IAM Interview…with Jack Croxall

Guest Feature

Guest Feature

Our featured author today is Jack Croxall. We recently spotted a review of Jack’s book Tethers on Goodreads and liked the look of it so much that it’s in our ‘To Read’ pile now. You can expect a review of Tethers in the near future on the blog, but in the meantime, why not find out more about Jack and his writing in today’s interview. Enjoy! 


Jack Croxall - Author Photo Born in High Wycombe, Jack Croxall now lives in rural Nottinghamshire with his chocolate Labrador, Archie. He has a degree in Environmental Science from the University of Nottingham and currently toils away as a science writer in between working on his books.

 If you could jump in to a book, and live in that world, which would it be?

That’s easy! I’d live in Lyra’s universe from His Dark Materials because everyone gets a daemon (a physical, animal representation of your soul). In the meantime, it’s great fun trying to work out what yours might be. I think mine would be a heron because I’m patient, persistent and I love water!

You’ve found a time machine on your driveway this morning – where are you going to go in it?

I think I’d probably go back to the time of the dinosaurs, if I managed to not get eaten, I could come back and tell everyone what colour they were!

How did you celebrate the sale of your first book?

I jumped around the room madly waving my arms! I wasn’t even alone at the time :S

What inspired you to want to become a writer?

In 2011 I was diagnosed with CFS and subsequently found myself housebound for a number of months. I had always felt I had a novel in me, but suddenly I had the time to produce it. My illness also influenced the mindset of my central characters, Karl and Esther; they are frustrated at being stranded in their small town with no way out to explore the wider world. This frustration was no doubt born from my own aggravations at being unable to get out and do anything.

What has been your most rewarding experience since being published?

Definitely seeing people talk about my characters (in reviews or on social networks for example). They lived exclusively inside my head for so long but having other people meet, enjoy and talk about their company triggers a feeling like no other.

Can you see yourself in any of your characters?

Maybe …

How do you react to a bad review?

Sadly, bad reviews are perhaps inevitable but it doesn’t stop them hurting! Obviously not everyone is going to like your book, which is completely fine, you just have to find a way of hardening yourself to them!

Is there a song you could list as the theme song for your book?

I can’t really think of one particular song, but I have put together a playlist of songs I listened to whilst writing the book. You can check it out here: http://bit.ly/Zr6l9U

What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?

Can I give two instead? Firstly, read as widely as you can – not exclusively stuff from the genre you write in. I’m not just talking about fiction either; blogs, newspaper articles, pamphlets, menus, billboards, DVD boxes, E-mails, all can be sources of great writing – you need to absorb as much of it as you can! Secondly, get involved with the larger writing community. With social networking it’s never been easier and most writers really are wonderfully supportive. I’ve found talking to fellow book/writing types incredibly helpful so, please, get involved; my twitter handle is @JackCroxall – if you’re interested, add me for a chat!

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

Because there is so much more at stake than the central characters realise!


Tethers Cover
In the wake of a cold Victorian winter, two teenagers discover an anonymous journal filled with strange passages and bizarre scribblings.

The journal soon draws them into a covert and sinister conspiracy, a conspiracy centred around an otherworldly artefact with the power to change everything …

Karl and Esther have spent almost every day of their thirteen years in the quiet market town of Shraye. Stifled by their rural surroundings and frustrated by their unfulfilled ambitions, they find the allure of the journal’s mysterious pages impossible to ignore. The book seems to be beckoning them away from Shraye, away from their homes and towards the coast where an unsolved disappearance has set in motion a dark chain of events.

The voyage the teenagers soon find themselves undertaking is one of desperate importance and true peril; it will change the way they see the world, and each other, forever.

Reviewers’ Comments:

The story begins with a break away from home that is reminiscent of the exploration stories of Enid Blyton and Arthur Ransome, the kids find themselves on a metaphorical rollercoaster cart racing down the tracks. And the brakes are off. Sword fights, pistols, unfortunate deaths and curious objects, the plot thickens with every twist and turn. Suddenly Blyton meets H.G. Wells, and a brilliantly paced steampunk tale of machinery and science-based magic unfolds. (Charlotte Morris – MuggleNet)

Somewhere between Pullman’s Sally Lockhart mysteries and Moonfleet sits Tethers, a rip-roaring debut novel. Sharply written with well observed characters that you can root for, Tethers has you turning pages faster that Ronald MacDonald can throw out burgers. (Sharon Sant – author of the Sky Song trilogy).


Want to know more? Check out the links!

Add on Goodreads: http://bit.ly/13JaDq1

Buy the book

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/WRf4vI

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/12ozq7Q

Connect with the Author

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JackCroxall
Website/Blog: http://jackcroxall.co.uk/
Goodreads profile: http://bit.ly/11UOYPf

IAM Interview…with author David Normoyle

Guest Feature

Guest Feature

David Normoyle is today’s featured author – and he’s bravely faced our first ever ‘This or That’ interview – want to know more? Then read on! 🙂 

David was born in Australia, but moved to Ireland at an early age. The early globe crossing must have gone to his head, as he has since backpacked through and lived in numerous countries. He grew up on a farm as the eldest of nine unruly siblings, but since his escape, he prefers city living. His electronic engineering degree is currently gathering dust while he tries new and strange pursuits such as novel writing.


davidjnormoylePirates or Zombies?

I’m gonna go for pirates here. Never had much love for zombies or zombie movies. Didn’t have much of an opinion on pirates until the inimitable Captain Jack Sparrow came along. He elevated pirates to a whole new level.

Hero or Villain?

I’m going to cheat a little on this question and choose the dividing line between hero and villain. Some of my favorite characters are those who skate that dividing line. Great examples include Tony Soprano, Al Swearengen from Deadwood, Vick Mackey from The Shield, Michael Corleone from The Godfather movies. And practically the whole cast of Game of Thrones.

Good Book or Good Film?

Although I quoted mainly TV characters above, books are always my first love. I like to read a book before watching a movie, better to for the book knowledge to spoil the movie than vice versa. I have a small select list of cases where the film is better than the book (including The Godfather, Schlinder’s List and Silence of the Lambs) but they are the exception that prove the rule.

 Beach or Backpack?

Backpack all the way. I get bored on beaches rather quickly and I have had some great times backpacking. You are always meeting new people and exploring wonderful places.

James Bond or Jason Bourne?

I like Bond and all, but Bourne is the winner here. Bond is a one note character in many ways, where as Bourne is much more interesting while being just as much as a bad ass. Plus I fell in love with Bourne via the books, whereas I’ve just seen Bond on the screen (see Book or Film section.)

 Twilight or The Hunger Games?

Ok, this is the easiest question of the lot. I’m a big Hunger Games fan. The concept for my novel drew inspiration from Hunger Games among other sources. On the other hand, the internet seems to love making jokes about Twilight, and I laugh at those jokes (does that make me a bad person?) So yeah, Hunger Games in a landslide.



  Only the strongest, smartest and most ruthless will survive.

Every six years, the world draws nearer to the sun. In Arcandis, those who want to live must claim the limited places in the Refuge, a series of underground caverns cooled by the sea.

The teenage boys of noble birth are sent out into the city to demonstrate their wits and strength. Some prove themselves in combat, others display their empire building skills, still others attempt to kill off their rivals. Out of over a hundred, only six will be selected by the leaders of the great families and allowed a place in the Refuge. The rest will perish, one way or another.

Not only is thirteen-year-old Bowe younger and weaker than most of the other boys, he has no family to support him. He is expected to die on the very first day of the narrowing path. Instead he begins a journey no one could have anticipated.

IAM Book of the Day…Sweet Glory by Lisa Potocar

Guest Feature

Guest Feature

This morning Lisa Y. Potocar, author of Sweet Glory, told us why she writes YA. In our second feature today you can find out more about her novel…


Reluctant to shed her riding trousers and fully submerse herself in her role as a growing woman, Jana Brady joins the Union army in the fight for her country. Hoping for Sweet Glory, she cuts her hair and disguises herself as a young cavalryman, eager to fight the Rebels, aided by Leanne Perham, another girl from town who has donned the Union blues. Disguised as Johnnie and Leander, Jana and Leanne form a close connection with other misfits in their unit, twelve-year-old Charlie, who’s hidden his age to provide for his ma, and Irishman Keeley, who inspires men to abandon their inner conflicts and band together. Jana comes to greatly admire Keeley, who frequently needles Johnnie about the occasional appearance of feminine attributes.

While Jana enjoys the camaraderie within her unit, soldiering and nursing severely test her notions of glory in war. And the possibility of dying as a man hits home when she witnesses a man and his disguised bride die hand in hand on the battlefield. Jana determines to find a way home, with the blossoming incentive of renewing a relationship with Keeley once she is again living as a woman. But this possibility seems even more unlikely when Keeley is captured and Jana is hit by a bullet. Will she be able to rescue him from the Confederates’ clutches? And will Keeley love her for her true self? Lisa Potocar masterfully interweaves a moving love story with a sweeping portrayal of the heartache of the Civil War and the courage of key figures in history.

Cover - Sweet Glory


Want to know more? Check out the links!

http://www.lisapotocar.tateauthor.com (Website)

http://www.facebook.com/LisaPotocarAuthor (Facebook)

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5779385.Lisa_Potocar (Goodreads Author)

http://amzn.to/THkzMp (Sweet Glory on Amazon)

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13454119-sweet-glory (Sweet Glory on Goodreads)

IAM Guest Post…Why I Write YA

Guest Feature

Guest Feature

Today’s guest post about why she writes YA is by Lisa Y. Potocar, author of Sweet Glory. In our second feature today you can find out more about her novel, but for now, let’s find out why Lisa writes YA 🙂


First, I’d like to thank Melanie, Stephanie, Tony, and Jade for hosting me on their “Aside From Writing” Blog today. I’m thrilled to be here, and I hope that you’ll be entertained by my story: How I came to write for young adults. Also, I hope you don’t mind that I’ve copied my entire “Author’s Note” from Sweet Glory, which perfectly explains why I targeted young adults for my audience. Happy reading…..

Dear Reader,

 hate history!

 Now that I have your attention … I’ll tell you that I actually love history, but I didn’t always. So what made me want to go digging up facts to weave around fiction—especially for a debut novel—when I could have easily plugged my primary protagonist and her plot into a more familiar setting? And why target young adults for my story’s readership?

 I was in my early thirties when my mother coaxed me into touring some of Newport, Rhode Island’s historical homes. At the time, my career in health care was often stressful due to a rapidly changing atmosphere and incessant backlogs; any getaway was a welcome diversion. While at the Hunter House, the melodic voice of the tour guide, dressed in colonial costume, lulled me back to a moonless night during the Revolutionary War. In this Georgian-style mansion, overlooking the harbor, I pictured Admiral de Ternay, commander of the French fleet, seated on a rose floral sofa in a parlor paneled with pine board grained to imitate rosewood. Under the glow of candles, resting in pewter holders crafted by local artisans, he is discussing with his staff strategy for defeating the British navy in support of America’s colonial forces. As I imagined the admiral unrolling a map to show the offensive position of British ships along the coast, I was rudely seized from my trance by the tour guide’s demand to proceed to the dining room.

Bam! It struck me then that my apathy for history was rooted in the dull, lifeless presentations of it all through my schooling (no offense intended to my educators; I respect that they had a ton to impart in a short time). Viewed in this vivid, more personal way, some of the same, long-forgotten facts and figures, which had been crammed into my head in the classroom, suddenly sprang to life. I developed a new appreciation—indeed lust—for history! And I was determined to learn more. The very day I returned home, I became an ardent reader of historical fiction with lots of adventure. Amongst my favorites: the Kent Family Chronicles and North and South Trilogy by John Jakes, master weaver of history around complex plots and subplots. Through his colorful descriptions, I absorbed much about the times and the people. The bigger pattern sewed by our country from its beginning to the present became neatly ordered and clear to me. I suddenly found myself gravitating toward nonfiction, diving for greater pearls of wisdom where historical fiction teased. Wow! I became eager to nurture our young adults down the same footpath. If I had been armed with the potent knowledge of how the past shapes our future, I most definitely would have taken an active interest in my country and its politics long before I hit my thirties.

Researching for historical fiction is just as much fun as reading it; fascinating things turn up everywhere. What seed actually sprouted my story? While reading about Civil-War curiosities, including places haunted by ghosts, I discovered that around three hundred known women, both Yankee and Rebel, disguised themselves as soldiers to fight for their country, and thousands more reinvented themselves in other ways, such as nurses and spies. There is enough documentation for this era to sink an armada of ships, but scant about these pioneers. Besides the more famous cast (Nurses Dorothea Dix and Clara Barton, Doctor Mary Walker, and Union Spy Elizabeth Van Lew), one female kept reaching out to me from the graveyard of records: Sarah Edmonds, alias Frank Thompson. She trimmed her tresses, enlisted in the infantry, and set off on a journey to play soldier, nurse, and spy. Aha! My primary protagonist was born: the bold, adventurous, sixteen-year-old tomboy Jana Brady who seeks to create a new meaning of what a woman can do during the tumultuous years of the Civil War.

I shall stop here with trying to convince you of the merits in knowing history, especially as belongs to your country. But I challenge you to visit your nearest historical site and see what ghosts come out to play with you. I’ll bet you say you had fun!


Warm regards,

 Lisa Y. Potocar


Lisa Potocar   I’d like to sum up by adding that in creating Sweet Glory, I discovered my niche in writing historical fiction and a home in the young-adult audience, which I feel my writing style most aptly suits. However, I had hoped that Sweet Glory would garner crossover into the adult market, and I’m thrilled to report that it has. About 90% of my readership is adults  (who I hope are excited enough by my story to pass the word of it along to their children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, etc.—Laugh Out Loud).

If you’re interested, check out the great reviews Sweet Glory received from the International Historical Novel Society & HistoricalNovelReviewBlogspot.com on my website at: http://lisapotocar.tateauthor.com/what-they-are-saying/. They further support why I write for young adults.

Again, I’d like to thank “Aside from Writing” for allowing me this wonderful opportunity to share my writing journey with you. I had a blast and I hope you did too!


Want to know more? Check out the links!

http://www.lisapotocar.tateauthor.com (Website)

http://www.facebook.com/LisaPotocarAuthor (Facebook)

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5779385.Lisa_Potocar (Goodreads Author)

http://amzn.to/THkzMp (Sweet Glory on Amazon)

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13454119-sweet-glory (Sweet Glory on Goodreads)

IAM Book of the Day…Eight Mile Island

Guest Feature

Guest Feature

Our featured author today is blog regular Tony Talbot – take a look at his latest fantastic YA novel: Eight Mile Island…


About the Author: Tony Talbot was born in the 1970s and started writing in 2008 after a dream he had and couldn’t shake. Eight Mile Island is his fourth book. Tony regularly contributes to the Aside from Writing blog and so look out for future features and posts from this great author.

Welcome to Eight Mile Island. 

Dylan James is used to boarding schools. He’s been thrown out of so many in the past two years, he’s lost count. So when an elite academy in Oregon offers him a place, he doesn’t think he’ll be there more than a week.
 But Eight Mile Island isn’t like anywhere Dylan has been before. In the dense forests around the school, there are things that look human but aren’t.
Things that are hungry, and waiting.
But that’s just the start of the mysteries, mysteries that mean Dylan may never escape. Even if he wants to…



Want to know more? Check out the links!

Website: http://www.tony-talbot.co.uk

Twitter: @authortony

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

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/author/tony-talbot


IAM Book of the Day…Witch Love

Guest Feature

Guest Feature

Today’s guest author is Emma Mills and we’re featuring her novel Witch Love – with a mini-interview and peek at the book, there’s plenty to see!


About the Author and Mini-Interview

 Hi I’m Emma. I am happily married with two lovely children. I have always loved reading and writing and published my first novel WitchBlood in Jan 2012 with Witchcraft following in June and WitchLove due in Feb 2013. After acquiring an obsessive love of supernatural teen novels…yes I’m a Twilight fan…I decided to write my own supernatural story based here in Manchester in the UK, near where I live and grew up. It’s currently dark, windy, cold and very very wet… and easy to get inspiration.

What is you favorite way to spend a rainy day?

Curled up with my cat, my bunny, my kids and my husband all watching a movie and eating homemade cake!

It’s your fantasy dinner party – who are your guests?

Ooo let’s think, how about Adrian Ivashkov from Vampire Academy, Edward Cullen (without the sparkles), Eric Northman from True Blood… oh they are all fictional aren’t they… hmm how about George Cloony because he’s so utterly gorgeous, Miranda Hart because I love her and Amanda Hocking to grill about writing & publishing!

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

Currently I am in the process of selling our house and moving to Cheshire, but I hope to begin writing WitchHunt this spring, to be published in the Autumn. I’m also hoping to write a short story spin-off going back to the French Revolution and catching up with Eva & Sebastian, (two of my Manchester Vampires) to be included in an anthology; and next year you can expect a new spin-off series.

 If you could jump in to a book, and live in that world.. which would it be?

I was going to say Harry Potter, but then I realised that I don’t actually have any magical powers so I would end up being a muggle and that would be pretty irritating… so please can I jump into the  HP word AND have Hermione’s skills please?

 Can you see yourself in any of your characters?

Hmm I can’t really but I have been told by rather a large proportion of friends and family that they see a lot of similarities between Jess and me! I think that it is probably quite natural when you are writing in first person narrative… so yeah maybe Jess is a little bit like a supernatural teenage version of me!



   With the reappearance of a lost love, Jess flees to the only people who can help her control her increasing powers and gain independence – her family’s coven. But with a bruised heart can Jess learn to forgive or will she find new love in the United States? Witchlove, the third installment of the Witchblood series, is a new adventure that takes Jess from New England to Voodoo country in the South.

“I love this series. I can hardly wait until the 3rd book, WitchLove is released… This is a series that I will look forward to re-reading just as the new book is ready for release.”

Carrie, book reviewer at OnceUponATwilight.com

“The characters feel real, the world feels authentic, and the story literally throbs with an underlying intensity that builds with each page. In short, Witchblood is an imaginative, satisfying read that still manages to leave the reader hungry for more.

Thomas Winship, author of Vaempires: Revolution & Vaempires: Zombie Rising


Want to know more? Check out the links!

Find Me Facebook  |   Blog   |  Twitter   |   Goodreads  |

 Buy US Amazon   |   Barnes and Noble

Buy UK Amazon   |   Barnes and Noble

IAM Excerpt…Divine

Guest Feature

Guest Feature

This morning you heard all about Bites, Ninfa Hayes’ novel featuring two fantastic short stories. Here we have a sneak peek excerpt from the forthcoming Divine by Ninfa and Misty Price. Enjoy!


– The dream starts as it always does.

I’m two years old and I’m holding a baby in my arms.

I don’t know who it is, but I know I’m happy and that I feel important, but where the dream usually leaves me alone as the baby is taken away from me, this time it’s different.

Suddenly I’m not two anymore, and there are no babies.  In front of me it’s a mirror, and in the mirror a girl about my age staring back at me.

Where my hair is black as night, hers is as blonde as spun gold, but our olive skin complexion and our strange grey eyes are the same.  If it wasn’t for the blonde hair I would think it my own reflection such is the staggering resemblance between us.

‘Who are you?’ I want to ask, but before I can utter the words the mirror shatters and I’m covered in blood, mine or hers I can’t tell but it’s everywhere, and so are the ghosts and the corpses in different stages of decomposition.  The girl is gone.

I want to run, but there are just too many of them, reaching out to me, pulling, pushing, grabbing.  I fight them with all I have, but to no avail.

‘It must be a dream,’ I keep chanting in my head, ‘wake up Callie, wake up!’

Only when I open my eyes the ghosts are still there, crowding around my bed, spilling out of my bedroom door like a macabre parade.

I scream, wishing them away with all I have inside me.

Hands grab me and I try to fight them away, desperate.

“Callie! Sweetheart is me!”

Through the fog of fear I recognize my mum’s voice and I surrender to her arms sobbing.

“Baby what is it? Talk to me” she tells me in soothing tones.

I inhale deeply, letting her vanilla and cinnamon scent wash over my nerves and calm me down.

“Just a dream” I manage to whisper.

She nods, brushing strands of hair away from my face “I see…” she says, a tired smile on her lips “…well, just try and relax sweetheart, it’s a special day tomorrow and you need your beauty sleep” she winks at me.

I nod and pull my fluffy duvet back onto the bed from the floor, where I’ve probably kicked it during the nightmare.

“Do you need anything?” mum asks, stopping by the door and looking at me with far more concern than I would expect.

I shake my head “No…no I’m good, just another stupid nightmare.  I don’t even remember it anymore…”

She just stares at me intensely for a moment, as if she wants to say more, as if she knows I’m lying, but in the end decides against it and just leaves, after giving me another smile “All right then, I’ll  wake you up for breakfast baby.”

With that she leaves and I’m left in my room alone and still a little terrified.

The alarm clock on my bedside table reads 00.01 am.

It’s October 31st, Halloween.

Happy Birthday to me.

Today I turn eighteen. –



Copyright © Ninfa Hayes and Misty Price, “Divine”. All rights reserved. Excerpt may be altered before publication


Want to know more? Check out the links!

Facebook: Ninfa Hayes www.facebook.com/ninfa.m.sferlazzo/posts/10151280692126655?ref=notif&notif_t=like#!/pages/Ninfa-Hayes/231118400279030


Twitter: @Ninfa76 www.twitter.com/Ninfa76


Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/5782405.Ninfa_Hayes


Publisher’s Website: www.bittenfruitbooks.com/bites-ya-dark-paranormal-fantasy.html


Books available on Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, Waterstones, the Book Depository, and all major online retailers.