Author Interview: Aly Locatelli

Today I’m chatting with Aly Locatelli, one of the contributing authors in the upcoming murder mystery anthology, ‘Death Among Us’.
Welcome, Aly!

Thank you, Book Squirrel! It’s so nice to be here.

What inspired you to write?

I began writing when I was 11 years old. My family and I had just moved to the UK from Italy, and my English was very poor. All I knew were the basic school-taught phrases that, unfortunately, didn’t really help in real world situations. My English teacher at the time suggested I try writing short stories in my spare time to practice the language. When I handed in my first short story and she really enjoyed it, I realised how much had enjoyed writing it. From then on, I would write short stories and beginnings of full-length novels and hand them in every week. 

Practicing English also came in the form of listening to audiobooks, reading, and watching shows with the subtitles on (a habit I still have to this day), but writing really cemented my learning.

What’s your favourite thing that you have written?

I’ve written a couple of books that I’ve had a blast writing. One of them features a haunted island and a very unlucky teenager and her family; another is high fantasy with dragons, magic, political intrigue and talking sloths. I hope the world gets to read them one day.

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

Oh gosh. I am a huge fan of V. E. Schwab. I’d read her shopping list if I could get my hands on it. A Darker Shade of Magic saw me through some rough days, and is a book I turn to whenever I struggle to live in the real world. The Throne of Glass series by Sarah J Maas is another, even though I haven’t finished it. I have a lot of thoughts on those last two books. Also Tana French and Gillian Flynn, for the murder mystery lover within.

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

*stares at teetering TBR pile*
This year has been hard for me when it comes to reading. I haven’t had the right head to sit down and actually get through all the books I’d planned on reading. However, I absolutely adored Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan and Sadie by Courtney Summers.

What are you working on writing now?

I’m working on a few projects at the moment. I’m trying out the whole “plan, don’t pants” thing and… well. We’ll see how that goes. One of a horror/mystery and the other is, of course, fantasy. 

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

Coffee. Coffee gets me through every single challenge. It’s like the writing buddy I never knew I had.

Forest, country, beach or city?

Forest! Give me silence, solitude and cooler weather any day of the week.

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

I started off wanting to be a lawyer. Then a psychologist. Then a criminologist. And then, somehow, I wanted to work in publishing if not become a published author myself. I guess I’m kind of getting there with the last one, ha!

What’s your favourite season? Why?

Winter. I grew up in the mountains bordering France and Italy, right in the peaks. We had some of the coldest winters with thick snow and blizzards. Something about winter is just endlessly romantic to me. Hot chocolate, thick blankets, fluffy socks… *sighs*

Who are your three greatest literary inspirations?

George RR Martin is top of my list. The guy managed to build an entire world, several languages and a multitude of stories that have captured the world. I’d love to be like him one day.
V. E. Schwab. She’s published quite a few novels, all whilst getting her degree. She’s also public about mental illness and her day to day life living with it and for someone who struggles with depression and anxiety myself, I feel seen by her.
Jay Kristoff. The way he writes is magical and captivating and even his darkest novels (Nevernight and Godsgrave) are humorous with some light-hearted moments. He’s another author I’d love to meet one day. 

What’s your favourite quote, ever?

“I’d rather die on an adventure than live standing still.” Delilah Bard, A Darker Shade of Magic. 

Name three people you admire, and give reasons.

My mum and dad are two of the people I admire. I know it sounds cliché, but we truly have been through some stuff in our time. Awful, depressing stuff that most people wouldn’t come out of. My mum and dad have always been my constants, people I could turn to even just for some words of comfort. My mother is so strong — mentally, physically, emotionally — and my father is tough as nails and as wise as can be. I’d be lost without them.

The other person is my boyfriend. We’ve been together almost two years but, again, we’ve been through stuff you wouldn’t think possible. He’s been my rock and his sense of humour and positive attitude has pulled me out of more than one “dark day.” I don’t know what I would do without him, and hope I never have to find out.

Name two things in life that you wish were easier.

Life in general would be great if it were simply easier. Joking aside, writing is definitely one of them. If only there was a universal rulebook we could all follow when it comes to writing books, that would’ve been fantastic. Another is accepting criticism, personally. I actively seek out people to criticise my work, but then sit there for days self-hating because of said criticism. It’s helped me grow, that’s for sure, but I wish it were easier for me to brush it off and move on.

Before you go, why don’t you tell us about ‘Death Among Us’?

‘Death Among Us’ is a collection of 23 murder mystery short stories that releases on July 7th. It is a really varied and interesting multi-genre collection by some really great authors.

That sounds great! Where can we get a copy?

It’s available for preorder via Amazon, and you can find out more by watching this video.

Thanks for being here today, Aly. It’s been great to get to know you a little better.

Thank you for having me!

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: 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: Gregory Tasoulas

Today I’m chatting with author Gregory Tasoulas about his short story called Elmwean’s Lodge. Welcome, Gregory!

Thank you, Book Squirrel!

Why don’t you start by giving us a rundown of the story?

It’s the first in a series of novelettes set in an original teslapunk world.

Professor Incabad Reyl is the greatest scientist of his time. His equation of echomagnetic fractions marked the beginning of a new era of technological advancement for the Horizon.
In 104 H.S., 30 years after his groundbreaking discovery, he sets off on an adventurous search, in order to uncover the laws that govern the dynamics between the twelve electrons of his fractional echomagnetic dynamics theory.
On the way to this Master Equation, Professor Reyl will stumble upon hidden truths that will change the way humanity perceives existence.

That sounds really interesting. What inspired you to write?

I like stories. Listening to stories, seeing them on film, hearing about them, exploring them. Their reasoning, their logic, their purpose. And I like telling stories, creating fictional situations. For me it’s not about the process of writing, but rather conveying a story that is in my mind.

What are you working on writing now?

I am currently finishing the novella Return to Elmwean’s Lodge, which is the sequel to my first published short. I am also finishing up my research for the next one in the series, as well as a couple of standalone stories which are set in different eras of the Horizon and introduce new characters and places.

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

No, but I do vape a lot when I write (my cats make it hard to safely eat or drink near the computer).

Who designs your book covers?

Mario Tsota, an amazing young illustrator who is also a very diligent and cooperative professional. He is currently studying fine arts at the University of Fine Arts in Thessaloniki, Greece. You can find his work on his website.

What’s your favourite kind of music?

Atmospheric instrumental has been my favorite for the past decade or so, but I also enjoy several gothic genres.

Forest, country, beach or city?

Why not a combination of the above? I enjoy the mingling. 

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

Unsatisfying jobs. I’ve had a lot of them in my life and you will find a lot of my characters are plagued by this very real problem.

What’s your favourite TV show?

Babylon 5. 

What movie can you watch over and over again?

Big Trouble in Little China. You didn’t see that coming, did you?

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

An astronaut. I know, cheesy.

What’s your favourite season? Why?

Autumn. I love the balance of temperature and weather, as well as the gearing up to Xmas 😀

And the nuts?

Haha, sure!

Who are your three greatest literary inspirations?

J.R.R. Tolkien, H.P. Lovecraft, Hesiod.

What’s your favourite quote, ever?

“That is not dead which can eternal lie, And with strange aeons even death may die.” H.P. Lovecraft

Name two things in life that you wish were easier.

Understanding women and waking up in the morning.

That’s where I’m lucky. Lady squirrels are very easy to understand.

Lucky indeed, my friend!

Where can readers follow you on social media?

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

And where can readers find your book?

Elmwean’s Lodge is free to download in epub and pdf on our website and a few digital stores.

Thanks for being here today, Gregory! I wish you success!

Thank you, Book Squirrel!


Author Interview: Stephanie Barr

Book Squirrel interviews science fiction and fantasy author Stephanie Barr.

Welcome to another great Book Squirrel author interview. Today we welcome fantasy and science fiction author Stephanie Barr.

Thank you, Book Squirrel!

You’re most welcome. Tell us, Stephanie, what inspired you to write?

I love to tell stories. I love to pretend I’m in a different situation (or some variation of me) and imagine how I could overcome, beat it, react, interact with others, find my way free. I’m a natural problem-solver and I love to both create and overcome problems as I write. I love to help characters grow as they learn and interact with others. Characters are front and center in my own work, my focus, and I love to go adventuring with them and share those adventures with others. 

As for something specific that inspired me, everything kind of does. I love to play what if, and imagine what might happen if I tweaked a few features. Perhaps I was encouraged in that mindset in high school with teachers who didn’t squash that tendency to turn essays into stories, but I can’t remember when I didn’t do this.

What are you working on writing now?

I’m working on cowriting the second book in the Witches and Demons series with Mirren Hogan (called Illusion), focused on an alternate here and now and magic with demons, sort of urban fantasy. 

I’m working on finishing the third book in my Bete series (called Twice the Man) which are sort of science fantasy, science fiction elements (space ship crash landing on a new planet across the universe from their home planet) but adding shapeshifters and psychic powers. I hinted at unfriendly natives in the first two books and now they’re going to make their move, and quite effective it was, with a chemical that removes the shapeshifting and psychic powers of my heroes. Guess they’ll have to outsmart ’em. 

I’m halfway through The Library at Castle Herriot, which is another here and now but there’s a magic library with books that can take you to other worlds including the past, but don’t take them out of the hidden library or you can’t return without living out the book as intended–and you won’t know how it goes. One false step and you’re trapped forever. I’d call it fantasy. 

I’m also coordinating a charity anthology (Challenge Accepted) where all the MCs must be disabled in some way and win the day (proceeds to go to Special Olympics).  And I’m involved in at least three other anthologies at the moment as well as building two of my own based on cat stories. Cats are one of my signatures and you can find one or more in all of my books, so I thought I’d write some stories for them.

Who designs your book covers?

So far, I’ve used two artists and devised some of the covers for my mini-anthologies myself (which are not good covers but the books are free so there’s that). Loraine van Tonder is my go-to cover designer. I love her work and I’ve bought more than a dozen covers from her and will undoubtedly buy more. She’s in South Africa but she is very easy to work with and consistently gives me stunning covers that really make an impression. I stumbled across her FB site from somewhere else, found a premade perfect for Curse of the Jenri with just a little tweaking and she ended up remaking covers for my existing novels (Saving Tessa, Nine Lives, Tarot Queen) except for Beast Within which was created by Brendan Smith. She also revamped my covers for my poetry collection (Musings of a Nascent Poet) and my first anthology (Creating Dreams). Since then, she has built covers for me for Incantation (Book one of the Witches and Demons trilogy), Legacy (my second anthology), and The Taming of Dracul Morsus (as well as several covers for future books). 

Brendan Smith is another cover artist I’ve used several times. He made Beast Within‘s cover within an hour (apparently for fun) and provided a premade perfect for Ideal Insurgent. He also did a cover for my mini-anthology Easy Prey.
He is also very responsive.

Loraine van Tonder can be found on FB if you search Ryn Katryn. Brendan Smith can also be found on FB. 

What’s your favourite kind of music?

I love music I can sing along with: pop, rock, show tunes, Disney tunes. Not a big fan of country (though there are songs that are exceptions), rap or religious music. I like bouncy music as it helps to keep me awake for day job and general everything since I don’t drink coffee. And I can listen to music when I’m doing everything but actually writing. When I’m writing, I need as close to silence as I can get with two kids and ten cats. 

Forest, country, beach or city?

City. I’m not outdoorsy and, if I want something, I want to find it right then, so accessibility to everything is my goal. I don’t want to drive miles to the nearest grocery store or drive half a day to the nearest airport. I live in hurricane alley already so the beach has lost its lustre. I love to curl up in my house with a book or a movie.

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

I don’t have many pet hates when it comes to people. I have a few pet peeves on writing: clunky dialog, characters who have to break character to do something to make the plot go, thesaurus mania (using synonyms when you clearly don’t understand the nuances), and (this is my big one) book that don’t complete a story arc

But you seem to be talking about people and I do have two: rapists and bigoted folks, people so caught up on what someone is that they don’t care WHO someone is. And, yes, I’ve used them both in my writing. Rapists are never anything but antagonists. Bigotry is not uncommon in my antagonists, but sometimes they do grow out of it.

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

I wanted to be a veterinarian until I realized that animals throw up. A lot. I still have a low tolerance to regurgitation even after three children and ten cats. So, sometime around then I wanted to be a writer. But, I didn’t want to be a starving writer so I was going to get a day job (which I did) but I would never, in a million years, have predicted that my day job would be rocket scientist or that I would get a degree in engineering physics – a total fluke. So, I’m still capable of surprising even myself.

What’s your favourite season? Why?

I like the fall. I was born in the fall, is one reason, but the real reason is that I live somewhere really hot (Houston) and, though I hate the hard cold and snow and stuff, I do like the cessation of brutal heat. 

Who are your three greatest literary inspirations?

E.  A. Poe. I started out reading a lot of classics and no one wrote poetry that touched me more than Poe. I love his tricks with suspense, is amazing vocabulary, his understanding that the sound of a word can add to the tension and emotion of a poem or prose.  My early poetry, where I started when I began writing were all poems of the epic rhyme and rhythm type.

Heinlein. Not saying there aren’t some misses in the books, but, of the sheer volume of stories and novels, he’s got more greats than I could count and I’ve read most of them. He had a real turn for dialog, a great voice that made people feel real in nothing but a line or two. That’s a gift. He injects humor in most of his work without in anyway detracting from his speculative fiction, or the tension and pathos. I love that and have tried to do the same. I like his personality, often self-deprecating, when in anyone’s POV and his fondness for cats. Of course, I like his apparently effortless world-building where there are tons of details to build the world without taking any chunks of time to make them so, just weaving it into the narrative in a perfectly natural way. Plenty to learn there, too. 

Georgette Heyer. Yes, yes, why would a fantasy/SF author be inspired by a Regency romance author? Because she’s very good. Not only with very intelligent characters (and with great humor) but her character interactions are fantastic and charming. I’ve read most of her books a dozen times apiece and can read (or listen on audio) to them over and over even now and find myself cheered.  I want people to enjoy my own books in much the same way. 

Name two things in life that you wish were easier.

Marketing. I’ve no hand for it at all. As a rocket scientist, I can speak with assurance, backed by data. When it comes to pushing my work (which I love) on people when I know the reactions are subjective, is much more challenging for me. I don’t like to be pushed myself. I have the gratification that many of the people I do know that have read one have been eager to read more, but we’re still talking about a very small number of people. Getting the book in the hands of someone open to fall in love with a new author is not so easy and I haven’t figured out how best to do it. 

Raising children. Not a particularly unique thought, but since I’ve done most of my child-raising as a single mother, I wish I had a better handle on it, especially with my two youngest on the spectrum. They are both, however, two of the happiest children ever so there’s that. And my eldest, while not quite as happy, is quite a accomplished and has the nature to carve her way with distinction.

Where can we find your books?

My books are most easily available on Amazon and Smashwords but you can find them on any ebook and most book retailers.
Ideal Insurgent is also available most places that sell audio books.

Where can readers follow you on social media?

I’m on Facebook and Twitter.
I also have a writing blog, or people can sign up to receive my newsletter.