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: 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: Nolan Roland

Today I’m chatting with Adam Burt, author of the superhero sci-fi book ‘Read Me!’ – published as though written by the main character, Nolan Roland.
Welcome, Adam!

Thanks, Book Squirrel!

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

I think I’ve always been a somewhat creative person, and at various stages of my life I’ve found that manifesting in various ways. In the last few years, that started to happen as like… constant daydreaming, especially late at night or in the shower. I started putting pen to paper, just doing short stories at first, some of which I published, and then I decided to try to… I guess graduate, into doing a full novel, which I always saw as a challenge I wanted to complete one day. That’s how “Read Me” was born.

What’s your favourite thing that you have written?

I do have a lot of fondness for my short stories, because there’s something quite raw about them, they’re punchy. But taken as a whole I would have to say Read Me! is the work I’m most proud of. I think, even though it started just as a personal challenge for me, it’s become a bit of a passion project because I’ve seen how it can resonate with readers. Even though it’s got superheroes in it and it’s science fiction, I think it speaks to people, and the fact that it has that affect on people is something I’m immensely proud of.

What are you working on writing now?

Well, the big news is that I’m hard at work on a sequel to Read Me! Imaginatively titled “Read Me Too”, my plan is to release it in 2019.

Who designs your book covers?

At the minute I actually design my own. With “Read Me”, there’s quite a deliberate aesthetic, because part of the core conceit is that it’s presented as an autobiography. Presented as a book that the main character, Nolan Roland, had to publish any way he could. And if that meant that he had to slap a cover on it he made himself, to get it done, well, that’s what he would have done.

What’s your favourite kind of music?

I’m one of those annoying people who says they have an eclectic taste. Like, “I like everything!”. And that’s almost true. I do tend to favour electronic and rock. Actually, I like to make playlists when I’m writing, and the one for Read Me is a mix of things like Yeasayer, Idlewild and Biffy Clyro. So I was definitely into rock during this writing process!

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

This is an interesting question because I think it gets to the core of why Read Me speaks to people. Fundamentally, each of the characters is a reflection or example of some kind of mental health issue, the sorts of things we all come into contact with during our lives. And some of that is overt, some of it’s more subtle, but there’s grief, loneliness, depression, the weight of expectation, and more. In some ways, all the characters are based on things I hate (or have hated) about myself at various points in my life.

What’s your favourite TV show?

I’m still angry that Firefly got cancelled. In terms of what’s currently airing, I think Game of Thrones is such a towering achievement, such a cultural touchstone while still having these fantasy elements. I think we’ll all be talking about it for years to come, and that’s definitely my favourite thing still in circulation.

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

An astronaut! Little space themes and motifs make their way into all of my books, in one way or another.

What’s your favourite season? Why?

In terms of writing, I like a cold Spring, or the Autumn (Fall). I enjoy Summer a lot, but I find it really hard to write when it’s too sunny outside.

What’s your favourite quote, ever?

“In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move.” – Douglas Adams.
For me, that just says it all, and Adams was the master of making science fiction that walked the line between ridiculous but still really relatable.

Where can readers find your book?

“Read Me” can be found on Amazon, both in paperback and for Kindle, and it has also a Facebook page.

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.