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A Ginormous WPRR welcome to our latest victim, Paul Corrigan

Kia ora,

Please welcome our latest victim guest, Paul Corrigan. On the metal plate suspended above that puddle by wires is a chocolate fish. Behave and the delicious pink marshmallow fish covered in chocolate won’t end up a goopy mess on the floor.

In the event of an earthquake/zombie plague/or random occupation – you’ll find emergency procedures taped to the bottom of your seat. Yes, just like a flotation device. You’ll also find a Glock 17 with a full magazine.
Remember you cannot reason with zombies and it’s a head shot every time.

 

Right. Comfy?
Yes. I’m clinging on tenaciously, just like Powdered Toast Man in Ren & Stimpy.

1. What’s your favourite type of takeaway?

Fish and chips with deviations into ‘Asian’.

2. Describe your current mental status.

Crikey. I think it’s OK. The long-term memory works well. Otherwise probably bullfighting with Alzheimer’s.

3. I know how I do what I do … but how do you do what you do?

I don’t know. Maria Goretti and Me, which I self-published last year, was begun while I was on a course for the unemployed. I was 63. I had no thought of even starting a novel. I’d been working my way through a MS Access workbook for two weeks and then hit a wall.

Suddenly nothing made sense. As my classmates headed off to morning tea on Friday, May 17, 2013, I sat nearly in frustrated tears because I couldn’t crack what turned out to be a simple problem. I felt old and dumb.
All I could see was a picture in my head of a girl standing on a street corner. And I realised that picture had been there for three days when I began having problems with Access.

I put aside my ‘school’ work and wrote that first sentence of a girl on a street corner. Then there was another sentence, and another. That’s how I went on to write Maria Goretti and Me over the next six months. I didn’t know what was coming. I didn’t even know how I was going to end until I woke up at 2.30am and there it was. Two weeks later I finished it.

I never plotted Maria Goretti and Me at all. I started it, and just made it up as I went along. Somehow it seemed to work.

4. Could you tell us a little bit about your latest work?

The Goal Kicker: this gestated and festered for over 20 years with a couple of false starts before I switched on the computer about 8am, June 10, 2002, after the flatmates had gone to work, and started typing. I always had known what the end was so I wrote the end first, which took about three weeks.

I was getting used to writing fiction again, which I hadn’t done since I was at secondary school. I was also breaking the sub-editorial habit of write-then-edit. I understood that if I was going to write this story then I had to just bloody write it. The editing could come later.

Then I wrote the beginning. Over the next two years I wrote back and forth in the story pretty much as things occurred to me. Most days, about 3am, I’d be awake and the next bit I was to type was there in my mind. I didn’t follow the linear format – i.e., from front-to-back. It was like painting a picture, I think. You go here, there, and just fill in the gaps until you hope it all makes sense in the end.

5. Do you have a favourite coffee or tea?

Instant Nescafe Classic – strong and black. Best drunk cold over several hours, or even days. I know. Long story …

6. Walk us through a typical day. (Do you make sure you’re wearing your lucky underpants before you sit down to write, perhaps you prefer commando? While we’re discussing your underpants, boxers, briefs, or budgie smugglers. Inquiring minds want to know. Yes, that includes my Admins … we don’t piss off the Admins.)

I’m a pensioner. I spend far too much time on Facebook and writing long rants for the Kiwi Journalists FB page or for NZ Indie Authors. Otherwise I like to read a lot. I go to the local libraries. If I’m writing I tend to write quickly and with little disregard for time. My underpants: erm … No.

7. Tell us about your main character. (How did you first meet? Would you like to hang out with him/her? What delights you the most about writing him/her? You get the idea …)

The main character of The Goal Kicker, which is set over six weeks in July-August 1968, is Richard. He’s 18 and lives with his Nanna. He is socially awkward, a loner, and takes things to heart especially when girls have been mean to him.
He lacks self-confidence. Apart from his size – he’s 6ft-5in (roughly 1.96m), the biggest pupil in the school – he doesn’t stand out. He would like it to stay that way.

But now his school needs him for the one thing he is good at: his goal-kicking. His principal accepts an invitation from a Christchurch private boys’ school for their 1st XVs to play the curtain-raiser of the Inter-Islander at Lancaster Park. Richard is not in the 1st XV. The previous coach – a bullying, embittered ex-naval officer – had terrified him so much he wouldn’t be in the team.

Daniel Eyles, the team’s new coach, sees that if his boys are to have any kind of chance they need a reliable goal-kicker.
Richard, encouraged by the Springbok ‘Tiny’ Naude, who beat the All Blacks at Lancaster Park in 1965 with a last-minute penalty goal, has taught himself how to kick goals, and from distances that are breath-taking – further even than the great Don Clarke or the schoolboy prodigy Joe Karam.
Goal-kicking is solitary, which is why Richard liked doing it when there was no-one watching.
Can Daniel Eyles persuade Richard to join the team? Can Cornelia, the one girl who sees only good in Richard, help lead him out of his cave?

I realised when I started writing this in 2002 that I’m not drawn to ‘natural’ heroes and ‘natural’ leaders. I don’t particularly care for the assertive ‘red-blooded’ hero character. The ‘heroes’ in this story are the boys and men who have had responsibility either thrust on them or they take it up because no-one else will. That’s how Daniel Eyles became coach of a demoralised 1st XV that hadn’t won a game for years.

My main characters are not all blokes. In Maria Goretti and Me the main character is the girl who, in the words of her brother Luke, a priest, bears the name of the Catholic Church’s youngest and apparently much-loved saint who died, aged 11 defending her virginity against a would-be rapist. She forgave him before she died from his 14 stab wounds.
The story begins in 1975. Maria is 17, the head girl of her posh Catholic girls’ school. She is destined to be dux and for an excellent academic life after that. She is the youngest of 14 of a New Zealand family of Irish descent. The parents are a doctor and university teacher. Both are OBEs (remember OBEs?). Maria’s sibling include a QC, doctors, teachers, and Luke the priest. Presiding over them all is her grandmother, who at age 85 can still shock and awe.

Maria meets Martin, who is 23 and a newspaper sub-editor, on a street corner. They fall in love. He’s the only child of elderly non-Catholic parents. Maria challenges her family and her Church’s teachings and attitudes about sex before marriage. Maria is courageous, unselfish, and she loves Martin, who narrates the story.
I grew to like her a lot.

I get regular feedback about Maria Goretti and Me from readers. Many talk about how the story was like their own, personal story: how young teens had to break up or were disowned by family because of religious attitudes. Most said they had strong emotional reactions to the story.
In the 1930s my Dad was disowned by his father and many of his relatives because he married Mum, who was Anglican.

I also like to include strong females in my stories. They might not be strong in the sense that they have formal qualifications. Richard’s Nanna reminded me of my Mum and her sisters – assertive and articulate, yet traditional women. Mum taught music for 60 years until she was nearly 80. Three of her sisters were school teachers. Auntie Rene taught in London slums in the 30s. Auntie Rona was an MA (Hons) at 20. Auntie Mave taught children at remote primary schools in Marlborough. Right up to the day she died she was always proud that children left her school knowing how to read and write and do arithmetic ‘because for many of them that was all the education they would ever get’.

They were daughters of a man who was driving bullock teams carting timber in colonial Nelson at age 10 to support his mother and family. Grandma had the barest secondary education at St Mary’s College, Wellington. She kicked the son of an earl out of her kitchen because of his ‘rough talk’. They had nine children. They believed that daughters should be educated because if they were widowed (no-one talked about divorce then) then they had something to fall back on.

8. Who are your favourite writers?

Alan Furst: I’m not sure he is a favourite, but he’s someone whose books I get out of the library when I see them. He writes spy novels set in Europe in the 1930s and 40s. I find them interesting for his eye for detail and for the fact that very little seems to happen. But they’re bloody good.
Another author I’ll pick out of the library is William Nicholson. I read his Motherland and loved it so much that I decided I’d get out whatever had his name on it. All The Hopeful Lovers is a deft and somewhat painful exploration of adultery and a kind-of forgiveness. He slices and dices motives. I wish I could write like that.
Wilbur Smith was a longtime favourite. I read Eagle in the Sky for the first time over three days in the 70s and wished I could write like that. I read a lot of his until the late 80s. I haven’t been a fan of his later stuff. A bit repetitive, perhaps. The late Leslie Thomas was another.

I am enjoying Graham Masterton’s Katie Maguire series, which he has set in Cork, Ireland. Katie Maguire is a police detective superintendent.

Am I the only person who has never read To Kill a Mocking Bird. To Set a Watchman?
I do read women authors. I’ve just finished Jack 1939, by Francine Matthews, and American. And, right after that, Day After Night, by Anita Diament, who also wrote the excellent The Red Tent.

9. Who inspires you to do better?

I have five grandchildren, aged 8 to 18 months. They live in Australia. When they grow up I’d like them to know that Dziadziu (it’s Polish for Granddad – long story) wrote stories and that people bought those stories and enjoyed them. Even though he wasn’t an ‘established’ author.

But I want to acknowledge my parents, and for two special reasons. I learned to read late. I was 9 or 10, from memory. It was unthinkable to Mum that her youngest could not read.
She patiently set about teaching me to read. It took a spring and summer of mostly Bible stories in a children’s book before I got the hang of it.

In 1963 when I was 13 Dad decreed that I would write two stories a week. He would read, critique, and mark them. I did it for three months and then Dad stopped it. I think he was finding it a chore. I was relieved.
But nearly 40 years later as I was getting to grips with writing The Goal Kicker I remembered those months with affection and regret. Part of me wished we’d kept going because those stories turned me towards journalism and writing.

10. Do you ever put pants on your dog, cat, or budgie?

No. Not fussed on dogs. My daughter Lisa, when she was about 3, used to dress up Hannah the cat and put her in the pram and push her about. Hannah was an old lady so we got Jaeger, just emerging from kittenhood. Hannah didn’t like him and used to box his ears. He refused to be dressed up for anybody. Champ, my daughter Emma’s budgie, died after mistakenly being sucked into the vacuum-cleaner. His burial in the little garden patch by the back door of our state house was sombre and sober and a bit tearful.

11. Describe your perfect day.

If I’m writing a story and everything just flows. It all goes together. At the end of the day I might see the word-count has gone up another 5000 or 10,000 words. But there’s been no stress or strain or effort. It’s great.

12. Who is your favourite fictitious villain? Or are you all about the hero? Who do you love to hate?

I’ve had to think for a couple of days about this one. I think that a lot of villains are not actually bad, evilly bad, I suppose. Often it’s a wrong choice from a wrong motive. In hind-sight sometimes these people have seen what they’ve done, the hurt and damage they’ve caused, and they are sorry. In The Goal Kicker my ‘villains’ have a back-story. Why are these people like they are?

In Maria Goretti and Me the villain is Maria’s Irish grandmother, who exercises far too much influence – control – over the family. She is the source of the bigotry and religiosity that runs like a river through the family. She is the character many readers react to with anger and outrage. ‘She reminds me of my Dad’s grandmother,’ a young Irishman told me. She has a kind of back-story, too. She was a peasant girl brought up in The Faith and married as a teenager. In a way she has an excuse.

But her family don’t get off, either, particularly Maria’s brother Luke, who is more a Pharisee than a man Jesus Christ would identify with. He would be the first to throw stones at the woman hauled before Jesus because she’d been caught in the act of adultery – which was against the Law. He’d do the same to his little sister.

13. Do you have any quirks?

This is a family publication, right?

14. All-time favourite movie and why?

This is where memory fails. Oddly enough, I think Sound of Music, which I first saw in 1966 in Wellington. A woman in my row had seen it about 300 times. Then I never saw it for another 40 years until I sat down one Christmas morning with my teenage grandnieces, for whom watching it on Christmas Day had become a tradition. I loved the story, even though the makers had taken the greatest of liberties with Sister Maria (who was pregnant when she married Korvettenkapitän Georg, Ritter von Trapp, 10 years earlier than in the film) and other truths of the von Trapp story. It doesn’t matter. I was saddened to read that recently Charmian Carr – who at 21 played the 16 year-old Liesl – had died.
Probably sometime soon I’ll wake up at 3am and discover I really had another all-time favourite movie …

15. Do you enjoy the editing process?

Oh, yeah. I can still remember in early 1971, as a 21-year-old sub at The Northern Advocate carving up and rewriting a poorly-written story and handing it back to the chief sub, who flicked through it, and passed it to the editor, who was sitting in at the subs’ table that day. He read it, looked at me over the top of his glasses, and said: ‘Very good, Paul. I couldn’t have made a better job of this. Well done.’
This was an era when praise was rarely given and even more rarely expected. I thought I was in heaven.
I’m better at editing other people’s work than my own. I have ‘rescued’ poorly written work and turned it into something worth while. I’ve edited half-a-dozen books over the last 25 years. In the process I’ve helped a man become a good, clear writer, too.

16. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be and why?

New Zealand. It’s home But excursions to Ireland and to England are on the bucket list. That’s where the ancestors came from. In my 30s I realised that New Zealand was my home and that I was a New Zealander. I was not transplanted Irish and Catholic, nor was I English and Anglican.

17. Favourite Pizza topping?

I’m not supposed to eat pizza.

18. What were you before you became a writer?

After I left college I became a newspaper reporter and then sub-editor on The Northern Advocate, in Whangarei. In the mid-70s I went to The Press, in Christchurch, as a sub. Ten years later I became a solo parent and went on the domestic purposes benefit. That lasted for about 12 years before a couple in a desktop publishing business took me on as their writer-editor-proofreader-photographer. That went for about three years.
After that I was in and out of work. I was unemployed a lot. As I got older the jobs were harder to get, the job descriptions became more baffling. In 2013 Work and Income put me on a course to try to improve my employability. While on that course I began writing Maria Goretti and Me.

19. What is the most random thing you have ever done?

Become a solo parent, I think. It all came out of the blue. I probably spent less time on the decision on what kind of Big Mac to have. I stopped work to go on the DPB. It was a career-killer. No regrets, though.

20. If you’re not working, what are you most likely doing?

Reading or spending far too much time on Facebook and composing long rants.

21. Who is your ultimate character?

I haven’t figured that one out yet.

22. Whiskey or Bourbon? Red or white wine? Tequila? Beer?

Yes, whisky, whiskey (the two are different), bourbon, rum … Red wine. Had peach Tequila in Mexico once. Beer, but something with taste.

23. What’s in your pockets? (Or handbag, whatever you carry your stuff in. Are you apocalypse prepared?)

Wallet

24. Laptop, PC, Mac, tablet?

Laptop

25. Ebook or tree book?

Tree book.

26. Favourite apocalyptic scenario?

When I worked at The Press there was always this joke, and it was about what the paper considered ‘news’. Anyway, Jesus was Coming Again, this time to claim his bride. The Press would ignore this event and run a local story on the front page instead. That Press was a different beast from now. I think I’d love to be able to stand and watch the prophecy outlined in The Revelation play out.

27. Where do you do most of your writing?

A laptop enables you to write wherever and whenever you like. I have done it in bed, on a couch in the lounge, at my sister’s dining room table. But I especially like writing in libraries. Half of Maria Goretti and Me was written in the Petone and Lower Hutt Libraries. They’re warm and places I needed to walk to and from (for the good of my health). But most of all I enjoyed the noise going on around me.

One day a girl in a group at the table I was writing at stopped her friends’ chatter and laughter and asked if they were disturbing me. They were, but I told them not to worry. ‘I used to work on newspapers, so there were always people talking, sometimes shouting at each other, phones going, the noise of the teleprinter and the clack of typewriters.’ I could tell they had no idea what a teleprinter or a typewriter was. So I added: ‘One night at The Press in Christchurch an argument became so heated that a reporter hurled a typewriter across the newsroom at a sub-editor who’d cut her story in half.’ Like wow …

28. What’s the hardest thing for you when it comes to being an author? (For me it’s marketing but for others, it’s the actual writing …)

I think taking myself seriously, that I am an author.

 

You made it!! Damn, you rock. Now would you like to try for the chocolate fish? Mind the puddles … but hurry. Power surges are common in the dungeon; you don’t want to have one hand on the metal plate containing that delicious chocolate fish and a foot in a puddle…

That laughter you hear is coming from The Knight, he probably won’t flip that switch he has his hand on. Probably …

And of course, Paul’s book is available in our store! :)

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A big WPRR welcome to Anya Forest

Kia ora,

Please welcome our latest victim guest, Anya Forest. On the metal plate suspended above that puddle by wires is a chocolate fish. Behave and the delicious pink marshmallow fish covered in chocolate won’t end up a goopy mess on the floor.

In the event of an earthquake/zombie plague/or random occupation – you’ll find emergency procedures taped to the bottom of your seat. Yes, just like a flotation device. You’ll also find a Glock 17 with a full magazine.
Remember you cannot reason with zombies and it’s a head shot every time.

 

Comfy?
Yep. I have my retriever Crockett supervising and the TV on.

1. What’s your favourite type of takeaway? (Yes, that means take-out in NZ speak)
Fish and chips. No contest.

2. Describe your current mental status.
Good ☺ but it’s only question two…

3. I know how I do what I do … but how do you do what you do?
I start with a scene or line of conversation that won’t leave my head and build from there. As you can tell from that sentence, I only have a broad idea of plot when I start writing…and it’s worked so far. I write down ideas when I have them, but that’s as far as I get with “planning.” With my first book A Southern Star I had a setting and a theme, and went from there. I still vividly remember writing that first line. My second book A Forgotten Sky started with a Ray Columbus song that I’ve always loved, and I was lucky enough to get approval to use. The book was built around that song, and the support I received from the musical, arts and automotive communities – it was then I realised first hand what it means to be a New Zealand writer – so many other New Zealanders were generous with information and permissions! My third book A Remembered Land started with just the first line, and my fourth about-to-be-published book A Southern Shelter started with the hero, Jesse.

4. Could you tell us a little bit about your latest work?
A Southern Shelter is Book 2 in my “Across the Strait” series, following on from A Southen Star. It’s set in southern New Zealand – Queenstown, Arrowtown, Kingston and Stewart Island all feature. A Southern Shelter is a contemporary New Zealand romance novel, or at least that what I intended to write when I planned to write a sequel to A Southern Star. And it is still that – a guy and girl (Jesse and Lisa) overcoming obstacles to be together in a happily ever after. Which is a good thing. As I wrote, though, the story took on a life of its own and social issues made their way more into the story. There’s a fair bit of debate in (romance) writing circles about whether readers want pure escapism when they read, or whether it’s okay to include some realism. I’ve chosen the latter path – that was the story that was in my head. So A Southern Shelter does include direct references to the Family Court, loss, and family violence. There is a strong romantic element in the story, but also quite a bit of the (unfortunately) real world around Jesse and Lisa. And in writing about significant social and personal issues I didn’t want to just “explain them away in a paragraph” and move on quickly to, for example, Jesse and Lisa having some first world problem out on a date. It’ll be published late 2016/Jan 2017 and will be available at Writer’s Plot Readers Read ☺

5. Do you have a favourite coffee or tea?
Actually, hot chocolate!

6. Walk us through a typical day. (Do you make sure you’re wearing your lucky underpants before you sit down to write, perhaps you prefer commando? While we’re discussing your underpants, boxers, briefs, or budgie smugglers. Inquiring minds want to know. Yes, that includes my Admins… we don’t piss off the Admins.)
A day for me includes writing, marketing my books, and spending time with family and Crockett, my retriever dog. At the moment I’m waiting to hear back from my editor about A Southen Shelter, and working on my next two novels. A Southern Strait will follow on from A Southern Shelter, and be the story of Blake’s sister Rebecca. A Link of Gold is the first book in a new series I’m starting – On the Coast. It’s set on the West Coast, around Westport, and will follow Natalie (Nat) and Lucas. (In relation to your other question – after so much time thinking about my characters removing their underwear it’s difficult to switch focus onto any discussion about mine ☺)

7. Tell us about your main character. (How did you first meet? Would you like to hang out with him/her? What delights you the most about writing him/her? You get the idea …)
I have several “main characters” but I still have a major crush on Blake, the hero in my first book A Southern Star. He really is too good to be true, strong, dependable, intelligent – and hot as hell. I have a thing for tall guys, so Blake is tall, and he has a sense of humour, which is mandatory as far as I’m concerned. I’d love to hang out with Blake – if he could be magicked into life it would definitely be a dream come true ☺ I’ve always enjoyed writing him – but seeing his character deepen further in A Southern Shelter made me even more “proud” of him. He’s always struck me as genuine – something that comes through in a lot of the reader feedback I get as well. As to how we met, I wanted to create a guy who was the sort of person I’d want to meet – so I did. As the idea of a series grew I wanted to make sure he was in the next books to a certain degree – both because of the way I feel about him ☺ but also because of the reader response. Having said that, I think I have a crush on all of my heroes – and my heroines all contain a little bit of “me” if I’m honest (I think most writers would say the same!) So confining this answer to one main character is hard…

8. Who are your favourite writers?
A whole range – Louise Allen, Jean Auel, Pamella Belle…and Clive Cussler and Michael Connelly. I’ve just finished The Dry by Jane Harper – an Aussie mystery and it was amazing, so I’ll be keeping an eye out to see what she writes next. Closer to home I have “Into the Mist” by Lee Murray on my Kindle – I’m about to start. Early indications are it’s a real page turner and I can’t wait!

9. Who inspires you to do better? (Be as corny as you’d like… just go for it! Mmmm chocolate fish.)
My dog Crockett, definitely.

10. Do you ever put pants on your dog, cat, or budgie?
No. Although I did see a Superman outfit that would have suited Crockett! ☺

A Forgotten Sky by Anya Forest

11. Describe your perfect day.
Roadtripping around the South Island with Crockett.

12. Who is your favourite fictitious villain? Or are you all about the hero? Who do you love to hate?
I really am all about the flawed hero. Even when I wrote the character of Louise in “A Forgotten Sky” as the villian, with few if any redeeming qualities, I still had to turn around and redeem her in “A Remembered Land”. Originally I was going to leave her as the villian but I just couldn’t do it.
If you mean outside of my own books then I would have to say that the Jackal in Frederick Forsyth’s Day of the Jackal is one of the most compelling villians I have read – in the sense of his ruthless planning and coldness.

13. Do you have any quirks?
Writing!

14. All-time favourite movie and why?
Gone with the Wind – because of Scarlett O’Hara’s singlemindedness (a.k.a selfishness) and the way her story is told against the backdrop of the Civil War. There’s so much in that movie – and the book – that has left a lasting impression on me.

15. Do you enjoy the editing process?
Yes – I was a (non-fiction) editor in my real life (before my writing took off) but it’s always unnerving to edit my own work! Exactly why I always have a professional editor for my own books – it’s so hard to “see” mistakes and inconsistencies when I’ve worked so long on a manuscript myself.

16. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be and why?
New Zealand is hard to beat – but I can’t decide where. I go on roadtrips often to re-visit my ever increasing list of favourite places.

17. Favourite Pizza topping?
Margherita

18. What were you before you became a writer?
I’ve always enjoyed writing stories – since primary school – but until recently I was an editor of non-fiction journals and articles.

19. What is the most random thing you have ever done?
Move to Stewart Island ☺

20. If you’re not working, what are you most likely doing?
Out and about with Crockett.

A Southern Star by Anya Forest

21. Who is your ultimate character?
Asking me to pick an ultimate character in my own books is like a bit like asking someone to choose a favourite child – impossible! ☺ So I hope you’re asking for a character outside of my own books, in which case I’d say Scarlett O’Hara, for the reasons given above. Even as I write this I can think of so many others…it’s difficult to isolate just one! Elizabeth Bennet, Anne Elliott, Captain Wentworth and Mr Darcy would also be VERY high on the list!

22. Whiskey or Bourbon? Red or white wine? Tequila? Beer?
Dessert Riesling

23. What’s in your pockets? (Or handbag, whatever you carry your stuff in. Are you apocalypse prepared?)
The bare minimum, so no, I’m not prepared.

24. Laptop, PC, Mac, tablet?

Laptop

25. Ebook or tree book?

Treebook, usually, but I’m getting more and more into 1-click on Amazon!

26. Favorite apocalyptic scenario?
Scarlett and Rhett escaping on the cart through the flames in Gone with the Wind.

27. Where do you do most of your writing?
In the lounge in front of the TV

28. What’s the hardest thing for you when it comes to being an author? (For me it’s marketing but for others, it’s the actual writing …)
The hardest thing about being an author is also the best thing – being self-published means I have all of the control, responsibility and work! So I enjoy marketing, but it takes me away from writing. And I love writing, but then I start thinking about my Facebook page or designing my next cover. So the hardest thing is fitting everything I need to do to into a day. It’s worth it though – being a published author, and writing stories, has always been my dream and now it’s come true ☺

 

You made it!! Damn, you rock. Now would you like to try for the chocolate fish? Mind the puddles … but hurry. Power surges are common in the dungeon; you don’t want to have one hand on the metal plate containing that delicious chocolate fish and a foot in a puddle…

That laughter you hear is coming from The Knight, he probably won’t flip that switch he has his hand on. Probably …

Anya’s books and excerpts of her books are available at Writer’s Plot Readers Read

You can find out more about Anya Forest in the following places …

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/Anya-Forest-1538044839791454/

Posted on

Our latest brave soul is Kevin Berry

Kia ora,

Please welcome our latest victim guest, Kevin Berry. On the metal plate suspended above that puddle by wires is a chocolate fish. Behave and the delicious pink marshmallow fish covered in chocolate won’t end up a goopy mess on the floor.

In the event of an earthquake/zombie plague/or random occupation – you’ll find emergency procedures taped to the bottom of your seat. Yes, just like a flotation device. You’ll also find a Glock 17 with a full magazine.
Remember you cannot reason with zombies and it’s a head shot every time.

Kevin Berry
Kevin Berry

Comfy?

1. What’s your favourite type of takeaway? (Yes, that means take-out in NZ speak)

It’s either Thai food or burgers. I love hunting around Christchurch for the best gourmet burger places. They’ve been springing up all over town lately. Chips are included in my burger order. Obviously. And I rate Velvet Burger the best of the bunch.

2. Describe your current mental status.

The answer to that depends on the day you ask … even the time of day you ask. It varies a lot. Sometimes I can’t write because of my mental state. Other times, I have heaps of energy and love writing. Like now. But today my mental status is pretty good, because I’ve just won $5,500 on the horse racing this afternoon.

3. I know how I do what I do … but how do you do what you do?

Not having much sleep helps, as does having a coffee dependency. I work part-time, have two young boys as a single parent, occasionally do editing and proofreading, and still find time to write. Though I’d like to write more than I do now.

4. Could you tell us a little bit about your latest work?

I’ve been working on three things simultaneously (see, I said I have heaps of energy at the moment). I’ve just published a short book, Quotes on Writing by Writers for Writers. I did two editing passes of my science fiction novel Teleport following comments from beta readers, and I need to re-edit it more. Finally, I’ve started working on an interactive fiction book for You Say Which Way.

5. Do you have a favourite coffee or tea?

At home, Moccona Caramel instant coffee. When out, it’s cappuccino (or a caramel milkshake).

6. Walk us through a typical day. (Do you make sure you’re wearing your lucky underpants before you sit down to write, perhaps you prefer commando? While we’re discussing your underpants, boxers, briefs, or budgie smugglers. Inquiring minds want to know. Yes, that includes my Admins… we don’t piss off the Admins.)

OMG, is there such a thing as a typical day? Okay. Weekday example. Wake by 7am at the latest, either by the alarm or by one of my children (whoever I’m currently looking after). For the next hour, try to actually wake up, work out where I am, who I am, what I’m supposed to do (I’m not a morning person) … and get breakfast. My eldest son has ASD and ADHD so mornings are challenging usually. Check emails and sports results on the computer. School run. Work for five hours as a software engineer. Reverse of school run. Look after whichever child I have (it may or may not be the same one as in the morning). More email checking because I can’t do that at work. Usually there are several I have to reply to, like to teachers or psychologists about what is going on. Spend time with my child. Cook dinner (at which I am terrible so please do not visit at dinner-time unless you want takeaways). Chores. Reprimand myself for doing only some of the chores, and promise myself I will do more in the future (ha!). Play games with my child (depending on who it is – Nicholas is a genius at Scrabble and Bananagrams, Fluxx and even Star Wars Risk). If I have James, then I’ll read dystopian science fiction to him for 30-60 minutes before bed (yes, sometimes he does have trouble getting to sleep afterwards, but I have to prepare him for a zombie apocalypse somehow). If I have Nicholas, he likes to have a conversation instead and then read in my room with me. After my child is in bed (8pm for James, 9.30pm for Nicholas), more emails, anything else I need to do on the computer, make an appearance on Facebook, chat on the phone to my girlfriend, then START WRITING. If I can manage two hours of that, I’m doing well. At about 1am I’ll start reading, usually on the floor. I go to bed about 1.30am to 2am, unless I fall asleep on the floor first. But doesn’t everyone have a day like this?

7. Tell us about your main character. (How did you first meet? Would you like to hang out with him/her? What delights you the most about writing him/her? You get the idea …)

As I write different genres, I have different main characters. In Teleport (not yet published), my main character is a female scientist, Maddie. She’s a genius at her work but not a particular good parent and fairly hopeless at working out the motivations of other people. I’d have a coffee with her anytime.

8. Who are your favourite writers?

I’ve always admired Connie Willis for her books Passage (my favourite book) and Doomsday Book especially. I think she’s so good with characters. And Jane Austen for the same reason. Suzanne Collins for The Hunger Games. Of New Zealand writers, Lee Murray is my favourite. There are many more I want to read (I have a TBR list to rival a small library). Indie authors I like include Marsha Cornelius and Sara Furlong Burr.

9. Who inspires you to do better? (Be as corny as you’d like… just go for it! Mmmm chocolate fish.)

Other writers do. Sorry, it’s not corny … I love talking to other writers, sharing ideas and giving and receiving encouragement. Without encouragement from a couple of NZ writers (you know who you are), I probably wouldn’t have written anything.

10. Do you ever put pants on your dog, cat, or budgie?

Only on my ring-necked parakeet, and only for special occasions

Stim by Kevin Berry

11. Describe your perfect day.

It would have to involve pancakes at a café and lots of coffee. Some writing. Lunch with my girlfriend or with another writer. A nice, long forest walk. A burger and chips for dinner. Time for more writing in the late evening. To date, I’ve never had a perfect day like this.

12. Who is your favourite fictitious villain? Or are you all about the hero? Who do you love to hate?

There are so many to choose from! The Balrog, for its immense threat, came to mind, but that is a monster, not a villain as such. I think what I would pick for a favourite fictitious villain is the demon from Terry Brooks’ The Word and the Void series, because he is so understated and so insidious in his corruption of others—pure evil that creeps up on you.

13. Do you have any quirks?
Yes. Possibly many. Very likely including some of which I am unaware. Answering this is best left to the people who think they know me.

14. All-time favourite movie and why?

This is hard to answer because there are so many different types of moves. But I’ll plump for Bend It Like Beckham, which has made me cry whenever I’ve seen it, and I don’t really know why. That’s an atypical reaction for me.

15. Do you enjoy the editing process?

I like editing other people’s work. Who doesn’t? But the standard of writing that comes my way to edit varies considerably from top notch to bottom of the barrel. I don’t mind correcting lots of mistakes in someone’s manuscript if the story is engaging and the writing is good, but plodding through a terrible document is worse than drinking Clorox bleach. Fortunately, the good writers come back and the bad ones tend not to.

Editing my own work is different. I give it to trusted friends, all good writers, for beta reading one at a time, and wait for the feedback. Anything less than 100% praise can give me a migraine. When I’ve recovered, I can see they are right and I set about fixing my story. I’m prone to struggle with doubt and therefore question the value of everything I’ve done, so I need this outside validation.

16. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be and why?

I think if I won the lottery (or it might require winning several lotteries), then I’d like to live in First Class on Singapore Airlines and travel the world for a while. But there is an infinitesimal chance of that happening.

17. Favorite Pizza topping?

Nothing exotic, just swiss cheese and pineapple

18. What were you before you became a writer?

Now you are asking me to reveal secrets. Okay. Here goes.

I don’t write full-time, though that is my dream, like many writers (and some I know have succeeded). I work part-time as a software engineer developing risk management software for commodity traders.

I do copy editing and proofreading part-time for clients who approach me directly through my website, or are referred by editors I know in Australia and the USA.

I’ve very recently become a paid horse-racing tipster (under a pseudonym) with a group in the UK. If you could follow my tips, you’d be winning.

This year I tried (and failed) to sell tee shirts online. After $500 of costs, I’d sold only one.

In the past, I’ve done a number of other things part-time. Perhaps the most interesting of them are:
Tennis journalist and tipster for a national sports paper in the UK.
Labourer.
Security guard at the Wimbledon championships (for about three days).
Visa officer for Immigration.
Astrologer.
Hypnotherapist.
Stock trader.

19. What is the most random thing you have ever done?

I don’t know how to answer this. At times, everything seems to be random.

Kaleidoscope by Kevin Berry

20.  If you’re not working, what are you most likely doing?

One of (depending on the time of day): Spending time with my children. Eating comfort food. Reading a variety of books.

21. Who is your ultimate character?

I like to create and write about characters who can make readers laugh, cry, cringe, angry or upset, all in the same book, and never forget them. That’s the ultimate character in my mind. A fictional character who is more real to my reader than their best friend.

22. Whiskey or Bourbon? Red or white wine? Tequila? Beer?

None of the above. I have an addictive personality, so I don’t drink alcohol at all.

23. What’s in your pockets? (Or handbag, whatever you carry your stuff in. Are you apocalypse prepared?)

Diary (with appointments only partially completed, because I forget to write them in), sometimes a book, notes that I’ve scribbled and tucked away never to be seen again, and a small interdimensional wormhole that swallows money and pens.

24. Laptop, PC, Mac, tablet?

Laptop. I need to be able to take it places, even around the house. I touch-type, so a tablet isn’t good enough for writing.

25. Ebook or tree book?

OMG I have to confess, I buy lots of ebooks, and then sometimes I buy the paperback too. Sometimes I do it the other way around. I have 10 bookcases at home, stuffed full. Thankfully I haven’t got into the habit of listening to audio books yet.

26. Favourite apocalyptic scenario?

Vampire takeover. I’d fight back. I learned to do that by watching this documentary series, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, for seven years.

27. Where do you do most of your writing?

At home, at my desk in my room. It’s not exotic, but as I’m a solo parent I can’t easily go out to a café and write, though I’d like to sometimes.

28. What’s the hardest thing for you when it comes to being an author? (For me it’s marketing but for others, it’s the actual writing …)

The hardest thing is reading a bad review. They affect me. I shouldn’t read them, really.

 

You made it!! Damn, you rock. Now would you like to try for the chocolate fish? Mind the puddles … but hurry. Power surges are common in the dungeon; you don’t want to have one hand on the metal plate containing that delicious chocolate fish and a foot in a puddle…

That laughter you hear is coming from The Knight, he probably won’t flip that switch he has his hand on. Probably …

You can find out more about Kevin in the following places and of course, his books are available via our shop and website …

Website: http://www.kevinberrybooks.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Kevin-Berry-Author-and-Editor-803404026430695/

Posted on

Put your hands together and welcome Debbie Cowens

Kia ora,

Please welcome our latest victim guest, Debbie Cowens. On the metal plate suspended above that puddle by wires is a block of lime Kbar chocolate (why lime? because you put the lime in the coconut …) Behave and the chocolate won’t end up a goopy mess on the floor.

In the event of an earthquake/zombie plague/or random occupation – you’ll find emergency procedures taped to the bottom of your seat. Yes, just like a flotation device. You’ll also find a Glock 17 with a full magazine and a KA-BAR, it’s not made of chocolate.

Remember you cannot reason with zombies and it’s a head shot every time.

Debbie Cowens
Debbie Cowens

Comfy?

Yes, thank you, although I expect too preoccupied with the looming presence of chocolate to pay attention to current levels of physical comfort.

1. What’s your favourite type of takeaway? (Yes, that means take-out in NZ speak)

Currently Burger Fuel. I also love pizza but then over the last few years takeaway pizza hasn’t lived up to my hopes. I either remember pizza tasting better than it did, or they don’t make it like they used too.

2. Describe your current mental status.

Exhausted. It’s been a long day, a long week for that matter…

3. I know how I do what I do … but how do you do what you do?

I don’t have a particularly inspired process. I sit down and type out words until I reach ‘the end’. Then I spend a lot of time herding drafts and revisions into a (hopefully) coherent story.

I typically have more stories I’m itching to write than hours in the day to write so the hardest thing is seeing one project through to completion before diving into the next. The ideas tend to spring out at me from nowhere like ghosts of Stories Yet to Write. They jump out when I’m trying to get to sleep or take a shower or avoid burning dinner. Some of the time I’m quite happy to casually think about and play with an idea for a story on-and-off for a while, but more often the stories are stroppy and haunt my mind rather inconveniently until I finish writing them. I suppose writing the story is a like an exorcism, only without spinning head and green vomit.

4. Could you tell us a little bit about your latest work?

I’ve started working on a P.G. Wodehouse-inspired steampunkish comic tale about a rather hopeless inventor, Gertie, who starts to dabble in the detective business.

5. Do you have a favourite coffee or tea?

I do love a flat white but my caffeine addiction is such that I’ll drink any coffee or coffee-like substance. Tea is also good. And chai. And green tea. I’m not fussy.

6. Walk us through a typical day. (Do you make sure you’re wearing your lucky underpants before you sit down to write, perhaps you prefer commando? While we’re discussing your underpants, boxers, briefs, or budgie smugglers. Inquiring minds want to know. Yes, that includes my Admins… we don’t piss off the Admins.)

Workday – Get woken up by alarm. Grudgingly get out of bed and get dressed. Have coffeee. Shuffle through the hectic get-son-ready-and-off-to school routine. Go to work. Teach several lessons, drink coffee in gaps between. Leave work. Pick up child from his school. Coerce child into not leaving school bag and shoes and other sundry items all over hallway and do any homework tasks. Read a book with child. Deal with inevitable mess created by child and sort out dinner. Enjoy eating dinner and family time in evening interspersed with unenjoyable-but-necessary domestic chores. Wake until son is sleeping. Reward self with writing time, shower, reading and sleep. (I did manage for several years to wake up between 5.30 and 6 every day and always get my writing time in before breakfast but I seem to have lost the ability to wake up or function at that hour now.)

Weekend – wake up at same time as alarm despite it not being set and sleep-in being theoretically possible. Get out of bed and make coffee. Start writing as fast as possible before son wakes up…

7. Tell us about your main character. (How did you first meet? Would you like to hang out with him/her? What delights you the most about writing him/her? You get the idea …)

My current character is Gertie Wooster, who I think sort of appeared as a delayed Frankenstein creature, stitched together from various elements of what I read last year, my own foibles, and a conversation I had a few months ago about the relative merits of the Blandings versus the Jeeves novels of Wodehouse. I had been re-reading several of the Dorothy L. Sayers Peter Wimsey mysteries and read Book 4 in the Ministry of Peculiar Occurences series as well as Miranda Hart’s autobiography (and Gertie definitely seemed to sound a lot like her when she appeared). I don’t recall the moment of first meeting of Gertie. Actually, I didn’t so much see her at first as hear her as she started narrating and commenting on moments of my life. Pretty soon her own acquaintances and escapades took over the bulk of her chatterings as, frankly, they were infinitely more entertainly than my life.

8. Who are your favourite writers?

Jane Austen is probably my standout favourite as I can re-read her over and over and never tire of her books. I fear it would be hard to stop if I start rattling off others…

9. Who inspires you to do better?

So many New Zealand writers I know are lovely people and fanastic writers. They definitely inspire me to do better, both as a writer and a supportive member of the writing community in NZ. We have a lot of local talent so often when I read what writers I know (or know of) it’s so good that it can be inspiring in the sense of “arrggh, now I feel desperately inadequate and envious” rather than the more relaxed form of inspiration I would prefer.

10. Do you ever put pants on your dog, cat, or budgie?

No, but I did put a doll’s bonnet on my cat when I was kid. Ratbag was not impressed and had very sharp claws. I have not attempted to clothe a pet for my own amusement since.

Murder & Matchmaking by Debbie Cowens

11. Describe your perfect day.

Coffee, pancakes with maple syrup banana and bacon, a stroll in the sunshine, a chunk of writing where the word flow and leave me with a smug glow of satisfaction that they were all brilliant, meeting up with friends for lunch at a cafe overlooking the beach, reading a good book in the sun, a delicious dinner, a bubble bath with a glass of wine, and an evening watching a fun movie with my family.

Actually, I’d settle for just the pancakes.

12. Who is your favourite fictitious villain? (Sorry to disappoint but I’m not fictitious.)

Jareth the Goblin King from the film Labyrinth has been my favourite villain since childhood. He’s just a perfect combination for a compelling villain: dangerous, charismatic, clever, cruel yet sympathetic.

I also have always found the idea of Professor Moriarty a particularly effective and interesting villain in the Sherlock Holmes stories but he rarely appears on the page. He’s more a source of lurking presence manipulating things underneath the surface.

13. Do you have any quirks?

I do have an odd tendency to mistake the fridge for the dishwasher and vice versa when distracted (which is a lot of the time). I like to think it adds a sense of spontaneous wonder to everyday life when one finds the tomato sauce in the dishwasher or spot a used coffee mug chilling beside the condiments in the refrigerator.

14. All-time favourite movie and why?

That’s a tough one. It’s hard to pin down a favourite. The Princess Bride was my favourite film as a kid and I still love it, but now I’m more drawn to suspenseful thrillers or SF film with a noir aesthetic. My favourites would probably be Blade Runner or The Usual Suspects but I really like Vertigo as well.

15. Do you enjoy the editing process?

Generally, yes. I like the feeling of satisfaction when I think I’ve tinkered something into shape. Often the editing itself can be fun, playing around with things to see how they work but it can be terribly frustrating at times too.

16. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be and why?

Inside a gothic mansion that contained all the modern luxuries and comforts whilst maintaining a suitably creepy decor. Preferably it’d be in easy distance of a theme park and a beach.

I often find myself wanting to live in the places described in the book I’m reading at the moment. Unless it’s a dystopian post-apocalyptic nightmarish place. Actually, I’m reading Death and the Penguin at the moment and it is making me not want to live in Ukraine in the early post-Soviet years.

17. Favourite type of burger?

Cheeseburger. I’d like to try different, more exotic looking burger but I always come back to the classic cheeseburger in the end.

18. What were you before you became a writer?

I feel like the writing started before I ever got a job so there wasn’t ever a time when I wasn’t writing or wanting to be a writer. However, from a fiscal perspective, I guess I’m still in the ‘before’ stage as it’s my salary from teaching that pays the bills, not my royalties from writing.

19. What is the most random thing you have ever done?

I don’t think I’ve ever done anything random intentionally. I tend to plan and over-think and worry about things and then fall back on doing the same thing I always do. Even ordering at a restaurant can be fraught with anxiety.

20. If you’re not working, what are you most likely doing?

Reading or playing with my son. Fairly reliable that I’ll be avoiding some household chore if possible.

21. Who is your ultimate character?

That’s tough because the characters I admire tend to be the ones that possess qualities I wish I had, they’re self-assured, witty, and determined like Elizabeth Bennet. However, I’m really drawn to funny characters, whether their hapless fools or bawdy hedonists such as Bertie Wooster, Falstaff, and Nanny Ogg.

I think my all-time favourite character is Toad of Toad Hall. I love everything about him. He’s irrepressible, charming, ridiculous, passionately determined and yet utterly fickle. He made self-delusion and conceit oddly endearing.

22. Whiskey or Bourbon? Red or white wine? Tequila? Beer?
(Did you know tequila goes quite well with lime Kbar chocolate?)

Pinot noir.

23. What’s in your pockets? (Or handbag, whatever you carry your stuff in. Are you apocalypse prepared?)

My phone. If I going out with the kid, then I pack everything I can into my bag – cash, cards, keys, snacks, mini-pump bottle of water, chapstick, bandaids, painkillers, travel packs of handwipes.

24. Laptop, PC, Mac, tablet, pen and notebook, slate and slate pencil?

Laptop

25. Ebook or tree book?

Both. I love my kindle and it’s great for travel or reading in bed. However, I love paper books, their smell, feeling the weight of the pages. I like to have the physical reminder of seeing books on bookshelves at home. It feels like they’re part of your home and life even when you’re not reading them if you can see them sitting close at hand.

26. Favorite apocalyptic scenario?

The classic zombie outbreak from the Romero films I thinkis one of the scariest but there’s something of a deluge of zombie apocalypses now, so it’s hard to choose a favourite. I thought the depictions of the pandemic apocalypse in Station Eleven by Emily St. John and vampiric virus in The Passage by Justin Cronin were both brilliant.

27. Where do you do most of your writing?

In our office although on many winter mornings, I’ll use the dining room instead as it’s warmer.

28. What’s the hardest thing for you when it comes to being an author?

Sticking at it when things are difficult and you feel discouraged. Probably true of everything in life for me, not just writing. I’m a quitter by nature and would like to avoid everything tough or daunting and just curl up inside my duvet like a human hedgehog.

 

Color me slightly impressed that you reached the end, intact. See if you can rescue that block of Kbar chocolate. Mind the puddles … but get a move on. Power surges are common in the dungeon; you don’t want to have one hand on the metal plate containing that green foil wrapped delicacy and a foot in a puddle …

That laughter you hear is coming from The Knight, he probably won’t flip that switch he has his hand on. Probably …

You can find out more about Debbie Cowens in the following places …

Blog: http://debbiecowens.blogspot.co.nz/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/debbiecowens
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/debbie.cowens

And of course Debbie’s book ‘Murder and Matchmaking’ is available in store at Writers Plot Readers Read or you can order online.

 

Posted on

Peter Friend, where are you? Come out and play

Kia ora,

Please welcome our latest victim guest, Peter Friend. On the metal plate suspended above that puddle by wires is a chocolate fish. Behave and the delicious pink marshmallow fish covered in chocolate won’t end up a goopy mess on the floor.

In the event of an earthquake/zombie plague/or random occupation – you’ll find emergency procedures taped to the bottom of your seat. Yes, just like a flotation device. You’ll also find a Glock 17 with a full magazine.
Remember you cannot reason with zombies and it’s a head shot every time.

Peter Friend
Peter Friend

Comfy?

1. What’s your favourite type of takeaway? (Yes, that means take-out in NZ speak)
Sushi is my once-per-week treat.

2. Describe your current mental status.
Conscious, probably. But if I wasn’t, would I know?

3. I know how I do what I do … but how do you do what you do?
Press the keyboard at semi-random. Read the first draft and weep. Stare sullenly at the computer screen for hours. Let brain mysteriously fix story problems at 3am, and try to remember them later. Rewrite the story from scratch. Fix all the bits which weren’t wrong before but are wrong now. Repeat as necessary, for weeks/months. Eventually show the result in public and hope for the best. Start again from step 1.

4. Could you tell us a little bit about your latest work?
My most recently published work is middle-grade interactive adventure Deadline Delivery, set in a post-apocalyptic flooded city full of pirates, crocodiles, and worse.
I’m now writing another interactive adventure, this one about kids who fall into a dungeon exploration computer game.

5. Do you have a favourite coffee or tea?
No.

6. Walk us through a typical day. (Do you make sure you’re wearing your lucky underpants before you sit down to write, perhaps you prefer commando? While we’re discussing your underpants, boxers, briefs, or budgie smugglers. Inquiring minds want to know. Yes, that includes my Admins… we don’t piss off the Admins.)
Boxers, so my boys can swing in the breeze. Not that it improves my writing any – I don’t write that sort of thing. (Okay, I probably would if it paid well…) A typical writing day? See answer to Question 3. Hours of that, plus breaks for snacks, research, Facebook, and housework, only some of which helps with the writing.

7. Tell us about your main character. (How did you first meet? Would you like to hang out with him/her? What delights you the most about writing him/her? You get the idea …)
I’m writing interactive fiction, so my main character is you the reader. Which is weird to write, breaking a lot of the usual writing rules, but also fun, especially writing about “your” best friends who’ve fallen into the computer game with you. They’re awful, I don’t know how you put up with them.

8. Who are your favourite writers?
Neil Gaiman, Frances Hardinge and John Green are my current top three. (I presumed you didn’t want my top hundred.)

9. Who inspires you to do better? (Be as corny as you’d like… just go for it! Mmmm chocolate fish.)
Every good writer (I wanna write like that) and every bad writer (I coulda done better than that).

10. Do you ever put pants on your dog, cat, or budgie?
Certainly not, you sick pervert.

11. Describe your perfect day.
No writing deadlines, a large royalty payment appears in my bank account, and a total stranger writes a nice Amazon review of one of my books.

12. Who is your favourite fictitious villain? Or are you all about the hero? Who do you love to hate?
Nah, every protagonist needs an antagonist, but out-and-out villains don’t appeal to me.

13. Do you have any quirks?
No, I’m completely normal, it’s everyone else who’s weird.

14. All-time favourite movie and why?
Labyrinth. So inventive, and so insanely logical.

15. Do you enjoy the editing process?
Slightly more than dental surgery.

Deadline Delivery by Peter Friend

16. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be and why?
A penthouse apartment paid for with my book royalties.

17. Favourite Pizza topping?
Cheese, coz otherwise it’s just a really really flat round loaf of bread, right? On top of the cheese, pretty much anything except olives or anchovies.

18. What were you before you became a writer?
A small child who hadn’t learnt to write yet.

19. What is the most random thing you have ever done?
Okay, I just rolled some dice. A 1, a 5, and a 2. Random enough for you?

20. If you’re not working, what are you most likely doing?
Reading or sleeping.

21. Who is your ultimate character?
Dunno, haven’t written them yet.

22. Whiskey or Bourbon? Red or white wine? Tequila? Beer?
Nope, I’m teetotal. As far as I’m concerned, wine is just grape juice that’s gone off.

23. What’s in your pockets? (Or handbag, whatever you carry your stuff in. Are you apocalypse prepared?)
So long as it’s only a minor apocalypse and my ATM card and phone will still work, then yes, I’m fully prepared.

24. Laptop, PC, Mac, tablet?
Whatever. Laptop/PC for writing.

25. Ebook or tree book?
Both, I’m medium-agnostic.

26. Favorite apocalyptic scenario?
The cartoon Adventure Time – there was some kind of massive disaster around a thousand years ago, but no one knows or particularly cares what it was. We humans have short memories…

27. Where do you do most of your writing?
In front of my computer. And in bed asleep – see answer to Question 3.

28. What’s the hardest thing for you when it comes to being an author? (For me it’s marketing but for others, it’s the actual writing …)
Shrinking markets, and a zillion terrible books out there. Rising above the slush to get noticed is getting harder and harder.

 

You made it!! Damn, you rock. Now would you like to try for the chocolate fish? Mind the puddles … but hurry. Power surges are common in the dungeon; you don’t want to have one hand on the metal plate containing that delicious chocolate fish and a foot in a puddle…

That laughter you hear is coming from The Knight, he probably won’t flip that switch he has his hand on. Probably …

You can find out more about Peter Friend in the following places …

Deadline Delivery is available from Amazon, both as a standalone book https://www.amazon.com/dp/B019LFO9N8 or as part of a boxset of four You Say Which Way adventures – the paper edition is in stock at Writer’s Plot Readers Read.
His next book will also be published by https://yousaywhichway.com/.

Posted on

Hello Jenni, welcome to the dungeon.

Kia ora,
Please welcome our latest victim guest, Jenni Francis On the metal plate suspended above that puddle by wires is a chocolate fish. Behave and the delicious pink marshmallow fish covered in chocolate won’t end up a goopy mess on the floor.

In the event of an earthquake/zombie plague/or random occupation – you’ll find emergency procedures taped to the bottom of your seat. Yes, just like a flotation device. You’ll also find a Glock 17 with a full magazine.
Remember you cannot reason with zombies and it’s a head shot every time.

Jenni Francis
Jenni Francis

Comfy?
A little cool, but thanks for asking …

1. What’s your favourite type of takeaway? (Yes, that means take-out in NZ speak)
Oh Lordy (you’re going to hear a lot of that) I guess … well, I’m usually pretty disappointed with takeout nowadays. So I suppose, a real good kiwi hamburger with beetroot, and good chips – not those horrible soggy ones.

2. Describe your current mental status.
Frazzled – I’ve climbed out of my warm bed to come down to do this because the husband is snoring.

3. I know how I do what I do … but how do you do what you do?
One word dragged out of me at a time. I know what I want to say, but it doesn’t always come out right. So I procrastinate.

4. Could you tell us a little bit about your latest work?
I have two on the go – one almost at the printing stage and one halfway through writing stage. Wouldn’t it be nice to have someone come and take the after-the-printing stuff away – but us indie authors just have to keep working – uploading to ebook publishers, (doesn’t that sound easy – anyone else done the Smashwords going nuclear, then spending the next month trying to figure out where you went wrong!!). Then there’s the distribution and the marketing …

Oh wait – I didn’t tell you about the latest work – I just moaned – well I’m onto book five of a series. It has a working title of Watch Me. But the book coming out soon is called Cold as Ice and is set partly at Whakapapa. Themes are blended families, some kind of unspecified abuse, anorexia and a good rollicking adventure story thrown in. (Nope, I wouldn’t read it either).

5. Do you have a favourite coffee or tea?
A good strong espresso with a little sugar to make it syrupy. Or gumboot tea, black. no sugar.

6. Walk us through a typical day. (Do you make sure you’re wearing your lucky underpants before you sit down to write, perhaps you prefer commando? While we’re discussing your underpants, boxers, briefs, or budgie smugglers. Inquiring minds want to know. Yes, that includes my Admins… we don’t piss off the Admins.)
I AM the ADMINS. Old lady bloomers work for me, none of this string up the ….. There is no such thing as a typical day. But if there was one it would go like this. Up at sevenish, walk the dog, back for coffee, a bit of housework, a bit of admin work, a bit of gardening work, a bit of community work, a bit of choir work, a bit of … you get the picture. Five acres, two businesses, 12 grandchildren and I manage to write 500 words a day. 900 was a record.

7. Tell us about your main character. (How did you first meet? Would you like to hang out with him/her? What delights you the most about writing him/her? You get the idea …)
She is me – I am her. My 12-year-old self. Only she is way braver, more sassy and adventurous then I ever was. She stands up to people – I never could do that – I was woolly wussy hopeless.

8. Who are your favourite writers?
Oh Lordy – (there it is again) I love the books of Dick Francis, they are my go-to books when I’m down. But in my bookshelf and in no particular order are – Louis de Bernieres, Fiona Sussman, Witi Ihimaera, Chris Cleave, Wally Lamb, Anthony Capella, Robert Galbraith, and I think Maeve Binchy was wonderful at storytelling about ordinary people.

9. Who inspires you to do better? (Be as corny as you’d like… just go for it! Mmmm chocolate fish.)
Ackshully … I guess the old boy upstairs snoring.

10. Do you ever put pants on your dog, cat, or budgie?
No, but many have gone the dog’s way from the washing basket (let’s not go there) plus a few smelly socks.

Danger Signs by Jenni Francis

11. Describe your perfect day.
Pretty much as above. Only the dog and I are walking on a beach, he’s chasing the rabbits in the sand dunes and we have coffee at a cafe, where he manages to scrounge a second breakfast from the people at the next table. Then it is home for all the above plus an hour reading if I can fit it in. I like to be busy.

12. Who is your favourite fictitious villain? Or are you all about the hero? Who do you love to hate?
Oooh, that guy out of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, he was a nasty piece of work.

13. Do you have any quirks?
I like to play Frozen Bubble before I settle down to work. Does that count?

14. All-time favourite movie and why?
It’s another Oh Lordy question. Well, I like quirky, (Juno, Strictly Ballroom, Moonrise Kingdom, Life of Brian, The Princess Bride) and darkish but uplifting ones (Life is Beautiful, As it is in Heaven, Gloomy Sunday), plus soooo many more.

15. Do you enjoy the editing process?
Hate it!

16. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be and why?
Here, nowhere else.

17. Favourite Pizza topping?
Marguerita – tomato, basil, mozzarella

18. What were you before you became a writer?
Wife, mother, teacher, worked in a pharmacy, worked on a photo lab, teacher of deaf children.

19. What is the most random thing you have ever done?
Jumped backwards, blindfolded, off a platform in trees that was about 50 metres high, attached to a harness and rope. Okay, 30 metres. Oh alright 20 metres, but that’s as low as I go.

20. If you’re not working, what are you most likely doing?
Ha! See above. Singing.

Fire Island by Jenni Francis

21. Who is your ultimate character?
Character? or person? Can’t answer to fictional character, but Nelson Mandela for a real-life character.

22. Whiskey or Bourbon? Red or white wine? Tequila? Beer?
Again, margarita but with tequila this time and not mozzarella

23. What’s in your pockets? (Or handbag, whatever you carry your stuff in. Are you apocalypse prepared?)
Saw, screwdriver, ruler, (true! all on a dinky little hair clip) also hand sanitiser, wallet, lippy, and a pen that doesn’t write.

24. Laptop, PC, Mac, tablet?
PC and Mac

25. Ebook or tree book?
Tree book unless I’m desperate.

26. Favorite apocalyptic scenario?
The Road! Now there’s a book I’d forgotten about. Apocalypse with a smidgen of hope.

27. Where do you do most of your writing?
Upstairs in a kind of mezzanine spare room.

28. What’s the hardest thing for you when it comes to being an author? (For me it’s marketing but for others, it’s the actual writing …)
Marketing!! All the way! I hate selling myself.

Losing William by Jenni Francis

You made it!! Damn, you rock. Now would you like to try for the chocolate fish? Mind the puddles … but hurry. Power surges are common in the dungeon; you don’t want to have one hand on the metal plate containing that delicious chocolate fish and a foot in a puddle…

That laughter you hear is coming from The Knight, he probably won’t flip that switch he has his hand on. Probably … Hahahahahaha

 

You can find out more about Jenni Francis in the following places …

Website: http://www.jennifrancis.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Jenni-Francis-Author-1442947522644361/

And of course in our store!

Posted on

Grab a cuppa and come meet Brian Stoddart

Kia ora,

Please welcome our latest victim guest, Brian Stoddart. On the metal plate suspended above that puddle by wires is a chocolate fish. Behave and the delicious pink marshmallow fish covered in chocolate won’t end up a goopy mess on the floor.

In the event of an earthquake/zombie plague/or random occupation – you’ll find emergency procedures taped to the bottom of your seat. Yes, just like a flotation device. You’ll also find a Glock 17 with a full magazine.
Remember you cannot reason with zombies and it’s a head shot every time.

Brian Stoddart
Brian Stoddart

Comfy?

1. What’s your favourite type of takeaway?
Oh F&C and failing that, Indian

2. Describe your current mental status.
Too much going on in there to actually have a status

3. I know how I do what I do … but how do you do what you do?
Bit of a planner and a scheduler, which is not exactly like my books. The daily list rules

4. Could you tell us a little bit about your latest work?
A Straits Settlement (Crime Wave press) is no. 3 in the Chris Le Fanu series of crime novels set in colonial Madras, India, in the 1920s. But this time he gets to cross the Bay of Bengal and get to work in Penang and what were then the Straits Settlements.He is chasing murderers and antiquities thieves and gets involved with Chinese and Malay gangs.All good stuff

5. Do you have a favourite coffee or tea?
English breakfast

6. Walk us through a typical day.
Usually start writing early, around 8 and aim to get through at least 2k words a day, and that’s usually midday or early afternoon. But if the flow is there I keep going, up to 5k. At the start of the writing I usually have a quick look back at and edit of the previous day’s work to get back in the vein. Once done I’ll try and do an hour or so on the mountain bike, think about the work, take in the scenery etc. After that it will be research, online auctions, reading, tasks and all the usual

7. Tell us about your main character. (How did you first meet? Would you like to hang out with him/her? What delights you the most about writing him/her? You get the idea …)

Chris Le Fanu I first met, really, in the Tamil Nadu Archives in Madras (now Chennai) when I was researching my PhD thesis. I got interested in the police dealing with Indian nationalism, and by luck resided with a former Inspector-General of Police for Tamil Nadu and he told me a lot as well. Through him I get to cast an eye on the British in India, the strengths and weakness, the interactions with Indians, and I also get to travel the locations with him and that is really great.

8. Who are your favourite writers?
A wide range: Rankin, Kate Atkinson, Parker Bilal, Walter Mosley, Karin Slaughter, Sarah Paretsky, Phillip Kerr, Greg McGee (Bosco), Paul Thomas, Philip Temple, Cat Connor! More widely Somerset Maugham, Robert Louis Stevenson, Steve Berry. Then there are the non-fictionistas like David Finkel, Robert Darnton, Jill Lepore, David Lanchester. And so on.

9. Who inspires you to do better?
The people who email me direct to say they like the books and are looking forward to the next one. And the writers I rate who say my stuff is ok.

10. Do you ever put pants on your dog, cat, or budgie?
No animals available, we travel a lot

A Madras Miasma by Brian Stoddart

11. Describe your perfect day.
Had one recently at Thrillerfest when I got to hang out with Walter Mosley, Larry Block and Peter James among others. Now that was fun.

12. Who is your favourite fictitious villain? Or are you all about the hero? Who do you love to hate?
Stringer Bell in The Wire. Come to think of it, it might be Idris Elba himself, as Luther written by Kiwi Neil Cross he makes a pretty good villainous cop.

13. Do you have any quirks?
Who doesn’t? I have this mad mania for Straits Chinese porcelain that I have collected for over twenty years

14. All-time favourite movie and why?
Probably Lawrence of Arabia because I am fascinated by the Middle East and by the intrigues of that period. A film that you can literally “see” the books in. And McKellen’s Richard III set in a 1930s Britain that is really Nazi Germany. Brilliant.

15. Do you enjoy the editing process?
Yes, I do, mostly. Having trained as a teacher and worked as a lecturer I can be tough on myself. Not so wild about others being tough on me, though!

16. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be and why?
Oh, hard. I’ve been lucky enough to live in a few different places. Favourites: Edinburgh, Tours in France, the Montalbano country in Sicily, Penang in Malaysia, near the Botswana game parks.
But being back in NZ is great

17. Favorite Pizza topping?
Sicilian

18. What were you before you became a writer?
Trained as a teacher then became a university lecturer. Then a university exec before going into consultancy for agencies like the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank. Now do cruise ship lectures.

19. What is the most random thing you have ever done?
Started writing crime novels!

20. If you’re not working, what are you most likely doing?
These days mountain biking, taking photographs, playing golf, reading

The Pallampur Predicament by Brian Stoddart

21. Who is your ultimate character?
Probably Rebus and Montalbano, because they realy set the bar fro crime novel protagonists, at least for me.

22. Whiskey or Bourbon? Red or white wine? Tequila? Beer?
Malt whisky, Sancerre or pinot noir from Central Otago, Kingfisher

23. What’s in your pockets? (Or handbag, whatever you carry your stuff in. Are you apocalypse prepared?)
iPhone and a neat German credit card holder Sandi found for me. Not apocalypse prepared then

24. Laptop, PC, Mac, tablet?
Laptop, Lenovo that has just had extra storage put on it

25. Ebook or tree book?
Both, though more e-books because of the travel

26. Favorite apocalyptic scenario?
Anything that looks like Apocalypse Now.

27. Where do you do most of your writing?
At a small desk that looks out to the Remarkables in Queenstown and, yes, I can still be productive.

28. What’s the hardest thing for you when it comes to being an author? (For me it’s marketing but for others, it’s the actual writing …)
Definitely, the social media follow-up and promotion and all that stuff

A Straits Settlement by Brian Stoddart

You made it!! Damn, you rock. Now would you like to try for the chocolate fish? Mind the puddles … but hurry. Power surges are common in the dungeon; you don’t want to have one hand on the metal plate containing that delicious chocolate fish and a foot in a puddle…

That laughter you hear is coming from The Knight, he probably won’t flip that switch he has his hand on. Probably …

You can find out more about Brian in the following places …

Website: http://www.brianstoddartwriter.com/
Twitter: @BrianStoddart
Facebook: Brian Stoddart

And of course, you can find Brian’s books in our store :)