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!

Author Interview: J. Raven Wilde

Today we welcome J. Raven Wilde, author of steamy romance and paranormal romance novels.

What inspired you to write?

I have always loved reading, as well as writing. I knew that I had a few stories that I would love to share, it has just taken me a while to get those stories written and published. The more I read, the more stories I wanted to tell. Soon, the creative juices were flowing and ideas were popping up. I have many writing projects going right now to keep me busy for a while.

What’s your favourite thing that someone else has written?

The Beautiful Monsters Series by Jex Lane. I love the world that she has built in her stories and the characters that she has created. I have read her series at least eight times, they are that good!

What are you working on writing now?

I’m working on a few things; the second novella in my Sanctuary Series called, Claimed by the Bear, which I plan to have out in August.
The first novella in my Sanctuary Series, Claimed by the Alpha was just released and available on Amazon.
The other writing project I’m working on is another steamy romance novella called His Orders.

What’s your favourite TV show?

Supernatural, of course.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A veterinarian however, that didn’t happen. I joined the military and traveled the world.

Forest, country, beach or city?

The country and the beach. Definitely not a city person. Too much noise. I need a little peace and quiet, tossed in with some sun, sand, and water.

Who designs your book covers?

I actually found a really awesome graphic artist on Fiverr called, Designrans. He wasn’t my first cover designer, but now, he’s the one I go to.

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

I like being in control of my work, as well as the percentage of royalties that I receive compared to a traditionally published author. I am able to publish more and often, rather than waiting a year or more just to publish one book. I can set my own prices. True, you have a lot of leg work to do as far as getting your name out there, but you are doing just the same amount of work as you would be as an unknown traditionally published author.

Where can readers find your books?

People can find my books posted on my publisher’s webpage at http://www.twistedcrowpress.com or on Amazon.

Are we able to follow you on social media?

I also have a Facebook page where I keep everyone up to date on my current projects or newly published works.

Thank you for talking with me today, J. I’ve enjoyed our chat.

Thanks, Book Squirrel. It has been fun!


Author Interview: Pamela Schloesser Canepa

Today I’m chatting with Pamela Schloesser Canepa, indie author of science fiction books since 2016, who is currently working on her sixth book, which is from the Detours in Time series.

Welcome, Pamela!

Thank you, Book Squirrel!

As you know, I’m a big reader and I always ask what people enjoy reading.
What’s your favourite thing that someone else has written? 

The Help, by Katherine Sprockett.  I really identified with the main character.

What are you working on writing now? 

I’m writing “Malachi,” a story based on a side character in my second book of the Detours in Time series (Undercurrents in Time).  Malachi, a young man with an interesting job, is hired by Milt, a Science professor in Undercurrents in Time to help guard his scientific secrets.  He’s so good at it, I just had to dive into his back story a little bit more.

What’s your favourite kind of music? 

I love electronic music, but with lyrics, like the music of Moby.

What’s the best vacation you’ve had? 

I went to the Bahamas on a cruise with my son who was ten.  We got along so well.  I was fresh off of a ‘soft’ breakup.  I got my hair braided on the beach, sipping a coconut pina colada while he gathered all the coconut shells he could find to make a miniature village.  I sang karaoke at night while he cheered me on.  I never stayed out late, but we had fun.  We also got a taxi van with a bunch of college guys who also loved singing.  I got a tan and sang a lot.  This was right before his tough teen years.

What’s your favourite TV show?  

Travelers, on Netflix.  I love just about everything about it, including the characters.

What movie can you watch over and over again? 

Two of them:  The Game, with Michael Douglas, and either the first or the most recent Bridget Jones movie.  It depends what mood I am in!

What’s your favourite season? Why? 

Fall, because it doesn’t make me as sick as Spring does, and there are so many cool and fun festivals or Halloween events!

And it’s so pretty… and there are nuts! And… oh, yeah. Interview. Right. Where was I? Let’s see… Who are your three greatest literary inspirations?

1.  Stephen King.  2. Margaret Atwood, and 3. Toni Morrisson.

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

I would like people to know that being an indie author is sometimes a lonely undertaking.  You want to learn a lot and end up doing so by taking webinars to save money.  I know there is an answer, which is going to more author events, but I have just gotten started with that.

Name two things in life that you wish were easier. 

I wish getting older was easier, and I wish book marketing was easier, because I think I’ll need to keep doing both.

Where can we find your books?

My books are all on Amazon and in other stores via the Books2Read website.

Where can readers follow you on social media? 

I’m on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Goodreads, and I have a website.

That’s great! Thanks for chatting with me today, Pamela!

Thanks for having me, Book Squirrel! It’s been fun!

Author Interview: Odin Oxthorn

What inspired you to write?

It was more of a compulsion than anything. I just keep imagining these worlds and character interactions to a point where I decided that I need to organize them into prose.

What’s your favourite thing that you have written?

A lot of my scenes that involve food are my absolute favorite. I am a bit of a food nerd, so I try to put readers in my place when I am describing the meals of my worlds.

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

From Here to Eternity by Caitlin Doughty. It’s a very humanizing read about death rituals and practices around the world. It is a fantastic read to broaden your horizons and gain insight to other perspectives on mortality.

What are you working on writing now?

I am currently writing the sequel to Sleepless Flame, which has an entirely different setting and even genre.

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

My go-to is currently Mango Loco flavored Monster drink, and some form of jerky. I also enjoy the Air-Heads rainbow sour belts. Though now, I got a new favorite: pistachio oreo thins.

Who designs your book covers?

RinrinDaishi of DeviantArt and Instagram. She does amazing work!

I’ll say! That’s a great cover!

Thanks, I’ll pass that on.

Excellent, thanks!
What’s your favourite kind of music?

I listen to a lot of Industrial and Darkwave/SynthWave, but for writing a lot of ambient and Witch House can get me working.

Forest, country, beach or city?

Most likely a forest, with close proximity to a city.

What movie can you watch over and over again?

The Fifth Element. Love the worldbuilding and technology there.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Probably like most of my generation, a Paleontologist. I loved dinosaurs then (and still do!)

What’s your favourite season? Why?

I absolutely love Autumn. To me it seems to feel much more alive, with all the smells and sounds of rustling leaves. It just fills me with an indescribable happiness. I love the muted warm tones and the stillness.

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

If you think you are done after you write the book….nuh-uh. There is the same amount of work if not more after the final edits. Marketing and networking is a must!

Name two things in life that you wish were easier.

 Being a creative person that can sustain themselves without worry. Opening potato chip packages without them exploding.

Where can we find your book?

‘Sleepless Flame’ is on Amazonand in other digital marketplaces.

And where can readers follow you on social media?

I have a website. I’m also on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube

Author Interview: Jennifer N. Adams

Today’s guest is author Jennifer N. Adams. Welcome, Jennifer!

Thanks, Book Squirrel!

What inspired you to write?

I moved around a lot because my dad was in the Navy. I didn’t have many friends because of this so, I spend a lot of time with my nose in a book. I always knew that I wanted to by a published author. I can remember making up stories as far back as the second grade. Yet, I was thirty-four before I published my first book. I didn’t publish again until a few years later. I think being a mom gave me more incentive to start publishing my work. My first book, Dana’s First Fish, was a children’s book completely inspired by my daughter, that I used her initials for the character’s name, as well as her likeness.

·What’s your favourite thing that you have written?

My first novel, Chaos. It’s a young adult fantasy fiction and the first book in my Supernatural Realms Series. It has werewolves, shifters, and faeries, which my grandma and I would joke about the entire time I was writing Chaos.
It had taken me eight years to write, edit, and publish. I had written a note at the beginning of the story, or in the back, that explains the reason why it had taken me so long. Mostly, I had a lot going on at the time. However, I persisted and finished my novel and now it’s published.

What’s your favourite thing that someone else has written?

The Beautiful Monsters Series by Jex Lane. I love the world that she has built in her stories and the characters that she has created. I have read her series at least eight times, they are that good!

What are you working on writing now?

I’m working on a few things; an FBI mystery/thriller, that I hope to have out by the beginning of next year. I am also working on the second installment of my Supernatural Realms Series.

What’s your favourite TV show?

Supernatural, of course.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A veterinarian however, that didn’t happen. I joined the military and travelled the world.

Forest, country, beach or city?

The beach. Since my dad was in the Navy, wherever we moved to, we were always near the beach.

What’s your favourite season? Why?

I love the fall; the changing of the leaves, the cooler temperatures. It just so happens, orange is my favorite color.

Who designs your book covers?

I actually found a really awesome graphic artist on Fiverr called, Designrans. He wasn’t my first cover designer, but now, he’s the one I go to.

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

My first book was traditionally published, and I can say now that I am an indie author, I enjoy being an indie more. I like being in control of my work. I am able to publish more and often, rather than waiting a year or more just to publish one book. I can set my own prices. I get paid more, WAY more, as I receive more in royalties than I did as a traditionally published author.
People always think that being an indie author is more work. That’s true however, you still have to get your name and work out there if you are a traditionally published author. I did a lot of leg work (marketing, promoting, etc) with my first book. I paid my publishing company money to market my book, only for them to pocket the money. After a few years of doing my homework, I decided to self-publish my next book.

Name two things in life that you wish were easier.

Being a single mom to a special needs child. It takes a lot of patience. That’s something that I reserve only for my child.
Another thing that I wish was easy would be having to explain to my child on the spectrum why people are so cruel and mean. It breaks my heart to hear her ask me why people bully her, and this isn’t just children, this includes adults treating her differently.

Where can we find your books?

People can find my published works on the Twisted Crow Press website.

And where can we follow you on social media?

I have a Facebook page where I keep everyone posted on my current projects, as well as my newly published works.

Author Interview: Emanuel Andrei Cosutchi

My guest today is Science Fiction author, Emanuel Andrei Cosutchi.
Welcome, Emanuel!

Hello and thanks for having me, Book Squirrel!

Most welcome! Why don’t you tell us a little about yourself?

To begin, my name is Emanuel Andrei Cosutchi, but my friends call me Andrew. 
I live in the European Union, Romania – you know the country of Dracula and the World Tennis Associations number 1 ranked, Simona Halep.
I work as an IT Engineer. My goal is to become a professional writer and my dream is to have one of my books turned into a movie.

Fantastic! What inspired you to write?

Once I was a consumer of books. Also, I watched movies and I played video games, but one day I decided to create my own fictional universe. I began to write books having in mind this consumer experience. So was born my space opera named Starship “Apple of Discord” and many other Sci-Fi and Fantasy projects.

What’s your favourite thing that you have written?

I am a world-builder and I love to unleash my imagination, in order to depict distant planets, alien wildlife, advanced technology, spaceships and other civilizations. Prehistoric or dystopian Earth is my favorite too.

What’s your favourite thing that someone else has written?

My favorite Sci-Fi books are:

Roadside Picnic by Arkadi & Boris Strugatsky
The Men in the Jungle by Norman Spinrad
Dune by Frank Herbert

My favorite Fantasy books are:

A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin
Rune Swords by Clayton Emery and multiple authors

What are you working on writing now?

First, I want to tell the readers what I have written since August 2016, when I started creating books.

I have finished the first three volumes of my space opera Starship “Apple of Discord” on November 11, 2017. These volumes have more than 1300 pages and 350k words. I will continue to write more volumes on Starship “Apple of Discord”, because this saga isn’t finished yet. I dare to say that Starship “Apple of Discord” has all the ingredients for becoming a successful book and later a movie or movie series: love, war, mystery, fun and hope.

Before Xmass 2018 I finished a dystopian novel called SS Vagabond.

Now I am simultaneously working on a Fantasy novel, The tears of the dragon and a Sci-Fi novel called The last colony.

Although I was working on Starship “Apple of Discord”, in the spring of 2017 I decided to take a break to learn more about Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP).            
Therefore, I have created a Sci-Fi eBook named The Restoration. The initial impression was favorable and The Restoration has received 4.5 stars. Unfortunately, later, Amazon decided to change the rules in the middle of the game and removed all reviews posted by people who have received free books on promotions. This happened to my book, The Restoration, too. Now it has only 3.5 stars, because the persons who posted reviews said that The Restoration is a great book, but they complained about my English skills. My English was rough when I began to write, but the more I’ve written, the more my writing style has evolved.

Now I am waiting for an answer from several publishers from the US, UK, Canada and the European Union regarding my space opera Starship “Apple of Discord” and my novel SS Vagabond. It will take a while and I am not sure that those publishers will agree to publish my books, since am a debutante author.

Who designs your book covers?

I know that my book covers seem very realistic and intriguing. I don’t believe in pre-made covers. There is high chance that these wouldn’t fit with my story line. All my book covers are designed from my ideas. Sometimes I create the covers myself or I ask for professional help to bring my vision to life. I tend to use GIMP and other free materials.  I am aware that I am only an amateur designer, but this doesn’t stop me from trying and it will give future publishers an idea of what I have in mind for the designs.

I have paid a young artist from my country to create the cover of the first volume of Starship “Apple of Discord”©. The redhead android on the cover is A.I. Cassiopeia©, one of the main characters. 
The artist’s name is Cosmin Benchea and he was an Art student, who had a part-time job as bartender. If I will successfully publish this book, I will ask him again to illustrate it or I will collaborate with another artist. I’m interested in creating graphic novels for my books too.

What’s your favourite kind of music?

Sometimes I listen to epic music when I write. I like Two Steps From Hell, Audiomachine, Lindsey Stirling & Peter Hollens, Hans Zimmer and Jan Chmelar.

What is your pet hate? Have you ever built it into a character or used it in your writing?

I have done the opposite. I love nature, animals and plants. In my books there are pets, cool plants and wildlife from Earth or alien worlds. For example, in the novel SS Vagabond I have introduced Fluffy, the spoiled cat of the ship with the same name as the title.

Who are your literary inspirations?

I love to read, but I was NOT influenced by any author. I have an untamed imagination and I found inspiration in scientific articles and real life. I dare to say that I am creating genuine science fiction and fantasy literature.

What’s your favourite quote, ever?

“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” – Benjamin Franklin

Also I love another one, which belongs to me:  “If you can’t provoke any emotion, there’s little point in writing.” – Emanuel Andrei Cosutchi

Oooh, I like that! Name two things in life that you wish were easier.

I’d like to reach easier a literary agent or a serious publisher. I’d like to have more time for my writing.

Where can we find your book, The Restoration?

It’s available on Amazon.

I want to thank to those who purchased my book and helped diminish my fear that I wouldn’t sell any.

I also want to thank to those to who recommend it to their friends and continue to spread the word about my writing.

Excellent!
And where can readers follow you on social media?

I’m on Facebook, where I also have a page dedicated to my space opera Starship “Apple of Discord”.
I’m also on Twitter, Instagram, and Deviantart. And, of course, I have a website.

Author Interview: J. S. Frankel

My guest today is Jesse Frankel, author of amazing SciFi adventure stories for Young Adults and New Adult readers.

Jesse is no stranger on my book blog or my bookshelf: his book ‘Ether‘ won the Golden Squirrel Book of the Year Award in 2018, and ‘The Incredible Aunty Awesomesauce‘ won the Golden Squirrel Award for YA Science Fiction.

Welcome, Jesse! I feel very privileged to be talking with you.

Hi Squirrel! It’s great to be here, even if your introduction did make me blush.

You’re very welcome. What inspired you to write?

My older son—he was ten at the time—had just seen a cartoon, something about trees. He said, “Papa, wouldn’t it be great if trees talked?” That gave me an idea, and that eventually became The Tower, my first novel.

What’s your favourite thing that you have written?

Oh, wow, there have been so many! The Catnip series, Ether, The Auctioneer, and Fight Like A Woman are standouts for me, along with Twisted.

What’s your favourite thing that someone else has written?

The ‘Friday’ books— ‘Curious Things’ and ‘Curious Times’ by Joanne Van Leerdam, along with ‘An Enlightening Quiche’ by Eva Pasco.

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

Probably ‘An Enlightening Quiche’ as well as ‘The Forest’ by Julia Blake.

What are you working on writing now?

I’m re-editing an old novel and hoping to submit it soon

Who designs your book covers?

Most of my covers were designed either by Carmen Waters (the Catnip series) or Martine Jardin, who’s done my latest works. Both cover artists are superb!

What’s your favourite kind of music?

I’ll listen to anything save rap.

What’s the best vacation you’ve had?

My honeymoon. My wife and I went to Spain and it was amazing! The history, the food, the people… perfect.

What’s your favourite TV show?

Star Trek, TOS. Nothing else comes close.

What movie can you watch over and over again?

Lots, but any of the superhero flicks are great. I loved Ready Player One, and I’m an old Biblical movies buff.

What’s your favourite quote, ever?

“You’re born alone and you die alone. It’s what you do in between that matters.” That was from my father. Perhaps he heard it from someone else, but it’s always resonated with me.

Name three people you admire, and give reasons.

My parents, who taught me to be a good person, and my wife, who is my strength.

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

It ain’t easy! Some people have the misconception that indie authors aren’t good, that they’re lazy or hurting the industry…they have very negative views.
To be fair, some authors have an I-don’t-care attitude, but the vast majority I know are hard-working, productive individuals who genuinely care about what they write and the industry they’re in.

Name two things in life that you wish were easier.

Selling books and editing!

One day someone will say “cracking acorns open” and I’ll be able to help them with that… sigh.
Say, where can readers find your books?

My books are widely available, so they’re in all the online stores, but the most common places people get them would be Amazon or my publisher’s website, Devine Destinies. Just look for J.S. Frankel and you’ll find them.

And where can we follow you on social media?

I’m on Facebook and Twitter.

Thanks for being here today, Jesse!

Thanks for making me welcome!