why are blurbs more difficult than writing the novel?  While we ponder this, you at home can go online and see Natascha’s books at the following links:

Website: www.nataschascrivener.webs.com

Twitter: @Someofherparts

Blog: www.http://nataschascrivenerauthor.blogspot.co.uk/

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

Good news Space Cadets!

Published July 26, 2012 by jnaomiay

Golden’s Quest is just about finished.  Those that know about these type things have advised me to call it officially Book 6 in The Two Moons of Rehnor series rather than start a new series.   Planned release date is Sept 1 or sooner if we can manage it.  What is it about, you say?  Steven Golden has just been commissioned as an ensign in the Imperial SpaceNavy aboard the Empire’s newest ship, the Queen of Rozari.  He’s assigned to the squad of the meanest, nastiest commander in the whole fleet, LCDR Marik Korelesk.  Steven’s overprotective mom is having a little trouble adjusting to his absence and Steven himself is just not sure where he fits in.  Add to that the Steven’s new friends including Sam, the nephew of famous pilot Zem, who discovers that unlike his uncle, he’s afraid to fly and Randy, who lives in the bowels of the ship in the top secret hacker lab.   The adventures are quirky and fun and a planet or two is saved along the way.  Oh yes, there’s also a princess searching for a prince but I’ll leave the rest up to you to discover.

Author Interview: Elisabeth Niederhut

Published July 24, 2012 by jnaomiay

Today I’m chatting with Elisabeth Niederhut who has written her first book entitled “The Ocean’s Call”

Naomi: Let’s start with just a brief synopsis of your book.

Elisabeth: It’s about a 17 year old girl named Cassie who finds out that she’s a mermaid.

Naomi:  Now Elisabeth, you have edited my questions.  All of my faithful legions of readers know that I demand you give me the synopsis in twenty words or less.  You have taken out that requirement and given me less than 20.

Elisabeth:  I’m sorry?

Naomi:  Good.  Now you are at 20.  The reason I do this is very complex.  It allows me to understand your inner psyche and the emotional struggles you are going through that ultimately come out in your fantasy writing.

Elisabeth:  Huh?

Naomi: Never mind.  What’s the hardest part about writing your book?

Elisabeth: Putting the time in. First there’s writers block, which doesn’t help, plus I’m working on more than one project. I think I’m a bit of a fanatic.

Naomi:  I think I’m fanatically blocked.  More roughage might help.  But about your book, what’s the easiest part?

Elisabeth: The actual writing process. Once I sit down and take the time to start writing, the words just come to me. It helps to plan ahead and have an outline, but I’ve written entire chapters from scratch before.

Naomi:  What’s an outline?  I admire writers who can actually put down cogent thoughts before letting the voices in their heads just run wild.   Do you do anything else besides write and if so what is it?

Elisabeth: I like to code. I particularly enjoy game design. I’ve made things like a text game making program, visual novels, and role playing games.

Naomi:  Now that is very cool and certainly you must have a very organized mind to be able to do that.  Did you ever wonder if you were a little crazy for writing fantasy?

Elisabeth: I think you have to be a little crazy to write really good fantasy. The Ocean’s Call is pretty realistic compared some of my writing, though. It’s all about trying to come up with ideas that no one has before, and re-imagining old ones.

Naomi:  Hmm…a little crazy to write really good fantasy so if we extrapolate to a lot crazy will we be writing totally awesome fantasy or absolute garbage?  Is it a circle or a ray? 

Elisabeth:  I don’t know.

Naomi:  I don’t either.  We’ll analyze that while you all go take a look at Elisabeth’s book The Ocean’s Call.  You can also find Elisabeth online at:

Website – www.ElisabethNiederhut.com
Blog – http://elisabethniederhut.blogspot.com/

Rehnorian Space Cadets: Take my new quiz and earn your first stripe.

Published July 21, 2012 by jnaomiay

Author Interview: Dean Mayes

Published July 19, 2012 by jnaomiay

Today, I am in Adelaide, Australia with Dean Mayes, author of The Hambledown Dream.  We’re having a bite of lunch  and a glass of ale here at the pub.

Naomi: You all know the drill by now, let’s start with just a brief synopsis of your book.  In 20 words or less, tell me what it is about.

Dean: Two men die. Both are brought back but in different ways. They rely on each other to find their  love.

Naomi:  That’s incredible, Dean!

Dean: Thank you.  I thought it was an interesting premise to explore.

Naomi:  No, I meant that you were able to use exactly 20 words.  You’re the first person who has been able to do that without me cutting them off or encouraging them to say a bit more.  Let’s get on with the interview, shall we?  Who is your favorite character and why? You can use more than 20 words from here on out.

Dean:  Andy DeVries is probably my most favorite in The Hambledown Dream. He represents a combination of dark and light in his nature which is representative of my own nature, I guess. That is not to say that I am anything like him nor have I ever dabbled in what he does, but Andy has a psychological battle going on inside him when we first meet him. He has the potential to be a good person, but it has been lost in the things he does and the people he chooses to associate with.

Naomi: So if Andy rang  you tomorrow and said, “Hey, let’s go do something.”  What and where would you go with them?

Dean:  I’d probably introduce them to my favorite pub down here in Adelaide – The Wheatsheaf Hotel. It is a wonderfully eclectic pub that has become one of Adelaide’s finest live music venues. Andy and his prolific talent would suit “The Wheaty” down to the ground. He is a trained classical guitarist but he can switch between that and more contemporary guitar music. The pub also serves a host of beers on tap that are sourced from local brewers and micro-brewers. I’ve often compared The Wheaty to a winery where one goes to try and taste wines. Here, you can try out a number of different beers from ales, to stouts, to pilsners. It is quite literally a cornucopia of brews to satisfy almost any taste.

Naomi: And it hits both the lightness and darkness of his spectrum in a “beer” sense.  Do they have our fabled Port Townsend Ales there?

Dean:  I’ll check.

Naomi:  What’s the hardest part about writing your book?

Dean:  I’m a terrible procrastinator, as most writers will identify with, and I don’t plan things out to the grittiest detail. As such, I often struggle with achieving and maintaining a flow in my writing. In beginning, I was writing “The Hambledown Dream” as a blog because I thought I would never be published. But then I was discovered by my publisher, Michelle Halket of Central Avenue Publishing in Vancouver, and she encouraged me to commit to the project seriously. For a chronic procrastinator, it was almost too much to overcome – but somehow, I did it. I should say here that I have become a lot better in this regard and I do structure things a great deal more than I used to.

Naomi:  What’s the easiest part?

Dean:  Funnily enough, it is editing that I really enjoy and find easy to do. I think, because of my style, which is fairly organic and unstructured, I allow myself to remain open to change – so long as it serves the story well and the characters within it. Editing allows me to refine and sculpt and I get a buzz from that process. I have been known to leave a lot of material “on the cutting room floor”.

Naomi:  You truly have a gift if you enjoy editing.  Do you do anything else besides write and if so what is it?

Dean:  I have become somewhat of an organic gardening tragic in the mould of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, who is renowned in th UK and Australia through his TV series “River Cottage” and his business empire of the same name. I can often be found in my inner city garden, trying to grow vegetables and herbs – with mixed success and I’ve recently turned my attention to the art of composting. As an extension of that, I have tried my hand in the kitchen, taking a crack at all sorts of recipes that make use of the food I have grown. I drink wine – a lot of it. And I also sail. I have a small yacht which I take out on the waters off Adelaide during the summer months and I derive a great deal of satisfaction from that. My son recently turned 6 and he is beginning to take an interest in sailing as well.

Naomi:  Wow!  We must be related.  I try to grow vegetables and don’t succeed and end up composting them instead.  I also love sailing although I am currently boatless in Seattle.  What’s in the bottom of your purse, backpack, attaché or whatever you carry?

Dean:  I am never without my red leather journal which my wife bought for me a couple of years ago. It is an exquisite book that I use to write down all of my ideas and musings. I only ever write in pencil in it – for some reason, I can’t bare the thought of tainting it with ink – and over the time that I’ve had it, I’ve added pictures and pieces of photocopies and all sorts of bizarre scribblings that I made when I didn’t have it within an arms length.

Naomi:  Okay, we’re not related.  I haven’t used a pencil in years.  Name one character in your story that is based on a real person and tell us who it is and how they are similar.

Dean:  Lionel Broadbent – who is a sort of father figure to the story’s female protagonist, Sonya Llewellyn, was based on British actor Geoffrey Palmer who I’ve long been a fan of. Palmer played opposite Judi Dench in the BBC television series “As Time Goes By” in which his character (also named Lionel) presented as an outwardly curmudgeonly, cynical fellow but who had a heart of gold and a wonderfully urbane sense of loyalty to those around him. Geoffrey Palmer pretty much channeled himself into that character throughout the series 11 year run and so, I took elements of him and channeled them into my own Lionel character.

Naomi:  Excellent series and wonderful actor.  Did you ever wonder if you were a little crazy for writing fantasy?

Dean:  I think so. I have traditionally read political thrillers, murder mysteries, science fiction and adventure books, so to actually step out of those subjects to write a romantic fantasy was, in my mind, more than a little screwy. But, for some reason, I had to do it. The story for The Hambledown Dream was so evolved in my head – even before I seriously sat down to write – I just couldn’t ignore it.

Naomi:  That seems to be the case for most of us fantasy writers though.  Someone told me it’s because our brains are operating on a higher plane.  Personally, I think it may be something we all ate.  Did your friends ever wonder the same thing?

Dean:  Oh – I got some amazing looks from my friends when I told them that I was writing it.

Naomi:  Ah, but did they buy?  That is the next question.  You can buy Dean’s book clicking on the links below.  Thanks for joining me today, Dean.  I’m just going to hop over to that sweet shop for some of the world’s best licorice before I head back to the States.

Dean:  I recommend Haighs Chocolates on Rundle Mall. They have thee best chocolates and licorice money can buy.

Naomi:  Thanks Dean.  Yum!

http://www.amazon.com/The-Hambledown-Dream-ebook/dp/B0035FZLL0

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hambledown-dream-dean-mayes/1100407159

http://www.deanfromaustralia.com

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Dean-Mayes-The-Hambledown-Dreamer/263088081779