A Lover of Books

Archive for the tag “author interview”

Interview with Neal Doran


Tell me a bit about your new book.


Not What They Were Expecting is just out, and it’s the story of Rebecca and James, a young couple who have just found out they’re having a baby. The excitement of that gets derailed, though, when Rebecca’s dad Howard gets himself involved in a gay sex scandal, and asks her to lie for him, then James’s parents get involved in a media campaign supporting Howard. And then James loses his job, and things get really difficult… So life throws a lot at this couple all at once, and they have to battle through everything life is throwing them with a sense of humour intact.

Where do you like to write?

At our kitchen table. I get up an hour or two before the rest of the house does so I can write in peace and before there are many things happening on social networks to distract me. Also, at that time of day nobody else can see if I’m stealing all the biscuits.

What book project are you working on next?

Details are still a bit vague, but I’m hoping to write something funny with a big cast of characters all at different stages of life trying to work out if life is working out quite how they planned it. That’s not much to go on is it? I have a working title, but can’t even mention that yet for fear of jinxing it…

Describe a day in your life.

Crumbs. OK, here’s an average day, even though I was tempted to make out that I was actually an international jet setter.

First there’s the early start for my writing, then I wake up my wife with a cup of tea (this certainly helps increase the support for my writing in the house…), then we get the kids ready for school. I work from home in the morning, writing about the telecoms industry as a day job, then I head out to get the boys from school, help with homework, sort out dinner, clear up while Jo gets the kids get ready for bed, then collapse with a glass of wine or a beer. Or a martini if it’s been a particularly tough day…Bed, repeat.

I can only apologise if that’s sent all your readers to sleep.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

I wouldn’t say always, but probably from when I was a teenager. Getting up the nerve to say it was what I wanted to do, and to actually take the steps needed to do it, took a couple of decades more though. Those procrastination skills have stood me in good stead for the writing life.

It does seem crazy to me now that I couldn’t really admit to wanting to be a writer because I was scared I wouldn’t be good enough. I’m glad I finally realised the only way to find out was to really give it a go and try and do it, and also that I decided it didn’t matter if I wasn’t any good. So what if I wasn’t? Bad writing is not, as far as I know, a criminal offence…

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

Aside from writing that’d involve sleeping, reading, and catching up on the ever-growing pile of box sets. If I get a lot of time, a game of poker doesn’t go amiss…

What are you currently reading?

The Shining by Stephen King. It’s fantastic, but freaking me out on a page by page basis and I can only read it in little bursts or I get too traumatised.

If you were only allowed to keep one book which would it be?

I don’t suppose I could get around this by keeping a Kindle with everything I love sneakily stored on it could I? Failing that an impossibly large collection of PG Wodehouse, that should keep me happy and busy for a long time….



Not What They Were Expecting is available at Amazon and other e-book retailers. Buy it here: http://amzn.to/PsHM8H

My first novel, Dan Taylor Is Giving Up On Women is also available here: http://amzn.to/1pbcbpl

I’m also on Twitter: @nealdoran, and sometimes on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/nealdoranwriter


I would like to thank Neal Doran for taking the time to answer my questions.


Interview with Mariam Kobras


Mariam Kobras is a three-time Independent Publisher Award winning author living in Hamburg, Germany.  Mariam kindly took the time to answer some questions for me.


What sort of books do you write?

I write contemporary fiction / modern romance / literary fiction. My novels are a mix of these, I’m afraid. They are love stories, but they aren’t what you’d expect from a “romance”: there’s rarely a happily-ever-after, no sex, no stereotypes. My stories are about people and their lives; how they manage to survive in a confusing world; how they chase their dreams and get them–or not–and what they learn from all that.

So…basically you could say that I write about ordinary people and pretty universal problems: love, loss, careers, dreams, nightmares, happiness, and death.


What are you currently working on?

Currently I’m working on Book Two in the Sunset Bay Series, which is a new project that I started after waving goodbye to the characters in my Stone Series (The Distant Shore, Under the Same Sun, Song of the Storm, Waiting for a Song, The Rosewood Guitar, The Sound of Falling Snow.)

The Sunset Bay books are set in a small town on the west coast of Vancouver Island. The heroine of these stories is a young woman called Liese Winter, who inherits a piece of land just outside of town. Unwittingly, she gets caught up in a feud between the townspeople and the owners of a nearby resort. Problems escalate when Liese finds out that the resort owners are a bit more than just her next-door neighbours.

The Sunset Bay series will lean a bit toward mystery. Those dark forests and the wild coast make such a great setting for that!


Have your always wanted to be a writer?

Difficult question! Yes–no–yes–no. But ultimately, yes. Obviously.

I wanted to be a writer when I was a teenager, but that’s not unusual. Don’t all girls want to write at that age? I think so. So–yes. I wanted to be a writer.

When I got older, went to university, got married, had my children, I didn’t even think about writing, or wanting to be a writer. There were too many other things going on in my life. You know what I’m talking about, right? The day-to-day life is too exhausting and all-consuming to even consider anything as involved and draining as writing.

But then, when my younger son turned fifteen, something miraculous happened.

The urge to write returned! It hadn’t gone away, it had only been dormant. and now, with time on my hands, with free time to spend any way I wanted, I began to write.

My first novel, The Distant Shore, spilled out of me as if someone had punctured a water-filled balloon. Writing was all I did. I got up at 5 AM—long before anyone else in the house—and wrote. After slapping together lunch for my guys, I wrote, often without eating myself. It was incredible. All those words, and they just poured out of me.

I think if my publisher, Buddhapuss Ink, hadn’t found me just after I’d crossed the 400,000 word line I’d still be writing that same novel.

But find me they did, and they made me whittle that monster of a novel down into something that could be published.

I love the validation and security of having a publisher. I love this particular publisher, because they’re just right for me. And I love writing for them.


Do you have any good advice for anyone wishing to pen their first novel?

Start, write, and finish. That’s all. Have the guts to begin, develop a writing routine that you can live with, and finish your project.

I think that’s actually the most important part: have the discipline to finish. Don’t start a new project before you’re done with the one you’re working on. I know this can be tough. But it’s really the only way to success. One finished novel will get you farther than ten half written manuscripts.


What do you like to do in your spare time?


No seriously, what’s spare time? Authors don’t have spare time. Either we’re busy writing, or we’re busy promoting, marketing, chatting with our publishers or writer friends, hanging out on twitter, Facebook, Goodreads…and if we’re not being an author doing all the things that come with the job, we’re playing around with new ideas, having lengthy discussions with our characters, taking in new settings, watching people…the world is our office!


Have any authors been an influence in your writing?

I don’t know. I honestly don’t know.

My reading is pretty eclectic. I love SciFi and fantasy for reading, but it’s not something I’d ever attempt to write. There are so many fantastic SciFi writers out there, with such wonderfully imaginative minds, I don’t think I’d ever be able to reach their level, let alone be better.

I really love China Mieville, Peter F. Hamilton, Lois McMaster Bujold…but I also love the works of Nagib Mahfuz, Marcel Proust, Sigrid Undset, John Galsworthy. And I’m a great fan of Vikram Seth and Margaret Atwood!


If you could be invisible for a day what would you do?


I’ve just spent a good fifteen minutes debating this with my husband and sons but the things they came up with—18yo: sneak into the girls’locker room at school, hubby: be present at a confidential political meeting—don’t appeal to me. Honestly.

So to be quite candid, I can’t think of anything that I’d like to do, being invisible.

I’m quite happy with the way things are right now. I don’t need invisibility at all.


You have been told you are only allowed to keep three possessions. Which would you choose?

Possessions, as in material things, right? We’re not talking family or cat? Because I’d always want to keep those first.

Okay, so material possessions. Hmm…nearly everything material is replaceable. I love my MacBook Pro a lot, but this is my second one, which means I replaced the first, and so this one can be replaced, too.

Let’s imagine I have to fly to the US (I live in Germany) on really short notice. What would I take? What would I need to take?

My passport (obviously!)

My MacBook (because it has everything I need on it: my projects, my favorite movies, my music collection, and all seven seasons of Doctor Who.)

My noise-canceling Bose headphones.

Some money wouldn’t be bad, either. Can I have four things?


Below are some useful links:-

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Mariam-Kobras/e/B006ZNYT3A

Twitter: @Mariam_Kobras

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MariamKobrasAuthor

Blog: http://mariamkobras.blogspot.com

Publisher: http://www.buddhapussink.com


Interview with Kelly Florentia


Kelly Florentia was very interested in an interview for my blog.  Her anthology ‘To Tell a Tale or Two’ is on a 99p promotion from tomorrow.



Tell me a bit about your collection of short stories which were published in February this year.

Hi Sonya, thank you so much for having me on your blog today. My anthology, To Tell a Tale or Two, is a collection of ten of my short stories. Themes cover relationships, family dramas and a couple of ghostly tales. They’re quick reads, all with subtle twists or surprise endings. It would suit anyone who hasn’t got time for a full length novel, as such, as they can dip in and out of this one at their leisure without losing the essence of a story. Having said this, some people have told me that they’ve read the entire eBook in one sitting. The age of the characters range from seventeen to eighty, so I hope it will appeal to all age groups, but it is essentially a contemporary women’s fiction read.

It’s been well received with five star reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. I’ve also had several emails from Readers telling me how much they’ve enjoyed the different plots and twists, and how they’ve found the protagonists engaging. Some have even asked if I’ll be introducing any of the characters in other stories. Greek Connection seems to be the most popular. I think this is because it’s set in a sunny location, which is quite encouraging because the opening chapters of my first novel, Betrayal (not yet published) are set in Cyprus. I don’t think Readers realise how much an author relishes receiving emails and good reviews about their work. It always makes my day and makes writing all the more worthwhile.

Do you think they would appeal to men as well as women?

Before the reviews and feedback, I’d have probably said no. But yes, men seem to be enjoying the book too, which I’m absolutely thrilled about.

Roughly how many short stories do you think you’ve written over the years?

At a guess I’d say close to a hundred, and I’m still going strong! I love reading and writing short stories. I always have and I think I always will. There’s something quite gratifying about a sharp, quick read with a satisfying or clever ending. Short stories are a lot more popular than some people may think. Breakfast at Tiffany’s is a film adaptation of Truman Capote’s novella (1958). And Alfred Hitchcock’s 1963 classic, The Birds, was inspired by Daphne Du Maurier’s story of the same name taken from her anthology, The Apple Tree (1952).  And let’s not forget the incredibly talented, award winning short story writer Alice Munro, who scooped The Nobel Prize in Literature 2013.

What are you working on now?

I’m currently working on the final edits of my second novel. It’s a romantic, contemporary drama with a subtle supernatural wave running through it. The plot revolves around a forty-something couple who’ve let their relationship slip into complacency, and how they try to get it back on track. Or do they? It has lots of twist and turns including a ‘will she, won’t she affair’. Again, it’s aimed at fans of women’s fiction but I do hope it’ll appeal to some men too.

When did you first start writing?

I started writing professionally several years ago. I had my first story published in Best magazine, which gave me an instant boost. I haven’t looked back since. My stories have appeared in women’s magazines worldwide and have been featured in several charity anthologies. But before this, I took a creative writing course with The Writers’ News. I was fortunate enough to have the exceptionally talented journalist and novelist Margaret James as my tutor. I’ve a lot to thank her for.

Describe a day in your life.

My day usually kicks off with household chores, very boring, I know, but I use the time to think up plots and ideas for my WIP. What can I say, I’m a multitasker. I then turn into a writer for a few hours (with a few Tweets and Facebook updates in-between.) Come lunchtime, I’m an athlete pounding the streets of North London (okay, trotting around the local park). I’ll return to my writing and online work in the afternoon, that’s if I’m not meeting up with my mum or friends for coffee. And finally, between six and seven I turn into a Masterchef! I love cooking my own food from scratch. My mum has given me lots of her delicious family recipes, which my husband adores!

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

Apart from reading, I enjoy going for long walks and catching up with family and friends over a glass of wine or two. I’m also a yoga fan, and jogging has become a bit of a passion for me.

Which type of books do you enjoy reading?

I mostly enjoy women’s fiction, but I also love psychological thrillers and some of the classics.  I’m currently rereading Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Oh, and I love reading anthologies, of course.



You can download To Tell a Tale or Two: http://9nl.eu/dnmq  for UK

http://9nl.be/xq6k   for US

Facebook: – http://facebook.com/kelly.florentia

Twitter: – @kellyflorentia

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7915633.Kelly_Florentia?from_search=true

Website: – http://www.kellyflorentia.co.uk

YouTube Trailer: – http://youtu.be/jfLU6lguRjE

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