Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Author Interview: Eliabeth Hawthorne: Blind Sight Urban Fantasy Series

She wrote her first series in second grade when her teacher told her she was not allowed to write chapter books. She's been a rebel ever since. Now, with coauthor Ermisenda Alvarez, she is challenging the accepted practices of the literary world. She has written Aniela's perspective of Blind Sight #1, the first book in a series that changes depending on whose perspective you're reading. So the question is, "whose eyes will you read through?"

Your real name and pen name?

My nom de plume is Eliabeth Hawthorne. Hawthorne is my mother's maiden name and Eliabeth was a typo. I meant Elizabeth, but decided to keep it.

Please share some of the best memories of your childhood

I've always wanted to be a Disney Princess, but I never had the long hair so I wore tights on my head. My red tights made me Ariel, my black tights: Snow White, my white tights: Aurora.

About your education

I've never liked the starving artist lifestyle, so I have a BA in International Business and Japanese. 

What career did you plan during your education days

I've always wanted to own my  own business. When I was four years old, I hired neighborhood kids to create and sell Halloween Christmas ornaments. Originally, I thought my first business would be educational language toys or formal gowns. When I met my coauthor, we started a publishing company!

What languages you can speak and write?

Though not fluent, I can read and write Japanese.

What is your biggest source of inspiration in life

So many people inspire me, it's hard to pick one. My mom has conquered every obstacle that comes her way. My coauthor Ermisenda has had enough faith in our writing to start a business with me. My friend Kim is able to find the positive in any situation.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced? How did you overcome it?

In high school, I had an international internship canceled by the new program head. I was able to contact my host family and work for their family owned insurance company for dual credit.

If you had to live a day of your life as one of the living or dead personality, who would it be and why?

I'd love to have a Freaky Friday moment with my coauthor. It would be an amazing opportunity to walk a mile in each other's shoes.

What is your favorite genre and why?

Fantasy! All fiction is great, but what makes fantasy my favorite genre is that the possibilities are endless. The author can create a whole new world, or have mystical creatures thrown into real settings. It can be a novel with witches, vampires, wizards, or iron frey.

When did you start writing? What is the purpose of your writing?

In first grade, my teacher told me I was too young to write a chapter book, so I wrote a mini-series. My mom was called and I was labeled a trouble maker; I've been pushing boundaries ever since. Even though I've toyed with the idea of becoming a professional writer, I write to make people think. There are two every story. Imagine reading Harry Potter from Snape's point of view, how different thee story would be. That's the concept behind the Blind Sight series.

Which of your work published so far? Would you like to share a synopsis of your work?

Our debut novel in the Blind Sight urban fantasy series has been published, with intentions to publish the second in 2014. 


A blind girl drawing is abnormal even on the magical island of Edaion where leaves brush themselves into piles in the middle of the night. So when Odette Reyes, a girl blind from birth, begins to experience ominous side effects of the island’s “gift,” her brother Leocardo and best friend Aniela must figure out what the doctors cannot. As an immigrant, Leocardo is not biased by accepted rules of magic and determines that Odette’s drawings are premonitions. Aniela grew up with magic and knows premonitions are impossible. She determines Odette is a medium channeling voiceless spirits. Who is right? Whose eyes will you read through?

Every book in this series comes in two volumes. The two volumes share a main plot, but is individualized to the perception and interpretation of one character. Each novel is a complete story on its own, but there are twists and secrets you’ll only learn reading both.

What are your forthcoming writings?

We host a weekly creative writing exercise on our blog (www.ermiliablog.wordpress.com) and have taken some of the best submissions over the years and turned them into an upcoming publication that benefits The Girl Effect. We're also working on book 2 in the Blind Sight series.

Your dream destination on Earth?

Pretty much any European castle or Tokyo. 

Your origin of birth and other countries you have visited/ stayed. What best things you liked in these countries around the globe?

Born and raised Texan, I've been to Germany and Japan. In Germany, I admired that every job is considered important. A janitor is given as much respect as a doctor because toilets need to be cleaned and trash cans need to be emptied. In Japan, I was astonished at how clean everything was. My class participated in Maru Gomi, a national trash pickup day. After several miles, I'd come across fewer than ten pieces of trash.

Your favorite time of the day?

I'm a night owl. If I had my way, I'd never wake up before noon.

Your zodiac/ sunsign?

Aquarius Dragon. Maybe that's where my love of fantasy came from?

Your favorite color and why?

Silver.

Your favorite book and why?

Another Fine Myth by Robert Asprin. I'm on my fifteenth read and I still chuckle. It has the perfect blend of fantasy, humor, and adventure.

Some quickies: 

Sun or Moon, Moon
Laughter or Smile, Laughter
Morning or Evening, 
Evening
Coffee or Tea, Coffee
Mountain or Sea, Sea
Long Drive or Short Drive, Long Drive
Silence or Conversation, Silence
Water or Fire, Water
Air or Earth, Earth
Mars or Jupiter, Jupiter
Tulip or Rose, Rose
Red or Blue, Blue
Left or Right, Right

State your signature line/ tagline/ best quote

There are two sides to every story.


Author Interview: Esther Slade: Tithe of Blood: The Happy Fish: Mango Man

Esther Slade was born on the island of St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands. Her formative years were spent on the islands of St. Croix and Antigua. At age 16, she migrated to the US Mainland to attend college. Esther has an undergraduate degree in English from Temple University and a graduate degree from the University of Connecticut in Storrs, CT. Esther Slade is the author of Ayla's Paradise, J’ouvert Morning  and Tithe of Blood. She also has books for young readers: The Happy Fish, Mango Man, Brielle, Big Helper and Bella’s Birthday Party. She currently resides on the US Mainland with her two precious daughters, Isabella and Brielle.


Your real name and pen name? 

My real name is Esther St Hilaire. My pen name is Esther Slade .

Please share some of the best memories of your childhood.

I remember the summers I spent growing up on the island of Antigua with my grandmother and great grandmother. They taught me lifelong lessons about love, marriage and fidelity.

About your education

I have a BA in English from Temple University and an MBA from the University of Connecticut.

What career did you plan during your education days? 

I always knew I wanted to be a writer. Even as a child, I wrote stories and poems.

What languages you can speak and write? 

English is my native tongue. I also speak, read and write Spanish.


What is your biggest source of inspiration in life? 

My faith.  Every fiber of my being longs for God, who I call by one of his Hebrew names, HaShem.

What hurts you most in this world? 

I hate poverty with a passion. I believe it breeds violence and wars.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced? How did you overcome it? 

This is a hard question. So many challenges we have in this life. I think I would conclude that racial discrimination here in the US has been my biggest challenge. I didn't grow up on the mainland, so when I first came here, this was hard to adjust to. It still is. I don't know that I will ever overcome it. I once went to a writers conference in NY and had an executive editor at one of the large publishing houses in NY admonished me for comparing a character in my manuscript to a character in one of Henry James’ novel.   She was highly annoyed and irritated that I could compare myself to Henry James.  I left that conference thinking that I can compare myself to Shakespeare if I felt like it. That is mine and only my right to decide.   


If you had to live a day of your life as one of the living or dead personality, who would it be and why?

I would choose Mother Theresa.  There is so much humility there. It was amazing to have seen her once in Baltimore.  I was really touched by her presence and the work she did during her lifetime.

What is your favorite genre and why? 

I love, love literary fiction. I just think this is the highest level of writing.

When did you start writing? What is the purpose of your writing? 

I started writing as a child, probably as young as 9 or 10. I write because it is like breathing and eating. I have to write or my life will be diminished in a sense. It is just a part of my soul.

Which of your work has been published so far? 

All of my works have been published. After years of prowling writers conferences looking for agents and publishers, I decided to let my voice be heard by self-publishing.


Would you like to share a synopsis of your work? 

I write literary fiction and children's picture books. I lean on the subject of issues affecting women, domestic violence, love, anger, hatred.  I recently started writing children’s picture books to encourage by two young girls to read.  I also feel it will leave a legacy for my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren long after I am gone.

What are your forthcoming writings? 

I am currently working on a novel about a mother who will do anything necessary to protect her children. In a sense I feel like I am that kind of mother. I was in a house of worship one day and a Rabbi who was annoyed at my 18 month old daughter because she was crying in the service approached us in a very unusual way to put it mildly.  That gave me the inspiration to write this novel.

What are your future plans? 

My goal is to move live on an island. I was born and raised on an island and I know when I leave the US mainland, I will return to live on an island. I just don't know which island yet.


What four top most things you take care of while writing a book? 

I would say dialogue, character development, tone and setting.

Your dream destination on Earth?  

My dream destination would be one of the Spanish islands like Ibiza.

Your origin of birth and other countries you have visited/ stayed. 

I have travelled to Israel, and most of Europe (Spain, France, Germany, England, Switzerland) to name a few.  I have also been to South America and many islands in the Caribbean.

What best things you liked in these countries around the globe? 

I love the way the Spaniards enjoy each day to the fullest.  That is how I would like to live, not fretting about tomorrow but just enjoying the present.


Your favorite time of the day?  

I enjoy Sunset.  In Judaism, we believe the day starts at sunset and not at midnight.

Your zodiac/ sunsign?  

I don’t believe in it.

Your favorite color and why?  

I love red. It says a lot about my personality.  One older relative described me as ‘soft but saucy’.  This basically means on the surface I seem very laid back but when you scratch the surface there is a flame to be avoided.

Your favorite book and why?  

I read the book To Shoot Hard Labour: The Life and Times of Samuel Smith, an Antiguan Workingman 1877-1982 by Keithlyn B. Smith over and over again. It is possibly the most accurate depiction of slave life in the Caribbean that exists in the world.

Your favorite celebrity and why? 

I think I am a rare breed of individual because I am so consumed with my life and the life of my young children, I don’t follow the celebrity unless they end up on the front page of CNN for something really major or outrageous.  So I don’t have a favorite celebrity. 
  
Your favorite food? 

I love the local Caribbean dishes.  My favorite is Funghi. It is made of yellow cornmeal and boiled okras. It taste like polenta but with a Caribbean flare.

Some quickies: 

Sun or Moon, 
Laughter or Smile,
Morning or Evening,
Coffee or Tea,
Mountain or Sea, 
Long Drive or Short Drive, 
Silence or Conversation,
Water or Fire, 
Air or Earth, 
Mars or Jupiter,
Moon or Sun, 
Tulip or Rose, 
Red or Blue, 
Left or Right,
Glance or Stare


What three words come to your mind for each 
Technology (iPhone, Internet, Global),
Life (Love, Envy, Hatred),
God (Love, Mercy, Compassion),
Humanity (Frail, Weak, Lost),
Terrorism (Islam, Death, Hatred),
Racism (Hatred, Money, Greed),
Childhood Abuse (Generational, Sad, Death),
Love (Light, Happiness, HaShem),
Parenting (Joy, Protection, Love),
Old age (Wisdom, Scary, Death)

State your signature line/ tagline/ best quote. 

I am my mother’s daughter. When the going gets rough, I run.


The last line of your autobiography would be… 

I communed with HaShem.  Hashem said of me like He did of Melech David, 'I have found Esther, daughter of Shirley, a woman after my own heart.

Links: 
Twitter handle: @esthersladebooks
Facebook page: http:/www.facebook.com/esthersladebooks

Guest Post: Three Brand-new, Never-before-published Novellas: Rafflecopter Giveaway

The Winter Stone is a collection of three brand-new, never-before-published novellas.

One legend, Three Enchanting Novellas 
Three best-selling, award-winning, authors, three heart-felt stories, the splendor of Scotland, and a legend passed down through generations. These are the romantic tales of the Winter Stone... 

ONCE UPON A HIGHLAND LEGEND by Tanya Anne Crosby 
A Guardians of the Stone novella 

Annie McPherson has gone through her entire life a bit lost. She's about to find herself misplaced in time as well, where she must take her place as a guardian and find a way to restore the faith of a powerful chieftain. Will she win his heart as well? 

MACALISTER'S HOPE by Laurin Wittig 
A Kilmartin Glen novella 

Kieron MacAlister has always loved Fia MacLachlan, a wee fey lass he met years ago who, with her sweet smile and surprising insight, changed his life. When he comes face-to-face with the beautiful woman she's grown into, can he convince her to change her life, too? 

THE OUTCAST by Glynnis Campbell 
A Shadow of the Queen novella 

Lachlan Mar, a disfigured and broken Scots warrior, doesn't believe anything can mend the wounds of war until Alisoune Hay, a brilliant and beautiful young lass, stumbles into his cottage and his life, healing his hurt and his heart with the most magical power of all--love. 

One legend, three enchanting novellas from three beloved authors.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Author Interview: A S Bond: Brooke Kinley Adventures Series

A.S Bond is the pen name of Alexandra Pratt, an internationally acclaimed travel writer and journalist. As the author of seven books, Alexandra’s own adventures have taken her around the world, from the cloud forests of Central America to D.C.’s corridors of power. Patriot’ is the first title in her series of Brooke Kinley Adventures and will appeal to fan of Clive Cussler, Tom Clancy or Robert Ludlum.

Alexandra is a freelance journalist and author of six previous books, including Lost Lands, Forgotten Stories and The Day The Island Exploded, which is the story of her father-in-law’s real life  escape from an erupting volcanic island in Antarctica, published by the award-winning children’s publisher, Barrington Stoke. Alexandra has studied at both the George Washington University in Washington D.C. and also at the University of Sussex in the UK, where she gained her honors degree. Since then, Alexandra has travelled the world writing for magazines on topics ranging from wolf watching in northern Spain, to interviewing the last surviving Yaghan (canoe nomad) in Patagonia. Now married and based in the west of England, Alexandra works as a freelance journalist and also writes adventure thrillers under the pen name A.S.Bond.

When writing Patriot, Alexandra drew on her experience of leading an award-winning canoe expedition in Labrador, later the subject of ‘Lost Lands, Forgotten Stories; A Woman’s Journey to the Heart of Labrador’ (Eye Books & HarperCollins).  http://www.harpercollins.ca/authors/60028093/Pratt_Alexandra/index.aspx 

The awards received for this were:
‘Spirit of Adventure Award’ from the Captain Scott Society, 2000 ‘Wilderness Adventure Award’ from Himalayan Kingdoms, 2000

Welcome Alexandra!

Your real name and pen name?

I write adventure thrillers as A.S Bond, which feature my feisty heroine Brooke Kinley www.brookekinleyadventures.com   I write travel books and journalism as Alexandra Pratt www.alexandra-pratt.com
AS Bond in Scotland, UK

Please share some of the best memories of your childhood

I think I developed my taste for adventure at an early age. As a family we spent many holidays exploring the wilder parts of the UK, such as Scotland, going for nighttime walks, making a diary of exciting birds and animals we had seen etc. That curiosity stands me in good stead today for all my writing work. I also devoured adventure stories for children, which has definitely helped to shape my literary (and lifestyle!) choices in adulthood.

About your education

I studied at university in both the UK and the USA.

What career did you plan during your education days

I always wanted to be a writer and I got my first book contract 6 months after graduation. In the early years, I did other (paid) employment at the same time – usually as a tour guide – but I’ve worked full time as a writer both of books and for magazines as a freelancer, for almost 20 years now.

What languages you can speak and write?

I studied French and German at school  and I’ve taken Spanish lessons since then. Whenever I go to a Spanish speaking country, it all comes back to me and I improve, then I forget it all again when I return home…
 
AS Bond in Costa Rica
What is your biggest source of inspiration in life

People, places, stories…

What hurts you most in this world

Cruelty.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced? How did you overcome it?

A few years ago, my husband was involved in a serious accident and then a few months later, I was very ill. That was a very difficult time for both of us, but we survived by taking one day at a time and supporting each other through every crisis. I have only been able to write this new novel thanks to my husband’s unstinting support.

If you had to live a day of your life as one of the living or dead personality, who would it be and why?

Queen Elizabeth I. So I can learn the truth about all the Palace intrigue in the 16th century, meet Shakespeare and wear those big dresses!
 
AS Bond on yacht in Beagle Channel, Patagonia
What is your favorite genre and why?

I really love thrillers of all kinds; mystery, adventure etc. I also love travel writing and I find that in writing action thrillers, I am able to combine the two and draw on my own adventurous travels as inspiration.

When did you start writing? What is the purpose of your writing?

As soon as I could read and write I started to make up little pieces that today would be called 'flash fiction', usually about the natural world around me. The first, more focused, long form piece of writing I started was when I was around age 7. I'd read just about everything Enid Blyton had written (the Famous Five series being a favorite) and I started to write my own adventure story for kids. It was supposed to be a full length novel, but I think I got to around chapter 3....I started another novel at age 8, which was, bizarrely, about a canoeing expedition in Canada. This was a topic I later went on to write a book about as an adult, following my own canoe expedition in Canada. The book was a travel memoir published by HarperCollins, called 'Lost Lands, Forgotten Stories'.
What I've come to notice is that so much of who we are as adults is either already there as very young children, or formed at that age. We all try out lots of different things/ideas/routes as teenagers and then by mid-20's, we seem to end up being the person we started out as....

Which of your work has been published so far? Would you like to share a synopsis of your work?
Discovery Walks in Cornwall and Celtic Way (both Sigma Press, 1998). These are both walking guides to a county in England (I only wrote a section of Celtic Way), which focus on the history and landscape of the place, with photos, maps etc. Really fun projects.
Lost Lands, Forgotten Stories, A Woman’s Journey to the Heart of Labrador  (HarperCollins, 2002 and Eye Books UK, 2005) This is the story of my canoe expedition in Eastern Canada, where I re-traced the footsteps of the first European to cross Labrador, in 1905. The explorer’s name was Mina Hubbard and she completed the journey which had killed her husband, Leonidas a few years earlier. I travelled in a cedar and canvas canoe, with my Innu guide, Jean Pierre.


The Day The Island Exploded (Barrington Stoke, 2009)This is the true story of my father-in-law’s escape from an erupting volcanic island in Antarctica. It is written for younger readers.

Shipwrecked! (Moriarty Press, 2012) This is the true story of a British sailing ship called the ‘Wager’, which was wrecked on the coast of Patagonia in the 18th century. This disaster lead to murder and mutiny by the crew. Written for younger readers.

Patriot (A Brooke Kinley Adventure) Castle Books, 2014. A pulse-pounding, high octane adventure thriller with an insider’s view of Washington D.C. and a heroine who is as happy running rapids as she is asking difficult questions at the Pentagon. For fans of Clive Cussler, Robert Ludlum or Tom Clancy.

What are your forthcoming writings?

I think Brookes next adventure will take her to Patagonia, which is a place I have visited and loved; not just the scenery (which is amazing), but the people too. Its a place of two extremes; prairie and mountains and I find that juxtaposition really intriguing.

I’m always writing for magazines!

What are your future plans?

Another Brooke Kinley novel, hopefully this time next year.
 
The start of my canoe expedition in Canada
What four top most things you take care of while writing a book? How much real life goes into a fiction writing?

Write what you know... I find that if I cannot see the scene in my own head, know how it feels, smells, sounds to be there, I cannot write the scene. Events are fictional of course, but my characters become real to me and the places are also real places I know well (although I may take liberties with exact locations, merge places together, invent certain aspects etc)

Is high level of imagination important to have for an Author?

Essential, I would say.

Your dream destination on Earth?

At the moment, I am desperate to go to New Zealand. After that. I would love to see more of Argentina (especially the Pantanal, for the wildlife).


Your origin of birth and other countries you have visited/ stayed. What best things you liked in these countries around the globe?

I was born in the UK and I have lived in both Washington D.C. and Vancouver, Canada. I have also travelled a great deal throughout the USA and Canada (I love the Saskatchewan prairie). I also worked as a volunteer in the cloud forests of Central America and I have travelled in South America, Australia, Europe and Hong Kong. I am a very keen wildlife watcher (I do write about this for magazines), so the grasslands of north and south America are places I love that are often overlooked. I have experienced few things in my life as thrilling as camping in the Grasslands National Park in SK, Canada and listening to a pack of coyotes build a crescendo of yelping and yowling as they start the hunt at dusk. Magical.

Your favorite book and why?

Impossible to say! Depends on my mood.

Your favorite celebrity and why?

I do not have favorite celebrities

Your favorite food?

Fresh seafood, simply cooked, Preferably over an open fire. Even better if it is accompanied by a bottle of champagne...

Some quickies:
Sun or Moon, Sun 
Laughter or Smile, Laughter 
Morning or Evening, Evening 
Coffee or Tea,Both! 
Mountain or Sea, Both 
Long Drive or Short Drive, Always short! 
Silence or Conversation, Always conversation! 

State your signature line/ tagline/ best quote 

"Alexandra is so entrancing that I could not put her book down. " Ken McGoogan, author of 'Fatal Passage'

The last line of your autobiography would be…

I never stopped dreaming.

Links:
Twitter handle: @brookekinleyadv
Facebook page:

Alexandra J Pratt, Author and Freelance Writer
Winner of 'Spirit of Adventure Award', Captain Scott Society
Winner of Himalayan Kingdoms 'Adventure Award'

"Alexandra is so entrancing that I could not put her book down. "
Ken McGoogan, author of 'Fatal Passage'

My new adventure thriller, PATRIOT, written as  AS Bond, is out on 24th April
Available for pre-order on iTunes and Barnes & Noble now. For more information,