Author Spotlight · Interview with an Author

Interview with an Author featuring Billie Jade Kermack

The Literary Vixen presents…

Joining us today is Billie Jade Kermack! Her debut book, Awoken: A Paranormal Romance Murder Mystery Book One release on January 3rd 2016.

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

Some of my earliest memories are of reading, devouring anything and everything that I could get my hands on. I created poems and stories of my own over the years but it wasn’t until I was about 13 when I realised I could actually do what all the authors I loved had done. I had a fantastic teacher at school who encouraged me to pursue my dreams.

What about the genre you currently write in, interests you most?

So my first completed trilogy are paranormal romances with a murder mystery twist. I am a massive horror fan and have always been fascinated with the supernatural. It gave me the opportunity to explore a world that has far more questions than answers, it offered me a freedom of sorts to create a fictional world based on my ideas without too much intrusion from real life. My current book for release is friends-lovers romance with a non-traditional HEA, I’ve loved lending my own brand of humour to the story with this one, as it is intended for a more adult audience than my first series I have been able to play with the characters a little more freely.

Haunted house or corn maze?

Haunted house every day of the week.

Do you ever come up with anything so wild that you scare yourself, that leaves you wondering where that came from?

When I say all the time it is an understatement. For me my imagination plans out an idea as though it is fluid. I have no idea where it is going until I get there, which is part of the fun. I do have an off switch, that little voice in my head that screams at me if I go too far down the wrong current with an idea that maybe isn’t right for my audience or maybe it’s a decision that doesn’t fit the characters personality. Life has a tendency to bleed into fiction so my writing can change with my mood.

Do you have a favorite character that you have written? If so who? And what makes them so special.

My favourite character that I have created is the villain in my paranormal romance series. I am a sucker for true crime so putting pen to paper and creating Glen Havers; the serial killer spirit who haunts our protagonist was a dream. The intricacies of building a character I couldn’t possibly relate to on any level meant definitely kept the process interesting.

Do you ever research real events, legends, or myths to get ideas?

I try to research as much as possible but usually it is for an existing idea. Thankfully I’m not yet short of ideas, some that will probably never see the light of day but are there if I ever want to change it up. The smallest of details can help to make the story more enjoyable for the reader, that really bring it to life and make it relatable.

Do you look to your own phobias to find subject matter? Are your stories the products of nightmares, childhood experiences, fantasies?

I definitely think I insert a part of myself into everything I write. My paranormal romance series was a cathartic expression of loss that I feel like I needed to write in order to heal from a childhood experience that is at the core of the protagonists story, it allowed me to relate with my character and I think my writing benefited from that first hand experience. I always have a notebook and pen beside my bed, my dreams and nightmares are very vivid, sometimes too vivid, so I will always note it down when I wake up if I find it interesting enough. The male lead characters, as I predominantly write MF romances, has qualities I would like in a partner, I think that is relatively normal for an author though.

Do you have any fun Halloween experiences you can share with us?

Fun Halloween stories, where to start. My birthday falls on the day before Halloween so every year we have a costume party, they are always fun experiences. Another one of my jobs is as a makeup and SFX artist so I get to play with all things bloody and gory all year round but especially closer to Halloween. It is for sure my favourite time of year.

What advice would you give to other authors?

What advice would I give to other authors? Firstly, there is comfort in numbers, I have some amazing author buddies and we share what we have learnt with each other and offer support to one another if it is needed. It can be lonely being an author so reach out and build your author circle with likeminded people. Secondly – Marketing is not easy, but it is necessary. There are so many great tools online to give you ideas on what, when and where to share your work. And lastly it doesn’t matter if you’ve written the next worldwide phenomenon, not everyone is going to like your book and that’s okay. Side note – Try to shake off the bad reviews because you will get them, your book is for the people that love it, just remember that.

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

One thing I would like people to know about my books is that I have loved creating worlds that people have fallen in love with and I adore getting to know my readers.

 

Thank you Billie Jade Kermack for chatting with me! I will include her information down below. Check out her paranormal romance murder mystery series today!

~Synopsis~

Awoken is book one in this paranormal romance, murder mystery series.It’s a modern-day love story that’s more Grimm than Disney; if singing mice and dancing crabs are what you were looking for, this is not the book for you. Seances, time travel, and torture, however – if that’s your thing, you just might fit right in.
Twilight vibes with a splash of horror and some ghost hunting. Perfect for your next young adult read.

Grace didn’t believe in ghosts or demons, she thought magic was something that only lived in the pages of fairy tales.

How very wrong she was.

Hidden away most of his life, Beau had successfully managed to mask his gift from the world. Having the ability to commune with the dead wasn’t exactly the best conversation starter, and that was okay, he didn’t much like people anyway, until he walked back into Gallows Wood and into Grace’s life.

Struggling with the incessant onslaught of nightmares about her father’s untimely death, Grace had accepted that maybe she just wasn’t destined for a happily ever after.

Fate however had a skewed sense of humor. The deeper Grace delves into Beau’s world, the further she wanders from the safety of her own. Plagued by the spirit of a sadistic serial killer long dead, Grace must harness what power she can to defeat him and stay alive. Awakening family secrets that Grace could never have imagined to be true begs the question: Had she been surrounded by magic longer than she had thought?

How far into a world plagued by evil would you go to save the soul of the one you love?

Billie Jade Kermack is an author who lives in London with her family and their crazy dog Gus. As well as being an author Billie Jade is a makeup & SFX artist for TV and film and runs her doll company SIDS DOLL EMPORIUM. She is currently working on a contemporary romance series & has a completed paranormal romance series already published.

https://linktr.ee/billiejadekermack

Author Spotlight · Interview with an Author · New Release

Interview with an Author featuring Kris Calvin

The Literary Vixen presents…

Joining us today is Kris Calvin! Her latest release, Under a Broken Sky: A Novel release on July 12th 2022.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

When I was little, I didn’t feel safe in my own home. Sadly, I’m far from the only child who has endured those circumstances. But my particular response to having a frightening reality was to also fear what my imagination might hold—I didn’t play make-believe, and I didn’t originally have much interest in “telling stories”. Fortunately, I discovered the local public library, where the librarians and staff were unfailingly kind and the children facing peril in my books had happy endings. 

For my career, I worked in an analytical and unimaginative, but fulfilling policy job advocating for children’s well-being in the state legislature. In the process, I wrote a lot of dry policy memos and letters. It wasn’t until I was in my 50s that I felt “safe” enough to  explore my creative side and write fiction.

What time of the day do you usually write?

5am to 9am.

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

Before I start writing, none–I don’t make outlines. But as I write, I pause frequently to envision everything. I need to be able to see a scene in my mind to transform the scene into words, so every sound, color, and texture matters.

Which of your books were the most enjoyable to write?

I am always most enamored with what I am currently working on. What’s already written and out there has to be “forgotten” for my new ideas to feel fresh. Right now that means a dual timeline story with two strong women protagonists set 100 years apart.

What gave you that final push to press publish on your first book?

When I shared my first manuscript for my first book, a “whodunnit” mystery called One Murder More, with a developmental editor, to my horror she pronounced it “terrible”. She said from my years working in policy I wrote clearly, but that what I’d produced was dull and dry. My characters only “saw” things; they didn’t touch or hear or smell. I spent a year in workshops and read countless books on writing fiction, gaining what I could from those who had already done it. I contracted with a hybrid publisher, they set a deadline, and I was ready. For my second book, the first in the Emma & Alibi series, I did 17 drafts before I submitted it to a traditional publisher, who gave me a 2-book contract. For that one, I was “ready” when I was done!

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

I know a lot of authors don’t read their Goodreads and Amazon reviews. I read each one. I don’t expect a book of mine to be a good fit for everyone, so it doesn’t bother me when that happens (unless the reader is flat out mean and calls me names, which has only happened once). I learn from what people like best and what they struggled with and do my best to use that to improve my writing. The most common positive comment is that people like Emma, my 32-yr-old ethics investigator, and Alibi my homicide cop. They also seem to like the dynamic between Emma and her best friend, Kate, and Kate’s teen son. 

Negatives have included a few people saying I describe clothing too much (which as a result I dialed down in my later books 🙂 and that the names are “weird”. (I didn’t change that. I like weird names.)

Favorite book when you were a kid?

Black Stallion.

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

I love this question! I used to play this game with my kids and their friends. 

For me? 

(1) Responsible. Ugh, I was once on a 3rd date with a man who I thought was about to tell me how fabulous I was and instead he said, “If I could sum you up in one word, it would be ‘responsible’.” No 4th date for him! 

(2) Kind. Not always and not perfectly, but one plus side of having lived in fear is I have no interest in making anyone feel anything other than respected and safe.

(3) Creative! This is a new one, late-in-life, but being creative is now a big part of who I am.

What advice would you give to other authors?

Write every day, and don’t share what you’ve written until you are very far along.

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

I write thrillers where no harm comes to children. They may be in danger, and we may worry for them, but every child you come to know in my books will be safe.

Thank you Kris Calvin for chatting with me! I will include her information down below. Check out her newest release, Under a Broken Sky today!

~Synopsis~

In this Sacramento-set thriller perfect for fans of Meg Gardiner, Emma Lawson uncovers greed and deception for a living, but this time is different. If only she knew this killer can hear her.

He can see her.

One year into her prized role as the youngest ethics investigator in California’s history, Emma suspects corruption in the state’s billion dollar expansion to train travel. That unwittingly puts her on a killer’s trail – a killer who will do anything to reach his illicit million dollar payday, including personally eliminating Emma Lawson as a threat.

Detective Alibi Morning Sun sees connections where no one else does. For him, a drowning at a lake, a fire in a storage facility and a murder by the river carry a thread soaked in blood.

As Emma follows the money and Alibi traces bullets and bodies, the killer counts down to his grand finale. With each mounting danger, it quickly becomes apparent that the corruption Emma has been digging for is real— and it’s deadly.

Three days. Two days. Now only one…

Kris Calvin’s latest novel, UNDER A BROKEN SKY (July 12, 2021; Crooked Lane Books) is the second in her Emma & Alibi mystery-thriller series. Kris served for more than 20 years as the CEO of the American Academy of Pediatrics in California, and was honored for her leadership in advocacy for children by the California Legislature. You can visit Kris online at kriscalvin.com.

kriscalvin.com

Review

A Good Day for Chardonnay: A Novel (Sunshine Vicram Book 2) by Darynda Jones – My Review

Title: A Good Day for Chardonnay: A Novel (Sunshine Vicram Book 2)

Author: Darynda Jones

Release Date: July 27th 2021

Genre: Mystery

From the New York Times bestselling author Darynda Jones comes the second novel in her laugh-out-loud Sunshine Vicram mystery series, A Good Day for Chardonnay.

Running a small-town police force in the mountains of New Mexico should be a smooth, carefree kind of job. Sadly, full-time Sheriff—and even fuller-time coffee guzzler—Sunshine Vicram, didn’t get that memo.

All Sunshine really wants is one easy-going day. You know, the kind that starts with coffee and a donut (or three) and ends with take-out pizza and a glass of chardonnay (or seven). Turns out, that’s about as easy as switching to decaf. (What kind of people do that? And who hurt them?)

Before she can say iced mocha latte, Sunny’s got a bar fight gone bad, a teenage daughter hunting a serial killer and, oh yes, the still unresolved mystery of her own abduction years prior. All evidence points to a local distiller, a dangerous bad boy named Levi Ravinder, but Sun knows he’s not the villain of her story. Still, perhaps beneath it all, he possesses the keys to her disappearance. At the very least, beneath it all, he possesses a serious set of abs. She’s seen it. Once. Accidentally.

Between policing a town her hunky chief deputy calls four cents short of a nickel, that pesky crush she has on Levi which seems to grow exponentially every day, and an irascible raccoon that just doesn’t know when to quit, Sunny’s life is about to rocket to a whole new level of crazy.

Yep, definitely a good day for chardonnay.

I love the Sunshine Vicram series! It’s addicting and I’m totally hooked.

The mystery continues as Sunshine searches for answers to her past. She’s also solving a new case that seems to have more than meets the eye. We also get more of Levi Ravinder! He’s totally book boyfriend material. I love the chemistry and the push and pull between Sunshine and Levi. There’s a lot of snark between the characters which is funny cause I love a good snark. However, at times it was a bit too much. The beginning is slow going. Which I now know is how these books will go. Once it gets going, there’s no putting the book down. Twists I didn’t see coming and that ending! Whyyyy!! I need the next book asap!

This book has it all! Suspense, snark, book boyfriend material, and murder. Start this series today! You’ll be entertained and falling in love with a new series. I give this 4 stars.

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion*

Review

Ravens In The Rain: A Noir Love Story by Christie Santo & Jeff Santo – My Review

Title: Ravens In The Rain: A Noir Love Story

Author: Christie Santo & Jeff Santo

Release Date: September 22nd 2021

Genre: Mystery, Noir Love Story

Ravens in the Rain is an unconventional noir love story between a woman with a past and a man with no future where love is no fairy tale, fantasy is foreplay, and sex is had on second dates.
Carney and Pru, down on luck and down on love, meet over a game of chance, and the mystery of the other’s intentions, compounded by their overwhelming attraction toward each other, compels them into a game of cat and mouse. They ante up and play this game of love or survival that has you wondering who’s the villain and who’s the hero and how it will all play out. When murder is brought to their doorstep the game gets serious.
A psychological tale between a poet and a filmmaker that has even the cat wondering if it’s really the mouse, what is real, and who is telling the truth. Is love on the table? Or is it life?

Darkly alluring! Brilliantly written! A love story that has you second guessing everyone’s motives. 

Two people meet and it feels like fate.

Right from the start, I was intrigued. It felt like one those nights were you decide to let loose and see where the night takes you. Once the characters meet, you feel a sort of magic happening. Like something wonderful and possibly terrifying is going to unfold. In a totally good way of course! 

From beginning to end, this book will draw you in and have you rapidly turning those pages. Twists and turns that will keep you guessing. A truly highly enjoyable read. I couldn’t put it down. I can’t recommend it enough! Add this to your TBR. No, move it up and read it NOW. You won’t be disappointed. I look forward to what these authors write next! I give this 5 stars. 

New Release · Review

The Wicked Hour: A Natalie Lockhart Novel by Alice Blanchard – My Review

NEW RELEASE

Title: The Wicked Hour: A Natalie Lockhart Novel

Author: Alice Blanchard

Release Date: December 1st 2020

Genre: Mystery

The day after Burning Lake’s notorious, debauched Halloween celebration, Detective Natalie Lockhart uncovers a heartbreaking scene—a young woman, dead and lying in a dumpster. There’s no clue to who she is, save for a mystifying tattoo on her arm, and a callus underneath her chin. She’s not from around here. No one knows who she is.

As Natalie retraces the young woman’s steps leading up to her death, she uncovers a deeper, darker horror—a string of murders and disappearances, seemingly unconnected, that may have ties to each other—and explain the abrupt disappearance of her best friend years ago.

As she digs deeper within the mind of the hunter, Natalie finds a darkness she could never have imagined. And as she draws closer to the truth, the killer is weaving a trap for her that may prove inescapable.

Right from the start, the story has an eerie and haunting vibe to it. It kicks off with Halloween! I am so here for it. 

We follow Natalie as she investigates a murder, all while dealing with grief she’s been carrying around from previous events. The pacing of the story was great. We had all kinds of interesting characters. I really had no clue who could be the suspect. I was along for the ride. I have to mention that this is book two in a series. I felt it could have been helpful to read book one prior to this. There are certain events and characters that are mentioned and we as the reader don’t know what has happened. That being said, this was a really great read despite not having read book one. I was engaged and the twists kept me guessing. I was surprised at that ending. Bravo Miss Blanchard! 

This is my first book by this author and I will definitely be looking for book one! I really enjoyed her writing style. This is a fabulous start to the series and now I am a huge fan of Natalie Lockhart. More please! I give this 4 stars.

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion*

Review

The Man in the White Linen Suit: A Stewart Hoag Mystery (Stewart Hoag Mysteries Book 11) by David Handler – My Review


Release Date: August 13th 2019

Genre: Humor, Mystery

~Synopsis~

The next clever, witty, and touching installment in the Edgar award-winning Stewart Hoag mystery series finds the beloved ghostwriter-sleuth and his faithful neurotic basset hound, Lulu, back in 1990’s New York City, investigating a bestselling author’s stolen manuscript and three murders linked to the crime.

Washed-up celebrity ghostwriter Stewart “Hoagy” Hoag has finally rediscovered his voice and is making progress on what he hopes will be his long-awaited second novel. Burrowed up in his less-than-luxurious, sweltering fifth floor walk-up, he tries not to think of the disparities between himself and his ex-wife, celebrity actress Merilee Nash, who is sifting through film offers—and also her fickle feelings for Hoagy—from her elegant eight-room apartment looking over Central Park. When Merilee offers her home for Hoagy’s use while she’s shooting on location, hope blossoms that he might finally get some real work done… and solidify their rekindling romance.

Then Hoagy receives a call from his literary agent asking if he can meet with publishing’s most ruthless and reviled editor, Sylvia James, for a drink at the Algonquin Hotel. After disclosing that aging literary genius Addison James—also Sylvia’s father and main client—has not in fact written his last two bestselling historical sagas, Sylvia reveals her suspicions that Addison’s assistant Tommy O’Brien—the true author—has run away with their most recent manuscript and is holding it for ransom. Tempted by Sylvia’s offer to bid a hefty advance for his novel-in-progress, Hoagy agrees to help unearth Tommy’s sudden disappearance. If only he’d known exactly what he was getting himself into, he might’ve saved himself from the ensuing grief that follows in his hot pursuit of Tommy. But then, that wouldn’t be a normal day in the life of Hoagy.

With clattering claims of a mugging, a stolen manuscript, and three murders, now it’s up to Hoagy and his short-legged sidekick Lulu to unravel this baffling, bizarre case.

~Add To TBR~

~My Review~

The Man in the White Linen Suit is a brilliant and entertaining read! Even though it’s set in the 90’s, there’s an old fashioned vibe to it. A sense of nostalgia if you will. This is the first book I’ve read by the author and I am now a fan. Stewart “Hoagy” Hoag is quirky and witty. His sense of humor had me laughing out loud. I loved him! We can’t forget about Lulu, his bassist hound who is beyond clever and quirky in her own way. The story is a murder mystery. There’s fun characters and fun scenes. The author’s style of writing is brilliant and savvy. He gave these characters life. He made the story amusing and kept my attention right from the start.
I would love to read more from this series! I give this 5 stars.

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion*

~Buy Now~