Author Interview – Alex Wolf

Author of Élan : Son of Song

Join me as chat to Alex Wolf about her YA fantasy novel Élan which releases today, August 20th, 2021. Congratulations Alex, on the launch of your book. To start us off, tell us about Élan : Son of Song.

Alex: My current book Élan: Son of Song is about growing up and finding out that the world isn’t how you expected it to be/ were told it was to be – this then forces the MC to find his personal strength and become your own hero, by using your gifts.

Helen: How did you come up with the cover? It is beautiful, with the soft pastel colours.

Alex: For my cover, I visualised a movie style poster for the book in order to appeal to the right genre of readers. I wanted to convey the fantasy and magickal elements as well as the looming sense of dread of the MC’s dark journey. Having the MC featured also was important to demonstrate how this was his journey through his POV.

Helen: Is there a meaning to the book title?

Alex: Élan was inspired by a song that was by his namesake, and as this story is entirely about his journey – it made sense to name it after him and the legend that was borne from it.

Helen: When writing do you prefer to write heroes or villains?

Alex: Villians! They have always been my favourite. There is just something about that ambition, that negative arc that really fascinates me. Famously, my favourite Disney character as a child was Scar from Lion King (which isn’t normal for a kid right?). I always cried when he died. Of course I understood he was ‘bad’ but I appreciated the need to be noticed, to be recognised. Their arcs always seemed to stand out to me, their motivation – how they can move forward without any support I found most inspiring. In my own writing, my villains certainly are my favourites too.

Helen: I agree, some villains are definitely under rated! When writing do you plan your book in advance or do you like to let your book take you where it will?

Alex: I am definitely a planner. In general I am an annoying ‘list person’ anyway. When I outline my stories though, its not necessarily what stick to. In fact, 9/10 I never reach the same ending or even middle that I planned to, but I guess having those ‘guidelines’ there give me enough of nudge to get going. I let my creativity take over and the outline is more of a guideline that gives me enough of an ‘oomph’ to get started.

Helen: Sounds familiar! I have very stubborn characters and they always go off plan! When writing do you listen to music? Or do you prefer silence?

Alex: Almost every single time I write, I listen to music. Otherwise, the silence is deafening when I write. There is just something about me having a rhythm, a vibe or mood is vital for my creativity. Its the same for my illustrations too. I have playlists arranged by character that help inspire me and get into the zone.

Helen: Tell us something competely random about yourself.

Alex:

  1. My first story I ever wrote was based off my toy dog Curly when I was around 10 years old. From then on I used writing as a way to cope with my social anxiety and help me process my external environment.
  2. I went to Japan for a work trip in 2017. My flight home got cancelled so I was stuck in Japan for an extra day. I decided to use the opportunity and went on my own to Disneyland Tokyo.

Helen: I find writing very therapeutic. It helps you look at things differently, and also makes you take the time to understand why it is the way it is, and how people react.

I want to know how different Disneyland Tokyo is, or whether it is very similar to other parcs! Moving on! What book are you reading now?

Alex: I am currently reading the Wild Spirit series by Victoria Wren. I love the fantasy genre and love even more supporting fellow indie authors. Its the best part about being one for sure. If anyone is on goodreads, please feel free to friend me! I love that platform for keeping tabs on my reading. I also love to beta read so feel free to contact me if anyone wants to try anything.

Helen: Thank you so much for chatting with me today, it has been lovely meeting you. Just to finish, are you working on anything new?

Alex: Currently it is nicknamed Project Prince and it’s another book in the same Saga as Élan but features a different character and timeline. Also will certainly be more NA than YA. For this one, I wanted to go a bit more into fantasy romance as that is my favourite genre and now that I have set the scene for my writing, it feels natural to head there next.

About the Author:

Alex is a creator based in the centre of England who enjoys writing fantasy novels. She also illustrates fantasy-style portraits and draws commissioned pet portraits. Writing and drawing have always been her passion since she was five years old. 


When she is not creating, she is either working her day job or reading various genres such as romance, true crime and dark fantasy.

You can find more about Alex via:

Instagram

Website

Facebook

Goodreads

You can purchase Alex’s novel from Amazon:

Elan: Son of Song

UK: eBook | Paperback | Hardcover

USA: eBook | Paperback | Hardcover

As an Amazon Associate I may earn commission from purchases made using these links.

Book Review Alert: Mad Magic by Nicole Conway

Reviewed: August 19th, 2021
Released: March 23rd, 2020
Genre: YA Fantasy

Josie Barton is a high school student living in terror. Invisible creatures torment her everywhere she goes, constantly getting her into trouble at school, and even haunting her apartment. But just when Josie thinks things couldn’t get any worse . . . she meets the guy from across the hall.

Zeph Clemmont is a changeling with enemies in all the worst places, fighting to undo a curse that threatens to end his life. Survival means he will have to swallow his pride and trust Josie with all his darkest secrets.

With the help of a gun-slinging shaman and the enigmatic Prince of Nightmares, Zeph and Josie are only a heartbeat away from defeating one of the most diabolical faerie villains their world has ever known. Read More…

Book Review Alert: Needlework by Bekah Berge

Reviewed: August 11th, 2021
Released: June 20th, 2021
Genre: YA Fantasy

Four musicians vie for a coveted spot on the main stage at the prestigious Olive Branch Music and Arts Festival.

For as long as she can remember, Melly has only been good at one thing: making music. From the instant she got her fingers on a flute and tambourine, music had transformed her life and become a way for her to express the hidden desires of her heart. And like every artist in the realm, joining the illustrious Olive Branch Music and Arts Festival was her ultimate dream.

When Hakim encounters Melly singing in a grubby tavern, his world stops for the briefest of moments. For Hakim, it was as clear as the sky on a sunny day—her voice was what his band, Needlework, had been missing. On a whim, a deal is struck. Soon Melly finds herself whisked away with the band as they join the Olive Branch Festival for what promises to be one wild ride. Read More…

Author Interview – Bertha Raw

Author of The Raven

Join me as chat to Bertha Raw about her debut YA fantasy novel The Raven which released on March 1st, 2021. Welcome Bertha, and thank you for joining me to talk about your novel. To start us off, tell us about The Raven.

Bertha: The Raven, that’s the title of my current book. It’s about this girl, Camille Stark that lived in a void–not literally, her life was empty and she knew something was wrong with her. She was different from everyone else but didn’t stop to think about it. She took full advantage of her weirdness and made life out it.

She was wayward and did all sort of things. Her adopted parents loved her but they hated her lifestyle, so her adopted mother forced her into going to a boarding school for troubled kids.

Getting to the school, Camille realized that the school wasn’t for troubled kids but people with magical powers. She thought she’d seen it all and had enough of the fable fairytale the Headmaster told her, and decided she was going to sneak out but didn’t because she needed answers.

She started asking questions but no one was willing to give her the answers she wanted. She started to question everything including her existence because she didn’t know who to trust.

Her mission change when her adopted parents suddenly became missing. She set out to find them with the help of new friends but came back empty. Camille realized someone was playing a game and they didn’t know how dangerous she could be especially when she just found out she was the granddaughter of one powerful warlock and a mad demon.

Helen: How did you come up with the cover? It is very atmospheric with the brooding ravens watching.

Bertha: I spent months trying to create the perfect cover, and I couldn’t find the one I loved. I changed the cover three times before I found the cover I wanted. The cover features ravens on the tree and a school, it’s black and white. The ravens represents Camille because she is a Raven. And the school represents The Vale, the boarding school that changed her life forever.  The black and white symbols everything else in the story. I chose the cover because it explains everything in the book.

Helen: Although this is your first YA FAntasy novel, you don’t just write fantasy novels, do you?

Bertha: I’d like to think that I’m not genre specific. I’ve written many genres like Paranormal, Fantasy, Romance, Action and Adventure, Crime Thriller, Sci-fi, New Adult and Young Adult.

I write base on inspiration. I’m always scared to start a book because I don’t know if I’m confident enough to finish it or do justice to the specific genre but I do it.

My favorite genre to write is Young Adult paranormal because I started writing with that. 

I was thirteen when I wrote my first book and I think it was because of the movie I saw then, and I love it.

Helen: Having the ideas is a great start, it takes discipline and hard work to finish a book, and then being very brave to release it! What made you begin writing?

Bertha: I was very lonely with no true friends in highschool. I went to a boarding school and I hardly ever watch TV at home, so whenever we go back to school after vacation, my roommates would talk about the movies they watched at home and they’d ask me if had seen those movies. Not to feel out of space amongst them, I’d make up my own movie and tell them all about my imagination, they didn’t even question it. Once I realized that they love all the movies I tell them, I found myself writing them down, planning my next movie. And that’s how I started writing.

Helen: Congratulations on finishing and publishing the book. Which type of character do you enjoy writing the most?

Bertha: Villains. I love writing about villains because I think they are misunderstood. I like to dive into all my characters backstory, to write about what made them who they are and the reason they became what they are.

Everyone has a story, good or bad. I like to tell the good version even though they are bad, I like to tell people there’s more to them then they think even if they end up disappointing everyone.

Writing about Heroes are boring, I prefer Anti-Heroes. People that don’t care about anyone else but themselves. I always portray my characters in a way where people are going to hate to love them.

Helen: Most indie authors are juggling writing and life. Tell us how you fit writing into your daily life.

Bertha: It’s kind of hard because I’m still a student, a sophomore in College, and I try to write everyday except weekends, my weekends are mine. I write immediately I wake up and before going to sleep if I know I’m going to have a busy day. But writing is fun. 

Helen: Tell us a little about your working process, do you enjoy listening to music whilst you write?

Bertha: I love writing in silence but sometimes I listen to music, mostly music scores. When I was writing The Raven, I created a playlist and would listen to them over and over again as I write. It depends on the mood of the chapter, if I want to write a sad chapter, I listen to Novo Amor, his voice makes me cry because it cries emotions that I can’t understand or explain. I listen to music scores when writing an action scenes. I just listen to Billie Eilish every other time because she’s my favorite.

Helen: Thank you so much for chatting with me today, just to finish, are you working on anything new?

Bertha: It’s a dark romance, and it’s the first time I’m writing one, so I’m taking my time to explore my characters because my hero is a villain without superpower, actually I’m having a hard time because I’m used to writing villains with powers. 

About the Author:

Bertha Raw is a writer, and Author of the the new novel The Raven. She has spent the last decade reading and writing novel across all genres. Her lastest novel is her first published work.

Bertha loves and works out of her home, spends her free time exploring the world and catching up on history and culture. linktr.ee/Bertha_Raw

You can find more about Bertha via:

Instagram

Website

Goodreads

You can purchase Bertha’s novel from Amazon:

The Raven

UK: eBook

USA: eBook

As an Amazon Associate I may earn commission from purchases made using these links.

Book Review Alert: Firebrand by Brandi Gann

Reviewed: July 20th, 2021
Released: February 27th, 2021
Genre: YA/NA Fantasy

Nineteen-year-old Aleria Edlind has always known that her fire would make her a valiant Lady Fayharrow, but when all that she loves burns to the ground, that spark inside must carry her through its ashes.

Firebrand is a YA fantasy romance that whisks readers off into a world of adventure, whimsy, and burning tension as Aleria collides with a group of fae warriors desperately searching for the cure to an ancient curse. When our spitfire heroine seems to be the key to unlocking those answers, she finds herself in a new land with new politics and a new man pretending not to steal glances in her direction.

Strap in for a magical tale with a little heat and a whole lot of heart as Brandi Gann weaves words as beautifully brassy and brazen as her protagonist. An entertaining, unassuming read to cozy up with at a time when we all need a little escape. Read More…

Author Interview – C.A Bleu

Author of The Trinity Ring

Joining me today is YA fantasy author C.A Bleu who released her debut fantasy novel The Trinity Ring on June 1st! Welcome Cindy, congratulations on publishing your first book. Such an achievement; I am so excited for you. Please tell us a little about your novel.

Cindy: Zara Trinity was ready to find her place in the world, but she never thought she would have the power to change it. 

Her eighteenth birthday brings betrayal and family secrets to the surface that threaten to overwhelm her as she learns to wield her new powers.  

Losing her mother at a young age Zara was raised by her guardian Aaron. As the leader of the Protectors of the Trinity, Aaron had sworn an oath to protect her. He regretted his role in the secrets he kept, but knew it was necessary for the prophecy. 

Being hunted by Dimitri, an assassin she never expected to have feelings for leads Zara down an unexpected path. Holding the fate of Humanity in her hands will she be strong enough to withstand the tests ahead?

Helen: The Trinity Ring is your debut novel. What made you put pen to paper and write a book?

Cindy: I have worked in hospice over 15 years and about 6 or 7 years ago I decided to start journaling as an outlet. I kept feeling that I just needed to write, but I never thought I would actually write a book…I began writing about life, but gradually it changed to this story… over the years and after many edits it has evolved to The Trinity Ring. 

Helen: Congratulations on completing your book. Writing can certainly be an escape from the daily pressures. You have a unique cover. How did you come up with the deisgn?

Cindy: For my cover I reached out to a local University of Tennessee art student. She read my book and then did an original painting of Zara Trinity.  Bri Mckamey photographed her painting and created my book cover. She is still in art school at UT and this is her first book cover she has done. 

Helen: How wonderful. Original art makes your book even more special. It is a lovely picture. Which character did you enjoy writing the most?

Cindy: Great question! I actually think I may have enjoyed writing about Dimitri the most. I think there is so much that he goes through that really connects all humanity. Grief, faith, self doubt these things know no boundaries. Both Dimitri and Zara go through a lot of change and self growth throughout this story and I think many people may be able to relate to some of it. 

Helen: I saw from your bio that you work full time, and you are working on a second novel which is great news! How do you fit writing into your life?

Cindy: This is tough sometimes. I often write early in the mornings before the rest of the house begins to wake.  Usually it is on the weekends and I love to sit on the back porch when writing. 

I am a hospice social worker, I began with journaling…I never set out to write a book…let alone publish one… but it was my niece and daughter who one day looked at me asking why I wasn’t going to publish. As I looked at them I realized I had written about a strong female character battling self doubt and trying to be brave. How could I not show the women in my family the same courage. So for them, and myself, I decided to take the leap and publish. I wanted to show my daughter and niece that through our fears we can show our greatest strength. 

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Helen: How do you come up with the ideas for your books?

Cindy: This is the first book I have written and in this process the words just flowed. If felt like this story just came to life and needed to come out.  The final printed book has many changes from my first draft, but getting that first draft out seemed to have a mind of its own as if poured out of me. Many parts of this book came from my own personal feelings and experiences having lost my mother at a young age as well. 

Helen: I think what we experience in life must come though in our writing, you of course inherently write what you know, but it also colours other aspects as well. A long time ago I did a degree in Politics and International Relations, and I have a feeling that may influnce my world building! We just spice it up with a LOT more action and adventure! Thank you so much for chatting with me today. As a debut author just completing a book, what advice would you give to aspiring writers.

Cindy: I would tell new writers to just keep writing. Someone out there needs to read what you have written. Self-doubt creeps in, but just remember that your story will likely touch someone else out there in a time and place that they need to hear it. We are writing for a reason…whether it is to positively impact someone else’s life or to allow someone a way to escape the day-to-day routine.

About the Author:

Currently living in East Tennessee, I love being surrounded by the mountains and being in nature in general. After growing up in Ohio, I moved to Tennessee to play soccer in college. With my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work I have been working in hospice these past fifteen years. As an outlet for self care, many years ago I decided to start writing. Journaling a few minutes each day gradually turned in to so much more. I never planned on publishing a book and likely may not have taken that step if not for the encouragement from my family and friends! Keep shining your light everyone!

You can find more about Cindy via:

Instagram

Goodreads

You can order’s Cindy’s novel from Amazon and find it on Kindle Unlimited:

The Trinity Ring

UK: eBook | Paperback

USA: eBook | Paperback

As an Amazon Associate I may earn commission from purchases made using these links.

Book Review Alert: Sojin by Cully Mack

Reviewed: July 12th, 2021
Released: June 26th, 2020
Genre: YA Fantasy

Sojin is a free prequel novel from Cully Mack, set in the world of her A Voice that Thunders series.

Some dreams dig deep into the soul and never let go.

Before the gods, before the war, there lived a freckled-face little mugger called Sojin. He dreamed of growing into manhood, finding a wife and settling down. But that was before…

On the run, hiding from gods, giants and chimeric beasts, Sojin meets a new foe. Lestas, a brigand who demands Sojin pay his dues and join his band of runners. As Sojin strives to stay alive, he refuses to abandon a new dream. To kill the god who murdered his mother. Read More…

Author Interview – Emily Michel

Author of Memory of Wings

I am joined today by author Emily Michel who releases her fantasy novel Memory of Wings on August 3rd! Links to the pre-order are at the end of this post. Welcome Emily. Congratulations on the forthcoming release of your book. Please tell us a little about your novel.

Emily: A Memory of Wings (coming August 2021) is an enemies-to-lovers paranormal romance. Shax tries to escape his past as Lucifer’s best assassin after the Gates to Heaven and Hell explode, casting down to Earth all of the angels and demons caught in the blast. But then he runs into the one that got away, Guardian Angel Kheone. After rescuing her from the falling body of her friend, he finds himself searching for the killer. Shax questions his nature as a demon and faces a choice between love and saving his own skin.

Helen: What an exciting premise, it definitely sounds like a novel I would pick up. What made you begin writing?

Emily: I began writing stories in elementary school but had the joy of writing stripped from me by all the essays in high school and college. When my husband deployed in 2012, I used creative writing as a way of acknowledging and processing my feelings. It took seven more years, but I turned that story into three novels, which I self-published.

Helen: Congratulations on finding the joy of writing. I agree with you that writing is a cathartic experience. The fact that we also create amazing books is a bonus we get to share with other readers. Your preferred genre is paranormal fantasy isn’t it?

Emily: I’ve mostly written paranormal romance (five books out of seven drafted), probably because I was heavily inspired by Anne Rice, Laurell K Hamilton, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I find it fun to create these hidden worlds. I’ve also drafted a contemporary romance that I’m considering changing into a paranormal and a fantasy romance.

Helen: Seven books drafted and five of them published is an amazing feat. Did you plan the whole series or did it just sort of happen?

Emily: Oh, I’m definitely a pantser, though I have learned the wondrous utility of the Beat Sheet. I pantsed my way through my first five books then discovered Save the Cat! It helped me revise books 4 & 5 — a contemporary romance that I couldn’t fix at that time and what became A Memory of Wings. I approached my next two books (a fantasy romance and the sequel to AMOW) with beat sheets in hand, and the drafting was much easier. It’s like having a road map with the important stops marked on it, but how I choose to get to those stops is still very much freeform.

Helen: Save the cat! is an amazing book, for those writers out there, you can find the links on my recommended writing tools page. Tel us a little bit about how you write. Do you like music or silence?

Emily: I love listening to music as I write. I have multiple playlists depending on what I’m writing that day. There’s usually one overall playlist for each series, sometimes a secondary playlist for a specific book. I also have mood music: music for fight scenes, love scenes, sad scenes, sex scenes, etc. Then when it’s time to edit, I choose instrumental music. Sometimes classical, sometimes more “new age”. My playlist for A Memory of Wings features a lot of music from the TV show Lucifer and music by Klergy. 

Photo by Duncan Sanchez on Unsplash

Helen: It’s been great finding out about your novel, thank you for joining me. Congratulations again on the forthcoming release of Memory of Wings. Just to close us out, can you tell us what advice you would give other authors?

Emily: Keep writing and keep learning. Writing is a skill, and as with all skills, you can learn to do it better. The more you practice, the better you will get. Set aside regular time to write, not necessarily everyday if that stresses you out, but frequently and guard that time. Read inside and outside your genre. The more you read, the more you see how other authors put together stories, both the good and the bad. I’ve used some favorite books to help me determine how to structure a story. The structure behind Devil’s Claw & Moonstone, my second book, was based on an amalgamation of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Voyager (Outlander 3). 

About the Author:

Emily Michel spent most of her life as a military family member. She has called many places home, including Germany, Belgium, and Kansas. After nearly twenty years traipsing around Europe and the US, she settled back in her home state of Arizona a few years ago with her husband and kids. 
 
When not writing, Emily reads, walks, hikes, and pets her feline overlords. Emily is the current President of Saguaro Romance Writers, a chapter of Romance Writers of America. She also volunteers for the PTA, but do not accuse her of being a PTA Mom. She’s cooler than that. Maybe. 
 
In 2019, she self-published her Magic & Monsters trilogy, a steamy witchy romance, and is currently working on a new angel/demon romance set in Kansas City. Please buy them. Her two teenage boys eat a lot of food.

You can find more about Emily via:

Author Website 

Instagram

Twitter

Facebook

You can pre-order Emily’s novel from Amazon:

Memory of Wings

UK: eBook

USA: eBook

Canada: eBook

As an Amazon Associate I may earn commission from purchases made using these links.

Book Review Alert: The Crow King by M.H. Woodscourt

Reviewed: July 5th, 2021
Released: August 20th, 2020
Genre: YA Epic Fantasy

The Crow King has outlawed magic. Despite the kingdom’s edict, Gwyn plunges into the ancient and deadly True Wood to find a magical cure for his dying brother. Within the shadowed realm, he must fend off more than violent and fallen fae-like Ilidreth when he learns the king is out to stop him at whatever cost.

What a wonderful story. Woodscourt has created a rich and magical world, full of well developed characters and quirky magical creatures. She had me at Unicorn, especially a shiny one. Anything that glitters and I’m there! Maybe I was a magpie in another life. Read More…

Book Review Alert: UpSpark by Nicole Wells

Reviewed: July 4th,, 2021
Released: June 20th, 2021
Genre: Science Fantasy Romance

Can they find themselves and each other before time runs out?

Enya’s dreams of making a difference in the world are devastated the summer after high school when she finds out she has a fatal disease.

A cross country road trip to Native American reservations helps her find meaning. But Jacob, her best friend and traveling companion, has longed for them to become something more.

Their expedition is just the start of an amazing love and spiritual journey, but a one-in-a-million phenomenon changes everything.

“I get the feeling like I’m reading Fault In Our Stars Part 2.”

 Read More…