Interview with historical author Katherine Pym

Katherine PymYour latest release is JASPER’S LAMENT. Tell us about it.

It is London 1664. The 2nd Anglo/Dutch war is imminent and England prepares against the threat. After Jasper’s father dies, he learns his father hid the truth of who he was behind a façade of religion. Secrets abound and Jasper finds himself in a plot not of his making.

You have a passion for 1660’s London. What drew you to this time period?

17th century England is an exciting era to study, filled with intellectual, science & political growth, and the decade of the 1660’s its focal point. Living through these extraordinary historical events, people went about their lives as best they could, and tried to accept these changes, some subtle, some that exploded in their faces.

There was so much going on during these years, history deserves one novel per year until old London nearly burns to the ground in 1666.

Pym-JaspersLament-1333x2000As with most people, my characters embrace these life-shifts or merely cope with them. The main characters are not actual historical persons. My stories deal with the common man during a time most extraordinary.

What do you hope readers take with them after reading your work?

I hope readers will take away the experience of being there, in old London, as they walk through narrow lanes. On most days, the city is under a pall of coal smoke, its grit and grime settling on everyone’s noses and cheeks.

When they stroll down the lanes they will encounter a cacophony of sounds. Vendors yell or sing as they hawk their wares and try to be heard over the boisterous activity in the streets.

In some areas, you can spread your arms and touch houses on both sides of the lane, all the while crowds jostling you. As he or she rambles along, the reader will bypass curs and pigs rooting in the refuse piled on walkways. The wider streets allow carts to squeeze through, but if they are too tall, the edges will scrape against upper eaves, while their iron clad wheels (against the law in London) clatter over broken cobbles until you are near deaf.

Readers will experience the myriad of smells, from the enticement of gently roasted pullets in cook shops to the malodorous stink of offal and piss, the tannery section of town, or new beer being made for a family’s daily consumption. Rounding a corner, the reader will run into bakeries with newly baked bread that mingles alongside churches where bodies are buried under the flagstone floors, and for an extra coin or two, a loved one rests near your pew.

When the last page is finished, I hope the reader will sigh, then at night dream of London during the tumultuous years of the 1660’s.

Do you have a favorite writing place?

I have a little office with my research stacked around me (not much elbowroom to type), my notes, music, and a window I can look out of as I think of the next line to write.

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

Research over centuries shows people are the same no matter where or when we are born. We run, walk, or skip through our lives and soak in whatever knowledge we can before passing on to wherever is out there.

If you could have dinner with any fictional character by another author, whom would you choose?

Sidney Carton from Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens.

What’s next for you?

I am researching London 1665 when plague fills the land. It’ll be a trick to keep the deadly scythe as a backdrop to my real story when it fills most of the year, takes many lives, and has been written about so often, but to continue in my ‘series’, for lack of a better word, I can’t simply skip 1665 and go straight to 1666 (which will include the great fire and often written about).

People have a tendency to look the other way when they run into something unhappy. If it doesn’t involve them, they’ll feel sad, maybe help the person. We are curious, but once we see what happens, or know what will happen, as a safety precaution, it’s too hard to watch the horror unfold, and many walk away.

When I write of London 1665 I’ll have to be mindful not to be too dreary. I don’t want the reader to put down the book because it is filled with too much death and horror. Even Shakespeare knew how to break into a tragedy with a bit of comic relief. I’ll have to do the same throughout my next novel. Too much tragedy can ruin a story.

Katherine and her husband (along with their puppy-dog) divide their time between Seattle and Austin.

Interview with romance author Janet Walters

janetlanewaltersJANET WALTERS: I’ve been writing as I often say since the “Dark ages”, the time of typewriters and carbon paper. I’ve been published since 1968, though I took a few years off to return to nursing to usher four children through college. They are well launched and I have seven grandchildren, 4 biracial and 3 Chinese. The family is also eclectic as you can see. Besides being a nurse I’ve also worked as an Astrologer, casting charts for people and composed several pieces that were used during church services. Astrology and music are really in the past. Writing takes all my time these days. I’m married to a retired psychiatrist who refuses to cure my obsession with the printed world.

Walters-GeminiSagittariusTHE GEMINI-SAGITTARIUS CONNECTION is the latest in your long published career and is Book 3 in the Opposites in Love series. Tell us about it.

This is a nurse/doctor story. How to begin to tell you how this series began. Once I did horoscopes with a friend. We actually earned enough to take a trip to Ireland. So when I began writing again, there was a break in my long career when I returned to work as a nurse to help with children’s college expenses. One day it came to me that Astrology was a good way to develop characters and I began using this develop my character’s traits. I decided working with Astrological opposites would be an interesting idea, so I began. Gemini and Sagittarius are the third set of opposites.

About the book. My heroine Liz is the mother of twin boys and a widow. As a nurse, she has a BA and is working on her Masters. The job offer from a friend’s husband seems to be a great one. She will remove her boys from the city. One of her problems is that she doesn’t want another marriage. Her husband, a volunteer fireman, died in a house fire trying to rescue two children. The children were saved but he didn’t come out.

In Eastlake she encounters Jeff the hero, a doctor who had a wonderful marriage and has no desire for another. His wife died of cancer when his children were in their teens. He has some problems coping with the coming use of computers at the hospital. He also suffers from what I call “hoof in mouth” disease. Though there is an attraction to Liz he’s not buying.

Getting these two together presents problems. Her twin sons provide part of the catalyst as does his daughter, a nurse and Kate’s friend.

You call yourself an eclectic writer with books published in the romance genre and fantasy/paranormal.

Let’s talk about eclectic writer first. Besides what you’ve mentioned, I also have published a cozy mystery series, a number of YA fantasy novels with not a bit of romance. There are also some non-fiction books to my credit. I’ve done one Regency historical and a series that are alternate world. These might be considered paranormal but are based on history. I’m also published in poetry and short stories.

Do you have a favorite book that you’ve written?

I’m rather fickle about my books. What ever I’m working on is my favorite book and the next one in line will be the favorite then. Why? Because when I’m writing a story I’m immersed in the work until it’s finished. I really can’t think about what went before. There are some books of mine I wish I’d spent more time with but I’m usually happy with them.

Do you have a favorite place to write?

I used to have a really favorite space and I’m adapting to a new space right now. What I really need to be happy and content is a recliner, a clipboard and some pens. My computer is across the room and that’s where I type the words into form and revise or make notes as I type. I write by hand very fast and very easy to read. Typing takes more time since I’ve never learned the proper time. Above my computer are my dragons. There are thirty or more who look over the writing. I’ve written in a car when stopped for a traffic light. Don’t ask about the ticket. I’ve written in a surgical waiting room while my husband was undergoing extensive cardiac surgeon. It’s the clipboard and the pen that are important.

Walters-HorusChosenWhat was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

The interesting fact that nearly sent a book off track was, there were no camels in Egypt until about 1 AD. Since I was writing a book using ancient Egypt, I had to turn the book into an alternate history. I really wanted camels. I’ve also learned I do enjoy creating villains and villainesses. They add a great depth to any story.

Do you have a favorite fantasy/ paranormal character by another author that you’d like to spend the day with?

Actually not a particular character but I would really enjoy spending a day in Andre Norton’s Witch World of Anne McCaffrey’s Pern. Maybe Marian Zimmer Bradley’s Darkover. I’ve been reading these books over and over again for years.

What’s next for you?

As usual I’m working on more than one project. Divided Dreams book 4 in the Moon Child series is undergoing revision. I’ve finished the rough draft of Wizards of Fyre, part of the Isle of Fyre series. I’m also looking over some books where the rights will be returned to me and updating and preparing to re-launch them with BWL. After that I’ll be looking at the 4th book in the Opposites In Love series.

Social Media for Janet:

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Website

BooksWeLove

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Interview with romance author Joanie MacNeil

Joanie MacNeil photoJoanie MacNeil, writes short contemporary romances: a blend of sweet, sexy and heart-warming stories about new love and second chances. Some of her tales may make you smile. Home, family and friends are important to Joanie, and she has blended these elements into some of her stories. She is a member of Australian Romance Readers Association; Romance Writers of Australia, and a regular attendee at their annual national conference. Joanie loves to travel with her own romantic hero. When she’s not travelling or creating her own romantic stories, she enjoys reading romance, going to the movies, having coffee with friends, participating in aqua aerobics, catching up with her daughters, and travelling interstate to spend time with her three lively little grandsons and their parents.

Your latest release is THE TROUBLE WITH NATALIE. Tell us about the story.

Luke and Natalie are friends from years ago. When Luke comes back into her life, Natalie is swept off her feet by this MacNeil-TroublewithNatalie-150x225gorgeous and confident young man. However, he is twelve years younger than she is, and now works for her. The last thing she needs is to fuel office gossip. An office romance will complicate her life, and risk the success of her recent appointment to the much coveted role of CEO. While Luke knows in his heart he loves Natalie, she believes he should be looking for a woman his own age.

Are the characters of Luke and Natalie loosely based on people you know?

No, not at all. When I wrote THE TROUBLE WITH NATALIE, I was aiming for something a little different for my hero and heroine and decided to give them an age difference.

You write heartwarming stories about new love and second chances. Do you have a favorite romance couple by another author?

Couples come and go. I was drawn in by the heroes/heroines in some of the early Sandra Marton series – Landon’s Legacy and The Barons, particularly the heroes. I came across these books in the early days of reading category romance, and the characters still linger. It is important for a reader to feel the central characters are meant to be together for the rest of their lives, that they are well-suited to one another.

What do you hope readers take with them after reading your work?

I hope my readers enjoy my characters’ journey together, that they have empathy for the hero/heroine, and feel warm and uplifted at the end of that journey.

Why is the setting important?

No BoundariesIf possible, I prefer to set my stories in an area that I am familiar with, or have at least visited. It makes the background more realistic for me. Most of my books are set in and around Australia’s National Capital, with a couple of them set along the south east coast of Australia, a 2-3 hour drive from where I live. I spent the majority of my career as an executive assistant, so the office setting was an easy fit for THE TROUBLE WITH NATALIE. The views from the building, and the area where the story is set, are familiar to me. For the same reasons, I have used an office setting for NO BOUNDARIES as well. Two of my novels are set in Scotland. Following a visit there some years ago, I couldn’t resist writing a Scottish hero or two. A SENSE OF DUTY and A TRADITIONAL AFFAIR resulted from that visit. I have traveled overseas to some fascinating destinations in the last couple of years and would like to incorporate some of these settings into future stories, though I have nothing planned as yet.

What social media do you participate in?

Facebook: romanceauthorjoaniemacneil

Twitter: @JoanieMacneil

Website: www.joaniemacneil.com

What’s next for you?

I am excited to be working on something new – without giving too much away – I am writing the first story in a series or sequence of novels. These stories will be connected by either a common theme, characters or settings. Each will have its own title and will be a stand-alone read. I am still planning the details and am looking forward to the project. At this point, I expect there to be at least three stories. I plan to have the first finished within the next 2-3 months.

Griffin Teen Griffin Ten Sweepstakes

GriffinTen

Newly updated, we now have a beautiful website featuring some of our favorite and up-and-coming titles and a very convenient way to sign up for the Griffin Teen Newsletter!

Enter here for 1 of 10 chances to win each of these great selections from Griffin Teen!

Contest Ends September 15th

DREAM THINGS TRUE by Marie Marquardt

A modern-day Romeo and Juliet story in which a wealthy Southern boy falls in love with an undocumented Mexican girl and together they face perils in their hostile Georgia town.

ALL THE RAGE Courtney Summers

The sheriff’s son, Kellan Turner, is not the golden boy everyone thinks he is, and Romy Grey knows that for a fact. Because no one wants to believe a girl from the wrong side of town, the truth about him has cost her everything—friends, family, and her community.

BREAKAWAY by Kat Spears

From Kat Spears, author of Sway, comes a new novel that asks the question: when a group of four best friends begins to drift apart, what will it take to bring them back together?

FIRSTS by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

Seventeen-year-old Mercedes Ayres has an open-door policy when it comes to her bedroom, but only if the guy fulfills a specific criteria: he has to be a virgin. Mercedes lets the boys get their awkward fumbling first times over with, and all she asks in return is that they give their girlfriends the perfect first time—the kind Mercedes never had herself.

FANGIRL by Rainbow Rowell

A coming-of-age tale of family, first love, and fan fiction from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Eleanor & Park.

ROMANCING THE DARK IN THE CITY OF LIGHT by Ann Jacobus

A troubled teen, living in Paris, is torn between two boys, one of whom encourages her to embrace life, while the other—dark, dangerous, and attractive—urges her to embrace her fatal flaws.

THE KANIN CHRONICLES (FROSTFIRE, ICE KISSED, and CRYSTAL KINGDOM) by Amanda Hocking

The magical YA series from New York Times bestselling author Amanda Hocking that invites readers back to the beloved world of the Trylle.

THE LOST GIRL by R.L. Stine

New student Lizzy Palmer is the talk of Shadyside High. Michael and his girlfriend Pepper befriend her, but the closer they get to her, the stranger she seems… and the more attractive she is to Michael.