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Author Interviews: David H. Reiss, Author of Fid’s Crusade

While growing up, David H. Reiss was that weird kid with his nose in a book and his head in the clouds. He was the table-top role-playing game geek, the comic-book nerd, the story-teller and dreamer.

Fortunately, he hasn’t changed much.

David is a software engineer by trade and a long-time sci-fi and fantasy devotee by passion, and he lives in Silicon Valley with his partner of twenty-six years. Until recently, he also shared his life with a disturbingly spoiled cat named Freya.

(Farewell, little huntress. You were loved. You are missed.)

David’s first book, Fid’s Crusade, has just recently been published; this was his first novel-length project, but it certainly won’t be his last—he’s having far too much fun!

Website Link: https://www.davidhreiss.com

Twitter Link: https://twitter.com/davidhreiss

Facebook Link: https://www.facebook.com/davidhreiss

BOOK BLURB:

Consumed by grief, rage, and self-loathing, a brilliant inventor rebuilt himself to take on a new identity: the powered-armor-wearing supervillain, Doctor Fid. For twenty violent years, Fid has continued his quest to punish heroes who he considers to be unworthy of their accolades, and the Doctor has left a long trail of blood and misery in his wake. After a personal tragedy, however, Doctor Fid investigates a crime and uncovers a conspiracy so terrible that even he is taken aback.

Haunted by painful memories and profound guilt, the veteran supervillain must risk everything to save the world that he once sought to terrorize. Every battle takes its toll…but the stakes are too high for retreat to be an option.

In the end, it may take a villain to save the entire Earth from those entrusted with the Earth’s protection.

Praise:

Fid’s Crusade by David H. Reiss is one of the most refreshing and lively takes on the superhero genre I’ve seen in years. His title character’s crusade is colorful, compelling, and takes wonderfully unexpected turns, and the novel delivers an impressive emotional punch (to go along with the super-powered ones). It stands easily alongside other character-driven superhero novels like Austin Grossman’s Soon I Will Be Invincible, Carrie Vaughn’s After the Golden Age, and Paul Tobin’s Prepare to Die!.” – Hugo award-winning author Tim Pratt

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07C92PMDH

Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, David.  Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

I’ve been writing for most of my life, but Fid’s Crusade was my first published novel; I’ve since published two more books in the series.

Q: When you were published for the first time, which route did you go – mainstream, small press, vanity published or self-published and why or how did you choose this route?

I originally intended to go the mainstream traditional publishing route and had begun the process of seeking representation from a literary agent, but I eventually decided to self-publish instead.

There were several reasons for that choice. For one thing, I’d come to realize that my novel was within a sub-genre that didn’t seem to be getting much attention from the Big Five publishers. For another…I wanted to have printed copies of the novel in time for my Grandmother’s 100th birthday.

I’ve never regretted my decision.

Q: How long did it take you to get published once you signed the contract?

Self-publishing is very quick; it only took a few days once I decided that I had all my files in order.

Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

It felt simply extraordinary. Getting my first box of paperbacks delivered in the mail was a dream come true.

If I recall correctly, my housemates and I celebrated by going out for a stupidly expensive steak dinner.

Q: What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?

I don’t regret my decision to self-publish, but I often lament the fact that I didn’t have a clear marketing strategy in mind before I started. I flailed about and didn’t really learn my way around advertising for quite a while.

One thing that I *did* do early on was to enter my novel in contests that accepted self-published works. Fid’s Crusade ended up being the winner in the “Science Fiction / Fantasy / Horror” category of the 2018 Publishers Weekly BookLife Prize and was finalist under consideration for the annual grand prize.

Q: Since you’ve been published, how have you grown as a writer and now a published author?

I’m always learning, both in improving my craft as a writer and in slowly learning how to market my works effectively as a self-published author. Getting feedback from my readers has helped me recognize my strengths and to identify aspects of my writing style that I need to work on.

I learned a lot from writing Fid’s Crusade and am proud that I’ve been able to take those lessons and move forward with new projects.

Q: What has surprised or amazed you about the publishing industry as a whole?

It seems remarkably naïve in retrospect, but I have to admit that I didn’t have the slightest clue as to the amount of effort that would be needed in order to market and advertise my novel effectively.  I’d had this image in my head that I would simply release my book into the wild and readers would stampede forward to read it.

That isn’t quite the way that it worked out. But I’m learning.

One thing that has amazed me is the remarkable communities of self-published authors that are dedicated towards helping each other succeed. I’ve found facebook groups that teach marketing strategies, resources to find beta readers, etc. It’s simply wonderful how many tremendously successful authors have turned around and tried to share the secrets of their success with their peers.

Q: What is the most rewarding thing about being a published author?

I love getting feedback from my readers. There is nothing quite like the knowledge that I was able to entertain a stranger, that I was able to touch their emotions and inspire them to dream with nothing more than words on a page.

Having fans is the most rewarding thing about being a published author.

Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

Read a lot. Write a lot. And learn to cherish critics who are willing to tear your writing apart; you’ll learn more from one person who hates your work (and is willing to tell you why) than you will from a thousand people who love it.

 

Interview with ‘Scene of the Crime’ Jennifer Chase

“The darkness still loomed around him, but there was a quietness that overcame him.

A brief hundredth of a second, a peculiar whizzing noise filled Roger’s ears and then a brutal blow struck his head and knocked him off his feet. With a ringing in his head and a groggy consciousness, he tried to sit up but more savage blows pummeled his body. It sounded as if a tree splintered just before it fell in the forest. His breath caught in his lungs. Everything went dark.

The anonymous whispers stopped.

All buzzing in his ears stopped.

Roger Case’s heart stopped too.”

From Scene of the Crime by Jennifer Chase

Jennifer Chase is a multi award-winning and best-selling crime fiction author, as well as a consulting criminologist. Jennifer holds a bachelor degree in police forensics and a master’s degree in criminology & criminal justice. These academic pursuits developed out of her curiosity about the criminal mind as well as from her own experience with a violent sociopath, providing Jennifer with deep personal investment in every story she tells. In addition, she holds certifications in serial crime and criminal profiling.  She is an affiliate member of the International Association of Forensic Criminologists, and member of the International Thriller Writers. Her latest book is Scene of the Crime, Book 2 in the Palmer Forensic Mystery series.

Book Description:

A calculating cold-blooded predator closes in…

When a community has barely recovered from a ruthless serial killer six months earlier; now two more horrifying murders hit the radar again. It leaves police burdened with two of the most shockingly contaminated crime scenes ever documented in California’s law enforcement history. The Slayer works behind the scenes as a sinister puppet master, precisely pulling the strings, taunting the police without leaving any viable evidence, and orchestrating his killer hit squads.

The sheriff and district attorney bring in the best investigators. Reunited again, Dr. Chip Palmer, a reclusive forensic expert, joins DA Inspector Kate Rawlins to sort through the crime scene aftermath in search of the truth—all without a probable suspect or a solid motive. Complicating the investigation—sparks reignite between the two.

Ratcheting up the suspense, Chip suffers a nasty fall hitting his head, impairing his perception and giving him a mind-blowing ability for specific detailed recall. Palmer and Rawlins assemble an unusual team including a rookie detective, a forensic supervisor, and an ex-military operative turned bodyguard. After one of their own is kidnapped and the investigation is taken over by the FBI, the now rogue team must pull together their own resources—alone—with a killer waiting to take each one of them out. Scene of the Crime takes no prisoners and leaves everyone fighting to stay alive.

Interview:

Welcome Jennifer! Can we begin by having you tell us how you got started writing mysteries? Did the movies influence you? Books?

Jennifer: Books, movies, news headlines, true crime stories have all inspired my writing. I’ve loved books ever since I was old enough to appreciate the amazing stories at the library. Mysteries have a special place for me. I love puzzles, forensic evidence, and the delicate balance of the human psyche of what makes a person do the things they do. I’ve always written stories and screenplays, but it was not until 2008 did I chose to write novels professionally and I have not looked back.

Do you find writing mysteries comes natural to you or did you struggle sometimes?

Jennifer: I think when you love something, it comes a bit more easily and you don’t have to fight as hard. I have more ideas than I could ever write in a lifetime. It’s difficult to turn off the writer’s brain sometimes. These ideas come to me when I’m basically anywhere, running errands, exercising, driving, and even in the shower.

Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?

Jennifer: Anyone can write. You have to sit down with something to say and convey it to the reader. But, I do feel that you have to understand emotions, not necessarily feel all of them in order to express emotions in your characters that readers will respond to. It helps, for example, that if you’ve felt great loss or extreme fear at some time in your life to write those strong emotions with conviction.

Do you view writing as a kind of spiritual practice?

Jennifer: That’s a very interesting question. The way I see it, at least for me, is that it’s the ultimate expression to tell a story and have your readers experience an incredible journey understanding what you’re trying to express. My first novel, Compulsion, was actually similar to therapy for me as I wrote it. I had experienced a violent psychopath neighbor, so being able to write through my stress and experiences was very liberating.

How hard is it to establish and maintain a career in fiction writing?

Jennifer: It’s a difficult balancing act. I don’t mean to sound pessimistic, but it is challenging field because there’s no sure thing in this career. There are definite successful levels that you can achieve, such as a best seller and award winner, but that doesn’t mean you’ve now have it made. Every book you write there is always some type challenge you must meet and overcome.

Can you tell us a little about the main characters of your book, Scene of the Crime?

Jennifer: Taunting the police and orchestrating killer hit squads, The Slayer is the ultimate puppet master. He believes that he has discovered the recipe for the perfect murder.

Dr. Chip Palmer, a reclusive forensic expert, joins DA Inspector Kate Rawlins, together they are reunited as a team to sort through the crime scene aftermath in search of the truth—leaving them vulnerable and fighting to stay alive. But that still doesn’t stop the sparks to ignite between them.

What was the hardest scene to write?

Jennifer: With my background in criminology and profiling, most would think that writing from the mind of a serial killer would be easy. To some degree it is for me, but it takes the most energy and effort to create the killer in a way that doesn’t seem contrived and superficial. I make sure that I put aside enough time with breaks to complete this part of the book.

They say all books of fiction have at least one pivotal point when the reader just can’t put the book down. Can you give us one of those pivotal points in your book?

Jennifer: Without giving anything away, there will be someone within the underdog team that will be kidnapped and you’re not going to see it coming. Everything changes from that point on for the characters.

Will there be a follow up book to Scene of the Crime or other books in the near future?

Jennifer: Absolutely. I love creating mysteries for Dr. Chip Palmer to solve. Evidence of the Crime will be out early 2019. In addition, Dark Lies from the Emily Stone Thriller Series will be out this fall.

Thank you so much for the interview!

Author Interview: Historical Fantasy Author Shelley Schanfield

Shelley Schanfield’s passion for Buddhism and yoga arose sixteen years ago, when she and her son earned black belts in Tae Kwon Do. The links between the martial arts and Buddhist techniques to calm and focus the mind fascinated her. By profession a librarian, Shelley plunged into research about the time, place, and spiritual traditions that 2500 years ago produced Prince Siddhartha, who became the Buddha. Yoga, in some form, has a role in all of these traditions. Its transformational teachings soon prompted Shelley to hang up her black belt and begin a yoga practice that she follows to this day.

Because she loves historical fiction, Shelley looked for a good novel about the Buddha. When she didn’t find one that satisfied her, she decided to write her own novels based on the spiritual struggles of women in the Buddha’s time. She published the first book in the Sadhana Trilogy, The Tigress and the Yogi, in 2016 and will publish the second, The Mountain Goddess in early 2017.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, Shelley.  Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

I have published two books: The Tigress and the Yogi and The Mountain Goddess. They are the first and second books in The Sadhana Trilogy, which tells the stories of remarkable women of the Buddha’s time.

Q: When you were published for the first time, which route did you go – mainstream, small press, vanity published or self-published and why or how did you choose this route?

I started my own imprint, Lake House Books, and I am its president, CFO, marketing and sales force, senior editor, and best-selling author!

In all seriousness, I started by finding an agent and hoping to find a traditional publisher. After a year, my agent had not succeeded in selling my manuscript and we parted ways amicably. At that time, self- and indie-publishing had really surged as viable paths to publication. My work crosses genres—historical fiction, fantasy, women’s fiction, a dash of romance—and I felt my best chance to keep it mine, that is, to write what I wanted, was to self-publish.

Q: How long did it take you to get published once you signed the contract?

If you self-publish, you can do it anytime, which is the beauty and danger of it. You should spend the money for good, solid editing and you should read the contract of the distributors and publishers you use. That said, I did a lot of research.

I compared Kindle exclusivity (KDP Select has certain advantages but serious limitations) vs. multiple e-book platforms and went with the latter. I upload to Draft2Digital which distributes to various platforms (iBooks, Nook, Kobo, many others) for you.

For the print book, I researched Amazon’s Create Space vs. vendors like Epigraph or Mill City Press or Ingram Spark and ultimately found a third way, which was to sign a contract with a local book manufacturer, Thomson-Shore, whose printed product was much higher quality than what I’d seen from the other POD vendors.

Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

It took me sixteen years to write my first two books. I published the first one in January 2016. Holding it in my hands was one of the most satisfying moments of my life, almost as overwhelming as to give birth to my two kids!

How did I celebrate? By getting back to work to get the second book published—getting ISBNs, Library of Congress cataloging and control numbers; arranging for copyediting and proofreading; working with my wonderful book designer Streetlight Graphics (creator of my first book’s award-winning cover); and finally, working on marketing. Thanks to PumpUpYouBook, this is already going better for the second book! Book Two, published February 2017, is now available!

Q: What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?

I held a book launch at local bookstore Bookbound. I read and took questions and had a great time! I sold a lot of books that day, which was a huge shot in the arm for doing additional publicity.

Q: Since you’ve been published, how have you grown as a writer and now a published author?

My belief in my own artistic process has grown deeper. I passionately wanted to tell the stories that came to me about women of the Buddha’s time and their spiritual journeys. To do that, I needed to master craft and technique and language and make it serve a thrilling story. Ultimately, this required more time spent alone than with critique groups and editors, though they are essential for support, constructive input, and wisdom. So what I’ve learned is that you must close the door and without anyone watching you must put your heart on the page. Then no matter what happens, you will have written something authentically yours.

“Publishing is the punishment for writing.” I’m not sure who said that, but it rings true! Some authors revel in the marketing you must do to find an audience, but I’m one of the many who would rather be at my desk creating characters and worlds. However, I’m learning!

Q: What has surprised or amazed you about the publishing industry as a whole?

I’m absolutely amazed at how many people have the stamina to write novels. How many novels are published every year? Several hundred thousand! It’s no easy task to stay with it when friends and family look at you like you’re crazy, when sometimes the blank page stares at you defiantly, just about daring you to write even a single word, when you’re late for work, your kid just spilled milk and cereal over today’s homework, and the cat just puked all over the carpet, and all of this with no guarantee of ever making a nickel. And writers still do it. Creating art is its own reward.

Q: What is the most rewarding thing about being a published author?

When you hear from a reader that your book moved them or helped them or took them somewhere they’d never been before.

Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

Just two:  Keep writing!

 

 

A Conversation with Robert J. Dornan, author of ’23 Minutes Past 1 A.M.’

bob-dornanRobert J Dornan is someone who wishes to leave a better world to his children. He realizes that the odds are slim but he will do whatever he can to increase the probability of success.  He is always open to discuss new and innovative ideas and hopes someday to see the building of a functional solar city as well as a fair and community-driven compensation system.

Robert’s latest book is the historical fiction, 23 Minutes Past 1 A.M.

For More Information

Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, Robert.  Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

I have published a few times and am forecasting another three books to be released in the next twelve months.

Q: When you were published for the first time, which route did you go – mainstream, small press, vanity published or self-published and why or how did you choose this route? 

23-minutesI’m not a young, up and coming novelist with years of book writing ahead of me.  Few, if any, mainstream publishers would take a risk on me.  I realize the notion of being published is exciting or even romantic but unless you’re an old school author, your books will get limited shelf time in corporate bookstores that have turned their attention to more profitable items such as greeting cards and lattes.  You’ll end up marketing your own book just as I am doing right now but unfortunately for a smaller margin.

Self-publishing is an art form to itself and allows someone like myself to control my own destiny.  I don’t fear failure and I don’t write stories to make vats of money.   For someone like myself, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and the like, are perfect partners.  There was no better option.

Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

There is a temporary feeling of elation and relief the first time you see your novel on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.  I would love to say I celebrated but I didn’t.  I was working seven days a week and writing at night when my children were sleeping so any popping sound would have been popcorn and not Champagne.

Q: What was the first thing you did as promotion when you were published for the first time?

I went the Facebook route, thinking that my friends and acquaintances would spread the word.  That was an unmitigated disaster and somewhat hurtful at that moment.  I realize now that most people are uncomfortable selling something they know nothing about and probably hoped I wouldn’t bother them.

Q: Since you’ve been published, how have you grown as a writer and now a published author?

I will always push “research” as the secret to good writing.  When I first started as a writer I wrote whatever was in my head and paid little or no attention to detail.  Writing a book like 23 Minutes Past 1 A.M. required a vast amount of research and it helped with my creativity too.  I realize now that extensive research is the key to a successful novel.

Q: What has surprised or amazed you about the publishing industry as a whole?

I’ve been surprised by how many dime store Publishing Houses exist and wonder how they exist and how much longer than can exist.  This is just a recent discovery.  I spent an entire weekend researching different publishers in North America.  Some were scams but most were small businesses trying to carve out a niche.  Other than that, the sheer volume of authors trying to ply their trade can be intimidating but competition should mean more quality novels.

Q: What is the most rewarding thing about being a published author?

Sharing my novels with my children.  My daughter is eighteen now and can read books like 23 Minutes Past 1 A.M.  She is loving the new novel and has learned a lot.  Other than that, getting email from readers who have loved reading your book is an absolute thrill.

Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

Stop dreaming and do.  Just remember that as soon as you edit your book based on how others – family and friends – will feel, you should power off your computer and find another hobby.  Good luck to all.

 

A Bookish Chat with John Sibley Williams, author of ‘Disinheritance’

JOhn Sibley WilliamsJohn Sibley Williams is the editor of two Northwest poetry anthologies and the author of nine collections, including Controlled Hallucinations (2013) and Disinheritance (2016). A five-time Pushcart nominee and winner of the Philip Booth Award, American Literary Review Poetry Contest, Nancy D. Hargrove Editors’ Prize, and Vallum Award for Poetry, John serves as editor of The Inflectionist Review and works as a literary agent. Previous publishing credits include: The Midwest Quarterly, december, Third Coast, Baltimore Review, Nimrod International Journal, Hotel Amerika, Rio Grande Review, Inkwell, Cider Press Review, Bryant Literary Review, RHINO, and various anthologies. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

For More Information

About the Book:

A lyrical, philosophical, and tender exploration of the various voices of grief, including those of the broken, the healing, the son-become-father, and the dead, Disinheritance acknowledges loss while celebrating the uncertainty of Disinheritancea world in constant revision. From the concrete consequences of each human gesture to soulful interrogations into “this amalgam of real / and fabled light,” these poems inhabit an unsteady betweenness, where ghosts can be more real than the flesh and blood of one’s own hands.

For More Information

  • Disinheritance is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, John.  Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

It’s great to be here, and thank you for the invitation.

This is actually my second full-length poetry collection, and I’ve had seven chapbooks published through various small presses. Each book has its own tone, its own unique themes, so, in a way, each published book feels a lot like ‘the first time’ again.

Q: When you were published for the first time, which route did you go – mainstream, small press, vanity published or self-published and why or how did you choose this route?

Unfortunately, there are only a handful of mainstream poetry publishers, so small presses are really the best first step for poets who are not seeking self-publishing. My previous chapbooks and my debut full length collection were all published by small presses staffed by passionate editors. I feel very lucky to have worked with them. For this new collection, Disinheritance, I sought a slightly more prominent press, and I was honored to be accepted by Apprentice House, a great press run by Loyola University students.

Q: How long did it take you to get published once you signed the contract?

I signed the contract in November 2015, and both editing and design began a few months later. Though the book could have been published earlier this year, the press and I decided on September 2016 to allow for an extensive Advanced Reader Copy phase.

Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

My first book publication back in 2011 was a huge first step and one I will always remember. Though I had previously published a few hundred poems in literary journals, knowing that a team of editors believed in my work enough to put their time, passion, and money into its publication was humbling. I honestly don’t recall how I celebrated that first book publication, but I’m sure it involved a few unabated screams of joy.

Q: What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?

With my first book, as I was still a newbie to the book publishing world, I didn’t have the solid marketing plan I use now.  Also, it was a chapbook from a small press, which limited the opportunities available to me. I did use social media, of course, and I booked perhaps a half-dozen readings in my area. I was also able to acquire a few reviews from literary magazines and bloggers. If I recall, it sold a few hundred copies, which was fantastic.

Q: Since you’ve been published, how have you grown as a writer and now a published author?

We’re all maturing as writers with each new word we write, each new book we publish, and each new author we’re exposed to. And with each new personal experience we have, our eyes open a bit more to the world and new ways of expressing our feelings about the world. Growing as a writer is a lifelong process.

I’m not sure if book publication itself has helped my writing, but it has definitely helped other creative areas. For example, creating a poetry, short story, or essay collection can be a tricky thing. How to know which pieces to keep, which to cut, and how to order them? Each collection I have published has given me a bit more confidence in how to weed out the unnecessary poems and how to structure things so a consistent tone and momentum is fostered.

Q: What has surprised or amazed you about the publishing industry as a whole?

It’s amazing to think around 800 books per day are published now. Digital and self-publishing have democratized the process, so pretty much anyone can publish a book now. On the one hand, the sheer abundance of books out there makes finding your readers all the more difficult. What once was a hill is now a mountain. On the other hand, thousands of fantastic authors whose work might never have found publication are finally able to be heard.

In general, I suppose what surprises me most is finding work of incredible quality coming out of presses most people haven’t heard of. These smaller presses are often staffed by volunteers or students who are so very passionate about publishing strong stories and beautiful poems. Though it’s wholly understandable, mainstream publishers are mainly interested in sales potential. There is a bottom line, and that bottom line is money. One cannot blame them for it. But because of this money-oriented approach, I tend to find the most surprising, risk-taking, and satisfying books coming out of small and university presses these days.

Q: What is the most rewarding thing about being a published author?

Definitely reader reaction. We have all read poems or novels that truly moved us, that made us reconsider ourselves, that illuminated the beauty and power of language. It has been indescribably rewarding to know my work has touched others in that way. When a total stranger who perhaps stumbled across your book or had it recommended to her contacts you out of the blue to say how much it inspired her, that is a potent feeling. When you’re giving a reading and you can see that glow in the audience’s eyes, that is unforgettable. Even after around 50 or so readings across the country, I am touched every single time someone goes out of their way to express their thoughts on my work. That’s what it’s all about. Trying to use language that lifts up off the page and resonates with people.

Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

There’s a reason “keep writing, keep reading” has become clichéd advice for emerging writers; it’s absolutely true. You need to study as many books as possible from authors of various genres and from various countries. Listen to their voices. Watch how they manipulate and celebrate language. Delve deep into their themes and characters and take notes on the stylistic, structural, and linguistic tools they employ. And never, ever stop writing. Write every free moment you have. Bring a notebook and pen everywhere you go (and I mean everywhere). It’s okay if you’re only taking notes. Notes are critical. It’s okay if that first book doesn’t find a publisher. There will be more books to come. And it’s okay if those first poems aren’t all that great. You have a lifetime to grow as a writer.

Do we write to be cool, to be popular, to make money? We write because we have to, because we love crafting stories and poems, because stringing words together into meaning is one of life’s true joys. So rejections are par for the course. Writing poems or stories that just aren’t as strong as they could be is par for the course. But we must all retain that burning passion for language and storytelling. That flame is what keeps us maturing as writers.

 

 

 

 

Interview: Ruth J. Anderson, Author of ‘Whistle Blower and Double Agents’

Image (197).jpgBorn and raised in Washington, D.C.’s  Georgetown, Ruth J. Anderson served with several Congressional and cabinet-level officials for over 25 years, including the Federal Communication Commission; Senator Richard Russell, Senate Commerce Committee, Secretary of Commerce, and Postmaster General. Upon the recommendations of Sen. Henry Jackson and Judge Roy Morgan, Ruth joined the Atomic Energy Commission and then U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, as Editorial Assistant and Research Specialist.  Ruth served as President of the Federally Employed, Inc., SMC, which represented over 750,000 Federal employees.

She was selected for the World Who’s Who of Women in Cambridge, England and in 1977, was honored to be the first woman to receive the Silver Medal for Meritorious Service at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.  A past member of the New York Academy of Sciences and the Society of Women Engineers, Ruth also served on the Federal Women’s Interagency Board. Ruth Anderson resides in Florida.  Whistle Blower and Double Agents is her first novel. Centered on what Anderson calls “a cover-up of epic proportions,” its an explosive international thriller inspired by actual events.

About the book During a visit to the CIA on a safeguards inquiry, an Atomic Energy Commission nuclear scientist finds that the safeguards program of his agency was flawed and allowed for nuclear material to be stolen from within the nuclear plant and passed on to other countries.  Deeply alarmed, he reported this finding to the AEC, and later to the U.S. Congress and the President. But when the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission chairman falls in love with a beautiful female undercover CIA operative, what follows is a pulse-quickening, globe-spanning page turner that will leave readers wondering where truth ends and fiction begins—if at all…

CoverWelcome to The Dark Phantom, Ruth! Tell us, what is inside the mind of a thriller espionage writer?

While I can’t vouch for what is in the mind of every thriller espionage writer, I can say that I have a healthy active brain, which I inherited from my grandmother, who was a brilliant woman. My grandmother on my mother’s side loved to write and she wrote extensively. In fact, that grandmother was a relative of Charles Lamb, a great writer in England. I’ve loved to read and write my whole life, as well.

Why should readers buy Whistle Blower and Double Agents
Cover
Readers have said Whistle Blower and Double Agents is exciting and a page-turner. I’ve heard from a number of people who have read the book say they have difficulty putting it down. I hope that readers in search of a good story will find that in Whistle Blower and Double Agents. One writer described it as “straight out of a James Bond movie – chock-full of intrigue, suspense, romance, and action.”  That is certainly high praise.

What makes for a good thriller novel?

First, I like novels that have some basis in reality. For instance, I prefer to read thrillers written by an author who either knows his/her subject or is willing to do the research to learn about the topic he/she is writing about. Some of the best thrillers, in my opinion, are rooted in fact. Whistle Blower and Double Agentscertainly fits that bill, as the book is inspired by actual incidents around the 200 pounds of uranium missing, or unaccountable, from a US nuclear power plant.

The question of responsibility pointed in many directions – the man who operated the nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania, the CIA, and even the President. My employer, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission held hearings where a lot of lying and cover-up ensued at the expense of the brave and later maligned nuclear scientist who blew the whistle on the case. I’m often asked why I believe there was a cover-up. I interviewed the whistleblower and was haunted by the stories for years. You see, the ‘whistleblower’ found out exactly what happened to the uranium, who was involved—and who received the ‘missing’ uranium. Ultimately, I felt that this was a story that needed to be told.

Second, I love when there is a sense of authenticity and realism about the characters in a novel. I had the benefit of personally knowing the characters inWhistle Blower and Double Agents. That experience helped me bring life to these characters so that readers get that sense of reading about real people and not just characters in a book.

When do you write?

I write at night since it is quiet and no one bothers me. It’s important for me to really be able to concentrate while I’m writing. Also, in researching Whistle Blower and Double Agents, I was working with people all over the country and found that night was the easiest time to speak with contacts in other regions. I researched the book thoroughly so that the facts would be correct. That was very important to me, even though it made the writing process tedious and time-consuming.

What has writing taught you?

Writing has taught me how to research a word, observe a person, take note of colors, examine a room, to consider a person’s emotion and what is really conveyed through laughter, a smile, or sadness. In other words, writing has reinforced just how important it is to be observant, to listen and to pay attention.

Writing has also reinforced my belief that if you want to succeed, you have to work hard. The process of writing Whistle Blower and Double Agents was a lengthy one: I started writing the book in the 1970s and would return to it every once in a while over the years. I started writing regularly again around 2001 and finished the book in late 2015. Even though it was a process that spanned decades, I’m so proud of the book and the hard work I put in to it.

Photo and cover art published with permission from the author.

Talking Books with P.I. Alltraine, author of ‘Heartbound’

P.I. AlltraineP.I. Alltraine is an award winning poet and author. She has won several international poetry competitions, and her poems have been published in separate anthologies.

She teaches English Language and Literature in London. She earned her degree in BA English from Queen Mary University of London, a Post Graduate Certificate in Education and Master’s in Teaching at the UCL Institute of Education, University of London.

Before moving to London, she lived in the Philippines where she was ensconced in the rich culture encrusted with dark myths and enchanted tales. She draws inspiration from these in her writing. Although she has lived indifferent places and experienced different cultures, she always enjoyed the constancy of writing in her life. Her favourite authors include John Milton, Virginia Woolf and James Joyce.

Her latest book is the YA fantasy romance, Heartbound.

For More Information

About the Book:

Petyr has never found it necessary to consider the humans as anything more than distant, inferior beings–until now. They are the cause of the fatal disease that has plagued his realm, taking the lives of too many of his kind. As a future Heartboundleader of a realm in peril, Petyr must find a way to resist and cure the affliction. He must enter the unfamiliar realm, appear to be an ordinary eighteen-year-old human, observe, and learn.

However, things don’t exactly go according to plan. Instead of embarking single-mindedly on his sober mission, Petyr meets an 18-year-old girl who does things to his emotions that he can’t quite fathom or control. Petyr is falling in love, and he almost forgets the gravity his choices have on his entire world. Despite the risk it poses to his life and hers, he wants to know her, and he wants her to know him–and his world.

For More Information

  • Heartbound is available at Amazon.
  • Watch the trailer at YouTube.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Heartbound teaser 1

Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, P.I. Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

Heartbound is my first published novel, though I’ve had some published academic essays and poetry.

Q: When you were published for the first time, which route did you go – mainstream, small press, vanity published or self-published and why or how did you choose this route?

I chose a small press, Soul Mate Publishing, New York, to publish Heartbound. It was a very quick process for me. First, I did some research on credible agents and publishers that would be interested in my genre. I randomly picked one from the list, just to see how the process worked and what a rejection letter looked like. Two weeks later, I got a request for the full manuscript, and two weeks after that I was offered a contract. I had a difficult decision to make because I hadn’t really tried anything else at that point. However, from what I heard, querying agents could take months for a reply (even a rejection reply), and even if someone took me on, there was no guarantee they could sell it to a publisher—and I already had a publisher interested. In the end, it made sense to seize the opportunity.

Q: How long did it take you to get published once you signed the contract?

After I’ve signed the contract, the whole took about a year, including the rounds of editing, working with the cover artist, etc.

Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

It felt great that I could officially call myself a writer. I celebrated with family and friends; they have been incredibly supportive.

Q: What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?

I signed up for a blog tour. It’s really important to get the word out there!

Q: Since you’ve been published, how have you grown as a writer and now a published author?

I learned a lot during the editing process. I’m thankful to my editors for all their invaluable advice. They definitely made me a better writer.

Q: What has surprised or amazed you about the publishing industry as a whole?

It’s surprising how little control authors have in the process. I was lucky because, being published by a small press, my voice was heard (including the release date, cover art, etc.), but I know of many authors who had very different experiences and had very little control of what happened in the process.

Q: What is the most rewarding thing about being a published author?

Being able to share my work to people is incredible, and of course, being able to call myself a novelist whenever I feel like it. J

Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

Write for yourself and the rest will follow. It doesn’t matter if your style doesn’t fit the current trend or if some circles won’t consider it “good writing.” Write because you want to, and write whatever the hell you want. Writing is not a way to fit in or please others. It’s one of the very few things in the world that allows the liberty to be true to oneself.

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