Posted in Author Spotlight, Books

Author Spotlight: Geoff Nelder and his Character, Dr. Menzies

authorspotlightWelcome to the Literary Library Lounge where I interview fellow authors. Today, I have a rare opportunity of not only speaking with an author but also one of his characters. I’ll be chatting with Geoff Nelder from The UK Chester. He says his town is near Liverpool and is swarming with lookalike facewall200Beatles. In addition to Geoff, I will be speaking with one of the characters in his books, Dr Menzies, who will introduce himself later..limitlesslibrarylounge

Thanks for joining me, Geoff.  Please take a seat and make yourself comfortable. I understand one of your characters is arriving later, so let’s start with some general questions.

How long have you been published? What titles have you published and with which publisher? Have you self-published any titles? Please give details.

I had to look this up but my first non-fiction  article– The Criminal Propensity – was published in a college mag in 1968 and my first story the year after.

I’m not going to list all my 87 published stories: They’re here http://geoffnelder.com/publications/

None are self-published but most are with small indie-press

Wow! Almost 90 published articles that’s quite impressive. Can you tell us a little bit about your books — what genre you write, if you write a series, any upcoming releases or your current work-in-progress. If you have an upcoming release, please specify the release date.

Two of my novels are thrillers. ESCAPING REALITY is a humorous thriller set in Britain and Amsterdam; HOT AIR is a gold-award winner set mostly on a Spanish island. I was arrested twice in the research for this book. I didn’t know I was trespassing on Claudia Schiffer’s mound on Mallorca until a gun under my nose informed me.

EXIT, PURSUED BY A BEE is a science fiction wonder in which alien artifacts leaving Earth have to be persuaded to return to put right the timequakes they’ve triggered.

aria1-jupThe ARIA TRILOGY is my proudest achievement. It is the only fiction that uses the concept of infectious amnesia. It doesn’t exist but imagine the ramifications if it did. Hence it is apocalyptic but there’s survival, hope and revenge built in.

XAGHRA’S REVENGE is a historical fantasy based on a real abduction in 1551 of the entire population of the island of Gozo. Their spirits seek revenge. To be published in 2017.

chaosofmokiiTHE CHAOS OF MOKII already released in November 2016 by Solstice Publishing. A city exists only in the minds of its inhabitants. There’s fun, if you can get past the bouncer, and danger. Experimental sci-fi that is also metaphysical.

My gosh, they all sound awesome. I’m particularly interested in your trilogy that deals with infectious amnesia. What a creative idea.

Describe your goals as a writer. What do you hope to achieve in the next few years? What are you planning to do to reach these goals?

My goal is to be famous “because that’s the way to get more sex.”—Deep Impact.

I want to be regarded as a more literary than speculative writer but that needs work.

Seeing my fiction in films would be exhilarating. I already see them in my head, why not yours?

Lofty goals, but I think you have a good start.

What type of reader are you hoping to attract?  Who do you believe would be most interested in reading your books?

No idea. Next. Seriously, it’s like when you send a story to publishers and five respond along the lines of ‘brilliant and unique concept, great characters, faultless writing, but it just isn’t a fit at this time / I don’t love it enough / we’ve just accepted a similar plot’ but finally one says, ‘where have you been, we want to make a whole book out of your short story. Do you have more?’ Readers are no different to editors in their subjective tastes. In short, I want to attract readers who enjoy mysteries, situations that characters find themselves in with no obvious escape and yet they know I’ll find a way out. That is usually in the field of speculative fiction. Not guns and monsters but landing on a planet with a friend and solving a problem or three. I need to attract readers like a flower attracts bees, and keep them buzzing for more.

I hear you about positive query responses without offers. I’m familiar with those. I love your analogy of readers and flowers.

What advice would you give other authors or those still trying to get published?

Join a critique group and get all your submissions professionally edited, especially novels, before submitting to a publisher. I’m not just saying that because I offer editorial services. All my novels were critiqued then professionally edited before submission.

That seems like wise advice.

What particular challenges and struggles did you face before first becoming published?

“Hey look! Dad’s trying to write a story. What are you writing about? Don’t hide it. I saw the words ‘nipples so long…’”

Lol. My 12-year daughter doesn’t read my work, but I read aloud when I edit so she’s heard some of it and is my worse critic, but she’s very proud of me and has given me some excellent marketing advice.

Have you taken any writing or publishing classes? If so, please provide information about them and if you feel they helped you further your professional skills.

I’d already read two suffering shelves of how-to-write books and attended a million workshops at conventions before attending  a Creative Writing class. First task: ‘Use a mirror to describe yourself.’ Good grief. I realized I could teach the classes better. So I did. Not that class but I found writers’ groups in my area were happy to pay me to give them writing craft workshops.

On the other hand, and it’s an enormous hand, contacts. Classes, especially at accredited universities or convention workshops run by famous writers, agents and publishers are a valuable way to network, network, network. Remember, it’s not who you know but who knows you.

I definitely agree with that. I’m planning to get more involved in conferences. Even though some are costly, if it’s a good one, it will be worth it in connections you forge.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

I’m a crazy cyclist, knocking off 100 miles a week up Welsh hills. It’s while solo traveling that ideas inveigle their way into my head.

Walking seems to do the same for me, but I also get lots of ideas during my sleep at night and wake up ready to type them into my computer.

What do you like most and least about being an author? What is your toughest challenge?

Writing can be hard work, but like all the creative arts, the most rewarding too. It’s rewarding yet scary to know you’ve put ideas, scenarios and weird characters into innocent readers’ heads. Funny though when you encounter a discussion where your story is being discussed, bringing out subplots you hadn’t thought about.

Disturbing too, when writing horror or fight and death scenes that you might give a potential torturer / murderer some ideas.

Those are some interesting thoughts. I do find it enlightening when my readers share what they are getting out of my writing. As far as giving murderers ideas, although I write mysteries that include people getting killed, they are cozy mysteries and not too violent. I also prefer to kill bad characters who deserve it.

Excuse me, Geoff. Someone has just joined us.  I think it’s character.

HELLO THERE, DEBBIE, IS IT? Apologies for the shouting but I had to get that Geoff Nelder out of the way. My name is Dr. Antonio Menzies from Italy and I’m a main character in his crazed award-winning medical mystery ARIA TRILOGY. I’m asking and giving some answers because Nelder is too lazy to do this bit himself.

It’s great to have you here, Dr. Menzies. This is a first for me. Although I have another blog written by the cat character in my Cobble Cove mysteries, I have not yet had the pleasure of interviewing an author’s character during my Author Spotlights.

So, can you tell me a bit about Geoff’s latest book?

Nelder’s gone all historical fantasy in his latest novel. He holidayed in Malta, discovered my predecessors, Ottoman pirates, abducted the people of a whole island. Well, the spirits of those slaves are crying out for revenge, aren’t they? Hence XAGHRA’S REVENGE is finished and we’re looking at 2017.

That sounds quite exciting.

Does Geoff Nelder have to do any research?

Don’t mention research! He’s obsessed with getting stuff right. He has to name streets, towns, and rivers in the right places. I blame it on him being a geography teacher for 100 years. In ARIA he read every damn book on the brain, amnesia, Alzheimer’s, you name it. No don’t. So into research he emailed an astronaut, Leroy Chaio, for data on the struts of the International Space Station and get this, Leroy replied while he was in orbit!

As a librarian, I can relate to that. Even though I create some fictional towns in my books, I try to research the real places and other aspects of the stories to make them as realistic as possible.

Where does Geoff Nelder get his ideas from?

He steals his ideas from me. No question. Nelder says he oxygenates his brain while on his long cycling tours but I’ve no doubt at all that he sneaks a peek at my prescription pad and little black book for his ideas.

That could be right. I know my characters often persuade me to change scenes and even the identity of the killer(s).

How long on average does it take him to write each book?

I was in a pub the other evening and overheard a nerd book reader say, “I read Geoff Nelder’s ARIA: LEFT LUGGAGE in just a weekend.” What? I happen to know that poor old Nelder spent two years writing that first book in his ARIA trilogy. Granted much of that was in research and another half a year going through his critique group in the British Science Fiction Association, but even so, TWO YEARS to write a book is ridiculous.

I disagree. Although many authors seem to publish a book a year and some Indie authors publish 3 or 4 which I personally believe can’t be of the best quality, I know of authors I’ve read who have taken twenty years to write a book. While I don’t recommend that either, you can’t really rush the process. All authors work at their own pace. Personally, it takes me about two months to create the first draft. After that, it usually takes another two to four months to proofread, edit, revise, and research it before I submit it to a publisher. It usually works out to about a year between books for me. If I wasn’t working full-time and devoting additional hours to promoting and marketing activities such as blogging, newsletter writing, and social media, I might be able to do two a year.

Does your author have a favorite place to write?

As an idiot researcher, Nelder likes to write his stories in their setting. Hence if a scene is in Paris, that’s where you’ll find him, sat at an outside café table swimming in the language, atmosphere, and booze. I encourage this, especially with his science fiction. Go to the Moon I tell him. Often.

Ha, Ha. I’m sure he gets a laugh out of that.

What would Geoff Nelder’s reaction be if a character from one of his books came to life and turned up on his doorstep?

You’re kidding, right? I am here, you know.

Whoops, he’s coming back. I’m off

I must say that was an interesting conversation, Dr. Menzies. Now, back to Geoff.

Please list your social media links, website, blog, etc. and include some book cover graphics and author photos if possible.

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

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/geoffnelder

Website: http://geoffnelder.com

Blog: http://geoffnelder.com/blog/

SF database about me http://www.sf-encyclopedia.com/entry/nelder_geoff

Geoff’s UK Amazon author page http://www.amazon.co.uk/Geoff-Nelder/e/B002BMB2XY

And for US readers http://www.amazon.com/Geoff-Nelder/e/B002BMB2XY

Geoff’s Author page on Amazon UK http://amzn.to/19EtTMe US http://amzn.to/1dtGsZJ

Great! It’s been a lot of fun having you both here, and your books sound wonderful. I wish you both the best on your next release. Is there anything else you’d like to add for our readers.

Most recent release to promote is THE CHAOS OF MOKII.

Imagine a city which exists only in the minds of its inhabitants. There’s everything you’d expect in a real city including fun and trouble. Olga, has to get past the bouncer then in Mokii she finds an intruder. He is trying to usurp the virtual city because there is financial reward from the advertising revenue beamed into the visitors’ minds. Can she thwart him?

Created as an ebook by Solstice Publishing read for only 99 pence or a dollar and a handful of cents.

Kindle ebook at http://mybook.to/ChaosOM

 

Posted in Anthology, New Releases, Solstice Publishing

New Release: Solstice Publishing’s A Winter Holiday 2016 Anthology

a-winter-holiday-2016-001The end of year holidays are filled with joy as decorations go up worldwide. Parades give everyone a chance to join with others in happiness. Families make plans to gather for meals and celebrations.

A season for joy…

A season for celebration…

A season for family…

Solstice Publishing presents eleven talented authors with a dozen stories that portray the winter holiday season in many ways. Each tale will fill you with wonder, joy, and a sense of earned togetherness.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zm8GCXvEYik&feature=youtu.be

solstice-publishing-logo-2016Celebrate with K.C. Sprayberry, Donna Alice Patton, Johnny Gunn, Susan Lynn Solomon, Debbie De Louise, Elle Marlow, Leah Hamrick, Eden S. Clark, E.B. Sullivan, M.A. Cortez, and Rebecca L. Frencl this winter holiday season.

http://bookgoodies.com/a/B01N41UOYH

My story, Christmas with My Characters, is included in this anthology. Here is the blurb:

The characters from Debbie De Louise’s Cobble Cove cozy mysteries gather in the Cobble Cove library to celebrate the holidays. Each character receives a gift from the author; and Alicia, the main character, reads some excerpts from the first book, A Stone’s Throw, and the new release, Between a Rock and a Hard Place.

Posted in Author Spotlight, New Releases

Author Spotlight: Andrea Roche

authorspotlightWelcome to the Literary Library Lounge where I interview fellow authors. Today, I am chatting with  Andrea Roach who writes under the pen name Andrea Roche. Andrea comes from biopic-2a “small village called Middle Village in the Big Apple (New York).”limitlesslibrarylounge

Thanks for joining me, Andrea.  Please take a seat and make yourself comfortable.

How long have you been published? What titles have you published and with which publisher? Have you self-published any titles? Please give details.

  • nights-arose-001-1Nights Arose is my very first published novel. It is out with Solstice Publishing. I am excited that you and I were discovered by Solstice during the Pit2Pub Twitter Challenge this July. You are like my publishing sister!

Indeed, Andrea. I also live on Long Island which is not very far from you.

Tell us a little bit about your books — what genre you write, if you write a series, any upcoming releases or your current work-in-progress. If you have an upcoming release, please specify the release date.

  • Nights Arose is a Historical Paranormal Romance, this is my very favorite genre. I love anything Fantasy really. I am making a second addition for this story which takes place several months after the first book ends. The first book ended with a happily for now kind of feeling. Not quite a cliffhanger but it leaves the reader wishing to learn more. Where does her story go from here? What will happen to the happy couple? I love that in books, and is integral for any series.
  • Nights Arose is releasing today, November 28,  ready for download after the pre-sale which began November 18, 2016. It’s opening on Cyber Monday. I’m hoping readers will discover the story and scoop it up with the flurry of sales that are happening today.

I wish you luck with that, Andrea. Maybe this author spotlight about you will help.

Describe your goals as a writer. What do you hope to achieve in the next few years? What are you planning to do to reach these goals?

  • My goal is really to entertain readers with a great story. I want them to delve into the world I have built within Nights Arose and enjoy the wild ride my MC, Arose, has.
  • In the next few years, I hope to be wearing sunglasses and a big floppy hat in Tuscany. Lunching in a quaint brocherie next to a cobblestone street.
  • To make this come true I hope to capture the imaginations of readers who aspire to be like Arose. Strong and capable but at the same time sweet and worthy of such love and admiration.

Sounds like you’ve created an interesting main character.

What type of reader are you hoping to attract?  Who do you believe would be most interested in reading your books?

  • My writing is almost lyrical. I hope there are people who enjoy reading a story in prose. Writing fantastical stories, the story will attract people who enjoy stories of spirits, magic, dragons, enchanted stones and the Astral Plane. I hope to appeal to young women who need a hero that is themselves.  I want to make them their own hero! Trust in their own strengths, and overcome their own fatal flaws, as my MC does.

  • I think that story will have wide appeal among today’s young women.  

What advice would you give other authors or those still trying to get published?

  • Read, write, sleep, dream with your eyes open then write some more. Never give up learning, polish your skills. We are in a field where there are no masters, we are constant students always learning, always writing.
  • That is so very true and why writing is so challenging and yet so rewarding.

What particular challenges and struggles did you face before first becoming published?

  • My story from its inception did not fit the mold of the typical romance story. There are some beliefs that there is some kind of formula for a romance story. Most times the POV would be in the male hero’s, mine’s not. The femme fatale. Perfect body, weak and in trouble. My MC is far from the shrinking violet, but she learns how to trust and work together with the man she loves for her happily for now ending.  I have been told by so called experts the story line is not what they are used to, didn’t fit the formula. I thought it was time for something fresh, maybe something never seen before can be a new trend.
  • It’s great to experiment with your writing. I believe authors should follow their own voices and not feel they need to conform to anyone else’s style.

Have you taken any writing or publishing classes? If so, please provide information about them and if you feel they helped you further your professional skills.

  • I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Business with a concentration in Marketing and English Literature. Strange combination, I know. But I always needed to write and in college took so many writing classes I qualified for English Lit for my degree minor.

My first creative writing class was in the fourth grade. My teacher suggested to my parents I take a special class. Being old school my parents expected it to be extra help. They were very disappointed in me. I was thrilled!  Then I realized my classmates were some of the brightest students I had ever met. They dressed like me, talked  about strange subjects like I did, and thought freely, just like me. I realized they were no different than I. It helped to boost my self-esteem greatly, making me brave enough to let my thoughts flow onto the paper. I have been hooked since.

I was an English major myself. Your Marketing courses will serve you well in promoting your books.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

  • I love to cook. I have been cooking since I was tall enough to reach the kitchen table. Every time my mother started cooking I insisted on being next to her watching everything she did. I actually added some cooking references into Nights Arose. Describing meals with such intense detail it makes your mouth water.
  • I’m not much of a cook, but people have told me they enjoyed the scenes in my Cobble Cove mysteries in which my characters dine out or eat at home. They also liked the special PB&J sandwich that is one of the character’s secret family recipe. In my recent release, Between a Rock and a Hard Place, one of my readers won a prize for including a tasty PB&J sandwich, but it isn’t the secret recipe from the book.

What do you like most and least about being an author? What is your toughest challenge?

  • I love writing as a whole– writing and having written.  My toughest challenge though is dealing with critics that are deconstructive rather than constructive. What do you get out of a critique of “You can’t put two words together to make a sentence,” what is that supposed to do but discourage a writer?  I would like to say it gave me the “Thicker skin” as some people tell you to have, now I laugh at myself for letting them get to me and allow myself to think they were better than me.
  • I will continue to write no matter what happens, even if I never get my lunch at the brocherie by the cobblestones, in my wide brimmed hat and sunglasses I will keep writing and learning.
  • Good for you. Determination and thick skins are both important qualities for authors to develop.

Please list your social media links, website, blog, etc. and include some book cover graphics and author photos if possible.

Available on:

www.Amazon.com/dp/B01N1G9MPC

www.SolsticePublishing

Websites:

www.Facebook.com/NightsArose

www.blogspot.com/AndreaRoachAuthor

See the Video on You Tube:

www.Youtu.be/TXIkkOPaGjY

Thanks so much for the great interview, Andrea, and I wish you lots of luck on your debut release today and your future books.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Author Spotlight, New Releases

Author Spotlight: Heidi Renee Mason

authorspotlightWelcome to the Literary Library Lounge where I interview fellow authors. Today, I am chatting with  Heidi Renee Mason from Ridgefield, Washington.dsc_3980-2 limitlesslibrarylounge

Thanks for joining us, Heidi.  Please take a seat and make yourself comfortable.

How long have you been published? What titles have you published and with which publisher? Have you self-published any titles? Please give details.

PrintMy first book, Investigating the Heart, was released in 2015 with Solstice Publishing. The second in the Follow Your Heart Series, Goodnight, Sweetheart, was released in 2016. Always Hope, a standalone novel, is being released by Hot Tree Publishing today, November 26, 2016.

Congratulations on the new book. Tell us a little bit about it and your other books.

fullsizerender-7goodnight-sweetheart-001Investigating the Heart and Goodnight, Sweetheart are part of the Follow Your Heart series. These books are romantic suspense. Always Hope, a standalone, is Romantic Women’s Fiction.

Describe your goals as a writer. What do you hope to achieve in the next few years? What are you planning to do to reach these goals?

My goal as a writer is really to allow my readers to escape, even for a little while, into the worlds I create. I plan to continue to create characters and environments to entertain my readers. My goal is always to make the reader feel something- joy, pain, happiness, or surprise. If I can accomplish this, I’ve met my goal.

That’s a great things for an author to strive for. I hope to do the same for my readers.

What type of reader are you hoping to attract?  Who do you believe would be most interested in reading your books?

Due to the strong romance element to my work, I generally attract a female readership. However, my Follow Your Heart series has enough suspense that I’ve picked up some male fans as well.

My books are mainly mysteries with some romance in them, but I still feel they are directed at women, although I’ve been told  men enjoy them, too.

What advice would you give other authors or those still trying to get published?

My advice is always to follow your dreams. If you are passionate about writing, keep working at it. Keep honing your craft. Never lose your passion, because that comes through in your work.

Excellent advice.

What particular challenges and struggles did you face before first becoming published?

As a home schooling mother of three, my struggle is always time. There never seems to be enough of it to go around. I have to carve out writing time, or it just doesn’t happen.

Yes, it’s important for all authors to make time to write. I work full-time as a librarian and write early before work each morning.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

Besides writing, my main hobby is reading. I think all good writers are readers. I also enjoy hanging out with my husband and kids, and doing genealogy.

I agree. Before I became published, I was an avid reader and still am today.

What do you like most and least about being an author? What is your toughest challenge?

The biggest challenge for me as an author is self-promotion. It doesn’t come naturally to me. As an extreme introvert, book signings and speaking events are a stressful, but extremely necessary part of being an author, too.

I think promotion is difficult for most authors. I was very nervous at my first author talk, but it helps to prepare and realize that people are attending because they are supporting you. You get used to it and even begin to enjoy it after a while.

Please list your social media links, website, blog, etc. and include some book cover graphics and author photos if possible.

www.facebook.com/heidireneemason

www.twitter.com/heidireneemason

www.instagram.com/author_heidireneemason

www.heidireneemason.wordpress.com

Thanks for the interview, Heidi, and best of luck on your new release.

 

 

Posted in Freebies and Special Offers

Braille Club Black Friday Sale

✯ ☆҉‿➹⁀☆҉☆The Braille Club Black Friday, Saturday, Sunday Deal!
✯ ☆҉‿➹⁀☆҉☆Books 1-4 will be on sale at 99p/99c each from Fri 25th – Sun 27th.

Available on KindleUnlimited.

Book 4 available for Pre-Order!
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The final book in my series is now available for Pre-order! Just click the links below to be the first to receive your copy released 1st December.
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UK : http://amzn.eu/j4Nx8CJ US : http://a.co/1eASsrjthe-braille-club-series-4

Posted in Limitless Publishing, New Releases

New Release: Catch and Release by A. L. Vincent

newreleaselogo

catchrelease1

TITLE: Catch And Release

SERIES: Fleur de Lis, Book #.5

AUTHOR: A.L. Vincent

“Thirty days to find Mr. Right…”

 

ABOUT THE BOOK:
Another Christmas season looms on the horizon, and Carly Devereaux is single. Again…
All Carly wants is to find the right guy, someone to snuggle during those long, chilly winter nights and watch cheesy holiday movies with. But she doesn’t have the best luck with men. She’s already dated every broke, neurotic, emotionally unavailable man in a five-mile radius. However, she’s determined to make this year different. This Christmas, she’s going to find the perfect guy.

The goal—find her true love by Christmas Eve…

Carly has thirty days to sort through mixed signals from her best friend, an unwanted attraction to the wrong guy, and a slew of horrible online dates. If something can go wrong with her love life…it will.

She won’t give up, though. She’s spent her last year trimming the tree alone. Now all she has to do is beat the odds and find Mr. Right.

catchreleaseAVAILABLE AT AMAZON! READ FOR FREE WITH KINDLE UNLIMITED!

 

AMAZON US: http://amzn.to/2gdeheb

AMAZON UK: http://amzn.to/2fuOGeT

AMAZON AU: http://amzn.to/2fCRB2n

AMAZON CA: http://amzn.to/2eCEnpx

 MEET THE AUTHOR: A.L. Vincent is a teacher/writer who lives in the heart of Cajun Country. Born in Oklahoma, A.L. became fascinated with South Louisiana after reading Interview With the Vampire. Finally, she became a Cajun transplant in 2001. When not getting lost in a story line, A.L. can be found cooking or enjoying live local music. A.L. has one son, and a furball of a dog aptly named Furby.

Limitless Publishing: http://www.limitlesspublishing.net/authors/al-vincent/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ALVincentAuthor/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/soonergirl1975
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/12945977-a-l-vincent

 

 

 

Posted in Author Spotlight, Authors, Books, New Releases

Author Spotlight: YA Author Jill Van Den Eng

authorspotlightWelcome to the Literary Library Lounge where I interview fellow authors. Today, I am chatting with YA author Jill  Van Den Eng from Appleton, Wisconsin.dsc_2052limitlesslibrarylounge

Thanks for joining us, Jill.  Please take a seat and make yourself comfortable.

How long have you been published? What titles have you published and with which publisher? Have you self-published any titles? Please give details.

gangbanger-001-2My debut YA novel, “Divided Moon,” was published in 2012 by Solstice Publishing. The companion novel to that, “Gangbanger,” was just released November 15, 2016, also by Solstice Publishing.

I have not self published any titles, as I don’t have the time or money to do something like that. I have published in newspapers, periodicals and online sources as a journalist.

Very nice, and congratulations on your new release. As you know, I also publish with Solstice Publishing and also Limitless Publishing. My first book, however, was self-published by Booklocker.com. I’ve also written articles for magazines and online publications.

Tell us a little bit about your books. If you write a series, any upcoming releases or your current work-in-progress. 

I write realistic YA fiction. I like to say they are contemporary, coming of age stories, but have seen “Divided Moon” classified as historical fiction since it is set in the 1990s, as is “Gangbanger.” They are set in the 1990s for a reason (I promise, I am not afraid to write about smart phone technology). Both stories feature main characters who are first generation Hmong in America. They live this divided life in which their immigrant parents want to keep the culture of their homeland and culture alive while their kids grow up in American culture.

I received good reviews for “Divided Moon,” and many say it made them think. The companion novel, “Gangbanger” just hit the street on November 15, 2016, and I am excited to hear what readers think. This story follows Moon’s brother, Ze, and his story as he breaks rank. It was an emotional story to write, that came largely from my gut and knowledge of that bond of friendship that is so strong when you are a teen.

Your series sounds very interesting.

Describe your goals as a writer. What do you hope to achieve in the next few years? What are you planning to do to reach these goals?

I have a lot of stories to write. I do feel like I am an “issue” writer who likes to cast light on things that people may not be aware of or never thought about much. I am pleased when I hear someone say my book made them think or informs them on something they didn’t know existed. I guess that is my goal, bringing forth things we may not otherwise see to better understand the people around us. That is the point of communication.

As a librarian as well as an author, I agree completely. 

What type of reader are you hoping to attract? Who do you believe would be most interested in reading your books?

I don’t have a “type” of reader. I love them all. I wish more people would read my books. Being published by a small press has some disadvantages, one of them being outside of the library market.  I make an effort to donate books to my favorite libraries so more people have the opportunity to read them. Although then I worry and want to check them out a few times so they don’t toss them for taking up too much space.

I know what you mean about small presses having the drawback of limited distribution, although there are some pluses to them, as well. I’m currently seeking wider distribution and formats for my psychological thriller that I am querying with agents. As far as small press books being outside the library market, I somewhat disagree with that. As a librarian who orders books for our fiction and mystery collection, I’m aware that many good, small press books are not ordered by libraries because they are not generally reviewed in library journals such as Booklist and Publisher’s Weekly. However, patrons can request that books not owned by their libraries be purchased. Donating is an option, but not always the best one for an author although exposure is important. 

What advice would you give other authors or those still trying to get published?

Revise, revise, revise. Don’t be afraid or offended by critique. It is so important to see the flaws in your work so that you can improve it. Writing a story is bringing the reader on a journey, you want them to get “lost” in the book, almost in a trance where they can’t put it down. That is what makes reading fun! You can’t get there without a heck of a lot of work on story and prose and generous feedback.

That’s good advice, although you can’t please every reader. I’ve found that editing and revising often take longer than the initial writing which is just a rough draft. 

What particular challenges and struggles did you face before first becoming published?

Like a lot of writers, I would say the biggest challenge in the beginning is the rejection. It is hard to hear no over and over again, but it is part of the process. Even established authors with published stories get rejected. At least the published authors I know. I often take rejections as opportunities to make the work better and I appreciate it when editors and agents offer advice and reasons the story didn’t resonate with them.

That’s very true. I feel the same. 

Have you taken any writing or publishing classes? If so, please provide information about them and if you feel they helped you further your professional skills.

I have taken tons of classes and workshops. I highly recommend the Summer Writer’s Festival at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, as this was a fun place to take a class for a weekend or a week for not much money, and they often have week long or weekend classes that can target what you are writing with good faculty. For those writing for children, I highly recommend joining SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators). I have been to regional and national conferences, and they are invaluable for making connections with fellow writers and illustrators, as well as agents and editors.

Yes. Classes and conferences can be extremely helpful for authors especially those connected with professional associations.

What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?

I am a Master Gardener Volunteer, although I feel this is a misnomer. I have done the classwork (and got a 99.5% on my final exam), have a garden, and do the volunteer and education to keep my license, but I feel like a noob. I have some advice, but mostly, I am learning from those around me. My goal is to get to a place where I can truly help others with gardening advice.

Nice.

What do you like most and least about being an author? What is your toughest challenge?

What I like most is my books. I love them all so much! What I like least is marketing. I am still learning about that portion of it, and wish I could give a free copy to everyone, while still making a living off this.

I also find marketing a challenge, and I believe most authors do, as well. They would rather write than promote. Unfortunately, if you can’t sell your books, publishers will no longer back you.

Please list your social media links, website, blog, etc. and include some book cover graphics and author photos if possible.

Blog: www.jillysbookblog.blogspot.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/JillVanDenEng

Twitter: @MoonOverMadison

Instagram: jill.vandeneng