Interview With Shane O’Dell, Author of An Orchestrated Mistake

Could You Tell Us About Yourself ? 

I’m Shane O’Dell and have been in the entertainment industry in one capacity or another for the last thirty-five years. I was born in Eastern Canada, in Goose Bay Newfoundland, but raised in Vancouver British Columbia. 

I began my career in radio right out of high school. I am a graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Los Angeles, California and performed for ten years before focusing my energies off stage and behind the camera. 

I wrote my first professional play at 28, and shortly after moved to New York to pursue my career in entertainment. In New York, I worked both in front and behind the camera but focused mainly on story and script development in independent films. I worked for almost 10 years in New York before a stroke from diabetes sidelined my career. I’m currently working on my second book and other writing projects in Halifax, Nova Scotia. 

What made you write a book (s) ?

After my stroke, I was unable to complete the production physical demands of filmmaking, so I began to focus on writing as my only creative outlet. 

What is the first book you remember reading ? 

The first book I remember reading was when I was a child, it was a children’s book called, Barney Beagle Plays Baseball. 

What’s your favourite book ?

I have a few favorite books but I would probably say To Kill a Mockingbird is at the top of my list. 

Who is your favourite author and why? 

Favorite author?  That is hard, I love John Irving, but Mark Twain is one of my favorites. I love the way he uses humor to tell his stories. 

How many hours a day do you write?

I don’t have set hours to work, but at times I can be very much a binge writer. I probably average out to three to five hours a session. 

What one thing would you give up to become a better writer? 

I often forget to eat when I’m really in the writing zone. This doesn’t work for a diabetic, but I’d probably give up eating. I wrote in my book, “Eating is just something you do to keep your hands busy during a meeting.”

What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?

The most difficult part of the artistic process is without a doubt self-trust. 

If you could spend a day with another popular author, whom would you choose and why ?

If I could spend a day with a popular author, I would spend it with Mark Twain. He was so tuned in to the many dimensions of life, and he so often employed humor. 

What do you need in your writing space to help you stay focused? 

To help keep me focused being near an ocean often keeps my thoughts and calmness flowing when I write.

What’s your favorite writing snack or drink?

I don’t really have a favorite snack or drink while I write. I guess a stand-by would just be a glass of water. Although the Ernest Hemingway line comes to mind, “Write drunk, edit sober!”

How do you celebrate when you finish your book?

I went for a walk when I finished my book while listening to music. Helped me focus on the book in its entirety. 

Do you listen to music while you wrote your book (s) ?

Yes, I have certain songs I use for certain sections of the book. But I only play the song three or four times to help bring me into the mood of the piece. Once I start writing I don’t want to hear anything. 

Where do you get your idea (s) for your book (s) ? 

If I’m writing fiction, walking and exercise help give me ideas. 

What is / was your writing process like? 

Like John Irving, I often start with notes about the ending. I then make notes about the beginning. I then write the beginning and try and find my way to the end.

Do you try more to be original or rather give readers what they want? 

I write for myself, if others enjoy it or can relate, then that’s a bonus. 

How did publishing your first book ?

I had a couple of offers to publish my first book, but like Twain, I elected to self-publish. I felt I had more control so I hooked up with a talented editor and we both jumped in.  

What kind of research do you do and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

I research if the story requires authentic facts. Those real facts can also feed into a fictional story. Now I use the internet mostly for research. 

How do you develop your plot and characters?

Walking helps me in all areas of development. 

What’s your favourite and least favourite part of publishing your book (s) ?

When my book can make me laugh out loud, that is a lot of fun. 

How did you come up with the title for your book (s) ? 

I had one title in my head for the majority of the writing of the book. Then one day it hit me, that my life has been An Orchestrated Mistake. The title was truthful, so it stuck.

Would you and your main character get along?

I had to forgive my main character because my book is a memoir. That was time-consuming and hard. I would just ask, ‘why?’  Then I would just sit back and listen. 

Which of the characters in your book (s) do you relate to the most and why? 

My book is a memoir. I changed the names but the story is accurate. I had to change the main character from my name, Shane, to Nicholas. I couldn’t forgive Shane, but I could finish writing and forgive Nicholas. 

How would you describe your book’s ideal reader? 

The readers of my book have surprised me. I thought it was more for middle-aged to older people, but I have received lots of positive feedback from younger audiences. I think the humor has a generational reach.

What did you edit out of your book (s) ?

I had many political references in the first draft. I’m not fond of politicians and my editor made me cut my political rants. 

What was your hardest scene to write?

The hardest scene to write was when I lost hope and was seriously considering suicide. I need that scene to be truthful and emotionally honest. Still hard for me to read that scene. 

What do you hope your readers take away from your book (s) ? 

I hope my book helps others understand how important their health is– this is one of the reasons I wrote it. 

Did you get some negative feedback on your book ? and if so how do you deal with that ?

I expected some negative feedback when I first released the book. So far, I’ve been lucky, readers seem to be getting a lot out of the story. 

How did you feel when you first published your book (s) ? Scared ? Excited ? Nervous?

I felt numb when the book first came out. I was a little anxious but I felt nothing. People will like it or hate it. I was as honest and truthful as I could be. 

Where can people who are interested in your book, buy your book ?

The book is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Bookshop.org, Abe Books, Book Depository, and alibris. There are also e-Book copies available.

Are you working on anything at the present you would like to share with your readers about?

I have just finished the outline for my second book, a tragic love story, entitled, ‘Don’t Fall In Love Without Me’. 

After writing your book (s) what is your advice to people who want to become writers?

The advice I would give anyone about anything. Follow your passion!

What are common traps for aspiring writers and have you faced any of them ? 

The trap that many artists face is that they stop trusting themselves. 

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

Any review is subjective, so you can’t get too high or too low.

Shane O’Dell’s Media Links

Website

YouTube

Twitter

Instagram

FaceBook

Interview With Author Carolyn Dismuke

Could You Tell Us About Yourself? 

I’m a California native raised in a family that spent most of our free time road tripping through the Golden State. My dad was a teacher who shared his love of discovery with me and I embraced every opportunity to travel somewhere new and learn. Documenting my travels came naturally after college and a career in writing.

What made you write your book (s)?

My wanderlust for California’s hidden wine gems quickly became more than a hobby. I took time off work to join an internationally renowned wine studies program. But, when I got beyond sommelier level, I was surprised that there were 8 chapters on France, 7 chapters on Italy, and only one chapter on California, Oregon, and Washington. I felt compelled to set out on my own learning journey to experience more of the Golden State as part of my own wine studies program.

What’s your favourite book?

So many but I think a classic, The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway remains my favorite of all time because I can reread his style to refresh my senses of showing without telling. I also admire writers from our history that were feminists before it was common or popular.

Who is your favourite author and why?

Again, so many. I love the way Stephen Hawking can take a tiny nuance of a feeling or emotion and place it in a moment that exemplifies a catharsis in a character. True magic.

How many hours a day do you write?

Some days I can write all day and deep into the night hours. Others I just spend an hour or two. 

What one thing would you give up to become a better writer?

Well, my last book took a lot of time at a tiny cabin in the woods with no internet or TV. It worked wonderfully. I may do that again.

What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?

I can get hung up on a word or sentence that I feel emotionally strong about that just doesn’t fit. I’ll try writing around it or circling back to it from a different approach. But leaving it on the cutting room floor is heartbreaking.

What do you need in your writing space to help you stay focused?

I have a few pieces of wall art that I find inspirational. One is a plaque that reminds me of Robert Frost’s journey: “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I- I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” Another plaque is not a quote but reads “She believe she could so she did”

And finally, “Well behaved women seldom make history” from Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

What’s your favourite writing snack or drink?

Deep dark chocolate. Perhaps that’s because it’s the only caffeine I consume so it gives me a tiny jump of endorphins and enthusiasm.

How do you celebrate when you finish your book?

I cry. If I’m not driven to tears after all the disciplined focused hours of work and the emotional bearing of my deepest feelings then I’m not doing it right.

Do you listen to music while you wrote your book (s)?

No. Never. But I listen to music when I do almost everything else and that often sparks an idea. So, I often turn it off and return to the writing.

Where do you get your idea (s) for your book (s)?

I was interviewing the most creative winemakers in the most stunningly beautiful scenery I’d ever imagined even in my dreams or my mind’s eye. It was my destiny to share beauty like that with the world.

What is / was your writing process like?

I kept blog posts of what I’m experiencing where so that I can return to that moment with the tiny reminders in my blog post and expand on those experiences, both internally and externally. By the time the blog posts were plentiful enough to use in a book, I’d review comments or questions and clarify as needed while weaving other themes through.

Do you try more to be original or rather give readers what they want?

Hmmm, that’s a tough one. Giving readers what they want is how to sell books. I’m still broke.

What’s your favourite and least favourite part of publishing your book (s)?

Writing is by far my favorite. I can get so lost in a description, summary, or snippet that I forget what time or day it is. The least favorite part is selling and marketing something so close to me and cherished that it’s like I’ve given birth to it.

What part of the book was the most fun to write? 

The end. I must’ve written and rewritten the ending a hundred times.

How did you come up with the title for your book (s)?

It came bubbling up when so many people would ask me, “what else is there beyond Napa?” I’d say “I’m going to make you Drink Your Words” full of spite. And I did.

Would you and your main character get along?

Well, my main character is me so no.

If you could meet your characters, what would you say to them? 

I love you just the way you are.

What is a significant way your book has changed since the first draft? 

Good question. Initially, the book was all non fiction about wine travels and what I was learning about viticulture in different regions. It was my editors that asked how hard it was living on the road out of four pairs of shoes and always being the new kid in town, moving every month. That’s when I realized I’d manifested my heart’s journey and felt compelled to chronicle my awakening through the conflicts I encountered as a solo traveler.

How would you describe your book’s ideal reader?

Anyone who loves to road trip (vicariously). Anyone who enjoys adventure travel. Anyone who loves food and wine. Any city or corporate person who dreams of breaking free. But especially those who feel the spark of wanderlust (within them and the world).

What did you edit out of your book (s)?

Road tripping is all about being alone with your thoughts and the radio. Words in certain songs resonated at milestone moments and I’d included them in quotes but couldn’t get legal rights from the artists (or couldn’t afford them). So, I removed them but will have the soundtrack ready when someone wants to make my book a movie.

What was your hardest scene to write?

Sleep walking. It was like a dream state.

What do you hope your readers take away from your book (s)?

I hope it inspires them to follow their passion regardless of the costs. Passion is priceless.

Did you get some negative feedback on your book? and if so how do you deal with that?

Some readers wanted more technical details while others wanted me to cover other regions. I took that as fodder for my next book.

How did you feel when you first published your book (s)? Scared ? Excited ? Nervous ? 

All those as well as accomplished. Pride overpowered all my fear, nervousness, and excitement.

Where can people who are interested in your book, buy your book?

Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Walmart, and Kindle, and soon many more ebook sites. I’ll post these on DrinkYourWords.com.

Are you working on anything at the present you would like to share with your readers about?

Yes, one is a punchy short book about what I’m learning with a broken leg. Another is a sequel to the book about California’s other wine regions. 

After writing your book (s) what is your advice to people who want to become writers?

Follow that voice within you that sometimes doesn’t even use words. It knows.

What are common traps for aspiring writers and have you faced any of them?

Hire good editors and listen to them. If you don’t like one editor’s advice, get a second opinion. Remember it is your book. Test the popularity of book cover ideas on social media and trust them. Reach out to people like Amelia.

Carolyn Dismuke Media Links

Website

Amazon Profile + Books

Instagram

Interview With An Author Barbara Ann-Marie Vorel

Could You Tell Us About Yourself ? 

I have had a love for reading and writing since I was a little girl. I am never without a book close at hand, and I feel that I express myself best through the written word. A Speech-Language Pathologist for over 28 years, I have worked with students of all ages and developmental levels teaching them to communicate and use words functionally in the world around them. In 2015, I became foster Mom to a 4 month old boy who clearly had very special needs. By age 1, I realized that he was not developing as he should and began a journey of doctors, therapists, tests and all that came with it to help this child grow and function in the world around him. I adopted him in November, 2016 and our journey continued. Soon after, I began to lose myself because he was so needy. It wasn’t until returning to work after COVID that I realized just how lost I was. That was when my journey to find myself while taking care of my child really began.

What made you write a book (s) ? 

I started a blog of the same name (momsplace4grace.com) so that I could share my story with others in the hopes that my story would help them. I know so many parents of needy children and they all have similar stories. Taking care of themselves just wasn’t as important as taking care of their child. I have always dreamed of writing a book so when it was suggested by some of the readers of my blog, I jumped at the chance.

What is the first book you remember reading ? 

I know I read books before this but my first actual memory of a book I read by myself is The Hidden Staircase- by Carolyn Keene (A Nancy Drew Mystery) I remember going to the bookstore with my Aunt and picking out  the book. They didn’t have #1 in the series so we settled for #2.

What’s your favourite book ?

Honestly, my favorite book is The HOLY BIBLE – it’s timeless and provides comfort to me when needed. There is always wisdom to be found their when I am struggling.

Who is your favourite author and why? 

I love light mysteries which don’t require too much thinking and I love serial books. I would say in that genre, Janet Evanovich is my favorite. She writes truly laugh-out-loud stories which provide a wonderful escape from everyday life.

How many hours a day do you write? 

When I am working on a project, 3 hours a day. When I’m working on a blog post – about an hour but it really depends. Writing is a second job for me at this point and I still have to care for my son and my elderly Mom and Aunt so free time is fleeting. Summers are wonderful because that’s when I have the most time.

What is the most difficult part of your artistic process? 

For me, getting started is always a challenge. Sometimes that is just because I am on the computer often throughout the day for work. Once I start, though, it usually just flows.

What do you need in your writing space to help you stay focused?

I actually do best working in chaos. I often write with music or tv on but I do need to be by myself. I don’t like writing when others are around.

What’s your favorite writing snack or drink? 

I’m a water and coffee girl, so I am never without that at my fingertips. Ice cream is my go to for getting the creative juices flowing.

How do you celebrate when you finish your book? 

A glass of DiSaronno and a toast to whatever was to follow.

Do you listen to music while you wrote your book (s) ? 

Usually I listen to Christian music. Michael W. Smith is a favorite.

Where do you get your idea (s) for your book (s) ? 

The ideas for my book are based in real life. Currently, all of my writing is non-fiction and I use the events from my life to illustrate the points I want to share.

What is / was your writing process like? 

I created a mindmap first so that I would be able to organize my chapters into something that made sense to the reader. I want each chapter to stand alone so that someone could look up a chapter on Growth and just read it without having to read the entire book. Sometimes Moms of special kiddos don’t have time for an entire book but a quick chapter will give them what the need to keep going. 

Do you try more to be original or rather give readers what they want?

I would say it’s a combination of these. I want to send readers my message in a way that also gives them what they want but I don’t shy away from the tough questions and I don’t pretend that I have it all figured out.

What part of the book was the most fun to write? 

My least favorite part was waiting on the editing and the formatting. I don’t like waiting.

How did you come up with the title for your book (s) ? 

I wanted to keep the same title as my blog because my blog will continue. That said, the title for my blog literally came to me while in prayer.

What is a significant way your book has changed since the first draft? 

The only major change from the first draft is that I added a reflection question or activity at the end of each chapter.

How would you describe your book’s ideal reader? 

The target audience is moms of special needs children however, educators, Dads, Grandparents and even parents of neurotypical children can get something out of the book.

How long did it take for you to write a book ? 

From the first written word to the last  3 months.

What do you hope your readers take away from your book (s) ? 

There are 2 major messages to take away: 1. You are not alone. 2. Self-care is not selfish, it’s a form of self-preservation.

What was the hardest part of writing your book (s) ? 

Reflecting upon the painful times and sharing them. Making myself vulnerable.

Did you get some negative feedback on your book ? and if so how do you deal with that ? 

I did – mostly from family members who just don’t get it or don’t want to get it. I just accept that their particular opinion just doesn’t matter.

How did you feel when you first published your book (s) ? Scared ? Excited ? Nervous ? 

I was truly very excited but scared because this is a huge step out of my comfort zone. People I know are reading this book, people who I don’t know are reading it. Colleagues, friends, parents of students. It’s so scary to just put it all out there.

Where can people who are interested in your book, buy your book ?

My book is available on Amazon in both kindle and paperback forms.

Are you working on anything at the present you would like to share with your readers about? 

I am hoping to have a youtube channel launched very soon.

My blog has regular entries. I am also developing the mind map for my next book which will be about Gratitude.

After writing your book (s) what is your advice to people who want to become writers? 

Just do it. If you have something to say, people will want to read.

What are common traps for aspiring writers and have you faced any of them ? 

Don’t be in a rush. Take whatever time you need to get it right.

Barbara Ann-Marie Vorel Media Links

AMAZON

WEBSITE

“The Seven Ravens” By Jacob Grimm & Wilhelm Grimm Review

The original tale is much better but also darker then the version kids see. 

It is different but not that different from what you might remember from first hearing this tale as a kid. 

The plot here are very good but also dark which is the mix which I personally like a lot.

The writing style here was very old and you could feel the vibe of old the Europe which was amazing for me.

I Give This Story 4 / 5

“The Duration of Life” By Jacob Grimm & Wilhelm Grimm Review

The original tale is much better but also darker then the version kids see. 

It is different but not that different from what you might remember from first hearing this tale as a kid. 

The plot here are very good but also dark which is the mix which I personally like a lot.

The writing style here was very old and you could feel the vibe of old the Europe which was amazing for me.

I Give This Story 4 / 5

Interview With Author Paul Rouse

Could You Tell Us About Yourself? 

My name is Paul Rouse and I currently live in Greenville, South Carolina. Since I was little, I’ve been an avid reader and writer. At the age of 11, I wrote my first complete story, and when I turned 13 I’d completed my first full-scale novel titled The Millionaires Case. While I decided not to publish this book, it ultimately prepared me for writing Stugo the Novel, which I’m thrilled to announce will release on April 7th!

What made you write your book(s)?  

Stugo the Novel began when I wrote down ideas in my journal for a short story I planned to write. Having served on school student governments, I was fascinated with the idea of what the world would look like if teenagers were in power, and adults were out of the picture. I nailed down specific points like the names of characters, as well as general ideas such as my wish for the story to be set in a world of my making. From these quick notes, the rough draft of Stugo the Novel came to be.

The novel also stems from the struggles I endured in middle school. Writing became my escape and allowed me to process this troubled time in my life. Through Stugo the Novel, I hope to shine a light on mental health as well as bullying. While I won’t go into specifics, I have dealt with both and can say that neither is easy to talk about. In a world where you are told to hide your true self and conform to society’s norms, I hope Stugo the Novel will shed light on the fact that there is no such thing as normal. Everyone is beautiful in their way and it’s important to let your light shine bright. 

What’s your favorite book?

My favorite book would have to be King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo. I love how thoroughly she develops her characters, and how elegant the plot is.    

Do you listen to music while you write your book (s)?

I do! I love to listen to music while I write because it helps me focus on what I’m trying to put into words. I also love to tune my music to the type of scene I’m trying to write. For example, if I’m attempting to write a dramatic scene then I’ll listen to dramatic music. 

Where do you get your idea (s) for your book (s)?

 All my ideas for my book came from both my imagination and personal experiences. To put this into perspective, in Stugo the Novel the nation of Carmona came completely from my imagination. In one sitting I managed to create the entire back story for the nation. I began with creating the nation’s noble leader, President Ash, who you’ll learn more about in the novel. From there, I imagined a nation where a monarchy and a modern democracy came together to make the nation of Carmona. Concerning my personal experiences, an example would be how I designed the Rightful System Capitol School after high school, as well as mansions I’ve visited throughout Europe and the United States.   

What part of the book was the most fun to write? 

The ending of Stugo the Novel was a blast to write because I decided to take it in a direction I believe my readers won’t expect. I won’t go into too much detail but the final chapter was my absolute favorite to write because it showcases how grief and anger can make a person do things they’d never thought to attempt before.   

What is a significant way your book has changed since the first draft? 

Since putting pen to paper, I have been able to develop my characters far better than I originally had. I have also been able to perfect the plot and setting, which will help my readers have a more immersive experience. Last but least, I have been able to perfect the novel’s grammatical errors with the help of my amazing editor, Kerry Bannister.

What was your hardest scene to write?

The beginning of Stugo the Novel was the hardest to write because there was a lot of information I felt the reader should know before the story began to pick up.  

How long did it take for you to write a book?  

In total it took me three years to write Stugo the Novel. 

Did you get some negative feedback on your book? and if so how do you deal with that? 

I’ve never received flat-out negative feedback. I have received critiques but I view these as opportunities to make my book the best it can be. 

Where can people who are interested in your book, buy your book? 

You’ll be able to find a link to purchase your very own copy of Stugo the Novel on April 7th by visiting the official Stugo the Novel Website

Please also don’t forget to follow Stugo the Novel on Instagram and Facebook to stay up to date on all the exciting developments!

To prepare for Stugo the Novel’s release don’t forget to read Chaos Becoming

Paul Rouse Media Links

Website

Instagram

FaceBook

Interview With An Author Sally Alter

Sally Alter : Thank you so much for inviting me for an interview, Amelia. I am honored to be here. 

COULD YOU TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF?

Well, thank you for asking me that question. Let’s see. I am a 75 year old widow who started writing books last year. To date I have published 4 books and am busy writing the next one. I was born in London and lost my parents at a very young age so have been very independent ever since. 

I had not received any encouragement to better myself when young so I never thought I would amount to anything. I received a very poor education and always thought I was stupid. This was a theme in my life until I was in my twenties when I decided to train as a nurse. I lived in Scotland at the time, so began my nursing career at 28. I loved nursing and worked in Scotland and England for many years. 

That decision has been very helpful lately in writing my books. I have bipolar 1 disorder which started when I was 15 when I had just lost my mother. It can be brought on by unbalanced chemicals in the brain, hereditary or trauma in childhood which fitted my situation. 

My life with my unwanted guest has been very traumatic on the one hand, yet very exciting on the other. I have been married three times to all the wrong people but have had the opportunity of traveling very extensively and living in some unusual places like Malta, the tiny island in the Mediterranean. So it has not been all bad. 

Now, since being widowed, my life is very simple and I am fortunate to have all the time I like to write my books which is what I want to do.

WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR IDEAS FOR YOUR BOOKS?

I began writing on Quora, the question and answer website, three years ago now and have since written over 4,000 answers. 800 of those answers have been on bipolar disorder as that is what interests me most. I have done a great deal of research and have a lifetime’s worth of experience. 

So, with this background it is very easy for me to get ideas for my books. In fact, my first book, “How to Live with Bipolar” is a question and answer book filled with answers to some of the questions I answered on Quora. It has been very successful and people seem to like reading questions and answers. I go into great detail about bipolar in my books. I also write anecdotes about poignant areas of my life. I have another question and answer book on loneliness which is called, “A Practical Guide to Overcoming Loneliness.”

WHAT IS YOUR WRITING PROCESS LIKE? 

Being retired, I can write when and how much I like so I am very fortunate in that. I know some people have to fit writing in between a full time job and it is very difficult to complete a book like that. In my case, I spend time on my Outline first as this is the skeleton of my books. It is then easy for me to fill in the meat between chapters. 

Perhaps I shouldn’t say easy as it takes a lot of research, time and perseverance to finish a book. I write non-fiction which has to be factually correct. I have played around with fiction, but don’t seem to have the imagination for it. 



DO YOU TRY TO BE ORIGINAL OR GIVE YOUR READERS WHAT THEY WANT?

It is a well-known fact in writing books that you must never write just for yourself or nobody will want to read it. You have to consciously write what you think your readers want to read or you will get nowhere. In fact, it is no good writing for a group of people as that is rarely successful either, you have to find your ideal reader and write to them specifically. This process takes a lot of work but is foolproof because it guides you as to what to write next. You ask yourself what your ideal reader would like to know next, then write about that. 

My ideal reader varies, of course, from book to book, but they are nearly always a person who wants to know how to cope with their problem. In this case, the problem is bipolar disorder or loneliness. I also have a book of poetry which is called, “We Never Did Mornings” and my ideal reader there is a person who has loved and lost in life. 

HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO WRITE YOUR BOOK?

I don’t like working on a book for too long because I would lose momentum and not be able to focus on my subject, so I almost always finish a book within three to four months. As I say, I am retired, so it is not a case of spending an hour a day on writing, I can write for five hours a day if I wish. 

WHAT CAN READERS TAKE AWAY FROM YOUR BOOKS?

According to my reviews, I am pleased to read that I have managed to help people cope with the circumstances they find themselves in. One of my books, “Bipolar 1 Disorder Rescue Plan” is very specific and not much information is out there on the subject. So, people are happy reading that book and find better ways of coping with their illness. 

WHERE CAN PEOPLE WHO ARE INTERESTED IN YOUR BOOKS BUY THEM? 

All my books are available on Amazon. If you type my name in the search bar, a list of all my books will come up so it is easy to look at them in more detail. 

ARE YOU WORKING ON ANYTHING AT THE PRESENT YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH YOUR READERS ABOUT?

Yes, I am working on another book and I see the rest of my life being filled with writing more and more books because I feel I have found my calling. At present, I am writing another bipolar disorder book. It is called, “The Symptoms of Bipolar Depression.” As far as I know this subject has never been tackled by anybody before, but it is a big problem for people with bipolar depression. I am hoping it will be helpful to a lot of people. 

Amelia, thank you so much for listening to me. I have really enjoyed our interview. 

Sally Alter’s Media

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Interview With An Author Ashley Brandt

Could You Tell Us About Yourself ?

I’m a 34 year-old wife and mother of two boys. I am a paramedic in north Texas and I have been working in EMS for eight years. I love my job! My husband and I are currently working to foster/adopt children.

What made you write your book (s) ? 

I’ve been writing stories since childhood, and it’s always been my dream to be a published author. When I completed my first novel, I decided it was time to take the leap and see where the publishing path led me. I wanted to make an honest attempt at achieving my goal, and if I was unsuccessful, at least I could say that I’d made the effort.

What is the first book you remember reading ? 

I can’t remember the first one, specifically, but my mother used to read the little golden books to me. As an older child, I loved reading Mary Higgins Clark mysteries.

What’s your favourite book ? 

I love the Sookie Stackhouse series and the Aurora Teagarden series by Charlaine Harris.

Who is your favourite author and why? 

I am a huge Charlaine Harris fan! Anything written by her is an immediate favorite.

How many hours a day do you write?

That varies, depending on the amount of free time that I have. On average, I’d estimate I spend between an hour and four writing a day.

What one thing would you give up to become a better writer? 

I’d probably give up television.

What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?

I think organizing my ideas into a consistent story line and then presenting it well are difficult parts the my process. I have so many ideas, but getting those ideas out onto paper and making them easily understood can be challenging.

If you could spend a day with another popular author, whom would you choose and why ? 

Hands down, I’d choose Charlaine Harris. She is unique in her character personification, story lines and overall story-telling style. She has a voice that is all her own, and she doesn’t compromise it.

What do you need in your writing space to help you stay focused? 

I need a certain amount of quiet, because I get distracted easily. 

What’s your favourite writing snack or drink? 

I try not to do a lot of snacking while I’m writing, but I love coffee and sometimes I’ll drink a diet soda or indulge in some sour cream and onion chips.

How do you celebrate when you finish your book? 

Typically, I’ll celebrate by sharing or starting another book!

Do you listen to music while you wrote your book (s) ? 

I usually don’t listen to music. I’m told it’s great for inspiration, but it’s distracting for me.

Where do you get your idea (s) for your book (s) ? 

I’ve always been a daydreamer, which is where I tend to get a lot of my inspiration; but I’ve also gotten ideas from dreams or pieces of history.

What is / was your writing process like? 

I’m not very organized when it comes to my process. I find that I enjoy the writing better when I get my ideas out on the page first and then fine-tune as I near the conclusion of my story. If a plot is particularly detailed, I’ll take a few basic notes. I edit as I write, and then make several editing sweeps once I’m finished.

Do you try more to be original or rather give readers what they want?

I try to be original with my stories. It’s always tempting to mold your stories after what you perceive is trendy, but I feel like my writing is similar to my personality- you can’t please everyone all the time, and the right people will enjoy your writing for what it is, as long as it’s quality work.

How did publishing your (first) book ? 

My first book, Moya Lyubov, was self-published through Amazon. I knew I had a lot to learn before I was ready to query the traditional publishing companies.

What kind of research do you do and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book? 

I typically rely on internet sources for my research, but I’ve utilized books and even television documentaries, too. It all depends on the content.

How do you develop your plot and characters? 

When I come up with a plot, I try and use a variable character cast. I like to insert different personality types in the story, because it adds flavor to the plot itself. I think about the different characteristics and quirks real-life people display and I adapt them to my characters.

What’s your favourite and least favourite part of publishing your book (s) ? 

My favorite part of publishing is receiving that acceptance email from the publisher! I absolutely love the developmental and collaborative process with the publisher, such as cover design, etc. My least favorite part of the waiting! Publishing a book is an exciting experience, but every stage takes time to get it right.

What part of the book was the most fun to write? 

I enjoy writing the climax of the story the best, because it’s the point of the story where the problems come to a pinnacle.

How did you come up with the title for your book (s) ? 

I usually determine my titles based on certain sayings or sentences in my story that I like.

Would you and your main character get along?

Absolutely! I think my main characters tend to share certain personality traits with me.

If you could meet your characters, what would you say to them? 

I would encourage them. My main characters are always confronting some sort of internal battle or trying to navigate the world around them, and I would assure them that they are heroic no matter their circumstances.

Which of the characters in your book (s) do you relate to the most and why? 

In my latest novel, Coyote, I relate to Raven Thatcher in some respects because she is torn between different cultural expectations. Raven wants to become her own person and live her life in a way that is meaningful to her, but she feels obliged to conform to the ideals of her pack. Despite her dilemma, Raven is fiercely loyal to her friends.

What is a significant way your book has changed since the first draft? 

I have improved in terms of my editing resources and approaches. I think the first draft is always rough around the edges, but the result is polished.

How would you describe your book’s ideal reader? 

The ideal reader is anyone who enjoys the paranormal, or thriller/romance. 

What did you edit out of your book (s) ?

I edited some foul language out, as I felt it was not necessary to the characters. I incorporated it initially to give them an edge and make them seem more realistic, but I found I didn’t like the idea of putting that content in books designs for a younger audience. 

What was your hardest scene to write? How long did it take for you to write a book ? 

The hardest scene to write for Coyote was probably the laboratory scene. I had to find a way to describe the sterile environment without boring readers, and to maintain the pace of the novel while giving detailed descriptors of Raven’s new environment.

What do you hope your readers take away from your book (s) ? 

I hope that readers are entertained by the story itself, but I hope that they identify the realistic aspects of self-discovery and identity development. These are issues that we face throughout our lifetimes, and I felt it was important to Raven’s character.

What was the hardest part of writing your book (s) ? 

The hardest part was maintaining a steady pace. As the plot thickened, it was difficult not to jump ahead and get to the “good stuff”, but part of a good story is the way it builds anticipation before a major event.

Did you get some negative feedback on your book ? and if so how do you deal with that ?

So far, the feedback on Coyote has been positive. I am a perfectionist, so whenever a reader leaves a less than perfect rating, I’m always interested in the parts of the story that may have been lacking. I deal with this by concentrating my efforts on improvement and using the negative feedback as a means of identifying the opportunities for growth.

How did you feel when you first published your book (s) ? Scared ? Excited ? Nervous ? 

I was very excited! However, any time you create something and submit it to the general public for judgement or consumption, there’s always this nervous anticipation. Will they like what I’ve created, or will I be embarrassed by the results? Also, my writing is reflective of me on some level, so it’s almost like telling a stranger your secrets! What will they think of me after reading what I’ve produced?

Where can people who are interested in your book, buy your book ? 

Coyote is available on Amazon.com and Blossomspringpublishing.com.

Are you working on anything at the present you would like to share with your readers about? 

Yes! Blossom Spring Publishing has signed a contract with me to publish the first book of a three-book series. The first book is titled, Creatures of Chaos. It is a YA fantasy about teens with legacies similar to those of the Greek gods/goddesses.

After writing your book (s) what is your advice to people who want to become writers? 

My advice to aspiring writers is to pace yourself and do your research. Understand that there will always be negative feedback and encouraging people on any endeavor. Let the positivity feed your soul and the negativity foster your growth. Be persistent and be willing to learn and develop your skill.

What are common traps for aspiring writers and have you faced any of them ? 

Unfortunately, there are a lot of companies that target new authors who are not well-informed or experienced and they charge exorbitant fees to help them get published, or to market their work, or all of the above. I would caution authors to do their homework. Research companies before you sign any contracts or agree to any payments. 

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones? 

Of course! I always enjoy receiving a good review, and knowing that someone has enjoyed my book. The positive reviews are very encouraging and the negative reviews can be discouraging but helpful when it comes to learning how to improve. I’m always thankful when readers take the extra time to tell me what they thought.

Is it something more you want to tell us which I forgot to ask about?

One of my biggest concerns starting out was the fact that I felt underqualified to be an author. I don’t have any advanced writing degrees or reputable endorsements, and everything I have accomplished has been due to hard work and persistence. I would encourage aspiring authors to abandon the idea that they aren’t qualified simply for those reasons. If you can tell a story, you are qualified.

Her Websites / Social Media

Website

Interview with the author of “Rescued by Ghosts” aka Timothy L Drobnick Sr

Before we start this interview I wanted to use a little bit of time to thank Timothy L Drobnick Sr for giving us the interview and letting us to know some details behind the scenes and what this book doesn’t cover. All of the answer he gave us was very interesting or at least they were very interesting to me personally.

Q : When and how did you realize that you wanted to write this book ?

A : It was in 1997 that I first considered creating this book. I was writing short stories about my childhood. I got involved in many private internet chatrooms discussing encounters we had with the metaphysical. I had plenty to share.

Since that time, I started a journal of my memories and current experiences. To this day, I have encounters with the supernatural and my ghosts.

As my journal progressed, I found that I could not separate my experiences from my other life, so my supernatural events book became my memoir.

I started the first draft of the book on May 1st, 2019, when I was sixty years old. Words flooded out of me. When I finished, I had written one-hundred-fifty-thousand words.

On review, I determined to make the first thirty-thousand words book number one, and the others spread out over more books in a series. That first book, when wrapped up, had one-hundred-five-thousand words.

Q : How many books in this series can we expect ?

A : My outline for this series is for five books. My ghosts are a big part of my life to this day. There are many fascinating and amusing stories yet to report about my ghost friends. Some, I wish I could tell you now, but I don’t want to spoil the stories.

As of December 2020, I have the rough draft written for book number two. I have the outline for book number three. I have written 70,000 words for volumes six and seven. However, it is possible that books six and seven will be the start of a new series. We shall find out together. I will ask my readers about their thoughts when the time comes.

Books six and seven are about a thirty year long dream I have had. It is an original story that continues each time I dream. Perhaps I am in another reality or universe. My ghosts are in the dreams with me.
I could not claim these books to be memoirs, even though it has changed my life while awake, because my ghosts communicate with me in these dreams. This is a story about a dozen people who can fly. I am one of them.

Since I based this book on a dream, and there are parts of the story missing, I have taken some liberties to fill in blank spots with my imagination. It is in a world much like our own. The story has intrigue, magic, supernatural characters, a sweet love story, tragedy, action, and more. It could be a series of seven books.

Q : What do you hope your readers take away from this book?

A : Despite the cruelties of life, I hope that my readers will learn they can be happy.

I believe everybody has ghosts in their life. Many people call these angels, I presume, but I cannot tell you what they are. What I can do is report my experiences. I believe they are with us and help us every day whether or not we detect they exist.

The reader will understand, I expect, that hardships in our life are lessons we must learn. We cannot avoid every one of them. These lessons will help us become better versions of ourselves.

I want the readers to grasp gaslighting. It is more commonplace and treacherous than most believe. I want the reader to know he/she or his/her friends can escape the control of these monsters.

It is possible your mind is being controlled today. A good clue is if you are living in constant fear. If you are, please get help from professionals.

Q : What was the hardest part of writing this book ?

A : The hardest part of writing this book was the struggle in my mind since 1997 of how the public would perceive me if I told these stories, and how it would affect my family. I, like everyone, want others to respect me. Many consider people who write these types of books to be foolish or gullible.

Over time, I came to terms that I could do more good telling my story than any ill will my family may afford me or lost prestige of the community.

Q : How long did it take you to write this book ?

A : I started writing this book on May 1st, 2019 and finished in September 2020. That translates to seventeen months.

It was a long and arduous process. I had to overcome fears of telling many parts of my story and to relive harsh parts of my life. But overall it was excellent therapy. Writing it made me a better and happier person.

Q : Did you get some negative feedback on your book ? and if so how do you deal with that ?

A : Yes, I have got some negative feedback about my book. I expected it, and I expect I will get more.

I am challenging diehard beliefs in some religions. The religion I am from believes ghosts do not exist. They believe anything we perceive as ghosts are in fact demons.

I propose the opposite. Ghosts exist, but not demons. This gives me pushback from people who believe otherwise, notably those in extreme fundamentalist groups.

In my book I never challenge that God exists, as I believe there is one, but I propose that no human can tell me what God is. They can only provide conjecture.

Q : What motivated you to write this book and share your story ?

A : Over the decades, my anguish was leaving this earth before telling my story. I believed that it would benefit people if they learned about my ghosts, supernatural events, abuse, and being captured in a cultish religion.

My major motivation is to pass this information on for everyone to share. I believe my story will give people hope that they can survive hardships and that we are not alone through the process. My story will confirm their beliefs that there is a higher power.

Q : How did you feel when you first published this book ? Scared ? Excited ? Nervous ?

A : I was excited about releasing this book but was fearful. This is my first major book, and I had no idea how people would react to my story. It eased my fears once most readers gave me four and five star reviews. I got one to three stars also, but I know I can’t please everyone. I also know I am a new writer and have much to improve.

Q : Are you working on anything at the present you would like to share with your readers about?

A : Yes, I am working on the second book in my ghost memoir series. I am very excited about it, and I believe my readers are going to love it. I finished the rough draft in September 2020, and as of January 10th, 2021, I am forty percent finished with the rewrites.

Q : Where can people who are interested in your book, buy your book ?

A : My book, Rescued by Ghosts, is on Amazon for ebooks. The paperback book is at Amazon, Barnes and Nobel, and many local bookstores.

For a limited time, I am giving away the audiobook. I am the narrator which I believe will help me connect with my readers. It is eleven hours long. I had a lot of fun recording it, and I believe the reader will have fun with me.

The link to get the free audiobook is https://dl.bookfunnel.com/2uqhhmkiql

If you liked this interview feel free to step by Timothy’s GoodReads account, give his book a review if you read it. And if you havent read his book yet feel free to get the Free Audiobook or by PaperBack / Ebook On Amazon