Author Interview: Maria Riegger

Book Squirrel chats with Maria Riegger, author of legal thrillers and the new release non-fiction book, Your Scorpio Child: A Guide for Parents.

Today I’m chatting with Maria Riegger, author of legal thrillers and the new release non-fiction book, Your Scorpio Child: A Guide for Parents.

Hi Maria, welcome!

Thank you, Book Squirrel. You’re looking handsome today.

Oh Maria, flattery will get you everywhere. Tell me, what inspired you to write?

Oh man. Where to begin? I’ve been reading and writing stories since I was around six years old. Reading and daydreaming have always been escape mechanisms for me, especially when dealing with traumatic events. My daydreaming got to the point where I had so many stories in my head that I had to get them out by writing them.
It’s also a creative outlet for me. I enjoy my day job (as a bank regulatory attorney), but it does not satisfy my need to create as much as fiction writing does. As far as inspiration, it’s all around us. You just have to live.

What’s the best book you’ve read this year?

The Lines We Cross (the second book in the Jeb Shaw series) by S.A. Bailey is a well-written, page-turning thriller where the author pulls no punches. It’s reminiscent of the movie Taken and is a refreshing, realistic change from much of the fiction I have read recently.

Your book titled ‘Your Scorpio Child’ was released today. Why don’t you tell us about it?

Scorpio is the most misunderstood and enigmatic of all the signs in the zodiac. Much has been written about Scorpio men and women. However, the Scorpio child remains elusive, mostly because Scorpio children do not usually say what is on their mind. Scorpio children are dramatic, suspicious, manipulative, and can seriously try parents’ patience. They are also sensitive, intuitive, and loyal. The key to having the relationship with your Scorpio child that you want lies in knowing how to handle their innate characteristics. My hope is that other parents of Scorpio children will find the information in this book useful.

Available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

That sounds fascinating! What are you working on writing now?

I am working on my next nonfiction book, Your Gemini Child: He’s Not Crazy, He’s Just Always in his Head, which is a parenting guide for parents of Gemini children. After that, I’ll be finishing my first novel in the Sabrina and Tex series, which is a Western/sci-fi series.

Do you have a favourite food or drink that helps you write?

Coffee. I can’t work without it. It’s my only real vice.

Who designs your book covers?

I select the images I would like and I have a graphic designer that I use consistently (his company is pixelstudio on fiverr.com.). He is prompt and fantastic! He designed my company logo as well.

What’s your favourite kind of music?

This is tricky because I love most genres. Probably hard rock, since I grew up listening to Bon Jovi, Journey, and the likes. When I’m editing, I listen to EDM.

Forest, country, beach or city?

This is tough. I prefer to be isolated from people, and I’ll take any environment where I can do that. I love all the cultural opportunities that a city offers, but hate the crowds and noise. I’ll pick an isolated beach. Listening to the surf is relaxing and the salt water exfoliates your skin 🙂

What movie can you watch over and over again?

Lost in Translation. The idea of two random people feeling lost and finding a connection deeply resonates with me. Plus, I’ve loved Bill Murray in everything I have seen him in!

What’s your favourite season? Why?

Autumn. It’s dreary enough that people stay indoors and I can take a walk without feeling hemmed in by crowds, but it’s not cold enough that my teeth are chattering! And the autumn colors are gorgeous!

Who are your three greatest literary inspirations?

Ken Follett, because he researches before writing his novels and because he is a master at suspense and the spy thriller (Eye of the Needle is my favorite thriller of all time).

Patricia Cornwell because her first Kay Scarpetta book, Postmortem, basically gave rise to the entire true crime and forensic files industry, including books and television shows; and because of her thorough research on Jack the Ripper, which is amazing.

Anne Rice, because her Vampire Chronicles were the first books I absolutely fell in love with, because I love a good vampire story, and because Lestat is an irreverent upstart who flouts the rules and makes his own path, which I can relate to.

What would you like people to know about being an Indie author?

It takes an incredible amount of work to produce a high-quality book. It’s not only about the writing, but about editing, proofreading, finding quality contractors, promotion services, marketing, blogging, maintaining your author website, etc. It takes a huge amount of time and resources. Not all indie books are written or edited well (that is the unfortunate truth); however, many of them are, so please do not discount a book or an author merely because they are self-published. Many of us are indie authors because we do not want to waste our time querying multiple agents and publishing companies. We just to write.

That’s really good advice. I read a lot of excellent Indie books.
Finally, Maria, where can readers find your books?

My books are all available on Amazon and listed on Goodreads.

Thanks for being here and talking with me today.

It’s been a pleasure! Thank you!

Book Review: ‘Out Of Chaos’ by Elle Mott

‘Out Of Chaos’ is a compelling autobiographical read, written with honesty in a matter-of-fact style that makes reading this somewhat discomfiting story still a quite comfortable experience. 

The title of this book is no lie: it is a story of family dysfunction, homelessness, crime and abuse experienced by a young woman who had the strength to then reclaim and rebuild her life. It is a cautionary tale about how easy it can be to fall so far that it’s hard to get back up, but it is also a story that would give hope to anyone in similar situations.  

Mott neither glorifies the less-than-stellar choices and actions of her misguided youth nor begs for the reader’s pity as she tells her story, but does evoke a great deal of understanding and empathy in the reader as her life is pulled into a downward vortex from which she cannot escape. The moments of resolve and the decisive actions that Elle takes as a result position the reader to share her hope of a better life and to almost will her to make it work, despite the fact that they are reading the story in past tense. 

Despite the bleakness of its beginning and the despair encountered as the story continues, the overall tone and the message of this book are positive and life-affirming.

‘Out Of Chaos’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn. 

Find your copy here.

Book Review: ‘A Study Of Household Spirits Of Eastern Europe’ by Ronesa Aveela

A fascinating compilation of stories, traditions and beliefs.
##tradition #beliefs #paranormal #nonfiction

This is a fascinating compilation of stories, traditions and collected information about the spirits and supernatural beings of Eastern European and especially Slavic cultures. There is a wealth of detail, including etymologies of the names and instructions for how to appease or banish each type of spirit. Some are similar to creatures found in fairytales and fantasy stories, while others may be completely new to the reader. 

The entries on each different spirit are thorough and richly detailed. The writing is clear and expressive while retaining the straightforward style that is conventional for an informative text. The inclusion of traditional stories, poems and ‘fun facts’ adds depth and texture to each chapter. 

This book would definitely appeal to those interested in the supernatural world or in cultural superstitions, and could also serve as a very useful reference work for writers and artists. There is an extensive bibliography and links to other sources that demonstrate the author’s diligence in research and historiography, which gives the reader confidence in the information provided. 

This most interesting and engaging book has been awarded a Gold Acorn. 

Find your copy here

Audiobook Review: ‘The Book Of Abisan’ by CH Clepitt

Anyone who has read a book or two by CH Clepitt will understand that it is perfectly reasonable to expect that everything she writes is a ripping good yarn. ‘The Book Of Abisan’, in which contemporary fiction blends seamlessly with magical fantasy, is the kind of book that only reinforces that sort of assumption. It’s brilliant. 

The storytelling is well paced and infused with moments of humour that balance the action and intrigue of the plot. The storyline is original and interesting, and the suspense and tension are palpable as the mysteries and quests of the story emerge and interweave. 

The various settings contrast well with one another and serve to highlight the sense of strangeness the characters experience when they find themselves in a juxtaposed world. This also keeps the reader fully engaged in the story because there is nothing predictable about where the story might take them next… which is, of course, half the fun. 

The characters are varied and complex, each with personal motivations that drive their actions and decision making. There are some really wonderful characters who keep the reader invested in their personal stories as well as the tale overall, and others who are designed to be hateful and play that part very well. 

The Audible narration is very good, with excellent vocal control and variations in tone and voice that help to develop both plot and characterisation. The narrator’s voice is pleasant and her diction clear, although she does say “somethink” instead of “something”, which is the one minor thing that bothered me during this audiobook experience. Apart from that, Alicia Rose is pleasant and enjoyable to listen to. 

This highly engaging and absorbing story has been awarded a Gold Acorn. 

‘The Book Of Abisan’ is available as either an audiobook or a novel

Book Review: ‘These Savage Bones’ by Kaitlin Hillerich

The problem with committing to a relentless quest for truth and justice is that sometimes you get exactly what you wanted. 

When the ssudden, tragic loss of her beloved uncle unleashes a chain of events in Esperanza’s life that she could never have foreseen, she is confronted by a web of lies that challenges everything she thinks she knows. 

Esperanza is smart, fiercely independent, and headstrong, a young woman way ahead of her time and society in Mexico, 1875. Her spirit and loyalty are admirable, yet they can also be seen to cloud her judgement and cause her to overlook things in her life which she has always taken at face value. 

This story leaves the reader considering not only the unintended consequences of the characters’ actions, but also the difficulty of what to do with the calaveras that tumble fromthe family closet once the door is opened. 

A blend of mystery, historical fiction, and a bit of romance, ‘These Savage Bones’ is an interesting and thought-provoking tale that can be enjoyed in a couple of hours. 

This book has been awarded a Gold Acorn. 

Find your copy here

Book Review: ‘Josie’ by Susan Lowe and Diane Iverson

‘Josie’ is the true story of a young German girl who endured the family’s expulsion from their home in Glogon, now Glogonj in Serbia, after Workd War II, and the horrors of persecution and imprisonment. 

Written from a child’s perspective, the story is told in a straightforward but very personal way, so that the reader develops a strong sense of empathy and connection with Josie, taking on her emotions and feeling the tension of key moments in the story quite profoundly. 

While Josie’s experiences are neither sanitised nor glossed over, her story is  encouraging and positive, a powerful testimony to the importance of love, hope, and family connections in a world that so often seemed to Josie to be full of hatred and violence. 

A suitable read for teens and adults, ‘Josie’ has been awarded a Silver Acorn. 

Find your copy here.

‘The Hangman’s Daughter’ by Oliver Pötzsch

Superstition and fear are a dangerous combination, especially when they are allowed to rule over common sense and legal considerations. 

This is a fascinating historical tale full of mystery, intrigue and twists. There are moments of gut-wrenching sadness and others of macabre fascination. The story centres around Jakob Kuisl, the town’s hangman, his daughter Magdalena, and the other residents of 17th century Schongau in Bavaria, where children are disappearing and a local woman is suspected of witchcraft. 

While the story itself is fictional, it is strongly founded on the history of the author’s own family: Jakob Kuisl was one of the hangmen in the family line from which Potzsch is a descendant. This close connection gave the author access to books, documents, items and family records which add significant authenticity to this novel.

Perhaps it is this connection that enabled the author to recreate the social issues of the 17th century with a sense of urgency and bring his characters to life in a vivid and realistic way— or perhaps it’s just that the story is really well constructed and narrated in such a personal, intimate way. Whatever the reason, this is an excellent read. 

‘The Hanman’s Daughter’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn. 

Find your copy here