IAM Interview with…Mike Ronny

Guest Feature

Guest Feature

Our guest author for Indie Month today is Mike Ronny, author of Stalkers Drink Free. Check out the intriguing blurb for the book here and then find out more about the man behind the words in our spotlight author interview.

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092412 MR Stalkers CoverStalkers Drink Free

Like all aspiring stand-up comics, John Izor’s used to tough crowds and hecklers. But a deranged fan who wants to kill him? Open-mike nights just got a lot scarier.

 

How do you react to a bad review?

I haven’t gotten all that many reviews yet, good or bad, but I think the key to dealing with bad reviews is preparing yourself ahead of time. Accept that negative opinions from readers are a part of the process. And when you finish a story, spend a few minutes trying to imagine the worst things people could possibly say about it. Then, when a bad review does come, it might not seem as bad. Getting together with a group of writer friends to share experiences with bad reviews is another way to take the sting out of the experience.

Bad reviews are also less painful when you truly believe in your work. Now, believing in your work doesn’t mean you think your writing is perfect. It means feeling that your story is enjoyable and meaningful, and that it represents your best efforts at the time you wrote it.

Night owl or early bird?

I’m certainly an early bird. I enjoy being up late at night once in a while, but my brain is definitely the most active and the most creative early on. Sunrise is my favorite time of day, in fact – everything’s shining and nothing has gone wrong yet.

When you were little, what did you want to be when you “grew up”?                

For many years, starting when I was little, I wanted to be a stand-up comedian. As a kid, watching comics like Bill Cosby and Steve Martin on TV, and renting their videotapes, I found it unbelievable that there were people who got paid just to make other people laugh. I actually performed in a few dozen comedy shows in the Boston area from 2003 to 2006. But I eventually came to peace with the fact that the profession wasn’t for me, partly because of my answer to the previous question.

How did you know you should become an author?

In late 2010 I read a newspaper article about the independent publishing craze, something I was pretty much unaware of prior to that. The whole concept seemed irresistible: by self-publishing short stories I could – hopefully – entertain people, make them laugh, provide them some escape on a bad day. And no rejection letters are involved!

Favorite quote from a movie?

My favorite movie quote comes from the end of Back to the Future Part III, when Marty McFly shows Doc Brown a piece of paper from the future that’s been erased – Marty’s girlfriend Jennifer is standing next to him – and Marty asks Doc what it means. The Doc says, “It means your future hasn’t been written yet. No one’s has. Your future is whatever you make it. So make it a good one, both of you.” Doc Brown sounds so sincere when he says these lines that it always makes me believe for a moment that anything is possible.

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Want to know more? Check out the links!

Goodreads profile: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6583803.Mike_Ronny

Twitter: @MattDemko1 (Matt Demko’s my real name.)

 

IAM Interview with…Mariana Llanos

Guest Feature

Guest Feature

Returning today as our guest is Mariana Llanos, author of the Tristan Wolf series. Yesterday we featured an excerpt from her latest book A Planet for Tristan Wolf, today we’re learning about the lady herself in an author interview…

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Mariana Llanos

Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.

Tristan Wolf and A Planet for Tristan Wolf are unique books that spark creativity and imagination in children, and transport grown-ups to that place in time where they could be whoever they wanted to be.

What are you working on at the moment – do you have any other books in the works?

I am working on two stories: The Wanting Monster, a fun story about a little boy that wants everything, and The Staircase on Pine St., a touching story about a girl and her grandfather, who suffers from Alzheimer’s.

What’s the craziest writing idea you’ve had?

At some point in my life, I wanted to write a new script for a Star Wars movie … now that I come to think about it … I think I should’ve!

What movie and/or book are you looking forward to this year?

This year I’m looking forward to catch up on my reading, especially some classic literature … I love classics! I have lined up some Hemingway, Wilde, Woolf and Shakespeare so far.

Favorite quote from a movie?

“I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”-Casablanca

“I love you” “I know”-The Empire Strikes Back

***

About the Author Mariana Llanos writes poetry and short stories since she was very young. In her native Lima, Peru, she explored her interest in the performing arts. She now lives in Oklahoma with her husband and their three children, who inspire her to create touching stories. She works at a preschool where she likes to motivate children through music and art. Her first book, Tristan Wolf, was published early in 2013 and it’s getting great reviews. Now, in A Planet for Tristan Wolf, Mariana takes us one more time to the world of this imaginative boy and his adventures. The art of Rocio Perez Del Solar makes this a beautiful book that will spark creativity and entertain children and adults alike. As Mariana would say: “Let your imagination go wild!”

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Want to know more? Check out the links!

Amazon “A PLANET FOR TRISTAN WOLF”: http://www.amazon.com/Planet-Tristan-Wolf-Mariana-Llanos/dp/1492747181/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1392952974&sr=8-1&keywords=a+planet+for+Tristan+Wolf

Amazon “Tristan Wolf”:http://www.amazon.com/Tristan-Wolf-Mariana-Llanos/dp/148205308X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1392953445&sr=8-1&keywords=tristan+wolf

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tristanwolfofficial

Website: www.marianallanos.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/marianallanos

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/marianallanos

Blog: http://www.marianallanosauthor.blogspot.com

 

IAM Excerpt from…A Planet for Tristan Wolf by Mariana Llanos

Guest Feature

Guest Feature

Our guest author on Indie Month for the next couple of days is Mariana Llanos, author of the Tristan Wolf series. Check out the books and an excerpt from one today, then find out more about the lady herself in our author interview tomorrow!

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  Tristan WolfA Planet for Tristan Wolf

Tristan Wolf is back! And this time he’s not alone on his adventure. After fighting with his  brother, Billy, Tristan and his best friend, Red, run away… to another planet! They want to start over with a new life, in a new place, far away from angry brothers. But this new planet is strange. There are no plants, no parks, and no sun. And Tristan can’t figure out exactly why everyone there is a strange shade of green. But the strangest part of all is the way everyone reacts to Red. It’s like they’re scared to be around him! Tristan will learn that nothing is at it seems in this crazy, extravagant planet! Now he must race to rescue himself and his friend, and get them both back to Earth, before they’re stuck on planet Orb forever! With colorful illustrations and the story line full of surprises, this will easily become one of your children’s favorite stories in no time! Tristan Wolf fans and new fans alike will fall in love with this tale of a young boy, his relationship with his family, and his wild imagination!

 

frontcover

A PLANET FOR TRISTAN WOLF EXCERPT

MARIANA LLANOS

Illustrated by

Rocio Perez del Solar

When Tristan opened his eyes, the world was still swirling around him. He stood up to look out the window. His body felt light and slow. He knew he wasn’t on Earth anymore. The almost perfectly-round blue planet was spinning in the distance, and Tristan, inside his spaceship, wiped a tear off his cheek.

He knew he’d have to land soon; he didn’t have enough fuel for a long trip. He didn’t have enough food either. Whatever he had he’d have to share with his best friend, Red, who was traveling with him. Just a few chips, bacon bits, an apple, and half of a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich … that’s all they had left. Red had such a big appetite that Tristan was afraid they’d run out of food before they found a new home.

Home. That word seemed so cold now. It wasn’t sweet to Tristan, not anymore. Not after that big fight with his brother. Billy had gotten so mad at him! And it wasn’t even his fault… it was Red’s. Billy let Tristan look at his baseball trading cards, instructing him to put them away when he was done, but Tristan forgot and left them on the dining table. Somehow, Red got ahold of Billy’s favorite and most expensive card and completely destroyed it.

“Why did you do that?” Tristan asked Red in disbelief, but Red just turned around and looked away. He looks kinda sorry, Tristan thought.

Oh, Billy was so mad at them! He called Tristan all kinds of hurtful names. He yelled and kicked and even pushed Tristan to the floor. When Tristan threatened to tell Dad, Billy just looked at his brother and Red with a cold and hateful stare and yelled, “Get lost! Both of you!”

And that’s what Tristan and Red were doing. They were getting lost.

“I don’t think Billy likes us anymore, Red.”

Red opened one eye, closed it without making a sound, and rolled back to sleep. Outside, the cold, dark universe kept on doing its thing: planets were spinning, stars shining, black holes forming, big bangs exploding. Tristan watched a moving light sweep across his window. “A shooting star!” he yelled. “Come, Red, let’s wish for something special!” Red lazily got up and sat next to Tristan, looking up at their little skylight.

“I wish,” started Tristan, “to find a good home … and for me and Red to be loved and safe.”

“Grff!” Red said in what seemed to be agreement. And with that he turned his nose towards Tristan and started licking his leg.

“We’ll be all right, Red,” Tristan promised and lay back down on the sleeping bag floating nearby. Red, his loyal dog, wagged his tail and seemed to smile.

***

About the Author Mariana Llanos writes poetry and short stories since she was very young. In her native Lima, Peru, she explored her interest in the performing arts. She now lives in Oklahoma with her husband and their three children, who inspire her to create touching stories. She works at a preschool where she likes to motivate children through music and art. Her first book, Tristan Wolf, was published early in 2013 and it’s getting great reviews. Now, in A Planet for Tristan Wolf, Mariana takes us one more time to the world of this imaginative boy and his adventures. The art of Rocio Perez Del Solar makes this a beautiful book that will spark creativity and entertain children and adults alike. As Mariana would say: “Let your imagination go wild!”

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Want to know more? Check out the links!

Amazon “A PLANET FOR TRISTAN WOLF”: http://www.amazon.com/Planet-Tristan-Wolf-Mariana-Llanos/dp/1492747181/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1392952974&sr=8-1&keywords=a+planet+for+Tristan+Wolf

Amazon “Tristan Wolf”:http://www.amazon.com/Tristan-Wolf-Mariana-Llanos/dp/148205308X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1392953445&sr=8-1&keywords=tristan+wolf

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tristanwolfofficial

Website: www.marianallanos.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/marianallanos

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/marianallanos

Blog: http://www.marianallanosauthor.blogspot.com

 

IAM Feature…Being a ‘social’ Indie

Guest Feature

Event Feature

No guest author today, just lil oil’ me pondering the value of marketing and social networking for indie writers 🙂 Mel x

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The one thing most writers will agree on, is that you think the writing part is hard…until you release your book and then have to consider how you actually get people to read it! Even over the last couple of years since I released my first book Hope’s Daughter as an indie, I’ve seen the indie writer world change: Goodreads seems to have exploded with people coming to the e-book scene; people are getting more savvy with blog tours, book trailers, well-designed covers…oh and marketing…

No matter how you look at things, everything takes time. When you’re writing, you might give up reading, TV, friends, family…maybe even eating any food that you can’t do with just one hand…but there is an end in sight. Your book has a beginning, middle and end (unless it’s some strange contemporary thing that comes as loose pages in a box that your reader puts together themselves…sorry – I digress) – and when you come to the end of writing the book, edit it and then send it out for the world to see, that part is done.

What begins then is the (perhaps) endless task of promoting your book and getting people to read it. After a while, I imagine some books can gain some momentum and begin generating attention for themselves, but, until you have some reviews on Goodreads, Amazon and co. – until you have a few bloggers reading your book and featuring it on their sites, it can be a very tough nut to crack.

What is tough for any author, but more so for indies, is being your own promoter. If you’re spending time blogging about books or your writing, networking with readers and other authors through websites, blogs and twitbookpindiggit.com then the one thing you’re definitely not doing is writing. Take me for example, right now – the last few hours of free time I’ve had to get on with anything writing related have been spent popping up the guest features for the indie month, posting tweets about the event and now, writing this post. In economic terms, I suppose today, I’m electing to accept the opportunity cost of using my time to do this, rather than the spare hour to progress my ‘Faris’ story.

Does this stuff – Goodreads, blogging, social media – help you get more people reading your books?

Maybe yes, maybe no.

Perhaps a person reading the blog today will say “Hey – I like the waffling style of this person, perhaps their books are equally odd,” then go off to check them out. Or perhaps, I’ll meet another book blogger on here, whose stuff I like reading, which gets me reading other books or thinking about my own writing in a different way, and then I’ll do something different than I might have done before. Sometimes you meet other lovely authors (Mister Talbot is in this group!) 🙂 who become book-buddies and indulge your crazy writing obsession more than ‘real world’ friends might. Plus, it can be worth it for the odd time a reader comes back to you and let’s you know how much they loved reading your book – the positive feedback can make all the time spent cruising the interweb, working out what to post and frittering away good writing time, worth it.

I suppose it all comes back to being about the writing – even if it feels at times like it is completely unconnected (and perhaps even unproductive). So – to help you guys out a little, I’ve shared below some links to interesting blog posts on how to improve your social media stuff as a writer, as well as one for if you want to avoid it altogether. Hopefully then, you’ll find something useful yourself from this blog post and it won’t have been a waste of your time reading it 😉

Links

Duolit SelfPub Team are one of my favourite writing / publishing tip blogs around – I’ve always found their features interesting, useful and real – check them out on Twitter @duolit or online at their site: http://selfpublishingteam.com “Shannon’s the author. Toni’s the geek. As Duolit, we love indie authors, self-publishing, book design, author branding and book marketing. Oh, and Mountain Dew!”

Author Jade Varden blogs on all things writing and has everything from grammar assistance to marketing and social media advice – take a look on Twitter @JadeVarden or her blog: jadevarden.blogspot.com With 24.5k followers on Twitter, she must know something! 

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Mel is currently working on book 3 of her indie sci-fi dystopian series, The Ambrosia Sequence, as well as dabbling with a couple of old ideas for children’s books. She launched Aside from Writing in 2012 and blogs here and at her author blog regularly.

Want to know more? Check out the links!

Blog: http://www.melcj.com

Twitter: @melabupa

IAM Interview with…Kim Smith

Guest Feature

Guest Feature

Our guest author for Indie Month today is Kim Smith, author of An Unexpected Performance and several other adult fiction books. Let’s find out a little more about the lady herself in today’s spotlight interview.

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AUPsmallIf you could have any superpower, what would you choose?

I would totally be able to fly. It has been a dream of mine many times. It feels so weird to be shooting through the air and have the ability to look down and see the world below. It would enable me to get, quite literally, a bird’s eye view of the places I want to visit and write about.

Night owl or early bird?

Early bird. I can accomplish more in the hours before dawn than all the others during the day. It may be because I can feel free to focus on whatever task I am doing. Other times, people, and ‘have to do’ things hone in on my time.

One food you would never eat? Chocolate covered insects. No way.

Your most unusual or random habit? Petting my dog with my feet. She loves the constant stroking and her fur feels good. It’s totally weird, but wonderful.

Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.

A drama award, a theatrical mirror, and two teens destined to be great actors if their roles don’t get them killed first.

 

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Want to know more? Check out the links!

http://www.kimsmithauthor.com

http://www.facebook.com/mkimsmith

http://www.twitter.com/mkimsmith

Kim’s Radio Show-Writer Groupie – http://www.blogtalkradio.com/writergroupie

Amazon link for Kindle

Amazon link for paperback

IAM Interview with…Mari Wells

Guest Feature

Guest Feature

Our guest author for Indie Month today is Mari Wells,introducing herself through one of our quick ‘This or That’ interviews. Enjoy!

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Pirates or Zombies?

Zombies, I’m writing a novel right now about Zombies. I like the monster aspect of them, and their history is quite interesting. My Husband keeps asking me to write about Pirates though, so many soon. I do have an idea or two for a Pirate story.

 

Popcorn or Chocolate?

Chocolate, always hands down Chocolate. You can’t add popcorn to coffee or ice cream. Raspberry popcorn doesn’t sound as good as Raspberry chocolate. Popcorn truffles just turns my stomach.

 

When you were little, what did you want to be when you “grew up”?

When I was little, I wanted to be a mom, and a poet. Some really mean teachers in middle school told me I couldn’t ever be a poet. I believed them for a really long time too. (For that matter, they told me never to pursue a career in writing.) I believed that for a long time too.

 

What’s the craziest writing idea you’ve had?

Hmm, I’ve had lots of crazy ideas. One idea I’m currently playing with takes what society considers as okay for men/ no no’s for women and trades their places. There’s some taboo subjects in this idea and a lot of comedy. Another idea is a mermaid who works for a fishing company or a sushi shop.

 

Reading or Writing?

Reading or Writing is another hard question. I personally think you can’t have writing without reading. Both are my favorite pass times, they take me from this boring world and let me hang out with my own and other’s imaginations.

 

Good Book or Good Film?

A good book. I’ve never been in movie fog for weeks, but I’m often in book fog for that long. Movies also “spoon feeds” me, I like to imagine what a character looks like or what the setting looks like.

 

Vampire or Angel?

Vampire! I like my angels. Angels are cool and if you can create a good “Bad Boy Angel” I’m a content reader, but Vampires have me 99% of the time. There’s something about vampires that stop my heart. Vampires have been my thing since I was a little girl, and they always be my thing.

 

Drive or Be Driven?

Be Driven, I freak out when I drive. If cars get too close to my sides or ride my tailgate. I get all shaking and have to pull over and let someone else drive. Driving is usually at the root of my panic attacks.

 

Early Bird or Night Owl?

I’ve been an Early bird and a Night Owl. I’ve burnt the candle at both ends too. However, as far back as I can remember I’ve been a Night Owl. Night Owl is my favorite, there’s nothing like being awake late at night writing a paranormal story. 😀

 

Quiet Night In or Out On The Town?

This one was the easiest question of all, No Doubt about it, Quiet night in. I’m the kind of girl that would rather curl up with a good book (or writing utensils) than go out to party. If I really have to, I’d watch a movie (Young Frankenstein anyone?) and cuddle on the couch with the whole family than be out on the town.

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Want to know more? Check out the links!

Blog

Facebook

Twitter

Google +

www.mariwells4@gmail.com

IAM Interview with…Jewel Thief, Michael Crandon

Guest Feature

Guest Feature

Look whose back again! Our indie guest today is author Hazel West, who is joining us for a very special feature: interviewing jewel thief Michael Crandon, the lead character from her latest book… A Company of Rogues.

We’ve featured Hazel several times before on the blog, reviewing her books, as well as in interviews, so it’s a great pleasure to have her join us again to share her latest book with us – we hope you enjoy her character interview as much as we did, it certainly got me wanting to read the book! If you’d like to know more about Hazel, check out our previous features with her here.

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Company of Rogues coverMichael Crandon used to be an impeccable thief, never leaving a trace and never getting caught–that is until he takes a job with a flamboyant millionaire, Charles Randall who has got it into his head he wants the Dalton Emeralds, famous for belonging to Elizabeth I herself. When the heist goes horribly wrong and Michael is forced into hiding, he decides to swear off thieving and turn to more cultured and safe pursuits, such as knitting and drinking tea–oh, and consulting for other thieves on the side; he has to make a living somehow, after all. Then his comfortable world is turned upside down when the Emeralds are stolen and his old partner tells him Randall is out for his blood thinking him responsible. And as if that weren’t bad enough, he’s found himself forced into the company of a young, naive con man who’s got himself mixed up in the mess as well. Reluctantly, Michael agrees he has no choice but to find the Emeralds himself before Randall exacts his pound of flesh. Along with Reilly, the young grifter, Justine, a romance writer and Michael’s lady love, and Victor, the huge, yet friendly, Russian pub owner, Michael conducts this unlikely company of rogues to the ultimate goal of finding a peaceful existence once again–if that could even be possible for the ever unlucky Michael Crandon.

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Hi Michael, thanks for stepping out of the pages of A Company of Rogues to be with us today, it’s been a while since we’ve interviewed a character. So, let’s get started – can you describe yourself to me?

Describe myself? Very well. I’m a middle-aged, retired jewel thief, now running a consulting business for other thieves when they need help on a heist. I’m rather plain in appearance, nothing special—no flash and dash like everyone seems to think jewel thieves should have—and I rather like a good cup of tea and knitting at the end of the day.

How do you feel about your life right now? What, if anything, would you like to change?

Well, as of now, I finally have a somewhat normal and peaceful existence, and I’m quite happy with it. I run my own business and have plenty of time for the things I like to do, mostly living a peaceful life while knitting and drinking tea as well as pursuing my relationship with Miss Aberline. Yes, it might sound a bit dull, but if you’ve had the misfortune I have in my life, then you would understand my love of the mundane.

How do you feel about your family, now that you’re an adult?

Unfortunately I didn’t really get to live with my family as long as I should have. My mother died when I was very young and I don’t remember her, but my father always told me she was a sweet and loving woman—whether or not that was actually true, I liked to believe it. And my father was killed when I was thirteen so I had to fend for myself on the streets after that. I did love my father, and even though he wasn’t able to provide everything for me I never thought any less of him. I could have had it a lot worse.

What do you want from life?

What do I want from life? Survival! Peace from my past and those who come with it and also eventually a life with the woman a love. I hope to quit the criminal business as soon as I get enough funds to live happily away from it all.

How do you fall in love? At first sight? Over a long period?

I hate the idea of love at first sight. I really do. How could it be possible? And I really hate talking about it. And yet, I can’t deny that when I first met Justine Aberline, I knew I loved her. But it wasn’t just love at first sight fairy tale tripe either, it was just that we knew we belonged together. She read me and I couldn’t let her get away then, could I? But after our initial reaction, yes, our love has grown. It’s only a natural occurrence.

How do you decide if you can trust someone?

Well, first off, it’s a good thing if they don’t instantly try to kill me. Besides that, I am not much in the habit of trusting anyone unless I have known them for a long period of time and even then I can only count the number of people I trust on one hand. Being a thief and having to work with questionable characters has taught me how to read people and most of all not to trust anyone when it comes to money or power.

What really moves you, or touches you to the soul?

 I don’t like to say much about that. I’ve been so many years pushing my feelings aside, I hardly knows what moves me anymore, and I don’t like people to pry into it!

 What do you consider your special talent?

Well, if I do say so myself, I was a very good jewel thief and still am when I want to be. I never got caught, and only got on the wrong side of the Yard when I took on inexperienced partners who messed up an entire heist—thus forcing me to retire prematurely.

What do you wish your special talent was?

Hmm, that’s a tough one. I really would like to be better at fighting. I’m rubbish at it and I end up getting beaten a lot for my troubles. Now, don’t get me wrong, I try to avoid a fight if at all possible, but when there’s no way out, I would like to be able to hold my own.

What are you most proud of about your life?

Very little. Nothing in fact, apart from Justine. She’s truthfully the only good thing in my life.

What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done? Why?

When I was young, my family could barely scrape up enough money for one square meal a week, so I got in with some bad people and did some illegal things for them (moving certain items) but messed up and ended up getting my father killed for it. I’ve lived with that every day since.

 (The first book of Michael’s series “A Company of Rogues” will be out September 2014)

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DSCN1821_3 About the Author 

Hazel West lives in Florida and took up writing mostly as an excuse to stay out of the heat. Apart from being an Indie author, she also enjoys reading, drawing, drinking coffee, and knitting and crochet. A lover of all this historical and a good deal of folklore and mythology and enjoys seeing how those things can be written into stories.

And here are Hazel’s answers to our tough, but fun, Gimme 10 ‘mini interview’ – each question has to be answered in ten words or less. Let’s see how it goes…

Where do you find your inspiration? Everywhere, anything has been known to inspire me

 

  • What is your favourite aspect of A Company of Rogues?

The characters are thieves and cons but yet good people.

 

  • Who is your favourite character from A Company of Rogues and why?

Reilly. He’s adorable, and if flawed, a good kid at heart

 

  • What are you working on now?

An urban fantasy about the descendants of legendary Irish warriors.

 

W

  • hat do you love about most about writing?

Crafting characters that can become real to the reader.

 

 

 Want to know more? Check out the links! 

Blog: http://hazelwest.blogspot.com

Tales From a Modern Bard (short stories/fiction): http://talesfromamodernbard.blogspot.com

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/artfulscribbler

Pintrest: http://www.pinterest.com/artfulscribbler/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5289626.Hazel_B_West

You can find all my books here: http://hazelwest.blogspot.com/2013/03/purchase-links.html