Reviewed: December 1st, 2021 Released: January 30th, 2020 Genre: Historical Fiction
If you love rich and complex historical stories then Full Circle is the book for you. Set in the 1700’s Daisy introduces us to a family with a tangled history, lots of mystery and powerful characters.
The year is 1786 and in the quiet countryside of Mere in Wiltshire sits ‘The Willows’. It has been the family’s home for three generations and Elizabeth Hamilton, the present owner; and her son, Stewart, lived alone until a cousin, Alexander, came when Stewart was 12.
For the last 21 years, the house has held a secret from the past which has been kept safely hidden even from Stewart. Only after Stewart marries are their lives turned into chaos, as it initiates a succession of vengeance against him and his family that lasts for over three years.
life changing, but it is how they reveal themselves that transforms the lives of many people irrevocably… Read My thoughts…
Reviewed: November 28th, 2021 Released: July 23rd, 2021 Genre: Paranormal Fantasy
A heart is a dangerous thing to steal.
Brie would do anything before making a deal with the Fae; death is better than their vicious schemes. But when her sister is taken by the sadistic king of the Unseelie court, there is nothing Brie wouldn’t do to get her back-including making a deal with the king himself to steal three magical relics from the rival Seelie court.
Gaining unfettered access to the Seelie court is easier said than done. Brie’s only choice is to pose as a potential bride for the Seelie Prince, Ronan-a prince who’s not quite as wicked as she once thought. Unwilling to let her heart distract her, she accepts help from a band of Unseelie misfits with their own secret agenda. But as Brie spends time with their mysterious leader, Finn, she finds herself struggling to resist his seductive charm.
Caught between two dangerous courts, Brie must decide who to trust with her loyalty . . . and with her heart. Read My thoughts…
Reviewed: November 26th, 2021 Released: March 23rd, 2021 Genre: Paranormal Fantasy
Warrior for good. Slayer of demons. This petite guardian may look like an angel, but she is pure wrath.
Heaven and Hell collide at a quaint inn nestled in the Shenandoah Mountains. Despite plans of a relaxing vacation after 450 years of saving humans, a guardian angel is put to the ultimate test. Pure unadulterated evil, in the form of a sexy dark guardian and Hell’s most lethal weapon, is on the scene and he means to misbehave.
An unlikely alliance binds eternal enemies together in a quest to unravel a prophecy so deadly that Heaven refused to write it down.
Rekindled Prophecy is an epic paranormal romance full of adventure, mystery, and a passion that burns stronger than the flames of Hell. Read My thoughts…
Today we meet contemporary romance author Amey Ziegler, the author of The Swiss Mishap and the companion novel Swiss Mistletoe and Macaroons which releases in December.
Helen: Welcome Amey. It is such a pleasure to chat with you. Tell us about what you ahve been working on. You have a few books coming out, don’t you?
Amey: I have a bunch of WIP and books coming out soon! My first book coming out comes out this December. Swiss Mistletoe and Macarons is a companion novel to my award-winning rom-com The Swiss Mishap. Then I have Wylder Bride coming Feb 28th. This is a Cyrano de Bergerac meets Mail-order bride meets the Wild West. It’s part of a Wylder West series with multiple author series across many genres.
Helen: You have been very busy! Tell us about the cover of your new book.
Amey:Swiss Mistletoe and Macarons has Jean-Marc on the cover in his chef uninformed. He’s a pastry chef who is used to having his own way. I’ve enclosed an easy recipe for macarons that anyone can make.
Wylder Bride has a barn burning and a train on the cover because it’s an action adventure western romance. Maisie comes west but her train is robbed. She must meet the man writing the letter to the man she loves but she doesn’t know she’s fallen in love with the wrong guy.
Helen: Writing different genres must be such fun, and I am sure there is plenty of romance in there. What made you start writing?
Amey: I started out as a reader. I spent many hours of my childhood curled up with a book. I loved reading Nancy Drew. I wanted to create other stories. When I was in my early 30s I decided to peruse writing seriously.
Helen: Reading is so important to inspire new writers, the more you read, the more your imagination goes wild. Where do you find the ideas for your books?
Amey: Ideas are all around us. I find mine my through personal experience. I’m working on a trio of billionaire romances. I just finished book 2. It was inspired by my undergrad degree in Communication. The two main characters are working on a relationship study at the University of Arizona.
Helen: They do say write what you know about. What is the most useful peice of writing advice you’ve received?
Amey: I read a book early in my study that said hard work is more important than talent. That was encouraging because when I first started out I wasn’t sure if I was talented. You know the saying in order to master a skill you must do it for 10k hours. That’s so true for writing. I wrote every day for two-four hours for eight years before I found a publisher for my first book.
Helen: Do you find you plan out your writing, or do you let it take you where it will? Are you a Planner or Pantser?
Amey: I consider myself a plantser which is a mix of the two. I do figure out a few key items about my character. I have major turning points plotted but in between I discovery write. It’s my process and it’s working for me 😀 every writer does it differently ans that’s okay.nd non-fiction ever since.
Helen: As a writer, do you have time to enjoy other hobbies/activities to get your creative juices going?
Amey: Being a mom is a full time job so it’s hard to find time for hobbies. However because I treat writing as a career I do try to find ways to do things with my kids. One thing I do is see charity quilts with my kids. They help me pick out colors and help me iron.
Helen: Most writers also read. What is your favourite book?
Amey: I love the Princess Bride. It’s got humor, action, intrigue and love.
Helen: Thank you so much for joining me today, Amey. Just one last question, what advice would you give to new writers just starting out.
Amey: Write. A lot of people want to talk about their cool ideas. Write them. Also study the craft. Get better.
About the Author:
Amey Zeigler loves writing clean and steamy-clean romance with adventure and comedy.
She enjoys working out, yoga, being a mom of three kids, sewing and making movies.
The Swiss Mishap won the 2019 Swoony for Best New Adult Romance and third place in 2020 OCCRWA Book Buyer’s Best Contest.
Amey lives near Austin, TX. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @ameyzeigler and sign up for her newsletter at http://www.ameyzeigler.com
Reviewed: October 26th, 2021 Released: October 26th, 2021 Genre: Paranormal Fantasy
On the surface, everything about Kira Lockwood is a picture of perfection — an amazing best friend, a loving boyfriend, and a promising future in ballet. But beneath it all, she’s plagued with unusual dreams and nightmares. And to make things more complicated, the man who haunts those very dreams has just moved in down the street. Their attraction is undeniable, but she struggles to understand why he torments her at night while she sleeps.
Blake Michaelson is a handsome and powerful centuries-old warlock. He and his three brothers have been searching for one thing – Kira Lockwood. Though she doesn’t know it, she is a descendent of the first Supra Virtutem, a witch with the ability to harness the ultimate power. He and his brothers have spent a lifetime, hunting others like them, and claiming their magic as their own. To ensure their immortality, Blake must complete the Order of Three: claim her body, take her blood, and end her life.
Kira can’t ascend and harness her power until her 21st birthday but her magic lives within her and her light recognizes the darkness. Will Blake complete his mission or will the power within her be enough to save her? Read More…
Reviewed: October 24th, 2021 Released: September 14th, 2021 Genre: Paranormal Fantasy
The last time he followed his heart, Shax ended up in Hell. This time, it just might be his only salvation.
Once Lucifer’s most feared assassin, Shax is stuck on Earth and tormented by the need to find the one who got away. Outrunning supposed friends and definite foes, he takes refuge in Kansas City. It isn’t long before he comes face-to-face with his quarry, the angel Kheone. The smart choice would be to kill her, but for reasons he does not want to examine, he rescues her instead. Now embroiled in the events that closed the Gates to Heaven and Hell, Shax must decide between love and saving his own skin.
Loyal and lethal, Kheone pursues the demons roaming the Earth with single-minded ferocity, fulfilling her purpose to protect humankind. When her friend dies under circumstances eerily similar to the explosion that cast her out of Heaven, she makes a deal with Shax to track down the killer. Struggling to trust her new partner, Kheone fights her growing bond with the demon as they discover the pieces to a puzzle that just might reopen the ways back to Heaven and Hell. Working with a demon has Kheone questioning the very nature of good and evil, testing her loyalty to the Archangel Michael and all the angels trapped on Earth. Read More…
Today I have the pleasure of chatting with fellow indie author Monique Edenwood about her Blackwood Oak series and all things writing and more! To start us off, Monique, tell us about your latest novel.
Monique: I’m currently working on book 4 (out of 5) of my Black Oak series which is a dark romance series within the genre of romantic suspense. The books is called Embers of Black Oak and is out on September 24th. At the crux of the series is a love triangle between the heroine Jessynia, the powerful and ruthless Jackson Wilder and his childhood friend and now sworn enemy, Cameron O’Neill, as equally powerful, dominant and damaged as his former friend. Both men love Jess to the point of madness and consider the other man dangerous. This triangle is the crux of the book, but as the series has unfolded, the subject of past trauma and how it affects our behavior has become one I’ve loved to explore as it’s a subject that is very close to my heart.
Helen: Not long now! Good luck with our forthcoming launch. How did you choose the cover design?
Monique: The cover of book one has a naked male torso on a black background with an oak tree bathed in dusky light at the top. My books are named after a dangerous secret society created by the outwardly respectable elite of Manhattan, the Black Oak Society or Quercus Velutina. I grew up surrounded by forests and have always been obsessed with trees and I knew I wanted the society to be named after a tree. After playing around with a few names and checking that Black Oak did not exist in this context anywhere on the web, I chose Black Oak as a recurring motif in the series titles. I came across the picture of the man randomly while surfing stock pics and it just spoke to me. The fact that he’s standing so self-confidently and that you can’t see his face just felt so powerful to me, and all my books have an element of black in their background to represent the Black Oak society, of course, as well as the darkness of this dark romance.
Helen: You have four books written in the Dark Oak series, how did you begin writing this series?
Monique: I have to say my series has been on quite the adventure because I originally wanted to write a dark comedy, along the lines of the British author Tom Sharpe—totally outside the romance genre—about a wife who discovers that her husband is cheating on her and doesn’t tell him she knows, but sets off on a journey to slowly ruin his life in every way possible while trying to help him deal with all the calamities befalling him. So sadistic, lol!
It was really supposed to be just total comedic escapism. Once I had done a tiny bit of research and saw that romance was the biggest genre, and once I brought down that self-defence mechanism that wanted to turn this story into comedy, I realized that I wanted to really deep-dive into the bloody guts of a faltering relationship in a way that was raw and real and made you feel and think and question what you would do in the character’s shoes.
The very early chapters of the book deal with infidelity, dropping you right into the moment when the heroine, Jess, discovers her husband’s secret phone, but this is really just a catalyst to bring in Cameron O’Neill, the third man in the love triangle. He’s been in love with her for as long as he remembers and wants to her save her from her marriage, but he has demons of his own and the story ends up taking a lot of unexpected twists and turns. Realizing how much trauma was at play in the behavior of the characters really let me explore this subject and I hope it has made the whole series more powerful.
Helen: What genre do you write? What made you choose to write in this genre?
Monique: I write dark romantic suspense. My favorite author is Sylvia Day and years ago when I first read one of her books after picking it up at a bookstore without ever having heard of her before, I remember resonating so much with her Crossfire series and how raw and brutal it was and how deliciously deviant the hero was. I was shocked by the language he used and how graphic it was, but when I started to write, I realized I wanted my series to be raw and make you feel, and I find I can do that best within the genre of dark romance.
One of the things I love exploring is the concept of duality. I love books that really make you think, throw you off balance and make you question what is right and wrong. I like to be shaken about a bit when I’m reading and I love doing that to my readers too! In my series, some of the characters behave in ways that are questionable, but it’s super important to me that they are still seen as human beings. I really don’t like to distill everything to just black and white, good vs. bad. I hate this way we have in the fictional world of reducing complex people to weak and strong or good and bad when most of us are a combination of these things depending on the circumstances.
When a character’s behavior is questionable, we may not like them, but then we learn about the trauma and abuse they may have suffered and perhaps start to rethink. So, to me, it’s important that books are not reduced to just tropes and that they take you on an emotional journey and really make you think and feel and question everything! Dark romance offers me that space as I don’t have to worry about how flawed the characters are. Messy and damaged characters with questionable instincts come with the territory and those are the ones I want to know the most.
Helen: It sounds like you have some very dominant characters in your novels. Who is your favourite character to write?
Monique: Sebastian Gravier. He is the head of the Black Oak Society and a dangerous sadist, murderer and prominent member of Manhattan’s high society. He is almost certainly an irredeemable character, but he is the most fascinating to me as unlike most psychopaths, he was not born that way. His soul and psyche fractured as a result of horrific and untreated narcissistic abuse on the part of one of his parents while the other stood back and did nothing to intervene, like a coward. The subject of parental abuse and narcissistic abuse is one that is not talked about enough in my opinion, so exploring this fascinating, dangerous, terrifying character and his origins has been just thrilling and very cathartic to me.
Helen: How do you get on with editing your books? Most writers prefer writing as it is more creative and freeflowing, yet editing you have to discipline yourself to look at every word.
Monique: I definitely prefer editing! I actually find the writing process quite painful but I am in heaven when editing. I love playing with words, rewriting sentences until they grab you by the throat or make you shudder from fear or pleasure.
Helen: Words are such fun! When not writing what do enjoy spending your time doing?
Monique: I am from the UK originally but have lived in beautiful British Columbia for several years as I have lots of family here. I love hiking through forests, writing under trees, swimming in the ocean, cycling, hot yoga and just being in nature and with my lovely friends and family.
Helen: Sounds lovely! I imagine reading fits in there somewhwere. Which books have your read recently that you would recommend?
Monique: I read the Tainted Love trilogy by RC Christiansen and it is so raw, so brutal and yet so beautiful. It just haunts me and even though it breaks a lot of the rules of romance, I highly recommend it. She’s just such a huge talent.
Helen: I have that trilogy on my tbr pile. I must find time to read it, but I know it will be raw and emotional, and I’m not int he right mindset yet. We’ve come to the end of time together, thank you so much for joining me. One last question. What advice would you give to new writers?
Monique: Thank you for having me!
I would say to really enjoy the writing process above all else and to realize that in the first year or so, your books are not necessarily going to take off. It will take some time to get traction and to become better known in the community. I’ve seen quite a few authors really suffer because they’ve been keen to have big sellers in their first year and it’s difficult in today’s highly competitive and saturated market. I would say to always write for yourself first, and I remind myself of that too when I read lots of opposing opinions about what the outcome of my series should be from my lovely group of readers.
It’s really easy to fall into the trap of writing primarily for the buzz of getting positive feedback from readers and I have actually seen authors post that that is the main reason why they write their books which I find so amazing. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing more glorious or uplifting than getting emails or messages from readers to tell you how much you’ve touched them with your books, but if you’re only writing for the high of having people read and tell you they loved it, then if they don’t, you’ll be devastated, and it becomes more about chasing the high of positive reinforcement at that point than about the joy of creating these magical characters that will live on forever. In the long run, if you write from your heart, things will always work out. If you write purely to get praise, that’s a dangerous place to be in.
I am so lucky to have really passionate readers who contact me on a daily basis, and who are very active in my Facebook group. Their support and enthusiasm is not something I expected to experience so early on in my author journey. They give me so much energy, even when they shout or sulk at me for things that the characters do, lol. However, they have some deliciously strong and opposing opinions and it’s easy to get lost in them, especially when you hate the idea of hurting or disappointing anyone.
That’s why your most important author relationship should always be with yourself and your characters before that with your readers, otherwise you will get lost trying to please everyone and second-guess yourself and your writing will suffer because of it, so staying connected to your characters above all else is the best way to make to make your amazing readers happy as well!
About the author:
I am the writer of the Black Oak Trilogy, the first novel of which is Enter The Black Oak. I love helping people escape their daily lives for a short while with the help of some intrigue, suspense and some smoking hot fictional boyfriends!
I am a British-Canadian author based in Vancouver, British Columbia and when I’m not reading or writing, I love hiking and cycling around beautiful Vancouver. I’m also an epic fantasy geek and lover of 80’s and 90’s music.
Join me as chat to Philip J Dennis about his novels and all things writing and more! To start us off, Philip, tell us about your latest novel.
Philip: My latest book is The Wrong Apocalypse. It was released back in February. It was an idea for a story I had years ago, before I had even started writing. It was simply a funny premise I had. People trapped in a sex shop during a zombie apocalypse. It’s just ridiculous enough to be funny. It wasn’t until I had been struggling with another story that this one came back to me. With the whole pandemic that I thought my zombie book was a little relevant. People trapped in doors, unable to see family and friends, communicating only through social media, only going out when strictly necessary. Throw in some references to real life and how different people handled or reacted, it practically wrote itself.
Helen: It’s weird how a pandemic can make crazy ideas seem reasonable, isn’t it? I love the fact the book practically wrote itself. The ideal type of book! How about the cover? Was that as easy to design?
Philip: When I had written my first book, Isaac’s Fall, I had no idea about cover design. I had images in my head of what I thought it should look like, but no way to pull it off. I could have paid for someone to design a professional cover but I couldn’t justify spending money on this hobby when there are bills to pay. So, I discovered Pixabay, and instead of getting an image of a person for the cover (I couldn’t find one that I liked anyway) I chose a silhouette. I used the same style for books two and three, and by the time I had completed the wrong apocalypse, I kind of felt that it was my style, my thing.
The cover of The Wrong Apocalypse was a group photo of me, my wife and some friends, edited to simple shadows with an abstract background of hues of red. It seemed to fit the tone of the book and my style of cover.
Helen: It’s actually quite eye catching, the more you look the more you see. The title sounds very apt for the novel. How did you come up with it?
Philip: The title came from the number of memes circulating during the pandemic, complaining that we were promised zombies for the end of the world. Basically, we were given the wrong apocalypse. It didn’t take long to come up with the title. It was the first idea I had and it stuck. I was opened to changing the title should I think of a better one, but I never did think of anything better. People seem to like the title. I’ve had people hear it and be intrigued.
Helen: What made you start writing? That moment when you first put pen to paper?
Philip: I started writing back in ’08, roughly. As corny as it sounded, I had a dream, a really vivid dream but just one scene long. As is usually the case when people dream, you’re already aware of the context and background. I don’t know if anyone else does it but sometimes I cast people in dreams. It might be family or friends, or in this case, Dennis Hopper was the character. Why him? No idea. I remember thinking though, at the time, I hadn’t even been watching him in anything. I told my girlfriend, now-wife, Jan, about the dream and the backstory, and she thought it was really interesting. She said that would work as a film or a book. I won’t go into the details of it, I might come back to it one day.
Anyway, I started to write it. I had no story arc, no bullet-pointed plan, just wrote to see where it took me. A little while later, Jan and I were talking. She said that she had started to write some stuff based on my dream.
I was like, “Yeah. Cool. Me too. How much have you written?”
Jan said, “Only about two pages. What about you?”
I replied, “About sixty pages.”
I never did finish it. Well, I did, but nothing that was any good. The core idea is still good. I might come back to it. But writing that book got the ball rolling. From there, I started Isaac’s Fall. But this time I knew to plot out the story first. Sometimes, you need to know where it’s going. Or at least know the next few steps. There have been some WIP that never panned out. Even though I might have felt the story was good, I didn’t enjoy writing it or that it was too big for me.
Helen: What is your work day like? How do you fit writing into your daily life?
Philip: Any writer will tell you that routine is the key. And they would be correct. But sometimes, you need to snatch those moments of peace and quiet, and of inspiration when they come. I try to do some writing on my days off from work, between household chores, and when motivation strikes. Sometimes, it might be an hour of a night after my son has gone to bed but before exhaustion kicks in.
Helen: Finding time to write is the challenge. I have notebooks all over the house for when inspiration strikes. The odd scene out of the blue, and you have to capture it before it slips away. When writing do you listen to music? Or do you prefer silence?
Philip: There’s a saying, which I’ll now butcher, about the biggest part of writing is done away from the keyboard. I walk home from work most days. In that time, I listen to headphones. Spotify. Sometimes, a lyric from a song can paint an image for something that I’m working on. I was listening to Short Change Hero by The Heavy, and the music reminded me of a western, and a lone man walking out to meet a posse of outlaws, with no hope in the world of surviving. I thought that image would work well in The Wrong Apocalypse. A lone character, walking through the centre of the outdoor shopping centre, essentially sacrificing themselves for the rest of the group. The scene was never used in the book. I couldn’t find a way to make that fit logically, and I wasn’t going to force it in just for the sake of it.
But I’ve listened to different bands depending on the book. Isaac’s Fall, I listened to Slipknot. Harmony’s Choice, I listened to Evanescence and Noel Gallagher’s Highflying Birds. They become a, sort of, internal soundtrack to the books, helping to set the tone.
Helen: Some interesting choices, thank you for sharing them. Where do you find you are most productive, where you write the most?
Philip: Best place to write is not actually at a desk or a table. I spend my workday at a computer, at a desk, I don’t want to do the same when I get home. For me, it’s on the couch, feet up, laptop on my knee. As comfortable as possible for as long as possible. The last thing I want to have to do is get up because my back is aching or I start getting a crick in my neck. If there are some snacks in reach or a cup of tea or coffee within reach, then even better.
Helen: Having written a few books, have you found yourself writing in one genre?
Philip: I don’t want to stick to writing in one single genre. Why limit ourselves? The Wrong Apocalypse is a horror/comedy. The trilogy I wrote is more of the thriller/supernatural genre, and I wrote a children’s book for my son, featuring him as the main character, which falls into fantasy/fairytale. I mentioned earlier about struggling with a story/ that was in the genre of a fictional biography, if that genre exists. I’d like to finish that one day, but I don’t know if it will happen. I don’t think I would want to deep-dive into sci-fi but maybe splash in the shallow end a little. The very first story I mentioned, that was a sci-fi thriller.
Helen: Most writers are great readers. What have you enjoyed reading recently?
Philip: I’m a very slow reader. My wife Jan inhales books. But because I’m a slow reader, I can be a bit picky with what I’m going to spend my time reading. I’m currently reading Ready Player Two, having read the first last year. I’m less than half way through but enjoying it. The film was very different from the first book, and I knew this going into the book. I’d seen the film first. But the book still holds up and it made me want to see how the author built on that world, and where he would go with it. Was it going to be a natural progression of the story or a cash-in given the recent Spielberg film? I haven’t finished, so I can’t say yet.
Helen: Is there a book you recently finsished that you would recommend?
Philip: I would certainly recommend Matthew McConaughey’s Greenlights. I’m not a biography person. I had only ever read Bryan Cranston’s biography before this. Greenlights is positive and funny and inspiring. I had heard some reviews stating it was too self-involved. I think that someone needs to explain the purpose of a biography to those particular people. My only regret with Greenlights was that I should have listened to the audiobook instead. Years back I had tried to read Corey Taylor’s Seven Deadly Sins. A book of stories and rants. I never finished it. The audiobook, on the other hand, is much better. Sometimes, hearing people tell their own stories or going on their rants is the best way.
Helen: I have Greenlights on my tbr pile, which is much too high! Who is you favouite author?
Philip: Hands down, Neil Gaiman. American Gods is probably my favourite book. Good Omens is also fantastic. Coraline, The Graveyard Book… He’s written comic books… Sandman… This is an author who doesn’t stay within a set genre. His writing style can be simple and to the point or detailed and layered, depending on the story. If people haven’t read any of his work, that should be the next thing they do, or maybe right after they read The Wrong Apocalypse.
Helen: Sounds like, if you like Neil Gaiman, you’ll like Philip J Dennis! It has been a pleasure chatting with you today; thank you for sharing your authorlife with us. Just to finish, what advice would you give other writers?
Philip: I barely consider myself a writer but if I had to give anyone advice, it would be to do it for the enjoyment, for yourself first. Some people want to write to be rich, to be famous, and, sure, we would love for that to happen, but you’ve got to love what you’re doing first. Sometimes I need to remind myself of that, I’ll admit it. Not even the money side of things, really, but just to know that people are reading my work, that they are enjoying it. Everyone needs acknowledgement. It’s basic human behaviour. But you need to recognise this and remember that your own enjoyment of writing is paramount.
About the author:
I am 39 years old. I live in Liverpool, England, with my wife Jan, and 4-year-old son Jacob. I currently work in a contact centre, though this is not for much longer due to redundancy. I’m currently taking a copywriting course in the hopes that this might lead to something interesting, new and enjoyable.
I started writing about 13 years ago but only published my first book just over four years ago. The only person that knew I was writing was my wife Jan. Why only Jan? Simply put, it’s better to fail without an audience. It’s a very pessimistic outlook, I know.
I’d love for my books to become big enough to be a sustainable income, but at the end of the day, I enjoy writing, and if there are some people who enjoy reading them, then that is great too.
Join me as chat to Devin Sloane about her Contemporary Romance novel Feel Again which releases today, August 30th, 2021. Feel Again is the third book in the Bridgewater series. Congratulations Devin, on the launch of your book. To start us off, tell us about Feel Again.
Devin: Feel Again is the third and final book of the Bridgewater Novels. The Bridgewater Novels are deeply emotional depictions of three women’s lives and the hurdles they face together and separately. They are at turns heartbreaking, comical, sexy, enlightening, and uplifting.
The first book follows Bex as she picks up her life after losing her husband. Book 2 follows Bex’s best friend Mara, who learns to deal with a devastating mental health diagnosis, and book 3 follows Mara’s younger sister Willa, who has not yet healed from trauma in her past.
Because of events in her teen years, combined with the narcissistic abuse she suffered at the hands of her mother, Willa believes she is inherently flawed and selfish. She’s content with her lot in life. She has her own home, a good job, a volunteer position that gives her purpose, and her small family that she adores. She’s not looking for a man, and she’s definitely not looking for forever. When Barrett enters the scene, he shakes Willa’s conviction to keep her life as it is. The fact that starting a relationship with him would rock her small family makes it an easy decision for her. Logically. Her heart has other plans.
Helen: There are quite a few elements to the cover. How did you come up with the design?
Devin: It is the road on Feel Again’s cover that is most reflective of the story inside. Both Barrett and Willa need, at times, to escape. Going on drives to different places is something they do together and something he ultimately promises he will be for her. Barrett is older than Willa by nine years and is careful with her as well as caring for her. The couple on the cover has a similar look to Willa and Barrett, but it is the tenderness between them that made them perfect for the cover. The circle icon with the dandelion is meaningful, and my daughter actually designed it for me, but I can’t give away the meaning!
Helen: Feel Again is a contemporary romance, is this your genre of choice?
Devin: I write women’s fiction with a strong romance factor. There is steam in my books, because sex is important in relationships, and many times, especially with these couples, sex plays a large part in their healing or growing process.
Helen: Where do you find ideas for your books?
Devin: My ideas come from music, mostly. I hear a song and an entire scene unfolds in my head. Sometimes it is dialogue that I hear, and there are times I write it down, though I don’t know yet who is saying it! Often while I’m writing one book, the side characters are speaking to me and wanting their stories told as well!
Helen: It is great that ideas can come from all sorts of places. Tell us a little about what you are currently working on?
Devin: My current WIP is the story of a character who makes a brief appearance in Live Again and has a small part in Feel Again. Something about her just spoke to me, and her story started to reveal itself bit by bit. She is 42 years old and has an almost 11-year-old son. She deals with agoraphobia and ADHD, both of which have seriously derailed her plans for her life. She has never fully gotten over her university boyfriend, but due to the way their relationship ended, she is happy he lives 3000 miles away…until he doesn’t. This story follows her as she deals with the obstacles blocking her from living her life the way she once dreamed.
Helen: What is your writing environment like? When writing do you listen to music? Or do you prefer silence?
Devin: I generally write early mornings in bed and sometimes I can sneak in a couple of hours in the afternoon or evening.
Helen: How great, I’ll have to check your playlist out, thank you for sharing it. I listen to music most of the time. Writing and editing are such different elements of the writing process. Which do you prefer?
Devin: I think I like editing best. I’m incredibly anxious until the story is written down that I won’t finish it. I read somewhere that you can edit crappy writing and make it great but you can’t do anything with a blank page. On the other hand, I find writing really exciting because my characters often take me places I am not expecting. It’s much the same feeling as when I’m reading someone else’s book and I can’t wait to find out what happens next!
Helen: Do you plan your stories in advance or do you just write and see what happens?
Devin: I am a pantser to start off. The scenes I see first could occur anywhere in the book. I write those first and then plan out the missing pieces of the story.
Helen: Most writers are great readers. What have you enjoyed reading recently?
Devin: Recently I’ve read, and loved, Our Way by TL Swan, Surrender to the Stars by Swati M.H., The Experiment by Amy Alves, The Club Trilogy by Lauren Rowe, Untouchable Zane by Debbie Cromack, Bed of Nails by Nola Marie, Welcome to the Dark Side by Giana Darling, Fall from Grace and The Devil’s Own by LL Meyer, The Naughty Pine by Sybilla Matilde…there are so many and I keep track of them on my bookstagram book review account, @aphroditesharem.
My favourite authors are probably Kristen Ashley and Rebecca Zanetti.
Helen: What s great range of authors for others to investigate. Thank you so much for chatting with me today, and sharing some of your writing world. It has been lovely meeting you.
Devine: I have loved being part of the bookstagram community. I never dreamed I’d find the support and cheering squad that I have found on here. It’s truly remarkable and I am grateful for the friends I have made since I started this journey in January.
About the Author:
I live in Southern Ontario with my husband of almost 28 years, our 4 kids, one of whom just moved out, and our two furbabies. Homeschooling was a huge part of my life for the past twenty-one years but I am very happy to be transitioning onto other things now that my children are getting older.
I started writing in October of 2020 and I have not been able to stop! I find it to be hugely cathartic and it keeps my brain busy in a good way. My children have various special needs, two are biological and two are adopted. I myself have fibromyalgia, autoimmune issues, arthritis, and mental health challenges. My husband is a wonderful man, really he is all the best parts of all my male characters! My life is at times messy, chaotic, busy, boring, and heartbreaking, but always beautiful because of the huge amount of love in our house. I am both incredibly lucky, and incredibly blessed.
Today I am chatting with Luci Fer, who joins me to talk about her humourous romance What Happens on Tour which releases tomorrow August 15th! Welcome Luci, congratulations on your new release and thank you for joining me to talk about your novel. To start us off, tell us about your book.
Luci: The Tour series is about an up and coming Australian music band who venture on a regional tour. Having started at the record label at the same time, Lead Musician Braxton Carson and his band have forged a solid friendship with Photographer Charlotte (Charlie) Bancroft. The entire group is thrilled to learn that they will be traveling together on Tour in the upcoming weeks.
The band ventures on a road trip around their country to connect with fans in remote areas, rather than just playing for the big city stadiums. It doesn’t take long for the Tour to show the close bonds they all share as friends, while also uncovering the undertones of romance between the two leads.
After just a few stops on the Tour, we learn that not only do Brax and Charlie have very similar interests, they also have an unspoken longing for each other. Their rather comical similarities and differences guarantee a hysterical and eventful trip ahead.
A night of drinking and mayhem with the band reveals Brax’s true intentions for Charlie. After an awkward conversation, the sizzling spark we’ve sensed intensifies when Brax takes what he feels is his only shot of getting the girl.
True feelings ignite and humour unravels as the band learns of the shift in the relationship status. When a catastrophic chain of events unfolds, Will Brax and Charlie fight for their love or crumble under the intense scrutiny?
Helen: It sounds like an intense read. How did you decide on the cover?
Luci: The story, while a comedy at heart, also explores the personal and professional growth of the lead characters, being the band, their agent and of course, photographer Charlie. Charlie’s backstory plays a pivotal part in the plot across all 7 books. As writers we create the image of our characters in our minds, while developing the story. I happened to be scrolling through instagram back in 2018 when I first wrote this and stumbled across a woman who embodied everything I saw in my character. As the saying goes, you don’t know unless you ask. So I approached her and explained what I was doing. Becca Medlin, my cover model who can be found on Instagram under @beccamedlin kindly agreed to be a part of the story and I am eternally grateful for her kindness and support. She embodies the same spirit my character does, and while beautiful in her own right, her heart is nothing less than extraordinary. And of course the magic would never have happened without the incredibly talented girls at Books and Moods who worked tirelessly with me to help understand the vision.
Helen: It is wonderful when you can find such a close connection between your cover and your story. I am glad you asked because your cover is amazing. Tell us about the genres you write becuase it not only humourous romance is it?
Luci: I am a romance novel writer, but the sub-plots vary as I do like to explore and push myself. I have a four part series that is a heavy erotica, a thriller and of course Tour series which is a romantic comedy.
Helen: What made you write this particular book?
Luci: What Happens on Tour was the fourth story I wrote. I had finished two books in my first series, and was deep into a standalone that was dark romance. I came to a chapter towards the end of this book where I was using real life experience, nearly losing my mother and writing it from her perspective in a coma, and before I realised it, I found myself getting sucked into a vortex with it and seeking ways to balance the heaviness I was experiencing. A passion of mine had always been to travel to music festivals and concerts, or road trips with my friends so I drew on these experiences and combined my two loves. It became the perfect balance I needed to give both books the justice they deserved.
Helen: Balance is very important. Writing emotional scenes can be draining, especially when they pull on personal experiences. We are lucky you were able to combine your love of music with your love of writing. What made you first start writing?
Luci: My mother was a writer and poet. Growing up she worked as a children’s story teller and I was often fascinated by her creativity. By my teenage years I knew that I wanted to follow in her footsteps. Finishing highschool I studied at University theatre and the arts. My passion was to be a playwright and director. One of my now adapted novels was originally written as a theatre production for a University assessment back in the early 2000’s. I was inspired by my mother and my love of theatre. I have always been a little dramatic at heart, thus the pen name.
Helen: With such a creative background, it must be easy for you to come up with ideas for your books?
Luci: I have an overactive imagination. I work full time in a highly stressful yet rewarding job, and as a result I struggle at times to switch off. I have been known to wake up at random hours of the night to pen an idea that has come to me, because I can’t sleep until I get it off my chest.
Helen: Which do you prefer, Writing or Editing?
Luci: I don’t know that anyone ever truly loves editing, especially Manuscript Developmental edits which is what I have undertaken with Tour. But to see the finished work makes it all worthwhile. As the writer, our perspective is often biased, since it’s difficult to keep from becoming your own reader. As a writer it is easy to be captivated by your passion in your work and therefore lose perspective on how your message will resonate with your audience. My editor has taught me that this often translates to us not realising whether something that works for you will also work for the audience. She’s helped me to engage with my target audience while also bringing out my author voice. I have a better perspective as a writer and greater insight as to what will work for a reader.
Helen: Did you have to spend much time researching for your books?
Luci: My first series I wrote, I spent a year researching and evolving those characters as there were so many complex elements to it. Tour series, I have been fortunate to have assistance from some industry insiders – family members who are performers, and incredible artists who have agreed to work with me and be on the covers of other books in the series. I also draw from my real life experiences so each of my stories has an element of me as a person in them.
Helen: It sounds like your research was really interesting. Who was your favrorite character to write?
Luci: He is always the audience favourite and that is Chester. He is everything my best friend is to me – lovable with a hint of mischief but a heart of gold. He also tends to take over my creative process because his voice is so powerful. easy, Stewart, the main protagonist. He is such a complex character in many ways, with a quick temper. He also has an agile mind that can read situations quickly, and a very dry, roguish sense of humour. I really enjoyed developing him.
Helen: And your favorite character from your book?
Luci: Mark, from my Tour series. He has a depth to his soul that I recognise and appreciate in a lot of my friends. I have incorporated many of their traits into this character.
Helen: Have you ever been given a piece of advice about writing that has helped you with your writing process?
Luci: During the editing process I become extremely hypercritical and my editor continually reminds me, it’s okay to do so. The hypercriticality pays off and you have to trust in your editor to guide you the right way with it.
Helen: How do you fit writing in your daily life?
Luci: My day typically starts at 3am to let me get caffeinated before I spend two hours editing. I then do a very long day at work before picking up writing on my wips at night.
Helen: I couldn’t get up at 3am. That is a no from me. I don’t know how you do it! Being so organised with your time, how are you with writing? Are you a pantser or a planner?
Luci: Ultimately, I know where the story is going, and how it will end. But as much as I do try to plan, I am definitely more of a pantser. Particularly with tour due to the comedic element to it. Much of the shenanigans are based around my real life group of friends and our acquired taste of crazy.
Helen: Does music play an important part in your writing process?
Luci: I don’t listen to music while I write, I do need silence in order to focus on the words and the flow of the story. That being said, I do have music that inspires my works and each has their own playlist on spotify for my readers to enjoy.
Helen: Do you have a favourite place to work?
Luci: Outdoors. I am blessed to live away from the city surrounded by beautiful mountains and forests. My favourite place to write is out on my deck with the serenity of nature. It reminds me it’s okay to slow down sometimes and enjoy the process.
Helen: Sounds perfect! I am jealous! Most authors are prolific readers. Tell us what you like to read and who your favourite author is.
Luci: I love all the works of Bertolt Brecht and anything Theatre of the Absurd. The irrational or fictive nature of reality and the essential isolation of humanity in a meaningless world is fascinating to me. I am currently reading Regrets and Revenge by Zavi James. It is the second book in her Foster family series. Zavi’s creative genius is unparalleled. I would recommend Serpentine by Jonathan Kellerman, but before starting it is important to know there are over 30 books in this series.
Helen: Do you have an all time favourite book?
Luci: Forget you had a daughter, by Sandra Gregory. Caught in a situation due to misfortune and trusting the wrong people, it shows one woman’s struggle to learn from her mistake but not let it define the person she is. It can feel like we’re alone. It can seem like you’ve let everyone down and it can be easy to tell yourself that everything was riding on you. But forgiveness is the greatest gift we can give to ourselves. We aren’t robots, we are humans and we do make mistakes, it is a beautiful journey of self forgiveness.
Helen: When not writing, (and if you have the time!). Do you have a favourite pastime or hobby?
Luci: I love the theatre and the arts, and my best friend’s partner is an incredible performer. We all love to support and watch his shows. And it goes without saying, my best friend is a huge part of my life, not a week goes by where we don’t do something. In fact it was the very road trips he and I have taken together over the years and our love of exploring new places around our country that Tour was born from. As our group always says, “No Shady beaches.”
Helen: Your friends sound wonderful, it’s great that you’ve been able to draw from your own experiences for your writing. Have you ever performed yourself?
Luci: I was a dancer for 16 years, not ballet or ballroom. I chose Scottish dancing because I wanted to own a pair of swords. It requires a huge level of trust in your ability to be able to move over those swords without causing injury to yourself.
Helen: It’s been lovely meeting you, Luci. Thank you so much for spending the time with me. I usually finish with a question to help aspiring authors, what advice would you give someone setting out to write?
Luci: Pen the story first, then go back to it. Don’t overwhelm yourself with trying to edit at the same time because it is easy to lose your natural story progression if you are weighing yourself down with all the elements of composing a story.
About the Author:
▪️ PA @csinbo
▪️ Sold Series on @galatea.stories
▪️ Tour Series publishing 2021
▪️ Carefree and slightly crazy
▪️ The Road to hell is paved with works in progress.