Author Interview with Richard David Bach

For the month of June, I bring to you an interview with author Richard David Bach, and perhaps a new summer read!

  1. Let’s get to know you a bit. Where are you from, and what genre do you write?

RichardDavidBach002_editedI was born in the Bronx, NYC, grew up (or was raised – a distinction I need to explore) in a working class family on the south shore of Long Island by a single mother after my father died when I was 13; went off to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy NY for a degree in Civil Engineering and an Air Force ROTC commission; spent two years on active duty designing and building a radar defense system in the Arctic; worked as an engineer in NYC for a couple of years and then accidently migrated to Portland Oregon when a friend and I came out here for a two week summer vacation and I never went back. (he did).

Not satisfied with an engineering career I went to night law school, graduated at the top of my class, joined Portland’s largest and most prestigious law firm, founded its environmental law practice group and practiced as the dean of Portland’s environmental lawyers until I retired in 2001.

My wife and I have four children, nine grandchildren and a great-granddaughter between us, and spend a lot of energy being proud of them.

My genre is airplane books. They’ll get you from Portland to Chicago if you’re a fast reader … to Dulles if you need more time.  The four I have written and published in my Common Denominator Series are essentially thrillers with erotic and romantic overtones. Smart, good looking recovering-lawyer hero and even smarter and better looking kick-ass private detective heroine having a good time exploring mysteries and each other’s’ bodies.

  1. With all the risks and uncertainty around publishing, what was it that drew you to a career in writing?

The short answer is that I’ve never really considered this to be a career.  Not long after I retired my youngest son gave me a new laptop for a birthday present and said: “You’re a great story-teller. Go write something.” So I did. A couple of days later some friends and my wife and I were having lunch and laughing over Nancy Grace’s latest tirade over a woman who had gone missing from a cruise ship. “What,” I thought, “if a serial killer is working the Love Boat?”

I went home, wrote the first and final chapters and then it took six months to get from one to the other and when I finished it was awful. I was a lawyer and I wrote like a lawyer … no adjectives or adverbs and a lot of telling instead of showing. So I began to take some courses in fiction writing at Portland State University, and gradually learned the craft – dialogue, scene setting, character development, etc. Thankfully, I didn’t have to learn grammar or vocabulary (as a matter of fact, in my early attempts I showed off a lot vocabulary wise and had to learn to write something that didn’t require the reader’s immediate access to a dictionary). And then, when I felt I was ready, I went back and rewrote the first book in the series (Common Enemy).

And after sending queries to all of the agents in the English-speaking world, I snagged an agent. She promised to find me a publisher, but when I received very few rejections (even though they were all nice) I realized that she wasn’t sending out a lot of submissions either.

At about that time the stigma on self-publishing was beginning to fade, and I liked the idea of eBooks, so I fired my agent and self-published Common Enemy for availability on Nook, Kindle, etc. While I was waiting for my agent to sell my first book, I continued writing the second and third of the further adventures of my protagonists, and published those as soon as they were ready.

I must admit that my venture into fiction has not been a great commercial success, but I’m not sure I ever expected it to be. I may have harbored some secret hope of becoming the next Lee Child, but I’ve read the statistics and know that my chances were slim. I’m not very good at selling, and have made few feeble attempts at social media marketing and inquiries to blogger/reviewers (such as yourself) but I’d rather be writing than sending out self-aggrandizing messages to strangers.

But I’ve had nothing but good reviews on Amazon & B&N and Smashwords, and that encourages me to keep on writing. I’m now working on a new novel – totally different genre and characters and once it’s finished (I’m about 2/3 through) I plan to look for an agent and try conventional publishing again.

Fortunately, my career in the law left me with sufficient resources to pursue writing without a desperate need to earn a living out of it, and I hope that won’t disqualify me from the pool of authors you “love to promote.” I can assure you that I am passionate about my words and characters and would be no more so if they hit the best-seller lists or became a movie.

  1. What was your biggest influence for writing your Common Denominator series?

This was a difficult question. Because I’ve never been particularly introspective it would be hard to pinpoint any specific influences on my writing (other than my cultural background and my political, religious and sexual preferences). But if I had to name two, they would be my love for good writing and my dislike of bad writing. I read good writing (interesting plots, fascinating characters and creative word use) with admiration and envy, and I read bad writing with the sure certain knowledge that I could do better.  Perhaps it was just hubris, but one day I decided to see if I could prove that boast I had made to myself.

If “what” influenced me is understood to include “who” then I have a short list: Lee Child, Neil Gaiman, John D. MacDonald, and Carl Hiaasen. Those are among the ones I try to be as good as.

  1. Now that you have a few books under your belt, what’s your take on the whole process? What was the hardest part for you? What was the easiest?

The process was amazing and worthwhile just for the ride. First, I had to learn to write fiction and unlearn everything I had been taught about legal writing. Then I had to learn to edit and proofread; then I had to learn about self-publishing and its benefits and pitfalls;    then I had to learn about formatting and ISBNs and … most difficult of all … marketing. And the best part is that ride is still going on. This may be a carousel and I may be going around in circles, but I’m still having fun telling my stories.

The easiest part is the writing and the editing … mainly because I’m merely the amanuensis for my characters. I give them a plot (“tell me about the time you …”) and they tell me the story. I merely write it down as they dictate into my ear. Editing is usually not a problem because my characters don’t always tell me everything the first time around and I have to go back and ask them to fill in the gaps. And very rarely do they say “take that out.” My edits usually add length and content rather than cutting back.

The hardest part is the marketing. I’m not a salesman and I find it difficult to ask anyone to buy something from me. I’ve got a very attractive website and I’ve done the social media route – Facebook and Twitter – and I’ve posted on websites that feature my genre, and I’ve sent out releases to local media and all my affinity groups, and I’ve paid a publicist to design a marketing plan … but somehow I’d rather be writing than selling. (Even though I would enjoy the income).

  1. Let’s talk a little about your latest project. What is the title and what is it about?

My latest project (the first draft of which, by coincidence, I finished just last night) is tentatively entitled “The Progenitor.” Completely unrelated to my first four romantic/erotic thrillers, this is a family story with courtroom drama, pathos and some humor. My first shot at a logline would be:

“Rear Admiral Kester J. Bannerman II (USN Ret.) is the patriarch of a family with a long and distinguished tradition of military service. And when his only grandson is killed by an IED in Afghanistan, the Admiral will do everything he can to keep the frozen sperm his grandson left behind out of the hands – and the womb – of his granddaughter’s lesbian partner.”

Other claimants for the frozen sperm include the grandson’s estranged wife and an ex-girlfriend, and the legal battle (referred to in the local media as “SpermGate”) sets the stage for a family conflict with social, cultural and deeply emotional overtones.

The story emerged as my characters narrated it to me, so now I’m going back to make sure that the thread is consistent all the way through. I also have to to fill in some of backstories that I discovered as I got to know my characters better. (And pick up the typos). I hope to have it ready for prime time in another month or so.

  1. You’ve self-published your novels, but have you ever thought about becoming a hybrid author and trying for an agent?

Yes! I definitely plan to try the traditional publishing route for “The Progenitor” and I plan to look for an agent. I’ve been working on a query letter and making a list of the agents in this genre and their submission criteria, and as soon as I have the manuscript in decent form, I’ll start sending out queries. (If you could recommend an agent, I’d very much appreciate any advice or help along those lines.) As I said in an earlier answer, I had a less-than-satisfactory relationship with one literary agent, but I’m willing to try again.

I also thought I might send queries to some of the small independent publishers who will consider submissions from unrepresented authors. I’m hearing that this is a fertile field for new writers.

  1. Was there any one influence that made you want to write?

I’m not sure there has been any one influence that made me want to write. I’ve always enjoyed writing … but writing with an objective – persuasion – which is what a lawyer’s writing is all about. And it was always a pleasure to come up with the exact right words and express your position in a minimum number of those words. (The old adage: “Sorry for the long letter but I didn’t have time to write a short one.). And a lawyer has to “tell” not “show” because the judge or lawyer on the other side might not be able to figure it out for himself or herself.

Fiction writing is so very different, and I think I may have always had a hankering to see if I could do both. The four thrillers I’ve published and this new novel have proved to me that I can (he says modestly).

So, if there was any single impetus behind my interest in writing, it would be my desire to prove myself to myself.

  1. Is there a genre that you would like to write? Something you would find a challenge?

Science Fiction … hard science, space travel and all that stuff, no fantasy or supernatural. I grew up on science fiction in the 50’s and still read some on occasion, but with all the technological developments since then – there is no more science fiction – it’s all coming true. I’ve never tried SF, though. I’m not sure I have enough imagination to create a whole new world or universe, and I’d be foolhardy to try to predict what humankind and the earth will look like 50 or 100 or 1000 years from now.

I suppose I could go through a list of genres and indicate why I would not want to try them:

Memoir: I have a terrible memory.

YA: It’s been much too long and I don’t understand them.

Military: I’m fast becoming a pacifist as I watch the middle east.

Espionage: I’ve read all the George Smiley novels but I know nothing of spycraft.

History: Requires too much research.

Romance: There is some in my first four novels.

Sex: There’s some of that, too.

Fantasy: I’ll leave that to you.

Supernatural: I’m a materialist. I believe in a universe made up of quarks and other physical particles and find it hard to accept the notion of a hidden world of spirits and magical powers.

  1. If you were given the opportunity to write a fan-fiction novel, who is the author you would choose, and what would be the book?

Your question caught me by surprise because although I had heard about people writing unauthorized versions of popular fiction, I had never heard the term “fan-fiction” and I had to google it. And I had never thought of doing it myself. But once you brought it up on my radar, it got me to thinking and my perverse sense of justice kicked in. If I were to do a straight “further adventures of” novel it would probably be something like a Lee Child/Jack Reacher thriller … but what I’d rather do is find an interesting villain or antagonist in some novel and tell the story from his or her point of view. (e.g. Let the old crone narrate Hansel & Gretel). If I find the one I’d want to do, I’ll let you know.

  1. Most writers have manuscripts that will never see the light of day. Do you have a few of those?

I have two partially finished manuscripts that I got bogged down on and put aside while I wrote my latest (The Progenitor) and tried to market my first four Common Denominator thrillers. The first unfinished novel is tentatively entitled “Subprime” and revolves around the subprime mortgage market meltdown, and the second, untitled, tells the story of what happens when an ordinary couple wins the lottery. Maybe someday I’ll pull them out of the drawer and finish one or both.

Attached are my photo and the covers for each of the four books in my Common Denominator series of romantic/erotic thrillers.

Where to find Richard online:


Twitter: @Richarddavdbach



Where to purchase Richards book:


Barnes & Noble:




Special Guest Post! Lisa O’Kane and the Battle of the Boys!

I have a special post for you today. My dear friend Lisa O’Kane stopped by and brought with her the two main love interests in her debut novel ESSENCE. Things are a little crowded in here, so I’m just going to step over here and let them have the floor.


Essence-144dpiWe are here today to interview the two delicious love interests in Lisa Ann O’Kane’s ESSENCE. Ryder and Javi, welcome to the blog! What’s the first thing you want our readers to know?

RYDER: *Pipes up before Javi can* Hey Darke, and thanks a lot for hosting us. The first thing I want you guys to know is that you’ve been lied to your entire lives. The length of your life has nothing to do with the emotions you feel. The Essence theory is just a crock of shit.

JAVI: *Clears his throat and glares at Ryder* I’d like you to know there are some things in the world worse than the Essence theory. Like assholes.


Um… Okay. Well, thanks a lot for that. How about we shift focus? Why don’t you both tell me a little bit about the first time you met Autumn Grace?

RYDER: *Smiles at the memory* Red came crashing into my life a few months ago. She was beautiful, for sure, but I could tell she was broken, too. She’d lost her foundation, and she needed something to believe in. I wanted to help her.

JAVI: You sure did that, didn’t you, buddy? *Clears his throat* Sorry. Ahem… Autumn is impossible to miss. She has all this hair, and it’s like this red-golden halo or something. I’ve been watching her during meditation sessions in the Centrist temple for years, but I just recently found my first opportunity to talk to her.


Why do you feel like you’re a better fit for Autumn than the other guy?

RYDER: Simple. Javi coddles her, and he never challenges her to find out who she is when you strip away the layers. She’s strong, you know? A rebel. She needs someone who pushes her, who lets her test her boundaries but is also always there to catch her. That’s me, for sure. This clown can’t keep up with her.

JAVI: That’s because I don’t think she needs to prove anything! Putting herself at risk while chasing some stupid thrill isn’t going to make her into a better person. It’s just going to make her into a dead person, and I’m definitely not on-board with that.

RYDER: Red’s tougher than you think, Javi. And you’d know that if you’d ever let her breathe. *To Darke* I’ll put it like this. Javi represents Red’s past, and I represent her future.  He only sees what he wants to see when he looks at her.

JAVI: Bullshit, Ryder. You’re the one who only sees—


Ahem. Sorry boys, but can we save the fistfights for later?

BOTH: *Looking sheepish* Sorry.


You have both made yourselves at home in Yosemite National Park. What’s your favorite thing about the place?

RYDER: I have been living in the park since I was a little kid, and we have yet to conquer it. I dig that. There’s great free-climbing routes on El Cap, and the base jumping is sick from the summit. Plus, there’s snowboarding in Badger Pass, highlining from Taft Point and the Lost Arrow Spire… Every day’s got something new.

 JAVI: The Merced River’s my favorite; it’s just so scenic and relaxing. I could sit beside it and listen to the water all day. Also… We have shooting stars. You can watch them in the Meadow sometimes, and if you find the right blanket and the right girl to share it with… *Catches himself as he starts to drift* Well, let’s just say there are some beautiful sights.


Where in the park would you go if you could take Autumn on your dream date?

RYDER: I’d definitely nick some gas from my old man, borrow one of the Jeeps and drive her up to Glacier Point to watch the sun set. We could set up a tent back in the trees, cook some dinner over an open fire, and then… Well, it gets pretty cold up there at night. I can think of some ways I’d like to keep her warm.

JAVI: *Scowls and shakes his head* I would treat her with much more respect than that. My perfect date would be a long horseback ride to Mirror Lake followed by a delicious dinner at the Ahwahnee Hotel. We could read books in the library, go for a long walk in the Meadow… I’d let the evening take us where it wanted; I wouldn’t force it like some people.

RYDER: She doesn’t even like horses, you twerp. You’d know that if you paid attention.


Alright, guys. Well, we are almost out of time. In one sentence, what is one last thing you want readers to know about you when they pick up ESSENCE?

RYDER: This one’s easy: don’t judge a book by its cover.

JAVI: *Snickers at Ryder’s answer* I am definitely the good guy.


Thanks so much for stopping by, everyone , and we hope you have enjoyed our Battle of the Boys. Which one do you think Autumn should pick? Leave your comments below, and make sure to tune into the ESSENCE blog tour’s next stop on Monday, May 26th at My Bookish Ways (! Thanks for visiting!


LisaAnnOKaneLisa Ann O’Kane is a young adult author and former vagabond who once camped out in Yosemite National Park for an entire summer, an experience that inspired her debut novel ESSENCE. Her background is in zookeeping and environmental education, and she has been kicked, cornered, bitten and chased by nearly every animal she has ever loved. She currently resides in Florida, and she is now a huge fan of shooting stars, indoor plumbing and keeping both her feet planted firmly on the trail.









  1. Essence-144dpiAmazon (U.S.):
  2. Amazon (Canada):
  3. Amazon (UK): (This is a link to my author page. The link for my eBook won’t show up until my release date, apparently.)
  4. Barnes & Noble:
  5. Kobo:

Author Interview with Samantha Warren

A little late this month. Must be the heat. This month I bring you an interview with fantasy author Samantha Warren, who has a pet dragon – Anethesis!  How freakin’ cool is that!

So let’s begin… 

Hat-black glasses1. Let’s get to know you a bit. Where are you from, and what genre do you write?

I live in upstate New York, surrounded by cows and cats. I tend to stick to the fantasy genre (paranormal romance, contemporary, epic, etc), but I’m working on a zombie western right now, too.

2. With all the risks and uncertainty around publishing, what was it that drew you to a career in writing?

I didn’t know about any of the risks and struggles that came with writing when I started my first book. I really don’t know what made me start at that particular moment. It was November, so NaNo was on, and I guess I just loved the story so much, that I had to finish it.

3 Let’s talk a little about your latest project. What was the inspiration (if any) behind this story?

My most recent project is a zombie western. Someone on twitter posted about a dream they had where zombies attacked a wagon train. She said “Someone needs to write this book!” I immediately called dibs. Of course, it’s morphed a lot and no longer has a wagon train, but it’s still going to be awesome. [Considering the popularity of zombies right now, it should be! ~Darke]

4. What things influence your writing? And have you ever written them into a story?

I’m a big fan of fantasy, so I watch a lot of movies and read a lot of books in that genre. It’s inevitable that whatever movies or books I’m hooked on while writing work their way in somehow.

5. What was the biggest surprise for you when you started NaNoWriMo?

It was actually easier than I thought it would be. And it was during NaNo when I realized I really wanted to be a writer. I was substitute teaching and I was sitting there thinking “I really want to get home so I can finish reading that story and find out what happened.” Then I realized it was my story and I hadn’t written the “what happened” yet.

6. You write in many genres. Is there one you prefer more over the others?  

It really depends on what kind of mood I’m in. I go through periods where I prefer one genre over the other. Right now, it’s my zombie western. It tends to coincide with the books I’m reading, especially if I’m reading a really great one.

7. I’m really interested in this zombie western idea. Would you mind explaining a bit of the world you’ve created?

Sure! It takes place just after the Civil War. There are bands of soldiers roaming the west, and one of them slaughters the camp of Little Bear and Summer Rain. Little Bear vows revenge and asks for help from the gods, but we’re all familiar with the phrase “Be careful what you wish for.” He gets his revenge, but gets turned into zombie in the process. Charity Banks is a transplant from the east coast and really hates the west. But when she gets turned into a zombie, she realizes she can manipulate the lesser-minded zombies and creates her own little army with a plan to rule the west and become a queen of sorts. The good guy, Connor McClane is sheriff of Lonesome Ridge, one of the towns Charity sets her sights on. But he’s not willing to go down without a fight.

8. What do you feel is the biggest drawback to the PR scene? 

The PR scene is really oversaturated right now, so it’s hard to make yourself stand out.

9. Is there one genre in particular that you would like to write? Something you would find a challenge?

This zombie western is a challenge. I normally stick to fantasy. So this will be a first for me. While it technically is fantasy, it falls more in the horror genre. I have trouble distinguishing the horror genre from other categories, though. When I was talking to a friend one day, they mentioned that 28 Days Later is horror. My response was “Pfft, that’s not horror.”

10. Was there any one influence that made you want to write?

There wasn’t one influence that really made me want to write. I never really considered writing as a viable option until about 2010. Then, for some reason that still is unknown to me, I decided to write Blood of the Dragon, my first full-length novel. It’s been an addiction ever since.






The Iron Locket links:





Author Interview with Christelle Delport

This month, I reach all the way across the ‘pond’ to the U.K and speak with Christelle Delport. Her new book White River Calling has the main character…well, I’m not going to give it away. After all, it’s her book.

So let’s begin…

CRDelport1. Let’s get to know you a bit. Where are you from, and what genre do you write?
I was born and raised in Benoni, South Africa. My parents moved around a lot, so we never stayed in one place for very long. I am currently residing on a smallholding in Walkerville South Africa. It is just south
of Johannesburg.

What Genre do I write? I think I’m still trying to figure that out. I like to tell a story. My first book, Basics, is a sort of biographical fictional novel. The characters are fictional but everything that happened
to them, I got from stories real soldiers told me. My second book, White River Calling, is a fiction adventure story with a little hint of Science Fiction maybe. I have another book planned that is a detective murder
mystery. So as you can see, I don’t really have a specific genre as yet.

2. With all the risks and uncertainty around publishing, what was it that drew you to a career in writing?
At the moment I am only writing part time. I have a full time job in IT working for a cell phone operator. It does afford me the opportunity to test the water, so to speak. I don’t get to write as much as I would like. Writing takes time, and lucky for me, I have a very understanding partner who affords me the time to write when I’m not working. For the last year
and a bit, you can guess how I spent my lunch hour.

At first I send out a lot of queries with big dreams of becoming the next hot-shot writer, but reality struck and I received one rejection letter after another. Luckily I discovered the wonderful world of eBook publishing which gives anyone the chance to get published. I also quickly discovered my writing wasn’t nearly as good as I thought and that I still
had a lot to learn. I joined various online sites to learn more and improved my writing. There is a wealth of knowledge out there. One must only be willing to learn. Who knows, I still might be the next hot-shot writer.

3. What was your experiences like with Self-Publishing?
Publishing the book is actually remarkably easy. I studied the recommended style guide and made sure the book was setup according to the prescribed style, and, viola! Getting people to read it is a whole different challenge, and for a new writer, in that lay the difficulty. They first need to learn about me, the writer. You first need to build a reader base
and that takes time and patience. Almost everyone that reads one of my stories, whether it is a short story or a book, love it. That is a start and I’ll build on that.

4. Let’s talk a little about your latest project. What was the inspiration (if any) behind this story?
It actually started out as a writing exercise. Something I do when I get stressed. I sit down and start writing, anything that comes to mind. I started with a guy in the desert, a guy with no memory, just to create a little bit of mystery. I didn’t want to put him in an ordinary setting, so I put him in the middle of a desert. But not an ordinary desert, it is actually in the middle of Arkansas. And there is a drought, a bad one, with no water in sight. So I started to work on some back-story for the
guy and came up with some pretty good stuff. Soon I had so many ideas and they grew. Then I started to write, and soon, White River Calling saw the light.

5. Was it difficult to write a character with no memory of who he is/was? 
No not really. When I did my planning for the character, I still worked out his complete back-story; I just didn’t share it with the reader. What was fun about it was that I got to develop the character right before the reader’s eye. Yeah, I know, you develop all characters, but they have back-story, a platform. For Sam, I had to build the platform within the pages of the book, and the setting where he ended up, largely determined that platform. He could’ve ended somewhere else, and then his path would had been completely different.

6. What do you hope readers will find interesting about this story?
First of all, the story. It is a really good story. There is romance, suspense, action, and even a hint of science fiction. The dynamics between the characters are interesting, and how they have to work together in order to ensure their own survival. The fact that a small town, that don’t trust strangers, have to rely and depend on one to save them. Will you survive if all your basics structures get taken away?

7. What things influence your writing? And have you ever written them into a story?
I often write short stories about every day events I see, or work them into a story. When it comes to a novel, I have a general idea of what I want to achieve, but let the story develop on its own. For me as a writer the story is just as exciting as it is for the reader, because I don’t really know how it’s going to develop.

8. Is there one genre in particular that you would like to write? Something you would find a challenge?
I think I am too young as a writer to really be concerned or classify myself into a certain genre. Maybe when I have ten books or more under my belt I’ll be able to answer that question. For now I write the story and see what develops.

9. As a reader, what are some things that attract you to a story?
Of course the story has to be interesting. I read a wide variety of genre’s. I like to read a book twice. Once as a reader, just enjoying the story. Then a second time, as a writer, when I look at the reading and analyze the writing to see where it can help to improve my own writing.

10. Have you ever thought about giving up? If you did, what changed your mind?
I write because I love it, not to be a commercial success, although if that happens, I won’t sneeze at it. I like to share my stories with people and enjoy engaging people who read my books and to hear their thoughts and what they thought. It is tedious and hard work and it takes a lot of effort to put a readable book together. I will keep doing it as long as I
enjoy it.


To learn more about this author, please click the links below






Author Interview with E.B. Black

It is the middle of May, and once again I bring you another interview with a wonderful author. Maybe it’s the whole ‘spring romance’ thing, but my guest today writes romance. I see a trend beginning, but then romance is just that popular.

So let’s begin…


author1. Let’s get to know you a bit. Where are you from, and what genre do you write?

I’m a mountain girl. I moved to the mountains when I was young and still live there now.

Growing up around trees and snow, it’s no wonder that I love writing fantasy romance novels. When I walk around through the woods sometimes I feel like I’m in a fantasy setting, going on an adventure.


2. With all the risks and uncertainty around publishing, what was it that drew you to a career in writing?

My last two years of high school, I was home schooled. It made learning one of the most exciting things in the world to me. I helped my Mom plan my curriculum, decided what subjects and text books sounded the most interesting to me, and got to go on field trips and activities that I loved. I learned more in those two years of home school than I learned in all my years of public school.

I knew because of that experience that it’s easier to work if you love what you do. I was more likely to be successful in a field that I loved than doing something that I felt like I had to do. I wanted to be a writer so it would be easy to throw my whole heart and energy into my work.

I spent a lot of years of my life reading books on my own rather than doing my homework when I was in public school. I knew I had a passion for the written word and daydreaming.

I also hoped to have a career where I could be there for my family at the same time I was working. Family is extremely important to me.


3. What would you say, is the best thing about writing fantasy romance?

Most fantasy stories are about characters fated to save the world or go on an adventure. Most romance stories are about a couple fated to be together. Fantasy Romance combines the two. It allows characters to explore both a relationship and an adventure in an epic way together.


4. Is it difficult to keep your stories fresh and interesting?

Fantasy has so many possibilities. Literally, my imagination is the limit. It’s something I love about fantasy, there are so many new worlds and cultures to explore that there’s always something new and exciting to find.


5. What things influence your writing? And have you ever written them into a story?

There are two things that inspire my writing. One is other writers. When one of their stories touches me deeply, it usually inspires me as well.

The other things is experiences or feelings I’ve had in life. Also, people I’ve met.

One person who reviewed my novel, Medusa’s Desire, talked about the great sense of injustice in the book. Around the time I wrote it was when my house had burned down and someone I lived with had died, so I was feeling a great sense of injustice about the world at the same time because of that experience and some things I was watching my friends go through as well.


6. What books (if any) have influenced you over the years?

A lot of books have influenced me, it’s difficult to choose. The Harry Potter series really ignited my love of fantasy novels, though. And the Twilight series taught me that you can have both romance and fantasy/paranormal elements in a book and it still work.


7. Let’s talk a little about your latest project. What was the inspiration (if any) behind this story?

I’m working on a lot of things right now. One story I am working on, I created based on a picture I saw on Facebook about how a bunch of women would like to read a story where the main character fell in love with them. I decided I’d give it a try.


8. Most writers have manuscripts that will never see the light of day. Do you have a few of those or will they eventually come out? 

I have several of those. I know they will never come to light because I deleted them off of my computer. They were more practices for me. I became a better writer through them and learned a lot about what it takes to write a fantasy novel.


9. If you were given the opportunity to write a fan-fiction novel, who is the author you would choose, and what would be the book?

I would write Harry Potter fan-fiction from J.K. Rowling. I’d love to get to know that world even more and I’d love to find out what happens to the children of all the main characters. I imagine they go on their own adventure as well.


10. What advice would you give to a new author who wants to write?

Sit down and write everyday. Being a writer is about making the time regularly to write. You’ll get better automatically through practice, so don’t sweat it if you’re writing isn’t perfect.


To learn more about this month’s author, please click the links below.





Main web-site:


Links to Pandora’s Mistake:


Barnes and Noble:



Author Interview with Marlene Dotterer

Several years ago when I decided to take my writing seriously, one of the first things I did was join an online writing forum. There, I met some wonderful people, some of which I’ve interviewed here. Today I am proud to bring you my interview with Marlene Dotterer. She was one of the first people to read any of my work, and has become a good friend even though we’ve never met in real life. A situation I hope to change in the future.

So let’s begin…


1. Let’s get to know you a bit. Where are you from, and what genre do you write?

I live in California, in the East San Francisco Bay. I’m not a native – I moved here from Arizona in 1990. Never regretted it for a minute.

I write both science fiction and fantasy. I’ve read both genres all my life and I can’t really imagine myself writing anything else. It’s just how my brain works.

So far, everything I’ve written has a strong romantic element, which is also how my brain works. Relationships are such a big part of our lives, I feel it’s unrealistic to create a world that leaves them out.


2. With all the risks and uncertainty around publishing, what was it that drew you to a career in writing?

I’ve always liked creative writing, and tried a few times to start a novel, but somehow I made it to a grand old age without ever completing anything. Then I found out about Thomas Andrews and that time, when I started writing, I couldn’t stop.

Of course, finishing a novel is only the first step in pursuing a writing career. By the time I’d finished Shipbuilder, I’d learned a lot about the business. I was hanging out with several awesome writers at OWW (including you), and we were all working hard on queries and synopses. It just seemed like the logical thing to do.

But that’s not really why I wanted to publish. The thing is, I’ve had a lifetime of loving to read. Books took me to other worlds and gave me so many different lives to live in my head. I wanted my story to do that for people. That’s still my reason today, with every book I put out there.


3. Tell us a little about your Bridgebuilder.

Bridgebuilders is the sequel to The Time Travel Journals: Shipbuilder. When my Shipbuilder characters went back in time, they created an alternate universe, which has the same history as ours, but only up to the point of its creation. In this case, that was January 24, 1906. Their futures diverge, so the 20th century is different in the second universe. It’s also important to realize that the second universe is 100 years behind the first one (because the time travel was 100 years back in time.)

In Bridgebuilders, the characters in the second universe figure out how to build a bridge back to the first universe, so of course, they have to go there. Over there (which is actually “here,”  it’s our universe), the year is 2080, and climate change has caused all sorts of damage to the planet. So there’s a dystopian element to the book, with totalitarian governments and strict religious laws used to keep control of the masses.

The story has an ensemble cast: we follow the second universe scientists as they are held prisoner in the first universe, and we also follow a young physicist who is helping his even younger student escape from a forced marriage. There is a rebellion underfoot as well, that is trying to overthrow government control. All these paths converge in a desperate attempt to stop an insidious government attack on innocent civilians.

At its heart, Bridgebuilders is about people taking control of their lives and learning to create a just and free society.


4. What was the appeal about the Titanic story that made you want to create this new story around it?

Well, as you can tell from my description, Titanic doesn’t figure into this story at all! That’s the fun thing about time travel and alternate universes. You can do just about anything. Some of the characters in Bridgebuilders  are descendants of Casey and Tom from Shipbuilders. And the time travel researcher, Sam Altair, is back as his second universe incarnation. It can be a little confusing, but I’ve tried very hard to make it understandable within the story.

Essentially, seventy years have passed since the story of Shipbuilder took place. If you read Shipbuilder, remember the epilogue, where in 1972, a just-graduated Sam Altair is summoned to Dunallon to talk to a very old Casey Andrews. She tells him about the time travel and asks him to help them research how it happened.

Bridgebuilders picks up the story from there.


5. I read the first book (and can’t wait to dive into the second btw) and with your story being an alternate reality, was it difficult to conceive how the world might be different due to your character’s mingling?

That’s a big question. I can say it was fun  to figure out how the world would be different. But yes, it was difficult, too. I’m a big picture kind of person, but the thing about writing a book, is that you have to show how point A becomes point B. The details are important. In Bridgebuilders, there are two worlds and both of them are changed because of the time travel. The second world has a different 20th century because Sam and Casey went back in time. I had to decide what would be different, so I had to think about how much two people could actually change. Not very much, probably.

What if you add Albert Einstein to the mix? Then start with a careful plan, attract investors, and build a strong educational system to back up the changes you make?

In this case, after seventy years, we have a world with advanced technology, an educated populace, and a high standard of living. It’s not a utopia, but we actually don’t spend enough time in this world to really explore it. Bridgebuilders just shows the outlines of it. Most of the action takes place in the first universe.

On that Earth, the year is 2080, so I had to think about what our planet might be like in 68 years. I chose a rather dystopian society, one that has been struggling with famines, wars, and pandemics as a result of climate change.

When the book opens, this world has not been affected by any time travel. But when Sam and Sarah figure out how to bridge the universes, our world is suddenly handed a technology that could really make a difference in their struggles. The question is, will the technology be used to oppress people or set them free?

[This is why you should never mess with the Temporal Prime Directive ~Darke]


6. The Titanic story has many fans, have you many any and did you tell them about your book? What was their reaction?

Bridgebuilders is not really about Titanic, so if anyone is expecting another Titanic story, I’m afraid they’ll be disappointed. But I have met many, many Titanic fans, especially when we went on the Titanic Memorial Cruise earlier this year. Oh yes, I told them about my book! The reaction has been all over the board. There is so much diversity in this group, because there is so very much diversity to the Titanic story. There are historians, scientists and engineers who are interested in the hard facts of the story – what really happened? This involves everything from the first conception of the ship all the way to the bacteria that are currently eating through the steel at the bottom of the ocean, and everything in between.

Sadly, most of these people do not appreciate fiction about the ship. Some of them were a bit defiant about it, too. One otherwise friendly fellow asked if I could go back in time and “never write this book.” Fortunately, no one suggested that I be thrown overboard!

But there were many people who do understand the need to fictionalize, and enjoy reading about the ship. Consider the reaction to James Cameron’s movie. It was huge. Those people love hearing about my book. I really hope they’ll like Bridgebuilders as much!


7.What books (if any) have influenced you over the years?

I’m influenced by books I want to read over and over, with characters I wanted to live with. Some of these are:

The Liaden Universe books by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller

The Pern books by Anne MacAffrey

The Outlander books by Diana Gabaldon


8. What things influence your writing? And have you ever written them into a story?

Over the years, I’ve tried several times to start a novel. I never succeeded until I found out about Thomas Andrews and his role on Titanic. I was so inspired by him, that book practically wrote itself.


9. Most writers have manuscripts that will never see the light of day. Do you have a few of those or will they eventually come out?

I do have a few. I have them on a thumb drive, which I usually manage to forget about. I doubt they will ever make an appearance. But I still think about some of the characters in those stories, and who knows? Maybe they’ll show up somewhere.


 10. What advice would you give to a new author?

Never stop learning. Always hire an editor.


Five for Fun!

1. If you could be any breed of dog, what would it be?

Probably a border collie. They are so smart, and great companions.


2. Is there one food/beverage that you can’t live without?

No, but there are several I don’t want to live without. Coffee. Chocolate. Wine.


3. Bungee jumping: exhilarating hobby or death wish?

Death wish!


4. What is your favourite movie?

I could not possibly narrow it down to one.


5. Question from Sithboy; If you were a Jedi, what colour would your lightsabre be; green, blue, yellow, red, or purple?

Using a lightsaber requires boldness. I’d go with red. [Red is a sign of a Sith. Bold woman! ~Darke]


Where to find Marlene online:

Twitter: @marlenedotterer

Links to Bridgebuilder and other books:



Author Interview; Colin Barnes

This month I am proud to bring you my interview with Colin Barnes. One of the few horror writers I know, and the only one I know who writes Cyberpunk, I met Colin online through mutual friends (one of the benefits of Twitter) and we quickly became friends. I’ve even had the pleasure of conversing with him about horror elements in stories, and how to achieve the maximum effect. Colin has just put out a short novelette entitled REBIRTH with Anachron Press. It is a prequel to his novel ‘The Techxorcist’, with the latter to be published mid-November.

So let’s begin…


1.   Let’s get to know you a bit. Where are you from, and what genre do you write? 

I’m from a over-populated town just outside of London in the UK, and I write in a variety of genres. I wouldn’t say I write in one specific box; all my stories tend to blur the lines and include elements from numerous genres. The main areas that I work in however would be Sci-Fi, Horror and thriller. Most of my work is on the dark side, but other than that I tend to just go wherever the story needs.


2. With all the risks and uncertainty around publishing, what was it that drew you to a career in writing? 

I’ve been writing since I was a small boy, and it’s always been in the background as I grew up. Around the year 2000 I was building a business in web development, and due to working from home started to write more and more. Eventually, I decided I’d rather spend more time writing than working (though writing is still equally as hard as my business ever was). I don’t worry about the uncertainty because it’s just too uncontrollable. I take a hybrid approach: self publish some work, submit to the small presses, and query agents/go the trad. route. I don’t see any reason to limit myself to just one strategy. I just care about writing, so I’ll look seriously at an opportunity that comes my way; whether that’s self publishing, or signing with a publisher (depending on the contract of course). So, to answer your question more directly, it was the hope of writing full-time that drew me to a career.


3. You write in several genre’s, are you influenced by the same thing for each?

Short answer is yes. The long answer is no. For the most part I don’t write in a single genre, in which I mean my stories tend to usually blur across a number of genres so that all my stories are effectively the ‘Colin F. Barnes’ genre, whatever that might be. In terms of influence, I take most of my ideas from talking with friends. I enjoy banter, often sillier the better. I treat it like word-idea-association. And from this banter—which usually ends up in a competition of top-trumps on outdoing each other with silly notions—ideas coalesce into a story form. Other times it’s a call for an anthology, and I’ll either have an internal conversation with myself (I’m not crazy, honest), or with a friend and something amorphous bubbles up from the dark depths.


4. Have you ever thought about giving up? If you did, what changed your mind?

Yeah. Usually before, during and after writing a story. It’s a persistent thought process that for me is impossible to be rid of. It’s a side-effect of being a generally unconfident person. However, I take it as a good sign. If I were so confident about my work to not have these thoughts then I reckon I’ve not paid enough attention to improving my craft. That self-doubt is a barometer. If I suddenly lose that I know I’m in trouble. The self-doubt, although can be crippling, also keeps me honest, keeps me improving, and seeking ways to be a better writer. So my mind isn’t necessarily changed, rather it’s an ongoing push-pull process that keeps me in check.


5. Self-doubt is a strong element with writers. What things do you do to keep yourself motivated?

It’s a tough question to answer basically because I don’t think I do anything specifically to stay motivated, other than just a willingness to keep writing. Once a story is a finished, then the usual excitement of a new story starts over again so it becomes a cycle, or a habit.


6. As a reader, what are some things that attract you to a story?

Well-written prose is fairly high on my list. A good believable/logical storyline, preferably one that isn’t just a re-hash of something else, or is entirely made up for tropes and clichés. And likeable characters that I can cheer for. I’m not against unlike-able characters per se, but they have to have something likeable within their make-up that makes me want to see them succeed. I also like something deeper than just a good story. I enjoy ones that have several meanings, good use of metaphor, and a willingness to say something about the world.


7.  So many new writers are jumping onto social media. What do you think of this medium for writers?

I think it’s a good way of networking with other writers and learning how publishing actually works by following agents and editors. It’s utterly useless in selling books though, and it’s disappointing to see so many authors constantly spam their feeds with ‘buy my book’ messages. In the end I find myself un-following these writers as they don’t engage; they just continue to spam their book. If used correctly (to actually be social with people), there can be a great deal of value in it. I’ve found numerous publishing opportunities and made some great friends in the industry just by chatting with them. As soon as you start trying to actively sell to someone you piss them off. It’d be like talking to someone in a pub and mid conversation they force their product in your face and ask you to buy it. Authors: just don’t do it!


8. Have you ever entertained the notion of writing a story in one of the ‘hot trends’?

Sure. I think every writer has questioned whether they should try their hand at a hot genre. But it rarely works. Genres go in cycles for a start, and secondly, you still have to know the genre fairly well to be able to write it. Just because erotica or thrillers (or epic fantasy) are popular at the moment does mean it’s a trivial thing to switch and be able to write a convincing story in those genres. It doesn’t stop some though, but then those efforts are usually easy to spot. I firmly believe you should write what you’re most knowledgeable and passionate about; that will come out in the work and produce a better book. Though the writers who are solely looking at the market for money aren’t always concerned about producing a good book; they just want to rush anything out to try and grab some cash. It’s short-term thinking and won’t lead to a productive and fulfilling career in my opinion.


Places to find Colin online:




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