Author Interview – Devin Sloane

Author of the Bridgewater Novels

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.

I need to listen to music while I write otherwise I am much too distracted. Because my books are inspired by music, I make playlists for each book and listen only to that playlist while I write. Once my book is released, I make my playlist public on Spotify. https://open.spotify.com/playlist/3DbvjtMQNcabflTy8alNwD?si=830d0c328d0a4cb7

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.

You can find more about Devin via:

Instagram

Website

Facebook

Goodreads

Bookbub

Pinterest

You can purchase Devin’s novel from Amazon:

Feel Again

UK: eBook | Paperback

USA: eBook | Paperback

Canada

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

Author Interview – Astrid V.J.

Author of the Word Mage Tales

Join me as chat to USA Today Bestselling author Astrid VJ about her fantasy novels The StoryTeller’s Apprentice and the associated Wordmage Tales set in the same world. The Companion’s Tale was released on July 9th, 2021. I am fortunate to have read both The Companion’s Tale and Astrid’s Apprentice Storyteller. I highly recommend both and you can find my book reviews here. Astrid welcome! Please tell us about your Wordmage’s tales series.

Astrid: I’ve just released The Companion’s Tale, which is the first book in The Wordmage’s Tales series. It happens to be the third one I’ve published in this series because things got a little too tight with my pre-order dates on the other books, while this one being a permafree offering didn’t have a pre-order and could wait. Thankfully, each of the tales in this series is a stand-alone, so I didn’t have to worry too much about publishing the books out of order.

The Companion’s Tale combines my love of fairytales, and my desire to have tales that reflect our modern sensibilities, with my passion for transformation. This tale grew out of a dream and I realised during my certification training that this, and the other tales in the series, was connected to a specific principle of transformation. The principle in question happens to be the potential we all have for finding our purpose and achieving what might appear to be impossible, if only we give possibility and opportunity a chance.

This tale is connected to my novel The Apprentice Storyteller, as The Companion’s Tale is one of the stories the apprentice learns from master storyteller, Viola Alerion. What I loved about writing this story is how it can simply be read and enjoyed on it’s own, while at the same time it also expands on the worldbuilding in The Apprentice Storyteller, and forms as part of the history of that novel. It’s been fun to expand on the greater universe I’ve created, while still keeping everything bite-sized for my readers.

Helen: I love the way you are gradually building up your world by telling a tale within a tale. You also have a theme behind your covers, don’t you?

Astrid: The Wordmage’s Tales emblem, a “W” with an Asian dragon and a lyre is the symbol I’ve created for my character Jo from The Apprentice Storyteller. In essence, he IS the wordmage, for there is only one. The dragon symbolises his ability to tap into the greater cosmic forces and wield powers far beyond what is common for magicians in this universe. The lyre represents the wordmage’s talents as a bard, for he is not simply a storyteller, but weaves magic and tale together, creating something entirely new and utterly powerful.

The first four stories of The Wordmage’s Tales have a green cover because they symbolize growth. They are the tales connected to the first four principles of transformation that have also been labelled “the blueprinting stage”. Essentially, these are the tales that represent the seed for success and simply engage with our potential for achieving anything we set our minds to.

The subsequent three stories of The Wordmage’s Tales have a blue cover because they symbolize the power and potential all of us have to bridge the gap between where we find ourselves and where we long to be, most simply represented in the transition from earth to sky (hence the blue). When placed beside one another, the green of the first four stories (representing earth) become the blue of the second set of stories (representing the sky).

Which brings us to the final set of stories, as yet unwritten, but certainly envisioned. These three tales will have red covers. The red symbolizing the inner fire of every individual who tempers their nature and transforms themselves into the best possible version they can become. Red is also representative of the heart, lifesblood; but at the same time is the colour of the grounding chakra at the base of the spine. The stories with the red cover are the tales dealing with the principles that allow transformation to flourish.

Helen: Thank you for sharing the story behind your covers. It adds to the reading experience to understand how the cover enhances or compliments the story. I am sure you have put as much thought behind your titles.

Astrid: My titles come to me in different ways. The Companion’s Tale came to me quite easily, since this is a story about the companion to a princess. Each of The Wordmage’s Tales originated in a dream and the titles are closely linked to the experience of waking up and remembering every detail of the dream as if I’d personally lived it.

However, I would like to take this opportunity to discuss the titles in the accompanying series, the Wishmaster series. The first book in this trilogy is The Apprentice Storyteller, and this one took me quite some time to come up with. The original spark for a story about a wandering fabler and her apprentice came to me through one of my favourite songs by the Finnish band, Nightwish. One of the lines in the song is as follows: The apprentice becoming… master!

I wanted to honour that seed of my original idea by referring back to the song through the titles of the books in this series, which are as follows:

Book 1: The Apprentice Storyteller

Book 2: Becoming Spellwright

Book 3: Master Wordmage

I’ve even gotten my cover designer to use different fonts in the first and second parts of the titles so that this continuity and the reference to the song remain clear, even if I’m the only one who notices.

Helen: What made you write these books as a series of tales?

Astrid: The Wordmage’s Tales were originally envisioned as forming a part of The Apprentice Storyteller as nested short stories, much like 1001 Arabian Nights. However, when I realised that each of the shorter tales was actually connected to a principle of human transformation, I understood that I would have to take a different approach to the one originally envisioned. The Apprentice Storyteller would have become a Lord of the Rings-style megalith and that wasn’t what I was going for. This is why I decided to separate the two series, having the novels dedicated to the journey of the apprentice as the Wishmaster series, while expanding each of the tales into a novella that could be a stand-alone within The Wordmage’s Tales series.

Helen: You typically write fantasy novels. Is Fantasy the only genre you write?

Astrid: I’ve always written fantasy because that simply has been the most natural for me. My fascination with magic has a long history and I started writing in this genre and never really stopped. That said, I do write in a wide variety of subgenres. I have fairytale retellings that have a whimsical feel to them and are heavily influenced by the styles of Austen and Guy Gavriel Kay. I have young adult fantasy, particularly portal and academy fantasy stories that are more heavily influenced by Nordic lore of the “little folk”. And then there’s the Wishmaster series, which is a combination of fantasy and space opera, blending my love of magic and technology into something wholly different. Finally, The Wordmage’s Tales have a strongly historical feel to them and are not strictly speaking fantasy. Many of these tales don’t actually feature any magic, but as they are set in my universe for The Apprentice Storyteller, where magic does exist, and since all my other works are classified as fantasy, it seemed easiest to consider these tales “historical fantasy”.

Helen: What made you first start writing?

Astrid: I had an idea and it wouldn’t let me go. From there, a ripple effect happened and hundreds of ideas have found expression in my head and want to break free into the realm of my writings.

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

Astrid: They tend to come to me spontaneously or through dreams. Sometimes I’ll read a book and it will get me thinking on a “what if” questions, which will evolve into a book idea.

Helen: What are you curently working on?

Astrid: I’m currently working on two books. I’m writing Warring Lions, the next tale in The Wordmage’s Tales series. This story is all dedicated to the transformational principle of overcoming fear and reaching for a better future even if that is terrifying. It’s also my first LGBTQ+ romance.

I’m also working through self-editing Naiya’s Wish, my next novel. I’m due to submit it to my editor in a few weeks, which is really exciting. This is my third retelling of a lesser-known fairytale. This story has been so much fun to work with. The fairytale, The Nixie of the Mill-pond is so very beautiful and empowering, but as I’ve been writing, we’ve met some characters who will have their own fairytales too. I’m so inspired to keep writing! Absolutely loving where the fairytales are taking me.

Additionally, Naiya’s Wish has turned into my exploration of the condition of women over time. I’ve drawn on anecdotes from women in my and my husband’s families and woven them into this story. In recent times I’ve noticed how ahistorical our perspectives often are. We seem to struggle to put into perspective what life was like in times past. I’ve explored some of the questions I often ask myself about the lives of women in the past, particularly over time. For this reason, my three main characters for this story are at different points in their lives. Amina is an adolescent and has a beautiful and powerful story. Balancing her are Naiya and Hilda who are older characters and together illustrate other aspects of the female experience, aspects which are so often ignored in stories for younger readers. This is something I, for one, want to rectify.

Helen: Thank you so much for spending time with me today. It has been great finding out more about your books, and the meaning behind your covers and titles. Just to close us out, tell us something random about yourself.

Astrid: I love to cross-stitch. My particular specialisation is creating patterns of my favourite anime characters. A few years ago, I made one of my husband’s favourite anime character from when he was a child, and his friends all thought it was so cool they commissioned me to make them each one with their own favourite character. It was a fun project. Recently I haven’t gotten to do as much cross stitching, firstly because it’s a little hazardous trying to do that with young children who can’t sit still and constantly need to poke at what mom is doing. Another reason is I’ve been putting a lot more time into my writing, which has affected the time I have for cross-stitching.

About the Author:


I am a USA Today Bestselling and Literary Classics award-winning author, social anthropologist, and transformational life coach. I grew up in South Africa and currently live in Gothenburg, Sweden (after having lived in many exciting and interesting places). I live with my husband and our two children.

My South African-German heritage and the experiences of living and integrating into other societies have given me a great deal to think about and process. The training in anthropology has given me the tools to think beyond simple stereotypes and ideological explanations of social interaction while the understanding I have of human potential underlying my certification as a transformational life coach allows me to see what is possible and to appreciate the human capacity to achieve success in the face of adversity.

My parents instilled in me a love for books, and the natural world that we inhabit. This love has led to a deep appreciation of the written word and the desire to contribute as much as I can towards improving the state of the world. I would like to use my expertise and passion for cultures to help us move forward.

You can find more about Astrid via:

Instagram

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Subscribe to Astrid’s newsletter

You can purchase Astrid’s novel from Amazon:

The Companion’s Tale

Amazon UK: eBook

Amazon US: eBook

The Apprentice Storyteller

Amazon US: eBook | Paperback

Amazon UK: eBook | Paperback

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

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.

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.

Author Interview – Katharine Ann Melton

Author of Behind The Mirage

Fantasy author Katharine Ann Melton released her debut urban fantasy novel Behind The Mirage on October 12th, 2020, (the day after I released my first novel. Almost book twins! )Welcome Katharine, thank you for joining me to talk about your debut novel. Tell us about Behind The Mirage.

Katherine: My book is Urban Fantasy.  It is about an assassin that is given the most important job of her life: enter modern day Greece and assassinate Zeus to stop him from destroying mankind.  If that isn’t hard enough, she has to juggle an unwanted proposal from Oberon her king, the threat of war and the realization that Zeus was responsible for the death of her parents.  When she crosses into the human realm, she realizes that she isn’t the only one hunting Zeus.  She is quickly confronted with uneasy alliances, vengeful gods, unsolved murders and the occasional malevolent portal to another world. 

Helen: How did you come up with the name of your book?

Katharine: The title of my book ‘Behind the Mirage’ started out as a different name.  I started writing the book over 20 years ago and it went through so many changes.  Character names, traits, locations.  The original title is closely related to the final title, but I just didn’t like the original.  To me, it felt like I didn’t put to much thought into it.

Helen: I love the cover, how did you come up with the design?

Katharine: Since the book’s location is Greece, I wanted to make sure it was presented in the cover so the reader will be automatically transported there.  I wanted my main character on the cover, but I didn’t want her face to be shown because I want readers to create her features in their mind.  The cover turned out better then I had ever imagined.  I believe it really showcases what the book is about.

Helen: It truly is a lovely cover. What made you choose to write this novel?

Katharine: Writing has been a part of my life since I was very young.  I am not really sure what made me start, I just had so many stories to tell in my head that I needed to get them on paper.  I would start out by writing scenes, maybe write a sentence or two about just different things.  My mom has kept everything I have ever written since I could write.  It all started as a hobby, never thinking I would actually write a book.  I used to write screenplays, and then I wanted to turn one of them into a novel and that’s how the book started out.

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

Katharine: I of course enjoyed writing my main character because I wanted a strong female lead that knew how to handle herself in different situations.  A personality that the readers could relate to.  I also enjoyed writing Hades; God of the Underworld.  He is very sarcastic, he only helps when it benefits him, self-assured, blunt.  I enjoyed writing his personality. 

Photo by David Ramírez on Unsplash

Helen: The Greek gods and myths are a great source of ideas and characters, how else do you find ideas to write about?

Katharine: This varies.  I have gotten ideas by just looking at an object and developing a story around it.  I have ideas from reading other books too, and even tv shows. 

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

Katharine: I do.  It is a mix from pop, to old school hip hop, to classic rock.  Sometimes I will listen to a song while I am writing a scene because it helps me to visualize the scene better.  There are most times that I write with the tv on too.

Helen: Thank you for chatting with me today, it’s been great learning about your novel. If you didn’t write urban fantasy what genre would like to try and write?

Katharine: If I didn’t write Urban Fantasy, I would like to try writing horror or sci-fi.  I have started working on other projects because I never run out of ideas for stories.  One story is horror/sci-fi that I write when I have writers block in my current project.  I also would like to write a thriller novel.  I believe you can write whatever genre you want; don’t limit yourself to one.

About the Author:

I grew up in Northern California and moved to the Washington DC metro area about 13 years ago. When I am not searching for new locations for my books, I am spending time with my friends and family. My book Behind the Mirage is the first book in a new series.

You can find more about Katharine via:

Twitter

Instagram

Facebook 

Website

Goodreads

You can purchase Katharine’s novel from Amazon:

Behind The Mirage

UK: eBook | Paperback

USA: eBook | Paperback

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

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.

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.

Author Interview – Katherine D. Graham

The Vow that Twisted Fate

Today I am talking to author Katherine D. Graham who releases her fantasy novel The Vow that Twisted Fate on July 9th. Links to the pre-order are at the end of this post. Welcome Katherine. Congratulations on the forthcoming release of your book. I am so excited to be talking about your book as I have been reading an ARC. A Book Review will follow soon! Please tell us a little about your novel.

Katherine: The Vow That Twisted Fate follows young Queen Arlena as she seeks to defend her world from an evil Sorceress’ pending invasion. After evil was banished 500 years before the story takes place, the world became innocent and pure. A portal opens in the sky in this story, revealing the banished evil sorceress Maedra in a parallel evil dimension. Arlena must call a legendary company of Dwarven warriors forward in time to help her face the enemy they previously faced to kill, but can Arlena defeat evil without becoming evil herself?

Helen: This sounds amazing, I am thoroughly enjoying what I have read so far. Arlena certainly has her hands full, not only with other royals belittling her ability to rule, but also also with that reluctant love interest! With so many ideas within the story, how did you decide on the cover design?

Katherine: I am very fortunate in that Jesh Art Studio, who designs most of my main covers, is gifted at listening to me talk about what I love about my book and comes up with the actual concepts for me. With The Vow That Twisted Fate I knew I wanted to reflect the parallel dimensions and heroine/villain on the front, and Jesh’s team brought it together beautifully.

Helen: How did you come up with the title for the book?

Katherine: I actually first had the idea for this book in a dream, and a line I remember vividly from the dream was a line that turned into the title “The Vow That Twisted Fate”. It is the vow that the ancient Dwarven company made with Arlena’s ancestor that allows them to travel through time to help Arlena change the fate of her world.

Helen: I believe Epic Fantasy is not the only genre you write in.

Katherine: I write a few different genres within fantasy. High/Epic Fantasy is my primary genre, but I also write some Paranormal Fantasy, Dark Fantasy, and Court Intrigue

Helen: How did you first start writing? What inspired you to write fantasy novels?

Katherine: I have been writing since I was a child (with crayons and construction paper). Words and stories just seem to spill out of me (telling or writing), whether I want them to or now. While I’ve written my entire life, my husband Jikyo is truly the person who inspired me to pursue my dream of becoming an author. When I received my developmental edit back for The Vow That Twisted Fate a few years ago I was so overwhelmed and devastated by the level of work it needed, that I put it down and didn’t write again for a few years. If Jikyo hadn’t convinced me that it was worth pursuing again, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Also my sister Fu, who is my ongoing muse. She keeps me on track and is my sounding board for new ideas.

Helen: Tell us a little about your writing process. I believe you have to squeeze your writing in around your busy life!

Katherine: As a working mom, I typically write in spurts. I will write a piece every free second (during naps, lunch breaks, midnight hours once everyone else is a sleep) until it’s finished, and then take a few weeks off to recover before launching into another piece. NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in November is my primary writing month, where everyone who knows me knows I’ll be doing some serious out-of-the-house writing, typically at a 24-hour breakfast restaurant.

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

Helen: It is so wonderful being able to return to cafes to write. Just the aroma of coffee starts the mental juices working. Being so busy do you have to plan your stories?

Katherine: I am 100% a pantser. I capture an idea, and then draft out the story (typically by hand the first time on paper). After that, I go backwards and  ‘plot’ my story against “The Hero’s Journey” to make sure I didn’t skip any key pieces (and fill-out the story if I did).

Helen: It always amazes me how we Indie Authors fit writing into our lives. I think that is the beauty of writing, you just have to put pen to paper, or finger tips to keyboards because the story must be told! Which type of character do you prefer to write?

Katherine: This is a really tough question! It honestly depends on the story. While I love the complexity of challenge of writing a well-rounded villain who can make readers question which side they should be on, I also enjoy writing heroes.

Helen: Who is your favourite character to write?

Katherine: Honestly, I don’t know if I can pick a single one. Each one represents such a unique part of the world. The most fun to write, though, was a side-character from the company of Dwarven warriors named Geor. He is a lively, witty addition to a serious good vs evil book, and I never knew what to expect from him until it was happening.

Helen: Love it! What environment gets you in the mood for writing? Your chosen playlist or silence?

Katherine: I typically write to whatever is in the background (kid’s TV, for example), but I do listen to music when I’m alone. I usually make writing playlists with a variety of music types to fit the different characters and scenes and just play through that. I have everything from German Folk music and JRock (Japanese rock) to Dubstep and Gregorian chants on my playlist.

Helen: Quite a mixture! Is there a new project in the works? What are you currently writing?

Katherine: I am currently writing the first book in a duology called Starfire Express; a portal adventure fantasy about a young woman who boards the wrong train on holiday and finds herself on a train full of magical and mystical creatures taking a tour through other dimensions. She finds herself in the centre of a Fae rebellion against Dragon overlords.

Helen: Wow! You have a great imagination. How do you come up with the ideas for your novels?

Katherine: Many of my stories start as dreams. Lately, though, many of my stories have been rapidly-expanding from existing ones (side characters who deserve their own book, for example).

Helen: Which do you prefer, writing or editing?

Katherine: Definitely writing. Maybe it’s because I’ve been an editor for so long, but I know that the editing journey could go on forever (if we didn’t draw a line in the sand somewhere), and the pantser in me loathes the waiting and revising and waiting again. In the end, though, it’s nice to see all the pieces fall together, and my editors are AMAZING!

Helen: Where do you prefer to write? Do you have a writing space where you are most prolific?

Katherine: I love writing in nature, but real life is more practical. I often find myself writing in my recliner. Sometimes, when I have time away, I find myself writing with my sister Fu over a pancake dinner at a restaurant (pre-pandemic) or in the car at a taco drive-thru restaurant (currently).

Helen: Most writers are great readers. What have you recently read?

Katherine: There are so many good books out this year! I am reading Heavy is the Head by Katrina N. Lewis. Luna Reyes and the Emperor of Light (middle-grade fantasy) by Daniel Pagan Murphy, StarDust (science fantasy) by Nicole Wells, and Argent Blade (dark epic fantasy) by Luke Courtney are some of my recent reads that have been truly phenomenal.

Helen: I agree. There are some amazing books being released. My ‘to be read’ pile is growing. Who are your favourite authors?

Katherine: J.R.R. Tolkien and Amelia Atwater-Rhodes are my favourite traditionally-published authors. Nicole Wells, Luke Courtney, and Andrei Saygo are some of my favorite indie authors.

The Fellowship of the Rings from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings series is my favourite traditionally-published book. I try to read it annually. The comradery, adventure, rich world-building, and intense plot never ceases to amaze me. I always find something new about it with each re-read.

Helen: Thank you for joining me today, it has been great talking about your new novel. Congratulations again on the forthcoming release of A Vow that Twisted Fate. Just to close us out, can you tell us what advice you would give other authors?

Katherine: Be open to improvement/change, and don’t take genuine constructive criticism personally. Writing is an art; the quality improves with each book you write.

Thank you so much for the interview, Helen! You are an amazing author yourself. It is the support of the amazing indie author community and our wonderful readers that has made my writing journey one well worth taking, and I cannot express my gratitude enough.

About the Author:

Katherine D. Graham is a fantasy author, developmental editor, and Top-10 Reedsy Reviewer from Tennessee in the USA.

Her debut Epic Fantasy novel, The Vow That Twisted Fate (July 2021), is a 5-star Indie Reader Approved novel and one of five fantasy finalists in the 2021 Next Generation Indie Book Awards.

She is also the author of the Splitting Worlds series, with novellas Splitting Dusk (December 2019-email subscriber exclusive), Down Falls The Queen (June 2021) already published and the novella Down Falls the King (December 2021) available for pre-order now.

Katherine is happily married to her high-school sweetheart and Hero. They have two sons and three adorable fur-daughters.

Katherine love reading, writing, swimming, traveling, grilling out, and playing video games. Japan is her happy place.

You can find more about Katherine via:

Author Website 

Instagram

Twitter

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

The Vow that Twisted Fate

UK: eBook | Paperback

USA: eBook | Paperback

Canada: eBook | Paperback

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

Author Interview – Heather Pruitt

Author of The Anelthalien series

Today, I am talking to fantasy author, Heather Pruitt, author of the Anelthalien series. I am excited to announce that her second book launches today! Congratulations Heather, and welcome! Please tell us a little about your series

Heather: Earth Quaking is the second book in my fantasy series AnelthalienEarth Quaking continues the story of four teens who were brought to the land of Anelthalien by mysterious necklaces. The first book, Anelthalien, sets up the story, and Earth Quaking really dives into the action. The four main characters start encountering their enemies, struggling with this strange land, and begin to question if they can trust one another. The theme of Earth Quaking is trust: who can you trust, what can you trust, and how do you know who or what is trustworthy?

Helen: Congratulations on the release of your second novel; you must be so excited. Tell us why the book is called Earth Quaking.

Heather: The title Earth Quaking contains so much meaning that echoes through the layers of the story and characters. The four necklaces that take the four main characters to Anelthalien are each connected to an element and an elemental spirit. In Earth Quaking the earth necklace, element, elemental spirit, and the character wearing that necklace are all brought to the forefront of the story. Each of those also deal with some kind of problem that causes them to “quake” in some way. That “shaken” theme overflows into all the other characters as well. Their relationships are splintered; some are broken, but some are only temporarily shaken.

Helen: Sounds very deep! It sounds like each character will have a lot to overcome. You write fantasy, but your deep christian beliefs play a part as well so don’t they?

Heather: I love writing fantasy because it helps me step outside of myself, eagerly and easily learn lessons, and then step back into reality and recognize how much I need those lessons. With fantasy I can go battle an evil queen but then return and apply the courage I learned. I can sit and listen to the wise mentor but then return and recognize that his lessons helped me in my relationships. Christian fantasy takes it deeper–it teaches me to open my eyes to who God really is and reminds me God really can do anything.

Helen: I am sure your readers would like to know if you have more books in the pipeline. What are you currently working on?

Heather: My current WIP is the fifth book in the Anelthalien series. Like Earth Quaking, it focuses on one element and the characters tied to it. The book is packed with action and secrets that start unraveling. It dives so deep into hard questions and paralyzing emotions. I love writing it so much even though it has made me cry and worry about my characters more than any other book so far.

Helen: This is probably one of the most difficult questions an author faces, but who is your favourite character from your series?

Heather: I have two favorite characters in Anelthalien for two very different reasons. Kindle, the main character whose perspective the story is from, is very dear to me because she is so much like me and I learn about myself from her. Tad is my other favorite character because he shows how so many of us are defined by what others think and say about us and also that those conceptions are absolutely not who God made us to be. His character shows that God has placed deep in each of us a specific purpose. Tad starts out feeling so worthless, but his journey through Anelthalien gradually instills in him a sense of purpose. His growth is very encouraging. 

Helen: Just to finish with, who do you prefer to write? Heroes or villains?

Heather: I enjoy writing heroes and villains because in Anelthalien the heroes and villains are like two sides of one person. Certain heroes and villains share personalities, and the more I write, the more I realize that being a hero or villain has less to do with the personality type and more to do with the choices each character makes. I like writing both because it shows me that we are all one choice away from being a hero or a villain.

Helen: Thank you so much for joining me today; I’ve enjoyed chatting with you. I wish you every success with your new novel Earth Quaking, and look forward to the next.

About the Author:

H.A. Pruitt is the Christian fantasy author of Anelthalien, and lives with a rowdy herd of guinea pigs and a sarcastic husband. H.A. Pruitt never intended to be an author and would have been happy to keep her vast imagination to herself, but God decided she would be perfect to write and illustrate the story of Anelthalien that he has given her. Now her mission in all she writes and does is to listen to, obey, and glorify God.

You can find more about Heather via:

Author Website 

Instagram

Facebook

Youtube

You can purchase Heather’s novel from Amazon:

Anelthalien:

UK: eBook | Paperback | Hardback

USA: eBook | Paperback | Hardback

Canada: eBook | Paperback | Hardback

Author Interview – David Hopkins

Author of The Dryad’s Crown series

Join me as I chat to David Hopkins, author of the Dryad’s Crown series of novellas as he releases the third installment. You can find A Red Moon over Rhyll on pre-order on Amazon. Welcome David! Please tell us a little about the Dryad’s Crown series.

David: The Dryad’s Crown is a high fantasy series. It has dragons and fey and goblins and dark gloomy forests and all the things we love about fantasy. But ultimately, The Dryad’s Crown is about Silbrey, a person who deals with her traumatic past, the loss of her husband, her relationship with her children, and her strange connection to nature. It’s a big story. There’s a lot to explore. The series will consist of ten novellas. The third book, A Red Moon Over Rhyll will be available on Tuesday, June 29th through Amazon Kindle and Kindle Unlimited. It’s available for pre-order right now. (See links at end of interview).

Helen: Ten novellas is an enormous undertaking, congratulations on the release of the third installment. Your covers are very delicate and nature orientated, tell us how you chose the design.

David: I’m fortunate that my wife April is a graphic designer. She’s designed the covers with licensed art by Julia Dreams on Creative Market. Since we’re on a schedule to release these novellas every three months, we needed something that looks good, which can be put together on a deadline and works as a series. The covers don’t give away anything plot wise. Instead, they establish an earthy aesthetic—and could also look like a collection of fairy tales. Each cover features small touches that distinguish them and have meaning within the story. For A Red Moon Over Rhyll, the bees are significant. I wanted the covers to have an original appearance and be easily identified. April did that very well.  Also, I didn’t want the exterior cover art to compete with the interior illustrations of Daniel Decena, which are absolutely stunning. Daniel has his own style, so the covers needed to not go off in a different direction.

Helen: The covers are beautiful. You have set yourself quite a goal to release a novella every three months. What made you write this story?

David: I’ve been writing fiction for the better part of two decades, but I’ve never told a story with such an epic scope, not like this. For me, that’s part of the appeal of The Dryad’s Crown. By the end of it, you’ve witnessed Silbrey’s life. This massive character arc, a story of wonder and hope and beauty, an amazing heroic adventure. As the author, I’ll be with you to the very end—and we’ll experience it together.

Helen: Have you always written high Fantasy?

David: I’ve been all over the place as a writer. Visit my website (https://thatdavidhopkins.com), and you’ll see for yourself! For many years, I wrote comic books and graphic novels in a variety of genres. Every book was something different. Emily Edison was an all-ages superhero story. Karma Incorporated was a story about con artists. Astronaut Dad was the coming-of-age family drama and historical fiction. I was determined to prove how versatile the comic medium was. Shifting genres felt like, at times, a sacred mission and at other times, an indulgence. Beyond comics, I also worked as a journalist, writing magazine features. I co-wrote a memoir about a burlesque dancer from the 60s. My short story collection is a smattering of different genres. And my last novel was an apocalyptic satire. To any fans, I have to apologize. You enjoyed something I’ve written, and then I’m off in a completely different direction. It’s made me a much better writer, but it’s not a good way to “build your brand.”

I was at least a little consoled to see Neil Gaiman make a similar confession in the introduction to The Neil Gaiman Reader: Selected Fiction. He worked in comics, in journalism, and as a novelist. I’m no Neil Gaiman, but at least, we’ve both been guilty of similar crimes. 

For the foreseeable future, I write high fantasy. That’s my favorite genre to read and watch. It’s the one that comes most naturally to me. Going forward, I hope to stay on task—and build my reputation as a fantasy writer. I have plenty of stories to tell.

 

Helen: You must be writing at every moment! Do you prefer silence or music playing in the background.

David: For The Dryad’s Crown, I’ve been listening to a lot of Sam Lee (https://samleesong.co.uk/), especially his new album, Old Wow, which is just amazing. In particular, the song “The Moon Shines Bright” is the unofficial theme for the series. If I could license it for a book trailer or audiobook, I absolutely would. It is such a sad, tender, and wise song. The world offers no plans or promises. Our time is not long. Cherish it. The lyrics connect the cycles of plant life, particularly trees and flowers, with that of a person’s life—and in that way, it feels a bit dryadic without being too direct.

Helen: I must admit I have a playlist when I write as well. Though I’m often so deep in the story that I don’t realise it’s finished, so silence works for me too! Authors tend to read a lot, do you have a favourite book?

David: For an author who has had a difficult time settling on a single genre, Moby-Dick is a good choice. Yes? It straddles several genres and defies easy definitions. I discovered the novel late in life. When I first read Moby-Dick, I liked it and then I hated it and then I loved it. This peculiar novel does that to the reader. From time to time, the story just occupies my thoughts. It’s had an effect on me. I spent a lot of time just in awe of what Melville created, the world he built for his audience. It’s not a fantasy novel, and yet, it absolutely feels like one to me.

Helen: Thank you so much for spending time with me today. I wish you luck with the launch of third book on July 13th. Just to finish, do you have any book recommendations for our readers?

David: Anything by Ursula K. Le Guin. She’s always at the top of my recommendations. She’s definitely a writer for writers. Her style has a grace and brilliance—like Joan Didion, but not as showy. As far as books I’ve read recently, The Unbroken by C.L. Clark is the best novel I’ve read this year. It’s stunning. Powerful. Entertaining. Hugo worthy! I can’t say enough good things about it. Other books I’d recommend would be: A Master of Djinn by P. Djeli Clark, The Blacktongue Thief by Christopher Buehlman, Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner, and the Galaxy Run series by Sam Renner.

About the Author:


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David Hopkins writes a little bit of everything. His work includes the novel WEAR CHAINMAIL TO THE APOCALYPSE, the short story collection WE MISS ALL THE GREAT PARTIES, and the burlesque memoir THE WILD AND WAYWARD TALES OF TAMMI TRUE. David has been a regular contributor to D Magazine, Smart Pop Books, and Fanboy Radio. He has written op-eds for the Dallas Morning News and Chicago Tribune, comic books and graphic novels in a variety of genres, and even a few D&D adventures.

IndieReader described WEAR CHAINMAIL TO THE APOCALYPSE as “a black humor-filled romp through the end times that starts with a bang and doesn’t relent, mixing in moments of suspense and pathos.” Also, from the review: “Overflowing with personality and told in a distinctive voice, the book details a creatively imagined post-apocalyptic world one would want to spend more time in.”

You can find more about David via:

Author Website 

Instagram

You can purchase David’s series from Amazon:

Book One: A Slow Parade in Peneryn

UK: eBook

USA: eBook

Canada: eBook

Book Two: A Hidden Burrow Near Barcombe

UK: eBook

USA: eBook

Canada: eBook

Book Three: A Red Moon over Rhyll Pre-order (Launch 13th July 2021)

UK: eBook

USA: eBook

Canada: eBook