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: 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: 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.


Author Interview: Catherine Cavendish

Welcome to my interview with Catherine Cavendish – author of Gothic, ghostly and historical horror!

Welcome to my interview with Catherine Cavendish – author of Gothic, ghostly and historical horror

Thank you for having me.

What inspired you to write?

I can’t actually remember a time when I didn’t write. Certainly since I could hold a pencil in my chubby little girl hand. I was a precociously early reader and my love of stories led me to want to create my own. As an only child, I invented characters to inhabit my world.

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

CREATURE by Hunter Shea. I love all his books but with this one, he has surpassed himself. It’s a horror novel but it works on so many different levels and over-riding everything is a story of a woman’s struggle with a terrifying auto-immune disease. This one comes from the author’s heart and soul. Incredible work. For me, his best yet.

I’m nuts about horror, and I’ve read and reviewed your book ‘Miss Abigail’s Room’ which I really enjoyed.

Oh thank you! That’s very encouraging to know!

What’s your favourite thing that you have written?

That’s a hard one to narrow down. I always love what I am working on at the moment because if I didn’t, what would be the point in continuing with it? But I do have a really soft spot for my latest novel – Damned by the Ancients. It’s the third in my Nemesis of the Gods trilogy and is mostly set in my favourite city – Vienna. My villain – Dr Emeryk Quintillus – is particularly evil in it and there is a starring role for a beautiful black cat, although she is far more than what she seems.

What are you working on writing now?

I am at the planning stage for a novella set in a hospital where a woman is recovering from a life-changing operation. There are forces within the hospital though. Things that shouldn’t be there. Things long dead.

Forest, country, beach or city?

That really depends on my mood and on the time of the year but in spring and summer, you can’t beat the countryside – and I would include forests in that, especially on a really hot day when you can shelter among the shady pine trees.

What’s the best vacation you’ve ever had?

Every time I’ve been to Vienna – and I have visited there a lot over the years. It has so much culture and history, the architecture is stunning but it is also a surprising city. Down narrow streets, all manner of curiosities are waiting to be found. It is such an easy place to get around, with excellent, straightforward and remarkably cheap public transport and, of course, the best coffee in the world.

What movie can you watch over and over again?

Murder by Death. It’s absolutely hilarious – a spoof on a host of fictional sleuths from Hercule Poirot to the Thin Man and with an all-star cast including Peter Sellers, David Niven, Maggie Smith, Elsa Lanchester and Alec Guinness. It was written by Neil Simon so, need I say more? It’s my favourite feel-good movie.

What’s your favourite TV show?

This changes from season to season in many instances but currently, it’s Killing Eve – a tightly woven psychological drama series that has really got into my head. I am also enjoying American Horror Story: Apocalypse – which I think is one of the best in this franchise. Sarah Paulson and Kathy Bates are superb.

Name three people you admire and give your reasons.

Barack Obama – in my opinion, a true statesman who remained dignified and collected no matter what was thrown at him while he was President and continues to do so.

Nelson Mandela – his courage and dignity are a constant source of hope and inspiration even though he is no longer with us.

Princess Diana – she broke through taboos and gave a voice to people who had none. She wasn’t afraid to speak out on unpopular issues and embrace – literally – people others would cross the street to avoid. I think her sons bear true testimony to her legacy.

What’s your favourite quote ever?

Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes clean to the bone – Dorothy Parker

Where can readers find your books?

My books are widely available so readers can choose their favourite store.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Apple | Google | Kobo
Kensington Publishing

Where can we follow you on social media?

Readers can visit my Catherine Cavendish website or find me on Facebook, Twitter or Goodreads.

Thanks for being here with us today, Catherine!

Thanks again, Book Squirrel!

Author Interview: Lucia Davis

Meet Lucia Davis, indie author of mystery short stories with a supernatural twist.

Welcome to my interview with mystery author Lucia Davis!
Welcome, Lucia!

Thank you, Book Squirrel!

What inspired you to write?

It was a very natural thing for me. I’ve always enjoyed writing. Even as a young girl, I made up stories in my head—at some point I found myself with more free time and started writing them down. I need some sort of creative outlet, and writing is my way of doing that. Once I started I never stopped. I write mysteries, because I enjoy coming up with the plot.

What’s your favorite thing you’ve written so far.

That’s like having to pick a favorite child. I think every book is the best I could deliver at that time and so for me, each is an accomplishment I’m proud of. I would not have been able to write the next one without the one that came before.

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

Lord of the Rings. Although Pride and Prejudice is a close second.

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

A very difficult question. My reading is pretty diverse. I reread All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Marie Remarque, which is very powerful. I read my first Backman, Britt Marie was here, and thought it was excellent. Another wonderful book I read this year is Rituals of the Dead written by Jennifer S. Alderson. And one of the highlights this summer was reading the first Harry Potter to my eldest and seeing the effect it had on him. I remember reading my own first Harry Potter—to be able to pass on the joy of books like these to my kids is just priceless.

What’s the best vacation you’ve ever had?

Hard, hard, hard! I love vacation. My honeymoon was probably the most memorable one: we spent four months backpacking in South America and Southeast Asia. It was a crazy trip and with enough adventures to last a lifetime—a few scary ones too. My husband has a bit of a wild streak… Now we have kids, which means we have to adjust our pace and the things we plan, but it’s still great fun, just different. Less wild for sure!

What is your most recent book?

The third instalment in my series that came out on December 17th: The Secrets of Sinclair Lodge. It’s a mystery series with a supernatural component. I’ve always been fascinated with the inexplicable and the unknown.

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

I think I wanted to be Robin Hood for a while. Roaming through the forest, shooting a bow, being a hero… it sounded pretty good to me. Until reality sank in, I suppose. After that, a vet I think? That never happened either. I like pets. Just not all of them as much.

Forest, country, beach or city?

Do I have to choose? I love the forest and mountains, and enjoy visiting the beach, but I would miss the city if I wouldn’t have access to one.

What’s your favorite quote ever?

That would be Albert Einstein’s: Logic will get you from A to Z; imagination will get you everywhere. I have several on my Goodreads’ page.

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

It’s not easy, being an Indie author. The best way to help us write books is to leave a review after you read one of them. We need them. Without reviews, it’s hard to get noticed.

Where can we find your books?

You can find my books on Amazon. At the moment I only have e-books, but I am working on the paperback versions and I expect those to come out beginning 2019.

Where can readers follow you on social media?

I have a website at www.luciadavis.com where I blog and interview (mostly) indie authors.

I am also on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads and Pinterest.

Thank you for joining us here today, Lucia!

Thanks for having me, Book Squirrel!

Audiobook Review: ‘Stalking Jack the Ripper’ by Kerri Maniscalco

The identity of Jack the Ripper remains one of the biggest mysteries in the history of both Victorian England, and of the murky world of serial killers.

Maniscalco takes that mystery, envelopes it in the life and times of a fictional would-be forensic scientist, shrouds it with London fog, and hides it in a dark place where nobody thinks or dares to look.

‘Stalking Jack the Ripper’ is a beautifully written blend of mystery, macabre horror and historical fiction that keeps the audience completely rivered as the story unfolds. Suspense builds from the time of the discovery of the first victim right up to the climax and conclusion.

Available on Kobo and Audible.

The cast of characters is varied and complex, each with secrets and personal motivations that intrigue both the reader and one another. The way in which the author drops hints and suggestions is quite tantalising, adding another layer of mystery to the characters and their actions.

I thoroughly enjoyed this audiobook. The narration was fluent and well paced, and a pleasure to listen to.

I definitely plan to indulge in the sequel very soon.

‘Stalking Jack the Ripper’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn.

Book Review: ‘Kiss of Quicksilver’ by Dona Fox

A dark and disquieting tale.

This dark little tale by Dona Fox evokes a strong sense of desperation in her protagonist and other characters in their grim quest for survival.

Much like being thrown into the deep end of a dark pool, the reader is plunged into the action, yet only gradually realises the depths into which they have been submerged. There are some very effective moments of realisation and revulsion accompanied by an uncomfortable sensation of disquiet and doubt in the reader’s mind, both heightened by the tone of normality with which Fox infuses the narrative.

Easily read in less than half an hour, this is a perfect diversion during a break or over lunch on a busy day. Or… perhaps not while you’re eating. 

An excellent horror story, ‘Kiss of Quicksilver’ has been awarded a Gold Acorn. 

Find your copy here