Author Spotlight

 Author Spotlight on Author Kenya Cagle


Who is your favorite author and is your writing style similar to theirs?
 My favorite writer is the late, great Fred Hudson. Fred was a screenwriter and personal  friend who not only wrote screenplays but taught a generation of writers as well. Fred’s  greatest work The Education of Sonny Carson was produced as a movie that starred  many of today’s top thespians. In addition, Fred taught screenplay writing and I was  blessed enough to attend his classes. He also wrote the play The Legend of Deadwood Dick. Because I studied with Fred and honed my screenwriting skills at his workshops that were held at The Frederick Douglass Creative Arts Center, I believe our styles are similar. Fred focused on characterization and going underneath the conscious of the characters to the subconscious. I believe I picked up a lot of that and it is reflected in the details that I provide to the reader.

What's your favorite part of a book?
 My favorite part of any book is the moment when you forget you are reading. The  moment it grabs you and bring you into its’ world. It could be the beginning, middle or end. But there comes that time when you are so engrossed with what is going on that the outside world no longer exists.

When naming your characters, do you give any thought to the actual meaning of the characters name?
I give a lot of thought to naming my characters. Their names have to mean something to me. I have to know them. I have to feel them. For instance, in this book Prophet The Story of Nat Turner, even though it is historical fiction, I had to study and find the right names for each character. The African names all have meaning specifically related to that character’s purpose in the book. The book also contains the names of my mother, sisters and all my aunts. This makes the characters much more real to me and I can relate to them much better.

What do you consider to be your biggest accomplishment?
My biggest accomplishment is the fact that as a producer over the last ten years I have helped to employ nearly 1,000 thespians and crew members. As a writer, this is my first book and just getting it published and having it turn out a bestseller is a big accomplishment for me.

Who and/or what has inspired you?
I am mostly inspired my children and the fact that I want to be a good role model for  them. I believe that writing is a great vehicle and one that could influence them in a positive way.

Did you always want to write?
I always wanted to write and cannot recall a time when I didn’t. As a young man I kept  diaries and wrote personal notes to myself. I always had a talent for storytelling and attracted much attention whenever I did so. My passion, however, was in acting. I spent a lot of time denying my writing talents to work on my acting talents.

How have your personal experiences affected your writing?
Each and everything I write it has something to do with my life or something that has happened in my life. The first feature film I wrote Goodnite Charlie was based on a  situation that I got involved in with my nephew. My next screenplay The Undercover Man was about cases that I took on when I worked as an undercover agent for a semi government agency. The screenplay after that Thug Kids was about an incident that took place when I was a teenager.

What genre of books do you like to read? Do you limit yourself to reading books that are only in the genre that you write yourself?
I read all types of literary works including poems, short stories, essays, compositions, everything. I always try to think outside the box, outside the rules. The rules are too limiting. I want to break the rules and break traditional thinking. I have always been one to stretch the rules as far as they could go. 

How do you get started with writing a story (In other words, how do you start developing the story? How do you get inspired for it?)
For me, getting started has never really been a problem. Different things inspire me at different times. It may be a simple word, some music or a situation in life. These things trigger something inside of me; a small spark. One that I ignore at first, but then later the spark returns. It gets bigger and bigger. Then whatever that situation was that had planted itself in my subconscious mind takes root and before long, I am thinking about it and thinking on it. I thought about a book on Nat Turner for about five years before I actually started doing research. I then did the research for months. Finally when I sat down to write the story, it took four days. I couldn’t leave the chair. The story took on a life of its on and was forcing itself out of me. Sometimes a story or a scene for a story sparked by something I care about lingers and builds over the years. Then the entire story is put together over time in my mind. My subconscious let’s me know it is time to write. I sit down. Sometimes I don’t even know how the story is going to start. I see the ending in my head and then eventually the beginning comes. 

What is one thing you cannot live without?
The one thing I cannot live without is love. Whether it is love of a family member, a friend or neighbor, it is crucial to me to give and receive love. Without feeling love, I can’t express myself orally or through writing. Underneath each project, underneath each action that I do, there is always that strong element. In the films Goodnite Charlie, Brooklyn Gangster or my book Prophet The Story of Nat Turner, the underlining story is about love. My characters have a strong love of themselves but especially their families. 

Where is your favorite place to relax/write?
Because I studied meditation, my favorite place to relax is inside of myself. I routinely start my morning off at 4:30 am with prayer, meditation, physical exercise and mental exercise. I then take a hot shower and enjoy a cold smoothie. After that I spend my time marketing and promoting on social media, emails, developing new concepts, studying my crafts through various means including audio, video, television, answering and returning calls. I make it to bed by 11 or 12. My philosophy however is to work hard and play hard. I work non-stop, but I take trips every few months and rest for days or weeks at a time doing things unrelated to anything. I usually end these vacations when the feeling hits me and my mind says it is time to work. 

What is your favorite childhood memory?
My favorite childhood memory is racing my dad down the streets of Brooklyn. Once while we were walking my dad challenged me to a race. He told me that he could beat me running and that he would run backwards. I must have been about nine years old. I told my dad that I would beat him. My dad called it and I ran with all my might. My dad handily beat me and we laughed all the way home.

Who is/are your role model(s)?
Most of my role models have gone home to God. My favorite role models include my dad George Cagle who taught me everything I know. Fred Hudson who taught me how to be a writer and producer. My sensi Al Govine who helped me gain confidence through the martial arts. Ira Williams former vice president Local 371 who was a mentor and friend. Julian Hill who was the smartest man I ever met. But in this life, I have two that are still alive, my godfather Bill Duke who fortified everything I was taught. And last but not least my pastor Rev. Hardy Smallwood, Jr. who has led me spiritually in a mighty way. 

What is your favorite thing about yourself?
My most favorite thing about myself is that I learned and developed a trait inside of me that allows me to complete goals no matter what the circumstance. I discovered early on that starting something is half the battle. I also realize that completing any goal is an art. In short, I make sure that I finish whatever I start.

What is the last book you have read or are currently reading?
The last book I read is not published yet. It was written by a new and upcoming author named Natacha Daniel. Her book is called Ill Will and is the story of a young woman who loses her entire family though gang violence. It is about her trials and tribulations growing up without them. 

If you could have any job in the whole wide world that you could imagine or make up, then what job would that be?
If I could have any job in the whole wide world I would be a movie producer. As a producer I could take whatever I write and produce it whenever I want. Producers make the final decisions and can even order rewrites. Producers determine when a screenplay will be a movie. Producers sign the checks.

20 questions with Author Spotlight on Author M.J. Kane!

1.       Did you always know that you wanted to be a writer?

I love books, have read them like crazy. As far back as I can remember I spent time in a library, never leaving without at least five books in my hand. As an only child who lived out in the middle of now where, playing with my toys and reading were the only things to keep my active imagination going. Did I ever imagine writing a book myself? Never!

2.       Were you always good at writing? 

I can’t say I was a great writer at an early age because writing wasn’t what I wanted to do. I was never good at keeping an active diary, either. But I was a great story teller. My Barbie dolls, stuffed animals, and baby dolls always had something going on, some storyline being acted out, even if it wasn’t written on paper. I think that’s why I am attracted to the game, The Sims. It gives me a chance to ‘play’ with custom made characters in a world that comes straight from my imagination. I guess those were the beginning stages of character development. J

3.       If you could work with any other author who would it be and why? Honestly?

I’m not sure that I could. After spending four years developing my own writing style I’ll be the first to admit, I am overprotective of my babies and don’t like to share. Yep, only child syndrome…lol

4.       Have your personal experiences affected your writing or writing style?  

Oh yes, in fact, my personal experiences are the reason why I write. Like many authors, it’s free therapy.  J Bits and pieces of my experiences and from those around me influence the stories I write and what drives my characters. Sometimes it for the good, sometimes if for the bad. But isn’t that how life works? Every decision made doesn’t always lead to the perfect happily ever after. We have to work for it. That’s the type of message I relay in my books.

5.       What is one thing that you absolutely cannot live without?

Pen and paper!!! Or more specifically, my clipboard with a stack of fresh, unwrinkled paper and a black ink pen. My characters ‘visit’ me at odd times. With my busy schedule and big family, thinking I can have a great scene come to mind and remember it a few hours later when I get to my laptop….well, let’s just say there were several epic fails I learned from in the past. Since then, I make sure to have those items with me if I know I’m going to be anywhere that allows me to sit sedentary for more than ten minutes….the doctor’s office, pick up line outside of my kids school….

6.       Do you have a writing spot that only you can work, like a writing cave? If so what does it look like?

For the most part I work in my office at my desk, but it depends on what project I’m working on at the time. If I’m writing a first draft of a story, I may lie in bed, sit outside on the deck (weather and insects permitting!), or chill on the futon in the living room. When using my laptop, I’m mostly in my office where I have a monitor hooked up to give me more work space. As far as what it looks like: My office is the formal ‘dining room’ that we don’t use, so it sits between the living room and kitchen. There’s a sliding door to cut off the kitchen, and my hubby installed folding doors to separate it from the living room where the kids hang out. I can close myself off, put on headphones, and dive right in. I love the large window that overlooks the back yard. When working a scene, I’ve often stared out at the trees, lost in thought. It’s a draw back when it rains, though. Then I’m ready to take a nap!  I’ve got a huge calendar on one wall, a cork board with bills on another, and two large lovely pictures done by a friend who is an artist behind me. My four dogs are usually taking up the space directly behind my chair. And my desk tends to be cluttered with notes…except for the day I clean it. LOL

7.       What gets your creative juices flowing?

Sometimes it can be an image seen online of an actor, story in the news, or just general conversation. Anything that starts a ‘what if’ scenario brewing in my head will work. It’s amazing what type of story, event, or experience can get the creative pot brewing!

8.       What is one of your most favorite childhood memories? 

I played with my toys and give them stories of their own. Once I got my parents tape recorder (remember those?), gathered my favorite dolls and stuffed animals, and climbed into the car. I set them all up, hit record, and gave each and every one of them a voice as ‘we’ sang happy anniversary to my parents. I played it back for them that night at dinner. They loved it. J

9.       Which character is your favorite character to write? 

So far, I would have to say Yasmine Phillips of Jaded has been my favorite. She’s sassy, has an attitude she’s not afraid to show, and will say what’s on her mind, damn the consequences. She very confident in her body and sexuality. She’s probably who I’d be if I had the nerve. LOL!

10.   How do you conceive plot ideas? 

First of all, there is not a plot line that has never been done before. Stories, whether they are written or acted out in movies and television, somebody, somewhere has done it millions of times. What makes a story stand out is how it’s addressed, what twist can be put in that takes the reader in a direction they didn’t see coming. I take a scenario and create a character who would find that set of circumstances a challenge. I use that story as a way to discover how a person would react, what would challenge them to the point that they would be forced to give up. What would motivate them to see it through, and what reward could be waiting on the end. I write Women’s Fiction and Interracial Romance, so I look for a topic people can relate too, both male and female. For A Heart Not Easily Broken, it was how a woman could handle rape and the challenges of interracial relationships. For Jaded, it’s a twist on the typical friends with benefits storyline, and what happens after happily ever after? For the next book in the series, Lonely Heart, I deal with the topic of becoming a single parent and opening up to love again.

11.   What are your target readers? 

My target audience is mature readers, ages 18 and up whom are looking for a story that takes them on an emotional ride and leaves them feeling fulfilled, yet open their eyes and hearts to something new.  My goal with The Butterfly Memoirs is to encourage, entertain, and educate my readers on the reality of life, love, and relationships. I want my readers to know they are not alone in their daily struggles, that despite the negative, there is a chance to find happiness where you least expect it.

12.   Do you use real-life facts based on true stories? 

A little. If not from my own experiences then it’s inspired by someone I know or it is what can realistically happen.

13.   Did you ever think you’d become an author?

No, not at all. But since becoming one, I have found self-fulfillment I never knew was possible. Even if nobody liked my stories, the fact that I was able to commit to a project and see it through to completion was fulfilment enough. Believe me, it’s taken 4 years to get it get it right, and I am still improving. Having people by my books, then connect with me via social network sites to talk about it is icing on the cake!

14.   What do you consider to be your biggest accomplishment? As an author?

My personal accomplishment would be realizing my storytelling abilities after surviving a stroke in 2006. After overcoming several major medical hurdles, such as being able to read and physically write anything period is major. As an author, becoming successful and discovering a fan base of dedicated readers who have connected on a personal and emotional level with my characters and writing style is amazing. Writing these characters is like visiting family and I hope my readers feel the same way.

15.   If I became a writer, what tips would you give me? 

Write what you feel and stay true to you. Take the time to feel out your story. Get to know your characters and develop that writing style. No well written story is done in a few months. It may take that long to write it down, but you still have to go through and work out the kinks. Don’t be afraid of the word ‘edit’ or ‘editor’….they are your friends and what can make a simple story turn into so much more. Your story will evolve; go through many stages of evolution before you finally run out of things to say. You’ll know when you reach that point, and when you do, go over it again! Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for the opinion of those you trust. If you can, ask another experienced author who may be willing to put you on the ‘write’ path. You’ll be glad you did!

16.   What’s your favorite thing about yourself? 

My creativity and imagination that doesn’t seem to tire!

17.   What is the last book you read? 

A soon to be published novel I beta read for a very dear friend and fellow author. Can’t release the title of it at this time. Before that, it was The Blind Date by Delaney Diamond.

18.   Why do you like to write?

Because it allows me to express myself in a way that is uncontrolled. It’s my world where I can leave the real one behind and get lost in someone else’s problems and ignore my own for a bit. Often times as I guide my characters through the pit falls of their lives, I find myself saying, ‘hey, I should do that to!’

19.   Do you have a favorite genre that you like to read? Do you limit yourself to just one or many? 

For the longest time, my favorite genre was Science Fiction. I am a big Star Wars movie buff, so when I stumbled into the Star Wars section of my library and discovered the boundless amount of novels with new characters, worlds, and story lines….let’s just say it was a happy moment. LOL. I’ve read about 80 SW books…yep, SW geek. I also like Mystery’s, and of course Romance, and yep, even Erotic Romance. J

20.   What is the craziest thing you have ever done? 

Oh, wow….I’d say go swimming in a river in a park that was supposed to be off limits. Even took the kids on several occasions. That was one great summer! 

Check out her awesome books!

Ebony is a smart, sexy, career-oriented black woman who wants nothing more than a summer fling with a man who challenges her mind and body. What she doesn’t expect is a blond haired, blue-eyed bass player—who won’t take “no” for an answer—to accept the challenge. 
When Ebony’s attempt at a brief fling turns into more, despite negative reactions from friends and family, she finds juggling love, family, and career are nothing compared to the ultimate betrayal she endures. Now her dreams spiral into lies and secrets that threaten her future and her best friend’s trust. 

A devastating breakup leaves Yasmine Phillips in shambles. Unable to trust another man with her heart, she focuses on the one thing she can control—starting her own business. 

When her computer crashes, taking months of hard work with it, she must rely on computer genius Zachariah Givens to save her. A complete opposite of men from her past, she doesn't expect the passion that ensues. But just as she finds happiness, she learns the truth about the other women in Zachariah's life. 

About the Author:

M.J. Kane stumbled into writing. An avid reader, this stay at home mom never lost the overactive imagination of an only child. As an adult she made up stories, though never shared them, to keep herself entertained. It wasn’t until surviving a traumatic medical incident in 2006 that she found a reason to let the characters inhabiting her imagination free.  Upon the suggestion of her husband, she commandeered his laptop and allowed the characters to take life. It was that, or look over her shoulder for men caring a purple strait jacket. And the rest, as they say, is history.
No longer a television addict, if M.J. isn’t reading a book by one of her favorite authors, she’s battling with her creative muse to balance writing and being a wife and mother. She resides in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia with her high school sweetheart, four wonderful children, and four pit bulls.
MJ’s debut novel, A Heart Not Easily Broken, Book one of the Butterfly Memoirs, became an instant Amazon Bestseller in Multicultural Romance and African-American Literature and Fiction within hours of publication. It has also spent time on the African-American Women’s Fiction and African-American Romance Bestsellers lists.
In addition to writing, MJ is the director of a writer’s group which meets at Barnes & Nobel, is the Newsletter Editor for the Romance Novels in Color website, and shares writing tips, introduces her  followers to new authors, and shares her personal experiences on her blog, This Writer’s Life. Other activities she enjoys include: creating custom floral arrangements, assisting her children in their creative pursuits of music and art, and supporting her husband’s music production business, 3D Sounds.
Learn more about the author by visiting these online interviews:
MJ can be found online connecting with readers and other authors sharing her writing, talking about music, life, and family. She’s always excited to meet new people. Connect with her via the websites below.  

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Our spotlight on Author John J. Higgins

John J. Higgins is an attorney and former statewide prosecutor who has had a multi-faceted career and life. He has worked on farms, performed firearm repairs, and refinished and sold antiques, all before he finished high school. In between pursuing his college studies, he supervised industrial finishing operations and assisted in developing a powder coating system. After college, he worked fulltime and attended law school at night. He also filmed rock stars and celebrities for public service announcements and produced and emceed a play that performed before audiences that totaled over 170,000. In his career as an attorney, he researched and wrote policy papers for governmental committees, drafted legislation, and revised statutes. In his role as a statewide prosecutor he was involved in some of the highest profile cases in his state, from prosecuting multiple and complex crime rings to homicides, including those committed by a serial killer. Among other things he does in his private life, he can scuba dive and pilot an airplane. An avid student of history and spiritual development, he lives in New Jersey in an old Victorian train station he converted into his residence.
He can be reached at, @JohnJHigginsEsq on twitter or at his website

Here is an Excerpt from his latest Book

She awoke a few hours later. She felt that she was no longer alone. She looked up to see three Angels standing over her and her bed. In the darkness she did not immediately recognize any of them. They had not used their internal illumination. She thought that was odd, as she had never seen the Angels move as though they wanted to remain unseen by anyone else.
Startled, Lillith exclaimed, “Who are you and what do you want of me?” She was still having trouble placing the identities of these three Angels.
Luciferael stepped forward and illuminated himself from within. “See, Lillith, it is I, Luciferael, I have come to bring you home with me. I still want to build you that mansion we talked about before.”
Good evening, my lord,” she said, still trying to wake up and rubbing her eyes and face.
You remember Beelzebael and Sammuael, don't you, Lillith? I have brought them to try to protect you from any harm. The loyal Angels had been sworn to destroy you by the Almighty. You and your kind are now considered to have been a failed experiment. Adam and Eve ruined paradise for all of your kind. Their selfishness and desire to become godlike was their undoing.”
The Almighty?” asked Lillith, looking perplexed. “I thought you had conquered the Heavens, Luciferael?”
Check out the the other two books in the series

Book 1Book 2-Book 3

Awesome interview with Inara Scott

 Did you always know that you wanted to be a writer?
My mom has evidence of me proclaiming this as soon as I could hold a pencil. But I did get sidetracked into law school, mostly because practicing law involves a lot of writing. And arguing. I’m probably equal parts writer and arguer.

Were you always good at writing?
I don’t know if I’m good at it now, but I sure do love doing it!

   Have your personal experiences affected your writing or writing style?
I’m what I like to call an emotional sponge. I suck up the emotions from everyone around me, which makes it really hard if my characters are feeling sad or scared. I suppose that’s why my books always have happy endings!

 What was your favorite thing about Falling for Mr. Wrong?
Oh, I have such a sweet spot for Ross! He’s everything I adore in a man—a big, sexy oaf who gets things wrong but loves so deeply and passionately, he knows how to make things right.

Which of the characters in Falling for Mr. Wrong was your favorite to write?
I have a huge girl crush on Kelsey (the heroine). I used to lead outdoor trips for a living, but never had the guts (or the physical stamina!) to be a real mountaineer. Kelsey’s got all that—but at the same time, she’s incredibly vulnerable and unsure how to connect with people and allow herself to be loved.

What is one thing that you absolutely cannot live without?
Is it too much of a stereotype to say coffee? Cause it’s true. ;-)

Do you have a writing spot that only you can work, like a writing cave? If so what does it look like?
Nope, I can write anywhere. What I can’t do is deal with a lot of noise. So if I’m writing at a coffee shop, I have to bring noise-cancelling headphones.

What gets your creative juices flowing?
Oh, real life is full of stories. I see them all the time! What’s hard for me is narrowing down all my ideas to pick just one!

    Do you use real-life facts based on true stories?
I’ve been inspired by lots of true stories. Actually, the first team of climbers from the United States to summit on Annapurna I (that’s the mountain Kelsey is headed for, in Falling for Mr. Wrong) was a group of women, led by an amazing woman named Arlene Blum. I read her book (Annapurna: A Woman’s Place) about that expedition while I was on an expedition of my own expedition in Mexico. So Falling for Mr. Wrong was inspired, in part, on that story.

What do you consider to be your biggest accomplishment?
My kids—at least, I don’t think I’ve screwed them up too much yet. And my books. I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to look on a shelf and your name on the spine of a book. It’s magical.

What is the craziest thing you have ever done?
I’m really not crazy at all. I’m pretty much a complete chicken, in fact. The craziest thing I ever did was probably quitting my very secure job as a lawyer to write fiction full time. That was downright insane.

If you could work with any other author who would it be and why?

I think it would be incredibly hard to write with someone else. You’d really have to trust their process, and you’d have to be compatible in many ways. But if you’re wondering who my latest author-crush is, totally Victoria Dahl. I love her books and her commitment to supporting other women. She’s fabulous. 

20 Questions with James Gordon

What do you consider to be your biggest accomplishment? 
My biggest accomplishment was winning the Moth Storytelling Slam. 

Who and/or what has inspired you?
 There are a combination of individuals that have inspired me: 50 Cent, Kobe Bryant, Langston Hughes, and my Dad. I am also inspired by taking history by the throat and making it bend to my will

 Did you always want to write? 
I have always wrote. It may not have been Poetry, but i have.

 How have your personal experiences affected your writing? 
That is the only way I can write is by things I have experienced. Whether it has been me personally, things I have witnessed, or stories told to me, everything I write comes from there. 

What genre of books do you like to read? do you limit yourself to only the genre that you write yourself? I enjoy reading fiction and self help books. 
Actually, I don't really read books of Poetry, unless they are classics.

 Were you always good at writing?
 No, I needed more experience and experience for me to be the superlative writer I am now. 

How do you get started with writing a story (as in, how do you start developing the story, how do you get inspired for it)
 When I was incarcerated, i wrote poems for other inmates. That's when i realized that this was for me to do. Now, I want the world to see. I wrote what was on my mind and heart for the longest time. 

What advice would you give to people who "run out of creativity" when writing?
 Yeah, they need to move or stop writing. There is always something to write about,be inspired by. 

How do you conceive your plot ideas?
 The poems are actually pictures in my head that I see and then place on paper. 

How long did it take you to publish your first book, after you started trying? 
It actually took close to two years. I wrote the manuscript for The Confessional Heart of a Man in August of 2007 and published it in March of 2009. 

Do you use real-life facts based on true stories?
 I cannot write with a ton of embellishment, so I write fact. 
Where is your favorite place to relax/write? My front couch in front of the TV and next to Scooter is where I like to write.

 What is your favorite childhood memory?
 My favorite childhood memory is beating up two bullies.

 Who is/are your role model(s)? 
Easy. My role models are my Parents and my Brother.

 Do you have a writing spot that only you can go to work? If so, what does it look like?
 I can write anywhere. The world gets blocked out when it is time to get to it. 

What gets your creative juices flowing? 
Beautiful women and life get my juices flowing. Listening to a great song that has me bobbing my head gets me going.

 What is the craziest thing you have ever done? 
I stole a million dollars from the IRS.

 What is your favorite thing about yourself? 
My relentless will to win is the thing I like most about myself.

 When you were a kid, what was the biggest thing you got into trouble for?
Talking in class

 If you could have any job in the whole wide world that you could imagine or make up, what job would that be?
 I would love to be Batman, billionaire playboy and brooding superhero. 

20 Questions with Author R.J. Terrell

1. If you could work with any author who would it be?

You know, that question would have been an easy one several years ago, but I've had the opportunity to read and meet some amazing authors these past few years. Still, my answer is the same as it would have been back then. R.A. Salvatore. The guy is an amazing person as well as an amazing author, and has created one of the most beloved characters in the fantasy genre.

2. Who is your favorite author?

Who is your favorite author and is you writing style similar to theirs?
*chuckling* I think my zeal in answering the first question bled into this one. My favorite author is R.A. Salvatore, and my writing style has undoubtedly been affected by him.

3. What is your favorite part of a book?

Hmm. I would have to say it is two things, actually. First, is when a character is about to discover something that the reader already knows. Second, would have to be that moment when the protagonist must dig down deep within themselves to overcome the trial they are enduring.

4. When naming your characters, do you give any thought to the actual meaning?

I do. There are times when I will draw from a specific culture for a name, or I may make one from scratch, in which case the name will still have a meaning, just of my creation.

5. Who are your target readers?

I would say the target readers of my Legend of Takashaniel fantasy books would be male and female 12 years and up. For my Hunter's Moon vampire books I would go male and female 18 and up, though these days you could probably range it at 16 and up. *grin*

6. What do you think people look for in a book?

I believe readers are looking for different things depending on the genre, but there are certain things that reach across genres. One thing that readers are looking universally, is a strong and compelling story; that goes without saying. But to be a little more detailed, a good plot. Without that, there is nothing to hold the book together. Fantasy readers may be looking for the wonder one finds in traveling alongside characters in an exciting and unfamiliar world with animals and monsters, as well as races of people that are alien to our own world. They may also look for a strong character driven book, in which the world itself is amazing, but the characters take center stage.

Romance readers are looking for strong relationships between characters, while thriller readers are looking for a roller coaster ride in the seat right behind the protagonist, as she is forced to survive in the situation in which she has been thrust.

7. Who and/or what has inspired you?

I think the strength of the indomitable spirit and the undying desire to experience that which is bigger than I am inspires me. Although I will be crossing into the thriller genre soon, one reason fantasy is my favorite genre is because the characters have abilities and live in a world I could only dream of. It is larger than our world, and filled with a sense of wonder that I find captivating.

8. Did you always want to write?

Not at all. I actually disliked writing quite a bit through school. It wasn't until I wrote a hurried short story for earth day in the eleventh grade and won second place that the spark lit. I still didn't seriously write my first story until roughly seven years later.

9. How have your personal experiences affected your writing?

I find that the general lack of diversity in television and the fantasy genre has greatly affected my writing. Although the fantasy genre has come a long way, it has (and to a degree still does) suffer from a glaring lack of diversity. This also holds true for movies and television. The world is made up of many different types of people, and for that matter, the US is made up of a diverse population. If one were to judge from what they see on the screen, however, one would think the population nearly homogeneous. My writing is exactly the opposite of this.

10. How do you conceive your plot ideas?

That's kind of a funny one to answer for any writer, I think. Honestly, ideas pop up from everywhere, and if I were to try to write them all, I would need to live well beyond a century or two to get it done. It can happen anywhere and at any time; sleep, a certain track of music, something that happens in a movie or tv show. Conversation by someone around you. Life is the best plot foundation upon which to build.

11. Where is your favorite place to relax/write?

One would think a nice quiet place by a running stream, or sitting against a tree. Not the case for me. In the early morning, I need a coffee shop to write in. The steady noise forces my mind to focus. Evening time, I can write in the office with the door closed.

12. What is your favorite childhood memory?

I would say it was when my brother would walk into my room and say "prepare for battle", in which case I would go into my closet and pull out every Transformer I had. (which was nearly all of them!) A great battle would ensue between the space of his bedroom and the living room. He was always the Decepticons....

13. Who is/are your role model(s)?

My role models would be my mother, for showing me what pure love and strength is. My dad, for exhibiting strength and responsibility, and to hold strong and get the job done no matter what. If I amount to half of what they were while they were here, I will consider myself blessed.

14. Do you have a writing spot that only you can go to work? If so, what does it look like?

I usually try to find a little corner in the coffee shop, preferably around the corner from the action.

15. What gets your creative juices flowing?

Writing those first sentences gets the ball rolling. The best way to defy the blank page is to put something on it.

16. What is the craziest thing you have ever done?

A friend and I decided to go off the school grounds to have lunch. (only seniors were allowed, but we snuck out) Lunch time ended while we were still waiting for our food, and after nearly being caught by the police, (some of that time spent cowering behind a bush as they looked right past me down the alley) we hopped the fence and swore never to do it again. Yes, I had a pretty tame childhood.

17. What is your favorite thing about yourself?

*laughing* If I had to chose something, I guess it would be my ability to keep things simple in my life.

18. What is the last book you have read or are currently reading?

I just finished reading The Companions: First book of The Sundering, by R.A. Salvatore

19. When you were a kid, what was the biggest thing you got into trouble for?

Easy. Bad grades due to laziness. That was nearly the only thing I ever got into trouble for. I always did very well when I applied myself, but I tended to be lazy. It used to drive my parents crazy.

20. If I became a writer- what tips would you give me?

First: Learn from the pros. Taking a course in a university from anyone other than a person who is actively making a living in the business is not the best option in my opinion. Working knowledge is best, and there are many bestselling authors paying their success forward in the form of affordable seminars and workshops. Those combined with good books on writing are essential.

Second: Read a lot, then read some more. I've met aspiring writers who've told me they don't read much because they don't have time. It is extremely difficult to do something you are not actively participating in.

Third, and very important, get in the chair and write. Defy that blank page by putting something on it. Even if what you write is pure garbage, things will flow and come together. This is not unlike any other practice. It is a muscle that you must warm up first, and put to use. The more you work it, the stronger it gets, and vice versa.

Check him out here!

Today in our Author Spotlight Nerd Alert Book Love welcomes Patti Chiappa author of Beautiful Scars (Sassy Angel)! 
 Patti Chiappa

NABL: If you could work with any author who would it be? 
PC: That would be Debbie Macomber. I  love  her  books.  They are so heart felt and Inspiring!

NABL: Who is your favorite author and is your writing style similar to theirs?
 PC: Debbie Macomber. I  think  my  writing  style  is  very  similar to  hers.  We both write from  our  souls.

NABL: What's your favorite part of a book?
PC: The climax. You  know  the  part  of  the  book  that  makes  your  breath  be  caught  in  your  lungs.  I love that part.

NABL: When naming your characters, do you give any thought to the actual meaning?
PC: Yes  I  do  .  I  actually  have  a  baby  name  book  that  I  use.  I  look  up  the  meaning  of  the names  .

NABL: Who are your target readers?
PC: Every Soul  that  needs  to  know  that  someone  loves  and  cares  about  them.

NABL: How do you conceive your plot ideas?
PC: Wow,  that's  a  real  tough  question  because  I  am  inspired  by  life,  people  and  God.  The  last  book  I  published  was  about  my  own  life.  The  next  one  I  am  publishing  was  inspired  by  the  events  of  9/11.

NABL: Why do you like to write?
PC: I  believe  God  gave  me  a  gift  to  write  and  if  I  don't  use  that  gift  I  am  not  honoring  him.

NABL: Which character are you most like? 
PC: I  am  soft  hearted,  soft  spoken  and  spiritual  so  I  guess  anyone  that  is  like  that.

NABL: Which character is your favorite?
PC: My  favorite  character  is  Sara,  from  my  book  Sara's  journey.   I  am  a lot  like  her  in  many  ways.

NABL: How do you get started with writing a story (as in, how do you start developing the story, how do you get inspired for it)?
PC: Well  before  I  start  any  story,  I  pray.  I  ask  God  to  let  me  be  a  massager  for  him. Then  I  usually  have  a  god  send  inspiring  moment   that  makes  me  write  my  story.

NABL: What is one thing you cannot live without?
PC: My  Family  and  My  bible.

NABL: Where is your favorite place to relax/write?
PC: When  I  was  living  in  Fla  I  loved  to  write  at  the  beach.  Now  that  I  am living  in  N.Y.  I  like  to  go  to  the  Lady  of  the  Island  Shrine in  East port  N.Y. to  write.  It  is  a  breath-taking  place. With  acres  and  acres  of  land  ,  woods,  and  flower  gardens.

NABL: What is your favorite childhood memory?
PC: My  favorite  childhood  memory  by  far  would  be  piling  into  my  grandparent's  car  with  my  mom,  dad, grandparents,  and  baby  brother  Brian.  My  grandfather  would  just  drive  around  this  awesome  scenic  roads  along  beaches,  farms  etc.  Every  Sunday  we  did  that.  Growing  up  we  didn't  have  a lot  of  money  but  there  was  so  much  love  in my  family.

NABL: Who is/are your role model(s)?
PC: My  Parents  by  far.  They  taught  me  that  family,  friends,  faith  brings  you  riches  not  money.

NABL: Do you have a writing spot that only you can go to work?
PC: There  is  a  bench  at  the  Shrine  I  go  to,  It  sits  under  this  beautiful  100  foot  tall  oak  tree.  It  overlooks  the  Long  Island  sound.  In  the  fall  you  can  see  colors  for  miles  and  miles.  

NABL: What gets your creative juices flowing?  
PC: Everything.  I  write  every day.  For  me  writing  is  like  breathing.

NABL: What is the craziest thing you have ever done? 
PC: Lol.  The  craziest  thing  I  ever  did  was   sneak  on  to  the  back  of  a  Bon  Jovi  tour  bus  when  no  one  was  around.  I ended  up  falling  asleep.  No  one  knew  I  was  on  the  bus,  and  12  hours  later  I  woke  up  in  a  different  state.  I was 15 years old.  Jon   Bon Jovi    actually gave me bus fare  to  get  home.   I’ll never forget it!

NABL: What is your favorite thing about yourself? 
My soulful eyes.

NABL: What is the last book you have read or are currently reading?
PC: Debbie Macomber-This Mather of Marriage.

NABL: If you could have any job in the whole wide world that you could imagine or make up, what job would that be?
PC: Rock star..

1 comment:

  1. COMING SOON! Author Spotlight on Patti Chiappa on November 9th and 10th!


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