Tuesday Talk with… author Kelli A. Wilkins

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Kelli WilkinsThank you for spending a little time with us here on the blog today!

It’s great to be here. Thanks for having me! I love sharing my thoughts with readers and other writers.

How did you become a writer?

I started writing short stories in high school. After college, I took a Commercial Writer’s Program and read some of my stories in class. At the time, I was writing short horror fiction. Everyone liked the stories and encouraged me to submit them for publication. One day I read a short romance in a magazine and said, “I can write that.” So I did.

My romance novel writing career began when Amber Quill Press hosted a contest to find authors. I submitted three novellas, and they contracted me for all three. After the books were released, I got hooked, and just kept writing. To date, I’ve published more than 100 short stories, 19 romance novels, 5 non-fiction books, and an online writing course via Teachable.

Are you self-published, traditional, or hybrid?

I’ve been all three! At first I was completely traditional, then I became a hybrid, and now I’m self-published. Most of my romances were originally published with Amber Quill Press. Later, I had three romance novels published by Medallion Press. Unfortunately, both of those publishers have folded. Over the last three years I’ve re-edited and self-published all of my Amber Quill romances. My Medallion Press titles will be re-released in 2019.

How long does it take you to write a book?

Depending on the length of the story or the scope of the book, it can take anywhere from two weeks to a month to write the first draft. Shorter stories like my horror novella, Nightmare in the North, usually take a week. My full-length books such as Redemption from a Dark Past and Trust with Hearts take a month (or maybe longer).

Are You a Pantser or a Plotter?
I’m both. Before I start a book, I need to know who the characters are and what’s going to happen overall. After that, I outline the scenes and start writing. As I write, I allow myself some leeway to explore things I hadn’t considered in my outline. Sometimes I add entire scenes, or I write scenes that are later omitted. I go where the story takes me.

Each book comes to me in a different form. Sometimes I’ll have an entire story jump into my head, and I’ll know everything that happens to the characters. (That happened with A Deceptive Match, A Most Unusual Princess, Trust with Hearts, and A Secret Match.)

Other times, I’ll get bits and pieces of the story and parts of the characters. Once in a while, I’ll have a character come first, and as I get to know and develop the character, I’ll find out the story. Then the other pieces fall into place, like a puzzle. (That happened with Beauty & the Bigfoot, Killer in Wolf’s Clothing, and Confessions of a Vampire’s Lover.)

Writing a book is always an adventure for me, and I never know where the characters or stories will take me.

Have you ever taken the NaNoWriMo Challenge?

Not officially, but when I sit down to write a book, I “ binge write” it all at once. I don’t stop and work on other projects while I’m writing a first draft. And since it usually takes me a month to write a book, it’s almost like I’ve created my own writing challenge.

What’s your favorite genre to write or do you only write in one genre?

I consider myself fortunate to be able to write in any genre or sub-genre. In romance, I’m naturally drawn to historical/fantasy settings, but if I get a good idea for a book, I’ll write it, no matter what genre it is.

I originally started out writing horror short stories, and then I alternated with romance. (I also wrote the occasional sci fi story, too.) I like to say that one half of my brain writes horror, and the other half writes romance.

Writing horror lets me tap into my dark side. I can create characters, plots, and settings in my horror fiction that have no business being in a romance. Horror has a different tone and feel to it.

I’m able to switch genres easily, so I have a good balance of writing in both the horror and romance worlds. Sometimes I blend the two into paranormal romances. My first paranormal romance, Confessions of a Vampire’s Lover is a good mix of the two genres, and it has a very gothic feel.

When I wrote the story, I didn’t want the vampire to be too vicious (and therefore not a romantic character) and yet, I had to make sure the vampire wasn’t too watered down and not “horror” enough. Reviewers loved the book, so I think I did a good job.

My horror fiction is more psychological/spooky/creepy than gory, and I like to explore the darker aspects of a story and not always give the characters a happy ending, as I do in my romances. Nightmare in the North is a good example of how I take something ordinary (a guy with car trouble seeking shelter in a storm) and give it an unusual twist.

What’s your favorite genre to read?
The books on my shelves are very diverse. I have books in almost every category: horror, romance, contemporary fiction, self-help, new age, and historical non-fiction. I like to read a lot of different things and I’m always buying books at garage sales and flea markets.

What are you reading now?

Lately I’ve been reading John Sandford, Jonathan Kellerman, and the Preston & Child “Pendergast” novels. I enjoy a good detective/mystery story, and these authors have created some fantastic and memorable characters.

Where do you get the most writing done?

My writing environment is wherever I happen to be at the moment. I write all of my books and short stories in longhand, so when I’m writing I can take the pen and paper outside in the back yard, to the beach, or anywhere. When I write indoors I’m usually in the living room and have music playing in the background.

Totally addicted to social media or could you live without it??
Like anything, there are good and bad aspects to social media, but I can live without most of it. I’m not addicted in the sense that I “have” to check Facebook or Twitter several times a day. I usually go on there a few times a week, see what’s new, post something to my friends, or promote my books, and move on. I don’t feel the need to share every moment of my life on social media platforms.

Do you have any advice for new authors?
The best advice I can give to any writer (regardless if he or she is writing horror, romance, or mystery) is the same: keep writing. Writing is a tough and solitary business. It takes a lot of dedication and determination to sit down every day and write something. You have to push through the times when you don’t want to write or revise a story. You have to pick yourself up and keep going when you get a rejection. You have to put in the hard work to create the best plot, characters, and stories you can. But the more you write, the easier it gets.

I strongly recommend aspiring authors take writing classes, either in person or online. They’re an excellent way to learn the craft of storytelling and get feedback from other writers. In 2018, I compiled my advice into an online writing course, Fiction Writing for Beginners. The course is based on my experience as a writer, advice I’ve received over the years, and the technical “know-how” I’ve gained in writing classes and workshops.

It offers practical advice on how to create a story: from getting a great idea to meeting your characters, developing a plot, and on to writing, revising, and submitting your work. Each lesson contains helpful tips all writers can use, plus fun writing exercises. The course is perfect for anyone who wants to learn how to write. Visit: https://kelliwilkins.teachable.com/ for more details.

What are your latest releases?
My historical romance, Redemption from a Dark Past, was published in 2018. This full-length Gothic novel is set in the kingdom of Hungary in 1723 and blends a sensual romance with mystery and suspense. Here are the book blurb and links:

coverRedemption from a Dark Past

Lord Sebestyen Adrik has an unsavory reputation as a madman, murderer… and worse. Lonely and searching for love, he seeks the companionship of local young women, hoping one of them will ease his torment and bring him the happiness he longs for. Katarina is his last chance—but will she fear him like all the others? Or is she the one who can lift his curse?

Desperate to avoid a forced marriage, Katarina agrees to become Lord Adrik’s latest companion, despite the rumors she has heard about him. She discovers the “Dark Lord’s” secret past and realizes he’s not the monster everyone thinks he is.

As their love blossoms, she renews his passion for life—yet they cannot escape the ghosts of the past.

When a meeting of the nobility goes horribly wrong, Sebestyen’s world unravels, and his enemies plot to destroy him. As all seems lost, a mysterious stranger arrives at the castle. Sebestyen must decide if he is a friend or a foe…and if he can find redemption in his love for Katarina, or lose her and everything else that he holds dear.

Order Redemption from a Dark Past here:

Amazon

Link to all other platforms

In January 2019 I released the second half of my flash fiction series, Cupid’s Schemes. These two volumes of lighthearted mini-romances are perfect reads for a quick lunchtime escape or an after-work indulgence.

Cupid’s Schemes – Volume 1Cupid's Scheme 1 cover

A Collection of Sweet Romances

In these 16 flash fiction vignettes, Cupid’s arrow hits the mark and ignites a spark between two strangers—whether or not they’re looking for romance. Their unusual meetings lead to new beginnings and new chances at love.

Sweet stories of couples falling under Cupid’s spell include:

* a Medieval knight courting a pretty lady
* two neighbors discover that romance can happen when you least expect it
* a dehydrated mermaid rescued by a handsome stranger

Order your copy here:

Amazon

All other platforms

 

Cupid's Scemes 2 coverAnd don’t miss Cupid’s Schemes – Volume 2

Another Collection of Sweet Romances

In these 12 mini-romances…

* a photographer falls for a sexy cowboy in a supposedly abandoned ghost town
* new neighbors discover that romance can happen when you least expect it
* a long-lost love returns in an unexpected setting

Order Cupid’s Schemes: Volume 2 here:

Amazon

All other platforms

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What’s coming up in 2019 for you?
Look for a non-fiction romance guide, more horror stories, and I’ll be re-releasing all three of my historical romances previously published by Medallion Press. If that isn’t enough, I’m also working on a few brand new romances. Stay tuned to my blog and my social media pages for updates and release info.

Thanks again for inviting me to your site. I hope everyone enjoyed this peek inside a writer’s mind. I welcome comments and questions from readers and other authors. Contact me via my site, blog, or social media pages.

Happy Reading… and Writing!

Kelli A. Wilkins

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Kelli A WilkinsABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 19 romance novels, and 5 non-fiction books. Her romances span many genres and heat levels, and she’s also been known to scare readers with her horror stories.

In January 2019 Kelli released the second half of her flash fiction series, Cupid’s Schemes. These two volumes of lighthearted mini-romances are perfect reads for a quick lunchtime escape or an after-work indulgence.

She also authored her first online writing course, Fiction Writing for Beginners, through Teachable. This course is perfect for anyone who wants to learn how to write. Visit: https://kelliwilkins.teachable.com/ for more details.

Kelli’s historical romance, Redemption from a Dark Past, was published in 2018. This full-length Gothic novel is set in the kingdom of Hungary in 1723 and blends a sensual romance with mystery and suspense.

If you like horror fiction, don’t miss her latest novella, Nightmare in the North.

Kelli posts on her Facebook author page and Twitter.

Visit her website and blog to learn more about all of her writings.

CATCH UP WITH KELLI

Here’s a full list of where you can find Kelli on the web.

Website: http://www.KelliWilkins.com

Blog: http://kelliwilkinsauthor.blogspot.com/

Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.com/author/kelliwilkins

Twitter: www.Twitter.com/KWilkinsauthor

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKelliWilkins

Facebook Historical Romances: https://www.facebook.com/Historical-Romances-by-Kelli-A-Wilkins-1703805359922371/

Facebook Contemporary Romances: https://www.facebook.com/Contemporary-Romances-by-Kelli-A-Wilkins-1965702023664339/

Facebook Gay Romances: https://www.facebook.com/GayRomancesbyKelliAWilkins/

FREE READS: http://www.manicreaders.com/KelliAWilkins/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kelliwilkins2/

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/kelli-a-wilkins

Books2Read: https://www.books2read.com/ap/nkvddR/Kelli-A-Wilkins

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/KWilkinsAuthor/

Shutterstock: https://www.shutterstock.com/g/kelli+wilkins

iStock: https://www.istockphoto.com/portfolio/kelliwilkins

Newsletter sign-up: http://eepurl.com/HVQqb

Teachable Online Writing Course: https://kelliwilkins.teachable.com/

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If you’d like to be featured on Tuesday Talk with…, contact me here.

Tuesday Talk with… author Audrey Davis

 

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Audrey DavisWelcome, Audrey! Thank you for spending a little time with us here on the blog today!

You’re from the other side of the pond but you live in Switzerland?

Thanks for having me, Felicia! Yes, we moved here in 2002 due to my husband’s job. Prior to that, we lived in Buckinghamshire, England for many years. We have two sons, born in Singapore and Sydney, Australia respectively. And I’m originally from Scotland but worked in London for a while, so we have moved around a fair bit.

Miss anything about the UK?

There are so many things I miss about the UK. Being able to speak English all the time (I fumble through in French here); the fantastic choice of food and places to go/see; friends and family – of course! – and generally the feeling of being ‘home’. Switzerland is a beautiful country with a lot to offer, but my heart still yearns for Scotland. Luckily, our eldest son lives in Edinburgh, so I get to visit fairly often, and the youngest is in Liverpool and also appreciates mum popping over. And I’m sure that’s nothing to do with being taken shopping and to nice restaurants …

 Ever travel to the U.S.?

Many times! My head is like a sieve these days (an inevitable consequence of getting old), so I can barely recall what I had for dinner last night, never mind the places I’ve visited! I’ll probably miss a couple, but we’ve been to Florida, Texas, New York, Hawaii, Nevada and Arizona. I adored Sedona, especially the memorable Pink Jeep ride.

Married with children, pets, or annoying roommates?

 Yes, married for a very long time and with two boys in their twenties. No pets, just a mildly annoying husband (although he does put up with my anti-social author behaviour and tendency to have my nose stuck in a book).

 Are you self-published, traditional, or hybrid?

Indie and proud! If you’d told me that  less than two years ago I’d write a 300 page book, have it edited, format it and upload it on Amazon for sale I’d have called for the men in white coats to take you away. Now, I’m well into writing book three (not including a short novella I produced as a prequel to my first novel). I am tentatively approaching publishers, but despite some strong feedback I won’t be doing a happy dance just yet.

 How long have you been a writer?

All my adult life. I trained as a journalist in Scotland, and worked for various provincial newspapers and a video magazine in London (no giggling at the back, I wrote on a typewriter. Totally ancient, that’s me).

 How long did it take you to write your first book?

To be honest, I’m not sure. It developed from an online Writing Fiction course I took over a couple of months. The seed of an idea was already there, but positive feedback from the course persuaded me to develop it into a novel. It probably took something like six months, including finding a professional editor/proof reader and a cover designer.

Pantser or Plotter?

Sadly, a pantser. I have a shocking slapdash approach, writing chapters out of sequence and letting my naughty characters take me places I hadn’t even thought of. For my current book, I’ve had to print out a calendar, figure out the chronology and fill in a crazy number of plot holes. I hereby solemnly declare that – in future – I will try to be more of a plotter.

Have you ever taken the NaNoWriMo Challenge?

 Yes. I gave it a go last November. I reached 30K+ words so, technically failed, but every word is a step closer to those magical words: THE END

 You know I’m a HUGE fan of Hattie Hastings. How did that story come about?

 I know you are! When I read your reviews of the series (originally written as a novella trilogy) I was thrilled and delighted at your reaction. How did it come about? The title just popped into my head one day. From there, I had a vague idea of what the story would be but supporting characters only emerged when I started writing. That’s one of the most exhilarating – and terrifying – parts of the process. Sometimes I wonder about the voices in my head …

HH trilogy

 What’s your favorite genre to write or do you only write in one genre?

So far, I’ve only written romantic comedy, although I always include ‘darker’ topics. After all, Hattie Hastings deals with death in more ways than one. I would love to write a twisty, psychological thriller but I’m not sure I have it in me. My default setting is to inject humour into everything, which might not work too well with a crazed serial killer!

 What’s your favorite genre to read?

I love romantic comedy – what a surprise – but I’m also a sucker for twisted thrillers, particularly if they keep me guessing right to the end.

What are you reading now?

 The Abattoir of Dreams by Mark Tilbury. It certainly ticks all the dark, twisted, ‘where is this going?’ boxes.

 Favorite beverage to read with?

 A cup of coffee (make that several cups) during the day, a glass of wine (or two) at night.

 Where do you get the most writing done?

 For a long time, I worked in my little office space downstairs. More recently, my preferred writing spot is at the kitchen table. Nice and cosy, with a radiator by my leg and easy access to the kettle and corkscrew. In the summer months, I like to sit outside and enjoy the view over the Alps. Although I tend to drift off and achieve very little.

AD at work

 Totally addicted to social media or could you live without it?

A bit addicted. Having grown my Twitter following from four to approaching 3.5K, I’m always checking in and get ridiculously excited when people ‘like’ my comments, share something I’ve written or follow me. Especially pretty well-known authors, although I do wonder why! I have a dedicated FB author page too, and a new author website which is very much a work in progress …

 Where do you see yourself in five years with regards to your writing?

Haven’t a clue! Hopefully with a few more books to my name, perhaps a publishing deal (a girl can dream) and several kilos lighter. Yes, I know that’s nothing to do with writing, but sitting on my butt for hours on end doesn’t help my quest to slim down a bit.

What’s your next project or release?

I’m working on another standalone novel. It’s romantic comedy again, a bit ‘out there’ like Hattie, but hopefully people will enjoy it. There’s nothing wrong with a slice of escapism, served with generous dollops of laughter and a few weepy moments.

EXCERPT – Untitled WIP (Work in progress)

A group of girls in their early twenties burst through the door, giggling and nudging each other. Despite the bitter cold, they were dressed as if going to an Ibiza nightclub. Tight, sleeveless dresses and sporting more fake tan than a Strictly Come Dancing contestant. Jinnie couldn’t help noticing one had miscalculated the tan application from the calves down, her stiletto-clad feet snowy white.

‘Hiya, Ed,’ smouldered one of the girls, flicking her long, blonde hair away from her face. ‘Didn’t know you were in town, otherwise I’d have come in sooner.’

‘How’s your mum?’ enquired another, a wodge of pink gum visible as she chewed with open-mouthed fervour.

‘She’s not too bad, Kylie,’ Ed replied. ‘Good days and bad days. Now, what can I get you ladies?’

As they flicked through the drinks list, Ed whispered to Jinnie: ‘Don’t worry, I’ll deal with these. You sort out those two’ – a couple of men in paint-splattered overalls were at the bar – ‘and I’ll fix the complicated stuff.’

Taking their orders, two pints of Belhaven, Jinnie angled the glasses and began to pour. As she did, a strange tingling feeling started at her toes and rose rapidly to her fingers. The sensation grew, as if an electric current was passing through her entire body. Before she knew what was happening, Jinnie thrust the pints at the men and nudged a startled Ed aside.

‘I’ve got this,’ she declared, reaching for a couple of cocktail shakers. ‘OK, two Zombies, a Sex On The Beach and a White Russian coming up.’

Like a human whirlwind, Jinnie spun around and measured out the ingredients. Peach schnapps, vodka, cranberry and orange juice. She flipped a bottle in the air, performed a twirl, and caught it behind her back. Oblivious to the gasps around her, Jinnie filled a shaker and agitated it at hyper speed. On to the next one. Rum, brandy, more juice and a dash of Grenadine. Swivelling her hips in time to an imaginary beat, she shook and shook some more. Grab a glass, up it goes, neatly caught in one hand. Drinks poured, on to the next one. Bailey’s, vodka and – dammit – where was the cream?

‘Jinnie, stop. Just, please … stop.’ Ed placed a hand on her arm, his other holding an opened carton of cream. She lunged for it, but he moved it out of reach. As she scowled at him, the tingling feeling began to fade. At the same time, a smattering of applause rang out around the bar.

‘It’s bloody Tom Cruise in a skirt!’ one voice called out. ‘Woo, hoo, darlin’. You available for private parties?’ shouted another. Jinnie’s vision swam for a few seconds, and she felt her legs give way. In a flash, Ed wrapped a steadying arm around her shoulder and walked her around the bar and on to a stool. Jinnie breathed deeply, her nose pressed into Ed’s denim shirt. He smelled of something warm and spicy, with an undernote of cedarwood. Nice. Was it his deodorant or aftershave. She leaned in closer and—

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Do you have any advice for new authors?

Don’t let anyone, particularly yourself, stand in the way of your dream. Writing a book is a marathon, not a sprint (unless you’re one of those people who effortlessly produce several books a year. How??!!) Just write when you can, keep copious notes, and hook up with like-minded people. The writing community on Twitter is amazing, and there is a ton of support on FB too.

Many thanks, Audrey! Give my best to Hattie… and Gary!

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EXCERPT from The Haunting of Hattie Hastings:

Hattie dragged herself upstairs. She needed a shower, otherwise she’d be reduced to spraying herself with Febreze. Her stomach growled, her head ached and it was still only five o’clock in the evening. When was it considered reasonable to go to bed? Would eight o’clock be too early? That was three long hours away. She could take a bath instead, but that involved far too much time and effort.

As she waited for the shower water to heat up, Hattie stripped off and tossed her clothes on the bedroom floor. Seated at the dressing table, she fiddled with the annoying clasp of her necklace. Unable to undo it, she clipped her hair up, and felt a peculiar warm sensation on the back of her neck. Almost as if someone was breathing inches behind her. What the … ? Hattie swivelled around but, of course, there was no one there. Get a grip, woman!

Ten minutes later, Hattie felt fresher and no longer likely to be mistaken for a down-and-out. She dressed in her favourite pyjamas – or passion killers, as Gary had dubbed them – and headed downstairs.  She still had little appetite, but a drop of liquor might help ease the path to sleep.

Back in the lounge, Hattie surveyed the drinks cabinet. There were half-bottles of strange liqueurs they’d picked up on their holidays. What was cachaça when it was at home? She squinted at the label. Brazil. They’d definitely never been there. Tanqueray gin. No idea where that originated from, but if it got you tanked … She poured herself a generous measure and topped it up with some tonic that was a year past its sell-by date. Flatter than Keira Knightley’s chest but it did the job.

Taking a swig, Hattie wished again that she was more of a hardened drinker. A couple of these and she’d be lights out and nobody home. Admittedly, that was the effect she was going for, but the ability to chug a few more might help to numb the pain for longer.

As the gin sneaked its way around her bloodstream, Hattie swayed around the room. If Gary had been here – if Gary had been here during a party – there would be glasses everywhere. His glasses, to be precise. He’d been notorious for ‘parking’ his drink somewhere, forgetting where it was and pouring himself a new one. Hattie had tried everything, from dangly glass markers to indelible ink pens, to identify which drink belonged to whom, but Gary always left a trail of semi-supped glasses in his wake.

Suddenly, Hattie felt a peculiar sense of being watched. Had Johnny come home unexpectedly? No, she hadn’t heard the front door opening and closing. In any case, he’d have at least spoken to her before heading to his room. Her sleep-deprived and grief-addled brain was playing tricks with her, that was all.

Reaching the CD player, Hattie considered putting on some Fleetwood Mac. She could channel her inner Stevie Nicks and flap around a bit. All she needed was some dry shampoo to oomph her curls and a slightly gothic outfit. Nope, Pokémon pyjamas were not hitting the mark. She started rifling through the CD collection then … hang on … where had that glass come from?  Hattie looked in disbelief at what appeared to be a shot of whisky topped up with water. Balanced slightly precariously on one of her precious Steps CDs, like it was a coaster. She nudged it nervously aside with her finger. A quick sniff confirmed her suspicions. It was whisky. One of Gary’s favourites. Hattie would rather gargle bleach than touch the Scottish stuff. Eurgh! Who ever thought that a combination of smelly socks with a hint of plant compost would make a best-selling drink? Well, millions of people clearly did but …

HH cover

getbook.at/HattieHastings

A ghostly and gloriously witty romantic comedy – PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED AS A NOVELLA TRILOGY
Some people just won’t take death lying down …

Hattie Hastings is happily married to lifelong sweetheart Gary, until a terrible tragedy leaves her widowed and heartbroken. Struggling to cope, she is left reeling when her deceased other half returns, popping up at the most inappropriate moments.
As Hattie tries to convince others – including brother Jack, and best friend Cat – that Gary has returned, he finds himself under the care of spirit guide Clarence, and also befriends another inhabitant of the place called The Present.
Meanwhile, Hattie’s mum Rachel is facing a daunting battle, and Cat’s ex-husband Stewart is determined to prove he deserves a second chance.
Throw in a tentative spot of dating for Hattie and you have all the ingredients for a book that’s been described as ‘brilliant’, ‘hilarious’ and ‘a great feel-good read.’

‘There is nothing ordinary with this book. It is a fabulous blend of fun and sadness. One minute I was smiling and the next I had to put my Kindle down as I couldn’t see past the tears in my eyes.’
Sarah Hardy, Top 500 Amazon reviewer

‘Absolutely loved this! Funny down-to-earth characters, great pace and flawless flowing writing style.’
Amazon Reviewer

The author has created some very strong characters that made it very easy to care what happened to them. It is difficult to write about the topics of death, loss and trust, without either being fluffy or morbid. The author did this and so much more.’
Amazon Reviewer

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Other books by Audrey Davis

A Clean Sweep

(debut novel)

A Clean Sweep cover

getbook.at/AudreyDavis

KINDLE UNLIMITED

Finalist – 2017 McGrath House Independent Author Awards

A laugh-out-loud tale of love, lies and second chances.
Love comes around when you least expect it. Fifty-something widow Emily isn’t expecting romance. Nor is she expecting a hunky twenty-something chimney sweep on her doorstep.
Daughter Tabitha knows something isn’t quite right with her relationship, while her boss – Abba-loving Meryl – thinks she’s found the real deal. Are they both right, or pursuing Mr Wrong?
Emily’s sister, Celeste, has the perfect marriage … or does she? Can a fitness tracker lead her down the path to happiness or heartbreak?
Susan is single, overweight and resigned to a life of loneliness. There was the one who got away but you don’t get another try, do you?
Prepare for a rollercoaster ride of emotions in a book that will grab your heart, make you smile and wish you had a chimney to sweep.

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A Clean Break coverA marriage in tatters. An affair that threatens to blow their world apart. Meet Emily and Jim and discover their lives in the poignant and thought-provoking prequel to A Clean Sweep.

Amazon US

Amazon UK

99c/99p

 

 

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Audrey Davis survived secondary school on the West coast of Scotland. Rubbish at science but not too bad at English, she originally wanted to be an actress but was persuaded that journalism was a safer option. Probably wise. She studied at Napier College in Edinburgh, the only place in Scotland at that time to offer a journalism course.

Her first foray into the hard-nosed newspaper world was as a junior reporter in Dumfriesshire. Duties included interviewing farmers about the prize-winning heifers to reporting on family tragedies. She persuaded her editor to let her launch an entertainment column which meant meeting the odd celebrity – or just the downright odd. From there, she moved to the loftier rank of senior reporter back in her home patch. Slightly more money, less farm animals but a higher crime rate. As Taggart would say: ‘There’s been a murrrrder!’
After a stint in London on a video magazine – yes, she is that old – Audrey moved to Singapore with her fiancé. She tried valiantly to embrace the stinking heat, humidity and lack of jobs, although she did work briefly on a magazine which was banned by the government for ‘artistic’ use of naked men’s bottoms.

Next on her adventures was a land Down Under where her main focus was raising Cost Centre One (aka firstborn) and coming to terms with the imminent arrival of Number Two. Still, she loved the Aussie way of life – BBQs, beaches and bring your own booze to restaurants – so it came as a blow when OH announced a move back to the UK. Not a job between use, the climate a possible deal breaker and an Exorcist-style vomiting infant on the flight home didn’t bode well …

Always a survivor, Audrey sought out similar-minded friends (i.e. slightly bonkers), got the children into a good school and thought about taking up writing again. Sadly, thinking about it was as far as she got, unless you count shopping lists. Then, hubby drops another bombshell. Switzerland. As in – it’s packing time again. Off to the land of cheese, chocolate, scarily efficient trains and a couple of teeny, tiny issues. Like driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road and speaking a foreign language (French). The former was conquered fairly quickly (we’ll skip over the wall demolition in week two), the latter remains an ongoing battle of the hopeful against the hopeless. At least she provides amusement for the local workforce.

It wasn’t until 2016 that Audrey rediscovered her writing mojo with an on line Writing Fiction course. From there, her first novel – A Clean Sweep – was born, although it took a bit longer than nine months from conception. A short, darker prequel – A Clean Break – followed, and in November 2017 she published the first in a novella trilogy, The Haunting of Hattie Hastings Part One. Parts Two and Three were published in early/mid 2018.

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Tuesday Talk with… author Danielle Van Alst

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Danielle Van Alst

Thank you for spending a little time with us here on the blog today, Danielle!

Where are you from?

A galaxy far, far away

Married with children, pets, or annoying roommates?

I’m single because I like sweatpants and staying home.

Are you self-published, traditional, or hybrid?

Hybrid.

How long have you been a writer?

Since the day I could hold a pencil and make scribbles on paper.

Are you a full-time writer or do you also work outside the home?

Full-time writer, worrier, and self-doubter because that’s all part of the job description.

How long did it take you to write your first book?

About six months.

Pantser or Plotter?

A little bit of both. For my novels and children’s books I’m definitely a plotter but, for my poetry, I’m totally a pantser.

What has been your biggest challenge in your writing journey?

Two things, the first challenge would be dealing with parlaying self-doubt about my work. The second biggest challenge would be trying to find honest and competent people to work with during the publishing process.

I know you’ve written children’s books, poetry, and historical romance. Did I miss any?

I also write short stories and horror.

Do you prefer writing in one genre over the others?

I enjoy writing in all genres. I want to write all the stories!

What’s your favorite genre to read?

That’s a tough question! I guess my answer would have to be that if it has pages and words written on them, then I’ll read it!

What are you reading now?

I am currently reading Transcription by Kate Atkinson and I’m loving it! It’s a historical fiction novel that deals with WWII espionage and betrayal.

Favorite author?

Choosing a favorite author is like choosing a favorite child! I enjoy so many but, if I had to pick, my top authors are Dorothy Parker, Karen White, Susanna Kearsley, Paula Brackston, Bill Bryson, and F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Some authors need complete silence to write. How about you?

Yes, complete and total silence. I need quiet to plot all the murder and mayhem in my next book!

Where do you get the most writing done?

At my desk.

Totally addicted to social media or could you live without it?

I could totally live without it. If I could go back in time to before social media even existed I would do so in a heartbeat. I’m only on it out of sheer necessity for my work.

When you take off the author-hat, what do you do for fun?

I like to read, do graphic design, watch vintage film, dabble in photography, and I practice certain forms of mysticism.

Where do you see yourself, or where would you like to be… in five years?

I hope to have several more books out in the coming years and to keep growing my author platform. I also plan on opening a publishing company to help independent authors turn their dreams of being published into a reality and help them avoid some of the pitfalls I’ve encountered along the way.

What’s the inspiration behind your latest release?

My latest release is my historical fiction/romance book Fateful Voyage. The inspiration for the book is my fascination with fate and destiny and how two very different lives can collide together in a chance meeting. I think it’s interesting how there are billions of people on this planet yet, we only have meaningful relationships with very few people. It’s almost like those lives were meant to intersect…like it was written in the stars and that’s what makes those particular relationships extra special.

Who’s your favorite character?

My favorite character in the book is Kay because she is modeled after someone near and dear to my heart. Kay is the doting mom-figure in the book and is constantly watchful over Gwen. I love how protective and nurturing she is and how watchful she is over Gwen’s wellbeing. Kay is a loving, caring, kind, and compassionate soul, and even though she can be a worrier at times, that is what makes her so enduring. Her love for Gwen is so intense that she will do anything to keep her safe.

What’s your next project or release?

My next project is a historical fiction/drama all about the witch trials in colonial America. It delves into the dark past of the witch hunts and looks into the psychological and sociological reasons for the mass hysteria that took so many innocent lives. It’s set to be release in late spring or early summer so keep your eyes peeled!

Blurb for the upcoming book: The Hunted

A Community Under Siege

Beginning in January 1692, Salem Village in colonial Massachusetts witnessed the largest and most lethal outbreak of witchcraft in early America. Villagers–mainly young women–suffered from unseen torments that caused them to writhe, shriek, and contort their bodies, complaining of pins stuck into their flesh and of being haunted by specters. Believing that they suffered from assaults by an invisible spirit, the community began a hunt to track down those responsible for the demonic work. The resulting Salem Witch Trials, culminating in the execution of 19 villagers, persists as one of the most mysterious and fascinating events in American history. This is their story.

Do you have any advice for new authors?

Never let anything strip you of your passion for writing. This is a tough crazy-making business and there will be times when you want to throw in the towel. But, at the end of the day, you have to remember your love for the craft. There is always going to be constant noise about what you should and should not be doing as an author…ignore it! Do what feels right to you. There is no right or wrong way to write. If you have talent and patience and determination then that’s all you need.

Love that advice! Thanks for stopping by, D! Don’t be a stranger! Continued success to you!

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Danielle is a multi-talented writer who has published in three genres

 

Children

Poetry

Historical Fiction

Stop by her Amazon Author Page today for book links, and don’t forget to follow her on social media!

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Banner Photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash

Tuesday Talk with… author Abbie Johnson Taylor

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Abbie J TaylorNesie’s Place welcomes author Abbie Johnson Taylor to the blog today!

Thanks for visiting with us today, Abbie. Tell us, where are you from?

Thanks for having me! I currently live in Sheridan, Wyoming, but I was born in New York City in 1961. Since then, my family has lived in Boulder, Colorado, and Tucson, Arizona, before settling here in Sheridan in 1973. I went away to school in the 1980’s but returned and have lived here ever since.

Married with children, pets, or annoying roommates?

I was married in September of 2005. Three months later, my husband suffered the first of two strokes that paralyzed his left side. I cared for him at home until he passed in 2012. My memoir, My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds, tells our story.

Are you self-published, traditional, or hybrid?

Most of my books are self-published, but That’s Life: New and Selected Poems was published by Finishing Line Press.

How long have you been a writer?

I started in 2000, so I’ve been at it for eighteen years.

Did you plan to become a writer?

Not originally. After graduating from college in the 1980’s, I studied music therapy, completing two years of coursework which included nine hours of practicum followed by a six-month internship before becoming registered. I worked with senior citizens in nursing homes and other facilities before taking an interest in writing.

What inspires or motivates you?

I’m inspired by anything from current events to life events. After reading a newspaper article about a protest against the war with Iraq in 2003 and having an interesting encounter with a police officer, I started writing We Shall Overcome. The Red Dress, my novel in progress, was inspired by a story I heard during a memoir writing workshop.

How long did it take you to write your first book?

It took me two years to write We Shall Overcome and another two years to publish it. My wedding and subsequent care-giving took center stage for a couple of years.

Pantser or Plotter?

I’m a little of both. I won’t start a story unless I know how it’s going to end, but I let the plot and characters take me where they will.

Have you ever taken the NaNoWriMo Challenge?

No, and I probably won’t. I don’t like the pressure of writing so many words in thirty days. I want to take my time.

What’s your favorite genre to write or do you only write in one genre?

I don’t have a favorite genre. I enjoy writing fiction, poetry, and memoirs.

What’s your favorite genre to read?

I like memoirs, romance, and some general and historical fiction if it doesn’t contain too many descriptions of violence or sex.

What hobbies do you enjoy when not writing?

I sing in a women’s choral group and participate in water exercise classes at the YMCA. I also work out at home with the help of audio exercise programs.

Where do you get the most writing done?

I do most of my writing at home in my office, but occasionally, I sit in my recliner in the living room or at my kitchen table or in my back yard during the spring, summer, and fall months when the weather is favorable.

Totally addicted to social media or could you live without it?

I use Facebook and have a blog, but that’s it. The rest I could and do live without.

What’s the inspiration behind your latest release, and please share an excerpt with us.

My Ideal Partner is the story of how I met and married my husband, then cared for him after he suffered two strokes until he passed.

EXCERPT

In September of 2005, Abbie Johnson married Bill Taylor. She was in her mid-forties, and he was nineteen years older. Three months later, Bill suffered the first of two strokes that paralyzed his left side and confined him to a wheelchair. Abbie Johnson Taylor, once a registered music therapist, uses prose and poetry to tell the story of how she met and married her husband, then cared for him for six years despite her visual impairment. At first, there was a glimmer of hope that Bill would walk again, but when therapists gave up on him seven months after his second stroke, Taylor resigned herself to being a permanent family caregiver.

She discusses learning to dress him and transfer him from one place to another, sitting up with him at night when he couldn’t urinate or move his bowels, and dealing with doctors and bureaucrats to obtain necessary equipment and services. There were happy times like when she played the piano or guitar and sang his favorite songs, or when they went out to eat or to a concert. She also explains how she purchased a wheelchair accessible van and found people to drive it so they wouldn’t always depend on the local para-transit service’s limited hours. In the end, she describes the painful decision she and Bill made to move him to a nursing home when he became too weak for her to care for him in September of 2012. He seemed to give up on life and passed away a month later.

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What’s your next project or release?

As I said earlier, I am working on a novel entitled The Red Dress. It’s the story of how such a garment affects three generations of women.

Do you have any advice for new authors?

Do a lot of reading, especially in the genre you wish to write. Try to write every day, even if it’s just a journal entry or email message. Hone your craft by attending workshops, joining writing groups, and reading books and magazines on writing.

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Many thanks to Abbie for spending time with us today here on the blog. Check out her book, My Ideal Partner—How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds, available on Amazon.

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Amazon

Also by Abbie Johnson Taylor

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

How to Build a Better Mousetrap cover

Amazon

We Shall Overcome (Paperback)

We Shall Overcome cover

Amazon

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Follow Abbie on Social Media!

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