Category Archives: Author & Artist Interviews

RESTLESS EARTH set to release in #NEW series by @JohnDolanAuthor

To say I’m a fan of John Dolan’s writing would be a gross understatement. He hooked me with his debut novel, Everyone Burns from his Time, Blood and Karma series, and I’ve been happily under his spell ever since.

Now, Mr. Dolan is embarking on a new series called Karma’s Children, with Restless Earth launching November 24th.

This latest book also pulls in elements from his first series.

Am I surprised?

No.

If you’ve read any of John’s first four books, you will know how twisty they can be. He’s proven himself a master of deception with a flair for unpredictable plots. He moves his characters from book to book like a chess player moves pieces across a board—carefully, with an eye for impending danger.

He’s also been known to sacrifice a few characters along the way, but I digress … 😉

I had the great pleasure of chatting with the author recently. Find out what he had to say about his writing, women, and life in general.

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Welcome John, and congratulations on the upcoming release of Restless Earth! This book is the first in a series called Karma’s Children. Can you tell us how this new series relates to Time, Blood and Karma? 

Good question, Eden. My original concept for the Time, Blood and Karma series was that it would run to seven books. However, the end of Book 4 (Running on Emptiness) was a natural watershed, so I decided to split the work into two series, with the second series starting with Restless Earth. The series title, Karma’s Children, was meant to invoke the first series, HOWEVER, I have constructed Restless Earth in such a way that those readers who are new to my writing can start with it, while those hardy souls who have ploughed through all four books in the first series will see it as picking up where Running on Emptiness left off. I hope that makes sense. If it doesn’t, it’s too late now!

No, it makes perfect sense! It’s great that new readers can hop on board with Restless Earth even if they haven’t read your previous books. I am intrigued, however, by the blurb for the new book. It speaks of four different men but does not mention women at all. Are there any women in this book?

There decidedly are women in this book. In fact, it is the females – some of whom are ‘offstage’ – who are the main catalysts for much of what happens in the novel. As in my earlier books, there are a number of strong female characters in Restless Earth. The men absolutely do not get everything their own way. Quite the reverse. Just like in real life, eh? You ladies are really the ones in charge: we men are just stupid enough to believe our own propaganda.

Ha, I’m sure women are going to love this book then! I, for one, fell in love with David Braddock, your smart-talking, somewhat damaged detective from the Time, Blood and Karma novels. Can we expect another equally fascinating character in Restless Earth?

I’m flattered that you fell in love with Braddock, warts and all. He can be an irritating smarty-pants at times (much like his creator), but generally readers seem to root for him. However, to answer your question, Braddock himself returns – perhaps somewhat chastened by his earlier experiences – as do some of the characters from the earlier novels. But there are new characters too, of various nationalities, age and sex. As to how ‘fascinating’ they are, I will leave that to the readers to decide. You can, however, expect to encounter a certain amount of mystery, moral ambiguity and black humour in this book. If you are looking for a straightforward goodies vs. baddies story, you might struggle a bit. As it says in the publicity blurb for Restless Earth: “It’s not always easy to tell the good guys from the bad guys. And sometimes, there are no good guys.” Real life is rarely black and white, in my experience, so if you want your fiction to reflect this aspect of reality, you need to mix up the black and white into shades of grey (though not fifty shades, perhaps!).

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, John. Your books are definitely not 50 shades of grey! Personally, I prefer my fiction a bit “messy” and true to life. That you treat readers as intelligent people who can think for themselves is what I appreciate most about your writing. 

Readers, please continue on to learn more about Restless Earth and special offers from the author. 

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PRE-ORDER NOW to get Restless Earth delivered to your Kindle November 24th! 

Available on Amazon Worldwide

“It’s not always easy to tell the good guys from the bad guys. And sometimes, there are no good guys.”

Four men scattered across the globe. . .
One seeks pleasure
One seeks purpose
One seeks redemption
And one seeks revenge.

A wind is howling around the skyscrapers of New York, through the battlefields of Iraq, and into the bustling streets of Bangkok. It carries with it the fates of these four men: men bound together by chance and history.
Which of them – if any – will survive the tempest?

The “Karma’s Children” series will appeal to lovers of the following book categories: mystery, thriller, crime, Thailand fiction, private investigators, British detectives, and amateur sleuths.

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Special Offers from the Author

To celebrate the launch of Restless Earth Nov. 24th, John is offering several deals for readers. Unfortunately, none of them are pictures of his abnormally large penis … his words, not mine, heh (Liberally taken out of context from an interview John did with author Eric J. Gates). 😀

Of course, I’m only kidding, as John’s deals are all fabulous book-related items. Take a look!

From November 24-28, Mr. Dolan is offering:

  1. A Poison Tree Kindle e-book FREE
  2. Everyone Burns Kindle e-book at the reduced price of 99 cents (99p in the UK)
  3. Jim Fosse’s Expense Claim (a Kindle e-book short story) remains FREE

As if this is not enough, John is also giving away 3 paperback copies of Restless Earth (US and UK only) on Goodreads. Hit the link below from Nov. 21-Dec. 31 to enter the giveaway! 

From Nov. 21- Dec. 31

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Restless Earth by John Dolan

Restless Earth

by John Dolan

Giveaway ends December 31, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

From Nov. 24-28

FREE on: Amazon

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Reduced price on: Amazon

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FREE on: Amazon

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Thanks again for sharing of yourself, John, and for all the wonderful offers of your books. I wish you huge success with the new series, and I can’t wait to read Restless Earth!

Readers, be sure to connect to John at all his virtual homes. He’s a lovely man … really. Don’t let the hat fool you. 😉

Find all John’s books on:

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA

Website

Twitter @JohnDolanAuthor

Goodreads  | Facebook | Blog

“Makes a living by travelling, talking a lot and sometimes writing stuff down. Galericulate author, polymath and occasional smarty-pants.”

John Dolan hails from a small town in the North-East of England. Before turning to writing, his career encompassed law and finance. He has run businesses in Europe, South and Central America, Africa and Asia. He and his wife Fiona currently divide their time between the UK and Thailand.

His mystery novel ‘Everyone Burns’ is the first book in the ‘Time, Blood and Karma’ series.

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The Last Meridian – A new novel by Joe Hefferon (@hefferonJoe)

It’s been some time since I’ve showcased an author. I took a break to pursue other commitments but when friend and author, Joe Hefferon, told me about his upcoming book, I wanted to share it and do so by way of a Q & A. I have interviewed Joe before, so his name will be familiar.

He’s taken a different approach with his current novel. Find out what he did and why.

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(Eden) Hi Joe, great to have you back. Your latest book, The Last Meridian is published by Evolved Publishing, a hybrid small press. Why did you decide to publish with them?

(Joe) For one, they agreed to work with me. I’d been testing the market for traditional publishers and found Evolved. I like the concept behind the hybrid model; it suits the changing landscape of publishing. The short of hybrid is, upfront money that might typically go to the author as an advance is spent on production and larger royalties are afforded the author, post production.

A good model to keep in mind, thanks Joe. I’m intrigued by the setting of your book. Why did you set The Last Meridian in the sixties in Los Angeles?

It’s a time of wonderment for me. As a kid, movie stars intrigued me. They lived in a glamorous world I could only glimpse on Oscar night, a huge television event. I loved movies. I like the styles of the sixties, that Mad Men look. I like the suits, the hats, the highballs, the smoking of cigarettes that seemed cool. I like the mid-century modern style of houses, though I prefer the updated version, wired for the internet. Although there is, politically speaking, good reason to leave the past where it is, the pre-war sixties are alluring. I love crooners like Tony Bennett and Sam Cooke, bourbon over ice and a cigar on the veranda. It seems simpler.

Not a fan of cigars, but I love Sam Cooke! Tell us about the book’s main character, Nina Ferrer. What inspired you to write her story?

It started almost as a lark, a kind of writing exercise. I wrote some hard-boiled dialogue just for fun and decided to see where I could take it. I began to wonder who this woman is, driving to Bakersfield with the top down. What’s her intention? Why does she need a private eye?

I have an adopted son and any adoptive parent will tell you they’ve often wondered about how or why the child’s life took such a dramatic turn. I wondered if the mother might ever think about him. I spoke to a number of women of various ages and backgrounds and they all told me the same thing. You’d never let it go. Somewhere inside, you would care. It started the stone rolling.

Nina is a complicated woman, like many I’ve met in my life. She’s tough, witty, wicked smart and creative, but she has secrets and demons that keep her up at night. She can be almost cruel, but it’s to keep you from being cruel to her. She’s had a hard life, was raised poor and she isn’t going to let anyone take what she’s worked so hard to build for herself. She’s funny, and has a soft spot, I think and that makes her likeable.

I like her already. Are any of the characters based on people you know, and how did you develop them?

They all are, either directly or in the round. Nina is a combination of a couple of women I’m close to with a little Joan Didion wisdom thrown in to challenge me. After twenty-five years in police work, I’ve met all the characters: good, bad or pretending to be one or the other. I once read everyone has a public, a private and a secret life. There’s a lot of truth to that.

They develop over time as I form a mental picture of them, the way they walk or respond. Dialogue helps. As I’m putting the plot together the characters reveal themselves. It come from their motivation for pushing the story one way or another. Each character has their own goals and working to achieve or acquire those things within the context of the story drives the action.

I love that saying about how we all have three lives. What is the central theme of your book?

Loss. Nina had given up her newborn son for adoption and suffers quietly with the remorse she feels over having done that. Her marriage is failing and both spouses have lost the desire to fix it. There is also an underlying yearning to make something right, that perhaps, whatever that turns out to be, will have a halo effect on other aspects of her life.

Your book is considered a hard-boiled mystery. How do you define this genre and who have been your favourite authors of it? What is it about their work that influences your writing?

Hard-boiled is defined by the noir aspect but also by the character archetypes; femme fatales, battle-worn-bourbon-swilling private eyes and slimy bad guys. I love the old movies and the classics of the genre, such as, Raymond Chandler. I also like Elmore Leonard and gristly newspaper men like Jimmy Breslin. In fact, my reporter’s first name is Jimmy; that’s for Breslin, although the character is nothing like him. I’m influenced by the no-nonsense style. I write much like a musician who plays by ear. I may not have had the formal prose training, but I know people.

That’s a good segue into my next question. Has your profession as a former law enforcement officer helped you to read people? And did it help in writing this book?

Yes. It helped in the interrogation scenes and the police procedures but more important, it helped in developing a dislike for phonies and people who lie to your face while screwing you. I’ve met and worked with them all—they’ll all find their way into The Last Meridian or in one book or another. Writing is great revenge. In police work you see people at their best and worst. It’s definitely made me more cynical, but also wiser and it’s broadened my view of the human animal.

Writing is definitely great revenge, and you won’t get jailed for it. 😉 What do you think crime fiction readers will like most about The Last Meridian?

I hope they like the characters and the dialogue. I tend to write visually. By that I mean I should probably write screen plays. I see each chapter as a scene from the movie, so the prose is less important than the action and dialogue. Everything about a person is revealed in what they say and how they say it. In life and in fiction, nothing is by accident.

I tend to agree. What was the most difficult part of writing this book? And the easiest? 

Short answer? the plot was the hardest, because it’s not so much about the murder mystery but about how the characters react to what life throws at them, be it a philandering husband or a murder suspect. I knew I had something to say, but finding the right mechanism was difficult at first.

The easy part was the dialogue. Once you know who is speaking, what they say comes naturally.

Yes, your dialogue flows smoothly throughout the book. What’s next for you, Joe?

I’ve just completed a draft of an action novel called (tentatively) Countdown to Osaka. This is my homage (French accent please) to Elmore Leonard. It’s all action and dialogue peppered with comedy, no philosophy (well, perhaps). It follows Koi, a Yakuza enforcer who wants to leave her clan. She’s given one last mission, but it’s her most dangerous—tracking and killing the elusive Le Sauvage, the world’s most notorious gunrunner. Le Sauvage holds the codes to a secret cache of gold hidden after the fall of Osaka Castle, but Interpol is closing in on him. She must get to him before the law. If Koi fails, her dying mother will pass without honor. If she succeeds, Koi will kill her father.

Countdown to Osaka is due to drop on Cyber Monday, 2017. I had a lot of fun writing it and can’t wait till it’s ready to roll out.

Sounds amazing. This short blurb has me intrigued already!

Thank you, Eden, for making the time for me I had fun speaking with you.

And me with you, Joe. Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions.

Readers, find out all more about Joe’s upcoming book below. It’s available for pre-order on Amazon

The Last Meridian – crossing it was her only choice.

A telegram sets off a chain of events that destroys five lives, throwing Hollywood insider Nina Ferrer’s life into turmoil. The infant boy she gave up for adoption in Chicago sixteen years earlier has been arrested for murder. A plea from the boy’s adoptive mother pushes her to act, but Nina has a big problem—she never told her husband about the boy.

Nina must come to terms with her guilt, while accepting the reality of her fragile life and her cheating husband, who’s embroiled in another deadly plot. As her life unravels, the boy’s fate grows ominous. Set against the backdrop of the Hollywood heyday of the early 1960s, the quick-witted, smart-talking Nina, a designer for the well-heeled of Los Angeles, hires a private detective to uncover the facts about what happened back in Chicago, and save her boy. Maybe… just maybe… he can save her, too.

Or perhaps Nina will have to save herself, the most frightening prospect of all. To do that, she must cross The Last Meridian, the place beyond which life as she knows it will no longer exist.

About the Author

 Website |  LinkedIn | Twitter: @hefferonjoe | Facebook

Joe enters the writing world after a 25-year law enforcement career in the city of Newark, NJ. He’s written for several online publications, including over thirty profiles of high-achieving women from around the world for About.com. He has an inexplicable curiosity about Texas noir, and set two short stories in the southeast corner of the state between Laredo and Corpus Christi. Many of the awful things his characters inflict on one another are based on real events from his former career. The sarcasm is in his bones. Joe lives in New Jersey but enjoys learning about other cultures and perspectives. He’s fascinated by human motivation, and doesn’t believe much happens by accident. He often listens to movie soundtracks when writing to help with visualization.

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Eden’s Exchange talks to author Chris Rose (@WritingOnaCloud)

Author Chris Rose and I have crossed paths on several writers’ groups, and I’m happy to finally have him on my blog.

He has a sense of humor, and I think you will enjoy his interview. Please learn more about Chris and all he has to offer.

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Welcome Chris! Let’s start with a personal question. How would your best friend describe you in 20 words or less?

Shy & outgoing. Black and white. Yin and Yang. And on it goes. But passionate always. Oh, and charming (cough).

Sweet. Are you a full time writer or do you have a day job? 

I’m a translator, for now, which, ideally, when the good work’s there, is much the same as writing – it is, indeed, re-writing, rather like editing someone else’s work – so I flit between the two, theirs, mine, theirs, mine…

Sounds like great work for a writer. What part of the world do you live in? 

I live in Norfolk now, Norwich, Europe’s centre of all things literary, and I LOVE it! For its sense of community; for its beautiful coastline, and for all its many cultural and historical aspects.

What is your biggest extravagance?

My clothes. I’ve always been a bit of a dandy.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

Well, I’ve recently read a quote by Helen Mirren, at 70, where she says that if she could go back and advise her younger self about how to deal with people, day to day, there would be many more ‘F*ck offs’ in there. I was brought up to employ the old stiff upper lip, and to not let the bastards see they were grinding me down, and to get through matters on wit. Which isn’t the way to go about things.

Helen Mirren is wickedly beautiful and I love her. What profession other than your own would you like to try?

Be a member of the S.A.S, anything that makes me feel alive. May sound silly to compare the two but that’s why I do theatre.

What is one thing you want to do before you die?

Other than indulge in quite a number of sexual fantasies, all involving willing participants, I’d say get my Italian up there with my French and Spanish.

It’s wonderful to know many languages. Do you have favorite curse words, in English or any other language?

If they can be classed as curse words this day and age, I love the old British working class ‘bleedin’’ this and that – ‘Shut up, ya silly bleeder!’ That kind of stuff, very dry and genuine. But I tend to swear in French most of the time, and so get away with it now: you know, like, ‘Putain de bordel de merde !’ I say get away with it, but I can get caught out sometimes.

How about a motto you live by?

I have so many, as trite as they sometimes sound, but I think ‘Nothing ventured’ holds very true.

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?

My good lady and kids aside, my having become tri-lingual to native level in French and Spanish, having started late on in life, from scratch. It’s what seems to impress people, although I never initiate the question; it’s always due to their curiosity, no cats involved.

🙂 What makes you REALLY laugh?

Wow, where to start! Nothing too intellectual, and it always tends to be quite visual; and it’s something that can catch me completely off guard, all very reactionary and natural. Very basic.

Let’s learn more about the writer in you, Chris.  Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Memory, mainly, I have quite a vivid memory. It’s strange, but I think somewhere, deep down, I always knew I’d become a writer, and it’s as if I’d subconsciously record stuff, from situations right down to something somebody said. And I can go back decades on those alone.

And then there are books I’ve read of course.

What motivates you to write?

The previous question, I think. It’s a need to purge, like most writers, I imagine.

screen-shot-2016-09-22-at-4-43-13-pmWhat is the best advice you’ve received as a writer?

To write for me, not some 23 year old agent. Or publisher. Hence why I love the route I’ve taken and wouldn’t change it.

Name a few of your favorite authors and books, and why you like them.

The question I feared. Albert Camus. F. Scott Fitzgerald. Truman Capote. Kurt Vonnegut. Christianne Rochefort… I could go on, and on.

Yes, it’s always hard to choose just a few. How do you market yourself?

Twitter and Facebook, generally. I mean to do more by putting myself about with the paperbacks, but life keeps getting in the way.

Do you do much research for your books?

Very little. I write about what I know about. Based on what I like to read personally. I’ve yet to attempt some new area.

What are your favorite and least favorite parts of being a writer?

I love the editing part, it’s what I call the real writing, even when it means deleting chunks of text; in fact, I love that part most, clearing away the debris.

The least favourite is the few days after a book has come to completion, and I feel a little lost.

I can relate to that. It’s the anti-climax. Define your style of writing.

Different. Original… hopefully. But to place it somewhere I’d go for poetic prose.

screen-shot-2016-09-22-at-4-42-48-pmIs it important for you to know the title or ending of a book before you write it?

Fantastic question. The title of a book works as a wonderful catalyst for me. I base a book around it. For the ending, no, that just writes itself… as long as it isn’t a happy one, I don’t like those.

Do you outline, plot and structure, or do you just sit down and write?

The second option. Or rather I sit down and bleed 😉

So true! Do you have a set schedule for writing? 

Not really. Whenever it’s quiet, mainly. And if the muse isn’t there, I don’t. No rush.

What is your best advice for new authors?

Be you. There’s room for us all. And read when you can.

What are some of your “must-have” tools for writing? 

A thesaurus – sometimes, that is; I don’t like repeating words when I can help it. And my guitar.

Ah, a musician, nice. What is the name and genre of your latest book?

The latest is called Nancy Boy: for one year only…

Although genre is always a tough one with me. Let’s call it ‘contemporary, introspective, family drama, and romance – there are many more, I’m sure, I like to give value for money (cough).

Yes you do! Let’s  learn more about the book.

screen-shot-2016-09-22-at-4-44-17-pm

Buy link: Amazon 

Nancy Boy: for one year only…

It’s a time of great social and political upheaval – industrial disputes… and… hang on, that was the last book, Wood, Talc and Mr. J, which I hope you’ve read; it might help keep you in the loop. This time the upheaval’s personal; less a “Britain on the brink” for more our protagonist being on it, the brink, on Britain’s brink, heading outwards, over the water by way of the odd blunder.

You’ve got it, Phillip Rowlings is back, all grown up (cough…)

A new dawn approaches – “the real out-with-the-old-and-in-with-the-new,” deems Emmaline; “the shedding of crinkly baggage.” What with a tired and tested Conservative party spiralling downward, and the emergence of a New Labour drawing near, the writing is on the wall; things, as they’d in time say, could only get better. And how better might Britain these “things” than by her ever innovative, her unique, musical sons! Oasis? Blur? The ’80s are gone and good riddance to them, that’s what Phillip thinks!

Or he would, were he to think at all…

He couldn’t give a garlic snail about emerging British dawns; he wants out. And has invested years applying himself to that end – he’s heard the call, you see. Or rather, the calls, conveyed by T.Rex’s Marc Bolan, and Blind Date’s Cilla Black. And if you think that’s weird, how might they inspire our ex-Soul rebel-without-a-clue to… become a Nancy Boy, for the one year only?

France. 1994-’95.

Phillip no longer sees life in black and white, for blue, white, and red, perfect symmetry, height, width. And it all looks lovely on the brochure. Save that – hélas – he’s never been skilled in the shedding of crinkly baggage.

Still, he will encounter the unforeseen, as you do when things come… unforeseen. Poor Phillip, somebody once said. Well, maybe this time it’s more a case of lucky Phillip. Maybe.

Cigarettes are cheaper in France, too.

But let’s get one thing clear from the outset – dès le départ, as they say in the old hexagon. This isn’t A Year in Provence…

Why should people read Nancy Boy?

Because I like to face taboo issues. Or maybe issues people don’t even think to write about, hopefully. They can then, perhaps, find themselves in my books.

How long did it take for you to write it?

Off and on, about two years – with quite a few offs.

What inspired you to write it?

Memory, unresolved issues?

How are you marketing Nancy Boy?

More of the above, really. Which is quite difficult in a paranormal romance dominated world. But as long as someone reads it, I don’t mind… (sniff).

How did you celebrate when you finished the book?

I stopped drinking. I tend to celebrate during.

Ha! Okay. What has the reception been to it?

Great. Initially. And then zilch. Which at least goes to show I have a fan out there (another sniff).

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from writing Nancy Boy?

Again, self-belief. And it’s a great feeling.

What makes your book stand out from the crowd?

Its originality.

What is the best way for someone to support your book, aside from buying it?

That detailed (5 star, cough) review.

What is next for you, Chris?

I’m hoping to write a number of flash fiction stories, perhaps based around the same novel.

Excellent, let’s finish with a fun lightning round! 

Aside from people/pets, what is the ONE item you would save if your house was on fire? My cashmere coat.

Favorite place you’ve traveled to or would like to travel to? I love Cortona, in Tuscany. But I guess my heart will always be in France.

Name a food you can eat every day. Eggs.

Salty or sweet? I swing both ways.

Coffee or tea or something else? COFFEE !!

Cat/dog/other pet? Hamster.

Favorite style of music? Why, Soul music, sista !!

The best gift you’ve ever received? A boy and a girl.

Your most guilty pleasure. Chocolate and banana crèpes – that’s when I’m anybody’s…

Favorite season. Autumn.

Name something you cannot go a day without. A cuddle… (please!)

Is there anything else you would like to share with my readers?

YES. PLEASE BUY MY BOOKS & I LOVE YOU ALL !!!!!

Ps: sorry, but my original website no longer exists (long story, & one I’ll no doubt write about in 20 years or so), so what you have at the moment are the splutterings of a new and basic blog. But just you wait, folks !!

Got it! Thanks again for sharing of yourself with my readers, Chris. It’s been a pleasure to learn more about you.

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Connect to Chris

chris-roseWebsite | Linkedin | Google +

Facebook | Twitter: @WritingOnACloud

Born and bred in the city of steel: Sheffield.

Spent – or misspent, whichever your viewpoint – the majority of his ‘young’ years on the Northern Soul circuit. It’s around this time and place that his novel is set – ‘Wood, Talc and Mr. J : We never had it so good’, which is the 1st in the ‘The Rowlings Years’ series.

His academic education came much later, from scratch, in a sense.

In time, he fell in love with the idea of languages, French in particular, and went on to get a BA Hons in French Language and Literature with subsidiary Spanish, at The University of Sheffield. He was a ‘mature student’, though maybe not as mature as he would like to think, looking back…

After which, he moved down south – mid 90s – and eventually further still to the South of France for a few years, where he taught English. He then moved up to northern France to do much the same thing.

But it was here where he also began to write, or experiment with writing.

He came back to England in the mid-00s and lived in North London for five years, teaching and writing again.

And for the last four or five years, he’s lived in Norwich, where he’s completed a Masters in Literary Translation, at the UEA – he likes to believe he’s most definitely mature now!

He’s now working his way toward making a living by writing, with a little translation on the side…

He tends to be picky about books, and take his time reading them; he expects each word to count; something he can go back to, read again – and again. Things witty, satirical, poetic… Moving. Favourite writers of late? Maybe Markas Zusak. Anna Funder, her ‘All That I Am’. Actually, he’s only just discovered Kurt Vonnegut, and read ‘The Slaughterhouse Five’.

Soulful writers, and their soulful things. And maybe he tries to emulate them.

Same goes for his taste in films, music… and people

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Eden’s Exchange talks to Mark Barry (@greenwizard62)

Mark Barry wears many hats. I know him as the author of novels, Carla, Once Upon a Time in the City of Criminals, and other books. He’s the head of  his publishing company, Green Wizard, and now, he’s also the writer by the name of … Luke Rock.

Like my name, Luke Rock is a pseudonym, and here is what he says about it:

“The reason for the pseudonym is easy. Kevin And The Atomic Bomb is like nothing I have written before”.

I’ve featured one of Mark’s books on my blog before, and I’m pleased to interview him to highlight his latest book.

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Welcome to Eden’s Exchange, Mark. Great to have you here finally! Tell readers how your best friend would describe you in 20 words or less.

Loyal, honest, intelligent, funny and a bit bonkers.

That’s even less than 20 words. 🙂 Are you a full time writer or do you have a day job?

I was a full time writer until imminent starvation propelled me into helping run Empleo, a popular local voluntary and social enterprise, alongside my friend and colleague Phil Pidluznyj. We are based in Nottingham (UK) and help others with employability, reading projects and creative writing and anything else we can think of.

Ha! We’d all be rich if we didn’t have to eat, right? What is your biggest extravagance?

Gambling on horses and going to football matches all over the UK, following a team called Notts County.

Gambling on horses? I made a bet on a horse once—a sure thing (I was told). I lost five bucks and that was the end of gambling for me! If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

Lose weight: An eternal struggle.

🙂 What profession other than your own would you like to try?

Forestry.

Hmm … I’ve never had that answer before. What is one thing you want to do before you die?

Visit all the racetracks in the world, particularly Melbourne Park, Longchamp, Happy Valley, Baden Baden, Santa Anita, Del Mar and (your own) Woodbine.

Wow, you’re serious about horses, aren’t you?  Any favorite curse words? Especially, say, when you lose a bet on a horse?

I have to be careful with the F word. I use it way too much.

Hehe! Do you have a motto you live by?

Win or lose, have a booze.

That’s a new one! What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?

Helping my nineteen year old son grow up to become a decent person.

Sweet. What makes you REALLY laugh?

A British TV programme called The IT Crowd. Cracks me up every time #Messyjoes.

Screen shot 2016-07-13 at 5.41.51 PMI love British comedies. As for your writing, I previously featured your book Once Upon a Time in the City of Criminals, and I’m thrilled to learn you have another one under your name, Luke Rock.  Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Real life and real people. I won’t read a book unless it is theoretically possible to meet and shake hands with the characters in the street today.

 

What motivates you to write?

The prospect of making a living at it.

That never hurts, does it? What is the best advice you’ve received as a writer?

Don’t write long books.

Ahh, that would explain your brevity here. Name a few of your favorite authors and books and why you like them.

Martin Amis, Scarlett Thomas, Jim Thompson, Sebastian Faulks, Charles Bukowski, Rimbaud, Liz Jensen, Cormac McCarthy, Sylvia Plath, Tom McCarthy, Alan Moore. Great, clever, ingenious writers. Beautiful sentencesmiths – that is important to me, far more than the story itself.

How do you market yourself?

Badly.

I’m not sure I agree with you. You get around *wink.* How much research do you do for your books?

Virtually none. It’s all in my head.

You must have a lot of information stored in there. What are your favorite and least favorite parts of being a writer?

I like the white space aspects of writing. Exploring the blank page in front of me at the beginning of a piece. The first pages of a novel are exciting, aren’t they!?  Actually, the blank page, meeting other lovely writers like yourself and the quest to construct the perfect sentence, are the only things I like about being a writer. The rest is an utter pain in the arse. Writers must be bonkers to even attempt the caper.

It’s always great connecting with other writers, but I agree that being an author is not an easy way to earn a living. What part of writing a novel do you enjoy the most? 

The start and the climax. The middle is the actual work. Not a marketing man at all – like pulling teeth. My own.

I hear you, marketing is tough. Is it important for you to know the ending of a book before you write it?

Yes. Absolutely essential. Otherwise, what is the point exactly?

I understand. For me, it’s the journey, but sometimes it’s a long, hard one. Do you outline, plot and structure, or do you just sit down and write?

No. I’m a pantser, in that lovely YA-influenced olden times phrase.

Me too! What is your best advice for new authors?

If you need a kitchen critique group, advice from a 101 blog, a book club, a phalanx of beta readers and slabs of reassurance about your work and abilities, you simply aren’t ready to publish your work, simple as. Sorry if that’s offensive.

Not at all. I think every writer is different. Some may need more support initially to get started. Tell us a bit about your relaunched book, Kevin And The Atomic Bomb. I know it’s a YA/NA novel under your pen name of Luke Rock. Why should people read it?

It’s a black comedy full of different characters and it is based squarely in the ten days following the British people’s disastrous decision to leave the European Union. There is a love story at its core, there are jokes, there is polemic, a really nasty villain of the type many of us have worked with in the past and best of all, there is an atomic bomb in a garage in the suburbs.

Wow, that’s timely! How long did it take for you to write it?

I wrote it in 2012. It took six months and then I have completely rewritten in it in the last ten days, the hardest work I’ve done for a while.

Screen shot 2016-07-13 at 5.41.28 PMWhat inspired you to rewrite the book?

I published it under my own name and a different title in May 2012. The market reacted favourably to other books of mine, notably Carla (my most critically acclaimed book), but this one got a bit lost. I depubbed after three weeks. Then, when the British public decided to commit economic suicide en masse, I saw an opportunity to republish it, completely rebranded, titled, authornamed and covered.

Incidentally, it is quite political, but you can skip those bits and still enjoy it, assuming you don’t hate me for it, in which case bollocks.

Bollocks indeed! Let’s take a look at the book.

Kevin and the Atomic e-cover

Buy link: Amazon US | UK | Canada

Blurb for: Kevin And The Atomic Bomb

What would YOU do if you were the most powerful single human being alive?

Kevin Taylor’s got problems.

His maintenance grant is being cut, the leader of his protest group has designs on Rachel (his far-too-pretty-for-him girlfriend), DC are retconning their universe again and the local bullies make a habit of standing on his specs.

To top it all, his beloved mum is sick and her long term busybody “companion” is constantly in his face.

And all he really wants to do is play Doom.

Despatched to London along with his streetwise best friend, Ricky, his orders are to pick up two secret packages donated by a pan-national group of hardcore Euro-revolutionaries. A massive demonstration is planned and the group need these to raise the stakes.

When Verna -a mysterious and alluring Polish freedom fighter – donates a mysterious third package that no-one expects nor knows anything about, Kevin Taylor quickly comes to realise that his problems are only just beginning.

And his life as he knows it, and the life of everyone around him, is about to change forever.

Other information: The story takes place over ten days in the immediate aftermath of the British public’s decision to leave the European Union and in the context of the consequently collapsing economy.

How are you marketing the book?

Twitter and on FB. I use giveaways a lot.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned from writing your book?

Books are of their time. There is a time and a place. In the first instance, when I set up my business, everyone bought Carla, one of my personal favourite novels. It sold well at one point, but is almost forgotten now. This one (Kevin) struggled in its original guise, but early signs are much more promising.

What is the best way for someone to support your book, aside from buying it?

When I publish the paperback, I’ll send it to you free if you review it!! You know, Eden, of all people, how important reviews are to small press and Indie authors. We can’t get reviewed in newspapers and it’s critical that we get the word of mouth. I sell quite a few books every quarter but I don’t get reviewed as often as some of my peers. I’m not sure why this happens. I would like that to change but hey, I’ll join the queue for the answer to that question.

Reviews are always tough to get. I’m happy to buy your book and read it. Let’s finish with a fun lightning round.

Aside from people/pets, what is the ONE item you would save if your house was on fire? My ammunition crate full of vintage superhero comics, a photograph of a girlfriend, and this laptop.

Favorite place you’ve traveled to or would like to travel to? California – would love to meet my sidekick, your friend and mine, top fiction author Brenda Perlin, and I’m also a big fan of Lorraine Devon Wilke who has promised me muffins galore by the shore if I ever make it over again.

I’d travel over with my great friend Georgia Rose, romance author, noted horsewoman and paddock expert and we’d go to Santa Anita and pay for the trip using our combined horse selecting skills. I’ve just written a short story about Billy Idol on Highway One for Brenda’s new punk anthology and I had a great time researching it – would love to mountain bike up the Pacific Crest Trail too.

Name a food you can eat everyday.  KFC. Buckets of it. Unfortunately, it no longer loves me and we’ve been divorced for six weeks now.

Salty or sweet? As most ladies know, there’s nothing like something salty on birthdays and at Christmas.

Coffee or tea or something else? Tea – every time. Built an Empire!

Favorite style of music? Late sixties psychedelia. Beatles. Byrds. Jefferson Airplane. Janis. Floyd. Favourite band: Black Sabbath.

Your most guilty pleasure. Sleeping in when I should be up and about.

Favorite season. Autumn – that’s the original label for Fall to you North Americans, Eden!

Name something you cannot go a day without. Reading. More of a passion to me than writing.

Thanks so much for  your answers, Mark. I wish you success, no matter what name you write under! 

Readers, please find Mark at all his virtual homes below.

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Connect to Mark Barry aka Luke Rock

Mark Barry Author

Blog | Twitter @GreenWizard62

Amazon Page US | Amazon Page UK

Green Wizard Publishing

Mark Barry is a multi-genre writer and novelist. His work includes the minor cult hit Ultra Violence about football hooligans at a small Midlands football club and Carla, a quirky, dark, acclaimed romance with shades of Wuthering Heights.

He is the co-designer of the innovative Brilliant Books project aimed at engaging the many, many reluctant readers amongst young people. He has one son, Matt, on the  brink of University, with whom he shares a passion for Notts County Football Club.

Fast food, comics, music, reading, his friends on the Independent scene, and horse racing keep him interested and he detests selfish, narcissistic people and bullies of all kinds.

He is based in Nottingham and Southwell in the UK, the scene of most of his fiction.
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Eden’s Exchange talks to @AuthorAmyMetz

It’s a pleasure for me to introduce author, Amy Metz. She and I have crossed paths on several writing sites, and I wanted to learn more about her.

Amy is a lovely woman, so do connect to her and find out more about her books.

* * * *

Amy, welcome to Eden’s Exchange. Thrilled to have you here. How would your best friend describe you in 20 words or less?

I went straight to the source. He said, “A caring and sensitive mother and friend; always available to support others and is passionate about her beliefs and principles.”

How sweet.  If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I would be a billionaire. Seriously, I would be an extrovert instead of introvert.

A billionaire extrovert wouldn’t be bad. 😉 What profession other than your own would you like to try?

I’d love to be a travel photographer.

Do you have a motto you live by?

For my personal life: The golden rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

For my writing life:You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, but there will always be someone who hates peaches.

I love that, and peaches are one of my favorite fruits. What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?

My children. I have two grown sons so I guess they’re actually not children anymore, but they will always be my babies and the best things I ever did.

Screen shot 2016-07-07 at 3.33.03 PM

You sound like an amazing mom, Amy. Let’s learn more about your writing life. How do you market yourself?

I think blog features like this one are effective in getting the word out about a book (thank you!), so I try to do as many as will have me. I also take advantage of any of the free services on the Internet, such as virtual bookshelves, author pages on various sites, or free or reduced book alert services. I have a list on my blog of marketing steps that I use: http://abluemillionbooks.blogspot.com/p/marketing.html

Screen shot 2016-07-07 at 3.33.20 PM

I look forward to connecting with you on your site too. What part of writing a novel do you enjoy the most? The least?

Favorite: I love getting lost in a story and feeling like I’m in the scene.
Least favorite: editing. Specifically, the 100,000th round of editing.

Screen shot 2016-07-07 at 3.33.56 PM

I know the feeling well, Amy. Tell us about your typical writer’s day.

A typical day starts by answering emails and posting to Facebook and Twitter. Then I pull up whatever it is I’m working on and reread the section I wrote last. Next, I write or edit or rewrite, depending on the need. Somewhere along the way, I’ll need to check something online. I will probably see new emails and read them, and then something in an email will probably lead me to Facebook where I’ll be for I-don’t-know-how-long. Something on FB will probably lead me to another site like Twitter or Pinterest, where I’ll probably get lost again. I’ll eventually wonder what it was I came online to do, and I’ll finally go check out what I came online to do in the first place. Then I’ll go back to writing. Somewhere along the line, I’ll need to check something online. I will probably see new emails and read them, and then something in an email will lead me to Facebook to like or comment . . . you get the picture. That and a short break for lunch is pretty much my day.

Haha, my head was spinning reading your answer! Do you have advice for new authors?

Stay away from Facebook while you’re working.

I agree Facebook can be a huge energy sucker. What are some of your “must-have” tools for writing?  

I don’t need much. My laptop. Electricity. The Internet for thesaurus.com and research or checking facts. That’s about it.

Tell us the name and genre of your latest book.

Rogues & Rascals in Goose Pimple Junction is a cozy mystery.

Rogues&Rascals

Buy link: Amazon 

Blurb for: Rogues & Rascals in Goose Pimple Junction

Like any good Southern belle, Caledonia Culpepper was raised by her mama to be gracious, charming, witty, and above all, a devoted mother and loving wife, so she’s baffled when her marriage falls apart.

Wynona Baxter is a master of disguise but is often a ditzy airhead. A hit woman wannabe, when she’s hired for her first job in Goose Pimple Junction and things don’t go as planned, she’s forced to resort to Plan B. She’ll also need Plan C and D.

Crooked lawyers, restless husbands, a teenaged hoodlum – it seems there are rogues and rascals everywhere you look in Goose Pimple Junction.

When Caledonia and Wynona’s paths cross, they prove there isn’t a rogue or a rascal who can keep a good woman down. Mama always said there would be days like this . . .

Amy, why should people read the book?

I think if someone wants to get lost in a mystery that will make them laugh and make them want to move to a quirky small town where the community is fun, loving, and close-knit, they should read my books!

Sounds like a great reason to read it! How did you celebrate when you finished writing Rogues & Rascals in Goose Pimple Junction?

I don’t think I celebrated when I finished writing the book, because as soon as I’m sure I’m finished, the editing process starts, which means the book isn’t really finished. I consider the book finished on launch day. On launch day, I went out to dinner at my favorite restaurant with my two sons, daughter-in-law, and my friend Tom.

I feel the same way. It’s only finished for me when it’s available for sale. What has the reception been to the book?

It has received great reviews so far, with twelve 5-star reviews and one 4-star review. But sales have been very slow, which is depressing.

I hope it ramps up soon, Amy. What is the best way for someone to support your book, aside from buying it?

Tell your friends. Tell them to tell their friends. Post a comment about it on Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest. And post a review online on as many sites as you can.

What is next for you after this book?

I’m writing the fifth book in the series. Wynona and Caledonia will be back!

That’s excellent news! Let’s finish with a fun lightning round.

Aside from people/pets, what is the ONE item you would save if your house was on fire? My computer. It pretty much has my life on it.

Salty or sweet? Sweet. A day without something sweet isn’t a day.

Coffee or tea or something else? Tea. Preferably sweet tea—hot or cold. With a lemon!

Cat/dog/other pet? Dog. I love dogs, but I hate the fur that sheds all over everything and everywhere.

Your most guilty pleasure. Donuts. I love them. There’s a store near my house that sells Boston Cream Pie donuts. Oh. My. Gosh.

Favorite season. Fall. I love the colors, the crisp air, and the temps below 80. And I love Halloween.

Name something you cannot go a day without. My iPhone. Not necessarily for the phone feature, but for the email, notes, text message, photo, camera, Google and Google Maps, Audible, Kindle, calculator, clock, and Solitaire apps!

Thank you so much for hosting me!

You are most welcome, Amy. Readers, please find her at all her virtual homes below.

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Connect to Amy

AmyMetz

Website | Blog | Twitter @AuthorAmyMetz

Amazon Author Page | LinkedIn

Facebook | Goodreads | Google +

Amy Metz is the author of the Goose Pimple Junction mystery series. She is a former first grade teacher and the mother of two sons. When not actively engaged in writing, enjoying her family, or surfing Facebook or Pinterest, Amy can usually be found with a mixing spoon, camera, or book in one hand and a glass of sweet tea in the other. Amy lives in Louisville, Kentucky.

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