A Lover of Books

Archive for the tag “YA fiction”

Katy Haye – ‘The Last Gatekeeper’ Guest Post


‘The Last Gatekeeper’ by Katy Haye was published on 28th November 2014.  Katy has written a guest post about her new book for my blog.



Zan knows she’s different. Today she discovers why …

Zanzibar MacKenzie knows she’s a freak. She has EHS – electrical hypersensitivity – which leaves her trying to live a Stone Age life in the twenty-first century: no internet, no phone, no point really. Then Thanriel knocks on her door and the dull summer holiday becomes maybe too exciting. Zan discovers fairies and angels are real beings from other planets, she herself is half alien, and the future of life on Earth rests on her shoulders.



The Last Gatekeeper relates the story of Zanzibar, a teenager discovering what she’s capable of and the responsibility that comes with that power.  It’s full of action and drama and in writing it I’ve stuck firmly with the notion that you should write the book you want to read.  I grew up in the house Zan lives in (although, sadly, it was close to a railway line rather than the sea, and instead of a millpond we had a vegetable patch, but the apple tree in the corner of the garden and the general isolation are the same).  The book is really written for my 15 year old self who longed for a life full of drama and would have loved the ability to travel to other worlds in order to escape mundane reality.

It’s hard to say where the idea for this story came from apart from that. All my ideas start with a character in my head talking to me about what’s happening to them. That was Zan and really the story just grew from there. I’m sure the ideas in The Last Gatekeeper were also shaped by the bizarre weather we’ve been having (and still are) – what if it’s not global warming but something more sinister behind freak floods, wildfires and droughts?

There’s a big thread of romance through the novel as Zan falls in love and experiences the highs and lows that come with trusting your heart to someone else. All my novels feature a love story in some form, because I truly believe love is the most important human emotion and the strongest motivator – whether positive or negative. In The Last Gatekeeper we see the positive as Zan falls in love with Thanriel, but we also see the negative in both the Fane queen who is willing to destroy the Earth for the sake of her people, and in Zan’s parents who try to protect her from the truth about her origins and only succeed in making things harder for her.

I write YA because it’s what I love to read. Favourite YA writers such as Imogen Howson, Kim Curran and Rachel Ward are writing some of the most exciting, dramatic and intelligent fiction currently available and that’s exactly what I want to write myself.

With the help of the Romantic Novelists Association’s New Writers’ Scheme (a fabulous organisation which provides the opportunity for unpublished writers to submit a manuscript each year for a romantic novel and receive professional-quality feedback on it), beta readers the Paisley Piranhas and super editor Rachel Daven-Skinner, not to mention a stunning cover by JD Smith Design I’ve created a book I hope my 15 year old self would love reading.




Katy Haye spends as much time as possible in either her own or someone else’s imaginary worlds. She has a fearsome green tea habit, a partiality for dark chocolate brazils and a fascination with the science of storytelling.

When not lost in a good book, Katy may be found on her allotment growing veg and keeping hens in order  to maximise her chances of survival in the event of a zombie apocalypse or similar catastrophe (you never know).

Find out more at: www.katyhaye.com

Or chat with Katy on twitter: @katyhaye

Interview with G. Mitchell Baker


G. Mitchell Baker lives in the Deep South, but also enjoys living out west, from the southwest United States to western Canada. Having practiced law for more than twenty years, Baker enjoys researching and writing projects that draw him into the many genres, to include contemporary fiction, science fiction, and paranormal works.

Mitch was keen to take part in an interview for my blog.


Mitch, what types of books do you tend to write? 

Traditionally published in genre of Science Fiction (ANNT: Axiom, 2011); Paranormal/Greek Mythological (Lethal Believers: The Innocents, 2012)(Lethal Believers: DVM, 2013); Contemporary Adult Fiction (The Involvement of Emerson, 2013); and, Contemporary Young Adult Fiction (Kerby ‘Webb’ Webster & Kinny the Rodeo Hound, 2012) and (Soccer Tommies Baseball Mommies, 2014), I tend to write in these genres.




Tell me a bit about your latest novel.

Soccer Tommies Baseball Mommies’ was released from Master Koda Select Publishing on July 1, 2014. This release in Kindle and paperback is about skunks, tornadoes, soccer, Frisbees, and baseball. All the town’s championship teams have to figure out, is how to compete hard for a meaningful home field advantage. What more could young readers aged 10-14 ask for…? Check it out Jhttp://t.co/1Yh4AIKbZM

My last novel released in 2013 was ‘Lethal Believers: DVM’, published by Master Koda Select Publishing. This novel has attracted Five-Star reviews to include ‘Lethal Believers … a real brain teasing thriller to give Stephen King a run!’ http://tinyurl.com/cseokmn




Where do you get your ideas from?

I appreciate this question. The process of ideas or inspiration is something I enjoy working with on many levels. Often interviewed and having contributed articles to an e-magazine called ‘Inspiration Unlimited’ (Bangalore, India), I pursue this question when asked many different kinds of questions and when considering assignments. In my latest book, ‘Soccer Tommies Baseball Mommies’, I made an effort to describe some of the back-story leading to the ideas or inspiration for this story, and so the reader may gather some insight prior to reading through the first page. The ‘Acknowledgement’ published in the formatter reads as follows:



I played a lot of baseball when I was a kid. My appreciation begins with the Baseball Moms (and Dads) who attended the many games on the way to our teams competing in national tournaments.

I played on championship teams that produced National Hockey League stars (Lindy Ruff, David Babich), one Olympian (Terrence Danyluck) and we played against the likes of Wayne Babich (NHL hockey), and Tim Chen (World Champion Baseball). Tim actually played/pitched against me along the way and helped me become a decent hitter. In my estimation, there were at least three other ball players who could have played Major League Baseball. It remains my honor to have competed with such talented athletes. They continue to inspire through their proven competitive drive and sportsmanship.

It was on a sunny Saturday in San Diego that Tim (pitcher for the Taiwan National Baseball Team and design engineer for the World Champion Nissan GTP racing team), Jeff (front Office of the San Diego Padres), and I broke away to play some pick-up baseball…

Oh, and there was Kinny (1996-2012) as well. My Border Collie played hard, chased and shagged baseballs usually hit out into the middle of nowhere. She played with all her heart and for as much, my remembrance is fond.

Tim, Jeff, and I expected to play some pick-up and went to our usual park soon to look on as a little league baseball team squared off with a girls’ soccer team. They haggled over whose field it was to practice on that morning. The title ‘Soccer Tommies Baseball Mommies’ immediately came to mind, and the story was soon written as a feature length screenplay.

Years later, I must thank Jane Carroll, Author ‘On Becoming Bertha’ (Master Koda Select Publishing, 2014) for helping me adapt this young adult story from screenplay to middle-grade novel. I have to admit, Jane helped me deal with a lot of called strikes and yellow cards an author writing about baseball, and soccer and tornadoes in the same book can experience along the way. There is also Kim Mutch-Emerson, Author ‘Digitus 232’ (Master Koda Select Publishing, 2013) to thank. There are no others, who I have learned more from when it comes to writing young adult fiction.

A major purpose, when writing this story was to encourage kids to continue to play, and be decent to others, despite all the distractions that can happen along the way. Through this fun loving tale about kids and towns overcoming tragedy, I hope kids learn there is more to ‘winning’ than simply posting ‘W’s’ in the ‘Win Column’. I am thankful for all who have put up with me through the years, and hope this story brings fond memories back to those who have already made theirs, and, for those who are about to make their own. May you always be, ‘Where you are supposed to be’, and ‘Doing what you are supposed to be doing.’



May 26, 2014


I provide this example of where some of the ‘ideas’ for ‘Soccer Tommies Baseball Mommies’ came from, to extend to those interested some insight into my process for considering, writing and ultimately working to publish stories/novels that may be original and interesting. Moreover, as you may see … If there is some value, some good lessoning to pass along, I seem inspired by that opportunity as well.


Where do you write?

I used to write in dedicated space (i.e., writer’s cave), but more and more I like writing in open, diverse settings that have the potential to inspire. By inspiration, I mean an environment that has people with character and attribute coming and going. It can also be the setting itself that naturally inspires. A fresh environment works for me when writing original material, however, the ‘Cave’ is always open when a less stimulating environment is required for editing…


What are you working on at the moment?

Now I am working on the third novel in the Paranormal/Greek Mythological ‘Lethal Believers’ series entitled ‘Cave Ravens’. In this story Danta, Lamia and the Chorus of Peregrine investigate and confront an unexpected version of Mantid Tranquil in unexpected places.

Master Koda Select Publishing acquired the publishing rights to the ‘Kerby’ Young Adult series of novels (Aged 12-16). They will re-issue the ‘Rodeo Hound’ novel when I feel it is ready. I am thinking it will be ‘ready’ when the second novel, ‘Tevus Cup’ novel will be released either late 2014 or early 2015.

The ‘Kerby’ series begins with a dumb-luck, hard-nosed loner cowman who takes up his orphaned, ultra urban grandson. Together get through trials and tribulation enough to keep one another going and a growing in all the right directions. Eventually, the grandson starts meeting friends and competing in the kind of extreme sports Kerby could never have imagined.


Describe a day in your life.

This question reminds me of a Cheech & Chong comedy routine from years ago … I got up. I went to school. I went to class. I sat down. (Ahem, it gets wild from there on …)

For me, I have to wake up prepared to be flexible. I can be writing, promoting, working with editors, art teams … working on contracts … The travel at times. This notion of getting a book published, marketed and selling can be a complicated, unpredictable endeavor at times. Then there is the life that goes on around this rather egocentric endeavor of being an author/novelist. Thank goodness for the opportunity to get out to a jazz club once in a while … maybe a folk festival or two … and I love urban hiking and street festivals when in season. I guess I can be a regular guest on any edition of ‘Where’s Waldo…’ when I get going. Sometimes it is very nice to extract myself from the computer, so these are some of the things I would consider doing in the course of my day.


What do you like to do in your spare time?

Spare time is rare if I factor out writing and promoting my work. When I do get away from the computer, I enjoy cycling (Fat Tire). I love the exercise … to explore urban settings and getting into the backcountry once in a while … The other day I was (what I call) ‘Toodling’. Others may call it puttering or something like that … Riding nice and easy … Cruising … I enjoyed it a lot … Cycling is always something I’ve enjoyed and to finds ways to ride given the feeling for the day can be very nice.


You have to live on a desert island for a week and you are only allowed to take three items with you. What would they be?

I think I answered this question once with, “I sez to myself self-I-sez … I’ll take with me a good dose of ‘Me, Myself, and I…’

As I think on this question for this interview, I would add … “And then I would begin to look for whatever else would be kind enough to float on by…” *wink wink*

Sounds like island living to me … At least for a week or so…



Soccer Tommies Baseball Mommies Facebook Page – https://www.facebook.com/SoccerTommiesBaseballMommies

Facebook Page – https://www.facebook.com/GMitchellBakerAuthor

Twitter – @G_MitchellBaker

Website – http://www.gmitchellbakerauthor.com/index.html

Author (Having fun on Pinterest) – http://www.pinterest.com/1gmbdelta505/


Amazon Links for books in print/live …

Lethal Believers: The Innocents (Kindle) – http://www.amazon.com/Lethal-Believers-The-Innocents-ebook/dp/B00BXRUU4K/ref=sr_1_1_bnp_0_main?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1363972312&sr=1-1&keywords=%27G.+Mitchell+Baker%27

Lethal Believers: DVM (Kindle) –  http://www.amazon.com/Lethal-Believers-G-M-Baker-ebook/dp/B00DTJ9NT8/ref=pd_sim_b_6?ie=UTF8&refRID=1M30PZPBWCMTCGNJ9CDK

The Involvement of Emerson (Paperback Out of Print) (Kindle Available) – http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=Emerson%20INvolvement

Interview with Deborah Bogen


Deborah Bogen is a poet and a novelist. Her poetry books, Landscape with Silos; Let Me Open You a Swan; and Living by the Children’s Cemetery are all prize winners. Her new book THE WITCH OF LEPER COVE is YA novel set in 13th Century England.

Bogen grew up in Montana and North Dakota. At 15 she moved to San Francisco where she was exposed to a lively art scene that was engaged with both the personal and the political.

Deborah Bogen expressed an interest in being interviewed for my blog.


Can you tell me a bit about your latest book please?

The Witch of Leper Cove, a tale of 13th century England



When their parents disappear, sixteen-year-old Lily and her younger twin brothers are farmed out to three different households in the small English village of Aldinoch. Grappling with grief, loneliness and even guilt they finally come to terms with their new lives and each one is sure that nothing worse can happen to them.

Lily is apprenticed to Alice, the village healer who cares for both Aldinoch’s sick and the lepers who live downstream. Her hard-won knowledge of herbs and poultices has saved many lives.

But it’s early in the 13th century. Fearing heretics, Pope Honorius has just launched the Inquisition, sending the Dominicans out into Christendom to root out heretics. Even the good and useful are not safe. When Alice is accused of witchcraft and imprisoned in an ancient dungeon, Lily and her brothers are forced into action.


Where do you get your ideas from?

I have always loved reading about the Middle Ages, the time when much of western culture had its start. Whether you look at medicine or architecture or government, you will find the roots of much we take for granted today.  This particular book was prompted by two students who asked me to write an adventure tale that would also teach them with this period of history. I hope that’s what Witch does.

My other books have been poetry volumes and those are prompted by my own life, and your life, and the greater world.


How long does it take you to write a book?

The time varies. Poetry books take years.  This novel took about 8 months to write and re-write – but I had also been researching the time period for decades.


How long have you been writing for?

I started writing late – at age 47. Now I’m 64! So the past 15 years have been dedicated to writing.  But I have been a reader since I was 5 and that teaches you a lot. If you have been reading all your life you have seen a lot of examples of good writing, and less-good writing.  The experience enriches your own writing practice.


What are you working on at the moment?

Right now I’m writing the sequel to The Witch of Leper Cove. My characters aged two years in that book so in the new book they are fully functional adults (in the middle ages teenagers did not really exist as an idea. You were a child till you were an adult – which happened between 15 and 18.) One of the main characters, Edric, was training to be a priest in Witch but now he has changed his mind as has taken to find out what he wants to do.


Describe a day in your life?

Days are varied when you do not have a full-time day job.  I have periods when I write for long hours each day, but many times I am thinking of new ideas for the book or reading other books I love or doing research.  Some days I do work to promote Witch – and that is real work and like most writers I do not love it.  But I also work out, play music and see my family.


What do you like to do in your spare time?

We have a pretty fine family band in which I sing and play ukulele. I love jazz and most Thursdays my husband and I can be found at CJ’s – a jazz club in Pittsburgh with truly amazing musicians. I do mosaic work, read, garden, bake, and do all the chores you do.


If you were only allowed to keep three books which would they be?

Let’s see….since I began as a poet I own hundreds of books of poems. I would not want to be without at least one Robert Bly book, one W.S. Merwin, and I’d have to have Anne Carson’ s The Economy of Loss, and then Kurt Vonnegut is a must have so already I am over your limit.



The Witch of Leper Cove

Deborah’s Amazon Author Page

Deborah’s website 


All proceeds from Deborah’s books fund medical research for Crohn’s Disease and Lupus.


Interview with Madeline Dyer

2014-03-22_20.11.15-1Madeline Dyer has had her work published by various publishers.  She kindly agreed to be interviewed for my blog.

Can you tell me a bit about your latest book?

The latest book I wrote is The Imposter, which I have just begun querying–and have already received a request for the full manuscript from an agent. It’s a science fiction thriller aimed at the YA market, though it is suitable for the mature end of the YA readership too.

However, I’d also like to talk a bit about my previous book, Untamed. It hasn’t yet been released, but the full manuscript is under review with several editors at publishing houses and I have already been offered a contract, so hopefully I’ll be able to say a lot more about that very soon! Untamed is a YA dystopian manuscript with strong fantasy elements.

Which types of books do you write?

I write fantasy and science fiction books, predominantly. Recently, although I’ve still been writing science fiction, I’m moving more into the thriller and mystery territory as well, which I’m enjoying a lot. I also have had seventeen short stories published, appearing online, in ebooks and paperback anthologies in aid of charity.

All my fiction is traditionally published. 

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Definitely! For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to write. I just love the freedom that writing offers and how I can be transported into a new world so quickly.

Can we expect another book from you soon?

Hopefully, Untamed will be published very soon (as I’ve already received one offer of publication from a publisher). I’ve also just started querying my latest book, The Imposter, and the first book I wrote, Spirit Of Fire, is also being reviewed. 

What advice do you have for anyone wanting to try their hand at writing?

Just to write. Honestly, if you want to be a writer, then you have to write. It’s (the main) part of the job. And write because you want to, not because you think it’s what you should be doing, or because someone else thinks you should be a writer. It needs to be your choice. And you must love what you’re writing–readers will be able to tell if you don’t.

It’s the night before your new book is due to be published.  How do you feel?

Ooh, nervous, excited… Even on the nights before I have a new short story being published I can’t sit still!

Describe a day in your life.

At the moment, I’m studying at Exeter University for an English degree, so my weekdays consist of lectures, seminars, and coursework, with any spare time dedicated to writing (if there is any spare time!). Weekends are a bit nicer, writing-wise, as I can usually get 3,000 words written in a day. I prefer to write first thing in the morning, or last thing before I go to bed.

The type of writing I get done each day, (and, yes, I do try to write every day), varies a lot depending on which stage in the writing process I’m at. If I’m writing the first draft, I can be really free and imaginative–pretty much everything goes. The second and third drafts are more about developing the plot, seeing what works and what doesn’t, and tightening up on characterisation. Also, at this point, a lot of restructuring takes place, so I have some days that I’ll spend ages ‘writing’, but my word count won’t change a lot. After this stage, what I call the fine-toothed-comb editing takes place. This is the small stuff, word choice, etc., yet I often find myself writing new scenes and deleting others that don’t work/don’t add anything to the plot at this stage too. The final editing/read through is one of my favourite things to do in a ‘writing day’. 

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I live on a farm where we breed Shetland ponies, so I love spending time with them! I also own a number of other animals–guinea pigs, a rabbit, a cat and a goldfish–so I’m looking after them a lot.

I also enjoy reading and blogging a lot. Oh, and catching up on iPlayer!


Below are some useful links:-

Madeline Dyer’s website – http://www.MadelineDyer.co.uk

Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/MadelineDyerAuthor

Twitter – @MadelineDyerUK


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