Author Spotlight · Interview with an Author

Interview with an Author featuring Rob Samborn

The Literary Vixen presents…

Joining us today is Rob Samborn! His debut novel, The Prisoner of Paradise: A Dual-Timeline Thriller Set in Venice (Painted Souls Book 1) released on November 30th 2021.

How long have you been writing?

Like many authors, I’ve been writing stories since I was a kid, but professionally (or with professional aspirations), for about twenty years. My professional writing training and education is in screenwriting. I’ve written nine feature scripts, as well as some TV pilots, shorts and work-for-hire projects. I’m also a script doctor. Though I still work on screenplays, I transitioned to novels about seven years ago.

Describe a typical writing day.

This has changed considerably since the release of my first book, The Prisoner of Paradise, in Nov. 2021. My second book, Painter of the Damned, releases on Oct. 25, 2022. Nowadays, beyond my day job, about 80% of my writing day is filled up with book marketing and promotion activities, as well as editing and/or prep for my next release. I often don’t start on actual writing until 9:00 at night!

Where do you get your inspiration for your books?

For all my book and script ideas, I get inspiration from everywhere. It could be a real event or person, something I see, a theme, or ideas that pop into my head for characters or plot. I have a list of over 100 different story ideas.

For my current books, which are a series, they’re all inspired by the same idea. I’ve always been fascinated with the concept of soul mates—the connection between two people that goes beyond physical attraction or shared interests, etc. And this doesn’t need to be between people who are romantically involved. It can definitely be felt between friends. Oftentimes, it’s an immediate, unexplainable connection. I’ve always wanted to explore that theme in a story.

On a trip to Venice, I was captivated with paintings by a Renaissance master named Jacopo Tintoretto. Many of his paintings are massive in scale, and includes dozens, and sometimes, hundreds of people. The paintings of these people are portraits in their own right and the people run the gamut in terms of race, gender, age, social class, etc. I started wondering where he got his inspiration from. Of course, artists use models, but he would’ve had a line of people out his door.

All of these people have truly been immortalized. They’re still there, plain as day, hanging on a museum wall.

From there, I married this concept of immortalization through art with my fascination with soul mates. I thought, maybe it’s their souls that are captured in the paintings. And a story was born…

What do you hope your readers take away from this book?

I want readers to be captivated with the characters and go on what is often a heart-wrenching journey. I want them to have a thrilling escape while they’re reading, but there’s also a decent amount of history and art, so if people learn something, I’d love that, as well. And as a take away, I hope they want to read the next book!

What is the significance of the title?

The Prisoner of Paradise actually has different meanings and people will need to read the book to find out. However, the obvious significance is that it revolves around Tintoretto’s Paradise, the world’s largest oil painting. This real-life painting has hundreds of people in it. In my book, one of these people is a woman whose soul has been imprisoned in the two-dimensional canvas as a purgatory of sorts.

How much ‘world building’ takes place before you start writing?

A huge amount. Though my book takes place in the real world in real places, not everybody is familiar with Venice, Italy. So, it was very important for me to not only establish that world but continue building it as the story goes. It also takes place in the present and 16th century, so I need to build the 16th century world.

What was the highlight of writing this book?

There are obvious career highlights – getting an agent, signing with the publisher, release of the book. Post release, whenever someone says they love my book, that’s a highlight that never gets old. And during the writing process, I love writing a scene and then when I reread it, I know it’s something special.

Are you working on anything at the present you would like to share with me?

I’m currently working on the third book in the series, which will be released in 2023.

What advice would you give to other authors?

For aspiring authors who haven’t been published yet, my advice is to never stop learning your craft, never stop reading, and never stop learning about the industry. Writers need to realize and accept this is a business. You’re creating a product to sell in a marketplace.

What is the one thing you want people to know about you and your books?

That my books are escapist thrill rides set in the real world. If you love thrillers or historical mysteries and want to go on a journey unlike any you’ve read or seen, I think you’ll love my books.

 

Thank you Rob Samborn for chatting with me! I will include his information down below. Check out The Prisoner of Paradise today!

~Synopsis~

A disembodied whisper.
A soul mate murdered in 1589.
An ancient order that will kill to silence the truth.

AMERICAN WRITING AWARDS FINALIST (THRILLERS/ADVENTURES)

Nick and Julia O’Connor’s dream trip to Venice collapses when a haunting voice reaches out to Nick from Tintoretto’s Paradise, the world’s largest oil painting.

Though Julia worries her husband suffers from a delusion, Nick is adamant the voice belongs to a woman from the 16th century—his soul mate from a previous life. He discovers a religious order that has developed a method of extracting people’s souls, which they imprison in Paradise. Over the centuries, they’ve judged thousands of souls and sentenced them to eternal purgatory.

As infatuation with the past clouds his commitment to a present-day wife, Nick must right an age-old wrong—destroy the painting and liberate his soul mate. But freeing her would allow all the souls to be reborn.

The order will never let that happen.

A riveting thriller ignites with a time-spanning love story. Perfect for fans of Dan Brown, Diana Gabaldon, Neil Gaiman or David Mitchell.

In addition to being a novelist, Rob Samborn is a screenwriter, entrepreneur and avid traveler. He’s been to forty countries, lived in five of them  and studied nine languages. As a restless spirit who can’t remember the last time he was bored, Rob is on a quest to explore the intricacies of our world and try his hand at a multitude of crafts; he’s also an accomplished artist and musician, as well as a budding furniture maker. A native New Yorker who lived in Los Angeles for twenty years, he now makes his home in Denver with his wife, daughter and dog.

Website: www.robsamborn.com 

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/RobSambornAuthor 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RobSamborn 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/robsamborn/ 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rob-samborn/  

TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@robsamborn 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/21829341.Rob_Samborn 

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/rob-samborn

Author Spotlight · Interview with an Author · New Release

Interview with an Author featuring S.L. Choi

The Literary Vixen presents…

Joining us today is S.L. Choi! Her debut book, Bad Girls Drink Blood (Blood Fae Druid Book 1) released on May 17th 2022.

Congrats on your new release! How has the new release been going for you?

Thank you! And thank you so much for all of your support. How has it been going? CRAZY!!! Everyone warned me, but I was not prepared lol

How long have you been writing?

I’m sure everyone says this, but as far back as I can remember. I wrote poetry when I was younger. A LOT of poetry. Teens are just a giant ball of emotions. They feel everything so intensely, and poetry was my outlet.

I’ve always written little bits of stories here and there, but I didn’t try to take an idea from start to finish until the last few years.

Describe a typical writing day.

Wake up. Tend to my furry overlords. Drink coffee. Stare at the computer. Drink more coffee.  It sounds like I’m making a joke, but that is pretty much my day. Though, I am typing/editing/working social media during the staring phase.

Where do you get your inspiration for your books?

Another cliché answer, but everywhere! This book was a line that popped into my head while driving down the road.

Now that I think about it, a lot of my ideas come to me while I’m driving – aka the worst possible time! I’ve pulled over so many times to ensure I didn’t lose an idea.

What do you hope your readers take away from this book?

I wish I had a deep, thought-provoking statement to give you, but really, I just want my readers to feel compelled to turn the pages and have a great time. 

WAIT! I take that back. The thing I love about urban fantasy (and my favorite series) are the ones where I feel like I can drive to the location and find the characters, or at least find where they are hanging out. I’d love it if someone was driving down the Strip and said that’s where (censored for spoilers) would be.

What is the significance of the title?

The original title was darker, not at all the same vibe. My editor wanted a new title. Bad Guy by Billie Eilish screamed Lane, and even inspired a few (very obvious) lines. Lane sees herself as a bad girl/guy. Lane drinks blood. Bad Girls Drink Blood.

If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be?

Sarcastic, awkward, self-deprecating.I said st 

I asked my critique partner because I was stumped and she gave me a whole (incorrect) list: talented, supportive, hilarious, dedicated, kind. Boy do I have her fooled!

What was the highlight of writing this book?

Finishing. Seriously. Not because I hated writing, but because it was such a sense of accomplishment. I DO have another finished book, but this one had been living in my head for a long, long time.

Are you working on anything at the present you would like to share with me?

I’m working on the edits for book 2 of the Blood Fae Druid series. I also have a book on the backburner about a messy Vakyrie (think Thor, Ragnarök inspo for vibes)

What advice would you give to other authors?

Find your people. Typically, the only company you keep are your characters when you’re deep into writing. I walk around everywhere talking to my characters, talking through scenes, testing dialogue. But your characters won’t be there to support you when rejections roll in, or reviews roll in, or critiques, or comments, or anything else that live in your head after you read it. 

Find. Your. Support.

What is the one thing you want people to know about you and your books?

Wooooowwwwww. This is hard for such a simple question. I think bottom line is I don’t take myself seriously (have you seen my TikTok? I can’t be bothered to put on makeup or even get out of my pjs). So, don’t try to take my book seriously either. Enjoy the ride!

 

Thank you S.L. Choi for chatting with me! I will include her information down below. Check out her newest release, Bad Girls Drink Blood today!

~Synopsis~

Part sun fae, part blood fae, all abomination.

After a life spent dodging slurs, threats, and assassination attempts, Lane Callaghan gave her past the one finger salute and ditched her former fae home for good.

The detective agency she and her sisters run on the edge of Las Vegas continues to limp along, with Lane doing more debt collecting and intimidating than investigating, but anything to pay the bills. Between working for low-lifes to bring down even lower-lifes, eating cheesy poofs by the bucket, and flirting with the criminally attractive bartender where she conducts business, life is good.

That ends when a routine job goes sideways leaving Lane with a sack full of stolen sun shards—the source of sun fae power. Without the shards, the sun fae face giving up their magic completely, or risk death if they use their power.

As far as Lane’s concerned, good riddance, considering they would rather see her dead—except her father and adopted sister are sun fae. Lane must choose to return home to save the fae bastards that almost killed her…or let them burn.

“With tantalizing hints of a wolfy blood tryst, a heavy dose of sisterly love, and plot twists to make the ride a surprise, S.L. Choi’s, Bad Girls Drink Blood is too much fun. If you like the Hollows, you will love this.” — Kim Harrison, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Hollows series.

S.L. Choi is an urban fantasy author with a deep love for humor, fast-paced action, and hit-you-in-the-heart feels. She grew up imagining goblins living in the rocks outside her bedroom window, while fairies flew through the flowers. Now she puts those stories to paper. When not writing, she is either photographing the beautiful New England area, hiking, gaming with her equally nerdy husband, or attending to the small furry overlords who rule them both.

https://linktr.ee/SLChoi

Author Spotlight · Interview with an Author

Interview with an Author featuring Allison Dininger

The Literary Vixen presents…

Joining us today is aspiring author, Allison Dininger! 

How long have you been writing?

I have always created stories in my head, but I didn’t start writing novels until I was thirteen. Since then, I have written two full-length novels and a few half-started novels.

Describe a typical writing day.

I am still a student, so my days are preoccupied with schooling. Around 8 PM, I typically sit down and start writing. Sometimes I only write a few sentences; other times, I keep writing until 2 AM.

Where do you get your inspiration for your books?

I get inspiration from real life when I see my own struggles and those of others around me. I include these in my books to try to figure out how to help others and how to help myself get through it. Sometimes, it’s not that deep, and the basics of the thought begin with a trope I like to read about or a song I love.

What are some challenges that have come up during your writing and publishing journey?

In 2021, I thought I was ready for publishing. I sent my book to beta readers, and the comments were incredibly helpful but overwhelming. My hope to be published soon went out the window as I realized how much I needed to work on. I ended up completely redrafting the whole book from scratch and changing big plot points.

When you’re writing an emotionally draining (or sexy, or sad, etc) scene, how do you get in the mood?

If I am writing an emotional scene, I will start by finding a place where I won’t be disturbed. My favorite spot is my bed with only a few lights on. Then, I’ll find music that matches the mood and set sprints to keep myself going. I will explore the character’s thoughts and try to get into their heads as much as possible during these scenes.

If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be?

I am determined, loving, and creative.

How do you deal with the emotional impact of a book (on yourself) as you are writing the story?

I try to write these when I have a time and place where I can feel everything I need to. Before writing, I will take a moment to breathe and pray. Afterward, I will do the same and let my brain relax. I might lay down and let myself feel all of the emotions before continuing.

Are you working on anything at the present you would like to share with me?

I am currently working on a book called Noble. I have been working on it since 2019, and at the moment, it is being beta-read. While I wait for those responses, I have begun drafting the sequel!

What advice would you give to other aspiring authors?

It’s okay to struggle. Writing is a process and there will be highs and lows. Stay patient with yourself, and don’t compare yourself to others. Everyone makes mistakes. Keep going and remember to enjoy the process!

What is the one thing you want people to know about you and your books?

My books deal with mental health issues, not for entertainment but in the hope that someone will realize other people have the same thoughts and fears. You aren’t alone! I want my books to help others find a place where they have characters with similar problems. If anyone needs a friend to talk to, I would love to have those conversations and be a listening ear.

 

Thank you Allison Dininger for chatting with me! I will include her information down below. Be sure to follow her!

Allison Dininger is a fantasy author. Her books will transport you to a time of love, drama, ballgowns, and castles while emphasizing raw and realistic characters that struggle with their mental health. Allison is passionate about connecting with her readers and uplifting others. Most days, you can find her cuddling with her rabbits or getting lost in fictional worlds. She hopes to one day be a bestselling YA author. Her biggest inspirations come from her life, her faith, and others around her.

Instagram: @allisondininger

Website: allisondininger.wixsite.com/mysite

Author Spotlight · Interview with an Author

Interview with an Author featuring D.S. Fisichella

The Literary Vixen presents…

Joining us today is D.S. Fisichella! Her debut book Dreamer, released on August 1st 2021.

How long have you been writing?

Eighteen years if you count my first poem written in the fourth grade. At the time I’d only been in the USA for a little over a year and, with English being my second language, I suppose that would make my first shot at poetry somewhat significant. My teacher typed it up and printed it out. I felt so validated. I’ve chased that high ever since.

What gave you that final push to publish your book?

I think it was the timing of everything. From my first draft to the publication date it was a four year process for me. Silly me, I thought it would take me a year. *Rolls eyes.* It started out as a hobby to pass the time and get my mind off my morning sickness when I got too pregnant to work, but it turned into a passion, and… well, a dream. 

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book?

That I could do it! Up until I wrote Dreamer, the longest thing I ever wrote was a research paper in college. It was ten pages double spaced. I’d published poems and short pieces but never in a million years did I think I had it in me (the patience and otherwise) to take on such a massive project! I learned to evoke emotion, to inspire, to make laugh, or even cry. An author friend of mine confessed that he cried while writing a death scene and he said something like, “it’s strange, isn’t it? To become so attached to something that’s not really real?” To which I replied, “No, it’s not. It’s real to us.”

What do you hope your readers take away from this book?

When my readers reach the end of my book, I want them to suspire and make the inner connection that, no matter what they’re going through, there is always hope because their story is not over; 

Also, I want them to know there’s nothing they can ever do to disqualify them from being fully loved, accepted and forgiven by God.

What is the significance of the title?

The title of my book is “Dreamer,” and really, you’ll spend the whole book finding out what it means to the MC, and then you can decide what it means to you. 

The title holds a special significance for me because for twenty years, I identified as a DACA Dreamer, the undocumented child of immigrant parents. 

I won’t give you the long story, but I did eventually get my paperwork in order and became legal through all the right channels, but my life prior to doing so left deep seated scars that went on to sculpt my mental health, and even contributed to trauma and PTSD.

I pulled from all of those things to craft my main character, Elleni Salgado. I also pulled from my support system and healthy coping habits to help her out and set a good example for my reader. For personal reasons, I didn’t meddle in the immigration topic with Dreamer. When people read the story I didn’t want them to see it as the story of an immigrant. I wanted them to just see a girl. A girl like me. Worthy of love, acceptance, and friendship no matter how she got to where she was. 

If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be?

Creative, Loving and Intense. Haha! 

But seriously. Ask anyone who’s known me more than a day. 

What was the highlight of writing this book?

The response! To put something out into the world, namely, your whole heart and soul, you wrap it inside some binding and hand it over to be published… *exhale* is such a vulnerable but rewarding experience. To see that my art has made people think, has made them laugh, or cry, or get healing! Man! What an amazing privilege that is. What a freaking honor! You could say that writing Dreamer was a ruse to get to meet people. Especially young and hurting people like my MC. If I could, I would hand deliver every copy and give each recipient a big hug and gift basket!

Are you working on anything at the present you would like to share with me?

I can’t say much, but the Dreamer story will  pick up and continue! I’m already having mini panic attacks about the subjects I’m being led to write. God and I have exchanged some words. But anyway… that’s how I know it’s going to be good.

What advice would you give to other authors?

Stay true to your vision. You need to believe in your own dream before anyone else can do it for you.

Be patient. Anything worth doing is worth doing well! 

Find your place in the writing community and hang on for dear life! 

When it’s time, publish the thing! Don’t delay! (Just make sure you get a professional edit and cover before you do.)

Finally,

Grow thick skin! ‘Nuff said.

What is the one thing you want people to know about you and your books?

I don’t want people to make the same mistakes I’ve made. Be it in my relationships, in my writing journey, or with my mental health, I am always looking to grow, to improve, and to teach others to be better than me.

Everything I wrote in Dreamer, everything I write in my articles, everything I ever write comes from a place of love.

 I am crazy about you!

You are a soul with a body… a mind, a will, emotions all beautifully crafted and marked by the fingerprint of God. 

To those who struggle with their mental health: 

You are worth being well, darling. The stars deserve to see your eyes. If anything I say or do can help you understand how truly amazing you are, how cherished, even in the midst of your imperfections, then I’ve done my job! 

 

Thank you D.D. Fisichella for chatting with me! I will include her information down below. Check out her book, Dreamer today!

~Synopsis~

On her thirteenth birthday, Elleni Salgado lost her childhood friend to a devastating tragedy. The years have passed and despite the gaping hole of loss in her heart, Elleni seems to have found comfort in her hilarious Hispanic family, a wacky southern counselor, and her faith in Christ.

Now a talented songwriter on the verge of seventeen, Elleni is plagued by nightmares which send her running to “The Spot,” her childhood haven. It is there that she unexpectedly meets the handsome Julian Rossi, a young drug dealer convinced he has no reason to live.

When Elleni’s youth group makes plans to embark on a road trip to Grace Place Camp, one state away, she thinks it the perfect place for Julian to find the answers he’s been looking for. But she will have her own truth to dig up, a secret that, until now, she thought had been buried four years ago…along with her best friend.

D.S. Fisichella is an award-winning poet and bestselling author of the Young Adult Christian Fiction Novel, “Dreamer” and a member of the Saint Pete Arts Alliance. D.S. writes articles about faith, dating, and mental health, and she’s a mentor to teens and young adults. When she’s not singing, writing, or attending her home church, she can be found making memories with her husband and their two adorable children. D.S. reads all of her reviews and she loves connecting with readers!

(Website, Articles, Dreamer on Amazon and more)

https://dsfwrites.carrd.co/

Website: dsfwriter.com

Author Spotlight · Interview with an Author

Interview with an Author featuring Joanna Reeder

The Literary Vixen presents…

Joining us today is Joanna Reeder! Author of Imitating a Fae Queen (Raven Court Book 1) and the Kindle Vella series, Courting Fae Thieves and Crowns.

Tell us a bit about yourself

Born and raised in Utah. I live with my husband, three littles and a cat named after one of my characters. I love leisure bike rides, kayaking, playing my guitar and Dr. Pepper.

What inspired you to start writing?

When I was in the 4th grade, my teacher encouraged me to enter a story in the Reflections Contest. So I wrote and submitted and won first place in my school. I’ve loved to write ever since!

What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

I know I’m not alone in it, but I’ve trained myself to write in short 15-20 minute bursts. I’ve had to with little kids. I know some authors need huge blocks of time to write. My best writing time is also in the afternoon. Not the early morning or late at night. I haven’t found many writers with that schedule.

How do you deal with emotional impact of a book (on yourself) as you are writing the story?

I step away. I go on a walk or for a bike ride. I give myself space from it so that when I come back to it, I can look at it through an objective eye as I edit.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

The constant back and forth between being proud and surprised at the books I wrote, but also the imposter syndrome that can hit at any time and feeling that I’m not good enough or that I’m “pretending” to be an author.

What comes first for you — the plot or the characters — and why?

The characters. Once I’ve gotten to know my characters and their quirks and backstories, the plot comes together from it. A lot of times, the characters determine the plot.

Let’s talk about Kindle Vella. Tell me about your experience with it.

I have loved kindle vella. I think the thing I love the most is that my readers get to experience the story in almost real-time as I do. Sometimes I write a bit ahead, but I’m rarely more than an episode or two ahead of what is currently live. With books, I experience the story all by myself for weeks and weeks, then after tons of edits, etc, etc, and the final book launch, by the time my readers get to experience my book, it’s already “in the past” for me. 

My story Courting Fae Thieves and Crowns on Kindle Vella has also been my favorite story I’ve written so far. Of course all of my stories are my babies, but this one has a lot of my heart in it!

Describe yourself in three words.

Loyal, Spiritual, Kind

Do you have any new series planned?

I’m still finishing up my Raven Court series (3 books and a novella are out and I’m working on #4) After that, I’m not sure. Part of me is watching and waiting to see how Kindle Vella goes. I have several stories running through my head that could work well with Kindle Vella.

What advice would you give to other authors?

No writing is wasted. Even that scene you cut because it doesn’t work, or those first few drafts of anything. Every word counts because it helps you learn to be a better writer. And as with anything, practice makes you better.

What is the one thing you want people to know about you and your books?

I love storytelling and I want my stories to be accessible to anyone. So all of my books are 100% recommendable. I don’t write steamy, or gore, or foul language, so you can recommend my books to your daughters, co-workers and grandmas.

 

Thank you Joanna Reeder for chatting with me! I will include her information down below. Check out her books today!

~Synopsis~

They say I look just like her.

They say I could save the realm if I pretend to be her.

But I’m just a human girl and refuse to leave my life to save their precious Raven Court. 

My boyfriend, Sterling, might be a fae, but I want nothing to do with Faerie. Luckily, he promised never to take me. But when his painfully gorgeous brother, Tien, shows up and says I look identical to their missing High Queen, I’m asked to go with him to prevent Faerie from sinking into chaos.

When I refuse, I’m kidnapped.

As I’m forced through the portal to Faerie by the brooding Tien, he promises my captivity is only temporary. If I can convince the Raven Court their beloved queen is alive and well, he’ll take me back home. But while I’m pretending to be her, dark secrets surface. I try not to care, but realize I might have the power to change an injustice that suddenly means so much to me… even as a fake queen.

Faerie is magical and cruel, full of wonder and madness. But it isn’t my home. And yet, it feels so familiar…

Torn between two different worlds, I’m forced to consider: where do I truly belong?

Imitating a Fae Queen is perfect for fans of The Iron King and The Vampire Diaries. If you love brooding fae captains, terrifying water horses, and best-friend romance, you’ll love this page-turning fae fantasy.

Imitating a Fae Queen is Book One in the Raven Court Series by USA Today bestselling author, Joanna Reeder.

Joanna Reeder is a USA Today Bestselling author who takes readers time traveling through dreams, shifting into fantastical creatures, and tossed into Faerie. Her fantasy stories always have a dash of romance, leave readers turning pages long into the night, and eager to recommend them to their daughters and grandmas and coworkers!

When Joanna isn’t writing, she enjoys bike rides and kayaking with her hubby and kids, vacations at the beach (with a book to read, of course!) and learning new songs on her blue electric guitar.

She’s a believer in the paranormal (seriously, she has stories) and her motto is, “A Dr. Pepper a day keeps insanity away!”

Three FREE stories by signing up for my NL: https://joannareeder.com/getmyfreebies

My kindle vella story is also on my patreon:

https://www.patreon.com/Joannareeder

https://www.amazon.com/~/e/B07B2CK51M

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17736350.Joanna_Reeder

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/joanna-reeder

https://facebook.com/joannareederauthor

https://facebook.com/groups/joannasdreamreeders

https://instagram.com/joanna_reeder

Author Spotlight · Interview with an Author

Interview with an Author featuring D.L. Boyles

The Literary Vixen presents…

Joining us today is D.L. Boyles! Author of the Twisted Tales: Crown of Roses.

What inspired you to start writing?

Honestly, I have always enjoyed writing, and anyone who knows me will agree that I’ve always liked to tell stories or even just retell events with a bit of extra-ness. I have had a lot of friends over the years tell me I should write a book, but I blew them off. Then, when our daughter, kid number three of four, started having bad nightmares, her counselor told me we should turn them into stories and change the ending. Suddenly, I found myself creating these elaborate retellings of her nightmares which could have absolutely been fairytales of their own. When I had a whole collection of stories, I wrote them down and used pictures of our kids as “illustrations” for a homemade storybook. My oldest daughter said I should turn some of the stories into an actual story for other people to read. It was a good idea, but I had no idea how to go about that. The idea kept rolling around in my head, though. Finally, my grandma was sick and we knew she didn’t have much time left. For most of my life, my grandma sang her praises of my ability to write, and I thought, “I need to do it while she’s around to know.” Thus, I reached out to an author I admire greatly for some advice, researched more on my own, and I sat down one day and started writing. I had my first book published in time for my grandma to at least know and tell me how “tickled” she was that I’d done it. Sadly, she didn’t get a chance to read it, but I will never forget the little squeal she had when I told her it was a tangible thing. Now, my husband inspires me to keep going, so I am continuing to write.

What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

I don’t start with an outline. Instead, I just start telling my story to my kids during van rides, and I decide that it is either way too ridiculous to be any good, or I come home and write it out on a legal notepad, scribbling and crossing out things as I go. Most of it is me writing down questions like, “Why would he do that?” “This is not smart.” “Confusing.” “Ugh.” Then, I sit on my exercise bike and really hash it out. By the time I’ve ‘ridden’ fifteen miles, my thighs are a little tight, but I’ve got the basics for a decent scene in a story. Just one scene. Then…Yes, then, I make an outline. It is a bit backwards, and I’m sure it may not work for everyone, but in my mind, it’s the only way to begin. Also…I must have coconut water or water—or both—and a glass of hot tea in order to sit at my computer and feel ready to be productive.

How do you deal with the emotional impact of a book (on yourself) as you are writing the story?

Well, in my Twisted Tales:  Crown of Roses series, I was dealing with a lot of emotional stuff, and I really took it out on my characters. I figured if real life wasn’t going to give me that final saving grace which made everything turn out perfectly fine, my fantasy characters needed to have a bit of turmoil even they couldn’t get out of. I put Eira through the emotional ringer, for sure, and she lived out as much of my emotions as I did hers. Some of my readers have cried over the series while others said they saw it coming. My editor, Lisa, refused to speak to me for about a day because I made her ‘ugly cry.’ To let out my emotions, I listened to music while I was doing my final edits, and I found myself feeling. To this day, “A Little Bit Yours” by J.P. Saxe makes me think of Phillip and Eira. They have a whole playlist, to be honest. So, I poured my emotions into my book, its characters, and had a bit of an outlet through music which went along with it. Sometimes I tell the cat just how ridiculous things are, to which she replies with lots of purring, or I have to take my mutt for a walk to get any residual emotional moments out.

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

I have four books published so far. One trilogy is complete and the second is in the works. Honestly, my favorite is the second book of the series, Twisted Tales:  Crown of Roses, titled “Broken Curse.” It is my favorite because of The Wilds, Balthoron, and Lord Colden. Balthoron and Lord Colden are two of my favorite characters in the series, but Balthoron is my fave just because he is a drow and that’s a fantasy race which doesn’t get a lot of attention in romantic fantasy. His personality is so different from mine, I am still shocked by how he evolved from my own brain. When I reread the book, I couldn’t help be impressed with him…and, by default, me, which is something I have posted on my website…lol

What books or authors have most influenced your own writing?

Oh, I definitely have to give some credit to a few authors, honestly, and they’re a surprising list. First, I delved into the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon long before Sam Heughan brought Jamie Fraser to life. While I would never put myself on par with the literary genius of Diana Gabaldon, her dedication to perfecting the story has always inspired me. I’m also a serious fan of Scott O’Dell (Island of the Blue Dolphins) and Jack London (Call of the Wild) who took realistic events and turned them into fiction. During college, I was studying mythology, and the book World Mythology by Donna Rosenberg introduced me to a world of myths and legends I hadn’t experienced before. Those works have inspired me to look at the reality of life and consider how those realities could translate into a story or to even consider how people with limited technology could seek to form answers within the confines of their own understanding. Blows my mind. Then, one day, I found a book by Robin D. Mahle and Elle Madison with a map—which I’m a sucker for—and they drew me more firmly into Romantic Fantasy, and I’ve been a fan ever since. While I’m more in line with fae and magic wielders than they are, they were still a huge influence on me, and Robin was the author I reached out to when I started considering my options for writing. Sylvia Mercedes rocks my world. I don’t know how that woman cranks books out the way she does, but man, I’d like to drink from whatever well she’s drawing from.

Do you hear from your readers much? What do they say?

I love when the readers post things on my Facebook page like pictures of their copy of my book with comments about how much they’re liking it. The fact they took the time to not only comment but to take an artsy, pretty picture makes me feel amazing. Some readers send me private messages and want to talk about specifics of the characters which is super fun for me. Those characters took up residency in my brain for a long time and still live on in my head, so I am all in when it comes to talking about them with readers. I also have a few local fans who I see periodically, and when I do, I get really amped up by their excitement to tell people about me and my books. Literally, my face gets stuck in a permanent grin that actually starts to hurt. Some of my favorite comments, though, are from people who say they didn’t consider my genre as something they wanted to read, but that they really enjoyed my book and couldn’t stop reading the series. To know that I impacted them in such a way that they were able to enjoy something they had reservations about, makes me feel like I did it right in the storytelling arena. I love interacting with my readers, and I ask my readers questions and for their input on my Facebook author page. In the series I am currently writing, I had a lot of readers who gave me ideas for a character name. I was only looking for one name, but I got so much feedback, I felt I had to utilize it all. Thus, in the Twisted Tales:  Kingdom of Stones series, I am putting every single one of those name suggestions into the books. Whether it be the name of a trusty steed, a main character, or a simple soldier, it went into the series somewhere. I want my readers to know that I appreciate them and their interaction with me, so I felt it was important to utilize all of their name suggestions. I even gave them a shout-out in the first book of the series’ dedication page. Some of them really thought that was cool.

What book is currently on your bedside table?

Literal book? There isn’t just one. Diana Gabladon’s Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone is sitting there next to the bed along with Joy:  A Study of Philippians by Deb Burma and A House with Four Rooms by Rumer Godden. However, I’m on my Kindle app so much that I don’t get very many hardcopy books anymore. I am addicted to huffing books, though, like a deranged junkie, so don’t think I’ve gone too tech and won’t go back to the good stuff. My current read via Kindle is Lisette Marshall’s Velvet, and I just finished up reading an ARC for Meredith Hart’s Heart’s Rescue. Meredith Hart is another one of my faves who inspires me to try a little bit harder.

If your book was to be made into a movie, who are the celebrities that would star in it?

Oh, wow. That would be so fun. Beyond fun, really, and I honestly picture the story in my head as a movie, so…here goes. Eira, the lead female in the Crown of Roses series is spunky, powerful, humble, and a bit sad. I’d cast the role with Sophia Bush who could definitely put some power behind it with that extra touch of emotionally detached feminism. Audora is a very young, pampered princess who discovers life in a harsh way, and I’d peg Halston Sage as someone who could pull it off rather well. The three male leads are a bit more challenging. I’d pick Chris Wood (Vampire Diaries) as Prince Phillip just because he has that overall look of a polished royal with a potential dark side. Patrick Flueger could definitely pull of the cocky but reserved Lord Colden. Balthoron would be a hard one for me because I’d be really picky about who portrayed him. If I had to narrow it down, though, Henry Cavill or Christian Bale could pull the look off rather well. To be honest, however, I’m certain there’s a not-so-well-known male actor out there who could bring Balthoron to life better. Maybe more people will have to read the books and let me know what they think.

What advice would you give to other authors?

To other authors? Wow. I feel like so many authors are out there doing better than me, so I have very little advice for them, and I’d be afraid to sound full of myself if I tried. For those new authors, though, or the aspiring ones, I would say…write it down. That scene, that moment, that interaction between characters that you’ve been picturing for days, weeks, months, years…write it down. And don’t just outline it, but actually write it and give life to the characters who live it. Then, build your story around that moment, because when you realize that your characters are ‘real,’ you can much more easily picture who they are, how they got to that moment you wrote about, and how they’re going to move past it.

What is the one thing you want people to know about you and your books?

I have no qualms telling people things outright, but I don’t usually tell them my honest, deep-down feelings unless they very specifically ask. I’m a broken, emotionally withdrawn person, so when I write, it is my way of expressing my softer, more vulnerable emotions. In real life, I don’t share that side of me easily. So, the thing I want people to know about my books is that when I write, I put self-expression into characters or into the overall story, because it is something I’ve never told someone before but wish they knew. When readers open one of my books, they’re getting some secret part of me that I’ve never spoken outright, but each person will be left to discover something different than the next. Thus, I enjoy writing and get personal satisfaction out of being ‘understood’ when someone notices little nuances here or there or when they look deeper at a character and what that character didn’t do or say. Readers will find me in each book, a new something about me even in the tropes and common threads.

 

Thank you D.L. Boyles for chatting with me! I will include her information down below. Check out her series, Twisted Tales: Crown of Roses today!

~Synopsis~

A sleeping princess, the Crown of Roses upon her head, will rise up and unite the faerie courts against a common foe, and by her side, the warrior of renown…And in her wake…a child of fire and of ice will rise, spelling the end of all others. All of Shadoria will bow to the child of fire and of ice, living peaceably for ten thousand years.

That’s what the legends say.

But what happens when no one remembers the legend?

Outcast and cursed from even uttering her own name, Snow flees her kingdom and The Hunter sent to kill her, to find refuge amongst the mountain dwarfs. She spends years forming a plan to save her kingdom from the curse the evil queen, Isadora, has plagued them with–one which makes them forget the truth. Yet, The Hunter who once pursued her finds her again and thwarts all of her well-laid plans…until she develops a new plan which involves kidnapping the prince of the Summer Court. What Snow didn’t expect, however, was that the prince she intended to kidnap is The Hunter she was trying to avoid…or was she?

Oblivious to the danger she lives with, Audora believes her human life as the princess of Wessix to be idyllic if not for that ridiculous curse the fae prince, Malecinth of the Autumn Court, placed upon her when she was a baby. Thankfully, Merriweather had enough power to at least give her some hope – true love’s kiss could break the spell. Except that means that her mother continually throws parties and thrusts every eligible bachelor within the Human Kingdoms in her direction. When that fails to reveal Audora’s true love, Queen Isadora schemes with the fae, but Isadora has her own plans for finding true love. Thwarted by her mother’s plans to secure true love’s kiss in an ‘acceptable’ match, Audora loses her chance at love and faces a betrayal she never saw coming…and the reality of her curse in endless sleep.Snow White wasn’t helpless against The Hunter and Sleeping Beauty was never meant to be a sleeping princess waiting for the handsome prince in shining armor to come along.

You’ve heard the stories of Sleeping Beauty and Snow White, destined to fall asleep and never wake until they received true love’s kiss.

What you didn’t know was that their stories were intertwined and their fates bound together – and their princes were not so shiny, their kisses not so sweet.

D.L. Boyles lives in the Cranberry Capital of the Midwest with her husband, three of their four children (their oldest being a wife and mom, herself), six fish, two fully aquatic frogs, the fastest aquatic snail there ever was, and a cat-dog duo. She spent twelve years in the military where she met a lot of exciting people and visited a lot of interesting places. D. L. holds a degree in Religious Studies with a minor in History. In addition to writing, some of her favorite things are hot tea, coconut water, gardening, taking long walks in nature, planting trees, entertaining friends in her back yard when it isn’t buried in snow or ice, creating fun projects for her husband and son to build (they love that), learning about different cultures, and going on endless reading adventures.

She loves romantic fantasy which is why she writes it, but she also has an ongoing relationship with historical fiction, Westerns, regency romance, medieval fiction, and some contemporary romance. One of her most rewarding things about writing is hearing from readers, so never hesitate to reach out.

Check out the D.L. Boyles Author Website www.dlboylesauthor.com where you can sign up for the monthly newsletter.

Readers can hang out with D. L. Boyles on Facebook on the D.L. Boyles – Author Page www.facebook.com/groups/1404384686572534

Instagram  www.instagram.com/dlboylesauthor/

BookBub  www.bookbub.com/profile/d-l-boyles

Goodreads  www.goodreads.com/author/show/21284258.D_L_Boyles

Amazon https://www.amazon.com/author/dlboylesauthor

Author Spotlight · Interview with an Author

Interview with an Author featuring Ophelia Lockheart

The Literary Vixen presents…

Joining us today is Ophelia Lockheart! Her debut book, Songbird in a Storm: A captivating 1920s time travel romance (Songbird Series Book 1) released on February 27th 2022.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Hi! I’m Ophelia Lockheart, a British author from the south coast of England. I write suspenseful, angsty time travel romance set in 1920’s London, and my debut novel: Songbird in a Storm has just released!

Congrats on your new debut release! How has the new release been going for you?

It has been so incredibly exciting! I’ve been engaging with the writing community and they’ve been so welcoming! I’ve made a bunch of new friends (here’s looking at you Vixen 😉) and I’ve also received a ton of great reviews. Life is so good right now and I can see releasing books becoming very addictive!

How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing since childhood. My mum was an avid reader and while she’d sit in her reading nook, I’d compile stories to read to her.

Describe a typical writing day.

I start everyday tending to my three completely bonkers children and then while they’re at school I write. I tend to write most of my words in the morning while my brain is at its most creative and then spend the afternoon researching, reading and learning about craft, and also indulging in way too much social media—it’s my vice lol!

Where do you get your inspiration for your books?

Songbird in a Storm is set in the 1920s and I’ve loved this period since a school GCSE art deco project I did way back in… (well, a very long time ago 😉   

I draw inspiration from everywhere. Songbird has been likened to Outlander and Peaky Blinders which are both shows I love (though my youngest watches a lot of Peppa Pig so I’m really hoping that annoying piglet doesn’t infiltrate my creative brain lol!). 

What do you hope your readers take away from this book?

The importance of family and community is a thread that runs deeply throughout Songbird in a Storm. When Roseanna finds herself thrown back to 1921she is something of a lone wolf but, as was common in the 1920s, she learns that community can become family. There is a strength in togetherness that runs deeper than only blood.

What is the significance of the title?

Roseanna becomes a pub singer in one of Daniel Alderman’s businesses. The idea is that she’ll help him look for his brother’s killer, and this will place her where she might be able to identify the person responsible. Danny ends up nicknaming her Songbird. Roses is caught up in a storm as soon as she arrives in 1921. She witnesses Danny’s brother’s murder and there are other problems that were prolific at the time such as drugs and organised crime. Not to mention Danny is London’s most ruthless gangster.

 If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be?

Introvert, caring and a bit morbid!

What was the highlight of writing this book?

I just loved learning about the customs and details of this period. Like, where the saying ‘piss poor’ came from. Funeral customs… did you know a person would actually watch over the dead until they were buried? Or, as a self confessed foodie, the things people  would eat. Tongue sandwich anyone? Lol! I feel like I’ve learned so much and have tried to make this book as richly detailed as possible while still delivering a romance that will make your heart swell.

Are you working on anything at the present you would like to share with me?

I just finished the second book in this series, Captive Songbird, which will release next month 🙂

What advice would you give to other authors?

Keep going! Holding the finished book in your hands is like no other feeling.

What is the one thing you want people to know about you and your books?

They’re angsty! This book is crammed full of tension on every page. If you have a heart condition… don’t say you weren’t warned 😉

Thank you Ophelia Lockheart for chatting with me! I will include her information down below. Check out her newest release, Songbird in a Storm today!

~Synopsis~

“If you loved Peaky Blinders and Outlander then you’re in the right place.”

Enemies become lovers when a modern woman is ripped from her life and thrown back to the roaring twenties where she must learn to navigate gangsters and organised crime if she is to survive.

London paramedic, Roseanna Chapman, has her hands full. But when she is cast back in time and witnesses a murder, she finds herself stranded and in danger.

In 1921, Daniel Alderman’s a feared and ruthless gangster. He must rely on Roseanna to find his brother’s killer, but with her hiding so many secrets, can he trust her?

The two connect as a race against time ensues, but as their feelings intensify, so does the threat against Roseanna’s life.

Can they navigate time and tragedy together or will their love become another cautionary tale of days gone by?

** A perfect book for fans of Diana Gabaldon, Mariah Stone, Trinity Dunn, and Diana Knightley. **

One click now to enter a riveting world of romance, secrets and the quest for home.

Ophelia Lockheart lives in south England with her two dogs, husband and three children.

She’s a huge fan of powerful, cranky men with hearts-of-gold and chivalrous values who’ll do anything for the sassy, independent women who own their hearts.

With plenty of suspense, swoon-worthy storylines, and enough sizzle to set your hearts on fire, you can rest assured that if you’re reading one of Ophelia’s books, you’re putting your time into just the right tale!

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Author Spotlight · Interview with an Author

Interview with an Author featuring Shari Nichols

The Literary Vixen presents…

Joining us today is Shari Nichols! Her series, Ravens Hollow Coven is available now.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

First off, thank you so much for having me here, Laura. 

I live in NJ with my husband near a beautiful 50,000 acre park. We’re now empty nesters so we enjoy going there whenever we can. It’s my sanctuary. We do a lot of weekend trips with friends now. Take me out for a nice dinner and a glass of wine and I’m good to go. I can’t wait to start traveling again.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Yes and no. I’ve always loved to create stories, but I never imagined I could have a career as a writer. I wrote for the school newspaper in both high school and college. But I went to school for business. It wasn’t until I took some time off from work to raise my family that I decided I wanted to write.

What time of the day do you usually write?

I like to start first thing in the morning, but when I’m deep into the story, it’s whenever I can get the words on the page. I like to do sprints.

How much ‘world building’ takes place before you start writing?

Quite a bit. Okay, Laura, I may be breaking the fourth wall, but here goes. The first thing I do is create character charts to find out more about who my characters are, when and where they were born. Their sun signs, what they look like, their personality traits. I also ask what they want. What’s their conflict? What happened in their childhood and what wounds did they endure? What about past loves? Then I tie their wounds into the plot and do a short chapter by chapter outline. I include turning points like the first time they kiss, when they learn to trust each other, when they realize they’re in love. I include the black moment and the climax that leads to the HEA. 

I change as I go because sometimes things come up. I never stick one hundred percent to the outline. And when I get stuck, I call a writing friend and ask for help, which is more often than not.

Which of your books were the most enjoyable to write?

Wow, that’s like asking me to pick my favorite child. I can’t! I loved writing each book for different reasons. My first book, HAUNTED is loosely based on my friend’s real life experience with a ghost. I was riveted by the story and found it compelling, I knew I had to write about it someday. I did quite a bit of research for that book and learned so much about the spirit world. As for my Raven’s Hollow series, it’s all about the witches, the vampires and he demons. Think Practical Magic meets Supernatural. I love anything to do with magic. I’m a huge HP fan so these books have been thrilling to write.

Who is the author you most admire in your genre?

Do I have to name just one? I love Kresley Cole. She’s a genius world builder. I got to meet her at an RWA conference in NYC. She was absolutely lovely. I also love Christine Feehan. She’s an amazing writer. I love Nora Roberts. I also got to meet her at an NJRW meeting and loved her humor!

Do you hear from your readers much? What do they say?

I do hear from my readers, but of course I’d love to hear more! Maybe you can help me out with this, Laura! ☺I’m humbled beyond words when I get an email or a FB message from a reader that says they loved a book or a character and want to know about my next release.

Favorite book when you were a kid.

I loved all of the Nancy Drew books. I read everything from Judy Blume. Her books are honest and raw. They got me through those awkward middle school years.

If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be?

Curious, goofy, passionate.

What advice would you give to other authors?

I’d say join a critique group. Send your work out to beta readers. Submit to publishers, agents and contests. Get feedback. Don’t reinvent the wheel by creating a genre that no one has ever heard of. You always want another set of eyes on your work before you submit. You want to make sure you’re putting out the very best work you can. Go to writer’s conferences and meetings. Talk to other writers and network. Enter contests. Read books about writing and read everything in your genre. Keep striving to get better and try not to compare yourself to anyone else. You’re on your own journey. Be consistent. Try to write every day and put the distractions aside. Use a timer and have fun.

What is the one thing you want people to know about you and your books?

All of my books are loosely based on real events and inspired by real people. Book one in my RH series, MIDNIGHT DESIRE is loosely based on a chilling crime story that took place in London, England in the nineties. I set it in a paranormal world, made my heroine a witch and turned the story into a romance. In book two, MIDNIGHT TEMPTATION, my hero’s a vampire and was inspired by my grandfather’s struggle to get out of Europe after he awoke from his funeral and climbed out of his coffin. In book three, MIDNIGHT CRAVING, (out this July), my heroine’s backstory is based on a childhood friend who suffered sexual abuse. Book four in the series, AFTER MIDNIGHT (out in October) is a novella, and the only book in the series that doesn’t have a suspense element. It’s just a light, whimsical, sexy read. 

As for me, I’m starting an MA program in creative writing this summer and looking forward to this new adventure. I’ve outlined a three book contemporary series, Love in the City about three best friends from college navigating friendships, careers and love while living in the Big Apple. I’m excited to get started on book one. 

Thank you for having me, Laura! This was so much fun!

Thank you Shari Nichols for chatting with me! I will include her information down below. Check out her series today!


~Synopsis~

When tarot card reader Gillian Howe hosts a supernatural speed dating event, she’s hopeful to discover her chance at love.

Making the perfect match is her passion. Too bad she can’t find one for herself.

A chance encounter with a wealthy vampire soon finds her plunged into a secret society of trancing, blood bonds, and human escort rings. She’ll need help to survive, but the vampire detective is the last person she wants…even if he is scorching hot.

Garrett Mulroney has dealt with his share of the supernatural. His sire tried to force him into a life of debauchery, but he chose to uphold the law.

The fact that the one woman he can’t seem to get out of his lust-filled dreams is at the center of his investigation doesn’t bode well. It’s a good thing she hates his guts, because it helps douse his growing desire for her and focus on the case.

But when Gillian’s cousin is kidnapped into the Du Sang Brotherhood, she becomes the prime witness.

Now they’re forced to put their differences aside and go undercover by pretending to be a couple. The more time they spend together, the more Garrett wants her in his life—and in his bed.

Will they be able to develop the love and trust needed to take down the Brotherhood or become its next victim?

If you like Hailey Edwards, Lisa Edmonds, BR Kingsolver, or Jennifer Blackstream, you’ll love this paranormal romance with mystery, magic, and suspense!

BookBub | Goodreads

Shari Nichols grew up in a small town in Connecticut where haunted houses, ghosts and Ouija boards were common places, spurring her fascination with all things paranormal. Ever since she read her first Barbara Cartland novel, her life-long dream has been to write sexy, romantic stories. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, going to the gym, or hanging out with family and friends. 

Shari’s a member of Romance Writers of America, New Jersey Romance Writers, Liberty States Fiction Writers and Fantasy, Futuristic, and Paranormal Romance Writers. Shari’s new series,   Ravens’ Hollow Coven, is an urban fantasy with City Owl Press. 

Awards:  New York Book Festival Honorable Mention, Reviewers Choice Award for Best Book, Reviewers Choice Award for Best Series, Beverley Award, Golden Leaf Finalist For Best Book, Golden Leaf Finalist For Best Book by a New Jersey Author, HOLT Medallion Finalist, Literary Titan Silver Medal Winner.

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/sharinich

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/shari_nichols/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/shari_nich

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9851324.Shari_Nichols

BookBub – https://www.bookbub.com/profile/shari-nichols

Website – http://sharinicholsauthor.com/contact.html

Author Spotlight · Interview with an Author · New Release

Interview with an Author featuring Wren Michaels

The Literary Vixen presents…

Joining us today is Wren Michaels! Her newest release, Thunderstruck (Thunderbird Brotherhood Book 1) released on March 10th 2022.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

I’ve always been a daydreamer and loved to just listen to music and envision scenes in my head. I also loved books and often times didn’t want the stories to end, so I took to writing my own, so I didn’t have to leave those worlds if I didn’t want to.

What time of the day do you usually write?

Whenever possible! LOL It varies, really. While I was working full-time, I would try and squeeze in time at night. Now that I am only working part-time, I can devote more daytime to writing.

How much ‘world building’ takes place before you start writing?

I storyboard with Pinterest, so that can lead me down a whole rabbit hole which can last for days.

Which of your books were the most enjoyable to write?

All of them were enjoyable to write, or I wouldn’t have written them! LOL But, I had the most fun with one of my first books, VEXED and my Christmas RomCom, IT’S A WONDERFUL LIE. Vexed has a sassy, take no crap heroine, which I love to write. She was my first. And It’s a Wonderful Lie was my first RomCom and I just love to write banter.

Who is the author you most admire in your genre?

That’s tough, I admire a lot. I love Darynda Jones though. She’s a phenomenal writer, nails witty banter and sassy heroines and is a genuinely awesome person. I got to meet her at a con many years ago and walked up to her with a friend of mine and just asked if we could interview her and she’s like, yeah, sure. And she was so down to earth.

Do you hear from your readers much? What do they say?

I’d love to hear from them more! Whether in reviews or just on social media.The one that really sticks with me the most is someone who read my Christmas Rom Com and said it inspired her to go out and do something nice for someone else. I never thought I’d write a book that inspired someone else, let alone for them to want to go out and do something as a result. I bawled like a baby to my husband. It was magical.

Favorite book when you were a kid.

Bridge to Terabithia, I will never ever forget that book and how it made me feel.

If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be?

Humorous, Loyal, Daydreamer.

What advice would you give to other authors?

Perseverance is the key. 98% of the time, things won’t happen overnight. It’s a long-haul business. LOTS of ups and downs but hang in there. Don’t compare yourself to other authors, everyone’s road to success is different because everyone’s definition of success is different.

What is the one thing you want people to know about you and your books?

I will always have sparks of humor and a happy ending in them, along with an adventure and of course romance. In the end, it’s the characters that drive me and I’m just telling their stories.

Thank you Wren Michaels for chatting with me! I will include her information down below. Check out her newest release, Thunderstruck today!

~Synopsis~

Reseda Juarez is dead.

Though she functions as a human, inside she’s an emotionless weapon, trapped between the living and the undead. Cold and unrelenting, she’s used as a super-soldier by the government in a special task force to hunt preternatural beings to the brink of extinction.

One night, five years ago, Kane killed an innocent and his brother lost the love of his life. The aftermath forces Kane to become the alpha of the legendary Thunderbirds. He now must protect what’s left of his family from the tribe of wolf shifters who ripped them apart.

When Reseda’s mother is bitten by a wolf, she and Kane are forced to work together to find the Mayan Pul Yah stone to heal her—the same stone that gifted Reseda to the life she now lives. But the journey is riddled with more than the wolves, also searching for the stone.

Something strange happens to their powers when they’re together, and they struggle to fight the intense attraction between them. The deeper they go, the more secrets unravel, until love is the only thing that can defeat an enemy no one saw coming.

Wren hails from the frozen tundra of Wisconsin where beer and cheese are their own food groups. But a cowboy swept her off her feet and carried her to Texas, where she promptly lost all tolerance for cold and snow. Fueled by coffee, dreams, and men in kilts, Wren promises to bring you laughter, heart-fluttering romance, and action that keeps you on the edge of your seat.

Join my Facebook Reader Group – Wren’s Renegades! https://www.facebook.com/groups/1910555742502037
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Author Spotlight · Interview with an Author

Interview with an Author featuring Leslie O’Sullivan

Scroll to the bottom for a special surprise!

The Literary Vixen presents…

Joining us today is Leslie O’Sullivan! Her debut book, Pink Guitars and Falling Stars (Rockin’ Fairy Tales Book 1) released January 6th 2022.

What inspired you to start writing?

I adore stories. I’ve been a bookworm my whole life as well as a huge movie fan. Imagining myself in the stories I loved set me on a course to create my own characters and journeys.

What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

I am a Post-it notes hoarder. Color-coding the scenes, beats, turning points, etc. for each book is my happy place. I create a new color palette for every new story. Full disclosure, I’m also a journal collector, and yes, they are color coordinated to match each individual Post-it palette.

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

I wrote and queried four YA novels which were fantastic learning experiences, before switching to adult romance. PINK GUITARS AND FALLING STARS, my Rapunzel/Romeo and Juliet mashup, started out as a YA novel and then “matured” into an adult romance. I have a soft spot in my heart for PINK GUITARS AND FALLING STARS since it is my debut novel. As of now, I’ve written four adult romances with four more in the works, all of which will be published by the awesomeness that is City Owl Press.

How much ‘world building’ takes place before you start writing?

World building is one of my favorite aspects of storytelling. I come from a theatrical design background and use the same design process as I would to create scenery or a lighting design for stage when I craft my worlds. Tapping into subtext and character motivations are a large part of my process when creating an environment and its moving parts. The emotional response of color and texture are an integral part of my world building as well. I will sketch images, locations, and create mood boards to find the right tone and synergy for the story I am telling. I even draft floor plans if I want to dig specifically into the lay of the land. If it’s a fantasy or sci-fi world, I work to embed connections to the now, so readers can build relationships with the new reality I present in my stories.

Do you hear from your readers much? What do they say?

I am a debut author, so I’ve just begun forming relationships with readers. I’ve had a blast meeting people at virtual launch parties for other authors and through contests. It’s been a thrill to see sweet reviews pop up from folks I’ve never met. I’d love to hang out with some book clubs and chat. I’m really looking forward to this being the beginning of lots of future interactions with readers.

What books or authors have most influenced your own writing?

Fairy tales and myths have always been at the top of my list for inspiration. I’m a happily ever after kind of gal which makes writing and reading romance such a joy. The Lord of the Rings is my favorite saga of all time – Aragorn and Arwen SWOON. I’m a huge fangirl of the Outlander series as well – Jamie and Claire DOUBLE SWOON. My theater background sparked my love of Shakespeare.

When writing a series how do you keep things fresh, for both your readers and also yourself?

I love the challenge of peeking into every corner of a fictional world to see what gold nuggets are waiting for me to discover. Any character in a novel’s world has their own story to tell that can lead to delicious surprises. Writing romance is always a fresh hug to me. I indulge my hopelessly romantic side, exploring the many different ways, likely and unlikely of people falling in love.

Are you working on anything at the present you would like to share with me?

The next book in the “Rockin’ Fairy Tales,” series out this summer is GILDED BUTTERFLY, a King Midas and the Golden Touch/King Lear mashup, centered around a reality television show, starring a musical trio of Hollywood influencer sisters who happen to be witches. The first book in my “Behind the Scenes” series, HOT SET, will release in the fall. It’s the story of a fashion catalog copy writer who lands an assistant’s job on the writing staff of a television drama based on a wildly popular series of period romance novels and happens to catch the amorous attention of the show’s super heart-throbby star.

What advice would you give to other authors?

This one is easy peasy. NEVER give up. The writing journey as well as any creative endeavor requires a thick skin and patience. Surround yourself with friends and co-authors who can relate to your path, support you, and share in your successes. Never lose sight of joy in the writing itself.

What is the one thing you want people to know about you and your books?

At the root of all my stories is a fairy tale vibe, whether it’s an actual fairy tale retelling, or a real-life fairy tale flavored journey. It’s an honor and a dream come true to have my stories out in the world. I so appreciate readers, reviewers, and the new friends I’m making on social media. Thank you all so much. Let’s keep this party going! Huge hugs to The Literary Vixen for this opportunity to chat for a spell.

 

Thank you Leslie O’Sullivan for chatting with me! I will include her information down below. Check out her release, Pink Guitars and Falling Stars today!

~Synopsis~

Zeli’s signature pop diva sound and image are nothing short of magical—literally. Her fame comes with hidden costs, a curse that could ruin her voice forever.

Aspiring indie musician, Justin MacKenzie, is determined to kick it to the top of the Rampion Records’ Summer Number One professional vs. amateur singing competition.

The favorite to beat in the annual televised contest is none other than the label’s smoking hot superstar, Zeli, whose crazy extensions flow the length of a football field. Those ridiculous extensions, coupled with her bubblegum brand of pop, are an affront to everything Justin loves about music until a stolen kiss blazes into a romantic encounter.

Once inside Zeli’s world, Justin discovers things are not as they seem. In their quest to allow the real Zeli, to step into the spotlight, the pair must confront the mysterious force behind the dazzle of Rampion’s success. If these star-crossed lovers can’t rally their own magic to defeat the darkness, they will lose everything—including each other.

Leslie O’Sullivan is the author of Rockin’ Fairy Tales, an adult romance series of Shakespeare/fairy tale mash ups set against the backdrop of Hollywood’s music scene. The first book in the series, PINK GUITARS AND FALLING STARS, a Rapunzel/Romeo & Juliet story is available now from the Mystic Owl imprint of City Owl Books. Coming this fall is her Behind the Scenes contemporary romance series that peeks into the off-camera secrets of a wildly popular television drama. She’s a UCLA Bruin with a BA and MFA from their Department of Theater where she also taught for years on the design faculty. Her tenure in the world of television was as the assistant art director on “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show.” Leslie is a California girl who loves to indulge her fangirl side at cons.

https://linktr.ee/LeslieOSullivanWrites

GIVEAWAY!!!

The amazing Leslie O’Sullivan is offering a special giveaway!

A random winner will win:

A signed paperback of Pink Guitars and Falling Stars!

To enter:

Sign up for Leslie’s Newsletter (link is in her Linktree)

Tag her on social media and say you heard about her on The Literary Vixen

Giveaway will run until March 17th