Featured Author · Writers · Writing

So #Reid2Write Featured A Romance Writer… Me!

So I just got featured over on Aidan J. Reid’s blog and I’m afraid I was a bit wacky in my answers!  I even managed to spill the beans about where to find my latest novel, In Love With A Young Man!

I had the pleasure this week to interview someone I’ve admired from afar since discovering her blog earlier in the year.

Author of romance and ‘chick-lit’ novels, the next guest of my #Reid2Write series is very open about her own writing process and the lovely task that us indie authors struggle with – carving out […]

via Episode 8 of #Reid2Write – Romance Author Liz Durano — Aidan J. Reid

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Featured Author

Featured Author: Pam Bloom

This week’s Featured Author is Pam Bloom, science fiction author of Whole New World[s] – The Parallel Universe Adventures, Book 1.  She lives in Wirral, England, with her husband, teenage daughter, cat and many, many fish. In her spare time, she likes walking there and back again, and her interests include nature, science, history, metal-detecting, and words.

Whole New World[s] is her debut novel, the first in The Parallel Universe Adventures trilogy.  Aimed at Young Adults, it is a science fiction adventure about a boy who discovers the universe is not quite as simple as he thought.

Amazon US
Amazon UK

Read her interview below and don’t forget to check out her book on Amazon.  It’s also free to read on Kindle Unlimited!

Different Worlds by Pam BloomCan you tell us a bit about Whole New World[s] – The Parallel Universe Adventures?

Whole New World[s] is about eleven-year-old Ethan Jones, a carer for his mum and little sister, finds a pebble-like device on the floor of an abandoned coastguard house while out on a walk. Unknowingly pressing the button, he discovers himself in a changed world, where pigs are walked like dogs, no-one seems to know him, and his absent, abusive dad is back at home. He is actually in a parallel universe – a fact he discovers when he thankfully returns home and a stranger comes to the door asking for his device back. A light sci-fi read aimed at the younger end of the market, it’s a tale of adventure, friendship and, ultimately, the realisation that your own less-than-perfect world is not as bad as it could be.

What inspired you to write the book?

My daughter, who is now 14, has never liked reading, despite being surrounded by books (her grandma was a librarian, while I was a journalist). I tried everything to get her to read for pleasure, to no avail. I have always written for fun, but never before completed a novel – until I decided to write a book for my daughter. It didn’t work – she still wouldn’t read it, but I read it out to her and she enjoyed it.

Who has influenced your writing?

I am a big fan of Charles Dickens, Stephen King and Douglas Adams, in no particular order. I truly think aspects of all three have influenced my writing, though I don’t put myself in the same class as any of them, unfortunately.

Can you tell us a bit about your writing style?

I like to have at least one chapter plotted in my head before I write – the general outline, anyway. I enjoy long walks, during which I can plot a few chapters at a time. But I don’t write anything down when plotting, and I let the characters develop on the page. They often do things I didn’t expect them to. It’s really quite odd – the book often writes itself.

What do you like about writing?

I love creating whole people and their worlds and losing myself in them while writing.

What do you like the least about writing?

The least enjoyable thing is worrying if anyone else will actually like your work. I’m a sensitive soul, and don’t take criticism well.

What challenges have you come across in your writing journey?

I find the writing bit of being an author relatively easy, but the marketing aspect (as I am a self-publisher) is a huge challenge, requiring a lot of research and learning new skills.

Can you tell us about what you’re  working on next?

My second book in The Parallel Universe Adventures, Running, is currently resting before being edited, while I am plotting the beginning of the third book, which doesn’t have a title yet.

What’s the last book you read that left you with what people call a “book hangover?”

I have read a lot over the years (I am a very old person – well, 49) but do not read much at the moment. I like the classics, but the last book I read was The Bafut Beagles by Gerald Durrell. It’s an affectionate account of his animal-collecting antics in Bafut, in the Cameroons, Africa, and has some laugh-out-loud moments.

What’s the best advice you’ve heard about writing?

The best advice I have ever had is write, write, write and write again. Even if you think no-one is ever going to read it, you need to get words down on paper.

Thanks so much, Pam!

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Want to learn more about Pam Bloom?

Website: https://www.pambloomauthor.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pambloomauthor/

Blog: https://www.pambloomauthor.com/?p=30

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Pam-Bloom/e/B01I8AH8NK/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

 

Featured Author

Featured Author: Aidan J. Reid

This week’s Featured Author is Aidan J. Reid, a thriller author and freelance blogger originally from Cloughmills, Northern Ireland.  His first full-length novel is a sci-fi thriller called Pathfinders, released in February 2016. The second book is called Sigil, a detective thriller set in a small village in Ireland, released in June 2016.  He has also written a short sci-fi story called Spectrum, which you can purchase on Amazon or receive free when you subscribe to his newsletter.

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Welcome to the blog, Aiden! Can you tell us about your latest book, Sigil?

A small village in Northern Ireland wakes up one morning with the discovery of the death of a local man, hanging by apparent suicide. The village is stunned, not least Father Tom Regan. As the figurehead of the community and an amateur sleuth, he decides to investigate and soon discovers a series of clues which suggest foul play.

He begins to suspect that the pious and tight community might be hiding a murderer. The tag line is – ‘Every Village Has Its Secrets’.

Can you tell us the inspiration behind Sigil?

I was born in a small village in Northern Ireland and have fond memories of my childhood there. Despite leaving at the age of eighteen to attend University in the city, some of the characters I grew up with continued to dominate my thoughts, especially as I pursued a career in writing.

I love the idea of a tranquil, ‘safe’ place touched by evil, and the idea was spawned probably from reading the Sherlock Holmes books. I wanted to create an unlikely ‘hero’ who also fell in love with a clever detective and wanted to emulate him (in the novel, the object of Fr Tom Regan’s obsession is a character called Detective Bourbon).

I also wanted to create a series around a strong character and I feel I’ve found that with Regan.

What’s your writing style like?

I have the opening scenes and usually, but not always, the end in mind before I begin. I don’t like to think more than 3 chapters ahead. My characters aren’t on a tight leash. I’m willing to be pulled in whatever direction they want to go, but ultimately they all have a fair idea of their fate!

With Sigil, because it is a mystery thriller, I had to put a little more structure in place and connect characters/narratives and motives to ensure it fit like a jigsaw. Other than that, I just like to sit down and get writing. The end product will always be shared with an editor and beta readers to identify any inconsistencies.

Who has influenced your writing?

I was a bit of a dork as a teen and read the classics – books from Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Kafka, Cervantes. They remain some of the best books I’ve ever read. It helped construct my radar for what good books REALLY looked like. Dan Brown and Lee Child still have their place. They’re pacy, enjoyable…but instantly forgettable.

I love books to hook me and won’t let go. It’s getting harder to find books like that anymore. For that reason I’m currently going through the Top 100 Books of All Time, as listed by the BBC in a nationwide study in 2003. I’m finding some interesting new/old voices, that could teach current authors a thing or two.

What do you love about writing?

I love creating something from nothing. I love receiving positive feedback from strangers.

What don’t you like about it?  Or rather, what are the things you like the least about writing?

The voices in my head! I can’t switch off the characters, especially when I’m deep into a new writing project. They keep me up at night!

I know about those voices!  Are there any challenges you’ve come across since you became a published author?

I’m relatively new, although my first novel – Pathfinders – which was published in February of this year was ten years in the making. Challenges include – getting noticed, building a marketing platform and everything sales related. Writing is the easy part!

So, tell us about your plans?  Any new books in the making?

I’m writing Book 4 as we speak – a sequel to Sigil set in Peru entitled ‘Yage’. I’m also working on a short story called ‘Crystal Clear’.

I’ve finished the first draft of my third book. It’s called ‘Raising Lazarus’. It will be set for release in December 2016.

It tells the story of a young man who believes that 2,000 years earlier he was cursed with eternal life by a wandering prophet. We pick up the narrative in a prison where a University student is doing her thesis on prisoners mental health, and she meets this guy who calls himself Lazarus. She can’t decide if he’s mad or if there’s some truth – he seems well balanced and very clever. It builds to an ending, one that could affect the entire world. I still need to work on the blurb!

What’s the last book you read?  Or at least, one that gave you what we call a “book hangover?

Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone. I was late to the party. I can see the attraction and look forward to getting into later books.

Any advice for writers out there?

The best way to become a good writer is a) read a lot, b) write a lot. Stephen King.

To learn more about Aiden J. Reid and his books, check out:

Website: https://aidanjreid.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aidanjreidauthor

Twitter: @Aidenjreid

Amazon Author Page:  http://www.amazon.com/Aidan-J.-Reid/e/B01BS8XUYU/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

 

Featured Author

Featured Author: Royce Amy Morales

3b8ca629-3ecc-4081-8a65-b7e769ccec43~705x1125I first met Royce Morales when I first started my private massage therapy practice many years ago.  She was one of my first “cheerleaders,” so to speak, someone who referred me to people and I am forever grateful for that.  She’s also one of my first spiritual teachers, and one of the stories I recently rediscovered in an old website folder, came from one of her teaching techniques.

So I was so excited to learn that she’s a published author, with Want: True Love, Past Lives, and Other Complications.  Join me as I interview Royce for this week’s Featured Author post and don’t forget to check out her book!


What is your book about?

As this spiritual teacher guides others toward understanding love and relationships, she discovers that her own eight-year marriage might not be what she thinks it is at all. Triggered by a magnetic attraction to a new student, she unwittingly gets thrown into a journey spanning lifetimes. Preconceived notions about soul mate relationships are busted; fantasies become cliches as she delves into the farthest reaches of subconscious memories that awaken her to the reality of connecting with an “other half.”

What inspired you to write Want?

This book is a fascinating, fictionalized account of my personal experiences discovering what soul mate relationships are actually about. As a spiritual teacher, the concept of soul mates has always been intriguing. Yet the notion that this relationship is one of perpetual bliss and constant long walks on the beach never set right with me. This questioning attitude spontaneously inspired personal research sparked by someone I “just knew” without a doubt was my soul mate. My deeply personal experience seemed important enough to turn into something for others to glean lessons from.

Who has influenced you in your writing?

Tom Robbins is my all-time hero writer. There is no one who is more brilliantly creative, more innovative, and more wacky all at the same time. Each sentence is a gem. To get even one sentence of mine to compare with any of his is my ultimate goal as a writer.

How would you describe your writing style?

My writing style is intuitively trusting whatever wants to emerge as I go. This book took twenty years to complete since it wasn’t planned out or structured at all. Each time I would go back to it to re-read and edit, I would be amazed at how much I had grown as a writer, and equally amazed that I couldn’t see the flaws until I could.

What do you love about writing? 

I love writing. When the process got grueling at times, I learned to do several things: One, I would stop and come back to it the next day (or admittedly, even further in the future). Two, I would ask myself whether I had bypassed something that I knew wasn’t working (trying to ignore it) and would go back to that area and fix it. Three, I would look inside and see if there were fears churning around that needed to be acknowledged in some way. The minute I would do that, no matter how silly those fears sounded, my writing would free up and any blocks would disappear. I really learned to trust the process every inch of the way.

What do you like the least about it?

I don’t think there’s anything I don’t love about writing except life getting in the way of doing it more!

Any writing challenges you came across?

The challenges have all been an integral aspect of the journey. Perhaps the biggest challenge I had was comparing my writing to others’. We all have a unique voice and something important to share. Even if it’s just with you and your computer.

Tell us about your next project.

I am currently completing a non-fiction book that details my teachings and over thirty years of spiritual discoveries. It intends to be an experiential inner journey for those ready to awaken. It should be complete soon!
Title: “Know: Hidden lies, hidden truth.”

What’s the last book that left you with a book hangover?

Eat, Pray, Love. I was inspired by the author’s openness. Her willingness to take us along on this intimate journey, seemingly without concern about being naked and vulnerable, was quite impressive.

What’s the best advice you’ve heard about writing? What advice would you give to an aspiring writer?

Cliche warning: Never give up! It’s a journey… trust it! And don’t be concerned about your audience. Whoever is supposed to read it will. With apologies to Field of Dreams: “Write it and they will come!” There is no deadline. Write until it feels complete. Then, put it away and come back to it a few days, weeks, months later and edit it with fresh eyes. Have a stranger edit it but don’t blindly take their advice unless it feels right to you. Editors come with their own attitudes and perhaps even some frustrated writer issues!

Where can we learn more about Royce Amy Morales online?

Website: Content/Intent

Twitter: @RoyceMorales

-Via LizMadridAuthor.com

 

Featured Author

Friday’s Author Spotlight at The Bookish Crypt!

Casandra at The Bookish Crypt just featured me for her Friday Author Feature!

She’s a book blogger and her Instagram feed is to die for – as is her bookshelves!  Do check out her blog and her book reviews!

INTERVIEW QUESTIONS:
-What are you currently working on?
I’m editing the second book of the Loving Ashe trilogy and deciding whether to rename it as a series or not. I already have new covers and just have to finalize the last part before it heads to the editor. I’m also working on 2 new stories, one is set in New Mexico and is an older woman/younger man story and the other is about a woman who wins a contest to be part of a reality TV dating show.
——
-What part of the writing process comes easy to you? Which part is difficult?
Starting a new story is the easiest part because it’s like having a new crush.  You can’t get enough of them and you can have more than one, but towards the end comes the tough part, because now you have to stick to only one so you can analyze the story and make sure you’re heading towards the ending which needs to have a smooth landing.  Parting is such sweet sorrow they say, but crafting the perfect ending is the worst.
——
-When/why did you become a writer?
I’ve always wanted to become a writer. I wrote stories in high school and studied journalism in college, but I bought the myth that I needed a “real” job to make it and so I abandoned writing so I could go back to school and be a nurse. I never became one but I did become a massage therapist and built a private practice in the South Bay.  I got to work with Hollywood actors, directors and producers, which gave me an inside look at their lives when the cameras are switched off.
I finally published my first book 2  years after my best friend, Pam, lost her battle with ovarian cancer.  Her last words to me were to keep writing (she didn’t know I’d quit for 7 years then) and that she couldn’t wait to hold my book in her hand.  In that last conversation, she described the stories I told her I was writing back in 1999 that I had given up and right now, I’m working on that same story.  She passed away in 2010 and I published Finding Sam in 2014 and it’s written for her.  She never did hold any of my books but I know wherever she is, she’s watching me and she’s the real muse who inspires every one of my stories.  #Mancrushmonday posts are only for show lol
——
-If you could switch places with one of your characters, who would it be? Why?
I’d pick Riley Eames.  She has the potential for so many adventures and after going through some pretty tough times, she seems to have found the perfect man in Ashe Hunter. So I’d love to see life through her eyes!  Plus, I hear she makes a mean espresso!

FUN FACTS:
-What book/s are you reading now?
I am reading Ksenia Anske’s Siren Suicides, A Lover’s Lament by K.L. Grayson & BT Urruela, and I’m rereading Justin Cronin’s The Passage now that the final book of his trilogy just came out.
——
-Where is your happy place?
My happy place is in the stories I write, and the worlds I create.
——
-Who is your favorite fictional character? Why?
My favorite fictional character – tough to choose only one – would be Daughter of Fortune, Eliza Sommers, the main character in Isabel Allende’s novel set in Chile and in California during the Gold Rush.  And of course, Jane Eyre, because..well, it’s Jane.
——
-What is your favorite quote?

“A writer is a writer not because she writes well and easily, because she has amazing talent, or because everything she does is golden.  A writer is a writer because even when there is no hope, even when nothing you do shows any sign of promise, you keep writing anyway.” – Junot Diaz

Via Cassandra Carpio, at The Bookish Crypt 

Featured Author · Writers

Featured Author: Beth Carpenter

There’s Something About Cowboys…

by Beth Carpenter

Cover - Detour on Route 66Not long ago, I happened to see a gray-haired cowboy crossing a parking lot, hand-in-hand with his sweetheart, and I smiled. There’s something in the leathery face of an old cowboy that hints of open spaces and galloping horses and a generous heart. Something solid and trustworthy, and yet romantic.

I think that’s why Ben Mayfield was so much fun to write. At first glance, Ben is none of those things. He’s a wildcatter from Dallas who spent his life working hard and living high. Along the way, he managed to acquire a boatload of money, three adorable granddaughters, and – count ‘em – six ex-wives. But underneath it all, he’s still the same cowboy who grew up on a ranch, part of a close-knit family, and a part of him longs for the kind of relationship his parents had.

And that’s where Marsha comes in. After a long and happy marriage, she and her husband had big plans after retirement to explore the country. But he died. And now she’s trying to figure out how to rebuild around that gaping hole in the center of her life. When a charming cowboy invites her along on his Route 66 road trip, she takes the plunge.

Detour on Route 66 (available free as an e-book) chronicles their meeting and Recalculating Route picks up on their journey together. Although road tripping is a theme in the book, the main setting of the story is Marsha’s hometown of Sedona, Arizona. Sedona is a special place, with amazing rock formations formed by erosion from weather, wind, and water.

As you may have gathered, Ben and Marsha are a tad older than your typical romance heroes. Like the rock formations in Sedona, their beauty comes from years of life eroding away the surface and shaping them into the people they are today. I’m a firm believer that people of all ages deserve love, and there’s no expiration date on romance.

Here’s an excerpt from about halfway through the story. It takes place on the anniversary of Marsha’s husband’s death. Eric always gave her yellow flowers, even secretly planted a huge swath of daffodil bulbs to surprise her the year before he died.

EXCERPT

Lindy met Marsha at the door, as excited as if she had been gone for months. Marsha gave her a chance to go out, and then she settled on the couch, Lindy lying at her feet. Marsha leaned forward to pick up the silver frame holding their wedding photo.

Eric managed to look outrageously handsome even in the silly white rented tuxedo she had chosen. What was she thinking? She smiled broadly in the picture, her poufy veil framing her hair, arranged in shiny wings on either side of her forehead. They looked much too young to be making solemn promises. They had kept their vows, though, their devotion growing throughout their marriage. Good times and bad, they had stayed together and loved one another.

“Hello, my love.” She reached to touch his face in the picture. “We had a good time, didn’t we? We promised ourselves to one another until death do us part.” She sighed. “And even then, I didn’t want to let go. But Eric, I think it’s time.”  She reached for a tissue from the coffee table and dabbed her eyes. “I love him, Eric. Not the same as I love you, but a different love, just as special. I wish you could meet him. You’d like each other. I can picture the two of you, sitting under the trees in the back yard with a beer in your hand, swapping stories.”

She laughed. “Ben would love your story about Nicky Flynn, trying to get out of a spelling test by putting an Alka Selzer in his mouth to convince the teacher he was having a seizure. I remember you had to send him out of your office to wait because you could hardly keep from laughing out loud when you tried to discipline him. I’ll try to tell Ben that story, but you tell it better.”

She traced the curving lines in the picture frame. “I’ll always love you, Eric.”

Her face began to grow hot. She sighed, set down the picture, and walked out on the back porch to let the breeze soothe the heat from her skin as the hot flash continued. Lindy followed her out. The climbing rose Eric had planted grew lushly over the trellis at the western edge of the porch, blocking the sun while letting the breeze through, making the porch a shady oasis. Every year, just before Mother’s Day, it covered itself with clusters of apricot buds that opened into extravagant sprays of pale golden roses.

She noticed something yellow on the trellis, and frowned. Once, spider mites had almost decimated the rose, leaving the leaves pale and spotted, but Eric had managed to save it. She went closer to examine the problem.

A single yellow rose blossomed bravely. It shouldn’t have been there, not in September. This rose always bloomed in May, and only in May. Yet there it was: a yellow flower. Each tissue-thin petal was a work of art, deep yellow at the base, shading to a paler tint and almost white along the curving tip, the innermost petals hugging the shaggy stamens at the center of the blossom.

She bent to inhale the lemony-sweet fragrance of this miracle, her hot flash forgotten. A single tear fell onto the leaves of the rose, but this time it was a tear of gratitude, that she should experience so much love in a lifetime.

About Beth Carpenter

When Beth Carpenter was a little girl, she read everything she could get her hands on and entertained herself on the school bus by making up stories in her head. Not a lot has changed.

She’s still consuming books like M&Ms, and spends her days creating happily-ever- afters for her imaginary friends.

Website | Twitter | Amazon Author Page | Goodreads

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Cover - Detour on Route 66Detour on Route 66

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via Featured Author: Beth Carpenter | Guest Post and Giveaway – Liz Madrid

Featured Author · Writing

Featured Author: Andrew Reid, Author of Kingdom’s Fall

This week, I’m pleased to feature Andrew Reid, author of Kingdom’s Fall, a fantasy novel about a group of ordinary people and not-so-ordinary people forced to work together to save a kingdom from an ancient evil.  I first discovered the story on Wattpad and when Andrew published his novel last year, I immediately bought my own copy. 

Andrew did a virtual “interview” and he was kind enough to answer a few questions I posed about his book and his writing process.  Before I go ahead with the interview, do check out his blog.  I love his so-English humor and Andrew’s got it by the buckets.  Considering that the main male character in one of my novels is so English, I should be taking notes…but I digress.

Let’s check out the interview!

So what is Kingdom’s Fall about?

It’s about “a handful of exceptional people who band together to brood, crack jokes, fight giant monsters and save their kingdom. It’s a fantasy novel built on the idea that the choices people make out of duty or loyalty – even if they’re the right choice – can have repercussions that echo for a long time. It is told through the medium of cool people doing awesome stuff.

What inspired you to write the book?

A scrap of paper that I saved from a writing workshop. I’d been kicking around a fantasy idea about two rival kingdoms and a gift of a cursed sword that never really found its feet. Casting about for something to give me direction, I found about 200 words of a prologue that I had written during an hour-long session with Mark Chadbourn (fantasy and tv writer) back in 2009 about a giant wall that held back the sea, and the ship that finds it breaking. I reread it and thought about a country locked behind walls; walls so old that nobody remembers why they were built; about walls that aren’t necessarily made of stone. I started with that and a list that read “Soldier, Spy, Rogue, and Adventurer” and the story sprang from there.

51RiJp3jAXL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_How would you describe your writing style?  Are you a pantser or a plotter?

I started off essentially as a pure seat-of-the-pants writer. I got the book done, but…I found it very stressful going. Even though all the parts were there, it needed a lot of work in the edits to get the structure, pace and flow correct. So now I deploy a little structure beforehand to keep me sane. It’s based off of Save the Cat, and I will build a set of cards with the major beats that I want to hit and then start writing towards each one. I do go off piste sometimes, but having it all laid out means I can think, “right, well if *this* has changed how can I use it later?” and it’s a much smoother process.

Who has influenced your writing?

I’m a huge fan of Robin Hobb’s Farseer trilogy. It’s one of my favourite fantasy works, along with the companion Tawny Man trilogy. I love Ursula K LeGuin: A Wizard of Earthsea is a fantastic book. Other favourites include The Count of Monte Cristo, and the Culture novels by Iain M Banks. Recent fantasy books that I really enjoyed and have had an influence on me: The Copper Promise by Jen Williams, Half the World by Joe Abercrombie.

What do you love about writing?

I love playing about with dialogue, the inner and outer voice. I like feeling that kick when you get characters sparking off of one another and it makes the writing *come alive* when you read it back, even though you know it took six months and three drafts to make it happen. I really like seeing what references my brain throws into the mix – all the stuff you see and read, all these old quotes and ideas get dredged up to the surface and it’s amazing what you remember when you’re sweating blood trying to just get the words out of you and down.

What do you dislike about writing?

Getting too close to the work is a problem. I can picture scenes very very clearly in my head, so when I come to write them I feel like I have to smudge the image a little to leave room for the reader’s interpretation. But when it goes out to beta readers, those parts always get flagged as being too vague, and could I be a little more forthcoming with the detail. It can be really hard to judge sometimes if you’re being blunt, or simply direct. Basically, the constant second-guessing of the thing you’ve just written.

What challenges have you faced as a writer?

Getting a traditional publishing deal is the current hurdle! I’ve been really close to things a few times now – I have a couple of unpublished novels under my belt in the past few years – and it has come down to things like “this is really good, but it’s not a debut” or “right writer, wrong book”. So…that’s what I’m working on. I’ve got one book bouncing through round after round of edits so that it is about as good as I can get it, and hopefully it will stick. Touch wood.

Can you tell us about your next book or project?

The next book is called The Tracer. Bit of a diversion from the fantasy, but it’s a contemporary thriller about a tech-savvy bounty hunter who is hired to track down a corrupt trader, only to find him dead and evidence planted at the scene that implicates her in his murder. I’ve had some thoughts about surveillance culture bouncing around my notebooks for a while now, and getting to talk about them AND have a main character whose main solution to any problem is to kick it as hard as she can seemed like a nice way to spend my evenings. I’m also working (slowly) on the sequel to Kingdom’s Fall. Hopefully the former will be finished in the summer, and then I can concentrate on the latter.

What’s the last book you read?

The last book I read was so bad it put me off picking up another one for a few days. I won’t mention the title or author but it was a hangover in the worst way.

On the good side of things, I just picked up The Privilege of the Sword and The Fall of Kings, which are the sequels to Ellen Kushner’s *truly amazing* fantasy, Swordspoint. Now that is a book hangover. The imagery is so crisp and intense, the world so compelling and yet almost entirely ephemeral on the page: the city where it takes place is never named, and yet feels so familiar you could swear you’d been there. I should have put that up in influences, but seriously: Swordspoint is an amazing gem of a book.

On the tech-y side of writing, what programs or apps do you use to write?

I write mostly in Google Docs at the moment. With one small child and another on the way alongside a full-time teaching commitment, I write on my phone during my commute and then sort out the text later on. For the complete draft, it all goes into Word so I can track changes. I use notebooks to sketch out ideas. I very rarely write blocks of text freehand, but I do a lot of flow diagrams or loosely connected frameworks. I write a LOT of dialogue fragments and often surprise myself by going back through old notebooks. I use index cards and Post-Its stuck to a wardrobe for planning, although I just got a massive flipchart refill where each page is divided into squares about the size of a Post-It and have hung it on the wall so I can write straight onto it. It should be awesome.

What’s the best advice you can give to someone about writing?

Best advice heard: finish what you start. Get it done. Yes, you have other ideas. Finish this one first. Advice to give: if you’re submitting to agents or publishers make sure your MS is complete before you start querying, follow the submission guidelines, and be polite. Writing is art, but publishing is a business. Be professional.

Thank you so much, Andrew!  Learn more about Andrew and Kingdom’s Fall on his website.


Excerpt

Aiden was dragged from the inn – his shoulder alight with pain, too much for him to protest or resist any further – and out into bright sunlight. The inn stood at the very edge of a tiny village. It was little more than a stopping-point, a place that thrived off what few travellers and wagons passed through on their way inland. On the opposite side of the road a massive tree disturbed the verge, so big that it had been either too much trouble or too familiar to cut down.  Someone had thrown a rope over one of the branches, and a noose swung lightly at one end.

“I thought I was going to face justice.” Aiden spat the words out between gasps. The pain was hot and bright, bright enough to mix with the sunlight and send flashes across his vision.

“You are. Warrant doesn’t say you need to be alive to face it.” The leader grinned savagely. “We’ll hang you here, and save his majesty the trouble.” He made a show of looking Aiden up and down as if judging his weight. “Might just send your head back.”

Two of the men held Aiden upright while the leader slipped the noose over his head and pulled the knot tight against the back of his neck. One peace-man spat on the ground, disgusted. “Thought you’d be bigger,” he said. “At least you’re not begging. Can’t stand it when they beg.”

“Does it ever work?” Aiden asked.

The man thought for a moment. “It gives us something to laugh about later.”

“I’m sorry to disappoint. If we ever meet again, I’ll try to make more of an effort.”

“Do that.” The man let him go. Aiden sank into the noose, barely able to stand. He twisted on the rope, turning to look at the men who were getting ready to haul him up. He could feel the blood gathering in his face, the skin of his cheeks and forehead prickling hot and tight.

“Any last words, my lord?” Their leader asked.

For a long time there was nothing but silence, and terror. He was going to die, alone and hurt and afraid, for something he couldn’t even remember doing. Aiden closed his eyes and felt the weight of it press down on him. As it sank through him, a thought rose to meet it. There’s still one thing you can do. One good thing. Aiden struggled to nod, and the weight on the noose eased off as they waited for him to speak. He forced the fingers of his good hand up under the rope, trying to take the pressure off his windpipe. “There were six of you.” His voice was little more than a whisper. “Now there’s four. If you kill those two who are off after the serving girl, that’s a lot more reward to share.”

The leader snorted. “Bit late to find your conscience, my lord.” He turned away, gesturing to his men. “Haul him up, lads.”


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-Reposted from Liz Madrid Author