The Silent Wife – A.S.A. Harrison

The Silent WifeTitle : The Silent Wife

Author : A.S.A. Harrison

ISBN-10 :  0143123238

ISBN-13 : 978-0143123231

Paperback : 326 pages

The Plot :

Jodi and Todd are at a bad place in their marriage. Much is at stake, including the affluent life they lead in their beautiful waterfront condo in Chicago, as she, the killer, and he, the victim, rush haplessly toward the main event.

Chapter by chapter, the narrative evolves from their alternating perspectives. He is a committed cheater. She lives and breathes denial. He exists in dual worlds. She likes to settle scores. He decides to play for keeps. She has nothing left to lose. The alternating voices pitch the reader back and forth between protagonists in conflict who are fighting for self-preservation, both making deeply consequential mistakes, behaving in ever more foolhardy ways, and losing at the games they are playing.

The Silent Wife is a finely wrought, emotionally charged psychological thriller about a marriage in the throes of dissolution; a couple headed for catastrophe, concessions that can’t be made, and promises that won’t be kept. It ensnares the reader from page one and doesn’t let go.

Review :

Most definitely one of my favourite reads after Gone Girl. This psychological thriller about a marriage that is like a dam, ready to burst after being patched overs years. It is fast paced yet details the nuances of two people struggling to hold on to their lives.

The thing I liked most is the characterization of Jodi and Todd. They are so human in their flaws that instantly make them relatable. The language is beautiful and the story is gripping from the first page. Definitely an addictive read.

Links :

Buy the Book From : http://www.amazon.com/The-Silent-Wife-A-Novel/dp/0143123238

Find Out More About the Author : http://asaharrison.com/

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The Queen’s Fool – Philippa Gregory

The Queen's FoolTitle : The Queen’s Fool

Author : Philippa Gregory

ISBN-10 :  0743246071

ISBN-13 : 978-0743246071

Paperback : 512 pages

The Plot :

A young woman caught in the rivalry between Queen Mary and her half-sister, Elizabeth, must find her true destiny amid treason, poisonous rivalries, loss of faith and unrequited love.

It is winter 1533. Pursued by the Spanish Inquisition, Hannah Green, a fourteen-year-old Jewish girl, is forced to flee London with her father. Hannah is adopted by the glamorous Robert Dudley, the charismatic son of King Edward’s protector, who brings her to court as a “holy fool” for the Queen Mary and, ultimately, Queen Elizabeth. Hannah must choose between the safe life of a commoner and the dangerous intrigues of the royal family that are inextricably bound up in her own desired.

The Queen’s Fool is another rich and emotionally resonant gem from this wonderful storyteller.

Review :

This is the fourth book in the Tudor Court Series by Philippa Gregory. From the first page onward, it is full of suspense and intrigue. I believe this is really a very difficult feat to achieve in Historical fiction especially when the story is so well known and has been told repeatedly. Philippa Gregory add her own characters to the court of King Edward, Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth and makes this book so thoroughly interesting. I devoured this book as quickly as I possibly could. The story is so amazingly told and the pace is so beautiful, I almost wanted to quit my job just so that I could do nothing but read this book in one session. Very highly recommended especially to historical fiction fans!! Can’t wait to start the next book in the series!

Links :

Buy the Book From : http://www.amazon.com/The-Queens-Fool-Novel-Boleyn/dp/0743246071

Find Out More About the Author : http://www.philippagregory.com/

The Cuckoo’s Calling – Robert Galbraith

The Cuckoos CallingTitle : The Cuckoo’s Calling

Author : Robert Galbraith

ISBN-10 :  0316206857

ISBN-13 : 978-0316206853

Paperback : 464 pages

The Plot :

After losing a leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Strike is down to one client, and creditors are calling. He has also just broken up with his long-time girlfriend and is living in his office.

Then John Bristow walks through his door with an amazing story: His sister, the legendary supermodel Lula Landry, known to her friends as the Cuckoo, famously fell to her death a few months earlier. The police ruled it a suicide, but John refuses to believe that. The case plunges Strike into the world of multimillionaire beauties, rock-star boyfriends, and desperate designers, and it introduces him to every variety of pleasure, excitement, seduction and delusion known to man.

You may think you know detectives, but you never met one quite like Strike. You may think you know about the wealthy and famous, but you’ve never seen them under investigation like this. Introducing Cormoran Strike, this is the acclaimed first crime novel by J.K. Rowling, writing under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.

Review :

Robert Galbraith is a pseudonym that J.K. Rowling uses for this series of whodunit books. I have never been a fan of the Harry Potter series though I loved her style of writing then. This book brings together the kind of story I like with her beautiful writing style. The one thing that stood out most for me while reading this was that the lead character was not the traditional ‘super good looking’ guy that is oh so lovable. It brought a different kind of hero to the story and I liked that change.

The book was gripping from the very first page and I liked the pace it followed throughout. Overall I would recommend this book as a good read especially on a long flight! Looking forward to reading the next one in the series.

Links :

Buy the Book From : http://www.amazon.com/The-Cuckoos-Calling-Cormoran-Strike/dp/0316206857

Find Out More About the Author : http://robert-galbraith.com/

Soy Sauce For Beginners – Kirstin Chen

Soy Sauce for BeginnersTitle : Soy Sauce For Beginners

Author : Kirstin Chen

ISBN-10 :  0544114396

ISBN-13 : 978-0544114395

Paperback : 256 pages

The Plot :

Gretchen Lin, adrift at the age of thirty, leaves her floundering marriage in San Francisco to move back to her childhood home in Singapore and immediately finds herself face-to-face with the twin headaches she’s avoided her entire adult life: her mother’s drinking problem and the machinations of her father’s artisanal soy sauce business.

Surrounded by family, Gretchen struggles with the tension between personal ambition and filial duty, but still finds time to explore a new romance with the son of a client, an attractive man of few words. When an old American friend comes to town, the two of them are pulled into the controversy surrounding Gretchen’s cousin, the only male grandchild and the heir apparent to Lin’s Soy Sauce. In the midst of increasing pressure from her father to remain permanently in Singapore — and pressure from her mother to do just the opposite—Gretchen must decide whether she will return to her marriage and her graduate studies at the San Francisco Conservatory, or sacrifice everything and join her family’s crusade to spread artisanal soy sauce to the world.

Soy Sauce for Beginners reveals the triumphs and sacrifices that shape one woman’s search for a place to call home, and the unexpected art and tradition behind the brewing of a much-used but unsung condiment. The result is a foodie love story that will give listeners a hearty appreciation for family loyalty and fresh starts.

Review :

Simple, easy and fast to read, Soy Sauce for Beginners offers a good escape for a couple of hours. The story line is not complicated and the characters are relatable. Set in Singapore and San Francisco, the story is about finding your place in the world, your true calling and discovering the meaning of family ties. What I loved most about the book were all the descriptions of the food. I also felt I learnt to appreciate Soy Sauce more since I learnt more about it than I thought there was to know.  All in all a good read.

Links :

Buy the Book From : http://www.amazon.com/Soy-Sauce-Beginners-Kirstin-Chen/dp/1480555568

Find Out More About the Author : http://kirstinchen.com/

A Year in Reading – 2014

With the year coming to an end, it seemed apt to post a list of my favorite reads from 2014. These were not necessarily published in 2014, but a collection of books I managed to read this year.

Of the 68 books I read this year here are my top 25 recommendations (in no particular order):

  1. The Boleyn Inheritance – Philippa Gregory
  2. The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul – Deborah Rodriguez‎
  3. The Other Boleyn Girl – Philippa Gregory
  4. The Cuckoo’s Calling – Robert Galbraith
  5. The Constant Princess – Philippa Gregory
  6. Geisha, a Life – Mineko Iwasaki
  7. The Legend of Sheba – Tosca Lee
  8. The End Of Your Life Book Club – Will Schwalbe
  9. Chocolat – Joanne Harris
  10. The Light Between Oceans – M.L. Stedman
  11. The Little Old Lady Who Broke All The Rules – Catharina Ingelman – Sundberg
  12. Shadow Princess – Indu Sundaresan
  13. Twelve Years a Slave – Solomon Northup
  14. Saving Fish From Drowning – Amy Tan
  15. Princess : A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arab – Jean Sasson
  16. The Lost Symbol – Dan Brown
  17. The Signature of All Things – Elizabeth Gilbert
  18. The Valley of Amazement – Amy Tan
  19. Eleanor & Park – Rainbow Rowell
  20. The Heretic Queen – Michelle Moran
  21. Hotel – Arthur Hailey
  22. The Hunger Games (Series) – Suzanne Collins
  23. Nefertiti – Michelle Moran
  24. The Husband’s Secret – Liane Moriarty
  25. The Reader – Bernhard Schlink

Hope you enjoy them as much I as did. Happy holidays and happy reading everyone!!

The Boleyn Inheritance – Philippa Gregory

The Boleyn InheritanceTitle : The Boleyn Inheritance

Author : Philippa Gregory

ISBN-10 :  1439124671

ISBN-13 : 978-1439124673

Paperback : 592 pages

The Plot :

In this story about a court ruled by the gallows and three women whose positions brought them wealth, admiration and power as well as deceit, betrayal, and terror, a vanished world is brought to life – the whisper of a skirt on a stone stair, the glow of a candle lighting a hastily written note, the murmurs of the crowd gathering on Tower green below the scaffold.

Anne of Cleves’s Boleyn Inheritance is accusations and false witnesses. Katherine Howard’s Boleyn Inheritance is the threat of the axe. Jane Rochford’s Boleyn Inheritance: a fortune, a title, in exchange for her soul.

Review :

Told from the alternating perspectives of Anne of Cleves, Kathrine Howard and Jane Rochford, The Boleyn Inheritance is the third book in the Tudor court series (chronologically). Anne of Cleves was King Henry VIII’s fourth wife and Kathrine Howard his sixth wife while Jane Rochford was the sister-in-law of Anne Boleyn, King Henry VIII’s second wife.

Anne of Cleves comes to England as his fourth wife, married for political reasons but he detests her for she is ugly. He agrees to marry her without seeing her in person but when he sees her he is determined to set her aside for a younger, prettier Kathrine Howard. Jane Rochford is known to have provided incriminating evidence against Anne Boleyn, leading to her beheading.

What I loved about the book is its break neck pace and the beauty with which the author has shown the constant terror that everyone is in while in King Henry VIII’s court. He was known to have become unstable and tyrannical during this stage of his life, plagued by illness and fear of growing old as well as fears of plots to overthrow his rule of England. Anne of Cleves is such a strong character, who manages to escape one tyrant (her brother) just to come to become the wife of another. Kathrine Howard is just a silly girl with silly dreams and wishes who is thrust into the role of Queen of England, when she is clearly not in a position to handle its responsibilities. And Jane Rochford is dealing with her grief and guilt in the role she has played in Henry’s court but working furiously to maintain her position and inheritance.

I have loved all the books in this series so far and looking forward to reading the next book eagerly. Overall highly recommended read for anyone who loves historic fiction and is obsessed with the Tudors as much as I am.

Links :

Buy the Book From : http://www.amazon.com/Boleyn-Inheritance-Novel-Philippa-Gregory/dp/074327251X/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=1-1&qid=1419385272

Find Out More About the Author : http://www.philippagregory.com/

The Other Boleyn Girl – Philippa Gregory

The other Boleyn GirlTitle : The Other Boleyn Girl

Author : Philippa Gregory

ISBN-10 :  0743227441

ISBN-13 : 978-0743227445

Paperback : 672 pages

The Plot :

Mary Boleyn catches the eye of Henry VIII when she comes to court as a girl of fourteen. Dazzled by the golden prince, Mary’s joy is cut short when she discovers that she is a pawn in the dynastic plots of her family. When the capricious king’s interest wanes, Mary is ordered to pass on her knowledge of how to please him to her friend and rival: her sister, Anne.

Anne soon becomes irresistible to Henry, and Mary can do nothing but watch her sister’s rise. Anne stops at nothing to achieve her own ambition. From now on, Mary will be no more than the other Boleyn girl. But beyond the court is a man who dares to challenge the power of her family to offer Mary a life of freedom and passion. If only she has the courage to break away – before the Boleyn enemies turn on the Boleyn girls…

Review :

Told in the voice of Mary Boleyn, this is the second book in the Tudor Court series by Philippa Gregory. The story of Anne Boleyn has been told many times but never like this. I loved the love-hate relationship and the rivalry that is shown in the book between the Boleyn sisters. I loved the fact how the author starts with Anne Boleyn being the other Boleyn girl, in the shadow of Mary Boleyn, but slowly as the books progresses you see her emerge as the more famous Boleyn.

The plotting of the Howard/Boleyn family to get to the top in King Henry VIII’s court is shown beautifully. Queen Kathrine is shown in a different light as compared to the first book in the series since this is told from Mary’s perspective, but she stills maintains her Queenly aura in this as well. This adds to the layered narration of the story.

All in all I highly recommend this book and the whole series for all historic fiction fans. I have thoroughly enjoyed every page of this book from the characterization to the plots to the grandeur of the court and palaces as described in this book. A definite must read!

Links :

Buy the Book From : http://www.amazon.com/Other-Boleyn-Girl-Philippa-Gregory/dp/0743227441/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1419385272&sr=1-3&keywords=the+boleyn+inheritance

Find Out More About the Author : http://www.philippagregory.com/

Find Out More About the Movie : http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0467200/

Chocolat – Joanne Harris

ChocolatTitle : Chocolat

Author : Joanne Harris

ISBN-10 :  0670881791

ISBN-13 : 978-0670881796

Paperback : 320 pages

The Plot :

Try me… Test me… Taste me…

When an exotic stranger, Vianne Roche, arrives in the French little village of Lansquenet and opens a chocolate boutique directly opposite the church, Father Reynaud identifies her as a serious danger to his flock – especially as it is the beginning of Lent, the traditional season of self-denial. War is declared as the priest denounces the newcomer’s wares as the ultimate sin.

Suddenly Vianne’s shop-cum-café means that there is somewhere for secrets to be whispered, grievances to be aired, dreams to be tasted. But Vianne’s plans for an Easter Chocolate Festival divide the whole community in a conflict that escalates into a ‘Church not Chocolate’ battle. As mouths water in anticipation, can the solemnity of the church compare with the pagan passion of a chocolate éclair?

For the first time here is a novel in which chocolate enjoys its true importance. Rich, clever and mischievous, Chocolat is a literary feast for all the senses.

Review :

The week of Halloween, surrounded by bags of candy, this seemed an appropriate read. To begin with, I loved the backdrop of the story set against a small French town that held fast to its traditions for years on end. It is so beautifully crafted to show how something as seemingly harmless as chocolate could be the cause of a revolution.

What I could relate to most in the story is the streak of rebellion in its lead character and her gang of misfits. Very beautifully written this is a ‘sweet’ tale of acceptance of people and change. All in all, I loved this book and would definitely recommend it for a slow cold day with a cup of hot chocolate to go along.

Links :

Buy the Book From : http://www.amazon.com/Chocolat-Joanne-Harris-ebook/dp/B0031RS7MW/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=1-1&qid=1418792613

Find Out More About the Author : http://www.joanne-harris.co.uk/

Find Out More About the Movie : http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0241303/

The Constant Princess – Philippa Gregory

The_Constant_PrincessTitle : The Constant Princess

Author : Philippa Gregory

ISBN-10 :  0743272498

ISBN-13 : 978-0743272490

Paperback : 393 pages

The Plot :

Katherine of Aragon. We think of her as the barren wife of a notorious king; but behind this legacy lies a fascinating story.

Aged four, she is betrothed to Arthur, Prince of Wales, and is raised to be Queen of England. She is never in doubt that it is her destiny to rule that far off, wet, cold land. But Arthur seems little more than a boy; the food is strange and the customs coarse. Slowly she adapts to the Tudor court, and life as Arthur’s wife grows more bearable. But when the studious young man dies, she is left to make her own future: how can she now be Queen and found a dynasty? Only by marrying Arthur’s young brother, the sunny but spoilt Henry. His father and grandmother are against it; her powerful parents prove little use. Yet Katherine is her mother’s daughter and her fighting spirit is strong…

Review :

I have always been intrigued by the Tudors and was looking for a book/series on them. This book, the first (chronologically) in a series by Philippa Gregory was exactly what I was looking for. The story is so very interesting and the writing is amazing.

The character of Katherine is so strong and follows her dream with dogged persistence. Despite the many tough years of mistreatment and uncertainty she goes through, she is determined to become the Queen of England. I loved every chapter and my favourite has to be the end. The details of how she plans to run the country and go to war while distracting her husband’s attention is written beautifully. I highly recommend this book for anyone who loves historic fiction. I can’t wait to get my hands on the next book in the series.

Links :

Buy the Book From : http://www.amazon.com/Constant-Princess-Boleyn-Philippa-Gregory/dp/0743272498

Find Out More About the Author : http://www.philippagregory.com/

Geisha, a Life – Mineko Iwasaki

Geisha A LifeTitle : Geisha, a Life

Author : Mineko Iwasaki

ISBN-10 :  0743444299

ISBN-13 : 978-0743444293

Paperback : 320 pages

The Plot :

Celebrated as the most successful Geisha of her generation, Mineko Iwasaki, was only five years old when she left her parents’ home for the world of the Geisha. For the next twenty-five years, she would live a life filled with extraordinary professional demands and rich rewards. She would learn the formal customs and language of the Geisha, and study the ancient arts of Japanese dance and music. She would enchant kings and princes, captains of industry, and titans of the entertainment world, some of whom would become her dearest friends. Through great pride and determination, she would be hailed as one of the most prized Geishas in Japan’s history, and one of the last great practitioners of this now fading art form.

In Geisha, a Life, Mineko Iwasaki tells her story., from her warm early childhood, to her intense yet privileged upbringing in the Iwasaki Okiya (household), to her years as a renowned Geisha, and finally, to her decision at the age of twenty-nine to retire and marry, a move that would mirror the demise of the Geisha culture. Mineko brings to life the beauty and wonder of Gion Kobu, a place that “existed in a world apart, a special realm whose mission and identity depended on preserving the time-honoured traditions of the past.” She illustrates how it co-existed within post-World War II Japan at a time when the country was undergoing its radical transformation from a post-feudal society to a modern one.

“There is much mystery and misunderstanding about what it means to be a Geisha. I hope this story will help explain what it is really like and also serve as a record of this unique component of Japan’s cultural history,” writes Mineko Iwasaki. Geisha, a Life is the first of its kind, as it delicately unfolds the fabric of a Geisha’s development. Told with great wisdom and sensitivity, it is a true story of beauty and heroism, and of a time and culture rarely revealed to the Western world.

Review :

Ever since I read Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden and found out that the Geisha who it is loosely based on wrote her version of the story, I have been looking for this book. Finally I found it at a local library and started reading as soon as I got a hold of it. Quite literally. And the book did not disappoint. It is a memoir so it is from Mineko’s perspective.

This book is such a fascinating account of the life of a Geisha. She talks about so many aspects of their professional life and this for me was a really refreshing read. It gave me such a detailed look into their customs and practices, beliefs and rules, lifestyle and fashion. The writing is beautiful and the story is mesmerizing. Overall I highly recommend this book for a deeper understanding of this ancient art form.

Links :

Buy the Book From : http://www.amazon.com/Geisha-A-Life-Mineko-Iwasaki/dp/0743444299

Find Out More About the Author : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mineko_Iwasaki

The End Of Your Life Book Club – Will Schwalbe

the end of your life book clubTitle : The End Of Your Life Book Club

Author : Will Schwalbe

ISBN-10 :  0307594033

ISBN-13 : 978-0307594037

Paperback : 352 pages

The Plot :

“What are you reading?”

That’s the question Will Schwalbe asks his mother, Mary Anne, as they sit in the waiting room of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. In 2007, Mary Anne returned from a humanitarian trip to Pakistan and Afghanistan suffering from what her doctors believed was a rare type of hepatitis. Months later she was diagnosed with a form of advanced pancreatic cancer, which is almost always fatal, often in six months or less.

This is the inspiring true story of a son and his mother, who start a “book club” that brings them together as her life comes to a close. Over the next two years, Will and Mary Anne carry on conversations that are both wide-ranging and deeply personal, prompted by an eclectic array of books and a shared passion for reading. Their list jumps from classic to popular, from poetry to mysteries, from fantastic to spiritual. The issues they discuss include questions of faith and courage as well as everyday topics such as expressing gratitude and learning to listen. Throughout, they are constantly reminded of the power of books to comfort us, astonish us, teach us, and tell us what we need to do with our lives and in the world. Reading isn’t the opposite of doing; it’s the opposite of dying.

Will and Mary Anne share their hopes and concerns with each other—and rediscover their lives—through their favorite books. When they read, they aren’t a sick person and a well person, but a mother and a son taking a journey together. The result is a profoundly moving tale of loss that is also a joyful, and often humorous, celebration of life: Will’s love letter to his mother, and theirs to the printed page.

Review :

This has to be one of my favorite reads. The story is touching and so well told. It is wise and witty and moving. Will’s mother is most definitely a strong powerful woman who is so lovable from the very moment you are introduced to her. She is truly inspiring the way she handles her situation.

The story is heartfelt, inspiring, passionate and powerful. It is a book about parental love, loss, grief, and life but mostly it’s the power of reading and books. I highly recommend this book, full of emotions and great reading recommendations as well.

Links :

Buy the Book From : http://www.amazon.com/The-Your-Life-Book-Club/dp/0307594033

Find Out More About the Author : http://theendofyourlifebookclub.com/

The Light Between Oceans – M.L. Stedman

The Light Between OceansTitle : The Light Between Oceans

Author : M.L. Stedman

ISBN-10 :  1451681739

ISBN-13 : 978-1451681734

Paperback : 352 pages

The Plot :

Tom Sherbourne is a young lighthouse keeper on a remote island off Western Australia. The only inhabitants of Janus Rock, he and his wife, Isabel, live a quiet life, cocooned form the rest of the world.

Then one April morning, a boat washes ashore carrying a dead man and a crying infant – and the path of the couple’s lives hits an unthinkable crossroads.

Only years later do they discover the devastating consequences of the decision they made that day – as the baby’s real story unfolds…

Review :

The story is mesmerizing, the details and descriptions are lovely and the characters so endearing. All in all it is an amazing read. It makes you question what is right and wrong. It gives you a look at how our actions can set into motion such a chain reaction and affect so many people around us.

What I loved about the book is how the main premise of the book is about choices that we make. Some are big, some are small but that doesn’t mean they won’t have repercussions that can be so magnified beyond our imaginations. I particularly loved the ending which I found was very satisfying for such an elaborate story. Highly recommended.

Links :

Buy the Book From : http://www.amazon.com/Light-Between-Oceans-Novel/dp/1451681755/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1408948774&sr=1-1&keywords=the+light+between+oceans

Find Out More About the Author : http://www.randomhouse.com.au/authors/ml-stedman.aspx

Orange Is the New Black – Piper Kerman

Orange is the new blackTitle : Orange Is the New Black

Author : Piper Kerman

ISBN-10 :  0385523394

ISBN-13 : 978-0385523394

Paperback : 327 pages

The Plot :

When Piper Kerman was sent to prison for a ten year old crime she barely resembled the reckless young woman she’d been when shortly after graduating Smith College, she’d committed the misdeeds that would eventually catch up with her. Happily ensconced in a New York City apartment, with a promising career and an attentive boyfriend, she was suddenly forced to reckon with the consequences of her vary brief, very careless dalliance in the world of drug trafficking.

Kerman stent thirteen months in prison, eleven of them at the infamous federal correctional facility in Danbury, Connecticut, where she met a surprising and varied community of women living under exceptional circumstances. In Orange Is the New Black, Kerman tells the story of those long months locked up in a place with its own codes of behaviour and arbitrary hierarchies, where a practical joke is as common as an unprovoked fight, and where the uneasy relationship between prisoner and jailer is constantly and unpredictably recalibrated.

Revealing, moving, and engaging, Orange Is the New Black offers unique perspective on the criminal justice system, the reasons we send so many people to prison, and what happens to them when they are there.

Review :

For the first time ever, I felt the show was better than the actual book it is based on. It is a memoir I agree but for me it just lacked depth because the other characters were really underdeveloped. It was interesting at first but got repetitive and tiring. It seemed like the story had to be stretched to fill in a certain number of pages.

I loved the character of Piper initially but disliked the constant reminder that her blonde hair and blue eyes got her a lot of perks and made it so much easier for her. The show deviates here and I liked that. The writing is light and straightforward but it lacks the makings of a great read. Overall I would recommend the show highly but the book, not so much.

Links :

Buy the Book From : http://www.amazon.com/Orange-New-Black-Womens-Prison/dp/0385523394/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1408607160&sr=1-1&keywords=orange+is+the+new+black

Find Out More About the Author : http://piperkerman.com/

Find Out More About the Show : http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2372162/?ref_=nv_sr_1

A.C. Billedeaux – Interview

Today we talk to A.C. Billedeaux.

acbilledeauxQ) Tell us something about yourself.

In real life, I’m a traveler. My favorite thing is seeing new places and meeting new people. It’s hard to beat the feeling you get when you do something for the first time. The adventure is a bit of an addiction.

In the world of fiction, I’m a YA author. As a twenty-something myself, I spent my teenage years watching the young adult genre grow from something relatively unknown into something absolutely thrilling. Today, most of the people I know read YA and, as Stephen Colbert said, “a young adult novel is a regular novel that people actually read.”

Q) Tell us about your latest book. Why do you think the readers will like it?

My latest book is called Ash Wednesday. It starts after the end of the world and is an exploration into what really sets the standard for “human nature” and tests the limits of human kindness, good will, and, most importantly, hope. Although it isn’t religious, it addresses a question that is huge in literary fiction today: What exactly does it mean to be heroic? Can anyone do it?

Q) How did you come up with the title of the book?

As I said, Ash Wednesday has a religious feel, which matches the possible-but-still-feels-bigger-than-life tone of the novel. It also brings another aspect to the main plot of the story, which is the creation of a hero, by giving it biblical overtones.

Q) What kind of research did you do for your book?

I had to read a lot about nuclear apocalypse. Radiation poisoning. The effect that carpet bombing has on an area. Basically, a lot of things that would make the NSA look at me carefully.

Q) Which of the Characters in your book are your favourites and why?

Lila Sinclair is my favorite. She’s a strong female character that actually takes action, which is something that is sometimes lacking in young adult fiction.

Q) How did you formulate this character? Is it based on someone you know?

None of my characters are based on people I know. Actually, my characters tend to make themselves and sometimes take on the story without me. It’s a little bit strange. I’ll be writing along and suddenly have somebody get into a fight with someone they weren’t supposed to, freak out, and march off towards a separate goal that was never supposed to be relevant in the first place. Huge chunks of this novel had to be rewritten and reorganized, in fact, when a main character went completely off-script. You’ll know it when you see it.

Q) Every Author has a distinct writing style. How would you describe your style and how do you think you came to form it?

I think my style is a bit of a mash-up of your traditional fairy-tale feel (in that it often feels a little extraordinary, even when the characters are being perfectly normal) and the gritty, day-to-day struggle of a classic western. Weird, I know.

Q) How long have you been working on this book and what inspired you to write it?

I wrote this book for NaNoWrimo (National Novel Writing Month) about two years ago now. So it only took me a month to write it. However, it took the better part of the next year to edit.

Q) When did you start writing and when did you realize you want to become an Author?

I’ve been writing since I could put pencil to paper. It’s the classic answer, but it also happens to be true. I was that kid in elementary school that climbed the trees at recess and read or wrote, forgetting to come inside again when the bell rang.

Q) Who are some of the Authors you like and how do you think their work inspired you?

Scott Westerfeld, Libba Bray, Phillip Pullman, Diana Wynne Jones, Garth Nix, Neil Gaiman, and about a thousand others. It’s hard to pick just a few when you read constantly. To be honest, there are very few books that I’ve read that I haven’t loved.

Q) What do you think is the most difficult part about writing and publishing a novel?

For me, publishing was much harder than writing. It required patience. It takes a lot of time, effort, and waiting around to get through the stages of publishing. It’s not like the writing stage, where you are totally in control. Instead, you wait around for someone to notice you, then for someone to read it, then for someone to like it, then for someone to make it pretty, then for someone to pass it around to the people they know…

And so on. If you want to be a published author, you’ve got to be willing to put in the time.

Q) What is some advice you will like to give to people trying to write and get their stories published?

WRITE! Write all the time. It helps to write about things you know at least a little about, but if you don’t want to, then write about what you want to write about. So much of the industry is about the writer sticking up for the thing they love most in the world–so you’ve got to be ready to create something that you can love even when everybody else hates it. Writing is about passion. That’s it.

Q) Tell us something about what you are working on or about some of your future projects.

Well, Ash Wednesday is a trilogy. So there’s that.

Q) From amongst all the novels ever published if you had to write any one, which one would it be and why?

If I got to be the author of somebody else’s book, it would be The Book Thief. Not only is the point of view character DEATH, but the prose is beautiful, the plot is sad and wonderful, and the ending is pure magic. I wish I was that good.

Q) If you had to convince someone to read your book in 5 lines what would they be?

Ash Wednesday is about kids at the end of the world, proving how important it is to be human, above all else. It’s about having faith in each other, about standing up for what’s right, and about being the best version of yourself that you can be. Being the best is not always about being the strongest or the smartest or the prettiest. It’s about being better than anyone ever thought you could be. Maybe it’s even about being better than they deserve.

Links:

Buy The Book From :

Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Ash-Wednesday-C-Billedeaux-ebook/dp/B00FR2V5RI/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=&qid=

B&N:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/ash-wednesday-ac-billedeaux/1117105064?ean=9781939156181

Website : acbilledeaux.com

Facebook : facebook.com/acbilledeaux

Twitter : @acbilledeaux

Pinterest : http://www.pinterest.com/acbilledeaux/

Goodreads : https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7344979.A_C_Billedeaux

The Little Old Lady Who Broke All The Rules – Catharina Ingelman – Sundberg

The Little Old Lady Who brokeTitle : The Little Old Lady Who Broke All The Rules

Author : Catharina Ingelman – Sundberg

ISBN-10 :  1447250613

ISBN-13 : 978-1447250616

Paperback : 441 Pages

The Plot :

An incredibly quirky, humorous and warm-hearted story about growing old disgracefully – and breaking all the rules along the way.

79-year-old Martha Andersson dreams of escaping her care home and robing a bank.

She has no intention of spending the rest of her days in an armchair and is determined to fund her way to a much more exciting lifestyle. Along with her four oldest friends – otherwise known as the League of Pensioners – Martha decides to rebel against the regulation imposed upon them. Together, they cause uproar: protesting against early bedtimes and plasticky meals.

As the elderly friends become more daring, they hatch a cunning plan to breakout of the dreary care home and land themselves in a far more attractive Stockholm establishment. With the aid of their Zimmer frames, they resolve to stand up for old-aged pensioners everywhere. And that’s when the adventure really takes off…

Review :

It’s been a while since I read a book like this. The story is simple and the characters loveable. A gang of oldies decide to live life by their own rules and to do that they need money and so they decide to be just like Robin Hood. The plot was gripping and with every page I turned I had a big smile on my face. I loved the way the plan and plot keeping in mind their shortcomings (they can’t walk to fast, they are not too steady on their feet, they can’t carry weight etc.) and playing to their strengths (people never suspect old people to be criminals).

Overall I enjoyed the book thoroughly. It kept me glued from start to finish and in my opinion that makes for a wonderful read. Highly recommended for anyone with an afternoon to kill and looking for a good laugh. I wish they make a movie based on this book and Betty White would make an amazing Martha!

Links :

Buy the Book From : http://www.amazon.com/The-little-lady-broke-rules/dp/1447250613

Find Out More About the Author : http://catharinaingelman-sundberg.com/

Erik Therme – Interview

Today we talk to Erik Therme.

Erik ThermeQ) Tell us something about yourself.

I managed a video store for five years and love watching movies—the more obscure, the better. I’m also a semi-compulsive organizer and can easily spend hours making spreadsheets, lists, or reorganizing the nooks and crannies of our house. Fortunately for me, the 11-year-old has the same compulsion, so it makes for good quality time.

Q) Tell us about your latest book. Why do you think the readers will like it?

Mortom is a mainstream mystery about family secrets and how far people are willing to go to expose them. When Andy Crowl’s estranged cousin dies, Andy goes to the small town of Mortom to survey the estate. Inside the house, he discovers a dead rat with a key and note that says: Follow me. From there, he has one week to decipher a series of clues to unravel the mystery of his cousin’s death.

I believe Mortom will appeal to those who enjoy ‘non-traditional’ mysteries. There are no serial killers, burnt-out cops, and/or retired FBI agents—only a normal, everyday guy, thrown into extraordinary circumstances. And who wouldn’t love to play a ‘real life’ game of follow-the-clues?

Q) How did you come up with the title of the book?

I was at the library and came across a paperback with the word MORTEM written on the spine. Upon closer inspection, I realized the library sticker was covering the word POST, and the title of the book was actually POST-MORTEM. The word stuck in my head, and I realized it would make a great name for a creepy small town. I changed the E to an O, and the fictional town of Mortom was born.

Q) What kind of research did you do for your book?

The town of Mortom is modelled after Farmington, Iowa, where my father grew up. One of the advantages of basing your novel on a real place is the ability to drive there and seek inspiration, which I did on multiple occasions.

Q) Which of the Characters in your book are your favourites and why?

My favourites are protagonist Andy Crowl and his cantankerous Aunt Mary. Mary was always fun to write, as she has no qualms about speaking her mind—especially with Andy. It was always a joy to put them in the same room together and let them go at it.

Q) How did you formulate this character? Is it based on someone you know?

Andy is little more than a thinly disguised version of me, while Aunt Mary is based on a woman I knew years ago. Seeing as how Mary is less than enduring, I will refrain from saying anymore, as I never know who might be reading this. . .

Q) Every Author has a distinct writing style. How would you describe your style and how do you think you came to form it?

I often joke that I ‘learned to write by reading Stephen King,’ but it’s the absolute truth. I discovered The Stand in junior high and immediately began crafting my own tales of horror. Most were pretty lousy, but the more King I devoured, the more respectable my writing became. Eventually I moved away from the ‘supernatural elements’ and found my own style and voice.

Q) How long have you been working on this book and what inspired you to write it?

The first draft of Mortom (written many, many, many years ago) was basically a Stephen King type tale of horror. It wasn’t very good, and I rewrote it again—this time without the supernatural elements. The next draft was better, but still not quite right, and it went back in the drawer. It wasn’t until the third rewrite—where I introduced the concept of ‘follow the clues’—that I was finally able to shape it into the finished tale.

Inspiration was simple: Small towns always hold the best secrets, and I thought it would be fun to construct a story in one.

Q) When did you start writing and when did you realize you want to become an Author?

When I was a child I loved to draw, and everyone thought I would be an artist. When I reached my teens, my interests shifted to music and writing. One of the challenges of being in a band was relying on other people to accomplish goals, and I preferred the solidarity of writing. I don’t think anyone was surprised when I quit music and began my first novel.

Q) Who are some of the Authors you like and how do you think their work inspired you?

One of my new favourite authors is Alden Bell, who wrote the brilliant novel The Reapers Are the Angels. It’s a tasty bit of literary fiction, set in a post-apocalyptic world of zombies. I’m currently halfway through his next book and loving that as well. I would read this man’s laundry list. Yeah, he’s that good.

Outside of Bell, I’ll pick up pretty much anything that looks interesting. A few of my favourites: I Am Legend (Richard Matheson); Murder by the Slice (Rob Cline); and Battle Royale (Koushun Takami). I find inspiration in everything I read, because every author brings something unique to the table.

Q) What do you think is the most difficult part about writing and publishing a novel?

For me, the biggest challenge is often the first draft. Some authors revel in starting a story from scratch, but I relish rewrites, where I get to polish the language, flesh out my characters, and fine-tune the plot. That said, it’s easy to get caught up in endlessly tweaking the story and feeling like it’s never finished. At some point you have to say ‘enough is enough’ and move on. Otherwise it can drive you insane.

Marketing can also be a challenge. Your book is competing with millions of others—some better, some worse—and you have to work hard to make people aware of it. I’ve done everything from hang flyers around town to advertising on craigslist. A successful writer is always writing and promoting their work, which can be a challenge, as there are only so many hours in the day.

Q) What is some advice you will like to give to people trying to write and get their stories published?

Never give up. It’s your life and your dream. I would love to say good writing is most of the battle, but it’s not. Timing, circumstance, and luck all play a huge factor. All you can do is believe in yourself and try to make as much luck as you can.

Q) Tell us something about what you are working on or about some of your future projects.

Resthaven will be released in spring 2015 and centres on a group of kids who explore an abandoned nursing home. The project originally began as a young adult novel for my 15-year-old, but each draft changes so dramatically, I will be as curious as everyone else to see the final product.

Q) From amongst all the novels ever published if you had to write any one, which one would it be and why?

Catcher in the Rye: It’s as if Salinger peeked into my brain while writing this book and captured some of my most intimate thoughts. Which is actually kind of frightening.

Q) If you had to convince someone to read your book in 5 lines what would they be?

Mortom is a brisk, fast read, designed to be devoured in one or two sittings—perfect for that airplane ride or that long, lazy afternoon at the beach!

Links:

Buy The Book From : http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/mortom?store=allproducts&keyword=mortom

Website : www.eriktherme.com

Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/pages/MORTOM/361116363968501?ref=hl&ref_type=bookmark

Twitter : https://twitter.com/ErikTherme

Pintrest : http://www.pinterest.com/eriktherme/mortom/

Goodreads : https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7831573.Erik_Therme

Amazon : http://www.amazon.com/Mortom-Erik-Therme-ebook/dp/B00IABY9JE/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=8-1&qid=1392168477

LibraryThing : https://www.librarything.com/work/14740018

Callie Browning – Interview

Today we talk to Callie Browning.

Callie BrowningQ) Tell us something about yourself.

My imagination comes alive when I write. I’ve been writing since I could hold chalk, pencils…you name it. I read on a tablet but once the book is good, I always buy a physical copy. Does that make me weird?

Q) Tell us about your latest book. Why do you think the readers will like it?

My first book, The Shadow Guardian: Lost Dreams, is what some of my readers has described as a touching tale of finding yourself. I’ve heard over and over again that the characters are relatable, the plot is fresh and exciting and that my writing is witty.

Q) How did you come up with the title of the book?

I feel like so many of us have something inside of us that helps to protect ourselves; a sixth sense if you will. I used certain aspects of my life to help write the book and there was a time when I felt that something inside of me kicked in and changed my thinking and helped me to come to my senses in difficult situations. That’s entirely what helped me to come up with the title.

Q) What kind of research did you do for your book?

All kinds: I spoke to people about Barbadian myths and legends, I did Internet research, I went to the library, I started paying closer attention to various aspects of Barbadian culture. Another thing that I started doing and haven’t been able to stop, is that I’ve started really trying hard to understand people and their motivations. It may seem strange but your characters are the vehicle that really moves the story along. If their behaviour doesn’t ring true, the story can never thrive.

Q) Which of the Characters in your book are your favourites and why?

I love this question. To be honest, I love quite a few: I love Tillie the most. It’s narcissistic though: I based her on me! I also have love/hate relationships with Danny and Miss Hoyte. Some readers actually got upset because of what Danny did in the book and asked me to do a full re-write because of it. But I felt like it had to happen that way for the book to really be worth its salt.

Q) How did you formulate this character? Is it based on someone you know?

Sigh. Here’s the sad part: I actually dated someone just like Danny once. The details are different in the book but the end result was still sad. Miss Hoyte is a caricature of two different people I know, but I turned up the boost on her behaviour. Lol!

Q) Every Author has a distinct writing style. How would you describe your style and how do you think you came to form it?

It’s funny, but I actually just rush to write things down as they happen in my head. Whenever I sit down to write my characters take the wheel and show me the way. My writing is very much like me: it’s clever and witty and full of enthusiasm.

Q) How long have you been working on this book and what inspired you to write it?

I worked on my book for two years and initially it started as a cathartic exercise for me to deal with some feelings I had. Eventually it just turned into something else. I changed details and I genuinely hope it can light the path for other people’s metamorphosis, going from not believing in yourself to truly owning who you are.

Q) When did you start writing and when did you realize you want to become an Author?

I’ve always written. Literally, my mother still has some of my very earliest works back when I still had milk teeth. She was the first person who saw it in me. But not until three years ago when I realized the sheer joy that I get from writing, did I really start trying to polish my techniques.

Q) Who are some of the Authors you like and how do you think their work inspired you?

Definitely J.K Rowling tops this list. Her writing made me realize that there was a place for all kinds of writing. Before her work, I felt that many books tended to fit a certain mold in my mind. She broke barriers and her personal story also touched me and to this day, I find inspiration in that.

Q) What do you think is the most difficult part about writing and publishing a novel?

Having to be a one-woman show is definitely challenging. I dream of giving up my day job and doing this full time. I love the creative aspects of it all, but it’s time consuming. You spend so little of your time writing your books and so much writing to agents, writing blurbs, editing your work, trying to sell on different platforms. And all along you make mistakes and sometimes you’re not even sure what they are! You wish that you had someone to help, but a lot of other people are just as lost as you are.

Q) What is some advice you will like to give to people trying to write and get their stories published?

Have a great idea and believe in it. Criticism is going to come with the territory and it MUST be taken, digested and turned into a positive. I love getting critiques – then I know where I’m weak. When people say nothing, I can’t get better.

Q) Tell us something about what you are working on or about some of your future projects.

I just finished a short story and three flash fiction pieces. But now I’m back to working on two new book simultaneously. One is a follow up to my first book and the other is a love story. But the great part is that both of them are set in Barbados J.

Q) From amongst all the novels ever published if you had to write any one, which one would it be and why?

I love historic novels so they would be a close runner up, but I would have to choose any of the Harry Potter books. I just love how unique they are in their premise and how effortlessly they take you through a world that is so foreign to the uninitiated reader.

Q) If you had to convince someone to read your book in 5 lines what would they be?

Rachel Stephens isn’t sure why, but some strange things have been happening recently. And she’s pretty sure that her ghost-like twin has something to do with it. Plagued by dreams that always coincide with an unfortunate incident, Rachel can’t help but to think that life will only get worse.

Rachel’s love life and career have hit a rut with no signs of ever getting better. Eventually, Rachel will have to confront everything she ever thought she knew to find her way – and ultimately – herself.

Links:

Website : http://www.amazon.com/Shadow-Guardian-Lost-Dreams-ebook/dp/B00ERACGDS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1407900001&sr=8-1&keywords=callie+browning

Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/pages/Callie-Browning/496917127064679

Twitter :@BajanCallie

Goodreads : https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7255648.Callie_Browning

Amazon : http://www.amazon.com/Callie-Browning/e/B00EWU53VK/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

Blogspot : http://calliebrowning.blogspot.com/

Frank Freudberg – Interview

Today we talk to Frank Freudberg.

Frank FreudbergQ) Tell us something about yourself.

I am a novelist, journalist and ghostwriter. I enjoy writing about underdogs and their battles with forces seemingly more powerful than they are — and I particularly like watching the little guy prevail. I live in a Philadelphia suburb with my fiancé and son, and I’ve contributed to Reuters, Associated Press, the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Der Spiegel and others. My work has been mentioned in many notable publications including Time, Newsweek, and The Guardian.

Q) Tell us about your latest Why do you think the readers will like it?

The novel Find Virgil takes readers inside the mind of a deranged serial killer – and by the time readers get half-way through the story, they usually find themselves rooting for him. And lots of readers have said that that gives them an eerie feeling.

Q) How did you come up with the title of the book?

It’s a line from some dialogue. A senior FBI official, out of frustrations, shouts the words to a roomful of agents. It’s an order.

Q) What kind of research did you do for your book?

Extensive. I spent months in the library and online. I traveled the country following the exact route my (anti)hero Martin Muntor takes on his mission. I tried to do what Muntor did – although I wasn’t trying to achieve lethal results, but I proved to myself what he was doing something that could actually be accomplished.

Q) Which of the Characters in your book are your favourites and why?

Martin Muntor is definitely my favorite; he’s an underdog who, in a non-traditional way, prevails.

Q) How did you formulate this character? Is it based on someone you know?

Muntor is a compendium of several people – some real, some imagined – who is driven to get what he wants, regardless of the cost to him or his victims.

Q) Every Author has a distinct writing style. How would you describe your style and how do you think you came to form it?

My style is sparse. I’ve been criticized by some reviewers for not giving the reader enough information or description, but in fact the opposite is true. My style is designed to cause readers to see my scenes and characters vividly within their own imagination, which is more effective, in my opinion, than spoon-feeding the story to readers by describing everything in endless specificity.

Q) How long have you been working on this book and what inspired you to write it?

Three years; Find Virgil and Martin Muntor and the other characters are based on a story I wrote in the mid-nineties. Ten years after that book was published – to moderate sales and extensive reviews both loving it and hating it – it kept tugging at me until I realized that I could make a few substantial changes in the plot and wind up with a story that was twice as powerful and, I hope twice as satisfying.

Q) When did you start writing and when did you realize you want to become an Author?

I’ve been writing since I was five, with varying degrees of diligence and perseverance. I’ve wanted to be a writer from as far back as I can remember. My parents encouraged it and taught me to love reading.

Q) Who are some of the Authors you like and how do you think their work inspired you?

My hands-down favorite writer is the recently departed novelist Thomas Berger who wrote 23 amazing novels, including Little Big Man. He does so much with so few words, it’s hard to believe. His insight into human psychology and human nature is remarkable. While reading Berger, you get the impression he’s in the room with you, grinning and nodding along with you as you immerse yourself in the world he’s created just for you.

Q) What do you think is the most difficult part about writing and publishing a novel?

Knowing when to stop. In theory, I could keep digging deeper into every story I’ve ever written indefinitely, but then I’d have no story since it would never be finished. That’s why I have people read the work while it’s in progress and give me invaluable feedback. It’s hard for me to step back and say, “Okay! I’ve finally got it!” There’s always one more weed to pull or bare spot to plant in.

Q) What is some advice you will like to give to people trying to write and get their stories published?

It’s well-worn advice, but: put black on white to write, and try everything and anything to get the attention of agents and publishers to get published. And most importantly, try to accept that there are no rules (despite what you may read online or in books and articles).  You only fail when you quit.

Q) Tell us something about what you are working on or about some of your future projects.

I have now completed a new noir-ish novel called Don’t Feel Bad, about an investigator for Child Protective Services in fictional Brandywine County, Pa., who gets conned by a femme fatale into helping her set up her affluent husband for a multimillion-dollar divorce and child custody settlement. He resists at first, but eventually caves and agrees to commit a felony (just this once) in order to help her implement her scheme. And that’s where everything goes horribly wrong.

Q) From amongst all the novels ever published if you had to write any one, which one would it be and why?

It would be Thomas Berger’s Little Big Man. To me, it’s the greatest American novel ever written. If I grow to be half the writer Thomas Berger was, I’ll feel I’ve arrived.

Q) If you had to convince someone to read your book in 5 lines what would they be?

  1. Get a front row seat in the mind of a serial killer.
  2. Slowly come around to seeing that he has a valid point, despite his extreme measures.
  3. The twists and turns will have you hanging on and turning the pages.
  4. The writing makes the story vivid in your imagination.
  5. You won’t be able to wait to see how the cat-and-mouse game between the serial killer and his pursuers turns out.

Links:

Website :  www.findvirgil.com

Goodreads : https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22378928-find-virgil

Amazon : http://www.amazon.com/Virgil-Novel-Revenge-Frank-Freudberg-ebook/dp/B00G5JD8TK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1408213845&sr=8-1&keywords=find+virgil

BN.com Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/find-virgil-frank-freudberg/1119473686?ean=2940149582556

BN.com paperback: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/find-virgil-frank-freudberg/1117688862?ean=9780984594580

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Frank_Freudberg_Find_Virgil?id=oynKAwAAQBAJ&hl=en

Audible: http://www.audible.com/pd/Mysteries-Thrillers/Find-Virgil-Audiobook/B00KMF7RTA/ref=a_search_c4_1_1_srTtl?qid=1407195609&sr=1-1

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/437404

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/find-virgil-a-novel-of-revenge

iTunes/iBook: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/find-virgil-a-novel-of-revenge/id881211748?mt=11

Emily Taylor – Interview

Today we talk to Emily Taylor.

emily taylorQ) Tell us something about yourself.

Hi!

Well, I’ll start off by saying that I’m short for my age, a bit of a nerd, and call my writing/music room ‘The Dungeon’ because it lives under the house.  Emily Taylor isn’t my real name, but Taylor was close to being it! Apparently there were too many Taylors being born in the hospital when I was close to due, so my parents changed it. But I love the name, so it was my first choice when I went to create a penname.

Other then that, I actually study music technology at university—not writing—except I do a screen/scriptwriting course elective on the side, which is a lot of fun.

Q) Tell us about your latest book. Why do you think the readers will like it?

A Soul to Take is set in a dark, urban world where demons have been integrated into society. Elixia, our snarky main character, works for the Agency to keep the order between demons and humans—except one of her missions goes sour and her sister is kidnapped.

To save her only living family she has to do the ultimate ‘taboo’ for an Agent: sell her soul!

I think readers will like that it’s a little different. It’s a new adult book, so a bit more mature and gritty, and I’m not one to hold back on the violence. Elixia gets into a fair bit of crap and I show it how it is. But it is a lot of fun.

Elixia has a peculiar view of the world, and the people she hangs out with are equally quirky. The main love interest also isn’t some cliché hero either. He has his own demons (no pun intended), and struggles to keep Elixia safe when she seems compelled to jump head first into every piece of danger that comes her way. But unlike the stereotypical ‘knight in shining armour’, he has own responsibilities and agenda, and understands Elixia can’t be his number one priority which leads to some difficult situations for her.

Q) How did you come up with the title of the book?

I can’t remember, but I know I had it early on, even before I started writing. It was, and is, one that I particularly love. I created it at a time when I was trying to be all fancy and poetic with my titles (one of my stories was called To Turn Left so go figure).  I probably have a document somewhere with a list of ‘maybe’ titles as I worked it out. But it seems pretty forward.

I will say this though—I didn’t know about the novel and movie (different projects) My Soul to Take when I created it. I remember one of my friends bringing the book in during sports, all that time ago back in highschool, and shoving it in my face going: “Look at this!” And I was like “Noo!” I still haven’t read it. I guess I’m a little stubborn.

Q) What kind of research did you do for your book?

Heaps. Just heaps.

I’ve done research on all kinds of demons, ideas of immortality, homunculi, and the soul—and yes it has been proven that there is an ‘unknown’ percentage of your weight that leaves you after you die which scientists to suspect to be ‘the soul’, or so they say. That is kind of a fundamental of my trilogy.

I’ve done research on serial killers as well, and the one in A Soul to Take—which I can’t say much about without spoilers– was an actual guy. A French soldier from memory, he did unimaginable things to… Well, I can’t really say. But I was highly disturbed reading the article, so I thought it’d be a good idea to put it in my story because that’s the type of person I am.

Q) Which of the Characters in your book are your favourites and why?

Truthfully, the slimy, casino owner Mason has a special part of my heart. I can’t delve too much into my reasons without spoilers unfortunately, but he’s a bit of an underdog.

Q) How did you formulate this character? Is it based on someone you know?

No. I actually think I got the idea of him from a Sherrilyn Kenyon book. I’m not too sure. I don’t like basing characters on people I know—it’s bit too funny and I always fear that the ‘real person’ would come across my book and just know which would be awkward. It’s the same with names. I try to avoid using names of people I know.

Q) Every Author has a distinct writing style. How would you describe your style and how do you think you came to form it?

I wouldn’t know how to describe my style. I think Stephen King has had a big influence on me in addition to Kenyon and Illona Andrews, simply because they’re the type of books I read the most. It’s a very straight to the point type of writing: choppy in actions scenes, at times descriptive—but in a concise manor. I also like having a strong voice as the focal— though I’m learning Elixia can be a bit of an ass sometimes, but in her situation you can’t really blame her.

Q) How long have you been working on this book and what inspired you to write it?

I think it’s been about five years in total since I started getting these ideas together, and then about three years at least, since I started writing.

I drew inspiration from all over the places—mainly anime actually. I remember watching Black Butler in grade ten, maybe nine, and I liked the idea of demonic ‘marks’ and contracts. Then I came across Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood and the idea of immortality, souls and homunculi. The little plot bunny from Black Butler grew bigger—and finally I watched Baccano and this idea of an elixir that ‘creates’ immortality and yeah. They’re not the only places, but I’d say they are the main ones on reflection.

I did a lot of research to see where the authors of those animes and books got their inspiration from and started bringing it all together.

Q) When did you start writing and when did you realize you want to become an Author?

I’ve been writing since early primary school on and off, but it wasn’t until I was about in grade five or six (10-11 years old) that I started seriously writing and joining sites such as Goodreads. I remember being in grade four and lying on the ground with one of those giant, old white computers and typing away cause I couldn’t use dad’s new black brick of a laptop. Sad, but simple times.

Becoming an Author just seemed like a logical step. I’ve always been a big reader, but I’ve done so many things in my life and I’ve come to realise storytelling is my passion in all kind of forms and media. I love telling stories and this is just one of many outlets that I can share these tales with people.

Q) Who are some of the Authors you like and how do you think their work inspired you?

Again, Stephen King.  It used to be I just liked the ‘idea’ of him. I knew all his stories—had seen a bit of his films— but I didn’t start reading his books until highschool. And there are so many novels I love from the Kate Daniel to Let the Right One In, And Then there were None to Les Miserables, Digital Fortress, Wizards First Rule, The Seventh Scroll, and The Seer and the Sword—I could go on. And that’s without even touching anime and manga—movies and tv shows!

They all inspire me– a good story inspires me. Like only recently I read this manga called Orange Marmalade, which was amazing. I read it in a four hour sitting and there were moments when I was grinning ear to ear, then others when I was close to tears, and by the end, it was midnight and I just sat there going, wow. And that’s what I want to give my readers. I want them to sit at the end of my books in wonder at the experience they have had and the overwhelming love they feel for my characters. It’s a big ask, but I won’t stop working at my craft until I get to that stage.

Q) What do you think is the most difficult part about writing and publishing a novel?

Not giving up.

I will always write. But once you get that first draft done, it’s keeping the motivation to rewrite, restructure, go line by line editing—and still love it. That’s the hard part. They say you hate your novel by the end of the publishing journey, and for me, not really. I love A Soul to Take. There are times I don’t think it’s good enough and more like an old friend—or even ex-boyfriend– and I have to ask myself why aren’t I moving on?  But you need to sucker punch that doubt in its face. Push past it, and then you get excited again.

Q) What is some advice you will like to give to people trying to write and get their stories published?

Write. Write. Write.

But don’t just spew out words– work at your craft. You never stop improving. Read the help books and articles, go to the workshops and electives, but most of all, ask people who are better writers—or at least great critics—to help you.

With this so-called age of technology, if you are serious, there is no reason for you not to put yourself out there. Get on the sites. Start a fan base.

In the end, it’s about you loving your stories and loving your fans, and them returning the love.

If you love your work, it may take time (plenty of it) , but you’ll get there in the end if you’re stubborn enough.

Q) Tell us something about what you are working on or about some of your future projects.

I’ve nearly finished my Partially Angel trilogy! I’m about half way through the last book now. ‘Blood of Angels’ was my first book back in 2008/9, and by first book, I mean past the 50k mark. Then I rewrote it in 2012/3 and didn’t stop. Being my first book and trilogy, it has a special place with me. So hopefully, that will hit the shelves in a few years if I work hard enough and have a little luck.

I’m also on the third book of my fantasy series, ‘Cinretta’, and looking to rewrite my stand-alone novel ‘To Turn Left’ this coming Christmas and hopefully ‘UNMASK ME’ next year.

Instead of finding a new world, I want to polish and do justice to the ones I have created already, before moving on again. So, heaps to do!

Q) From amongst all the novels ever published if you had to write any one, which one would it be and why?

If I could write any novel? I have no idea!

Les Miserable is ringing in my head for some reason—but I think that’s just because it is a classic, is a story I love, has a musical(!!) and is so successful.

Q) If you had to convince someone to read your book in 5 lines what would they be?

Ah, geez! So much pressure!

Please read my story about Elixia, a kickass but kinda-dead heroine, who sold her soul to save her sister. Elixia means well, despite having a serial killer to take down and a trafficking operation to get to the bottom of. Oh, and did I mention there’s a door between her bedroom and the Demon Kings? I promise, it’s not like that… And Elixia’s changing too. She hopes it’s the contract mark, because if not, her parents may have forgotten something important before they kicked the bucket…

Links:

Buy The Book From: REUTS Publications and Amazon starting 8/26

Facebook : Taylor.Ink

Twitter : @EmTaylorInkie

Goodreads : A Soul To Take

Wattpad: Taylorink

Garrett Addison – Interview

Today we talk to Garrett Addison

Garrett_AddisonQ) Tell us something about yourself.

I’m a forty something, Australian Indie author and also a geek, husband and father. I grew up in Perth, Western Australia, and have been lucky enough to live in or visit most of Australia and much of the world, but I now live in Melbourne with my family.  I’ve been an Army officer, software consultant and author and so far have written two novels, MINIONS and THE TRAVELLER, with more to come.  I’m a big advocate for the promotion of reading in general (#GetReading) and particularly reading the works of Indie authors and something that might not yet be a best-seller (#ReadDifferent).

Q) Tell us about your latest book. Why do you think the readers will like it?

My latest is ‘The Traveller’, the story of a repressed family man who spends too much time away from home at the whims of a merciless bitch of a boss.  When he is miraculously transformed on what starts as just another trip, he decides it’s time for not only success but also some payback on the one he sees as the bane of his life… revenge and enlightenment ensues!  Sometimes to get the measure of your life you just need a break from being yourself.

I think readers will like it because it’s very different and has really interesting character evolution with some great twists.  It’s a fun story.

Q) How did you come up with the title of the book?

As I was writing it, the book was always ‘The Traveller’.  When complete, I tried different titles but they all tended to hint too much of the story and I didn’t want to give anything away. 

Q) What kind of research did you do for your book?

While it’s not biographical by any means, having travelled extensively with work I understood many of the personal and professional stresses on a perpetual traveller very well.  The book actually started as a rant of what I thought of work travel, but then it dawned on me that it created such a great setting for a “what if…” scenario.

Q) Which of the Characters in your book are your favourites and why?

The traveller from ‘The Traveller’ is my favourite … he doesn’t have a name.  He’s an average guy with work/life balance issues who’s long since had his soul crushed by an evil boss.  He’s a bit of train-wreck really and hardly a very likeable character, but he’s just so in his own world that it’s good fun to come along for the ride.  Amid his challenges, the story really shows his growth while away from home.   

Q) How did you formulate this character? Is it based on someone you know?

The traveller blossomed from a great big “what if…”.  Yes, he’s busy and yes, it’s hard balancing work and home life, but what if he was a different person on one particular trip?  Everything evolved from there: what could he get up to and what would he get up to?  A lot of people think it must be autobiographical, but it isn’t.

Q) Every Author has a distinct writing style. How would you describe your style and how do you think you came to form it?

I want to write different: different stories, different characters and in a different style.  I don’t want to write stories confined to a particular genre or like any other author or featuring familiar or predictable characters.  I want for my readers to escape into stories where preconceptions wont help them and so they can just come along for a ride.

Q) How long have you been working on this book and what inspired you to write it?

‘The Traveller’ started on a business trip; some scribbles on an outward flight, some pages in a restaurant late at night, and then some ‘what if’ questions on the return flight.  I knew I had something and I wrote probably 80% of the story on the weekend following my return.  From there, however, it took a few years of rewriting to get right and during this time everything was changed.  Just because I had 80% to build on didn’t mean that any of it was really how it needed to be. 

What inspired me to write it?  I couldn’t keep it in … it just had to be written.  I don’t think ‘The Traveller’ will be the crowning achievement of my writing career, but there’s something special in the story which I hope will see it get some wider appeal. 

Q) When did you start writing and when did you realize you want to become an Author?

I have always written, but the urge to write novels only really surfaced about ten years ago when I started to get bored with seeing the same stories and characters in what I was reading.  It dawned on me that perhaps this was an indication that I needed to set to work on novels that I’d like to read: if it is to be, it is up to me.  From there, writing became an obsession.

Q) Who are some of the Authors you like and how do you think their work inspired you?

I only really started to read for enjoyment as an adult, so many of my favourite authors are the ones who helped turned me into a reader.  Audrey Niffenegger’s ‘The Time Traveler’s Wife’ sparked the reader in me and Lee Child’s ‘Reacher’ books turned me into a reading devotee, ably supported by the books of John Birmingham and Matthew Reilly.  Together, these authors in particular showed me that if I hadn’t been reading for enjoyment then clearly I wasn’t reading the right books.

Q) What do you think is the most difficult part about writing and publishing a novel?

I think the hardest part of writing is knowing when something ‘works’, and more correctly, if it doesn’t work, is it workable, by you.  You might have a great idea or have written something that just doesn’t work and the trick is to be able understand how to fix (rewrite) it or accept that what it needs might be beyond you.  Yes, you could possibly keep working away at it for years and maybe, just maybe, turn it into something amazing and the subject of widespread acclaim.  However, I think it’s more likely that you’d get more out of learning from it and moving on, rather than writing off (pun unavoidable) time and effort which could be directed to a potentially better project.

Traditional publishing is harder than ever, but self-publishing has never been easier and is getting easier everyday.  The side effect of this self-publishing simplicity is the sheer volume of new work becoming available.  Meanwhile, it seems reading as a pastime is in decline in a world with so many alternatives to reading, which is very sad.  So there’s all this new material and their authors are vying for the attention of a smaller reader community.  To me, this is a challenge to write books which get more people reading.

Q) What is some advice you will like to give to people trying to write and get their stories published?

Don’t stop, read widely and don’t be too influenced by what you read.  The more you write, the better you will get: you need to keep at it.  Just reading will help your writing more than you can appreciate, and the more you read, the better your writing will become.  The wider you stretch your reading, outside your usual genre or style, the more you’ll broaden or discover of your own capability .  Sure, you might like a particular genre or style, but you really need to read outside that genre to grow your own skills.  Feel free to keep your favourite style and genre, but you’ll need to stretch your reading for your writing development.

As for getting your stories out there, brace yourself for rejection and learn to thrive on it, not just cope with it.  Rejection is par for the course, particularly if you are hell bent on pursuing a traditional publishing deal.  Let it drive or motivate you, not stop you.  Self-publishing doesn’t preclude you from rejection either… ask any author who’s ever received a damning review.  You need to accept that once your work is widely available or accessible, you are going to be subject to scrutiny from outside your immediate circle.  To that point, just because you can self-publish doesn’t mean that you should self-publish as soon as a friend reads your work and tells you how good it is!

Q) Tell us something about what you are working on or about some of your future projects.

My current work in progress is shaping up to be a good story of revenge.  It’s a way off being complete so anything could happen, but I’m hoping it will reveal a righteously vengeful character.

Q) From amongst all the novels ever published if you had to write any one, which one would it be and why?

The one which was later attributed to a reversal in the current downward trend of people reading.  I’d love to be the one whose books turned people into readers.

Q) If you had to convince someone to read your book in 5 lines what would they be?

THE TRAVELLER.  It’s a good fun story of revenge, regret and redemption and more than a little different.  Take an ordinary guy with everyday stresses and an evil female boss, but when he is suddenly a new ‘improved’ version of himself, he gets the chance to get even and reclaim his life.  Revenge never tasted so good.  Sometimes to get the measure of your life you just need a break from being yourself … because nothing lasts forever.

Links:

Website : http://www.garrettaddison.com

Facebook : http://www.facebook.com/GarrettAddisonAuthor

Twitter : https://twitter.com/garrettaddison

Goodreads : www.goodreads.com/GarrettAddison

Amazon : http://bit.ly/theTraveller