Author Interview: Stefan Vucak

Book Squirrel chats with Stefan Vučak, author of science fiction and political drama novels.

Today we welcome Stefan Vučak, an Indie author from Melbourne, Australia, who has written eight Shadow Gods Saga sci-fi novels and six contemporary political drama books.

Welcome, Stefan! It’s great to have you here.

Thank you, Book Squirrel.

Why don’t you start by telling us what inspired you to write?

I always wanted to write. Well, not exactly always, but ever since I came across an illustrated book of Jules Verne’s ‘20,000 Leagues Under the Sea’, the printed word fueled my imagination. In high school and university, I breezed through essay and writing assignments, truly puzzled why some of my classmates struggled. Books, of course, particularly science fiction, got my ideas factory churning. If others could write short stories and novels, so could I. I first turned my hand to writing short stories. I yearned for the day when people would walk past a bookstore and see my books on display. Vanity? Perhaps, but the fire burning deep within me that urged me to write, also compelled me to share the products of my imagination. Regrettably, just making my way in the world, I could not indulge my passion. I had to find a way to live and support myself. Hence my IT career, but that fire never went out, although I did allow it to die down a bit, frustrated at not being able to find a publisher. Publishing is a savage game, as I came to learn, and publishers are not keen to publish my books just because I wanted to see them in bookstores.

What’s your favourite thing that you have written?

This is like asking a father who is his favourite child! I like to think that all my books have something for readers. For science fiction lovers, I have a soft spot for ‘Immortal in Shadow’, part of the Shadow Gods Saga. For those into contemporary political drama/thrillers, ‘Strike for Honor’ will get them turning pages.

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

Wow, that is a hard one, as I have gone through lots of books this year. However, the one that has caught my attention is Andy Weir’s ‘Artemis’. Yes, he is the one who wrote ‘The Martian’. I love the book and the movie. In ‘Artemis’, Jasmine Bashara is a very smart girl who cannot decide on a career, so she spends her time smuggling for her Moon base customers. She gets caught up in a very dangerous deal that would bring her a lot of money, provided she doesn’t get caught. Andy Weir tells his story with an engaging blend of interesting characters and compelling science.

What are you working on writing now?

Actually, I just finished ‘Lifeliners’. It began as an idea for a short story on a long flight from Europe to Melbourne, Australia, my home. I always have my notebook handy, never knowing when inspiration would strike. Tired of browsing through inflight entertainment, I began jotting down notes to flesh out a story about an emerging new human able to draw energy from someone by touching them. Birthrates in Western countries had been falling for a while, accompanied by growing sterility. A product of our high-pressure technological lifestyle and high density urban living, explained the pundits. Nature decided that lifeliners were the answer who would over time replace the ‘normals’. As expected, this development was not received well by the general population, and governments everywhere began to blame lifeliners for failure of bad economic policies, introducing draconian laws to curtail their rights and freedoms.

That sounds really interesting! You didn’t write the whole book on the plane, did you?

Well, I wrote the short story, posted it on my website, and I thought I was done with it. Time to finish what was then my latest book project ‘Legitimate Power’. Once I had it published, I began reviewing ideas for a new book – and kept coming back to the lifeliners story. It was one thing to write a short story, but fleshing it out into a full-length novel was not something I had in mind, wanting to write another contemporary political drama/thriller. But the bug had bitten me and lifeliners began to haunt my days. The only way I would have peace was to write the damned book.

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

When I knuckle down and put on my writing hat, I don’t pour sand into the creative machinery by indulging in wine or spirits. Once I have new material in the computer and get on with editing, I allow myself a tumbler of nice bourbon. With a particularly good section of writing behind me, I may have more than one tumbler.

Who designs your book covers?

I use Laura Shinn’s services for my ebook and print covers. She does a great job without charging too much. She is very sensitive to my needs and is prepared to make changes.

What’s your favourite kind of music?

Being a nerdy sort of person, I like classical stuff, particularly when editing and proofreading, or reviewing someone’s book. I have a fondness for Austrian and Bavarian folk music. South American folk music is enchanting and allows my mind to soar.

What’s the best vacation you’ve had?

I love to travel! It broadens my horizons and lets me see not only diverse landscapes, but allows me to observe different cultures and how people live. I would rate my trip to South America as one of my top list experiences. The trip took me from Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Argentina, ending in Rio de Jeneiro. I experienced deserts, the Amazon jungle, Lake Titicaca, the Uyuni Salt Flats, and had a chance to stroll along the Copacabana beach.

*singing* At the Copa… Copacabana… oh. Sorry about that.

That’s okay.

I’m a highly impressionable squirrel. 

Barry Manilow, though?

Anything disco, really.
Now… where were we? Ah yes! What’s your favourite TV show?

These days, TV shows leave me unmoved. How many CSI variations are there, four? It is all about crime, reality shows, and cooking programs. Give me a break! There is too much reliance on computer special effects, which sacrifice genuine plotting and characterization. I believe that some of the TV shows from years gone by like Colombo and The West Wing will stand the test of time when others will quietly fade away.

What movie can you watch over and over again?

Ah, movies … I cannot say there is one special movie I could watch forever, as I like a number of them across many genres. If I had to pick a sci-fi movie, I would say that ‘Avatar’ has something special, and I have seen it lots of times. ‘Kelly’s Heroes’, a WWII movie, is eminently watchable, as is ‘The Enemy Below’. The black-and-white version of ‘Jane Eyre’ with Orson Wells and Joan Fontaine gets me moody and thoughtful. If any of your readers like westerns, ‘From Hell to Texas’ is memorable.

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

I have always been interested in technology, astronomy, sociology … the bookworm stuff. I loved physics, although the math part wasn’t all that enjoyable. However, chemistry was something I absorbed through my skin, and was set to make it my career. About to finish high school, computers were an expanding field, and it was something I found fascinating. When it came time to choose my university major, I went into computer science, and I never regretted my career choice, but I have not lost my interest in chemistry.

What’s your favourite season? Why?

I love the Aussie summer, but I think our autumn has some of the nicest weather. It is still warm, and the days are clear without the hot northerly winds. It is a good time of the year for long walks, games of golf … and writing. I write the year around, but autumn has something extra in the air that stimulates the creative process.

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

If there is one thing I learned over the years as a writer, if anyone is contemplating taking this on seriously, he or she should be prepared to spend many lonely hours with a pencil and paper, and sitting behind a computer screen. There will be disappointments, frustration, angst … and moments of sheer exhilaration and satisfaction when the words flow and the creative process produces something wonderful. Writing is a gift, but it can also be a curse. However, once bitten with the urge to create, there is no cure.

These days, it is easy to self-publish, and outlets like Amazon and Smashwords are replete with good books. Unfortunately, they are also full of amateurish efforts, which has contributed to a negative reputation of ebooks. Most authors dream of finding an agent and being published by a traditional publisher. I have those thoughts myself. However, traditional publishers rarely take up new writers, always keeping an eye on the bottom line. They are running a business to make money, not cater to hopeful authors. It is tough, but that is the hard reality. Another tough reality is the ongoing need to market and promote my books. As I mentioned in one of my Tweets, ‘Writing fills my soul, and marketing empties it’.

Where can we find your books?

You can visit my website or find my books on Amazon.  

Where can readers follow you on social media?

I’m on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Thanks for being here today, Stefan!

Thanks for having me!

Author Interview: J.E. Reed

Enjoy Book Squirrel’s latest Author Interview. Meet fantasy author J.E. Reed.

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Hello, everyone! Today, I’m chatting with fantasy author J.E. Reed.

What inspired you to write?

Books have always been a love of mine, especially fantasy. There’s nothing quite like escaping into a world that you know couldn’t possibly be real, but some small part of you wishes that it was. With this love, I started creating my own worlds as a child and my writing grew more elaborate as I got older. I feel like my world changed when I discovered fanfiction. For those unfamiliar with the term, fanfiction is taking characters you love and twisting the original story into whatever you want it to be. I never expected the story I wrote to blow up the way it did on the site and it inspired me to write an original work.Running with the wolves cover ST

What are you working on writing now?

The sequel to RUNNING WITH THE WOLVES. I’ve completed the rough draft, but as all the authors out there know, that is only the beginning of the journey. I’m also penning the story of a side character that has been much loved by my early readers, but you’ll just have to wait to see who that is.

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

Macha Green Tea. I can’t get enough of it.

What’s your favourite kind of music?

I listen to almost anything, but it always pertains to what kind of scene I’m writing. Action must be fast paced and heart racing. Love needs to be a song that makes you want to dance and aching sadness needs to come from a place buried deep in your soul.

Forest, country, beach or city?

Forest or Beach. I love the outdoors, which is evident in my book. I’ve grown up running the woods and have had the opportunity to visit the beaches of Hawaii. Honestly, I could never choose between the two.

What movie can you watch over and over again?

Couples Retreat. I don’t know why I love this movie so much, but I can almost quote the entire thing.

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

I wanted to work at Sea World as a whale trainer since before I can remember. I would still love to do this, but as an adult you realize some things. The first was schooling. I had my eye set on an animal trainer school in California, but I had no desire to travel that far. My focus shifted to Marine Biology and then to working at the Cincinnati Zoo. Somehow I ended up working with people instead of animals, but I’ll take nothing off the table. Life is a gift and I’m capable of doing whatever I set my mind to.

What’s your favourite season? Why?

Spring. There’s just something about the smell in the air and the bright colored flowers. Needless to say, I love long hikes in the spring.

Who are your three greatest literary inspirations?

J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Paolini, and J.K. Rowling

What’s your favourite quote, ever?

Absorb what is useful, discard what is useless and add what is specifically your own. -Bruce Lee

Thanks for joining us today, J.E. It’s been a pleasure chatting with you. 

Thanks, Book Squirrel! I’ve had fun!

Readers, you can get your copy of Running With The Wolves in your favourite store via the links on the author’s website.

You can also follow J.E. Reed on Facebook , Twitter and Instagram.

Author Interview: Kari Holloway

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Hi folks! Today I’m chatting with Kari Holloway, an American writer who grew up in Leesburg, Georgia. She dabbles in southern romances filled with iconic components of sexy cowboys and firefighters, explores the unexplained in her paranormal series, and has found her way to the battlefields of the Civil War, and to love’s first kiss under the weeping willow through various anthologies.Head Shot__Reduced Size

Hi Kari, it’s great to have you here.

Hello! Thanks for having me, Book Squirrel!

You’re most welcome. I love meeting authors and talking about books. Tell me, what inspired you to write?

Truthful answer? I was a social fringe kind of kid. Screwed up bell-curve grades and preferring the uncool styles of country music and anime kept me there. I remember writing in school, but teachers wouldn’t allow students to bring notebooks on test days, so I brought books instead. Then in 2015 I went back to writing and haven’t stopped.

That’s the way! Don’t stop!

Absolutely!

What’s your favourite thing that you have written?

Only one? There are scenes in Cracked But Never Broken that hurt my heart, Behind the Lens has those tantalizing moments of unsure requited love, Mark of Cain has my MC standing up for herself.
Trapped by Design is one of my favorites. It’s a paranormal short story set in the realm of my Devil’s Playground series. I haven’t published it yet. I’m shopping it around to publications. It starts off with Ava playing a game of peek-a-boo with her kid.

Oh, make sure you let me know when it’s out, and I’ll spread the word.

Hey, thanks!

No problem! What’s your favourite thing that someone else has written?

Night Angel Trilogy by Brent Weeks if we’re talking new school. If we’re talking in all of modern time, Sackett Series by Louis Lamour.

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

I got to see a sneak peek of the stories in A Contract of Words. They are amazing, and some leave me in awe while others just creep me out. I think that’s a good hallmark of a well-balanced anthology.

What are you working on writing now?

I’m trying to rein in my muse. She’s trying to start me on book 5 in the Devil’s Playground series while I’m under deadline for a group release in October.

Those darned muses certainly have a mind of their own, eh.

You got that right!

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

No. I tend to write while drinking a glass of sweet tea, but the tea’s the only thing I drink.

Who designs your book covers?

Steven Novak of Novak illustrations did my Laughing P series. German Creative is the designer on my Devil’s Playground series, and the short story covers are my handywork.

What’s your favourite kind of music?

Country with some 60s, 70s, and 80s of Pop and Rock.

Forest, country, beach or city?

Depends on my mood. I live in a fairly rural place. Lots of woods merged with rolling farmland. The beach would be nice—watching the storms roll across the ocean, the fresh breeze, and shell collection. I couldn’t live in a city like Atlanta or New York, but small-town suits me just fine.

What’s the best vacation you’ve had?

Scuba diving in the Florida Keys or off the coast of Panama City in Florida.

What’s your favourite TV show?

To be honest, I can’t think of the last show I didn’t catch on DVR. The two I do try to catch with regularity is Doctor Who and the Graham Norton Show.

What movie can you watch over and over again?

You’ve Got Mail. It’s hopeful and sweet.

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

I wanted to be a veterinarian.

I like you.

Awww! I like you, too!

What’s your favourite season? Why?

Spring. Seeing the birds return in a slow migration of robins morphing into cardinals, the first few flowers determined to bloom, and it being warm/cool enough to have the windows open.

What’s your favourite quote, ever?

“We shouldn’t teach great books; we should teach a love of reading. Knowing the contents of a few works of literature is a trivial achievement. Being inclined to go on reading is a great achievement.”

That’s very thought-provoking!

It sure is!

What does a typical day hold for you?

I enjoy spending my evenings writing. During the day, it’s chasing my kids around, laughing at their sassy ways and the depths of their curiosity.

Sounds busy! What’s your motto in life?

Show the world the best version of you, for our actions of today make tomorrow.

Oh, I really like that.

Thanks!

Where can we follow you on social media?

I have a website, and an author page on Amazon. I’m also on Facebook and Tumblr.

Fantastic! And where can we find your books?

My books are all on Amazon, although not exclusively. The anthology ‘Love, Lust & Scary Monsters’ is in other stores as well.

Laughing P

 

 

Author Interview: Emanuel Andrei Cosutchi

Book Squirrel chats with sci-fi author Emanuel Andrei Costuchi.

Interview Orange

Welcome, folks! Today Book Squirrel chats with Emanuel Andrei Cosutchi, a Sci-Fi writer from Romania, part of the European Union.
Hi Emanuel, welcome!

Thank you for having me, Book Squirrel!

unnamed What inspired you to write?


I became writer because I love the Sci-Fi and Fantasy genre.

What’s your favourite thing that you have written?  

I was a consumer like everybody, this means I watched movies, I read books and I played computer games, but one day I decided to create my own Sci-Fi universe. So was born the space opera Starship “Apple of Discord”.

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

I love to read and I have read a lot of books, no matter of genre.
My favorite Sci-Fi book is “Roadside picnic” by Arkadi and Boris Strugatsky.
My favorite Fantasy book is the “Rune Swords” series by multiple authors like Clayton Emery, Rose Estes, Tom Wham, J.F. Rivkin.

What are you working on writing now?

I finished the first three volumes of my space opera Starship “Apple of Discord” on November 11, 2017 and now I am looking for a publishing house. Starship “Apple of Discord” is about the adventures of a man from Earth, named Adam, who will meet alien civilizations and technology.
I plan to write more volumes, because my saga isn’t finished yet, and I have other projects too. I want to write another Sci-Fi novel called The Independence, and even Fantasy books.

Who designs your book covers?

This was me. For my Sci-Fi book The Restoration, which is published on all Amazon websites, I used free images from Internet and the cover template provided by CreateSpace.
I paid an young artist from my country to draw the redhead android, which I want to use it as my cover for my space opera Starship “Apple of Discord”. His name is Cosmin Benchea.

What’s your favourite TV show?

This would be Games of Thrones, but I love Vikings and Star Trek too.

What movie can you watch over and over again?

This would be Star Wars: Rogue One. Although I love Luke, Leia, Han, Chewbacca, Vader, Obi Wan, Yoda and many other heroes, I think Jyn Erso is great too.

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

I have a nice story about this, which is posted on my Amazon Author page. My maternal gradma asked me this too, and I answered that I want to become a cowboy. My grandma mocked me and said that I want to become a cattle herder. I read comics at that time and my favorite character was a lone ranger. Still is. I said “cowboy” because I was to young to know the word EXPLORER.
I didn’t became an astronaut like Yuri Gagarin or Neil Armstrong. Or the next Jacques Cousteau, Steve Irwin, or “Bear” Grylls. I have some health issues with my heart. I was born like this, but I don’t complain about that. I take medicines daily.

What’s your favourite quote, ever?

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

Another one is created by me:  “If you can’t provoke any emotion, there’s little point in writing.” – Emanuel Andrei Cosutchi

I like that!

Thank you!

Where can readers follow you on social media?

If readers would like to contact me, I would love to hear from them. I personally read and respond to all inquiries.
I have a website, and I am on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Instagram. I also have another page on Facebook for my book.

Fantastic! And where can we buy your book?

It’s available at Amazon.

 

Author Interview: Chloe S Flanagan

Welcome to Book Squirrel’s interview with romance novelist Chloe Flanagan.

Interview Lime
Welcome, everyone! Today I’m chatting with romance novelist Chloe Flanagan. Welcome, Chloe. 

 

Thank you for welcoming me, Book Squirrel.

 

What inspired you to write?

 

I think I’ve always felt called to write, but didn’t really start doing it seriously until the last couple of years. I was blessed to get work that involved writing and have also formed some friendships with very creative people. They’ve helped give me the encouragement I needed to pursue my goals.

 

What are you working on writing now?

 

I’m working on a sequel to my first novel. The working title is A Time for Every Matter. I’m super excited about it because it will feature the major characters from the last book and develop some of the characters that were only minor at that point. It will be released in the spring.

 

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

 

M&Ms. There’s nothing like a multicolored sugar buzz.

 

Oh, I like the peanut ones! 

 

No surprises there! You’re a squirrel, after all.

 

You’re very observant. 

 

Thank you!

 

Who designs your book covers?

Forward to What Lies Ahead 7 final flattened.jpg

The whole team was extremely helpful and generally awesome.

It’s a great thing when you find someone who is great to work with.

 

It really is!

 

What’s your favourite kind of music?

 

Vintage Jazz! Ella Fitzgerald is my favorite singer. If I ever get a time machine, I’m heading back to one of her concerts.

 

Forest, country, beach or city?

 

City. I love activity, people watching, and diverse take-out options. I went to college in New York City and I always felt like the whole city was part of the campus.

 

What’s your favourite TV show?

 

I Love Lucy. Don’t think I need to ‘splain that one.

 

What movie can you watch over and over again?

 

“What’s Up Doc?” starring Barbara Streisand and Ryan O’Neal. It’s the last great screwball comedy. So hilarious!

 

Who are your three greatest literary inspirations?

 

For literature in general, I love Jane Austen. I’ve read all the novels, but my favorite is Emma. I read it once a year.
For Christian Fiction, my favorite author is Sarah Sundin. Her World War II novels are inspiring and entertaining.
For Indie Fiction, I really like Staci Stallings. It amazes me how prolific she is.

 

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

 

Writing is a solitary activity, so you’d think being an Indie author would be like loneliness squared, but that’s not true. If you do some searching, you can find an amazing community of supportive and creative people. Case in point: the Book Squirrel.

 

Aw, shucks! *blushes* 

 

I’ve never seen a squirrel blush before.

 

That’s true of most people, I suspect.

 

Tell me, Chloe, where can we find your book?

 

It’s available on my Amazon page.
And where can readers follow you on social media?

 

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

 

Thanks, Chloe! It’s been great chatting with you!
Thank you, Book Squirrel!

 

Author Interview: Richard Paolinelli

Book Squirrel chats with Richard Paolinelli

#AuthorInterview
#IndieAuthors

Interview Cobalt

Book Squirrel sat down recently  to chat with sci-fi author, Richard Paolinelli.
Welcome, Richard.

Thanks, Book Squirrel. It’s great to be here.

You’re right. It IS great to be here! 

*both laugh*

Tell me, Richard, what inspired you to write?

 Even as a kid, when we would be moving to the next stop (my Dad’s drilling business moved us all over the country), I would pass the time by writing these little stories in my portion of the back seat. I’ve always enjoyed writing about the worlds and characters I created.  

What’s your favourite thing that you have written?

From The Fields

 My non-fiction sports history, From The Fields, because it not only told the story of high school football in my home town of  Turlock, California, it also shared some of the town’s history off the football field. In a way, it was the best thing I could do for my hometown. So many people have reached out to me since it was published to thank me for doing it and to share their experiences with the events in the book.

What are you working on writing now?

I am helping finish ‘Eerie’, the final book written by my friend Gibson Michaels, who passed away last year before he could finish it. It would have been his fourth book and we want to make sure his readers get to read it. I am co-writing a western novel with Jim Christina, with whom I co-host an online show about writers and the craft of writing – The Writer’s Block on LA Talk Radio. I’m editing one of the 11 books in the Planetary Anthology series (and have stories in several of the others) and I am helping start up a new organization for professional creators in science fiction and fantasy, the Science Fiction & Fantasy Creators Guild. By April I am hoping to start my next sci-fi novel, When The Gods Fell.

 Who designs your book covers?

 Aside from Escaping Infinity, which I had a great cover artist do for me, I have actually designed every cover of the books I have written on my own to this point. In the future I’ll probably still do some but try to find a cover artist for others.

Forest, country, beach or city?

A small town in the country. I’m finding that the older I’m getting the quieter and less hectic I want my surroundings to be.

What movie can you watch over and over again?

I’m going to lose my man card over this, but answer is: The Princess Bride.

I’ll lend you my squirrel card if you like. Nobody ever questions if we’ve got nuts. 

Hey, thanks!

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

 Oddly enough, what I am today, a writer. I dabbled briefly with being an astronaut but I don’t do heights so good and that is a pretty big issue for an astronaut to have. So that didn’t last too long.

What’s your favourite season? Why?

Winter, especially when it is snowing in a rural setting. There’s a clean beauty to fresh snowfall and the cold air in a clear blue sky that really appeals to me.

Who are your three greatest literary inspirations?

 H.G. Wells and Edgar Allan Poe as early writers I read and enjoyed in my youth. Jack McDevitt is the third because after I read his novel, Time Traveller’s Never Die, I became a fan of his work. I discovered his path to becoming a novelist at a later age was similar to my career path and that inspired me to try to give fiction writing another try at the age of 46 – which was the same age he was when he started. A highlight for me was being a part of a Sherlock Holmes anthology and we have corresponded a few times since it was released. Him saying he really liked my story in that anthology was something I’ll not soon forget.

What’s your favourite quote, ever?

 We are all the sum of our tears. Too little and the ground is not fertile, and nothing can grow there. Too much, the best of us is washed away.” – G’Kar (Babylon 5)

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

 It is not an easy path to walk by any stretch of the imagination. It is not without its pitfalls and perils. There is no guarantee of success. But the rewards, at least to me, are well worth it. No one else has any semblance of creative control over your work other than you and when success does come it will taste sweeter than the finest wine.

Where can readers find your books?

All my books are on Amazon.

And where can readers follow you on social media?

You can find me at my website, on Twitter and on Facebook

Thanks for joining us today, Richard.

Thanks for having me!