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Good Morning!

Howdy,

Hope everyone is staying warm and not blowing away this windy winters day.

We have a wee update for you – some of our titles are available on kindle, you can purchase them from our A Store which means the shop gets a bit of loose change for every purchase!

This is another way to help us help you.

If you have kindle versions of your books available and I haven’t added them yet (work in progress) please let me know. Some of you don’t appear to have kindle versions yet.

Winter is the perfect time to curl up with a book by a Kiwi author and to try someone new.
Don’t forget we have website sales available.

You can also call in and browse our shelves.

Ever feel like you're on season five of your life and the writers are just doing outrageous crap to keep it interesting?

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Our first victim for 2017 is Belinda Mellor!

Kia ora,

Please welcome our latest victim guest, Belinda Mellor. 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 headshot every time.

Belinda Mellor
Belinda Mellor

Comfy?
Yes, thank you. I have a cup of tea and a square of Marmite flavoured chocolate.

1. What’s your favourite type of takeaway? (Yes, that means take-out in NZ speak)
Fish, if it’s light and fluffy, with chips if they are hand-cut and crispy. Otherwise Indian, but not too hot; I’m a woos. (Is that how you spell woos? It doesn’t look right.) Look, I used a semi-colon and I used it correctly. That makes me a proper writer.

2. Describe your current mental status.
Do you REALLY want to know? Let’s say ‘confused’ and leave it at that.

3. I know how I do what I do … but how do you do what you do?
No idea. It’s a mystery to me. I wait for my muse (apparently her name is Sylvia) and then hope for the best. She’s a bit casual in her time keeping. She’s never admitted it, but I suspect she has other people she inspires on a more professional basis and just fits me in when she has the time.

4. Could you tell us a little bit about your latest work?
Works – plural. I’m sort of torn between a third book in my Silvana series and a folklore-inspired YA story.
Silvana was supposed to be finished with the two books, The Greening and The Turning, until I had a sudden realisation of what happens next. The two form what I like to term a ‘fantasy biography’, so they have what I thought for years was a fixed ending. But, while the first book focuses on Fabiom, the second has his son, Lesandor, as the character with the most page-time (although the point of that is how the son’s actions impact the father, as much as telling Lesandor’s own story). However, although it wasn’t a deliberate intention, the books can be read somewhat allegorically, with specific humans representing all of humanity, and the Silvanii – the Tree Ladies – representing nature. In that way, the story doesn’t end with one man. So, like the previous instalments, Book 3 will be largely about a new generation – with Lesandor’s son, Jarin, taking centre stage, but Lesandor’s story continuing, as his father’s did in the previous book. It might be called Silvana – Restoration, but then again, it might not.

Then there’s The Daughters of Chalice Moon, which was started (cough cough) as a Millennium project. It’s the story of two sisters, Jade and Emerald Green, who think they are twins, but in fact one of them isn’t even human: she was supposed to be swapped at birth for the human girl, but the exchange went wrong. The other main character is a human boy, Jasper, who was successfully swapped and who was brought up in Faerie, who makes his way into the human realm when he discovers his true identity. His faerie counterpart is the antagonist. I’m toying with the idea of splitting it up into several shorter books, as it had become rather unwieldy, which was one of the reasons I shelved it (emigrating was another).

5. Do you have a favourite coffee or tea?
I always look for ethically produced foods where I can, but they have to taste good too. If I could get it easily (and I’d sold enough books to be able to afford it, given how many cups of tea I get through in a day) I would love to just drink oolong tea from what I believe is the one and only NZ tea-growing estate, Zealong, just outside Hamilton. Otherwise Scarborough Fair makes a decent black tea.

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.)
No lucky underpants. I just have to be really comfortable, and warm, but not too warm.
Nothing gets done before I’ve had at least one cup of tea, of course. I seem to have collected lots of animals so there is the morning feed to do before I can really settle to anything else. Fish, budgies, dogs, my daughter’s bearded dragon if she’s away. That’s the ‘house’ animals (the budgies have an aviary on the deck). Then the chickens and goats. Another cup of tea. If I have an editing job on I try to do some of that before my own writing, otherwise I might get carried away and not get any done at all. Some time in the day I like to take the dogs to the river, or for a gallop around the paddocks. I’m not very organised and my days are not structured. We have a veggie garden and that needs a fair bit of time, and I always seem to have things to sort or try to organise, rarely with any degree of success; I must try to declutter one of these days. I like to cook, so mid-afternoon I might start on dinner if I’m feeling creative food-wise, or else I might catch up with one of my neighbours for a coffee. Before I know it, it’s time to see to the animals again! We eat any time from 6.00 to 9.00 (my husband is very understanding). We might go out in the evening once or twice a week – he plays music sometimes, and we like to go to the theatre or to support anything that his students are involved in (he’s a teacher), but not too often as we live in the middle of nowhere. When do I write? Good question. Anytime, really. I used to be a ‘7.00 am – 9.00 am’ writer, but that was many years ago, before I had my daughter. Before that, when I was at university, I did my creative writing late at night. Now? I don’t even know when my best time is. Perhaps I need to find it again.

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 …)
Fabiom, deep sigh. I’ve known him for so many years now. He can still reduce me to tears, and often does. Fabiom came into my life long before I was married or became a mother, but oddly, our parenting journeys have far more parallels than seems reasonable. I originally met him in a daydream. One of my favourite mental explorations was always around a human meeting and falling in love or developing a deep friendship with a nature spirit. I never analysed it back then, but I guess it was my way of exploring humanity’s relationship with the natural world. That, coupled with my love of mythology, was the basis of his story. He is the archetypal ‘warrior poet’ – he is, actually, a poet, as well as a first-rate archer. But, more than that, he is just a lovely human being – he has to be in order to win the love of a Silvana: they are very picky! In his original incarnation he was a bit too good to be true, but by the time the book was finished, he wasn’t quite so perfect or so obviously bound to succeed at whatever he turned his hand to. In fact, he became slightly unpredictable, which is what I really like about him. He is utterly honourable but sometimes acts before he thinks – which is wonderful for me, though a bit disconcerting for some of the characters he shares the books with. I have sketched out a few short stories where he appears as a secondary character, but the possibility of spending a little more time with him and getting to know him even better is rather wonderful. Like me, he had a very complex relationship with his mother, which was quite fun to explore, too.

8. Who are your favourite writers?
I’m still reading all of these authors:
The first writer who really inspired me was CS Lewis, I would have been 7. Then I was introduced to Tolkien (I was 9 and I won a copy of The Adventures of Tom Bombadil as a school prize). At 11, at secondary school (this was in England), we read Gerald Durrell’s Bafut Beagles in English class. At 13 a friend insisted I read Ursula le Guin’s A Wizard of Earthsea as I was insisting she read Lord of the Rings. At 17 or 18 I stumbled across Terry Pratchett, though it would be many years before I fully appreciated his genius. At uni – where I was studying Theology and Religious Studies – I lapped up every fantasy book I could lay my hands on from a small bookshop in Bristol that specialised in the genre, and there I discovered many new authors: Katherine Kurtz was my favourite, with Anne McCaffrey a close second. In my late 20s I read a review of In Patagonia by Bruce Chatwin and soon owned everything he had ever written.

The NZ Book Discussion scheme gave me Colin Cotterell – who writes genteel crime novels set in Asia: something I would never have picked up on my own, but I’m very glad I did.

In the last few years I have also discovered some wonderful new authors via the internet and writing sites, Brett Adams and Ashley Capes (both Australian) among them.

And let’s never forget Homer (the Greek one, not Simpson). The Iliad and The Odyssey are long-time favourite reads.

9. Who inspires you to do better? (Be as corny as you’d like… just go for it! Mmmm chocolate fish.)
Other than my terminally unreliable muse, you mean? Currently I’m not very impressed with either my productivity or with how I am using (or rather not using) my full potential. Perhaps if I give this question some serious thought I might actually be inspired to do better. That would be good. Can I come back to this in, say, six months’ time?

10. Do you ever put pants on your dog, cat, or budgie?
Budgies, no. That would be silly.
Sadly, the cat died a few months ago. And she wouldn’t have approved.
One of my dogs is a Samoyed who has enough spare fur to make me extra-warm (or even extra, warm) clothing, so no, not her either. However, the newest member of the family is a greyhound, so of course I do. She has pyjamas, and they have Elmo on them.

(Totally understandable, I also have a greyhound and Romeo adores his jammies. I may be addicted to making him fleecy jammies – Cat. :))

Silvana: The Greening by Belinda Mellor

11. Describe your perfect day.
A balanced one: Some time spent writing; some time spent with my husband and my daughter; some time spent being creative in the house or garden; a little bit of personal development; learning something new; a walk somewhere beautiful; good food and a glass of wine with friends….

Otherwise, a really productive writing day – one of those days with ‘Ah-ha!’ moments regarding plot or character development.

12. Who is your favourite fictitious villain? Or are you all about the hero? Who do you love to hate?
I like anti-heroes, but favourite villain? I’m struggling with that one.

Okay, I sort of cheated and Googled ‘best literary villains’. That wasn’t much help, so I looked up ‘sympathetic villains’. They suggested Severus Snape in Harry Potter but I don’t think he’s really a villain. And Moby Dick certainly doesn’t count! So, having found no inspiration on-line, I’m going to go for Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s demon Crowley in Good Omens. I think it’s stretching it to call him the villain, to be honest, but he’s the best I can come up with – and a brilliant character from a brilliant book.

13. Do you have any quirks?

I don’t eat chocolate fish… in fact I try not to eat fructose, except in fresh fruit (and Marmite flavoured chocolate). I’ve been on a bit of an anti-sugar crusade for several years (long before it became fashionable) – but Marmite trumps all (this is UK Marmite, by the way. NZ Marmite has sugar in, and tastes totally different, but I won’t be rude about it. I could be, but I won’t be). I also eat lots of saturated fat. I am tired of being lied to by the food industry.

14. All-time favourite movie and why?
Ooh. Tricky.
Jesus of Montreal – best subtitled film.
History of Violence – best storyline (though not my usual style)
Toy Story (all of them. But #3 if I had to choose) – best animation (and I am a huge animation fan, so that’s saying something).
Oooh! I don’t know. These are hard questions!!! (Yes, I do know what they say about multiple exclamation marks.)
But, I’m going to say Lord of the Rings, because I could watch it more times than any other film and still enjoy it. The reason – because I’ll never forget the heartbreak of listening to Pippin sing as Faramir and his men rode into hopeless battle; nor the shiver I felt when I first saw the lighting of the beacons. I would like to be hypnotised to forget that, and then watch it again as if for the first time.

15. Do you enjoy the editing process?
I don’t hate it. Sometimes it’s hard. But I get a real thrill when I have a sudden inspiration of how to make the work better than it was.

16. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be and why?
Here works for me. New Zealand is country #3. I’m English by birth, Irish by blood. We came to New Zealand from Ireland for a year, possibly two – that was ten years ago. There are lots of places I’d still like to explore, but I think I’m home now.

17. Favourite Pizza topping?
I’m quite adventurous when it comes to pizza toppings, so long as the base is thin and crispy and, preferably, hand-made. Lots of cheese, lots of herbs, and then a little bit of this and that and that (anchovies are fine)… We have a wonderful pizzaria in Nelson, besides the cinema. Anything there is okay by me.

18. What were you before you became a writer?
A very small child. As for what other things I’ve done besides being a writer, well, I was a secondary school teacher, but I didn’t enjoy that very much. I’ve had lots of other jobs, but I’ve not actually ‘been’ anything. Happily, I’ve had several jobs that were writing-based.

19. What is the most random thing you have ever done?
I agreed to marry my now-husband twenty-four hours after he came for a visit. I had known him for twenty years but I had only seen him once, and then quite briefly, in the eleven years before we got engaged. Is that random enough? Otherwise, dog-sledding midwinter in Lapland under the Northern Lights…
Oh no. I’ve just dredged up a memory that I suspect I have tried to suppress – I once dressed up in an all-encompassing milk-carton outfit and walked around the streets of Wexford (in Ireland) in a promotional thingy – that was in the days when I was part of an arts theatre company. I couldn’t see a thing and kept tripping up and down the pavements onto the road.

20. If you’re not working, what are you most likely doing?
Either messing around with animals or trying to organise ‘stuff’. I have an excess amount of stuff and it badly needs organising, but it’s not being very cooperative.

Silvana: The Turning by Belinda Mellor

21. Who is your ultimate character?
Faramir in Lord of the Rings (another ‘warrior poet’ type).

22. Whiskey or Bourbon? Red or white wine? Tequila? Beer?
Guinness (my Irish heritage); Red wine (made in New Zealand, of course); Cocktails – not overly sweet (that could be my English upbringing, I guess).

23. What’s in your pockets? (Or handbag, whatever you carry your stuff in. Are you apocalypse prepared?)
Not prepared for anything, I’m afraid. Lots of stuff, almost none of it useful. Except for a teabag. I always carry at least one…

24. Laptop, PC, Mac, tablet?
Mac, always and forever. In any form. The more the merrier.

25. Ebook or tree book?
Tree book. Preferably a book about trees.

26. Favorite apocalyptic scenario?
If it happened in real life? A very sudden, unexpected and instant destruction of everything while I’m asleep would be my choice.

That would make a lousy book though, wouldn’t it? … and they all died, but no one saw it coming. The End.
In the case of zombies, I’d be in trouble. I actually have a longbow, but I’m a lousy shot. I bought my husband a crossbow, but that’s too heavy for me to pull – I guess I’d have to bash them over the head with it.

27. Where do you do most of your writing?
If I know what I’m going to write – that is, if I’ve ‘lived’ the story fully enough in my head – I’ll type it at my desktop Mac, in a little alcove in the living room. If I’m ‘making it up as I go’ then I’ll use a good quality biro and an A4 wide-lined pad and I could be anywhere – except at my desk. Sitting on the bed with the dogs works quite well if it’s colder, or outside on the deck in good weather.

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 – absolutely! I’ve identified my ‘ideal’ reader, at least for Silvana (this is based on feedback, and it’s not what I would have expected): she (yes, she) is slightly older, possibly even older than that, well educated and most likely with an artistic side. She is not a habitual fantasy reader, in fact she very likely doesn’t read any at all, normally. So, she is someone who probably wouldn’t pick up my books unless prompted by a friend and then she’ll be very surprised how much she enjoys them. She also spends minimal time on the internet so doesn’t leave book reviews (but is quite likely to send me a lovely, handwritten note). If anyone has any idea how to reach that demographic I’d be delighted if they’d share that information with me. I was thinking of having tee-shirts printed with the words: ‘I didn’t expect to like this book, but I loved it … when is the next one coming out?’ But I realised it would be pointless as these are not the sort of people who wear tee-shirts with slogans on them – bother! Another marketing idea down the drain.

 

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 …
Too late! He did flip the switch. My spell check changed randomly to Italian. I couldn’t work out why it was telling me that every. single. word. was ‘not in the dictionary’.

 

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

Website: http://silvana.belindamellor.com/
Blog: https://treeandleafblog.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/silvanastory
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BelindaAnnMellor/

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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/

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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 :)